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More adventurous than the average bear

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Links - 29th April 2018 (1)

Time to bury Che Guevara for good - "Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s president, justifies the crushing of opposition as an act of anti-imperialism. Mr Morales, who after 11 years in power shows no sign of being prepared to relinquish it, may yet try to do the same. So occluded is the lens of anti-imperialism that much of the Latin American left has failed to detect that American meddling in the region largely ended with the cold war, and that most younger Latin Americans see the United States as a source of investment, opportunity and technological progress... In Guevara’s view, equality was to be achieved by levelling down... By erecting anti-imperialism and equality as supreme values, too many leftists have been complicit in tyranny and corruption. They have shamefully refused to condemn Mr Maduro’s dictatorship in Venezuela"

Buying local is more expensive than it looks - "Rather than nurturing the strong, such policies appear to coddle the weak. Reviews by the PIIE, the OECD and the UN found no evidence that they stimulate innovation. In supposed success stories such as China’s solar-cell industry, it is unclear whether local-content requirements drove success, or whether innovation was hampered as foreign firms fled. In Brazil’s health-care sector, the PIIE’s analysis suggests that local-content requirements make it slow to adopt new devices and drugs. Protectionism has caused America’s once proud shipbuilding industry to wither... Between 2009 and 2011 the PIIE authors estimate that the Obama administration’s buy-local requirements for steel cost the government about $5.7bn. Canadian restrictions on wind turbines meant utilities in Ontario and Quebec spent $500m more than if they had bought American ones. Proponents of “buy local” policies tend to think too narrowly. Pricier locally produced inputs mean less cash to spend on other things. A new paper by Peter Dixon, Maureen Rimmer and Robert Waschik of Victoria University puts the short-run benefit to the American economy of ditching its local-content requirements at around 300,000 jobs... they lower exports in sectors not themselves the target of rules by a little over 0.5% in America, and by even more in Brazil and India."

Guides allows boys who identify as female to shower with girls - "Girlguiding's official guidance instructs guide leaders to allow members who were born male but now identify as female to share changing rooms, toilets and sleeping quarters with girls when away on excursions... The guidance states that it is not "best practice" to inform parents that a trans person will be attending a residential event... In the Guide's "Girls' Attitudes Survey" published earlier this year, members' make several references to having girl-only safe spaces. One respondent said: "Being the only female in a male-dominated environment can be very difficult, so it’s important to make sure that girls feel welcome and safe in these places.""

Are we breeding a 'lost generation' who won't have photo albums to capture their lives? - "On the one hand, our children are the most photographed in history with more than 52 million snaps uploaded on Instagram globally every day and 350 million to Facebook. Yet many are rarely looked at again, while, according to a survey by Samsung, only 23 per cent of photos taken end up in a traditional album, with 34 per cent of people saying they lack either the time or knowledge to download a photograph. And an estimated 631 million photographs each year, around a third of the total taken, will remain forever on accounts to which we’ve forgotten the passwords, or on obsolete hard drives, making them inaccessible to us and future generations... ‘We all take far too many photos, which now lurk on a cloud somewhere, awaiting the mammoth, time-consuming job of editing, as more photographs stack up behind them.’"

Dubai Airport is replacing security checks with face-scanning fish - "Instead of waiting in line for security kiosks or e-gates, passengers will be able to walk through a virtual aquarium tunnel in which 80 in-built cameras will scan their faces. The role of the fish? To capture the passengers’ attention - and thus their biometrics."

Are marriages stronger when one spouse is dominant? - "According to the report, “Why do some women prefer submissive men?” published in Neuroendocrinology Letters, women were dominant in almost a quarter of relationships. “Too often, we are told to view even mild dominance and submissiveness as a problem,’’ says Dr Eva Jozifkova who led the research. “Our results challenge the frequently held belief in equality within couples as a trademark of functional partnerships. It rather appears that existence of some disparity, with one partner dominant, and other submissive, improves cohesion, results in better cooperation between partners and improve the couples’ ability to face challenges. They also have more children. “In the light of these results, both excessive pressures towards equality in some modern societies, and pressures towards male dominance in some traditional societies, represent a form of oppression.’’"

Yes, it's official, men are from Mars and women from Venus, and here's the science to prove it - " I am a developmental biologist who has studied how embryos develop from the fertilised egg. Genes control the development of the embryo by providing the codes for making proteins, which largely determine how cells behave... Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University, set aside his book The Essential Difference for several years because “the topic was just too politically sensitive”. In recent years the politically correct argument has emphasised social causes to such an extent that it has sometimes virtually ignored our genetic inheritance and the role of genes... A few hours after birth, girls are more sensitive than boys to touch, and 40 hours after birth girls look longer at a face than boys, while boys look longer at a suspended mechanical mobile. At four months old, if babies are frightened in a strange room, twice as many girls as boys cry. Children’s play provides further evidence for genetic differences. At 12, 18 or 24 months, girls look at dolls much more than boys, while boys look at cars much more than girls. It is hard to attribute these basic differences at such young ages to purely social influences. The development of the brain leads to many other differences and it has been claimed that clear sex differences exist in every brain lobe. There are some visible structural differences, such as a cluster of cells in the hypothalamus that is believed to relate to sexual behaviour and which is twice as big in men as in women... Women can be aggressive but their aggression tends to be less physical. But girls and women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which increases testosterone in the womb, are more like males, with an increase in physical aggression... Significantly, boys born with an insensitivity to testosterone are worse at systemising, and girls born with CAH have enhanced systemising capability and lower empathy. Other emotional differences are that women generally report greater disgust than men, especially sexual disgust, and men engage in more risky behaviour"
And yet Testosterone Rex won the Royal Society's Science Book of the Year award. I guess a Popular Science Writer knows more than a Developmental Biologist

Testosterone Rex, Royal Society science book of the year. : samharris - "I've never understood the cognitive dissonance with some people who say something like, "men and women are the same / hormonal differences don't matter," and then in the next sentence encourage trans people to receive hormone treatment to make them look / feel more like their desired gender."
"Another funny bit of info: The judges recommended "Testosterone Rex" as "the ideal companion read to sit alongside The Handmaid's Tale and The Power." These feminist books might not only share an ideological basis with "Testosterone Rex", no, the latter even was written by one of the judges, Naomi Alderman. Shameless plug, if you ask me, definetely doesn't reflect well on the panel."

Is Cordelia Fine’s Award from the Royal Society an Escalation of the Culture Wars? - "Despite the noisy excesses of Richard Lewontin, Stephen Jay Gould, and other Radical Scientists, few were ever truly on board with the full Marxist program of subordinating scientific reality to politics. While most did not agree with educational psychologist Arthur Jensen’s seminal 1969 article “How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement” in the Harvard Educational Review, or Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve, many would agree that Jensen and Murray were men of good faith who should be given a fair hearing. Yet more, when given a few drinks, would quietly admit that perhaps they made some valid points. Even today there is a large detachment of prominent scientists who will avoid discussion of ethnic differences, but will defend research into behavioral sex differences, and others (including some prominent science communicators) who will cheerfully say one thing in public but quite another in private... a new era of genomics research is on the verge of ending many of the old scientific debates in any meaningful sense. This is a singularly bad time to be doubling down on the myth of the biological equality of man, a key underlying assumption of leftist visions of society"

Woman drank six Jagerbombs in 10 minutes on the night she was raped and murdered is an acceptable headlines, writes Corrine Barraclough - "Headlines repeatedly mention the amount of alcohol a woman has consumed before being assaulted with good reason — there’s a connection between alcohol and sexual violence. A report entitled Under The Influence by Liz Hall and Dr Antonia Quadara, published July 2014, states, “Alcohol is a feature in a high proportion of sexual assaults”."

The best cure for anti-Semitism in the UK is to stop pretending we're all guilty of it - "Despite evidence of a particular problem within the Muslim community, the committee simply sidesteps the implications. Why? Perhaps it is too difficult to come to terms with the fact that anti-Semitism is being perpetrated by another minority community that is also subject to prejudice, or perceives itself to be. It is much easier to make this appear a national problem rather than a specific one; and yet if it is to be addressed, then surely a bespoke solution is needed"

BuzzFeed and online media rivals seek new models - "Using its online reach to sell other products and services is an obvious move for BuzzFeed and its competitors. The Sun, which removed its paywall at the end of 2015, has taken a similar approach, offering commercial services such as sports betting alongside its content. The Guardian, a rare example of a newspaper that continues to give its content away, has taken a different tack, selling memberships that include a “welcome pack and gift card”. It also seeks voluntary contributions, with messages beneath online articles that remind readers that ad revenues are falling and say “you can see why we need to ask for your help”."

Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself - "The disingenuousness of much “offense” taken is perhaps best exemplified by MSNBC, a self-appointed watchman against prejudice of all kinds in American life, repeatedly failing to live up to the very standards that it sets for others. The striking contrast of Melissa Harris Perry and other commentators mocking Mitt Romney’s family for adopting a black baby, then tearfully apologizing for it shortly thereafter, smacks of a person who isn’t so much contrite as she is ashamed: she and her colleagues weren’t really thinking when they made fun of the Romneys, and let their true sentiments show. How else could someone who unmasks the implicit racism in something so trivial as Darth Vader’s character make a mistake like that? It shows that all the righteous fury that these folks direct at other people for doing things just like this is an affectation: a contrived performance put on for other purposes. PC’s selectivity was on vivid display during one of the first protests that swept American colleges in late 2015. During a public demonstration at Claremont McKenna College in response to a private email from the school’s dean that allegedly implied non-white students don’t fit the school’s mold, students gathered to publicly discuss their own experiences dealing with racial prejudice in America. When a Chinese student took the bullhorn to talk about her own experience with discrimination at the hands of a group of black men, however, the protesters cringed and ushered her away. When she attempted to clarify her point, one protester turned the bullhorn on her: “you’re getting derailed, alright, you’re losing sight of the movement!” Evidently unbeknown to the Chinese student, broadening the discussion to her own experience was a distraction from the demonstration’s goal: intimidating the school’s administration into doing what the protesters wanted. For that she was forcibly silenced... the postmodern man ultimately finds satisfaction in the only thing that is left for him: power... even as American society becomes more diverse and accommodating, more people nevertheless see senseless discrimination everywhere. As they run out of traditions, institutions, and customs to deconstruct, however, the more diluted the power rooted in their outrage becomes. Hence the growth in moral hysteria over ever smaller and more trivial things."

Aziz Ansari: Love, Online Dating, Modern Romance and the Internet - "While we may think we know what we want, we’re often wrong. As recounted in Dan Slater’s history of online dating, Love in the Time of Algorithms, the first online-­dating services tried to find matches for clients based almost exclusively on what clients said they wanted. But pretty soon they realized that the kind of partner people said they were looking for didn’t match up with the kind of partner they were actually interested in... Despite the nuanced information that people put up on their profiles, the factor that they rely on most when preselecting a date is looks... In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt identifies two danger points in every romantic relationship. One is at the apex of the passionate-love phase. People get all excited and dive in headfirst. A new couple, weeks or months into a relationship, high off passionate love, goes bonkers and moves in together and gets married way too quickly... The second danger point is when passionate love starts wearing off. This is when you start coming down off that initial high and start worrying about whether this is really the right person for you... After the wedding, I found out about four different couples that had broken up, supposedly because they didn’t feel like they had the love that was expressed in those vows."

Africans are being sold as slaves in Libya. Thanks, Hillary Clinton. - "Under President George W. Bush in 2003, the United States negotiated an agreement with Libyan strongman Gadhafi. The deal: He would give up his weapons of mass destruction peacefully, and we wouldn’t try to depose him. That seemed a good deal at the time, but the Obama administration didn’t stick to it. Instead, in an operation spearheaded by Clinton, the United States went ahead and toppled him anyway. The overthrow turned out to be a debacle. Libya exploded into chaos and civil war, and refugees flooded Europe, destabilizing governments there. But at the time, Clinton thought it was a great triumph — "We came, we saw, he died,” she joked about Gadhafi’s overthrow — and adviser Sidney Blumenthal encouraged her to tout her "successful strategy" as evidence of her fitness for the highest office in the land. It’s surprising the extent to which Clinton has gotten a pass for this debacle, which represents a humanitarian and strategic failure of the first order. (And, of course, the damage is still compounding: How likely is North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons after seeing the worthlessness of U.S. promises to Gadhafi?)... Remember President Obama’s “red line” that Syria crossed, and that Obama didn’t enforce? That led to a destabilizing flood of refugees hitting Europe, too. And, of course, there’s the Yemen policy, which Obama bragged about as a model for the war on terror. But now Yemen is another war-wracked humanitarian and strategic disaster... Back in the 2012 presidential campaign, Vice President Biden told a group of African Americans that the GOP was going to "put you all back in chains." But it turned out that it was Clinton’s policies that led to black people being sold. As some ponder another Hillary Clinton run in 2020, that’s worth pointing out."

9 Strange Uses for Ancient Egyptian Mummies - "Mummy, often sold as “mummia” (a confusing word that also refers to the bitumen with which mummies were embalmed), was applied to the skin or powdered and mixed into drinks as a treatment for bruising and other ailments... starting around the 16th century, a pigment called mummy brown, made from ground-up mummies, was a popular choice for European artists"

Black Lives Matter Organizes 'Black Xmas' To Divest From 'White Corporations' And 'White Capitalism' - "Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor at California State University-Los Angeles (CSU-LA,) who is also a national Black Lives Matter (BLM) leader, is urging allies to support the movement’s “Black Xmas” this holiday season by divesting from “white corporations.” She claims “white capitalism” is an American institution that is inherently racist, therefore black people should pursue more collectivist approaches to economic empowerment."

Denzel Washington says don't blame the prison system - "In “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” Denzel Washington plays an idealistic defense attorney whose beliefs are tested when he joins a new law firm. The Oscar winner says making the film did not make him more cynical about the justice system and, when asked about the prison-industrial complex, the “Malcolm X” star offered a surprising take. “It starts at the home,” he told reporters at the film’s downtown New York premiere. “It starts at home.” When prodded to expand on his answer, the 62-year-old Mount Vernon native replied: “It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure."
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