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Saturday, June 06, 2015

Links - 6th June 2015

Jon Davis's answer to What should Bradley Manning have done? - Quora - "This is Franklin C. Spinney. He is one of the most respected whistleblowers in the United States today. He was an intelligence analyst who mercilessly attacked the Pentagon for its poor spending policies, excessive wastes, fraud and corruption within the ranks. For his important works and the manner in which he did them, he is still highly respected by both the military and intelligence communities. As an added bonus, he also didn't have to go to federal prison... According to David Liegh, the Investigations Executive editor of the Guardian:
We really have got to do something about these redactions. And [Assange] said, "These people were collaborators, informants. They deserve to die."
And at least one did. Manning gave some of the most valuable information in the United States military to someone who wished to see those who help Americans die. His bias against the United States bordered on murderous"

Brazil bans WhatsApp because of fears of child porn exchanges

Joe Pepersack's answer to Why did Black Widow's hairstyle change from curly to straight in The Winter Soldier? - Quora - "Because even if she is a badass master assassin superhero, she's still a woman... and women like to change their hairstyles for no particular reason. It's a lot easier to try and figure out how superpowers work than to understand the inner workings of the female mind."

Age of Ultron Is Proof Marvel Is Killing the Popcorn Movie - "The aim is not one or two bad movies a year, it’s a total lifestyle regimen of bad pop culture: In order to keep up with Avengers, you need to keep up with Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, and in order to keep up with those, you should probably be watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which will really help you keep up with Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Guardians of the Galaxy, and in order to make sure you’re on top of these nine essential movie franchises and able to make sense of their plots, you’ll need to keep a constant stream of Marvel product in your life, so make sure to tune in for Agent Carter, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and, of course, the forthcoming Hulu triumphs, Ant-Man’s One Weird Friend Gary and Guy Running Away From Explosion In Panel 17."

Jon Davis's answer to Did the US military kill two Reuters journalists in 2007? - Quora - "the US military pilots in question saw what very much appeared to be weapons, a few of which absolutely were (AK-47 at 3:13) in a group of people taking what appeared to be a defensive location in an obvious battlefield. They also saw the cameras, which clearly looked like an RPG-(Rocket Propelled Grenade) held by a shooter taking up a defensive position behind a building. That is how it appeared and in the military decisions are made on how things appear, not what is later shown to be the case two years later"

Criticised by Muslims, filmmaker to remove Facebook post on airport assault incident - "“Suddenly I have people who are messaging me on my Facebook ― ‘Jangan jaga tepi kain orang’, typical stuff that say I don't understand the Quran,” Leong said in a brief phone interview, referring to the Malay proverb that means “Mind your own business”. “A lot of them tell me that in the Quran, there is this thing where the husband can discipline the wife. First he can advise her, then refuse to share the matrimonial bed. “Then if that doesn't work out, then he can lightly tap her, a form of beating, to discipline,” the 31-year-old documentary filmmaker added... In her Facebook post, Leong wrote that when she told the man off for hitting his partner, two other men told her to keep quiet and to not create trouble. “Girl looked at me and told me ‘no no it's ok. Sudah biasa takpe masalah sahaja’,” Leong wrote.... The filmmaker said the mostly Malay-Muslims who privately messaged her on Facebook have also accused her of not understanding Asian values."

Rolling Stone and UVA: more than a failure of journalism - "our society is in the midst of a hysterical panic over an imaginary epidemic of rape on campuses. The Rolling Stone piece is a product of that panic; it is a symptom of a bigger problem. It was a belief in the existence of a rape epidemic, and the desire to convince others of it, that led Rolling Stone to embrace advocacy over fact-finding... Erdely and the editors were also following the feminist view that it is insensitive to question those who make rape accusations. Erdely said she didn’t ask more questions for fear of ‘re-traumatising’ Jackie... The far more important issue raised by the UVA debacle is how to deal with the problem of our unhinged campuses, and the ridiculous belief that rape is as rampant on an Ivy League campus as it is in a war-torn area of the Third World... While Erdely and the campus activists express concerns about future victims, they are clearly not bothered about creating a witch-hunt atmosphere and denying due-process rights in the here and now. Erdely notably failed to apologise to those who were the victims of her reporting: the men she falsely accused of rape, and all the fraternities at UVA that she charged with promoting a ‘rape culture’. Thanks to her article, brothers at the accused Phi Kappa Psi fraternity were called rapists as they walked campus. Vandals threw bricks at their windows, and they were forced to move to a motel."

Sweden trolls Russian submarines with a dancing gay neon sailor

For those in peril | The Economist - "A Facebook page for Syrian refugees has now confirmed that his family has reached Italy. Asked about the danger they faced on the trip, Mr Albashawat replies, “What danger? This is nothing compared with the danger we saw in Syria”... The programme’s critics in Italy and elsewhere in the EU went on to argue that although it seemed to save people, by encouraging people to risk their lives it actually led to more deaths. As the British government put it, there was “an unintended ‘pull factor’, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths”.

The rise of Middle Eastern crime in Australia - "In many of the key areas that were experiencing rapid rises in Middle Eastern crime, these new leaders became more concerned with relations between the police and ethnic minorities than with emerging violent crime. The power and influence of the local religious and minority leaders cannot be overstated. Police began to use selective law enforcement. They selected targets that were unlikely to use their ethnic background and cultural beliefs to hinder police investigations or arrests. It was mostly Anglo Saxons and Asians that were the targets, because they were under represented by religious leaders and the media. They were soft targets... In the minds of the local population, the police were cowards and the message was, Lebs rule the streets. For a number of days, nothing was done to rectify this total breakdown of law and order. To the senior police in the area, it was more important to give the impression that local ethnic relations were never better. It was also important to Peter Ryan that no bad news stories appeared that may have given the impression that crime in any area was out of control. Had these hoodlums been arrested they would have filed IA complaints immediately via their Legal Aid lawyers and community leaders. To senior police, this was a cause for concern at the next Op Crime Review... the violence is directed mainly against young Australian men and women. There is a clear and definite link between violent attacks on our young men and women being racial as well as criminal. Quite often when taking statements from young men attacked by groups of Lebanese males around Darling Harbour, a common theme has been the racially motivated violence against the victims simply because they are Australian. I wonder whether the inventors of the racial hatred laws introduced during the golden years of multiculturalism ever took into account that we, the silent majority, would be the target of racial violence and hatred... To highlight the problems with Middle Eastern communities in this city is to threaten to tear down the multicultural facade. The amount of money spent on the multicultural industry beggars belief. It is a lucrative and sustainable position for many"

Deputy shot dead after man takes gun - "A veteran King County sheriff’s deputy was killed yesterday when a nude and highly agitated man who’d been running in traffic and pounding on cars took the officer’s gun and shot him repeatedly outside an apartment complex here."
Just because someone is unarmed doesn't mean he is not dangerous. Which is why cops shooting unarmed people isn't that shocking

White teen Gilbert Collar killed by black cop Trevis Austin in Alabama mirrors Ferguson - "Gilbert Collar, a white, unarmed 18-year-old under the influence of drugs was shot and killed Oct. 6, 2012, by Officer Trevis Austin, who is black, inMobile, Alabama. Despite public pressure for an indictment, a Mobile County grand jury refused to bring charges against Officer Austin, concluding that the officer acted in self-defense. The circumstances mirror those of the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, a black unarmed 18-year-old under the influence of drugs by Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in Ferguson. A St. Louis County grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict the officer ignited violence and looting in Ferguson and days of protests nationwide against racial injustice. The discrepancy in the reaction to and coverage of the two grand jury decisions has not been lost on social media, where critics are citing the Collar case to counter those who say Brown was the victim of racism in both law enforcement and judicial system... Critics also note there has been no rioting or sustained protest in Mobile"

Legal scholars praise Ferguson grand jury for fairness beyond the norm - "Legal experts across the country agree that while the process that led to a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, was unusual, it was not unfair. Rather if it was anything unusual, it was in its fairness and openness."

@victoriagayle on Instagram: “Dad's #LKY #tattoo - #thankyoulky #ripLKY #tributetolky #leekuanyew #singapore”

Breast Implant/Suicide Link Confirmed - "Women have an overall threefold higher risk of suicide after getting breast implants -- a risk that keeps going up over time"

Black students: Name building for cop-killer - "“If we do not receive a written response from Chancellor (Nick) Dirks addressing in detail each of our individual demands as they were presented, by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, we will understand that the chancellor has not prioritized the dire needs of black students on this campus,” BSU students wrote in a press release."

Did IZ Reloaded hide secret messages inside his LKY tweets? | New Nation

Problematizing Singapore's Racial Riot Discourse


It is not hard for me to see why a lot of younger Singaporeans find Singapore history not an interesting topic worth studying or researching on. Having spent a total of twelve years in public school myself, I find that the curriculum on Singapore history is unilinear and adopted an uncritical approach in uncovering the various perspectives on the different aspects of Singapore’s history. It was only upon being an undergraduate in NUS that I realized that there are scores of alternative historical narratives which are sidelined or silenced to accommodate the dominant accounts on Singapore’s history. A lecturer from the NUS History Department once said that if a Martian is to land on Singapore and be given a school textbook to read up on, he will most probably think that there are only two figures which featured in Singapore’s history, namely Sir Stamford Raffles and Lee Kuan Yew! I grew up believing in the authoritative account of The Singapore Story but as I pored through the history books in the library and the various types of sources in the archives, I realized that there are multiple versions of the Singapore Stories that existed. It is with this spirit of inquisitiveness that had led me to embark on writing a thesis in laying out the different types of narratives pertaining to the 1964 Racial Riots in Singapore...

Amongst the official accounts, the outbreak of the Riots was seen as a result of a sustained campaign by racial chauvinists from UMNO who targeted Lee and the PAP, which was aimed at oppressing and exploiting the Malays in Singapore. The outbreak of the Riots was seen as the climax of this racist campaign, which had by then sufficiently whipped up the Singapore Malays into an emotional frenzy. This line of argument became the official narrative in Singapore as well as the dominant discourse on the 1964 Racial Riots...

The works of Azhar, Chan, Lau, and Nordin were rather different from Lee’s memoir which supports the dominant discourse on the 1964 Racial Riots. They were more systematic and thematic in analyzing the Riots even though all the accounts presented the PAP-UMNO conflict as the central focus of their research. Azhar is analyzing the Riots from a larger study of SUMNO and Chan is doing the same for the PAP during its early period in political wilderness. Nordin and Lau is looking at the Riots as one of the contributing factors that eventually culminated in Singapore’s separation from Malaysia. To a large degree, they agree that the outbreak of the Riots was due to the tense politicking between PAP and UMNO over racial-based issues. The conflict between the politicians resulted in spillovers to the general masses in the form of emotional agitations which eventually culminated in the Riots.

There are however scholars who provided alternative accounts on the 1964 Racial Riots. These scholars did not confine themselves merely to the common themes within the dominant discourse such as the PAP-UMNO political conflict or that the Riots broke out due to deep-seated ethnic fault lines. Their findings contributed to the study on the Riots by shedding new perspectives on other approaches to better understand the Riots.

The role of Indonesia was often underplayed in the dominant discourse... There were evidences that Sukarno incited racial tension between the Chinese and the Malay communities as part of the Konfrontasi plot... the “Malay malcontents and Chinese gangsters, some of them almost certainly working as paid Indonesian agents, played a major role in sparking dozens of widely scattered incidents of stoning, slashing and stabbing”. This supported Hyde’s many arguments and evidences illustrating the Indonesia’s deep involvement in the Riots...

Stanley Bedlington studied the development of the Malays and the challenges they faced during those heady periods in the 1950s and 1960s. According to his findings, the legacy of the Riots was institutionalized in later years when the loyalty of the Malays in Singapore was questioned and in playing it safe, Malays were gradually phased out in security apparatuses and high government positions...

The Riots were also revisited by revisionist historians. Loh Kah Seng belonged to a new breed of young Singaporean historians who problematized Singapore’s dominant historical framework and critically analyzed the rationale behind the pursuance of such a linear national historiography. The Riots were part of a larger study in the critical re-examination of the dominant discourse on Singapore’s history. The discourse highlighted themes such as the country’s “vulnerability”, the existence of the presence of “external dangers” and “domestic fault lines”. Loh highlighted how the Riots fitted in nicely within the larger dominant history narrative, which also includes other case studies such as the Hock Lee Bus Riot in the Konfrontasi period and threats posed by Leftists such as Lim Chin Siong...

Ganesan Narayanan analyzed how the Riots were being used by the State as a form of historical precedent which the State utilized in dealing with future cases of racial and religious chauvinists. The tough policies against these chauvinists are justified in the name of preventing an outbreak of violence in Singapore, and past incidents such as the Riots are constantly evoked to highlight how easily situations on the ground can deteriorate as a result of the reckless actions of these chauvinists. One problem in framing the Riots in such a reductivist manner is having the State to use the accounts of the Riots as a tool in justifying some of its policies and institutions...

Kua Kia Soong who did a study on the May 13 riot based on declassified British documents however claimed that in the case of the May 13 Incident, there was meticulous planning behind the riot by members of the Malay capitalist class who were disenfranchised with the policies of Tunku. He categorically ruled out the riot being spontaneous in nature and said that it was in fact a coup d'état...

Based on evidences from the ground, the main hypothesis of this study is that firstly the Riot was not planned by any group, but it was sparked spontaneously by rogue elements such as street corner gangs, secondly the Riot was a localized act of mob violence concentrated in southeastern part of Singapore and most importantly contrary to the dominant discourse, the interracial relationship amongst those on the ground was stable even during the height of the rioting period. This begs the question whether future politics in Singapore and the out of bound markers for discussions on sensitive issues must necessarily be predicated on the management of “ethnic fault lines”, when in fact everyday experience and people- to-people dynamics actually display more inter-ethnic conviviality than tension...

In this study, I attempted to be exhaustive in my usage of sources pertaining to the Riots. However the omission of Chinese-medium sources represents a major limitation in this study. Its limitations lie in exceeding the total word count in this thesis with the inclusion of Chinese medium sources. My sources are therefore limited to either those in English or Malay language...

The narrative that has defined the causes, nature and legacy of the 1964 Racial Riots has been the singular dominant and official account of the State, even now almost fifty years later. The so-called State’s account was heavily influenced by Lee Kuan Yew’s perspective of the event, whereby Singaporeans are supposed to take away key “lessons” from history. The main message in this historical event is that racial harmony in multi-racial Singapore is of upmost importance especially since the Riots was a result of communal politics. There exist deep seated racial fault-lines in Singapore’s society and insensitive remarks could be seen as potential dangers resulting in social disruptions. This has led to politics of fear and this narrative has been used for decades to justify the out-of-bound markers on critical comments that may or may not carry a whiff of racial provocation. This “official” account has been so pervasive that it has been incorporated in Singapore’s history and social studies secondary textbooks to be learnt by thousands of young citizens. This singular dominant account severely impedes Singaporeans’ ability to fully understand the Riots and its consequences. The main problem with this account is the fact that it is singular, told from a single perspective and is an elite account of the event...

Amongst those at the grassroots, majority of them believed that the Riots broke out spontaneously with no planning behind it. Cikgu Latiff echoed their sentiments when he presented a theory on the spontaneous mass effect of members in a religious procession that instinctively resorted to violent means when mocked by the Chinese onlookers. The grassroots’ accounts also showed that life went on as per normal in other parts of Singapore. The violence was largely confined to the southeastern parts of Singapore. Amongst those at the grassroots, majority of them had elaborated on how their interracial relationship with their acquaintances remained firm and cordial during the rioting period. Rationality overrides racialized emotion even when tension was at an all-time high. At the grassroots level, past interracial friendships and relations forged prior to the Riots held sway against primordial instinct. It was noted that interracial relationship amongst those at the grassroots level was positive before, during and after the Riots broke out.

It is clear from this thesis that there are incongruencies between the dominant account and the alternative accounts pertaining to the causes of the Riots. The varying accounts confirm that the different groups viewed and remembered the Riots differently... Lee’s personal interpretation of the Riots in his memoir, which influenced the State’s account on the Riots, caused a stir across the Causeway...

From Singapore’s perspective, Malaysia is viewed as continually poised to exploit Singapore’s strategic vulnerability while from Malaysia’s point of view, Singapore’s economic success has generated a sense of hubris and a condescending attitude towards Malaysia, which is viewed in Kuala Lumpur as “racist based triumphalism”. A recurring pattern of their bilateral ties regularly has one of them emphasizing their point in a particular contentious issue while vilifying the other; The Singapore State’s pursuance of the dominant account of the Riots in emphasizing and suppressing certain historical accounts to reflect badly on the part of UMNO is an example of this...

The causes to the Riots can largely be attributed to political rather than racial motives. Accounts from the Australian diplomatic cables, however, which provide a categorical analysis on the origin of the Riots, give a different account of the Riots. William Pritchett, the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, portrayed Lee as being too opportunistic and aggressive thus making him complicit, in sharing part of the blame for the Riots... The dominant narrative framed the Malays and Chinese as harbouring very strong primordial sense of identity and would instinctively flare up over any racial-based conflict involving both races. Due to the perceived threats based on Singapore’s seemingly fragile society’s ethnic fault lines, the State had positioned race and religion as taboo subjects and acted as the sole authority in demarcating the out- of-bound markers in discussion on such issues. The result is having a society embracing such a discourse without critically analysing the past historical examples used by the State to propagate such discourse in the first place...

In an interview on the Riots with Othman Wok, Othman quoted on Tang during his concluding note. He labelled Tang as a dangerous ethnic chauvinist that is a divisive character who can stir up interracial tension. Drawing on the example of the Riots to highlight this point, he said that such ethnic chauvinists can easily instigate an outbreak of an interracial riot, especially as politicians are able to reach out to a large number of the population. However, based on the alternative accounts of the Riots, the use of the 1964 Racial Riots to illustrate how an ethnic chauvinist can easily instigate a massive interracial riot is misleading. While it is true that irresponsible politicians bent on securing votes would manipulate masses by playing the racial or religious cards such as the Ultras’ passionate emotive speeches that whipped out the sentiments of the masses, the Riots does not show that this will result in massive inter-communal fighting at the grassroots level. This thesis has shown that a critical analysis on the Riots may in fact prove otherwise...

Secondary sources such as Foo Kim Leng also noted that while the whole country was put under curfew, the actual violence itself was localized, concentrated mainly in the southeastern part of Singapore. This account was corroborated by accounts from the grassroots, as almost none of those who lived in the non-hotspot areas had witnessed any form of violence during the period and their only memory of the Riots was staying at home because of the curfew. Therefore it is wrong to contextualize the Riots in today’s context in presenting lessons on the dangers of ethnic chauvinists who are able to instigate massive interracial riots in Singapore...

Despite the tumultuous contexts of the 1950s-1970s in Singapore when riots of a racial or religious nature were more frequent, the overall social fabric proved to be surprisingly rather resilient."

Friday, June 05, 2015

"this accursed man will cast our Reich into the abyss"

"You have delivered up our holy German fatherland to one of the greatest demagogues of all time. I solemnly prophesy that this accursed man will cast our Reich into the abyss and bring our nation to inconceivable misery. Future generations will damn you in your grave for what you have done"

- Erich von Ludendorff to Paul von Hindenburg on Adolf Hitler being named Chancellor of Germany on January 30 1933

Links - 5th June 2015

Theatre review: Kitschy Singapura: The Musical barely does Singapore history justice - "Singapura just cannot decide what Singapore story it wants to tell. Does it want to be a sweeping historical epic, slathering on the facts and numbers and squeezing in every historical checkpoint it can manage? Does it want to be the story of an ordinary Singaporean family, struggling to make ends meet? Or does it want to be a love story between a Singaporean girl and a British soldier? Or perhaps it wants to be Lee Kuan Yew's story, the way an obliquely named "Man In White" drifts across the stage? One could ambitiously declare that the answer is all of the above, but the result is that the sprawling musical suffers from a horrendous lack of focus, stumbling down paths it has no time to flesh out... The creative team interviewed dozens of real-life Singaporeans for their stories, but it hardly feels as if these tales were given justice, because they had no proper vehicle to carry them. During a scene on the Hock Lee Bus Riots, various ensemble members narrated brief stories of the various "ordinary people" who had been injured or killed. But it felt tacked on, as though they were obliged to include a story or two to prove that real people were involved, after which they were quickly forgotten and left behind... Singapura took the very specific and made it even more obscure, piling on the facts so thick and heavy it felt like a secondary school history lesson forced into the structure of a musical... To attempt to shoehorn dense paragraphs of political reasoning or complex racial politics into a musical makes it look like a retelling of Singapore history Punch and Judy style - hitting the audience over the head with over-simplified slogans and platitudes until it physically hurts... Some lyrics sounded like they had been lifted from a Social Studies textbook and coerced into a rhyme scheme... But what was perhaps the most jarring was Singapura's predominantly Filipino cast poorly mimicking the complex creole of Singlish with the token "lah". This was, at its best, problematic and at its worst, in poor taste. An audience can smell token authenticity from a mile away, and while I recognise the enormous effort to sound vaguely Singaporean, the result is so distracting I would rather have listened to their original accents instead, or even General American, which should be in the repertoire of most trained actors. It would have been the more honest attempt."

Gamergate supporter Doxxed by 16 Year old Girl who wanted to "Be a good feminist".

SJW doxx, threaten and harass innocent man, says it's 4chan's fault for tricking them

Student Accused of Rape By 'Mattress Girl' Sues Columbia U., Publishes Dozens of Damning Texts - "Paul Nungesser, the Columbia University student accused of raping fellow student Emma Sulkowicz, is now suing the university for doing nothing to stop Sulkowicz's harassment campaign against him, which he claims "effectively destroyed" his college experience, reputation, and future career prospects. His lawsuit contains a wealth of new information about the contested sexual assault, including dozens of messages establishing Sulkowicz's sexual "yearning" for Nungesser, which she sent to him both before and after the alleged incident... those in the media who uncritically re-reported Sulkowicz’s claims and gave credence to her antics should be feeling rather ashamed of themselves. With each new development, this story begins to look more and more like a Rolling Stone job."

Columbia student defamed by mattress girl is suing - "Threats to Nungesser have appeared online and on Sulkowicz's Facebook account, including one message suggesting Nungesser commit suicide. (Sulkowicz "liked" that comment.) In response to the lawsuit, Sulkowicz (who is not being sued), told the Associated Press that she thinks "it's ridiculous that Paul would sue not only the school but one of my past professors for allowing me to make an art piece." She also said that it was "ridiculous that he would read it as a 'bullying strategy,' especially given his continued public attempts to smear my reputation, when really it's just an artistic expression of the personal trauma I've experienced at Columbia." So, her media campaign to brand him a rapist was art, but him defending himself is bullying?"

Is having a loving family an unfair advantage? - "‘One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field’... The test they devised was based on what they term ‘familial relationship goods’; those unique and identifiable things that arise within the family unit and contribute to the flourishing of family members. For Swift, there’s one particular choice that fails the test. ‘Private schooling cannot be justified by appeal to these familial relationship goods,’ he says. ‘It’s just not the case that in order for a family to realise these intimate, loving, authoritative, affectionate, love-based relationships you need to be able to send your child to an elite private school’... ‘The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t—the difference in their life chances—is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,’ he says. This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion—that perhaps in the interests of levelling the playing field, bedtime stories should also be restricted... ‘We could prevent elite private schooling without any real hit to healthy family relationships, whereas if we say that you can’t read bedtime stories to your kids because it’s not fair that some kids get them and others don’t, then that would be too big a hit at the core of family life.’ So should parents snuggling up for one last story before lights out be even a little concerned about the advantage they might be conferring? ‘I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,’ quips Swift."
Social Justice: creating a world that nobody wants to live in

Amanda On's answer to What is the difference between Chinese women and Japanese women? - Quora - "Japanese women tend to be very polite, quiet, and demure almost. This is my experience when I vacationed to Japan over the summer, so of course, I'm probably only seeing a facet of their personality. Also, high-pitched voices. I was honestly shocked when I heard grown women speaking so high. I thought it was just an anime thing.
Chinese women, on the other hand, are a lot more assertive. In some cases, they can almost be called mean. Many of them will not deal with bullshit, and they WILL tell you what they think. If you live in America, they're actually not that far off from American women. Most of the time, even more."

Pop music marked by three revolutions in 50 years - "They found three music revolutions - in 1964, 1983 and 1991 - and traced the loss of blues chords from the charts, as well as the birth of disco... The team also refuted claims that pop music is starting to sound the same."

Vincent Law: No regrets as bailor for Amos Yee - "Mr Law say Amos is the most pleasant youth that he has ever worked with as Amos is very responsive to his questions and courteous towards him. Mr Law as a family counselor counsels youth at risk sent to him through the police, such youths are normally involved in illegal assemblies, fighting or other offences. Usually, the youths would not respond to Mr Law’s questions and being not cooperative in the counselling process. They would also fail to turn up for arranged meetings as they feel that he is wasting their time. “Amos is different”, said Mr Law as he would reason on points which he does not agree upon. An example which Mr Law gave is on the discussion he had in regards to the profanity in Amos’ videos. Amos disagreed that he should omit the vulgarities in the videos. Mr Law feels that Amos just simply has to be himself."

Philip Lyle Hansen with fetish for 'fat gummy ladies' guilty of pulling women's teeth out with pliers during sex

Why can’t Muslims laugh at Mohammed? - "Jewish and Christian Scripture are human reports of an encounter with the Divine. The foundation of the Christian Bible are four separate reports of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth that in some respects contradict each other. The Koran, to be sure, has contradictory elements, which are addressed through so-called Abrogation Theory (Naskh), allowing one Koranic verse to be nullified by another. But Mohammed’s revelation of the Koran is not a human report so much as a stenographic transcription of the purported words of Allah. No Muslim argues that Mohammed was more than human, but for practical purposes he is indistinguishable from Allah, because he was simply the vessel into which Allah supposedly his directions. To make light of Mohammed is to impugn Allah. It is not blasphemous to laugh at Moses, whose human failings prevented him from leaving the people of Israel into the promised land. To humanize Mohammed, though, is an act of lèse-majesté against the Muslim God. That is not quite the same thing as joking about Moses or St. Matthew... there is no divine-human encounter in Islam, no revelation, only the selection of a human mouth as the loudspeaker by which Allah declares his Koran... The Muslim god therefore remains utterly remote from humans, unconstrained in power and arbitrary in his actions"

The sick and twisted history of Ultron, Marvel’s lesson about the singularity

The tragic history of Scarlet Witch, who will make her film debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron

White People Rioting for No Reason
Comments: "you can't say these riots were all whites, look at the pics, these sports related riots are done by a wide variety of people and the so called protest riots done because of so called racist actions done by whites are carried out by one"
"The white hooligans pictured here *are* denounced by the same cranky old white men that denounce the idea that stealing tv's is an acceptable way of protesting for civil rights"
[To a feminist playing the gender card] "I've also shrewdly noticed that many of the rioters in these photos have their arms up in the air in what I can only deduce was an expression of having arms. This is a deeper issue which shows that we've normalized lack of media coverage for amputees, white AND black."
"The reality is, no one supported, condoned or excused the example above. In the example of the bike getting stolen, the community banded together to identify the looters. In Ferguson or Baltimore, if you identified the looters, you'd be targeted as a snitch."

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me

"The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that's simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher's formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best...

I have intentionally adjusted my teaching materials as the political winds have shifted. (I also make sure all my remotely offensive or challenging opinions, such as this article, are expressed either anonymously or pseudonymously). Most of my colleagues who still have jobs have done the same. We've seen bad things happen to too many good teachers — adjuncts getting axed because their evaluations dipped below a 3.0, grad students being removed from classes after a single student complaint, and so on.

I once saw an adjunct not get his contract renewed after students complained that he exposed them to "offensive" texts written by Edward Said and Mark Twain. His response, that the texts were meant to be a little upsetting, only fueled the students' ire and sealed his fate. That was enough to get me to comb through my syllabi and cut out anything I could see upsetting a coddled undergrad, texts ranging from Upton Sinclair to Maureen Tkacik — and I wasn't the only one who made adjustments, either...

As Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis writes, "Emotional discomfort is [now] regarded as equivalent to material injury, and all injuries have to be remediated." Hurting a student's feelings, even in the course of instruction that is absolutely appropriate and respectful, can now get a teacher into serious trouble...

Instead of focusing on the rightness or wrongness (or even acceptability) of the materials we reviewed in class, the complaint would center solely on how my teaching affected the student's emotional state. As I cannot speak to the emotions of my students, I could not mount a defense about the acceptability of my instruction. And if I responded in any way other than apologizing and changing the materials we reviewed in class, professional consequences would likely follow...

Some liberals called me paranoid, or expressed doubt about why any teacher would nix the particular texts I listed. I guarantee you that these people do not work in higher education, or if they do they are at least two decades removed from the job search. The academic job market is brutal. Teachers who are not tenured or tenure-track faculty members have no right to due process before being dismissed, and there's a mile-long line of applicants eager to take their place. And as writer and academic Freddie DeBoer writes, they don't even have to be formally fired — they can just not get rehired. In this type of environment, boat-rocking isn't just dangerous, it's suicidal, and so teachers limit their lessons to things they know won't upset anybody.

This shift in student-teacher dynamic placed many of the traditional goals of higher education — such as having students challenge their beliefs — off limits. While I used to pride myself on getting students to question themselves and engage with difficult concepts and texts, I now hesitate. What if this hurts my evaluations and I don't get tenure?...

The current student-teacher dynamic has been shaped by a large confluence of factors, and perhaps the most important of these is the manner in which cultural studies and social justice writers have comported themselves in popular media. I have a great deal of respect for both of these fields, but their manifestations online, their desire to democratize complex fields of study by making them as digestible as a TGIF sitcom, has led to adoption of a totalizing, simplistic, unworkable, and ultimately stifling conception of social justice. The simplicity and absolutism of this conception has combined with the precarity of academic jobs to create higher ed's current climate of fear, a heavily policed discourse of semantic sensitivity in which safety and comfort have become the ends and the means of the college experience.

This new understanding of social justice politics resembles what University of Pennsylvania political science professor Adolph Reed Jr. calls a politics of personal testimony, in which the feelings of individuals are the primary or even exclusive means through which social issues are understood and discussed. Reed derides this sort of political approach as essentially being a non-politics, a discourse that "is focused much more on taxonomy than politics [which] emphasizes the names by which we should call some strains of inequality [ ... ] over specifying the mechanisms that produce them or even the steps that can be taken to combat them." Under such a conception, people become more concerned with signaling goodness, usually through semantics and empty gestures, than with actually working to effect change.

Herein lies the folly of oversimplified identity politics: while identity concerns obviously warrant analysis, focusing on them too exclusively draws our attention so far inward that none of our analyses can lead to action. Rebecca Reilly Cooper, a political philosopher at the University of Warwick, worries about the effectiveness of a politics in which "particular experiences can never legitimately speak for any one other than ourselves, and personal narrative and testimony are elevated to such a degree that there can be no objective standpoint from which to examine their veracity." Personal experience and feelings aren't just a salient touchstone of contemporary identity politics; they are the entirety of these politics. In such an environment, it's no wonder that students are so prone to elevate minor slights to protestable offenses.

(It's also why seemingly piddling matters of cultural consumption warrant much more emotional outrage than concerns with larger material implications. Compare the number of web articles surrounding the supposed problematic aspects of the newest Avengers movie with those complaining about, say, the piecemeal dismantling of abortion rights. The former outnumber the latter considerably, and their rhetoric is typically much more impassioned and inflated. I'd discuss this in my classes — if I weren't too scared to talk about abortion.)

The press for actionability, or even for comprehensive analyses that go beyond personal testimony, is hereby considered redundant, since all we need to do to fix the world's problems is adjust the feelings attached to them and open up the floor for various identity groups to have their say. All the old, enlightened means of discussion and analysis —from due process to scientific method — are dismissed as being blind to emotional concerns and therefore unfairly skewed toward the interest of straight white males. All that matters is that people are allowed to speak, that their narratives are accepted without question, and that the bad feelings go away.

So it's not just that students refuse to countenance uncomfortable ideas — they refuse to engage them, period. Engagement is considered unnecessary, as the immediate, emotional reactions of students contain all the analysis and judgment that sensitive issues demand. As Judith Shulevitz wrote in the New York Times, these refusals can shut down discussion in genuinely contentious areas, such as when Oxford canceled an abortion debate. More often, they affect surprisingly minor matters, as when Hampshire College disinvited an Afrobeat band because their lineup had too many white people in it...

No one can rebut feelings, and so the only thing left to do is shut down the things that cause distress — no argument, no discussion, just hit the mute button and pretend eliminating discomfort is the same as effecting actual change...

Tactically, can't we see how shortsighted it is to be skeptical of a respected manner of inquiry just because it's associated with white males?

This sort of perspective is not confined to Twitter and the comments sections of liberal blogs. It was born in the more nihilistic corners of academic theory, and its manifestations on social media have severe real-world implications. In another instance, two female professors of library science publicly outed and shamed a male colleague they accused of being creepy at conferences, going so far as to openly celebrate the prospect of ruining his career. I don't doubt that some men are creepy at conferences — they are. And for all I know, this guy might be an A-level creep. But part of the female professors' shtick was the strong insistence that harassment victims should never be asked for proof, that an enunciation of an accusation is all it should ever take to secure a guilty verdict. The identity of the victims overrides the identity of the harasser, and that's all the proof they need.

This is terrifying. No one will ever accept that. And if that becomes a salient part of liberal politics, liberals are going to suffer tremendous electoral defeat.

Debate and discussion would ideally temper this identity-based discourse, make it more usable and less scary to outsiders. Teachers and academics are the best candidates to foster this discussion, but most of us are too scared and economically disempowered to say anything. Right now, there's nothing much to do other than sit on our hands and wait for the ascension of conservative political backlash — hop into the echo chamber, pile invective upon the next person or company who says something vaguely insensitive, insulate ourselves further and further from any concerns that might resonate outside of our own little corner of Twitter."

The writer must Check his Privilege!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Why there aren't more Women in STEM

Feminist: No there aren't enough women in the STEM fields because of misogyny

Non-feminist: Do you by chance have a background in gender studies?

Feminist: That's noone of your business

Non-feminist: Seriously, I was wondering if you do because your education might shed some light on why you think misogyny is the reason more women aren't in STEM.

Feminist: Yes I have a degree in women's studies

Non-feminist: Then why did you take women's studies when you could have studied something inthe STEM fields? :)

Feminist: fuck you

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Links - 3rd June 2015

Jamie Sergison's answer to Why does Tony Stark retire from the Avengers program? - Quora - "In the end, the replacements act as foils for each of the Veterans: Col. Rhodes is a respected servicemen, and pilot of the War Machine Armor (Sanctioned by the Government), a foil to Stark; Falcon is a pararescue for the USAF controlling an experimental wingsuit (Developed and sanctioned by the Government) who uses evasive maneuvers and dual SMGs to take out hostiles, a foil to Hawkeye, Vision is an android harnessing the magical power of an Infinity Gem, a foil to Hulk who harnesses the physical durability of an imperfect Super Serum; and Scarlet Witch, a metahuman with illusion based magic and telekinetic abilities, making her a Distaff counterpart to Loki, Thor's adoptive brother.

Cassidy Slockett's answer to What are the most unexpected / shocking / baffling things people encounter when visiting Italy for the first time? - Quora - "how easy it is to attract an Italian guy. Here in America, you can look a guy in the eyes, wink, smile, brush past him, text him, and he often still won't get that you're interested. In Italy, you half smile at a guy, and the next thing you know, you're being chased around a market and trying to hide."

The IO had just called me up. She told me that... - Abdul Salim Harun - "The IO had just called me up. She told me that the POTA and the Harassment Act which I had filed last night still stands. I have therefore, decided to proceed to take action against FAP and its owner for its malicious intent and also to Shawn Loo, for the uncalled and disparaging remarks he had made."
A police report has been made against FAP!

Carly Fiorina, A Woman of Accomplishment - "Fiorina told me that, unlike a male candidate, she could better take on Hillary Clinton: "No matter what that man says, she will play the gender card or the war on women card. She won't be able to do that with me." Fiorina believes Clinton has a poor record: "I come from a world where speeches are not accomplishments. Activity isn't accomplishment. Title isn't accomplishment. I come from a world where you have to actually do something; you have to produce results. ... (The presidency) is a very difficult job and we ascertain someone's capability to do the job based not on their great speeches, but on what they've actually done." She thinks the media has overblown Hillary Clinton's accomplishments and foreign policy experience and believes her accomplishments are more impressive"

‘Rice Theory’ Explains North-South China Cultural Differences, Study Shows - "A new cultural psychology study has found that psychological differences between the people of northern and southern China mirror the differences between community-oriented East Asia and the more individualistic Western world – and the differences seem to have come about because southern China has grown rice for thousands of years, whereas the north has grown wheat... People in the north are thought to be more aggressive and independent, while people to the south are considered more cooperative and interdependent... northern Chinese were indeed more individualistic and analytic-thinking – more similar to Westerners – while southerners were interdependent, holistic-thinking and fiercely loyal to friends, as psychological testing has shown is common in other rice-growing East Asian nations, such as Japan and Korea."

Why rice-eaters are from Venus and others from Mars - "In an important 1993 research paper published in the American Sociological Review, sociologist Sunita Kishor showed that rice cultivation was a strong predictor of the sex ratio across Indian districts, and that its positive impact on female survival rates was independent of the contemporary female labour force participation rates across the districts"

'Silver porn' shows fifty shades of greying Japan - ""I do like sex, and this is my last chance before I get too old. I'm very nervous. I wonder if I should really do it, especially in front of so many people, but everyone should follow their dream. "I just hope I can keep up," added Ms Tomita, who used to work in a factory manufacturing car parts and registered for an agency in Japan's booming "adult video" (AV) industry with her daughter. "We applied through the Internet together. I got offered a job first, which surprised her a bit."

Circumcision’s Psychological Damage - "As psychologists, we are deeply concerned by the recently announced CDC guidelines promoting circumcision for all males, and in particular children. The CDC guidelines are based on a sharply criticized 2012 policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The 2012 statement was condemned by a large group of physicians, medical organizations, and ethicists from European, Scandinavian, and Commonwealth countries as “culturally biased” and “different from [the conclusions] reached by physicians in other parts of the Western world, including Europe, Canada and Australia” (Frisch et al., 2013). The new CDC guidelines highlight methodologically flawed studies from Africa that have no relevance to the United States. They chose to ignore studies that were conducted in the United States and show no link between circumcision and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV (Thomas et al., 2004). Worse, the CDC has completely ignored the psychological effects of genital cutting on male children... The most comprehensive study available that assesses the psychological impact of circumcision on children after infancy was conducted by Ramos and Boyle (2000) and involved 1072 pre-adolescent and adolescent boys who were circumcised in a hospital setting. Using an adapted version of a clinically established PTSD interview rating scale, the study’s authors determined that 51 percent of these boys met the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD"

National Library Board sets up independent panel to advise on review of materials
I'm quite impressed they have a taxi driver and a clerk

Scientists baffled as 'suicidal' cows throw themselves off cliff in Switzerland

Man with tax protest sign fatally shoots self in front of shocked crowd at Capitol - "The sign carried by the man contained a message about "social justice," Dine said. A witness, Robert Bishop of Annapolis, Md., said it also said something about taxing the "1%""

Overweight diabetes patients outlive slimmer ones - study

The Most Diverse Cities Are Often The Most Segregated

Microsoft's Edge browser can steal Chrome and Firefox extensions

Are there any homosexual animals? - "female albatrosses are not inherently homosexual. The Oahu population has a surplus of females as a result of immigration, so some females cannot find males to pair with. Studies of other birds suggest that same-sex coupling is a response to a shortage of males, and is much rarer if the sex ratio is equal. In other words, the female Laysan albatrosses probably wouldn't choose to pair with other females if there were enough males to go round... humans are the only documented case of "true" homosexuality in wild animals. "It is not the case that you have lesbian bonobos or gay male bonobos," says Vasey. "What's been described is that many animals are happy to engage in sex with partners of either sex.""
If sexual orientation is about desire and not action, can we really say animals are homosexual?
As a good economist I believe in revealed preferences - look at what people do, not what they say. So lesbians who keep having sex with men most probably aren't

The trip that transformed me - "Slowly, I began to realize that even if I was traveling in my mother's footsteps, her shoes don't fit my feet"

US Christians numbers 'decline sharply', poll finds - "Pew researchers say the losses they discovered were driven mainly by a decrease among liberal Protestants and Catholics"
It's no wonder liberal theists are seen as less authentic adherents

Study: Rape Not Among Reasons Women Seek Late-Term Abortions - "For many years, abortion-rights advocates have asserted that abortions after 20 weeks are performed because of maternal health complications or lethal fetal anomalies discovered late in pregnancy. However, wider data from both the medical literature and late-term abortion providers indicates that most late-term procedures are not performed for these reasons. Previous survey studies of late-term abortion patients have confirmed that most late-term abortions are performed because of a delay in pregnancy diagnosis and for reasons similar to those given by first-trimester abortion patients: financial stressors, relationship problems, education concerns or parenting challenges."

Hobby Lobby and contraception: How conservative evangelicals went from not caring about abortion and birth control to being obsessed with them.

Every Major Website Clickbaits, But Not as Much as You’d Assume - "Clickbait isn’t a spit-shined sales pitch meant to lightly elevate the quality of your genuinely decent goods and services, it’s often a blatant lie designed to disguise the goods’ irreparable shoddiness...
Clickbait, for the purposes of my inquiry means it must be one of the following:
... Unearned hyperbole: “The 41 Most Awkward Things That Have Ever Happened.”
Hate-clicking, which can be either an affirmation or denial of the audience’s presumed leanings: “ Just Look At This Couple And Then Tell Me That Marriage Equality Should Be Banned.” This encompasses the #SlatePitch, something that seems so obviously counter-intuitive that you have to click to find how what this jackass is talking about.
Willful withholding of information that could have easily been included in the headline: a tactic most common on social media sharing: “14-year-old girl stabbed her little sister 40 times, police say. The reason why will shock you.” This also includes headlines in the form of a question, for which the answer is inevitably no, as well as omitting the subject of the piece. “This One Guy…” “And This Surprising City…”
The ellipses (or implied ellipses): “Officer Tells Texas Man Openly Carrying Rifle He’s ‘Free to Go’ – It’s Hard to Believe What Happened Just Two Minutes Later...
Daily Mail: 0/100. Hold on, the math here can’t be correct right? The Daily Mail is often considered the bottom of the barrel of the internet. The place where all useless viral stories originate, right? Yes, and each story here is more tabloid-worthy than the next: “Drunken Mormon woman, 20, froze to death after she and a friend lost keys to their Jeep while hiking in Utah woods in frigid weather” and “Miami woman arrested for killing animals while performing sex acts for horrific fetish videos” and “What happened to selling chocolates?: Bikini-clad woman gets tasered in front of group of men FOR CHARITY” may be puerile, sexualized, sensationalized idiot-bait, but their incredibly long headlines don’t really mislead. In fact, they do the exact opposite.“

Observations - 3rd June 2015

Shower gel where you must squeeze the bottle so it will dispense a certain amount are cons to get you to finish the bottle faster.

"I don't think you can engage in any "large scale shady business" without at least engaging or involving a Datuk."

"I once had a German guy told me that Kant is as hard to understand in German as he is in (translated) English!"

"Today, I realized that the comforting, unique scent of my mother in my childhood was actually the smell of the marijuana she smokes. FML"

"Writers, painters, warriors - each seeks immortality of a type.
Others are simply content to pass on their DNA"

"If I'm not my brain, then who am I? And if my brain is sensitive and neurotic, then how can I say that I as a person am not?"
(BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, Social Stigma and Negative Labels - Migraine)

RT @PimpCartman: Boobs are proof that men can focus on two things at once.

RT @TheFunnySexist: What do you call a man at an abortion clinic? Relieved

RT @TheFunnySexist: Men use love to get sex. Women use sex to get love. Me? I use coupons to get pizza.

Saw a lady in leggings and boots. But it was raining that day, so it was ok.

Seems quite weird to be wearing a tiara at a wedding if you're not the bride.

Friend's definition of "normal girl": "pleasant looking, subservient, no temper".
Me: "that's not normal"

Tinder guy: I'm so horny today, no fun
Friend: me too, and emo
Tinder guy: sounds like a bad combi
Friend: it is...
Tinder guy: so how?
Friend: so I shall... eat chocolate

"I totally forgot about that Japanese housemate that none of the guys thought was an issue..yeah, get a Japanese housemate if you get the chance. I had one who just wouldn't put on clothes even in winter!"

"i've found big boobs to be a good marker for sexual receptiveness as well"

"The beauty sector in Brazil doesn't stop growing. The Brazilian woman on average..uses 25% of her household income on spending related to beauty which I think is #1 in the world" - 27 Feb 2015, BBC Today: Friday's business with Simon Jack

Maybe many men don't do much childcare because they didn't want children in the first place but just made their women happy

Maybe Asian women look young not because they're Asian, but because they're so sun averse

"Men are lanjiao. Women are cb. True story."

"You can either tip toe around, spending half your words flogging yourself in a display of self loathing, or you can get into these arguments and get accused of 'male privilege'"

If "There are six million ways to be a feminist: choose one", can I be one who accepts patriarchy?

If singing Purple Light promotes rape culture, a Messiah singalong promotes Christianity

"You have no idea the kind of irrational shit I have to put up with in the states. I was trying to explain to some Gender studies Major, that when I criticize the idea of a one particular girl in class I am not criticizing the whole female sex. You guys should read the crap they are teaching here the Valerie solanas crap and SCUM manifesto."

Amused that the logic of demonising objectification also militates against casual sex.

Amused that in Belgium you can euthanise children at any age, but adult women can't opt to get circumcised.

"do you realise everytime there is an article featuring someone who achieved something... if it's a dude the wife/girlfriend will be next to him. if it's a girl, it's always solo, or perhaps with the father.
ie successful women dont need men. but successful men have a woman.
or am i too feminist-sensitive."

If gendered toys are such a bad thing, why is gendered clothing okay?

If labels in real life were exactly the same as their dictionary definitions (like with feminism, supposedly - i.e. that feminists are just for gender equality and similar arguments), the Liberal party in Australia would implode

If the argument from dictionary definition (see above) is true, Feminist "harassment" isn't (i.e. what feminists claim as "harassment" doesn't fit the dictionary definition and so can't be harassment).
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