"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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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Links - 12th November 2019 (3)

Commentary: Team-building exercises can be a waste of time - "teams are social networks built on connections between individuals. It involves deep one-on-one conversations, designed to get people out of their comfort zones."
But they're just an excuse to have fun

Movie Mistakes: When does Film Continuity REALLY Matter? - YouTube
3 famous film editors don't care about continuity because if you're doing your job, it doesn't matter - other elements of each take are more important

2702 – Quintus Sertorius – Reluctant renegade, part 2 | The History Network - "It is important to note that in battles between the heavy infantry the casualty rate was very low, in stark contrast to the Hollywood portrayal. Legionaries were very well protected and to kill or wound an opponent, it was necessary to find a chink or weakness in the armor. For example, when Julius Caesar fought Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus Roman legionaries fought for several hours, with only comparatively few losses. The dramatic casualties were only incurred when one side broke and ran."

The retail revolution: How mail order changed middle-class life - "Ward's flyer had become a 72-page catalogue, listing nigh on 2,000 items... Despite being basically just a list of goods and prices, Ward's catalogue was later named by New York literary society, the Grolier Club, as one of the 100 most influential books published in America before 1900, up there with Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Whole Booke of Psalmes.It was, the society said, "perhaps the greatest single influence in increasing the standard of American middle-class living".And it inspired competitors - notably Sears Roebuck, which soon became the market leader... for $892, Sears Roebuck would send you a five-room bungalow.Strictly speaking, you'd be sent "Lumber, Lath, Shingles, Mill Work, Flooring, Ceiling, Finishing Lumber, Building Paper, Pipe, Gutter, Sash Weights, Hardware and Painting Material". And plans of course, which were presumably rather more daunting than the ones you get from Ikea for a Billy Bookcase.Many of these mail order kit houses are still standing, 100 years on. Some have changed hands for more than $1m... drawing rural areas into the economy isn't just about expanding consumer choice and middle-class living standards: when you have good roads and access to information, you have more scope to make and sell stuff.Two economists studied how rural free delivery rolled out in America, and found that when it arrived in a new county, investment in manufacturing soon followed.The same process seems to be unfolding in China, which has its "Taobao Villages": clusters of rural enterprises producing everything from red dates to silver handicrafts to children's bicycles."

Why the bicycle's future looks bright - "The bicycle was a liberating force for women. They needed to shed their whalebone girdles and hoop-reinforced skirts in favour of something simpler and more comfortable. They would ride without chaperones, too.The forces of conservatism were alarmed, fretting that "immodest bicycling" would lead to masturbation, even prostitution. But these protests soon seemed laughable.As cycling historian Margaret Guroff points out, nobody seemed concerned about what Ms Allen was doing - only what she was wearing while she did it. A woman seen alone in public on a safety bicycle seemed no scandal at all. Three years later, the elderly Susan B Anthony, a women's rights activist for most of the 19th Century, declared that bicycling had "done more to emancipate woman than any one thing in the world"... It is tempting to view the bicycle as the technology of the past. The data shows otherwise.Half a century ago, world production of bikes and cars was about the same - 20 million each, per year. Production of cars has since tripled, but production of bicycles has increased twice as fast again - to around 120 million a year."

How did the qwerty keyboard become so popular? - "if qwerty really was designed to be slow, how come the most popular pair of letters in English, T-H, are adjacent and right under the index fingers? The plot thickens... The qwerty layout was designed for the convenience of telegraph operators transcribing Morse code - that's why, for example, the Z is next to the S and the E, because Z and SE are indistinguishable in American Morse code. The telegraph receiver would hover over those letters, waiting for context to make everything clear.So the qwerty keyboard wasn't designed to be slow. But it wasn't designed for the convenience of you and me, either... Many economists argue qwerty is the quintessential example of something they call "lock in".This isn't really about typewriters.It's about Microsoft Office and Windows, Amazon's control of the online retail link between online buyers and sellers, and Facebook's dominance of social media... The lock-in is the friend of monopolists, the enemy of competition, and may require a robust response from regulators.But maybe dominant standards are dominant not because of lock-in, but just because the alternatives simply aren't as compelling as we imagine.Consider the famous Navy study that demonstrated the superiority of the Dvorak keyboard.Two economists, Stan Liebowitz and Stephen Margolis, unearthed that study, and concluded it was badly flawed. They also raised an eyebrow at the name of the man who supervised it - the Navy's leading time-and-motion expert, one Lieutenant-Commander… August Dvorak.Liebowitz and Margolis don't deny that the Dvorak design may be better: the world's fastest alphanumeric typists do use Dvorak's layout. In 2008, Barbara Bradford was recorded maintaining a speed of 150 words per minute (wpm) for 50 minutes, and reached a top speed of 212 wpm using such a keyboard.But they were just not convinced that this was ever an example where an entire society was desperate to switch to a hugely superior standard yet unable to co-ordinate."

Opinion: Is porn still driving the internet business? - "Credible-seeming statistics suggest that about one in seven web searches is for porn... The most-visited porn website – Pornhub – is roughly as popular as the likes of Netflix and LinkedIn. That’s pretty popular but still only enough to rank 28th in the world when I checked.But Avenue Q was first performed in 2003, an age ago in internet terms, and Trekkie Monster might have been more correct back then... just because people used the arts and crafts to depict erotica does not mean it was the driving force behind these techniques. There’s no reason to think it was.Consider Gutenberg’s printing press. Although titillating books were certainly printed, the main market for reading material was religious.A more plausible candidate, leaping ahead to the 19th Century, is photography.Pioneering studios in Paris did a roaring trade in so-called “art studies”, a euphemism the authorities didn’t always accept.Customers were willing to pay enough to fund the technology: for a time, it cost more to buy an erotic photograph than to hire a prostitute... In the late 1970s, most videotape sales were pornographic. Within a few years, the technology was more affordable for people who wanted to watch family films – and as the market expanded, porn’s share of it shrank.A similar story can be told about cable television – and, yes, the internet.Older readers might remember when getting online meant coaxing a dial-up modem into establishing a connection, then fretting about phone charges as it slowly chugged through a file that would nowadays download in the snap of a finger.What would motivate an ordinary person to persevere? You’ve guessed it.One 1990s study of Usenet discussion groups suggested five in six images shared were pornographic.A few years later, research into internet chat rooms indicated a similar proportion of activity devoted to sex."

Should we dislike the 'Like' button? - "Leah's content was being shown to fewer people, and her comics started to get fewer likes."It felt like I wasn't getting enough oxygen," she told Vice.com. "It was like, 'Wait a minute, I poured my heart and soul into this drawing, but it's only had 20 likes.'"... Faced with a sudden drop in likes, Leah is embarrassed to say she began buying ads on Facebook "just to get that attention back".There's an irony behind her discomfort.Before she was a comic artist, Leah was a Facebook developer, and in July 2007, her team invented the "like button"... in reality, it seems Facebook's potential for mind control is far from perfect.Some experts who've looked into Cambridge Analytica question how effective it really was. And for all the targeting, analysts report that the click-through rate on Facebook adverts still averages less than 1%..Perhaps we should worry more about Facebook's undoubted proficiency at serving us more adverts by sucking in an inordinate amount of our attention, hooking us to our screens."

The Penny Post revolutionary who transformed how we send letters - "Back then, you did not pay to send a letter. You paid to receive one. The pricing formula was complicated and usually prohibitively expensive.If the postman knocked on your door in the city of Birmingham, with a three-page letter from London, he would let you read it only if you coughed up two shillings and threepence.That was not far below the average daily wage, even though "the whole missive might not weigh a quarter of an ounce", just a few grams.People found workarounds.Members of Parliament could send letters free of charge, so if you happened to know one, they might "frank" your letters as a favour. The free-franking privilege was widely abused. By the 1830s, MPs were apparently penning an improbable seven million letters a year.Another common trick was to send coded messages through small variations in the address.You and I might agree that if you sent me an envelope addressed "Tim Harford", that would signify you were well, but that if you addressed it "Mr T Harford", I would understand you needed help. When the postman knocked, I would inspect the envelope, and refuse to pay... did the Penny Post also diffuse useful knowledge, and stimulate productive power?A group of economists recently came up with an ingenious test of this idea in the United States. They gathered data on the spread of post offices in the 19th Century, and the number of applications for patents from different parts of the country. New post offices did indeed predict more inventiveness, just as Hill would have expected."

The Cold War spy technology which we all use - "American radio operators stumbled upon the US ambassador's conversations being broadcast over the airwaves. These broadcasts were unpredictable: scan the embassy for radio emissions, and no bug was in evidence. It took yet more time to discover the secret. The listening device was inside The Thing - and it was ingeniously simple, little more than an antenna attached to a cavity with a silver diaphragm over it, serving as a microphone. There were no batteries or any other source of power. The Thing did not need them. It was activated by radio waves beamed at the US embassy by the Soviets. It used the energy of the incoming signal to broadcast back. When that signal was switched off, The Thing would go silent... When we debate the internet of things today, we usually refer not to RFID but to these devices, a world of highly-engineered complexity in which your toaster talks to your fridge for no good reason, and remotely-operated sex toys can reveal information about habits which most of us might regard as rather intimate."

How do people learn to cook a poisonous plant safely? - "the verb to ape, meaning to copy, is ironically misplaced: the only ape with the instinct to imitate is us.Tests reveal two-and-a-half year-old chimps and humans have similar mental capacities - unless the challenge is to learn by copying someone. The toddlers are vastly better at copying than the chimps. And humans ritualistically copy in a way that chimps do not. Psychologists call this over-imitation.It may seem like the chimps are the smart ones here. But if you are processing cassava roots, over-imitation is exactly what you should be doing.If Henrich is right, human civilisation is based less on raw intelligence than on a highly-developed ability to learn from each other"
Finally, something that distinguishes humans from animals?

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 240 - David Manheim on "Goodhart's Law and why metrics fail" - "'An aquarium that tried to train the dolphins in their aquarium to clean up the litter that people would toss into the pool. And so what they would do is they would reward the dolphins by giving them a fish if the dolphins brought them a piece of litter. Or like, a dead seagull.  And then one dolphin started tearing pieces of litter into smaller pieces -- because they were being rewarded based on the number of pieces of litter. So then they would trade each torn piece of litter in and get a fish for each one.  And then another dolphin started stockpiling fish. So they would get fish as a reward, but they wouldn't eat it right away. And they would stockpile the fish to then lure seagulls into the pool, and kill them. And then trade the dead seagull in for more fish'...
'The key thing that happens when we're talking about people falling prey to Goodhart's Law, organizations falling prey to Goodhart's Law, is that somebody mistakes the metric for the goal. So in organizations, what that means is that at some point, the purpose was lost. Here, I don't know if the purpose was lost. I think it was just somebody -- you know, “somebody”, a dolphin -- came up with a clever way to beat the system.'"

What Exactly Is ‘Natural Beef Flavor’? - "Is natural beef flavoring bad for you?
The flavor specifically? No. Neither is artificial beef flavoring, while we're at it. In fact, some scientists argue that artificial flavors, which are engineered and rigorously tested in a lab prior to their use in foods, may actually be safer than natural flavors. Whereas a natural flavor can contain hundreds of chemicals that are untested by the FDA, every component that goes into an artificial flavor must be approved for safe consumption."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Did he lie to the Queen? - "Margaret Thatcher, a long serving British Prime Minister, only ever appointed one woman to her cabinet. There was one category she tolerated even less: men with beards. There were none of them. Tony Blair, one of her successors, also discouraged his colleagues from sporting facial hair. Apparently it didn't poll well among voters"

The impact of Britain's foolish university drive is truly disturbing

The impact of Britain's foolish university drive is truly disturbing

It will come as a surprise to few that 54 per cent of 18-24 year-olds plan to vote Labour in this election, compared to just 13 per cent for the Conservatives, according to YouGov. More intriguing is the striking parallel with data for university lecturers; 56 per cent of the latter support Labour and 11 per cent the Tories. This chilling synergy may have something to do with the fact that over half of young people now go to university.

That our higher education institutions are churning out record numbers of ill-educated, Left-leaning graduates is no secret. But a poll which a few years ago found that 70 per cent of young people have no idea who Mao Tse Tung was spells out how appalling the situation has become.

This particular example chimes troublingly with our metropolitan elite’s disgraceful ignorance of Communism’s worst horrors. Last year, Corbyn praised China’s Great Leap Forward in an interview with Andrew Marr – Mao’s policy of forced collectivisation of agriculture caused the deaths of 45 million people.

That the majority of young people would vote for a party led by someone who arguably endorses the policies of the greatest mass murderer in history isn’t the only reason why the massive expansion of the higher education sector was a mistake. According to the Office for National Statistics, 31 per cent of graduates are over-qualified for the jobs they do, which amounts to about a sixth of the entire workforce. The number of vacancies in skilled occupations such as advanced manufacturing is projected to rise to 3.6 million by 2022.

Churning out graduates who cannot find jobs to match their degrees isn’t a recipe for social cohesion. Historian Lenore O’Boyle, the reason there were so many revolutions in Europe in 1848 was because too many young men had been educated for a small number of prestigious positions, committing many of them to either unemployment or jobs they considered below their capacities. We have a similar situation today, only with the addition of large doses of neo-Marxist gobbledygook like “gender studies” and “critical race theory”.

Thankfully, our era’s unemployed graduates mainly confine their revolutionary zeal to social media, where they can vent their frustration by “cancelling” people who deny that transwomen are women. Those that do find jobs can satisfy their yearning for “social justice” by policing their workplaces - by insisting on mandatory “unconscious bias” training and so on.

However, there is a risk that today’s graduates could become tomorrow’s state enforcers of progressive orthodoxy. The police detained and questioned nine people a day on average in 2016 for “non-crime hate incidents” on social media, e.g. “misgendering” someone on Twitter. Free speech organisation We Are Fair Cop recently reported that Humberside Police now include these “non-crimes” on people’s records when they request an enhanced DBS check, potentially preventing them from working as teachers or care assistants.

One gets the disturbing sense that this is just the start, and we could feel the social impact of Britain’s reckless university expansion for years to come.

Links - 12th November 2019 (2)

John Gray: Steven Pinker is wrong about violence and war
Good example of the logic of those who claim Pinker is wrong about violence declining:
- The Enlightenment had dark sides, so we can't credit it for reducing violence
- Potential deaths (e.g. due to nuclear weapons) are somehow as bad as certain ones (i.e. people who actually died)
- Pointing to increasing raw numbers of non-combat deaths (without comparing them to pre-modern combat deaths or correcting for greater population)
- Claiming that we can't measure war suffering so we can't compare modern and pre-modern war suffering to see if things have improved
- Claiming that some types of deaths are worse than others (in order to inflate the impact of lower modern deaths since we know the rate of death has gone down)
- Reclassifying imprisonment as violence
- Muttering 'what is truth?' and going on with a meta-critique - instead of addressing the facts


Flying economy doesn’t have to suck—these airlines offer great amenities you didn’t know about - "Singapore Sling cocktails—Singapore Airlines
Let’s start with the home airline and flag carrier. Did you know that Singapore Airlines was the world’s first carrier to offer free drinks to passengers in the main cabin? Flights were never the same after free alcohol in economy became a thing!
In-flight nanies—Etihad Airlines
Economy Skycouch—Air New Zealand
Their Economy Skycouch is something to behold. It’s a row of three economy seats that converts into a lie-flat bed or couch at the simple push of a button. All armrests go up and out of the way, and seat footrests can be adjusted (up or down, between 60 and 90 degrees) to make the couch wider. Bedding and pillows are included in the service.
Self-service buffet—Air France
Air France’s long-haul economy class passengers will enjoy gourmet dishes, a free glass of champagne, complimentary cocktails as starters, and even digestive liqueurs for after the meal. They have also introduced an onboard self-service buffet with a selection of sweet and savoury snacks, sandwiches, ice cream and other goodies."

M’sians Outraged By This British Chef’s Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe Using Lime & Honey - "the recipe received widespread backlash from Singaporeans and Malaysians alike, who called the recipe blasphemous while others even deemed the chef “culturally insensitive”"
On Hainan Island, they are probably outraged by what Singaporeans have done with Wenchang Chicken

Malaysia's nasi lemak better than Singapore's? McDonald's new ad ignites food fight - "Heading back to the table with two plates of nasi lemak from a stall boldly called BEST Nasi Lemak Singapore, the man is puzzled when his friend rejects the food. It turns out she brought her own nasi lemak all the way from Malaysia.The voiceover then proudly proclaims, "Nothing comes between Malaysians and nasi lemak."...
'With the time spent to take away; travel and cross immigration into Singapore; head to LPS; wait for the guy to queue and order; her packet of nasi lemak must have been prepared many hours ago... questionable food safety. Ahoy! Malaysia boleh'...
Malaysian celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, called Singapore "arrogant" for nominating its hawker culture for Unesco listing. He said: "It's not necessary to announce to the world that you have this or that.""
Salty Malaysians as usual
Presumably Malaysians disapprove of Dondang Sayang and Mak Yong theatre being on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity


Decoding the Dutch - "Textbooks and popular belief have long held that America’s roots lie in the Pilgrims’ can-do spirit, and that this country inherited its spirit of enterprise from British colonists’ sense of adventure in the age of exploration. The Dutch had been in New York for only fifty-four years—most historians had written off this period as “a bunch of wild fur traders stabbing each other for their furs,” to use Gehring’s words. This, historians long agreed, had been the dark ages, enduring until the British captured New York and went on to civilize America. When the Dutch aren’t spoken of as savages and pirates, they are often portrayed as caricatures: The clueless tyrant Peter Stuyvesant with his wooden leg and the fanciful buffoonery of Diedrich Knickerbocker, the protagonist of Washington Irving’s satirical “A History of New York.”Gehring washed away centuries of historical understanding, as he established how present-day New York’s wild multiculturalism and mercantilism–often considered a microcosm of Americana–sprang from Amsterdam, not London... “Put seventeenth-century Beverwijk (present-day Albany) in any place in the Netherlands and people would recognize it as a Dutch village. Tradesmen, blacksmiths, coopers, hatmakers, shoemakers and others would operate just as in the Netherlands,” says Gehring. “You’d see the same types of buildings, with the same type of gables. The only differences would be mountains and snow in the background and hundreds of Indians moving around.” The Dutch history of New York was forgotten because the Dutch had been defeated by the British. In any war, after all, the victors write history.What is largely forgotten is that the Dutch were a leading trading power before the British, controlling key parts of Sri Lanka, India, Africa, Southeast Asia, Brazil and of course North America. “You could say the sun never set on the Dutch empire,” Gehring notes. The Netherlands’ status as a trading superpower was evident both on the streets of its capital and in its outposts. Amsterdam was a melting pot of people from all over Europe. As a mercantile power, the Netherlands opened its doors to all who had the monetary wherewithal to trade with it. The babel of German, Danish, Polish and other languages was heard in Amsterdam. New York (then New Amsterdam) had followed Amsterdam’s footsteps; more than eighteen languages are said to have been spoken in New Amsterdam in 1640. The colony’s raison d’ etre was to make money for its overseers at the Dutch West India Company. To refuse to trade with someone on the basis of his or her ethnicity would be bad business. This wasn’t the case in neighboring areas under British rule, where the only language you heard was English... Amsterdam’s liberalism stood on the bedrock of a free market—and inspired a similar economic system in New York. Amsterdam had thought up the novel idea of allowing citizens to support entrepreneurs by purchasing shares in companies—effectively establishing the world’s first stock market in 1602. New York was infected with this unfettered mercantilism."

How to monitor Facebook and Instagram screen time and limit activity - "You probably don’t need your phone or the apps on it how much time you waste looking at the screen, but the ability to monitor usage time is a hot new smartphone feature this year. Apple and Google have built their own tools to tell you how much time you waste on your smartphone or tablet, as well as features that help you reduce screen time. These new iOS and Android features will help you better manage the screen time of your children as well, on top of possibly helping you cure your own smartphone addiction.But iOS and Android aren’t the only ones to tell you how much time you waste on your phone or computer. Facebook just announced that the mobile apps for Facebook and Instagram will both include new tools to let you manage the time you spend in these apps...  You’ll be able to set daily reminders to stop you from abusing Facebook and Instagram usage, and you’ll be able to temporary mute notifications for each app"

Civic honesty around the globe - "Civic honesty is essential to social capital and economic development but is often in conflict with material self-interest. We examine the trade-off between honesty and self-interest using field experiments in 355 cities spanning 40 countries around the globe. In these experiments, we turned in more than 17,000 lost wallets containing varying amounts of money at public and private institutions and measured whether recipients contacted the owners to return the wallets. In virtually all countries, citizens were more likely to return wallets that contained more money. Neither nonexperts nor professional economists were able to predict this result. Additional data suggest that our main findings can be explained by a combination of altruistic concerns and an aversion to viewing oneself as a thief, both of which increase with the material benefits of dishonesty."
Another interesting thing about this paper: clear empirical proof that people in some countries are more honest than others - Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands were the most honest countries (in descending order), with >60% of wallets with no money returned. While China, Morocco and Peru were the 3 least honest ones (in ascending order of return rates) with under 15% of wallets with no money returned. One might imagine that GDP is the deciding variable, but Poland did very well, and the US not very, while Malaysians were at least 5% less honest than Indians.

Civic honesty around the globe (letters) - "We have heard from concerned Chinese readers about the results of our recent study... our measure of wallet reporting rates are also consistent with existing data on country-level differences in honesty which include China in the analysis. Country-level reporting rates in our study are correlated with several measures of (dis)honesty: rates of cheating for money in experimental tasks (r = –0.53, p = 0.041; Gächter & Schulz 2016), the estimated size of the shadow economy (r = –0.51, p = 0.000; Hassan & Schneider 2016), the likelihood of returning a incorrectly-addressed letter to its rightful owner (r = 0.63, p = 0.000; Chong et al 2014), unpaid parking violations by UN diplomats (r = –0.41, p = 0.009; Fisman & Miguel 2007), a country’s ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (r = –0.78, p = 0.000, Corruption Perception Index 2018), and World Bank data on how effectively countries deal with corruption (r = 0.76, p = 0.000; Control of Corruption Index 2017)."
Lots of butthurt Chinese people sending in stupid complaints:
"Science may consider expand to a more diversed reviewer team to aviod the publiction of such biased and unscientific research."
"3. Does this "experiment" understand the culture and lifestyle of the tested countries?
4. Does the designer consulted any local people prior to conducting the survey?
5. The fundamental premise of any global experiment is to respect local knowledge and cultural relativism, which is literally missed in this paper.
6. Does the authors realize how the negative impacts will be on these tested countries, when they published such a biased conclusion?
I suggest to repeal the publishing of this paper, and further scientific and thorough experiments should be done in order to make objective judgement."
"400 wallets per country is a fixed quota according to this experiment design. However, 400 might not reflect as well in a country like China where population are much greater than those in Europe. So statistically the result is not actually indicative and reflective."
"This paper is a joke. The methodological flaws and stereotypical assumptions are so obvious that even someone not trained as a scientist can easily spot the fallacies. This makes a mockery of the credibility we associate with Science as a leading journal. Shame!
Competing Interests: None declared."
It's interesting how almost no people with non-Chinese names wrote in to complain, and many of the complaints are... weird


David Walter: Great Moments in Walletology - WSJ - "In 2007, as a way to measure social trust, Gallup asked people in 85 countries whether they thought strangers in their hometown would return a dropped wallet. New Zealand and Switzerland had the highest rate of trust, with 44% and 38% of respondents answering in the affirmative. Hong Kong was tops in Asia with 23%. Laos and Cambodia came in dead last, with only 1% believing they would ever see their wallet again. Both countries have friendly populations but decidedly unfriendly governments. Maybe that has something to do with it... As law professor Mark D. West writes in "Losers," his great 2002 contribution to the annals of walletology, Japanese people who turn in lost items to police are entitled to receive up to 20% of their discovery's value from owners. Any items that go unclaimed for three months belong wholly to the finders. Conversely, finders caught appropriating lost property without reporting it are often hauled in to face embezzlement charges.The Japanese reclaim millions of lost items each year, and report even more at the country's ubiquitous kōban police kiosks. When Mr. West conducted a lost wallet test in Tokyo, he recovered 17 out of 20 lost wallets, plus 95% of dropped cellphones.That's all well and good for peaceful Japan, you might say, where the police have the time to act as the world's most sophisticated lost-and-found. But Mr. West suggests that the country's lost-property system might be responsible for keeping the peace in the first place. He compares Japan's efforts to secure the return of lost wallets and umbrellas with New York's famed "broken windows" campaign against graffiti in the 1990s. In sweating the small stuff—by punishing acts of dishonesty and using selfishness to incentivize altruism—might Japan's lost-property system have a similar effect on law and order? Might it also build social trust?"

Honesty: The great "lost wallet" test - "Reader's Digest set out to discover just what people would do.First in big cities and small towns around the United States, and then in Europe, Asia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America,editors of the magazine dropped temptation in the path of unsuspecting people. We "lost" more than 1100 wallets to see just how many would be returned. Each contained up to $50 in local currency, but also a name and phone number so that the finder would have no trouble returning the billfold-presuming the finder wanted to return it. We left the wallets on sidewalks and in phone booths, in front of office buildings, discount stores and churches, in parking lots and restaurants. Then we sat back and watched. The results were … fascinating.
Percentage of lost wallets returned per country:
The countries where test had been taken:
(Country which is not in the list has not been tested)
Norway 100%
Denmark 100%
Singapore 90%
New Zealand 83%
Finland 80%
Scotland 80%
Australia 70%
Japan 70%
South Korea 70%
Spain 70%
Austria 70%
Sweden 70%
U.S. 67%
England 67%
India 65%
Canada 64%
France 60%
Brazil 60%
Netherlands 60%
Thailand 55%
Belgium 50%
Taiwan 50%
Malaysia 50%
Germany 45%
Portugal 45%
Argentina 44%
Russia 43%
Philippines 40%
Wales 40%
Italy 35%
Switzerland 35%
China (Hong Kong): 30%
Mexico 21%"

A pun that works in both English and Mandarin



学生: 老师,您教的都是没用的东西!
Students: Teacher, you're teaching us useless things!

老师:不许你们这样说自己。
Teacher: You're not allowed to talk about yourselves that way.

Links - 12th November 2019 (1)

Oriental Emporium: The End of an Era - "with increasing competition, the brand did not survive the times, forcing Emporium to shutter the doors of all its department stores on 22 July 1999 without prior notice – more than 30 years after the first Oriental Emporium opened in Raffles Place in 1966"

Cardi B feuds with ZN8ation, crew of rapping 10-year-olds - "they posted a “diss track” directed at Cardi two weeks ago, featuring not-safe-for-nap-time lyrics such as “You belong in a zoo” and “They could fix your teeth, but they couldn’t fix your face.”It also, somewhat implausibly, calls the rap superstar “washed up,” and they chant, “I don’t know what’s faker: your life or your butt.”In the video, one of the kids — who go by the rap names Hollywood, Slim Z, Bonez McKoy and Mr. Great — dances around with a pillow shoved down his pants as a fake, oversize bottom."

Fraudsters deepfake CEO's voice to trick manager into transferring $243,000
Meanwhile some people criticised Jordan Peterson for threatening the deepfake company doing deepfakes of him as being against freedom of speech

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has died. He leaves behind a complicated legacy. - "One statistic sums up what Robert Mugabe did for his people: At independence in 1980, the average life expectancy for a Zimbabwean was about 60 years old; by 2006, that had dropped to 37 for men and 34 for women, the shortest in the world... For Zimbabweans who were not part of the ruling elite, the long national nightmare was just beginning. As white farmers were driven from their lands, political opponents were jailed or murdered and the media was cowed.Mugabe presided over the complete and total collapse of a nation. Starvation, disease, and brutality were the legacies of Mugabe’s one-man rule. The country’s currency collapsed and was jettisoned. Hospitals ran out of medicine... despite it all, Mugabe was feted in Africa’s halls of power. He was elected president of the Southern Africa Development Community, chairman of the African Union, and, in the ultimate hypocrisy, named as a World Health Organization “goodwill ambassador.” To most fellow African heads of state, he was a revolutionary who drove the last vestiges of colonialism from the continent. Nothing else, it seemed, mattered. Ultimately, the man who said, “Only God, who appointed me, will remove me,” was forced out by the military in 2017 — not because he was a vicious dictator, but because, as the ailing and infirm leader ceded day-to-day power to his ambitious young wife, she had alienated his cronies... for ordinary Zimbabweans, little changed. Mugabe was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a fellow revolutionary forged in Mugabe’s image. Today, millions are again on the brink of starvation. The economy is once again in free fall: Inflation is running at 175 percent; fuel prices have increased almost 500 percent since the beginning of the year; there are widespread shortages of electricity and water; and the national cell phone company is about to collapse. The army has been sent in to deal with those who protest, leaving more than a dozen dead."
Damn colonialism!

Opinion | Four Things That Are Not White Nationalism - The New York Times - "the American right in the Trump era faces a liberalism that’s eager to discover and condemn racism where it does not actually exist. Positions that any de-Trumpified conservatism would necessarily hold are conflated with white nationalism, figures who opposed Donald Trump are hammered as enablers of racism, and progressives indulge a political fantasy in which the racist infiltration of the mainstream right is an opportunity to delegitimize conservatism entirely... there’s a strain in progressive commentary right now that assumes that to try to understand the appeal of toxic ideas is to justify and elevate them, and that if you can establish a six-degrees link between a normal conservative and a YouTube racist, then the conservative must be just a gateway drug... it does liberals and the left no favors, now or for a post-Trump future, to imagine that accusations of white nationalism can somehow quarantine conservative ideas that are both not actually racist and also, in many cases, true"

Why evangelicals will stand by Trump in 2020 - The Washington Post - "Theories about Trump’s connection with evangelical voters have long been dubiously elegant. The simplest, and perhaps most comfortable for Trump’s bewildered and furious opposition, is that evangelicals are and always were hypocrites, demanding moral rectitude from their enemies that they don’t expect from their friends. Others held that evangelicals must simply be ignorant, taken in by a campaign narrative that attempted to depict Trump as privately devoted to Christ, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Some argued that evangelicals just wanted an invincible champion to fight the culture wars, even if he didn’t share their vision of the good life. And then there was the transactional theory: Their votes were just about the Supreme Court... Jeffress has a clear sense of how Trump fits into evangelicals’ political history. In particular, he felt that Trump couldn’t have come at any other time: that his success among evangelicals had, in large part, to do with the well-documented failure of evangelical politics to bring about change in the past 50 years... Trump found an evangelical base still prepared to vote Republican, though soured by the failures of past leaders who had made much of their own personal virtue without accomplishing anything for their voters. Cynicism had set in, at least in Jeffress’s account, and Trump was especially well situated to speak to jaded disappointment... roughly 50 percent of Americans believe evangelicals face some or a lot of discrimination, including about a third of Democrat-leaning respondents... I would no longer underestimate the possibility that evangelicals will turn out in stronger numbers for a second Trump term than they did in 2016, partly to ensure another Supreme Court pick and partly because the backlash against them has cemented so much of what they already suspected about liberals’ attitudes."

The suspect told police ‘give me a lawyer dog.’ The court says he wasn’t asking for a lawyer. - The Washington Post - "when a suspect in an interrogation told detectives to “just give me a lawyer dog,” the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the suspect was, in fact, asking for a “lawyer dog,” and not invoking his constitutional right to counsel"
Speaking proper English is important

Democrats just purged white party staffers, and it's a bigger deal than anyone wants to admit - "There are two possible interpretations of this mass-purge at the DCCC. Either a few Democrats are making a racial issue out of a patronage question, once again knifing each other under the cover of intersectionality, or Democrats are genuinely angry that half the staff at the DCCC are white. As often happens with the Democratic Left, it is difficult to tell just where the insincerity ends and the fanaticism begins. But either interpretation implies that this is not a party fit to govern"

Gender-Related Book-Carrying Behavior: A Reexamination - "Observational studies of carrying behavior evidencing differences in the positions adopted by men and women for carrying books and described by Jenni and Jenni in 1976 have led authors to define the various carrying positions as either typically “male” or typically “female.” The present authors conducted five observational studies on carrying behavior in Geneva, Switzerland, over a 6-yr. period. In each sample, almost 50% of women adopted the same positions as men. These results show that it is necessary to question the gender-stereotypical nature of book-carrying positions and to consider gender differences in behavior from a more dynamic standpoint."
The fact that 50% didn't shows that there're book carrying positions that are (female-)gendered. This is a general pattern when it comes to gender norms - there is the unisex and the feminine

Media Literacy Council says satire & clickbait are fake news, S’poreans call MLC out for fake news - "Some of them also pointed out that the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation (POFMA) Bill only covers false statement of facts, and does not cover criticisms, opinions, satire and parody... in an interview he did with Michelle Chong’s Ah Lian personality, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam also specifically said that satire does not constitute fake news"

65 Clever Illustrations Inspired By Elements Of Pop Culture By Ben Chen

Take a Breath; America Is Still a Decent Country Filled With Decent People - "“You now have a president … talking about exterminating Latinos.”“Exterminating Latinos.” Keep in mind Trump got a higher percentage of the Hispanic vote than Mitt Romney did. It turns out that not all Latinos believe in open borders. A lot of them agree with Trump. And yet, the left is now telling you — and demanding that you believe — that anyone who supports Trump is a white supremacist and must be destroyed. They’re telling you that for political reasons. It’s election season, and they want more power. But there are other reasons, too.Ever wonder why rich people seem the most hysterical on the subject? Ever notice that it’s the highest-paid people on TV who are the most determined to convince you white supremacy is America’s biggest problem? Why is that? Simple: Every minute you spend angry about race is a minute you’re not thinking about class — which, of course, is the real divide in this country. Working-class people of all colors have a lot more in common with each other than they do with some overpaid MSNBC anchor. If you were allowed to think about that long enough, you might start to get unauthorized ideas about economics. That would be disruptive to a very lucrative status quo. So they whip you into a frenzy of racial fear so that it never enters your mind. It’s a diversion. Everyone else hates each other. They get to keep their money. Pretty tricky. Unfortunately, it’s destroying the country. This is the path to civil war."

Differences in fairness and trust between lean and corpulent men. - "In the ultimatum game, lean men made less fair decisions and offered 16% less money than corpulent men during euglycemia (P=0.042). During hypoglycemia, study participants of both weight groups accepted smaller amounts of money than during euglycemia (P=0.031), indicating that a lack of energy makes subjects to behave more like a Homo Economicus. In the trust game, lean men allocated twice as much money to lean than to corpulent trustees during hypoglycemia (P<0.001). Risk-seeking behavior did not differ between lean and corpulent men. Our data show that economic decision making is affected by both, the body weight of the participants and the body weight of their opponents, and that blood glucose concentrations should be taken into consideration when analyzing economic decision making. When relating these results to the working environment, the weight bias in economic decision making may be also relevant for employment disparities."
Annoyingly some of the reporting on this made it impossible to find the original paper - Metro quoted the Daily Mail (while omitting the quote from the conclusion), then some other sites quoted Metro

British Jewish Newspaper Buckles to Hamas - "The Jewish Chronicle (JC), Britain’s largest Jewish newspaper and one of the oldest Jewish papers in the world, published an apology and handed 50,000 pounds (more than $60,000) to Interpal, a British Muslim charity linked closely to Hamas, the murderous Palestinian terrorist organization in Gaza... The JC is not the first publication to end up paying money to Interpal to avoid a lawsuit. In June 2019, the Daily Mail and Mail Online gave the charity more than $145,000... So why did the JC reach a settlement with Interpal if both the newspaper’s allegations appear factually accurate? The answer lies in the unpleasantness of British libel law, which, to the delight of litigious extremists everywhere, bestows enormous benefits on the plaintiffs."

CNN's Chris Cuomo: 'Fake news' insult 'equivalent of the N-word for journalists'r - "CNN host Chris Cuomo said on Thursday that he believes hurling the "fake news" insult at journalists is similar to when people use racial slurs against minorities."I see being called 'fake news' as the equivalent of the N-word for journalists, the equivalent of calling an Italian any of the ugly words that people have for that ethnicity"... This is the second time in less than a week the left-wing Cuomo has been caught spreading fake news.A mere four days ago, after Sen. Ted Cruz had already recorded a 15-minute interview with the far-left CNN, Cuomo taunted the Republican senator for refusing to appear on CNN."

Monday, November 11, 2019

Links - 11th November 2019 (2)

The oppressive individualism of human rights - "Democracy is more than mere majoritarianism, this much we are told. Though the majority of citizens must have the lead say in who governs, the minority must have a minimum level of protection from the wishes of that majority. That is why in a true democracy the wishes of the majority must be qualified by the presence of human rights and the rule of law.Following this sort of reasoning, the Shadow Attorney General and former Liberty director, Shami Chakrabarti, argued on the BBC’s Today programme this week that the right to an abortion should be imposed by law upon Northern Ireland – even if the majority of its citizens do not want it. The right to an abortion is a fundamental human right and thus it even supersedes the wishes of the majority – that was basically her line... Imagine, for instance, that the language of human rights has been extended to the unborn child, as some argue it should be, and used as a means of nullifying the wishes of the majority of voters in the recent Ireland referendum. There would rightly have been a massive outcry. So why does the Shadow Attorney General think it acceptable in the case of Northern Ireland? Because, of course, she believes that human rights, when properly understood, map onto her own political values, and are a means of achieving them."
It's easy to have political courage "do the right thing" and impose your views despite the majority's when "the right thing" happily happen to coincide with your values

Shout Your Cannibalism - Posts - "Just be honest. When you say "I don't like it when cannibals eat people," what you mean is "I hate cannibals. I want them to be second class citizens, and I want to control their bodies.""

Being Classically Liberal - Posts - "If you don't like unsafe, illegal abortions, then don't get one.
*Dabs*"

Being Classically Liberal - Posts - ""If women can't get federally funded third-trimester abortions then we are living in the Haidmaid's tale."
- The left, in like one year"

Quiz: Who said it, intergalactic Marvel super-villain or founder of Planned Parenthood - "Can you guess who said it? Was it the mad titan, Thanos we quoted or was it the founder of the world’s largest abortion provider, Margaret Sanger? Take our quiz to find out!"

Nicholas J. Fuentes on Twitter - "Apparently when you tell Africans (fertility rate >6) to have less kids, this amounts to eugenics or genocide... but when you tell Europeans (fertility rate <2) to stop having kids altogether that’s “sustainable development.”
At once they want us to believe that Europeans & European Americans need to stop eating meat, stop using straws, and stop having children in order to “stop climate change” yet at the same time they tell us we need mass immigration from the third world to “support the economy”
So why is it that Europeans, with low fertility rates, are subject to explicitly anti-natal propaganda & policies but non-Europeans, with high fertility rates, are not? The answer is obvious, their goal is to displace White People."
Comments: "Those are 2 *different* groups of people.No one who believes telling Africans to have fewer children is smells of eugenics (like I do) also believes that Europeans should have no children. Not one.Eugenicists believe the world is overpopulated. My folks don’t."
"The west does in fact promote abortion and birth control in Africa...(https://stringsattachedfilm.com) Said Africans just tend to be less interested in it than Europeans. I get the frustration, & low European fertility rates is bad news, but as they say you reap what you sow"


Biologists' Consensus on 'When Life Begins' by Steven Andrew Jacobs - "Many Americans disagree on ‘When does a human’s life begin?’ because the question is subject to interpretive ambiguity arising from Hume’s is-ought problem. There are two distinct interpretations of the question: descriptive (i.e., ‘When is a fetus classified as a human?’) and normative (i.e., ‘When ought a fetus be worthy of ethical and legal consideration?’). To determine if one view is more prevalent today, 2,899 American adults were surveyed and asked to select the group most qualified to answer the question of when a human’s life begins. The majority selected biologists (81%), which suggested Americans primarily hold a descriptive view. Indeed, the majority justified their selection by describing biologists as objective scientists that can use their biological expertise to determine when a human's life begins. Academic biologists were recruited to participate in a study on their descriptive view of when life begins. A sample of 5,502 biologists from 1,058 academic institutions assessed statements representing the biological view ‘a human’s life begins at fertilization’. This view was used because previous polls and surveys suggest many Americans and medical experts hold this view. Each of the three statements representing that view was affirmed by a consensus of biologists (75-91%)... Overall, 95% of all biologists affirmed the biological view that a human's life begins at fertilization (5212 out of 5502). Historically, the descriptive view on when life begins has dictated the normative view that drives America's abortion laws: (1) abortion was illegal at ‘quickening’ under 18th century common law, (2) abortion was illegal at ‘conception’ in state laws from the late 1800’s to the mid-1900’s, and (3) abortion is currently legal before ‘viability’ due to 20th century U.S. Supreme Court cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey."
Of course, supposedly only conservatives are anti-science

Late-Term Abortion and Medical Necessity: A Failure of Science - "Roe V. Wade (1973) placed the concept of medical necessity at the center of the public discourse on abortion. Nearly a half century later, 2 laws dealing with late-term abortion, 1 passed in New York and 1 set aside in Virginia, are an indication that the medical necessity argument regarding abortion has been rendered irrelevant. More importantly for this discussion, these laws are an indication of the failure of the US scientific and medical communities to inform this consequential topic with transparency, logical coherence, and evidence-based objectivity... while the occasional politician or news reporter will still indicate that late-term abortions are most often performed in the case of “severe fetal anomalies” or to “save the woman’s life,” the trajectory of the peer-reviewed research literature has been obvious for decades: most late-term abortions are elective, done on healthy women with healthy fetuses, and for the same reasons given by women experiencing first trimester abortions. The Guttmacher Institute has provided a number of reports over 2 decades which have identified the reasons why women choose abortion, and they have consistently reported that childbearing would interfere with their education, work, and ability to care for existing dependents; would be a financial burden; and would disrupt partner relationships. A more recent Guttmacher study focused on abortion after 20 weeks of gestation and similarly concluded that women seeking late-term abortions were not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment... A prescient proabortion author predicted today’s events with remarkable foresight when he concluded that the “rhetoric of medical necessity” is a mistaken strategy because “it is not the empirical evidence of what is or is not medically necessary which is important,” but rather “who possesses the ability to interpret necessity within key political contexts.” When viewed from this perspective, it is possible to see the recent New York and Virginia legislation as a signal that politics, not science, is the most powerful influence on abortion issues and legislation... Exempting abortion from the test of medical necessity essentially relinquishes any claim that it is health care. While the concept of medical necessity has been defined in myriad ways, a few key elements present in all of the definitions across a range of medical specialties are especially relevant in the context of induced abortion"
Many people claim abortion is healthcare and if you refuse to do it you are violating medical ethics and not doing your job. In 30 years time healthcare professionals will probably be fire for not performing euthanasia, i.e. "providing healthcare"
I was told that this paper admitted there was no data on how many late term abortions were elective


Parents demand school district change 'unfair' dress code - "A petition, started two weeks ago by parents in the district, claims the current dress code is "unrealistic, arbitrarily enforced, and unfair," particularly against female students, and has so far garnered over 5,000 signatures.The Change.org petition asks that the Fort Mill school district “create a fair and realistic dress code for students in Fort Mill public schools.” In particular, it raises concerns regarding the unfair bias against female students, as they are often targeted for skirt and short length as well as tank top strap width."Calling girls out for dress code violations has a negative impact on class time, self esteem and relationship building with teachers and administrators," the petition reads, adding that finding dress code appropriate clothing for female students is "difficult or impossible."... A representative of the Fort Mill school district informed Yahoo Lifestyle that the district's dress code is "gender neutral and does not have separate requirements for males and females.""
Maybe they should just make them all wear uniforms

A high-carb diet may explain why Okinawans live so long - "Even by the standards of Japan, Okinawans are remarkable, with a 40% greater chance of living to 100 than other Japanese people... one of the most exciting factors to have recently caught the scientists’ attention is the peculiarly high ratio of carbohydrates to protein in the Okinawan diet – with a particular abundance of sweet potato as the source of most of their calories... could the “Okinawan Ratio” – 10:1 carbohydrate to protein – instead be the secret to a long and healthy life? Although it would still be far too early to suggest any lifestyle changes based on these observations, the very latest evidence – from human longitudinal studies and animal trials – suggest the hypothesis is worth serious attention. According to these findings, a low protein, high carbohydrate diet sets off various physiological responses that protect us from various age-related illnesses – including cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. And the Okinawan Ratio may achieve the optimal dietary balance to achieve those effects... Unlike the rest of Asia, the Okinawan staple is not rice, but the sweet potato, first introduced in the early 17th Century through trade with the Netherlands. Okinawans also eat an abundance of green and yellow vegetables – such as the bitter melon – and various soy products. Although they do eat pork, fish and other meats, these are typically a small component of their overall consumption, which is mostly plant-based foods. The traditional Okinawan diet is therefore dense in the essential vitamins and minerals - including anti-oxidants - but also low in calories. Particularly in the past, before fast food entered the islands, the average Okinawan ate around 11% fewer calories than the normal recommended consumption for a healthy adult.For this reason, some scientists believe that Okinawans offer more evidence for the life-enhancing virtues of a “calorie restricted” diet... Solon-Biet has conducted a series of studies examining the influence of dietary composition (rather than sheer quantity) on ageing in animals, and her team has consistently found that a high-carb, low-protein diet extends the lifespan of various species, with her most recent study showing that it reduces some of the signs of ageing in the brain. Amazingly, they have found that the optimum ratio is 10 parts carb to one part protein – the same as the so-called Okinawan Ratio. Although there aren’t yet any controlled clinical trials in humans, Solon-Biet cites epidemiological work across the world that all point to similar conclusions. “Other long-lived populations have also been shown to have dietary patterns that include relatively low amounts of protein,” she says. “These include the Kitavans, [who live on] a small island in Papua New Guinea, the South American Tsimane people and populations that consume the Mediterranean diet.”"

Muslims, non-Muslims in M'sia barred from praying together under new directive - "Joint prayers at unity events involving both Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia have been barred under a directive issued by an agency under the Prime Minister’s Department.The directive from the committee to promote understanding and harmony between religions, which is under national unity and integration department... the 113rd Federal Territories-level meeting concluded that Muslims could not attend mass prayer events organised by non-Muslims or in functions where the meanings of such prayers can’t be understood.The Federal Territory body said these conclusions are based on the principle of sadd al-zara’i (to close off the paths of destruction) to stop the spread of religious pluralism, a belief that “conflicts with many religions”.The ban against Muslims is to also prevent the spread of other religions among Muslims according to the Article 11 of the federal constitution.According to Mr Yusof, Negri Sembilan’s mufti, the act of Muslims reciting the doa in a joint-prayer setting with non-Muslims lowers the status of Islam"

31 Shadiest Scams Restaurants Thought They Could Get Away With

Subway Response To 'Footlong' Controversy: Name 'Not Intended To Be A Measurement Of Length' - "After finding itself in the middle of an 11-inch controversy, Subway has responded to claims that its "Footlong" subway sandwich is one inch too short by saying that "Footlong" is only a name and not a measurement.The Subway Footlong debate began on Tuesday, when teenager Matt Corby ordered a supposed 12-inch sub from a Subway in Perth, Australia. Before eating, he pulled out a tape measure to see if the sandwich really measured up, only to discover that his Footlong was a measly 11 inches... Subway Australia posted a response to the Footlong controversy on its Facebook page, alleging that "Footlong" is merely creative license and does not designate measurement... The Subway Australia Facebook post has since been deleted"

Walking the Walk in Idolising Greta

After our daughter of fifteen years of age was moved to tears by the speech of Greta Thunberg at the UN the other day, she became angry with our generation “who had been doing nothing for thirty years.”

So, we decided to help her prevent what the girl on TV announced of “massive eradication and the disappearance of entire ecosystems.”

We are now committed to give our daughter a future again, by doing our part to help cool the planet four degrees.

From now on she will go to school on a bicycle, because driving her by car costs fuel, and fuel puts emissions into the atmosphere. Of course it will be winter soon and then she will want to go by bus, but only as long as it is a diesel bus.

Somehow, that does not seem to be conducive to ‘helping the Climate’.

Of course, she is now asking for an electric bicycle, but we have shown her the devastation caused to the areas of the planet as a result of mining for the extraction of lithium and other minerals used to make batteries for electric bicycles, so she will be pedaling, or walking. Which will not harm her, or the planet. We used to cycle and walk to school too.

Since the girl on TV demanded “we need to get rid of our dependency on fossil fuels” and our daughter agreed with her, we have disconnected the heat vent in her room. The temperature is now dropping to twelve degrees in the evening, and will drop below freezing in the winter, we have promised to buy her an extra sweater, hat, tights, gloves and a blanket.

For the same reason we have decided that from now on she only takes a cold shower. She will wash her clothes by hand, with a wooden washboard, because the washing machine is simply a power consumer, and since the dryer uses natural gas, she will hang her clothes on the clothes line to dry.

Speaking of clothes, the ones that she currently has are all synthetic, so made from petroleum. Therefore on Monday, we will bring all her designer clothing to the secondhand shop.

We have found an eco store where the only clothing they sell is made from undyed and unbleached linen, wool and jute.

It shouldn’t matter that it looks good on her, or that she is going to be laughed at, dressing in colorless, bland clothes and without a wireless bra, but that is the price she has to pay for the benefit of The Climate.

Cotton is out of the question, as it comes from distant lands and pesticides are used for it. Very bad for the environment.

We just saw on her Instagram that she’s pretty angry with us. This was not our intention.

From now on, at 7 p.m. we will turn off the WiFi and we will only switch it on again the next day after dinner for two hours. In this way we will save on electricity, so she is not bothered by electro-stress and will be totally isolated from the outside world. This way, she can concentrate solely on her homework. At eleven o’clock in the evening we will pull the breaker to shut the power off to her room, so she knows that dark is really dark. That will save a lot of CO2.

She will no longer be participating in winter sports to ski lodges and resorts, nor will she be going on any more vacations with us, because our vacation destinations are practically inaccessible by bicycle.

Since our daughter fully agrees with the girl on TV that the CO2 emissions and footprints of her great-grandparents are to blame for ‘killing our planet’, what all this simply means, is that she also has to live like her great-grandparents, and they never had a holiday, a car, or even a bicycle.

We haven’t talked about the carbon footprint of food yet.

Zero CO2 footprint means no meat, no fish and no poultry, but also no meat substitutes that are based on soy (after all, that grows in farmers’ fields, that use machinery to harvest the beans, trucks to transport to the processing plants, where more energy is used, then trucked to the packaging/canning plants, and trucked once again to the stores) and also no imported food, because that has a negative ecological effect. And absolutely no chocolate from Africa, no coffee from South America, and no tea from Asia.

Only homegrown potatoes, vegetables and fruit that have been grown in local cold soil, because greenhouses run on boilers, piped in CO2 and artificial light. Apparently, these things are also bad for The Climate. We will teach her how to grow her own food.

Bread is still possible, but butter, milk, cheese and yogurt, cottage cheese and cream come from cows and they emit CO2. No more margarine and no oils will be used for the frying pan, because that fat is palm oil from plantations in Borneo where rain forests first grew.

No ice cream in the summer. No soft drinks and no energy drinks, as the bubbles are CO2. She wanted to lose some pounds, well, this will help her achieve that goal too.

We will also ban all plastic, because it comes from chemical factories. Everything made of steel and aluminum must also be removed. Have you ever seen the amount of energy a blast furnace consumes or an aluminum smelter? Uber bad for the climate!

We will replace her 9600 coil memory foam pillow top mattress with a jute bag filled with straw, with a horse hair pillow.

And finally, she will no longer be using makeup, soap, shampoo, cream, lotion, conditioner, toothpaste and medication. Her sanitary napkins will be replaced with pads made of linen, that she can wash by hand, with her wooden washboard, just like her female ancestors did before climate change made her angry at us for destroying her future.

In this way we will help her to do her part to prevent mass extinction, water levels rising and the disappearance of entire ecosystems.

If she truly believes she wants to walk the talk of the girl on TV, she will gladly accept and happily embrace her new way of life.

Links - 11th November 2019 (1)

Gender neutral uniform sparks protest at Lewes Priory School - "About 150 parents and pupils have staged a protest outside a secondary school over gender neutral uniforms.Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, made trousers compulsory for new and existing students for the new term.The school said "concerns" had been raised over the length of girls' skirts and new rules also catered for a handful of transgender pupils.Protesters have said pupils should have a choice to wear skirts, while others believe clothes are being wasted... The Conservative MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, also tweeted: "Very disturbed to see the school turning away girls from Priory school because they choose to wear a skirt and calling the police on them."This is not how we should be treating the young women of Lewes."Libby Murray, who is in her final year, said the new rule meant clothes were going to be thrown away, which would contribute to the climate change crisis... In 2017, the school introduced a trouser-only policy for new students. It brought in the blanket ban on skirts for all students on Friday."
Amusingly, someone was insisting that this was the fault of Muslims despite a lack of any evidence for that (and indeed evidence to the contrary)

James Taranto on Twitter - ""Trump loves to tout the black unemployment rate and it actually just fell to a record low"
"Gotta love how @CNN shows its bias even when accusing @realDonaldTrump of being right. It's compulsive."

A conservative blog | pax-britannica: White people CANNOT DIE. Death... - "White people CANNOT DIE. Death is loss of life + prejudice ÷ √oppression × institutionalised power ÷ racism. White people can experience LOSS OF LIFE, but not death."
On racism = power + prejudice

People May Think All Lawyers Are Prostitutes, But This Lawyer Is Literally A Prostitute - "Katie Sears works as a criminal defense attorney in Iowa but in her spare time she flies to Nevada to work in a brothel. While attorneys going into prostitution have made news before, the narrative is usually an unfortunate tale of women who went into sex work because they needed the money. Thankfully, Sears is available to offer the counter-narrative that gets overshadowed by troubling tales of coercion and human trafficking — a lot of sex workers actually just like their jobs... Sears, who took on prostitution three years ago, hopes that opening up about her other job can help change people’s attitudes about it... Sears, who works with her husband at the firm of Clark & Sears, carries her side hustle into her advocacy, taking on prostitution cases pro bono to help sex workers in trouble, suing brothels that allegedly fail to pay their workers, and advocating for decriminalization to help combat sex trafficking practices that flourish while the industry is kept in the shadows."

Katie Hannigan on Twitter - "My friend got a degree in egyptology, but can’t get a job, So he’s paying more money to get a Phd, so he can work teaching other people egyptology. In his case college is literally a pyramid scheme."
Comment: "Is it just me or does it seem like the actual joke here is missed by most people? Guys: Egyptology ---> archeology + Egypt ---> study of pyramids. It's both literally and figuratively a pyramide scheme. You're welcome"

Steam boss Gabe Newell is a viral star in China - "An estimated 30 million of its users are said to be in China, where gamers love Steam for more than just cheap games. Since Steam operates from overseas, Chinese gamers can use the platform to buy games that aren’t officially available in China or are censored in the country. Operating within this legal gray area may soon come to an end, though, as Valve prepares to launch an official version of Steam for China"

Andy Swan on Twitter - "NYT switched the boogeyman from “Russians” to “White Supremacists” and none of the NPCs missed a beat. That’s evidence of really clean code. #STEM"

Now sites can fingerprint you online even when you use multiple browsers - "Researchers have recently developed the first reliable technique for websites to track visitors even when they use two or more different browsers. This shatters a key defense against sites that identify visitors based on the digital fingerprint their browsers leave behind.State-of-the-art fingerprinting techniques are highly effective at identifying users when they use browsers with default or commonly used settings. For instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's privacy tool, known as Panopticlick, found that only one in about 77,691 browsers had the same characteristics as the one commonly used by this reporter. Such fingerprints are the result of specific settings and customizations found in a specific browser installation, including the list of plugins, the selected time zone, whether a "do not track" option is turned on, and whether an adblocker is being used.Until now, however, the tracking has been limited to a single browser... Cross-browser fingerprinting is only the latest trick developers have come up with to track people who visit their sites. Besides traditional single-browser fingerprinting, other tracking methods include monitoring the way visitors type passwords and other text and embedding inaudible sound in TV commercials or websites. The Tor browser without an attached microphone or speakers is probably the most effective means of protection, although the researchers said running a browser inside a virtual machine may also work."

Mouthwash after exercise may counter blood pressure benefit, study finds - "A new study found using antibacterial mouthwash after working out negated the blood-pessure-lowering effects of exercise... the mouth contains billions of bacteria at any time, and not all of them are harmful. This study was designed to look at the species of bacteria that use nitrate and convert it into nitric oxide, which when swallowed helps maintain a widening of blood vessels that leads to the ongoing effect of exercise on blood pressure."

Amber Heard Worried She Will Be 'Demonized' In Johnny Depp Lawsuit, Wants Details Kept Private - "Amber Heard wants details of her ongoing lawsuit with Johnny Depp to be kept private, and claims the information could cause significant damage to her family and friends."
Strange how when she was the one alleging abuse, she didn't care about this

Andrew Yang told to “go back to China” - "Right wing pastor and radio host Jesse Lee Peterson declared on his show that “there’s this little Asian guy or Chinese guy, whatever he is, he should go back to China, or where ever he came from, Andrew Yang.”"
"Black people can't be racist"

How 'Dungeons & Dragons' Primes Students for Interdisciplinary Learning, Including STEM - "Studies have shown that the highly social and collaborative nature of the popular fantasy role-playing game cultivates a range of social-emotional skills, which can lay the foundation for improved learning. In addition to these crucial soft skills, teachers and professors who have used the game also claim it directly benefits core academic competencies... Although Dungeons & Dragons seems better suited to teach humanities, every shield block and fireball relies on a little bit of science and lots of math.“It may seem odd, but in a fantasy game with magic, players often have to learn about basic physics and chemistry to determine what to do," said Ian Slater who teaches at York University and runs Black Dragon Games. "Not to determine how a magic-user can shoot a lightning bolt from their fingers, but rather to determine, for example, if a suit of plate mail would be magnetized by the strike of a lightning bolt.”... “D&D is full of this sort of basic mathematical stuff, and players soak it up as they play," said Slater. “Indeed, since knowing how these mechanics work has direct implications for the survival of their character, players tend to learn the mathematics pretty quickly.”There are numerous websites, forums and online calculators to assist players with mathematical assistance to further their progress. With no coaxing from parents and teachers, players are motivated to research and access these resources to optimize their play, an inevitable boon to their numeracy skills. Carter observed many of her previously demoralized students become invested in math due to the game... These intriguing case studies point to what a comprehensive learning program might look like if subjects and skills were not taught in isolation from each other, but integrated into a single cohesive system where students are intrinsically motivated to participate"

Bernie Sanders in climate change 'population control' uproar - "Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been criticised after arguing population control should be part of tackling climate change.The Vermont senator told a TV debate that women "in poor countries" should have access to birth control.Conservatives said the remark meant the self-described democratic socialist's climate change policy was for fewer "brown babies".The UN forecasts the Earth's population will rise to 11 billion by 2100.On social media on Thursday, Mr Sanders was likened to a Marvel movie villain.Senator Ted Cruz said the Democratic White House hopeful's remarks evoked Thanos, the Avengers baddie who kills half the world's population with a snap of his fingers... "Imagine being so disgusting that you want to force Americans to pay for abortions to kill brown babies in foreign countries so you don't feel guilty flying private jets & visiting communist nations."CNN host SE Cupp accused Mr Sanders of entertaining the racist ideology of eugenics."

Loch Ness Monster may be a giant eel, say scientists - "Researchers from New Zealand have tried to catalogue all living species in the loch by extracting DNA from water samples.Following analysis, the scientists have ruled out the presence of large animals said to be behind reports of a monster... "So there's no shark DNA in Loch Ness based on our sampling. There is also no catfish DNA in Loch Ness based on our sampling. We can't find any evidence of sturgeon either,"There is a very significant amount of eel DNA. Eels are very plentiful in Loch Ness, with eel DNA found at pretty much every location sampled - there are a lot of them. So - are they giant eels?"Well, our data doesn't reveal their size, but the sheer quantity of the material says that we can't discount the possibility that there may be giant eels in Loch Ness. Therefore we can't discount the possibility that what people see and believe is the Loch Ness Monster might be a giant eel."... Explanations for the monster offered in the past include it being swimming circus elephants.In his research of Nessie, Glasgow-based palaeontologist Neil Clark found fairs and circuses were a common occurrence in the Inverness area, particularly from the early 1930s.He said elephants may have been allowed to swim in the loch while the travelling carnivals stopped to give the animals a rest.Another theory is that large fallen branches floating in the loch are the cause of monster sightings."

Man who robbed bank to get away from wife sentenced to home confinement - "A Kansas man who robbed a bank last September and told police that he was hoping to get caught so he would get prison time to escape his wife was sentenced Tuesday to six months of home confinement... Ripple handed a note to a bank teller in Kansas City demanding cash and warning he had a gun. Ripple took the money, $2,924, and went to sit in the lobby, where he told a guard he was the “guy he was looking for.”  Officers arrived quickly. An FBI agent wrote in the affidavit that Ripple had earlier been arguing with his wife. He told investigators he wrote the note in front of his wife, telling her he would “rather be in jail than at home.”"

Man, 24, marries cousin, 81, to 'get out of doing military service' - "A 24-year-old man in Ukraine has been accused of marrying his 81-year-old disabled cousin to escape military service.Alexander Kondratyuk allegedly wedded Zinaida Illarionovna, who is 57 years his senior, to take advantage of the rules of exception to Ukraine’s compulsory conscription.Military service in Ukraine is compulsory for physically-able male citizens aged 18 to 26.However, if a man is responsible for looking after a wife who is disabled, he is exempt from service."

Study: Kids Who Spend Time in Nature Become Happier Adults - "it seemed that the more time children spent in nature, the better as far as mental health outcomes were concerned."

Army chiefs plan to end ban on male soldiers wearing make-up while on duty - "ARMY chiefs are considering allowing male soldiers to wear make-up.Only female troops are allowed cosmetics while on duty under Queen’s Regulations... Among advice on equality, diversity and inclusion, they ruled that for men “make-up is not to be worn” — but women are allowed if it is “inconspicuous”... In 2017 military officials banned phrases such as “mankind” and “sportsmanship” amid fears they upset women and trans groups.“Chaps” was to be swapped for “people, folks, friends or you all”. “Gentleman’s agreement” was replaced with “unwritten agreement”."
Different fitness standards are also discrimination
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