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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Links - 16th April 2016

Teaching children fundamental British values is act of 'cultural supremacism' - Telegraph - "Teaching children fundamental British values is an act of "cultural supremacism", teachers have said, as members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) vote to replace the concept with one that includes "international rights". A legal duty on teachers to promote so-called British values was passed two years ago after the "Trojan Horse" controversy. However, teachers argue "fundamental British values" set an "inherent cultural supremacism, particularly in the context of multicultural schools and the wider picture of migration". The motion, which was passed at the NUT's annual conference in Brighton, also calls for a campaign to promote "policies that welcome migrants and refugees into Britain" and called on members to "gather and collate materials on migrants and refugees" to be used in schools... Their motion was met with fierce criticism. Chris McGovern of the Campaign for Real Education, said: "Teachers should not be playing the role of fifth columnists in the ideological war currently being fought over our national identity and our national sovereignty. "Teaching children that British values are part of “cultural supremacism” will, at best, make them feel guilty about being British and, at worst, radicalise them in order to ‘make up’ for the sins of their fathers. "If one wishes to destroy a nation and build a ‘brave new world’ you begin by indoctrinating and brainwashing the children. This process of ‘re-education' has started some years ago in our schools and we are, now, seeing its consequences in the suppression of free speech on our university campuses.""
Direct quote from conference agenda: "The use of the term “fundamental British values” within the Teachers’ Standards document, which sets an inherent cultural supremacism, particularly in the context of multicultural schools and the wider picture of migration."
"promote own culture = cultural supremacist
promote minority culture = cultural appropriation
like, ffs can't these people make up their minds"

San Francisco State investigating confrontation over man's dreadlocks - ""You're saying that I can't have a hair style because of your culture? Why?" the man said. "Because it's my culture," she said. The man tells her that dreadlocks were part of Egyptian culture and asks her, "Are you Egyptian? Nah, man, you're not." She asked him if he was Egyptian, and he told her no. "Wait, where's Egypt?" she asked. "Tell me." He responded: "You know what, girl ... you have no right to tell me what I cannot wear." In the video, the man tried to walk away, but the woman stopped him, continuing to ask where Egypt was. When he tried to go around her and go up a nearby set of stairs, the woman grabbed his arm, trying to stop him. "Yo, girl, stop touching me right now," he said. "I don't need your disrespect.""
Anti-racism means harassing white people

Your view across the ocean isn't what you think it is - "if you're living on the east coast of the US, you're more likely to be looking out over South America or Africa than Europe - despite how it looks on a regular map. Vancouver Island locals? You're probably gazing at Antarctica. And if you live in a town called St Anthony in Newfoundland, Canada, you might assume you're looking across to Greenland and Iceland, but you're actually staring at a very, very distant Australia. Those of us in Sydney are bypassing New Zealand altogether and staring across to the US's west coast"

NADEL: Gendering issues reflected in language - "Although I don’t fully understand why inanimate objects need to be gendered, it is not as bothersome to me as using the masculine form to refer to a group of females and males. When referring to a group of children, Spanish speakers say “chicos,” which literally translates to “a group of boys.” The word “padre” means “father,” while “padres” means “parents.” If there is one male in a group of all females, “ellas,” (them, female) is changed to “ellos,” (them, male). In all of these cases, it seems like a matter of not wanting to threaten men’s masculinity. I studied Spanish for several years at home and never noticed these peculiarities. While I’m actively forced to speak Spanish here, I’m much more cognizant of my word choice. Spanish pronouns, objects and nouns do not seem to consider gender inclusivity and neutrality, and like many others, I consider this a feminist and LGBT issue."
"the assumption is that, either way, language -and language use– affects thought. Cultural Marxism at its worst, especially when we are told that the author is the only one who is able to tell what people believe from what they say. Even if it is denied by the speaker. Even philosophy of language can be interrupted by SJW ideology. I don't know about you, but every time I sit on 'une chaise', I'm intentionally acting out a visual metaphor of the patriarchy."

Yasser Arafat's widow says her marriage was 'a big mistake'

Israel calls Palestinian knife attacks 'a new kind of terrorism' - "A survey released Monday by the respected pollsters at the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah found that two-thirds of Palestinians support the knife attacks. More than half of those surveyed support armed struggle against Israel and want their leader, Abbas, to resign from office."

'Vegetarian Gene' Linked To Colon Cancer - "People from countries with a history of eating plant-based diets have a genetic mutation which leaves them vulnerable to high inflammation. The gene helps those who do not eat meat or fish to create additional fatty acids which are essential to the body. But the side effect is that they react badly in the presence of cheap cooking oils such as sunflower oil, overloading the body with omega-6 compounds. Scientists say this then blocks a series of internal processes that can result in dangerously high inflammation, colon cancer, and heart problems. Professor Tom Brenna, from Cornell University, said that the advent of cheap cooking oils had meant the useful gene is now more of a hindrance than a help, causing the body to take up too much arachidonic acid - which causes the inflammation."

Walter Isaacson on Steve Jobs’s Reality Distortion Field - Bloomberg - "Very often, in writing this book, different people would tell me different versions of the same tale. It was like Rashomon. It even happened with Steve himself. He would tell me the same story three or four times, and each time it would be a little different. Nobody was lying or spinning. It’s just that Steve had such a strong force field that it seemed to almost distort the perceptions around him.

'As hard as it gets': the case of anorexic E and the right to die - "E is a bright 32-year-old woman suffering from anorexia nervosa, alcoholism and unstable personality disorder. Between 4 and 11, unbeknown to her parents, she was sexually abused. By age 15, she was admitted to a specialist treatment unit for her eating disorder. In 2006, after dropping out of medical school, she was hospitalised again and spent much of the next six years in placements for eating and alcohol problems. In July and October 2011, E signed advance decisions refusing resuscitation or any life-prolonging medical treatment. In March, she was detained under theMental Health Act but refused tube feeding. Since then, she has ingested no calories. In the last two years, her Body Mass Index (BMI) has fluctuated between 11 and 12, representing an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. E describes her life as "pure torment". Although she knows death will follow, she pleads for an end to treatment and the respect of her wishes. In early April, the medical team, E, and her parents agreed that all treatment options had been exhausted and, on 20 April 2012, she was placed on a palliative "end of life" pathway.There are two practical options for E's clinicians: let her die, or forcibly treat her by restraining her physically or chemically. The latter process, which Dr Glover describes as a traumatic re-enactment of her childhood abuse, could last years. With prolonged, aggressive treatment, doctors estimate the likelihood of recovery at 20%."
If children can be euthanised, why must anorexics be force-fed?

Naked Kim Kardashian And The Meaning Of Feminism In A Post-Instagram World - "I do think people assume that beauty is easy and that there’s somehow no labor involved for people who make money off of being beautiful. I mean, this is a woman who wears corsets to work out. Beyond the work it takes to maintain her physique, Kim’s life is made up of fittings and contract meetings and red carpet appearances — and if those sound fun, imagine doing them surrounded by Giuliana Rancics and Ryan Seacrests all day every day with no end in sight.That’s labor. If you forced me to do the labor that Kim Kardashian undertakes every day, I’d move to the gulag... Not until women can get on equal financial footing can we truly fuck up the system and force men to become our mute, subservient beekeepers"
If "there is no such thing as an ugly woman, only a lazy woman", isn't treating beauty as a non-virtue unlike something like intelligence or workkplace success arbitrary?

If Kim Kardashian’s naked selfie makes her a feminist, Zoo magazine was The Female Eunuch - Telegraph - " I couldn’t have been more relieved. In my early twenties, you see, I worked for a lads’ magazine called Zoo. Every issue was full of pictures of voluptuous young women, not unlike Kim Kardashian, wearing few or no clothes, not unlike Kim Kardashian. And from time to time, I have to admit, there were moments when I began to wonder whether what we were doing might be a tiny bit sexist. Rather a lot of feminists, as I recall, appeared to share this view quite strongly. Yet now, after all these years, Kim has put my mind at rest. We weren’t being sexist at all. The opposite, in fact. We were empowering women. We were giving them a platform to empower themselves. We were encouraging empowerment for girls and women, all over the world. Sadly, a couple of months ago Zoo folded. Men weren’t buying it any more. I expect they just couldn’t handle its radical feminist dialectic"

Piers Morgan declares feminism is dead after Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski's nude selfie - "The TV personality also backed the theory that Kim and Emily were stripping down to get attention, not to empower women. When a Twitter user opined: 'They're just using feminism and female empowerment as an excuse to get their kit off,' Piers was quick to add: 'Correct.'"

Cross-national variation in the size of sex differences in values: effects of gender equality. - "How does gender equality relate to men's and women's value priorities? It is hypothesized that, for both sexes, the importance of benevolence, universalism, stimulation, hedonism, and self-direction values increases with greater gender equality, whereas the importance of power, achievement, security, and tradition values decreases. Of particular relevance to the present study, increased gender equality should also permit both sexes to pursue more freely the values they inherently care about more. Drawing on evolutionary and role theories, the authors postulate that women inherently value benevolence and universalism more than men do, whereas men inherently value power, achievement, and stimulation more than women do. Thus, as gender equality increases, sex differences in these values should increase, whereas sex differences in other values should not be affected by increases in gender equality. Studies of 25 representative national samples and of students from 68 countries confirmed the hypotheses except for tradition values. Implications for cross-cultural research on sex differences in values and traits are discussed."
Keywords: higher levels of gender equality, greater differences, greater personality differences

Female power | The Economist - "Sweden is not quite the paragon that its fans imagine, despite its family-friendly employment policies. Only 1.5% of senior managers are women, compared with 11% in America. Three-quarters of Swedish women work in the public sector; three-quarters of men work in the private sector"
Feminist policies = women working in government, because they're too expensive for the private sector to employ

Sweden is not a great place to be a working parent - "75% of Swedish women are working in the public sector - traditionally the lower-paid, lower-qualified end of the employment market - while 75% of men are working in the racier, more demanding private sector. What has happened through the years of family-friendly policies, she says, is that private companies have reduced their number of female employees because they can't afford the cost of the generous maternity packages."

Like it or not, maternity leave hurts your career - "There is no denying that long career interruptions affect a mother’s earnings, too. The average hourly earnings of childless women were close to 30-per-cent higher than mothers who took more than three years off by age 40, according to a 2009 Statistics Canada report. Mothers who took a shorter leave by age 33, however, were able to catch up to their childless peers... At one point in her corporate career, she hired a woman who had taken eight years off to raise her family. The woman later made vice-president, but her example is the exception, not the rule. In other instances, Ms. Stephens-Tolstoy remembers hiring women who had taken long leaves and then cringed when they quit after a few months. “Everyone is rolling their eyes [when that happens]because it’s what they expect women to do,” she said."

More than a year of maternity leave 'can damage your career'

BOINC_Portable_0.2.6.1017.paf.exe | PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB, portable and cloud drives - "I also enjoy BOINC projects and PortableApps as well.
I came across this topic and created a first new portable installer for BOINC 7.4.42.
Feel free to enjoy: Download BOINCPortable_7.4.42.0_x86"
Keywords: World Community Grid
Addendum: Unfortunately this version doesn't work

Observations - 16th April 2016

Is it worse to be wrong for the right reasons or right for the wrong reasons?

Even if I've given my privacy to Facebook, it doesn't mean the government can come and invade it; if I've had sex with 100 people it doesn't mean someone can come and rape me

Should utilitarians adopt babies instead of having their own?

Can you really love someone you never knew, even if it's a dead parent?

If it's a moral duty to donate most of your income to charity (per Singer) why not your labour (i.e. change your job, perhaps to one which earns more money so you can donate even more)?

""Everything in moderation"
She said as she downed the cyanide pill"

It's easy to follow your dreams if you have a well-to-do family and no kids or mortgage to pay for

"Choose a field you love and you'll never work a day in your life because that field probably isn't hiring"

Can the attitudes of making a difference to even one person being worth it, and not wasting time arguing on the Internet, be squared?

"As much as I love good sarcasm, using it on social media is like doing a sight gag on radio."

RT @patrickc: The increase in Microsoft's annual revenue since Google was founded is still greater than Google's total annual revenue.

Not sure why people at talk Q&As waste time por lumpah (thanking and praising the speaker(s)). Time is precious.

Che Guevera: Spent his whole life fighting against Capitalism. Now spends his death making t-shirt sellers rich.

"Sell them and you'll be sorry,
Buy them and you'll regret,
Hold them and you'll worry,
Do nothing and you'll fret."

Amused that the Germans defended their use of chlorine gas at Ypres by pointing out that the Hague declaration banned shells but they used cylinders

Wondering how many people who dismiss decade-old research they don't like speak approvingly about the Zimbardo and Milgram experiments

"A giraffe's coffee would be cold by the time it reached the bottom of its throat. Ever think about that? No. You only think about yourself."

"Jewish custom says a man dies twice – once when his body dies, and again when his name is no longer spoken" - Zen and the Art of Racing Motorcycles / Gregg Wright Bonelli

"The world of Star Trek is a world where resources are virtually unlimited. The truth is that almost any political system can work with unlimited resources. Look at Norway and United Arab Emirates. Politically very different, yet the stability, quality of lime, low crime and citizen happiness - those are at the same level in both countries (and some time ago I made an effort to compare those and make sure this is actually true).

If your political system has any kind of problem - unlimited resources will always compensate for it. Most people don't care about freedom and such, they want to eat and be comfortable and they will support anyone who gives them that."

Friday, April 15, 2016

Links - 15th April 2016

Liberals and Conservatives Solve Problems Differently - "While the number of problems that liberals and conservatives solved was roughly the same, their strategies were different. Conservatives tended to be more gradual and analytical while liberals relied on insight, arriving at solutions after experiencing those “Aha!” moments... At first these results may seem surprising and even the reverse of what would be expected. Conservatives are often the ones thought of as relying on intuition and “gut instinct,” where liberals are thought of as operating according to reason and logic. However, if you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Conservatives like to avoid risks and play things safe. Careful and methodical thinking ensures that problems are handled in a manner that’s tried and true. On the other hand, insight involves creative solutions and outside-the-box thinking. This cognitive style could help explain why liberals are more in favor of science and technology, which offer more innovative and experimental solutions to problems."

Antisemitism has no place on the left. It is time to confront it - "I have challenged dodgy pronouncements from people who profess to advocate Palestinian justice.Jewish people are sometimes told that antisemitism is caused by Israel’s actions, for example. These are the same people who would never dream of victim-blaming members of other minorities, or claim that anybody was at fault other than the bigot themselves. Others play linguistic games: how can it be antisemitism, they say, when Palestinians are also “Semites” – members of a group of people originally of the ancient Middle East that includes Jews and Arabs – even though “antisemitism” has meant “anti-Jewish hatred” for generations. (This is like saying, “I’m not homophobic because I’m not scared of gays.”) There are those who imply that Jewish people are somehow synonymous with the Israeli government (a slur echoed by some uncritical cheerleaders of Israeli state policy). And some use terms like “Jewish lobby”, a classic antisemitic trope suggesting there is an organised Jewish cabal exercising behind-the-scenes influence worldwide. And so on."

Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe? - "Valls is deliberate and—unusual for a French politician of the left—blunt in identifying the main culprits in the proliferation of anti-Jewish violence and harassment: Islamist ideologues whose anti-Semitic and anti-Western calumnies have penetrated the banlieues. But he goes further: France’s “new anti-Semitism” is also the product of what he understands to be a malicious sleight of hand on the part of Israel’s enemies to repackage anti-Semitism as anti-Zionism. “It is legitimate to criticize the policies of Israel,” Valls said. “This criticism exists in Israel itself. But this is not what we are talking about in France. This is radical criticism of the very existence of Israel, which is anti-Semitic. There is an incontestable link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Behind anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” Frequently, Valls said, anti-Zionists let the mask slip. It is impossible, he said, to ascribe the attacks on synagogues—at least eight were targeted in France last summer—to anger over Israel’s Gaza policy. The demonstrators who chanted “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” at rallies in Germany last year clearly have more on their minds than Israel’s West Bank settlement policy—but evidently not everyone in authority believes that attacks on synagogues are axiomatically anti-Semitic: in early February, a German court ruled that the firebombing of a synagogue in the city of Wuppertal last year was motivated not by anti-Semitism but by a desire to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict”... Marine Le Pen is positioning herself as something of a philo-Semite. She is not under the illusion that she will sway large numbers of Jews to her side; in any case, the Jewish vote in France is minuscule. But people who follow her rise say she understands that one pathway to mainstream acceptance runs through the Jews: if she could neutralize the perception that the National Front is a fascist party by winning some measure of Jewish acceptance, she could help smooth her way to the presidency."

An Anti-Semitism of the Left - The New York Times - "Last month, a co-chairman of the Oxford University Labour Club, Alex Chalmers, quit in protest at what he described as rampant anti-Semitism among members. A “large proportion” of the club “and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews,” he said in a statement. Chalmers referred to members of the executive committee “throwing around the term ‘Zio’” — an insult used by the Ku Klux Klan; high-level expressions of “solidarity with Hamas” and explicit defense of “their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians”; and the dismissal of any concern about anti-Semitism as “just the Zionists crying wolf”... A recent Oberlin alumna, Isabel Storch Sherrell, wrote in a Facebook post of the students she’d heard dismissing the Holocaust as mere “white on white crime.”"

Brown Students Shut Down Trans Activist’s Speech—Because Israel - "One might assume this cohort was virulently homophobic or transphobic to discourage the transgender activist from serving as the keynote speaker selected by Moral Voices—a group whose mission for this academic year was to raise awareness about “violence against LGBTQ+ individuals and communities,” according to a statement by one of its co-chairwomen... That the event was not about Israel or the Middle East, or that its sponsorship by other progressive groups on campus—including the Brown Center for Students of Color, Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, LGBTQ Center, Sexual Assault Peer Educators, Office of the Chaplains, and the Rhode Island School of Design’s Office of Intercultural Student Engagement—didn’t sway these students from arguing that Mock’s appearance would be implicit support for… some Zionist conspiracy?... Way to go, student activists at Brown! You succeeded in creating a hostile environment that led to a trans woman of color being discouraged from sharing her voice and opinions. This all helped the Palestinian people how, exactly?... pinkwashing is too often invoked when it is convenient for critics of Israel—the same ones rarely point out that many of Israel’s neighbors jail people for being gay—there’s an unhelpful, forced quality to tying all social movements together. “If you support X, then you must support Y” doesn’t always work, especially with nuanced social issues. For example, last year, students at New York’s Barnard College argued that full sexual-assault advocacy necessitated holding SJP’s highly critical view of Israel. As The Daily Beast’s Lizzie Crocker wrote, “The implication is that to be anti-sexual assault at Columbia, one must also be anti-Israel. Conflating those issues under a larger umbrella of oppression waters them both down individually.”"

The Problem With Sexual Arousal Studies - "the problem I’ve long had with the arousal studies is this: The vagina is not the homologue to the penis. The penis's homologue is the clitoris. The vagina comes from different embryological tissue altogether, so why should we expect it to behave in a way that is comparable to the penis? The reason the clitoris gets an erection when a woman is sexually excited, the reason most women don't reach orgasm via their vaginas, is because the clitoris is the organ that corresponds to the penis. So why study the vaginal response and not the clitoral response when doing a study comparing the arousal patterns of males and females?... “[T]he inverse relationship between VPA [the vaginal response] and CBV [the clitoral response] at moments of high sexual arousal suggests that VPA may be a more automatic, preparatory response rather than a measure of genital arousal per se.” In other words, their results suggest that, sure enough, women’s arousal patterns may be a lot more specific—more like men’s—than the vaginal measurements reveal. A woman’s vagina may indeed lubricate to sexual signals from both Jif and Joe, and even Jif's monkey and Joe's dog, but her clitoris might reveal that she is, in fact, much more aroused by Jif than any other option. And if she’s in an environment that allows her a choice of sex partner, that differential arousal may well matter to evolutionary history."

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 151 - Maria Konnikova on "Why everyone falls for con artists" - "I think that what the data show is that actually it's good not to see the world quite as it is, be it in terms of self-deception where you see yourself in a slightly rosier light. That's actually really healthy. It's psychologically healthy. We don't want to know what we really are like. Those people have a name, they're called the clinically depressed. That's the only subset of the population as far as we know that lacks an optimism bias completely and that just is able to see themselves and accurately answer questions about themselves. Obviously, they suffer from clinical depression, so you can see by its absence just what a psychological benefit that self-deception ends up having"

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 150 - Elizabeth Loftus on "The malleability of human memory" - "We did some studies where we showed that we could make people believe that as children they got sick eating particular foods, like eggs or pickles or strawberry ice cream. We found they didn't want to eat the foods as much. Then we found if we planted a warm fuzzy memory about a healthy food, like asparagus, people wanted to eat more asparagus. I started thinking, "Boy, we can manipulate people's nutritional food selections. Maybe we can make a dent in the obesity problem in this society... We also did a study with alcohol where we planted a false memory that you got sick on a vodka drink and you're not so interested in vodka drinks anymore. So this seems to have a lot of potential for ... In fact, the New York Times even called this the “false memory diet.”"

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 149 - Susan Gelman on "How essentialism shapes our thinking" - "Susan Gelman: I think that's a mismatch between what the philosopher is trying to do, what they see is their calling is to make things precise and logical and mathematical, but they're talking about concepts that are embedded in language which is a human phenomenon, which doesn't work that way at all. In fact, we see ... I've been really interested in this side issue that is a way that I think people express essentialist beliefs a lot which is using generic language. Saying things like "Dogs are four-legged." Instead of "These dogs are four-legged" or "All dogs are four-legged" or "67% of dogs are four-legged."
Julia Galef: It's an interesting contrast between "All dogs are four-legged" and "Dogs are four-legged"... It's seemingly expressing the same concept, but the feel is definitely different.
Susan Gelman: It's very different and the thing is, there's a long tradition in philosophy and linguistics of trying to figure out just precisely what the semantics of these expressions that can be expressed with predicate logic. If you were going to take a statement like "All dogs are four-legged" and apply predicate logic to it, it would be nice and simple and easy. You try to do it with "Dogs are four-legged" and the whole- It just doesn't work because there are no hard and fast rules. We say "Birds lay eggs." Well, only female birds lay eggs. But we don't say "Birds are female." There are more birds that are female that lay eggs because baby female birds don't lay eggs. It gets really hairy very quickly...
Julia Galef: Yeah. It's been pretty interesting to read the history of slurs, of racial slurs, which often started out as completely neutral or an attempt at a positive ... An attempt to get rid of a previous negative word. But then because they were used in contexts and by people with negative intent, they adopted negative connotations, and now they feel inherently like negative words
Susan Gelman: Right. I think that's the same sort of thing. It gets back to your question about is language influencing thought, or is thought influencing language. I think it shows that it's going in both directions."
I should throw this against those who use the straw stereotype

Episode 21: The Hock Lee Bus Litmus Test - "By 1950, Singapore was back to where it had been in 1939 – the glittering economic capital of Southeast Asia, one of the most prosperous cities in the British Empire, the most important commercial, transportation, and communications centre in the Far East. This rich, wealthy metropolis had a per capita income of about $1,200, higher than nearly any other country in Asia. The famous economist Thomas Silcock noted in 1959 that Singapore was ‘almost certainly the only place in Asia where there is really a substantial middle class’. More than New York, London or Calcutta, it was the twentieth century’s first truly global city, ‘a city of infinite ethnic fractions’."
More on the fishing village Singapore used to be

Episode 22: de Tocqueville in Singapore - "And of course, Lee Kuan Yew hated being the junior partner in the coalition. He asked Lim and Nair not to stand for re-election to the PAP Central Executive Committee at its first anniversary in 1955. They agreed, to keep Lee happy, but also possibly because the unions mattered much more than the political party. They didn’t need the party. The party needed them. Unsurprisingly, secret British correspondence notes that Lee was already dropping hints to colonial officials that they should curtail Lim and Nair’s ‘extremist’ policies. This is November 1955, and the British are still firmly in power, and Lee is already sabotaging his comrades."

Authorities couldn't stop Belgium attacks despite presence of extremists writes MICHAEL BURLEIGH - "Discussing Abdeslam’s eventual capture last week, a French anti-terrorism judge said: ‘Either he is very clever or the Belgian services are rubbish – which seems more likely’... These security failings are a damning indictment of a nation whose capital is home to both the European Commission and Nato HQ. How ironic, considering recent events, that the city prides itself on having the nickname ‘Spy Central’... the Belgian intelligence services don’t always share information with their police colleagues. Often, the latter only find out information from their British counterparts, who have been told by MI5 – who have got the details from Belgian security officers!"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Simone de Beauvoir - "She certainly wasn't interested in becoming a creator of philosophical systems in the way that he was... but she was always within philosophy but she said 'I don't have to invent a philosophical system to feel myself Sartre's equal, or independent'... Second Sex was a huge feminist statement. Whether she would've said in the 30s that she was a feminist would be very unlikely. She like Sartre were not very interested in politics. They were very much more interested in themselves...
"They write to each other at great length about their relationships with other people. About the nights they pass with them. It was very intimate, it was very detailed. There was a level of shock... suddenly they became the kinds of heroes of Liasisons Dangereuses... manipulating, at the centre of a web"
"They wrote in their letters... that they took the virginity of young girls. They passed girls one to another and so on"
"People were definitely shocked. And felt that the kind of intimate details that they were writing about was inappropriate"
"Well, what they were doing was inappropriate. Writing about it was a secondary activity"
"They weren't taking people's virginity and passing it around all the time. That was... one example of that... otherwise, they were quite serious relationships, but they were multiple"

Rereading 1984

"Rereading Nineteen Eighty-Four presents problems not altogether present from 1949, the book’s date of publication, on through some thirty-five years later, its projected date of fulfillment. Orwell died in 1950 of tuberculosis when he was only forty-six. Whether in coming years we will judge Nineteen Eighty-Four to have been an accurate prophecy is still uncertain. We have gone further in the technological developments that would make the novel’s tyranny even more feasible. Politicians on television nightly instruct us in newspeak and doublethink, and the United Nations, in Liberia and elsewhere, practices “peacekeeping” and creates “safe areas,” whose burden might as well be “War is Peace.” Hollywood’s spate of “dumb” films, of the Forrest Gump variety, do proclaim that “Ignorance is Strength,” and many of our African-American intellectuals rightly judge Gingrich to be telling them that “Freedom is Slavery,” particularly when he has urged restoring to the poor their freedom to starve. Big Brother presumably is not yet watching us, and we may yet give up putting Saddam Hussein on—screen for the Two Minutes Hate. Even if we had a Ministry of Truth, it would now probably be underfunded in our zeal to abolish government, that enemy of the sacred profit motive which forms our authentic spirituality, the basis for the Christian Coalition.

In so gladsome a time, Nineteen Eighty-Four is not likely to lose relevance. It is, in fact, at best a good “bad book,” inept as narrative, and worse than that as characterization. The book continues to have moral force as a political early warning and truly is what I once called it, the Uncle Tom's Cabin of our time. Actually, it is aesthetically inferior to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel. Stowe knew better how to tell a story, and Uncle Tom is a more interesting martyr than Orwell’s failed martyr, the drab Winston Smith. I would rather attend to little Eva than to poor Julia, and the insane sadist O’Brien is considerably less impressive than the wicked Simon Legree. Wyndhain Lewis sensibly compared Orwell as a writer to H.G. Wells, but Wells was consistently more inventive and entertaining. All this is not said to beat up on Nineteen Eighty-Four, but to point out that we do not go on reading the book because Orwell possessed a large talent for prose fiction. He did not; he was a moral and political essayist who had the instincts of a pamphleteer. A great pamphleteer, like Jonathan Swift, is a master of irony and satire. Here again, Orwell plainly is deficient. His literalness defeats his wit, such as it is, and his only ironic gift is as a good parodist of political slogans.

And yet Nineteen Eighty-Four survives and will have life whenever we are threatened with totalitarian utopias, whether political, economic, social, or theocratic. “Political correctness,” our now-passing rage of liberal conformity, is very much an Orwellian phenomenon, and our universities, wretched parodies of what they are supposed to be, are veritable monuments of newspeak and doublethink. It is very difficult to say whether our current Left or our dominant Right is a more Orwellian grab bag, and our public life is mostly a parade marching toward his Oceania. Preachers of the Third Wave, who so enthrall Gingrich, propose a technology founded purely upon information. Orwell remains superbly valuable because no one warns us better that such a foundation in fact must and will give us only an orgy of disinformation. As hypertext and virtual reality usurp us in the computer era, Orwell’ s nightmare will come ever closer. Without being a great writer, or even a good novelist, Orwell nevertheless had the courage and foresight to see and tell us where we were going. We are still going there, and Nineteen Eighty-Four holds on as an admonition telling us to turn back."

--- Introduction / Harold Bloom in George Orwell's 1984 / ed. Harold Bloom

Someone claimed that "Anyone believing it has anything to say about modern "political Correctness" is applying their own worldview on the novel and twisting it to meet their own reality."

I wonder if Harold Bloom, "an American literary critic and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University" is "twisting" 1984.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Links - 14th April 2016

The Truth About Gandhi - "The movie, which portrays Gandhi as utterly chaste, seems to have left out scenes from real life of the Indian leader's young female followers fighting amongst each other for the honor of sleeping naked with Gandhi and cuddling him in their arms. This was his way of testing his vow of abstinence in preparation for coming struggles which required moral fortitude. Nor is mention made of the daily enemas Gandhi gave the young girls, or the enemas and nude massages they gave him each day. While the movie accurately depicts Gandhi's successful organization of Indians in South Africa against the state's apartheid laws, it skirts a key issue: what about the Africans? It turns out Gandhi's concern with racial discrimination was limited to Indians--in fact, he offered to organize a brigade of Indians to help the English colonial rulers crush an African rebellion... When Gandhi's wife was stricken with pneumonia, British doctors told her husband that a shot of penicillin would heal her; nevertheless, Gandhi refused to have alien medicine injected into her body, and she died. Soon after, Gandhi caught malaria and, relenting from the standard applied to his wife, allowed doctors to save his life with quinine. He also allowed British doctors to perform an appendectomy on him, an alien operation if ever there was one. None of this made it to the screen... He also addressed a letter to the British people as a whole, counseling them to "Let them [the Nazis] take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your soul, nor your mind"... The real Gandhi mistreated his family. He wrote about his illiterate wife: "I simply cannot bear to look at Ba's face. The expression is often like that on the face of a meek cow and gives one the feeling as a cow occasionally does, that in her own dump manner she is saying something." He refused to educate his sons, ordered them as young men to abstain from sex, and disowned the eldest, Harilal, for warning to get married. His son eventuallty attacked Gandhi in print, converted to Islam, and died an alcoholic... If you want fairy-tale heroes, try Star Wars or something. Mahatma Gandhi turns out to have been made of flesh and blood after all"

Jeremy Corbyn and the nirvana fallacy - "Ideals are necessary, but so are plans, and the most admirable idealists are also cold-eyed realists. Abraham Lincoln didn’t think it was enough, as some of the abolitionists of the north did, merely to shame the slavery-supporting politicians of the south. He trimmed and hedged and compromised his way towards abolition. Martin Luther King was not the airy figure of myth, but a highly astute politician and campaigner who out-thought and out-manoeuvred his opponents. He had a dream, but he wasn’t content to live inside it. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect Jeremy Corbyn to disavow the nirvana fallacy; after all, he owes his current position to it. Many of those who voted for him find it almost impossible to grasp that the choice is not between an imperfect Labour government, and an ideal one, but between an imperfect Labour government, and a Tory one. They revile the Blair government, but don’t stop to think what the country would be like today if the Tories had won in 1997, and kept winning."

The Nirvana fallacy – logical fallacies - "The Nirvana fallacy is an attempt to compare a realistic solution with an idealized one, and dismissing or even discounting the realistic solution as a result of comparing to a “perfect world” or impossible standard. This reasoning ignores the fact that the solutions are often good enough to meet any reasonable standard. Furthermore, the fallacy often focuses on one single standard of an idea or thing without regards to the other qualities that may be important in evaluating that thing or idea. In addition, the Nirvana fallacy can lead someone to ignore an unbiased evaluation of a risk versus benefit analysis. One could focus on the risk, demanding that it be completely eliminated, even if the benefit far outweighed the cost."

Anti-atheist distrust ‘deeply and culturally ingrained’, study finds - "People's distrust of atheists is “deeply and culturally ingrained”, with even many atheists having an instinctual distrust of each other"

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS146 - Jesse Richardson on "The pros and cons of making fallacies famous" - "Jesse: probably the Fallacy Fallacy is one of my favorite fallacies to mention, only because it exposes the fact that, a common mistake a lot of people make with regard to fallacies is presuming that if someone has committed a fallacy, that their argument is therefore wrong, and their point is wrong, and everything they've ever said is probably wrong as well... What that does is it exposes the fact that logical coherence doesn't have any bearing on truth value. You can argue with something that is entirely true, using fallacious reasoning and terrible arguments, which is painful to watch, if you haven't already, with a person that's arguing. On the flip side, you can be arguing with perfect logical coherency, for something that is an entirely false conclusion. The coherence of an argument itself is what the fallacies deal with. The truth value is an entirely different proposition that goes into argumentation, more generally...
Julia: I'm thinking of one friend who learned all about Cognitive Biases, and now, it's hard to have a disagreement with her, because anything that you say that disagrees with her, she will say, "Oh. Well, but you're just biased, because ... " and then she has some reason for why you can't have an objective position on this issue, because it goes against your interest for whatever reason. It's really just become this “get out of evidence free” card, that she gets to wield whenever. And this is not a unique example.
Jesse: Yeah, no, totally. I think that it's, to a man with a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail."

Unfit to Teach - Useless Information - "Rose was overweight. Today this would not be a valid reason, but this was way back in 1931 when teachers were fired for the most absurd things like being too beautiful, having a child, smoking cigarettes, consuming an alcoholic beverage, or speaking out against the Ku Klux Klan. Rose stood 5-feet, two-inches tall and weighed 182 pounds (or about 157 cm and 83 kilograms). Under the board rules at the time, someone of her height needed to weigh under 150 pounds or 68 kilograms to receive a teaching certificate."

Wall | VK - "Ghost in the Shell
Motoko Kusanagi cosplay by Adelhaid"

The Ethics of Counterinsurgency - The New Atlantis - "Counterinsurgency warfare is not ethically different from conventional warfare. Insurgency warfare, by contrast, is fundamentally ethically different from conventional warfare. But while insurgency warfare is almost always unethical, counterinsurgency can be waged ethically... If you grant that there is something wrong when conventional combatants use civilians as shields to protect combatants or military advantage, or when they deliberately kill or terrorize civilians to do the same, then analogous actions would also be immoral and unethical in irregular warfare. This is why all insurgency warfare is ethically suspect: morally reprehensible hostage-shield tactics are an intrinsic and unavoidable part of insurgency warfare... What about counterinsurgency? The fundamental ethical question is no different today than when the theologian Paul Ramsey posed it forty years ago in a classic Vietnam-era essay: “How is it possible, if it is indeed possible, to mount a morally acceptable counterinsurgency operation?” Can a counterinsurgency effort “abide by the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate military objectives while insurgency deliberately does not”?"
Seeing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of insurgency and counterinsurgency explains the pattern of civilian casualties

Star Wars: The Force Awakens leaked screenplay clarifies the ending and loads more

A Multi-Billion Dollar Start-Up is Forced to Ban Sex in Stairwells

Mum aged 26 is asked for ID while buying U-rated Disney cartoon DVD for her daughter

'Hilarious' Spar advert for Easter opening times tries to be helpful - ends up sounding very sarcastic - "The advert features a list of the store's opening hours from Good Friday to Easter Monday - or, rather, their closing hours. You see, the Spar isn't actually open at all over the weekend. But an amused passer-by noticed the ironic placement of the chain's tag line, 'There for you'."

Tay: Microsoft issues apology over racist chatbot fiasco - "Tay was designed to learn from interactions it had with real people in Twitter. Seizing an opportunity, some users decided to feed it racist, offensive information."

Justin, les pensions et la science | Le Journal de Montréal - "L’âge pour bénéficier de la pension de vieillesse demeurera 65 ans. La hausse qui devait progressivement l’amener à 67 ans à partir de 2023 est annulée. Une autre mesure du gouvernement Harper que Justin Trudeau fait disparaître dans les premiers mois de son mandat. On dirait qu’il est obsédé par le besoin d’effacer toute trace de son prédécesseur. Autant il est normal pour un gouvernement d’opérer des changements, autant la destruction caricaturale de toutes les actions du gouvernement précédent devient puérile et suspecte... Personne n’avait pu accuser les conservateurs d’opportunisme pour cette décision-là. Il s’agit de l’une des plus impopulaires et des plus risquées politiquement pour un gouvernement. Cela en faisait en même temps l’un des gestes les plus courageux de l’ère Harper... Les libéraux de Justin Trudeau accusaient les conservateurs de négliger la science. Ils nous avaient promis d’écouter les scientifiques. Les actuaires? Les démographes? Les médecins? Dans ce cas-ci, j’ai la désagréable impression qu’ils ont surtout écouté les organisateurs politiques. Les aînés sont des électeurs importants."

My Journey From Straight to Gay: Choosing Authenticity - "In 2010 I began to feel that my sexuality was shifting. After a course of events that forced me to ask hard questions about myself and my life, I realized I was interested in men. My love for Ellen didn’t vanish, but now there was this curiosity. And more than curiosity, real interest.
Funny. I thought sexuality couldn't change

Asad Shah 'was killed by a fellow Muslim' after he posted Happy Easter message - "Asad Shah belonged to the Ahmadi Muslim community, which preaches love and tolerance. The sect, which has a huge missionary network spreading its values of non-violence, identifies itself as a Muslim movement and follows the teachings of the Koran. But it is regarded by orthodox Muslims as heretical because followers do not believe Mohammed was the final prophet sent to guide mankind. As a result, Ahmadi Muslims have been persecuted – particularly in ultra-conservative Pakistan."

Mexicans burn effigies of Trump in Easter ritual - "This country's artisans usually set fire to effigies of unpopular Mexican politicians in their “burning of Judas” ritual every Easter weekend. This year, the politician they love to hate the most is an American: Donald Trump... Two effigies of Trump were burned in Mexico City's Merced Balbuena barrio, including a figure almost 10 feet tall that didn’t entirely explode on the first attempt. Residents whistled in derision, cursed and ultimately cheered. “Burn you filthy dog!” screamed one onlooker. Other effigies included recently recaptured drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, President Enrique Peña Nieto, a devil branded with an Islamic State logo, Pope Francis and President Obama. “(Obama) really hasn’t done much for the region,” said artisan Leonardo Linares, who made the image of the president and whose family has been making and burning Judas figures for five generations."

Iraqi SWAT Wants Your Instagram Vote For ISIS Executions - "An Instagram account supposedly run by Iraqi Special Operation Forces soldiers (@iraqiswat) is allowing its social media followers to decide the fate of the ISIS captives they have captured in battle."

Noam Chomsky's first response to Sept. 11 - "A Quick Reaction: 'The September 11 attacks were major atrocities. In terms of number of victims they do not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and probably killing tens of thousands of people (no one knows, because the US blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it). Not to speak of much worse cases, which easily come to mind... Robert Fisk, whose direct knowledge and insight into affairs of the region is unmatched after many years of distinguished reporting. Describing "The wickedness and awesome cruelty of a crushed and humiliated people," he writes that "this is not the war of democracy versus terror that the world will be asked to believe in the coming days. It is also about American missiles smashing into Palestinian homes and US helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese ambulance in 1996 and American shells crashing into a village called Qana and about a Lebanese militia - paid and uniformed by America's Israeli ally - hacking and raping and murdering their way through refugee camps." And much more"
Addendum: Chomsky's reaction to 911, after 911, responsibility

Observations - 14th April 2016

"sometimes though there is a tyranny of the minority like enforced racial quotas for awards or positions.

I have seen OCS selection pull out pple and add in minorities to fulfill ethnic quota

I have seen award recipients pulled out and add in a minority for the sake of ethnic quota

Its always as far as possible CMIW"

[Ed: W = women]

"We call that the progressive stack.
In the west it's white people.
In Singapore it's Chinese.
No matter how dangerous Islamism is, it's still nothing compared to the privilege that chinese folks have, in their minds."

If Muslim women being forced to wear veils means veils should be banned, Chinese women being forced to have abortions means abortions should be banned

Why is it okay to devalue shallow people but not people who look bad (the naive conception of free will aside, the latter can always use makeup and dress better)?

If a woman goes for a sex change operation is that female genital mutilation?

"The modern internet driven authoritarianism seems to start popping up around 2010, 2011, Tumblr went up I think in 09. Don't think it's a coincidence."

"prudential international women's day event yesterday..the advice from one of the successful women speakers there to the rest was to be less emotional and think like a man."

"Femsplaining everything could be why some women fail- you can never improve yourself if you keep blaming your failings on men"

"A former Russian engineer at work told me that anyone from a totalitarian regime will know what international women's day is. He then proceeded to tell me about it's origin in neo-marxist communism and it suddenly did not seem as appealing"

Wondering how many happy for Madonna to mock Catholicism on stage would cry bloody murder if a performer made fun of gays

If the world doesn't owe you a living, what about a "living wage"?

"one of the reasons women spend more hours on housework is because they are anal, not because they are actually doing anything the house really needs."

"what's the word for someone who discriminates against people based on whether they are rich or poor?"

"3/4 of Tutsis are lactose tolerant, while only 1/3 of the Hutus can digest lactose. This would suggest there is an aspect to their tribal divisions that preceded European colonization."

Colour is a social construct (just like race), but if I go to the shop and ask for a red dress they'll probably know what I mean

Not showing solidarity with Paris solely because Beirut etc are ignored: like refusing to help some orphans because you can't help the rest

"Nazis aren't wrong, Jews own a large amount of the financial sector. The people who gassed Jews were a small minority. You don't know enough about Nazis"
Addendum: Most Nazis were peaceful

"*** is working in NZ
he has a Thai colleague who doesn't show up for work much
one day the HOD called him in and said "***, we've received some complaints about your behavior"
He replied, "Are you racist?"
the HOD backed off and till this day, there is a member of staff who doesn't show up fpr work"

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tristan and Iseult (Isolde)

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Tristan and Iseult

"'Why are Cornwall and Ireland.. and Wales, to a certain extent, so attractive?'
'They are the edge of Europe. They've always been the sort of perfect place to have these magical stories'
'Because they are pushed aside'
'Because they are pushed aside. And also one has to remember the importance of what is known as the matter of Britain. Which is the whole of the Arthuranian tradition. Which was a source that people could draw on for courtly-... the matter of Britain included all the Arthuranian material'...

'There's something very interesting in Béroul... he includes this rather strange story that King Mark has horse's ears. Now Mark in Cornish, Breton and Welsh means horse'...

'During the 12th century when Thomas was writing, the Church had dramatically attempted to have a greater role in marriage. And it said that marriage was no longer just going to be seen as an alliance between noble families. Marriage was a sacrament and it had to rely on the absolute consent of both parties... it's possible to argue - many people have - that the growth in the romance, the sort of fiction of love is a response to that. Saying that if marriage has to be about consent, then we now need to understand what consent to that kind of bond would mean'...

'Iseult of the White Hands is one day riding along with her brother and her horse steps in a puddle and water splashes up her thigh. And she starts laughing uncontrollably. And her brother who's a bit paranoid says 'tell me why you're laughing'. And she says 'that water touched higher up my thigh than my husband has ever touched me'...

Basically love only ends in two ways. Either you die or it goes wrong. And therefore as soon as narrative of love appears, if an author wants to say that someone's love is perfect then logically we need to see the characters die. We need to see that they loved one another up to the point of death. And French poet - well, a poet called Marie who calls herself Marie de France who was writing in England at about the same time as Thomas. She gives us a series of little short romances - lays in which she toys with different structures of love and shows the connection of love with suffering. The idea that your willingness to suffer shows how noble your love is and ultimately the connection of love with death. That when you love perfectly then you love unto your death. And therefore, I think, implicitly love brings with it death...

Death is what actually insures the perpetuation of your love because it means you won't ever wake up from the night of your love. That's what the lovers sing in that duet in the second act of Wagner"

Links - 13th April 2016

Friends 'banned' from pub quiz because they keep winning - Telegraph - ""The other teams that take part in the quiz are younger than us, and we were referred to as 'old boys', so we believe the decision was made on discriminative grounds. We're disappointed and it's unfair.It's insulting"... "We started getting grumblings from other people about their constant winning and the attendance numbers started going down. "People thought they were professional quiz goers because they were always so many points ahead. "When we spoke to them we suggested that it might be healthy for the quiz if they take a break for a little while, to get the numbers back up."

How I learned to love my natural hair miles away from home in Nigeria - "I knew a round of heat applied through a white creamy relaxer would get me what was needed: straight and somewhat flippable hair. The kind of hair I saw on shampoo ads while growing up, with the horizontal sheen of light flowing down its droopy length. As the barber's clipper outlined my scalp, I remembered Coco Chanel's words, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”... Back home, it was uncommon to see women with kinky hair or worse still, with short coily hair, unless you were from rural areas; these were girls who were teased and called “Mbeke,” suggesting that their unprocessed hair was the result of their social standing and lack of sophistication... When my hair started thinning out in college, I didn't notice because I was too fixated on its length and like most of my peers, I had discovered weaves and “fixing” hair—as it is called—could give us the look of any celebrity we wanted.I graduated from cheap, synthetic weaves to Brazilian hair after moving from the conservative city of my birth, Kano, to Nigeria's capital, Abuja. That was in 2011 and at the time, everyone was fixing Brazilian, Peruvian and Indian human hair that could range from $40 to $500 or higher. It symbolized a certain kind of contemporary African sophistication."
Is it racist to like smooth silky hair?

Muslim shopkeeper murdered in suspected 'religiously prejudiced' attack after posting on Facebook of love for Christians - Telegraph

Snakes plus sushi equals felony for Los Angeles man - "Motohashi, 46, tucked into $200 dollars worth of food at the popular Iroha Sushi of Tokyo eatery in Los Angeles' Studio City neighborhood, local media reported. But when diners noticed that he was dining with a guest -- a very small snake -- management argued with him and Motohashi marched out, reports said. "The suspect left the location and then he returned with a large snake, probably between 10 to 13 feet (3 to 4 meters)," police spokesman Aareon Jefferson said of the Sunday evening incident. "He released the snake in the restaurant, the police was notified and the suspect was arrested for criminal threats, which is a felony."“

'Ambulance-chasing lawyers' blamed as nuisance calls hit 12m a day - "Axa Insurance warned that premiums were rising because the calls encourage people to make false claims, The Times reported. About £90 of the cost of each car insurance policy goes towards paying compensation for whiplash, which hit a record figure last year. The injury is thought to be a major source of fraudulent claims, so much so that the Government is considering banning cash payments and only allowing insurers to pay for physiotherapy instead."

The Singapore Start-Up Scene Is Not Gendered - "In an interview with Channel NewsAsia on 26 February, Infini videos founder Tracy Wong asserts that this scene is female friendly... “Cramps are probably the only obstacles that I reckon men don't face,” says artiste and co-founder of Invasion Singapore Inch Chua, more commonly known as iNCH. She feels that there is no unfair disadvantage to women in the start-up scene in Singapore. Gwen Guo, co-founder of sound design company IMBA Interactive goes further. She says, “The start-up scene in Singapore is friendly for everybody, I wouldn't even make this a gendered thing. I mean if you want to talk about paternal or maternal leave, child-friendly services or generally family-friendly services, these are subject to the flexibility of the start-up founders... When asked about what still needs to happen in start-ups, iNCH boils it down to equal opportunity. “The concept of gender equality has always been a paradox, for as we strive for gender equality we are ignoring the simple fact that men and women are made different and to say that we are truly equal would be unfair"
Feminists might disagree

Ben Shapiro Sends Blunt, Profanity-Laced Message to ‘Bloviating Jackasses’ Who Tried to Shut Down Campus Lecture - "The conservative writer, known for his no-holds-barred rhetoric, posted the profanity-laced message to his Twitter account after student demonstrators pulled the fire alarm during protests aimed at stopping his campus lecture... “Here’s my message to the bloviating jackasses outside: toughen up you spoiled brat snowflakes if you actually want a better world.” “We can have an actual conversation if they were up for it. There are mics here, people can ask questions. They could have engaged that way, they chose not to,” Shapiro continued. “Maybe they are right about how to solve America’s problems. Maybe I’m right. Maybe someone in the audience is right. We are never going to know because they won’t let the conversation happen.” Shapiro concluded, “Not all diversity is bad, some diversity is terrific. The left just ignores the only type of diversity that matters. Until they stop, America will only become a more pinched, bitter divide country, divided by tyrants, like some of those who are standing outside this hall, at the front of your classrooms and in the halls of your administration.”"

Fight To Stop Public Loos Going Down The Pan - "In the past decade, 40% of public toilets across the country have closed, according to figures from the British Toilet Association... The council explains that it has to make "huge savings" across its services. It is now working with local groups to try to keep the toilets open. But campaigner Allan Rapley warns any closure will affect more than just the local community. "Everybody needs a toilet, but some people need it more than others," he says... Many public toilets have been sold off and converted into underground cafes, bars and restaurants... For historian Lee Jackson, author of Dirty Old London, at least it means historically significant buildings don't fall into disrepair... with every closure, Gillian Kemp believes we're heading towards a new public health problem. As leader of the Public Toilets UK campaign, she's calling for loos to be protected by law."

Why British teen girls are really having 'so much drunk sex' - “new research from WHO which suggests that English and Welsh girls are the only ones in Europe who are more likely their male counterparts to get drunk and have sex, and far more likely than other European teens, I was unsurprised. The research has been hailed as a result of “lad culture”, which is a lazy catch-all applied whenever women seem to be enjoying the same freedoms that young men have always revelled in. I find suggestion that girls who are getting drunk and having sex are emulating “lads” infuriating.”

An Experimental Autism Treatment Cost Me My Marriage - The New York Times

Taiji master kills pedestrian while driving under ban and makes student take rap

Big Issue seller marries woman he met when asking for change - "A romance began when a homeless man gave a passerby 50p for her electricity meter – now the couple have pledged to spend the rest of their lives together.

Taj Mahal sees a major fall in foreign tourist arrivals
Maybe they're tired of the discrimination

Paramount says 'Star Trek' fan film's Klingon violates copyright - "For one thing, it believes that speaking Klingon is a violation -- yes, just shouting "qapla'" could get you in trouble. There have been concerns that Paramount might crack down on Klingon use before, but this is the first time it's taking action."

Judge orders Chipotle to rehire worker fired after tweets - "the judge on Monday found that Chipotle's social media policy violated the National Labor Relations Act. Chipotle was ordered to pay back wages to James Kennedy and post notices telling employees some of its past policies violated labor laws. Kennedy had tweeted about the company's "cheap" labor policies. He was fired two weeks later after circulating a petition asking managers to allow workers to take their breaks. The 38-year-old Upper Darby man has since found a job with American Airlines. He says he doesn't want his job back but is willing to accept his back pay in food vouchers."

Malaysia losing millionaires at world’s second-fastest rate - "Over one in four ultra-rich Malaysians are seeking permanent residence abroad, making Malaysia’s emigration rate among the rarefied set second only to China worldwide... the trend, largely credited to a purported lack of opportunities here, could worsen in the coming years if Malaysia continues down the road to conservatism... Over two million Malaysians are estimated to have emigrated since independence in 1957."

Vegan Soldier Rejected By Swiss Army For Refusing To Wear Leather Boots - "Antoni Da Campo, who also had issues with army's menu, is attempting to challenge the ruling in court, claiming that governmental institutions were failing to "account for changes in society," he told Swiss newspaper 24heures Tuesday. The Swiss army, which requires all 19 year-old men to complete a basic national service of 18 to 21 weeks, was unable to meet Da Campo’s strict vegan beliefs and would have struggled logistically to meet the needs of the teenager's diet... At one point, the army doctor told Da Campo to seek authorization from his superior officer to wear imitation leather footwear, but the option was logistically problematic as the army had no pre-approved footwear on offer... Any Individual deemed unfit for military service in Switzerland is required to pay a tax amounting to three percent of their income each year until the age of 30."

Goar: Anti-poverty success airbrushed out - (In Canada) "the concept of a guaranteed annual income (GAI) refused to die...
• During the GAI experiment, Dauphin had a dramatically lower rate of hospital admissions than similar communities in Manitoba.
• Its high-school dropout rate fell and stayed down for a generation.
• It had fewer accidents, serious injuries, arrests and convictions.
• Consultations for mental illness declined.
• And, contrary to policy-makers’ fears, people in Dauphin did not stop working or reduce their hours to get “free” money from the government.
“In all of the indicators I could find for quality of life, people did better,” Forget says.
But she can’t do a proper cost-benefit analysis. “Someone needs to estimate the savings associated with reduced bureaucracy, better education and health outcomes and probably lower costs associated with crime and special education”"

New Zealanders want to give everyone a 'citizen's wage' and scrap benefits - "New Zealand could become one of the first developed countries to scrap benefits and introduce a basic citizens’ income. Leader of the opposition Andrew Little said his Labour party was considering the idea as part of proposals to combat the "possibility of higher structural unemployment". Citizens’ income, also known as Universal Basic Income (UBI), involves a basic, unconditional, fixed payment made to every person in the country by the state in lieu of benefits... Other countries such as Finland and the Netherlands are due to launch similar programmes this year and Canada also recently debated the issue. Switzerland is due to hold a referendum on introducing the measure later this year. It comes after delegates at the SNP spring conference in Glasgow backed a motion to consider the proposal when designing the welfare system of an independent Scotland"

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 makes it a design leader - "The world’s biggest manufacturer of phones is now also one of its best designers. It was in the wake of the poorly received Galaxy S5 in 2014 that Samsung started showing a real commitment to improved industrial design. By the middle of that year, the Korean company had launched the handsome but expensive Galaxy Alpha, which was to provide the outline for a fundamental reform of its entire smartphone portfolio. What’s remarkable is that Samsung had the humility and the diligence to indeed change its ways. That distinguishes it from Sony, which has been talking about reorganizing its mobile division for longer than competitors like Xiaomi have existed, and from HTC, which still clings to its Sense software like an ineffective security blanket. It’s also the difference between Samsung and Nokia: the Finnish company’s prior success made it slow to let goof its Symbian legacy and embrace things like capacitive touchscreens, whereas Samsung has mercilessly scythed away its failed experiments."

Closing Apps to Save Your Battery Only Makes Things Worse

Angela Merkel caught on hot mic pressing Facebook CEO over anti-immigrant posts - "The Facebook CEO was overheard responding that "we need to do some work" on curtailing anti-immigrant posts about the refugee crisis. "Are you working on this?" Merkel asked in English, to which Zuckerberg replied in the affirmative before the transmission was disrupted... Facebook vowed to clean up what it deemed was racist content on the German version of its website. At the time, the social network said it would partner with a non profit group to oversee hate postings. Yet any action from Facebook is likely to stoke concerns about free speech. In the past, the social network has come under suspicion for suppressing or deleting posts and groups that advocate unpopular beliefs"

Being Pro-Family

"Polite society has greeted the “pro family” movement, a political development unique to the past half decade, with a mixture of ambivalence, panic, and discomfort. A minority of liberal voices, including the venerable New Republic, have counseled a bemused toleration of this latest example of small town Babbitry. Left-leaning clerics, civil libertarians, and other politicos of more excitable disposition have nurtured a media image of profamily advocates as Bible-thumping, jackbooted, moral zealots trampling on human freedoms, modern lifestyles, pluralism, and the Constitution. They have conjured up visions of the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trials, and have regularly invoked the whispered words, “Moral Majority” or “Phyllis Schlafly,” to scare young children or frighten wayward partisans back into the fold...

The movement has been sometimes portrayed as a monolithic effort to force a tired moral‘ code down the collective American throat. Borrowing a page from Joe McCarthy, commentators have delighted in ferreting out the supposed interlocking directorates of profamily and other “New Right” groups. Yet the pro-family label has also been attached at various times to individuals or groups drawn from widely disparate and historically hostile religious traditions, including Roman Catholicism, fundamentalist Protestantism, Mormonism, and Orthodox Judaism. Even refugee Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans have been known to confess publicly to pro-family sentiments.

Meanwhile, the movement’s agenda has normally been characterized as constituting a rigid opposition to a litany of liberating causes-abortion rights, contraceptive rights, women’s rights, gay rights, children’s rights, and federally funded day-care-girded by simple-minded support for prayer in public schools and an inferred hostility to diversity, change, and all things intellectual and urbane. In sum: a coalition of hayseeds, housewives, the Pope, and preachers sporting leisure suits and Southern drawls, doing battle with the forces of enlightenment, pluralism, refinement, and liberty...

Admittedly, the pro-family movement is difficult to demarcate. At last year’s White House Conference on Families, for example, virtually every delegate present - whether “straight” or “gay,” “parent” or “family professional,” “married” or militantly “single,” “traditional” or ‘‘life styled”-claimed to be pro-family...

Yet among these diverse elements can be found four recurring attitudes which, I suggest, essentially define what it means today to be pro-family:

To be pro-family is to reject most recent effusions from the social sciences concerning the family. During the past two decades, the normative American family structure served as a favorite target for a series of highly politicized intellectual movements bent on transforming or destroying the existing social order. New Leftists, feminists, cultural relativists, populationists, and sexual libertarians lashed away at family life as the cause of < poverty, violence, imperialism, inequality, the oppression of women, overpopulation, and mental disorders of all sorts. The large majority of publishing family sociologists, revealing a pitiful lack of objective standards and their own subservience to ideology, seemed to take special pleasure in challenging the prevailing social framework. A few more memorable examples of this intellectual catharsis should suffice. Consider sociologist Merwyn Cadwallander, who declared in a 1966 Atlantic article that “marriage is a wretched institution,” where beautiful romances are translated into dull matrimony and where relationships inevitably become “constrictive, corrosive, grinding, and destructive.” Or ponder a 1972 contribution to the Family Coordinator by psychologist Janis Kelly which, after noting that women “cannot develop fully in a heterosexual context,” offered the corollary that conditions allowing women “to love fully and without fear are at present met only in a homosexual setting.” Or meditate on the vision presented in a 1971 article by family-counselor Robert Harper, which included a call for abortion-on-demand to avoid inflating America’s ‘ ‘already pathologically swollen population” and suggested a “blockbuster intensive therapeutic” federal program to help children and youth “overcome the contamination and crippling of their sexual beings by our culture. . . .” Harper urged parents to “encourage, help, and foster” sexual play among their preadolescent children. “To prevent sexual hang-ups in interactional as well as masturbatory sex,” he concluded, “we have to start when children are barely toddlers”...

Since the mid-1960s, sociologists have systematically stripped the word, “family, ’ ’ of intelligible meaning, preferring instead the dual concepts of “changing families” and “a pluralism of family forms.” The Forum 14 Report of the 1970 White House Conference on Children, for example, defined family as “a group of individuals in interaction,” while the American Home Economics Association, an occasional fount of obscure sociology, views family “as a unit of two or more persons who share resources, share responsibilities for decisions, share values and have a commitment to one another over time.” Such expansive definitions, designed to offend no one, arguably extend the “family” label to everything from group marriages and homosexual couples to a pair of winos sharing a boxcar and a bottle. Pro-family activists, on the other hand, support a less sweeping, more historic definition, limiting the ‘‘family” designation to two or more persons related by blood, heterosexual marriage, or adoption.

To be pro-family is to war against the cultural death-wish of modem Malthusianism. Just as “pro choice” means more than “pro abortion,” so does the “pro life” label encompass sentiments beyond opposition to that particular “medical procedure. ” Ideologically, the phrase symbolizes aversion to the whole anti-growth, anti-large family, anti-child, and proeugenic culture promoted by the modern Malthusians. In a spiritual sense, “pro life” means a struggle against the cool allure of Death and his steadfast companions, narcissism and sterility.

Indeed, the sterile orgasm may be among the most appropriate orgasm may be among the most appropriate symbols of the contemporary liberal temperament. Progressive doctrine on family and sexual matters has spread widely, and early and extensive sexual experimentation, the conscious rejection of parenthood, a reliance on abortion to correct sexual mistakes, a dogmatic adherence to the view that there are no differences between the sexes, and the elevation of selfishness to a virtue have reached pandemic proportions, particularly among American youth. Opposition by the pro-family coalition to the gay rights movement arises from the same revulsion towards the cult of sterility. As Midge Decter has recently pointed out, “the one thing that even the most passionate exponent of, or most ardent sympathizer with, homosexual liberation is bound to admit is that homosexual relations are-and are meant to be-fruitless.” When a society views heterosexuality and homosexuality as merely interchangeable forms of sexual release, and considers the birth of a child as but another burden on an already overtaxed environment, then procreation and the nurturing of children have in fact lost all claim to special social consideration. And human life is effectively reduced to a deplorable accident.

In contrast, pro-family activists unashamedly declare that parenthood, birth, and the rearing of children are positive, even superior, social tasks. And without discounting the complex ethical questions that do arise, they give strong preference to life-creating and life-sustaining acts over their life-denying and life-destroying antitheses.

To be pro-family is to oppose the union of educational and family professinals with the coercive power of the state...

Malefic motives, not just intellectual muddle-headedness, are suspected. For it is clear that the modern liberal temperament, wedded to a host of anti-natalist sentiments, is likely to produce few babies among its own adherents. Yet no political movement, however hostile towards procreation it might be, can long survive without initiating someone’s children into its mysteries. In consequence, family and school professionals can sometimes loom as modern equivalents of the faeries and trolls who, in former times, stole human children away during the night to raise in their own alien ways...

Collective paranoia? Phantasms of Twinkie- besotted imaginations? Regrettably not. One need only look to the humanistic paradise of Sweden, where the modern collectivist state is somewhat ahead in its task of severing children from their parents. Since passage in 1979 of Sweden’s notorious Parenthood and Guardianship Code, it has been a criminal offense for parents to spank, strike, intimidate, threaten, ostracize, ridicule, or otherwise “psychologically abuse” their children. ‘‘Children’s ombudsmen” work diligently to inform the moppets of their “rights,” while the Swedish parliament has seriously considered legislation allowing children to divorce their parents. It takes no great leap of imagination to appreciate that it is only a matter of time before Swedish family professionals, given their characteristic adherence to value-free humanism, will show religious indoctrination to be a particularly brutal form of psychological child abuse.

The essentially defensive nature of the American pro-family movement becomes apparent when one turns to the legislative measure most fully embodying its agenda. The Family Protection Act, first introduced in Congress by Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt, has been vilified by critics as a repressive monstrosity...

Unless one assumes darker motives, it is difficult to understand why liberals are driven to such apoplexy by this measure. Even if the whole Family Protection Act were approved, liberal progeny could continue virtually undisturbed in their secular-humanistic ways. They might have to tolerate a few voluntary prayers by their classmates, or give occasional notice to the theory that women make the best mothers. But they would undoubtedly survive such experiences with their value systems intact. One does suspect, however, that at least some of the outrage spawned by the Family Protection Act arises from the consternation liberals feel at seeing their fayorite social engineering tool-the coercive threat of withholding federal funds turned, against their most cherished schemes.

To be pro-family is to accept a common ’measure of right and wrong. It is here that people who otherwise span the political spectrum commit the single, unforgivable act that finally separates them from the modern liberal temperament. For in the culture which liberal laxism has produced, you can perform virtually any voluntary act of decadence, debauchery, or perversion without opprobrium or guilt. But you may not, under any circumstance, accuse another of hedonism or sin...

There is apprehension that the great eighteenth-century champions of liberty were correct in their belief that a free society cannot exist without strong, internalized moral values, nor without well-defined and commonly accepted social norms. As this century’s foremost philosopher of freedom, Friedrich Hayek, wrote in his masterpiece The Constitution of Liberty: “It is indeed a truth . , . that freedom has never worked without deeply ingrained moral beliefs and that coercion can be reduced to a minimum only where individuals can be expected as a rule to conform voluntarily to certain principles.” The preservation of identifiable social norms and a common moral code may, in fact, be necessary for the very survival of our free society."

--- Radicals Liberals, Illiberal Families / Allan C. Carlson. The American Spectator, April 1981

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Links - 12th April 2016

Linguistic Obfuscation in Fraudulent Science - "Fraudulent papers were written with significantly higher levels of linguistic obfuscation, including lower readability and higher rates of jargon than unretracted and nonfraudulent papers. We also observed a positive association between obfuscation and the number of references per paper, suggesting that fraudulent authors obfuscate their reports to mask their deception by making them more costly to analyze and evaluate"
Does this happen in the humanities too?

Braised Vegetables with Red Fermented Beancurd (南乳炆齋) - "I used to marinate shitake mushrooms, then steam them before cooking with other ingredients. By using this method, the texture of mushrooms would turn to be tender and smoother. I learn this trick from my mother. She cooks every dish of shitake mushrooms with fabulous taste."

Muammar Gaddafi’s personal jet grounded in France: from the heights of luxury to a barbed-wire limbo

Emma Watson to Take Break From Acting to Focus on Feminism - "Watson also told hooks that one of the most valuable things she’s learned from feminism is the ability to resist self-doubt. “I’m on my journey with this and it might change, but I can tell you that what is really liberating and empowering me through being involved in feminism is that for me the biggest liberation has been that so much of the self-critiquing is gone,” she said. “Engaging with feminism, there is this kind of bubble now that goes off in my head where these really negative thoughts about myself hit where I’m able to combat them in a very rational and quick way. I can see it now in a way that’s different""
Since feminists assume they're infallible, this sounds about right

Black Lives Matter Cries 'White Supremacy' after Holding 'Color-Only' Meetings at Library - "Black Lives Matter activists are crying white supremacy after a Nashville public library told them they were not allowed to exclude people from their meetings based on race. The group’s general meetings are “open to black and non-black people of color only,” according to its website. According to WSMV-TV, “library officials told the group that if it holds a meeting at a public space such as the library, it has to be open to everyone.” The activists didn’t agree."
"In our space, we really don’t have that time to deconstruct the ways in which white people can help our movement. It really is a time dedicated to healing and community building among black people and people of color"
Some races are more equal than others

Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture - "Not only are organic pesticides not safe, they might actually be worse than the ones used by the conventional agriculture industry... organic foods tend to have higher levels of potential pathogens... Organic foods did, however, have higher levels of overall fats, particularly trans fats. So if anything, the organic livestock products were found to be worse for us (though, to be fair, barely)... over two-thirds of respondents said organic produce and meats taste better than non-organic ones. But when researchers had people put their mouths to the test, they found that people couldn't tell the difference between the two in blind taste tests... the real reason organic farming isn't more green than conventional is that while it might be better for local environments on the small scale, organic farms produce far less food per unit land than conventional ones. Organic farms produce around 80% that what the same size conventional farm produces (some studies place organic yields below 50% those of conventional farms!). Right now, roughly 800 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, and about 16 million of those will die from it. If we were to switch to entirely organic farming, the number of people suffering would jump by 1.3 billion, assuming we use the same amount of land that we're using now. Unfortunately, what's far more likely is that switches to organic farming will result in the creation of new farms via the destruction of currently untouched habitats, thus plowing over the little wild habitat left for many threatened and endangered species."

Mythbusting 101: Sharks will cure cancer - "North American populations of sharks have decreased by up to 80% in the past decade, as cartilage companies harvest up to 200,000 sharks every month in US waters to create their products. One American-owned shark cartilage plant in Costa Rica is estimated to destroy 2.8 million sharks per year... It's bad enough that all this ecological devastation is for a pill that doesn't even work"
At least shark's fin soup tastes good

The More Chores A Husband Does, The More Likely The Marriage Will End In Divorce - "the correlation could be because couples are happier when they have clearly-defined roles in the relationship where people aren't stepping on each other's toes. "There could be less quarrels, since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight," he added."

More Chinese couples say 'I do' to intimate weddings - "The gatecrash ritual is a Chinese tradition and involves bridesmaids setting up obstacles or games for the groom and his entourage to overcome before they can enter the bride's home... As many as one in five young couples in their late 20s to early 30s now choose to forgo this ritual altogether... At the same time, smaller-scale weddings are gaining momentum here. Tan Weiwei, a 28-year-old senior wedding planner at Chere: Weddings & Parties, who has planned weddings for almost seven years, said about 20 per cent of couples now opt for smaller weddings with 80 to 120 guests. Traditional Chinese banquet weddings host about 300 guests on average. Ms Tan added that another trend is for some couples to have large wedding banquets "followed by smaller and more intimate celebrations"... Many prefer smaller-scale weddings for the intimacy and quality time they get with their guests. Said the 26-year-old: "Couples are able to mingle more... and they don't find the need to have large banquets, when half the guests are people you do not know or have not met for years.""

Overseas weddings a growing appeal for Chinese - "The cost of a wedding abroad is not necessarily that much more than a wedding in China. It costs between 6,900 yuan (S$19,200) and 8,000 yuan for a table of 10 at a wedding banquet in an up-market hotel in Beijing, whereas something comparable overseas can cost less than half that, Pan says... A small ceremony in a castle in Denmark over three days can cost 80,000 yuan for a couple alone, while the same thing in Queenstown, New Zealand, will cost 20,000. For Vivienne Li and her husband, the cost for the 50-guest wedding in Bali was about 500,000 yuan including fees for the local wedding planner, filming, photography, banquets, all guests' accommodation. That included $450 for the services of a rain stopper. "The constant rain just before the wedding day worried me greatly," Li says. "Fortunately someone advised me to get a rain stopper, the efficacy of whose services were virtually guaranteed," she says, beaming. "Thanks to the rain stopper, performing rituals such as burning incense behind stage, we had a perfect, rain-free wedding.""

It Only Takes A Few Hours For A Virus To Spread Through An Entire Office

Alibaba Helps Chinese LGBT Couples Say 'We Do' in West Hollywood - "In an event co-sponsored by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and the Chinese gay dating app Blued, the lucky couples won the chance for a destination wedding and star treatment in Los Angeles. The winning couples were chosen this February through online voting on Alibaba’s shopping site Taobao. They were married this Tuesday at the West Hollywood Library, with the city’s mayor officiating."

Health, absence, disability, and presenteeism cost estimates of certain physical and mental health conditions affecting U.S. employers. - "Ranges of condition prevalence and associated absenteeism and presenteeism (on-the-job-productivity) losses were used to estimate condition-related costs. Based on average impairment and prevalence estimates, the overall economic burden of illness was highest for hypertension ($392 per eligible employee per year), heart disease ($368), depression and other mental illnesses ($348), and arthritis ($327). Presenteeism costs were higher than medical costs in most cases, and represented 18% to 60% of all costs for the 10 conditions"

Mumtaz Qadri appears in court for trial hearing - Pakistan - "Some 35 Qadri supporters from an Islamic youth group gathered outside the jail, reciting Koranic verses and shouting: “Allah is the Greatest”, “We salute you Qadri” and “Long Live Qadri, Long Live Punjab police”... The killing has reignited controversy over Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which were recently used to sentence a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, to death following a dispute with her fellow villagers in southern Punjab. Taseer sought to amend the law, which human rights activists say is often abused in petty disputes, but in the face of huge public support for the legislation the government has said it has no plans to change it."

Thousands at funeral of Pakistani executed for murdering governor - "An estimated crowd of more than 100,000 people have attended the funeral of Mumtaz Qadri, in a massive show of support for the convicted murderer of a leading politician who had criticised Pakistan’s blasphemy laws... The extreme sensitivity of the issue was reflected in the silence of Pakistan’s usually voluble politicians on the decision to execute Qadri. On Monday night, video footage appeared online showing the information minister, Pervaiz Rasheed, being heckled by passengers in the departure lounge of Karachi airport. One politician who did comment was the minister for religious affairs, Pir Muhammad Amin Ul Hasnat Shah, who released a statement that described Qadri as a martyr and urged people to participate peacefully in his funeral."

LSE students: We don't want to live in a university safe-space bubble - "Charlie Parker is talking about a recent debate at the LSE student union. “A woman asked the union officers if they would ban something like a colour if it offended students and the welfare executive said yes,” says Parker, 21, a second-year philosophy student, sitting down on a blue beanbag at one of the campus cafés. “That stuck out for me as being absolutely crazy.” Parker and his friends Chiara Cappellini, 19, and Christian Benson, 20, have set up a speakeasy society to bring free speech back to their university in a nationwide climate of “safe spaces” and bans — sombreros were recently banned at the University of East Anglia in the name of preventing racial stereo-typing, and Parker tells me that at Edinburgh clapping and laughing are banned if motions are rejected at union meetings... The Speakeasy is planning three campaigns: inviting people who have been no-platformed (prevented from speaking) to talk, another recounting the history of free speech and the third, called Expose Yourself, debating ideas that people might be uncomfortable with... Trigger warnings have been placed in front of the Palestine society’s stall, saying their content may be upsetting, and the atheist society was prevented from wearing T-shirts showing Jesus and the prophet Mohammed holding hands... Capellini, who is studying international relations, says there is “a veil of hypocrisy” where “people pretend they agree so as not to disrupt the safe space”, and she says that one of her lecturers has commented that “we are being treated like kids by this paternalistic approach”... someone with an ambiguously gendered name was criticised by the Feminist Society on Facebook and called a “white, privileged man who didn’t understand feminism”. That person turned out to be a woman. Another online group called LSE Memes mocked this, and the Feminist Society asked for their jokes to be taken down. LSE Memes refused."

LSE criticised after Islamic Society holds segregated gala dinner - Telegraph
Was this a safespace? - "men and women were divided by a 7ft screen and left unable to see each other... Yet, the LSE’s student union defended the event as being held in a ‘relaxed’ atmosphere where men and women did interact with each other."

Video: Human rights campaigner heckled at blasphemy lecture - Telegraph - "she went ahead with the talk but “brothers” of the university’s Islamic Society started coming into the auditorium and repeatedly banged the door, heckled he and shouted at her. Ms Namazie, who fled her native Iran’s repressive government and now is a fierce campaigner against Islamic extremism, said: “They shut my projector, shouted over me, threw themselves on the floor. They created a climate of fear and intimidation. I spoke as loud as I could... Goldsmiths Islamic Society has previously hosted a number of radical speakers including Moazzam Begg of Cage, the charity which described ISIS terrorist 'Jihadi John' as a 'beautiful, kind man'. Another recent Goldsmiths speaker was Hamza Tzortzis, who says that non-Muslims 'should be killed' if they ever fight against Muslims and once proclaimed: 'We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech.' The university's student union previously ran into controversy when its diversity officer, Bahar Mustafa, banned white male students from a meeting and tweeted '#killallwhitemen'. Last week a second Goldsmith University student officer accused of bullying and harassing the union president quit his post. Alex Etches, campaigns and activities officer, stepped down amid allegations that he created a "hostile" working environment."
Maybe the talk was a safe space for Muslims

Tunisia hotel shooting: Mosques accused of 'extremist preaching' to be shut down amid security clampdown - "Tunisia is to close about 80 mosques accused of extremist preaching as part of a security clampdown in the country following last week’s devastating attack."
Sounds like what Donald Trump wants to do. Islamophobia!
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