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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Links - 28th February 2018 (3)

Stop trying to be like Arabs, Johor ruler tells Malays - "The Sultan of Johor has called on Malays not to discard their unique culture, saying he was disturbed that some people want to stop Muslims from practising the traditional salam greeting... "I also welcome you to live in Saudi Arabia."

The mystery: Are activists and artists being locked out of academia? | Tan Tarn How Too - "I have a list: a black list, a grey list, a list of ­– if you will – Cherian Georges. It is a list of 15 artists and activists who say they have been denied jobs in academia or asked to leave their full-time or part-time jobs in our universities, polytechnics and sometimes schools... A few cannot even point to anything specific that had done that might have offended the authorities. Others wonder if they can be sure that they are being punished... Most of the cases happened in the last three to four years. They roughly coincide with the tightening on freedom of expression (see here) that began in 2013 after the brief false spring following General Election 2011... None on the list are academics who publish critical work exclusively in academic journals; this is probably because few read their work. To be sure, some would say that those on the list deserve what they got and that they should not expect to find employment if they want to criticise. That is true, but such as system than cannot claim to be democratic or meritocratic. Others would say 15 is a small number. That may be true, but their stories are a symptom of the wider ills of an intolerant, punitive political system... There are a few reasons why academics mindful of tenure and advancement are not interested in research on Singapore. One is the difficulty of getting Singapore-focused work published in top tier journals and of getting data. However, a few have said privately that they avoided researching on Singapore because they feared reprisal, and because it was better to be safe than honest."

Will Uber, Grab and Didi ever make money? - "“The ride-hailing business, as it is currently structured, is not sustainable,” says Aswath Damodaran, a professor who teaches equity valuation at New York University. “What Uber and other ride-hailing companies have found is that it is easy to grow the business, but actually very difficult to make money”"

Ian Miles Cheong on Twitter: "VICE: Right-wing newspapers are a threat to free speech because they shame SJWs. To protect free speech, we must end free speech. https://t.co/34SkRVDfIH"

China Refuses to Admit It Has a Rape Problem. I Would Know. – Foreign Policy - "economic changes were helping cause the moral and behavioral ones — and the state preferred to lionize the former while officially opposing the latter. So rather than acknowledge the ways that urbanization, industrialization, and globalization were undermining traditional ways of life, Chinese authorities conveniently blamed their country’s new bedroom behaviors on an insidious, foreign enemy. As early as 1990, state media blamed the proliferation of pornography within China on “Western cultural infiltration.” A rash of recent laws prohibit television and movies from depicting cleavage, one-night stands, and “admiration for Western lifestyles.” But these chastisements did little to alter anyone’s behavior, and it wasn’t long before China’s free market economy had exploited, for its own ends, the association between sex and the West. Pictures of foreign women — typically blonde Caucasians, like me — came to regularly grace packages of lingerie, sex toys, and knockoff condom brands. Inevitably, the connection entered the Chinese vernacular. I’ve heard Chinese men describe the Chinese women who frequent Shanghai nightclubs as “more Westernized than the West”... When Chinese looked at the bodies of Western women, they saw freedom, democracy, abandon, critique of morality, or any number of different ideas... In the four years I lived in China over the past decade and a half, I lost count of the number of Chinese men who assumed that because I was American, they could touch me, say lewd things to me, or take me home with them; they often said as much. “Many Chinese people, older and conservative-minded especially, ” said Lijia Zhang, journalist and author of the novel Lotus, “think all Western people are sexually loose, women in particular”... In a 2013 U.N. Population Fund survey of one Chinese county, fully one in five male respondents admitted to having committed rape. Two percent admitted they had participated in a gang rape; 44 percent of men said they had engaged in physical violence against an intimate partner."

Why Europe Sucks: Bad Beaches, Small Portions, And Other Problems - "You have to wedge yourself into cars that’re only slightly larger than filing cabinets, drive on streets designed for horses, and eat at restaurants with tables that barely fit the salad plate. Apartments are so small they have those all-in-one washer/dryers, which is great if you enjoy perpetually damp clothes"

Academic Decolonisation: the Slippery Slope of Dismantling Knowledge - "in many ways, the discourse surrounding decolonisation furnishes today’s intellectual and moralistic justifications for racism, albeit unintentionally... At first sight, the rhetorical focus on critical concepts of globalisation, oppression and justice might seem far removed from the literary and linguistic concerns of post-modernism, but both share an aversion to reason as the means of judging one idea, argument or knowledge claim as better than another. And once reason and rationality are ruled out of court, either because they lead to totalising grand narratives or because they have illegitimate priority and oppressive effects, both the claims of the postmodernists and those of the proponents of decolonisation to epistemic authority can only be asserted... truth as the ultimate arbiter in intellectual work is equally marginalised... With no epistemic criteria for judging one form of knowledge over another, any differences in the value and status attributed to knowledge and knowledge procedures from different cultures can only be the effect of prior relations of political and economic inequality. In this outlook, power trumps knowledge every time... The relativistic presuppositions of academic decolonisation advocates means they are unable to recognise new realities and problems. For example, wedded to an outdated prism of nineteenth century colonial relations, despite empirical evidence to the contrary, they still subscribe to some version of dependency theories. New studies suggesting that, in America, the suicide rate is growing among white, rather than black, males – a reversal of earlier trends – are ignored. Unable to properly recognise the nature of a social problem, the solutions proposed by Decolonisers tend to focus on imposing a faux equality in the symbolic realm rather than engage with the more difficult work needed to solve contemporary problems in ways that contribute to overall social progress."

Fighting Against ‘Rape Culture’ Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry - "The harshest charge that one can level against Erdely and her associates at Rolling Stone is that they knew full well that their story was full of holes, but that they considered their political objectives to be of greater value than were the facts in question. (When Sabrina Erdely proposes bizarrely in her “apology” that her job is to “weigh my compassion against my journalistic duty to find the truth,” she opens herself up to this charge.)... Over the last decade or so, we have witnessed the rise of a political movement that hopes to set the investigation and punishment of sexual assault outside of the limitations that are imposed by respect for due process, for rational inquiry, and for common intellectual decency. By and large, this movement is populated by people who despise the truth if it contradicts the narrative; who regard evidence and process as tools of oppression; who interpret skepticism and questioning as acts of hostility; and who, at least as it relates to “rape culture,” consider unthinking credulity as a virtue and not a vice... the lawyer and journalist Rachel Sklar... confirmed for posterity that she considers “women who speak of their own experiences” to be automatically “credible,” and anybody who asks questions to be a rape apologist... Even her apology — such as it was — followed a classic path: To wit, “I’m sorry for getting the details wrong, but I hope you won’t think this means it wasn’t true.” Taking up this lattermost point, the lawyer Scott Greenfield observed today that Erdely has “not only failed to apologize to those she wrongfully smeared in her story, but used it as a vehicle to further promote the very cause that blinded her from truth.”"

Scientists Find Religion Triggers Same Area of Brain as Sex, Drugs and Love - "what they feel is caused by activating the brain’s reward circuits that control our ability to feel pleasure. It’s the part of the brain associated with sex, drugs, music as well as love"

Where China goes to relax - "As the Chinese believe, Europeans want to conquer nature, keeping plants and bushes behind their appointed boundaries. Chinese garden designers, on the other hand, seek to find the ultimate harmony between man and the natural world."

The Silhouette of Oppression - "There is no freedom of information in Singapore, and many procedures and processes happen in black boxes with little transparency. Visas and jobs can be denied with no reasons given, thus restricting methods and grounds for appeal. Legislation is worded broadly enough for all sorts of activity to fall within its confines. Opportunities can vanish in circumstances that are just enough to trigger suspicions, but not verify anything. Only once in a while will someone come across a tidbit that suggests interference, whether from the Internal Security Department or elsewhere, but even these crumbs can be difficult to document, whispered as they are in off-record conversations with no paper trail... stories of educators/researchers/journalists being denied work visas or tenure or clearance are now so familiar to me they are almost trite... The police came knocking on my door at the end of a long weekend in September. They handed me a letter informing me of an investigation into an illegal assembly: a vigil for a death row inmate’s imminent execution. A vigil at which police officers had been present, and had allowed us to stay. We would later find out that our names had been flagged with the immigration authorities, and that we were not allowed to leave the country before our interrogations. These are the stories you hear again and again when you fall in with Singapore’s activists... This is the autocrat’s dream: a state of affairs that privileges the powerful, a way to exert control without attracting public shame. When there is no evidence or clear sign of oppression, there is no report or complaint to make, no documentation to file for posterity. When a survey from a human rights organisation asks you if activists face reprisals from the state for their work, “not really, but…” isn’t something you can place on a Likert scale."

Man in Sweden charged with raping Canadian girls, others over the internet - "A man in Sweden is charged with raping girls in Canada and two other countries entirely through online contact, in what prosecutors are calling a potentially precedent-setting case... Under Swedish law, rape does not have to involve intercourse, Wennerstrom said. It can be another act considered to be equally violating."

The 'internet of things' is sending us back to the Middle Ages - "Internet-enabled devices are so common, and so vulnerable, that hackers recently broke into a casino through its fish tank. The tank had internet-connected sensors measuring its temperature and cleanliness. The hackers got into the fish tank’s sensors and then to the computer used to control them, and from there to other parts of the casino’s network. The intruders were able to copy 10 gigabytes of data to somewhere in Finland... One key reason we don’t control our devices is that the companies that make them seem to think – and definitely act like – they still own them, even after we’ve bought them... companies are using intellectual property law – intended to protect ideas – to control physical objects consumers think they own"

Young, healthy and demanding blood tests: The Americanisation of Aussie patients - "Fictional American TV doctors are uncomfortable with uncertainty. They like to label things, and then they like to do something about them. The use of time as a diagnostic aid is unheard of, as is talking, or examining the patient. The delicate art of watch-and-wait is just not done. People are wheeled into the emergency room via a full body MRI scan while the health insurance industry looks on in glee... A small study from 1975, published in the British Medical Journal and drummed into medical students everywhere, concluded that around 82.5 per cent of diagnoses were evident from the story patients tell. Examination solved a further 8.75 per cent, presumably leaving 8.75 per cent of diagnoses for laboratory tests"

Are engineers really more likely to be polyamorous? - "“There is a surprising amount of overlap between the geeky, tech-savvy, comic-book-reading, video-game-and-Dungeons-&-Dragons playing community with the non-monagamy community,” Winston said."

What it feels like to be the last generation to remember life before the internet

Who Wins When Poor People Vote? The Answer May Surprise Bernie Sanders.

Golf club hunts mystery man who keeps shitting in the holes

Video: Jagermeister pool party guest in coma 'after liquid nitrogen reacts with chlorine' - "The victims were poisoned after staff reportedly poured nitrogen into the pool, causing a toxic cloud after the liquid reacted with the chlorine in the water"

Japanese customer service: So amazing that employees will burst out of the walls to help you

What Vietnam Taught Us About Breaking Bad Habits - "Around 20 percent of the soldiers self-identified as addicts... 95 percent of the people who were addicted in Vietnam did not become re-addicted when they returned to the United States. This flew in the face of everything everyone knew both about heroin and drug addiction generally. When addicts were treated in the U.S. and returned to their homes, relapse rates hovered around 90 percent. It didn't make sense... one big theory about why the rates of heroin relapse were so low on return to the U.S. has to do with the fact that the soldiers, after being treated for their physical addiction in Vietnam, returned to a place radically different from the environment where their addiction took hold of them... We think of ourselves as controlling our behavior, willing our actions into being, but it's not that simple."

7 Facts About Drugs and Addiction That Will Make You Question Everything You Know - "85 percent to 90 percent of people who use even heroin, crack or meth don’t become addicted.
Portugal decriminalized all drugs — and injecting drug use fell by 50 percent.
Switzerland legalized heroin for addicts over a decade ago. Nobody has ever died on an overdose there on legal heroin... Most legal heroin users choose to reduce their dose and come off the program over time, because as they find work, and no longer feel stigmatized, they want to be present in their lives again.
A Harvard Professor calculates the murder rate would fall by at least 25 percent after legalization.
Kids find it much easier to get hold of illegal drugs than legal drugs.
When people see drug reform in practice, few want to go back... When Switzerland — a really conservative country — was asked to vote on whether to reverse the legalization of heroin for addicts, 70 percent of citizens voted to keep it legal — because they had seen such remarkable results."
Voodoo Singaporean logic would be that since people change their minds about drug reform when they see it in practice, they should never be allowed to see it in practice so we can remain tough on drugs

Swiss drug policy should serve as model: experts - "Switzerland’s innovative policy of providing drug addicts with free methadone and clean needles has greatly reduced deaths while cutting crime rates and should serve as a global model... Countries whose drug policy remains focused on punishing offenders, including Russia and much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, should learn from a Swiss strategy based on “harm reduction” that protects both users and communities, they said. Even Iran and China -- while far from espousing Switzerland’s system of direct democracy -- have copied its methadone substitution programs"

Habits: Most drug users are happy, successful people with a taste for the good life - "The young people trusted and respected their families in much the same way as their non-drug-taking contemporaries, disapproved of "out of control" behaviour by so called "problem" users or addicts, and were no more fatalistic than other teenagers. They viewed drug-taking as a vital part of everyday living and were only slightly more rebellious than other young people."

No-go zone? Here's how one of Sweden's roughest areas edged out its drug gangs - "The postal company confirms to The Local that its policy not to deliver parcels to individual addresses at Seved remains in place, although there has been talk of easing it. In the past year there have been several instances of car burnings, and the drug trade moved from the street inside the buildings to avoid surveillance cameras. In November a man in his 30s was shot dead, one of 11 fatal shootings in Malmö last year (there were three in 2015)."

Addiction: The View from Rat Park (2010) - "the rats in Rat Park, called the “Social Females” and “Social Males” in this graph, are consuming hardly any morphine solution, but the “Caged Females” and “Caged Males” are consuming a lot. In this experiment the females consumed more than the males, but that gender difference did not hold up in later experiments. It soon became absolutely clear to us that the earlier Skinner box experiments did not prove that morphine was irresistible to rats. Rather, most of the consumption of rats isolated in a Skinner box was likely to be a response to isolation itsself. So, we published the results of our experiments in psychopharmacology journals... the drug only becomes irresistible when the opportunity for normal social existence is destroyed... When I talk to addicted people, whether they are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, Internet use, sex, or anything else, I encounter human beings who really do not have a viable social or cultural life. They use their addictions as a way of coping with their dislocation: as an escape, a pain killer, or a kind of substitute for a full life. More and more psychologists and psychiatrists are reporting similar observations. Maybe our fragmented, mobile, ever-changing modern society has produced social and cultural isolation in very large numbers of people, even though their cages are invisible!"

What’s So Bad About Casual Drug Use? - "14.5% of Americans ages 12 and older have tried cocaine at least once, but just 1.8% report using the drug recreationally in the past year. And just 0.6% have used it in the past 30 days, which would seem to be the minimal definition of a casual user... That pattern simply shouldn’t be possible if these drugs were as addictive as commonly thought... at three years, only 12% of those addicted in Vietnam had been addicted at any time in the three years since return, and for those readdicted, the addiction had usually been very brief.” It wasn’t for lack of access to junk, either: half of the returning addicts said they’d tried heroin at least once since arriving back home... regular drug users can often function quite well. Sigmund Freud used cocaine habitually for years, and his first major scientific publication was about the wonders of the drug (he eventually forsook it). Another pioneering late 19th and early 20th century man of medicine, William Halsted, was dependent on cocaine and morphine during an illustrious career that revolutionized and modernized surgical techniques."

Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn’t - The Washington Post - "Legal marijuana may be doing at least one thing that a decades-long drug war couldn't: taking a bite out of Mexican drug cartels' profits. The latest data from the U.S. Border Patrol shows that last year, marijuana seizures along the southwest border tumbled to their lowest level in at least a decade. Agents snagged roughly 1.5 million pounds of marijuana at the border, down from a peak of nearly 4 million pounds in 2009. The data supports the many stories about the difficulties marijuana growers in Mexico face in light of increased competition from the north. As domestic marijuana production has ramped up in places such as California, Colorado and Washington, marijuana prices have fallen, especially at the bulk level... And it's not just price — Mexican growers are facing pressure on quality, too
Voodoo Singaporean logic: drugs are harmful because they are expensive so people commit crimes so they can afford drugs. And if drugs become cheap they become more harmful because more people can afford to buy them

The day Lee Kuan Yew lost his cool with students

The day Lee Kuan Yew lost his cool with students

One of the most memorable incidents relating to the Undergrad during my time as a student concerned then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Undergrad‘s Editor Kishore Mahbubani. The student union had invited Mr Lee to give a talk to the student body on 4 June 1969. As expected, it was a big event; the largest lecture theatre available on campus was booked, and it was packed to the brim. Students, and some lecturers, were sitting and standing in every available inch of space. Mr Lee arrived on time and seemed a little tense. That was understandable. Our closest neighbour, Malaysia, had just experienced the May 13, 1969 racial riots following a general election. Singapore was still adjusting to its exit from the Federation of Malaysia in August 1965 and the withdrawal of the British armed forces which started in phases from 1967.

During the question-and-answer session, many students and even lecturers stepped up to question Mr Lee on the hot topics of the day, namely the pushing through of the Abortion Bill, the abolition of the jury system and the issue of certificates of suitability for students intending to pursue higher education in Singapore. The essence of the Abortion Bill was to allow unwanted pregnancies to be terminated more easily at a time when the Singapore population was considered to be growing too rapidly, with birthrates significantly above replacement levels. As for the jury system, it was considered ineffective to allow ordinary citizens to decide on complicated criminal cases before the courts of law. The certificate of suitability had been introduced in 1964 by the Federal government in a bid to prevent students from agitating for causes in a way that could threaten the security and stability of the country. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, it was well—known that the socialist clubs in some schools were very strong forces that were fighting against the idea of Singapore’s merger with Malaya to form Malaysia. By the time I was applying to university, that was a done deal. The bill was passed and until the 1970s, students who wanted to apply to the University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic had to apply for and be given a certificate of suitability.

The question—and—answer session became heated as some questioners persisted with their queries to Mr Lee even after he gave brief answers. Eventually, Mr Lee got up, rolled up his shirt sleeves and pushed the chairman of the session — one of the student union leaders — off the rostrum. He took over the forum and lectured us firmly on how we were students studying on taxpayers’ money, and we should not be telling him how to run the country and resolve its problems. He seemed exasperated with the crowd and stormed out of the hall soon after admonishing us.

Of course, the outburst became the talk of the campus. Kishore Mahbubani, who was then the Editor of the Undergrad, reported the incident in a piece titled, “A question of decorum”. In his write-up, Kishore wrote that Mr Lee “committed an unfortunate act of arrogance" by physically pushing the chairman off the rostrum, and that there was no excuse for resorting to physical force. He also questioned Mr Lee’s abrupt manner in answering the questions.

The report and commentary in the Undergrad reflected, to a good extent, the relationship that young firebrands in the university had with the Prime Minister of the day. It was a love-hate relationship. Here was a young, talented leader who was grappling with the running of a small, independent state with few resources and friends. His style was decisive, with his two deputies — Goh Keng Swee, the economic czar, and S Rajaratnam, the ideologue and Foreign Minister — giving him good support. But his style was abrasive, as he suffered no fools and took a tough line on anyone who stood against him. He probably saw the university student leaders as being too big for their boots.

A few days after the incident, on 13 June, Mr Lee summoned all freshmen to a talk at the National Theatre. He also met with the Union's Executive Committee and the Freshmen Orientation Committee. At the talk, he reminded the students that they were at the university for learning and education, and said he could not and would not allow organised disorder.

What happened next has never been fully disclosed. By August, Kishore had resigned as Editor, and shorn his head. It was rumoured that his scholarship was on the line, and that his resignation was not a voluntary one. It was reported that he had said it was pointless for a student to take an office if the student union was unable to provide sufficient protection for its office holders. Was Kishore’s shorn head a sign of protest against his involuntary resignation? We never found out.

The supreme irony, if one could call it that, is that Kishore went on to become not only one of Singapore's preeminent diplomats but also Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

When I talk to younger Singaporeans about this and other political events in my student days, they are usually quite amazed at the political fervour, courage and conviction of that generation. They tell me that, sadly, campuses have become politically sterilised since. A close friend, Steven Ooi, tells me that when he was at NUS in the mid-to-late 90s, he hardly ever heard any of his varsity mates talk about politics or heard of the union actively taking on the political establishment. According to Steven, we have reached a point where most Junior College students don’t even know who their Member of Parliament is, and when you ask them what GRC (Group Representation Constituency) stands for, the most common answer is “Grass Roots Committee”!

--- Marbles, Mayhem and My Typewriter: The unfadable life of an ordinary man / Mano Sabnani

In other words, Singaporeans are lectured on being apathetic after having been actively encouraged to be so.

Links - 28th February 2018 (2)

Yale ‘decolonizes’ English dept. after complaints studying white authors ‘actively harms’ students - "Previous requirements for the major included two courses in “Major English Poets,” including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton and Eliot, among others. But that two-course series petitioners had deemed actively harmful due to its focus on white male poets. The series is no longer a graduation requirement for Yale’s English majors."

Calls for Cambridge Uni to 'decolonise' English course - "'If you distort the content of history and literature syllabuses to insert a statistically diverse or equal proportion of material from cultures taken globally you surely lose sight of the historical truth that the West explored the world from the sixteenth century and took control - colonially or otherwise - of a very large part of it. 'It is false to pretend that never happened.'"
Original letter: DECOLONISING THE ENGLISH FACULTY: AN OPEN LETTER | Fly. - apparently many people believe it's possible to make studying post colonial authors compulsory without dropping others

English Faculty begins decolonisation discussion - "Okundaye was caught in what is perhaps a similar sensationalist media outburst earlier this year in August, after tweets from his Twitter page such as ""ALL white people are racist. White middle class, white working class, white men, white women, white gays, white children. They can ALL geddit" were covered in the national media. He wrote then, also in the Guardian, that "The headlines made allegations that I believe all individual white people “are racist”, insinuating that I support violence against white people because of this.""

The Miserable Existence of Singapore’s Parrot Man - "He claims to be both Muslim and a Jehovah’s Witness, but also uses stories of Jesus and Guanyin to preach about the benefits of religion... By our second meeting, he has already chided me for my double helix piercings, asked why I’m not married at 27, and said that the kueh I buy for him has no nutritional value"

Gaming addiction probably isn’t a real condition, study suggests - "There may be no such thing as internet gaming addiction. People play excessively not because they are hooked on gaming itself, but because they feel unhappy about other areas of their life, according to a study that followed thousands of online gamers over six months."
Then again, the same might be said about other addictions

Lucas Lynch - It is rather odd how, despite the beauty ideal in... - "It is rather odd how, despite the beauty ideal in our society predominately being socially constructed as thinness, and despite the population being bombarded by images of how much better it is to be skinny, human beings in America continue a march towards obesity as never seen before. What could cause these blank slates inscribed by culture to go so against their own socialization?... The Soviets thought with just the right amount of propaganda and compulsion they could remake the proper Soviet man and make communism flourish. And yet when they finally let people have small private plots of land to grow vegetables, it quickly became an embarrassment just how the small plots of privately-maintained land outperformed the collective farms in terms of the contribution to the overall food supply. There as well, a properly socialized blank slate simply could not compete with selfish interest as a superior means of overall production"

Académie Française rejects push to make French language less masculine - "The esteemed Académie Française – France's highest authority on matters pertaining to the French language – has warned that proposals to use less masculine terminology pose a “mortal danger” to the language... According to French grammatical rules, the masculine takes precedence over the feminine. So while a group of women is referred to with the feminine, if just one man joins their ranks, the entire group is referred to as masculine. In recent years, activists have been pushing to change that. Increasingly, politicians, civil servants, associations and, notably, members of French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration are getting on board and taking care to address, for example, not just “Les Français” but “Les Françaises et les Français”. Activists are also pushing for more inclusive written language... The new style would have people refer to a group of students, for example, as “étudiant.e.s” or “étudiant-e-s” to allow for a diversity of genders. Some of the suggested formulations are admittedly clunky. To refer to a group of producers, for example, one might write “producteur.trice.s” or “product.eur.rice.s” (to represent the masculine producteur and female productrice). Essentially, the Académie Française says that this is just making things too complicated... Vouillot of the HCE believes that embedded misogyny or gender biases are the real reasons why people are opposed to these changes."
I'm sure making French more complicated is going to encourage more foreigners to learn it

Gender-inclusive language? Just say Non - "complicating the lives of our children when our language is not easy to master? When it is stuffed with grammar and syntax rules and exceptions? Frankly, when we know reading and writing cannot be taken for granted, to want to complicate their learning process is astonishing. Do you think that in the eyes of a little boy, a female doctor is less of a doctor if we do not label her a doctoresse? No.’ Other critics have rightly argued that the whole idea will be a nightmare for dyslexic children... We should always be wary of elite political groups seeking to alter our language. Behind the claims of inclusivity, there is always an authoritarian demand to police what we say and ultimately how we think"

The Politicization of Motherhood - WSJ - "“I couldn’t get on NPR,” and “I was rejected wholesale—particularly in New York—by the liberal press.”... The premise of Ms. Komisar’s book—backed by research in psychology, neuroscience and epigenetics—is that “mothers are biologically necessary for babies,” and not only for the obvious reasons of pregnancy and birth... “the absence of mothers in children’s lives on a daily basis was what I saw to be one of the triggers for these mental disorders.” She began to devour the scientific literature and found that it reinforced her intuition... most liberals won’t even acknowledge the problem. “If we defend the idea that mothers are not necessary,” she asks, “what chance do we have to get a maternity-leave policy?” As important as her insights into child development are, her policy proposal seems destined for the political orphanage."

Clever toilet checks on your health - "The "Intelligence Toilet" system, created by Japan's largest toilet company, Toto, can measure sugar levels in urine, blood pressure, body fat and weight."

Students for Liberty - Singapore - Posts - "A RESPONSE TO LAW MINISTER SHANMUGAM ON THE DEATH PENALTY... Mr Shanmugam cited figures to show that the drug problem in East Asia and Southeast Asia is worsening. But the countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia already have the harshest drug laws in the world - and most of them also have the death penalty for drug traffickers. Yet the drug problem is still worsening! This shows that the “death penalty deterrent” just isn’t working as Mr Shanmugam claims... Mr Shanmugam cited Colorado as an example of where drug legalisation has “gone wrong” - as drivers under the influence of drugs were dying in accidents... a very recent study by American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) found that changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for states that legalised marijuana (such as Washington and Colorado) were not statistically different from those in similar states without marijuana legalisation. Other studies even found a reduction in traffic fatalities in states that legalised marijuana. E.g. after California and New Mexico legalised medical marijuana, traffic deaths fell by 16% and 17% respectively. Mr Shanmugam also said, “So I would ask the death penalty abolitionists to go and study the places where laws have been relaxed, places where drugs have been legalised, find out what has happened and look at the number of deaths that have taken place in society, and then come back and let’s talk.”... Portugal used to have serious drug problems. Then they tried the radical approach of decriminalising all drugs in 2001. Is Portugal now full of junkies dying in the streets? No - quite the opposite. Drug-related deaths fell to the point where Portugal now has the lowest rates of drug-induced deaths in the EU. Even if you chalk this up to coincidence, it’s clear that decriminalisation of drugs hasn’t led to the catastrophic scenarios that its opponents had predicted... It’s also worth addressing the MORAL aspect of the issue. The common narrative is that “drug traffickers deserve the death penalty because they destroy people’s lives”. But upon closer examination, that makes no sense. People who choose to abuse drugs are responsible for their own actions. Nobody forced them to take drugs. So they are not victims of a crime (let alone a capital crime). Alcoholism destroys people’s lives too - but we don’t sentence bartenders to death."

DNC Chair Gets The Constitution Wrong - "Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez falsely claimed that the Electoral College is not “a creation of the Constitution.”"

AKUH doctor 'sacked' over sending FB friend request to Sharmeen Obaid's sister - "A doctor at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) Karachi has allegedly been fired for sending a Facebook friend request to one of his patients... She added that the doctor had messed with the wrong women in the wrong family and she would definitely report him as harassment needed to be stopped... According to the Supreme Court lawyer Khalil Ahmed Siddiqui, sending an add request on social media does not fall under any definition of harassment"
Sending a Facebook friend request is harassment now

An Old Colonel Looks at General Kelly – Foreign Policy - "the longer you stay in uniform, the less you will really understand about the country you protect. Democracy is the antithesis of the military life; it’s chaotic, dishonest, disorganized, and at the same time glorious, exhilarating and free — which you are not... If you’re a career soldier, you may defend democracy, but you won’t understand it or be part of it. What’s more, you’ll always be a stranger to your own society. That’s the sacrifice you’ll be making."

Single, Unemployed and Suddenly Myself - NYTimes.com - "With appropriate romantic prospects, I had been overly polished and protective. Just like the men, I spun stories broadcasting fake confidence. But I confided in my neighbor about how hard the year had been and how worried I was about finding a job and a man to love. With nothing at stake, I was charmingly vulnerable."

Islamic teacher who sexually abused girl, 11, spared jail because he's on benefits - "AN Islamic teacher who repeatedly molested a terrified girl of 11 as he taught her the Koran has escaped a jail sentence because his wife’s English is so bad... ‘He is married with six children. His wife doesn’t work and speaks very little English, they are dependent on him to lead their lives and with the running of the household. 'One of the children has learning difficulties. Because he doesn’t teach now he is reliant on benefits.’"
Keywords: uk, imam, escapes prison, wife children depend, speak English, burden

Ottawa man not guilty of sexual assault because he thought he could have sex with wife anytime - "An Ottawa man has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting his wife because of his honest belief that he had the right to have intercourse with her whenever he wanted. In a written ruling, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith said the Crown failed to prove that the accused had formed the required criminal intent — mens rea — to sexually assault his wife in 2002... the judge ruled the man was not guilty of sexual assault because the Crown had failed to establish that he knew his behaviour was, in fact, criminal."
According to Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute: "The mens rea requirement is premised upon the idea that one must possess a guilty state of mind and be aware of his or her misconduct; however, a defendant need not know that their conduct is illegal to be guilty of a crime. Rather, the defendant must be conscious of the “facts that make his conduct fit the definition of the offense.”" Canadian sources seem to say something similar

Canadian man found not guilty of raping wife - "Her husband told the court he could not have had sex with her at the time because he had just received a hair transplant and he was following his doctor's orders to avoid intercourse"

EU Sanctions Punishing Poland & Eastern Europe Are Mistaken. Muslim Migration Serious Problem - "When public sentiment runs so strongly this way, and the sentiment of the political class runs the other way, coercive measures such as sanctions become inevitable. But that coercion may be dangerous to the continuation of the European project... Western European politicians often scolded Eastern European governments for retreating from European values, “the open society,” and democracy. And Eastern Europeans on social media just as often threw that rhetoric back in their face. Which looked more like an open democratic society, Paris with its landmarks patrolled by the military — or Krawkow, with its Christmas market unspoiled by the need for automatic weapons?... Western Europe’s policy on “refugees” has been dishonest from beginning to end. The vast majority of people arriving are not fleeing war in Syria or Iraq... Eastern European leaders have noted that once European communities accepted small numbers of immigrants, the demand for accepting more only grew... What Eastern European countries see is that in the past three decades, Western European countries have elected to import religious and racial divisions into their society. The early returns are bad enough to dissuade them from imitating their neighbors to the west. The threats from bureaucrats in Brussels are also counterproductive. After all, Eastern Europe has some recent historical experience of officious government employees who think that population transfers are just part of getting on board with the ideological project the future demands."

Hungary & Europe’s Crisis: Unelected Elites versus People - "the Hungarian government commissioned a public-opinion poll encompassing 28 member states of the European Union. It revealed that more than 60 percent of Europeans have no doubt whatsoever that a direct correlation exists between the escalation of terrorism, higher crime rates, and migration. By the same token, 63 percent believe that migration transforms the culture of the host country. Illegal migration presents a threat, facilitates terrorism, and boosts crime. It repaints Europe’s cultural face, brushing over national cultures on a massive scale... better standards of living cannot be regarded as a fundamental right, no matter how ardently we may wish to provide those standards to everyone... We have learned the principal law of assistance: If we help them where we are, they will flock here; if we help them where they are, they will stay at home, in their native land."

The Secret Betting Strategy That Beats Online Bookmakers - "bookmakers can hedge their bets by offering more favorable odds on the opposite outcome. In this way, they attract bets that cover at least some of the potential losses. Kaunitz and co say this process also creates an opportunity for anybody able to spot it. The trick that the researchers have perfected is to devise a method that consistently spots odds favoring the punter rather than the bookie."

North Korea’s ‘pink lady’: the newscaster set to announce the end of the world - "Ri Chun-hee is the most prominent face on the North’s Korean Central Television, appearing nearly every time the country takes a step towards fulfilling its nuclear ambitions, delivering the state’s proclamations in a booming voice and brimming with gusto."

The end of the age of South-east Asia's god-kings - "The outpouring of grief in Thailand over the death of King Bhumipol Adulyadej (Rama IX of the Chakri dynasty) has no comparison in recent history. For the majority of Thais who have lived their lives under his reign, their late King is viewed with deep affection as a fatherly figure, the head of the Thai family. But there is another aspect of King Bhumipol which is seldom discussed, and that is his personification as probably one of South-east Asia's last "devarajas" or god-kings."

Charging for plastic bags may have unintended costs - "Free plastic bags at least encourage people to wrap their food waste before tossing it into the chute... Advocates of charging for plastic bags have cited a similar policy in Hong Kong as an example. Yet, they may not be aware that the design of many residential buildings in Hong Kong differs from those in Singapore. My wife's family lives in Hong Kong. Their flat does not have a rubbish chute. Rather, a cleaner goes to each of the building's 24 floors to clear rubbish from a common bin at the fire escape. Newer apartment blocks in Hong Kong do have rubbish chutes. Concerned about the proper disposal of food waste, the estate management gives free rubbish bags to residents liberally... Some have suggested that people can wrap their food waste in newspapers. Are they serious? How would they like to clear the bins at the bottom of each apartment block? This is a job that no Singaporean wants to do. Making the job even more unpleasant will only increase our reliance on foreign workers."
Before you can save the earth, you must first save yourself

Feminism Silencing Women on Campus

The State of the Campus and Women’s Self-Censorship

"The principles underlying the calls for censorship by the student activists are very specific. They are based on a conception of society dominated by group identity and work on an understanding of systems of privilege and marginalization affecting those groups. They call upon the values of “intersectionality”...

Due to the belief that language constructs social reality, ideas and speech which are perceived as detrimental to this cause of increasing representation of marginalized groups or disparaging of any of these identities are considered highly dangerous and may even be referred to as “violent.” Censorship of or punishment for the expression of such ideas, therefore becomes a necessary part of activism...

I was called “conservative” for saying that evolutionary psychology was valuable and “Dawkinsesque” for my criticism of religion. (I was delighted by this). I was accused of destining women to an awful beauty myth for saying that sexual selection was real and asked how black communities in the US would feel about my argument that race can be forgotten when common goals are employed... My attempt to write a criticism of postmodernism at undergraduate and do an evolutionary psychological reading at postgraduate were received badly. If I had persisted with this, I would have failed. Instead, I needed to produce very orthodox work to recover. I did recover. I won the Dean’s Outstanding Dissertation Award for use of Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray in relation to Jacobean poetry. It tells us almost nothing about Jacobean poetry...

Everything tends to be a discussion about why (insert any media text) is racist and/or sexist. Everything is a tool of “the patriarchy.” Often gender theory and queer theory is pushed onto historical texts which take them out of their original contexts. I do archival work and am guided by the evidence in the sources. I do not write in jargon and want to reach a wider audience with my work. I am aware this is deeply unfashionable in my field. There’s hardly any British conferences I can attend to present my work as they are always about race or gender theory...

I don’t put anything political at all on Facebook for fear of retaliation...

There’s a lack of impartiality and clarity in most arguments, as well as a general unwillingness to discuss ideas without making use of confusing, ambiguous concepts. I met colleagues that refused to quote an author they dislike for personal reasons (such as the author being openly sexist) regardless of the quality of the paper. One time a colleague told me they received a paper to review (they worked at the time for a journal) and since the title featured “an important LGBT issue,” they thought it should be published. They said that before actually reading the paper...

If a client does not consider their race to be significantly impacting their life, we are encouraged to get them to think and talk about it—in effect, to suggest that it is more significant than they believe...

The fluidity of gender was a core belief which needed to be adhered to but the use of factual, medical data was discouraged. The purpose of seminars was to over-complicate this one perception of gender, indulge the idea, marvel at its ambiguity, break it down in many ways and then do it all over again. My attempts to bring studies in endocrinology into a discussion of testosterone levels in athletes was received badly and I was told to go away and reconsider the complexity of gender and see why categories were unfair. My argument that the consequences of hormone treatments needed to be evaluated was simply dismissed. The fear of upsetting the gender studies students was a strong influence on this...

I am a female university administrator in the UK and have been observing with concern a growing obsession with labels which is shifting the responsibility for academic success from the student to the teaching and administration faculty. This is most evident on the grounds of mental health where increasing student complaints (most notably from women) accuse the university of failing to support them emotionally...

No longer is the stress of assessment simply a reaction to the pressure of performing to the best of your ability. That stress is being labelled as depression and anxiety disorder... resources are being over-stretched and not reaching the people who really need it because as a society, we have become obsessed with labels...

Aggressive or abusive behavior towards people considered to have normative or dominant “identities” is being accepted as appropriate when in reality it is normalizing prejudice on the grounds of race, sex or sexuality...

One male senior professor once heard me criticizing aggressive feminism and hauled me into his office for an hour long “telling off,” saying that no-one would want to work with me if I didn’t identify as a feminist and I might lose my job as a result...

The greatest irony here is that the individuals who expend great energy ensuring that women on campuses are heard and that they have the ability to express themselves freely are the same individuals who have made me feel more oppressed than I have ever felt in my entire life...

The truth is that I’m terrified to submit it. Please understand: I’m far from a coward, and I’m no stranger to standing up for what is right. In my life, I’ve dealt with bullies, hostile colleagues, and a stalker. I pursued a domestic violence case through the courts and took my employer to human rights tribunal. A few people of my (real life) acquaintance have called me fearless (I think ‘stubbornly indignant with zero tolerance for bullshit’ seems more accurate) … but I’m not fearless about this. What’s unfolding in the humanities, in North America — perhaps in the anglosphere more broadly — is tribal, retaliatory McCarthyism, and it’s a battle too far for me."

Links - 28th February 2018 (1)

Europe Wide Poll Shows Growing Distrust for Elites, Pessimism For Future - "Trust in traditional mass media was also low in the survey with only eight percent saying they trusted the mainstream media very much while 45 percent said they didn’t trust it at all. Social media trust was even worse, as 56 percent said they did not trust it at all"

Planned Mosque on Historic Battlefield Invokes Debate on Sweden's 'Rootlessness' - "The mosque slated for construction in Fyllebro outside Halmstad has become a polarizing issue in Sweden, with many cultural figures joining in the debate. Dick Harrison, a professor of history at Lund University, has strongly condemned the municipality for its construction plans, implying they are about to destroy a place of historic significance for the Nordic nation. The reason for his ire is that the land outside Fyllebro is where Swedish troops managed to stop the Danish offensive to Gothenburg in a decisive battle during the Skåne War in 1676, probably the most important in the nation's history, Harrison argued... Harrison added he was ashamed of living in a Sweden without its past... 'Destroying such a historic place by wiping out the cultural layer and sabotaging the perspective of archeological investigations on the former battlefield is from a historical perspective non-defensible'... the Halmstad municipality reportedly sold 7,000 square meters of land intended for a mosque. The decision was railroaded through despite the fact the mosque imam had previously made controversial statements on the internet, comparing homosexuality to a virus"

European Demographic Crisis: Migrants No Solution to Aging Populace & Low Birth Rates - "The primary motivation for Merkel’s decision might have been humanitarian — many of the new arrivals were refugees from conflict in Iraq and Syria — but it was often claimed the move would ultimately revitalize the German economy, too... At the end of 2016, a survey found that a whopping 13 percent of migrants had managed to find work. And while German authorities continue to predict that half of asylum seekers will find work in five years, it turns out that, when unpaid internships and minor employment are put aside, only 21 percent of asylum seekers arriving in 2013 had found employment at the beginning of 2016. Among those who had arrived at the peak of the crisis in 2015, only 5 percent were employed a year later... the vast majority of the 22 percent of companies that hired refugees in 2016 hired them as trainees, support staffers, or interns — only 8 percent hired them as skilled workers. At the same time, the financial costs of handling the influx have proved greater than expected... $48,000 per migrant... In the worst case, the migrants in Germany may end up like the Somali expats who are largely excluded from the British labor force, living in ghettoized communities vulnerable to extremism and highly dependent on government welfare... If Germany wants immigrant labor to shore up its economy — not an insane proposition — it has much better options than letting in everyone who shows up at its border. For instance, it could emulate Canada’s much-vaunted points system, which allocates spots for immigrants based on their skills and qualifications. Or it could pursue something akin to the guest-worker program that bolstered West Germany’s post-war economy, compensating for labor shortages without forcing the state to make provisions for a permanent influx of new citizens"

Imam in Switzerland Urged Burning of Muslims Who Don’t Pray, Prosecutors Say - The New York Times

Influential Sikh youth group associating with far-right EDL founder Tommy Robinson
Does this mean you can't call him a racist who hates non-white people?

No, The Vikings Weren't Muslims - "The New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, and a host of other liberal media outlets have been pushing the story that there were Muslim Vikings, a claim based on a piece of cloth. The claim is baseless, says a professor of Islamic art and architecture... the most obvious issue with Larsson’s methodology was that the Viking textile is dated to the 10th century, while the style of epigraphy in Larsson’s drawing comes from the 15th century."

How the Muslim World Lost the Freedom to Choose – Foreign Policy - "The snapshot depicts Kabul’s urban elite — an elite that was unrepresentative, even back then, of the wider Afghan population. Not everyone was walking around in a skirt before the Taliban imposed the burqa... Pictures of Saudi Arabia from the 1960s and 1970s are also making the rounds these days in the Middle East, showing men and women in bathing suits by the pool and on the jetty of a famous beach resort. Most of those in the pictures look like foreigners — some are airline staff on a break in Jeddah... From 1927, when the British introduced blasphemy laws, to 1985, in modern-day Pakistan, only 10 blasphemy cases were reportedly heard in court. Between 1985 and 2011, more than 4,000 cases were handled"
To some people Kabul = the whole of Afghanistan and Tehran = the whole of Iran
I'm sure some people only blame the British for how blasphemy laws are used in Pakistan today

Breakthrough device heals organs with a single touch

Should Women Give Up the Power that Comes With Being Objectified? - "As a female friend once aptly put, “It’s amazing how easy and simple-minded men are. You just smile at them and give them a bit of attention and they’ll do whatever you want.”... Whether we dare to admit it, many women put in effort to look sexier than usual, or to appear more coy, because we know the power that comes from turning ourselves into sex objects. Instead of wracking our brains to deliver a witty line or two, we understand that skin is a currency we possess. And so when the opportunity arises, we use it to buy what we want... In most social dynamics, it takes two hands to clap. To claim only one party should do better is reductive and insulting to both. Perhaps when we are willing to accept that both genders share responsibility to stop the objectification of women can we finally have a conversation that doesn’t completely ignore the nuances involved in being female"

Lena Dunham: I Haven’t Had an Abortion, But 'I Wish I Had’
And they say it's a myth that there're pro-abortion people

Google HR Executive: It Doesn't Matter Where Candidates Went to College

ISIS defector reveals why ISIS hostages remain calm before their executions - "hostages are routinely subjected to mock executions and lulled into a false sense of security. Then, when their execution finally does arrive, they mistakenly believe it is just another mock-up... hostages were given Arabic names to make them feel as though they were among friends — such as Japanese photographer Kenji Goto, who was addressed as “Abu Saad”, which Saleh said made Goto “relax”."

3 trans activists wanted for Hyde Park attack on feminist - "Police are hunting for three people wanted over an assault at a transgender rights event in Hyde Park - but have refused to give their gender in case they get it wrong. Maria MacLachlan, 60, was punched in the face and knocked to the ground at Speakers' Corner on September 23 by suspects including one clutching a 'trans misogyny is still misogyny' placard... After the attack ATH's Edinburgh branch sent a series of tweets defending the use of violence. They said: '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. Elsewhere on social media ATH supporters say 'TERFS must die' and 'burn in a fire, TERF'. Before the meeting, one supporter posted: 'Any idea where this is happening? I want to f*** some TERFs up, they are no better than fash [fascists].'"
We were told there was no harm with the transgender agenda and it was just about "respect" - the problems with beating people up aside you now can't even find the suspects because of sensitivities

Hate or Hoax? When It Comes to Campus Bias Incidents, We Usually Have No Idea - "I emailed all three authors of the BuzzFeed story for clarification on these numbers. They did not respond. That's a shame: If BuzzFeed is going to run the deliberately inflammatory headline "Imagine Being Surrounded By People Who Hate You And Want To See You Dead," its writers should be able to answer questions about whether the data support this nightmarish fantasy. All we know is that some bias incidents—like the one at American University—are true cases of racism, and that some are hoaxes. (Many others are mere accidents.) If BuzzFeed writers inadvertently figured out something useful about the relative likelihood of each, it would be kind of them to spell that out more clearly."

Greek Life retreat cancelled after banana peel found in tree - "“To be clear, many members of our community were hurt, frightened, and upset by what occurred at IMPACT,” Interim Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Alexa Lee Arndt remarked in an email between Greek leaders, according to The Daily Mississippian. “Because of the underlying reality many students of color endure on a daily basis, the conversation manifested into a larger conversation about race relations today at the University of Mississippi.” Apparently, student Ryan Swanson admitted to discarding the banana peel in a tree after he was unable to locate a garbage can... While it is unclear how the university will proceed to handle the incident, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement Katrina Caldwell noted that she will be speaking with fellow leaders to decide “what makes the most sense.” “Right now, we’re just talking to people on campus who have some experience working across diversity to help the students process what happened”"

Doctors warn toilet paper does little to remove feces - "doctors say excessive wiping could cause health problems such as anal fissures and urinary tract infections. Though the suggestion may sound absurd, celebrities such as will.i.am, Will Smith and Terrence Howard have been vouching for baby wipes instead of tissue for years - with Smith even hailing the habit as 'special and incredible'... 90 percent of households in Italy, Spain and Greece have a bidet installed in their bathroom for cleaning"

Be Careful Who You Call a 'White Supremacist' - "The term was popularized by academic race theory, where it seems to have largely replaced previous terms of art like “institutional racism” or “systemic racism.” Now it is migrating out of the ivory tower and into everyday discourse, puzzling the millions of Americans who are used to an older, narrower meaning... The redefinition of “white supremacy” is part of a broader tendency to take words with narrow meanings and a highly negative connotation, and redeploy them in much broader ways. Take the use of the word “misogyny.” The word literally means “hatred of women”; politics transformed it into “someone who believes that women are not men’s social and intellectual equals.” But recently, that definition has broadened to include, for example, people who do not support the right to an abortion, people who do not think that women should serve in combat, or Google engineers who think that maybe fewer women than men are interested in high-level STEM careers. If you strongly disapprove of these political views, it’s tempting to conflate them with hatred of women. Unfortunately, when you use “misogyny” in this way, you do not get people to take lesser forms of sexism more seriously. In fact, you run the risk that people might stop taking actual misogyny so seriously. It’s the inverse of what Steven Pinker has dubbed “the euphemism treadmill”... imagine that activists are successful at conflating white supremacy with racism, and misogyny with sexism. We may find that the result is not a stronger distaste for the diffuse structural bias in our society, but a weaker distaste for the intentional, more dangerous forms of discrimination.It only makes sense to redefine words in this way if you believe that there is literally no difference between David Duke and Mitt Romney, between the Jim Crow South and modern America... During the 2016 presidential campaign, I found myself confronted by a curious problem: Many of my readers simply didn’t take it seriously when I pointed out that Donald Trump was, if not an outright racist himself, at least happily pandering to people who were. “The media calls every Republican racist,” my conservative readers replied. “They said it about Mitt Romney, they said it about George Bush, so what’s different about Trump?”... Indeed, it seems to me that critical race theorists have gone to “white supremacy” precisely because the increasingly broad uses of the word “racism” have made it less effective than it used to be at rallying moral outrage"
If someone who doesn't believe in affirmative action is racist, there are going to be a lot of people proud to call themselves racist

Halifax music festival apologizes for ‘overt racism’ after volunteer refuses to give spot near stage to women of colour - "“We are sorry that one of our volunteers interrupted your art, your show, and your audience by being aggressive and racist,” reads a Facebook post signed by vice-chairman Georgie Dudka. The Halifax festival says the incident involved a white volunteer photographer and several white audience members who reacted negatively when Pimienta invited “brown girls to the front”... The outspoken singer, who took home the Polaris Prize for her album “La Papessa” last month, frequently asks her audience to welcome people of colour to the front of the stage. In turn, she requests that white people move back... O’Manique says the problems started when the volunteer female photographer refused to step away from her spot near the front. It led to a clash with nearby audience members who became angered over her insistence on remaining near the stage to take photos... the volunteer was removed from the show and ultimately chose to sever ties with the festival.
Treating people of different races the same = racism

Japan teen 'forced to dye hair black' for school - "The girl says she was told she would have to leave the high school near Osaka if she did not comply with a rule requiring students' hair to be black. It is being reported that she says the dye damaged her hair and her scalp... The school's instruction to the girl to dye her hair was reportedly despite her mother telling the school that she was born with brownish hair... Many Japanese schools have strict rules about appearance, including hair colour, the use of make up and the length of skirts. Earlier this year a survey by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper found that nearly 60% of high schools in the capital Tokyo asked students with light-coloured hair for proof that this was natural, for example by providing photographs of them as infants."

School uniforms: A history of 'rebellion and conformity'

Study Says Marijuana Users Have More Sex

Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress - "her parents have also stopped speaking to her because of her career choice... Khalifa suggested the uproar is a sign of bigger issues surrounding freedom and women's rights in Lebanon. She told the Post: "Women's rights in Lebanon are a long way from being taken seriously if a Lebanese-American porn star that no longer resides there can cause such an uproar. “What I once boasted to people as being the most Westernized-nation in the Middle East, I now see as devastatingly archaic and oppressed.”"

Woman who married herself gives in to temptation and cheats on herself - "a mere two years after Sophie vowed to love and honour herself ’til death do her part, she has cheated on herself."

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Links - 27th February 2018 (2)

Against Our Will Author on What Today’s Rape Activists Don’t Get - "Susan Brownmiller, who published the groundbreaking Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape in 1975, takes issue with the current conversation around sexual assault. She believes it’s unrealistic for women to think they can drink like men and still be safe, and that women are responsible for keeping themselves out of dangerous situations... In the 1970s we had an extraordinary movement against sexual assault in this country and changed the laws. They [the campus activists] don’t seem to know that. They think they are the first people to discover rape, and the problem of consent, and they are not... The slut marches bothered me, too, when they said you can wear whatever you want. Well sure, but you look like a hooker. They say, “That doesn’t matter,” but it matters to the man who wants to rape. It’s unrealistic. I don’t know what happened to the understanding people had in the 1970s... If you drink you lose your sense of judgment. Everybody knows that. You should know that when you are going into a fraternity party, something can happen... Well, I take a hard line with victims of domestic violence, too. I feel it is my place as a feminist to say, “Get out, get out, get out of this relationship.” They feel that we should respect their opinions and beliefs because they are survivors. If they can’t get out because they don’t want to reduce their living circumstances, or they don’t want to go, or they are passive people, then I am supposed to respect that. But I don’t. My feeling is “Get out.” And my feeling about young women trapped in sex situations that they don’t want is: “Didn’t you see the warning signs? Who do you expect to do your fighting for you?” It is a little late, after you are both undressed, to say “I don’t want this.”"
You either die a liberal or live long enough to see yourself become a shitlord

Science girl Super Awesome Sylvia becomes a boy named Zeph who doesn't love science - The Washington Post - "
How come deadnaming is okay here? What does this say about women in STEM?

Ryerson Students' Union blocks men's issues group - Macleans.ca - "The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) takes issue with a men’s issues club. If it were not so serious, it would be laughable. An organization that collects hundreds of thousands of dollars in mandatory levies from Ryerson students is afraid of three students—two of them women—starting a men’s issues group. Despite the constant rhetoric about diversity, equity and inclusion, the RSU cannot tolerate ideologies that run counter to its own"

Anger as Oxford college bans Christian group from freshers' fair - "A University of Oxford college banned Christian Union representatives from attending its freshers’ fair over concerns at the “potential for harm to freshers”... “Christianity’s influence on many marginalised communities has been damaging in its methods of conversion and rules of practice, and is still used in many places as an excuse for homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism.”"

UK's Hateful Hate-Crime Hub - "Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the creation of a new national police hub to crack down on hate-crime and "trolling" online. The unit -- which will apparently be run by specialist officers -- will assess complaints and work out whether they amount to a crime or not. They will also recommend removing material from online platforms if they -- at the official hate-crime hub -- deem such material "hateful"... Since 1999 and the publication of the Macpherson Report (into the racist murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence) in the UK, the British authorities have gone along with a definition of hate-crime which allows the victim (real or perceived) to be the arbiter of whether an offence has been committed. This privilege allows a list of people who believe they have been "trolled" or "abused" online over their "race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity" to be arbiters as well as reporters of any and all such crimes. It is worth considering where this can end up... In 2015-2016, a total of 62,518 hate crimes were recorded by forces in England and Wales. The Crown Prosecution Service says that it completed 15,442 hate crime prosecutions during that year. All of which happened at the same time as Khalid Masood, Salman Abedi and 20,000 other "known extremists" were allowed to walk free. And so the priorities of the authorities and the priorities of the public would appear to be dividing: a fact that can only have negative consequences -- whether they are "hateful" or not."

The 5 Most European Cities Not in Europe

One in three South African men admit to rape, survey finds - "Nearly nine in 10 men believe that a woman should obey her husband – and almost six in 10 women also agreed with the statement. South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. Last year a survey by the Medical Research Council (MRC) found that 28% of men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces said they had raped a woman or girl."

CPS criticized for 'improper' rape charges against teacher - "The Crown Prosecution Service was facing serious questions from MPs last night after a judge condemned it for putting an innocent teacher on trial for raping a pupil following ‘enormous pressure’ from a former Metropolitan Police chief and an ex-CPS boss. A jury took just 15 minutes to clear high-flying deputy headmaster Kato Harris – who says the ordeal has destroyed his life... following the unsuccessful prosecution, Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders led a secret review of the CPS’s handling of Mr Harris’s case and other rape trials that ended in acquittal... ‘I would certainly advocate that no man qualify as a teacher. It is just not worth it. What is the lesson here? There is nothing to protect the male teacher.’"

'Easy Meat.' Britain's Muslim Rape Gang Cover-Up - "calculations based on convictions show that a British Muslim male is 170 times more likely to be a part of sex grooming gang than a non-Muslim. And there are no recorded instances of non-Muslims doing this to Muslim girls as part of a criminal enterprise. In one local jurisdiction, it was estimated that six out of seven Muslim males either knew about, or were part of, a grooming gang. Igler says, "What you do not have is any example of non-Muslim men targeting Muslim girls for this organized form of abuse. So, the argument that this crime exists everywhere is not only false, but is being deliberately cultivated by the media and by the government inquiry that is kicking the can down the road.""

Campus Drunk Confidential - "Here is the down and dirty bottom line regarding 90%+ of reported adult sexual assaults: It’s the alcohol. Period. Full stop.... our victim and the guy she just met “hook up” consensually and close down the bar and now its 2 AM and she can’t really remember much after that, just bits and pieces, until she woke up in a strange place next to a strange man. The twist? It’s not the guy she was dancing with and gave oral sex to. It’s his roommate. She thinks she had sex, but she can’t remember. She went home and talked to her roommate and her roommate talked her into coming to the hospital. So she has the exam and she’s got no physical injuries because nobody beat, punched, or choked her. And we talk to the guy and the roommate and their story is that she came home with them and she and the roommate sat up talking and smoking weed after the guy she came home with passed out in the living room and one thing led to another and the roommate had consensual sex with her too. And out of this morass of bad decisions and contradictory claims, the social justice types want us to present a viable prosecution? Ain’t happening... Years ago I took a class on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. One of the illustrations that the instructor used was that of the “Triangle of Crime.” In order to have a crime, you need three things: A Criminal, a Victim, and a Place for the crime to happen. Eliminate any one of those pieces and no crime occurs. Eliminate the binge drinking and hook- up cultures that a vast, vast majority of reported sexual assault victims willingly participate in, and you would eliminate practically all reported sexual assaults in this country."

Non-whites will be majority in US and Europe by 2050 - "The shifting sands of the US reflect wider - and highly controversial - changes elsewhere in the world. It is an area in which few demographers dare to tread for fear of being accused of racism. 'You cannot quote me - a word out of place and I get crapped on from a very great height,' said one academic. 'Whatever you say you are deemed racist'... One demographer, who didn't want to be named for fear of being called racist, said: 'It's a matter of pure arithmetic that, if nothing else happens, non-Euro peans will become a majority and whites a minority in the UK. That would probably be the first time an indigenous population has voluntarily become a minority in its historic homeland'... 'Every people under the sun have a right to their place under the sun, and the right to survive. If people predicted that Indians would be a minority in India in 2100, everyone would be calling it genocide'... Back in California, in a land built by immigrants, Bustamente put a positive spin on the end of the white majority: 'If there are no majorities, then there's no minorities.'"
From 2000
Given what's been happening in California the rosy predictions on no more minorities have proven to be overblown

Former NPR CEO opens up about liberal media bias - "For an entire year, I embedded myself with the other side, standing in pit row at a NASCAR race, hanging out at Tea Party meetings and sitting in on Steve Bannon’s radio show. I found an America far different from the one depicted in the press and imagined by presidents (“cling to guns or religion”) and presidential candidates (“basket of deplorables”) alike... I certainly didn’t expect the intense discussion of racial equity and refugee issues — how to help them, not how to keep them out — but that is what I got. At Urbana, I met dozens of people who were dedicating their lives to the mission, spreading the good news of Jesus, of course, but doing so through a life of charity and compassion for others: staffing remote hospitals, building homes for the homeless and, in one case, flying a “powered parachute” over miles of uninhabited jungle in the western Congo to bring a little bit of entertainment, education and relief to some of the remotest villages you could imagine... the current situation in an odd way works for Trump, who gets to rile his base, and for the media, which has grown an audience on the back of Washington dysfunction. In the end, they are both short-term winners. It is the public that is the long-term loser."

Chinese theme park cuts price 'outrageously' for miniskirt wearers - "The Guilin Merryland Theme Park, located in the southern Chinese city of Guilin, is offering half-price admission to female visitors, if they sport a skirt shorter than 38 centimeters... The park is planning to offer an even larger discount on July 21 and 22 to female visitors who arrive before noon with the goal of smashing “the world record of attracting more than 10,000 short-skirted women to the park.”"

Hackney Empire pulls out of Chinese takeaway opera over all-white cast - "The London premiere of an opera set in a Chinese takeaway has been cancelled after a backlash over its all-white cast... Music Theatre Wales previously defended the all-white casting, saying the play was an example of “post-Brechtian storytelling” and that “quite deliberately, there is no realism”... “It doesn’t make sense that it’s an all-Caucasian cast, particularly when it is about nationalities, ethnicities and the immigrant experience. You can’t say that the immigrant experience is purely just a white experience. That doesn’t make sense at all."
Comments: "This is so depressing. Acting is the gift of portraying that which one is not. The new left, non-Hobsbawnian identity politics obsessives are killing any concept of freedom to be whatever we want to be. Let a white man play a black man, or a black man play an Asian, or any combination in any sort of fashion. It is crazy to have to worry that something innocently presented is going to be offensive to the professionally offended. Recently, a Dr Seuss portrayal of an early twentieth century Chinese immigrant was objected to because it was a racial stereotype. Well, yes, but it wasn't inaccurate. We're rewriting history to support a minority of people who are desperate to reinvent society in their niche image.
Time to stop them and expose them as the cultural fascists they are."
"Culture becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In my area of Newham, I've seen young black kids being told they're "too white" just because they aren't interested in the customs of their ancestors."
"I don't recall any complaints about the recent all black all female production of Hamlet."

Remember When Democrats Used To Hate George W. Bush? So Much For That. - "Bush’s newfound bipartisan popularity is a remarkable change from his tenure as president, when he was loathed by the left and broadly unpopular in the nation as a whole. Democratic approval of Bush dropped to as low as 4 percent during his final year in office"
Words speak louder than actions

Russian Operatives Fooled The Women's March Into Sharing Their Propaganda - "the Instagram account, @feminist_tag, was actually the work of Russian officials, and designed to use the burgeoning anti-Trump "resistance" to further divide the country, sowing political discord that the Russians hoped would lead to a system breakdown... Other memes promoted things like "transgender acceptance," and "fast facts" about violence against women across the globe.

Women's March Promoted Russian Propagand - "Russian accounts targeted Baltimore and Ferguson — both hubs of racial activism — with pro-Black Lives Matter messaging, CNN reported. The Washington Post reported that the Russian ads promoted other “African American rights groups” in addition to Black Lives Matter. Other accounts impersonated Islamic groups to push anti-American messages meant to alienate Muslims within the United States. Similarly, the Russian operations also targeted Native American groups against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota"

Emails Appear To Confirm That President Obama's DOJ Funneled 'Slush Fund' Money To Leftist Orgs - "former President Barack Obama's administration directed money intended for victims of Wall Street mortgage meddling to progressive activist organizations who now form much of the "resistance" to President Donald Trump."

Only MLB Player To Kneel During National Anthem Complains After Being Refused Service Over His Protest - "Maxwell went on to say that the incident proved his point: that racial bias still exists in America, and that professional athletes are bringing attention to a very important issue. The strange thing is, of course, that Maxwell thought his own protest was legitimate, and that refusing to stand for the national anthem — which is actually part of his job, per the MLB — was the correct way to make what seems to be a complex issue personal to millions of Americans. But when a waiter also protested on the job, bringing the issue of disrespect towards the flag home to Maxwell, Maxwell was outraged."
Liberals have the right to protest, but others don't

Rethinking Gender, Sexuality, and Violence - "In the mainstream and on social media, we’ve been told that that all women live under constant threat and that all men are part of the problem. If a man had the audacity to say #MeToo and point out that he had also been a victim, he might have been ridiculed for being insensitive to women. One columnist admonished “nice guys” that they were most likely responsible for the bulk of the problem and bore the responsibility for fixing it. The journalist Benjamin Law started the hashtag #HowIWillChange for men to publicly confess and “take responsibility for their role in rape culture, complicit or otherwise,” portraying any man who has ever questioned the accuracy of a claim of harassment as a “bad guy.” It is important to consider the accuracy and impact of stereotypes of men in general as violent. While it is true that the overwhelming majority of violent crimes are committed by men, it is a tiny minority of men who are responsible for the majority of violence. In a Swedish sample, the most violent 1% of the population committed 63% of all violent crimes (N = 2,393,765) —nearly twice as many as the other 99% combined... the tendency of this small minority of men to commit such acts may be caused by the genetics of those specific men, not by a “rape culture” that teaches men in general that violence against women is acceptable. In the realm of sexual harassment as well, repeat offenders are likely to be giving the male population a bad name... some investigations have found that attempts to rehabilitate psychopaths (as diagnosed by the Hare psychopathy checklist) have actually increased their likelihood of committing violent crimes such as sexual assault. Considering this reality, it’s doubtful that a hashtag campaign such as #MeToo will be effective in reducing the violence committed by this specific group of men... lesbians were significantly more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience domestic violence... men who call 911 for help with domestic violence are more likely to be arrested themselves than to see their abusers arrested"
Comment: "That men reported low lifetime prevalence but almost as high prevalence in the last 12 months as women indicates that whatever happened most men didn’t take it seriously enough to recall events that happened a few years ago."
I'm sure feminists have ways of blaming the high rates of lesbian domestic violence on "patriarchy"

This mum thinks breastfeeding shaming is a form of sexual abuse
If it's sexual violence does that mean that breastfeeding is sexual?

Why tyrants love to write poetry - "Bin Laden was among the most celebrated jihadi poets, and his status derived in part from his mastery of classical eloquence. Bin Laden’s emir in Iraq, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, was known simultaneously as ‘the butcher’ and ‘he who weeps a lot’ – illuminating the link between ruthlessness and sentimentality, the twin desire for power and pity. Al-Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, also writes poetry, and the self-proclaimed caliph of so-called Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, wrote his PhD thesis on a religious poem."

Montreal's Influx of French Immigrants Brings New Tensions - "Lazartigues-Chartier says that French newcomers are completely disconnected from the Quebec-as-North America perspective. “They think it’s like Europe because we use the same words,” she says. These expectations are also reinforced by travel articles and marketing materials, which often overplay this connection with headlines proclaiming Montreal “Half Paris, Half Brooklyn” or one of the “5 Most European Cities Not in Europe.” But Montreal is deeply rooted in a North American context, from its beloved fast food hot dogs to Brutalist architecture. “Montreal is more North American than French because all the historical, cultural, economic and social references are American,” says Lazartigues-Chartier, noting that Quebecers are less dramatic, and society less hierarchical and more entrepreneurial."
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