"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, April 11, 2019

Links - 11th April 2019 (3) (Trans Mania)

India Willoughby: Is it discriminatory to refuse to date a trans woman? - "The argument started on UK reality television show Celebrity Big Brother... Some viewers claimed Ginuwine rebuffing the notion of dating a trans woman was discrimination or transphobia - dislike or fear of transgender people... "The majority of straight men are worried about what society thinks of them if they date a trans woman," she says. "Toxic masculinity makes them violent and rude about their attraction""
Is it discriminatory for lesbians to refuse to date men?

Women who used to identify as transgender men explain why they detransitioned - "The experience of the girls in desiring to be men is similar - from begging their parents to let them start on testosterone, the conviction that they wouldn't regret it, to feelings of isolation and confusion around their sexuality and self-identity. They also agreed that in hindsight, it would have been better to take things more slowly rather than rushing into medically and socially transitioning. Jesse, who was on testosterone for around a year-and-a-half until the age of 19, said that transitioning to be a man was almost like a 'forbidden fruit'. 'I completely regret jumping into it, I should have just chilled out,' she said... the support of her parents might have even encouraged her further down the path of transgenderism... 'As soon as you start to maybe move away from a trans identity or start to voice things, they call you a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) or they instantly ostracise you and call you a traitor and fake, so it's very hard to voice doubts and that contributes to not allowing you to voice that or realise that about yourself'... Asked whether there were any pros or cons to their experience of transitioning, the girls admitted that for them at least, it had been overwhelmingly negative.Jesse said it only compounded her existing mental health issues and was even 'psychologically damaging' as it prevented her from properly addressing her symptoms as she became increasingly fixated with her trans identity. She also recalled feeling a 'pseudo sense of liberation' that she could live in the world as her true self."
On Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD)

Essex County Council removes 'bigoted' transgender image - "A council has been accused of "institutionalised bigotry" after using a picture of a person removing a wig to depict transgender people... The image was provided by a company that specialises in producing easy read versions of documents for the government and NHS England, according to the council.The questionnaire asks participants about their gender, with boxes for male and female.A third box, labelled transgender, has an image of a man removing a long wig... A spokeswoman for the council said: "This image was specifically chosen to help communicate with people with learning disabilities."

Judge temporarily sentences male transsexual to Changi Prison to serve alongside male inmates - "Teo was born a female but underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 2017 to remove his breasts and womb. However, Teo did not remove his original female genitalia"
Is it transphobic for the criminal justice system to treat trans people like the gender they want to be?

Facial Recognition Software Regularly Misgenders Trans People
It's almost as if objective reality is a thing

Pose star Indya Moore: Trans women's penises are biologically female - "“Regardless [of] the biological makeup of the trans woman—she remains a woman with her biology, therefore defining her as a biological woman.”Moore, who came out as poly last year, backed up her point by posting an explanation by Grace Pokela, a biology teacher from New York whose explanation of gender went viral in 2017. Pokela wrote at the end of her post: “Don’t use science to justify your bigotry. The world is way too weird for that s**t.”... The star compared those who look down on gender non-conforming people to racists.She tweeted: “cis people characterising gender variant traits as abnormal is synonymous to white people saying melanin is abnormal or melanated people saying that the absence of melanin is abnormal.“Your effort to delegitimise the biology of trans people is inherently narcissistic.” Moore also said that cisgender people “stole and appropriated the word biological.” She even tweeted a direct message to cis readers, writing: “Dear cis people, I hope you one day evolve beyond penises and vaginas.“But ya can’t even get passed being a**holes… so idk (I don’t know). #prayforcis.”"
Lysenko would be proud

The rules on trans athletes reward cheats and punish the innocent - "McKinnon has vigorously defended her right to compete, pointing out that, when tested, her levels of testosterone, the male hormone, were well within the limits set by world cycling’s governing body. Nevertheless, at 6ft tall and weighing more than 14 stone, she appeared to have a substantial advantage in muscle mass over her rivals... a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires. It’s insane and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.Simply reducing hormone levels — the prescription most sports have adopted — does not solve the problem. A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood. Training increases the discrepancy. Indeed, if a male were to change gender in such a way as to eliminate any accumulated advantage, he would have to begin hormone treatment before puberty. For me, that is unthinkable. Hundreds of athletes who have changed gender by declaration and limited hormone treatment have already achieved honours as women that were beyond their capabilities as men, especially in sports in which power rather than skill is paramount. McKinnon is just one example. That may uphold the International Olympic Committee’s charter, which holds that “the practice of sport is a human right”, but it is surely unfair on women who have to compete against people who, biologically, are still men... Let me make a critical distinction between transgender and transsexual athletes. Transsexuals have decided to change their gender and have had the deed done, surgically. They have made the full commitment. They are few in number and rarely enjoy a competitive advantage... I also deplore what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as “transphobes”. That’s just another form of tyranny. I’m relatively tough and was able to stand up for myself in my Twitter exchange with McKinnon, but I worry that others may be cowed into silence or submission.Here’s how I concluded my Twitter spat: “Rachel, you may be an expert on all things trans, but you are one nasty human being. Attack, attack, attack. I will not take it from you. You did not engage; you bullied. Not blocking you [though I later did, because who wants all that negativity], but enough already. All I want is fairness.”"

Child sex-change charity Mermaids handed £500,000 by national lottery - "A transgender charity that campaigns for children to be given prohibited sex-change treatment has been awarded £500,000 by the national lottery. The payment to Mermaids has angered MPs, feminists and women’s organisations, who accuse the charity of bullying doctors, promoting falsehoods and using “emotional blackmail” to pressure parents to support life-changing medical interventions for their children... The chief executive of Mermaids, Susie Green, who took her son for a now illegal sex-change operation in Thailand when he was 16, believes medical intervention is “absolutely vital” for children unhappy with their biological sex. Her view is disputed by NHS gender specialists who say intervention is not always right.Mermaids also wants to overturn an NHS ban on under-16s being treated with cross-sex hormones, which cause permanent body changes and compromise fertility; those taking them require lifelong medical support. Clinicians say children are too young for such a step. Green has said the refusal by the NHS to give children the hormones can make them “self-harming and suicidal”, and claimed attendees at the main clinic that treats gender-dysphoric youngsters, the Tavistock Centre, in north London, have a “48% suicide attempt risk”. The clinic says the true rate is less than 1%... Green, an IT consultant, has no medical training. Responding on Twitter to an NHS psychiatrist who accused her of “making stuff up”, she wrote that “you need to f*** off. You know nothing.” In the absence of NHS treatment, Mermaids has referred parents to a private GP, Helen Webberley, who prescribed cross-sex hormones to children as young as 12. Mermaids recommended Webberley even after she was convicted of operating an illegal gender clinic. The number of children seeking NHS treatment for gender dysphoria has risen by 700% in five years. Michele Moore, of the Patient Safety Academy at Oxford University, blamed Mermaids and other groups for the rise, as they were “not just supporting transition but promoting it”. Stephanie Davies-Arai, of the parents’ group Transgender Trend, accused Mermaids of blackmailing parents and said: “Funding this agenda will lead to more young people who regret such life-changing harms to their bodies.”"

Biological sex shapes tumour evolution across cancer types
Nature is Transphobic

Whether the donor and recipient are male or female influences transplant rejection rates—investigators explore why

Parents Outraged After Man Who Identifies As Woman Assaults 10-Year-Old Daughter In Women’s Bathroom, Gets Slap On The Wrist - "In Scotland, an 18-year-old male who identifies as a woman was given a slap on the wrist by authorities earlier this month after assaulting a 10-year-old girl in the restroom... Rather than being sent to jail, Dolatowski has been banned from having contact with children and given community service and electronic tagging... Not only did Dolatowski admit to sexually assaulting the 10-year-old girl, he also admitted to following another girl into a bathroom at the Asda Halbeath supermarket in Dunfermline on February 8 and holding his mobile phone over the bathroom stall to film her urinating"

Top Twenty-Five Stories Proving Target's Pro-Transgender Bathroom Policy Is Dangerous to Women and Children - "there are dozens of such stories over the last 16 months or so highlighting the problem with setting policies that would make access to public restrooms easier for predators.First up are five incidents in which predatory men were discovered committing criminal actions in public restrooms. Some of these men were arrested while dressed as women; others claimed to be transgender women."
Maybe the response can take a leaf from gun lovers - criminals don't obey laws anyway, so there's no point restricting people of the opposite sex from toilets (ignoring the point that criminals can take advantage of laxer laws)

Unisex changing rooms put women at danger of sexual assault, data reveals - "The vast majority of reported sexual assaults at public swimming pools in the UK take place in unisex changing rooms, new statistics reveal.The data, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Sunday Times, suggests that unisex changing rooms are more dangerous for women and girls than single-sex facilities... Unisex facilities account for less than half the changing areas across the UK, but the number is on the rise - doing away with separate male and female changing rooms and toilets is seen as a way to cut staff costs and better cater for transgender people."

Heather E Heying on Twitter - "I’m accused of fearmongering, due to my concerns about the effects of trans-activism (not “true trans” people) on research, specifically that which seeks to reveal differences between the sexes. How could science & society be affected by such abject silliness? How indeed:
Hundreds of scientists recently signed a letter to Nature—one of the two leading science journals in the world—which claims that science has neither a definition, nor a reliable test, for sex... This excellent piece by @SwipeWright describes, in part, “a chilling effect that causes scientists to self-censor,” due to this ideology. Reasonable people are ever more quiet on basic issues of fact...
Recognizing biological reality does not make a person transphobic. Yes, intersex exists. Yes, even human chimeras exist (!). No, those facts do not put the lie to binary sexual reproduction. There are two types of gametes in animals (“anisogamy”): eggs and sperm... The more prevalent this kind of thinking is on college campuses, the more power the ideology has in hiring decisions on campus, on training of teachers for the K12 system, and on the larger world. What happens on campus does not stay on campus... This ideology has oozed off campus, into high schools & grade schools, into cubicles & theater troupes & retail establishments. I’ve seen signs advising me not to address cashiers by gender. It’s a madness that celebrates fragility, and denies reality.
A U.S. congresswoman has petitioned for trans-women’s rights to compete against women in powerlifting. If natal males are allowed to compete against natal females, the natal males will win. In contact sports, they will also hurt women in the process."
"Thank you! I work in STEM and these ideologies are polluting all we do. The sad reality is that none of these “scientists“ want to discuss or understand actual facts on these topics. eg. Suggesting that gender discrimination is not behind disparities in STEM can get you fired"

UK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans rights row

UK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans rights row

"An angry student shouted at Prof Rosa Freedman outside the students’ union at Reading University. She was a “transphobic Nazi who should get raped”... She felt shaken and, “for the first time on campus, afraid of physical violence”...

Freedman and 53 other academics wrote a letter to the Guardian questioning the proposed introduction of self-identification for gender reassignment. They said that critical academic analysis of transgenderism is being suppressed...

She disagreed with other feminists in a Facebook group called the Women in Academia Support Network. “I was watching them attacking another woman academic for voicing some difficult questions,” she says. “They were saying, let’s get her fired. When I tried to defend her I was told I was committing structural violence against the group and I was transphobic and I wasn’t welcome.”...

As well as many abusive comments on Twitter, she has been shown a written request from an academic at another university asking for her to be blacklisted from giving any papers or attending events in their law school. Colleagues have also told her that Reading University has received written and verbal complaints about her views from its staff and students, and from people outside the university...

Freedman gave a talk on the United Nations Human Rights Council at Essex University. Prior to it, students there called for her to be barred from campus and her talk cancelled...

“It is a failure of our education system that it produces young people who think superficially about these issues; who think it is all about emotion, and who can’t tolerate different points of view from theirs.”

Despite calls from students and trans rights activists for her to be fired from Sussex, Stock feels confident she will keep her job... Sussex’s vice-chancellor, Adam Tickell, issued a public statement about her case saying: “I hold a deep-rooted concern about the future of our democratic society if we silence the views of people we don’t agree with.”

But Stock says she knows academics at other universities who are “terrified of being fired” for their views on this subject...

“I can deal with strangers behind pseudonyms saying horrible things on Twitter, and, up to a point, with young, inexperienced students condemning me. But what I can’t understand is academics going out of their way to shame me.”

Debbie Epstein, professor of cultural studies in education at Roehampton University, says many feminists are afraid to voice any view about the gender recognition proposals. “I grew up in South Africa under apartheid and was involved in politics from my teens, and not since I left there in the 1960s have I been as scared of speaking out as I am on this issue now. I have seen the toxicity of this debate and how other academics have been treated and that is frightening.”...

"When they attack you they generally don’t respond to your arguments or address them, they simply say that it is dog-whistling that is indicative of an underlying bigotry."

Selina Todd, professor of modern history at Oxford University, agrees. Recently one delegate cancelled their place at a humanities conference she was due to speak at when they saw her name on the agenda. “It was because the person was concerned that ‘transphobic’ views would be expressed. I assume that this referred to my gender-critical stance.” The conference had nothing on the agenda that was connected to the subject."


Apparently you feel "safe" by making other people feel in danger

If you take verbal and physical violence to be the same, physical violence is a legitimate response to verbal "violence"

Links - 11th April 2019 (2)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The Sound of Danger in Yemen - "The Sarejevo museum during the war in the Balkans had its doors firmly locked and barricaded, but suggested that you bring a chair with you to climb in through one of the high ground floor windows in between periodic shellfire, and then viewed the few remaining exhibits by crawling around on all fours to avoid any sniper fire. Museums matter even in war, they said...
I spotted the garden where the rather large dogs roamed, grabbed my Serbian dictionary and headed over trying to memorize the word *something* or noisy. My neighbor stared at me as I put on my warmest smile and explained gently that I was a journalist who often had to be up early to report on his beautiful country and could he possibly perhaps maybe keep his dogs inside overnight. He started shaking. I am so angry, he growled. You English, you bomb my country and then you tell me to keep my dogs quiet. I limped off and called my landlord. Ah, I should have told you he replied. That guy was the bodyguard of Arkan. For those of you who don't remember Arkan was the most feared Serb paramilitary leader and criminal boss during the Yugoslav wars until his assassination in 2000. But you can't let him get away with this my landlord counseled. Call the police when the dogs bark overnight. Naively I did. The police told me they found unlicensed weapons in his house and gave him a warning. That I hoped would end it. Until a fortnight later I stumbled upon a Facebook group he had created called Serb hating BBC journalist causing havoc in our country. 1500 members had joined in just five days. After calls to the police and emails to Facebook the group was closed. I was of course advised to move, but nothing came of the online bravado"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Watch Your Back! - "Among the tower blocks of downtown Vancouver, I met a Canadian former ambassador to China who's been following the case closely. He surprised me by revealing that it was only recently the Canadian government came to the conclusion that China was not on the road to democracy. He said the decision by the Chinese leader Xi Jinping to abolish term limits on his presidency last year was, for many, the moment the penny dropped. For him, the Meng Wanzhou case confirm that China as an authoritarian country is not likely to change in the near future. There's anger in Canada what politicians and diplomats see as retaliation from Beijing over the executives... In her view these new Chinese arrivals are not just looking to gain something but also to escape something. She said that in China you could be in favor one day, out of it another. One minute in power, the next in prison. That's why so many elite Chinese people find a base outside their homeland, she said, just in case they need to get out quickly."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Peace Is More Difficult Than War - "Three walls surround a toilet bowl, all that remains of another dwelling. A few years ago, the government here spent millions of dollars providing households that had only pit toilets or nothing at all with concrete built washrooms with flushing loos. The campaign was much mocked… but residents tell me that when the hurricane roared through families huddled in the only solid structure they had and these little concrete toilet blocks may have saved a good many lives"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Celebrating the Iranian revolution in Lebanon - "[On barbeque] The country which gave the world fast food also gifted a version of slow food. And a dish which, I must point out in these fractious times, is enjoyed by rich and poor, black, white and brown, Republican Democrat and to hell with them both. It would be America's ultimate unifying dish, were it not for vegetarians and vegans"

Black radicalism with Kehinde Andrews - History Extra - "The story of actually Marcus Garvey's death is sad and absurd. He read in the newspaper an obituary, somebody had written an obituary of him and he had a stroke and died the next day... Malcolm is one of the most, by far most misunderstood people. He’s either an anti white demagogue, he’s violent - he never committed any political violence at all actually - or now he’s a civil rights leader which is complete nonsense. Malcolm was the biggest critic of civil rights movement I've ever heard... literally called 1963 march on Washington which is the big showpiece march that's 250,000 people in Washington DC, that's where you have the I Have a Dream speech... his exact words were: it was a circus with clowns and all. Called it the farce on Washington, a Hollywood production. Literally... because originally the march was grassroots...
History in school. And then so why, why are they going to take history? It’s really, it’s a really severely white, white, whitewashed subject that doesn't interest people. And I think what gets missed a lot is that that is a kind of symbolic form of violence. You are basically telling people they are stupid if you don't teach, if you teach this is what history is, or this is what knowledge is. And so people are alienated from it unfortunately. I think people are interested in history, they’re not interested in white history"
So presumably non-black people shouldn't be interested in black history. Yet, we do see many non-white people are interested in 'white' history

2018 Christmas history quiz - History Extra - "What would you expect to see at a Roman pantomime? The answer was a, erotic dancing. The word pantomime comes from the Greek word pantomimos consisting of panto meaning all and mimos meaning a dancer who acted all the roles or all the story. Roman pantomime was a production usually based upon myth or legend for a solo male dancer who was clad in a long silk tunic and a short mantle. According to a lost narration by Alias Aristotides [sp?] the pantomine was known for its erotic content and the effeminacy of its dancing… the first mummers is gambled for jewels with the future Richard the Second but why did they use weighted dice? The answer was b, to ensure they lost. The first recorded mumming described how a group gambled with weighted dice for jewels to ensure they lost. Richard was delighted with this victory and the Lord's and mummers then dances and drank the night away together...
[On pantomines] Breeches roles, such as principal boy, were a rare opportunity in a heavily regulated business for an actor to show their legs wearing only tights. As such the roles were popular with female actors and young male audiences...
In 1903, the Austro-Hungarian Emperor... became the last ruler to... veto the election of a pope. Originally the Emperor, the King of France, and the King of Spain had authority to veto the selection of the conclave. This attempt was ignored, but the incoming Pope Pius the 10th who was not the subject of veto prohibited future uses and threatened excommunication for any further attempt...
Traditionally, who received magical letters at Christmas?... children. Long before the tradition of children writing to Father Christmas with request for presents, it was Father Christmas who wrote to children. The letters usually reviewed the child's behavior over the year and made suggestions for improvement...
The 1909 Christmas production at the Hippodrome Leicester Square entitled The Arctic involved 70 live... Polar bears. Astonishingly, 70 live polar bears were imported for the show, in which they swarm around fake icebergs and chased a costumed villain later to capture and devour him. The whole show was illuminated with a recreation of the Northern Lights. The bears were shipped into Tilbury from the hog and back [sp?] menagerie in Hamburg aboard an especially commissioned vessel. They arrived in seven enormous steel cages, and were kept on a diet of fish, meat and biscuits."

Indians in World War One - History Extra - "When the Indian seopys first arrived at Marseilles I think they were almost ambushed by what I call the colonial papparazzi. They were endlessly photographed, painted, sketched, and everyone wanted to be almost kind of friends with them, or even kind of touch them. And the way they, they were endlessly reported in the media. And I think this media representations, the lurch between a celebration of gallantry on one hand and brutality on the other, I think there is a central tension between the representation of the Indians as this Imperial heroes on one hand, and this colonial brutes on the other. For example, the Gurkhas are often shown like chopping off heads with their knives...
This is from the diary of an officer called Wade… ‘Jigger, the Indian waterboy with the Turkish prisoners of war is a real joy. He’s very fat with a huge smile on his face, and very black. He's serious when he’s gesticulating wildly, with Johnny Turk, trying to find out what he wants. But soon, his face lights up and he darts off laughing to himself.’ So on one hand, there is racism in a very fat, very black. At the same time, he's talking about an individual rather than a generic, and there is often a certain warmth for the Indian soldiers. And that is where the problem comes. Because there is, of course, this racist condescension, but it is not unmixed with a certain affection and warmth however condescending it may be. And often there are accounts when the racism is absent and there are pockets of intimacy and emotion between the British officer and the Indian soldier. But I regret to say that in 10 years of my research I've come across countless examples of Indians sepoys risking their lives to save the British officers but I have not come across a single example of a British officer risking his life to save an Indian sepoy"

Hardcore History 63 – Supernova in the East II - "These people had already lived through the worst war that they could ever imagine. 20 years ago before the First World War nobody really knew what they were getting into. In the 1930s everybody knows what they're getting. They're getting the First World War, only worse again, and to many of these people they thought they saw their civilization nearly knocked out in that war. If you're gonna have another one and it's going to be worse and you're starting it from the Great Depression levels of economic health, what's the likelihood you're gonna survive this time? What's the proper price to pay to avoid that outcome?...
This war is going to break out in 1939. A month after it breaks out... There's a public opinion poll of Americans on the issue of the war... 84% of respondents saying that they wanted Britain and France to win the war, only 2% wanted the Germans to win, but 95%, 95% wanted to stay out of the war... how many people are going to go against that kind of supermajority?"

The cost of studying the arts at Oxbridge - British universities - "SCEPTICS OF HIGHER education often complain that universities offer too many frivolous degrees with little value in the workplace. Since elite universities tend to produce higher-earning graduates than less selective institutions do, you might expect them to teach more practical courses. Yet data from Britain’s department for education show the opposite. Undergraduate students at prestigious universities are more likely to study purely academic fields such as philosophy and classics, whereas those at less choosy ones tend to pick vocational topics such as business or nursing. What could explain this seeming contradiction? One reason is that employers treat a degree from a top university as a proxy for intelligence. This means that students at elite institutions can study bookish subjects and still squeak by financially. The median Cambridge graduate in a creative-arts subject—the university’s least lucrative group of courses, including fields such as music—earns around £25,000 ($32,400) at age 26. Economics students from less exalted universities, such as Hull, make a similar amount. Yet even though Oxbridge students can pretend to read “Ulysses” for years and still expect a decent salary, they end up paying a large opportunity cost by pursuing the arts. That is because employers reserve the highest starting wages for students who both attended a leading university and also studied a marketable subject. Cambridge creative-arts graduates earn £11,000 more at age 26 than do those from Wrexham Glyndwr University, whose arts alumni are the lowest-earning in Britain. In contrast, Cambridge economics graduates make £44,000 more than do those from the University of Salford, where the economics course is the country’s least remunerative... Who can afford such indulgence? The answer is Oxbridge students, who often have rich parents"

LEAP Study Results | LEAP - "The results of the Immune Tolerance Network’s (ITN) “Learning Early About Peanut” (LEAP), discussed on February 23, 2015 at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate that consumption of a peanut-containing snack by infants who are at high-risk for developing peanut allergy prevents the subsequent development of allergy. The LEAP study, designed and conducted by the ITN with additional support from FARE and led by Professor Gideon Lack at Kings College London, is the first randomized trial to prevent food allergy in a large cohort of high-risk infants... The LEAP study was based on a hypothesis that regular eating of peanut-containing products, when started during infancy, will elicit a protective immune response instead of an allergic immune reaction... “For decades allergists have been recommending that young infants avoid consuming allergenic foods such as peanut to prevent food allergies,” notes Professor Lack, the lead investigator for the LEAP study. “Our findings suggest that this advice was incorrect and may have contributed to the rise in the peanut and other food allergies.”"

Angola’s go-to app for delivering live goats to your door - From scooter to slaughter - "AFRICAN CITIES are tasty markets for food-delivery apps. The continent has 21 of the world’s 30 fastest-growing urban areas, where an expanding middle class boasts smartphones and spare cash. These cities also have hideous traffic, so it’s a chore to drive a car to a restaurant. But delivery scooters can slalom through jams."

University professor sent elite mercenaries to rescue student from Isil warzone - "It’s a level of pastoral care few universities can boast of providing. A chemistry professor at Lund University dispatched a team of elite mercenaries into an Islamic State warzone to free one of her doctoral students and his family... She contacted the university’s then security chief Per Gustafson.“It was almost as if he’d been waiting for this kind of mission,” she said. “Per Gustafson said that we had deal with a transport and security company which was valid all over the whole world.”Over a few days of intense activity, Gustafson hired a security company which then arranged a rescue operation. Just a few days later two Toyota Land Cruisers bearing four heavily-armed mercenaries roared into the area where Jumaah was hiding"

Libya ISIS fighter made machine gun, shopping cart to fighting vehicle - "Not only does this combat cart provide some stability for the gun — which seems to be a Soviet DShK heavy machine gun — it even holds a box of ammo. Innovation!Still, this video may not be the most creative thing to come out of the Libyan battlefield. As Kaaman also tweeted, they also did some testing of combat roller blades."

Dilbert 2019-04-07

Dilbert Comic Strip on 2019-04-07 | Dilbert by Scott Adams



Alice: "I don't appreciate the sarcastic text message you sent me."
Dilbert: "That wasn't sarcastic."
Alice: "Yes, it was."
Dilbert: "Wouldn't I be a better authority than you about my own intentions?"
Alice: "Only if I could trust you. But I can't trust you."
Dilbert: "Give me one good reason why you shouldn't trust me."
Alice: "Because you send sarcastic text messages."
Dilbert: "Um..."
Alice: "And here comes the mansplaining."

Links - 11th April 2019 (1)

Opinion | Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to Them at the Office - The New York Times - "From elementary school through college, girls are more disciplined about their schoolwork than boys; they study harder and get better grades. Girls consistently outperform boys academically. And yet, men nonetheless hold a staggering 95 percent of the top positions in the largest public companies.What if those same habits that propel girls to the top of their class — their hyper-conscientiousness about schoolwork — also hold them back in the work force?"
Or: how to commit the apex fallacy and ignore that men get more first class honours degrees than women

NYT Writer: Cancel Office Christmas Parties So Women Avoid Harassment

Some Words Defy Translation. Angela Merkel Showed Why. - The New York Times - "Speaking at a technology conference on Tuesday, Ms. Merkel, known as a staid, no-drama politician, told a self-deprecating anecdote about being widely mocked online five years ago after she described the internet as some mysterious expanse of “uncharted territory.”She chuckled at the memory of the digital blowback.“It generated quite a shitstorm,” she said, using the English term — because Germans, it turns out, do not have one of their own."

Microsoft Is Worth as Much as Apple. How Did That Happen? - The New York Times - "Microsoft has become a case study of how a once-dominant company can build on its strengths and avoid being a prisoner of its past. It has fully embraced cloud computing, abandoned an errant foray into smartphones and returned to its roots as mainly a supplier of technology to business customers... When Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile phone business in 2013, Mr. Ballmer hailed the move as a “bold step into the future.” Two years later, Mr. Nadella walked away from that future, taking a $7.6 billion charge, nearly the entire value of the purchase, and shedding 7,800 workers."
Bold business moves are only brilliant in retrospect

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of International Diplomacy - "The CIA apparently nicknamed Kim Jong Un the cute leader. Black humor of course, this is a tyrant who reportedly fed his uncle to a pack of dogs and blew one of his ministers to eternity from an anti aircraft gun. He runs North Korea as a nuclear armed slave state, where according to the World Food Program, four out of five people are undernourished. So much so the average adult is nearly six inches shorter than those in the south...
Usually the G7 passes without incident. Or in fact we know nothing about it. Kind of self serving club, get together, chat, declare what they're going to do us. You know, anything that comes along and disrupts that and turns international relations upside down can be welcomed, even in the form of Donald Trump… moralizing foreign policy over the last few years has generally lead to disaster. So I don't think Trump's the worst thing we face...
‘You're judging him by that because the way the media will generally present it. Look, Donald Trump can walk on water, and all of the articles and the responses will come out about what a lousy swimmer he is’...
‘For 500 days in office, he has reduced the food stamp recipients by 20 million, he has created the lowest unemployment rate for the black and Hispanics, that wages have gone up for the blacks and Hispanics. His policies to get rid of regulations have made it much easier-’"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of Politics - "‘I don't think they have tried to see Brexit through. What I find astonishing is how distant the political class is from public opinion. 75% of MPs voted remain. The cabinet is now almost entirely remain. 95% of Labour MPs voted remain. In contrast with 52% of the public who voted Brexit. We, it's hard to, I can't remember any time in my life when the political establishment has been so astonishingly distant from ordinary people's opinions’"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Why people join Boko Haram - "She made the disturbing discovery five years ago when working on a deradicalization program for the wives of jailed Boko Haram commanders. Far from being traumatized or suicidal, some regarded their days with the group as the first time they'd had any kind of female empowerment. They’d often be in command of a harem team of women themselves, sometimes hundreds of them and they'd learn how to use weapons as well... they felt the power that they never normally have in their own communities, where they usually get married at age 12, and where their husbands would then dictate their lives...
Dr. Hussain al Husseini... lifts the cover of his piano and begins to play, performing the Greek singer Yanni’s 1990 hit Reflections of Passion. The Shia cleric... when he posted a video online of himself performing in his religious attire earlier this year, he received a barrage of criticisms. Hussein al Husseini wears a black turban, indicating descent from the Prophet Mohammed. Some conservatives in Lebanon believe pious figures should not be playing music, especially modern songs…
‘I did this to say to people that religious men are normal people… a religious man can practise his hobbies normally. I wanted to show that Islam is not against any sophisticated art form’. He insists he received a lot of public support even from the people in his conservative part of town. But then he adds rather suddenly, now I basically don't have any friends because of the music problem. I don't have any friends left. He felt forced to leave his hausa, his Shi’ite seminary because of his colleagues’ disapproval. A divorcee, al Husseini used to provide for [his daughter] from his stipend, but he has now been without it for months... He is now looking for any chance to leave Lebanon...
Al Husseini no longer feels welcome in traditional religious circles. All the other houses and religious institutes said no, there was a problem with this man playing the piano and this and that...
This country is often brought up as a rare example of liberal tolerance in the Middle East and true, the signs are there, especially in the summer when much of the nation strips off and heads to the coast. Women show off their impressive plastic surgery at flashy beach clubs. Inland, millennials with elaborate ear piercings pile into bars and clubs until the small hours. The drinks of choice are whiskey, Lebanese beer and arak, a potent aniseed spirit. But conservative attitudes pervade. Bus drivers have been known to turn down the music that rattles through their rattling vehicles in Beirut's conservative southern suburbs which are controlled by Hezbollah. Music, especially the sort of loud pop songs that said drivers prefer is frowned upon. Even further south, residents of Sayda must head to off-licenses in surrounding villages. Alcohol is not sold in the Old City."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, France's Forgotten French - "[On the gilets jaunes] It's the kind of condescension and contempt in which they believe they're held by their enemies, the ruling class, the sophisticates of the capital. Because this is a conflict that like a lot of what's happening in modern day Europe is about big cities, the Metropole, and the rest - the periphery. The people who are protesting can't stand the fact that that the government in Paris is imposing attacks on diesel whose effects the people in Paris will never have to suffer because they don't drive very much and all to clean up the air quality, which is nice for Parisiens, because air quality there is bad, but which no one else cares so much about because outside of Paris, the air is fine. In other words, for them the people of the periphery are having to pay for the comfort and the conscience of the Parisian Metropolitan. I say periphery rather than the countryside because the social geography of France is so different from what is widely conceived by nostalgics. Watching the protests on television over the last week, I noticed the curious thing - in practically every shot of every place where there was a roadblock, there in the background was a big KFC sign. Kentucky Fried Chicken. The protests were in places where people who live outside the cities happened to go a lot, that is to the Lego style shopping districts, consisting of vast warehouse stores and cheap eateries that exist on the outskirts of all small towns across the country. You get there by car, of course, because there's nowhere to shop in your village. Not even to buy a baguette, just as you use your car and your wife uses hers and your children if they're grown up use theirs to get the 30 miles to work every day and back, it all adds up. And then along comes yet another tax...
One recent study showed that environmental pollution kills more people each year than die in wars"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Thoughtcrime in Xinjiang - "Xinjiang is the target of the world's most comprehensive and sophisticated police state. One of the first things that strikes any visiting reporter are the ranks of cameras that watch people's every move every few meters. Many are fitted with facial recognition technology. DNA samples have been taken from the population en-masse. Mobile phones have to be unlocked and handed in at police checkpoints. At one of them I watched as officers plugged their scanners into the collected phones, searching them for legal content. The checking is constant anyway. Every Xinjiang resident has been forced to download an official spyware app. Failure to do so is an offence. All of this, the authorities say, helps combat the threat of Islamist terror. And the primary focus of the extreme surveillance are the Uighers. Big Brother is not just watching them, he is living with them too. A program called becoming kin has sent over a million Chinese government officials to stay for regular periods in Uigher homes. The officials monitor their adopted families for signs of devout religious behavior or other indicators of potential disloyalty to Chinese rule. A negative assessment can mean being sent to a reeducation camp... As our police minders made it impossible to speak to anybody openly, we later called phone numbers in the town at random. There are tens of thousands of people there now, one shopkeeper told us. They have some problems with their thoughts. It was Orwell’s 1984, of course, that popularized the term thoughtcrime… There are no dissenting voices left at all. Those who simply once studied or defended Uigher culture, university lecturers and prominent intellectuals, have been taken to the camps."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Off Target - "There are signs that people are starting to challenge the idea of Nelson Mandela's Rainbow Nation built above all on forgiveness. I was planning to attend a book festival this weekend, a big up and coming event in Soweto, the old black township on the outskirts of Johannesburg. But when I found the organizer, there was an awkward pause on the line. The festival is for black people. Oh. Only black people. Yes, that includes journalists. On the festival’s Facebook page, that policy had plenty of supportive comments, the assertive voices of a new generation of black South Africans who are looking around 24 years after the end of racial apartheid and asking some uncomfortable, important questions. We may have political power people say but the white minority still controls the economy. Black people have been patient, stuck to Mandela's mantra of reconciliation. But it's not enough. Not anymore. This week, that same mix of frustration and radicalism bubbled up in Parliament too. Amid much singing and cheering, MPs from the governing ANC pushed ahead with plans to change the constitution so that it explicitly authorizes the government to seize white owned land without paying any compensation. You can probably guess what the critics are saying. That a failing government is looking for scapegoats, distracting attention from its own mistakes by playing the race card. That the real problem is a stagnant economy and record unemployment. That South Africa is in danger of following Venezuela and Zimbabwe down a steep populist path that leads to ruin. There’s some truth in all of that, but the bigger truth is that public frustration is growing...
Malema has denied any wrongdoing [for corruption]. But as usual, he's gone a lot further than that. Blaming Indians, blaming whites, blaming racist journalists. Wallowing in violent language, sending EFF activists to physically attack businesses... his party is expected to double its share of the vote next year...
[On Paris] Amidst the information overload and political infighting, another campaign is being waged in support of the rats’ right to life. An online petition has garnered 26,000 backers and counting and recently pastel colored posters on the metro proclaimed: Rats are not our enemies, and featured cute photos of cuddly rodents, their delicate front claws clutching little signs, promising free kisses. Back where I live, someone on a neighboring boulevard took the law into their own hands the other day with a liberal scattering of now-illegal old fashioned rat poison. Several dogs were casualties. Two died, whereas the rats, now largely immune, survived"
This just shows that claiming that it's only politicians playing the race card and most people want to live in harmony is dishonest
More evidence of the slippery slope - in another age without animal rights no one would've defended rats


Black South African Andile Mngxitama politician says 'kill whites' - "The leader of a South African political party has called for the killing of white women and children in a row over the taxi industry.Andile Mngxitama, president of Black First Land First (BLF), was speaking at a rally on the weekend in Potchefstroom near Johannesburg when he made the violent comments.He tells the cheering crowd: 'For each one person that is being killed by the taxi industry, we will kill five white people.'For every one black person we will kill five white people... 'We'll kill their children, we'll kill their women, we'll kill their dogs, we'll kill their cats, we'll kill anything.'"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, #SaveRahaf: Last night a retweet saved my life - "[On Tanzania] As we walked the local village we stopped to watch men making fishing nets out of charity donated curtains which are meant to keep mosquitoes out and malaria at bay."

A prison where the inmates have to go and find jobs - "he was lonely, her family had left her. Their neighbours wanted to set them up and arrange their marriage, so she wouldn't be a woman living alone, so he would have someone to take care of him, cook for him and make him rotis. "I can make my own rotis," he says. He married her because he fell for her. There's seemingly little out of the ordinary about their house, or their story. Except that Ramchand and Sugna are both convicted murderers and they live in prison.Their house is in Sanganer Open Prison, in Jaipur, the capital city of India's western state of Rajasthan. This prison has no bars or walls, no security guards at the gate, and prisoners are allowed - even encouraged - to go out into the city and work every day. This prison, which has been open since the 1950s, is home to 450 prisoners and is one of about 30 such institutions in the state of Rajasthan... When I ask them why they're in prison, many simply say, "302," referring to Section 302 in India's Penal Code which dictates the punishment for murder. They call the open prison "the farm," and gush about how easy it is to live here, how happy they are. To get to Sanganer, they all have to have served at least two-thirds of their sentences in closed prisons, and they say that compared to those places, this is freedom. In fact, the government in Rajasthan has had to evict prisoners who didn't want to leave. They had set up lives - stable jobs, schools for their children - in this neighbourhood, that they didn't want to give up at the end of their sentences."

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Links - 10th April 2019 (2) (Trans Mania)

Men who identify as women are being invited for cervical smear tests even though they don't have a cervix - "However, women who identify as male are not being offered crucial routine breast screenings or cervical cancer checks... Transpeople who register with their GP as their birth sex will be invited to screenings appropriate to that, but if they register as they gender they identify as they will not be"
Apparently false positives are better than false negatives
The NHS is missing a cost saving opportunity here


UK Trans Activists Sue Government: 'Unfair' That Free Sex-Changes Make Us Infertile - "the procedure -- which relies on hormonal treatment and surgery -- comes with the risk of infertility. To counteract that, some opt to store their sperms or eggs before beginning the process. But to the outrage of some, this preemptive fertility treatment for trans patients is not offered on all NHS outposts... A parliamentary committee for women and LGBTQ equality issued a report in November stating that the NHS is unable to keep up with demand for gender realignment surgeries. The backlog is "out of control," the report concluded, and reaching "a breaking point." According to estimates, one out of 10 British citizens will be on an NHS waiting list by 2021."
???

‘Having a penis and competing as a woman is not fair’: Navratilova inflames transgender fury - "Navratilova’s opinion on the topic came as a shock to many, as being an open lesbian herself the tennis star has always been a LGBT rights campaigner."
Maybe the trans movement was conceived of as a way to destroy feminism and the gay movement

Fury as ex-Olympian Sharron Davies says trans women should not compete in women's sport - "Former Olympian Sharron Davies MBE has been accused of “fuelling hate” after saying that transgender women should not be allowed to compete in female sport... The 56-year-old’s comments were supported by many, including Olympic track winner Sally Gunnell, gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams OBE and gold middle distance athlete Dame Kelly Holmes. However, others criticised Davies, with some even calling for her to be stripped of her MBE... ”Every single woman athlete I've spoken to, and I have spoken to many, all of my friends in international sports, understand and feel the same way as me. “Unfortunately, a lot of people who are in the races [now] are in a very difficult predicament when they can't speak out. It maybe falls to the people who were competing [in the past] who would understand the predicament that is being faced at the moment to try to create a debate, and try to explain how we feel there needs to be a fair and level playing field.”"

Transgender Woman Wins Discrimination Suit, $20,000 For Being Cut From Women's Football Team - "Christina Ginther, a biological man who identifies as a woman, won a discrimination lawsuit this week after being rejected from playing on an all-women's Minnesota football team due to safety concerns... when team owner Laura Brown learned that Ginther was actually a biological male, she informed Ginther that biological men were barred from playing in the league due to safety concerns... A discrimination suit against the team and the league was filed in 2017, citing a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which protects individuals from being discriminated against by businesses based on sexual orientation. Though, notably, Ginther won on the basis of being trans, not gay.A Dakota County jury sided with Ginther. The ruling, the first of its kind in Minnesota, making women-only teams or groups within the state potentially "discriminatory.""

Rosa Freedman: Professor's door 'covered in urine' after gender law debate - "A professor has said she faced online abuse and found her office door "covered in urine" after debating proposed gender law changes.Prof Rosa Freedman said she feared for her safety after the reaction to her discussing a government consultation on how people can change their gender. The human rights lawyer had raised concerns on how the changes might affect women's rights... Prof Freedman also said she was called a "Nazi" who "should be raped" and added it was a "tipping point" for her to "push back" against the abusers when she received anonymous phone calls. Prof Freedman added: "I'm pretty public and open about the fact that I'm Jewish."I'm pretty public and open about the fact I've survived sexual violence - I have been throughout these debates."
Apparently hating "hateful" people is a good thing

Scared of Transgender Backlash, Google Blocks Use of Gender-Based Pronouns - "Google has revised its “Smart Compose” technology to avoid the icebergs that gender-based pronouns have become.The technology routinely suggests what a Gmail writer might want to say next.However, Google realized a few months ago that the technology did not conform to the sensibilities of the transgender era... The employee typed “I am meeting an investor next week.” Smart Compose suggested the next sentence read, “Do you want to meet him?”Lambert said that Smart Compose was reflecting the fact that historically business and finance was male-dominated, and so it used a male pronoun instead of a female one. Product leaders did not want to risk the technology offending users by incorrectly predicting their gender or identity"

I regret my tactics at a trans rights protest. Here’s why | Esther Betts - "my mindset at the time the Channel 4 documentary was filmed was to try to shut down events like the one against which I was protesting. People asked me at the time, “Why don’t you just go into such events and ask critical questions?” My response was that engaging in the event, even in an oppositional fashion, was to inadvertently validate views I considered hate speech. Furthermore, trying to shut down the event sent out a message: transphobia is not welcome and trans people are supported. In this day and age, I wouldn’t, and still won’t, turn down the opportunity to show support to my trans brothers and sisters.What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was engaging in the event anyway. By attending it and blocking the stairwell I was engaging in the event. I was still acknowledging the views of the speakers just in an entirely different, completely nonproductive way. I hate to admit it, but we achieved absolutely nothing, which is likely less than had we gone to the event and raised hell intellectually in the Q&A period... I’d even go so far to say that our attempts at protest actually made things worse. Not only did we give these people ammunition against the “trans activists”, we tried to deny critics the opportunity to confront the ideas, and not just the people.I also hate to think that our belligerence actually cowed trans people from going to the event. The result of our behaviour was not a show of solidarity with the trans community. Rather, it was that an event was held where a highly trans-critical point of view reverberated with no to little opposition or responses from trans voices... I can already hear my comrades whipping out their Tumblr profiles to denounce me... It’s immoral for me and immoral for the transgender community to act as if we have the right to control speech. Not only is it ultimately impossible in free societies, it sends the wrong message: we want to control you... since the demo, I have gone to talks by two different big‑name gender critical feminists and questioned them heavily about their views right to their face.Did it hurt? Did I burst into flames? I’m not someone without mental health issues. (In fact, the police once dragged me into a mental hospital.) At times these talks were uncomfortable, sure. But having the ability to challenge gender critical views directly has been a thrilling and revolutionary experience for me. I’d say it’s actually improved my mental health... The biggest reason I regret my participation in the protests against “We Need to Talk” is because I genuinely made people feel like I was a danger to them. I may be a trans woman, but I’m still bigger than most women and I’m still scary when I’m wearing a balaclava and shouting at you"
Censorship of opposing views suggests you don't think your side is credible
If your mental health is hurt by hearing different views, maybe the problem is with you and not those who have those views


Ohio univ: Gender pronoun usage is not free speech - "Shawnee State University professor Nicholas Meriwether declined to refer to a transgender student as a female, instead choosing to call the student “sir." The school disciplined the professor and the student reportedly told Meriwether “then I guess this means I can call you a c**t.""

Transgender woman who has to shave twice a day says NHS is 'mucking around with people's lives' - "A transgender woman said she is regularly reduced to tears because the NHS is keeping her waiting for laser hair removal surgery. Jessica Samson, 39, has to shave twice a day while she continues her more than six month wait for the permanent procedure... There has been an ‘explosion’ in the number of children seeking a sex swap, Dr Palmer said, which may accelerate if plans to expand publicly funded operations go ahead.Dr Palmer told the Westminster Social Policy Forum that referrals for gender dysphoria have increased by around 240 per cent over the last five year period"
I guess it's better that people die of cancer
'Give me this or I'll kill myself' in other contexts would be described as blackmail


Transgender women 'should be entitled to womb transplants' so they can have a baby - "A leading British surgeon has called for transgender women to be entitled to womb transplants so they can have their own babies... Surgeon Christopher Inglefield, founder of the London Transgender Clinic , says a successful uterus implant into a trans-female is achievable today... "once the medical community accept this as a treatment for cis-women with uterine infertility, such as congenital absence of a womb, then it would be illegal to deny a trans-female who has completed her transition."... The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) confirm there are no regulations in place to prevent a trans woman who has received a uterus transplant from having IVF treatment... The government equalities office estimates there are between 200,000 to 500,000 trans people in the UK."
Trans people are getting more and more expensive for the NHS

Are we about to witness the rise of 'transracialism'? - ""I can clearly feel that I am black, but it’s hard to find the right words to describe it,” explained Martina Big last week – a woman who, though born German and white, ‘identifies’ as belonging to a different race.Big, 30, says she was last year 'baptised' as an African woman and is now learning Swahili; along with her boyfriend Michael Eurwen, 31, the pair undergo tanning injections to make their skin appear significantly darker.They are among the growing number of ‘transracial’ people who believe the race they outwardly appear to be differs from the one they feel the truest affinity with, and thus seek to change it... Within the medical and academic world, a number of professionals do acknowledge the idea of ‘racial dysphoria’, but many critics refuse to entertain it, dismissing the notion that race is fluid as offensive – “maybe even the highest manifestation of white privilege,” according to writer and professor Syreeta McFadden... Race must not become a scapegoat for all of life’s problems, she warns. “I wonder if someone really wants to be different, if it doesn’t have to do with the wrong colour, but has to do with difficulty in accepting your own identity.”... The concept of changing one’s racial identity is gradually becoming more mainstream: last year, the state of Delaware was poised to introduce a new regulation to its Prohibition of Discrimination Code enabling all students to ‘self-identify’ as the gender or race of their choosing while at school. The code’s inclusion of race caused such outcry, the state was forced to drop it... “I’ve worked with lots of transracially adopted children, and many do have a lot of issues growing up, like sadness and confusion related to their identity,” she says. “This would definitely be compounded if someone’s parents had made a racial identity shift.”This is something that Dolezal’s children know only too well. Her teenage son, Franklin, has said “[Mum] can identify as whatever she wants to be because it’s her business. I just really do not want to focus on this for the rest of my life”, highlighting just how confusing transracialism is – not just for those seeking to change their race, but for their families, too."

Is Julia Serano right that transwomen are female?

Is Julia Serano right that transwomen are female?

"A feature of Julia Serano’s writing is shifting justifications and definitions. At no point does Serano stick to one definition of female, as opposed to repeating, in different contexts, that all transwomen should be considered female...

Would we accept an argument slightly vague boundaries meant a definition free-for-all in other biological concepts, like species?...

Serano’s argument applied to species, would be something like: “Not all dogs have exactly the same genome, four legs, a tail, look like a dog is expected to look, etc. Therefore, the concept of what is and isn’t a dog is complex and somewhat variable. Therefore, a sufficiently dog-like cat could be called a dog.” That would be a ridiculous claim...

Intersex organizations have come out against attempts to use the existence of their condition for transgender advocacy. In the process, they draw a sharp distinction between a subjective transgender sense of internal gender identity and their unquestionably real biological condition, which has a well understood molecular biology basis. It is hard to see why we should prioritize transgender claims that the comparison to intersex is valid, over intersex persons who reject that comparison...

What we have are two very, very well separated populations. Even when you zoom in on a scale where any disorders are visible, only a few tens out of a million, are truly sexually ambiguous. This tells you sex is well described as a binary characteristic...

The incidence of people born with abnormal numbers of fingers and toes is between 1 in 500 and 1 in 1,000 in the US, similar to the number of people with abnormal numbers of sex chromosomes. If we aren’t lobbying glove manufacturers to accommodate strange numbers of fingers, or saying the number of fingers people have is a complex and hard-to-define matter, why is the transgender lobby trying to abolish the concept of biological sex?...

How about the brain studies on transwomen that Serano quotes? First, in general, finding that a male had a “feminine-looking brain”, does not prove they could feel like a woman and be aware of it, for the reasons given in the paragraph above: nobody is psychic. Second, this study in particular is flawed; the results do not prove any males have innately “feminine” brains. Anne Lawrence, an expert in transsexual and transgender science, dissected this at length:

The simplest and most plausible explanation of the Zhou/Kruijver findings is that they are attributable, completely or predominantly, to the effects of cross-sex hormone therapy administered during adulthood. There is no longer any reason to postulate anything more complicated... [Ed: This is on a study 'showing' that transsexuals have brains like the other gender]

Serano claims sex is socially constructed, which is to say, following the Wikipedia link Serano gives for the definition, “the natural world has a small or non-existent role” in the construction of sex. If biological sex is socially constructed, why has no transwoman ever given birth?...

No objective category of person can be based on self-declaration...

If the words male and female no longer refer to anything, they are scientifically and medically useless... Declaring transwomen as female, takes away language for women (female humans) to describe themselves and their bodies. Generally, it deprives humans of the language to describe their experience and needs as sexed beings, and to understand the world...

Sexual orientation as an attraction to men or women on the basis of biological sex, cannot co-exist with identity as a man or woman on the basis of an internal gender identity. Sexual orientation as a concept may become obsolete or widely seen as bigoted.

Even though most transgender people likely don’t want to erase our ability to talk about biology, the problem is that activists often do, and nobody appears to want to stop them. It is a mistake to characterize groups only by their average member: extremes matter, especially in politics...

We have to conclude the end point of trans activism is where we are forbidden to refer to the set of female humans. The demand is not that “transwomen are women”, or even that “transwomen are female” after all. It’s that women (female humans) must not be said to exist, by any word. This is a strange and sinister thing. It’s blasphemy by way of set theory. We’ve seen forbidden speech and even forbidden numbers; now we have forbidden sets....

[A] basic description of the reproductive biology common to all sexed plants and animals fails entirely to be transgender-inclusive, but relies on transphobic concepts such as biological sex, male and female. Even describing meiosis is transphobic. What are we to do, burn the biology books and smash the microscopes? Gender ideology poses a mortal threat to our ability to describe all complex life on earth.

Are we really to do all this in order to keep a small number of transgender activists in their Emperor’s New Clothes? But that’s where their logic leads, which so many governments, laws and institutions have swallowed whole. Whether industrialized human civilization can survive a successful transgender activist movement, is admittedly an interesting thought experiment."

Links - 10th April 2019 (1)

Is Japan losing its umami? - "“This is what gives our soy sauce its unique taste,” Yamamoto said, pointing to a 150-year-old wooden barrel. “Today, less than 1% of soy sauce in Japan is still made this way.” Until 70 years ago, all Japanese soy sauce was made this way, and it tasted completely different to what the world knows today. But despite a government ordinance to modernise production after World War Two, a few traditional brewers continue to make soy sauce the old-fashioned way, and Yamamoto is the most important of them all. Not only has he made it his mission to show the world how real soy sauce is supposed to taste, but he’s leading a nationwide effort to preserve the secret ingredient in a 750-year-old recipe before it disappears"

Italy’s practically perfect food - "Pound for pound, Parmigiano-Reggiano can compete with almost any food for calcium, amino acids, protein and vitamin A – and is prescribed by doctors to cure ailments."

BBC says 1 in 6 stars 'must be gay or lesbian or disabled' by 2020 - "a review by the BBC Trust, the corporation's watchdog, found that six stations - including Radio 2 - raised concerns that they were failing ethnic minority audiences."
So much for "to educate, inform and entertain"

Why is Chinese media blurring these actors' ears? - "The decision by a popular Chinese video streaming platform to censor the ears of actors wearing earrings has sparked a heated debate online.Images taken from programmes produced by the Netflix-like streaming service iQiyi, show actors with large blobs covering their earlobes and have been widely shared online.The hashtag #MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings has been used more than 88,000 times on Weibo where many users are expressing their outrage at the censorship"

Rocking like a baby promotes better sleep in adults - "Researchers from the University of Geneva built a special bed that rocked gently throughout the night.They tested it on 18 young adults and found they woke up fewer times and slept more deeply than on a normal bed.Scientists said the rocking motion resulted in a longer period of slow brainwaves which caused deep sleep, and improved their memory."

'Racist' Gandhi statue removed from University of Ghana - "A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the famed Indian independence leader, has been removed from a university campus in Ghana's capital, Accra.University of Ghana lecturers began a petition for its removal shortly after it was unveiled in 2016 by India's former President Pranab Mukherjee.The petition said Gandhi was "racist" and African heroes should be put first."
First they came for Cecil Rhodes...

Can 'voluntary colonialism' stop migration from Africa to Europe? - "The European Union, or a body like the World Bank, should build and run cities in Africa in order to boost job creation and development on the continent, Germany's Africa Commissioner, Gunter Nooke, told the BBC in an interview in which he outlined his thinking on how to stem migration to Europe. This will mean African countries leasing their land to a foreign body to "allow free development for 50 years", Mr Nooke said... Some proponents of the idea see Hong Kong as a model. They argue that the Chinese territory owes its economic development to when it was under British control between 1841 to 1997."

A Point of View: Should countries be more like families? - "What matters to us in our democracy is not that majority opinion should prevail, but that we should be equal participants in the political process, and equally protected by it. In a nation state the law is the common property of every citizen. It stands above every person and every faction. It protects the dissenter from the orthodox, the minority from the majority, and the nation as a whole from those who seek to confiscate its assets. It does this by bringing us all together in a shared first-person plural. Europe is moving not towards democracy but away from it, as we lose the right to define ourselves in that way. Democracy ends when we find ourselves governed not by us, but by them."

GCSE book pulled after stereotyping Caribbean dads as 'largely absent' - "A publisher has said it will stop selling a GCSE textbook after it was found to contain stereotypes about Caribbean families.AQA GCSE (9-1) Sociology says Caribbean men are "largely absent" from family situations.The comments have been called "really dangerous"... The paragraph in the sociology of families section of the book reads: "In Caribbean families, the fathers and husbands are largely absent and women assume the most responsibility in childrearing."When men and women live together, it is usually in cohabiting or common law relationships that reproduce the traditional patriarchal division of labour."It adds: "The family system is also characterised by child-shifting, that is, the passing of children to other relatives or acquaintances if the parents find themselves unable to take care of them. As a result, multiple women are involved in childhood socialisation."People on social media have called the text "racist"... "I do acknowledge that the number of families with absent fathers is higher in the black community, proportionally... If we had an educational system that actually studied and analysed the black experience, including the impact of the slave trade and racism in society, it would be different""

Absence of fathers in homes described as social emergency - "THE absence of fathers in most Jamaican homes has been described as a social and public health emergency that demands urgent attention, according to Dr Michael Coombs.Dr Coombs, founder of the National Association for the Family (NAF), was speaking at Tuesday's official launch of the organisation in Kingston.Dr Coombs, who said the NAF was a group of concerned Jamaicans from various professional groups sharing the common concern for the degrading of family life, noted that "85 per cent of Jamaican children were born out of wedlock, which he said was perhaps the highest in the world. He added that the breakdown in family life has led to increased levels of crimes and violence, youth incarceration and sexual abuse, among other social maladies."
Presumably there's a lot of racism in Jamaican society

Young, black and proud to be a father - "If you are an African-Caribbean child you are twice as likely as your white British counterpart to grow up in a single-parent household. In fact, the figure is probably higher. An Equality and Human Rights Commission report in 2011 found that as many as 65% of African-Caribbean children are raised by one parent – nearly always the mother... "As black men, we need to show our love. We need to show all those absent dads that they are missing out. Fatherhood is much more satisfying than driving around in a big car.""

Jail for father who beat 9-year-old son with hanger over homework - ""The accused was angered by the victim's mistakes," said the prosecutor. He left the dining room, returning with a plastic hanger while his son begged him for leniency.He grabbed the boy's hand and yanked him forcefully from the chair, causing him to tumble onto the floor.He then pulled him up by his left leg, so that the boy was held upside down, and hit him on his buttocks and legs with the hanger, swinging it down "with his full strength", court documents said... He then threw the hanger at the boy and kicked him again before chasing him into the bedroom, where he hit the boy's buttocks with his hands."
Given that caning is prescribed as punishment by the judicial system this is hilarious

British town council to have a vote on whether Father Christmas is a man - "A row over the gender of Father Christmas has erupted in a town in northern England after a woman was chosen to play the festive figure.It's a Christmas tradition in Newton Aycliffe that a member of the local community travels around town dressed as Father Christmas on December 24th.Great Aycliffe Town Council will now have a vote on the matter after two women put their name forward for the role and one of them was granted permission to dress up as Father Christmas"

Christopher Tolkien and the legacy of his father J.R.R. Tolkien: The Steward of Middle-earth - "Now, after more than 40 years, at the age of 94, Christopher Tolkien has laid down his editor’s pen, having completed a great labor of quiet, scholastic commitment to his father’s vision. It is the concluding public act of a gentleman and scholar, the last member of a club that became a pivotal part of 20th-century literature: the Inklings. It is the end of an era... “The value of myth,” C.S. Lewis wrote in an essay defending The Lord of the Rings, “is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’” In this, fantasy did precisely the opposite of what its critics alleged—it did not represent a flight from the real world but a return to it, an unveiling of it. A child, Lewis wrote, “does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods,” but “the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.”... The reason for the broad appeal of Tolkien’s work—for its chameleonic ability to speak to every time and place and people—is that while it is full of ideas, it never becomes ideological. This approach is often a source of frustration in our explicit day (“What was Aragorn’s tax policy?” complained George R. R. Martin), but a great myth cannot lay out its answers plainly, Tolkien believed: It must do so implicitly through storytelling."

Have Women Done It? - The New York Times - "payroll data show that jobs held by women have declined less than jobs held by men in the current recession, as well as in previous ones.But there are important differences between payroll jobs, total employment and the labor force. The payroll jobs (as assessed by the Current Employment Survey) do not include many agricultural jobs or the self-employed, categories dominated by men. And the labor force includes those seeking work as well as those currently employed... women are more than twice as likely as men to work part time (24.6 percent in 2008 compared with 11.1 percent in 2008). A measure of equal participation in paid employment should take that difference in hours into account."
On the "mancession"

Tech employees are much more liberal than their employers — at least as far as the candidates they support - "Tech employees tend to be predominantly liberal when it comes to politics; their corporate employers are much more middle-of-the-road.Those are among the findings from an examination of political contributions during this election cycle, using data from Open Secrets, a nonprofit political spending database by the Center for Responsive Politics... The vast majority of those donations went to Democrats. The most extreme examples were Netflix ($321,000) and Twitter ($228,000), which had about 99 percent of employee donations go to Dems"

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Links - 9th April 2019 (3) (Trans Mania)

Science Shows Sex Is Binary, Not a Spectrum - "The New York Times ran an op-ed by Anne Fausto-Sterling, a professor of biology and gender studies at Brown University, arguing that biological sex is not binary... Fausto-Sterling’s piece points to the existence of intersex people as evidence that this isn’t the case. Certainly, research has shown that as many as 1 percent of the population is intersex, a medical condition denoting that an individual possesses anatomy characteristic of both sexes, such as a combination of vulvar and testicular tissue. Statistically speaking, however, this means that the vast majority of us fall into one category of sex or the other. It therefore becomes a question of whether a statistically rare occurrence in the general population should be considered typical. An analogy that is commonly used to illustrate this is the fact that most of us have 10 fingers. There exist individuals who possess fewer or more than 10 digits on their hands, but this hasn’t called for a re-conceptualization of how many fingers a human being has... An extremely large and consistent body of scientific research has shown that gender is the result of prenatal hormone exposure, even in the case of intersex individuals, as opposed to adults and society imposing gendered norms on unsuspecting children from the moment they leave the womb... Pushing for social change for the sake of change, as many of those on the left seem wont to do, only leads to misguided policies and unnecessary confusion for the public."

Gender dysphoria may have genetic basis: Australian study - "Researchers at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne analysed DNA of transgender women (male-to-female transgender people) and compared it to that of non-transgender men.They found variations in four genes involved in processing sex hormones were significantly overrepresented in transgender women — suggesting a possible biological basis for gender dysphoria... Professor Harley said the study added to a growing weight of evidence of a biological basis — genetic, neurobiological and endocrine — for transgender identity as part of human diversity."
Meanwhile, bipolar disorder has a genetic basis

Dutch man, 69, brings lawsuit to lower his age 20 years - "Emile Ratelband, 69, wants to shift his birthday from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969, comparing the change to identifying as being transgender. "You can change your name. You can change your gender. Why not your age?"... Mr Ratelband further argued that according to his doctors he has the body of a 45-year-old, and described himself as a "young god". The pensioner also said he would renounce his pension if he switched his birth date"
Science shows transgenders have brains resembling those of the other gender. Thus science tells us trans people are real (even if we pretend their taking hormones has nothing to do with the brain structure)
If a 69 year old has a 49 year old brain and/or body it means science "supports" his appeal to change his legal age. If science shows that a 14 year old has the mental and/or physical development of a 20 year old it means we should allow the 14 year old to smoke cigarettes and have sex


Gay Men, Straight Women Have Similar Brains - "MRI and PET scan studies are showing remarkable similarities between the brains of gay men and straight women, and between those of lesbians and straight men.For example, the brains of straight men and of gay women share certain common features: both are slightly asymmetric, with the right hemisphere larger than the left, say the Swedish researchers.On the other hand, the brains of gay men and straight women are both symmetrical."
Are gay men really transsexuals who should be women, and lesbians transsexuals who should be men?

School Punishes Male Teacher For Refusing To Watch A Naked Girl - "A Florida school district allowed a self-described transgender female student regular access to the boys’ locker room, with no advance warning to the boys or their parents. The first time she walked in, she caught “boys (literally) with their pants down, causing them embarrassment and concern by the fact that they had been observed changing by an obvious girl,” says a complaint letter to Pasco County School District from Liberty Counsel, a pro-bono constitutional law firm.With a “gag order,” school administrators forbade teachers from talking about the change, and ordered a male P.E. teacher to supervise the potentially undressed girl in the Chasco Middle School locker room, the letter says. When he refused to “knowingly place himself in a position to observe a minor female in the nude or otherwise in a state of undress,” administrators told him “he will be transferred to another school as discipline for ‘not doing your job in the locker room.'”... The school’s other P.E. teacher, who is female, also objected and was ignored.... in a Georgia public school, a five-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a “gender-fluid” male classmate in the school bathroom after a transgender policy allowed him access. He allegedly pushed her against the wall and repeatedly jammed his fingers into her genitals while she struggled. The district refuses to believe the alleged victim and the mother has pulled her daughter from the school, which never notified her of the incident and maintains its bathroom policy... It appears Pasco schools adopted their transgender policies with no notice to their elected school board, parents, or voters. Instead, they were implemented after the district hired Jackie Jackson-Dean, a school psychologist, as a LGBT liason... The district’s “gender support plan” includes measures to keep the child’s medical and psychological information secret from his or her parents. It in fact forbids school staff from telling parents about their child’s sexual experimentation without the child’s permission."
Why do you even need to watch a student change?

Christian doctor fired for refusing to use transgender pronouns - "A UK doctor who was fired for refusing to refer to transgender people by their preferred gender pronoun says there is a “climate of fear” in his profession with staff “trained to inform” on one another for breaching discrimination laws.Dr. David Mackereth’s contract as a medical assessor for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) was terminated three weeks ago on the grounds that his refusal to use transgender pronouns could be considered harassment under the 2010 Equality Act... “I’m not out to upset anyone. I care deeply about transgender people. But we must be able to say what we think and defend what we believe in a non-combative way. Otherwise, we will turn into a dictatorial state in which we are all enslaved.”... In 2016, Canadian psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson shot to fame over his opposition to anti-discrimination legislation that made it illegal to refuse to refer to a transgender person by their preferred gender pronoun.Peterson, author of the best-selling book “12 Rules For Life,” has aggressively campaigned against so-called “compelled speech” — being forced by law to say something you don’t believe.“It’s a demand that the population uses a certain kind of linguistic approach,” he said on a tour of Australia earlier this year. “It’s an appropriation of speech. There’s no excuse for that. That never has happened once in the history of English common law. It’s a barrier that we do not cross.”"

Fordham University Political Science Department Mandates Use of Students’ ‘Preferred Pronouns’ - "The Political Science department joins the university’s Modern Languages and Literature as the second department to adopt the new policy, which allows students to mandate that their professors and other faculty members refer to them by their preferred name and pronouns... The decision was announced just two weeks after Fordham undergraduate and law school activist groups demanded that the university publicly “resist transphobic rhetoric.”"

Famed Feminist Furious After Twitter Says She Violated Rules By Saying Men Are Not Women - "Meghan Murphy, who founded the feminist blog and podcast Feminist Current in 2012, had tweeted in October, “Men aren’t women tho,” and “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between men and transwomen?”On Thursday, Murphy revealed on Twitter that she had been notified by Twitter that her language in the tweet had violated their rules against hateful conduct. Murphy was furious, and tweeted, “This is f**king bullshit @twitter. I'm not allowed to say that men aren't women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore? That a multi billion dollar company is censoring BASIC FACTS and silencing people who ask questions about this dogma is INSANE.”"

Are Transgender Women Just Reinforcing Sexist Stereotypes? - "I received many thought-provoking comments on my last post on what it means to be a transgender person. This follow-up post is inspired by the comments proposing that sex differences are acquired from cultural norms, that being transgender is a reflection of the social ills caused by sexism and oppression, and that the transgender movement merely reinforces sex stereotypes... Female hormones result in body curves, softer skin, motivation to be visually attractive, being drawn to babies, and the ability to breastfeed. Male hormones result in broad shoulders, more body hair, motivation to exhibit skill and expertise, being drawn to competition, and a superior ability to open jars (seriously—testosterone increases grip strength).Even before birth, the timing and extent of exposure to androgen, a male hormone, affects brain development and gender expression later in life. Culture and socialization also shape gendered behavior, but hormones can facilitate or dampen these influences. In other words, you can encourage masculine or feminine behavior in children, but hormone exposure before birth determines whether they embrace or reject these influences.If you want to learn more about how hormones affect our bodies, brains, and behavior, here's the link to a fascinating article: Biological Limits of Gender Construction."
Looks like Testosterone Rex is transphobic

Female athletes crushed by 'women who were once men' - "To document the growing trend, WND has compiled the following list of headline-making transgender athletes crashing the world of women’s sports."

I Told You Testosterone Would Make Women’s Sports More Interesting - "Once upon a time, such behavior was widely considered cheating. In fact, some of the biggest scandals in sports history involve behavior virtually identical to that of Mack Beggs. (Alex Rodriguez took testosterone.) In fact, due to the widespread problem of “doping” (taking performance-enhancing drugs) in the world of athletics, in 1999, the World Anti-Doping Agency was created. Clearly (and always) on the list of banned substances: testosterone. In spite of being an endogenous (naturally occurring) anabolic androgenic (promotes male characteristics) steroid, testosterone use among athletes is prohibited if administered from outside the body."
Apparently athletes will dope and lie about it - but all who say they are transgender are telling the truth

EMU group ends 'The Vagina Monologues,' citing exclusion of some women - "Eastern Michigan University's Women's Resource Center will no longer host productions of "The Vagina Monologues," noting that the play's version of feminism excludes some women."
Feminism destroys itself

Are gender feminists and transgender activists undermining science? - Los Angeles Times - "The idea that our brains are identical sounds lovely, but the scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Many studies, for instance, have documented the masculinizing effects of prenatal testosterone on the developing brain. And a recent study in the journal Nature's Scientific Reports showed that testosterone exposure alters the programming of neural stem cells responsible for brain growth and sex differences.Gender feminists often point to a single study, published in 2015, which claimed it isn't possible to tell apart male and female brains. But when a group of researchers reanalyzed the underlying data, they found that brains could be correctly identified as female or male with 69% to 77% accuracy. In another study, published in 2016, researchers used a larger sample in conjunction with higher-resolution neuroimaging and were able to successfully classify a brain by its sex 93% of the time. Even if male and female brains were identical structurally, this would fail to say anything about differences in brain functionality. Indeed, studies have shown sex differences across a wide variety of cognitive domains, including verbal fluency (the ability to generate many different words starting with a given letter) and mental rotation (the ability to rotate three-dimensional shapes in the mind). In one study using functional MRI, women outperformed men on the former, while men outperformed women on the latter.In my experience, proponents touting the "blank slate" view are willing to agree, in private conversations, that neurological sex differences do exist, but they fear that acknowledging as much publicly will justify female oppression. This is backward. As it stands, female-typical traits are seen as inferior and less worthy of respect. This is the real issue the movement fails to address: Nobody wants to be female-typical, not even women.Distortion of science hinders progress. When gender feminists start refuting basic biology, people stop listening, and the larger point about equality is lost... Currently available research literature — including four studies published in the last nine years — suggests that 61% to 88% of gender dysphoric children will desist and grow up to be gay adults. (Or, in my case, a straight adult)... While transitioning can be beneficial for transgender adults, it therefore doesn't make sense to treat trans children in the same way.Nevertheless, transgender activists and their allies have branded desistance as a "myth," and those who suggest otherwise are called bigots or, dismissively, trolls... In one 2011 study of 25 gender dysphoric children, 11 desisted. Of the desisters, two had socially transitioned and regretted it. They struggled to return to their birth sex in part because of fear of teasing from their classmates, and they did not dare to make the change until they enrolled in high school."
So much for Testosterone Rex
Another writer who notes the flippant way in which liberals use the terms troll and bigot to dismiss those they disagree with
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