"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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Monday, April 01, 2019

Links - 1st April 2019 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Academic freedom or homophobia - "'There's a view of a university that it is centered on free speech, debate, research and then more free speech. And there's another view of the university that it's a training institution where people should be inducted into correct ways of thinking. And it's quite clear that some of the students at Oxford which consistently gets a red in the free speech rankings are ban happy and now likely to be sack happy as well'...
‘If he were to be sacked what what impact do you think that would have on academic freedom at the university?’...
‘What they draw attention to, for instance, in those essays, published in 1994, is that you have said that homosexuality is never a valid, humanly acceptable choice and form of life and that they say, promotes hatred.’
‘Yes. And that's exactly the same thing that as I say in that essay about what I just described as free wheeling, heterosexual, sex life. Premarital sex, extramarital sex, adultery, all those things - being publicly accommodated’
‘Yeah but the point is that what, particularly gay rights campaigners, others as well say is that because people who are homosexuals are a potentially vulnerable group, a group who could be and obviously have been subject to enormous prejudice, then this leads them potentially to be hated. And for that reason, you are not a proper teacher at the university’
‘Well, it's, for me and for all my colleagues. I've grown up for 40 years in universities. In my private life, in my professional life. I've been well treated by people with homosexual inclination or living arrangements. Very well treated by friends, by colleagues, by members of my faculty and I've reciprocated. And it's a matter of personal pride for them and for me, and it's a matter of professionalism for them and for me, that we don't discriminate, in our attitudes. We don't criticize people’"
On John Finnis

Oxford students call for professor’s removal over alleged homophobia - "The professor told the Guardian by email that his critics “mistakenly take arguments against their positions and choices to be offensive to them as persons”. The problem was made worse by “paraphrases and mutilated quotations”.He added: “It’s clearer than ever to me that the positions I’ve been criticising are damaging to children and other vulnerable people, and to the sustainability of societies.”Freedom of expression was “threatened by recent notions of ‘hate speech’, ‘phobia’ and so forth”.He said: “Advanced students of legal and political theory take it for granted that there is educational value in engaging critically and carefully with arguments and theories like mine. That is why I am still being invited to give seminars nearly a decade after my retirement from Oxford.”"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Crucial Brexit vote - "We sent a leaflet, 9 million pounds was paid to send it to every home in the country saying this is your decision. It's a once in a generation decision. Whatever you decide, we will respect and we will implement it... the damage to our democracy if parliamentarians say to the British people, do you know what, we think you're either too stupid or you were misled, or very possibly, you were just too prejudiced when you voted. So therefore, we are going to seek to frustrate and dilute that, that would be deeply damaging to our democracy"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Israel's crackdown on protesters - "We've had an issue with metal pipes because Hamas uses metal pipes for making their-... we do agree with plastic pipes because plastic parts cannot be used for for making rockets. Other issues we have, and it’s important, we have a problem with dual purpose items. I'll give an example for agriculture there’s a problem with fertilizer, because fertilizer can of course, be used to fertilize the ground, but it can also be used for making explosives. It’s the same with some medical equipment, especially those, if you talk about x rays and things to do with radiation. There are some medical equipment that has a definite military use. And as long as Hamas controls the hospitals - and they do - we have a problem with that sort of equipment going this way, we have to protect our people... I think you'd find that a large part of the shortages in Gaza hospitals are because the Hamas regime refuses to invest in its own medical facilities for its own people and prefers to invest in violence. Digging tunnels, building missiles and so forth. That is the fundamental problem...
‘Why do you use live ammunition against people who are inside the Gaza side of the boundary fence with Israel?’
‘If people are storming the fence, trying to break through to our side of the border, as the leader of Hamas said, their goal is to tear down the fence into Israel and kill our people. Then we will stop them. If people are launching Molotov cocktails, if people are shooting, if people are launching incendiary devices to burn our fields-’"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Zimbabwe unrest - "What is it about Sub Saharan Africa? Why so many years after McMillan's famous wind of change speech are there still so many countries struggling, whether economies or they're democracies with freedom, assuming they have any real semblance of democracy? Zimbabwe is a classic example of a country that was once pretty prosperous but became a basket case after Mugabe’s decades of dictatorship"
Presumably Zimbabwe used to be prosperous but is now a basket case due to colonialism

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Emotions run high in India after women worship in temple - "Some economists say that Brazil is the most unequal society in the world. Mexico is also very unequal. What seems to have gone wrong in in Brazil for example is now seen as a solution in Mexico and vice versa. The way you deal for example with the violence, the problem with the violence and the gangs. In Mexico the war on drugs that went wrong apparently and many people killed 50, 60,000 people killed and what López Obrador is suggesting now is a dialogue or you know reforming the police. In Brazil the the policies of the left, Bolsanaro said it hasn't done anything. The drug lords and these people are just killing in the streets. What we're going to do now, we're going to kill them, we're going to go really hard on them, basically a war on drugs in Brazil. So it's a very different solutions but one country seems to be going to the left and the other to the right and adopting solutions that have failed elsewhere"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Pelosi silences Trump over wall shutdown - "All police forces really in Pakistan often have the reputation of considering themselves above the law. In particular, there's been a lot of concern for many years now about this issue of extra judicial killings. And the reason why they would do this in many instances would be because the police would have been afraid that the notoriously inefficient legal system in Pakistan might set them free at some stage. But there've also been accusations that police have done this in cases where they're motivated by greed, where they're trying to shake someone down for a bribe... A lot of ordinary Pakistani seemed to accept it because there was such a level of violence in society that ordinary people's priority really was to get a more peaceful country and in some quarters, this was seen as a kind of necessary evil. Now I think as the number of terrorist attacks that have been happening in Pakistan have decreased sharply people are not so willing to overlook these kind of human rights abuses"

Trump Tax-Cut Results: Federal Revenues Hit All-Time Highs - "Critics of the Trump tax cuts said they would blow a hole in the deficit. Yet individual income taxes climbed 6% in the just-ended fiscal year 2018, as the economy grew faster and created more jobs than expected... that's despite the fact that individual income tax rates got a significant cut this year as part of President Donald Trump's tax reform plan."

312,000 Jobs Added In December, Manufacturing Growing 714% Faster Under Trump Than Obama - "recall that the official unemployment rate in January 2015 was 5.7%, close to what many economists thought at the time was full employment. Some of these economic experts warned that President Trump’s tax cut and reform would quickly overheat the labor market, causing a round of inflation with little long-term benefit to workers. Instead, millions of Americans rejoined the labor force, with the official unemployment rate declining to 3.9% by December 2018... According to the federal government’s own rule-making tracking system, the Trump Administration has implemented 2.7 significant deregulatory actions for every one added through October of last year, for a net regulatory savings of $33 billion"
Presumably after 2 years everything good that happens under Trump is still due to Obama's policies - but everything bad is still Trump's fault

Gad Saad - Posts - "Is there a single weather pattern that is not indicative of climate change/global warming? When it is unseasonably hot in the summer, it is a manifestation of climate change/global warming. When it is unseasonably cold in the winter, it is a manifestation of climate change/global warming. When the weather is exhibiting large fluctuations, it is a manifestation of climate change/global warming. When the weather is exhibiting minimal fluctuations, it is a manifestation of climate change/global warming. This is starting to feel like a religion since we know that religions do not adhere to the falsification principle"

House of Lords to vote on compelling vicars to perform gay marriages in major blow to freedom of religion - "“When gay marriage was debated, we warned that promises made to protect the freedom of the millions of ordinary people who opposed the redefinition of marriage were not worth the paper they were written on. We were right. Safeguards that were put in place in 2013 are being unpicked in a betrayal of the promises made by supporters of this legislation.”"
More evidence for the slippery slope. So much for the triple/quadruple lock - which was just 6 years ago
Interestingly, they're trying to force through gay marriage in Northern Ireland despite the Belfast agreement


The influence of gender stereotype threat on mathematics test scores of Dutch high school students: a registered report - "Theory predicts that stereotype threat lowers girls’ performance on mathematics tests, while leaving boys’ math performance unaffected. We conducted a large-scale stereotype threat experiment in Dutch high schools (N = 2064) to study the generalizability of the effect. In this registered report, we set out to replicate the overall effect among female high school students and to study four core theoretical moderators, namely domain identification, gender identification, math anxiety, and test difficulty. Among the girls, we found neither an overall effect of stereotype threat on math performance, nor any moderated stereotype threat effects. Most variance in math performance was explained by gender, domain identification, and math identification"
More problems with stereotype threat theory
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