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Friday, May 15, 2015

Links - 15th May 2015

Atheist Ireland publicly dissociates itself from the harmful and hateful rhetoric of PZ Myers - "He said Richard Dawkins ‘seems to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children’ and ‘has been eaten by brain parasites’, Michael Nugent is ‘the Irish wanker’ and a ‘demented fuckwit’, Ann Marie Waters is a ‘nutter’, Russell Blackford is a ‘lying fuckhead’, Bill Maher’s date at an event was ‘candy to decorate [her sugar daddy’s] arm in public’, Ben Radford is a ‘revolting narcissistic scumbag’ and his lawyer is ‘J Noble Dogshit’, Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor and Bill Maher are ‘assholes’, and Abbie Smith and her ‘coterie of slimy acolytes’ are ‘virtual non-entities’. He called Irish blogger ZenBuffy a ‘narcissistic wanker,’ after she said she has experienced mental illness. He described Robin Williams’ suicide as ‘the death of a wealthy white man dragging us away from news about brown people’, said that a white lady who made racist comments ‘looks like the kind of person who would have laughed at nanu-nanu’, then added: ‘I’m mainly feeling that I should have been more rude, because asking me to have been nicer about the dead famous guy is completely missing the point’. He said of other dead people that Charles Darwin was a ‘sexist asshat’, Richard Feynman was a ‘reprehensible asshole’, and Christopher Hitchens was a ‘bloodthirsty barbarian’ and a ‘club-carrying primitive’."
Comment: "The reality is a lot of American atheists simply went mad after spending years in the trenches with creationists and culture warriors etc. They became dogmatic culture warriors themselves. I remember it getting bad around 2008-2010 in the science blogosphere. It’s showing a lot more now as the US conservatives have all but ceded the public sphere... without a clear enemy in sight, they’ve begun to attack their own (left-wing) non-combatants. “Heresy” is everywhere, because if it isn’t, there’s no-one left to fight. (Personally, I see this as an almost exclusively US-driven issue)"
"Your work here, Atheist Ireland, is critically important. We need to stand up against all forms of libel, slander, bigotry–even if it’s against our opponents. That’s what struck me most powerfully in this article, when you expressed contempt for PZ vilifying D’souza and the rest is proof positive that you’re not biased against the man you’re condemning, rather, it’s legit."
"Any deviation from the hivemind dogma is simply shouted down by Stalinist bullies in the forums who react with shrieking indignation to anybody who so much as suggests there might be an plausible alternative viewpoint. Many of PZ’s fanboys & fangirls on these forums appear to be of limited intelligence and unable to even spot when people are obviously joking. There seems to be instead a positive feedback loop where people incite each other to increasingly ludicrous levels of fury and irrationality in their responses."

All-women's college cancels 'Vagina Monologues' because it's not feminist enough - "Mount Holyoke College, an all-women’s college in Massachusetts, is retiring its annual production of the Vagina Monologues this year because the play is not inclusive of transgender students... “I love how people who have never been able to discuss or embrace their vaj-wahs aren't going to find an avenue here, either, since female-validating talk about vaginas is now forbidden. That's so misogynistic under the guise of ‘progress’”... The college recently expanded its definition of a woman when it announced it will be accepting men who identify as women in the upcoming 2015 admissions cycle"

S’pore Zoo polar bear a victim of unfair, stereotypical body shaming | New Nation - "Inuka, speaking through a bear translator, said he is sad that Singaporeans are so superficial: “Why must people take photos of me and put it on Facebook and say things like ‘Ewww’ and ‘He’s so ugly’?”"

How Women Change Men - "Having a sister, however, has the opposite effect, making men more supportive of traditional gender roles, more conservative politically, and less likely to perform housework"

Sexist Games=Sexist Gamers? A Longitudinal Study on the Relationship Between Video Game Use and Sexist Attitudes. - PubMed - NCBI - "From the oversexualized characters in fighting games, such as Dead or Alive or Ninja Gaiden, to the overuse of the damsel in distress trope in popular titles, such as the Super Mario series, the under- and misrepresentation of females in video games has been well documented in several content analyses. Cultivation theory suggests that long-term exposure to media content can affect perceptions of social realities in a way that they become more similar to the representations in the media and, in turn, impact one's beliefs and attitudes. Previous studies on video games and cultivation have often been cross-sectional or experimental, and the limited longitudinal work in this area has only considered time intervals of up to 1 month. Additionally, previous work in this area has focused on the effects of violent content and relied on self-selected or convenience samples composed mostly of adolescents or college students. Enlisting a 3 year longitudinal design, the present study assessed the relationship between video game use and sexist attitudes, using data from a representative sample of German players aged 14 and older (N=824). Controlling for age and education, it was found that sexist attitudes-measured with a brief scale assessing beliefs about gender roles in society-were not related to the amount of daily video game use or preference for specific genres for both female and male players. Implications for research on sexism in video games and cultivation effects of video games in general are discussed."
Another blow to the monkey see monkey do theory of human behavior

S’poreans applaud Navy military girl for being a real social media influencer while having a day job | New Nation

Private condominium in S’pore looks like it might collapse, balcony warps, hangs precariously | New Nation

How Much Tea Is 'Too Much'? This Man Found Out - "In May 2014, a 56-year-old man arrived in the emergency department at the veterans' hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. He reported intense but vague symptoms: weakness, fatigue, and body aches. The emergency-room team drew some of his blood and found it bursting with a waste chemical called creatinine—more than four times the normal level. That meant he was experiencing severe kidney failure. Doctors started urgent dialysis, cycling the blood out of the man's body, through a machine that cleaned it in lieu of functional kidneys... "on further questioning, the patient admitted to drinking 16 eight-ounce glasses of iced tea daily.""

Japanese netizens rewrite fairy tales in modern corporate situations so real they make us weep

'Ramen Will Make Your Boyfriend Go Bald', Claims Article

Woman Gets Naked In Restaurant, Man Films Her, Pair Arrested

Elementary Students Taken Ill After Googling 'ISIS' In Class

Anti-Groping Police Officer Arrested For Touching Girl's Ass

Candiru – A “Don't Pee in the Water” Horror Story Debunked - "Two hundred years after the first terrifying report of the candiru appeared, we still have no solid proof that it deserves its reputation. There is one case reported by urologist Anoar Samad of Manaus Adventist Hospital in Brazil; however, the case is not documented well enough to constitute proof."

The US And China Are Locked In A Popularity Contest - "The US and China are no stranger to competition. The two countries are the first and second largest economies in the world and the first and third largest militaries. Globally, however, people — excluding the Middle East — report a more positive view of the US, the Pew Research Center reported in late 2014... Despite neck-in-neck numbers in some areas, in 2013, a median of 63% expressed a favorable opinion of the US, compared with 50% for China."

China's Island Factory - "At the beginning of this year, the Chinese presence in the Spratly Islands consisted of a handful of outposts, a collection of concrete blockhouses perched atop coral atolls. Now it is building substantial new islands on five different reefs... On one of these new islands, perhaps Johnson South Reef, China seems to be preparing to build an air base with a concrete runway long enough for fighter jets to take off and land"

How does sex affect teens' grades? New research shows mixed results - "Teenagers involved in committed, sexually-active relationships had grade-point averages that were comparable to those of teens who abstained and had similar expectations for school and college. When comparing these two groups, researchers also found that they were similar in problems at school and suspensions as well as absences."

The Straight Dope: What did the Catholic church use for altar wine during Prohibition? - "alcoholic beverages for medicinal and sacramental use were exempt under the Volstead Act, which allowed many people to avoid the spirit of the law. There were, of course, legitimate, medicinal purposes for whiskey. But doctors reportedly earned an estimated $40 million in 1928 by writing prescriptions for whiskey during Prohibition"

TRS kena - "It also very handily listed the “seditous’’ comments that it has been accused of broadcasting. For example, on the anti-PRC women rant:
“I would like to voice out my unhappiness with the over-populated China Chinese people in Singapore now!”
– “these Chinese women just apply permit/visitor pass using all kind of job excuse”
– “Do you know by simply granting another work permit to these Chinese women means you are destroying many Singapore homes out there!”
– “These Chinese women sleep around with our men … and doesn’t care whether the men are married or with kids.”
– “they only hopefully the men can divorce & married them and after that apply for S’porean citizenship and dump the guy! ”
– “We are flooded with enough Chinese all around us now! and enough is enough!”
I find it troubling. Because I think there are plenty of people who share some of these sentiments and would rant in similar fashion. Unless the case is that TRS has a deliberate agenda given the long list of other charges? Would it not be more suitable to use the Broadcasting Act or some other law to prevent such diatribes – or even to issue a take-down order under the Harassment Act? Until the case of the Filipino nurse with his anti-Singapore rant, the Act has been used against those who spout statements against a particular race or religion. And now…? Hopefully, some light will be shed on the use of the Sedition Act."

Why is prostitution so open in China?

Gabriel Seah's answer to Why is prostitution so open in China? - Quora

Prostitution is institutionalised in Chinese culture and history, and socio-economic conditions in modern China make it an open secret.

There is even a saying to describe (male) vices: "吃喝嫖赌" (Eating, Drinking, Visiting Prostitutes, Gambling)

Contrast this with the European version:

Who does not love wine, women, and song
Remains a fool his whole life long.

The women here are, at the very least, not explicitly labelled as prostitutes.

History of Prostitution in China

There're various accounts of early prostitution in China but all seem to agree  that it started as a state-sponsored enterprise, with government-run  prostitution peaking during the Tang and Song dynasties. It seems prostitution was a part of life:

During the golden eras of Chinese literary history (Tang and Song dynasties), almost every great poet or politician mentioned his visits to prostitutes without any shame. It is not an exaggeration to claim that prostitutes played a role in stimulating some of the best poems in Chinese history.
(Source 2)

Of the 49,000 poems in 全唐诗 (The Complete Poetry of the Tang), "over 4,000 are related to prostitutes and 136 were written by prostitutes themselves" (The World of Chinese).

Marco Polo claimed that Peking had more than 20,000 prostitutes, and that there  were so many in Hangzhou he could not give an estimate.

State prostitution continued until the Qing dynasty, when the Shunzhi and  Kangxi Emperors wound down the local and Imperial governments'  involvement in prostitution. However private prostitution continued. Prostitution was never legally sanctioned until the Republic of China was established in 1911.

In 1920 Shanghai, the

Shanghai Municipal Council calculated that more than 70,000 prostitutes were in the foreign concessions... If these figures are approximately correct, then in the French Concession in 1920, where there were 39,210 female adults on the population registers, one in every three women was a whore (Sun Guoqun 1988:-4). Altogether, it was estimated at the time that Shanghai's ratio of one prostitute to every 157 inhabitants was the highest among major world cities; Tokyo's ratio being 1:277; Chicago’s, 1:457; Paris’s, 1:481; Berlin’s, 1:582; and London’s, 1:906 (Yang Jjiezeng and He Wannan 1988:1).
(Source 3)

In conclusion, there is a long history in China of official attitudes to prostitution ranging from tolerance to active state involvement.

On the other hand, the People's Republic of China is intensely against prostitution, and cracked down on it soon after its establishment in 1949. As OP notes, it has not been successful.

Factors contributing to modern prostitution (and its acceptance)

On top of Chinese history, modern China also has many features which lead to prostitution being popular. Not all of these factors are explicitly linked to prostitution being open or acceptable, but I would argue that ubiquity tends to normalise an activity.

Sexual Attitudes of Chinese Women

Chinese women (like East Asian women in general [Source 6]) are sexually conservative, so Chinese men "resort to prostitution for their sexual demand"; where women are more free with their sexual favours, men are less likely to pay for them. For example, a 1992 survey found that 33% of men in the US who turned 20 in the 1950s had paid for sex, but thanks to the sexual revolution and women's lib, in the 1990s the rate dropped to as low as 5% (The University of Chicago Magazine: October 2002).

Sexual Repression

China is also a sexually repressed society. For instance, adultery got one a jail sentence until 1980 (Inside China’s Mistress-Industrial Complex).

There is also a concept of "性罪错" (Sexual Misconduct):

Castration, on the other hand, was traditionally reserved specifically for sex crimes. The Great Commentary to the Exalted Documents (Shang-shu ta-chuan 尚书大传, attributed to Fu Sheng 伏胜, fl. third—second centuries B.C.), for example, states that castration (kung 宮) is the punishment for “those men and women who have intercourse  without morality” 男女不以義交者. One of the oldest explanations of kung comes in the Comprehensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall (Po-hu t’ung  白虎堂), which explain that kung is the punishment for yin 淫, i.e., “licentiousness” or “promiscuity.”

女子淫,执置宫中, 不得出也。 丈夫淫, 割去其势也
When a woman is licentious, she is to be seized and held inside a room,  and not allowed to leave. When a man is licentious, his genitals are to  be cut off
(Source 5)

(I find this bit puzzling given how open China historically was about prostitution - perhaps someone else can shed light on it)

At one point premarital sex was officially grounds for expulsion at all Chinese universities (Chinese universities may alter tough sex rules) and at one sex between men and women was labelled prostitution (Guangdong college says all student sex is 'illegal prostitution', threatens expulsion).

An instructive comparison can be made with another, nearby East Asian country - Japan. Japan is a highly repressed society, and it is theorised that the popularity, ubiquity and outlandishness (or perversion, if you prefer) of Japanese pornography (JAV) stems from this repression.

Materialism and Income Inequality

The materialism and income inequality of modern China also contribute to prostitution's popularity.

The phenomenon of materialism is much discussed, and was neatly epitomised in a (female) contestant on China's most popular dating show proclaiming that  "I'd rather cry in a BMW car than laugh on the backseat of a bicycle" (Page on time.com).

Meanwhile inequality meanss that, especially for rural women in the cities, prostitution is a rational choice:

The postsocialist traffic in women has given unprecedented commercial value to the nubile bodies of rural women who come to the city seeking work. As many of them quickly learn, it is hardly worth it to take a respectable but low-paying job as a maid when the likelihood of rape by an employer is so high. One young bar hostess put it this way: “Dalian men try to cheat both our bodies and emotions. Without spending a cent, they get what they want from us.” The only way to avoid being “tricked, used, and abandoned,” said another, is to protect yourself by making sure you get enough money for the sex you sell to men (Zheng 2009:220)... bar hostesses in the post-Mao era present themselves primarily as filial daughters serving their parents. They see doing sex work as a rational choice: it earns the highest return on the capital they have to invest (Zheng 2009:147-171).
(Source 4)

A close parallel to the openness of prostitution in China is its  mistress culture, which is similarly widespread and open  (Inside China’s Mistress-Industrial Complex),  and whose concurrent popularity (and openess) spring from similar reasons.

One Child Policy

The one child policy has led to a shortage of women in China and

By 2030, projections suggest that more than 25% of Chinese men in their late 30s will never have married
(Why Chinese men are the most single in the world: the perils of gender imbalance in China)

Naturally, if there are many men who cannot find wives, the demand for prostitution will go up.

Even a Chinese official who advises the state on population issues has noted that an uptick in prostitution is an inevitable consequence of the One Child Policy (40m bachelors and no women ... the birth of a new problem for China).


Corruption is widespread in China, and it is easy to bribe officials to turn a blind eye (Prostitution is Key to Reducing Corruption in China). Some are even actively paid by the sex industry.

Indeed, sex is part of the currency of corruption in China, with officials being "paid" with sex (Double standards on prostitution enrages blogosphere | Asia | DW.DE | 20.02.2014).

With such vested interests by many levels of government (and the promise of a quick buck by closing two eyes), it's no wonder prostitution persists.

(Long Format) Sources:

1) Sex in China: Studies in Sexology in Chinese Culture / Fang Fu Ruan
2)  China's Policies toward Illegal Drugs and Prostitution in the New Era:  Struggle within the Global Context / Bin Liang, Liqun Cao in Modern  Chinese Legal Reform: New Perspectives / ed Xiaobing Li, Qiang Fang
3) Licensing Leisure: The Chinese Nationalists' Attempt to Regulate Shanghai, 1927-49 / Frederic Wakeman, Jr.
4) Gender and Sexuality in Modern Chinese History / Susan L. Mann
5) The Culture of Sex in Ancient China / Paul Rakita Goldin
6) Acculturation and sexual function in Asian women.
The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI): development of a Japanese version.
Medscape Log In
The role of sex guilt in the relationship between culture and women's sexual desire.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Links - 14th May 2015

Bedtime Stories | Parkway Cancer Centre Singapore - "I have asked him to sleep in the next room because I am afraid that my cancer will come back if we have sex. So I tell my poor husband to take care of business himself,” said my patient matter-of-factly in Mandarin... Diet and lifestyle would top the list of questions. Sexual issues follow closely in second spot. There are some real problems with sex in cancer patients... If a patient beats cancer only to live a life full of fear and worry – that the slightest thing may set the disease off – I may have succeeded medically as an oncologist, but failed abysmally as a doctor. Life is precious, but in most cases, not so fragile as to be unable to withstand a romp in the bedroom."

SAD PUPPIES 3: The unraveling of an unreliable field - "The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings? There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land? A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop. Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women. Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues. Or it could be about the evils of capitalism and the despotism of the wealthy... SF/F literature seems almost permanently stuck on the subversive switcheroo. If we’re going to do a Tolkien-type fantasy, this time we’ll make the Orcs the heroes, and Gondor will be the bad guys. Space opera? Our plucky underdogs will be transgender socialists trying to fight the evil galactic corporations. War? The troops are fighting for evil, not good, and only realize it at the end. Planetary colonization? The humans are the invaders and the native aliens are the righteous victims. Yadda yadda yadda. Which is not to say you can’t make a good SF/F book about racism, or sexism, or gender issues, or sex, or whatever other close-to-home topic you want. But for Pete’s sake, why did we think it was a good idea to put these things so much on permanent display, that the stuff which originally made the field attractive in the first place — To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before! — is pushed to the side? Or even absent altogether?"

How the Hugo Awards Became a Battleground - "The story begins, as ever, with a small group of social justice-minded community elites who sought to establish themselves as the arbiters of social mores. This group would decide who deserved a presence in SFF and who deserved to be ostracised... former SFWA Vice President Mary Kowal, who handles political disagreement by telling her opponents to “shut the fuck up” and quit the SFWA. Or former Hugo nominee Nora Jemisin, who says that political tolerance “disturbs” her. Or, indeed, the prolific fantasy author Jim C. Hines, who believes that people who satirize religion and political ideologies (a very particular religion, and a very particular ideology, of course) should be thrown out of mainstream SFF magazines... Today, no one is safe. Right-wingers like Theodore Beale face ostracization over accusations of racism (Beale is himself Native American), while even progressives or independent authors like Bryan Thomas Schmidt are denounced as “cultural appropriators”; in Schmidt’s case, because he prepared an anthology of nonwestern sci-fi stories. Peak absurdity was achieved in 2014 when Jonathan Ross was forced to cancel his appearance at the Hugo Awards after the SJWs of SFF whipped themselves into a panic-fuelled rage over fears that Ross might – might! – make a fat joke. Even the New Statesman, which sometimes reads like an extension of Tumblr, came out and condemned the “self-appointed gatekeepers” of SFF... Character assassinations, doxing, and abuse campaigns from radical activists happen all the time, with little to no condemnation from the self-proclaimed opponents of “online harassment”... Wherever they emerge, social-justice warriors claim to be champions of diversity. But they always reveal themselves to be relentlessly hostile to it: they applaud people of different genders, races, and cultures just so long as those people all think the same way. Theirs is a diversity of the trivial; a diversity of skin-deep, ephemeral affiliations. The diversity that writers like Correia and Torgerson have set out to protect is different. It is a diversity of perspectives, of creative styles, and, yes, of politics. It is the kind of diversity that authoritarians hate, but it is the only kind of diversity that matters."

Jim Norton: Trevor Noah Isn’t the Problem. You Are. - "We save our collective outrage for the really important stuff, like things comedians say. Which brings us, of course, to Trevor Noah, our guest star on this week’s edition of Manufactured Outrage. When Comedy Central named Trevor as Jon Stewart’s successor, our trusty, tireless brigade of social-justice warriors immediately went to work digging through his tweets and stand-up to find something, anything to be upset about. Much to their relief, Trevor didn’t disappoint. Being a working comedian, he’d made plenty of jokes over the years that a susceptible person could pick up, blow the dust off and aim at themselves to achieve martyrdom... I read the tweets he was “under fire” for, and some were funny, some weren’t. The thread that connected them all for me is the embarrassment I feel for anyone claiming to be offended by them. They weren’t vicious or written to be harmful. And everyone reading them knows that. But knowing his tweets weren’t intended to be harmful isn’t important when people who list ‘victim’ as their occupation smell blood in the water. Because their outrage is a lie and their motives are transparent. They are simply using his tweets to get their dopamine drip"

Sorry, but it's your fault if you're offended all the time - "A microaggression, in other words, is what happens when someone says something inoffensive but the listener chooses to be offended by it anyway. Microaggressions are closely related to microinequities, which is when minorities, gays, and women are ‘overlooked’ or ‘singled out’ by a ‘gesture’ or a ‘tone of voice’ that manifests a ‘deeply rooted and unconscious’ bias. The great thing about the ‘unconscious bias’ shtick is that it allows someone to infer offensive meanings in what you say, while preventing you from defending yourself by assuming that you don’t actually know what you mean or how you feel. In the bizarre world of contemporary progressivism, only the Offended Person can tell you how you really feel, even if it isn’t how you feel. Essentially, you feel however the Offended Person feels you feel. Got it?... We are absolutely determined to be victims, and I think there are a few reasons for that:
First, many of us have been programmed to desire pity more than anything...
Second, we have come to believe that our Victimhood grants us wisdom and insight... Third, we are bored...
1) If it wasn’t intended to offend you, then you shouldn’t be offended.
2) You do not get to decide someone else’s intentions. They do.
3) Being offended is a choice you make. Nobody is responsible for that choice but you.
4) Even if the slight was intended and deliberate, functioning adults understand that they must move on and not dwell over every sideways glance or rude comment.
5) You have to stop doing the trendy internet thing where you write something on a piece of paper and take a picture of yourself holding it up while frowning. It’s just annoying at this point.
You’ll never be happy or satisfied if you don’t keep these five points in mind. But then, for the grievance mongers, I suppose happiness isn’t the goal.
If they’re happy then people might stop feeling sorry for them."

Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions’ - NYTimes.com - "Harry Stein, a contributing editor to City Journal, said in an email that while most people feel unjustly treated at times, “most such supposed insults are slight or inadvertent, and even most of those that aren’t might be readily shrugged off.” Mr. Stein took issue with the term “microaggressions,” saying that its use “suggests a more serious problem: the impulse to exaggerate the meaning of such encounters in the interest of perpetually seeing oneself as a victim.”"... One commenter on a BuzzFeed article on the “I, Too, Am Harvard” project wrote: “Make up your mind, do you want to be seen the same as everyone because you’re a human being, or do you want to be seen as a ‘colored’ girl, since not being seen as a ‘colored’ person is obviously offensive?” Another wrote, “I don’t get bent out of shape if a white person asks me are you, like, Hindu or something? I just correct them.”"

Singaporeans invited to re-enact molestation, mugging and caning in Singapore Police social media photo contest

Scientists Photograph Rare Teddy Bear-Like Creature For The First Time In Decades - "A rare Ili pika has popped out of hiding for the first time in over 20 years. Dubbed a “magic rabbit” by its finders, this adorable critter with a teddy bear-like face is native to the Tianshan Mountains of northwestern China. Unfortunately, the rarity of sighting has little to do with its location and more to do with the fact that the species is in danger of extinction. Only 2,000 of them are left in the wild, according to a 1990s estimate by the IUCN Red List."

What China’s rise means for South-east Asia and overseas Chinese - "China seems to have great difficulty in accepting Singapore as a multiracial meritocracy. It seems that this is, to the Chinese, an alien mode of conceptualising an ethnic Chinese majority country. At any rate, Chinese officials, sometimes at very senior levels, constantly refer to Singapore as “a Chinese country” and ask for our “understanding” — by which I suspect they mean “agreement” — of their policies on that basis. Of course, we politely, but clearly and firmly, point out that we are not a Chinese country and that we have our own national interests that we cannot compromise without grievous and probably irreversible internal and international damage"

Home Ministry seizes sexy dolls, rude tees, weed paraphernalia - "The raid aimed to cripple the distribution and sale of obscene material that can damage and negatively influence the rakyat... Seized merchandise included 150 items from one Japanese pop culture shop, which included mouse pads, books, shirts with suggestive logos, and scantily-clad dolls to suit a variety of fetishes."
Malaysia Boleh!

This Is What Happened When Maine Forced Welfare Recipients To Work For Their Benefits - "At the close of 2014 approximately 12,000 individuals were enrolled in the state assistance program. Keep in mind that these individuals are adults who aren’t disabled and who don’t have children at home and who are claiming the food-stamp benefits because of a lack of financial resources. After forcing these individuals to either work part-time for twenty hours each week, enroll in a vocational program, or volunteer for a minimum of twenty-four hours per month, the numbers showed a significant drop from 12,000 enrollees to just over 2,500... while I will say that getting a job can be harder than it sounds, Maine’s program solves that difficulty beautifully. If individuals can’t get and hold a part-time job of twenty hours per week, they can qualify by enrolling in training program. If that doesn’t get them a job, they can still qualify by volunteering."

What Happens When Second Graders Are Treated to a Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal - NYTimes.com

The science behind the perfect chip

Advanced Trolley Problems

Brontosaurus is back! New analysis suggests genus might be resurrected

Osorezan: The Gateway to Hell Lies in Japan

Generalizing About Feminism

"Here’s a little one-act play I’ve written entitled: “You can’t GENERALIZE about feminism!”

Me: “Feminism has done all kinds of wonderful things, such as raising awareness of discrimination against women and opening all kinds of opportunities for women as well.”

Feminist: “All true!”

Me: “And yet, feminism also has a nasty tendency to endorse double-standards, not to mention often engage in behavior that would be considered objectively “sexist” if the word could be used fairly. Then, there are the presumptions of male guilt, the intellectually-dishonest tactics which are used to score rhetorical points, the occasional specious claims of victimhood, the crass gender-partisanship-”

Feminist: “Now hold-on there, bub! You can’t GENERALIZE about feminism! There are so many different kinds of feminism that no criticism can apply to all of them!”

Me: “Yeah, but when I PRAISED feminism a second ago, there was no need for me to single-out a particular subcategory. Why is that suddenly required?”

Feminist: “There are many feminisms! You can’t lump them all together like a monolith!”

Me: “And yet when I PRAISED feminism, I COULD lump them together like a monolith. See? This is what I mean by intellectual dishonesty!”

Feminist: “Look, there’s Liberal Feminism, Eco-Feminism, Radical Feminism-”

Me: “But when I said GOOD things about feminism, none of that mattered. Why do you play these ridiculous semantic games?”

Feminist: “You don’t get it!”

Me: “No, no, no I get it. Feminism is monolithic enough to praise but not monolithic enough to criticize.”

Feminist: “Exactly!”

Me: “And you HONESTLY can’t understand why more women don’t call themselves feminists?”


(via Generalizing About Feminism: Open Thread | Feminist Critics)

On a related note, saying that you are feminist today because of all the wonderful things First and Second Wave Feminism gave women is like saying that you are Republican because they were the party that ended Slavery.

Keywords: too broad to criticise, too broad to critique, not too broad to praise, generalise, generalising

Monday, May 11, 2015

Links - 11th May 2015

Pasta Barilla boycotted after CEO's 'homophobic' remarks
Apparently Ikea's cafeteria uses Barilla pasta. So the homophiles should boycott it anyway

Martyn See - Timeline Photos - "Amos Yee has spent 12 days in prison.
Everything that he has posted remains online.
The original video has generated one million views, excluding reuploads.
Since then, Lee Hsien Loong is still the world's highest paid politician. No Christian has been attacked. No church vandalised, no politician sodomised. no riots, no market crash, no strikes, no street protests.
The only violence provoked was a palm smack into Amos' eye."

Once Again, Brandeis Students Master Selective Outrage - "the university disinvited renowned international human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali from attending commencement and withdrew awarding her an honorary degree because of comments she had made criticizing Islamism. In defending its indefensible position, Brandeis said that Hirsi Ali’s views were “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values” and prioritized the idea that student’s feelings wouldn’t get hurt over the opportunity to honor a champion of women’s rights. In the end, Brandeis opted to create a safe space instead of an intellectual space, and the students who protested Hirsi Ali were comforted rather than challenged. To many, the university failed in its overarching mission. On December 20, like other Americans, I was shocked when I heard about the horrific murders of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. There was a clear consensus across the country that their execution-style murders were barbaric and grotesque... [For exposing a SJW's cheering on of the cops' murder] Threats of violence against me have been made and a group of students demanded in an email that the Brandeis administration hold me “accountable for [my] actions” and kick me out of school just one semester shy of graduation. I was also accused of “stalking” Lynch by reporting her public tweets and thereby defaming her character because of comments made by others... A Brandeis official called Lynch’s comments “hurtful and disrespectful.” She resigned from her position in the African and Afro-American studies department. When I contacted Lynch for a comment about her tweets, she tweeted, “I need to get my gun license. Asap.” That tweet has also been deleted. I have now been accused of being a racist and being in bed with white supremacists since I made Lynch’s public tweets more public. In my meeting with the Brandeis public safety officials to discuss the threats made against me, I was told that I should consider changing my dorm room, and that it is a reasonable expectation that my car would be vandalized. They also recommended that I purchase mace at the local Walmart... That many Brandeis students exhibit selective outrage and are willing to extol the virtues of free speech, but only when that speech confirms their preconceived biases, illustrates their hypocrisy in claiming to care about “civil rights.” Indeed, and sadly so, the Brandeis student body provided a louder defense of Lynch’s right to condone the murder of New York City police officers, and her hatred of America, than my right to report on it. It is the threat of violence, expulsion, and attack for voicing your views that keeps tyrants in power"

Alan Dershowitz: Brandeis Student Shows No Sympathy for Ambushed Cops and Her Critic Is Attacked - "So welcome to the topsy-turvy world of the academic hard left, where bigoted speech by fellow hard leftists is protected, but counter expression is labeled as "harassment," "incitement," and "bullying." Imagine how different the reaction of these same radical students would be if a white supporter of the KKK had written comparably incendiary tweets."

Brandeis students nix Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali. What a pity. - "In 1990, students at Wellesley College objected to First Lady Barbara Bush, who they felt was not sufficiently feminist as she had dropped out of Smith College in 1944 to get married. In 2006, Muslim students at Nova Southeastern University in Florida objected to author Salman Rushdie because they found parts of his novel “The Satanic Verses” offensive — never mind that he had been tormented for almost a decade by an edict from the religious leader of Iran calling for his execution. In 2009, it was Notre Dame University that was unsuccessfully pressured to disinvite President Obama because of his stand on abortion and stem cell research... Fahmy said that Hirsi Ali’s selection represented a “blatant and callous disregard” not just of Muslim students “but any student who has experienced pure hate speech” and represented a “direct violation” of the school’s moral code, as well as “the rights” of Brandeis students. The rights to what? To live your life shouting down anyone with whom you disagree? Spare us from this lesson, please."

Yet another university calls for the marginalization of Ayaan Hirsi Ali - "look at the signatories. It’s stunningly bizarre: women’s groups, ethnic organizations, a group that includes Jews (whom much of the Islamic world would like to see exterminated) and, most embarrassing, the Yale Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics! What were they thinking? This is a prime example of how Muslims have immunized themselves from criticism—by pleading “offended feelings”—and how other groups, including liberal ones, have fallen for this ploy becaue they hold a double standard: offenses committed by Muslims are not as reprehensible as the same offenses committed by others. And Muslims feel “disrepected” by Hirsi Ali? Too damn bad, for “disrespected” here means simply “criticized”... To hear Hirsi Ali, once a devout Muslim, characterized as being “prejudiced” against Islam is risible. According to my online dictionary, “prejudice” means “a preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience.” Well, Hirsi Ali had lots of experience with Islam, and in several countries"

Ayaan to Liberals: Get Your Priorities Straight - "Right now, the country of Sweden has stood up for human rights, and Saudi Arabia is accusing Sweden of Islamophobia. Saudi Arabia is actually beheading people for sorcery, flogging women. And they dare call Sweden Islamophobic. It’s a country that has no churches, no synagogues, that persecutes fellow Muslims on grounds of being Shiites. It’s just amazing. That’s how “Islamophobia” is used... can you imagine how far we’ve come from the points when women weren’t allowed to get out of the house, couldn’t be in public, couldn’t take public office, weren’t allowed to vote, couldn’t own their own bank accounts. Even the money they inherited wasn’t theirs, it was for the male guardians to look after. And now, [it’s], “Who loads the dishes in the dishwasher, who does the unloading?” And I think it’s still very important; I have massive fights with my husband about who does what at home. But that is more on the micro level, and it’s a luxury. And I don’t think that the government can do anything about that. What kind of law are you going to pass that says who does the dishes, who does the diapers, who looks after the children, who’s going to work and whose career is going to go up or down?... [Western feminists] can chitchat as much as they like, but they shouldn’t call themselves feminists. The feminist project was a struggle for the rights of women. And now we have those equal rights by law, and most of us are enjoying it and most of us are able to take advantage of it... Listen, if you’re not allowed into a golf club, that doesn’t sit well with me, but if I were to prioritize, I would say: This girl, she’s just been denied her right to school, she’s just been forced into marriage, she’s just been genitally mutilated. That’s the sort of thing that we need to be, as women, signing up against... [The most] Frustrating—I honestly think, it’s my fellow liberals. I’m a liberal; I believe in women’s rights, gay rights, these different emancipations—black emancipation, women’s emancipation, all of these outcomes. The most frustrating thing is when my fellow liberals say: Let’s just change the subject"

IWF -Women of Valor Remarks [2014]: Ayaan Hirsi Ali - "once upon a time feminists fought for the access, the basic right and access of girls to education... Feminists in this country and in the West fought against that and won the battle. It’s what we do with the victory. What we are now doing with that victory – and I agree with you if you condemn that – I condemn whole heartedly for the trivial bullshit it is – to go after a man who makes a scientific breakthrough and all that we organized women do is to fret about his shirt. We must reclaim and retake feminism from our fellow idiotic women. If you want to make an accusation against the left liberals that will stick it is their power to trivialize what it is that women want and need. As an individual I am in a place, and in a country, and in an environment where I refuse for someone else to speak for me or to victimize me. And that is what we need to reclaim. Lets not throw away feminism. It’s like throwing away the Civil Rights movement and its history. It’s like throwing away the history of the Apartheid movement, or the anti-slavery movement. Feminism is not the monster. Some women are. We can reclaim it. We have to make it serious and you’re on the right path by standing up and giving them opposition. I am a feminist. I am a grateful and vicious feminist. I’ll tell you what we need to fight against – the real war on women."

Clorox's misunderstood tweet sparks racial outrage - "In its tweet, Clorox seemed to be commenting on why bleach wasn't included among the hundreds of other household items that Apple had added to its list of emojis. But on social media, offense was taken."

Man undergoing head transplant could experience something 'a lot worse than death', says neurological expert

Rose McGowan: Gays are ‘more misogynistic’ than straight men

Why 'C' is the Default Hard Drive Letter in So Many Computers

Some Tips

Some Tips
by Joseph Brodsky

The Winter Commencement Address delivered to 2,000 University of Michigan graduates, their families and friends, December 18, 1988.

"Life is a game with many rules but no referee. One learns how to play it more by watching it than by consulting any book, including the Holy Book. Small wonder, then, that so many play dirty, that so few win, that so many lose...

I feel nostalgic for those who sat in your chairs a dozen or so years ago, because some of them at least could cite the Ten Commandments and still others even remembered the names of the Seven Deadly Sins. As to what they've done with that precious knowledge of theirs afterward, as to how they fared in the game, I have no idea. All I can hope for is that in the long run one is better off being guided by rules and taboos laid down by someone totally impalpable than by the penal code alone...

There are just 17 items altogether, and some of them overlap. Of course, you may argue that they belong to a creed with a substantial record of violence. Still, as creeds go, this one appears to be the most tolerant; it's worth your consideration if only because it gave birth to the society in which you have the right to question or negate its value...

I regard you as a bunch of young, reasonably egotistical souls on the eve of a very long journey. I shudder to contemplate its length, and I ask myself in what way I could possibly be of use to you. Do I know something about life that could be of help or consequence to you, and if I do, is there a way to pass this information on to you?

The answer to the first question is, I suppose, yes—not so much because a person of my age is entitled to out-fox any of you at existential chess as because he is, in all probability, tired of quite a lot of the stuff you are still aspiring to. (This fatigue alone is something the young should be advised on as an attendant feature of both their eventual success and their failure; this sort of knowledge may enhance their savoring of the former as well as a better weathering of the latter.) As for the second question, I truly wonder. The example of the aforementioned commandments may discourage any commencement speaker, for the Ten Commandments themselves were a commencement address—literally so, I must say...

Rebellion against one's parents, for all its I-won't-take-a-single-penny-from-you, is essentially an extremely bourgeois sort of thing, because it provides the rebel with the ultimate in comfort, in this case, mental comfort: the comfort of one's convictions. The later you hit this pattern, the later you become a mental bourgeois, i.e., the longer you stay skeptical, doubtful, intellectually uncomfortable, the better it is for you.

On the other hand, of course, this not-a-single-penny business makes practical sense, because your parents, in all likelihood, will bequeath all they've got to you, and the successful rebel will end up with the entire fortune intact—in other words, rebellion is a very efficient form of savings. The interest, though, is crippling; I'd say, bankrupting...

The world is not perfect; the Golden Age never was or will be. The only thing that's going to happen to the world is that it will get bigger, i.e., more populated while not growing in size. No matter how fairly the man you've elected will promise to cut the pie, it won't grow in size; as a matter of fact, the portions are bound to get smaller. In light of that—or, rather, in dark of that-—you ought to rely on your own home cooking, that is, on managing the world yourselves-at least that part of it that lies within your reach, within your radius.

Yet in doing this, you must also prepare yourselves for the heart-rending realization that even that pic of yours won't suffice; you must prepare yourselves that you're likely to dine as much in disappointment as in gratitude...

At all costs try to avoid granting yourself the status of the victim. Of all the parts of your body, be most vigilant over your index finger, for it is blame-thirsty. A pointed finger is a victim's logo—the opposite of the V-sign and a synonym for surrender. No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc. The menu is vast and tedious, and this vastness and tedium alone should be offensive enough to set one's intelligence against choosing from it. The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything; it could be argued even that that blame-thirsty finger oscillates as wildly as it does because the resolve was never great enough in the first place. After all, a victim status is not without its sweetness. It commands compassion, confers distinction, and whole nations and continents bask in the murk of mental discounts advertised as the victim's conscience. There is an entire victim-culture, ranging from private counselors to international loans. The professed goal of this network notwithstanding, its net result is that of lowering one's expectations from the threshold, so that a measly advantage could be perceived or billed as a major breakthrough. Of course, this is therapeutic and, given the scarcity of the world's resources, perhaps even hygienic, so for want of a better identity, one may embrace it—but try to resist it. However abundant and irrefutable is the evidence that you are on the losing side, negate it as long as you have your wits about you, as long as your lips can utter "no"...

Should you find this argument a bit on the heady side, think at least that by considering yourself a victim you but enlarge the vacuum of irresponsibility that demons or demagogues love so much to fill, since a paralyzed will is no dainty for angels."
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