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Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Links - 3rd October 2018 (1)

Study affirms Google search results lean left - "despite the tech giant’s claim to be free of bias, the searches were 40 percent more likely to produce material that leans either to the “left” or the “far left” rather than the “right.” The researchers for CanIRank concluded Google’s “ranking algorithms aren’t designed to provide a fairly balanced or completely honest representation of controversial issues.” To assess how fairly search engine results portray political candidates and controversial issues, the study collected more than 1,200 URLs ranking highly in for politically charged keywords such as “gun control,” “abortion” and “Black Lives Matter.” To assess the “political slant,” the researchers used politically active individuals from both the left and right as well as special software. Along with finding that search results are 40 percent more likely to lean left, 16 percent of political keywords contained no right-leaning pages at all within the first page of results. The analysis concluded “factors within the Google algorithm itself may make it easier for sites with a left-leaning or centrist viewpoint to rank higher in Google search results compared to sites with a politically conservative viewpoint.”... the CanIRank study found that a search of “Republican platform” turned up only the official text of the platform and seven left-leaning results highly critical of it, with zero results in support. No right-leaning websites were found among the top results of searches on words such as “minimum wage,” “abortion,” NAFTA,” “Iraq war,” “campaign finance reform,” “global warming” and “marijuana legalization.” CanIRank pointed out the influence of search engine results on elections... voters largely trust the results, and the top search results are broadly perceived as being the most accurate and authoritative."

Top Google News story on Aug. 28? CNN saying Google News isn’t ‘rigged’ – World Tribune: Window on the Real World - "Another recent report, this one by Information Liberation, revealed bias against conservatives in YouTube’s new search algorithm. When searching for a particular YouTube video by it’s exact title, the report showed that similarly themed videos from mainly left-leaning media sources were ranked above the titled video... the change in YouTube’s algorithm “would appear to back up reports from Breitbart’s ‘Rebels of Google’ interview series in which former and current employees stated that there were active efforts within Google and specifically YouTube to demote conservative content.” Following the reports, economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the Trump administration would be “taking a look” at regulating Google."

Acosta on Trump attacks: Imagine what life would be like if government was the only ‘trusted’ news source
For all the moral panic about government regulation at least the government has democratic accountability in a way that a private company like Google doesn't

Married couple trying to get pregnant for four years were actually having anal sex - "The unnamed husband and wife, aged 26 and 24, sought out obstetrician Liu Hongmei earlier this year when a team of medics visited their village in Bijie city in China’s south-western Guizhou province. She was quoted as saying: ‘The couple were very young, the man 26 and the woman 24. They were very healthy, but, despite being married for four years, couldn’t conceive.’... the woman had regular sex but that it was “unusually painful” every time... The woman’s symptoms led Doctor Liu to believe that she may have had some sort of gynaecological disease. Liu said she was ‘shocked’ when an examination revealed the wife to be a virgin."

Identity politics and the perils of zero-sum thinking - The Washington Post - "one antidote to dangerous zero-sum thinking about racial and ethnic groups is to deemphasize identity politics... Frederick Douglass advocated it back in the nineteenth century. If a man who had personally experienced the oppression of racially based slavery could look beyond identity politics, then so can the vast majority of modern Americans who are fortunate enough to have avoided comparable horrors. One side’s identity-group mobilization is all too likely to generate backlash from the other, a dynamic that all too often results in conflicts in which both groups end up worse off than they would be otherwise. Such struggles reinforce and inflame the dangerous zero-sum thinking that too often leads to intergroup hostility and oppression"

South Korea bans coffee in all schools - teachers included - in bid to promote healthy living - "The ministry said the move aimed to tackle the side-effects of consuming too much caffeine including dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, sleep disorders or nervousness. It warned that continuous caffeine consumption could harm a young child's physical and mental health... There are fears that students may be taking coffee to help them cope with long hours of study and stress... South Korea has the highest suicide rate in the world for children aged ten to 19."

How Islam Created Europe - "A classical geography is organically reasserting itself, as the forces of terrorism and human migration reunite the Mediterranean Basin, including North Africa and the Levant, with Europe. The Continent has absorbed other groups before, of course. In fact, Europe has been dramatically affected by demographic eruptions from the east: In the medieval centuries, vast numbers of Slavs and Magyars migrated into central and eastern Europe from deeper inside Eurasia. But those peoples adopted Christianity and later formed polities, from Poland in the north to Bulgaria in the south, that were able to fit, however bloodily, inside the evolving European state system. As for the Algerian guest workers who emigrated to France and the Turkish and Kurdish guest workers who emigrated to Germany during the Cold War, they represented a more containable forerunner to the current migration."

Opinion | The Metamorphosis of the Western Soul - The New York Times - "“It isn’t just that Easterners versus Westerners think about the world differently,” Nisbett told me. “They’re literally seeing a different world.”... A 2010 study of 325 million American names by Jean Twenge of the University of San Diego and others found a sharp increase in parents giving their children uncommon names starting in 1983. Parents, suggested its authors, wanted them to “stand out and be a star.”... The 1980s saw the rise of a self-esteem movement whose promoters promised that self-love would make America competitive again... We call such sensitivity to signals of failure “perfectionism.” This mode of thinking is a predictor of self-harm, depression and suicide. A 2017 study by Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill of 40,000 students in the United States, Britain and Canada found that, between 1989 and 2016, the extent to which people felt they had to “display perfection to secure approval” had risen by a staggering 33 percent. An adult morbidity survey in England shows that between 2000 and 2014, the number of adults reporting self-harm more than doubled. In the United States rates of anxiety and depression in adolescents are rising. Despite widespread adoption of antidepressants since the 1980s, the United States’ suicide rate rose by 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, according to the C.D.C. The global financial crisis in 2008 did not help. Interestingly, narcissism, which was increasing during the 1990s and 2000s, has reportedly started to fall."
This could help explain the rise of SJWism too

The Complicated and Scandalous History of Islamic Wine Poetry - "drinking was entirely halal in Islam’s earliest years... unlike with, say, pork, the verbal form of the word haram is never used in the case of drink; the imperative in 5:90 is fajtaniboohu (“so avoid it”). Is this prohibition, or mere discouragement? We know some clerics argued it was only the latter... If the status of wine was hotly debated by clerics, outside the walls of their parlors the matter was less controversial: almost everyone of social standing was a drinker... It simply was not unusual for Muslim intellectuals, even theologians, to drink. The polymath Abu Zayd al-Balkhi (d. 934), for instance, was simultaneously a physician who advocated wine consumption for its “unique” health benefits and the author of a respected commentary on the Quran. The slightly longer answer is that Abu Nuwas was participating, through his poems, in an argument that had always existed within Islam, not just about the place of wine, but the places of humor, satire, individual liberty, sin, and divine forgiveness. That this argument would later be settled in favor of the conservative and prohibitionist camp was more an accident of history and politics than anything essential and inherent in the Quran"

Game of Thrones castle with 15 bedrooms goes on sale... for less than the price of a one-bed London flat - "Gosford Castle in County Armagh, Northern Ireland was used to portray Riverrun castle on the show and at half-a-million pounds is less than the price of an average London flat - which will set you back £574,586."

Fury after it's revealed Jeremy Corbyn defended 'anti-Semitic' public art showing men playing Monopoly - "The graphic, called Freedom for Humanity, was painted on a property near Brick Lane in East London by international graffiti artist Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One. It showed a number of bankers around a monopoly board, betting with money, and a sign on the edge of the frame reads: "The new world order is the enemy of humanity.""

One in four voters think that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite after clashes with the Jewish community, poll reveals - "ONE in four voters think that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite after two years of clashes with the Jewish community, a damning poll for The Sun reveals today. Nearly half of adults thinks the Labour Party has a serious problem with anti-semitism, with 31 per cent believing Mr Corbyn personally condones the prejudice... Mr Corbyn’s claims that he did not lay a wreath for dead terrorists accused of masterminding the killing of Israeli athletes are in tatters according to damning new data collected last week by OnePoll... A massive 48 per cent of voters aware of the saga do not believe his version of events, and a third say he should quit over the scandal. Even one in five Labour voters questioning his claim that “I was present at the wreath-laying ceremony but don’t think I was involved.”"

Why the Muslim world isn't saying anything about China’s repression and 'cultural cleansing' of its downtrodden Muslim minority - "activists have found evidence of Chinese authorities tracking Uighurs’ cellphone activity and forcing them to cut off their beards and dresses. Others say China has demanded the Uighur diaspora hand over personal information – and threatened their families if they do not... It’s not as if Muslim countries haven’t spoken out about human rights in the past. As Myanmar’s military ramped up its violence against Rohingya Muslims late last year, citizens in Jordan and Iran staged multiple protests in solidarity with the Rohingya... Many Muslim-majority countries aren’t speaking out because they don’t want to jeopardize their economic relationships in China... Egypt, a BRI partner country, has even appeared to help China with its Uighur crackdown. Last summer, Egypt detained dozens of Uighur students in the country without giving a reason, denied them access to lawyers and their families... Many Middle Eastern states also have a poor human rights record, and prioritize social stability over individual rights, much like China does... although many Gulf states can afford to make a political stand against China, they “are mostly ultra-authoritarian states that advocate non-interference in other states’ internal affairs to avoid the same interference in theirs.”... Turkey, which is majority-Muslim, has spoken out against China’s treatment of its Uighurs in the past – and China has not forgotten... "The United States, European Union and others need to remain vocal on human rights and bring on larger contingents of like-minded countries to collectively stand against these policies""
Better to just bash Israel
Strange how the Evil West speaks out more about the Uighers than Muslim countries

Imam Tawhidi calls for ALL Islamic schools to be shut down - "A Muslim leader has thrown his support behind Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali after she said all Muslim schools in Australia needed to be shut down. Imam Shaikh Mohammad Tawhidi, who has openly spoken out against ISIS and extremists, told 7 News on Wednesday Muslim schools in Australia were a danger to the country... Imam Tawhidi was escorted by police into hiding after he made the comments, in fear of retribution from the Muslim community... His call comes after Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 47, likened extreme Muslim groups to white supremacists. 'We should treat Hizb ut-Tahrir the way we treat skin heads and white supremacists and all sorts of remnants of the Nazi party,' she told 7 News on Tuesday night. Hizb ut-Tahrir hit headlines last week after it said all Muslims who left the religion should be put to death... A 'propaganda' video was posted online on Monday labelling her a racist and sexist. The three-minute clip, posted to Facebook by a group called Persons of Interest, described Ms Ali as a 'white supremacist'. 'This is the language of patriarchy and misogyny. This is the language of white supremacy. This is the language used to justify war and genocide,' women in the video said."
Killing Muslim apostates is anti-white supremacy

Female Genital Mutilation IS a Muslim Issue. And, it’s a Medical Issue. And, it’s an African Issue. And, it’s a Human Rights Issue. - "Slate has put up an extremely misleading article up, Female Genital Mutilation Isn’t a Muslim Issue. It’s a Medical Issue. Articles such as the one above are why people end up eventually not believing the media at all. First, a few minutes of Googling will show that female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision is not simply an issue related to African culture, and does have some relationship to Islam... I do have to wonder if this is one case where liberal progressive concern for not seeming to be racist against Africans by imputing upon them barbaric cultural practices is trumped by their concern not to disparage Islam... a simple scatter plot illuminates the correlation between Islam and FGM, even though the practice is found among plenty of non-Muslim Africans. Additionally, the chart has a lacunae. Do you know the country with the largest number of women in the world who are the victims of FGM? Indonesia! (obviously, not an African country, just the world’s largest Muslim country, famed for its moderate practice of Islam)... of the Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence the Shafi considers female circumcision obligatory. The Hanbali school considers the practice strongly encouraged, while the Hanafi and Maliki schools consider it preferred... there are surveys that 93 percent of Muslim women have been subject to some form of circumcision... A certain type of anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim thinker infers from the Quran all that is Islam. This is simply not a valid way to go about understanding the history of Muslims and their modern cultures. And yet you have the Muslim writer in Slate asserting “Further, there is no religious sanction for the procedure found in the Quran.” (actually, there is no sanction for the almost universal practice of male circumcision among Muslims in the Quran either) This reference misunderstands how Islam and most Muslims have related to their religion historically. The Quran is not equivalent to the Christian Bible. Rather, it is more like the Hebrew Bible to Rabbinical Jews. It is a starting point, but not the ending point. Religious practice is more often dependent upon Hadith, Sunnah, and later commentaries by learned jurists, as well as interpretations by living jurists. From the viewpoint of many Muslim Americans this is a ridiculous way to look at the religion. As an atheist I would assert descriptively that their view of Islam has mapped itself upon a phenomenology of religion which derives directly from American confessional Protestantism... Unlike in Judaism, circumcision in Islam is not necessarily obligatory (among the Hanafi and Maliki it is simply high preferred). As I note above it is not mentioned in the Quran. There probably wasn’t a need because all the peoples of Arabia were circumcised when the Quran was compiled."
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