When you can't live without bananas

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Links - 5th July 2017 (2)

Is It Time to Legalize Prostitution? - "Dr. Kirby R. Cundiff, an associate professor of finance at Northeastern State University, finds regulation will allow states to set prices for sexual favors. He approximates a decrease in 25,000 rapes each year if fixed prices are established.“In the United States where prostitution is illegal, the low-end price for most prostitutes is about $200 and the monthly per capita income is $2,820,” he says. “In Amsterdam, Netherlands where prostitution is legal the price is $30. If prostitution were legalized in the United States it is rational to assume that prices would resemble those in the Netherlands, this would result in… a decrease in the rape rate of 10 per 100,000.”"

Rotherham Child Rape Victim: 'Authorities Did Nothing', Was Told Not to Mention Ethnicity of Attackers - "“But as soon as I said the names, I was made to feel as though I was racist and I was the one who had the problem.” “I was specifically told not to comment on the ethnicity of the perpetrators,” Emma said, adding she was told “numerous times” by police and social workers not to mention race. “I knew I wasn’t racist, but I felt like that was used as a way to silence me.”"

Instagram model asks to be roasted by Reddit and then deletes account after it gets brutal - "Unlike the usual “you’re ugly” comments you’d expect to read on a thread like this, these ones went much deeper. Some users psycho-analyzed her life, some criticized her silicone boobs and plastic surgery, and her obvious attention whoring nature, as evidenced by her making this thread"

Germany Confiscating Homes to Use for Migrants - "City officials have been seizing commercial properties and converting them into migrant shelters since late 2015, when Merkel opened German borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Now, however, the city is expropriating residential property units owned by private citizens... Socialists and Greens in Hamburg recently established a "hotline" where local residents can report vacant properties. Activists have also created a website — Leerstandsmelder (Vacancy Reporter) — to identify unoccupied real estate in Hamburg and other German cities... Hamburg's Socialist government presented a plan to build 6,000 new residential units per year. The plan never materialized, however, because prospective builders were constricted by government-imposed rental caps which would have made it impossible for them to even recover their construction costs. Since then, the city has turned to seizing private property to resolve its self-inflicted housing crisis."

Free Speech & Islam: I Was Fired from My Student Newspaper for Reporting the Truth - "I attended an interfaith panel discussion, “Unpacking Misconceptions,” at Portland State University, where I’m a political-science graduate student. I ended up being fired as the multimedia editor of our student newspaper, the Vanguard, for tweeting about what was said there... I shared a 40-second snippet of the video on my personal Twitter account, with a message that conveyed my understanding of the speaker’s meaning — namely, that non-Muslims would be killed or banished in a state governed by Koranic law... [A] person in the meeting said I should have taken into account the plight of victimized groups in the “current political climate.” The editor claimed I had “violated the paper’s ethical standards” by not “minimizing harm” toward the speaker... As far as I’m concerned, the job of any reporter is to report facts, and that’s what I was doing when I tweeted about the panel. I find it distressing that I could be fired for continuing to uphold that mission when the facts in question are liable to make people uncomfortable, as facts often are. Much like the student I spoke to that evening at the panel, I was disinclined to sugarcoat the truth. I just couldn’t have imagined it would cost me so dearly."

Portland Reporter Fired For Posting Video of Muslim Speaker Saying Atheism is Punishable by Death - "Benjamin Ramey, a secular humanist who represented the Freethinkers of PSU at the panel, disagrees with The Vanguard’s assessment.“As one of the panelists present at this event I would like to say that this speech is not taken out of context,” Ramey said on Twitter.PSU Assistant Professor of Philosophy Peter Boghossian weighed in on the conversation and said: ““The same people who want to punch ‘Nazis’ are completely silent when it comes to certain people advocating mass murder.”... 'The media adviser said I should have known better than to share the video of the Muslim panelist since I attended a mandatory training session on social justice in the media. At the training, we were taught to always consider which groups of people are ‘privileged’ and which are ‘oppressed’ in our work as leaders of student media. Non-Christians were defined as targets of oppression.'... “It’s no secret that the American public are highly distrustful of news media,” he added. “An unfortunate outcome is that many are turning to only social media instead, where disinformation runs rampant. It’s time we start valuing truth and accuracy over ideology and narrative.”"

Tennessee Enacts Nation's 'Most Comprehensive' Campus Free Speech Law - "The law mandates that public colleges and universities in Tennessee adopt free speech policies consistent with the University of Chicago’s 2015 Stone Report. Chaired by Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone, the report’s findings were adopted last year to great fanfare. Despite his emphasis on campus free speech, Professor Stone is hardly a right-wing ideologue. He clerked with archliberal Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, chaired the Board of the American Constitution Society, a leading lefty-leaning lawyers’ association, and served on the National Advisory Council of the American Civil Liberties Union. The Tennessee law will expressly prohibit the use of so-called “free speech zones” to limit the areas of campus on which certain viewpoints can be heard. University administrators are prohibited from rescinding the invitations from students or faculty of speakers with whom they disagree or fear will cause disruption."

Everyone fell for this fake story about a pastor eaten by crocodiles - "The Independent,The Daily Mail, Unilad, Metro, the Express among others had a version of the story citing the Daily Post in Nigeria, which in turn cited the Zimbabwe Herald."

Calais Jungle boy who made silly Lily cry has a father who is an ex-Islamist fighter - "The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the 49-year-old was a commander in the Islamist group Hezb-e Islami, led by the Butcher of Kabul, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar... He spent seven years living on benefits in Birmingham before his claim for asylum was accepted in September 2012. He then went back to Afghanistan, flying in via Pakistan, for the first of two three-month visits to the very country that had put him in fear of his life."

10 Tips To Do More With Your PDF Files On Google Drive - "OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a technology that allows text from images and PDFs to be read and converted into a searchable and editable document. To do this in Google Drive, right click on a PDF, then Open with > Google Docs. Once you have opened it in Google Docs format, save it again and you’ll have your searchable doc...
The Document Scanner for Google Drive (Android only) is really quite impressive. It automatically detects the edges of the paper and modifies the image to a high contrast to bring out the text. After the picture is taken, you’ll see some editing options in the top right corner. The plus sign “+” in the lower left allows you to put several photos together and upload as a single PDF. Once you’re done, click the “check mark” in the lower right corner and move on to naming and saving the file to a folder in Google Drive."

Feeling the guilt - "Compassion towards asylum seekers is the summit of status seeking through outward displays of perceived authenticity, a ladder beginning from virtuous food consumption through to climate sensitive transportation choices. Challenging such positions arouses visceral reactions because they are confrontations of the sacred, but in modern, secular forms. This quality for its adherents is a clue to its totemic power. The British sociologist, Will Davies, in a new book bemoaning happiness measurement titled The Happiness Industry, describes feelings as the new religion and increasingly as the only test of whether something should be allowed. American psychiatrist David Burns names this tendency as emotional reasoning, ‘a tendency that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are – I feel it, therefore it must be true’... when the myth is exposed, the cognitive dissonance is so intolerable that it is instead projected through accusations of racism, bigotry and ignorance... The problem for policy makers is that sober analysis of what is fast becoming the most pressing non-traditional security challenge for Western governments, that of unplanned, undocumented migration, is forever made murky by the growing politics of feeling. Identifying with perceived victims gives people a sense of vicarious virtue. The industry of vicarious virtue is also becoming one of the greatest markers of white privilege, all while the same groups accuse supposedly white, conservative men of abusing their power... The compassion competition that asylum seekers generate is one of the great markers of white guilt and it fuels greater resentment in the ordinary people who can see no markers of their supposed privileges in a rapidly changing world, only scapegoating... It is no coincidence that the vast majority of Australian citizens involved in Islamic terrorism have been derived from refugee populations, primarily Lebanese but increasingly Afghan and Iraqi. Monis, Sharrouf, Haider were all from this category. The same groups are over-represented in criminal activity... The resettlement funds Australia spends on each refugee, rated by the UNHCR as the most generous in the world per capita, can also generate significant resentment among other ethnic groups or disadvantaged sections of the community such as Aborigines, further threatening social cohesion."

There’s a misogynist aspect of Buddhism that nobody talks about - "In the tale of Sudinna, a young monk breaks his vows of celibacy after his old parents beg him to give his wife, whom he had abandoned, a child so that his family lineage may continue. When this is revealed, the Buddha admonishes him thus: “It is better for you to have put your manhood in the mouth of a venomous snake or a pit of burning charcoal than a woman.”
There are rules that refer to bestiality. Monks are warned against too much affection for cows and female monkeys."

Sexual thought police should back off - "In the national Start Early program, being rolled out at childcare centres and kindergartens next month, toddlers reportedly will be taught about sexuality, cross-dressing, and the fluidity of gender roles, and may even take group tours of the opposite sex’s toilets. Early Childhood Australia spokeswoman Clare McHugh told the Melbourne Herald — Sun the program would reduce domestic violence which she claimed is associated with “rigid views on gender”. She also said: “Children are sexual beings” What on earth does that mean? Why is the spokeswoman for an organisation that caters for innocent children aged 0-5 even talking about sex. And why are national programs being imposed that take away parental discretion in teaching their own children about such intimate issues... It was bad enough when we heard 11-year-olds were being advised to bind their breasts and tuck in their penises to practice being a member of the opposite sex. But the thought police invading preschools is positively Orwellian"

It’s Disrespectful to Let Old Folks Get Away With Crime - "We would even go so far as to say that we should expect more integrity from seniors. After all, they’ve lived longer. They have more experience. They should know better. If they choose to be criminals, then they don’t deserve sympathy even if they’re old... Leniency will only entrench beliefs that seniority entitles you to hurt others and get away with it... we have a responsibility, when it comes to the law, to look at old folks as equal to the rest of us. This, after all, is what genuine respect is about. You simply can’t demand the good side of it without being prepared to face the bad."
The soft bigotry of low expectations

Anti-Trump hysteria lets others whitewash their own crimes | Coffee House - "treating Trump as abnormal implicitly normalises that which preceded him. It whitewashes history. It forgives, or dilutes, the crimes of past politicians... The left’s arrogant, aristocratic withholding of legitimacy from Trump by extension legitimises his predecessors, including those who did far worse things than Trump has even countenanced. This is why some pretty unpleasant politicians have been able to rehabilitate themselves via the anti-Trump hysteria. Consider Madeleine Albright. She won heaps of Twitter praise last week when she said she might register as a Muslim in protest against Trump’s travel order. This is the same Madeleine Albright who in 1996, as Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the UN, was asked if the surplus deaths of Iraqi children following America’s imposition of sanctions was a price worth paying for weakening Saddam’s rule. Her reply? ‘I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.’... In what sort of moral universe is it considered worse to restrict the freedom of movement of the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries than it is to participate in the near-destruction of a Muslim country? In the warped moral universe of anti-Trump hysteria. In the historically illiterate world that has been fashioned by the protesters against him

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Myanmar's Sex Vote - "'I got a job in a night club where a lot of the girls were offering sex. There's a lot of ignorance, to be honest. I used to get angry when a client used condoms, thinking it meant he didn't trust me. A lot of my friends got HIV... There would be times at the night club where we would have free of charge sessions for the police. The owner had to provide them. We had to let them treat us any way they liked. For example if they didn't want to use condoms they'd threaten us'"

BBC World Service - Assignment, Hong Kong’s Secret Dwellings - "The biggest problem is that just isn't enough land to build on, says Marco. The government has reclaimed land from the sea, but that's becoming harder. It's trying to change the zones in which residential buildings can be built, but even if that does happen a lot of industrial buildings have multiple owners and it's harder for them to come to an agreement to sell. Plus there are often objections on an environmental or local level to certain projects"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Project Le Pen - "'Look, everybody admits that the French communist party, which used to treat homosexuals as madmen and wanted to lock them up, that was once anti-Semitic and supported Stalin has changed. But not us, oh no. We are still stuck in the 1930s, trapped in a black and white film. Other parties can evolve but we don't have that right... Take yourself back in all honesty to what people were saying just before the election of Francois Mitterrand in 1981. People said there'd be Soviet tanks under the Arc de Triomphe and that same kind of scare mongering is going on now'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Are we getting poorer? - "[On a post-Brexit trade deal] What happens with most trade agreements is that they take a long time because you have to persuade people to change the status quo. Normally the status quo is that you have existing tariff walls and other kinds of restrictions and you have to persuade the people who lose out by having those walls taken away that there are other gainers in the economy that offset that. So whereas normally in this case we start from a position where the enormous political economy pressure is for a deal so I think there will be a deal"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Of Maize and Men: Unpicked - "Grass-fed beef has about 50% more in Omega-3 fats than grain-fed. Those are the fats generally thought of as healthy...
At the moment here in the United States on average families are paying about 10 to 6 percent of their disposable income for their food. This often is held up as a success, whereas I would argue it, rather than being proud of that, we should be ashamed of it. The reason for that is that we produce that by exploiting at every step of the process and cutting costs everywhere that we can, either keeping costs off the books or literally not paying the farmers the value of what they're contributing to the food system. And most importantly farm laborers"

'BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Should You Drink Your Food? - "At the core of the campaign was the idea that milk was a complete food containing all the major nutrients that anybody would need, with the exception of Vitamin C. And so during the Second World War, what was available to mothers and new babies were subsidised milk and subsidised orange juice. And there is a neat historical comparison between milk and smoothies. Over a 100 years ago in Scotland as well as elsewhere in Britain, the fashionable, new and exciting place to go was a milk bar. Milk bars were presented as health-giving, clean, modern. Smoothies are presented as health-giving, modern. And in the new vocabulary for food, probably clean too...
'The science that I'm aware of actually indicates the opposite. Our body needs fibre. Fibre is involved in whole fruits and vegetables for instance. And so that fibre provides roughage that in essence helps clean out our systems. There's very little evidence that cleansers actually clean the colon or the gut.'
'The belief seems to be that you're giving your system a rest in some way'
'I think what gives your body a rest is waiting in between meals. And our stomachs are incredibly strong organs. They're really built to take a lot. It's a luxury to cut out a wide variety of foods that are commonly available. Only people who have a certain means of wealth and income can say: okay I'm only going to drink my calories. Soylent was developed by Silicon Valley. It's a darling of the high tech industry. The stereotype is that the computer programmer sitting at his computer can just drink this drink and not have to worry about fixing food. That's a pretty masculine persona and there have been other and are other meal replacements that are exactly the same thing or essentially the same thing and SlimFast the diet drink is one of those and that's gendered female of course. And then there's one for elderly people in the United States called Insure that's been around for a long time. But these don't have the cachet, these don't have the drama, the excitement of the product such as Soylent. Why is Soylent so much different and so much better than these other drinks that have been around? And I think some of it has to do with this masculine Silicon Valley persona...
Why would you [live on liquid]? I mean food is so important culturally and socially. If we take ourselves out of those important social and cultural institutions and rituals, we are cutting ourselves off from very important human social organisations'"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Freedom and Fear in Myanmar - "Take this encounter between a Rohingya woman called Jamelida and some of the investigating officials. She was trying to tell them how she saw a group of women being forced into the bushes by soldiers. It was broadcast on state TV as proof that no rape had taken place. Jamelia explains that she saw a group of women being taken away into the forest.
'Did you see if they were raped or not?' asked a translator.
When she says no he asserts 'so it isn't true'.
Jamelida replies that she saw the women bleeding from the groin, at which point the translator steps in and tells her not to say that - just to say that she didn't see any rape. We tracked down Jamelida. She's now one of those who's fled to Bangladesh. She told us that at the time she had spoken freely to the government investigation after being assured she'd face no reprisals. That turned out to be a lie.
'After they were gone I rushed back to my home and the military started looking for me. They searched for me in every village by putting all the women of every house in the yard, naming me and showing them my picture and asking where I was. I hid in the jungle for three days then I couldn't bear it any more, and I came here to Bangladesh'
Jamelida told us she had yet to recover from what the soldiers did to her...
'If Aung Sang Suu Kyi wants the military to stop fighting somewhere does she have the power to make that happen?'
'No. Neither Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi nor President Htin Kyaw have the power to stop that... As a new government which is trying to achieve through to modern country we have thousands of problems, thousands of problems. Economy, peace et cetera'
'But it's a serious problem. The UN has said there may be crimes against humanity taking place there'
'Well we don't believe it's crimes against humanity. It's an internal affair, it's not an international affair... please change the subject *laughs*'...
'Hundreds of them have been killed that's why we are raising the issue'
'Not hundreds. That's an exaggeration'"

Why feminist wives are unhappy

Why feminist wives are unhappy.

"In The Feminine Mystique, the late Betty Friedan attributed the malaise of married women largely to traditionalist marriages in which wives ran the home and men did the bread-winning. Her book helped spark the sexual revolution of the 1970s and fueled the notion that egalitarian partnerships—where both partners have domestic responsibilities and pursue jobs—would make wives happier. Last week, two sociologists at the University of Virginia published an exhaustive study of marital happiness among women that challenges this assumption. Stay-at-home wives, according to the authors, are more content than their working counterparts. And happiness, they found, has less to do with division of labor than with the level of commitment and "emotional work" men contribute (or are perceived to contribute). But the most interesting data may be that the women who strongly identify as progressive—the 15 percent who agree most with feminist ideals—have a harder time being happy than their peers, according to an analysis that has been provided exclusively to Slate. Feminist ideals, not domestic duties, seem to be what make wives morose. Progressive married women—who should be enjoying some or all of the fruits that Freidan lobbied for—are less happy, it would appear, than women who live as if Friedan never existed...

Forty-one percent of all the working wives surveyed said they were happy, compared with 38 percent of the progressive working wives. The same was the case when it came to earnings. Forty-two percent of wives who earned one-third or more of the couple's income reported being happy, compared with 34 percent of progressive women in the same position. Perhaps the progressive women had hoped to earn more. But they were less happy than their peers about being a primary breadwinner—though you might expect the opposite. Across the board, progressive women are less likely to feel content, whether they are working or at home, and no matter how much they are making...

The conservative explanation, of course, is that the findings suggest that women don't know what they really want (as John Tierney implied in the New York Times, and Charlotte Allen suggested in the Los Angeles Times). Feminism, they argue, has only undermined the sturdy institution of marriage for everyone. The feminist and liberal argument is that reality hasn't yet caught up to women's expectations. Women have entered the workforce, but men still haven't picked up the domestic slack—working wives continue to do 70 percent or more of the housework...

Equal division of labor seems not to correlate strongly with happiness [which suggests the feminist argument is wrong - the conservative explanation is brushed aside without evidence]... The irony turns out to be that having a degree of certainty about what you want (and being in a peer group that feels the same way) is helpful in making people happy. Having more choices about what you want makes you less likely to be happy with whatever choice you end up settling on... the more you scrutinize a relationship, the more likely you are to find fault with it. The study's authors, W. Bradford Wilcox and Steven Nock, speculate that fault-finding on the part of wives makes it hard for men to do the emotional work that stabilizes marriages. Meanwhile, traditionalist women—a significant portion of whom are Christian—expect less emotional work from their husbands, Wilcox and Nock speculate, which makes it easier for them to shake off frustrations, and less likely to nag. Whether or not any of this is the case, we do know that traditional marriages have the advantage of offering clearly defined roles. And traditionalist wives have a peer group fundamentally in agreement about what it wants and expects from husbands, creating a built-in support system.

Consider the evidence that evangelical women—who in general endorse traditional gender roles—are better at adjusting psychologically to situations they don't find ideal than feminists are. Studies of evangelical wives who have to work for financial reasons show that, as rigid as gender roles are in their community, women are fairly adept at being what sociologist Sally Gallagher calls "pragmatically egalitarian." That is, they continue to be happy with the division of labor, and to see their husbands as providers, even though they'd prefer to be at home...

It may be, too, that traditional marriage today is happier than it was, thanks to feminism. Traditionalists have been able to maintain the pre-Freidan goals, but all the societal movement in the other direction has had a freeing effect on their marriages, too. (That is, Dad still works and Mom stays at home, but thanks to the general liberalizing of society, Dad can feel OK about helping more at home and Mom can feel OK about having a chance to work more, too.) In other words, their goal has stayed the same (that is, maintaining traditional marriage roles), but they can pursue it under much less draconian circumstances. No wonder they're happier. They're free-riders on the women's movement (though they'd deny it), whereas feminists have descended into a tangle of second guesses and contradictions...

A progressive-minded woman doesn't just have higher expectations; she's more likely to pay attention to every setback, and see her husband's failure to listen at dinner as evidence of larger inequity. Meanwhile, the paradox of rising expectations can make real differences seem bigger even as they grow smaller.

Links - 5th July 2017 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Friday's business with Katie Prescott - "There don't seem to be public intellectuals in economics in the same way as there are for example in physics. People like Bryan Cox. Those figures don't exist and when we asked in the survey whether people knew of such figures and economists they couldn't think really of any. They thought of the chancellor of the Exchequer for example or Martin Lewis. Those were the people who came across as economists so I think that there is a failure of communication"

German Muslim students protest Holocaust remembrance, attack Israel - "Muslim students of Arab and Turkish origin protested participation in an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Germany, while their high school’s administration showed understanding for their criticism of Israel... The number of antisemitic attacks reported in Germany doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to a report the Diaspora Affairs Ministry released last Sunday. The actual number of attacks is believed to be higher because of the lack of standards to identify contemporary antisemitism in the Federal Republic."

Hotel ransomed by hackers as guests locked out of rooms - "Hotel management said that they have now been hit three times by cybercriminals who this time managed to take down the entire key system. The guests could no longer get into their hotel rooms and new key cards could not be programmed. The attack, which coincided with the opening weekend of the winter season, was allegedly so massive that it even shut down all hotel computers, including the reservation system and the cash desk system. The hackers promised to restore the system quickly if just 1,500 EUR (1,272 GBP) in Bitcoin was paid to them... the hackers left a back door open in the system, and tried to attack the systems again. On the fourth attempt the hackers had however no chance because the computers had been replaced and the latest security standards integrated, and some networks had been decoupled. The Seehotel Jaegerwirt, which has existed for 111 years, also has another innovative trick in store to keep the hackers out for good. Brandstaetter said: "We are planning at the next room refurbishment for old-fashioned door locks with real keys. Just like 111 years ago at the time of our great-grandfathers.""

Migrants claiming benefits in Switzerland take HOLIDAYS in countries they are 'fleeing' - "Four out of five Eritreans in Switzerland are claiming state benefits... dozens of Eritrean families arrived at Zurich-Kloten airport to travel home."

Wheelchair-bound woman is gang-raped by 6 refugees at Swedish asylum centre

Migrants burn down centre over 'lack of CHOCOLATE' during Ramadan - "While the centre cancelled ordinary lunchtime meals to the dismay of non-Muslims, hot food was still available during the early morning and late evening. A spread of cold food was also made available during the day for migrants who were not observing the religious holiday... It is believed the perpetrators were angry that Nutella and confectionary was being made available during daylight hours, meaning supplies were then limited during the night. As they lit fires throughout the centre, they shouted: “There isn’t enough Nutella, Gummibears and chocolate.”"

Lucasfilm Consider Ending Main Star Wars Movies & Focusing On Spinoffs - "The Expanded Universe began to feel rather more restrictive than it should have done, with original characters often standing in the shadow of the legendary main families. Worse still, it became less and less accessible as it went along; by the time of the "New Jedi Order" novels, you needed a phenomenal amount of background knowledge to make sense of many of the subplots. What's more, the movies face a challenge the novels don't. 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."

Japan's Oddest English Book Is Still Wonderfully Strange - "English is a tough language—especially for Japanese. In school, they learn all these stiff, formal expressions that might not be useful with dealing with "nama no eigo" (生の英語) or "native English." All of this is what makes English Words That Don't Appear on Tests so great. Since it goes so far astray of typical textbook words and is filled with memorable illustrations, it actually might end up being helpful if the goal is simply expanding one's vocab—or to giggle at silly sentences."

Dubai security chief: Independent Palestinian state would be another failed Arab state - ""Today, the Jews are heading the world's economy, without the Jews you Arabs would not have known how to deposit your money in the bank," Tamim continued. In light of what he described as Arab incompetence in running a state and the distinguished economic talents of Jews, Tamim claimed that a joint Jewish-Palestinian state will only prosper under Israeli leadership... In another tweet that spurred controversy, the Dubai security chief wrote: "We should not treat Jews as our enemies. We should treat them as cousins with whom we have a controversy over land inheritance. " In order to test the feasibility of his idea, Tamim asked his Twitter followers if they think Palestinians and Jews can live together in an Israeli-ruled state. Not surprisingly, 57 percent of the followers answered that "'Jews have no place in our country.""

No, A 'Supercomputer' Did NOT Pass The Turing Test For The First Time And Everyone Should Know Better - "It "beat" the Turing test here by "gaming" the rules -- by telling people the computer was a 13-year-old boy from Ukraine in order to mentally explain away odd responses"

Sweden: 70yo Woman Prosecuted For Complaining About Migrants Defecating In The Streets - "She's being dragged into court and threatened with jail for a two year old Facebook post which is factually correct"
Is it hate speech to say that the Crusades are the reason for Islamic terrorism today?
“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” ― Ron Paul

Guy Sucks At Photoshop, Spends 10 Years Mastering Microsoft Paint To Illustrate His Book

Saida Grundy, Boston University professor: White males a 'problem population' - "Incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies, Saida Grundy tweeted a slew of tweets over several months blasting white males which have drawn criticism on social media... "White masculinity isn’t a problem for America’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for America’s colleges"... "Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. And every year I find it nearly impossible"... David Horowitz, author of “Reforming our Universities” told Fox that he was “not surprised that Boston University is hiring a racist to teach African American Studies.” “Anti-white racism is rampant in Black Studies programs which are generally indoctrination programs in left wing politics""

‘I would love to teach but…’ - The Washington Post - "According to the rubrics set forth by the county, if they wrote a single word on their paper, related or not to the assignment, I had to give them a 48 percent. Yet, students chose to do nothing. Why? Because we are forced to pass them. “They are not allowed to fail,” remember?... if I graded students accurately on their poor performance, then I have failed, not them... I quit because I’m tired of being part of the problem, and as only one soul in the river Styx, it is impossible for me to be part of the solution."
This is a great argument for standardised tests (though naturally he condemns them too)

Study: Men who remarry really do prefer younger women - The Washington Post - "One in five men who remarry wed a woman at least 10 years their junior, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census data. By contrast, only one in 20 men on their first marriage pair up with someone that young. "There’s a common stereotype that American men who remarry are especially likely to walk down the aisle with a younger woman," Pew's Gretchen Livingston writes. She rates that stereotype "largely true.""

What ancient mummies tell us about one of the most vexing afflictions of modern life - The Washington Post - "the modern scourge of heart disease is not at all new, and that people who exercised more than we do as a matter of necessity, and whose diet was free from modern temptations, also suffered striking levels of heart disease, according to the researchers. In recent years, X-ray based scans of mummies from around the world - including the hunter gatherers of Kagamil as well as those from ancient Egypt, Peru and the American Southwest — found signs of heart disease or atherosclerosis, the plaque lining the arteries near the heart... "These ancient people didn’t have preservatives, everything was organic, they didn’t smoke and they got plenty of exercise. But ... the amount of atherosclerosis in ancient times isn’t much different from what you see in modern times. If you account for age, it looks like we’re in the same ballpark""

Lawyers who switch careers find happiness in baking, tech and other fields - The Washington Post - "Nationwide, 24 percent of lawyers who passed the bar in 2000 weren’t practicing law in 2012, according to an American Bar Foundation survey."

These researchers have discovered the perfect password that’s also easy to remember - The Washington Post - "by far the most secure and the most memorable method is creating a short rhyming poem of random words."

The unbearable whiteness of pumpkins: more po-mo lunacy - "as Halloween approaches, we have a new paper in the journal GeoHumanities called: “The perilous whiteness of pumpkins” (reference and free download below). And it’s not about pumpkins bred for a lack of coloration, either: it’s how this seasonal gourd bears a horrible burden of racism and oppression. This is right up there with feminine glaciology and racist Pilates as one of the craziest po-mo papers I’ve seen... Powell and Englehardt strive mightily to make [Pumpkin Spice Lattes] symbols of the privileged and affluent, ergo of whiteness. To do that they link them with Ugg boots because Buzzfeed once published an article showing PSLs, a candle, and Ugg boots as “signifiers of basicness,” which the authors take as an index of female consumerism seen as a sign of white superiority."

Hip pain may be 'hangover from evolution' - "As species evolved from moving around on four legs to standing up on two, for example, researchers say the so-called neck of the thigh bone grew broader to support the extra weight. And studies show that the thicker the neck of the thigh bone, the more likely it is that arthritis will develop"

Firms that Discriminate are More Likely to Go Bust - "The basic logic of employer wage discrimination was laid out by Becker in 1957. The logic implies that discrimination is costly, especially in the long-run, not that it doesn’t happen. A nice test of the theory can be found in a paper just published in Sociological Science, Are Business Firms that Discriminate More Likely to Go Out of Business? The author, Devah Pager, is a pioneer in using field experiments to study discrimination. In 2004, she and co-authors, Bruce Western and Bart Bonikowski, ran an audit study on discrimination in New York using job applicants with similar resumes but different races and they found significant discrimination in callbacks. Now Pager has gone back to that data and asks what happened to those firms by 2010? She finds that 36% of the firms that discriminated failed but only 17% of the non-discriminatory firms failed... the cause of the business failure might not be the discrimination per se but rather that firms that discriminate are hiring using non-rational, gut feelings while firms that don’t discriminate are using more systematic and rational methods of hiring"
And yet liberals mock the idea that wage differentials are justified by productivity since otherwise firms would choose to hire the equally productive but more poorly paid demographics (e.g. women, and that this helps to explain the gender pay gap)

Indonesian Islamist leader says ethnic Chinese wealth is next target - "The leader of a powerful Indonesian Islamist organisation that led the push to jail Jakarta’s Christian governor has laid out plans for a new, racially charged campaign targeting economic inequality and foreign investment. In a rare interview, Mr Bachtiar Nasir said the wealth of Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese minority was a problem and advocated an affirmative action programme for native Indonesians, comments that could stoke tensions already running high in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. “It seems they do not become more generous, more fair,” the cleric said, referring to Chinese Indonesians... He spoke calmly during the interview, identifying other religiously motivated objectives such as restricting alcohol to tourist areas, curbing prostitution and criminalising adultery and sodomy. He insisted he believes in a pluralist Indonesia... “The key is justice, and taking sides,” he said. “Justice can be applied if there is a preferential option for indigenous Indonesians from a regulation aspect and in terms of access to capital.”"

The Big Read: Softer attitudes towards drugs a headache for authorities (Facebook Comments)
Comments: "Thank you TODAY fr the article. As a 22 yr old feeble minded young singaporean id like to say this maybe the most convinving article to date against marijuana( the devils broccoli ) . Thank you for saving me from a downward spiral and securing me a good middle class stressful ( but worthit tho ) future. We dont want private sectors abusing the legalisation of said drug ofcourse. To gain financially from your poor citizens wld be such an immoral thang ( god forrbid ). But curious tho, why still allow ciggarettes with all the tax on it and all . Well i cld only assume that money is going into good use right. Or else who knows 100% increase in our water electricity bill happen than what to do . Thanks again govt . The unsung hero . The hero we need and deserve. *clapping hands emoji*"
"I just had the time to look at the lit review. How come it doesn't have the citations to the actual studies they were reviewing? At the end of the day, I just want to look at the studies they referred to when they came to each conclusion.
That was honestly a terrible lit review, regardless of what they were reviewing. You could change every instance of cannabis to popcorn and I'd still say the same."
When lit reviews are being used to push policy objectives, it's unsurprising that the literature reviewed would not be disclosed

The cases might be rare, but these are the killers cops fear most - LA Times - "Although most police shooters are white males, including Latinos, black men have been responsible for nearly 40% of the 232 ambush killings of police officers since 2002, according to a U.S. Department of Justice study last year. For their portion of the population, black men have ambushed and killed officers at a rate three times that of white men... At his trial last year, defense experts argued that Monfort had a delusional disorder that made him believe killing officers was a moral act protected by the Constitution because it would stem police abuse."

Academic research on police shootings and race - The Washington Post - "the per capita rate of officers being feloniously killed is 45 times higher than the rate at which unarmed black males are killed by cops. And an officer’s chance of getting killed by a black assailant is 18.5 times higher than the chance of an unarmed black getting killed by a cop"

5 Statistics You Need To Know About Cops Killing Blacks - "blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties."Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force," writes MacDonald.MacDonald also pointed out in her Hillsdale speech that blacks "commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime" in New York City, even though they consist of 23 percent of the city's population."The black violent crime rate would actually predict that more than 26 percent of police victims would be black," MacDonald said. "Officer use of force will occur where the police interact most often with violent criminals, armed suspects, and those resisting arrest, and that is in black neighborhoods"... 12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide deaths were due to police officers, while only four percent of black homicide deaths were the result of police officers. "If we’re going to have a 'Lives Matter' anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named "White and Hispanic Lives Matter'... In the San Diego case, the unarmed black man actually "jumped the officer" and assaulted him, and the cop shot the man since he was "fearing for his life." MacDonald also notes that there was an instance in 2015 where "three officers were killed with their own guns, which the suspects had wrestled from them.""

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Links - 4th July 2017 (2)

Tyranny of the chicken finger: How we created a generation of unsophisticated, picky eaters — and why the cycle must stop - "As a general rule, people who grew up in North America and are now over the age of 30 recall that when they were children, kids ate what the adults ate. Families usually dined together at the table. There might have been foods you didn’t like; depending on the rules of the house you might have been expected to try them or even finish them. Or you might have been free not to, as long as there weren’t too many foods you were refusing. Either way, it wouldn’t have occurred to you that an adult was going jump up from the table to prepare you something precisely to your liking. And if you didn’t eat, you might have to wait quite a while for the next opportunity... Diverse eating habits tend to lead to healthier children, and those who don’t eat their fruit and veg are more likely to be overweight or obese... “At the core of the French approach is the belief that you teach your kids to eat just as you can teach them to read”... A child is not forced to eat any particular food, but won’t get an alternate choice. Parents and educators don’t make a big fuss when children refuse; they just take the dish away and try again another time. When the next meal comes, the adults figure, the kid will be hungry enough to try anything. And if the next meal is dinner, the child is likely to have at least one parent there to help him or her along. The French also avoid scheduling children’s lessons and activities for weekday dinnertimes. What French children don’t get is junk-shaming... Canadian pediatricians and dietitians now recommend flavourful food for infants as soon as they’re ready for solids, not the previous generations’ bland mush. There’s even evidence that taste preferences start in the womb; a Monell Center study showed that mothers who eat a variety of fruits and vegetables while pregnant give birth to babies who do, too."

College Campuses -- PC Moments of 2016 List - "Students at the University of California–Los Angeles created a “healing space” to recover from the pain of having Ben Shapiro speak on their campus — even though the speech had happened three months ago and they did not even attend it.
A Harvard kid declared benches to be a racial issue.
Materials distributed by the University of Missouri declared that it is a microaggression to call a disabled person “inspiring.”
A student was hit with a “safe space” complaint for raising her hand.
Campus crime alerts have trigger warnings now.
A college outdoors club canceled an event over concerns that it was not inclusive enough to people who do not like to go outdoors.
A professor was accused of sexual harassment for saying that effort would count for 10 percent of the grade in his class."

Emma Watson New Rosa Parks: Gender Neutral Awards Hollywood Virtue Signaling - "Oscars tend to go to those who play people in extreme situations and historical figures. That’s a big advantage for men, too: Not only are most of history’s defining figures men, so are most of its serial killers... Leonardo DiCaprio crawled out of his own grave, rode a horse off a cliff, and ate a raw bison liver in The Revenant. Saoirse Ronan worked at a department store and chose between two suitors in Brooklyn. Which one would be nominated if there were room for only one of them? Gender-segregated acting Oscars amount to an affirmative-action program for women."

Howard Dean doubles down on ‘hate speech isn’t protected’ claims — then it backfires big time - "that didn’t stop Dean from doubling down on his comments Friday, where he argued that a Supreme Court case from 1942 — Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire — proves the First Amendment doesn’t protect “hate speech.”... The court case, however, didn’t address “hate speech” like Dean claims and Twitter was quick to inform him of this fact, many of them lawyers and legal experts."

Explorers find disease-cursed City of the Monkey God and nearly lose their faces to flesh-eating parasite

Poverty, Cuban-Style - "Such was life in Cuba for a working-class family. Here were three employed adults, one of whom, as a trilingual translator, had a legitimate professional skill. Yet after combining incomes, they could afford to rent only an apartment smaller than a New York City micro-unit, featuring a barely functional bathroom, a deteriorating roof, a few dated appliances, and a refrigerator dominated by liquids more than by solid food... much of the left-wing international press either criticizes Cuba’s system only lightly or, in occasional bouts of revolting stupidity, celebrates it. For example, the Seattle-based environmental blog Grist.org recently lauded Cuba’s pre-modern “organic” agricultural system for its low-carbon footprint. Never mind that the resulting lack of food production causes shortages, forcing a tropical island with nutrient-rich soil to import 80 percent of its food. Communism in Cuba has at least remained true to its roots, imposing, for more than half a century, a juvenile notion of egalitarianism on the masses. Rather than uplifting them, this has reinforced the lowest common denominator: Everyone is poor."

Barnard Event: Zumba Is ‘Cultural Appropriation’

Obesity awareness may be causing overeating, finds international study - "People who think they are overweight or obese are more likely to pile on the pounds than those who are unaware that they may be heavier than doctors would advise"

Scottish independence: a guide to the big decision - "In the words of the former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, Thatcher was the "the greatest of all Scottish nationalists" because she united a nation against her, and the Tories were wiped out as a political force"

Selfie-portrait of the artist: National Gallery surrenders to the internet - "The National Gallery this week just threw up its hands and surrendered to the internet. "I had noticed custodians weren't leaping at people when they got their phones out," said art historian Barrie Garnham. "I just wondered whether maybe mobile phones don't emit the same kind of light." Not exactly – rather, it had become impossible to distinguish between people who were legitimately Googling for information, and people who were trying to take a photo. So the gallery lifted the photography ban, except for some new displays with copyright issues"
Why don't museums everywhere lift their photography bans then?

Brunei restricts lion dance performances to three days - "THE Brunei Government has limited lion dance performances during Chinese New Year to the first three days of the festival from Feb 19 to 21, reported Sin Chew Daily. It also only allowed the performances to be held at the Teng Yun Temple, schools and residences of Chinese association members... There is also a time frame for the performances. They can only be held from 8am to 11.30am and from 1.30pm to 5.15pm on Feb 19 and Feb 21. As for Feb 20, which is a Friday, lion dance troupes can only perform from 2pm to 5.15pm...
A waitress from a restaurant in Wuhan in China, swallowed a cockroach after a customer complained the insect was in their wantan soup... Zhang’s father, who was unhappy with the unapologetic manner of the waitress, said the restaurant should compensate them with 10 bowls. When the waitress said it was impossible, the angry father then challenged her to eat the cockroach"
Is this Mildly Islamic?

Brunei targets Chinese New Year in latest crackdown - "The rationale, according to religious leaders, is that if these infidels start putting up Christmas trees and performing lion dances in public, Muslims will want to imitate and will be led astray... Performances at all commercial establishments and public areas are strictly prohibited.
The dances must also be temporarily halted a half hour before and after designated Muslim prayers, and they must only involve Chinese students or community members. They may not be accompanied by firecrackers and fireworks... the Brunei government further clamped down on religious expression when it banned public Christmas celebrations and forced businesses to take down decorations, banners and Santa Claus figures, likewise because the act of celebrating "could damage the aqidah (faith) of the Muslim community"."

Brunei Cracks Down on Chinese New Year - "The practice of tasyabbuh or imitation by Muslims – which the sermon says can include seemingly “casual” acts like taking part in a lion dance show, wearing a Santa Claus outfit, and decorating homes with images or symbols not in line with Islamic teachings – can be interpreted as an offense under Section 207 (1) of the penal code, which is punishable by a fine of up to $20,000 and an imprisonment of up to five years, or both. Indeed, this was clearly stated in the government statement released last year during Brunei’s ‘war on Christmas. Likewise, Chinese who ignore the restrictions on Chinese New Year festivities can be seen to be violating Section 209 (1) of the penal code – previously publicized as well last Christmas – that allows non-Muslims to celebrate their religious festivities only among their community and forbids them from disclosing or displaying them publicly to Muslims."

Steve Jobs threatened Palm’s CEO, plainly and directly, court documents reveal - "Jobs’ threat to destroy Palm by filing patent infringement suits is an old corporate monopoly weapon dating back to an earlier, robber baron era in capitalism"

12 Jobs that We Will Never Understand in Egypt - "The guy who pushes the elevator buttons for you"

Nutella Makes For a Deliciously Excellent Firestarter

The Myth of Cuban Health Care - "The Left has always had a deep psychological need to believe in the myth of Cuban health care. On that island, as everywhere else, Communism has turned out to be a disaster: economic, physical, and moral. Not only have persecution, torture, and murder been routine, there is nothing material to show for it. The Leninist rationalization was, “You have to break some eggs to make an omelet.” Orwell memorably replied, “Where’s the omelet?” There is never an omelet... there is not just one system, or even two: There are three. The first is for foreigners who come to Cuba specifically for medical care. This is known as “medical tourism.”... The second health-care system is for Cuban elites — the Party, the military, official artists and writers, and so on. In the Soviet Union, these people were called the “nomenklatura.” And their system, like the one for medical tourists, is top-notch. Then there is the real Cuban system, the one that ordinary people must use — and it is wretched... When Castro seized power, almost 50 years ago, Cuba was one of the most advanced countries in Latin America. Its infant-mortality rate was the 13th-lowest in all the world, ahead of even France, Belgium, and West Germany... Cuban doctors are instructed to pay particular attention to prenatal and infant care... if there is any sign of abnormality, any reason for concern — the pregnancy is “interrupted.” That is the going euphemism for abortion. The abortion rate in Cuba is sky-high, perversely keeping the infant-mortality rate down... Castro’s apologists: If they must concede that Cuban health care is a shambles, their fallback position is that it’s all the fault of the American “embargo.” And yet Cuba has no problem taking care of people in other countries, for show and profit. Moreover, American trade with Cuba in medical goods is virtually unfettered, and American humanitarian aid is considerable... I have an indelible memory, from the mid-1980s. Armando Valladares was at Harvard, speaking to students. He had emerged from 22 years in the Cuban gulag, and had written the memoir Against All Hope. (Valladares is often called the Cuban Solzhenitsyn.) In the Q&A, the kids spouted at him the usual line about Cuba: health care, literacy, and blacks. They had been carefully taught it by their teachers. And Valladares answered, in essence, “It’s all untrue — a pack of lies. But even if it were true: Can’t a country have those things without dictatorship, without tyranny, without gulags, without torture — with freedom?”"

Amsterdam's solution to the obesity crisis: no fruit juice and enough sleep - "From 2012 to 2015, the number of overweight and obese children has dropped by 12%. Even more impressive, Amsterdam has done what nobody else has managed, because the biggest fall has been amongst the lowest socio-economic groups... The ban on birthday feasts for the class also caused ructions. “It had become competition. Somebody brought cupcakes, so another brought cupcakes and juice and then cupcakes and juice and a toy.” The school produced a folder of healthy treats, such as oranges or carrots decorated to look like faces... the nearby McDonalds has agreed that a child without a parent can only buy an apple – no fries. A European grant provides one fruit or vegetable for all children for three days a week. The fridge is filled with carrots and radishes, which the children are told they must at least try"

Molest victim squeezes culprit's genitals to escape

Utopias in history and an environmental disaster | Podcast | History Extra - "Some form of basic income was going to be implemented. People from the left to the right believed that. And indeed it was Nixon who made the proposal, which went to Congress twice and was only voted down in the Senate because the Democrats thought that they should have a higher basic income. So they thought that Nixon's proposal was too low... things used to be much worse and that's something we often forget. We are richer, healthier and smarter than we ever were and especially in the past two hundred years we've seen tremendous progress, so when people are pessimistic about the future I like to remind them that we have accomplished a lot already... when you ask people what would you do with a basic income is that about 99% of all people say you know I've got dreams, I've got ambitions. I'm not gonna to sit on the couch. I'm gonna do something useful. But when you ask them what will other people do? Then those people say you know other people, they'll probably spend it on on drugs and alcohol and set on the couch and watch Netflix... we have all the evidence... what we see happening time and again is that most people want to make something of their lives so they don't work less at all... the working hours for men only nudged down by 1% and for women about 3-5% and this was all compensated by volunteers work...
Borders are in fact quite recent invention. So in the 19th century they mostly existed on papers, on paper. So passports, there there were a few countries like like the Ottomans and Russia who issued passports but they were mostly considered for backwards countries...
What would happen if we would have a time machine, go back to the Middle Ages, kidnap some peasants and then show him around in modern day Britain or the Netherlands where I live. I think people would basically say, well this is it. You know, you've achieved our utopia... [On More's Utopia] if you look for example at the, the one who gives the main character in the book the tour around the island of Utopia his name is Hythloday which means Speaker of Nonsense"

Fermented Foods Find Fervent Advocate - “There are sort of three main ways that our species has developed to break down foods, or process foods, in a primordial way. And that is by cooking, by fermenting foods and by drying them or desiccating them... we may be unique among the apes in that we can detect when a food has been cooked or fermented. And that this allows us to identify the benefits of those, which is that they’re detoxified, they have greater available nutrients, and they are, in the case of fermented foods, going to have probiotics—or good microbes that we want and need in our intestines in order to survive in the world”

Healthy Behavior Can Spread Like Illness - "If your friends are happy—turns out you're more likely to be happy too. If your friends are overweight, that too ups the odds you'll pack on pounds. Those effects have been shown in studies. And now researchers have identified another seemingly contagious quality: exercise... the behavior of one city's runners could indeed affect the behavior of runners in another socially connected city"

Pollution Peaks When Temperatures Top Out - "You may have noticed your summertime electricity bills, when you're cranking the A–C, are more pricey than your wintertime payments. That's because air-conditioning is an electricity hog"

Aggressed-Upon Monkeys Take Revenge on Aggressor's Cronies - "monkeys that find themselves at the receiving end of aggression tend to turn around and take it out on a third party. And that retaliation is often directed at a relative of the original aggressor... Macaques that sought out the kin of the monkeys they wanted to settle a score with were less likely to be picked on again in the future. Whereas wailing on the friends appeared to offer only present satisfaction, but no such future protection."

Early-Life Microbes Ward Off Asthma - "a big risk factor associated with asthma whether they had potable, clean water. So ironically the kids that got the clean water had higher asthma rates than the kids that had the dirty water... maybe these microbes are actually endangered species and you think about your great grandkids, they’re gonna have very different microbes than you do and as we urbanize more and more our microbes become less diverse. And anyone that knows ecosystems, that’s not good, you want large diversity in rainforests, same as your microbes"

Forensic Science: Trials with Errors - "the government put on a tool-mark expert to testify that the markings on the shell that had been found at the scene of the crime matched the markings inside the barrel of the gun that had been found under the defendant’s bed…and I asked him, for example, what’s your error rate and what’s the error rate of this methodology that you’re using. And he said zero. And I said zero? And he said yes. And I said how can it be zero. And he said well, in every case I’ve testified, the guy’s been convicted"

Medical Marijuana Faces Fed's Catch-22 - "Doing large studies of marijuana's potential as medicine means getting it removed from an official federal list of substances with no official medical use—which requires more proof of its potential as medicine."

Atheists and Dogmatism

Are atheists undogmatic?

"At least in some cultural contexts and for some aspects of closed-mindedness, but not others, irreligious people may be even more dogmatic/inflexible than their religionist peers. As we will explain below,we argue that this may be the case in highly secularized Western countries with regard to two aspects of closed-minded cognition: tolerance and integration of contradictions and readiness to consider and appreciate others' perspective in general—not limited to religious-moral issues. However, as far as certainty in one's own existential and moral beliefs is concerned, religious people may be more dogmatic than their nonreligious peers...

Being certain of one's own beliefs relative to the existential and moral domains, and thus unwilling to change them is one thing; being open to imagine, listen to, consider, understand, and appreciate others' perspective is, to some extent, something different.We argue that, in highly secularized religious contexts, non-believers, compared to their religionist peers, would be less prone to be interested in, consider, understand, and appreciate perspectives that oppose their own. In fact, living in highly secularized societies that socially and/or politically value irreligion, or at least show a societal indifference with regard to religion, contemporary religious believers are faced with opinions, values, norms, and practices in their daily life that may significantly differ from their own. Thus, these individuals may be more prone to imagine and understand these alternative positions, and possibly to integrate them into their own in a complex way. This integration should imply a higher tolerance of contradictions. On the contrary, non-believers, often raised in non-religious families, have been socialized in a predominantly secular culture where indifference to, rather an interest in, religion is the norm. They thus have fewer opportunities to be faced with ideas that challenge their own.

Indirect evidence in favor of these expectations comes from a recent analyses of large international data by Gebauer et al. (2014). These authors found that the somewhat negative association between religiosity and openness to experience decreases, disappears, and may even be slightly reversed, when one shifts from religious to secular countries. They interpret this finding as reflecting the fact that, in the latter societies, religious believers “swim against the stream”, whereas non-believers “swim along the stream”. Additional indirect evidence comes from recent studies showing that those very low in religious fundamentalism, or very high in antireligious sentiments, have their own prejudices with regard to specific targets, that is religious people and moral conservatives (Brandt & Van Tongeren, 2017; Kossowska, Czernatowicz-Kukuczka, & Sekerdej, 2017)...

To measure myside bias as a low propensity to take a different perspective into consideration,we used a version of an arguments-generation task developed by Toplak and Stanovich (2003) and adapted by Van Pachterbeke, Keller, and Saroglou (2012). Participants were first asked to rate their agreement with three different opinion statements: (1) “Child adoption by homosexual couples is a positive advance for society”; (2) “The meaning of life is something entirely personal”; and (3) “In a house, rooms must be painted with light colors” (8-point Likert scales). The order of presentation was counterbalanced. Afterwards, in a separate screen page, participants were asked to generate as many arguments as they could both in support for and in opposition to the statements reflecting the above opinions. The pro and con arguments were to be written in separate boxes of equal size; and their order was counterbalanced. Additionally, for each argument that they generated, participants were asked to report to what extent they found that argument convincing, using a scale from 1 (not convincing at all) to 10 (extremely convincing)

Following Toplak and Stanovich (2003), we considered arguments (pro or contra with regard to each statement) that were in favor of a participant's position as “myside” arguments, and arguments that were in favor of an opposing position as “otherside” arguments. Thus, we computed an index of myside bias in arguments by subtracting the number of otherside arguments from the number of myside arguments. A higher score in this index indicates that a person is less prone to generate disapproving arguments than arguments in favor of their own opinion. We computed an additional index of myside bias in conviction, by subtracting the conviction scores of the otherside arguments from the conviction scores of the myside arguments; a higher score on this index indicates that a person finds arguments opposing their own opinion less convincing than the arguments favoring it.

Intolerance of contradiction

This construct was measured using three pairs of short statements, each pair presenting two seemingly contradictory scientific findings (statements selected from Peng & Nisbett, 1999). Participants were asked to rate, on a 9-point Likert scale, the extent to which they thought each of the six findings was true. The rationale behind this measure is that people who are intolerant of contradiction will have more difficulty in accepting the seemingly contradictory findings as equally true (or false). Thus, if they evaluate one scientific finding of the pair as true, they will tend to judge the other as very false. We computed, for each pair, the absolute difference between the two agreements with the two contradictory statements, and considered the mean of the three absolute differences as the index of intolerance of contradiction...

Gathering and analyzing data from three Western European countries, all with important levels of secularization, and comparing participants who self-identified as agnostic or atheist to those who selfidentified as Christians, we found that Christian participants scored higher on dogmatism, that is they explicitly reported high certainty in their beliefs–even when these beliefs may be questioned by contradicting evidence. This finding is in favor of the idea that holding religious beliefs implies, at least for some, a firm endorsement of ideas that seem implausible or contrary to evidence (e.g., miraculous phenomena, creationism) (e.g., Boyer, 2001; Woolley, 2000)... the religious participants of our study may have been the ones who expressed some certainty in their beliefs, whereas the nonreligious expressed total detachment from all beliefs... reporting low dogmatism may be highly socially desirable among nonbelievers.

Second, to some extent, and seemingly contrary to the above finding at first glance, the direction of the results seemed to change when measuring, through implicit, behavior-like tendencies, (1) the intolerance of contradiction, that is regarding seemingly opposite positions as fully incompatible, and (2) myside bias, that is propensity to imagine many arguments contrary to one's own position and find them somewhat convincing—in fact, a proxy for integrative complexity of thinking. It was non-believers who turned out to show greater, compared to Christians, intolerance of contradiction and myside bias. These two constructs do not parallel dogmatism–note that the three constructs were unrelated, if not even negatively related to each other. However, the results, in line with our rationale in the introduction, seem to question, to some extent, the global idea that rigidity and inflexibility characterize only religious believers but not nonbelievers. The results further suggest that, at least in secularized Western countries, where unbelief has progressively become normative, nonbelievers may be less socialized and less motivated to imagine, understand, and appreciate others' perspectives. (It cannot be excluded that results may differ in societies where mean religiosity is high and religionists do not often interact with the, few, non-believers).

Although the results were somewhat clearer when comparing atheists to religious people, agnostics were similar to atheists when compared to religious believers. Atheists and agnostics scored similarly lower than Christians on dogmatism and higher than them on intolerance of contradiction and myside bias. (The former result is not necessarily in conflict with Silver et al., 2014, since in that study it was the militant antireligious that scored higher on dogmatism than any other type of non-believer.) This suggests that the basic difference in (1) certainty in beliefs and (2) the propensity to consider, appreciate, and integrate different perspectives, even when in opposition to one's own, lies essentially in the distinction between those who believe and those who do not. The only observed difference concerned the attitudes toward religion: whereas atheists and agnostics endorsed equally an understanding of religion from an historical relativism perspective (a main component of the symbolic unbelief measure), atheists endorsed the anti-religious, called “external”, critique, that is disqualifying religion as irrational and outdated, to a greater extent than agnostics.

Finally, the effects are clearly small in size. However, the results seem to show some consistency: they applied to three different countries (UK, France, and Spain). Moreover, and importantly, they did not seem to be an artifact of sociodemographic variables (age, gender, education, and socioeconomic level) when comparisons were made in the total sample as well as across countries...

The current work,modestly but critically, contributes to an ongoing broader debate on whether liberals may parallel conservatives on at least some aspects denoting dogmatic thinking and/or submission to some kind of authority (e.g., Altemeyer, 1996; Conway et al., 2016). Obviously, the link between (ir)religion and rigidity offers a much more complex area of research than had appeared at first glance."

This was reported in The Independent as Atheists are less open-minded than religious people, study claims which, naturally, drew a lot of silly comments.

Most naturally, a lot of poisoning the well - since the authors are from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. Like one saying the study was funded by the Vatican (presumably because of its name), even though the paper reports that "This work is part of the doctoral dissertation of the first author, with a fellowship from the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research". I guess the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research must be linked to the Vatican, then.

Of course no one commenting on this study that I've seen seems to have read the (better) linked article Study finds the nonreligious can be more close-minded than the religious, much less the original paper.

Actually, many might not even have read the article itself, as evidenced by people talking about the tolerance of pedophilia.

They also show a worrying contempt for peer review, which is something that the skeptics would presumably endorse in other contexts.

If a news story came out reporting that a study concluded that fire could be useful in the development of civilisation, there would be people condemning it and talking about how fire killed 10 kids the previous week.

Addendum: All the atheists dismissing or mocking this research without knowing what it's about (one, when I asked what his objections were, even proudly proclaimed that it was trash and he didn't want to read trash) are just helping to make the paper's point.

Comment which displays via Facebook on mobile (but not on the site):

"Yeah, it's a irrelevant little institution which is consistently ranked among the top 100 universities globally and has one of the best medical schools in the world - I guess the doctors there must be divinely inspired..."

The methodology of Peng & Nisbett, 1999 (Culture, Dialectics, and Reasoning About Contradiction, used here to measure intolerance of contradiction) is quite interesting.

It gives participants (seemingly) contradictory statements and asks them if they can be reconciled:

The information was presented in the form of brief descriptions of the findings of scientific studies. The opposing statements were superficially incompatible but were not true contradictions of one another. This left room for a dialectical approach -- for finding some degree of truth to both statements

The statements:

Statement 1A:
A social psychologist studied young adults and asserted that those who feel close to their families have more satisfying social relationships.

Statement 1B:
A developmental psychologist studied adolescent children and asserted that those children who were less dependent on their parents and had weaker family ties were generally more mature.

Statement 2A:
A sociologist who surveyed college students from 100 universities claimed that there is a high correlation among college female students between smoking and being skinny.

Statement 2B:
A biologist who studied nicotine addiction asserted that heavy doses of nicotine often lead to becoming overweight.

Statement 3A:
A health magazine survey found that people who live a long life eat some sorts of white meat, e.g., fish or chicken.

Statement 3B:
A study by a health organization suggests that it is much more healthy to be a strict vegetarian who does not eat meat at all.

Statement 4A:
A survey found that older inmates are more likely to be ones who are serving long sentences because they have committed severely violent crimes. The authors concluded that they should be held in prison even in the case of a prison population crisis.

Statement 4B:
A report on the prison overcrowding issue suggests that older inmates are less likely to commit new crimes. Therefore, if there is a prison population crisis, they should be released first.

Statement 5A:
A group of environmental science undergraduate students examined fuel usage in a large number of developing countries and asserted that recent practices are likely to multiply already worsening environmental problems such as "global warming."

Statement 5B:
A meteorologist studied temperatures in 24 widely separated parts of the world and asserted that temperatures had actually dropped by a fraction of a degree each of the last five years.

Ed: Someone was picking on the effect sizes, so I went to calculate them.

For atheists vs Christians,

Effect size for dogmatism:

Effect size for intolerance of contradiction:

Effect size for myside bias: arguments:

Effect size for myside bias: conviction:

As per Jussim et al. in The Unbearable Accuracy of Stereotypes,

"One recent review of more than 300 meta—analyses - which included more than 25,000 studies and over 8 million human participants — found that mean and median effect sizes in social psychological research were both about .2 (Richard et al., 2003). Only 24% of social psychological effects exceeded .3"

Therefore the effect sizes for the first 3 are standard for social psychological research and that for the last is stronger than for most social psychological research.

Links - 4th July 2017 (1)

Postwar occupations and Raleigh bicycles | Podcast | History Extra - "Eisenhower issues a ban on fraternisation in April 1945. And so men and women serving in Germany aren't allowed even to be ordinarily polite with Germans. Germans are meant to understand that they are beyond the moral pale by the fact that the American occupiers won't shake hands with them, won't exchange any kind of courtesies with them at all. But the ban is widely disregarded... [on GIs' 'souvenirs'] GIs' term for themselves, the sort of punning supercate [sp?] the Lootwaffe in Germany to sort of playfully invoke the notion that they were rather good at acquiring German stuff... the Bush administration and architects of Operation Iraqi Freedom (so-called) were constantly in the six months leading up to the invasion of Iraq invoking the postwar occupations of Germany and Japan to reassure skeptics that it would be relatively easy to debaathify Iraq and to remodel that country as a lodestone of democratic values in the Middle East. Now like many historians I was convinced in late 2002 and early 2003 that the analogy simply didn't hold water. Germany and Japan in 1945 had been thoroughly thoroughly beaten. These were devastated, exhausted countries and of course that they had started the wars that they lost and the populations of those countries knew themselves to be beaten and even if they didn't necessarily welcome the occupiers with open arms, they had no choice but to accept the new Pax Americana. And they mostly did so with varying degrees of quiescence but there was very little armed resistance... now of course if you invade a country in a war of choice then it seems to me very obviously you can expect there to be resistance"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Stem Cell Hard Sell - "Every time I called a lawyer... They would look him up online and just say: he doesn't have malpractice insurance, it's not worth suing him...
You know people fly on aircraft. If we told everybody and said you are personally responsible for making sure that the navigation system works and make sure you know everything about the pilot, that the pilot has passed all of his or her exams and knows how to fly the aircraft and make sure you go and check the landing gear. I mean most of us get on planes - we don't know how to do that, we assume that the people have taken those steps in our protecting us and I would say when it comes to these sorts of businesses most people are going to have a very difficult time managing to see through the hyperbole the marketing hype in order to understand what they're actually being exposed to"

Using ‘they’ and ‘them’ in the singular - "the practical reason that people often use this form of words is if you are referring to someone of an unknown gender, to use he, him, his, etc. is nowadays considered sexist. Using them, they, or their is a way to avoid making an assumption of gender as there is no gender explicit in these pronouns. Find out more about gender-neutral language. Second, people prefer not to use he or she, him or her, etc. because they are long-winded and can be distracting, especially if they have to be repeated several times in the same sentence or paragraph."
How come there's nothing said about plural confusion? e.g. "While R2-D2 is active, whenever a Light Side ally scores a Critical Hit, dispel all debuffs on them" (i.e. does "them" mean both of them? Only the ally? R2-D2?)

The case for raising chickens in virtual reality - "Key to the vision of Second Livestock is that it would enable what Stewart calls "Virtual Free Range™" living... "There's research suggesting that free range chickens show all the signs of having a stressful life," Stewart says. "They have more broken bones, they get broken legs, etc., whereas birds raised in little boxes don't have those indicators of stress. And who's to say which is better?""

Lesbian go-go dancing: subverting the gaze one sexy step at a time - "I’ve gone to a bunch of these parties and it has always struck me that the spectacle of a woman dancing half-naked for tips would, in a different context, be considered objectification. And yet, when a woman dances provocatively for other women – when you have lesbians exercising a female gaze – it intuitively feels far more equitable than a woman dancing for men. But is that really the case?"
If you like dancing for women but not men isn't that sexist?

5 Things Women Do Better Than Men - "1. Beat up children
2. Pop pharmies
3. Gang rape
4. Stalk, attack and psychologically abuse a partner
5. Cheat on a partner"

Domestic Violence Against Men: Women More Likely To Be 'Intimate Terrorists' With Controlling Behavior In Relationships - "Women were more likely to verbally and physically aggressive to their partners than men... "This was an interesting finding. Previous studies have sought to explain male violence towards women as rising from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women's behavior, using violence if necessary,” Bates said. This suggests IPV may not be motivated by patriarchal values, and should be further studied with other forms of aggression. The stereotypical popular view, although still dominant, is being challenged by research over the last ten to 15 years, shedding light on male domestic violence... Sixteen percent of adult men who report being raped or physically assaulted are victims of a current or former spouse, cohabitating partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or date"

Inside a Sex Party Where Straight Women Are Gay for a Night

The small world of modern thrillers - "The new spate of universe-shrinking, of plots driven by personal animus, could well be a sign of how narcissistic our culture has become, and how desperate film and television studios are to please fans who are obsessed by their favourite characters. But it’s also a symptom of globalisation: now that studios are so reliant on overseas sales, they don’t want to risk offending foreign markets. It’s safer to be personal than political."

Hillary Clinton Sets 104-Year Record for Faithless Electors - "It’s a fitting end to a presidential election in which the media coverage was so divorced from reality PPD readers and millions of other Americans sometimes felt like they were in the Twilight Zone"

Aung San Suu Kyi made angry 'Muslim' comment after tense exchange with BBC presenter Mishal Husain, it is claimed - "Aung San Suu Kyi lost her cool following a tense interview with BBC presenter Mishal Husain and was heard muttering "no one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim", it has been claimed. The leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy was challenged on anti-Islamic attitudes and violence towards Muslims in Burma, a majority Buddhist nation where Muslims make up just four per cent of the population."

Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard - "One of the seminal texts on grief is Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s 1969 On Death and Dying, which outlines five steps of the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Since its publication, modern experts have questioned and criticised its central claims, particularly the understanding that successful mourners let go of the departed and move on. Today, many counsellors help mourners realise that their loved ones continue to be with them, in some sense, after they die. The relationship changes, but it is still there."

The man taught to have sex by lesbians - "I thought I'd become the world's best male friend and all my girlfriends would come round and I'd do their hair and make-up and send them out on dates. And then she'd come back and cry on my shoulder saying, "Mik, he had sex with me and then he dumped me, why can't boys be like you?" I, of course, didn't see what I would now recognise as a come-on - I thought they're never going to want to be with me because I can't "do it''. So I'd be like, "Oh yeah, don't worry, next time you'll be fine."... At the time, lesbianism and feminism were very closely associated and they were very radical these girls. And they truly believed that what was wrong with the planet was men and their erectile function. All penetration was bad. So suddenly I was this new type of man, an evolutionary leap for man according to these girls, and they thought it was great. I really liked these girls and they took me under their wing and even made me an honorary lesbian. I used to go on lesbian marches, wearing make-up and looking like Boy George on wheels, going, "Down with men, men are bad!""

More than half of Democrats believed Bush knew - "I've been looking for a good analogue to the willingness of Republicans to believe, or say they believe, that Obama was born abroad, and one relevant number is the share of Democrats willing to believe, as they say, that "Bush knew [about 9/11].""
Too bad accusations of racism are more sexy than what this form of conspiratorial partisan paranoia

Putin shrugs off Trump's nuclear plans, says Democrats sore losers - "Russia's Vladimir Putin said on Friday he was unfazed by President-elect Donald Trump's plans to boost the U.S. nuclear arsenal, praising Trump for being in touch with U.S. public opinion while branding the Democrats sore election losers"

The uncertain future of democracy - "political elites – which includes many in the media – are suddenly talking about the need to defend democracy. “But defend democracy against what? Against the people?” asks Hoey. By getting the public involved in the biggest political debate in decades, Brexit was phenomenal, she says. “People who hadn’t voted for years came out.” Yet many still identify the populist backlash itself as the problem, rather than an expression of a deeper issue. Brexit and Trump voters are stigmatised for being bigots – “deplorables” – or for being misled by misinformation or lying politicians. But to dismiss millions of people like that will get us nowhere, says Hoey. “Our political parties have run away from talking about the issues that matter to people,” she says. “If you're not asking the really big questions about what kind of society you want to live in, what’s left?” If people care about something, it needs to be discussed – no matter how difficult a topic. “You need to have clashes of opinion,” she argues. “If you want to revise democracy that’s the only way to do it. There are no other fixes.” For Hoey, Brexit and the election of Trump are electoral shocks that could be good for democracy in the long-run. “All these years, nobody’s really cared about democracy,” she says. “Suddenly everyone’s talking about it and that’s great”... In non-democratic countries around the world – in parts of Asia, in sub-Saharan Africa – survey data shows that people want it"

Drunken man dies in India after road built over him

Did love or fury spur Dutch gorilla's attack? - "The 11-year-old silverback has become a national celebrity since he leaped a 4 meter (13 ft) moat surrounding his pen and ran amok in the zoo restaurant amid panicking visitors. The 180 kg (397 lb) Bokito seriously injured a woman, who it later emerged has visited the ape almost every day since his arrival at the zoo a year and a half ago, a fact which has left the country guessing the motive behind his attack... Women can easily develop an emotional tie to big apes as they are "the perfect macho" with their rippling muscles and masculine gait, some academics have suggested... Dutch Media widely reported that the woman misunderstood what she perceived as a smile from the gorilla. Experts suggest he was more likely to have been baring his teeth as a threat. Dutch citizens lost sympathy for the woman after it emerged that she has visited the gorilla about four times a week and said that Bokito "remains her darling" despite suffering a broken arm and wrist and around 100 bites. In a poll published some days after the accident, some 33 percent of those surveyed said the victim was responsible"
Is this victim blaming?

The rise of the Asian expat - “Asian companies are more likely to send staff overseas than Western companies”

Chris Pratt Forced to Apologize to Deaf Community After Asking People to 'Turn Up the Volume' - "The controversy arose after the video featuring Pratt was posted to Marvel’s Facebook page promoting his latest movie, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2.”C’mon seriously dude,” the Hollywood star said in the video and asked people to ignore the subtitles in the clip. “You’d rather read those than hear me?”... This isn’t the first time Pratt came under fire for causing offense to someone. Recently, he was forced to apologize over a suggestion that “the voice of the average, blue-collar American” isn’t represented in movies and TV shows."

Study: Video Games are Among the Most Popular Ways for Men to Cope with Stress - "a significant percentage of male participants (29%) listed video games as a main coping strategy, with women trailing behind slightly at 18%. In contrast, more than half (52%) of female participants listed prescription pills to deal with hard times, with only 27% of men listing it as a coping method. Both genders rate “talking with friends” as their primary way to cope. The research serves as a strong rebuke to those who claim that video games carry no social purpose, especially for men and a significant percentage of women, many of whom play online video games for both social interaction and relaxation."

Feminist Writer Says We Need to Put an End to 'Orgasm Privilege' - "At one point, she undercuts her own argument by claiming she just wants “the justice to have the good sex that they deserve — whether that includes an orgasm or not.”"

Bias Incident Team: Students' Three Blind Mice Halloween Costume "Makes Fun of a Disability" - "The incident took place at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, according to records reviewed exclusively by Heat Street. The offending students had posted pictures of themselves in costume on Facebook."
Again, a public university - not an elite college

France begs its citizens to lighten up with tourists - "Commerce Minister Fleur Pellerin said France needed to “recover a sense of hospitality”, as “too often we mistake service for servility”... foreign visitors rate the French capital as one of the world’s most hostile places - although France is currently also the world’s most visited country. The TripAdvisor website found foreigners voted it the rudest city in Europe, and other researchers have reported that visitors thought it had the least friendly locals, the most unpleasant taxi drivers and the most aggressive waiters. On the other hand, Parisians themselves reportedly do not enjoy Parisian manners either. A survey two years ago by Paris transport operator RATP found that 97 per cent of Parisians believed their fellow citizens “were ill-mannered and lacked civility” – statistics which do not bear too much looking into, as they suggest that those complaining must be rude themselves."

Absurd Creature of the Week: The Ferocious Bug That Sucks Prey Dry and Wears Their Corpses - "why steal plant goo when you can harness the power of the millipede? Some assassin bugs exclusively target the many-legged critters, which release a noxious secretion to ward off predators. (Hilariously, lemurs exploit this by chomping down on millipedes and getting high off the toxins.)"

Bruges Built an Underground Beer Pipeline to Improve Traffic

Is the human brain hardwired to appreciate poetry? - "It is the first time that we show unconscious processing of poetic constructs by the brain"

Why We Should Design Some Things to Be Difficult to Use - "Ease of use encourages somebody to pick up your product. But the promise of mastery ensures that they will never want to put it down."

No One Can Agree What a Spoiler Is, But Maybe This Guide Can Help - "Instead of diminishing the enjoyment of readers, Christenfeld found not only that spoilers actually increased enjoyment, particularly for mysteries and stories with twist endings. “Knowing whodunit actually made them enjoy it more,” he says... there is plenty of historical precedent for internal spoilers, from plays like Romeo and Juliet, which reveals its entire tragic plot in the first fourteen lines of its prologue, to films like Titanic and Apollo 13, where we know exactly how it’s going to end but enjoy watching it play out anyway. “People underestimate the extent to which they can enter into a notion of suspense even when they know the outcome”... We need only look as far as HBO’s Game of Thrones for a perfect embodiment of this duality: a massively popular series where part of the audience is obsessively concerned with spoiler avoidance–and woe betide he who runs afoul of them–while another significant part of the audience knows exactly what’s going to happen, and remains riveted anyway... demanding that people stop their conversations to accommodate your viewing schedule is a bit like holding a light bulb and expecting the world to revolve around you... "if you care so much about a show that you’re willing to get upset about someone spoiling you, and you haven’t put forth the effort to see the show, then you are the spoiler. You’re spoiling the fun of talking about art.”"

The Case Against the Case Against the Crusades - The New York Times - "the broad story of the era and the movement can’t be explained without a recognition that the context of the crusades, from the 11th century beginning to the echoes at Lepanto and Vienna centuries later, always included 1) ongoing conflict between Islamic and Christian forces in territory that had been Christian before an earlier wave of Muslim conquest and 2) the emergence of new Islamic powers, first Seljuk and then Ottoman, whose advances threatened first Byzantium and then, after its fall, the Balkans, the Christian Mediterranean and eventually Central Europe. One can argue back and forth over whether this or that crusade met “just war” criteria, but none of them sprang de novo from a world of stable borders and religious peace, and all of them were part of a longer story of attack and counterattack in which both sides were playing for potentially-existential stakes. Which makes a comparison between the Crusades as a historical phenomenon and various specific institutions — the sort of comparison in which “Crusaders” get casually likened to “slave owners”, for instance — seem, well, not even wrong: It’s just a category error... the Crusades are nowhere near that simple, and to disown them requires a kind of amputation, a schism with the past, a triumph of forgetfulness over the more complicated obligations of actually remembering."
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