When you can't live without bananas

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Links - 1st February 2018 (2)

Arming the Donkeys: The Search for Psychopaths - "A lot of people talk about psychopaths as CEOs of companies and things like that. Those people are not really psychopaths. They have psychopathic traits... maybe some of them sure but almost none of them are above thirty... For the general population it's around four. For women maybe a little less. Average in the medium security prison is going to be around twenty two, twenty three. So thirty is one standard deviation above the median for medium security prisons...
When pedophiles come into the prisons it's often the psychopaths who kill them and when you ask them like why did you do that they say because what that person did was disgusting. That was horrible..
'Hervey correctly said they know the words but not the music and another analogy which is often drawn - Keele draws this analogy in his book the Psychopath Whisperer, that it's kind of like an equation. Does E equal mc squared?... Now explain what that means. I'm not even sure what it means. Why is the speed of light squared? I never did understand that. Well if you don't understand it how can you really believe it? You can say it, you can give an answer on a test but there's a level at which you don't really believe it at all because you don't even know what you are saying.'
'So most of us are physics psychopaths?'...
[On not blaming psychopaths] Not shorter prison sentences because they are going to get out and they are going to hurt people. But we shouldn't view them as responsible for what they do. I think we should view them more as like someone who has untreateable tuberculosis - we can't let them out into the general population because it's going to be too dangerous but we don't have to view it as their fault in order to say that we need to keep them locked up...
Less than one percent of the population has this condition... They commit over thirty percent of the violent crime and if we can understand the condition, if we can diagnose it accurately right now they get out on parole earlier and more often than other people and I think we have to stop that because they get out and hurt people"

Best Custom Orthotics Insoles & Inserts - Orthotics Lab Singapore - "We may not be at central locations but we appreciate the importance of bringing our professional services closer to YOU. We achieve that by offering up to $30 grab car/ grab taxi rebates to our office"

WELLCHEM | Leftose 30mg Tablet - "Anti-inflammatory action
Decomposition and excretion of mucopurulent discharges
Enhances the infection-preventing activity in the body
Inhibition of bleeding tendency
Increase in saliva corpuscle
Enhances the effect of antibiotics and destroys / weakness bacterial cell wall
Patients who have shown hypersensitivity to egg white or patients whose family have a history of allergic reactions to egg white are not encouraged to take Leftose"

Risk of Revictimization of Intimate Partner Violence: The Role of Attachment, Anger and Violent Behavior of the Victim - "Results lend further support to the mutual IPV perspective, since our final prediction model indicates that victim-perpetrated IPV is an important risk factor for physical and psychological IPV revictimization. An avoidant attachment style shows to be a strong predictor as well, in particular for victims with high and average anger levels"

When Criminals and Victims Meet, Both Parties Can Benefit - "About a quarter of the victims who went through the criminal justice system showed clinical symptoms of post-traumatic stress, but only 12 percent of the group who also had restorative justice conferences had symptoms... offenders who participated in the conferences committed fewer subsequent crimes and that the method was also cost-effective."

How Merkel’s Green Energy Policy Has Fueled Demand for Coal - "While Merkel aims to wean the country from nuclear power and boost renewable energy, the shift has been slow—Germany’s 140-plus coal-fired plants last year supplied 40 percent of the country’s electricity... subsidies have done little to rein in carbon emissions while forcing German companies to abandon valuable equipment... Germany has the European Union’s second-highest rates for electricity after Denmark"

Germany Has Some Revolutionary Ideas, and They're Working - "Germany is the world’s leading producer of lignite. It emits even more CO₂ than hard coal, but it’s the cheapest fossil fuel—cheaper than hard coal, which is cheaper than natural gas. Ideally, to reduce emissions, Germany should replace lignite with gas. But as renewables have flooded the grid, something else has happened: On the wholesale market where contracts to deliver electricity are bought and sold, the price of electricity has plummeted, such that gas-fired power plants and sometimes even plants burning hard coal are priced out of the market. Old lignite-fired power plants are rattling along at full steam, 24/7, while modern gas-fired plants with half the emissions are standing idle... Curtailing its use is made harder by the fact that Germany’s big utilities have been losing money lately—because of the energiewende, they say; because of their failure to adapt to the energiewende, say their critics... “We have to face some kind of a market cleaning,” Adermann said. But lignite shouldn’t be the one to go, he insisted: It’s the “reliable and flexible partner” when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Adermann, who’s from the region and worked for its lignite mines before they belonged to Vattenfall, sees them continuing to 2050—and maybe beyond."

Germany's long goodbye to coal despite Merkel's green push - "“(Coal) makes a big contribution to German and European energy supply security and this will remain the case for a long time to come,” the chairman of the coal importers’ lobby VDKi, Wolfgang Cieslik told reporters last week. He also stressed it was crucial for steel manufacturing in Germany, the seventh biggest producer in the world, that use a quarter of the country’s coal imports. Critics point to the irony in Merkel’s tacit support for coal given that she criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for ditching the Paris climate accord after pledging to voters he would lift environmental rules and revive coal-mining jobs... Huge vested interests are stifling debate, whether it is potential job losses that alarm powerful unions or the effect on industrial companies relying on a stable power supply. Industry figures show renewables accounted for 29 percent of power output in both 2015 and 2016, up from 7 percent in 2000. But plants burning imported hard coal still make up 17 percent and brown coal from domestic mines 23 percent of power output. Cheap coal lets them run at full tilt when necessary while the weather dictates if wind and solar produce anything at all...VDKi warns that nuclear energy, accounting for 14 percent of power, will remove even more of the round-the-clock supply when it is phased out by 2022. Wind and solar cannot even fill current gaps and a system run mainly on green power would fail to provide guaranteed supply over a winter fortnight, it says. Power grid operator Amprion has said German networks came close to blackouts during settled and overcast conditions in January when renewable plants produced almost nothing"
Funny, I thought base load was a myth

Germany’s High-Priced Renewable Energy Revolution - "When the wind is blowing particularly hard or the sun is shining especially brightly, Scheibner and his colleagues have to compensate to ensure the frequency in the system never wavers much from the namesake 50 hertz... It can order conventional-power producers to reduce their production—something that hurts the profitability of those coal, gas, or nuclear plants. But sometimes that’s not enough. In those cases, 50Hertz tells wind and solar operators to stop feeding their electricity into the grid—even though the law forces 50Hertz to pay those renewable producers anyway for the juice they produced.In engineering-speak, this is called congestion management. In plain terms, it’s a waste of money. In 2015, 50Hertz spent 351 million euros on such measures. And because the German government assures grid operators a minimum return on their outlays, it is German consumers who ultimately bankroll the millions that 50Hertz and other grid operators spend adapting to renewable energy’s rise and fall."

Mike Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) | Twitter - "8. Basic physics predicts low energy density fuels like sunlight & wind would need far larger quantities of land, materials, mining & waste.
16. Solar/wind require far, far more *non-renewable inputs* than nuclear or fossil, making them *less renewable* than nuclear or fossil!
8. Wind turbine expansion represents, in fact, one of greatest threats to migratory bird and bat populations in the US.
9. If you are calling for ~5x total wind capacity in N. America that means means deciding to kill ~1,000,000 more birds.
12. Nuclear cost estimates *must* include safety, environmental protection, long-term waste storage & decommissioning — wind doesn't.
18. Why so little awareness of solar/wind's necessarily large ecological impact? Ideology & money are obviously major factors.
19. But solar/wind were <1% energy for so long, impacts unevenly felt. After deployment rose, so too did eco-impacts, awareness & opposition 20. When bird-lovers like novelist Jonathan Franzen speak out against bird-killing "renewables" they're shouted down by dogma cops eg @drvox Are we headed for a solar waste crisis? — Environmental Progress - "Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants."

Technology, Innovation & Economics — Environmental Progress - "In countries like Germany and Sweden governments are openly closing economical nuclear plants. In the US, economical nuclear plants are being closed or threatened 10, 20 — even 40 years before a full life. Nuclear plants are being closed off prematurely both because they are excluded from federal and state clean energy policies and the fracking boom. Solar and wind receive many times more in subsidies than nuclear... Renewables and fossil fuels received 114 and 7 times more than nuclear, respectively, per terawatt-hour of generation in 2016... Intermittent power has to be backed up by an equivalent capacity of dispatchable power, and that usually means fast-ramping gas plants that can rapidly adjust to chaotic surges and slumps of wind and solar power. As wind and solar capacity swells without displacing conventional capacity, the grid enters a spiral of persistent and rising overcapacity that lowers prices even further as more gigawatts fight for market share... According to a review of the evidence, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says nuclear is two to four times less carbon-intensive than solar... large amounts of energy are lost converting electricity to batteries and back again. For this reason, the grid will always be more efficient than any system heavily reliant on storage...
Construction delays are a key driver of higher [nuclear] costs. Construction delays result from regulatory ratcheting, anti-nuclear advocacy and building first-of-a-kind designs... “The French have two kinds of reactors and hundreds of kinds of cheese, whereas in the United States the figures are reversed”... “Contrary to other energy technologies, innovation leads to construction costs increases”... The energy density of the fuel determines its environmental impact. With higher energy densities, fewer natural resources are used, requiring less mining, materials, waste, pollution and land."
Voodoo logic will be: nuclear, fossil fuels and renewables all get subsidies, so it's fair

Launderette in Johor adopts Muslims-only policy - "The 40-year-old operator, who was interviewed by a Chinese daily on Saturday (Sept 23), said he was just carrying out his duty as a Muslim. He said he welcomed Chinese and Indian Muslims to his launderette and that non-Muslims could visit other nearby launderettes. He, however, declined to comment on whether he had imposed the rules as he worried that there might be "unclean" elements such as dog fur on the clothes non-Muslims brought to his launderette. The operator also did not allow the Chinese daily reporter to take his photo. Meanwhile, a Malay daily reported Johor mufti Datuk Mohd Tahrir Samsudin as saying that the launderette's move was commendable as cleanliness is a priority for Muslims. "This should not be turned into an issue as it only encourages negative perception from non-Muslims towards Muslims. "I think it is a good move as Muslims will no longer be doubtful when using the self-service launderette," the daily quoted him as saying."

Marvel, DC Comics Writers Plan to Harass Conservatives at Comic-Con - "To make matters worse and more embarrassing for the SJW crowd of comic book writers, a secret Facebook page was revealed where writers plotted to target Meyer with harassment meant to incite violence... "The industry is hiring completely unqualified people based on diversity," Meyers said "Heather Antos didn't know when her own book came out. They don't do basic editing. The spelling is atrocious and the term 'fake geek girl' really upsets them because it's true. They aren't real fans. They know nothing about the characters or their stories and their whole purpose is to rewrite them in their own image — strident, angry, anti-male, transgendered — until they are unrecognizable." Meyer believes that the shift from the classic comics to the ultra-political began around 2015 — and fans have had enough. "'Black Panther and the Crew' was a segregationist comic about white genocide!" he told PJM. "Who are they writing these comics for?" he asked. "Crest sells toothpaste to murderers on death row because it's a business. They'll sell to anybody," he continued. "The comic industry doesn't seem to want their fans to buy their product unless they are in the extreme left wing. Comic book shops are full of basically middle-aged white guys and Marvel seemed to be embarrassed of them and so they threw them away for the rainbow hair crowd that doesn't actually read comic books." Carol Danvers, or Captain Marvel, is becoming transgendered. Comic book fans have taken to calling her "Carl Manvers." "We're watching her boobs disappear in every issue," said Meyers. "Marvel has killed all the heterosexual romances in the stories and replaced them with gay relationships. Gay relationships are depicted as idyllic and heterosexual romances are shown as problematic. Comic book shops are suffering because they can't sell these books. No one wants them.""

Officially fired by Marvel, Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf says, ‘When Jews are offended, there is no mercy’ - "Ardian has consistently defended his inclusion of the references to the 212 anti-Ahok rally, which he had attended in Jakarta on December, as well as Al-Maidah 51, the Quranic verse which Muslim hardliners in Indonesia interpret to mean that Muslims cannot vote for leaders from other religions (an interpretation disputed by many in and outside of Indonesia), calling them numbers of “justice” and “love”. Many called the references Ardian included in the X-Men Comic anti-Christian and anti-semitic, a charge the artist denied, saying in one conversation he posted to his Facebook page (now deleted) “I don’t hate Jew or Christian, I worked with them in 10 years… a lot of good friends, too.”... After making the anti-Semitic remark, Ardian reiterated to the interviewer that he was not anti-Semitic or anti-Christian because, if he was, he wouldn’t have worked for a foreign publisher. In the same interview, he dismissed concerns that his actions might hurt other Indonesian artists, saying that as long as they didn’t make mistakes like he did Marvel couldn’t fire them (never mind the doubts all comic book companies are going to have in the future about hiring Indonesian or Muslim artists because of him)."

Marvel executive says emphasis on diversity may have alienated readers - "Marvel’s vice president of sales has blamed declining comic-book sales on the studio’s efforts to increase diversity and female characters, saying that readers “were turning their noses up” at diversity and “didn’t want female characters out there”... “I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales … Any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up.”
Of course the messenger got shot and the message got denied - and the prescription was to double down on the SJWing. Though CBR admits that "it is true that “diverse” series have sold slightly worse than those fronted by white male superheroes"

iPhone 8 release day draws no crowds, little enthusiasm in China - "Previous releases of Apple's iconic smartphone reliably drew massive crowds, frenzied enthusiasm and even scalper fights, but this time, the reaction was a bit more, shall we say muted?... In other Apple Store locations on Friday, employees reportedly outnumbered customers at the beginning of the day."

When all you have is postcolonial theory everything is about the white man - "I read a piece, Confronting White Supremacy in Christianity as a Christian South Asian, which is interesting from an anthropological perspective... A much deeper and richer story was being erased so as to serve up another illustration of the primacy of white supremacy... Christians are nearly 20% of the population of Kerala, and most are St. Thomas Christians, whose origins predate European contact with India by many centuries. Originally part of the territory of the Persian Church of the East, modern St. Thomas Christians have splintered into numerous groups with varied affiliations, in part due to the trauma of contact with Portuguese Catholicism. But through it all they maintain an indigenous Christian identity which is distinct from any colonial imprint. Second, large numbers of India’s Christians are converts from Dalit populations, or, tribal peoples in the Northeast who are racially and culturally distinct from other South Asians. The framing in the piece is that South Asian Christianity has to bear the cross of colonialism, but a good argument can be made that for Dalit converts and tribal groups in the Northeast Christianity is the vehicle for resistance to oppression, assimilation, and colonialism on the part of the dominant South Asian cultural matrix."

Why Animals Have No Rights

"I will argue that animals have no basic rights to life, liberty, or property... the concept of “rights” is inapplicable to considerations of how animals ought to be treated... Rights and liberty are political concepts applicable to human beings because human beings are moral agents, in need of what philosopher Robert Nozick called “moral space,” that is, a definite sphere of moral jurisdiction where their authority to act is respected and protected so that it is they, not intruders, who govern themselves and either succeed or fail in their moral tasks...

Oddly, it is clearly admitted by most animal rights or liberation theorists that only human beings are moral agents—for example, they never urge animals to behave morally (by, for example, standing up for their rights by leading a polit-ical revolution). No animal rights theorist proposes that animals be tried for crimes and blamed for moral wrongs. If it is true that the moral nature of human beings gives rise to the conception of basic rights and liberties, then by this alone, animal rights and liberation theorists have made a fatal admission in their case...

I recall that when a young boy once tried out an air gun by shooting a pigeon sitting on a telephone wire before the apartment house in which he lived, there was no end of rebuke in response to this wanton callousness. Yet those who rebuked the boy were not implying that “we must view our entire history as well as all aspects of our daily lives from a new perspective.” Rather, they seemed to understand that reckless disregard for the life or well-being of animals shows a defect of character, lack of sensitivity, callousness—without denying, at the same time, that numerous human purposes justify our killing animals and using them in the various benign ways they have been used throughout human history...

One reason for the propriety of our use of animals is that we are more important or valuable than other animals and some of our projects may require the use, even killing, of animals so as to succeed. Notice that this is different from saying that human beings are “uniquely important”...

That there are things of different degree of value in nature is admitted by animal rights advocates, so there is no need to argue about that here. When they insist that we treat animals differently from the way we treat, say, rocks—so that we may use rocks in ways that we may not use animals—animal rights or liberation champions testify, at least by implication, that animals are more important than rocks...

There simply is evidence through the natural world of the existence of beings of greater complexity and of higher value. For example, while it makes no sense to evaluate as good or bad such things as planets or rocks or pebbles—except as they may relate to human purposes—when it comes to plants and animals, the process of evaluation commences very naturally indeed. We can speak of better or worse oaks, redwoods, zebras, foxes, or chimps... Indeed, none are more ready to testify to this than animal rights advocates, who, after all, do not demand any change of behavior on the part of nonhuman animals and yet insist that human beings conform to certain moral edicts as a matter of their own choice. This means that even animal rights advocates admit outright that to the best of our knowledge, it is with human beings that the idea of moral responsibility enters the universe...

Where do individual human rights come into this picture? The rights being talked of in connection with human beings have as their source, as noted earlier, the human capacity to make moral choices. We have the rights to life, liberty, and property—as well as more specialized rights connected with politics, the press, religion, and so forth—because we have as our central task in life to act morally...

We have seen that the most sensible and influential doctrine of human rights rests on the fact that human beings are indeed members of a discernibly different species, in which the members have a moral life to aspire to and must have principles upheld for them in communities that make their aspiration possible. Now, there is plainly no valid intellectual place for rights in the nonhuman world, the world in which moral responsibility is for all practical purposes absent...

In his book The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes, Mortimer Adler undertakes the painstaking task of showing that even with the full acknowledgment of the merits of Darwinian and, especially, post-Darwinian evolutionary theory, there is ample reason to uphold the doctrine of species distinction—a distinction, incidentally, that is actually presupposed within Darwin’s own work. Adler shows that although the theistic doctrine of radical species differences is incompatible with current evolutionary theory, the more naturalistic view that species are superficially (but not negligibly) different is indeed necessary to the theory. The fact of occasional borderline cases is simply irrelevant—what is crucial is the generalization that human beings are basically different from other animals, by virtue of “a crucial threshold in a continuum of degrees.”...

The fact is that with the emergence of the human species, a new problem arose in nature—basic choices that other animals do not have to confront had to be confronted. The question “How should I live?” faces each human being. And that is what makes it unavoidable for human beings to dwell on moral issues and to see other human beings as having the same problem to solve, the same question to dwell on. For this reason we are very different from other animals—we do terrible, horrible, awful things to each other and to nature, but we can also do much, much better and achieve incredible feats nothing else in nature can come close to.

Indeed, then, the moral life is the exclusive province of human beings, so far as we can tell for now. Other—lower(!)—animals simply cannot be accorded the kind of treatment that such a moral life demands, namely, respect for and protection of basic rights to life, liberty, and property...

Humane treatment, compassion, lack of cruelty, and similar moral concepts will have to be developed for our adequate understanding of how animals ought to be treated by human beings. When enlisted to handle this area of our moral concerns, the concept of rights simply cannot be made use of smoothly enough without watering it down as a clear concept within politics and law...

As far as we can tell, no animal raises the question of whether animals are thinking beings. Animals, furthermore, appear to have no central, crucial need of thinking, whereas without thinking, human beings cannot begin to survive. Thinking for us is the mode of survival and flourishing—we cannot count on our instincts to get on with our lives. Other animals, in contrast, can handle their lives by means of their instincts, and for them their minimal abstract thinking is an aside, brought on usually by human beings, scientists who induce thinking in them while they are in captivity. From this we can conclude, sensibly, that it is valid to conclude that human beings are rational animals. That is what distinguishes us from other living things."

--- Classical Individualism: The Supreme Importance of Each Human Being / Tibor R. Machan

Of course, this raises the question on if humans who cannot think or make choices have rights

Links - 1st February 2018 (1)

Desktop Icons change the order after restart - Microsoft Community - "This issue may happen if there are some themes which are installed on the computer, that interferes with the working of Desktop icons.
Perform the steps mentioned below and see if it helps.
a: Right Click on an empty space on the desktop, and then click Personalize.
b: Then Click Change Desktop Icons option present at the Top left corner.
c: Uncheck the option Allow Themes to change desktop icons.
d: Click Apply and then Ok."

How Circumcision Affects the Sensitivity of Your Penis - "According to a new study, men are freaking out about this way too much."
Unsurprisingly, Gabby Bess is a feminist who has complained about "mansplaining creeps" in the past

Gluttons for Self-Punishment - "We make people feel bad about something they did or not and then actually we give them the opportunity to hurt themselves and we expected and found in fact that when people wrote about a time that they had done something unethical that they were then more willing to give themselves painful electric shocks... when we asked our research subjects whether they thought that there was any connection between the two or whether they had acted specifically in response to anything else that they had done in the study they all denied it. They thought the idea was a little ridiculous actually, that they would give themselves stronger shocks because they had just written about a time that they did something unethical"

Fighting Feelings of Guilt - "'A symbolic act of handwashing somehow alleviates some of the guilt connected to this misbehavior'...
'There's a long history in social psychology that another way that people do this is to balance the scales by doing social good. I've done something bad or I'm reminded of something bad that i've done and along comes an opportunity to give to charity. Boy do I jump on that because now I don't have to feel so badly about myself'...
The historical idea behind this were the medieval flagellants who would go from town to town whipping themselves, beating themselves to sort of balance the moral scales... It's quite a sad result right? It would be nice if punishing ourselves was not going to help. That in order to restore karma to the world and balance the scale it would only help if we did something good for the world rather than something, something bad but of course lots of religions have these elements on self suffering... What about gyms?... we go to the gym. We torture ourselves. It's awful, it's unpleasant"

Why Willpower Doesn’t Work - "'You try to do one task and your ability to do another task that needs self control is basically'
'They all draw on the same resource. As is making decisions which is why after making decisions people will yield to temptation or show poor self control. May contribute to some of these political scandals that keep happening... People making decisions all day. Powerful, influential people have choices to make and decisions to make. They don't realize that this consumes their will power and leaves them less for resisting, for exerting self control in the evening afterwards when there's a sexual temptation or corruption or bribery or something like that as well'...
'All of us are more tempted to follow on our temptation, more likely to follow that temptation late in the evening when we depleted, after we've made lots of, lots of decisions... Politicians are particularly susceptible to this because their decisions are somehow bigger and more difficult in their need for self control throughout the day's larger and therefore they are more likely to fall to temptation'"

License to Cheat - "'Some people get a chance to buy green environmental products and some people don't and then they all get a chance to cheat and the question is do the people who got the chance to buy green products and presumably did, feel extra good about themselves and therefore able to cheat more afterwards?'...
'We actually did find what we expected. So those people who purchased green products in comparison to another group that only had a chance to purchase the regular conventional things were much more likely to cheat... We had another experiment where students did not have a chance to purchase a product. They were only seeing those products and there we actually found the opposite. So when you were just exposed to these green products you are actually behaving much much better than those who are just exposed to the convention products'...
'Maybe you felt oh I should, I should be doing this and I'm not doing enough and all of sudden people were more congruent and became better but if they purchased, if they acted on it that bought them karma and they could spend the karma by being worse'"
Moral licensing could explain why activists are often contemptible

Handwashing And Healthcare - Arming The Donkeys (podcast) - "The Institute of Medicine in nineteen ninety eight talked about more people die in health care, hospital cord infections than car accidents so it's pretty significant"

Hospital Workers Wash Hands Less Frequently Toward End of Shift, Study Finds - "Hospital workers who deal directly with patients wash their hands less frequently as their workday progresses, probably because the demands of the job deplete the mental reserves they need to follow rules... Hand-washing in hospitals has been demonstrated to reduce infections and save money. In a 2000 study of Swiss hospitals, researchers found that a 1 percentage point increase in hand-washing compliance reduced the number of infections by 3.9 per 1,000 patients. Another study, in 2009, estimated that the cost per patient with a health care-acquired infection is $20,549. Using these data, Dai and her colleagues extrapolated their findings to all 5,723 registered hospitals in the United States and estimated that there would be an additional 600,000 infections per year at a cost of approximately $12.5 billion annually."

Arming the Donkeys: Can you be too good? - "It does seem like people being more moral should be better and it seems strange to say that it would be problematic to be too moral... if I find a wallet in the street and it takes me months of trying to track down the person that's going to be real inconvenience for me... He's going to be more focused on things that will soothe his anxiety not necessarily the things that are the most moral... An example of someone who has scrupulosity is in the literature, her name is Bridget and she is very concerned with, she's a waitress and she is very concerned with inadvertently poisoning her customers where she works... the way that she expresses this is that she is constantly checking the level of solvents in a room that she otherwise has no reason to go into, precisely to make sure that she's not somehow getting some solvents onto the food. But of course by going into that room she is actually making it more likely that she'll poison her customers"

Arming the Donkeys: "Sharing" Online and Offline - 'If you had to guess what percent of all word of mouth would you guess is online?'
'I would guess twenty eight'...
'So it's actually seven, a very small... We think that word of mouth is all online. We think about facebook and twitter and social media but most of it's actually offline. Face to face communication.'"

Arming the Donkeys: Playing by the Rules - "We accept outcomes that seem, even if the rules may be a broken a little bit, we're just, we're a group of rule following cooperators... People were much more willing to accept the outcomes if we scrupulously followed the rules even when it was clearly irrational to do so so. You have just one or two people who protest, you give them a chance - even though it's clear it's going to lose because then they feel like they had a voice"
This explains the unhappiness over Singapore's Presidential sElection

Weird Putti — The Art History Babes - "[On Monkey Brand Soap] The idea of a monkey kind of acts as this hybrid between like, human, like ape and human. It always kind of has like human life features, it's not full monkey. And it really stood in the place of showing women doing domestic housework. So there was some taboo at the time about showing women in advertising cleaning, so the monkey was supposed to stand in as like - the soap just magically makes everything clean and you don't have to do anything"

Bring on the Bacchanal — The Art History Babes - "Everyone saw this this really goofy funny ridiculous dude that liked to have a good time in Will Ferrell's George Bush. They were like, they looked at him and they were like - I think this is an exact quote from the documentary: They were like that's a guy I'd like to have a drink with and in the end it ended up being our President"

Color Theory Part 1 — The Art History Babes - "'In reference to the guerrilla girls episode you mentioned how there is a history around hysteria and women thinking with emotion that are connected to their genitalia. Do you think it is acceptable in turn for women to accuse men of thinking with their penis and to all of you lovely feminists in the podcast have you ever personally accused a man of thinking with his genitalia?'
'Great questions.'
'Very interesting'"
They say no, and say it's kinda okay to say people think with their genitalia when they want to have sex (which is supposedly different from hysteria - even with the Victorian version they cast doubt on the diagnosis of sexual deprivation because it was male doctors diagnosing it), and say there's a history of women being put in mental institutions because of hysteria so it's different - but they still slam men they don't like as dicks

Medicine | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "Normally your kidneys are in the back just kind of behind your intestines and they just kind of sit there. And it's easier for a surgeon to just add a new kidney in rather than take the old ones out. It's safer for the patient and it's easier for the surgeon... So they'll add the new kidneys into the pelvic cavity. The first one will kind of go on the right or the left... if they need another transplant they'll do it on the other side and after that they'll do it in the front but once they run out of room they kind of have to take them out... Originally the first transplants that were ,done the kidney was hooked up inside your forearm. Like the kidney was just kind of stuck there and put into the system and they covered it with a plastic bag and they let the urine drain into a jar and this was done on a patient who was in acute renal failure so she needed dialysis but they hadn't invented dialysis yet and they did that with the kidney then took it off and she was released four days later completely fine...
That's actually a good design because if something ever happens inside your body where an organ swells or you know something god forbid you have internal bleeding there's room for the stuff to go and you won't like explode...
It fits in with one of the many proofs that life is not fair which is that in general the recovery from kidney transplant is harder for the donor who gives the kidney than for the recipient...
[On a medicine that treats rheumatoid arthritis] The second most common form of hair loss after male pattern baldness is an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata.. the hair follicles secrete a protein that activates the body's immune cells which in turn attack the hair follicle which in turn secretes more protein and it turns out that the medication zelgens blocks activation of the immune cells which halts the disease and restores hair growth"

Behavior Change: Ultra Egghead Edition | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "Immediate rewards are actually also critical to achieve our long term goals. That success at exercising or healthy eating is the immediate rewards that you are getting from pursuing these goals... The student that likes studying will study more than the student that doesn't like studying. Where is the student that finds studying more important will not necessarily study much more than the student that find it less important...
There is a certain type of news article, a certain section of the newspaper that's more likely to go viral... about twenty percent of the articles that appear on the New York Times make the most emailed list and thirty percent from the Science Times make the most emailed list... good news about science, right. We discover something exciting that feels like it could make our lives better...
We worked with this charity in the United States... their normal charitable fundraising appeal sent out a letter to their prior donors and would make a fairly emotional appeal it would talk about Maria and a pig farm and how they're helping her make more money and feed her children etc. They agreed to add a treatment... we actually conducted a randomized trial to measure the impact of our program and we found positive impacts on a bunch of stuff... on average it didn't matter at all... the interesting thing was looking within the sample at two different types of people. People who had been giving a lot in the past and people who had been giving a very little amount. By little amount, ten, fifteen, twenty dollars. Turns out the people who had given very little when you got wonky they actually gave less... they're giving for an emotional appeal and you get wonky. And that's like not why they're giving... you're actually reminding them this might not work...
Happy or sad images, you're unfortunately wrong. Sad images work way better... people give because they want to feel good not because they want to do good"

The History Hot 100 | Podcast | History Extra - "We're British, we're going to be interested in our own stories - that's just to be taken for granted, and if you did this poll in France - I'm half French, I know this, I grew up in a house where my mom was always banging on about how Agincourt is a minor skirmish. She is always going on about you know that they lose the Hundred Years War in the end, the English so it doesn't matter"

Friends or enemies? Anglo-French relations | Podcast | History Extra - "Doing comparative history in general, basically looking at a country, not just your own country but also at a foreign country allows you to distance yourself from inherited national myths. For instance what we could call exceptionalism, the idea that your country's history is unique, different, singular. To give you an example in Britain that would be the so called Our Island story or the Weak History. In France it's the idea that the notion of the Hexagon, the perfect shape of of the French territory which is a myth obviously but it was very powerful in the nineteenth century and beyond this the idea that France is a uniquely diverse and really has no equivalent in the world so I think it's very healthy...
My current work is on prisoners of war. So I am looking at these people as cultural mediators... Edward Gibbon, the very famous eighteenth century historian and philosopher. His first book was actually written in, copied, it was written in French because the guy was actually educated in French rather than English which is not very well known. And secondly the person who wrote he dictated basically the book to a person was a French prisoner of war on parole in Petersfield in Kent... There are plenty of other examples of prisoners of war and marrying English women... the same happening in France in Dinan, Brittany with English prisoners marrying French women et cetera...
What do we mean by the nation in that period is something which is very interesting and we have to be careful not to project back into the eighteenth century something which was really invented in the late eighteen, early nineteen even later century. So for many people what mattered was not necessarily the nation but the locality. For instance what foreigner might have meant, a very common use of the term foreigner was someone who lived outside your parish...
Defining one oneself as French or English depended on the context. Sometimes it wasn't really crucial and I'm thinking also about cross national alliances. For instance fishermen from Normandy, from Dieppe in Normandy, they really couldn't stand those from from Dunkirk which was also in the French national territory. But they were their competitors. So they preferred to ally themselves with those from Harwich or Dover
Once again, this shows the poverty of romanticising and prioritising the view from the inside

Queen Victoria behind closed doors | Podcast | History Extra - "For Albert marriage to Victoria is not really about all these romantic things like sex and love. Marriage to Victoria is about a job and fortunately - he doesn't really approve of Victoria as a young woman. He thought she was far too flighty, went to far too many parties, very frivolous and he really wanted to break off the relationship if he could. But unfortunately he comes to England and Victoria falls madly in love with him on first sight, proposes to him. She proposes to him - note - within five days of meeting him, she doesn't by the way even you know tell her mother... Once he's married to Victoria, Albert begins to take over power and the easiest way to do this is basically by making Victoria repeatedly pregnant... it's perhaps for that reason that she's so bitterly resentful of her babies and her children...
She spent a great deal of time on the Isle of Wight. Wonderfully inaccessible if you want to go and see her and you're Prime Minister. In those days getting to the Isle of White was not easy. And even more time in Scotland at Balmoral which was even worse to get to. It was a sort of sixteen hour train journey and you know once they were there most politicians who had to stay with the Queen, there was always a minister in attendance felt extremely uncomfortable because it was so cold. Queen Victoria insisted always on having the temperatures on every - sorry this isn't relevant - on every room of her house on the mantelpiece there would be a thermometer to see what the temperature was and it must always be below sixty. Every window was open in all her sitting rooms. She always felt terribly hot, much hotter than most people. So people staying at Balmoral were frozen... Never in London. She is invisible...
She needed companionship because she was a queen and so isolated she couldn't have friends like ordinary people did. She liked men and John Brown, whatever else he did, he had access to her. He came to her room frequently. He called her woman which she loved and so she felt kind of safe with him, a kind of companionship. But he has a terrible effect on her relations with her children. He bullies her children and also all her household hated him because he was not a very pleasant man and a drunkard"

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Links - 31st January 2018 (2)

Cordelia Fine's "Testosterone Rex" — A Review - "A 2016 meta-analysis—a systematic research review—confirmed the idea that, across the animal kingdom, sexual selection is generally stronger for males. Perhaps this review appeared too late for Fine to cite, but it does rather puncture her picture of “a state of turmoil” in the science of sexual selection. On the contrary, Bateman’s theories seem to hold up pretty well... [Fine does] a fairly outrageous quote mine of Schmitt... Fine sheepishly alludes to Schmitt’s full argument in an endnote referenced three pages after the original partial quotation. This fits into a pattern: evidence contrary to Fine’s position is often cited, but it’s not mentioned in the text, instead being relegated to endnotes where it can’t cause too much trouble. Witness, for instance, Fine’s mention of “stereotype threat”, where a single supporting study is discussed in the text but a contrary meta-analysis is only mentioned in the endnote. Or her discussion of a 2015 paper on how males’ and females’ brains aren’t essentially different, but are a mosaic of features: you wouldn’t know that four strong scientific critiques of the study had been published (with a response) unless you flick to the back of the book. This allows Fine to use the main text to critique only the most overblown claims about sex differences, and avoid having to deal at length with more reasonable arguments... for all her stinging critiques of “Testosterone Rex” research, Fine is far more magnanimous—often completely silent—about the weaknesses of the research that supports her view. For instance, in response to self-reported studies of numbers of sexual partners, which are subject to expectancy bias (they might over-report male promiscuity), Fine cites an interview study of 50 men who frequent prostitutes, apparently not realising that such qualitative research is far more vulnerable to the same kind of bias. The final chapter speculates heavily about the idea that “gendered” toys (blue versus pink; cars versus dolls) have effects on girls’ career choices, uncritically citing weak studies (for instance this one, which included only 62 children). The harshest Fine gets about a sympathetic paper is when she discusses a ropey-looking social-priming study on men’s “threatened masculinity”, finishing with the bland statement that “we have to be careful that findings like these are robust and replicable”."
I thought this book looked better than her previous book Delusions of Gender, but more and more critiques are coming out. And reading about her arguments (as cited by positive reviews) it seems she misses out (whether on purpose or not, I don't know) many relevant parts of the literature. For example she claims that toy studies show children's gendered toy preferences because of socialisation, apparently ignoring research that shows that wild animals also show gendered toy preferences (or that fetal androgen exposure shapes toy preferences). She also claims that differences in gender acceptance to casual sex are due to safety concerns - ignoring multiple studies which correct for that and still find women are less receptive. No wonder she choses to write popular books rather than publish peer-reviewed research

The controversial biology of sexual selection - "In her zeal to challenge evolutionary determinists, however, Ms Fine takes a swipe at some straw men. Few serious theorists argue that male and female brains are categorically different, or that individuals are not influenced by environmental pressures. Parents who have both boys and girls may cock an eyebrow at the way she largely ignores studies of actual sex differences, preferring to blame much of gendered behaviour on socialisation. As for testosterone, only the most reductive observer would claim that absolute levels of the hormone “cause” behaviour, so it is not surprising when Ms Fine explains that its effects on brains and bodies is more nuanced. She also offers evidence that seems to undermine her point that testosterone does not necessarily make men more risky or competitive: apparently the testosterone levels of Wall Street traders go up as they make more money (a phenomenon known as the “winner effect”), which seems to spur them to take more risks."
To say nothing of how women with more testosterone are more likely to choose risky career paths or how men and women with low testosterone have no gender difference in risk aversion

Born This Way? Gender-Based Toy Preferences in Primates - "Next, in a brief paper published in 2010, Sonya Kahlenberg of Bates College and Richard Wrangham of Harvard University presented the first evidence of wild male and female primates, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the Kanyawara chimpanzee community of Kibale National Park, Uganda, interacting differently with play objects. Over a 14 year period, Kahlenberg and Wrangham observed that juvenile Kanyawara chimpanzees tended to carry sticks in a manner suggestive of rudimentary doll play and that the behavior was more common in females than in males"

Early Androgens Are Related to Childhood Sex-Typed Toy Preferences - "Girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) who were exposed to high levels of androgen in the prenatal and early postnatal periods showed increased play with boys” toys and reduced play with girls' toys compared with their unexposed female relatives at ages 3 to 8. Boys with CAH did not differ from their male relatives in play with boys' or girls' toys. These results suggest that early hormone exposure in females has a masculinizing effect on sex-typed toy preferences."

Gender differences in financial risk aversion and career choices are affected by testosterone - "Women are generally more risk averse than men. We investigated whether between- and within-gender variation in financial risk aversion was accounted for by variation in salivary concentrations of testosterone and in markers of prenatal testosterone exposure in a sample of >500 MBA students. Higher levels of circulating testosterone were associated with lower risk aversion among women, but not among men. At comparably low concentrations of salivary testosterone, however, the gender difference in risk aversion disappeared, suggesting that testosterone has nonlinear effects on risk aversion regardless of gender. A similar relationship between risk aversion and testosterone was also found using markers of prenatal testosterone exposure. Finally, both testosterone levels and risk aversion predicted career choices after graduation: Individuals high in testosterone and low in risk aversion were more likely to choose risky careers in finance. These results suggest that testosterone has both organizational and activational effects on risk-sensitive financial decisions and long-term career choices"

Why Sexual Selection Matters and Why Cordelia Fine is Wrong - "Since this runs pretty much contrary to the broadly held consensus in evolutionary biology the choice has naturally elicited criticism from both biologists and evolutionary psychologists... in large parts of academia, any biological explanation will always be disregarded, at least as long as there is an alternative way to explain the data... Pretty much all of Cordelia Fine’s writings are exercises in creating these so called ad hoc hypotheses. Testosterone Rex has already been critically reviewed by Jerry Coyne, Gregory Cochran, Stuart Ritchie and Robert King. But in light of the recent award by The Royal Society I felt that a thorough review of sexual selection and its biological underpinnings might be in place, just to highlight what kind of book the world’s oldest existing science academy nowadays considers worthy of a scientific award... After being administered testosterone trans men also show an increase in violent and criminal behavior, there are similar effects in animals... genetic males with complete androgen insensitivity are so behaviorally similar to most other women their condition is very seldom discovered before puberty and sometimes not until long into adulthood... more attractive men have more casual sex partners but no such correlation is found with women indicates that a lot of men really would like to have more sex partners... In her book she wonders whether the reported sex differences [in risk aversion] would remain if the questionnaires included questions such as “How likely is it that you would bake an impressive but difficult soufflé for an important dinner party?” (yes, this is a direct quote)"
Is there any example of feminist "science" that is not tainted?

The Rhetorical Trap at the Heart of the "Neurosexism" Debate - "In 2005, the British philosopher Nicholas Shackel proposed the term “Motte and Bailey Doctrine” for this type of argumentative style. Taking the name of the castle fortification, the “motte” is strong and is built high on an elevated patch of land and is easy to defend. By contrast, the “bailey” is built on lower, more exposed ground, and is much more difficult to defend from attacks. Shackel used this metaphor to describe a common rhetorical trap used by postmodern academics, where a controversial proposition is put forward (a “bailey”) but is then switched for an uncontroversial one (a “motte”) when faced with criticism... the science of sex influences had progressed slowly and this had been partly due to scientists’ fear of being called “sexist”. Unfortunately for women, this slow progress has meant that women are at much higher risk of experiencing adverse reactions to drugs than men, due to the lack of research specifically teasing out sex differences. In a feature article one of us wrote for Commentary, Cordelia Fine was identified as one of the academics who had contributed to a precarious political climate... Fine, Jordan-Young and Rippon called on neuroscientists to become familiar with Intersectionality Theory, a theory which derives from Critical Race Studies in the U.S., and which has little in the way of scientific validity (“validity” is scientific jargon-speak for the ability of a construct, model or concept to make predictions about the real world)"

Evolutionary Functions of Social Play: Life Histories, Sex Differences, and Emotion Regulation - "The gender segregation and sex differences in play parenting and rough-and-tumble play observed in many primates are also evident in children. Vigorous social-play benefits all children physically by developing strong bones and muscles, by promoting cardiovascular fitness, and by encouraging exercise habits that help prevent obesity. Unsupervised play also helps hone the skills of communication, perspective taking, and emotion regulation. For boys especially, rough-and-tumble play in early childhood provides a scaffold for learning emotion-regulation skills related to managing anger and aggression."

Infants show a preference for toys that ‘match’ their gender before they know what gender is

When ideology trumps biology « Why Evolution Is True - "when people ignore such inconvenient truths, it not only makes their cause look bad, but can produce palpable harm. Case in point: the damage that the Russian charlatan-agronomist Lysenko did to Soviet agriculture under Stalin. Rejecting both natural selection and modern genetics, Lysenko made all sorts of wild promises about improving Soviet agriculture based on bogus treatment of plants that would supposedly change their genetics. It not only didn’t work, failing to relieve Russia of its chronic famines, but Lyesnko’s Stalin-supported resistance to modern (“Western”) genetics led to the imprisonment and even the execution of really good geneticists and agronomists like Niklolia Vavilov. The ideological embrace of an unevidenced but politically amenable view of science set back Russian genetics for decades... Such is the invidious result of having a non-scientist judge a scientific argument; and yes, the Times screwed up big time. But someone who should know better is the evolutionary biologist and blogger P. Z. Myers, who bought into Fine’s bogus argument and fallacious mathematics in a post called “Cordelia Fine is doing the math.” Myers accepts Fine’s contention that promiscuous males don’t really have more offspring than do choosy human females—females who are prevented from getting fertilized when they’re pregnant. Her arguments are wrong—for one thing, she sets unrealistic error limits for promiscuous males to outdo monogamous ones—but Myers has always rejected biology that is ideologically unpalatable to him. In a rare occurrence at his site, the commenters, usually a choir of osculatory praise, gave him pushback. In fact one, “Charly”, did the math correctly and showed that males in relationships with multiple females (bigamous or polygamous) have the potential to have more offspring than do monogamous males, supporting the ideas that men are selected to compete for women. (Duh!) Charly ended his calculations with this statement: “But maybe my reasoning and math is wrong, I am sure someone will point flaws out.” In the next comment, Myers admitted that Charly’s math was actually right—math that invalidates Fine’s argument—but then he said this:
Your math is fine. It's your humanity that is broken.
And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters: an admission that the biology is right, at least in theory, but the person who did the calculations is immoral. What better example can we find of someone who opposes the truth because it’s ideologically repugnant? Even Myers’s regular commenters couldn’t live with that pronouncement, with one even asking if he was all right."

Risk and Reward Are Processed Differently in Decisions Made Under Stress - "stress amplifies gender differences in strategies used during risky decisions, as males take more risk and females take less risk under stress"

Melbourne University advertises female-only jobs in bid to remedy gender imbalance in maths - "It is believed to be the first time it has limited applications to women only for permanent academic positions... She said there were many reasons for the low percentages, but a key cause was unconscious bias which sees men promoted more often than women"
How come no one advertises female-only garbageman posts? This was before the reports on gender blind hiring decreasing the hiring of women, but I doubt that has changed the narrative (or would've changed it, if it'd been known)

Rotherham grooming: Woman abused as a child goes public - "Some of the men who groomed and raped girls are now behind bars, including her abuser Arshid Hussain. She now wants action taken against the professionals who failed to help her. "I think now it's time that professionals are held accountable," she said... "I was always treated as his equal by the authorities - and not as his victim.""

Textile Industry Blog | Charles Parsons Interiors Blog - A colourful history - Purple - "The purple is used by the snail as part of predatory and defensive behaviour – the secretion can be extracting by poking and antagonizing the snail, and the resulting goo would gradually become purple on exposure to sunlight. ‘Milking the snail’ was a renewable resource, but so labour-intensive that usually the snails were crushed completely to extract the colour. Mountains of snail shells have been found at the ancient sites of Sidon and Tyre – they were harvested to such extremes that for a long time, the Murex snail was considered extinct... third-century emperor Aurelian famously wouldn’t allow his wife to buy a Tyrian purple shawl, as it literally cost its weight in gold! It was highly prized for its colourfastness – unlike other dyes that faded in the sunlight, Tyrian Purple would become darker. Even in modern times, Tyrian Purple is expensive to extract. When the German chemist Paul Friedander recreated the colour in 2008, he needed 12,000 snails to create 1.4 ounces of dye – enough to colour a single handkerchief! In 2000, a gram of Tyrian purple made from 10,000 mollusks costs two thousand euro."

Good science communication means never calling them “retard” – even if you’re Nassim Taleb - "Communicating science to people who aren’t scientists is very hard to do well. Nassim Taleb should be very good at it, based on his enormous book sales and even more enormous opinion of his own skills. But we all have our demons, and Taleb has succumbed to his. Rather than encouraging a healthy discussion about science, he’s picked a side and declared all-out war on the people who disagree with him. Taleb even admits that his strategy is to prevent conversations from happening by abusing and insulting people who question him, and encouraging his followers to join in. What’s the point of that strategy? It doesn’t help communicate science, resolve legitimate questions about the facts, or even address the supposedly evil motives of his critics. All it really does is feel good. Nassim Taleb has chosen self-gratification over real engagement. Let’s talk about why that’s unproductive and unethical... Taleb loathes Folta because Folta, chair of the Horticultural Sciences department at the University of Florida, used $25,000 of Monsanto’s money to fund outreach talking about his research. Note that Monsanto didn’t pay for any of his research, and overall the money was less than half a percent of his lab’s budget. The funds were publicly disclosed, not passed under the table in greasy paper bags. But to Taleb, using Monsanto money to fund outreach is a crime beyond all reason. (Just don’t ask him who funds his own travel budget)... He’s not just refusing to engage opposing opinions himself, he’s encouraging his readers and followers to do it too... demonizing the other side prevents you from seriously considering their perspective. That’s true not only because it keeps you from really understanding the points they’re trying to make, but also because it builds a wall around your own beliefs. It’s very difficult to ever decide that you’ve been wrong about something if you’ve been spitting on the people who disagree with you; changing your own mind would mean admitting they might have been right all along. So the more contempt you have for the other side, the less likely it is you’ll ever reconsider your own beliefs"

Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable - The New York Times - "According to a survey conducted last year by the industry group International Customer Management Institute, or ICMI, 92 percent of customer service managers said their agents could be more effective and 74 percent said their company procedures prevented agents from providing satisfactory experiences. Moreover, 73 percent said the complexity of tech support calls is increasing as customers have become more technologically sophisticated and can resolve simpler issues on their own. Many organizations are running a cost-per-contact model, which limits the time agents can be on the phone with you, hence the agony of round-robin transfers and continually being placed on hold... “Don’t think companies haven’t studied how far they can take things in providing the minimal level of service,” Mr. Robbins said. “Some organizations have even monetized it by intentionally engineering it so you have to wait an hour at least to speak to someone in support, and while you are on hold, you’re hearing messages like, ‘If you’d like premium support, call this number and for a fee, we will get to you immediately.’” The most egregious offenders are companies like cable and mobile service providers, which typically have little competition and whose customers are bound by contracts or would be considerably inconvenienced if they canceled their service. Not surprisingly, cable and mobile service providers are consistently ranked by consumers as providing the worst customer support... Especially frustrating when talking to tech support is not being understood because you are trying to communicate with machines or people who have been trained to talk like machines, either for perceived quality control or because they don’t speak English well enough to go off-script... "when you say something back to me that makes no sense, now I see that all these words I spoke have had no effect whatsoever on what’s happening here.” When things don’t make sense and feel out of control, mental health experts say, humans instinctively feel threatened... be aware that your words are being recorded and might be printed on posters in the call center... apps like Lucy Phone and Fast Customer will wait on hold for you and call you when an actual person picks up. No need to stoke your rage listening to grating hold music."

On Religious Dietary Restrictions

"Rational explanations of this sort (which are seldom the explanations given by the cultures whose rules they seek to account for, anyway) do not even come close to encompassing the full range and specificity of dietary rules, let alone their social power. Nor can they explain why the exact same food (say, pork) is considered imptfe and highly polluting in one culture (say, an orthodox Jewish or Islamic one) and healthy and beneficial in another (say, a traditional Chinese one).

From a comparativist perspective, the truth is that it does not matter what the dietary rules are, as long as there are dietary rules. Put a bit differently, what the dietary codes are about is not the content of the codes themselves, but their functions. And these functions boil down to two: (1) the formation of an individual religious identity and of a set of emotions (purity, pollution, shame, guilt, disgust, and so on) through a necessarily repeated daily act: and (2) the subsequent segregation or separation of a community around these identities, biological acts, and emotions. In short, eating regulations not only help shape and maintain a very particular religious identity; they also form and police a very particular community. They help make a world.

It is not simply food that provides boundaries and meaning, though. Dietary regulations are part of a larger system of rules or purity codes. One might think of purity codes as rules, moods, and assumptions that structure a particular community around a basic binary or set of opposites—in this case, the binary of purity and po|lution—toward the construction and performance of a religious world. By assigning the categories of “purity" and ‘‘pollution'' to daily acts, foods, places, and persons, a society defines not only what a people can eat, but also what it can touch, with whom the individuals belonging to it can mingle or eat, whom they can marry, how ill. wounded, or dead bodies are to be handled. what constitutes a “polluting" sore or disease in that community, what kind of sexual act is proper, and so on. Purity codes are one way in which religious communities structure daily life and maintain both psychological and social boundaries."

--- Comparing Religions / Jeffrey J. Kripal

Links - 31st January 2018 (1)

Online discussions on same-sex marriage to be monitored - "A team of Queensland volunteers will scour neo-Nazi and other far-right or anti-gay web forums to monitor conversation around same-sex marriage and report those who overstep legal boundaries during the postal survey period. The LGBTI Legal Service will run a project named Like Love, involving training and co-ordinating volunteers to monitor online forums, media and posters to ensure accountability where unlawful vilification may have occurred... The information will be compiled and sent to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland for investigation."
Big Brother loves you

Benjamin Sheares - Wikipedia - "During his time as head of O&G at Kandang Kerbau Hospital during the Japanese Occupation, Sheares pioneered the lower Caesarian section which resulted in a lower mortality and morbidity rate in pregnant women than the upper Caesarian section. The method is currently the most common Caesarian section method used today. Another one of Sheares' main contributions to medicine was a technique to create an artificial vagina for those born without one. A modification of it is still used for sex change operations today"

We Didn't Normalize Trump. We Normalized the Left's Violence. - "authorities could be forgiven for feeling daunted, even aggrieved, when they realize that every speaker antifa doesn’t like means vast sums, and considerable effort, expended on turning your public spaces into a demilitarized zone. I don’t have an ironclad date for when antifa became a recognizable, and destructive, force in our politics. But I really began to notice them around the time of Trump’s election, when I saw people defending their actions on the grounds that they were trying to stop Trump from being “normalized.” I think it’s safe to say that Donald Trump has not been normalized by anyone. The media treats him with deep contempt -- mostly earned, I’d argue, but still not the normal way you expect to see a president portrayed. Foreign leaders sure don’t seem to think he is normal, and nor do the bureaucracy or the courts. And partisans on both sides are behaving distinctly abnormally. They do not see themselves as arguing over policy or even values, but as engaged in an existential battle between good and evil, with President Trump as the avatar for one side or another. But the process of not normalizing Trump has instead normalized a lot of other things, bad ones. Like public disorder. Like persistent, pervasive anxiety that often looks like mass hysteria. Like people on both sides who try to minimize the illiberal tactics of the radicals on their own side by pointing mostly to the offenses of the other. (Yes, President Trump, I’m looking at you. And also at the folks who held light-hearted debates about whether it was okay to sucker-punch Richard Spencer.)"

A Public Relations Disaster – How saving $1,200 cost United Airlines 10,772,839 negative views on YouTube - "A singer/songwriter named Dave Carroll was flying from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Omaha, Nebraska, with a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. As he was getting ready to get off the plane, he heard another passenger say, “My God! They’re throwing guitars out there!”... Dave tried for nine months to get a claim processed with United. The response was a firm and consistent “no.” They claimed he had waited longer than 24 hours to process a claim, so he was out of luck... After 150,000 views, United contacted Dave Carroll and offered payment to make the video go away. He had changed his mind, however. It wasn’t about the money anymore. In fact, he suggested they donate the money to a charity. United also discovered that “United Breaks Guitars” wasn’t just a single song. It was part of a trilogy... The BBC reported that United’s stock price dropped by 10% within three to four weeks of the release of the video – a decrease in valuation of $180 million"

I killed German official’s daughter, says Afghan migrant - "An Afghan asylum seeker on trial for the rape and murder of a medical student apologised to her parents in court yesterday but insisted that he did not rape her or intend to kill her. Hussein Khavari, who says he is 18 but who prosecutors maintain is 22, admitted sexually abusing and strangling Maria Ladenburger, 19, after grabbing her as she cycled home from a party at 3am... Mr Khavari told his trial yesterday that he had been too drunk to rape her and that while she was unconscious he had put her body in the river to wash his blood off her, before fleeing. A strand of his hair was found on Miss Ladenburger’s body and checks found that he had been jailed in Greece for the attempted murder of a woman he threw off a cliff in Corfu in May 2013. The Greek authorities had let him out of prison on licence after 18 months of a ten-year sentence under a scheme to relieve pressure on overcrowded cells... “When I saw how pretty she was, I wanted to have sex with her,” he said, but added that he had been too drunk. The prosecutor said that he had pulled Miss Ladenburger from her bike causing her to scream so he choked her with her scarf, bit her face and chest and raped her until she lost consciousness."

Hussein Khavani, accused of murdering Maria Ladenburger, 'threw another woman off a cliff' - "Khavani arrived in Germany as unaccompanied minor."

Afghan who 'raped and killed' German teen had raped 12yo - "Khavari might have carried out a similar attack in his native Afghanistan, raping a 12-year-old girl... According to the police, the parents of Khavari made a settlement with the parents of the raped girl to keep the incident unreported... Khavari did not report to parole officers after his early release from the Greek detention centre and authorities issued a search warrant for the Afghan migrant, but only in their own country... Ms Ladenburger, who was studying medicine at university, would helping out migrants in various shelters and homes in her spare time."

Ohio father who donned clown mask to punish his 6-year-old is arrested, charged - "An Ohio man who tried to discipline his 6-year-old daughter by chasing her around in a clown mask has been charged after the little girl ran screaming to a stranger's apartment - prompting that neighbour to fire a gunshot into the air"

Is there such a thing as the seven-year itch? - "In the United States, the median duration of marriages that end is just over seven years, which would seem to support the idea of a seven-year itch. But while seven years is a median marker for marriages in the United States, researchers have noted that a significant number of marriages in this country dissolve after just two, three or four years. A 2007 study found that couples who had been married less than three years were significantly happier than the ones that had been married between four and six years [source: Roberts]. In 1999, researcher Lawrence Kurdek found that there were two major declines in a 10-year marriage -- one at seven or eight years, which appeared to be further proof of a seven-year itch, but another one at year four... Anthropologist Helen Fisher has a different theory as to why the four-year mark is significant. Historically, she claims, humans gave birth every four years. We were driven, therefore, to couple up for four years -- enough time to have a child and raise it through infancy. After that, according to Fisher, men and women might have a biological drive to get bored with a relationship and seek a new partner for childbearing"

Why Do Witches Fly on Brooms? - "Those who practiced “magic” were often using herbs to treat various conditions, though various side effects made them appear like sorcery. Some concoctions were used recreationally—not medicinally—which is where the legend of the broomstick comes in... Applying the herbs topically minimizes the negative side effects without interrupting the hallucinations... Those who wished to use the mixture on the genitals were now tasked with getting it up there. It is believed that the broomstick became the preferred tool. The earliest evidence of this comes from the investigation of Lady Alice Kyteler, who was suspected of using witchcraft to kill her husband in 1324... After applying the ointment to the genitals with the broomstick, the psychoactive effects began to sit in. Getting high in this manner has been described as feeling weightless, like you're disassociating from the ground, free to move in any direction. After straddling a greased-up hallucinogenic broomstick, the user subsequently experienced the feeling of flying"

This Kind of Fat Lowers Your Risk For Diabetes - "the consumption of butter (at 12 grams a day) and cheese (at 30 grams a day) were both linked to an increased risk of diabetes. On the other hand, people who ate whole-fat yogurt actually had a lower risk than those who didn't. The researchers have several explanations for these findings. Yogurt contains healthful ingredients, like probiotics and protein, that may have protective effects when it comes to diabetes risk, says lead author Marta Guasch-Ferre, a nutrition research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Even though the results were adjusted to account for other food intake, unhealthy eating patterns may have influenced them. “Butter and cheese often come with carbohydrates, like toast or crackers,” Guasch-Ferre says. Plus, people who eat more yogurt tend to have better diets than those who don’t, she adds.The study did not find any significant links between diabetes risk and consumption of red meat, processed meat, eggs or whole-fat milk"

Peppa Pig 'spiders can't hurt you' episode pulled off air in Australia – again - "A controversial episode of Peppa Pig has been pulled off the air in Australia for a second time, after complaints it told children to pick up and play with dangerous spiders."

Singapore's political succession plans in disarray - "The nomination of Tan, 49, as Speaker, a role he started on Monday, is the most intriguing and leaves many awkward questions which have yet to be answered fully. For instance, why move a high-flying military general, who was hand-picked to join the ruling party to fight the general elections just six years ago, to a less powerful, less meaningful and less lucrative job as Speaker?... As Singaporeans debate the rather unusual appointment, the received wisdom is that the leadership's changing of the baton is causing concern as the previous changes have been so well-oiled and predictable. Way before Lee Kuan Yew decided to step aside in 1990, the public knew that Goh Chok Tong would take over, and way before Goh even became PM in 2004, it was generally accepted that Lee's son, the current PM, would become PM No 3. This kind of a smooth and predictable handover has been a Singapore hallmark which made the country a haven for investors and foreigners flocking to put in their money and sink roots here. Now, the next leader is not even in sight making this safe haven a little unpredictable, even a little vulnerable."

Fists fly in a punch-up in London's Hyde Park - "Two factions – the Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (or so-called TERFs) and their bitter enemies Trans Activists – clashed in an unseemly bust-up that ended with a 60-year-old woman being bundled to the ground and punched in the face... Mother-of-two Maria MacLachlan, who describes herself as a ‘gender critical feminist’, was attacked at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park... She had joined around 50 fellow TERFs who were to be given details of the secret location for a talk entitled What Is Gender? The Gender Recognition Act And Beyond... ‘Julia said she was going to sing a song she had written. She took a megaphone and as soon as she put it to her lips, these kids started shouting, “When the TERFs attack, we fight back.” ‘I thought, “I can film this, it will be interesting.” They were getting louder and louder. Then suddenly someone tried to grab my camera. It was scary. Someone kept trying to get my camera. I think it was a girl, but I couldn’t tell because they had a hoodie over their eyes.’... Ms MacLachlan later identified a trans-woman who is currently trying to raise £5,000 for vocal-cord surgery to make her voice higher, as one of her attackers... Several feminists called 999 and three cars containing six officers arrived on the scene, but no arrests were made... Because students from Goldsmiths had been so vocal in opposing the original meeting, the feminists believe they formed a section of the protesters... Action for Trans Health London issued a statement saying: ‘We condemn violence against women in all forms. We’re proud that many self-organising activists, allies and supporters stood against hatred, misogyny and intimidation.’"
Antifa style tactics being used against feminists
Maybe Action for Trans Health London meant they were condemning the "violence" against women that the TERFs were perpetrating by voicing their views and were proud that the trans activists stood against "hatred" and "intimidation" by fighting back

Transgender group ATH says it is fine to punch women - "A transgender campaign group defended an activist who attacked a 60-year-old by comparing the 'radical feminists' who question their views to 'Nazis'... the protestors shouted 'when the TERFs attack, we fight back' and she decided to start filming... 'Punching terfs is the same as punching Nazis. Fascism must be smashed with the greatest violence to ensure our collective liberation from it'. 'Violence against terfs is always self defence', another tweet read... She is currently the trans officer for the National Union of Students (NUS). They declined to comment... Elsewhere on social media ATH supporters say 'TERFS must die' and 'burn in a fire, TERF'"
First it's okay to punch Nazis. Then it's okay to punch people who are like Nazis. Definitely there're people equating people who don't punch Nazis to Nazis too. So basically you can punch anyone you disagree with

What a woman learnt from interviewing 100 convicted rapists in India - ""After you speak to (the rapists), it shocks you - these men have the power to make you feel sorry for them. As a woman, that's not how you expect to feel. I would almost forget that these men have been convicted of raping a woman. In my experience, a lot of these men don't realise that what they've done is rape. They don't understand what consent is... In India, social attitudes are highly conservative. Sex education is left out of most school curriculums; legislators feel such topics could "corrupt" youth and offend traditional values. "Parents won't even say words like penis, vagina, rape or sex. If they can't get over that, how can they educate young boys?" Ms Pandey asked... One convicted rapist in particular sent Ms Pandey on an unexpected journey. He expressed remorse for raping a five-year-old girl. "He said, 'Yes, I feel bad, I ruined her life.' Now she is no longer a virgin, no one would marry her. Then he said, 'I would accept her, I will marry her when I come out of jail.'" The response shocked Ms Pandey so much that she felt compelled to find out about the victim. The man had revealed details of the girl's whereabouts in the interview. When she found the girl's mother, she learnt that the family had not even been told that their daughter's rapist was in jail."

A Material That Throws Heat into Space Could Soon Reinvent Air-Conditioning - "Materials emitting radiation in that range literally cast it into the cold expanses of space, or at least the cool upper atmosphere, allowing the surfaces themselves to dip below the temperature of the surrounding air. This natural phenomenon is what causes frost to form on surfaces under the open night sky, like car windows and blades of grass, even when temperatures don’t reach freezing."

One PR campaign, 32 photographers, no women. Nikon has an optics problem - "In response to the backlash, Nikon responded, weakly: “Unfortunately, the female photographers we had invited for this meet were unable to attend, and we acknowledge we have not put enough of a focus in this area.” Women made up just 11% of Nikon’s workforce this year."
Comments: "There are not many instances where one sees massed photographers. But if you look in the background of paparazzi shots, Oscar type star-lineups and sporting events, the photographers you see in the background are exclusively men. Discuss."
"if you have a look around You Tube, where it looks like Nikon went looking for photographers. Most of the presenters are male."
"I have just checked out the first ten photographs with a photographer's name below that I could click on here in the Guardian. Mostly stock shots, three commissioned by the Guardian. All were taken by photographers who, going on their name, are men."

Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’ - "Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’” To test if these ad categories were real, we paid $30 to target those groups with three “promoted posts” — in which a ProPublica article or post was displayed in their news feeds. Facebook approved all three ads within 15 minutes. After we contacted Facebook, it removed the anti-Semitic categories — which were created by an algorithm rather than by people — and said it would explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers."
Yet skin whitening ads were blocked

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My Second Favourite Insult

"I've dealt with unsolicited dickpics that grossed me out less than Gabriel fucking Seah"

However, my favourite is still:

"Grow up Gab, and take your penis out from being kiaped between your legs as you sit down cross-legged, blinking seductively while shaking your lime green feather boa at random strangers."
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