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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Links - 8th September 2018 (2)

Star Wars Sequel Saltiness — The Last Jedi Novelization Actually Makes TLJ an Even Bigger Insult
Doubling down is a great way to lose even more money

The Last Jedi: The Problem with Rose - "Plenty of other pieces have already criticized the unnecessary distraction of the Canto Bight storyline. You could feel the energy sap out of the theater every time the action cut away from Rey arguing with Luke or Poe being Poe. The city isn’t the strikingly cool galactic gambling center we were led to expect; it’s just a Vegas substitute where some actors are wearing masks. The phrase “master code-breaker” sounds so juvenile I’m shocked it made it into the script. The betrayal doesn’t land because we don’t know much about DJ in the first place, we don’t care, and he and Finn/Rose don’t go way back like Lando/Han did. (Really, it was kind of dumb for Finn and Rose to trust him as much as they did.) The constant references to the military industrial complex (Canto Bight’s elite are rich on the weapons industry, but they sell to both good guys and bad) were initially fascinating, but promptly dropped and never mentioned again. Otherwise, all the Canto Bight arc does is give Poe a reason to stir up some drama on the main rebel ship and make us think for much of the movie that Holdo is a baddie. But my biggest frustration is that Rose is the most irrelevant part of an already irrelevant arc... Rose could have made so many different choices–choices of importance–that would have demonstrated real growth. But instead, her character feels like a handout. Rose, like many of the offhand references to the military industrial complex and environmentalism, felt like a well-intentioned gesture towards diversity and social awareness that fell flat because there was no follow-through. Rose reads like a diversity set piece... Rose’s budding romance with Finn irks me. I’m not opposed to their getting together in general, but their kiss felt strange and seriously out of left-field. We’ve seen Rose and Finn develop a good friendship, but we haven’t seen any previous signs of romantic attraction between them. There’s no chemistry"
This is an Asian girl who said she loved the movie, so she can't be dismissed as racist, sexist, toxic fanboy
Too bad she didn't notice Rose's sexual assault of Finn


Asia’s secret World Heritage site - "The Lenggong Valley is so significant that it was named Malaysia’s most recent Unesco World Heritage site. But few people know about this lost world – and even fewer get to see it."

10 ‘sweet-talking, pretty girls’ among suspects arrested over London gold trading scams, Hong Kong police say - "Ten pretty, sweet-talking female brokers were among 31 people arrested in a crackdown on a gold trading syndicate which left 33 men about HK$19 million (US$2.4 million) out of pocket... the syndicate hired young, attractive girls, mostly secondary school graduates, and disguised them as “star financial consultants” to fish for victims on social media. The girls then sweet-talked the men into paying to trade gold on the London market with low risks but high returns. Some even promised to develop love relationships."

Bukit Timah found to be safest district in Singapore, while Yishun North is the most crime-prone - "Using crime data compiled by the Singapore Police Force and its Neighbourhood Police Centres from 2012 to 2016, research analyst William Hoffman identified five districts with the least amount of crimes reported and five others that are more prone to criminal activities. The rankings take into account a variety of felonies, including robbery, housebreaking, snatch theft, motor vehicle theft, unlicensed moneylending, as well as unlicensed moneylending harassment... Other districts in the top tier of the list include Bishan in second place, Kampong Java in third place and Marine Parade in fourth. Sembawang is (gasp!) the fifth safest neighborhood in the country... “Over the past five years, neighborhoods on either end of the spectrum tended to remain there consistently, with little movement in their rankings”"

More than a third of Chinese millionaires want to leave China - "The U.S. is the top destination among Chinese millionaires looking to move their families, and money, to another country, according to a new study. More than a third of rich Chinese surveyed “are currently considering” emigrating to another country... the U.K. ranked second, followed by Ireland and then Canada. The strong education system, cleaner air and better food safety made the U.S. a favorite for Chinese investors. The Trump administration's tax plan also got high marks from respondents... Canada had been ranked second but it fell to fourth place after raising its net worth and investment requirements for its investment visa program in March. Buying overseas real estate has become a popular way for the Chinese rich to offshore their fortunes. Foreign exchange deposits and “immovable property” are the most popular overseas investment options"

Court Of Appeals Ends 'Clock Boy' Case Against Shapiro With A Bang - "Ahmed Mohamed's father filed suit against Shapiro, asserting claims for defamation and defamation per se. Shapiro filed a motion to dismiss the claims pursuant to chapter 27 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code by alleging that his statements were non-actionable opinions, Ahmed Mohamed was required to prove actual malice because he was an all-purpose public figure or limited purpose public figure, the plaintiff could not establish actual malice or show that Shapiro’s statements were false, and Shapiro's statements were protected as “fair comments” and under the qualified privilege... The court ruled that all costs Shapiro incurred had to be covered by Mohamed"
So much for trying to milk this case

Women's health at risk as researchers fail to consider differences over SEXISM fears - "Scientists are concerned that they will be labelled as ‘a pariah in the eyes of the neuroscience mainstream,’ according to a guest editor of a special edition of the Journal of Neuroscience Research. One area in which medication is understood to differ between genders is for the drugs that are used to treat stroke patients. Under the current method, scientists are assuming that results can be generalised for both sexes, which could place women’s health at risk... Professor Larry Cahill, a neurobiologist from University of California Irvine, said: ‘The assumption has been that, once you get outside of reproductive functions, what you find in males and females is fundamentally the same and therefore there is no reason to study both sexes — and beyond that it is not good to study females as they have pesky circulating hormones. ‘The last 15 to 20 years has overwhelmingly proven that assumption is false, false, false.’ Others have called into question the need to test both genders, suggesting that there are no significant differences. Professor Gina Rippon, of Aston University, described some of the research as ‘neurosexism’... Professor Cahill claims that he has been warned against studying the difference between sexes as it could harm his career... another paper published in the journal highlighted a stroke treatment called Lazaroids that was rejected at the final stages of testing as its effectiveness seemed to decline. The authors suggested that the drug may have continued to work, but only for men, and when it was given to women in the latter testing stages, the findings appeared worse as a result"
Yet another case of how feminism harms women. Ironically feminists complain women are not properly catered to in medicine or represented in trials, so treatments are aimed at men

'Money just flew out of the country': Swiss attorney-general on 1MDB 'Ponzi scheme' - "You cannot bribe me, I have a small apartment in Zurich where I live, I have no car, no bicycle, not even a boat. All I have is what you see on me, that's it"

China does not manipulate other countries: Chinese ambassador responds to remarks from former Singapore diplomat Bilahari Kausikan - "Mr Kausikan’s speech outlined three ways in which China stands out from other major countries that “persuade, induce and coerce". The first involves rejecting the norm of non-interference in another state’s domestic affairs and believing that its interests should be promoted wherever they may be, The Straits Times’ report stated. The second is where China uses a range of tactics from legitimate diplomacy to more covert and often illegal deployment of agents of influence and operations - to sway decision makers or public opinion leaders. The third, Mr Kausikan said, refers to the aim of its influence operations, which he added was not just to direct behaviour but to condition it as well. He also said a key tactic is to present target countries with oversimplified narratives, "forcing false choices on you and making you choose between them", The Straits Times reported. "China doesn't just want you to comply with its wishes, it wants you to ... do what it wants without being told”"

Life inside the Forbidden City: how women were selected for service - "With hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of concubines at the emperor’s disposal, any lady the emperor graced with a visit would be subject to jealous rivalries. Concubines had their own rooms and would fill their days applying make-up, sewing, practising various arts and socialising with other concubines. Many of them spent their entire lives in the palace without any contact with the emperor... Confucianism emphasised the ability of a man to manage a family as part of his personal growth in daxue (great learning)... It was believed that organising the emperor’s sex life was essential to maintaining the well-being of the entire Chinese empire. The Chinese calendars of the 10th century were not used to keep track of time but rather to keep the emperor’s sex schedule in check. The rotation of concubines sleeping with the emperor was kept to a regimented order. Secretaries were employed to record the emperor’s sex life with brushes dipped in imperial vermilion... Imperial sons were breastfed by a wet nurse whose own child was a girl, and vice versa in the cases of imperial daughters. This way the yin and yang could be matched and the substitution of babies, accidental or otherwise, could be averted."

God bless The Washington Post, which cited ClickHole in a story about Green Day - "The paper cited a ClickHole article written last year by “Billie Joe Armstrong,” in which he “reveals” that—and we’re quoting a completely fake quote here, to be clear—“now that enough time has passed to let the dust and controversy settle, I finally feel comfortable revealing that the ‘American Idiot’ I sang about was none other than President George W. Bush.”"
Funny, I thought only the Daily Mail and Fox News were unreliable

A revealing map of the world’s most and least ethnically diverse countries - The Washington Post - "countries in Europe and Northeast Asia tend to be the most homogenous, sub-Saharan African nations the most diverse. The Americas are generally somewhere in the middle. And richer countries appear more likely to be homogenous. This map is particularly interesting viewed alongside data we examined yesterday on racial tolerance... Internal conflicts appear on first blush to be more common in greener countries, which might make some intuitive sense given that groups with comparable "stakes" in their country's economics and politics might be more willing or able to compete, perhaps violently, over those resources... Diversity correlates with latitude and low GDP per capita... Strong democracy correlates with ethnic homogeneity... In general, it does not matter for our purposes whether ethnic differences reflect physical attributes of groups (skin color, facial features) or long-lasting social conventions (language, marriage within the group, cultural norms) or simple social definition (self-identification, identification by outsiders). When people persistently identify with a particular group, they form potential interest groups that can be manipulated by political leaders"
Also why identity politics is bad

How To Free Up Space on Your iPhone
Alternatively get an Android and don't run out of space

Chill: Robots Won’t Take All Our Jobs - "If automation were, in fact, transforming the US economy, two things would be true: Aggregate productivity would be rising sharply, and jobs would be harder to come by than in the past... If automation were truly remaking the job market, you’d also expect to see a lot of what economists call job churn as people move from company to company and industry to industry after their jobs have been destroyed. But we’re seeing the opposite of that... Median job tenure today is actually similar to what it was in the 1950s—the era we think of as the pinnacle of job stability... A rigorous study of the impact of robots in manufacturing, agriculture, and utilities across 17 countries, for instance, found that robots did reduce the hours of lower-skilled workers—but they didn’t decrease the total hours worked by humans, and they actually boosted wages... Corporate America, for its part, certainly doesn’t seem to believe in the jobless future. If the rewards of automation were as immense as predicted, companies would be pouring money into new technology. But they’re not... The outsourcing of work to machines is not, after all, new—it’s the dominant motif of the past 200 years of economic history, from the cotton gin to the washing machine to the car. Over and over again, as vast numbers of jobs have been destroyed, others have been created. And over and over, we’ve been terrible at envisioning what kinds of new jobs people would end up doing. Even our fears about automation and computerization aren’t new; they closely echo the anxieties of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Observers then too were convinced that automation would lead to permanent unemployment... The peculiar thing about this historical moment is that we’re afraid of two contradictory futures at once. On the one hand, we’re told that robots are coming for our jobs and that their superior productivity will transform industry after industry. If that happens, economic growth will soar and society as a whole will be vastly richer than it is today. But at the same time, we’re told that we’re in an era of secular stagnation, stuck with an economy that’s doomed to slow growth and stagnant wages. In this world, we need to worry about how we’re going to support an aging population and pay for rising health costs, because we’re not going to be much richer in the future than we are today"

The epic mistake about manufacturing that's cost Americans millions of jobs - "Trump’s story of US manufacturing decline was much closer to being right than the story of technological progress being spun in Washington, New York, and Cambridge. Thanks to a painstaking analysis by a handful of economists, it’s become clear that the data that underpin the dominant narrative—or more precisely, the way most economists interpreted the data—were way off-base. Foreign competition, not automation, was behind the stunning loss in factory jobs. And that means America’s manufacturing sector is in far worse shape than the media, politicians, and even most academics realize... the method statisticians use to account for these advances can make it seem like US firms are producing and selling more computers than they actually are. And when the computers data are aggregated with the other subsectors, the adjustment makes it seem like the whole of American manufacturing is churning out more goods than it actually is... the parts of the US hit hard by Chinese import competition saw manufacturing job loss, falling wages, and the shrinking of their workforces. They also found that offsetting employment gains in other industries never materialized... when China joined the WTO, it extinguished the risk that the US might retaliate against the Chinese government’s mercantilist currency and protectionist industrial policies by raising tariffs... Manufacturing jobs tend to pay better, and create opportunities for learning skills that are particularly important to workers with less formal education. Factories also encourage innovation by attracting research and development (R&D) facilities, which need access to production lines to translate design into real products and to work out the kinks in prototypes. This is why when plants shutter and are moved overseas, R&D centers almost always go with them... workers hit by mass layoffs suffer unusually big wage losses throughout their careers, and many exit the workforce entirely."

Supernova in the East I (WWII Japan)

Hardcore History 62 – Supernova in the East I

"Hirō Onoda is not the only Japanese World War II soldier that surrenders in 1974. There's another one in 1972, there was one there were two in the 1960s, there were a bunch in the 1950s and in the 1940s, after the war ended, sometimes whole units were still fighting, I believe it was almost three years after the war, the unit of a couple of hundred of these Japanese soldiers with their heavy weapons finally surrendered...

These people were often told explicitly, in many different ways that the war was over, and they chose not to believe it, and they chose not to believe it because it clashed with their mental indoctrination into all this. For example Hirō Onoda, he had family members flown in at high expense to the Japanese government... Hirō Onoda was still killing people in the Philippines after the war... he killed 20 to 30 Filipinos... they left him newspapers. Here's how he puts it in the book, written with him:

'The search party left behind newspapers and magazines. Most of them were recent and a lot of them contained articles about the Crown Prince's marriage. The newspapers, which covered a period of about four months, made a stack nearly two feet high. We, meaning the two other hold outs with him, we thought they were reprints of real Japanese newspapers, doctored up by the American Secret Service in such a way as to eliminate any news that the Americans did not want us to see. This was all we could think so long as we believed that the Greater East Asia War was still going on, and in a way, he writes, the newspapers confirmed that the war was still going on. Because they told a lot about life in Japan.

If Japan had really lost the war, there should not be any life in Japan. Everybody should be dead. When I arrived in the Philippines in 1944, the war was going badly for Japan, he writes. And in the homeland, the phrase 100 Million Souls Dying for Honor was on everybody's lips. This phrase meant literally that the population of Japan would die to a man before surrendering. I took this at face value, and I am sure many other young Japanese men my age did.

He says, I sincerely believed that Japan would not surrender so long as any one Japanese remained alive. Conversely, if one Japanese were left alive, Japan could not have surrendered he continues. After all, this is what we Japanese had all vowed to each other, we had sworn that we would resist the American and English devils until every last single one of us was dead. If necessary, the women and children would resist with bamboo sticks trying to kill as many enemy troops as they could before being killed themselves...

This area around the South Manchurian railway that Japan is developing... there's people in there who work for the corporations that're developing things, there's people who work for some shadowy groups and they're just trying to see what the opportunities are to expand a little bit. Nonetheless, initially, it's not much of a problem, because it’s just that little area and the Japanese apparently have the right to develop along the railway line in a narrow sort of way.

We can develop hotels along the whistle stops, and eventually that becomes an infrastructure to support the hotels, then eventually that becomes homes for the people that work at the hotels and then it’s schools for the people who work at the hotels’ kids and slowly but surely these Japanese companies in conjunction with the Japanese government by the way, in a way it does remind one a little bit of the way the British colonised India, it was a corporate affair initially, eventually transferring to a government sort of thing. Similar pattern in Japan but the development in this region is phenomenal...

The Cherry Blossom Society conceived a bizarre plan to wipe out the entire government by aerial bombardment of a cabinet meeting. A crowd of rightists would then surround the war ministry and General Staff headquarters and demand the creation of a military government. For this October incident as it was called, which never took place Hashimoto, received twenty days confinement from superiors, who did their best to deny that anything untoward had taken place...

Over the next several months, this Kwantung Army’s going to destroy Japanese diplomatic credibility with the rest of the world because over and over the Japanese government and even the top military officials are gonna say: "We're not going to advance any farther, everything's gonna stay the way it is. And then, almost as they're saying it, the army in the field would advance. At one point, the army itself, the Kwantung army says: we are not going to, we promise, we will not advance on this city, and they do...

This is the period where if you realistically suggested giving Manchuria back, because the great powers were telling you to, you might not live to see the next month, because we talked earlier about... government by assassination in Japanese history. This is the period where that skyrockets and it's the high water mark of that between 1931 and 1936, and you will see a number of major figures not just political figures, but also corporate ones gunned down. How about the one in 1932 where 11 naval cadets from a faction in the Navy that wants a military dictatorship, and a return to the Emperor and the Golden Age and all that, they storm into the building where the Prime Minister is, the eleven of them and kill him."


So much for the atom bomb being unnecessary

Japan in 1930s Manchuria sounds like China in the developing world today

u r wt u wr - 8th September 2018

u r wt u wr:
- 'I'm actually a mermaid'
- 'Liberté c'est ici'
- 'Have you met my boyfriend gym?'
- (Peru) 'OK, but first coffee'
- 'My fav type of men is Ramen'
- 'Mermaid off duty'
- 'Keep calling. I'm single'
- 'Let's avocuddle'
- 'Harvard law
Just kidding'
- 'I wanna get physical'
- 'Warning: you might fall in love with me'
- 'Punch me in the face. I need to feel alive'


(It's been 4.5 years since I had enough material for one of these; these are really rare now - are they less popular than they used to be or are the young girls hanging out elsewhere now?)

Links - 8th September 2018 (1)

Women's March Releases Statement SLAMMING Trump's SCOTUS Nominee. There's Only One Problem. - "the Left lost their mind right on cue over the announcement of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. No matter whom the president was going to choose, the Left was going to paint the nominee as an extremist who threatens democracy, basic human rights, and enjoys drowning puppies. This cheap strategy used to rile-up the Democratic base was glaringly evident in a statement fired-off by the Women's March (emphasis added): "In response to Donald Trump's nomination of XX to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Women's March released the following statement," started an email from the feminist group. Clearly, the statement was pre-written, with the name only added in after the nominee was learned by the public, save the one "XX" spot at the beginning. Oops!"

Donald Trump on why he picked Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court: "He's got the votes" - "Kavanaugh's 300 opinions and his private conversations, he showed "a willingness to demand transparency and accountability from an ever-growing administrative state."

NVIDIA Unveils AI That Removes Noise, Grain, and Even Watermarks

University entry 'should be background, not just exams' - "The university access watchdog says students' backgrounds should be taken into account when awarding places, to improve "equality of opportunity""
Time to call the handicapper general

iPhone crashing bug likely caused by code added to appease Chinese gov’t - "this is the code that caused crashes on certain iDevices when users typed the word Taiwan or received messages containing a Taiwanese flag emoji"

FACT CHECK: Do Police Kill More White People Than Black People? - "CLAIM: Police shootings kill more white Americans than black Americans.
RATING: Mixture
WHAT'S TRUE: In absolute numbers, more white people than black people are killed in police shootings (because white people outnumber black people in America)...
Any “analysis” of police killings will of course show that in absolute numbers, more white people are killed in police shootings than black people, because (non-Hispanic) whites comprise a roughly five times greater share of the U.S. population (62% vs. 13%). So any “analysis” that is based on nothing more than absolute numbers and does not take demographics into account is inaccurate and misleading... According to those statistics (adjusted for racial demographics), black people had a 2.7 higher likelihood of being killed by police than whites."
What happens when Snopes does fact checks
Of course, they ignore the fact that you need to adjust the killings of black people by police by the crime rate to avoid having inaccurate and misleading "analysis"


PayPal told customer her death breached its rules

Astronaut Chris Hadfield says we could have gone to Mars decades ago — here's why we haven't - "“The majority of the astronauts that we send on those missions wouldn’t make it,” Hadfield said. “They’d die.”... According to a 2016 study published in Nature, the flight to and from the moon exposed 24 astronauts who made the trip to a much greater risk of deadly heart disease... A long slog to Mars increases the risks of explosions, radiation, starvation, and other problems. Technologies that could mitigate these issues – such as lightweight yet effective shielding, hibernation capsules, and bioregenerative life-support systems – don’t yet exist."

Women pay more for insurance because they have higher health-care costs - "per-capita lifetime health-care expenditures for women run $361,200, or nearly $100,000 more than per-capita lifetime health-care expenditures for men. Part of that is related to the fact that women live longer on average, but that does not account for the majority of the difference... The higher premiums charged to women are not rooted in the malice of wicked insurance executives but in the thing that our progressive friends claim to love: science — in this case, actuarial science. The argument for charging women higher premiums may not be persuasive to you, but it has some basis in reality. The argument against doing so has no obvious basis in anything other than preference."

Why Women Pay Higher Prices for the "Same" Products | Mises Institute - "When discussing the pink tax, we can dispense with the notion that women pay more money for exactly the same products that men use. In order for goods to be identical, the two products must be viewed as homogenous units by the consumers themselves. Clearly this is not the case, and hygiene products — even ones designed to do similar things — are viewed differently by men and women. First of all, men’s and women’s products generally smell different from one another. This fact alone is enough to distinguish them as separate products if the sexes treat the products differently. Moreover, in terms of physical amenities, men’s and women’s razors are different in a number of ways. As indicated here, women’s razors are often larger and have more stuff around the blades to help women shave a larger area. Women pay more for dry cleaning and haircuts. This is partially due to the fact that women’s dry cleaning and women’s haircuts takes more time, and is more labor intensive. More importantly, female consumers of dry cleaning are willing to voluntarily pay the higher prices... To believe that women only buy women’s products that are identical to men’s due to clever advertising campaigns would be to assume that women have no brains and can be endlessly manipulated by firms"
Men pay more for waxing than women. A gay guy described this as the gay tax

Gender Identity, Consumption and Price Discrimination - "The mediatic presence of contents regarding pink tax, even though it is a claim for audiences, it unleashes discomfort and mistrust among citizens. To warn can be a potential way of approaching the problem, but it is not exempt from risk since it evokes in the consumer an attitude of general rejection and mistrust towards brands. It is indispensable to clarify the reality behind the pink tax claim... Data for price analysis were classified in 4 groups: (1) identical/ quasi identical products targeted to women and men in a differentiated manner; (2) similar products with nonfunctional differences, (3) similar products with functional differences, in both cases aimed specifically to women and men, and (4) products exclusive for a gender, either male or female. Results of analysis performed show three facts: first, that the existence of the pink tax, understood as an extra price in identical/ quasi identical products is not significant; second, that price differences in similar products are supported by differences in product features and are potentially generators of value for consumers. And lastly, the enormous offer diversification targeted to women is demonstrated. A wide offer of personal care products is destined to them – without equivalent for men-, a consumption that points at them and moves them closer to a social ideal of beauty linked to success"
In other words, the pink tax is (another) feminist myth

Women have more accidents per mile - "Of course the debate over which is the superior sex, at least behind the wheel, is an old one - and apparently a very well-research one, too. Take this study called Sex differences in driving and insurance risk ( http://www.sirc.org/publik/driving.pdf). Men will be gratified to hear that the research says women are more likely than men to be involved in car accidents on a per-mile-driven basis (it's a U.S. study). Yes, yes, we have quicker reflexes and better spatial perception skills than women. On the other hand, when men crash, we do it big-time. We're flat-out dangerous -- more likely (by 50-100 per cent versus women) to be in crashes involving loss of life. Men tend to ignore the law, engage in more risk-taking behaviour, race for pink slips, drive drunk and behave aggressively behind the wheel."
In short, men are better drivers than women but more dangerous (in a sense)

World Cup 2018: How do Belgian footballers speak to each other? - "Sources say the players speak neither Dutch nor French but English in the changing room, to avoid the perception of favouring one language over another. They also speak English on the pitch... The country also has a large number of migrants who speak neither Dutch nor French as a native language and so English can be used to integrate them too... "All Swiss language communities accept the notion of the Swiss nation, which is defined plurally," says nationalism expert Klaus-Jurgen Nagel of Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University. "But this is not the case in Belgium where the narrative of the nation is contested. In Flanders, a lot of people define [themselves] in the first place as members of the Flemish nation, rather than as Belgians.""

Effect of prolonged and exclusive breast feeding on risk of allergy and asthma: cluster randomised trial - "These results do not support a protective effect of prolonged and exclusive breast feeding on asthma or allergy"

Oscar Martinez's answer to What are the biggest reasons not to join the military? - Quora - "One day while I was in it dawned on me: I will have seen more naked men in person than I ever will naked women. This saddened me and those with whom I shared this observation"

Sheila Parkins's answer to As a Canadian, what do you find different about the U.S.A. when you visit? - Quora - "one thing that stood out to me a lot was the black people. There are a lot more of them in the US than in Canada. And it really took me aback - they acted like the stereotypes you see on TV. I’m very much used to black people more or less either a) being local and acting more or less just like everyone else or b) reflecting the culture of wherever they immigrated from, which generally is not the typical black American way of acting. I mean, I think I knew on an intellectual level that the stereotypes came from somewhere, but it still just was so odd to see people talking and acting in a way I had only ever really seen, to any large degree, on TV.“

Restoring women’s voices - History Extra - "13 percent of the blue plaques in London represent women, I think it's less than three percent of the statues in the UK currently represent women who were real historical women, so not a mythological character or a representation of an idea. And weren't royal because obviously there's a few knocking around of Queen Victoria. So there's actually, there's just a lot of missing women women missing from pedestals"
Maybe women only did 13% of the things worthy of blue plaques

The national debt dilemma podcast: what can we learn from history? - History Extra - "What's happening in the French public finances in the 18th century because just at the same time as the British were making their big play for constitutional monarchy in 1688, Louis the 14th in France was going in exactly the opposite direction. He dismissed all his ministers, he refused to call Parliament and had an absolute monarchy and that made it rather difficult for the French financial system to move forward from its rather cumbersome, medieval roots. And so all the way through the 18th century you had a very odd eccentric French tax system. Taxes were really contracted out to a vast array of tax collectors and money lenders. Even the French Ministers of Finance effectively had very little idea of how much they were in debt. If they were in debt"

Britain’s Catholic emancipation - History Extra - "If you were a member of a Catholic family, you could suddenly say, I'm Protestant by the way, and inherit everything"

World War One at home - History Extra - "'To what extent do you think it's acceptable to sacrifice some level of accuracy in order to ensure the story works?'...
'I think there are various elements. You can't shift dates of battles or whether people have rationing or who's been conscripted and how things are dealt with in that way. I think that sort of element is absolutely important to get right. But then I think it's very difficult to create a feel of an era and it's quite difficult to create attitudes and values, and behavior that people had then for people to comprehend now. So we have a very different idea about how children are treated, and if we created the historical accuracy of 1914, I think people would find that very difficult. I think there are some things which were the way in which people spoke to each other or spoke to women, or spoke to people who were non English. You wouldn't want to recreate that on radio nowadays. I know there was an interesting debate early on about the first years, first months of the war, there was a massive level of anti-German feeling and urban myths about things that the Germans had done in Belgium when they went in to Belgium. Now, actually to recreate all of that I think would have been quite problematic cause you can't recreate the feel and the rumor and the way in which they spoke about it without almost sort of propagating really quite anti-German feeling in this country at this moment.'"
Of course, those who claim that art has a responsibility to reflect reality would be outraged at historical accuracy that was politically incorrect

America's changing dream - History Extra - "Among American conservative commentators and in the right wing media in America there's an explicit argumentative, provocative assumption that the American dream is antithetical to social democracy, that it is actively hostile to regulated capitalism and the American dream and free market Capitalism are one and the same, and they always have been. And to say anything else is unamerican. So it came to me as shall we say a point of interest to discover that the American Dream was in fact coined to articulate the need for regulating capitalism and to articulate the need for social democracy. So whatever else you may say about the American dream as a phrase, it is absolutely not inimical to the idea of social democracy or to the idea of regulated capitalism...
How to stop bad millionaires, not how to become one...
All of the ideas that people have now about what they think the Republican party has always stood for, which it didn't. It was the party of Lincoln. So it was actually the Civil Rights party, which people forget. The party of Teddy Roosevelt, who was an anti monopolist, but in the name of Republican small markets...
[Wilson] was using it to try to navigate a very complicated political terrain between a very strong isolationist sentiment in America at the time, a strong urge toward political neutrality, which is not necessarily the same as isolationism. And one things I explained in the book is that the reasons for American neutrality in the First World War were much more complicated than I think people often appreciate. For example, the number of Irish Americans living in the country who were absolutely outraged at the idea of venturing an alliance with Britain. And that was a feeling that only strengthened after 1916 and the Easter Rising. So the idea that it was simple isolationism or that it was just Americans not wanting to get involved over simplifies the issue. You've got German Americans, Irish Americans, you've got this, you've got this is what happens when you have a melting pot. How do you actually negotiate that? But Wilson was an internationalist. So what he did was he gave a speech in which he said, we need to put America first, but not by being last to do anything, but by being first to lead."

Friday, September 07, 2018

Links - 7th September 2018 (2)

4 beneficial evolutionary mutations that humans are undergoing right now - "Beneficial mutation #1: Apolipoprotein AI-Milano
Beneficial mutation #2: Increased bone density
Beneficial mutation #3: Malaria resistance
Beneficial mutation #4: Tetrachromatic vision"

Human Sexuality: How Do Men and Women Differ? - Letitia Anne Peplau, 2003 - "A large body of scientific research documents four important gender differences in sexuality. First, on a wide variety of measures, men show greater sexual desire than do women. Second, compared with men, women place greater emphasis on committed relationships as a context for sexuality. Third, aggression is more strongly linked to sexuality for men than for women. Fourth, women's sexuality tends to be more malleable and capable of change over time. These male-female differences are pervasive, affecting thoughts and feelings as well as behavior, and they characterize not only heterosexuals but lesbians and gay men as well. Implications of these patterns are considered."

Sexual Frequency Among Lesbians | Michele O'Mara, PhD, LCSW - "Twelve percent (50 lesbians) of the sample reported having no sex in the last six months. Thirty-seven percent (154 lesbians) of the sample reported having sex once monthly or less. Combined, these groups represent almost half of the sample population, suggesting that the majority of lesbians are having sex once monthly or less... research largely supports the fact that lesbians are less sexual than other couple pairings"

Gays vs. Straights: Any Differences in Sexual Satisfaction? - "Satisfaction with sexual activities. It was remarkably similar for all groups. The only difference was that women, both lesbian and straight, felt somewhat more satisfied with non-genital caresesses than men, both gay and straight, presumably because compared with women, men tend to be more genital-focused. But all groups expressed very similar levels of satisfaction with their lovemaking."

Feminist Apparel CEO Alan Martofel Is Admitted Abuser - "The employees of the popular clothing company Feminist Apparel thought they were creating tools for the resistance. The online store’s viral shirts and accessories — which feature sayings like “Cats against catcalls” and “Trans rights are human rights” — became staples at events like the Women’s March and Pride"
Another male feminist!

PIERS MORGAN: The orange Trump baby balloon is a pathetic stunt - "Giuliani, whose own 'zero tolerance' policies were widely applauded for substantially reducing violent crime in New York, added: 'He's so busy attacking President Trump's visit and in the meantime, crime is spiralling in London. If crime is going up, he is obviously not paying attention to his job. This is one mayor who can tell him how to reduce crime – you have to pay attention to your job. From one mayor to another – do your job, Mr Khan.'... If President Obama was still President, and there was a plan to fly a giant black baby balloon of him in diapers over parliament – how long do you think it would have taken Sadiq Khan to reject that idea as 'racist' and 'offensive'?... When the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, came to Britain recently, there was barely a murmur of discontent. I've seen bigger, angrier protests outside my local pub when someone accidentally puts the tennis on the TV during the current World Cup."

The Trump baby blimp is the ultimate symbol of Britain’s commitment to free speech
Meanwhile: British Police Arrest At Least 3,395 People for 'Offensive' Online Comments in One Year

Global Increases in Individualism - "we examined 51 years of data on individualist practices and values across 78 countries. Our findings suggest that individualism is indeed rising in most of the societies we tested. Despite dramatic shifts toward greater individualism around the world, however, cultural differences remain sizable. Moreover, cultural differences are primarily linked to changes in socioeconomic development, and to a lesser extent to shifts in pathogen prevalence and disaster frequency."

The unique way the Dutch treat mentally ill prisoners - "One of the unique things about the Dutch criminal justice system is that a person can be judged to be responsible for their crime on five levels. “Dutch law differs from English law in that it recognises a sliding scale from full responsibility through to total lack of responsibility, with three levels in between,” explains one report in the journal Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health. While the diminished responsibility clause in the UK is similar, there is no such sliding scale."

Bridging the STEM Gender Gap Divide - "It was because of the rush to judgement without knowing all of the facts made by people like me that he had lost his job. From then on, I resolved to never judge a person guilty of racism or sexism based on portrayals in the media without first reading what they said, verbatim and in context. The Boggart metaphor also applies is a second way that Ms. Champion may not have realized. In addition to distorting one’s perceptions, assuming the worst of others can literally cause them to become more extreme. When someone is demonized, they will often develop an animus toward the person or people demonizing them. When someone is silenced, they will feel forced to retreat to their own echo chamber, only able to speak their mind to those who largely think the same things as them... The sole metric that we use for diversity in the industry is the percentage of the big three “underrepresented” demographics: African-Americans, Hispanics, and women. Little attention is given to the fact that there is an abundance of other minorities, including immigrants, Jews, Muslims, atheists, Asians, LGBT, and people on the autism spectrum... One of my greatest beefs with the messaging of outreach programs directed toward women is that they often tend to misrepresent what life as a software engineer is like, portraying our work as more interdisciplinary and interpersonal than it actually is. In effect, we lure women into the profession by lying to them about what their life will be like here. This could explain at least some of the so-called leaky pipeline where women are more likely than men to leave the profession... It has often been claimed that girls do not receive the same encouragement to go into STEM as boys... I learned programming out of books beginning at age 7, despite having no formalized mentorship until late high school. My parents did not support these activities, and I was bullied mercilessly by my peers for having different interests from what was considered to be cool. Social justice activists often speak of the value of lived experiences, yet the lived experience of someone like me is clearly unwelcome... Even the phrase “Not all men are like that” has been viewed by many as hate speech"

High-Skilled White-Collar Work? Machines Can Do That, Too - The New York Times - "One of the best-selling T-shirts for the Indian e-commerce site Myntra is an olive, blue and yellow colorblocked design. It was conceived not by a human but by a computer algorithm — or rather two algorithms. The first algorithm generated random images that it tried to pass off as clothing. The second had to distinguish between those images and clothes in Myntra’s inventory. Through a long game of one-upmanship, the first algorithm got better at producing images that resembled clothing, and the second got better at determining whether they were like — but not identical to — actual products."

New blood pressure guidelines: why blood pressure measurements are often wrong - "When researchers have compared the blood pressure readings that doctors record to the values obtained by nurses who are specifically trained to follow correct technique, the results are alarming. Casual measurements taken by doctors overestimate blood pressure by about 10 mmHg. That could be the difference between normal blood pressure (120 mmHg) and stage one hypertension (130 mmHg), according to newly updated US definitions"

Man, 33, jailed 5 years for sex with girl half his age - "Despite knowing that she was only 15 years old, he promised her a monthly "allowance" of S$4,000 to S$5,000 for sex, and told her to delete their correspondence to each other so no one would find out... the victim, who is now 17, had set up a profile on a money-for-sex online platform. The girl, who cannot be named due to a court gag order, said that she was looking for someone to pay for her tuition fees... Lim, however, never meant to pay her. He intended to abscond after they had sex. Investigations later revealed that in 2016, Lim used this trick on more than six women. His modus operandi was to discard the prepaid SIM card he used to contact them after he had sex with them"
If she'd been 16 it'd have been better to have not paid her as it wouldn't have been an offence, presumably

Study the Studies- What We Know About Same-Sex Parenting - "the studies that show “no difference” often used poor methodology (non-random samples, parental (self) reporting vs. actual child outcomes, short duration, etc.) to reach their conclusions... researchers would sometimes recruit subjects via posts on an LGBT-friendly site, state that they were doing a study on gay parenting, and then hand select 20-40 participants. (Not exactly the unbiased scientific method that you learned about in high school.) In any field of study, such factors have a major impact. But when you take into account the cultural/political landscape leading up to redefining marriage, it’s clear that something other than scientific inquiry played a role in the outcomes... Finding Random Participants is Difficult and Time-Consuming- That’s Why Most Didn’t Do it... children who have married same-sex parents fare worse than those with unmarried same-sex parents... The largest study to date – the National Health Interview Study which began with 1.6 million cases and yielded 512 same-sex parent families – destroys any fantasy that children with same-sex parents fare “no different” than children raised in the home of their married mother and father... 'If the greatest benefits for child well-being are conferred only on the biological offspring of both parents; •and since same-sex relationships cannot, at least at present, conceive a child that is the biological offspring of both partners, in the way that every child conceived by opposite-sex partners is such; • then same-sex partners, no matter how loving and committed, can never replicate the level of benefit for child well-being that is possible for opposite-sex partners.'"

ZMABSO on Twitter: "> Complaining about "unrealistic depictions of women in videogames"… "
Feminist Frequency Radio: Banner avatars vs reality vs a realistic depiction of the 3 hosts

Canine Intelligence—Breed Does Matter
In dogs, it is uncontroversial that subspecies have different levels of intelligence

Hundreds of lives saved by universal healthcare in US - "In 2006, Massachusetts began requiring health insurance coverage for nearly all residents – years before the rest of the country. Now a study shows that after the reforms went into effect, the state saw a 2.9 per cent decrease in the death rate through 2010. According to the study, which was led by Benjamin Sommers of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, that translates to around 320 lives saved every year... there were fewer hospital visits after the state’s reforms. Another study, released last year, showed that between 1 and 2 per cent of Massachusetts residents reported better health statuses."

The Democratic Party left me and I'm not alone - "I’ve been a loyal Democrat for about 15 years. As someone who became a citizen in 2006, I became a Democrat during the George W. Bush years, because I liked the party’s anti-war, pro-minority, pro-environment, pro-little guy positions...
The Democratic Party and its followers have left me for many reasons, but here are a few examples:
The party and its followers have been showing illiberal tendencies for some time.
It has gone off the rails on immigration, free speech, identity politics and some other issues — a topic I’ll defer for another day.
I’m no Trump supporter, but I’ve been horrified and repulsed by the political and cultural left’s hatred, demonization and mistreatment of President Trump, his family, his administration officials and his voters, which is even worse (if that’s possible) than what the right did to President Obama."

homo economicus, homo oppressus - "Sociology has its own version of homo economicus, a theory that simplifies the world but has some real limitations. I call it “homo oppressus.” In this model of the world, human beings are driven by two psychological impulses:
Homo oppressus sees that world in terms of in groups and out groups.
Homo oppressus actively seeks to defend the status and privilege of their group.
There is an important normative side to “Homo oppressus” theory – the actions of lower status groups are usually seen in a better light than actions of higher status groups, which might be called “the underdog bias.” There is also a second bias concerning policy – policies that try to minimize in-group/out-group differences are preferred to those that increase baseline levels of well being but maintain inter-group inequalities."

Racism against whites: What's the problem? - "these divergent goals are especially toxic together during interracial interactions. Think about it: if you are working hard to be liked, and the other person is not cracking a smile and not reciprocating to your overtures, your goals are not being met. Similarly, if you are working hard to be respected, and the other person is instead being smiley and gooey with you, your goals are not being met. In other words, the motive to be liked leads to behaviors that are interpreted as disrespectful, and the motive to be respected leads to behaviors that are interpreted as unfriendly! Talk about having your signals cross-- both members of the dyad are trying to achieve something to counteract a stereotype, and precisely because of that, neither participant ends up having a positive interaction. In fact, the researchers found that the more an interracial dyad's goals differed, the more negative feelings they had towards each other at the end of the interaction... even when stereotypes are directed against groups that have not been historically stigmatized, they still perpetuate the cycle of inequality. Why? Because these stereotypes prevent us from being able to sit down together at the same table, to hire each other, to elect each other to boards, to become friends."

Observations - 7th September 2018

Technically, 'For the many, not the few' is anti-minorities.

When westerners go to other countries they're told to dress in culturally appropriate/sensitive ways. When non westerners go to Western countries it's culturally appropriate/sensitive for them to wear whatever they want.


Amused that Singaporean women complain so much about paying a bit more in Careshield premiums to support other women, but the men do NS to protect Singaporean women, and mostly don't complain about the sexism. This says something about how the sexes approach entitlements

Feminists champion the rights of underaged girls to have abortions without letting their parents know. But if underaged girls have the capacity to consent to an abortion, why can't they consent to things like sex and female genital cutting (setting aside the fact that many feminists don't even think adult women have the capacity to consent to female genital cutting). Hormone blockers are another example


"Sometimes you tell lies, sometimes you tell the truth. No one knows when you're lying. In real life this is the way you run a business"

So apparently the reason why people stay in Sales once they join the line is their spending habits grow to meet the salary, and they can't sustain their lifestyles in a non-Sales position

If finding a way to increase productivity is rewarded by slashing headcount, what is the incentive to increase productivity?

"Do what you love and you'll work super fucking hard all the time with no separation or any boundaries and also take everything extremely personally"

"it is easier to "prove" saving costs than it is to measure productivity losses."


What if companies deliberately coded their websites to only work in IE to prevent employees using unauthorised browsers?

Aggressive enforcement of geographical restrictions on streaming just means that people will pirate content instead

Main reason people write down passwords: password policies making you use one you can't remember, and change it every 3 months

99% of coupons on coupon sites just redirect you to the merchant. It's a scam!

If a system blocks you from reusing old passwords, doesn't that mean it stores old passwords and thus is even more of a security risk since if it's hacked you lose even more sensitive information?

Given how many sites now detect adblockers and nag you, is there any reason to continue using one?

IT Best Practice: Replacing an old but functional system with a new, graphical one that is slower, blockier, has sexy - but useless - features and less essential functionality


Racial harmony in Singapore is mocking your presidents as the prata man, Colonel Sanders and the Milo auntie

So apparently Singapore can take away your permanent residency even if you live in the country if you don't earn enough (as long as you leave, no matter how temporarily)

"when PMDs are on roads, LTA polices like hawks before any accidents happen; when PMDs wreak havoc on pavements, wait for pedestrians to get seriously injured before following up."

The fact that Singapore has gun nuts despite no gun culture or history shows how thoroughly it has imported the US culture wars

"Human rights [in Singapore] are about every 5 presidents there must at least be one from a minority race."

"Singapore is actually a very good case study on fluoridation- 100% of population for 50 years
Any pattern will be somewhat obvious by now."
"The effects are obvious. A subservient population"

Why, when it comes to business costs in Singapore, does the government always harp about wages but not rent?


"regarding the whole drama about racist landlords, when my wife then girlfriend was renting a room, it turned out even her indian landlord preferred to rent to Chinese folks because of problems with her own race.

some prayer rituals and incense in the house
bringing undesirable visitors"

Links - 7th September 2018 (1)

What Does a C.E.O. Actually Do? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "BLOOM: It’s an amazing fact when people mention C.E.O. they think of an older white man in charge of a company of 10,000 people. In fact there are 6 million companies in America. The median company, so the 50th percentile, has three employees and the most common company size has one. Actually, almost every C.E.O. out there that you’re going to meet is going to be in charge of 5 or 10 people... you do definitely want to pay these individuals a lot. Why? One is — you want to select people into the job. It’s frankly a horrible job. I wouldn’t want it. Being a C.E.O. of a big company is a hundred-hour-a-week job. It consumes your life. It consumes your weekend. It’s super-stressful. Sure, there’s enormous perks, but it’s also, all-encompassing, and particularly for people with kids, you really want to make sure that they’re motivated and also rewarded. And since these individuals are running massive companies, their actions affect all of us every day. It’s not just big, pub-listed companies. You got to think of C.E.O.’s of hospitals, school districts, and the government. Everything we do is affected by their actions...
SONNENFELD: And more than being overpaid, there’s very little correspondence between performance and pay. There are some very strong companies, historically, say, United Parcel Service, which rank at the bottom, in terms of compensation. But Philippe Dauman, who ran Viacom ‘til recently, was being paid more than the very high-performing C.E.O.’s of Disney and Time Warner combined! And Viacom was a disaster. People like to talk about, what’s the ratio against the average employee? No, even worse is the lack of correspondence between pay and performance...
Being a C.E.O. is horribly selected on having taken a lot of big bets in the past and then successively paying off. Risk-taking is an attribute we end up selecting in our successful C.E.O.’s, but I’m not sure it’s actually one that you’d want if you pick someone at the outset. Steve Jobs famously had his reality-distortion field and ignored all of his advice and pushed ahead and did well anyway. But I could mention Elizabeth Holmes at Theranos who was also apparently had a reality-distortion field. And the company crashed and burned. And I’m sure there are 50 other examples of Theranos out there. I’m very nervous about taking these anecdotes and looking only at winners. If you want to do well, you want to look at winners and losers — basically take everyone that starts and see who tracks, and then you’ll find the risk-taking C.E.O.’s, many of them crash and burn. We just never notice them because they drop out of the press."

How to Become a C.E.O. - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "A 2009 academic study, which analyzed established public companies from 1986 to 2005, found that internally promoted C.E.O.’s led to at least a 25 percent better total financial performance than external hires.” A 2010 study by Booz & Company similarly found that, in 7 of the 10 previous years, insider C.E.O.s delivered higher market returns than external hires. And yet: external hiring seems to be on the rise: in 2013, between 20 and 30 percent of boards replaced outgoing C.E.O.’s with external hires; a few decades ago, that number was only 8 to 10 percent. Outside hires also tend to be more expensive: their median pay is $3 million more than for inside hires. So, an external hire will, on average, cost you more and perform worse. And yet that’s the trend...
BARTZ: Well, I was in a limo driving into New York City when I got a call from Roy Bostock, the chairman of the board, and told me I was fired. I was literally 20 minutes away from where he was physically located. He didn’t have the nerve to see me face-to-face. I do not believe that that would have happened to a man. He didn’t have the nerve. Now I like to think he didn’t have the nerve because he knew I would probably punched him out."
If you would've punched him out, it was a good idea not to meet you

“I Wasn’t Stupid Enough to Say This Could Be Done Overnight” - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "DUBNER: You, like most big public companies, have dealt with activist shareholders. You seem to have taken mostly a firm line with them, including Nelson Peltz, who wanted you to spin off Frito-Lay. He eventually exited his position in PepsiCo with a pretty nice profit. I’m curious what you did to celebrate when Nelson Peltz exited that position?
NOOYI: Believe me — and this might sound incredulous — but we didn’t celebrate when he came in, and we didn’t celebrate when he left. Because at the end of the day we’re all activists inside the company. I mean, I own almost 50 times my salary in PepsiCo stock. My entire net worth is tied up in PepsiCo. And if somebody as an activist came into the company and suggested we do things differently, we study every idea very, very carefully. Because if they have an idea for us to run the company better than we are, we will incorporate it. But if their idea has more risks than upsides, then we have to worry about the company. At the end of the day, we are maniacally focused on the success of PepsiCo and our shareholders. And we’re not just listening to ideas. We think about the implementation. When Nelson Peltz came — and believe me — when he presented his white paper to us, we studied every chart, every idea, and had multiple conversations with him, because at the end of the day we viewed him as free consulting — painful, but free consulting...
NOOYI: When you eat out of a flex bag — one of our single-serve bags — especially as you watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and they lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth, because they don’t want to lose that taste of the flavor, and the broken chips in the bottom. Women would love to do the same, but they don’t. They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth... “are there snacks for women that can be designed and packaged differently?”... For women, low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavor stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse?...
One of the things that my experience has taught me is that if you are trained as a scientist in your youth — through your high school and college — if you stay with the STEM disciplines, you can learn pretty much all of the subjects as you move along in life. And your scientific disciplines play a very important role, and ground you very well as you move into positions of higher and higher authority, whatever the job is. It’s very hard to learn science later on in life. One of the pleas I would have for most young people today is, “stay with STEM as long as you can.”...
I’ll tell you a story that happened when my daughter went to Catholic school, Convent of Sacred Heart. Every Wednesday morning they had class coffee with the mothers. Class coffee with mothers for a working woman — how is it going to work? How am I going to take off 9 o’clock on Wednesday mornings to go for class coffee? So I missed most class coffees. My daughter would come home and she’ll list off all the mothers that were there and say, “You were not there, mom.” The first few times I would die with guilt. But I developed coping mechanisms. I called the school and I said, “give me a list of mothers who are not there.” When she came home in the evening she’d say “You were not there, you were not there.” And I said, “ah ha, Mrs. Redd wasn’t there, Mrs. So-and-So wasn’t there. So I’m not the only bad mother.” You have to cope, because you die with guilt. You just die with guilt. My observation, David, is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total, complete conflict."

After the Glass Ceiling, a Glass Cliff - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "RYAN: In November 2003, the Times in London printed an article that was looking at how women were performing in the top companies on the London Stock Exchange. And what they were saying is that companies that had more women on their boards of directors tended to be worse, in terms of their average annual share price, compared to those companies that had less, or indeed no women. And their conclusion was that women were wreaking havoc on company performance... If the Times article was correct, we should see that after women were appointed to these boards of directors, share price should go down. But actually what we found was the opposite. What we found was when companies had been doing poorly, when their share price had been declining, they then appointed women to their boards of directors. So what we found was a really different causal problem. Rather than women wreaking havoc on company performance, what we found was when companies were doing badly, they were much more likely to appoint women...
There’s some sort of preference for women when all is going badly... there’s some evidence that there are stereotypes, gendered stereotypes about men and women, that suggest that women might be better leaders in times of crisis...
A British tabloid that twisted the story into a too-good-to-be-true internet tale: it said that PepsiCo was about to start selling — or, depending on where you read it, maybe they’d already started selling? — something called Lady Doritos. The internet then did what it does best, accusing Nooyi of sexism and general idiocy. This led PepsiCo to issue a statement: “The reporting on a specific Doritos product for female consumers is inaccurate. We already have Doritos for women — they’re called Doritos.”... [it's] possible a male C.E.O. wouldn’t have even dared talk about the difference between how men and women eat chips. Looking beyond the momentary internet spasm, it’s worth pointing out that a key argument for having women in leadership has been so that they can do exactly what Indra Nooyi did: take into account the perspective of the women who use her company’s products. Maybe that’s true, but in this case, suggesting that women shouldn’t, or don’t want, to crunch their chips as loudly as men? — well, you get the feeling that the parable of the Lady Doritos will be a business-school case study for decades to come...
SHURCHKOV: Some countries like the Scandinavian countries, for example, they’ve actually instituted quotas for a certain ratio of women represented on boards of companies, for example. It’s interesting, because when you look at the effects of these policies, we find that at least in the short term, forcing women into these leadership roles does actually backfire a little bit, because it’s hard to find enough experienced women at that level to fill those positions. And then once you start to fill the positions with women who are less experienced those companies actually suffer in the short term, in terms of revenues and profits"
Yet pro-diversity research uses the same methodology as the Times to proclaim that diversity is good for business, and almost no one complains
If diversity is so good for business, appointing women when companies are doing badly should be a good idea
Some would point to sexism for the fact that if woman CEOs fail, it's seen as a stain on all women. Yet, since woman CEOs are celebrated as representing all women (e.g. they're celebrated just for being women) this is just the corollary of that - you can't have it both ways


Extra: Richard Branson Full Interview - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "let’s just look at this business of forcing people to come to an office. First of all, you’ve got maybe an hour or an hour and a half of travel time in the morning, another hour and a half of travel time in the evening. And, you know, when you’re at the office, it’s important that you say hello to everybody and that you’re friendly with everybody, so you use up another hour or two, you know, socializing with people. Then, because you’re not at home, you need to communicate with your family. So you spend another bit of time communicating with your family. And so the day carries on and you might get a couple hours of work done"

Extra: David Rubenstein Full Interview - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "private equity... we are providing a social service, and that social service is making companies more efficient, but more importantly than that, perhaps, the bulk of our investors are public pension funds. So they are policemen, firemen, teachers, and so forth – they are the largest investors through the various CalPERS of the world, or New York Commons of the world. And so we think that we’re doing good things, not only by making companies more efficient, but the real beneficiaries – the people getting 80 percent of the profit – very often are public pension funds...
One time we looked at a deal in an industry that you would think would be okay, which is to do video into hotel rooms. You know, it’s a nice business. But when you analyze it, it’s about 98 percent pornographic...
If you mention sex sometimes the students who are probably falling asleep during my speech would wake up. And sure enough, many people paid attention to that. In fact more people remembered that comment than anything else I said at that speech...
In private equity, on average, obviously there's some exceptions, probably 90 percent of buyouts will make money, something like that. And in venture capital, probably 90 percent of the deals will not make money...
When I was younger, a lot of my friends were very good athletes, and they became all-American athletes, particularly in lacrosse – I’m from Baltimore, lacrosse is a big sport. Now, they have artificial knees, they have artificial hips. I didn’t wear my body out. And so now, when I play tennis against these former all-Americans, I can run them off the court, because my body is still intact. So that’s one of the great pleasures of my athletic life."

Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "With the revolution in digital communication has come a blizzard of notifications, alerts, messages, and more. While there are obvious upsides to the speed and magnitude of this communication, there are also costs: information overload is thought to decrease U.S. productivity by at least $1 trillion a year."

Extra: Satya Nadella Full Interview - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "the more senior you are the more careful you need to be in setting up meetings... When I set up a review, it turns out that people will do at least five reviews before they show up to me because that’s kind of how it goes, right? They review with their manager or their manager will review with their manager. So depending on the topic and the matrix organization, it could become an exponential growth thing"

How to Train Your Dragon Child - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "NYE: So birth rates are plunging from the early 60’s to the mid-80’s in all these countries in East Asia. Amid this plunging birth rate — typical years are going down minus 2, minus 3 percent — the Dragon year saw, in Taiwan in ’76, a 15.5 percent spike. Singapore’s Chinese population saw an 8 percent spike. Malaysia’s Chinese population saw a 10 percent spike... You saw a Dragon-year birth effect in all East Asian countries or ethnic Chinese areas, except China...
LI: And one of the things they try to stay away from, or try to eradicate, is the old China... Mao Zedong stood at Tiananmen Square and said, “Now we have a new China.” So that means saying goodbye to the old China. Because that was understood, or was perceived, as old, backwards, not able to survive in the 20th century... you’ve vaguely heard, okay, if a girl was born the Year of the Goat, she would have trouble marrying. So what’s wrong with a goat? And my parents are just like, “Don’t even ask.” Because they’re afraid of, you know, being identified as a counter-revolutionary, and believing the old system...
GOODKIND: It’s really a new tradition, actually, to try to time births in the Dragon year... one factor obviously is the decline in fertility rates over time. When couples are having five, six, or seven children and they’re not using contraception, then the importance of timing a birth in or out of a zodiac year might be less relevant or maybe not easy to do. But these days, when people are having just one or two children, and a reproductive lifespan might be 35 years, there’s plenty of time there to play with. People have greater control over their fertility through contraception...
Goodkind suggests that this Chinese diaspora didn’t like how China itself was ditching so many traditional practices... being a minority immigrant creates an even stronger incentive to preserve your own cultural traditions. He was able to test this notion empirically, in Malaysia...
One study found worse health outcomes for newborns in Malaysia during Dragon years, presumably due to hospital crowding. Another study found that Chinese Dragon kids born in Singapore went on to earn less than non-Dragons, perhaps due to a more crowded labor market...
NYE: We see that Asian-American Dragons have roughly a third more year of education. We’re talking three to four months more of education. If you only look at immigrants now — so you’re only comparing Asian-American Dragon immigrants to Asian-American non-Dragon immigrants, the difference increases to nearly half a year. That is a huge effect...
In a famous study by the psychologist Robert Rosenthal, school teachers were told that their students were “gifted” even though they weren’t; yet somehow, by the end of the term, those students did outperform their peers"

Extra: Jack Welch Full Interview - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "WELCH: “radical candor” is not cruel. The kindest thing you can do to somebody: tell them where they stand early in their careers, so they know they can adjust. And they can change or they can move on. They can be somewhere where they fit...
When we have to lay somebody off, it’s the manager’s responsibility in many ways, not the person — they hired them. They’re responsible for developing them. I have a phrase: love them on the way out — I teach this to my school — love ’em on the way out the way you love them on the way in. And I’ll tell you another one: a severance dollar is the cheapest dollar you’ll ever spend... you’ll be perceived as fair. Maybe not loved, initially, but people will come to respect you. That’s why I have an army of friends. Many people who I let go are some of my closest friends...
The Washington Post ran it so I can say it again. I give [Trump] a D- on management practices. And I give him an A+ on policies. Now the Washington Post only ran that I gave him a D-...
Banking, it’s all about bonuses. How much money I make, it isn’t even an absolute number. It’s relative. If Joe makes more than Bill, no matter what happens, Bill’s mad...
I had plenty of money in the first three years I was C.E.O., the next 17 was spent making other people rich. I mean it’s a turn-on. I used to call guys in my office and give them a million bucks. You realize how good that feels?"

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Links - 6th September 2018 (2)

German-made ‘miracle’ machine turns water into gasoline - "the F-T fuel technology “will always be more expensive” than getting conventional liquid hydrocarbon fuels from oil or coal, Aldag warned. “What is important is that the value creation happens at the place where you use the fuel,” he said. So there will be no crude oil transportation costs and expensive infrastructure. “You are producing the fuel right where you are actually going to use it,” Aldag stressed"

Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain - "Everyone says the blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, is going to change EVERYTHING. And yet, after years of tireless effort and billions of dollars invested, nobody has actually come up with a use for the blockchain—besides currency speculation and illegal transactions. Each purported use case — from payments to legal documents, from escrow to voting systems—amounts to a set of contortions to add a distributed, encrypted, anonymous ledger where none was needed. What if there isn’t actually any use for a distributed ledger at all? What if, ten years after it was invented, the reason nobody has adopted a distributed ledger at scale is because nobody wants it?"

Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future - "Blockchain systems are supposed to be more trustworthy, but in fact they are the least trustworthy systems in the world. Today, in less than a decade, three successive top bitcoin exchanges have been hacked, another is accused of insider trading, the demonstration-project DAO smart contract got drained, crypto price swings are ten times those of the world’s most mismanaged currencies, and bitcoin, the “killer app” of crypto transparency, is almost certainly artificially propped up by fake transactions involving billions of literally imaginary dollars. Blockchain systems do not magically make the data in them accurate or the people entering the data trustworthy, they merely enable you to audit whether it has been tampered with. A person who sprayed pesticides on a mango can still enter onto a blockchain system that the mangoes were organic. A corrupt government can create a blockchain system to count the votes and just allocate an extra million addresses to their cronies. An investment fund whose charter is written in software can still misallocate funds."

Once upon a time in Peking - "John Shakespeare lived in Peking in 1936. Now in his 80s, he has just gone back there for the first time"

Open Offices Make You Less Open - Study Hacks - Cal Newport - "Contrary to what’s predicted by the sociological literature, the 52 participants studied spent 72% less time interacting face-to-face after the shift to an open office layout... the shift to an open office significantly increased digital communication... Not surprisingly, this shift from face-to-face to electronic interaction made employees less effective... 'productivity, as defined by the metrics used by their internal performance management system, had declined after the redesign to eliminate spatial boundaries'... more interruptions = less deep work = poor return on investment in the organization’s attention capital"
Cost "savings" are more measurable than productivity losses

How a Frog Became the First Mainstream Pregnancy Test

Why Dutch women don't get depressed - The New York Times - ""Personal choice is key: in the Netherlands people are free to choose their life partners, their religion, their sexuality, we are free to use soft drugs here, we can pretty much say anything we like. The Netherlands is a very free country."... 68 percent of Dutch women work part time, roughly 25 hours a week, and most probably do not want a full-time job... A large component of the Dutch woman's happiness today derives from the importance attributed to the nuclear family - an institution invented by the low countries and whose hold there today is so strong that even gay couples want it... visitors in the Golden Age often wrote of their amazement at the Dutch woman's sexual independence. Once married, however, sex often took a back seat; for some early Calvinists even sex within marriage was sinful, de Bruin says, and Dutch women sublimated their sexual energy into domestic bullying. "They ordered the men around - there are many stories of bossy women and subordinate men," she said. "We know this from the literature of the 16th century, and it hasn't changed.""
Given that feminists prize economic independence through working and are contemptuous of the nuclear family, this suggests some mechanisms explaining why feminism has made women miserable

In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything - The New York Times - "Conservative Party leaders initially sold budget cuts as a virtue, ushering in what they called the Big Society. Diminish the role of a bloated government bureaucracy, they contended, and grass-roots organizations, charities and private companies would step to the fore, reviving communities and delivering public services more efficiently. To a degree, a spirit of voluntarism materialized. At public libraries, volunteers now outnumber paid staff. In struggling communities, residents have formed food banks while distributing hand-me-down school uniforms. But to many in Britain, this is akin to setting your house on fire and then reveling in the community spirit as neighbors come running to help extinguish the blaze... people losing cash benefits are falling behind on their electric bills and losing service, resorting to candles for light — a major fire risk. The city has cut mental health services, so fewer staff members are visiting people prone to hoarding newspapers, for instance, leaving veritable bonfires piling up behind doors, unseen... The political architecture of Britain insulates those imposing austerity from the wrath of those on the receiving end. London makes the aggregate cuts, while leaving to local politicians the messy work of allocating the pain."

World Champion Masturbation in Japan - vpro Metropolis - YouTube - "Masanobu sees it as a professional sport. As a true athlete he starts his workout at the break of dawn. His girlfriend keeps an eye on the time intervals. Because you don't become world champion in masturbating overnight"
The source of: "A real female of course, smells, is dirty... of course because its a human being, it has lots of things. So we have this anime, isn't it clean and pretty?"

Malays and Orang Asli: Contesting indigeneity - "In Malaya, the Malays without doubt formed the first effective governments⋯ The Orang Melayu or Malays have always been the definitive people of the Malay Peninsula. The aborigines were never accorded any such recognition nor did they claim such recognition. There was no known aborigine government or aborigine state. Above all, at no time did they outnumber the Malays⋯ I contend that the Malays are the original or indigenous peoples of Malaya and the only people who can claim Malaya as their one and only country"
Strange, this sounds like how white colonialists justified displacing natives in Australia and North America

How Carson Block Can Take On Singapore - "Professor Christopher Balding at Peking University, writer of Sovereign Wealth Funds: The New Intersection of Money and Politics, took a deep dive into Temasek and The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, it's other investment vehicle. According to his findings, all is not as it seems in the Singaporean investment universe. The individual companies that make up Temasek, for one, simply have never returned enough individually to make up the 17% collective return... Balding conjectures, however, that CPF funds are being used to finance investments in GIC and Temasek"

Why an American POW chose Mao’s China over home - "Having rejected America because of racism by white people, Clarence Adams now saw his children being traumatised by racism practised by black people and was suffering a level of poverty he’d not known in Beijing"

Colleges As Country Clubs: Today's Pampered College Students - College Ranker - "Research shows that the more amenities a college adds, the more applications they receive. This has resulted in the trend of less selective schools spending millions of dollars to create campuses that look and feel more like country clubs or resorts:..
According to the American College Counseling Association, millennial students are:
The first generation to have access to Internet/cell phones during formative years
More ethnically diverse than any other generation
Over scheduled
Overconfident
Require excess affirmation
Impatient and demanding
Have short attention span and low tolerance for boredom
Want immediate information and solutions...
Psychologists and college officials see this as the main cause of millennial student behaviors. An overprotected, overindulgent upbringing has created a generation that lacks independent thinking, problem-solving skills, and an over exaggerated sense of entitlement. It has also resulted in an increase in emotional/psychological issues for millennials leaving the protected nest.
2013 study of 297 college students by the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that children of helicopter parents have significantly higher levels of depression, less life satisfaction, and suffer from higher anxiety."
A lot of these characteristics also describe SJWs

Is college tuition paying for essentials, or lavish amenities? - "“A lot of people may say, ‘This is a country club, I don’t want my kid to go there,’ and that is exactly what I thought when I first heard about High Point University,” he says. “I thought that I didn’t want to go to a school that provides everything. I want to be independent, live on my own, live the normal college life. But I realized that by going to a school like that, [the school] can equip you with the necessities that you need to succeed.” Baker says that the university’s landscape architecture — where piped-in classical music plays over flowerbeds and fountains — represents the overall culture of the university. “[Qubein] said at the open house that a kid cannot walk from one class to another without seeing water next to him [or her], and water is a necessity in life. … [Therefore,] the fountains represent life,” he says. “Most people say it just represents the money that the people put back into the school, but really it is about … helping you understand why you are there to succeed.”

College, Country Club or Prison?

Thinx Ex-Employee Accuses Miki Agrawal of Sexual Harassment - "Miki Agrawal, the co-founder of Thinx — a company that makes “period underwear” — doesn’t think much of boundaries. “I just love the taboo space,” she told New York last year, of her mission to (profitably) destigmatize menstruation. And in a promotional video for the product, she said, “My favorite thing to talk about are the things you’re not supposed to talk about.” According to a complaint filed late last week by a former employee (and echoed in interviews with multiple current and former employees), those things have included: the size and shape of her employees’ breasts, an employee’s nipple piercings, her own sexual exploits, her desire to experiment with polyamory, her interest in entering a sexual relationship with one of her employees, and the exact means by which she was brought to female ejaculation. Her alleged boundary-breaking in the workplace isn’t just verbal. Per the detailed complaint, filed with the City of New York Commission on Human Rights, Agrawal also touched an employee’s breasts and asked her to expose them, routinely changed clothes in front of employees, and conducted meetings via videoconference while in bed, apparently unclothed. (She also is said in the filing to have shared nude photos of herself and others — “including but not limited to her fiancé” — with staff.) At least once, she supposedly FaceTimed into a meeting from the toilet... despite the company’s feminist branding and mission, the women who worked there felt exploited by low pay and substandard benefits. The complaint notes that the only two employees who had evidently successfully negotiated higher salaries were men. Per Racked, 10 of the company’s 35 employees have left since January (a Thinx spokesperson says the number is lower but declined to specify); several others departed either voluntarily or were fired last year by Agrawal, whom staffers described as erratic, retaliatory, and extraordinarily difficult to work for... Agrawal — whose brand was lauded for its body positivity, and for including visible stretch marks in its advertising — also regularly engaged in what another employee termed “fat-shaming”"

The fragile generation - "‘I’m very concerned about a phenomenon called “concept creep” – which has been happening to a lot of psychological terms since the 1990s’, he says. ‘When a word like “violence” is allowed to creep so that it includes a lot of things that are not violence, then this causes a cascade of bad effects. It’s bad for the students themselves because they now perceive an idea that they dislike, or a speaker that they dislike, as having committed a much graver offence against themselves – which means that they will perceive more victimisation of themselves. And it’s also really bad for society because, as we are seeing in a spectacular way in the United States this year, when each side can point to rampant occurrences of what they see as violence by the other side, this then justifies acts of actual physical violence on their side. And there’s no obvious end to this mutual escalation process.’ He adds: ‘Everybody involved in education needs to be dampening down violence and the acceptance of violence. Telling students that words are violence is counterproductive to that effort.’ While incidents of protests getting out of hand and the censorious policies of student bodies get a lot of press, Haidt points out that these problems do not involve the vast majority of students. ‘The political problems are mostly confined to elite schools where people live together for four years. The problems don’t seem to be arising very much at community colleges or places where people leave the college community to go to work or to go home to their families... rates of depression and anxiety [have been] sky-rocketing since around 2011.’ Haidt says these issues are not related to the millennial generation, but to those born after 1995, who grew up with social media as the norm. He calls them the i-gen (the internet generation). This tendency towards vulnerability has a number of causes, he says, but there are three main ones: social media, rising national polarisation, and the decline in unsupervised (adult-free) time during childhood... there was more of an emphasis on anti-bullying, as well as a decline in unsupervised play. ‘Studies of how kids spend their time show that up until the early 1980s kids spent a lot of time outside playing without adult supervision, but by the early 2000s that has almost disappeared, especially for younger kids’... Ironically, this over-protection of children may have done more harm than good. ‘The key psychological idea in understanding the rise in fragility is the idea of anti-fragility... there are some things that if you protect them, they won’t get better; the immune system is the classic example’... The heightened vulnerability of college students has had a chilling effect on discussion in the academic world, and Haidt sees this in his day-to-day experience on campus. ‘There is a rapidly spreading feeling that we are all walking on eggshells, both students and faculty. That we are now accountable, not for what we say, but for how anyone who hears it might take it. And if you have to speak, thinking about the worst reading that anyone could put on your words, that means you cannot be provocative, you cannot take risks, that means you will play it safe when you speak… This is what I’m seeing in my classes when topics related to race or gender come up – which we used to be able to talk about 10 years ago, but now it’s painful and there’s a lot of silence.’ This is disastrous for academic life... certain ideas are impairing students’ chances of success. Those ideas being: your feelings are always right; what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker; and the world is divided into good people and bad people"
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