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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Links - 26th July 2017 (2)

Jeremy Corbyn thinks the State should do everything except its job - "Stop! Wait! Listen! Jeremy Corbyn has a new plan and you’re going to love it. Here’s the idea: scrap government spending on borders and spies and guns. Abolish expensive, anachronistic, neo-imperialist tat like bombs, passports and armies. And instead, invest in a national imagination. As John Lennon said, it’s easy if you try... The party’s problem is that every time Mr Corbyn has an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to a fundamental aspect of British defence or security, he fluffs it. The charge sheet is long. Back in the autumn of 2015, he declared that he would never press the nuclear button under any circumstances. Shortly after that, he suggested that police shouldn’t ever use lethal force, even when lives are at stake. This summer, asked if he would go to war to defend a Nato ally who had been attacked, he prevaricated."

Halloween costumes to avoid wearing this year - "You might not consider foodstuffs to be particularly 'sexy' but one stockist in America is selling the 'sexy pizza' costume'. For $69 or £42 you can buy a pizza slice mini dress with filled crust shoulder pads. The pepper, pepperoni and olive pizza slice outfit does not look good enough to eat. The same site also sells a 'sexy french fries' costume and a 'sexy hamburger' costume "

The case against DNA - "Jamieson’s main concern about the growing use of DNA in court cases is that a number of important factors — human error, contamination, simple accident — can suggest guilt where there is none. Police and prosecutors, he alleges, have come to see DNA evidence as a shortcut to convictions, and juries are ill-equipped to understand the complex scientific data... “Does anyone realise how easy it is to leave a couple of cells of your DNA somewhere?” he asks rhetorically. “You could shake my hand and I could put that hand down hundreds of miles away and leave your cells behind. In many cases, the question is not ‘Is it my DNA?’, but ‘How did it get there?’"... he accused the police of being “fixated” on the DNA and failing to provide any other evidence... In the Amanda Knox trial, the Italian police presented virtually no other evidence that the 24-year-old American university student had murdered her English flatmate Meredith Kercher. With no obvious motive, no witnesses, no confessions and very little in the way of circumstantial evidence, the Italian prosecutors built a case almost entirely around the finding of Ms Knox’s DNA on the knife used to slash Ms Kercher’s throat. The defence was able to blow gaping holes in the case, demonstrating that the DNA samples could have been contaminated by stray DNA, misinterpreted, or have an innocent explanation. A damning review of the DNA evidence by a team of American experts suggested that it was mishandled and wrongly analysed... William Thompson, a criminologist specialising in DNA-based forensics at the University of California, criticises what he calls “the rhetoric of infallibility” surrounding DNA profiling”

Don’t make fun of renowned Dan Brown - "The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was mired in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket."

WWII flying ace Chuck Yeager in extraordinary attack on 'nasty' and 'arrogant' British people

Surgeons announce world’s first successful penis transplant - The Washington Post - "if everything is working physically, the psychological trauma can sometimes be too much to bear. That's what happened to the Chinese patient who could have been the first successful recipient: In 2006, 10 days after a physically successful surgery, the man asked doctors to remove his new organ... South Africa has a greater need for penis transplants than most of the world. Young men who are members of the Xhosa people often undergo ritual circumcision, sometimes in rural areas without proper instruments or sterilization. Complications from this practice lead to an estimated 250 penile amputations each year."

Americans don’t trust government. But they still want government to do a lot. - The Washington Post - "Americans hate government, but they like what it does."

In Europe, Fake Jobs Can Have Real Benefits - The New York Times - "Inside the companies, workers rotate through payroll, accounting, advertising and other departments. They also receive virtual salaries to spend within the make-believe economy. Some of the faux companies even hold strikes — a common occurrence in France. Axisco, a virtual payment processing center in Val d’Oise, recently staged a fake protest, with slogans and painted banners, to teach workers’ rights and to train human resources staff members to calm tensions. “The products and the money are fake, but you call a virtual firm in Switzerland and a person answers,” said Helene Dereuddre, 19, who was receiving administrative training at Candelia. “You call the bank and you get a counselor,” she said. “When you get into it, people see that they are capable of learning and working.”"

Why Are Student Protesters So Fearful? - The New York Times - "The victims too often present themselves as weak, in need of protection. Administrators are held, like helicopter parents, wholly responsible. To a veteran of movements of the ’60s like myself, this is strikingly strange... Too many students doubt that their community is, or can be, strong enough to stand up for itself, entertain arguments and strive to persuade opponents. The extremity of their reaction suggests that they lack confidence that reason and values are on their side... movements that change the world are the creations of confident people... there’s the West’s political narcissism, nourished in the post-Cold War period in which it really did seem that pluralist democracy was on the march. Such narcissism stripped us of the capacity to look critically at any actor whom we see inspired by our political model (bonus points if he or she writes political slogans in English). We assume that the imitation of Western practices and principles is a foolproof road to democratic success. There has also been a dangerous so-called normative turn in American political science. It reduced our understanding of complex social and global problems to a series of correlations that reassure us that, among other things, democracies do not fight one another, that democracy makes countries richer and less corrupt, and that every country is on its way to becoming, well, a democracy. Liberal teleology came to replace the Marxist one. Finally, we were seduced by the “Silicon Valley effect,” the fact that our ideas and strategies for social change were shaped less by historical experience and more by the utopian possibilities of the world of technology"

When Philosophy Lost Its Way - NYTimes.com - "Like the sciences, philosophy has largely become a technical enterprise, the only difference being that we manipulate words rather than genes or chemicals. Lost is the once common-sense notion that philosophers are seeking the good life — that we ought to be (in spite of our failings) model citizens and human beings. Having become specialists, we have lost sight of the whole. The point of philosophy now is to be smart, not good. It has been the heart of our undoing"

A Healthy Diet’s Main Ingredients? Best Guesses - The New York Times - "nutrition experts, including those in this Retro Report, caution that life is complex, and that we are more than what we eat... Other explanations for why one person gains weight and someone else does not may include sleep patterns, genetic predispositions and the compositions of individual microbiomes — the trillions of microbes residing inside the human body. Some health researchers even question the significance of exercise in keeping pounds off, regardless of its other benefits"

The Microcomplaint: Nothing Too Small to Whine About - The New York Times - "It was once considered unbecoming, or annoying itself, to moan publicly about trifling personal ordeals. Now, in a seismic shift for the moral culture, abetted by technology, we tolerate and even encourage the “microcomplaint”: the petty, petulant kvetch about the quotidian... the microcomplaint functions as a kind of reverse boast: You may be celebrating a new job or engagement with a Michelin-starred dinner, but look at how much I have suffered today — I’m deserving of more attention."

Why do Muslims play victims of free-speech but make excuses for apostasy and blasphemy? - "Non-Muslims in America want Muslims to respect values that neither favour nor prohibit the exercise of religion. Too often instead, they see acts of religious chauvinism that create a negative impression. For example, the Council of Islamic American Relations (CAIR) recently filed a discrimination lawsuit, as reported this September by CBS News, against an airline when a Muslim woman did not receive special accommodation. Prominent Muslims such as Mehdi Hasan refuse to unconditionally support free speech... Americans justifiably wonder why mainstream Muslims harbour such bigotry and claim victimhood, while they make excuses for extreme views such as apostasy, blasphemy laws and a culture responsible for the attack on Charlie Hebdo."

Judging the victim of a rape: Should we and why? - "We assume that, if a victim is blamed, that somehow lessens the culpability of the perpetrator. Why should that be so? Surely it is possible to critically and dispassionately acknowledge errors in judgment on the part of a victim without in any way justifying or excusing the acts of a predator... Everybody is, to a large extent, responsible for his or her own safety, whether from assault, fraud or lightning strikes. To suggest otherwise is, in my view, incomprehensible. Why then, does the conduct of a rape victim come under particular scrutiny? Certainly not, as Ms Rheaume suggests, because society expects women to take it upon themselves to shield themselves from the insatiable sexual appetites of men. Rather, rape belongs to a small category of crimes in which there is often close proximity between the victim and perpetrator prior to the commission of the crime. Around 2/3 of all rapists were known to their victims. It is in this context of proximity that the conduct of both parties is often examined to discern whether consent- the absence of which is a key element in a rape charge, was present. Conduct is therefore relevant, not for the purposes of apportioning blame, but in pursuit of the truth... the law recognizes that in certain cases, the conduct of the victim can be a factor in determining the culpability of the perpetrator. A murder charge may be reduced to culpable homicide if there was “grave and sudden” provocation emanating from the victim. There is a very real risk when we shy away completely from any discussion which touches on the conduct of a victim of rape. It suggests that rape is something over which a victim has no control. That it simply ‘happens’, much like being struck by a meteor while crossing an open field. The reality is somewhat different"

'Cucumbers grow better to rock music' - "Cucumbers like Rock music the most‚ and dislike Jazz... Not only do cucumbers love music‚ but they also show preferences for certain scents‚ despite having no conventional sensory receptors associated with smell (a nose)."

How Grown-Ups Deal With 'Microaggressions' - "If you establish a positive right to be free from alienating comments, it's hard to restrict that right only to people who have been victimized in certain ways, or to certain degrees. It's easy to say everyone has a right not to be alienated. It's also easy to say "you should only seek social or administrative sanction for remarks that are widely known and understood to be offensive slurs." It is very, very hard to establish a rule that only some groups are entitled to be free from offense -- because the necessary corollary is that it's fine to worry the other groups with a low-level barrage of sneers, and those groups will not take this lying down. The result will be proliferation of groups claiming victim status, attempting to trump the victim status of others... Complaints about microaggressions can be used to stop complaints about microaggressions. There is no logical resting place for these disputes; it's microaggressions all the way down. And in the process, they make impossible demands on members of the ever-shrinking majority: to know everything about every possible victim group, to never inadvertently appropriate any part of any culture in ways a member doesn't like, or misunderstand something, or make an innocent remark that reads very differently to someone with a different experience. Which will, of course, only hasten the scramble for members of the majority to gain themselves some sort of victim status that can protect them from sanction."

A Dying Man's Lost Recipe Made His Daughter a Multimillionaire - "Kushikatsu, a dish made by battering skewered meat and vegetables, deep-frying them and then dipping them in sauce, is common on the streets of Osaka, in the west of Japan’s main island, where Tanaka grew up. It’s less known in other parts of the country. The food originated as a quick, filling meal for laborers."

Magazine Shames People For Not Wanting to Have Sex With Transgender People, Says It’s Transphobic - "A liberal wonderland known as The Daily Beast (traffic down almost 40% in the last year) has complained about the latest totally-not-shocking survey showing most people wouldn’t want to date a transgender person, claiming it’s due to transphobia. Samantha Allen, a senior reporter for the site, who previously brought hits like the one decrying the LGBT community as racist for not wanting to have sex with people of color, has now deemed the people who don’t really want to date or have sex with a transgender person as “anti-transgender”. According to Allen, who cited a recent YouGov survey, less than 20% of Americans said they would “be open to dating a transgender person” – results which she termed “disappointing but unsurprising”."

Deconstructing the evidence-based discourse in health sciences: truth, power and fascism. - "Drawing on the work of the late French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari, the objective of this paper is to demonstrate that the evidence-based movement in the health sciences is outrageously exclusionary and dangerously normative with regards to scientific knowledge. As such, we assert that the evidence-based movement in health sciences constitutes a good example of microfascism at play in the contemporary scientific arena. Objective  The philosophical work of Deleuze and Guattari proves to be useful in showing how health sciences are colonised (territorialised) by an all-encompassing scientific research paradigm - that of post-positivism - but also and foremost in showing the process by which a dominant ideology comes to exclude alternative forms of knowledge, therefore acting as a fascist structure. Conclusion  The Cochrane Group, among others, has created a hierarchy that has been endorsed by many academic institutions, and that serves to (re)produce the exclusion of certain forms of research. Because 'regimes of truth' such as the evidence-based movement currently enjoy a privileged status, scholars have not only a scientific duty, but also an ethical obligation to deconstruct these regimes of power."
Helping people live longer is fascist

Seattle Police Using Politically Correct Term 'Community Member' for Crime Suspect - "Seattle Police officers are no longer referring to a crime suspect as a “suspect” and instead use “community member” in reports in order to use less offensive and politically correct language."

Mike Pence Attacks Campus Safe Spaces, Students Stage Mass Walk-Out - "The local South Bend Tribune newspaper estimated that 150 people left, made up of roughly 50% students and 50% friends and family. Members of the university’s faculty gathered to congratulate the students who had walked out, according to the report. One, whose child walked out, paradoxically praised his daughter for her commitment to being “more inclusive” to political opponents, even as she demonstrated the opposite."
So much for dialogue and understanding

Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy - "I’d been asked to write a book about whatever I wanted, and this editor didn’t even know whether I’d written anything before. It didn’t matter. It would sell its 300 copies regardless. Not to people with an interest in reading the book, but to librarians who would put it on a shelf and then, a few years later, probably bury it in a storeroom... much of the time that goes into writing these books is made possible through taxpayers’ money. And who buys these books? Well, university libraries – and they, too, are paid for by taxpayers. Meanwhile, the books are not available for taxpayers to read – unless they have a university library card."

High Schooler Urges Admin to 'Strip Away Constitutional Protection' for Classmate Who Made Controversial Comedic Video - "His homemade campaign video, which the student briefly posted on Twitter in February, depicted terrorists abducting him from his bed (implying that he had been caught masturbating) and torturing him. The video also depicts several weapons"

Virginia Tech Students Protest Staircase by Blocking it Because it’s Not Accessible - "The problem with the stairs, however, is that they don’t have a ramp for disabled people—meaning disabled students have to use a route which takes about three minutes longer... Rather than channeling frustration into action to have more ramps built for disabled people, the activists blocked everyone from using the staircase and directed them to another route to ensure people “start thinking about access.” Martina Svyantek, a graduate student who co-chairs the disability and alliance caucus that organized the sit out, has questioned the point of building the stairs at all, if it can’t be used by everyone... Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski, however, noted that it was hard to build a ramp as the stairs are too steep and the hill has utility lines and steam tunnels"
"The difference between a SJW and an activist: An activist tries to get a ramp added to a building for easier wheelchair access. The SJW tries to get the stairs removed because they might offend people who can't use them." was supposed to be satire, not reality

Ben & Jerry's Refuses to Serve Two Scoops of Same Flavor in Australia Until Gay Marriage Is Legal
They should ban having 3 or more scoops period till polygamous marriage is legal
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