When you can't live without bananas

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Links - 29th December 2017 (2)

Singaporean family detained in Dubai cell with criminals - "Dubai spelt danger for several innocent Singaporeans after authorities there arrested them for reasons that were later proven to be false or unsubstantiated. Including the latest case of a family wrongly detained on Christmas Eve, there have been three other cases from 2010 to last year... They spent nine months in jail, during which the woman suffered a miscarriage because of the jail conditions... The Singapore Consulate-General in Dubai found out about the case only when they were contacted by the couple for emergency travel documents. This was at the end of their period of detention as the authorities had misplaced their passports."

Do Seasoned Runners Burn Fewer Calories Than Newbies? - "well-trained runners burn five to seven percent fewer calories than their nonathletic counterparts. A run you did as a newbie athlete that burned 500 calories, for example, might burn 465 to 475 calories when you’re better trained, assuming you’ve stayed the same weight"

The Planned Parenthood controversy over aborted fetus body parts, explained - "In a 1991 article, a team of four bioethicists including Caplan summarize the objections to fetal tissue research succinctly:
The transplantation of tissue from an electively aborted fetus is morally inseparable from the morality of elective abortion.
Fetal tissue transplant will cause more abortions.
Fetal tissue transplant will change how doctors do abortions.
Fetal tissue transplant will cause women to abort in order to donate."
If you see abortion as a necessary evil, e.g. you want it "safe, legal and rare", there is no contradiction

Embattled Max Planck neuroscientist quits primate research - "A neuroscientist who has been the target of animal rights activists says he is giving up on primate research... Logothetis cites a lack of support from colleagues and the wider scientific community as key factors in his decision. In particular, he says the Max Planck Society—and other organizations—should pursue criminal charges against the activists who target researchers."

Do Economists Swing for the Fences after Tenure? by Jonathan Brogaard, Joseph Engelberg, Edward Dickersin Van Wesep - "Using a sample of all academics who pass through top 50 economics and finance departments from 1996 through 2014, we study whether the granting of tenure leads faculty to pursue riskier ideas. We use the extreme tails of ex-post citations as our measure of risk and find that both the number of publications and the portion consisting of “home runs” peak at tenure and fall steadily for a decade thereafter. Similar patterns hold for faculty at elite (top 10) institutions and for faculty who take differing time to tenure. We find the opposite pattern among poorly-cited publications: their numbers rise steadily both pre- and post-tenure"

Terrorism From a Liberal Perspective - ""I am not against Imperialism, on the contrary, it is part of my history! My only problem is with infidels!"
"Nonsense! You don't understand yourself better than I do. Religion is not the cause of terrorism, we are, we caused you social and economic injustice.. you are not a criminal. You are our victim, please forgive us!"

Law student posts account of sexual assault to fight rape culture - "A law student at Thammasat University has come forward with an account of sexual assault to fight rape culture. She said her statement was intended to encourage other victims to take action after an assault, since so many kept silent and were repeatedly abused... She admitted being drunk on the night of the incident, when she stayed at a friend's dormitory room along with several other inebriated friends and senior students. She said her attacker was one of the senior students that she had previously trusted. Thararat said the student later said he had been drunk and did not mean to assault her."
It is telling, either way, that a law student didn't go to the police
Original post

How soon is too soon to politicize Hurricane Harvey? Charlie Hebdo and Politico may test your tastes. - The Washington Post - "Wuerker was hardly alone in steering hard toward the political by Wednesday; that morning, I noted how such cartoonists as Nate Beeler, Rick McKee, Rob Rogers were framing Hurricane Harvey within the actions of, and effects upon, President Trump. Rogers, of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, used hurricane rescue as visual metaphor to satirize Trump’s pardoning last week of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. He followed that up with a cartoon about Trump’s actions to ban transgender people from the military."

How Lego earned the wrath of the 'gender-neutral toys' crowd - latimes - "here's Lego's problem: The main market for the $4 billion company's traditional plastic bricks and mini-figures is boys. Certainly some girls enjoy making castles or skyscrapers out of the bricks, just like their brothers, but in 2011, Lego's market research boys found that 90% of Lego users were boys. And now, the company's attempt to address the disparity has outraged the sizable "gender-neutral toys" contingent. They're the people, in case you've escaped their preaching, who insist that segregating toys into "boys" and "girls" categories — even if, as with Legos, the toys aren't labeled as such and the segregation is strictly de facto — sends a message to girls that they can't do certain jobs, discourages them from studying science, technology and engineering, and perpetuates stereotypes of women as wives, mothers and homemakers. The anti-Lego campaign started in 2011 when Lego, after years of research, decided to do something to attract more little girls with its Friends line of bricks and mini-figures. Unlike the bright primary colors of the regular Lego sets, the Friends colors tend toward pink and purple and soft pastels. The comical mini-figures of the regular Lego lines have been replaced by five slender and stylish plastic tweens of various ethnicities, each with her own narrative story, along with puppies, kitties, "My Little Pony"-style horsies and baby animals ranging from penguins to lions. Little girls are encouraged to build things, all right: patios, cozy kitchens, cafes, beauty shops, doghouses for the puppies, stalls for the horses, all characterized by a level of decorative detail unknown in the regular Lego universe. And guess what? Little girls love Friends. By the end of 2012, Friends was Lego's fourth-best-selling product line and the number of girl consumers of Legos had tripled. But the gender-neutral people went ballistic, and they've been that way ever since... parents, if your daughter wants to make herself a fort or a skyscraper out of regular Lego bricks, there's no law preventing you from crossing the aisle in the toy store to satisfy her desires."

Lego sales topple as children turn away from the building bricks - "Lego is shedding 1,400 staff as a decade long-run of sales growth ends after expansion failed to deliver expected sales growth... the company has also introduced a range targeted at females as it looked to tackle intense competition."
Without gender-targeted toys maybe they would've gone under years ago

Food Politics by Marion Nestle » Industry-funded studies that do NOT favor the sponsor - "what struck me is your focus on the favorable vs. unfavorable dichotomy, rather than the reality of what much nutrition science research results in: null findings. It seems that there are fewer and fewer nutrition studies published that report the null, or find no effect. I agree with you that the reason we don’t see more of these studies in the literature has to do with bias, but I suspect that it is publication bias as much as any other bias. From my interactions with nutrition researchers, I gather it is quite difficult and sometimes impossible to get a study with no significant effects published regardless of funding source, to say nothing of allegiance bias by some researchers hesitant to publish findings that may go against their own hypotheses... At National Dairy Council we have an extensive program of nutrition research that we sponsor at universities both nationally and internationally. While I can’t speak for all of industry, we strongly encourage the investigators of all of our sponsored studies to publish the findings, no matter the results. Thus, we would expect our sponsored studies to have a similar “success” rate as those sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. In fact, that is exactly what one recent analysis – not sponsored by the dairy industry – found, reporting that there was no evidence that dairy industry funded projects were more likely to support an obesity prevention benefit from dairy consumption than studies sponsored by NIH... That all said, please allow me to provide some examples of studies the National Dairy Council has sponsored that are published and, rather than showing a clear benefit, do not refute the null hypothesis. These are all studies published within the last 4 years"
On industry funding supposedly meaning you can't trust results

Violence has always been part of the anti-fascist movement, a new history of Antifa shows - "Disruption—sometimes violent disruption—has been central to anti-fascist action from the beginning. Many Jewish anti-fascists in Britain argued, “fists can be put to better service than propelling pens.” Communist anti-fascist papers in Germany read, “Hit the fascists wherever you meet them!” and “Wherever a fascist dares to show his face in the quarters of the working class, workers’ fists will light his way home. Berlin is red! Berlin is staying red!”... “anti-fascists have concluded that since the future is unwritten, and fascism often emerges out of small, marginal groups, every fascist or white-supremacist group should be treated as if they could be Mussolini’s one hundred Fasci.”... critics of violent anti-fascism are correct in arguing that violent actions can inspire a backlash that accelerates fascism. As Bray points out, three separate assassination attempts on Mussolini’s life “were used to eliminate all non-fascist political parties and journals, thereby inaugurating Mussolini’s dictatorship.”"
Somehow, violence is supposed to stop "Nazis" even though it helped them come to power

Am I the First Victim of YouTube's New Censorship? - "I’m glad YouTube doesn’t think I’m promoting terrorism, but apparently I’m pretty close. You can watch the video and see if you agree. I think you will find it is a sober, factual discussion of the evidence for the view that the races differ in average intelligence, and that there is a significant genetic contribution to that difference. The video even has a list of references at the end. It is hardly “inflammatory”—it is a recitation of facts—and if it is “supremacist,” it would have to be “yellow supremacist” because it notes that Asians have higher average IQs than whites. It is a terrible precedent when a huge company like YouTube—with the “help” of groups such as the No Hate Speech Movement and the Anti-Defamation League—starts deciding which facts to promote and which to suppress. My video is a perfect example of what should be welcome in “the market place of ideas.” If I’m wrong, refute me. YouTube doesn’t see it that way. It gave my video the leper treatment because it doesn’t want dissent on the subject of race and IQ. Is this the kind of society we want?... What is YouTube afraid of? If I am obviously wrong, no one will pay attention. If I left something out or misinterpreted something, those who are right will correct me. In fact, there is a lively debate here, among people who do dispute some of my facts, and who are cursing YouTube for cutting off comments. They can’t correct me!"

Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios - "Carrying capacity was generally higher for scenarios with less meat and highest for the lacto-vegetarian diet. However, the carrying capacity of the vegan diet was lower than two of the healthy omnivore diet scenarios."
Some meat is better for the environment than no meat

School bans skirts to make uniform 'gender neutral' for transgender students and combat complaints about 'decency'

Joss Whedon was never a feminist
No true feminist puts sugar in his porridge
This is quite similar to how Christians who go astray are proclaimed to never having been real Christians, which exposes the similarities between feminism and Christianity

Single-Dose Testosterone Administration Impairs Cognitive Reflection in Men. - "243 men received either testosterone or placebo and took the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), which estimates the capacity to override incorrect intuitive judgments with deliberate correct responses. Testosterone administration reduced CRT scores. The effect remained after we controlled for age, mood, math skills, whether participants believed they had received the placebo or testosterone, and the effects of 14 additional hormones, and it held for each of the CRT questions in isolation. Our findings suggest a mechanism underlying testosterone's diverse effects on humans' judgments and decision making and provide novel, clear, and testable predictions."
Addendum: This suggests that testosterone reduces critical thinking

How the NSA identified Satoshi Nakamoto – Alexander Muse - "Using stylometry one is able to compare texts to determine authorship of a particular work. Throughout the years Satoshi wrote thousands of posts and emails and most of which are publicly available. According to my source, the NSA was able to the use the ‘writer invariant’ method of stylometry to compare Satoshi’s ‘known’ writings with trillions of writing samples from people across the globe. By taking Satoshi’s texts and finding the 50 most common words, the NSA was able to break down his text into 5,000 word chunks and analyse each to find the frequency of those 50 words. This would result in a unique 50-number identifier for each chunk. The NSA then placed each of these numbers into a 50-dimensional space and flatten them into a plane using principal components analysis. The result is a ‘fingerprint’ for anything written by Satoshi that could easily be compared to any other writing"

American Horror Story: Cult Parodies Liberals Brilliantly - "This season begins on election night, when Ally (Sarah Paulson) becomes completely undone once Trump wins. She's an archetypical left-winger: a married lesbian with a child, an eco-friendly Prius and oddly specific phobias that'll make her lose control when she's triggered. Ally becomes hysterical once the results come in, howling and bawling like a nuclear blast had already hit or Mike Pence himself was outside her door to personally break up her marriage and take away her son."

Miyazaki officials bring tick to press conference to warn of disease spread but it gets away - "A deadly tick got away Monday after being brought to a news conference held by the Miyazaki Prefectural Government to warn of a tick-borne disease, prompting the governor to apologize the next day. Prefectural government officials conducted a search for the insect with the help of reporters present at the news conference, but failed to find it, and sprayed insecticide, officials said."

Anti-immigrant party takes first place in Sweden, poll shows - "The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats are the most popular political party in the Nordic country, according to a new poll. The YouGov poll showed nearly a quarter – 23.9 per cent – of people said they would vote for the party if an election were held now, meaning its support is at nearly double the level of what it was during 2014’s general election. Results put the Sweden Democrats ahead of the Social Democrats, who form the larger part of a coalition government under Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and well ahead of the Moderates. Support for those parties has fallen by nine and eight points, respectively, since 2014, YouGov found."

German police warn women not to jog alone - "Police say they are without a trace and has asked the public for help. With what, after the New Year's Eve in Cologne, has become an euphemism for people from North Africa or the Middle East, a description that reads "southern" looking, with dark hair and a dark beard. The police now warn against jogging alone. In a conversation with Stern, police spokesman Uwe Voigt says: "Whoever is jogging alone, should be wary of the surroundings, and moreover, cast a glance behind. If you have the opportunity, you should jog together with someone." And so another one of the freedoms that one took for granted disappears."

Man in Japan falls off bridge and dies, moments after proposing to girlfriend - "Upon hearing a "yes", he was so happy that he allegedly jumped over a 1.2m railing, but lost his grip and plunged 30m into the sea... In a similar incident in 2014, a 29-year-old Bulgarian woman died after falling off a cliff on the Spanish island of Ibiza, just moments after accepting her boyfriend's marriage proposal. She was believed to have lost her balance while jumping with excitement"

The Power of Maps

"There was no evidence that Siam had launched any attempt to draw a map of its own geo-body. Only in 1866, when he knew that a French exploring team was surveying the areas along the Mekhong, did Mongkut realise that Siam must do likewise... There is no record of any Siamese survey of its boundary until the 1880s...

Chulalongkorn explicitly expressed his desire to have the border areas reorganized and mapped as a measure to counter the French...

For the first time in history, during January-July 1884 Bangkok troops were accompanied by a group of mapping officials headed by McCarthy himself to survey the territories around Luang Phrabang and Vientiane. From then on until mid-1893, the so-called Siamese expedition to suppress the Ho was always accompanied by surveyors and mapping technicians. Indeed map- making was a major mission of every expedition

It seems that Siam expected mapping to be the means which could deter- mine once and for all the boundary of the realm. By mapping, that is to say, the ambiguity of margins was expected to be eradicated and the clear-cut limits of the realm of Siam would appear. Mapping technology was no longer alien or suspicious to them. Apparently they realized that in order to counter the French claim, modern geography was the only geographical language the West would hear and only a modern map could make an argument. Mapping had frightened the court in the early years of the reign. Now it became an indispensable technology to decide and establish the geo-body of Siam... The ultimate loser was not, in fact, Siam. The losers were those tiny Chiefdoms along the routes of both the Siamese and the French forces. Not only were they conquered - a fate by no means peculiar to them - but they were also transformed into integral parts of the new political space defined by the new notions of sovereignty and boundary...

THE MAP oF BOUNDED SIAM appeared for the first time after the Paknam crisis of 1893. Ironically, it was eventually an outcome of cooperation between Britain, France, and Siam. By 1893, only the boundary and map of the western front between Siam and Burma were finished. On all other fronts, except for a short boundary at Battambang and the one between Kedah and Perak, there were only topographical surveys and sketches. So all the data and work done by the Siamese and French mapping officials were gathered. together with British cooperation. In 1897 two maps were produced by S1am. The first one was published in England. 1 The other map, published in Calcutta under the title Phaenthi phraratchaanakhet sayam r.s. 116 (Map of the Boundary of Siam 1897), was drawn by two Thai officials named Son and Baeb. 2 Both maps stated clearly that whenever there was a gap in the survey Siam, the maps drawn by the British and French had been cop1ed to fill m the missing sections. Practically and symbolically, Siam had its first geo-body and its representation made, filled, and shaped, at least in part, by Western powers"

--- Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation / Thongchai Winichakul

Links - 29th December 2017 (1)

English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet

You can now build a 'LEGO whorehouse' thanks to knockoff Chinese toymaker - "The knockoff company, Xingbao, has partnered with some adult fans of LEGO (which apparently can be acronymized as AFOL) to create sets that the beloved world-famous maker of plastic blocks might find morally objectionable, releasing them into the Asian marketplace."

Female Circumcision in Islam – Muslims in Calgary - "a recent Fatwa issued by Malaysia’s National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs in 2009 (*) that declared that the practice was mandatory for Muslim women... All the early scholars of Islam were unanimous in holding that both male and female circumcision are Islamic practices. They only differed as to whether it was obligatory or recommended... The expression “It is beauty (more properly brightness or radiance) for the face” (ashraq li-l-wajh) is said to be further proof of this as it is to be understood to mean a face suffused with pleasure, in other words, the joyous countenance of a woman, arising out of her being sexually satisfied by her husband. Another version of the hadith puts it more directly, for instead of ashraq li’l wajh (radiance for the face) it gives ahwa li’l mar’a (more pleasure to the woman). When the Prophet said that it was more desirable for the husband, what he obviously meant was that he would be pleased that his wife too had attained orgasm at about the same time as him – perhaps even had multiple orgasms – and that he would not need to exert himself further to ensure she is fully satisfied. The idea here is that it is only with the removal of the clitoral prepuce that real sexual satisfaction could be realized. It is contended that the procedure enhances sexual feeling in women during the sex act since a circumcised clitoris is much more likely to be stimulated as a result of direct oral, penile or tactile contact than the uncircumcised organ whose prepuce serves as an obstacle to direct stimulation. This necessarily leads to a satisfactory sex life among women, thus ensuring their chastity... Carsten Niebuhr (Beschreibung von Arabien. 1772) who examined a circumcised Egyptian country girl was convinced that it was to render washing easier, implying that it was out of a motive of cleanliness, that the practice had been adopted"
Where's Reza Aslan?

'Islamic' kindergartens cause a stir in Austria - "some 10,000 children aged two to six attend around 150 Muslim preschools, teaching the Koran much like Christian ones do with Bible studies. At least a quarter are backed by groups propagating arch conservative strains of Islam like Salafism, or organisations that see religion not just as a private matter but integral to politics and society"

Austria: Major study shows Jihadism based on Islamic theology - "The study, published at the beginning of August, comprehensively refutes the claims made by many politicians and other public figures in the West that radical Islam is a perversion of Islam and jihadists have little knowledge of Islamic theology. The 310-page study, conducted by Ednan Aslan, who is professor of Islamic religious education at the University of Vienna, was based on 29 in-depth interviews with radical Muslims in Austria. Most of those studied already had a grounding in Islamic belief before they were radicalised. However, what Professor Aslan terms “the intensive examination of theological topics” represented a turning point for many in their radicalisation. Professor Aslan’s study also highlighted the central role played by some Islamic theological teachers in radicalisation, stating, “persons with a higher theological knowledge function as authorities and play a central role in the spread of ideology.”"

Austrian expert says Islam is unsustainable in its current form - ""Currently, Islam is unfortunately a religion of isolation. A religion of migration. A religion of Turkey, of Saudi Arabia. But no religion of Europe, which advocates pluralism or prepares children accordingly for a plural society." The professor said that the way Muslim communities are depicted is often inaccurate. "Take the school books of the Muslim religious community of Austria. Muslim women are always depicted with a headscarf. But in Austria, only 20 percent of Muslim women wear a headscarf," he said... "What does a youth in Vienna learn when he reads how many camels, sheep, goats he has to give for Islamic charity tax? Or whether the Prophet has eaten grasshoppers or not?"

Study Finds Germans Incapable of Enjoying Life - "46 percent of Germans say they are increasingly unable to enjoy anything due to the stress of everyday life and the feeling of being constantly reachable. The difficulty was even more pronounced among the study's younger participants, 55 percent of whom claimed to feel they have lost their ability to feel good. Whether it's with food, alcohol, vacation or relaxing -- Germans apparently don't have the leisure to enjoy things... The results conform to the image that many Europeans have of Germans in this era of economic crisis as self-denying overachievers who can't even turn off the fun-brakes when vacationing at the beach... The main thing standing in their way is their own perfectionism... Germans can't even let go during sex. Many reported constantly having film and advertising images run through their minds"

Why Does My Hamster Eat His Droppings? - "Believe it or not, there is a good reason for this unappetizing behavior. Your pet is merely completing a special, natural digestive process that allows him to maximize the nutrition he receives from his food. This process is most frequently referred to as "coprophagy.""

Are Muslim countries more violent? - The Washington Post - "Most recent civil wars have taken place in Muslim countries, and a large majority of the victims are Muslims. This is not a “clash of civilizations.” It is a battle within the Muslim world... Although armed violence has been declining overall since the end of the Cold War, violence has spiked since 2011 — particularly in Muslim countries... Many observers note that Muslim countries score lower than average on political development, notably the status of women. And except for oil wealth, most Muslim countries are doing poorly on economic and social development as well. Several studies have shown that, after correcting for these factors, Muslim countries are no more violent than others. But should we control for something that may conceivably be part of the explanation? If the religion is influencing development, then we cannot control for the level of development in an analysis of the effects of that religion. The research puzzle becomes how to assess the net effect of religion — on development as well as on violence."

Virginia Board of Education member resigns after vulgar tweets surface - The Washington Post - "A Virginia Board of Education member has stepped down after a series of his tweets from several years ago surfaced, including public messages that had gay slurs, references to sexual assault and anti-white comments... he wrote that white women “smell like future assault charges n deli meat”... His feed also includes his opinions on more benign matters. In 2014, his tweet about the McDonald’s McRib sandwich, in which he shared a photo of a unappetizing slab of meat, caught the attention of the company. As part of a campaign for its McRib sandwich, McDonald’s flew him to Oklahoma City to visit the fast food chain’s pork processing plants."
If you're black and anti-white but also homophobic and objectify women, how do you rank on the liberal priority list?

Bowing to pressure, a Berkeley butcher shop makes a deal with vegan protesters - The Washington Post - "The protests were intense: People dripping with fake blood, tightly bound in plastic wrap as if they were cuts of meat. Singing, shouting, lecturing customers. It’s what Direct Action Everywhere, an animal rights group, would do every time the Local Butcher Shop would host its butchering classes in its Berkeley, Calif., store. But after four months, the protests have finally slowed down, and for an unlikely reason: After receiving a list of demands from the group, which also goes by DXE, the butcher shop capitulated. Although the Local Butcher Shop touts its farms’ humane practices on its website, owners agreed to hang a sign in their window that reads “Attention: Animals lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done.”... DXE is known for its highly-visible protests, which can scare passersby, and can sometimes end with its members being arrested. They perform raids on slaughterhouses to rescue live animals. The group believes in legal personhood for animals, and “total animal liberation.”... Mimi Stein, the director of operations for Certified Humane, an organization that certifies farms with the highest standards for painless slaughter, denounced DXE’s actions."

The rule of six that governs why and how we Brits queue - "people will wait for an average of six minutes in a queue before giving up in frustration. What is more, people are unlikely to join a queue that has more than six people in it. However when it comes to the likelihood of them becoming too irritated and leaving the queue, it virtually evaporates if the number of people behind them has grown to six people or more. And in keeping with the theme, the report also revealed that a six inch radius is the minimum amount of personal space that needs to be afforded to a person in a queue, to avoid increasing stress or anxiety... Engaging in conversation whilst queuing also made the list of social practices that are viewed as completely unacceptable by British people. However perhaps the most confusing to visitors from abroad is number three on the list: accepting a person’s offer to go ahead of them in the queue. In British queueing culture, not only will acceptance be perceived as impoliteness, it will also lose the individual the respect of the remaining queuers, it said"

Lidl erases Church crosses from Greek emblematic landscape on food packaging - "“We avoid the use of religious symbols because we do not want to exclude any religious beliefs,” the representative of the German supermarket giant replied. “We are a company that respects diversity and this is what explains the design of this packaging,” he added. One can legitimately ask why the group’s marketing departments did not directly opt for a landscape without a religious monument."
I hope they don't sell food from a Muslim country, since they might need to photoshop out minarets

Singaporeans prefer privacy to mingling with neighbours: Poll - ""Surveys have shown that Singaporeans have longer working hours than others in the world.... by the time they go home, they have dinner, watch the news for a while, then it's time to go to bed. They're tired after a long day at work.""

North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence - "Despite evidence of warfare and violent conflict in pre-Columbian North America, scholars argue that the scale and scope of Native American violence is exagerated. They contend that scholarly misrepresentation has denigrated indigenous peoples when in fact they lived together in peace and harmony. In rebutting that contention, this groundbreaking book presents clear evidence—from multiple academic disciplines—that indigenous populations engaged in warfare and ritual violence long before European contact. In ten well-documented and thoroughly researched chapters, fourteen leading scholars dispassionately describe sources and consequences of Amerindian warfare and violence, including ritual violence. Originally presented at an American Anthropological Association symposium, their findings construct a convincing case that bloodshed and killing have been woven into the fabric of indigenous life in North America for many centuries. The editors argue that a failure to acknowledge the roles of warfare and violence in the lives of indigenous North Americans is itself a vestige of colonial repression—depriving native warriors of their history of armed resistance. These essays document specific acts of Native American violence across the North American continent. Including contributions from anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, and ethnographers, they argue not only that violence existed but also that it was an important and frequently celebrated component of Amerindian life"
The myth of the noble savage
Keywords: genocide, ethnic cleansing, romanticisation, before Europeans, before white people

This study explains why American labor unions are even more doomed than they look - "Recently unionized firms employ fewer people
Recently unionized firms pay lower average wages
Recently unionized firms are more likely to go out of business...
In the context of a workforce with very low union density, unionization at one particular company doesn't actually give workers much bargaining power. But it does create significant competitive disadvantages. The exact opposite is true of a system in which unionization is widespread — in that case there is no competitiveness disadvantage, but workers have more clout systematically."

Why low-income parents may make 'poor choices' - "many "choose" to leave school early because no one can support them. This seems obviously a bad "choice", but may be the best among various poor options. "Choices" have long-term effects. People with extra money and social capital can mitigate the consequences of "bad" choices, but people without those buffers face severe consequences over time... Certainly, there are parents who are neglectful or abusive, but this is no less true among higher-income ones. Caricatures of low-income parents cannot be the starting point for public discussions of poverty and social inclusion."

The Effect of Family Income on Risk of Child Maltreatment - Semantic Scholar - "Researchers and policymakers have long recognized that children living in families with limited economic resources are at higher risk for maltreatment than children from higher socioeconomic strata, but the causal effect of income on maltreatment risk is unknown. Because many factors, for example, poor parental mental health, are known to increase the probability both of poverty and child maltreatment, teasing out the causal role of income can be challenging. Using newly available data, we exploit a random assignment experiment that led to exogenous differences in family income to measure the effect of income on the risk of maltreatment reported to the child welfare system. We find consistent evidence of a causal effect"
A caricature of low-income parents!

Singapore and Denmark: Contrasting happiness — Can sunshine and low income tax make you happy? - "When I was working in Singapore, I found myself and friends who also work there felt dissatisfied about the life more often than when we were in other places. We all have experience working in several countries, but only Singapore, this charming island on the surface, makes us feel gloomy for no reason... Why does Singapore, a developed country where anything you need is affordable and at your doorstep, make people depressed, while Denmark, with a high cost of living and brutal winters, make people relatively happy?... the way cities are formed also leads to the different experience between living in Denmark and in Singapore. Among the countless factors which form a city, I found that the presence of ample public spaces plays a surprisingly important role. In Denmark, you can easily find parks, lakes, playgrounds, ground courts, and open spaces. People always have a place to do all kinds of activities, and those places are usually well-maintained. (A friend from New York even told me that the worst public toilet he encountered in Denmark was still better than the one in his house.) Coming from compact metropolises in Asia, I was impressed by how generously the Danish government provides open spaces: why does the government leave so many spaces for kids to play with their skateboard? How do they resist the financial temptation of turning land into office buildings? No one seemed to have the intention of building more apartments, even when the demand for housing is growing rapidly. On the other hand, Singapore, as well as many other countries in Asia, plan and build the cities based on KPIs related to profit... The biggest difference between these two kinds of spaces are, public recreational areas are open anytime and everyone has equal access"

Ask an Expert: Do Animals Get Sunburned? - "“Most any animal that has exposed skin is susceptible to sunburn,” says the biologist. Whereas birds are protected by feathers and reptiles by scales (if reptiles overheat, they will die before sunburn is a factor), mammals such as elephants and rhinos, even freshly shorn sheep, as you might imagine, are particularly vulnerable. Occasionally a furry mammal gets sunburned too. “It depends on how dense their fur is”"

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Links - 28th December 2017 (2)

L'Oreal sacks first transgender model Munroe Bergdorf - "Munroe Bergdorf reportedly wrote "all white people" are racist in a Facebook post... The model has since responded, writing online: "Just know that in tearing me down, you are proving everything that I said to be true". Munroe Bergdorf, who is from London, was labelled "the face of modern diversity" when she was recruited as part of L'Oreal's #allworthit campaign... People supporting Munroe have been tweeting using the hashtag #boycottLOreal."
Anti-racism is racism. What does it say that diversity champions are often bigoted?
Apparently we should boycott L'Oreal for being against racism

L’Oreal dropping black trans model Munroe Bergdorf is a lesson for those who claim white supremacy isn’t a thing - "This entire episode, and in particular L’Oreal’s tone deaf response and failure to back Munroe, is part of a long media tradition of painting anti-racism activists, and particularly black women, as irrational anti-white furies... To suggest that all white people, and all people in general regardless of gender or creed, internalise the oppressive rhetoric and paradigms that dominate our society should be taken as a given."
A gem from the Independent

Hurricane Harvey: Linda Sarsour Uses Disaster to Fund Political Activist Group - "Sarsour recently requested donations for the Harvey Hurricane Relief Fund, which, on its face, sounds innocuous enough. But it turns out that this fund is, in fact, a thinly veiled front for leftist community organizing... not one cent of this money will be donated to people who have lost their cars, possessions, and even their entire homes. Instead it’ll be poured straight into the pockets of activists such as Sarsour as they continue their political posturing, dividing the country over race and “inequality” in the wake of Harvey’s devastation rather than focusing on the nonpartisan goal of helping Texans restore their community. This week, Sarsour has also actively discouraged people from donating to the Red Cross, suggesting instead that they contribute to sundry political-activist organizations. Sarsour has already shown her willingness to use disunity to turn a profit. Now we know she’s willing to exploit disaster in the same way."

Flood of Politics Pollutes Harvey Coverage - "First, there was the Joel Osteen “did he-or-didn’t he open the church to flood victims” saga. The megachurch pastor and televangelist was taken to task in the court of public opinion for reports that his Lakewood Church had shuttered its doors to Harvey victims. The reports turned out to be largely false, but they represent an important trend in American disaster response. Amidst all of the despair, we still endeavor to discredit an apparent charlatan whose popularity and ostentatious lifestyle has been a constant thorn in the side of the secular Left—and all this despite Osteen’s numerous departures from Christian orthodoxy. Of course, it wouldn’t be disaster coverage without scrutinizing every move of the president. And, with an exceptionally polarizing figure occupying the Oval Office this time around, scrutiny has indeed been intense. But for all the legitimate points of analysis that could be made, the story has instead turned towards the president’s choice of headwear... Predictably, ethics concerns have been (legitimately) raised about using a tragedy as free advertising for an overpriced hat. But such trivial concerns hardly merit the coverage they’ve received when compared to the real plight faced by those affected by the storm—unless, of course, attacking the president is the primary objective of storm coverage... Historically, one of the few silver linings of a disaster like Harvey has been its ability to foster national unity across political and ideological lines... When disaster response is considered fulfilled by firing off a tweet within a social media echo-chamber of the like-minded, or writing a check in response to a telethon from the comfort of the couch, politicization comes easy. But if we do the hard work of building local communities and relationships among neighbors across the political spectrum, we just might be able to see that more political activism is hardly the response Harvey victims need."

A Liberal Definition of the Alt-Left – Keri Smith - "When asked to define Alt-Left, I would describe it as a leftist but illiberal authoritarian ideology rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxism that supports censorship, condones violence in response to speech, is obsessed with identity politics (much like the Alt-Right), and functions like a secular religion that gives its believers a sense of moral self-worth. It masquerades as a form of liberalism, but it has more in common with authoritarianism than its true believers can (or want to?) admit. It claims to speak for the marginalized, but it either ignores or attempts to hatefully shame members of marginalized groups who do not subscribe to the ideology. It is not simply Antifa; it is the ideology that undergirds Antifa, and it has swallowed much of BLM and intersectional third wave feminism. It wishes to swallow the whole of the left, the country, the world. It is rooted in nihilism, resentfulness, and arrogance, though it presents itself as being rooted in equality, justice and morality. It favors collectivism over individualism, statism over liberty, forced equality of outcome over freedom. Now…imagine if I had to say that mouthful every time I wished to talk about the Alt-Left because I bought into the notion that to give it a name it would be insulting to fellow liberals. No, to speak of it by name is to out it for what it is and to reduce some of its power... Like the parable of the slow boiling frog, if you had told me at the beginning that one day I’d be expected to perform mental gymnastics in order to defend censorship and violence in response to speech, I would have leapt from the pot. Instead, I was conditioned to accept as gospel each new tenet of SJWism over a period of twenty years. I believed in the essential goodness of the ideology, and in my own essential goodness in preaching it. When facts about the direction it was taking me made themselves known to me, I rejected them because they did not fit the frame. As the ideology became more noticeably toxic, hypocritical, and authoritarian, so too did the tactics of the true believers. Whether in academia, in the media, at Google, or online — the message is clear: dare to step out of line or express an independent thought, and a mob of zealous SJW zombies will come for you. The fear of losing one’s job, status, friends or personal safety is a strong motivator in forcing reasonable people to remain silent. I have received a lot of positive feedback about the sentiments expressed in my writing about SJWism from people all over the political spectrum. Most meaningful to me of these might be the messages I get from fellow liberals who are going through the same realization, confusion and fear. In addition to the public responses you can read yourself, I have received private messages from people in academia, journalism and entertainment — many of them liberals — expressing that the piece resonated with them, and that they were afraid to share it... If the Alt-Left doesn’t exist, why are so many liberals and centrists afraid of expressing themselves?... Ask yourself if it’s not odd that so many so-called liberals are now smearing people of color with whom they don’t agree as “white supremacists”"

No Madness Like American Madness – Scenes From A Debacle In Phoenix - "there were no neo-Nazis, at least not demonstrating or assembling in numbers. There were not, in fact, any armed right-wing attendees visible. In an unexpected reversal, it was the anti-Trump side that was louder, that was more confrontational, and among whose ranks there was a heavily armed militia. There was only one even vaguely threatening sign held by a Trump supporter. He sat most of the day at an outdoor café across from the convention center, his placard leaning against the table: “Don’t Start No Shit, Won’t Be No Shit.” Most of the protesters were there to confront the men, women, and children there to attend the rally"

Protesters at Trump's Phoenix rally used gas canisters, rocks to assault police - "A group of anti-Trump demonstrators used gas canisters, rocks and bottles to assault police Tuesday night and create havoc at what officials said was mostly a peaceful protest in Phoenix. Video captured by a local reporter also shows a smoking object being thrown at police while hundreds of officers attempted to keep order at a rally after President Trump's speech at the Phoenix Convention Center had ended."

Amazon lowering Whole Foods prices will hurt those who think they're better than you - "Whole Foods has long been a top grocery destination for shoppers eager to spend unnecessarily large amounts of money on food that makes them feel superior to others... I see one logical solution to the dilemma Amazon has created: If the masses can afford environmentally friendly and cruelty-free food, then environmentally reckless and cruelty-full food must be priced high and sought after by the elite."

Man Chokes To Death Swallowing A Fish - "A man choked to death Thursday after trying to swallow a live 5-inch fish on a dare... Police said it was unlikely charges would be filed against them. "If I dare you to jump off a bridge and you do it and you're 23 years of age, you're stupid," police Maj. Mike Matulavich said."

All-female Lord of The Flies remake faces backlash as it 'misses the point' and 'women wouldn't act like that' - "Others have slammed the remake for being written about women, but by two men... Feminist writer Roxane Gay commented that "the plot of that book wouldn't happen with all women". In the book, boys stranded on a desert island try to create order and peace while they wait to be rescued, but they eventually turn to violence and murder. Some have said the book is about "toxic masculinity" and therefore would not make sense with a female cast. One critic wrote: "The female-led Lord of the Flies wouldn't ever happen because women would just branch off into their own respective groups peacefully"."
Maybe someone will condemn this for showing violence against girls

Tinder Experiments II: Guys, unless you are really hot you are probably better off not wasting your… - "It was determined that the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men. The Gini coefficient for the Tinder economy based on “like” percentages was calculated to be 0.58. This means that the Tinder economy has more inequality than 95.1% of all the world’s national economies"
Female hypergamy

Violence Doesn’t Work (Most of the Time) - "Political scientists have recently tried tallying the successes and failures of violent and nonviolent movements. The evidence is piling up that Gandhi was right—at least on average. In separate analyses, Audrey Cronin and Max Abrahms have shown that terrorist movements almost always fizzle out without achieving any of their strategic aims. Just think of the failed independence movements in Puerto Rico, Ulster, Quebec, Basque Country, Kurdistan, and Tamil Eelam. The success rate of terrorist movements is, at best, in the single digits. In their recent book, Why Civil Resistance Works, Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan found that about three-quarters of nonviolent movements get some or all of what they want, compared with only about a third of the violent ones. The Arab Spring bears this out: consider the more or less nonviolent movements that ousted the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen (together with the violent one needed in Libya). Even more encouraging, the success rate of nonviolent protest movements has steadily climbed since the 1940s, while that of violent movements has fallen since the 1980s."
For all the liberals supporting violence to suppress "Nazis"

'Slanted Screen' Rues The Absence Of Asians - "Gene Cajayon, the Filipino American director of the 2001 film "The Debut," the first Fil-Am movie to be released nationwide in the United States, talks about the revised ending for the action movie "Romeo Must Die," a retelling of "Romeo and Juliet" where the R&B star Aaliyah plays Juliet to the Chinese actor Jet Li's Romeo. The original ending had Aaliyah kissing Li, a scenario that didn't test well with an "urban audience." So the studio changed it. The new ending had Aaliyah giving Li a tight hug. Says Cajayon, "Mainstream America, for the most part, gets uncomfortable with seeing an Asian man portrayed in a sexual light."... veteran actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who was criticized by his fellow Asian Americans for playing roles such as the evil Shang Tsung in the movie version of the popular video game "Mortal Kombat," says: "In Hollywood . . . we had a choice of playing wimpy businessmen or evil bad guys. The worse thing I can do is play a bad guy and be a wimpy bad guy, which is what I grew up with. And my intention was, if I'm going to choose between wimpy businessman or playing a bad guy, I'm going to play a bad guy. Because . . . I want kids to grow up to know that Asian men got [guts].""
If urban audiences don't like certain scenarios, that suggests that "diversity" loses you money

Gamblers Take Note: The Odds in a Coin Flip Aren't Quite 50/50 - "most games of chance involving coins aren’t as even as you’d think. For example, even the 50/50 coin toss really isn’t 50/50 — it’s closer to 51/49, biased toward whatever side was up when the coin was thrown into the air. But more incredibly, as reported by Science News, spinning a penny, in this case one with the Lincoln Memorial on the back, gives even more pronounced odds — the penny will land tails side up roughly 80 percent of the time. The reason: the side with Lincoln’s head on it is a bit heavier than the flip side, causing the coin’s center of mass to lie slightly toward heads"

Are People With Extreme Political Views Just Bored? - "“One of the things boredom does is that it essentially wakes up people to the realization that what they are doing at the moment is utterly purposeless,” said Wijnand van Tilburg, a researcher from King’s College London who co-authored the new study. “And expressing political ideas or being connected to a particular political group is one way in which people gain a sense of purpose.”... boredom also has positive consequences. As many have suspected and research has shown, it leads to creativity, a more active way of creating new meaning"

Here's What Chicory Is, And Why It's In Your Coffee - "For most of our coffee-drinking past, the addictive caffeinated beverage has been expensive. There weren’t always Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts competing on every street corner. Sometimes coffee was scarce — especially if a major port was blocked for political reasons. No one is sure exactly when people began mixing chicory with coffee, but according to Antony Wild (author of ‘Coffee: A Dark History’), the use of chicory became popular in France during Napoleon’s ‘Continental Blockade’ Of 1808, which resulted in a major coffee shortage. Chicory is native to France, where it has long been loved for culinary reasons so it’s only natural that’s where the story began"

The super rich are injecting blood from teenagers to gain ‘immortality’ - "The new treatment comes on the back of several studies over the last 17 years in which Stanford researchers have shown the joining of circulatory systems (known as parabiosis) between old and young mice to be effective in rejuvenating organs, muscles and stem cells. Additionally, a study last year found that the plasma of young people itself had a rejuvenating effect when injected into older mice"

Unmasking the leftist Antifa movement - ""People put on the masks so that we can all become anonymous, right? And then, therefore, we are able to move more freely and do what we need to do, whether it is illegal or not," he said. And that means avoiding police, whom many Antifa members see as an enemy, as well as skirting the scrutiny Antifa activists often get from alt-right trolls on the Internet. Black bloc, one member told us, also unites the movement. "Even though it only takes one person to break a window, it doesn't matter because the bloc moves together," said a 26-year-old named Maura, who wouldn't give her last name...
"We cover our face because the Nazis will try to find out who we are. And that is a very bad thing because they harass people," he said. "We're trying to stop them from organizing. ... When they organize, they kill people, they hurt people, they fight people. And we're the ones who are fighting back." It's a position taken by many Antifa activists: "This is self-defense." Antifa activists often don't hesitate to destroy property, which many see as the incarnation of unfair wealth distribution. "Violence against windows -- there's no such thing as violence against windows," a masked Antifa member in Union Square told CNN. "Windows don't have -- they're not persons. And even when they are persons, the people we fight back against, they are evil. They are the living embodiment, they are the second coming of Hitler." Crow explained the ideology this way: "Don't confuse legality and morality. Laws are made of governments, not of men," echoing the words of John Adams... Antifa members also sometimes launch attacks against people who aren't physically attacking them. The movement, Crow said, sees alt-right hate speech as violent, and for that, its activists have opted to meet violence with violence.
Right or wrong, "that's for history to decide," he said... "We did seize a large number of weapons or things that could be used as weapons," Simpson said. "Everything from knives to brass knuckles to poles and sticks and bricks and bottles and road flares and chains."... In Portland, where the Rose City Antifa has been active for a decade, members focus on outing people they believe are neo-Nazis, even trying to get them fired and evicted from their homes."
No wonder the KKK avoid police and hide their faces
What if liberal hate speech is framed as violence?
If white supremacists coming to a protest armed shows they are violent...

Model That “Transitioned Into a Black Woman” and Has People Confused and Furious - "this German glamour model, Martina Big. Although she was born white, she claims that she is a black woman and has dedicated her life to “transitioning” through extensive tanning and cosmetic procedures"

Women have a hiring advantage in the scientific stratosphere

Women have a hiring advantage in the scientific stratosphere

"The peer-reviewed article, “National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] tenure track,” by psychologists Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci of Cornell University, got so many mentions from news reporters, bloggers, Facebookers, and Tweeters that it ranks “amongst the highest ever scored” for the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)—ranked No. “14 out of 33,942” as of 29 April—according to altmetrics, which tracks social media mentions of scientific papers. Some of that attention has been positive—but much of it has been not only negative but also unpleasantly personal. “We’ve had such amazing attacks. They really, really hate us”...

Even if an employer holds implicit gender stereotypes, bias does not necessarily control hiring decisions when objective information about performance is available...

A large body of other research also finds a female advantage in faculty hiring, Ceci notes. “We looked at eight [faculty] hiring audits [examining] who applies and who gets hired and … all eight … showed that although fewer women than men apply for STEM jobs, those who do apply are hired at a higher rate,” he says in the interview. “In real-world hiring of tenure-track applicants in STEM fields in the United States and Canada … [t]here is a female advantage in all large-scale studies dating back to the 1980s”... “actual hiring analyses may underestimate the strength of female preference” because they count only who took a job, not the number of offers that applicants received.

A meta-analysis of 136 studies of gender in hiring published in January in the Journal of Applied Psychology also failed to find bias when “information clearly indicated high competence of those being evaluated.”...

“The outpouring of vitriol [shows, however,] that there are a lot of people who don’t want to acknowledge the data,” she continues. “It’s not like they’re willing to acknowledge it and discuss it. … They try to say that we had an agenda or that the entire method at its root was completely flawed.” Many of their detractors, she adds, falsely characterize their work and its conclusions and then attack “straw men.” This opposition, she believes, is emotional rather than scholarly.

The venom may arise because some people are deeply invested in a narrative of persistent and pervasive bias against women in academic science, perhaps because of ideological beliefs in the ubiquity of gender discrimination. Some people may be attempting to salve their disappointment at a job market that keeps thousands of well-qualified people from having the careers they want and worked for. “It’s tempting to blame gender when you don't get a job and you’re a woman,” Williams says. “It’s easier … than to admit that the entire premise of what you've done for the past 7 years of your life was flawed at the root.”...

Some detractors may be protecting established careers, such as scholars and writers who built their reputations on describing discrimination that Williams and Ceci’s data suggest has faded at the point of hiring. Some may be part of universities’ substantial antibias administrative and training apparatus, which, like every part of today’s financially stressed institutions, is under pressure.

Williams says she and Ceci will soon publish data showing “some challenges for women in some areas” of academic science. “People will embrace that,” she predicts. In the meantime, people “acting as though the [current] study is worthless because it came out in a way that you personally don’t like—that’s not science,” she says. “That’s religion.” Or, as Hillary Clinton might put it, that’s gender politics...

A recent book, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, and other writings by Northwestern University historian of science and medicine Alice Dreger, examine the phenomenon of ad hominem against scientists whose data violates critics’ ideological agendas. As she notes, topics touching on sex or gender often set off the anger. “While it is true that you can also tick people off by making challenging scientific claims about alien abductions, chronic Lyme disease, or race—especially race—the surest route to having your reputation threatened is to contradict some deeply held belief about sex”...

William H. Casey, professor of chemistry at the University of California (UC), Davis, and former chair of the UC Davis Committee on Academic Personnel, which, in his words, “handles all hiring, merit advancements, and promotions (tenure)” at the university, sent Williams and Ceci calculations based on university information on 5 years of hiring at UC Davis. (“WF,” by the way, stands for “workforce availability”—roughly, the representation of women in a particular field.) Casey wrote to Williams and Ceci that these figures are “perfectly consistent with the hypotheses of your last papers. For Math and Physical Sciences, for example, women were 15.2% of the applicant pool, 31.4% of the short list invited for an interview, and 26.7% of the faculty actually hired.”"

Amusingly, critics accused them of gaslighting. I guess lived experience is superior to objective data.

Links - 28th December 2017 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, India and Pakistan: Partition 70 years on - "As is the wheels of history turn, the cycles move on. You will find that history is its own revenge. And watching Theresa May come cap in hand to Indian businesses looking for Indian money to revive her post Brexit economy is to my mind the best kind of revenge you could possibly want"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Increasingly isolated: Trump on Russia - "Researchers of the UK's Office for National Statistics went to great trouble some years ago when they were told they had to include the value of illegal drugs and prostitution in the national accounts. In order to work out how much is earned by sex workers they had to use websites that the agency's firewall would normally block. There was talk some time ago that burglaries in the crime survey for England and Wales were falling because flat screen televisions and DVD players were getting cheaper while CCTV was becoming more common so the risks were greater and the potential rewards smaller. Also presumably the fact that the really expensive television are absolutely enormous must make a difference both when you are trying to get them out of a house and when you are trying to sell them on later"

Thai prince orders British takeaway - "Staff at a Thai restaurant in the central English town of Stratford-upon-Avon have been surprised to receive an order from the Crown Prince of Thailand. Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn asked them to fly 350 classical Thai ingredients more than 9,000 km to Bangkok. A spokesman for the Thai Kingdom restaurant said the unusual request followed a visit by the 49-year-old prince to the English town last month. "It may seem a long way to fly food, but I suppose that what the prince likes, he gets," the spokesman said... A Thai embassy official in London said the prince had been impressed by the food during his visit. Embassy officials who travelled to Stratford from London to collect the delicacies said that they had been prepared, but left uncooked."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Trump stumped on healthcare - "From quite a early age Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn as he was then was very unpopular in Thailand. There's a lot of reasons for that. He seemed to be very arrogant, he seemed almost a throwback to a medieval style Thai monarch and he was a notorious womaniser. He was married off to one of his cousins, a princess, in the nineteen seventies but quickly abandoned her for an actress whose second wife with whom he had four sons and a daughter. He then banished his second wife and the sons from the palace and they live in exile the United States now and have no contact with him for years. He found a third wife who he met in a Thai night club. Now she was featured in a notorious video that was leaked in two thousand and seven showing her birthday party in two thousand and one in which she was basically wearing a very sheer negligee and nothing else in the presence of a lot of servants and so on. She had to eat birthday cake off the floor beside her poodle. The King's famous for carrying a white fluffy poodle called Fu Fu around who was promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshall and Fu Fu died a couple of years ago and was given a four day state funeral. He's now living most of the time in Munich in Germany with his fourth wife who hasn't been officially announced plus several mistresses who he's sometimes photographed with and for reasons that are not entirely clear he likes to go cycing semi clothed so he's been photographed cycling in his underpants around Bavaria. He's been photographed in shopping malls with strange clothes - little crop tops that's covered in tattoos. Beneath that the darker stories really are about his cruelty. He's onto his fourth wife now when he divorced his third wife he put almost all of her relatives in prison including her elderly parents...
Netflix is even commissioning programs based on viewing habits. It even knows when to put in a cliffhanger or a car chase based on when people lost interest in previous dramas. The problem is, I miss the programs I don't like. Schedules used to be filled up with stuff that was there because it filled up schedules and people had time to kill. Someone out there ought to be creating a museum of lost TV formats. A quick scan of the BBC schedule of this week thirty years ago reveals a world of televised crown green bowls - which is bowls with a lump in the middle of the green, a documentary on the Jamaican approach to playing dominos. How to make a model railway and fifteen minutes of light hearted brass band tunes and I think I probably watched it all

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Change at the top in China - "Xi Jinping has so many enemies now. Now imagine, according to official figures more than a million members of the Communist Party have been found guilty in some way in his anticorruption crackdown. They all have family members, a lot of those have been sent to prison or have said some sort of punishment and the feeling is that he couldn't afford to leave at the end of this next term because if he did the knives would be out for him. And so again the feeling is that at this meeting we're coming up to he's going to be laying the groundwork for him to stay on for who knows how long. And in order to do that he needs to put all his own own people in place and get rid of anyone who's seen as a threat"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is Artificial Intelligence sexist? - "Researchers at Virginia took two large sets of data. Images of men and women. One from Microsoft, from Facebook. Trained a machine on these. They were very large and when they tested with a new picture of a man in the kitchen it labeled it a woman in the kitchen. And then another one, another really one I like... trained a machine on text collected from Google News and when they asked the software to complete the statement men is to computer programmer as woman is to x it replied homemaker...
'I think it's an interesting you use the word bias. So I think that there's the media and the word bias have been slightly conflated. So when I think data scientists talk about bias they mean ways in which the data analysis was indeed to be imperfect. When I think the media talks about bias what they really mean is prejudice... the data sets themselves might not be representative of the population that you are trying to operate within... Big data in these data sets are really a social mirror. They do reflect the the biases and the inequalities we have in society'
'And therefore you could argue that they are accurate. You know that nurses for example overwhelmingly women. Should you correct a data set about nurses that goes in so men and women are equally represented?'
'So I think there's a degree to it. If you want to change that you are going to have to not just reuse historical data'...
'The data's at fault here. It's historical data. A,nd but the thing about big data is that it's very very difficult to handle by ordinary computational means. So that's why they're fed into these big machines and they kind of ossify the values that we have rather than progressing as our society progresses... There is I have to say a lot of attempts to try to change this... There are new laws in Europe now saying that if you have problems with the algorithm making decisions about you the company responsible have to explain exactly how the algorithm worked and this is not going to work with deep learning algorithms'
It is apparently more important to use inaccurate data and algorithms to socially engineer society than to have more accurate algorithms

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Today at 60: How attitudes to disabilities have changed - "One of the few moments of unkindness I really had was in a queue to get in an aeroplane in Charles de Gaulle... in the sort of gangway down to get on the plane a family barged past me, just would not wait for a disabled wheelchair and it was, it was really pretty horrible but then if you follow Peter's argument then that's just people acting normally treating me as if I wasn't in a wheelchair. That I didn't deserve any extra space if you like'
'And that's a real dilemma in a way because we press for changes and we want to be treated normally but actually when we're treated completely normally as Melanie is describing we don't like that'...
'We can't any longer I think say you are disabled. We can say you are differently abled'
'Oh that's nonsense. It completely misses the point which is within the if you like to call the disabled movement, the disabled tribe there is this huge apartheid. There's a whole forgotten about people who who aren't the lobbyists. They're the unseen ones. The old, the frail and the incontinent who are just as disabled as we are but they get completely forgotten about. I just get irritated by the disability tribe sometimes... some of the lobbyists obsess about the wrong things I think'...
Some people myself included struggle to push twenty yards very slowly in a wheelchair. And when paralympians make it look so easy whizzing round there is this sense that we just don't try hard enough and you almost become a traitor to the cause if you're not doing your absolute best"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, US troops in Afghanistan - what next? - "[On Trump] I was very pleased with it actually. His instinct was to was to depart Afghanistan, altogether. Yet he then sat down with his advisors and worked closely with the commander in Afghanistan and as a result of that concluded to take a different route. At the highest level for me this was an indication that this president is capable of sitting down with competent advisors and coming to the conclusion that we, I believe he needed to make. And then beyond that there were a number of stipulations that I thought we were excellent. First and foremost being that follow on decisions will now be conditions based versus time constrained. In other words we'll look for an end state instead of an end date... this was the first occasion where Afghans welcomed a long term foreign presence... This was a presidential speech and he stayed on message, he stayed on the teleprompter and from my perspective this was a presidential speech for him"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Hunting with the Hadza - "Theirs is a world shaped by the simple fact that no one has any control over their food supply.
'The Hadza, they're a non hierarchical egalitarian society. They have no leadership structures. So the basic tenets are egalitarianism and that means there is no leaders. They might call a camp by the name of an elder but that elder has no more say in decision making than just about anybody else in the camp, even the kids or the young, young people. The second thing is that it's an obligate sharing society. For example when a hunter shoots something that meat is divided equally among all who are present and the hunter has no say in that division. He's given his, his share and the failure to share like that, it means you're pretty much ostracized as a Hadza and socially it's not acceptable...
'These animals because they are very fatty it probably gives them a naturally fatty liver that makes it particularly tasty. There's a very delicate flavour, the porcupine liver. So soft.'
'They're going for the innards, they're going for the vital organs that have more than just straight meat. You know everybody goes, we in the West we go: meat, meat. You know what they're really after is the fat. That's what you crave if you're on this kind of a diet'"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Health lessons with the Hadza - "Dennis Burkitt.
'After working for twenty years in a large teaching hospital in Africa I came back to England and I began to do war rounds in hospitals in America and in England and I was immediately struck by the fact that the majority of beds were filled with patients suffering from diseases which are rare or unknown in the third world'... Dennis Burkitt believed the Western diet characterized by ever lower levels of fiber and increasing amounts of refined carbohydrate explained everything, a conclusion he would reach without any of today's insights into the workings of the gut microbiome...
They eat so fast. On certain days I think I've roughly calculated ten to fifteen thousand calories from honey in one sitting... If you went to your dietician and said this is how I'm going to get to a twenty bmi. Imma eat nothing but honey for weeks on end and then I'm on a shift and Imma eat nothing but meat, you know for a couple of weeks. And then I'm not gonna eat for like one day at a time here. Just if you start describing the Hadza diet and the seasonality of that diet there's not a dietitian on Earth that would recommend that to anybody...
Never again think of an ingredient or nutrient in isolation"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Upper Crust? - "You have folks who would never at least not publicly use racial or class derogatory language, feel perfectly comfortable critiquing the behaviors of poor or people of color based on their dietary choices or their bodily shape. And there's a way in which that seems like it's okay to do because it's an objective scientific critique...
The whiter the bread is the more expensive it is until you get to the high socio economic level where then the brown bread becomes more expensive...
There is quite an history of a food punditry in the United States at least is a history of moralizing about individual food choices. And the idea that if we could only change what people eat we could somehow change society for the better. Typically though that moralizing about food choices doesn't end up making society better, in fact it ends up reinforcing hierarchies of difference"

Witchcraft through the ages | Podcast | History Extra - "Europe looks pretty normal with the rest of the world except in two respects. The first is the bad news, that Europe's the only place which associated witchcraft with a demonic anti religion, a fully developed religion worshipping the devil which was pitted against the established religion. And the second is the good news: that Europe's the only area on the planet whose peoples have mostly traditionally believed in witchcraft that have lost the belief... the early modern witch trials were themselves a short lived scientific experiment... in the fifteenth century Christian theologians developed this paranoiac idea of a satanic conspiracy to destroy the human race using evil people and giving them magical powers through demons and this caught on and it was employed as a solution to problems. In other words if you wiped out the presumed witches in your area you could stop being unlucky and it didn't work...
Overwhelmingly Europeans traditionally associate with with magic naturally rather than men. Men are believed to be able to learn magic from books or from teachers but women just have it in them. Which is why women in European culture traditionally feature as prophetesses, as sybils, as oracles. They come in when the men can't figure out what's going on. And therefore women just do magic then they can also work evil magic far more spontaneously than men and this belief goes right back to the ancient world. But there are areas of Europe - Iceland, Normandy, some of the Austrian lands where overwhelmingly the people suspected of witchcraft are men and this is because the ancient traditions in those area, of those areas tended to think that men were the more dangerous sex magically... Outside of Europe its extremely varied [in gender, age and wealth level]... Egypt spectacularly doesn't have a belief in witchcraft and doesn't fear it"

Watch: 'Antifa' attack disabled man in wheelchair - "A disturbing video has surfaced showing radical 'Antifa' members bullying a disabled man in a wheelchair this past weekend in Berkeley, California. The video shows a motorcycle helmet-wearing left-wing activist taking the disabled man's water bottle and pouring it over him. Others heckle him, while some try to put a halt to the abuse. Members of the anarchist 'Antifa' had descended onto a park in Berkeley in order to stop a 'No to Marxism' rally."

How liberal attacks on Antifa uphold white supremacy - "White supremacy isn’t just burning crosses on a Black person’s lawn; it’s also attitudes, norms, and institutions (including police) that reinforce white privilege.
This is from the Daily Kos

Professor will flunk students who refer to students as ‘male’ or ‘female’ - "White students in another Washington State class will also be penalized if they do not “defer” to their non-white peers. And in another, they will have their grade lowered one point for each use of the terms “illegal aliens” and “illegals.” In Michael Johnson Jr.’s “Race and Racism in U.S. Popular Culture” class students are required to “acknowledge” existence of various oppressions, including “heterosexism.” The effort on the part of faculty or other leadership on college campuses to curb traditional and Christian attitudes in favor of political correctness is not a new phenomenon. A Marquette University student was prohibited from articulating his Biblical view of marriage last year, and a tenured professor was fired from there last year as well for voicing his view in support of marriage. Johns Hopkins University denied a pro-life student organization recognition in 2013 until threatened with legal action. Religious freedom banners were prohibited at Sinclair College in Ohio a year earlier. A lawsuit was filed against Los Angeles Community College District in 2009 after a professor censored and threatened to expel a student who had given a speech on marriage and his Christian faith in a public speaking class. The professor had also told his class they were a “fascist (explicative)” if they voted for California’s Proposition 8 in defense of marriage."

'Kill all white people,' suspect in 5 shootings said in 2014 - "A black man suspected of fatally shooting five white men, four of them along Kansas City biking and hiking trails, once threatened to "kill all white people"... Fredrick Demond Scott, 22, made the statement in January 2014 while threatening to carry out a "Columbine-style" school shooting... Police said they don't know if the killings were racially driven and are still searching for a motive"

'We die or they die': Rohingya insurgency sparks fresh violence in Myanmar - "Hashem, who is 26, says he belongs to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), a military organisation waging war in Myanmar’s Rakhine state... “Just by the virtue of their existence and activities and antagonism towards the military they for the last nine months have been the single biggest threat to stability in Rakhine,” says Gabrielle Aron, a Myanmar-based consultant who has lived and worked in northern Rakhine. Analysts and aid workers say recruitment in the villages of northern Rakhine and the camps in Bangladesh surged after October 2016, when hundreds of fighters attacked border posts in Maungdaw township, prompting a massive army crackdown, with troops accused of rape and indiscriminate killings... Rohingya rebellions – which have a history dating back to the 1940s – have a history of factionalism and analysts believe Arsa may have splintered or spawned offshoots. It is a viewpoint supported by Hashem, who talks of “many leaders” and multiple groups. In recent months, the group has been accused by the government of murdering scores of Rohingya leaders suspected of informing to the authorities or opposing the violent struggle, and kidnapping others. The Guardian has seen video of masked men making death threats in the name of the group."
Background on how the Rohingya are not entirely blameless

Friday, December 15, 2017

Links - 15th December 2017 (3)

Living in Asia Ironically - Posts - "Assumed my son was Chinese and I've spent his whole life playing homage to his roots, he's Korean."

Here's Why Cersei And Bronn Will Never Be In A 'Game Of Thrones' Scene Together - "In real life, away from the dragons, wights and Kings Landing, Cersei (played by Lena Headley) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) used to be an item - and things didn't really end well. In fact, they ended terribly. They don't speak, they can't stand being in the same room together, and some have even suggested it's in their contracts that the two shall never meet"

Texas Man Uses Massive Inflatable Dam to Save House - "Wagner drove all the way to Louisiana to pick up a product he found online, an Aqua Dam. With the help of a couple of friends, Wagner installed the Aqua Dam’s 400 feet of materials and waited for the water to come. As the water built up around his home, the dam held it all back. Now, while thousands of his neighbors will need to make repairs, rebuild and replace all their belongings, Wagner has saved everything."

Usborne apologises for puberty book that says breasts exist to make girls 'look grown-up and attractive' - "After a campaign led by parent group Let Books Be Books three years ago, Usborne announced that it would discontinue publishing gendered titles, such as its pink Girls’ Activity Book and blue Boys’ Activity Book.
Secondary sexual characteristics are an invention of Patriarchy
I wonder if sales will fall

Welcome to the New Eidolon! - "idolon is now a space for unapologetic progressive and inclusive approaches to Classics. Our goal is to model a Classics that is ethical, diverse, intersectional, and especially feminist... Making ideological diversity a primary objective is fundamentally incompatible with fighting against racism, sexism, and other forms of structural oppression, and we choose to prioritize the latter... Classics as a discipline has deep roots in fascism and reactionary politics and white supremacy, and those ideologies exert a powerful gravitational pull on the discipline’s practitioners. If we want to fight those forces, we need to actively work against them... In the past we only deleted comments that were openly bigoted or hateful. But from now on, we’ll be monitoring and moderating comments on Medium and Facebook much more heavily."
"Metastasis" comes from Greek after all
Comment on Twitter: "And here I thought the classics of were about universal questions/ideas and accumulated wisdom of the ages..."

LOL Video: Serial Carjacker Gets Dragged Down The Street As His Pants Fall Off

Just Another Fun Not Entirely What I Was Expecting Epic Gif Dump - Album on Imgur

Yes, Hollywood is racist against Chinese, says actor Chloe Bennet, who couldn’t find work as Chloe Wang - "Bennet, who stars in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, said her original surname made Hollywood “uncomfortable”. Earlier this week the British actor Ed Skrein pulled out of his role in a forthcoming film reboot of Hellboy because the character he was playing has Asian heritage."
Ironically the Ed Skrein controversy provides clues as to why someone marketed as an ethnic Asian would not be desirable in a non-Asian role
Too bad Norma Jeane Mortenson couldn't blame racism for making her change her name, or other struggling actresses can't blame racism for their not getting work

Emily Ratajkowski's boobs stop people working with her - "'There's this thing that happens to me: "Oh, she's too sexy". It's like an anti-woman thing, people don't want to work with me because my boobs are too big,' she said.'What's wrong with boobs? They're a beautiful, feminine thing that needs to be celebrated. Like, who cares?' she continued. The aspiring actress touched on the scrutiny she is under for positioning herself as a feminist while flaunting her body in scantily clad and nude imagery."

People believe in evolution, just not for humans

Man gets three months in prison for liking a photo on Facebook - "The 32-year-old was found guilty Monday of supporting a terrorist group after he gave a “thumbs up” to a grotesque image of an ISIS fighter decapitating a woman"

Darkwood Creators Share Game on The Pirate Bay, For Those Who Can't Pay

Clementine Ford, Aquinas College: Feminist refuses boys’ questions, sparks walkout - "SOME schoolgirls staged a walkout on feminist Clementine Ford after she refused to take questions from male students at exclusive Aquinas College in Melbourne. The 35-year-old blogger and controversial, outspoken activist was slammed by parents after she blocked questions from year 10 schoolboys at the private secondary school... following the fallout from the talk, Ford “went nuts, she crucified the boys online and the school had to do a massive backpedal”... Ford took to Twitter to lambast her critics as “p*ssants” and “angry w*nks”... “I was not paid to deal with ongoing bulls**t and demands from small minded boys who cannot handle being shown their world view is limited”... Ford said she had received offensive messages from Aquinas students on her Twitter and Facebook accounts and complained she had been called a “c***”. However in a July 2013 tweet, Ford used the word freely, posting on Twitter: “Too many c***s on twitter today. C***y c*** c*** c********. #c***.” Following the May incident, Aquinas College sent a letter to parents saying it may in the future revise its program to hire Ford to address students."
This is what a feminist looks like

Workers start hating their jobs at age 35: Survey - "It’s also possible younger people have lower expectations, higher hopes, and they’re not yet burned out. Ms Bodnyk was thrilled just to have a job when she first started her career. “Once you get a little more stable and settled in, you then look around and ask whether you actually enjoy it,” she said."

Don't be racist, be like Mario!

Proof that you should get a life - "Reducing hours, say, from 55 to 50 hours a week, would have had only small effects on output. The results are even starker when we are talking about very long working hours. Output at 70 hours of work differed little from output at 56 hours. That extra 14 hours was a waste of time. The crucial point that emerges from Mr Percavel's analysis is that reductions in working hours do not always result in higher output per hour (which is what our initial correlation seemed to suggest). Rather, the initial level of working hours has to be so high... The HMWC also reckoned that the absence of a rest day (like Sunday) damaged hourly output."

Getting There | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "When you are a female in a big city you tend to be quote unquote targeted by err gentleman who like to expose themselves to you. My tactic for dealing with any sort of man who is trying to be aggressive towards me is to try to out crazy them. Or to scream as loudly as I can. Or make fun of their penis...
One of the dangers of a nap is what we call sleep inertia and so this actually helps counteract the sleep inertia which is the grogginess that you feel upon waking... if you have a cup of coffee right before you take your nap then you'll wake up feeling more fresh because the caffeine specifically targets the sleep inertia or that grogginess where you wake up and you actually want to fall back asleep and your judgment and decision making is impaired...
You are a terrible judge of your own sleepiness level. So studies of anesthesia residents actually show that fifty percent of the time they actually fell asleep on the job they reported being awake...
'In ten seconds or less let's say, describe a day in the life of an improv comedian'
'Working your job that you hate and then doing shows for free'"

Jordan: Nahed Hattar shot dead ahead of cartoon trial - "A gunman has shot dead prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam"

Your revolution was dumb and it filled us with refugees: A Canadian take on the American Revolutionary War - "Roughly 60 independent countries around the world were once counted as British colonies or mandates. Of those, only the United States and the Republic of Ireland gained their independence as a direct result of political violence. Compare that to Spain, which violently resisted the departure of almost every one of its overseas colonies"

Dear Prudence: My girlfriend won’t donate to Harvey victims because some of them voted for Trump. - "I come from the Houston area and have been heartbroken about the damage and scenes from Harvey. I decided to donate $250 and asked my girlfriend if she would match it. She agreed, and then when I asked if she had given to the Red Cross or someone else, I learned that she donated to the Humane Society. I know she’s absolutely nuts about animals, especially our own dogs, but to give to animals when people are in trouble seems heartless to me. She’s much more politically active than I am, and I finally asked if she did that to avoid the possibility of giving money to someone who voted for Trump, and she admitted that was one of the reasons. I think that’s awful, and we’ve been fighting about it ever since. She thinks as a gay woman I should see her side, but I just can’t."
What if you avoid helping Muslims to avoid the possibility of helping someone who aided terrorism?

Penn State asks students to report microaggressions to administrators

Public university spends $16K on campaign to warn students to watch what they say - "Dozens of posters plastered across the University of Michigan caution students not to say things that might hurt others’ feelings, part of a new “Inclusive Language Campaign” at the state’s flagship public university... Words declared unacceptable through the campaign include “crazy,” “insane,” “retarded,” “gay,” “tranny,” “gypped,” “illegal alien,” “fag,” “ghetto” and “raghead.” Phrases such as “I want to die” and “that test raped me” are also verboten."

As A Minority, I’m Far More Fearful Of Being Accosted by Antifa/BLM Thugs Than White Supremacists - "Though I zealously support President Donald Trump and his mission to “Make America Great Again,” I neither own a MAGA hat nor intend to ever wear one publicly because of the fear I feel over potentially being harassed, attacked or even beaten for my political beliefs by radical leftists associated with Antifa or BLM. Yet in regard to strolling through town as a brown-skinned immigrant turned citizen, I feel zero trepidation whatsoever, due in no small part to the fact that the white supremacist bogeyman touted daily by the leftist media represent a meager 0.003 percent of the population. The truth is that these real-life Nazis are practically nonexistent in contemporary society, whereas the mindless zombies who swallow the leftist media’s lies exist in greater quantities than lawn grass. They’re everywhere, and they have zero tolerance for differing views. Case in point: When a black student from Ithacha College attended a vigil Sunday in Syracuse, New York, for the victim of the Charlottesville attack, he wore a hat with the conservative youth organization Young America’s Foundation’s logo emblazoned on it. And for that, leftists attacked him... as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, noted Tuesday on Facebook, the white supremacists who hate the Jewish people “belong in the past” and are “dying out,” whereas the Antifa and BLM thugs who also hate the Jewish people continue to grow “stronger and stronger” and become more “super dominant American universities and public life.”... That’s right, folks, the man elected by the denizens of the world’s only Jewish state to serve as their prime minister is a Nazi sympathizer, if not a Nazi himself. So is black student Caleb Slater. And so am I."

Bourgeois Values Scandal Tars Law Prof Amy Wax with Racism Charge - "Were you planning to instruct your child about the value of hard work and civility? Not so fast! According to a current uproar at the University of Pennsylvania, advocacy of such bourgeois virtues is “hate speech.” The controversy, sparked by an op-ed written by two law professors, illustrates the rapidly shrinking boundaries of acceptable thought on college campuses and the use of racial victimology to police those boundaries... The fuse was lit. The rules of the game were the following: Ignore what Wax and Alexander had actually said; avoid providing any counterevidence; and play the race card to the hilt as a substitute for engaging with their arguments... As the Daily Pennsylvanian itself acknowledged, Wax had emphasized to them that she was not implying the superiority of whites. “Bourgeois values aren’t just for white people,” she had said. “The irony is: Bourgeois values can help minorities get ahead.” No matter. Time to roll out the racial victimology... The idea that privileged graduate students at Penn, one of the most tolerant, racially sensitive environments in human history, experience everyday “hate” is delusional. The adults on campus so fervently seek the presence of underrepresented minority undergraduates and graduate students that they use racial preferences to admit many of them... Unanswered question: Were Wax and Alexander wrong that the virtues of self-restraint, deferred gratification, and future orientation are key for economic and personal progress, and that an anti-achievement, anti-authority culture of drug use and a detachment from the work force is inimical to advancement? GET-UP had nothing to say about those key matters... Typical of the associational chain used by campus leftists, the IDEAL Open Letter equates rational argumentation with “hate speech,” and “hate speech” with “discriminatory acts.” Without consequences for these “discriminatory acts,” U. Penn.’s “vulnerable students” will continue to be “harmed,” “dehumanized,” and “compromised” in their ability to get an education. If a student’s ability to pursue his education can be “compromised” by a single op-ed, perhaps he is not ready for advanced studies... As for Wax’s observation that migration overwhelmingly flows to countries that have historically embraced bourgeois values, not one of the critics has provided any counter-examples... The op-ed’s primary sin was to talk about behavior. The founding idea of contemporary progressivism is that structural and individual racism lies behind socioeconomic inequalities. Discussing bad behavioral choices and maladaptive culture is out of bounds and will be punished mercilessly by slinging at the offender the usual fusillade of “isms” (to be supplemented, post-Charlottesville, with frequent mentions of “white supremacy”). The fact that underclass behaviors are increasingly common among lower-class whites, and not at all limited to poor blacks and Hispanics, might have made it possible to address personal responsibility. That does not appear to be the case. What if the progressive analysis of inequality is wrong, however, and a cultural analysis is closest to the truth? If confronting the need to change behavior is punishable “hate speech,” then it is hard to see how the country can resolve its social problems."

Students See LGBT Flag, Give Libs Taste of Their Own Medicine - "Nearly 2,000 supporters on Change.org have signed a petition calling for the removal of a rainbow pride flag from a high school classroom. They’re comparing it to having a Confederate flag on display... “subjecting or explicitly exposing students from diverse political backgrounds to political views differing from theirs can make students uncomfortable and distract them.” Does that sound like a familiar argument?"

A free-speech rally, minus the free speech - "If one line captured the essence of Saturday’s Boston Common rally and counterprotest, it was a quote halfway through Mark Arsenault’s Page 1 story in the Globe:
“‘Excuse me,’ one man in the counterprotest innocently asked a Globe reporter. ‘Where are the white supremacists?’”
That was the day in a nutshell. Participants in the “Boston Free Speech Rally” had been demonized as a troupe of neo-Nazis prepared to reprise the horror that had erupted in Charlottesville. They turned out to be a couple dozen courteous people linked by little more than a commitment to — surprise! — free speech... A massive counterprotest, 40,000 strong, showed up to denounce a nonexistent cohort of racists. Boston deployed hundreds of police officers, who did an admirable job of maintaining order. Some of the counterprotesters screamed, cursed, or acted like thugs — at one point the Boston Police Department warned protesters “to refrain from throwing urine, bottles, and other harmful projectiles”... The speakers on the Common bandstand were kept from being heard. They were blocked off with a 225-foot buffer zone, segregated beyond earshot. Police barred anyone from approaching to hear what the rally speakers had to say. Reporters were excluded, too. Result? The free-speech rally took place in a virtual cone of silence. Participants “spoke essentially to themselves for about 50 minutes”... Even some of the rally’s own would-be attendees were kept from the bandstand. Yet when Police Commissioner Bill Evans was asked at a press conference Saturday afternoon whether it was right to treat them that way, he was unapologetic. “You know what,” he said, “if they didn’t get in, that’s a good thing, because their message isn’t what we want to hear.”... All they were guilty of was attempting to defend the importance of free speech. For that, they were unjustly smeared as Nazis and their own freedom of speech was mauled."

Thailand ranked most adulterous country in the world - "Thailand is the most adulterous country in the world, according a ranking from Statista, which found that 56% of married adults in the ‘Land of Smiles’ admitted to having an affair. Thailand appears top be an anomaly among Asian nations – the other nine countries in the top 10-most-adulterous list are in Europe, ranging from Denmark in 2nd, where 46% of people cheat, to Finland and the UK in joint 9th, where 36% of people cheat"

A Shortsighted Attack on Free Speech - "Under a legal regime where hate speech was not considered free speech, Trump and Sessions could likely punish words used by members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Do you think he’d police their speech more or less vigorously than white supremacists?"

The far right is losing its ability to speak freely online. Should the left defend it? - "“This is a really terrible time to be a free speech advocate,” said Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s a ‘First they came for the … situation,” she said, referring to the famous Martin Niemöller poem about the classes of people targeted by Nazis, “only in reverse”... the fate of the Daily Stormer – as vile a publication as it is – may be a warning to Americans that the first amendment is increasingly irrelevant. “Historically, the place you went to exercise your speech rights was the public square. Now the equivalent is Twitter and YouTube and Facebook,” said Daphne Keller of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. “In a practical matter, how much you can speak is not in the hands of the constitution but in the hands of these private companies.” The idea of social media platforms as the “modern public square” was recently endorsed by the US supreme court, which ruled unanimously that barring sex offenders from Facebook and Twitter violated their first amendment rights. And yet, this digital version of the public square is more closely analogous to “privately owned public spaces” – a very American type of park whose legal particularities became widely known in 2011 when the Occupy Wall Street movement set up camp in one such space... American technology companies that were once imbued with the ethos of Twitter’s famous sobriquet – “the free speech wing of the free speech party” – have changed the rules, or at least decided to start selectively enforcing rules that are technologically unfeasible to apply across the board... “If you think of the 10 companies that have the infrastructure to really survive on the crazy dangerous internet that is out there, a huge percentage of them are advertising-driven companies,” said Prince. “They will by their very nature have a much more filtered, cleaned up version of the internet because that is where their economic incentives are”... If the left does abandon its free speech principles, it may come to regret it. “I’m really surprised to see liberals talk about what speech needs to be taken down, and not take that conversation a step further and talk about who is actually doing the censoring,” York said, questioning whether we should trust either the government or “unelected white Silicon Valley dudes” to make such decisions. Or as Keller says: “We should not expect the new speech gatekeepers to be benign forever, or to enforce rules that we agree with forever.”"
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