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Friday, February 09, 2018

Links - 9th February 2018 (2)

Elke Weiss's answer to From as unbiased a perspective as possible, is the UN truly biased against Israel? - Quora - "UN chief admits bias against Israel says it best...
Is the UN biased towards Israel? It considers it infinitely more problematic than Sudan, Pakistan, China, Cuba and Pakistan combined.
Qatar openly admits to have slave labor.
Saudi Arabia has executions and gender apartheid.
Sudan is...Sudan.
Russia invaded Ukraine"

Three Middle East Myths Exploded - "the myth loudly stated by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that the root of all problems in the Middle East lies with Israel’s intransigence. To accept the Turkish leader’s premise means throwing truth to the wind. Even a cursory study of the Arab world reveals deep-rooted problems having nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with political, economic, and social stasis. But that would have spoiled the appealing narrative...
• The total number of books translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years is fewer than those translated into Spanish in one year.
• Greece — with a population of fewer than 11 million — translates five times as many books from abroad into Greek annually as the 22 Arab countries combined, with a total population of more than 300 million, translate into Arabic...
There exist no overnight or over-the-counter remedies for these maladies that would allow the region to unleash its vast potential, but one thing is clear: they, not the straw man of Israel, are at the heart of the problem."
Colonialism explains why fewer books have been translated into Arabic in 1,000 years than Spanish in one

The Nazi Mass Hysteria of 2017 – Chad Felix Greene - "This week, over 5,000 Leftists, liberal writers and other verified accounts, and apparently Chelsea Clinton, became absolutely convinced that I, a gay Jew, am a Nazi. It all began with CUNY professor Angus Johnston going on a rant about why it is not only ok, but morally just, to physically assault various groups of people engaging in what he considers ‘hate.’... Since Trump announced, the Left has become increasingly preoccupied with white supremacy and now, Nazism. For several months absolutely everyone the President considered a close confidant or put into a position of power in the administration was a white supremacist... Just as many on the Right became fixated on Islam and a Muslim take-over of America after 9/11 and the election of Barack Obama, those on the Left have become absolutely convinced Nazis are literally in control of the White House... I found, surprisingly, that not a single liberal responding to me could tell the difference between Nazi Germany and Neo-Nazis in America... The Daily Beast, a liberal website, even minimized their overall impact... Nazis have no influence, everyone hates them, they are disjointed and scattered across the country, meet twice a year at most and imagine they are making social progress by sharing a cartoon frog online in a continuous loop between themselves. White supremacist marches or rallies tend to be fairly uneventful as well. They do not riot, break windows, burn cars or go shooting up places as a group. They wear their silly costumes, march down the street to a rally point and chant nonsense for a few hours and then go home. If it weren’t for the intense media coverage and the arrival of angry and often violent protesters, these events wouldn’t even be noticed by the majority of America. Charlottesville, for example as described by the Washington Post, only became violent when counter-protesters directly confronted the white supremacist marchers. They began attacking each other in various melees. The rally had ended and the marchers had left by the time the lone and mentally disturbed James Fields ran his car into other cars, hitting protesters and killing Heather Heyer... the ‘violence is resistance’ Left has decided the only acceptable method of combating hateful ideology is through physical force. They have been doing this with Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests across the country... As a general rule, the Left is highly opposed to group blame
There is more than one N word that makes Americans hysterical
The Left is only opposed to group blame where "minorities" are concerned

How Many Nazis Are There in America, Really? - "[The SPLC] estimate that the KKK counts between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide. Back in the 1920’s, when cities across the south were erecting monuments to Confederate generals, the Klan had 4 million members. As Roger L. Simon points out, this would be an impressive decrease even if the population of the U.S. hadn’t swelled since the 1920’s. Back then, the Klan constituted about 4 percent of the entire U.S. population. Now, the KKK is near its nadir. That would make them less than 0.003 percent of the population, even on the higher end of the SPLC’s estimate. But hundreds of protesters do not a country make. Their universal condemnation should further the point that no matter how soft-pedaled, how rebranded, how memed, this juvenile garbage has a diminishing foothold in American culture... Only hundreds showed up to the biggest “alt-right” meeting in the country. A single New York City subway car can hold around 200 people"

Woman who does not understand rape blasted on Imgur - "A woman who shared her views on the difference between regretting a consensual sexual encounter and being a victim of sexual assault sparked a heated online debate after another person irresponsibly claimed her regret is a sign of rape... a woman known as Jesse boldly disagreed with her, responding: 'No, if you regret it then you did not fully 100 per cent consent and that is rape.' She continued: 'You may not want to admit you were raped because it's very traumatic but you were raped'... Plenty of women took to the comments section of the recent Imgur post to slam Jesse for making such an ill-considered claim. 'As a woman who was legitimately raped, I hope that woman is banished to the darkest, cruelest depths of hell,' CrazyMrowLady wrote"

Maki-san deletes ‘Maki Kita’ Instagram post after realising it means ‘Curse us’ in Malay
Facebook comments: "Wait... if maki kita is curse us, wouldn't the whole restaurant name need to change since maki-san probably means curse oneself?"
"I personally found it ridiculous to have a shop named "Hararu Izakaya" (halal izakaya) since Izakaya in its original form is 居酒屋 which has 酒 (sake) in it, which means alcohol."
"A non issue that should have been handled with humor was treated as if it trampled on Malay sensitivities. Trust me; we sold off this country to the british for peanuts so we got bigger problems to worry about."
"Well, Kani Nabe is a legit Japanese dish but means something else completely in Hokkien."

Hindus angered over Aussie ‘You Never Lamb Alone’ ads - "The video showed Lord Ganesha eating meat even though the God is a vegetarian. MLA Andrew Howie said the ad was not intended to offend. “Lamb is the meat that brings people together. Our ‘You Never Lamb Alone’ campaigns have promoted the value of unity and inclusivity ... this latest campaign instalment is no different.”"
Maybe it's better not to be inclusive as it just offends people

Gendered Occupational Interests: Prenatal Androgen Effects on Psychological Orientation to Things Versus People - "We explored the contribution of sex hormones to career-related interests, in particular studying whether prenatal androgens affect interests through psychological orientation to Things versus People. We examined this question in individuals with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), who have atypical exposure to androgens early in development, and their unaffected siblings (total N = 125 aged 9 to 26 years). Females with CAH had more interest in Things versus People than did unaffected females, and variations among females with CAH reflected variations in their degree of androgen exposure. Results provide strong support for hormonal influences on interest in occupations characterized by working with Things versus People."

Why the left must confront the cult of identity politics - "'God is dead and identity fills the vacuum.’ So says Riya Zachariassen, a character in Salman Rushdie’s new novel The Golden House, who holds a senior position at the ‘Museum of Identity’. For Riya, this new movement represents a ‘mighty new force in the world, already as powerful as any theology or ideology’. But when later in the novel she grows disillusioned and resigns her post, her former allies turn nasty. ‘So how’d you feel now about white women dressing up as Pocahontas on Halloween?’ they demand. ‘What’s your position on blackface? Are you a SWERF now as well as a TERF? Maybe you aren’t even an RF any more. What are you? Are you anyone?’ Riya has learnt the hard way that for the guardians of identity politics, apostasy is the unpardonable sin... I find myself tempted to quote the Confucian adage, ‘When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger’, but I would probably be accused of cultural appropriation. For those of us who are still on the left, a return to genuine class consciousness has to be a priority. That identity politics has superseded concerns for the economically disadvantaged is now beyond question. For example, in her recent interview for the Guardian, prominent anti-racist activist Munroe Bergdorf made the astonishing claim that ‘you can be homeless and still have white privilege’. The bourgeois hijacking of the left is apparently complete. The problem lies in the fact that we are facing an ideology based not on reason, but on faith. In place of rational argument, identitarians rely on mindless shibboleths – ‘toxic masculinity’, ‘internalised homophobia’, ‘mansplaining’, ‘white privilege’ – concepts that do not become more convincing by virtue of endless repetition... Worse still, those who dare to oppose their creed are branded as ‘bigots’, or unfairly aligned with racists. When Mark Lilla wrote an article attacking the ways in which identity politics has distorted the key values of liberalism, he was accused of doing the ‘background work of making white supremacy respectable’. What this reveals is not so much an unwillingness to argue, but an inability to argue"

Princeton holds 'F%*# Free Speech' event for Constitution Day - "The lecture, given by Prof. Carolyn Rouse, Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Program in African Studies, was entitled “F%*# Free Speech: An Anthropologist’s Take on Campus Speech Debates.”... Rouse asserted that “free-speech absolutism” has never been treated as a core value of academia. She appeared to use the phrase to refer to the notion that all propositions, arguments, opinions, etc.—however absurd—are deserving of equal consideration, without reference to any peer review process or any system of credentials."

Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars - "A quarter of part-time college academics (many of whom are adjuncts, though it’s not uncommon for adjuncts to work 40 hours a week or more) are said to be enrolled in public assistance programs such as Medicaid... "We take a kind of vow of poverty to continue practicing our profession,” Debra Leigh Scott, who is working on a documentary about adjuncts, said in an email. “We do it because we are dedicated to scholarship, to learning, to our students and to our disciplines.”
Vows of poverty are voluntary

'Demolish that lie': James Forman Jr takes on Black Lives Matter backlash - "in Washington, for example, it was a black electorate and leadership that killed a 1975 bill to decriminalize marijuana. “This was not a story in which a white majority, acting out of indifference or hostility to black lives, imposed tough criminal penalties that disproportionately burdened a black minority,” Forman writes. “Quite the opposite: the leaders of the decriminalization effort were white and … it was blacks who killed marijuana decriminalization in DC.” In the 1980s, this trend toward punitive justice continued. A 1982 ballot initiative to enact harsh mandatory minimum sentences for violent criminals passed in a landslide, with more support in black and poor districts than in their whiter and more affluent equivalents."
In other words, don't blame white people for policies that jail black people, since it's the latter asking for it

Trip to world beard competition ends in arrest for alleged dark web drug dealer - "Investigators tied the username to Vallerius’s real identity through his bitcoin transactions, some of which went to bitcoin wallets associated with his name. They then tracked down his Instagram and Twitter accounts to compare the writing style with that of OxyMonster and discovered “many similarities” including the use of the word “cheers”, frequent quotation marks and intermittent French posts, according to court documents filed in Florida."

'You will be sexually harassed': just one of the perils of working for tips - "When tipping first came to America in the 19th century from Europe (which has since largely erased it) Americans were not taken by the practice, finding it “dehumanizing, demeaning and de-professionalising”, says Saru Jayaraman, the co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. At the time, it seemed contrary to American democratic ideals. “They rejected it as the vestiges of a feudal system. They thought you should get good service regardless of how much you are able to tip,” she says... a study that surveyed 688 restaurant workers found that a staggering 80% of women experienced sexual harassment from customers, two-thirds from managers, and half from co-workers. (Male restaurant workers also suffered sexual harassment, but to a lesser degree.)"

Florida case of clown who killed woman solved, police say – 27 years later - "How many times do you have a clown come to the door, you open the door and it shoots you?"

Hospital bosses forced to chant 'we can do this' over A&E targets - "Hospital bosses were forced to chant “we can do this” by a senior NHS official in an effort to improve their accident and emergency performance in advance of what doctors have warned will be a tough winter for the NHS... Watson told trust bosses that they were initially chanting too quietly and that they should chant the slogan again but louder, and “take the roof off” with the noise."

Peta says sorry for taking girl's pet chihuahua and putting it down - "Zarate alleged Peta operated under a broad policy of euthanising animals, including healthy ones, because it “considers pet ownership to be a form of involuntary bondage”."

Why do Islamist groups in particular seem so much more sadistic, even evil? | Kenan Malik - "Jihadis view themselves as warriors against western imperialism. Yet few anti-imperialists of previous generations would recognise jihadis as ideological kin. There is a long history of popular struggles against colonialism and empire. While such movements often used violent means to pursue their ends, they were rarely “anti-western” in any existential sense. Rather they worked within a universalist moral framework that stressed freedom and emancipation for all humanity."

The public prosecutor, politics and the rule of law - "If one accepts the premise that the public prosecutor should be independent, the first step is to separate the two functions of the Attorney-General. As the Government's legal adviser, he must take instructions from the Cabinet, whatever his own judgment may be. Take this function away from the Attorney-General. Give it to the Solicitor-General, for example. The three non-prosecution divisions of the Attorney-General's Chambers - civil, legislation and international affairs - can come under the Solicitor-General or whoever is designated as the Government's legal adviser."

German man's penis gets stuck in gym weight plate, rescue effort takes 3 hours

Taxman calls on Grab, Uber drivers - "Dodging the taxman will become more difficult in the gig economy, as going cashless allows for better electronic tracking of payments. And the taxman has his sights next on Uber and Grab drivers."
Ergo the push for a cashless economy

Sex and Catholicism

"When we examine the attitude of the Catholic theologians to the latter we find that—for once at least—they hold the same opinion as the majority of psychologists, namely, that it is impossible to abolish prostitution without the risk of causing even greater evils.

St. Augustine said: “ If you abolish courtesans, the whole world will be overthrown by debauch.”

St. Liguori said : “ If prostitutes did not exist, sins of luxury would not be lessened. Sodomy, masturbation, bestiality would increase, and honest women would be exposed to danger.”

Dr. Paul de Regla, in his “ L’Eglise et L’Amour,” says: “ Saint Paul et Saint Augustine en glorifiant la chasteté et l'abstenence au detrement de l’act divin de la procréation ont rendu la prostitution presque inevitable.” [Ed: St Paul and St Augustine, in glorifying chastity and abstinence instead of the divine act of procreation, made prostitution almost inevitable]

He develops this argument further in his book, “L’Eglise et le Mariage.” He has been speaking of the appalling moral scandals caused by grossly immoral priests, such as the Cure of Chatenay, whose “ Memoirs ” occupied much space in the sensational French Press a few years ago. After briefly pointing out that all this is caused by the prohibition of marriage to the clergy, he adds that the Catholic Church does its utmost to spoil marriage itself. He says: “ By acclaiming virginity as superior to marriage the Church has fostered the growth of prostitution. In making marriage unattractive, by driving away its poetry, its charm and its sensuous appeal . . . The Church has simply opened the door to prostitution, to sensual abandon, and to perversions. In desiring to regulate too strictly the vital phenomena of love, by separating it from freedom and pleasure, anti) compressing it into a dry, hard matrimonial formula, which it is declared in advance is inferior to abstinence, the Fathers of the Church have thrown a vast mantle of hypocrisy over the commandment given in Eden, ‘ Increase and multiply’ ”

Several English writers have pointed out the fact that the Catholic bride and bridegroom are expected to go on their honeymoon, after prayer and fasting, as if it were a major surgical operation. The Church teaches, moreover, that sexual intercourse between the married is only permissible when offspring are desired, and some of the Fathers even hold that it is a mortal sin to accomplish the divine act of procreation on a Sunday or Holy Day !

The fundamental change wrought by Christian asceticism upon the popular conception in love has been expressed in an admirable epigram :

“ To the pagan philosopher love was an art in be acquired, to the Christian ascetic it was an evil to be cured, "

It is important to remember that the Catholic Church still tolerates prostitution, and allows women who carry on this infamous trade to attend all the services of the Church. I am informed that even in London many professional prostitutes are “ good Catholics,” and in France and the Latin countries they nearly all are. During my travels in many lands I have met several gentlemen who have given some very interesting information on this strange subject. I am told that the Spanish, Portuguese and South American courtesan always keeps one or more sacred images in the actual room in which she plies her trade. One of these is of course the Holy Virgin, and often the Saviour (with the Sacred Heart) is added as well. Candles are placed in front of the Madonna, and in case she might be offended by scenes of debauch, a little curtain is neatly drawn in front when the “ client ” enters.

The prostitute goes regularly to Confession, confesses all the fornications which she can remember, and receives full absolution, although both priest and penitent are well aware that there has been no repentance whatever, and that she will go straight back to her sordid trade.

In view of the teaching of the Church that a single act of impurity is a “ mortal sin,” this absolution is a little strange. There also remains the terrific problem as to the effect on a young priest of twenty-five or thirty when many young and attractive women come to him every week and describe in fullest detail the unmentionable happenings which have occurred."

--- A Survey of Sex and Celibacy in Religion / T. Clifton Longworth

""For years it has been a common saying that, “Rome has more prostitutes than any city in the world because it has the most celibates.” “There were 6800 registered prostitutes in Rome in 1949, not counting clandestinepractitioners, in a population ofsome 90,000. In Venice, the census of 1509 reported 11,654 prostitutes in a population of some 300,000. An enterprising printer published a 'Catalogue of all the principal and most honored courtesans of Venice, their names, addresses, and fees." ~ Durant, vol. V, p. 576"

--- In His Name / E. Christopher Reyes

Links - 9th February 2018 (1)

Thesis or your life? South African student resists armed robbers to hold on to master's thesis - "Faced with the prospect of losing the only copy of her master's thesis, South African student Noxolo Ntusi resisted armed robbers despite having a gun pointed to her head... she admitted what she did was dangerous and "not very smart", and urged others not to put up a fight during a robbery. "You can always write again," said Ms Ntusi. She has since backed up her work."
This is why you use the cloud

The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life: the new sleep science - "Walker has spent the last four and a half years writing Why We Sleep, a complex but urgent book that examines the effects of this epidemic close up, the idea being that once people know of the powerful links between sleep loss and, among other things, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and poor mental health, they will try harder to get the recommended eight hours a night (sleep deprivation, amazing as this may sound to Donald Trump types, constitutes anything less than seven hours)... Sleep loss costs the UK economy over £30bn a year in lost revenue, or 2% of GDP... in the developed world sleep is strongly associated with weakness, even shame. “We have stigmatised sleep with the label of laziness. We want to seem busy, and one way we express that is by proclaiming how little sleep we’re getting. It’s a badge of honour"... Companies should think about rewarding sleep. Productivity will rise, and motivation, creativity and even levels of honesty will be improved. Sleep can be measured using tracking devices, and some far-sighted companies in the US already give employees time off if they clock enough of it"

Time Use and Productivity: The Wage Returns to Sleep - "Sunset time one hour later decreases short-run wages by 0.5% and long-run wages by 4.5%. After investigating this relationship and ruling out alternative hypotheses, we implement an instrumental variables specification that provides the first causal estimates of the impact of sleep on wages. A one-hour increase in average weekly sleep increases wages by 1.5% in the short run and by 4.9% in the long run."

No sleep for Singapore’s universities - "there is a troubling flip side to such state vigour and largesse, as THE found out when attempting to discuss local politics with one Nanyang employee. The person made it clear that the topic of conversation was off-limits, adding that it was prohibited by a clause in their contract. It is unclear how widespread this practice is. Andersson is open about the fact that personal criticism of officials is off-limits... Areas of research that are off-limits include anything that might exacerbate racial or religious tensions, according to De Meyer... In 2000, “on Friday evening you would go to the airport and would find all the expats flying off to Bali because there was nothing to do in the city. That’s not the case any more,” he says. Andersson becomes positively agitated by the question of whether Singapore is an interesting place to live. “It’s much more interesting than Sheffield…Birmingham…Stockholm…it’s probably one of the 10 most vibrant cities in the world,” he says. Yet when THE spoke to Western expats, many became apologetic, even defensive, about how long they had lived in Singapore, often explaining that it was “convenient” and an easy place to raise children. According to one academic who until recently worked in two major Singaporean universities for more than a decade (and asks not to be named), the country is a “very good place to be productive…but can be dull”. “There is little variation in professional life…there are few social activities…and participation in outreach activities is not encouraged,” she says. During a tour of the National University campus, it became apparent that there was no student bar: according to the guide, it had closed through lack of use... “The worst thing any country can create for itself is a lot of unemployed graduates protesting – because they make the most noise and create the most trouble,” he says with a smile."

Inside the Madness at Evergreen State - WSJ - "some students and faculty were quick to levy accusations of racism with neither evidence nor consideration of the reputational harm they could cause. The emails also reveal Mr. Weinstein and Ms. Heying were not the only ones concerned about a hostile and dangerous campus... Another student, Steve Coffman, responded by asking for proof of racism within the science faculty. Mr. Coffman cited Christopher Hitchens’s variation of Occam’s razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Jacqueline McClenny, an office assistant for the First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services—a campus office that helped organize the Day of Absence—observed that because Hitchens’s razor is an “Englishman’s popularization of a Latin proverb,” it “would seem to itself be the product of at least two traditionally hierarchical, imperialist societies with an interest in disposing of inconvenient questions.” Media professor Naima Lowe urged one of Mr. Weinstein’s defenders to read about how calls for civility are “often used to silence and/or dismiss concerns about racism.” She also said that the “white people making changes in their white supremacist attitudes and behaviors” were those “who do not immediately balk and become defensive,” instead acknowledging that “white supremacy is literally ingrained in everything.” In other words, merely defending oneself against the accusation of “white supremacy” is evidence of guilt... Nancy Koppelman, an American studies and humanities professor, described being “followed by white students who yelled and cursed at me, accused me of not caring about black and brown bodies, and claimed that if I did care I would follow their orders.” Ms. Koppelman, who is 5-foot-1, said the students towered over her, and “the only thing they would accept was my obedience.” She reported that the encounter so unnerved her that she was left physically shaking. Ms. Koppelman wrote that she was worried about “features of the current protest strategy that violate the social contract, and possibly the law.” Tolerating such tactics, she argued, “may create a working environment which is too hostile for some of us to continue our employment at the college.” Her email concluded: “I have not decided whether or how to share these thoughts more widely. If I do, I will very likely be tagged as ‘a racist’ by some of my colleagues and the students they teach.”"

A man who took apricot kernels to beat cancer got cyanide poisoning - "His case, described in the journal BMJ Case Reports, shows how alternative medications, including sham cancer treatments, can put patients at risk... As for the 67-year-old man, he was informed that the kernels were making him sick, but he decided to continue taking them. “He personally believes that the quality of evidence is sufficient for his purposes,” Konstantatos says, “or maybe he cannot wait for the scientific proof to come through as it may take too long to prevent his cancer from recurring.”"

Leave Malaysia while you can, Zaid tells young Malays - "Calling Malaysia a “sick Muslim country”, Zaid Ibrahim today urged Muslims in the country to embrace the Islamic concept of hijrah, or the migration of the Prophet Muhammad to flee from persecution, by moving to the UK where he said their lives would be better... “Corruption and abuse of power are glorified, while beer festivals are held up as an example of evil.”"

Enjoyment of trash films linked to high intelligence, study finds - ""To such viewers, trash films appear as an interesting and welcome deviation from the mainstream fare", says Sarkhosh. "We are dealing here with an audience with above-average education, which one could describe as 'cultural omnivores'. Such viewers are interested in a broad spectrum of art and media across the traditional boundaries of high and popular culture.""

Game Designer Says Developers Would Be More Candid If Gamer Culture Wasn't So Toxic - "Designer and programmer Charles Randall, who has worked for companies like Ubisoft and BioWare, wrote a long thread yesterday that went viral on Twitter and is worth reading. Because Twitter is impossible to read, here it is with a bit of proper formatting"
Comment: "Charles Randall is certainly correct in his assessment that the gaming community is toxic, but he fails to recognize that game companies bring on a lot of anger themselves because they REGULARLY fail to deliver the gaming experience they hype all the way up to release"

Asian Americans: 10 Warning Signs That Show You're Siding With Whiteness - Everyday Feminism
Whiteness = Success
Comment elsewhere: "LOL the Whites and the Gays welcome our Asian brothers and sisters into The Establishment. You're part of the problem now too. Congratulations, you made it!"

Portland Comic Con Bans 'Nazi' Cosplay - Including Red Skull And Hydra Costumes - "That includes anyone dressed as Marvel villian Red Skull or anyone donning the attire of Marvel's dastardly supervillian network, Hydra. In fact, those two costumes were listed by name as banned from Rose City's convention floor - because they're just too triggering for progressives who might be hanging out amidst the tee shirt sellers and autograph booths."

10+ Times People Accidentally Found Their Doppelgängers In Museums And Couldn’t Believe Their Eyes

The Left has a post-truth problem too. It’s called comedy. – LA Times - "The post-truth condition, in which Trumpism has flourished, has its roots in left-wing satire... "The Daily Show," and those who emerged from it, indulged a contempt for real media institutions while effectively competing with them... Satire, like fake news, creates a sense of community through rejection. It delights in tearing down institutions but is useless at constructing them. Jonathan Swift said that satire was a mirror in which viewers discovered everybody's face but their own; its pleasure is the pleasure of othering. The act is inherently tribal as well as political, and social media exacerbates the tribalism... the immediate crisis of American political satire in the Trump era is more basic. It's simple, really: Trump benefits from being satirized."

Italian olive oil scandal: seven top brands 'sold fake extra-virgin' - "Seven of Italy’s best-known olive oil companies are being investigated for allegedly conning consumers by passing off inferior quality virgin olive oil as extra-virgin... Italy has long-standing and seemingly endemic problems with fraud in its lucrative food and drink sector. Air-dried ham produced in Eastern Europe is sometimes passed off as Italian prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella has been found to be made from cow’s milk rather than that of water buffaloes. If the olive harvest is poor, oil is frequently supplemented with supplies from countries such as Greece and Tunisia, but sold as 100 per cent Italian"

A Third of Vegetarians Eat Meat When They’re Drunk - "In a poll of 1789 British vegetarians, the VoucherCodesPro website (that well-known source on vegetarian eating habits) found that 37 percent of veggies eat meat every time they're drunk on a night out... the survey then asked these vegetarians whether they had told anyone about eating meat when drunk. Unsurprisingly, 69 percent said they hadn't, making them both compliant in the mass slaughter of animals and liars. VoucherCodesPro aren't the first to question the commitment of those following a veggie diet. Last year, a study from the Humane Research Council found that five out of six Americans who are currently vegetarian will eventually revert back to omnivorous eating."

Bodek Kosher Produce: First in the Kosher Vegetable Revolution - "Despite their health benefits – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and other vegetables are nutrient powerhouses – the kashrut implications were weighty. These vegetables are prone to insect infestation – and insects are strictly forbidden by the Torah. About twenty years ago, Tzvi Gartenhaus, together with Mr.Weinman and Shaul Perlstein, embarked on a mission to provide kosher consumers with insect-free produce... The average head of lettuce contains as many as 30 thrips and aphids, and certain vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, are so infested, they are practically impossible to clean by hand. The rabbis were making presentations in schools and yeshivas and waking up people to the problem. It was incredible – eating an insect is six times worse than eating treif, and people just didn’t know”... “Bodek soon became known for its high quality as well. Because insects tend to infest lesser-quality produce, Bodek purchases only the highest grade vegetables. And it is constantly developing new ways to improve its products.”"

How Mexico Treats Illegal Aliens - "Mexican president Felipe Calderón has accused Arizona of opening the door “to intolerance, hate, discrimination, and abuse in law enforcement.” But Arizona has nothing on Mexico when it comes to cracking down on illegal aliens... The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” How’s that for racial and ethnic profiling?
If outsiders do not enhance the country’s “economic or national interests” or are “not found to be physically or mentally healthy,” they are not welcome. Neither are those who show “contempt against national sovereignty or security.” They must not be economic burdens on society and must have clean criminal histories. Those seeking to obtain Mexican citizenship must show a birth certificate, provide a bank statement proving economic independence, pass an exam, and prove they can provide their own health care."

The Gender Gap in STEM is NOT What You Think - "Put (too) simply the only men who are good enough to get into university are men who are good at STEM. Women are good enough to get into non-STEM and STEM fields. Thus, among university students, women dominate in the non-STEM fields and men survive in the STEM fields. (The former is mathematically certain while the latter is true only given current absolute numbers of male students. If fewer men went to college, women would dominate both fields). I don’t know whether this story will hold up but one attractive feature, as a theory, is that it is consistent with the worrying exit from the labor market of men at the bottom. If we accept these results, the gender gap industry is focused on the wrong thing. The real gender gap is that men are having trouble competing everywhere except in STEM."

'Death to America' doesn't actually mean death to America - "The chant "Death to America" should not be seen as a threat of violence but rather a political protest, Iran's president says."
It seems that there's an opposite to "dog whistling" - when you say something but don't actually mean it

Venezuela's 'Plan Rabbit' encounters 'cultural problem' - "Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has devised a "rabbit plan" to counter the economic war he says is being waged against his government by "imperialist forces". The president urged crisis-hit Venezuelans to breed rabbits and eat them as a source of animal protein... "When he came back, to his surprise he found people had put little bows on their rabbits and were keeping them as pets, it was an early setback to Plan Rabbit."... The Venezuelan government routinely blames the "economic war" on everything from shortages of food to medicines and toiletries. It alleges that "imperialist forces" are trying to cripple the country economically in order to oust its socialist leader but the opposition says government mismanagement is to blame."
Apparently the only reason socialism fails is imperialism

College Students Say Remembering 9/11 Is Offensive to Muslims - "Students at the University of Minnesota killed a proposed moment of silence for 9/11 victims due to concerns—insulting, childish concerns—that Muslim students would be offended."

Study finds poor men like big boobs while the rich like smaller - "the hungry males preferred the bigger breasted women more than the satiated men"

Burger-flipping robot will grill meat in 50 fast food restaurants - "Miso claims this robot is more akin to a self-driving car than an assembly line machine. What they mean is that Flippy uses feedback-loops that reinforce its good behavior so it gets better with each flip of the burger"

A rapist in a women’s prison? Society has lost the plot - "What kind of society puts a male rapist in a women’s prison? In what nation would it be considered acceptable to put a man convicted of raping two girls into an enclosed space with hundreds of women? In Britain. In 2017. Incredibly, Martin Ponting, who was sentenced to life in 1995 for the rape of two girls under the age of 16, was recently moved to the all-women prison of Bronzefield in Surrey because he now identifies as a woman and goes by the name of Jessica Winfield. He has now been segregated from the other prisoners at Bronzefield presumably for some serious misdemeanour. (For making advances to women, say sections of the press, though the prison authorities deny this.) To place a rapist among women because he claims to be a woman might prove to be the moment the cult of genderfludity crossed the line from irritating to psychotic... Some pro-trans observers have slammed the media for ‘deadnaming’ Ponting — that is, mentioning his old name, Martin Ponting, rather than solely using his new name, Jessica Winfield. But Ponting / Winfield committed his crimes under that ‘dead’ name. Martin Ponting is on public record as having committed two rapes. The idea that we should erase that name to avoid offending his trans sensibilities is perverse: it erases matters of legal record; it memory-holes the name of a criminal. It negates history itself: in this case that a man called Martin Ponting raped two girls. To instruct the media never to mention the name ‘Martin Ponting’ is to engage in a victim-disrespecting act of Orwellian erasure. It once again elevates the eccentric sensitivities of one individual over the rights of everyone else: in this case the right of the public to know and speak about all the details of a crime... The rise of the trans ideology speaks to a really problematic 21st-century idea: that society has a duty to respect our chosen identities."

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Links - 8th February 2018

Chinese teachers' damning verdict on British schoolchildren in Hampshire - "A group of Chinese teachers has blamed the generosity of Britain’s benefits system for lack of ambition, ill-discipline and idleness among school pupils. They believe the option of living on welfare handouts has produced ‘feather-bedded’ teenagers prone to rudeness and disrupting the classroom rather than concentrating on working and getting ahead... The teacher was also puzzled by a girl who left the classroom in tears after learning that singer Zayn Malik had left the boy band One Direction. ‘I found it difficult to understand such emotional behaviour over a pop band,’ Miss Yang said."

A lot of our ideas about bilingual children are total myths - "Although it’s common to expect that someone who is bilingual has a perfect grasp of both languages—the kind with no accent, ginormous vocabularies, and no jumping back and forth between languages in a conversation—perfect bilingualism is pretty rare... Moreover, it takes longer to learn two languages than to learn just one, adds Hoff. So infants exposed to multiple languages from birth may have a slight speaking delay, although even they catch up quickly."

Countries with Higher Levels of Gender Equality Show Larger National Sex Differences in Mathematics Anxiety and Relatively Lower Parental Mathematics Valuation for Girls - "contra predictions, we showed that economically developed and more gender equal countries have a lower overall level of mathematics anxiety, and yet a larger national sex difference in mathematics anxiety relative to less developed countries. Further, although relatively more mothers work in STEM fields in more developed countries, these parents valued, on average, mathematical competence more in their sons than their daughters. The proportion of mothers working in STEM was unrelated to sex differences in mathematics anxiety or performance. We propose that the gender stratification model fails to account for these national patterns and that an alternative model is needed. In the discussion, we suggest how an interaction between socio-cultural values and sex-specific psychological traits can better explain these patterns"

Benedict Cumberbatch considered housing Syrian refugees but didn’t as he has a baby - "The Sherlock star, 41, famously launched an angry tirade in 2015 after a Hamlet performance at the Barbican, blasting the Government for refusing to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years... when asked why he hadn’t led by example and housed destitute refugees himself, he said he was just “trying to raise awareness”."

The Pill Sabotages Sex, Boosts Relationship Happiness - "Comparing the relationships of women who were on the pill when they met their partner with those who weren't, researchers found that pill users were less sexually satisfied, but happier overall with their relationships than women not taking birth control when they first met their mate... these couples who met while the woman was on hormonal birth control were also more emotionally satisfied and were more likely to stay together, on average about two years longer. If those couples did separate, the break-up was more likely to be initiated by the woman. While the nonsexual parts of their relationship were satisfying, these women showed increasing sexual dissatisfaction during their relationships, while there was no change in nonusers. This increasing sexual dissatisfaction could lead to a tipping point between emotional and financial satisfaction and a desire to be sexually satisfied... women not taking hormonal birth control prefer genetically dissimilar men and those with higher testosterone levels and more masculine features. And supporting the lower sexual satisfaction in birth-control couples, previous research has indicated that females with genetically similar partners express lower sexual satisfaction and have a higher interest in having sex with someone who isn't their partner; essentially, they think about cheating... the differences the study found, while statistically significant, were small"

Why Women Lose Interest in Sex - "relationship duration was a better predictor of sexual desire in women than both relationship and sexual satisfaction. While the 0.02 decrease in female desire was small, it contrasts with male desire, which held steady over time... Men consistently report higher levels of sexual desire than women. Differences in levels of hormones — testosterone, specifically — are believed to at least partially explain the gender divide... The results could help researchers understand why women who seek sex therapy complain of low desire more than any other problem. Differences in levels of desire within couples, known as desire discrepancy, is a growing area of interest for therapists."

Bath Spa University 'blocks transgender research' - "A therapist says he is "astonished" by a university's decision to stop him studying people who decide to reverse gender reassignment operations. James Caspian wanted to write a thesis on "detransition" as part of his master's degree in counselling and psychotherapy at Bath Spa University. He said it was rejected by the university's ethics committee because it could be "politically incorrect"... Mr Caspian, a counsellor who specialises in therapy for transgender people, told Radio 4: "I was astonished at that decision. "I think that a university exists to encourage discussion, research - dissent even, challenging perhaps ideas that are out of date or not particularly useful." He says he wanted to study people who had swapped gender and then changed their minds after coming across evidence of a growing number of people who regretted having the surgery and finding no research had been done into the subject... "I found it very difficult to get people willing to talk openly about the experience of reversing surgery. "They said they felt too traumatised to talk about it, which made me think we really need to do the research even more"... "The fundamental reason given was that it might cause criticism of the research on social media and criticism of the research would be criticism of the university and they also added it was better not to offend people"... American transgender activist Riki Wilchins said studies on transgender people could have a "political undercurrent" and potentially have a negative effect on the way they are treated"
It is telling that doing research is against the trans agenda - because it's "transphobic"

University 'turned down politically incorrect transgender research' - "Caspian is a trustee of the Beaumont Trust, a charity that provides education about and support to transgender, transsexual and cross-dressing people. He said he was first alerted to the issue of gender reassignment reversal in 2014, when a Belgrade doctor told him he had been asked to carry out an unprecedented seven reversals that year."

Even asking questions is now ‘transphobic’ - "Detransition therefore is heresy. It suggests some “gatekeeping” is required: that it is misguided to allow ever younger people to take sterility-inducing hormones and have life-altering surgery without professional constraints. Detransition undermines the whole push towards instant, early diagnosis demanded by groups such as Mermaids and administered by Helen Webberley, the Welsh GP interviewed this week in The Times, who is under investigation for giving cross-sex hormones to 12-year-olds. “We have to ask questions,” says Caspian. But trans activists label all academic inquiry as transphobic. An event organised by the London think tank Opus entitled “Attacks on Thinking in the Age of LGBTQWIIAP+” was, ironically, cancelled this week after an online petition and threats of disruption. Since I’ve been writing about this subject, I’ve been contacted by doctors, psychotherapists and concerned transgender people themselves, desperate to speak out on the trans phenomenon but terrified to do so for fear of abuse or even losing their jobs. Caspian, who has left the field of gender counselling, is prepared to be the whistleblower. “We are seeing,” he says, “what Jung called a ‘collective complex’.” He compares this mass hysteria about being trapped in the wrong body to the “glass delusion”, an odd medieval phenomenon where people believed they were made of glass and might shatter. Other clinicians mention the 1990s faux scandals of satanic ritual abuse and false memory syndrome. But unlike them, gender anxiety is supercharged by the internet... what they call the “trans trend” needs analysing as a cultural phenomenon as much as a medical one. “St Paul’s School suddenly has a lot of non-binary girls,” said one child gender expert, “but when I was growing up, that’s where all the anorexics went.” There is no blood test or pathogen to diagnose you as trans; it is solely a matter of interpreting human experience. With children, the dominant interpretation that is currently shouting down all others is that, say, a boy who enjoys “female” toys or clothes must really be a girl. And now trans activists are pushing for the American treatment strategy called “affirmation”, where doctors cannot challenge a patient who declares they are trans"

Why the CDC Stopped Calling Sex Without a Condom 'Unprotected Sex' - "Though we know everyone hasn’t followed this advice, the idea became so ingrained in our conversations about safer sex that it was clear protected sex equaled sex with a condom, while unprotected sex equaled sex without one. Some HIV advocates argue, however, that in this day and age of HIV treatment, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and behavior changes that can decrease risk, this language is no longer accurate or precise. To that end, in December, a group of advocates, spearheaded by the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requesting a terminology change. In January, the CDC announced on a call with more than 80 advocates that it would indeed change the decades-old language. Now, instead of referring to “unprotected sex” to mean sex without a condom, the CDC will refer simply refer to it as “condomless sex.”"
It looks like HIV is the only STI you need to be protected against

Uganda has a huge problem with small condoms - "Lots of Ugandan men have complained to MPs that the condoms are too short and do not fit their sexual organs. These smaller condoms can create pressure during use, which could lead to unexpected bursting. HIV/AIDS is a big problem in the central African nation, with around 80,000 people dying of AIDS every year."
This is why pretending all demographic groups have the same penis size is perilous

Condoms too small for Uganda men, find out where India stands - "In 2006, the Indian Council of Medical Research found that over 60 per cent of the men in Mumbai had penises at least 2.4 centimeters shorter than international condom sizes, and that for 30 per cent of men, the size deficit was five centimeters."

The Condom Cookbook: For those intimate boil in the bag meals - " the whole thing is intended to encourage safe sex as Japanese men are said to be the “third worst condom users in the world” and it is hoped Condom Meals I Want to Make for You will encourage both men and women to see condoms as more than “just contraceptive devices,” and use them more frequently—both in and out of the kitchen"
Damn Japs

Australian children born to ISIS fighters returning home - "The Australian government has planned for the return of at least 70 children of ISIS fighters and will given them counselling, welfare and citizenship... Levi West, a lecturer in terrorism and national security at Charles Sturt University, has previously opened up to the ABC about the threat these children may pose. 'At what age do we assess the children to be too much of a risk, given that they may have been exposed to and substantially influenced by - if not committed to - an ideological framework that is going to cause an enormous problem when we bring them back here,' he said. But there are others, like UNICEF Australia's director of policy and advocacy Amy Lamoin, who say we should look at them first and foremost as children before they are considered a threat."
In 20 years if any of them become terrorists, the government will be blamed for not helping them enough. Or maybe for Islamophobia

Company introduces 'snowflake test' to weed out 'whiny, entitled' millenial candidates - "“We use the test to weed out the sort of people who were inundating us with resumés and didn’t even know what we did.” Mr Reyes said the tactic had been successful - 60 per cent of applicants to his marketing company drop out when they hear about it... You’re young, you’re ignorant, you’re brainwashed by liberal professors who didn’t tell you that in the real world, the only “safe space” is in your parents’ basement.” The company boss said his test has been popular because, “people are sick and tired of having to be so politically correct”. Other firms have contacted him looking to implement similar guards against hiring snowflake candidates, but most are too scared, he added."

Woman who said Hobby Lobby cotton decoration is racist speaks out after widespread backlash - "Rider said that cotton isn’t an art decoration, but rather a symbol of oppression of black people in America."

Disney Collabs With Japanese Wedding Company To Make Princess Wedding Dresses, And They Look Stunning

Fake News: Hungary Blasts MSM for Claiming 'Soros Plan' for Mass Migration into Europe Doesn't Exist - "“at the end of September 2015, [Soros] published an article in his own name entitled – wait for it – ‘George Soros: Here’s my plan to solve the asylum chaos’.” Whilst Soros spokesman Michael Vachon insists “Soros’s position is entirely consistent with mainstream European values [and] the claim that Soros is promoting a scheme to import a million illegal immigrants into Europe is Viktor Orbán’s fantasy,” Dr. Kovács notes that the very first point of the financier’s September 2015 article declares that “the EU has to accept at least a million asylum seekers annually for the foreseeable future”. “Soros, in his own words, clearly has a plan to push immigration on the citizens of Europe, and he’s actively promoting it through his network of so-called ‘civic groups’, through his lobbying of the European Parliament, and in his secretive meetings with members of the European Commission,” the Hungarian concludes."
If it comes from the Horse's mouth...

Answering Shashi Tharoor : Thank Karma the British came ! - "The British departure from India gave way to Hindus killing Muslims, and Muslims killing Hindus. Tharoor doesn’t take into account the caste system or Sati, the practice of burning widows at a husband’s funeral pyre or Mulakkaram, a tax imposed on lower caste Hindu women if they wanted to cover their breasts in public, or Devadasi prostitution where young girls are given away at a young age in religion backed prostitution. The likes of Shashi Tharoor are heralded around like heroes of the Indian people when genuine heroes like the Ezhava woman Nangeli who cut off her own breasts to protest the Mulakkaram tax are lost to history... India itself is a country that was founded on skin colour prejudice. One might even say that Indians took the initiative to pioneer and codify this art of discrimination. Skin colour discrimination is more prevalent in India than it is in any Western Country. There are no “Dalit Lives Matter” protests in India, despite the constant discrimination of Dalits across the country. The Great British Empire is often blamed for its so-called plunder of India, yet its rule of India took place almost entirely through the native Sultans and Maharajas of India acting as Middlemen for the Great British Empire. Meanwhile, the Original colonization of India, when Indo-Iranians invaded Harappa through the Khyber Pass and chased its native proto Dravidian population to the south is hardly brought up, even by their (The proto Dravidians) descendants. Even if you take into account everything wrong with imperialism and the history of colonialism, from the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre to the Bengali Famine, you should not be able to deny the fact that these barbaric practices predate any European hold on the subcontinent and are independent of European interventions... Unlike the Great British Empire which took the initiative to improve India, both culturally and economically, the original colonizers of India were incapable of the slightest bit of Innovations... The modern idea of a civilized society is a western one. It’s “The American Dream” not “The Indian Dream”. Western civilization as we know it today was shaped by the British. It was the Great British Empire which took the initiative to grant equality to everyone in its domain. There is no Indian or any other oriental equivalent of the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights or Speaker’s Corner. The Ottoman Empire, despite being created at a much greater cultural cost than the Great British empire is fetishized for its so-called diversity, while the Great British Empire is vilified for its taxes"

Malayalee father tells what Chinese gangster taught him - "ME: Of course, we were aware of the differences and there were stereotypes. For example, as Indians, we were called "smelly" because quite a few Indians used coconut oil to groom their hair and it did have a smell.
MAYA: That's terrible.
ME: You mean the smell?... we all used to call each other names that, today, would be termed racist. The Chinese would call us "Mama" or "kilenkiah", or shake their heads and imitate our language by saying "annonae". Hey, we were no angels - we would call the Chinese "chinks". But you know what, we really didn't take offence - at least then - because we were close as friends. In fact, these became terms of endearment.
MAYA: Today, if we say such things, we will really get whacked.
ME: Yes, I find that sad, Maya. It's because we don't spend enough time with each other to truly get to know each other. You see, those days, even though there were racial or even racist labels, the effect was neutralised simply because of the amount of time we spent with each other."

Monday, February 05, 2018

Links - 5th February 2018 (2)

The Google Memo: What Does the Research Say About Gender Differences? - "In conclusion, based on the meta-analyses we reviewed and the research on the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis, Damore is correct that there are “population level differences in distributions” of traits that are likely to be relevant for understanding gender gaps at Google and other tech firms. The differences are much larger and more consistent for traits related to interest and enjoyment, rather than ability"

The Most Authoritative Review Paper on Gender Differences - "The authors find, over and over again, that the sex differences we observe often have a biological basis yet are not direct readouts of biological processes; they emerge in the course of development in interaction with social processes, norms, and stereotypes in ways that can vary across cultures and decades... Psychologists often look for sex differences very early in life as clues to the relative contribution of biological and environmental contributions, reasoning that newborns have had fewer social interactions, so the earlier that sex differences are reliably found, the more likely they are assumed to be biological in origin. This assumption is not fully supported by the biological literature because, for many species, sex differences are not evident in infancy and often do not emerge until the age of reproductive maturation. The simple distinction between cognitive sex differences that emerge early in life and those that emerge later does not rule out environmental effects, because the uterine environment affects the development of a fetus"
Newborn girls don't have breasts. Breasts only emerge around age 10, after 10 years of socialisation. Therefore breast development is caused by socialisation and not genetics

Gender Differences in Personality and Interests: When, Where, and Why? - "Results show that gender differences in Big Five personality traits are ‘small’ to ‘moderate,’ with the largest differences occurring for agreeableness and neuroticism (respective ds = 0.40 and 0.34; women higher than men). In contrast, gender differences on the people–things dimension of interests are ‘very large’ (d = 1.18), with women more people-oriented and less thing-oriented than men. Gender differences in personality tend to be larger in gender-egalitarian societies than in gender-inegalitarian societies, a finding that contradicts social role theory but is consistent with evolutionary, attributional, and social comparison theories. In contrast, gender differences in interests appear to be consistent across cultures and over time, a finding that suggests possible biologic influences."

How men's and women's brains are different - "[In the 90s] The neuroscience community had largely considered any observed sex-associated differences in cognition and behavior in humans to be due to the effects of cultural influences. Animal researchers, for their part, seldom even bothered to use female rodents in their experiments, figuring that the cyclical variations in their reproductive hormones would introduce confounding variability into the search for fundamental neurological insights. But over the past 15 years or so, there’s been a sea change as new technologies have generated a growing pile of evidence that there are inherent differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired and how they work... boys and girls 9 to 17 months old — an age when children show few if any signs of recognizing either their own or other children’s sex — nonetheless show marked differences in their preference for stereotypically male versus stereotypically female toys... Many of these cognitive differences appear quite early in life. “You see sex differences in spatial-visualization ability in 2- and 3-month-old infants”"

The Greater Male Variability Hypothesis – An Addendum to our post on the Google Memo - "at the top end of any distribution of test scores where men have higher variability, we’d expect men to make up more than 50% of the upper end of the tail. Thus, any company drawing from the top 5% is likely to find a pool that contains more males. As one goes further out into the tail (i.e. becomes even more selective) the gender tilt becomes larger. Further compounding the gender tilt: the women in this elite group generally have much better verbal skills than the men in that elite group (see Reilly, 2012). This means that these women may be better employees than men who match them on quantitative skills, but because they have such superior verbal skills they have more choices available to them when selecting a profession... Damore was drawing attention to empirical findings that seem to have been previously unknown or ignored at Google, and which might be helpful to the company as it tries to improve its diversity policies and outcomes"

The Fearless Speech Index: Who is afraid to speak, and why? - " Q1: WHAT topics are students reluctant to speak about?
A1: Race, followed by politics and gender...
Q2: WHY are they afraid? What potential consequences cause them the most concern?
A2: Their fellow students...
Q3: WHO is afraid to speak up?
A3: We found no gender differences in overall reluctance, but found a few differences in reasons for reluctance. On politics, the differences were much larger: moderates and especially conservatives are more reluctant to speak than are liberals... Men were more afraid of their fellow students than were women while discussing gender"

Gay Britain: Manchester club scene turns against heteros - "Bars and clubs have started turning away straight customers in what some have described as wave of "Heterophobia", but which the clubs see as essential to the survival of the gay community... Clubs like the Paradise Factory and Poptastic, and bars like Manto now employ drag queens and gay doormen to decide whether customers trying to gain entry really are gay. "We're not anti-straight," says Andrew O'Dwyer, manager of the Paradise Factory, which turns away 400 people every weekend. "They can come in as long as they come with gay friends. But what happens is if you get too many straight people in you get a change in atmosphere, the vibe changes. "It also means you could spend the whole night chatting someone up only to discover at the end of the night that you're not going to get anywhere."... John Hamilton, manager of Poptastic, says its easy to tell who is gay: "By the way they are dressed, by the way they act, their mannerisms and asking them who they kiss and where they go."... Mr Edwards even believes some straight men come to gay clubs looking for women. "The nicer girls who normally get hassled all night, they come here knowing they're not going to get hassled, so you get a straight lad who uses his head a bit and comes here.""
I thought gay people were scared of a way to detect sexuality and mocked the idea that you can tell if someone is gay by looking at him

Difference between an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist and Optician

George Lucas predicted in 1999 that Jar Jar would be seen in a new way 20 years later - "“George said, ‘This happened with the Ewoks. It happened with Chewbacca. It happened with Lando Calrissian,’” Best recalled. “He was used to this. He knew what was going to happen.”"

Danish Prime Minister Warns of the Emergence of Muslim Parallel Societies, No-Go Zones - "The Danish prime minister said that the problem has become so prevalent in Denmark that he is considering state intervention in some areas. The move is unusual for Denmark which rarely ever sees the government interfere in the operation of schools or set specific rules for housing estates, Jyllands-Posten reports. The move is doubly unusual for Europe, where the normal approach of establishment politicians is to deny the existence of no-go zones altogether. The comments by Løkke Rasmussen seem to suggest a radical break from his fellow Western European leaders in that regard... The DF, along with the Conservative Party, has also been deeply concerned with the threat from the growing number of radical Islamists in neighbouring Sweden. Earlier this year, both parties considered backing legislation to greatly increase security on the Swedish border... In 2016, unemployment figures showed of all families who are totally dependent on state handouts, some 84 per cent are “non-Western origin” migrants. In total, a third of all cash paid out in benefits every month goes to these non-Western migrants in Denmark — a surprisingly high figure as among Denmark’s working-age population non-Western migrants make up just eight per cent of residents. Employment is often considered to be an important step on the path to integration for migrant communities."

Denmark Will Take Out Adverts in Foreign Newspapers Telling Refugees: 'Don't Come Here' - "Remarking that “There is something strange about the fact that a refugee would travel through several countries before ending up in Denmark”, fiery Inger Støjberg now seems to be making her job just as much about discouraging migration to Denmark as it is about integrating people after they have arrived"

New Brunswick city bans trick-or-treating for kids over 16, sets Halloween curfew - "Those caught with a “facial disguise” in public after curfew – like a zombie mask or witch’s veil – or anyone over 16 found roaming the streets for treats can be fined up to $200."

Laura Kipnis’s Endless Trial by Title IX - "The new Title IX policies on sexual misconduct which were then sweeping campuses perpetuated “myths and fantasies about power,” Kipnis wrote, which enlarged the invasive power of institutions while undermining the goal of educating students in critical thinking and resilience... One of Ludlow’s accusers, a graduate student (unnamed in Kipnis’s essay), then joined a fellow graduate student in the philosophy department in filing Title IX complaints against Kipnis, under Northwestern’s sexual-misconduct policy. Through her essay and a subsequent tweet about the essay, Kipnis was alleged to have violated the part of the sexual-misconduct policy prohibiting “retaliation”; additionally, she was alleged to have created a “hostile environment” and a “chilling effect” on complaints. Northwestern launched a formal Title IX investigation of Kipnis. Most people under Title IX investigation don’t speak publicly about it, even to defend themselves. But Kipnis responded by publishing a follow-up essay in the Chronicle, called “My Title IX Inquisition,” decrying the investigation as a misuse of Title IX that allowed “intellectual disagreement to be redefined as retaliation.”... A professor whom Kipnis brought to her interview as her “support person” also had a Title IX retaliation complaint filed against him, after he spoke to the faculty senate about his concerns that the Kipnis investigation threatened academic freedom... Title IX can be deployed to make life difficult for a person one despises, for whatever reasons—good or bad. Two professors I spoke to said that they have experienced this phenomenon firsthand... Kipnis’s rebuke of common slippages and conflations, whereby “gropers become rapists and accusers become Survivors,” anticipated a situation in which expression of her opinions about a sexual-harassment allegation could be sincerely perceived as an act of sexual harassment... risk is now built into the professional life of those of us in universities who engage on subjects related to gender and sexuality. Like Kipnis, I routinely hear from teachers who say they are refraining from teaching and writing on such topics for fear of attracting Title IX complaints, which bring possibilities of termination, demotion, pay cuts, and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, especially for the swelling ranks of teachers who, unlike Kipnis and me, do not have tenure. Yet debate on these topics is crucial to the pursuit of sex equality, as much as participants may disagree on what that means"

Kaepernick's Protest is an Incomplete - "When the Black Lives Matter platform calls for an end to private schools and the wholesale defunding of police, it became clear that BLM proponents see the world through the lens of “intersectionality”: an ideology whose proponents believe in a vast “matrix of oppression,” a kind of conspiracy theory that defines the world as an ongoing battle between black and white, rich and poor, men and women, and other opposing forces, always in conflict with each other. This has resulted in a superficial depiction of the challenges faced in inner city communities, and a media obsession and collusion with those who give expression to such reductive ways of thinking. So when a football player like Kaepernick refuses to stand during the National Anthem and says “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” what started out as a protest movement against law enforcement using excessive force upon African-Americans has turned into a wholesale denunciation of America. Catch-all buzzwords like “oppression” are used to command media attention but offer no real-world solutions to complex problems... Those who tow the BLM line have a tendency to reduce complex issues to slogans and rhetorical hype, just as the BLM platform itself has done. Ostensibly written to address pressing issues in the United States, its authors took the liberty to inject disparaging planks that demonize the state of Israel by accusing it of “genocide” — another term that, in addition to insulting Jews and other victims of real genocide, conflates legitimate concerns over law enforcement in America with the policies of a foreign country thousands of miles away – which has nothing to do with the matter of Black lives in America... There is little explanation for BLM’s foray into geopolitics, and this unholy alliance can only be attributed to ignorance and a ride on the coattails of the current wave of acceptable anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment that’s running rampant throughout academic, intellectual and activist circles"

Thousands rally across Philippines to protest against President Rodrigo Duterte - "Ms Robredo said Filipinos born after the Marcos era should not be complacent and should recognise signs of “rising tyranny”. “If we do not remember the past, we are condemned to repeat it,” she said. “Sadly those who are deceived do not even know that they are walking a doomed path.” The rallies were organised to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by Marcos in 1972."

China's projects in Vietnam earn reputation for poor quality, delays - "Surveys suggest most projects suffer from quality concerns, delays, and cost overruns... Common to all the projects were low bids and cheaper cost of investment arrangements. According to Pham Chi Lan, a Vietnamese economic analyst, this will turn out to be very expensive in the long run -- costs will continue escalating for low quality results. Mistakes, shoddy work, obsolete machinery, and accidents have become commonplace, causing a general loss of confidence in China-backed projects"

Professors told to report students who make campus ‘less inclusive’ to Behavior Assessment Team - "the dean’s office of Utah Valley University, a public institution located in the north-central part of Utah, distributed a guidance letter to all faculty encouraging them to report to the school’s Behavior Assessment Team any students who use “inappropriate language,” are “argumentative,” or who speak “loudly.”... “Yes, even in a deep-red state at a university in one of the most conservative counties in America, faculty are afraid to speak their minds publicly if their opinions aren’t 100 percent politically correct”"

Islamic Rules in Danish Schools - "Some Muslim schools in Denmark appear to be employing anti-Semitic teachers, enforcing gender inequality, employing violence against students, offering poor education in general, and teaching jihad... Two former teachers at the Nord-Vest school, Henriette Baden Hesselmann and Gitte Luttinen Ørnkow, described how the children at the school spoke of Danes in terms of "them and us". In a school poetry contest in 2008, several of the children composed poems that detailed their wish to beat up and break the legs and hands of the "Danish pigs". The former teachers described a school culture of intimidation and violence, with the head of the school board yelling at the students in Arabic and beating them. The former teachers added that all their students admitted that they were also beaten at home. The Jew-hatred was unmistakable, as the geography teacher discovered when he almost had to give up teaching a lesson about Israel due to the students' hostility. Another teacher was told not to draw stars in the children's books as a way of showing the children that they had done well, since the star was reminiscent of the Star of David. The girls were not allowed to participate in swimming lessons, sports, or music lessons."

Chinese maze: Village makes giant tech code from trees - "Even beggars have been pictured displaying the codes to encourage donations."

Number of stay-at-home dads falls as novelty of being a 'new man' wears off - "The latest ONS data shows that there are currently 232,000 men opting out of the workplace - the lowest number since 2014, and a sharp drop against a pattern which has been steadily increasing since 1993"

Homelessness is a gendered issue, and it mostly impacts men - "27 different local authorities carried out surveys involving 3,355 homeless people, 71 per cent of whom were men. Not surprisingly, the results revealed that the vast majority of homeless people experiencing health problems in the UK are male. So why did the charity responsible only choose to publicise the problems faced by homeless women?... male gender inequality is not just a symptom of homelessness but also a cause. If the majority of homeless people were women the problem would be solved a lot quicker. Yet because we are collectively more tolerant of the harm that happens to men and boys (than women and girls), we continue to tolerate male homelessness. Homeless charities instinctively know that the public, press and politicians are more sensitive to needs of vulnerable women, which is why they issue press releases that highlight the problems that homeless women face, while ignoring the problems that homeless men face"
Maybe those pointing out the sexism will be accused of whataboutism - while feminist whataboutism is never questioned

Nine out of ten victims of police-related deaths are male. Who cares? - "Generally, there are two reasons the media refer to “people” when telling us stories:
Because the “people” they are referring to are a fairly even mix of men and women
Because the majority of the “people” they are talking about are men...
There’s an exception to this rule. If the “people” in question have perpetrated some heinous crime, then they are no longer “people”, they are male actors in a gendered story, and the fact they are “men” is pushed to the fore...
It’s why, when men and boys account for 8 out 10 violent deaths worldwide, we have global campaigns to end violence against women and girls, but no campaigns to end violence against men and boys. It’s why, when around 95% of the UK prison population is male, we have gendered initiatives to reduce the impact of prison on women, but no gendered initiatives to reduce the impact of prison on men."

Hard Truths About Race on Campus

Hard Truths About Race on Campus - WSJ
By Jonathan Haidt and Lee Jussim

"The president of Yale pledged to spend $50 million to increase faculty diversity and to satisfy other demands. The president of Brown pledged $100 million for diversity training and other steps to create a more “just and inclusive campus.”...

The existing research literature suggests that such reforms will fail to achieve their stated aims of reducing discrimination and inequality. In fact, we think that they are likely to damage race relations and to make campus life more uncomfortable for everyone, particularly black students.

A basic principle of psychology is that people pay more attention to information that predicts important outcomes in their lives. A key social factor that we human beings track is who is “us” and who is “them.” In classic studies, researchers divided people into groups based on arbitrary factors such as a coin toss. They found that, even with such trivial distinctions, people discriminated in favor of their in-group members...

If you set things up so that race conveys less important information than some other salient factor, then people pay less attention to race.

A second principle of psychology is the power of cooperation. When groups face a common threat or challenge, it tends to dissolve enmity and create a mind-set of “one for all, all for one.” Conversely, when groups are put into competition with each other, people readily shift into zero-sum thinking and hostility...

Many students spend four years in a social environment where race conveys useful information about the academic capacity of their peers. People notice useful social cues, and one of the strongest causes of stereotypes is exposure to real group differences. If a school commits to doubling the number of black students, it will have to reach deeper into its pool of black applicants, admitting those with weaker qualifications, particularly if most other schools are doing the same thing. This is likely to make racial gaps larger, which would strengthen the negative stereotypes that students of color find when they arrive on campus.

And racial gaps in classroom performance create other problems. A 2013 study by the economist Peter Arcidiacono of Duke University found that students tend to befriend those who are similar to themselves in academic achievement. This is a big contributor to the patterns of racial and ethnic self-segregation visible on many campuses. If a school increases its affirmative-action efforts in ways that expand these gaps, it is likely to end up with more self-segregation and fewer cross-race friendships, and therefore with even stronger feelings of alienation among black students.

Another common student demand is to commit money to programs and departments devoted to specific ethnic or identity groups...

For black, Asian and Latino students, “membership in ethnically oriented student organizations actually increased the perception that ethnic groups are locked into zero-sum competition with one another and the feeling of victimization by virtue of one’s ethnicity.” The authors also examined the effect on white students of joining fraternities and sororities and found similar effects, including an increased sense of ethnic victimization and opposition to intergroup dating...

Might the negative effects of these policies be counteracted by diversity training? We don’t know. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that corporations and universities spend on them each year, such programs “have never been evaluated with experimental methods,” as a comprehensive 2009 study in the Annual Review of Psychology concluded.

The evaluations that have been done are not encouraging. A major 2007 review of diversity training in corporations concluded that “on average, programs designed to reduce bias among managers responsible for hiring and promotion have not worked.” A review of diversity interventions published in 2014 in the journal Science noted that these programs “often induce ironic negative effects (such as reactance or backlash) by implying that participants are at fault for current diversity challenges.”...

Microaggression training is likely to backfire and increase racial tensions. The term itself encourages moralistic responses to actions that are often unintentional and sometimes even well-meaning. Once something is labeled an act of aggression, it activates an oppressor-victim narrative, which calls out to members of the aggrieved group to rally around the victim. As the threshold for what counts as an offense falls ever lower, cross-racial interactions become more dangerous, and conflict increases...

How would your behavior change if anything you said could be misinterpreted, taken out of context and then reported—anonymously and with no verification—to a central authority with the power to punish you? Wouldn’t faculty and students of all races grow more anxious and guarded whenever students from other backgrounds were present?

Interracial contact can yield many benefits. In a review of more than 500 studies, published in 2006 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Thomas Pettigrew and Linda Tropp concluded that when people of different races and ethnicities mix together and get to know each other, the effect is generally to reduce prejudice on all sides. This is a good justification for increasing diversity... The benefits disappear when there is anxiety about cross-group interactions...

In their book “All That We Can Be” (1996), the sociologists Charles Moskos and John Sibley Butler describe how the U.S. Army escaped from the racial dysfunction of the 1970s to become a model of integration and near-equality by the time of the 1991 Gulf War. The Army invested more resources in training and mentoring black soldiers so that they could meet rigorous promotion standards. But, crucially, standards were lowered for no one, so that the race of officers conveyed no information about their abilities. The Army also promoted cooperation and positive-sum thinking by emphasizing pride in the Army and in America...

As Martin Luther King Jr., put it in 1957: “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

The policies and programs that universities have pursued over the past half-century don’t seem to be working, at least as judged by the recent campus unrest, so reflexively expanding them probably isn’t the answer"

Of course, if you want to stoke identity politics tensions to get more power or resources, diversity initiatives that worsen the problem are a good thing.

Hard Truths and Half-Truths about Race on Campus, Part II
(A response to a response to the above)

"Their claim that we ignored stereotype threat is completely true. This is because stereotype threat is: 1. Not only not well-documented, it is widely misrepresented and misinterpreted; 3. Irrelevant even if it was well-documented...


Stereotype threat proponents have now backed off from their once common claims that stereotype threat fully accounts for Black/White achievement differences. For example, summarizing their meta-analysis of stereotype threat, Walton, Spencer, & Erman (2013) (link is external) wrote: “The estimates suggest that psychological threat accounts for … 17–28% of the White/Black gap on the SAT.”

But whether stereotype threat is even a 17-28% piece in the puzzle is not clear to many scientists outside of an inner circle of advocates and enthusiasts. Skeptical reviews of the stereotype threat literature question whether the phenomenon actually even exists, and suggest that, if it does, its overall effects are quite small (Flore & Wichert, 2012 (link is external); Stoets & Geary, 2012 (link is external)). Furthermore, some large scale failures to replicate have also been published (link is external). Stereotype threat is "well-established" among its most evangelical advocates, but is controversial in the wider scientific community...

C&M-P also make the stunning claim that: “differences in test scores have little to do with ability or qualifications…”

This is out of touch with the science. The predictive validity of standardized tests is one of the most well-established findings in all of psychology"

Hard Truths and Half-Truths about Race on Campus, Part III

"This reveals the type of weaponization of microaggression and diversity training that we consider so dysfunctional. We are calling for a great walking back of the shouting and self-righteousness – most of which is on the part of the protestors, and some of which is on the part of our illiberal colleagues. Despite the fact that protestors have made holding nonleftist views unsafe for expression through disinvitations, disruptions, and accusations of bigotry for imaginary transgressions (link is external), the College Republicans are not usually calling for "safe spaces" and anti-microaggression training. Given the blatant hostility (link is external) to nonleftist views perspectives on many campuses -- nothing "micro" about it -- they would have more cause for doing so than do many of the protestors. The radical academic left’s coddling (link is external) has also led to massive concept creep (link is external)of notions such as microaggressions and cultural appropriation (i.e., ever-expanding beliefs about what constitutes harm). This has created the current environment of hypersensitivity to nonexistent and imagined slights that include such absurdities as protesting yoga classes (link is external) and Halloween costumes (link is external), characterizing cafeteria food as racist (link is external)if it has the wrong ingredients, and characterizing opposition to feminism and affirmative action (link is external) and support for Donald Trump (link is external)as micro- or even macroaggressions. Students now routinely complain of being "violated" when they hear views or observe practices that they simply do not like or disagree with. At Yale, some support repealing the First Amendment (link is external), because free speech is inconsistent with social justice.

This is disturbing stuff. One of the most vile features of the Stalinist Soviet Union was that one could never tell who would “inform” on you (link is external). Friends turned in friends; children and parents turned in one another. Combine some of the crazy things that students are claiming to be “victimized” by, (link is external) with an anonymous “reporting” system (as advocated by C&M-P), and it is hard to not to see an erosion of support for fundamental democratic and academic principles and freedoms. Although the sanctions stop short of being sent to a gulag, they are serious enough that a prominent feminist has been subjected to what she has called “My Title IX Inquisition (link is external),” students have been suspended (link is external)for controversial statements, and now tenure may not be awarded (link is external) to faculty who are deemed insufficiently sensitive to diversity.

But back to forgiveness. How many 19 year old sophomores have engaged in behavior so racist it requires someone to actually forgive them? I suspect vanishingly few. When they have, they should acknowledge their transgressions before asking for forgiveness. But do we really want to presume that most students, simply because they are members in some so-called “privileged”** category, are guilty of racial transgressions that warrant forgiveness?

** There is hardly anyone left as unambiguously "privileged." The list of victimized groups is now so large – including but not restricted to women, blacks, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, Arabs, immigrants, gays, lesbians, transgendered people, people with disabilities, elderly people, single people, those from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds, and those who are overweight – that about 95% of Americans, by this standard, are now “victims.” Concept creep indeed...

Discussing race is important. Self-righteousness, Soviet style punitive “informant” schemes, and mandatory diversity “training,” however, are more likely to stifle than promote such discussions. If one has any doubt, please view this debate held at Yale (link is external), where, despite entering with skepticism, about 2/3 of those attending ended up convinced the current campus protests constitute a serious threat to free speech"
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