"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 30, 2019

Links - 30th January 2019 (1)

TRUMP WAS RIGHT: Jerry Brown Eased California Logging Rules Back In August - "Months ago, California Gov. Jerry Brown urged state lawmakers to loosen restrictive logging regulations put in place to appease environmentalists -- a move that appears to have confirmed that President Trump's recent critiques of state logging practices was correct... Environmentalists in California weren't on board. They've been pushing for years to make California's logging rules more restrictive, not less -- but forest fires in recent years appeared to change the calculus for certain lawmakers... Forests, particularly in northern California, California lawmakers admitted, have become dangerously overgrown. But there's currently little incentive for landowners to clear their trees — they are only allowed to clear dead and decaying wood and undergrowth and can't clear healthy tress. By allowing landowners to recover some money from the process — letting them create and sell lumber, for instance — it could incentivize them to make bigger changes... Despite his own embrace of new logging rules back in August, Gov. Jerry Brown balked at President Donald Trump's suggestion that poor forestry and poor forest management might be to blame for the massive wildfires that ripped through northern and southern California earlier this month, claiming dozens of lives and tens of thousands of acres... Instead, Brown blamed global warming for the uptick in fires."

Trump was right: forests have been mismanaged - "Trump is right. We do have a management problem on the state, federal level and local levels (in that order). This can be broken down into six key areas where we have failed: Access, logging, grazing, endangered species, water quality and air pollution."

An0maly - Posts - "I took three of our scouts to a National Forest Ranger Station in Northern California to interview a forest ranger. We were ushered into a high-ranking ranger office where all four walls were covered with book shelves filled with thick binders floor to ceiling. The ranger sadly explained that he spent three quarters of his time dealing with injunctions that environmentalist groups have filed against logging companies to keep them from going into the forest to harvest dead trees. Pointing to his walls, the ranger quipped that the binders were filled with all the injunctions. The ranger detailed for the scouts that the environmentalists tie up the logging companies in court for so long that eventually the trees become full of beetles and no longer profitable to harvest and then the injunction is dropped. He said it will now cost billions of dollars to clean up the forests, whereas, if the loggers were allowed in, they could clean up the forests and generate a revenue stream for State and National forests. The ranger, while shaking his head, indicated that the environmentalists have been doing this for years and are hurting the forests as it has caused an extraordinary number of dead trees in the forests. He explained that this not only provides more tinder for catastrophic crown fires (vs. healthy and regularly occurring creeping fires which clean out the forest floor), but also attracts bark beetles which causes the trees to die. The ranger further explained that because of environmentalists not allowing for controlled burns in populated areas and fire suppression in wilderness areas that a disastrous situation has been created in the forests."

Unbiased America - "In a January article, the Times wrote that “A group of scientists warned in the journal BioScience that [100 million] dead trees could produce wildfires on a scale and of an intensity that California has never seen,” and that “scientists say they cannot even calculate the damage the dead-tree fires might cause; it exceeds what their current fire behavior modeling can simulate.” “‘It’s something that is going to be much more severe,’ said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at Berkeley and the lead author of the study. ‘You could have higher amounts of embers coming into home areas, starting more fires.’” The Times article even pointed the finger at California’s forestry regulations, saying “California forests are much more vulnerable now because, paradoxically, they have been better protected. In their natural state, forests were regularly thinned by fire but the billions of dollars that the state spends aggressively fighting wildfires and restrictions on logging have allowed forests to accumulate an overload of vegetation… That’s a scenario that could nudge the state into rethinking its forest management.“ And yet, fast forward to today, and The New York Times is suddenly interviewing “experts” to contradict its previous assertions now that President Trump has also questioned California’s forest management""

Finnish Forest Professor About Trump's Comments on Finnish Forestry: Raking Is Real Forest Management in the United States - "The word “raking” raises also a few problems. According to Professor Antti Asikainen from Natural Resources Institute Finland, in the United States raking means harvesting the logging residues to piles with a bulldozer with a brush rake. “Trump used the right word in the right context—knowingly or unknowingly”"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Brexit legal advice - "'Actually the best deal is a free trade deal. But don't be terrified of a World Trade Organization deal after all, most of the rest of the world trade successfully with the European Union indeed, in some arguments more successfully than we do under the World Trade Organization rules'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Tuesday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "We've got companies who are doing really great work and who started very early on this and who are at 40, 50 percent women on their boards. And then we've got a very dreary percent who are going nowhere. We have four to five all male boards and we have 75 companies in the FTSE 350 with only one women on their board. Now, you know, these days, we've been doing this pretty seriously, since 2011, one woman on your board doesn't cut it. One woman is pretty much like where we were with all male boards… one woman is absolutely tokenistic. And you know, those companies are looking increasingly out of date, they're looking quite out of touch. And I think they need to be concerned about that, investor pressure has never been greater on this subject. It is now a topic that was a CSR nice to have a decade or so ago is a serious central business topic now. And, you know, those companies that are paying lip service, as you say are in the tokenistic space, are going to pay the price, everybody is watching. There is now no place to hide and our report publishes every company individually."
More evidence that the slippery slope is a fallacy conjured up by far right extremist misogynists

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Climate Change Alarm - "Bolsonaro’s really been tapping into a wave of disillusion and anger with the left wing Workers Party, the PT that was in government for over a decade, which have been embroiled in a huge corruption scandal, which has involved hundreds of politicians across the political spectrum, but has also jailed some of the main PT leaders. Also, he's also talking at a time when Brazil's experiencing a really deep economic recession. So people are really hurting and the country is suffering from a giant crime wave... [The Worker's Party] have never apologized for the corrupt system of politics in Brazil"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Trump's dilemma over missing Saudi journalist - "Many Muslim practices and actions considered normal in other countries have been deemed extremist by the Chinese authorities. New laws, for example, ban unusual beards and strange names. Muslim women are forbidden from covering their faces. Parents now, it seems, can be accused of extremism for simply not wanting their children to marry someone of a different faith or ethnic group."

Ahmed Al Omran on Twitter - "This story on Reuters about firing the Saudi consul in Istanbul is wrong. The agency fell for a fake website"
Breitbart has fallen for fake news before. Therefore Breitbart is unreliable and can't be trusted. So Reuters...

Debate ends when we label views we simply disagree with as ‘hatred’ | Kenan Malik - "‘It is better to debate a question without settling it,” observed the 18th-century French writer Joseph Joubert, “than to settle a question without debating it.”... If it is “hate speech” to question a particular definition of what it is to be a woman, or “bigoted” to express concern about non-natal women being allowed into female-only spaces, the very notion of public debate is transformed. There would seem to be little one could say on most difficult issues that could not also be construed as hatred... All it does is to cheapen the meaning of hatred, making life easier for the real bigots and to eviscerate public debate"

PNG security forces storm parliament over Apec pay dispute - "Police and security forces have stormed Papua New Guinea's parliament in a dispute over unpaid bonuses for last week's Apec summit... The impoverished island hosted leaders from both sides of the Pacific last week despite the high costs involved. The summit had seen delegates stay on cruise ships and the government buy 40 Maserati luxury cars for the event."

Completing a Race IAT increases implicit racial bias - "The Implicit Association Test has been used in online studies to assess implicit racial attitudes in over seven million participants. Although typically used as an assessment measure, results from four pre-registered experiments (N = 940) demonstrated that completing a Race IAT exacerbates the negative implicit attitudes that it seeks to assess. Increases in White participants’ negative automatic racial evaluations of Black people were observed across two different implicit measures (SC-IAT and AMP) but did not generalize to another measure of automatic racial bias (Shooter Bias task). Results highlight an important caveat for the Race IAT, but also for many other forms of psychological assessment: that by measuring, we often perturb the system that we wish to understand."

Indonesia's top Islamic body issues fatwa against measles vaccine, calling it 'religiously forbidden' - "The Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) justified the ruling by claiming the vaccine contains traces of pork and human cells, which are banned in the Muslim religion. The organisation is chaired by Ma'ruf Amin, who was recently controversially announced as Indonesian President Joko Widodo's running mate in next year's presidential election. However, the fatwa also states that the use of the product will be allowed for the time being due to the lack of viable alternatives... a number of towns had already suspended the vaccine before the MUI even announced their decision... "There's a pattern that's emerged in Indonesia. In minority groups and cases of blasphemy, fatwas are relied on in court as evidence," Professor Lindsey said. Under Mr Amin, the organisation's fatwa committee also declared fatwas against secularism, pluralism and liberalism... the MUI has high levels of government support, which legitimises them in the eyes of the public."
I thought Islam allows you to eat pork if it's necessary to save your life
Undoubtedly people will still champion Indonesia as an example of "moderate Islam" and champion it as an example of a Muslim democracy

The Less People Understand Science, the More Afraid of GMOs They Are - "Across the board, however, women are slightly more likely to mistrust additives and genetic modification in food... A concerning implication, the researchers note, is "chemophobia" among the general public—the irrational fear of "chemicals" as synthetic, man-made compounds that are bad for us... Many natural substances are dangerous to human health, and many substances that are dangerous in large quantities are necessary in smaller doses. For example, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, but our bodies also manufacture and metabolize it naturally as our cells make amino acids and other building blocks of life. Its presence in consumer products and vaccines alarms some consumers, but the level of exposure is so low there's no evidence of any harm. Even if you choose unaltered "all-natural" foods, you can't get away from it—formaldehyde is found naturally in milk, meat, and produce."

Parkland Shooting 'Hoax' Latest in Right's Dishonesty Epidemic - "D’Souza doesn’t think George Soros is behind Parkland — he thinks George Soros was behind the Holocaust."

The danger of moderate Islam | The Spectator - "Prior to the World Trade Centre attacks, no one would have cared that I was a Muslim. My ethnic heritage was paramount. My Bangladeshi birth meant I was part of the South Asian migrant grouping, similar to Indians, Pakistanis or Sri-Lankans. The religious identity of being Muslim was not especially interesting, unique or a political badge of any kind... Not unlike terrorists who use the trappings of modern technology and civic freedoms to conduct attacks, many Muslims co-opt the freedoms and privileges they enjoy in the West, but convince themselves such luxuries are also ‘Islamic’. This helps shield them from the foundations of the Enlightenment as the true source of their standard of living and allows them to maintain anti-Western stances couched in grievance. Their public utterances, while usually discreet, are windows into their ambivalent relationships with Western societies. Meanwhile, like Yassmin, they can brush off the human rights abuses against women and minorities across the Muslim world as cultural stains not consistent with their own enlightened understanding of Islam. The opposite is often the case. Local cultures, particularly the more distant they are from the Arab origins of Islam, are the best bulwark against the worst excesses of Islam. This is notably the case in countries like Turkey, Malaysia, Bangladesh or Indonesia. All of these countries are struggling to stand up to a resurgent, fundamentalist strain of Islam disdainful to the local culture... British psychologist Kenan Malik has released a new edition of From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and Its Legacy. Most of us think our current debates around Islam were sparked by the World Trade Centre attacks. But their true origins lie in the Rushdie affair. The fatwa imposed upon the celebrated Indian author primed many Muslims of every ethnic origin to identify as Muslims first and foremost. It also accelerated the progressive trend of treating the notion of respect for minority groups as sacrosanct. Thus the new blasphemy became offence, particularly to Muslims. A key danger to our societies is when Muslims begin thinking of themselves as Muslims, first and foremost. In doing so, they can argue they are acting according to Islamic teachings, which urge Muslims to give precedence to the ummah, or the global Islamic community. They are also very much in keeping with trends in identity politics which allow them to seek privileges in the public space."
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