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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Links - 10th May 2018 (2)

Surgeon admits marking his initials on the livers of two patients - "Simon Bramhall admitted two counts of assault by beating relating to incidents on 9 February and 21 August 2013. He pleaded not guilty to the more serious charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The renowned liver, spleen and pancreas surgeon used an argon beam, used to stop livers bleeding during operations and to highlight an area due to be worked on, to sign his initials into the patients’ organs. The marks left by argon are not thought to impair the organ’s function and usually disappear by themselves... Following reports of Bramhall’s suspension, his former patient Tracy Scriven told the Birmingham Mail that the surgeon should be immediately reinstated. “Even if he did put his initials on a transplanted liver, is it really that bad? I wouldn’t have cared if he did it to me. The man saved my life,” she said"

Star Wars' Mark Hamill – ‘I said to Carrie Fisher: I’m a good kisser – next, we’re making out like teenagers!’ - "He is a testament to the value of the quieter life: while Ford and Fisher went on to become Hollywood superstars, and had the requisite Hollywood divorces along the way, Hamill lives with his wife of 40 years and their three children in a house in Malibu, and he looks happy and healthy. While he has done theatre and voiceover work, including playing the Joker in Batman: the Animated Series, he is only known, really, for one movie character, and he is good with that. Ford generally looks as if he would rather have a root canal without anaesthetic than talk about Star Wars, but Hamill is as much of a nerd as the fans, and could talk about it all day... When George Lucas told them that Disney was making another trilogy, Fisher immediately slammed her hand down on the table and announced, “I’m in!” (She then asked if there were any roles in it for her daughter, Billie Lourd, a hustling stage mom to the end.) When Lucas left the room, Hamill turned to her and hissed: “Carrie! Poker face!” “But, as usual, she was miles ahead of me because she said to me: ‘Mark, what kind of roles do you think there are in Hollywood for women over 50?’"

Researcher: Violent Porn Popular Among Women - "The popular feminist narrative would have you believe that porn is largely consumed by men, and that depictions of violent — or at least rough — sex would be a primarily male-dominated interest. This is untrue, states researcher Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, who says that porn featuring violence against women is significantly more popular among women compared to men. His findings might explain the popularity of the BDSM-heavy “Fifty Shades of Grey” series of novels among female readers... “The rate at which women watch violent porn is roughly the same in every part of the world. It isn’t correlated with how women are treated"... The researcher also highlighted a curious instance in India, where the number one search for “my husband wants…” ends with breastfeeding, and that porn featuring adult breastfeeding is more popular in India compared to anywhere else... another oddity comes from Japan, where at least 10 percent of the porn-related searches involve tickling"
Also: rape fantasies

Criticism after Danish school cancels Christmas to avoid ‘preaching’ to non-Christian children - "Ten parents complained to the primary school, and the story was immediately picked up by national media, which speculated that the move was aimed at appeasing the sensitivities of Muslim students. Some accused Gribskolen of double standards, considering that last year it staged a 'Syria Week' in which Danish children immersed themselves in Middle Eastern culture, and were given lessons by immigrants."

Angelina Jolie-wannabe Sahar Tabar admits she DOES create her look using make-up - "19-year-old Sahar Tabar had been described as a "zombie" after shots from her Instagram went viral... “People are probably living in the 18th century and they haven’t seen or heard of technology or make-up and they are really surprised.”"

Trump Derangement Syndrome -- Liberal Anti-Trump Hysteria Is Growing Worse - "Once even the gatekeepers of responsible liberal opinion begin to see hidden agendas everywhere then it is fair to ask whether the extremism and paranoia of the anti-Trump camp is matching or exceeding the bad judgment being exhibited by the White House. We can’t know where this will lead as liberal hysteria and Trumpian contempt for political norms compete in a race to the bottom of the barrel. But what we can be sure of is that this derangement syndrome is already far more serious than those that afflicted critics of Clinton, Bush, and Obama and is bound to get even worse over the next four years."

Trump Derangement Only Alternative: Democrats Have No Agenda - "somewhere between 2006 and 2009, Bill Clinton’s formerly competitive Democratic party aged and then evaporated. It was replaced by a hard-left coastal coalition, a pyramidal party — ethnic-identity groups at the base and wealthy elites on top, all united by a mutual disdain for the half of the population that covers 85 percent of the geography."

Trump Derangement Syndrome May Help Trump - "A few Democrats have recently begun to question the party’s relentless choice of a negative, obstructionist tone. “I’d leave [Trump] out of the message and appeal to his base with a meaningful jobs plan,” Craig Crawford, an adviser to former Democratic senator Jim Webb of Virginia, told U.S. News and World Report, adding:... 'Democrats should learn something from their futile efforts of the Reagan years, attacking the man instead of winning back his voter base with a positive message.'... Murphy suggest that the sheer number and pace of Trump initiatives makes it impossible to maintain a state of perpetual outrage... “Yet given that Trump’s approval rating is hovering between a respectable 45 percent and 49 percent depending on the poll, the fury emanating out of Washington and other major American cities is likely disproportional to the country at large. To some Democrats, this is a flashing alarm that incessant full-throated opposition is counterproductive.”"

From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck (Spoilers) - "Why on Earth are ports standardized but data storage isn't? Why are data storage formats wildly variable, but file formats are readable across enemy lines? Why is it that I have to carry five dongles so my Macbook can play a PowerPoint presentation but a decades-old Rebel droid needs zero to stay interoperable with an enemy's state-of-the-art battle station?... the archival system on Scarif appears to be designed in a deliberate act of sabotage by anti-Imperial archivists attempting to undermine Palpatine's rule. Like Galen Erso, the archivists chose to remain embedded inside the Empire, and as their act of resistance, build the most useless, asinine archival system the galaxy had ever seen"

Here’s North Korea’s Totalitarian Android Tablet - "The tablet only allows specific files to be used or played: users cannot just load whatever they want onto the device... Woolim also constantly keeps tabs on what its users are up to. Whenever a user opens an app, the tablet takes a screenshot. These screenshots are then available for viewing in another app, but they can't be deleted."

Everything You Need To Know About Why Net Neutrality Is A Terrible Idea - "Enforcing “net neutrality” does the exact opposite of what its proponents claim. It results in an internet where a handful of large corporations have access to peering agreements with large transit providers (what some people refer to as "the fast lane"), and the rest are subject to far fewer options in terms of services, and even upon growing and gaining market share, will be denied the opportunity to shop around for different ISP plans that suit them best."

We don’t need net neutrality; we need competition - "Level 3 wrote that consistently congested network connections were solely found in markets where a consumer broadband operator dominated. Level 3 has six congested peering arrangements that have remained congested for a year or more, with the consumer ISP refusing to expand capacity. All are connections with locally dominant broadband operators, and five of the six were in the US. Competition works, and competition sidesteps the difficulties of drawing up the right regulations to ensure neutrality. In a competitive market, the root cause of poor performance doesn't really matter. Regulators don't need to concern themselves with the difference between prioritization on the ISP's network and congestion at the edge of the ISP's network. Market pressure alone will penalize ISPs that suffer poor performance and promote those that do not. Even if some ISPs choose to engage in non-neutral behavior, Internet users will have alternatives that do not.

100 people found living in Upper Serangoon shophouse; URA investigating - "According to URA's website, the maximum number of unrelated occupants that may be accommodated in a private residential property is six. This came into effect on May 15"

Nigerian law graduate denied call to bar for wearing hijab - "Amasa Firdaus, who graduated from Ilorin University, was denied entry to the hall in the capital, Abuja, where the ceremony took place. She refused to remove her hijab, insisting instead on wearing the wig on top of her headscarf, local media say. This was deemed as going against the dress code set by her law school"

Female STEM Professor Creates Definition of 'Rigor' to be Outraged - "According to the leader of Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, the word “rigor” contains “sexual connotations” that perpetuate “white male heterosexual privilege”... Riley defines rigor as “hardness, stiffness, and erectness,” and claims the word has undeniable “sexual connotations—and links to masculinity in particular.” However, the dictionary – typically the only acceptable source for word definitions – defines rigor as “the quality or state of being very exact, careful, or strict.” She might be thinking of “vigor,” which can certainly have sexual connotations. Riley also believes that academic rigor excludes women and minorities... She also claims in her piece that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing,” and engineering contains an “inherent masculinist, white, and global North bias…all under a guise of neutrality.” Riley believes the way to combat this is to “do away with” academic rigor completely. “This is not about reinventing rigor for everyone, it is about doing away with the concept altogether so we can welcome other ways of knowing. Other ways of being. It is about criticality and reflexivity,” Riley writes. “We need these other ways of knowing to critique rigor, and to find a place to start to build a community for inclusive and holistic engineering education.”"
Why did people think the rot would be confined to the humanities and social sciences?
This is basically a proclamation that women and minorities are incompetent

Is Emma Watson anti-feminist for exposing her breasts? - "Dr Finn Mackay, a feminism researcher at the University of West England, rejects the view that feminism is about giving women "choice" and says it is a social justice movement. "Emma's saying feminism is about choice and the choice to do whatever you want, but that's a nonsense," she says. "Some women choose terrible things, some women choose to work for parties that deny women access to abortion, access to healthcare or mothers access to welfare."

San Fran Transit: We Refuse To Release Crime Surveillance Videos Because It Will Make People Racist - "Video surveillance footage of crimes committed on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) service by minority youths is being withheld by San Francisco authorities due to their concern that the videos might perpetuate racial bias and stereotyping. In three months time, at least three robberies have transpired at the San Francisco station by groups of teenagers. One such attack, on April 22, was committed by some 40-60 teens... “I think people are genuinely concerned — they are fearful about the stories that have come out about the recent attacks, the assaults, the thefts,” explained a member of the BART board of directors, Debora Allen... "If we were to regularly feed the news media video of crimes on our system that involve minority suspects, particularly when they are minors, we would certainly face questions as to why we were sensationalizing relatively minor crimes and perpetuating false stereotypes in the process"... “What is the priority of BART?" asked Allen during an appearance on KPIX-TV. "Is the safety of the passenger — of all passengers — is that a lesser priority than the race bias issue?""
It is better to allow people to be assaulted than to be "racist"

Student Liam Allan 'betrayed' after rape trial collapse - "Liam Allan was charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault but his trial collapsed after police were ordered to hand over phone records... The case against Mr Allan at Croydon Crown Court was dropped after three days when the evidence on a computer disk containing 40,000 messages revealed the alleged victim pestered him for "casual sex". He told the BBC his life had been "torn away" by the process, which included being on bail for two years... Mr Allan faced a possible jail term of 12 years and being put on the sex offenders register for life had he been found guilty. He said he felt "pure fear" when he learned he had been accused of rape but would never be able to understand why the accusations were made... Prosecution barrister Jerry Hayes accused police of "sheer incompetence" over the case. Before the trial the defence team had repeatedly asked for the phone messages to be disclosed but was told there was nothing to disclose.
Lena Dunham: "Things women do lie about: what they ate for lunch. Things women don't lie about: rape"

Senior barristers warn Liam Allan's case is not 'an isolated incident' saying cops may be 'unconsciously biased' - "She warned it was “not an isolated incident” and said police and the CPS may be “unconsciously biased” towards people who report sex offences. The stark warning came as The Times obtained inspection reports on dozens of collapsed cases over the past three years."

Barbara Kay: A sadly necessary handbook for men falsely accused of sexual assault - "the prosecutor refused to continue until the defence had received and reviewed the messages. They were illuminating, as for example: “It wasn’t against my will or anything,” and “You know it’s always nice to be sexually assaulted without breaking the law.” Taken together, the woman revealed herself as a sex addict obsessed with “rough sex and being raped.” The case was dismissed at the request of the prosecutor, who admirably fulfilled his primary mandate — that is, to ensure a fair trial, not to convict... Electronic messaging history is not automatically requested by the police when a complainant files a charge, as we saw in the Jian Ghomeshi case where, fortunately, Ghomeshi had his own archived cache. Yet, irritated by his acquittal, feminist legal minds are promoting complainant-friendly tweaks to the Criminal Code, like Bill C-51 (about which I have written before), now under Senate review, which could seriously weaken defence counsel’s hand at trial. The feminist rubric is: believe the victim; don’t look for discrediting evidence; false allegations are extremely rare. That simply isn’t true. Not today and not historically. Retired international lawyer and former U.S. prosecutor John Davis, who brings depth of experience in rape and sexual assault cases to his argumentation, reminds us, in his book, False Accusation of Rape: Lynching in the 21st Century, of the thousands of cases of white women who — knowing the dire consequences — falsely accused black men of sexually inappropriate conduct. Don’t we all wish that the story of the white woman who in 1955 falsely accused black martyr 14-year old Emmett Till of winking at her in her family’s grocery store had been subjected to rigorous scrutiny in a gender and race-blind courtroom? A companion book, How to Avoid False Accusations of Rape, is a practical guide in “risk management” for naïve young men like Liam Allan. Some of Davis’s suggestions are commonsensical: “Take the time to know a woman before sharing intimacy with her,” because “hooking up” increases the odds of false accusation. And: “Don’t get involved with anyone already having sex problems” with other people. Other tips may anger feminists, but also make inherent sense: for example, Davis counsels men to avoid intimacy with women who define themselves as “rape survivors” — not because they are lying, but because normal sex may trigger bad memories, producing irrational consequences. Davis also counsels men to stay away from any woman who associates with radical feminist groups, as their members may encourage her to revisit consensual sex as rape (this does happen). Preserve all communications, Davis advises, but especially electronic ones... if falsely accused, “Do not under any circumstances attempt to talk with university officials, investigators, police or any other person without the assistance and advice of a competent and experienced criminal lawyer.”... “False accusations of rape are not about sex … like the crime of rape itself, false accusations of rape are about power.”"

Romanticizing the Hunter-Gatherer - "In a 2004 study, Michael Gurven marshals an impressive amount of cross-cultural data and notes that hunters tend to keep more of their kill for themselves and their families than they share with others. While there is undeniably a great deal of sharing across hunter-gatherer societies, common notions of generalized equality are greatly overstated. Even in circumstances where hunters give away more of their meat than they end up receiving from others in return, good hunters tend to be accorded high status, and rewarded with more opportunities to reproduce everywhere the relationship has been studied... hunter-gatherer societies have a ‘moderate’ level of inequality, roughly comparable to that of Denmark... In the realm of reproductive success, hunter-gatherers are even more unequal than modern industrialized populations, exhibiting what is called “greater reproductive skew,” with males having significantly larger variance in reproductive success than females... Across these societies, the average age at marriage for females is only 13.8, while the average age at marriage for males is 20.7. Rather than defending what would be considered child marriage in contemporary Western societies, anthropologists often omit mentioning this information entirely... Many of the recent articles in the popular media on hunter-gatherer societies have failed to represent these societies accurately. The picture you get from reading articles in publications like the New Yorker and the Guardian, or from anthropologists like Douglas Fry and James Suzman, is often quite different from what a deep dive into the ethnographic record reveals"

Sex differences in parking are affected by biological and social factors. - "The stereotype of women's limited parking skills is deeply anchored in modern culture. Although laboratory tests prove men's average superiority in visuospatial tasks and parking requires complex, spatial skills, underlying mechanisms remain unexplored. Here, we investigated performance of beginners (nine women, eight men) and more experienced drivers (21 women, 27 men) at different parking manoeuvres. Furthermore, subjects conducted the mental rotation test and self-assessed their parking skills. We show that men park more accurately and especially faster than women. Performance is related to mental rotation skills and self-assessment in beginners, but only to self-assessment in more experienced drivers. We assume that, due to differential feedback, self-assessment incrementally replaces the controlling influence of mental rotation, as parking is trained with increasing experience. Results suggest that sex differences in spatial cognition persist in real-life situations, but that socio-psychological factors modulate the biological causes of sex differences."

Gawkers 'haven't broken the law' - "BANGLADESHI construction worker Masum Tapader understands why women get intimidated by onlooking migrant workers... He added that his employer had made him sign a document to ensure that he abides by stipulated rules during his stint here. "We are not allowed to talk to or marry Singaporean girls," he said. He was responding to an incident last Sunday where migrant workers thronged a Sentosa beach filled with bikini-clad sunbathers."

This Woman Witnessed What Might Be One Of The Worst Wedding Disasters Ever. Woah. - "I ask each of you to reach under your chairs for the small, white envelope you will find there. Each one contains a live Monarch butterfly. We will release them into the air and let them soar free, as a symbol of the love these two have for each other"

When A Medieval Knight Could Marry Another Medieval Knight - "Despite the risks, devotional relationships between men were common in Europe [during the Middle Ages], at least among the literate, and many of these affairs must have included sex at some point"

Could a woman become a knight in medieval times? - "The king also expected knights to maintain law and order, ensure taxes were paid, and keep roads repaired and river crossings usable. When a dead knight’s land passed to his wife or daughter, these duties were imposed on that woman. In England the title of Lady was usually given to such a woman, but in France, Tuscany and Romagna she was given the male title. In 1358, women finally gained full knightly acceptance in England when they began to be admitted to chivalric orders – though they are called dames, not knights."

Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise, and Triumph - The New York Times - "Must every Italian chef make lasagna, every French chef coq au vin? Anita Lo, who closed her fine-dining restaurant Annisa in New York earlier this year, cooked there for 17 years without fealty to one region or cultural tradition. This puzzled some diners. “I had someone come in and say, ‘Where’s the big Buddha head?’ ” she said. When publications request recipes and she submits one without Asian ingredients, the response is often, “We were really hoping for something Asian” — or Asian-ish: Anything with soy, apparently, will do. “I send in Japanese, which isn’t even my background, but that works,” she said... “There’s great pressure for chefs to have a story,” he said. “Maybe there’s no story beyond, ‘I want to serve this food and it tastes good.’ ” It’s the eternal plea of the minority, to ask to be judged not by one’s appearance or the rituals of one’s forbears but for the quality of one’s mind and powers of invention"
Yet, people complain about cultural appropriation

The Problem with Vulgarity - "An audience wants to be entertained by something witty. Sure, swearing and sex-jokes will make them laugh, but they can get that any time they want by heading down to the local bar or going off with friends. It takes a talented fellow to make someone laugh without resorting to vulgarity"

'Safer' 20mph zones led to rise in number of road deaths but too costly to reverse, council admits - "Bath and North East Somerset Council spent £871,000 bringing in the 13 new speed zones just 12 months ago. But one year on, a report has found that the rate of people killed or seriously injured has gone up in seven out of the 13 new 20mph zones."

Minnie Driver: men like Matt Damon 'cannot understand what abuse is like' - "The actor Minnie Driver has told the Guardian that men “simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level” and should not therefore attempt to differentiate or explain sexual misconduct against women. Driver was discussing comments by Matt Damon, whom she once dated and with whom she starred in the Oscar-winning 1997 film Good Will Hunting. In an interview with ABC News this week, Damon said alleged sexual misconduct by powerful men involved “a spectrum of behaviour”. Damon said there was “a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation. Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated”... “I felt that what Matt Damon was saying was an Orwellian idea, we are all equal except that some us are more equal than others,” she said. “Put abuse in there … that all abuse is equal but some is worse.” She added: “There is no hierarchy of abuse – that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if woman has a penis exposed to her that she didn’t want or ask for … you cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other."
"He knew that it was useless. Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed -- would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper -- the essential crime that contained all others in itself"
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