"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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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Links - 22nd June 2019 (2)

Meme - "Jezebel: Victoria's Secret doesn't want plus-size or trans women walking the runway"
"The NBA dont want my 5‘10 ass either Get the fuck over it"

Why native English speakers fail to be understood in English – and lose out in global business - "Speakers who have English as their mother tongue can find themselves in a baffling predicament. While at home they are persuaded that the rest of the world now speaks their lingo, abroad they discover that their own English renders them incomprehensible to colleagues and business partners... When an American manager in Japan cannot understand why his Japanese staff will not give him the “ballpark figure” he has demanded, this breakdown in communication can lead to a real disintegration in workplace relations. And the underlying feelings of mistrust are mutual. The inability of the travelling native English speaker to refrain from homeland idiosyncrasies, subtextual dexterity and cultural in-jokes has been found to result in resentment and suspicion"

The Terrible Results from the Misconception Study 2017 - "Most people in the richest countries are absolutely wrong about the state of the world. We have tested their knowledge. We asked 12 basic fact questions to the general public in fourteen rich countries, using online panels. Every question had three alternatives: A, B or C. When we went to the zoo and marked bananas with A, B & C, the chimpanzees picked the right answer every third time. On average a monkey picking answers randomly would score 4 out of 12 correct answers. But the average score for the humans was much lower: only 2.2! That’s why the logo for the study is a monkey... The problem here is not the lack of correct knowledge. The problem is the presence of wrong “knowledge”. To score this bad requires a false perception of the world, that make you pick the wrong answer systematically."
Basically people think the world is in an awful state and has gotten worse - but really things have gotten better and better

Melvyn Bragg on Heloise and Abelard | History Extra Podcast - History Extra - "You had these prayer sites in all of Europe, I mean, a third of the population was engaged in prayer. And they believed it. They just chanting the prayers like you, people going down the street doing Hare Krishna all the time, the prayer after prayer after prayer, and the more prayers you, you’ll get through Purgatory quickly... [Her uncle] arranged for a castration... Abelard was castrated. And being the knightly man he was he said it didn't hurt because... these things didn't matter if you were a, a believer and b, a knight... things that hurt you most you say didn't hurt, anyway, he was castrated. There was a furore in Paris, the people who did it were castrated and blinded. Except Fulbert the organizer, he got away with it"

Stephen Rippon on the Landscape of England | History Extra Podcast - History Extra - "‘Crossing these wastelands… If you were moving between two tribal territories, kingdoms... How would it have been different on one side to the other?
‘I think the differences would have been subtle. You would have noticed that perhaps, the styles of the pottery vessels looked different. If you went to the funeral of somebody who had died, you would have noticed some different funerary practices, for example. And you might have noticed some differences in the appearance of people in terms of their dress, their jewelry, and so on. What you wouldn't notice, differences in the colors of people's skins, and so on, and almost certainly not the language they were speaking… a sort of racially homogenous people, but communities expressing distinct identities in sort of some of those differences in daily life, we tend not to see it within sort of England now. Although down here in the southwest, for example, we have a great rivalry with our friends and neighbors in Cornwall to whether we put the cream or the jam on our cream teas first… or where you crimp your pasty. They’re trivial examples. But these are modern examples of how you get communities creating little differences in the way they do things. And that's a really important way of creating identity. And that's what we were seeing in the Iron Age, people created different identities for themselves, through the way that they dressed their jewelry, the way that they styled their pottery vessels, the way they buried their dead.’"

Hue And Cry - "hue and cry, formerly, in English law, pursuit of a criminal immediately after he had committed a felony. Whoever witnessed or discovered the crime was required to raise the hue and cry against the perpetrator (e.g., call out "Stop, thief !" ) and to begin pursuit; all persons within hearing were under the same obligation, and it was a punishable offense not to join in the chase and capture....
In former English law the cry had to be raised by the inhabitants of a hundred in which a robbery had been committed if they were not to become liable for the damages suffered by the victim."

Robot App Trolls Telemarketers By Keeping Them On The Phone For Hours - "This robot app, created by Roger Anderson of The Jolly Roger Telephone Company, does exactly that. By using a series of pre-recorded words and conversation topics, the robot successfully keeps the telemarketer on the phone. It's harmless because the robot is super polite, and as the telemarketer in the below recording keeps pointing out, he's paid to be on the phone anyway — so "wasting his time" isn't really wasting his time personally, just the company's time. It's just annoying him a little bit, while costing the invasive company money. Game, set: ROBOT.The robot has a lot of noncommittal phrases in the bank like "yeah" and "uh huh," which gets the telemarketer going at the start. But the robot also has some other stories to spin. It tells the telemarketer it's confused because it's just woken up from a nap, and that the telemarketer sounds like someone they knew in high school"
This will be good to foist on illegal moneylenders

Jolly Roger Telephone | Revenge Has Never Been So Sweet - "Robots available in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Service available to Canadians, but requires long-distance calling to the US"

Anti-Immigrant Violence in Germany Tied to Dating Competition - "Researchers find more anti-immigrant violence in areas where dating competition is tough"
This suggests that since migrants have - even worse - a horrendously lopsided sex ratio...

Man Hires Female Escort For Two Hours To Help Him Move House - "she’s not the only one who had this bizarre experience. A few others chimed in with their odd encounter and said that they experienced a similar situation.One woman even shared that she was hired for three hours by a man who also wanted help to pack up his belongings to move out of his house."

Ralph Breaks the Internet: how storyboards helped make the movie great - "Some live-action blockbusters are still produced from scripts that are finalized well in advance of filming, but in an age when special effects workshops often have to start building a movie’s big action setpieces years before its release date, a complete script can be a rare luxury when a movie is actually filming — to say nothing of one based on an actual story that makes sense. Industry anecdotes about huge blockbusters where the script was being written right while production was happening are unfortunately common. This can lead to an all-time classic. More often it leads to something like Men in Black III.Because the process of making an animated film is so expensive — there’s a lot more time and labor involved, since whole worlds have to be drawn or created in a computer and then animated — it’s imperative to only animate sequences that are as close to final as they can get. So on an animated film, story is typically determined ahead of time, and occasionally even before the screenwriter has started her first draft."

What makes every Pixar movie tick, in one chart - "Inside Out owes so much to Pixar's brand, in fact, that we decided to break down what ties all the Pixar movies together to find the common themes throughout the franchise's history. Check out how Pixar structures its movies and the threads and themes that tie the films together."

WWF Funds Guards Who Have Tortured And Killed People - "The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) had long helped fund and equip Chitwan’s forest rangers, who patrol the area in jeeps, boats, and on elephant backs alongside soldiers from the park’s in-house army battalion. Now WWF’s partners in the war against poaching stood accused of torturing a man to death. WWF’s staff on the ground in Nepal leaped into action — not to demand justice, but to lobby for the charges to disappear. When the Nepalese government dropped the case months later, the charity declared it a victory in the fight against poaching. Then WWF Nepal continued to work closely with the rangers and fund the park as if nothing had happened... In national parks across Asia and Africa, the beloved nonprofit with the cuddly panda logo funds, equips, and works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people... WWF is not alone in its embrace of militarization: Other conservation charities have enlisted in the war on poaching in growing numbers over the past decade, recruiting veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to teach forest rangers counterinsurgency techniques and posting promotional materials showing armed guards standing at attention in fatigues and berets. Ex–special forces operatives promote their services at wildlife conferences. But WWF stands out as the biggest global player in this increasingly crowded space... Since 1872, when Native American tribes were forced to leave their ancestral lands to make way for Yellowstone National Park, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have lost access to their land to ensure animals roam in people-free spaces. These communities, from the Tharu in Nepal to the Baka in Central Africa, remain on the outside looking in at land where their ancestors gathered food, built shelter, and made medicine out of natural resources for generations."
Since many people care more for animals than humans (e.g. the uproar about Harambe, cheers when poachers and hunters are killed or injured), it's not clear this is a bad thing to them

Andrew Sullivan: The Nature of Sex - "“Why should I let the toad work squat on my life?” asked the poet Philip Larkin. And the answer, of course, is money and meaning. We work to afford a decent life and to give some kind of direction and purpose to our days. It’s so ingrained in modern Western culture we don’t even notice it. Some of us, including me, wrap much of our self-worth around work. It seems self-evident to do more, more efficiently, and more lucratively, almost every day of our lives. In the U.S., vacations are sparse and short, and often seen entirely as a way to recuperate in order to work more effectively when you get back to the office, or the laptop, or the factory. For many of our social ills — poverty, family breakdown, drug abuse — work is seen as a solution.And so it’s worth pondering a lovely little essay by Jonathan Malesic, in Commonweal, the increasingly vital Catholic magazine, on the work ethic of monks. In the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in New Mexico, there is a set time for working, and it’s only a few hours a day, from 8:45 a.m. to 12:40 p.m., in order to sustain the community... “The monks go out of their way to resist efficiency in the work of God, reciting prayers at a pace much slower than what I’m used to at Catholic parishes. Even within religious communities I’ve visited at Catholic universities, Vespers — evening prayer — takes about fifteen minutes. At Christ in the Desert, it’s half an hour. Both groups follow the same text. It’s just that the monks in the desert sing it, drawing out every syllable.”...
If you’ve been waiting for the U.S. Senate to exercise its constitutional prerogatives in the era of Trump, you need wait no longer. A big bipartisan majority has finally stood up to Trump … by voting to advance an amendment in favor of continuing the 18-year occupation of Afghanistan and the ongoing intervention in Syria!"

Nancy Pelosi finding out the hard way that you can't out-troll Trump - "President Trump just grounded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.The White House published a letter Thursday afternoon announcing the president had canceled the congresswoman’s scheduled seven-day tour of Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan. Pelosi’s congressional delegation was slated to depart at around 3:00 p.m. Thursday, meaning they learned of the cancellation roughly 30 minutes prior to takeoff."Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed," the president’s letter reads. "We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over." “In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” it adds. “I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the shutdown. Obviously, if you would like to make your journey flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.” As congressional delegations are typically flown by the U.S. military for overseas trips, the president does indeed have the power to cancel the trip. The commander in chief has oversight of the armed forces. That doesn’t mean this isn't petty or ridiculous — then again, so is Pelosi's talk of canceling the State of the Union"

Using data to determine if Die Hard is a Christmas movie

Dog vs. cat: New data show which pet brings you more joy - The Washington Post - "there is little difference between pet owners and non-owners when it comes to happiness, the survey shows. The two groups are statistically indistinguishable on the likelihood of identifying as “very happy” (a little over 30 percent) or “not too happy” (in the mid-teens).But when you break the data down by pet type — cats, dogs or both — a stunning divide emerges: Dog owners are about twice as likely as cat owners to say they’re very happy, with people owning both falling somewhere in between... dog owners, for instance, are more likely to be married and own their own homes than cat owners, both factors known to affect happiness and life satisfaction... Dog owners tended to be more agreeable, more extroverted and less neurotic than cat owners... Other research makes the case that some of the pet-happiness relationship is causal, at least when it comes to canines. A 2013 study found, for instance, that dog owners are more likely to engage in outdoor physical activity than people who don’t own dogs, with obvious benefits for health and happiness... Dog owners, for instance, are more likely to seek comfort from their pet in times of stress, more likely to play with their pet, and more likely to consider their pet a member of their family"
This fits in with cat owners being masochists since cats are terrible

Elizabeth Warren apologizes for calling herself Native American - The Washington Post - "Using an open records request during a general inquiry, for example, The Post obtained Warren’s registration card for the State Bar of Texas, providing a previously undisclosed example of Warren identifying as an “American Indian.” Warren filled out the card by hand in neat blue ink and signed it. Dated April 1986, it is the first document to surface showing Warren making the claim in her own handwriting. Her office didn’t dispute its authenticity... Warren released the DNA results showing she had a Native American ancestor six to 10 generations ago. The move backfired, with Cherokee leaders outraged that she used the test to show any connection to the tribe, a process they control. It also dredged up uncomfortable issues about defining race via bloodlines... The Texas bar registration card is significant, among other reasons, because it removes any doubt that Warren directly claimed the identity. In other instances Warren has declined to say whether she or an assistant filled out forms... The date coincided with her first listing as a “minority” by the Association of American Law Schools. Warren reported herself as minority in the directory every year starting in 1986 — when AALS first included a list of minority law professors — to 1995, when her name dropped off the list."

Rewarding failure has become an American epidemic - "The proverb is simple: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But a teenage girl and her mom in New Jersey figured out how to circumvent that difficult “trying” part — by whining until success was easily achieved.At Hanover Park High School last month, a mother complained when her daughter got cut after cheerleading tryouts. Instead of telling her tough luck, the athletic director placated the mom and changed the team’s policy, allowing any wannabe cheerleader to join the squad.Naturally this upset the kids who made the team fair and square, and they brought their grievances to the school board... what happens to those who are accepted on the basis of “inclusion” rather than merit?Three years ago New York City’s Fire Department found out after allowing female applicant Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder to fail her way into a $81,000-a-year desk job. Firefighters fumed at the preferential treatment in an online forum. “If you can’t meet the standards, you are a danger to yourself, the public and most importantly everyone operating on the fire ground who is doing their job,” one wrote, according to The Post. That prediction proved accurate. After just 10 days on the job, Doirin-Holder was injured while inspecting equipment in a station house, stepping off a ladder incorrectly and fracturing her foot. It’s not just the FDNY that has lowered standards. When some women were unable to pass the fitness test for combat positions in the Marines, one of the most difficult endurance tests for female recruits was removed. And as low levels of unemployment reduced their pool of potential enlistees, the Army started allowing at least 4 percent of those scoring at the bottom third of its aptitude tests into basic training (up from 2 percent). The Army also expanded its waivers for marijuana use, so where once a history of taking pot was disqualifying, it no longer is... All this mollycoddling comes at an emotional and developmental cost.Jessica Lahey, author of the best-selling book “The Gift of Failure,” told The Post: “Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, and they know when we lower our expectations for them. When we give praise, awards or a slot on the team unearned . . . they no longer trust adults to be honest and unbiased arbiters of quality. Lying to kids about the quality of their work or downgrading our expectations so as not to make kids feel bad will only result in their no longer trusting our judgment.”"
On equality of results being unfair and unjust

The Slippery Slope: Not a Fallacy - Abortion

The Slippery Slope is widely held to be a fallacy - a product of the fevered imaginations of conservatives who cannot abide the thought of social progress.

Yet, besides the proven cases of concept creep and moral judgments, there are also multiple documented examples of the slippery slope happening (or slipping) in various social domains, such as:

Abortion
Gay marriage
Euthanasia
IVF (New York Times article)

Whether or not one considers these slippery slopes to have been good, i.e. slopes that *should* have slipped, it is incontestable that they indeed did.

In this post I shall provide some material on the slippery slope of abortion. Hopefully in future posts I will follow up on the others (with the exception of IVF, since the NYT has already covered that).

In the United Kingdom, the 1967 Abortion Act allowed abortion if two medical practitioners certified:

(a)that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, or of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated; or

(b)that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

In 1974, only 7 years later, Dr John Habgood, the Bishop of Durham and House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics noted that:

The Abortion Act has shown what happens. Whatever the rights and wrongs concerning the present practice of abortion, there is no doubt about two consequences of the 1967 [Abortion] Act:

(a) The safeguards and assurances given when the Bill was passed have to a considerable extent been ignored.

(b) Abortion has now become a live option for anybody who is pregnant. This does not imply that everyone who is facing an unwanted pregnancy automatically attempts to procure an abortion. But because abortion is now on the agenda, the climate of opinion in which such a pregnancy must be faced has radically altered.

Even in 7 years, the slippery slope had already slipped (presciently, Habgood warned of the slippery slope of euthanasia)

In 2008, Lord Steel, who had introduced the 1967 Abortion Act itself, said that abortion was now being used as birth control, and people were being lackadaisical and irresponsible.

Similarly, in 2017, Ann Furedi, the Chief Executive of bpas (British Pregnancy Advisory Service), an independent healthcare charity in the UK, said that:

Abortion is birth control that women need when their regular method lets them down

(Naturally, I've been told that it's a myth that anyone is calling abortion birth control)

And of course today, anyone in the UK proposing to hew to the 1967 Abortion Act (i.e. not having abortion on demand) would be labelled a misogynist who wanted to control women's bodies (with the possible exception of Northern Ireland - though activists are of course unhappy with the status quo there).

Doubtless, this won't stop liberals from mocking people who invoke the very real possibility (perhaps even inevitably) of the slippery slope.

Why the slippery slope happens is an interesting question, and harder to answer than establishing its existence.

In 1972, H. L. A. Hart, who had supported the 1967 Abortion Act which legalised therapeutic abortion, noted that: "its effects had been greatly underestimated by those who brought about the change. What had been envisaged by many as simply a permission, recognising an area of liberty in place of prohibition, had proved to be the introduction of a vast structure of new relationships, institutions, funding, professional obligations, and so forth, involving changes in the ethics, practices, and dispositions of doctors, midwives, social workers, psychiatrists, and people at large" (as paraphrased by Finnis).

More specifically, Finnis notes that medical professioners who had been against the 1967 act "soon became massively opposed to any reform that might slightly reduce the treatment options that had become available to them". To summarise, we could perhaps call this status quo bias (which would explain the stabilisation at each slip, though not further slips).

As for further slips, as previously mentioned, the human brain is wired to find problems. So as each reform is passed, or each change happens, new causes are found and latched on to.

Virtue signalling is another reason - in a related phenomenon to the above, as each proposition becomes uncontroversial, the optical value of holding it goes to zero. So the virtue signaller needs to look for new positions to hold to show how moral or virtuous he is.

Hopefully there will be more research on this in the future.

Links - 22nd June 2019 (1)

Crush or creepy? - "There was too much negativity on the Internet, the two friends felt.Far too many people were criticising others, calling people names and being cyberbullies.So Mr Liang Zhi Chao and Mr Michael Lee decided to set up a website where people could post pictures of attractive strangers whom they saw in trains and say good things about them.While their intention might seem admirable, some felt they were invading people's privacy.Mr Liang and Mr Lee, both in their 20s, are in the digital marketing field. They came up with mrtcrush.com to counter cyberbullying."
This is no longer up

On racism and xenophobia in Singapore « Musings from Singapore - "Singapore has been actively importing relatively more Chinese in order to maintain the ethnic balance in society. In 1989, Mr Lee said that the lower Chinese birth rate justified the government’s programme of encouraging Chinese immigration from Hong Kong. According to him, the Chinese majority must be maintained, “or there will be a shift in the economy, both the economic performance and the political backdrop which makes that economic performance possible.”... In the tension between global-local, it seems as if politicians have been motivated more by GDP growth and the interests of multinational corporations than by the ideals and preferences of ordinary Singaporeans.Do we want a global city or do we want a more regional, local one with closer ties to South-east Asia? It is interesting to note that in the same IPS survey Singaporeans say they are more comfortable with a local-born Malay OR foreign-born Malay as their boss than they are with a mainland Chinese... A little-known fact in Singapore is that Indians are now the richest ethnic group here in terms of resident household incomes. Many people assume the Chinese are"
I was once told that in pointing out that a high correlation between SES and academic grades showed meritocracy was working, I sounded like Lee Kuan Yew. Apparently Lee Kuan Yew is always wrong?

Why video games can do better than therapy for anxiety and depression - "In clinical, behavioural, and psychological science, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is recognized as the “gold standard” prevention and treatment approach for anxiety and depression. In a nutshell, CBT focuses on changing thinking patterns (e.g., rumination, negative self-talk) and behavioural strategies (e.g., avoidance, withdrawal) that cause and maintain anxious and depressive feelings. Several meta-analyses (a statistical approach that summarizes results of multiple scientific studies) have shown that CBT works, on average, to prevent escalations in anxiety and depression. What’s important to know is that although CBT is currently the most rigorously studied approach, outcomes are mixed and effect sizes are consistently small to moderate. This means that 40–60% of young people who go through CBT in the “real world”(i.e., outside the academic research context) do not improve."

How your age affects your appetite - "After the age of 50, we begin to suffer a gradual loss of muscle mass, at between 0.5-1% per year. This is called sarcopenia, and lessened physical activity, consuming too little protein, and menopause in women will accelerate the decline in muscle mass. A healthy, varied diet and physical activity are important to reduce the effects of ageing, and an ageing population’s need for palatable, cost-effective, higher-protein foods is not being met.Protein‐rich snack foods might represent an ideal opportunity to increase total protein intake in older adults, but there are currently few products designed to meet the requirements and preferences of older adults"

How to cook traditional Italian dishes at home - "Speaking about the myth of throwing spaghetti at the wall to check if it's cooked, Antonella said: ‘There are a lot of urban legends about al dente pasta but in Italy not everybody loves al dente pasta.In the North they love it a little softer, into the South they love their pasta almost raw... ‘When you have great fresh filled pasta, the flavour is inside. You just need to add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmigiana Reggiano. If you want to enhance the flavour more then use the sauce, but only in a small spoon.’Antonella explained how using the wrong proportion of sauce to pasta can be a giveaway that a cook isn’t experienced in making Italian food.‘When you're speaking about fresh pasta tortellini, the filling has its own taste and power, as Italians we try not to cover it too much with the sauce... 'grate - from scratch - Parmigiano-Reggiano, 24 or 23 months on top. That is a signature and everyone will think you’ve lived in Italy. 'If you want to do something more, try to work on doing tomato sauce in the Italian way. Roughly chop onion, garlic, fresh ripe tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.'Then add fresh basil, this is the most contemporary Italian sauce.'... ‘Always buy parmigiana reggiano in a whole piece where you can see the crust and the stamp. Never buy it already grated, as you’ve already lost half the flavour.‘You also need two kinds of salt, the rock one to place in the water before the pasta and flakes to season. When preparing pasta, add the salt when the water is boiling and then only after use the salt flakes."

Child miners aged four at Congo cobalt mine - "it’s feared that thousands more children could be about to be dragged into this hellish daily existence – after the historic pledge made by Britain to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 and switch to electric vehicles... The planned switch to clean energy vehicles has led to an extraordinary surge in demand. While a smartphone battery uses no more than 10 grams of refined cobalt, an electric car needs 15kg (33lb)... Human rights charity Amnesty International also investigated cobalt mining in the DRC and says that none of the 16 electric vehicle manufacturers they identified have conducted due diligence to the standard defined by the Responsible Cobalt Initiative."

Lawyers argue Canada's prostitution laws violate sex workers' Charter rights - "Canada's prostitution laws are based on ideology and the flawed belief that sex work is inherently exploitative and harmful, lawyers challenging the laws' constitutionality argued in a Kitchener, Ont., court... In the first test case of its kind, the lawyers argue the laws, enacted in 2014 under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of sex workers by not ensuring their "security of the person.""

Minister Tan Chuan-Jin was right, some old people do collect cardboards for exercise | The Independent Singapore
Coming from The Independent, this is significant

Singaporean surprised to find fancy restaurant in Poland serves cocktails called “chao chee bye” and “kanina-bu” - "Singaporean youtuber and beatboxing champion Dharni was surprised to stumble across a rather fancy Chinese-Italian restaurant in Poland that served cocktails with names like “chao chee bye” and “kanina-bu”.Dharni, a Singaporean who appears to be based out of Poland, stumbled upon the familiar names at a restaurant called Reginabar. The youtuber was surprised to find that two beverages in the restaurant’s drinks menu are seemingly named after profane insults in Hokkien used by Singaporeans and Malaysians."

Analysis shows little to no correlation between education spending and student achievement - "Union bosses and other liberals have long argued that Nevada must spend more on K-12 education in order to increase student achievement.And in one sense, at least, they have been incredibly successful: Nevada has nearly tripled inflation-adjusted, per-pupil spending in the last 50 years. Student achievement, however, has stagnated, with Nevada's graduation rate — as reported by Education Week — plummeting to 44.3 percent... Despite the refrain being disproven, union bosses continue to parrot it... Nevada isn't the only state to have dramatically increased education spending in previous decades with little to no increase in student achievement to show for it. Nationwide, inflation-adjusted, per-pupil education spending has increased by about 140 percent in the last 40 years, and the number of teachers per pupil has increased by over 70 percent.Student achievement, however, has been hovering around the same level — or even decreasing — for decades... the correlation between spending and student achievement is, at best, only 3.18 percent and 1.82 percent"
Of course, this just shows that schools need even more money to show the desired results

Why Florida succeeds where Nevada fails - "Important subgroups in Florida — Hispanics, African-Americans and low-income students (i.e., those in a family of four earning under $38,000 annually) — also saw tremendous achievement gains. The improvement is so dramatic that Florida's Hispanic students now outscore Nevada's white students on the fourth-grade English reading exam!... Florida increased per-pupil spending by a mere $152 more than Nevada — yet Florida's students are an entire grade-level ahead. And while Hawaii increased spending by $4,144 and Wyoming increased spending by $5,953, neither state outperforms Florida's Hispanic students on the crucial fourth-grade NAEP reading exam. In fact, Florida ranks sixth in the nation on that exam, even though 35 states spend more.What's the secret behind Florida's jump in student achievement? Education reform — on multiple fronts:
Florida has the largest virtual-school program in the nation, with more than 80,000 students learning online.
The state has a robust program of charter schools (autonomous, privately run public schools): Over 350 charter schools serve more than 100,000 students.
Florida created a corporate-tuition scholarship program that allows more than 23,000 low-income students to attend the school of their parents' choice.
Florida operates the McKay Scholarship program, which sends over 20,000 special-needs kids to the public or private school of their parents' choice.
Florida strengthened curriculum and assessments and introduced a very clear and public system for grading schools: A through F.
Florida banned social promotion out of the third grade — if the child cannot yet read, he or she repeats the grade or takes a remedial summer-school program.
Florida reformed teacher recruitment by creating a genuine alternative pathway, in which adult professionals who desire to teach can become state-certified.
Florida even, for a time, offered students scholarships to leave failing schools."

Introduction – School Spending and Student Achievement in Michigan: What's the Relationship? - "The bulk of the research on this question has typically shown that there is little correlation between spending and achievement"

Does Money Matter? Hanushek, Jackson, and the Questions We Ask - "spending money on dual enrollment programs, which allow high school students to take college courses and earn college credits while still in high school , has many significant positive effects on educational outcomes... Spending on early childhood programs also has important benefits for disadvantaged children... Such research suggests that if the increased funding is spent effectively, such as on smaller class sizes in early grades or to fund a high -quality earl y childhood program for disadvantaged students, the funding can and often does influence student achievement positively... increases in school funding can matter –under particular conditions. What more might be said about these conditions? Jacksonet al. (2016) suggest that increased court-mandated spending is more likely be spent on instruction and school support services, than upon other,presumably less effective, reforms. The authors draw this conclusion because they find that a 10% spending increase is associated with roughly a 1.4 increase in school days, a 4% increase in teachers’ base salary, and a 5.7% reduction in teacher-student ratios. Therefore, spending for these purposes, such as reduced class-size,might be more effective for improving student outcomes than spending for other purposes. In addition to how money is spent, the district circumstances may also be important to these findings. The districts that received additional funding due to the court -mandated reforms had common characteristics: they were in relatively poorer areas in comparison to other districts in their state, for example, and had subsisted on lower per -pupil spending before the reforms. This specific context —having a certain kind of district that receives permanent unforeseen funds that did not go towards necessities —might create special circumstances in which districts choose to spend money more productively"

She championed the idea that freezing your eggs would free your career. But things didn’t quite work out. - The Washington Post - "Brigitte Adams caused a sensation four years ago when she appeared on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek under the headline, “Freeze your eggs, Free your career.” She was single and blond, a Vassar graduate who spoke fluent Italian, and was working in tech marketing for a number of prestigious companies. Her story was one of empowerment, how a new fertility procedure was giving women more choices, as the magazine noted provocatively, “in the quest to have it all.” Adams remembers feeling a wonderful sense of freedom after she froze her eggs in her late 30s, despite the $19,000 cost. Her plan was to work a few more years, find a great guy to marry and still have a house full of her own children.Things didn’t turn out the way she hoped... Two eggs failed to survive the thawing process. Three more failed to fertilize. That left six embryos, of which five appeared to be abnormal. The last one was implanted in her uterus. On the morning of March 7, she got the devastating news that it, too, had failed.Adams was not pregnant, and her chances of carrying her genetic child had just dropped to near zero. She remembers screaming like “a wild animal,” throwing books, papers, her laptop — and collapsing to the ground... A number of Adams’s friends were also early adopters of egg freezing; today they are facing a similar reckoning... The four women’s experiences underscore the incredible uncertainty involved in egg freezing. James A. Grifo, a fertility specialist at NYU Langone Health who is one of the pioneers of the procedure, calls the whole notion of being able to “control” your fertility — perpetuated by the media and embraced by feminists — destructive... the number of women freezing their eggs is skyrocketing — from 475 in 2009 to nearly 8,000 in 2015... A 2016 Fertility and Sterility study of 137 women who tried to use their frozen eggs found that women who froze 10 eggs at the age of 36 faced a 30 percent likelihood of achieving a live birth. Last year, researchers writing in Human Reproduction calculated that the same women should have a 60 percent success rate based on their mathematical model."
This might be why Singapore doesn't allow egg freezing in most cases

Friday, June 21, 2019

Links - 21st June 2019 (2)

The Cult of Shamima - "The Cult of Shamima was in full flow yesterday when it was revealed that a shooting range in Merseyside has been using a picture of Shamima as a target. The owners of the range said it was just ‘lighthearted’ fun and that they were responding to customers’ requests – apparently a ‘record number’ of their shooters had requested an image of Begum to shoot. Cue meltdown in political circles and the liberal media. These horrible Scouse plebs with their violent Islamophobia – that was the tone of the coverage... The shooting-range story was swiftly folded into the bizarre narrative that the right-on have weaved around Begum over the past week: that she’s a victim, that she was groomed, that she needs our sympathy, that the real baddies are those nasty ill-educated Brits who support Sajid Javid’s revocation of Begum’s citizenship (78 per cent of the country, according to a Sky poll). Public dislike for Begum, all those mocking memes people are making of her, the thirst for her to be punished – according to the Cult of Shamima this is all proof of rampant Islamophobia; proof that many Britons loathe Muslims, especially Muslim women, and especially Muslim women who wear the veil. ‘I’m actually close to tears’, said one Corbynista journalist about the Shamima shooting-target image. Whether this journalist ever came close to tears about the Yazidi women who were enslaved, raped and burnt to death in the pseudo-state that Shamima happily made her home we will never know. Maybe pretending to shoot Shamima is a worse crime than actually shooting a Yazidi woman who refuses to sexually service her jihadist enslaver?"

How terror changed Europe’s Christmas markets | Coffee House - "yet another new tradition at Europe’s Christmas markets, which is the presence of army vehicles and police and military standing around with heavy duty weapons at the ready... Steyn has also pointed out in his observations about ‘bollard-isation’, there is a strange paradox at work here. Whichever European city you go to these days (Britain included) all of its public buildings and major infrastructure are positively surrounded by bollards and steel barriers. Yet at the same time the governments of these countries have never taken a more lax attitude to the place where bollards or similar security might be more usefully deployed. That is along what we used to call ‘a border’."

UPenn Facing Title IX Investigation - "The NCFM believes that “[t]he University of Pennsylvania is in violation of Title IX because it offers resources, funding, fellowships, and scholarships that are available to women only, even though men are a minority both nationwide [42%] and at the University of Pennsylvania [47%, incoming class of 2021].”The first group listed is the Center for Research on Reproduction and Women’s Health... The University of Pennsylvania Women’s Center was also targeted in the complaint. The NCFM alleges the Women’s Center is discriminatory in its “overall effect.” They assert the Center has a discriminatory name, offers resources only to women, and has only female participants and administrators. These different features combine to create a “hostile environment against men.” Further the NCFM claims the Women’s Center’s anti-discrimination clause is “hollow and illusory.”The NCFM also believes that Penn’s funding of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) department constitutes a Title IX violation... the NCFM also takes issue with Penn’s Men Against Rape & Sexual Assault student group. Written in their news brief on their complaint against Penn, the NCFM remarked: “Although, for men, PENN offers, Men Against Rape & Sexual Assault. There is no corresponding Women Against Rape & Sexual Assault? Is it possible that PENN’s administration believes women do not rape or commit sexual assault? Really? We’d like to know.”"

How the World’s Only Feudal Lord Outclassed the Nazis to Save Her People - "Germany had invaded Hathaway’s home in the British Channel Islands, a tiny isle of 400 called Sark. Despite having no modern defense network or fancy gun emplacements—it didn’t even have electricity—Sark had proven itself to be uniquely prepared for its unwelcome visitors. The island had an advantage that the rest of Europe had discarded centuries earlier: feudalism."

Jazzmin Fry Stabs Man With Heel – Gets $250 Fine and No Conviction - "The Australian mother of a 19-year-old man who suffered a gruesome scalp injury after being assaulted with a stiletto heel is speaking out after her son’s 21-year-old attacker received a $250 fine and was not convicted of the offense, even though she plead guilty last week and the unprovoked attack was caught on camera."

'Deport my wife': Woman hits herself to 'frame husband' - "A man has called on the federal government to deport his estranged wife after he claims she attempted to frame him for domestic violence.Sydney man Faisal met Asmae through the Muslim dating website, Muslima.com... CCTV vision shows Asmae leaving the apartment and entering the lift... Inside the lift, she gave herself two uppercuts to her face.She then went to the police and claimed Faisal had assaulted her... He spent $20,000 on a lawyer and trolled through hours of apartment CCTV vision until he finally found the footage that proved his innocence. NSW Police immediately dropped the charges against Faisal, but never moved to charge Asmae with making a false accusation."

Men Face More Sex Discrimination When Job Hunting - "employers were more likely to seek candidates with feminine traits. The preference for feminine traits over masculine traits was even found in male-dominated, white-collar jobs... Employers seeking feminine traits favoured women and employers seeking masculine traits favoured men. This bias was slightly more pronounced for jobs requiring feminine traits... Discrimination against men appears to be more consistent in white-collar jobs"
Male privilege!
Journal article: Uneven Patterns of Inequality: An Audit Analysis of Hiring-Related Practices by Gendered and Classed Contexts


S’pore stars Carrie Wong & Ian Fang apologise after explicit texts exposed - "Both stars have issued public statements apologising for their actions. Fang admitted that his language used was “inappropriate” and that he felt bad for those reading the messages... Mediacorp’s head of artiste management, Ivy Low, emphasised that she expects artistes to maintain their professionalism at all time as they are public figures. She also added that their actions and behaviours have to be appropriate at all times."
So being a celebrity means even in private messages you need to be exemplary?

Is Trump guilty of obstruction of justice? It's complicated - "Truthfully, obstruction of justice is a complicated matter. As a law professor and one-time elected official, here’s my explanation of the crime—and its possible application to the president. According to federal law, obstruction occurs when a person tries to impede or influence a trial, investigation or other official proceeding with threats or corrupt intent... President Trump did many things to influence investigations into him and his aides—but did he do so with “corrupt” intent?... “corrupt”—meaning willfully improper—reasons."

Melania Trump's Shoes Draw Internet Backlash - "The impractical heels spurred the internet to action, with Trump Administration critics seeing an easy mark"
Criticising what women wear is appropriate in some circumstances, apparently

Toxic Masculinity and Gender Equity in the Australian Defence Force - "the Defence Force Recruitment website advertises female-only incentives including the choice of where to work, when to enlist, shorter initial minimum periods of service, as well as preparation courses. A reduction in the initial minimum period of service makes applicable servicewomen eligible for the Australian Defence Medal years sooner than their male counterparts, and this has provoked resentment among veterans. Additionally, various Defence Force Recruitment employees have reported receiving directives to prioritise female candidates over males, as well as closing off some jobs entirely for male candidates...
'ADF women strongly believe that when they are singled out, it makes it harder for them to fit in. Highly resistant to any initiative being directed solely at them, ADF women view identical—not differential—treatment as the path to delivering equality. This is most likely in part to avoid the backlash that inevitably trails any treatment perceived as ‘preferential’'...
Systemic preferential treatment is just the tip of the iceberg. Additional complaints have been made off-the-record about preferential treatment in military discipline, manual labour and work tasks, training exercises, postings, and performance reviews that significantly influence promotions and career progression on a daily basis... [The] control of information is reinforced by a policy that forbids members of the Australian Defence Force from making political statements, which was brought to light by the sacking of controversial Army Reserves Major, Bernard Gaynor. The resistance to contrarian viewpoints within ADF ranks was affirmed by multiple senior officers including General David Morrison who posted a video on the official Australian Army YouTube account with the following warning: “I will be ruthless in ridding the Army of people who cannot live up to its values.” After the release of this video, it was found that the scandal in question had been poorly investigated, and ruined the career of an officer subsequently found to be innocent. What makes the ADF’s road to gender equality more complex is the advice from activists and interest groups with very limited understanding of military service and the complexity of communal living, highly arduous and dangerous working conditions, as well as the absolute need to have confidence in your peers. In these environments—whether they be at sea, on land, or in the air—conventional theories on gender equality may not be optimal."

Matt Walsh on Twitter - "Gender is a social construct but I am woman hear me roar but anyone can be a woman but no uterus no opinion but transwomen are women but I demand women's rights but men are women but men are scum but drag queens are beautiful but appropriation is evil"

Daniel Bordman - Posts - "Remember that terrorist training camp they found in New Mexico, teaching kids to commit school shootings in the name of Jihad? The one were they found the dead kid? I know, hard to remember since it was hardly news worthy, I mean there were some teenagers wearing red hats somewhere. Now, they have found another one in Alabama.
Fun Fact: they were both run on the property of Siraj Wahhaj.
Even more fun fact: His Father Siraj Wahhaj Sr, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 world trade center bombing, a man who openly preaches of violent jihad as a means of overthrowing America (plus Jews and Christians of course) is coming to Canada next week to headline some Ramadan events for Islamic Relief Canada!"

How the Left Lost Its Mind - "The Trump era has given rise to a vast alternative left-wing media infrastructure that operates largely out of the view of casual news consumers, but commands a massive audience and growing influence in liberal America. There are polemical podcasters and partisan click farms; wild-eyed conspiracists and cynical fabulists. Some traffic heavily in rumor and wage campaigns of misinformation; others are merely aggregators and commentators who have carved out a corner of the web for themselves. But taken together, they form a media universe where partisan hysteria is too easily stoked, and fake news can travel at the speed of light."

Obama ripped for telling black kids to lose the gold chains and avoid twerking - "Former US President Barack Obama delivered a message of self-confidence to black youth: ignore twerking and don't chase wealth. He also called for more police in "some" communities. But his inspirational words didn't go over well. .. The social justice crowd, however, took Obama's remarks not as trying to lift up the youth, but rather picking on them for dreaming of emulating their hip-hop idols... Curiously, the offended Twitter mob seemed to have missed Obama’s assertion later in his speech that “Some communities need more police, not fewer police,” a statement apparently critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.While a passing reference, Obama’s defense of good old-fashioned law and order is a change of tone for the former president, who invited BLM leadership to the White House in 2016."

Khan's London: No Jail for Teen Who Left Ex-U.S. Ambassador with 'Horrific Injuries' - "A teenager who knocked a 74-year-old former British ambassador to the United States unconscious on the London Underground and left him with “horrific injuries” has been let off with a 12-month referral order and a £500 compensation charge.Uxbridge Youth Court heard that the 17-year-old, whose identity has been protected, ran up behind Sir Christopher Meyer and shoved him in the back on the Victoria station platform in London, knocking him unconscious and causing his glasses to break and inflict facial injuries when he hit the ground.Witnesses say the attack was launched after the pensioner “nudged past” the teenager at the train doors following a verbal altercation... British Transport Police statistics recently revealed that violent crime on the London Underground has risen by at least 43 percent over the last three years, with weapons offences up by an even more remarkable 125 percent."

Children have right to marry: Supreme Court - National - The Jakarta Post - "The 1974 Marriage Law sets the marriageable age for women at 16 and for men at 19, even though the 2002 Child Protection Law defines children as anyone “under the age of 18”.Religious courts, however, have been granting minors as young as 15 years old dispensation to be legally married, especially in regions where child marriage is considered the norm... justices usually cite cultural norms when considering marriage permit requests"

Hong Kong, Taiwan and the hope for a better China

Hong Kong, Taiwan and the hope for a better China
Gideon Rachman

Nothing better captures the difference between Hong Kong and China than the annual commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre that takes place on June 4 every year in Hong Kong's Victoria Park.

In China, the memory of the crushing of the pro-democracy movement in 1989 is ruthlessly suppressed. But Hong Kong has been allowed to continue to mark the anniversary. That kind of freedom matters not just to the 7.4 million inhabitants of Hong Kong.

Potentially, it is also of great importance to China's future itself.

Put simply, Hong Kong is acting as a guardian of China's memory and of the hope that a more liberal China could one day replace the current one-party state.

The "one country, two systems" arrangement put in place when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 has allowed the territory to continue to preserve vital freedoms, such as an independent judiciary and a free press.

Hong Kong is not a full democracy. Its Chief Executive is elected by a tiny group from a Beijing-approved list. But, nonetheless, since 1997 the territory has provided room for ideas, people and organisations banned from China.

I know of well-connected Beijing families who have taken their children to Hong Kong for the June 4 commemoration - to ensure the memory of Tiananmen is passed down through the generations.

Hong Kong's peculiar role within China makes the current struggle over its legal system of global significance.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Sunday in a second mass protest organised by pro-democracy groups against a proposed extradition law. The protesters have also been calling for the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

If Hong Kong's freedoms can be protected, that will also help to preserve breathing room for liberal ideas within the Chinese state. That matters not just to the Chinese people, but to a wider world that will increasingly be shaped by the power of a rising China.

At the moment, the situation is finely poised. Mass demonstrations on the streets of Hong Kong have led to the temporary withdrawal of a proposed law on extradition from Hong Kong to China.

That law had threatened to break down the firewall between the territory's independent judicial system and the one-party state in Beijing.

The announcement by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam that she was suspending the proposal surprised many China-watchers, who had assumed that President Xi Jinping in Beijing would be reluctant to back down and lose face.

The fact that Mr Xi decided to hit the pause button suggests that the Chinese President and the Hong Kong government have collectively realised that the greatest risk facing them now is not perceived weakness, but chaos and violence on the streets of Hong Kong that could have significant domestic and international repercussions.

Their restraint is wise. But it could well just be a tactical retreat.

On Sunday, demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong again to press for the definitive withdrawal of the extradition Bill.

One reason that Hong Kong citizens have demonstrated in such numbers is the growing evidence, in recent years, that the "one country, two systems" settlement is being eroded in dangerous ways.

Students who led pro-democracy protests in 2014 have been given jail sentences, elected members have been barred from the Hong Kong legislature, a political party has been outlawed and a bookseller and a billionaire have been abducted to China. The fact that the Chinese government is pressing for Hong Kong to push through new national security laws has increased fears about the future of freedom of speech.

The increased pressure from Beijing on Hong Kong is of a piece with increasing authoritarianism within China itself. Over the past two years, "Xi Jinping thought" has been incorporated into the Chinese Constitution and presidential term limits have been abolished, potentially allowing Mr Xi to rule for life.

The belief that Hong Kong's freedoms are under threat from the growing authoritarianism of Mr Xi's China is supported by the increasing pressure that Beijing is exerting on Taiwan. The People's Republic of China has always claimed that Taiwan is an integral part of its territory. But for decades it has had to tolerate Taiwan's continuing existence as a de facto independent country that is also a prosperous and vigorous democracy.

Over the past year, however, Beijing has ratcheted up the pressure on Taiwan, flexing its military muscle and moving to curtail any form of international recognition for the Taiwanese government. One common theory in Beijing is that Mr Xi has decided that finally achieving reunification between Taiwan and China should be his legacy. Some hotheads in Beijing even talk of invading Taiwan in the next five years.

Fortunately, geography and politics ensure that Taiwan is much better placed than Hong Kong to keep Beijing at arm's length. Its continuing political and economic success is vital because it serves as a potential model for modern China, demonstrating that, whatever the Chinese Communist Party says, there are no cultural or historical reasons why an ethnic Chinese society cannot also be a democracy.

Some of the many millions of Chinese tourists who have visited Taiwan and Hong Kong must return home with new ideas about politics and press freedom.

With luck, persistence and international support, Hong Kong and Taiwan may be able to keep the flame of a more liberal China alive until Beijing itself begins to change.

Links - 21st June 2019 (1)

Did NH lawmakers wear pearl necklaces to mock activists testifying about gun violence? - "A few Republican members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives sparked an uproar after images circulated on social media showed them sporting pearls to a hearing on gun control.But the group that gave out the necklaces deny they were meant to mock concerns about gun violence.Volunteers from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who came to the statehouse in Concord on Tuesday to testify about gun violence, felt the lawmakers wore the necklaces to imply they were "clutching their pearls"... the state Republican party called the uproar "fake news" and said the pearls were given to the state legislators by the Women’s Defense League of New Hampshire as a sign of support for gun rights. The Women's Defense League opposes gun control measures and encourages women to "empower themselves by safely and accurately learning how to use firearms."... the Women's Defense League has been giving out the pearls since 2016 to "show solidarity with their groups' position on Second Amendment issues."... But Watts' opinion that the pearl necklaces were meant to mock gun control advocates went unchanged."
Apparently it is good to silence women (by not allowing lawmakers to express their wishes) - if they have conservative views

Why Are Lesbian Teens Having More Babies Than Heterosexual Peers? - "teen who identify as lesbian have significantly higher pregnancy rates than their heterosexual peers. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true. It’s also true for teen gay males: they are substantially more likely to impregnate their sexual partners than are heterosexual males... Numerous studies across many nations find that sexual-minority youth aged 14 to 19 have pregnancy rates two to seven times greater than their heterosexual peers. And their pregnancy rates continue to rise at a time when the overall teen pregnancy rate is declining in the United States.Only one study to date, published earlier this year, has examined the pregnancy rates of adult sexual-minority women. It reveals the same thing: unintended pregnancies are higher among sexual-minority women than their heterosexual peers. Their proportions for ending pregnancies by abortion are double that of heterosexual women... being gay or lesbian is supposed to be absolute and unchangeable—like sex, race, or ethnicity. This pregnancy phenomenon confounds that narrative in a dramatic way, and it can’t be ignored. Could it be that being lesbian or gay is not quite as absolute or fixed as gender theorists want us to believe?... it means that these categorical identities we call “gay” and “lesbian” don’t exist as we assume they do. They certainly do as political or social identities. But in functional actuality, where it really matters, these pregnancy rates greatly challenge that narrative... Northwestern University’s J. Michael Bailey questions whether a female sexual orientation exists at all. He contends that we cannot miss that male and female sexual natures are markedly different things, so much so that the singular, lifelong lesbian is a rare creature. Female sexual interests and behaviors are shaped more by social, cultural, emotional, and situational developments than some deeper internal drive.In her important book “Sexual Fluidity” Professor Lisa Diamond laments the mistaken assumption that lesbianism is fixed like male homosexuality and argues that this belief is the result of gay-normativity and male prejudice in gay research... A young woman recently told me that she is a lesbian, but her sexual attraction is to men. Apparently she’s not an outlier."
I suppose queers being hornier is a 'stereotype'

Anti-Feminism - Posts - Feminist News: "More women than men attending med school for the first time ever"
"I can't be the only one who finds it strange that a movement claiming to champion equality sees a female dominated field as a victory and a male dominated one as a problem."

Chinese father decides to drop in on daughter’s school … via helicopter - "A Chinese man who sent a helicopter to his daughter’s school in Beijing has defended himself against accusations he was flaunting his wealth by saying it was purely for educational purposes... He said he thought explaining how helicopters flew might help the children better understand the theory of gravity... Last October, a father in eastern China dropped his son off at school in a Ferrari faced a social boycott after he refused to use a less expensive car."
Helicopter parenting!

I want the - "Cool. Be extremely careful. If you get pregnant and miscarry, and they can’t prove you didn’t miscarry on purpose, you can get thrown in jail for a long time in Georgia. #SexStrike"
"I know! I want to fight this from every angle. (My family’s from AL, where they’re on the verge of even worse legislation.) But I want men to do some of the fighting for once in their freaking lives. It always comes down to women sacrificing and I’m sick of it."
"“I want the men to do some fighting for once in their freaking lives” she says..... *war cemetery photo*"

🥄🦓ʝԹԺȝ🦓🥄 on Twitter - "Bucky and Cap are brothers, and really the only family each has. I understand wanting to see romances of different types, but this immediate push to have two men having a close relationship mean "they're in love" does far more damage than good and is in and of itself a stereotype"
"Agreed. It also heavily implies platonic love is somehow lesser and less worthy of respect and observation than romantic love. It is every BIT as powerful"
On slash and the denial that close male friendships exist in the desire to push the liberal agenda

Avengers: Endgame Was Ruined By Its Straight Agenda - "Avengers: Endgame may be the straightest Marvel movie to date—an impressive feat considering the amount of attention paid to its blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gay cameo.It’s not exactly news that the MCU is dominated by straight, white men, both on-screen and off. By focusing on the original Avengers team, Endgame highlighted the lack of diversity in Marvel’s earlier years —and illustrated how queer storytelling is more complicated than just showing (or not showing) a gay character on-screen. Basically, this film’s conception of a “happy ending“ is so rooted in heteronormativity that it ruined the final act for several key characters"
Hilarity aside, Cap has a girlfriend. So does wanting to gay him put paid to the lie that gay people don't want to convert straight people to homosexuality?

Female Aggression in Cross-Cultural Perspective - Victoria K. Burbank, 1987 - "Cases of female-initiated aggression, ranging from verbal abuse to murder, are found in all regions of the world. Female aggression is largely directed against other females and generally involves little injury. Co-wives and other rivals in sex and marriage are the most common victims. Husbands are the most common male targets. Female aggression is often a means of competing for men or subsistence products, but it may also be a means of defense"

Consent to Sex is Not Consent to Pregnancy
But for men, sex is consent to child support

Kelantan: Sexy dresses, indecent behaviour see more than 300 hauled up for counselling - "More than 300 people in Kelantan have been slapped with notices to attend counselling sessions for wearing sexy dresses and behaving indecently at public places."
What would Reza Aslan say?

South Korea's latest big export: Jobless college graduates - "Almost one-third went to Japan, which is undergoing a historic labour shortage with unemployment at a 26-year low, while a quarter went to the United States, where the jobless rate dropped to the lowest in nearly half a century in April. There are no strings attached. Unlike similar programmes in places such as Singapore that come with an obligation to return and work for the government for up to six years, attendees of South Korea's programmes are neither required to return, nor work for the state in the future... The top 10 conglomerates including world-class brands such as Samsung and Hyundai, make up half of South Korea's total market capitalization. But only 13 per cent of the country's workforce is employed by firms with more than 250 employees, the second-lowest after Greece in the OECD, and far below the 47 per cent in Japan... South Korea is bringing in more foreigners to solve another labour problem – an acute shortage of blue collar workers. South Korea has the most highly educated youth in the OECD, with three-quarters of high school students going to college, compared with the average of 44.5 per cent... Lee Sun-hyung, a 30-year old athletics major, used K-move to go to Sydney to work as a swim coach in 2017 but earned less than A$600 (US$419) a month, one-third what her government handlers told her in Seoul."

Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies - Princeton University - "The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts 2002 (SPPA) found that 39 percent of the adult population of the United States attended at least one of seven "benchmark" arts activities (jazz, classical music, opera, musical plays, plays, ballet, or art museums) in the twelve months prior to the survey. (This proportion excludes elementary, middle, and high school performances.)"

Connecting Australians: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey, June 2017 - Australia Council
In Australia in 2016, only 45% of adults attended any arts festival at all. 46% attended a visual arts and craft event, 53% a dance or theatre event (better than the US but still not evidence of massive popularity. Also there's no footnote about school performances being excluded, so maybe some were just seeing their kids

Is eating in public a crime during Ramadan? - What's On Dubai - "During Ramadan, it is not permissible to eat, drink or smoke in public between imsak, which is 10 minutes before dawn, until the sun sets, at iftar.This rule is reiterated in the UAE’s Federal Law No. 3 of 1987, also known as the Penal Code. Article 313 of the Penal Code renders it a crime for anyone to consume food or drinks in public at daytime during Ramadan.Notably, this rule applies to everyone in the UAE, irrespective of faith or whether they are fasting."

A post by I,Hypocrite on Today - "YouTube’s Newest Far-Right, Foul-Mouthed, Red-Pilling Star Is A 14-Year-Old Girl"
"Strangers Keep Calling Child Protective Services On This 11-Year-Old Drag Star."

11-Year-Old Boy Dressed In Drag Dances At Gay Bar, Gets Dollar Bills Thrown At Him - "an 11-year-old boy dressed in drag danced on stage in a sexual manner at a gay bar in Brooklyn, NY, called 3 Dollar Bill. The child, Desmond Napoles, was dressed as a Gwen Stefani-lookalike — full drag make up, a blonde wig, and crop top included — as he bounced around onstage to No Doubt's "Just a Girl" and collected dollar bills from male adults viewing the number... Though many have been outraged at Desmond's parents because of the clearly over-sexual nature in which the child has appeared publicly, the media have been relentlessly promoting the "inspirational" "drag kid."Left-wing site The Daily Beast gushed over Desmond and his progressive parents in a disturbing piece from February, titled, "RuPaul Loves 'Drag Kid' Desmond. You Will Too. Fiercely." In June, the TODAY Show promoted the over-sexualized child: "Meet the 10-year-old 'drag kid' taking over social media with inspiring message," reads the caption to a video interview with Desmond."
On Desmond is Amazing

Laughter: The New Symbol of the Far-Right – Lucy Brown - "we have Soph — the 14 year old far-right, foul-mouthed, red-pill YouTube star who seems to be rising to fame at lightning speed thanks to her rampant Islamophobia and /pol/ inspired online ramblings. We have tried everything, from harassing her parents, to publishing damning articles about her white supremacy, to having her kicked off the internet entirely."
This was probably satire, but it references real acts

6 Facts About The History of Bubble Tea in Singapore - Singapore Trivia - "Bubble tea made its debut in Singapore when Bubble Tea Garden, a café or what was called “bubble tea hut”, opened at Marina Square in 1992"

Why Canada is a guinea pig for global markets - "Facebook says Canadians are highly social and tech savvy, noting there are over 24m people using a Facebook-owned app each month in the country.This is not the first time that Facebook - which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram - has tested products in Canada. Last year, along with Colombia and Thailand, Canadians were given early access to the firm's early foray into online dating -simply called Facebook Dating.And in 2017, its first foray into providing advertising transparency was in Canada.But the social media behemoth isn't the only company that has found value in using Canada as a place to show proof of concept for new products and innovation before bringing them to wider markets... "In Canada we have really a very diverse population with more than 200 languages spoken throughout the country," says Danny Heuman, chief analytics officer with market research firm Environics Analytics.It's not just the immigration factor - it has the highest proportion of foreign-born people of any G7 nation - but its cross sections of people across the income spectrum and from urban and suburban regions... Most Canadians live within 100 miles (160km) of the US border, a proximity has leant itself to a lot of social and cultural overlap.Mr Heuman says Canadians will have similar tastes to Americans when it comes to things like media, pop culture and foods. And it's just as wired as the US with a similar technological infrastructure and with most residents owning smartphones... "I do see Canada being more reflective of the world than the US, for example," says Mr Heuman."Canada seems like a logical place to go because we are like the US but we are also like Australia, we are like the UK, we're still a little bit like Germany, we're still a little bit like Sweden and Norway and other countries like that."

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Links - 20th June 2019 (2)

Children’s Freedom: A Human Rights Perspective - "children today are far more deprived of liberty than they were when I was a child more than 60 years ago, or when my parents were children 90 years ago. And children are suffering because of that deprivation. As I’ve documented elsewhere, children today are suffering at record levels from anxiety, depression, and even suicide (Gray, 2011; 2013). The estimated rates of Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety disorders among young people, based on analyses of standardized clinical assessment questionnaires given in unchanged form over the decades, are now roughly eight times what they were in the 1950s; and the suicide rate for school-aged children is six times what it was then. Serious mental disorder in children has gone up in direct proportion to the decline in children’s freedom; and there is a good reason to believe that the latter is a cause of the former (Gray, 2011; 2013)... The first [cause] has to do with schooling... The other category of decline in children’s freedom has to do with increased regulation outside of school."

Seattle elites show little sympathy for a woman raped by a homeless man. - "a man living in a city-funded homeless encampment raped a woman in the bathroom of a Volkswagen dealership in the city’s Ballard neighborhood. Christopher Teel had arrived from Texas as a transient and was evading multiple warrants, but the city-sanctioned encampment welcomed him without conducting a criminal-background check. The story caused a sensation, with wide media coverage and public demands for increased security measures, but the crime victim remained silent and her identity was kept secret. Nearly a year later, the victim, Lindsey, contacted me. After being raped, she had approached city leaders and met with the sitting councilman for nearly an hour but was received, she says, with dismissiveness. Teel’s crime against her did not fit the preferred narrative of compassion for the homeless, so the political class downplayed it... Progressive activists launched a counterattack against Lindsey on social media. Local journalist Erica Barnett claimed that the story drew attention because Lindsey is an “attractive blonde woman” and dismissed the victim’s “many tears” as theatrics serving a false narrative that the homeless represent a danger to the community. She demanded that the media temper its reporting and be mindful that “graphic descriptions of violent rape may be triggering for survivors.” Barnett’s message was amplified on left-wing Twitter; Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez claimed that Lindsey’s story would create fear and cause harm to communities “that may already be triggered.” The reality: city-sanctioned encampments in Seattle have become magnets for crime and violence... Seattle’s activist class seems, then, to have more compassion for transient criminals than for the victims of their crimes. Lindsey’s story should be a clarion call for everyone who cares about violence against women. But in the tortured logic of intersectionality, the story of a homeless rapist demands “context,” while the white, blonde, middle-class target of his assault is an unsympathetic victim."
Intersectionality is just an excuse to bash the "privileged"

Playgrounds for Elites: The increasingly left-wing politics of leading U.S. cities clashes with the aspirations of middle-class residents. - "Nor is the progressive agenda likely to help its intended beneficiaries: the poor. The prospect of rapidly rising wages for mid-level jobs is undermining sectors like the Los Angeles garment industry, for example, where an exodus of employers is already occurring. Overall, as documented in a Center for Opportunity Urbanism study, economic prospects for minorities are much brighter in metro areas other than New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. This is particularly true for homeownership, where the rates for blacks are at least 20 percent higher in cities like Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte, compared with those more glamorous cities. Adjusted for income, homes are less than half as expensive for blacks and Hispanics in metropolitan Atlanta or Dallas–Fort Worth, compared with Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Meantime, heavily white cities with rising real-estate values like Portland, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle are seeing what remains of their minority neighborhoods disappear. Crime poses a conundrum for the new Left urban politics. The decline in crime in the 1990s reduced homicides dramatically, likely helping to reverse population loss in most cities. Now homicides are back on the rise in many large cities—but instead of bolstering law enforcement, most mayors have embraced the Black Lives Matter critique, which blames crime on institutionalized police racism. They do so despite measurable evidence that the main victims of this outlook, which has led to “de-policing” of vulnerable communities, are minorities and the poor."

German train-delay scarf sells for €7,550 on eBay - "A scarf knitted by a German woman to document her frustrations with frequent train delays has sold for €7,550 (£6,720) on eBay, as the country’s biggest railway company announces plans for a punctuality tsar.The “rail delay scarf” came to prominence when Sara Weber, a journalist, posted a photo of it on Twitter earlier this month. Her mother, a commuter in the Munich area, knitted two lines a day in 2018 to represent how long she was delayed for, she explained."

Why the U.S. Should Give Pay Toilets Another Chance - "In 1969, California Assemblywoman March Fong Eu smashed a porcelain toilet with an axe in front of the California state capitol, protesting the misogyny of restrooms that charged entrance fees for stalls but not urinals. She was not alone in her frustration. The grassroots organization CEPTIA—the Committee to End Pay Toilets in America—mobilized against pay toilets, putting out a quarterly newsletter (the Free Toilet Paper) and exchanging warring pamphlets with Nik-O-Lok, the leading pay-toilet manufacturer. The group won a citywide ordinance banning pay toilets in Chicago in 1973, followed by bans in Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Wyoming."
Or alternatively get women to use urinals. But then, the writer calls for free sanitary products in public toilets and talks about "Homeless people who menstruate", so

More than 100 women now on Rich List but just TWO have made their own fortunes - "More than 100 women have been named on a list of Britain’s wealthiest 1,000 people – but just two of those made their own fortunes, it has been revealed.Many were wealthy from inheritance or shared their wealth with their husbands, while some gained their fortunes from divorce settlements... Self-made millionaires included fashion boss Tamara Mellon, worth £180million, and author JK Rowling, worth £570million"
A man isn't a financial plan, but a divorce might be

Penis size does matter to women, researchers say - "Researchers found that women rated tall men with long penises as the most attractive.The women also tended to gaze longer at the larger men. But not too long - each rating was made in about three seconds.But how big is best? On that question, researchers were, er, stumped."We didn't find an ideal (i.e. 'most attractive') penis size or height," Dr Mautz explained. "The attractiveness scores were still increasing at the largest values for these traits."... The results "directly contradict claims that penis size is unimportant to most females," and also hint at why human males tend to have relatively larger genitalia when compared to other primates"

Chinese Monks Become ‘Sugar Babies’ for Wealthy Women - "Song wrote that some of these monks have come to earn as much as several million yuan a month (1 million yuan equals $147,650) from money and gifts that their female clients give. Some monks have bought expensive sports cars and houses, while some have amassed enough wealth to become “sugar daddies” themselves and engage in relationships with younger women.These monks continue to put on their monastery robes during the day, but put on a suit at night to meet with women."

Roar Like a Woman: How Feminists Think Women Suck and Men Rock - Kindle edition by Natalie Ritchie - "Far from receding as the feminist era matures, this masculinization of society is intensifying with calls to ‘close the gender gap’. Women are inferior beings who can only be a man’s ‘equal’ when they match his paid work, say feminists. Through their drive to self-actualise as a woman by emulating men, feminists seek a ‘gender-equal’ world, where one hundred percent of women do what one hundred percent of men do—and women’s interests, contributions and priorities are eradicated. In its bid to bust the patriarchy, feminism has become the patriarchy."

Money gives meaning to more Americans than religion or friends - "There appeared to be a correlation between money and friendship. In the open-ended survey, respondents with a higher household income were more likely to mention friendship as a source of meaning. The more educated were more likely to mention friendship, too."

Giving poor people cash gets them to spend more on good stuff and less on tobacco and alcohol - "It is increasingly common for governments to give poor people money. Rather than grant services or particular goods to those in poverty, such as food or housing, governments have found that it is more effective and efficient to simply hand out cash. In some cases, these cash transfers are conditional on doing something the government deems good, like sending your children to school or getting vaccinated. In other cases, they’re entirely unconditional... Evans and Popova’s research is based on an examination of 19 studies that assess the impact of cash transfers on expenditures of tobacco and alcohol. Not one of the studies found that cash grants increase tobacco and alcohol consumption and many found that they lead to a reduction. The researchers also conducted a meta-analysis—a statistical technique for combining the results from across studies—and again found that, overall, receiving cash slightly reduced tobacco and alcohol consumption... Before receiving the cash, any spending on education or health might have seemed futile, but afterwards, parents might decide that a serious investment in their children’s school was sensible. To make this happen, it might mean cutting back on booze and smoking... Behavioral economics research shows that when money is given for a specific purpose, people and organizations do tend to use it for that purpose, even when there is no one forcing them. In the case of cash transfers, households are generally told to use the money for family welfare.Lastly, cash transfers are usually made to women. When women rule over household income, it’s more likely to be used on food and children’s health"

Danny Baker receives standing ovation after taking to stage for first time since BBC sacking - "Danny Baker has received a standing ovation after taking to the stage for the first time since being fired by the BBC over a controversial tweet.Addressing the incident in his first live show since the controversy, the broadcaster said: "When life deals you lemons, you chuck them at the people calling you racist."... Baker was sacked from BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday after tweeting a joke about the Duke and Duchess Of Sussex's son featuring a picture of a chimpanzee."

Chinese rank last in global bathing habits - "Chinese people ranked in last place in a poll on daily bathing habits, according to Spanish media.Newspaper El Pais reported on a survey conducted by the research company Euromonitor. In the report “Personal Appearances: Global Consumer Survey Results on Apparel, Beauty and Grooming”, Euromonitor asked approximately 6,600 consumers around the world about their daily cleaning habits.Out of the countries queried – Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Middle East (Saudi Arabia and UAE), United Kingdom and the US – Brazilians topped the rankings with 12 showers per week, while Chinese people ranked last just one shower every other day on average.The UK came second last on the list"

6 NSFs, 1 NSman & 2 regulars have died in past 16 months as of Jan. 2019 - "A total of nine Singaporeans have passed away in the past 16 months while serving the country between September 2017 and January 2019"

COI findings in detail: Safety breaches and panic led to Aloysius Pang’s death - "As the gun barrel inside the howitzer was about to be lowered, one of the two servicemen in the cabin along with the late actor Aloysius Pang had told Pang to move closer to him or to a safe position.Pang, who held the rank of Corporal First Class (National Service), replied in Mandarin that “it was fine and that the gun barrel would not hit him”... The two servicemen should have activated the emergency stop buttons, he said. Instead, they “panicked and acted irrationally”... “It is sad but undeniable that the direct causes determine by the COI that resulted in the death of Corporal First Class (National Service) Pang was preventable had there been compliance to safety rules,” said Dr Ng.“It was not for lack of knowledge of these rules or inexperience of personnel working on the howitzer gun.”In its findings, the COI ruled that Pang’s death was a result of safety breaches committed by all three men. The incident was set off by the lowering of the gun barrel “without ensuring that everyone was in their safe positions”.
Of course people are still blaming MINDEF

U.S. Military Training Nearly Four Times Deadlier Than Combat - "Nearly four times as many U.S. troops died in training accidents in 2017 than in combat... So, when it comes to training fatalities, how does the U.S. stack up against other countries? Drawing these comparisons can be tricky — some statistics include only training and exercise fatalities; others include suicides, disease and off-base vehicular accidents as well. But a March 2018 report from the U.K. Ministry of Defense found that 141 members of British armed forces — both regular personnel and “on duty” reservists — died during some form of training and exercise from January 2000 through February 2018. The U.K. has 153,700 regular personnel and 81,850 reservists. When the U.S.–U.K. numbers are compared on an annual rate of training fatalities — factoring in the vastly different sizes of the two armed services — U.S. military training turns out to be 30 percent more lethal than the U.K. version."
Since Aloysius Pang's death was the PAP's fault even though he and his mates violated safety procedures: Thanks, Obama!

Sorokin on the societal effects of licentiousness

"Among several studies of the forms of sexual life among preliterate groups, I. D. Unwin’s Sex and Culture (Oxford University Press, 1934) is possibly the most important...

Carefully analyzing a large sample of the rites and beliefs of preliterate and historical peoples, Unwin f‌inds four great patterns of human culture: (1) Zoistic culture, the most primitive, which has no temples, no priests, no post-funeral rites, no rites denoting the im- portant crises of human life, as well as no clear or elaborate beliefs in the powers operating the universe; (2) Manistic culture, which has post-funeral and some other rites and a sort of vague belief in the higher powers; (3) Deistic culture, which has temples, priests, elaborate post-funeral and other rites, and a fairly coherent system of beliefs in the higher powers of the universe; (4) Rationalistic culture, which has a well-developed and logical system of conceptions about the universe and its powers, and a rationalistic set of rites or ceremonies marking the important events of both individual and social life; only the peoples of the last development are strictly "cultural". The Zoistic, Manistic, Deistic and Rationalistic types are shown by Unwin to be related to several other cultural and social conditions...

Reduction of sexual freedom is accompanied by a rise in cultural creativity. Among 59 preliterate societies investigated, in those where the young men and women were permitted pre—nuptial freedom, their mentality tends to be shaped into a Zoistic mould. If they are compelled to accept occasional continence, their mentality is moulded into a Deistic form. Finally, if besides prenuptial continence, monogamic faithfulness is required, especially from women, the mentality of the society tends to become Rationalistic.

Civilized societies which have most strictly limited sexual freedom have developed the highest cultures. In the whole of human history not a single case is found in which a society advanced to the Rationalistic culture without its women being born and reared in a rigidly enforced pattern of faithfulness to one man. Further, there is no example of a community which has retained its high position on the cultural scale after less rigorous sexual customs have replaced more restricting ones. Thus, when under the inf‌luence of Christianity the sexual freedom of the Teutonic tribes was limited, this restriction was one of the most important forces affecting subsequent cultural progress. And when the polygamous Moors in Spain married monogamus Christian and Jewish women, they progressed from a Deistic to a partly Rationalistic culture...

With the expansion and growth of these societies, however, the stern regulations of sex relationships were progressively replaced by weaker ones. Sexual freedom widened until it encompassed the whole society, and eventually turned into anarchy. Wives and children were emancipated from the absolute power of the pater familiar, and their newly won equality brought with it sexual freedom. Within three generations from the moment of signif‌icant expansion of sexual freedom, the cultural and social creativity of these societies began to decline.

This lag between the development of sex freedom and the decline of creativity is due to the fact that the younger generations need time to be “educated” in the new patterns of behavior. Thereafter, the decline proceeds hand in hand with the expansion of sex freedom. However, if the sex anarchy is checked, and replaced by new restrictions, the process of decline may be halted and within a century or so, may be replaced by a cultural and social renaissance. When it is not checked, the decline of the societies soon becomes irreversible and leads to their historical degeneration...

Evidence [on sexual degeneracy ruining society] is supplied by experiments in Soviet Russia in the 1920’s and by the degeneration of many preliterate colonial peoples.

Most instructive is undoubtedly the radical attempt of the Soviets to eliminate “capitalistic" monogamy and to establish complete sexual freedom as a cornerstone of the Communist economic and social regime.

During the f‌irst stage of the Revolution, its leaders deliberately attempted to destroy marriage and the family. Free love was glorif‌ied by the off‌icial "glass of water” theory: if a person is thirsty, so went the Party line, it is immaterial what glass he uses when satisfying his thirst; it is equally unimportant how he, satisf‌ies his sex hunger. The legal distinction between marriage and casual sexual intercourse was abolished. The Communist law spoke only of "contracts" between males and females for the satisfaction of their desires either for an indef‌inite or a def‌inite period,--a year, a month, a week, or even for a single night. One could marry and divorce as many times as desired. Husband or wife could obtain a divorce without the other being notif‌ied. It was not even necessary that "marriages” be registered. Bigamy and even polygamy were permissible under the new pro- visions. Abortion was facilitated in state institutions. Premarital relations were praised, and extramarital rela- tions were considered normal.

The old pragmatic test: "By their fruits ye shall know them", provides the answer to the question whether this sex freedom was practical.

Within a few years, hordes of wild, homeless children became a real menace to the Soviet Union itself. Millions of lives, especially of young girls, were wrecked; divorces skyrocketed, as also did abortions. The hatreds and conf‌licts among polygamous and polyandrous mates rapidly mounted,—and so did psychoneuroses. Work in the nationalized factories slackened.

The total results were so appalling that the government was forced to reverse its policy. The propaganda of “the glass of water” theory was declared to be counter-revolutionary, and its place was taken by of‌icial glorification of premarital chastity and of the sanctity of marriage. Abortion was prohibited except, since 1945, in exceptional conditions involving the health of the mother or similar considerations. The liberty of divorce was radically curtailed; by the decree of July 14, 1944, it was made impossible for the vast majority of citizens. By now the cycle has been completed, and a slight relaxation of this too severe repression of sex is making it moderately normal. Soviet Russia today has a more monogamic, stable, and Victorian family and marriage life than do most of the Western countries.

Considering that the whole cycle occurred under a single regime, the experiment is highly informative. It clearly shows the destructive consequences of unlimimd sex freedom, especially in regard to creative growth. In the period from 1918 to 1926, when that freedom was fostered, the Soviet government was preoccupied with destructive work, and the imprisoned Russian nation was unable to achieve much in the task of positive reorganization or creative cultural growth.

After 1930, when the task of curbing sex freedom was essentially accomplished, the destructive activities of the government began to subside, and its constructive work gained momentum. Increasingly fruitful were the efforts toward industrialization and economic growth, the building of the armed forces, the rapid development of schools, hospitals, and research institutes, the fostering of the physical and even the social sciences, and of the humanities. There followed a renaissance of the f‌ine arts and literature, a notable decrease of the previous persecution of religion, and a restoration and glorif‌ication of the great national values of Russia, which had in the preceding period been villified by the Communist regime."

--- The American Sex Revolution / Pitirim Sorokin, p. 109-115


More on Sorokin:

Critic of the Sensate Culture: Rediscovering the Genius of Pitirim Sorokin - Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Think. Live Free.


Article on Soviet sexual freedom:

How sexual revolution exploded (and imploded) across 1920s Russia (PHOTOS) - Russia Beyond

"Ideologically, sexual liberation was one of the key weapons in fighting Orthodoxy, and the old order in general. Among early Bolsheviks, the key propagandist of a new family order was Alexandra Kollontai, Russian revolutionary and later, a diplomat. There’s a popular theory often attributed to Kollontai – that of the ‘glass of water.’ It states that love (and consequently, sex) should be available to anyone as easily as asking for a glass of water. This, however, is a gross oversimplification of Kollontai’s idea.

Kollontai promoted a concept of the ‘new woman’ – one freed from the oppression of marriage, household work and the business of raising children; all these chores must be taken on by society and state. They would take on children’s education (including sexual), urge a move toward a nationwide catering industry, collective housing, foster care and so on. For Kollontai, love was to be freed, too – civil partnership would take the place of traditional marriage.

Obviously, Bolsheviks were building their policy on family along the most progressive lines – something that would not be seen in the West for decades. However, the onus was now on the individual, and such all-encompassing freedom was simply too much for the agricultural, barely urbanized Russian society of the 1920s.

“On the abolition of marriage” and “On civil partnership, children and ownership” were among the first decrees of the Soviets in 1918. Church weddings were abolished, civil partnership introduced. Divorce was a matter of choice. Abortions were legalized. All of that implied a total liberation of family and sexual relations. This heralded the beginning of the raunchiest epoch in recent Russian history.

A relaxed attitude to nudism was a a vivid sign of the times: on the bank of the Moskva river, near the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, a nude beach formed, the likes of which Western Europe could not have dreamed of at the time. The aforementioned “Down With Shame!” society had held numerous marches, one numbering as many as 10,000 people. Alexander Trushnovich, a monarchist, recalls (link in Russian) one of their gatherings: “‘Down with philistines! Down with deceiving priests! We don’t need clothes – we’re children of the sun and air!’ – a naked spokesman was shouting from a stage in Krasnodar’s main square. Walking past this place in the evening, I saw the stage dismantled... and somebody beat up the ‘child of sun and air’”.

All of these wild developments had been taking place while Russia was still in the midst of the World War, as well as the Civil War. Amnesties in 1917, 1919, 1920 and beyond freed a great many criminals in a country where state power had only begun to form. The masses of criminals were joined by defecting and discharged soldiers.

Rape by 1920s has become an epidemic. Quite strikingly, sexual violence towards former noble and bourgeois women was for a time even considered “class justice” among the proletarian males. Meanwhile, up to 20 percent of Russia’s male population had carried sexually-transmitted diseases (although in Tsarist Russia in the beginning of the century, the numbers were 25-27%). New laws on marriage and the overall atmosphere of breaking with the past encouraged promiscuity and casual approach to sex, unthinkable just years ago.

Soviet society was breeding a dangerous generation of homeless orphans – official reports indicate that, by 1923, half of the children born in Moscow had been conceived out of wedlock, and many of them were abandoned in infancy. The pendulum of sexual revolution had to swing back – and if it didn’t, it had to be pulled forcibly.

Already in the first half of 1920s, when sexual liberation was still in full swing, the Soviets had set about promoting traditional values… again.

In 1924, psychiatrist Aron Salkind publishes ‘12 Sexual Commandments of the Revolutionary Proletariat’, that read “love must be monogamous”, “sexual intercourse must only be the final link in the chain of deep and complicated feelings connecting two people in love”.

Even as “Down With Shame!” were parading naked through the Moscow streets, People’s Commissar of Public Health Nikolay Semashko wrote that such behaviour “must be most categorically condemned… At a time when capitalistic monstrosities like prostitution and hooliganism are not yet eliminated, nudity aids immorality… That is why I consider absolutely necessary to stop this disgrace at once, with repressive methods, if needed...”

Soviet leaders did not want the population to squander its energy on self-gratification anymore. Severe austerity and cutbacks were introduced. Women’s rights groups were in decline. Moreover, the women themselves now barely had any reason for the education the feminists had so desperately fought for: no sooner had the woman been freed from the traditional, patriarchal society the Bolsheviks sought to remove that she was being brought back into the kitchen, having to cook for her worker husband; meanwhile, factory rations were already being redistributed, which made home cooking a necessity. Kollontai’s “new woman” was new for just about a decade.

Now, the family was once more the basic unit of society. Decrees were reversed one after another. Finally, by 1934, homosexuality had been re-criminalized, and a ban on abortion reintroduced (1936). This did not lead to a reduction of the free woman’s propaganda value, of course. Because now, she could “do it all” – perform the communist task of forging the revolution, while also being a mother, wife, cook and cleaner.

For decades to come, sexuality and erotica would be completely shunned by Soviet culture and society – and considering this, it is no wonder Russian society had become so hypocritical about sex. The next sexual revolution would take place only in 1990s. "
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