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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Links - 18th July 2018 (1)

Yes, median pay at Facebook really is about $240,000 a year - "In 1992, largely in response to rising CEO compensation amid a recession, the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered public companies to start disclosing compensation packages for their top executives in a table understandable to shareholders. But instead of reining in compensation, “CEOs got pay envy” when they saw what peers were making, and their pay skyrocketed, said Broc Romanek, editor of TheCorporateCounsel website. Now, he said, companies are “bracing for employee-morale backlash” when workers find out they’re earning less than the median. The problem for employers is that “you could raise everybody’s pay, and still half the people will be below the median”... At first, experts thought they would try to maximize the median to minimize the CEO pay ratio. “Over time the (human resources) community said maybe this is not your goal,” because a higher minimum could result in more disgruntled employees"

'Incel rebellion': The Toronto suspect apparently posted about it. Here's what it means - ""Make no mistake, we do not condone any kind of violence, we never have and never will. Inceldom is completely UNrelated to violence or misogyny," the administrator said in an email. "Yes, some users, like in every community, are more extreme than others in their beliefs, but to make a crude hyperbole: When a muslim commits a terrorist act, people don't claim being a muslim equals being a terrorist. Please don't associate two people who claimed being incel, Elliot Rodger and Alek Minassian, as being representative of the whole incel community, because they are not. "Bottom line is, incel means being unable to get a romantic or sexual partner, it has nothing to do with terrorist acts... The van attack victims were "predominantly female," but there's no evidence Minassian bypassed men or deliberately targeted women"
Maybe incels should commit more terrorist acts, so people will be afraid to criticise them for fear of stigmatising them

FATAH: Soaked in blood, Toronto the Good - "As millions of Canadians waited anxiously for the names of the casualties and the identity of the terrorist, all Canadian networks behaved like Izvestia and Pravda during the Cold War. It was only after CBS News first identified Alek Minassian as the suspect that we learned who had struck horror on our lovely city. This was just one of the issues that caused vigorous debate on social media in Canada. How was it that CBS News was able to identify the name and past record of Alek Minassian, but CBC News could not? Is it possible journalists north of the border have become so terrified of being called racist or right-wing that they would rather compromise their professional standards than face harassment by left-wing trolls? Trolls who it seemed were in mass communal prayers hoping the killer would turn out to be a White Male Christian. One reporter from a Canadian network who tweeted eyewitnesses as identifying the killer being of “Middle Eastern” appearance met a ferocious backlash by the now familiar alliance of the left and Islamists. He quickly deleted his tweet and went into hibernation from then on. On a personal level, when I posted a CP24 interview of an eye-witness saying, “the suspect was of a darker colour, I would say Middle Eastern,” all hell broke loose. Among the barrage of allegations that I was a racist (not the eye-witness), one fellow tweeted: “Both father and daughter should be locked up. F—— hate mongers.” With me, he was attacking my daughter CBC host Natasha Fatah who too had tweeted multiple eye witnesses saying the attacker looked “Middle Eastern” and another who said he was “white.” The fact that Minassian did turn out to be Middle Eastern — from the Armenian diaspora that lives in Iran, Lebanon, Syria — was of little interest to those hell bent on harassing Natasha. They were busy putting their own spin on the tragedy — outward sorrow, but barely concealed inner joy at the fact jihadis would not have to undergo scrutiny."

Opinion | The Redistribution of Sex - The New York Times - "If we are concerned about the just distribution of property and money, why do we assume that the desire for some sort of sexual redistribution is inherently ridiculous? After all, he wrote, “one might plausibly argue that those with much less access to sex suffer to a similar degree as those with low income, and might similarly hope to gain from organizing around this identity, to lobby for redistribution along this axis and to at least implicitly threaten violence if their demands are not met.”... Hanson’s post made me immediately think of a recent essay in The London Review of Books by Amia Srinivasan, “Does Anyone Have the Right To Sex?” Srinivasan, an Oxford philosophy professor, covered similar ground (starting with an earlier “incel” killer) but expanded the argument well beyond the realm of male chauvinists to consider groups with whom The London Review’s left-leaning and feminist readers would have more natural sympathy — the overweight and disabled, minority groups treated as unattractive by the majority, trans women unable to find partners and other victims, in her narrative, of a society that still makes us prisoners of patriarchal and also racist-sexist-homophobic rules of sexual desire."

Education at a Crossroads, by Dr. Thomas Sowell - "What makes Mrs. DeVos seem so threatening to the teachers' unions and their political allies? She has, for more than 20 years, been promoting programs, laws and policies that enable parents to choose which schools their children will attend — whether these are charter schools, voucher schools or parochial schools. Some of these charter schools — especially those in the chain of the Success Academy schools and the chain of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools — operate in low-income, minority neighborhoods in the inner-cities, and turn out graduates who can match the educational performances of students in affluent suburbs. What is even more remarkable, these charter schools are often housed in the very same buildings, in the very same ghettoes, where students in the regular public schools fail to learn even the basics in English or math. You and I may think this is great. But, to the teachers' unions, such charter schools are a major threat to their members' jobs — and ultimately to the unions' power or existence... Mrs. DeVos has shown for more than 20 years that she thinks schools exist to educate children. One of the biggest complaints about her is that, unlike Secretaries of Education before her, she does not come out of the government's education establishment. Considering what a miserable job that establishment has done, especially in inner-city schools, her independence is a plus. Teachers' unions have fought for years to prevent charter schools from being created. Now that such schools have been created, and there are now huge waiting lists, the teachers' unions have gotten politicians to put a numerical cap on the number of such schools, regardless of how large the waiting lists are... She is accused of "steering public dollars away from traditional public schools." But nobody can steer anything anywhere, when it is individual parents who make the decisions as to where they want their children educated... If charter schools educate one-third of the students in a district, and get one-third of the money, how does that reduce the amount of money per child in the public school? Actually, charter schools usually get less money per student, but produce better results."

Does ‘decimate’ mean ‘destroy one tenth’? - OxfordWords blog - "Most people have a linguistic pet peeve or two, a useful complaint about language that they can sound off about to show other people that they know how to wield the English language. Most of these peeves tend to be rather irrational, a quality which should in no way diminish the enjoyment of the complainer. A classic example of this is the word decimate. The complaint about the word typically centers on the fact that decimate is used improperly to refer to ‘destroying a large portion of something’, when the ‘true’ meaning of the word is ‘to put to death (or punish) one of every ten’. There are several problems with this complaint. The first, and most obvious, is that language has an ineluctable desire to change, and there are almost no words in English which have been around for more than a few hundred years without taking on new meanings, changing their old ones, or coming to simultaneously mean one thing and the opposite (a type of word known as a contronym). But the claim that decimate should be used to mean naught but to ‘put to death (or destroy) one of every ten’ has deeper problems than that. For it is not at all clear that this punitive sense is indeed the earliest definition of the word... given that these two meanings of decimate appeared almost simultaneously, why are we so obsessed with assigning the punitive meaning to the word? A likely answer is that people are falling prey to what is known as the Etymological Fallacy, a tendency to believe that a word’s current meaning should be dictated by its roots. Unfortunately for the etymological purists, decimate comes from the Medieval Latin word decimatus, which means ‘to tithe’. The word was then assigned retrospectively to the Roman practice of punishing every tenth soldier. So, next time you attend a symposium (etymologically, drinking partner) with someone sinister (etymologically, left-handed), and they launch into a tirade about the misuse of this word, you’ll be able to decimate their argument in no time at all."

Rape Culture in Singapore – Is it really that different from Delhi? - "Many are outraged at the circumstances of women in India and in other countries, and are quick to voice their gratefulness for the treatment of women in Singapore where women are much freer to wear what they desire and travel when they want, without fearing for their lives or dignity. As an immigrant myself, I truly appreciate the security and freedom enjoyed by women in this regard, especially compared to my country of origin. I agree it is certainly something to be very proud of. However, although women in Singapore enjoy a significant degree of freedom in their fashion choices and their travel decisions unlike women in India, this does not automatically discount the notion that a similar mentality with regards to feminine sexuality exists here in Singapore"
Good proof of feminist hysteria

Walter Theseira - Many people think I argue we should stop CPF... - "My view is that the CPF system tries to do a little too much, and we should consider focusing CPF on retirement and health. I do believe there is some over-investment in housing, which creates retirement risks if housing values do not grow, and this over-investment is because Singaporeans see housing as a way of unlocking their CPF funds. A CPF system focused on retirement and health would require lower contribution rates, and allow people more choices in using their higher take-home income on housing, investments, business, and family."

MW02 – Norse Raiders | The History Network - "We're dealing with a bit of an extraordinary case with the Vikings because in history it's usually the victors that are writing it but in this case it's very much the victims"

MW04 – Medieval Undead Armies | The History Network - "The modern catch all undead really doesn't do justice to the wide variety of terms used in Medieval Latin to talk about them. But the so called undead in the Middle Ages were typically not malevolent. They were typically communicative and helpful and if they were seeming, if they did seem to be bad or dangerous it was usually with a particular purpose because obligations to them hadn't been fulfilled and once those obligations were fulfilled then usually they were laid to rest... we use the undead these days as a kind of locus for anxieties about science run amok, or about disease or I think, I think twenty or thirty years ago shambling masses of unthinking people were wonderful metaphors for Communism and other things that Americans were worried about... humans can intercede on behalf of dead souls to help get them to the place they need to get"

Which medieval battle would you like to witness? - Episode 7 of the Medieval Warfare Podcast - Karwansaray Publishers Blog - "Saladin after the Battle of Hattin. When Guy de Lusignan, the king of Jerusalem, and Renaud de Chatillon, one of the worst individuals who ever crossed this earth, and certainly stupid individual. The guys behind the battle just led them to a huge defeat. They go in and they’ve been thirsting for three days. There’s Saladin first giving thanks to Allah for victory, and then turning around and grabbing a bowl of ice cream... Camel teams bringing huge ice blocks off the top of the mountains in Palestine, melting all the way, but having that last little bit at the end. He’s eating the ice cream as he talks, as he looks at these individuals"

MW13 – The Warriors of Valhalla | The History Network - "'Snorri, as kind of a Christian writer, talking about Nordic pagan religion and pagan ideas, how was he able to reconcile writing about that?'
'Well, he's very careful in what he does with the tales because he creates a prologue in which he explains that the Norse Gods weren't really Gods at all, but they were refugees from Troy. And after the fall of Troy, they made their way to Scandinanvia, and because they were clever and sophisticated and had good technology, people worshipped them as gods.'"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Kant's Categorical Imperative - "It's not just enough to do the right thing. It's not just enough to have a plan to do the right thing. You've got to do the right thing for the right reasons. He uses an example of a shopkeeper who doesn't rip off his customers. He keeps his prices the same for everybody - that's the right thing to do. But what has been the shopkeeper's motivations? His motivation is if it got out that I was ripping people off I'd be ruined. So it's very just prudential reasoning. However another shopkeeper might keep his prices the same price simply because it's the right thing to do...
What if someone has for example masochistic desires? Doesn't mind receiving pain every so often. Does the golden rule then sanction that they can inflict pain on others now and again?... perhaps, someone would reason, it's okay for me never to help someone so long as I never receive any help. That satisfies the Golden Rule...
If you cut through the verbiage of Kant, and Kant is full of verbiage and technical jargon and just obscurantism - he's responsible for all the content of philosophy as we have it today...
Where do you draw the line? Where do you draw - okay if you're prepared to lie to save a life are you prepared to lie to stop someone from being hurt? Are you prepared to lie if it means that you'll get a promotion and find a cure for cancer? Are you prepared to lie in some - basically I think where do you draw the line is ultimately what he's sayinng. I actually admire him for that - that he holds the line on lying, unlike pretty much every other philosopher. I'm actually with him on that, I know it's not - it's a minority view. I think there are aspects in Kant which are incredibly uplifting and quite noble in a really good way. Kant is a, whatever you think about Kant, he's a philosopher of uplift. You don't read Kant coming away - you might come away feeling pessimistic about the chances of reason to actually know anything, but you do come away as far as morality is concerned - he really cares, he really cares about morality"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Hamlet - "It was an immediate success and has since become his best known work around the world and the most quoted...
Marrying your deceased husband's brother... not so uncommon, especially in the context of royal families but also the Bible ambiguous about whether that degree of affinity was incestuoIn the past it was thought that there were many different species of giant squids - they live in all the world's oceans apart from the polar regions and around the equator. So it would be obvious to think that there is a European species, a South African species, an Asian species but actually using this specimen of giant squid taken dna and comparing it to other freshly caught and well preserved specimens around the world it's actually suggested there's only one species of giant squid worldwide which wasn't what we expected at allus or not... Leviticus forbids it but Deuteronomy urges it but crucially if there is no child"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Cicero - "What really made his name actually was a legal prosecution that he brought in the year seventy against a former governor of Sicily who was being accused of extortion, bribery, murder, corruption on a vast scale. And Cicero prosecuted this man. He went to Sicily where he had previously served in a lower office, collected amazing trunks and depositions of evidence, came back and won the case against Rome's greatest advocate at the time and that was really the moment that he stepped out from the ranks of strivers and became someone to be reckoned with.'
'Winning's rather a mild word. He was so strong that the chap Verres fled the city before the end of the trial... and Cicero being Cicero... published all that he was going to say had the man stayed there'...
The irony was that he had been a younger man whom Cicero had befriended in earlier years and then at a certain point they, there was a political parting of the ways. Claudius was someone who violated, flirted with violating and ultimately transgressively violated Roman civic norms. So the nadir of his career was being found out to have dressed up in women's clothing and insinuated himself into the inner sanctum where religious rites were being practiced that only women were supposed to witness...
[In exile Cicero] moaned quite a lot. He wrote letters to lots of people"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Cephalopods - "In the past it was thought that there were many different species of giant squids - they live in all the world's oceans apart from the polar regions and around the equator. So it would be obvious to think that there is a European species, a South African species, an Asian species but actually using this specimen of giant squid taken dna and comparing it to other freshly caught and well preserved specimens around the world it's actually suggested there's only one species of giant squid worldwide which wasn't what we expected at all"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Frederick Douglass - "He campaigned for equal rights for African Americans arguing against those such as Lincoln who had wanted freed slaves to leave America and found a colony elsewhere... Before eighteen thirty generally speaking the justification for slavery is it's a necessary evil. So in effect is something that's been entailed on the United States and it's very hard to get rid of and many of the founders in particular contrast the British emancipation struggle where in effect Britain is charged with emancipating slaves who will become free in the Caribbean with their problem dilemma which is if they free slaves they'll have to live alongside them. So in a sense the problem of anti slavery in the United States is also a problem of integration... in effect what you don't get even amongst the anti slavery campaigners is a commitment to integration and equality - it's a commitment to expulsion"
More on the bigot and racist Abraham Lincoln
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