"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, November 02, 2019

Links - 2nd November 2019 (2)

Finland's Lessons for Europe's Militaries | Foreign Affairs - "“For a Finn, it’s an honor to do military service,” the 25-year-old Granlund said this month. “It’s just something you do if you want your country to stay independent.”... the FDF has managed a feat that other armed forces could learn from: it has made itself an attractive destination for conscripts and professional troops alike. This helps explain why the armed forces routinely have more applicants than openings for noncommissioned officer positions. According to a May Eurobarometer poll, 95 percent of Finns trust their army, a higher rate than anywhere else in the European Union. (In Germany, 66 percent trust the army; across the EU, the average is 75 percent.)... The appeal of Finland’s military extends beyond patriotism and depends partly on its willingness to listen to its soldiers. In 2002, the FDF introduced a system that tracks and evaluates soldiers’ and officers’ experiences. “It has changed how we treat our soldiers and how soldiers view the FDF,” said Brigadier General Jukka Sonninen, the FDF’s head of training. Under this system, which the FDF calls “Transformational Leadership,” Finland’s military regularly polls soldiers throughout their service on matters such as sleeping arrangements, superiors’ leadership, stress management, unit cohesion, and communications from central offices. The FDF carries out the survey at every level, too: group, company, battalion, and brigade... Finland has shown that the secret to making the armed forces popular is ensuring that the low-ranking soldiers and noncommissioned officers who make up most of the ranks are content.That approach is working. In the most recent survey of graduating conscripts, conducted this fall, 80 percent supported maintaining conscription; 42 percent said that they would serve even if conscription were not mandatory; and 22 percent were neutral. Only 36 percent said they would not serve. If Finns forced to serve say they would have done so even if they did not have to, then the FDF has managed a feat from which other countries can learn... “Don’t oversell,” he said. “You can’t have cool videos of soldiers jumping out of airplanes if you can’t deliver. But equally, don’t undersell.” Once troops are enlisted, militaries must make their service worthwhile. “Keep them learning skills that they can also use elsewhere,” Salonius-Pasternak said. “There’s a difference between getting people and motivating them. This way you get the best people instead of a large percentage who couldn’t find any other work.” (The U.S. Army has struggled with recruits who fail their training since it relaxed its admission standards.)"
Meanwhile, in the SAF...

Watchdog bans 'harmful' gender stereotypes in adverts - "The UK's advertising watchdog has said it will ban "gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence". The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) said harmful stereotypes in adverts "contribute to how people see themselves and their role in society", and can hold some people back. The ban will cover men struggling with household chores or girls being less academic than boys... "There is nothing in our new guidance to suggest that ads can't feature people carrying out gender-typical roles."The issue would be if in that depiction it suggested that that's the only option available to that gender and never carried out by someone of another gender. "So for example if you had a woman doing the cleaning, we wouldn't anticipate a problem. But if you had an advert with a man creating lots of mess and putting his feet up while a woman cleaned up around him, and it was very clear that she was the only person that did that at home, that's the kind of thing that could be a problem."... The watchdog already has rules in place which ban adverts that include gender stereotypes on grounds of "objectification, inappropriate sexualisation and depiction of unhealthily thin body images"."
Priorities!
Presumably it's ok to show women struggling with household chores or boys being less academic than girls


Gender stereotypes in advertising have been banned in the UK - "Somewhat unrelated to gender stereotypes, this new rule also bans ads that “connect physical features with success in the romantic or social spheres.”And notably, it does not ban showing women or men performing stereotypical tasks (e.g., women shopping or men doing at-home construction projects). Ads can still be targeted based on gender as well. The clarification of the rule also helpfully explains that ads can still portray “glamorous, attractive, successful, aspirational, or healthy people or lifestyles.”...
It’s difficult to establish any kind of linear causation relationship between whether advertisers were distinctly creating this or whether they were responding to cues in society and enforcing some of the elements that would sell better. The whole history of advertising in the US was based on the assumption that women were the primary consumers."

Philadelphia and VW ads banned for gender stereotyping - "The first banned ad, for Philadelphia cheese, showed two fathers leaving a baby on a restaurant conveyor belt.The other, VW ad, showed men being adventurous as a woman sat by a pram... Mondelez UK argued that the ad showed a positive image of men with a responsible and active role in childcare in modern society. It said it chose to feature a pair of fathers to avoid a stereotype of new mothers being responsible for children... Volkswagen UK said that its ad made no suggestion that childcare was solely associated with women, and the fact that the woman in its advertisement was calm and reading could be seen as going against the stereotypical depiction of harassed or anxious parents in advertising."
Apparently ideas are harmful. The UK should ban books too

Fireman Sam axed as brigade mascot for not being inclusive - "Fireman Sam has been axed as a mascot for a fire brigade over fears he could put women off joining.Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service said the children's TV character was outdated and did not reflect the message it wanted to achieve.The decision follows complaints by staff and members of the public... "We're bothered by the subconscious message the term fireman has created as an issue in our recruitment.""

Fireman Sam: 'No stereotype problem' in show, says creator - "Ex-firefighter Mr Jones, 74, began working on the idea for Fireman Sam - Sam Tan in Welsh - in the 1980s after he heard Mike Young on BBC Radio 2 talking about his cartoon project SuperTed."It is for children. It wasn't meant to be advertised as a recruiting post," he said."Someone doesn't join the fire service when they watch Fireman Sam. They wouldn't be the right people for the job if that was their mentality"... the London Fire Brigade, using #FirefightingSexism in its campaign, tweeted that the involvement of Penny Morris, a firefighting character in Fireman Sam, was "devalued"."

Fireman Sam: the worst children’s programme ever? | Dean Burnett | Science | The Guardian - "Sam now looks and sounds more like a stripper who happens to be wearing the fireman’s outfit for this particular booking. All the characters now specifically say they’ll call Sam. Not the fire brigade or the emergency services; Sam specifically. And I've not witnessed one occasion where he tackles an issue single-handed. Yet he’s happy to take the credit, never correcting anyone when they thank him specifically, when his colleagues have all risked their lives as much as he has. His fellow firefighters once sang a song praising him specifically in front of the whole town and he just accepted this as normal. Part of me thinks he causes all of the calamities himself, for the attention. He’s probably got Munchausen by proxy, but with an entire town."
What passes for science at the Guardian

Facebook just banned me for 'hate speech' for criticizing Russian-owned 'FaceApp' - "Not counting my current ban, my most recent stint in the Facebook slammer came when I posted a holiday-themed meme that made fun of Nazis. Yes, Facebook banned me for a month because I made fun of Nazis. The horror. At this point, I honestly don’t know what is or isn’t going to get me banned by Facebook. Their “Community Standards” are so vague and inconsistent that you can easily find videos of people dying (like this one here – NSFW, obviously, but that doesn’t stop Facebook from keeping it on their platform and running ads on the same page, meaning they’re directly profiting from it), but if you make a joke at the expense of Nazis, or even make a joke at the expense of Russia, you get banned... I also have countless posts that Facebook declared to be “spam” that have been in review since June... I have no faith that these will ever actually be reviewed by a human person.People like Alex Jones are a threat to the public at large. That is why Facebook banned them. They spread demonstrably false information as if it is true, such as the PizzaGate conspiracy, or the Sandy Hook ‘false flag’ conspiracy. If you don’t understand the difference, read one of the many articles I’ve written addressing it. It’s really not that complicated. So please, spare me the “FaCeBoOk iS CeNsOriNg ConSeRvATiVeS” trope."
The fact that he cheers other people being censored while protesting about his own posts being zucced doesn't suggest to him that it really is more complicated than he imagines. Unless his logic is liberal = good and non-liberal = bad

'No men, no meat, no machines': How a band of women tried to forge a female utopia - "Amazon Acres, also known as The Mountain, was a female-only community set up within a sprawling 400 hectares of remote mountaintop in northern New South Wales in the mid-1970s.The source of much heated debate, men and meat were banned for the most part, and even machines at times — rejected as products of patriarchy. The collective was a child of the counterculture, but it also belonged to the so-called women's land movement, which saw closed-off utopian communities spring up in different parts of the world — from the US to Wales.They represented a determined — and largely lesbian — retreat from male culture and misogyny.Nudity was part of shaking off the chains... had to battle growing internal tensions sparked by different needs and clashing ideologies.There were no leaders on The Mountain and decisions were to be by consensus.That became harder as the community grew increasingly disparate.Open to all women, it drew everyone from academics, public servants and radical separatists to hippies, victims of male violence and survivors of mental illness.Getting decisions made, and obeyed, became almost impossible... Amazon Acres never became the self-sufficient refuge some of its founders envisaged.In the remote place with poor soil, the women tried everything from cultivating orchids to growing potatoes — they did allow chainsaws and a tractor eventually — but without success."
When feminist fantasy fails

Portland State bans professor from research for getting ‘grievance studies’ hoaxes published - "He brought “rape culture” in dog parks to the masses. The “research” may have been among his last published as a Portland State University professor.Philosopher Peter Boghossian has been banned from both human-subjects and sponsored research by the public university, owing to his participation in a “grievance studies” project with two other academics... Portland State had already determined that the untenured Boghossian had violated rules on human-subjects research by not getting permission to submit hoax research papers to journal reviewers, who were “human subjects” in the university’s view." Mark McLellan, vice president for research and graduate studies, wrote in a July 17 letter that Boghossian had failed to take the “Protection of Human Subjects training” that McLellan had mandated this winter... The results of the investigation raise concerns about the professor’s “lack of academic integrity, questionable ethical behavior and employee breach of rules”... Boghossian thanked several prominent academics, from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins to Harvard linguist Steven Pinker, for their support."
What happens when you really speak Truth to Power
Apparently submitting papers for peer review harms the reviewers. Academia must be full of violence, then


Scholars blast Portland State for discipline against professor for ‘stress-testing’ publishing standards | The College Fix - "The Oregon Association of Scholars, the state affiliate of the National Association of Scholars, accused the public university of punishing a “whistleblower” who did nothing more than expose the “shameful lack of standards” in peer-reviewed journals “devoted to identity grievances andideological agitation.”Led by Boghossian’s PSU colleague Bruce Gilley – himself investigated by PSU for several months, allegedly because of his pro-colonialism article – the OAS said Boghossian’s project was just a form of “stress-testing” common to field such as banking, “to determine the strength and reliability of safeguards.”...
'Journal reviewers and editors have never been considered part of human subjects research protocols, not only because the scholar’s interactions with them are unforeseeable and separate from the research but also because the reviewers are anonymous. More generally, the hoax or satire based on concocted data that is later revealed to be such as part of the research is a fundamental and long-standing method of intellectual inquiry in the Western liberal tradition.'
Boghossian should be “given a letter of commendation for his research efforts” and PSU should promote his work, OAS said. It also called on PSU trustees and state lawmakers to affirm that academic freedom includes “the right to conduct hoaxes,” and create an independent committee “to recommend reforms to strengthen academic freedom in Oregon public universities.”... Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said PSU was abusing “institutional review boards”"

‘Sokal Squared’ prof facing discipline for not having research reviewed by IRB - "Over time, the use of IRBs has become increasingly commonplace, and seemingly required, even for social science research or experiments that have a far less direct effect on the humans who might be involved. As Columbia law professor Philip Hamburger, a prominent critic of the current role of IRBs, has pointed out, even oral history projects and opinion poll research, which simply consist of asking people for their own stories or opinions, can be subject to change or simply forbidden by IRBs. (Oral history, at least, was relieved of this burden by federal regulatory changes that took effect just last year.)Particularly when removed from the medical context, it becomes all too easy for some fundamental IRB rules — such as the requirement that studies be done only with the informed consent of all human participants — to fail to work well. As Lindsay and Pluckrose point out, the Grievance Studies Affair is one of these situations, as “it is impossible to conduct a valid quality assurance investigation, which this audit was, after informing those being audited that they’re under examination.” Assuming it’s correct to characterize the journal editors as subjects of an experiment who needed to be protected from its potential physical or psychological harm, the IRB process would at the very least have required that the authors inform all of the potential “subjects” that faked research papers were coming their way. Truly “informed” consent might have required rather more specificity than that. It doesn’t take a scientist (or a whole group of them on an IRB) to understand that such a restriction would make this particular research effort pointless, but PSU nevertheless determined that the research violated its rules and was worthy of discipline... an academic fraud analysis doesn’t make much sense here: The authors could not benefit in the traditional way from faking research results, as they were using pseudonyms and were not even scholars in the actual fields in which they submitted. And with the papers’ inevitable retraction, the potential damage to actual science from those who might credit the falsified results would be eliminated... Professor Boghossian would not be the first person, nor will he be the last, to be adversely affected by the application of rules that make no sense in a specific situation. Nevertheless, this highlights the obvious problems for social science research presented by some IRB rules, especially when that research is geared toward determining the honesty, true attitudes, and/or competence of its “human subjects.” (The numerous studies on employers’ differing reactions to resumes that have differing racial or ethnic identifiers, but that are otherwise identical, are obvious examples.) When it comes to this type of research — in which Boghossian, Pluckrose, and Lindsay were certainly engaged — it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that if the rules forbid it, it’s the rules, not the researchers, that have gone wrong."

Students defend Portland State professor disciplined for ‘grievance studies’ publishing hoax - "The public university’s chapter of International Youth and Students for Social Equality published its interviews with students about Peter Boghossian on the World Socialist Web Site, of all places... “He is the only professor I’ve had that I disagreed with, but the way that he presented his reasoning, it was, like, undeniable,” another former Boghossian student said. Without naming her major, she said the fact that so many hoax articles got published “makes me feel like my degree is so invalid.”The student also agreed with the club that “affluent and privileged sections of the middle class” are the most opposed to Boghossian because they most strongly embrace “subjective identity politics.”...
The most hilarious response might come from another Boghossian student, who called the professor “my favorite teacher ever” and praised him for “taking risks and bringing in diversity”:
'My very first time at Portland State, I had to take a pop culture class and we had to write an essay on homoerotic relationships between Spock and Captain Kirk in Star Trek and learn about porn fan fiction. I was like, “What is this school?”'"

Language in India

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Saudi oil industry attacked

"‘How many languages are spoken in the country where you live? This week, India found itself facing a radical and controversial idea to deal with a multiplicity of different regional languages spoken by its more than 1.3 billion people. A senior government minister suggested that there should be just one official language and it should be Hindi.’...

‘Indians often cannot understand each other. And the reason is simple. Lots of them speak different languages. No other country on this planet has as many as India does. There are more than 19,500 different ones that are spoken on its streets… India has 22 official languages. Hindi is the most widely used, with more than half a billion people chatting away in it. But others like Bengali, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati, all have more than 50 million speakers. When people from Eastern India's largest city, Kolkata, where Bengali is spoken, travel to Southern India's biggest one, Chennai, where Tamil is the state language, the only way they can communicate with each other, is if they speak English. Which not everybody does.

It's a challenge I also face at home. My wife's mother tongue is Bengali, mine is Hindi. So we find that it's easier to speak in English to each other, and our kids. But it is frustrating. A friend of mine who's in the tea business recently called me whilst on a trip to southern India and shouted down the line: I cannot understand anyone here. Why can't we just have one language?

It's a question that is often asked, and one that India's Home Minister, Amit Shah, a man whose mother tongue is Gujarati, raised recently. Tweeting in Hindi, he said the country should have one language to help give it identity, And that the language which could do that was, you guessed it, Hindi.

Cue a huge political fallout, which has seen India's Home Minister, a man who rarely changes his opinion, having to do just that, on this issue. He's not the first Gujarati politician to say this. In 1925, another one you may have heard of, Mahatma Gandhi said exactly the same thing. And when India gained independence in 1947, Hindi did become India’s official, but not its national language. To appease those who did not speak it, English was to be used for all official purposes. Confused? you're not the only one.

English was supposed to have been phased out by 1965. But it never happened. There were huge protests in Tamil Nadu in southern India, with students shouting ‘Death to Hindi’. Such was their anger, some burned themselves to death, whilst more than 60 others died in clashes with the police. In the face of such huge opposition, the Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri backed down, and the plans to have Hindi as the national language were withdrawn.

Because in India, regional identities are often more important than national ones. And they are shaped by language. Ask someone in Chennai what their identity is, and they'll tell you they're a Tamil, not an Indian. Ask the same question in Kolkata and the answer will be, I'm a Bengali.

Often the only time people will say that they are Indian is when the cricket team is playing. The country's Prime Minister Modi is trying to change that and give India a sense of national identity. He's using religion, Hinduism, to try and do that. And though there's opposition from the country’s secular parties, it does appear to be working. Having a common language Hindi would also help.

But some see another motive in raising this issue again. It's an attack on English, the language of its former colonizers, a language that most Indians have no access to, and which some, even those who are desperate to learn it, consider the language of the elite. A more equal India, so the argument goes, would focus on Indian languages. One of India's most popular politicians Mulayam Singh Yadav, once famously declared that he would not rest until he had driven English out of India. It's still here, whilst his political career is almost over'"

Links - 2nd November 2019 (1)

Have we all underrated the humble pencil? - "there's the American economist Leonard Read, who was a crusader for the principles of small-government free-market economics.In 1958, Read published an essay entitled "I, Pencil" - written in the voice of the pencil itself... Conté painstakingly developed a way to make pencil leads from a mix of clay with low-grade powdered continental graphite. For these efforts, the French government awarded him a patent. And this is where we might start to question whether Read's pencil is right to be so fiercely proud of its free-market ancestry. Would Monsieur Conté have put such effort into his experiments without the prospect of a state-backed patent?Economist John Quiggin raises a different objection. While Read's pencil underlines its history of forests and railway carts, both forests and railways are often owned and managed by governments.And while Friedman was right that there is no Pencil Tsar, even in a free-market economy there are hierarchies.Leonard Read's loquacious instrument was made by the Eberhard Faber company, now part of Newell Rubbermaid - and, as in any conglomerate, its employees respond to instructions from the boss, not to prices in the market. In practice, then, the pencil is the product of a messy economic system in which the government plays a role and corporate hierarchies insulate many workers from Friedman's "magic of the price system"."

Suburb in the sky: how Jakartans built an entire village on top of a mall - "Situated amid a cluster of mega malls in Jakarta’s centre, Cosmo Park is one of two such developments in Jakarta by the Indonesian property developer the Agung Podomoro Group, and was built according to regulations. The second is above the Mall of Indonesia in the city’s north.“But this one is more popular,” notes the real estate agent showing the Guardian around Cosmo Park, past the pool and launderette and minimarket, as she extols its convenient location.“A lot of foreigners choose this place”"

'Manholes' to 'Maintenance Holes': California city bans gender-specific words from city code - "Berkeley City Council has unanimously voted to eliminate gender-specific words from its municipal code.The vote was on Tuesday and the idea was introduced by 23-year-old city council member Rigel Robinson. "Language has power. The words we use are important," Robinson said. "It's not only timely, but necessary to make sure that our laws really speak for everyone."Some of the changes include the word, "manhole" that will now be "maintenance hole."A bondsman will become a "bondsperson." And fireman officially becomes firefighter.The list goes on with other examples, including craftsmen, which becomes artisans.Heirs is changed to beneficiaries. Manpower will now be "human effort" and pregnant woman is now pregnant employee... at one Berkeley fraternity, Andrew Haits, a UC student had this reaction: "Come on. Enough is enough," he snickered. "I think they've gone too far. The reason why they're gender separated is because they are gender separated. Fraternities are male and sororities are female."He's referring to fraternities and sororities, which will now be referred to as "collegiate Greek system residencies." Berkeley's municipal code uses mostly male pronouns, such as "he", but the new code will switch from he and she to "they" when referring to individuals.All forms generated by the city of Berkeley will soon have a space for people filling it out to designate which pronoun they prefer."
If you can't solve real problems, you can at least make up imaginary ones and congratulate yourselves for making a difference

'Sex and the City' author Candace Bushnell regrets not having kids, says she was 'truly alone' - ""Sex and the City" may have left a trailblazing legacy for women on television, but the book's original author now thinks her independent lifestyle may not have been as rewarding.Candace Bushnell, 60, who wrote the original 1997 novel which spawned the successful TV series for HBO, opened up to Sunday Times Magazine about her 2012 divorce, admitting it made her realize how not starting a family made her feel "truly alone.""When I was in my 30s and 40s, I didn’t think about it," she recalled. "Then when I got divorced and I was in my 50s, I started to see the impact of not having children and of truly being alone. I do see that people with children have an anchor in a way that people who have no kids don’t."

The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History - "In 1994, Cesare Marchetti, an Italian physicist, described an idea that has come to be known as the Marchetti Constant. In general, he declared, people have always been willing to commute for about a half-hour, one way, from their homes each day.This principle has profound implications for urban life. The value of land is governed by its accessibility—which is to say, by the reasonable speed of transport to reach it. Even if there is a vast amount of land available in the country, that land has no value in an urban context, unless transportation makes it quickly accessible to the urban core. And that pattern has repeated itself, again and again, as new mobility modes have appeared. This means that the physical size of cities is a function of the speed of the transportation technologies that are available... The average one-way commute time in American metropolitan areas today is about 26 minutes"

Why Scotland's huge deficit means that numbers for independence don't add up - "Which country in the developed world has the biggest budget shortfall? A black hole in the public finances larger than the likes of Italy and the rest of southern Europe, bigger than the US under spendthrift Donald Trump and double that of debt-ridden Japan.That dubious honour would go to Scotland if it were an independent country. Its £13bn shortfall is equivalent to more than half the UK’s total notional fiscal deficit despite having less than a tenth of the population... Scotland is not unusual in having a large deficit among Britain’s regions. The UK is increasingly reliant on large surpluses built up in London and the South of England. Scotland has a similar deficit per person to the north of England, while Northern Ireland and Wales have an even higher shortfall per person... Scotland is unusual in that its deficit has been created by higher spending rather than significantly lower tax revenue... Scotland proportionally spends more on a number of areas, such as transport, higher education, social care and economic development, he explains. Flagship SNP policies, such as free personal care for the elderly and no university tuition fees, have been pricey"

Calling Boris Johnson Islamophobic for criticising the burka is preposterous - "He considered such garb to be oppressive and ridiculous, likening it to a letter-box or disguising the wearer as for a bank robbery. But this was not a reason to prohibit it... To most right-thinking people this article, written with the former foreign secretary’s customary elan, was a defence of the rights of Muslim women to dress as they please. His concern – and it is one shared by many – is that they are often not dressing as they please but as they are required to by their community. It might be imagined that those who care about women’s rights would share some of these misgivings. Alternatively, liberals might be expected to praise Mr Johnson for his stand in defence of religious freedom, even if they do not seem to have made a fuss when other EU countries banned the burka outright.But not a bit of it. Mr Johnson is now the latest occupant of the public pillory, fatuously being denounced for a “hate crime” and for pandering to the far-Right. Labour evidently is taking the opportunity to divert attention from its deepening woes over anti-Semitism."

Pritam Singh on 377a: Workers’ Party would not be calling for its repeal - "On the right-to-love liberal camp, Pritam said that they have unwittingly weaponised the concept of love for many of those in the middle, particularly those who do not take a position on the matter.Pritam added that the implicit suggestion is that those who align themselves to conservatives, by default hate LGBT people.Moreover, Pritam said that respected religious figures and friends are singularly judged through their views on 377a, rather than their tremendous contributions to the society... Pritam asked Singaporeans to “rise above the culture war”, adding that such culture wars of American and European societies cannot represent the Singapore war.In other words, Singaporeans should not fight over who is more right than the other, but listen, discuss and debate with the suspicion that we may be wrong, and look for common ground to overcome our differences. In conclusion, Pritam said that WP will not participate in the culture war over LGBT issues because this is prejudicial to the common good of Singapore."
Will the homophiles spoil their votes?

Women are ‘more controlling and aggressive than men’ in relationships - Telegraph - "Women are more likely than men to be aggressive and controlling towards their partner, according to a study.The research found that women showed controlling behaviour along with serious levels of threats, intimidation and physical violence when in a relationship more often than men.More than 1,000 young men and women were questioned about any “Intimate Partner Violence” (IPV) they had inflicted on a girlfriend or boyfriend, or been subjected to themselves...  “This study found that women demonstrated a desire to control their partners and were more likely to use physical aggression than men.“It wasn’t just pushing and shoving,” said Dr Bates, who presented the results at a meeting of the British Psychological Society in Glasgow. “Some people were circling the boxes for things like beating up, kicking, and threatening to use a weapon...  A study in the 1990s led by the US sociologist Professor Michael P Johnson coined the term “intimate terrorism” to describe controlling behaviour in a relationship.He found that such “terrorists” are almost always men, a claim which Dr Bates refutes, pointing to the fact that Professor Johnson’s study looked at men in prison and women in refuges, rather than more typical members of the public"
So much for patriarchy and male oppression of women

Why should Britain offer asylum to people who would rather not make their home in France? - "People traffickers, who are undoubtedly among the most odious gangsters ever to have crawled out from beneath a rock, cruelly exploiting the desperation of others and feeding them a catalogue of lies in order to extort their life savings from them, advise their “clients” which countries they should claim to be from, in order to fool the system and the British authorities. They give them tips on how to prolong their stay, even in the event of a failed asylum application, and helpfully destroy any passports and travel documents their unfortunate victims happen to be carrying, in order to perpetuate the claim that they hail from a particular country... the law of unintended consequences would mean that [accepting all asylum seekers] would mean jackpot day, every day, for the traffickers. Custom would increase tenfold (at least), the costs would go up, the number of failed and fatal voyages would go up. And all the while, the market for the traffickers’ evil services would build.And for what? In order to get people and their families from one wealthy, western democracy – France – to another wealthy, western democracy – Britain. “I’d rather die at sea than go back to Iran,” one aspiring British resident told a reporter during an interview that took place on the French coast. Fair enough, but there’s a Third Way: don’t risk your life by trying to row a dinghy across 20-odd miles of choppy sea and claim asylum in France instead. David Wood, a former Home Office senior civil servant who was previously in charge of immigration policy, has warned ministers that migrants picked up in the Channel must be immediately returned to France. Only by clearly demonstrating that paying three thousand pounds to the traffickers will get you nowhere – literally – will their appalling business be shut down. By delivering migrants safe and sound to the UK, and allowing them to make a fresh asylum application, we are doing the exact bidding of evil men and keeping them in business"

How Muslim Countries Use Islam in Foreign Policy - "In nearly every Muslim-majority country, Islam is an important—and sometimes the only—ideological currency that mixes effectively with more standard realpolitik. With the decline of both socialism and pan-Arabism in the Middle East, the only real ideological competition to Islam comes from nationalism. But nationalism, by definition, is difficult to promote outside one’s own nation. This means that governments—even relatively secular and progressive ones—have a powerful incentive to insert Islam into their foreign policy, using religious ideas to increase their prestige and promote their interests abroad—to deploy, in other words, what we call “Islamic soft power.” There’s a catch, however. Once “Islam” is injected into public debates, how citizens interpret their religion is transformed from a private act of faith into a matter of national security. Governments feel compelled to directly involve themselves in debates around the nature of Islam or else risk leaving an ideological vacuum for domestic challengers to fill... Whereas previous Saudi monarchs and senior royals have always allowed for at least some give-and-take with the country’s religious establishment, MbS has made it clear that for him, moderate Islam is not just about rejecting ISIS but about promoting deference to existing political authorities... internal competition over the role of Islam and Islamism cannot be contained within a country’s borders and that the foreign policies of authoritarian allies are not—and cannot be—insulated from intra-Islamic struggles at home. This means that even for U.S. officials with little interest in human rights, there remain important reasons—along strictly “national interest” lines—to pay close attention to how regimes suppress their domestic opponents. Human rights abuses cannot be bracketed as a matter for naive idealists not schooled in the hard realities of realpolitik."

Friday, November 01, 2019

Links - 1st November 2019 (2) (Trump and Baltimore)

Left Jumps Trump For Saying What Democrats Have About Baltimore - "Once again, President Trump’s critics have invoked racial invective in an effort to tarnish his image while ignoring similar comments from Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent and 2020 presidential hopeful.Less than a week ago, in a reply to Maryland’s Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, who made disparaging comments about the living conditions of asylum-seekers on the southern border, Trump told Cummings to focus his attention on his home district. “Cummings’ District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous and filthy place. … No human being would want to live there,” Trump wrote. The so-called mainstream media was apoplectic, falling all over themselves to call Trump and his comments racist as quickly as possible.Let’s rewind to a Dec. 8, 2015, speech Sanders delivered in Baltimore: “The fact of the matter is that America is the wealthiest country in the history of the world. But anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood [in west Baltimore] would not think you’re in a wealthy nation. You would think that you’re in a Third World country.”The reaction from the same media? Crickets... Even former mayor Catherine Pugh (2016-19), during a walking tour in September 2018, condemned parts of her own city. “What the hell? We should just take all this sh-t down,” she said, regarding the dilapidated and boarded up buildings and row houses in east Baltimore. “You can smell the rats. Oh my G-d, you can smell the dead animals.” While she was absolutely correct, nothing changed during her scandal-ridden administration, ending with her resignation in May of this year after she pushed a series of children’s books in exchange for city contracts. Were Pugh’s comments racist? What about the myriad reports by PBS, The Baltimore Sun, and the New York Times?... Frankly, the city has been slumping for decades under constant Democratic control — politicians who have continued to mishandle things the same way for decades, yet somehow have expected improvements. The last Republican mayor of Baltimore was Theodore McKeldin (1963-67), and the last time a Republican was elected to the City Council was 1939. When one-party rule goes unchecked for decades, complacency, carelessness, and corruption set in. When people condemn President Trump for his remarks while giving a free pass to the politicians making similar comments on the other side of the aisle, they are simply looking for a scapegoat. Trump has been in office two and a half years — he is most certainly not responsible for the strife that has befallen Baltimore... Project Baltimore reported that in 13 of 39 city high schools, zero students were proficient in math. Zero. Let that sink in for a minute. In six more Baltimore high schools, only 1 percent tested proficient. In roughly half the schools, 3,804 students attempted the exam, with a mere 14 proficient in math. Not 14 percent, 14 actual students. It’s no wonder the poverty rate in Baltimore is 22 percent. Incompetent so-called leaders and teachers’ unions have corrupted the public school system. They hide behind tenure while indoctrinating students instead of educating them, condemning the next generation to the consequences of the corrupt and broken system they created. It’s not all their fault, though: the children they teach have largely grown up in chaotic homes that do not value learning. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who spent more than 30 years as a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, reported that 65 percent of the children in Baltimore live within single-parent families, a trend that has been worsening for decades and is statistically worse in black communities compared to white, Hispanic, and Asian communities. Sadly, Baltimore is not an anomaly. See also Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, and St. Louis, just to mention a few... pointing out these things, which should be obvious, gets you labeled with an “-ist” or a “-phobe.”"

Trump Called ‘Racist’ For Saying Baltimore Is ‘Rat’ ‘Infested.’ But PBS Aired Documentary Confirming Trump’s Comments. - "CNN’s Victor Blackwell, for example, lashed out at Trump for suggesting Baltimore was “infested” with rats, claiming the infestation language from Trump was some racist code for black and brown people... PBS aired a documentary called "Rat Film" about the troubled city last year, detailing the issues the president highlighted about Baltimore.The documentary, as one might suspect, was not condemned as "racist" when it was aired."'Rat Film,' a documentary that takes the decades-long fight waged against Baltimore’s rat population and uses it as a lens through which to look at how the city has addressed myriad social issues over the decades, airs tonight on PBS," The Baltimore Sun reported in February 2018. The docu, created by Baltimore filmmaker Theo Anthony, was "a crowd favorite" at Maryland's Film Festival, according to the news outlet... Patch reported last year that Baltimore was among one of the nation’s "Rattiest Cities" according to a report from Orkin, a pest control company."

Baltimore’s new deputy police commissioner gets mugged at gunpoint - "The robbery came just a month after the department launched a new “crime reduction strategy” that it said would “reduce the victimization and fear of victimization of violent crime in Baltimore City.”There have been 185 homicides in the city so far this year, with 166 from shootings, according to the Sun, with only St. Louis having more murders per 100,000 people"

Donald Trump at the Overton Window - "Things have been good for the rats in Baltimore. For homo sapiens sapiens? Not so good. Drugs. Violence. Poverty. Squalor. “The Wire” was more documentary than fiction.But rats have, as the book of Genesis recommended, been fruitful. Also, they have multiplied. Quoth Catherine Pugh, mayor of Baltimore until just a couple of months ago, when she stepped down because of charges of corruption, rats were so plentiful in Baltimore that “you could smell them.”But that was in September of last year, before Donald Trump turned his gimlet eye on Baltimore, a city that has suffered not only from more than half a century of local Democratic control but also from nearly 25 years of representation by Elijah Cummings, a race-hustling confidence man right out of central casting... Politico, along with the rest of the virtue-signaling, chest-less media, sobbed in impotent disbelief. “President Donald Trump on Monday opened new fronts in the bitter tirade he launched over the weekend against Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore, lobbing insults at civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.”You know that the president’s observation was impermissible because Politico called it “bitter,” which ever since Obama’s “bitter clingers” remark has been code for “right-wing redneck.”... What Al Sharpton really is, as the president noted, is a “con man,” a race-hustling mountebank. Thomas Sowell was less polite but more accurate when he said that Sharpton headed “a trail of slime going back more than a quarter of a century, during which he has whipped up mobs and fomented race hatred from the days of the Tawana Brawley ‘rape’ hoax of 1987 to the Duke ‘rape’ hoax of 2006 and the Ferguson riots of 2014.”...
'as morally offensive as is the expression of racism wherever it is found, a false charge of racism is equally offensive, perhaps even more so, because the consequences of a false charge of racism enable an authentic racist to conceal his racism by exploiting the loose way the term is used to cover up his actions. The same is true of a false charge of sexism or anti-Semitism. This is the lesson we should all have learned from the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Because of his false and irresponsible charges of communism against liberals, socialists, and others among his critics, many communists and agents of communist influence sought to pass themselves off as Jeffersonian democrats or merely idealistic reformers'...
“People discerning a racist motive for Trump’s attack on Elijah Cummings are missing a key point: Trump attacks those who criticize him and his administration, black or white.” Hume follows up with an amusing and color-coordinated list of people Trump has put in their place (Bernie Sanders: crazy, Elizabeth Warren: total fraud, Justin Amash: loser, Joe Biden: low IQ, Harry Reid: insane, etc., etc.)... Public discourse in America has long been held hostage to a species of racist moral blackmail that has made it almost impossible to tell the truth about many central social realities. Trump opened the window on that paralyzing darkness when he dared to violate the taboo against criticizing failure when it happened to be presided over by blacks. But to do so is not racist. In fact, it is anti-racist, because it dares to hold everyone, blacks as well as whites, to the same standard."

Democrats Control America’s Most Dangerous Cities. So Why Do They Keep Passing the Buck on Gun Crime? - "Progressives and conservatives traditionally have exhibited different attitudes to the lessons of history. While conservatives have tended to take cues from the past as they build measured hopes for the future, progressives have urged that we break free from tradition in order to create bold and ambitious blueprints for a society they consider to be more just. In the United States, however, this pattern appears to be breaking down, as it is now progressives who tend to embrace a more rigid, backward-looking approach, especially on issues tied to identity. Unlike conservatives, progressives aren’t looking to revive a better, sometimes idealized version of their country. But they have become bogged down in the politics of historical redress, at the expense of forward-looking policies that would actually improve people’s lives. A microcosm of this larger tendency was put on display during last month’s Democratic primary debates, which touched on the issue of urban gun violence. No Democratic presidential candidate expressed a sense of responsibility for the plague of violent crime in America’s cities, even though the largest urban areas are almost all controlled by Democratic politicians... The Democrats like to suggest that the problem of gun crime can’t ever be fully tackled until their party controls the White House and both houses of Congress, at which point they might pass aggressive gun-control legislation at the national level. But the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab has identified a meaningful role for city government initiatives in improving community safety. A 2014 empirical study of a summer-job program found that even part-time, minimum wage jobs can help reduce violent crime among youth in high-crime areas of Chicago by more than 40 percent. The study’s authors speculate that the program’s success is less attributable to poverty alleviation than to the social, psychological and cultural benefits of having a job... Preventing the deaths of today’s black youth would do a lot more good than dwelling on a racist past whose evils can never be undone."

CIA turned our celebrities into ‘sissy pants’, says Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

CIA turned our celebrities into ‘sissy pants’, says Chinese Academy of Social Sciences | World | The Times

Beijing has accused the CIA of secretly fuelling the trend for effeminate or “sissy” celebrities in China.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Cass), one of the country’s leading research institutions, studied China’s booming entertainment industry and its demand for androgynous, coiffed male celebrities, derided in state media as “xiao xian rou” which means “little fresh meat”.

A Cass report accuses the CIA of beginning its campaign to “brainwash” Asian men in Japan in 1962 with the foundation of the Johnny & Associates talent agency.

It claims the agency’s founder, Johnny Kitagawa, was “loyal to the Americans rather than the Japanese” and colluded with the CIA to use “entertainment to brainwash the Japanese people . . . to weaken the male temperament of Japanese society”.

Since then, the Chinese report, titled “Do you know how hard the CIA is working”, says, weakened male temperament has spread to other parts of east Asia.

Beijing’s experts compared China’s entertainment industry, which “advocates feminine male artists”, to Hollywood, where “male stars are not like this, most of them are tough guys”.

The biggest celebrities in mainland China often are imported from the K-Pop industry in South Korea. Their style has influenced a generation of young fans in China who like their idols to be pale and delicate.

This has irked Beijing, which connects national strength with male muscularity. An editorial in the state-run Xinhua news agency derided xiao xian rou as “sissy boys” unfit for the task of “helping our nation reach its renaissance”.

Last year, Xinhua, the state news agency, lambasted singers in a new group, New F4, as “sissy pants” and said they were “not men, but not women”.

“They look androgynous and wear make-up. They are slender and weak,” the influential opinion columnist using the pen name Xinshiping wrote. “The impact this sick culture will have on our young generation is immeasurable.”

To counter the popularity of xiao xian rou, the government has backed films such as Wolf Warrior 2, with male leads who are macho and militaristic. “Anyone who offends China will be killed no matter how far the target is,” the tagline for the film, which features guns, explosions and tanks, reads.

While China is still a highly patriarchal society, notions of gender and sexuality have become more diverse, especially since homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness in 2001.

Links - 1st November 2019 (1)

Singh’s NDP trails all major parties for candidates — he seeks more women, minorities - "Singh said he’s not worried, despite having difficulty attracting the kinds of candidates he wants, particularly women.“It’s a lot harder to recruit many women, who are so qualified and so capable but don’t see themselves as leaders and they won’t say yes on the first try,” he said.“It takes multiple attempts to encourage women to come forward"
So much for no means no

How to Stop the Corporate Virtue-Signaling Before It’s Too Late - "There are enough forces fueling the political polarization in the west—from Black Lives Matter to Fox News to Vladimir Putin. The last thing we need right now is for corporations to be adding fuel to the fire by taking sides in the culture wars.The dangers of this kind of corporate politicization became apparent in Australia last year after the government announced a plebiscite on the question of gay marriage. While a healthy debate took place in the political realm, many of the country’s biggest corporations, including Qantas, began to actively campaign for the “yes” side. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who is openly gay, was one of the most outspoken. He ended up getting a pie in his face. Peter Dutton, whose Liberal National Party was opposed to same-sex marriage, argued that corporations should “stick to their knitting.” Dutton said that Qantas executives were welcome to campaign on their own dimes but he urged them not to “use an iconic brand and the might of a multi-billion dollar business on issues best left to the judgment of issues and elected decision-makers.” Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop, Anthony Fisher, was also concerned, warning that corporations getting political on social issues was threatening to democracy. “In our polity, corporations enjoy various privileges such as legal personality and perpetuity, limitation of liability, corporate tax rates, protections of intellectual property and bankruptcy law et cetera, on the understanding that they will use those advantages for their well-understood commercial purposes, and not so as to become a Fifth Estate governing our democracy”... Jeremy Sammut, a researcher at Australia’s Centre for Independent Studies, documented the corporate intrusion into politics in his recent paper, “Curbing Corporate Social Responsibility: Preserving pluralism – and preventing politicisation – in Australian business.”Sammut points out that the corporate virtue-signaling almost exclusively tends to favor the political tastes of the “elites” over the “ordinary” people, and that’s what makes it so dangerous... As Harvard professor Amy Chua points out in her recent book Political Tribes, “when groups feel threatened, they retreat into tribalism. They close ranks and become more insular, more defensive, more punitive, more us-versus-them.” It’s easy to feel threatened when even corporations are piling on with the politicians. For another example of this, check out the videos of Americans burning their sneakers after Nike lionized NFL player Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for the national anthem before games. The Kaepernick controversy has been a gift to Donald Trump, who uses it to rile up voters."

Schrödinger’s (Wo)Manhood - "Much like Schrödinger’s unfortunate cat, which is simultaneously dead and alive, manhood and womanhood in our era are held to be simultaneously entirely in the brain and everywhere except the brain. In matters concerning gender equity in STEM, one must profess that the differences between men and women manifest solely in the pelvic and chest anatomy, not the brain. Consequently, if women constitute less than 50 percent of the people studying or working in a field, the only acceptable explanation is sexism, not a difference in the typical preferences of the two sexes.On the other hand, transgender activists maintain that the distinction between being a man or a woman is entirely in the mind, and a person’s reproductive anatomy is not what defines them as male or female. Whatever a person states about his or her gender identity reflects their authentic inner nature, and may not be challenged. Scholars who raise questions about transgender identity face not only criticism and counterarguments (fair game for anyone making a claim), but also demands that their published work be removed from the written record rather than rebutted in open debate... (Interestingly, transgender men make remarkably few demands concerning their status as men. One reason is surely that modern Western society has fewer spaces that are explicitly male-only, and those that remain mostly face pressure to admit women rather than expand their concept of manhood. Facing a dearth of explicitly men-only spaces to which they can demand access, some transgender men have actually demanded access to women-only spaces.)"

Labor fight roils Bernie Sanders campaign, as workers demand the $15 hourly pay the candidate has proposed for employees nationwide - "Campaign field hires have demanded an annual salary they say would be equivalent to a $15-an-hour wage, which Sanders for years has said should be the federal minimum. The organizers and other employees supporting them have invoked the senator’s words and principles in making their case to campaign manager Faiz Shakir"
Whoops!

Bernie Sanders Campaign Responds to $15 Minimum Wage Controversy with Better Hours for Staff - "Amid a pay war within his own 2020 presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders will limit the amount of time his organizers can work to guarantee that no one is making less than $15 per hour"

Bernie Sanders, Defender of Bread Lines as Sign of Prosperity, Attacks Amazon’s Corporate Lingo as ‘Orwellian’ - "Take Sanders' defenses of the authoritarian Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, which he visited and enthusiastically supported while mayor of Burlington, Vermont in the 1980s. When asked about his support for the Sandinistas in light of the food shortages in the country that resulted in people standing in bread lines, Sanders retorted:
    It's funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing! In other countries people don't line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death.
Then there is Sanders' support for the Castro regime in Cuba, which, according to his telling, had "deficiencies" but also instilled in the population a genuine love of the government."

How wings really work - "It’s one of the most tenacious myths in physics and it frustrates aerodynamicists the world over. Now, University of Cambridge’s Professor Holger Babinsky has created a 1-minute video that he hopes will finally lay to rest a commonly used yet misleading explanation of how wings lift.“A wing lifts when the air pressure above it is lowered. It’s often said that this happens because the airflow moving over the top, curved surface has a longer distance to travel and needs to go faster to have the same transit time as the air travelling along the lower, flat surface. But this is wrong,” he explained. “I don’t know when the explanation first surfaced but it’s been around for decades. You find it taught in textbooks, explained on television and even described in aircraft manuals for pilots. In the worst case, it can lead to a fundamental misunderstanding of some of the most important principles of aerodynamics.”To show that this common explanation is wrong, Babinsky filmed pulses of smoke flowing around an aerofoil... “What actually causes lift is introducing a shape into the airflow, which curves the streamlines and introduces pressure changes – lower pressure on the upper surface and higher pressure on the lower surface,” clarified Babinsky, from the Department of Engineering. “This is why a flat surface like a sail is able to cause lift – here the distance on each side is the same but it is slightly curved when it is rigged and so it acts as an aerofoil. In other words, it’s the curvature that creates lift, not the distance.”"

Targeting Barcelona was sadly predictable – Spain holds both historic and modern importance to jihadists - "What happened in Barcelona, however, was not a freak incident. The writing has been on the wall for years. No, not because of foreign policy often cited as a legitimate grievance of why we see “backlash” on our streets, despite Isil writing in its magazine Dabiq in 2016 that “even if you were to stop bombing us … we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam.”On the contrary, Spain has kept a low profile and avoided foreign policy adventures since the departure of former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar in 2004, a close ally of the United States in “the war on terror” post-9/11. Under his leadership, Spain took part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a decision for which Aznar paid a heavy price. Following the Madrid attacks, he lost in an election he expected to win to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who immediately ordered the withdrawal of Spanish troops. Spain has erred on the side of caution ever since and as countries around the world stepped-up their roles in a US-led coalition against Isil in Iraq, the country remained a reluctant partner. But just because Spain had little appetite to confront Isil, the group still showed interest in Spain.The country has been identified as a key target on extremist websites for historical reasons, given that Muslims ruled in Spain for close to eight centuries until 1492, a fact that informs Isil’s central narrative in the fight against the “crusaders”. In January 2016, the terrorist organization issued a chilling video threatening to launch attacks in Spain and to reconquer the territory of the Iberian Peninsula that previously was part of the Islamic caliphate. “We will recover our land from the invaders”, Isil vowed in the video message... [The Jihadist] interest is not so much informed by our actions but rather eminently shaped by a skewed historical narrative and fascist ideology."
If you take a very generous view of "Western foreign policy", you can claim the Reconquista as part of it. Or maybe you can pretend that the Reconquista was Western Imperialism and Muslims are just punching up and fighting Colonialism

An angry minority made foxhunting a political issue - yet today, support remains undimmed - "Hunting is not a ‘controversial’ activity among those who live and work in the countryside. Some like it, some don’t, but the idea that this traditional and slightly odd activity should have become a national political issue is fairly ludicrous wherever you are viewing it from. The fact that somewhere in the 20th Century the eradication of hunts and the 40,000-odd people who follow them became, in the words of a leading Labour politician “totemic to the Labour party”, is utterly bizarre.The 'totemic’ ban was passed in 2004, but it has little to do with animals or their welfare. The chairman of the government inquiry into hunting with hounds in 2000 stated very clearly that hunting was not cruel, and it remains perfectly legal to shoot a fox, trap a fox or snare a fox. In fact, research has shown a big drop in the UK’s fox population since the ban on hunting came into force. The one thing we can be absolutely certain of is that the fox is no better off as a result of the ban. There can be no logical justification for such a ridiculous law, so what was the real motivation for the ban? If that was not already obvious, the admission of one MP as soon as the law was passed that it was “class war”, and the subsequent continuing campaigns against hunts that are no longer hunting foxes can leave only one conclusion. The anti-hunting movement is not really about the welfare of animals, it is about a hatred of people, and so it continues its obsessive pursuit of hunts. Meanwhile, in the countryside, support for hunting remains undimmed. More women and young people continue to take up hunting as it remains open and accessible to everyone. Hunting prevails in some of the most marginal of rural communities. In many remote rural areas, hunts play an important social role in times of challenge and change.The real shame is that this issue continues to soak up so much energy that could be used for something positive, not least given the huge challenges facing the countryside in the coming years. Our ever-growing population puts more pressure on green spaces as the demand for housing and infrastructure grows, and when the absolute priority should be to ensure that Brexit works for the countryside it remains bizarre that issues like hunting remain so high on the agendas of some politicians... hunting and badger culling were among the least influential issues when it came to how people voted in the 2017 General Election, as they were in 2015 and 2010. But the tide of e-petitions, automatically generated emails and social media posts on hunting reinforce that there is a small proportion of the population which is fixated with animal rights issues, for reasons that have little to do with animals... There has been no benefit to the huntsman or the fox, but worse than that, hundreds of hours of police time and thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money continue to be wasted"

What do drones and GPS owe to a 1744 shipwreck? - "In rural China, delivery drones are starting to look like a leapfrog technology: one that catches on most quickly where there is not a competing established infrastructure - in this case, of big-box retail stores and roads for van deliveries.Zhangwei, for example, is a village in Jiangsu province where few people own cars, and only half have fridges, but everyone has a phone - and they use those mobiles to place orders at online retailer JD.com for everything from disposable nappies to fresh crabs. As Jiayang Fan describes in the New Yorker, about four times a day, warehouse workers dispatch the village's orders on a drone that carries up to 30lb at 45 miles per hour. Everyone is happy - except for Big Auntie, the woman who runs the village shop."

How important will blockchain be to the world's economy? - "the computers solving Bitcoin's cryptographic puzzles consume, by one estimate, about as much electricity as Ireland... In removing the need for intermediaries, blockchains may sometimes remind us why their services can be worth paying for.Intermediaries can fix mistakes. Your bank can send a replacement internet banking login. Lose the passcode to your Bitcoin wallet, and you can kiss your currency goodbye.They can also resolve disputes. How best to do that with blockchain "smart contracts" is most kindly described as an evolving conversation.And trust in an intermediary has to be replaced by trust in other things - that software is reliable, and that incentive structures will not break down in unexpected circumstances.But assessing software is hard. The Decentralized Autonomous Organization, a pioneering investment fund on the Ethereum blockchain, raised $150m before someone hacked it, and stole $50m."

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Links - 29th October 2019 (2)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Steve Bannon full interview - "People in the United Kingdom should see this more than anything, you voted on Brexit. And what you had was a civil service that said, we're not going to do that. And it broke the back of the Tory party. Okay, it broke the back of the Tory party. That's the permanent political class that runs things. That's what's got to be addressed. And President Trump has got it in Washington, DC, just as much as you've got it in London...
You have some very attractive personalities running in the Democratic Party. What is happening every day is they're being more radicalized, they've essentially become an open borders party. They've already said the show of hands of that on the first debate was unanimous about paying unlimited health care for illegal immigrants...
Right now, there's a very disturbing trend. And I think maybe even the preliminary to a, a major confrontation started economically. Remember, war in the future will be cyber and economic, almost more than kinetic. And you're seeing China, Iran, Turkey, with North Korea, and now Russia forming I think some sort of working group, the United States is already in quasi economic war with these right now. The tariffs are essentially sanctions on China, we’ve sanctioned North Korea, we've sanctioned Iran and we’re looking to our allies to help us with secondary sanctions. We've began this kind of economic confrontation a little bit with Turkey, Turkey just bought the planes, the jets from Russia, Russia is doing joint combat exercises in the Pacific with China, you can see the control of the Eurasian landmass coming apart. And there's a working partnership... what Donald Trump has done geopolitically and this one I think he's done, he saved NATO. Remember, NATO hadn't gotten up to the 2% and this is why he was hectoring it the entire time. These threats are real threats. And that's why NATO has got to be a robust alliance. When you hear John McCain, these other people denigrate Trump on NATO, it's the exact opposite. Donald Trump's put his political capital on the rejuvenation of NATO. This budget that just went down that the conservatives are not happy about, a big part of that is about national security, to support NATO operations, support operation around the world. What Donald Trump has, I think done is put in high relief, exactly what we're facing. The next 20, 30, 40 years is about the Eurasian landmass. It is China, Iran, Turkey, Russia and North Korea… these are all totalitarian surveillance states. Okay. And I think the conflict coming in the future is against the western democracies, and those like India, and Japan and Korea, that believe in, the industrial democracies that believe in freedom and the democratic process versus these totalitarian governments. And it's very clear to me, that that's the storm clouds on the rise. And I think Donald Trump in his wisdom is putting together, that's why he's put such a focus on the South China Sea. That's why he's putting such a focus on the streets of Taiwan. That's why he's putting such a focus. That's why we have a carrier battle group up in the north Arabian Sea. And it's not to be provocative, trying to start a kinetic war. What is doing is telling our allies, particularly NATO, in Europe that depend upon the Persian Gulf, remember, we're now energy independent. We're an energy exporter. So these places in the world are not as significant as they used to be, except to our allies"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Johnson meets Macron - "You must assume that people will take negotiating positions. One of the things that was most aggravating for me is listening to... the BBC more generally and public media more generally, treat statements from the European Union as though they’re statements of fact, rather than negotiating stances, and every single thing they say is a negotiating stance, even down to Mr. Hogan's threats of a poisoned atmosphere"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Detroit & US 2020 elections - "We in the United States have to get back to governing. And I really think we're distracted by the wrong issues. You know, if you sit here and you watch the Mueller investigation, or you watch these other issues, this is not what the American citizens care about. The American citizens care about a Congress that works, a Congress that legislates, a Congress that thinks about what they need. And look, this is not new. This has been going on for over a decade right now. Where Washington spends more time talking about the distractions, then they talk about the real issues. This may get worse before it gets better. But at some point, the United States citizens are going to force the government to govern…
‘Should he quit it? Should he quit this talk on race?’...
‘Everyone should quit this. If everyone would wake up every morning in Washington and say, look, how can I make this country better for citizens? I think that's what everyone in Washington and by the way, that's on the right, that's on the left, and that's in the center.’"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Kashmir Tensions - "There's overwhelming support for what he's done outside the Valley of Kashmir, they say why should Kashmir have autonomy if it's part of India? Why should Indians not be able to buy land?"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Trump's Greenland bid - "On the 20th of September former President Obama is scheduled to speak in northern Denmark at the University of Aalborg. It's a small town, but he will get a big response and you suddenly realize Donald Trump was going, he was scheduled to visit Denmark on the second and third of September, was terrified of the contrast between the reception that former President Obama would get and that he would get. And then he began to look around for an excuse as to why he couldn't go to Denmark, Greenland became it."

Why Good Teaching Evaluations May Reward Bad Teaching: On Grade Inflation and Other Unintended Consequences of Student Evaluations. - "I address the paradox that university grade point averages have increased for decades, whereas the time students invest in their studies has decreased. I argue that one major contributor to this paradox is grading leniency, encouraged by the practice of university administrators to base important personnel decisions on student evaluations of teaching. Grading leniency creates strong incentives for instructors to teach in ways that would result in good student evaluations. Because many instructors believe that the average student prefers courses that are entertaining, require little work, and result in high grades, they feel under pressure to conform to those expectations. Evidence is presented that the positive association between student grades and their evaluation of teaching reflects a bias rather than teaching effectiveness. If good teaching evaluations reflected improved student learning due to effective teaching, they should be positively related to the grades received in subsequent courses that build on knowledge gained in the previous course. Findings that teaching evaluations of concurrent courses, though positively correlated with concurrent grades, are negatively related to student performance in subsequent courses are more consistent with the assumption that concurrent evaluations are the result of lenient grading rather than effective teaching"
Market mechanisms don't always improve outcomes

I Was a Female Incel - "this bullying was perpetuated almost exclusively by women. For all the talk of a shadowy cis-hetero-patriarchal conspiracy whereby men get power by pitting innocent women against each other, men never bullied me or taunted me for being awkward or different. Mostly they either ignored me or appreciated my strength, intellect, and humor. It was girls who bullied me, and bullied me relentlessly, even though I clearly posed no threat whatsoever to their various sexual pursuits. They did it to tell me that they viewed me as inferior, even though the very men they pursued seemed to prefer the company of girls like me to girls like them, who they tended to view as unoriginal and desperate for attention. (I will admit that I harbored some resentment that the boys romantically pursued these other girls instead of me.) Ultimately, this appeared to me not to be an issue of boys pitting girls against each other, but rather of socially powerful girls using their social power—and their sex appeal, in particular—to oppress both women and men they deemed unworthy, knowing damn well that the other girls were too timid, and the boys not socially permitted, to fight back... I was introduced to radical feminism. As I scrolled through blog after blog of ignorant, hateful misandrist drivel, I felt a righteous anger stirring inside me. Here were the same pretty, popular girls that used their social power to degrade me talking about how oppressed they were. They spoke proudly about degrading their bodies through cheap, meaningless sex. They bragged about destroying the sexual and social confidence of men and then called it ’empowerment.’ They saw the entire world as a perpetual struggle between the female collective and an oppressive patriarchal system, and their purpose in life was smashing that system. They laughed off the idea that they, too, might be oppressive... Most women will never understand just how terrifying girls—especially pretty girls—are to men (or, in this case, gay women)."

The Problem with 'White Fragility' Theory - "it appears that DiAngelo and her disciples have become so focused on white ‘illiteracy’ in the conversation about race that they are prepared to sacrifice the scientific method on the altar of fighting ‘institutional racism.’... in many cases, progressive activism is inspired by ideas that lack sufficient support from social science research... I have lamented how progressives such as Claudia Rankine have turned the Emmy-award-winning show Breaking Bad into a paradigm of ‘whiteness’ by misinterpreting the motives that drove Walter White to become a modern Macbeth (failing, I might add, to see the irony that Walter White’s final act is the murder of white supremacists). I have questioned whether micro-aggressions really are a thing, drawing attention to a devastating critique of the micro-aggression research paradigm (MRP) written by eminent Emory University psychologist Scott O. Lilienfeld in his review of the psychological literature... I have come across serious critiques of the Implicit Association Test (IAT)... I have been asked, explicitly or implicitly: why are you so uptight? Why do you have a problem with the pursuit of social justice? Why do you get defensive about white privilege? I am then directed to the work of Dr. Robin DiAngelo on ‘white fragility.’ As a career economist with an undergraduate degree in philosophy, I have found myself distraught by this unwillingness to engage in debate about the merits of progressive ideas and the social science research that underlies them... The notion of ‘white fragility’ is an unambiguous example of the slippery slope that can ensue. Invoking ‘white fragility’ when presented with serious critiques of the conceptual and methodological underpinnings of the IAT, the micro-aggression research paradigm, white privilege, and other progressive ideas, is like hearing someone blithely dismiss a rigorous critique of communism as ‘bourgeois.’ One does not have to invoke communism’s worst abuses to appreciate the hostility to scientific inquiry of those who wave away objections by attributing them to a white ‘racialized’ perspective (to use DiAngelo’s word). Socialization and acculturation are powerful forces in the development of one’s capacity to think critically about social, political, and economic issues, but they do not make it impossible. To believe otherwise is to replace the scientific method (ironically enough) with a reactionary reflexive need to categorize any objections—reasonable or otherwise—as manifestations of ‘white fragility.’ In other words, ‘white fragility’ becomes an Orwellian device to dismiss objections from white people in the same way that ‘bourgeois’ was a semantic weapon to dismiss the objections of ‘capitalists’ to communist doctrine... DiAngelo remains determined to demonstrate to “red-faced” white people that they have been socialized into a “racialized” worldview. In her stubborn persistence, invoking ‘white fragility’ elevates a banal observation about universal defense mechanisms into an old Marxist storyline about ‘false consciousness’ as a central force in the perpetuation of systemic exploitation.As I have argued elsewhere, the specter of Marxism haunts the contemporary social justice movement... This kind of thinking has a tendency to transform education into indoctrination. When the scientific method is subordinated to the eradication of ‘racialized’ perspectives, we cease to learn about the hows and whys of social and economic disparities across racial groups and instead become immersed in the propagation of ideas that lack support from social science research. At which point it becomes difficult to dismiss concerns that progressive activism is not about social justice at all, but about ideological intolerance and conformity, driven by agendas reminiscent of Marxist thought and activism"
If a non-white person disputes liberal doctrine, just accuse them of internalised whiteness or internalised white supremacy - or even better, of being a white supremacist

On Deepavali not being Commercialised in Singapore

Kirsten Han: Singapore: We are a multiracial society! We have Chinese, Malays, Indians and “Others” (CMIO)! We are an example to the world!

It’s #Deepavali today.

Singapore malls: MERRY CHRISTMAS

Please do better.

@miraxpath: Because Spore businesses are only about the $$$. So St Pat's day rather than Thaipusam to sell alcohol, Halloween. Xmas rather than Deepavali to sell overpriced alcohol and tat. If a fake disney festival were to be invented in Jan/Feb, CNY might be a goner.

Me: All businesses are about the $$$. Actually isn't it better for Hindus that capitalism doesn't hijack Deepavali?

@miraxpath: Sure. Kirsten worries more than most Hindus about mall decorations for Deepavali. Also, there is so much variety in the way Deepavali is celebrated, that there would be blood if capitalism got involved! What language, what day, what spelling of Deepavali, which myth, WTF!

Me: Can I quote you on that as a Hindu? Hehe

@miraxpath: I am not a hindu though.

Me: Damn, lose points.

Links - 29th October 2019 (1)

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "A staffer, submitting a question anonymously, suggested that the headline that had caused all the trouble—“TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM”—“amplifies without critique the desired narrative of the most powerful figure in the country.”"
"The New York Times is struggling to move from the collusion narrative of Trump to a race-based narrative of trump (found in the transcript of the meeting). The paper received strong pushback for a friendly Trump headline that they ultimately changed. That controversy led to this staff meeting on Trump coverage."

Tim Pool on Twitter - ".@dcexaminer reporter @Julio_Rosas11 is confronted for wearing a shirt with an American flag on the sleeve. A protester is extremely offended."
"On the right wing side you'll be safe and have a conversation
On the left wing side you will be harassed and possibly attacked
Journalists have always known this, at NoNATO 2012 black block leftists yelled "charge the press" and attacked journalists"

A post by Orwell & Goode on August 13 - "The journey of @teenvogue going from a bit useless to woke AF crusaders!"
"In 2006
Teen Vogue: Beauty lesson. 5-minute makeup tricks from a pro
mean girls. how to deal with them
back to school cool
135 fall shopping ideas. leggings, book bags, jeans, minis, the best new shoes & why we're mad for plaid
kate bosworth
The Sugar Hash. Why you needles [sp?] kick it now"
"In 2019
Teen Vogue: The legacy of Karl Marx’s ideas and how they’re relevant to the current political climate"

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "Is Trump a White Supremacist?No less than seven Democrat Presidential candidates have declared the President to be a white supremacist — Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, and Tom Steyer. So what is a white supremacist? The Columbia Journalism Review has an excellent article on the subject
“white nationalist is defined as ‘one of a group of militant whites who espouse white supremacy and advocate enforced racial segregation,’ while white supremacist is ‘a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.’"...
Outside of anti-terrorism efforts, the administration hasn’t been targeting the Muslim community... is there evidence that Trump feels whites are superior to Hispanics/Latinx? Not really. In fact, support for Trump has risen in Hispanic communities and is comparable to Hispanic support for Mitt Romney. So what about Trump feeling superior to blacks? He dated a black model, Kara Young, for two years in the nineties. She’s been quoted as saying she never heard him say anything negative about any race. Trump was friendly with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. He even got a civil rights award. In office he has been meeting regularly with various black groups and has supported increasing funds for historically black colleges. Support from blacks has been rising, especially from males.
So how about Trump and Jews? White supremacists have a universal hate for Jews. He has a Jewish daughter and son-in-law who are key members of his administration. Trump’s been strongly supportive of Israel. The national socialists have criticized Trump for cozying up to Jews and Richard Spenser prefers Ilhan Omar over Trump due to her anti-Israel stances...
 The last big criticism claiming that Trump is a white supremacist is his supposedly saying there were many fine people among the white nationalists and supremacists marching in Charlottesville. This oft-repeated claim has been thoroughly debunked. He clearly stated at the time that he was not referring to neo-Nazis or white supremacists. This was confirmed by his press office and in a personal statement two days after the rally. Trump has condemned the KKK and white supremacists at least six times. This includes a 9/17 resolution and in a State of the Union Speech... if he really were a white supremacist then he’s been doing an extraordinarily bad job at it."

Ezra Levant on Twitter - "Donald Trump seems to be saying China has to get its human rights house in order before it can expect an end to American tariffs. Amazing. All the woke leaders in the world, from Merkel to Trudeau to Ardern bend the knee to China on human rights AND trade."

Thread by @opheliajcbrown - "Buying plus sized clothing from thrift stores so you can tailor the items down to fit your size 0 body ISN'T A CUTE YOUTUBE VIDEO IDEA. It's fatphobic and classist and taking resources away from poor and fat people who have an infinitely harder time finding clothes than you do...
I've kept quiet about this for literally YEARS because I was terrified straight size people would come after me, but I don't care anymore. As a fat person who can't afford clothes unless they're from a thrift store - y'ALL NEED TO STOP ASAP.
The next time I see a skinny girl buying a size 3X sweater because it "looks comfy and cute" I'm going to grab it from her and wheel away with it faster than she can blink. SOMETIMES YOU DON'T DESERVE CUTE THINGS IF IT MEANS FAT PEOPLE GET CLOTHING.
Like OKAY if it's in a store and there are dozens of that item, WHATEVER. But in a THRIFT STORE? REALLY? Stay in your freakin' aisle. Stay out of the plus sized section. STAY OUT OF OUR WAY. We deal with enough crap let alone not having clothes that fit us bc y'all stole it all...
this applies to ANY marginalized person/group of people. Stop talking over us. LISTEN WHEN WE TELL YOU YOU'RE IN THE WRONG. Being privileged isn't bad until you ignore your privilege! USE YOUR PRIVILEGE TO BOOST MARGINALIZED VOICES! NOT TO STEAL OUR CLOTHES!"
Ahh entitlement

Satiria - Posts - "White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests — but many don't like their results"
"I'm Transgender. Will This Impact My Experience?"

Lucas Lynch - ""It's racist to tell non-white Americans to 'go home'" says everyone telling Israelis to 'go home' back to Europe."

Bill Mitchell on Twitter - "CNN is wondering, "If Trump's comments weren't racist, why did he randomly pick 4 people of color?"
Seriously?
He picked #TheSquad, not randomly 4 people of color. They cannot be THIS stupid or believe we are."

Segments of Random Thoughts - Posts - "The Left makes it about race when it's really about #TheSquad's hatred for the USA. There's a 4th of July video of a crowd of MAGA hat-wearing Vietnamese-Americans shouting how much they love America. Trump would never tell them to leave."

The Dangers of Defining Deviancy Up - "changes in social norms are not unidirectional—they can swing in the opposite direction and, instead of increasing permissiveness, norms can become more restrictive. This is what happens when we define deviancy up. Instead of treating atrocities as banal or becoming desensitized to wrongdoing, the most minor infractions are treated as if they are serious offenses. As the hasty condemnation of the behavior of a boisterous group of teenagers at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18 has reminded us, this trend is best illustrated by what we understand to be instances of prejudice, and how we respond...  the newly capacious definitions of racism and sexism have increased the number of situations and infractions that can fall under the rubric of these labels, and this has narrowed the spectrum of permissible views on a number of already sensitive topics, such as affirmative action, social mobility, immigration, gender imbalances in STEM fields, and so on. Matt Grossman, Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center has explained how this is disproportionately stigmatizing the political opinions of political centrists and conservatives. To illustrate this point, he turned to common social science survey questions:
    “Racial resentment,” an aspect of “symbolic racism,” is measured by asking for agreement or disagreement with statements like “Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class” or “Irish, Italian, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.”
    “Hostile sexism” is measured with agreement or disagreement with statements like “when women lose to men in a fair competition, they typically complain about being discriminated against” or “women are too easily offended.” The related “modern sexism” scale taps similar attitudes.
    “Authoritarianism” is measured with questions asking respondents to choose between pairs of parenting values such as “independence” vs. “respect for elders” or “self-reliance” vs. “obedience.”
    Thus, in a crude popularization, respondents [to such surveys] who favor obedient children and individual-level explanations for economic disadvantage could easily be labeled racist, sexist authoritarians...
So alarming has this political polarization become that nearly three in four foreign policy analysts and commentators surveyed in September of last year described it as a critical threat to the national security of the United States. The expanded definitions of racism and sexism are rooted in an understandable desire to protect members of marginalized groups, but they do not bring us any closer to that goal. In addition to the price we pay in social divisions, the new definitions have done little to actually address racial or other forms of inequality in a meaningful way. Recent data suggest that little has changed in the last 40 years in income inequality between whites and blacks and that reductions in the gender wage gap have stalled. Furthermore, it’s likely that this new focus has distracted those who adhere to it from the hard work of practical, tangible political change.This was the prescient argument made by the philosopher Richard Rorty more than 20 years ago"

Which professions are paid too much given their value to society? - "Most valuable to society after correcting for current salary: Research, Teaching, Engineering & Programming
Most deleterious to society: Law, Management, Finance (in descending order of damage)
The main point that strikes me is that, with the exception of research, all the estimates are fairly small relative to salary. And, that’s even if we ignore the points in the section right above.This suggests that at least for “normal jobs”, your donations to charity are a more significant component of your social impact... if someone earning $100,000 per year donates 10% of their income to [the Against Malaria Foundation], they create $0.8m of social value per year, which is about as large as the largest externality estimates in the table."

More Women Are Pumping, but Research Is Lacking - "The number seems small, but gets larger and larger as you contemplate it: 6 percent. That is the estimated share of breastfeeding mothers who exclusively pump and bottle their milk for their infants, never directly nursing. It is a number that was functionally zero less than a generation ago. And it is a subset of a much larger figure, the 85 percent of breastfeeding mothers who use a pump at least some of the time. This is no less than a “quiet revolution” in human nutrition, as researchers put it. Women have become, in Jill Lepore’s evocative phrasing, their own wet nurses. When pumping, their breast milk becomes a commodity... This “quiet revolution” is built on a foundation of surprisingly scant research and social support... while pumping might support direct nursing, it is not equivalent to direct nursing, researchers have found. The microbiome of expressed breast milk is different, for one. “Indirect breastfeeding” is associated with a greater prevalence of pathogens, which “could pose a risk of respiratory infection in the infant, potentially explaining why infants fed pumped milk are at increased risk for pediatric asthma,” according to Shirin Moossavi of the University of Manitoba. Plus, breast milk degrades when it is cooled, as it often is when stored for bottle-feeding. There is also the risk of contamination, given that dangerous bacteria flourish on pump parts. Researchers also sense that the experience of breastfeeding—the eye-gazing, the cuddling—is a big part of the benefit of breastfeeding for the baby, and a big part of the joy of breastfeeding for the mother. How does bottle-feeding change the equation? How does the experience of needing to pump as often as 10 times a day change things? It is unclear... time with the baby gets supplanted by time with the pump, leaving many women stressed out and exhausted—something that may have an effect on the quantity of milk produced, as well as the mother’s health and the overall stress level of the family."

Breastfeeding pressure is intense. So why are breast pumps so terrible? - " In total, I spent about 90 minutes a day pumping, and though I could type on my laptop during some of that time thanks to the hands-free bra I purchased, I was still losing hours every week assembling, disassembling, and cleaning tiny parts — hours I could have spent working, playing with my baby, talking to my husband, or catching up on much-needed sleep.Given the loss of work time, it’s no surprise that pumping may harm women’s earning power — a 2012 study found that mothers who breastfed their babies for at least six months suffered a greater drop in earnings after having children than moms who didn’t breastfeed... breastfeeding is often touted as an inexpensive way to feed your baby, “but that’s only true if you assume your time has no value.”... Human milk is an “absolutely terrific growth medium for bacteria,” Rasmussen explained — and if pump parts aren’t cleaned properly, they can introduce bacteria into the milk. But it’s not really clear how dangerous that is. “Women are not reporting sick children from the use of their pumps in great numbers, so how big this effect is, we really do not know”"

Human breast milk may help babies tell time via circadian signals from mom - "The composition of breast milk changes across the day, giving energizing morning milk a different cocktail of ingredients than soothing evening milk. Researchers believe this “chrononutrition” may help program infants’ emerging circadian biology, the internal timekeeper that allows babies to distinguish day from night... Breast milk changes dramatically over the course of the day. For example, levels of cortisol – a hormone that promotes alertness – are three times higher in morning milk than in evening milk. Melatonin, which promotes sleep and digestion, can barely be detected in daytime milk, but rises in the evening and peaks around midnight.Night milk also contains higher levels of certain DNA building blocks which help promote healthy sleep. Day milk, by contrast, has more activity-promoting amino acids than night milk. Iron in milk peaks at around noon; vitamin E peaks in the evening. Minerals like magnesium, zinc, potassium and sodium are all highest in the morning.Daytime milk may pack a special immune punch. Among mothers who provided researchers with milk samples across the first month postpartum, immune components – including key antibodies and white blood cells – looked higher in day milk compared to night milk. Another study found higher levels of a component important for immune system communication in day milk compared to night milk.While it’s clear that milk changes over the course of the day, scientists know little about what this means for infant health... According to a 2005-2007 survey, over 85% of breastfeeding mothers in the U.S. have pumped their milk."
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