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Friday, May 25, 2018

Links - 25th May 2018 (1)

Ugandan president backs 'frank' Trump after 'sh*thole' remark - "Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday hailed Donald Trump for speaking "frankly" to Africans, after the US president unleashed a storm by reportedly describing African nations as "sh*thole countries." "I love Trump because he speaks to Africans frankly. I don't know if he was misquoted or whatever. He talks about Africans' weaknesses frankly"... No stranger to controversy, on Monday he described Uganda as a "pre-industrial society" and said he regretted removing the death sentence, saying the move had been "a recipe for chaos"."

Kickstarter Bans Book On Rape, Immigrants - "Swedish academic Ann Heberlein was booted from American crowdfunding platform Kickstarter Thursday after trying to raise money for a book studying the link between rape and immigration... In Heberlein’s planned book, entitled “Rape and Culture – A survey of group violence in Sweden 2012-2017,” the academic seeks to “perform a statistical analysis of all convictions in group violence targets in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, taking into account the perpetrator’s age and birth.” The Swedish government no longer keeps statistics on the ethnic backgrounds of rape offenders, Heberlein claims, and so this information is desperately needed... Though the book was planned as a simple statistical analysis, Kickstarter banned the project for “hateful or offensive content”"

Avalanche of Donations After Kickstarter Ban on Swedish 'Rape Book' - "Before the ban, Heberlein managed to attract a total of SEK 161,704 ($21,500), still far short of the target of SEK 400,000 ($51,000). "To survey the [Crime Prevention Council]'s statistics is thus 'racist.' Do you understand where we are heading? Freedom of expression is not threatened. It's throttled," a dismayed Ann Heberlein tweeted. Gothenburg PR expert Bobbo Sundgren, who is known for having patented the PR-method called "talk trigging," predicted that Kickstarter's decision to stop the crowd-funding campaign has in fact done a good service to Heberlein. Likewise, Sundgren argued that being blocked on Facebook and hounded by "anti-racist trolls" has also boosted her popular support... the Kickstarter ban, coupled with the media attention, resulted in an avalanche of donations for Heberlein's project. By her own admission, she received over SEK 700,000 ($89,000) in less than two days... Earlier in January, however, the Swedish government tasked the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) with researching the reasons behind the spike in rape cases (such as a 400 percent increase in Stockholm over the past two decades alone). As it is unclear how deep the government investigators are prepared delve into the matter, Heberlein's report is seen as an alternative."

Belgians say their country is being invaded: 74% see Islam as an intolerant religion - "The poll with 4,734 people, indicates that 74% of respondents consider Islam an intolerant religion (against 38% for Judaism and 14% for Catholicism) and 71% judge it incompatible “with the values of Belgian society”. According to the study, 60% of Belgians also see Islam as threat to the identity of the country and two-thirds feel that their country is being increasingly invaded. Only 13% see Islam as a “cultural enrichment factor” for their country."

Where Nassar's Judge Went Wrong - "Subjecting Nassar to a lifetime of rape is not my idea of justice, and fantasizing about it is not my idea of judicial temperament... Some crimes are bad enough that no remedy exists for them in civilized society. I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’s famous line that some men are indeed fit only to be slaves, but none is fit to be a master."

Jagmeet Singh: Presumption Of Innocence Is ‘Strictly’ For Courts - "The presumption of innocence is "strictly" a legal construct that shouldn't stop Canadians from believing women who come forward with allegations of assault, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday. While some members of his caucus stood behind him with incredulous looks, Singh told reporters there are "different issues" at play when women step forward with accusations... The NDP leader had called on Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown to resign after a CTV News report Wednesday featured two women alleging inappropriate sexual behaviour
What if women accuse Jagmeet Singh of sexual assault?

New German swimming pool will have a separated area for Muslim women - "Earlier the city already introduced gender-segregated swimming hours, during which only women were allowed. Especially Muslim women were given the opportunity to swim and bath unobserved by men. But now the city has gone a step further with a completely separated basin with a huge curtain that blocks view. Some German media say the city and its swimming pool are now “Shariah ready”. Local politician Werner Hümmrich (FDP) says: “We do not want to exclude a group from using the pool and therefore we meet certain social demands. The swimming pool will be specially designed so that gender-segregated swimming can be offered.” According to Hümmrich, that was a “political requirement”."

Germany hands out swimming pool etiquette guides after sexual harassment reports against migrants

Why IFLScience is Anti-Science - "Have you heard about the coming ice age? You may have seen articles with titles such as “Thanks To Reduced Solar Activity, We Could Be Heading For A Mini Ice Age In 2030.” and “‘Mini Ice Age’ Not a Reason to Ignore Global Warming.” Of course such sensational headlines led to rebuttal articles such as “No, We Aren’t Heading Into A ‘Mini Ice Age’” Once again, a hyped headline is used to drive page views, and which only serves to mislead readers. Hence a follow up article on how “The ‘Mini Ice Age’ Hoopla Is A Giant Failure Of Science Communication.” Here’s the thing, though. All of these articles are from IFLS also known as “I’ll use profanity in my website title so people will think I’m edgy and cool.”... Why correct your “mistakes” when your lies get you nearly 76,000 likes on Facebook?"

Survivorship Bias - "a brilliant statistician named Abraham Wald saved countless lives by preventing a group of military commanders from committing a common human error, a mistake that you probably make every single day... How, the Army Air Force asked, could they improve the odds of a bomber making it home? Military engineers explained to the statistician that they already knew the allied bombers needed more armor, but the ground crews couldn’t just cover the planes like tanks, not if they wanted them to take off. The operational commanders asked for help figuring out the best places to add what little protection they could... The military looked at the bombers that had returned from enemy territory. They recorded where those planes had taken the most damage. Over and over again, they saw that the bullet holes tended to accumulate along the wings, around the tail gunner, and down the center of the body. Wings. Body. Tail gunner. Considering this information, where would you put the extra armor? Naturally, the commanders wanted to put the thicker protection where they could clearly see the most damage, where the holes clustered. But Wald said no, that would be precisely the wrong decision. Putting the armor there wouldn’t improve their chances at all... the holes showed where the planes were strongest. The holes showed where a bomber could be shot and still survive the flight home... If you are thinking about opening a restaurant because there are so many successful restaurants in your hometown, you are ignoring the fact that only successful restaurants survive to become examples. Maybe on average 90 percent of restaurants in your city fail in the first year. You can’t see all those failures because when they fail they also disappear from view... Survivorship bias pulls you toward bestselling diet gurus, celebrity CEOs, and superstar athletes... In short, the advice business is a monopoly run by survivors. As the psychologist Daniel Kahneman writes in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, “A stupid decision that works out well becomes a brilliant decision in hindsight.”... success boils down to serially avoiding catastrophic failure while routinely absorbing manageable damage

Are modern cars less problematic? - "the general consensus seems to be that modern cars don't break down as often as older ones. When the U.S. government offered the "Cash for Clunkers" program in 2009, it was intended to stimulate the economy and improve the fuel efficiency of the American cars on the road. It also served as a tacit confirmation that newer cars are better. That might be a controversial claim, but the numbers don't lie: The car with the record for the most miles driven was a 1989 Saab 900SPG, owned by a Wisconsin traveling salesman who logged 1,001,385 miles in 17 years before retiring it [source: AP]. The decline of car maintenance costs also shows that modern cars are becoming increasingly less problematic"

I'm a sex worker in a legal brothel – here are the biggest misconceptions about what I do - "I've been working in Nevada's legal brothels for almost a year and a half now. In this time I've learned a lot about sexuality, psychology and relationships. My job is a mix of customer service and fantasy fulfillment, and I love it. It suits my needs and allows me financial stability I never had access to before... Sex work is a physically intimate therapy session for most of our clients... You'd be surprised at the range of people who walk through our doors. We entertain middle-aged couples looking to spice up their love life. Young military veterans visit struggling to transition back into civilian life and dating. Respectable business men, lawyers, doctors, and professionals who are overworked without time for dating. Men with Asperger's who find navigating traditional social relationships challenging and confusing. For many, seeing a sex worker is more than just the act of sex. We provide a safe space to be comfortable with sexuality and physical intimacy. Clients are able to let their barriers down and have a connection with a near stranger and it is often highly therapeutic for them. We're also teachers, guiding our virgin clients through sex and intimacy for the first time. Our clients treat us with respect and adoration, and are as kind to us as we are to them. Shaming our clients demonises their sexuality, which is repressive and judgmental... Our work is deeply personal and intimate. We see people at their most vulnerable, when they're naked and expressing their inner most desires. These desires may have been hidden away for years, decades. The relationships I develop with my clients are genuine and I'm happy to see them leave basking in a glow, relaxed and relieved. Making people feel good about themselves brings me a profound sense of happiness."

Cameron didn't have 'bromance' with Obama and thought he was a narcissist, claims former adviser - "“My old boss, former British prime minister David Cameron, thought Obama was one of the most narcissistic, self-absorbed people he’d ever dealt with,” Mr Hilton said on his Fox News show. “Obama never listened to anyone, always thought he was smarter than every expert in the room, and treated every meeting as an opportunity to lecture everyone else. This led to real-world disasters, like Syria and the rise of Isis.” He said for the world’s elites, such problems were not an issue as they existed within their own bubble... “For them, it’s all about style and tone, not substance and results. Donald Trump offends the elites aesthetically, like a piece of art that’s not to their taste”"

Women's rights group sue Trump's Education Department for 'discriminating against victims of campus sexual assault' - "A consortium of women’s rights groups have sued the Trump administration for implementing policies they say violate the rights of campus sexual assault survivors. The Victims Rights Law Centre, Equal Rights Advocates, and SurvJustice – a not-for-profit that provides legal help to survivors – filed suit against the Department of Education over its new gender discrimination policy... Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the changes to the Title IX policy in September. She vowed to end a "failed" Obama-era system and replace it with a new one offering more protections for the accused. The move was heralded by activists who felt the government had become overzealous in its crackdown on campus sexual assault."
Losing gulag powers sure hurts. But what is given by executive action can be taken away by executive action

It’s time we started celebrating masculinity - "Alpha males are the product of high levels of testosterone, which increases aggression. This, contrary to popular opinion, is a useful trait: it makes people brave, reactive and better in battle. Testosterone has been known to make people territorial too. Scientists have found that footballers demonstrate a substantial rise in the stuff before playing a home game. It even has important organisational structures in the male brain, and can help with spatial ability, which proves useful in combat and many other jobs. All in all, it is great to be macho. And I wish our society celebrated, and encouraged, masculinity – instead of sneering at its expression... When I walked through a fight several years ago, never was I more grateful to see four macho coppers burst onto the scene; I'll never forget the man who protected me from another on a walk through Oxford Street last year. With such atrocities taking place all the time, I thank my lucky stars for the brave souls who want to stop it."

Pingtjin Thum - A well meaning statement by the Worker's Party,... - "A well meaning statement by the Worker's Party, but one that draws incomplete conclusions from #Brexit. Immigration was the precipitating factor, but not the fundamental cause. The underlying issue with Brexit was the nature of the European Union. It is an intrinsically anti-democratic institution. The laws and policies of the European Union are worked out behind closed doors, at meetings between ministers and civil servants from the member states. The discussions between them are kept almost entirely secret. Once a decision has been made, it is then presented to voters as fait accompli. In this way, politicians seeking to evade political accountability for unpopular decisions can blame European diktat. I believe that the more relevant interpretation of Brexit for Singapore is to ask what happens when a comfortable and complacent political class loses touch with the voters and retreats into the state and other elite institutions; when unaccountable governments continually impose unpopular policies on an electorate, while evading responsibility for its decisions; and when voters become disenchanted, frustrated, and angry but have no recourse or alternatives"

Men, women & the secrets of skin colour - "men of all races are subconsciously attracted to fairer-skinned women, while women are more drawn to dark-complexioned men... Men are subconsciously attracted to fairer skin because of its association with innocence, purity, modesty, virginity, vulnerability and goodness, according to researchers at the University of Toronto. Women are attracted to men with darker complexions because these are associated with sex, virility, mystery, villainy and danger... When they analysed adverts featuring white women only, they found that women with the darkest complexions were more likely to be in an advanced state of undress. They were also more likely to have a bared midriff, and only they are shown with bared feet or are implied to be totally nude."

Young American liberals are losing the ability to argue | Down with campus censorship! - "Duke University professor Jerry Hough commented on a New York Times article, which blamed the Baltimore rioting on racism (or, as the NYT itself described it, ‘the century-long assault that Baltimore’s blacks have endured at the hands of local, state and federal policymakers’). Hough’s most controversial statements centred on why, in his words, ‘Asians who were oppressed [as much as blacks] did so well and are integrating so well, and the blacks are not doing so well’. Hough continued: ‘[Asians] didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard… Every Asian student has a very simple, old American first name that symbolises their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolises their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous [and] black-white dating is almost non-existent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.’ Duke University responded: ‘The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse.’... The liberal establishment dismisses Hough’s comments as the racist ramblings of an old white fool. Perhaps that’s right. But here’s the problem: if no one confronts such ideas, they will not go away. ‘[N]o one has said I was wrong, just racist’, Hough writes. Another Duke professor, Michael Munger, argues that universities educate conservative students by challenging them, while liberal students get a pass. As the chair of indignation studies (whatever that is) told Munger, ‘I don’t really need to spend much time with the liberal students because they already have it right. I spend most of my time arguing with the conservative students.’ Derision, rather than refutation, seems to be the norm of discourse in mainstream politics as well. Accordingly, opposing views are seen as a sign of some moral defect, not genuine disagreement. Earlier this year, for example, a prominent Democrat compared delaying the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general (she’s the first African-American woman to be given the role) to Jim Crow segregation. Elsewhere, questioning certain sexual-assault statistics makes one a ‘rape apologist’; proponents of traditional marriage are dismissed as ‘bigots’; and even President Obama is called sexist for arguing with Senator Elizabeth Warren about a trade bill (he called her ‘Elizabeth’). Progressives think their vitriolic name-calling undermines their opponents. But Munger has it right: ‘The absence of [dissent] is harmful, not so much to those who would agree with the dissenting voice, but to those who are thus denied the chance to collide with error.’"
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