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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, November 02, 2018

Links - 2nd November 2018 (2)

Here's what happens to your body when you walk those recommended 10,000 steps - "Roizen points to a recent study, that found postal workers in Glasgow, Scotland, who walked 15,000 steps a day, had fewer risk factors for heart disease than colleagues who sat throughout the day."

KBG84, Japan’s oldest idol group, have released their first major label single and it’s amazing - "the song features a sanshin (Okinawan string instrument) performance by Kikuo Tsuchida, an Okinawan musician, in the vein of traditional min’you music with a pop idol vibe to it. In other words, it’s a mixture of traditional and contemporary — perfect for an idol group with an average age of 84!"

Open letter to Seah Kian Peng over post that “incited fear and distrust between citizens” trends online - "While I appreciate your display of patriotism and sense of duty to defend Singapore’s sovereignty, I also am aware of your false assumption about Teo Soh Lung being a member of the SDP. As a member of the Select Committee on Online Falsehoods you would know very well how dangerous fake news can be in the age we are in. Many Singaporeans are now taken aback by your false assumption, how can we trust that your moral position in the select committee is not compromised?"

Why Genghis Khan was good for the planet - "Genghis Khan, in fact, may have been not just the greatest warrior but the greatest eco-warrior of all time, according to a study by the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Energy. It has concluded that the 13th-century Mongol leader's bloody advance, laying waste to vast swaths of territory and wiping out entire civilisations en route, may have scrubbed 700m tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere – roughly the quantity of carbon dioxide generated in a year through global petrol consumption – by allowing previously populated and cultivated land to return to carbon-absorbing forest."

To the New York Times op-ed writer: If you can’t serve honorably, don’t serve at all - The Washington Post - "The “deep state” exists after all. But it turns out that deep state is not made up of the permanent bureaucracy, shadowy intelligence officials, or even Obama administration holdovers; rather it is made up of President Trump’s own senior appointees... For an unelected appointee to hide documents or refuse to carry out the lawful orders of the elected president is not noble. It is not patriotic. It is an assault on democracy... For an unelected appointee to hide documents or refuse to carry out the lawful orders of the elected president is not noble. It is not patriotic. It is an assault on democracy."
Apparently you must kill democracy to save it

How College Ruined My Life - "education and the big banks preyed on unsuspecting Americans, who went to college, and now have an outstanding burden of debt that may threaten their way of life. These people had plans for the future, but are now stagnant and unable to move forward. One person shown in the magazine says she owes about $152,000 dollars’ worth of student loan debt. She has a good job now, but is unable to penetrate the debt"

How Over-Hyping a College Education Destroyed the Millennials - "college-bound Millennials are most likely to choose college degrees in social science and the applied science fields. These are the liberal arts and psych majors that were encouraged to pursue their passion by their “advisors”, only to later be ridiculed because after graduation, they realized they couldn’t get much more than a job in social services."

Benevolent Sexism at Work: Gender Differences in the Distribution of Challenging Developmental Experiences - "stereotype-based beliefs that women should be protected may limit women’s exposure to challenging assignments, which in turn may partially explain the underrepresentation of women at the highest levels of organizations."

Gender Differences in Responses to Moral Dilemmas: A Process Dissociation Analysis - Rebecca Friesdorf, Paul Conway, Bertram Gawronski, 2015 - "men showed a stronger preference for utilitarian over deontological judgments than women when the two principles implied conflicting decisions (d = 0.52). PD further revealed that women exhibited stronger deontological inclinations than men (d = 0.57), while men exhibited only slightly stronger utilitarian inclinations than women (d = 0.10). The findings suggest that gender differences in moral dilemma judgments are due to differences in affective responses to harm rather than cognitive evaluations of outcomes."
In other words, women are more likely to make moral judgments based on how they feel rather than making considered moral judgment

Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape - "of those who obtain doctorates in math-intensive fields, men and women entering the professoriate have equivalent access to tenure-track academic jobs in science, and they persist and are remunerated at comparable rates—with some caveats that we discuss. The transition from graduate programs to assistant professorships shows more pipeline leakage in the fields in which women are already very prevalent (psychology, life science, social science) than in the math-intensive fields in which they are underrepresented but in which the number of females holding assistant professorships is at least commensurate with (if not greater than) that of males. That is, invitations to interview for tenure-track positions in math-intensive fields—as well as actual employment offers—reveal that female PhD applicants fare at least as well as their male counterparts in math-intensive fields. Along these same lines, our analyses reveal that manuscript reviewing and grant funding are gender neutral: Male and female authors and principal investigators are equally likely to have their manuscripts accepted by journal editors and their grants funded, with only very occasional exceptions. There are no compelling sex differences in hours worked or average citations per publication, but there is an overall male advantage in productivity... although in the past, gender discrimination was an important cause of women’s underrepresentation in scientific academic careers, this claim has continued to be invoked after it has ceased being a valid cause of women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields"
So much for sexism in academia

Moral typecasting: divergent perceptions of moral agents and moral patients. - " good- and evil-doers (moral agents) were perceived to be less vulnerable to having good and evil done to them. The recipients of good and evil (moral patients), in turn, were perceived as less capable of performing good or evil actions. Moral typecasting stems from the dyadic nature of morality and explains curious effects such as people's willingness to inflict greater pain on those who do good than those who do nothing."

Gender and Helping Behavior. A Meta-Analytic Review of the Social Psychological Literature - "Results from our meta-analytic review of sex differences in helping behavior indicate that in general men helped more than women and women received more help than men"
More on women receiving more sympathy/help than men. This helps explain why only men pay taxes

Sex Differences in the Ultimatum Game: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective - "Using evolutionary psychology as the theoretical framework, we predicted and found that males made more generous offers when pitted against a female as opposed to a male. While females made equal offers independently of the sex of the recipient. That male allocators are altruistic towards female recipients and competitive with male recipients is construed as a manifestation of social rules, which evolve from the male pre-disposition to use resources for attracting mates. In contrast, females have not evolved such a pre-disposition, and thus, female allocators are more concerned about fairness when making offers to recipients"

Sarsour: American Muslims Shouldn’t ‘Humanize’ Israelis - "“You wouldn’t automatically associate such language on the part of someone who is touted as an elite spokesperson for women’s rights, equal rights in the United States,” Cooper said. Cooper added that Sarsour’s comments likely stem from “desperation” due to recent global developments of Gulf Arabs having “unprecedented normal contact” with Israelis."

For Low-SES Students, Not Focusing on Grades is an Impossible Dream - "Life Beyond Grades won’t be the last ground-up initiative that’s run by those who come from middle to upper-middle class, English-educated backgrounds, that aims to tackle the increasing pressures children face in school. After all, it’s these people who have the resources to start such projects to help the less fortunate in the first place... their children are free to explore other options beyond traditional academic pursuits. They don’t need good grades, because they are largely protected from the far-reaching consequences of coming from an underprivileged background and not doing well in school"

John David Ward's answer to What are the facial differences between the Japanese and Chinese? - Quora - "This image is a composite of, from left to right, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese women. To me, the most noticeable thing about that composite image is the difference in skin tone, but the general shape of the face and the hair is also different. This is a cluster analysis from Dieneke's Anthropology blog which shows how the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people fall out genetically... As you can see, there's a lot of genetic variability in China, reflecting the fact that it's a big, multiethnic country, a fair amount in Japan, which stretches from the Ryukyu Islands to Hokkaido, and the people of Korea are in somewhere in between, but tightly clustered so that they don't overlap with either."

Nigel Yeo - [377A] This is not a call to action for the retention... - "Yes, the Westboro Baptist Church exists. Yes, there are thousands of Christians who express their aversion to homosexuality online, who make hurtful and cutting comments which belie a lack of understanding of the LGBT community. But there are also sections of the LGBT community who intentionally wear BDSM attire at pride parades to provoke, who organize casual swinger orgies, or who pour inflammatory vitriol against those they disagree with. Just as how it is not right to brand the entire LGBT community with the actions of these few, it is not right to do the same to Christians. It is unfortunate that in the course of the responses to LGBT activism (and I use these terms descriptively), Christians are now represented by their opposition to sexual lifestyles outside of man-woman marriage, in particular homosexuality (but also pansexualism, bisexualism, etc). This community of so-called “bigots” who apparently only want to further oppress their LGBT neighbours, is the source of countless individuals who have laid down their lives and given all that they have to take care of and feed those who cannot do so for themselves... Increasingly, we’re being told by others how to run our own religion. Just take Truelove.is for instance. An initiative set up by a local church that (1) does not itself prescribe whether homosexuality is wrong or not; (2) shares the stories of Christians who were / are LGBT and VOLUNTARILY went to their church leaders for help; (3) with the intention of reaching out to other Christians who might be facing the same situation, has received disdain and even actual hate from those who disagree with them. Here we have an example of a church attempting to do what the church has been criticized (rightly or wrongly) for not doing enough of: reaching out to those in the body of Christ who are LGBT and journeying together with them. But no. Immediately, they’re accused of conversion therapy (despite there being absolutely no evidence that they have intended to convert anyone) and that the only way of being a loving church is to affirm LGBT lifestyles – even if this may go against what they believe in... Ultimately my point to those who are anti-377a is this: if your belief in a tolerant society is a genuine one, then display that same tolerance to people whose views you disagree with"

US lawmakers say AI deepfakes ‘have the potential to disrupt every facet of our society’ - "“hyper-realistic digital forgeries” showing “convincing depictions of individuals doing or saying things they never did” could be used for blackmail and misinformation. “As deep fake technology becomes more advanced and more accessible, it could pose a threat to United States public discourse and national security”"

Stuck In A Web: How Game Journalism Lost Its Originality - "I remember visiting the White House and assassinating the Vice President in Hitman: Blood Money back in 2006 without articles addressing its politics. So what happened? Why in 2018 must all games be political? From Far Cry 5 not being enough of a Trump supporter killing simulator to The Division 2 not being political enough, and even up to the current release of Shadow of the Tomb Raider for not addressing it’s history of “colonialism”... Controversy sells... Only one thing hurts a website, and that’s the dwindling of funds, so hurt them in their wallets"

Justin Trudeau maintains that Japan is 'inward looking' and 'not intolerant' for its anti-immigration policy - "For a leader so set on refusing to see any option other than a virtually open-border approach to immigration, the comments come as contradictory, if not hypocritical."

Non-Economic Factors in the Economic Retardation of the Rural Malays (3/4)

"In the nineteenth century, the rural Malays were always loath to accumulate too much wealth because it invited confiscation by either the Sultan or the local chiefs. In any event, it appears that the Malays were powerless to prevent the Sultan or the local chiefs from taking their cattle and rice without payment, or even their wives and daughters! If we add to this the not infrequent internecine wars and local feuds in which the villagers became involved, and also their low levels of income, then the Malays' desire for some sort of material security becomes quite understandable and merely reinforces any more general psychological yearning for security.

Inherent in the Malays, therefore, is a desire for security, something which is based on the desire for feeling in harmony with their environment, for being able to understand it and for being able to respond intuitively to a given situation. These needs are not likely to lead the Malays into being experimental in their attitude towards material techniques because any deviation from that which obtains, or that which is expected, necessarily makes them feel more insecure and more anxious, and hence they remain unimpressed by the opportunities offered by change. Indeed, the desire for security may go a long way towards explaining the attraction that government employment has for the Malays, for such employment is regarded as being very secure even if less remunerative than other paid employment. And it may also help to explain the Malays' dislike for full-time specialization in any one occupation. The insecurity they apparently feel by specialization is something that can only be overcome by having more than one occupation.

Within the framework of E. E. Hagen's more general thesis, the anxiety caused by being faced with new situations is 'avoided or relieved by two types of behaviour characteristic. .... One is the reliance on tradition. . . . Only within [traditional areas of behaviour] does one face problems without anxiety. .... The other method of avoiding anxiety is decision by authority...

Every Muslim is essentially a propagandist of his faith, and, being a Muslim, the Malay will mix freely with non-Muslims and be kind and hospitable to them. Despite this, however, there is a gulf between the Muslim and the non-Muslim which tends to make the Malay seem rather withdrawn, almost chauvinistic, less likely to submit his beliefs to, or accept, those of others, and to be satisfied with looking to his friends, his religion, his techniques and his institutions as the bases for any advancement or inspiration.

The Islamic belief that all things are emanations from God is another important force affecting the Malays' economic behaviour, for it tends to make them fatalistic in their approach to life. 'The Malay is very prone, after receiving a setback, to give up striving, and say that he has no luck, that it is the will of God. In economic affairs, this is most clearly seen in the concept rezeki, a person's divinely inspired economic lot.' Such an attitude constitutes a significant drag on economic development...

Indeed, this view is but part of their belief in the advent of a Messiah, the Islamic mahdi...

Islamic Messianism may well have had a profound effect on the Malays' economic ambition and aspiration. To the persons who believe in the likelihood of the coming of a 'golden age', into they would be led and in which all problems would be solved, the tendency to sit and wait passively for change to occur rather than to become active vehicles of change. In short, there is a tendency to adopt an attitude of resignation rather than of innovation. And it must be remembered that the golden age for which the Malays yearn and which they expect is essentially an extension (albeit a perfect one) of their existing way of life. It does not seem to envisage a change in their pursuits, their customs, their religion or their ambitions, but merely the removal of all imperfections and evils. In other words, it does not seem to envisage a commercial or industrial community with all the trappings of material wealth, and any economic changes that merely promise to lead towards this end are therefore not accepted with quite the same exuberance as they might be in the West."

--- Non-Economic Factors in the Economic Retardation of the Rural Malays / Brien K. Parkinson (in Modern Asian Studies, 1967)

Links - 2nd November 2018 (1)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defends $40 trillion price tag for progressive proposals - "Progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday defended what could accrue to a $40 trillion price tag for progressive policy programs, including Medicare for all, over the next 10 years... CNN "State of the Union" anchor Jake Tapper asked where that estimated $40 trillion -- which would include the costs for Medicare for all, jobs guarantees, student loan forgiveness, free college programs, paid family leave, and Social Security expansion -- would come from. Medicare for all would be the costliest initiative, coming in at about $32 trillion... asked again where that $40 trillion would come from, aside from her proposed increase in taxes on the wealthy and corporate taxes, which she has said would raise $2 trillion over the next 10 years, Ocasio-Cortez said the taxpayer-funded programs would free people up to increase economic activity in other areas, adding that the Medicare for all program is part of "a broader agenda.""

Salvini: 'We Need to Have More Children, Not Africans to Replace Them' - "Maybe in Luxembourg they need to do this, but in Italy we need to help people have more children, rather than bring in modern-day slaves [from Africa] to replace the children we’re not having"

Senate Democrats Are Circulating Plans for Government Takeover of the Internet: Reason Roundup - "A leaked memo circulating among Senate Democrats contains a host of bonkers authoritarian proposals for regulating digital platforms, purportedly as a way to get tough on Russian bots and fake news. To save American trust in "our institutions, democracy, free press, and markets," it suggests, we need unprecedented and undemocratic government intervention into online press and markets, including "comprehensive (GDPR-like) data protection legislation" of the sort enacted in the E.U."

6 Reasons Why the French Are Such Good Lovers, According to French People - "“We are used to French kisses since we are 12. We don’t play basketball or baseball on the playground. We just practice the French kiss.” -- Hugo...
“They [French men] know they are charming, so they will go over the top and people [foreigners] are seduced and wrapped into it. They know women are easy prey. A friend came a month ago and the first man we met at a party picked her up and carried her down the stairs because he said she was ‘too good to take the stairs.’ She fell for it.” -- Jill
“We buy the lingerie because we know it is important.” -- Marine
“We love the Mediterranean way of life. It is all about the wine and seduction.” -- Hugo...
“They [French men] listen to women and try to understand what they feel. They try to meet a woman’s expectations and they pay a lot of attention. They also have some skills with their tongues.” -- Marine...
“The way we are with women is in our nature since we first learned to talk and walk. We hold the door for a woman, we stand when she joins us at the table, and we kiss her hand when we meet. It’s just the way we are. We take care of women and make them laugh and feel good. As I always say, ‘On ne peut pas être performant à l'horizontale si on ne se sent pas bien a la verticale,’ which means, ‘you can’t be good at sex with your lover if you don’t feel right when you are standing with them.’” -- Marco"

Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You.

Oakland Tech to hold first Black Graduation, joins growing movement to celebrate among one's own - "Oakland Tech joins public institutions such as the University California at Berkeley, Berkeley High and for the first time this year, the West Contra Costa Unified School District, all of which hold separate black graduations. Harvard University held its first official commencement for black graduate students last year, in addition to the commencement ceremony for the entire school where they received their diplomas... Critics see these events as having a separatist attitude, something Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., worked hard to fight against. And they are being held at a time when the country is rife with accusations of racism and hateful attitudes toward ‘the other.’"

Probiotics are mostly useless and can actually hurt you - "the microbes found in faeces were not representative of those that had colonised the gut. “Relying on faecal samples as an indicator of what goes on inside the gut is inaccurate and wrong” says Elinav. The research also showed that while probiotics colonised the gastrointestinal tract of some people, the gut microbiome of others just expelled them. There was no way of telling from their stool sample which category people fell into. “Some people accept probiotics in their gut, while others just pass them from one end to the other,” says Elinav. They found that the probiotic colonisation patterns were highly dependent on the individual. That tells us that the concept that everyone can benefit from a universal probiotic bought from the supermarket is empirically wrong, he says... Probiotic bacteria readily colonised the gut of everyone in the second group after antibiotics had cleared the way. However, the researchers were surprised to find that this prevented the return of the person’s normal microbiome for up to six months"

The man who won the lottery 14 times - "This is the story of the man who “gamed” the lottery by buying every possible combination."

One in seven major operations in UK cancelled on day of surgery, data shows - "Of these patients, 10 per cent have been cancelled once before, while patients waiting for riskier operations where they are likely to require a critical care bed to recover were also more likely to be cancelled on, the data shows."

We won’t save the Earth with a better kind of disposable coffee cup | George Monbiot - "It was charming to see how Norwegian herring boats seek to avoid killing orcas, but we were given no idea of how unusual it is. Even marine plastic is in large part a fishing issue. It turns out that 46% of the Great Pacific garbage patch – which has come to symbolise our throwaway society – is composed of discarded nets, and much of the rest consists of other kinds of fishing gear. Abandoned fishing materials tend to be far more dangerous to marine life than other forms of waste. As for the bags and bottles contributing to the disaster, the great majority arise in poorer nations without good disposal systems. But because this point was not made, we look to the wrong places for solutions. From this misdirection arise a thousand perversities. One prominent environmentalist posted a picture of the king prawns she had bought, celebrating the fact that she had persuaded the supermarket to put them in her own container rather than a plastic bag, and linking this to the protection of the seas. But buying prawns causes many times more damage to marine life than any plastic in which they are wrapped. Prawn fishing has the highest rates of bycatch of any fishery – scooping up vast numbers of turtles and other threatened species. Prawn farming is just as bad, eliminating tracts of mangrove forests, crucial nurseries for thousands of species. We are kept remarkably ignorant of such issues. As consumers, we are confused, bamboozled and almost powerless – and corporate power has gone to great lengths to persuade us to see ourselves this way. The BBC’s approach to environmental issues is highly partisan, siding with a system that has sought to transfer responsibility for structural forces to individual shoppers. Yet it is only as citizens taking political action that we can promote meaningful change... Disposable coffee cups made from new materials are not just a non-solution: they are a perpetuation of the problem"

British worker files discrimination lawsuit after being fired from Hong Kong company and called a ‘gweilo’ by staff - "A British blasting specialist was called a “gweilo” at work and was excluded when he was hired on a Hong Kong tunnel project, according to a discrimination lawsuit he filed against his former employer. Francis William Haden also said that Leighton Contractors (Asia) did not let him hire blasting specialists from Australia, even though Hong Kong was short on people with the skill, because a partnering firm on the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin tunnel project did not want non-Chinese involved."

The future is here today: you can't play Bach on Facebook because Sony says they own his compositions

6 maps and charts that explain sex around the world - "Only 10 percent of Japanese people report exciting sex. That's less than a third of the next-lowest, Hong Kong's, at 32... Japan is the only country in the world where a higher percentage of people report being dissatisfied with their sex lives than satisfied... working hours have made "physical contact" between spouses "so infrequent that some of Japan's leading homebuilders now report that more than one in three custom homes is built with separate bedrooms for husband and wife... Singapore, China, and Mexico had the smallest differences between between male and female orgasm rates, while Russia and Thailand had the largest. The thing that's most surprising about this is there's virtually no correlation between a country's overall level of gender equality and its orgasm gap... Turks reported more sex partners than any other country in the world, and were doing it unprotected about 45 percent of the time [and having more STIs]... Asian countries have a much higher mean age of virginity loss than nations basically everywhere else... there may be something about East Asian religious traditions or cultural norms that promotes sexual conservatism. One study by a group of researchers found very high levels of reported "embarrassment" about discussing sexual practices in public. These results, according to the researchers is that "in comparison with men and women from ‘Western' regions," respondents living in East Asian countries were "more sexually conservative, more male-orientated and less sexually active.""

SMRT Ltd (Feedback) And The Great Teh Tarik Expose - "Long gone is Azly’s brand of dry wit and humour from SMRT Ltd (Feedback), and browsing through the Facebook page, you’ll notice that the new administrator’s voice is distinctively different from the old guard’s. But Azly maintains that SMRT Ltd (Feedback) will and has continued from his time, and will maintain its anonymity for many versions to come."

Colin Kaepernick & Nike's Sweatshops - "Nike never does anything simply because it is the right thing to do. They do not care about social justice or human rights. This is about money. Period. They are still reeling because of the sexual misconduct allegations at Nike headquarters and want to pivot attention away from that. They also see this as a way to endear themselves to one of their largest bases of customers - young black men - to sell more sneakers. And they are banking on capturing the anti-Trump movement with this move. Again, to sell more sneakers. This is “cause marketing” 101."

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter says his criticisms of Turkish government have stifled endorsement deals - "New York Knicks center Enes Kanter said that Nike and other companies have shied away from signing him to endorsement deals because of his outspoken criticisms of the Turkish government."
So much for standing up for something

NBA Player Enes Kanter: How I Became Erdogan's Enemy - "If you speak out against Erdogan, it can affect your whole life and everyone around you. It has been too dangerous for me to set foot in Turkey for three years. The last time I visited, the government destroyed my brothers’ school and threw my dentist and his wife in prison. The regime arrested and charged a man for links to Gulen after I took a picture with his child, and went after a comedian after he exchanged a few tweets with me. Last year, Erdogan canceled my passport and put out an international warrant for my arrest. That means I am now stateless and pretty much can’t leave the United States. It’s interfering with my career, too"

Evergreen State College apologizes for protesting Sumas farm - "Evergreen State College’s President apologized for using taxpayer-funded resources to transport students to a Sumas berry farm for a protest in 2017... Medical examiners and the state Department of Labor and Industries found his death was due to natural causes unrelated to his work and cleared the farm of any wrongdoing."

Steve Bannon, Chelsea Clinton & “No Platforming” Rules - "Ms. Penny chose not to engage in the same festival as Steve Bannon because she believes that he doesn’t want to engage. Which must count as a sort of pre-emptive hit of non-engagement: “I’m going to not engage with you before you can not engage with me.”... the most shocking aspect of that event (even more than the presiding minister fondling Ariana Grande live onstage at a funeral) was the moment when we all said, “Isn’t that Louis Farrakhan up there onstage?” And indeed it was. Mr. and Mrs. Clinton seemed to have no problem sharing a platform with one of the world’s most notorious racists and anti-Semites. Indeed, when Farrakhan waddled over to President Clinton to shake his hand, he was positively oozing with the satisfaction he obviously gets — and has always gotten — from such encounters. For handshakes with — and proximity to — the likes of the Clintons is the only thing that stops Farrakhan from being recognized for what he is: no better or worse than a David Duke... I just cannot understand the rules here. So far as I know, Steve Bannon has never given a speech titled “Thoroughly and completely unmasking the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan.” If he had, then I doubt he would be so proud of it that it would be still sitting at the top of his Twitter page. And if he had, then I imagine that the Clintons would run the other way from him even if it meant no-platforming someone at a funeral."

Doug Casey On China's Exploitation Of Africa - "The Chinese basically see Africans as no more than a cheap labor source. That’s at best. Other than that, they’re viewed as a complete nuisance. Basically an obstacle, a cost, standing in the way of efficient use of the continent itself... Chinese are moving to Africa in record numbers and Africans are leaving as fast as they can... Rich Chinese are smart to diversify to developed Western countries. Poor Chinese go to backward countries, to try to become wealthy. Africa is the prime recipient... I honestly think Africa could implode. I mean where is the economic growth going to come from that will be needed to support all these people? It’s turning into the world of Soylent Green in the cities. And in the boondocks, people just sit around on their haunches and beat on earth. Or at least the women do. Men just sit around and palaver all day... Africans haven’t learned anything from the past... Just look at what Zimbabwe recently went through... You’d think South Africans would say, “Geez, that country’s economy was totally destroyed by politics and envy. That wasn’t a good idea; we ought to act more intelligently.”... hey actually view what happened in Zimbabwe as a success... The blacks went from owning, say, 10% of the country’s wealth to now owning, say, 99%. That looked pretty good. The fact the absolute amount of wealth fell by perhaps 75% is irrelevant to them... Africa is probably the most racist place on the planet... The methodology in Africa has been the same for years. Get into the government. Steal as much as you can. Then go to Europe to live like a billionaire."

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Links - 1st November 2018

The homophobic legacy of the British Empire - "Despite the prevalence of anti-LGBT laws throughout the former British Empire, there was no blanket decree outlawing homosexual relations. Instead, it was the sensibilities of individual colonial administrators which led to the first laws and then their quick spread across the Empire from 1860 onwards. Enze Han, author of "British Colonialism and the Criminalization of Homosexuality," said the laws were partly the product of a strict Victorian moral code, which defined any sexual activity not for procreation as taboo. "(The British also) had this conception that the 'Orient,' the non-Western subjects, were overly erotic and over-sexed, and that's the reason why they were worried young colonial officers going abroad would be corrupted by those sexual acts," he said. Many of the laws which were put in place under the colonizers have long since been amended or even strengthened by local governments, which Mendos said could also show that colonial legislation at least partially reflected conservative opinions common within those countries at the time."

The Met has a problem with hate-crime. It can't explain what it means. - "The Metropolitan Police has a rather strange notice about “hate crimes” on its website. It has attracted quite a bit of attention on social media...
“Though what the perpetrator has done may not be against the law, their reasons for doing it are. This means it may be possible to charge them with an offence.”
We are back to the suggestion that a person may be charged with“the reasons for doing” an act which is itself lawful. The Met is in a terrible muddle here and it is very hard to understand what they mean... although there are some cases where doing an act is illegal irrespective of your state of mind, there are no cases where your state of mind can make you guilty of an offence if you don’t actually do anything capable of amounting to a crime... The Met’s website seems to presuppose the existence of an entirely novel type of criminal offence: a crime which requires only a guilty mind, mens rea but not actus reus. If such an offence existed then “thought-crime” would be a very good description of it"

Metropolitan Police drops tens of thousands of cases within hours of them being reported by victims - "The Metropolitan Police has been accused of dropping tens of thousands of investigations into serious crimes, such as sexual assault and arson, within hours of them being reported by members of the public."
It's sexier to be obsessed with hate crimes

South Yorkshire Police relentlessly mocked after urging people to report one another for 'offensive or insulting words' - “In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it.”

Britain Turns Offensive Speech Into a Police Matter - "In essence, South Yorkshire Police want people to report on everyday conversations. This is Stasi territory. Coppers asking citizens to file reports on things they have read or overheard really should have disappeared from Europe with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Yet here it still is, this GDR-style instruction to eavesdrop and squeal, though now it's happening on the other side of the old Iron Curtain. It is testament to how entrenched censorship has become in 21st-century Britain that a police force can so casually call for reports about speech. This is a country whose communications laws and public-order legislation can be, and regularly are, used to punish hateful expression. Last year The Times reported that British police are arresting nine people a day for posting "offensive messages online." In 2016, 3,300 people were detained and questioned for things they said online. In some parts of Britain the arrest rate for offensive speech has risen by nearly 900% in recent years. We Brits are sleepwalking into a police state."

Why Brits are turning against the police - "They have been under political pressure from lobby groups obsessed with attaining rape conviction quotas – as if justice was about achieving statistical targets, rather than punishing guilty individuals and letting innocent individuals go free... The police have been alienating their erstwhile natural friends for some time. This first became evident at the end of the last century, with the jailing of the Norfolk farmer Tony Martin for shooting dead a burglar who had broken into his home. The consequent outrage in the conservative press stemmed from a belief that the police were now more concerned with the human rights of criminals than with crimes against private property, in this case. In ensuing years, the police have continued to antagonise a large swathe of the British public, who are increasingly convinced the Old Bill no longer take seriously burglary and theft. According to Home Office figures from last year, nine out of 10 burglary cases are closed without even a suspect being identified. Today, the police don’t even attend reports of shoplifting if the value stolen is less than £200. No wonder this nation of shopkeepers no longer respects its police... nationwide, shoplifting and violent crime continues to rise as criminals feel less afraid to break the law. Cries by the police that they are financially stretched arouse little sympathy when we read about police forces dressing themselves and their vehicles in LGBT-friendly colours, scouring Twitter for offensive words, or filling libraries with leaflets about ‘hate crimes’. Post-Macpherson, the police seem more desperate to prove their PC, anti-racist credentials than to address crimes that affect us all. The failure of the forces of law and order to prevent, investigate or suitably punish the rape gangs in the north of England has entrenched a suspicion that the police have become either enfeebled or politicised."

A Dietary Supplement Containing Standardized Phaseolus vulgaris Extract Influences Body Composition of Overweight Men and Women - "So-called "starch blockers" are listed among natural weight loss supplements. Theoretically, they may promote weight loss by interfering with the breakdown of complex carbohydrates thereby reducing, or at least slowing, the digestive availability of carbohydrate-derived calories and/or by providing resistant starches to the lower gastrointestinal tract... The present research study examines a dietary supplement containing 445 mg of Phaseolus vulgaris extract derived from the white kidney bean, previously shown to inhibit the activity of the digestive enzyme alpha amylase, on body composition of overweight human subjects... Phaseolus vulgaris extract produces significant decrements in body weight and suggest decrements in fat mass in the face of maintained lean body mass."

China to take over Zambia's international Airport for debt repayment - "Signing a contract with China is like, ascribing to the boiling frog effect; a fable describing a frog being boiled alive slowly... The Zambian government contracted the Chinese, lazy-thought and glossed over details thinking they were granting consent to gernuine terms but the whole thing just morphed into modern day colonialism. China is now proposing to take over the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport should Zambia Government fail to pay back its huge foreign debt on time. The issue of whether Zambia posses the required economic muscle to repay that debt is in contention considering the amount involved. It’s typical of the Chinese strategy. That moreover is not the only thing Zambian suffered from China; the Chinese own 60% shares of the Zambian National Broadcasting corporation which means, Chinese have an influence over what should or should not be premiered on their sets."

Ancient farmers spared us from glaciers but profoundly changed Earth’s climate - "ancient farming practices led to a rise in the atmospheric emission of the heat-trapping gases carbon dioxide and methane – a rise that has continued since, unlike the trend at any other time in Earth’s geologic history. It also shows that without this human influence, by the start of the Industrial Revolution, the planet would have likely been headed for another ice age."

Bush as Hitler, Swastika-Mania: A Retrospective - "protesters have shown up with signs comparing Obama to Hitler (i.e. depicting him with a Hitler mustache), or displaying swastikas in the context of implying that Obama and/or his administration are Nazi-like. One would think that this would not be particularly newsworthy, but Democrats, the White House and their supporters are expressing outrage at this “horrifying” and “menacing” turn of events. (Or faux-outrage, at least.) Pundits, bloggers, media outlets and even top politicians like Nancy Pelosi are claiming that such signs are unprecedented, racist, and even that anyone who brings a swastika to a protest must be self-identifying as a Nazi (instead of accusing their opponents of being Nazis). When anyone tries to point out that the Left continuously compared Bush to Hitler and brought swastikas to rallies for six straight years during the Bush era, Obama supporters mock such claims, demand proof, and then try to ignore any individual examples proffered. Since I had a front-row seat between 2003 and 2008 at anti-Bush protests in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I saw literally THOUSANDS of Bush/Hitler comparisons and swastikas, I thought perhaps it would be useful to compile here in one place a small sampling of them — to prove beyond any doubt that Hitler and swastikas were referenced incessantly at basically every single protest during the Bush administration"
Nazi mania predates Trump, of course. The boy has been crying wolf for a long time

Poorest will gain most under Brexit, says Labour report - ""The reduction in prices and immigration control are particularly important for lower income households. "These households spend more on food and housing, the prices of both of which are raised substantially by EU protectionism. "Unskilled immigrants settle in poor communities which, therefore, carry a disproportionate cost in public services as well as suffering from a fall in wages. Our estimates show that the lowest decile household would gain £36 a week from Brexit; the second lowest decile (60 per cent of the median) would gain £44 a week.""

Money Really Does Lead to a More Satisfying Life - The New York Times - "Lottery winners said they were substantially more satisfied with their lives than lottery losers. And those who won prizes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars reported being more satisfied than winners of mere tens of thousands. These effects are remarkably durable. They were still evident up to two decades after a big win... What’s new here is the evidence that higher income is causing higher life satisfaction... A further set of questions probed the mental health of respondents, finding that greater income had no effect, although in related work, the same authors find that lottery winners are prescribed fewer mental health drugs. I interpret this as suggestive but not conclusive evidence that wealth improves one’s mental health... Contrary to popular stereotypes, those who win hundreds of thousands of dollars don’t blow most of their winnings at once. Instead, they slowly spend their newfound wealth over many years. Many don’t quit their jobs, but they do tend to work a bit less and retire a bit earlier. Surprisingly, the increase in wealth caused by winning the lottery has few effects on the physical health of the winners or their children. It seems possible that family wealth might have quite different effects in a less egalitarian society, like the United States."

The New York Times | Facebook - "Before Fashion Week, the model and activist Ashley Graham spoke with us about the power of depicting female bodies as they really are — without doctoring their form."
Comments: "The thing that’s doctored her form is those additional 3,000 calories she’s consuming every day."
"The term 'real women' is absurd - all women are real unless of course they are robots - and every woman is a different shape either by genes or by a medical problem or by choice ..... voila !"
"Well, except from the obvious doctoring of Ashley walking on the water, she very conveniently forgot to mention the full doctoring (it's called retouching) they always make to her face
" I don't want an unfiltered body. Only fashion models don't need much retouching to look their best. Photoshop my pics, please!!"
"As a photographer, I can see no sign of human presence in this image, it is THAT heavily Photoshopped; the skin, the creases in the clothes, the hair, the legs, and of course, the fine art of walking on water. Maybe it should belong in the humor section of the New York Times"
"There are simply body shapes that are more appealing than others to the general public. Period. Magazines and advertisements will use these body shapes to call attention to sell their products. The goal is not to show a regular body. Greek statues don't show regular body, showing even anatomically impossible structures to the human being. But this is art, depiction of the beauty for the time being. The concept of beauty changes culturally over time. Middle age paintings show "overweight" girls since they were the considered the most beautiful, and the thin girls were the ugly ones. I'm not traumatized for not having a David statue body or the muscular shape of guys in Speedo advertisements."
"then why all the makeup and fake eyelashes?"


The national question - "Americans are defined by our relationship to a literary discussion of the relationship of men in society. The canon is not well defined but certainly includes the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Federalist (a kind of operating manual for the Constitution) plus influential works such as John Locke’s treatises on government and the nature of property. The result was a radical departure from all previous ideas of national identity. The notion that you can become an American, as much an American as anyone born here... The first problem is these people come with no conception of what it is that made us this wealthy: free enterprise, sensible laws governing labor and business, and a general acknowledgement that what you make is yours to keep minus a tolerable levy for the upkeep of the country as a whole. We’re now accepting people who appear to believe what we have is the result of luck – or worse, theft. People who do not care to assimilate, and in fact reject the idea out of hand. The second problem is we appear to have lost the will to insist on it. That native-born Americans have lost sight of what created this outpouring of wealth unprecedented in human history. We can’t bring ourselves to say anymore, “Come and bring the richness of your culture. We welcome it. But you must leave behind your old loyalties and your old hatreds. You must learn a new way of thinking about yourself and become a new kind of person. We ask much, but in return much is given.”"
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