"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 21, 2018

Links - 21st November 2018 (2)

Rojava: A libertarian myth under scrutiny - "Since its establishment in late 2012, the de facto autonomous region of Rojava in northern Syria has attracted the attention of European leftists, mainly because of the influence of Murray Bookchin's theories about libertarian municipalism on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan."

Sowell and Race - "1: Different groups will have different outcomes. Recently Sowell wrote, “one fallacy behind many other fallacies is the notion that there is something unusual about different races being unequally represented in various institutions, careers or at different income or achievement levels.” Nowhere in human history have different groups, even ones living in close proximity, had equal outcomes. Differences in phenomena like culture and demographics means that some groups will, on average, have greater achievements than other groups, whether those achievements are in business, science, sports, arts, or entertainment... most on the political left persist in the belief that different outcomes — especially differences in income — among different groups must be due to “sinister forces” like racism...
2: Discrimination isn’t a very good explanation for group differences... some blacks did better than whites in the U.S. Second-generation black West Indians earned more, on average, than Anglo-Saxons. Sowell implied that this could only be consistent with the belief that discrimination explains why blacks have, on average, lower incomes than whites if white employers were willing to hire West Indians but not other blacks. That makes no sense given that white employers probably had no way of determining the ethnic background of prospective black employees. Sowell attributes the lack of black success to, in part, the welfare system and a “cracker culture” that is hostile to work and education. Sowell would later point out at that some groups thrived despite discrimination. In his 1990 book Preferential Policies, he pointed to the Chinese in Malaysia as an example...
3: For groups to advance, they must invest in “human capital.”... Fostering resentment toward other groups among the people they purportedly lead enables those leaders to keep those people dependent on them. Such leaders have no incentive to help those people develop human capital because once they do, they will no longer need those leaders."

Bears in a Honey Trap – Foreign Policy - "Russians have always loved womanizers. It is central to the concept of muzhik, the manly salt-of-the-earth man. Whenever a rumor of another Yeltsin woman surfaced, his ratings spiked instantly... Caught in embarrassing moments, American public figures prostrate themselves before the public, and before their families — in public. Russians, however, lack what they see as this deeply Puritanical impulse, so they swagger and mock, or yawn... Even when they see Shenderovich in this tape, they say, ‘Not bad! The guy’s already 70 and he’s so energetic!’"... "What would be political murder is if they published someone with boys," he said. "And they didn’t find any gays among the opposition in two years [of trolling for dirt]."... "Russia has a significantly freer culture," he claimed. "For us, cheating on your wife, for the majority, is not something unusual. Moreover, for us, snorting cocaine — what’s unusual about that? Everyone snorts it." Especially, he said, "all journalists. And if they don’t snort, they drink. Or huff.""

The CIA and KGB Both Tried to Blackmail This World Leader With Sex Tapes - "In their more desperate but imaginative moments, spies for both governments tried to turn Sukarno’s famed sexual prowess against him. These efforts included a CIA-produced pornographic film and a “honey pot” scheme with KGB operatives dressed as flight attendants... the Soviets did at one point attempt to blackmail Sukarno by filming him having sex with a group of flight attendants. “When … Sukarno visited Moscow in the 1960s, the KGB sought to take advantage of his renowned sexual appetite, sending a batch of glamorous young women posing as air hostesses to his hotel”... Sukarno openly supported polygamy, Elizabeth Martyn explained in The Women’s Movement in Postcolonial Indonesia. He took on four “official” wives while maintaining a “de facto” marriage with a fifth wife. And Sukarno once bragged to a U.S. diplomat that he was “a very physical man who needed sex every day,” and shocked his government hosts in Washington when he demanded they provide him with call girls during a visit... “When the Russians later confronted him with a film of the lurid encounter, Sukarno was apparently delighted,” Lister wrote. “Legend has it he even asked for extra copies.”"

Honey traps: Do spies use sex to extract secrets? - "In 1978, undercover Sandinista operative Nora Astorga lured a Nicaraguan general into her bedroom, where assailants slit his throat. When Israeli technician Mordechai Vanunu went public with secrets about Israel's nuclear capabilities in 1986, he fled to London, only to be seduced by a woman who led him to Mossad agents in Rome. (A rabbi later determined that the Mossad's actions were, in fact, kosher.)... No one has perfected the honey trap quite like the Russians. One former KGB agent has said that the Soviet intelligence agency didn't ask Russian women to stand up for their country but "asked them to lay down."... China, too, seems to employ honey traps regularly. When former Deputy Mayor of London Ian Clement was seduced and drugged in his Beijing hotel room in 2009 only to find his BlackBerry stolen the next day, he admitted that he "fell for the oldest trick in the book.""

Otto Fong - "Police report lodged against the anonymous writer for making false claims while rebutting Prof Tommy Koh."
While Otto Fong is weaponising the police in Singapore, he complained about police harassment in 2012

JK Rowling defends Nagini casting in Fantastic Beasts - "JK Rowling has defended the casting of a Korean actress as Voldemort's snake Nagini in the Fantastic Beasts sequel. The latest trailer has revealed Claudia Kim as Nagini and sees her transform into a snake. Some have criticised the fact the only Asian actor in the cast plays a reptile that is a villain's slave... Rowling has been criticised in the past for the lack of diversity in her Harry Potter books and one fan accused her of the casting of Nagini as an Asian woman as an afterthought to try and increase representation. Another fan felt it played into the representation of Asian people as "peripheral in a white-centric world" and "Asian women exist to mainly serve white men's interests.""
When you choose to ride on the back of the SJW tiger and you cannot get off, the only way off is to kill it

How religion cuts crime: Church-goers are less likely to shoplift, take drugs and download music illegally - "People who regularly visit a place of worship are less likely to get involved in low level crime and delinquency, according to new research. A survey from Manchester University found a direct correlation between higher visits to religious places and lower crime figures, especially in relation to shoplifting, drug use and music piracy...
researchers from the University of Oregon found that crime rates are higher in countries where more people believe in heaven than in hell."

No Time For Crime: Study Finds More Religious Communities Have Lower Rates Of Black, White and Latino Violence - "while young adults who considered themselves religious were less likely than others to commit violent or property crimes, those who claimed to be spiritual but set apart from organized religion were more likely to engage in both types of criminal activity."

How France created the metric system - "Today, the metric system, which was created in France, is the official system of measurement for every country in the world except three: the United States, Liberia and Myanmar, also known as Burma"

What happens to police departments that collect more fines? They solve fewer crimes. - The Washington Post

Robbers Cave Experiment / Realistic Conflict Theory - "Muzafer Sherif is a famous social psychologist important to the psychological understanding of groups and its members. His main contribution is known as Realistic Conflict Theory, and accounts for group conflict, negative prejudices, and stereotypes as being the result of competition between groups for desired resources. Sherif validated his theory in one his most famous experiments, "The Robber's Cave""

Handy three-way hood lets you block out human interaction - "Worn as a hood, the front of the handy creation covers up the sides of your face so your desk buddies can’t catch your eye or get your attention. It’s the equivalent of putting on blinkers, and visibly showing people you’re not up for chatting so you can go about your business without distraction."
Does this mean that the burqa and niqab block out human interaction and so should be banned to protect women the same way the Grid Girls and other women are now out of work?

Elon Musk wanted to impress his girlfriend Grimes with $420 share price: SEC - "The SEC made the connection clear after announcing that it had sued Musk for falsely asserting that he had secured funding to take the company private at $420 a share"

'Distracted boyfriend' meme ruled sexist by Swedish watchdog
Sweden.

Western Civilisation "Not Welcome Here" - "The rejection of a Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation is predicated on the absurd notion that anyone who wants to talk about or study Western Civilisation must be a white supremacist. In some academic circles, Western Civilisation is held responsible for all evils in the world, past, present and future... When I added that I thought all students studying an undergraduate degree in history, or any humanities degree for that matter, should be required to do a foundation course in Western Civilisation, he was shocked and horrified. From his point of view, knowing about what happened during the Scientific Revolution or the Enlightenment is an irrelevancy and a waste of students’ time. For him, history is about ‘issues,’ not knowledge... The new humanities maintain that for the last 500 years, Western Civilisation has got it wrong when it comes to knowledge, truth and science. These fields tend to claim that both knowledge and truth are not absolute, but are relative. For example, there is no objective truth and truth is dependent on who is speaking it and in what context. Insofar as science is concerned, they claim that scientific theories don’t really provide us with what we could call knowledge but are actually “invented” rather than discovered. History as a discipline best exemplifies the influence of the postmodernists and their ilk on the humanities... a study of all 746 history subjects taught in Australian universities revealed that 244 of those subjects were devoted entirely to class, gender, and race. Many were a pastiche of identity politics in which the stunning complexity of the past is increasingly reduced to a very limited range of themes... A keyword search of all the history subject descriptions taught in 2017 reveals that there were more instances of the words gender and race than there are Enlightenment or Reformation. What is more, a perusal of the University of Sydney’s history faculty staff profiles reveals that 20 of the 32 staff have variously identified gender and sexuality, racial thought, women’s history and power as their current historical fixations. The left-wing leitmotifs of class, race, and gender have replaced the essential core subjects which explain the political, intellectual, social and material basis of the history of Western Civilisation. This approach is not only boring and repetitive, it is fundamentally anti-intellectual"

Do you boast about your fitness? Watch out – you’ll unavoidably become rightwing - "Unavoidably, over time, this makes you more rightwing, as you descend into an aerobics-powered moral universe where only the weak need each other, and all the strong need is a waterpouch in their backpack that pipes straight into their mouths."
The Guardian is the new Onion

Data mining reveals the hidden laws of evolution behind classical music

Why “Open Borders” is a Dangerous Idea - "It is my fear that the primary near-term effect will be surging tribalism. Unlimited mass migration could cripple liberal Western powers with perpetual ethnic tension, and halt their ability to effectively act on the world stage. This could cede the century to more unified authoritarian powers such as Russia and China who have drastically different value systems and views of human dignity. The open borders philosophy is wrong, because, like the failed ideologies of the past century, it doesn’t account for unpleasant facts about human nature and society. The truth Communism missed is that human beings prefer self-interest to compelled altruism. The truth open borders advocates miss is that human societies are tribal... Many elite Westerners have a passionate belief in diversity because they have lived it. Not always in their neighborhoods, but quite often at university. What they fail to realize is that a top-flight university offers a very narrow type of diversity. For example, in my university class we had over 50 nationalities. It was a wonderful experience, and I formed abiding friendships with people from all over the world. What I later realized, is that the social cohesion of my class was greatly assisted by the fact that the admissions office was a border. They had heavily screened the incoming class for intelligence, socialization, and personality characteristics. The relevant distinction wasn’t between the Tamil Brahmins and Tatar Russians, but between students and non-students. We were all members of a university created community, enjoying carefully curated luxury diversity. None of this is surprising, elites have always gotten along. What the connoisseurs of luxury diversity miss, is that not everyone is a well-socialized member of the culturally converging global bourgeoisie. People from across the world differ significantly in behavior and custom. Some of these behaviors and customs are awesome, others, such as honour killings, are not... There is also a faulty assumption that diverse societies become more tolerant and inclusive over time. The Indian sub-continent is one of the most diverse places on the planet. This heterogeneity is long-standing and a result of waves of mass migration onto the sub-continent over tens of thousands of years. Yet after all this civilizational experience with diversity, India still has xenophobia, with more than 40% of respondents to the World Values Survey stating that they would “not like to live next door to a person of another race”... History has demonstrated innumerable times that at-scale diversity doesn’t create utopia but tension. This tension can sometimes be negotiated, but often leads to societal fragmentation, secession, or the establishment of sprawling despotisms like the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Mughal empires... Of the top ten most diverse countries in the world, every single one has suffered major, lethal political violence since 2001. Diversity is not some holy sacrament, it is a deadly serious socio-political challenge that needs to be prudently managed. It is a mistake to believe that unregulated mass migration will bring about redemption for guilty Westerners. For whatever economic benefits it may bring, it will also bring tribalism, disunity, and violence"
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