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Friday, June 08, 2018

Links - 8th June 2018 (2)

Why Mickey Mouse’s 1998 copyright extension probably won’t happen again - "The rise of the Internet has totally changed the political landscape on copyright issues. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is much larger than it was in 1998. Other groups, including Public Knowledge, didn't even exist 20 years ago. Internet companies—especially Google—have become powerful opponents of expanding copyright protections. Most importantly, there's now a broad grassroots engagement on copyright issues... even some content creators aren't keen on ever-longer copyright terms. The Authors Guild, for example, "does not support extending the copyright term, especially since many of our members benefit from having access to a thriving and substantial public domain of older works," a Guild spokeswoman told Ars in an email. "If anything, we would likely support a rollback to a term of life-plus-50 if it were politically feasible.""

The Empathy Gap in Tech: Interview with a Software Engineer - "Adults with Aspergers or HFA had an average score of 35.8, much higher than the controls who had an average score of 16.4, (with men on average scoring slightly higher than women). Among the Cambridge University students the average score was the same as the control group, except mathematicians and scientists scored significantly higher than humanities and social sciences students, which, the researchers claimed, “confirm[ed] an earlier study that autistic conditions are associated with scientific skills”. Within the sciences, those studying mathematics scored the highest. This was again reflected in the scores found in the winners of the Mathematics Olympiad, who scored significantly higher than the male Cambridge humanities students... individuals working in STEM careers had a higher average score (21.92) compared to those who didn’t work in STEM (18.92)... 'The technology industry is one of the most Aspie-friendly places that there is. The social demands on software engineers mostly consist of collaborating with colleagues to build a product, so if your social skills are good enough to handle that and you’ve got good technical skills, you can be very successful.'...
The articles in The Atlantic and New Yorker contained the same reasoning. which can be reduced to the following syllogism:
The ratio of men and women in the tech industry is uneven,
There are cases of sexism and sexual harassment within the tech industry,
Sexism and sexual harassment has caused the imbalanced gender ratio...
There is little evidence that shows that harassment in tech is any higher than other industries, such as public administration, government, academia or media (in fact there is evidence that the prevalence is lower). Statistics collected on sexual harassment find, overwhelmingly, that the majority of reported cases occur in low-wage and service sector jobs. The causal evidence showing that sexism causes the gender imbalance simply isn’t there. What we do know, however, is that while girls and women do meet the diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder, the ratio between men and women sits somewhere between 5:1 to 3:1... I asked Gideon if he thought that the American media painted a distorted picture of the gender gap in tech. He told me yes. He chalked it up to three factors: a growing tendency towards collectivism in American culture, combined with a blank slate view of human nature and an empathy gap towards men."

Huffington Post Writer And Male Feminist Christian Chiakulas Was Charged With Domestic Abuse - "The physical and emotional abuse had been going on for years, according to Sweeney, all while Chiakulas put on an act via his writing and online persona that he was all about third-wave feminism."

Life Lessons From Chinese Children's Books Differ From Those In The U.S. - "The book celebrates perseverance, of course — but also another value Cheung and her collaborators tracked: steering clear of bad influences. As Cheung puts it, "avoiding a negative person and staying on track and not being distracted by things that would derail you from achieving your goals."... this emphasis on happiness comes up a lot in the books from the U.S"

The Myth – and Reality - of the “Andalusian Paradise” - "university presses tend to perpetuate the myth of a benevolent Islam – against all evidence to the contrary... Musa ibn Nusayr gave the defeated Hispano-Visigoths three options: 1) convert to Islam, 2) submit as dhimmis to Islamic supremacy and pay tribute or 3) be killed (in the case of men) or enslaved (in the case of women). The invaders burned cities, wasted the land, destroyed churches and sacked diocesan libraries and treasuries for booty. Fernandez draws upon multiple primary sources, both Muslim and Christian that chronicle the brutality of the Islamic conquest. Jewish communities, he finds, typically sided with the invaders and were given the role of guardians over major cities after they had fallen to Muslim armies. A case in point, Toledo, the Visigoth capital, offered no resistance. Musa nevertheless executed seven 700 notables and then left the Jews in charge as he moved on to Guadalajara. Fernandez is particularly incensed by Houghton Mifflin’s Across the Centuries, a popular textbook that teaches children that jihad is an “inner struggle” that urges the faithful “to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.” He shows this to be the purest nonsense. The legal texts of the Maliki School of Islamic Law do not speak of “spiritual inner struggle.” Rather they speak of a theologically mandated war against infidels, a “sacred combat” or Holy War. Ibn Khaldun, the respected fourteenth-century historian and philosopher quoted by Pope Benedict XVI in his famous Regensburg Address, has acknowledged the indivisibility of the religious and secular motivation of those who exercise power at the highest level within Islam... Fernandez devotes separate chapters to subjects such as: “The Truth about the Jewish ‘Golden Age’” in which he debunks the claim that Islam granted Spain’s Jewish communities, composed largely of Sephardic Jews, a substantial degree of liberty and tolerance; and “Women in Islamic Spain,” that does not make for pleasant reading. The subtitle of that chapter, “Female Circumcision, Stoning, Veils and Sexual Slavery,” says it all."

Why Inequality Matters - "Take a look at the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. About half the people on the list are entrepreneurs whose companies did very well (thanks to hard work as well as a lot of luck). Contrary to Piketty’s rentier hypothesis, I don’t see anyone on the list whose ancestors bought a great parcel of land in 1780 and have been accumulating family wealth by collecting rents ever since. In America, that old money is long gone—through instability, inflation, taxes, philanthropy, and spending."

The History Thieves by Ian Cobain review – how Britain covered up its imperial crimes - "as the sun sets on the greatest empire the world has ever seen, long columns of smoke fill the tropical skies. In a thousand bonfires, Britain is burning the historical evidence"

Winnie-the-Pooh 'a philosopher to rival Plato and Confucius' - "AA Milne’s creation, supposedly a bear of “very little brain”, is actually “the greatest philosopher in all the world”, according to 25 per cent of respondents in a poll marking the anniversary. Nearly one-third said their behaviour had been influenced by Pooh-isms."

Superheroes a 'cultural catastrophe', says comics guru Alan Moore - ""To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children's characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence," he wrote to Ó Méalóid. "It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite 'universes' presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times"... he rebutted the suggestion that it was "not the place of two white men to try to 'reclaim' a character like the golliwogg", telling Ó Méalóid that this idea "would appear to be predicated upon an assumption that no author or artist should presume to use characters who are of a different race to themselves". "Since I can think of no obvious reason why this principle should only relate to the issue of race – and specifically to black people and white people – then I assume it must be extended to characters of different ethnicities, genders, sexualities, religions, political persuasions and, possibly most uncomfortably of all for many people considering these issues, social classes … If this restriction were universally adopted, we would have had no authors from middle-class backgrounds who were able to write about the situation of the lower classes, which would have effectively ruled out almost all authors since William Shakespeare"... "sexual violence, including rape and domestic abuse, should also feature in my work where necessary or appropriate to a given narrative, the alternative being to imply that these things did not exist, or weren't happening. This, given the scale upon which such events occur, would have seemed tantamount to the denial of a sexual holocaust, happening annually." In the real world there are, Moore tells his interviewer, "relatively few murders in relation to the staggering number of rapes and other crimes of sexual or gender-related violence", but this is "almost a complete reversal of the way that the world is represented in its movies, television shows, literature or comic-book material". "Why should murder be so over-represented in our popular fiction, and crimes of a sexual nature so under-represented?" he asks. "Surely it cannot be because rape is worse than murder, and is thus deserving of a special unmentionable status"... "While many of you have been justifiably relaxing with your families or loved ones, I have been answering allegations about my obsession with rape, and re-answering several-year-old questions with regard to my perceived racism," he said. "If my comments or opinions are going to provoke such storms of upset, then considering that I myself am looking to severely constrain the amount of time I spend with interviews and my already very occasional appearances, it would logically be better for everyone concerned, not least myself, if I were to stop issuing those comments and opinions. Better that I let my work speak for me, which is all I've truthfully ever wanted or expected, both as a writer and as a reader of other authors' work.""

How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read - "our culture, argues Bayard, is wrought with “obligations and prohibitions” that have created a repressive system full of hypocrisy about what books we have actually read — and our lies tend to be in proportion to the perceived significance of the book in question. “I know few areas of private life, with the exception of finance and sex,” he quips, “in which it’s as difficult to obtain accurate information.”"

Why Have Our Brains Started to Shrink?

The Great Brain Scan Scandal: It isn’t just boffins who should be ashamed - "“Philosophy is dead,” boasted Professor Stephen Hawking at the start of his bestseller The Grand Design. "Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge... when critical researchers examined the raw data generated by fMRI behind neuroscience, they found the papers’ mean statistical power was just 21 per cent. That means if you were to run one of the experiments five times, you’d only find the effect once. Other surveys put the number even lower... The most useful criticism of the neuroscience project – as all conquering explanatory device - came from philosophers from across the spectrum, and I've recommended that newcomers start with two. Marxist Ray Tallis called it “neurotrash”; conservative philosopher Roger Scruton pointed out that far from dispensing with philosophical questions, it had simply moved or hidden them. So Professor Hawking had been wrong: just like you need a plumber when there’s a funny smell, we actually needed philosophers after all. Another problem arises when we hand over politics to behaviourists. It places the watcher - the "scientist", or "policy maker" - in a peculiarly privileged position"

Birth Control May Alter The Structure Of A Woman's Brain

Viewpoint: Changing the world is more important than changing nappies - "She argues that adults are so obsessed with children - and so exhausted by the effort of looking after them - that they have no energy left for anything else."

EXCLUSIVE: Leftist Twitter Rage Mob Gets Gaming Developer Fired for Retweeting Conservatives - "Subnautica developer and sound designer Simon Chylinski became the target of a social justice-driven hate mob on Twitter after he shared tweets by conservative journalist Paul Joseph Watson... “They began asking me how I would react if they hired a Muslim or trans person. I said I’d debate them like anyone else on the team if I disagreed with them,” said Chylinski. “They said that this would create an unwelcoming working environment and that they see it as a problem that almost only white men are working there, and they need more diversity and that what I said would make that difficult to achieve.”"
Equality means treating Muslims and trans people differently

Iceland MPs propose ban on circumcision of boys - "Circumcising girls has been illegal in Iceland since 2005, but there are currently no laws to regulate the practice against boys"

20,000 people own 3 to 10 private residential properties in Singapore: MND - "A total of 20,000 Singaporeans, Singapore PRs and foreigners own three to 10 private residential properties in Singapore... 381,000 owned one private residential property, while 59,000 owned two. Fewer than 200 own more than 10 of such properties. Of these private residential property owners, 15 per cent also own a Housing Board flat"

Women are speaking out about being sexually harassed during Hajj - "One woman, who chose to remain anonymous, told StepFeed she has been sexually harassed multiple times during her many visits to Mecca for Umrah, the non-mandatory Islamic pilgrimage"

'It's insane': Ont. patient told she'd have to wait 4.5 years to see neurologist - "When Dr. Joy Hataley, a family practice anesthetist in Kingston, Ont., recently tried to send a patient to a neurologist at the Kingston General Hospital, she received a letter from the specialist’s office telling her that the current wait time for new patient referrals is 4.5 years. The letter said that, if the delay is “unacceptable” to Dr. Hataley, she should instead refer the patient to a neurologist in Ottawa or Toronto... Dr. Fitzpatrick said hospital officials are working to address the problem, and noted that urgent cases are always prioritized. He said wait times vary across medical specialties and even within specific fields, such the neurology sub-speciality of movement disorders, where Dr. Hataley’s patient was referred. Dr. Fitzpatrick said that only a small number of specialists in Ontario treat patients with movement disorders... According to a 2016 Commonwealth Fund survey of people in 11 developed countries, Canadians reported the longest wait times to see specialists. Fifty-six per cent of Canadians surveyed said they waited longer than four weeks to see a specialist, compared with the international average of 36 per cent. The same report found that less than half of Canadians could get a same or next-day appointment with their family doctor, and only one in three had access to after-hours medical care. Earlier this year, the Healthcare Access and Quality Index published in The Lancet medical journal placed Canada 17th when it comes to death rates from diseases that are normally considered treatable."
This is not an urgent case, Kingston, Ontario has a population of 130,000, and the patient didn't want to travel (Ottawa is under 200 km away)
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