"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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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Links - 31st January 2019 (1)

Liberal, Not Lefty - FIRE‏ @TheFIREorg: "UCLA threatens academic freedom and public trust in higher education with its new requirement that all applications for tenure-track positions and promotions include a "Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion" statement"
Jeffrey Flier‏ @jflier: "As a dean of a major academic institution, I could not have said this. But I will now. Requiring such statements in applications for appointments and promotions is an affront to academic freedom, and diminishes the true value of diversity, equity of inclusion by trivializing it."
"Jeffrey Flier is the former Dean of Harvard Medical School. Knowing that, read the tweet again, and just sit in it for a moment. Sit in it.
The former Dean of arguably the most prestigious higher learning institution in the WORLD, admitting he felt the need to self-censor truth, due to progressive mob pressure.
How many others *currently* presiding as Dean think the same? How many other tenured Professors think the same? How many tenure-track, contracted, and adjunct Professors think the same?
I would hedge it's a significantly larger number than Antifa's latest membership count, but this is what happens when the many acquiesce to the demands of an authoritarian few. You give an inch, they make you sign away it all.
Imagine the difference that could be made in the academic free speech climate, if those who did think the same, came forward together saying so -- and did *before* they retired.
If this isn't a concrete example of the free speech chilling effect reaching even the most (seemingly) untouchables of academia, I really don't know what is.
Jeffrey Flier is not a conservative. He is not "alt right". He is not a religious driven man.
He is not able to be dismissed with the same overly-broad brush the critics of Peterson attempt to wipe him away with.
Sadly, I worry he'll be ignored by the left because of it -- it's far easier to pretend the only ones concerned with free speech are Ben Shapiro & the talking parrots at Turning Point. I sincerely hope more Jeffrey Flier's of the world will step forward, and prove them otherwise."

Huffington Post wants you to think a 10-year-old kid in drag is normal - ""In what moral universe is it acceptable to encourage a 10 yr old boy to dress like an adult male mimicking a sexualized adult female, use that as a ticket to fame and then claim it as virtue?"... Desmond says his parents introduced him to drag at two years old, when he saw his first episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Desmond wears feminine clothing, dresses in heels, lipstick, and eye shadow, and attends fashion walks and other LGBTQ advocacy events. He says he came “out of the closet” at three. Rather than question how any of this is possible, makes sense, or appears healthy, outlets simply embrace the message Desmond and his parents project. In interviews, Desmond has explained, “My mom says, ‘Be yourself always, no matter what anyone says.'" Good advice. But do 10-year-olds have the capacity to purchase makeup, heels, and dresses? Perhaps now Desmond does, but that certainly would not have been the case when he was even younger, meaning someone perpetuated this mindset by providing purposeful help. Desmond’s parents have taught him that he is an LGBTQ “advocate,” a word young children wouldn’t even know, let alone embrace. Desmond has told another interviewer that his parents didn’t think it sounded like a good idea to force a child to do something they didn’t want to do. That’s nonsense. Parents can and should do this all the time. My children would likely eat Little Debbie Cakes and watch movies all day long without intervention. School, chores, homework, reading — those are all things kids would often rather not do. Do we indulge that fantasy? Heck, kids would rather run out in the middle of the street, go eight days without bathing, and eat Pop Rocks all day long — do we indulge them in that too? There are no perfect parents, myself included, but the fine line between boundaries and freedom is one that every parent must navigate with their children... A recent Gallup poll says 3 percent of the U.S. population identifies as LGBTQ, but more interestingly, the public believes almost 25 percent of the U.S. population identifies as LGBTQ. They do so because the media hypes stories like Desmond’s to the point where the rest of America believes it’s healthy, common, and even enviable"

Vegan Wool? PETA mocked for asking to rename 1,000-year-old village - "The Dorset village, the name of which derives from the ancient word for well, has faced calls from PETA to change its name in an “animal friendly update”."

Which Textile Fibres Cause Microplastic Pollution When Washed? Here's What the Studies Reveal So Far - "While a 2014 study found natural textile fibers such as wool, linen, and cotton present in the marine environment, these were not found to pose a threat to the ecosystem, fish and marine life as these fibres are biodegradable"
So to prevent sheep getting a haircut, we should let more microplastics into the environment

The Best & Cheapest Things to Buy from ValuDollar & ABC 2018 - "you can actually halve your grocery bill if you shop at ValuDollar and ABC! Yes, you would definitely need to supplement your purchases with fresh produce, but for snacks, coffee/tea, toiletries and household items, these prices just speak for themselves. Do note that there are differences in price based on location!"

Australia Day Address orator Michelle Simmons horrified at 'feminised' physics curriculum - "Professor Michelle Simmons, a professor of quantum physics at the University of NSW, has expressed her horror at the "feminised" nature of the HSC physics curriculum.Delivering the 2017 Australia Day address on Tuesday, Professor Simmons said it was a "disaster" to try to make physics more appealing to girls by substituting rigorous mathematical problem-solving with qualitative responses... "When we reduce the quality of education that anyone receives we reduce the expectations we have of them"... Professor Simmons' Australia Day speech focused on the need for Australians to attempt the difficult things in life."It is better to do the things that have the greatest reward; things that are hard, not easy," she said... For her Cambridge was "too hierarchical and esoteric". The American culture, she said, restricts early-career researchers. When she arrived, people asked her "Why on Earth did you come?"But for Professor Simmons the choice was easy."Australia offers a culture of academic freedom, openness to ideas and an amazing willingness to pursue ambitious goals," she said.Professor Simmons is so proud of the one-way ticket to Australia she bought 18 years ago that she had it framed and sent to her brother for his 50th birthday.
Internalised misogyny!

Disrupting and Displacing Methodologies in STEM Education: from Engineering to Tinkering with Theory for Eco-Social Justice
Published in "The Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education", "one of the leading international journals in the field of science, mathematics and technology education"

Is modern Western culture a health hazard? - "materialism and individualism are detrimental to health and well-being through their impacts on psychosocial factors such as personal control and social support."

Why the Left Is Losing Ground - "On college campuses in particular, activists often take an almost religious approach to politics, rooted in a belief—sometimes stated, sometimes implied—in the irredeemable sin of America and its mainstream. Their work on vital issues gets diverted from real-world objectives and takes on the character of a church revival, with rituals to express its believers’ sin and salvation, and a fundamentalist attention to language and doctrine. The late American philosopher Richard Rorty famously argued in his 1998 book, Achieving Our Country, that this inward-looking dogmatism and zealotry was a major problem for the left. To a self-destructive degree, activists rejected dissent and criticism of their hallowed principles. They alienated the uninitiated with their join-us-or-else self-righteousness, undermining public support for the important causes they cared about. They turned away with disdain from any whiff of political power, elitism, or national pride, thus depriving themselves of some of the tools they needed to bring about tangible changes to policy. The left, Rorty claimed, had become too enamored with ideas of purity and sin. The sin at issue, though, was not about violating biblical commandments. It was the sin of bigotry, imperialism, and power: the accumulation of heinous acts in America’s history that, in some critics’ eyes, had moved the nation beyond redemption... The “cultural left,” as he called it, took concerns over Jim Crow and the Vietnam War and transformed them into a fiery jeremiad against American society and its principles. A kind of political nihilism emerged, Rorty observed, as anti-war activists arrived at the view that the Vietnam War “not only could never be forgiven, but had shown us to be a nation conceived in sin, and irredeemable.” At the same time, the new generation of activists did not follow through on the egalitarian economic agenda and savvy political strategizing of their predecessors, which would have provided a useful counterweight to their idealism. As a result, Rorty claimed, America’s left became trapped in its own indignation and skepticism, substituting sound and fury in the secular pews over the sorts of constructive, pragmatic, and unabashedly power-hungry action required to change an oppressive system. Importantly, it gave up on the white working class, neglecting their concerns about the disappearance of good jobs and the growth of economic inequality, and leaving that crucial voting bloc to be wooed by America-first conservatives like Pat Buchanan—and, later, Donald Trump... the new generation of activists, progressive and conservative alike, often seemed oblivious to the idea of forgiveness that figures so prominently in Christian understandings of sin, he argued... their focus on sinfulness turns politically useful activism into useless performance... activism becomes more about an insider conversation and competition, and less about effecting change"
So even Rorty argued that American liberals hate their country

Woman Hilariously Recreates Celebrity Instagram Photos (Part 2) - "You may remember a post we did last year about Celeste Barber, an Australian comedienne who hilariously recreates celebrity Instagram photos. Well, now she's back, and her latest batch of parody poses are even funnier than the first."

What Is the Evidence on Taxes and Growth? - "Nearly every empirical study of taxes and economic growth published in a peer reviewed academic journal finds that tax increases harm economic growth"

Effects of Income Tax Changes on Economic Growth - "The structure and financing of a tax change are critical to achieving economic growth. Tax rate cuts may encourage individuals to work, save, and invest, but if the tax cuts are not financed by immediate spending cuts, they will likely also result in an increased federal budget deficit, which in the long-term will reduce national saving and raise interest rates. The net impact on growth is uncertain, but many estimates suggest it is either small or negative. Base-broadening measures can eliminate the effect of tax rate cuts on budget deficits, but at the same time, they reduce the impact on labor supply, saving, and investment and thus reduce the direct impact on growth. They may also reallocate resources across sectors toward their highest-value economic use, resulting in increased efficiency and potentially raising the overall size of the economy. Results in the literature suggest that not all tax changes will have the same impact on growth. Reforms that improve incentives, reduce existing distortionary subsidies, avoid windfall gains, and avoid deficit financing will have more auspicious effects on the long-term size of the economy, but may also create trade-offs between equity and efficiency."

THE IMPACT OF TAX CUTS ON ECONOMIC GROWTH: EVIDENCE FROM THE CANADIAN PROVINCES - "We examine the impact of the Canadian provincial governments’ tax rates on economic growth using panel data covering the period 1977–2006. We find that a higher provincial statutory corporate income tax rate is associated with lower private investment and slower economic growth. Our empirical estimates suggest that a 1 percentage point cut in the corporate tax rate is related to a 0.1–0.2 percentage point increase in the annual growth rate. Our results also indicate that switching from a retail sales tax to a sales tax that is harmonized with the federal value-added sales tax boosts provincial investment and growth"

Facial Recognition Flags Woman on Bus Ad for 'Jaywalking' - "China’s surveillance system is becoming increasingly omnipresent, with an estimated 200 million cameras and counting. While this state of existence alone is unsettling, it’s even more troubling that the machines are fucking up even the simplest task.Last week, the face of Dong Mingzhu—the chairwoman of a leading air conditioner manufacturer in China—was displayed on a giant Billboard-sized screen in Ningbo, a major port city in east China’s Zhejiang province, to publicly shame her for breaking a traffic law. Zhejiang is one of the provinces that last year deployed facial recognition technology that humiliates citizens who jaywalk by putting their photos on massive LED screens. But the cameras didn’t catch Mingzhu jaywalking—they identified a photo of her in a bus ad"

The Jews of West Africa?, by Peter Frost - "There has been much talk here about Chanda Chisala’s article “The IQ gap is no longer a black and white issue.” Much of the article focuses on the Igbo (known also as Ibo), a people who live in the Niger Delta and “are well known to be high academic achievers within Nigeria.” In the United Kingdom, their children do as well in school as Chinese and Indian students... even before the first European contacts in the 16th century, the Igbo were already the focus of a network of trading relationships that extended outward from the Niger Delta. European traders became integrated into this trade network, thereby enabling the Igbo to emerge as valued middlemen in the slave trade... This new political environment favored the Igbo, whose initiative, self-discipline, and future orientation predisposed them to succeed not only in their homeland but also elsewhere in Nigeria, where they soon became dominant as merchants and civil servants. They thus took on a role like that of middleman minorities elsewhere in the empire, such as the Parsis in western India, the Chinese in Malaya, and the South Asians in East Africa. By the 1930s, one Igbo boasted that “the Ibo domination of Nigeria is a matter of time” (Ibrahim, 2000, p. 56). This trend even affected the army. By independence, 24 of the 52 senior army officers of the rank of major and above were Igbos (Ibrahim, 2000,p. 55). This dominance led to jealousy among Nigerians in the north and west, who accused the Igbo of unfair business practices... “the North and the West have a deep-seated mistrust of the Igbo and so are bent on restricting, containing, and denying the Igbo their political right. Added to this is their subtle message to other minority groups: the Igbo, as a group, are not to be trusted!” (Abidde, 2004). This mistrust is founded on a not unjustified perception that the Igbo will prevail on any level playing field... Chanda Chisala uses the Igbo example to refute the “hereditarian-HBD” argument. In doing so, he comes closer to the HBD position than he may realize. Recent work on gene-culture coevolution has shown that the average mental makeup of human populations can change significantly over a short span of historical time. This notably seems to have happened with the Ashkenazi Jews and the English between the Middle Ages and the 19th century (Clark et al., 2007; Cochran et al., 2006). Why couldn’t a similar process have happened with the Igbo? Why assume that sub-Saharan Africa is a monolith whose diverse populations have evolved in exactly the same way? We know that human genetic evolution didn’t slow down with the coming of culture. It actually sped up (Hawks et al., 2007). For the most part, we humans have diversified genetically in response to differences in cultural environment and not to differences in natural environment. It is therefore plausible that the different cultures of Africa have had different effects on the gene pools of their respective populations."
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