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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, September 06, 2018

Links - 6th September 2018 (1)

X-Men: The Animated Series — Unlikely Story of the '90s Cartoon Hit

This Dude's Gone So Far Left He Believes Interracial Sex is Rape - "Gazi Kodzo has earned an infamous reputation on social media, sharing very regressive opinions on social justice. He earned the nickname “Black Hitler” by going so far left he actually looped around the political spectrum into fascism... if a prison guard has sex with a prisoner it is always rape because the power dynamics between the two does not allow the prisoner to consent. So because black people in the US are living under systematic oppression by white people, they cannot consent to sex with their oppressors."

Why This Radical Leftist is Disillusioned by Leftist Culture - "I’m tired of watching people turn into pretentious assholes who think their activism makes them better than everyone else, even those oppressed and marginalized groups with whom they claim “allyship”... I witness so many “activists” who claim to care about those at the bottom of society ignoring the realities of oppression, as if being offended by a person’s speech or worldview is equal to prison time or living on the streets... I’m tired of the cliques, the hierarchies, the policing of others, and the power imbalances that exist between people who claim to be friends and comrades. I am exhausted and saddened by the fact that any type of disagreement or difference of opinion in an activist circle will lead to a fight, which sometimes includes abandonment of certain people, deeming them “unsafe” as well as public shaming and slander. It is disgusting that we claim to be building a new world, a new society, a better way of dealing with social problems — but if a person makes a mistake, says and/or does something wrong, they are not even given a chance to explain their side of what happened because the process of conflict resolution is in itself driven by ideology rather than a willingness to understand facts. Actually, in today’s activist circles one is lucky to be given any sort of due process at all, while everyone is put under social pressure to believe everything they are told regardless of what actually occurred in a given situation. This is not freedom. This is not social justice. There is nothing “progressive” or “radical” about it, unless you are referring to fascism. Speaking of Fascism, there is also a disturbing trend on the left nowadays that involves rejecting free speech/freedom of expression as a core value, because that speech could possibly be hurtful to someone, somewhere. This is not only dangerous but it also works against us, because as leftists we are often labelled as threats by the state and at the very least, we are unpopular by society in general... What could possibly be safe about censorship? What could possibly be safe about a group of people who claim to be freedom fighters dictating who can speak and what can be said, based on whether or not we agree with them? Study any kind of world history and you will find that censorship has never been on the right side of it. More to the point, the world is not a safe place. It is extremely dangerous, flawed, full of bloodshed and corruption. By sheltering ourselves from its harshness we are doing nothing meaningful to change it... comfort is in itself a sign of the power and privilege you wish to challenge."

Bartender's $200,000 Tip Not Quite As Great As It Seems (PHOTO) - "other Redditors had a theory — the excessive tip was not an act of kindness gone wrong, but a premeditated scam"

New Vending Machine Gives Free Cokes in Exchange for Hugs

How Chinese Food Became a Mexico City Staple

Don’t Eat Cheese And Don’t Drive - "That’s the message I got out of the response to the EIU’s ranking of Singapore as the most expensive city in the world for expats. I’m a local, and so I shouldn’t be eating cheese (we’re mostly lactose intolerant anyway), watching movies from Gold Class cinema seats, buying Cat A theatre tickets, taking a taxi, driving any car or motorcycle and having a four course dinner at a restaurant."

Charmian Chen: Monkey takes a shine to Taiwan student's bikini top - "Charmian Chen, who just happens to be a model, was visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud in Bali last month when two of the primates decided she was a little overdressed."

Charmian Chen 陳維芊 - monkeys cheekily stripped her dress off - "There seems to be no end to the scandals as Charmian Chen again managed to stir up the media. Now, Charmian has photos of her undergoing plastic surgery circulated through the internet. Charmian not only underwent breasts' enhancement surgery recently, she also had thighs' reduction. When coupled with the last scandal, this series of incidents seem like attempts to popularize herself as Taiwan's s*x icon."

The Most Vilified Industry in America Is Also the Most Charitable - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "the pharmaceutical industry is also the most charitable industry in America. According to a survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the top three American companies for charitable contributions are Pfizer, Gilead Sciences, and Merck. Also in the top 10: Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Eli Lilly. It’s hard to imagine that being so charitable is what makes them unpopular. It probably makes more sense to think that their charity is meant to mitigate their unpopularity. Although it doesn’t seem to be working so well."

Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Awesome/Terrible (Part 1) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "President Obama had also wanted to cut the corporate tax rate, but he never pulled it off. So you might think the Democratic economists would have been pleased with at least that part of the new Trump tax law. But you’d be wrong. They had specific arguments as to why — but, also, let’s face it: everything with Trump’s name on it is inherently contentious...
HASSETT: Often that kind of challenge [from Trump] leads to an insight that’s really useful. Right, it kind of really, oh, the way they construct this is imputed rent on owner-occupied housing or something, and that imputed rent is something they haven’t changed in 20 years, the formula for. And so anyway — but yes, we interact with him. He sees slides, he responds to them. He likes debate. He changes his mind, and he likes to have lots of opinions. I think sometimes when I watch him operate, I think he might be one of the first people who really understood the genius of the wisdom-of-crowds idea, that he — so you know, ask a bunch of people what they think about something, and then why. Because you know, if you and I were making a decision about just about anything then, we might very much like to know what the other people in the office think about it, because they might think of something that we didn’t of. But yes, he likes lively debate. He likes to talk. He is really a voracious consumer of charts."

Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Terrible/Awesome (Part 2) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "HUBBARD: The reality seems much more sensible at a low-frequency level. Meaning, if you just focus on the big ideas — so, the tax bill that the administration just got through Congress, I felt was largely very positive for the economy. The trend in regulation that President Trump has championed, on cost-benefit analysis and a sounder approach to regulation, makes a lot of sense. The appointment of Jay Powell at the Fed. That’s all good. The noise. The tweets. The stepping on your own lead with comments. That’s unfortunate. But if you focus on the few big things, I think they’re awfully good...
A lot of landmark legislation in the United States had huge bipartisan participation. The 1935 act that created Social Security was supported by 90 percent of Democrats in Congress and 75 percent of Republicans. The Civil Rights Act, in 1964? Sixty percent support from Democrats, and 76 percent from Republicans. The 1965 act that created Medicare: 81 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Republicans. Now how about the Affordable Care Act? Zero percent of Congressional Republicans voted for it. And the tax bill we’ve been discussing today? Zero Democratic support."

The Invisible Paw - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "CHEN: Well, we conducted this relatively technical test, but it’s called GARP in economic lingo, the Generalized Axiom of Revealed Preference. Economists think of GARP as basically the test which asks, “Are humans responding in a rational way to prices?” We don’t want to call people irrational just because they like peanut butter more than jelly, or if they like jelly more than peanut butter. But GARP basically says, regardless of how you feel about peanut butter and jelly, you should eat more jelly if we double the price of peanut butter. And it puts bounds on behavior, which we’ll call rational responses to price shocks. And when we test the capuchin monkeys on this basic rational response to price shocks, they pass GARP as well as any human beings that you can test. In fact, it’s not until about age 10 or 11 that humans even start to pass GARP at this basic level that we observe the capuchin monkeys passing it at...
Keith Chen found that capuchin monkeys, once they were taught to use money, behaved rationally, like we do, when it comes to price theory; and irrationally — like we do — when it comes to the endowment effect...
One by one, the supposed attributes that we had thought were unique to humans have been shown to be present in other species. Crows use tools. Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror. Whales form social networks of the same size and complexity as we do. Penguins mourn their dead. Gibbons are monogamous. Bonobos are polyamorous. Ducks rape. Chimpanzees deploy slaves. Velvet spiders commit suicide. Dolphins have language. And the quicker we get over the Judeo-Christian notion that we are somehow qualitatively different from the rest of the biome, the quicker we will learn to live healthier lives for ourselves and for the planet...
NOË: The less you use cognitive mechanisms, the least brain you have, if you have no neurons you have a better chance of being very rational in your behavior and then when you use them. When you use your brain, you can make all kinds of mistakes...
HOROWITZ: I’ve studied and taught animal cognition and comparative psychology for decades. And this question, “What’s the one thing that distinguishes humans from non-human animals?” is clearly the driving force of much research. We might trace it back to Plato... The one thing that makes humans human? Our obsession with asking and answering this question. As far as I know we’re the only species so concerned with distinguishing ourselves from other animals. Of course, research could prove me wrong."

Extra: Ray Dalio Full Interview - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "DALIO: My last name was Dallolio. D-A-L-L-O-L-I-O. And when I was in I think a freshman in college, I talked to my family and I said, “Boy, that’s a mouthful.” And I took out a syllable, but I kept it Italian, because that was my heritage.
DUBNER: What’d your folks think? Were they okay with it?
DALIO: My dad said, “You’re so right.” I mean he had to wrestle around with D-A-L-L-O-L-I-O, Dallolio... actually when he was dealing with others who didn’t know him well, he would actually use Mo Dale. So his first name was Marino, and then they would call him Dale."
Another example of white people changing their names to be more easily understood/remembered

Did a Planned Parenthood throw pizza parties if abortion quotas were met? - "Planned Parenthood clinics had monthly quotas for abortions or abortion referrals, according to two former clinic workers in a new Live Action investigative video... The group claimed previously that, according to their own inquiries of Planned Parenthood clinics, 92 of 97 Planned Parenthood clinics across the country admitted they did not offer prenatal care for women... Thayer described how they would pressure poor mothers into having abortions."

Why do Jews win so many Nobels? - "no less than 22% of all Nobel laureates have been Jewish. Now, Jews comprise 0.2% of the world population"

The real reason why Jews win so many Nobel prizes - "Jewish excellence in science is a new thing. When the great Jewish folklorist Joseph Jacobs set out in 1886 to compare the talents of Jews with the talents of other Westerners, he found their performance mediocre in every science save medicine. In the first decades of the 20th century, Princeton psychologist Carl Brigham tested the intelligence of Jews in America, and concluded they “had an average intelligence below those from all other countries except Poland and Italy.” Jewish excellence in science is a phenomenon that flowered in the decades before and, especially, after the Second World War; it is too recent a phenomenon to be explained by natural selection, or even by putative ancient cultural traditions... What bugs me about attributing the remarkable prominence of Jews among Nobel laureates to genes or enduring cultural traditions is that doing so suggests that Jewish success in science will inevitably continue as a matter of course. Most likely it won’t. The percentages of Jews among new American Ph.D.s in the sciences has declined greatly over the past generation. In Israel, spending on higher education has continued to decline during most of the same period; to many of the growing numbers in Israel who embrace religion, the appeal of science has nearly vanished. The passions that drew Jews to sciences in such great numbers have dissipated"

Dirty Politics: Smathers, Pepper, and Quasi Malediction in American Political Folklore - " it is said that during the Florida Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate, Rep. George Smathers delivered a campaign speech crafted to confuse backwoods voters and malign by innuendo the character of Claude Pepper, Smathers’s former mentor and then opponent... “Why, J. Edgar Hoover, the whole FBI, and every member of Congress knows that Claude Pepper is” – breathless pause – “a shameless extrovert. Moreover, there is reason to believe he practices nepotism with his sister-in-law, and that his sister has been a thespian in sinful New York. Finally – and this is hard to believe – it is well known that before Pepper was married he regularly practiced” – a more breathless pause – “celibacy.”... “men and women students matriculate in broad daylight, right before everybody!” Another man says that “the boys and girls use the same curriculum, and they don’t care who knows it, neither!” The Stone county man says he never heard nothing like that before. “That ain’t the worst of it,” says a legislator from Springfield. “Every one of them girl students is forced to show her thesis to the professor, or else they won’t give her no grades!”... there is little doubt that the never-delivered thespian speech, that amalgamation of quasi-maledictive quips, was principally the product of behind-the-scenes staffers and journalists following the Smathers/Pepper race. When we place it in the context of political folklore, we see that its creation was likely influenced by political anecdotes that preceded it. Little known at the time to wags following that 1950 campaign was how they had crafted, as Brian Crispell put it, “the most famous thing George Smathers never said.”"
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