"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, February 27, 2019

Links - 27th February 2019

Dogs That Don't Shed: 23 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds - "Non-shedding and hypoallergenic dogs seem to be more popular than ever. With dog allergies so common, many pet lovers are seeking hypoallergenic dog breeds - sometimes paying thousands of dollars to get them. And still others are going hypoallergenic for the hair, or lack of it. Dog shedding is a big problem for many pet owners, but it's another strike off the list for owners of hypoallergenic dog breeds. While no dog is truly hypoallergenic as all dogs shed some allergens, there are some breeds that are known to be better for allergy-sufferers. And, these same dogs that don't shed may just have you put away the lint roller for good."

Why You Should Never, Ever Use Quora - "Four years ago, Eric Mill wrote about Quora’s tendency to hoard knowledge, and nothing’s changed since.According to their About page, “Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge.” With 300 million monthly users, and nearly 40 million questions asked so far, they’re doing a good job of growing the world’s knowledge, but a terrible job of sharing it.All of Quora’s value is derived from the answers provided by its users, and they go to great lengths to make a well-designed platform for finding and replying to questions.But they do everything they can to make sure you can’t get those contributions back out... When Quora shuts down, and it will eventually shut down one day, all of that collected knowledge will be lost unless they change their isolationist ethos.Back in 2012, Adam D’Angelo wrote, “We hope to become an internet-scale Library of Alexandria.”As long as Quora keeps boarding up the exits, we may see it end the same way."

NYC high school bans Nazi props from 'Sound of Music' production - "Lisa Mars of LaGuardia High reportedly ordered the props removed, though the New York City Department of Education later told the New York Daily News that the symbols and flags would still appear in two scenes. The prominent performing arts school was made legendary in the musical “Fame.”... The Third Reich symbols appear in the play in the context of the family von Trapp opposing the Nazis. LaGuardia students designed the set.“This is a very liberal school, we’re all against Nazis,” one sophomore performer told the Daily News. “But to take out the symbol is to try to erase history… Obviously the symbols are offensive. But in context, they are supposed to be.”"

Women May Have Their Own Scientific Truth, Princeton Now Teaches Students - "Maybe we've been studying physics all wrong? Maybe feminism and critical race theory have the key to mysteries on the quantum level? A 2017 paper in The Minnesota Review (a Duke University publication) argued just that. "Combining intersectionality and quantum physics can provide for differing perspectives on organizing practices long used by marginalized people, for enabling apparatuses that allow for new possibilities of safer spaces, and for practices of accountability," it proposed.The superposition of electrons apparently mirrors the ambiguous nature of identity ― and vice verse.And have you considered the study of "chemistry from a gender perspective?" What about introducing "feminist ecology" to the study of glaciers in order to promote more equitable "human-ice interactions?"This critical take on the hard sciences (no masculinity intended) as offered by Taylor ― whose doctoral dissertation was "A Foucauldian Analysis of the Science, Ethics and Politics of the Medical Production of Cisgendered Lives" ― has been around for a while, but seems to be gaining a new wind at a time of heightened identity politics. To some, the inter-faculty creep of unsystematic and ideologically-driven ideas from the humanities to the sciences is a challenge to the empiric method itself.Marcel Kuntz, a research director in the French National Institute of Scientific Research, wrote in 2012 that letting postmodernism have its way within the scientific community could "[slow] down or [prevent] much needed scientific research." Though parts of critical theory may be intellectually challenging and even motivated by lofty goals, Kuntz argued that their underlying aim of shattering the hierarchy of truth can be deleterious to progress."This form of postmodernist assault on science has been difficult to grasp for many scientists, because it comes disguised in the clothes of democracy, freedom of speech and tolerance of opinion," wrote Kunts. "However... scientists will never be able to win in postmodern courtroom-style debates: all 'social constructs' of science are equal, but some are more equal than others.""
The Science Wars were bad enough, but cloaked in the guise of social justice the real War On Science is even more dangerous

Princeton’s course on how marginalized scientists can produce “different ways of knowing” « Why Evolution Is True - "(while some scientists may be bigots, science itself cannot be, as it’s simply a method for producing knowledge.) And I’d argue against anyone who claims that different sexes or ethnic groups will produce “different kinds of scientific knowledge”. Maybe they’ll ask different questions, and if that’s what Catherine Taylor means, fine, but there are already plenty of women scientists who ask exactly the same type of questions, in the same way, as do men scientists. Check out Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier’s work on CRISPR/Cas9, which builds on work by a whole community of scientists of different sex and nationality. Doudna and Charpentier approach molecular biology in exactly the way everyone else does. In fact, if the answers to the course’s questions were “no”, there would be no need for such a course. What we have here is a semester-long exercise in confirmation bias... The course above is an embarrassment for a school of Princeton’s reputation. It is simply social-justice propaganda that will distort science for ideological ends. It’s dubious scholarship, a waste of the students’ tuition money, and unlikely itself to produce new knowledge. It will produce clones that parrot Clune-Taylor’s ideology. It’s taught by Catherine Clune-Taylor, a postdoctoral research associate in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Princeton. (In general, I don’t favor courses being taught entirely by postdocs.) Her thesis at the University of Alberta was ““From Intersex to DSD: A Foucauldian Analysis of the Science, Ethics and Politics of the Medical Production of Cisgendered Lives.” Enough said."

Stone Age food was haute cuisine - "The meal – or, more likely, the dish, one element of a more varied repast – was simple, but elegantly so. It comprised freshwater carp eggs, cooked in a fish broth.The top of the earthenware bowl in which it was prepared was sealed with leaves of some sort – the eggs perhaps fried off before the stock was added, the leaves holding in steam and perhaps also adding a note or two of their own.All up, then, the dish – a fish roe soup a little like a Korean altang, perhaps, or a Thai tom yam khai pla – likely had a pleasing and rounded depth of flavour, a certain delicacy and a beguiling aroma. It would not have been out of place on a menu in any posh restaurant from New York to Tokyo.Except that this particular meal was cooked almost 6000 years ago, not far from what is these days Berlin."

A No Deal Brexit would be a liberation, not a crisis - "The UK already conducts more than 55 per cent of its export trade with non-EU members, primarily under WTO rules, and the proportion is rising. Even if allowance is made for those non-EU countries that have preferential trade deals with the EU (which may not immediately carry over on Brexit), about half of our exports go to the remaining non-EU countries... we shall, of course, continue to have ‘access’ to EU markets under WTO rules, as the US has ‘access’ to EU markets now... Most countries now permit traders to submit their customs documentation electronically in advance of the goods arriving at the border. Virtually all submissions of the EU’s own Single Administrative Document (SAD), for declaring imports and exports, are now made online, for example. This means that most trade arriving from countries that are members of neither the Single Market nor the EU Customs Union suffer little or no hold-up at the border when entering the EU. There is no reason for this to change after Brexit. Streamlined, computerised borders are the norm."

‘I was sacked for saying Brexit is good’ - "Andres Georgi had been earning a living as a bicycle courier for Deliveroo in Berlin. But earlier this month, he made the mistake of making smalltalk with a British customer, Redfern Jon Barrett, a writer, activist and Remainer. Georgi said that Brexit was a good thing.After the exchange, Barrett sent a tweet complaining to Deliveroo and branding Georgi a Nazi... most people appreciated the conversation, he says – even when it hit upon touchy political subjects. ‘With my Turkish customers I could speak about Erdogan and we always had a good laugh.’"
Ironically, German law means you can't call people (who are demonstrably not Nazis) Nazis
More evidence that we are all Nazis now

Brexit was about more than immigration - "the fact remains that the number-one reason people voted to leave the EU was, according to the Ashcroft polls, ‘the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK’. Aka, sovereignty.‘Regain control over immigration’ was second, and it is in many ways inseparable from the first. Taking back control means taking back control of borders, too.For many people who voted Leave, then, Brexit meant sovereignty and sovereignty meant controlling immigration. It was not simply a vote to reduce migration by any means necessary... May seems to think that becoming a colony of the EU is a small price to pay for insulating us from the economic shock of a proper Brexit. And she’s betting that ending free movement is enough to keep voters onside... The public backlash to the Withdrawal Agreement has been swift, among both Leavers and Remainers, as reflected across various polls. According to a YouGov survey, 58 per cent of Leave voters say the deal doesn’t respect the referendum result – just 26 per cent think it does... After May released her so-called Chequers proposal for future trade with the EU, one poll showed that sovereignty and the ability to do trade deals – the two things Chequers would concede to the EU – had leapfrogged immigration to become Leave voters’ top two concerns... Ipsos MORI found that in the months after the Brexit vote, when it seemed, briefly, that the government was actually planning to implement it, both Leavers and Remainers became more positive about immigration – even though the number of people who wanted numbers decreased remained the same."

A Reply to Nick Cohen - "Just as we were once instructed that criticising the Soviet Union played into the hands of American imperialism, those who attack Ikhwani, salafi, Wahhabi, and Khomeinist fanatics today stand accused of promoting the interests of the nativist Right. This kind of Stalinist blackmail, as Cohen certainly knows, led generations of progressive intellectuals into cowardly silence and complacent appeasement of totalitarianism. My description of the Islamic veil as a strategic tool in the struggle for control of the public space causes Cohen great indignation. But I have been saying this for 15 years, as have liberal Muslim intellectuals such as Kamel Daoud, Boualem Sansal, Fatiah Boudjahlat, and the feminists of the Maghreb. Cohen complains that I only denounce the Left, and not the Right. But this is because I expect more of a Left that was traditionally critical of religion and has now retreated into moral relativity. A stroke of the pen cannot erase the authentic treason of the progressive European intellectuals who have justified—indeed, excused—terrorism in the name of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or colonialism, or the “Arab-Muslim humiliation.” As I write, Corbyn is completing his transformation into a British Jacques Doriot, the French Communist who became a collaborator in 1940 and fought as a Waffen SS lieutenant on the Russian front."

M&S knickers display 'won't change over feminist concern' - "Marks & Spencer has said it won't change a display suggesting women must have "fancy little knickers", amid a feminist backlash. The retailer was blasted for its "vomit-inducing" shopfront in Nottingham, which included a menswear showcase of "outfits to impress"... The commercials follow the theme of "must-haves" for men and women and feature model David Gandy doing the washing up.Gandy has responded to the backlash by tweeting that men who want any "must have fancy knickers" can find them at M&S... Another window display at the same Nottingham store is aimed at women and suggests they, too, must have "outfits to impress". M&S said in a statement its stores had various combinations of Christmas window displays, but the same two displays would appear next to one another at some other branches."
Another classic case of feminist (wilful?) blindness just to push their grievance agenda. Or maybe in their battle against 'stereotypes', any suggestion that men can have outfits to impress or women can have fancy knickers is taboo

Radio station banned 'Baby, it's Cold Outside' over claims it's about rape. This English teacher disagreed - "A number of radio stations across the United States and Canada are banning the Christmas song 'Baby, It’s Cold Outside' over criticisms that the lyrics are about rape. The song, written by Guys and Dolls writer Frank Loesser in 1944, has been the target of disapproval... The teacher reveals that contextually, it’s normal in 1940s America for a woman to be chaperoned when she is with another man. The woman in the song is "staying late, unchaperoned, at a dude’s house". The Tumblr user adds: "The song makes sense in the context of a society in which women are expected to reject men’s advances whether they actually want to or not, and therefore it’s normal and expected for a lady’s gentleman companion to pressure her despite her protests, because he knows she would have to say that whether or not she meant it, and if she really wants to stay she won’t be able to justify doing so unless he offers her an excuse other than, 'I’m staying because I want to.'" So it’s not actually a song about rape – in fact it’s a song about a woman finding a way to exercise sexual agency in a patriarchal society designed to stop her from doing so."
Today's feminist is tomorrow's rape apologist

We'll probably kill journalists who don't report the truth, says Thai leader - "Thailand’s junta leader, Prayuth Chan-ocha, has said he will “probably just execute” any journalist who does not “report the truth”. Last month Gen Prayuth said he had the power to shut down news outlets, and on Wednesday he took an even harsher line. “We’ll probably just execute them,” said Prayuth, without a trace of a smile, when asked by reporters how the government would deal with those who do not adhere to the official line"
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