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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Links - 24th September 2016

Chick-fil-A restaurants respond to Orlando massacre with free food at blood drives - "The Christian owners of the Atlanta-based organization, which is normally closed on Sundays, have been criticized for holding a biblical view of marriage as the union between one man and one woman. “But, wait, those people were waiting to give blood to victims that were mostly gay people,” wrote Vianna Vaughan at DC Gazette. “Doesn’t Chick Fil A hate gays? That’s what we kept being told.” “Turns out, that while the founders definitely don’t approve of that choice of lifestyle, they believe in compassion,” she wrote. “Who knew?” Several politicians have denounced the fast-food restaurant for its stance on marriage. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for instance, last month encouraged his constituents not to eat at a new location in Queens"
Presumably it's better for the gay community to rage at gay marriage opponents online and denounce them than to help in the aftermath of a gay massacre

Nidal Hasan’s Murders Termed ‘Workplace Violence’ by U.S. - "the Purple Heart has been denied the soldiers who were killed or wounded at Fort Hood. And, because they were classified as victims of simple calamity rather than of combat, they and their families have been denied the accompanying benefits. A number of them say they have not even been able to secure adequate care for their wounds. And, perhaps in part because people assumed that the army would take care of the soldiers as it would any other fallen and wounded warriors, there was no huge outpouring of financial support for them as there would later be for, say, the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings... the FBI ignored repeated warnings that an increasingly militant Hasan was bent on jihadist violence. The suit charges that, among other things, the authorities “knew or should have known that Hasan was abusing his patients, who were American soldiers returning from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, by calling them ‘war criminals’ in the course of psychiatric treatment sessions, and promising criminal prosecution against them because these soldiers had killed Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.”"

Homophobic Orlando shooting headline on Turkish newspaper with ties to President Erdogan - "Yeni Akit, a right-wing newspaper which has supported the likes of Al-Qaeda in the past, broke news of the attack with the headline: 'Death toll rises to 50 in bar where perverted homosexuals go!' The headline has caused a backlash online, where it has been suggested that the exclamation mark indicates that the paper is celebrating the attack, rather than condemning it... According to Turkish think-tank the Hrant Dink Foundation, Yeni Akit is one of the worst offenders when it comes to using hate speech against minorities, in particular the LGBT community, but also against Jews, Armenians and Christians."

Poll finds zero tolerance for homosexuality among UK Muslims - "The poll, part of the the Gallup Coexist Index 2009, found that not one of the 1,001 British Muslims interviewed believed homosexual acts were morally acceptable. Fifty-eight per cent of the general British public said they thought homosexuality was not morally wrong, compared with 68 per cent of Germans. French respondents were the most liberal, with 78 per cent of the general public saying it was not morally wrong. According to the survey, the opinions of Christians differed little from the views of the general public. In comparison to British Muslims, 35 per cent of French Muslims and 19 per cent of German Muslims did not have moral objections to homosexual acts. The survey also showed that British Muslims hold more conservative opinions towards abortion, viewing pornography, suicide and sex outside marriage than European Muslims, with markedly lower rates of thinking such issues are morally acceptable. A striking difference between the opinions of French and British Muslims was seen when respondents were asked their opinions on sex between unmarried men and women. While 48 per cent of French Muslims said it was morally acceptable, only three per cent of British Muslims agreed. However, it was found that 77 per cent of British Muslims identify themselves as British, compared with just 50 per cent of the general population. The paper’s authors concluded: “Some researchers point out that the greatest differences between Muslims and westerners lie more in eros than demos. In other words, the Muslim-west gap rests on differences in attitudes toward sexual liberalisation and gender issues rather than democracy and governance"

Muslim migrants threw Christians overboard, police say - "Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard -- killing them -- because the 12 were Christians"

Confederate Flag & Islamic Terror -- the Left's Blatant Double Standard - "Claude Berube, director of the Naval Academy Museum, recently compared the rush to dig up Confederate graves and tear down statues in the U.S. to Islamic iconoclasm. The Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas on the grounds that they violate Islamic law. The terrorist group Islamic State is ransacking historic monuments for both God and mammon. The comparison has its obvious limits, but it does highlight a remarkable double standard. Islamic terror has been on the rise for decades, yet over that time the Left’s calls for nuance, tolerance, and understanding have only grown louder. Virtually no one condones or makes apologies for the Islamic State’s barbarity (one can’t say the same about Hamas or Hezbollah), but there has been a Herculean effort to put Islamic extremism in “context.”

Feminist website deems the term 'trigger warning' not sensitive enough - "EverydayFeminism.com, a self-proclaimed “educational platform for personal and social liberation,” does not use the term “trigger warning” in front of its articles, not because it dismisses concerns for distressing readers susceptible to sensitive material, but because “the word ‘trigger’ relies on and evokes violent weaponry imagery.”"

Bachelor saves 6,000 $1 coins in 2 years, netting him marriage proposals - "Although Mr Helmy does not have a girlfriend, he is planning ahead for his big day. He said: “With this sum of money, I am prepared to pay dowry and settle marriage costs. “It tells my prospective mother-in-law that I’m prepared and I’ve got what it takes to marry her daughter.”"
Some weddings are so cheap...

On immigrants, jobs and economics | Balaji Narasimhan - "ou think your degree is worth a job no less than $4,000 in the market, but the foreigner with a double masters is willing to do it for half that. Whom will an employer hire? The price has been set, and the foreigner has the same basic expenses you have (and usually more because rent in Singapore is not cheap and he pays 20% tax in lieu of CPF). So if he can do it at S$2,000 then that is what the job is worth. That is how it works. Why would companies want to recruit foreigners if Singaporeans were willing to work those jobs for that pay? They have to cross numerous hurdles, have to invest a lot of money in hiring and vetting candidates, and there is a huge risk that the person coming in is ill-suited for life here. Why do firms here still do it? Could it be because Singaporeans are not willing to do those jobs for those wages?"
Moral of the story: we need to be cheaper better faster, and to retire in the third world. And focus on pushing down wages instead of other costs of production (like rent) even if wages are comparatively low

'Legislative slut-shaming': How the German 'Cuckoo Kids' Law' punishes women - "Referred to by German press as the 'Cuckoo Kids' law', it is designed to protect men who have discovered themselves not to be the biological father of a child and to allow them to reclaim child maintenance for up to two years. Its purpose, according to Justice Minister Heiko Maas is "to offer more legal protection for 'sham fathers' to seek recourse". The bill was drafted after a 2015 case in which the country's highest court called on the Government to strengthen these men's rights. Exactly how many children grow up believing the wrong man is their biological father is difficult to determine, but a 2005 review of studies found the rate was about 4 per cent, or roughly 1 in 25 children... the highest court in Germany ruled men could not be forced to take paternity tests against their will... in the interests of clawing back up to two years' child maintenance, it constitutes a serious threat to a woman and child's right to privacy, especially when the ability to test parentage via DNA test already exists."
Women must be protected. Men must fend for themselves

NUSWhispers - "Didn't really do well for my A levels, didn't do well during my NS time either so I became a specialist. But signing on did provide me the means to own a car and many branded goods. Tldr, you don't have to be a law student. Drive a 2nd hand continental car, strap on a 2nd hand Rolex and take your credit card out to swipe from your Bottega wallet. Been to U town dorms to spend the night 8/10 times because the other 2 tinder dates occured when my car was in the workshop."

NUSWhispers - "I have kept a dark secret for a long time. My friends and bf see me as an innocent girl. Truthfully, I have a insatiably high sex drive. I have fucked at least one guy in every module I have taken in my years in NUS till I graduated recently. It was certainly helped by the fact that I was in Engineering and considered quite pretty even by FASS standards. Desperate Engineering guys..."

If Only Singaporeans Stopped to Think: Asset-rich, cash-poor retirees speak up - "SEVENTY-YEAR-OLD Wen Zhen counts every cent. He eats two slices of bread for breakfast and lunch each. For dinner, he cooks a vegetable dish, paired with a $2 packet of rice that he ekes out over two nights. Yet outwardly, the retired quality surveyor - who declined to give his full name - would seem to have no money worries. After all, he lives in landed property... SINCE Independence, home ownership has been linked to national identity and as a way for Singaporeans to own an asset that keeps giving as property values appreciate. But this may have created its own problem - putting too much money into homes and retiring with too little savings on hand...
Property price rises over the last 30 years have led to retirement savings being locked up in housing, he says... they have elderly and widowed neighbours without much savings and income who do not get the same government benefits as someone who may live in an HDB flat but drives a Mercedes or Maserati...
MR TERRENCE Netto still vividly remembers a comment by a government minister to private estate residents during a dialogue session in the 1990s. "He said, if you want government subsidies, sell your house and move to a three-room flat," says the 75-year-old. That remark riled him and many of his neighbours in the Seletar Hills private estate where he lived at the time. "We went on the warpath!" he says."
Maybe this is a way to force people into HDB flats

Protecting Families from Violence: The Singapore Experience - " According to the profile of PPO applicants in 2006 (Subordinate Courts, 2006), Chinese formed the largest group of PPO applicants (51%), followed by Indians (24%), Malays (20%) and other races (5%)... The Subordinate Courts conducted a study on the profile of family violence cases between 2003 and 20042. The findings showed that 82% of all complainants were female. The study also showed that family violence cuts across educational and occupational backgrounds. However, it was noteworthy that 71% of complainants and 65% of respondents were earning less than $1500 a month"

Sinda concerned over family violence in Indian community - "About one in five reported abuse cases and personal protection order applications are made against Indians, said organisations approached. This outweighs their 9.1 per cent representation in the Singapore population... Said Mr R. Ganesan, a trained counsellor engaged by Sinda for its roadshows: "There is a sub-culture among Indians. We accept violence as part of daily life and physical abuse as a form of punishment." Ms Devi (not her real name), 45, whose husband beat her daily for 20 years, agreed. "This (violence) has been going on since my mother's time. This is what we grew up seeing," she said... Anecdotal evidence suggests that Indians may be more predisposed to domestic violence due to their drinking habit, she said. Sinda has found that alcohol abuse increases the odds of a man lashing out at his family."

Behind The Mcdonald's Menu Lies The Skill Of A Master Chef - "The Queen of England, the King of Belgium, Cary Grant and Sophia Loren have savored Chef Rene Arend's creations. But the accomplishment he is proudest of is a treat prepared for the fans of Ronald McDonald The soft-spoken chef who rules the kitchen behind the Golden Arches explained, "Those meals were once-in-a-lifetime dinners long since forgotten. But Chicken McNuggets will go on long after I am gone.""

Friday, September 23, 2016

Links - 23rd September 2016

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Muses - "[On Pindar] He regularly refers to the Muses. And what he's often doing is developing actually individual and interestingly new versions of mythology. It's a mistake to think that myths are fixed. So Hesiod and Homer, they're making their intervention and they become authoritative, but it's still open for later Greeks. It's not, in other words, unorthodox, it's not heretical to have a different version of a particular muse, or a particular God or Goddess that you have a relation with...
The creativity can only happen if the poet is in this very passive-irrational state... That is new, that emphasis is new, because prior to Plato, poets had also been seen as active creators in their own right... but, and the key point here is that we learn in the Ion that poets don't understand anything about what they're talking about. They don't understand the topics of their poetry. And this of course is linked to Socrates in the Apology and the speech he makes in his trial when he says I was so disappointed. I went tramping around Athens interrogating the poets. I love poetry, I thought they'd be brilliant but actually they were useless. They had no idea what they were talking about. So the Ion starts off looking like... it's fine, it doesn't matter that poets are irrational but actually it's a problem. And then when we get to the Phaedo and the Phaedrus a bit later we find out that... the true servant of the Muses is not actually the poet at all but the philosopher
It is interesting to consider the myth of the Merlion in light of this active construction of myth

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Margery Kempe and English Mysticism - "Becoming the ultimate pilgrim and in poverty. And in suffering. And even the way to Jerusalem is a martyrdom of sorts, as she's being mocked and she's being abandoned and so on, but she reaches Jerusalem'
'She travels alone. She's a rich woman. Did she not even have a servant or was she alone alone?
'She had a servant and then she's forsaken by her servant. It'ss a series of absolute trials. And also finding people to travel with. Everyone travelled in groups in the Middle Ages. Groups for safety. And that's clearly a problem. She joins groups and then the groups find her irksome. Because she does go about in a way, correcting people, preaching. Well, maybe not preaching, but constantly inveighing when people want to settle down and have a good time like the Canterbury pilgrims of Chaucer in a way. And she's always there reminding them: don't, don't mention God's name in vain. Or don't behave this way or other'...
She dressed in white which was certainly a sign of purity and probably virginity. She's adopting a persona of a virgin, with 14 children"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Bronze Age Collapse - "In these societies, particularly in the West where I'm talking about, there're often levelling mechanisms by which if someone got too powerful, they had to give a big feast, they had to bury a large amount of the bronze in, either a horde, this very much takes place in Northern Europe or they had to put their materials into a burial. And so a lot of the aggrandisement was controlled by this process"

Wearing ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ insignia could be punishable racial harassment - "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among its other functions, decides “hostile work environment” harassment claims brought against federal agencies. In doing so, it applies the same legal rules that courts apply to private employers, and that the EEOC follows in deciding whether to sue private employers. The EEOC has already ruled that coworkers’ wearing Confederate flag T-shirts can be punishable harassment (a decision that I think is incorrect); and, unsurprisingly, this is extending to other political speech as well... Say someone wears “Trump/Pence 2016” gear in the workplace, or displays a bumper sticker on his car in the work parking lot, or displays such a sign on his cubicle wall, or just says on some occasions that he’s voting for Trump. He doesn’t say any racial or religious slurs about Hispanics or Muslims, and doesn’t even express any anti-Hispanic or anti-Muslim views (though even such views, I think, should be protected by the First Amendment against the threat of government-imposed liability). But in “context,” a coworker complains, such speech conveys a message “tinged” with racial or religious hostility, or is racially or religiously “insensitive.” The coworker threatens to sue. Again, say you are an employer facing such a threat. Would you feel pressured by the risk of liability to restrict the pro-Trump speech?... Workplace harassment law has become a content-based, viewpoint-based speech restriction, including on core political speech"
Isn't the American flag racist and sexist because of slavery and misogyny?

I always mispronounce my name for Americans. I'm reclaiming the original - "Anglicizing my name so that it would be easier for white people to pronounce – and harder to mock – just came with the territory... When a white friend tries to say my Urdu name in earnest, I wince"
If Robert Allen Zimmerman had refused to change his name, he might not have become famous as Bob Dylan
Comments: "Are you suggesting that you only modified the pronounciation of your name when speaking to 'white people', but not when speaking to black people, or any of the many other ethnicities who live in the USA?"
"The 'white people' thing really makes no sense. What she really means is non-Urdu speakers and possibly even some Urdu speakers as well if there are regional variations"
"I'm white and my roots in Alabama go back many generations. My last name is 4 letter and one syllable. It is butchered most of the time, and I always have to spell it for people regarding of their color, race, etc. I also frequently use a simple alternative name like "Smith" when making reservations because it's just more efficient to do. Other than for racist click bait, I'm not sure why the author has chosen to air her self-loathing."
"It's not necessarily disrespectful to not pronounce your name correctly. It may be actually impossible- we lose the ability to voice certain phonemes at an early age if they are not part of our native language. And if you wince when someone does make the effort, is it any wonder they might not bother persisting? Maybe simplest solution is just to get over yourself."
"I wonder how she'd react if a 'white' journalist said she 'winced' over how Pakistanis mispronounce her English name?"
"I knew a someone called Hughes who lived in Spain - he was called oo-guess."
"You'll be pleased to know it works both ways, I used to pretend my name was Karim in the Arab counties I've lived in. Nobody ever got anywhere near the real pronunciation of my name anyway, and it saved about 5 minutes on meeting someone. Still, I expect that'll be cultural appropriation nowadays."
"My husband's English surname is consistently mispronounced, even in England (and not because there are multiple ways to say it, there is only one pronunciation)."

The Radium Girls and the cotton revolution | Podcast | History Extra - "It was an incredibly expensive element because it was so difficult to find. There wasn't a lot of radium in the world. Literally only a few grams existed at one point so sometimes it would be advertised as being part of a product, but it wasn't always put into it. But it was absolutely everywhere... just going down the grocery store, you would find it in butter, you would find it in toothpaste, you would find it in milk. They sold jock straps and lingerie that had radium in it to kind of boost your sex life... te medical exploitation of it was not just for treating cancer but also for radioactive dressings and pads. People put it in pills so that you could take pills and it was also put in tonics, so you'd add it to water and then drink that radioactive tonic. Kind of 5-7 glasses a day was the recommended dose"

Battle of the Somme special | Podcast | History Extra - "I managed to find that during late 1915, the British were trading with the Germans. They were trading... rubber to buy German binoculars, telescopes and gun sights. This is trading with the enemy during the First World War to give the enemy tools with which to kill our soldiers and buying off them tools to kill their soldiers. So business always fluorishes, it doesn't matter if you've got a war or not"

NHS sets aside quarter of its budget for medical negligence claims - Telegraph - "The health service has set aside £26bn to cover medical negligence claims against NHS hospitals"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, 'Saddam has gone. We have one thousand Saddams now' - "[On the man who took out his sledgehammer to topple Saddam's statue] Like many Iraqis, Kadhim Al-Jabbouri. is nostalgic for the old certainties. Even though Saddam's regime killed 14 members of his family and imprisoned him for 2 years. But after 13 years of fear and killing, he wishes he'd left his sledgehammer at home on that day in 2003. 'I'd like to rebuild the statue, to put it up again because Saddam has gone and we have 1,000 Saddams'
'1,000 Saddams. You're talking about the leaders of the country, the politicians?'
'They destroyed the country. They are thieves and killers. Look at the killings, it's very clear. Saddam never executed people without reason. He was like a wall. There was no corruption or looting. It was safe. Saddam killed people and there were mass graves, but we never saw anything like this government. This government has turned the clock back 100 years'
'Before the invasion most Iraqis did not define themselves politically by their religious groups. But they retreated into their sects and the political system imposed by the Americans ran on sectarian lines... They are liars because they destroyed Iraq, Blair and Bush. They got us back to zero, and we went back to the Middle Ages or maybe before that'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, US election: Will Sanders' supporters back Clinton? - "Bernie Sanders Supporters, they're not even Democrats. They're morons, they're stupid. And Bernie Sanders is to blame because he's told them, it's like a cult. They're dumb. And they really believe that Bernie Sanders is still running"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, 'I would never go back to Turkey' - "'I... do not understand why there's concern. I understand why concern is being expressed. The Turkish people have clearly demonstrated over the past few days that how important their democracy is to them. How important the democratic system is. And to reduce this down to President Erdogan is going to make greater use of power and abuse the people even more is actually insulting to the Turkish people and it's an Orientalist approach that is outdated and should be reviewed. Turkish democracy is undergoing a test at the moment... Erdogan has as much power as the people will give him... It's time that the West respected the Turkish people'...
'Since Friday nearly 3,000 members of the judiciary: judges and prosecuters have been either suspended, have been arrested, many suspended. People will be understandably fearful that what the President is doing is crushing any form of dissent'
'Once again, the President's not doing this. The government is doing this. Please stop reducing everything that happens in Turkey to President Erdogan. There is a government, the government is in place, the government is functioning'"
Democracy is Orientalist

'American people are ready for something different' » Best of Today - "His greatest single quality in this race, the thing that's made him stand out, is the fact that he's entirely unprogrammed. He's unscripted. He is uncoached. So it's not phoney. In other words, you watch Hillary Clinton and you can see every word has come from a poll or focus group. It's all been round tabled and it's been committeed and it comes across as stale and it comes across as insincere. With Trump, what you see is what you get"

What Are Gender Barriers Made Of? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "STROBER: I realized that although people talk about occupations becoming feminized — that is, women taking them over — really what’s going on is that men are leaving occupations which are no longer relatively attractive in terms of salary, working conditions, and promotion opportunities... you can get more young women interested in engineering, if you discuss the ways in which engineers help people in society. Women like to help people in society. Well, engineers, by and large, do that. But that’s not the way that engineering is sold...
Sumner had “average American listeners” listen to two speakers speaking the same words — one with a New York City accent, the other with a “Southern Standard British English” voice. The difference in listeners’ perceptions was astonishing. They did a much better job remembering exactly what the English speaker said, and they judged the English speaker to be smarter than the New York City speaker"

Merkel vows to keep door open to refugees despite attacks - FT.com - "Horst Seehofer, the prime minister of Bavaria and a staunch opponent of Ms Merkel’s refugee policy, said he had been vindicated by the attacks. “All our prophecies have been proved right,” he said... German security officials have warned for months that Isis, the militant group that claimed responsibility for the Würzburg and Ansbach attacks, may have smuggled operatives into Germany under cover of refugees"

Should suspected terrorists like those held at Guantanamo be detained without trial? - "A major reason why Guantanamo remains open is that it contains several detainees — the precise number is unknown — who, if released, would almost certainly return to a life of terrorism. Indeed, some have, and many in detention have overtly stated their malignant intentions. Others have histories that suggest the likelihood of recidivism. But even some of the most dangerous detainees cannot be tried, either because there is insufficient admissible evidence of a specific crime or because the evidence comes from undercover sources the government is unwilling to out. If Guantanamo were to be closed, as it should be, and the detainees transferred to other facilities, the basic problem would still remain. Similar dilemmas arose in previous wars during which enemy combatants were captured and detained as prisoners of war until the cessation of hostilities, after which they were released without trial. The difference is that the war on terrorism has no predictable termination point, as the current campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS, demonstrates. Moreover, captured terrorists are not lawful combatants entitled to be treated as POWs. They are unlawful combatants who can, under the laws of war, be tried as ordinary criminals, as some have been. But with regard to those who cannot, there is a Hobson’s choice: either free them and risk renewed terrorism; or continue to detain them indefinitely, despite the absence of a firm legal basis for what could amount to life imprisonment without due process... There is no perfect solution to this problem under existing laws. Some academics have proposed an intermediate solution: Pass a preventive detention law that would afford detainees some semblance of the due process accorded to ordinary criminal defendants, but that would authorize a tribunal to order continued confinement based on evidence of continuing dangerousness. This is what the United Kingdom did during both world wars and, more relevantly, what Israel does today with regard to captured terrorists during its never-ending conflict with Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups"

Ethnic diversity's 'inconvenient truths'

Ethnic diversity’s ‘inconvenient truths’

"Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam has completed an important study of more than 30,000 North Americans and concluded that – especially if you live in ethnically diverse cities such as Toronto, Vancouver or Los Angeles – it’s likely you are “hunkering down.”

That’s the colloquial phrase that Putnam, who has been an adviser to everyone from Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to the U.S. State Department and the World Bank, uses to describe the lack of trust he discovered among most North Americans in diverse urban settings...

The author of the classic book Bowling Alone, which chronicles the decline in civil engagement in North America since the 1950s, has felt contradictory feelings as his findings have been confirmed by researchers in Canada, Sweden, Peru, Pakistan, Kenya and beyond.

He has realized neither of the two dominant North American myths about multiculturalism are accurate.

In contrast to conservatives’ beliefs, Putnam says multicultural diversity doesn’t necessarily lead to open “conflict” among people of different ethnic groups. “Race riots” and violence do not often break out.

On the other hand, contrary to liberals’ dreams, Putnam did not find people of different ethnicities inevitably discover “harmony” or enjoy “fusion.”

Putnam’s survey of 41 American cities and towns found people in ethnically diverse regions tend to be polite – but also disengaged and wary...

People in diverse urban regions tend to seek shelter in their own little worlds. “Diversity, at least in the short run, seems to bring out the turtle in all of us. … The more ethnically diverse the people we live around, the less we trust them.”

Putnam adds an additional disturbing discovery – that “in-group trust, too, is lower in more diverse settings.” In other words, people also become more distrustful even of members of their own ethnic group.

“Inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbours, regardless of the colour of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, vote less … have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television,” Putnam writes in his report E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the 21st century...

Since Putnam first uncovered his “inconvenient truths” about the downside of diversity, he has extensively “kicked the tires” of his studies to see if other reasons could explain a lack of mutual regard in multicultural societies.

But he’s failed to find evidence to contradict his own findings. Indeed, many others have confirmed them, including Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, author of Triumph of the City; American academics Edward Miguel, Matthew Kahn and Dora Costa; and Oxford economist Paul Collier, author of Exodus: How Migration is Changing the World.

As Putnam summarizes, higher diversity leads to “lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media … less expectation others will cooperate to solve dilemmas … less likelihood of working on a community project … lower likelihood of giving to charity … and less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.”

One of the most serious downsides of greater diversity, emphasize Putnam and others, is people become more reluctant to pay taxes.

Glaeser, Collier and others have discovered higher ethnic diversity leads to more reluctance to redistribute wealth. In high-immigrant societies, Glaeser found the relatively well-off have less empathy for those on lower incomes because they don’t see them as being basically like themselves.

Collier is among those who speculates decades-long anti-tax campaigns in California – which have led to decaying road systems and battered public schools – could relate to the state’s high ethnic diversity. California has more immigrants than any other U.S. state. What’s to be done? The first thing Putnam seeks is that people on the political right and left get over their blind spots.

“It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity,” writes Putnam.

“It would be equally unfortunate if an historical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable.”

Putnam’s ideas for overcoming the divisive effects of diversity demand going beyond “tolerance”; they focus on “creating more opportunities for meaningful interaction across ethnic lines.”"

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Links - 22nd September 2016

G20 'honey trap' warning: Fears Prime Minister's officials will be seduced by Chinese spies and have hotel rooms bugged - "Officials travelling with Mrs May have been issued with temporary mobile phones and email addresses in an attempt to evade Chinese state hackers. Security advisers are also warning staff not to keep gifts they receive and to be particularly wary of electronic devices, such as free computer memory sticks, mobile phone SIM cards or chargers which they are offered by their Chinese hosts. One Whitehall source said security chiefs had warned them that hotel rooms used during the summit were likely to be bugged. “We have been told that if you feel uncomfortable about people seeing you naked, you should get changed under your bedclothes,” the source said... During Mr Brown’s visit to China in 2008, one of the No 10 officials accompanying the then Prime Minister reportedly fell prey to a “beautiful” female Chinese spy. She went back to his hotel room, drugged him, stole his mobile phone and documents from his briefcase... The No 10 team was “accosted on one side by a beautiful posse of Chinese girls and on the other side by an equivalent group of Russian blondes”

Letter gets there by hand-drawn map - "Rebecca Cathrine Kaadu Ostenfeld was reportedly surprised when a letter was delivered to the horse farm where she lives with her husband and three children near Búðardalur in the west of Iceland. Instead of a postal address or a recipient's name, the sender had drawn a map of where they believed the farm to be, together with the following, in English: "Country: Iceland. City: Búðardalur. Name: A horse farm with an Icelandic/Danish couple and three kids and a lot of sheep!" The sender had also added a further clue to the intended recipient: "the Danish woman works in a supermarket in Búðardalur." The letter had been written and sent from the Icelandic capital Reykjavík by a tourist who had stayed at the farm but who obviously did not know the address. And, extraordinarily, it arrived at the right place"

A world without mosquitoes - "scientists acknowledge that the ecological scar left by a missing mosquito would heal quickly as the niche was filled by other organisms. Life would continue as before — or even better. When it comes to the major disease vectors, "it's difficult to see what the downside would be to removal, except for collateral damage", says insect ecologist Steven Juliano, of Illinois State University in Normal. A world without mosquitoes would be "more secure for us", says medical entomologist Carlos Brisola Marcondes from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil. "The elimination of Anopheles would be very significant for mankind"... Ultimately, there seem to be few things that mosquitoes do that other organisms can't do just as well — except perhaps for one. They are lethally efficient at sucking blood from one individual and mainlining it into another, providing an ideal route for the spread of pathogenic microbes."

Shoes speak louder than skills in London's City: Report - ""Opaque" dress codes practised by those from more formal backgrounds are being used to judge candidates, with brown shoes a fashion faux-pas that many from poorer backgrounds may not be aware of, said the study. "Managers often select candidates for client-facing jobs who fit the traditional image of an investment banker and display polish," it said. "For example, some senior investment bankers still deem it unacceptable for men to wear brown shoes with a business suit"... 'see that tie you're wearing? It's too loud. You can't wear that tie with the suit that you're wearing'"
Women aren't the only ones to be judged by what they wear

Why this radical activist is disillusioned by the toxic culture of the left - "I’m tired of watching people turn into pretentious assholes who think their activism makes them better than everyone else, even the oppressed and marginalised groups with whom they claim “allyship”... [The real oppressed] don't bother with policing their language and worrying about how their words might unintentionally perpetuate certain stereotypes. They are more concerned with their voices being heard. Yet I witness so many “activists” who ignore the realities of oppression despite saying that they care about those at the bottom of society. They think that being offended by something is equal to experiencing prison time or living on the streets. They talk about listening, being humble and not having preconceptions. Yet they ignore the lived experiences of those who don’t speak or think properly in the view of university-educated social justice warriors... I've witnessed incidents where people have lost their jobs because of mistakes they've made in the eyes of left-wing activists. I've seen relationships and friendships destroyed. I've known people who have been banned from participating in certain places, and become so alienated from “the community” that they are afraid to go out in public at all. This has caused serious mental distress to people I've worked alongside, and has even resulted in suicide. Social "justice" indeed. These incidents tend to happen over allegations that rest on each person's word. Yet only one party is allowed to tell their story, while the other one is told to sit down, shut up, and accept the potentially life-destroying consequences. And if anyone tries to step in or question how things are being done, they are immediately silenced and threatened with the same fate if they don't comply... As Noam Chomsky put it: “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” We have the right to challenge other people's speech, but what many people are seeing is the shutting off of dialogue entirely for the purpose of “safety”. What could possibly be safe about censorship? What could possibly be safe about a group of people who claim to be freedom fighters dictating who can speak and what can be said, based on whether or not we agree with them? Study any kind of history and you will find that censorship has never been on the right side of it. The world is not a safe place. It is extremely dangerous, flawed, full of bloodshed and corruption. By sheltering ourselves from its harshness we are doing nothing meaningful to change it"

European churches say growing flock of Muslim refugees are converting - "Johannes, another Iranian, left Tehran for Vienna. Born into a Muslim family, the 32-year-old – who was previously called Sadegh – began questioning the roots of Islam at university. “I found that the history of Islam was completely different from what we were taught at school. Maybe, I thought, it was a religion that began with violence? “A religion that began with violence cannot lead people to freedom and love. Jesus Christ said ‘those who use the sword will die by the sword’. This really changed my mind”... the Austrian bishops’ conference published new guidelines for priests, warning that some refugees may seek baptism in the hope of improving their chances of obtaining asylum... “We still try our best to serve people. Jesus Christ knew Judas was going to betray him but he still washed his feet. Thank God it is not my job to judge them.”"

Paris Attacks Highlight Jihadists’ Easy Path Between Europe and ISIS Territory - The New York Times - "One of the militants in the Paris attacks traveled to Syria from his hometown in France and back, officials said, even after his passport had been confiscated and he had been placed under judicial oversight. So did another, despite having been arrested eight times in petty crimes and having been listed as a national security risk in France. Even the man suspected of organizing the massacre on Friday, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a well-known figure in the Belgian jihadist scene, is believed to have traveled between Islamic State-controlled territory and Europe a number of times — including for an attack plot in Belgium in January... More British Muslims have joined the Islamic State — about 750 — than are currently enrolled in the British armed forces, according to Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London, who has been monitoring the social media accounts of Western jihadists over the past two years. The Islamic State, he said, “has mobilized the largest volunteer army of Sunni fighters in recent history”... Not all volunteer fighters returning from conflict become terrorists. Some academic research suggests that one in 10 do, while other sources say the ratio is as high as one in four. Either way, the end result is a terrorist threat expanding at a rate that alarms security experts... The biggest challenge, counterterrorism experts and officials said, was not so much identifying those who represent a potential threat, but knowing whom to put under the tightest surveillance. In France alone, about 3,000 people are considered potential threats, officials said."

Brutality of life in Saudi Arabia exposed: Woman who killed stepdaughter screams "I did not do it" as she is beheaded in street - "Saudi Arabia Uncovered aims to reveal the hidden reality inside one of the world's most secretive and strict Islamic regimes and questions Britain's relationship with the country. In one particularly shocking scene in ITV's Exposure documentary, a woman is pinned down at the side of a public road by four Saudi officers and executed after she has been convicted of killing her stepdaughter. The policeman pins her down and decapitates her with a sword after she screams, 'I did not do it'. In another beheading scene the executioner, dressed in white robes, raises the sword above his head and brings it down in just one sweep. So far this year the country has been executing people at a rate of one per day. In the Saudi capital of Riyadh, viewers are introduced to a large public space nicknamed Chop Chop Square because so many people are executed there. The drainage system is stained red from the blood spilt in the square... Women are considered to be second-class citizens and police beating women is the norm. In one scene a male supermarket customer violently pushes a woman to the floor for no reason and walks past her. Another gruesome scene shows five bodies hanging from a pole that is suspended between two cranes. It serves as a public reminder to those who might consider turning to crime. The gang of five robbers were publicly beheaded before their corpses were strung up in public for days. In Saudi Arabia, blasphemy is punishable by stoning or execution and theft by amputation. If anyone is found guilty of insulting Islam they face 10 years in prison or 1,000 lashes."
Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with Islam

What is the food than can really improve your eyesight? - "They found that boosting the diet with the three macular pigments - lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin - led to significant improvements in the protection of the delicate macula, as well as improved eyesight."

Is love colour blind? Mixed race couples tackle challenges - "Indian Catholic Martin Silva, 41, proposed to Esther Low, 40, a Chinese Buddhist, after dating for three years. They are now planning for their wedding in 2017... While they have agreed on a church wedding, said Martin: “We haven’t decided on this gate crashing thing, this Chinese custom - the groom goes over and picks the wife up. I’ve believed all these years that seeing the bride before getting to church is like bad luck. So that is what we both are discussing. She really, really wants it.”
Chinese Catholics don't have a problem, apparently

Apostasy in Singapore, Reza Aslan's Moderate South East Asia, and Sally Kohn's Laughable Tweet (A Conversation) - "If you are born a Muslim in Singapore then you are put into the Muslim registry. We have a system called the Faraid which is about inheritance law. If your name is not in Faraid (which happens when you legally apostatize) then you can't do anything if a Muslim relative contests the will. Since you're not in the registry you don't exist, you're a persona non grata... Marriage, by the way, is not done through a civil court. It's done through the Muslim marriage registry. So Muslims get a separate registry called the Registry of Muslim Marriages. Imagine then if a Muslim couple doesn't want to believe anymore and decides to nullify their Muslim status, then their marriage also gets nullified and they have to go through another process to be registered as a married couple under the Registry of Marriages... a lot of people here decry Donald Trumps Muslim registry, but they are themselves part of a registry in Singapore... If I say to a Muslim, "in Islam, apostasy means death." Then they might say, "well that's offensive, you're taking the Quran out of context." I'm not taking it out of context! It's right there you can read it yourself! Quran 4:89... recently there is a rise in identity politics which has made it difficult for people who call themselves liberals to understand what they are fighting for. They talk about Muslims as if Muslims are one homogenous group -- and Muslims reformists are trying to get away from that mentality. They're trying to promote being able to practice Islam in their own ways. Promoting being able to apostatize and even criticize Islam. But as you know, a lot of these liberals think any criticism of Islam is Islamophobia... I've been called Islamophobic more than once. I've been told, "you just wanna be a white person on the inside." And I say, "Well, maybe I'm transracial. Maybe I'm white on the inside? Are you going to criticize me for that? Race is a social construct. I'm race fluid." (Laughter) Sometimes you just have run along with their logic to make them realize how ridiculous they are... When Muslims talk about modesty culture that's pretty much what they're talking about. It's the idea that if you cover up you're morally superior to someone that doesn't cover up. That to me is slut shaming. In the west, it would be called slut shaming. You look at a woman who is dressed "provocatively" and you call her a slut, to a Muslim mindset, provocative just means showing your hair. But when a Muslim does it it's not slut shaming? It's essentially the same thing."

Stuart Jeffries on the revival of the exclamation mark - "why did Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! get its enviable name? The Commission de Toponymie de Québec says that Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is so named because in olden times "le haha" in French meant an impasse, and that there was just such an unexpected obstacle blocking a waterway near the site of the future town. Eighteenth- and 19th-century canoeists paddling down the local river came across such a haha, then had to get out of their canoes and take a vexing 80km detour. Hence the town's name... In the ninth book of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, Eric, one of the characters insists that "Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind"... Carol Waseleski's unexpectedly diverting paper, Gender and the Use of Exclamation Points in Computer-Mediated Communication, found that women used more exclamation marks than men. But why was this? Are women more excitable? Some theorists (notably D Rubin and K Greene in their paper Gender-Typical Style in Written Language) had argued that the exclamation mark was often a sign of excitability, and that "a high frequency of exclamation points can be regarded as sort of an orthographic intensifier signalling 'I really mean this!'" They also argued that this might convey the writer's lack of stature; that, in fact, a confident person (read: man) could "affirm their views by simply asserting them"... Waseleski found otherwise. She concluded that exclamation marks were not just marks of excitability but of friendliness, and suggested that one reason women use them more than men is because they were, as a gender, less likely to be socially inept, funless egotists - which isn't quite how she put it... George Orwell once purged A Clergyman's Daughter of the semi-colons, arguing they were unnecessary."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Links - 21st September 2016

What Science Says--and Doesn't--about Spanking - "Ferguson did try to control for the effects of preexisting child behavior in a 2013 meta-analysis he published of the longitudinal studies on this issue; when he did, “spanking’s effects became trivial,” he says. As a further demonstration of the importance of careful statistical controls, Robert Larzelere, a psychologist at Oklahoma State University, and his colleagues reported in a 2010 study that grounding and psychotherapy are linked just as strongly to bad behavior as spanking is but that all the associations disappear with the use of careful statistical controls. It makes sense that disciplinary tactics used as responses to bad behavior will be associated with such behavior, Larzelere says, unless care is taken to control for children’s preexisting characteristics and temperaments."

Ana Kasparian's Disgraceful Fat Shaming Hypocrisy - "Young Turks host champions body positivity while angrily calling Alex Jones a "fat fuck... Just like how leftists will whine all day long about Donald Trump’s supposed sexism and racism – while themselves engaging in rampant misogyny and bigotry against Melania Trump for being a “dumb bitch” who can’t speak English properly – Kasparian was perfectly content to abandon her body positivity message to attack Jones over his weight."

A Cute Internet Star Flirts. All He Wants Is Your Password. - The New York Times - "#HackedByJohnson is the ultimate submission: He’s inside her account, posting as her. This new wave of fan interaction nods to the importance of online security, then asks fans to break the rules. Mr. Johnson accompanied his call for passwords with the disclaimer, “only me tho, don’t ever give out ur passwords to strangers.”"

From Deviance to Normalcy: Women as Sexual Aggressors - "Larimer, Lydum, Anderson, and Turner (1999), reported that rates for their measures of receiving (men = 21%, women = 28%) or instigating (men = 10%, women = 5%) sexual coercion were not statistically different for college men and women, but that women were less likely to use physical force as a tactic to obtain sexual contact (men = 5%, women = 1%)... Anderson (1998, 1996), presented self-reported prevalence rates for women's sexual coercion of between 25% and 40% and for physically forced sexual contact between 1.6% and 7.1%. Of perhaps greater significance was the women's self-reports of engaging in a classic date-rape scenario - taking advantage of someone who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When asked about initiating sexual contact with a man when his judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol, between 32% and 51% of the women said that they had. Further, between 5% and 15% of women reported giving a man alcohol or drugs in an attempt to have sexual contact with him... the use of pressure tactics or force by a woman could be seen as a method of foreplay and not aggression... coercers could be distinguished from other college women in that they were more likely; 1) to view traditional women's roles as being constricting, 2) to believe that forcing sex at times is acceptable, 3) to acknowledge that it is acceptable for women to have and act on sexual thoughts and desires, and 4) to admit their lust and desire for power in sexual encounters... Anderson and Aymani (1993) stated that males reported being recipients of female aggression more than females admitted to being aggressors... men reported significantly more events of adult women initiating sexual contact with them while they were minors (OR=10.9), by getting them drunk or high (OR=3.7), and by threatening to end their relationship (OR=6.3) than women reported... women from the South reported less overall aggression (34.1% vs. 46.2%), sexual abuse (7.3% vs. 21.1%), and physically forced sex (1.6% vs. 7.1%) but not less sexual coercion (all differences were significant at p < .001) Most of the coercers' views sound like feminists'; since the South presumably has more traditional gender roles, this suggests that traditional gender roles aren't all bad

From Gay World to Pop Yeh Yeh: When Geylang rocked the ‘60s - Channel NewsAsia - "By most accounts, Pop Yeh Yeh eventually fizzled out in 1971. But it wasn’t the only music movement that had to adjust to the changes in that decade. The Government had increasingly been casting a critical eye on afternoon tea dances, at which youths were rockin’ and rollin’ across the island, due to gangster-related violence and drugs. And in 1972, there was a stabbing incident at the Boiler Room nightclub at Mandarin Hotel, which led to the authorities imposing a total ban on live music in clubs, said Mr Pereira. “Gangsterism, the increasing drug addiction problem — it was all associated with the nightlife scene. (The ban) lasted for about five years, and by the time it was lifted, it was a bit late. The live music scene had totally weakened. A lot of the working bands went elsewhere, where they could find work, or stopped playing completely,” he said."
So the government dealt a fatal blow to the local music scene. No surprises there

Here’s how the internet reacted after the Normandy church attack - "Some highlighted how this puts many of France’s Muslims at risk for discrimination.
The real victims of #Normandy are France's Muslims, who are at greater risk of Islamophobia than ever before!
— Dr. H. Heretic, PhD (@hateful_heretic) July 26, 2016
And, of course, others advised caution.
Another day, another terrorist attack committed by Muslims. But these attacks have got *nothing* to do with Islam. #Normandy #Normandie
— (((Jim Bryant))) (@jamesbryantrec) July 26, 2016
Let's not jump to conclusions. We know nothing about the background or beliefs of the trucks responsible for workplace violence in #Normandy
— Allum Bokhari (@LibertarianBlue) July 26, 2016"
Some people don't understand irony (or this is Poe's Law)

Bill Clinton’s front page photos on Hillary's nomination are about news constraints not sexism. - "There are a few interpretations of the popular editorial choice to illustrate the story of Hillary Clinton’s momentous achievement with a photo of Bill. One is that papers were trying to get at both of the evening’s major events: Hillary’s nomination and Bill’s speech. Another is that there simply were no photos of Hillary from Tuesday night; she only appeared in a video near the end of the proceedings and won’t speak live at the convention until Thursday. Or, as some suggested on Twitter Wednesday morning, it’s straight-up misogyny... Some outlets used a photo of Hillary speaking on the video screen, an unpleasant image with whiffs of Orwell. An argument could be made that those pictures reek of sexism as well, since it plays into the Republican caricature of Hillary as a heartless megalomaniac with ambitions of world domination."

Leibel A. Mangel - "A Palestinian man yells at IDF soldiers, demanding they kill his child so it can be captured on video. The soldier instead shakes the young child's hand. The father then tells his child to throw rocks at the soldiers.. "There will be peace when they LOVE their children more than they HATE ours"

On Becoming Anti-Bernie - "Sanders was less interested in actually accomplishing anything than he was in staging protests where he could claim some kind of moral high ground, not interested in getting in the weeds and doing anything to actually achieve his goals within the Congress he worked in. This research put Sanders’ supposedly pristine progressive agenda in perspective: it is very easy to maintain that agenda if you never make the hard choices necessary to get things done. Classic protester — yet handily collecting his $200,000 pay check and his lifetime of benefits while doing little to enact actual progressive policies to improve people’s lives. I did more research than the above, but the two overarching themes I just described (magical thinking and ideological purity over practicality) seem tied together in terms of what Sanders has to offer the country with respect to governance... the Sanders campaign has also awakened a dormant left-wing Tea Party that I didn’t believe existed, but that lives in a fever swamp of conspiracy-thinking and epistemic closure and rejection of fact and binary, “us v. them” thinking. And that terrifies me"

Could Pokemon Go save the economy? - "Sokcho has capitalized on the gold rush, as tour buses now carry Pokemon pilgrims several hours to Sokcho. They're not there for the beaches or the boating. They're there to play Pokemon Go... Pokemon Go's developers used a grid to block the country, but geometric shapes cannot perfectly cover the natural contours of coastline. The result is a small area in South Korea where people can play Pokemon Go"

Frequent password changes are the enemy of security, FTC technologist says - "Over the past few years, organizations including the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US and UK government agency CESG have also concluded that mandated password changes are often ineffective or counterproductive"

Six Reasons ISIS Hates The West, According To Report - "“The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam”. Though the Mirror breaks the ISIS diatribe against the West down to six simple points, it actually goes into far greater specifics such as bashing western thinkers like Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx, ranting against coffee drinkers, and criticizing western women, whom they argue should be docile and submissive according to the Sunday Express. Independent western women, according to the ISIS article “work like man, rule like man, and have intercourse like an animal, without being conscious of her Lord watching both her and her heinous partner in crime.”"
ISIS admits that it really does hate our freedoms and admits that Western foreign policy is not their primary motivator. Not that this will convince liberals

Medical benefits of flossing unproven

Chinese-American woman crowned Miss Michigan, netizens think she's ugly: Shanghaiist - ""She's ugly AND she isn't Chinese," @y块木头 wrote.
"Is this competition for picking the ugliest person?" @乄冰糖 wrote.
"She's 23?! Why does she look like she's 43?" @Joan516 wrote.
"She's ruining the reputation of Chinese people," @小花仙002 wrote.
"This is probably the American standard of beauty. She looks exactly like Mulan in Disney," @久未闻君 wrote."

Portland Doughnut Shop Attacked by Vegans for Discrimination - "As a small, locally owned business we feel that voluntary lifestyle, non-medical, and non-religious dietary restrictions could seriously compromise our ability to make crucial decisions to assure food quality and safety. It's not discrimination, it's common sense"
Actually why should medical/religious reasons exempt you from having to be able to do your job?

Drinking three cups of coffee a day 'shrinks women's breasts' - "there was a clear link between drinking coffee and smaller breasts as around half of all women possess a gene that has been shown to link breast size to coffee intake."

Singaporean man with breast implants removes them - "He was so desperate to remove his C-cup breast implants that he worked two jobs and slept just three hours a night to raise the $7,000 needed for the procedure. In April 2013, Mr Kurt Tay, then a 27-year-old security guard, made headlines when he got breast implants because he needed to "boost his confidence". At the time, he said that after a string of failed attempts to date women, he wanted the breasts "to feel better". Mr Tay also claimed then that he was not a transsexual. Eight months after getting his implants, he married Madam Kim Ngan, a 29-year-old Vietnamese national... Back in 2013, he had said: "Whenever I saw women on the train, I'd feel very miserable that I didn't have breasts like them. "It was like suddenly all I wanted was to have breasts. Until today, I can't explain what came over me. "I was depressed after losing money at the casino and my online escort business failed"... He now aspires to be a World Wrestling Entertainment star."

'Star Wars': Rey's Instant Bread Wasn't CGI -- It Was Totally Real

Composers' Datebook for Tuesday, August 2 - "Over the centuries, at least 65 operas have been written on the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice. In fact, two of the very first operas every written concern this mythological tale— one was by Jacopo Peri performed in 1600 and another by Claudio Monteverdi from 1607."

Apple is replacing the pistol emoji with a squirt gun

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Euclid's Elements - "This is part of, something that people may not appreciate it: mathematics actually works on the emotions. You're telling a story. Euclid's Elements is full of story-telling. It's taking people from things, a place where they kind of understand and are happy, to a new place. And this for me is the transformative moment. I think this is worthy of being compared with the Iliad and the Odyssey. This is journeys that are being made, but in the mind of the reader and the listener, to anyone reading these proofs... Euclid had a student who said to him: what's the point of all this? How am I going to profit from this? Euclid said to his servant: give this student a coin. Now you have profited from this and let's move on... This is mathematics for its own sake. It is useful but I think in the Elements you're seeing the joy of understanding and proving universal truths"

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Links - 20th September 2016

Modern feminism has got it wrong about men - Telegraph - "cultural "feminist" changes, the types that insist lads mags, Page 3 and wolf-whistling are automatically offensive and should therefore be scrapped from the public consciousness... at their crux is the notion that men are either genetically or socially conditioned to be evil. This explains why relatively harmless acts - an admiring glance, a whistle, a propensity for lads mags - are imbued with such weighty significance, often lazily labelled as "rapey". If a man looks at me, I infer he's doing it for the exact same reason a woman would - because he finds me interesting to look at. If a man whistles at me, I take it as the compliment I believe it was intended to be. If I see a man looking at a female glamour model, I suppose nothing more than he is looking at her because a naked woman is pretty much universally aesthetically pleasing... I'm horrified with the regularity and ease with which the word "misogynist" is flung about online. Recently, I wrote an article for a feminist publication on the importance of prioritisation and pragmatism in social progression and suggesting these were often sadly absent from feminist campaigning. During the subsequent inevitable Twitter storm (during which "feminists" threatened to "rip me apart", called me a "piece of s---" and a "brainless bimbo" in an incredibly sisterly fashion) a male tweeter calmly pointed out several historical instances where negotiation had resulted in progression. As a result, he was publicly called a "pendantic misogynist" by the mob. A pedant he might have been, but it's worth noting the official definition of misogynist as "someone who hates women" rather than "anyone who dares question the popular feminist status quo". In the same article, I dared to suggest that we should take into account men's feelings and viewpoints on key feminist issues. "Men have had their voices heard for FAR TOO LONG! IT'S OUR TURN!" came the online battle cry, as though even garnering some male opinions would be a threat to womankind's empowerment, so toxic and self-serving they would inevitably be. The Everyday Sexism movement is a fantastic idea - an opportunity for an open debate on the ways in which genders mindlessly form prejudices against each other. So why have its followers largely excluded men from the conversation? "You can't be sexist towards men!" was a university student's response to this question at another debate I attended (she was studying feminism, by the way). Which is a bit like saying black people can't be racist... Today's feminism teaches British women to see themselves as victims and victims cannot exist without a villain, in this instance – men. In order for this thesis to have any kind of logic, feminists have made sweeping, inaccurate judgments about an entire demographic, based on nothing more than their gender. Ironically, the exact practice they claim to be fighting"

Protesters threaten violence and death against International Men’s Issues Conference in Detroit at Doubletree, Hilton - "this is apparently too much for those who oppose the idea of a men’s human rights movement. Organization against the conference for a planned protest on June 7 appeared on Facebook, where threats of violence were made by anti-MHRA commenters were allowed to remain but comments by men’s advocates requesting an open dialog were repeatedly deleted. In the characteristic Orwellian nature of those who oppose men’s issues, the administration of the group rationalized this by claiming that they need to “make a safe space”... This is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened. When Karen Straughan was due to speak at Ryerson University the administration fined the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE, the group sponsoring her) a $1600 “security fee” due to the history of violence and criminal behavior on the part of Feminists and their allies at their previous protests of academic events. Some may be discouraged by the violent tendencies of these people. I would heart. These people are putting their values (or lack thereof) on display for the world to see. They are not organizing to attend the event, listen to what is being said, and ask incisive questions. On the contrary, the only thing they are interested in is shutting down the event. They are destroying their credibility before the world... During the 2006 Duke lacrosse false rape case, Feminists and their friends paraded around a banner reading “castrate,” an open call for sexual violence against the three young men who were falsely accused of rape. Again, in their typical Orwellian fashion, they rationalized their call to violence by saying they were “opposing sexual violence.” Of which there was none... In pursuit of a sexual misconduct policy which defined rape so broadly beyond its legal definition that it essentially eviscerated due process, the Feminist group “Radical Womyn of Antioch” threatened Antioch College with violence if they failed to adopt the policy they proposed"
No true feminist...

Millions of bees die after Zika spraying in South Carolina
Some people were valling for mosquito genocide

Native Americans migrated to the New World in three waves, Harvard-led DNA analysis shows - "An exhaustive study of DNA taken from dozens of Native American groups that span from Canada to the tip of South America is helping to settle a question that has long divided scientists: When people arrived in the Americas more than 15,000 years ago, the Harvard-led research shows, they came in successive waves, not all at once"
The Native Americans who were in the Americas in 1492 were themselves invaders and immigrants

The Most Violent Era In America Was Before Europeans Arrived - "the 20th century, with its hundreds of millions dead in wars and, in the case of Germany, China, Russia and other dictatorships, genocide, was not the most violent - on a per-capita basis that honor may belong to the central Mesa Verde of southwest Colorado and the Pueblo Indians. Writing in the journal American Antiquity, Washington State University archaeologist Tim Kohler and colleagues document how nearly 90 percent of human remains from that period had trauma from blows to either their heads or parts of their arms."

A new exposé of Mother Teresa shows that she—and the Vatican—were even worse than we thought - "Lest you think this is atheist hype, the summary below is from an official press release by the Université de Montréal... the three researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Facts debunk the myth of Mother Teresa...
1. The woman was in love with suffering and simply didn’t take care of her charges, many of whom fruitlessly sought medical care.
2. She was tightfisted about helping others, seequestered money donated for her work, and took money from dictators.
3. She was deliberately promoted by BBC journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (a fellow anti-abortionist), and her beatification was based on phony miracles...
I ran into Mother Teresa once: we were flying on the same plane, and as I disembarked from the coach section, she appeared right in front of me as she exited from the first-class section. Not even wondering why a woman who professed humility was flying first class, I was elated and gobsmacked, feeling quite fortunate to have run into her. But I had bought into the myth, and that was well before the pushback began."

Criticism of Mother Teresa: Too little and too late - "“Mother Teresa lied by exaggerating the figures of persons she was feeding daily in her acceptance speech while receiving the Nobel Prize in 1979. The ambulances donated by a Calcutta businessman were, in fact, used by her nuns as taxis to ferry around in Calcutta. Her nuns refused to pick up dying persons within even 200 meters of the compassion house. (Chatterjee has recorded his telephone conversations with the nuns and reproduced them verbatim in the book). But Mother Teresa continued to tell her Western audiences that her mission routinely picked up abandoned babies and the dying and dead bodies from Calcutta’s pavements... It’s disturbing to me that patients who could have been cured, including children, were allowed to die. Certainly Mother Teresa could have had a doctor look them over and do some triage. The fact is that she just didn’t care, for she thought she was winning souls for the Christian God.”

Mother Theresa's Masochism: Does Religion Demand Suffering to Keep People Passive? - "The team of academics from the Universities of Montreal and Ottawa set out to do research on altruism. In the process, they reviewed over 500 documents about Mother Teresa’s life and compiled an array of disturbing details about the soon-to-be saint, including dubious political connections and questionable management of funds—and, in particular, an attitude toward suffering that could give pause to even her biggest fans... By even her own words, Mother Teresa’s view of suffering made no distinction between avoidable and unavoidable suffering, and instead cultivated passive acceptance of both. As she put it, “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ's Passion. The world gains much from their suffering.” Or consider thisanecdote from her life: One day I met a lady who was dying of cancer in a most terrible condition. And I told her, I say, "You know, this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus — a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you." And she joined her hands together and said, "Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me”... Miami resident Hemley Gonzalez was so shocked by his volunteer experience that he has founded an accountable charity to provide better care... Because of her opposition to contraception and her seeming disinterest in modern medicine, some have called Mother Teresa a friend of poverty rather than a friend of the poor."

A Critic’s Lonely Quest: Revealing the Whole Truth About Mother Teresa - The New York Times - "Dr. Chatterjee said he found a “cult of suffering” in homes run by Mother Teresa’s organization, the Missionaries of Charity, with children tied to beds and little to comfort dying patients but aspirin. He and others said that Mother Teresa took her adherence to frugality and simplicity in her work to extremes, allowing practices like the reuse of hypodermic needles and tolerating primitive facilities that required patients to defecate in front of one another... In over a hundred interviews, Dr. Chatterjee heard volunteers describe how workers with limited medical training administered 10- to 20-year-old medicines to patients, and blankets stained with feces were washed in the same sink used to clean dishes... Dr. Chatterjee agreed that after Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, homes run by the Missionaries of Charity began taking their hygiene practices more seriously. The reuse of needles, he said, was eliminated."

Pointing Fingers At Mother Teresa's Heirs - "The donation issue first came up in the early 1990s when it was revealed that Charles Keating, an American banker known for the infamous “saving and loan scandal,” had donated up to $1.25 million to Missionaries of Charity. Amidst calls to return the money, Mother Teresa controversially chose to remain silent, an incident that is still sited by her critics who demand transparency. In early 2000, Susan Shields, a former Missionaries sister who left the organization “unhappy”, created a furor by saying she herself had “written receipts of $50,000″ in donation but there was no sign of the “flood of money.” Forbes India talked to a volunteer in the Los Angeles office of Missionaries of Charity who admitted that “even when bread was over at the soup kitchens, none was bought unless donated.” A report in German magazine Stern, revealed that in 1991 only seven percent of the donation received at Missionaries of Charity was used for charity"

Après Orsay, le musée Guimet évacué après une performance de Deborah de Robertis - "Soudain, un râle de plaisir brise le silence feutré du musée. Une femme s’est assise devant un mur de photographies. Nue, vêtue d’un seul kimono transparent. Elle laisse entrevoir entre ses cuisses écartées une pastèque qu’elle dévore goulûment en en faisant couler le jus sur sa poitrine."

Men need nights out with the lads, scientists say - Telegraph - "male bonding is more likely to lower a man's stress levels than a night out with his partner, or time spent with the family... stress-related illnesses only seemed to occur among females or couples"

Racial identity tied to happiness, study finds - "African American people who identify more strongly with their racial identity are generally happier... it may be fueled by a sense of belongingness -- that is, blacks with a strong sense of racial identity may feel more connected to their racial group, which in turn makes them happy. This sense of belongingness is especially important for happiness in women, Yap said. "For men, the potential factors relating identity to happiness is still an open question," he said."

I don't care about your "Preferred pronouns" - Age Of Shitlords - "Basically, every time special snowflakes invent a new gender, the next logical step is find an appropriate pronoun for it. So as the total number of genders increase, we can expect to see more pronouns in the future. Refusal to use someone’s preferred pronoun will get you labeled a “bigot” or “Misgendering asshole” on the Internet. And that’s cool and all, but it doesn’t end there. Like most rhetoric that Tumblr comes up with, being the narcissists that they are, they don’t feel accomplished unless they get to force their ideas on everyone else... a teacher in Oregon was given a $60,000 payout after she alleged that her coworkers had abused her by referring to her using inappropriate pronouns. Tumblr isn’t just infecting the real world, they have already taken it over, and are now making it dance to their beat. What these people fail to realize it that a pronoun isn’t a fashion accessory like a shoe or handbag, that you can just pick up when you want and throw away when you no longer need them. In Grammar, Pronouns are words used in place of names(Nouns). The primary purpose of pronouns is to help avoid repetition, and to make sentences easier to construct and understand. That’s it. Pronouns only exist to make it easier for us to communicate with one another... Pronouns were meant to make life easier, not to make it more complicated. Having to ask people for their preferred pronoun defeats the entire purpose of having pronouns in the first place"

Monday, September 19, 2016

Links - 19th September 2016

Special Snowflake has Meltdown After Dad Tightens Purse Strings - "The genderfluid panqueer-demiromantic being in question, let’s call her “Sarah”, is a 21 year old spoiled girl from Kansas who worked for her father’s company, lived in a house that he owned rent-free, received free health insurance, free phone, free Internet access, free car insurance and presumably a free car. He also allowed his daughter to let three of her dumbass tumblrite friends move in with her into the house that he owns. Cut to the 4th of July. Sarah and her communist loving, capitalism hating friends decided that the best way to celebrate would be to burn a flag and use it to attention whore on Facebook. “Pete’, her father, being a military veteran had some things to say about this but still believed in her freedom to burn the flag if she pleased. Her father only wanted to engage in a debate with his retard daughter and her special snowflake squad but instead found himself blocked on Facebook. She cited her reason for this being that she had freedom of speech and her Facebook page was not a democracy. This was, in his words “the last straw”... He fired her. Evicted her. Cut her off financially. Cut off her phone... Cut off from the cow’s teet, Sarah was forced to find a way to become self sufficient. Naturally she did what all snowflakes did when confronted with adversity and started a gofundme... the snowflake brigade is actually attempting to get him fired from his job"
Addendum: See: Leah Albee | Kiwi Farms

How Many Steps a Day Should You Really Walk? - "But is there any medical reason to embrace this number? Not really. That’s because the 10,000-steps-a-day recommendation has nothing to do with sedentary, fast-food-drenched circa-2015 America. Rather, the recommendation first popped up in a very different food and environment: 1960s Japan. “It basically started around the Tokyo Olympics” in 1964, said Catrine Tudor-Locke, a professor who studies walking behavior at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Center. “A company over there created a man-po-kei, a pedometer. And man stands for ‘10,000,’ po stands for ‘step,’ and kei stands for ‘meter’ or ‘gauge.’” Ten thousand, it turns out, “is a very auspicious number” in Japanese culture, said Theodore Bestor, a Harvard researcher of Japanese society and culture, in an email. “That is, it seems likely to me that the 10,000 steps goal was subsidiary to having a good-sounding name for marketing purposes”... From a public-health perspective, she said, a more pressing, realistic goal is “to get people away from taking less than 5,000” steps a day."

School Bans Clapping. Students May Silently Wriggle Instead. - "Elanora Heights, a public school in Sydney, Australia, has banned clapping out of "respect" for noise-sensitive students. Instead, kids can "conduct a silent cheer.""

What's Behind The Decline In Crime? - "It wasn’t until the late ‘90s and early ‘00s—just as Millennials entered the scene— that crime rates began their sharp descent. Unlike Boomers and Xers, Millennials were increasingly looked after, sheltered, and advised to not take risks. As they moved up the age ladder, this generation brought about declines in risky behaviors—including rates of school fighting, teenage pregnancy, smoking, drunk driving, and so on. (See the extensive CDC database on the decline in so-called “youth risk behaviors.”) Of these trends, crime was just one element."

Girl fighting for life after mum and three daughters knifed in French holiday resort for being 'scantily dressed' - "The 37-year-old man has been identified by French media as Mohamed Boufarkouch, who was born in Morocco."

The secret of anti-terror architecture: Your city is probably safer than you realize - "bollards today can also take all kinds of shapes, and they’re everywhere—streets, airports, government buildings, highways and side streets. Part of the US visual landscape for decades, most of us don’t even realize they’re there for our safety."

German machete attack: Syrian refugee kills woman and injures two others in city of Reutlingen - "A woman has been killed and two others have been injured after they were attacked by a Syrian refugee with a machete near Stuttgart in Germany... It comes as Germany is on edge following two attacks in the past week. A teenager went on a rampage in a Munich mall on Friday evening, killing nine, and an Afghan teenager attacked train passengers with an axe in Bavaria, wounding five, before being shot dead by police last week"

The Latest: Merkel confident Germany can integrate refugees - "Chancellor Angela Merkel says she remains confident Germany can integrate the large number of refugees who are arriving, and is arguing that many won't stay forever. Germany has been the main destination of Syrians and others seeking protection in Europe. Merkel said at a town hall event in Nuremberg Monday that "there are very, very many, but there are 80 million of us." She said "we can and will manage this integration" if Germany makes an effort from the beginning to integrate the newcomers."

Second German woman evicted from her home to make way for refugees - "A woman in Germany is being evicted from her home of 23 years to make way for asylum-seekers, in the second such case to emerge. Gabrielle Keller has been given until the end of the year to leave her flat in the small southern town of Eschbach, near the border with France. The flat belongs to the local municipality, which says it is needed to house refugees... The town of just 2,400 people is under pressure to find space for refugees, and Ms Keller’s flat is one of only two owned by the local municipality. It is not social housing and Ms Keller is a rent-paying tenant."

Angela Merkel accused of having blood on her hands over migrant policy after Munich - " "Once these people have German passports they can travel to all the other countries in the EU so Merkel has not only created a problem for Germany but for other EU countries too - and it's impossible to put the cork back in the bottle. "Mrs Merkel, meanwhile, appears to be in hiding. "Even though the German authorities are still insisting that this is nothing to do with terrorism, we have someone who has come into Germany from Syria and killed innocent people, continuing this summer of slaughter. "As I see it, her and her ministers and advisors as well as the dangerous idiots in the European Commission have put people's lives at risk and in some terrible cases, cost lives"... Earlier this week Germany’s interior minister warned of the “serious” threat from lone wolf attacks in the country and across Europe, telling the public to expect further attacks. The stark assessment of Germany’s security situation follows a warning from the French Prime Minster that his country should "learn to live with the threat” from Islamist extremists. Speaking in Berlin, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said the Afghan refugee who attacked train passengers with an axe in the southern state of Bavaria was now thought be from Pakistan. Responding to the incident the senior German cabinet minster said similar attacks were highly likely. Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), said the German train attack "illustrates the reality that some ISIS sympathisers will have slipped through European borders". The London-based think tank said around two per cent of Germany's population arrived last year, making it "impossible in practice for European security services to screen new arrivals with thoroughness sufficient to preclude the possibility of attacks”."

How Putin Weaponized Wikileaks to Influence the Election of an American President - "Close your eyes and imagine that a hacking group backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin broke into the email system of a major U.S. political party. The group stole thousands of sensitive messages and then published them through an obliging third party in a way that was strategically timed to influence the United States presidential election. Now open your eyes, because that’s what just happened."

Family argument in wildlife park leaves woman dead after she leaves car and gets eaten by tiger

Obviously, Sports Do Not Build Character | Acton Institute - "The Benedict-Crosset Study of sexual assaults at thirty major Division I universities reports that one in three college sexual assaults are committed by athletes. The three-year study demonstrates that while male student-athletes comprise 3.3 percent of the college population, they represent 19 percent of sexual assault perpetrators and 35 percent of domestic violence perpetrators"

SlutWalk Singapore 2012: 5 Ridiculous Myths Everyone Believes About Rape (That Are Total B.S.) | SlutWalk Singapore - "Take a good look at Cecilia Sue’s case. Clearly, she wanted it. Why didn’t she bite off his dick?
Why it’s bullshit:
When you make comments like these, you are hurting the people around you."
Gviven what happened with the Cecilia Sue case, this is telling as a rape myth myth

Behavioral genetics, one of the fastest growing fields in science, still makes a lot of people very uncomfortable - "Think of someone whose political ideology leads them to ignore and groundlessly reject science. Typically, this often describes those on the right of the political spectrum, where climate change, women’s reproductive health, and even evolution are routinely dismissed. But a massive and fast growing field in science—behavioral genetics—has a huge body of conclusive evidence that, at first reading, seems at odds with left-wing ideology. This week, Robert Plomin, professor of behavioral genetics at King’s College London, published a paper showing that a child’s educational success can be predicted by their genes. Genetic data from 20,000 DNA variants across several genes collectively account for 10% of the differences in children’s educational achievement age 16... Meta-analysis of 61 twin studies shows that genetic variation accounts for 66% of educational achievement at primary school level... the research suggests that about 50% of individual differences in personality are affected by genetic variation... the belief that anyone can be anything they choose—that you could take a child and train them towards literally any goal with success is, says Segal, “such an old-fashioned notion, with absolutely no backing whatsoever”... there’s been a strong educational emphasis on grit and perseverance—but genetics research shows that this personality trait only predicts 5% of why individuals differ. So over-emphasizing it will have moderately little effect and, in making children feel they’re not trying hard enough, might well make many miserable... just because educational achievement is genetically influenced, that doesn’t mean it’s determined by genetics. Selzam gives a comparable example of someone who’s genetically at risk of dyslexia. If that child is treated like everyone else then, chances are, they will go on to develop the disorder. But if you identify that they’re at genetic risk then, through tutoring and one-on-one support, it’s possible to counter that genetic disposition through “environmental engineering.”"

The Sugarcoated Language Of White Fragility - "Suggesting that a White person's viewpoint comes from a racialized frame of reference - Challenge to objectivity
Receiving feedback that one's behavior had a racist impact - Challenge to White racial innocence
Suggesting that group membership is significant - Challenge to individualism...
Terms like “inclusion” and “white privilege” are designed to sneak past the racial stress triggers of White Fragility. They center Whiteness in a way that makes White people comfortable, while deflecting from the stressful realities of the racist harm that Whiteness causes. Imagine how many racial stress trigger alarm bells would go off if we were using words like “discrimination awareness” and “white undeserved advantages” instead. "
What would happen if you substituted another word for "white"?
Given the euphemism treadmill, in no time the new "harsh" words would be considered "sugarcoated" too

How Does Top Talent Respond to Higher Tax Rates? - "In debates about taxes, some scoff at the idea that people actually respond to higher rates by changing their behaviour. This is despite the mountains of economic research showing higher marginal tax rates reduce the incentives for individuals to work hard, expand their skills, invest, and engage in entrepreneurial activities. Others are also reluctant to accept that tax rates can influence people’s decisions about where to work and live. On this front, the evidence might be surprising."

‘You Need to Leave’: Taco Bell Employee Stuns Sheriff’s Deputies With Refusal of Service - "The deputies took their meal hour Saturday evening at a Taco Bell in Phenix City, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told the outlet, where an employee working the register told them they would not be served because they were law enforcement... Jones added that the deputies left the restaurant, but on their way out, they overheard another customer commending the cashier, reportedly saying she would have left if the officers had been served."
The hate of Black Lives Matters has many consequences
I'm sure many people who condemn Kim Davis would support this Taco Bell employee

Trade and Tribulation - The New York Times - "Mr. Sanders is demagoguing the issue, for example with a Twitter post linking the decline of Detroit, which began in the 1960s and has had very little to do with trade liberalization, to “Hillary Clinton’s free-trade policies.”"
Perhaps Trump gets called a demagogue but not Bernie because the latter failed
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