"The happiest place on earth"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Friday, April 17, 2015

everything personal can’t be political

everything personal can’t be political | Fredrik deBoer

"We have this magic words theory of argument where if you deploy certain terms like “tone policing,” the expectation is that you’ve won the argument and the other side has to stop arguing immediately. But those tactics don’t occur in a vacuum. Campus conservatives, for example, have succeeded in so many of their provocations because they have very deftly adopted the tactics and vocabulary of the academic left and employed them for their own purposes...

The definition of microaggression has ballooned to the point where accusations can be deployed for literally any situation. I know people hate hearing this, but it’s just true: there are people in the academy, and now in the broader world, whose personal definition of microaggression seems to be “literally any behavior that I don’t like.” That makes the kind of disagreements that are necessary for academic and political debate impossible...

In the actually-existing discourse communities we have on the left, to ever express skepticism that a given incident constituted racism, sexism, homophobia, or similar means to many that you are “on the side” of the racists, the sexists, the homphobes. Look at the debate about affirmative consent; it’s occurring in a rhetorical environment of ambient threat, where the suggestion that people who question the wisdom or justice of affirmative consent laws are subject to innuendo or accusation of being insufficiently opposed to rape...

The first person to allege discrimination wins, and the person on the other side of that equation loses. This is especially true because we’ve also decided that, once you identify yourself as arguing against political misbehavior, there are absolutely no standards on your own behavior. You are allowed to engage in brutal character assassination if you represent yourself as speaking out against racism or sexism or similar. Look at the odd condition of a Twitter storm: offenses that are often subtle or unintentional are treated as indicative of existential immorality, but the direct, utterly cruel overreactions against these offenses are treated as righteous political acts. Microaggressions breed macro-aggressive responses that are seemingly exempt from standards of fair behavior.

On a personal level, the limitless politicization of daily life actually ends up hurting the people who it ostensibly helps. The way that we deal with the parade of failures, indignities, and problems that make up adult life is by moving on. You often don’t get what you want in life, and it hurts. If you never get over these problems, you subject yourself to long-term unhappiness. So when friends are dealing with hardship we tend to tell them to move on, in time, to get past these feelings. But in a world where absolutely every personal problem is politicized, the attitude is the opposite. When someone alleges that a given problem is a matter of structural oppression, we tell them to hold onto that feeling and never forget about it. The suggestion that someone should move past those feelings is then represented as taking part in that oppression. And I know people, in real life, who seem incapable of moving past disappointments and failures because they’ve so internalized the notion that all of them are a matter of illegitimate discrimination. When every bad date is indicative not of a clash of personalities but of the hand of misogyny, when every rejected job application is a consequence of structural oppression, when every dirty look is racist rather than just shitty, I don’t know how you can make your way through life, which is hard enough as it is...

When you’re operating in an environment where you’re told that absolutely every minor dissatisfaction in your life is a political issue, there’s every reason to adopt the stance of “oppressed minority” rather than “human being dealing with the same constant dissatisfaction that we all do”...

We’ve created these incentives on the left: always politicize; always escalate; always ridicule. We’re living with the consequences of those tendencies now. Unfortunately, I don’t know how we build a new left discourse, given that the two current modes of left-wing expression appear to be a) showily condescending ridicule and b) utter fury"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Links - 16th April 2015

Vibrators now sold in Watsons stores - "They come in four different personalities, each designed with women in mind. The Tennis Coach, for instance, is "sculpted and fit" and promises to "take very specific aim". The Millionaire, on the other hand, is a "classic gentleman and an all-rounder" who is here to "pleasure you like the princess you are". They are "personal massagers" - also known as vibrators - for women. Each comes in a different colour and is represented by a simple cartoon character. Made by Swedish brand Smile Makers, which comes under the company Ramblin' Brands, these vibrators are the first to be sold by a major retail chain in Singapore. Launched on Wednesday, they are exclusively available in health and beauty care store Watsons Singapore island-wide and its online store."
S$64.95?! One could make a fortune selling sex toys given the markup
I hope they sell Tenga cups soon

Chaos. German style. - 9GAG

Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life - "We find that the 65 mph limit increased speeds by approximately 3.5% (i.e., 2 mph), and increased fatality rates by roughly 35%. In the 21 states that raised the speed limit and for whom we have complete data, the estimates suggest that about 125,000 hours were saved per lost life. Valuing the time saved at the average hourly wage implies that adopting states were willing to accept risks that resulted in a savings of $1.54 million (1997$) per fatality"

Femail goes inside the 'sugar daddy' dating world - "All of the women I talked with stressed that these arrangements weren't 'hook-ups', they were ongoing relationships with wealthy men – many of whom simply don't have the time or inclination to date in the standard fashion. For the most part, it seems that dating the sugar daddies almost entirely for financial support, means that few of these women ever get emotionally needy or attached. Some men are effectively buying their way out of the 'drama' that exists elsewhere... 'Honestly, I don't think it's any different than a marriage with a house wife,' Rachel explains to Daily Mail Online. 'If the wife is not working, she is being paid and supported by her husband, and of course they have sex. Does that make her a prostitute?'... One sugar baby revealed that she actually plans to marry her sugar daddy; Erin Oden, a 29-year-old magician's assistant from Dallas, Texas, who has dated 50 of them, says she 'fell in love' with her first sugar daddy, and the pair are now all-but engaged. 'He doesn't know I still have other sugar daddies,' she admits, adding that she earns around $60,000 annually, 'in addition to trips, clothing, dining out and gifts'... Gianna Phoenix, a 43-year-old Arizona widow and mother-of-two, had her home partially purchased for her by her sugar daddy, and makes $60,000 a year from her 'allowance'. 'Have you been out there in the conventional dating scene?' she asks. 'It’s a nightmare! I've had grown men asking to borrow money from me! Dirt bags.'"

"Hi dear, :)": A Case Of Harassment Between Daniella Sya And An Uber Driver - "everyone has different thresholds for what they consider to be harassment. And that is fine, and no one can judge you for it. In other words, regardless of whether you receive a text like “Hi dear, :)”, or a chain of messages asking about you, it is harassment as long as you are not comfortable with it."
It's harassment because I don't like the way someone is looking at me, or his body language

Allen Blasts Webb Novels For Sex Scenes - "Should the author of a fictional work who runs for office be personally held to account for the scenes in his books? "

The Dancing Man and the cult of well-intentioned idiots. - "No time for facts, we need to run to the rescue of this grown man, apparently. Rather than allowing this man to have the dignity of an autonomous adult, we're treating him like a toddler who needs coddling. This isn't about him, this is about the people who created this narrative... You want to feel good about yourselves without actually doing anything. These people are literally congratulating themselves for not getting up off the couch... A much more nefarious case of well-intentioned idiocy played out on the pages of Rolling Stone recently, when they published a graphic account of a gang rape of a University of Virginia student. In an effort to be sensitive to her, they honored her request to not contact the alleged assailants. The story recounts a brutal rape that left her bloodied and injured from a punch to the face. Rolling Stone was commended for their in-depth journalism. The only problem? The story wasn't true... When Jon Stewart from The Daily Show announced that he was stepping down, a cacophony of well-intentioned idiots flooded social networks imploring Comedy Central to hire a "minority" or a woman to replace him, preferably both. Because if we've learned nothing from Martin Luther King Jr., and we haven't, true diversity comes not from the content of our character, but the color of our skin. And which genitals we have. One candidate in particular, Jessica Williams, stood out from the pack because she's talented, funny and was already a Daily Show correspondent. The only problem? She didn't want the job. Or at the very least, she felt under-qualified for it. In her own words, she said, "I'm not hosting. Thank you but I am extremely under-qualified for the job!" So there you have it, a strong, funny, self-reliant woman evaluated a job opportunity and made a choice for herself and decided not to pursue it. End of story, right? Wrong. That's where things would have ended, if it weren't for some well-intentioned blowhard rushing to protect poor Jessica Williams from herself... Williams responded personally to this article and told her to "Lean the Fuck away"... the best way to avoid this kind of grief and embarrassment is to simply try not to be such a well-intentioned idiot. People don't need to be coddled. Humanity has survived holocausts, wars, natural disasters, plagues and reality television. We don't need our hands held when life gets tough. And the people who do—or think they do—will ask for it. There's no shortage of them in this world. Don't look for victims and don't be a victim."

“Lean the f*** away from me”: Jessica Williams, “impostor syndrome” and the many ways we serially doubt women - "'Are you unaware, how insulting that can be for a fully functioning person to hear that her choices are invalid? Because you have personally decided, that I DON’T know myself- as a WOMAN you are saying that I need to lean in. Because of my choice, you have diagnosed me with something without knowing me at all. For the world to see'. And this is the problem with “lean in” applied as a universal feminist ethos. Like most supposedly universal narratives, it’s incredibly limiting. Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged in the book that she didn’t believe that women “should all have the same objectives” or face the same obstacles, but much of the advice is still presented as inclusive when it’s actually narrowly tailored to a certain kind of woman (namely, white, upwardly mobile and married to, or interested in marrying, a man who is likely the same), working to achieve a certain kind of power while maintaining a certain kind of family life. The book is undoubtedly useful and resonates for some, but, as Roxane Gay pointed out in her thoughtful review, a lot of Sandberg’s wisdom reads something like, “If you want to succeed, be an asshole.” I’d also say that “lean in,” particularly as it’s often rendered in media shorthand, has come to mean that women should ignore their instincts in favor of aggressively pursuing a specific career goal or opportunity at all costs. In a culture that already serially doubts women, this is, in its own way, just another way we doubt women... Such a one-size-fits-all narrative, whether it’s lean in or impostor syndrome, erases women’s agency and is its own form of erasure"

The Petrie Multiplier: Why an Attack on Sexism in Tech is NOT an Attack on Men - "The wonderful thing about the Petrie Multiplier is that there is nothing in it about men being worse people or more sexist than women. And still we get women experiencing dramatically more sexism than men. It's because of the gender disparity in Tech, and the fact that this multiplies up to the detriment of the minority group. The Petrie Multiplier is the amazing effect that the amount of sexism experienced by women compared to men goes as the square of the gender ratio in Tech. And this is assuming that women are equally sexist towards men as men are towards women."
Keywords: stem paradox sexism fewer, level of sexism same experience more paradox, as sexist

Wit and Wisdom of Mark Rippetoe - Starting Strength Wiki - "When asked to "explain how deep squats won't screw up your femur/hips," so the person posting could explain it to his friend who believes that deep squats are harmful:
"Just because some jackass asserts a thing does not mean that it is worthy of refutation. If the same guy tells you that every space shuttle launch perturbs the Earth's orbit, and that the cumulative effects are just about to start the process of the loss of the atmosphere into space, thus creating a vacuum that will destroy all life on the planet in approximately 36 hours, would you deem this necessary to refute? How much time would you spend explaining to him why this cannot happen? Would not your time be spent better doing other things? And if you devise a concise explanation, why would you assume he would understand?""

LKY is right after all - "LKY is quite right after all when he said that Islam does not promote integration. This appears to be the consensus two days ago among a group of my Malay contemporaries from the Bukit Timah campus after a series of rapid SMS exchanges through What App. No one seems to disagree. An excerpt:
AS: LKY clip on integration. It seems true that Islam does not promote integration. Some would even say Islam is divisive, not only between Muslims and non-Muslims but also among Muslims. Just look at Malaysia between UMNO and PAS, in the Middle East between the Wahhabis and the Syiahs, the Sunnis and the Sufis... So was LKY wrong to suggest that it would be easier to integrate the Singapore Muslims if they were less strict in their religious observances. He did not say Muslims should not observe the basic tenets of Islam.
Remember what Mohd. Abduh said decades ago: In France I saw Islam but no Muslims, but in Egypt, I saw Muslims but no Islam. Can we now say that there is more Islam in Singapore than in Kota Baru or Kuala Lumpur?
IK (playing the devil’s advocate): Islam as practised today has become a divisive force. It is something that our Prophet (PBUH) never imagined, not even in his wildest dream...
AS: I think we will always remain divided. Everyone will say that his Islam is the right and true one and no compromise is possible. So how! Islam could not unite Ali and Aisyah (the Prophet’s son in law and his favourite wife). They even slaughter each other in the battlefield."

Arizona jury foreman says believed Jodi Arias was abused - "Arias, a former waitress from California, was found guilty this month of murdering Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He had been stabbed 27 times, had his throat slashed and been shot in the face... "I'm very sure in my own mind that she was mentally and verbally abused," jury foreman William Zervakos told the ABC News "Good Morning America" program... Juries only rarely sentence women to death in the United States. While women account for about one in eight murder arrests, less than 2 percent of U.S. death row inmates are women, according to the Death Penalty Information Center... Prosecutor Juan Martinez poked holes in her testimony, noting there were no police or medical reports documenting abuse, and confronted her with lies she told after the killing to deflect suspicion that she had been involved."

Billionairess' Fortune Goes to Charity, Lover Goes to Prison - "According to Chan's statement in court, the two met in 1992 when Wang sought out fengshui masters to help her find her missing husband. The relationship had begun in 1993 when Wang, then 55, asked the Chan, then 32, to give her a head massage and later turned into a body massage. Wang then asked Chan to cuddle her naked to sleep before they had their first sex in front of a statue of Buddha. "During our time together, I would massage her, and we would then engage in loving, passionate sex," Chan said in his statement. "Nina very much took the initiative in this respect. I was captivated by her. She aroused great desire in me and we shared immense satisfaction in our sexual relationship... Several weeks before his criminal trial began, Chan converted to Christianity and renounced fengshui, calling it "a work of evil", according to the South China Morning Post. "Without the lawsuits, I would not have gone to church and would not have experienced God," Chan told the newspaper in an earlier interview. "I have no regrets.""

The Relationship of Age and Gender Subcultures to the Consumption of Rational and Arational Experiences - "It was found that age is inversely related to the consumption of rational experiences and unrelated to the consumption of arational experiences. Female gender was found positively related to the consumption of arational experiences... research suggests that a gross dichotomy of experience may exist. First is the form of experience said to characterize the left hemisphere. Such experience is described as semantic, sequential, ordered, logico-deductive.analytical, and decompositional (Ornstein 1977). It consists of cause and effect comprehension and categorical reasoning--in brief, it is rational. In contrast is the form of experience said to be characteristic of the right hemisphere. Such experience is sensorial. intuitive, holistic, communal, and integrative (Ornstein 1977). It consists of feelings of union, and is mystical rather than scientific. In short, it is arational... [The results] support a subtle and insightful thesis advanced by Bowers and Bowers (1972). After reviewing the literature on primary and secondary process thinking (which are similar in several respects to arational and rational experiences), they concluded that men consumed arational experiences via impulsive and emotional acts upon the external environment. Conversely, women consumed arational experiences via receptive involvement with their own thoughts or by letting certain kinds of external events happen to them."
This suggests that men (and younger people) prefer rationality compared to women (and older people). Even if this isn't evidence that men are more rational than women, it seems to suggest that men have a stronger preference for rationality than women do

An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish
Bertrand Russell

"Folly is perennial and yet the human race has survived. The follies of our own times are easier to bear when they are seen against the background of past follies...

Aristotle, so far as I know, was the first man to proclaim explicitly that man is a rational animal. His reason for this view was one which does not now seem very impressive; it was, that some people can do sums... It is in virtue of the intellect that man is a rational animal. The intellect is shown in various ways, but most emphatically by mastery of arithmetic. The Greek system of numerals was very bad, so that the multiplication table was quite difficult, and complicated calculations could only be made by very clever people. Now-a-days, however, calculating machines do sums better than even the cleverest people, yet no one contends that these useful instruments are immortal, or work by divine inspiration. As arithmetic has grown easier, it has come to be less respected. The consequence is that, though many philosophers continue to tell us what fine fellows we are, it is no longer on account of our arithmetical skill that they praise us.

Since the fashion of the age no longer allows us to point to calculating boys as evidence that man is rational and the soul, at least in part, immortal, let us look elsewhere. Where shall we look first? Shall we look among eminent statesmen, who have so triumphantly guided the world into its present condition? Or shall we choose the men of letters? Or the philosophers? All these have their claims, but 1 think we should begin with those whom all right thinking people acknowledge to be the wisest as well as the best of men, namely the clergy. If they fail to be rational, what hope is there for us lesser mortals? And alas-though I say it with all due respect-there have been times when their wisdom has not been very obvious, and, strange to say, these were especially the times when the power of the clergy was greatest.

The Ages of Faith, which are praised by our neo-scholastics, were the time when the clergy had things all their own way. Daily life was full of miracles wrought by saints and wizardry perpetrated by devils and necromancers. Many thousands of witches were burnt at the stake. Men's sins were punished by pestilence and famine, by earthquake, flood, and fire. And yet, strange to say, they were even more sinful than they are now-a-days. Very little was known scientifically about the world. A few learned men remembered Greek proofs that the earth is round, but most people made fun of the notion that there are antipodes. To suppose that there are human beings at the antipodes was heresy. It was generally held (though modem Catholics take a milder view) that the immense majority of mankind are damned. Dangers were held to lurk at every turn. Devils would settle on the food that monks were about to eat, and would take possession of the bodies of incautious feeders who omitted to make the sign of the Cross before each mouthful. Old-fashioned people still say "bless you" when one sneezes, but they have forgotten the reason for the custom. The reason was that people were thought to sneeze out their souls, and before their souls could get back lurking demons were apt to enter the unsouled body; but if any one said "God bless you," the demons were frightened off.

Throughout the last 400 years, during which the growth of science had gradually shown men how to acquire knowledge of the ways of nature and mastery over natural forces, the clergy have fought a losing battle against science, in astronomy and geology, in anatomy and physiology, in biology and psychology and sociology. Ousted from one position, they have taken up another. After being worsted in astronomy, they did their best to prevent the rise of geology; they fought against Darwin in biology, and at the present time they fight against scientific theories of psychology and education. At each stage, they try to make the public forget their earlier obscurantism, in order that their present obscurantism may not be recognized for what it is. Let us note a few instances of irrationality among the clergy since the rise of science, and then inquire whether the rest of mankind are any better...

People still think that the Divine Plan has special reference to human beings, and that a special Providence not only looks after the good, but also punishes the wicked. I am sometimes shocked by the blasphemies of those who think themselves pious-for instance, the nuns who never take a bath without wearing a bathrobe all the time. When asked why, since no man can see them, they reply: "Oh, but you forget the good God." Apparently they conceive of the Deity as a Peeping Tom, whose omnipotence enables Him to see through bathroom walls, but who is foiled by bathrobes. This view strikes me as curious.

The whole conception of "Sin" is one which I find very puzzling, doubtless owing to my sinful nature. If "Sin" consisted in causing needless suffering, I could understand; but on the contrary, sin often consists in avoiding needless suffering. Some years ago, in the English House of Lords, a bill was introduced to legalize euthanasia in cases of painful and incurable disease. The patient's consent was to be necessary, as well as several medical certificates. To me, in my simplicity, it would seem natural to require the patient's consent, but the late Archbishop of Canterbury, the English official expert on Sin, explained the erroneousness of such a view. The patient's consent turns euthanasia into suicide, and suicide is sin. Their Lordships listened to the voice of authority, and rejected the bill. Consequently, to please the Archbishop-and his God, if he reports truly-victims of cancer still have to endure months of wholly useless agony, unless their doctors or nurses are sufficiently humane to risk a charge of murder. I find difficulty in the conception of a God who gets pleasure from contemplating such tortures; and if there were a God capable of such wanton cruelty, I should certainly not think Him worthy of worship. But that only proves how sunk I am in moral depravity.

I am equally puzzled by the things that are sin and by the things that are not. When the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals asked the pope for his support, he refused it, on the ground that human beings owe no duty to the lower animals, and that ill-treating animals is not sinful. This is because animals have no souls. On the other hand, it is wicked to marry your deceased wife's sister-so at least the Church teaches-however much you and she may wish to marry. This is not because of any unhappiness that might result, but because of certain texts in the Bible...

The orthodox have a curious objection to cremation, which seems to show an insufficient realization of God's omnipotence. It is thought that a body which has been burnt will be more difficult for Him to collect together again than one which has been put underground and transformed into worms. No doubt collecting the particles from the air and undoing the chemical work of combustion would be somewhat laborious, but it is surely blasphemous to suppose such a work impossible for the Deity. I conclude that the objection to cremation implies grave heresy. But I doubt whether my opinion will carry much weight with the orthodox...

The sacredness of corpses is a widespread belief. It was carried furthest by the Egyptians, among whom it led to the practice of mummification. It still exists in full force in China. A French surgeon, who was employed by the Chinese to teach Western medicine, relates that his demand for corpses to dissect was received with horror, but he was assured that he could have instead an unlimited supply of live criminals. His objection to this alternative was totally unintelligible to his Chinese employers.

Although there are many kinds of sin, seven of which are deadly, the most fruitful field for Satan's wiles is sex. The orthodox Catholic doctrine on this subject is to be found in St. Paul, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. It is best to be celibate, but those who have not the gift of continence may marry...

It is odd that neither the Church nor modern public opinion condemns petting, provided it stops short at a certain point. At what point sin begins is a matter as to which casuists differ. One eminently orthodox Catholic divine laid it down that a confessor may fondle a nun's breasts, provided he does it without evil intent. But I doubt whether modern authorities would agree with him on this point...

There are logical difficulties in the notion of sin. We are told that sin consists in disobedience to God's commands, but we are also told that God is omnipotent. If He is, nothing contrary to His will can occur; therefore when the sinner disobeys His commands, He must have intended this to happen. St. Augustine boldly accepts this view, and asserts that men are led to sin by a blindness with which God afflicts them. But most theologians, in modern times, have felt that, if God causes men to sin, it is not fair to send them to hell for what they cannot help. We are told that sin consists in acting contrary to God's will. This, however, does not get rid of the difficulty. Those who, like Spinoza, take God's omnipotence seriously, deduce that there can be no such thing as sin. This leads to frightful results. What! said Spinoza's contemporaries, was it not wicked of Nero to murder his mother? Was it not wicked of Adam to eat the apple? Is one action just as good as another? Spinoza wriggles, but does not find any satisfactory answer. If everything happens in accordance with God's will, God must have wanted Nero to murder his mother; therefore, since God is good, the murder must have been a good thing. From this argument there is no escape.

On the other hand, those who are in earnest in thinking that sin is disobedience to God are compelled to say that God is not omnipotent. This gets out of all the logical puzzles, and is the view adopted by a certain school of liberal theologians. It has, however, its own difficulties. How are we to know what really is God's will? If the forces of evil have a certain share of power, they may deceive us into accepting as Scripture what is really their work. This was the view of the Gnostics, who thought that the Old Testament was the work of an evil spirit.

As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles. Whose authority? The Old Testament? The New Testament? The Koran? In practice, people choose the book considered sacred by the community in which they are born, and out of that book they choose the parts they like, ignoring the others. At one time, the most influential text in the Bible was: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Now-a-days, people pass over this text, in silence if possible; if not, with an apology. And so, even when we have a sacred book, we still choose as truth whatever suits our own prejudices. No Catholic, for instance, takes seriously the text which says that a bishop should be the husband of one wife...

Since evolution became fashionable, the glorification of Man has taken a new form. We are told that evolution has been guided by one great Purpose: through the millions of years when there were only slime, or trilobites, throughout the ages of dinosaurs and giant ferns, of bees and wild flowers, God was preparing the Great Climax. At last, in the fullness of time, He produced Man, including such specimens as Nero and Caligula, Hitler and Mussolini, whose transcendent glory justified the long painful process. For my part, I find even eternal damnation less incredible, and certainly less ridiculous, than this lame and impotent conclusion which we are asked to admire as the supreme effort of Omnipotence. And if God is indeed omnipotent, why could He not have produced the glorious result without such a long and tedious prologue?...

The importance of Man, which is the one indispensable dogma of the theologians, receives no support from a scientific view of the future of the solar system.

There are many other sources of false belief besides self-importance. One of these is love of the marvelous. I knew at one time a scientifically-minded conjuror, who used to perform his tricks before a small audience, and then get them, each separately, to write down what they had seen happen. Almost always they wrote down something much more astonishing than the reality, and usually something which no conjuror could have achieved; yet they all thought they were reporting truly what they had seen with their own eyes. This sort of falsification is still more true of rumors. A tells B that last night he saw Mr.-, the eminent prohibitionist, slightly the worse for liquor; B tells C that A saw the good man reeling drunk, C tells D that he was picked up unconscious in the ditch, D tells E that he is well known to pass out every evening... All history until the eighteenth century is full of prodigies and wonders which modern historians ignore, not because they are less well attested than facts which the historians accept, but because modem taste among the learned prefers what science regards as probable. Shakespeare relates how on the night before Caesar was killed,

A common slave—you know him well by sight— Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn Like twenty torches joined, and yet his hand, Not sensible of fire, remained unscorched. Besides—I ha' not since put up my sword— Against the Capitol I met a lion, Who glared upon me and went surly by, Without annoying me. And there were drawn Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women, Transformèd with their fear, who swore they saw Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.

Shakespeare did not invent these marvels; he found them in reputable historians, who are among those upon whom we depend for our knowledge concerning Julius Caesar. This sort of thing always used to happen at the death of a great man or the beginning of an important war. Even so recently as 1914 the "angels of Mons" encouraged the British troops. The evidence for such events is very seldom first-hand, and modern historians refuse to accept it-except, of course, where the event is one that has religious importance...

It is a curious and painful fact that almost all the completely futile treatments that have been believed in during the long history of medical folly have been such as caused acute suffering to the patient. When anaesthetics were discovered, pious people considered them an attempt to evade the will of God. It was pointed out, however, that when God extracted Adam's rib He put him into a deep sleep. This proved that anaesthetics are all right for men; women, however, ought to suffer, because of the curse of Eve...

Among white men, it is held that white men are by nature superior to men of other colors, and especially to black men; in Japan, on the contrary, it is thought that yellow is the best color. In Haiti, when they make statues of Christ and Satan, they make Christ black and Satan white...

The purest races now in existence are the Pygmies, the Hottentots, and the Australian aborigines; the Tasmanians, who were probably even purer, are extinct. They were not the bearers of a brilliant culture. The ancient Greeks, on the other hand, emerged from an amalgamation of northern barbarians and an indigenous population; the Athenians and Ionians, who were the most civilized, were also the most mixed. The supposed merits of racial purity are, it would seem, wholly imaginary...

In Russia, where, under the influence of Karl Marx, people since the revolution have been classified by their economic origin, difficulties have arisen not unlike those of German race theorists over the Scandinavian Nordies. There were two theories that had to be reconciled: on the one hand, proletarians were good and other people were bad; on the other hand, communists were good and other people were bad. The only way of effecting a reconciliation was to alter the meaning of words. A "proletarian" came to mean a supporter of the government; Lenin, though born a Prince, was reckoned a member of the proletariat. On the other hand, the word "kulak," which was supposed to mean a rich peasant, came to mean any peasant who opposed collectivization. This sort of absurdity always arises when one group of human beings is supposed to be inherently better than another...

The discovery that man can be scientifically manipulated, and that governments can turn large masses this way or that as they choose, is one of the causes of our misfortunes. There is as much difference between a collection of mentally free citizens and a community molded by modern methods of propaganda as there is between a heap of raw materials and a battleship. Education, which was at first made universal in order that all might be able to read and write, has been found capable of serving quite other purposes. By instilling nonsense it unifies populations and generates collective enthusiasm. If all governments taught the same nonsense, the harm would not be so great. Unfortunately each has its own brand, and the diversity serves to produce hostility between the devotees of different creeds. If there is ever to be peace in the world, governments will have to agree either to inculcate no dogmas, or all to inculcate the same. The former, I fear, is a Utopian ideal, but perhaps they could agree to teach collectively that all public men, everywhere, are completely virtuous and perfectly wise. Perhaps, when the war is over, the surviving politicians may find it prudent to combine on some such programme...

You may find your colored help making some remark that comes straight out of Plato-not the parts of Plato that scholars quote, but the parts where he utters obvious nonsense, such as that men who do not pursue wisdom in this life will be born again as women. Commentators on great philosophers always politely ignore their silly remarks.

Aristotle, in spite of his reputation, is full of absurdities. He says that children should be conceived in the Winter, when the wind is in the North, and that if people marry too young the children will be female. He tells us that the blood of females is blacker then that of males; that the pig is the only animal liable to measles; that an elephant suffering from insomnia should have its shoulders rubbed with salt, olive-oil, and warm water; that women have fewer teeth than men, and so on. Nevertheless, he is considered by the great majority of philosophers a paragon of wisdom...

Eating cooked food is "unnatural"; so is heating our houses. The Chinese philosopher Lao-tse, whose traditional date is about 600 B.C., objected to roads and bridges and boats as "unnatural," and in his disgust at such mechanistic devices left China and went to live among the Western barbarians. Every advance in civilization has been denounced as unnatural while it was recent.

The commonest objection to birth control is that it is against "nature." (For some reason we are not allowed to say that celibacy is against nature; the only reason I can think of is that it is not new)...

Women, as the object of our strongest love and aversion, rouse complex emotions which are embodied in proverbial "wisdom"...

In Victorian days the saint was much more emphasized than the temptress; Victorian men could not admit themselves susceptible to temptation. The superior virtue of women was made a reason for keeping them out of politics, where, it was held, a lofty virtue is impossible. But the early feminists turned the argument round, and contended that the participation of women would ennoble politics. Since this has turned out to be an illusion, there has been less talk of women's superior virtue... Women themselves, for the most part, think of themselves as the sensible sex, whose business it is to undo the harm that comes of men's impetuous follies. For my part I distrust all generalizations about women, favorable and unfavorable, masculine and feminine, ancient and modern; all alike, I should say, result from paucity of experience.

The deeply irrational attitude of each sex toward women may be seen in novels, particularly in bad novels... Women novelists, also, have two kinds of women in their books. One is themselves, glamorous and kind, and object of lust to the wicked and of love to the good, sensitive, high-souled, and constantly misjudged. The other kind is represented by all other women, and is usually portrayed as petty, spiteful, cruel, and deceitful. It would seem that to judge women without bias is not easy either for men or for women.

Generalizations about national characteristics are just as common and just as unwarranted as generalizations about women. Until 1870, the Germans were thought of as a nation of spectacled professors, evolving everything out of their inner consciousness, and scarcely aware of the outer world, but since 1870 this conception has had to be very sharply revised. Frenchmen seem to be thought of by most Americans as perpetually engaged in amorous intrigue; Walt Whitman, in one of his catalogues, speaks of "the adulterous French couple on the sly settee." Americans who go to live in France are astonished, and perhaps disappointed, by the intensity of family life...

Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic, because in arithmetic there is knowledge, but in theology there is only opinion...

A good way of ridding yourself of certain kinds of dogmatism is to become aware of opinions held in social circles different from your own. When I was young, I lived much outside my own country in France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. I found this very profitable in diminishing the intensity of insular prejudice. If you cannot travel, seek out people with whom you disagree, and read a newspaper belonging to a party that is not yours. If the people and the newspaper seem mad, perverse, and wicked, remind yourself that you seem so to them. In this opinion both parties may be right, but they cannot both be wrong. This reflection should generate a certain caution.

Becoming aware of foreign customs, however, does not always have a beneficial effect. In the seventeenth century, when the Manchus conquered China, it was the custom among the Chinese for the women to have small feet, and among the Manchus for the men to wear-pigtails. Instead of each dropping their own foolish custom, they each adopted the foolish custom of the other...

For those who have enough psychological imagination, it is a good plan to imagine an argument with a person having a different bias...

Be very wary of opinions that flatter your self-esteem...

Other passions besides self-esteem are common sources of error; of these perhaps the most important is fear... Fear is the main source of superstition and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom, in the pursuit of truth as in the endeavor after a worthy manner of life...

The most refined religions, such as those of Marcus Aurelius and Spinoza, are still concerned with the conquest of fear. The Stoic doctrine was simple: it maintained that the only true good is virtue, of which no enemy can deprive me; consequently, there is no need to fear enemies. The difficulty was that no one could really believe virtue to be the only good, not even Marcus Aurelius, who, as emperor, sought not only to make his subjects virtuous, but to protect them against barbarians, pestilences, and famines. Spinoza taught a somewhat similar doctrine. According to him, our true good consists in indifference to our mundane fortunes. Both these men sought to escape from fear by pretending that such things as physical suffering are not really evil. This is a noble way of escaping from fear, but is still based upon false belief. And if genuinely accepted, it would have the bad effect of making men indifferent, not only to their own sufferings, but also to those of others...

Fear generates impulses of cruelty, and therefore promotes such superstitious beliefs as seem to justify cruelty. Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear. And for this reason poltroons are more prone to cruelty than brave men, and are also more prone to superstition. When I say this, I am thinking of men who are brave in all respects, not only in facing death. Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly, but will not have the courage to say, or even to think, that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one. Obloquy is, to most men, more painful than death; that is one reason why, in times of collective excitement, so few men venture to dissent from the prevailing opinion...

Perhaps the world would lose some of its interest and variety if such beliefs were wholly replaced by cold science. Perhaps we may allow ourselves to be glad of the Abecedarians, who were so-called because, having rejected all profane learning, they thought it wicked to learn the ABC. And we may enjoy the perplexity of the South American Jesuit who wondered how the sloth could have traveled, since the Flood, all the way from Mount Ararat to Peru-a journey which its extreme tardiness of locomotion rendered almost incredible. A wise man will enjoy the goods of which there is a plentiful supply, and of intellectual rubbish he will find an abundant diet, in our own age as in every other"

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why I did not enrol my son in ACS

Plus ça change...

Why I did not enrol my son in ACS

LAST Saturday's report, "Carnival tickets: Students feel sales 'pressure' ", brings back memories of my secondary school days at Anglo-Chinese Secondary School (ACSS) in the late 1960s.

There was a funfair that was meant to raise funds for the school. Each student was given two booklets of funfair coupons worth $10 each.

We were told by our class teacher that we were not allowed to return any of the coupons. As our family and relatives were not well-to-do, it meant that I had to sell the coupons somehow or had to get my parents to buy them.

In the end, my parents bought up the coupons even though $20 was not a small sum to us then.

When my son was about to start his primary school education, I decided not to enrol him in ACS, as I did not want him to go through the same stress I had experienced as a student. I also did not want to go through the same pressure my parents had felt.

In the latest incident over the sale of carnival tickets, it appears that after so many years, ACS (Barker Road), which was ACSS during my time, has not changed as far as fund raising is concerned.

ACS (Barker) vice-principal John Wu said that "there is no compulsion for students to sell or buy up all their coupons". But he did not say whether there was compulsion for the students to sell or buy some of the coupons.

This is still not right. There should be no compulsion for the students to sell or buy even a single coupon.

If the school's intention is to make sure that every student puts in the effort to sell the coupons, there are many other ways to do that.

Steven Lee Thien Poh

Links - 15th April 2015

Michael Buerk criticises TV presenters who 'cry ageism' - Telegraph - "Michael Buerk, the broadcaster, has criticised female news readers and television presenters who complain of ageism, arguing those given jobs “because they look nice” cannot protest when they later lose them. Buerk, 68, said he felt it was “fair enough” for television executives to get rid of older employees, in a process he likened to “pruning the raspberries to make way for new growth”... “'Presenter’, in any case, is a very recent job description dreamt up to describe somebody who fronts a programme without any special reason for being on it. “And if you got the job in the first place mainly because you look nice, I can’t see why you should keep it when you don’t”... In 2005, Buerk complained about “life being lived according to women’s rules”, with masculine traits marginalised and men “becoming more like women”. In 2011, he spoke out about perceived political correctness in television, arguing that “giving people jobs purely on the ground that we need another six Asians, or we need another six lesbians, or we need another six pensioners” is “almost worse” than age discrimination"

Beautiful actresses suffer more from ageism, says Angela Lansbury - Telegraph - "Beautiful actresses are more likely to struggle to find work as they grow older, Dame Angela Lansbury claimed as she discussed returning to the London stage aged 88. The veteran television star said she had not suffered from ageism when looking for work because she had never been considered a beauty... “For those women who were lovely, were known for their beauty and so on, it is darn difficult. “But I was playing older parts when I was terribly young because I wasn’t a big screen beauty, I am a character actress.” Her comments follow complaints from many female actors about the lack of roles for older women"

Would a Push to Hire More Women Reduce Gender Pay-Gap? Not Until We Fix the Pipeline - "Simply finding evidence that women on average are paid less than men at most organizations does not necessarily prove that there is gender-based discrimination. Trying to cure gender imbalance by pushing organizations to hire more women will not only fail overall -- more aggressive organizations will succeed at the expense of less aggressive ones -- but also  --  and this came as a surprise to me and many of my colleagues  --  it would make the salary imbalance between men and women appear worse  --  because average quality of women will fall -- at all organizations (even though there is no change in quality overall). The main culprit is the pipeline. If the percentage of qualified women remains lower than that of men, gender balance at all organizations is mathematically impossible. The cure then is to fix the pipeline. The gender balance in pay will follow. Moreover, as the Nobel Laureate Gary Becker pointed out, if women continue to get paid less than their male counterparts, profit-maximizing competitive firms can hire more women (if they are less expensive to hire) and fire men (if they are more expensive to hire) improving, and perhaps even reversing, not only gender balance but also their bottom lines at the peril of their competitors who continue to discriminate against women by hiring (more expensive) male labor force."

Wild West was tamed by MAIL-ORDER BRIDES

The least-cost low-carbohydrate diet is expensive - Nutrition Research - "The major finding is that the cheapest possible low-carbohydrate diet costs about triple the cost of the cheapest diet with no constraint on carbohydrate. Furthermore, the minimum cost of a diet low in both carbohydrate and fat is 5 to 10 times the cost of the cheapest diet, depending on the relative amounts of these nutrients. As carbohydrate and fat are constrained, cost increases dramatically and nonlinearly."

I Am A Mother Of Two Children And I Cannot (And Will Not) Support Feminism - "I’m a wife, mother, sister, daughter, business owner, sports nut and beer lover, but I am not a feminist. I may have been at one time, but then I became the mother of two boys and I realized that I cannot align with a message that has changed into something degrading, offensive, accusatory and opposed to the morals and messages I am teaching my kids... The FCKH8 Campaign would have girls tell my sons to “fuck off” if they called them pretty or reached for their hand without permission. Hollaback! sends the message that if my sons make eye contact with, or say “hello” to, a woman they don’t know, they are a predator, or at the very least, a “creepy douchebag.” #YesAllWomen wants my boys to know that the fact they have a penis makes them a threat. They cite the statistic that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted, but seem to ignore that they are sending the message to little girls to assume 100% of all men are rapists. #FreeTheNipples preaches to end “slut shaming,” yet what they are really doing is flipping the shame of “sluttiness” from the girls who expose their breasts (and bellies and butt cheeks) to the boys who look at them. TakePart.com supports teen girls spin doctoring age-old terms like “boys will be boys,” which is more about farting, burping, and falling out of trees than it is sexual harassment. They make claims like “dress codes are the result of boys not being able to control their sexual urges,” but how about encouraging all students to simply dress with decency in a public institution designed for education and growth, instead of focusing on elevating social status and hooking up? Teaching my boys that they are somehow wrong, perverted or bad if they look at what is being flaunted in front of them is also making the job of parents a thousand times harder to have that conversation about steering clear of “easy” girls. And, let’s not assume for one second that there aren’t plenty of them. When the term feminism turned from being a message of empowerment and gender fairness to basically a list of rules, restrictions, idiosyncrasies, offenses and grievances directed at all things male, I tapped out.. I also believe that there is nothing wrong with many of the gender roles that have been honored throughout history... I support fairness for everyone, but as long as being feminist means suppressing masculinity, it cannot possibly be called a “quest for equality.”"

'World's sexiest criminal' Stéphanie Boudoin charged with 114 COUNTS

Carbs more harmful than saturated fats: study - "Long-derided saturated fats -- associated with an array of health problems such as heart disease -- caught a break Friday when research revealed their intake could be doubled or even nearly tripled without driving up their level in a person's blood. Carbohydrates, meanwhile, are associated with heightened levels of a fatty acid linked to increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, the same study showed. "The point is you don't necessarily save the saturated fat that you eat, and the primary regulator of what you save in terms of fat is the carbohydrate in your diet," senior author Jeff Volek of Ohio State University, said in the report... The scientists found that when carbs were reduced and saturated fat was increased, total saturated fat in the blood did not increase, and even went down in most people. The fatty acid called palmitoleic acid, which is associated with "unhealthy metabolism of carbohydrates that can promote disease," went down with low-carb diets and gradually increased as carbs were re-introduced, the study said."

"Drunk Girl" Video Is Latest Viral Hoax - "The viral video claiming to show a series of men plotting to take advantage of a drunk Los Angeles woman was staged by the clip’s creators, who fed lines to the purported predators, dupes who thought they were appearing in a student film... The video, “Drunk Girl In Public,” is described as a “social experiment” by creator Stephen Zhang, 20, who apparently sought to ride the coattails of the 35 milllion-view Hollaback! video showing a woman being peppered with catcalls as she walked across New York City."

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity and I Wish I Hadn't - "Ten-year-old girls want to believe in fairy tales. Take this pledge and God will love you so much and be so proud of you, they told me. If you wait to have sex until marriage, God will bring you a wonderful Christian husband and you'll get married and live happily ever after, they said. Waiting didn't give me a happily ever after. Instead, it controlled my identity for over a decade, landed me in therapy, and left me a stranger in my own skin. I was so completely ashamed of my body and my sexuality that it made having sex a demoralizing experience. I don't go to church anymore, nor am I religious. As I started to heal, I realized that I couldn't figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time. I chose sex. Every single day is a battle to remember that my body belongs to me and not to the church of my childhood. I have to constantly remind myself that a pledge I took when I was only 10 doesn't define who I am today. When I have sex with my husband, I make sure it's because I have a sexual need and not because I feel I'm required to fulfill his desires"

A Classic Tune About Christian Girls Who Love Anal Sex (Video)

Sex tourism: Meet the middle-aged, middle-class women who are Britain's female sex tourists - "Barbara realised Chris viewed her as a sex tourist only when one day he told her, ‘No money, no sex’, after she refused to give him cash for a drug deal... Not one of the women used the phrase ‘sex tourism’, but most of them discussed how they had sent money to their ‘boyfriends’ to pay an urgent debt or to rent accommodation in time for their next visit. None would give me their full names, because their friends and family members are not aware they have been going abroad for sex... ‘I ended up paying for everything and once, when I refused, he told me he could pick up any white woman he wanted who would be happy to give him money.’ Despite this, she remained under the illusion until the end of her holiday that Chris was her boyfriend. She says now: ‘If he pretended to fancy me when we were together and just slept with me for money, does that make him a prostitute — or just a lying b*****d?’ The stereotypical image of the sex tourist is a Western man who travels to Thailand or the Philippines to pay for sex with young women and even children. But in the past three decades the numbers of women travelling primarily for sex with local men is thought to have increased significantly. The practice has become less stigmatised, and tour operators even add thinly veiled references to sex tourism for women as a marketing strategy. Phrases such as ‘fantasy island’ are bandied about, feeding off a mythology about male sexual prowess, perpetuated by the beach boys themselves because it’s good for business... Most of the beach bars advertise cocktails with names that are well-used euphemisms for a large penis, such as ‘Big Bamboo’, ‘Dirty Banana’ and ‘Jamaican Steel’... One young man told me the white women he had sex with made him feel sick. ‘They stink, have rough skin and look like old dogs. No wonder they have to pay for a man.’ A hotelier told me the women were ‘all ugly and fat’. ‘Men won’t touch them where they come from,’ he added. ‘I would be ashamed to be seen with any of them.’ Some female sex tourists who move to live permanently with Jamaican men are beaten or abused... Racial difference plays a significant role in the female sex tourist experience. White women who would never consider being openly involved with a young black man back home feel free to do so while travelling and often use this as an example of their ‘anti-racism’. However, the same women will often treat their ‘boyfriend’ as little more than a servant."

How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life

How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life - NYTimes.com

"Sacco’s Twitter feed had become a horror show. “In light of @Justine-Sacco disgusting racist tweet, I’m donating to @care today” and “How did @JustineSacco get a PR job?! Her level of racist ignorance belongs on Fox News. #AIDS can affect anyone!” and “I’m an IAC employee and I don’t want @JustineSacco doing any communications on our behalf ever again. Ever.” And then one from her employer, IAC, the corporate owner of The Daily Beast, OKCupid and Vimeo: “This is an outrageous, offensive comment. Employee in question currently unreachable on an intl flight.” The anger soon turned to excitement: “All I want for Christmas is to see @JustineSacco’s face when her plane lands and she checks her inbox/voicemail” and “Oh man, @JustineSacco is going to have the most painful phone-turning-on moment ever when her plane lands” and “We are about to watch this @JustineSacco bitch get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she’s getting fired.”

The furor over Sacco’s tweet had become not just an ideological crusade against her perceived bigotry but also a form of idle entertainment. Her complete ignorance of her predicament for those 11 hours lent the episode both dramatic irony and a pleasing narrative arc. As Sacco’s flight traversed the length of Africa, a hashtag began to trend worldwide: #HasJustineLandedYet. “Seriously. I just want to go home to go to bed, but everyone at the bar is SO into #HasJustineLandedYet. Can’t look away. Can’t leave” and “Right, is there no one in Cape Town going to the airport to tweet her arrival? Come on, Twitter! I’d like pictures #HasJustineLandedYet”...

In the early days of Twitter, I was a keen shamer. When newspaper columnists made racist or homophobic statements, I joined the pile-on. Sometimes I led it...

In those early days, the collective fury felt righteous, powerful and effective. It felt as if hierarchies were being dismantled, as if justice were being democratized. As time passed, though, I watched these shame campaigns multiply, to the point that they targeted not just powerful institutions and public figures but really anyone perceived to have done something offensive. I also began to marvel at the disconnect between the severity of the crime and the gleeful savagery of the punishment. It almost felt as if shamings were now happening for their own sake, as if they were following a script.

Eventually I started to wonder about the recipients of our shamings, the real humans who were the virtual targets of these campaigns. So for the past two years, I’ve been interviewing individuals like Justine Sacco: everyday people pilloried brutally, most often for posting some poorly considered joke on social media. Whenever possible, I have met them in person, to truly grasp the emotional toll at the other end of our screens. The people I met were mostly unemployed, fired for their transgressions, and they seemed broken somehow — deeply confused and traumatized...

She barely left home for the year that followed, racked by PTSD, depression and insomnia. “I didn’t want to be seen by anyone,” she told me last March at her home in Plymouth, Mass. “I didn’t want people looking at me.”

Instead, Stone spent her days online, watching others just like her get turned upon. In particular she felt for “that girl at Halloween who dressed as a Boston Marathon victim. I felt so terrible for her.” She meant Alicia Ann Lynch, 22, who posted a photo of herself in her Halloween costume on Twitter. Lynch wore a running outfit and had smeared her face, arms and legs with fake blood. After an actual victim of the Boston Marathon bombing tweeted at her, “You should be ashamed, my mother lost both her legs and I almost died,” people unearthed Lynch’s personal information and sent her and her friends threatening messages. Lynch was reportedly let go from her job as well...

“Only an insane person would think that white people don’t get AIDS,” she told me. It was about the first thing she said to me when we sat down.

Sacco had been three hours or so into her flight when retweets of her joke began to overwhelm my Twitter feed. I could understand why some people found it offensive. Read literally, she said that white people don’t get AIDS, but it seems doubtful many interpreted it that way. More likely it was her apparently gleeful flaunting of her privilege that angered people. But after thinking about her tweet for a few seconds more, I began to suspect that it wasn’t racist but a reflexive critique of white privilege — on our tendency to naïvely imagine ourselves immune from life’s horrors. Sacco, like Stone, had been yanked violently out of the context of her small social circle. Right?

“To me it was so insane of a comment for anyone to make,” she said. “I thought there was no way that anyone could possibly think it was literal.” (She would later write me an email to elaborate on this point. “Unfortunately, I am not a character on ‘South Park’ or a comedian, so I had no business commenting on the epidemic in such a politically incorrect manner on a public platform,” she wrote. “To put it simply, I wasn’t trying to raise awareness of AIDS or piss off the world or ruin my life. Living in America puts us in a bit of a bubble when it comes to what is going on in the third world. I was making fun of that bubble”)...

“I cried out my body weight in the first 24 hours,” she told me. “It was incredibly traumatic. You don’t sleep. You wake up in the middle of the night forgetting where you are.” She released an apology statement and cut short her vacation. Workers were threatening to strike at the hotels she had booked if she showed up. She was told no one could guarantee her safety...

After she left, Sacco later told me, she got only as far as the lobby of her office building before she broke down crying...

The movement against public shaming had gained momentum in 1787, when Benjamin Rush, a physician in Philadelphia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote a paper calling for its demise — the stocks, the pillory, the whipping post, the lot. “Ignominy is universally acknowledged to be a worse punishment than death,” he wrote. “It would seem strange that ignominy should ever have been adopted as a milder punishment than death, did we not know that the human mind seldom arrives at truth upon any subject till it has first reached the extremity of error.”

The pillory and whippings were abolished at the federal level in 1839, although Delaware kept the pillory until 1905 and whippings until 1972...

I found no evidence that punitive shaming fell out of fashion as a result of newfound anonymity. But I did find plenty of people from centuries past bemoaning the outsize cruelty of the practice, warning that well-meaning people, in a crowd, often take punishment too far...

Biddle said he was surprised to see how quickly her life was upended, however. “I never wake up and hope I [get someone fired] that day — and certainly never hope to ruin anyone’s life.” Still, he ended his email by saying that he had a feeling she’d be “fine eventually, if not already.”

He added: “Everyone’s attention span is so short. They’ll be mad about something new today”...

“I had a great career, and I loved my job, and it was taken away from me, and there was a lot of glory in that. Everybody else was very happy about that.”

Sacco pushed her food around on her plate, and let me in on one of the hidden costs of her experience. “I’m single; so it’s not like I can date, because we Google everyone we might date,” she said. “That’s been taken away from me too”...

Perhaps she had now come to understand that her shaming wasn’t really about her at all. Social media is so perfectly designed to manipulate our desire for approval, and that is what led to her undoing. Her tormentors were instantly congratulated as they took Sacco down, bit by bit, and so they continued to do so. Their motivation was much the same as Sacco’s own — a bid for the attention of strangers — as she milled about Heathrow, hoping to amuse people she couldn’t see."


Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her -

"Each time, each slap, was the same: If we could only put one more wrongheaded head on a pike, humiliate one more bigoted sorority girl or ignorant Floridian, we could heal this world. Each, next outrage post was the one that would make a difference...

As it turned out, Justine Sacco is not a racist monster. She is a kind and canny woman who threw back cocktails, ate delicately, and spoke expertly about software. She was friendly, very funny, instantly relatable, and very plainly not a cruel sicko. We talked about college, jobs, home, family, and work—she'd recently landed on her feet as the communications boss for a small New York startup, and seemed to be happily rebuilding her career...

Not knowing anything about her, I had taken its cluelessness at face value, and hundreds of thousands of people had done the same—instantly hating her because it's easy and thrilling to hate a stranger online...

Twitter is a fast machine that almost begs for misunderstanding and misconstrual—deliberate misreading is its lubricant. The same flatness of affect that can make it such a weird and funny place also makes it a tricky and dangerous one. Jokes are complicated, context is hard. Rage is easy...

When you fuck up on the internet, do nothing. Say nothing. Remain motionless as best you can, no matter how much you want to explain, or argue, or contextualize. Shut up! Just shut up. It's what someone would have said to Sean Parker if he weren't so alienated in a big tumor of tech money."

"al-shabab is being used as "a tool of the west to destroy, colonise and exploit africa""

A: "Violent Extremists" murder about 150 people in Kenya. Now, if only we know the ideology that drives them, we may have a chance...

Mourning Turns to Anger in Kenya After College Massacre | TIME

B: The way forward is for Kenya to go in full force into somalia and finish off the terrorists. Kenyans are capable of it too. The West will try to prevent this as this terror group is also a tool of the west to destroy, colonise and exploit africa.

A: can you cite me your sources that al-shabab is being used as "a tool of the west to destroy, colonise and exploit africa.". I am intrigued.

B: who created Taliban? Who created al Quaida? Who created IS?

As someone who has worked in those parts of the woods I know what western "diplomats" do along with "missionaries" to sow unrest and discontent. Europe is one of the major financiers of shabab and other terrorist organisations in Somalia by readily paying millions as ransom. instead of that the west ought to have gone in and stamped out their own frankinsteins. Now they are too big and the way forward is fraught with danger and the break point will be when a dirty bomb explodes in the west

Me: When they go in they are accused of being imperialists and being there only for oil

B: Even after the attack a major general of US airforce was talking bullshit to calm the Kenyans so that their assets are not destroyed or neutralised.

Ho? izzat so? Europe LOVEs to intervene in Africa. Pray!! Whats International Criminal Court? any idea?

A: I asked about al-Shabab. Do you have any evidence to support your claim?

B: do you know why the genocide in Sierra Leone took place? Do you know what bullshit is "Blood diamonds"?

yes i worked in that area and have seen US special Forces train them

A: now THAT is interesting. Has anyone else corroborated this?

B: do u know the quantom of monet given by Europe to them?

you will LOVE this

Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror - NYTimes.com

you think there is any difference between the various terror groups other than name? Who trained the taliban? Houris or US forces? Who trained al Quaida? tell me

Never for a moment forget al-shabab is an affiliate of Al-Quaida
who is aiding the IS thats killing Europeans and americans most brutally?

A: I am interested in Al Shabab. So apart from your eyewitness account, there has been no independent corroborating report?

B: Don't get upset when a mirror is shown to you :P
ask the British High Commission Staff. They travelled with me on that mission

A: Can you give me the contact details?
Of the British High Commission staff?

B: well I have to look up my reports. I will
But A is it OK to compartmentalise things when islamic terror is a SINGLE octopus? Why are you not interested in Taliban, Al Quaida and IS?

A: Great, thanks. I hope you understand, its like when Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians that 50 people saw the risen Jesus. We do not, in that case, have 51 eyewitnesses (St Paul + 50), but still only one who claims 50 others saw it.

B: yet people take it as "gospel truth" lol

A: I am interested in Taliban Al-Qaeda etc. And it is no secret, even Hillary Clinton came out recently condemning American strategy of fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan by training the forerunners of the Taliban and the Al Qaeda. If they are doing it in Somalia, it shows they haven;t learnt their lesson!

B: I found a link!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just a sentence but enough to show you LOL


"The US and NATO also have a role to play in the emergence of the pirates phenomenon that has turned the Gulf of Aden into “pirate alley.”"

sif you "know" it is OK and the sin is forgiven?

A: But the pirates and al-Shabab are different groups. See this link...
Al Shabab Fights the Pirates - NYTimes.com

B: thats two groups temporarily fighting for turf :)

A: Yes, but your evidence of US creating al-Shabab is the pirates. But if they are different groups, then the evidence is incorrect.

B: they are just part of SAME group.
same philosophy
did you read the drivel on The Time about a US AFGeneral trying to pacify Kenyans?

A: Where is your evidence for this "sameness"? Same philosophy doesn't cut it. The Tamil Tigers have the "same philosophy" of suicide bombing as Al Qeada but it does not make them the :same group".

But the "pacifying of the Kenyans" really proves nothing. It does not directly link to your claim. There could be many reasons why they would want to "pacify the Kenyans"...

B: no. Read the links I provided and the times report also says Al-Shabab is part of al-quaida

A: So we are back to square one, as far as corroborating evidence goes...

B: Like saving their proteges

A: But your claim that the US was DIRECTLY involved in the formation of al-Shabab not via Al-Shabab being the "proteges" of Al-Qaeda. Remember you said you saw US forces traning them.

B: in the same page is the article "Former Ambassador: Look Beyond Garissa Attack To See Progress in Kenya"

A: Are you now modifying your claim?

B: he is advocating bullshit

A: "advocating bullshit" is not evidence that the US created al-Shabab.

B: You think we in india have no experience with the same bullshit by US to save its protege pakistan - the terror central? LOL

A: So we are back to square one, no corroborating evidence.

B: so without corrobarating evidence west will do NOTHING?

A: It's not a matter of who will do what, I am merely interested in your claim that the US created al-shabab. You have taken me to Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Kenya and Pakistan with all your links but still no direct evidence.

B: hallo?

A: At best all you have shown is that is is something that the US may POSSIBLY have done, given what they have done elsewhere, but "possibility" does not prove that it was "probable".

B: so what direct evidence or corroboration did you have to Iraqu WMD? yet west attacked based on lies and destroyed a prosperous Nation. Same thing with Libya. What was this Arab Spring but a CIA operation to destabilise North frica that was peaceful?
waspossiblity of WMD with NO EVIDENCEand FULL KNOWLEGDE it is not there enough to attacka country?

A: So your defence of having no evidence to back up your claim is to bring up previous cases of people making claims with no evidence?? I find the logic very hard to follow..

B: it is called "prrof based on previous action' an acceptable prima facie evidence even under British law :)

we can show a HUNDRED instances of western involvement based on lies

I know what happened to me when I started zeroing in on the perpetrators of the first action in western planned drama of genocide in Rwanda. LOL

A: That is not the issue that we are discussing.You make a SPECIFIC claim that the US created al-Shabab and indeed added another claim that you actually witnessed this traning in Somalia. Yet all I have seen so far is some rather far fetched and tenuous arguments...

So if "A" lies about "B", it follows that "A" also lies about C, D,...ad infinitum???

B: I stand by that
ask any british lawyer what "previous conduct"means in law. i am a lawyer

A: It does not matter what you "stand by" - what matters is the evidence you can bring up to support your claim. I guess we can conclude that, aht the moment, you do not have any.

B: not just one off instance but a series spanning decades if not centuries

so for west they need "evidence" when they want to deny and they need just lies when they want to act?Thats not logic

Do you know the numbers killed by western planned actions with only aim of furthering their exploitation of people and nature?

A: I am asking for independent reports of what you have claim. Whether the US denies it or not, it another issue. Note that the US was not able to hide behind the Iraqi WMD lies for long. If they are involved in the formation of al-Shabab, the evidence will come out.

B: Al-Shabab is just ONE of many ADMITTED transgressions

A: who "admitted" to thwe Al Shabab transgressions...

B: well i have to search my reports. There is one in which i expressed aprehension that this sort of training will backfire. i was shooed by an american above me LOL
my dear A!! di you read my sentence? please revisit again?

A: Great, I look forward to hearing from you on this.
revisit what?

B: Al-Shabab is just ONE of many ADMITTED transgressions
taliban, alquaida, IS and many many rebellions in frica and South america was spawned in the west. And it is admitted.

A: what do you mean by " admitted transgressions". Who "admitted"to it?
Again, no direct evidence for al-Shabab??

B: We in India had the same idiots try to create a party to destabilise India without knowing indian ethos or culture. they failed

A: Now, India. Back to Al-Shabab please.

B: so according to you taliban, alquaida, IS and many many rebellions are passe?

A: Paul Tobin Oh sorry. you promised to come back later on this. Do let me lknow as I am getting tired to this going around in circles.

B: read that article by the american and tell me whether it is part carrots and part threat

Later yes
you forget i am retired now. i have to go through 20 years' papers to find that one report

did you read the bullshit by that american THREATENING KENYANS against action against al-shabab? why should USA threaten a wronged country?

Oh by the way i forgot that the US was collaborating with the terrorist jihadi bunch by sending an american CIA spy to spy for them so that they can attack india on 26/11. For them 20 westerners killedwas mere collateral damage.

the west did try again. but this time west had no control over Government and they were shown the middle finger and they stopped
so don't you think it is illogical that when ALL the terror groups in existence since 60s are of western creation, al-shabab ALONE is different. why is it the oddman out?

A you did not say why al-shabab is different and lovable than the other riff-raff terror groups created by the west to enhance the neo-colonialist agenda of the west and to destabilise the non-western world. But the idiots will realise their folly when the first (of many) dirty bombs start exploding in the west. It is a folly to think west is insulated and they can do anything everywhere else. already Britain is on the way to becoming Britainistan. Many European countries are being islamised and some areas in Northern Europe are already no-go area for westerners. Thats birds coming home to roost. Even now there is time. India will survive despite western sabotage. so will china and russia.

A: when did I say Al-Shabab is "lovable"???

You wrote: " ALL the terror groups " so you are saying that Hezbollah, Tamil Tigers, Jemaah Islamiyah in Southeast Asia, Abu Sayaf in the Philippines, Hamas are all "western creations"????

C: there are no "birds coming home to roost". Terrorism is terrorism, whether religiously motivated or otherwise. There are no excuses for terrorism

it's a conspiracy, man. the juice did it.

B: As for Tamil Tigerscheck norwegian attempts at supporting them :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Links - 14th April 2015

Is Pinyin Input Killing Chinese Writing? - "Chinese adults suddenly found themselves unable to write out the correct characters as CCTV rolled out its summer special program “Chinese Characters Dictation Competition” 中国汉字听写大会. The program is modeled after the American show “National Spelling Bee”, where middle school students take to the stage to write down Chinese characters via dictation. Intended to promote Chinese language skills, the show appalled the contestants as they realized they had lost the ability to get their answers right. Xinhua News points out that only 30% of the “adult experience group” set among the audience got the characters for 癞蛤蟆 (làiháma, toad) correct, only 10% got the characters for 熨帖 (yùn tiē, appropriate, well handled, ironed flat), and over 40% failed to write down the correct characters for the commonly used word 间歇 (jiànxiē, intermittent, periodic, episodic). After watching the show, netizens challenged each other to dictate words that appeared on the show. Much to their dismay, they realized they failed to match up to these 14 year-old contestants"

Toxoplasmosis Parasite May Trigger Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorders - "The parasite infects the brain by forming a cyst within its cells and produces an enzyme called tyrosine hydroxylase, which is needed to make dopamine. Dopamine’s role in mood, sociability, attention, motivation and sleep patterns are well documented and schizophrenia has long been associated with dopamine, which is the target of all schizophrenia drugs on the market... "the ability of the parasite to make dopamine implies a potential link with other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Tourette’s syndrome and attention deficit disorders""
Crazy Cat Ladies are literally crazy

▶ Man Gobbles at Turkeys Turkeys Gobble Back - YouTube

▶ Turkey Jihad - The Gobbling Army - YouTube

Composer Pierre Boulez victim of Swiss police raid - "In the radical atmosphere of the late 1960s, Boulez, who had taught at the Basle Conservatory, made a comment to the effect that opera houses should be blown up. This was sufficient for the Swiss security services to open a file on him. Then some six years ago, a music critic, who was responsible for a particularly derisive review of one of his performances, claimed Boulez (or someone) had rung, threatening to blow him up. The composer had already left the country when the critic filed his complaint with the police and no further inquiries were ever made. So Boulez’ name remained on a list of “terrorist suspects” maintained by the Swiss authorities. That a security file was ever opened on Boulez, and was retained for so long, indicates the massive level of state surveillance of ordinary citizens in Switzerland, and in many other countries. A man with no criminal record whatsoever, who is an internationally respected artist, can suddenly find himself facing a police raid in the early hours of the morning. This gives an indication of the vast and indiscriminate scope of the alleged “war on terrorism.” How many others, less well-known, will face similar raids? And this took place in “neutral,” “peaceful” Switzeland."

How Hungarian was Liszt? - "Early in 1840, when he addressed the public at his first concert in Pest upon his return to his native Hungary after an absence of almost two decades, he began with the famous words Je suis Hongrois (or, more likely, Hongrais, as I will explain below). Yes, he said it in French. For Liszt had not simply forgotten his Hungarian; he had never learned it... the phrase “his native Hungary” must be read with some caution. A present-day traveler in Hungary would not find Liszt’s birthplace there, for it’s located in the town of Raiding, in the Austrian province (land) of Burgenland... The other salient feature is Liszt’s self-reference as Magyar. The usual German word to designate a Hungarian, especially when the intended meaning is that of a native or a citizen of Hungary, is Ungar, while Magyar is used (as in English) primarily to denote Hungarian ethnicity... nationality was defined precisely by primary language (and not, as in the Ottoman Empire, by religion – one of the reasons why Austro-Hungarian Jews did not have nationality status). A Magyar who was “ignorant of the Hungarian language” was, then, a contradiction in terms.. A few years ago I published an essay titled Turkey’s “Turkish” Problem, in which I pointed out that modern Turkey’s self-definition – a legacy from Atatürk – as a nation-state in the Western sense (that is, a state in which nationality and citizenship are equivalent) is geographically out of place, since Turkey lies to the east of the Seipel line, in a part of the world where the prime determiner of nationality (and nationalism) is ethnicity. Consequently Turkey’s supposed Kurdish problem, rooted in the unwillingness to recognize the Kurds as a national minority, is in reality a Turkish problem... The minority nationalities’ rejection of the “Hungarian idea” led to the eventual dismemberment of the kingdom; all the areas where non-Magyars were in a majority voted, following the Treaty of Trianon, to join neighboring countries. In particular, Liszt’s true countrymen, the Germans who formed the majority of his native region (which they called Deutsch-Westungarn [German Western Hungary]), decided (except for the city of Sopron/Ödenburg) to join the similarly truncated Austria, which at first was called Deutsch-Österreich (German Austria) before the name was forbidden by the Treaty of Saint-Germain. Chances are that if any descendants of Sebastian List (Georg’s father) – that is, Franz Liszt’s kinfolk – were still living there, they would have voted the same way."

Police: We have multiple witnesses Antonio Martin had a gun; Protesters: We don’t believe you - "The narrative of cops shooting an “unarmed” teen goes on!"

Cops hesitate more, err less when shooting black suspects, study finds - "Officers were less likely to erroneously shoot unarmed black suspects than they were unarmed whites — 25 times less likely, in fact
And officers hesitated significantly longer before shooting armed suspects who were black, compared to armed subjects who were white or Hispanic
“In sum,” writes Dr. Lois James, a research assistant professor with the university’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology who headed the study, “this research found that participants displayed significant bias favoring Black suspects” in their shooting decisions... a typical research method has involved subjects sitting before a computer and viewing flash pictures of black and white “suspects” paired with weapons or “neutral objects” such as wallets or cell phones. The subjects must respond to these images by pressing “shoot” or “don’t shoot” buttons. Racial bias is then inferred by whether participants are “consistently quicker to shoot armed suspects of a particular race” and by whether decision errors tend to be greater for one race than for the other. This process lacks what James calls “external validity” — that is, it doesn’t come close to reflecting real-world circumstances, and thus its conclusions are of limited value. “[T]he complex process involved” in deciding to shoot or not shoot and then actually firing a gun is “dramatically different” from the simple reflex of pressing a button, she writes. Her study involved a more sophisticated, “immersive” approach... A “potential explanation,” she speculates, may be a “behavioral ‘counter-bias’ “ or “administrative effect”; that is, an extra caution by officers against impulsive reactions to black suspects because of “real-world concern over discipline, liability, or public disapproval.”"

Family secret: What the left won't tell you about black crime - "“Even allowing for the existence of discrimination in the criminal justice system, the higher rates of crime among black Americans cannot be denied,” wrote James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein in their classic 1985 study, “Crime and Human Nature.” “Every study of crime using official data shows blacks to be overrepresented among persons arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for street crimes.” This was true decades before the authors put it to paper, and it remains the case decades later. “The overrepresentation of blacks among arrested persons persists throughout the criminal justice system,” wrote Wilson and Herrnstein. “Though prosecutors and judges may well make discriminatory judgments, such decisions do not account for more than a small fraction of the overrepresentation of blacks in prison.”"

'The only good Kraut is a dead Kraut,' Sir Patrick Moore says - Telegraph - "The 89-year-old has warned there “may be another war” and added “the only good Kraut is a dead Kraut” as he disclosed his thoughts on Europe, Sky at Night and his late love. Saying a German general once told him “You won two wars. You won’t win the third.” Sir Patrick admitted he hoped the prediction, which referred to an 'economic war' would be proved wrong. “We must take care,” he told the Radio Times. “There may be another war. The Germans will try again, given another chance. A Kraut is a Kraut is a Kraut. “The Germans tried to conquer us. The French betrayed us. The Belgians did very little and the Italians made us our ice cream. “The English are best. Stand up for England!” His strong feelings could be the result of the death of his late fiancé Lorna, who was killed by a falling bomb when the couple were just 20... he conceded that good, decent Germans may exist – although he had not met any himself"

Extremist minority have hijacked Arabs’ identity, says Queen Rania - "Queen Rania said it was time that the Arab world reclaimed its narrative from “a minority of irreligious extremists is using social media to rewrite our narrative... hijack our identity and rebrand us.” However, she said that the moderate majority of Arabs must not stand by and remain silent. “They say, a story is told as much by silence as by speech. Well, our silence speaks volumes. We are complicit in their success,” said Queen Rania."

Here's what third-century China thought about the Roman Empire

Would Ukip send Paddington Bear back to Darkest Peru? - Telegraph - "here is the story of an illegal immigrant who stows away on a ship and pitches up in London brazenly expecting British hospitality and asylum. His initially unconvincing cover story is that a visiting British explorer from the Geographical Society (actually the Reform Club on Pall Mall in this adaptation) taught his uncle and aunt in Peru to speak English. Many years later, after claiming to have been made homeless in an earthquake (a likely story), they send the orphaned bear to take up the (now dead) explorer's offer of hospitality"

Homophobes support marriage equality when gay people talk to them. - "Gay people having nonconfrontational, nonjudgmental confabulations with homophobes really does appear to be the single most effective way to further the cause of equality. It would seem, then, that gays have something of a duty to engage with people who, deep in their hearts, believe we deserve second-class citizenship."

The Rabbit Died! And the Origins of the Pregnancy Test - "Around 1927 it was discovered that if you injected the urine of a pregnant woman into a rabbit, there would be corpora hemorrhagica in the ovaries of the rabbit. These bulging masses on the ovaries could not be seen without killing the rabbit to inspect the ovaries, so invariably, every rabbit died, even if the woman wasn't pregnant. The phrase, "The rabbit died," came to be a euphemism for a positive pregnancy test after the late 1920 and early 1930s."

"Don't tell your father. This is our little secret."

"My Sister in-law has been trying to get me to take my 2 little girls to her church. As the nice atheist that I am I politely declined. Her Pastor even wanted to meet with me, so he could understand MY views. Again I blew them off. Then one day she asked to take my girls out for ice-cream. Of course I let them go with their Aunt. I had no idea her Pastor was meeting them there. Or that they were going to try to pressure my girls in to their religion. The Pastor and my sister in-law told my girls "They needed to accept Jesus as their master, and maybe if they prayed hard enough god would change their dad's mind and he wouldn't burn in hall." Who woutd tell A 6 & 8 year old that shit?? She then told my girls that the meeting was supposed to be their secret, But my 6 yr old don't do secrets. Told soon as they walked in. I never seen my in-law move so fast to get out of my house! When my wife finally got to confront her, her defense was that she just wanted the girls to know about god. Fair enough. It wasn't her place but if it means that much to her. I'm attaching some pics of me teaching her god to MY GIRLS. To anyone that don‘t like how l raise my kids...don‘t look, and if you want to indoctrinate children into your cult, It might be a good idea to stick to your own!"
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes