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Monday, April 10, 2017

Links - 10th April 2017 (2)

Coke or Pepsi? It's all in the head - "Scientists in Texas used a brain scanning technique to carry out a hi-tech version of the Pepsi challenge and found that, when it comes to fizzy black drinks, brand love is just as important as taste"

Wanted, £45-an-hour cleaners - must work naked (and only women may apply) - "London-based Naturist Cleaners is recruiting female staff "of all ages and figures" to clean private houses across the UK while wearing just slippers and gloves. Clients - the majority of whom are nudists, according to the agency - are charged £65 for the first hour and £55 for each hour after, and must agree to a strict "no touch" and no pictures or video policy."

Labour Court can't make employer pay - "Last month, a construction company boss was ordered by the Labour Court to pay a Bangladeshi construction worker $7,363 in unpaid wages. But when the employer did not meet the payment deadline last Thursday, the court's hands were tied. Instead, the worker was asked to go to the State Courts to take action to recover the sum, a step that would require him to fork out money he does not have. The case highlights a little- known limitation of the Labour Court, and the dilemma workers face when employers refuse to comply with its orders."
Singapore is very pro-business

Finally, An App That Splits The Bill So That White Men Pay More
Maybe one day they will put a tax on white men

Now, Terengganu Islamic enforcers say may nab unmarried couples in cars too - "Under media spotlight for arresting unmarried Muslims couples riding motorcycles together, Terengganu Islamic authorities admitted on Wednesday (Jan 18) that it is considering extending the enforcement to passengers in other vehicles, such as cars. Despite that, Terengganu Religious Affairs Department (JHEAT) said implementing the anti-vice operation dubbed Ops Bonceng for other vehicles would be different, admitting that religious officers would not be able to observe Muslims in cars... Malay daily Sinar Harian reported that JHEAT nabbed 26 unmarried Muslim couples for riding motorcycles together. All 52 of them, aged between 16 and 42 years old, were arrested under Ops Bonceng last week under the offence of “immoral act in public”"

Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries - "In 2012, the last year of recorded data, developing countries received a total of $1.3tn, including all aid, investment, and income from abroad. But that same year some $3.3tn flowed out of them... by far the biggest chunk of outflows has to do with unrecorded – and usually illicit – capital flight. Most of these unrecorded outflows take place through the international trade system. Basically, corporations – foreign and domestic alike – report false prices on their trade invoices in order to spirit money out of developing countries directly into tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions, a practice known as “trade misinvoicing”. Usually the goal is to evade taxes, but sometimes this practice is used to launder money or circumvent capital controls. In 2012, developing countries lost $700bn through trade misinvoicing, which outstripped aid receipts that year by a factor of five"

Vancouver strata blocks Moby Dick franchise from opening over 'offensive' name, lawsuit alleges - "A Vancouver business is suing its strata corporation for refusing to allow the opening of a Moby Dick fish and chips franchise location, due in part to an "offensive" word in the restaurant's name."

It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet - "According to The Lancet global burden of disease reports, poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined. Up to 40% of those with a normal body mass index will harbour metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which include hypertension, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease. However, this is little appreciated by scientists, doctors, media writers and policymakers, despite the extensive scientific literature on the vulnerability of all ages and all sizes to lifestyle-related diseases. Instead, members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting, and many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise... Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or ‘satiation’.A large econometric analysis of worldwide sugar availability, revealed that for every excess 150 calories of sugar, there was an 11-fold increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, in comparison to an identical 150 calories obtained from fat or protein. And this was independent of the person's weight and physical activity level; this study fulfils the Bradford Hill Criteria for causation. A recently published critical review in nutrition concluded that dietary carbohydrate restriction is the single most effective intervention for reducing all the features of the metabolic syndrome and should be the first approach in diabetes management, with benefits occurring even without weight loss. The twin rationales for carbohydrate loading are that the body has a limited capacity to store carbohydrates and these are essential for more intense exercise. However, recent studies suggest otherwise"

Childhood forecasting of a small segment of the population with large economic burden - "A segment comprising 22% of the cohort accounted for 36% of the cohort’s injury insurance claims; 40% of excess obese kilograms; 54% of cigarettes smoked; 57% of hospital nights; 66% of welfare benefits; 77% of fatherless child-rearing; 78% of prescription fills; and 81% of criminal convictions. Childhood risks, including poor brain health at three years of age, predicted this segment with large effect sizes. Early-years interventions that are effective for this population segment could yield very large returns on investment."

Social behavior and kin discrimination in a mixed group of cloned and non cloned heifers (Bos taurus). - "Preliminary results showed that clones favor each other's company"

NCEE | Global Perspectives: Streaming in Singapore: It’s Not Tracking, And It Actually Promotes Equity - "Singapore’s world-class outcomes show that such a strategy works. Singapore’s secondary school completion rate was 99 percent in 2015. For school year 2014-2015, the United States’ average graduation rate was 83.2 percent, falling to 76.1 percent among low-income students and 74.6 percent among African Americans. And on the 2015 administration of PISA, the mean mathematics of the Singaporean student at the 25th percentile – a student from the lowest quartile of achievement – was 500, 30 points higher than the average score of all American students. In other words, the lowest-achieving students are learning more math and are better able to apply it to real world problems than the average American student. And, as we heard from policymakers and educators across the Singaporean system, streaming is a cornerstone of their strategy to ensure that educational attainment and achievement is shared equitably across their society."

Dutch Female Kickboxing Champ Had Real Muay Thai Fight With Man, Got Brutally Knocked Out

'Why having so many women doctors is hurting the NHS' - "most female doctors end up working part-time — usually in general practice — and then retire early. As a result, it is necessary to train two female doctors so they can cover the same amount of work as one full-time colleague. Given that the cost of training a doctor is at least £500,000, are taxpayers getting the best return on their investment? There is another important issue. Women in hospital medicine tend to avoid the more demanding specialities which require greater commitment, have more antisocial working hours and include responsibility for management... Dame Carol Black, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, pointed out this growing discrepancy in 2004, when she controversially suggested that the feminisation of the medical profession would lead to its degradation. She said the issue was not whether women doctors could do their job properly, but whether they were willing to devote time and effort, beyond their clinical responsibilities, to activities such as committee work and research... GPs are very well paid. Their average salary is around £103,000 — quite sufficient for a woman doctor who is also a mother to be able to afford quality childcare at home. But the salary also means that part-time working still allows for a comfortable lifestyle. In addition, doctors tend to marry within their own socio-economic group and, in many cases, the wife is the secondary earner. This also encourages less demanding part-time work... We make up the shortfall in medical manpower by importing about 40 per cent of the doctors we need. Most now come from austerity-stricken EU countries"

Women doctors could bring the NHS to its knees, says Dr Max - "This week the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health gave a stark warning that children’s wards face closure because so many paediatricians are now women and have gone on maternity leave or work part time. There simply aren’t enough senior doctors left to run departments any more. Three-quarters of doctors training in paediatrics are women. The situation has become so bad in some areas that up to 63 per cent of shifts are being covered by locums. In other specialities that attract women — such as general practice, where two-thirds of GPs are women — a similar staffing disaster is unfolding...
Did you see the survey published by the Girl Guides, saying half of British girls claim to have mental health issues? I was stunned by this story. Not by the statistics, but how no one questioned them. There was not a single eyebrow raised. Several commentators were doctors — who would normally critically appraise any piece of research. But because it’s about mental health, no one dares to question it in case they are accused of being insensitive. That attitude is very dangerous. Let’s make one thing clear: this was a survey. A group of kids were asked a series of leading questions. That is very different to proper academic research. And I simply don’t believe the results. I’ve worked in children’s mental health services and it’s laughable to say half of children have mental health problems."

Why Trump may be winning the war on ‘political correctness’ - The Washington Post - "Cathy Cuthbertson once worked at what might be thought of as a command post of political correctness — the campus of a prestigious liberal arts college in Ohio. “You know, I couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas.’ And when we wrote things, we couldn’t even say ‘he’ or ‘she,’ because we had transgender. People of color. I mean, we had to watch every word that came out of our mouth, because we were afraid of offending someone, but nobody’s afraid of offending me,” the former administrator said... The label is, he said, a validation that what many on the right see as legitimate policy and cultural differences are not the same as racism, sexism or heartlessness. “Allegations of racism and sexism have turned into powerful silencing devices”... Cuthbertson, for instance, made a connection between her frustrations over political correctness and the other things she sees going on around her. “I look at what I get every month — and thank God, I was financially savvy and saved. I can’t live off Social Security. And you look at these people who have never worked and they’re having babies and they’re getting free rent and free food stamps and free medical care,” she said. “I couldn’t afford what they have on my Social Security, and I worked 50 years.”"

U.S.-born panda twins return to China, but struggle with the language and food - The Washington Post - "the pair still understand English better than Chinese, and prefer American crackers to Chinese bread... the pair are so addicted to American crackers that everything they eat — from bamboos to apples — has to be mixed with crackers. They even want to snack on crackers when drinking water.... While the pair respond to their own names, and understand some English phrases such as “come here,” they don’t understand the Sichuan dialect of Chinese used on the base"

If colleges keep killing academic freedom, civilization will die, too - The Washington Post - "Sixty years ago, Chief Justice Earl Warren warned our nation that we had a choice. Either “teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate,” or “our civilization will stagnate and die.” There was no third option. Today, we face this choice again. Recent attempts to shame professors for unpopular views and to curtail the due process rights of those accused of misconduct are cause for alarm. Especially when academic freedom is endangered at places such as Yale — long celebrated as a leader on freedom of expression — we know that the erosion of academic freedom has become a national problem... Academic freedom now attracts opposition largely from the left, while conservative organizations — including, ironically, the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale — defend it most vigorously... On some campuses, “bias response teams” investigate professors’ online comments. Several universities, including Yale, may soon introduce a smartphone app that lets users anonymously report offensive remarks. These anonymous reports will allow university bureaucrats — and perhaps even the public — to compile a directory of “subversive” professors in the spirit of dictatorial regimes. One can easily imagine dueling “watchlists” compiled by liberal and conservative activists with the shared aim of chilling unwanted speech... Until recently, Yale insisted that accused professors enjoy basic due process, including the rights to a public, recorded hearing; to legal representation; to present evidence; to question opposing witnesses; and to a presumption of innocence unless convicted by “clear and convincing evidence.” Today, however, Yale and other universities routinely ignore or limit these rights, which the American Association of University Professors has described as essential in any fair proceeding"

UMass-Amherst: Harambe Jokes Are Racist Microaggressions, Violate Title IX - "Title IX—the catch-22 of modern campus life—strikes again. There is no facet of campus life that remains undisturbed by its creeping tendrils."

Four Lions Director on Why Terrorists Like Lord of the Rings - ""They see themselves as the force for good and Sauron is basically George W. Bush"... Four Lions exaggerates the absurdist aspects of terrorism, but not by much. “Terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed spent two hours looking for a costume that wouldn’t make him look fat on camera,” Morris cracked"

SEXUAL OFFENDER TREATMENT: Langfeldt - "The concept of pedophilia has traditionally been used as a homogeneous mental disorder by most authors and therapists. The present study, investigating different parameters in men who offend against children, shows that men who sexually offend against boys significantly differ from those who sexually offend against girls only. They are differences with respect to sexual orientation, prevalence, number of victims and being sexually abused during childhood. In the course of therapy, most men who sexually offend against boys turned out to be homosexual. These findings are discussed in relation to the life situation of young homosexual boys, and with regard to therapeutic work with sex offenders."
The party line of course is that pedophilia is a sexual orientation not to be confused with homosexuality

The Origins of the Neck Tie

7 Pieces of Shoe Advice for Men from 434 Single Women - "2. WEAR LEATHER SHOES

Guys, Here’s What It’s Actually Like To Be A Woman - "Women put a lot of thought into their appearance. Everything they wear and display is probably a conscious choice. Every choice is a statement—but not every statement succeeds. Often, women can’t tell if they’ve struck the right balance between formal and casual, tight and loose, sexy and slutty, classical and avant-garde, earnest and ironic. Are they projecting “sexy vamp” or “meth-head jailbait”? Are they projecting “sophisticated Brooklyn hipster” or “Jersey Real Housewife”? The problem is that they almost never get accurate feedback about what image they’re projecting. Her friends are too polite to tell her the truth one way or the other, and guys are too horny to tell the difference... Female promiscuity also has a “tragedy of the commons” effect in the mating market. If one woman offers blowjobs on the second date, it’s harder for other women to keep them in reserve until the fourth date as their special treat. This creates a downward spiral of young women feeling like they have to offer more and more sex to more and more guys just to stay in the mating game. Thus, slut-shaming is a way of enforcing a more restrained sexual norm on other women so that not all women have to become more promiscuous than any of them would like... Given the risk of slut-shaming, a typical female strategy is to pursue short-term mating quietly, with a lot of plausible deniability, adaptive self-deception and circumstantial rationalization"

On Political Correctness

The American Scholar: On Political Correctness - William Deresiewicz

"I listened to students—young women, again, who considered themselves strong feminists—talk about how they were afraid to speak freely among their peers, and how despite its notoriety as a platform for cyberbullying, they were grateful for YikYak, the social media app, because it allowed them to say anonymously what they couldn’t say in their own name... Everybody felt oppressed, as they put it, by the “PC police”—everybody, that is, except for those whom everybody else regarded as members of the PC police.

I heard all this, and a good bit more, while teaching one class, for 12 students, during one semester, at one college. And I have no reason to believe that circumstances are substantially different at other elite private institutions, and plenty of reasons not to believe it: from conversations with individuals at many schools, from my broader experience in higher education, from what I’ve read not only in the mainstream media but also in the higher education press. The situation is undoubtedly better at some places than others, undoubtedly worse at the liberal arts colleges as a whole than at the universities as a whole, but broadly similar across the board.

So this is how I’ve come to understand the situation. Selective private colleges have become religious schools...

What does it mean to say that these institutions are religious schools? First, that they possess a dogma, unwritten but understood by all: a set of “correct” opinions and beliefs, or at best, a narrow range within which disagreement is permitted. There is a right way to think and a right way to talk, and also a right set of things to think and talk about. Secularism is taken for granted. Environmentalism is a sacred cause. Issues of identity—principally the holy trinity of race, gender, and sexuality—occupy the center of concern. The presiding presence is Michel Foucault, with his theories of power, discourse, and the social construction of the self, who plays the same role on the left as Marx once did. The fundamental questions that a college education ought to raise—questions of individual and collective virtue, of what it means to be a good person and a good community—are understood to have been settled. The assumption, on elite college campuses, is that we are already in full possession of the moral truth. This is a religious attitude. It is certainly not a scholarly or intellectual attitude.

Dogma, and the enforcement of dogma, makes for ideological consensus. Students seldom disagree with one another anymore in class, I’ve been told about school after school. The reason, at least at Whitman, said one of the students I talked to there, is mainly that they really don’t have any disagreements. Another added that when they take up an issue in class, it isn’t, let’s talk about issue X, but rather, let’s talk about why such-and-such position is the correct one to have on issue X. When my student wrote about her churchgoing friend, she said that she couldn’t understand why anyone would feel uncomfortable being out as a religious person at a place as diverse as Scripps. But of course, Scripps and its ilk are only diverse in terms of identity. In terms of ideology, they are all but homogeneous. You don’t have “different voices” on campus, as these institutions like to boast; you have different bodies, speaking with the same voice.

That, by the way, is why liberal students (and liberals in general) are so bad at defending their own positions. They never have to, so they never learn to. That is also why it tends to be so easy for conservatives to goad them into incoherent anger. Nothing makes you more enraged than an argument you cannot answer. But the reason to listen to people who disagree with you is not so you can learn to refute them. The reason is that you may be wrong. In fact, you are wrong: about some things and probably about a lot of things. There is zero percent chance that any one of us is 100 percent correct. That, in turn, is why freedom of expression includes the right to hear as well as speak, and why disinviting campus speakers abridges the speech rights of students as well as of the speakers themselves.

Elite private colleges are ideologically homogenous because they are socially homogeneous, or close to it. Their student populations largely come from the liberal upper and upper-middle classes, multiracial but predominantly white, with an admixture of students from poor communities of color—two demographics with broadly similar political beliefs, as evidenced by the fact that they together constitute a large proportion of the Democratic Party base. As for faculty and managerial staff, they are even more homogenous than their students... Unlike the campus protesters of the 1960s, today’s student activists are not expressing countercultural views. They are expressing the exact views of the culture in which they find themselves (a reason that administrators prove so ready to accede to their demands). If you want to find the counterculture on today’s elite college campuses, you need to look for the conservative students.

Which brings us to another thing that comes with dogma: heresy. Heresy means those beliefs that undermine the orthodox consensus, so it must be eradicated: by education, by reeducation—if necessary, by censorship. It makes a perfect, dreary sense that there are speech codes, or the desire for speech codes, at selective private colleges. The irony is that conservatives don’t actually care if progressives disapprove of them, with the result that political correctness generally amounts to internecine warfare on the left: radical feminists excoriating other radical feminists for saying “vagina” instead of “front hole,” students denouncing the director of Boys Don’t Cry as a transphobic “cis white bitch” (as recently happened at Reed College), and so forth.

But the most effective form of censorship, of course, is self-censorship—which, in the intimate environment of a residential college, young adults are very quick to learn. One of the students at Whitman mentioned that he’s careful, when questioning consensus beliefs, to phrase his opinion in terms of “Explain to me why I’m wrong.” Other students— at Bard College, at the Claremont Colleges—have explained that any challenge to the hegemony of identity politics will get you branded as a racist (as in, “Don’t talk to that guy, he’s a racist”). Campus protesters, their frequent rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, are not the ones being silenced: they are, after all, not being silent. They are in the middle of the quad, speaking their minds. The ones being silenced are the ones like my students at Scripps, like the students at Whitman, like many students, no doubt, at many places, who are keeping their mouths shut. “The religion of humanity,” as David Bromwich recently wrote, “may turn out to be as dangerous as all the other religions.”

The assumption on selective campuses is not only that we are in full possession of the truth, but that we are in full possession of virtue. We don’t just know the good with perfect wisdom, we embody it with perfect innocence. But regimes of virtue tend to eat their children. Think of Salem. They tend to turn upon themselves, since everybody wants to be the holiest. Think of the French Revolution. The ante is forever being upped. The PC commissariat reminds me of the NRA. Everyone is terrified of challenging the NRA (everyone in a position to stop it, at least), so it gets whatever it demands. But then, because it can, it thinks up new demands. Guns in playgrounds, guns in bars.

So it is with political correctness. There is always something new, as my students understood, that you aren’t supposed to say. And worst of all, you often don’t find out about it until after you have said it. The term political correctness, which originated in the 1970s as a form of self-mockery among progressive college students, was a deliberately ironic invocation of Stalinism. By now we’ve lost the irony but kept the Stalinism—and it was a feature of Stalinism that you could be convicted for an act that was not a crime at the time you committed it. So you were always already guilty, or could be made to be guilty, and therefore were always controllable.

You were also always under surveillance by a cadre of what Jane Austen called, in a very different context, “voluntary spies,” and what my students called the PC police. Regimes of virtue produce informants (which really does wonders for social cohesion). They also produce authorities, often self-appointed authorities...

So much of political correctness is not about justice or creating a safe environment; it is about power. And so much of what is taking place at colleges today reflects the way that relations of power have been reconfigured in contemporary higher education. Campus activists are taking advantage of the fact (and I suspect that a lot of them understand this intuitively, if not explicitly) that students have a lot more power than they used to. The change is the result not only of the rise of the customer-service mentality in academia, but also of the proletarianization of the faculty. Students have risen; instructors have fallen. Where once administrations worked in alliance with the faculty, were indeed largely composed of faculty, now they work against the faculty in alliance with students, a separate managerial stratum more interested in the satisfaction of its customers than the well-being of its employees...

The power of political correctness is wielded not only against the faculty, however, but also against other groups within the student body, ones who don’t belong to the ideologically privileged demographics or espouse the approved points of view: conservative students; religious students, particularly Christians; students who identify as Zionists, a category that includes a lot of Jewish students; “athletes,” meaning white male athletes; white students from red states; heterosexual cisgendered white men from anywhere at all, who represent, depending on the school, between a fifth and a third of all students... I haven’t heard too many people talk about creating safe spaces for Christians, or preventing micro-aggressions against conservatives, or banning hate speech against athletes, or disinviting socialists.

What I have heard, frequently, for as long as I have been involved in academia, are open expressions of contempt or prejudice or hostility against those suspect groups or members of those groups. If you are a white man, you are routinely regarded as guilty until proven innocent, the worst possible construction is put upon your words, and anything you say on a sensitive issue is received with suspicion at best. I attended a workshop on micro-aggressions at the University of Missouri last year. The problem with micro-aggressions, the leader said, is that they “create a space of hostility,” that they say, “you don’t belong; you are different in a way that’s not okay.” Those formulations precisely describe the environment that the groups I just enumerated often encounter at elite private colleges, except that unlike the typical micro-aggression, the offense is not inadvertent. It is quite deliberate. Racism may indeed be a system, but bigotry and prejudice are personal attitudes, and they are freely distributed (“cis white bitch”) across the political spectrum.

I am perfectly aware that men, whites, heterosexuals, and cisgendered people remain the dominant groups in society as a whole. But equality is not revenge...

Progressive faculty and students at selective private colleges will often say that they want to dismantle the hierarchies of power that persist in society at large. Their actions often suggest that in fact they would like to invert them. All groups are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Political correctness creates a mindset of us versus them. “Them” is white men, or straight cisgendered white men—a.k.a. “the patriarchy”... political correctness not only treats “them” as a monolith—erasing the differences among white people, like those between Jews and Mormons or English and Irish, thus effacing the specificity of their historical and sometimes also their present experiences—it effaces the specificity of everyone’s experience.

Political correctness expects us to plot our experience on the grid of identity, to interpret it in terms of our location at the intersection of a limited number of recognized categories. You are a lesbian Latina, therefore you must feel X. You are a white trans man, therefore you must think Y. But identity should not precede experience; it should proceed from it. And experience is much more granular, and composed of a vastly larger number of variables, than is dreamt of in the PC philosophy...

There is one category that the religion of the liberal elite does not recognize—that its purpose, one might almost conclude, is to conceal: class...

We don’t acknowledge class, so there are few affirmative-action programs based on class. Not coincidentally, lower-income whites belong disproportionately to precisely those groups whom it is acceptable and even desirable, in the religion of the colleges, to demonize: conservatives, Christians, people from red states. Selective private colleges are produced by the liberal elite and reproduce it in turn. If it took an electoral catastrophe to remind this elite of the existence (and ultimately, one hopes, the humanity) of the white working class, the fact should come as no surprise. They’ve never met them, so they neither know nor care about them. In the psychic economy of the liberal elite, the white working class plays the role of the repressed. The recent presidential campaign may be understood as the return of that repressed—and the repressed, when it returns, is always monstrous...

The culture of political correctness, the religion of the fancy private colleges... enables them to tell themselves that they are children of the light—part of the solution to our social ills, not an integral component of the problem. It may speak about dismantling the elite, but its real purpose is to flatter it...

When I gave a version of this essay as a talk at Bard, the first comment from the panel of student respondents came from a young Palestinian woman who argued that “conservative narratives” like Zionism should be censored, because “they require the otherization, if not the dehumanization, of another group of people.” It didn’t seem to have occurred to her that many Zionists would say the same about what they regard as the Palestinian position. Once you start to ban offensive speech, there is no logical place to stop—or rather, where you stop will be determined by the relative positions of competing groups within the community.

In other words, again, by power. To take the most conspicuous issue around which questions of free expression are being disputed on campus, the disinvitation of outside speakers always reflects the power of one group over another...

True diversity means true disagreement. Political correctness exists at public institutions, but it doesn’t dominate them. A friend of mine who went to Columbia and Yale now teaches at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York. “When you meet someone at Hunter,” she told me, “you can’t assume they see the world the same way you do.” That’s about as pithy an expression of the problem at selective private colleges as I can imagine. When you meet someone at Columbia or Yale or Scripps or Whitman or any of scores of other institutions, you absolutely can assume they see the world the same way you do. And anyone who threatens to disrupt that cozy situation must be disinvited, reeducated, or silenced. It’s no surprise that the large majority of high-profile PC absurdities take place at elite private schools like Emory or Oberlin or Northwestern.

That same safe assumption, about the points of view of everyone around you, does not pervade selective private campuses alone, of course. It is equally the case among the liberal elite: at the Manhattan dinner party, the Silicon Valley startup, the Seattle coffee shop, the Brookline PTA"

Links - 10th April 2017 (1)

Agenda for Women’s March has been hijacked by organizers bent on highlighting women’s differences – Women in the World in Association with The New York Times – WITW - "the attempted hijacking of the march’s agenda and all the nasty tit-for-tat between white versus black/queer/Muslim/trans and other identities tells a very disturbing story about the divided state of feminism today. The separatist, inward-looking politics that helped drive Trump to power and Clinton into oblivion is not going away — in fact it is becoming more entrenched, and all for the better, say organizers bent on highlighting women’s differences rather than their commonality as American and international citizens. Just go to the official Facebook page of the march and associated events, read the online discussions, and there amid the enthusiasm and excitement you will witness the unfiltered and unedifying spectacle of women going at each other not because of the content of their character but because of the color of their skin, their gender, ethnicity, or religion... It saddens me to see the inclusive liberal feminism I grew up with reduced to a grab-bag of competing victimhood narratives and rival community-based but essentially individualist identities jostling for most-oppressed status... The emphasis on a particular perspective regarding religion appears to have something to do with one of the march’s lead organizers. Linda Sarsour is a religiously conservative veiled Muslim woman, embracing a fundamentalist worldview requiring women to “modestly” cover themselves, a view which has little to do with female equality and much more of a connection with the ideology of political Islam than feminism. Could we imagine a wig-wearing Orthodox woman emerging from a similar “purity”-focused culture predicated on sexual segregation and covering women, headlining such an event?... Muslim reformer Asra Nomani has been abjectly harassed and vilified for admitting she voted for Trump, mainly due to her concerns over the Obama administration’s response to radical Islamic terrorism and healthcare... no one deserves to be told they are “betraying” their race or religion for exercising their democratic rights."

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 155 - Uri Simonsohn on "Detecting fraud in social science" - "I think this is a euphemism that people use quite a bit, but the data were “not collected as described in the article.”

Majulah Singapura - The First Version - YouTube - "Majulah Singapura is the National Anthem of Singapore composed by the late Pak Zubir Said. This is the original version that was presented in 1958 for the Municipal Council and in 1959 when Singapore became self-governing. In this version there are 8 bars of music that was later taken out for the present version. The two recordings are presented here as a video that is based on a Timeline Music Annotation software which allows writing and manipulating graphics directly to the sound - a revolutionary new way of explaining music. Timeline technology and pedagogy is being developed by Sonic Asia in Singapore"

I Knew Chelsea Manning in Basic Combat Training. Here’s the Story You Haven’t Heard. - "Chelsea Manning was not picked on or harassed because of her gender or identity; she was not bullied because she was small or appeared easily overpowered or dominated. No, Chelsea Manning was ostracized. Because some unknown in her character prevented her from ever truly entering into that covenant of self-sacrifice upon which collective group defense depends, she could not ever satisfactorily contribute to the welfare of the group. In a social schema where the defense of the group becomes the perpetual rationale for why the group should even continue existing, Chelsea Manning either could not or would not sacrifice enough of herself to inspire loyalty among comrades"

Google Has Finally Started Penalizing Mobile Websites With Intrusive Pop-Up Ads - "Google is targeting what they call “problematic transitions,” and gave three specific examples of pages that would be affected. The first is pages that show a pop up that opens right after a user clicks a link or as they scroll through a page, hiding the page’s content. Also affected are pages that show an interstitial ad that must be closed out before the user gets to their desired content and pages that keep content “under the fold” with an interstitial on the top of the page."
Down with SPH!

Good Friends — “Single Ladies” synced up with the DuckTales theme...

The Ghostbusters Honest Trailer Is So Vicious, But Nails Every Problem With The Reboot

20th Century Hairstyles: The Poodle Cut, the Beehive, the Mohawk, the Mullet, and Other Hair Fashion Trends

Disney World Gaston Actor Dead: Devon Staples Dies After Shooting Firework off Head - "Devon Staples attempted to launch a firework off of his head on Saturday in Maine and died instantly. Staples used to work at Disney World in Orlando and would dress up as Gaston and Goofy"

Progressives Attack Jennifer Lawrence for Scratching Her Butt on Some Rocks - "The actress previously raised the ire of the regressive left when she called for non-violence and calm in the wake of the recent surge in street violence over the election of Donald Trump. Lawrence says that while filming The Hunger Games on an island in Hawaii, she scratched her ass on some of the rocks there while in a wetsuit... On cue, The Mary Sue didn’t take kindly to her retelling of the story, stating (without evidence) that her butt-scratching faux pas angered locals, while admonishing her for not being apologetic about it"

Are kids today getting enough physical contact? - "whatever benefits may come from being raised in a low-touch environment, they are costs too. And those costs may be steep. Most people understand that child neglect — including a lack of friendly touch and physical affection — can cause serious developmental delays. What may be less obvious are the effects of milder deprivation…the disadvantages a “playpen” child faces compared to someone who is raised in the traditional primate way. In the short-term, an act of physical affection soothes anxiety, fear, and pain. In the long-term, friendly touch influences brain development, “programming” the body to react less dramatically to stress and pain. It may even reduce inflammation. And of course, there is the unspoken truth we all know very well. Nothing communicates love to a young child better than responsive, caring touch. So when we feel cultural pressure to avoid physical contact — or simply find ourselves too busy to make time for a puppy pile — we should consider the consequences and bigger picture: Where we came from and how our bodies respond to friendly touch. If a child isn’t getting enough physical contact at home, where else can he go?"
Meanwhile some feminists are teaching their kids it's okay to reject hugs from family members if they're uncomfortable, because that supposedly prevents sexual assault

The truth about sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome - "In this world the notion of sex between two grown men was deeply taboo as it was seen to reduce the passive partner to the level of a woman. Indeed if the Greeks and Romans did not outlaw it, it was because the shame of the act was punishment enough – though the weight of shame fell mostly on the penetrated. Of greater taboo still was for an older man to allow himself to be penetrated by a younger man – the modern word ‘pathetic’ derives from the Latin for such a man... Where sex between males was deemed acceptable to occur was between men and youths, and in theory it was only supposed to be inter-crucial (where one partner grips the other’s penis between his thighs) though from the writings the Greeks and Romans have left to us, it was often not... Sex between men in the Roman world was a mostly more sinister affair. Having sex with a free born Roman male could see you up on charges for ruining the youth’s future reputation. But slaves and foreigners were all fair game... Homosexual characters were often mocked as figures of fun in bawdy Roman comedies"
Ancient Greece and Rome certainly weren't gay utopias

K Shanmugam warns of a Muslim community that grows apart from the rest - "The Minister said, among sections of our younger Muslim population, sentiments against wishing Christians ‘Merry Christmas’ or wishing Hindus ‘Happy Deepavali’ have been picked up. “Some Muslim groups preach that it is wrong for Muslims to recite the National Pledge, or sing the National Anthem, or serve National Service, as doing so would contradict the Muslim faith,” Mr Shanmugam said. “Or that the democratically elected Government that we have in Singapore is incompatible with Islam, and that we should be a caliphate.” “These are worrying trends and if these sentiments become widespread, a Muslim community that grows apart from the mainstream is not good for Singapore and will have serious long-term implications,” he stated... Pointing to Malaysia, Mr Shanmugam said that it has become more Islamic and politics led the change. A survey last year showed 60 per cent of Malays identified themselves as Muslims first, rather than as Malaysians or Malays, and more than 70 per cent of Malays support hudud laws that punish theft by chopping off the criminal's hands, and adultery by stoning. Against the backdrop of such changes, some Malaysians have begun to support extremist terrorist ideology. A recent Pew Research Centre study showed 10 percent of Malaysian Malays had a favourable opinion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)."

Some lessons from privatizing national airlines - "I didn’t realize that national airlines often have spotty track records. But it’s a common problem found all over the world. An article in Handshake, IFC’s quarterly journal on PPPs, points out that overregulation, overstaffing, excessive debt, political interference and poor management are all too common. The authors, James Morley and Brian Samuel, describe the record of state-owned airlines as “abysmal” and flatly state that “governments have no business being in this business.”"

Togs or swimmers? Why Australians use different words to describe the same things - "Australian English developed from the speech of colonists from various parts of the British Isles, so sometimes the word used in a particular Australian region is the result of one option winning out among people from different British backgrounds. Others might be derived from the names of people or brands, or borrowed from local Indigenous languages... Striking examples of this phenomenon can be seen for border towns such as Albury-Wodonga, where a short walk across the bridge means you’ll hear a majority of people using a different word for swimwear"

Australian Jarrod Allen is recreating profile pictures of girls he comes across on Tinder App. - Album on Imgur

You have 1 knife? I have 2: Chinese noodle shop owner chases off would-be robber in Australia - "A teenager's plan to rob a noodle shop owner in Brisbane armed with a knife backfired spectacularly when his victim retaliated with twice the firepower."

Humanitarians of Tinder: Turn Your Voluntourism into Sexual Capital and Reap the Rewards – The Sceptical Voluntourist - " If you’ve got a photo of some volunteering you did, be sure to capitalise on its potential to bag that extra sexy someone by adding it to your Tinder profile and reaping the sexual rewards. For maximum impact, ensure your picture involves black children, the more happy they look to have been blessed with your presence the better. If you can make clear you’re in Africa by appropriating some kind of traditional ethnic garb all the better. Next thing you know, potential conquests will recognise you for the blessing you are to this world and the black children in it and you’ll bag yourself a hottie. Finally that week you spent building a school in Kenya was all worth it... Perhaps the worst story I’ve ever heard was about a girl who paid £700 to take part in Brazilian conservation survey deep in the Amazon jungle, and helped carry the equipment, only to have it dawn on her halfway through that the men she was with were actually oil prospectors... an organisation that charges £920 for a week working in an elephant orphanage is a profitable business, not a volunteer opportunity"

A Politician Went on Tinder and Here's What Happened - "One thing he did learn from the experience — women are more inclined to talk about politics."

Exclusive: Law firm director boasts about giving “damn good” fellatio - "RollOnFriday’s favourite Singaporean law firm TSMP Law has been left red-faced after one of its managing directors took to Facebook to boast about how good she is at giving blowjobs.. Stefanie Yuen, who is married to her co-managing director, Thoi Shen Yi, unwittingly shared her prowess at oral sex with the entire world

White House 'Champion' Blasts Muslims Who Work With Jews - "Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour took to Twitter last month with a quick, venting post: “You know what I can’t stand? Bitter people. That’s all.” Sarsour spoke at the annual American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) conference three days later. Evidently, she can’t stand herself. Sarsour, who describes herself as a “racial justice and civil rights activist,” lashed out at Jews who extended a hand of friendship and solidarity to Muslims. And she lashed out at fellow Muslims who accepted the gesture and joined in a new interfaith dialogue"

Madonna at Women’s March: ‘I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House’ - "In her speech at the pre-march rally, the pop megastar declared that she was angry and that “good did not win this election.”"
Apparently you can be a terrorist and be on the side of good

Americans have seen the last four presidents as illegitimate. Here’s why. - "What is it about the past three presidencies that helped bring us to this moment? That question will no doubt inspire many dissertations in the coming decades, but one obvious similarity is that the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, unlike those that came before them, had to navigate in a political environment shaped by the close of the Cold War, the rise of instantaneous, doomsday-style political fundraising, the emergence of a highly balkanized and ubiquitous 24/7 media, and the disruption of traditional politics by the Internet and social media... It is much easier to get people to send you $20 if you accuse the president of being a threat to the American way of life instead of an honorable man with whom you happen to disagree on a certain topic... By the time the 2016 presidential campaign was underway, neither Democrats nor Republicans retained enough credibility in sounding the alarm about Trump being outside the mainstream; they had cried wolf too many times. This has left us with President Trump: a leader befitting our own hyperbole"

The Man in the Zebra Suit Knows the Secret of the Stripes - "Caro and his colleagues did a map analysis, overlaying the ranges of various biting flies and insects with the places where zebras, and their non-striped cousins like the Asiatic wild ass, ranged. “It’s a slam dunk, if you like,” he says. “You find striping where you have high biting fly abundance.”"

The French are not rude, it's just one big misunderstanding - "Peaches are warm on the outside, and share personal stories, but make the mistake of thinking that is genuine intimacy and you’ll hit the core ‘inner self’ stone, Lewin argues. Whereas coconuts seem aloof and cold at first, but once you get through to their tough outer shell, they become genuine and open... “The French are much more direct with negative feedback than any Anglo-Saxon country” says Meyer, “this is a big part of why any culture is considered to be arrogant”... the French criticism isn’t reserved for others, they’re just as critical of themselves. In the same Pew study, French people also ranked their own country as the most arrogant in the EU, which ironically, is actually quite humble."

'Incredible number' of tree species in small area - "In Singapore, researchers have found that a 1ha plot within Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, possibly the world's most ancient small rainforest reserve, contains more tree species than the whole of North America."

Giving nasi lemak extra oomph with wild boar curry
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