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Monday, June 10, 2019

Links - 10th June 2019 (2)

Stop bias against Brexit or face fine, BBC warned - "The BBC will face sanctions and fines from its new regulator unless it ends its Brexit bias, a former Culture Secretary and architect of the Royal Charter has warned.John Whittingdale, a Conservative MP, said that he is concerned that the corporation is "constantly looking for negatives and highlighting the challenges" of Brexit.He warned that if the corporation's negative coverage persists MPs could "escalate" their complaints to Ofcom... more than 70 MPs wrote to the corporation warning that its "perverse and skewed" coverage risks undermining Brexit... The MPs, who included 60 from the Conservative Party, accused the corporation of portraying the UK as a "xenophobic" nation that regrets the vote to leave the EU.They say that the corporation has failed to "break out of pre-referendum pessimism" and accept the "economic good news" the UK has enjoyed since the referendum."
From 2017

New definition of Islamophobia ‘risks helping terrorists’ | News | The Times - "A report by a former head of antiterrorism at Scotland Yard says that terrorist plots are more likely to succeed if Theresa May adopts a new definition of Islamophobia.Richard Walton says that the police, security services, prosecutors, judges and prisons would be labelled “institutionally Islamophobic” if the government bowed to pressure from MPs to broaden the meaning of racism to include anyone targeting “Muslimness”.The power to prosecute hate preachers such as Anjem Choudary for encouraging support for Islamic State would be adversely affected... Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, have adopted the definition... Lord Carlile of Berriew, the former reviewer of terrorism legislation, said: “Successful and accepted counterterrorism measures would run the risk of being declared unlawful.”"

Government rejects controversial definition of Islamophobia after warning from terror police

Islam can’t be the only faith above criticism | Comment | The Times - "In 1977, however, the related and long-dormant offence of “blasphemous libel” was successfully revived after the publication in Gay News of an erotic poem about Christ. Hilarity and indignation greeted the verdict. Blasphemous libel was never revived again... MPs were right to abolish the crime of blasphemy against Christianity in 2008. They should be on guard against the return of this thinking, clad in the robes of another faith"

Instead Of Islamophobia, We Should Focus On Defining Anti-Muslim Hatred - "The individuals most at risk of potential policing of ‘Muslimness’, criticisms of Islam, or countering Islamism are Muslims themselves. These include Muslims who are labelled not devoutly Muslim enough, Muslims who belong to minority Islamic groups, Muslims who openly criticize aspects of the Islamic practice or work on countering Islamism, and ex-Muslims who have publicly chosen to leave the Islamic faith. There are plenty of examples of these cases, and a 2008 report by Douglas Murray profiled the death threats and intimidation that Muslim politicians, journalists, activists, writers, and artists within European communities faced when openly expressing their opinions on Islam or leaving the Islamic faith. In the majority of these cases, while individuals wanted to continue to be vocal about their opinions, they were forced to go into hiding or accept 24-hour police protection. Some of them did not receive any assistance from the State, due to a lack of understanding of blasphemy laws, or an attitude that this was a ‘cultural problem’ best addressed by the Muslim community itself. Some more recent attacks include those on Sara Khan – the Counter Extremism Commissioner – who has received death threats and was accused of being a ‘traitor’ to her religion for her work on highlighting Islamist extremism. Similarly, my old colleague Maajid Nawaz received death threats after tweeting a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. Baroness Warsi – who has been leading the work on defining Islamophobia – was pelted with eggs by protesters linked to Al Muhajiroun during a visit to Luton, due to claims that she “purports to be a Muslim”. The phenomenon of hatred, intimidation, and violence directed against Muslims by other Muslims is a serious challenge, and the current definition of Islamophobia fails to address the hatred that some British Muslims face from other Muslims. This includes those Muslims belonging to minority strands of the faith who are subjected to discrimination, particularly Ahmaddiya Muslims who have faced ongoing persecution, and Shia Muslims in Britain who have similarly suffered incitement from other Muslims. Individuals of a Muslim background who determine that they no longer believe in the Islamic faith are routinely branded as ‘apostates’ by extremists, and face being shunned by members of their communities. In particularly serious cases, British Muslims who leave Islam have had their lives threatened"

15 Years Later, No One’s Matched 'LOTR’s Battle at Helm’s Deep - "The battle at Helm’s Deep is the 40-minute war scene that serves as the climax for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It was cut from 20 hours of footage, which, in total, took 120 days to film (by comparison, the entirety of Star Wars: The Last Jedi took 110 days to film). In other words, it took about a month of work to make 10 minutes of Helm’s Deep. Ten years later, you can still feel every ounce of that effort. It’s a spectacular, and still unmatched, cinematic sequence.Helm’s Deep is heralded as one of the greatest battles ever put into a movie. Its scale is off the charts, its emotion is legitimate, and the dual mechanics of its showmanship and storytelling never clash. Really, the greatness of Helm’s Deep reflects the greatness of the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a whole. The battle’s technical mastery, sweeping spectacle and tonal balance double as the legacy for the series itself... The linchpin of the battle, though, and what makes it such a benchmark in movie history, is how it serves Two Towers beyond just being something cool to look at. As the major players clash on the battlefield, they change. Theoden, King of Rohan (the good guys at Helm’s Deep), begins the battle cowering behind the walls of his stronghold, but as the Uruk-hai (the bad guys) breach the gates, he rediscovers his leadership prowess and rides out, sword aloft, to enter the battle himself. It’s the culmination of an arc that began nearly three hours of movie ago, and the aftermath of this courageous stand would color Theoden’s character for the rest of the series... Hollywood operates on a “more is better” thesis now—more explosions, cameos and costumed heroes—but that forgets the more essential half of the Helm’s Deep experience."

Harvard Student Submits Rap Album As A Thesis And Receives Honors - "Harvard student Obasi Shaw channeled the consciousness of Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper into a thesis that is pretty legendary.Shaw, an English major, has become the first Harvard student to create a rap album as a senior thesis. His album is dedicated to the plight of black Americans and takes inspiration from both classic literature like Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and sociopolitical commentary from Chance and Kendrick... “Some people don’t consider rap a high art form,” Shaw said. “But poetry and rap are very similar. Rhyming poems were very common in old English poetry.”"
Down goes the value of a Harvard degree
Somehow I doubt a submission in the form of a poem would've been accepted

SJW Paradox anti-sjw - Posts - ""*Wearing Che Guevara shirt* How dare people idolize this horrible racist! *Trump*"
""The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations." - Che Guevara, 1952""

Teen suicide rates spiked after debut of Netflix show '13 Reasons Why,' study says - "The rate of suicide among US boys ages 10 to 17 surged in the month after the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why" premiered in March 2017... "Youth may be particularly susceptible to suicide contagion"... Another recent study found that students who watched the full second season of the show were less likely to report self-harm and thoughts of ending their lives than students who didn't watch "13 Reasons Why" at all, potentially because the characters come together and discuss suicide. Students who didn't watch the entire second season had a higher risk of future suicide, according to the results"

The Children of Flint Were Not ‘Poisoned’ (NYT) - "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers a blood lead level in children of 5 micrograms per deciliter and higher to be a “reference level.” This measure is intended to identify children at higher risk and set off communitywide prevention activities. It does not suggest that a child needs medical treatment. In fact, the C.D.C. recommends medical treatment only for blood lead levels at or above 45 micrograms per deciliter. Not a single child in Flint tested this high... Nonetheless, the reference level has been misinterpreted by laypeople — and even public health officials — as a poisoning threshold... just 20 years ago, nearly 45 percent of young children in Michigan had blood lead levels above the current reference level. If we are to be consistent in the labeling of Flint children as “poisoned,” what are we to make of the average American who was a child in the 1970s or earlier? Answer: He has been poisoned and is brain-damaged. And poisoned with lead levels far above, and for a greater period, than those observed in Flint. People were understandably dismayed by the government’s apparent failure to act quickly to switch back the water once concerns were raised in Flint. But based on this more comprehensive view of the data, we are forced to admit that the furor over this issue seems way out of proportion to the actual dangers to the children from lead exposure... lead exposure is not one city’s problem, but the entire nation’s."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The miracle of Notre Dame - "When I was a student there in 2002, you didn't see many women wearing the headscarf [in Indonesia], for example. People didn't talk so much about joining prayer events at campus. But now if you return to those same campuses in Jogjakarta, the students today and Java, Islam is a very big part of young Indonesian people's lives. There’s prayer meetings, there’s events, most young Indonesian women are wearing the headscarf. So it has definitely moved Indonesians as they tap on to social media looking at the other Muslim countries. And because of course, we've seen also an incredible amount of money coming in from Saudi Arabia into Indonesia's education system. And they've been told that their kind of Islam, the Islam in Indonesia that's a real mix between Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, that existed for so long, isn't really the true Islam. And we are seeing kind of rising conservatism in terms of moral issues, in terms of cracking down on the LGBT community that was accepted, or questions about alcohol now not being able to be sold in many markets when before you could go and get a beer after work at a mini market...
Indonesia, I think is one of the countries that has the most public holidays, because every religion in the country gets to have their holy days celebrated. And the founding fathers of Indonesia were very clear on this. And even in town planning across the country, they used to make sure that there was a mosque and a church next to each other so that the communities would mix and that is a great pride of Indonesia pancasila, and that is not being challenged fully at the moment."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, People power topples Sudan president - "Here in South Asia, politics has traditionally been a family business. The region seems to love its dynasties. Pakistan has the Bhuttos and the Sharifs. Bangladesh’s politics are still dominated by the families of its founder, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the man who replaced him, General Ziaur Rahman... When I asked supporters of the Congress party here, if they can imagine their party being run by a non Gandhi, they look at me like I'm mad… How can you even ask a question like that? Before I can reply he adds: they’ve given everything to this country. Indira and Rajiv Gandhi both laid down their lives for India. The two who were former prime ministers were both assassinated"

Controversial research fellow Noah Carl dismissed by St Edmund’s - "St Edmund’s has terminated the research fellowship of Dr Noah Carl following an investigation into his research work... Commenting on the College's decision, an Eddie's student involved in the protests said, “students have persistently protested, in imaginative ways, at Friday formals, outside council meetings, in the lawns, in the Kings Parade. The credit should go to the resilient spirit of the student body at St Edmunds, and to various student groups across Cambridge who stood with them in solidarity.”In the Master’s email this evening, Bullock wrote: “I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and offence felt by all members of the Combination Room. Diversity and inclusivity are fundamental values of the College and we abhor racism and religious hatred. There are lessons we must learn about how we demonstrate the importance of these values and we will take action to repair the damage that has been caused to our College community."
So much for academic freedom

Noah Carl: An Update on the Young Scholar Fired by a Cambridge College for Thoughtcrime - "We published supportive comments by Jonathan Haidt, Jeffrey Flier, Cass Sunstein, Tyler Cowan, Jeff McMahan and Peter Singer... Since then, Noah has received widespread support from a variety of sources. The Spectator has taken up his cause, as has Spiked Online, the Daily Telegraph and the Times of London, which ran an editorial in defense of academic freedom... The reason Carl’s research has provoked such controversy is because it has touched on the link between genes and intelligence, but as he points out in the FAQ everything he has written on the subject is supported by mainstream science... 'the contribution of genes to variation in human intelligence has been widely accepted by psychologists since at least 1996, when the report ‘Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns’ was published by the American Psychological Association (APA). This report, co-authored by Ulric Neisser and his colleagues in the aftermath of The Bell Curve debate, concluded that “a sizable part of the variation in intelligence test scores is associated with genetic differences among individuals.” Evidence for a genetic contribution to variation in human intelligence has only strengthened since the publication of the APA report.'"
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