"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Links - 12th June 2018 (1)

Seattle classes about 'white fragility' have sold out - "White lefties love telling other white people how terrible they are... I'm proud to be white. Why isn't that ok?"

Infidelity rates by ethnicity - "The following table, constructed from GSS data, shows self-admitted cheating rates among those who were married when they were fooling around, sorted in descending order by female creeping"

Totally no gag order on the G? - "the G’s own “escape” clause. It can say things that would have got ordinary people hauled for contempt when it thinks it is in the public interest to do so. To put it formally, in Mr Shanmugam’s words: A person who issues a statement on behalf of the Government will not be liable for sub judice, notwithstanding pending court proceedings, if it is in the public interest to do so."

Four Years at a Liberal Arts College Turned Me into a Conservative - "at liberal arts school, the general aim of each class was to identify something problematic, discuss it, and then refuse to do anything about it. We were expected to offer solutions, of course, but the only acceptable answers were noncommittal and intersectional. Any attempt to get to the actual root of a problem was generally seen as problematic too, and a politically correct policing was instituted to hinder any real solutions of important issues. Most group discussions devolved into us asking one another how to ask questions about something problematic without being problematic. After a childhood and adolescence of being the only black kid in class, I never would have considered myself an enemy of political correctness. I was rather indignant about exposing cultural insensitivities until I was inundated with college classes that seemed dedicated to manifesting real and imagined enemies from every available shadow. So I began to check out and (much to my surprise) quietly echo the conservative sentiments against oversensitivity that I had once dismissed as bigotry... Once the initial thrill from exposure wore off, the lack of intellectual diversity was suffocating. I traveled further down a path of disillusionment and began to sympathize with those crazy conservatives who were always complaining about liberal media bias on FOX."

Are humpback whales saving seals from orca attacks?

Guy who says God sends natural disasters to punish gays has his home destroyed in a natural disaster - "Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay religious lobbying group the Family Research Council, had his home destroyed by the massive flooding ravaging Southern Louisiana"

Do Your Friends Actually Like You? - The New York Times - "only about half of perceived friendships are mutual... "People don’t like to hear that the people they think of as friends don’t name them as friends""

Norway: The Two Faces of Extremism - "In a controversial book published shortly after September 11, 2001, the social anthropologist Unni Wikan described the problem of Norway's treatment of its new minorities as a "generous betrayal": social benefits and well-intended rhetoric about multiculturalism were serving as stand-ins for more meaningful integration, with the result that an "underclass" of immigrants had been created. In fact, for youth who are otherwise unable to succeed in Norwegian society, the welfare system itself may be facilitating their involvement in jihadist groups. "In a way, things here are too easy," Alzaghari, the Muslim activist, said. "These guys in the Prophet's Umma are supported on welfare.""

Poisonous Birds in Papua New Guinea and a Very Baffling Story of Evolution - "For a species to eat something containing batrachotoxin and survive is unlikely, but it's not impossible. But for a species to not just eat it, but appropriate the toxin for their own needs is a giant leap in evolutionary logic... why would PNG have five different varieties of poisonous birds that look identical? Their only theory is that several birds have evolved to eat batrachotoxin beetles, and in the process they've all evolved to look the same. But why? Nobody has a clue."Anthony Jeselnik Thoughts And Prayers - "This is who I’m making fun of, when I make a joke on Twitter the day of a tragedy. The people who see something horrible happen in the world and they run to the internet, and they run to their social media, their Facebook, their Twitter, whatever they got and they all write down the exact same thing: “My thoughts and prayers.” “My thoughts and prayers with the people in Aurora.” “My thoughts and prayers with the families in Boston.” Do you know what that’s worth? Fucking nothing. Less than nothing. You are not giving any of your time, your money, or even your compassion. All you are doing – all you are doing is saying, “Don’t forget about me today. Don’t forget about me – Lots of crazy distractions in the news right now, but don’t forget how sadz I am.” Those people are worthless, and they deserve to be made fun of."

My Struggle with American Small Talk - "In Delhi, where I grew up, commerce is brusque. You don’t ask each other how your day has been. You might not even smile. I’m not saying this is ideal—it’s how it is. You’re tied together by a transaction. The customer doesn’t tremble before complaining about how cold his food is. Each side believes the other will cheat him, and each remains alert. Tips are not required... American life is based on a reassurance that we like one another but won’t violate one another’s privacies. This makes it a land of small talk... In the East, I’ve heard it said, there’s intimacy without friendship; in the West, there’s friendship without intimacy... I radiated an uncertain energy; sometimes baristas sensed this and wouldn’t try to talk to me, and then an insecure voice in my head would cry, “He’s racist!”. During these years in the small-talk wilderness, I also wondered why Americans valued friendliness with commerce so much. Was handing over cash the sacred rite of American capitalism—and of American life? On a day that I don’t spend money in America, I feel oddly depressed. It’s my main form of social interaction—as it is for millions of Americans who live alone or away from their families"
Even a native Indian says they try to cheat each other

A Look into the Bedrooms of 20-Somethings Still Living with Their Parents - "According to a recent Statistics Canada report, 42 percent of all people between 20 and 29 still lived at home in 2011, compared to 27 percent of young adults thirty years prior... 'I do have friends who have moved out and it's not the greatest situation, like they're funding it with [student loans]. And I don't want to be in debt.'"

The Reaction to Brexit Is the Reason Brexit Happened - "As a rule, people resent being saved from themselves. And if you think depriving people of their right to make mistakes makes sense, you probably never had respect for their right to make decisions at all... "Elites matter in a democracy," Sullivan argued, because they are the "critical ingredient to save democracy from itself." I would argue that voters are the critical ingredient to save elites from themselves, but Sullivan sees it the other way, and has Plato on his side. Though some of his analysis seems based on a misread of ancient history (see here for an amusing exploration of the topic), he's right about Plato, the source of a lot of these "the ancients warned us about democracy" memes. He just left out the part where Plato, at least when it came to politics, was kind of a jerk. The great philosopher despised democracy, believing it to be a system that blurred necessary social distinctions, prompting children, slaves and even animals to forget their places. He believed it a system that leads to over-permissiveness, wherein the people "drink too deeply of the strong wine of freedom."... Imagine having pundits and professors suggest you should have your voting rights curtailed because you voted Leave. Now imagine these same people are calling voters like you "children," and castigating you for being insufficiently appreciative of, say, the joys of submitting to a European Supreme Court that claims primacy over the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights... Forget Plato, Athens, Sparta and Rome. More recent history tells us that the descent into despotism always starts in this exact same way. There is always an emergency that requires a temporary suspension of democracy."

How Subarus Came to Be Seen as Cars for Lesbians - "Subaru’s strategy called for targeting these five core groups and creating ads based on its appeal to each... The delight among niche audience groups in “decoding” the hints in Subaru ads surprised the marketing team—and in the case of its gay-friendly ads, so did straight audiences’ ignorance... he held focus groups with straight audiences where he’d show ads featuring gay couples. Even after an hour of talking about gay issues, they’d think a man was shopping with his uncle."
Modern identity politics - if you don't explicitly say they're gay, you're homophobic

Off yer bikes! Cyclists are a menace to society — and self-righteous to boot | The Spectator - "Check out the cycling websites and you will learn that they ride two abreast precisely to stop cars overtaking them, because on narrow roads they are convinced that car drivers will cut in too close to them as they pass. So they block the entire road and feel good about it, because they are Victims. The law states that they are allowed to ride two abreast on a big, wide, straight road, no bends and curves, where there is plenty of opportunity and width for cars to pass by in comfort; but a hefty majority of the posts I saw on several websites revealed very different strategies. Their view is that unless a car has room to pass two cyclists, it shouldn’t be trying to pass one. And with that they wrap themselves in self-righteousness as the queues of traffic tail back further and further. Likewise, riding on the pavements and thus maiming pensioners. The law is clear about this, for a change. They should never do it. But they do it because they feel safer there, of course. Listen, you plastic-hatted ninny: if you don’t have the balls to cycle in the road, then ditch the bike. It is still the case that, mile for mile, pedestrians are far more ‘vulnerable’ than cyclists. Mile for mile, more pedestrians are killed. They — we — are the real victims, even if we do not whine about it continuously. And the number of pedestrians maimed by cyclists is also rising by the year, to the extent that legislation has been proposed to ensure that cyclists respect the laws of the land the same as everyone else."

Historically Irrelevant | The untold story of Bar Sauma, the Marco Polo of... - "A lesser known contemporary to Marco Polo that attempted a similar feat was one Rabban Bar Sauma. He was what one could call the Marco Polo of the East, for he traveled from Beijing in China all the way to Bordeaux in France"

CNB to keep 'very close watch' on Escobar eatery named after Colombian drug lord - "“CNB and the Singapore Police Force will be engaging the owner of the bar and will take the necessary action to uphold our strict anti-drug policy," said a CNB spokesperson. "It will also be keeping a very close watch on the bar and its patrons to ensure that no illegal drug activities take place there""
You know there's no real drugs problem in Singapore when the drugs agency spends its time monitoring a bar named after the drug lord Pablo Escobar

Jean-Michel Basquiat — The Art History Babes - "I am equally as upset as all the rest of us at CNNBC because how fucking dare you compare a black man's work to a child's work? You know what you did. You know that's heinous. I'm not going to hear any excuses. That shit was nasty and really upsetting... 'There's something like primitive or something about your work' and Basquiat just stops. He's like: like a primate? And like the white dude stops in his tracks And Basquiat just kind of giggles and I'm like seriously like how dare you? Like fuck off"
Being black insulates your work from a lot of criticism

Templeton Mania! — The Art History Babes - "There is this misconception that people who worked for these dictatorships somehow truly believed in Communism. This is not the case. The only people I have ever met who truly believed in Communism lived in very nice Western countries... everyone who actually lives in those countries knows how awful it is because things don't work"

Hilma AF — The Art History Babes - "At one point in history, people weren't considered to be geniuses - they had a genius. So if you were visited by your genius that night, you created something of genius. So it took the pressure off of the human as being this otherworldly thing... You have to sit down and do your work. Some days your genius will show up. Some days it won't"

Abstract Expressionism — The Art History Babes - "I have burned one of my bras and I just know that people have burned bras... I'm a total feminist"

Liberals Suddenly Discover Rule Of Law - "Rauch and Wittes write that there are two “sins” of Trump that the GOP tolerates, which makes the party a threat to our democracy. “The first is his attempt to erode the independence of the justice system,” the writers declare. “The second unforgivable sin is Trump’s encouragement of a foreign adversary’s interference in U.S. electoral processes.” The two Atlantic contributors rely on spurious evidence to support the claim that Trump is guilty of both sins, such as him jokingly calling on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails and his criticism of the FBI. Apparently, such acts amount to one of the most serious threats to our democracy in our nation’s history... liberals spent most of the Obama years cheering on the then-president’s critiques of racist police, which would probably be seen as maligning life-long public servants in the Trump era. Another weird thing is that plenty of Democrats who are disturbed by Trump’s FBI criticism now made very similar comments when James Comey re-opened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails right before the election... there’s the case of California applying the sanctuary city idea — a jurisdiction that refuses to comply with federal immigration law — to the whole state... So far, he has done nothing to subvert the judiciary system to fit his whims — all he does is vent his frustration on Twitter. The way the courts have been able to block his executive orders, many of which fully comply with U.S. law, show how our system of checks and balances is thriving in the Trump era"

Most of us misunderstand metabolism. Here are 9 facts to clear that up. - ""If you have more muscle, it burns fuel more rapidly. But that’s only half the question." If you do gain more muscle and effectively speed up your metabolism, "you have to fight the natural tendency to [want to] eat more as a result of your higher metabolism." Many people cave in to the hunger that may come with working out a lot, too, and just end up adding more fat along with the muscle. Jensen also noted that it's difficult for people to sustain the workouts required to keep the muscle mass they gained. "For most people, it's kind of impractical," he added."

Women's fertility does not plummet at age 35, and anyone who tells you otherwise is looking at bad science - "There is a slow decline in fertility, and an increase in the risk of birth defects, but it’s less dramatic than we’ve been led to believe"

Employers ignore almost everything on your application–except this - "Referrals account for between 30 and 50% of hires in the US. In a paper published earlier this year, researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and MIT studied data from a financial services company, and found that while referrals only made up about 6% of total applications, they resulted in more than a quarter of hires... a referral who gets an interview has a 40% better chance of getting hired than other candidates... these hires aren’t necessarily more skilled or smarter than other applicants... Such applicants have been shown repeatedly in studies (pdf) to be significantly more likely to stay at a firm for longer, and to be more productive (pdf). This might be because the workers are better matches, or because they have a pre-existing mentor or monitor in the person that helped hire them. Referrals also come pre-vetted—to a certain extent—and cost less to find."

The Real Gender Trouble - "“People say that we live in a postmodern age that has rejected metaphysics. That’s not quite true. We live in a postmodern age that promotes an alternative metaphysics.” The assertion that “A transgender boy is a boy, not merely a girl who identifies as a boy” is a metaphysical claim, though transgender activists “dress it up as a scientific or a medical claim” to avoid philosophical debate and the suggestion of controversy. And the metaphysical claims are subject to change without warning or fanfare. In 2005, the pro-trans Human Rights Campaign referred to “birth sex” and “biological sex” as things that were distinct from, and capable of being in conflict with, gender identity. More recent rhetoric avoids mention of biological sex, substituting “sex assigned at birth.” This leaves mysterious what people observe with ultrasounds and announce at “gender reveal” parties if the sex of the unborn child has yet to be assigned. Previously transgender activists acknowledged that at least one aspect of a person’s sexual identity is the product of nature; the new language suggests it is all socially constructed. Present trends are toward ever more radical forms of subjectivism. Some now regard the “assignment” of sex at birth as a human rights violation... Instead of vouching for biology, the scientific and medical establishments have adopted the transgender movement’s preferred terminology and conceptual framework (as have many educators)... "the argument was recently that gender is only a social construct, while sex is a biological reality. Now, activists claim that gender identity is destiny, while biological sex is the social construct.” He queries whether this standard should apply to any other animals besides humans... If transgender individuals can be mistaken about their genders prior to transitioning, then why assume they couldn’t possibly be mistaken about their gender after, or in the course of, transitioning? Why assume that an internal sense of gender cannot be outweighed by contrary external evidence?... The American Civil Liberties Union describes itself as an organization that “champions transgender people’s right to be themselves,” which suggests that transgender activists are motivated by a “live and let live” philosophy. But because the underlying conception of selfhood is so radical, this implies a right to live in a society devoid of gender norms. It is far from clear that most people would flourish under these conditions. “In a culture where transgender identities are not only affirmed, but celebrated,” Anderson writes, “everyone will be compelled to construct their own gender identities, unaided by a common understanding of sex differences and why they matter.” Transforming society along these lines necessarily has implications for the rights and interests of others... Previously, the Department of Justice had decided that even prisoners have a right not to be seen naked by non-medical prison staff of the opposite sex in ordinary circumstances. Hence students in the public school system were in this respect granted less privacy than inmates... Anderson discusses several cases in which male sexual predators claimed transgender identity in order to gain access to women’s facilities"
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