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Saturday, June 08, 2019

Links - 8th June 2019 (3)

Singapore to test facial recognition on lampposts, stoking privacy fears - "he was concerned such technology could be turned on political opponents or used to curb free speech by deterring peaceful protest. Facial recognition technology typically allows authorities to match people picked up on cameras with those in databases.Singapore’s only opposition party in parliament, The Workers’ Party, declined to comment... Wilson, the security lecturer at Murdoch University, said that unlike cities like London or New York, Singapore did not have a high crime or terror-threat level that justified such surveillance capabilities"

Trevor Noah: when words are worse than war - "in New York, 7,000 miles west of Kashmir, something far worse, far more dangerous, or at least far more tweetable, happened. Comedian Trevor Noah made a joke about the conflict on the The Daily Show. A war between India and Pakistan would be the ‘most entertaining’ and ‘longest war of all time’, he joked, as the Indian soldiers would rush on to the battlefield and break out into a Bollywood-style song-and-dance number.Tweeters across the globe denounced the joke as racist, insensitive, ‘vile and despicable’. By Noah’s own admission, he has not shied away from tackling difficult subjects in the past, including the death of his mother, who was shot in the head by his abusive stepfather. It is a shame, then, that he has since apologised for causing offence. Often the best comedy results from comedians finding the line and pushing it further.But whatever you think of Noah’s India-Pakistan joke – funny, racist or just clichéd – he later made an important observation. He tweeted that his joke ‘trended’ more on social media, in the West at least, than the actual India-Pakistan crisis. For Noah, this showed that ‘people are more offended by the jokes comedians make about an issue than the issue itself’... Back in 2001, a month after 9/11, coalition forces were gearing up for war in Afghanistan. An unidentified US Navy sailor on the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier defaced a bomb that was being loaded into a fighter jet. On it, he scrawled the following: ‘HIGH JACK THIS FAGS.’ (sic). A picture of the ‘fag bomb’, as it came to be known, was leaked to the Associated Press (AP). It drew immediate condemnation from GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and the Human Rights Campaign. An AP spokesman apologised for the photograph and it was removed from the news wires within a day. An admiral at the Pentagon also apologised and admonished the crew, urging them to ‘more closely edit their spontaneous acts of penmanship’. ‘We want to keep the messages positive’, he added, saying that messages like ‘I love New York’ would be more appropriate. The navy introduced guidelines for vetting messages in future. So here we had a literal bomb, about to be used in a literal war, and apparently the thing to be outraged about it was the offensive message on its casing, not the deadly explosives inside it. In their apologies for the ‘fag bomb’, what the navy commanders were really saying was that it is acceptable to kill, but it is unacceptable to offend. You can blow the limbs off an Afghan child, so long as the message on the bomb is positive and doesn’t use the wrong language"
Speech is so violent that it is worse than violence! Therefore violence is a morally obligatory response to offensive speech

More People Bought Physical CDs and Vinyl Than Songs on iTunes Last Year - ""virtually all the revenue growth" for 2018 came from streaming music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Tidal, which last year collectively added 1 million new subscribers every single month, and now have a record number of more than 50 million subscribers."By the way, don't be fooled into reading something positive about CDs from the title of this post," adds BGR. "While physical media sales were down 23%, CD sales themselves slipped 34% for the year to $698 million. That's the first time CD yearly revenue has come in below $1 billion since 1986.""

Report: San Francisco Has More Drug Addicts Than High School Students - "San Francisco now has more intravenous drug users than high school students. San Francisco, which operates 15 high schools, currently has 16,000 students enrolled grades nine through twelve.By comparison, the northern California city currently has 24,500 “injection drug users.” That is approximately 8,500 more drug users than high school students."

21 Indian students kill themselves in a week after IT blunder meant they failed key exams

Only 3% of people are perfect. Are you? - "What if we told people what people like them do instead of what perfect people should do? That approach is called social proof and it’s something Robert Cialdini has been studying for years.Social proof: When people are uncertain about a course of action, they tend to look outside of themselves and to other people around them to guide their decisions and actions. It’s a very primitive way of deciding what to do. Basically: we do what people like us would do... Social proof can backfire if it’s not used in the right way. For example, the Petrified Forest National Park had a problem: People were stealing small bits of bark from the ancient trees. To combat it, they erected signs:Your heritage is being vandalized every day by theft losses of petrified wood of 14 tons a year, mostly a small piece at a time.The signs basically said: “everyone is taking it.” They actually increased the amount of vandalism in the park.Cialdini and team tested an alternate sign: Please don’t remove petrified wood from the Park, in order to preserve the natural state of the Petrified Forest.By describing why it mattered, the new sign was able to reduce theft from ~7% of park visitors to ~2%."

Elizabeth on Twitter - "We all have our preferences but to state it outright is racist to me. If you wont/dont want people of other races to reach out to you as a possibility for a mate, that shows some bigotry imo.
To be clear: for white people only. Our 'cultural' desire to keep the race "pure" by dating only other white people is a continuation of white supremacy. I take no issue of other races wanting to keep to their own."

A-levels are often said to be poor predictors of degree results. Is there any evidence for this? - "Currently we have a problem statisticians call 'restricted range'. While one side of the co-relationship (degree mark) has lots of variability, variability on the other side (A-level grades) is narrowly confined to the top end. However, the correspondents above who can only use this creamed-off sample are still making a useful point in reporting no correlation with degree results. Having wisely privileged the As and Bs, admissions tutors should look for other indicators that allow them to make finer judgments within this (increasingly large) sample."

Social media influencers give bad diet and fitness advice eight times out of nine, research reveals

Media Downplays Migrant Sexual Assault Statistic While Hyping And Inflating Similar Statistics About College Women - "NBC made sure to note the small sample size of the statistic. Politifact had already rated this claim as “half true” because of the small sample size and because Trump says “sexually assaulted” not “sexually abused.” Politico was the worst offender this time around, putting out a tweet that called Trump’s claim “partly true” because the Doctors Without Borders report from which the president derived the statistic says “31% of female migrants and 17% of male migrants said they had been sexually abused while traveling through Mexico.” So Trump gets a “partly true” because 1 in 3 is technically 33%, not 31%, and because he didn’t include men? This is not the tactic these websites and others use when the alleged rate of sexual assault pertains to American college women. For American college women, the media completely accepts the impossible-on-its-face statistic that 1 in 5 undergraduate women will be sexually assaulted... The definition of sexual assault was also incredibly broad, including “unwanted” sexual activity. This is meaningless, as a person can’t know something is unwanted until they ask or try it, but the mere ask can be considered a form of harassment if it comes from someone one simply doesn’t like."

A feminist shoots and murders a girl and feminists blame ‘a male system’ - "the alleged perpetrator of the crime was a supporter of the feminist movement “Ni una menos” (Not one less), which has called for several mobilizations in Argentina against the murders of women by their boyfriends or their husbands."

State of the Union 2019: Most viewers approved of Trump's SOTU address - "Seventy-six percent of Americans who tuned in to President Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night approved of the speech he gave. Just 24 percent disapproved."

Has Trump wrecked our sex life? "Post-Trump Sex Disorder" is real, says sex therapist - "As unbelievable as it may sound, there are actually slave plantation retreats where black people go to be dominated by white people in a BDSM interracial role-playing experience. There are also other examples of that kink where blacks and Latinos and other nonwhites engage in "race play" with their intimate partners where the former act out "crossing the border" and being captured by the authorities, are servants or slaves who are subjected to racist abuse. Sometimes this takes the form of using racial slurs while having sex. To me these are all clear examples of internalized white supremacy and self-hatred. But I also believe that people have a right to their own pleasure and bodily autonomy with consenting partners. How do we reconcile these tensions?"

Judge calls on Muslims to publicly disavow violence in Koran - "Justice Desmond Fagan said the lethal messages derived from "hostile passages" of the Koran were not effectively countered by suggestions from "various quarters" that the verses had been "cherry picked" or that Islam was an "interpretive religion"."The incitements to violence which terrorists quote from the Koran cannot just be ignored by the many believers who desire harmonious coexistence. Those verses are not ignored by terrorists," Justice Fagan said.He said there were sometimes assurances offered to Western communities that “Islam is a religion of peace”."But in the absence of express public disavowal of verses which convey Allah’s command for violence, as quoted in the jihadist literature tendered in this case, such assurances are apparently contradicted," he said... Justice Fagan said terrorists' perceived scriptural support for their actions couldn't be effectively rebutted by police or the courts."If the verses upon which the terrorists rely are not binding commands of Allah, it is Muslims who would have to say so," he said."

What Does Natural Mean? The FDA's New Definition Might Change Your Pantry - "What does "natural" mean? Debating the definition of the word is like debating whether people see colors the same way. Is your "natural" wine like my "natural" quinoa? We’re all on the same page about trans fats, thanks to the FDA’s 2006 requirement that they be declared on Nutrition Labels. The same goes for “organic,” which the U.S. Department of Agriculture clarified in 2000 as being free of synthetic chemicals. But when it comes to defining “natural” food, we’re still on our own."
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