"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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Friday, November 23, 2018

Links - 23rd November 2018 (2)

Primary teachers disproportionately white, Irish and Catholic - "The majority of trainee primary school teachers are white, Irish and Catholic and do not reflect our diverse population, new research has found. Dr Manuela Heinz and Dr Elaine Keane, from the school of education in NUI Galway, have carried out the first comprehensive and nationwide study in Ireland which explores the socio-demographic backgrounds of entrants to primary teacher education programmes. According to the Central Statistics Office, 11.6 per cent of the population identify as non-Irish, while 82.2 per cent of the population identify as white Irish. However, some 99 per cent of trainee teachers identified as white Irish and 100 per cent of them said English or Irish was their first language. The research found trainee teachers claiming Irish nationality only are “significantly overrepresented”compared to the general population. The top 10 non-Irish nationalities in the State in 2016 were people from Poland, the UK, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France and Germany."
How come no one complains they are disproportionately female?
Apparently they want more Poles teaching in English even though it's not their native language


Conventional Farms Are Better for Environment than Organic Farms - "Organic food isn't tastier or healthier than conventional food. And no matter what Mom and Pop say, organic farms use pesticides. Lots of them. And now, a new study in Nature Sustainability says that gigantic, high-yield "corporate" farms are better for the environment than Mom and Pop's organic one."

US ends diplomatic visas for UN same-sex partners - "The US has announced it will deny diplomatic visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees. The change went into effect on Monday, giving partners currently in the US until 31 December to leave, get married or otherwise change their visa... the US Mission to the UN lauded the change as a step towards equality, saying "same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses", US media report. But critics have called the move unfair to homosexual partners, given a large number of countries do not recognise same-sex marriage... "Couples already inside of the United States could go to city hall and get married. But they could potentially be exposed to prosecution if they return to a country that criminalises homosexuality or same-sex marriages.""
So much for wanting equality

The Rise of Netflix Competitors Has Pushed Consumers Back Toward Piracy - "after years of declines, BitTorrent usage and piracy is on the rise again. The culprit: an increase in exclusivity deals that force subscribers to hunt and peck among a myriad of streaming services to actually find the content they’re looking for."
Competition isn't always good

Koreas begin clearing landmines from heavily fortified border - "When the work is completed, guard posts and weapons will also be removed, leaving unarmed troops stationed in the area as part of measures to manage tensions along the border... According to South Korean officials, the number of North Korean defectors to the South has fallen since Mr Kim came to power seven years ago. Relations between the North and the South - who are still technically at war despite the end of the Korean War in 1953 - have markedly improved in recent months."
Trump haters can't continue to claim that there hasn't been any improvement at all, so they will just claim that Trump didn't contribute to any positive changes (while continuing to blame him for any bad things)

Parents worried about their teens getting tattoos: Study - "According to a poll conducted in USA, 78% of parents had a clear answer when asked how they would react if their own teen wanted a tattoo- absolutely not. However, another 1 in 10 parents thought a tattoo would be okay as a reward, to mark a special occasion or if the tattoo could be hidden... Roughly half of the parents said that they were very concerned about negative health effects, such as infection, scarring or transmission of diseases, such as hepatitis or HIV, through unsanitary needles. Some of them were also very concerned that employers might judge or stereotype their teen unfavorably if they had a tattoo, while 24 percent were very concerned that a tattoo would reflect badly on the parents themselves. The most common concern among 68 percent of parents was future regret... 32% of parents had a tattoo themselves... parents polled strongly in support of state laws requiring parental consent for tattoos for children under 18 years."

Parliament's statue of Cromwell becomes latest memorial hit by 'rewriting history' row - "A bitter row has broken out between historians after calls for the statue of Oliver Cromwell in front of the Houses of Parliament to be taken down. Jeremy Crick, a social historian from Staffordshire, compared Crowell- who led the Parliamentary forces against the King in the English Civil War - to the Taliban in Afghanistan for his anti-religious zeal and said there should be no place for him outside the Palace of Westminster. His call follows numerous campaigns to remove and replace statues of figures with problematic pasts, notably by students at Oxford to have a statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College taken down for his part in the white colonisation and exploitation of southern Africa."
First they came for the Confederate statues

Women will only be jailed for serious crimes, Justice Secretary reveals - "Women should no longer be sent to prison unless they have committed a serious crime, the Justice Secretary says today, as he unveils a "step change" in the way the justice system deals with female offenders."
Equality means men go to prison, but not women

Costa Coffee advert banned for criticising avocado breakfasts - "An advert for Costa Coffee has been banned for urging customers to buy a bacon roll rather than avocados... Two listeners complained that the ad, which aired in June, discouraged people from opting for fresh fruit... Costa said its ad played on the "frustration and unpredictability of the avocado"."
The UK!

Final Boss Form — This is by far the greatest thing I’ve found in a... - "This is by far the greatest thing I’ve found in a junkyard... SOMEONE ACTUALLY GOT SHOT WHILE DRIVING THEIR DORA THE EXPLORER CAR IN CLARKSVILLE TENNESSEE!"

A Penthouse Made for Instagram - The New York Times - "The 2,400-square-foot space — which rents for $15,000 a month — was designed as a backdrop for Instagram stars... There is also the “rah-rah-Instagram-slash-feminist-wall,” an area filled with photographs of Instagram influencers and messages of female empowerment."

What every business manager should know about algorithm audits - "since those algorithms is dependent on a training data set generated by a human team, they could potentially amplify bias and discrimination, instead of correcting for it. AI is only as good as the data that powers it. If biased data is fed into an algorithm - discriminatory results will follow... The idea behind audit, including algorithm audit, is relatively simple: to examine the inputs, outputs and outcomes in a relatively scientific way. The purpose is to ensure that they are consistent with each other, and with the intention behind the system. In practice, of course, this may be harder to achieve. Some algorithms are relatively easy to audit, like for instance algorithms that use decision trees or logistic regression techniques. Their weights and input variables can easily be observed. and auditing this type of algorithms will include examining the data flows, reviewing assumptions and model weights, where possible, and checking outcomes. Many machine learning algorithms, like for instance deep neural networks are black-boxes by nature, and much harder to audit. It is extremely difficult to look inside those algorithms to establish why a certain result was returned. To address this issue, researchers are exploring ways to make these systems give some approximation of their workings to engineers and end users, and business managers may need to decide whether the usefulness of the algorithm outweighs the concerns about explaining its decisions when necessary."

Girl’s racist poem sparks row in southwestern Germany - "Fourteen-year-old Ida Marie Müller, daughter of Nicole Höchst, performed a poem widely condemned as racist in front of an audience of 100 spectators in Speyer, southwestern Germany. The poem included a reference to a stabbing carried out by an immigrant. Despite the girl receiving the loudest applause, organisers disqualified her... The competition was part of an anti-racism initiative for teenagers hosted by the Speyer Youth Council, reports the Junge Freiheit newspaper. When another participant was announced the winner, some members of the audience responded with loud jeers... Her mother posted messages of support for her daughter on social media, but also shared pictures of the outside of her house, which has been sprayed with anti-AfD graffiti. "Modern Nazis smear other people's houses," she wrote.
The 14-year old's poem included lyrics such as:
"From far away the man fell into the hands of traffickers, with no passport and a mobile phone. He arrived in our hallowed German land. Because he can't get a lady, he helped himself to one with a knife.""
Maybe if she had stuck to condemning German people, she would've won

Is It O.K. to Press Your Spouse to Have a Vasectomy Before You Ditch Him? - The New York Times - "she was planning to leave her husband but was waiting for him to get a vasectomy. She said she knew she’d have to hold his hand through it to make sure it happened. Once the procedure was done, she planned to break the news that she was going to end the marriage. I was dumbfounded and told her that I was concerned that she had chosen to pressure her husband to have a vasectomy before letting him know that she was ending the marriage. She said that she had been warning him for years that she was planning to leave and so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Furthermore, she felt that he could barely manage to parent the children they had and that she didn’t want him to be distracted by more kids. She later reported that when she told her husband of her decision to end the marriage for good, he told her that he was upset to learn this after having had the vasectomy and that he believed it would hurt his chances of finding a new partner. Her response was that she was pretty sure that women weren’t going to be interested in having children with someone his age anyway (he’s middle-aged). This woman is employed by an organization dedicated to reproductive choice and plans to work as a counselor. I have been troubled about what she told me for months and have considered disclosing the information to the organization...
What she did is not just immoral but also in contravention of her employer’s mission. You might worry that her failure to respect the reproductive autonomy of her husband derives from a generalized contempt for the reproductive autonomy of others. But there’s a significant body of research in social psychology suggesting that our conduct in one type of situation often doesn’t generalize to others. You can be an honest broker and a dishonest husband. That someone has done something awful in the context of a difficult marriage, then, doesn’t prove her to be an awful person in every other respect; and it certainly doesn’t establish that she’d be unable to discharge her professional obligations"
So presumably liberals can't use the 'he said something vaguely related to his job, so that shows he can't do his job properly' (e.g. he once made an off-colour joke about women, therefore he can't be a family court judge) argument anymore to take down people they don't like

China Censors Bad Economic News Amid Signs of Slower Growth - The New York Times - "China has long made it clear that reporting on politics, civil society and sensitive historical events is forbidden. Increasingly, it wants to keep negative news about the economy under control, too... The scrutiny over economic news adds to a broader pattern of the tightening of control over media since President Xi Jinping came into power in 2012. Particularly online, the Chinese government has centralized and beefed up regulatory agencies that monitor content. Recently, the agencies have come down harder on entertainment news and celebrity gossip, in addition to political and social issues."
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