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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Links - 26th April 2014

Barbarians at the Campus Gates - "student activists invaded the meeting, seized the microphone, and shouted down a student who rose in the audience to object. Although there were professors and administrators in the room — including the college president — apparently nobody had the guts to put a stop to these storm-trooper tactics. Nor is it likely that there will be any punishment of those who put their own desires above the rights of others... Back in the 1960s, the University of Chicago was a rare exception. As Professor George J. Stigler, a Nobel Prize–winning economist, put it in his memoirs, “our faculty united behind the expulsion of a large number of young barbarians”... Creating whole departments of ethnic, gender, and other “studies” was part of the price of academic peace. All too often, these “studies” are about propaganda rather than serious education. Academic campuses have become among the least free places in America. “Speech codes,” vaguely worded but zealously applied to those who dare to say anything that is not politically correct, have become the norm. Few professors would dare to publish research or teach a course debunking the claims made in various ethnic, gender, or other “studies” courses. Why did all this happen? Partly because of the lure of the path of least resistance, especially to academic administrators and faculty. But there was no such widespread surrender to every noisy and belligerent group of student activists prior to the 1960s. Moreover, the example of the University of Chicago showed that surrender was not inevitable. The cost of resistance to the campus barbarians may not have been the only factor. Resistance requires a sense that there is something worth defending. But decades of dumbed-down education have produced people with no sense of the importance of a moral framework within which freedom and civil discourse can flourish"

America’s future racial makeup: Will today’s Hispanics be tomorrow’s whites? - "Trayvon Martin was black, but is Zimmerman white? For Martin’s sympathizers, the answer was yes. For Zimmerman’s, the answers ranged from “it doesn’t matter” to he “is actually a Hispanic nonracist person who acted in self-defense”... while we see the 19th century as a world of blacks and whites, that wasn’t true for Americans at the time. They saw their United States as diverse as we see ours—a hodgepodge of races and ethnicities, with blacks as the insoluble element. The difference was their construction of race, which placed various Europeans on a convoluted hierarchy of racial difference."

Some dude on Craigslist wants you to sit in a bathtub of ramen noodles - "Every talented chef holds fast to two pieces of conventional wisdom: A watched pot never boils, and noodle soup tastes better when a woman’s been soaking in it."

This website will write your filthy Craigslist hookup ad for you

Cheating Survey Finds That People Cheat With People Less Attractive Than Their Spouses - "Interestingly, male respondents said they consider their significant others superior to their affair partners in other ways as well. Only 30 percent of men cheated with women younger than their current partners, and only a quarter of the men found their mistresses more interesting or more in shape than their partners. So why cheat at all? Men admitted that they found their mistresses to be more passionate, better listeners and more caring than their significant others. Over half of the female respondents also found their significant others to be more attractive than their affair partners, but 50 percent said their lovers were in better shape. Similar to the male respondents, women reported that their affair partners listen better and are more passionate than their man at home. And a whopping 89.6 percent of the women indicated that the man they're cheating with makes them feel more appreciated than their significant other."

Kill The White People from NiNo - "Eddie Murphy at his best, old school"

Manufacturing Female Victimhood and Marginalizing Vulnerable Men - "Toxic victim-consciousness is the process by which women are made into class “acted upon” by emphasizing a disproportionate victimhood where none actually exists or isn’t proven. In “Women Do Not Benefit: The Science“, I outlined how toxic victimhood limits women and socializes them to undermine their own achievements. Toxic victimhood promotes the perception that women are “acted upon” rather than actors. When a society is promoting toxic victimhood, there is no need to limit women overtly through legal, financial or social restrictions. Instead women will limit themselves through their own mental foot-binding. Here I will look at a recent and very successful effort to manufacture toxic female victimhood whole-cloth, the CDC’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. The much publicized figure on rape from this survey is that 1 in 5 women versus 1 in 71 men are victims of rape in their lifetime. (If the rate men are raped is reported on at all)... The first thing to note is that the NIPSVS decided that men being forced to have sex with women isn’t rape... If the act of forced envelopment is correctly classified as rape—namely a woman forcing a man to have sex using her vagina, the vagina being one of the two most commonly used instruments of sex—then you get an equal risk of rape between men and women in the last twelve months... Comparing the lifetime rate of sexual abuse for men and women is misleading in determining their relative risk of sexual violence, simply because men disclose childhood sexual abuse four times less often than women... In a study on the effects of retention interval and gender on the perception of violence, Ahola et al. (2009) found that eyewitnesses rated female perpetrators less violent than male when reporting after an interval of one to three weeks as opposed to ten minutes. Ahola et al. (2009) proposed that over time eyewitnesses reinterpreted the behavior of perpetrators in order to conform to gender stereotypes regarding violence... That works out to about 40% of rapists being female and 60% being male. A far cry from 95+% of rapists being male"

Los Maracuchos - "How is it that the world’s fifth largest oil exporter has come to this? How is it that 70 percent of its population lives in ranchos—the slums and shantytowns? How is it that the streets here are not paved with gold? Who is to blame for all this? At the root of Venezuela’s woes is its class conflict, the gap between rich and poor. .. we won’t invite Jimmy Carter and, even though it is completely unprecedented, we will assume there is no corruption. Repeat the following: “I [insert your name] will turn Venezuela’s oil wealth into riches for all Venezuelans, including you [point finger]. I will SOW THE OIL so that you can fly to Miami to shop. The government of [insert existing president’s name] is corrupt. He [it’s always a “he”] is stealing the oil money for himself and his cronies.” That’s it! Just say it over and over again and spend a little bit more money than your competitor and you’ll win. Decade after decade—for almost a century now—Venezuelans have fallen for this... what you have is perhaps the best educated, best connected, best electrified, moderately well medicated poor in the world with attorneys, engineers and nurses living among them... When offered subsidized housing, most Venezuelans will say thanks but no thanks. Living with no rent and no utilities is much better than being on the grid and paying more, even if it means more security. Hence, Venezuelans use their college-level reasoning skills to conclude that free is better than cheap... Venezuelans are still, to this day, so desperate to believe this Arthurian Legend, to believe that they will someday enjoy fabulous oil wealth, that they have finally surrendered their democracy in pursuit of the delusion, allowing Chávez to change and rechange the constitution, pack the Supreme Court and Election Council with his cronies, make laws by decree, place gag rules on the media, and otherwise systematically undermine Venezuela’s democratic institutions. All in the name of a fantasy that can never come true... As a student of Latin American history I have, for many years, excused this country’s fate as something beyond the control of most, if not all, Venezuelans; that the continuing social decay was the work of macroeconomic forces, oil prices, Structural Adjustment Programs, even meddling from the CIA and the State Department. Yet, the more I learn, the more I see that the history of Venezuela is not the history of its neighbors, not the history of coups and puppet governments, of flagrant economic imperialism and exploitation. There was no Pinochet here, no Batista, no Trujillo. The history of Venezuela is the history of Venezuelans cheating, defrauding, and robbing other Venezuelans and then trying to blame someone else for their crimes."

City utility drops 'Duck Dynasty' contest over LGBT fears - "Tolerance and diversity does not include men who wear camouflage or beards, according to Michigan’s largest municipally-owned utility. The Lansing Board of Water & Light has decided to cancel an upcoming "Duck Dynasty" look-alike contest off because the contest might offend people, a spokesman for the utility told me. “The decision was made in light of controversial remarks by a Duck Dynasty cast member against the LGBT community,” the public utility said in a statement. “The BWL is committed to diversity and respect community differences, and we regret if the contest offended anyone”... Serkaian told me there were concerns about "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson’s comments about homosexuality... You would think that BWL had been overwhelmed with a deluge of customers furious about the "Duck Dynasty" contest – but that’s not the case at all. In fact – only one complaint was lodged"

Video: Miley Cyrus 'Wrecking Ball' Chatroulette parody goes viral

OECD Better Life Index - "On average, people across selected OECD countries, spend 4 minutes per day in volunteer activities. People in New-Zealand, Ireland and the United States spend more than twice that time volunteering. In several countries, however, people spend hardly any time volunteering. This is the case in Hungary, Korea, Poland, Slovenia, France, Estonia, Spain and Mexico. Would you help a stranger? Around 48% of people across OECD countries say they have helped a stranger in the last month. OECD countries with a large share of respondents reporting to have helped a stranger also tend to have high levels of volunteering. More than 65% of people in Australia, New-Zealand and the United States reported helping a stranger in the last month"

Can a Parachute Save Your Life? Not According to Science. - "A double blind, randomized, placebo controlled crossover trial of the parachute means that the "advocates of evidence based medicine" would be put on a plane, given packs, and made to hurl themselves toward the ground. Neither the givers or the receivers of the packs would know which ones held parachutes, and which held "placebos." This is satirizing the view of people who feel observational studies - studies in which everyone is treated with the experimental medicine and the response of the entire group is evaluated - aren't clear enough or rigorous enough to prove that a drug works. True, these studies sometimes lack the clarity of a perfect randomized double-blind study, but as we see with the parachute, sometimes the results are pretty clear anyway. And in a life-or-death situation, no one wants to take the chance on a placebo. In other words, the "advocates of evidence based medicine" are being "challenged" with a little sarcasm."

#CancelColbert and the Return of the Anti-Liberal Left

#CancelColbert and the Return of the Anti-Liberal Left

"Perhaps every political generation is fated to be appalled by the one that succeeds it. In the 1960s, longtime socialist intellectuals were horrified by the anarchic energies of the new left. Then some of those new leftists reached middle age and watched, aghast, as new speech codes proliferated on college campuses during the first iteration of political correctness. I was in college then and am now in my thirties, which means it’s my turn to be dismayed by a growing left-wing tendency towards censoriousness and hair-trigger offense.

It’s increasingly clear that we are entering a new era of political correctness. Recently, we’ve seen the calls to #CancelColbert because of something outrageous said by Stephen Colbert’s blowhard alter ego, who has been saying outrageous things regularly for nine years. Then there’s the sudden demand for “trigger warnings” on college syllabi, meant to protect students from encountering ideas or images that may traumatize them; an Oberlin faculty document even suggests jettisoning “triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.” At Wellesley, students have petitioned to have an outdoor statue of a lifelike sleepwalking man removed because it was causing them “undue stress.” As I wrote in The Nation, there’s pressure in some circles not to use the word “vagina” in connection with reproductive rights, lest it offend trans people...

Call it left-wing anti-liberalism: the idea, captured by Herbert Marcuse in his 1965 essay “Repressive Tolerance,” that social justice demands curbs on freedom of expression...

Note here both the belief that correct opinions can be dispassionately identified, and the blithe confidence in the wisdom of those empowered to do the suppressing. This kind of thinking is only possible at certain moments: when liberalism seems to have failed but the right is not yet in charge. At such times, old-fashioned liberal values like free speech and robust, open debate seem like tainted adjuncts of an oppressive system, and it’s still possible for radicals to believe that the ideas suppressed as hateful won’t be their own.

“One of the most striking characteristics of ‘60s radicalism was its aversion to liberalism,” wrote Alice Echols in Daring to Be Bad, her history of radical feminism. “Radicals’ repudiation of liberalism was not immediate; rather, it developed in response to liberalism’s defaults—specifically, its timidity regarding black civil rights and its escalation of the Vietnam War.” Something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale, happened after Bill Clinton ended welfare as we know it, and it’s happening now, as economic misery persists under Barack Obama. There’s disenchantment not just with electoral politics, but with liberal values as a whole. “White liberal” has, once again, emerged as a favorite left-wing epithet.

At times like this, politics contract. On the surface, the rhetoric appears more ambitious and utopian than ever—witness, for example, the apparently sincere claim by Suey Park, creator of the #CancelColbert hashtag, that Twitter activists intend to “dismantle the state.” But at the same time, activism becomes less about winning converts and changing the world and more about creating protected enclaves and policing speech. As the radical cultural critic Ellen Willis wrote in 1997, at another moment of widespread left-wing illiberalism, “It’s the general repressiveness of the social climate that encourages moves to ban offensive speech or define any form of sexual oppression in the workplace as sexual harassment. The main effect of these maneuvers is to foment confusion, cynicism and sexual witch-hunts, trivialize sexual violence, and legitimize conservative demands for censorship—while at the same time ceding the moral high ground of free expression to the right.”

There’s a cure for this sort of thing, though it’s worse than the disease. When the right takes power, the left usually discovers the importance of unfettered speech. In the 1980s, with conservatives leading a crusade against the National Endowment for the Arts for funding projects deemed anti-Christian and pornographic, tolerance no longer seemed quite so repressively bourgeois. The same was true during the Bush administration, when opposition to the Iraq War got Phil Donahue fired from MSNBC and the Dixie Chicks pulled off radio playlists nationwide. That’s why the Colbert Report was so cathartic when it first appeared—his relentless mockery cut through the bombastic jingoism, the right wing political correctness, that was stifling us...

Some day president Paul Ryan or Ted Cruz or Rand Paul is going to be sworn in, and an ascendant, empowered conservatism will once again try to curtail dissent in pop culture and academia, just as it always does. Public art won’t be taken down because it’s considered triggering—it will be taken down (or covered up) because it’s considered indecent. There might be another #CancelColbert campaign, but it won’t come from the left. Maybe people will be ashamed, then, that this one did."


"One of their prominent members (@red3blog) is currently ranting about camera technology is racist. Yes, really. This is the debates they are having, with no clue fucking clue about how long it has taken to getting it this far and the limitations it currently faces.
Its nonsense and drivel by an uneducated class that memorize a few buzzwords (mostly privilege, gaslighting, etc) and repeat them over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over."

"These social justice ideologies effectively become closed belief systems. Even whatever dissent is permitted within them is produced and approved by movement leadership ("one thing I do think feminism can be criticized for is its over-emphasis on white, middle class heterosexual women" being the best example). Questioning them on anything is simply not tolerated, anything short of cult like adherence to "3rd wave sex positive feminism" or "Critical race theory" or whatever else is construed and dismissed as "privilege" and an act of oppression against "marginalized" peoples."

"The word white gets used as if every white person shares the same class, culture, experience.
The experience of the Irish in America, fleeing starvation and ethnic cleansing is different from the swarthy sicilians which is different from the Russians freed at the same time from serfdom as African-American's from slavery which is different from the Jews who seem to be white or non-white depending on which gets them the most blame which is different from the (usually fake) Cavaliers of Virginia who became slave owners which is different from the non-slaveholding whites which were termed Cracker and Redneck which is different from the Acadians driven down to pockets of New England and Louisiana which is different from Lutefisk eating swedes of the mid-West which is different from the Puritans which is once again different.
You simply can't speak about these various terms without extreme nuance and historical understandings. Not and have them mean anything."

"it was horrible in most of the trans rights groups I ran into. People were redefining words to say that trans people of color are incapable of supporting the gender binary as it's entirely the fault of colonization by white people, and that white non-binary people were just using it as an excuse to oppress trans women of color. Oh, and then there was one thing about how only trans women of color should be getting representation, because that apparently is the only way to be intersectional."

""privilege" is a valid concept that has been thoroughly exploited in an extraordinarily ethically corrupt way. We now have the victim's privilege -- the ad hominem that whoever can claim victimhood first or most deeply is *correct* in any dispute with someone "privileged". It's particularly tragic to me that the "skeptical" and "freethinker" communities have become rife with this sort of thing and tar anyone who doesn't toe the line as "an MRA" ("male rights activist")."

"Instead of using "anti-liberal" leftists, let's call these people what they really are - totalitarian leftists.
Point by point they make it clear that they hold the fundamental democratic rights in contempt, everything from free speech to innocent until found guilty and the right to a fair trial is to them annoyances that they, if they could, would do away with. In their black-and-white world, evil people should not be allowed those kind of rights, and since everyone who doesn't agree with them is an evil person..."

"When the left gets dogmatic it gets dangerous. McCarthy was a liberal and Leftists in the US were apologists for Stalin for too way long (as I understand it) Pragmatism seems to be about justifying evil or destructive means in hopes of good ends. It doesn't turn out that way, because the end never comes. The means are how we live."

Friday, April 25, 2014

More AWARE Misfiring

7 things AWARE is unaware of, as shown by this gaffe – Signs of Struggle

"AWARE barked up the wrong tree and got to show off some of their best examples of ignorance with this post in response to the Defence Minister’s suggestion that the ministry wanted to recognise NSmen by “giving them a greater stake in Singapore, whether it is housing, health or education.”

AWARE charged into battle with this post, full of bad assumptions and logic.

1) Unaware of the details. To start, nobody has said anything about what these benefits are going to be. From various officials’ comments, it may be in the form of CPF top-ups or medisave top-ups. So, 10 points to AWARE for jumping the gun (or should I say misfiring) on this criticism. Sure kenna charge.

2) Unaware of how to work towards equality. AWARE seems to think that equality is achieved by the lowest common denominator – that minimising or removing rewards to different parts of society is the key to gender or some other sort of equality. Everybody will feel that the world is fair towards all when we all receive exactly the same bottom-rung level of help and benefits. Nobody should get more for whatever reason.

3) Unaware of what affects our sense of belonging. AWARE thinks that giving some groups more help with basic needs will deprive others of a sense of belonging. Like giving transport subsidies to the disabled makes the rest of Singaporeans feel like second-class citizens. Like giving student rates and elderly rates for various services and products makes everyone else somehow less important. Like how the fact that only women can be full members of AWARE makes men feel like the lesser sex. Ha!

4) Unaware of the role of MINDEF. AWARE doesn’t realise that this scheme is in excess of providing for fundamental needs. It’s not MINDEF’s prerogative to provide for all Singaporeans’ fundamental needs. This is a reward or recognition in excess of fundamental needs. If you’re worried about fundamental needs not being met, go chat with the rest of the G.

5) Unaware of the uniqueness of each group and the unique needs of each individual. AWARE’s logic means that anything that one unique group cannot receive, the other group should not receive it either, ie, if women who cannot get conscripted and become NSmen and access additional benefits, then NSmen should not have these benefits either. If we apply this across the rest of society, we should dismantle the Pioneer Generation package. We should also stop subsidising healthcare costs for ObGyn, maternity and even prostate treatments. No need for a Women’s Charter, since there is no Men’s Charter.

6) Unaware of how to show appreciation. If AWARE really wanted to give the finger to every Singaporean Son and his family, they have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. Sure, we know you oppose NS, but while the rest of us are toiling and serving, tanks for spitting on us in the name of “equality”.

7) Unaware of the sacrifices made by NSmen and their families. 2 (2.5 for some) years of conscription? Meh. 10 years of NS liability? Nothing. AWARE’s callous attitude to the sacrifices of NSmen and their families is foolish and dangerous. I bet they’d ask for NSF allowance to be cut to zero, but maybe they don’t even know how that works in the first place.

AWARE loves to keep yapping about equality over NS matters, but I don’t ever see them suggesting that women also serve an equivalent conscription. It’s a little insincere."

Author in comments: I’m concerned that AWARE isn’t able to put out a coherent response on this issue. It seems that they are simply reacting without thinking.

Why not “we appreciate NSmen’s sacrifice”, but “we still advocate the abolition of NS”? They seem to be picking fights at every opportunity and losing each one.

Quixote: Incredulously, there isn’t one reply of theirs which conveys that sentiment. Whoever’s replying seems entirely caught up in defending the original post and less interested in engaging in a discussion about the real thrust of Defence Minister’s suggestion: recognition for contributions made in the name of national duty.

Addendum: Friend:

"Here's the worst and scary part. When you try to engage them on their Facebook page, their response is just to repeat the stance in an internet equivalent of stuffing fingers into ears and saying "lalalalala." Completely deaf to reason."

Links - 25th April 2014

Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients - "A research team led by Anthony Atala, M.D., director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has reported in The Lancet the first human recipients of laboratory-grown vaginal organs, which were engineered with their own cells. “This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” said Atala. “This may represent a new option for patients who require vaginal reconstructive surgeries.” The teenage girls in the study were born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent. The treatment could also potentially be applied to patients with vaginal cancer or injuries, according to the researchers."
18 years after Dolly, now we don't need women anymore either

PLOS ONE: Over the Hill at 24: Persistent Age-Related Cognitive-Motor Decline in Reaction Times in an Ecologically Valid Video Game Task Begins in Early Adulthood - "The present study investigates age-related changes in cognitive motor performance through adolescence and adulthood in a complex real world task, the real-time strategy video game StarCraft 2. In this paper we analyze the influence of age on performance using a dataset of 3,305 players, aged 16-44, collected by Thompson, Blair, Chen & Henrey Using a piecewise regression analysis, we find that age-related slowing of within-game, self-initiated response times begins at 24 years of age. We find no evidence for the common belief expertise should attenuate domain-specific cognitive decline. Domain-specific response time declines appear to persist regardless of skill level. A second analysis of dual-task performance finds no evidence of a corresponding age-related decline. Finally, an exploratory analyses of other age-related differences suggests that older participants may have been compensating for a loss in response speed through the use of game mechanics that reduce cognitive load... StarCraft 2 is therefore a real world task in the same sense that chess, or basketball are real world tasks and a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation task is not... The typical participant reported a total of 545 hours playing StarCraft 2 (based on a one-tailed 95% trimmed mean), which is about 50 times that of the typical automaticity study... Older players in our sample exhibited more impressive hotkey performance, even when skill was controlled for, suggesting that our participants may be indirectly compensating for declines by offloading demands to the game interface. An increase in attacks to areas outside of the view-screen might reflect heightened awareness of global game information via attention to the ‘mini-map’. Generally then, older players seem better at using available interface features (customizable keys and the ‘mini-map’) than younger players... Older players seem to prefer simpler abilities and units compared to their younger counterparts. While this could be interpreted as poorer performance, because complex unit/ability use generally increases with experience, it might also be that older players are choosing easier to execute strategies as a way to divert cognitive resources to other, perhaps more important, tasks."

Women Who Eat on Tubes: feminists stage picnic protest on the Circle Line - "Tucking into a packet of Worcester sauce flavour crisps, 24-year-old activist Zoltán Jászai said she disagreed with claims that the protest was against a trivial matter, and explained she hoped to raise awareness of how women's bodies and behaviour are constantly policed. "Everyday prejudice against women is as important as 'real' problems like jobs. "Every time women meet together and talk about their views it contributes to a wider movement," she said. "Everyone had fun, that's the point," said Ms McKay an hour later as the train once again neared High Street Kensington, and protesters had returned to work having finished their lunches, adding: "we hope to carry on the movement in May, when we've finished our dissertations.""
Comments: "Techically, and actually, the photographer has now participated in Human Trafficking which is an international crime"
"The thing is, the journalist who wrote the original article, featured in this paper, had no problem on previous occasions laughing at other women, and men, and posting instant pictures of them on social networking sites, denigrating their fashion sense and whatnot. Had this been the reverse, and it been a man who was upset about being pictured, would you be arguing with the same vitriol, I highly doubt it"
"If there was a 'men who scratch their arses in public' site, would it spark the same outrage?"
You can't make this stuff up

Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train - "A classic among public assertions of privilege"

Game Of Thrones star Richard Madden targetted by angry women for taking up too much space on the Tube - "Richard Madden, 27, was photographed on the Bakerloo line and the image was uploaded to the Men Taking Up Too Much Space On The Train website, where a user called for him to be 'castrated'. The commenter reportedly wrote: 'Castrate him. Maybe it would free up some of the space his c*** is desperately trying to take up.'"
Comment: "I suggest that everyone (particularly feminists) look up the article on this written by Janet Bloomfield on this subject-which contains all SORTS of pictures of WOMEN doing the same things (and worse). Then, assuming the feminists in question actually review Ms. Bloomfield's photos, I then suggest they ask themselves why, if they are purportedly SO opposed to violence, are they NOT screaming foul over the threats their own "sisters" are leveling at Mr. Mr. Madden? Could it be because they are not about equality, as the so often claim, but are only interested in power? I judge feminists by the same standard I judge all interest groups-by their behavior and actions-as words can be false. Based on this sort of behavior, it is undeniable that whatever it may once have been, feminism has become a hate group."
"I'm glad people have got their priorities straight. This is indeed an issue which needs to be addressed immediately. In fact, lets just disregard all of Britain's problems and brainstorm some solutions regarding this issue now."
"Post your pictures of girls wasting space with handbags and shopping bags in tubes and buses on twitter #girlswastingspace"
Amused by the differential feminist response to Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train and Women Who Eat on Tubes

Swedish Feminists Are So Bored They’re Telling Men How to Sit on the Bus - "some Swedish women apparently think that the image of the Nordic country as a feminist's paradise is just a veneer hiding deep-seated misogyny. Their evidence? Men slouching and taking up more than one seat on buses, trains, and subways. To counter this "normalized expression of power" (that’s what they call slouching), a group of firebrand feminists have set up a blog called "Macho i Kollektivtrafiken" ("Macho in Public Transport"), encouraging readers to send in sneaky snaps of men in relaxed poses. The aim is to spread awareness of a "symbolic and active recreation not just of power, but of a stereotypical form of masculinity." Do Swedish women really feel threatened by men who slouch on the subway? Can this seriously be construed as a feminist issue? Do feminists today really view women as weaklings who are traumatized by straddle-legged passengers and who don't have the guts to tell men to scooch over? It's tempting to suggest that the women posting pictures of slouching men online should grow a pair, and point out that feminists have fought hard to shake the image of women as thin-skinned victims off and to prove that women have agency, gumption, and power...
Q: What would you say to those claiming that, in the grand scheme of things, this issue is a "luxury problem"?
A: My point is that this is part and parcel of the kind of oppression that leads to women being raped, getting lower salaries, and being exposed to violence in relationships...
Q: Don't women have the guts to confront men and tell them to move over, please?
A: I don't think women and girls can cope with that. They choose not to take on that battle.
Q: What do you think would happen if a woman told a man to move over? Have you or anyone you know tried?
A: It's hard to say how men in general would react. In order for any change to happen I think men need to realize themselves that change is needed.
Q: It seems like many people think your blog is a joke. Why is that?
A: I really don't know.
Q: Will the blog make a difference?
A: Of course, we're going to change the world."

A fetus isn’t a person, unless it’s a female. How to have your cake, eat it too, and blame the whole mess on men. | judgybitch - "It’s fun to watch feminists spin their wheels when confronted with an uncomfortable dilemma: what if a woman wants to abort a baby simply because the baby is a girl? The whole “fetus” argument gets dropped in a heartbeat when that happens. Suddenly the unborn babies are not clusters of cells at all, but “girls”... the National Post calls sex-selective abortion the “real war on women”. When your fetus is a female, it’s not a fetus any more. It’s a “woman”... When abortion is used to murder female humans for no reason other than the fact they are female, the veil is lifted, even if only temporarily. Fetuses become girls. Unwanted cells become women. The embryo becomes human. And the death of enough of those humans becomes genocide."

Criminalizing the male gaze: giving female narcissists the upper hand - "wonder why $50 billion dollars is being pocketed by the makers of lady face spackle and prettification? Why would women do that? Ask a feminist and she’ll say PATRIARCHY OPPRESSION UNREASONABLE BEAUTY STANDARDS OBJECTIFICATION MISOGYNY, but ask a scientist, and you’ll get a different answer.... Women are judged on their appearances? Appearances convey information about who you are and what you value?... Luckily, men escape that whole boondoggle, don’t they? Ask the 75% of men who shave their faces every day about that one. Well, that’s according to Glamor magazine. Curiously enough, I couldn’t find an official government department that tracks men’s shaving habits... Hannah Price decided to photographically document [being cat-called] in a series the media dubbed “My Harassers”, but which Hannah herself calls “The City of Brotherly Love”... Hannah does not consider the men she photographed to be “harassers”. She admits that sometimes it was only a glance in her direction that prompted her to request a photograph... Read through the comments, if you have the stomach for it, and you will hear men called every version of sleazebag, scumball, creep, pig, asshole – words specifically meant to deny/dismiss/deride sexual attention from low-status men. Sexual attention from high status men is still a welcome compliment... Let’s talk for a moment about the concept of the “gaze”. In feminist theory, which I had ample opportunity to study during my Barista of Arts days, arises from an observation Laura Mulvey made about certain Alfred Hitchcock films. Using a technique called shot/reverse shot, Hitchcock will show the man looking at something, reverse the shot to show that he is looking at a woman and presto voilà the man has objectified and controlled the woman with his gaze. No, really. That is how the theory works. She then notes that when a woman does look first, she ends up dead. In Alfred Hitchcock films, a lot of people end up dead... When Hannah approached the men in these photos, she did two things: she demonstrated that the gaze does have power and it depends not on the gender of either the wielder or the recipient, but rather on the status of both, and that women have agency and are actually capable of perceiving themselves as something other than victims... The idea that women are somehow harmed by attention from men requires two assumptions: that women, and only women, have the right to control the expression of sexuality, and that women are always, always victims. Hannah demonstrates that neither of those things are true"

Make Fun Of Everything

Make Fun Of Everything | TIME.com

"In the most recent season of our TV show, in a sketch titled “Insult Comic,” a traditional stand-up comedian professes that he is “going to get everybody” in his set (the guy toward the front with big ears, the fat guy, the woman with comically large breasts). That’s the phrase, isn’t it, when a critic wants to praise a comedian for the fearless nature of his or her comedy? That he or she “gets everybody”? That “nobody is safe”? One of the club patrons in our sketch, however, is a wheelchair-bound burn victim. “You skipped me,” he calls from the audience, with a robotic-sounding artificial larynx. “Go for it,” he says, “I can take it.”

But can we, as a society, take it anymore?

Today it seems that we live in a world of extremes. On one end of the spectrum, we have anonymous Internet trolls looking for opportunities to dole out cruelty with impunity. But in mainstream culture, it often seems we’re drowning in a sea of political correctness that lapped up on our shores a couple of decades ago and has yet to recede...

Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten the true purpose of humor: to help people cope with the fears and horrors of the world.

Sure, sometimes at Key & Peele, we swim in the shallow waters of pratfalls, airplane observations and simple old-school punnery. But what we strive for–and what we think more people should strive for–is deeper: to make fun of everything.

It can be scary. We don’t want to lose our audience. Can we make them laugh at a sketch about slavery? Terrorism? The Holocaust?

At the same time, though, it’s our duty. To not make fun of something is, we believe, itself a form of bullying. When a humorist makes the conscious decision to exclude a group from derision, isn’t he or she implying that the members of that group are not capable of self-reflection? Or don’t possess the mental faculties to recognize the nuances of satire? A group that’s excluded never gets the opportunity to join in the greater human conversation.

Luckily, a lot of people get this–at least when it comes to their own cultures...

Where a lot of people get nervous, however, is when it comes to laughing at other people’s culture or perceived weaknesses. That’s when we worry that we’re being insensitive–that we’re being mean.

But ask yourself again what’s worse: making fun of people or assuming that they’re too weak to take it?

The white whale of comedy is still out there. The day we can make fun of a black lesbian dwarf with Down syndrome who’s in a wheelchair, and someone who isn’t a black lesbian dwarf with Down syndrome is able to laugh–instead of trying to protect the dwarf’s feelings–we can pack up our artificial larynxes and retire."

Scott Adams's somewhat different take on it:

"The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles."

I'd argue that it's easier because all 3 groups are viewed as "too weak to take it".

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Links - 24th April 2014

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Don't date a girl who travels

Friend on 21 Reasons Hong Kong Is The Only Place To Live:

"Read on at your own peril....Disgusting horse-shit spewing out of the mouth of what appears to be yet another privileged white girl. Ughh......I hate these privileged wander-fuckers. Anyone with a quarter of a brain would realise that Hong Kong is a pretty fucking miserable place to live for anyone who's not on an expat-package or in the top 5 percent income level.

Okay I'm about to go off on a tangent for this rant.

Traveling to new places in the world is an incredible experience, and I enjoy it very much myself. Most people enjoy it - that's the reason why it's one of the most popular interests amongst young people today. And it's seen a much higher take-up rate for our generation because we have unparalleled access to leisure/pleasure travel. 70 years ago when a 20 yo man goes overseas it might be Normandy and it could very well be his last trip overseas.

That said, our generation's preoccupation with travel has led to a slew of upper-class kids developing severe cases of wander-fucker syndrome. This is a lethal combination of demographics and upbringing - young people who are affluent enough to visit a large number of countries without feeling the financial ramifications and who retain the inability to relate to the concept of "struggling for a living". The key component to put this all together is smugness. A wander-fucker inadvertently has an overwhelming sense of smugness about how well-traveled he/she is, and will let you know it. This is often doubly patronising as the wander-fucker will usually be talking down to someone far less privileged than themselves, and the disparity in travel experience is simply a result of the inequality in starting resources available to the two individuals.

Here's the typical narrative from what I have termed "the privileged wander-fucker". Ooooh look at this quaint little third world country, filled with all these impoverished creatures, how exotic and interesting. Wow, look at how simple life is here, with their lack of proper healthcare or clean water supply. This place is so beautiful and serene, I can't understand why these people are so poor and struggling to survive. *exaggeration included

A few months ago I met this girl who epitomised what I've been writing about with regards to "wander-fucker syndrome". She said, "I hope you won't be intimidated by how well-traveled I am". I kept waiting for her to break out into laughter but to my horror, she was dead serious. And then she started talking derisively about how people who have traveled little are myopic and limited in their thinking, too afraid to step out of their comfort zones etc, before going on about how the many different stamps on her passport accorded her a distinct sense of moral and intellectual superiority over her less-traveled peers. Don't date a girl who travels =p...

Btw the girl was Singaporean Chinese. Context seemed to imply she was not targeting Americans."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Links - 23rd April 2014

Nine-month-old boy charged with attempted murder in Pakistan granted bail by judge - "Toddler Muhammad Mosa Khan was booked in February along with 30 other people, including a number of members of his family, after stones were allegedly thrown at police and energy officials during raids on homes in Lahore. Residents had been accused of not paying for electricity. Apparently deciding that the nine month old was capable of - and had - taken part in the alleged stone throwing, Sub-Inspector Kashif Ahmed decided to arrest the child. What followed were farcical scenes in which the toddler was fingerprinted and made to sit on his grandfather’s lap in court, drinking his bottle."

sausage fest meets girl

Nexus of homosexuality and Islam in Singapore | CORETAN - "This particular individual has equated Islam with extreme intolerance, specifically, of homosexuality while preaching a truth which in reality is based on one opinion and interpretation, therefore, unrepresentative of other Malay-Muslims. It signifies a myopic perspective compounded with misleading view of Islam. Should such intolerant and homophobic view is pervasive in the Malay-Muslim community; it does not bode well for the future for all Malay-Muslims, both heterosexuals and gay Malay-Muslims. On the surface is the lack of understanding pertaining sexual identities. At the very core, is the absence of critical thinking in assessing and following Islamic injunctions which are based on diverse interpretations. Waleed Aly, a politics lecturer and a former spokesman for Islamic Council of Victoria (Australia), highlights an important point during a televised debate, which Muslims tend to overlook or even unaware of: Islamic tradition is anarchic, specifically Sunni Islam; as there is no central authority to define an issue within established parameters thus, to be taught anything is “X” is automatically open for contestations. He emphasized that whatever the question or issue is, the position one takes is most likely to be of the majority, and more importantly, Muslims cannot make definitive statements on behalf of God because that is ultimately an act of polytheism. As such to conflate colonial legacy through its legal instrument with Islamic precepts acting as a moral compass is a gross mistake in understanding homosexuality at all. Period!"
So apparently no one can say anything definitive about Islam at all and all the schools of Islam are wrong about homosexuality being wrong (and indeed everything else)

The consequences of single parenthood for subsequent generations - "Until the 1960s it was generally assumed that broken homes , had dire consequences for the children raised in them, consequences that extended throughout their lives. Ironically, it was Daniel Patrick Moynihan's confirmation of this assumption in The Negro Family: The Case for National Action that sent the pendulum swinging temporarily in the other direction. In his 1965 report, Moynihan suggested that the deterioration of the black family-the increasing numbers of single-parent black families on welfare-could prevent the next generation from taking advantage of the greater opportunities being made available through the War on Poverty and Great Society programs. The report created such a furor in a society newly sensitized to racism that academic researchers responded by emphasizing the strengths of single-parent families and particularly the strength of black women, who, lacking male support, often raised large families while working long hours at menial jobs. Thus many studies in the late 1960s and 1970s suggested that family disruption had few, and relatively small, persistent negative effects on the lives of offspring... the rate of out-of-wedlock births to white teenagers is still mounting, whereas in the black community it is declining. It is no longer considered a form of veiled racism, therefore, to explore the intergenerational consequences of single parenthood. And the evidence indicates that public opinion and not researchers were right the first time: children from single-parent families are disadvantaged in a number of ways that impair their future and the futures of their own children... single mothers exercise less supervision over their daughters' dating, which in turn leads to earlier sexual activity and premarital births.'' (This thesis blends into the argument for economic deprivation. If a single mother can stay home to watch her teenaged children or see that they are involved in group activities, there need be no lack of supervision.) It has been suggested as well that single mothers are less effective disciplinarians-less authoritative and sure of themselves than are parents in two-parent families. Whatever their capabilities for managing their children, a couple can gang up on a teenager; a single parent cannot"
Politicisation - bad for science regardless of which side does the politicising

For the Love of Money - NYTimes.com - "IN my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted."

Tai-tai: I visit club because I can't resist temptation - "The men went from table to table between their sets to chat or play dice games over drinks. They flirted and teased, sometimes with a hand on the lap, or an arm across the shoulder, a whisper or just holding hands. Think simple 'boyfriend touches' - an effect that is probably lacking in the women's lives. There were no vulgar moves in the club, except for the occasional over-indulgent woman. One was locked in a tight embrace with a Chinese entertainer - despite the presence of her eight women friends. The Chinese host seemed to be the most popular, getting about $1,800 worth of garlands and sashes whenever he sang. While the owner of the club declined to be interviewed, he insisted that the club was 'like any other normal karaoke club'. What takes place after closing hours is beyond his control, he added. That is when the story becomes murky, with some women and the men singing different tunes, as we discovered during our stake-out."

In bread with my doner - "There's something about choosing the shish that brings out the artiste in the average kebab-joint operative. Yes, he will assure you that it will only take a few minutes but, once he's begun barbecuing, he becomes subject to some strange atavism. Once more, he is a sheep herder, high on the Anatolian plateau. In his mind's eye, he crouches, eyes narrowed, to spear the precious lamb chunks on his wickedly sharpened dagger. The winds howl all around, the wolves join in, the dogs yowl, the sheep "mmmaa-aaa-aaa" in dread anticipation. Outside, the yoof of Bexhill-on-Sea may be swigging Bacardi Breezers and talking arse, but inside the kebab shop it's a mystic communion between man and fire of Zoroastrian significance. Or so I thought, as the minutes ticked away and I cursed myself for not having risked the doner: "Um, I really do have a train to catch," I remonstrated with the Turk as he fiddled with his meaty spillikins. "I know, I know," he shot back, "but you can't have these underdone." No, indeed - an underdone shish kebab would be as bad as . . . well, as bad as a doner kebab."

Stop Calling All Criticism “Shaming” - "Most English-speaking Americans recognize that the words hating and hater have been overused for years now, propped up like fluffy blankets to muffle all kinds of criticism. More recently, a similar journey from useful and specific to vague and meaningless was traversed by the word troll... There are times when we should feel shame, like when we’re tempted to hunt for Communists. But nowadays one suspects that Joe McCarthy would have just accused his critics of “red-shaming”... The more I hear about filter-shaming, the harder it is to really hear what a problem body-shaming can be. We really should restrain ourselves from mindlessly slapping this label on every single thing in the world that makes us feel bad... Pretty soon, doctors may be known as sickness-shamers. Dentists might be scolded for cavity-shaming. Teachers could catch flak for their relentless ignorance-shaming. Even police officers might be lambasted for their thoughtless and cruel crime-shaming"

I’m not a troll—why does everyone on the Internet keep calling me one? - "I was honestly surprised by Warren’s and other troll-hurlers’ reactions. Sure, my piece and its headline were hyperbolic—nobody, not even software engineers, gets that fired up about software. But that over-the-top stance was intentional, a rhetorical device to make a point about iTunes’ awfulness. (And iTunes is genuinely, unmitigatedly awful.) This seemed obvious to me. So why had some people misinterpreted my passion as a sign of insincerity? I’ll tell you why: Trolling has been defined down. Not long ago trolls were easy to identify—they were the kids on 4Chan who caused trouble just for the lulz, or the delinquents who disrupted otherwise serious online discussion of folklore with out-of-nowhere, baiting speculation about Tolkien’s cross-dressing fetish (or something like that). Trolls, these people who picked fights just to pick fights, soon escaped online bulletin boards. Now they’re everywhere, and rather than just cause trouble for kids who love Zelda, trolls have put themselves at the center of serious, high-minded discussion. Trolls now write prestigious opinion columns, edit newsmagazines, and land cushy gigs on radio and TV. The thing about trolls is that you never quite know when you’re dealing with one; they come in all shapes and sizes, and even if someone seems halfway genuine about what he’s saying, you’d be a fool to buy it. Even someone as anodyne as David Brooks—David Brooks!—is secretly trolling you, and you’re an idiot for taking him seriously. Juan Williams? “Most successful troll in America,” says noted troll-hunter Jay Rosen. Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Fox News, the Daily Caller, the late Andrew Breitbart—troll, troll, troll, troll, troll! The Daily Mail. The New York Times. Donald Trump, obviously... On the off chance you have trouble spotting a pattern in that list, let me offer this helpful rule, a definition for troll circa 2012. Anytime you don’t like something someone else is saying, or even if you do like what he’s saying but think he might be saying it the wrong way, there’s a very good chance you’re dealing with a troll. This could be true even if the guy is making an argument that purports to bolster your position—in that case, he may be a “concern troll.” The corollary to making this identification is that you’re free to ignore him... To prove that Trump is a troll, we’d need to show that he doesn’t actually believe what he’s saying. In other words, to call Trump a troll is to suggest that he’s not nearly as dumb as he looks."

Polyamory May Be Good for You - "One thing that seems to unite the polyamorous community is a real enthusiasm for digging into emotions. Honesty, openness and communication are cornerstones for polyamorous relationships, Holmes has found. "They're talking a lot, they're negotiating a lot, they're bringing their feelings to the table a lot," he said... The University of Michigan's Moors has found that people who cheat on their partners sexually are less likely to engage in safe sex while doing so than are people in consensual nonmonogamous relationships"
Keywords: open relationships, communicate to death, jealousy

Singapore Seen | Models beaten up at Circular Road: This video shows what really happened - ""From what I know, the minute the girls came out of the car, they started pushing and beating the guy. "Out of self-defense, he pushed and kicked them away. "One girl actually punched him right in the face when he was held by people on both sides." According to him, the man was actually alone and did not have any friends with him. Passers-by had stopped to help break up the fight... "He only knew it was serious when police came knocking on his door the next morning with complaints that he had assaulted three girls. "The girls were lying when they said that they were hammered by a drunk man, when they themselves were under the influence of alcohol too." Chuckz said that the police had detained the man and he has only recently been out on bail."

Is the stereotyping of respectful opponents of same-sex marriage as "bigots" a form of intolerance?

Gabriel Seah's answer to Is the stereotyping of respectful opponents of same-sex marriage as "bigots" a form of intolerance? - Quora

I don't think opposition to gay marriage is very logical but I have seen respectful opponents of it shouted at and even called 'bigots'.

'Bigot' is very strong word.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000; bigot) defines a bigot as:

One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

Merriam-Webster online (Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary) defines it as:

a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)

There is a lazy stereotyping of opponents of same-sex marriage as behaving like members of the Westboro Baptist Church, when it is very clear that most are not. If one is tolerant of gay people except for the issue of same-sex marriage, and if one does not dislike them, one does not deserve this strong label.

I also note that some gay people are against same-sex marriage, and they are certainly not called bigots.

We can say that opponents of same-sex marriage are wrong, but if they are not motivated by hate or dislike and they tolerate gay people, it is inaccurate to call them 'bigots'.

Yet call them 'bigots' many people do; same-sex marriage is turning out to be the liberal shibboleth of this generation, and opponents are readily labelled 'homophobe' or even 'bigot'.

It is telling that some people are comparing opposing same-sex marriage to endorsing slavery, as if they were anywhere near similar.

Consider that again for a moment:

is the same as:

I think it is quite clear that equating the two is even more illogical than being against same-sex marriage.

Many of those who are fervently against 'homophobia' and 'bigots' are, I  observe, not very nice people. Besides hating 'bigots', they can be nasty to other people who don't tick the boxes of 'people who possess  characteristics protecting them from criticism'. I conclude that the  urge to hate and to demonise the Other are endemic to the Human  Condition - the groups we hate might change over time and depending on  our pre-existing ideologies, but the hate itself doesn't.

I  note that what is sauce for the 'homophobe' or 'bigot' is also sauce  for the homophile - the demonising of 'homophobes' also has serious  consequences, with at least one case of a shooting motivated by a hatred of 'homophobic' 'bigots' (Floyd Lee Corkins charged in Family Research Council shooting).

Indeed,  I would venture that many supporters of same-sex marriage are  themselves 'bigots', in their readiness to stereotype, hate and demonise  the other side.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Links - 22nd April 2014

Female Unhappiness and Revealed Preference - "while the United States is supposedly so bad for working mothers, the women (1) have more kids, and (2) work more. At least superficially, then, it seems as though the U.S. is better for working mothers, not worse. Now, one can certainly argue against this behavioral argument. Maybe men in the U.S. are so poorly paid relative to Europeans that the women have to work. (I think this is clearly untrue.) Or maybe the lack of universal health care means people don't want to risk only having one person with employer-provided insurance (more plausible to me). But the burden of proof is clearly on those who claim the U.S. is on a whole worse for working mothers, since so many more of them seem to be choosing the lifestyle"

Yohan John's answer to What percent chance is there that whole brain emulation or mind uploading to a neural prosthetic will be feasible by 2048? - Quora - "the concept of mind uploading is still incoherent
from both philosophical and scientific perspectives...
We don't know what the mind is from a scientific/technological perspective.
We don't know which processes in the brain (and body!) are essential to subjective mental experience.
We don't have any intuition for what "uploading" means in terms of mental unity and continuity.
We have no way of knowing whether an upload has been successful...
the idea of uploading minds is even more problematic than faster-than-light travel, because the idea does not have any clear or
widely accepted scientific meaning, let alone philosophical meaning. Faster-than-light travel is conceivable at least, but mind uploading
may not even pass that test!"

What's Wrong: Thought Catalog - fuck advocacy - "5 Things College Teaches You About Life
Here's TC's five-step guide to college success, based on their list:
1. Don't pay for anything, but make sure you have the stupid high standards of veganism and a strict Whole Foods mentality.
2. Drink, but don't expect to actually find anyone worthwhile while doing this. This is actually good advice, but —
3. Have sex with as many people as possible. Wait. Hold on. Don't drink, because you won't remember somebody's number, but who cares because you should just have sex with them? Don't do what your parents did? I'm confused. Why can't I drink and fuck?
4. Oh, and while you're drinking and fucking everybody at these crazy college parties (you must be at one of those shitty state schools that has too many liberal arts), throw up a profile on OKCupid and get that online hookup engine revving as well.
5. And you know what, since we're all having so much sex, we can't accomplish anything, so don't bother graduating from college. Just stay in your shitty adolescence forever. Why not. Whatever happened to that girl earlier who had that one great two-month relationship on a beach at 18? Why even bother going to college in the first place? Seems legit...
What have we learned.
Thought Catalog should either start reading its own articles to create a recursive self-destructing feedback loop, or we should just stop pretending it's acceptable. Stop reading it. I'm never going back again. I made a horrible mistake reading enough of it to write this blog post. I'll let you judge for yourself whether TC is "fun, smart,
and creative"."

Women Are Unfair, And it is against their interest to be so -"Women are an unfair specie. They live longer.
Q: Why do men live less years than women?
A: Because they want to...
Women are an unfair specie. They can multi-task... Women are an unfair specie. They can articulate better"
This (or a version of it) got published
in the Business Times, but as of the time of writing AWARE had not protested (of course)

E-mail error ends up on road sign - "When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed. Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated". So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket... The blunder is not the only time Welsh has been translated incorrectly or put in the wrong place:
• Cyclists between Cardiff and Penarth in 2006 were left confused by a bilingual road sign telling them they had problems with an "inflamed bladder".
• In the same year, a sign for pedestrians in Cardiff reading 'Look Right' in English read 'Look Left' in Welsh.
• In 2006, a shared-faith school in Wrexham removed a sign which translated the Welsh for staff as "wooden stave".
• Football fans at a FA Cup tie between Oldham and Chasetown - two English teams - in 2005 were left scratching their heads after a Welsh-language hoarding was put up along the pitch. It should have gone to a match in Merthyr Tydfil.
• People living near an Aberdeenshire building site in 2006 were mystified when a sign apologising for the inconvenience was written in Welsh as well as English."

Potsdam University Removes Masculine Generic from Official Documents - "The governing body of Germany's Potsdam University ruled this week that the feminine forms of titles like Professor and Research Assistant will become the standard generic reference in official university documents. It was the second university to make such a decision in the last month, but controversy broke out when several news organizations, including this one, began reporting that the feminine form would have to be applied in specific cases, meaning that male professors would have to be called "Herr Professorin" (literally, Mr. female professor). The reports sparked a wave of public ridicule and disapproval... the University of Leipzig became the first German university to officially implement the generic feminine form, using it to refer to all professors in a new version of the university constitution. A footnote explains the reason for the usage.
Sexual equality means prioritising women
Comment: "Does anybody else think of Orwell when they read this, this particularly: ""If you want to change the reality, you have to change language too," says Pusch ""

41 Secretly Incredible Travel Destinations
Cappadocia, Nuremberg, Mont Saint Michel, Fes, Alexandria, Hallstatt, Segovia, and the Giant's Causeway are off the beaten path?! The Alcazar of Segovia doesn't look like that. Also 2 of them are in the Crimea

Containing atheism - "A number of academics and experts have underlined the need for serious efforts to contain atheism in the Kingdom. Claiming that there is a link between the spread of atheism and extreme religious views, the experts said a moderate image of Islam must be promoted and any doubts youths may have about religion must be addressed in a convincing manner... Their comments came in light of a poll that showed the Kingdom is the first country in the Islamic world where the number of atheists had crossed the 5 percent mark... Ghazi Al-Maghlouth, professor of Islamic culture at Al-Ahsa University’s Faculty of Shariah, said atheism is not at all linked with religious discourse. It is purely related to the personality of individuals who have some confusion about certain religious doctrines, in addition to having a skeptical mind. They always search for mysteries behind anything and everything and ask questions for which there may not be any clear-cut answers”... Al-Maghlouth specially referred to the controversial book by the Egyptian philosopher Abdul Rahman Badawi, titled “A history of atheism in Islam.” In the book, Badawi explains how several Muslim philosopher-scientists and students of the medieval period questioned and often refuted some basic Islamic tenets and eventually became atheists"
This is surprisingly civilised

Bread Shaming - Eating Bread in Public - "Welcome to the era of Bread Shaming, where your ciabatta roll is suddenly everyone’s business. “I get weird looks in the street,” says Laure Ayel, a lithe blonde Parisian who works in advertising and lives in Manhattan, “because I am eating a piece of a fresh baguette, and the women make weird faces at me!”... “It’s like a competition! But it’s not fun… nobody ever wins.” “That’s exactly what it is,” says Isabel Foxen Duke, a health coach and emotional eating expert whose job is to help clients separate food and self-worth. “In [our] culture, women constantly compare their weight and their food intake with each other. Sometimes it comes out as a ‘holier-than-thou’ declaration, like, ‘How can you eat that? It’s so bad for you!’ Note the people saying that are almost never doctors or nutritionists, by the way… but then there’s also a competitive aspect some friendships foster around food. You’ll think, ‘If you have a piece of bread, am I allowed to have a piece of bread? If you have a piece of bread, am I stronger and better than you because I can resist it?’ When Bread Shaming happens, it’s because in a relationship, the bread is being used by weight-obsessed people as a substitute for worth or power. And the more obsessed someone is with their weight, and their worth compared to others’ around them, then the more aggressive they’ll be about it. So you just have to say, ‘If you Bread Shame me, that’s your fucking problem. Because I feel like when you do, you’re really saying, I wish I were eating bread, too!'”... she found Bread Shaming so uncomfortable, she actually changed her friends. The last straw? “I had a pizza and movie night,” she recalls. “I was in charge of the movie and my friends ordered the pizza… Only when it arrived it was not pizza, but wheat-free, gluten-free cardboard.” After suggesting they order a “real” pizza, too, Montgomery was met with so many glares that she made a new social rule: “I love you if you eat carbs”... 'most girls who make me feel gross about eating bread are the same ones smoking, and chewing gum, and drinking diet soda'"

The forces of evil easily triumph over Krugman and DeLong - "Krugman wisely decided to avoid this bet, which suggests he’s smarter than he appears when he is at his most political... For a guy who is right about everything Krugman sure seems to have been wrong about an awful lot of recent events. Over at Econlog I’m about to do an important post documenting Krugman’s consistent attempts to shift position in order to avoid seeming to have been wrong about fiscal stimulus. Of course on monetary policy nothing can prove him wrong. If it works, great, he’s a fan. If not, well he was skeptical all along... PS. If Krugman regards Mankiw as evil, what possible adjective could he use to describe Ed Prescott?
PPS. My comment about Krugman avoiding the bet was a joke. I actually don’t think academics are required to bet their beliefs. Public humiliation is more effective in any case."

The Complexity of Consent

Sexual Consent in Heterosexual Relationships: Development of a New Measure

"Hall (1998) examined the giving of sexual consent in day-to-day sexual interactions involving both coital and non-coital sexual behaviors. In his sample of 310 sexually active heterosexual college students, Hall found that sexual behaviors usually occurred without overt consent being given. Permission giving was reported most frequently when the behavior in question was vaginal or anal intercourse. The rate of permission giving for other sexual behaviors (e.g., kissing, touching) was markedly lower. In addition, consent giving was most often nonverbal in nature, except for intercourse, for which consent was verbal about half of the time. Hall’s research suggests that there is a sliding scale of priority when it comes to making certain consent has been given. Sexual behaviors that are deemed more intimate are more likely to lead individuals to overtly negotiate consent...

There is a wide range of behavioral approaches used to signal sexual consent to a partner. Factor analysis revealed that sexual consent behaviors could be categorized as direct or indirect and verbal or nonverbal. Direct consent signals were defined as straightforward and unambiguous tactics (e.g., stating, “I want to have sex with you”) whereas indirect consent signals were more veiled and ambiguous tactics (e.g., “she/ he touches and kisses you”)...

Hall’s (1998) research suggested that there may be differences in consent based on the type of sexual behavior being negotiated. By focusing only on intercourse, the process of consent cannot be fully understood. Researchers also have not examined whether consent is situation specific. It is possible that inferring and conveying consent on a first date is very different than in a long-term relationship. For example, a smile in response to being asked “do you have a condom?” could indicate consent giving in an established relationship, but might indicate nervous apprehension on a first date...

Whether or not someone has experienced sexual intercourse seems to be a better predictor of consent attitudes and behaviors than current relationship status or the number of sexual intercourse partners...

Weak attitude–behavior consistency has been an issue of long standing interest in human sexuality and social psychology research (Baumeister and Tice 2001). The difficulty when trying to obtain high attitude– behavior consistency is that there are “plenty of immediate situational factors and pressures [that] can intervene between an attitude and a behavior.” (Baumeister and Tice 2001, p.136). In sexual contexts at college or university, one of the primary culprits is alcohol. Sexual consent behaviors do not occur in a vacuum and therefore the strictest or most cautious standards may not be followed when the complexity of the immediate sexual situation presents itself."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Links - 21st April 2014

Jeff Kay's answer to Should women be accepted into the U.S. Navy Seal teams? Would the training need to be modified to allow them on the teams? - Quora - "I am going to get hated for this, but, no, they shouldn't. Whether or not you disagree, unless you are a veteran or currently serving, you probably wouldn't quite understand my reasoning. Military manning is usually a very precise thing. Speaking from a Navy standpoint, each division is assigned so many positions, or billets, which need to be filled for efficient operation. But billets are assigned by time, also. If a 3 year billet is filled, then the billet won't normally be filled again for nearly 3 years. If a sailor is assigned to a billet for a 3 year tour, then leaves for some reason a year later, the billet may remain unfilled for up to 2 years. For males, there are very few reasons to leave a billet prior to the end date. For females, however, one glaring reason makes them more likely to leave before a billet is completed. Pregnancy."

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh orders end of English as official language - ""We're going to speak our own language," he said, without specifying which of the poor West African country's indigenous tongues would replace English... Gambia stunned the Commonwealth, which mainly groups former British colonies, by withdrawing from the 54-nation bloc in October, branding it "an extension of colonialism""

One Man's "Terrible" Cosplay Makes the Internet a Better Place - "If we go by the typical standard metrics by which cosplay is judged, you might say this cosplay isn't very good. That it's bad. Or even terrible. But those standards don't matter. This is totally wonderful, incredibly creative, and utterly brilliant.P Meet Anucha "Cha" Saengchart. By day, he works as a caretaker for the elderly. In his free time, he runs Facebook page Lowcost Cosplay. Instead of tracking down special fabrics or other materials, the idea is that you cosplay by using whatever you have in the house—like eating utensils, plungers, towels, baking flour, etc."
Addendum: The best Low Cost Cosplay I've seen so far is Batman

Missing MH370: Police deny modifying pictures of impostors - "Assistant chief inspector-general of police secretariat Asst Comm Datin Asmawati Ahmad said the pictures were video grabs from CCTV footage in KL International Airport. “We did not modify the pictures. What actually happened was the two pictures were stapled together but the bottom portion of the second suspect’s photo was torn off. “When we photocopied the photo of the second suspect, it overlapped with the photo of the first one,” she said when contacted Wednesday. ACP Asmawati was responding to allegations on social media that police had doctored the photos of the two imposters as both suspects appeared to have the same pants and legs."

Malaysia failing credibility test - "Frustration over the fruitless search has increasingly been directed at Malaysian officials after a series of fumbling news conferences, incorrect details given by the national airline, and a long delay in divulging details of the military's tracking of what could have been the plane hundreds of miles off course. The missteps have ranged from conflicting information about the last time of contact with the jet to the sharing of photos of two passengers in which they had the same pair of legs. "The Malaysians deserve to be criticized - their handling of this has been atrocious," said Ernest Bower, a Southeast Asia specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington... U.S. officials said Malaysia's failure to disclose the military's radar tracking data until days after the plane's disappearance meant important evidence may have disappeared. "The lack of communication about what is going on is catastrophic," said one Western regulatory source, asking not to be identified. "We are in the fourth dimension here"... Ministries often meet requests for information or interviews with silence. "There was a lot of confusion on the first and second days of this incident," a senior Malaysian defence official with knowledge of the operations told Reuters... As details emerged that some passengers had boarded the flight using stolen passports, Malaysia's home minister was quoted by state news agency Bernama as saying that two men travelling on Italian and Austrian documents had "Asian faces". That was denied by Hishammuddin, and the muddle deepened when Malaysia's aviation chief attempted a confusing analogy with the black Italian footballer Mario Balotelli... Perhaps the greatest confusion was generated by the Malaysian military's revelation on Sunday that the plane may have turned back from its scheduled path off Malaysia's east coast before disappearing. Officials did not give more details on the suspected "turnback" until Wednesday, leaving a gap that was filled by speculation the government was hiding something and doubts over whether the search was being conducted in the right place... Malaysia's apparent mishandling of the situation could have long-term strategic consequences in a region where China's economic and military might is growing rapidly. "They have no maritime domain awareness and it doesn't look like they have a strong command and control structure and they're not well coordinated with friends. Sadly, that's what the MH370 situation demonstrates," he said of Malaysia. "It's not good and it fits in with the narrative I believe is forming in Beijing that China should and needs to take control.""

Steven Dillard's answer to Sex: Is it okay to have sex while your cat is in the room? - Quora - "Her bed had a very broad headboard, and when we retired to the bed, the cats arranged themselves above her on the head board, and they stared at me the whole time we were doing it. Except that when she she had an orgasm, the cats opened their mouths and screamed along with her. Both of them. That was too creepy for me, and I had the impression the cats were quite used to doing this, thought obviously not when I was there."

Is it a date? Or hanging out? Survey reflects confusion - "Svendsen, a marketing manager who lives in New Lenox, Ill., is among today's singles trying to navigate dating with fewer rules. Courtship has become casual, with texts, hookups and hangouts. For Millennials in particular, who view a "date" as too much of a commitment — both in time and emotional connection — the vagaries of dating can be especially confounding. New data, provided exclusively to USA TODAY, bear out just how muddy the landscape can be. An online survey of 2,647 singles, ages 18-59, illustrates that level of ambiguity: 69% are at least somewhat confused about whether an outing with someone they're interested in is a date or not. Although 80% agree that a date is "a planned one-on-one hangout," almost one-quarter (24%) also think it is "a planned evening with a group of friends," and 22% agree that "if they ask me out, it's a date." The survey, conducted in September, was commissioned by dating websitesChristianMingle.com and JDate.com."

Topless Photos of Lebanese Olympic Skier Cause a Scandal Back Home - "Faisal Karami, Lebanon’s caretaker minister of youth and sports, was less enthusiastic. According to Lebanon’s National News Agency, he ordered the country’s Olympic committee to launch an inquiry and take all steps necessary to avoid “harming Lebanon’s reputation.” That statement elicited an even greater scandal, as Lebanese across the spectrum ridiculed the minister for his shortsighted take on what really ails Lebanon. In an editorial titled “What Reputation?” the English language Daily Star newspaper lashed out at Karami and Chamoun’s critics. “Since the beginning of 2014, there have been no fewer than six car bombs,” the editorial said. “There is a general lack of law and order, not to mention the lack of a working government. Is there a better definition of a failed state than ours? This woman, who should be a source of pride to the country, … is being blamed for something she chose to do with her free will, while the everyday concerns of citizens are being wholly and fundamentally neglected.” Lebanon’s online news portal, NOW, was more blunt, placing Chamoun’s pinup alongside an image of a heavily armed man in camouflage under the headline “Boobs over Bullets.”"

Why Men Find It So Hard to Understand What Women Want - "What captured my and my friend's attention most in Dr. Shpancer’s post was the importance to a woman of being desired in a very primal way, a point with which my friend—a woman—strongly identified. She told me that one of the best things about her current relationship was how strongly desired her boyfriend made her feel—both physically and intellectually—at the same time that she felt respected and cared for. She said it was important for her to be desired physically, but not justphysically: desired for everything she is, inside and out. My response was that it is difficult for men, especially those of us who appreciate and embrace the importance of being respectful and considerate toward women, to balance those attitudes with the animalistic, nonrational expressions of passion and desire that women want from us. Most men want to express those feelings as well—and some men, unfortunately, do so in ways that are hurtful and wrong. But I think it’s natural that men who respect and appreciate women are confused about when it’s acceptable to express those desires in a more primal, animalistic way. It's difficult for a guy to know when it’s OK to express desire and passion, and if he waits until a woman explicitly allows it, that defeats the purpose of spontaneous expressions of desire; as Dr. Shpancer puts it, quoting Dr. Marta Meana, a woman wants to feel “overwhelmingly desired, not rationally considered.” The problem for the considerate man, however, is how to express “overwhelming” desire within the constraints he holds himself to and he feels a woman is entitled to; in other words, he doesn't know how to be both the beast and the gentleman she wants and deserves."
The problems with 'enthusiastic consent' continue...

A new report says political conservatives have a much better sex life than Democrats - "Republicans have the highest rate of orgasm of any group in the report. Especially conservative Republicans. No wonder those tea partiers always look so happy. In fact, a majority of self-identified conservatives reported that during sex they reach orgasm just about every single time. That's way higher than the Democrat's national job approval. Such a high conservative orgasm rate compares with only 40% reported success for liberal Democrats who, being liberal, talk openly forever about subjects like sex to affirm their liberality."
This supports the suggestion that feminism is bad for your sex life

Liberal Women Wish for More Sex. Why? - "16% of “very conservative” women say they’d prefer more, compared with 29% of conservative women, 31% of moderates, 47% of liberals, and 50% of “very liberal” women... remarkably, it isn’t much affected by how much sex they’ve actually had recently. That is, while greater recent frequency of sex predicts less desire for more sex, it does nothing to diminish the link between political liberalism and wanting more sex. And women of all political stripes report statistically-comparable frequency of sex. In regression models, the measure of political liberalism remains significantly associated with the odds of wanting more sex even after controlling for the frequency of actual intercourse over the past two weeks, their age, marital status, education level, whether they’ve masturbated recently, their anxiety level, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, depressive symptoms, and porn use. Many of these are significant predictors of wanting more sex. And still the political thing matters... I floated this to a female friend, an economist... More liberal women therefore want to have more sex because they feel the lack of sufficient transcendence in life. If sex is one of the few pathways to it, then it’s sensible to desire more of it. Basically, liberal women substitute sex for religion... So I added religious service attendance to the regression model described earlier, predicting wanting more sex, and—wouldn’t you know it—political liberalism finally went silent as a predictor. Barely."
This is consistent with the suggestion that feminism is bad for your sex life

Has equality destroyed your sex life? A controversial book claims feminism and the rise of ¿new men¿ have killed off women's libidos... - "Using the internet, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam analysed half a billion sexual fantasies, preferences and practices, then correlated their findings with animal behaviour studies and the latest findings in neuroscience, to come to the very non-PC conclusion that when it comes to sex, women are wired to find sexual submission arousing. And that gender equality, far from liberating women sexually, actually inhibits desire."
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