"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Links - 2nd January 2019 (2)

Men and women really do think differently, say scientists | News | The Times - "Scientists conducting the world’s largest study of sex differences in the brain found men were more likely to prefer “things” and “systems”, while women were more interested in people and emotions. Men were almost twice as likely as women to be “systems-orientated” rather than empathetic and vice versa. Scientists at Cambridge University surveyed more than 650,000 people and said that their results confirmed two theories: first, the empathising- systemising theory of sex differences, which predicts that, at the population level, men will be more excited by coding, for instance, while women will be more attuned to feelings; second, the extreme male brain theory, which predicts that the brains of autistic people are more “masculine” than is typical for their sex, in that they are more systems-focused.The twin theories, from the Cambridge scientist Simon Baron-Cohen, are controversial and have previously been described as “neurosexism”. James Damore, a former Google engineer, cited the empathising-systemising theory in a leaked memo to colleagues for which he was sacked last year"

Pseudonyms to protect authors of controversial articles - "An international group of university researchers is planning a new journal which will allow articles on sensitive debates to be written under pseudonyms.They feel free intellectual discussion on tough issues is being hampered by a culture of fear and self-censorship.The Journal of Controversial Ideas will be launched early next year."

Ocasio-Cortez Claimed She Couldn’t Afford D.C. Apartment. Then She Released Her Financial Records. - "Either Ocasio-Cortez spends money like wildfire or her claim isn’t true.As Fox News reports, “Records show she has more than enough to plunk down on an apartment in the U.S. capital.” Fox News adds that Ocasio-Cortez “reported having between $15,001 and $50,000 in her checking account as of the end of April 2018, according to a Financial Disclosure Report she submitted to the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. The financial disclosure also reveals that she has an investment account valued between $1,001 and $15,000.”... That minimum of $15,000 that Ocasio-Cortez had in the bank is 15 times the amount 57% of average Americans had in their savings, as USA Today reported in May 2018. USA Today stated, “The average American has less than $4,000 in savings, while 57% of U.S. adults have less than $1,000 to their names.”Ocasio-Cortez has had some difficulty speaking the complete unvarnished truth or dealing with facts before; last summer she claimed she had a hard life growing up in the Bronx, yet her late father Sergio Cortez-Roman bought a quaint three-bedroom in Yorktown Heights, New York in 1991, when she was about two. In her campaign page bio, she conveniently did not mention that her family moved from Parkchester to Westchester County when she was five years old.She later changed her bio. In July, left-leaning Politifact rated her claim “Pants on Fire” that unemployment was low because “everyone has two jobs” and “people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family." In August, The Washington Post even ran a piece debunking many of Ocasio-Cortez’s claims"

Britain & Immigration -- Asia Bibi Not Offered U.K. Asylum - "When I wrote The Strange Death of Europe, I wanted to highlight the sheer scale of change that immigration brings. Some people might be happy with it, others unhappy: but to pretend that the change doesn’t occur, or won’t occur, or isn’t very interesting so please move along has always seemed an error to me. For instance, as I noted then, an internal document from the Ministry of Defence that leaked a few years back said that Britain would no longer be able to engage militarily in a range of foreign countries because of “domestic” factors. It takes a moment to absorb this. We’re used to wondering about how immigration changes domestic politics. But foreign policy as well?All of this is to say that the latest news from the U.K. is both thoroughly predictable and deeply disturbing. Readers of National Review will be familiar with the case of Asia Bibi. She is the Christian woman from Pakistan who has been in prison on death row for the last eight years. Her “crime” is that a neighbor accused her of “blasphemy.”... The case has amply demonstrated the type of country that Pakistan is these days. But who would have guessed that her case would also throw so much light on the type of country Britain now is?... there are reports that the British government has said that it will not offer asylum to Asia Bibi. The reason being “security concerns” — that weasel term now used by all officialdom whenever it needs one last reason to avoid doing the right thing. According to this report, the government is concerned that if the U.K. offered asylum to Bibi it could cause “unrest among certain sections of the community.” And which sections would that be? Would it be Anglicans or atheists who would be furious that an impoverished and severely traumatized woman should be given shelter in their country?... Occasionally you even get a case like that at Easter 2016, when a Muslim from Bradford drove up to Glasgow to kill another Muslim (a shopkeeper called Asad Shah) because Mr. Shah came from a minority Muslim group that his killer deemed heretical. Which you might say is another example of “diversity.”... the British government has got its priorities exactly the wrong way around. For it is not Asia Bibi who should not be in Britain. It is anyone from the “communities” who would not accept Asia Bibi being in Britain who should not be in the country. Though I wouldn’t expect any British politician to express that simple truth any time soon."
Shouldn't those threatening/causing violence be the ones who are sanctioned, not those the violence is directed at?
Maybe not offering Bibi asylum is really protecting her - since she wouldn't be safe in the UK

The path to Obama’s ‘Dear Colleague’ letter - The Washington Post - "On April 4, 2011, the same day that President Obama formally announced his reelection bid, his Education Department, with no advance notice, reinterpreted Title IX as giving the federal government authority to dictate the specific procedures that colleges must use to adjudicate student-on-student sexual assault allegations.This “Dear Colleague” letter, issued by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), told all of the more than 7,000 colleges that receive federal money to use the lowest possible standard of proof, a preponderance of evidence, in sexual assault cases (though not in less serious matters such as cheating and noise violations). The letter required universities to allow accusers to appeal not-guilty findings, a form of double jeopardy. It further told schools to accelerate their adjudications, with a recommended 60-day limit. And, perhaps most important, OCR strongly discouraged cross-examination of accusers, given the procedures that most universities employed. The Obama administration never explained the timing of this document’s release. Nor did it explain how a plainly worded, 40-year-old anti-discrimination law had become a fount of such highly controversial mandates. In early 2016, Oklahoma senator James Lankford, who has emerged as an important defender of campus due process, requested that the Education Department provide the legal basis for the Dear Colleague letter. The response was less than convincing, even though the Obama administration had nearly five years to come up with a rationale... what changed between 2001 and 2011? Not the percentage of sexual assaults on campus — according to Joe Biden, that percentage was the “same” in 1995 as in 2017. Rather, the election of Barack Obama had two critical effects. First, as with any modern Democratic administration, strong advocates of identity politics occupied key bureaucratic positions, which they could use to implement regulatory policies outside of rigorous congressional oversight. In a 2010 interview, OCR’s new head, Russlynn Ali, all but begged sexual assault accusers to file Title IX complaints against their colleges... Second, the Democratic defeat in the 2010 midterm elections focused Obama’s attention on how identity politics could rally his base. This model had worked well in one of the few major Democratic victories that year, the Colorado Senate race. So the administration took high-profile positions in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, permitting “dreamers” to remain in the United States and mandating contraceptive coverage in Obamacare. The “Dear Colleague” letter, which appealed to feminists and campus activists, reflected this broader campaign agenda — except that, unlike these other Obama initiatives, it initially encountered no legislative criticism. In the end, OCR’s selective interpretation of Title IX combined elements of a few past resolution letters that would increase the chances of guilty findings with unrelated items (such as discouraging cross-examination) that accomplished the same purpose. The effects have been disastrous, leaving the courts as the most reliable protector of accused students’ rights"

SPEECH BY DR NG ENG HEN,MINISTER FOR MANPOWER AND 2ND MINISTER FOR DEFENCE, AT COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY DEBATE, 6 MARCH 2006, 5.00 PM AT NEW PARLIAMENT HOUSE - "Dr Loo also asked for women to be called up for NS in non-combat roles. As stated by our Minister before, we currently have no operational need for women conscripts to serve in the defence force. NS, yes, must be for the critical need of security and survival. While National Service can help in national education and character building, these are not sufficient reasons in themselves to call up women for NS. Dr Loo will also be interested to know that indeed there are volunteers, women volunteers in the SPF as well as the Civil Defence. There are presently about 5,666 volunteers out of which 36% are women."
Somehow, manpower needs are pressing enough to punish men, but not so much so that women are needed

Trump could be the most honest president in modern history - The Washington Post - "hen it comes to the real barometer of presidential truthfulness — keeping his promises — Trump is a paragon of honesty. For better or worse, since taking office Trump has done exactly what he promised he would... In his first year, he achieved $8.1 billion in lifetime regulatory savings and is on track to achieve an additional $9.8 billion this year. During the campaign, he told African American voters, “What do you have to lose? . . . I will straighten it out. I’ll bring jobs back. We’ll bring spirit back.” On his watch, African American unemployment reached the lowest level ever recorded, and his tax reform included a little-noticed provision creating “Opportunity Zones” to try to revitalize struggling towns and inner-city communities... unlike his predecessor, he did not pass his signature legislative achievement on the basis of a lie (“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it ”) — which is clearly worse than falsely bragging that your tax cut is the biggest ever."

Free speech at American universities is under threat - The intolerant fifth - "the share of schools with “severely restrictive” speech codes has declined for nine consecutive years, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a pressure group. It is now a shade under 40%. The so-called Chicago principles have been adopted or endorsed by 31 other colleges and universities, including Princeton and Johns Hopkins. Purdue, a university in Indiana that was the first public institution to sign on to the Chicago principles, has taken a particularly vigorous approach to teaching students about free speech under the presidency of Mitch Daniels. Cultural-sensitivity trainings have been a mainstay of orientations at universities across the country, but Purdue now includes sessions promoting the value of free expression. “If these other schools choose to embarrass themselves by forcing conformity of thought, allowing diverse opinions to be shouted down or disinvited, that’s their problem,” says Purdue’s Mr Daniels. “However, if they’re raising up a generation of graduates with an upside-down version of our constitutional rights, that’s everybody’s problem.”"

Trouble at the lab - Unreliable research - "It is tempting to see the priming fracas as an isolated case in an area of science—psychology—easily marginalised as soft and wayward. But irreproducibility is much more widespread. A few years ago scientists at Amgen, an American drug company, tried to replicate 53 studies that they considered landmarks in the basic science of cancer, often co-operating closely with the original researchers to ensure that their experimental technique matched the one used first time round. According to a piece they wrote last year in Nature, a leading scientific journal, they were able to reproduce the original results in just six... “There is no cost to getting things wrong,” says Brian Nosek, a psychologist at the University of Virginia who has taken an interest in his discipline’s persistent errors. “The cost is not getting them published.”... researchers and the journals in which they publish are not very interested in negative results. They prefer to accentuate the positive, and thus the error-prone. Negative results account for just 10-30% of published scientific literature, depending on the discipline. This bias may be growing. A study of 4,600 papers from across the sciences conducted by Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh found that the proportion of negative results dropped from 30% to 14% between 1990 and 2007... Statisticians have ways to deal with such problems. But most scientists are not statisticians. Victoria Stodden, a statistician at Columbia, speaks for many in her trade when she says that scientists’ grasp of statistics has not kept pace with the development of complex mathematical techniques for crunching data... Models which can be “tuned” in many different ways give researchers more scope to perceive a pattern where none exists. According to some estimates, three-quarters of published scientific papers in the field of machine learning are bunk because of this “overfitting”... in a classic 1998 study Fiona Godlee, editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, sent an article containing eight deliberate mistakes in study design, analysis and interpretation to more than 200 of the BMJ’s regular reviewers. Not one picked out all the mistakes. On average, they reported fewer than two; some did not spot any... more than half of 238 biomedical papers published in 84 journals failed to identify all the resources (such as chemical reagents) necessary to reproduce the results... five years ago about 60% of researchers said they would share their raw data if asked; now just 45% do"
Those who claim the grievous studies hoax was unethical presumably would condemn the fake papers here too
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