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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Links - 5th June 2018 (2)

Facebook North America DAUs drop for first time - "The drop could also be a result of a steady drumbeat of negative press about Facebook, including concern over foreign governments using Facebook posts to divide the U.S. electorate during the 2016 election season, and growing concern over violent and other inappropriate content on the site."

Mothers suffering 'pay penalty' at work, report suggests - "Mothers in part-time jobs are being hit by a "pay penalty" and are often not given pay rises linked to experience, a new study has suggested. The Institute for Fiscal Studies report found by the time a couple's first child is aged 20, many mothers earn nearly a third less than the fathers. A key factor was women working part-time in motherhood... Monica Costa Dias, associate director at the IFS and a co-author of the report, said: "It is remarkable that periods spent in part-time work lead to virtually no wage progression at all.""
Feminist agenda - equal pay for unequal work

Why so many French firms are stuck at 49 employees - "In France, some small companies go to great lengths to avoid hiring a fiftieth employee, and it’s not hard to see why. Firms with 50 employees or more must follow a set of rules that don’t apply to smaller firms: they must organize and fund works councils, report more detailed statistics to the government, and face more barriers to laying off or firing workers. The desire to avoid these requirements leaves France with a disproportionate number of smaller firms compared to Germany or the United States.. The authors measured the productivity of firms of various sizes and found that the firms just below 50 workers stick out. They are noticeably more efficient, and their apparent reluctance to expand means the French economy isn’t as productive as it could be. The authors find that the 50-employee rules are crimping the French economy by more than 3%"
You can't legislate productivity

The Number That Many French Businesses Fear - The New York Times - "Taking on a 50th person would unleash nearly three dozen French labor regulations that he estimates would cause operating costs for his company, Travaux Grande Hauteur, to rise by about 4 percent. That could mean the difference between making and losing money, he says, in a business whose profit margins are as thin as his climbers’ margin for error... Rather than expand his company, he set up a second, and then a third, all capping the work force at fewer than 49 employees. Like-minded business owners are the reason France holds the curious distinction of having more than twice as many companies with exactly 49 employees, as it does those with 50 or more... after he hired his 50th employee, “it didn’t go well,” Mr. Roelandts said. The change added about €32,000 to Puyricard’s annual operating costs, and Mr. Roelandts said he wound up spending half his time dealing with administrative issues and state bureaucracy. Recently, for example, the government required him to calculate how much chocolate he could ration for France in case of a war, a task that took days... the biggest problem came when Mr. Roelandts created the works council, which French employers have long argued can raise workplace tensions in a country where unions often strike, and have even held bosses captive to prevent layoffs... “In France, there is this image of the boss as a thug, and if he’s successful, it’s because he’s exploited workers”"

I’m Malay Muslim & I don’t really care if Subway goes halal or not - "[The news] brought relief to some of the Muslims out there who were begrudgingly judged for their “no pork no lard” lifestyle... just like how Muslims are entitled to have a new halal fast food option, this dude right here is entitled to share and retain his love of pork. And these replies to the same tweet, which are apparently posted by Singaporean Muslims, got personal. Translation of last sentence: “Not long from now, you will look like a pig too.” “No wonder your face like pig, you ate too much pork, lol. You eat non-halal food we never say anything but when we want halal food you complain. What an attitude.” All this hate for a sandwich. Sad... if Subway does decide to open a halal sister chain, I hope the people from Subway can name it Subpar. Because they always say halal food not as nice as non-halal food."

I asked Tinder for my data. It sent me 800 pages of my deepest, darkest secrets - "“You are lured into giving away all this information,” says Luke Stark, a digital technology sociologist at Dartmouth University. “Apps such as Tinder are taking advantage of a simple emotional phenomenon; we can’t feel data. This is why seeing everything printed strikes you. We are physical creatures. We need materiality.”... “Your personal data affects who you see first on Tinder, yes,” says Dehaye. “But also what job offers you have access to on LinkedIn, how much you will pay for insuring your car, which ad you will see in the tube and if you can subscribe to a loan. “We are leaning towards a more and more opaque society, towards an even more intangible world where data collected about you will decide even larger facets of your life. Eventually, your whole existence will be affected.” Tinder is often compared to a bar full of singles, but it’s more like a bar full of single people chosen for me while studying my behaviour, reading my diary and with new people constantly selected based on my live reactions."

Trudeau compares ISIS fighters to Greek, Italian, Portuguese immigrants - "Trudeau made it very clear he welcomes the return to Canada of Canadians who went to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State. Gone is the law stripping dual citizens who have taken part in terrorist activities of their Canadian citizenship. Of course these people are never referred to as “terrorists” by the Liberal government. Those who have returned to Canada have been given the cutesy label of “returning foreign fighters.” Gee, they sound just like Canadian vets returning to Canada except the terrorists get much more respect and better treatment from the government than do members of the military... Trudeau then went into his rambling answer about how Canada is a welcoming country that takes in people from all over the world who are fleeing persecution and poverty. He then made reference to other groups of people who came to Canada in large numbers, specifically Greek, Italian and Portuguese immigrants. In other words, ISIS fighters are no different than the immigrants who came to Canada in years gone by from Western European countries... when CPC leader Andrew Scheer questioned Trudeau on giving group hugs to ISIS fighters instead of jailing them, the prime minister shot back the reason the Tories lost the last election was because “they ran an election on Islamophobia and division.” In Trudeau’s world, any criticism of ISIS is Islamophobic."

‘Feminist Business School’ Teaches Students To Shun Profit-Seeking - "The Feminist Business School, founded by Evergreen State College graduate Jennifer Armbrust, teaches that capitalism is an “economy that values masculine traits” such as “meritocracy,” “competition,” and “individualism.” The California-based site recently launched two more online courses to coach aspiring businesswomen on how to “topple the patriarchy” and promote a more “feminist economy.” Shunning the “profit seeking motive” of traditional commerce, the Feminist Business School advocates that businesswomen adopt more “feminine traits” such as “gratitude,” “intimacy,” and “connecting with nature.”... It will not teach business skills, such as accounting or marketing... The program’s founder -- and only faculty member -- does not appear to have any experience launching a business prior to selling courses on how to launch a business."
When their businesses fail, the feminists can blame patriarchy

Scientists say chemical in McDonalds chips cures baldness - "The Japanese team's breakthrough came after they managed to mass produce 'hair follicle germs' (HFGs) in the lab for the first time. These are the cells that fuel follicle development. They are the 'Holy Grail' of hair loss research, as they have never been regenerated before. And the secret was to use the 'McDonald's fries' chemical dimethylpolysiloxane in the vessel in which they were cultured."

School cancels 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' due to white student getting lead role - "Members of Ithaca High School’s Students United Ithaca — all five of them (below, left) — got together and wrote up a letter and list of demands after the role of Esmeralda went to a Caucasian peer. “It shows you that theater wasn’t made for you,” said Maddi Carroll, a member of the Students United group who is African-American. “And it shows you that, if you can’t get the parts that are written for you, what parts are you going to get?” Students United’s letter conceded that the student cast as Esmeralda “is a stellar actor, singer, and dancer” and that any production would be “lucky to have her.”... The group’s demands, listed on its Facebook page, included a cessation of play rehearsals, a stoppage of hiring (production) people who have not “changed their actions” following complaints from “parents of color” and “social justice activists,” and an end to the “racist and openly stated policy of ‘color blind’ casting.” According to the Ithaca Journal, the activists got their first wish, helped by “a flood of letters from members of the community.”"
Gypsies are black?

Sex differences in human brain structure are already apparent at one month of age - "Since birth, babies at this age have spent most of their time sleeping and suckling with limited eyesight, so profound socialisation effects aren’t going to be a factor. And yet, the new findings reveal that sex differences in a number of brain areas are already apparent... These sex differences were smaller than has been observed in adults, which suggests that maturation continues this differentiation, likely through the high volume of sex steroid receptors in these brain areas. The alternative suggestion is that the subsequent differentiation is due to socialisation, but for the forces of socialisation to work along the same lines as pre-existing biological forces would suggest that socialisation is at most a feedback loop between biology and society."
Patriarchy is that strong. Maybe all the people who claim to have read Damore's memo and think he was saying women are biologically incapable of being software engineers will read this and think it's saying women need to be circumcised

Manchester Art Gallery removes picture of naked nymphs - "The heavy hand of political correctness has struck at one of the country’s most important art collections in these unsettling times following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The Manchester Art Gallery has removed from its walls one of its best known and most popular paintings, Hylas And The Nymphs, by Victorian artist J. W. Waterhouse, which features naked pubescent girls enticing a handsome young man into a water pool. Postcards of the picture will no longer be sold in the gallery’s shop. The gallery insists it is not banning the picture, painted in 1896, but simply wants to provoke debate — to ‘prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artworks’ and how to make them ‘relevant’ in the 21st century. Clare Gannaway, the gallery’s curator of contemporary art, said the room where it was hung — entitled In Pursuit Of Beauty — perpetuated ‘outdated and damaging stories’ that ‘women are either femmes fatale or passive bodies for male consumption’. So all too predictably in today’s intolerant world, this ‘conversation’ turns out to be dogmatic and one-sided. We are being told by earnest New Puritans that we should be ashamed of ourselves for even looking at this picture... Once the gallery’s ‘conversation’ takes hold, why should it stop at Hylas And The Nymphs?... At my Oxford college, we used to smile at the puritanism of our Victorian forebears. In the 18th century, Sir Joshua Reynolds, the greatest painter of his day, executed some wonderful windows for the chapel. A hundred years later, the Victorian Head of College ordered that the naked figure of Adam be clothed like Tarzan in a leopard-skin. But the truth is that we are now far more puritanical than that Victorian don. Because in our generation, we do not simply object to depictions of nakedness. We take a high moral tone towards our ancestors and think our attitude is always morally superior to theirs."

Banning artworks such as Hylas and the Nymphs is a long, slippery slope | Letters - "Nazi curators, too, challenged us by removing art from public view because it conflicted with their political aims and puritanical taste"
"The Manchester curators would do well to study their art history before getting themselves into such a muddle. Back in 1885, a Royal Academician called Horsley, writing indignantly to the Times under the pen name of “A British Matron”, urged that nudity in art should be banned on the grounds that it is illegal to go out in public naked... The same Horsley was adamantly against women art students at the RA school studying life drawing for similar reasons (thus limiting their ability to train professionally and earn as a professional on a par with men)... Decent young women who made a living as models and the artists who employed them were accused of immorality. The Manchester curators risk dragging women back 150 years."
"I hate the sick, sadistic violence of Spanish Baroque paintings of Christian saints and martyrs. Are we going to ban all these because somebody might be offended? It all betrays a lamentable understanding of the history of art, and of the style and meaning of this painting in particular. Rather than waste time entering into this bogus “conversation”, the Manchester Art Gallery should be boycotted until this decision is reversed."
"in the ancient myth that inspires the picture, the youthful Hylas is about to be drawn to his death by the sexually predatory nymphs. The pursued and objectified body is male."
"How insightful it was of Orwell when he wrote in 1984 of the Anti-Sex League as an important facet of totalitarianism. It has arrived now, big time, on the back of a lot of generalisations and hysteria following media over-reporting of recent events that, however bad they were, only affected a minority of people"
Even Guardian readers are shitlords and must be purged

Steven Pinker at Davos: excessive political correctness feeds radical ideas - "Pinker thinks we should be “mindful of excessive taboos” on opinions because the demonization could “backfire by sapping the credibility” of academics and journalists, especially when discussing certain topics that are self-evident to many people. This can only help poisonous opinions grow... If there are some opinions that are squashed and proper debate is not allowed, then who is to say that the bigger claims from the experts like climate change should be trusted?... '“Human beings are highly fallible," proposed Pinker. "Most of the things we think are right, history will show to be wrong. A lot of human progress was advanced when people voiced heterodox opinions in the face of opposition.”'
Our world today has features, like improved civil rights, that were banned just recently, pointed out the professor. And many of these changes that we experienced in our society began as opposition voices that were allowed to be heard under the commitment to free speech. For that reason, it's important to not sink into tribalism or make free speech “an alt-right issue." He also cautioned that societies which enforce their version of political correctness are often the ones experiencing a “descent into totalitarianism.” Just look at Soviet Russia, Maoist China, and Nazi Germany. They all began by criminalizing speech"

Opinion | Social Media Is Making Us Dumber. Here’s Exhibit A. - The New York Times - "a video surfaced of a Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, which appeared to show him lauding members of a racist movement... this sort of informational Balkanization has been going on for a while and long predates Twitter. What social media is doing is slicing the salami thinner and thinner, as it were, making it harder even for people who are otherwise in general ideological agreement to agree on basic facts about news events. That’s because the pernicious social dynamics of these online spaces hammer home the idea that anyone who disagrees with you on any controversial subject, even a little bit, is incorrigibly dumb or evil or suspect. On a wide and expanding range of issues, there’s no such thing as good-faith disagreement... Steven Pinker will be O.K. A fleeting Twitter blowup isn’t going to bruise his long and successful career as a public intellectual. But this is happening more and more — and in many cases to people who don’t have the standing and reputation he does. It’s getting harder and harder to talk about anything controversial online without every single utterance of an opinion immediately being caricatured by opportunistic outrage-mongers, at which point everyone, afraid to be caught exposed in the skirmish that’s about to break out, rushes for the safety of their ideological battlements, where they can safely scream out their righteousness in unison. In this case: “Steven Pinker said the alt-right is good! But the alt-right is bad! We must defend this principle!”"

Canadians love to say 'sorry' so much, we had to make this law - "The “Apology Act“, passed in 2009, is a direct result of Canada’s overuse of the word “sorry”. See, once upon a time, lawyers in court were probably able establish guilt quite easily. All they would have to do is prove someone apologized at the time of the incident and presto! the verdict would swing in their favour. Of course, in Canada, such a trend would create massive problems, as everyone says sorry whether they are at fault or not. That’s why lawmakers cleared it up, stipulating that an apology of any kind “means an expression of sympathy or regret” and not “an admission of fault or liability in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate.”"
The British also reflexively apologise, so we can blame colonialism for this

Why do the British say ‘sorry’ so much? - "A recent survey of more than 1,000 Brits found that that the average person says ‘sorry’ around eight times per day – and that one in eight people apologise up to 20 times a day. “The readiness of the English to apologise for something they haven’t done is remarkable, and it is matched by an unwillingness to apologise for what they have done,” wrote Henry Hitchings in his aptly-titled Sorry!: The English and their Manners... a recent YouGov poll of more than 1,600 British people and 1,000 Americans revealed that there would be approximately 15 British ‘sorries’ for every 10 American ones if they sneezed, if they corrected someone’s mistake, or if someone crashed into them... in her book Watching the English, social anthropologist Kate Fox describes experiments in which she deliberately bumped into hundreds of people in towns and cities across England. She also encouraged colleagues to do the same abroad, for comparison. Fox found that around 80% of English victims said ‘sorry’ – even though the collisions were clearly Fox’s fault. Often the apology was mumbled, and possibly people said it without even realising it, but compared to when tourists from other countries were bumped, the difference was marked. “Only the Japanese seemed to have anything even approaching the English sorry-reflex,” Fox writes."... Brits might say sorry more often, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more remorseful. “We can use it to express empathy – so I might say ‘sorry about the rain’,” says Battistella. “It might be that British and Canadian speakers use that kind of ‘sorry’ more often, but they wouldn’t be apologising, per se. Other researchers have talked about the use of ‘sorry’ to communicate across social classes, where you’re sort of apologising for your privilege.”... Harvard Business School’s Alison Wood Brooks and her colleagues recruited a male actor to approach 65 strangers at a US train station on a rainy day and ask to borrow their telephone. In half the cases, the stranger preceded his request with: “Sorry about the rain”. When he did this, 47% of strangers gave him their mobile, compared to only 9% when he simply asked to borrow their phone. Further experiments confirmed it was the apology about the weather that mattered, not the politeness of the opening sentence."
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