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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Homophilic Intolerance in Singapore

A: Unlike B, most folks have friends in both camps.
And know that you can't erase people you don't agree with from existence.

What's left is a social solution, one where we learn to talk to each other and make a way of life together.

B: Explain to me why should I be compelled to extend civility and be friends with people whose interaction with us contain phrases such as "deviants" "perverts" and "pedophiles" with the justification that "because my Lord God Almighty said that you are "?

A: Because not everyone in FCBC think that way, and really because your caricature of religious types stem from the same arrogance of those who are homophobic.

Only ignorant people don't try to talk to the many around them to convince them of their position.

Cos nothing changes when you hide in your ideological bubbles.

Speak really loud, hear the echo and be satisfied.

B: the homophobic in SG love to justify that the state sanctions their behavior via 377A.

And A, FCBC is a church. Those who do not wear white or otherwise disagree with its doctrine have the choice of not being there. Therefore i have to conclude that its entire flock of 10,000 are there because they agree and celebrate Lawrence Khong's holy crusade against LGBT

A: Same logic that perpetuates that all gay people are to be blamed for the high rate of HIV infections.

Keep at it B, there are plenty of people who keep our world in the dark ages.

C: The whole gig with FCBC is more nuanced then the caricature that is often passed around online for laughs.

While they have a hard-line stance on the issue, the description of them as Singapore's version of Westboro isn't very accurate. They don't really have any beliefs on the issue that are considered extreme or deviant by mainstream churches in Singapore. What's different is that they are vocal about it.

Also, while people like to paint a simplistic picture of Lawrence Khong as a homophobe, he employs and works with a significant number of LGBT folk in his magic gig. So Fred Phelps he is not.

Anyway the whole automatic branding of people as homophobe gig could be one of the reasons why PD appears to be reaching saturation in it's level of support.

At a certain point people get the impression that some folks aren't really in it to create conversation, but to shout loud enough until they get their way.

D: So ironic to see someone demanding tolerant from others when he himself show intolerant toward everyone here. Keke

Links - 14th January 2016

German police: It's an Arab rape game called Taharrush, and now it has come to Europe - "After the NYE mass assaults against women in several European cities, the German Federal Criminal Police Office, BKA, now say that the Arab "rape game" Taharrush has established itself in Europe, reports the German newspaper Die Welt. In addition to the events in Cologne, police in Berlin, Hamburg, Bielefeld, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart have reported of similar incidents. In addition, police in Vienna and Salzburg in Austria and Zurich in Switzerland have raised the alarm about similar mass assaults against women by newly arrived Arab migrants. Also Sweden and Finland experienced the same on New Year's Eve... The "rape game" Taharrush is about a large group of Arab men surrounding their victim, usually a Western woman or a woman wearing Western-style clothing, and then the women are subjected to sexual abuse. They surround the victim in circles. The men in the inner circle are the ones who physically abuse the woman, the next circle are the spectators, while the mission of the third circle is to distract and divert attention to what's going on. If there is enough men, the woman is dragged along by the mob, while the men take turns ripping her clothes off, grope her, and inserting fingers in her various body orifices"

We All Thought The Sith Were Pure Evil, But What If We Were Wrong. - "your passions fuel you to overcome the chains that bind you from acting and succeeding in those actions. Confidence emerges from this. Changing the world emerges from this. Achieving one's dreams emerges from this. MLK Jr. was passionate about Civil Rights. His passion gave him the strength to protest the injustices he saw. His courage and conviction and oratory prowess attracted followers and gained him the power to effect change. And, despite his assassination, he helped bring about tremendous positive change -- he achieved victory and broke chains. Nothing in the Jedi code correlates to these actions, these successes... The peaceful Republic that preceded the Clone Wars had, under the stewardship of the Jedi, achieved unprecedented levels of bureaucracy and corruption to the point where an independent entity could illegally blockade a world and the Republic did nothing to stop it... There's nothing innate to the Sith that makes them evil. Indeed, the values they hold are all about self-empowerment to bring about change and throw off oppression in all its forms. The Jedi, by contrast, are about stagnancy and suppression of the self."

Public Purchase - SMRT Bus Model
You must be really sad to buy a model of a SMRT bus

Presidents sometimes regret justices they appoint - "Dwight D. Eisenhower called his Supreme Court appointments the "biggest damn fool mistake I ever made." Richard Nixon unwittingly named the future liberal author of Roe v. Wade. George H.W. Bush's choice now evokes a GOP grumble, "No more Souters!"... Legal historians said several reasons explain why some nominees disappoint. Many were named despite a clear record of judicial philosophy or views on issues, perhaps because they were prized for factors such as gender, religious affiliation or political background. The court's internal dynamics also play a factor. Justices craft their opinions with an eye toward attracting at least a five-vote majority. If they adopt a hard-line position on principle, justices risk alienating colleagues and writing lonely dissents for years... O'Connor said perhaps only time could tell how a prospective justice turns out. "I frankly do not know how anyone going on the court would be able to predict the thousands of issues that come before the court," she said. "I myself couldn't have told President Reagan what I would do on all these issues, because I hadn't faced them.""

Enduring Prejudices of Gender Woven Into Chinese Language - The New York Times - "What if “womanwomanwoman” were the English word for rape, defilement, adultery?That is roughly how the Chinese character “jian,” or 姦, translates, as it is made up of three characters for “woman,” 女... Troubled by the word’s gender associations, curators made it the symbol of an art exhibition that had been scheduled to open in Beijing on Nov. 25, the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women."
"What if.. when you ask a question, you must stand in a door and open your mouth? 问?
what if.. to truly be called a man, you must do manual labour in a farm? 男
worse still,must be pregnant then can be called a woman ?女"

Batman Suparman’s mother not amused son’s name made international news - "However, Batman’s mother is not amused her son has become an international sensation. She reportedly told Singapore’s mainstream press, sounding irritated to be asked if her son had been named after a comic hero: “A person’s name is not a laughing matter and it’s our business what we name our child.” She also claimed Batman was a normal Javanese name. It is pronounced as “But-Mun”. But experts that international media spoke to explained that Batman’s name is most likely not traditional or Javenese in origin... Abdul Rahim Omar, a veteran Malay language teacher that the mainstream press spoke to, said that Suparman is a common Javanese name, Batman is not and has no meaning in Malay or Javanese: “I think his parents were probably inspired by the comic.”"

Woman with Multiple Sclerosis asked 'Did you forget your wheelchair?' after parking in disabled bay - "“Because of my age, they look at me, and automatically presume I’m doing the wrong thing. But actually I can’t carry my own shopping, can’t walk long distance, I have the bladder of an 80-year-old.” The 41-year-old was diagnosed with MS when she was 35, she often uses a stick to walk and believes she will be using a wheelchair within the next few years... “We are living in a culture of suspicion towards people whose disability is not immediately obvious. Imagine having heart disease or MS, being able to walk only a short distance, and being treated as a potential fraudster when you dare to park in a disabled parking bay.” “Of the UK’s 11 million disabled people, only about 1.2 million use wheelchairs — but many others need to park close to shops, to receive disability benefits, to be free of discrimination. Let’s end the prejudice.”"
Shaming people is stupid, because sometimes you shame the wrong person

WHO 'failed to alert' global community about Ebola outbreak allowing virus to spread further – panel - "Ebola has exposed the World Health Organization (WHO) as “unable to meet its responsibility” to alert global communities about the outbreak of deadly diseases, an independent panel of experts has stated in a new report"

Why I no longer believe religion is a virus of the mind - "Michael Blume got up to speak on "The reproductive advantage of religion". With graph after convincing graph he showed that all over the world and in many different ages, religious people have had far more children than nonreligious people... All this suggests that religious memes are adaptive rather than viral from the point of view of human genes, but could they still be viral from our individual or societal point of view? Apparently not, given data suggesting that religious people are happier and possibly even healthier than secularists. And at the conference, Ryan McKay presented experimental data showing that religious people can be more generous, cheat less and co-operate more in games such as the prisoner's dilemma, and that priming with religious concepts and belief in a "supernatural watcher" increase the effects."

More Killed by Toddlers Than Terrorists in U.S.

There is a good chance that you are the “friend” that everyone finds insufferable on Facebook - "A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it...
To be not annoying, a Facebook status typically has to be one of two things:
1) Interesting/informative.
2) Funny/amusing/entertaining...
On the other hand, annoying statuses typically reek of one or more of these five motivations:
1) Image-crafting. The author wants to affect the way people think of her.
2) Narcissism. The author’s thoughts, opinions, and life philosophies matter. The author and the author’s life are interesting in and of themselves.
3) Attention-craving. The author wants attention.
4) Jealousy-inducing. The author wants to make people jealous of him or his life.
5) Loneliness"

5 Theme Parks Where Childhood Goes to Die - "Part of the thrill of paying to walk through a haunted house is knowing that while we may encounter chainsaw-wielding lunatics and demons, there's no actual danger of physical harm. Now, replace the supernatural creatures with Soviet guards and replace the "all in good fun" mentality with the very real potential that you will be attacked by a dog and you have the Soviet Bunker theme park in Lithuania. They nailed the terror aspect, but any spark of fun is smothered under the moldy, damp overcoat you're forced to wear during the three-hour tour. Set in an actual underground bunker in the forests of Lithuania, the theme park recreates the conditions of 1984 Soviet oppression so that people never forget the tragic history of Eastern Europe. Each stage is meant to represent an aspect of life in the former Soviet Union -- "guests" are yelled at, interrogated, forced to sign confessions for crimes that never happened and, from time to time, psychologically and physically abused. Everyone who enters has to sign a safety waiver for all emotional and physical injuries suffered during the experience. Most terrifying of all, the park guarantees authenticity because several of the guards are retired KGB agents, and even those who aren't sometimes take it too far"

Liberals Should Knock Off the Mockery Over Calls to Limit Syrian Refugees - "Mocking Republicans over this—as liberals spent much of yesterday doing on my Twitter stream—seems absurdly out of touch to a lot of people. Not just wingnut tea partiers, either, but plenty of ordinary centrists too. It makes them wonder if Democrats seriously see no problem here. Do they care at all about national security? Are they really that detached from reality?... Mocking it is the worst thing we could do. It validates all the worst stereotypes about liberals that we put political correctness ahead of national security. It doesn't matter if that's right or wrong. Ordinary people see the refugees as a common sense thing to be concerned about. We shouldn't respond by essentially calling them idiots. That way lies electoral disaster."

Anti-white racial insults allegedly fly at library protest by Dartmouth NAACP chapter - "'Several students interviewed by The Dartmouth reported witnessing chants including expletives, such as “F**k your white privilege” and “F**k your comfort.” … Two students reported that demonstrators entered their private study rooms and blocked the doorway, while others said that demonstrators singled out some students by name and circled around others’ desks while chanting'... The Dartmouth Review (Mene O. Ukueberuwa, Brandon G. Gill, Sandor Farkas, Charles C. W. Jang and Vibhor Khanna), a conservative publication, was the first (or among the first) to write about the protest, and also reported on allegations that some of the protesters said “F*** you, you filthy white f***s!,” “F*** you and your comfort!,” “F*** you, you racist s***!,” “Stand the f*** up!,” “You filthy racist white piece of s***!,” and “filthy white b****!”"

Senior Obama officials have warned of challenges in screening refugees from Syria - "Several high-level administration officials have warned in recent months just how challenging this can be. While they say U.S. security measures are much better than in the past, vetting Syrian refugees poses a quandary: How do you screen people from a war-torn country that has few criminal and terrorist databases to check?... FBI Director James Comey added in congressional testimony last month that “a number of people who were of serious concern” slipped through the screening of Iraq War refugees, including two arrested on terrorism-related charges. “There’s no doubt that was the product of a less than excellent vetting,” he said."

Age (or Schooling) and Intolerance

I think people become more intolerant as they age; in school you are forced to interact with people and learn new things. But as you age you're free to ensconce yourself in your ignorance and shut out or block dissenting voices and opinions.

Some might counter that there is always work to expose one to new and different ideas.

Yet, at work one generally engages with people on a more impersonal, professional level.

And in work the sort of ideas you engage with are generally potentially less scary or discomforting, especially ideologically.

Work is also more instrumental than school; you're typically trying to earn money and/or make a living, rather than think about deep issues.

People are also more guarded and less themselves at work; everyone self-censors.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Links - 13th January 2016

Duke dean: “You can’t be a great scholar, and be intolerant - "I asked Duke for a follow-up comment, and they passed along this e-mail that Dean Ashby sent four days later, which in the fourth paragraph says, “we equally recognize intellectual freedom and the courage to hold, articulate and defend and debate ideas, whether popular or not, as an essential value of the university.” (I quote the entire e-mail below.) Query which message Duke faculty are likely to be getting: “we equally recognize intellectual freedom and the courage to … debate ideas, whether popular or not” — or “you can’t be a great scholar, and be intolerant. You have to go.”"

Smith College bars reporters from sit-in, unless they agree “to explicitly state they support the movement in their articles”

A ‘superbug’ emerges in China to remind us that antibiotics won’t last forever - ""Polymyxins were the last class of antibiotics in which resistance was incapable of spreading from cell to cell," co-author Jian-Hua Liu, a professor at Southern Agricultural University in Guangzhou, told the AFP... Polymyxins are meant to be reserved for dire medical cases — after all, these drugs are too toxic for a human to want to consume. But in China, their rare usefulness in humans has led to a secondary use: animal husbandry. Chinese pigs are some of the biggest consumers of the drug colistin, a kind of polymyxin, which is used to fatten them up. The researchers report that this is almost certainly the breeding ground of the resistance, and that the Ministry of Agriculture has launched an investigation to assess this."

White Tigers Are Hybrid, Inbred, Mutant Freaks That Shouldn’t Take Up Zoo Space

Zoolander 2 isn’t just bad for trans people – it’s a step backwards for us all - "you may have come across a petition asking you to boycott the film Zoolander 2. A trailer for the movie features a scene with Benedict Cumberbatch introduced as “the most famous supermodel in the world”, the androgynous “All”. “This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority,” the petition claims, asserting that the portrayal is “an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals”. The trailer has upset many people, and the petition (as I write) has collected nearly 12,000 signatures and much commentary... Most comedy could be described – advertised, even – as “over-the-top, cartoonish mockery”. And we’re OK with that when the targets are appropriate: reality TV stars, politicians, the posh. “Punching up”, it’s sometimes called. Lampoon the lucky, the strong, those who can bear it – topple the oppressors, but never the oppressed... The destruction of gender binary would free everybody."
If you're really oppressed, you've more important things to worry about than flippant jokes in a movie
Comments: "I thought trans was all about supporting the gender binary- not destroying it at all."
"'Equal-opportunity mockery.'
That's where the article should've ended. Oh, and please stop using the term 'cis'. It's offensive :)"
"Has anyone actually seen this movie?"
"you might find that most transgender people AREN'T outraged. Maybe they're amused. Maybe they're just normal people like us who don't get offended at the smallest thing..."
"I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!! I am a transwoman and I can't for the life of me see what is offensive? The character of "All" has only one line, "All is all." Is this supposed to be offensive? Is it supposed to be offensive when Zoolander and Hansel, who, by the way, are potentially the stupidest people in the fashion industry, have some confusion about hir gender and ask? I get asked, and it's not offensive in the least! It's more respectful to ask than to assume and pass a rude comment. Or is it offensive that the producers introduce androgyny and gender variance in their film in the first place? Their fashion industry film. Is it offensive to talk about gender variance in a film about fashion? Or is it offensive to attempt to censor everyone and their brother and pin the blame on people like me, to use my situation and YOUR assumptions about what offends me to silence others? In my mind, it's that last thing."
"There is no better way to promote acceptance than to be willing to include trans people in your comedy and world. If you think anyone that goes to see this movie sees it as 'reality', you are the delusional one. Welcome to mainstream reality. When people feel safe to make fun of you, it means you are accepted."
"As a gay middle eastern man in my 50's who grew up with other gay men and transsexuals and has heard and had every nasty thing said about me and us, you and this movement of censorship has caused more frustration and shame than any of those things. I'm not saying you shouldn't speak out for those who are ridiculed or marginalized but by always harping and hysterically trumping all this outrage you do many of us a disservice and perpetuate the myth that we are all delicate flowers always offended. It's not the truth and I dare say if you we to approach a group of rational people who have gone thru the things many of us have you used be surprised to find many don't agree with any of this. You have your petition, mostly signed by supporters you mostly find on Tumblr. You don't speak for me or my community, but you have the right to try."
"If you can't laugh at yourself sometimes your doomed. Are you sure the character is even trans? They could be poking fun at those male models that are so pretty they could be women."
"I'm gay and didn't even consider someone that's straight playing gay as "gay face". Everyone needs to get over themselves and just laugh. If more people laughed at themselves then maybe the world would be a better place. If you see someone exaggerated one of your traits then just laugh because you know on some level it might be a bit true lol."

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Eat my words! - "Scandinavia's very strong, surprisingly. Scandinavia's the place where more books are sold by a person than any other country in the world. There's a general trend, which is that in any hemisphere, the closer you are to the north, the more they buy cookbooks. So the colder you are, the more you eat or the more you want cookbooks. Countries from the South in Europe buy less cookbooks per capita than countries in the North...
People have been writing about food in a semi-pornographic way for centuries. I just think it's gone a bit too far now in that people are putting so much of their erotic energy into writing about food that they don't have enough other areas of life...
It's nice to look at a menu that is offering you a ham and cheese toasted sandwich. But in fact it says it's rosemary ham, aged cheddar and white onions. I slightly wondered what white onions were, and then I realised they're just normal onions, but describing them as white makes it seem, again, just so much more delicious and unique than a ham and cheese toastie"

Freakonomics » Meet the Woman Who Said Women Can’t Have It All: A New Freakonomics Radio Episode - "DUBNER: What’s it like for you to be sitting here, to have wanted to intervene much more directly in Syria, not being part of a team that took that direction, and seeing the aftermath?
SLAUGHTER: Intensely frustrating. It is just agonizing to see the paper every day because this was so completely predictable. And it’s been predictable. We’ve got a government that’s been using chemical weapons, that’s been dropping barrel bombs on its people. Now what’s happening is even the Syrian government supporters are fleeing. But, this goes to a point that I have made over and over and over again that the divide between strategic interests and humanitarian interests is a false one. That you could see that where a country’s population is being driven out of their homes and being massacred by their governments, sooner or later, very bad things will happen. Extremists will move in, and people will move out. And then that becomes a national security interest. And that’s what we’re seeing right now. But it was predictable. And we could have done something to stop it. And we didn’t. And now the problem is so much worse...
some people thought that she was a traitor to the feminist cause – that, if a woman as well-credentialed and well-situated as Anne-Marie Slaughter had to put aside her dream career, what did that mean for the average working-class woman? And that was just the public response. It was what she heard from people she knew that really surprised her."

Freakonomics » Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them? A New Freakonomics Radio Episode - "ZELIZER: When children were taken in by foster families in the 19th century, they were taken in because of their labor value. Not that they were necessarily unloved; I don’t think we can judge past psychologies. But they certainly were taken in for that. And babies were — nobody wanted babies in their households in the late 19th century... But the enormous transformation, by the 1920s or so, it is the babies that become the hot commodity. Especially blonde, curly-haired, blue-eyed little girls got prime market value. And then starts the fact that people don’t want to adopt older children because now kids are adopted following these new sentimentally defined conceptions of children. They’re adopting them for that emotional value, and not for any kind of economic contribution."

It's 2014: Why Are Men Still Paying for First Dates? - "in the early stages of courting, the pressure to pay falls primarily on men, but this imbalance hardly dissolves as the relationship progresses. Fifty-six percent of men foot the bill in full once they’re in an established relationship, and, even further down the line, 36 percent of men pay all of household bills, versus 14 percent of women. There’s not much in the way of historical data on the question of who pays for dates, but the findings of a 1985 poll suggest that very little has changed in the past 30 years... he and his co-authors called paying for dates “a rare case” in which women are incentivized not to fight old-school gender dynamics. This same logic might explain why men who are okay stepping down as breadwinners aren’t as eager to step up to the demands of parenting and homemaking. (The scope of Frederick’s study was wider than NerdWallet’s too, and, interestingly, 39 percent of its female respondents admitted that they hoped men would reject their offers to help pay)... A 1985 study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly presented subjects with a variety of fictional dating scenarios—mixing up who invited whom, who paid, and the venue—and asked them to evaluate the acceptability of the sexual encounter that followed. Disturbingly, they found that money contorted men’s opinions of sexual consent. “Rape was rated as more justifiable,” the authors wrote, “when the man paid all the dating expenses rather than splitting the costs with the woman.” Culturally speaking, 1985 may seem distant, but the study's conclusion apparently hasn’t become any less relevant (or urgent): A more recent study, from 2010, found that men were more likely than women to think that sex should be expected when a man pays for an expensive date."

Girl hanged herself after allergic reaction to Wi-Fi

A woman has been awarded compensation for being "allergic to Wi-Fi" - "A 39-year-old French woman named Martine Richard has won a court case that means that government will need to pay her roughly US$900 a month in disability allowance for at least three years, because of the discomfort caused by her alleged Wi-Fi allergy. Richard claims that she had to quit her job and is confined to a rural barn without electricity because she's so sensitive to electromagnetic waves. Although there are many people who have reported Wi-Fi allergy - or electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) - in the past, she's the first to be officially recognised and compensated for the condition, despite the fact that science says it doesn't exist... It sort of reminds us of wind turbine syndrome, another alleged condition with no scientific backing that claims technological advances are making people sick. Even worse, this court ruling means that we're never going to find out what's really causing the symptoms experienced by Richard and all the other sufferers out there, so we'll never have the opportunity to give them the help and treatment that they really need."

Canada woman faces 10 years in prison for giving pigs water on hot day - "A video of the incident shows the driver, identified in court documents as Jeffery Veldjesgraaf, climbing from the vehicle to confront Krajnc.
“Jesus said, if they are thirsty, give them water,” she tells him.
Veldjesgraaf responds: “You know what, these are not humans you dumb frickin’ broad.”
He threatens to call the police and then asks: “What you got in that water?”
When she replies that it is just water, he says: “How do I know?”"

Do Political Preferences Change? A Longitudinal Study of U.S. Supreme Court Justices - "Do the political preferences of U.S. Supreme Court justices change over time? Judicial specialists are virtually unanimous in their response: The occasional anomaly notwithstanding, most jurists evince consistent voting behavior over the course of their careers. Still, for all the research that presupposes the consistency of preferences, it is startling to find that scholars have yet to explore rigorously the assumption of stability. We fill this gap by describing the behavioral patterns of the 16 justices who sat on the U.S. Supreme Court for 10 or more terms, and began and completed their service sometime between the 1937 and 1993 terms. The data reveal that many experienced significant change over time—a result with important implications for virtually all longitudinal work on the Court."

Why Bernie Sanders is a Bad Idea

"There is both an empirical and a logical problem with the notion that Sanders could even win a general election. The empirical problem is that for Sanders to win it would need a huge number of people to vote their economic interest. As a Marxist, I can tell you that it has been the bane of my people's existence from the man himself to today that people simply do not vote their economic interests. Period. For Sanders to win hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people to disregard their non-economic preferences, that is, their stance on issues like abortion rights, gay marriage, states' rights, gun control, and foreign policy and their own previous patterns of voting. That simply does not happen. Though US politics is more polarized than it has been for a generation, elections are still won and lost in the political center and margins of victory or defeat are in the single digits. A Sanders candidacy would put a left-wing economic isolationist populist political platform to a nation-wide referendum in a country where the voting preferences of the population are a considerable distance from Sander's expressed political positions. That is not a recipe for electoral success in a local race, to say nothing of a presidential election.

The logical problem with a Sanders presidency is related to the empirical problem. Great Britain's Labour Party recently elected a left-wing economic isolationist populist as its leader. I don't think anyone would argue that the United Kingdom is as conservative as (and definitely not more conservative than) the United States. The Labour Party was running in opposition to a Conservative/Liberal Democrat government that had been in office for years. Jeremy Corbin's platform was an electoral catastrophe for the Labour Party and delivered the Conservatives their first Parliamentary majority in decades. If a Sanders platform can't work in Great Britain there's no way it's going to work here.

And neither the empirical nor logical problems with a populist candidate winning the election come close to the problems of attempting to implement a populist platform in a political system characterized by strong institutions.

People in the United States are desperate for a new kind of politician. That is why they support anti-system populists like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Both men characterize the world's problems and the solutions to those problems as inherently simple. For Trump, it's all about leadership and tough negotiating, for Sanders it's all about regulation and redistribution. The police platforms of both men lead to me to believe that neither actually understands anything about economics or geopolitics. But the beauty of that fact (from their perspective) is neither do most voters, so their understanding of these issues is immaterial.

The fact of the matter is that the United States, and the entire world, for that matter, is/are going through a period of profound social, economic, and political change that poses fundamental issues to the comfortable (and familiar) post-World War II status quo. For both Trump and Sanders, the solution to these problems is not coming to grips with a post-industrial society and a multi-polar world, but making promises to people who just want things to get better and/or go back to the way they used to be.

With regards to their proposed solutions, I think both men are sincere in their desire to implement policies that would benefit the middle class (I'd rather think of them as misguided than just cynical). But the problem is that both men fundamentally misunderstand the structure of the American political system, the structure of the economy, and the international system.

Bernie Sanders has a long list of things he'd love to do to solve some pressing issues like wealth and income inequality (source: https://berniesanders.com/issues/income-and-wealth-inequality/). The fact of the matter is that the executive branch *cannot* do any of these things by itself. Bernie Sanders will not get support from Congress to do any of this. We can and should blame Congressional Republicans for being batshit crazy, but the President of the United States cannot just sit around bitching and moaning about Congress. Whatever legislative program he proposes *must* be subject to compromise and his entire policy platform is so far to the left that it will not receive support from even the most liberal Republicans (to say nothing of the most conservative Democrats). Think about what happened when Barack Obama was elected in 2008. Everyone was thrilled. There was going to be "hope" and "change" and while Obama did manage to get the Affordable Healthcare Act passed, the Democrats had to railroad that thing through Congress using lots of opaque parliamentary procedures. It is, of course, great that they did, but it goes to show you that even a seemingly-popular President working with a somewhat-friendly Congress still needs to be able to maneuver very careful and very adroitly to get anything accomplished. And let's get real: if Obama could barely get a law through Congress that basically just fixes the market failures that characterize a capitalist system of healthcare provision, what chance does a President Sanders stand getting a single-payer system through?

A reliance on executive power also characterizes Donald Trump's political platform. He does not care to elucidate a detailed policy platform, but he doesn't need to because for him it's all about going in, kicking ass, and taking names. But if you look at what Trump wants to do on trade policy it's actually not that different from what Bernie Sanders wants. To quote the latter's website: "[A President Sanders would] [reverse] trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs. If corporate America wants us to buy their products they need to manufacture those products in this country, not in China or other low-wage countries."

Sounds great, but in practice this would be almost impossible to implement. Let's imagine that either of them found a way to abrogate one or all of these treaties, impose huge tariffs on imports, and force companies to start producing everything from underwear to televisions in the United States. What happens? The prices on everything go up which is basically just a giant regressive tax on the poor and middle class. You can't pay someone $15 dollars an hour to produce a pack of 20 socks sold at Wal-Mart for $12 dollars. That's not advanced economics, it's simple math.

Furthermore, even if the US tightens up import and export policies it won't matter because we live in a world where capital is hyper-mobile. Sanders wants to make the United States an outpost of socialism and Trump wants to "make America great again," but in a world where there are lots of other large (and growing) countries with open markets the net effect of these policies would be higher prices, lower economic growth, and an even more stark polarization of the rich and poor. That Donald Trump does not realize this (or does not care) speaks volumes to his business acumen."

The Ideal Malay State

Finding the root of little red dot, Singapore in Singapore Diary Forum:

"In truth, by 1330 “SINGAPURA” had become a name common across Asia, since the lion was a symbol closely associated with the Buddhism that sread across the region before the arrival of Islam. Various Singapuras had already existed, in Vietnam, southern Siam, western Java and in India too. Nonetheless, for the island of Temasek the name Singapura struck — as did Sri Tri Buana’s reign, which according to the Malay chronicles, lasted right through the first half of the 14th century. The problem with these chronicles is just how much of them we can treat as historical fact — a problem that goes well beyond Sri Tri Buana’s advisor mistaking something in the bushes for what he imaged to be a lion.

To the end, the Sejarah (Malay literatures) casts the blame for the ultimate fall of Singapura on the poor judgement of its last king, Sultan Iskandar Shah. After only 3 years on the throne, the Sultan listened to court gossip and humiliated one of his favourite concubines by publicly exposing her in the market. This act enraged her father, a royal minister, who exacted his revenge by inviting one of Singapura’s rivals, the neighbouring Majapahit Empire in Java, to seize and sack the Sultan’s kingdom (the father was even there at the gates f the fort to open them for the Javanese army when it landed). The Sejarah tells of a fierce battle where so many were killed … that blood flowed like a river in spate and flooded the fort of Singaura on the sea shore. Sultan Iskandar Shah fled north to the Malay Peninsula, where he founded a new settlement of Melaka under the shade of the eponymous malaka tree. From here, the Malay chronicles really hit their stride, describing Melaka’s rise and extolling it as an ideal Malay state where every woman was beautiful, every man was handsome and the government worked well."

--- Singapore: A Biography / Mark Ravinder Frost, Yu-Mei Balasingamchow

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Links - 12th January 2016

Is Teaching to a Student’s “Learning Style” a Bogus Idea? - "Harold Pashler of the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues searched the research literature for exactly this kind of empirical evidence. They couldn't find any. One study they reviewed compared participants’ scores on the Verbalizer–Visualizer Questionnaire, a fifteen-item survey of true-or-false questions evaluating whether someone prefers auditory or optical information, with their scores on memory tests after presenting words via either pictures or verbal reading. On average, participants performed better on the free-recall test when they were shown images, regardless of their preferences. Some studies claimed to have demonstrated the effectiveness of teaching to learning styles, although they had small sample sizes, selectively reported data or were methodologically flawed. Those that were methodologically sound found no relationship between learning styles and performance on assessments. Willingham and Pashler believe that learning styles is a myth perpetuated merely by sloppy research and confirmation bias... When teachers wonder how to present a lesson to kids with a range of abilities, they may not find the answer in established learning style approaches. Instead, Willingham suggests keeping it simple. “It’s the material, not the differences among the students, that ought to be the determinant of how the teacher is going to present a lesson," he says. For example, if the goal is to teach students the geography of South America, the most effective way to do so across the board would be by looking at a map instead of verbally describing the shape and relative location of each country. “If there’s one terrific way that captures a concept for almost everybody, then you’re done.”"

Fact or Fiction?: NASA Spent Millions to Develop a Pen that Would Write in Space, whereas the Soviet Cosmonauts Used a Pencil - "The tips flaked and broke off, drifting in microgravity where they could potentially harm an astronaut or equipment. And pencils are flammable--a quality NASA wanted to avoid in onboard objects after the Apollo 1 fire."

Inuit vs. Eskimo - "In Canada, the term Inuit is preferred over Eskimo, which is considered offensive. What many people do not know is that using the term Inuit as a blanket term for all arctic people in Alaska is offensive – the opposite of the situation in Canada. Why? Because there are two main groups of arctic people in Alaska, the Yupik and the Iñupiat. The Yupik peoples are Eskimo but not Inuit. Quite understandably, they don’t like being called Inuit because they aren’t Inuit (and the word doesn’t even exist in Yupik languages). This means that it’s better to call arctic Alaskans Eskimos, not Inuit – or better yet, call them Yupik if they are Yupik, Iñupiat if they are Iñupiat, Cup’ik if they are Cup’ik, and so on... contrary to popular belief, there are also non-Eskimo indigenous peoples in Alaska: the Aleut (Unangan) as well as many different Native American groups"

Election Boycotts: Losing Voices and Votes - "Boycotting elections emerges as a "third option", but the boycott strategy presents a false option for voters and parties because it throws away a vote and voids the collective voice... Although the boycott strategy worked in South Africa's case, evidence shows that boycotting elections failed in most cases. When the opposition and voters boycott, they forget that elections are not just a one time effort. There is always the next election cycle. So why sit on the sideline and relegate the party voice to "non participant"? As found in 171 cases of the opposition choosing to boycott elections, the boycott strategy only worked 4 percent of the time, according to a 2010 study "Threaten but Participate: Why Election Boycotts Are a Bad Idea" by Matthew Frankel"

Students At Wesleyan Demand Abolition Of Free Press - "The petition calls for all copies of the Argus on campus to be thrown away until the paper gives in to all of the protesters’ demands. Those demands include creating a special front-page section dedicated to marginalized voices and forcing all Argus staff to be trained in social justice and diversity once per term, among other things. The paper just might have to give in. The Wesleyan Student Assembly has control over some of the Argus’s funding, and both the president and vice president have endorsed the petition... “People whispered “racist” or other pleasantries under their breath when I passed. In a cafe, an activist berated me in public for 15 minutes,” Stascavage writes. “According to one commenter on my column, my picture is being posted online with comments that ‘seem to be calling for violence’ against me.” At one point, he says, activists stormed into the Argus’s offices and screamed at editors, demanding that the entire next issue be dedicated to apologizing."

Mexican Ceviche Recipe - "In Mexico when they make this they often add sea water (not recommened)."

Stories differ inside and outside court - "Nearly half the men said nagging or complaining contributed to the broken marriage, while only 27 per cent of women said so"

‘I Want to Be a Boy Scout.’ There’s Just One Hitch. - NYTimes.com - "“I want to be a Boy Scout,” Allie Westover, 13, told a panel of men in khaki uniforms weighted by pins and patches. She dropped a scout application in front of them. Then so did her sister, Skyler, and three friends: Ella Jacobs, Daphne Mortenson and Taylor Alcozer." In a year in which gender roles in traditional American institutions have undergone major changes and challenges, a fight in Northern California over joining the Boy Scouts is among the most recent points of contention. These girls — the latest of many over the decades who have sought to become Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts instead of Brownies and Girl Scouts — say they would rather be camping and tying knots than selling cookies... Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination by sex, carves out an exception for the Boy Scouts, allowing them to exclude members based on gender."
If the Boy Scouts admit girls, are they still the Boy Scouts?

1 in 3 Singaporeans travel to shop: Survey - "Singaporeans continue to live up to their reputation as avid shoppers, as 36 per cent of them go on holiday mainly to rack up purchases, according to a survey by insurance company AIG. In a media release on Thursday (Nov 19) AIG said the survey also found that 56 per cent of respondents said shopping holidays are the most desired type of holiday. Other top reasons for going on holiday include getting away for a weekend break (21 per cent), the desire to visit an exotic destination (12 per cent), and the need for a luxurious getaway (4 per cent)."

MSNBC's 'No-Fly List Is Islamophobia' Poster Boy Arrested in Turkey as Part of ISIS Cell - "A man, who just two years ago was the poster boy for the far-Left media's attacks against the U.S. government's no-fly list for "unfairly" targeting Muslims, finds himself and several family members sitting in a Turkish prison -- arrested earlier this month near the Turkey-Syria border as members of an ISIS cell."

Is the World Against China? - "my colleague in the College of Communication talks about conscious skepticism among her students. And that’s a foreign term in China. From an American perspective, every reader and writer should have that, but in China they don’t get that. It is somewhat related to the government-controlled media, but in 5,000 years of Chinese history, it has not been a big part of education. In other words, here in the United States, it is a very, very important mission for the media to report what the government does wrong. Anti-government is too strong a word, but basically the Western media has that mission to reveal anything that goes wrong with the government. In the Western media business, if you simply report that the government did this for us, it’s two sentences and you’re done, because not a lot of readers are interested in reading this. But in China, people basically don’t have that mind-set. They are used to hearing that the government did this and that for us."

Sex Ed Lesson: ‘Yes Means Yes,’ but It’s Tricky - The New York Times - "“What does that mean — you have to say ‘yes’ every 10 minutes?” asked Aidan Ryan, 16, who sat near the front of the room. “Pretty much,” Ms. Zaloom answered. “It’s not a timing thing, but whoever initiates things to another level has to ask”.. The students did not seem convinced. They sat in groups to brainstorm ways to ask for affirmative consent. They crossed off a list of options: “Can I touch you there?” Too clinical. “Do you want to do this?” Too tentative. “Do you like that?” Not direct enough. “They’re all really awkward and bizarre,” one girl said... Corey Mock, a student at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, was expelled after officials there found him guilty of sexual misconduct because he could not prove he had obtained verbal consent from a woman who accused him of sexual assault. But a Davidson County Chancery Court judge ruled in August that the university had “improperly shifted the burden of proof and imposed an untenable standard upon Mr. Mock to disprove the accusation.” The judge called the university’s ruling “arbitrary and capricious.”

Affirmative consent: the ultimate romance-killer - "The impromptu kiss between Owen and Claire in Jurassic World left women swooning and men hoping to emulate Owen. The scene in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Ginny asks Harry to close his eyes before softly kissing him does not bring to mind the word ‘assault’. And in The Notebook, Noah grabbing and kissing Allie in the pouring rain after being reunited is incredibly romantic, despite his use of force. In all these films, there was no explicit consent, no breathalyser, no contract – not even a request for permission... Sometimes people misread the moment, and try to kiss someone who doesn’t want to be kissed. Some people are simply bad with social cues. Misreading a situation and feeling embarrassed and apologetic afterwards is an honest and forgivable mistake. That is, unless you’re in California or New York, where misreading the desires of another would be seen as sexual assault. Whether the outcome of attempting a kiss is romantic or humiliating, you better pray the person you’re going for is not someone who would ruin your life over it. To take it a step further, the New York and California affirmative-consent laws assert that ‘consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity’. This concept has been portrayed in short films such as Feminism For Bros – 105. The actors hooking up in this short speak throughout the entire sexual encounter, ensuring every touch, every kiss, every movement is acceptable. The whole scenario strikes me as awkward, forced and unappealing."

George W. Bush’s greatest legacy — his battle against AIDS - "This is a moment for all Americans to be proud of the best thing George W. Bush did as president: launching an initiative to combat AIDS in Africa that has saved millions of lives... some of these men and women would be dead if not for Bush’s foresight and compassion... When the Bush administration inaugurated the program in 2003, fewer than 50,000 HIV-infected people on the African continent were receiving the antire­troviral drugs that keep the virus in check and halt the progression toward full-blown AIDS. By the time Bush left office, the number had increased to nearly 2 million. Today, the United States is directly supporting antiretroviral treatment for more than 4 million men, women and children worldwide, primarily in Africa. This is an amazing accomplishment, especially because it wasn’t supposed to be possible... 11 African countries — including some of the hardest-hit by the epidemic — are providing antire­troviral drug treatment to well over half of their citizens infected with HIV... Bush’s initial multibillion-dollar commitment to PEPFAR was not really justifiable on grounds of national security, except perhaps in the broadest possible sense. The administration was motivated instead by altruism. It was the right thing to do."

The Social Side of Eating - "Women, for example, eat less calories when they’re eating with men than when they eat with women. Both men and women eat less in front of a stranger of the opposite sex, but women eat particularly less if the guy is attractive. In general, people eat about as much as they see other eating, and eat more when in larger groups of people or when we think other people have eaten more. Even more impressively, how much you like a food item can be influenced by seeing the like or dislike of that food by others. But the changes aren’t limited to just who is around in terms of number and gender – their relationship to us has a big impact as well. Guys eat more around their guy friends than male strangers. In fact, men eat more around their guy friends than any other pairing of people. Couples and females around strangers eat much, much less."

The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner - "How do you fancy eating your dinner at home in front of a webcam and letting thousands of people watch? If they like the way you eat, they will pay you money - maybe a few hundred dollars a night... a good salary for doing what you would do anyway. This is happening now in South Korea... It feels like a dinner party where the diners are talking from different rooms. "They like to see me eat but we also have lots of conversations," says Lee Chang-hyun. "We talk about everything. I even give them counselling about problems they might have so we have a real relationship.""

Relationship Experts Recommend Single Women Try Bathing In Open Stream Until Suitor Glimpses Them Through Trees - The Onion - America's Finest News Source

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Chinatown - "There was a huge economic decline in the 1870s... there was a huge anti-Chinese violence. There were shootings and lynchings and, you know, just mob attacks towards these people because they were considered people who were just stealing their jobs. It was almost like a tension with outsourcing now. And so the Chinese were basically driven out: both geographically from a lot of areas and also from being employed. And so what happened was the Chinese gravitated towards 2 areas. The first one is laundries and the second was restaurants. And these are both women's work and thus not threatening to the American male. And so you find restaurants actually being the heart of Chinatowns, not just in the United States but all over the world"

Why haven't western countries signed the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers & Members of Their Families?

Gabriel Seah's answer to Why haven't western countries signed the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers & Members of Their Families? - Quora

It is notable that only 48 UN Member states have ratified the convention (More help and treats for foreign workers) - and they are countries from which migrants come (rather than those to which migrants go). East Timor, Egypt, the Philippines and Senegal are some of them.

This suggests that it is detrimental for countries which expect to receive migrants to sign it.

There are many problematic aspects of this convention (Text: International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families). I shall just look at Articles 10, 29 and 43.

Article 10 says that no migrant worker or his family "shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". This has the potential to subvert a country's legal system. For example some states in the US practise capital punishment, which some argue is cruel and unusual punishment (The Case Against the Death Penalty). Ratifying this convention might mean that migrant workers and their families could not be subject to capital punishment. This might cause a legal crisis in countries practising capital punishment.

Article 29 says that "each child of a migrant worker shall have the right to a name, to registration of birth and to a nationality". The last seems the most problematic. In countries which don't practise jus soli, or the right of those born in a country to be citizens (i.e. most of the world), you need to have at least one parent who is a citizen of the country in question. Now, what happens if the child of a migrant worker is unable to obtain the nationality of one or both of his parents' countries? A country signing the convention would be obligated to give this child citizenship of its own country.

Article 43 calls for migrant workers to have equal access to nationals with regard to housing, including social housing. Social housing is typically subsidised or otherwise priced below market prices, and countries understandably would prefer for their citizens to benefit from this first before opening it to migrant workers (if at all).

Monday, January 11, 2016

Links - 11th January 2016

Blakely teacher restricts Lego-play to her girl students in the pursuit of gender equity - "In Karen Keller’s kindergarten classroom, boys can’t play with Legos. They can have their pick of Tinkertoys and marble tracks, but the colorful bricks are “girls only”... Although her approach might anger some parents, Keller is sticking to her guns: It’s all part of a plan to get girls building during “free choice,” the 40 minutes of unstructured play time embedded at the end of every school day. For years, Keller, who has taught at Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary since 2008, watched with discouragement as self-segregation defined her classroom — her boy students flocked to the building blocks while her girl students played with dolls and crayons and staples, toys that offered them little challenge or opportunity to fail and develop perseverance... In Keller’s mind, it’s a fair practice “because fair is getting what you need to succeed or to get better.” Fair doesn’t have to be the same, and she says her kindergarteners get that."
Free choice = you can choose what feminists choose
Comments: "Asians do better at maths - so will she refuse to teach them mathematics so the non-asian kids have 'equality'?""
"So lets stop girls's access to books so that boys can catch up."

Calissons of Aix-en-Provence - "“Calisson” is a Provencal sweet treat composed of a light paste of crystallised melon and almonds crushed together. It is coated with royal icing and spread on unleavened bread. This sweet in a shuttle shape with an orange blossom fragrance has been a specialty of Aix-en-Provence since the 15th century. The word “calisson” comes from “calice” (chalice) and the Provencal diminutive “oun”, meaning “petit calice” (small chalice). “Calice” originally referred to the holy cup of the Eucharist and Communion itself. The calisson is indeed a kind of host. It became popular between Northern Italy and Provence and semantic usage resulted in the name calisson!"

The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, book review - "Stopping time was an obsession with Carroll, and it lies at the heart of his creativity. He did not want children to grow up... Between 1856 and 1889, he took approximately 3,000 photographs, no mean feat given the painstaking process involved. Of these, only 1% were of naked children, taken with the permission of their parents: he kept them in an envelope marked, “honi soit”, (ie, “evil be to him that thinks it.”) Their composition pleased his sense of geometry, theatricality and scale, but it was Alice Liddell to whom he returned repeatedly. Her elfin face and pageboy haircut are a world away from Tenniel’s bulgy-browed, flowing-tressed little maiden, but she was his “dream-child”. In fiction, she could be, as the biographer put it, “stretched and squashed until she acquired the illusion of independent life, even as his writing was permanently fixing her on the page.” So did his photographs. I still remember my revulsion on first seeing a semi-nude photograph of Alice Liddell aged eight, but the Victorians’ Romantic conception of childhood as a separate realm allowed this to seem innocent. At any rate, the fall-out with the Liddells, whether caused by Carroll’s recently discovered nude photograph of Alice’s budding adolescent sister or not, has a whiff of scandal to it. Today, Carroll himself is tainted as a possible precursor to Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert although as his biographer observes,“a number of Carroll’s contemporaries thought that his sexual interests, however pale and repressed, were more likely to have been focussed on other men …the most probable conclusion is that Carroll’s strongest feelings [ for children] were sentimental rather than sexual.” A former child subject attests to his being “so scrupulous not to embarrass or offend,” though Douglas-Fairhurst admits, “a vision of innocence is not the same as innocent vision.” But when Carroll kissed a 17 year old girl, thinking she was a child, her mother, Mrs Owen, a trained barrister and niece of Oxford’s Vice Chancellor was furious. In 1880, with the public mood changing in the wake of journalistic exposes of child prostitution, and the age of consent raised from 13 to 16, the photographs stopped."

New Wave of Mormon Missionaries Is Young, Energetic and Female - "“Each of my sisters were married by the time they were 19 or 20,” said Sister Rachel Thomson, 24, from Hamilton, New Zealand. “They didn't have the opportunity to go when they turned 21.”... There are now more than 22,000 women serving on missions, making up more than a quarter of all missionaries, according to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the church is officially called. The number of sister missionaries has nearly tripled since the age minimum was lowered in October 2012... “People are definitely more open to a female missionary,” said Sister Thomson. “Part of it may be what we wear.” Unlike their male counterparts, they say they are are encouraged to wear cheerful clothing. Female missionaries wear blouses and long skirts, which can be flowery and feminine. “Just recently they told us to be colorful and look cute,” said Sister Thomson. There are guidelines about their underwear, too, which must be white or nude."

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Date A Girl With Dyed Hair - "In short, based on my extensive experience, a girl having hair dyed with a non-traditional color is a leading indicator of instability, mental illness, and an inability to function within a healthy relationship."

I Know Why So Many Angry Women Have Blue Hair - "Early man knew to avoid the blue poison dart frog. Modern man knows the same is true of a Canadian gender studies student who thinks she’s Zelda."

General Butt Naked - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "Blahyi has said he led his troops naked except for shoes and a gun. He believed that his nakedness was a source of protection from bullets. Blahyi now claims he would regularly sacrifice a victim before battle, saying, "Usually it was a small child, someone whose fresh blood would satisfy the devil."... In 1997 Blahyi traveled to the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana. It was at the camp, he recounts, that he made confession for his sins at a church and "had his life saved". When he goes out to preach now, he says he sometimes encounters relatives of his victims. "I feel very bad, so bad", he said, but he insists it was satanic powers that possessed him in the past and he cannot be held responsible."

Medicine and Evolution, Part 4: Physicians seduced by “intelligent design” creationism - "'A national survey of 1,472 physicians indicates more than half — 63 percent — believe the theory of evolution over that of intelligent design... 88 percent of Jewish doctors and 60 percent of Roman Catholic physicians said they agree more with evolution, while 54 percent of Protestant doctors agreed more with intelligent design'... Although there can be overlap, there’s a big difference between the primary motivations for going into science and medicine. Basic scientists tend to be motivated by a profound curiosity, a desire to understand nature, and a profound satisfaction that one derives from satisfying that curiosity and fulfilling that desire. In other words, it is the thrill we as scientists get from discovering something new, from deepening our understanding. To a scientist, there’s no greater rush than discovering a new and important gene, for example, or coming up with a hypothesis and seeing it validated by experimentation. All scientists seek that rush, and it is their curiosity that drives them. In contrast, what motivates most physicians to enter medicine is not curiosity; at least that is not the primary reason. Rather, as corny as it sounds, it is the desire to help people and the satisfaction we get from curing disease and easing suffering. Some of us have the motivations of a scientist, but there has to be a strong element of wanting to help others to go through the pain of medical school... many physicians see their calling as a professional who cares for the sick to be the highest form of service to God and their fellow humans. Indeed, there is even evidence that physicians as a group are more religious than the general population... Another thing that scientists don’t always understand is that we as physicians are trained to place a high premium on being nonjudgmental of our patients"

Why Do Some Doctors Reject Evolution? - ""Most physicians are not scientists. This is not a knock, but they're more akin to engineers," Gorski says. "They take science that's already known and they apply it to a problem, the problem being making patients better"... Another potential culprit: the memorization-based nature of medical training, which may give a doctor-to-be the impression that biology is a made up list of facts to recall; not a process that has gathered evidence for concepts like evolution over generations of experimentation... an evolutionary understanding of the human body can make doctoring feel richer, Omenn thinks. The symptoms people see their doctor for—vomiting, diarrhea, or anxiety, for example—all developed to protect our evolutionary ancestors. Doctors get to see and intimately know the end product of humanity's evolution so far, in all its frailties."

YouTube Toy Review Channel EvanTubeHD Pulls In About $1.3 Million Per Year - "EvanTubeHD is one of YouTube’s prominent toy review channels. In new videos, which arrive at least once a week, Jared provides nine-year-old Evan and his six-year-old sister Jillian with new toys, which they play with on camera. The videos have proven enormously popular; since 2011, they have received more than 1.2 billion views"

Channels: Broadcasting Done Right - "Channels replace the old Broadcast lists and are better in every way. They can have an unlimited number of members, they can be public with a permanent URLand each post in a channel has its own view counter."
Telegram is awesome. Too bad people don't use it

University refuses to post job advert because having 'junior' in title is 'discriminatory' - Telegraph - "Rhizome PR was told by the university that it would only publish their advert for a junior PR consultant if the word “junior” was changed to "entry level", "graduate" or "trainee"."

Effects of Heredity and Environment on Intelligence - "identical twins raised in different environments tend to have very similar IQ scores. In fact, these twins are more similar to each other than are fraternal twins raised in the same home... adopted children’s IQ scores are more highly correlated with their biological parents’ IQs than with their adoptive parents’ IQs... Furthermore, the IQ correlations between adopted children and their biological parents become stronger, and those between the children and their adoptive parents become weaker, as the children grow older, especially during late adolescence... Especially as they get older, children choose their environments and experiences. Children may actively seek out environmental conditions that match their inherited abilities—a phenomenon known as niche-picking (Flynn, 2003; Halpern & LaMay, 2000; Scarr & McCartney, 1983). For example, children who, genetically speaking, have exceptional quantitative reasoning ability may enroll in advanced mathematics courses, delight in tackling mathematical brainteasers, and in other ways nurture their inherited talents. Children with average quantitative ability are less likely to take on such challenges and so have fewer opportunities to develop their mathematical skills. In such circumstances the relative effects of heredity and environment are difficult to tease apart. Earlier we mentioned that the IQ correlations between adopted children and their biological parents become stronger over time. We now have a possible explanation for this finding. Children gain increasing independence as they get older. Especially as they reach adolescence, they spend less time in their home environments, and they make more of their own decisions about the kinds of opportunities to pursue—decisions undoubtedly based, in part, on their natural talents and tendencies... Genetic activity affects neural activity (i.e., the operation of neurons in the brain), which in turn affects behavior, which in turn affects the environment. But influence moves in the opposite direction as well: The environment affects behavior, and these two (through stimulation, nutritional intake, physical activity, etc.) affect neural activity and genetic expression."

Story Begins To Unravel About Drowned Syrian Boy - "Abdullah Kurdi, the little boy’s father, was living in a relatively safe area in a Turkish town for three years while working on construction sites for 50 Turkish lira (roughly $17) a day. However, Kurdi told a Syrian radio station it was not enough to support himself and his family and he relied on his sister Tima Kurdi, who is a 20-year resident of Canada, to assist in paying the rent. It should be noted that Tima told reporters Thursday that the family just came to Turkey last year, even though WSJ points out he came to Turkey three years ago, and his Facebook “shows pictures of the family in Istanbul crossing the Bosporus and feeding pigeons next to the famous Yeni Cami, or new mosque”... According to earlier reports, the family’s application for asylum in Canada was rejected by Canada, but Canadian immigration authorities told the BBC they had no record of receiving an application for refugee status from Abdullah. Tima later admitted the asylum application for the family was never submitted... “That boy and his family had lived in Turkey for three years. The money for that boy’s father to pay the people smugglers was sent from Canada.” He added, “The father sent them on that boat so the father could get dental treatment. They were in no fear, they were in no persecution and they were in no danger in Turkey.”"
Addendum: Full quote: “The facts remain that that terrible image was not brought about by recent events in Syria or Iraq. That boy and his family had lived in Turkey for three years. The money for that boy's father to pay the people smugglers was sent from Canada. The father sent them on that boat so the father could get dental treatment. They were in no fear; they were in no persecution and they were in no danger in Turkey … People are drowning at sea because of the incentives that were being provided by their cockamamie humanitarian ethos. It is much more humane for people to go through an orderly migration program, to be put in place where they are safe and where they do not have to take such tempting things.” — Senator Cory Bernardi in an address to the Australian Senate, 7th September 2015, after the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach near Bodrum, Turkey.

One of the weirdest spam emails I've gotten

Subject: Happy New Year!‏

Message: Happy new year in....

Romani: baxtalo nevo bersh

Sardinian: bonu annu nou

Afrikaans: gelukkige nuwejaar

This came from a larceno.us email address

larceno.us redurects to udemy.com, some course website

This is a very indirect and inefficient way of advertising one's website
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