"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Links - 14th November 2018 (1)

11 Foods That Shouldn't Ever Need An Expiration Date - "Honey keeps indefinitely. It may change color and become crystalized, but it will stay safe to eat. If your honey does crystallize, just place the open jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve."

Rosenhan experiment - Wikipedia - "The Rosenhan experiment or Thud experiment was an experiment conducted to determine the validity of psychiatric diagnosis. The experimenters feigned hallucinations to enter psychiatric hospitals, and acted normally afterwards. They were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and were given antipsychotic drugs. The study was conducted by psychologist David Rosenhan, a Stanford University professor, and published by the journal Science in 1973 under the title "On being sane in insane places"... While listening to a lecture by R. D. Laing, who was associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, Rosenhan conceived of the experiment as a way to test the reliability of psychiatric diagnoses. The study concluded "it is clear that we cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals" and also illustrated the dangers of dehumanization and labeling in psychiatric institutions... Despite constantly and openly taking extensive notes on the behavior of the staff and other patients, none of the pseudopatients were identified as impostors by the hospital staff, although many of the other psychiatric patients seemed to be able to correctly identify them as impostors"
Perhaps this is why today people think mental illness isn't as 'real' as physical illness, despite the protestations of people trying to elevate them to the same level

Brown University Releases a $100 Million Plan to Increase Inclusivity - "Glenn Loury, a professor of economics at Brown and a prominent critic of the graduate students’ statement, recently declared on Facebook that during his decade at the institution as a black faculty member doing scholarly work on race, ethnicity, and inequality, “I have found the university to be an extremely warm, welcoming, supportive and open environment to undertake my work. I know well the people who run this institution, and the notion that they are racially insensitive is a shameful slander with no basis in fact.” Noting that “the administration has lavished resources on me, and has enthusiastically supported any number of initiatives that contribute to promoting a just and decent society, both within the United States and throughout the world,” he expressed these specific misgivings:
The notion that Brown needs a revolutionary reshaping in order to become hospitable to "students of color," the idea that "anti-black pedagogy" at Brown needs to be countered with some mandatory indoctrination of faculty, the proposal that external student committees should review purportedly "racist" departmental appointment processes, the initiative of creating "specialty positions" in academic departments to ensure their openness to hiring "faculty of color"—these are all mischievous intrusions on the academic prerogatives of a distinguished faculty which no self-respecting scholar of any color should welcome. They are a step onto a slippery slope that slides down into intellectual mediocrity, and I will have nothing to do with them...
It could be considered “insensitive” for a feminist scholar to probe whether the transgender community is helping to ossify the notion that there are inherently masculine and feminine traits; or for a scholar of transgenderism to probe whether radical feminism denies real gender identities (to reference one heated disagreement on the left). Are those still legitimate areas of inquiry? Is sensitivity really a primary value that a university ought to instill in its faculty and graduate students? (The work of Darwin and his successors in biology was extremely insensitive to the feelings of several generations of religious believers. Isn’t it good that they pressed forwards anyway?) Perhaps it would be better to inculcate humanism or tolerance or inherent dignity, values that help communities flourish without stigmatizing the search for truth."

God's Foreknowledge and Man's Free Will (2) - "The question is an ancient one. Even in Augustine’s day (354-430), the question had to be faced. In those days, the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians taught that man had a free will and that God saved only those who wanted to be saved by their (alleged) free will. Augustine most emphatically denied it. The Roman Catholic Church most emphatically taught it and killed those who denied it. All the Reformers, without exception, denied free will, as did the Reformed and Presbyterian churches throughout Europe... The only answer that anyone can give is that the church of Christ since Pentecost to today, including Paul’s epistles to the Galatians and the Romans, all the great creeds of the church and all the greatest theologians, have held to this one position: Man’s fall resulted in his total depravity, that is, his total inability to do any good and his ability to do only what is evil. This includes his will: the will of fallen man is totally unable to do anything pleasing to God; it is totally unable to contribute even 0.001% to a man’s salvation; it can do nothing but hate God (Rom. 1:30)."
Basically Protestants don't believe in free will, Catholics do

Foreign parents of Singaporean boys worry over national service issues - "“If you benefited from the government, you had education here or used up government benefits, you should be liable for NS. But for the case of the Thai kid, he didn’t go through the Singapore education system. I feel like it’s unfair for him, for the family,” said Tee, whose wife is a Singapore permanent resident. Tee is among a number of parents with foreign spouses who face the possibility of their sons violating NS obligations should they migrate to other countries. These parents spoke to Yahoo News Singapore about the implications of any long-term move overseas for their sons in the wake of Ekawit’s case, and urged flexibility from the authorities on the issue... The case has also put a spotlight on the dilemma that Singaporean males face should they wish to renounce their citizenship. Ekawit’s mother told Singapore authorities that she wished to renounce her son’s Singapore citizenship but was told that Ekawit could do so only after turning 21... Many netizens who have followed Ekawit’s case questioned why a Singaporean male who could only renounce his citizenship at 21 is obligated to do NS before that. Under the law, Singaporean males are liable for NS registration from the age of 16.5 years old... Loy pointed out that there are some misconceptions that NS defaulters are typically punished with fines and not imprisonment. He said that the High Court set out new sentencing benchmarks last year that peg the penalties for NS dodgers to the length of their default period... Thuraisingam noted that of particular interest is that the extent of an NS defaulter’s connection to Singapore is not a factor in the sentencing process. “This is because the assessment of the degree of the defaulter’s connection to Singapore is within the prerogative of the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), and as such, is a matter of Mindef policy, not law,” he said."
Basically don't register your sons for Singapore citizenship. Or they will be punished for their parents' crimes

After Ekawit Tangtrakarn, Singapore NS obligations need clarity - "I remember clearly the phone conversation I had this year with a Ministry of Defence (Mindef) officer who was supposed to answer my questions about dual citizenship and NS. The call was as informative as it was confusing... I was concerned about the bond. Four children at $75,000 each is the price of an apartment. The officer assured me that the bond was only for exit permits longer than two years. As long as I was happy to renew the exit permit every two years, I needn’t worry about the bond. Finland allows dual citizenship and for minors to renounce their citizenship. It also has mandatory national service. Should my children serve in the Finnish Army first, would they also be able to serve in the SAF? Or vice versa? The answer was yes – there is no restriction against serving in multiple militaries, at least from Mindef’s point of view. That answer struck me as oddly pragmatic for a country that doesn’t allow dual citizenship. I asked specifically if any of my sons, especially considering that one of them is only a year old, could theoretically give up their citizenship without serving NS. I don’t recall the precise answer, but I was given the clear impression that it was a negative.. In 2006, Deputy Prime Minister and then Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said that “only those who have emigrated at a young age and have not enjoyed substantial socio-economic benefits are allowed to renounce their citizenship without serving national service.” Given that one cannot renounce citizenship until the age of 21, and that NS liability begins at age 16 and a half, it is unclear how this is accomplished, and the authorities are tight-lipped on how a Singaporean might access this conditional right to renounce their citizenship without serving NS... something is already broken: boys like Ekawit Tangtrakarn are paying the price for our neuroses. And if Singapore cannot do right for this one estranged former son, all the future sons of Singapore, especially those with a choice of which nationality to identify with, would think twice before joining the family."

The Great Chinese Art Heist - "In each case, the robbers focused their efforts on art and antiquities from China, especially items that had been looted by foreign armies. Many of these objects are well documented and publicly known, making them very hard to sell and difficult to display. In most cases the pieces have not been recovered; they seem to simply vanish... When an eight-person team arrived at New York's Metropolitan Museum, it was led by an archaeologist and largely composed of employees from Chinese state media and Beijing's palace museum. As the group poked around and asked about the art on display, one participant, a researcher named Liu Yang who had gained some notoriety for his zeal in cataloging China's lost treasures, sleuthed through the museum's long corridors, looking for objects he might recognize. The visit ended without incident, but the shift in tactics was evident: China was no longer content to sit back passively and hope for the return of its art. The hunt was on. Soon, all across Europe, thefts began... “When we are young, we are indoctrinated to believe that the foreigners stole from us,” Liu once told The New Yorker. “But maybe it's out of context. Whatever of ours [the foreigners] stole, we can always snatch it back one day.”
Maybe China will give up all of the land it has stolen since the Qin Dynasty

It’s not science I don’t trust – it’s the scientists | The Spectator - "The study by Nathan Cofnas et al — Does Activism in the Social Sciences Explain Conservatives’ Distrust of Scientists? — pours scorn on the idea that conservatives are any more anti-science than lefties. It’s not science they distrust so much as scientists — especially ones in more nebulous, activism-driven fields like ecology or sociology... ‘Take any politicised issue that is connected to some disagreement about scientific fact. I do not believe there is a single case in the last couple of decades where a major scientific organisation took a position that went against the platform of the Democratic party.’ He added: ‘What an odd coincidence that “science” always, without exception, supports the liberal worldview.’... In 2014, a paper was published in Science called ‘When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality’. This demonstrated that instinctively homophobic, buttoned-up conservatives were more likely to become liberal on meeting a gay man. Their study showed that ‘a 20-minute conversation with a gay canvasser’ increased their acceptance of same-sex marriage nine months later. Great! Except as two graduate students subsequently demonstrated, no study was ever conducted. To the chagrin of the social scientists who had welcomed this paper and its heartwarming message, it had to be retracted. Where are the peer-reviewers who are supposed to vet these things? Well, it turns out they’re generally willing to give a free pass to any thesis that accords with the liberal narrative. For example, over the course of more than a decade, Diederik Stapel ‘published dozens of sensational papers on such topics as how easily Whites or men can be prompted to discriminate against Blacks or women’. When exposed as a fraud, Stapel explained that he was merely giving social scientists what they were ‘waiting for’. Stapel probably had a point. If research supports a liberal shibboleth — say, the notion that violence is a learned behaviour rather than innate — then it will be given huge prominence. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics testified to Congress that ‘more than 3,500’ studies had investigated the link between exposure to media violence and actual violent behaviour. This was a lie. Even those few studies — fewer than 1,000 — that purported to find a causal link often did so on the flimsiest of evidence. For example, one established the elevated ‘aggression’ caused by watching an exciting film by asking a child ‘whether he would pop a balloon if one were present’. If the evidence doesn’t accord with the correct ‘woke’ narrative then right-thinking social scientists tailor it till it does. This is what happened to a 2007 study showing racially diverse communities are more suspicious, withdrawn, ungenerous, fractured and fractious. Such an incendiary refutation of the well-known truth that ‘diversity is strength’ could not go unedited. So it didn’t. Publication was delayed until the author could ‘develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity’. To publish the facts on their own would be ‘irresponsible’... every time some unhelpful conservative type cites it to back up their argument that diversity causes social problems, he accuses them of selectively citing his findings because they’ve ignored the bit at the end where he explains that diversity will be good one day."

E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty‐first Century The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture - Putnam - 2007 - "In the short run, however, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one's own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer"

The simple but ingenious system Taiwan uses to crowdsource its laws - "On Pol.is, a topic is put up for debate. Anyone who creates an account can post comments on the topic, and can also upvote or downvote other people’s comments. That may sound much like any other online forum, but two things make Pol.is unusual. The first is that you cannot reply to comments. “If people can propose their ideas and comments but they cannot reply to each other, then it drastically reduces the motivation for trolls to troll,” Tang says. The second is that it uses the upvotes and downvotes to generate a kind of map of all the participants in the debate, clustering together people who have voted similarly. Although there may be hundreds or thousands of separate comments, like-minded groups rapidly emerge in this voting map, showing where there are divides and where there is consensus. People then naturally try to draft comments that will win votes from both sides of a divide, gradually eliminating the gaps."
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