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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, May 03, 2018

Links - 3rd May 2018 (1)

Privilege: an advice - "Britain has the lowest social mobility in the OECD, controlling for both race and gender. Race and gender are relatively unimportant: in fact, they are so unimportant that women (until the average age of first childbirth) in Britain have now opened a statistically significant gender wage gap on men. If a woman is lesbian or chooses not to have children, the wage advantage persists. Despite repeated claims that austerity has hit women hardest, men are its primary victims, and this is added to a systemic decline in male employment rates and wages over the last 25 years. We have deliberately used large data sets here, in part to reflect the way ‘privilege’ is used in debates: if being a member of a given group means certain characteristics can be assumed on the basis of one’s membership, then in Britain, to be a middle-class, childless, gay woman confers a significant wage advantage, statistically speaking...
The problem with making claims that there is a knowledge advantage to be had from lived experience as a member of an oppressed group is threefold.
1. It may not be true.
2. It assumes that other people (regardless of their backgrounds) have no imagination or empathy.
3. It may be that structural privilege (in Britain: Oxbridge, public school, membership of the professions) confers a knowledge advantage that is greater than any knowledge advantage conferred by the experience of oppression...
(1) is most serious of all. If you claim that there really are ‘ways of knowing’ peculiar to the experience of being a member of an oppressed or disadvantaged group — independently inaccessible to people who are not members of that group — then you are denying everyone else the opportunity to test your knowledge claims empirically. This is dangerously close to making your claims an article of faith, and is characteristic of organised religion... People are different, a trite but nonetheless demonstrable reality. This means that individuals cannot be reduced to group characteristics, and any comment that begins ‘men do…’ or ‘women have…’ or ‘blacks are…’ must have appended to it the words ‘statistically speaking’... Outside statistical evidence, it is unlikely that there is enough that unites all women in order to ensure their political interests intersect, even in a limited way. That is why Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative Prime Minister who supported abortion rights, while Dilma Rousseff is a Socialist President who opposes abortion rights, and why women — like men — express political views that fall across the spectrum. To suggest — as some feminists do — that women like Thatcher or Rousseff (on the basis of their views on, say, economics or abortion) do not understand that they are oppressed as women is to make the extraordinary claim that even the most capable and powerful women do not know their own minds."
Stereotypes are apparently good when used for the cause of social justice

French Cheesemakers Crippled by EU Health Measures - "Unpasteurised milk, which gives a unique earth-and-fruit flavour, has been gradually marginalised on false public health pretexts after intense lobbying by the food processing industry, to the detriment of the consumer but the incalculable advantage of those producing cheese made with pasteurised milk. The latter will last up to a month on the supermarket shelf, while many made with raw milk – such as fresh goat’s cheese – are unlikely to be edible after more than 10 days... The industrial fromagers have also succeeded, by legal force, in hijacking the Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) bandwagon and now pasteurised, industrially fabricated cheeses make up nearly half of this protected enclosure, thus further threatening an endangered species. AOP Cantal is now 70% pasteurised; Ossau-Iraty from the Basque region is 80%, and Fourme d’Ambert is a staggering 97%... The slithery slide of French gastronomy is in no way confined to the fate of its once mighty national cheese trolley. In the past 10 years, at least half of the country’s artisans-boulangers have stopped baking the croissants and viennoiseries that they sell. These products, far from being home-baked, are mass manufactured, ­frozen, delivered and sold at an enormous mark-up, making it almost impossible for the genuine corner shop baker to compete."

Relentless optimism of ugly men makes up for unappealing looks - "Despite being at a disadvantage in the looks department, some men are able to snare a partner far more attractive than them through relentless persistence and overblown belief in their own sex appeal. Now scientists believe this could be down to an evolutionary trait which tricks men into overestimating the value of their looks to prevent them from missing a mating opportunity. This overconfidence causes them to try their luck with a greater number of women because they are less likely to see them as unattainable... The study also suggested that women underestimate how interested men are in them, possibly to help deflect unwanted sexual interest, avoid accusations of promiscuity and raise a "choosiness barrier" to single out which men are truly interested in them"

The Empress Has No Clothes: The Dark Underbelly of Women Who Code and Google Women Techmakers - "I’ve finally decided to share my story publicly. It’s a story about being punished for wrong-think by a group of women in technology, who, ironically, consider themselves the victims of an unfair patriarchal system designed to suppress female voices... My only “crime” is being an outspoken, albeit moderate, conservative who doesn’t prescribe to the radical feminist narrative of many women in STEM groups... By telling the story of how I got mercilessly smeared and ostracized by the leadership and members of two prominent women in tech groups, Women Who Code and Google’s Women Techmakers, my hope is to encourage other people to speak up and to fight back if they’re the victims of bullying. It’s important to recognize that women can, and do, bully each other, and in the tech industry, it is unfortunately a problem that is all too often ignored and even denied, because other factors like racial bias, sexism, and even sexual harassment are typically blamed for an unfavorable attrition rate of women in tech... during the Women Who Code hackathon, it became clear to me that this event focused on marketing strategies, creativity, and the discussion of gender politics, and not on the development of technical skills... Alicia Carr and Maggie Kane, both individually and in their capacity as group leaders of Women Who Code and Google Women Techmakers, were determined to ostracize me from the tech industry and ruin the business that I’ve painstakingly built — simply because they object to my political ideologies... When rational and mature people feel upset about something, they often get angry, but only toxic and vindictive people use lies, false accusations, and exaggerations to destroy someone else’s credibility. From their actions, it’s clear that Alicia, Maggie, Women Who Code, and Google don’t believe that people should have the right to freely express ideological dissent, and therefore they set out to punish me for my views, without regard for my rights or for consequences. To them, I was guilty of a terrible moral offense, so they wanted everyone else to be “careful” of me and stand up against my “harmful” thoughts. It’s a shame that Women Who Code and Google Women Techmakers put on such a good face by feigning kindness and respect for all women in tech... Women Who Code and Google Women Techmakers don’t really care about all women and, frankly, they don’t seem to care that much about tech either. Instead, they focus on divisive identity politics, and they expect their members to remain submissive inside the echo chamber if they wish to be accepted."

Mohamed El-Erian reveals daughter's talk led to PIMCO exit - "While at the top of world finance, Mohamed El-Erian juggled £1.2trn of investments and wrestled with the knottiest economic problems. But it has now emerged his greatest dilemma arose from asking his daughter to brush her teeth... one main reason for leaving his high-pressured post was a mundane conversation with his then 10-year-old daughter about brushing her teeth which led to her writing him a note listing the 22 important events in her life he had missed due to work... Mr El-Erian, whose earnings at PIMCO reportedly reached as much as $100m a year, said the incident showed him instantly that he had allowed his relationship with his daughter to suffer at the expense of his globetrotting job."
Maybe the solution is to pay $100 million a year to parents who are unable to fulfil their work demands

A Cornell scientist came up with four ways to lose weight without dieting - "Shoppers who kept their mouths busy with sugarless gum while shopping bought 7% less junk food"

People in the West can stop obsessing about learning Chinese - "only 70% of people in the country can be considered Mandarin speakers. Of that 70%, the ministry said, “only 10% are capable of communicating fluently” in the language. In short, you don’t have to be fluent in Mandarin to speak better than 93% of China... even if (or when) China does overtake the US as the world’s largest economy, the difficulty foreigners have learning Mandarin and its written script makes the language unlikely to challenge the dominance of English in international trade. (Indeed, even during Japan’s dramatic post-war economic expansion, Japanese never came close to toppling English as the global lingua franca.) Besides, China isn’t the only Asian country with good growth prospects—and anyway its fastest-growth days are probably behind it."
Mandarin - so hard that only 7% of Chinese people can speak it fluently

Chinese man attempts to 'rent' out his girlfriend to pay for an iPhone 6 - "The deal included “but is not limited to” eating together, studying together, playing games, or going on dates. However, the placard said there was to be no “funny business”... Local authorities later threw doubt on the man's story. According to a post on Weibo by the Songjiang University Town police department, the man was escorted off campus after it was discovered he was not a student and may have been faking his story to drum up attention for a smartphone app. This would not be the first time a Chinese consumer has gone to desperate measures to buy the latest Apple device. In 2012, a Hunan teenager sold a kidney and used the funds to buy an iPhone and an iPad... prosecutors in Shanghai charged a couple with human trafficking after they sold their baby online and used part of the proceeds to buy a new iPhone."

The Exact Amount Of Time You Should Work Every Day - "the 10% of employees with the highest productivity surprisingly didn’t put in longer hours than anyone else. In fact, they didn’t even work full eight-hour days. What they did do was take regular breaks. Specifically, they took 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work... “Those 17 minutes were spent completely away from the computer–not checking email, not on YouTube” says Gifford. Taking a walk, chatting with co-workers (not about work), or relaxing reading a book were some common activities the most productive employees did while on break."

Entrepreneur Fanfiction is Screwing Your Life Up - "People who write this content are more interested in "the life of the entrepreneur" than in "the business of the entrepreneur". If you ever read an entrepreneurship article that doesn't actually include any business advice, then you're probably reading entrepreneur fanfiction."

Race and Attraction, 2009–2014 – The OkCupid Blog - "One interesting thing is to compare what you see above with what those same users have told us about their racial attitudes. Answers to match questions have been getting significantly less biased over time... And yet the underlying behavior has stayed the same."
This fits in with the increasing improtance of virtue signalling

U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey | Pew Research Center - "Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions... large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own"

Why hawkers are a dying breed. - "The dilemma of the Hawker in the future of Singapore landscape is very simply stated: Everybody wants to continue to enjoy good, cheap, hawker food. Almost nobody wants to be a hawker (with the insane working conditions), or would want their children to be hawkers."

The Tunku Spills The Beans On Singapore's Split From Malaysia - "He once told King Faisal of Saudi Arabia that he “loved dancing, drinking and gambling,” to which the latter replied, “Yes, but I am not looking for an imam” and then proceeded to make the Tunku secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference... Lee Kuan Yew, according to the Tunku, worked hard to help form Malaysia, but alas, worked harder to break it...
The Tunku: True, the British would not give him independence. I gave him independence. When I gave him independence, there was nothing to stop Singapore’s asking to rejoin Malaysia. Somebody else different from Kuan Yew might one day do just that, but it is up to the government of Malaysia whether to accept Singapore or not. If you accept Singapore, the one danger will always be present, that the Chinese will dominate the nation with a surplus population of two million, and later on three million or even four million.
Dato’ Abdullah Ahmad: And aggressive (and industrious), too...
The Tunku: In actual fact, I wanted only Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah) at the time. But the British made a condition that if I wanted Sarawak and North Borneo, I must also have Singapore as well, because we would be the influence that could keep Singapore from the communist menace. I said that that was all right; if that was their condition, I would take Singapore in.
Dato’ Abdullah Ahmad: So your speech about your fear of Singapore becoming a Southeast Asian “Cuba” was merely an excuse, wasn’t it?
The Tunku: Yes...
Dato’ Abdullah Ahmad: Why did you not entertain Lee Kuan Yew’s plea for a looser federation instead of separation?
The Tunku: If I had agreed to what he wanted, he would be a good boy for a while. Then he would go back to his old ways of trying to create ill will between the Malays and the Chinese through the Malaysian Malaysia campaign. I thought for a long time, you know, and I was in close touch with Razak, that the best way was to go on our separate ways but remain good friends. I simply could no longer work with nor trust Lee Kuan Yew."
If Singapore is so committed to racial harmony, why did Lee Kuan Yew try to exploit racial tensions in Malaysia?

How can I raise an enlightened child without depriving her of her cultural roots? - ""I wish I wasn't white." I start. Nothing in the parenting manuals has prepared me for that. "All we've ever done is hurt people," she continues. "I wish my skin was dark and that I had a culture."... my husband and I are children of missionaries and harbour an acute guilt for the cultural imperialism of our forebears. To compensate, we've raised our children with a deep appreciation of non-Western cultures... part of me is programmed to protest. Is it not my moral obligation to tell her that her feelings of poor self-worth are nothing compared with the psychological ruin of real racism?... "Great Britain?!" she pouts accusingly. "Aren't they the bad ones?" Abigail's life to date has been spent absorbing the endless lament of her adults over the injustices of European colonialism. Earlier that summer on a cross-Canada road trip, at what seemed like every historical site, I made a point of highlighting how the colonizing British had brought Indigenous culture to the edge of extinction with their foreign diseases, their land-grabbing policies and their culture-negating residential schools.
White guilt has consequences
Comments: "The question that glaringly goes unaddressed is, "How did such a young, white child become so racked with guilt and self-hatred?" Surely, this does not happen by accident. What forces in education and media have given her these ideas, and what do they stand to gain by doing so? Dive down that rabbit hole and maybe in your next article you can report your findings.It is also sadly hilarious that you reduced your daughter's rich cultural heritage to a tea ceremony. Perhaps, in your effort to "set the history record straight," you could inform her that while her Peruvian boyfriend's ancestors were committing human sacrifice by the thousands, your British ancestors were enjoying the Renaissance of the Elizabethan era."


Difference Between Afternoon Tea and High Tea - "The addition of the word "high" to the phrase "high tea" is believed to differentiate between the afternoon tea that is traditionally served on low, comfortable, parlor chairs or relaxing in the garden and the worker’s after-work high tea that is served at the table and seated on high back dining chairs."

Why ARE all the male heroes disappearing from the box? - "Like the Labour Party, the Beeb loves to wave the banner for equality. But it’s feminism for effect — serious commitment is lacking if you’re not paying female presenters as handsomely as the men. There is, of course, no limit to the BBC’s dedication to PC causes. The Doctor spent much of the last series campaigning for gay rights across the solar system with his short-lived lesbian companion, Bill (Pearl Mackie), intent on turning the sci-fi adventure serial into a sermon on gender fluidity. Don’t expect this to stop now a woman is in charge. Never mind a police box — this new Doctor’s Tardis should be a soapbox. And that means Doctor Who, which has been steadily shedding its audience, is speeding towards its own doom — and the black hole of cancellation... In almost every new British drama, men are relegated to sidekick status or else cast as moral weaklings with a vicious streak. Characters fall into two distinct categories: women good, men bad. Switching the Doctor’s gender is just another example of this endemic sexism in TV fiction... The latest series of Broadchurch was a case in point: every man was fatally flawed, and most were sexual monsters. It’s telling that Broadchurch was written and created by Chris Chibnall — the man who now controls Doctor Who."
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