"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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Monday, January 27, 2020

Links - 27th January 2020 (2)

We're Only Fooling Ourselves : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘I can believe that I'm a nice person and I can do horrible things and you should think that if I do a horrible thing, I’ll think I'm a bad person now, but somehow we can interpret evidence and filter it to still think that we're great no matter what we do… you're cheating yourself. So if you think about so I definitely am motivated to convince you that I'm a nice person, even if I'm wrong. It's a little bit more curious that I'd be motivated to convince myself that I'm still a nice person, if I do a bad thing, because I may as well just accurately perceive who I am... [One theory is] that the best way to convince you of a lie, if I want to get something from you, and it's not really true, is to lie to myself... Imagine taking a test with the answers at the bottom. And you can glance at the answers whenever you like. Well, it turns out, you do a lot better on the test. The problem is, we then say how well are you going to do on another test, without the answers? And people should say, well, let me think here, wait a minute... If they're at all sensible, they would say to themselves, I wonder if my perfect score on that first test had something to do with having all the answers at the bottom, at least they’d correct a little bit and we find they don't correct at all. So they really self deceived... we even pay them to be accurate... no effect at all’...
'People who think better, that their partner is better than their partner really is are happier in their relationships. But that doesn't mean that it's better for your partner for you to think you're better than you are. So I think there's this interesting balance between the erroneous beliefs that are a little positive and having to deal, so it's nice if I think you're great. It's not so nice if I think I'm great and you have to wake up to me every morning'"

The Switching Type : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘Your interest in price or the degree to which you value getting a good deal was actually not related at all to switching. But what was related was locomotion. So customers who have a higher locomotion score are more likely to say that they will switch or more likely to have recently switched.’
‘So basically what's happening is that people who are switching the companies that are advertising price, but the people are switching are just the switching types. So is there a way to take switching types and get them to switch less? Is there a different type of message?’
‘So there is a message and what this research shows is that it's not necessarily about switching specifically, but it's about feeling like you're getting something done or being in motion, making progress towards goals. So we can give customers a way to feel like they're making progress without that progress being switching, then we can sort of appease them and make them feel like they're getting something done but letting them stay… we designed an email that had a little icon at the top that said, you've moved into your new house, you've unpacked but yet you still need to do this and switch back. And so we made them feel like they still needed to work on their to do list and actually make progress. And the thing that needed to be done was to switch back to this provider that they may have just switched from’"

Unconscious Decision-Making : Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University; John W. Payne, Joseph J. Ruvane, Jr. Professor of Management and Marketing : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘People who went off and worked in the garden did better than those who thought for four minutes. But those people who thought for 25 seconds until they were you know, comfortable making a decision did every bit as well as the unconscious thought’...
‘It's not so much unconscious versus conscious [thought]. That if you ask people to think too much, then they can actually make a mistake. Is that?’
‘You can do bad conscious thinking. And when you do bad conscious thinking, you make bad decisions… We may study and study and study and a good example might be in some financial decisions, or college choice decisions, etc. And what we end up doing sometimes is because we overthink it, we start paying attention to irrelevant information as much as relevant information.’...
'Magnitudes mattered. So for example, if we gave you a lottery task, and it wasn't just whether you won money or didn't, but you could win $4 or 14… where the payoffs mattered the more, the magnitudes mattered the more, there we found that the conscious self actually outperformed the unconscious...
Most people read the first half of Blink, they don't read the second half of Blink. If you read the second half of Blink, he actually, to be honest and fair to Malcolm Gladwell, he actually points out the places where your gut can lead you astray. And it turns out that you got quick blink responses work well under certain circumstances. You get clear feedback, you get a lot of it. You can over time learn. And you then make a decision that there's some stability, in terms of decision how is mapped on to the decisions that you've learned from. If that's not true, your gut can lead you very much astray'"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, How dangerous is your food delivery? - "[On London] There are parts of the capital that drivers see as no go areas because they're known gang hotspots, but some of the apps make them hard to avoid"I suppose No Go Zones aren't a paranoid right wing conspiracy theory anymore. Especially coming from food delivery riders, who are largely (?) minorities

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Bakers: Earning a crust - "‘I feel a little bit shy to say that our bakery is doing fairly well. We have the advantage I guess, of having those primary ingredients being grown here in Canada, so I don't really import anything. So my costs are fairly low. Our major costs are rent and labor, to find people who are willing to start a shift at one o'clock in the morning. You can't pay them, you know, minimum wage and nor should you. And I definitely find versus restaurants, bakeries are very expensive to start up. You spend so many years just paying off equipment. The ovens are extraordinarily expensive. I would compare an oven to, you know, a high end luxury car’
‘And how do margins compare with running a restaurant?’
‘There's no comparison. You know, I'm not bringing in meat or fish. I don't have to buy cases of wine or have wine glasses, even if you're paying in our case for a bag of organic flour, $60 Canadian or $50 US. That bag of flour is going to make me quite a few loaves of bread. So versus a restaurant, a successful restaurant that's got a 4% margin per year of profit. You know bakeries are easily in the double digits.’…
‘Having three children at home I find that the hours lend itself very well to my family life versus the restaurants. I'll start generally between one and three o'clock in the morning, but I finish around two or three o'clock in the afternoon. So you know, a 12 hour day isn't uncommon. But I'm there for picking up my kids from school, doing the homework and having dinner… I don't think that this is necessarily a business for people who require eight to 10 hours of sleep a night… I would say on a good night I'm getting six hours.’"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Why the prince left public life - "Across South Asia we use a lot of spices in food here and onions are something that reduce the intensity of those spice. It's a pungent vegetable that adds a distinctive taste to many of the dishes. That also, it's the vegetable that is available throughout the year because it's cultivated four times a year and you can store it up for months. So, on the days when you cannot afford or on the days when you cannot buy vegetable from the market, you can just use onion as a substitute"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Trump impeachment hearings go public - "[On Bolivia] ‘This is now resembling the governments of old, i.e. European, white, not majority indigenous in what is still the one nation in the Americas that has a majority indigenous population.’"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Turkey goes to war - "[Trump:] ‘We want to bring our troops back home. And I got elected on that. If you go back and look at our speeches, I would say we want to bring our troops back home from these endless wars.’...
‘Isn't bringing US troops home generally popular?’
‘Yes, it is. There's a saying in American politics that Republicans want a massive military and they don't want to send it anywhere. And Democrats want a small military and they want to send it everywhere’"

What’s the Difference Between English, Irish and Scottish Breakfast Teas? - "Breakfast teas are black tea blends intended to accompany a hearty, rich morning meal (think of the full English breakfast or fry-up) and are therefore more robust than afternoon tea blends. Because they are so strong, breakfast teas go well with milk. Breakfast tea blends made with Assam tea tend to have higher caffeine levels...
Irish breakfast tea has a strong Assam component, which gives it a more robust, malty flavor and reddish color...
Scottish breakfast tea tends to be the heartiest of the bunch, possibly due to Scotland’s soft water... It’s important to note that at no time has there been a standard formula for any of these blends. “One company’s English breakfast could be identical to another company’s Irish breakfast”"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Robert Burns - "He is writing an autobiographical letter, he describes how love and poesie [sp?] began together. And he tells the story about one of the plus sides of being on the farm, I think, was when he was working on the harvest at age 15. And by his side was a very attractive 14 year old, and he had worked out that in order to perhaps get some tender feelings from his co worker, he could, he could try a poem or a song. So he makes no secret of that. In fact, he's rather proud of it. But we also know that not much later than that he had a relationship with Elizabeth Patton, a servant girl. She became pregnant by him. And there was a scandal about that. He had to answer for that. In the Kirk. He didn't marry Elizabeth. By the time she had her baby, he was already interested in Jean Armor, who also became pregnant by him quite quickly. He also had a complication with Mary Campbell. We don't know quite what's happened there. It’s possible she was pregnant as well. So he was one of these, obviously very attractive man who didn't get really go for either/or, if there were plenty of opportunities."

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Rapture - "‘One of the interesting things to emphasize that was picked up in bits and pieces and several comments is that people coming to, you know, to hear about some of these ideas of dispensations and rapture for the first time would probably assume, this is very anti rationalist. And this is liable to come from and take hold amongst people who are not very educated and maybe socially deprived. But that's just not the history of the beginnings of dispensationalism. In Ireland, in Britain and America, this takes hold first amongst political elites, the most educated scholars, the leaders of mainline Protestant denominations, in the case of America. And in America takes root in New York and Chicago and Boston first, which is probably not the places that people would associate with this sort of thought now. And it's really not until after, into the post war era, that this thought is kind of abandoned by scholars and leaders of mainline denominations and political leaders in some countries, and becomes more of an anti intellectual movement of the people. That's a shift that takes place much later.’"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Rousseau on Education - "'He admits at one point that he enjoys the sister of the clergyman who's teaching him spanks him and he thinks that excites him as a boy. It's one of the things that he confesses to in his Confessions, one of his posthumously published works'
'Alright. Does that lead to anything?'
'Well it leads to a great deal because obviously to Rousseau,confessing your sins but not doing it in the manner of St Augustine is... the idea of confessing your sin is something that you need to do, but with the idea in the back of your mind that you're good'...
'He wasn't very keen on children reading books. He wanted them to experience the difficulties of life, making things, trying to make things, failing in things, playing, socialising and all that. At one stage he says 'I hate books'.... And he's not allowed to read a book... until he's 13 or so. And that's Robinson Crusoe to sort of teach you how to pull your life together from scraps'...
'In some ways, Rousseau's an author who is successful like many authors because the following generation completely misunderstands him. And turning him into an advocate of austere Republican morality, which is what the French Revolutionaries do and also an advocate of rebellion against contemporary society. The idea of a revolution in France, in Paris, which for Rousseau is just so beyond the pale, it's so corrupting, it would never, he would argue, it would never be conceivable. So they're going directly against Rousseau but they believe that he is the ultimate critic of existing society'"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Dorothy Hodgkin - "‘She's the only British woman to have won the Nobel prize. Why do you think she's not better known?’...
‘Marie Curie... is well known because she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. I personally think she's an absolutely appalling role model. When people talk now about the need for role women, role models to encourage more women into science, [she’s] presented as someone who's always alone in the laboratory, who sacrificed her life, her interests to science. Dorothy Hodgkin, was, seems to me a very, very nice, warm, generous person. She had a family whom she absolutely adored. She was, she just got on with the work in a very quiet unassuming way. And for some reason, we like to have great geniuses, great heroes of science who, who was rather nasty, or who’ve got some scandalous story to tell. She, to me is the absolute role model of what a woman in science should be’"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Napoleon's Retreat from Moscow - "Napoleon completely misunderstood Alexander's position, both his strengths and his weakness. His weakness was that Tsardom was often characterized by the phrase autocracy tempered by assassination. And Alexander, in fact, had come to the throne in 1801, when his father had been assassinated, because he’d offended the elites in Russia by what seemed like capricious policy. And Alexander couldn't afford to offend the elite in the Guards Regiment, who were very patriotic and would not have tolerated coming to terms with Napoleon...
‘One might think it's a French army, it isn't. 40% of it’s French. The next largest national contingent would be various German contingents from the smaller German states and from Austria and from Prussia which have been compelled to send units in. So the German speakers would be roughly about a quarter, 20%. So it's still a 100,000 plus would be Polish speakers. And then you'd have other nationalities too: Italians, Spanish speakers, even a minority of Portuguese, people from the Balkans. It is a European army’
‘That must have been extraordinarily difficult to control.’
It is and that that becomes apparent really during the retreat. But even during the advance, it's an army of such a size that a single person sitting on a white horse hasn't got any oversight. And yet the kind of structures you get later on in the 19th century, of General Staff, what modern armies have, that doesn't exist in this period. So that's a real weakness, the command and control - rather the lack of it.’"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Treaty of Limerick - "‘I remember someone saying to me when I was studying history a number of years ago that had Mary lived as long as her sister and had the Tudor conquest of Ireland being a Catholic Tudor conquest, that all the Irish would have been roaring Presbyterians, you know, to be, just to be difficult.’"

European Millennials Are Not Like Their American Counterparts

Europe's Young Are Not That Woke - The Atlantic

"In public perception, age is often related to political views. “Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head,” the 19th-century French monarchist François Guizot is supposed to have said...

There is indeed some evidence that people become more conservative with age, as an individual’s views evolve with one’s lifestyle and needs. However, most research suggests that one’s political outlook is formed at an early age, shaped by major economic and political events. In the United States, economic insecurity has pushed Millennials (born from 1981 to 1996) and Gen Zers (born after 1996) to the left on nearly every policy issue, economic and cultural alike...

If a European-style welfare state is the preferred destination of young Americans, where are young Europeans heading? After all, they already have most of the things their transatlantic counterparts say they want...

Polls show growing support among younger European voters for policies advanced by left-wing parties. Millennials and Gen Zers value public services; they worry about racial and other forms of discrimination, as well as about climate change. They are more pro-European than previous generations and more willing to hand over new governing powers to Brussels.

Yet on closer inspection, Europe’s young are less progressive—or “woke”—than their American contemporaries. A third of Millennial and Gen Z voters in Europe consider themselves centrists, compared with about a fifth who are on the center left and fewer than a 10th who are far left. Young Europeans may worry about the environment, but for four out of five under-25s, it is not their No. 1 or even their No. 2 priority. And they are emphatically not socialists. Like their parents, most of them believe that the private sector is better at creating jobs than the state is, that work contracts should become more flexible, and that competition is good. Indeed, under-25s have a more positive view of globalization than do older cohorts.

In the U.S., Millennials and Gen Zers are losing their belief in the American dream, with its individualistic promise that your destiny is in your own hands. Some surveys even put socialism ahead of capitalism with very young voters. In Europe, by contrast, the under-30s are more disposed than their parents to view poverty as a result of an individual’s choice. Even as they still support the social contract typical for Europe, whereby the welfare state limits inequality and provides generous public services, they are also less in favor than older generations of fiscal redistribution to reduce inequality.

Research from the International Monetary Fund shows that the young bore the brunt of Europe’s post-2008 economic downturn. Because pensions and salaries—especially in the public sector—were relatively well protected, older voters were much less exposed to the consequences of the financial crisis. It was younger Europeans who were hit by very high unemployment rates, precarious or part-time employment, and the low wages that go with such jobs. Moreover, fiscal-consolidation efforts generally hit younger age groups harder than older ones, especially pensioners.

All of this has contributed to a growing generational economic divide. The inflation-adjusted income of EU pensioners has risen by nearly 10 percent since 2007, according to the IMF, while that of the rest of the population fell during the financial crisis and has only recently regained its precrisis level. Before the crisis, the under-25s were not much more at risk of poverty than the over-64s. Now they are nearly 10 percentage points more likely to be poor...

Many young Americans share Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s vision of democratic socialism as something that already exists in northern Europe. “What we have in mind and what my policies most closely resemble,” she told Anderson Cooper earlier this year, “are what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland, in Sweden.”

However, the young people who actually live in those countries have a less rose-tinted view of European welfare states. During the crisis, Europe’s young learned that the welfare state in practice provides a much bigger safety net for older voters than for younger ones.

According to polls, only about a fifth of Americans under 35 want the U.S. president to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Among the older age groups, support for the wall is evenly divided. Yet in Europe, Millennials and Gen Zers are not fundamentally different from the population as a whole when it comes to immigration. Survey data show that they have a more positive view of immigration (from inside and outside the EU) than do older generations. Almost as much as their parents, however, they want national governments and the EU to take additional measures to fight illegal immigration...

For many Central and eastern Europeans, the collapse of the Soviet Union was as much about restoring national independence as it was about restoring liberty and democracy. They have little appetite for ceding sovereignty to Brussels."

Links - 27th January 2020 (1)

How my iPhone landed me with a £476 fine and made me a criminal | Financial Times - "a bus inspector asked to see my £1.50 ticket. I had tapped into the bus with my iPhone using Apple Pay, but alas, in the five minutes since I’d boarded, my phone had run out of juice, so I had no means of proving that I had paid... I had been charged with failing to produce a valid ticket on a Transport for London service — and that I had 21 days to plead either “guilty or not guilty”. TfL said it had sent a letter ahead of this, but I never received it... I had recently switched my bank account to make use of a £100 bonus offer. And that meant the current account that had been linked to my Apple Pay in October no longer existed, so getting a statement was going to be tricky.My old bank told me they could get me a statement, but that they needed to send it to me in paper form, which would take 7-10 working days. And although I did give them my new address, they somehow sent the statement to the old one, delaying me by several more days.Finally, on January 16, I got the bank statement showing the date in question. There it was, on October 8: £6.80 for “TfL travel” on October 6. I was relieved to see that I had hit the payment cap for travel in zones 1 and 2: given that the bus in question was in zone 2, I would surely be vindicated. I swiftly sent off a picture of my bank statement to TfL and requested that they withdraw the charge.But a week later, I was told that the bank statement was not sufficient. “If you have registered your contactless card with TfL you are in a position to obtain your own detailed journey history,” I was told, while also advised to “urgently enter (my) plea”.Well, the problem was that I hadn’t registered my card, had I? And nor had I ever been told that I needed to — I was only faintly aware that registering a bank card was even possible... “There is no requirement for cards to be registered, the same as paying for any goods and services in a shop”. But it’s not the same, actually; in a shop, you are given a breakdown in the form of a receipt.I didn’t hear back from the woman at TfL; though it later said it had sent a letter, I never received one. But a few days later, I received a letter telling me that my case had been heard in a magistrates' court, that I had been found guilty, and I owed £476.50. By now I was feeling quite put out. I tried the number I’d originally called, but they couldn’t help, and I was given another number to call. That pointed me to an email address I was to write to, appealing against the decision. Having had no reply from that, I was given another email address, and still no reply. I sent five emails during these weeks — all of them unanswered, despite my labelling the messages “Urgent”.On April 26, £476.50 was docked from my pay cheque, as instructed by the court... I had an interview at the US Embassy in London for a media “I” visa for a five-week “bleisure” trip — California for a holiday and New York for work. I was due to set off on May 4... I was told in no uncertain terms by a most disagreeable official that there was no way I would be travelling to the US on May 4, and that I needed to get a police records certificate before they would even think about issuing me with a visa.I finally got my passport back, and my US visa, almost two weeks after I was due to travel, having spent another £90 on the certificate. My flights were non-exchangeable and non-refundable. By this stage I was over £1,000 down and I couldn’t afford to rebook my flights. The whole trip was off... I have now invested in a portable charger. I must stop forgetting to charge it."Being unable to turn on your phone is basically like losing your paper ticket

Why is the world's financial plumbing under pressure? - "In June 1887, Mr Primrose sent a message to his agent in Kansas about buying wool. Because the Western Union telegraph company charged by the word, the message was in code to save money. It was supposed to say "BAY ALL KINDS QUO", meaning "I've bought half a million pounds of wool".  But it actually read "BUY ALL KINDS QUO", which the Kansas agent understood as an instruction to "Please buy half a million pounds of wool".  Primrose lost $20,000 - several million dollars in today's terms.  And Western Union wouldn't compensate him, because he could have paid a few cents extra for the message to be verified - but had not.  Clearly, there was a need for a way to send financial information more reliably than through a vacuum tube and more securely than via telegraph in an easily-mistranscribable code."
Episode 139: Witches, Bitches — The Art History Babes - "‘The Spanish Inquisition, strangely enough, were very skeptical about witches and didn't really worry that much about witches. It seems that the Protestants were way more freaked out about witches. Puritan, Protes-, oh, they were like very, very afraid and you could literally just be a pubescent girl who maybe just disobeyed a couple of times and someone could label you a witch and you would either shape up or ship out.’"

Episode 142: Spooky Corner: Zombies — The Art History Babes - "‘The hugely important 1968 George Romero first film Night of the Living Dead. We all know Night of the Living Dead and I'm sure you do too, even if you haven't seen it because famously George Romero never copyrighted the movie. So in every horror movie ever, if there's a horror movie on the screen in that movie, it's Night of the Living Dead because it's in the public domain… this movie, not even, not just made zombies huge in cultural importance. It also basically created the modern horror movie... I’ll be so surprised if you didn't come out of that movie saying like, oh man, it was so cliched. It did all these different stuff. It's not cliche. This is the one that started all those cliches. This is the origin of the modern horror that it basically brought gore and nihilism to horror, which, surprisingly, wasn't there really prior to this... The zombies eat people in this one. They're all cannibals. That did not happen until this movie. All of these survivors are holed up into a house. The commentary in this movie is the scariest thing is not outside trying to get in. It's what's inside... there's a white family in there with another patriarchal figure that is struggling to cope with taking orders from this other [black] man'...
There are local police basically going up and rounding up and shooting zombies in the head, which is another thing this one's brought to the zombie lore is that you can only kill zombies by shooting in the head, thank you Night of the Living Dead... Return of the Living Dead, of the same year 1985. Which brought another famous trope to zombies that I'm sure you all know, that zombies eat brains. That didn't happen until this movie… I love Return of the Living Dead, I think it's a fun movie but it is not the the cultural phenomenon that things like Night of the Living Dead, or Dawn of the Dead were and we're now at, you know, 1985 and the first zombie film was 1932"

Episode 143: The Art of Instagram with Caroline Calloway — The Art History Babes - "‘I studied art history at Cambridge University. It's a three year program. absolutely incredible. They use the City of Cambridge to actually teach you the history of art, everything from putting you in buses and taking you out to look at cave paintings to the Roman ruins that Cambridge is based on. Cantabria was the Roman river port, and that's actually what our emails are. It's @cantab.net... from all that up into the Baroque chapels and Gothic architecture and the modern art that is in collections in the different colleges. And so you get a really exhaustive look at the full sweep of the history of art. A pattern that I've seen repeated over and over is that technology is always looked down upon. You know, first it was like new pigments and paint and synthetic pigments seeing as, like, of lesser merit. But more, I think more analogous is the example of the introduction of photography, when like cameras were first invented, I mean, people were like, this is technology. This is science. This is too democratized because anyone can buy a fucking camera. And you know, you have to go to ‘art school’ to learn how to paint. And it was also younger people who were interested in buying cameras and making art with it. And now, almost every major museum in the world has a photography collection, and I'm not out here trying to say that all Instagram posts are fine art or every tweet, you know, is art. But I'm not saying every short story or every painting is good art. I really just think we need a reevaluation of, of how much potential we allow social media to have as an expressive media, as an expressive medium. And I also think a twin bias with our bias against technology is our bias against media that is the purview of young women in particular. And Instagram has really become an area where young women express themselves visually and if you just look at anything, you know, samplers come to mind, you know, things that, embroidery, things that were sort of like girl crafts scrapbooks, another good example. All of these things were things that young girls did for creative expression. And they're not considered fine art. I mean, but barely so'"
Applied and decorative arts like wrought iron candlesticks aren't considered fine art either. But because they're made by men you can't blame sexism

Sexual Economics : Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘How do men want sex to be portrayed?’
‘In general, men like sex and find sex appealing. And so in general men like sex based ads, when they see an ad that uses very sexual imagery, their general predisposition is to like it. Now, I'm going to tell you later that we found one exception to this, which is extremely notable.’ ‘Tell me now’
‘Okay, tell you now. So we made some sex based ads. And we refigured them sort of, and we decided to change the features in them. And in one experiment, we decided to make the ad be particular to a man giving a woman a gift. And so we have a sexual ad. And then alongside it is a woman's watch and the woman's watch is said to be a gift from a man to that special woman in his life. And in this experiment, and this experiment alone, there's been no other data like this in the literature, we find that men do not like a sexual add when it reminds them that they have to give up resources in order to be in a sexual context.’
‘So men like sex, but they like free sex more than paid sex’
‘Indeed, and they like to, they prefer to not think about sex in terms of resource exchange. But women, on the other hand, find the idea of resource exchange very appealing. And so if you remind women, in many different forms, we’ve done this several different ways, if you remind them that they may be getting resources or that some women may be getting resources to be sexual, then they like sexual ads more.'"

What Makes a Drug Desirable? : Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga has estimated that if an average student takes Ritalin while writing their SAT, they'll do, they'll score like 100 points higher or something like that.’"

Making Difficult Decisions : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘If somebody else chooses for you unappetizing food, you kind of okay with it but if you have to choose yourself that's really miserable. And part of it is you blame yourself for it?’..
‘You feel responsible for like an undesirable outcome... We thought about healthcare, and we thought that there are a lot of situations in which you have options in front of you, or for example, health treatment or cancer treatment, and all of these options are undesirable. Do you want to have radiation, or do you want to have camo or do you want to have surgery... But somehow, nowadays different from like about 30 years ago. This choice is up to the patients.’"

The Irrationality of Sports Betting : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘People are optimistic about their favorite teams. So they, they're not only more likely to bet on favorites versus underdogs, sort of across all games, but they also are more likely to bet on teams they like versus teams they dislike, but those two effects are independent, independent’
‘Because I always thought that from a portfolio perspective, you should always bet on a team that that you don't like. Because then you'll be a little bit happy regardless of the outcome. Whereas if you've bet on a team that you like, you'll be happy when they won and happy when you get the money, but there'll be fewer, you will not spread the happiness across all games.
‘Yeah, so that's like an emotional hedge, basically. And, in fact, I'm the only person I know who does that. So I bet, I do when I place bets, I bet against my favorite team, in order to, in order to hedge emotionally and when I tell that to other people, they think I'm crazy... One reaction I get when I tell people this is that somehow I'm being immoral. By betting against my team’"

Cheating is Par for the Course : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "[On golf] People feel basically okay to hit the ball a little bit with the golf club, they feel a little bit worse about kicking it with their feet because it's more direct, you touching it more, and they feel much, much worse about picking it up and moving it directly with their hands. And again, I think the idea is that, as we have something that is less direct, that is more, has more steps between us and the ball, people feel more comfortable cheating. And finally, we also ask the question of when would people cheat more, when they play against the friend, their boss or a client? And it turns out the people are the most honest when they play with the boss, least honest when they play with friends and clients, kind of in the middle... people think that they cheat much less than other people, by about five times more... we asked them what industry they were from… And it turns out that one of the most cheating industries were - advertising. Okay, maybe not the big surprise. But what was nice was that people in advertising actually cheated a lot, but they recognize it. When we asked them how much are people in your industry cheating, people in advertising basically said, we're cheating and we know it. Another interesting industry was law enforcement. Those people cheat more than average, but actually don't think that they cheat at all."

The Bribery Index : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘What differentiates one culture from another, we found that one of the biggest differentiators is how interdependent or dependent, the people within a particular country actually feel. So how collectivist… we find a very high correlation between collectivism and bribery’"

Children and Cheating : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "'People often think that the kids somehow are moral beings, that they're somehow nicer than we are, even though they punch each other and kick each other and steal things, that they have some sort of purity, inherent goodness of youth that then the world beats out of them over time... even I think when you see kids behaving badly, you still somehow see it as differently motivated than when grown ups behave badly. Kids, it's maybe they’re need a nap or they're out of control, or they need a snack. They’re not really bad'...
'One other interpretation of this is the kids, that young kids are more pure. They’re just more pure about their selfish motivations... they are more honest in their selfish[ness]'"

Cultures of Corruption : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘If I've been brought up in a place where people flout the law, I take it to New York City and where I'm able to the flout the law without consequence I do so. As opposed to the Swedes, for example, who grow up in a high legal compliance society. And when they move to Manhattan, and have the opportunity to break the law with no legal consequences, they don't... I think a big part of it, a big part of what governs behavior is what I think everyone else is doing or will do. And so if I grow with people not obeying the police, and I have the opportunity to not obey the police and not suffer the consequences, I will do so... European parliamentarians get paid a stipend of around 300 euros for each day they show up to work, sign the register. Now there was a scandal a few years ago, captured on film by an Austrian Member of the European Parliament, of parliamentarians literally leaving their cars idling outside, running in, signing the register and then running, running out and driving off… some might call it corruption. But it doesn't involve the police... [This] is similarly correlated with home country corruption. You get a lot of this from Italian and Greek MEPs, not so much from the Swedes.’"

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Links - 26th January 2020 (2)

Is the freelance life right for you? Or are you mentally built for your day job? - "53 million people do freelance work in the US – which translates to a whopping one-third of the American workforce... The mistake many people make starts from the assumptions made in the last sentence: That as a freelancer, you can do what you want, whenever you want and live happily ever after having lunch with your tai tai friends and leisurely working on deadlines between your nail appointments and yoga sessions...
 freelancing is probably not right for you if:
    You don’t have savings of at least six months to a year. It will take you this long to ramp up your business to a level where you earn a halfway decent regular income. In the meantime, you need to eat. Which leads to the next point.
    You have a lot of financial responsibilities such as a mortgage, car loans, aged parents, children or a fondness for expensive designer items.
    You have no discipline. A successful freelancer will have a set daily routine and puts in the same, if not more, number of hours as a “full-timer”.
    You like company. For the most part, freelancing is a solitary experience. And in the beginning, at least, you won’t be able to afford a co-working office.
    You are the shy retiring type who is too embarrassed to chase your clients for payment. Many businesses will put off paying you for your services for as long as humanly possible.
    You have a thin skin and believe that “no” means you’re worthless.
    Your home environment is chaotic and filled with more distractions than Candy Crush. See point 4."

How much radiation you're exposed to in everyday life - "Bananas give you more radiation exposure than living next to a nuclear power plant"

Here Are 20 Other Ways Europe Can Be Sliced Up - "DataRep has posted graphic designer Yanko Tsvetkov's sweet infographic from the second edition of his Atlas of Prejudice showing Europe through 20 stereotypes."

Irishman pranked his own funeral with a message from beyond the grave - "Loved ones attending the funeral of Shay Bradley, a veteran of Ireland's Defence Forces, were shocked when they heard his voice as his coffin was lowered into the ground in Kilkenny."Hello? Hello? Let me out! Where the f--- am I?" a prerecorded message from Bradley said."Let me out! It's f---ing dark in here!" he continued."Is that that priest I can hear?" he said, adding: "This is Shay. I'm in the box. No, in f---ing front of you. I'm dead." Bradley then began singing "Hello again, hello. I just called to say goodbye."... His daughter Andrea Bradley told HuffPost that her father's dying wish was to have the audio recording played during his funeral... her father's recording was a way of "saying not only goodbye but to also say, 'OK, the sadness is over now — here is a laugh so you can go and celebrate my life with a smile on your face.'""

Semen Inside Marriott Reusable Bath Amenities!?! - "Marriott announced they’d be eliminating single use shower amenities as they look to move to refillable containers. However there appears to be a concern about how safe these bottles are"

Block on GM rice ‘has cost millions of lives and led to child blindness’ - "Stifling international regulations have been blamed for delaying the approval of a food that could have helped save millions of lives this century. The claim is made in a new investigation of the controversy surrounding the development of Golden Rice by a team of international scientists. Golden Rice is a form of normal white rice that has been genetically modified to provide vitamin A to counter blindness and other diseases in children in the developing world. It was developed two decades ago but is still struggling to gain approval in most nations... many ecology action groups, in particular Greenpeace, have tried to block approval of Golden Rice because of their general opposition to GM crops. “Greenpeace opposition to Golden Rice was especially persistent, vocal, and extreme, perhaps because Golden Rice was a GM crop that had so much going for it”... For its part, Greenpeace has insisted over the years that Golden Rice is a hoax and that its development was diverting resources from dealing with general global poverty, which it maintained was the real cause of the planet’s health woes."

‘Gastronomic terrorism!’ How the cucumber has sliced Spain in two - "Wounds Jamie Oliver inflicted three years ago when he added chorizo to rice and called it paella remain raw, while hopes of an end to the war over whether onions belong in a tortilla de patatas seem as forlorn as ever... “Cucumber in gazpacho is gastronomic terrorism!” said Dani García, a chef who runs a three-Michelin-star restaurant and who, like his friend El Monaguillo, is from Andalucía.When another Twitter user had the temerity to remind García that he was famous for his recipe for cherry gazpacho, the chef replied: “Are you really comparing the elegance of a cherry to the aggressiveness of a cucumber?”The issue has prompted long and thoughtful pieces in the Spanish press, and churned up another familiar culinary controversy.Charo Barrios, president of the Academy of Andalucían Gazpacho, insists people can put whatever vegetables they like into the soup, and says cucumber is not the only disputed ingredient. “Cucumber’s definitely an option, but there are other debates as well, like whether you add bread,” she says. “Bread gives the soup a different texture and means you’re adding carbohydrates. And then there’s the debate over adding water. It depends on the quality of the tomatoes, but if they’re not great, it could end up too watery. I think it’s more about bread than cucumber, but we think you can add whatever you want, from other vegetables to fruit.”... When most people thought of gazpacho, he added, they thought of a simple tomato soup with cucumber, peppers, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and bread. “But, historically, a gazpacho can be many things: a white gazpacho [with garlic and almonds] is ajo blanco, a green one is made with green tomatoes and an orange one is made with bitter oranges. There are as many gazpacho recipes as there are people: it’s all about how you make it at home.”Fernando Huidobro, president of the Andalucían Academy of Gastronomy and Tourism, laughed off the idea of people getting hung up on a single ingredient. “The oldest, most original recipes for gazpacho are fairly anarchic,” he said. “It was a way for country people to feed themselves: ‘What can I eat easily to get me through my work? I’ve got water, I’ve got oil, I’ve got garlic and I’ve got vinegar. If I’ve got bread, I’ll put bread in’.” It was only later, when people started adding tomato, that the more “official” recipe was born... Spaniards seems to enjoy bickering over how their food should, or shouldn’t, be prepared. Jamie Oliver was threatened and insulted when he included chorizo in a “paella” recipe in 2016. “Remove the chorizo,” ordered one. “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” The chef could have just called the dish arroz con cosas (rice with stuff), rather than the more sacrosanct label. The most perennial debate, however, is over onion in a tortilla, which pits concebollistas (with-onionists) against sincebollistas (without-onionists), and is complicated by the equally personal issue of how long a tortilla should be cooked for. Some prefer it barely set so it oozes eggy puddles when cut, while others like a drier, firmer omelette."
Ahh... "authenticity"!

As Evergreen State’s enrollment continues to tank, it hosts white-blaming ‘equity symposium’ - "You remember The Evergreen State College, right? It became fodder for national headlines in 2017 as a result of the massive fallout over its Day of Absence observance in which white people were asked to stay off campus for a day.Soon after, its enrollment began to take a nosedive. Two years later, it’s still tanking... So what has the college’s administrators done to right the course? Well, certainly not scaled back on anti-white programming.In mid-November the college hosted the “Evergreen Equity Symposium” that featured a parade of workshops that blamed white people, white fragility, white supremacy, whiteness, racism, institutional racism and unconscious bias for most of the ills in America today.The fact that the university has apparently learned nothing from its national spanking two years ago is not lost on Benjamin Boyce, an Evergreen alumnus who has chronicled the college’s ongoing trainwreck in a series of YouTube videos... The protesters were the aggressive, baseball-bat wielding students from 2017 who surrounded and threatened white biology Professor Bret Weinstein for refusing to leave campus on the Day of Absence, thus forcing his class to take place in a nearby park.But Boyce said look behind the curtain.“My entire work is to show that the protestors were just acting out the fanatical fantasies of the professoriate,” Boyce said. “…They’re still doing the same thing they used to be doing, it’s just a little more filled out.”Making matters worse, the diversity official who organized the symposium took in a salary of $166,000 a year"

What Is "Sushi-Grade," Anyway? A Guide to Eating Raw Fish at Home - "Officially, the terms "sashimi-grade" and "sushi-grade" mean precisely nothing... when you see a piece of fish labeled sushi- or sashimi-grade, that means that the seller has judged it safe to eat raw. The claim is only as trustworthy as the fish market that makes it... "Any wild fish except tuna species—bigeye, yellowfin, bluefin, bonito/skipjack—those wild fish need to be frozen for specific periods of time at specific temperatures to get rid of parasites." The exact temperatures and times can be found on the FDA website, but suffice it to say that those temperatures, reaching as low as -31°F, are well below what a home freezer can reliably produce and maintain, which is why it isn't advisable to try this at home. Sushi restaurants and fish markets use what's called a "super freezer"... Exempted from the FDA's freezing requirements are, as Herron mentions, large species of tuna—deemed safe based on the frequency with which they are eaten in raw form and the infrequency of related, documented parasitic infection—as well as aquacultured fish, like salmon, given verification that the feed it's raised on is parasite-free... Despite the FDA's blanket recommendations for the elimination of parasites, which is the main goal of its freezing guidelines, very few infections from eating raw fish have been documented in American medical literature. In the US, eating raw fish that hasn't been frozen is rare enough that the agency's "Bad Bug Book" uses Japan as a reference point, since the practice is far more prevalent there. But even in Japan, where freezing of fish meant for sashimi is not required, reported infection rates are vanishingly small compared to the total population... Freshwater fish and some anadromous fish—fish, like salmon, that divide their life cycles between fresh and salt water—are susceptible to broad fish tapeworms, which are widely considered more harmful than other parasitic worms... The human body is sufficiently different from that of whales and elephant seals—typical anisakid end hosts—that it forces the worms to wander around inside of it. As they do so, they probe along the intestinal wall, trying to penetrate it and sometimes getting stuck in the process, which can necessitate resection. (Interestingly, because humans are a natural end host for tapeworms, Sakanari says that tapeworm infection, as disgusting as it might sound, would be preferable to larval anisakid infection. The pathologies associated with the adult fish tapeworm infection are by and large less severe, and can be treated with a simple anthelmintic.) Sakanari notes that preparations like ceviche, in which fish are submerged in an acidic bath, do nothing to kill off anisakids, since they thrive in highly acidic environments... parasites in raw fish are less of a concern than bacterial contamination... fillets are then allowed to air-dry in a refrigerator designed to maintain a controlled temperature and humidity level to reduce the moisture content in the flesh, a process sometimes referred to as "aging." "Taking the moisture out is sanitary, and it makes the fish more flavorful," Haraguchi says, noting that "a lot of people make the mistake of packing fish right after it's filleted, and there's a lot of moisture still left, whether it's from the fish or from the water used to clean the fish."
This may be where the claim that freshwater fish are dangerous because they have human-harming parasites but saltwater fish don't because the physiology is different comes from - a distortion about a claim about a specific worm

Why Hayden Christensen Played Anakin PERFECTLY - Star Wars Explained - YouTube - "His entire demeanor is always as if he's processing something. And that's the genius right there... It's how Anakin should be - conflicted. He was always conflicted. Luke sensed it in him even into his older age as Vader. Anakin always had this hate, and it's because of what happened to him as a kid that something that only got worse the more that he was mistreated and stressed out"

Could the world cope if GPS stopped working? - "It's a remarkable story for an invention that first won support in the US military because it could help with bombing people - and even it was far from sure it needed it. One typical response was: "I know where I am, why do I need a damn satellite to tell me where I am?" The first GPS satellite launched in 1978 - but it wasn't until the first Gulf War, in 1990, that the sceptics came around.As Operation Desert Storm ran into a literal desert storm, with swirling sand reducing visibility to 5m (16ft), GPS let soldiers mark the location of mines, find their way back to water sources, and avoid getting in each other's way.It was so obviously lifesaving, and the military had so few receivers to go around, soldiers asked their families in America to spend their own money shipping over $1,000 (£820) commercially available devices... The American taxpayer puts up the billion-odd dollars a year it takes to keep GPS going, and that's very kind of them"

Can you charge different customers different amounts? - "Imagine, said Coase, you were a monopolist, you alone produced a certain thing. Many people wanted to buy it - some would pay a lot, others much less although still enough for you to turn a profit. Ideally, you would like to charge a high price to the first group, a low price to the second.But how could you get away with that? One possible answer is to launch at a high price, then lower it to widen your market.That's what Steve Jobs tried with the first iPhone, which cost $600 (£468). After two months, he cut the price to $400 (£312). Predictably - although it apparently surprised Steve Jobs - the people who had rushed to pay $600 were less than impressed.  That's why Coase argued this strategy could not work.  The first set of buyers would see through the trick and realise if they only waited, they could buy the thing more cheaply.  This idea is called the "Coase conjecture", as explained in a paper published in 1972... He had anticipated what would later become known as the "trickle-down" theory of fashion: people tend to emulate those they consider above them on the social scale... why did Wedgwood not fall foul of the Coase conjecture?  After a while, his aristocratic clients must surely have worked out that whenever Wedgwood launched something they had never seen before, they could simply wait to pick it up more cheaply.  But the trickle-down theory works both ways. If people are trying to emulate their social superiors, what do you do if you're already at the top of the scale? You try, of course, to look different to the people below you.  Some economists now discuss fashion as an exception to the Coase conjecture. Even if you know you'll get something cheaper if you wait a while, sometimes you still want it right now.  A few years after he wowed the Queen, Wedgwood observed Queen's Ware was "now being rendered vulgar and common everywhere". If the great people wanted to set themselves apart from the middling people, they would have to show off their wealth and good taste by buying something new."

Identity politics is Christianity without redemption

Identity politics is Christianity without redemption

I am a white supremacist. Who knew? I didn’t. I have, however, just read Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad, published next month by Quercus, which has made clear to me that I am white, therefore I am a racist. In fact, Ms Saad told me in the introduction to prepare to “become overwhelmed when you begin to discover the depths of your internalised white supremacy”.

On a similar note, a friend recently told me that my failure to recognise a vast malevolent patriarchy was as a result of “internalising your own oppression”. There seems to be a lot of internalised weirdness going on: gender victim battling it out with racist in my gut. I thought it was wind.

The publisher is pretty sure that the ranks of underpaid, bookish folk who work for them are also all white supremacists. It is distributing the tome to all the British employees of its parent company Hachette, and telling them to spend 28 days “reflecting on manifestations of white supremacy, including white privilege”.

The self-flagellation of all the white supremacists at Hachette is yet another example of how much the Woke borrow from the Church. Identity politics has become a secular religion, and “white privilege” is one of its shibboleths. Indeed Ms Saad makes the point clearly in her book, stating that “I strongly believe that anti-racism practice and social justice work are also spiritual work.”

To be woke demands faith in certain creeds, with the twins Equality and Diversity as unassailable deities. It demands a knowledge of the right language. You must believe in certain disprovable evils — like the existence of a malevolent patriarchy — and like many strict sects, it punishes its apostates most severely. The Twitter storms are fierce for those who express a non-woke view but should have known better than for those outside of the faith altogether.

Tom Holland, in his book Dominion, The making of the Western Mind, identifies the “trace elements” of Christianity in the woke world. The example he used was the intersectional feminists in the #MeToo movement offering white feminists the chance to “acknowledge their own entitlement, to confess their sins and to be granted absolution”.

But the problem with identity politics as a secular religion is precisely its failure to allow for absolution. The faith that Saad espouses is utterly bleak, even cloaked as it is in words of love. It utterly fails to allow for redemption, and its most direct religious antecedent is found in Calvinist predestination.

Under this doctrine, God has predetermined whether you are damned or elect. From the second that the right sperm hit it lucky with the most fecund egg, your place in the woke hierarchy was decided. In the modern progressive world, informed by intersectional feminists, it does not matter what you say or do, the only defining factor in your state of grace is your skin, gender and sexuality.

This is a profoundly depressing outlook for three main reasons. The first is the essential nihilism in the creed. Your intent? Irrelevant. Your deeds? Likewise. The sum of your experience, desires, longings, beliefs? Your humanity itself? Nah, not relevant.

The second dispiriting message is that the problems its aims to address are insoluble. White people are racist by their nature, and inherently incapable of seeing their own racism or addressing it. Men are misogynists, by default, witting or unwitting bulwarks of the patriarchy. If they don’t believe they are individually at fault they are in denial. And if they try to say, actually, I’m not sure the patriarchy exists, they are mansplaining misogynist bastards. This is the politics of perpetual antagonism, of a kind of bleak acceptance that all relationships between different categories of human are necessarily fractious.

Most of us accept that racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination exist. Most of us accept that it would be infinitely preferable if they did not. But as progressive politics grip, and the more the Pandora’s box of vile isms is talked about, the fewer of us seem to believe that it is possible to eradicate them.

The third problem with Puritan wokeness is that it sinister echoes in the history of predestination. When the creed reached its zenith in the seventeenth century, the logical hole at its centre became insanely obvious. If it does not matter to God how you behave, because your salvation was pre-determined at birth, why not behave however the hell you want to?

The outpourings of radical thought in the English Civil Wars included sects who came to exactly this conclusion. The Ranters, at least by reputation, advocated a lifestyle of Dionysiac excess. If orgies and boozing, gluttony and blasphemy did not have any material impact on whether you were going to heaven or hell, then why not shag, indulge and curse the Lord as much as you want?

The extent of their membership is disputed and the fear of the Ranters was strong among the Puritans, partly, I suspect, because the logical fallacy of the original tenet is so glaringly obvious. Many of the theological arguments espoused by the men who were labelled Ranters were more textured and complicated than a license to loucheness. But the essential point remains: if you are already damned, your actions and intent are irrelevant.

The Puritan response was a horrified recoil. If God has made you one of the elect, you have a responsibility to Him to behave as if you are elect. A rare few came to believe they were not elect, and tortured themselves with it. If this sounds familiar, you have probably met an apologetic white male ally of the woke.

This response to inescapable damnation matters. I have spent some time in the twilight reaches of the manosphere researching a new book, a world of depressing forums, full of hatred and despair, where young men gather to focus on the absence of sex in their lives. There are two broad categories: The Incels hate women because they won’t sleep with them. The Men Go Their Own Way (MGTOW) guys won’t sleep with women because they hate them.

These boys have their own vocabulary and belief systems. Pretty girls (Staceys) all sleep with the same few Alpha men (Chads). The Staceys ride the Cock Carousel, ie, have sex with the same few Chads. All this sluttish behaviour gives the Staceys something called A Thousand Cock Stare.

It is a grim world, in which women are evil and manipulative, and hated both for being sluts and for being virgins. It is a world in which pictures of pretty girls with their pet dogs are unbelievably sinister. These boys choose to live in this bleak world. They are culpable. But, if you tell all young, white boys that they are damned, why should they not behave as if they are damned?

A society which does not allow for people to atone, to be redeemed, and to be judged on their intent and actions is a miserable place. Most people interact with each other without antagonism most of the time. We should start being a bit more forgiving to each other, ditch the Puritanism and learn to cherish the well-meaning stumble towards decency. Even if, sometimes, we fall.


If you need someone evil to hate, it is helpful if they can never redeem themselves, ensuring they will always be around to be a target

LInks - 26th January 2020 (1)

Christians on brink of extinction in Middle East, warns Archbishop of Canterbury - "Christians who were the first founders of the church are on brink of “imminent extinction”, the Archbishop of Canterbury is warning.Describing the “daily threat of murder” faced in the Middle East, the Most Reverend Justin Welby says Christians are experiencing “the worst situation since the Mongol invasions of the 13th Century”... just one in 400 Syrian refugees given asylum in the UK last year were Christians despite them being subjected to “horrendous persecution”... just 11 of those admitted to Britain under the Government’s flagship Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) in 2017 were Christian. This is despite an estimated 10 per cent of the Syrian population being Christian at the start of the civil war."

Lesbians more likely to be overweight as experts find sexuality is linked to health - "Lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to be overweight than heterosexual women, research has shown for the first time, as experts said sexual identity should now be viewed as a health risk factor... For women, being gay increased the odds of them being overweight by 41 per cent, an increased overall risk of 14 per cent... Bisexual women were 24 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese, however for men the opposite was the case, with gay men at three times the risk of being underweight... “We also found that gay men are significantly less likely than straight men to be overweight or obese... Researchers are unclear what is driving the increased risk, but say that gay people are more likely to experience social stress and live less healthy lifestyles. The new results showed that more than one third of gay people smoke, compared with around one quarter of straight people.  Likewise 48 per cent were living with a long standing illness compared with 28 per cent of heterosexuals."
The fact that there is a dose-response effect (of a kind) and that we see the opposite in men is very good evidence that this is people responding to what their target market want - men prize physical appearance (though the researchers appear to be unable to say that)

18 Strange Japanese Foods That Are Actually Pretty Good! - "4. Raw Chicken - Torisashi
6. Fish Sperm - Shirako
7. Whale Meat - Kujira
10. Sea Grapes - Umi Budo
15. Locusts - Inago
18. Monjayaki
There is no English word for this food but a good description would be runny batter. I am not going to lie but it looks like vomit on a grill... Popular in the Kanto region, monjayaki is a pan fried batter similar to Okonomiyaki but uses a lot more water making it runny looking"

Malaysia can’t enforce, but penalty for leaving Islam is death, mufti reminds apostates - "Islam prescribes death against Muslims who leave the religion for atheism, if they are “stubborn” and refuse to repent, according to Negri Sembilan mufti Datuk Mohd Yusof Ahmad.However, he conceded that Shariah courts in the country cannot yet implement such punishments, and as such religious authorities must redouble their efforts to curb the spread of atheism... “If they are still stubborn, then the individual must be punished by death. That is the consensus of Muslim scholars”... The punishment for the offence of apostasy under the controversial Islamic penal law of hudud is death... Kelantan and Terengganu’s hudud enactments prescribe death for apostates who fail to repent, but cannot yet implement it due to restriction in federal laws. PAS’ president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is seeking to remove this restriction with a private member’s Bill in the Parliament. A photo of the gathering by the Kuala Lumpur chapter, or “consulate”, of the Atheist Republic has caused uproar from some in the Muslim community recently after it was highlighted by pro-Islamist blogs, leading to violent and death threats on social media.Deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said yesterday Putrajaya will investigate the local group, even roping in the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, as it allegedly involved the faith of Muslims in the country. Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had even said that atheists in Malaysia should be “hunted down” by authorities, allegedly since there is no place for groups like this under the Federal Constitution."
We need a white westerner to come in and progressivesplain/liberalsplain Islam to the mufti

France's Wealth Tax Should be a Warning for Warren and Sanders - Bloomberg - "In recent years, several prominent economists have brought attention to the problem of growing inequality. These scholars include Thomas Piketty, author of the best-selling book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” and Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, who in a new book chronicle the rise in American wealth inequality. All three embrace the same solution:  much higher taxes. Piketty has declared that billionaires should be taxed out of existence, and he called for a global wealth tax, while Saez and Zucman helped Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren design her proposal for a U.S. wealth tax. Piketty and Saez have also suggested taxing top incomes at a rate of more than 80%... One way to predict the possible effects of the taxes is to look at a country that tried something similar: France, where Piketty, Saez and Zucman all hail from. During the past few decades, as income inequality rose in most rich countries, it stayed relatively constant in France. The biggest reason is government redistribution in the form of taxes and social-welfare spending. France leads its rich-country peers, including the legendarily egalitarian Scandinavian countries, on both measures. France, therefore, shows that inequality, at least to some degree, is a choice. Taxes and spending really can make a big difference. But there’s probably a limit to how much even France can do in this regard. The country has experimented with both wealth taxes and very high top income taxes, with disappointing results... The wealth tax might have generated social solidarity, but as a practical matter it was a disappointment. The revenue it raised was rather paltry; only a few billion euros at its peak, or about 1% of France’s total revenue from all taxes. At least 10,000 wealthy people left the country to avoid paying the tax; most moved to neighboring Belgium, which has a large French-speaking population. When these individuals left, France lost not only their wealth tax revenue but their income taxes and other taxes as well. French economist Eric Pichet estimates that this ended up costing the French government almost twice as much revenue as the total yielded by the wealth tax. When President Emmanuel Macron ended the wealth tax in 2017, it was viewed mostly as a symbolic move.Another French experiment was the so-called supertax, a 75% levy on incomes of more than 1 million euros. Introduced by socialist President François Hollande in 2012, the supertax added to the exodus of wealthy individuals, most notably actor Gerard Depardieu and Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Star soccer players threatened to go on strike, and there was fear that France would become a wasteland for entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the supertax raised much less money than even the wealth tax had -- only 160 million euros in 2014. The unpopular tax was repealed two years after its adoption... Despite repealing the supertax, France managed to increase government revenue and to reduce inequality. The end of the wealth tax will probably be a similar story. France simply didn’t need these flamboyant taxes on the rich to have very high levels of taxation and social spending. That means the U.S. probably doesn’t need them either. Tax increases across the board -- on top incomes, capital gains, estates, pass-through businesses, corporations, and so on -- might not excite populist firebrands, but they’re probably a more effective strategy for fighting inequality."

OECD Tax Policy Studies, The Role and Design of Net Wealth Taxes in the OECD - "The number of OECD countries levying individual net wealth taxes dropped from 12 in 1990 to 4 in 2017 (Figure 1.1). There are many OECD countries that used to have wealth taxes but that repealed them in the 1990s and 2000s including Austria (in 1994), Denmark (in 1997), Germany (in 1997), the Netherlands (in 2001), Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg (all three in 2006) and Sweden (in 2007)... Many factors have been put forward to justify the repeal of net wealth taxes. The main arguments relate to their efficiency costs and the risks of capital flight, in particular in light of increased capital mobility and wealthy taxpayers’ access to tax havens; the observation that net wealth taxes often failed to meet their redistributive goals as a result of their narrow tax bases as well as tax avoidance and evasion; and concerns about their high administrative and compliance costs, in particular compared to their limited revenues (i.e. high cost-yield ratio). To some extent, the limited revenues collected from wealth taxes have made their elimination more acceptable and feasible from a political point of view (Kopczuk, 2012)... Wealth taxes have generally accounted for a very small share of tax revenues. In 2016, tax revenues from individual net wealth taxes ranged from 0.2% of GDP in Spain to 1.0% of GDP in Switzerland. As a share of total tax revenues, they ranged from 0.5% in France to 3.7% in Switzerland (Figure 1.3). Looking at longer-term trends, Switzerland has always stood out as an exception, with tax revenues from individual net wealth taxes which have been consistently higher than in other countries... Looking at longer time periods, most of the countries that have or have had net wealth taxes experienced either stable or declining revenues from these taxes... Stable or declining net wealth tax revenues in most countries contrast with trends in wealth accumulation. There has been a rapid growth in wealth across countries"

If a Wealth Tax is Such a Good Idea, Why Did Europe Kill Theirs? - "Normally progressives like to point to Europe for policy success. Not this time. The experiment with the wealth tax in Europe was a failure in many countries. France's wealth tax contributed to the exodus of an estimated 42,000 millionaires between 2000 and 2012, among other problems. Only last year, French president Emmanuel Macron killed it.In 1990, twelve countries in Europe had a wealth tax. Today, there are only three: Norway, Spain, and Switzerland. According to reports by the OECD and others, there were some clear themes with the policy: it was expensive to administer, it was hard on people with lots of assets but little cash, it distorted saving and investment decisions, it pushed the rich and their money out of the taxing countries—and, perhaps worst of all, it didn't raise much revenue... the U.S. government will have to get very good at valuing art, diamonds, superyachts, and all the other fabulous things the super rich collect. Indeed, Warren's plan includes a call for "a significant increase in the IRS enforcement budget." It was the hefty cost of enforcement that played a big part in Austria killing their wealth tax back in 1993. It turns out it costs a lot to track and value rich people's stuff every year.  And a wealth tax may not even be legal. The ability of the federal government to tax is tightly curtailed by the U.S. Constitution. Legally imposing the first income tax in 1913 required a constitutional amendment. Legal scholars are currently debating whether a wealth tax would need another amendment"

‘Peak Car’ and the End of an Industry - Bloomberg - "This is especially true in big cities where people are becoming more inclined to share rather than own a vehicle that sits idle most of the time. The number of Germans 25 and under getting driving licenses slid 28 percent in the past decade, and it’s a similar story in pretty much every other major economy."

Boomers Win With Unprecedented $9 Trillion Inheritance Surge - Bloomberg - "“Wealth equal to nearly two times the size of the U.S. GDP is expected to be gifted to charities and heirs over the next few decades,” said United Income founder Matt Fellowes. “It’s a historically unprecedented amount that is almost incomprehensibly large.”The beneficiaries aren’t all that young themselves. The study, which uses Federal Reserve and academic data, shows that from 1989 to 2016 U.S. households inherited more than $8.5 trillion. Over that time, the average age of recipients rose by a decade to 51. More than a quarter of bequests now go to adults 61 or older. "Instead of diapers and school, inheritances are increasingly going toward medical bills and retirement savings"... The median recipient gets about $55,000, which is more than double their typical retirement savings."

Meme - Anna Blaze on Twitter: "Ideally There Could Be a Site or Two for Porn for Kids. Parents Can Monitor Content but Generally There Would Be a High Standard. Queer & Nonwhite Content Front & Center. A FAQ or Forum to Ask Questions They're Not Comfortable Asking Parents & Teachers, Resources to Help Victims
Nonpenatrative Porn! Videos That Focus on Foreplay! Videos That Show Someone Saying No and Their Partner Respecting That Without Shaming Them! Make Safe & Healthy Sex the Norm From a Young Age!"

Indonesians quitting 'rice addiction' over diabetes fears - ""In my first week without rice I felt like I was being possessed by ghosts"... The push, partly driven by social media, has been backed by local governments including cultural capital Yogyakarta which last year rolled out a campaign to convince residents to go without rice at least one day a week. Indonesia's legacy of rice politics makes the task tougher.Rice - and rice production - was the cornerstone of dictator Suharto's ambitious bid for food self-sufficiency.The programme began in the 70s and in a couple of decades had weaned much of the population off corn, sweet potatoes and other staples in favour of rice... The policy turned rice from a food that many in the sprawling archipelago rarely consumed into a staple that Indonesians now gobble down at a rate almost three times the global average of 53kg annually.But the strategy launched by Suharto - who died in 2008 - ended up working too well, with demand outstripping supply. Indonesia now relies on rice imports to fill the gap. "The struggle isn't only in our stomachs, but also in our minds because we have been living this myth that you won't be full without rice""

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Links - 25th January 2020 (2)

Mom's anger after first grade students are given homework assignment to 'identify a fat person' - "Laura Lee Lewis, of London, said her daughter was given a worksheet from London Elementary School with adjectives and two pictures to go with each one.This included examples of picking which drawing best pictured what a hill is, what a cow is, what a dish is and so on.The last question was to identify the word 'fat' by circling one of two drawings of a larger girl and a smaller girl... They could have used an animal. I gave an example of a cupcake. They could have even used that, a bigger cupcake or a little cupcake, and say: "Which one is fat?"' She then said she explained why the assignment was being critical, and humiliating, about weight to her daughter.'I had to explain to her that it was body-shaming'"
Apparently even the word "fat" is body shaming - even when just used as a descriptor. The lady doth protest too much, methinks
If you have to explain why it's body shaming... maybe it's not


Indonesia Wants to Make Itself a Tourist Destination for Penis Enlargement Massages - "In Indonesia, alternative medicine is the answer to nearly every sort of ailment. Broke a bone? Get it massaged. Common cold? Rub a coin against your skin until your blood vessels pop. Trouble in the bedroom? Get a penis enlargement massage!... Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto declared penis enlargement massages, known locally as Mak Erot, to be a national asset that has the potential to attract medical tourists from abroad... “We must popularise the idea of traditional medicine for tourism. We have an incredible herbal medicine industry that no one knows about outside Indonesia”... He cited Tongkat Ali (a leaf that is said to boost athletic performance), Purwaceng (a viagra-like substance), and Mak Erot (penis enlargement massage) as exploitable services.  “If we package it correctly, foreigners will be interested”"

How To Grow Kangkung, Curry Leaves & Other Balcony-Friendly Plants Yourself - "Cilantro's a great way to add a fresh flavour to your dishes, but as most grocers sell them in rather large quantities, this can sometimes lead to wastage if you don't use them quick enough while they're still fresh.To avoid wasting, why not plant your own instead? You can use the root part that's usually left over from cooking - just make sure it has about three inches of the stem intact. Place it in a jar of water, give it enough sunlight and change the water everyday."

Apple Will Keep Throttling iPhones. Here's How to Stop It | WIRED - "Last year, controversy stirred as Apple acknowledged that it had, in fact, purposefully inhibited iPhone performance when the battery neared the end of its useful life. The good news: It wasn’t just in your head! The less-good news: Apple will continue the practice with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. While reports of the throttling first surfaced last December, Apple said it had started the practice in 2016 as a way to elongate the lives of iPhones. As a lithium-ion battery degrades over time, cold weather or high current demands can lead to a device shutting down altogether. Apple pushed a software update intended to keep iPhones from sporadically turning off, by limiting how much strain they could put on the battery in the first place. In doing so, though, Apple also forgot the important step of making it extremely clear to tens of millions of iPhone owners that an invisible boot would slam on the brakes as the battery aged. It further neglected to give those iPhone owners the option to turn that throttling off, in the event that they wanted the phone that they bought to work at the speeds they expected, regardless of the tradeoffs. And it apparently hadn’t considered that the solution to an old battery might just be a new one."

Clapping banned at Oxford University to stop people being triggered - "Students at the University of Oxford have voted to ‘replace clapping’ with a silent wave because it ‘could trigger anxiety’.They are instead being told to use ‘jazz hands’, where they wave their hands in the air... It comes after the University of Manchester passed a similar motion in September last year."

A fifth of students now get extra time in exams amid calls for rise to be investigated - "Dr Tony Breslin, a former chief examiner for GCSEs and a chair of examiners for A-levels, urged Ofqual to probe why requests for extra time have soared in recent years. He said that the “significant” growth in numbers of students being granted extra time should be scrutinised to ensure that no one is “gaming” the system... Ofqual has previously said that it is “right and only fair” that the exam system allows disabled students to have “reasonable adjustments”."
Maybe a fifth of UK students are really disabled, which is why they're so sensitive

Iraqi protesters bring out lions to counter police dogs : pics

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson's Mythopoeic PARTY BOAT - "Jordan Peterson is addicted to the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and has checked into rehab"
"klonopin withdrawal is one of the worst feelings in the world, so i'm happy to hear jordan peterson is going through it. suffer bitch
hoping peterson's wife leaves him after a speedy recovery"
Public (partial) mirror
Naturally, blue check mark
The irony is this person probably goes on about how it's easy to be a "decent human being"


Unofficial Artist formally known as Diversity and Comics Yaboiposting - Posts - "Hannah Gadsby on Why Men Should Be More Ladylike"
"Being asked to be more feminine, by a woman who’s completely rejected her femininity. That’s right"

Kanye West's Trump Support Strong Despite Liberal "Bullying" - "rapper and vocal Trump supporter Kanye West accused “liberals” of trying to bully him through the expectation that his race would determine his political affiliation.“Just as a musician, African-American, guy out in Hollywood, all these different things, you know, everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me,” said West, who has been roundly criticized for his support of the president by his show business colleagues. “And then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over; I’d get kicked out of the black community because blacks — we’re supposed to have a monolithic thought, we can only, like, we can only be Democrats and all.”... “I didn’t have the confidence to take on the world and the possible backlash and it took me a year and a half to have the confidence to stand up and put on the hat no matter what the consequences were,” West explained. “And what it represented to me is not about policies — because I’m not a politician like that. But it represented overcoming fear and doing what you felt, no matter what anyone said, in saying, you can’t bully me. Liberals can’t bully me, news can’t bully me, the hip-hop community, they can’t bully me.” “Because at that point, if I’m afraid to be me, I’m no longer Ye. That’s what makes Ye”"

Fertile Women More Likely to Wear Red - "Those who were wearing red or pink were about three times more likely to be at peak fertility than those who wore other colors... Some studies have found that women report increased sexual desire around peak fertility, greater attraction to masculine features, and a tendency to wear more revealing clothing... fewer women wore red at their peak fertility in the summertime, compared with the wintertime. A possible explanation for this finding is that women may be more likely to use the "wearing red" strategy in situations when they cannot use other attention-getting strategies, such as wearing less clothing (which would be easier in the summertime)"

'Go back to California': Wave of newcomers fuels backlash in Boise - Los Angeles Times - "He blames them for pushing home prices and rents up so high that Boiseans can’t afford to live here on the meager wages most Idaho jobs pay"
Does this count as xenophobia?

The BBC is leading the charge in rewriting our culture to suit the 'woke' brigade - "Everywhere you looked this week, culture was busy trying to correct the mistakes of the past. The new Broadway production of West Side Story has cut Maria's song "I Feel Pretty": the director explains he wants a rendition fit "for the 21st century".  Because, as we know, young women of today have ceased caring about their appearance, no longer enjoy getting dressed up for a big night out and are wholly indifferent to their attractiveness to the opposite sex. If there is still such a thing as the opposite sex, that is. Last time I looked, we were up to seven genders but, hey, it's still only Wednesday! "I feel stunning and entrancing/Feel like running and dancing for joy," a giddy Maria sang on the opening night of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's musical in 1961. Her frothy, feelgood "I Feel Pretty" made the perfect counterpoint to the agonising poignancy of One Hand, One Heart. How quickly love can become loss and party frock a funeral shroud.  West Side Story was an instant classic because it set eternal truths about human nature to immortal melodies. The attitude of its latest director, Ivo van Hove, seems to be: "Nice try, guys! Now let the #MeToo generation show you how it's done. Let's start by ditching the sexist crap about girls wanting to be pretty." The same wilfully wrongheaded thinking dominates at the BBC. No period drama is safe any more from the drip-drip of politically correct views, regardless of how bizarre they appear in a historical context. We will have to wait till Sunday night to see whether the latest adaptation of HG Wells's War of the Worlds is travesty or triumph. (As is now de rigueur, it has ignored the novel, put a woman and a gay guy centre stage and pushed aside the white straight men who were so annoyingly prevalent in Victorian England.) Its predecessor in that prime slot was a virtue-signalling dud. Blessed with a lavish budget and international cast, World on Fire should have been magnificent, shining a spotlight on Poland's overlooked role in the fight against Nazi Germany. Instead, it rapidly turned into a Woke War Two drama complete with an anarchist Battle of Britain pilot declaring, "I'm not fighting for Churchill or Britain" (God forbid!) and a far-fetched mixed-race, same-sex love story. The villain of the piece was Robina Chase (brilliantly played by Lesley Manville). I mean, OK, the Nazis were bad and everything, but Mrs Chase was a Conservative of decidedly old-fashioned opinions. Oh, the horror! Her racist and sexist views were probably held by 98 per cent of the population in 1939, but the drama still had to punish her for not being feminist or socialist. The BBC blew a few million quid of the licence-payer's money pouring contempt on such stoic, patriotic people with lines like: "Make sure you do what's right, not what’s British."... Remember it was the Manchester Guardian, the BBC house journal, which ran headlines praising Stalin and demanding that Britain didn't go to war with Hitler. Goodies can be baddies, and vice-versa; any great dramatist knows that. Such complexity is no longer welcome, however. Not when the priority is protecting snowflakes... Word from the set of No Time To Die is that this will be the "most politically correct James Bond movie" yet – a contradiction in terms as any reader of Ian Fleming's borderline sado-masochistic novels could tell you, but that clearly hasn’t stopped them trying.  The original plan to have 007 played by a black actress appears to have been shelved after an outcry on social media. But Great Britain's most successful libidinous export since Lord Byron faces humiliation when the patent Bond seduction technique fails miserably. "It's very funny," a source said.  Is it? Do we really want James Bond to be a figure of fun? I don’t... What female in her right mind wants to be James Bond to score a feminist point?"

Cambridge University students cry fowl over 17th century painting that upsets vegetarians - "Some Cambridge University students might consider it a privilege to eat beneath a 17th century oil painting. But not if the students are vegetarian or vegan, and the work features animals bound for the dinner table. The Fowl Market, from the studio of the 16th century Flemish artist Frans Snyders, has been removed from the dining room of Hughes Hall following complaints that it was putting non-meat-eaters off their food."

The real reasons girls are outperforming boys at school - "Boys fall behind girls at almost every level of education, from the moment they arrive at primary school to their GCSE and A-level results.  But such is the unpopularity of the topic, even discussing it has almost become taboo. Boys are three times more likely to get expelled than their female peers and last year, 38 per cent of female school-leavers went to university compared to 28 per cent of males, a gap that has widened significantly over the last decade... “Girls work harder and they listen,” said Prof Valsa Koshy, a professor of education at Brunel University. “Girls are more self-disciplined, determined and self-controlled. They are more likely to do their homework and less likely to take risks. Whereas boys are more entrepreneurial and they take more risks.” Some say that the “feminisation” of education is to blame, with the high proportion of women teachers, particularly in primary schools, leaving boys without role models. But research shows that boys fall behind early on, often before they even start school. “People think it’s something to do with working class boys,” said Prof Gemma Moss, who is the director of University College London’s international literacy centre. “It’s not. You can find the difference with middle class children too. There is something going on with boys which means they are more likely to be struggling with their language skills by the time they are five, and this has an impact on their literacy which means they are less engaged with school.” This can be partly attributed to different parental expectations, where they spend more time signing nursery rhymes and reading with girls while boys are left to enjoy “a bit of rough and tumble”, she said.But another explanation is social. While girls are not afraid to ask for help, boys with poor language and literacy skills will try to hide it and will do “anything they can” to stop people noticing... the phenomenon is not peculiar to the UK. The same trend can be seen across the developed world and is even more pronounced in countries like Iceland, Finland and Sweden which are considered to be the most socially advanced... Part of the reason for the international nature of the trend is biological. Professor Gijsbert Stoet, a psychologist who specialises in neuroscience and educational research at Essex University, explained that boys’ and girls’ brains develop at different speeds, which includes slower language development for boys. “In cognitive psychology we talk about executive function,” he said. “Boys are playful for longer; for a longer time they are unable to plan their own educational schedule. The brain ultimately dictates the speed of development.”He described that the “lack of interest” in boys’ underperformance at school as “frustrating”, given the scale of the problem."
Feminism strikes again in making it taboo to talk about men
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