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Friday, November 17, 2017

Links - 17th November 2017 (2)

Survival of the Fittest and the Sexiest: Evolutionary Origins of Adolescent Bullying - "bullies had the most positive scores on mental health measures and held the highest social rank in the school environment"
This suggests that claims that bullies are cowards themselves might not be true

Corporations Biggest Threat To Free Speech - " On the same day Google fired Damore, Airbnb confirmed it was deleting accounts that the company suspected may be associated with an upcoming alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Airbnb did this in order to prove it is a welcoming platform, according to its own statement. Apparently, welcoming means banning people who may be suspected — just suspected — of claiming allegiance to the alt-right. Going back a bit further, there’s Mozilla firing its founder Brendan Eich for quietly donating to anti-gay marriage initiatives, an event that now serves as an early precursor to the current Google mess... The Google firing is a chilling example of a major corporation firing someone solely over their viewpoints. This is different from companies kicking off users from the platforms they provide. Taking away a person’s livelihood over their political views is far more serious than ensuring they can’t tweet anymore. To many Americans, the idea of being unemployable for your political stances seems outrageous. But that’s what these left-wing activists want. Those who wanted Damour’s head claimed they needed his termination in order to make Google a “safer” work environment. This is the exact kind of bullshit campus agitators use to shut down speakers they disagree with."
The rally AirBNB deleted people's accounts about was for... free speech. SPOING!

The New Blacklist - "The following is an updated list of figures bullied, badgered, pressured, and purged from polite society for discussing topics outside of the Overton Window."

Chinese auntie enforcers jailed after reign of grey terror - "They would shout at or insult debtors into submission using loudspeakers, and when that did not work they spat at them, reports said. Some female victims reportedly had their clothes torn off if they resisted, while men said the aggressive aunties would rip off their own clothes to imply they had been sexually assaulted. One of the ringleaders, a blind woman named Gao Yun, told The Beijing News the nefarious scheme had been a way to kill time and was "something fun to do"."

The Rise of Antifa - "Those responses sometimes spill blood. Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force. Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of “kinetic beauty.” Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, “I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.” The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators—at least some of whom were associated with antifa—punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the “righteous beatings”... Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism. Many of its activists oppose the very notion of a centralized state. But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation. Unlike the politicians they revile, the men and women of antifa cannot be voted out of office. Generally, they don’t even disclose their names."

If You’re Reading This Essay, You Should Probably Have (More) Children - "Economists have long argued that more people means more minds productively working on the kinds of problems that plague us. Although we often pollute as a consequence of using carbon-based energy sources, these energy sources also fuel a wide array of industry, including the invention of new kinds of energy that cost less and reduce pollution"

The Neurodiversity Case for Free Speech - "Newton wouldn’t last long as a ‘public intellectual’ in modern American culture. Sooner or later, he would say ‘offensive’ things that get reported to Harvard and that get picked up by mainstream media as moral-outrage clickbait. His eccentric, ornery awkwardness would lead to swift expulsion from academia, social media, and publishing. Result? On the upside, he’d drive some traffic through Huffpost, Buzzfeed, and Jezebel, and people would have a fresh controversy to virtue-signal about on Facebook. On the downside, we wouldn’t have Newton’s Laws of Motion... campus speech codes and restrictive speech norms impose impossible expectations on the social sensitivity, cultural awareness, verbal precision, and self-control of many neurodivergent people... Eccentricity is a precious resource, easily wasted. In his book On Liberty (1859): John Stuart Mill warned that ‘the tyranny of the majority’ tends to marginalize the insights of the eccentric... most speech codes prohibit any insults based on a person’s sex, race, religion, or political attitudes. But aspie students often notice that these codes are applied very selectively: it’s OK to insult ‘toxic masculinity’ and ‘patriarchy’, but not to question the ‘wage gap’ or ‘rape culture’; it’s OK to insult ‘white privilege’ and the ‘Alt-Right’ but not affirmative action or ‘Black Lives Matter’; it’s OK to insult pro-life Catholics but not pro-sharia Muslims. The concept of ‘unwelcome’ jokes or ‘unwelcome’ sexual comments seems like a time-travel paradox to aspies – how can you judge what speech act is ‘unwelcome’ until after you get the feedback about whether it was welcome?... People with diagnosed mental disorders qualify as ‘disabled’ people under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal laws, so any speech code at a public university that imposes disparate impact on neurominorities is illegal... In response to these chilling effects, neurodivergent academics may withdraw from the social and intellectual life of the university. They may avoid lab group meetings, post-colloquium dinners, faculty parties, and conferences, where any tipsy comment, if overheard by anyone with a propensity for moralistic outrage, could threaten their reputation and career. I’ve seen this social withdrawal happen more and more over the last couple of decades. Nerdy, eccentric, and awkward academics who would have been outspoken, hilarious, and joyful in the 1980s are now cautious, somber, and frightened."

Teacher in Mexico lines up pupils to show how bull will run around them if unprovoked

Ex-police officer jailed over helicopter film of couple having sex - "A “sex-obsessed” former police officer who filmed a couple having sex, and other people sunbathing naked, from his force helicopter has been jailed for a year. Sentencing Adrian Pogmore, Judge Peter Kelson QC told him: “You, quite literally, considered yourself above the law.”"

Deputy minister: Probe underway on Muslims joining Atheist Club - "The government will investigate if there are Muslims who have joined the Kuala Lumpur Atheist Club, as made viral on the social media recently, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki. He stressed on the importance for a detailed investigation to be conducted and urged for the involvement of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) as it involved the faith of Muslims in the country."
Why are Malaysian Muslims so week?

Atheists in Malaysia should be hunted down, minister says - "Atheists in Malaysia should be “hunted down” by authorities as there is no place for groups like this under the Federal Constitution, a minister said today. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the public should aid authorities in locating groups like the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic so that action could be taken. “The (Federal Constitution) does not mention atheists. It goes against the Constitution and human rights."

Vegan cafe charges male customers 18 percent 'man tax' and seats women first in bid to address gender pay gap
Not like there're many male vegans anyway. And now there's even less reason for men to follow that diet

Haidilao billionaire owner ready to take on the world - "What really sets Haidilao apart is its customer service. Customers waiting for a table can get their nails done or receive a shoulder massage at no charge. After being seated, every diner is given a moist warm towel and apron to protect their clothes. Individual plastic baggies are provided for mobile phones and those dining solo are sometimes offered a teddy bear to accompany them... Mr Zhang, like his waiters from a humble background in the hinterlands, knows the challenges migrants face in the big city. Haidilao provides apartments, often with air conditioning and wifi, for its staff. Mr Zhang also provides a monthly subsidy for the parents of senior staff and managers. There’s a disaster fund for when employees’ families face hardships from natural disasters. “It’s not easy being a rural migrant in China”... Haidilao tends to promote from within, placing waiters and cleaners on management promotion tracks. The person who runs its US business started as a restaurant doorman. Chief executive officer Yang Xiaoli worked her way up from her first role as a waitress. Managers are evaluated by levels of customer satisfaction and staff morale, rather than primarily on restaurant revenue... At his sole US outlet in Los Angeles, Mr Zhang said he’s unhappy that its business relies heavily on ethnic Chinese customers. To try to attract a more varied crowd he says future restaurants in the US will adopt a more night-club-like atmosphere, with pop music and set menus for diners and perhaps even individual hotpots for each diner at the table."

Man provokes fury with ticket to women-only WW screening - "He also pointed out it's perfectly legal to buy a ticket to a specific screening, but it would be illegal to kick him out specifically on the ground of his sex or gender identity... Twitter user Steve Gorelick had a more brash approach, writing: 'Outrageous. These ignorant, vile misogynists -- who've happily enjoyed access to all sorts of male only settings -- are suddenly egalitarian.' Later, responding to backlash he continued to receive, he chastised those individuals, writing: 'I'm more or less stunned for an entire group of people who lay claim to civil rights how little they actually seem to know about them.'"
Some animals are more equal than others

Dang — looks like those women-only “Wonder Woman” screenings were illegal - "Now the chain has apologized for the screenings in a letter to the city. Drafthouse admitted their advocacy of a film screening for women was in violation of anti-discrimination laws in Austin, Texas. The apology follows an outpouring of dissent from men who claim they felt discriminated against, resulting in two official complaints to be filed with the city."
Feminists could just get anti-discrimination laws rewritten

Some men’s rights activists are using a California antidiscrimination law to take down ‘women in tech’ groups - "Men’s rights activists are using an antidiscrimination law from the 1950s to kneecap women in tech events... Candelore and Allison could file a lawsuit against Burns and her company thanks to a 1959 California antidiscrimination law called the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The law says all Californians are”free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation” can enter and participate in activities and events at all business establishments."
Discrimination is only bad when targeted at "minorities"

Sam Harris: I'm Leaving Patreon - "Harris noted a wave of left-wing agitation campaigns directed at shutting down all views dissenting from their neo-Marxist dogma, fearing that he will be financially damaged by such campaigns in the future."

Brad the Year Is 2025 News Anchor in Tonights Top Story a Bi- Genderqueer Gluten Free Man Who Identifies as a Straight Woman and a Free Range Self Proclaimed Feminist Who Was Born a Woman but Identifies as a Pansexual Man and Author of the Book 'He Raped Me With His Eyes and Got Away With It' Have Given Birth to a Healthy Baby Xi Who They Claim at 2 Weeks Old Identifies as a Lime Green Crayola Crayon

What is gender, anyway? - "If you count only those who have or are expected to physically transition to some degree, the trans population of the UK makes up just 0.2 per cent of the whole... The backlash against the idea of sexuality and gender being connected was so great that, when Michael Bailey addressed it at length in his 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen, he was met with a sustained campaign of harassment that targeted his workplace and his family... Bradley also believes that for some of her patients, especially female ones, gender transition could be a response to trauma, allowing them to regain control of a threatened or violated body: “In the adolescent girls, we had a couple of kids who came in with no earlier history of particular cross-gender wishes or behaviours, but in the context of a sexual assault, they began to take on the role of a male.” (Like Michael Bailey, Bradley's colleague Ken Zucker, the head of the SickKids gender facility, was attacked for not conforming to the current trans political line, and ultimately forced from his job.)... Making it even more difficult to describe and analyse these conflicting accounts of gender is the fact that, according to some, even attempting the discussion is to show hostility to trans people... The review co-authored by Safer certainly includes multiple studies, and they all appear to point to the same conclusion – biological basis for gender identity. But crucially, they find many different possible biological explanations, so it's hard to use them to support each other. One study finds a possible genetic cause for transgenderism, for example, and another finds a possible cause in the uterine hormonal environment. Sometimes the research presented by Safer and his colleagues is actively contradictory... 67.6 per cent of natal female patients referred to the clinic are attracted to females, and 42.3 per cent of natal males are attracted to males, so there is clearly a substantial intersection between homosexuality and gender identity disorders... it seems unlikely that “gender identity disorder” - the current diagnostic term - describes one coherent phenomenon at all... Transgender people can point to compelling evidence of violence, unhappiness, and discrimination, and argue for medical and legal interventions to remedy them. But the fact of suffering is not evidence that the sufferer has unimpeachable insight into the source of that suffering... yet this claim has become the justification and basis for trans activism, and is increasingly influential in the development of legislation"
Problematising the theoretical foundations of trans mania

Oxford University sorry for eye contact racism claim - "Oxford University has apologised for saying that avoiding eye contact could be "everyday racism" after it was accused of discriminating against autistic people... Twitter users criticised the newsletter and academics argued the guidance was "trivialising racism"... Emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent, Prof Frank Furedi, said the newsletter's authors "need a reality check"."

Can We Trust What Men and Women Reveal on Sex Surveys? - "Because sex workers are not sampled in most sex surveys (psychologists tend to fail to include them in their research samples), and vastly larger numbers of men pay for sex than women do (about 15 percent of men in USA [see chart below]; versus less than 1 percent of women; Smith, 1998), this might make it seem like men, on average, have more past sex partners than women do... there's quite a bit of empirical evidence suggesting the [Sexual Double Standard] no longer exists in the USA (Marks & Fraley, 2005; Milhausen & Herold, 1999) and may have even reversed... Richard Lippa’s (2009) famous BBC study of more than 50 nations is relevant here. Lippa found sex differences in sexual desire were not larger in more patriarchal cultures (as would be predicted by sexual double standards)... Overall, it seems sex differences in sexual desires and attitudes are not the false result of patriarchy, sex role socialization, and sexual double standards. Sex differences in sexuality appear to be very real, and men and women responding to sex questions in different ways reveals some important truths about human nature... responses to sex surveys under anonymous conditions are as valid as when administered under a lie detector condition. So, sex differences in sexual attitudes do not "disappear" from view when men and women are presumably more likely to tell the truth"
In Cambodia up to 80% of men have visited a sex worker

Stop Equating “Science” With Truth
Predictably, Slate is crusading against science when it is inconvenient for the liberal agenda (I've no doubt anyone who suggests climate science isn't infallible will be slammed). Maybe we need another March for Science
Luckily all of the comments I saw slammed her

What's wrong in SMRT

From reddit (now deleted): I am an SMRT staff and here is what is wrong : singapore

"Hi redditors. As promised, I’m gonna write about my experience with SMRT work culture. I’m currently working at SMRT as a Station Manager (SM) and for privacy/security/work reasons, I would not go into technical details of work and try as much as possible to anonymise the things. I am not going to send proof because this is the only livelihood I have and I don’t want to lose job just because I talk bad about the organization on reddit. I swear, my direct supervisor maybe on reddit and he not really on good terms with me. Also, apologise in advance for bad English, I’m not good with English since young (poly graduate).

Anyway, I see that the SMRT problem has been getting worse ever since the time when we had the “cable tie” problem. It seems to be getting worse, but like what they always say: “We are working on it”. No, seriously, we are working on it, if only the people here aren’t that all lazy and complacent. People always say to me: Why SMRT don’t have SOP? Why they don’t tell the SM what to do at station if train breakdown? Actually, we have SOP. The SOP is quite long and covers almost all situation, even those that you have never experience before. You know why people don’t follow or cut corners on SOP? Because it’s boring and repetitive. Our station staff get lazy. Why must check XYZ every hour? Check if this thing locked? No need lah, won’t happen one. Limpeh work for 25 years NEVER happen, don’t worry! At least according to one of my colleagues. Some of them have worked for 30 years in the company and yet, they are still slacking off. Yes, 30 years. Old old birds, from the time where we got wear epaulets on grey shirt.

You might be thinking: Okay lah, people get bored with repetitive stuff. Men would know from NS, it gets boring after the 200th time you go patrol the camp. But this is getting out of hand. Some of my colleagues, who working in station, go sleep for like a few hours every shift. Sleep, play games or even just lepak. Some are still hardworking, even though they sleep, but some really cmi. One station the aircon went out, the SM did not deploy fans, because want to sleep. Also, other stations had things where the station staff go handle “suspicious articles” like as if not suspicious. What if that thing explode? I don’t want to imagine.

Sometimes it even gets criminal. You know why LTA suddenly got idea to go cashless by 2020? It’s not smart nation, that is just excuse for covering up something worse. Because station staff always “borrow” money from the PSC cash drawer to buy lunch/dinner/groceries and then they either: lie on the cash report or they blame other staff for the shortage. That is what I suspect is true reason and there was this incident in the news where the Tanah Merah SM stole $20k from the PSC. Another thing is I heard got staff who always like to scold passengers if they blur or if they scold at them. I know we are not customer service kind of training, but that is bad customer service.

The staff not scared of being fired? They are not scared. Because every time got problem, CEO and top management, those university educated people, get the blame. They all attend the conferences and kena sai from public. We all are the ones who did it, but we never kena, only cut bonus or kena “strongly worded” email. Yes, maybe the pump incident they got, because that is almost criminal. But most of the time, our uncle Desmond and Khaw take the blame. We all don’t. Sometimes like ironic because the passengers give gifts to staff who I know are lazy. They all also cannot fire because: we all collude with our supervisors, who is usually someone we know who got promoted or they have no proof one. If got proof also, one of the colleagues say he gonna post on social media and shame SMRT and their million dollar management for firing someone who is working very hard to feed his family, even though I know he always cut corners and slack off. You know what? Singaporeans will accept the story, because blue collar worker kena fired by men in white. Oppo figures also repost, because can use for politics and shame government. Win win right? But commuters never win, the lazy staff will get the job back through pressure by public.

What can outside people do? Actually, I also don’t know. I want to say should follow Donald Trump (I don’t support him) slogan: “Drain the swamp”. The SMRT is just basically a swamp filled with leeches. Top to bottom, all of them like your NSmen: lazy, chao keng, siam and arrow people. People tell me they should replace Desmond with HK/JP/don’t know what CEO. But for what? Some colleagues even got the cheek to say: “better lah, cos japan ceo always take blame and they cut salary. Shiok, still can enjoy bonus.” and that cos Japan companies like to shame workers by removing responsibilities: “shiok ah. Don’t need to do work still get paid”. How to fix liddat? You need to remove this people, they already got the mindset of not doing work.

I heard SMRT is hiring FT from nearby countries because they not enough local talent who want to join MRT especially with the news. I actually support that idea, because they all are at least hard working and if they don’t do work, they have to leave Singapore. My colleagues all jealous when the FT gets award by SMRT, but my personal experience is, at least they do their work and they don’t go against everyone. I not saying that I want FT to work, but it’s actually better for the train system.

I finish ranting already, fed up but I like trains and the work. Feel free to ask questions, I am here to answer them. Don’t ask sensitive question, I don’t want people know."

In other words, the post-Marxist inspired approach of blaming the management while valorising ground level staff is wrong.

Given that it seems unreasonable to entirely blame the falsification of maintenance records, the ignoring of safety procedures and "poor work ethic" on the current management, and that OP has been making MRT-related comments for 5 months, this account seems legit.


Friend: "I actually have another story
smrt one
this one is the buses
heard it from someone working in SMRT (formerly from SAF)

apparently there's a need to do the equivalent of the first parade task for buses at the depots every morning before the buses depart for service
it's fair and logical

so apparently DK went to visit a depot one of the mornings and asked the supervisor if all the buses parked at the depot had their first parade tasks done

the supervisor replied that the checks had all been completed for the buses at the depot

DK decided to walk around and he noticed that the buses were parked so tightly that it was not possible to open the covers to gain access to the engine
so he ask the supervisor to demonstrate how the first parade task was done

hong kan
the guy was apparently fired"

Links - 17th November 2017 (1)

Would You Agree to Sex With a Total Stranger? - "Over the last few decades almost all research studies have found that men are much more eager for casual sex than women are (Oliver & Hyde, 1993; Petersen & Hyde, 2010). This is especially true when it comes to desires for short-term mating with many different sexual partners (Schmitt et al., 2003), and is even more true for wanting to have sex with complete and total strangers (Tappé et al., 2013)... sex differences in agreeing to sex with strangers are not just a matter of safety issues, pregnancy concerns, stigma, or disease avoidance. Controlling for all of that, researchers still find large sex differences in the willingness to have sex with a stranger... In terms of research on sexual attitudes, nearly all studies conducted have found that men have more positive attitudes toward casual sex than women, have more unrestricted sociosexuality than women, and generally relax their preferences in short-term mating contexts (whereas women increase selectivity, especially for physical attractiveness). When considering attitudes toward mixed-sex threesomes, for instance, most people express very little interest, with the notable exception being men considering having sex with two women at the same time, even if they are strangers (Thompson & Byers, 2016)... Many of these sex differences are culturally universal, having been observed in dozens of samples around the world... Schmitt (2015) found sex differences in the sociosexuality scale item, "I can imagine myself being comfortable and enjoying ‘casual’ sex with different partners,” were largest in nations with the most egalitarian sex role socialization and the greatest sociopolitical gender equity (i.e., the least patriarchy, such as in Scandinavia). This is exactly the opposite of what we would expect if patriarchy and sex role socialization are the prime culprits behind sex differences in consenting to sex with strangers... It takes Johnny Depp to get women to even consider agreeing to casual sex. For men, the difference between agreeing to sex with Jennifer Lopez versus a total stranger was minimal"
Personality is not the only thing that shows bigger gender variance in more gender egalitarian societies

Consider the invader: Minor differences may have major impact - "biological differences between these two notorious closely related invasive species that are generally perceived as minor, such as the synthesis rate and attachment strength of the threads used by Dreissena to attach themselves to native unionids, can drive profound differences in environmental impacts on native communities they invade."

Wheat Belly arguments are based on shaky science, critics say - "Critics say the anti-wheat claims made by leading health crusader Dr. William Davis are based on shaky science, an investigation by the fifth estate has found. Davis is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book Wheat Belly, considered the bible of the wheat-free movement. He argues wheat has killed more people than all wars combined, and that it is responsible for an astonishing array of diseases — diabetes, obesity, Crohn’s disease and autoimmune disease, among many others... The Canadian Celiac Association, the American Heart Association, the Obesity Society and the American College of Cardiology all refuse to endorse gluten-free diets for anyone who does not have celiac disease... "This just took it to another level with a very charismatic doctor, who has a presentation that to me is reminiscent of an evangelical preacher. You know, with ‘You can be healed,’ and away you go. And I think…it’s what people want to hear. We want to believe in magic."

The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d! - WSJ - "The man who wrote the book on password management has a confession to make: He blew it. Back in 2003, as a midlevel manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Bill Burr was the author of “NIST Special Publication 800-63. Appendix A.” The 8-page primer advised people to protect their accounts by inventing awkward new words rife with obscure characters, capital letters and numbers—and to change them regularly. The document became a sort of Hammurabi Code of passwords... The problem is the advice ended up largely incorrect... “Much of what I did I now regret,” said Mr. Burr, 72 years old, who is now retired. In June, Special Publication 800-63 got a thorough rewrite, jettisoning the worst of these password commandments... The new guidelines, which are already filtering through to the wider world, drop the password-expiration advice and the requirement for special characters, Mr. Grassi said. Those rules did little for security—they “actually had a negative impact on usability”... Long, easy-to-remember phrases now get the nod over crazy characters, and users should be forced to change passwords only if there is a sign they may have been stolen, says NIST, the federal agency that helps set industrial standards in the U.S. Amy LaMere had long suspected she was wasting her time with the hour a month it takes to keep track of the hundreds of passwords she has to juggle for her job... “The rules make it harder for you to remember what your password is,” she said. “Then you have to reset it and it just makes it take longer”... Academics who have studied passwords say using a series of four words can be harder for hackers to crack than a shorter hodgepodge of strange characters—since having a large number of letters makes things harder than a smaller number of letters, characters and numbers... she put 500 of the most commonly used passwords on a blue and purple shift dress she made and wore to a 2015 White House cybersecurity summit at Stanford University. Adorned with the world’s most common passwords—princess, monkey, iloveyou and others that are unprintable here—the dress has prompted careful study, and embarrassment. “I’ve had people look at it and they’re like, ‘Oh, I’d better go change my passwords’”... “He wrote a security document that held up for 10 to 15 years,” Mr. Grassi said. “I only hope to be able to have a document hold up that long.”"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Battle of Salamis - "There is this interplay between the gods and the king which is fundamental to Persian belief. Now the Greeks misinterpret that as seeing the Persian kings as being divine. No Persian king ever states this. Xerxes certainly didn't but what we do have is a link with the divine. I am Ahura Mazda's. Ahura Mazda is mine. It works as a kind of ying and yang if you like...
[On Persians] When this play was analyzed by Edward Said in 1978 in his great book Orientalism he laid this whole idea of the construction of the East squarely on the, on the shoulders of Aeschylus saying that here we have, you know, a primitive East being depicted in this great Greek text. Well I wonder how closely he ever read that play because it's certainly not about that at all. Aeschylus gives us a scene and one of the most remarkable things is that the mothers of the Athenians mourning for their lost sons and the mothers of the Persians in Susa mourning for their lost sons and this is why I really think this is a soldier's eye view. He understands the terrors of war...
We have a really interesting fragmentary poem from probably just before this period but it's worth quoting. It simply says you know when you are an old man and it's winter time and you're sitting beside a fire eating chickpeas and somebody comes to see you, you should ask them certain questions. And the questions should be who are you, where are you from and what age were you when the Persians came. You know it's something that defines the Greeks from here on. It gives them an identity...
Themistocles cannot be mentioned - you can't mention a living person by name in a tragedy but everyone knew that the way in which Aeschylus told the story of Salamis was massively pro Themistocles, so it's a political act. And Greek tragedy, Athenian tragedy was part of a democratic theatre festival and it had a direct political implication"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Battle of Lincoln 1217 - "'By the time we get to the mid fourteenth century aristocrats are understanding, they are operating in English. Forgotten who's, who's the first King of the English to have his will in, in in English? Is it Henry the Fifth?... What language do you die in? Yes that's interesting. John's, John's will exists. It's in Latin. But his Latin is so convoluted that it's quite clearly French. He was dying in French and then it was translated into-'"

Lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss says she was physically attacked by M Ravi

When Helping Hurts - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "When Helping Hurts - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "SAYRE-McCORD: On all seven measures — we’re talking, how long did you live? Were you a criminal? Were you mentally healthy, physically healthy, alcoholic, satisfied with your job; satisfied with your marriage? On all seven measures, the treatment group did statistically, significantly worse off than the control group... I should emphasize that there also seemed to be what’s called a dose effect — the longer the intervention, the more likely the damage would be done... Another theory has a lot of traction to it: that the kids in the program developed a dependence, or a sense of need, so that when the program ended they felt like something they needed wasn’t there or something they valued wasn’t there. What happened was people got a mentor and then at a certain point, they lost the mentor.
DUBNER: Is the deeper part of that theory that these kids are given expectations via osmosis: their mentors have these solid jobs, maybe a solid family etc. Then, once they are cut off from the mentor, they find that they can’t get that stuff on their own. Is that the connection to how it might have broken down?"
This might be another reason why Affirmative Action and other programmes meant to help supposedly oppressed minorities don't work

Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "Well, [Buffet]’s obviously a much better P.R. person than I am. But my whole being is dedicated to changing the system, to make it more just and bring about greater individual flourishing. His is to support the current system, with some tweaks here and there, I grant you. He is no threat to anybody. Whereas all the vested interests — they go for, “What will increase my short-term profits?” When I founded the Council for Competitive Economy, part of what I tried to say, “Guys, if your success and failure depends on whether the government dishes out goodies to you, who needs you? Why not go for Bernie Sanders and have the government just take it over? You’re just the middleman”...
It all starts with the belief that virtually everybody is capable of learning, contributing and leading a successful life if they’re given the freedom and opportunity to do so. I would reform the education system, communities, business and government to better enable that to come about. Now, if you believe, as, for example, Hillary does, that those in power are so much smarter and have better information than those of us great unwashed out here have, that we’re either too evil or too stupid to run our own lives and those in power are much better — have what Hayek called the fatal conceit and William Easterly called the tyranny of experts — that they can run it for us. And when Hillary was pushing Hillarycare, she said as much — that if people are left to decide their own healthcare, they won’t spend enough and so the government needs to do it. Besides, the government will do it better. That is a great divide."

The Second World War | Podcast | History Extra - "'Hitler's declaration of war on the United States a few days after Pearl Harbor must score very highly as the most bizarre grand strategic decision made by anybody during the Second World War'
'But isn't it interesting? The reaction to Hitler is almost exactly the same as the reaction of Churchill: ah great it's all gonna be ok then. And all this is just belie his total unsuitability for the job he's given himself which is commanding all German armed forces... I think it's a total misreading of the strategic situation. I mean his geopolitical understanding was absolutely woeful. And this is because he is a very small minded man. His world view is incredibly narrow. It's kind of my way or the highway on absolutely everything. He views everybody whether it be friends or enemies through the same prism of his own narrow world view. And he can't get inside the head of anybody else. So you know he hasn't traveled, he doesn't read any languages, he's not really interested in global affairs apart from running the show. You know he's utterly inept'...
'To my mind there's absolutely no question that the absolute nadir of the British army is - I mean yes okay, Singapore. But that's sort of a colonial police force rather than a proper army in a way. I think it's the Gazala battle which is just absolutely woeful. I mean it should never ever have been lost. I mean that's almost as bad as Crete'"

Why Diversity Programs Fail - "Firms have long relied on diversity training to reduce bias on the job, hiring tests and performance ratings to limit it in recruitment and promotions, and grievance systems to give employees a way to challenge managers. Those tools are designed to preempt lawsuits by policing managers’ thoughts and actions. Yet laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out... In analyzing three decades’ worth of data from more than 800 U.S. firms and interviewing hundreds of line managers and executives at length, we’ve seen that companies get better results when they ease up on the control tactics... Trainers tell us that people often respond to compulsory courses with anger and resistance—and many participants actually report more animosity toward other groups afterward."

“Social Justice Shorting”: Making Millions By Betting Against Leftist Companies - "Much of Johnson’s media empire was self-funded through investments that he’s made over the last four years since he began actively trading. According to Johnson, his strength is in shorting companies that signal their virtues to the market in the form of charitable gifting and large-scale “diversity” hires. (Shorting, or “short selling,” means he is betting that their share prices will fall, and he makes money if they do fall.)... The main strategy he spoke of was what he called the “Johnson Dollar Diversity Dilemma Hypothesis,” which he described as having “a choice between dollars and diversity.” Basically, in Johnson’s experience, he’s witnessed that CEOs and managers tend to make large charitable contributions and “diversity” announcements prior to a harsh downturn."
This is also known as the diversity short/diversity shortening

The Shortcut To Bonding With A Romantic Partner On A Deeper Level - "Arthur Aron, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, is interested in how people form romantic relationships, and he’s come up with an ingenious way of taking men and women who have never met before and making them feel close to one another. Given that he has just an hour or so to create the intimacy levels that typically take week, months, or years to form, he accelerated the getting-to-know-you process through a set of thirty-six questions crafted to take the participants rapidly from level one in McAdams’s system to level two. The questions are part of an hour-long “sharing game” in which each member of a pair reads a question out loud and then they both answer it before moving on to the next question."

6 Meals a Day for Weight Loss - "A study from the University of Ottawa found that on a low-calorie diet, there was no weight loss advantage to splitting calories among six meals rather than three. A second study found that switching from three daily meals to six did not boost calorie-burning or fat loss. In fact, the researchers concluded, eating six meals a day actually made people want to eat more. And a research review reached no conclusions about whether meal frequency helps or hurts with weight loss."

The Body Language of Victory - "milliseconds after victory, an athlete's instinctive reaction to winning is often a nonverbal display of dominance over his or her opponent. The new study titled “Dominance Threat Display for Victory and Achievement in Competition Context” was published January 10, 2014 in the journal Motivation and Emotion... The researchers believe that from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, the reflex of dominance threat display stems from a biological drive to establish order, hierarchy, and status in society. Such bodily reactions are also common among animals, but they have never been studied in humans until now, Matsumoto said... Actions considered triumphant included raising the arms above the shoulders, pushing the chest out, tilting the head back and smiling. They were observed in winning athletes from all cultural backgrounds and even in blind Paralympic athletes, suggesting the behavior is biologically innate... "They're also producing the same facial expressions, even though they've never been able to see from birth," he added. "They didn't learn that from watching others, so it's got to be something ingrained in all of us."... Hwang and Matsumoto compared the intensity of an athlete's expressions of triumph with his or her culture's "power distance" (PD), a measurement that represents the degree to which a culture encourages or discourages power, status and hierarchical differences among groups. They found that athletes from cultures with high PD produced such body language more than those from cultures with low PD... the ideal leader has high testosterone and low cortisol which leads to a combination of confidence, low stress, and grace under pressure. I believe that the key to successful leadership lies in being able to maintain what I call “ferocious equanimity.” By this I mean not being a doormat or pushover, but remaining even-keel and calm as you steadily manage and lead your team through both smooth waters and tempests."

Back to the Brothel - The New York Times - "Aid groups find it unnerving that they liberate teenagers from the bleak back rooms of a brothel, take them to a nice shelter -- and then at night the kids sometimes climb over the walls and run back to the brothel... President Bush declared in his inaugural address this week that "no one deserves to be a slave" and that advancing freedom is "the calling of our time." I can't think of a better place to start than the hundreds of thousands of girls trafficked each year, for this 21st-century version of slavery has not only grown in recent years but is also especially diabolical -- it poisons its victims, like Srey Mom, so that eventually chains are often redundant."
If the "slave" keeps running back to her "master", and presumably can leave at any time, is she really a slave?

Gender Bias in Science or Biased Claims of Gender Bias? - "AAAS hosted a conference in April, 2016, which presentation after presentation by famous, influential, and prestigious scientists argued for the power and prevalence of gender biases in peer review. Yet not a shred of evidence of implicit bias in peer review was actually presented... who received more criticism and less praise for similar quality applications? Men! Put differently, Dr. Carnes’ own research produced a result exactly opposite to the one that she was promoting at the AAAS Conference! Women were held to lower, not higher, standards than men to warrant praise... scientists allow their political agendas to drive their claims about science -- in general, but also specifically, with respect to explanations for gender gaps in STEM."

Monday, November 13, 2017

Links - 13th November 2017 (3)

Scott’s suicide reveals tragic side of city’s glitzy scene - "While the chasm between Scott’s marketed life and her actual life came as a shock, she was just one of countless New Yorkers who secretly fake their fabulous lives."... he closer their proximity to wealth and fame, the higher the pressure — recall celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, one-time owner of three conjoined West Village townhouses who found herself $24 million in debt in 2009... And the more high-profile the job, the less a model is paid — if she’s paid at all. “It’s a little-known fact that most designers don’t pay models to walk,” Ziff says. “They’ll pay in trade: a tank top, or samples from their last collection. Of course, you can’t pay your rent with a tank top.” To make ends meet, models commonly agree to shoots they’d otherwise never do, Ziff says, or submit to “inappropriate offers.”"

'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' producer admits Muslim character 'Isis' a response to Trump - "The Television Critics Association press tour held this week in Beverly Hills, California, briefly touched on U.S. politics when “Legends of Tomorrow” executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Phil Klemmer discussed the character Isis, who will be played by actress Tala Ashe... Ms. Ashe’s character has nothing to do with the terrorist group ISIS, or Islamic State. The superhero existed for years as a woman who draws power from an Egyptian amulet, although Mr. Guggenheim said the injection of religion into the television version’s origin was inspired by his sister-in-law."
A scantily clad Muslim woman named ISIS who draws power from pagan sources. FAIL!

Food Rest: Why Some Dishes Taste Much Better The Next Day - "Take a deep dish of paprika-spiced lobster mac n' cheese, for instance. Or a pot of braised pork belly in a thick sweet gravy. For one, these dishes are loaded with fats, so the richness of all the flavours hold up well with time. The spices used to lace the sauces also get better over time — strong spices like star anise and cloves might be too overwhelming on the palate the first day the dish is made, but their aroma and taste tends to mellow given some time, thus balancing out the richness of the dish... Often, cheaper cuts of meat such as brisket or tendons are left to simmer in pots of bubbling gravy and slow-cooked for hours to break down their chewy texture. Once cooled, or left in the fridge overnight, the collagen in these cuts breaks down into a gelatinous consistency that absorbs all the flavours of the gravy and infusing it into the meat. And while spices might be king of the food rest game, an exception to the rule is chilli, best eaten fresh. Over time, the heat dulls and tapers off, leaving behind a mere shadow of its former self. Even grilled steaks benefit from food rest, though the temptation to sink your teeth into fresh meat is hard to resist. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay himself is a big believer in letting a seared steak cool for a good few minutes before slicing it open and revealing tender pink slices of meat"

Singapore’s Very Own Soy Sauce Makers Tell Tales Of Survival - "For most companies, the idea of scaling up and hitting the global stage is an opportunity too good to miss. But not for Simon Woo, second generation owner of Kwong Woh Hing Sauce Factory, a 70-year-old Singaporean soy sauce brand with a factory located in the industrial estate of Defu Lane... High quality soy sauce takes time, at least a year in fact, to ferment. His fear? Generating such volume might jeopardise quality, unthinkable for the business which even precedes Singapore’s independence."

The people who challenged my atheism most weren't priests, but homeless addicts and prostitutes | Chris Arnade - "They have their faith because what they believe in doesn't judge them. Who am I to tell them that what they believe is irrational? Who am I to tell them the one thing that gives them hope and allows them to find some beauty in an awful world is inconsistent? I cannot tell them that there is nothing beyond this physical life. It would be cruel and pointless"
Basically the Noble Lie

The Effect of Court-Ordered Hiring Quotas on the Composition and Quality of Police - "My best estimate of the effect of court-ordered affirmative action on workforce composition is a 14 percentage point gain in the fraction African American among newly hired officers. Evidence on police performance is mixed. Despite substantial black-white test score differences on police department entrance examinations, city crime rates appear unaffected by litigation. However, litigation lowers slightly both arrests per crime and the fraction black among serious arrestees"

FYI: Do Men Really Fall Apart When A Female Soldier Gets Killed? - "There are no empirical studies that can substantiate the linkage between one's belief system overriding one's military training"

Gender and Depression - "more people were likely to identify depression in the scenario featuring Kate than the one featuring Jack—even though the only difference in the two scenarios was gender... Citation: Swami V (2012) Mental Health Literacy of Depression: Gender Differences and Attitudinal Antecedents in a Representative British Sample. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49779. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049779"
In other words people are more likely to think women are depressed than men

More than a body: mind perception and the nature of objectification. - "According to models of objectification, viewing someone as a body induces de-mentalization, stripping away their psychological traits. Here evidence is presented for an alternative account, where a body focus does not diminish the attribution of all mental capacities but, instead, leads perceivers to infer a different kind of mind. Drawing on the distinction in mind perception between agency and experience, it is found that focusing on someone's body reduces perceptions of agency (self-control and action) but increases perceptions of experience (emotion and sensation). These effects were found when comparing targets represented by both revealing versus nonrevealing pictures (Experiments 1, 3, and 4) or by simply directing attention toward physical characteristics (Experiment 2). The effect of a body focus on mind perception also influenced moral intuitions, with those represented as a body seen to be less morally responsible (i.e., lesser moral agents) but more sensitive to harm (i.e., greater moral patients; Experiments 5 and 6). These effects suggest that a body focus does not cause objectification per se but, instead, leads to a redistribution of perceived mind."
This questions the alleged harm of objectification

Transgender children: what’s behind the spike in numbers? - "Adelaide-based psychiatrist Dr Rob Lyons, who also reports a dramatic rise in patient referrals, is more circumspect. “Obviously there’s a combination of factors; there is increasing acceptance, high-profile transgender adults are coming out, we now have a word for it and treatments available, there have been social changes in child-rearing, but we just don’t know for sure. My suspicion is that something else is happening but there is strong political pressure from the transgender community not to find out.”"

Gender differences in the locus of control construct - "This article presents a synthesis of research in the last two decades that has explored the relationship of gender to locus of control measures. In the main, this nsearch suggests that both males and females are becoming more external. Females, however, tend to be more external than males on most locus of control measures."
Apparently there are mixed results on this

Jordan B Peterson's answer to What is more beneficial in all aspects of life; a high EQ or IQ? This question is based on the assumption that only your EQ or IQ is high with the other being average or below this average. - Quora - "There is no such thing as EQ. Let me repeat that: "There is NO SUCH THING AS EQ." The idea was popularized by a journalist, Daniel Goleman, not a psychologist. You can't just invent a trait. You have to define it and measure it and distinguish it from other traits and use it to predict the important ways that people vary. EQ is not a psychometrically valid concept... Scientifically, it's a fraudulent concept, a fad, a convenient band-wagon, a corporate marketing scheme... IQ is a different story. It is the most well-validated concept in the social sciences, bar none. It is an excellent predictor of academic performance, creativity, ability to abstract, processing speed, learning ability and general life success... It should also be noted that IQ is five or more times as powerful a predictor as even good personality trait predictors such as conscientiousness. The true relationship between grades, for example, and IQ might be as high as r = .50 or even .60 (accounting for 25-36% of the variance in grades). Conscientiousness, however, probably tops out at around r = .30, and is more typically reported as r = .25 (say, 5 to 9% of the variance in grades). There is nothing that will provide you with a bigger advantage in life than a high IQ. Nothing. To repeat it: NOTHING. In fact, if you could choose to be born at the 95th percentile for wealth, or the 95th percentile for IQ, you would be more successful at age 40 as a consequence of the latter choice... IQ is king. This is why academic psychologists almost never measure it. If you measure it along with your putatively "new" measure, IQ will kill your ambitions. For the career minded, this is a no go zone. So people prefer to talk about multiple intelligences and EQ, and all these things that do not exist. PERIOD... By the way, there is also no such thing as "grit," despite what Angela Duckworth says. Grit is conscientiousness, plain and simple (although probably more the industrious side than the orderly side). All Duckworth and her compatriots did was fail to notice that they had re-invented a very well documented phenomena, that already had a name (and, when they did notice it, failed to produce the appropriate mea culpas. Not one of psychology's brighter moments)"
Comment: "while hard work and brilliance clearly beats hard work, hard work is still a profoundly useful force. I have had a number of clients who were smart, but unconscientious. They’re known colloquially as “underachievers.” It’s not a destiny to be covetous of. Not only does the intelligence fail to manifest itself, but it becomes acutely aware of its failure. That leads to nihilism or to self-hatred. So if you genuinely have an average IQ (as 94 is in clearly in the average range), you can increase your life outcome through hard work by an amount equivalent to 15 IQ points. That’s about the average consequence of being a second generation immigrant North American Asian child — and they work very hard (this Asian advantage through hard work and conscientiousness disappears in North America once thorough integration occurs. I am not being cynical about this, either — I think the relative looseness of North American society may allow for more creativity)"

Final Report: Stapel Affair Points to Bigger Problems in Social Psychology - "three investigative panels today collectively find fault with the field itself. They paint an image of a "sloppy" research culture in which some scientists don't understand the essentials of statistics, journal-selected article reviewers encourage researchers to leave unwelcome data out of their papers, and even the most prestigious journals print results that are obviously too good to be true... That climate made it possible for Stapel's fraud to go undetected for many years, the report says"

Bible Codes debunked in Statistical Science - "The only paper published in a refereed scientific journal that claims to find evidence for the reality of the Bible Codes is the paper Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis, by Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips, and Yoav Rosenberg (WRR), Statistical Science, Vol. 9 (1994) 429-438. We are now happy to announce that, after review by four senior statisticians chosen by the journal, Statistical Science has published a thorough rebuttal: Vol. 14 (1999) 150-173. The new paper is Solving the Bible Code Puzzle, by Brendan McKay, Dror Bar-Natan, Maya Bar-Hillel, and Gil Kalai."

Only 6 in 10 F&B businesses last beyond 5 years: study - "almost half the 369 cafes, coffee houses and snack bars registered in 2011 have since closed down. A study has also found that the average business runs at an annual loss of 8 per cent, and it takes an average of 2 1/2 years to recoup one's initial investment... The study found a positive relationship between the age of a business and its productivity level. F&B businesses less than a year old have on average a value-added (that is, total profits and labour costs) of about S$6,700 per worker; businesses that have been operating for more than 20 years have an average value-added exceeding S$17,000 per worker... Smaller F&B businesses that were successful tended to maximise the profitability of their menus by dropping the items that were performing poorly or which yielded low profit margins. The design and presentation of the menus were found to be a factor in drawing customers' attention as well. Also key to the success of the business was how sound bookkeeping practices were, and whether vendors were regularly assessed."

Recreation and Amusement Association - Wikipedia - "The Recreation and Amusement Association (特殊慰安施設協会 Tokushu Ian Shisetsu Kyōkai (Special Comfort Facility Association) (RAA) was the largest of the organizations established by Occupied Japan to provide organized prostitution to prevent rapes and sexual violence by American troops, and to create other leisure facilities for occupying Allied troops immediately following World War II. The RAA "recruited" 55,000 women and was short-lived, lasting just over four months until January 1946."
In the light of how the Japanese got Japanese comfort women for American soldiers, their having comfort women during World War II takes on a different light

How a vote in Venice could change the face of Italy - "“People ask how we can abandon the poorer regions for the south, but we see this as a stabilizing measure on an Italian bureaucracy that is out of control,” he said. “What Italy needs is real rationalization, but this will never happen as long as regions like Veneto are bailing it out. “Carrying on would be no different than giving heroine to a drug addict who doesn’t want to end his addiction.”"

Muslim convert who held up 'hug trust' sign now faces jail over MP bomb threat - "Craig Wallace, also known as Muhammad Mujahid Islam, used a sign as Stop the War protestors came to Westminster for the vote on British airstrikes in war-ravaged Syria. It read: "I am Muslim, I am labelled a terrorist, I trust you, do you trust me enough for a hug?" But Wallace, 23, could be now facing up to six months in jail after he trolled MP Charlotte Leslie on Facebook saying he would "drop a bomb on her house". He threatened to find Ms Leslie and "show her what it's like to murder innocents, you dirty pig f*****g whore.""

Frontex chief: 42% of rejected asylum seekers are deported from the EU - "Less than half of migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected are deported, according to new statistics from EU border agency Frontex"

EU mulls 'migrant' terminal at Kabul airport - "The EU and Afghanistan are looking into creating a new terminal at Kabul's airport designed specifically for migrants rejected by EU states."

The end of corruption? - "Why is cousin marriage bad? Because large interrelated clans can create sets of societies within societies. Here’s a Bedouin proverb: “I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers” Like polygyny hyper-endogamy as a normative practice is corrosive to the institutional and civic skeleton which a liberal democracies rest upon. Remember, these are societies where you don’t need to look outside the family for friends or marriage partners. The incentive for nepotism and corruption becomes very strong, and every extended family unit is operationally a “firm,” analogous to the mafia."

Understanding Genetics: Relatedness - "Men and women are actually a bit more similar as the Y chromosome has about 5% of its DNA sequences in common with the X chromosome. This would change the number to 98.4% the same. If the 98.7% number for chimp-human similarity is right, then by this measure, men and women are less alike than are female chimps and women. (More recent data suggests that chimps may be 95% instead of 98.7% the same, but this is still up in the air.)"
Putting the "race does not exist because we share most of our genes" claim into perspective. We also share half of our genes with a banana

Game of Thrones Season 7: The Night's Watch capes are actually IKEA rugs - "The rugs were cut, shaved, dyed, and then subjected to the rigorous breakdown process that makes the costumes on Game of Thrones look as worn-in as real medieval clothes, she said."

Links - Guns: the Myth of the Good Guy with a Gun

The Science of Guns Proves Arming Untrained Citizens Is a Bad Idea - "Pistol owners' fantasy of blowing away home-invading bad guys or street toughs holding up liquor stores is a myth debunked by the data showing that a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense... data show that in states that prohibit gun ownership by men who have received a domestic violence restraining order, gun-caused homicides of intimate female partners have been reduced by 25 percent. Another myth to fall to the facts is that gun-control laws disarm good people and leave the crooks with weapons. Not so, say the Johns Hopkins authors: “Strong regulation and oversight of licensed gun dealers—defined as having a state law that required state or local licensing of retail firearm sellers, mandatory record keeping by those sellers, law enforcement access to records for inspection, regular inspections of gun dealers, and mandated reporting of theft of loss of firearms—was associated with 64 percent less diversion of guns to criminals by in-state gun dealers.”
Reducing the number of good guys with a gun reduces the number of bad guys with a gun too

Nevada gun shows tied to firearm violence in California: study - "Firearms-related deaths and injuries increased 70 percent in parts of California in the weeks after gun shows in neighboring Nevada, which has fewer regulations on such events... rates of firearm injuries were steady after California gun shows but increased significantly, from 0.67 to 1.14 per 100,000 people, in California regions near the Nevada shows"
Another hit to the "more guns, less crime" theory of gun control

Fact Check: Is Chicago Proof That Gun Laws Don't Work? - "Chicago is very close to two states that have relatively weak gun laws: Wisconsin and Indiana. So while it's easy to pick on Chicago (or any other high-crime city) for its ugly statistics, says one expert, taking bordering states into account weakens this gun-advocacy talking point. "It's not a scientific study. It's an anecdote"... A 2015 study of guns in Chicago, co-authored by Cook, found that more than 60 percent of new guns used in Chicago gang-related crimes and 31.6 percent used in non-gang-related crimes between 2009 and 2013 were bought in other states"

The Good Guy with a Gun Theory, Debunked - "states that made it easier for their citizens to go armed in public had higher levels of non-fatal violent crime than those states that restricted the right to carry. The exception was the narrower category of murder; there, the researchers determined that any effect on homicide rates by expanded gun-carry policies is statistically insignificant... As more law-abiding residents arm themselves, so might the criminals in the same communities—rather than the other way around. Lawful gun-permit holders, the researchers theorize, could contribute to a street-level arms race by bringing more weapons into public, where they are more likely to be lost or stolen, making their way to the black market. The more that people become aware that their environs are filling with guns, their perceptions of society could become colored by fear and anger, thus leading them to more readily become violent... the decline in violent crime has been most pronounced in states that maintained strict control over the right to carry guns... Sociological and anthropological research suggests that Americans' feelings about firearms and whether to carry them for self defense are driven by elemental notions like identity and masculinity, rather than empirical measures of safety gained or lost."

The “Good Guy With a Gun” Myth - "The NRA treats it as a foregone conclusion that bad guys will always have guns; even were the government to ban them, the black market would fill the void. Yet this assumption ignores the rising costs of illegal weapons—a gun that would cost no more than a few thousand dollars in America costs upwards of $15,000 on Australia’s black market, which would hinder even the most criminal element of American gun owners."

The 'Good Guy With a Gun' Is a Useless Myth - "if anecdotal evidence is more your style—as tends to be the case when discussing the efficacy of owning and using guns in this country—bystanders with guns didn’t help in the last shooting you may have heard about, when a 47-year-old walked into a Denver-area Walmart and allegedly started shooting. In that case, which left three people dead, it took police a full five hours to identify and track down the gunman because of the number of customers who pulled out their own guns during the shooting, needlessly complicating the police investigation when time was most critical."

The Texas shooting shows why “a good guy with a gun” isn’t enough - "Regularly updated reviews of the evidence compiled by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center have consistently found that when controlling for variables such as socioeconomic factors and other crime, places with more guns have more gun deaths... a breakthrough analysis in 1999 by UC Berkeley’s Franklin Zimring and Gordon Hawkins found that the US does not, contrary to the old conventional wisdom, have more crime in general than other Western industrial nations. Instead, the US appears to have more lethal violence — and that’s driven in large part by the prevalence of guns... For every justifiable gun homicide, there were 34 criminal gun homicides, 78 gun suicides, and two accidental gun deaths... Multiple simulations have also demonstrated that most people, if placed in an active shooter situation while armed, will not be able to stop the situation, and may in fact do little more than get themselves killed in the process... calls to increase gun ownership for self-defense after mass shootings overlook the real statistics: Concealed carry owners carried out at least 29 mass shootings from 2007 to 2012—twice the number of permit holders who prevented attacks"

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer - NYTimes.com - "Adjusted for population, only Yemen has a higher rate of mass shootings among countries with more than 10 million people — a distinction Mr. Lankford urged to avoid outliers. Yemen has the world’s second-highest rate of gun ownership after the United States. Worldwide, Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some other factor particular to his home country... it held when he controlled for homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence. If mental health made the difference, then data would show that Americans have more mental health problems than do people in other countries with fewer mass shootings. But the mental health care spending rate in the United States, the number of mental health professionals per capita and the rate of severe mental disorders are all in line with those of other wealthy countries. A 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of American gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues. And Mr. Lankford, in an email, said countries with high suicide rates tended to have low rates of mass shootings — the opposite of what you would expect if mental health problems correlated with mass shootings. Whether a population plays more or fewer video games also appears to have no impact... Racial diversity or other factors associated with social cohesion also show little correlation with gun deaths."

Ted Cruz says jurisdictions with strictest gun laws have highest rates of crime and murder - "Rushton singled out research by Lott, an economist and author of "More Guns, Less Crime," which concluded that crime rates dropped in U.S. states and counties after "right to carry" laws were passed. PolitiFact mentioned Lott’s work in its LaPierre fact-check, but also noted it had been contradicted by other research, such as a 2004 review in which the National Research Council of the National Academies of science, engineering and medicine concluded data available at the time did not show any "link between right-to-carry laws and changes in crime"... Cruz said that "almost without exception," locales with the tightest gun laws have the highest crime and murder rates. This point might hold for some places. However, we found multiple exceptions -- among cities, states and nations -- making this claim False."

Links - 13th November 2017 (2)

My Mental Health Struggles Don’t Justify Trigger Warnings - "Victimhood is a prison, and for years I was within it, forced to re-enact patterns of failure and to periodically relive the worst experiences of my life. My trauma became the lens through which I saw the world. As long as I remained trapped in the prison of victimhood, I hadn’t really survived my experience. It continued to dominate my life in many ways. It wasn’t until I started to redefine the narrative of my life that things got better... Trigger warnings are one of the latest fads in an ongoing cultural obsession with glorifying victimhood... In advancing the narrative that people with mental illness and PTSD are so fragile that they need to be protected at all times, universities not only fail to help people overcome their traumas, they increase the already toxic stigma against people with mental illness"

In trouble? We can be your friend for hire - "We listen to you. You have never had anyone listen to you until you have had a litigator take down your statement, ask you questions, think about your answers, and then ask you more questions. We are your secret diary. We will pay attention to you. We will not brush aside your problems. We will acknowledge your conflict. We will sit with you to understand your dispute better than you will yourself. And you can tell us anything. We will never tell anyone else. We will resist any power on earth to make us break your trust in us."

There’s No Such Thing as an ‘Illiberal’ - WSJ - " Anyone who advocates nationalist and religious ideas in the wrong circles gets tossed straight into the basket of illiberals, with Messrs. Putin, Erodgan and Kim. This is worth thinking about with care. A country where you can no longer advocate a nationalist or religious viewpoint without being stigmatized in this way is a place where only one political party is legitimate: the liberal one... The politics of liberals vs. illiberals, if adopted as the basis for public discourse, will mean the end of the old democratic system of two legitimate political parties... There is no such thing as illiberalism. No reasonable purpose is served by using a term that lumps together totalitarians, autocrats, conservatives and democratic nationalists, as though these are all varieties of a single dark worldview. The way back toward an intelligent and tolerant politics is to learn to draw such distinctions again, and to wield them in distinguishing genuine enemies from potential allies and friends, abroad as well as at home. "

The Business Case for Brexit - WSJ - "The Volkswagen emissions scandal came from a big company bullying the EU into rules that suited it and poisoned us. The anti-vaping rules in the latest Tobacco Products Directive, which will slow the decline of smoking, came from lobbying by big pharmaceutical companies trying to defend the market share of their nicotine patches and gums. The de facto ban on genetically modified organisms is at the behest of big green groups, many of which receive huge grants from Brussels"

A Guaranteed Income for Every American - WSJ - "The UBI is to be financed by getting rid of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, housing subsidies, welfare for single women and every other kind of welfare and social-services program, as well as agricultural subsidies and corporate welfare. As of 2014, the annual cost of a UBI would have been about $200 billion cheaper than the current system. By 2020, it would be nearly a trillion dollars cheaper... A key feature of American exceptionalism has been the propensity of Americans to create voluntary organizations for dealing with local problems... When one small Midwestern state, Iowa, mounted a food-conservation program during World War I, it engaged the participation of 2,873 church congregations and 9,630 chapters of 31 different secular fraternal associations... The advent of the New Deal and then of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society displaced many of the most ambitious voluntary efforts to deal with the needs of the poor"

Stuntman Training : interestingasfuck

Gender, race, and perceived risk: The 'white male' effect - "Risks tend to be judged lower by men than by women and by white people than by people of colour. Prior research by Flynn, Slovic and Mertz [Risk Analysis, 14, pp. 1101-1108] found that these race and gender differences in risk perception in the United States were primarily due to 30% of the white male population who judge risks to be extremely low."
If true, this would explain not just why men but white men are overrepresented in some areas, i.e. it might not be due to racism or sexism or both

'It used to be easier': Mum's honest post about how to parent in 2017 is going viral - "Make sure your children’s academic, emotional, psychological, mental, spiritual, physical, and social needs are met while being careful not to over stimulate, underestimate, improperly medicate, helicopter..."

Sun Tzu and the Lesson of the Concubines - "Sun Tzu’s book, The Art of War, earned him an audience with the King of Wu, who said, “I have thoroughly read your thirteen chapters. May I submit your theory of managing soldiers to a small test?” Sun Tzu replied, “Sir, you may.” The King of Wu asked, “Can the test be applied to women?” Sun Tzu replied that it could, so arrangements were made to bring 180 beautiful women from the palace. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies with one of the King’s favorite concubines at the head of each"

Kelly Campagna on Twitter: "Left: "A man can't talk about abortion since he doesn't have a uterus." Also Left: "A man can be a woman even if he doesn't have a uterus.""

Facebook refuses to remove cartoon of police officer having his throat slit - "Facebook has refused to remove a sickening cartoon of a police officer having his throat slit from a Black Panther page used by Dallas cop killer Micah Xavier Johnson. The gruesome image shows a man dressed in black slashing a uniformed officer's throat with a knife as blood spills out of the cop's neck. It was posted on the 'Black Panther Party Mississippi' page, which Johnson posted a twisted rant on just days before he embarked on his massacre."

Man charged over offensive T-shirt carrying Hillsborough slur - "some members of the public have ordered an eccentric list of items to be delivered to the man’s house, including four taxis, a 70-can crate of Lilt, a clown, a giant crane and nearly £2,000 worth of take-away. A man, 50, was arrested on Monday and later charged with “displaying abusive writing... likely to cause distress”."

Social Justice Warrior Bullshit Generator - "coalition build accountable transphobia"
"identify accountable minorities"
"call out oppressed pronouns"

Ways of Knowing: How We Choose What We Believe - "Caught up in Galileo's plight and "heroic" passing of his forbidden writings to his pupil for future generations, few audiences have realized that this was the bitterest and most meaningful lesson of the play. Brecht's condemnation of his exemplar as hero and criminal is also an indictment of modern scientific-industrial power systems those individuals in positions of influence... Disillusioned by Galileo's recantation (1, Galileo Galilei, Teacher of Mathematics and Physics, do hereby publicly renounce my teaching that the earth moves."), his student, Andrea Sarti, rejects his teacher with the famous line, "Unhappy is the land that breeds no heroes." Galileo replies, "Unhappy is the land that needs a hero." Galileo has not fulfilled the heroic role his pupils envisioned for him, for, in the horror of the moment, he has fallen victim to human frailty"

Will granddaughter pay the price of fight for equality? - "traditional roles have become ever more ideologically despised — so much so that last week the very act of being a housewife or mother was banned from advertisements for perpetuating ‘outdated’ gender stereotypes. For all the efforts of feminism, and the enlargement of women’s opportunities, it seems it’s also made that world more painful, complicated and unrewarding. Burn your bras and wear miniskirts, we cried. Be free! But aren’t young girls today just as imprisoned by the drive to bear their flesh as the cliched Victorian wife in crinolines? It’s almost as compulsory for a young woman to take a pouting semi-naked selfie today as it was for a teenager in the Fifties to wear bobby socks. It’s somehow ironic that the one section of society which still dresses modestly — women in ethnic and religious minorities — say they do so to protect their sacred space as females. Meanwhile, the majority of other young women brutally expose their bodies, catering to every tawdry male fantasy, as a sign of their ‘freedom’... I have learned, over the years, that the ‘stereotypical’ roles of femininity can give a sense of identity and security unmatched by anything in the corporate or professional world."

Yasmin Eleby marries herself after failing to meet 'the one' before 40 - "while Ms Eleby's actions are unusual, she is not the first person to marry herself. In July last year, a former radio host from Australia, Sammy Power, celebrated her 50th birthday by tying the knot with a life-sized cardboard cutout of herself. She said that the ceremony commemorated a year of important life changes; quitting smoking and drinking and losing 25kgs."

Tennessee teen accepted to Yale after Papa John's essay - "Carolina Williams, who was accepted to the Ivy League school in March, won praise from admissions officers for her standout essay answer... Despite her successful application, Carolina has decided not to attend Yale. She will study business at Auburn University in Alabama because she liked the scholarships"

Rendevu app matches sex workers to clients - "Ms Jovi said that she finds Rendevu a help because 'it takes the nasty surprise out of who is coming to visit you. 'It's super safe, because everyone is vetted and customers have to put their credit card details into the app before they receive their booking."
HornyGoWhere wouldn't have been legal in Singapore anyway

European human rights chiefs order British press NOT to reveal when terrorists are Muslims - "The recommendations came as part of a list of 23 meddling demands to Theresa May’s government on how to run the media in an alarming threat to freedom speech. The report, drawn up by the Council of Europe's human rights watchdog, blamed the recent increase in hate crimes and racism in the UK on the 'worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians', although the research was done before the EU referendum campaign had even begun."
Relevant section of report: " ECRI regrets that a way has not been found to establish an independent press regulator and that, as a result, certain tabloids continue to publish offensive material, as indicated above. ECRI urges the media to take stock of the importance of responsible reporting, not only to avoid perpetuating prejudice and biased information, but also to avoid harm to targeted persons or vulnerable groups. ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety. In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University50 suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations"

Believe in conspiracy theories? You're probably a narcissist - "Previous research linked the endorsement of conspiracy theories to low self-esteem... low self-esteem could be largely explained 'by the general negativity toward humans'... A recent study suggested that if people really were hiding the truth about events such as the moon landings, it would only take four years to come to light. Dr David Robert Grimes from Oxford University created an equation to express the probability of a conspiracy being either deliberately uncovered by a whistle-blower, or inadvertently revealed by a bungler"

Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali says shut down Muslim schools - "Daily Mail Australia caught on camera former Islamic school student Uthman Badar, the leader of Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, calling for ex-Muslims to be executed. He went to Malek Fahd Islamic School in south-west Sydney, along with fellow Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Hamzah Qureshi who also regularly appears in social media videos. Another Islamic school in Sydney's west, Al-Faisal College in Auburn, removed references to reproduction in a textbook and instead gave credit to Allah"

RACIST: Pitzer College Students Just Told White Girls To Stop Wearing Hoop Earrings - "Contrary to what these girls suggest about hoop earrings being a staple in non-white cultures, they have been a staple in ancient cultures like Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Sumer... Pitzer College claims that diversity is one of its community values. Given their student body's penchant for racism, this claim seems to get lost in the facts."

Ethiopian tribesmen compete to get as fat as possible - "Women and girls deliver milk and blood each morning in pots or bamboos. Although there is no prize for becoming the biggest competitor, there is a lot of pride up for grabs, and a large waistline is considered attractive by women in the tribe... 'The cows are sacred to the Bodi tribe so they are not killed. The blood is taken by making a hole in a vein with a spear or an axe, and after that, they close it with clay.'"

The $850 gadget that folds your laundry with robot arms and steams out creases

The end of rush hour - "Research led by scientists at University College London, carried mout across three continents, found that working more than 55 hours a week raises your odds of a stroke by a third, in addition to raising the odds of a heart attack. When we work harder, and feel ourselves to be under time pressure, we become worse parents – and worse spouses. A study of air traffic controllers found that the quality of their parenting in the evening could be predicted by the number of planes they had to land during the day: the more they had to cope with at work, the less they wanted to engage with their children on returning home. In 2014, Pannone solicitors, part of the UK law firm Slater & Gordon, reported that workplace pressure was cited as a factor in around half of its divorce cases... When staff at Boston Consulting Group were forced to limit their hours as part of a trial, their work actually benefited"

Malcolm Gladwell’s Plagiarism Problem - "“Malcolm Gladwell has made a name for himself peddling social theories that attempt to explain our world in simple-to-understand and incorrect ways,” they write, noting that “virtually every one of Gladwell’s ridiculously popular books has been met with criticism for playing fast and loose with the facts and using anecdotes as evidence of some larger truth.”"

Adil Rashid: Paedophile claimed his Muslim upbringing meant 'he didn't know it was illegal to have sex with a girl of 13' - "A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless. Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law... Rashid claimed he had been taught in his school that ‘women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground’."

Oia Cafe Taipei - Drink Tea With The Cutest Alpacas Roaming Around You

White women benefit most from affirmative action — and are among its fiercest opponents
I keep seeing this claim waved around. It seems what these people mean by affirmative action is an increase in the number of that group in the student population. This is even more incoherent than the other (even more popular) redefinitions of racism = prejudice + power, or of legacy admissions being affirmative action, because this doesn't even involve any version of preferential admission at all
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