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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Links - 23rd August 2018 (2)

The surprising reason people change their minds - "Kristin Laurin of the University of British Columbia examined people’s attitudes before plastic water bottles were prohibited in San Francisco. The ban wasn’t favoured by everyone, but was introduced nonetheless. Just one day later, her team again tested public attitudes. Already, views had changed: people were less opposed. There hadn’t been time for people to change their behaviour to adjust to the practicalities of the ban. So it seemed their mindset itself had changed. In other words, we rationalise the things we feel stuck with"

Lizzie Wade on Twitter - "It's hard for me to imagine that people *wanted* to be sacrificed, but that's my own biases and cultural conditioning talking. How I see the world, filtered through centuries of colonial oppression and destruction, is irrelevant to understanding how they saw the world... the tzompantli seems weird and violent and gruesome to our Western colonial gaze. But don't for a second think that's the only way to see it, or the "right" way to see it."
What happens when relativism and intersectionality combine
Replies: "Slavery apologists employed similar logic"
"This sounds like myth the upper class rulers told themselves. Such myths are common. Such as image of the Japanese noble kamakazi going off to their death singing merry songs and saluting the Emperor. Some truth. Mostly fiction. Good propaganda. Self-justifying "they're willing""
"We can make the author even angrier: It's hard for me to imagine that women "wanted" to serve their husbands and be subjected to their will, with no freedom of their own but that´s my own biases and cultural conditioning talking."
"Weird because your article gets it right describing how those who were forcibly captured in war were sacrificed, and people from some of those groups allied with Spanish. Obviously they didn't *want* to be sacrificed."
"Interesting that you touch on colonial oppression, yet you refer to an 'Aztec empire'."
"Maybe your own biases and cultural conditioning also has you rationalizing human sacrifices in ancient cultures while demonizing "colonial oppression & destruction" in the same tweet."


For Chinese immigrants to the UK, Brexit is a faint beacon of hope - "A combination of EU membership and gormless British civil servants resulted in Britain overtaking the United States in having one of the most callous and cumbersome immigration systems in the world. Living in China, I felt that its system was convoluted and unfair. Why ban people over 60 from having work visas? Why make it so awkward for children of mixed-nationality parents to get residence permits? And so on. Britain, however, is worse... British policy is to reduce immigration, while on the other hand, Britain is required by law to allow all immigrants from the EU to enter. Who suffers? Non-European citizens. There are far more applications from outside the EU than within it, yet only a minority of these applications are accepted. The UK can now deport anyone who has had their visa rejected even if they are appealing and even if their visit visa is valid. Since around a third of appeals succeed, this effectively means that even when the Home Office rejects an application incorrectly, it can still expel the applicant, who now has the choice of appealing from overseas (at least a year away from his or her family in the UK and thousands of pounds in costs), or giving up... The Shanghai city government representative was told she would be unable to return to the UK if she visited Shanghai for the Lunar New Year. There are hundreds of cases like these every year. UKVI staff achieve “targets” by rejecting applicants. Their careers progress if they turn people down, even if the rejection turns out to have been wrong... A beacon of hope is, surprisingly, Brexit. The UK’s departure from the EU will put non-EU applicants on the same footing as Europeans, and so even if UKVI does not reform, the proportion of non-EU groundless rejections will drop"

Why China doesn’t dominate soccer - The Washington Post - "The most populous nation on Earth is not playing in the 2018 World Cup. Soccer is China’s most popular sport, but its current FIFA world ranking is No. 75... China’s soccer troubles are a case study in the limits of authoritarianism... In many Olympic sports, high performance is a matter of biomechanics and discipline. To be sure, neither are irrelevant to soccer — but they are not decisive, and too much discipline can actually be a handicap... Unlike American football, soccer is a free-flowing game of infinite, largely unpredictable variety with relatively little use for rehearsed “plays.” The Dutch superstar Johan Cruyff once said “you play football with your head, and your legs are there to help you.” Physical fitness and some measure of organization and structure are certainly helpful, but each player must be able to strategize on the fly, individually. This means you can certainly improve a terrible team’s performance by focusing on the basics, as many of the world’s weaker nations have done over the past decades, but true success depends on factors that remain elusive. Instead, World Cup victories tend to be associated with the mercurial skills of the iconic players... the more you plan and the more you dictate, the less likely you are to rise beyond mediocrity. There is a lesson here for the United States as well: American mainstream sports tend to rely heavily on the authoritarian figure of the coach, who draws up plays for obedient players to execute. It is an interesting paradox: in its sports culture, the nation that prides itself on a free-wheeling and nearly unbridled individualism actually encourages unquestioning submission in its popular sports... It is no accident that the nation that has won the World Cup more times than any other and has exported the most talent to the rest of the world is synonymous with the most flamboyant, Carnival-esque expression of o jogo bonito, or the beautiful game: spirited Brazil."

Why Women Don't Code - "there are two visions of diversity and inclusion... Advocates of the equality agenda want to see the most talented and passionate individuals joining us regardless of their life circumstances or unalterable characteristics... Professionals and activists who work in this area tend to see it differently. For them, diversity involves a commitment to righting the wrongs of the past. Political and religious diversity are not on their list because they don’t represent the immutable characteristics previously used to justify discrimination... working with the LGBTQ community is important because of the historical oppression they have experienced even though there is no evidence that LGBTQ individuals are currently discriminated against in the field. Their understanding of inclusion is also quite different. Inclusion is about culture, and in a twist worthy of Orwell, inclusion often demands the exclusion of ideas and opinions... among professionals and activists, ‘equity’ has the specific meaning of working to dismantle existing power structures as a way to redress privilege.I refer to this combination of ideas as the ‘equity agenda.’ While the equality agenda focuses on equality of opportunity, the equity agenda is concerned with outcomes... When I tried to discuss Damore at my school, I found it almost impossible. As a thought experiment, I asked how we could make someone like Damore feel welcome in our community. The pushback was intense. My question was labeled an “inflammatory example” and my comments were described as “hurtful” to women. When I mentioned that perhaps we could invite Damore to speak at UW, a faculty member responded, “If he comes here, we’ll hurt him.”... this issue has acquired a moral dimension, which is why the response is often anger. Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, has described this as elevating certain ideas to a sacred status. In this case, suggesting that men and women are different either in interests or abilities is considered blasphemy... fortunately we don’t need to turn to biology or Damore for evidence that men and women are different. The gender diversity movement itself has spent the better part of 30 years cataloguing differences between men and women. Indeed, the entire goal of achieving gender diversity makes no sense unless you believe that men and women work in fundamentally different ways... one should never attribute to oppression that which is adequately explained by free choice. If men and women are different, then we should expect them to make different choices... I worry that lack of progress will make us more likely to switch from positive messages about women succeeding in tech to negative stories about men behaving badly in tech, which I think will do more harm than good. Women will find themselves wondering if they should resent men and men will feel guilty for sins committed by other men. Women are not going to find this message appealing and men will find themselves feeling even more awkward around women than they would be otherwise... It’s time for everyone to be honest, and my honest view is that having 20 percent women in tech is probably the best we are likely to achieve... I have already been told that expressing such ideas is hurtful to women. But it is exactly because I care so much about diversity that I value honesty above politeness. To be effective, we have to commit ourselves to a search for the truth and that search can succeed only if everyone feels comfortable sharing their honest opinions."
Yet, saying that men and women are different in a way that apparently disadvantages women = misogyny

Blood sutra: whatever happened to Buddhism, religion of peace and compassion? - "The seeds of such violence are embedded in Buddhist texts and doctrines themselves. For example, Buddhist religious texts state the Buddha’s teachings are subject to decline and will disappear at a specific point in history. This lends itself to the need to preserve Buddhism for future generations and defend it against attack. There is also the textual idea that a pure version of Buddhism, existing in a particular geographical location, must be defended, and this includes protecting Buddhism against insult and disrespect. This all leads to an urgency to protect and defend Buddhism, and to the possibility of Buddhist violence"

As Facebook ages, teens look elsewhere to connect - "34 per cent of US online youth view Facebook "as a website for old people and parents."

Opinion | The Ignorant Do Not Have a Right to an Audience - The New York Times - "The problem with Mill’s argument is that he takes for granted a naïve conception of rationality that he inherited from Enlightenment thinkers like René Descartes... As an advocate of women’s rights and an opponent of slavery, Mill knew that many people then regarded even the discussion of these issues as offensive. He hoped that by making freedom of speech a near absolute right he could guarantee a hearing for opinions that were true but unpopular among most of his contemporaries.However, our situation is very different from that of Mill. We are seeing the worsening of a trend that the 20th century German-American philosopher Herbert Marcuse warned of back in 1965
Great argument. The glorification of Marcuse is a great sign. The author will surely approve when he is censored using the same logic (despite having tenure) when someone on the other side of the political spectrum comes to power.
Unsurprisingly, he is at Yale-NUS
Comment (elsewhere): "Interestingly to smear Peterson, he misrepresents hims (sic) and to smear Murray, he posts a debunked Vox article, so by his own logic he doesn't deserve an audience."


People are ‘ghosting’ at work, and it's driving companies crazy - "In fields ranging from food service to finance, recruiters and hiring managers say a tightening job market and a sustained labor shortage have contributed to a surge in professionals abruptly cutting off contact and turning silent — the type of behavior more often associated with online dating than office life. The practice is prolonging hiring, forcing companies to overhaul their processes and tormenting recruiters, who find themselves under constant pressure... Where once it was companies ignoring job applicants or snubbing candidates after interviews, the world has flipped... The trouble is not limited to minimum-wage work. About a tenth of registered nurses go dark entirely after Central Florida Health's Widgren reaches out to extend an offer at his organization... candidates — scarred from years of applying for jobs, spending hours preparing for interviews, only to get form rejections back — may not be to blame for going cold, said Peter Cappelli, a management professor and director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources. “I think they have learned it from the employers,” he said. “Employers were notorious for never getting back to people, and only letting them know what was going on if it turned out they wanted them to go to the next step.” He added: “The employers have been far worse about this than any of the job seekers.”"

Why is Cinco de Mayo More Popular in America Than in Mexico? - "Contrary to widespread popular belief, May 5th is not actually Mexican Independence Day, and the holiday is primarily celebrated in only one of Mexico's 31 states"
If Mexicans don't really care, should Mexican-Americans fetishise it?

How a S$3,000 bill became S$30,000: The truth behind retailers' instalment plans

Only 5% Of Women In India Choose Their Husbands, 80% Need Permission To Visit A Health Centre - "Does higher literacy lead to greater decision-making power? Not really. A woman's power to make decisions regarding marriage, and visits to a healthcare centre are not correlated with literacy at the state-level, or to the sex ratio (the number of females per 1000 males), suggesting the role of social norms, which might differ by state."
Since feminists claim that women are equally oppressed everywhere, not just in the third world, maybe they should move to the third world

Automatic Clicker - Apps on Google Play
Samsung Game Tuner removed the macro function boo. Luckily automatic clicker does the job even better (no rooting needed either!)

Opioids And Suicides Coincide With Increasing Despair Among Poorer Americans - "The results imply that many of the disturbing trends America is experiencing are rooted in declining mental health, and are unlikely to be truly fixed without tackling this issue. This despair, in turn, appears to have economic origins, whether in falling incomes, reduced economic opportunity, or both."

Scientists Just Found Almost 1,000 New Genes Associated With Intelligence - "the genes that make for smartness also look to confer a protective effect to overall cognitive health, with the analysis finding a negative correlation with Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depressive symptoms, and schizophrenia. The intelligence genes were however correlated with increased instances of autism, and also longevity, suggesting people with these genetic underpinnings of high intelligence are more likely to live longer."
When they find out some genes vary according to demographic group...

Paris museum opens its doors to nudists - "The Palais de Tokyo's... event marked the first time a Paris museum has welcomed nudists and follows last summer's successful establishment of a nude zone in the city's Bois de Vincennes park... There are an estimated 2.6 million naturists in France and Paris has an active Nudists Association. Parisian naturists can bathe in the buff in the Roger Le Gall swimming pool and enjoy nude exercise classes and bowling games."

Laura Ingalls Wilder's name removed from book award over racism concerns - "A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder from a major children’s book award, over concerns about how the author portrayed African Americans and Native Americans... Wilder was born in 1867 and died in 1957. She is best known for her eight Little House on the Prairie novels, about pioneer life in the American west, which were published between 1932 and 1943."
Down the memory hole...

Trump commutes sentence after appeal by Kim Kardashian - "U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted the life sentence of a woman for a first-time drug offense whose cause was taken up by celebrity Kim Kardashian West, and he is prepared to use his constitutional clemency powers to give relief to dozens more convicts... Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old from Tennessee, has already served more than 20 years in prison on drug conspiracy and money laundering charges... Sanders said that while “this administration will always be very tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance.”"
Of course, this got criticism

People are complaining about Grab. We find out why - "As a designer myself, I’ll analyze Grab’s app from a product perspective to shed light on the issue"

On the Real Magnitude of Psychological Sex Differences - "(1) In a published dataset on Big Five personality traits, sex differences on individual scales averaged d = .27, a typical ES conventionally regarded as “small.” However, the overall difference was D = .84 (disattenuated D = .98), implying considerable statistical separation between male and female distributions. (2) In a recent meta-analytic summary of sex differences in aggression, the individual ESs averaged d = .34. However, the overall difference was estimated at D = .75 – .80 (disattenuated D = .89–1.01). In many psychological domains, sex differences may be substantially larger than previously acknowledged"

Notes to My Activist Self

Notes to My Activist Self – Wael Ghonim

" Public attention is a means not a goal.

Spend more time engaging your opponents.

Read what you disagree with.

Stop being extreme and exclusive while advocating for tolerance and diversity.

Don’t take part in an angry mob. Take part in a movement that channels your anger into something productive.

Make your ego a vehicle for your cause. Do not make your cause a vehicle for your ego.

Communicate in a language that people use in their day to day life.

Admit your mistakes. Embrace your vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

It’s biologically rewarding when you dehumanize your opponents. They like doing that too.

“Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you.” ~ Confucius

If you want someone to act hostile towards your cause; insult them and mock what they stand for!

Cops are not bastards. Activists are not angels. We are all complex humans. Focus your energy on fixing systems not judging people.

Conservatives need liberals for progress. Liberals need conservatives for stability.

Revolutionaries need reformers who act within the social bounds to push for positive change.

Those who speak on behalf of a cause could harm it the most. Keep your mouth shut until you have something useful to say.

99% of conspiracy theories are false.
Hint: You will never find the 1% where you expect them to be.

Stop believing falsehoods that confirm your biases while condemning your opponents for lying.

The more you are emotionally invested, the less likely you will be rational.

Question authority.
P.S.: You are an authority.

“Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Attention is a scarce resource of modern times. Dignity and compassion is even scarcer.

Forgive yourself when you don’t meet your highest standards but give yourself a lot of shit for it."

Links - 23rd August 2018 (1)

Kids in cages: The fake news that made child separation a big story - "If we pursue a zero tolerance policy at the border that means children, some of them very young, will be separated from their parents since children can’t be kept in holding cells with adults. It’s a real issue. But it’s noteworthy at this point how many times the activists on the left have crawled toward the real issue using what can only be called fake news... 'The photos, taken by The Associated Press, were from 2014, during the Obama administration, but were presented by liberal activists as if they showed the effects of Trump’s immigration policy'... the process by which this became the most emotional issue in the country has relied on a series of misleading photographs spread first by activists and finally by the major media. The media is still trying to get the story straight. As you can see above, after each dishonest photo, we eventually get a fact-check, but by that point the outrage whipped up by the fake image has already taken hold. This is the “hands up, don’t shoot” approach to journalism all over again."
Is it dangerous to say the press is lying when it is?

Father says little Honduran girl on Time cover was not taken from mother - "The Honduran toddler pictured sobbing in a pink jacket before U.S. President Donald Trump on an upcoming cover of Time magazine was not separated from her mother at the U.S. border, according to a man who says he is the girl's father... The photo was used on a Facebook fundraiser that drew more than $17 million dollars in donations... Sanchez and her daughter had left Puerto Cortes, a major Honduran port north of the capital city, Tegucigalpa, without telling Valera or the couple's three other children, he said. He said he imagined that Sanchez left with the little girl for the United States, where she has family, in search of better economic opportunities.
Presumably all economic migrants are considered asylum seekers

This photo isn’t what it seems - and that really matters - "Time magazine published a lie last week, and no one seems very bothered about it. In relation to the viral photo of a two-year-old girl from Honduras crying next to her mother at the Mexico/America border, Time said the girl had been dragged, screaming and weeping, from her parents. We now know this isn’t true. The girl was not separated from her mother. She was crying as her mother was searched by guards because, according to her father, she was tired, hungry and distressed. Time has now published a correction saying ‘the girl was not carried away screaming…. her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together’. More disturbing than the error – journalists often make errors, some honest, others less so – has been Time’s ongoing defence of its use of the photo and the article that accompanied it... a quasi-religious anti-Trump outlook is now so widespread in the mainstream media that some editors and reporters think even untruths can be justified as part of a broader mission to expose Trump’s wickedness... The anti-Trump and anti-Brexit cultural elites often talk about our ‘post-truth’ society... we become children, deserving only fairytales to offer us moral guidance."
If the media is nonchalent about publishing fake news...

Here’s All The Proof You Need That Democrats Never Cared About Separation Of Illegal Immigrant Children From Parents - "when Trump signed the executive order, you’d imagine that Democrats would have celebrated – after all, kids would now be able to stay with their parents, so far as the law allowed! Instead, Democrats immediately suggested that holding children together with parents was brutal and evil – the same argument civil rights groups made when President Obama pursued the same policy, an argument that ended in a Ninth Circuit ruling mandating the separation of children from parents... in other words, they didn’t care all that much about separation, because when the separation is rectified, that too is awful. All those on the Left really want is the full release of all illegal immigrants with children"

Delusion About Detentions: On Family Separation at the Border - "the administration has the discretion to allow for the release of illegal border crossers but has no obligation to exercise it. On the merits, that is a wise policy because of the high likelihood of aliens absconding and failing to appear before an immigration judge later. According to former immigration judge Mark Metcalf’s analysis, 37 percent of all aliens free pending adjudication did not bother to show up to court. But the recent trend is more concerning: according to the Justice Department, “From FY 2012 to FY 2015 the number of in absentia orders for aliens who are not currently detained increased by 98 percent.”... immigration judges are rejecting the asylum claims made by migrants—granting less than one in five of all asylum petitions in the last few years"

It's offensive and inaccurate to compare the US border tragedy to the Holocaust - "Many people have pointed to the glaring similarity: In the Nazi death camps and concentration camps, much like at the US-Mexico border, children were separated from parents. That’s true. But in Nazi-occupied Europe, those children were also gassed. Their bodies were carried by other prisoners, sometimes their own parents, into the crematoria, where they were burned. Their ashes are all that remain. Their parents, assuming they were in reasonable shape, were put into forced labor and starved. Many died from the conditions. There’s nothing similar about that situation to the one that’s happening at the border... comparisons to Auschwitz are ludicrous and offensive. Blitzer explained to Hayden why so many people were outraged by his tweet. “I speak with some authority on this,” Blitzer said. “My grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz. My dad survived, but two of his brothers and two of his sisters were killed at Auschwitz. They weren’t separated to go to some other facility. They were separated to die.”"
Of course, SJWs get upset when you compare LGBTs and black people to suggest some form of equivalence

Trump's Immigration Policies Are Actually Pretty Popular - "the vast majority of Americans polled support either President Trump’s executive order, the initial enforcement of the law that resulted in family separation, or something even stricter. A CNN contributor said Trump’s border enforcement policies were akin to the Holocaust. A Washington Post writer said they were more like slavery. An MSNBC contributor said border enforcement was racist. A CNBC contributor said the same. Outrage blanketed the airwaves. Few explained why they didn’t care much or at all about child detention centers during the Obama administration... only 8 percent of American voters think illegal immigration is not a serious problem."
Looks like Trump 2020 is assured, given liberal hysteria and the liberal echo chamber

First peek: Immigrant children flood detention center - "They are undocumented. They entered the country illegally. And when they were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they were shipped to Nogales from overwhelmed processing facilities in Texas. But they are still children in cages, not gangsters, not delinquents. Just children, 900 of them, in a makeshift border-town processing center that is larger than a football field"
From 2014, when children in cages was not a problem

Here Are The Photos Of Obama’s Illegal Immigrant Detention Facilities The Media Won’t Show You

Flores agreement: the problem with Trump’s executive order to end family separation - "In 2014, however, the Obama administration attempted to tamp down the number of Central American families seeking asylum in the US by keeping families in detention and processing and deporting them as quickly as possible. Immigration advocates challenged the policy of family detention under Flores. And judges agreed with them — in large part because it said the Obama administration was out of bounds in detaining migrant families for the purpose of “deterrence.” (As NBC’s Benjy Sarlin has pointed out, that’s why certain Trump administration officials have been careful not to say that family separation is a deterrent, or even a policy, now.) Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Flores settlement covered not just unaccompanied alien children but “accompanied” ones as well. It set a general standard that the government couldn’t hold them in custody for more than 20 days. The Ninth Circuit stopped short of saying that parents could be released under Flores. But the federal government hasn’t responded to Flores by keeping families together for a few weeks and then splitting them apart. Instead, it’s made a practice, for the most part, of releasing the whole family after 20 days. Since the current family detention facilities — two in Texas created under Obama, and an older one on Pennsylvania — are mostly full, they don’t have a ton of space to detain families anyway. This is one example of what the Trump administration calls “catch and release.”"

Phil Murphy signs bill to let unauthorized immigrants get college financial aid - "A New Jersey college student's immigration status will no longer play a factor into whether that student is eligible for certain in-state financial aid. College students who are unauthorized immigrants in the state are already allowed to pay for their Garden State college classes at in-state rates... The bill sparked controversy when it made its way through the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Republican lawmakers blasted the legislation as a measure that gives a leg up over New Jerseyans who are here in the state legally... "Treating non-citizens better than citizens, I think, is fundamentally wrong""

Don Don Donki says Orchard Central landlord stopped it from selling sex toys - "Japanese discount retailer Don Don Donki says the landlord at its Orchard Road store did not allow it to sell sex toys, which is why such products are sold at its new Tanjong Pagar outlet but not at the Orchard outlet... Orchard Central is owned and managed by property giant Far East Organisation, which brands itself as a “Christian enterprise”."

Hot Dog Water sold for $38 a bottle at Canadian Festival - "dozens bought a bottle at the annual festival on June 17 -- about 60 bottles in all at $37.99 Canadian a pop, or about $28.57 in U.S. dollars, said the seller, Douglas Bevans. What started out as a joke appeared to be catching on... Hot Dog Water comes billed as Keto diet compatible, helping drinkers lose weight, increase brain function, look younger and increase vitality. Not to mention, the weeny-flavored elixir claimed to correct electrolyte imbalances, and help fight infection and diseases."

Firing at Refugees: EU Money Helped Fortify Turkey's Border - "Turkey has even built a wall along its border to Syria. It is several hundred kilometers long, 3 meters (10 feet) high and equipped with heat-detection cameras.
Walls are only bad when built by the US to deter economic migrants

Is Intersectionality a Religion? - "It is operating, in Orwell’s words, as a “smelly little orthodoxy,” and it manifests itself, it seems to me, almost as a religion. It posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained — and through which all speech must be filtered. Its version of original sin is the power of some identity groups over others. To overcome this sin, you need first to confess, i.e., “check your privilege,” and subsequently live your life and order your thoughts in a way that keeps this sin at bay. The sin goes so deep into your psyche, especially if you are white or male or straight, that a profound conversion is required. Like the Puritanism once familiar in New England, intersectionality controls language and the very terms of discourse. It enforces manners. It has an idea of virtue — and is obsessed with upholding it. The saints are the most oppressed who nonetheless resist. The sinners are categorized in various ascending categories of demographic damnation, like something out of Dante. The only thing this religion lacks, of course, is salvation. Life is simply an interlocking drama of oppression and power and resistance, ending only in death. It’s Marx without the final total liberation. It operates as a religion in one other critical dimension: If you happen to see the world in a different way, if you’re a liberal or libertarian or even, gasp, a conservative, if you believe that a university is a place where any idea, however loathsome, can be debated and refuted, you are not just wrong, you are immoral. If you think that arguments and ideas can have a life independent of “white supremacy,” you are complicit in evil. And you are not just complicit, your heresy is a direct threat to others, and therefore needs to be extinguished. You can’t reason with heresy. You have to ban it. It will contaminate others’ souls, and wound them irreparably."

Comic Book Shop Bans Customer for Supporting Popular Conservative Creators

The unlikely home of the world’s smallest desert - "the Carcross Desert in Canada’s Yukon). At first glance, it admittedly didn’t look like much. Hardly recognisable as a desert and only 600m wide, best measured end to end by bootprints, it was blanketed in snow, the sand only apparent between cracks in the melted crust"

Islamic school head forced out after weapons and £400,000 cash found at flat in grounds - "Officers were called to the Darul Uloom school in Chislehurst on May 30 after reports of a man brandishing a gun. Headteacher’s son Yusuf Musa, who was the school’s designated safeguarding staff member, was arrested in connection with the incident"

High court backs UK’s refusal to issue gender-neutral passports - "Mr Justice Jeremy Baker upheld Home Office policy after the court was told it would affect other legislation, cost too much to change computer records and increase the need for consular support abroad for gender-neutral British citizens... if the policy constituted an interference with article 8 – the right to respect for private life – it was justified by the need to “maintain an administratively coherent system for the recognition of gender”, to maintain security and to combat identity theft and fraud, and “to ensure security at national borders”."
Catering to mental illness has costs

Labour councillor who said ‘no proof’ Isis exists to help protect children from radicalisation | Coffee House - "Remember Safia Akhtar? Back in May, Mr Steerpike reported how the Birmingham Labour candidate had ‘waltz[ed] to victory’ in the local elections and been elected as a Labour councillor. Given that the Labour representative once said there was ‘no proof’ that Isis existed, not everyone was thrilled by her appointment... Akhtar was suspended. Only not as a Labour candidate, natch – as a governor of her local primary school. Now Akhtar’s back in the news. Birmingham Live reports that she’s just been appointed to a key council role on… the committee responsible for protecting children from radicalisation. Akhtar has reportedly been appointed to the Children’s Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee."

Young lefties reveal they can’t stand Corbyn any more and have abandoned Labour ahead of local elections - "Labour activists told her in public that she shouldn't be taking part at all - hinting that as a black woman and an immigrant, it's disloyal for her to challenge Labour. "That was the final straw," Nimco told The Sun this week. "The disdain they had for me, and the ownership of me because I’m black and a woman and a Muslim."... Even diehard Labour supporters say they've been pushed away, disgusted by the party's extreme foreign policy, runaway spending plans and anti-Semitism crisis... he was disturbed by Mr Corbyn's foreign policy stance, including supporting the Kremlin's line on the Salisbury poisoning and Syria chemical attack... Ms Ali, who moved to Cardiff as a child after fleeing Somalia with her family, said she fears Labour has a "passive-aggressive" attitude towards entrepreneurial ethnic minorities. She told The Sun: "It’s the passive-aggressive racism of ‘stay poor, stay black’ - someone like me really baffles them. Being on the centre ground really freaks them out."

SJW college kids demand fellow students pay feminists for their ’emotional labor’ - "SJWs first invaded the Facebook thread about the released snake after one student became frustrated that students were giving more attention to a snake than “systematic racism,” “sexual assaults,” and “anti-Muslim hate crimes.”... the conversation about campus racism gained steam despite Sarah Lawrence College being considered one of the most tolerant and “progressive” in the nation. The Princeton Review even ranked it one of the most LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the nation."

'Emotional labor' payments sought for female student activists - "they debated on Facebook a student’s release of her pet snake on campus. The student has claimed she was only given an hour by campus officials to get rid of the baby python, which she had purchased for therapeutic reasons. She told peers that, in a panic, she let it loose into the wilds of Sarah Lawrence near a student dorm by the North Lawn... some students expressed anger that their peers appeared more upset about a python on the loose, as well as another controversy regarding a popular tree on campus slated for removal, than racism and alleged hate crimes at the school... This tenuous suggestion steadily gained traction despite the fact that Sarah Lawrence is known as a progressive, tolerant institution. For instance, last year the Princeton Review ranked Sarah Lawrence as the number one most LGBTQ friendly school in the nation. This year, during election season, one film professor let his class out early to attend the hoisting of a Black Lives Matter banner on campus."
Not only do you need to put up with their 'activism', you need to pay for the privilege

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Links - 22nd August 2018 (2)

This octopus walks on land to devour entire crab like a kraken

A Woman’s Place? The Dearth of Women in the Secular Movement

More savage than Caravaggio: the woman who took revenge in oil - "The dying man is Holofernes, an enemy of the Israelites in the Old Testament, and the young woman beheading him is Judith, his divinely appointed assassin. Yet at the same time he is also an Italian painter called Agostino Tassi, while the woman with the sword is Artemisia Gentileschi, who painted this. It is, effectively, a self-portrait."

Canadian Professors Write About 'Intimacy of Human-Fish Relations' - "the professors ponder how thinking like a fish might enlighten them on their path to a deeper understanding of modern feminism. “How might a fishy thinking animate feminist thought?” they write. The professors then begin to imagine themselves as fish, adopting legs as fins and gills on their necks. All of a sudden, the delusional professors are swimming in a vast ocean, perhaps an escape from the human world in which they claim they “cannot breathe.”... The professors discuss that in order to love fish, they must engage in sensual touching with them."

Turning back boats may be the most humane response to the migrant crisis | The Spectator - "Migrants are taking the risks because, in the vast majority of cases, their journeys are successful — and if they land, they probably get to stay. This is due to EU policy on migration. For every life lost in the Mediterranean in 2016, there were 50 successful landings: a death rate of just 2 per cent. The Britons and Irish who emigrated to America in search of a better life faced far higher chances of dying yet were not deterred. If there is a 98 per cent chance of being able to start a new life on a more prosperous continent, it ought to be no surprise that so many take this risk... It is to David Cameron’s credit that he recognised the most humane solution to the migrant crisis some years ago, at the height of the Syrian war: spend significant sums of money to help refugees in camps near the most affected areas, and take asylum seekers directly from their camps. His position was that Britain ought to play no part — directly or indirectly — in the booming business of people trafficking... Angela Merkel took the opposite approach, admitting 1.4 million refugees and causing political mayhem in Germany... When Australia faced a similar refugee crisis at the start of this century, its government responded by adopting a policy of turning back boats. The death toll then collapsed. When this policy was reversed, seven years later, more than 50,000 people arrived in such boats, of whom 1,000 perished... the Social Democrats in Denmark — generally thought of as one of Europe’s most liberal countries — proposed sending asylum applicants to be processed in an overseas centre. So rather than travelling to Europe to claim asylum, would-be refugees would be able to make their applications at centres in North Africa. If successful, they would be taken to Europe in safety. The option of evading the authorities, and slipping into an underworld, would be taken off the table"
Of course, if your intention is instead to conflate asylum seekers and economic migrants, and legal and illegal immigration...

Chimps Can't Cook, But Maybe They'd Like To - "our closest evolutionary cousins fashion spears to hunt for prey, trade food for sex, play with dolls and don’t take kindly to drones invading their space... Chimps have all the cognitive abilities necessary for the uniquely human behavior of cooking. They don’t do it in the wild because they’ve never learned to control fire."

Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? - "Gavin and I don’t believe the Earth once hosted a 50-million-year-old Paleocene civilization. But by asking if we could “see” truly ancient industrial civilizations, we were forced to ask about the generic kinds of impacts any civilization might have on a planet. That’s exactly what the astrobiological perspective on climate change is all about"

Yayoi Kusama in Singapore - "Lucy [Davis] had first fallen for Singapore as a ten-year-old and had lived here for more than twenty years. Yet, over the course of fourteen years, Singapore downgraded her from PR to foreigner who cannot work here. Why? It could be because of her death penalty activism—she co-organised and participated in arts activities on the subject. It could be because in 2003 she was one of several artists and animal-lovers, including current MP Louis Ng, who attempted to rescue street cats during a SARS-related cull. Nobody knows for sure. And so Lucy joined the long line of artists, writers, academics and social activists, local and foreign, forced to leave Singapore. They are many. But we rarely hear about them because they have actually done nothing wrong; their only crime, often, is having unacceptable political views. So foreigners like Lucy are booted out; locals like Thum Ping Tjin, a Singaporean academic, are effectively barred from employment here. Singapore is left only with those people the PAP finds agreeable... is this really a global city in which tomorrow’s Yayoi can thrive?... You probably know about Cherian George. You probably don’t know about Ben Bland. Ben was a freelancer in Singapore in 2008-09. He wrote for, among other publications, The Economist and The Straits Times. I had just started freelancing for the former at the time, and so found out that Ben’s visa renewal had, after a year, been rejected. No reason given. Most people suspect it is because Ben wrote for the Asia Sentinel, a supposedly taboo publication. And so, just like that, Singapore lost a very good journalist who has, for the past few years, been writing beautifully for the Financial Times. Just not in Singapore. Shame."

The humanities are booming, only the professors can’t see it - "In the English-speaking world, over the past half-century, the proportion of students studying humanities at university has hardly changed"

Why Humans Are Wired for Hype Cycles - "“Play a note for a mouse.” You play B and the mouse turns its little head. Then you play B again, and the mouse turns its head. Eventually, the mouse will habituate to the sound. It’s like you hear construction noise outside your window when you’re working and you learn to forget that it’s there. How do you make the mouse keep turning its head? Well, you play a C note, a different note. The mouse will turn again. The C note won’t just alert the mouse—it will also dishabituate the mouse from the B note. Now, you can go back to distracting the mouse with the B note. If you want to distract a mouse for the longest period of time with the fewest number of notes, that pattern looks like B, B, B, C, B, B, C, B, C, and then a D note to dishabituate from both the B and C. If you look at the sequence B, B, C, B, C, D, and you replace B with verse and C with chorus and D with bridge, you get verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, which is essentially the construction of every pop song ever written... The chords are the same as the chords that Elvis Presley or The Who were playing. What’s changed is the sonic properties of the sound are constantly being reinvented. You need to continue to experiment. That forces you to invent new sounds to excite the ear in a new way. That leads you to other technological breakthroughs that don’t necessarily have to do with music...
My concern about universal basic income is precisely that it has taken what work represents now—which is community, income, and meaning—and only takes a single strand from it, the income, and left the other two strands alone. Where does meaning come from? Where does community come from?"

The complexity of social problems is outsmarting the human brain - "these limitations apply to us all. In May 2016, commenting on Trump’s popularity, Dunning wrote: ‘the key lesson of the Dunning-Kruger framework is that it applies to all of us, sooner or later. Each of us at some point reaches the limits of our expertise and knowledge. Those limits make our misjudgments that lie beyond those boundaries undetectable to us.’ (My italics.) Whether inadvertent or Machiavellian in origin, in December 2016 Trump perfectly articulated what few are willing to admit: ‘I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole Age of Computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on.’... It’s time we asked whether political frustration, anger and resistance to conflicting ideas results in part from a basic lack of ability to sense how the present world works. The best defence against runaway combative ideologies isn’t more facts, arguments and a relentless hammering away at contrary opinions, but rather a frank admission that there are limits to both our knowledge and our assessment of this knowledge. If the young were taught to downplay blame in judging the thoughts of others, they might develop a greater degree of tolerance and compassion for divergent points of view. A kinder world calls for a new form of wisdom of the crowd."

The rise of Arab atheism - "One striking difference between Arab non-believers and those in the West is that scientific arguments about evolution and the origins of the universe, a major part of Western atheist discourse, play only a minor role in Arabs’ drift away from religion – at least in the earlier stages. Generally, their initial questioning is not so much about the possibility (or otherwise) of God’s existence as about whether God could exist in the form described by organised religions."

Ricky Gervais: The Difference Between American and British Humour - "In Britain we stop watching things like Big Brother when the villain is evicted. We don’t want to watch a bunch of idiots having a good time. We want them to be as miserable as us. America rewards up front, on-your-sleeve niceness. A perceived wicked streak is somewhat frowned upon."

How Historical 'Humiliation' Drives China's Maritime Claims - "this is not some ancient claim, but was the response to things that happened in the 20th century. No Chinese official ever went to the Spratly Islands before December 12, 1946, as far as we can tell. They were in the Paracel Islands as early as 1907, and then stuck a flag in at least some of the islands in 1909. But the Spratlys — there was no interest by any Chinese officials in administering or occupying those islands until they got there in the 1940s. The nine-dash line was drawn back in 1947 and it was clearly a cartographic convenience — it didn't have any historical meaning whatsoever, but it's now sort of become an article of faith. In terms of a claim to historic rights in the waters within the nine-dash line, I would say that probably only appeared in the mid-to-late 1990s. So these are not ancient claims by any means; they're relatively modern... China has never been the exclusive owner of the South China Sea, regardless of what it says in Chinese textbooks. It's always been a shared space."

Humans Never Stopped Evolving - "humans across the globe have been living under very different selective pressures since our sub-Saharan roots. And, in fact, the cultural differences that have emerged appear to have accelerated some kinds of evolutionary changes. The domestication of animals led to the invention of dairying, for example, a new dietary niche in which lactase persistence provided a huge advantage. Clearing tropical lands for planting domesticated crops and keeping water in pots changed human ecology in more-disturbing ways, making new habitats for mosquito species that afflict human populations with yellow fever and malaria and spurring protective changes in red blood cell morphology. Moving into new ecosystems also demanded new adaptations from the growing human population, from lighter pigmentation at high latitudes to maintain vitamin D production to improved oxygen metabolism in peoples living at high altitude."

The legacy of Islamic philosophy

Feminist Scholar Examines Genitals of 10,000 Dogs for Canine 'Rape Culture' Study - "The journal Gender, Place, and Culture, is a monthly peer-reviewed publication that focuses on issues of feminist geography. In 2015, it was ranked the thirteenth most influential women’s studies academic journal in the world."

How disgust made humans cooperate to build civilisations - "If you’re skeptical that parasites have any bearing on your principles, consider this: our values actually change when there are infectious agents in our vicinity. In an experiment by Simone Schnall, a social psychologist at the University of Cambridge, students were asked to ponder morally questionable behaviour such as lying on a résumé, not returning a stolen wallet or, far more fraught, turning to cannibalism to survive a plane crash. Subjects seated at desks with food stains and chewed-up pens typically judged these transgressions as more egregious than students at spotless desks. Numerous other studies – using, unbeknown to the participants, imaginative disgust elicitors such as fart spray or the scent of vomit – have reported similar findings. Premarital sex, bribery, pornography, unethical journalism, marriage between first cousins: all become more reprehensible when subjects were disgusted... Interestingly, women rarely become psychopaths – the disorder affects 10 males for every one female – and they have larger insulae than men, relative to total brain size. This anatomical distinction might explain why women are most sensitive to disgust, and might also have bearing on yet another traditionally feminine characteristic: women score higher than men on tests of empathy – a useful trait for gauging when a cranky baby has a fever or needs a nap."

How French “Intellectuals” Ruined the West: Postmodernism and Its Impact, Explained - "We see in Lyotard an explicit epistemic relativism (belief in personal or culturally specific truths or facts) and the advocacy of privileging “lived experience” over empirical evidence. We see too the promotion of a version of pluralism which privileges the views of minority groups over the general consensus of scientists or liberal democratic ethics which are presented as authoritarian and dogmatic. This is consistent in postmodern thought... We see too the equation of language with violence and coercion and the equation of reason and universal liberalism with oppression... We see too a rejection of the need for clarity in speech and argument and to understand the other’s point of view and avoid minterpretation. The intention of the speaker is irrelevant. What matters is the impact of speech. This, along with Foucauldian ideas, underlies the current belief in the deeply damaging nature of “microaggressions” and misuse of terminology related to gender, race or sexuality... Whilst the first postmodernists mostly challenged discourse with discourse, the activists motivated by their ideas are becoming more authoritarian and following those ideas to their logical conclusion. Freedom of speech is under threat because speech is now dangerous. So dangerous that people considering themselves liberal can now justify responding to it with violence. The need to argue a case persuasively using reasoned argument is now often replaced with references to identity and pure rage... one wonders why Derrida bothered to explain the infinite malleability of texts at such length if I could read his entire body of work and claim it to be a story about bunny rabbits with the same degree of authority."
This is linked to the liberal mentality that words speak louder than actions

La chanson de Frédéric Fromet - "Frédéric Fromet dit adieu au Royaume Uni avec "Rosbif, mon Rosbif" pour positiver le Brexit"

Jogger accidentally crosses US border from Canada and is held for two weeks - "It started as a leisurely jog along a Canadian beach on a cool spring evening. But it turned into a two-week nightmare after Cedella Roman accidentally veered across the US border and was seized by US border patrol agents. The French citizen was visiting her mother and studying English, when the family headed to White Rock, about an hour’s drive from Vancouver in May"

Feminist bookstore to close this month, blames white supremacy - "A quarter-century-old feminist bookstore in Portland, Oregon is slated to close its doors at the end of this month, and part of the reason, it says, is its “inability to ‘reform and re-envision’ a space founded on ‘white, cis feminism (read: white supremacy).'” In Other Words, founded in 1993 by Portland State University professor Johanna Brenner and a pair of women’s health activists, also cited difficulty with funding and a lack of volunteers."

Builders working in the hot sun beat a no-shorts rule by turning up in frocks and skirts - "SWELTERING builders told they could not wear shorts under health and safety rules beat the ban —  by turning up in skirts. The brickies, working on a development of flats and houses in 26°C heat, were stunned when told a long trousers-only dress code was in force on their site... Bodybuilder Adam Houdoire, 29, spent £10 at a supermarket on an above-the-knee leopard-print dress. He said: “I love it. It gives you far more freedom.” A Health and Safety Executive spokesman said: “There are no specific regulations about wearing shorts on sites. “How workers are dressed is a matter for the employer.”"

Skirt wearing builders back in shorts after bosses lift long trousers-only rule

Misreading Masculinity: Speculations on the Great Gender Gap in Writing

Misreading Masculinity: Speculations on the Great Gender Gap in Writing

"In middle school, during one of her periodic bouts of frustration,
my older daughter met with one of her male friends
to talk through her troubles. Midway through he stopped her,
“I have an idea—do you have a bicycle?”
“Yeah,” she said, puzzled.
“Well, ride it.”
“Whatever!”

When she told me the story, his logic made perfect sense: simply recounting what makes you sad won’t change anything. What you need to do is act, move, release this frustration. Talk, in other words, is an avoidance of action, of resolution, of decision-making. But when I told this story to a female friend of mine, her reaction was that his advice amounted to avoidance: rather than confronting the problems by talking through the frustration, he seemed to say you can run away—or at least ride away—from them. Furthermore, in a classic example of the mismatches that Tannen (1992) has made part of our gender folklore, my daughter’s friend saw his role as offering advice, when my daughter wanted a listening partner who might share his own frustrations rather than fix hers.

If we view writing as drawing on strongly gendered attitudes, such as the ones on display in this conversation, it is small wonder that the writing of boys and girls differ... the biggest gender gap that now exists is not in the areas that have received the most attention, girls falling behind boys in mathematics (a gap which is closing). It exists in writing (where the gap is not closing) (Cole, 1997). According to the most recent reports of the Educational Testing Service, the gap in writing between males and females at the eighth-grade level is over six times greater than the differences in mathematical reasoning (Cole, 1997, p. 15).

Another way to look at the magnitude of this gap is to compare it to the differences in writing performance of ethnic and racial groups. In the 1996 NAEP assessment for eighth graders, White students outperformed Black students by 29 points (on a 500-point scale) and Hispanic students by 21 points; females outperformed males by 25 points (Campbell, Voelkl, & Donohue, 1997, p. 167). In other words, the gap between females and males is comparable to that between Whites and racial/ethnic groups that have suffered systematic social and economic discrimination in this country...

Since Donald Graves’ research on gender differences in the early 70s, researchers have documented consistent gender differences in writing:

• When first graders were asked to imagine themselves as an animal in a story they might write, there were clear gender differences in the choices. Girls tend to choose domesticated animals (cat, horse), while boys choose animals that are dangerous and wild (cougar, monster) or comic (monkey) (Ollila, Bullen, & Collis, 1989).

• Second-grade girls tend to choose “primary territory” (home, school, parents, friends) as topics for writing. Boys consistently choose secondary territory (professions) or extended territory (wars, presidents, space) (Graves, 1973; McAuliffe, 1994).

• Second-grade boys write stories which focus on contests, physical and social, in which the protagonists act alone. Success is determined by winning or losing in these combative tests. By contrast, girls’ writing tends to focus more on joint action and protagonists who struggle to remain connected to the community (McAuliffe, 1994; Trepanier-Street, Romatowski, & McNair, 1990).

• When boys include females in their stories, they tend to be passive and, not coincidentally, professionless (Gray-Schlegel & Gray-Schlegel, 1995–96; Many, 1989). They tend to write about males in traditional roles of authority. When, for example, boys were asked to invert gender roles and write about a male nurse, one had the hospital invaded by aliens to change the terms of the task (Trepanier-Street, Romatowksi, & McNair, 1990).

• Because boys’ writing deals so consistently with physical contests, it is far more violent than girls’ writing (S. Peterson, 1998), a trend one pair of researchers called “disturbing” (Gray-Schlegel & Gray-Schlegel, 1995–6, p. 167).

• In a study of first-year college students, women wrote autobiographical essays that were judged better than those of their male counterparts (Peterson, 1991). In analyzing the differences, she found that males tended to write about times when they acted individually, often in physical challenge that built confidence. Women tended to write about a crisis in a relationship (boyfriend, family, or an encounter with culturally different persons). In terms of writing qualities, males showed no deficit at rendering detail; their lower scores were due to a perceived difficulty in rendering “significance,” in the capacity to reflect on the meaning of the experience.

• Boys’ preferences in reading and writing narratives are more closely aligned with visually mediated storytelling—film, TV, video games, computer graphics. They also rank humor higher than girls do. Millard (1997) suggests that the traditional literaturebased curriculum may ignore the more visuallymediated narratives that boys prefer.

It is one small step to turn these differences into deficits. The writing of males can be read as endorsing a whole set of antisocial values: the use of violence to resolve conflict; the lack of empathy for victims of violence; the subordination of women; extreme individualism and competition; and escapism. Even to allow such writing might be seen as complicity in a culture that condones male violence. Boys might also be viewed as drawing inspiration not from good literature, but from the morally questionable and exploitative visual media/toy culture. It is only one more small step to take on a missionary role or at least a prohibitionary role—to ban the violence, convert boys to more realistic and socially responsible fiction, wean them from space and aliens, guns and blood. Yet I suspect that any frontal assault on boyhood, as it has been culturally constructed, is a misreading of male students that is doomed to failure.

A major difficulty with the debate about “violence,” as it relates to the media’s effect on boys, is the almost unlimited scope of the term, often covering everything from the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan (Bryce, 1998) to Roadrunner cartoons, from the Kennedy assassination to the death of Kenny on South Park, from mass suicides to hockey games. Of course, a waiver is granted to the violence in great literature— Grimm’s fairy tales, Hamlet, the Bible—which for some reason uplifts and humanizes us. Can anyone doubt that the medieval audience listening to Beowulf, which would become the first classic of British literature, didn’t delight in Grendel’s sheer awfulness? This waiver raises the question: is the criticism really about violence or is it about taste? Is it about all violence or just “low class” violence in the more popular media?

There is also a troubling—and in my view sexist—assumption of extreme male susceptibility to any presentation of violence. During one of the crackdowns on violent rap music, noted African American scholar Henry Louis Gates often claimed that the critics of rap were holding a double standard. Black males, he argued, were being treated as “dry tinder” ready to ignite when they heard the rappers advocate violence. Yet no one worried that White women would start imitating Madonna (except in a campy way); everybody would assume that White women would maintain some ironic detachment, some bemusement at Madonna’s antics, a presumption they would not extend to Black males. While I’m still troubled by some of the lyrics Gates defends, I think his caution is a good place to start in looking at boys’ writing about violence. It is a mistake, I feel, to automatically equate boys’ use of violence in writing with any desire to be vicious or sadistic. To do so ignores the possibility that “violence” can be mediated, viewed with humorous detachment, and appropriated for a variety of non-violent ends, including the maintenance of friendship...

Literacy gets in the way of the need to move, to talk, to play, to live in and with one’s own body. In one sense, writing represents the choice of language over physical action; yet this choice can be mitigated by stressing action in the writing. Watch any first-grade boys composing and you will see the drama of hands simulating explosions, accompanied by sound effects, with intervals of consultation with friends about who is in which space ship. When I have asked boys how their writing differs from that of girls, they are dismissive of the lack of action in the girls’ stories. As one said, making a face, “They write about walking home together.”...

Normally collaboration is seen as the means to the end of producing a piece of writing. From the child’s standpoint, though, writing may be viewed as a means to collaborate, a ticket to participate; the fundamental attraction is not producing a piece of writing but the social opportunities the writing opens up and maintains.

For boys, this language of affiliation will often be coded in the language of violence and assault, so it is essential to read the subtext of the message. While Andrew was repeatedly using his attack sharks to tear “Jon” apart, he was in fact maintaining a channel of friendship. And a decade later, he looks back to these stories as the high point of his literacy history...

A literature-based curriculum for teenage readers usually stresses novels which explore character and making sense of individual experience. In her interviews with boys, these books were often dismissed because “nothing of consequence ever happened” (p. 43). Yet realistic, introspective fiction often is considered “better literature” than comedy, science fiction, crime novels, and nonfiction, in other words, genres that traditionally appeal to boys and could form the models for their writing. Millard claims the school curricula have “naturalized” a novel-reading practice that in the 19th century was enjoyed almost exclusively by women...

As Millard (1997) has shown, crossdressing comes easier to females than males; “tomboy” has never been the pejorative term for girls that “sissy” is for boys. If masculinity is a more tightly constructed cultural category, with sharper penalties for deviance toward the feminine, it follows that to create equity in access to literacy, teachers will need to acknowledge the cultural materials (e.g. the affection for parody and action, interest in professional sports, cartoons, videos games) that boys (and many girls) bring into the classroom (for an example see Salvio, 1994). To fully engage this cultural material, it is necessary to understand the masculine distaste for sincerity, and the complex ways that the positive can be encoded in the negative, praise in criticism, friendship in violence, love in death.

One key to working with this cultural material is recognizing the openness of even the most “violent” writing to parody and humor. In fact, much of the violence boys like is “violence with a wink,” violence that parodies itself or at least suggests its own unreality (the James Bond movies are full of such moments). The student who can engineer humor within the context of an action story almost invariably gains status. So, while it is tempting to bring boys into the “realistic fiction” camp, another strategy is to explore the ways in which they honor parody in their own stylized “violent” writing...

The most serious mistake, it seems to me, is viewing these preferences as pathologies, as anti-social ways of being that must be modified, or, if that is not possible, banned. I view this attitude as a form of cultural suppression that is sure to alienate male students from literacy and the school culture in general. Boys become the “natives” to be converted to more socially responsible preferences. It calls to mind W.E.B. Dubois’ question— “How does it feel to be a problem?” (1989, p. 3)"

Links - 22nd August 2018 (1)

Should we stop keeping pets? Why more and more ethicists say yes - "research is revealing that the emotional lives of animals, even relatively “simple” animals such as goldfish, are far more complex and rich than we once thought (“dogs are people, too”, according to a 2013 New York Times comment piece by the neuroscientist Gregory Berns). “The logical consequence is that the more we attribute them with these characteristics, the less right we have to control every single aspect of their lives,” says Herzog. Does this mean that, in 50 years or 100 years, we won’t have pets? Institutions that exploit animals, such as the circus, are shutting down – animal rights activists claimed a significant victory this year with the closure of Ringling Bros circus – and there are calls to end, or at least rethink, zoos. Meanwhile, the number of Britons who profess to be vegan is on the rise, skyrocketing 350% between 2006 and 2016... in 1877, the city of New York rounded up 762 stray dogs and drowned them in the East River, shoving them into iron crates and lifting the crates by crane into the water. Veterinarian turned philosopher Bernard Rollin recalls pet owners in the 1960s putting their dog to sleep before going on holiday, reasoning that it was cheaper to get a new dog when they returned than to board the one they had."

Does Fiber Make You Feel Full? - "The women didn't feel any more full after eating the fiber-rich meal bars... when women consumed the same amount of fiber in either a solid form (like oatmeal) or a liquid forms (like a shake), the solid foods stayed in the woman's digestive system one hour longer, and was more satisfying... protein is a great hunger-queller"

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Fiber Keeps Us Full - "Scientists have figured out the reason fiber is such a wonder food: It contains an anti-appetite molecule called acetate... The researchers looked at a dietary fiber called inulin, which comes from chicory and sugar beets, and is often present in cereal bars. They fed mice a diet high in fat with additional inulin"
Experiments on people > those on rats

Saudi Arabia wants to troll Qatar by turning it into an island - "Riyadh is reportedly fielding offers from at least five companies to dig a canal along the Qatari-Saudi border — known as the “Salwa Canal” project — that would turn the peninsula of Qatar into an island. That would mean creating a 38-mile-long, 65-feet-deep, 660-feet-wide channel simply to surround Qatar completely with water — turning an existing political rift between the two countries into a physical fact... Some reports indicate that Saudi Arabia would use the area along the canal as a place to store nuclear waste — just to rub some salt (or uranium) in the wound."

Canada's Trudeau grilled on efforts to turn back asylum seekers - "A Canadian official familiar with the matter told Reuters that Canada wants to amend a bilateral agreement to allow it to block border-crossing refugee claimants but that the United States is not cooperating... More than 26,000 asylum seekers have crossed illegally into Canada from the United States to file refugee claims in the past 15 months, walking over ditches and on empty roads along the world’s longest undefended border... Trudeau’s government has faced complaints from the province of Quebec, where the vast majority of border crossers have arrived"

The UN Human Rights Council Is a Deeply Flawed Body - "The Council’s rules single out Israel for scrutiny of its actions in the occupied Palestinian territories. No other country is similarly named. The broader problem, however, are the countries doing the scrutinizing: countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Ethiopia... Although this geographical quota system addresses the disparities in global representation, it is also the Council’s most serious flaw. With a few honorable exceptions, the overwhelming majority of countries outside the Western Europe and others grouping have flawed-to-abysmal human-rights records and policies. Many are not democracies. Few have representative governments. Fewer still have an incentive to pursue and commit to universal human rights. That these are the countries that criticize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is bad enough; that they do it while pursuing their own draconian policies makes the membership laughable.
I wonder how many of the people bashing Trump for the US pulling out even knew what the body was about, what it did, or the human rights abusers using it for their political agenda

OK, so The Economist has an ongoing series of articles about the shortcomings of the economics profession - "The article then makes one of the most annoying arguments in journalism, which is to find two conflicting results and conclude that the entire literature is full of conflicting results: Studies finding small or no short-term effects of minimum wage on employment vastly outnumber studies finding big effects, but the article does not mention meta-analysis or the relative quality of the methodologies in question. Waving around papers on publication bias and doing he-said-she-said cherry-picking of empirical results is a GREAT way to get the public not to trust whole literatures full of good, valuable, careful, highly informative research. This kind of thing is not good for anyone. It doesn't help improve the academic literature, and it doesn't help policymakers or the public extract information from the academic literature...."

Report: Trump 'threw' Starburst on table during G7 talks, told Merkel 'don't say I never give you anything'

Schumer rejects GOP proposal to address border crisis - "The GOP leadership supports a bill that would require that immigrant families be kept together in a humane setting while waiting for an immigration judge. Furthermore, it would expedite their hearings to minimize their time in detention."

Beijing Wants to Rewrite the Rules of the Internet - "Beijing has instituted standards that force foreign companies to build China-only versions of their products, and to comply with government surveillance policies. Government security audits allow Beijing to open up these companies’ products and review their source code, putting their intellectual property at risk, which was documented comprehensively for the first time last March in a report by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Article 37 of the cybersecurity law also increases government control over the sort of data that can be transferred out of the country, while unwritten rules reward companies that store data on local servers. Many of these elements serve a dual purpose: supporting domestic industry while further closing off the internet"

Former PAP candidate Victor Lye apologises for mistake where WP banner was covered by his own

How ‘Weird Al’ eclipsed (almost) every star he ever parodied | The Washington Post

Opinion | How Democracy Became the Enemy - The New York Times - "The democratic West needs to awaken from its slumber. The forgotten people of the post-1989 decades have spoken. They have embraced disruption at any cost, declaring “Enough!” to the economic prescriptions (mainly austerity) and the smug impunity of globalizing elites. Europe cannot open its doors to everyone. It needs a shared immigration policy that works, economic policies that offset rather than accentuate inequality and a Brussels bureaucracy that delivers tangible results to a half-billion Europeans."

Women Are Evil - "women post stories of rape culture and harassment. The responses are overwhelmingly positive, but it is often women, not men, who tell us we are being unfair and perhaps too “hysterical” about the whole thing... This menace of white women has yet to be reckoned with and there is a reason why: criticize the hypocrisy of women and they hide behind their roles as wives and mothers. As if using one’s uterus has ever conferred innocence or empathy."
When feminism and intersectionality find their next oppressor, and when feminism is about silencing women's voices

‘It’s A Human Right’ — Mexican Presidential Candidate Calls For Mass Exodus To America
Maybe Mexico should welcome the rest of Latin America into their borders

Japan worker's pay docked for taking lunch 3 minutes early - "The city had previously suspended another official in February for a month after he had left his office numerous times to buy a ready-made lunch box during work hours. The official was absent a total of 55 hours over six months"

World of Reel: Owen Gleiberman: "Star Wars" is a religion that has begun to lose its faith. - "Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has been described by an insider [Link] as person that “too frequently second-guessed her own choices and hasn’t effectively resolved disagreements with directors.”... Lest we forget, that if there is a director Kathleen Kennedy has warmed up to during her tenure as Lucasfilm head, it would have to be Rian Johnson. Yes, the same Johnson who is all but HATED by a fairly large group of "Star Wars" devotees and, yet, was given the task of creating a new "Star Wars" trilogy from scratch for the next decade. So Owen is right, the religion is, in fact, maybe over, and Kathleen Kennedy is to blame"

Free College Will Increase Inequality; Here’s A Better Alternative - "Taiwan... a huge spike in college enrollment has led to a ~25% dip in graduate wages. The graph below comes from the wonderfully titled, “Massification of Higher Education in Taiwan: Shifting Pressure from Admission to Employment”"
Expanding university enrollment leading to falling premium for degrees is consistent with the signalling hypothesis

The heart attack gender gap - "Some studies suggest that during a heart attack, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, and fatigue (see "Is it a heart attack?"). But other research finds that regardless of gender, the symptoms usually are more similar than different... 'one study that measured how long people waited before seeking treatment for a heart attack found a median delay time of about 54 hours for women, compared with about 16 hours for men'... women were less likely to receive potentially beneficial medications such as aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs, or to receive advice about quitting smoking. Women tend to be older and have more health problems when they develop heart disease, and experts have long assumed those differences might in part explain the gender survival gap. But according to the study authors, providing universal, high-quality care at hospital discharge could help to eliminate the death rate disparities. However, research also shows that women are less likely than men to take prescribed medications"
So much for the feminist claim that women are discriminated against by heart attack health advice because it's targeted at men's symptoms

What your country’s emoji use says about you | Arwa Mahdawi - "Canada uses the “smiling poop” emoji more than any of the other countries... French is still the language of love, even in emoji. The French are far too refined for eggplants or bananas and appear to be more interested in the heart than other organs. The heart emoji is used four times more by French speakers than it is in any other language. About 55% of emojis sent by French speakers are hearts, compared with just 8% in US English, and 12.5% on average. France also leads the world in wedding-related emoji. When it comes to texting, the French really like to put a ring on it. This isn’t quite the case when you’re trying to put a same-sex ring on it, however. French speakers are the least likely to use LGBT emoji."

Oh Roy, my heart goes out to you - "if ordinary citizens such as Roy and I had much better access to data, information and communication channels—including unbiased media outlets that openly discussed, say, the pros and cons of the CPF system—then I might be more critical of him right now... Society is setting a very high bar for tolerable dissent if only academics and writers are adjudged to be dissenting properly. Even though the elitists may not like it—and it represents a marked shift from Singapore’s traditional modus operandi—I believe we need to foster an environment where everybody, from Chairman to satay man, feels confident expressing his/her dissenting view... there are all sorts of obstacles in front of academics and writers such as myself. For every issue and topic in Singapore that I feel confident writing about, there is another that I am unable to broach because of these obstacles. In other words, the evidence of dissent should not be confused with an acceptable climate for dissent"

Singapore’s outdated national security policies - "Singapore’s national security policies aresingapore_flag outdated and in dire need of revision. These policies are heavily influenced by the paranoias of the 1960s, when a vulnerability fetish gave rise to a siege mentality amongst Singaporean leaders that persists today. But Singapore’s main security threats now are not other states but non-state actors, specifically pirates and terrorists... Though Israel is surrounded by hostile neighbours, Singapore is not. Despite what some hawks might argue, it is very difficult to imagine a scenario where modern Indonesia or Malaysia would attack Singapore. In fact, I cannot see any other state attacking Singapore. Why? Simply, Singapore has become too important to the global economy... the biggest deterrent to would-be aggressors is not Singapore’s Armed Force; it is the Armed Forces of China and the US, hovering around the broader Asia-Pacific region... The only period in recent history when South-east Asian states fought against each other was in the 1970s, when Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam were all, to different degrees and in varied ways, caught up in the American-led Vietnam war. South-east Asian states are getting closer by the day, as the region prepares for deeper economic integration in 2015... Singapore currently spends more on defence than on education. Is our country trying to build a knowledge economy or a military state?"

Reimagining the Singapore Armed Forces and National Service - "even if Singapore demilitarises as suggested here, we must always keep open the possibility of remilitarisation. This will not be a difficult or costly process. It might take a couple of years, just like it did in the mid 1960s. But our geopolitical considerations will not change suddenly overnight. They will do so gradually, if at all... maybe there really is some small chance that Malaysia will invade us tomorrow, as hawks have long suggested. Just like there is some small chance that the world will perish on 21/12/2012, as the Mayans once predicted."

Todd Mclaughlin - The stuff that I see on the road still amazes me... - "The stuff that I see on the road still amazes me
I think the romans are attacking"

I'm a Rape Victim Who Hooked Up With My Attacker Years Later - "I knew I should be ashamed and, frankly, worried that my boyfriend—who I’d been with for a year and would go on to date for another three—would find out. But I was neither. Instead, I felt like I’d scratched a hard-to-reach itch. Cheating wasn’t something I took lightly, but whatever deep-seated need I’d satisfied that night was more important than fidelity. An obscure yet palpable sense of relief drove away any hint of guilt before it could take hold. Counterintuitive as it may seem, my impulse to initiate a second encounter with my attacker more than a year after the original incident makes sense to experts on sexual assault"
Maybe this is why the 'rapists' don't think of themselves as rapists

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Links - 21st August 2018 (2)

Scientists agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone - "drinking a cup of coffee and then taking a quick nap. This is called a coffee nap... if you nap for those 20 minutes, you'll reduce your levels of adenosine just in time for the caffeine to kick in. The caffeine will have less adenosine to compete with, and will thereby be even more effective in making you alert."

The Science of Loneliness: How Isolation Can Kill You - "The social experience that most reliably predicted whether an HIV-positive gay man would die quickly, Cole found, was whether or not he was in the closet. Closeted men infected with HIV died an average of two to three years earlier than out men. When Cole dosed AIDS-infected white blood cells with norepinephrine, a stress hormone, the virus replicated itself three to ten times faster than it did in non-dosed cells. Cole mulled these results over for a long time, but couldn’t understand why we would have been built in such a way that loneliness would interfere with our ability to fend off disease: “Did God want us to die when we got stressed?”"

This 0.5K run for underachievers has donuts, coffee, and a smoking rest stop - "Before the event every runner will get a free pint of beer to prepare them for their journey

'Wonder Woman' Wins Best Fight for "No Man's Land" Scene at MTV Movie & TV Awards - "The category's other nominees were Atomic Blonde's stairwell fight, T'Challa and M'Baku's Black Panther duel, Thor and Hulk's gladiator match in Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Widow, Okoye, and Scarlet Witch facing off against Proxima Midnight in Avengers: Infinity War."

How one fan gained a bunch of weight to see Peru play in the World Cup - ""The only tickets that were left on the FIFA website where ticket for disabled people,” Miguel told Clarin. “I looked at the requirements; be in a wheelchair, something specific for women and suffering from morbid obesity, over 35 BMI, body mass index. I was at 30, and I did the math. I needed to put on 25 kg.” He bought the ticket immediately and then set his sights on gaining the weight he needed in three months, which involved eating a lot of carbohydrates. Thankfully he managed to get a medical certificate proving his obesity... At the last World Cup in Brazil in 2014, El Comercio reported that people also took advantage of the disabled tickets to enter in wheelchairs. However, when pictures were released of these people standing up to applaud their teams, they sparked worldwide indignation. This year FIFA required medical certificates"

He told his friends his vest was stab-proof and offered to demonstrate. It wasn't - "Easton died from the self-inflicted knife wound"

Apple fined for misleading customers in Australia - "An Australian court has fined Apple A$9m (£5m;$6.5m) for refusing to fix iPhones and iPads that had been serviced by third parties."

Racial Immunity - "In each of the above incidents, the black person was either doing something illegal (taking up two parking spaces, taking up two handicapped spaces, making violent threats, using a charcoal barbecue in a prohibited area) or violating the policies of a private business (claiming a table and trying to use the bathroom without ordering, sleeping in a common area, demanding food from a bakery that was closed, refusing to follow golf club rules, disturbing fellow tenants). Yet in each case, activists, aided by the leftist press, painted the black people as victims of white racism. And now there’s a campaign, championed by the likes of the Huffington Post, CNN, and the L.A. Times (the latter two having run almost identically worded op-eds within four days of each other), to stop white people from calling the police on (or otherwise reporting) blacks who violate laws or break rules... Ms. Walker is leading a crusade to get “justice” for her 17-year-old brother, Charles Macklin, who was shot dead while trying to carjack a white guy. Authorities cleared the white guy of wrongdoing, and Walker is angry. Sure, her lil’ bro tried to steal the white dude’s car; she admits it. But the white man should’ve let him. “You’ve got insurance,” was her message to the ofay devil who dared to want to keep his vehicle"

Spanish students evicted from dorm to make room for ‘Aquarius’ migrants - "A grand gesture by Madrid to accept migrants rejected by Italy and Malta has backfired on some Spanish students, who were told to leave their dormitories in 24 hours to make room for the new arrivals. Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s newly appointed prime minister, agreed to take in passengers of the rescue ship Aquarius, who are mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, after Italy’s anti-immigration government and Malta blocked the ship from docking... The students, who reportedly pay as much as 750 euros per month for the accommodations, were told to vacate the rooms within 24 hours"
Future right wing voters coming up

Chief of Defence Force MG Melvyn Ong avoids answering questions on “tekan culture” in SAF - "Dave died of heat stroke on 30 Apr. He was admitted to Changi General Hospital in the middle of April after suffering a heat stroke during a training exercise. After struggling for his life close to 2 weeks at the hospital, he passed away... There have been allegations that Dave was 'being tekan' during training, which may have caused him to suffer from heat stroke... When the reporters asked about the question of a "tekan culture" especially in the Guards formation, MG Ong said "there is a certain purpose to every training that we do"... When pressed on by reporters if the "tekan" sessions could be conducted with the right purpose and safety coverage, MG Ong avoided answering."

Bitcoin Could Break the Internet, Central Bank Overseer Says - "The Bank for International Settlements just told the cryptocurrency world it’s not ready for prime time -- and as far as mainstream financial services go, may never be... cryptocurrencies are too unstable, consume too much electricity, and are subject to too much manipulation and fraud to ever serve as bona fide mediums of exchange in the global economy... the race by so-called Bitcoin miners to be the first to process transactions eats about the same amount of electricity as Switzerland does. “Put in the simplest terms, the quest for decentralized trust has quickly become an environmental disaster”"

Giant Horror Plant That Causes 3rd Degree Burns Has Spread to Yet Another US State

Soul Calibur VI's Female Fighters Get Slut-Shamed, Body-Shamed By Kotaku

Yoga and meditation boost your ego, say psychology researchers

Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama's Dinner Table – Ngô Thì Nhậm, Vietnam - "It looks much as it did when Bourdain and Obama sat down to eat there, but there are a few key changes. Guests hoping to relive the experience can now order a “Combo Obama” from the menu: bun cha, a seafood spring roll, and a bottle of Hanoi beer for a total of 85,000 VND, or about $3.60. But what they can’t do is sit down at that same table, in those same blue plastic stools. The restaurant’s encased the entire set-up in glass for posterity. (From time to time, they also pop a decorative plant on top.) The metal-topped table’s still set, as if waiting for the return of its diners, ready with plates, bowls, chopsticks, and beers."

President's 14-person delegation includes top lieutenants and is HALF WOMEN - "President Donald Trump headed a 14-member delegation that included seven women that during his first summit event in Singapore in advance of his meeting with Kim Jong-un."
So much for sexism

Mobile App Tracks Microaggressions on College Campuses - "A professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has created an app for students to report microaggressions on campus. Christy Byrd, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, created the app to gather more data on the amount and types of microaggressions that were occurring on campus... those who reported more microaggressions typically had lower self-esteem, a higher chance of depression, and lower feelings of competence."

As funding dries up, Umno cybertroopers fade away or switch sides - "They used to earn tens of thousands a month, with some pulling in several million ringgit to slander Pakatan Harapan (PH) and trumpet the virtues of Barisan Nasional (BN)."

Why Sally Mann’s Photographs of Her Children Can Still Make Viewers Uncomfortable - Artsy - "Many of the subsequent images that eventually formed the “Immediate Family” series featured her children on the family farm—in the nude, injured, or in other vulnerable positions"

White People Are Cowards - "I thought white people were evil. I was wrong... Until all white people do and say something, people in power will always be able to point to the silent majority and say that no one cares about racism or inequality. Ultimately, whiteness affords them the right to remain silent. I thought white people were evil. I was right."
And they wonder why the "Far right" is growing
Meanwhile, if you ask all Muslims to condemn Islamist terrorism...


Are the Roma Primitive, or Just Poor? - The New York Times - "members of the defense team offered an unusual legal defense: rather than focusing on the argument that the Roma are forced to resort to crime because of poverty and discrimination, it claimed that in some cases they were simply following age-old Roma traditions and generally operate outside the norms of society in “the style of the Middle Ages.”... the interior minister, Manuel Valls, a Socialist, caused a furor by saying only a minority of Roma could fit into French society... In the Marais district of Paris, where young Roma gangs brazenly target tourists and locals at metros and bank machines, one pregnant girl said begging was her only lifeline... what prosecutors had characterized as the practice of selling child brides was, in fact, part of a centuries-old tradition of Roma dowry... Ms. Jaroka, who grew up in a poor community of Roma musicians in Tata, in Hungary, said she owed her success to her parents, a waiter and dressmaker, who insisted that she, her sister and her brother get an education in unsegregated schools. Today, her sister is a music therapist; her brother, a soccer coach. “We Roma,” she said, “also need to learn to emancipate ourselves.”"

The shamed faces of the Roma men accused of selling their women for their stealing skills as France launches major crackdown on the community - "There are an estimated 15,000 Roma gipsies in France. Two years ago the then interior minister, Claude Gueant, claimed the vast majority of street robberies in Paris were carried out by Romanian immigrants."

No Country for the Old - "Sweetheart-scamming the old and infirm did not originate with this San Francisco family; there is a long tradition of such cons in Gypsy culture... Olsen reports that according to Gypsy legend, a Gypsy had stolen the gold spike intended to pierce the heart of Jesus. So before dying, ''a grateful Christ on the cross had given Gypsies a heavenly license to steal from the gaje'' (non-Gypsies). A Gypsy in Florida who had left the life to become a deputy sheriff told Faron, ''They consider the United States a great big fruit tree, and they take that fruit and eat it.''... more than a million complaints of financial chicanery committed against elderly people are filed each year in the country, many involving Gypsies. Many more cases go unreported, because the victims are too humiliated to admit that they have been taken"

Anger as 100 travellers invade historic Thwaites Brewery and evict staff - "TRAVELLERS turned the site of a historic British brewery into “a disgusting mess” after more than 100 moved their caravans in and violently threatened employees turning up for work"

'Disastrous' copyright bill vote approved - "They voted to approve the controversial Article 13, which critics warn could put an end to memes, remixes and other user-generated content. Article 11, requiring online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content, was also approved... 70 influential tech leaders, including Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, signed a letter opposing Article 13, which they called "an imminent threat to the future" of the internet... "15 MEPs voted for upload filtering. They understand the internet better than the people who invented it, apparently.""

New Zealand: We don't want foreign buyers — except Singaporeans? - "Singapore nationals will join Australians and certain types of visa holders in an exemption from a controversial bill seeking to ban sales in the Kiwi residential property market to foreigners."

Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc. Admits It Was Wrong, Apologizes to Quilliam and Maajid Nawaz for Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists, and Agrees to Pay $3.375 Million Settlement

The Southern Poverty Law Center has lost all credibility - The Washington Post - "The SPLC is a once-storied organization that did important work filing civil rights lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. But it has become a caricature of itself, labeling virtually anyone who does not fall in line with its left-wing ideology an “extremist” or “hate group.” Nawaz is a case in point. Since abandoning Islamic radicalism, he has advised three British prime ministers and created the Quilliam Foundation, to fight extremism. He is not anti-Muslim. He is a Muslim and has argued that “Islam is a religion of peace.” So how did he end up in the SPLC’s pseudo-guide to anti-Muslim bigots? His crime, apparently, is that he has become a leading critic of the radical Islamist ideology he once embraced... Let’s hope this settlement is the first of many, because this is not the first time the SPLC has done this. In 2010, it placed the Family Research Council (FRC) — a conservative Christian advocacy group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage — on its “hate map.” Two years later, a gunman walked into the FRC headquarters with the intention to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces.” He told the FBI that he had used the SPLC website to pick his target. Unfortunately, many in the media still take the SPLC seriously... The SPLC also lists Charles Murray, a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute and one of the most respected conservative intellectuals in the United States, on its website as a “White Nationalist.” Last year, an angry mob of students, many citing the SPLC’s designation, physically attacked Murray during a speech at Middlebury College. He escaped unharmed, but the liberal professor who invited him ended up in the hospital... Unfortunately, the settlement that the SPLC reached with Nawaz is not likely to deter it from smearing others — $3.4 million is a drop in the bucket for the center, which raised $132 million between November 2016 and October 2017 and has a $477 million endowment, including a reported $92 million in offshore accounts. Sliming conservatives is big business. The only way to stop the SPLC is if people stop giving it money and the media stop quoting it or taking it seriously"

What is Political “Extremism”? - "In analyzing the rhetoric and literature of several hundred “fringe” and militant “special interest” groups I have identified several specific traits that tend to represent the extremist style...
1. Character Assassination.
2. Name Calling And Labeling.
3. Irresponsible Sweeping Generalizations.
4. Inadequate Proof For Assertions.
5. Advocacy Of Double Standards.
6. Extremists Tend To View Their Opponents And Critics As Essentially Evil
7. Extremists Tend To Have A Manichean Worldview.
8. Extremists Very Often Advocate Some Degree Of Censorship And Repression Of Their Opponents And Critics.
9. Extremists Tend To Identify Themselves In Terms Of Who Their Enemies Are
10. Extremists Are Given To Arguments By Intimidation.
11. Wide Use Of Slogans, Buzzwords And Thought-Stopping Cliches.
12. Doomsday Thinking.
13. Extremists Often Claim Some Kind Of Moral Or Other Superiority Over Others.
14. Extremists Tend To Believe That It’s OK To Do Bad Things In The Service Of A “Good” Cause.
15. Extremists Tend To Place Great Value On Emotional Responses.
16. Some Extremists, Particularly Those Involved In “Cults” Or religious movements such as fundamental evangelical Christians, Zionists, members of the numerous new age groups and followers of certain “gurus,” claim some kind of supernatural, mystical or divinely-inspired rationale for their beliefs and actions...
Extremists traits tend to have three things in common:
The represent some attempt to distort reality for themselves and others.
They try to discourage critical examination of their beliefs, either by false logic, rhetorical trickery or some kind of intimidation.
They represent an attempt to act out private, personal grudges or rationalize the pursuit of special interests in the name of public welfare"

The Value of Arguing with Extremists: Building a Moderate Center - "Know your enemy
Get extremists to show their true colors
Bring more reasonable people at risk of developing extremist views into the conversation"
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