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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Links - 17th September 2016

Chilcot Report and the delusions of Western democracy - "Now, when this very democratically elected UK prime minister cheated, lied, fabricated false evidence, engaged in massive propaganda, went on a rampage about "terrorism" in order to join the United States to invade Iraq, was he the military strongman of a Third World dictatorship or was he in fact the democratically elected prime minister of a Western liberal democracy?...
Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies ad Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York."
To limit myself just to the first 3 leaps of logic that come to mind:
1) As per the Chilcot Report, "There were no lies - there was no deceit"
2) Blair and Bush neither intended nor commissioned the murder of "hundreds of thousands". You might as well blame Albert Einstein for making the atomic bomb possible and so being responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki
3) Many sections of the press were openly skeptical - indeed hostile, to the Iraq War, even before it started
I hope his research isn't as badly argued as this

Glasgow mosque leader praises extremist killer - "The religious leader at Scotland's biggest mosque has praised an extremist who was executed for committing murder in Pakistan, the BBC can reveal. Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman of Glasgow Central Mosque used the messaging platform WhatsApp to show his support for Mumtaz Qadri. Qadri was hanged in February after murdering a local politician who opposed strict blasphemy laws... Maulana Habib Ur Rehman is the most senior imam at Glasgow Central Mosque, a role which involves leading prayers and giving religious guidance and teachings... The support for Qadri expressed in the UK by some Muslims from a group within Islam that is generally regarded as moderate was unexpected. Those supporting his actions came from within Sunni Islam, and a group known as Barelvis, who control just under 40% of mosques in the UK. These Sufis are not generally connected with jihadist groups, and present themselves in Pakistan and elsewhere as defenders of a moderate, peaceful Islam. However, on the day of Qadri's funeral, one of the co-directors of the Association of British Muslims, Paul Salahuddin-Armstrong, was so shocked by comments on social media in the UK praising the killer that he wrote a blog post. "Horrified… I honestly don't know where to begin," he said. He said he was also "appalled" to find a prominent mosque in Birmingham - the Ghamkol Sharif - had termed Qadri a "martyr" on its website... the Imam refers to Qadri as "brother" and says that, by killing his employer whom he was paid to protect, he was "carrying out the collective responsibility of the ummat," or Muslims as a whole. His execution, he says, "is a collective failure of Pakistani Muslims"... The Imam also likens Qadri's actions to those fighting Nazi occupation during World War Two."

China tells Japan to stop interfering in South China Sea - "Meeting in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, Li told Abe that China's stance on the South China Sea was completely in line with international law, state news agency Xinhua reported. "Japan is not a state directly involved in the South China Sea issue, and thus should exercise caution in its own words and deeds, and stop hyping up and interfering", Li said, according to Xinhua. Japan's Kyodo news agency said Abe told Li that a rules-based international order must be respected. The agency also said Abe and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had agreed the ruling must be observed."
International law = obeying China

Singapore’s Response to Family Violence: 1997 to 2007— what comes next? Accessibility & Dissemination - "The most notable information is that Indians are clearly over-represented (Malays and Others may also be, however this is less clear) and Chinese are underrepresented, in comparison with populations levels, of those seeking services... Historically and currently, the out-of-bound markers for public dialogue have built a fence around addressing cultural issues in any way that would undermine racial harmony (Chia, 2005). However, we are ignoring “the elephant in the room” if we remain silent on the role of culture in family violence."
How can we blame this on Chinese Privilege?

Leaked document says 2,000 men allegedly assaulted 1,200 German women on New Year’s Eve - "Officials have linked the sexual assaults to the influx of refugees. "There is a connection between the emergence of this phenomenon and the rapid migration in 2015," Holger Münch, president of the German Federal Crime Police Office, told Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Many suspects had originally come to Germany from North African countries rather than Syria, officials said."

Cover up during Ramadan, Kelantan mufti tells non-Muslims - "The Kelantan Mufti today urged non-Muslims to dress conservatively throughout the fasting month of Ramadan as provocative attire could be haram for surrounding Muslims."

Home Office told: 'Don't eat in front of Muslims during Ramadan' - "the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which claims to be fighting a ‘political jihad against Islamophobia’, attacked the document. It said: “It is designed to create more hatred in the hearts of non-Muslims. We don’t care how much non-Muslims eat in front of us. “It’s never been an issue and never will be and we have never asked for any special treatment or sensitivity from non-Muslims whilst fasting.”"

'They have a lot of terms and conditions' - "All over Singapore, hawker stalls are suffering the same plight - a shortage of manpower... "Singaporeans want to sleep until 8, but by 8 we've started work. I beg you to let us hire foreigners""

English Heritage 'deadly serious' about bid to get jousting into Olympics - "jousting should be seen as England’s first national sport. Jousting’s heyday was in the 15th and 16th centuries, with Henry VIII one of its most famous advocates. Historians have recently speculated that the reason Henry became such a cruel and petty tyrant is that jousting injuries brought about a change in his personality... It has been Maryland’s official sport since 1962."

Why Gender-Neutral Child-Raising Is A Terrible Idea - "Our schools medicate boys into convenient passivity instead of channeling their natural energy. School curricula and pedagogy play to the strengths of girls. More distressing still, people seem to be losing interest in boys. Adoption agencies have trouble placing them... The neglect of boys is a longstanding problem, but its latest front may be the most toxic we’ve yet seen. Under the label “gender-neutral parenting,” liberals are now trying to liberate boys from boyhood... For evidence of how “neutral” modern parents really are, consider Michelle, a lesbian parent, who publicly admits she regularly battles her young son’s interest in being a boy. “I’m constantly like trying to queer my relationship with him and get him to wear tutus. He hates it. He’s just like, ‘no,’” she says. Later on in the same video, Michelle laments the tyranny of Old MacDonald being a man. “Why couldn’t it be a lesbian farmer?” she wonders. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad... are we still permitted to tell our sons that their boyhood is something good and meaningful? Are we still permitted to teach them that manhood is worth earning?"

Are Indians by nature unhygienic? - "There is no point in getting infuriated or defensive about this. The general lack of cleanliness and hygiene hits the eye wherever one goes in India — hotels, hospitals, households, work places, railway trains, airplanes and, yes, temples. Indians think nothing of spitting whenever they like and wherever they choose, and living in surroundings which they themselves make unliveable by their dirty habits. The Indian Public Health Association has regularly been reporting the “scary situation” in Indian hotels, restaurants and eateries. The last, in particular, do not follow hygienic practices, use unclean containers, utensils and cups and plates and are often located near open drains or garbage bins... Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh courted a controversy with his remark that India needed more toilets than temples"

The black cop who has a problem with 'Black Lives Matter' - "Stalien expressed his frustration that his efforts to investigate black-on-black violence and bring the culprits to justice had met with outright hostility from the very community he sought to protect. "They called me 'Uncle Tom', and 'wanna be white boy', and I couldn't understand why," he wrote."

I Sometimes Don't Want to Be White Either - "There was a time in my 20s when everything I learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors... and my descendants. I remember deciding that I couldn’t have biological children because I didn’t want to propagate my privilege biologically. If I was going to pass on my privilege, I wanted to pass it on to someone who doesn’t have racial privilege; so I planned to adopt. I disliked my Whiteness, but I disliked the Whiteness of other White people more. I felt like the way to really end racism was to feel guilty for it, and to make other White people feel guilty for it too"
Keywords: white guilt

Beware of Kafkatrapping - "The accuser states, "Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of (sin, racism, sexism, homophobia, oppression…) confirms that you are guilty of (sin, racism, sexism, homophobia, oppression…)." Harking back to The Trial, Raymond explains how the novel's plot parallels the structure and purpose of the accuser's nonargument. No specific acts are named in the accusation, which makes the claim unfalsifiable. The vague charge constitutes a thought crime, which also makes it unfalsifiable. As with The Trial, the process seems designed to create guilt and to destroy resistance so that you become malleable. Indeed, "the only way out … is … to acquiesce in his own destruction." Even if you are innocent, the only path to redemption is for you to plead guilty and accept punishment. Ideally, for the accuser, you even come to believe in your own guilt... A separate problem arises if the accuser honestly believes the kafkatrapping. A woman who believes all men are oppressors is unlikely to cooperate with them in a good will attempt to solve social problems. She is more likely to seek a position of dominance over men, which she justifies in the name of self-defense or as a payback that is her due. This heightens tension between the sexes and obstructs sincere attempts to resolve problems. A kafkatrapper true believer becomes increasingly isolated from people who are seen as "the enemy" because they disagree; the true believer becomes increasingly unable to even communicate with or have empathy for a broad spectrum of people"

How Feminism Makes Women More Vulnerable to Rape - "it is easy to see how the naive boosterism of feminism has backfired. Feminists' inability to condemn excessive drinking, the push for affirmative consent laws, and the focus on women's passivity have all increased the likelihood for rape to occur, despite good intentions. This must end"
Since the writer is female, feminists presumably won't call her a rapist for thinking affirmative consent is a bad idea

Can the US end its addiction to painkillers? - "She kicked prescription painkillers and other drugs six months ago. But in the back of her mind are euphoric memories of opioid stupors and the knowledge that a doctor nearby will write a prescription any time she asks. "They didn't ask me too many questions because I've been in three car accidents and I have extremely bad migraines due to my neck pain, so I can get Percocet whenever I want," Kearney-Argow, 23, told Al Jazeera, referring to a strong pain reliever that can also give a high. "Even if that wasn't true and I told the doctor that, they would prescribe it to me anyway. It's too easy to get any opiates down here.""

The SJW mental disorder? - "One thing I have noticed is that a lot of these blogs proudly state their supposed mental disorders. It just makes me wonder, are these people just mentally not well? I know it's a stretch, but do they ever actually step back and go "hey, we are all kinda mental here, maybe our ideas aren't on the most solid of grounds?". They all gather together with the intent purpose of being victimized or oppressed. They all want the world to conform and change to their very specific worldview, and if anyone criticises them, they go full nuclear. There are just a range of patterns that I see forming, and they all stand out as being very mentally unstable. This has the danger of going meta as hell here. Could there in fact be a SJW mental disorder?"
"I also found the article on narcissistic defense mechanisms very telling"
"You just list all your perceived disabilities and disadvantages in your "about" section to gain oppression points. Then you can trade in those points for credibility when someone disagrees with you.
umblr is actually just a big MMORPG. You join a faction (radfem, transfat, redpiller, black seperatist, etc.) and conduct raids on the blogs of other less oppressed factions. Whoever has the most oppression points gets to type the same phrase over and over again in ALL CAPS and wins."

The Over-Sexualization Of Harley Quinn - "she is far from a strong female character, and she is not someone any girl should aspire to be. Quite the opposite, actually... Harley Quinn was never meant to be a character that merited imitation. She was meant to teach young girls about the dangers of domestic violence and to be an example of what not to be. She is a tragic character."

Parody ad campaign for Taiwan tourism celebrates plummeting number of mainland tourists - "The series of mock tourism ad photos boasts beautifully shot backdrops from all around Taiwan. Typical phrases meant to inspire tourists from abroad to come and visit like -- "All this awaits you!" -- are absent, replaced with a single sardonic slogan in English -- "Welcome to Taiwan, without Chinese!" For good measure, the parody ads also include some phrases in Chinese like: "No more trouble caused by Chinese tourists, A carefree journey begins here" and "Without Chinese tourists, it's now possibly to relax in the most popular destinations.""

Friday, September 16, 2016

Links - 16th September 2016

Sex-Related Neuroanatomical Basis of Emotion Regulation Ability - "Behavioral research has demonstrated that males have a higher capability of regulating their own and others' emotions than females; however, little is known about the sex-specific brain mechanisms involved in emotion regulation ability. In the present study, we used voxel-based morphometry to investigate the neural basis underlying emotion regulation ability in a large sample of young adults. Assessment of emotion regulation ability was performed using the Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale. As expected, males significantly scored higher in emotion regulation ability than females did. More importantly, we found the sex differences in the neuroanatomical basis of emotion regulation ability. Males showed a stronger positive relation between emotion regulation ability and regional gray matter volume (rGMV) in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In contrast, females demonstrated a stronger positive relation between emotion regulation ability and rGMV in an anatomical cluster that extends from the left brainstem to the left hippocampus, the left amygdala and the insular cortex. The present study provides the first empirical evidence regarding the sex-linked neuroanatomical correlates of emotion regulation ability. These findings may help understand why there is a higher prevalence of affective disorders in females and maladaptive behaviors in males."
This is proof that women are more emotional (and crazier) than men

Hard disk reliability examined once more: HGST rules, Seagate is alarming - "For a second year, the standout reliability leader was HGST. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Digital, HGST inherited the technology and designs from Hitachi (which itself bought IBM's hard disk division). Across a range of models from 2 to 4 terabytes, the HGST models showed low failure rates; at worse, 2.3 percent failing a year. This includes some of the oldest disks among Backblaze's collection; 2TB Desktop 7K2000 models are on average 3.9 years old, but still have a failure rate of just 1.1 percent. At the opposite end of the spectrum are Seagate disks... Newer Seagate disks also show more encouraging results. Although still young, at an average age of just 0.9 years, the 4TB HDD.15 models show a reasonably low 2.6 percent failure rate. Coupled with their low price—Backblaze says that they tend to undercut HGST's disks—they've become the company's preferred hard drive model. As before, this doesn't mean that anyone with a Seagate disk is at risk of an imminent hard disk failure (though you should always have backups!). Backblaze operates disks outside of the manufacturer's specified parameters. Significantly, most consumer-grade disks aren't intended to be heavily used 24/7; they're meant to be operational for about 8 hours a day and replaced every 3 to 5 years. Most home usage environments are likely to be lower in vibration than Backblaze's 45-disk storage pods, too. In more normal conditions, the Seagates are likely to fare much better."

2016 Hard Drive Review: Testing 61,590 Hard Drives

Islamists who preached chastity caught having sex on beach - "A pair of Islamist politicians who have advocated for chastity were caught having sex on a Moroccan beach, officials said. The lovefest between Moulay Omar Benhammad, 63, and Fatima Nejjar, 62, landed them in hot water with their Islamic Unity and Reform Movement (MUR), which is the ideological wing of the Islamic Justice and Development Party"

New York's Biggest Douchebag is Now Terrorizing Asia With His 'JewJetting' - "Whether it’s feasting on caviar and champagne in first class or staying at the most luxurious suites in Shanghai, Mumbai or Tokyo, Lee has done it all — and at little to no cost. He’s an expert in cheating the system and will always find a way to get that free upgrade."
Kate Nardi has really strange facial expressions

Congenital analgesia: The agony of feeling no pain - "One of the things I'm going to have to face soon is the fact that I won't have my left leg anymore. I've had quite a bit of surgery on my left knee in the past and it's got to the point where my doctors have told me to wait until it gives out completely. Once that occurs they're just going to have to amputate."

British Muslims marched off Easyjet flight after WhatsApp messages mistaken for 'Isis material'
"If you suspect it, report it" and security hysteria lead to racial/other profiling

Heben Nigatu — deadlydinos: When straight men are like “but if... - "When straight men are like “but if I share a locker room with a gay guy he might look at me!”
Okay leaving aside the fact that gay doesn’t mean attracted to you
And gay doesn’t mean “lacking in any sort of human decency or inability to prevent staring”
Okay. I'm going into the girls' locker room

The Barbie Girls - Marketplace & Online Grocery Shopping Singapore | RedMart
I thought this was some doll thing but this is the Australian sense of the word

Frozen Lobsters from Fresh Seafood
If they're frozen...

Singapore Tamil Brahmin Singles (Singapore) - Meetup - "This is a Unique Platform for all Single ladies and gentlemen from the Tamil Brahmin Community in Singapore to meet up and socialise. Who knows about the outcome?Possibilities are endless-Networking, New Friendships, Romance and more."
That's exclusive

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Turkey Takes Action in Syria - "There's been a wave of anti-American sentiment from Turks towards Americans. But this is a nation well-versed in conspiracy theories. And polls show the majority of Turks somehow believe the US was somehow involved in the failed coup. The CIA somehow or the US government...
Most of what's on TV can trace its origins back to cinema or newspapers or the novel or, of course, to radio. But [the Great British] Bakeoff and its variants are pure television, which wouldn't work in another medium. TV realised that what we audience crave is to see ourselves. Or a slightly heightened and nicer version of us, with the unruly and grumpy and unattractive and just plain boring excluded at the selection stage."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Russian warplanes use Iranian airbase - "'Putin has perhaps wrong-footed the West again'
'I think so David. I think that basing Russian warplanes in Iran tells us one more thing about Vladimir Putin. He loves being one step ahead of the West. This element of surprise. We've seen it so many times over the last few years. He loves catching the United States off-guard. Now whether that's Russia launching cruise missiles suddenly from the Caspian Sea towards Syria. Or whether it's announcing that Russia is going to be basing its warplanes in Iran. These are things that Putin can point to. Elements of surprise. And again in his world, in his mind I would imagine, this is an example of Russia catching the US off-guard and showing it's a great power'
'See that's why they make ideal friends with Iranian leaders. They love doing the same thing'"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Germany at Crossroads over Terror Threat - "Germany may have in effect imported terror too. I spoke to a senior intelligence source here actually a few days ago and he said to me that they are investigating, his agents are investigating 100s of reports that among refugees IS has actually sent in so-called hit squads. Teams of people posing as asylum seekers to come into Germany and prepare attacks... Another concern among the security services here. They know that IS are trying to radicalise young vulnerable asylum seekers... Many of them of course have been very traumatised by what they've gone through. They're now sitting in refugee accommodation waiting for their asylum papers to be processed. They can't work. There's not much to do. So they're very very vulnerable to radicalisation... Any suggestion of a greater role of the German military on the streets is obviously problematic for Germany given the legacy of World War II and the constitutional ban on the State deploying the army... German armed soldiers haven't deployed on the streets on home soil since the Second World War. It is the ultimate taboo to reverse that. And now it's being discussed"

Is the Internet Making Us an Angrier Society?, episode #162 of Question of the Day on Earwolf - "'I've had death threats... I've had it over 2 different articles... I said no war can be justified... nobody should go to college. The one where I said no one should go to college, a Senior at Brown sent me an email with a death threat. And I actually called Brown University's security and they're like: oh he's a Senior. Do you really want to cause him trouble? He said yeah we've had a problem with him before, he threatened a librarian. Do you really want to cause this kid a problem though? He's almost about to graduate"

People Are Pissed That Matt Bomer Is Going To Play A Trans Woman - "On social media, however, it was a much different story. Almost immediately following the Monday announcement, many expressed their frustration at Hollywood’s decision to cast Bomer, who is openly gay, in a transgender role... Both Eddie Redmayne and Jared Leto came under fire from a number of LGBT rights advocates for playing trans characters in 2015’s “The Danish Girl” and 2013’s “The Dallas Buyers Club,” respectively. It should be noted that both actors received Academy Award nominations for their roles; Leto took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2014"
Moral of the story: don't bother making movies about "minorities"
Comments: "So now a member of the LGBT community playing a member of the LGBT community isn't acceptable because he's not the right kind of LGBT community member? Even when things are going in the right direction, it's the wrong direction. SMH"
"Gay people have played straight people for years, and over the past couple years some straight actors have played gay people. They are called actors for a reason. It's because they are ACTING."
"Did any transgender actors actually audition for the role? Express any interest? And if they auditioned and Bomer auditioned for the part, do you automatically give it to the transgender actor even if Bomer gave the better performance?"
"If the role is for a straight person, does that mean only straight people can play that role? If only a deaf actor can play a deaf role, let's say the role is that of a teacher. Is someone with an education background more qualified to play that role? Should Laverne Cox only be considered for transgender roles?"

Teenage girl killed herself amid fears she would be branded racist over joke photo she sent friends, inquest hears - "The image was shared beyond the private group and Miss Connop feared their would be a backlash, the inquest heard. She died on July 7 after committing suicide at her family home"
Political correctness/SJW has now claimed at least one life

Social Justice Warriors Push Teen to Suicide - "Extremists of every stripe resort to indiscriminate violence, while moderates and innocent bystanders—including sympathizers to the social justice movement—are made victims based on the color of their skin or socioeconomic status... I was fully immersed in the social justice movement at the time—before I realized that it was more of a cult than an actual cause. I know how bad the culture is now, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get upset when people branded me a racist. And when you’re fully immersed in groupthink, the last thing you want is to be socially ostracized by your peers and disconnected from your only support network. It is a culture of fear... Phoebe Collop isn’t even the first victim of this culture of fear. In 2015, a fan artist who drew illustrations of her favorite characters in the cartoon show, Steven Universe, was bullied into attempting suicide. The artist, who went by the name Zamii, was accused by the Steven Universe and Homestuck fandoms—which are heavily immersed in social justice rhetoric—of racism, transphobia, fatphobia, ableism, and a litany of other sins. She came under fire for drawing an anime character with slightly slanted eyes and yellow skin, and again for drawing a “Native American” Fluttershy from the popular My Little Pony cartoon that was accused of being “stereotypical.” The complaints turned from a trickle into a torrent when she drew Rose Quartz, a Steven Universe character, with slightly less body fat than the official character. And the transphobia she was accused of? It’s because she called someone who identified as gender-neutral “dude.” No number of apologies on her part would get the bullying to stop. In all, over 40 Tumblr blogs and countless social media accounts were created to smear her reputation and brand her a bigot. When one of the show’s creators spoke up on her behalf, he was immediately bombarded with comments accusing him of apologia. He deleted the tweet, and Zamii found herself without any support. So she attempted suicide. Fortunately, she survived the attempt."

Feminism, Female Happiness and Marital Satisfaction

Has Feminism Made Women Happier? A Comprehensive Review | Psych and Society

"We will review five studies that have been published which directly measure the extent to which various aspects of women’s rights correlate with women’s life satisfaction at the level of countries or geographical regions. It should be noted that all three of the four studies that look at global correlations used the same dataset on male and female life satisfaction, the World Values Survey. So in that specific regard these studies should not be seen as truly replicating each other.

A study published by Meisenberg and Woodley (2014) looked at 96 different countries between 1981 and 2010 investigating the extent to which relative female life satisfaction (that is average female life satisfaction minus average male life satisfaction) correlated with the gender gap in education, the proportion of legislators, managers, and officials who are female, the female to male labour force ratio, and the percentage of females in the non-agricultural labour force. In all case the correlation was negative and statistically significant – between -0.42 to -0.28. That is, women tend to be the happiest relative to men in countries that have large gaps in male and female educational attainment, a low proportion of female leaders, and a smaller amount of women in the labour force.

A study published by Vieira Lima (2011) performed a similar analysis on relative female life-satisfaction, but used different measures of women’s rights. Looking at 80 different countries the study found that women’s social and economic rights as assessed by the CIRI Human Rights Database, women’s labour force participation, and egalitarian attitudes towards women were negatively correlated with relative female happiness.

A study published by Lalive and Stutzer (2009) explores the same association, but rather than on a national level this study used regional variation in Switzerland. The researchers used voting patterns from a 1981 Swiss national referendum on an equal rights amendment to the constitution of which a central proposition was that “women and men shall have the right to equal pay for work of equal value” as a measurement of gender egalitarian attitudes among communities. Not surprisingly, communities with more egalitarian attitudes tended to have smaller income gaps between men and women. Despite this, employed females in communities more accepting of egalitarian attitudes towards gender had significantly lower levels of life satisfaction (r=-0.1) and higher levels of perceived gender discrimination (r=-0.2).

A study published by Tesch-Römer, Motel-Klingebiel, Tomasik (2007) continues in the same line of research and finds similar results: female economic activity is associated with lower relative female life satisfaction. Although a novel finding was that among countries that have less egalitarian gender norms this association is reserved while in countries that have stronger egalitarian gender norms this relationship is strengthened.

And finally, a study published by Zweig (2014) looked at the association between relative female happiness and economic development as well as female representation in parliament. It found no statistically significant associations above the 95% confidence threshold although the correlations found were negative and statistically significant at a 90% confidence threshold. Regardless, it should not be considered a failed replication given that no other study found associations for these particular measures either indicating that female representation in politics is probably not a good proxy for whatever mechanism is behind the consistent negative association between relative female happiness and women’s rights...

There are many large surveys, such the National Longitudinal Surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, available for studying the effects of increased relative earnings of wives on marital stability and satisfaction. Unfortunately though, despite the large amount of attention researchers have put into this topic the findings are often highly contradictory. The chart below [found in the original article] organizes the results of eleven studies on the effects that relative spousal income has on marital happiness and the risk of marital disruption (such as divorce or separation). The majority of these studies (eight out of twelve) have found that the more a wife earns relative to her husband the less happy she is with the marriage or the higher the risk of marital disruption is. These studies differ in their results as much as in their methods – they have different sample sizes, different demographic controls, different measures, and some are cross-sectional while others are longitudinal. So clearly, drawing conclusions with certainty from these findings is difficult until a proper meta-analysis is conducted, but they do provide tentative support for the theory that increased earnings on the part of wives has had a deleterious effect on marital satisfaction and marital stability. Based on the results of these studies it appears that the mechanism by which increased relative earnings of wives relates to decreased marital instability is that of less household specialization and greater economic independence of both partners which reduces the economic and domestic benefits of marriage relative to separation...

Several studies have found that traditional gender role attitudes within marriage are associated with increased marital satisfaction:

- A 2006 study published in the journal Social Forces found that traditional views of marriage were associated with higher marital satisfaction for wives even after controlling for social, economic, and demographic variables (Wilcox & Nock, 2006). It also found that women who share a normative commitment to marriage with their partners were more satisfied with the emotion work done by their husbands.

- A study published in the journal American Sociological Review used longitudinal survey data from 1980 to 1988 and found that as wives’ attitudes became more egalitarian their perceived marital quality declined (Amato & Booth, 1995). Interestingly, for husbands, as their attitudes became more egalitarian their perceived marital quality increased. The study also found that marriage quality eight years prior did not predict changes in gender role attitudes indicating that gender attitudes are likely influencing marital quality and not the other way around.

- A study published in the Journal of Family Issues that used GSS data from 1974 to 1986 found that women who held more traditional views on gender such as agreement with statements like “women should take care of running the house and leave running the country up to men” reported higher marital and individual happiness (Lueptow, Guss, & Hyden, 1989).

- In a 1992 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family researchers conducted interviews of married couples and found that while expectations of traditional gender roles did not relate to marital quality women’s perceptions of their husband’s gender role expectations did negatively correlated with marital quality among women (Vannoy & Philliber, 1992). These findings seem to contradict the others, although this may be due to the nature of the questions asked. Rather than ask questions about husbands’ and wives’ normative view of gender roles they were asked whether or not they or their spouse should be the one personally to do various tasks such as childcare or money management...

Given that on the national level and in regards to marriage feminism seems to an unambiguous negative influence it comes as somewhat of a surprise that at the individual level the empirical evidence on the effects of feminist ideology on women’s overall satisfaction is not only scarce, but also seems to suggest that the relationship is not negative – that is, women who hold feminists beliefs are not less satisfied with their lives. I’d like to emphasize the extent to which this topic has remained understudied: after multiple attempts to locate evidence via database searchers and attempts to contact researchers who published on this topic I’ve only been able to find three rather low-quality studies...

Given these findings the question inevitably becomes, “Has feminism failed?”. And the answer to this question largely depends on what you believe feminism was meant to accomplish. After all, in terms of objective measures of women’s economic, political, and social standing feminism has clearly achieved much. And so if the success of feminism hinges on the empowerment and liberation of women I don’t think it could be convincingly argued that feminism has failed...

maybe the big questions isn’t whether or not feminism has failed, but rather it’s whether or not the goals of feminism are even desirable. Does feminism actually improve the lives of women? To that question the data gives us a clear answer: not only is there no good evidence that feminist societies, feminist relationships, or feminist beliefs make women more satisfied with their lives, but if anything, the evidence suggests that some of these things are actually detrimental to women’s psychological well-being. And so if feminism should be judged on the extent to which it improves the quality of women’s lives then I think we can confidently say that, yes, it has failed."

At first I thought it was just that one study showing that women were becoming less happy as they gained more rights (The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness by Stevenson and Wolfers (2009), which all the feminists got upset about) but there're 4 others with similar results

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Links - 15th September 2016

Robi, a bilingual and Singlish-uttering robot, is now available in Singapore - "maker DeAgostini isn’t shipping Robi as a complete robot. Robi’s assembly instructions and model parts are delivered with an educational magazine about robotics over the course of 70 weekly issues. Each issue retails at S$28.90, other than the first issue (at a promo price of S$9.90); and issue 43 and 67 (S$55 each) and issue 62 and 63 (S$42 each), because these four issues contain more expensive parts like the CPU, sensors, and speech recognition board. Put another way, at the end of the day, Robi will set you back S$2,082.40."
It's a trap!

Canadians Regret Welcoming Muslim Refugees - "While 60 percent of Ontarians say they initially supported the decision to import Syrian refugees, 75 percent now say Muslim immigrants hold fundamentally different values and a majority now say Islam’s mainstream doctrines promote violence. Only one-third of those in the region have a positive impression of the religion."

The Dallas Killings Were Inevitable - "In Oakland, they spray painted “Fuck the pigs” and “Fuck the OPD (Oakland Police Department)” on concrete barriers. They splattered red paint on the door of the police building, and spray painted “Fuck the police murderers” on its walls. They also shot fireworks at the police building. In New York City, white people held up signs saying “The slaughter of black people must be stopped”... It is dogma in BLM circles that “the slaughter of black people” is the work of whites. In the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore, three of the six officers charged were black, and they were the ones accused of the most serious crimes, but it didn’t matter. Blacks are still the victims of white racism."

Know Which Ingredients in Lip Balm Actually Cause Dry Lips - "America News Now spoke to dermatologist Gary Slaughter, who found camphor, phenol and menthol were the ingredients in bad lip balm. When you spread it on it seems to soothe at first, but quickly dries up and requires reapplication. Additionally, OL (which indicates alcohol) and salicylic acid are two more ingredients that may cause some people irritation"

Can Your DNA Determine If You’re a Morning Person or Night Owl? - "A new genome-wide association study (GWAS) published by the personal genetics company 23andMe identifies an array of genetic variants associated with being a morning person."

Rhino horn now more valuable than gold, diamonds and cocaine, at $60K a pound

Kalyn Chapman James, first black Miss Alabama, calls Dallas cop killer a 'martyr'

3D-Printed Synthetic Rhino Horns Could Save Rhinos - "Engineers there have figured out a way to turn keratin powder and rhino DNA into a substance that is genetically similar to natural rhino horn. The plan is to flood Chinese and Vietnamese markets, where demand is high, and bring down the price... The biotech company also wants to produce beer using the synthetic rhino horn, which is seen by some in Asia a way to treat hangovers."

Where have all the soldiers gone? - "Colonel Martin Herem, of KVÜÕA, having analysed the problems with conscripts, is among those who think DRA medical committee statistics do not reflect the real state of Estonian men. «Today we say: 39 percent of men are fit to serve, the rest are sick. In my opinion, this is a demoralising picture. Most of the men walking the streets thus ought to be lame, crooked, or mentally ill – but that’s obviously not the case,» reasons the Colonel."

Chapter Four: The Militarisation of the South China Sea | IISS - "In 2014 China began to implement a master plan to expand and consolidate its presence in the South China Sea, transforming seven small rocks and low-tide elevations that it occupied into artificial islands. In the space of 18 months, Chinese vessels dredged and pumped sand from the seabed and coral ripped out of nearby reefs until these features encompassed an area of 3,000 acres (12 square kilometres). For comparison, other claimants in the South China Sea – Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam – expanded the land area of the features they already occupied by only 100 acres (0.4 sq km) over 45 years. In 2015, the pace and scope of China’s reclamation activities accelerated markedly and it began to construct infrastructure, including airstrips and multi-level building"

The fall of Salon.com - "A Facebook page dedicated to celebrating the 20th anniversary of digital media pioneer Salon is functioning as a crowdsourced eulogy... “Sadly, Salon doesn’t really exist anymore,” wrote Laura Miller, one of Salon’s founding editors who left the site for Slate last fall. “The name is still being used, but the real Salon is gone”... in liberal intellectual and media circles it is widely believed that the site has lost its way... Two guys even created a vicious parody account, @salondotcom, to mock Salon’s increasingly strident brand of leftism, with fake tweets like “Ten signs your cat might be racist” and “Should GMOs come with trigger warnings?”... "[In 1995] the web rewarded quickness, the web rewarded saying something that other people were not saying,” Walsh said. “The web also rewarded speed.” After a beat, she added: “At that time, the web rewarded reporting as well. I used to make the case that it's still like that, but I'm not sure I feel that way anymore”... the new strategy rewarded aggregation and provocation – in other words, hot takes. Both are easy to produce at scale, since they do not require writers to spend time reporting out a story... Twelve current and former employees said they were discouraged from doing original journalism out of a concern that time spent reporting could be better spent writing commentary and aggregate stories... “The low point arrived when my editor G-chatted me with the observation that our traffic figures were lagging that day and ordered me to ‘publish something within the hour,’” Andrew Leonard, who left Salon in 2014, recalled in a post. “Which, translated into my new reality, meant ‘Go troll Twitter for something to get mad about — Uber, or Mark Zuckerberg, or Tea Party Republicans — and then produce a rant about it.’"

Faroe Islands fit cameras to sheep to create Google Street View - "Tired of waiting for Google to map the archipelago, Faroe Islanders have launched Sheep View 360, enlisting their ovine population to do the leg work"

Men Produce Better Sperm When They’re Cheating On Their Partners - "A study carried out by the College of Wooster found that guys ejaculate faster and produce more, high quality sperm when they masturbate to a “novel female stimulus”. To you and I, a “novel female stimulus” is porn and what this means is that men are at their sexually reproductive best when they’re with a new woman. Study co-author Dr. Laura K. Sirot, assistant professor of biology, told the Huffington Post that ‘our study does not suggest anything about whether monogamy was favoured or disfavoured by natural selection. However, the results of this study and other studies of human differential ejaculation behaviour suggest that extra-pair (or extramarital) copulations may have occurred in our evolutionary past.’... When men see doctors about possible infertility problems, they are asked to masturbate to novel female stimuli. What the University of Ohio have discovered means that this sperm might be of a high quality than the sperm they are producing with their partners. This can, therefore, conceal the problem from doctors."

COMMENT: Lee Wei Ling... a dissident in the making? - "That has been really the result of Lee Kuan Yew’s stature and his ability to instill fear among his confidantes and others that if they showed their dissent in public, the consequences will be disastrous... She also lost ground when she complained that the paper, in not publishing her article, had curtailed her freedom of speech. It was laughable that she should complain about a principle that many have complained about for ages and has been dismissed by her father’s and her brother’s governments... One of the first battlefields is likely to be the family’s Oxley Road house, which she and her family want demolished eventually. Lee Kuan Yew had also stated in his will for this wish to be carried out.But conservation experts believe that the more than 100-year-old property should be preserved because of its historical value. It is very difficult to see how the Preservation of Monuments Board can go against this important body of opinion and rule in favour of the Lee family. And if that happens, Dr Lee is unlikely to take this sitting down."

Chinese wedding traditions – The Wedding Script - "Crying and picking up the bride – The bride, covered by a red head-kerchief, must cry with her mother to show her reluctance to leave home. She would be led or carried by her elder brother to the sedan. In the meeting party, the groom would meet a series of difficulties intentionally set in his path. Only after coping with these could he pass to see his wife-to-be."

More young people in Singapore staying single - "Prof Straughan suggested targeting efforts to encourage earlier marriage at those who are not dating. But finding a significant other can be awkward in Singapore, she added. "There's no culture here where you can walk into a bar and say, 'Hi singles, I'm here'." To overcome the obstacle, she said bosses need to encourage their employees not to work late, by say, turning off the air-conditioning at 7pm"

Why boys with sisters are more likely to be Republicans - "“Having sisters makes males more politically conservative in terms of their gender role attitudes and their partisanship,” they wrote. “Particularly for gender role attitudes, we find that these political socialization effects persist until respondents are well into adulthood.”"

The Real Reason Behind Public Smoking Bans - "“I discovered the evidence was really weak,” explained lead author Ronald Bayer, a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “The evidence of harm to non-smokers on the beach or in a park from someone smoking is virtually non-existent.” Bayer is points out that there is, however, an important public health benefit from such bans. “They make it more difficult for smokers to smoke,” Bayer told us, “and contribute in an important way to the ‘denormalization’ of smoking”... when my students of public health talked about illicit drugs like heroin or cocaine or marijuana, they adopted a libertarian point of view — emphasizing how the government has no business intruding on people’s choices and all those negative consequences. But when I raised the issue of tobacco, they all became in a way, authoritarian... The evidence that fish and birds are dying because of cigarette butts is virtually non-existent. And even the evidence that seeing someone in a park or beach will encourage kids to smoke is extremely weak"

How Can Liberals Be Pro-Choice on Abortion and Anti-Choice on Everything Else? - "Marco Rubio recently drew a distinction between discriminating against people (e.g., by refusing to serve an LGBT customer at a restaurant) and declining to participate in an event (e.g., by refusing to officiate at a same-sex wedding). And there is another distinction, spelled out in an amicus brief by Eugene Volokh in the Elane Photography case, between forcing people to provide services that have no expressive component (such as driving a limousine) and services that do (such as writing press releases for various groups). Given that, as Volokh wrote, “speech compulsions are generally as unconstitutional as speech restrictions,” you could argue that photographers, writers, and perhaps even cake-makers have a First Amendment right not to provide expressive content with which they disagree. Consider, for instance, whether a Jewish printer should have to print placards promoting the American Nazi Party. Or consider the views of Kathy Trautvetter, a lesbian who owns a T-shirt company. Despite her sexual orientation, she defended a Christian printer’s right not to make signs for a gay-pride event: “When I read the story I immediately felt, ‘If I were in his shoes, what would they be forcing me to do?’ ”... If a pregnant woman is not responsible for the welfare of the child within her womb—the child she willingly helped create—then why should that pregnant woman be responsible for the welfare of a child she has never met? Or a middle-aged man halfway across the country who just lost a job? Or an old woman five states away who needs a hip replacement? Indeed, why should anyone be responsible for anybody’s welfare but their own?"

Kids of pushy parents 'face higher risk of depression'

Nude Hercules statue gets removable penis for special events - "The three-metre statue, which stands in a park in Arcachon, south-western France, was deprived of its member so often that the local council decided it would be best to leave it off — except during public events or ceremonies. The mayor, Yves Foulon told the Sud-Ouest newspaper: “I wouldn’t wish anyone — not even my worst enemies — to go through what has been inflicted on this statue”... It is not the first time that the statue’s penis has caused problems. When the statue was erected in the Parc Mauresque in 1948 to symbolise the valiant struggle of the French Resistance against the Nazi occupation, a number of influential ladies of Arcachon complained that it was over-endowed. The sculptor, Claude Bouscau, was twice forced to shorten the phallus to render the statue inoffensive in their eyes."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Links - 14th September 2016

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Thursday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "Low interest rates really steal growth from the future. What they do is they take spending that would take place in the future and they bring it forward to today. And so whilst in the short term that's a good thing - it was the right thing to cut interest rates in 2008, 2009 in order to stimulate the economy in the wake of the financial crisis, now that the economy is back to sort of close to full employment, interest rates should really start going up in the US in particular because otherwise you just end up pulling forward more and more spending and eventually you have to get the payback"

BBC Radio 4 - Today, What is it like to live under siege? - "[On Aleppo] 'I would give them a hug. They need to feel that we are compassionate and to remain their human dignity is the most important thing of all'
'You haven't used the word hope. You have not said I would give them hope'
Because it would be very hypocritical. You know. How can we give them hope? To give them hope would be to lie to them and I don't want to lie to them'"

What Are You Waiting For? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - " FISHBACH: When other people were joining the line, then people reported that the smoothie tastes better.
Which, to Fishbach, showed that a line can signal value.
FISHBACH: In other words, once we wait for something, we value it more than if it was effortless, than if we never had to wait."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, What does Brexit mean for Felixstowe? - "You're reminded that the golden rule of politics, of every election campaign, of every referendum, turned out to be fool's gold. It was not 'the economy, stupid'. It was instead concerns about democracy, sovereignty, control that triumphed...
'I'm not nervous at all, however it goes, because real people, in real lives will adapt. The people that are really worrying aren't normal people on the ground - it's the Establishment'"

BBC Radio 4 - Today, China v UK: The unexpected battle for second - "How's it going down on the Chinese media?
'Who has poisoned our dream team?'
'The worst performance in 5 Olympics'
'Are the judges biased against our athletes?...
When it comes to willpower, grit and pluck, Chinese expect to come top. How to cope then with the shock display of their national character from: Britain? Strategy Number One: Denial.
'We fell behind a small island country troubled by separatism? I don't believe it. And I refuse to give in'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, How human behaviour changes online - "The DSM doesn't... recognise internet addiction and I agree with that, because we cannot be addicted to air, and we cannot be addicted to water. We need technology to live in this day and age. So I actually like to consider it as maladaptive behavior...
'Around 3 or 4, there are some - there's some research to show positive aspects of interface with technology in terms of looking at language acquisition or fine motor skills, but certainly not under the age of 2. But more important than what age a child should look at a screen is, I turn the question back to parents and say: What age should you expose your infant to your screen use? Do you know that the average person checks their mobile phone 200 times a day?'
'And if you're doing that in front of your children and distracting from dealing with your children, you're doing them harm'
'Absolutely. And you're not making eye contact. Studies show: ethnographic studies looking at people in fast food restaurants, show that caregivers 60% of the time spend their time looking at their devices and when they speak to their children, they don't make eye contact'"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Cruising, Cruising: Bad for the World? - "You go to a hotel. You check in to a hotel. The person behind the counter, they only know your name because they see it on a computer. That's the last time they know your name. When you cruise, oh you never meet anybody staying in a hotel. When you cruise, you unpack. Within days you know all the staff. Within days you know many of the passengers. You develop friendships and relationships that you're going to have for the rest of your life. And it adds to the travel experience...
When you're at home, how many days a week do you see your best friends? Once, maybe twice? Here, you see them every day... A cruise becomes your second family'

Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe says Hillary will flip-flop on TPP — again

The Animation Pioneer Who Helped Disney Create Mickey Mouse - "Famous animator Chuck Jones once said of Iwekrs “Iwerks spelled backwards is screwy,” but maybe you need a screw loose to invent like Iwerks did."

India’s Cow Vigilantes - "In the state of Gujarat, four Dalit youths caught skinning a cow were stripped, tied, and beaten with iron rods by cow vigilantes who accused them of killing the animal (they had not). In BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, two Dalit women were assaulted for supposedly carrying illegal cow meat (it was legal buffalo meat). In Punjab, two young Dalits were beaten and urinated upon for the same “crime.” A 16-year-old Kashmiri Muslim boy was murdered for having hitched a ride on a truck that was transporting cattle"

Topless tourists face fines as France cracks down on public nudity

Let it be known to Hitler’s “Hindu” fans that he thought of them as “Asiatic jugglers” and was planning to brutally rule over them

10 surprising facts about Mark Zuckerberg - "Facebook is blue because Zuckerberg is color-blind"

Thailands’s ladyboys and go-go girls face the axe — is seedy sex tourism over in Thailand? - "a clampdown could devastate the economy, which is still reeling from a massive recession in 2014. Some prostitutes make 5000 Baht (A$189) in a single night, which is sixteen times the minimum wage, and many send their income to relatives in rural parts of the country. If the industry is dissolved, thousands could find themselves out of work. However, some researchers suggest sex tourism is an entrenched part of Thai society, and that it links all the way back to the Korean and Vietnam wars. Manpavan Kaur, a research analyst at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, calls it the “military sexual complex”."

How Paul Krugman Made Donald Trump Possible - " If you use the most vile language available on a good man like Romney, or on real candidates like Rubio and Cruz, you find you have none left for the Donald Trumps of the world—and no one is listening to you anyway. If every Republican is always unfit for the presidency then Trump is no different and it shouldn’t be surprising that rank-and-file Republican voters are lining up behind him. They know there aren’t actually any Republicans of which the media approves. There’s a joke among Republicans that the only GOP candidate the media likes is one who has no chance of winning. John McCain was a media darling when he lost in the 2000 primary to George W. Bush but not when he was actually running against a Democrat in 2008. The media bear a lot of responsibility for the creation of Trump, and treating all Republican presidential candidates as if they’re a danger to American society is just one way they’ve done it"

New National Poll Finds: More Americans Know Snow White's Dwarfs Than Supreme Court Judges, Homer Simpson Than Homer's Odyssey, and Harry Potter Than Tony Blair - "Americans are more familiar with the Seven Dwarfs, The Three Stooges, Harry Potter, Homer Simpson and Superman than the news of the day, world leaders or classic literature... Americans' knowledge of fictional super heroes and boy wizards eclipsed our collective knowledge of astronomy and world leaders. Krypton was identified correctly by 60% of the respondents as Superman's planet of origin, while only 37% were able to name Mercury as the closest planet to the sun. Our British counterparts might be surprised to learn that more Americans (57%) were able to correctly identify Harry Potter as the name of J.K. Rowling's fictional boy wizard who lives in England than were able to successfully name Tony Blair as the current Prime Minister of England - only 50%. "

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 159 - Colin Allen on "Do fish feel pain?" - "If we talk about fish generically, as a category, first, fish constitute 60% of all vertebrate species. It's a hugely diverse taxonomic group. Asking what it's like to be a fish, or are fish conscious, or do they suffer or feel pain, is even a broader question than asking, what is it like to be a primate, for instance. Primates are a relatively small taxonomic group compared to fish... If we talk about fish generically, as a category, first, fish constitute 60% of all vertebrate species. It's a hugely diverse taxonomic group. Asking what it's like to be a fish, or are fish conscious, or do they suffer or feel pain, is even a broader question than asking, what is it like to be a primate, for instance. Primates are a relatively small taxonomic group compared to fish."

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 164 - James Evans on "Using meta-knowledge to learn how science works" - "it's certainly taking people longer to produce professional science in some ways. What we don't know is whether that's because we've exhausted all of the low-hanging fruit, or if we've exhausted all the low-hanging fruit on the trees that we've chosen to pick from"

Episode 38: Pride Cometh Before The Fall - "It was, in fact, the PAP leaders themselves who caused the split and affected their own standing with the public through their own actions. And their downfall starts with how they treated the most popular politician in Singapore, the former Mayor of Singapore, Ong Eng Guan... The PAP leadership abused their powers by ordering Special Branch to dig up dirt on Ong. Allegations of perjury, dishonesty, and bigamy were leaked to the press."

Episode 37: The Nature of Colonialism - "The key difference between Lee, and Marshall and Lim Chin Siong, of course, was a moral one. That will come as no surprise to regular listeners of this podcast. Marshall stood up for justice. He never locked up anyone, and when the British locked up people against his wishes, he sought to have them put on trial as soon as possible. Lim, likewise, meant what he said, and stuck to that position throughout his abbreviated political career. If he locked people up without trial, he would then take responsibility for it and go to the people and explain why he did it for the common good. But Lee Kuan Yew of course interpreted “take responsibility” in a different way. He interpreted it as “avoid responsibility”. He did not want to take responsibility for locking people up without trial because he knew it was unpopular. Like the British and Lim Yew Hock, Lee also wanted to use detention without trial, to lock up his enemies and keep them locked up, but he knew that it was extremely unpopular, that it was associated with colonialism. The ability to arbitrarily destroy people’s lives, by slavery, by torture, by locking them up without trial by a government unaccountable to the people – those are the hallmarks of colonialism. But from Lee’s perspective, if he could lock people up while avoiding responsibility, well, that was okay too. He had no moral issue with destroying people’s lives. To him, it was a political issue. Can I destroy lives while ensuring that I get no blame, or better yet someone else takes the blame? If so, that’s okay. And that’s what Lee set out to do."

Episode 40: The Mercy of the Tunku - "Nine days before the Hong Lim election, the PAP Assemblyman for Anson, Baharuddin bin Mohamed Ariff, died of a sudden heart attack. His death triggered another by-election, to be held on 15 July. The PAP leadership, who had treated Hong Lim as a referendum on their government, doubled down, now declaring Anson a second referendum on their government. Can you imagine. It’s like people who lose a referendum demanding a second referendum… that’s crazy. That’s undemocratic. Anyway, the PAP leaders did the same thing as Hong Lim. They vilified their opponents and described apocalyptic scenarios if the PAP lost"

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Links - 13th September 2016

Man calls S’pore a ‘fu**ing sh**’ country, Internet rages, man gets fired within a day
Will there ever be a backlash against the internet lynch mob?

‘Rapist’ Pulled Out Of Jail, Beaten To Death By Mob. There’s NOTHING To Be Proud About Here - "How are we ANY different from the rapist if we commit a crime as heinous as murder, no matter who is at the receiving end of it?"

What Is the Difference Between Sunscreen & Sunblock? - "Sunscreens contain chemicals that absorb UV radiation and reduce the amount that reaches the skin, according to the American Melanoma Foundation (AMF). Sunblocks physically prevent UV radiation from reaching the skin. Sunscreens tend to be transparent and are invisible when applied, whereas sunblocks are thicker, remain visible when applied and are more difficult to wash off than sunscreens."

Pornography has a big race problem - "Deen asked up front via text message whether a female performer had “issues with black dudes.” She wrote back, “Personally no. Sexually, I’d rather not at this time lol.” He responded: “Racist,” then added, “I will find someone else for this scene.” She tried to save face, writing, “I’m only 5 months in. Havnt done IR yet.”"
Consent is racist.
It's homophobic if a straight woman refuses to sleep with a lesbian. It's transphobic and homophobic if a straight woman refuses to sleep with a pre-op transwoman. It's transphobic if a straight woman refuses to sleep with a pre-op transman

President Obama: 'Very hard to untangle' the motive of Micah X. Johnson - "President Obama said on Saturday that it is "very hard to untangle the motives" of Micah X. Johnson, who killed five Dallas police officers on Thursday. "First of all, I think it's very hard to untangle the motivers of this shooter. I'll leave that to psychologists and people who study these kinds of incidents. "I think the danger is that we somehow suggest the act of a troubled individuals speaks to some larger political statement across the country, Obama said."
Yet, "Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Friday that Johnson had told authorities “he was upset about the recent police shootings” and “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” and “White nationalism infuses our political ideology”: Dylann Roof is just the beginning

Singaporean Tells of Khmer Rouge Aid - NYTimes.com - "China, the United States, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand spent more than $1.3 billion in a largely secret program in the 1980s to support Khmer Rouge and non-Communist guerrillas in Cambodia fighting Vietnamese troops and allied Cambodian forces, the Singaporean senior minister, Lee Kuan Yew, has disclosed in his memoirs"
Isn't this interfering in other countries' internal affairs? By supporting genocidaires too

Intern Fired for Dress Code Petition Is the Case Against Social Justice Education - "the intern's justification of his actions is illustrative. This is what he learned in school: if you don't like your company's policies, create a petition or organize against management. As if that's how professional people in the private sector handle disagreements. Perhaps an education in social justice activism is not as valuable as university planners want their students to believe it is. It's also quite funny that these socially conscious interns didn't immediately recognize the one actually marginalized person in the situation: the disabled veteran."

Discrimination and instructional comprehension: Guided discretion, racial bias, and the death penalty - " instructional comprehension was poor overall and that, although Black defendants were treated only slightly more punitively than White defendants in general, discriminatory effects were concentrated among participants whose comprehension was poorest. In addition, the use of penalty phase evidence differed as a function of race of defendant and whether the participant sentenced the defendant to life or death. The study suggest that racially biased and capricious death sentencing may be in part caused or exacerbated by the inability to comprehend penalty phase instructions"

Scores of police officers injured in Berlin protests - "German police said more than 120 officers were injured and 86 demonstrators were detained during leftist riots in the German capital which police called "the most aggressive and violent protests in the last five years"... Activists had called for the demonstration to protest against police operations at buildings taken over by squatters in the eastern part of the city last month."

Some Eurasians frustrated at being mistaken for foreigners in Singapore - ""I'll deliberately answer in Mandarin to see the shocked looks on their faces. It's interesting to hear which countries others think I'm from." There are perks of boasting an exotic parentage too. Mr Shelley jokes: "I've never been short of pretty and sexy girlfriends. They all want to show off to their friends that they are dating an 'ang moh kia'."

This is the greatest university graduate photo shoot in S’pore that is keeping it real - "Perhaps tired of seeing those clichéd jumpshot photos with flowers, teddy bears and that glimmer of hope in the newly-grad’s eyes that envisions a promising future where the world is their oyster because a starting $4k salary can finance their dreams, the concept of her graduate photos kept it as real as the economic reality of being a fresh grad in Singapore today"

Five stars – says who? My trouble with TripAdvisor - "It was in a small seaside town in Croatia that my dislike of TripAdvisor petrified into loathing... Despite the fact that virtually every week brings a new story about how useless TripAdvisor is, how it enables users who are corrupt/greedy/mendacious, the site trundles on like a marauder, spewing an ever-increasing volume of freely given, unpaid “content”, as it has since its conception in 2000... Regardless of the fact that it is riddled with fakes and idiots, a huge number of otherwise sensible people continue to give credence to the aggregated opinion of, at best, unqualified strangers... I hate TripAdvisor because the top listing in one Italian town was utterly fictitious. Because it gives awards to hotels like the Tunisian one closed months earlier after 38 holidaymakers were shot dead. Because there is a whole industry dedicated to churning out fake, by-the-yard “reviews”.

Too much education is bad. Don't over-educate the young: Nassim Taleb - ""education is the enemy of entrepreneurship. If you start having a high level of education, you start hiring people based on school success"... Empirical investigation, he writes, shows no evidence that raising the general level of education raises a country's income level."
I don't know what empiricial investigation Taleb is looking at. All the studies I can find conclude education benefits economic growth

Amos Yee and child pornography - "Unfortunately, since his first jail-term (he may have another one coming up), Yee has transformed himself from a creative and articulate activist for political freedom to—ugh! — a narcissistic anarchist with a huge chip on his shoulder and an even bigger stick up his arse. While his views on Singapore’s socio-political tyranny remain worthy of discussion, his yappin’ on other issues — especially his mockery of religion—contains more than a whiff of the psychotic... And Yee calls himself a genius on Twitter every three seconds"
The claim about needing skin in the game to speak is even more annoying than the "you cannot criticise if you can't do better" fallacy

"Good Girls": Gender, Social Class, and Slut Discourse on Campus - "Women's participation in slut shaming is often viewed as internalized oppression: they apply disadvantageous sexual double standards established by men. This perspective grants women little agency and neglects their simultaneous location in other social structures. In this article we synthesize insights from social psychology, gender, and culture to argue that undergraduate women use slut stigma to draw boundaries around status groups linked to social class-while also regulating sexual behavior and gender performance. High-status women employ slut discourse to assert class advantage, defining themselves as classy rather than trashy, while low-status women express class resentment-deriding rich, bitchy sluts for their exclusivity. Slut discourse enables, rather than constrains, sexual experimentation for the high-status women whose definitions prevail in the dominant social scene. This is a form of sexual privilege. In contrast, low-status women risk public shaming when they attempt to enter dominant social worlds"
Blaming men for slut-shaming is like blaming women for men dying when playing the chicken game (with cars) - unless you have ultimate causes in mind (and almost no one does)

Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings - The New York Times - "“It is the most surprising result of my career,” said Roland G. Fryer Jr., the author of the study and a professor of economics at Harvard. The study examined more than 1,000 shootings in 10 major police departments, in Texas, Florida and California. The result contradicts the image of police shootings that many Americans hold after the killings (some captured on video) of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Walter Scott in South Carolina; Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La.; and Philando Castile in Minnesota... officers were more likely to fire their weapons without having first been attacked when the suspects were white. Black and white civilians involved in police shootings were equally likely to have been carrying a weapon. Both results undercut the idea of racial bias in police use of lethal force."
Some dismiss the study showing that police officers are slower to shoot blacks, but this is empirical confirmation
Looks like Black Lives Matter needs a new name

Why it's OK to celebrate the rise of female leaders, even if they're not good feminists - "Merkel has been mostly reluctant to prioritise women's rights; but at least she's honest about her lack of feminist ethos. "Perhaps [I'm] an interesting case of a woman in power, but no feminist," she told a panel audience in 2013. "Real feminists would be offended if I described myself as one"... Women who enter politics with strong feminist ideals are likely to find their ethos compromised, or they will not last long. Julia Gillard's Prime Ministership is a case in point. Few could argue that Gillard is not a feminist, or that her political agenda wasn't deeply informed by feminism and social justice. But despite her admirable efforts on climate change, education and disability reform, Gillard's record on asylum seekers, single mothers and marriage equality were a huge disappointment to many feminists... We don't have to welcome our new female world leaders with feminist fervour. But if and when the western world wakes up to find itself dominated by women"
Feminists don't want women in power - they want feminist women in power - while pretending they're speaking on behalf of women
If Sadiq Khan is not a "good" Muslim, should his being mayor of London be celebrated?
Instead of fulminating about patriarchy, perhaps a better response is to reflect that feminism is not conducive to successful politics
If feminism is about equality, why does this feminist want the world to be dominated by women?

A Saudi Morals Enforcer Called for a More Liberal Islam. Then the Death Threats Began. - The New York Times - "For years, Mr. Ghamdi stuck with the program and was eventually put in charge of the Commission for the region of Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. Then he had a reckoning and began to question the rules. So he turned to the Quran and the stories of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions, considered the exemplars of Islamic conduct. What he found was striking and life altering: There had been plenty of mixing among the first generation of Muslims, and no one had seemed to mind. So he spoke out. In articles and television appearances, he argued that much of what Saudis practiced as religion was in fact Arabian cultural practices that had been mixed up with their faith. There was no need to close shops for prayer, he said, nor to bar women from driving, as Saudi Arabia does. At the time of the Prophet, women rode around on camels, which he said was far more provocative than veiled women piloting S.U.V.s.He even said that while women should conceal their bodies, they needed to cover their faces only if they chose to do so. And to demonstrate the depth of his own conviction, Mr. Ghamdi went on television with his wife, Jawahir, who smiled to the camera, her face bare and adorned with a dusting of makeup.It was like a bomb inside the kingdom’s religious establishment, threatening the social order that granted prominence to the sheikhs and made them the arbiters of right and wrong in all aspects of life... Officials I spoke with were upset by the kingdom’s increasingly troubled reputation abroad and said over and over that they supported “moderate Islam.”But what exactly did they mean by “moderate Islam”? Unpacking that term made it clear how wide the values gap is between Saudi Arabia and its American ally. The kingdom’s “moderate Islam” publicly beheads criminals, punishes apostates and prevents women from traveling abroad without the permission of a male “guardian.” Don’t even ask about gay rights... “When is your birthday?” Confused, she switched to Arabic. “We don’t have that in Saudi Arabia,” she said. “That’s an infidel holiday.” Shocked, her father asked where she had learned that, and she fetched one of her government-issued textbooks, flipping to a lesson that listed “forbidden holidays”: Christmas and Thanksgiving. Birthdays had been part of the same lesson... The first thing many Saudis will tell you about Wahhabism is that it does not exist.“There is no such thing as Wahhabism,” Hisham al-Sheikh told me the first time we met. “There is only true Islam”... She disputed the Western idea that Saudi women lack rights. “They believe we are oppressed because we don’t drive, but that is incorrect,” Ms. Sheikh said, adding that driving would be a hassle in Riyadh’s snarled traffic. “Here women are respected and honored in many ways you don’t find in the West,” she continued... Regardless of how much the royal family lauds its Islamic values, when it wants to earn money or innovate, it does not turn to the clerics for advice. It puts up a wall and locks them out"

Monday, September 12, 2016

Links - 12th September 2016

Rio officials lose keys to Olympic stadium, need bolt cutters to get in

Left Planned to Stage Violence to Bring Down Trump - "'If you go back to the WikiLeaks release of the DNC emails, this is on the PowerPoint playbook on the messaging — slide number 6 — with the messaging theme number 1: Violence. They were looking for an opportunity to pick up somewhere to continue this narrative that somehow Donald Trump is violent.'... There is no doubt that Trump has played into that strategy with some rather stupid remarks, the worst of which was his offer to pay the legal fees of a supporter who punched a protester. Note, however, that the protesters seem to have done their very best to get hit. One group brought a KKK-style hood to a Trump rally and was attacked by a black Trump supporter. The worst case of violence was outside a San Jose rally in early June, where Trump supporters were viciously beaten and chased through the streets by a left-wing mob. Despite the fact that the rioters carried out their brutality shamelessly, in full view of the mainstream media, some media outlets blamed Trump for the violence... And for the left, that was precisely the point: creating violence is a no-lose strategy. If protesters can provoke Trump supporters to be violent, they embarrass Trump and cast him as a fascist. And if the protesters themselves are violent, voters will understand that a Trump victory will be met with violent mob resistance."

Millennials outraged over TV show portraying millennials as outraged

Germany Has Evidence ISIS Hides 'Hit Squads' Among Refugees - "Manfred Hauser — the vice president of BayLfV, the Bavarian region’s intelligence gathering apparatus — told the BBC Thursday that officials must “accept we have hit squads and sleeper cells in Germany.” “We have substantial reports that among the refugees there are hit squads,” he added. “There are hundreds of these reports, some from refugees themselves.”"

Chinese tourists lead San Diego police on freeway chase, didn't know they were supposed to pull over

Florida police shoot dead woman during safety exercise for local community - "Ms Knowlton was playing a victim and the officer was playing an aggressor. But the gun used in the exercise was real and loaded with ammunition, and at least one round was shot into Ms Knowlton, causing fatal injuries"

Woman tells police she was RAPED by a Pokemon Go character after she felt an ‘assault’

American adults have low (and declining) reading proficiency - "The reading skills of American adults are significantly lower than those of adults in most other developed countries, according to a new international survey. What’s more, over the last two decades Americans’ reading proficiency has declined across most age groups, and has only improved significantly for 65-year-olds... Americans also scored lower than average in math and technological problem solving... People in their thirties and forties in 2012 scored significantly lower than people in their same age group in 1994. The drop among 30-year-olds was less dramatic."
Not all laments about declining standards are unwarranted

Hospital crises show the gap between how doctors and patients perceive events - "Most hospitalised patients have no idea whose care they are under; frustratingly, their doctors may not know either. Increasingly, in modern medicine, there is no such thing as the patient’s doctor – it’s the patient’s pulmonologist, oncologist, thoracic surgeon, psychiatrist and cardiologist. This fragmentation of care has deep consequences for decision-making and healthcare spending but there is another growing problem – the diffusion of accountability."

US election: The man hurting Clinton in her fight with Trump - "My sense, having watched the Clintons fairly closely for over 20 years, is that they have a loving marriage and deep friendship. An animated conversation that started at Yale Law School in the early Seventies continues for both of them to fascinate and enthral. But many critics of the Clintons believe it's a transactional partnership, a marriage of political convenience. To some, her loyalty during the most troubled phase of the Clinton presidency reinforces the sense that she's a cynical political operator, willing to do anything to accrue power"

Chinese tourist loses wallet and becomes refugee in Germany for two weeks by mistake - "The 31-year-old backpacker, who spoke neither German nor English, reported that he "needed help" after arriving at Stuttgart airport on July 4. The man, who was described as "smartly dressed" and had apparently travelled to Europe for a walking holiday in Italy, was taken to a reception centre in the nearby town of Heidelberg. Instead of signing a stolen item form for his wallet at the local police station, the man, known as Mr L, unwittingly filled out an asylum request form. The mistake triggered a chain of events as the hapless tourist became mired in bureaucratic red tape. Authorities took his passport and gave him refugee documents. He was transported nearly 200 miles to Düsseldorf, in the west of the country, and then a further 50 miles north to Dülmen. He was given a medical check, had his finger prints taken, and accepted the pocket money given to him by camp officials."

Italian police in Rome cook pasta for lonely elderly couple as they were crying - "The couple said they had not been victims of crime, but were overcome by emotion after watching sad stories on the news. The pair, who have been married for 70 years, said they had not had visitors for a long time and were very lonely. While they waiting for an ambulance to arrive to check the couple over, the officers prepared a hot meal. They then sat down to have a chat while the elderly couple ate the spaghetti with butter and parmesan they had prepared."

Fury at Luton's segregated Olympic swimming pool done for 'cultural reasons' - "Abdul-Wadud Ahmed, 31, said more than 40 swimmers attended the first new permanent session last Friday, which he hopes will grow in the near future. He added: 'There is a large demand for it, one of the reasons being that swimming is a prophetic activity where Muhammad, peace be upon Him, encourages Muslim men and women to swim... The gender-segregated sessions are being advertised as 'Alhamdulliah swimming' on Facebook, a Muslim phrase which thanks God for his blessings. Posters promoting the event, which were implemented last Friday, strictly ask that 'navel to knee must be covered'."

Long way to catch up with Hong Kong's rail reliability - "If we consider that Hong Kong's network is longer and older than Singapore's, and that it carries significantly more people, we will be able to appreciate the comparison more fully... the MTR is so impressive that several cities pay it to run their trains. There are other learning points from the MTR, such as compensating commuters who have been inconvenienced by a breakdown... in Hong Kong, the rail network is denser, and there are a myriad of other transport options (besides Uber) to help in a breakdown. Nevertheless, the public gives the MTR hell whenever a breakdown happens. The press also goes to town, pressuring the government each time. So much so that in March 2014, Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the government would consider tying the salary of top management at MTR to the number of breakdowns. Should SMRT do likewise? That's something for its board of directors and major shareholder Temasek to decide... the MTR would probably find it a tad more challenging to maintain its reliability record if it had to cope with Singapore's ridership growth surge. Here the lesson is, of course, to keep a closer watch on population growth, and to ensure that infrastructural and systemic expansion keeps pace. By the same token, Singapore may well have to tone down its "car-lite" rhetoric until after its rail woes are fixed. Because the last thing it wants is to push more people onto a system that is already feeling the strain of the current load."

Men who picked up Yellowstone bison: 'We didn't have the heart to leave it' - "A Canadian man and his son loaded a Yellowstone national park bison calf into their vehicle last month because they thought it was an abandoned newborn that would die without their help, the men said in their first interview since park officials had to euthanize the animal. The calf was killed because it couldn’t be reunited with its herd after being handled by Shamash Kassam of Quebec, Canada, and his son, Shakeel Kassam, on 9 May, park officials said... Park rangers took the animal back to where it was picked up, but they could not reunite it with its herd. The calf was euthanized because it was continually approaching people and cars on the roadway, Yellowstone officials said. They warned that humans approaching wildlife can affect the animals’ wellbeing and possibly cause mothers to reject their offspring"

Myth busting: Are synthetic pesticides, used with some GMOs, more dangerous than natural ones? - "we eat an estimated 1.5 grams of natural pesticides a day, “which is about 10,000 times more” than the amount of synthetic pesticide residues we consume. This amount would be significantly higher in vegetarians and vegans... While there’s an uproar about parts per billion amounts of synthetic pesticide residues on our food, there are more concentrated compounds in fruits and veggies actually known to cause cancer. In addition, some of the more commonly used pesticides in agriculture have mechanisms of action that are specific to the pests their targeting, making them far safer than many natural pesticides, which is on reason why they’ve gained popularity in the past half century... there are plenty of “natural chemicals” that are registered pesticides, but no one seems to be freaking out about basil and mustard seeds."

Japan-Themed Cambridge Ball Scrapped over ‘Cultural Appropriation’ - "The first theme was set around the contrasts between the two major Japanese cities, which promised “vibrant fashions” and “neon lights” paired with “Imperial palaces and tranquil gardens”... The Tab polled readers to see whether they thought the event should have been changed. At time of writing, 92% had answered “no”... the Japanese Society had volunteered its members to help organize the event. Despite members of the society clearly enjoying the event sufficiently to join in, blog author Hanna Stephens accused to organizers of “commodifying” Japan and “causing offence”. She claimed the event was part of an “Orientalist” culture which was also responsible for Japanese Americans being sent to camps during the Second World War, and today manifests itself in a “lack of social interaction” between Asian and Western students. Cambridge parties are not usually accompanied by hand-wringing firestorms. Previous years have seen Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern and indeed Far Eastern themes executed with little fuss... in recent months even much lower-profile social events have flared into cultural disputes. Last week Heat Street reported that students at Queens’ College were branded racist for holding an Africa-themed dinner. Earlier in the year a party tied to the classic novel Around the World in 80 Days was scrapped for fear they would wear offensive costumes. Other British campuses have implemented sombrero bans and shut down themed in case young people are insufficiently reverent. The conflict also echoes a ruckus at the University of Missouri, which saw student protesters force the owner of a sushi restaurant to remove the Rising Sun Flag from his store logo."

Automation accelerates in the fast food industry - "Wendy’s announced on May 12 that they would begin to offer self-service kiosks to franchise owners of its fast food restaurants in late 2016. Rising labor costs were cited for the move."

Turtle gets final revenge on man after being chopped in half - "A turtle has managed to attack a man's face in its final act of revenge after being chopped in half. The shocking video shows the sawn-off creature clamp onto the man's forehead in its dying moments."
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