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Thursday, November 26, 2015

William Golding and Sexism

A picture I saw being circulated on Facebook:

"I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been" - William Golding

Many people were reacting approvingly (including the usual SJW, feminist, "equality" crowd). For example the original poster Totally Bound Publishing repeatedly promotes their LGBTQI fiction sister company with the slogan "Love knows no gender!"

Which was no surprise, given what "equality" and "sexism" mean (to non-"True Feminists", at any rate).

What was interesting, though, was the context in which William Golding made this sexist comment:

Girls say to me, very reasonably, 'why isn't it a bunch of girls? Why did you write this about a bunch of boys?' Well, my reply is I was once a little boy - I have been a brother, a father, I am going to be a grandfather. I have never been a sister, or a mother, or a grandmother. That's one answer. Another answer is of course to say that if you - as it were - scaled down human beings, scaled down society, if you land with a group of little boys, they are more like a scaled-down version of society than a group of little girls would be. Don't ask me why, and this is a terrible thing to say because I'm going to be chased from hell to breakfast by all the women who talk about equality - this is nothing to do with equality at all. I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been. But one thing you can't do with them is take a bunch of them and boil them down, so to speak, into a set of little girls who would then become a kind of image of civilization, of society. The other thing is - why aren't they little boys AND little girls? Well, if they'd been little boys and little girls, we being who we are, sex would have raised its lovely head, and I didn't want this to be about sex. Sex is too trivial a thing to get in with a story like this, which was about the problem of evil and the problem of how people are to live together in a society, not just as lovers or man and wife.

So perhaps he decided to be sexist against men as a pre-emptive defence against the feminists who he knew would be trying to persecute him (and this was in the 1950s).

Bonus WTF-ness:

"lord of the flies doesnt show the base human condition, it shows the base privileged straight white male condition, incredibly when i point this out people get kind of annoyed"

Links - 26th November 2015

Govt detains without trial S’poreans: No outrage meh activists? - "TOC, Maruah, Vincent Wijeysingha, Rachel Zeng, Kirsten Han etc etc were all up in arms demanding justice for the manual migrant workers detained by the police after the riot. They were upset many of those detsined were then given air-tickets to move on out of S’pore, rather than sent for trial. Some had the charges withdrawn and the court granted them discharges amounting to acquittals and then were deported, while many were never charged, just deported. They demanded “due process” for these FTs, even though as someone posted on Facebook, ” Rightly or wrongly, deportation is more lenient than jail and caning.” A lot more, so is it fair to insist as the kay pohs do that the courts must be involved in “due process”? One could even argue that the govt is being easy on “alleged” rioters... I have never heard any activist say about Dan Tan, Masyhadi or any other alleged Islamic terrorist, or drug dealer... As I wrote last year: The coming deafening silence [referring to Dan Tan’s case] of the usual human rights kay pohs will tell us a lot of their prejudices: they are supportive of FT drug mules, and middle class anti-PAP activists. But not working class criminal suspects (no-one is complaining that Vui Kong’s alleged drug lord is held under ISA CLTPA) or those whom the govt alleges are Islamic radicals. Touch a FT or a middle class anti-PAP activist, and the screams will be deafening, even if it’s juz a policeman paying a home visit."

Ahmed Mohamed demands $15m compensation and written apology for homemade clock arrest
Scummy, but well played.

Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock… and Ourselves. - "If we accept the story about “inventing” an alarm clock is made up, as I think I’ve made a pretty good case for, it’s fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated... He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn’t want it to look suspicious. I’m curious, why would “looking suspicious” have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It’s awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it’s awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!)... How many school shootings and incidents of violence have we had, where we hear afterwards “this could have been prevented, if only we paid more attention to the signs!” Teachers are taught to be suspicious and vigilant. Ahmed wasn’t accused of making a bomb – he was accused of making a look-alike, a hoax. And be honest with yourself, a big red digital display with a bunch of loose wires in a brief-case looking box is awful like a Hollywood-style representation of a bomb. Everyone jumped to play the race and religion cards and try and paint the teachers and police as idiots and bigots, but in my mind, they were probably acting responsibly and erring on the side of caution to protect the rest of their students, just in case. “This wouldn’t have happened if Ahmed were white,” they say. We’re supposed to be sensitive to school violence, but apparently religious and racial sensitivity trumps that. At least we have another clue about how the sensitivity and moral outrage pecking order lies... We care about the story, but we don’t care about the actual facts. Headlines and click-bait are far more interesting than thinking for ourselves. We like to point out other any bit of perceived injustice or discrimination we can find – it’s practically a new national past-time. We like playing victim, and we like talking about victims – so much so we sometimes find victims where none really existed. We also like to find somebody to blame, even when there’s nobody at fault. We like to play social justice warrior on our Facebooks and Twitters, posting memes and headlines without digging in behind the sensationalism, winning bonus sensitivity points in the forms of likes and re-tweets. Once group-think kicks in, we rally around hash tags and start shouting moral outrage in a deafeningly loud national chorus. The media plays us like a fiddle, and we don’t even notice we’ve all been had."

The Real Story of #IStandWithAhmed - "He didn’t explain that to police, however, according to the authorities... Why was the device in English class in the first place, especially after the engineering teacher told him not to show it around? When confronted by police and his English teacher, why didn’t Mohammed just tell them to talk to the engineering teacher?... 'Officers said Ahmed was being “passive aggressive” in his answers to their questions, and didn’t have a “reasonable answer” as to what he was doing with the case. Investigators said the student told them that it was just a clock that he was messing around with. “We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only say it was a clock. He didn’t offer any explanation as to what it was for, why he created this device, why he brought it to school,” said James McLellan, Irving Police'... according to the cops, Ahmed was significantly more cooperative with friendly media than with the police who came to ask some simple questions... there’s a long history of detaining science students for experiments administrators don’t understand. Homer Hickam, the subject of the movie October Sky, found himself in handcuffs during the Cold War for starting a forest fire with a rocket he built. And since September 11, such incidents have become more common. As someone who went to a Jewish high school based in Los Angeles and located next to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, police and security regularly evacuated our high school due to bomb threats. If one of the students had brought a device to school in this fashion, the student would have been detained and questioned – again, in an all-Jewish school... we don’t even need weapons to suspend students anymore: wearing an American flag at the wrong time or donning a Confederate flag t-shirt will do it... as of 2012, 62.4 percent of all anti-religious hate crimes targeted Jews; 11.6 percent targeted Muslims; as of 2013, anti-Jewish hate crimes represented 60.3 percent of all hate crimes, as opposed to just 13.7 percent for Muslims. That’s a major decline in anti-Islamic hate crimes since 2001, when 55.7 percent of hate crimes were anti-Jewish, and anti-Muslim hate crimes constituted 27.2 percent of all hate crimes. So where, exactly, are all the invitations to Jewish students targeted in hate crime incidents?"

The Surprising Backstory Behind #IStandWithAhmed's 2-Time Sudanese Presidential Candidate Father - "Mohamed, who refers to himself as a sheikh, elaborated on his motivations for getting involved with Jones. “He said he agreed to serve as the defense attorney at Jones’ mock trial because the Quran teaches that Muslims should engage in peaceful dialogue with Christians,” the Seattle Times’ Annie Gowen wrote. “But there was also a more pragmatic reason. It was spring break and he wanted to take his wife and five kids to Disney World: to ‘kill two birds with one stone,’ as he put it.” He also claims he didn’t know the trial– in which the Quran was “found guilty” of “crimes against humanity”– would result in the Quran actually being set on fire. According to the Seattle Times, some of Mohamed’s small group of followers asked that he no longer lead prayers, while others refused to drive for his taxi company."

Ahmed’s Dad Pushes 9/11 Conspiracy Posts, Videos on Arabic Facebook Page

Ahmed Mohamed meets Sudanese president with whom father had rivalry - "Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Sudanese-American student who was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school in Texas, has met the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, a wanted war criminal who the teen’s father opposed in two presidential elections... The 71-year-old Bashir has ruled Sudan since 1989 and is wanted by the international criminal court (ICC) for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur."

Jeremy Corbyn backlash over views on shoot-to-kill - "Many Labour MPs were shocked after he told me he would not be happy with the police or security forces shooting to kill on our streets, casting doubt over the legality of the strike on Jihadi John, and appearing to suggest that his MPs would not be allowed to vote with their conscience on any potential military action in Syria... [Stop the War] that organisation with whom Mr Corybn has been linked for many years, suggested that the Paris attacks were vengeance for Western actions in the Middle East."

Instagram's Essena O'Neill who abandoned sponsorships appeals for financial help - "In a teary 17 minute long video posted to her new website, Ms O'Neill - who used to spend more than 50 hours a week strategically constructing an image of a beautiful, happy and carefree teen - explains why she abandoned her 'celebrity' social media status and says that without her online income she is no longer able to support herself. 'I can't afford rent right now,' she said. 'It's like I am embarrassed to admit that I need help... if this [website] is of value to you then please support me because I can't afford my own real life.' "

Malaysia’s ‘Islam’ has negative impact on Singapore, says lecturer - "Dr Nawab Osman, from Nanyang Technology University, said a puritanical mindset and intolerance has begun to seep into Singapore and Malaysia was one of the contributing factors. “Singapore is where Malaysia was about 10 years ago. The impact of Malaysia’s Islam is real. “When (well-known Malaysian preacher) Ustaz Azhar Idrus came to Singapore, 10,000 people went to his talk,” he said at the “Maqasid Shariah in a Constitutional Democracy” forum in Penang organised by G25 and think tank Penang Institute today. Speaking on Islamic revivalism and its socio-political impact, Nawab cited incidents in the island republic such as the issue of Muslim women wearing headscarves, as an indication of the shift of Islam in Singapore... “A group of people advocated for headscarves to be allowed because it is their fundamental right to profess religion. “But a few months later, the same group of people were in a wear white campaign opposing the Pink Dot annual rally by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) group. “The argument was those people should not be allowed to express their sexual orientation. That was the big contradiction. “The same people who argued for their rights to be respected, had no qualms to argue that the rights of others should be denied. That mindset is very entrenched,” he said... those who subscribe to such an ideology would criticise acts of violence and aggression against Muslims, but there would be deafening silence when terrorist acts were committed in the name of Islam."

5 Annoying Situations I Faced When Job Hunting in Singapore - "Some of you may think that expecting the interviewer have basic preparation for interview to is being “entitled and pampered”. I disagree totally. In progressive companies with a more western culture, the interviewer is expected to come prepared too. Robert Half, an American human resource consulting firm, pointed out that one of the major red flags for candidates is that the hiring manager isn’t prepared... Similarly, an article in Forbes titled 5 Ways to Spot a Bad Boss in an Interview asserted that “Regardless of his or her role in the company, the interviewer should be striving to make a good impression.”"

Asian and Western Management Styles: Which one do you prefer? - "We should definitely be careful when we encounter interviewers who have an arrogant attitude like “You are the one begging me for a job”. If someone behaves like this in a first meeting, can you imagine having to work under this person in the long run? An interview is after all a two way discussion to see if both sides are a fit for each other. People who accept such behavior as a norm often end up in companies with a toxic work culture and with bad bosses. Then again, perhaps employees with a meek and submissive personality and bosses who consider themselves as superior to others may be a good fit afterall."

Beware the assisted-suicide bomber - "it’s no longer a struggle fought out in the democratic arena; it’s now a guerrilla war. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rise of assisted-suicide bombers. These are the individuals who kill themselves in a blaze of publicity, blasting out emotional shrapnel in an effort to inflict maximum damage on those opposed to legalising assisted dying... both suicide bombers and assisted-suicide bombers are groomed. Those who doubt this should read the chilling account by Binner’s wife, Debbie, of how, having had initial qualms about her husband’s planned suicide, she was convinced that his assisted death was for the best by the director of the Eternal Spirit clinic. According to Debbie, the director asked ‘Do you want Simon to stay alive so you can have a human pet?’ She says: ‘That put me in a very difficult position. Because did I want Simon to stay alive just for me?’ Human pet? Is this really how we should view disabled people?"

SourceFed - Japan Just Issued It's First Same Sex Partnership...
Ahh... the ideology of "tolerance"
Comment: ""But don't worry, he won't be around much longer"
If anyone needs to die it's "Open minded" fucks like you
Stop preaching love and equality when all you do is bash and harass those that disagree with you, you sick fucks"

Students don't perform better with tech use in school: OECD - "In fact, the frequent use of computers in school is more likely to be associated with lower marks, OECD officials said."

Japan demands UN envoy retract remarks that 13% of schoolgirls involved in paid dates

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Stan Lee on Iceman being Gay

BBC Radio 4 - Today, 18/11/2015, Stan Lee: Publisher branded Spider-Man 'the worst idea'

Stan Lee: When we started these new books, we started getting fan mail written in crayon. A little bit later the fan letters were written in pencil. Then they started coming written in ink. Then they were typed.

And we knew we were reaching older and older readers, and that made us so happy.

When I go to a comic book convention, men with beards come over to me and they have their grandchildren with em and they say, "Gee, I loved reading those stories and now my little grandson loves em." That's a very satisfying thing to hear

Host: They also of course keep up with the times. And this year we had, I think it was this year, that we had the news that Iceman had come out as gay, is that right?

Stan Lee: *pauses* *laughs* I wasn't involved in that. That may have been after I stopped writing the books.

I didn't really have any gay characters, or if they were gay, I didn't play up the fact that they were gay.

I wasn't aware of it.

I wasn't aware of my, err, characters' sexual proclivities.

In fact, your telling me that is the first that I had heard that Iceman, is Iceman really gay?

Host: Had you not heard that? It was in the New York Times last week but I think-

Stan Lee: I don't read the magazines anymore because my eyesight isn't that good and the print is so small. So people just tell me what's happening and as I say this is the first time that I learnt that Iceman is gay.

Wow. I never knew that.

I don't care what happens as long as they tell good stories.

Why is it important to know comic book characters' sexualities?

As Emma Frost tells him, "What does that have to do with this?" Perhaps this is a nod to the irony of this even coming up as an issue.

As Kirby's biographer evaluates the situation,

he saw the decision as more cynical. “The problem is when you have a character who’s been handled by so many different writers and editors over the years, people find little nuances and seize upon them, and editors say, ‘We need an event this month. Who can we maim, or kill, or out, or marry in order to create an event?’” Evanier said. “And that doesn’t always result in a bad comic book. But it’s arbitrary.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Links - 24th November 2015

I am part of my people, says Palestinian lawyer in viral photo of tear gas kick - "11 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, and 68 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 42 said by Israel to have been involved in attacks or attempted attacks... The Israeli government and many Israeli media outlets have framed it as a “wave of terror” unleashed by what they portray as Palestinian incitement. They point to a stream of bloody videos and fiery speeches by Palestinian leaders circulating on social media. Palestinians say there’s no need for anyone to incite, arguing that their day-to-day reality is infuriating as it is... Mr Ajaj, meanwhile, was cautious when asked what he considers permissible protests against occupation. “We are lawyers, we don’t throw stones,” he said, but added that he believes stone throwers have a role to play. He said he won’t condemn those who carry out stabbing attacks, arguing that they were driven to such acts by Israeli measures, such as land confiscations and movement restrictions. The “violence question” is rarely debated openly in Palestinian society. Mr Abbas has repeatedly argued that armed attacks counter Palestinian interests and has instructed his security forces to try to prevent them, but has not condemned the recent stabbings in deference to popular opinion. Many Israelis believe that repeated rounds of violence over the years, including the current one, prove the Palestinians do not want peace with them... social media also plays a negative role, encouraging Palestinians to live in a virtual reality and romanticising the idea of resisting occupation at a time when they lack a clear way forward."
What would happen if Israeli leaders released a stream of bloody videos and fiery speeches? What if Nelson Mandela had continued to support violence?

Don't assume I'm an internet troll just because you disagree with me - "Troll is a perfect word for the internet age, speaking to the general sense of distrust we operate under on the web. We receive tweets, emails and Facebook messages from people pretending to be people other than themselves, or robots pretending to be people, forwarding an informative link, just like we do... But I think we have more to lose by erring towards suspicion than we do towards gullibility. We hurt ourselves when we dismiss people too quickly. It’s easy to just lob an accusation of intellectual dishonesty out there and skate past any disagreement without engaging it. Better, I think, to suspend suspicion whenever possible, to give the benefit of the doubt, to take statements at face value... paranoia is a very unhealthy outlook, one that we should eschew. (Skepticism and vigilance are fine, even advisable; paranoia is, by definition, an errant excess.) It is, as Ray Davies told us, a “destroyer”. It destroys possibility. It cuts off communication. It makes the world smaller... the troll is not really arguing – the troll is laughing. The troll is laughing at you for taking him seriously. The troll does not take you seriously. I, however, do take you seriously. I imagine you are a person much like myself, sitting in front of a computer screen, reading and writing words just like I am. Communicating in these new, exciting and sometimes treacherous ways that these marvelous new machines now allow."

That Chinese Passport Story Sure Looks Like a Hoax [Update: It's Fake]

Men May Like The Idea Of A Smart Woman, But They Don't Want To Date One - "men were into hanging out with a smarter woman when they had yet to meet her, but they weren't so excited to hang out with a living, breathing intelligent woman staring them in the face. Men also felt less masculine when they were faced with a smarter woman sitting next to them than when they never saw said smarter woman. This study sheds light on one reason dating is so complicated: We don't always know what we want, even if we think we do"

A white guy named Michael couldn’t get his poem published. Then he became Yi-Fen Chou. - "Hudson, who is white, wrote in his bio for the anthology that he chose the Chinese-sounding nom de plume after “The Bees” was rejected by 40 different journals when submitted under his real name. He figured that the poem might have a better shot at publication if it was written by somebody else... perhaps because of its Rachel Dolezal-esque tangle of questions about identity, authenticity, political correctness and “affirmative action,” it didn’t take much longer for the wider world to notice. Pen names, as some on Twitter pointed out, have long been a staple of the literary world. And there are plenty of cases in which initials or a pseudonym have worked in the opposite direction — most often for women like Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot), Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) and Joanne Rowling (J.K. Rowling), who thought they would be taken more seriously or better reach their target demographic if they didn’t appear to be female. But Hudson’s critics said the literary bait-and-switch was fraudulent, racist and fundamentally different from Charlotte Bronte publishing “Jane Eyre” under the name Currer Bell. “When you’re doing this from a position of entitlement, you’re appropriating an ethnic identity that’s one, imaginary, and two, doesn’t have access to the literary world,” poet and Chapman University professor Victoria Chang told The Washington Post. “And it diminishes categorically all of our accomplishments. He sort of implies that minorities are published because we’re minorities, not because of our work. That’s just insulting because it strips everything we’ve worked so hard for”... “Yi-Fen Chou” benefited from a form of minority writer nepotism... How important is an author to the meaning of a poem? When seeking out diversity, are we looking at names or at content?"
White Privilege means not having your poem published - and being told that this is racism against minorities (?!)
Comments: "I fear that so much social and political writing--with all the usual English department "race and gender" themes and NPR-inspired "issues"--will undervalue those minority writers who are truly great not because of the color of their skin or their names, but because they are simply world class writers, like Ha Jin and ZZ Packer. There is a creepy race celebration going on in literature. We do a disservice to great minority writers when we champion stories and poems that are not first and foremost excellent."
"The name test has been used to uncover systematic bias in job applications and grades using the same material but swapping male/female or white/minority names. This made the SJWs mad because this time the bias was demonstrated in favor of minorities. When it's reversed they make hay about it (justifiably). Can't they just admit that racial bias exists and move on?"
"Just remember that 2+2=4 only when it benefits a person of color. If 2+2=4 benefits a white person, then 2+2=5. This is to make up for billions of years of white privilege."
"Perhaps if we would stop ourselves from playing a twisted game of progressive pokemon, trying to catch 'em all, entities would stop making ridiculous decisions to try and stave off the pitchfork PC squad."
"Diversity, for its own sake, is neither inherently good or bad. It is simply diverse. When seeking pure gold, diversity is most unwelcome. Yet too often, we lose sight of the real stated goal - quality - while focusing on only one aspect, that does not lend quality innately, merely happenstance"

How 'A Clockwork Orange' Author Anthony Burgess Soured on Stanley Kubrick (Book Excerpt) - "Years earlier, Burgess had sold the film rights “for a few hundred dollars,” he groused. Regardless of how the film version performed at the box office, Burgess would see no profit points... I realized, not for the first time, how little impact even a shocking book can make in comparison with a film... He wanted to see how Americans were responding, and found that “the theology passed over their coiffures.” He was especially dismayed by “the blacks” in the audience who shouted, “Right on!” at the thug-hero Alex... “Neither cinema nor literature can be blamed for original sin. A man who kills his uncle cannot justifiably blame a performance of ‘Hamlet.’ On the other hand, if literature is to be held responsible for mayhem and murder, then the most damnable book of them all is the Bible, the most vindictive piece of literature in existence”... Burgess, for his part, grew to hate the film. Or Kubrick. Or both. A decade later when he adapted his novel for the stage, he made sure to include the following stage direction: “A man bearded like Stanley Kubrick comes on playing, in exquisite counterpoint, ‘Singin’ in the Rain‘ on a trumpet. He is kicked off the stage.”"

Florida eighth-grader gets detention for hugging a friend
Too bad she's white

Parental Age, Especially The Father's, Is Linked To Genetic Mutations In The Child - "Fathers passed on about four times the number of genetic mutations to their children than did mothers, which also agrees with earlier evidence. It’s believed that sperm cells are more likely to contain genetic errors because of the high rate at which they’re produced – hundreds of millions of cells per day – which increases the odds of a manufacturing error. The team also found that the older the father, the more likely was the child to have genetic mutations. And the risk just keeps rising with the father’s age. For example, a 20-year-old father will contribute about half the number of mutations of a 36-year-old father. A 70-year-old father will pass on about eight times the number of mutations as the 20-year-old."
If you claim to be against incest because of birth defects, you should be fine with homosexual incest - and you should be against older people having heterosexual sex

Promotion ads of green tea and soft drinks to face banning - "He said Thais’ daily sugar consumption is over four times the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommended level... Promotion campaign of soft drinks that offered cars and gold to consumers has encouraged over consumption of sugar, he said."

Japanese tourist center asks small-penised travelers to not make a mess in the bathroom
"Why is the Japanese message so different from the English one
In Japanese it means "thank you for always keeping the toilet clean while using""

Nixon: I chose to be a lesbian - "Actress Cynthia Nixon refuses to bow to pressure from the gay community to change her opinion that her homosexuality is a "choice", despite facing criticism for her beliefs... Nixon, who also has an 11-month-old son, Max, with Marinoni, is convinced her change in sexual preference was just that - a preference - because she considers herself a heterosexual who simply fell in love with a woman... In a candid interview with the New York Times Magazine the actress says, "I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line, 'I've been straight and I've been gay, and gay is better.' "And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it's not, but, for me, it's a choice, and you don't get to define my gayness for me... "I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn't realise I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I've been out with.""

Epigenetic 'tags' linked to homosexuality in men - "The biology of sexual orientation has been one of the most vexing — and politically charged — questions in human genetics. For the first time, researchers have found associations between homosexuality and markers attached to DNA that can be influenced by environmental factors. Twin studies and family trees provide strong evidence that sexual orientation is at least partly genetic. When one identical twin is gay, there is about a 20% chance that the other will be as well. But because this rate is not 100%, it is thought that environmental factors play a role as well. One of the best characterized is the 'older brother effect': the chance of a man being gay increases by 33% for each older brother he has. The reason is not clear, although one hypothesis holds that the mother’s immune system begins to react against male antigens and alter the fetus’s development... By scanning the twins’ epigenomes, the researchers found five epi-marks that were more common among the gay men than in their genetically identical straight brothers. An algorithm they developed based on the five epi-marks could correctly predict the sexual orientation of men in the study 67% of the time"

What should you do if your son says he's a girl? - "You could insist that he is a boy and try to put an end to behaviors such as cross-dressing and saying that he is a girl. The alternative is to let him be a girl: grow long hair, choose a new name, dress as he (or “she”) pleases, and when it is time, obtain the necessary hormones and surgeries for a female body. As scientists who study gender and sexuality, we can tell you confidently: At this point no one knows what is better for your son... Gender dysphoric children have not usually become transgender adults. For example, the large majority of gender dysphoric boys studied so far have become young men content to remain male. More than 80% adjusted by adolescence."

Keeping Char Kway Teow Cheap—At What Price? - "
while hawker centres were traditionally celebrated as meccas for cheap food, in
recent years, hawkers and customers alike raised concerns over rising business costs, and the resultant increases in hawker food prices. Furthermore, the survival of the hawker sector was threatened by younger Singaporeans’ lack of interest in becoming hawkers, which was seen as a backbreaking, unglamorous and poorly paid vocation"

Case urges all hawkers to display prices - "The survey also found there was no change in mode prices - prices most commonly charged by hawkers - compared with a similar study in July last year for five surveyed food items. The mode prices were: $5 for chicken nasi briyani, $3 for chicken rice, $3 for fishball noodles, $3 for mixed vegetables rice (two vegetables and one meat) and $1.80 for roti prata (two plain pratas)."

Nazi Germany in 2015

"I sometimes wonder now how the regressive left would respond if the rise of Nazi Germany was to happen in 2015?

--"Germany has just invaded Austria"

++"Oh, it's because of imperialism because of the hideous terms imposed on Germany at Versailles by the Alliance"

-- "oh yeah. But don't you think this is a problem? They've now annexed Poland."

++ "Well this is all just Western media bias. I mean, Britain still has an Empire elsewhere so you can't complain that Germany is doing the same in Europe."

--"Yes, that is true. But don't you think that's another discussion for another day? The Germans have just annexed Denmark and Norway."

++"Well the problem is that you think that all Germans are inherently evil. It's not *all Germans*. Most Germans are peace-loving people who just want to get on with their lives."

--"Yeah, I get that, but it is Germans (and now others) who espouse a specific ideology and using this to commit acts of violence."

++"Besides, it is the Germans who are the largest victims of German Nazi violence. Not British forces"

--"Yes, I know. And particularly German Jews, gays, disabled, or Germans of particular Christian sects. But that doesn't add anything about what we should do *now*. They have invaded Belgium and the Netherlands."

++"Well violence only perpetuates violence. They *want* a war. And war will only lead to the deaths of many innocent lives."

--"Okay, yeah I get that. So what should we do, then? They are seeking war. There is no dialogue. They are killing people anyways. You say we shouldn't get into a war because we will end up killing people. It seems like no matter what we do, people are going to die because there is a group of people who are determined to make sure as many people suffer as possible. What do you recommend that we do? And BTW They are in France now. We can literally see them across the strait of the English Channel.""

Monday, November 23, 2015

Links - 23rd November 2015

Secret Sister Gift Exchange: The festive pyramid scam that's taking Facebook by storm - "the idea is that each participant gets up to 36 gifts as more join the exchange. However, like most other novel ideas that promise huge returns on a small initial investment, it's a total fantasy - in fact, it fits the definition of a traditional pyramid scheme exactly. Not only are pyramid schemes like this one mathematically impossible (the list of theoretical participants multiplies into billions of people a few steps into the scheme), they're also against Facebook's terms of use, and are illegal in some countries, including the US."
I see a lot of women sharing this. Maybe they don't grasp the idea of compounding

The Line between Victims and Abusers - "Victim identity is focus on damages suffered at the hands of other people. The desire to be identified as a victim creates a sense of entitlement and a motive to devalue anyone who does not offer special recognition and validation of victim status or compensation for it... The victim protection movement began as a noble attempt to counteract the most insidious aspect of the abusive dynamic - blaming the victim, which has the effect of making the victim feel ashamed of being abused. But as is the case with all effective social movements, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. We now have a victim identity movement, fueled by an industry of self-help authors and advocates, that has conferred a certain status to being a victim and thereby blurred the line between victims and abusers. For example, in the beginning of my career, I saw many male abuse victims who would become angry and verbally aggressive at the suggestion that their partners abused them. Now obvious victims, along with those who are not victims but who have identified with descriptions in self-help books, become angry and aggressive if they are not recognized as victims. The primary mistake with victims is urging them to think and sound like abusers... The primary mistake with abusers is to reinforce their victim-identity"

Is the Menstrual Cycle Linked to the Timing of Sexual Assaults - "Apparently, this woman did not find it necessary to verify the references in my book to determine whether I had provided relevant citations in support of the "provocative" claim. Also, note the number of times that she used the word "provocative" in her emails. Hence, at first she proclaims that this research is apparently dangerous, as accused rapists might use it as a defense strategy. Subsequent to my rebuttal, she still maintains that this is a very provocative contention. It is worth noting that all four authors on the Beirne et al. paper discussed in this post are women, as are many of the menstrual cycle researchers listed in the references below (Martie Haselton, Kristina Durante, Tara J. Chavanne, Natalia Hohmann, LeeAnn Renninger, Bettina Fischer, Mina Mortezaie, Eizabeth G. Pillsworth, and April Bleske-Rechek). I wonder if the woman in question thinks that these female scientists are all colluding in their quest to "promote a defense strategy for rapists." Nice."

Female hormone influences on sexual assaults in Northern Ireland from 2002 to 2009. - "Evolutionary psychology suggests that women would have suffered more negative consequences if sexually assaulted when fertile and that specific psychological mechanisms may have evolved in women to combat male coercion. Female behaviours towards men vary across the reproductive cycle and men's behaviour towards women may vary also as a result of changes in female hormones. Hormones play a major role in producing the characteristic cyclical changes throughout a woman's reproductive life. This study is the first study of female hormone influences on sexual assaults. The data for the study was collated retrospectively from the records of 105 females with regular, spontaneous menstrual cycles. These females alleged recent sexual assault and were examined in Belfast during the period 2002-2009. The study concluded that young girls in the middle of their cycle, i.e. the fertile phase, were most at risk of sexual assault. It is possible that both sexes are sensitive to signs, albeit subtle behavioural signs, indicating high risk of conception."

College Dean Accuses Texas Officers of Stopping Her for ‘Walking While Black’ — Police Claim Dashcam Video Tells a Different Story - "Bland figured she “was simply a brown face in an affluent neighborhood. I told the police I didn’t like to walk in the rain, and one of them told me, ‘My dog doesn’t like to walk in the rain.’ Ouch!” She added that “for safety’s sake” she used her iPhone to take a photo of the officers and their patrol car’s license plate, as Bland didn’t want to end up like “the dozens of others who have died while in police custody.” Within hours after posting about the incident on Facebook, Bland said more than 100 friends spread the news across the country. “You are now in the company of Henry Louis Gates and others with the same experience,” she said one of her former students wrote her. “We must stop racial profiling”... after Corinth Police Chief Debra Walthall caught wind of the incident, she wrote a response, which was in the second part of the Dallas Morning News piece, and said that the encounter was about Bland’s safety, not race — and that dashcam video from the officer’s patrol car proves it... Walthall noted that while the patrol car’s emergency lights were activated, no sirens were used, contrary to Bland’s claim — and the officers “immediately” told Bland about their concern for her safety and the pickup truck and that she should walk against traffic instead... Walthall noted that Bland never contacted police or returned the chief’s phone message about the incident. “The citizens of Corinth as a whole are a highly educated population,” Walthall concluded, “and it is disappointing that one of our residents would attempt to make this a racial issue when clearly it is not.”"
For all we know, a lot of the anecdotes about 'privilege' etc are also made up and/or imagined
Comment: "It all makes sense… She’s a Dean of Journalism. Of course she’s going to lie."

‘At a loss for words’: Man’s traffic stop post continues to go viral, police thank him for message - "Steven Hildreth, Jr., said he was pulled over by the Tucson Police Department for a burned out headlight. The 27-year-old author and National Guard veteran told officers he had a concealed-carry permit and had a gun holstered at his hip.
Hildreth said he followed the officers’ instructions and got out of the car so they could disarm him... “I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities,” Hildreth wrote. “Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.”"
Addendum: Also published as: "Man’s Facebook post about traffic stop goes viral"

IPS Study on Perceptions of Singapore’s History - "events which did not feature highly in the individual consciousness of Singaporeans included Operation Cold Store, the “Marxist conspiracy plot”, the Laju hostage incident and the Graduate Mother Scheme. Less than a quarter of the Singaporeans polled were aware of these historical events. Events with a racial undertone were more likely to be recalled by the affected ethnic community. The Maria Hertogh riots in the 1950s and Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist plot, for example, figured more strongly in the consciousness of Malays than other racial groups. Conversely, the Chinese reported a higher degree of awareness of the merger of Nanyang University (Nantah) with the University of Singapore, which happened in 1980. Individual consciousness of events did not necessarily translate into empathy or emotional awareness. For example, while an overwhelming majority of Singaporeans (98.8%) were aware of the controversial introduction of the casinos in 2010, they did not feel that it was an important historical event to themselves or to future generations. The casino openings ranked at the bottom of the scale of importance to Singaporeans"

How much do you pay for your "take-away''? - "MOST of us would be familiar with paying 10 to 20 cents for a take-away container when buying food from hawker centres. But did you know that some hawkers actually charge up to 50 cents for the container, depending on what kind of container is being used?"

Thatcher: Respect for the dead is an outdated and foolish principle - "Do we owe the dead respect, even if we disagreed with them profoundly, even if we were harmed by them in some way, even if we think that their influence on their times was largely negative, and their legacy damaging?... The standard trope is: de mortuis nil nisi bonum – “Of the dead say nothing but good”. Why? Why should one not speak as one did when the person was alive? The story of a prominent individual’s life cannot be complete without the truth about what people felt at the moment of summing up, whether it is in mourning or rejoicing. Let us say what we think, and be frank about it: death does not confer privileges... Respect for the dead is a hangover from a past in which it was believed that the dead might retain some active influence on the living, and that one might re-encounter them either in this life or a putative next life... Frank opinions explain far more than the massaged and not infrequently hypocritical views expressed in obsequies."

They Might Sound Gross, But Intestinal Worms Can Actually Be Good For You - "Having worms isn’t necessarily bad for you. The largest randomized trial ever performed in human history – involving two million children in India – looked at how helminths affect health in places where humans naturally have them. The study showed that mass treatment with an effective deworming drug did not increase body weight or survival. Shockingly, the helminths didn’t seem to be doing any harm, since getting rid of them didn’t improve health... helminths have been found to protect laboratory animals from a wide range of allergies and autoimmune conditions. And recent findings suggest that many types of cancer can be reduced by helminths"

Please stop this SMRT seat shaming nonsense - "Note my use of italicized “alleged” and “claimed“. These are two words journalists, lawyers or experienced writers often use as disclaimers when describing an incident or details of a court case – because it’s one person’s word against another. And that’s precisely the problem with the “cyber-shaming” that has become the norm inside of trains and other public places – when you post these shaming photos online, you think you’re in the right and it’s your right to take this person down in the online space. But that’s only your side of the story... You prefer to let the howling crowds serve instant and brutal justice on your behalf, because you couldn’t solve it right there and then to your satisfaction (for whatever reasons)... You don’t care if they lose their jobs, get ostracised by colleagues or acquaintances, or go into depression for being publicly humiliated for just taking a seat. And of course, you don’t realize the very same things could happen to you too, the cyber-shaming photo uploader... Every seat is up for grabs by anyone, and every seat should be offered to someone more in need. Just because some SMRT staff stuck a sticker above one seat, doesn’t mean you have to get all huffy-puffy about that particular seat... You folks who believe in cyber-shaming over train seats, you say you do this to help someone in need. The minute you post that photo online of the stranger you hardly know, do you realize you’re actually missing the real point of being gracious?"

Cold-pressed juices are a waste of money. The (lack of) science behind them says so. - "Bazzano noted that the temperatures in regular juice blenders don't get high enough to significantly alter the plants' chemicals and vitamins. And even if temperature differences did change the nutritional value of the juice, they wouldn't be dramatic enough to then affect a person's health. So what about drinking fresh juices in general versus eating fruits and vegetables? Juicing advocates claim that the juice hits your system in a more beneficial way because you don't need to digest all that pesky fiber found in whole produce.
Bazzano explained that the only way juices hit your system faster is in a rapid sugar load akin to drinking a soft drink"

Tomb Tells Tale of Family Executed by China's 1st Female Emperor

The truth about Sweden's short working hours - "fewer hours do not necessarily lead to less stress, according to Mrs Webb. "The first thing I thought when I heard about six-hour days was 'what are they going to do with their time?'," she says. "I already see a lot of clients who finish work at 4pm to 5pm but they end up trying to take their kids to all these activities, to exercise, to make homemade food… "They have the summer house, they have the boat, so in theory they've got all this stuff to help them relax but it just makes more work for them. It's a very Swedish problem… In theory we have this work-life balance but, actually, we're not very good at sitting around and doing nothing.""

The Iranian Revolution, Revisited

This source explains the Iranian Revolution as a palace revolution with popular support arising from the Shah's liberalising, Iranian pre-modernity and explains the army's neutrality as being due to its traditional role as Protector of the Country, instead of attributing it to the Shah sucking.

THE IRANIAN: Monarchy and Theocracy, Fereydoun Hoveyda

"Continuity is the hallmark of Iranian culture . Indeed many "constants" blaze the trails of the three thousands years of Iranian history . Present historians , as well as those of the past century , have often underlined what they call the "permanence of Iran" , meaning that old Iranian traditions have survived the many calamities and invasions that struck the Caspian Plateau . Curiously enough the mindset of Iranians has barely changed over the centuries . Many ancient beliefs that linger in their unconscious trigger sometimes reactions which seem incomprehensible to foreign observers .

I remember a French journalist friend of mine who , after a travel to Iran in 1981 , asked me : "Are you Iranians insane ? You stunned the whole world by overthrewing with your bare hands the powerful Shah . And now your compatriots voluntarily , if not enthusiastically , submit to another dictator, even more totalitarian and repressive than the Shah and his regime ! ". No : Iranians are far from being mad ; they only are , so to say , "prisoners" of their own "permanence" , of their own mores . Indeed , despite its indeniable material and technical development under the Shah , Iran , in 1978 , remained at heart a traditional society .

The Shah , prey to his own hubris , entertained the illusion that Iran had already broken the walls of backwardness and underdevelopment and become part of the modern and advanced world...

The Iranian ruler is the "father-of-the-nation" and therefore supposed to provide for the well-being of his "citizens-children" ; but at the same time he is a very strict and adamant "father" who goes as far as putting them to death if they disobey him .He protects them as long as they submit to his commands , but do not hesitate to punish them severely when they fail to carry out his orders...

Iinvisible "bonds of servitude" link all levels of Iranian society from roots to branches . The "supreme ruler" himself , in a way , is far from being completely "free" . Indeed he must submit to God's authority . I evoked earlier the question of a French friend returning from a 1981 visit to Iran : "Are Iranians mad ?" . The answer is obviously negative . Indeed Iranians abandoned the Shah only when he lost his "fathership" by becoming "weak" and fleeing the country and when they found a replacement in the person of Khomeini . Screaming the slogan of "Islam is in danger" the latter startled them and appeared to them with the aura as a "saviour" sent by God...

By 1977, under the pressure of the Carter administration , Muhammad Reza Shah , already deeply impressed by Juan Carlos' example in Spain , wanted to "liberalize" his regime . He envisaged to install a real constitutional monarchy , authorize all political parties and organize free elections , under international scrutriny , in june 1979 . This new trend in his reforms , much more than the "modernization" inaugurated with the "White Revolution" , constituted a direct threat to the influence of the Shiite clergy whose paternalistic structure could only tolerate (and thrive under ) the despotic-father-rule of the traditional system , despite occasional frictions between the monarch and high ranking mullahs ...

What confused outside observers as well as some Iranians about the Islamic revolution , is that , save a limited group of intellectuals and educated members of society , the bulk of the Iranian citizens were not yearning for freedom , but rather looking for another "father" . The Shah with his so-called "liberalizing" program was softening his repressive rule . Under pressure by the United States and non-governmental Human Rights organizations (such as Amnesty International ) he pardoned some of his enemies (including Rajavi the head of the Mujahiddins who had been condemned to death ) . In 1978 he did not react harshly against his opponants and to the contrary accepted all their demands ... He showed weakness and therefore ceased to be a true "father" in the traditional sense ."


"Such simple language [of Khomeini] was indeed soothing to the masses, bewildered by the sudden eruption of spates of novelties in their traditional environment. The Shah, who was acting like foreigners and speaking a complicated language, ceased to be a Father to them. They felt like orphan children in need of a protector, of a custodian. They feverishly looked for a real father, And the new father revealed himself in the person of Khomeini. whose religious aura compensated for his frailty: he possessed the title of Imam and had proven his endurance and force in past battles against the Shah. One day he descended from heaven in a Boeing 747 and appeared to the throngs in the full light of moon's sunshine. Order was restored, as a new shah, a high—ranking religious one to boot, came to sit on the throne vacated by his runaway predecessor...

The tripartite ideology can help in understanding an intriguing event during the turmoil that preceded the Shah's fall: the almost total neutrality of the armed forces in the last months of the imperial regime. The monarchists affirm that the Shah was against bloodshed and therefore ordered the armed forces to stay put. But what about his generals as individuals?... The generals who were pampered by the Shah could have stopped the demonstrations in a matter of hours. It was also in their personal interest to save their commander in chief and his regime. Many among them knew that they would later be executed by Khomeini. Why did they not budge?... the reason for the army's neutrality should be sought elsewhere. It is due to the very function of the army which, according to the tripartite ideology, is to make war or defend the country against aggression, not to insure internal security and order...

In this perspective the Islamic revolution appears as a kind of palace revolution. Indeed, it took place at the top level of the tri- functional pyramid, the palace, in which the Shah and the religious leader stood! To limit ourselves to the twentieth century, we see that Khomeini’s upheaval followed the pattern of a number of other palace revolutions: the coronation of Reza Shah in 1925 with the blessing of the clergy; Reza Shah's abdication and his replacement by his son Muhammad Reza in 1941; the overthrow of Prime Minister Mossadegh and the return of the Shah in 1953; and the dismissal of feudal landowners and clergy members by Muhammad Reza Shah in 1963 (arrest and exile of Khomeini). Even in the 1905 constitutional revolution, one can find elements of a palace revolution as suggested by the tripartite ideology: it pitted feudal landowners and high clergy against the absolutism of the Qajar shahs...

It might be objected that the Islamic revolution, like some of its predecessors, was characterized by large popular demonstrations. But, actually, these demonstrations by the lower (third) level of the pyramid, square perfectly with Iranian tradition. The mythological order of Iranian society accounts for them, inasmuch as this behavior stems from the eminent place accorded to the father: whenever he disappears or weakens, the children (plain citizens) take to the streets...

In a couple of months, Khomeini put an end to all street demonstrations which were not organized by his religious under- lings. Everybody went back, so to say, to their natural places: the people to their third level of the pyramid; the opponents to prison or to exile in foreign countries. Given the present disorder and turmoil, as well as the bickering and struggle for power among the religious people, one can predict that the replacement of the mullah rule will also probably take the appearance of a palace revolution with a change at the top level of the pyramid"

--- Shah and the Ayatollah, The: Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution: Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution / Fereydoun Hoveyda


Iran and the Shah: What Really Happened

"Primarily by using oil-generated wealth, he modernized the nation. He built rural roads, postal services, libraries, and electrical installations. He constructed dams to irrigate Iran's arid land, making the country 90-percent self-sufficient in food production. He established colleges and universities, and at his own expense, set up an educational foundation to train students for Iran's future.

To encourage independent cultivation, the Shah donated 500,000 Crown acres to 25,000 farmers. In 1978, his last full year in power, the average Iranian earned $2,540, compared to $160 25 years earlier. Iran had full employment, requiring foreign workers. The national currency was stable for 15 years, inspiring French economist André Piettre to call Iran a country of "growth without inflation." Although Iran was the world's second largest oil exporter, the Shah planned construction of 18 nuclear power plants. He built an Olympic sports complex and applied to host the 1988 Olympics (an honor eventually assigned Seoul), an achievement unthinkable for other Middle East nations...

On the home front, the Shah protected minorities and permitted non-Muslims to practice their faiths. "All faith," he wrote, "imposes respect upon the beholder." The Shah also brought Iran into the 20th century by granting women equal rights. This was not to accommodate feminism, but to end archaic brutalization...

At the center of the "human rights" complaints was the Shah's security force, SAVAK. Comparable in its mission to America's FBI, SAVAK was engaged in a deadly struggle against terrorism, most of which was fueled by the bordering USSR, which linked to Iran's internal communist party, the Tudeh. SAVAK, which had only 4,000 employees in 1978, saved many lives by averting several bombing attempts. Its prisons were open for Red Cross inspections, and though unsuccessful attempts were made on the Shah's life, he always pardoned the would-be assassins. Nevertheless, a massive campaign was deployed against him. Within Iran, Islamic fundamentalists, who resented the Shah's progressive pro-Western views, combined with Soviet-sponsored communists to overthrow the Shah...

For Western TV cameras, protestors in Teheran carried empty coffins, or coffins seized from genuine funerals, proclaiming these were "victims of SAVAK." This deception — later admitted by the revolutionaries — was necessary because they had no actual martyrs to parade. Another tactic: demonstrators splashed themselves with mercurochrome, claiming SAVAK had bloodied them"

Was shah Mohammed Pahlavi a more benign dictator than Khomeini? - Quora

"30-40 year old Persians think of the Pahlavi reign as a golden age. I'm not Iranian, but this is what my Iranian friends are telling to me.

Granted - in his last years Shah Mohammed Pahlavi did some bad things, but judging his whole reign, he was predominantly a good person for Persia and brought it a great deal forward, most importantly in economic terms and prosperity. He was in many ways an enlightened monarch as Oman's Qaboos bin Said al Said, albeit with autocratic / oppressive tendencies"
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