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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Links - 20th December 2018 (1)

Sorry, New York Times: The state of marriage in America is not good - "family instability continues to worsen in the United States. As David Frum pointed out, a declining divorce rate is perfectly consistent with an ever-falling rate of marriage and a rising rate of out-of-wedlock childbirth... The idea that most marriages were previously loveless, or at least stitched together with much greater indifference to love, is a self-flattering fantasy that recurs constantly. As Ferdinand Mount recounts in his book The Subversive Family, historians since the Victorian era have variously pointed to the medieval period, the Renaissance, or even the Tudor era as a time when romantic love and marriage for love were finally discovered or invented. In fact, testimony to love-marriage has been recorded in every era. Our notions of history are corrupted by the fact that the lives of royalty and other aristocratic classes, where arranged marriage was more common, were better recorded. Speaking of which, our idea that property and prospect matter so much less now is silly. Marriage patterns are becoming more narrowly class-based than before. There were more marriages contracted across socioeconomic chasms in the bad old 1950s and 60s... The data shows that people who already succeed in many aspects of their life are making successes of their marriages. Far from a progressive dream, we may be returning to the two worlds of aristocracy. A married upper class and an unmarried peasantry is exactly what you see when you look at the British Isles in the early 20th century."

Why IQ levels are falling

Good Ideas Vs Bad Ideas: Against The Regressive Left, Islamists & Racists - "A book about pussy hats, one about protesting. And one by Chelsea Clinton.
In the children's books section

Ta-Nehisi Coates -- Black Critics Reject His Overwrought ‘Antiracism’ - "When it comes to essays about Ta-Nehisi Coates, you can almost guess the race of the writer from the tone of the piece. If the words ring with a sort of rapturous adulation, as though the writer feels blessed to be allowed to absorb Coates’s wisdom and especially his chastisement, the author tends to be white. Several prominent black writers, however, have written pieces that are much more equivocal, suggesting Coates’s central claims are off the mark... Coates’s fatalistic writing, particularly the memoir Between the World and Me, denies agency to blacks and risks alienating Coates’s son, to whom the book is addressed and who was famously pushed on an escalator at a movie theater as a little kid. Asking, “By what impertinence would you hold any white person guilty for the crime of simply being born white?” Hill declares, “You are trading on black suffering to create a perpetual caste of racial innocents. And the currency of your economic system is white guilt.”... Coates has “either a cynical or a woefully skewed way of looking at the world,” and he also scores Coates for his denial of black agency, for reducing criminals to “hopeless automatons.” He writes that “despite the undeniable progress that has been made towards equal rights,” Coates insists on presenting racism and racial disparities “as utterly intransigent and impersonal forces, like a natural disaster, for which no one can be usefully held to account.” Coates rejects out of hand the concept of black-on-black crime, which he believes is simply a natural consequence of white supremacy... Coates’s incensed reaction actually did injury to blacks: “As long as black people have to be handled with infantilising care — or fear of dredging up barely submerged ancestral pain — we’ll never be equal or free.”... John McWhorter notes that Coates isn’t really a political analyst to white liberal writers. He’s more of a spiritual leader... Rogers says Coates frames black people as “helpless agents of physical laws,” much like earthquake victims... Rogers feels a “profound sense of disappointment” in Coates’s belief that for black people there can be no escape from the chains forged by whites... Coates, he avers, fails to offer “a vision of what a healthy America or a healthy black community would look like,” preferring instead “an amorphous directive to ‘struggle.’” He adds, “‘Struggling’ without the direction provided by a clear vision, however, is a recipe for disaster. Fish in a boat struggle.”... Those holy words come from a wrathful place, admonishing the sinners to revel in their own rebuke. For white liberals there is a kind of ecstasy to be achieved by flaying themselves with Coates’s hot, stinging words."

Intersectionality: Religion for Deep-Blue America - "Intersectionality privileges experiential authority, with each distinct identity group able to speak conclusively and decisively only about their own experience. So when an issue impacts trans rights, the trans community takes the lead. The responsibility of the rest of the community is to act, then, as their “allies.” If a racial issue comes to the fore — for example, in the context of protests over police shootings — then African Americans take the lead, and LGBT or women’s groups come alongside in support.This is why you’ll often see activist organizations on the left tweet in support of people or causes that have little to do with the mission of the organization. When one part of the movement is threatened, the entire movement is threatened. This is what allyship looks like — a Planned Parenthood affiliate tweeting in support of trans identity. Interestingly, however, the emphasis on experiential authority applies mainly to the experience of leaders and activists. Their experiences give them very real power. Their experiences define the narrative. Contrary experiences, then, represent a threat that must be extinguished. Dissenting women (such as Christina Hoff Sommers) or dissenting people of color often find that they’re vilified, shamed, and “no-platformed.”... much as the Christian church puts a premium on each person’s finding his or her precise role in the body of Christ, intersectionality can provide a person with a specific purpose and role based on individual identity and experience.The faith is fierce. Intolerance in the name of tolerance is the norm. Debate and dialogue are artifacts of scorned “respectability politics.”... In the church of intersectionality, grace is nowhere to be found. Indeed, you can often prove your faith through your ferocity. The right amount of rage, properly directed, can cover a multitude of sins. Do you wonder why the high priestesses of intersectionality — the leaders of the Women’s March — won’t condemn Louis Farrakhan? Because he’s been fighting their version of the good fight for generations. He’s an ally. He’s made all the right enemies."

Christina Hoff Sommers: Lewis & Clark Law Students Shout Down - "Students at Lewis & Clark Law School shouted, sang, and held signs onstage as Christina Hoff Sommers attempted to give a lecture and answer questions. The students held signs saying “No platform for fascists,” “Your rhetoric is not welcome here,” and “Rape culture is not a myth.”"
Recently someone claimed to me that deplatforming was a good thing because only kooks like Alex Jones get deplatformed and they contribute nothing to debate

Teenager quits college course on first day after being given 'final warning' for declaring her support for Tommy Robinson - "The 17-year-old was attending the first day of her art and employability course at Total People, in Prince Albert Street, Crewe, when a political debate erupted among students. Alissa, of Crewe, says her classmates were openly expressing their support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when she told them she identified more with right-wing ideologies... “I said my opinion and the teacher said ‘get out, we don’t want people with your views’. I was given a final warning for being too right wing."

An insurance discount for your fitness data is a bad deal in the long run - "In the brave new world of information capital, sharing data collected from wearables and other technologies could be a slippery slope towards the kind of social hierarchy evident in China’s much-criticised social credit system... Like all forms of capital, information capital has the ability to shape advantage. In this case, those in the top tier receive the economic and social benefits, while those in the bottom tier are punished with higher costs, possible exclusion and maybe even less access to treatments in the future"

Spanish Men Were Completely Wiped Out By The Arrival Of A New Tribe 4,000 Years Ago

Learning Chinese by rote a mistake - "'A language is first listened to, heard and then spoken. It's not read or written - that follows later. (But) we started the wrong way. We insisted on spelling and dictation (in Chinese).' And the way to correct this was to get children interested in the language, regardless of their linguistic ability, he said, because, with interest in the language, they will have it for life.He said that forcing students to just memorise without applying the language and to take examinations on the Chinese language, is wrong.This is because the students would then just aim to pass Chinese in their exams and then forget about the language after that, Mr Lee said.'Successive generations of students paid a heavy price because of my ignorance and my insistence on bilingualism,' he said... Mr Lee said he had a wrong premise about learning languages, equating intelligence to language ability. But later, his daughter, neurologist Lee Wei Ling, told him that they were two different things.So Mr Lee became determined to right his wrongs, which led to changes in how Chinese is taught in schools.In 2005, the Ministry of Education (MOE) increased the weightage in the Primary School Leaving Examination of pupils' oral Mandarin over that of their ability to memorise, say, Chinese characters.This followed the recommendation of a Chinese language review panel in 2004 to put more emphasis on speaking and listening.Since 2007, the ministry also introduced a new Chinese language syllabus where Primary 1 to 5 pupils learn Chinese at their own pace by taking different learning modules based on their ability.These changes aim to make learning Chinese easier, given the increase in the number of children from English-speaking families. An MOE survey found that nearly six in 10 Primary 1 pupils this year come from English-speaking families, up from nearly five in 10 in 2004."

Bilingual Education Was Wrong, Lee Kuan Yew Says - "We started the wrong way," Lee told Channel NewsAsia. "We insisted on ting xie (listening), mo xie (dictation) -- madness!" He confessed that he still cannot speak Mandarin perfectly, even after over 40 years of learning it. "Nobody can master two languages at the same level. If (you think) you can, you're deceiving yourself""

15 Chinese Artifacts That Will Change How You Look at China - "A lesbian [double-ended] bronze dildo... Wait, [Prince] Liu Sheng, you bury yourself with something like this...? No wonder he is known as the licentious Prince Jing of Zhongshan... even the concubines were like this"

Why Chinese Salt-Baked Chicken Is the Juiciest Chicken Ever - "to make yim guk gai, the chicken is first seasoned and wrapped in parchment. Similar to cooking en papillote or al cartoccio, wrapping the chicken in a tight parcel ensures that all the moisture will be contained throughout the cooking process. After it’s wrapped, the chicken is then completely smothered and buried under a ton of scorching hot salt, and left to bake. The hot salt creates an extremely high—and most crucially—even temperature around the chicken, and unlike oven-roasting, has little risk of burning or charring. As a result, the chicken ends up steaming in its own juices, concentrating the flavour and essence of the bird, resulting in an extremely succulent and (for lack of a better word) moist meat."

The Secret to My Mom’s Crackly-Crisp Pork Belly - "For the skin to blister into crispy golden goodness, it needs to be very dry. Patting the pork down with a dry towel helps; so does drying it out in the refrigerator. The kicker, though, is to coat the skin in a salt crust as it roasts. What happens then, is that all of the fat and moisture trapped within the skin itself will be drawn out towards the outer layer of salt as it roasts, allowing the outside to blister up. The salt crust, having done its job, is then cracked and removed, and the pork belly continues to roast over high heat to crisp up thoroughly, resulting in perfect skin every time."
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