When you can't live without bananas

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Links - 18th May 2017 (2)

Demand for female tutors '21/2 times that for male' - "When it comes to tutors, women are in greater demand than men, a recent local study has found. For some parents, this preference results from a wary attitude towards male tutors, and the stigma that surrounds them."
Presumably the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) doesn't cover this because it's not employer-employee employment. Of course AWARE was silent on this

The Crisis of Western Civ - The New York Times - "This Western civ narrative came with certain values — about the importance of reasoned discourse, the importance of property rights, the need for a public square that was religiously informed but not theocratically dominated. It set a standard for what great statesmanship looked like. It gave diverse people a sense of shared mission and a common vocabulary, set a framework within which political argument could happen and most important provided a set of common goals. Starting decades ago, many people, especially in the universities, lost faith in the Western civilization narrative. They stopped teaching it, and the great cultural transmission belt broke. Now many students, if they encounter it, are taught that Western civilization is a history of oppression. It’s amazing what far-reaching effects this has had. It is as if a prevailing wind, which powered all the ships at sea, had suddenly ceased to blow. Now various scattered enemies of those Western values have emerged, and there is apparently nobody to defend them... These days, the whole idea of Western civ is assumed to be reactionary and oppressive. All I can say is, if you think that was reactionary and oppressive, wait until you get a load of the world that comes after it."

After Weight-Loss Surgery, a Year of Joys and Disappointments - NYTimes.com - "Nearly 200,000 Americans have bariatric surgery each year. Yet far more — an estimated 24 million — are heavy enough to qualify for the operation, and many of them are struggling with whether to have such a radical treatment, the only one that leads to profound and lasting weight loss for virtually everyone who has it. Most people believe that the operation simply forces people to eat less by making their stomachs smaller, but scientists have discovered that it actually causes profound changes in patients’ physiology, altering the activity of thousands of genes in the human body as well as the complex hormonal signaling from the gut to the brain. It often leads to astonishing changes in the way things taste, making cravings for a rich slice of chocolate cake or a bag of White Castle hamburgers simply vanish... surgery immediately alters the activity of more than 5,000 of the 22,000 genes in the human body."

How Did Walmart Get Cleaner Stores and Higher Sales? It Paid Its People More - The New York Times - "The idea is that, sometimes, it is in an employer’s best interest to pay more than necessary to get a worker into a job. The 18th-century economic thinker Adam Smith described the need to pay a goldsmith particularly well to dissuade him from stealing from you. More recently, economists (including Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, who worked on these topics as an academic economist in the 1980s) have found evidence that people are more productive when they are paid above the market rate."

Immigration blunders that led to Brexit - "Paradoxically, Britain's current problem with immigrants - which led directly to the country's rejection of the EU - is not the result of bigotry but, as incredible as it may sound today, precisely because the Brits wanted to show the rest of Europe how open they can be. In effect, Britain knocked itself out of the continent after attempting to be more generous than the continent... Evidence that not all was well kept pouring into British government offices from all directions: the pressure on housing became acute, schools could not cope with the demand for spaces and daily wages in some sectors like construction fell by a whopping 50 per cent, as labour supply far outstripped local needs. But successive British governments did nothing... the country's working class which used to be praised as the "salt of the earth" ultimately came to be treated as "the scum of the earth". Yet bizarrely, the entire political class still refused to do anything. In what is by now one of the country's most iconic modern episodes, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown publicly dismissed as "bigoted" a middle-aged voter who, during the 2010 general election campaign, dared to ask him in polite terms what he proposed to do about East European migration. Yet current PM Cameron also maintained the same air of political correctness, by pretending that the problem is not migration as such, but the people who complain about it. The rebuke to Britain's rulers came during the EU referendum, when the so-called "scum of the earth" suddenly stood up and demanded to be heard... European governments ought to remember that immigration is not only about ensuring adequate labour supply or sustaining economic efficiency; it's also about challenging existing national identities and community spirit, about maintaining the implicit contract between those ruling and those ruled"

The Straits Times - Posts - "Do-Not-Call registry: Firms want calls, SMS to be separated"
This article from 2011 is no longer accessible. Why don't Straits Times articles have durable permalinks like world class publications like the New York Times?

Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo states that Boba and Jango Fett are not Mandalorians. Let the meltdown commence. : StarWars

Error access is denied (Write to disk) uTorrent in Windows 10.
Addendum: file permissions - uTorrent error: Access is denied - Super User - "Solution 3:
Change the compatibility of uTorrent or BitTorrent to Windows XP SP3.
Right-click on the program's shortcut, .exe file, or installation file.
Click on Properties.
Click on the Compatibility tab.
Check the Run this program in compatibility mode and choose SP3."

Ma Bo Lor Mee @ ABC Brickworks on the App Store - "Through the Ma Bo Lor Mee mobile app, user can interact with us more effectively and will be updated regarding our stall at anytime, anywhere."
Why does a Lor Mee stall need an app?

The rise of left-wing, anti-Trump fake news - ""On the left if you're consuming fake news you're 34 times more likely than the general population to be a college graduate"... the more you consume fake news, the more likely you are to vote... Brooke Binkowski, who is managing editor at Snopes website, warns newsreaders to stay aware of the emotions they feel when consuming content"

Facebook’s fake news problem won’t fix itself – Poynter - "A BuzzFeed analysis of six hyperpartisan Facebook pages found that posts with mostly false content or no facts fared better than their truthful counterparts... disinformation spreads faster and wider than related corrections"
The analysis shows not only that the left wing sources have lots of fake news too, but that it's shared a lot more than the right wing sources

9 More Viral Photos That Are Completely Fake - "Did the new president of Taiwan really say “I won’t buy the whole pig just for a sausage?... The message is seen as one of female empowerment and independence here in the United States, but it wasn’t meant that way when the anonymous Chinese hoaxer created it. I contacted the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office to try and confirm the quote. And as I suspected, it appears to be a fabrication by Chinese bloggers hoping to make the new president look silly.”

Chinese man builds fake police station in flat and poses as cop in elaborate con - "During a search of his home-cum-interrogation centre, security officials uncovered a cache of forged documents, a GPS tracking device and a miniature surveillance camera, according to the newspaper report. They also found a copy of The Story of the Stone, a classic work of 18th century Chinese literature that opens in a place known as the Land of Illusion. “Truth becomes fiction when the fiction’s true,” the book’s opening line reads. “Real becomes not-real where the unreal’s real.”"

Gullible Huffington Post Falls for Hoax Article Calling for White Men to be Stripped of Voting Rights - "HuffPostSA editor Verashni Pillay wrote an article (archived post) defending its publication. She highlighted examples of complaints sent to the website, and blamed readers for having a poor understanding of the “pretty standard feminist theory” Shelley used. Pillay has since deleted the defense. Then, following the extensive backlash, Huffington Post deleted the article, replacing it with a meek apology and a claim that they were unable to confirm that Shelley Garland was a real person. They even had to hilariously clarify that they are in favor of universal voting enfranchisement... The hoaxster says that her editors at Huffington Post did not correct any of the false claims, factual errors and logical fallacies she purposely embedded in the piece, and accepted it without question.
'A further indictment on the Huffington Post is the fact that its editor, Verashni Pillay, then took it upon herself to defend the total garbage that I had written.'"

Lucasfilm Consider Ending Main Star Wars Movies & Focusing On Spinoffs - "As strong as the Skywalker / Solo brand may be, sooner or later Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are going to want to step out of the saga. That doesn't matter if you're writing novels; but if your ongoing Star Wars movie franchise is centered around these actors, then you have a real problem."

It's impossible to present history in a way that won't offend someone: Neil Macdonald - "if anyone ever uncovers evidence proving or disproving the existence of Jesus Christ, he'd better either bury it or go into hiding, because that sort of thing can get you killed... CBC is sort-of apologizing again, this time for broadcasting a series rather inoffensively titled Canada: The Story of Us, produced to coincide with the country's 150th anniversary celebrations... it's probably not possible in this day and age to present a version of history that won't offend someone. In this case, such an effort would have to view Canada's founding equally through English and French eyes, as well as those of Indigenous people, the Métis, the Acadians, the Catholics and the Protestants. (But not too much so, as to avoid cultural appropriation). Any depiction of what happened at the Plains of Abraham would have to take care not to name a winner, but rather characterize it as just one development in the history of Canada's two founding nations. It would need to avoid androcentricity, while at the same time recording that men were completely in charge and made all the big decisions... if your main goal is to avoid giving offence, it's safest to ensure such efforts are terminally boring. Because everyone wants to own history. In these hypersensitive times, there is no canon"

Harambe: Stop making memes of our dead gorilla, Cincinnati Zoo pleads

On landing, the pilot made an announcement so psychologically astute that I wanted to offer him a job - "‘I’ve got some bad news and some good news,’ he said. ‘The bad news is that another aircraft is blocking our arrival gate, so it’ll have to be a bus. The good news is that the bus will drop you off right next to passport control, so you won’t have far to walk with your bags’... Nothing had changed objectively, but now we had a new story to tell ourselves... The reason we hated being bused to the terminal was not because it was intrinsically bad, but because nobody knew of any redeeming advantages to help us see it in a positive light. Once we knew there was an upside, we were free to minimise the pain of cognitive dissonance by choosing to see the bus as a convenience and not an annoyance... It seems we can mentally cope with trade-offs: what is intolerable are those experiences where there is no discernible upside at all. In such cases there is nothing to help us escape the pain of cognitive dissonance. Even when people make fairly silly decisions, they can usually post-rationalise them. What upsets us most are those inescapable things where there is no apparent positive — paying tax, speed-camera fines, season-ticket increases, utility bills. The very act of choosing something generally makes us like it more... Last week in The Spectator, Peter Jones suggested something I have long believed — that the tax system should offer some kind of quid pro quo, even if it is largely symbolic, to people and companies who pay more tax. The Greeks, he explained, designed their system of wealth tax so that it offered bragging rights to those who provided public goods. Rich Athenians relished competing among themselves to fund a better trireme than their fellows.

Permitting modern businesses to display some sort of tax kitemark would at least allow them to justify to themselves why it was worth paying more than the legal minimum. It may be a small thing in economic terms, but at least there is some positive spin to be put on it. Remember, when we construct stories, our intended audience isn’t only other people. It is also ourselves"

Real-time HTML Editor - "Type HTML in the textarea above, and it will magically appear in the frame below."
1997: Hacking HTML in Notepad
2007: Using a modern browser to surf the web
2017: Looking at HTML in Notepad to get around paywalls. Or rendering it with this

Popup Killer: How to Bypass Website Barriers Without Signing Up or Completing Surveys - "You've probably experienced these popup windows, known as Lightbox modals, all across the web, especially on magazine and newspaper sites that have yet to fully embrace the ad-supported digital world. And let's not forget about those pesky "fill out this survey to continue" content blockers (don't even get me started on those)... Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer make accessing the web inspector very easy. Below, I'm using Chrome, but the process is nearly identical in Firefox and IE.
Step 1: Inspect Element
Step 2: Delete the Lightbox Mask
Step 3: Delete the Lightbox Window
Step 4: Get Your Scroll Bar Back
Step 5: Close the Developer Tools...
Safari's process is no different than Chrome and Firefox, other than that you have to enable access to your web developer tools. To turn them on, simply open the "Advanced" tab in Safari's "Preferences," and click on the box at the bottom that says "Show Develop menu in menu bar.""
Another reason not to use Macs - Safari is emblematic of the trouble you need to go through

Will politicians finally admit that the Paris attacks had something to do with Islam? - "All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent... If you do not know the ideology — perverted or plausible though it may be — you can neither understand nor prevent such attacks. Nor, without knowing some Islamic history, could you understand why — whether in Mumbai or Paris — the Islamists always target the Jews... in contemporary Europe, Islam receives not an undue amount of criticism but a free ride which is unfair to all other religions. The night after the Charlie Hebdo atrocities I was pre-recording a Radio 4 programme. My fellow discussant was a very nice Muslim man who works to ‘de-radicalise’ extremists. We agreed on nearly everything. But at some point he said that one reason Muslims shouldn’t react to such cartoons is that Mohammed never objected to critics. There may be some positive things to be said about Mohammed, but I thought this was pushing things too far and mentioned just one occasion when Mohammed didn’t welcome a critic. Asma bint Marwan was a female poetess who mocked the ‘Prophet’ and who, as a result, Mohammed had killed. It is in the texts. It is not a problem for me. But I can understand why it is a problem for decent Muslims. The moment I said this, my Muslim colleague went berserk. How dare I say this? I replied that it was in the Hadith and had a respectable chain of transmission (an important debate). He said it was a fabrication which he would not allow to stand. The upshot was that he refused to continue unless all mention of this was wiped from the recording. The BBC team agreed and I was left trying to find another way to express the same point. The broadcast had this ‘offensive’ fact left out... al-Azhar University in Cairo declared that although Isis members are terrorists they cannot be described as heretics."

The questions nobody wants to ask about Asad Shah's murder - "On Maundy Thursday a Muslim shopkeeper in Glasgow was brutally murdered. Forty-year-old Asad Shah was allegedly stabbed in the head with a kitchen knife and then stamped upon. Most of the UK press began by going big on this story and referring to it as an act of ‘religious hatred’, comfortably leaving readers with the distinct feeling that – post-Brussels – the Muslim shopkeeper must have been killed by an ‘Islamophobe’. Had that been the case, by now the press would be crawling over every view the killer had ever held and every Facebook connection he had ever made. They would be asking why he had done it and investigating every one of his associates... In Britain whenever there is a vaguely positive news story about Islam it almost invariably involves Ahmadi Muslims. Remember the bus adverts a few years back saying that Islam had ‘love for all, hatred for none’. That was paid for by Ahmadiyya Muslims. Remember the stories of a Muslim group not burning poppies but actually selling them for the Royal British Legion? Ahmadiyyas again... the Imam of the Grand Central Mosque in Glasgow (Scotland’s biggest mosque) had been caught posting messages on the net praising the Muslim extremist who murdered Pakistani governor Salman Taseer for opposing blasphemy laws. This is the mosque that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon went straight to after the Paris terror attacks in November... nobody will ask for instance which Muslim leaders in the UK stoke hatred of Ahmadiyya Muslims... As it happens, the Imam of the mosque that Sadiq Khan himself attends in Tooting is one Suliman Gani. This is a man who has in the past openly acknowledged that he uses his position to agitate against Ahmadiyya Muslims... nobody will ask about this, because almost nobody knows, or cares to know, or cares to hear the answers"

The menace of memes: how pictures can paint a thousand lies - "it’s worth remembering that not every accusation levelled at Westminster is fair. Over the past couple of years, a trend for internet memes about politicians has grown. Those graphics tend to juxtapose two images from Parliament, one showing lots of MPs apparently very interested in something, another with a handful of sleepy politicians loafing about on the Commons benches. Naturally, the first image bears a caption suggesting that MPs are debating something that benefits them personally, while the second claims they’re voting on something that affects very vulnerable people... You might argue that, for many MPs, it is more constructive to be outside the Chamber during those sessions if they can influence government policy by scrutinising it in other ways. A select committee, for example, or writing parliamentary questions, briefing journalists on the failure of a certain policy or taking a delegation of MPs to lobby the Prime Minister. But very few people understand the different sorts of Commons business and assume that everything that takes place in the Chamber has the same import. It doesn’t."

It’s time for me to face the truth – I am no longer a feminist - "it’s with dismay rather than despair I read this morning’s Australian, which broke the news that Victorian high school students are going to learn about male privilege... As my colleague Dr Jeremy Sammut pointed out, this is indeed an example of “taxpayer-funded indoctrination” that ignores the complex social problems that inform domestic and family violence. More than that, it’s truly sad that a program originally labelled “Respectful Relationships”, instead inspires alienation, and peddles guilt and shame, when put in practice."

The Follies of Recycling

The Reign of Recycling - NYTimes.com

"IF you live in the United States, you probably do some form of recycling. It’s likely that you separate paper from plastic and glass and metal. You rinse the bottles and cans, and you might put food scraps in a container destined for a composting facility. As you sort everything into the right bins, you probably assume that recycling is helping your community and protecting the environment. But is it? Are you in fact wasting your time?

In 1996, I wrote a long article for The New York Times Magazine arguing that the recycling process as we carried it out was wasteful. I presented plenty of evidence that recycling was costly and ineffectual, but its defenders said that it was unfair to rush to judgment. Noting that the modern recycling movement had really just begun just a few years earlier, they predicted it would flourish as the industry matured and the public learned how to recycle properly.

So, what’s happened since then? While it’s true that the recycling message has reached more people than ever, when it comes to the bottom line, both economically and environmentally, not much has changed at all.

Despite decades of exhortations and mandates, it’s still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill. Prices for recyclable materials have plummeted because of lower oil prices and reduced demand for them overseas. The slump has forced some recycling companies to shut plants and cancel plans for new technologies. The mood is so gloomy that one industry veteran tried to cheer up her colleagues this summer with an article in a trade journal titled, “Recycling Is Not Dead!”

While politicians set higher and higher goals, the national rate of recycling has stagnated in recent years. Yes, it’s popular in affluent neighborhoods like Park Slope in Brooklyn and in cities like San Francisco, but residents of the Bronx and Houston don’t have the same fervor for sorting garbage in their spare time.

The future for recycling looks even worse. As cities move beyond recycling paper and metals, and into glass, food scraps and assorted plastics, the costs rise sharply while the environmental benefits decline and sometimes vanish. “If you believe recycling is good for the planet and that we need to do more of it, then there’s a crisis to confront,” says David P. Steiner, the chief executive officer of Waste Management, the largest recycler of household trash in the United States. “Trying to turn garbage into gold costs a lot more than expected. We need to ask ourselves: What is the goal here?”

Recycling has been relentlessly promoted as a goal in and of itself: an unalloyed public good and private virtue that is indoctrinated in students from kindergarten through college. As a result, otherwise well-informed and educated people have no idea of the relative costs and benefits.

They probably don’t know, for instance, that to reduce carbon emissions, you’ll accomplish a lot more by sorting paper and aluminum cans than by worrying about yogurt containers and half-eaten slices of pizza. Most people also assume that recycling plastic bottles must be doing lots for the planet. They’ve been encouraged by the Environmental Protection Agency, which assures the public that recycling plastic results in less carbon being released into the atmosphere.

But how much difference does it make? Here’s some perspective: To offset the greenhouse impact of one passenger’s round-trip flight between New York and London, you’d have to recycle roughly 40,000 plastic bottles, assuming you fly coach. If you sit in business- or first-class, where each passenger takes up more space, it could be more like 100,000.

Even those statistics might be misleading. New York and other cities instruct people to rinse the bottles before putting them in the recycling bin, but the E.P.A.’s life-cycle calculation doesn’t take that water into account. That single omission can make a big difference, according to Chris Goodall, the author of “How to Live a Low-Carbon Life.” Mr. Goodall calculates that if you wash plastic in water that was heated by coal-derived electricity, then the net effect of your recycling could be more carbon in the atmosphere.

To many public officials, recycling is a question of morality, not cost-benefit analysis. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York declared that by 2030 the city would no longer send any garbage to landfills. “This is the way of the future if we’re going to save our earth,” he explained while announcing that New York would join San Francisco, Seattle and other cities in moving toward a “zero waste” policy, which would require an unprecedented level of recycling.

The national rate of recycling rose during the 1990s to 25 percent, meeting the goal set by an E.P.A. official, J. Winston Porter. He advised state officials that no more than about 35 percent of the nation’s trash was worth recycling, but some ignored him and set goals of 50 percent and higher. Most of those goals were never met and the national rate has been stuck around 34 percent in recent years.

“It makes sense to recycle commercial cardboard and some paper, as well as selected metals and plastics,” he says. “But other materials rarely make sense, including food waste and other compostables. The zero-waste goal makes no sense at all — it’s very expensive with almost no real environmental benefit.”

One of the original goals of the recycling movement was to avert a supposed crisis because there was no room left in the nation’s landfills. But that media-inspired fear was never realistic in a country with so much open space. In reporting the 1996 article I found that all the trash generated by Americans for the next 1,000 years would fit on one-tenth of 1 percent of the land available for grazing. And that tiny amount of land wouldn’t be lost forever, because landfills are typically covered with grass and converted to parkland, like the Freshkills Park being created on Staten Island. The United States Open tennis tournament is played on the site of an old landfill — and one that never had the linings and other environmental safeguards required today.

Though most cities shun landfills, they have been welcomed in rural communities that reap large economic benefits (and have plenty of greenery to buffer residents from the sights and smells). Consequently, the great landfill shortage has not arrived, and neither have the shortages of raw materials that were supposed to make recycling profitable.

With the economic rationale gone, advocates for recycling have switched to environmental arguments. Researchers have calculated that there are indeed such benefits to recycling, but not in the way that many people imagine.

Most of these benefits do not come from reducing the need for landfills and incinerators. A modern well-lined landfill in a rural area can have relatively little environmental impact. Decomposing garbage releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, but landfill operators have started capturing it and using it to generate electricity. Modern incinerators, while politically unpopular in the United States, release so few pollutants that they’ve been widely accepted in the eco-conscious countries of Northern Europe and Japan for generating clean energy.

Moreover, recycling operations have their own environmental costs, like extra trucks on the road and pollution from recycling operations. Composting facilities around the country have inspired complaints about nauseating odors, swarming rats and defecating sea gulls. After New York City started sending food waste to be composted in Delaware, the unhappy neighbors of the composting plant successfully campaigned to shut it down last year.

THE environmental benefits of recycling come chiefly from reducing the need to manufacture new products — less mining, drilling and logging. But that’s not so appealing to the workers in those industries and to the communities that have accepted the environmental trade-offs that come with those jobs.

Nearly everyone, though, approves of one potential benefit of recycling: reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. Its advocates often cite an estimate by the E.P.A. that recycling municipal solid waste in the United States saves the equivalent of 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, comparable to removing the emissions of 39 million cars.

According to the E.P.A.’s estimates, virtually all the greenhouse benefits — more than 90 percent — come from just a few materials: paper, cardboard and metals like the aluminum in soda cans. That’s because recycling one ton of metal or paper saves about three tons of carbon dioxide, a much bigger payoff than the other materials analyzed by the E.P.A. Recycling one ton of plastic saves only slightly more than one ton of carbon dioxide. A ton of food saves a little less than a ton. For glass, you have to recycle three tons in order to get about one ton of greenhouse benefits. Worst of all is yard waste: it takes 20 tons of it to save a single ton of carbon dioxide.

Once you exclude paper products and metals, the total annual savings in the United States from recycling everything else in municipal trash — plastics, glass, food, yard trimmings, textiles, rubber, leather — is only two-tenths of 1 percent of America’s carbon footprint.

As a business, recycling is on the wrong side of two long-term global economic trends. For centuries, the real cost of labor has been increasing while the real cost of raw materials has been declining. That’s why we can afford to buy so much more stuff than our ancestors could. As a labor-intensive activity, recycling is an increasingly expensive way to produce materials that are less and less valuable.

Recyclers have tried to improve the economics by automating the sorting process, but they’ve been frustrated by politicians eager to increase recycling rates by adding new materials of little value. The more types of trash that are recycled, the more difficult it becomes to sort the valuable from the worthless.

In New York City, the net cost of recycling a ton of trash is now $300 more than it would cost to bury the trash instead. That adds up to millions of extra dollars per year — about half the budget of the parks department — that New Yorkers are spending for the privilege of recycling. That money could buy far more valuable benefits, including more significant reductions in greenhouse emissions.

So what is a socially conscious, sensible person to do?

It would be much simpler and more effective to impose the equivalent of a carbon tax on garbage, as Thomas C. Kinnaman has proposed after conducting what is probably the most thorough comparison of the social costs of recycling, landfilling and incineration. Dr. Kinnaman, an economist at Bucknell University, considered everything from environmental damage to the pleasure that some people take in recycling (the “warm glow” that makes them willing to pay extra to do it).

He concludes that the social good would be optimized by subsidizing the recycling of some metals, and by imposing a $15 tax on each ton of trash that goes to the landfill. That tax would offset the environmental costs, chiefly the greenhouse impact, and allow each municipality to make a guilt-free choice based on local economics and its citizens’ wishes. The result, Dr. Kinnaman predicts, would be a lot less recycling than there is today.

Then why do so many public officials keep vowing to do more of it? Special-interest politics is one reason — pressure from green groups — but it’s also because recycling intuitively appeals to many voters: It makes people feel virtuous, especially affluent people who feel guilty about their enormous environmental footprint. It is less an ethical activity than a religious ritual, like the ones performed by Catholics to obtain indulgences for their sins.

Religious rituals don’t need any practical justification for the believers who perform them voluntarily. But many recyclers want more than just the freedom to practice their religion. They want to make these rituals mandatory for everyone else, too, with stiff fines for sinners who don’t sort properly. Seattle has become so aggressive that the city is being sued by residents who maintain that the inspectors rooting through their trash are violating their constitutional right to privacy.

It would take legions of garbage police to enforce a zero-waste society, but true believers insist that’s the future. When Mayor de Blasio promised to eliminate garbage in New York, he said it was “ludicrous” and “outdated” to keep sending garbage to landfills. Recycling, he declared, was the only way for New York to become “a truly sustainable city.”

But cities have been burying garbage for thousands of years, and it’s still the easiest and cheapest solution for trash. The recycling movement is floundering, and its survival depends on continual subsidies, sermons and policing. How can you build a sustainable city with a strategy that can’t even sustain itself?"

Links - 18th May 2017 (1)

#ComeyMemo: “The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo” - "the pattern is a NYT-WaPo-CNN pearl-clutching circle over leaks provided by anonymous people over an investigation which has dragged on for several months and has produced no evidence regarding Trump’s links to Russia. In plain English: An unnamed person read parts of a note Comey wrote to himself (and kept in a drawer for three months), to an unnamed NYT employee. The NYT calls it “clearest evidence;” the WaPo says it’s obstruction of justice. Some are talking of impeachment over this – over some newspaper playing Mad Libs with stuff they haven’t actually seen."

Tips For Washington Post Trump Articles Based On Anonymous Leaks - "The story was based on anonymous sources, naturally, and noted “The news was first reported by the New York Times.” If true, it would support a narrative that Trump had fired Comey not due to his general incompetence but because he was trying to thwart a legitimate and fruitful investigation. Anonymous sources again had something very different to say from people whose comments were tied to their names, who all denied the report. The Justice Department spokeswoman immediately responded that the claim was false, and her quote was included in the story... The next day under oath, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly denied that the probe into Russia was undersourced or requiring any additional funds... Previous Washington Post stories sourced to anonymous “officials” have fallen apart... For context, it’s worth noting that breaking news is frequently wrong. In the aftermath of a terrorist attack or an active shooter, responsible journalists pass around a guide for how to monitor breaking news... Perhaps we need a similar guide for how to handle breaking news that comes from the Washington Post. It turns out we can keep many of the tips"

Comey Under Oath: Trump NEVER Pressured FBI to Halt Investigations "It's Not Happened" - "Lying during sworn congressional testimony is committing perjury, a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison"

You Are Triggering me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma | Bully Bloggers - "as people “call each other out” to a chorus of finger snapping, we seem to be rapidly losing all sense of perspective and instead of building alliances, we are dismantling hard fought for coalitions... controversies erupted in the last few months over the name of a longstanding nightclub in San Francisco: “Trannyshack,” and arguments ensued about whether the word “tranny” should ever be used. These debates led some people to distraction, and legendary queer performer, Justin Vivian Bond, posted an open letter on her Facebook page telling readers and fans in no uncertain terms that she is “angered by this trifling bullshit.” Bond reminded readers that many people are “delighted to be trannies” and not delighted to be shamed into silence by the “word police.” Bond and others have also referred to the queer custom of re-appropriating terms of abuse and turning them into affectionate terms of endearment. When we obliterate terms like “tranny” in the quest for respectability and assimilation, we actually feed back into the very ideologies that produce the homo and trans phobia in the first place!... it is becoming difficult to speak, to perform, to offer up work nowadays without someone, somewhere claiming to feel hurt, or re-traumatized by a cultural event, a painting, a play, a speech, a casual use of slang, a characterization, a caricature and so on whether or not the “damaging” speech/characterization occurs within a complex aesthetic work... With the help of friendly adults, therapy, queer youth groups and national campaigns, these same youth internalize narratives of damage that they themselves may or may not have actually experienced. Queer youth groups in particular install a narrative of trauma and encourage LGBT youth to see themselves as “endangered” and “precarious” whether or not they actually feel that way, whether or not coming out as LGB or T actually resulted in abuse! And then, once they “age out” of their youth groups, those same LGBT youth become hypersensitive to all signs and evidence of the abuse about which they have learned."

Thousands of Immigrants Didn't Go to Work to Protest Trump. How Many Were Fired? - "One of the examples of the "Day Without Immigrants" firings, reported by NBC4, occurred in Nolensiville, Tennessee, where commercial painting company Bradley Coatings, Inc., laid off 18 employees who skipped work despite being pre-warned by their employer they would be fired if they did so"

5,000-year-old ‘transgender’ skeleton discovered - "Men’s bodies from that age and culture are usually found buried with their heads towards the west and with weapons. But this skeleton was found with its head towards the east and was surrounded by domestic jugs – as women’s bodies from the time are usually found. At a press conference in Prague yesterday, archaeologists theorised that the person may have been transgender or ‘third sex’... This is not the first time a skeleton has been found buried as a member of the opposite sex. One woman from the Mesolithic period, who was assumed to be a warrior, was found buried with weapons"
How come the woman buried with weapons is not transgender?
Comments on I,Hypocrite: "it'd be funny if 3rd wave feminists clamor to this only to find this guy as some effeminate dude who was being ridiculed in death by being treated as a woman. Like, "look how progressive people were back then."
"No. He was actually the victim of a hate crime, even in his burial ceremony.""

Social Justice warriors offended by an African woman playing an African character (They think she is white) - "she’s playing “Princess Ahmanet”, a dead Egyptian princess who is resurrected from her slumber and then proceeds to fuck shit up. You know, normal mummy stuff. Since Sofia Boutella hails from Algeria (A country that is only 3 hours away from Egypt), you’d expect that Social Justice warriors would be glad that Hollywood was casting actors to play roles based on their backgrounds (Something they keep demanding). But NO. Apparently, Sofia looks too “white” to be playing a black character (Nevermind the fact that ancient Egyptians weren’t black to begin with). Apparently the fact that she looks “western” means that she has to be a white person, and since doing a simple Google search is too hard, they decided to go online instead to complain about “cultural appropriation”."
I like how someone called Boutella a "white bitch"

Infants show racial bias toward members of own race and against those of other races - ""The results show that race-based bias already exists around the second half of a child's first year. This challenges the popular view that race-based bias first emerges only during the preschool years." Hear Dr. Lee discuss the research results. Researchers say these findings are also important because they offer a new perspective on the cause of race-based bias. "When we consider why someone has a racial bias, we often think of negative experiences he or she may have had with other-race individuals. But, these findings suggest that a race-based bias emerges without experience with other-race individuals," said Dr. Naiqi (Gabriel) Xiao, first author of the two papers and postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University"
So much for babies not being "racist" and "racism" being "learned"

Investigation finds inmates built computers and hid them in prison ceiling - "Investigators say there was lax supervision at the prison, which gave inmates the ability to build computers from parts, get them through security checks, and hide them in the ceiling. The inmates were also able to run cabling, connecting the computers to the prison's network... an inmate used the computers to steal the identity of another inmate, and then submit credit card applications, and commit tax fraud. They also found inmates used the computers to create security clearance passes that gave them access to restricted areas."

Indonesia to censor 'pornographic' Japanese cartoon - "A popular Japanese children's cartoon in which the main character regularly displays his naked buttocks will be censored in conservative Indonesia after regulators criticised it as "somewhat pornographic"

Taiwan bans eating dogs and cats
Some animals are more equal than others

Madonna angers fans with gushing tribute to Margaret Thatcher on Instagram - "If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing"

Privilege and the working class | SocialistWorker.org - "THE PRIVILEGE model of oppression, often encountered in today's liberal and radical circles, has evolved since the 1960s. Many of today's well-intentioned advocates are unaware of the theory's class roots--roots that continue to profoundly impact privilege politics today. At the height of the American civil rights movement, when theories of oppression might be expected to have some resonance, privilege politics were virtually unknown. The privilege model was unable to find a foothold among the hundreds of thousands of anti-racists involved in the country's massive and often integrated struggles for freedom. Only later, during the tragic crisis and disintegration of the New Left at the end of the '60s, were privilege politics able to gain a hearing--among white, middle-class students, most of whom had had no involvement in the civil rights novement. White-skin privilege theory would come to play a major role in the destruction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) by extreme sectarians. The roots of privilege theory extend deep into the factional political atmosphere of early American Maoism"

People in the EU, aged 25-34, who still live with their parents - "While in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe living in the parents' house is nothing unusual, Scandinavia has the lowest numbers, with more than 95% of young people deciding to move out after they finished their studies."

Doctors back denial of treatment for smokers and the obese - "A majority of doctors support measures to deny treatment to smokers and the obese, according to a survey that has sparked a row over the NHS's growing use of "lifestyle rationing"... Smokers and obese people are already being denied operations such as IVF, breast reconstructions and a new hip or knee in some parts of England
This is one of the downsides of single payer healthcare: when the taxpayer pays for your medical treatment, you have less control over it

Western Feminists Snub an Iranian Heroine - WSJ - "It would be nice to report that Western feminists rallied to Ms. Derakhshani’s defense, but they didn’t. America’s liberal feminists have been busy planning a “Day Without a Woman” to protest President Trump’s alleged misogyny... Feminists and progressives have a habit of ignoring Islamism’s female victims, preferring to focus on phantom reports of Islamophobia in the West. Enormous attention has been paid to “burqa bans” in European countries. But how many readers have heard of Ms. Derakhshani? Sweden claims it has a “feminist foreign policy,” yet during an official trip to Iran last month several female cabinet members covered their heads. How will Iranian women escape Islamism’s chokehold if European feminists submissively bow to men who refuse even to shake a woman’s hand?"

How Liberals Killed the Freedom of Movement - WSJ - "The irony is that freedom of movement is unraveling because liberals won central debates—about Islamism, social cohesion and nationalism. Rather than give any ground, they accused opponents of being phobic and reactionary. Now liberals are reaping the rewards of those underhanded victories... Mr. Obama’s linguistic exertions didn’t repress the truth. They merely opened the space for others to express it—and sometimes to grossly distort it, by suggesting, for example, that all 1.4 billion Muslims are terrorists or sympathizers and should be kept out. The left also largely “won” the debate over Muslim integration. For too many liberals, every Islamist atrocity was cause to fret about an “Islamophobic” backlash. When a jihadist would go boom somewhere, pre-emptive hashtags expressing solidarity with threatened Muslims were never far behind... Amnesty International cozied up to the British-Pakistani radical Islamist Moazzam Begg despite his fawning interviews with the al Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. When Amnesty staffer Gita Sahgal went public with her objections in 2010, the organization suspended her and argued in a press release that “jihad in self-defense” wasn’t “antithetical to human rights.” The Islamist philosopher Tariq Ramadan became the toast of New York intellectuals, though he refused to call for an outright end to the Islamic practice of stoning adulterers. By contrast, liberal writers sneered at the Somali-born human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an “Enlightenment fundamentalist.”... Liberals thus empowered the most illiberal elements of Muslim communities while marginalizing reformers. Is it any wonder that many voters came to see Muslims as sources of danger and social incohesion?"

Yes, Students Do Learn More From Attractive Teachers - WSJ - "The researchers don’t think that sexual interest explains the results, which held up whether the teacher and students were of the same sex or not. This suggests, they write, that the improved student performance was “driven by processes independent from human sexual attraction, such as attention and motivation.” Or, as one of them put it, it’s just human nature."
This is from “Effects of Instructor Attractiveness on Learning,” R. Shane Westfall, Murray Millar and Mandy Walsh, Journal of General Psychology (July 13)

Thousands of Injuries, Mishaps at Chinese Marathon Prompt Alarm - China Real Time Report - WSJ - "In the case of the Qingyuan marathon, the organizers’ lack of experience was also on display when it came to the gift bags given to runners. According to local media, organizers gave runners bars of grape-scented soap, which many participants mistook for energy bars and attempted to eat. Photos posted online by race participants show the packages of soap were decorated with an image of succulent grapes, along with the words “fruity soap” and “extra moisturizer” written in English... The spokesman added that the organizers regretted that the product wasn’t labelled in Chinese and said that of all the complimentary items in the gift bag, the imported soap was actually the most expensive one."

China Real Time Tries Pizza Hut’s New Durian Pizza So You Don’t Have To - China Real Time Report - WSJ - "At Pizza Hut’s Dongzhimen branch in Beijing, chef Wei Haojie on Thursday acknowledged that the pizza has so far been selling “very well” among Chinese consumers, who are increasingly becoming durian fans. But he added: “I myself can’t bear the smell, so when people order this one, I need to ask another cook to help do it.”"

Dead obese woman had so much body fat she set the building on fire during her cremation

Why Pro-SJW Game Developer Tale Of Tales Is Going Out Of Business - "Tale of Tales was founded by Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn in Ghent, Belgium back in 2002. The more and more I looked into Harvey and Samyn’s backgrounds, the more I noticed that neither one them seemed particularly interested in video games themselves... If that wasn’t enough, Tale of Tales is unwilling to take responsibility for their own failure. They want the video game industry to conform to their ideas of gaming. Tale of Tales would also like to blame capitalism, since gamers vote with their wallets and no one is interested in giving hipsters money out of the kindness of their hearts."

End of daily injections for diabetes as scientists restore insulin production - Telegraph - "The end of daily injections for diabetes sufferers could be in sight after scientists showed it is possible to restore insulin production for up to a year by boosting the immune system."

Social Justice Warriors now against YouTube censorship because it affects them - "Remember some time ago when YouTube introduced its “YouTube Heroes” program and the media hailed it as a step in the right direction to counter “online harassment”? Or how about that time when YouTube updated its terms of service; an update that would see several YouTube videos lose their monetization status because they discussed “controversial” topics? Social Justice warriors argued that YouTube is a private company and therefore has the right to censor any content that they want to. “if you don’t like it, then leave” they said. Turns out that they don’t apply these same rule to themselves….."

A hot bath has benefits similar to exercise

Sichuan restaurant boss celebrates divorce with free beer for customers

Woman in China buys house by selling 20 iPhones given by 20 boyfriends - "Some users have expressed admiration for Xiaoli's efforts. One of them, 'small sand is growing', wrote: "I can't even find one boyfriend. She can actually find 20 boyfriends at the same time and even get them to buy her an iPhone 7. Just want to ask her to teach me such skills"... Some also suspected that the whole story was a marketing ploy by mobile phone recycling business Hui Shou Bao."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Links - 17th May 2017

Why the Iconic 'Power' Symbol Looks the Way It Does - "The line symbolizes the number one, YouTuber Lazy Game Reviews explains in his latest video. The half-circle is a zero, a reference to the binary "on/off" states. The line intersects the circle to communicate that this button won't cut power fully, but is a standby mode—a line inside a circle, or an empty circle, would turn on or shut down power completely."

Why You Shouldn’t Walk on Escalators - The New York Times - "Boarding an escalator two by two and standing side by side is the better approach. It may sound counterintuitive, but researchers said it is more efficient if nobody walks on the escalator."

Washington Post embraces alternative facts on adrenal fatigue, fuels death of expertise epidemic - "While I expect this kind of poison from Paltrow and Mercola to see such junk in the Washington Post is jarring. Maybe the whole alternative-fact-busting-democracy dies-in-darkness credo takes Sundays off?"

Eye Tracking of Men’s Preferences for Female Breast Size and Areola Pigmentation - "we used eye-tracking technology to test two hypotheses: (1) that larger breasts should receive the greatest number of visual fixations and longest dwell times, as well as being rated as most attractive; (2) that lightly pigmented areolae, indicative of youth and nubility, should receive most visual attention and be rated as most attractive. Results showed that men rated images with medium-sized or large breasts as significantly more attractive than small breasts. Images with dark and medium areolar pigmentation were rated as more attractive than images with light areolae. However, variations in breast size had no significant effect on eye-tracking measures (initial visual fixations, number of fixations, and dwell times). The majority of initial fixations during eye-tracking tests were on the areolae. However, areolar pigmentation did not affect measures of visual attention. While these results demonstrate that cues indicative of female sexual maturity (large breasts and dark areolae) are more attractive to men, patterns of eye movements did not differ based on breast size or areolar pigmentation. We conclude that areolar pigmentation, as well as breast size, plays a significant role in men’s judgments of female attractiveness. However, fine-grained measures of men’s visual attention to these morphological traits do not correlate, in a simplistic way, with their attractiveness judgments."

Liberal reflections on loss and acceptance in GE2015, Opinion News & - "The People's Action Party's (PAP) political narrative for Singapore has always insisted on our exceptionalism. For the longest time, I had suspected that this was just an excuse to impose an unnatural dominance on the populace. I had assumed and hoped that, given time, given information and given choice, Singapore would one day become a democratic society like any other - with more than one strong political party, all realistically vying for power, ensuring diversity and providing checks on each other. But I'm big enough to admit when I'm wrong... Singaporeans want a monolithic government. They are comfortable with power consolidating in the hands of very few, presumably in the interests of effectiveness and efficiency. They do not believe that leaders necessarily govern better if they must answer, day to day, matter to matter, to critics. They do not generally require diversity of views for its own sake. Singaporeans have freely chosen to be governed by an entrenched elite aristocracy. Singapore may well be the only country in the world that, offered a truly free and informed choice, has so chosen."

Liberty University Students Survived the Unsafe Space Created by Bernie Sanders and His Pro-Choice Views - "if we’re going to buy the theory that the mere presence of a certain type of speaker on campus creates an unsafe space that expands across that campus, bringing the risk of psychological harm to students, Liberty must have been an incredibly unsafe place today. Many, if not most, of its students, after all, deeply and viscerally believe that abortion is murder. And here was a speaker who didn’t agree with them on that — he was, from their point of view, in favor of mass murder. And yet they let him talk respectfully, they asked him questions, and it seemed like everyone was able to have a civil conversation (albeit a mandatory civil conversation). As of yet, there are no reports of widespread psychological trauma out of Lynchburg."

Social sciences and humanities faculties 'to close' in Japan after ministerial intervention - "The call to close the liberal arts and social science faculties are believed to be part of wider efforts by prime minister Shinzo Abe to promote what he has called “more practical vocational education that better anticipates the needs of society”."

Obama on liberal college students who want to be "coddled": "That’s not the way we learn" - ""Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal, and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues, who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too. I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. I gotta tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. I think you should be able to — anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with ‘em. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, "You can’t come because I'm too sensitive to hear what you have to say." That’s not the way we learn either"...
The earnings data has been the most controversial part, with Obama accused of reducing the value of college to a number that colleges themselves can't fully control... He defended the accountability approach in part, including in response to a question about the struggles of historically black colleges. "There are some of those schools, just like non-historically black colleges and universities, who take in a lot of students but don’t always graduate their students, and those students end up being stuck with debt and it’s not a good deal for them," he said."

Femen's topless condescension towards Muslim women only helps sexism - "It is as if one can only be either a Muslim who loves misogyny as a religious duty, or an orientalist feminist who hates Islam. There is no other option. Forcing the discourse into such a binary is not only myopic, but factually incorrect. I’ve researched the way Muslim women fight sexism within the Muslim community, and to the shock of many non-Muslims, my research showed that far from being a recent practice borrowed from the west, Muslim women had been standing up for themselves since the advent of Islam... Far from seeing Islam as a barrier to liberation, a majority of the women in my investigations use Islam to help them in their fight against sexism and shockingly, many named Muslim men (husbands, fathers, teachers) as some of the biggest supporters of their endeavours. When I’ve told non-Muslims about my findings, they were often baffled, even infuriated. The belief that women can pursue advancement and emancipation as Muslims will be dismissed by many as a kind of “false consciousness”"

From Kissing to Wedding in Germany - "In Germany you can get from kissing to wedding in 9 hours, and the stops are equally interesting."

Coloring Book For Grown-Ups

Honey isn’t as healthy as we think - The Washington Post - "Honey has an aura of purity and naturalness. Fresh air, birdsong, forests and meadows. High-fructose corn sweetener? Not so much. So you might think that honey is better for you. But a study published this month compared the health effects of honey and the processed sweetener and found no significant differences... The honey industry, likely hoping that that honey's suspected health benefits might be proven, helped fund the effort... “Honey is thought of as more natural whereas white sugar and high fructose corn syrup are processed from the cane or the beet or the corn,” said Raatz, whose paper appears in the Journal of Nutrition. “We wanted to find out if they were different. But chemically, they are very, very similar, and that’s what it seems to break down to.”"
Cheap science dismissing logic: since the honey industry funded the effort, we can't trust the result, and honey must be even worse than high fructose corn syrup

Pulling Out Is as Effective as Using Condoms - "Social mores, as usual, aren't able to fully control the way people have sex, and a majority of cis, heterosexual adults have at least tried withdrawal, even if not regularly relied upon it. It's easy to see why: It's always available, costs nothing, aggravates no allergies, presents little barrier to pleasure, and has no negative side effects... no method of birth control—not even tubal ligation—makes penis-in-vagina sex completely risk free"

Why Carbonated Beverages Are Called “Soft Drinks” - "“Soft Drink” refers to nearly all beverages that do not contain significant amounts of alcohol (hard drinks)... Interestingly, according to a study done in 2006, most carbonated “soft” drinks actually do contain a little alcohol. In older methods of introducing the CO2 to the drink, this was resulting from natural fermentation, similar to how most beer gets its alcohol. However, with modern methods of introducing CO2 to the drink, this is not an issue; yet measurable amounts of alcohol remain. This is due to the fermentation of sugars in the non-sterile environment of the drink. In some types of soda-pop, additional alcohol is also introduced due to the fact that alcohol is used in the preparation of some of the flavor extracts. However, before anyone starts campaigning to make soda-pop illegal for kids due to the alcohol content, it should be noted that a typical container of yogurt of similar volume to some amount of soda-pop, will contain about 2 times the amount of alcohol over the amount in the soda-pop...
Keeping aerated drinks in a bottle was a huge problem for a long time in the distribution of soft drinks. As such, until the advent of crown cork (crown cap), carbonated beverages were generally only available in pharmacies (hence why many of the most popular soft drink flavors that survived to this day were invented by pharmacists).
Most modern carbonated beverage bottles are designed to hold as much as 20 atmospheres of pressure before bursting. The carbonation itself though is only introduced at about 2 atmospheres of pressure, though this varies slightly from drink to drink.
If you were to let all the CO2 out of a typical carbonated drink, at 1 atmosphere of pressure it would fill a volume about four times that of the original drink container.
Glass bottles make significantly better containers for carbonated beverages due to the fact that air can diffuse through plastic, allowing the CO2 to escape. Thus, carbonated beverages stored in plastic containers have a much shorter shelf life than their glass counterparts."

Why it’s so difficult to get a cab - "Singapore has one of the highest cab densities in the world with 5,225 taxis per 1 million inhabitants, compared to 1,522 in New York and 3,285 in London... there are more cabs on the road and driving longer distances, but they are not exactly ferrying proportionately many more passengers... Earning less the day before did not motivate them to stay longer on the road to augment the earnings shortfall. Neither did earning more the previous day prompt them to drive less. This pattern is consistent regardless of the day of the week, with drivers seemingly “rebooting” on a daily basis. This does not augur well for their personal household budgeting, nor does it reflect a strong work ethic or attentiveness to customer service. That cab drivers set daily income targets that are somewhat invariant suggests how much they work is independent of demand"

Knife wielding man had overdosed on kiwi fruit which ‘led to hallucinations’ Peterborough court told

Liberalism and conservatism should not be viewed in a binary manner - "it would be naïve to assume that people subscribe to liberalism and conservatism in a binary manner. A person can well be both liberal and conservative at the same time. One can be liberal in supporting generous social redistributive policies, but conservative in supporting tough stances on crime. Or one can be liberal in supporting LGBT rights, but hold conservative views towards embryonic stem cell research."

Thai govt warns teens against buying oversized condoms - "teenagers often buy condoms bigger than the size of their penises because they were afraid that their friends would look down on them for having “a small one” and were therefore inferior."

New Thai tourism strategy: ‘I Hate Thailand’ - "The five-minute video shows an angry British tourist on a beach. He introduces himself as James and says his bag was stolen. “I hate this place. I hate Thailand,” he tells a handheld camera. After mouthing off to a policeman, he meets an attractive Thai woman and finds reasons to like Thailand. In the end, the unshaven, bare-chested foreigner cleans up, puts on clothes, befriends the locals and gets his bag back — wallet, passport and all... The tourism authority said it was inspired by research showing that “unbranded” advertisements tend to receive more interest than conventional commercials"

Fuck You, White People - "White People, fuck you for colonization. That’s right, I’m going straight for the big guns. As a marginalized brown woman, I’m going to conveniently forget all the numerous examples in history where non-white civilizations came in and killed a bunch of other non-white people, effectively colonizing them. I’m never going to acknowledge the Mughal/Muslim takeover of the Indian subcontinent which took us from this to this. There is no winning here for you White People; colonization is the deux ex-machina of justifying why you all are the worst race on the planet at the moment, maybe even all of human history. Any time you try to talk sense to racial minorities about identity politics and PC culture, you will be shut down. We will throw this excuse at your face till we are satisfied you feel like the racist garbage we all know you are deep down. And if you still want to have a civil and constructive discussion about these issues, we’ll bring up slavery for good measure as well... If you disagree with anything I’m saying, it’s because you’re a racist. I’m going to use my free speech to shut down yours, so get in line and always be politically correct. And yes, all White People are a monolithic group, but don’t you dare say all Muslims are the same! #NotAllMuslims"

Cloned Pets: Looks Can Be Deceiving - ""I'd suggest to anyone cloning an animal not to expect too much," said Sandra Reddell, who had her famous Brahmin bull, Chance, cloned. The clone's name: Second Chance. "It doesn't matter what species or what breed," Reddell said. "There is no guarantee it will look or act the same.""

Nicole LeMire sacked for 'public humiliation' of child she asked to stop bullying - "A beloved Ohio elementary school teacher has been fired for 'public humiliation' after she said she asked a child to consider how his bullying was affecting his peers."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Men and Suicide

Male suicide: CALM on Department of Heath help for men

"3 times as many men commit suicide as women. Suicide's one of the biggest killers of men. And yet there doesn't seem to be any real effort to target suicide prevention at men. And an organisation that does try to help is complaining that the Department of Health is failing to recognise extent of the problem and put money into helping to solve it. The organisation is the Campaign Against Living Miserably - CALM...

'We don't really see men as needing help in any way, or as being vulnerable unless they've got some additional asset of qualification which means that we should look at them as needing any further assistance...

'When we look at the suicide prevention strategy, although it says and mentions that men are at higher risk than women, it then goes on to look at what are the factors like ethnicity or sexuality or anything else that can bring that kind of added qualification for why we should look at a particular group as needing anything.

And so we have an ad... taking the mick out of a middle aged man attempting suicide. And that was funny because he was, because nobody cares that this was taking the mick out of a guy. There would've been outrage if it was, you know, anybody else. But as a middle aged white man there was nothing for us, for him to be a failure meant that he wasn't a proper man. And I think we are equate manhood with being invulnerable so we can't allocate resources to that area because they're men...

There are ancient rules of masculinity which we're trying to sort of put into words so that we can then test them and measure them but they are basically as Jane's saying, there are rules of masculinity and we've broken them down to three very simple things which add up to a male script. The first is men should be fighters and winners. The second is they should be providers and protectors. And the third is they should retain mastery and control. So obviously when a man's in distress he's trying to retain, these are kind of shame rules in the sense that if you lose control or if you don't, you're not seem to be a winner you have shame and you lose a sense of masculinity and that means you are more likely to sit on those feelings until they go too far and you're more at risk therefore of suicide.'...

'The whole thing about providing for your family, being responsible for your family is deeply embedded in why we see these terrible terrible cases where a man will take his family with him'

'In 104/105 nations that we have statistics for, it isn't just the UK, the male suicide rate is much higher than the female. It isn't a purely cultural thing, it seems to be an embedded evolutionary mind and body issue for men... I myself am involved with the Samaritans and we're doing work on looking at how we can listen to male callers differently and actually listen to the way men communicate in such a way as they don't come up with their feelings straight away. So therefore we have to not perceive a man who is not talking about his feelings as failing to communicate but actually that the fact that a man's even called the Samaritans is a fantastic thing'

This was on podcast as: "Male suicide: DoH 'must remove blind eye'"

Links - 16th May 2017 (2)

Mikelle Krochin's answer to In Star Wars, the Separatists wanted to leave because of deception and neglect by Republic leaders. That ought to make them the good guys. Why not? - Quora - "What Lucas tried to do with the prequels is break the black and white model of good and evil the original trilogy had.Although they weren’t Oscar Winners movies, I find them good and enjoyable to watch. You are forced to accept that Yoda, Obi Wan and the whole Jedi are working for a corrupt republic( that eventually will become the Empire), but also that the Jedi Order itself has become corrupt. They are clouded by a war they are forced to fight, which is destroying them. The Separatists committed atrocities, but the Republic was not acting like Gandhi either."

Nurses grant dying man final wish – a cigarette and glass of wine - "Carsten Flemming Hansen, 75, was found to be terminally ill after he was admitted to hospital with an aortic aneurysm and internal bleeding. Predicting it would be a matter of hours or days before Hansen died, the hospital decided not to operate and instead granted the patient a “dignified” death. The nurses at Aarhus University hospital decided to defy regulations that stipulated no smoking on the hospital’s grounds and wheeled Hansen out on to a balcony where he smoked a Green LA cigarette and drank a glass of cold white wine while watching the sunset with his family"

Why The Liberal Left Is Partly Responsible For The Murder Of Atheist H Farook - "Every illiberal dogma is now put through the prism of "power structures" to see where it fits into the Left's identity politics... In their zeal to fight the Right, Liberals and Leftists have not only abandoned dissenters within minorities, but have started aligning with far-Right Islamists, as was the comical case when Linda Sarsour (pro-Sharia apologist of Saudi male guardianship laws) was made co-chair of a feminist march in Washington. Muslim reformers and apostates are the worst casualties of the Left's apartheid. These folks who are at the greatest peril of being murdered for victimless "crimes" such as blasphemy, are now being abandoned at the altar of Leftist identity politics, to be slaughtered by Islamist thugs who have mysteriously become pseudo-victims of the same majoritarianism that they gleefully perpetuate on dissenters within their own communities"

Is That Skeleton Gay? The Problem With Projecting Modern Ideas Onto The Past - "What's especially strange is that two men who died in the same place at the same time in a catastrophic event are assumed to have been lovers. As classicist David Meadows tells me, "They weren't 'gay' when they were thought to be women." While the archaeologists involved in the new study make it clear in the Telegraph piece that the nature of the relationship is impossible to determine, the media's jumping to a conclusion about sexual attraction and applying the modern label "gay" -- which is quite anachronistic in terms of ancient Roman culture -- reveals much more about our modern culture's obsession with this topic than it tells us about the Romans."

10-Minute Kaya (I) - "Kaya made with whole eggs has to be cooked at a very low temperature. That's why it's heated over a water bath, and it has to be stirred continuously. If the temperature is too high, the egg whites would turn lumpy and ruin the kaya. Meanwhile, the sugar has to caramelize, which starts happening at about 160°C. But it's sitting in a pool of coconut milk that consists of mainly water. H2O's maximum temperature is 100°C, right? That's way too low for browning sugar. So, before any caramelization takes place, most of the H2O has to evaporate. Which is done ever so gently over a water bath so that the princessy egg whites don't get grumpy and lumpy. Even when the caramelization finally happens, along with the thickening as water evaporates, it's very slow because of the minimal heat. Now you see why making traditional kaya takes hours of dedicated stirring? The hard labour may be easily avoided by doing two things: One, omitting the egg whites, thus allowing the kaya to be cooked at a higher temperature without a water bath. Two, replace some of the white sugar with palm sugar, which doesn't need to be caramelized"

Cambridge college closes to the public after students found tourists wandering into their bedrooms - "Clare College can no longer cope with "bus loads" of tourists - who are predominantly from Japan and China - turning up unannounced, according to a source, and has closed its grounds to the public for the first time in its near 700 year history."

What your earwax says about your ancestry - "Smelly earwax is just another of the genetic quirks we inherit as part of one ethnic group or another. In new tests of earwax in Caucasian and East Asian men, yellow earwax from Caucasians gave off stronger odors than the dry, white kind... As for our different ear odors, they came about because of a tiny change, just one little letter in the genetic alphabet that long ago granted an East Asian population a reprieve from both smelly underarms and sticky earwax... most East Asians and nearly all Koreans lack a chemical in their armpits that bacteria munch on to make body odor, because they carry this variant of the ABCC11 gene"
I thought race was supposed to be a myth

Texas student commits suicide after Title IX kangaroo court - "A male student who was accused of sexual harassment committed suicide just days after the University of Texas at Arlington ignored its own policies in order to punish him. The accused student’s father, a lawyer acting as the administrator of his son’s estate, is now suing the school for violating his son’s Title IX rights... Klocke, a straight male, was accused by a gay male student of writing anti-gay slurs on his computer during a class. Klocke vehemently denied the accusation, and administrators who investigated the incident acknowledged there was no evidence to support the accuser’s claims, yet Klocke was still punished."
This is what straight male privilege looks like

How Delta masters the game of overbooking flights - "When passengers on overbooked flights check in online or at the check-in kiosk, they’re asked what the dollar value of the travel voucher they would accept as compensation for volunteering their seats. They give you a hint, too — “Delta accepts lower bids first.” By the time you reach the gate, the gate attendants already have a list of passengers to call up to confirm they’ll fly standby. If your bid is low enough, you’ll be on that list."

Teng apologises for non-Islamic worship houses controversy - "Controversy erupted when it was revealed that the third edition of the Selangor Manual Guideline and Selangor State Planning Standard outlined was extremely prohibitive towards the building of new non-Islamic houses of worship. These include that such places must be at least 50m away from the nearest Muslim-owned homes and the need to obtain permission of residents within a 200m radius. Non-Islamic houses of worship also cannot be constructed in commercial areas and must not be taller than nearby mosques."

Stockholm attack: Hero driver protected Swedish Parliament - "Hundreds of lives were saved by a quick-thinking security van driver who drove his van directly into the path of the rampaging lorry, forcing the terrorist to lose control and crash. Heroic Santiago Cueva, 27, was sitting in his van outside the Åhlens department store in Stockholm on Friday when he saw the hijacked lorry racing down the street, mowing down everything in its path. Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, he said that his first thought was to protect the Swedish parliament, which was just 500 metres down the road from the scene of the attack."

Sweden will 'never go back' to mass immigration, PM says - "The Prime Minister of Sweden has vowed his country will 'never go back' to recent levels of mass immigration after it emerged the terrorist who killed four people in a truck attack was a failed asylum seeker."
Alternatively, one could conclude that this shows everyone needs to be granted asylum so they don't kill people

Refugees won’t plug German labor gap - "“Let’s not delude ourselves,” said Ludger Wößmann, director of Munich-based Ifo Center for the Economics of Education. “From everything we know so far, it seems that the majority of refugees would first need extensive training and even then it’s far from certain that it would work out”... Less than 15 percent of refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries have completed vocational training or a university degree, according to a September 2015 study by Germany’s Institute for Employment Research. Even those with training often don’t have the skills expected in Germany. On average, an eighth-grader in pre-war Syria had a similar level to a third-grade student in Germany, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)... The government is already preparing for an additional 1 million recipients of its main unemployment benefit, known as Hartz IV, by 2019... The problem is that almost half of all refugees coming to Germany are over 25 and are unlikely to go through a formal three-year training program, simply because they are too old. Instead, they would most likely join the ranks of the 20 percent unemployed among the low- and unqualified workers of the country and compete for low-skilled jobs."

Asylum claims from Christian converts being rejected if they cannot recite the Ten Commandments - "Mass Christian conversions of migrants arriving in Germany from the Middle East and North Africa has prompted fears in Britain that many asylum claimants may be attempting to deceived the authorities by falsely converting."

The Vox Vacation Index: Let economics help plan your next vacation - "finding a great macroeconomic bargain is about more than simply looking up exchange rates. Currency depreciation often leads to inflation — higher prices — in which case your dollars might buy more pesos (or yen or euros or what have you) without actually buying you more steak. That’s why we created the Vox Vacation Index, which combines exchange rate and inflation information to tell you which countries are getting cheaper to visit"

Why people prefer unequal societies - "A further motivation for inequality may come from the idea that inequality is necessary to motivate industriousness and allow for social mobility. For example, Norton argues that people prefer inequality because they see it as a motivating force that leads people to work harder and better, knowing that doing so can improve their station in life, and that of their children... as inequality increases, self-reported happiness diminishes, especially among the bottom 40% of income earners. One reason for this is that relative disadvantage has a larger negative impact on well-being than relative advantage has a positive impact. When people know where they stand in the overall income distribution, those on the lower end of the scale report less job satisfaction, but those on the higher end of the scale do not report any greater satisfaction. This has negative effects for productivity too: workers who know they are on the low side of the distribution decrease their effort, but knowing that one is on the high end does not lead to an increase in effort. Still, as Tyler points out, it is not clear whether the corrosive effects of inequality on happiness are due to inequality per se, or due to the perception of unfair inequality... Nevertheless, inequality in a society also predicts a greater degree of violence, obesity, teenage pregnancy, and interpersonal distrust... in various other societies across the world and across history (for example, when faced with the communist ideals of the former USSR)

Inequality isn't immoral - LA Times - " economic egalitarianism engenders another conflict, one of more fundamental significance: It encourages people to care about how much money other people have, which distracts them from calculating their monetary requirements in the light of their personal circumstances. But, surely, the amount of money available to others has nothing directly to do with what is needed for the kind of life a person would most sensibly and appropriately seek for himself. In this way, the doctrine of equality contributes to the moral disorientation and shallowness of our time."

Cieslak who admitted raping 12-year-old girl walks FREE - "Lady Scott said: 'You understood from chat in the taxi that the victim was 16 years old and her friend was 17 years old. The taxi driver had the impression that the victim was about 20 years old. 'Once at the flat, after some time, you paired off and you and the victim engaged in sexual intercourse. 'She left the next morning. She had no concerns and there was no suggestion of her being distressed.' Police officers who had spoken to the victim earlier in the night in relation to another matter also had no concerns over her age, Lady Scott said in her order. The judge said Cieslak was culpable under 'strict liability', where victims under 13 are deemed by law to be incapable of consent. But the judge said there were 'a number of exceptional circumstances' which applied... 'The statutory offence for girls aged over 13 to 16 years provides for a defence based on reasonable grounds of belief by the accused that the victim was above the age of consent... Taking into account that all witnesses on the night thought the victim was over 16, that Cieslak was told she was 16 and with no signs of distress, Lady Scott said: 'Your criminal culpability here is wholly restricted to the application of strict liability within this offence."
At least in the UK reasonable grounds of belief is a defence for having sex with those aged 13-16
Keywords: UK, judge, 12 years old, refuse to convict, sex

Top female judge Lindsey Kushner begs women to protect themselves from predatory men when they are drunk in her final ever case - "Lindsey Kushner QC, one of Britain’s most senior judges, said that while she believed women had every right to “drink themselves into the ground”, they should be careful as potential rapists “gravitate” towards drunk females... “That’s my final line, in my final criminal trial, and my final sentence.”
Don't tell me to check for traffic before going across a pedestrian crossing: tell drivers to look out for pedestrians at them
If this hadn't been her final case she probably wouldn't have dared going up against the feminists

In 'special message', Taliban leader urges Afghans to plant more trees

Kellyanne Conway White House Couch Controversy Highlights ‘Double Standard’ [Video] - "“I was being asked to take a picture in a crowded room with the press behind us. I was asked to take a certain angle and was doing exactly that. I certainly meant no disrespect, I didn’t mean to have my feet on the couch.” Many jumped to Conway’s defense, pointing out that President Barack Obama was often photographed with his feet on his desk in the Oval Office... Image consultant Sylvie di Giusto tells Yahoo Style that before hitting “retweet,” it’s important to remember that sometimes, a picture is just a picture. “In general, I recommend not to ‘read’ too much from a single snapshot, an instant moment that a smart photographer has captured, because pictures are very one-dimensional”... " from a practical point of view, dresses are not very easy to wear as a professional woman, in particular when you are in the public eye""

Mass Effect Designer Manveer Heir Hates White People and Wants the World To Know - "Not content with simply mocking gamers over online disagreements and shaming fellow game developers for refusing to fall in line with his politics, BioWare gameplay designer Manveer Heir’s Twitter timeline exposes a far more disturbing reality, with tweet after racist tweet disparaging white people"
Unsurprisingly, in 2014 he made an "emotional plea to eliminate social injustice in games" (to which: So much for Art for Art's Sake); what does so many people who talk about social justice being hateful suggest?

Unfortunately ims framework has stopped - "1. Open 'Messages' (SMS app)
2. Go to 'Settings' in the top right (you need to scroll down to see 'Settings' from the options, as the defaul pop-up window isn't big enough to show all of them)
3. Select 'Default messaging app'
4. Select 'Rich Communications'
5. Uncheck the 'Rich Communications' box
This has stopped the 'Unfortunately IMS...' message appearing every few seconds on my S5."
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