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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Links - 24th January 2015

Everything ‘Back to the Future Part II’ Got Right and Wrong About 2015, According to Futurists

Elected Missouri Democrat threatens voters over white privilege on Twitter

The Woman Who Published Darren Wilson's Address Found Out How the Real World Works - "When the Oxford English Dictionary publishes its 2015 edition, you may want to check the entry for “hypocrite.” I’m pretty certain it’ll have Julie Bosman’s picture next to it. Bosman, you may recall, is the The New York Times reporter who decided to publish officer Darren Wilson’s address in the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to charge him in the death of Michael Brown. When Bosman disclosed the street where Wilson and his pregnant wife were residing, controversy ensued and the reporter received widespread criticism for her actions. One of the sources of the criticism was her own employer, The Times... In retribution, bloggers found and posted Bosman’s address online, sending the reporter scrambling hysterically for protection from the very people she had sold out — the police. And apparently, she did so in a none-too-subtle fashion. “She came in thinking she was Steven Spielberg or something shooting a movie,” a source within the Chicago Police Department was quoted as saying (H/T Western Journalism). The source confirmed that not only did she grossly exaggerate the threats she had received, but she demanded “top-tier” protection of the sort usually accorded to movie stars and visiting dignitaries."

The Hidden Costs That Engineers Ignore - "other times, the complexity that we wrestle with is complexity that we introduced ourselves. We wrote code in a new programming language that few people knew and now we have to maintain it. Or we added additional infrastructure because we wanted to try the new, hot technology stack that we read about on Hacker News, but it fails in ways that we didn’t initially expect. Or we introduced a feature that few people use but that consumes a disproportionate amount of our time through fixes and bug reports."

What research says about cats: they're selfish, unfeeling, environmentally harmful creatures - "cats kill as many birds as threats like collisions with cell phone towers, power lines, cars, and wind turbines"

The Internet Is a Major Driver of the Growth of Cognitive Inequality - "Moral of the story: the internet makes dumb people dumber and smart people smarter. If you don't know how to use it, or don't have the background to ask the right questions, you'll end up with a head full of nonsense. But if you do know how to use it, it's an endless wealth of information. Just as globalization and de-unionization have been major drivers of the growth of income inequality over the past few decades, the internet is now a major driver of the growth of cognitive inequality. Caveat emptor."

Today I Learned Something about My Boyfriend That No Girl Should Ever Have to Discover - "Mark was the stuff of dreams. Kind, caring, attentive. Enough to make all of my friends jealous. But today something horrible happened, something that I wouldn’t wish on even my worst enemy. I found out something about Mark that will forever change my opinion about him, and my ability to trust men has been forever shattered."

How American parenting is killing the American marriage - "To understand the frightening power of the parenthood religion, one need look no further than the 2005 essay in The New York Times by Ayelet Waldman, where the author explained that she loved her husband more than her four children. On “Oprah Where Are They Now,” the author recently reaffirmed the sentiments reflected in her New York Times article, and she added that her outlook has had a positive impact on her children by giving them a sense of security in their parents’ relationship. Following the publication of her essay, Waldman was not only shouted down by America for being a bad mother; strangers threatened her physically and told her that they would report her to child protective services. This is not how a civil society conducts open-minded discourse. This is how a religion persecutes a heretic... Parents who do not feel free to express their feelings honestly are less likely to resolve problems at home. Children who are raised to believe that they are the center of the universe have a tough time when their special status erodes as they approach adulthood. Most troubling of all, couples who live entirely child-centric lives can lose touch with one another to the point where they have nothing left to say to one another when the kids leave home... Is it surprising that divorce rates are rising fastest for new empty nesters?"

When Women Sexually Assault Men - "More than a quarter of the male students in the 1985 survey said they had good or very good experiences with the sex despite their initial refusals, while none of the women did. Another 27 percent of the men called the experience bad or very bad, compared with 88 percent of the women. Only 22 percent of men reported bad long-term effects, compared with 78 percent of the women... college students sometimes seem surprisingly willing to downplay sexual coercion by either gender. In one 2006 study, researchers presented students with scenarios in which “John” and “Carla” are on a date and one of them clearly states that he or she doesn’t want to have sex. The aggressor ends up having sex with the partner anyway, either by threatening to end the relationship, getting him or her drunk, or physically holding the other down. On a seven-point scale of victimization, students rated John at only 4.6 when he was held down, but even in the reverse scenario, the rating for Carla was only 5.18. In contrast, Carla was rated 6.02 for promiscuity in the scenario where she got John drunk. The study suggests that sexual coercion isn’t particularly worrisome to many college students"

California's Campus Consent Laws: Every Sex Act Is a Potential Crime - "A failure to procure “affirmative agreement” means that sexual assault has taken place. If that is the case, absent such affirmative signifiers, how exactly do you know whom to arrest? Let’s say the woman brings a complaint; hasn’t she also technically raped her male partner, according to the new bill? Of course not, critics will argue. His consent was visible; sex couldn’t have happened without his consent, they will say. But here lies the crux: while male desire is deemed equivalent to “affirmative consent," female desire is not. A double standard is actually ratified into law whereby the phallus represents true, unmediated desire, while female desire must be interpolated through words. While the law must protect women from the inequality of force men have at their disposal, what is the utility of demanding that women require an extra level of mediation to signal desire, under conditions where no imbalance exists? Herein we find one of the most outrageous part of the bill: Its assumption of men as the initiators of sex acts, and women as their recipients... a mere 3 percent of men committed over 90 percent of college rapes (there is no reliable research on female college perpetrators). And yet California’s law governs every college student’s encounters. A different method entirely is required to deal with an epidemic of rapes perpetrated by a small percentage of repeat rapists than would be required to treat an epidemic of rapists... Much of what we call courtship—and the pleasures therein—revolves around sending, reading, interpreting, and changing these signals. Surely a misunderstanding should be judged under the law differently than an outright desire to harm. Surely we are all guilty of trying to convince people to have sex with us. Are we rapists?... The law proposes to declare a large swatch of normal activity criminal (drinking before sex, reading/sending signs instead of verbalizing request/consent)"

Calif. College Students Demand Sex-Consent Ed--for Kindergarteners - "Despite Warner’s claim that college students do not understand consent, the Department of Justice in December published a report that stated only 6 out of every 1,000 female college students ages 18-24 were victims of rape between 1995 and 2013. Another 2 students per every 1,000 were victims of attempted rape, and less than 2 out of every 1,000 students were victims of sexual assault... When it comes to educating kindergarteners on consent, Alejandra Melgoza, another student supporter of the activist group’s demands, told the Huffington Post that “concerned parents might think we’re talking about consent in purely sexual context, when really we’re talking on a day-to-day basis.” Melgoza went on to explain personal space should be explained to children, claiming that traumatic memories of past violence or sexual assault could be triggered by a simple hug, the article stated."
Comment: "It's never to early to f up our children's minds. Thanks libs."
Yet the myth of 1 in 5 college students being a victim of rape will remain, because it's ultimately a sexier claim

Malmö's Mayor Blames Jews for Wave of Anti-Semitism - "“I left Poland to get away from anti-Semitism,” he later told the police. “But at least there I never experienced any violence. That only happened to me here, in Sweden”... In Swedish discourse, the violence, rioting, and attacks on fire-fighters and paramedics in areas like Rosengård are often explained with the same well-worn references to social inequalities that the left uses to account for similar phenomena in London and Paris. But those explanations are even less convincing in Sweden: When young people in Rosengård torch cars and attack ambulance drivers, their actions take place in one of the world’s most generous countries of asylum for refugees in one of the world’s most generous welfare states. Sweden receives the world’s largest number of asylum-seekers per capita, not counting some countries that share borders with conflict areas. The county has received one of the highest numbers of Iraqi refugees per capita, and the Somali diaspora in Sweden is one of the world’s largest. Swedish generosity is visible not only in the number of refugees that the country admits every year, but also in how they are treated once in the country. The Migrant Integration Policy Index, MIPEX, gives Sweden a perfect score (100 points out of 100) in giving immigrants equal opportunities to natives... If this is social inequality, how far must a European society go in order to avoid violence and riots?"

Terrorists Plot Two Failed Attacks In Sweden - "Facebook commenters wondered why Sweden would be targeted by terrorists, though it is clear that organizations such as Islamic State, or ISIS, are dedicated to striking targets around the world. In addition to claiming responsibility for the brutal murders of two Americans, the group has also reportedly been planning an attack on or near the U.S.-Mexico border."
If Islamic terrorism were truly motivated by Western foreign policy, why would they attack Sweden?

Footwear Advice: What You Should Look Out for in a Shoe - "Types of shoes that spell danger
Ballet flats
Shoes that are too flat don't provide adequate arch support, which is especially an issue for those with flat feet. Furthermore, as the soles are often very thin, they provide insufficient shock absorption. The force from the ground is directly transferred onto the soles of your feet, which can lead to discomfort in prolonged walking.
There's also a higher risk of the sole being pierced by a foreign object. "
High heels, ballet flats and flip flops are all bad for the feet. Poor women.

Gender Gaps That Don't Matter: Bike Riding, Pot Smoking

Gender Gaps That Don't Matter: Bike Riding, Pot Smoking

"Forget the pay gap or the confidence gap. In an earnest post over at Mic, Elizabeth Plank calls attention to what she calls a “huge and under-reported” gap: bicycle-riding. Plank camped out in front of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Bridge to tally the number of male and female cyclists; “between five and seven men” (six?) rode by before she saw a woman. Plank isn’t the only one fretting over the “bike gap.” Wired recently devoted a post to ideas about how we, as a society, can address it. (For women, cohabiting with a male cyclist can help.) At Slate, Amanda Marcotte’s post on the bike gap is headlined “Women, to your bikes!”...

The “bike gap” is the latest in a small spate of “gender gaps” that don’t seem worth our concern. At New York’s “The Cut,” Ann Friedman says women don’t feel “at home in the world of weed.” It’s not entirely clear that Tracie Egan Morrissey, writing for Jezebel, is joking when she urges women to “close the gender gap on being potheads.” She cites research suggesting that nearly twice as many men smoke weed (or at least admit to it). The only possible explanation, according to Morrissey, is sexism. “When it comes to cultural representations, it's generally accepted that the world of weed is a guy thing,” she writes. “We aren't allowed to be lazy and we sure as shit aren't supposed to be sitting around eating junk food.” At Salon, Hayley Krischer says that women who smoke weed face a heightened risk of “stoner stigma.” In a similar vein, women have denounced the gender gap in video games; at Slate, Dana Goldstein encourages parents to “make” their daughters play on their computers...

Playing video games, says Goldstein, may stoke kids’ interest in programming and tech. “I don't think you can argue that women are naturally less interested in cycling or video games or weed than men are—our choices are shaped by the culture and society we live in,” Ann Friedman writes in a email. “That society is pretty sexist!”

But hasn’t the instinct gotten a little out of hand? Video games, for instance, take time away from other, probably more worthwhile activities, like homework and socializing. “I’d hate to see a push to market more and more games to girls,” says Judith Shulevitz, senior editor at The New Republic (and co-author of TNR’s recent referendum on the future of feminism).

“No one bemoans the gender gap in female dominated activities,” points out journalist Jessica Grose in an email. “Where are the men in knitting or flower arranging?” Or, for that matter, where are the men in Soul Cycle? Marcotte admits that indoor cycling is dominated by women; she estimates that women make up “80 to 100 percent” of most spin classes. Yet she sees no problem. She doesn’t ask whether men feel unwelcome at Soul Cycle, or consider the implications: Are men missing out on the safe exercise of indoor cycling, forced to take their riding to the street, where they risk getting caught in inclement weather or hit by cars?

It’s possible that in a totally gender-equal society, every activity—from gardening and crocheting to taxi-driving and construction work—would have an equal number of male and female practitioners. But combatting each and every gender gap just does not seem productive. Grose, for her part, says she has “zero interest in bicycle commuting in NYC. It's fucking cold in the winter and I would get run over in a hot minute.” She can stay indoors—at no cost to feminism."

Difference is not the same as injustice or evidence of oppression.

Comment: "Feminists are in the business of creating problems that don't exist and proposing solutions that have no potential"

Friday, January 23, 2015

Links - 23rd January 2015

Grand Theft Auto fans push for ban on the Bible - "We tend to believe that our values are the right ones for everybody. Many people's definition of "liberal" seems to be "say and do whatever you like, as long as I don't find it repulsive." Just as many people's definition of "freedom" is, in fact, "free to think and do only those things of which I approve." And so it is that a great battle of values has emerged in Australia. The country's Kmart and Target stores have decided to ban "Grand Theft Auto V.""

Bali-time Part I – What does ‘rubber time’ mean? - "According to recent research by American social psychologist Robert Levine (See his fascinating book A Geography of Time), Indonesia ranks as one of the most relaxed countries in the world with regard to time (second only to Mexico). Bali, indeed, is no exception."

Living in America will drive you insane — literally - "at some point in their lives, 46% of Americans met the criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association for at least one mental illness. In 1998, Martin Seligman, then president of the American Psychological Association, spoke to the National Press Club about an American depression epidemic: “We discovered two astonishing things about the rate of depression across the century. The first was there is now between ten and twenty times as much of it as there was fifty years ago. And the second is that it has become a young person’s problem. When I first started working in depression thirty years ago. . . the average age of which the first onset of depression occurred was 29.5. . . .Now the average age is between 14 and 15.” In 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that antidepressant use in the United States has increased nearly 400% in the last two decades, making antidepressants the most frequently used class of medications by Americans ages 18-44 years. By 2008, 23% of women ages 40–59 years were taking antidepressants... Even within mainstream psychiatry, few continue to argue that the increase in mental illness is due to previous under-diagnosis of mental disorders. The most common explanations for the mental illness epidemic include recent over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, diagnoses expansionism, and psychiatry’s pathologizing normal behavior... Even more remarkable than former chair of the DSM-4 taskforce, Allen Frances, jumping on the DSM-trashing bandwagon has been the harsh critique of DSM-5 by Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Insel recently announced that the DSM’s diagnostic categories lack validity, and that “NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories”... Whitaker argues that the adverse effects of psychiatric medications are the primary cause of the epidemic. He reports that these drugs, for many patients, cause episodic and moderate emotional and behavioral problems to become severe, chronic and disabling ones... those labeled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) do worst in environments that are boring, repetitive, and externally controlled; and that ADHD-labeled children are indistinguishable from “normals” when they have chosen their learning activities and are interested in them. Thus, the standard classroom could not be more imperfectly designed to meet the learning needs of young people who are labeled with ADHD."
What If People Treated Physical Illness the way Americans Treat Mental Illness?

The latest UK dining hotspot: Prison

Geoffrey Gaines's answer to What do people think about the recently viral cat call, harassment video shot in New York? - Quora - "there is also some misunderstanding here, most of it is cultural. In most cases I'm certain there is no intent to make her uncomfortable, and not even indifference to it. To them it is an acknowledgment and an invitation to parlay, to someone that they don't think is frightened, and don't think of as powerless. A Rosie Perez might cut them in half, but they are willing to play. In some places guys know that a woman shouldn't be walking alone. The two that walk beside her are positioning themselves between her and the street, making her look accompanied and protected from the exposure from the street. These guys know women who expect this sort of protective stance, they have been taught to do it. They walked with her until she was through the trouble zone."

Should You Worry About Wheat? - "Wouldn’t it be great if there was a single villain behind the chronic health problems plaguing us, and if all it took to reverse them was to stop eating wheat?... Wheat is a staple in most parts of the world, and there’s little or no correlation between regional intakes (as a proportion of daily calories) and rates of obesity. Per capita wheat consumption in the U.S. has actually dropped since 2000, but there’s no sign that that is slowing the expansion of our waistlines. In fact, a century ago Americans ate much more wheat than we do today, and very few were obese (granted, diets and lifestyles differed in many ways then). In any case, the obesity epidemic certainly can’t be attributed to any single factor."

Hay Festival 2011: Professor risks political storm over Muslim 'inbreeding’ - "Prof Steve Jones, one of Britain’s most eminent scientists, has warned that the level of inbreeding among the nation’s Muslims is endangering the health of future generations... “Bradford is very inbred. There is a huge amount of cousins marrying each other there.” Research in Bradford has found that babies born to Pakistani women are twice as likely to die in their first year as babies born to white mothers, with genetic problems linked to inbreeding identified as a “significant” cause. Studies have found that within the city, more than 70 per cent of marriages are between relations, with more than half involving first cousins. Separate studies have found that while British Pakistanis make up three per cent of all births, they account for one in three British children born with genetic illnesses"

The Vietnamese Embassy in Australia - Consular - "- We have the honour to announce that the following websites are not legitimate:
http://vietnam-embassy.org, http://myvietnamvisa.com, http://vietnamvisacorp.com, http://vietnam-visa.com, http://visavietnam.gov.vn, http://vietnamvisa.gov.vn, http://visatovietnam.gov.vn, http://vietnam-visa.gov.vn
- The Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam has recently received many feedbacks from foreign nationals on the visa online service provided by above-mentioned websites.
- The Embassy holds no responsibility for any visa application for Viet Nam provided by these services."
How do you get a .gov.vn domain name if you're not legitimate?

Answer to Do girls feel uncomfortable in short dresses/mini skirts? If yes why do they wear them - Quora - "I can testify that people, both men and women but particularly men, are friendlier and more attentive and just overall nicer when you wear a skirt, regardless of its length."

Comments on "Stereotype Inaccuracy: A Belief Impervious to Data" | Psychology Today - "individual researchers can do quite a lot to limit their own tendencies toward political bias. There are plenty of liberal researchers in my field who do terrific work, even in politicized areas. Here are some simple things any researcher can do to limit bias:
* avoid double standards
* avoid snarl terms
* avoid cherrypicking data and studies
* be transparent in methods and data analysis
* seek input and collaborations with those who, regardless of their personal politics, have generated scholarship that contests the dominant narratives in one's field (which, in the social sciences, are usually liberal narratives)."

Why Do Some Guys Prefer Small Breasts? Here’s Every Scientific Theory - "Researchers in New Zealand who conducted a 2009 eye-tracking study expected to discover that men would spend more time looking at larger-than-average boobs than smaller-than-average. However, they were shocked to discover that “variations in breast size had no significant effect on eye-tracking measures,” including “number of fixations and dwell times.” Additionally, the researchers note, the majority of men consider other qualities as more important to “female attractiveness” than breast size itself. As Michael Castleman writes in Psychology Today, “[M]any men insisted that when they fell in love, they fell in love with the women’s breasts, whatever their size.”"

Moscow advert featuring breasts causes 500 accidents in a DAY - "In all cases of accidents, the car owners will receive compensation costs from us that aren’t covered by their insurance"

Emergency airlift puts fries back on the menu at McDonald’s in Japan - "McDonald’s has said an emergency airlift of French fries to Japan has eased the nationwide shortage that forced the chain to ration them at more than 3,000 restaurants across the country. From 5 January, medium and large-sized fries will be back on the menu, almost three weeks after the fast-food giant restricted customers to small portions due to import delays. Labour disputes on the US west coast are curbing exports of fries, leaving Japanese restaurants scrambling to secure fresh supplies."

Life Under the Victimocracy - "Victimocrats are narcissistically infuriated by the suffering of others. Many tyrannies applied the whip and the lash, the prison cell and the gulag, but they at least left those they abused in possession of their suffering. The Victimocracy denies its victims even their suffering. Victimocrats reject the humanity of their victims as thinking and feeling beings with the same needs and boundaries as themselves. The Victimocracy rations empathy. Empathy is the election of its system. The biggest victim wins and his suffering licenses his abuses. The bigger the victim, the bigger the abuses he is entitled to commit. If the empathy flows the wrong way, then power shifts and the entire system collapses. To take over a society, the Victimocrats must control its education and entertainment to structure its empathy flow their way. Victimocrats must appear weak to gain power. They must always seem beleaguered, under siege, abused and threatened from a thousand different directions. They must be made to seem underdogs. Even if a Victimocrat sits in the White House, unilaterally dispensing with the lives and fortunes of a nation with phone and pen, he must remain a vulnerable victim of a terrible history of racism. The Victimocrat must always be seen as a weak victim in need of rescue from those he oppresses. Never able to argue a thing on its merits, the Victimocrats shift the debate to the moral high ground of their own oppression. It is impossible to disagree with them without somehow invoking stereotypes, flashbacks and the return of the white male patriarchy riding back into town on the last thing you said. The Victimocrats are always in need of rescuing. No matter how much power they have, someone is always abusing them. And once that happens people of good will are called upon to condemn the abuse and to reinforce their power structure of the oppressed oppressor and the oppressive oppressed. Victimocrats don’t win arguments. They convince others that they are entitled to avoid the argument. In the Victimocracy the illusion of weakness is power. The weak are entitled to disproportionate power to protect themselves from the rest of us. The weaker they are, the more power they need. And the more power they get, the weaker they grow until we live under a tyranny of the absolutely powerless who wield absolute power."

Exploitation and Human Dignity

The Public Philosopher, Series 3, Morality and the State

Girl (Tomata/Tomara [?]) on Dwarf Tossing: I don't actually see it as a humiliation, because if some dwarf or little people decides to be a part of the sport, he might be very proud of the way he floats in the air and gets further, or something like that. I don't know. It's talking about human dignity.

I think, I think you have the right to choose, and if people think they can be best, the furthest thrown dwarf, well, be my hero...

Michael Sandel: You suggest that dwarf tossing is an activity in which people can excel, and I'm sure that's true, but I'm not sure that the people who can excel in it are the people being thrown.

Girl: I don't know, I can imagine.


Laurie: I feel that the examples of condemning, let's say, prostitution and dwarf tossing on the basis of human dignity somewhat overly limit the definition of what human dignity is. I don't think it's that objective.

For example, we all here think it would go against our dignity if we didn't wear clothes. Some tribes in South America would disagree.

Human dignity is also dependent on respecting someone's personal choice. So when we go and say: "I do not think that you have the right to do something that I condemn", I feel that also goes against human dignity.

So these people might get, in my opinion, some more freedom, some more respect to do what they want, even if we condemn it...

I would say I do not have the right to tell a dwarf that they cannot fly.

Even later:


Michael Sandel: It's interesting that these are really two competing principles within the Liberal tradition itself.

If you go back to two of the most famous founders of Liberal political philosophy, John Locke and Immanuel Kant. They both argued for certain restrictions on individual choice in the name of what they saw as the higher, more fundamental freedom.

John Locke and Immanuel Kant argued that we don't have a right to commit suicide. Locke because he said our right to Liberty and Life are so fundamental that even we can't choose to give them up. And Immanuel Kant was against suicide and against prostitution on the grounds that truly to be autonomous is not to be driven by our desires and wants and needs, it's to act in accordance to reason and it's to act in a way consistent with our own dignity.

Liberalism is often understood to prize, above all, respect for individual choice. But there's another, competing, strand within the Liberal tradition that says individual choice isn't everything. What really matters is respecting persons as ends in themselves, or as the bearers of unalienable rights, and this mode of human respect may require that we rein in certain expressions of individual choice that may amount to indignity.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Power of Marketing

A blind old man sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which say “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would be able to see the new words.

Soon, the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind old man. That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The blind old man recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who did something to my sign this morning? What did you do to my sign?”

The man said, “I just stated the truth. I said what you said, but in a different way.” What the man had written was: “Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.”​

Links - 22nd January 2015

HolyCrit organiser & volunteer facing a year in jail: Zul Awab interview - "Zul Awab got a phone call from the local traffic police asking him and Khoo to go to the station to ‘help them with their inquiries’. that visit resulted in a criminal charge and a potential jail term. which is slightly ironic, as the Holy Crit was started in the hope of keeping young kids out of trouble. “The idea behind this whole thing to keep these kids off the streets,” explains Awab. “In Singapore we have gangs, drugs, kids getting drunk at an early age, so we are trying to educate these kids about fixed gear and to get them into this sport. They don’t know about how to ride, about safety, helmets, all that. That was the aim.” the ide behind the Holy Crit is to give something back to the cycling community and to help deepen the existing culture there. Khoo runs a bicycle store but was frustrated by the lack of spaces available for the people buying his bikes to test their machines."

The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: where does the evidence stand in 2010? - "the effect of particular foods on CHD cannot be predicted solely by their content of total SFAs because individual SFAs may have different cardiovascular effects and major SFA food sources contain other constituents that could influence CHD risk"

Real Junk Food Project: The Leeds cafe that has fed 10,000 people, using 20 tonnes of unwanted food – and started a worldwide movement - "Currently, a retailer will be prosecuted if it sells food after the use-by date, but not before the "best-before" date. Despite this, supermarkets from across the sector regularly throw food out before its "best-before" date and, in Mr Smith's experience, are scornful about working with enterprises like his, which would happily take it... "We cook the basics in the cafe because many people don’t know how to do the basic things with food," he said. "I know people who think they don’t know how to make a fruit salad and they are 40-years-old. They didn’t get it was just chopping up fruit and putting it into a bowl. We have realized there is a serious lack of basic education in the UK in terms of food awareness, what to make and where it comes from"

Hamas DID use schools and hospitals in Gaza Strip as 'human shields' - "Hamas appeared to admit using human shields to fire rockets into Israel for the first time today, but refused to accept responsibility for the slaughter of hundreds of innocent Palestinians killed in retaliatory airstrikes."
This 'admission', like the original evidence, must be a Jewish conspiracy too!

Malay population the most unhealthy group in Singapore - "Although Malays account for 13.5 per cent of the population, they make up 24.4 per cent of people on dialysis...

Age-standardised stroke rates for every 100,000 men last year was 296 for Malays, 199 for Indians and 184 for Chinese. For women, it was 195 for Malays, 131 for Indians and 105 for Chinese. Age-standardisation removes the influence of age distribution in each group and allows for a fair comparison. Malays are also more likely to suffer heart attacks. Since 2010, they have surged past Indians as the ethnic group with the highest rate of heart attacks."
Would a Healthy Lifestyle campaign targeted at Malays be racist and reinforce stereotypes?

Quebec’s child-care scheme pays for itself, economist - "After 12 years, the Quebec scheme more than pays for itself through mothers’ annual income and consumption taxes"

Why state should pay parents to be at home: It's cheaper than childcare subsidies, warns report

High School Teacher Taught His Class A Simple Yet Powerful Lesson About Privilege | Bored Panda
Comments: "Were these assigned seats or were the students free to choose where they sat? Those who choose to sit up front are usually more interested in learning than those who choose the rear of the classroom. While I understand the concept that the teacher was trying to convey, the students should also be shown that sometimes small decisions (like where you choose to sit in a classroom) can impact your life more than you realize. The privileges that some people enjoy and others do not may be the result of the choices we all make every day."
"I like this. I have a few suggestions. Middle school teachers should teach an additional lesson: the privileged kids at the front will learn how it feels to get spit-drenched paper balls aimed at the back of their heads by less privileged kids in the rows behind them. To teach about communism, place the bin in the center of a circle, so that the bin is equidistant from every kid. Discuss what a great idea this is. Then let the kids arrange their chairs as they wish. Notice how quickly the utopian circle is abandoned, while the more aggressive and sociopathic kids move directly in front of the bin and block the other kids. Explain socialism by asking the biggest bullies in the class to form a small inner ring (called "the leaders") around the bin. The leaders command the outer ring kids to toss their paper balls to the leaders "for the good of the class," while secretly throwing the balls from the outer ring into a separate trash can, and dropping their own paper balls into the privileged bin. If an outer ring kid tries to leave, a leader punches him and sends him back to his seat. The leaders high five each other."
"A better take away would be that, equal opportunity doesn't guarantee equal outcome."
""To be upset over what you don't have is to waste what you do have." -- Helen Keller"
"Every person alive is in front of at least one other person, but we can't live looking over our shoulders"

5 Experts Answer: Can Your IQ Change? - "Absolutely. And there's plenty of evidence documenting this."

The Divorce Surge Is Over, but the Myth Lives On - NYTimes.com - "The divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining for the three decades since. About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Those who married in the 2000s are so far divorcing at even lower rates. If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce, according to data from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist (who also contributes to The Upshot)."

Tuition for toddlers – necessary or over the top? - "Each hour-long session includes memory games, Chinese flash-cards activities, worksheets and basic abacus so that he can start doing simple Mathematics mental sums soon. On top of home tuition classes and nursery, Gabriel also attends piano classes and takes tapdancing lessons. Mrs Tan estimates that she spends about $3,000 a month on enrichment classes and school for her youngest son."

Men = Testosterone Damaged Women! – Greg Laden's Blog
Comment: Males = Testosterone enhanced Females
True that sis!

Domestic Violence Between Same-Sex Partners: Implications for Counseling - "25% to 30% of all U.S. women are at risk of domestic violence during their lifetime... Domestic violence is also prevalent in the gay and lesbian communities, occuring with the same or even greater frequency than in heterosexual communities... The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that 25% to 33% of all same-sex relationships include domestic violence... According to W.O.M.E.N. Inc., a San Francisco organization serving battered women, domestic violence also occurs in one of four lesbian relationships... 50% of lesbians polled at the 1985 Michigan women's music festival said that they had been a victim of domestic violence by a female partner (Oatley, 1994). Fifty percent of those surveyed also said they had been the abuser in a same-sex relationship"
If lesbian relationships have as much or more domestic violence than straight ones, what does that say about 'patriarchy'?

CheckMyPrivilege - "Odds are you found this website because you said something horribly privileged, and some helpful soul linked you here to see just how privileged you are. So go ahead and take our quiz, and remember, always check your privilege!
We helpfully added a link to a store that sells disgusting patriarchal T-Shirts like the one worn by somebody that compensates for his manhood by building large phallic replacements and raping mother nature with them, so that you may more easily boycott such things."

Answer to What is it like to be a blonde woman? - Quora - "the second I coloured black, people treated me very differently. I thought that was because I looked a tiny bit older, like an adult, so I didn't think too much of it. After all, I was almost an adult. I took advantage of this to buy cigarettes (teehee!). After 10 years as an adult brunette however, I simply got very very bored with the lifeless colour that is light brown, and bleached it.
Light Blonde, almost the exact same shade I grew up wth - my natural one was a bit more golden, the hairdresser made this one more ashy.
I absolutely HATED it!
First of all, the change was dramatic, most noticeable by the fact that I had to cut down the amount of makeup I used by 2/3. I barely even touched my eyelashes with the mascara wand before I looked like a bimbo. And people thought I was dumb again"

Indonesia's Jakarta Post rejects blasphemy claim over IS cartoon - "The Post, a leading English-language daily, said the cartoon was meant as a critique of the use of religious symbols in acts of violence. But some Muslim groups said the cartoon was offensive towards Islam. The Post apologised and retracted the cartoon on 8 July, saying it regretted the "error in judgement". On Thursday, police named the Jakarta Post's editor-in-chief, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, a suspect for religious defamation."
Presumably it is worse to defame Islam than to kill Muslims in the name of Islam

"And we lived happily till this day"

Another gem:

Singapore Seen | Love Story: I felt I won 4D when I got her number... until I found out she had a BF

"It was his last day at work when Chong Hao blurted out nervously,"Can I have your number?" to a colleague he had never talked to before. He was surprised that it was the start of a wonderful relationship with Carol.

Here is their entry for Stomp's Valentine's Day love story contest 2015:

"All this happened three years ago in a company which I was working in at that time. While in a lift one day, I was waiting for the lift to stop at my destination floor.

"The door swung slowly open and a sweet-looking girl standing outside the lift appeared before my eyes. I was so mesmerised by her the moment she looked into my eyes when I looked into her.

"Then after pausing a few seconds, she showed me the sweetest smile and walked into the lift. From that moment onwards, I found what I am looking for, my true love.

"Days gone and I had not seen her again. Maybe she was from oversea branch coming here to work on short assignment?

"Many thoughts ran through me and I tried to find an explanation as to why I saw her at the lift and was not able to find her again after so many days.

"Then one day, while at the photocopy machine doing my routine update duplicating for the meeting later, I sensed someone was standing behind me and watching over me. Then I turned around out of curiosity and when I looked behind, I saw her standing right in front of me.

"Without knowing what to do or what to say, I saw her sweet smile again and she asked me if I was done photocopying, I don’t what I said or did after that.

"The next moment I realized my conscious self, I was already sitting at my desk. What happened? Think I freaked out and lost a sense of time. What a power she had over me.

"And in the next few days I always saw her at the same photocopy machine. I begin asking around and checking on her with all connectiona I had in the company, the boss, engineers, workers and even the cleaner to get all sorts of information I could about her.

"Weeks went by and each time I met her, she just smiled at me. And I begin to smile back at her. Until finally one day, I worked up the courage to talk to her.

"I found her desk and I just walked over and approached her. The first words I spoke to her were "Can i have your number?".

"I told myself, this is not a good way to start a conversation with anyone. I felt so wrong that I thought I was going to be rejected immediately.

"My first attempt to court a girl was going to fail terribly, and I thought of all the failure I will have in the future: I will fail my exam, lose my job and lose my money in investment.

"All negative thoughts just flew into my mind in that 2 seconds after I asked her “Can I have your number?"

"Then after the pause, came an answer, "Ok. My number is xxxx". I took the number and exchanged my number with her and left.

"I went straight to the toilet and WOW! I was feeling like I was flying, overjoyed with happiness like I had just won the 4D.

"Immediately, I started to SMS her. That day, that night and almost every day and almost every night.

"We talked about so much things, likes, dislikes, habits, favourites, beliefs, etc. This continued for months and until one fine day, I got the courage again to ask her out for dinner.

"Then came the worst, deepest blow of my life -- she already has boyfriend.

"I was sad, my life went on for many months without SMS-ing her. But I felt good that I was not breaking up her relationship.

"Until one day after so many months. She SMS-ed me. And I found out that she had broken up.

"This was a chance, an opportunity for me to woo her.

"Then more SMSes, more talks over the phone and eventually, I ask her out again. This time, she accepted and our meeting was so happy.

"We met up more until one fine day, I asked her to be my girlfriend.

"And that day marked the beginning of our loving relationship. We ate together, talked every night, shopped together, toured together and did almost everything that a couple does together for company.

"And we lived happily till this day. When I look back, I sometimes wonder, why was the first question I ask her was for her number?

"Only now have I found out the main reason that I did that -- I was desperate to see her again as I had quit my job and that was my last day, my last hour, my last minute in that company.

"So the saying is true, desperate times will have desperate men doing desperate actions.

"I dedicate this love story to her and our happy days we spent together and which we will spend together in the next decades of our life together. Love you always.""

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Love Story: I talked to him because I wanted an "Ah Beng" to make my BF jealous

Love Story: I talked to him because I wanted an "Ah Beng" to make my BF jealous
(formerly on STOMP)

April experienced a lot of obstacles with Zion, but not even a miscarriage or him being attached could drive them apart.

Here is her entry for Stomp's Valentine's Day Love Story contest:

"This is how I met my husband.

"After my N level exam back in 2011, I was looking for a part time job while waiting for my N-Level results to be out. After that I went for an interview and the company accepted me.

"The company was divided into different storeys. I was working at level 1 and he was working at level 2.

"After a month or so, I was told to go to the level 2 to continue with another project. That is where I met him.

"His colleague helped him to search high and low for my Facebook account -- and she found it. But during that time, I had a boyfriend who didn't really care about me and was flirting with his ex-girlfriend. He have never spoke to me at all.

"Until one Saturday when I went back to work, I went to my desk after going to the washroom and found out there was a piece of small note he wrote containing his number and asked me to message him.

"During that time, I was hesitating whether I should message him as I had a boyfriend that time. I'm a loyal person who won't cheat on my boyfriend but I just don't know why, I had the urge to message him when I saw the piece of note on my desk.

"Maybe I wish to have an Ah Beng friend to make my boyfriend jealous. Because during that time, he had a piercing at his lips and he was a smoker. HAHA

"Before that day ended, I messaged him and we start a chat happily. From then on, He had been coming to find me whenever there was a break from work.

"He mostly gave up his smoking time and came to accompany me whenever he could.

"Until when I was leaving the company in December, he went to buy a melody soft toy to make me remember him and in that moment that he passed it to me, made me fall in love with melody and him.

"But I couldn't do this as I had a boyfriend. After I left the company, we stopped contacting and he got back with his ex-girlfriend.

"I started working part time and studying at the same time at ITE college central (bishan).

"In April, I broke off with my boyfriend and remained single for the time being. After which, He came to text me just like a normal friend and we started teasing and talking to each other even though he had a girlfriend at that moment.

"Until October 2012, my sister finished her N-levels too and wanted a job with my previous company so I asked him for the HR personal contact number and after which I had a lot of chances to meet him every morning.

"After a few days of meeting and talking, he decided to broke off with his girlfriend and be with me.

"I told him not to as she loves him so much. But he said that he loves me more than her.

"I was so touched at that moment. He gave up his chance to go Genting with the girlfriend to celebrate her birthday.

"One day in 19 October 2012, 8am, he asked me if I could be his girlfriend and I said 'yes'

"He started to end early most of the time to be on time to fetch me from work at 6pm and send me home safely.

"There after, many obstacles camr our way but nothing could break us apart.

"In April, it was his birthday and I organised a birthday BBQ for him and his family. I saved up to get him a gift that he wanted for very long which is a gold necklace.

"He was so happy when he got that. In June, I found out I was pregnant with his child and after a month of checkups, we planned to tell my parents about it but during that moment, our child couldn't stay in my tummy anymore.

"We lost him/her.

"After that, my parents wanted us to get married.

"After much planning and lots of ups and down, on 19 October 2013, we finally settled down with our two beloved family witnessing our love blossom from there.

"In 2014, lots of bad things came our way, making us quarrel over small matters. But nothing can break us apart.

"In February, I received a called from him while I was studying and he told me that he had a fall in his office and an ambulance was sending him to CGH.

"After hearing this, I literally ran all the way from my school to CGH. It was 2 bus stops away. Running and worrying whether is he alright.

"After the check at emergency, he was warded. After a few scans during the few day stays there, he was told that they couldn't do anything about it as they do not have the tools to help him for operation.

"He was then sent to NUH after which and a doctor took over the case. After the injury healed, his doctor realised his leg wasn't straight and one side longer than the other.

"They suggested another operation to make it both even. He was recovering well.

"Until now, he was my longest relationship which I had and lots of ups and downs with. I hope there will be a longer road for us to go as a couple.

"Thank you for reading. I don't hope to win but I wish to let everyone know my love story."

Links - 21st January 2015

Are We Teaching Our Kids To Be Fearful of Men? - WSJ - "Are we teaching children that men are out to hurt them? The answer, on many fronts, is yes. Child advocate John Walsh advises parents to never hire a male babysitter. Airlines are placing unaccompanied minors with female passengers rather than male passengers. Soccer leagues are telling male coaches not to touch players. Child-welfare groups say these are necessary precautions, given that most predators are male. But fathers' rights activists and educators now argue that an inflated predator panic is damaging men's relationships with kids. Some men are opting not to get involved with children at all, which partly explains why many youth groups can't find male leaders, and why just 9% of elementary-school teachers are male, down from 18% in 1981... "It's not a witch hunt," he says. "It's all about minimizing risks. What dog is more likely to bite and hurt you? A Doberman, not a poodle. Who's more likely to molest a child? A male.""
Generalisations and stereotypes are only okay in some circumstances

A better country (with fewer lawyers) - "The discovery process in civil litigation is tightly restricted in Canada, for instance. By contrast, generous U.S. discovery rules, which often impose on defendants millions of dollars in expenses, permit opportunistic plaintiffs to hold up defendants with settlement offers that are less than the costs the defendant would incur on discovery alone. Canada (and the rest of the world) makes losers pay for a portion of the successful party’s costs. That doesn’t happen in the United States, and that gives unmeritorious American plaintiffs a greater incentive to sue. The right to have civil cases adjudged by a jury is afforded Constitutional protection in the United States. In Canada, civil juries were abolished as a sensible reform measure. These differences serve to increase the costs and risk of failure for Canadian plaintiffs, and decrease their expected damage awards. If litigation rates are four times smaller in Canada than the United States, this should not occasion surprise: Subsidize something and you get more of it; penalize it and you get less of it... America is also an outlier in its substantive tort law. Unlike U.S. courts, Canadian courts do not impose strict liability on manufacturers for product defects. Instead, a finding of negligence is required. Canadian courts also are a good deal more parsimonious in assessing damages... In America, and sometimes in Canada, the idea has taken hold that tort law should provide consumers with a kind of insurance against product defects. But tort law is an imperfect vehicle for insurance, since American trial lawyers typically will take 30-40 percent of the recovery as their fee. And that doesn’t include the defendant’s costs... A decade ago, the New York Stock Exchange launched half of the world’s new public companies. By 2006, this had dropped to one in 12, as firms moved to the London Stock Exchange and other venues. The American Illness lays much of the blame on Paul Sarbanes and Mike Oxley, sponsors of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform legislation (“SOX”), whose photographs (as their favorite Americans) are displayed by London brokers: They know whom to thank for legislation that drove the American securities industry to Britain and other countries."
Addendum: quaskx comments: "The lawyer article is factually wrong. There's no right in the US to a jury trial in a civil case; the right exists only in criminal cases."

Study finds gender perception affects evaluations @insidehighered - "In teaching evaluations, previous studies have focused on how female instructors are expected to be nurturing and supportive; when they’re not, it may count against them in evaluations. At the same time, if they are nurturing and supportive, female instructors risk being perceived as less authoritative and knowledgeable than their male counterparts, according to the study."
Unfortunately I was unable to find this article, but it might not have been double blind

Gay Palestinians Are Being Blackmailed Into Working As Informants - "While his sexuality remains hidden from his direct family, Saif said local Palestinian Authority police are aware and keep files on him and other homosexuals, blackmailing them into working as spies and informants... Before being released, Majd was ordered to attend a “secret meeting” with the Alon several days later. “I felt I was in really deep trouble,” Majd said. “If I didn’t go, I was sure the Israelis would inform the Palestinian Authority, who view homosexuality as a sickness linked to collaboration with Israel. It would mark me as a traitor.”"

The feminist freakout over the scientist's gaudy shirt - "why are feminist motives so special? What if you're a devout Christian, Muslim or Jew working in the humanities? What if you like cartoonishly sexy ladies, but you hate guns? What if you're simply the kind of person who thinks male professionals should wear a jacket and tie on TV? In short, feminists want a monopoly on when everyone must be outraged or offended. A few weeks ago, feminist idiots rolled out a video of little girls dressed as princesses, cursing like foul-mouthed comedian Andrew Dice Clay. Unlike Taylor, they set out to offend. But that was in support of feminism, so it was OK. (I'd like to see the parents of those kids tearfully apologizing for exploiting their kids as cheap propaganda props.) We live in an age of diversity, defined not merely by gender and race, but by lifestyles and values. That's mostly a good thing -- mostly. Like all other good things in life, diversity comes at a cost. And a big part of the tab is a lost consensus about what constitutes good manners and propriety. So instead of knowing how to behave, we spend vast amounts of our time worrying and arguing about it, with combatants on every side insisting it's "Live and let live" for me but "Shut up! How dare you!" for thee."
Someone claimed that everyone was very nice and civil until the anti feminists ruined the show, but Rose Eveleth did say "Thanks for ruining the cool comet landing for me asshole.", which certainly qualifies as nasty

Hirsi Ali slams feminism's 'trivial BS' - "Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a harsh critic of Islam’s treatment of women, said Wednesday that modern American feminism is focused on “trivial bullshit” and needs to be reclaimed... Hirsi Ali reminded her audience of how far feminism has strayed from its original purpose. “I want you to remember that once upon a time, feminists fought for the access — basic right — access of girls to education,” she said... feminism has taken that victory and squandered it. “What we are now doing with the victory, and I agree with you if you condemn that and I condemn whole-heartedly the trivial bullshit it is to go after a man who makes a scientific breakthrough and all that we as women — organized women — do is to fret about his shirt?” Hirsi Ali said, referring to the controversy generated by the shirt featuring cartoons of scantily-clad women worn by the scientist who helped land a robot on a comet. “We must reclaim and retake feminism from our fellow idiotic women.”"

Sexual violence in Delhi: what the numbers say - "Two out of three cases, court records revealed, concerned parents criminalising the acts of consenting young couples and broken promises of marriage. Under 3 per cent involved rapes by strangers, and conviction was nearly certain in such cases"

‘Tuition can worsen existing inequality’ - "In Hong Kong, it was bad enough when parents began sending their children at the kindergarten levels for tuition. Now they are sending babies as young as six months for lessons on recognising colours, he says. The Hong Kong tuition class sizes have also ballooned with tutors drawing in teenagers by dressing up as glamorous movie stars. In some centres, more than 100 students pack lecture theatres at night, with webcasts for students in adjoining tuition classrooms, he says. His global research shows that once shadow education swells, it cannot be easily made to contract."

We've Been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil For Over a Century

Is it ever right to negotiate with terrorists? - "We have long negotiated with terrorists. Virtually every other country in the world has negotiated with terrorists despite pledges never to"

PUTIN VS OBAMA - "Putin's mom was a good Christian lady. Obama's teen-mom was promiscuous and did soft porn...
Putin: Blackbelt in Judo. Obama: winces like a girl at the sight of Judo."

Sydney siege: Don't call Man Haron Monis a 'terrorist' - it only helps Isis
Comment: "I've read several times on these pages that the actions of Elliot Rodger in Los Angeles were not those of a deranged lone gunman, but proof of the growth of misogyny in society. Indeed, none other than Jessica Valenti said the incident proved that "misogyny kills". And yet, in these circumstances, Man Haron Monis IS actually just a deranged lone gunman and not a terrorist, or acting in the name of Islam... (And, for the record, I believe that BOTH were lone madmen who hijacked an extreme position to act out their sick destinies. But the Guardian seems confused.)"
"Many terrorists are also in part motivated by their own dysfunctional personal lives and Monis is in part attached to an ideological. There is no clear dividing line between terrorists and criminals. They are often a bit of both."
"Still, look on the bright side, Guardian. At least the gunman was identified nice and early so you couldn't blunder in and say it was a white supremacist before any of the facts were known, as you did during the Toulouse shootings in 2012."

Slew of underage sex cases show lovers met online - "In Dave's case, he said it would be better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sex. Recalling the incident that took place about four years ago, he said the decision to meet started with him dropping the other party a message. After some light flirting, they agreed to meet at Dave's flat in the eastern part of Singapore. Dave said: "The guy turned up about an hour later and I was surprised by what I saw. He looked very young but insisted that he was 18. I didn't want to check his IC or to have sex with an underage kid. So I made up some lame excuse and sent him on his way.""

Monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted, US regulators say - "United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia's conclusion that a monkey's selfie cannot be copyrighted by a nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the jungle. The animal's selfie went viral. The US Copyright Office, in a 1,222-page report discussing federal copyright law, said that a "photograph taken by a monkey" is unprotected intellectual property. "The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit," said the draft report"

Should fast food workers in the US get $15.00/hr? - Quora - "The "living wage" advocates seem to confuse what a job is worth with what people are worth."


"But the central scene in the film belongs to porn star Faye Rampton and involves an activity I had never previously heard of and have not heard of since. The practice of Bukkake, she tells us, is derived from an ancient Japanese custom for dealing with unfaithful wives, in which the errant spouse is taken to a field on the outskirts of the village and buried up to her neck in sand. With no means of escape or evasion she must then accept her punishment and humiliation, provided by the men of the village, who gather above her and ejaculate on to her head. In truth, I haven't been able to discover if this is an actual cultural activity practised by ancient societies or simply a convenient story cooked up by the makers of dodgy films to give their work a kind of anthropological veracity. Either way, the word Bukkake seems to have entered the language of pornography, and film-makers in the industiy are busily re-enacting it at a hotel near you. Seriously, next time you’re in the Travelodge tearing open your sachet of instant coffee and peeling back the foil lid on a thimbleful of long— life milk, consider for a moment what might be happening just a few feet away on the other side of the partition wall."

--- Gig: The Life and Times of a Rock-star Fantasist / Simon Armitage

Social learning theory: criticisms

aka the Monkey See Monkey Do theory of human behavior:

"Social learning theory has been criticised. Some researchers have pointed out that this theory does not adequately explain why young boys tend to imitate other males when it is Females who are usually their primary care takers (Stainton-Rogers and Stainton-Rogers, 2001). Beal [1994] maintains that this theory does not explain why boys and girls adopt dilierent ways of being masculine and feminine and not necessarily those that are demonstrated by their parents Moreover, as Bea] [I994] comments, we all know children often do things for which they know they will be punished and fail to do things which promise a reward! This is especially true of boys, who are reluctant to engage in feminine behaviour even if they see another boy or adult male perform this behaviour."

--- An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies, edited by Trisha Maynard, Nigel Thomas


"Biological theorists argue that the social learning theory completely ignores individuals biological state. Also, they state that the social learning theory rejects the differences of individuals due to genetic, brain, and learning differences (Jeffery, 1985: p.238). For example, if a person witnessed a hanging or a violent murder, he or she might respond in many different ways. "Biological theorists believed that the responses would be normal and come from the autonomic nervous system. In the autonomic nervous system, the heart rate, increase blood pressure, nausea, and fainting would be normal symptoms of the responses that individuals might expressed in this particular situation. Therefore, the symptoms and behavior are not learned, but partially inherited. In addition, the social learning theory rejects the classical and operant conditioning processes. The biological preparedness of the individual to learn as well as the role of the brain in processing information from the social environment, are critical to learning theory, but they are ignored by the social learning theory. Social reinforcement is conditioned reinforcement based on the relationship of the conditioned stimulus to an unconditioned stimulus" (Jeffery, 1985: p.239).

Feshbach and R.D. Singer believed that television actually decreases the amount of aggression in children (Feshbach: 1971). They conducted a study within a six-week study on juvenile boys who regularly watched television violence compared to juvenile boys who were exposed to non-violent shows. After the six-week period, Feshback and R.D. Singer found out that the juvenile boys that viewed the non-violent shows were more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior than the juvenile boys that witnessed the violent shows. "The study show that the violence on television allows the viewer to relate with the characters involved in the violent act (Feshback & Singer, 1971: p.247). In doing so, the viewer is able to release all aggressive thoughts and feelings through relation, causing them to be less aggressive than they would have been without watching the violent television. This theory that viewing violence on television leads to a decrease in aggression is called the Catharsis effect (Gerbner,G., Gross,L., Melody,W.H., pg.40).

Cooke believed that individuals tend to support the theory that television violence causes aggression because the public needs to justify the aggression they see in others. He also believed television was a form of education and positive role models. "If violence in television causes people to be more aggressive, than shouldn’t the good-hearted qualities in television cause its audience to be kinder to others (Cooke,1993, p.L19)? Therefore, television can serve as deterrence if individuals focus on the positive qualities."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Vijoy Varghese: expecting a plane to wait for him

A post that has since been removed:

Vijoy Varghese‎ -> Singapore Airlines

"I took SQ25 from JFK to Singapore via Frankfurt. In Frankfurt, I got late by 5 min to reach to the gate and the flight left without me. Im a PPS member , travelling on a business class, atleast airlines should have waited for 5 more minutes. I got stuck in the line in one of the duty free shop. Airlines has to be considerate that its a long haul flight and now have to wait for 10 hrs for next flight in Frankfurt for another 13 hrs journey.. Its an agonizing story and I really doubt I will take SIngapore airlines again. Sorry Guys, but I expected a little more consideration."

National Guilt, Political Narratives and East Asia

The Public Philosopher, Series 3, National Guilt

Chinese student: I know you can search the Wikipedia and there is a list of government of Japan's apology.

I'm shocked because in mine experience we are never told that Japan has apologised to us.


Japanese student: I do think that the history textbooks are being used to flourish the patriotism in our countries. And I think that's common in the Asian, East Asian countries.

But I think that's very unhealthy and being brought up in United States for a while, I see the patriotism in the United States and in Japan very different.

In Japan patriotism is always stemmed upon historical facts, and what good our countries did for us. But in United States, or maybe in France also, it's about ideals like Freedom and Liberty. It's future-oriented ideals that we gather together to make happen.

But in Japan we don't have that kind of common ideals or common values that we want to venture together to make a reality...

I think we have to shift it on order to have a healthier kind of patriotism.

Chinese student: I remember the saying: forget the past and you will lose an eye, but dwell on the past and you will lose both eyes, so it's time for both of us to work toward the best future with both eyes open

Even later:

Michael Sandel: You love your parents but you don't love your country. Why is that?

Japanese student: The nation state has been described as an imagined community. Some people regard the nation state as an extension of the family, but I love my parents and I don't love my country.

That may sound contradictory but I want to love people with whom I've had real contact. I don't want to love a construct conjured from the imagination.

I love my parents because my parents took care of me and loved me and I love them back. This is merely something imagined in my head.

Links - 20th Janaury 2015

Associations pull out of food carnival, unhappy with quota - "Due to the request of the Auditor-General's Office, the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia carnival must showcase at least 70% to 80% of halal food. As a result, co-organizers the Federation of Malaysia Hawkers Associations and the Malaysia Selangor & Federal Territory Ku Su Shin Choong Hung Restaurant Association have decided to quit the event. The ministry of tourism and culture secretary-general Datuk Ong Hong Peng also confirmed that the 2014 food carnival would not showcase non-halal food... bakuteh was featured during the inaugural event in 2009 despite objection from Islamic organizations. Fortunately former tourism minister Tan Sri Ng Yen Yen was firm in her stand so that this event could be carried out successfully... Meanwhile, the Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (PRESMA) president Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said his association did not reject non-halal food but stalls selling non-halal food must not be too near to halal stalls."

Scientists confirm: ritual slaughter hurts - resource.wageningenur.nl - "Animals suffer pain when they are slaughtered without sedation, claims slaughter expert Bert Lambooij. Not true, say a few Jewish organizations, who even went so far as to take out an injunction against Wageningen UR over the issue. Dutch research organization TNO has come out against the finding too. But the Wageningen scientist is in good company: a European study supports his findings. Lambooij produced a report in 2008, at the request of the then ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food, after questions about this issue were asked in parliament by the animal rights party. The main conclusion was: 'Ritual slaughter without sedation is detrimental to the animal's wellbeing compared to slaughter with sedation.' He also suggested a number of measures aiming to improve animal wellbeing during the ritual slaughter process... The biggest research group in the field of ritual slaughter is DIALREL, a group of European researchers who want to contribute to the discussion on religious slaughter with knowledge and facts. The main partners in this network come from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands (Bert Lambooij), Turkey and Israel. The latter two members make the project particularly interesting, as it means that Jewish and Islamic researchers are involved as well. In a DIALREL report of last year, nine researchers (among them Lambooij) concluded that throat cutting without anaesthetic carried the highest risks of animals suffering: 'Pain, suffering and distress during the cut and during bleeding are highly likely.' Sedation methods are admittedly not without risks for animal wellbeing, but they are considerable smaller, claim the researchers. They cite from about 300 scientific articles and base their views on observations by veterinary researchers in slaughterhouses in Germany, Spain, England, France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel and Australia."

The 7 Most Common Feminist Insults - "[Feminists] lobbed ad-hominem abuse at the authors. This, we know is the clarion call of the butt-hurt and fragile Internet feminist, who requires a “trigger warning” for mere words on a screen, while unironically declaring herself to be “strong” and “independent” in the same breath. The fascinating part about these reams of “insults” wasn’t their sheer volume—and it was large—but how remarkably identical they were to every other insult you see coming from their ilk, in manosphere comment sections and twitter feeds, or feminists’ own call-out articles. Their lack of originality was such that you couldn’t help but wonder whether they were all reading from the same instruction manual or whether there’s, in fact, veracity in the argument that women are uncreative copycats with an inability to be funny...
1. Basement-Dwelling Losers
2. Sexless Virgin
3. Small Dick
4. “Your [sic] a Rapist!!!”
5. “Mommy Issues”
6. The Exception
7. Graphic Violence
The great irony is that people who are so dedicated to fighting violence against women are quick to wish (and describe) brutal violence on others. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they have a particular fixation on the male genitalia.

‘The Catalogue of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics’ | Exposing Feminism - "Charge of Instability (Code White) – The White Padded Room Charge
Discussion: The target is accused of being emotionally or mentally unstable. Examples:
“You’re unstable.”
“You have issues.”
“You need therapy.”
Response: In response to this attack, one may point to peer-reviewed literature and then ask the accuser if the target’s mental and/or emotional condition can explain the existence of valid research on the matter."

How some feminist shaming tactics discredit feminist theory - "it would behoove us to consider how it is even possible that an accusation of misogyny wields any power at all in a culture where misogyny is supposedly normalized and pervasive. Remember, our society hates women... according to her, the problem is not a relatively small handful of complete assholes emboldened by the anonymity of the internet to attack anyone and everyone who crosses their paths, for reasons known only to them, and who tailor their insults and trolling to the target audience (rape threats for women, death threats and accusations of faggotry for men)… Nope, it’s that men (not some, not many, not a few, just men) are raised to hate women... Now let’s look at the reverse. Misandrist. Call someone a misandrist, and if they actually know what it means, you’ll get not shame or adjustment of behavior, but a shrug and a “yeah, whatever” from most people. From others, you’ll get a perplexed look, and from still others, you’ll get hoots of laughter, references to “beard tears” and “manfeelz” and the blithe reply that “misandry don’t real.”"

Who is the real troll here? - "the trial of Toronto artist and father-of-four Gregory Alan Elliott really is happening... Elliott is facing charges of criminal harassment for the supposed ‘crime’ of sending some tweets to Toronto feminists Stephanie Guthrie, Paisley Rae, and Heather Reilly. If found guilty, Elliott faces up to six months in prison – with the verdict having far-reaching implications for freedom of speech in Canada. This is the first trial of its kind in Canada and is a test case for setting precedent in this area. If Guthrie et al are successful then the interpretation of the criminal code is expanded to include online activity. This in-itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If people receive legitimate threats, and feel threatened as a result – it is a criminal act, regardless of the medium. The problem arises however, when one examines the facts of this case and the specific criminal code in question... the prosecution will have to demonstrate that Guthrie and her pals were genuinely frightened despite the fact that nothing Elliott did was actually threatening and that they could easily block him and ignore his tweets. They’re going to have a particularly difficult time with Guthrie given her constant boasting of having a folder on her computer full of death threats. Guthrie has made this claim on a number of occasions – one such occasion being the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) meeting held at the Onatrio Institute for Secondary Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto last year. Guthrie made the claim to a room full of freshman and feminist activists at a meeting whose purpose was to spread lies about the MHRM and to call for militant action against those that support men’s human rights. One has to wonder if death threats don’t frighten her – then why would the non-threatening, repeated communication from a man she dismisses as a ‘troll?’"

Twitter harassment trial: Defence says complainant shared false rumours about the accused - "In one instance, a complainant shared a conversation where a Twitter user falsely alleges that Elliott, 54, is a pedophile, Elliott’s lawyer Chris Murphy told the court Wednesday."

Christie Blatchford: The Twitter trial of Gregory Elliott is becoming much like Twitter itself — shrill and uber-sensitive - "“Blaming the majority of normal men for rape…is wrong,” Mr. Elliott, a 53-year-old Toronto man, wrote back in September of 2012. “Rapists are not normal men; they’re crazy. Why not blame the mentally ill?” It hardly rang in my ears as the ravings of a perverse woman-hater, nor apparently in Mr. Murphy’s, because after reading it for Ontario Court Justice Brent Knazan, Mr. Murphy asked, in his reasonable way, “That’s a pretty good point?” In the witness stand, Ms. Guthrie snorted, yelled, “Are you kidding me?”, pounded her fist and then announced, “I know lots of normal men who have raped; I have been raped by normal men”... the exchange was an effective illustration of Mr. Murphy’s point — that Mr. Elliott’s real sin was to take issue with Ms. Guthrie’s politics. In other words, he wasn’t harassing her; he wasn’t trying to scare her; he was disagreeing with her... Mr. Murphy then suggested that what Mr. Elliott had been doing was defending himself, and his views, when he was being attacked on Twitter by her and the other complainants. Wasn’t he entitled to do that? “He’s entitled to defend himself to the world, Mr. Murphy; he’s not entitled to do it to me.” “No matter what you say about or to him?” Mr. Murphy asked. “Not to me,” she said."

Why Jezebel Has The Wrong Approach To Feminism, Period. - "It used to be about the pill and the right to be a female priest. Now it’s about outrage and clickbait. Jezebel plays upon the worst female stereotype: that of the gossipy, shrill, cliquish, therapy-tethered, cast of Girls-style spoiled brat. Jezebel writers act the way misogynistic men mistakenly believe all women act, with a stick up their ass and their nose in an iPhone"

How feminist blogs like Jezebel gin up page views. - "These firestorms are great for page-view-pimping bloggy business. But they promote the exact opposite of progressive thought and rational discourse, and the comment wars they elicit almost inevitably devolve into didactic one-upsmanship and faux-feminist cliché. The vibe is less sisterhood-is-powerful than middle-school clique in-fight, with anyone who dares to step outside of chalk-drawn lines delimiting what's "empowering" and "anti-feminist" inevitably getting flamed and shamed to bits... When Jezebel was founded, it proposed itself as an explicit alternative to traditional women's magazines. As any first-year women's studies major will tell you, these glossies make money by exploiting women's insecurities. The editorial content creates ego-wounds ("Do you smell bad? Why isn't he into you?") that advertisers handily salve by offering up makeup and scented tampons. But Jezebel must also sell ad space, and its founders knew that they are marketing to a generation that knew the score about how they'd been marketed to in the past, which meant those old-fashioned print tactics weren't going to work. Page views are generated by commenters who are moved to speak out, then revisit the comment thread endlessly to see how people have responded to their ideas. Ergo, more provocative posts tend to generate far more page views, and the easiest way for Jezebel writers to be provocative is to stoke readers' insecurities—just in a different way... The end result is the same as the old formula—women's insecurities sell ads. The only difference is the level of doublespeak and manipulation that it takes to produce that result... On the Web, writers tend to play up the most jealousy- and insecurity-evoking aspects of controversy, and then anonymous commenters—who bear no responsibility for the effects of their statements—take the writers' hints to any possible extreme. It's just how the Internet works."

Tongue-in-cheek scientific study proves that men are bigger idiots than women - "Overall, males made up 88.7% of Darwin Award winners over the study period, a “highly statistically significant” sex difference in idiotic risk-taking behaviour, the authors report... One 1999 Darwin Award went to three men who played a version of Russian roulette with an unexploded Cambodian landmine. Each took turns tossing back shots and then stamping on the mine. Eventually it exploded, killing all three. Everyone else had already fled the bar... Crazy risk-taking may also be a fallout or spillover of the “thrill-seeking,” risk-taking personality, said Temple University psychologist Frank Farley. “Men do this — pushing the edge — more than women historically, though that is changing fast,” Farley said."
Comment: "if 10 guys jump on a moving boxcar ladder, turn upside down and wave, maybe 5 will fall to their deaths, but the remaining 5 are guaranteed to have at least one female each that wants to have babies with them. So their genes have a better chance than the genes of the guys on the sidelines, despite tbe high risk behaviour."

The plans for totalitarian feminist social engineering move onward again

BBC: Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World: Become a trio of selves (9 Dec 2014):

Peter Anderson: If we look at what we call the innocence of children or what we sometimes think of as the wisdom of the elderly, what one's looking at often there are simply stages in life in which the, that intense gender binary is not quite so present.

I think both children and older people are able to occupy selves that are not so defined by that categorisation.

And for me, the first and simple practical step is just as we ban tobacco advertising in many countries, alcohol advertising and so on, we just ban gender-based advertising. Just stop there. Whack it out. No blondes on bonnets. End it there.

Lisa Bortolotti: Wonderful.

Bridget Kendall: No more pink and blue for little boys and little girls.

Peter Anderson: No more pink and blue.

I'm very pleased at the success of that idea.

Bridget Kendall: Lots of purple, apparently.

Of course, children and older people are not so defined by the gender binary because they are not of a reproductive age.

So impotence is seen as virtue.

You Can Give a Boy a Doll, but You Can't Make Him Play With It

You Can Give a Boy a Doll, but You Can't Make Him Play With It

"Swedes can be remarkably thorough in their pursuit of gender parity. A few years ago, a feminist political party proposed a law requiring men to sit while urinating—less messy and more equal. In 2004, the leader of the Sweden's Left Party Feminist Council, Gudrun Schyman,proposed a "man tax"—a special tariff to be levied on men to pay for all the violence and mayhem wrought by their sex. In April 2012, following the celebration of International Women's Day, the Swedes formally introduced the genderless pronoun "hen" to be used in place of he and she (han and hon).

Egalia, a new state-sponsored pre-school in Stockholm, is dedicated to the total obliteration of the male and female distinction. There are no boys and girls at Egalia—just "friends" and "buddies." Classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White have been replaced by tales of two male giraffes who parent abandoned crocodile eggs. The Swedish Green Party would like Egalia to be the norm: It has suggested placing gender watchdogs in all of the nation's preschools. "Egalia gives [children] a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be," says one excited teacher. (It is probably necessary to add that this is not an Orwellian satire or a right-wing fantasy: This school actually exists.)

The problem with Egalia and gender-neutral toy catalogs is that boys and girls, on average, do not have identical interests, propensities, or needs. Twenty years ago, Hasbro, a major American toy manufacturing company, tested a playhouse it hoped to market to both boys and girls. It soon emerged that girls and boys did not interact with the structure in the same way. The girls dressed the dolls, kissed them, and played house. The boys catapulted the toy baby carriage from the roof. A Hasbro manager came up with a novel explanation: "Boys and girls are different."

They are different, and nothing short of radical and sustained behavior modification could significantly change their elemental play preferences. Children, with few exceptions, are powerfully drawn to sex-stereotyped play. David Geary, a developmental psychologist at the University of Missouri, told me in an email this week, "One of the largest and most persistent differences between the sexes are children's play preferences." The female preference for nurturing play and the male propensity for rough-and-tumble hold cross-culturally and even cross-species (with a few exceptions—female spotted hyenas seem to be at least as aggressive as males). Among our close relatives such as vervet and rhesus monkeys, researchers have found that females play with dolls far more than their brothers, who prefer balls and toy cars. It seems unlikely that the monkeys were indoctrinated by stereotypes in a Top-Toy catalog. Something else is going on.

Biology appears to play a role. Several animal studies have shown that hormonal manipulation can reverse sex-typed behavior. When researchers exposed female rhesus monkeys to male hormones prenatally, these females later displayed male-like levels of rough-and-tumble play. Similar results are found in human beings. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a genetic condition that results when the female fetus is subjected to unusually large quantities of male hormones—adrenal androgens. Girls with CAH tend to prefer trucks, cars, and construction sets over dolls and play tea sets. As psychologist Doreen Kimura reported in Scientific American, "These findings suggest that these preferences were actually altered in some way by the early hormonal environment." They also cast doubt on the view that gender-specific play is primarily shaped by socialization.

Professor Geary does not have much hope for the new gender-blind toy catalogue: "The catalog will almost certainly disappear in a few years, once parents who buy from it realize their kids don't want these toys"...

Hunter College psychologist Virginia Valian, a strong proponent of Swedish-style re-genderization, wrote in the book Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women, "We do not accept biology as destiny ... We vaccinate, we inoculate, we medicate... I propose we adopt the same attitude toward biological sex differences."

Valian is absolutely right that we do not have to accept biology as destiny. But the analogy is ludicrous: We vaccinate, inoculate, and medicate children against disease. Is being a gender-typical little boy or girl a pathology in need of a cure?... for most human beings, the differences are a vital source for meaning and happiness. Since when is uniformity a democratic ideal?...

Is this kind of social engineering worth it? Is it even ethical?

To succeed, the Swedish parents, teachers and authorities are going to have to police—incessantly—boys' powerful attraction to large-group rough-and-tumble play and girls' affinity for intimate theatrical play. As Geary says, "You can change some of these behaviors with reinforcement and monitoring, but they bounce back once this stops." But this constant monitoring can also undermine children's healthy development.

Anthony Pellegrini, a professor of early childhood education at the University of Minnesota, defines the kind of rough-and-tumble play that boys favor as a behavior that includes "laughing, running, smiling, jumping, open-hand beating, wrestling, play fighting, chasing and fleeing." This kind of play is often mistakenly regarded as aggression, but according to Pellegrini, it is the very opposite. In cases of schoolyard aggression, the participants are unhappy, they part as enemies, and there are often tears and injuries. Rough-and-tumble play brings boys together, makes them happy, and is a critical party of their social development.

Researchers Mary Ellin Logue (University of Maine) and Hattie Harvey (University of Denver ) agree, and they have documented the benefits of boys' "bad guy" superhero action narratives. Teachers tend not to like such play, say Logue and Harvey, but it improves boys' conversation, creative writing skills, and moral imagination. Swedish boys, like American boys, are languishing far behind girls in school. In a 2009 study Logue and Harvey ask an important question the Swedes should consider: "If boys, due to their choices of dramatic play themes, are discouraged from dramatic play, how will this affect their early language and literacy development and their engagement in school?"

What about the girls? Nearly 30 years ago, Vivian Gussin Paley, a beloved kindergarten teacher at the Chicago Laboratory Schools and winner of a MacArthur "genius" award, published a classic book on children's play entitled Boys & Girls: Superheroes in the Doll Corner. Paley wondered if girls are missing out by not partaking in boys' superhero play, but her observations of the "doll corner" allayed her doubts. Girls, she learned, are interested in their own kind of domination. Boys' imaginative play involves a lot of conflict and imaginary violence; girls' play, on the other hand, seems to be much gentler and more peaceful. But as Paley looked more carefully, she noticed that the girls' fantasies were just as exciting and intense as the boys—though different. There were full of conflict, pesky characters and imaginary power struggles. "Mothers and princesses are as powerful as any superheroes the boys can devise." Paley appreciated the benefits of gendered play for both sexes, and she had no illusions about the prospects for its elimination: "Kindergarten is a triumph of sexual self-stereotyping. No amount of adult subterfuge or propaganda deflects the five-year-old's passion for segregation by sex."

But subterfuge and propaganda appear to be the order of the day in Sweden. In their efforts to free children from the constraints of gender, the Swedish reformers are imposing their own set of inviolate rules, standards, and taboos...

The Swedes are treating gender-conforming children the way we once treated gender-variant children... There was a time when a boy who displayed a persistent aversion to trucks and rough play and a fixation on frilly dolls or princess paraphernalia would have been considered a candidate for behavior modification therapy. Today, most experts encourage tolerance, understanding, and acceptance: just leave him alone and let him play as he wants. The Swedes should extend the same tolerant understanding to the gender identity and preferences of the vast majority of children"
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