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Friday, December 15, 2017

Links - 15th December 2017 (3)

Living in Asia Ironically - Posts - "Assumed my son was Chinese and I've spent his whole life playing homage to his roots, he's Korean."

Here's Why Cersei And Bronn Will Never Be In A 'Game Of Thrones' Scene Together - "In real life, away from the dragons, wights and Kings Landing, Cersei (played by Lena Headley) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) used to be an item - and things didn't really end well. In fact, they ended terribly. They don't speak, they can't stand being in the same room together, and some have even suggested it's in their contracts that the two shall never meet"

Texas Man Uses Massive Inflatable Dam to Save House - "Wagner drove all the way to Louisiana to pick up a product he found online, an Aqua Dam. With the help of a couple of friends, Wagner installed the Aqua Dam’s 400 feet of materials and waited for the water to come. As the water built up around his home, the dam held it all back. Now, while thousands of his neighbors will need to make repairs, rebuild and replace all their belongings, Wagner has saved everything."

Usborne apologises for puberty book that says breasts exist to make girls 'look grown-up and attractive' - "After a campaign led by parent group Let Books Be Books three years ago, Usborne announced that it would discontinue publishing gendered titles, such as its pink Girls’ Activity Book and blue Boys’ Activity Book.
Secondary sexual characteristics are an invention of Patriarchy
I wonder if sales will fall

Welcome to the New Eidolon! - "idolon is now a space for unapologetic progressive and inclusive approaches to Classics. Our goal is to model a Classics that is ethical, diverse, intersectional, and especially feminist... Making ideological diversity a primary objective is fundamentally incompatible with fighting against racism, sexism, and other forms of structural oppression, and we choose to prioritize the latter... Classics as a discipline has deep roots in fascism and reactionary politics and white supremacy, and those ideologies exert a powerful gravitational pull on the discipline’s practitioners. If we want to fight those forces, we need to actively work against them... In the past we only deleted comments that were openly bigoted or hateful. But from now on, we’ll be monitoring and moderating comments on Medium and Facebook much more heavily."
"Metastasis" comes from Greek after all
Comment on Twitter: "And here I thought the classics of were about universal questions/ideas and accumulated wisdom of the ages..."

LOL Video: Serial Carjacker Gets Dragged Down The Street As His Pants Fall Off

Just Another Fun Not Entirely What I Was Expecting Epic Gif Dump - Album on Imgur

Yes, Hollywood is racist against Chinese, says actor Chloe Bennet, who couldn’t find work as Chloe Wang - "Bennet, who stars in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, said her original surname made Hollywood “uncomfortable”. Earlier this week the British actor Ed Skrein pulled out of his role in a forthcoming film reboot of Hellboy because the character he was playing has Asian heritage."
Ironically the Ed Skrein controversy provides clues as to why someone marketed as an ethnic Asian would not be desirable in a non-Asian role
Too bad Norma Jeane Mortenson couldn't blame racism for making her change her name, or other struggling actresses can't blame racism for their not getting work

Emily Ratajkowski's boobs stop people working with her - "'There's this thing that happens to me: "Oh, she's too sexy". It's like an anti-woman thing, people don't want to work with me because my boobs are too big,' she said.'What's wrong with boobs? They're a beautiful, feminine thing that needs to be celebrated. Like, who cares?' she continued. The aspiring actress touched on the scrutiny she is under for positioning herself as a feminist while flaunting her body in scantily clad and nude imagery."

People believe in evolution, just not for humans

Man gets three months in prison for liking a photo on Facebook - "The 32-year-old was found guilty Monday of supporting a terrorist group after he gave a “thumbs up” to a grotesque image of an ISIS fighter decapitating a woman"

Darkwood Creators Share Game on The Pirate Bay, For Those Who Can't Pay

Clementine Ford, Aquinas College: Feminist refuses boys’ questions, sparks walkout - "SOME schoolgirls staged a walkout on feminist Clementine Ford after she refused to take questions from male students at exclusive Aquinas College in Melbourne. The 35-year-old blogger and controversial, outspoken activist was slammed by parents after she blocked questions from year 10 schoolboys at the private secondary school... following the fallout from the talk, Ford “went nuts, she crucified the boys online and the school had to do a massive backpedal”... Ford took to Twitter to lambast her critics as “p*ssants” and “angry w*nks”... “I was not paid to deal with ongoing bulls**t and demands from small minded boys who cannot handle being shown their world view is limited”... Ford said she had received offensive messages from Aquinas students on her Twitter and Facebook accounts and complained she had been called a “c***”. However in a July 2013 tweet, Ford used the word freely, posting on Twitter: “Too many c***s on twitter today. C***y c*** c*** c********. #c***.” Following the May incident, Aquinas College sent a letter to parents saying it may in the future revise its program to hire Ford to address students."
This is what a feminist looks like

Workers start hating their jobs at age 35: Survey - "It’s also possible younger people have lower expectations, higher hopes, and they’re not yet burned out. Ms Bodnyk was thrilled just to have a job when she first started her career. “Once you get a little more stable and settled in, you then look around and ask whether you actually enjoy it,” she said."

Don't be racist, be like Mario!

Proof that you should get a life - "Reducing hours, say, from 55 to 50 hours a week, would have had only small effects on output. The results are even starker when we are talking about very long working hours. Output at 70 hours of work differed little from output at 56 hours. That extra 14 hours was a waste of time. The crucial point that emerges from Mr Percavel's analysis is that reductions in working hours do not always result in higher output per hour (which is what our initial correlation seemed to suggest). Rather, the initial level of working hours has to be so high... The HMWC also reckoned that the absence of a rest day (like Sunday) damaged hourly output."

Getting There | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "When you are a female in a big city you tend to be quote unquote targeted by err gentleman who like to expose themselves to you. My tactic for dealing with any sort of man who is trying to be aggressive towards me is to try to out crazy them. Or to scream as loudly as I can. Or make fun of their penis...
One of the dangers of a nap is what we call sleep inertia and so this actually helps counteract the sleep inertia which is the grogginess that you feel upon waking... if you have a cup of coffee right before you take your nap then you'll wake up feeling more fresh because the caffeine specifically targets the sleep inertia or that grogginess where you wake up and you actually want to fall back asleep and your judgment and decision making is impaired...
You are a terrible judge of your own sleepiness level. So studies of anesthesia residents actually show that fifty percent of the time they actually fell asleep on the job they reported being awake...
'In ten seconds or less let's say, describe a day in the life of an improv comedian'
'Working your job that you hate and then doing shows for free'"

Jordan: Nahed Hattar shot dead ahead of cartoon trial - "A gunman has shot dead prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam"

Your revolution was dumb and it filled us with refugees: A Canadian take on the American Revolutionary War - "Roughly 60 independent countries around the world were once counted as British colonies or mandates. Of those, only the United States and the Republic of Ireland gained their independence as a direct result of political violence. Compare that to Spain, which violently resisted the departure of almost every one of its overseas colonies"

Dear Prudence: My girlfriend won’t donate to Harvey victims because some of them voted for Trump. - "I come from the Houston area and have been heartbroken about the damage and scenes from Harvey. I decided to donate $250 and asked my girlfriend if she would match it. She agreed, and then when I asked if she had given to the Red Cross or someone else, I learned that she donated to the Humane Society. I know she’s absolutely nuts about animals, especially our own dogs, but to give to animals when people are in trouble seems heartless to me. She’s much more politically active than I am, and I finally asked if she did that to avoid the possibility of giving money to someone who voted for Trump, and she admitted that was one of the reasons. I think that’s awful, and we’ve been fighting about it ever since. She thinks as a gay woman I should see her side, but I just can’t."
What if you avoid helping Muslims to avoid the possibility of helping someone who aided terrorism?

Penn State asks students to report microaggressions to administrators

Public university spends $16K on campaign to warn students to watch what they say - "Dozens of posters plastered across the University of Michigan caution students not to say things that might hurt others’ feelings, part of a new “Inclusive Language Campaign” at the state’s flagship public university... Words declared unacceptable through the campaign include “crazy,” “insane,” “retarded,” “gay,” “tranny,” “gypped,” “illegal alien,” “fag,” “ghetto” and “raghead.” Phrases such as “I want to die” and “that test raped me” are also verboten."

As A Minority, I’m Far More Fearful Of Being Accosted by Antifa/BLM Thugs Than White Supremacists - "Though I zealously support President Donald Trump and his mission to “Make America Great Again,” I neither own a MAGA hat nor intend to ever wear one publicly because of the fear I feel over potentially being harassed, attacked or even beaten for my political beliefs by radical leftists associated with Antifa or BLM. Yet in regard to strolling through town as a brown-skinned immigrant turned citizen, I feel zero trepidation whatsoever, due in no small part to the fact that the white supremacist bogeyman touted daily by the leftist media represent a meager 0.003 percent of the population. The truth is that these real-life Nazis are practically nonexistent in contemporary society, whereas the mindless zombies who swallow the leftist media’s lies exist in greater quantities than lawn grass. They’re everywhere, and they have zero tolerance for differing views. Case in point: When a black student from Ithacha College attended a vigil Sunday in Syracuse, New York, for the victim of the Charlottesville attack, he wore a hat with the conservative youth organization Young America’s Foundation’s logo emblazoned on it. And for that, leftists attacked him... as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, noted Tuesday on Facebook, the white supremacists who hate the Jewish people “belong in the past” and are “dying out,” whereas the Antifa and BLM thugs who also hate the Jewish people continue to grow “stronger and stronger” and become more “super dominant American universities and public life.”... That’s right, folks, the man elected by the denizens of the world’s only Jewish state to serve as their prime minister is a Nazi sympathizer, if not a Nazi himself. So is black student Caleb Slater. And so am I."

Bourgeois Values Scandal Tars Law Prof Amy Wax with Racism Charge - "Were you planning to instruct your child about the value of hard work and civility? Not so fast! According to a current uproar at the University of Pennsylvania, advocacy of such bourgeois virtues is “hate speech.” The controversy, sparked by an op-ed written by two law professors, illustrates the rapidly shrinking boundaries of acceptable thought on college campuses and the use of racial victimology to police those boundaries... The fuse was lit. The rules of the game were the following: Ignore what Wax and Alexander had actually said; avoid providing any counterevidence; and play the race card to the hilt as a substitute for engaging with their arguments... As the Daily Pennsylvanian itself acknowledged, Wax had emphasized to them that she was not implying the superiority of whites. “Bourgeois values aren’t just for white people,” she had said. “The irony is: Bourgeois values can help minorities get ahead.” No matter. Time to roll out the racial victimology... The idea that privileged graduate students at Penn, one of the most tolerant, racially sensitive environments in human history, experience everyday “hate” is delusional. The adults on campus so fervently seek the presence of underrepresented minority undergraduates and graduate students that they use racial preferences to admit many of them... Unanswered question: Were Wax and Alexander wrong that the virtues of self-restraint, deferred gratification, and future orientation are key for economic and personal progress, and that an anti-achievement, anti-authority culture of drug use and a detachment from the work force is inimical to advancement? GET-UP had nothing to say about those key matters... Typical of the associational chain used by campus leftists, the IDEAL Open Letter equates rational argumentation with “hate speech,” and “hate speech” with “discriminatory acts.” Without consequences for these “discriminatory acts,” U. Penn.’s “vulnerable students” will continue to be “harmed,” “dehumanized,” and “compromised” in their ability to get an education. If a student’s ability to pursue his education can be “compromised” by a single op-ed, perhaps he is not ready for advanced studies... As for Wax’s observation that migration overwhelmingly flows to countries that have historically embraced bourgeois values, not one of the critics has provided any counter-examples... The op-ed’s primary sin was to talk about behavior. The founding idea of contemporary progressivism is that structural and individual racism lies behind socioeconomic inequalities. Discussing bad behavioral choices and maladaptive culture is out of bounds and will be punished mercilessly by slinging at the offender the usual fusillade of “isms” (to be supplemented, post-Charlottesville, with frequent mentions of “white supremacy”). The fact that underclass behaviors are increasingly common among lower-class whites, and not at all limited to poor blacks and Hispanics, might have made it possible to address personal responsibility. That does not appear to be the case. What if the progressive analysis of inequality is wrong, however, and a cultural analysis is closest to the truth? If confronting the need to change behavior is punishable “hate speech,” then it is hard to see how the country can resolve its social problems."

Students See LGBT Flag, Give Libs Taste of Their Own Medicine - "Nearly 2,000 supporters on Change.org have signed a petition calling for the removal of a rainbow pride flag from a high school classroom. They’re comparing it to having a Confederate flag on display... “subjecting or explicitly exposing students from diverse political backgrounds to political views differing from theirs can make students uncomfortable and distract them.” Does that sound like a familiar argument?"

A free-speech rally, minus the free speech - "If one line captured the essence of Saturday’s Boston Common rally and counterprotest, it was a quote halfway through Mark Arsenault’s Page 1 story in the Globe:
“‘Excuse me,’ one man in the counterprotest innocently asked a Globe reporter. ‘Where are the white supremacists?’”
That was the day in a nutshell. Participants in the “Boston Free Speech Rally” had been demonized as a troupe of neo-Nazis prepared to reprise the horror that had erupted in Charlottesville. They turned out to be a couple dozen courteous people linked by little more than a commitment to — surprise! — free speech... A massive counterprotest, 40,000 strong, showed up to denounce a nonexistent cohort of racists. Boston deployed hundreds of police officers, who did an admirable job of maintaining order. Some of the counterprotesters screamed, cursed, or acted like thugs — at one point the Boston Police Department warned protesters “to refrain from throwing urine, bottles, and other harmful projectiles”... The speakers on the Common bandstand were kept from being heard. They were blocked off with a 225-foot buffer zone, segregated beyond earshot. Police barred anyone from approaching to hear what the rally speakers had to say. Reporters were excluded, too. Result? The free-speech rally took place in a virtual cone of silence. Participants “spoke essentially to themselves for about 50 minutes”... Even some of the rally’s own would-be attendees were kept from the bandstand. Yet when Police Commissioner Bill Evans was asked at a press conference Saturday afternoon whether it was right to treat them that way, he was unapologetic. “You know what,” he said, “if they didn’t get in, that’s a good thing, because their message isn’t what we want to hear.”... All they were guilty of was attempting to defend the importance of free speech. For that, they were unjustly smeared as Nazis and their own freedom of speech was mauled."

Thailand ranked most adulterous country in the world - "Thailand is the most adulterous country in the world, according a ranking from Statista, which found that 56% of married adults in the ‘Land of Smiles’ admitted to having an affair. Thailand appears top be an anomaly among Asian nations – the other nine countries in the top 10-most-adulterous list are in Europe, ranging from Denmark in 2nd, where 46% of people cheat, to Finland and the UK in joint 9th, where 36% of people cheat"

A Shortsighted Attack on Free Speech - "Under a legal regime where hate speech was not considered free speech, Trump and Sessions could likely punish words used by members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Do you think he’d police their speech more or less vigorously than white supremacists?"

The far right is losing its ability to speak freely online. Should the left defend it? - "“This is a really terrible time to be a free speech advocate,” said Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s a ‘First they came for the … situation,” she said, referring to the famous Martin Niemöller poem about the classes of people targeted by Nazis, “only in reverse”... the fate of the Daily Stormer – as vile a publication as it is – may be a warning to Americans that the first amendment is increasingly irrelevant. “Historically, the place you went to exercise your speech rights was the public square. Now the equivalent is Twitter and YouTube and Facebook,” said Daphne Keller of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. “In a practical matter, how much you can speak is not in the hands of the constitution but in the hands of these private companies.” The idea of social media platforms as the “modern public square” was recently endorsed by the US supreme court, which ruled unanimously that barring sex offenders from Facebook and Twitter violated their first amendment rights. And yet, this digital version of the public square is more closely analogous to “privately owned public spaces” – a very American type of park whose legal particularities became widely known in 2011 when the Occupy Wall Street movement set up camp in one such space... American technology companies that were once imbued with the ethos of Twitter’s famous sobriquet – “the free speech wing of the free speech party” – have changed the rules, or at least decided to start selectively enforcing rules that are technologically unfeasible to apply across the board... “If you think of the 10 companies that have the infrastructure to really survive on the crazy dangerous internet that is out there, a huge percentage of them are advertising-driven companies,” said Prince. “They will by their very nature have a much more filtered, cleaned up version of the internet because that is where their economic incentives are”... If the left does abandon its free speech principles, it may come to regret it. “I’m really surprised to see liberals talk about what speech needs to be taken down, and not take that conversation a step further and talk about who is actually doing the censoring,” York said, questioning whether we should trust either the government or “unelected white Silicon Valley dudes” to make such decisions. Or as Keller says: “We should not expect the new speech gatekeepers to be benign forever, or to enforce rules that we agree with forever.”"

Observations - 15th December 2017

"When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear." - Thomas Sowell


Are rich liberals stupid for voting against their economic interests - for politicians who will raise taxes?

If a Chinese has bad experiences with Indian people and concludes Indian people are annoying, he is racist
If an Indian has bad experiences with Chinese people and concludes Chinese people are racist, he is right

The fact that minorities are only championed and fetishised when they're unsuccessful points to an underlying ideology of envy and spitefulness

"I asked some antifas why its okay for them to be violent but duterte's "vigilantism" is a human right violation
Wahhhh everyone damn triggered."

"Whatever happened to "be the change you want to see in the world?"
It became "bitch about the change you want to see in the world.""

"If our ecosystem is collapsing because we consume too much, should we really be bringing people from low consuming countries to high consuming countries where they'll end up consuming more than they would have back home?"

"When I was younger and dumber I thought I could transform unhappy people into happy people by giving them whatever they wanted, or fixing whatever they thought was broken. This approach worked approximately zero times. Once a dopamine addict’s alleged problem is fixed, the addict still needs the next high. So they magnify small problems into big ones just to feel something. Or they create a problem where there was none."

Do people who don't look like their parents have identity issues? (mixed race children and adoptees being some examples)

Having a second kid so the first one doesn't think it's the most important person in the world is like not having a second kid because you're afraid of favouritism. Or, in a different way, like giving away your money to charity so you don't gamble it away

"The best celebration after surviving the first year is a year's holiday without the kid. 😩"

Going by the philosophy that those who have not accomplished much have no standing to criticise those who have done more (a philosophy which seems not uncommon in Singapore), Confucius should be ignored since he only had a brief civil service career before becoming a scholar. So all the rulers who sought his advice were idiots

A lot of Singaporeans think that testing claims for logical consistency is changing the subject. But then, so much about Singapore is special pleading or exceptionalism

Why do people celebrate Down's Syndrome in a way that they don't cerebral palsy?

[On bemoaning the youth] "The people who created the next generation are pretty quick to absolve themselves of the mess they created."

'A great novel can change who you are. For example, after I read "War and Peace", I became way more pretentious.'

"Social constructs are a social construct"

"The government says if you're not doing anything wrong you shouldn't have to hide anything. If that's true shouldn't the government declassify everything?" (aka if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide and nothing to hear from increasing surveillance and violations of privacy)

Reusing disposable plastic containers means the contents may spill. Onto your pants. On 2 separate days. Before you save the earth, you must save yourself.

Links - 15th December 2017 (2)

Cola Competition: Diet Coke Overtakes Pepsi as America’s #2 Soda - "The sad thing is, this doesn’t exactly seem like a fair loss. It seems that Pepsi’s drop in ranking could be due to the fact that they’ve put some of their advertising budget to more charitable use. According to the WSJ, “PepsiCo made a big bet in 2010, when it didn’t market its flagship cola on the Super Bowl or in other TV spots. Instead, it launched the Refresh Project, an online charitable-giving program that disbursed $20 million in donations ‘for refreshing ideas that change the world.'”"

Geahk Burchill's answer to Why is Star Wars: The Force Awakens aging so badly? - Quora - "TFA is a lot like Star Trek 2009. Everyone will generally agree they enjoyed it at the time but you won't be able to get anyone to talk about specifics. Because no one actually remembers what happened in Star Trek 2009. It was fun and pretty and empty. It was low-calorie and good enough to not leave a bad after-taste but not good enough to add to any "best films list." Fans want Star Wars films to be a GREAT films but Abrams was the SAFE choice and safe is forgettable. [I actually did an experiment with all my friends a while back, who I saw Star Trek 2009 with a few years before. I asked them all to retell everything they remembered from it. Most people said, "People running, something about a red orb, people falling, Eric Bana yelling and lens flares." It was even worse when I tried, Cloverfield and Super 8. No one I have talked to can relate anything about those films except the most superficial story points.]... It's as if Abrams makes films like Chinese food. You forget them in an hour. They are fun and sparkly and bright while you are watching them but they are like the flashy thing from Men in Black, They make you forget."

Sexing up the human pheromone story: How a corporation started a scientific myth - "Slotted into the programme and conference proceedings was the short ‘study-zero’ paper on the ‘Effect of putative pheromones on the electrical activity of the human vomeronasal organ and olfactory epithelium’. To my surprise, the authors gave no details at all of how these molecules had been extracted, identified, and tested in bioassays - all routinely required steps in the exhaustive process before any molecule can be shown to be a species-wide chemical signal, a pheromone. Instead there was just a footnote: ‘These putative pheromones were supplied by EROX Corporation’. The missing, essential details were never published"

Robots Have Started Teaching Other Robots New Skills

Startups worship the young. But research shows people like lithium battery inventor John Goodenough are most innovative when they’re older - "The study found that the overall median age of innovators was 47 years old. Only 5.8% of the sample—which ranged in age from 18 to 80—was 30 years or younger, and innovation peaked between the ages of 46 and 50. The rate of innovation continues to be very high until the age of 55 and declined sharply after 65, the median expected retirement age in the US. Particularly in the life sciences, material sciences, and information-technology fields, individuals who filed patents tended to be in the latter half of their careers."

Star Wars: Apparently Han Solo Isn't The Smuggler's Real Name

A 24-year-old made $345,000 by beating Kickstarters to market

Stop Mowing the Lawn; Start Salting the Earth - "Once truces have been reached and Israel withdraws, Hamas uses the calm to rebuild its terrorist infrastructure and launches further attacks into Israel, forcing Israel to respond with more large-scale incursions. This routine has become so regular, Israeli officials have even come to refer to this practice as “mowing the grass.” Many Israeli’s believe that they will never completely eliminate their enemies; so, the practice of mowing the grass is seen as a necessary act at degrading Hamas’ abilities to launch attacks and keep them off-balance. However, if we are judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than they were previously."

No non-Muslim maids for Muslims - "Maid agencies are stunned by a “new” directive im­posed by the Immigration De­­part­­ment barring them from hiring non-Muslim maids... if Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar could hire non-Muslims, why not Malaysia?"
Malaysia Boleh

Renegotiate Constitution if Kelantan insists on hudud, says Sabah, Sarawak NGO - "The Civil Society Organisations of Sabah and Sarawak said the two states signed up for a secular federation when it formed Malaysia with Malaya and Singapore in 1963."

The Brilliant Star Wars Galaxies Idea That Didn't Happen - "the tradeoff for getting to use Jedi skills is that one bad decision could cost you your entire character. Smart... 'the moment you used Force powers within view of anything or anyone Imperial, or indeed any player, they could report you to the Empire. To Darth Vader’s Death Squadron in fact. And that generated someone to come after you. After first, just lowly Stormtroopers. Eventually, cooler characters, such as some of the bounty hunters like IG-88. Eventually, really cool ones like Boba Fett or fan favorite Mara Jade... 'eventually, after Boba Fett and Mara Jade and everyone else had failed, well, that would be when Darth Vader himself bestirred himself to take care of the little problem. And you would die. It would be rigged.'"

How to Get Started Reading Comics That Have Been Running For Decades - "Comics can be daunting, but you can enjoy reading them if you just go with the flow. Some stories are silly, some might make no sense without some context, and you might be left wondering how characters came to be in such wildly different circumstances (like that time Hulk became king of a planet). But treat it less like Game of Thrones and more like Friends. You don't really need to know every detail of the backstory to follow along. Just download a few comics, load them up in your favorite app, and start reading."

Spyware that can identify what films you are watching - "Videos streamed over the internet are usually transmitted using a standard called MPEG-DASH. This chops a data stream up into segments that are then encrypted and fetched one at a time by the machine playing the video. The result is an on-off, “bursty” pattern of data arrival. But not all segments are equal. One depicting the mating habits of sloths will contain less information than another showing a car chase. Streaming services use something called variable bit-rate (VBR) compression to take advantage of this. Amorous-sloth segments are compressed to a greater degree than those involving car chases, reducing the overall amount of data that must be transmitted. That means segments of the same duration (in seconds) have different sizes (in bytes). The resulting pattern forms a video fingerprint."

The Pecking Disorder: Social Justice Warriors Gone Wild - "The ordeal of Northwestern University film professor Laura Kipnis, hauled before a campus gender equity tribunal for publishing a critique of academia’s current obsession with sexual misconduct, has brought the backlash against “political correctness” to reliably left-of-center venues such as Vox. But this is only the latest incident in the culture wars over “social justice” that have been wreaking havoc in a wide range of communities—including, but not limited to, universities, the literary world, science fiction fandom and the atheist/skeptic movement... in its dictionary meaning, “privilege” refers to rights or benefits possessed by the select, not by the majority.) This language speaks not to black betterment but to white guilt. It also erases the fact that the “privilege” extends to many nonwhite groups, such as Asians. Privilege rhetoric offers an absurdly simplistic view of complex social dynamics... generally, the “social justice” left strenuously avoids the issue of socioeconomic background, which, despite upward mobility, is surely the most tangible and entrenched form of actual privilege in modern American society. Rather, the focus is on racial, sexual and cultural identities. While “social justice” discourse embraces “intersectionality”—the understanding that different forms of social advantage and disadvantage interact with each other—this virtually never works in favor of the “privileged.” Thus, intersectionality may mean recognizing that disabled battered women suffer from both sexism and “ableism.” Recognizing that disabled men may be at greater risk for spousal abuse because disability reverses the usual male advantage in strength? Not so much. To acknowledge advantages enjoyed by the “oppressed”—for instance, gender bias favoring female defendants in criminal cases or mothers in custody suits—is pure heresy. The only moral dilemma is which oppressed identity trumps which: race or gender, sexuality or religion... The men with guns who shot twelve Charlie staffers were presumably punching up... Salon, more or less the Pravda of today’s social justice left, recently ran a piece arguing that the coming reboot of the X-Men franchise should reinvent its character Magneto, a Jewish Auschwitz survivor, as black in order to “get real about race.” The practical effects of such “social justice” ideology can be seen in the communities where it flourishes (mainly on college campuses and online). It is a reverse caste system in which a person’s status and worth depends entirely on their perceived oppression and disadvantage... many sci-fi writers and fans were shaken by the revelation that Benjanun Sriduangkaew, a young Thai female author, not only doubled as a militant “social justice” blogger but had a third identity as a notorious LiveJournal troll known for egregious harassment, including death and rape threats—often toward nonwhite, female or transgender victims. Yet Ms. Sriduangkaew found supporters who saw the scandal as, in the words of a Daily Dot article, “an example of white privilege attempting to silence writers of color.”... Some tried to defend Ms. Sriduangkaew by pointing out that most of her targets were white males. In this climate, it is not surprising that a while male poet would write an agonized letter to a literary blog wondering if he should stop writing: he feels guilty about writing from a white male perspective but also worries that if he writes in the voice of women or minorities, he would be “colonizing” their stories."

Feminist Students Protest Feminist Prof for Writing About Feminism - "As feminist student activists fight to expand their circle of vulnerability in collegiate life, Title IX has gone from a law designed to protect college students from sexual misconduct and discrimination to a means by which professors are put on trial for their tweets. Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis found herself entangled in one such trial after two female graduate students filed Title IX charges against her because of an essay and a tweet she authored. Kipnis was then plunged into a secretive and labyrinthine bureaucratic process that she believes threatens her academic freedom. The trouble for Kipnis started a few months ago when she published an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the growing sexual paranoia on college campuses"
And this was in Jezebel

Feminist prof decries 'militarized patriotism' at sporting events - "she has “cringed” upon seeing the American flag unfurled... Enloe recounted her discomfort when the crowd sung the National Anthem... Enloe’s discontent grew when a veteran was honored at the stadium. While the rest of the crowd erupted in applause for the hero, Enloe writes that she “sat stingily on my hands, still saying nothing.” Later, when the crowd stood to sing “America the Beautiful,” Enloe says she refused to stand and “sat quietly” while her friends “smiled down at [her] sympathetically.”... While patriotism may seem like a positive sentiment, Enloe argues that it is actually problematic because it can be weaponized to perpetuate “patriarchy,” asserting that patriotic displays marginalize women while honoring men"
In light of examples such as this, is it unreasonable to say that some liberals hate their countries (at least if they come from them)?

Swedish Expert Committee: A Low-Carb Diet Most Effective for Weight Loss - "This could be a historic day in Sweden. Today it became official. After over two years of work, a Swedish expert committee published their expert inquiry Dietary Treatment for Obesity... This report from SBU (Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment) is likely to be the basis for future dietary guidelines for obesity treatment within the Swedish health care system... In addition, health markers will improve on a low-carbohydrate diet... Long term, studies show no statistically significant differences among different diets, and the differences decrease with time. The SBU suggests that this is because of decreasing compliance with time. People simply tend to fall back to old habits. The more studies we add, the better we can see the clear advantage of low-carbohydrate diets. Unfortunately SBU has excluded all studies examining both obese and overweight people. If you include studies on weight loss where overweight people are included – to get a greater scientific basis – a clear advantage for the low-carbohydrate diet was seen even after a year"

Queen cuts out the carbs: Secrets of Her Majesty's diet and lifestyle as she celebrates 90th birthday - "Britain's longest-ever reigning monarch eschews carbs and abides by a strict low-fat diet of mainly fruits, vegetables and the occasional treat of dark chocolate and a swig of Gewürztraminer."

Chemistry debunks the biggest aspartame health myths - "the body actually produces and uses 1,000 times more formaldehyde than you could consume through aspartame. After helping to make important proteins, formaldehyde gets turned into formic acid and exits the body through urine. Some studies have shown that aspartame-made phenylalanine isn’t seeping into our brains and causing depression. Milk contains eight times more phenylalanine than aspartame... It is unlikely that a person could come close to reaching the aspartame levels deemed unacceptable by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To do so, you’d have to consume 97 aspartame sugar packets or more than 17 cans of diet soda in less than 24 hours."

Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits - "Extensive scientific research has demonstrated the safety of the six low-calorie sweeteners currently approved for use in foods in the U.S. and Europe (stevia, acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin and sucralose) each with an acceptable daily intake. A number of studies have been carried out to confirm the safety of artificial sweeteners. A number of studies have also shown the adverse effects of the same. But most of the studies have limitations such as effects shown only in animals not in human, small sample size, high doses, statistically non-significant or borderline significant, etc. The sugar substitutes are thoroughly investigated for safety with hundreds of scientific studies and then approved by different regulatory authorities like the U.S. FDA, JECFA and FSANZ"

The Indian Gotra System: To Prevent Incest or Is There Some Science Behind It? - "As per the Brahminical theory, there are seven gotras, descended from the eight Brahmins, the sons of Lord Brahma. They are Gautama, Bharadwaja, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Vashista, Kashyapa, Angirasa and Atri. The 49 clans are believed to be emerged from these sages. In North India, the Gotra is believed to be passed on in the male lineage of the family (grandfather-father-son), whereas in South India, it is believed to be descended in the female lineage (grandmother-mother-daughter). Thus, intra-gotra marriages have been banned in most parts of North India for centuries, and many parts of South India too."

Brendan O'Neill - People are shocked by images of antifa activists... - "People are shocked by images of antifa activists beating up normal, peaceful right-wing protesters in Berkeley or physically shoving right-wing people off Boston Common. Why? This is what happens when you tell an entire generation that other people's ideas are dangerous, that their speech is toxic, that their words can wound you and traumatise you: you invite that generation to shut people down, to use any means necessary to ensure "dangerous" ideas are not expressed and do not cause injury to people's self-esteem or sense of safety. We are starting to see what happens when speech is talked about as a form of violence: it green-lights actual violence against certain forms of speech. If speech is violence, shouldn't it be met with violence? Antifa looks increasingly like the militant wing of Safe Space fanaticism, the bastard offspring of a culture that elevates mental safety over intellectual liberty, and people's feelings over public freedom."

Low-fat diet could kill you, major study shows - "Low-fat diets could raise the risk of early death by almost one quarter, a major study has found. The Lancet study of 135,000 adults found those who cut back on fats had far shorter lives than those enjoying plenty of butter, cheese and meats. Researchers said the study was at odds with repeated health advice to cut down on fats. Those doing so tended to eat far too much stodgy food like bread, pasta and rice, the experts said, while missing out on vital nutrients. Participants eating the highest levels of carbohydrates – particularly refined sugars found in fizzy drinks and processed meals – faced a 28 per cent higher risk of early death... those with low intake of saturated fat raised chances of early death by 13 per cent compared to those eating plenty. And consuming high levels of all fats cut mortality by up to 23 per cent."
This measures mortality, so it's a lot more significant than studies showing, say, bacon increases colon cancer risk

Moderate consumption of fats, carbohydrates best for health, international study shows - "The research on dietary fats found that they are not associated with major cardiovascular disease, but higher fat consumption was associated with lower mortality; this was seen for all major types of fats (saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and mono unsaturated fats), with saturated fats being associated with lower stroke risk. Total fat and individual types of fat were not associated with risk of heart attacks or death due to cardiovascular disease. The researchers point out that, while this may appear surprising to some, these new results are consistent with several observational studies and randomized controlled trials conducted in Western countries during the last two decades... "A decrease in fat intake automatically led to an increase in carbohydrate consumption and our findings may explain why certain populations such as South Asians, who do not consume much fat but consume a lot of carbohydrates, have higher mortality rates," she said... "Our study found the lowest risk of death in those who consumed three to four servings or the equivalent to 375 to 500 grams of fruits, vegetables and legumes per day, with little additional benefit for intake beyond that range"

Delusions of Feminism

Cordelia Fine,Delusions of Gender: How our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference
(review in the journal Society)

"One had hoped that, by now, debates about nature versus nurture had run their course. Informed scientific discussion currently is all about interaction: interaction of genes with environment, of biology with culture. But, when it comes to gender, feminist values can be a powerful influence on the side of nurture. Fearing that any evidence for a biological basis for sex differences in behavior would have deleterious effects on women’s rights, some feminist scientists may lean towards a cultural determinism on the theory that society can be changed more easily than the genes. In her book, Delusions of Gender, academic psychologist Cordelia Fine talks an interactionist game but her heart belongs to cultural determinism...

[In the 70s] it was considered unacceptable in the social sciences to argue that cognition or behavior might have a genetic basis, except, oddly, in the area of linguistics. Just as only Nixon could go to China, only radical left-wing Noam Chomsky could propose that a complex psychological process like language could be innate and get away with it. But once Chomsky opened the door it was inevitable that other mental processes would eventually slip through. Then the nineties saw the rise of two strains in the sciences that led to a broader revival of interest in the role of biology in behavior. One strain was research in evolutionary biology and psychology, the other, the introduction of new techniques in neuroscience that have led to a greater understanding of the brain. It is the latter, in particular, that concerns Cordelia Fine. The explosion of neuroimaging research has helped to lead to a swing of the pendulum back to a more biological and genetic focus for the study of behavior. Fine would like to push that pendulum back in the other direction, as least as far as the science of sex differences is concerned...

Although Fine says she supports a biopsychosocial model, the overwhelming impression one has after reading her book is that sex differences are really just all in your mind. In Fine’s view, there is no biology or genetics of gender beyond whatever determines the anatomy and physiology of men and women. As her subtitle indicates, her book is about “how our mind, society, and neurosexism create difference (emphasis mine), ” presumably where there is none...

Fine is not attempting to provide a balanced or comprehensive critique of neuroscientific research on sex differences. Popular science books are often extended arguments weighing evidence for and against a position. Authors of such books typically engage in advocacy as well; writers want to educate but also to promote a favored theory. In the best books, they do both and the advocacy does not overwhelm the balanced consideration of evidence... n other books, the advocacy agenda comes to the fore and dispassionate evaluation of the evidence suffers. Delusions of gender falls into the latter category.

Mindful of the potential for the misuse of research sup- porting a biological basis for sex differences, particularly in areas like science or mathematics, Fine argues for taking a highly skeptical approach to research in this area. The problem with her approach is not the skepticism per se but that her description of the research is limited, to the point that she tends to review just those studies that validate her nurture bias...

Fine’s selective approach leaves the reader with the impression that much of research into the organizing effects of prenatal testosterone on the brain is invalid and unreliable. In reality, the research in this area is extensive, complex and, yes, uncertain, but not, for those reasons, worthless. The extent of this literature is evident in a review of this research that incorporated almost 300 stud- ies (Cohen-Bendahan et al. 2005 ). Included were investigations of four different clinical populations, four different direct measures of prenatal hormones, and six different indirect measures. The authors acknowledged that much work remains to be done on the effects of prenatal testosterone, for example, on how the timing of hormonal expo- sure affects brain development, but concluded, contrary to Fine, that there are reasons to believe that prenatal hormones can have effects on sex-linked behavior.

To be fair, a popular book like Fine’s cannot be expected to cover the same amount of research as a more scholarly review. But Fine’s decision to cover so many aspects of sexism means that she spreads herself pretty thin. As a result, though she is not necessarily wrong in specific critiques, she can mislead the reader by omission. In throwing out the dirty bathwater of poorly controlled studies and false conclusions, she has also ditched the useful baby of careful research and converging evidence...

Readers of Fine’s book might be left not just with a healthy skepticism about neuroimaging research but with deep suspicions about neuropsychological evidence in general. This would be unfortunate because much neuropsychological research is robust and neuroimaging work can be well-executed and useful. For example, in some clinical populations, such as dyslexics, neuroimaging has enabled psychologists to better understand the nature of the deficit and even helped them develop successful interventions.

n any case, Fine’s criticisms can be a double-edged sword since proponents of the importance of cultural influences on the brain also rely on brain-imaging studies. The result is some startling, if not ironic, claims. In a recent article, for example, psychologist Nalini Ambady, identified in Fine’s book as someone who agrees with her assessment of the sex differences research, reports approvingly on studies that demonstrate that individuals in different cultures show activation in different brain regions to the same spatial tasks (Ambady 2011 ). She interprets this evidence as showing that “ East Asians and Westerners use different neural circuitry for fairly simple perceptual tasks” . Substitute “men and women” for “East Asians and Westerners” in that sentence and I suspect that Ambady and Fine would balk. Apparently, neuroimaging studies look more reliable when the topic of discussion is brain differences in ethnic groups than when it is about sex differences.

Although Fine acknowledges that biology puts constraints on the influence of culture one will search in vain for an indication in this book that she believes that these constraints might lie in anything other than gross anatomical differences. Fine keeps saying that the truth about the origins of sex differences is complicated but she promotes cultural influences to the point of sidelining, if not eliminating, the role of biology. This is evident in her assertion that, “ Our minds, society, and neurosexism create difference. Together, they wire gender. ” Prominently missing from her list of what creates differences is mention of genes or brains...

It is also hard to believe that hundreds of millions of years of mammalian evolution has not affected men and women’s behavior or mental capacities beyond an overall greater cognitive flexibility in homo sapiens compared to other species, which is all Fine seems willing to allow...

My greatest worry about Fine’s response to the ethical concerns raised by neurosexism involves her suggestion that neuroscientists need to work “under a heavier burden of caution” when working on sex differences than when working in other areas. Fine defines this heavier burden to be greater care in the interpretation of data and in speaking out against irresponsible journalism in the reporting of research. But surely careful interpretation of results, not generalizing beyond what is warranted by the data, and challenging journalistic misrepresentations of neuroscience are good practices whatever area of research is in question. So, my fear is that the “heavier burden” will constitute a bar to inquiry. Calls to greater skepticism in science and journalism, generally, are beneficial and appropriate. But when it comes to the issue of whether or not there are neurobiological constraints underlying sex differences, I hope that Fine’s exhortations won’t cause good scientists to be hesitant to merely ask the question."

Links - 15th December 2017 (1)

Anti-Semitism in Europe: New Official Report - "a new study, Antisemitic Violence in Europe, 2005-2015 -- written by Johannes Due Enstad of the Oslo-based Center for Studies of the Holocaust and the University of Oslo, and jointly published by both institutions -- is refreshingly, even startlingly, honest about its subject. Enstad notes that while anti-Semitic violence has declined in the U.S. since 1994, it has been on the rise worldwide. That, of course, includes Europe -- most of it, anyway. Examining statistics from France, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Russia, Enstad points out that one of these seven countries "clearly stands out with a very low number" of anti-Semitic incidents despite its "relatively large Jewish population"; the country in question, he adds, "is also the only case in which there is little to indicate that Jews avoid displaying their identity in public." In addition, it is the only one of the six countries in which the majority of perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence are not Muslims. Which country is Enstad referring to? Russia... Enstad weighs official statistics from all of the countries under examination, but finds that while those from most of the countries essentially jibe with the results of independent studies, those published by both Germany and Sweden are fishy, in some cases betraying an apparent effort by officials to massage the numbers to avoid certain uncomfortable facts. While an independent survey, for example, concludes that right-wing extremists make up a small minority of perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence in Germany, German police statistics blame most such violence on just right-wingers. Enstad, in his polite way, suggests that this discrepancy is the result of "a categorisation problem." Could it be possible, Enstad wonders, that "German police considers antisemitism a right-wing type of ideology and thus categorises most anti-Semitic attacks as right-wing, regardless of the perpetrator's ethnic or religious background?" Another problem is that German officials categorize some incidents -- including the fire-bombing of a synagogue -- as anti-Israeli, not anti-Semitic... The Swedish government's numbers are also dubious. While attributing a "minority" of anti-Semitic incidents to "right-wing extremists," official Swedish reports prefer not to say who is responsible for the majority of them... Absurdly, whenever a perpetrator draws a swastika, the Swedish government automatically considers it a "right-wing" act... Yet, after examining both official and independent figures, Enstad concludes that right-wingers, in all four of the major Western European countries in his study, "constitute a clear minority of perpetrators." Indeed, "in France, Sweden and the UK (but not in Germany) the perpetrator was perceived to be left-wing more often than right-wing.""

Bogus Hate Crimes: Trump, Conservatives Blamed by Clueless Leftists - "Democrats find themselves in the odd position of simultaneously suggesting 1. that Donald Trump is a closet anti-Semite and 2. that his son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, is a nefarious Jewish agent of Israel hoping to turn Washington into the Jewish state’s “Santa Claus.”... the fake hate crimes and other politically charged fictitious horrors did not begin with Trump’s election. In her memoir, Lena Dunham made up a story about being raped by an Oberlin College Republican named Barry; after reporting here at National Review and elsewhere (and a lawsuit threat from an Oberlin graduate), Random House was obliged to emend the book. Two black students were charged with pro-KKK vandalism at the University of Miami. Terroristic threats made against Muslim students at Concordia University turned out to come not from right-wing Muslim haters but from a Lebanese-Canadian man named Hisham Saadi. Anti-Arab graffiti on the home of an Arab family in Ohio was put there by a fellow named Osama (!) Nazzal. A large Internet archive of such fake hate crimes, with links to local media reporting, is available here."... The Democratic party just came within a hair of elevating to its highest institutional position a man who has long associated with the worst kind of anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists, racists, and lunatics, who has worked with them and apologized for them: As it turns out, Keith Ellison will only be elevated to the rank of No. 2 rather than given the top leadership position in the party"

Black-on-white crime in America - "While most violent crime is indeed intrarracial, 26.7 percent of homicides where the victim is a stranger are interracial. And in 2008, the offending rate for blacks (24.7 offenders per 100,000) was seven times higher than the rate for whites (3.4 offenders per 100,000), according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Accounting for population differences, whites are simply far more likely to be victims of interracial crime than blacks. That, of course, didn’t stop Jesse Jackson from telling the Los Angeles Times at the height of the Zimmerman frenzy that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.” The data, once again, suggest something quite different. In the mid-1990s, the Center for Equal Opportunity analyzed 55,512 felony cases filed in state courts for the 75 largest counties, representing 37 percent of the U.S. population. The weighted data, taken from the BJS, revealed that juries actually acquit blacks at a higher rate than whites for 12 of the 14 types of crime studied — including murder, rape, robbery and assault. The only category that had a higher conviction rate for African-Americans was felony traffic offenses."

London Christian girl, 5, forced into care with Muslims - "A white five-year-old girl told her mother Christmas and Easter are 'stupid' and European women are alcoholics after being fostered to two Muslim families, it was claimed today. The child, who is a native English speaker, also refused to take back her favourite meal - spaghetti carbonara - because it contained bacon - which Muslims do not eat. The child, who is a native English speaker, spent the past six months in two Muslim households after being placed into foster care... She was forced to live in Muslim foster homes where nobody spoke English and her carers took away her Christian cross and encouraged her to learn Arabic... Local authority reports describe how the little girl sobbed and begged not to be returned to her niqab-wearing carer’s home... Local authorities are required to give due consideration to a child’s religion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background’ when placing them into a foster home... In 2011, it was reported a 31-year-old Asian woman who worked in a local chemist’s had received death threats for refusing to wear a veil, even though she was not a practising Muslim."

Christian girl, 5, forced into conservative Muslim foster home - "In the reports, a social services supervisor describes how the child cried and begged not to be returned to one foster home because ‘they don’t speak English’... Tower Hamlets refused to explain why it had chosen to place a white English-speaking Christian child with Muslim non-English-speaking foster families. As there is a longstanding shortage of foster carers from ethnic minority backgrounds, non-white children are frequently placed in the care of white British foster parents"
Maybe liberals will say there're no scandals when non-white children are placed with white parents because of media racism

Council admits mistakes over Ukip foster parents storm - "A council that sparked outrage after taking three eastern European children away from their Ukip-supporting foster parents has apologised over its handling of the case after a review concluded that mistakes were made but the decision was taken in the children's best interests. Rotherham borough council said it accepted that the impression given was that the removal was solely because of the foster carers' membership of Ukip"

Safe spaces and ‘ze’ badges: My bewildering year at a US university | The Spectator - "As a child in Glasgow, I learned that sticks and stones might break my bones but words didn’t really hurt. I’m now at New York University studying journalism, where a different mantra seems to apply. Words, it turns out, might cause life-ruining emotional trauma. During my ‘Welcome Week’, for example, I was presented with a choice of badges indicating my preferred gender pronouns: ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’ or ‘ze’? The student in front of me, an Australian, found this hilarious: ‘Last time I checked, I was a girl.’ Her joke was met with stony silence. Later I realised why: expressing bewilderment at the obsession with pronouns might count as a ‘micro-aggression’. Next stop, ‘transphobia’. It was soon obvious to my fellow students that I was not quite with the programme. In a class discussion early in my first semester, I made the mistake of mentioning that I believed in objective standards in art. Some art is great, some isn’t, I said; not all artists are equally talented. This was deemed an undemocratic opinion and I was given a nickname: the cultural fascist. I’ve tried to take it affectionately. After a year on campus, on a course entitled ‘Cultural Reporting and Criticism’, I still feel unable to speak freely, let alone critically... the threat of micro-aggressions (i.e. unintended insults) makes frank discourse impossible. Then there is the infamous ‘safe space’ — a massage-circle, Play-Doh-making haven — where students are protected from offence (and, therefore, intellectual challenge). During class discussions, I’ve learned to discreetly scan my classmates’ faces for signs that they might be fellow free-thinkers. A slight head tilt at the mention of Islamophobia, a gentle questioning of what exactly is meant by ‘toxic masculinity’. I was thrilled to see a scribbled note — ‘This is utter shit’ — on someone’s copy of one of the reading requirements, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (an introduction to queer theory). In this way, I found the members of my secret non-conformist book club. We met in a disused convent in Hell’s Kitchen and discussed campus-censored ideas... It seemed to the members of my book club that academia is losing its way. It is riddled with paradox: safe spaces which are dangerously insular; the idea of ‘no absolutes’ (as an absolute); aggressive intolerance for anything perceived as intolerant; and censorship of ideas deemed too offensive for expression. It’s a form of totalitarianism and it’s beginning to infect British universities, too... I spent a slightly surreal Thanksgiving with my friend’s family in the DC area. My friend’s father is the former Republican senator and twice presidential candidate Rick Santorum. As I stuffed my face with turkey, I couldn’t believe my luck. Santorum’s insights into the new administration were as close to an insider’s scoop as any student journalist could hope for. I was sure that, despite their differences in outlook, my classmates would be fascinated to hear about what he had to say. But before I had mustered the courage to share my experience, I received the following email from a professor: ‘Dear all, hope you are all recovering well from any encounters with Trump-supporting relatives over Thanksgiving. I should be all right myself in a day or so.’ Naturally, when this professor asked me, ‘How was your first Thanksgiving?’ I chose to speak exclusively about marshmallow yams. This is daft, certainly. Even funny, in a macabre way. But it also raises a serious point: the university experience in America is now not one that will adequately prepare students for real life"

Police send busker home to practise: 'Just because you can play Wonderwall, doesn't mean you should' - "Officers in the city of Aalborg stopped the guitarist from performing his set, claiming he was playing "very badly and loudly"... The police statement, titled: "TODAY IS GONNA BE THE DAY THAT THEY'RE GONNA THROW IT BACK TO YOU""

Free Speech: The Left Moves In for the Kill - "The Left is mounting an all-out assault against the freedom of speech, and is using Charlottesville as its Reichstag Fire moment to try to crush all dissent...
Have you ever lived in a totalitarian state, where the powerful determine the parameters of the public discourse and cut off all voice from the powerless? Do you really want to live in one now? You might find, once you get there, that it isn’t as wonderful as you thought it would be...
The SPLC never contacts its targets to ask them to respond to charges that they are “hate groups”; it simply hands down its ruling, which the establishment media uncritically accepts. And that’s that."

Sons of US defector to North Korea confirm his death - "Their mother is said to have been Doina Bumbea, a Romanian whose family say she was kidnapped by Pyongyang. In a searing 2014 report on human rights in North Korea, a UN commission of inquiry said: 'Women abducted from Europe, the Middle East and Asia were subjected to forced marriages with men from other countries to prevent liaisons on their part with ethnic Korean women that could result in interracial children.'"

Inside Mozilla: Firefox fights back - "Mozilla will use Firefox to challenge Google’s cash cow, search. Mozilla acquired the makers of Pocket this year, a service that lets people save websites and discover others, for undisclosed terms. Not only does that discovery service bring in money, but it helps Mozilla’s ambition to offer an alternative to Google search results through a new way to present websites you might be interested in"

Body Hair Transplantation: Case Report of Successful Outcome - "Transplantation of body hair in to scalp has been suggested as an option to treat extensive cases of baldness with poor donor scalp. However, evidence about its long-term efficacy is yet lacking, with very few published reports and the routine use of the technique is still controversial. We report the satisfactory outcome in a case of extensive baldness in whom hairs from different donor areas such as chest, abdomen, arms, thighs were transplanted on to scalp."

Billionaire porn king reinvents himself as Japan’s startup guru - "Imagine the publisher of Pornhub.com being asked to address Harvard University undergraduates on the virtues of running a socially responsible business. That’s basically what happened in Japan this past December, when the country’s most prestigious private university extended an invitation to adult entertainment mogul Keishi Kameyama... Kameyama Kameyama has expanded into an eclectic portfolio of businesses that now include a currency trading platform, video games, an online English school and solar farms. Last year, porn was less than a third of the group’s US$1.7 billion (S$2.31 billion) in sales... “I don’t think everything we do is right,’’ he says, “but in this business we’re better than most. If my own daughter told me she wanted to be an adult film actress, I’d tell her, ‘look, there are risks, but it’s something for you to decide.”’"

Ghosts of White People Past: Witnessing White Flight From an Asian Ethnoburb - "The white parents in Johns Creek, who in the same breath decry the police killings of unarmed African Americans, do not hesitate to tell me they do not want their children measured against Asians during the critical four years of grades that will make up the bulk of college application materials. This white fragility informs their decisions to insulate themselves from the “racial stress” of living next to Asians by moving to a different suburb. Somehow white parents’ liberal politics and progressivism do not inform them that the decision to relocate to avoid Asians is racism. They’ve defined the term so narrowly, their own individual acts of prejudice don’t meet it... The ability to secure affordable housing and childcare is another significant hurdle for Asian immigrants, one they overcome by living together in multigenerational homes. Mobility, a particularly problematic issue in the suburbs of Atlanta where public transportation is virtually non-existent, can be solved by living near Asian businesses, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and bakeries, allowing Asian patrons the option of walking to shops that cater to their needs. Who wouldn’t want this kind of support?"
Liberal White Flight: proof that words speak louder than actions

Male Statutory Rape Victim Nick Olivas Must Pay Child Support - "Olivas' case is not the first of its kind. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1993 that 13-year-old Shane Seyer who impregnated his 17-year-old babysitter Colleen Hermesmann was responsible for paying child support even though he was under 16, the age of sexual consent. In that decision, the court ruled that the state's interest in ensuring parental support for the young child — "the only truly innocent party" — outweighed its interest in protecting juveniles like Seyer... "The idea that a woman would have to send money to a man who raped her is absolutely off-the-charts ridiculous""

Suzanne Lucas's answer to What is the most French thing about France? - Quora - "My husband called a small hotel in the middle of nowhere France. “Parlez vous anglais?” he asked. The man said no, so my husband proceeded, with his high school French, to ask for what we wanted. After about two minutes, the man said, “Fine. I speak English.”"

Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction / Uncanny Magazine by Lynne M. Thomas — Kickstarter - "Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction will be in the same vein as the previous Destroy special issues (Women Destroy Science Fiction, Queers Destroy Science Fiction, and People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction), featuring editors, writers (both solicited and unsolicited), and artists with representation from all across the sliding scale of disability
Maybe a spaceship will crash because someone in a wheelchair couldn't reach the controls fast enough

China bans tomb-sweepers' "vulgar" burned offerings - "China has banned its citizens from burning paper models of condoms, luxury villas and karaoke hostesses when paying respect at the graves of their ancestors... officials have discovered people burning paper offerings of the potency drug Viagra, extra-marital mistresses and even "Supergirls" -- dolls modeled on winning contestants of Chinese television's hugely popular American Idol spin-off, Mongolian Cow Sour Milk Supergirl"

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Links - 14th December 2017 (2)

Rescued piglets served up as sausages to firefighters - "The 18 piglets and two sows survived the fire in Wiltshire in February, which saw 60 tonnes of hay catch fire. In a controversial move, farm manager Rachel Rivers thanked the Pewsey fire team by giving them sausages... The delighted firefighters said the sausages were "highly recommended" and thanked the farmer "for her generosity". "We can tell no porkies, the sausages were fantastic," a spokesman said on Tuesday. However, the fire service has since removed the pictures of the impromptu barbecue from its Facebook page. "In regard to a recent post on this page," the service said on its page, "we recognise that this has caused offence to some. We apologise for this and as such have removed the post.""

Police called after man’s attempt to kill spider mistaken for domestic dispute - "Officers from North Sydney police force rushed to an apartment at around 2am on Sunday, when residents in the northern suburb of Wollstonecraft claimed to hear a man yelling, “I’m going to kill you, you’re dead. Die! Die!”, accompanied by a woman’s screams and the sound of furniture being tossed around...
Police: “What about the woman screaming?”
Man: “Yeah sorry that was me. I really, really hate spiders.”
Officers inspected the property to find the chaos had been caused by the man chasing a “rather large spider” with a can of pesticide. Nobody was injured in the incident, police confirmed, “apart from the spider.”"

Driver tries to scare off spider using lighter, sets gas station on fire - "A motorist scared of spiders gave himself a double shock when he accidentally set a gas station on fire trying to get rid of one using a cigarette lighter."

Why helicopter airliners haven’t happened – yet

The President Gets a Personal Osprey He's Not Allowed to Use - "the Osprey is still not safe enough to entrust with the leader of the free world's life. As such, the presidential Osprey has not yet been designated a "white top," meaning President Obama is not allowed on board, but is currently undergoing further reliability testing."

Why are Chinese fishermen destroying coral reefs in the South China Sea? - "This place had once been a rich coral ecosystem. Now the sea floor was covered in a thick layer of debris, millions of smashed fragments of coral, white and dead like bits of bone."

Dutchman arrested on suspicion of killing IS fighters - "The BBC understands that about 100 Western volunteers have joined Kurdish forces in the region - including some Britons. In some instances they have faced legal troubles on their return to their home countries."

Stalin 'used secret laboratory to analyse Mao's excrement' - ""For example, if they detected high levels of amino acid Tryptophan," he explained, "they concluded that person was calm and approachable"

Rule of law in China, a country which locks up its lawyers - "Xi Jinping came to power nearly three years ago vowing to tackle corruption and promote judicial fairness. But now lawyers are in police sights, with the state news agency Xinhua saying "the detainees are suspected of illegally organizing paid protests, hyping public sentiment and fabricating rumours on the Internet to sway court decisions"

Teenager arrested for dancing Macarena on Saudi street - "The teenager is being questioned after being accused of "improper public behaviour"

Equality complaint sinks women-only swimming class - "The decision has been derided on social media and described as being against the spirit of equalities legislation"
The spirit of equalities legislation is that men are evil?

Black-clad antifa attack peaceful right wing demonstrators in Berkeley - The Washington Post - "A pepper-spray wielding Trump supporter was smacked to the ground with homemade shields. Another was attacked by five black-clad antifas, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself. A conservative group leader retreated for safety behind a line of riot police as marchers chucked water bottles, shot off pepper spray and screamed “fascist go home!”... “We’re just puzzled as to why people consider violence a valid tactic,” Berkeley resident Kristin Leiumkuhler, 60, told SFGATE. She, like others had turned out with neighbors for a peaceful rally but left when things got ugly. “We felt disappointed and surprised by how many people were not in any way discreet about being with antifa — in fact being very bold and prepared to be violent.”"
The Washington Post joins the ranks of the white supremacists!

Angela Merkel tells asylum seekers not to take holidays in their country of origin - ""Taking holidays in the country in which you are being persecuted is not on," she said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, adding that it could be a reason to re-examine an asylum case"

A former white supremacist has a potentially unpopular message for how to stop extremist movements - "“I don’t think anyone in the world became anti-racist because they were punched in the face by a protester or hit with a bottle of urine,” Picciolini told Business Insider. “It simply becomes harder for them to come back. They get pushed further away.” Disowning or publicly shaming family members that participate in far-right groups, as happened after the Charlottesville rally, is likely to drive them “further down that path,” rather than shock them into leaving, he said. Picciolini has a potentially unpopular message for how to deal with neo-Nazis and white supremacists: Show compassion. “All of us who left received compassion from the people we least deserved it from when we least deserved it,” he said. “It’s the disarming of the people we hated when we don’t deserve it that helps people get out.”"

Man arrested for sucker punch of blackTrump supporter at Laguna Beach rally - "20-year-old Richard Losey was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with battery and terroristic threats... "If the optics were completely different and I was a black lives matter supporter and I was attacked on the Trump side of a protest I would be in the spotlight on CNN right now," Maxwell said. "I went over to the left side to see if I could engage them with dialogue and I was instantly encircled by the so called anti fascists"... "I think the fact that I'm a black conservative causes a lot of problems for the left side because there's no way they can really resolve that according to their narrative of what they think trump supporters are, so I think that was a bit triggering to the other side," Maxwell said. "I was getting lots of specific comments like you're a sellout, you're an Uncle Tom.""
Maybe this will be used as an example of violence linked to Trump

Corbyn ally shares message telling Rotherham sex abuse victims to be quiet 'for the good of diversity' - "Naz Shah retweeted and liked a post on Twitter by an account parodying left-wing writer Owen Jones which said: "Those abused girls in Rotherham and elsewhere just need to shut their mouths. For the good of diversity." Her actions have reignited the furious row over Pakistani sex gangs which last week saw Labour MP Sarah Champion hounded out of Labour's front benches for writing an article in The Sun addressing the issue... Last year the Bradford West MP was suspended by Labour for anti-semitic online posts. In one, she shared rants on Facebook calling for Israel to be uprooted and dumped in America. In another she likened Israeli policies to those of Hitler and also wrote: “The Jews are rallying.”"

Rochdale sex abuse cop says sacking of race row MP Sarah Champion means potential whistleblowers will fear losing their jobs if they speak out - "A DETECTIVE who investigated child sex crimes in Rochdale has hit out at Jeremy Corbyn for sacking Sarah Champion - and said it will discourage potential whistleblowers from telling the truth... The shadow minister for equalities was forced to resign from her role after writing an article for The Sun where she said that Britain had a problem with Pakistani men abusing young white girls... Maggie Oliver, a former detective constable, told the Sunday Express that "Sarah Champion's remarks are not racist". She went on: "Generations of children have been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. "People have tiptoed around this for the past 15 years. "This is a warning shot to anyone else who dares speak the truth, that they may lose their jobs. It merely serves to shut down all debate.""

SAF Regular Gets $2,000 Fine For Driving GrabHitch After Passenger Reports Him To MINDEF - "Singaporeans were appalled at Ms Goh’s reaction and criticized her for taking the GrabHitch ride, only to report her driver after alighting at her location. To make matters worse, it was revealed that her GrabHitch ride cost a mere $3.50... Unlike other Grab services, GrabHitch is essentially a carpooling service. It matches passengers with a driver who is heading to a similar destination for a nominal fee."

WATCH: 'Woke' Millennials Hilariously Say They'd Prefer Venezuela's Food Lines Over America's Income Inequality - "Though the young man appears to be quite knowledgeable about Venezuela, nodding and agreeing with Horowitz' description of its crisis situation, he still agrees with Horowitz that it’s better to "wait in line equally." "That is, I think, a fair system," says Horowitz... 45% of millennials would vote for an open socialist and 21% said they would vote for a communist. A majority, 53%, said that capitalism "works against me." Nearly a third, 32%, thought George W. Bush was responsible for the deaths of more people than Josef Stalin, while only a quarter of them “knew that communism is responsible for the slaughter of over 100 million people." That's liberal education at work."

SEA Games: Organisers slam 'Singapore dogs' football chant - "Southeast Asian Games organisers urged fans to behave themselves on Tuesday (Aug 22) after Malaysia football supporters caused anger by chanting "Singapore dogs" during a game... "Fans are urged to refrain from chanting offensive religious or racial slurs at all times," it added."
What does tis have to do with race or religion?

Everything You Need To Know About Justin Gatlin's Drug Positives Before His Showdown With Bolt - "Gatlin has never admitted to knowingly taking steroids and does not want to talk about the “incident” in his past. Gatlin admitted to having exogenous testosterone in his body. His defense at his USADA hearing was a combination of pleading for leniency because he co-operated by recording phone conversations with his ex-coach Trevor Graham at the request of federal investigators and trying to claim the testosterone was secretly rubbed on him by masseuse Chris Whetstine."

Liberals deny science, too - The Washington Post - "liberal academics showed a pretty high level of resistance to evolutionary explanations for phenomena ranging from sexual jealousy to male promiscuity... it's certainly noteworthy that a substantial minority of these scholars are resistant even to the least controversial evolutionary explanations, such as those involving hardwired tastes for certain foods or innate fears of poisonous critters"

Study: Law enforcement worries more about domestic than Islamic terrorism - "Despite public perception about the threat of extremists inspired by al-Qaida and the Islamic State, a new study shows that law enforcement officers are more concerned about the homegrown terrorist next door. In addition, the study said, the violence associated with foreign-inspired extremists has remained low in comparison to domestic terrorism. “Local law enforcement agencies see the threat of terrorism inspired by al-Qaida and like-minded terrorist organizations as less of a threat than other forms of violent extremism, principally anti-government extremism,” said the study, dated June 25 and published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University."
This was cited to me as an example of the danger from Neo Nazis and how they are more dangerous than antifa. Yet, it doesn't actually talk about Neo Nazis. The main worry was "Anti-government violent extremism " followed by "Al-Qaeda inspired violent extremism " and "Environmental violent extremism". Neo Nazis aren't anti-government. At best you can classify them as the fourth category "Racist violent extremism" (you can put white supremacists here also). So according to this study Neo Nazis and White Supremacists are less of a threat than environmental extremists even. And again this was in 2013 before the rise in left wing violence of recent years

Conservatives Don't Like This West Point Report on America's Violent Far-Right
This was also cited to me as an example of the danger from Neo Nazis and how they are more dangerous than antifa. It's from 2012 but more importantly, Neo Nazis made up only 2.9% of all "far right violence". Most (78%) are "unaffiliated" so that means that organised far right violence, much less white nationalism, isn't a huge threat as it might seem from the headline numbers

Statistical Abracadabra: Making Sex Differences Disappear - "Not one deviation from gender-stereotypicality was allowed. Not one. Otherwise, no sex difference. Using this incredibly extreme criterion, only 1.2% of men and women counted as demonstrating a “sex difference” in gendered behavior (i.e., “In other words, even when considering highly stereotypical gender behaviors, there are very few individuals who are consistently at the ‘female-end’ or at the ‘male-end’” Joel et al., 2015, p. 4). This criterion for deciding whether a sex difference exists is, quite frankly, rather strange. It is as though these authors purposefully designed their statistical analyses to allow them to declare, "these aren't the sex differences you are looking for" (articulated in the voice of Sir Alec Guinness). Such a technique may be informative for evaluating the strawman view that all sex differences must entirely and completely co-vary together if it is a “real” sex difference (which is very unlikely given what sexual diversity researchers know about developmental neuroscience, epigenetics, strong modularity, and so forth; see here). Logically, the Joel et al. (2015) view on real sex differences would even argue men's and women's faces are not really different from each other because not all men's faces are entirely masculine and not all women's faces are entirely feminine (and not all facial attributes perfectly co-vary together). This last finding would be interesting, implying that not all facial features are masculinized or feminized at the same time... A much more useful tool for evaluating the degree (and the existence) of sex differences across a large number of variables is to use multivariate statistics designed for this very purpose (Del Giudice, 2013). Doing so has led sexual diversity researchers to conclude there are very large psychological sex differences... The views of Joel et al. (2015) represent the polar opposite of where sexual science is going (Cahill, 2014; Ruigrok et al., 2014), as evidenced by the National Institutes of Health’s recent declaration that biological sex differences are so large and consequential that both males and females must be included in studies involving cells and non-human animals and in preclinical research"

How to Find Anyone Online - "As we showed with the head of the FBI, the accounts of relatives and friends can lead you right to the person you want, even if that person is well hidden—the network of tags, likes, and retweets goes pretty deep on Instagram and Twitter, places where most content is public."

Lucas Lynch - Weird, the same people affirming the right of... - "Weird, the same people affirming the right of organizations to fire people for views they find reprehensible, or any reason at all, as they don't owe anyone a platform, are now demanding with angry protests that Colin Kaepernick *must* be hired by an NFL team"

The world is deluded if it thinks Angela Merkel is the salvation of the liberal order - "the more fundamental reason why it would be a mistake to regard Merkel as the great saviour of the liberal order is that she herself is no paragon of high principle, or at least not of progressive principle. International observers were surprised when they saw her vote against same-sex marriage in a hastily arranged division in the final Bundestag session in June. They seem to have forgotten that she is a Protestant minister’s daughter, the head of a party with “Christian” in its name. It is perfectly possible that she voted her conscience, which is what she had urged MPs to do. But conscience or not, on the gay marriage issue, the shrewd tactician was undoubtedly at work: by hastily allowing the Bundestag vote, she removed a potentially thorny election issue, something that had majority support among the population but not in her own party. Similarly, opening Germany’s borders to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees was in truth more another act of calculation than a humanitarian impulse"

Refugee hate preacher received $620K in social benefits in Switzerland – media - "A Libyan immigrant who called on Allah to “destroy” non-Muslims during his prayer in a Swiss mosque claimed $620,000 in social benefits for over a decade from a predominantly Christian state, local media report... the man came to seek refuge in Switzerland in 1998 after he fled his homeland, explaining that he’d been pursued by authorities for spreading religious propaganda for the Muslim Brotherhood. With political asylum granted and a residence permit, the 64-year-old Ramadan hardly ever worked, instead living on social payments from 2004 until 2017... Denmark discovered that dozens of its citizens who left for Syria and Iraq to fight alongside Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) continued to receive social benefits at home. In total, the jihadists received the hefty sum of 672,000 kroner (around $94,500) from municipalities and state-subsidized funds... he British housing and child welfare system has unwittingly “supplied” terrorists with “hundreds of thousands of pounds,” a former independent reviewer of UK terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, claimed... The travel expenses of the terrorists who organized the 2016 Brussels bombings, which killed 32 and injured some 300, were partially funded by falsely claimed British social benefits, a UK criminal investigation discovered."
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