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Friday, May 02, 2014

Thought Reform 101

Thought Reform 101 - Reason.com

"At Wake Forest University last fall, one of the few events designated as "mandatory" for freshman orientation was attendance at Blue Eyed, a filmed racism awareness workshop in which whites are abused, ridiculed, made to fail, and taught helpless passivity so that they can identify with "a person of color for a day." In Swarthmore College's dormitories, in the fall of 1998, first-year students were asked to line up by skin color, from lightest to darkest, and to step forward and talk about how they felt concerning their place in that line. Indeed, at almost all of our campuses, some form of moral and political re-education has been built into freshman orientation and residential programming. These exercises have become so commonplace that most students do not even think of the issues of privacy, rights, and dignity involved.

A central goal of these programs is to uproot "internalized oppression," a crucial concept in the diversity education planning documents of most universities. Like the Leninists' notion of "false consciousness," from which it ultimately is derived, it identifies as a major barrier to progressive change the fact that the victims of oppression have internalized the very values and ways of thinking by which society oppresses them. What could workers possibly know, compared to intellectuals, about what workers truly should want? What could students possibly know, compared to those creating programs for offices of student life and residence, about what students truly should feel? Any desire for assimilation or for individualism reflects the imprint of white America's strategy for racial hegemony...

The exercise was wonderfully successful: "Students in both groups said the game made them feel excluded, confused, awkward, and foolish," which, for Garcia, accomplished the purpose of Haverford's program: "to raise student awareness of racial and ethnic diversity"...

The darkest nightmare of the literature on power is George Orwell's 1984, where there is not even an interior space of privacy and self. Winston Smith faces the ultimate and consistent logic of the argument that everything is political, and he can only dream of "a time when there were still privacy, love, and friendship, and when members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason."

Orwell did not know that as he wrote, Mao's China was subjecting university students to "thought reform," known also as "re-education," that was not complete until children had denounced the lives and political morals of their parents and emerged as "progressive" in a manner satisfactory to their trainers. In the diversity education film Skin Deep, a favorite in academic "sensitivity training," a white student in his third day of a "facilitated" retreat on race, with his name on the screen and his college and hometown identified, confesses his family's inertial Southern racism and, catching his breath, says to the group (and to the thousands of students who will see this film on their own campuses), "It's a tough choice, choosing what's right and choosing your family."

Political correctness is not the end of human liberty, because political correctness does not have power commensurate with its aspirations. It is essential, however, to understand those totalizing ambitions for what they are. O'Brien's re-education of Winston in 1984 went to the heart of such invasiveness. "We are not content with negative obedience.... When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will." The Party wanted not to destroy the heretic but to "capture his inner mind." Where others were content to command "Thou shalt not" or "Thou shalt," O'Brien explains, "Our command is 'Thou art.'" To reach that end requires "learning... understanding [and] acceptance," and the realization that one has no control even over one's inner soul. In Blue Eyed, the facilitator, Jane Elliott, says of those under her authority for the day, "A new reality is going to be created for these people." She informs everyone of the rules of the event: "You have no power, absolutely no power." By the end, broken and in tears, they see their own racist evil, and they love Big Sister...

Molly Tovar, who has done this sort of work both at the University of Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State University, passed out a 22-page guide she co-authored, "How to Build and Implement a Comprehensive Diversity Plan." The guide explains the three "kinds of attitudes" that agents of cultural change will face: "The Believers," who are "cooperative; excited; participative; contributive"; "The Fence Straddlers," who are "suspicious; observers; cautious; potentially open-minded"; and "The Skeptics," who are "critical; passive aggressive; isolated; traditional"...

All of these materials were acquired during "training" by the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, a program so effective that "it was very hard to get any of the other white members of the committee [Barlaz was white] to go for the training that the Department of Justice provided free of charge. The white members of the [Adelphi Prejudice Reduction] Committee had been so alienated by the training that they didn't want to go back"...

There are painful ironies in these attempts at thought reform. Individual identity lies at the heart of both dignity and the flourishing of an ethnically heterogeneous society. Black students on American campuses rightly decry any tendency of university police to stop students based on race. Their objections are not statistical but moral: One is an individual, not an instance of blood or appearance. The assault on individual identity was essential to the horror and inhumanity of Jim Crow laws, of apartheid, and of the Nuremberg Race Laws. It is no less inhuman when undertaken by "diversity educators."

From the Inquisition to the political use of Soviet psychiatry, history has taught us to recoil morally from the violation of the ultimate refuges of self-consciousness, conscience, and private beliefs. The song of the "peat bog soldiers," sent by the Nazis to work until they died, was "Die Gedanken sind frei," "Thoughts Are Free," for that truly is the final atom of human liberty. No decent society or person should pursue another human being there. Our colleges and universities do so routinely...

Nichols first came to the attention of critics of intrusive political correctness in 1990, when he led an infamous "racial sensitivity" session at the University College of the University of Cincinnati. According to witnesses, his exercise culminated in the humiliation of a blond, blue-eyed, young female professor, whom he ridiculed as a "perfect" member of "the privileged white elite" who not only would win "a beauty contest" but even "wore her string of pearls." The woman, according to these accounts, sat and sobbed. These contemporaneous revelations did not harm Nichols' career...

What does Nichols believe? He believes that culture is genetically determined, and that blacks, Hispanics, and descendants of non-Jewish Middle-Eastern tribes place their "highest value" on "interpersonal relationships." In Africa, women are the equal of men. Whites were altered permanently by the Ice Age. They value objects highly, not people. That is why white men commit suicide so frequently when they are downsized...

When white students initially suggest that they personally did not do terrible things, the students of color fire back with both barrels. A first reply goes immediately to the heart of the matter: "One thing that you must definitely understand is that we're discussing how this country was founded, and because you are a white male, people are going to hate you"...

In short, what moves the film (and American thought reform) is a denial of individual identity and responsibility, an insistence on group victimization and rights, and the belief that America is an almost uniquely iniquitous place in the world, without opportunity, legal equality, or justice. "I want you to know," an Hispanic male explains, "that because of the system, my cousin was shot...and then another cousin was shot." The tribalism of the exploited Third World expresses a core truth: You are your blood and history. Let the children of the guilty denounce their parents. Let the victims stake their claims. Let the cultural revolution begin...

The guide also has a rare explicit endorsement of "political correctness," reminding facilitators that "language was a prime factor" in the murder of 6 million Jews, that language perpetuates racism, and that it is wrong to believe that "anything people say should be left alone simply because we all have the right to free speech....The challenges to political correctness tend to come from those who want to be able to say anything without repercussions"...

Skin Deep is a kid's cartoon, however, compared to Jane Elliott's Blue Eyed. Elliott has been lionized by the American media, including Oprah Winfrey, and she is widely employed by a growing number of universities. Disney plans to make a movie of her life...

In Blue Eyed, masochistic adults accept Elliott's two-and-a-half-hour exercise in sadism (reduced to 90 minutes of film), designed to make white people understand what it is to be "a person of color" in America. To achieve this, she divides her group into stupid, lazy, shiftless, incompetent, and psychologically brutalized "blue eyes," on the one hand, and clever and empowered "brown eyes," on the other. Some of the sadism is central to the "game," but much is gratuitous, and it continues after the exercise has ended.

Elliott is unbearably tendentious and ignorant. To teach what an IQ test truly is, she gives the brown eyes half of the answers to an impossible test before the blue eyes enter the room, explaining that, for people of color, the IQ exam is "a test about which you know absolutely nothing." IQ tests only measure "white culture." They are a means of "reinforcing our position of power," and "we do this all the time in public, private, and parochial schools," using "culturally biased tests, textbooks, and pictures on the wall...for white people." (Fortunately for Elliott, it appears there were no Asian-Americans or psychometricians in her group.)

Elliott often describes the 1990s as if they were the 1920s; indeed, in her view, nothing has changed in America since the collapse of Reconstruction. Every day in the United States, she explains, white power keeps black males in their place by calling them "boy" (two syllables, hissed), "and we do it to accomplished black males over 70, and we get away with it." We tell blacks to assimilate, which means merely to "act white," but when they try that, we put them in their place and change the rules. For example (this in 1995), whites now are building up Colin Powell, but as soon as they build "this boy" up, they will kick him down. For Elliott, the Powell boom was a conscious conspiracy to humiliate and disorient blacks.

She teaches her "blueys" with relish that protest accomplishes nothing, because if blacks protest, "we kill them." It is not smart to speak up or act clever, which is why blacks appear passive and stupid. The lesson: "You have no power, absolutely no power. ...Quit trying." Blacks might try to "win" on the inside, but it is almost impossible to validate oneself when white society puts you down "all day, every day"...

In short, this is America, and there truly is no hope. Nothing ever changes. No one can succeed by effort. Culture, society, and politics all are static. "White privilege" controls all agencies of power, influence, and image, and uses all the means that arise from these to render "people of color" psychologically impotent, confused, passive, and helpless. So either vent your hatred or assume your guilt.

There is no redemption except guilt, but there is a political moral. After "teaching" a "bluey" to submit totally to her authority, she asks if that was a good lesson. The workshop thinks it was. No, she says with venom, submission to tyranny is a terrible lesson, but "what I just did to him today Newt Gingrich is doing to you every day...and you are submitting to that, submitting to oppression"...

In 1996, she told her audience at Kansas State University that all whites are racists, whatever they believe about themselves: "If you want to see another racist, turn to the person on your right. Now look at the person on your left." She also believes that blacks were in America 600 years before whites. She told the students at Kansas State that if they were angry at her, they should write letters, but that they must do so without paper, alphabet, or numbers, all of which were invented by people of color. Whites, in Elliott's view, did have a certain creativity. Betraying a breathtaking ignorance of world history, she told the Australian Internet magazine Webfronds in 1998 that "white people invented racism." Other than that, however, whites were quite parasitic...

From the evidence, most students tune it out, just as most students at most times generally have tuned out abuses of power and diminutions of liberty. One should not take heart from that. Where students react, it is generally with an anger that, ironically and sadly, exacerbates the balkanization of our universities.

Links - 2nd May 2014

"The truth springs from arguments amongst friends." - David Hume


Etching - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "The phrase "Want to come up and see my etchings?" is a romantic euphemism by which a person entices someone to come back to their place with an offer to look at something artistic, but with ulterior motives. The phrase is a corruption of some phrases in a novel by Horatio Alger, Jr. called The Erie Train Boy, which was first published in 1891. Alger was an immensely popular author in the 19th century—especially with young people—and his books were widely quoted. In CHAPTER XXII of the book, a woman writes to her boyfriend "I have a new collection of etchings that I want to show you. Won't you name an evening when you will call, as I want to be certain to be at home when you really do come." The boyfriend then writes back "I shall no doubt find pleasure in examining the etchings which you hold out as an inducement to call""

Dilbert comic strip for 08/06/2005 from the official Dilbert comic strips archive. - "I believe in karma. That means I can do bad things to people all day long and I assume they deserve it."

Denmark's ritual slaughter ban says more about human hypocrisy than animal welfare - "It seems to me obvious that the slaughter of animals at the end of their lives is of far less ethical importance than the way they are treated beforehand. The cruelties of factory farming extend over an animal's whole lifetime whereas the cruelty of ritual slaughter lasts minutes at most. To complain about the halal slaughter of battery chickens or factory farmed veal is a truly monstrous absurdity. In a Danish context this is particularly obvious. The pig farming industry there, whose products are devoured by almost everyone in Europe who isn't an observant Jew of Muslim, is a monstrous engine of quotidian suffering, despite the pre-slaughter stunning. The new agriculture minister, Dan Jørgensen, has pointed out that 25,000 piglets a day die in Danish factory farms – they never even make it to the slaughterhouse; that half of the sows have open sores and 95% have their tails docked, a cruel (and under EU regulations, illegal) practice that is needed to stop them chewing and biting one another's tails in their concrete sheds... There are two further ironies about the Danish case. The first is that the country was last week the focus of international indignation for slaughtering a giraffe, entirely humanely, and then using its corpse first to teach biology and then to feed lions, who must have had a treat. It is impossible to fault any of this behaviour on utilitarian grounds, or even, I think, on humane ones if we are going to have zoos at all. Certainly Marius the unhappy giraffe lived a short life infinitely better and more interesting than any of the six million pigs born and slaughtered in Denmark every year."

Would Conscription Put the Brakes on War? - Reason.com - ""Conscription hadn’t dissuaded Harry Truman from intervening in Korea in 1950 or stopped Johnson from plunging into Vietnam in 1965"... whatever "extreme emergencies" prompted deployment in Cuba, World War I, Korea, and Vietnam, a consistent anti-interventionist easily finds as much fault in the wars before 9/11 as in the decade following... Rather than reinstating the draft, a less drastic proposal exists, one more consistent with human rights, more conducive to peace, and more respectful of those on the front lines: a truly voluntary military. Today, unlike most any other U.S. institution, the armed forces practice indentured servitude: Employees agree to a term of service and face imprisonment or even execution should they quit. We do not consider it a "voluntary" job if a warehouse or factory forcibly prevents workers from quitting at will. Those who wish to honor the humanity of America’s soldiers should agitate not for conscription but for the freedom to resign. The remaining soldiers would be there by choice, and if they continued fighting unjust, counterproductive wars, it would be harder to regard them as victims of bad leadership and an apathetic populace."

Canadian man who poked holes in condoms to impregnate girlfriend loses appeal - "In its unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court said Hutchinson deprived the woman of her ability to consent to sex."

The real reasons we do not have a male birth control pill - "Many of these voices support the idea of a male pill citing fairness and the desire that men carry more of the contraceptive burden. The most energetic and pernicious, however, come from a hoard of columnists writing “from a woman’s perspective” who oppose the idea of a male pill. The timbre of the commentary ranges from the condescending to the appallingly bigoted. In January of 2010 HLN’s Joy Behar discussed research developments with, of all people, Ashley Dupre, Eliot Spitzer’s over-priced sidekick. Along with discussing the “G Spot” with the supposedly renowned expert on male fertility issues, they also “covered” the inability to trust a man when he says he is on the pill, the “fragile male ego” that we hear so much about and how rendering one’s self infertile might just be too much for a man’s pride to take. Also predictably plugged was the idea that men simply do not possess the intelligence to realize we can get an sexually transmitted disease without the use of a condom... the real reason that so many women and woman’s advocacy groups demonstrate a fierce resistance to the male pill. That reason is not that they are afraid that we will lie or forget. Rather, it is the fear that we will actually use it. It is the fear that men will seize reproductive control"

Boston upskirt "Peeping Tom" wins voyeurism court case - "A ruling by Justice Margot Botsford at Boston's Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts states that filming or photographing a person who is nude or partly nude without their knowledge is against the law – but that does not apply to people who are fully clothed."

Europe's night trains hit the buffers - "the new high-speed services using French TGVs and Spanish AVEs, while numerous, are little consolation: rather than spending eight of the 11 hours it took the Talgo to get from Paris to Barcelona asleep and having a full day in both cities, we’ll be awake for most of the daytime journey, wishing we were already there. There is an inexorable logic to the disappearance of night trains. They are costly to run (instead of 80 seats, a sleeper carriage offers only 30 beds); they are limited to one trip every 24 hours; and numerous staff need to be paid for long, unsocial shifts (the Talgos even had a very talented on-board chef). Low-cost airlines have taken a chunk out of the market, too. Add to this prohibitive access fees for international services in Europe, and the future looks dark"

banzaipanda comments on Doctors/nurses/redditors, what has been your most gory, disgusting or worst medical experience? - "Unbeknownst to us, the infection had actually tunneled nearly a foot into her abdomen, creating a vast cavern full of pus, rotten tissue, and fecal matter that had seeped outside of her colon. This godforsaken mixture came rocketing out of that little incision like we were recreating the funeral scene from Jane Austen's "Mafia!"... The patient kept seizing against the ventilator (not uncommon in surgery), and with every muscle contraction, she shot more of this brackish gray-brown fluid out onto the floor until, within minutes, it was seeping into the other nurse's shoes"

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Links - 1st May 2014

'Frontline staff should be below 80kg' - "The Public Service Department (PSD) has been urged to hire frontliners who weigh below 80kg, fit and healthy to serve the public."

Man really didn’t get anything for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day | New Nation - "Zhen Yuan Wang, the boyfriend, said: “I really had no idea what she said is not what she meant. She said to me a week before Valentine’s Day she didn’t want anything? So what was I supposed to believe?” “Some days she said she didn’t want to have sex and she really meant it during those times.” Other men who are familiar with this situation can only shake their heads and offer their condolences. Hong Kan Leow, a man who had the same thing happened to him last year, said: “I was very excited at first because I thought my girlfriend was different.” “But I guess that’s the price you pay for thinking like a normal man.”"

The evolution of fairness through spite - "Spite—social behaviour that inflicts harm with no direct benefit to the actor—can evolve when it is disproportionally directed at individuals playing different strategies. The introduction of negative assortment alters the dynamics in a way that increases the chance fairness evolves, but at a cost: spite also evolves. Fairness is usually linked to cooperation and prosocial behaviour, but this study shows that it may have evolutionary links to harmful antisocial behaviour."

▶ VH1 Revenge of the Nerds - YouTube

People’s Pornography – An interview with Katrien Jacobs | Danwei - "it seems that Chinese men really prefer Japanese porn over Western porn. I think it is primarily because the Japanese know how the play the Chinese markets for pop culture and sex entertainment. They simply supply an excessive kind of erotic imagination that Chinese entrepreneurs cannot handle. Even though there is a wealth of genres and mind-boggling fetish products available from Japan, the cultures actually share a quite narrow-minded patriarchal view on sexual pleasure. This is perhaps the reason why Chinese men like Japanese stars, because they embody a feminine ideal of innocence and purity that is harder to find in Western porn. Western females in porn are considered to be too active and too “coarse” for Chinese men. Also, it works well for Chinese people, and specifically youngsters, to project liberation and otherness onto the “foreign” Japanese porn culture... Pan Suiming is one of the leading Chinese scholars who has documented the deep-rooted effects of abstinence and sex/porn starvation in males during the Mao years"

Russians Are Miserable And Brazilians Love To Smile: What Selfies Reveal About Cultural Stereotypes - "only 3% to 5% of the 300,000-plus images that they examined were actually selfies.
• Women take more selfies than men. "In every city we analyzed, there are significantly more women selfies than men taking, from 1.3 times as many in Bangkok to 1.9 times more in Berlin," Stefaner says. In Moscow, the discrepancy is even more striking: 4.6 times more women take selfies in the Russian capitol then men. No matter where, if a man takes selfies, though, he's likely to be older: the median age of men who post selfies on Instagram is more than 30 years old.
• Women strike more extreme poses in selfies (especially in São Paulo). According to SelfieCity's research, women tend to take more expressive, sexy poses than men in their selfies. On average, the head tilt of a woman's selfie is 150% higher than for men (12.3° vs. 8.2°). Translated, this means an awful lot of women take selfies holding their cameras way above their heads. But in São Paulo, it's even crazier: there, the average head tilt for females is 16.9°! Guess they want to fit their bikinis in-frame...
People are happiest in Bangkok and São Paulo, and more miserable in Moscow. "Our mood analysis revealed that you can find lots of smiling faces in Bangkok (0.68 average smile score) and São Paulo (0.64)," Stefaner says. "People taking selfies in Moscow smile the least (only 0.53 on the smile score scale).""
Stereotypes persist and endure because they are often true

The Selfie Olympics - Photos

BishopBlog: Psychology: Where are all the men? - "The term ‘psychology’ covers a huge range of subject matter with different historical roots. Most areas of academic psychology make some use of statistics, but they vary considerably in how far they require strong quantitative or computational skills. For instance, it would be difficult to specialise in the study of perception or neuroscience without being something of a numbers nerd: that’s generally less true for developmental, clinical, interpersonal or social psychology, which require other skills sets... The APA is predominantly a professional organisation, and non-applied areas of psychology are not strongly represented in the membership. Nevertheless, one can see clear gender differences, which generally map on to the expectation that women are more focused on the caring professions, and men are more heavily represented in theoretical and quantitative areas... The big question is how far we should try to manipulate gender differences when we find them... [if] gender stereotyping is a major determinant of subject choices, shouldn’t we then adopt similar policies to other subjects that show a gender bias, whether this be in favour of girls or boys?... A-level psychology [is] dominated by girls, and perceived by boys as a ‘girly’ subject. So should we try to change that? As Smith notes, the female bias seems linked to a preference for schools to teach A-level psychology options that veer away from more quantitative cognitive topics. Here we find that psychology provides an interesting test case for arguments around gender, because within the subject there are consistent biases for males and females to prefer one kind of sub-area to another. This implies that to alter the gender balance you might need to change what is taught, rather than how it is taught, by giving more prominence to the biological and cognitive aspects of psychology. If true, it might be easier to alter gender ratios in psychology than in physics, but only by modifying the content of the syllabus. One of the IOP's recommendations is: "Co-ed schools should have a target to exceed the current national average of 20% of physics A-level students being girls." But surely this presumes an agenda whereby we aim for equality of genders in all subjects, with equivalent campaigns to recruit more boys into nursing, psychology and English?... The downside of an insistence on gender balance is a sense of coercion, whereby children are made to feel that their choice of subject isn't a real choice, but is only made because they have been brainwashed by gender stereotypes"

The Blood Harvest - "Each year, half a million horseshoe crabs are captured and bled alive to create an unparalleled biomedical technology. "

Oil, Ambergris and the Grand Ball of the Whales - "a more recent - and American - reminder can be found in the cartoon at the top of this post, taken from Vanity Fair in 1861, and which we hold at the Library. 'The Grand Ball given by the Whales' depicts a celebratory pod of whales, who are heartily cheered by the the striking of 'rock oil' at Drake's oil well in Pennsylvania. No longer, the sperm whales believed, would their precious spermaceti oil be hunted for use in candles and lubrication of the delicate machines of the industrialised north."

'I'm 60. . . and irresistible to men of 20 who want sex with no strings attached': Read MONICA PORTER'S unashamed account of how she took 15 lovers - most of them under 30 - and two in one day | Mail Online - "By and large he wasn't interested in girls of his own age. 'All they want to talk about is The X Factor and the latest celebrity gossip. After a couple of dates they start putting on the pressure. They want a proper relationship and commitment'... I felt that the big-bellied, baggage-laden oldsters on the dating site couldn't compete with these tempting young men. It was like looking into a cake shop and seeing all the scrumptious little cupcakes with their colourful swirly tops. Why on earth would you choose the boring old Victoria sponge?... I had finally twigged how the virtual dating system worked. New connections were constantly forming, leaving earlier ones to dissolve. The hapless were dropped while other options were explored. Everything was built on shifting sand, nothing was solid or reliable or entirely real. The more you wanted to believe in the emotional value of a particular connection, the more likely it was to be merely a mirage. Normal responses to other human beings - involving sentiments such as hope and trust - were de-activated. If you couldn't play this pitiless game, you were in the wrong place."

Unbelievable job

My job is so fucking unbelievable. I'll try to sum it up by first telling you about the folks I work with:

First, there is this supermodel wanna-be chick. Yeah, okay, she is pretty hot, but damn is she completely useless.
The girl is constantly fixing her hair or putting on make-up.
She is extremely self-centred and has never once considered the needs or wants of anyone but herself.
She is as dumb as a box of rocks, and I still find it surprising that she has enough brain power to continue to breathe.

The next chick is completely the opposite. She might even be one of the smartest people on the planet.
Her career opportunities are endless, and yet she is here with us. She is a zero on a scale of 1 to 10.
I'm not sure she even showers, much less shaves her "womanly" parts.
I think she might be a lesbian, because every time we drive by the hardware store she moans like a cat in heat.

But the jewel in the crown has got to be the fucking stoner. And this guy is more than just your average pothead.
In fact, he is baked before he comes to work, during work, and I'm sure after work.
He probably hasn't been sober any time in the last ten years, and he's only 22.
He dresses like a beatnik throwback from the 1960's, and to make things worse, he brings his big fucking dog to work.
Every fucking day I have to look at this huge Great Dane walk around half-stoned from the second-hand smoke.
Hell, sometimes I even think it's trying to talk with its constant bellowing.
Also, both of them are constantly hungry, requiring multiple stops to McDonald's and Burger King, every single fucking day.

Anyway, I drive these fucktards around in my van and we solve mysteries and shit.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Men are Evil

"WHAT IS a man, anyway? Everything I see around me in popular culture tells me a man is he who screws and kills. But everything I see around me in life tells me a man is he who makes money. Maybe these two are related, because making money in our world often requires careful avoidance of screwing and killing, so maybe the culture provides the unlived part. I don't claim to know, and I don't even care much. I figure that's their problem. Women are trying hard these days to get out from under the images that have been imposed on them. The difficulty is there is just enough truth in the images that to repudiate them often involves repudiating also part of what you really are. Maybe men are in the same boat, but I don't think so. I think they rather like their images, find them serviceable. If they don't, it's up to them to change them. l do know that if that is what men are, I'm willing to dispense with them forever and have children only through parthenogenesis, which would mean I’d have only female parthenogenesis, which would mean I’d have only female children, which would suit me fine. But the other side of the image, the reality, is just as bad. Because if the men I've known haven't much indulged in killing and are no great shakes at screwing and have made money (for the most part) in only moderate amounts, they haven't been anything else either. They’re just dull. Maybe that's the price of being on the winning side. Because the women I know have gotten fucked, literally and figuratively, and they're great.

One advantage to being a despised species is that you have freedom, freedom to be any crazy thing you want. If you listen to a group of housewives talk, you’ll hear a lot of nonsense, some of it really crazy. This comes, I think, From being alone so much, and pursuing your own odd train of thought without impediment, which some call discipline. The result is craziness, but also brilliance. Ordinary women come out with the damnedest truths. You ignore them at your own risk. And they're permitted to go on making wild statements without being put in one kind of jail or another (some of them, anyway) because everyone knows they're crazy and powerless too. If a woman is religious or earthy, passive or wildly assertive, loving or hating, she doesn’t get much more flak than if she isn’t: her choices lie between being castigated as a ball and chain or as a whore. What I don't understand is where women suddenly get power. Because they do. The kids, who almost always turn out to be a pile of shit, are, we all know, Mommy's fault. Well, how did she manage that, this powerless creature? Where was all her power during the years she was doing five loads of laundry a week and worrying about mixing the whites with the colors‘? How was she able to offset Daddy’s positive influence? How come she never knows she has this power until afterward, when it gets called responsibility?

What I'm trying to understand is winning and losing. Now the rule of the game is that men win as long as they keep their noses comparatively clean, and women lose, always, even extraordinary women, The Edith Piafs and Judy Garlands of the world become great by capitalizing on their losing. That the world become great by capitalizing on their losing. That part is clear. What is not clear is what game we’re playing. What do you win when you win? I know what you lose, having some experience with that side. What I don't know is what rewards are involved with winning besides money. Maybe that's it; maybe that's all there is. I guess so, because when I look at all the winners, all the Norms of the world, l can’t see much else: money and a certain ease in the world, a sense of legitimacy.

You think l hate men. l guess l do, although some of my best friends . . . I don't like this position. I mistrust generalized hatred. I feel like one of those twelfth-century monks raving on about how evil women are and how they must cover themselves up completely when they go out lest they lead men into evil thoughts. The assumption that the men are the ones who matter, and that the women exist only in relation to them, is so silent and underrunning that even we never picked it up until recently. But after all, look at what we read. I read Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and Wittgenstein and Freud and Erikson; l read de Montherlant and Joyce and Lawrence and sillier people like Miller and Mailer and Roth and Philip Wylie. I read the Bible and Greek myths and didn't question why all later redactions relegated Gaea-Tellus and Lilith to a footnote and made Saturn the creator of the world. I read or read about, without much question, the Hindus and the Jews, Pythagoras and Aristotle, Seneca, Cato, St. Paul, Luther, Sam Johnson, Rousseau, Swift. . . well, you understand. For years I didn't take it personally.

So now it is difficult for me to call others bigots when I am one myself. I tell people at once, to warn them, that I stiffer from deformation of character. But the truth is I am sick unto death of four thousand years of males telling me how rotten my sex is. Especially it makes me sick when I look around and see such rotten men and such magnificent women, all of whom have a sneaking suspicion that the four thousand years of remarks are correct. These days l feel like an outlaw, a criminal. Maybe that's what the people perceive who look at me so strangely as I walk the beach. l feel like an outlaw not only because I think that men are rotten and women are great, but because I have come to believe that oppressed people have the right to use criminal means to survive. Criminal means being, of course, defying the laws passed by the oppressors to keep the oppressed in line. Such a position takes you scarily close to advocating oppression itself, though. We are bound in by the terms of the sentence. Subject-verb-object. The best we by the terms of the sentence. Subject-verb-object. The best we can do is turn it around. And that's no answer, is it?

Well, answers I leave to others, to a newer generation perhaps, lacking the deformities mine suffered. My feelings about men are the result of my experience. l have little sympathy for them. Like a Jew just released from Dachau, I watch the handsome young Nazi soldier fall writhing to the ground with a bulletin his stomach and I look briefly and walk on. I don't even need to shrug. I simply don't care. What he was, as a person, I mean, what his shames and yearnings were, simply don’t matter. It is too late for me to care. Once upon a time I could have cared.

But Fairyland is back beyond the door. Forever and forever I will hate Nazis, even if you can prove to me that they too were victims, that they were subject to illusion, brainwashed with images. The stone in my stomach is like an oyster's pearl—it is the accumulation of defense against an irritation. My pearl is my hatred: my hatred is learned from experience: that is not prejudice. I wish it were prejudice. Then, perhaps, I could unlearn it."

--- The Women's Room / Marilyn French

Links - 30th April 2014

From porn surfer to freedom fighter: How Zhang Kun became a democracy activist | South China Morning Post - "Have you thought of leading a quiet life like most of your peers, with nice clothes, good food, going on dates?
Actually, I've been quite happy throughout the campaign. I would get depressed if I just played around like the others, because I would not feel very accomplished if I cared only for my material well-being. The authorities have tried to use my parents to talk me into giving up what I've been doing. My parents actually already have a villa ready for me to settle down in, along with a beautiful girl, but I told them to trust me about what I've been doing, because it's for a good cause, as time will tell. Of course, I love my parents and I keep them informed about where I go and what I will do."

People Actually Watch Less Porn on Valentine's Day - "It shows that for one night a year at least, people are busier with their significant others than they are with Pornhub"

We Read Salon's Interview with Suey Park So You Don't Have To (and So Your Brain Won't Explode) | The Daily Banter - "I can’t tell how much of what Park says is serious, how much is performance art, how much is mindless repetition of the buzzwords and narratives drilled into a willing mind by a modern humanities and critical race theory education, and how much is just social media-fueled Millennial narcissism, her personal “brand” cranked to 11 because it’s what her fans expect and it keeps the spotlight on her. Regardless, if you’re a reasonable, sane person, it’s almost impossible to read the interview from start to finish and still take Park seriously... Suey Park is the Shia LaBeouf of activism...
Did you watch the Monday night segment on the “Colbert Report”?
No, and I think that’s an irrelevant question...
Park’s almost staggering narcissism takes over as she puts her work writing Twitter hashtags on the same level as civil rights pioneers who truly put their lives and futures on the line to advance noble causes...
Would it be inflammatory to say that you think white men are sort of the enemy?
Um. I mean I think they are, and we might as well label it. Whiteness will always be the enemy"

#CancelColbert and the politics of being offended - "For someone who is always on bed rest and suffers from a severe anxiety and eating disorder Suey sure likes making herself the center of attention. When the pressure becomes too much to bear she uses her chronic illness as an excuse to not engage with people who disagree with her... Calling for someone to be fired solely because he hurt your feelings by calling your opinions stupid is weak, immature, and shows intolerance against those who dare question your intelligence and alleged outrage. Who’s the real bully here?... To disagree with Suey Park is to be a racist, white, mansplaining liberal outraged that a Woman of Color dare speak her mind... Suey has a tendency to be triggered (a reflex stemming from mental instability) when people criticize her... Suey tends to ignore valid arguments against her because she’s incapable of disproving their points and her knack for trending hashtags and calling it activism is a cop out for not doing the real work... To sum this all up, when white people laugh at satire they are racist, but when they don’t laugh at Suey Park’s racist remarks about them they need to lighten up"
This is just a more developed version of what many people do

Put the Sex Back in Sex Ed - "Fertility is the missing chapter in sex education. Sobering facts about women’s declining fertility after their 20s are being withheld from ambitious young women, who are propelled along a career track devised for men. The refusal by public schools’ sex-education programs to acknowledge gender differences is betraying both boys and girls... Too often, sex education defines pregnancy as a pathology, for which the cure is abortion. Adolescent girls must think deeply about their ultimate aims and desires. If they want both children and a career, they should decide whether to have children early or late. There are pros, cons and trade-offs for each choice... The present system is too vulnerable to political pressures from both the left and the right–and students are trapped in the middle... Sex education has triggered recurrent controversy, partly because it is seen by religious conservatives as an instrument of secular cultural imperialism, undermining moral values. It’s time for liberals to admit that there is some truth to this and that public schools should not promulgate any ideology. The liberal response to conservatives’ demand for abstinence-only sex education has been to condemn the imposition of “fear and shame” on young people. But perhaps a bit more self-preserving fear and shame might be helpful in today’s hedonistic, media-saturated environment... public schools have no business listing the varieties of sexual gratification, from masturbation to oral and anal sex, although health educators should nonjudgmentally answer student questions about the health implications of such practices. The issue of homosexuality is a charged one. In my view, antibullying campaigns, however laudable, should not stray into political endorsement of homosexuality or gay rights causes"

The Pantheon of Dunces - "Standing in front of a bare-breasted statue at the Justice Department, Ed Meese accepts the 1,960-page report from his $500,000 pornography commission. Available in two volumes from the government for $35, the report becomes something of a cult item for its 100-plus page listing of book, movie and magazine titles (Teenage Dog Orgy, Cathy’s Sore Bottom, Lesbian Foot Lovers – The Movie) and 200 pages of detailed descriptions and excerpts from said material."

John Paul II crucifix crushes man in northern Italy - "Part of the 30m-high (100ft) sculpture collapsed at a ceremony ahead of the Pope's canonisation... It is not the first death caused by a falling crucifix in Italy. In 2004, the Associated Press reported that a 72-year old woman had been crushed to death by a 7ft-tall metal crucifix in the town of Sant'Onofrio in the south of the country."

Accused KKK Killer Was Once Caught Having Sex With a Black Male Hooker

“No platform” was once reserved for violent fascists. Now it's being used to silence debate - "No platform might be enacted in a number of ways: it could mean an institution refusing to host speakers associated with particular violent groups (something the NUS has historically done), or established political parties forbidding their representatives to share the stage with figures from far-right organisation. As a last resort, it meant taking direct action to prevent the proponent of an abhorred position from speaking. But it was traditionally about rejecting the rhetoric of violence – especially when that rhetoric was liable to inspire leagues of smash-happy skinheads. Now, no platform's remit appears to be broader. Witness the recent video from a debate at Galway University, where writer and editor Alan Johnson attempted to make the case against a boycott of Israel. Johnson’s speech is barely audible above the noise of the crowd, who boo and drum the desks. The loudest opponent, dressed in the colours of the Palestinian flag, shouts: “Fucking Zionist fucking pricks […] Get the fuck off our campus”... “I have to pay for the rest of my life because of a very small group of trans women,” she says. “I haven’t said anything hateful to any of these people, ever. All I have ever said was question the essentialist meaning of transgenderism, because, by positing gender as fixed it flies in the face of feminism.” Subsequently, Bindel has been prevented from speaking not just about transgender issues, but also about violence against women and girls. The no platforming has taken the form of direct intimidation – “I had death threats […] I was shouted at, physically attacked on stage,” Bindel tells me – as well as coming in more official guises. In 2011, the NUS GLBT conference voted to no platform her, and approved the extraordinary motion “this conference believes Julie Bindel is vile”. (Meanwhile, various tyrants and dictators have been hosted by NUS venues)... Intimidation is at the core of no platform – both the arguments for it and, increasingly, its practice. Why should a woman speaking for feminism, or a man speaking for Zionism, be deemed such a threat that they have to be shouted down, condemned as “vile”, or told to “fuck off”? Why, in the new economy of outrage, have people like Bindel and Johnson attracted the opprobrium that was formerly reserved for hypermasculine, anti-semitic white power movements? No platform now uses the pretext of opposing hate speech to justify outrageously dehumanising language, and sets up an ideal of “safe spaces” within which certain individuals can be harassed. A tool that was once intended to protect democracy from undemocratic movements has become a weapon used by the undemocratic against democracy."
When 'structural violence' is 'violence', anyone can be censored

Answer to I am 29 years old, living in Manhattan. I am surviving now with an okay income, but I'm slowly losing my motivation. How do I keep up my greed? How do I push myself to become stronger? - Quora - "Start snorting cocaine. You will eventually lose all your money and will have to start sucking dicks to buy more coke. Then you will automatically find the motivation to earn more."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

On the one hand, I hate spam. On the other...

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Copyright © 2014 Aztech Technologies Pte Ltd, All rights reserved."

(link while it's still up)

Links - 29th April 2014

Claire used £1 Nivea cream on half her face - and £105 Crème de la Mer on the other. The results are VERY revealing - "While I felt that both creams made my skin look great, if you can get better results for a fraction of the price of Crème de la Mer and a lot less hassle in the morning, the winner is obvious."

Eric Pepke's answer to Sexism: Why do some men hate women? - Quora - "whatever you hate or dislike, women are somehow supposed to be exempt. This is terribly sexist, of course, but this is a kind of sexism that hasn't been challenged much by feminism and has been embraced by quite a lot of feminism. As the influential Marilyn French said, "women are great, and men are awful." In the words of Frank Zappa, "if you want to believe that women are a wonderful species that: [1] never goes to the toilet; [2] can't possibly do anything wrong; [3] is completely superior to men, then believe it -- whatever makes you feel good." Add to this the expectation that if you dislike one woman, you must hate them all. The result is a kind of reality distortion field around any and all women. It's OK to hate a man for what he's done. It's also OK to hate men in general. But if you say anything against any woman, let alone anything against what women tend to do in a culture, you're a misogynist. I'm sure that there exist men who hate all women as a sex, just as there are women who hate all men as a sex. However, I've never actually met one, and I've met a lot of people. It's usually something that men are accused of, mostly because nobody is really willing to listen to, let alone discuss what they say."

Crystal Linn's answer to Feminism: Is feminism making women meaner? - Quora - " I have always ended up feeling attacked and harassed by feminists. The ones I've met (which have unfortunately been a large number) have been openly hateful of women that aren't feminist or are against the feminist movement (there goes the whole "It's equality for both sexes" argument if they're that upset about anti-feminist women), have been disrespectful of different opinions and are unwilling to have a calm debate that doesn't include insults, and are generally very offensive. I've been called a woman-hater, a misogynist (sooooo many times I'm just starting to call myself that at this point), and I've even been called a "pathetic excuse for a woman," just to name a few of the insults that have gotten thrown at me. Just because I'm not a feminist... I wouldn't even categorize some of these women (many of them who were classmates of mine) as radical feminists. They were the ones that were preaching about how feminist is equal rights for both sexes, etc., etc., and yet...if you are a woman and argue with them, they attack you faster than a wolf would a sheep. I'm sorry, but that's not right. I get attacked by women who are neither feminist nor anti-feminist because of my views regarding this ideology. In what world are we living in where a woman cannot simply state that she doesn't agree with modern feminism? If even women that don't consider themselves part of the feminist ideology are willing to turn on women in their own gender that disagree, then yes, feminism has made women meaner."

McDonald's sued for $1.5m by customer given just one NAPKIN - "A McDonald's customer is suing the fast food restaurant for $1.5million because he was given only one napkin with his meal. Webster Lucas claims he is now unable to work because of the 'undue mental anguish' and 'emotional distress' caused by the incident... Mr Lucas, who is African-American, says the he was racially abused by the manager when he went back to the counter to ask for more... The employee, who is named only as 'Angel' and is said to be of Mexican-American appearance, is alleged to have mumbled something that sounded like 'you people', Mr Lucas claims"
It seems many Americans are very mentally fragile

17 Mouthwatering Photos From The Legendary Sushi Restaurant Where Obama Just Ate Dinner

Vegetarian, vegan or meat eater: Which is correct? - "Even though I was an expert in vegetarian eating, after 21 years it caught up with me. I started getting really ill. My protein levels were plummeting, and the more protein I ate, the worse I got. Finally after some tests, we discovered I had become allergic to all the vegetarian sources of protein! I was in a serious quandary - my kids were raised vegetarian, my friends were all vegetarian, I encouraged vegetarianism in my practice - my whole life was wrapped up in it! This was to be a major life change, but I had no choice. Once I started eating meat again, my health drastically improved. The evidence was there. Something else surprising happened. There were eight of us women who hung out together. We were all health care practitioners, very active and "healthy," and all vegetarian. When I confessed to eating meat, I found all seven of the other women had been secretly eating meat too because they were also getting sicker and sicker."

Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters - "Vegetarians may have a lower BMI and drink alcohol sparingly, but vegetarian diets are tied to generally poorer health, poorer quality of life and a higher need for health care than their meat-eating counterparts. A new study from the Medical University of Graz in Austria finds that vegetarians are more physically active, drink less alcohol and smoke less tobacco than those who consume meat in their diets. Vegetarians also have a higher socioeconomic status and a lower body mass index. But the vegetarian diet — characterized by a low consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol that includes increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products — carries elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders. Vegetarians were twice as likely to have allergies, a 50 percent increase in heart attacks and a 50 percent increase in incidences of cancer."
Paper: "When analyzing the frequency of chronic diseases, we found significantly higher cancer incidence rates in vegetarians than in subjects with other dietary habits. This is in line with previous findings, reporting that evidence about cancer rates, abdominal
complaints, and all-cause mortality in vegetarians is rather inconsistent... Several studies have shown the mental health effects of a vegetarian diet to be divergent"

» Report: Cops Continued Beating Dead, Unarmed Suspect Alex Jones'

Time to pack in your job: Someone FINALLY needs a cat vids curator

Sensitivity is a two-way street - "Indonesians never tire of reminding Singapore that we should be "sensitive" and "neighbourly". But Indonesians do not seem to believe that they should be equally "sensitive" to their neighbours. "Sensitivity" and "neighbourliness" are to them a one-way street... What would Indonesians think if the Singapore Navy were to go crazy and name one of its warships after Noordin Top, the terrorist behind bombings in Jakarta in 2004 and 2009 and who may have assisted in the 2002 Bali bombings?... as the respected American scholar of Indonesia, the late Dr George McTurnan Kahin, wrote in 1964 while Konfrontasi was still ongoing, that episode of aggression towards its neighbours was the consequence of the "powerful, self-righteous thrust of Indonesian nationalism" and the widespread belief that "because of (the) country's size… it has a moral right to leadership"."

Computer learns language by playing games - "“Games are used as a test bed for artificial-intelligence techniques simply because of their complexity,” says Branavan, who was first author on both ACL papers. “Every action that you take in the game doesn’t have a predetermined outcome, because the game or the opponent can randomly react to what you do. So you need a technique that can handle very complex scenarios that react in potentially random ways.” Moreover, Barzilay says, game manuals have “very open text. They don’t tell you how to win. They just give you very general advice and suggestions, and you have to figure out a lot of other things on your own.” Relative to an application like the software-installing program, Branavan explains, games are “another step closer to the real world.”"

Porn addiction isn't real research suggests - "After reviewing current studies into pornography addiction, he discovered that 37 per cent of studies describe excessive use of porn as an addiction, while 27 per cent of articles contain no data at all. His study published in the journal 'Current Sexual Health Reports', also suggests that there are no negative side effects for a person who excessively uses porn, and that there is no link between erectile dysfunction. Dr Ley added that experiments into the condition based on these articles are therefore carried out poorly and without scientific rigour. When these factors are combined, he claims that the pool of evidence proving porn addiction is real is very shallow... Dr Ley instead claims that porn can improve attitudes to sexuality, increase quality of life and pleasure in long-term relationships, because porn gives an outlet for illegal sexual desires and leads to a decrease in sexual offences. However, Paula Hall, a sexual and relationship psychotherapist and sex addiction, and the chair of the Association for the Treatment of Sex Addiction and Compulsivity, disagrees with Dr Ley’s findings and told The Independent that porn addiction not only devastates the person’s life, but the lives of those around them. “The clients are very very real, and comments like this dismiss and belittle the very real pain that people suffer."
"Suffering" trumps data and science
Study: The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the ‘Pornography Addiction’ Model - "Since a large, lucrative industry has promised treatments for pornography addiction despite this poor evidence, scientific psychologists are called to declare the emperor (treatment industry) has no clothes (supporting evidence). When faced with such complaints, clinicians are encouraged to address behaviors without conjuring addiction labels."

Porn users don't realise they are being watched - "in the Denver area, fans experienced a 70% swing in porn use as their team staggered towards a crushing 43-8 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks. At the start of the game, porn use in Denver was 51% below national average; by the time the drubbing was complete, it was 10.8% above. Figures for Seattle - where jubilant Seahawks fans were too busy doing old-fashioned things like drinking beer, laughing, talking and watching action replays - were 17.1% below national average, post-game... most men turn to porn not when they are happy, but when they are at their most vulnerable"

France - French chefs tell customers ‘no more food porn’ - "Gilles Goujon, whose "L’Auberge du Vieux Puits" restaurant in southern France holds three Michelin stars, says photos posted on social networks can ruin the experience for other diners. “If people take a photo and put it out on social media, it takes away the surprise,” he told AFP, citing the example of his dish “oeuf de poule pourri de truffles” (chicken egg laden with truffles). “It takes away a little bit of my intellectual property too. Someone could copy me,” he continued... Gauthier believes the constant snapping of dishes by smartphone-wielding customers detracts from the dining experience. “They used to take family photos, of their grandmother, and now its photos of food,” he told AFP. “We tweet, we ‘like’, we comment, we respond. And the food is cold... But chefs should not be so quick to shirk the free publicity that social networks bring them, says French food blogger Stéphane Riss, of the “Cuisiner en Ligne” website. “The more we talk about chefs, the better it is for them,” he said. “Photos increase visibility and therefore revenue.”"

How do atheists profess their "faith"?

Glenn Anderson's answer to Atheism: How do atheists profess their "faith"? - Quora

"I have one of these in my back yard. All atheist have something like this, tucked in a corner somewhere. It's my Darwin Shrine.

Let me tell you the good news about the origin of species."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Links - 28th April 2014

French cafe offers discounts to polite customers - "A sign outside the establishment states:
"Un café - €7 [£5.90]
"Un café s'il vous plaît - €4.25
"Bonjour, un café, s'il vous plaît - €1.40.""

Allah can't be substituted with Tuhan in Bible translation - "Both the terms Allah and Tuhan are used in the Malay Bible. Following the precedent set by Arab Christians, Allah is used to translate el/elohim and Tuhan (or TUHAN in caps) is used to translate Yahweh (YHWH). The two words are sometimes paired together as Yahweh-Elohim in 372 places in the Old Testament (14 times in Genesis 2-3; 4 times in Exodus; 8 times in Joshua; 7 times in 2 Samuel; 22 times in Chronicles; 12 times in Psalms; 32 times in Isaiah; 16 times in Jeremiah and 210 times in Ezekiel etc.). More importantly, the word Tuhan is also applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Thus we read of the LORD Jesus as Tuhan Yesus (The word LORD was used to translate the word kurios 8,400 times in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament."

China's internet vigilantes and the 'human flesh search engine' - "The internet vigilantes were wrong, Yin insists. He tried to defend himself to anyone who would listen, explaining he wasn't guilty of spitting on anyone. But as soon as Yin hung up with one angry caller, his phone would ring again. And again. And thousands of times again... "All of my private information was made public. My ID card number, name, phone number, address, even my mother-in-law's phone number was dug out and posted online," Yin remembers. "I even received phone calls blackmailing me, threatening to burn my house down if I didn't pay them 200,000 RMB [$33,000; £20,000]"... But at the highest levels, it seems the government is taking notice. Last month, Liu Zhengrong, a top Communist official in charge of China's internet surveillance, said the government believed the human flesh search engine was "illegal and immoral". His caution was soon echoed in China's major state media outlets - a signal, Chinese lawyers say, that flesh-searching tactics won't be tolerated in the courts. Legislation might soon follow... In 2009, Zhang Zetian was an ordinary high school student. One day, as she was leaving class, a friend snapped a photo of her with a Chinese milk tea drink in her hand, backpack slung over one shoulder. Zhang's photo was then posted on Renren.com, a popular social networking site. Complete strangers then forwarded the photo hundreds of thousands of times, proclaiming the "Milk Tea Girl" to be "adorable!" and "fresh faced!"... Years later, Zhang remains an internet celebrity. Photos of her doe-eyed face are in regular circulation. When she was admitted into Tsinghua, one of China's top universities, her profile rose again. Sitting in a cafe near her campus, Zhang seems embarrassed by her unlikely rise to celebrity status. "No matter where I go, people attempt to take secret photos of me," she says. People follow her with cameraphones on campus and sometimes in class. Admirers have even tried to break into her university dormitory."

Why Oreos Are As Addictive As Cocaine To Your Brain - "“Our research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” Schroeder said. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”"

Another reason why men like curves - "It is already known that curvaceous women live longer and that men find them more attractive but the new research suggests that they are also cleverer."

IEPlus: Skandia International poll: the price of happiness is $162,000 - "The research, conducted across 13 territories, found that the highest levels of aspired income were quoted by individuals living in Dubai who would need more than a quarter of a million US dollars to feel happy - or $276,150 to be precise. The next highest financial aspirations were recorded in Singapore and Hong Kong, where the levels of desired annual income are as high as $227,563 and $197,702 respectively. Generally, respondents from Europe feel that much less is required to keep them satisfied"

Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer - NYTimes.com - "mammography’s impact is decidedly mixed: it does reduce, by a small percentage, the number of women who are told they have late-stage cancer, but it is far more likely to result in overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment, including surgery, weeks of radiation and potentially toxic drugs. And yet, mammography remains an unquestioned pillar of the pink-ribbon awareness movement... “mammograms save lives.” But how many lives, exactly, are being “saved,” under what circumstances and at what cost? Raising the public profile of breast cancer, a disease once spoken of only in whispers, was at one time critically important, as was emphasizing the benefits of screening. But there are unintended consequences to ever-greater “awareness” — and they, too, affect women’s health... After years of bombardment by early-detection campaigns (consider: “If you haven’t had a mammogram, you need more than your breasts examined”), women, surveys showed, seemed to think screening didn’t just find breast cancer but actually prevented it... According to a survey of randomized clinical trials involving 600,000 women around the world, for every 2,000 women screened annually over 10 years, one life is prolonged but 10 healthy women are given diagnoses of breast cancer and unnecessarily treated, often with therapies that themselves have life-threatening side effects... There is so much ‘awareness’ about breast cancer in the U.S. I’ve called it breast-cancer overawareness... Despite the fact that Komen trademarked the phrase “for the cure,” only 16 percent of the $472 million raised in 2011, the most recent year for which financial reports are available, went toward research... Before the pink ribbon, awareness as an end in itself was not the default goal for health-related causes. Now you’d be hard-pressed to find a major illness without a logo, a wearable ornament and a roster of consumer-product tie-ins... “These campaigns all have a similar superficiality in terms of the response they require from the public,” said Samantha King, associate professor of kinesiology and health at Queen’s University in Ontario and author of"Pink Ribbons, Inc.” “They’re divorced from any critique of health care policy or the politics of funding biomedical research. They reinforce a single-issue competitive model of fund-raising. And they whitewash illness: we’re made ‘aware’ of a disease yet totally removed from the challenging and often devastating realities of its sufferers”... Wearing a bracelet, sporting a ribbon, running a race or buying a pink blender expresses our hopes, and that feels good, even virtuous. But making a difference is more complicated than that... all that well-meaning awareness has ultimately made women less conscious of the facts: obscuring the limits of screening, conflating risk with disease, compromising our decisions about health care, celebrating “cancer survivors” who may have never required treating. And ultimately, it has come at the expense of those whose lives are most at risk"
More benefits of "awareness"

Jungle Warfare: A Basic Field Manual for Christians in Sales: Christopher Cunningham: Amazon.com: Books - "“Paul admonished all of us to ‘fight the good fight.’ In Jungle Warfare, Christopher Cunningham tells us how to not only fight but how to actually win. This book is recommended reading for Christians in the arena of sales.” —Tim Lee, Evangelist, Marine Sergeant from the jungles of Vietnam, www.timlee.org"

Pay gap: Why female doctors earn less than male doctors -- and why it's good - "The answer, they speculate, is that women are choosing lower-paying jobs on purpose because they offer greater flexibility in hours and are generally more family-friendly. The researchers acknowledge they don't have the data to prove that this is the case, but the data they do have is consistent with this theory. If so, they say, that would be a victory for women (and even men.) Studies show that many doctors are burned out and would rather take jobs that allow them to have a good quality of life. Now -- thanks in large part to the growing ranks of female doctors -- such jobs are available. They just come with lower salaries."

Gender Gaps in Performance: Evidencefrom Young Lawyers - "Unlike most high-skilled professions, the legal profession has widely used objective methods to measure and reward lawyers’ productivity: the number of hours billed to clients and the amount of new client revenue generated. We find clear evidence of a gender gap in annual performance with respect to both measures. Male lawyers bill ten-percent more hours and bring in more than twice the new client revenue compared with female lawyers. We demonstrate that the differential impact across genders in the presence of young children and differences in aspirations to become a law-firm partner account for a large share of the difference in performance. These performance gaps have important consequences for gender gaps in earnings. While individual and firm characteristics explain up to 50 percent of the earnings gap, the inclusion of performance measures explains a substantial share of the remainder"

Salary, Gender and the Social Cost of Haggling - "Another study quizzed graduating master's degree students who had received job offers about whether they had simply accepted the offered starting salary or had tried to negotiate for more. Four times as many men -- 51 percent of the men vs. 12.5 percent of the women -- said they had pushed for a better deal. Not surprisingly, those who negotiated tended to be rewarded -- they got 7.4 percent more, on average -- compared with those who did not negotiate... The traditional explanation for the gender differences that Babcock found is that men are simply more aggressive than women, perhaps because of a combination of genetics and upbringing. The solution to gender disparities, this school of thought suggests, is to train women to be more assertive and to ask for more. However, a new set of experiments by Babcock and Hannah Riley Bowles, who studies the psychology of organizations at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, offers an entirely different explanation... Both men and women were more likely to subtly penalize women who asked for more -- the perception was that women who asked for more were "less nice""

The Mystery of the Bible’s Phantom Camels | TIME.com - "Last week, archaeologists Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University released a new study that dates the arrival of the domesticated camel in the eastern Mediterranean region to the 10th century B.C. at the earliest, based on radioactive-carbon techniques. Abraham and the patriarchs, however, lived at least six centuries before then. The New York Times, in a story about the finding today, announced, “There are too many camels in the Bible, out of time and out of place … these anachronisms are telling evidence that the Bible was written or edited long after the events it narrates and is not always reliable as verifiable history.” Behold, a mystery: the Case of the Bible’s Phantom Camels... The new study again raises the age-old question of biblical accuracy. The phantom camel is just one of many historically jumbled references in the Bible. The Book of Genesis claims the Philistines, the traditional enemy of the Israelites, lived during Abraham’s time. But historians date the Philistines’ arrival to the eastern Mediterranean at about 1200 B.C., 400 years after Abraham was supposed to have lived... These anachronisms and historical inaccuracies, however, do not trouble biblical scholars. People in biblical times understood and wrote about their past differently from people in the modern, post-Enlightenment world. “We expect history to provide an accurate narrative of real events,” Carol Meyers explains. “The biblical authors, composers, writers used their creative imaginations to shape their stories, and they were not interested in what actually happened, they were interested in what you could learn from telling about the past”... The study is going to ruffle the feathers of people who believe in biblical inerrancy, a doctrine popular among evangelical and other right-orthodoxy movements that says every word in the Bible is literally true. Liberal Judaism and Christianity, says Carol Meyers, often contribute to the problem when they do not look at the complexity of how ancient narratives were formed"
Probable fundamentalist explanation: 'camels' in the Bible refers to a similar animal (which we have no proof existed)

Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars

Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars

"Though Mukhopadhyay continues to believe in the empowering potential of online feminism, she sees that much of it is becoming dysfunctional, even unhealthy. “Everyone is so scared to speak right now,” she says.

Just a few years ago, the feminist blogosphere seemed an insouciant, freewheeling place, revivifying women’s liberation for a new generation. “It felt like there was fun and possibility…a momentum or excitement that was building,” says Anna Holmes, who founded Jezebel, Gawker Media’s influential women’s website, in 2007...

Even as online feminism has proved itself a real force for change, many of the most avid digital feminists will tell you that it’s become toxic. Indeed, there’s a nascent genre of essays by people who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in it—not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists...

In some ways, the fact that people are being mean to each other on Twitter is hardly worthy of comment. Still, as the #Femfuture report attempted to point out, the Internet is where a lot of contemporary feminist activism is happening...

As the radical second-waver Ti-Grace Atkinson famously put it: “Sisterhood is powerful. It kills. Mostly sisters.”

In “Trashing: The Dark Side of Sisterhood,” a 1976 Ms. magazine article, Jo Freeman described how feminists of her generation destroyed one another...

For feminists today, knowing that others have been through similar things is not necessarily comforting. “Some of it is the product of new technologies that create more shallow relationships, and some of it feels like this age-old conundrum within feminism,” Martin says. “How do we disentangle what part is about social media and what part is about the way women interact with one another? If there’s something inherent about the way women work within movements that makes us assholes to each other, that is incredibly sad”...

Being targeted by other activists, she says, “leaves you feeling threatened in the sense that you’re getting turned out of your own home…. The one place that you are able to look to for safety, where you were valued, where there is a lot less of the structural prejudice that makes you feel so outcast in the rest of the world—that’s now been closed to you. That you now have this terrible reputation… I know a lot of friends that live in fear of that.”

If your professional life is tied up with activism, the threat is redoubled. “To suddenly be tarred by the very people that I’m supposed to be able to work with, my allies, as being a sellout or being infatuated with power or being an apologist for this, that and the other privilege—if that kind of reputation gets around, its extremely damaging,” says Cross.

The dogma that’s being enforced in online feminist spaces is often called “intersectionality,” but in practice it’s quite different from the theory elaborated by Kimberlé Crenshaw, the UCLA law professor who coined the word. In a 1989 article in The University of Chicago Legal Forum, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Anti-Discrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics,” Crenshaw described how the failure to consider the intersection of racism and sexism in the lives of women of color left a lacuna in civil rights law. She cited a failed lawsuit by a group of black women against General Motors; the court ruled that while race discrimination and sex discrimination are both causes of action, “a combination of both” is not. Another of Crenshaw’s articles described a women’s shelter balking at accepting a Latina victim of domestic violence because she wasn’t proficient in English and thus couldn’t participate in mandated group therapy sessions. Her work can be theoretical, but it’s focused on legal and material conditions far more than patterns of discourse.

“My own efforts to create a voice and a perspective on these failures haven’t really been about chastisement, or a certain set of assumptions about what the articulation that I’m critiquing should have been, or what the failure of it represents in the person,” Crenshaw says, “but rather a collective effort to build a feminism that does more of the work that it claims to do.”

Online, however, intersectionality is overwhelmingly about chastisement and rooting out individual sin. Partly, says Cooper, this comes from academic feminism, steeped as it is in a postmodern culture of critique that emphasizes the power relations embedded in language. “We actually have come to believe that how we talk about things is the best indicator of our politics,” she notes. An elaborate series of norms and rules has evolved out of that belief, generally unknown to the uninitiated, who are nevertheless hammered if they unwittingly violate them. Often, these rules began as useful insights into the way rhetorical power works but, says Cross, “have metamorphosed into something much more rigid and inflexible.” One such rule is a prohibition on what’s called “tone policing.” An insight into the way marginalized people are punished for their anger has turned into an imperative “that you can never question the efficacy of anger, especially when voiced by a person from a marginalized background.”

Similarly, there’s a norm that intention doesn’t matter—indeed, if you offend someone and then try to explain that you were misunderstood, this is seen as compounding the original injury. Again, there’s a significant insight here: people often behave in bigoted ways without meaning to, and their benign intention doesn’t make the prejudice less painful for those subjected to it. However, “that became a rule where you say intentions never matter; there is no added value to understanding the intentions of the speaker,” Cross says.

There are also rules, elaborated by white feminists, on how other white feminists should talk to women of color. For example, after Kendall’s #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag erupted last fall, Sarah Milstein, co-author of a guide to Twitter, published a piece on the Huffington Post titled “5 Ways White Feminists Can Address Our Own Racism.” At one point, Milstein argued that if a person of color says something that makes you uncomfortable, “assume your discomfort is telling you something about you, not about the other person.” After Rule No. 3, “Look for ways that you are racist, rather than ways to prove you’re not,” she confesses to her own racial crimes, including being “awkwardly too friendly” toward black people at parties...

The expectation that feminists should always be ready to berate themselves for even the most minor transgressions—like being too friendly at a party—creates an environment of perpetual psychodrama, particularly when coupled with the refusal to ever question the expression of an oppressed person’s anger.

“I actually think there’s a subset of black women who really do get off on white women being prostrate,” Cooper says. “It’s about feeling disempowered and always feeling at the mercy of white authority, and wanting to feel like for once the things you’re saying are being given credibility and authority. And to have white folks do that is powerful, particularly in a world where white women often deploy power against black women in ways that are really problematic.”

Preening displays of white feminist abjection, however, are not the same as respect. “What’s disgusting and disturbing to me is that I see some of the more intellectually dishonest arguments put forth by women of color being legitimized and performed by white feminists, who seem to be in some sort of competition to exhibit how intersectional they are,” says Jezebel founder Holmes, who is black. “There are these Olympian attempts on the part of white feminists to underscore and display their ally-ship in a way that feels gross and dishonest and, yes, patronizing”...

Jamia Wilson was one of the black women involved in the Barnard meeting, and she has since become part of the four-woman leadership team for the #Femfuture project... insensitivity. One self-described white feminist tweeted at her to explain that no women of color had been at the Barnard meeting “and that I needed to be educated about that,” Wilson recalls. Somehow, activists who prided themselves on their racial enlightenment “were whitesplaining me about racism,” she adds, laughing...

In a revolution-eats-its-own irony, some online feminists have even deemed the word “vagina” problematic. In January, the actress and activist Martha Plimpton tweeted about a benefit for Texas abortion funds called “A Night of a Thousand Vaginas,” sponsored by A Is For, a reproductive rights organization she’s involved with. Plimpton was surprised when some offended Internet feminists urged people to stay away, arguing that emphasizing “vaginas” hurts trans men who don’t want their reproductive organs coded as female. “Given the constant genital policing, you can’t expect trans folks to feel included by an event title focused on a policed, binary genital,” tweeted @DrJaneChi, an abortion and transgender health provider. (She mentioned “internal genitals” as an alternative.) When Plimpton insisted that she would continue to say “vagina,” her feed filled up with indignation. “So you’re really committed to doubling down on using a term that you’ve been told many times is exclusionary & harmful?” asked one self-described intersectional feminist blogger...

Mikki Kendall is unmoved by complaints about the repressive climate online... She seems warm and engaging, but also obsessed—she talks at length about slights made in the comment threads of blogs more than five years ago...

Few people are doing that, but they are disengaging from online feminism. Holmes, who left Jezebel in 2010 and is now a columnist for The New York Times Book Review, says she would never start a women’s website today. “Hell, no,” she says. The women’s blogosphere “feels like a much more insular, protective, brittle environment than it did before. It’s really depressing,” she adds. “It makes me think I got out at the right time.”"


"It's not just feminism that has this infighting going on, at this point this seems to be a problem with all activism in social media - there's the tendency to react first and ask questions later, the tendency to assume the worst intentions of everyone, never forgive, pile on mercilessly, leave no room to respectfully disagree.
On twitter it's just generally cruel because 140 characters is great for writing the perfect cutting retort, but not at all for explaining context or your intentions...
Only through activism and religion are good people so capable of being such dicks in the name of being a better person. Until there's room to forgive and disagree and move on with the knowledge there will be a different fight another day you can unite and work together on, the left is going to be plagued with infighting."

"It's as if the belief is that oppression will be eliminated if only everyone can be beaten down with insults and yelling, until they no longer dare to speak lest they use the wrong terminology."

"Judean People's Front.... We're the People's Front of Judea!!"

"I really am very bothered by the idea that nastiness can be justified because it already happened in the other direction. I don't personally like it when someone's response to being victimised is to victimise someone else. I believe the only way to change minds is to prove you're better, whereas too much of the online discourse surrounding feminism is about slinging mud at people with differing beliefs"

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Links - 27th April 2014

LeighAlert: Free Alerts And Reminders - "Countdown Reminder sends you an email message with number of days remaining till your particular life event. For example:
165 days remaining till My Vacation
You can set your own frequency (daily, weekly or monthly)."

Forbidden love - "There is a surprisingly wide range of literature concerning incest for us to draw on when we try to understand the mindset of the participants. Consensual incest has been portrayed sympathetically in popular fiction for centuries, from John Ford's masterful 17th-century play 'Tis Pity She's a Whore to Ian McEwan's novel The Cement Garden and Steven Poliakoff's film Close My Eyes. The writer Kathryn Harrison caused a sensation in 1997 when she published The Kiss, a memoir of an affair with her father, and even in the popular medium of TV, from Jerry Springer (who has featured incestuous sisters on his show) to Brookside (which featured a love affair between siblings Nat and Georgia), incest has been depicted in a not unsympathetic, if somewhat salacious, manner... To prohibit two people from having sex because their offspring may be "defective" or "inferior" is to adopt the standpoint of a eugenicist. Indeed, Dr Sean Gabb has clearly shown that the impetus behind the 1908 Punishment of Incest Act was just that: the proponents of the act were exactly the same figures who advocated the "sterilisation" of the "feeble-minded". If we prohibit incest on the grounds that it risks producing "defective" children, we must also prohibit reproduction by haemophiliacs and the carriers of a host of other "defects""

Robin Thicke backs Blurred Lines lyrics after criticism - "He says Blurred Lines refers to blurring the lines between men and women and also between a good girl and a bad girl. When asked about the video which features naked women, he said he wasn't sure about it but admitted his wife made him put it out."

Magnet - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fan Trailer Is…Gritty? | Giant Freakin Robot

Charities losing out thanks to Facebook and Twitter 'slacktivism' - "social media addicts are happy to puff themselves up by supporting causes with a ‘like’ – but then contribute nothing financially. It may be because slacktivists are more concerned with letting others see how charitable and fashionable they are without having to put their hands in their pockets. Report author Kirk Kristofferson said: ‘Our research shows that if people are able to declare support for a charity publicly in social media it can actually make them less likely to donate to the cause later on.’ Social media campaigns do raise awareness but that could be at a cost to how much is raised from rattling tins in the high street"
"Awareness" - the solution to all problems

Japan’s first masturbation bar for women opens in Shibuya - "Love Joule, located in the Shibuya entertainment district, opened in July and provides Japan, according to its Web site, with its first “love and sex bar dedicated to women.”"

An Attempt To Stop The Disney Machine - Deadline.com - "I’m told that the Walt Disney Co is currently attempting to trademark the character name “Princess Aurora” for all media: stage, sound, film, TV, video, Internet, photographs, news. In short, everything except literature. The name comes from the 1697 Charles Perrault fairy tale and Aurora is the Princess’s daughter (and thus a princess herself). The first use of “Princess Aurora” was in the 1890 Tchaikovsky ballet “The Sleeping Beauty,” which Disney turned into the 1959 animated film. It has been used continuously since then in the ballet as the title character’s name. The problem is that, if the Disney Company is successful, it will effectively control the legal right to all future performances of the ballet. The move also could sink any movie about the ballet or that uses a scene of the ballet in another movie. “This would be like a film studio trademarking the character name “Ebenezer Scrooge” for all media (no one has) and then no one could perform “A Christmas Carol” on a stage, TV, in a film, radio, etc without first securing the right to use the name from the trademark owner”"

Evaluating Drug Decriminalization in Portugal 12 Years Later - "The Portuguese experiment has been in action since Law 30/2000 went into effect nearly 12 years ago, and Goulão's staff is currently calculating how much money the country's judicial system has saved, in its courts and prisons, now that it no longer has to process individuals the police catch with a few grams of drugs. "The police still search people for drugs," Goulão points out. Hashish, cocaine, ecstasy -- Portuguese police still seize and destroy all these substances... When Portugal's parliament was debating the proposed Law 30/2000, representatives of right-wing parties declared that planes would start arriving in the country daily, full of people looking for an easy opportunity to pump themselves full of drugs. Our entire country will become a drug-ridden slum, these parties said. The left-wing parties in parliament held a majority, though. Goulão sits in his office and pages through charts, tables and graphs that are just some of the great quantity of data his team has collected over the years. The data show, among other things, that the number of adults in Portugal who have at some point taken illegal drugs is rising. At the same time, though, the number of teenagers who have at some point taken illegal drugs is falling. The number of drug addicts who have undergone rehab has also increased dramatically, while the number of drug addicts who have become infected with HIV has fallen significantly. What, though, do these numbers mean? With what exactly can they be compared? There isn't a great deal of data from before the experiment began. And, for example, the number of adults who have tried illegal drugs at some point in their lives is increasing in most other countries throughout Europe as well. "We haven't found some miracle cure," Goulão says. Still, taking stock after nearly 12 years, his conclusion is, "Decriminalization hasn't made the problem worse.""

A blonde chick with a cute pussy. | Mortal Online Forums

Bad year for US Congress - "To call this one a "Do Nothing Congress" is really generous, she said. “Because, rather than simply do nothing, they have done real damage to the country. They’re hurt our economy, they’ve hurt the international economy, they’ve left children out in the cold, not going to school, They’ve made sure that people aren’t eating and they’ve made the Defense Department not ready. These are just a few of the things that have happened"

Isaac Asimov's 2014 predictions.

20 online dating cliches - and what they really mean - "I'm easy-going
Variations on this are "I'm laid back" and "I'm down to earth." In his list of 10 things he hates about Plenty of Fish profiles, Greg Hendricks writes that these are so common that he ignores profiles that include them. "What are any of these even supposed to mean? These stock traits are in so many profiles, I practically skip right over them." Plus, who would ever describe themselves otherwise, says Foxton. "No-one thinks, 'I'm really uptight.'""

All Norwegians become millionaires as oil fund balloons - "in Norway, oil wealth may have made the state reluctant to make reforms or cut subsidies unthinkable elsewhere. Farm subsidies allow farmers, for instance, to keep dairy cows in heated barns in the Arctic. It may also have made some Norwegians reluctant to work. "One in five people of working age receives some kind of social insurance instead of working," Doerum said, despite an official unemployment rate of 3.3 percent."

The London 'Anti-Cafe' Where Everything Is Free But You Pay 5 Cents A Minute Just To Be There
In normal cafes food and drinks are overpriced to cover the cost of lurkers anyway

Hospital Shame - "I was at the Changi hospital, where the tent stands as a sore thumb, over the past week visiting a relative, and the A and B1 class beds were only about half filled. To fill A class beds, our restructured hospitals actually send missions to Myanmar, the Middle East and Africa to advertise our services. At the out-patient level, appointments for B and C patients can take months, whereas those for A class patients only take a week. There is clearly a very inefficient use of our current resources. In the shorter term, taking into account our severely-stretched resources, restructured hospitals should no longer be in the medical tourism business and should concentrate on providing care for citizens. There should be only one standard of care. Private healthcare should be provided by private hospitals. This would leave our public hospitals with increased capacity to deal more efficiently with over-crowding."

Dear Straits Times, a simple apology would have sufficed - "even as the Straits Times enjoins critics to "ask themselves why they would dismiss this version of events, and believe the first" and treats Pyongyang with such scepticism, the Straits Times should probably start by applying that same kind of scepticism to itself."

This Man's Homemade Sex Doll Is Absolutely Horrifying

British film set in a storage facility earned £44 at US box office - "Storage 24, a British horror film based in a self-storage facility, took the smallest amount of money at the American box office last year: a paltry $72, or £44 after being shown in just one cinema for a day."

Balik Cina - Discover the best Malaysia has to offer - "Balik Cina has the finest collection of beautiful and inspirational quotes by Malaysian politicians. 220 right now. Start by searching for a name, topic or phrase."

Group wants to shun Silicon Valley and revive 40-hour working week - "Frederick W. Taylor, the 20th century originator of “scientific management,” prescribed reduced work times and achieved remarkable increases in output per worker... “Research shows that knowledge workers actually have fewer good hours in a day than manual labourers do – on average, about six hours, as opposed to eight.”"

Woman stalker who tried to kiss victim gets probation and told to stay away - "A former relief teacher was yesterday placed on 12 months' supervised probation for using criminal force on a teaching intern"
If she were a guy, she'd almost certainly have gotten jail

The Inequality Problem - NYTimes.com - "If you have a primitive zero-sum mentality then you assume growing affluence for the rich must somehow be causing the immobility of the poor, but, in reality, the two sets of problems are different, and it does no good to lump them together and call them “inequality”... the income inequality frame contributes to our tendency to simplify complex cultural, social, behavioral and economic problems into strictly economic problems... Low income is the outcome of these interrelated problems, but it is not the problem. To say it is the problem is to confuse cause and effect. To say it is the problem is to give yourself a pass from exploring the complex and morally fraught social and cultural roots of the problem. It is to give yourself permission to ignore the parts that are uncomfortable to talk about but that are really the inescapable core of the thing."

Study says using plus-size fashion models could make women fat - "the research posits that the use of overweight models on fashion runways and in ads may encourage women to get fat by influencing them to think that being overweight is normal and healthy."
What's sauce for the goose...
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