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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Links - 2nd October 2018 (2)

Veteran architect & NUS prof Tay Kheng Soon questioned by police over Facebook post - "The 77-year-old adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore Department of Architecture revealed he had posted a picture of the Genocide Memorial in Armenia, which he visited recently, and wrote that he saw and learnt of the 1.5 million Armenian Christians exterminated by the Ottoman Turks in 1911. This resulted in a person named Azhari Ali objecting to his characterisation of the event, claiming Tay had “unfairly singled out Islam”, even though that was not the intention of the post. Tay then urged the authorities to “establish guidelines to ascertain what should be appropriate responses to complaints made by the public as to their import”, as he felt it was an inconvenience to many people when someone like him is being called up for questioning because of a social media posting being reported to the police... Tay, who is behind several iconic structures in Singapore, including the People’s Park Complex and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, also said he hoped that “modern Singapore has matured enough to accept robust, sincere and polite discourse”."
Convict Tay Kheng Soon for hate speech for using violence against minorities in the form of hate facts!

Malaysians can now sue for sexual harassment thanks to a case involving...coconuts?

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Moral Philosophy for the Internet - "I saw that the person who's been charged with the Finsbury Park Mosque murder say that he was radicalized by the media. And then he said it was because he watched a three part BBC drama, Three Girls. Are we gonna ban that as well?...
It's inconvenient for us to challenge them. I think the problem is, especially the debate about radicalism, is we haven't challenged the Islamist ideas and the Islamist narrative head on. We are too frightened to, so instead what we're resorting to is the old tool, the convenient tool, the polite tool, the quiet tool that nobody notices, which is censorship. We must not let that happen... If you talk to a civil engineer, an ethics module is an integral part of their training. They build bridges. History tells us it's very bad if bridges fIf you talk to a computer scientist, if you talk to an electronic engineer, ethics is nowhere near their training"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Trump implicated in federal crime - "‘The special counsel was established to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. We’re two years into an exhaustive and highly expensive investigation that has consumed the country and there’s zero evidence of that. The issues related to today with the campaign manager, Paul Manafort are utterly unrelated and vastly pre-date the campaign, go back to 2005 and the issues with the Michael Cohen plea involve a good number of personal issues. The one that does brush up against the campaign is a possible question of whether one singular payout should or should not have been allocated as a campaign expense. To put that in proportion, the Obama campaign in 2008 had millions of dollars in unreported FEC donations and was subjected to a mere fine. So these are presented unfortunately and sadly really in particularly US media as issues that I think a democratic political opposition are hopeful. Some are gonna tear the President down. In fact, today is a re-affirmation that this is an investigation that appears to be just a circle to nowhere and it appears also, I think, to be winding down… I don't think Michael Cohen knows anything about Russia. And I think frankly, if he did know about Russia it would have been included in his plea negotiation, and he would have been vastly quicker to try to see some sort of cooperation with the Special Counsel's Office, which he so far has refused to do...
The impeachment process contains as many risks for the Democrats in some ways as it does for the Republicans… Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican Party largely by a vote in the house and he left office with record approval ratings. If he could have run again, he would’ve probably won. If you want a way to galvanize the Republican base, to say that your man is in jeopardy, your man is in danger, this is the Democrats playing politics. The only way to stop this is to come out and vote. I think it could have a very profound effect. And so you could find the paradoxical situation where the Democrats win the House in November, that allows them to start impeachment proceedings and that guarantees that Donald Trump wins in 2020."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is AI the future of the legal system? - "‘He’s suggesting we follow France’s example, and write protections into the law here and that we should be able to sue an algorithm’
‘The French back in the 1960s, passed a law, saying a machine cannot make a decision about a human being. I don't think people want machines to make decisions about them’...
'The key characteristic of judges is that they are accountable, they are susceptible to scrutiny. And of course the writing of an algorithm isn't'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Peter Brook on his life and work - "He committed a central crime that I couldn't forgive him for as a friend, and that is that he felt that our job as directors or as designers, writers, or as actors was to give lessons to the audience. There’s a dreadful word which you can't translate which exists in German. Lehrstücke. A teaching piece. Can you think of anything more awful? Come to the theatre tonight and you will learn something. And what you will learn is what the author has decided is the political method of the day, so it becomes propaganda. And so for me political theatre, Godot [sp?] said something very extraordinary. He said that wherever I place my camera, whatever my viewpoint, it is in itself a political statement, but I don't want to be read as such. I just know that I can't be free from my own viewpoint, being there as that place of the camera. And that way, you can say that everything is political, but the moment we turn it into political to sell a message then it's no difference from the commercials, it's a commercial, a commercial for what we and our gang have decided is the political correctness of today. For God's sake, let’s avoid that"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The Fallout of US Sanctions on Iran - "A Christian minister asked if Boris Johnson had ever read the Bible because there in the New Testament, we find the Apostle Paul saying that women in church should remain silent and wear head coverings and that slaves should obey their masters. If he was attempting to accuse Islam of patriarchal oppression then shouldn't he do the same with Christianity?"
Apparently Christians still have slaves today and justify it with religion

If you buy snapper, yellowtail or seabass in Canada, that’s probably not what you’re getting - "Nearly half of seafood samples tested at Canadian grocery stores and restaurants is wrongly labelled, according to an investigation into seafood fraud that claims such practices can harm consumer health and wallets, as well as hurt the environment... Oceana Canada wants the federal government to increase labelling requirements to match those in the European Union. In the EU, labels must show the fish’s scientific species name, catch method, and origin — among other information. It also requires catch documentation. Studies show that seafood fraud rates appear to have fallen since the union implemented the more stringent labelling practices."
The free market doesn't provide after all. Maybe libertarians will claim that this shows that consumers don't care about the species of fish they get so it's still unnecessary regulation

Germany: Rising Security Threat as Authorities Warn Islamic Extremists Have Doubled to 11,000 - "Authorities warned that the number of Muslim fundamentalists including “jihadists” living in Germany has doubled to 11,000 in just a few years. Salafism — the radical Islamic ideology to which international terror groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda are usually said to subscribe — has grown rapidly in recent years, according to security statistics reported by Tagesspiegel. The 11,000 figure, which represents the number of Salafist residents known to regional authorities in each state, has risen sharply from 5,500 in 2013, and marks a rise of almost 300 per cent from 2011, when domestic intelligence estimated around 3,800 fundamentalists to have been active in the EU nation."

Opinion | Europe’s Welcome Sign to Terrorists - The New York Times - "Stolen, doctored and fake passports from the Schengen area are among the most sought-after forms of identification by terrorists, drug smugglers, human traffickers and other criminals. As of last year, eight Schengen countries were on the list of the top 10 nations reporting stolen or lost passports in Interpol’s databases. Not one of those countries systematically screened passports at their borders. Among the European countries that are not parties to the Schengen Agreement is the United Kingdom, which began screening passports against Interpol’s database following the 2005 terrorist attacks there that killed 52 people and injured more than 700. The U.K. now screens about 150 million passports a year, more than all other European Union nations combined, and catches more than 10,000 people a year trying to cross its borders using invalid travel documents... Based on my 14 years of experience running Interpol, I know that terrorists will be much more likely to succeed as long as countries fail to properly check the identities of those who cross their borders."

China Built the World’s Largest Telescope. Then Came the Tourists - "China spent $180 million to create the telescope, which officials have repeatedly said will make the country the global leader in radio astronomy. But the local government also spent several times that on this nearby Astronomy Town—hotels, housing, a vineyard, a museum, a playground, classy restaurants, all those themed light fixtures. The government hopes that promoting their scope in this way will encourage tourists and new residents to gravitate to the historically poor Guizhou province... It also plans to increase the permanent population by hundreds of thousands. That’s a lot of cell phones, each of which persistently emits radio waves with around 1 watt of power."

I Sold My Soul on Twitter. Now I’m Trying to Win It Back - "I didn’t like John McCain’s politics... ordinary Americans lost a real war hero who refused early release from a North Vietnamese prison unless every man taken in before his capture was released with him... But you wouldn’t know any of this from my left-wing Twitter feed, which looks like normal-human Twitter did the day U.S. soldiers killed Osama Bin Laden: Macabre celebration, and attacks on anyone who has anything nice to say about McCain. Dear lord, social media has turned us into terrible people... if someone died—for real Twitter addicts, that’s Asshole Christmas. If you could make a facile point that reinforced your team’s political stance on the day someone collapsed in front of his wife and kids—you were a true hero, the Twitter version of a captured pilot resisting torture in a POW camp. Except your prison was your mother’s basement, or your half of a Brooklyn apartment covered with Cheetos... these hate spasms aren’t about policy or any actual analysis of McCain’s legacy. They’re about playing Twitter tough guy by spitting on a bogeyman’s casket. The lessons I’ve learned since my divorce from left-wing Twitter go beyond social media. I’m now skeptical of any ideology whose organizing principle is based on the practice of dividing the world between angels and villains... in those days, I’d declare—with a straight face—that Republicans such as John McCain weren’t much different from real historical Nazis. And you can still find plenty of people who think and Tweet this way on social media... (Last month, film director Mark Duplass made the mistake of Tweeting out: “I don’t agree with [Ben Shapiro] on much, but he’s a genuine person who once helped me for no other reason than to be nice.” This single Tweet actually became a trending story on Twitter for a whole day, and Duplass was forced to apologize.) The left takes joy in eating its own. And when someone suggests adding a conservative source to the communal reading list, things quickly become hysterical."

Why Do We Feel the Need to Transgender the Dead? - "very instance of cross-dressing, whether on stage or off, is spuriously interpreted to mean that the figure in question was communicating some secret truth about their “gender-nonconforming” souls. For those of us who have long championed gay rights, it feels like a ghoulish, faux-enlightened form of gay-conversion therapy. These cultural grave-diggers imagine themselves to be fashionably transgressive. But what they are really peddling is a deeply conservative notion of what it means to be male or female. According to this conception, the lesbianism of historical figures is reimagined as a rejection of womanhood itself, just as the act of dressing as a woman for stage or fetish is reimagined as a rejection of manhood. The dead cannot possibly speak for themselves. So it is up to the rest of us to ensure that the true narratives of feminist pioneers, gay men and lesbians are not removed from the pages of history."

The amazing 1969 prophecy that racial preferences would cause the exact grievances of protesters today - Heterodox Academy - "agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards."

Mike Simpson, M.D. on Twitter - "I do not condone body shaming. But, as a physician, I also cannot condone people pretending that obesity is healthy. Beauty may be skin deep, but fat deposits go all the way to your internal organs."

Women cheer as Swedish man-free music festival opens - "Held in Sweden's second-largest city of Gothenburg, the two-day Statement Festival, forbids men but not transgender people. It was announced last year after police received four rape and 23 sexual assault reports at Sweden's largest Bravalla Festival, which was cancelled this year as a result."

Protesters damage 'sexist' open-air urinals in Paris - "Feminist protesters have begun vandalising the new open-air street urinals in Paris, labelling them sexist and discriminatory. Several of the eco-friendly urinals have been placed in public spots in recent months as an experiment to counter Paris’s problem of urine-soaked pavements. But protesters in recent days targeted two on the Île Saint-Louis and near Gare de Lyon station – plastering them with stained sanitary towels and tampons, then blocking them with concrete... Equality campaigners and women’s groups, along with local residents and parents, have complained that the open-air urinals are sexist and discriminatory."
I'm sure these feminists would also damage female toilets that are designed to be bigger than male toilets in the name of potty parity
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