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Monday, May 07, 2018

Links - 7th May 2018 (2)

How the 2018 Teacher of the Year signaled her opposition to Trump policies — in front of Trump - The Washington Post - "This teacher of the year refused to shake hands with President Trump on multiple occassions, did not clap when he entered the room, wore badges for "Trans Equality Now" and the Women's March, and handed Trump a stack of letters from her refugee and immigrant students. Trump still thanked her for her "incredible devotion" to her job."
What a great display of professionalism. What a great role model.

Good News for Young Strivers: Networking Is Overrated - The New York Times - "Networking makes us feel dirty — to the point that one study found that people rate soap and toothpaste 19 percent more positively after imagining themselves angling to make professional contacts at a cocktail party... It’s true that networking can help you accomplish great things. But this obscures the opposite truth: Accomplishing great things helps you develop a network... Networking alone leads to empty transactions, not rich relationships... Evidence shows that tooting your own horn doesn’t help you get a job offer or a board seat, and when employees bend over backward to highlight their skills and accomplishments, they actually get paid less and promoted less. People find self-promotion so distasteful that they like you more when you’re praised by someone else — even if they know you’ve hired an agent to promote you... don’t feel pressure to go to networking events. No one really mixes at mixers. Although we plan to meet new people, we usually end up hanging out with old friends. The best networking happens when people gather for a purpose other than networking, to learn from one another or help one another."

True AI is both logically possible and utterly implausible - "We have no idea how we might begin to engineer it, not least because we have very little understanding of how our own brains and intelligence work. This means that we should not lose sleep over the possible appearance of some ultraintelligence. What really matters is that the increasing presence of ever-smarter technologies is having huge effects on how we conceive of ourselves, the world, and our interactions"

China’s generation gap has never yawned wider - "Like Li, many of the post-1980 generation — contrary to their reputation for greedy materialism — want to help others. Levels of volunteering are higher than ever, though still significantly lower than in the West, and college students or young white-collar workers are the primary founders of NGOs. But to their parents, charity can be a dirty word. ‘One of my friends has a sick wife, and very little money,’ said Zhang, the PhD student. ‘I wanted to give him 500 yuan to help him, but while I was waiting to meet him, I could hear my mother’s voice in my head, telling me I was a fool. Every time I give money to someone, I feel like I’m being cheated somehow.’ Another person I interviewed said: ‘If I tell my mum I gave money, she berates me because I don’t even have an apartment of my own yet’... One typical morality manual issued by a Confucian nationalist organisation in 1935 taught that ‘women are born with filial famine and ethical debt. So the purpose of their lives is to clear that debt’... 'At first, we thought we could afford to have values. But then we realised our parents were right, and the iron rice bowl is the golden rule. I resisted my parents pressuring me to buy a Beijing apartment in 2008 [when she was 24] but succumbed in 2010, and I’m glad I got it in time. Now we know that money is the most important thing’... ‘We call boys “China Construction Bank”, because you have to build for them, and girls “China Merchant Bank” because you can sell them’... some young Chinese have invented a new term, ‘naked marriage,’ meaning getting wed purely for love, without house, ring, ceremony or car. The idea promises romance, but opinion is decidedly mixed, even from the young. A 2010 poll on sohu.com found that the majority of young women opposed the idea, seeing it as a way for men to dodge their responsibilities. Tellingly, the majority of young men supported it."

Why does sadness inspire great art when happiness cannot? - "Melancholy, Coleridge is arguing, is more dignified than happiness. I suspect this is a sense that most people have – that joy is, at root, a kind of idiot pleasure, the idiom of the lobotomy, a balloon just waiting to be popped. Sorrow is somehow more grown-up, because less illusioned. It feels more sincere, more authentic. As she prepared to write Adam Bede (1859), George Eliot copied the following from Thomas Carlyle’s Life of Oliver Cromwell into her notebook: ‘The quantity of sorrow he has, does it not mean withal the quantity of sympathy he has, the quantity of faculty and victory he shall yet have? Our sorrow is the inverted image of our nobleness.’ Because it has some of the colouring of nobility, sadness is also, perhaps, more beautiful than happiness"

When it comes to buying sex, are women any different from men? - "At Platinum X, which offers both male and female sex workers, it is no accident that the most expensive male escort is called Christian – the same name as the titillating anti-hero in Fifty Shades of Grey. With his laissez-faire charm, cheeky laugh and creamy looks, Christian charges Au$1,400 an hour. Before becoming a male escort, he worked as a model, kick-boxer and stripper. His clients are ‘businesswomen with a lot of money’ who ‘love taking control’. ‘Rather than going to a bar and meeting some loser,’ he tells me, ‘I deliver everything and hopefully a bit more.’ In order not to disappoint, Christian travels to bookings with his ‘batman belt’ – ‘your sex toys, your ropes, your handcuffs, all that stuff’... Female escorts in Australia are commonly available to hire by the hour, but most heterosexual male escorts require a minimum two-hour booking – with some even demanding a 24-hour fee. Female sex workers often charge extra money for intimacies such as kissing; but male escorts are expected to kiss, caress, cuddle and massage their clients for no extra cost. The reasoning is simple: it is presumed that their female clients want not only sex, but a date, a counsellor, a friend. At Aphrodisiac, there are no images of the men. Instead, each escort records an audio message describing his personality and women can enjoy a no‑obligation ‘Meet & Greet’ before engaging his services... Chase’s first ever job was straight out of a movie. A 50-year-old Australian lawyer hired him to keep his much younger Asian wife entertained"
The fact that male and female sex workers structure their services differently puts paid to the claim that men and women have similar sexual desires (e.g. that women want sex qua sex just as much as men)

California Professor Won't Debate Shapiro, But Wants To Fight Him MMA Style - "A sociology professor at the University of California, Merced, apparently afraid of a battle of wits with Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, voiced to his class that he’d rather battle him in “some sort of an MMA [mixed martial arts] thing.” Campus Reform obtained three unique audio recordings of a professor identified by students as Fernando Cortes Chirino in which he fulminated that Shapiro is “a**hole white supremacist” while bragging that he would enjoy “ripping this fool’s shoulder out of his socket.”"
I guess when liberals resort to violence (or threats of it) they're tacitly admitting that they're intellectually bankrupt

A R Devine: Sorry, Meghan, you’re just not brown enough for the Guardian - "The only place where Miss Chambers is being excluded from ‘this imaginary mixed-race community’ on the basis of her skin colour is in her own mind, but what would you expect from the author of an article about another woman's engagement who narcissistically includes 'what about me?' in the title? Miss Chambers is the one focusing on Miss Markle's skin tones, not the media; Miss Chambers is the one assuming that Miss Markle is deemed more attractive and more 'privileged' because of her lighter skin tone and straightened hair. She is the one judging people to be worthy or less worthy due to their colour. What then is she projecting other than her own self-obsession? Were she as devoted to the Guardian’s diversity values, then shouldn't she be celebrating the fact that there are a variety of mixed-race people of all shades and hairstyle choices?"

Retailers Take Marvel To Task Over SJW Comic Books At New York Comic-Con - "the main focus of promotion for Agents of Mayhem was on how diverse the cast of characters were, and how one of the main characters was a black lesbian in an interracial relationship. Things didn’t work out so well for Volition, and the sales for Agents of Mayhem tanked, forcing the company to lay off staff. Arkane Studios also did the same thing, making it known that the main character in Dishonored: Death of the Outsider was a black, disabled, lesbian, and that one of the writers was hired for her outspoken tweets. Despite being out for a whole month, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider has yet to sell 100,000 copies on PC, despite launching at just $29.99, according to Steam Spy."

Say Goodbye to CRACKED - another Social Justice website bites the dust - "Cracked has given the pink slip to most of its main contributors and senior editorial staff after a tumultuous run following its embrace of social justice politics. If you grew up on the Internet, then there’s a pretty good chance you stumbled upon a Cracked listicle or two detailing something like the “insane fan theories about movies that make great movies better,” or “creepy urban legends that turned out to be true.” It made for immersive reading and you came off feeling richer for the experience. But as with all good things, the Cracked as everyone knew it came to an end when its editors found the warm embrace of progressive politics. The site’s full conversion into a platform for social justice happened at the height of GamerGate in 2014. It has since published at least a dozen articles on the topic, mostly to demonize gamers as “social outcasts” and push feminism as a solution to the problem of “toxic masculinity.”"

The Christmas wars throughout history - "the “Christmas wars”–the conflict between secular and religious observances of Christmas–have been going on throughout the history of Christianity. The Bishop of Amasea complained in 400 A.D. about how Christmas presents make children greedy. St. Augustine complained about the commercialization of Christmas. And Christians have long complained about the conflict between the drunken revelry once Theassociated with the day and its true meaning. Meanwhile opponents of Christianity have tried to either suppress or co-opt the birthday of Christ. At one point in the Soviet Union, children had to be told that their presents came not from St. Nicholas but from Stalin. And Nazi Germany sang a revised version of “Silent Night” that replaced Jesus with Hitler"
From comment: "Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, and all is bright/Only the Chancellor steadfast in fight/Watches o’er Germany by day and by night/Always caring for us./
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, and all is bright/Adolf Hitler is Germany’s wealth/Brings us greatness, favor and health/Oh give us Germans all power!"

What’s College Good For? - "The labor market doesn’t pay you for the useless subjects you master; it pays you for the preexisting traits you signal by mastering them... As a society, we continue to push ever larger numbers of students into ever higher levels of education. The main effect is not better jobs or greater skill levels, but a credentialist arms race... Educational psychologists have discovered that much of our knowledge is “inert.” Students who excel on exams frequently fail to apply their knowledge to the real world... today’s college students are less willing than those of previous generations to do the bare minimum of showing up for class and temporarily learning whatever’s on the test. Fifty years ago, college was a full-time job. The typical student spent 40 hours a week in class or studying. Effort has since collapsed across the board. “Full time” college students now average 27 hours of academic work a week—including just 14 hours spent studying. What are students doing with their extra free time? Having fun... students at one typical college spent 13 hours a week studying, 12 hours “socializing with friends,” 11 hours “using computers for fun,” eight hours working for pay, six hours watching TV, six hours exercising, five hours on “hobbies,” and three hours on “other forms of entertainment.” Grade inflation completes the idyllic package by shielding students from negative feedback. The average GPA is now 3.2... education enriches individuals much more than it enriches nations. How is this possible? Credential inflation: As the average level of education rises, you need more education to convince employers you’re worthy of any specific job... about 60 percent of full-time college students fail to finish in four years. Simply put, the push for broader college education has steered too many students who aren’t cut out for academic success onto the college track."

S’pore women more likely to suffer from depression than men: IMH study - "women, respondents with less education - up to primary school level - had lower risk of the disorder than those with university-level education... men tend to have a “higher stress bucket” than women. “In other words, it takes a lot more for a man to snap. Men seem to have a better pressure relief valve. Also, in my experience, I find that female depressed patients tend to be affected by a variety of stressors, whereas male depressed patients tend to be troubled by one or two stressors”... A separate study on seniors conducted two years ago revealed preliminary findings last month that showed that Singaporean men appear to be healthier in old age as compared to women"
Education is bad for women? "Male fragility" notwithstanding, men are more emotionally resilient?
How come no reference is made to cross-cultural findings showing that women suffer from depression more than men?

After Being Cyberbullied, Adult Film Star August Ames Was Found Dead By Suspected Suicide - "23-year-old adult film actress August Ames was found dead on Tuesday morning following an online blowup over an arguably homophobic tweet... Ames had criticized women who worked with male actors who also did gay porn, tweeting, “Do agents really not care about who they’re representing?” The tweet raised a debate about equal STD testing standards and whether Ames was expressing a performer’s right to choose her sex partners or just homophobia. (Ames’s rationale was safety concerns, with rumors that gay shoots sometimes don’t subject performers to the same rigorous testing standards, and other women adding that they simply choose not to work with “crossover” performers because they personally feel less safe. Her Twitter account is still live, and you can see the debate there). It also drew a blitz of vitriol. Her final tweet read “fuck y’all,” and Twitter has responded with a mix of sincere RIPs and heinous suicide jokes."
Looks like My Body, My Choice doesn't apply when it comes to sleeping with Men Who Have Sex With Men. Is this called Intersectionality?
Considering that knowingly infecting someone with HIV in California isn't a crime...
Social Justice Warriors won't stop until all the "homophobes" kill themselves

The Despair of Poor White Americans - "a white lower class not only figured more prominently in the development of the colonies and the young country than national lore suggests, but was spoken of from the start explicitly in terms of waste and refuse"

Feminism was never Not Rotten - " It was common knowledge, even among anti-feminists, that early feminism was a noble and well-intentioned movement, and that somewhere along the way it was hijacked by lunatics and man-haters bent on female supremacy. I was curious as to exactly when, and by what means, this virtuous movement had been corrupted, so I went on something of an archaeological expedition, digging through piles of documents and old news articles and treatises from as far back as the late 1800s and earlier, transcripts of speeches given by well-known suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony. My unexpected findings were as follows: Feminism has never been a righteous movement seeking equality. The “noble” Suffragettes were soaked in sexism, classism, racism, eugenics enthusiasm and the mindless pursuit of female privilege... Suffragettes were notorious domestic terrorists, lobbing bombs, lacing letter boxes with acid, setting fire to train stations, and even attempting to assassinate the British Prime Minister. But far from attempting to conceal their crimes, they relied on traditional notions of chivalry to shield themselves from the consequences of their actions. And the very subjects of their ceaseless hate campaign — men — eventually gave them everything they wanted, and more... History is written by the victors, and feminism has been on a winning streak since its inception. Within that official history we are told only good things about the “brave women who risked their lives for women’s equality”."

Meet the Special Interests Keeping Marijuana Criminalized - "Cannabis legalization does reduce alcohol sales, and its regular use reduces alcoholism and alcohol-related deaths... Local law enforcement has become highly dependent on federal and state money devoted to the War on Drugs. Civil asset forfeiture – a legacy of the 1984 drug war omnibus crime bill – allows local police departments to keep 80 percent of property seized in suspected (not proven) drug activity... Private prison companies and state institutions alike lobby for longer mandatory sentences; stricter enforcement; younger, healthier, and less violent prisoners. Corrections jobs are a major source of rural employment... More Americans are arrested for marijuana annually than for all violent crimes combined. More Americans are in prison than ever before, and since 1985 at least half the increase is drug offenders alone... Violent deaths of police officers peaked during prohibition and fell rapidly after its repeal; the number of officers wouldn’t approach that level again until the year Nixon declared the War on Drugs... Pharmaceutical industry products are expensive, and many have life-altering side effects. Cannabis can be grown by the patient and has far fewer and less severe side effects."
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