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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Links - 26th May 2018 (2)

What's the difference: button up vs. button down shirts - "all button down shirts are button up shirts, but not all button up shirts are button down shirts... Button up shirts are effectively all shirts that have buttons all the way up the shirt... Button down shirts aren’t really that much more complicated. They have buttons all the way up the shirt like a button up shirt, but also have two buttons on the collar, to fasten it down to the shirt. So the phrase ‘button down’ actually refers to fastening the collar down."

Most Sith have yellow, glowing eyes. Why does this not hold true for Count Dooku? : StarWars - "From my understanding the yellow eyes only occur during times that the Sith are closest to the dark side. I believe this is mentioned in the commentary on either the DVD release or the blu rays."
"No one has mentioned yet that Dooku used to be a Jedi trained by Yoda himself. I think your assessment of him being closer to the middle of the spectrum is something a lot of people miss. Think about it, he's relatively polite, avoids confrontation, and treats his prisoners well (by sith standards at least.)"
"Because he had a beard and bad guys in Star Wars cannot have beards, hence Dooku wasn't a bad guy, thus he can't have yellow eyes."

The Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl: Who She Is & Why I Hate Her - "General Lifestyle Porn. It’s photo sets and blogs and magazine profiles designed specifically to make you feel badly about yourself, like the inadequate, sweatpant-clad loser you are, to remind you that there is someone out there living their best life, and none of it involves eating an entire bag of Doritos in a fugue state while watching House of Cards."

Man Drives Fake Porsche Cayenne and Has Sex with New Girlfriend 17 Times, Girl Dumps Him After Finding Out - "a man in China who drove a knock-off Porsche Cayenne successfully wooed a lady he met at a gathering party with the car being a huge deciding factor of why the lady to decided to be with him. It’s reported by ET Today that the new couple had had sex for 17 times after being two weeks together. The lady flaunted the pictures of her then-boyfriend car to her friends only to later find out that the car was actually a China knock-off brand called Zoyte"

Controversy Looms as Mythical Achilles is Played by Black Actor in New BBC Epic - "Social media users have expressed their anger at a new series produced by the BBC and Netflix in which Greek mythological figures such as Achilles, Patroclus and Zeus are being played by black actors."
Some people are defending this blackwashing by saying Achilles is fictional, but so are Major Motoko Kusanagi, The Ancient One and Allison Ng. Besides, Homer calls him blonde.

White men who can’t get jobs say they’re being discriminated against - "Pew asked a nationally representative sample of white men with jobs in science, technology, math and engineering (or STEM) fields whether they thought their gender made it harder for them to succeed. Of the 14% who said yes, more than 1 in 10 said they had been affected by reverse discrimination. When Pew posed a similar question about race to the survey respondents, nearly 20% of those who said race made their job harder cited reverse discrimination as the reason for their challenges."
Prioritise personal exepriences. Unless you're a white male

Conservative Google employees are blacklisted, lawsuit alleges - "The most jaw-dropping allegation is that "Google publicly endorsed blacklists" of conservatives. The suit claims that several hiring managers publicly vowed not to hire people categorized as "hostile voices" - aka conservatives... The suit cites another post from another hiring manager that read: "If you express a dunderheaded opinion about religion, about politics, or about 'social justice', it turns out I am allowed to think you're a halfwit ... I'm perfectly within my rights to mentally categorize you in my [d---head] box ... Yes, I maintain (mentally, and not (yet) publicly)."... The lawsuit shows that in at least one case, a manager, a white woman, was contemplating keeping some kind of actual public list of employee names. The manager wrote on an internal post, "I am thinking of something like a google doc that accepts comments, and which calls out those googlers that are unsupportive of diversity," she wrote. She wondered, in the post, whether special "trials" should be held for employees nominated for the list, to determine whether they belonged on it... conservative employees reported such lists or other attempts to block them and their comments on Google's internal social-media sites to HR who told them that employees have the right to block others or make statements about the type of employees they liked to work with"

The Dirty War Over Diversity Inside Google - "the diversity advocates say some employees have “weaponized human resources” by goading them into inflammatory statements, which are then captured and reported to HR for violating Google’s mores around civility or for offending white men."
According to WIRED, whistleblowing is a bad thing; it is significant that they never present the evidence from Damore's lawsuit, only claiming that diversity advocates were "goaded" (presumably violence is alright if someone says something you don't like). Ironically they quote Yonatan Zunger, despite his literally threatening violence against people he disagrees with

Google Engineer to James Damore: 'I Will Hound You Until One of Us Is Fired' - "One, in particular, comes from a Systems Reliability Engineer at the company, Alex Hidalgo. Hidalgo emailed Damore personally after the publishing of Damore’s viewpoint diversity memo from last year with the subject line, “You are a terrible person.” In the email Hidalgo insults and threatens Damore, encouraging him to pass the email on to Human Resources, when Damore did this, little was done by the company’s HR department... 'You’re a misogynist and a terrible human. I will keep hounding you until one of us is fired. F*ck you.'... Hidalgo’s email came just days after a Director at Google, George Sadlier, sent a mass email condemning James’ memo and James himself. Hidalgo worked under Sadlier who called James’ memo “repulsive and intellectually dishonest,” according to the lawsuit, and promised that an HR investigation would be done into Damore as an employee. The lawsuit also claims that Sadlier encouraged posts that called for violence against James... the Google Recognition Team awarded the coveted “Peer Bonus” — which are usually reserved for outstanding work performance — to employees that argued against Damore’s views. One employee gave a Peer Bonus to an employee stating that the bonus was for “speaking up for google values and promoting [diversity and inclusion] in the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is [Damore’s Memo].” This was reviewed and approved by the Google Recognition Team. Colm Buckley, a high-ranking systems reliability engineer director at Google, also received no punishment for his comments that seemed to call for violence against Damore, and openly stated his intent to stifle discussion on Google’s internal message board. Colm discussed Damore’s memo on the message board stating, “Yes this is ‘silencing’. I intend to silence these views; they are violently offensive.”"
Of course, if you have reading comprehension problems and even after supposedly reading the memo still think Damore was saying that women are biologically incapable of being engineers, you will think this was justified

James Damore's Lawsuit Is Designed to Embarrass Google - "The claims of political discrimination are not based on the First Amendment, which does not apply to private employers, but rather on a California law protecting political points of view. Damore’s lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, claims to have won settlements in California based on discrimination against conservatives before, arguing that treating white, conservative men as a protected class “would not be a precedent, it would simply be an application of the law.”... she said Google violated the law when it allegedly created quotas for hiring women and underrepresented minorities... Dhillon said Google shareholders will be “pretty shocked to find” that employees are spending their time “talking about furry sex clubs and toxic whiteness,” rather than doing their jobs. Dhillon also mentioned evidence of an employee wondering if Google should tweak its search results to reduce the prominence of studies that Damore cited in his memo. Dhillon said she didn’t know whether Google was actually doing this, but said employees openly discussed altering rankings to not display racist, white supremacist, anti-gay and anti-semitic content"

James Damore sues Google, alleging intolerance of white male conservatives - "The evidence appended to the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, includes a message from Rachel Whetstone, who worked as a senior Google executive after a career in the UK Conservative party, bemoaning “prejudiced and antagonistic” political discourse at the company... Screenshots of internal communications reveal numerous employees appearing to support the idea of being intolerant toward certain points of view, such as one post arguing that Google should respond to Damore’s memo by “disciplining or terminating those who have expressed support”. In another post, a manager stated his intention to “silence” certain “violently offensive” perspectives, writing: “There are certain ‘alternative views, including different political views’ which I do not want people to feel safe to share here … You can believe that women or minorities are unqualified all you like … but if you say it out loud, then you deserve what’s coming to you”. Internal posts discussing the debate around diversity at Google, such as a meme of a penguin with the text “If you want to increase diversity at Google fire all the bigoted white men”, are filed as an appendix to the lawsuit under the heading “Anti-Caucasian postings”... In the 2014 email from Whetstone, who served as senior vice-president of communications and public policy at Google for several years before departing for Uber, she wrote: “It seems like we believe in free expression except when people disagree with the majority view … I have lost count of the times at Google, for example, people tell me privately that they cannot admit their voting choice if they are Republican because they fear how other Googlers react.” The complaint argues that Google’s tolerance for “alternative lifestyles” – the company has internal mailing lists for people interested in “furries, polygamy, transgenderism, and plurality” – does not extend to conservatism. One employee who emailed a list seeking parenting advice related to imparting a child with “traditional gender roles and patriarchy from a very young age” was allegedly chastised by human resources... Gudeman, the second named plaintiff, was fired following a post-election controversy in another online forum at Google. A Google employee posted that he was concerned for his safety under a Trump administration because he had already been “targeted by the FBI (including at work) for being a Muslim”. According to the suit, Gudeman responded skeptically to the comment, raising questions about the FBI’s motives for investigating the employee, and was reported to HR. Gudeman was fired shortly thereafter, the suit claims, after Google HR told him that he had “accused [the Muslim employee] of terrorism”."

YouTube CEO: Tech is 'very geeky male industry' that affects diversity - "from YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki... one reason for the lack of women in tech is its reputation for being a "very geeky male industry."... She blamed the problem on the public perception of the industry and the pipeline problem for recruiting women from college, rather than addressing the questions of retention and inclusion of women and diverse talent after they're recruited to the industry... In the conversation, Pichai noted the differences between what women look for in jobs and men. "Women typically look for jobs with a purpose. Studies show that. I think it’s important for them to see the why of why you need to need technology," Pichai continued."
James Damore on Twitter: "Did I read this right? Susan Wojicicki said that women find “geeky male industries” (as opposed to “social industries”) “not very interesting” and Sundar cites research on gender differences."

Most Interesting Parts of James Damore’s Class Action Filing - "“The only lifestyle that seems to not be openly discussed on Google’s internal forums is traditional heterosexual monogamy.” This section of the complaint also references a presentation from an employee who identifies as “a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin” and another who identifies as “an expansive ornate building.”... “Not only was the numerical presence of women celebrated at Google solely due to their gender, but the presence of Caucasians and males was mocked with ‘boos’ during company-wide weekly meetings.”"

Silicon Valley Will Pay the Price for Its Lefty Leanings - "ironically, Damore probably has the least to lose from this case. If he had been fired quietly, even in a case of clear political discrimination, then he would have very good reason to keep his head down, find another job, and gripe to his friends over the occasional beer. But Googlers leaked his memo to the media, and then management fired him in a very public and humiliating way that was bound to make it very hard for him to get another job. By doing so, they ensured that he would have little reason not to sue the firm, if he could find a lawyer to take the case -- and also ensured that there would probably be a number of angry conservative lawyers interested in taking the case. That was stupid, because Google has an immense amount to lose, even if a court ultimately vindicates its corporate culture. The company’s internal systems, featuring an immense array of internal employee communications, will be ripped open to scrutiny. If I were a Google executive, I wouldn’t want to bet that employees haven’t said much worse things in emails and on message boards than those featured in the lawsuit. Things that are plainly, inarguably, expensively illegal. But I also wouldn’t want even milder utterances to turn up as testimony in a lawsuit. Because every nasty comment and intemperate remark about Republicans or white males or conservative Christians is going to get broadcast to the public when this case goes to trial. And as you may have noticed, those folks are half the country... This is one reason public corporations have historically tried to keep politics out of their business. It is internally divisive, and it paints a giant target on your back for your political enemies. Whatever small gains you may get, from internal bonding among like-minded employees, or external rewards from like-minded politicians, are almost never worth the blowback. This is a lesson that Silicon Valley hasn’t had to learn yet, because it is so rich, and so new, that these sorts of concerns haven’t really registered. Presumably that’s why Google managers complacently allowed a corporate culture to grow up that at the very least tolerates some degree of progressive militancy at work, and quite possibly encourages more than a little of it. That was incredibly short-sighted"

An Interview With James Damore - "there's special treatment during the interviews (like more being given) and there are high priority queues for team matching after an employee gets hired. Also, there were calls to holding individual managers accountable for the "diversity" of their team, which would inevitably lead to managers using someone's protected status (e.g. gender or ethnicity) during critical employment situations... we need to rethink these practices because they may be illegal and actually increase intergroup tensions, as we've seen in academia, which is exactly what we don't want... "microaggressions" are being taught and compared to actual violence. There's also a weekly email that goes out to about 20,000 Googlers where people submit examples of these... One was complaining about someone suggesting to use a picture of an attractive person on an ad to increase the number of clicks. Which is apparently a case of "lookism."...
CY: So, among the women who work at Google, there are many who don't agree with the standard progressive view of women in tech—i.e. that all disparities are due to sexism?
JD: Correct, and many of them are tired of being made to feel like victims by that narrative.
CY: What were the negative responses you received?
JD: Most were just name-calling or public shaming. I did get a few personal threats, though... There were some threats of violence and many public displays of retaliation within the workplace—i.e. internally public posts stating that they will never work with me and will sabotage my projects.
CY: Even before the memo went public?
JD: Right."

Why stuntwomen are in more danger than men - "She researched athletes who risk injury to their knees: female figure skaters turned out to be the best role models. Figure skaters perform pirouettes on one of the hardest, most slippery surfaces in the world, while balancing on thin blades and wearing minuscule dresses. Baird discovered they use crash pads made with gel to protect their hips, shoulders and knees from smashing against the ice. By dipping them in tea she matched the gel pads to her skin tone to make them invisible on screen. The idea has now spread throughout the stunt community... Throughout her 22-year career she never questioned the fact that men have the benefit of being fully padded while she’s flung off galloping horses in a tight leather skirt. “It’s just what needs to be done for film. It’s not life-threatening; it just hurts a lot more,” she says"

The gendered roles of stunt men and women - "the violence depicted against women in films is often much more personalised. A male stunt performer gets many generic ‘soldier’ or ‘henchman’ roles where they are killed with brutality but without empathy. These are almost throw-away deaths that add colour, but no depth to the plot. The female performer is often a direct target of violence which solidifies the bad guy as the worst of the worst in the eyes of the audience... she actually plays more heroic roles than the average male stunt performer, who may spend his whole career playing soldiers in trenches and the occasional flailing fruit man."

Maltitol in Atkins Products on iHerb.com

Many Atkins products contain the sugar alcohol maltitol, which has a much high glycemic index than other sugar alcohols.

Of the selection on iHerb.com, I have divided the catalogue into those with no, some and a lot of maltitol. I also add my reviews for those that I've tried. [Ed: Some of these might no longer be available on iHerb. A few, I got from Amazon so they might not be on iHerb either]

No maltitol
I haven't tried:
Dark Chocolate Cherry & Nuts Bar
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Bar
Peanut Butter Fudge Crisp

Shakes: vanilla, strawberry, milk chocolate - these taste nice, but are rather thin
Cafe caramel, dark chocolate, - I haven't tried these

Blueberry Greek yogurt
Excellent - like the real thing [Ed: Last I checked iHerb, there was maltitol, but the version that I bought doesn't have maltitol though, but glycerin. The official Atkins website matches the ingredients list of what I bought]

Chocolate Almond Caramel
Okay. A little of the characteristic heavy taste - it seems Atkins chocolate coating is the common factor here, so it might be best to avoid the chocolate-coated products (this was 3 months past best by, but it still wasn't that heavy).
Couldn't taste the caramel. Almond taste was light.

Chocolate chip granola
Excellent - like the real thing

Chocolate mint (protein wafer crisps)
Light and crisp. A little of the characteristic heavy taste.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar
Has the characteristic heavy taste but otherwise has some resemblance to what it's supposed to be (but possibly because I had it 4 months past the best by date)

Light & Crispy Lemon Bar
Very good. Crispy, with a good lemon flavour

Vanilla Pecan Crisp Bar
This is pretty good. It has a bit of the slightly off taste that some other bars do but it has a good crispy and grainy texture. I can't really taste the pecan, while the vanilla flavoured coating is okay

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bar
This is quite good. It has a convincing crisp and flavour

A bit of maltitol
Caramel chocolate peanut nougat
Alright. Like a lousier Snickers bar

Significant amount of maltitol:
Caramel Chocolate Nut Roll
Caramel Double Chocolate Crunch Bar
Caramel Nut Chew
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bar
Nutty Fudge Brownie Bar

Chocolate Caramel Mousse
Okay, like a lousier Mars bar

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (a bit less maltitol than the rest)
Weird. A bit chalky.

Chocolate Coconut Bar
Good coconut + chocolate taste

Chocolate Hazelnut Bar
Alright. Like a granola bar.

Cookies n' Creme Bar
Good: Convincing chocolate taste. Crispy with a layer of cream

A LOT of maltitol (it's the top ingredient)
Peanut Butter Cups
Great. Convincing.

Chocolate Candies
Good but when cold they're not so good. But if not cold they may melt.

Chocolate Peanut Candies
Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Crunch Bar
(these 2 have less maltitol than the first 2 but still a lot - it's one of the top ingredients)

Links - 26th May 2018 (1)

How China’s market economy has fuelled a prostitution boom - "The sex industry has become an increasingly important part of the Chinese economy. In an article published in 2000, Zhong Wei estimated that the sex trade contributes about 6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product with annual consumption at 1 trillion yuan (HK$1.21 trillion). He also estimates that there are 20 million sex workers in China."

Guesthouse in Mao's village now a brothel - "THE state guesthouse in Shaoshan, Chairman Mao Zedong's home village in Hunan province, has been turned into a brothel by locals determined to revive the flagging tourist industry in the heart of Chinese communism. Heavily made-up teenage girls wait at the Shaoshan Hotel's Massage and Beauty Parlour watching guests check into their rooms."

Venezuela: Latin America's inequality success story | From Poverty to Power
Oxfam applauds Venezuela for reducing inequality by making everyone equally miserable
"Socialism will lead to great success and happiness.
Hence any socialist country that fails is obviously not a valid example of socialism."

Oxfam would rather make us all poorer than feed the world - "rather than discussing actual poverty it focuses on how the current wealth of the world is split between the top one per cent and the rest. In order to solve this supposed crisis, their report also lays out solutions that call for the effective abolition of the modern capitalist economy."

Children receive new ears grown from their own cells in world first

The Impact Of Temperature On Productivity And Labor Supply - Evidence From Indian Manufacturing - "Cross-country studies have found that hotter years are associated with lower output in poor countries. Using high-frequency micro-data from manufacturing firms in India, we show that worker heat stress can substantially explain this correlation. Ambient temperatures have non-linear effects on worker productivity, with declines on hot days of 4 to 9 percent per degree rise in temperature. Sustained heat also increases absenteeism. Similar temperature induced productivity declines are replicated in annual plant output from a national panel. Our estimates imply that warming between 1971 and 2009 may have decreased manufacturing output in India by at least 3 percent relative to a no-warming counterfactual."
Without air conditioning, Singapore would be a mistake

Singapore ranks low on excitement: Survey - "Singapore is one of the least exciting among 32 cities from around the world, according to Time Out’s City Life Index 2018... Singapore came in at 31 in the anonymous survey of 15,000 urbanites across the 32 cities which takes into account criteria such as culture, food, drink, friendliness, liveability, affordability and happiness. Time Out pronounced Singapore as “the worst rated city” for culture, and the worst for drinking apart from Dubai. However, Singapore's final score of 98.7 points was bolstered by its good ratings for safety and public transport and its “much buzzier restaurant scene” compared to other cities towards the bottom of the ranking. Singapore came ahead of last-placed city, Istanbul, which chalked up 87.1 points. The index reported that Istanbulites think their city is “a rip-off” and that it is unsafe, adding that that they also do not “feel proud or enjoy living there”. The honour of “greatest city in the world” went to Chicago, with Chicagoans lauding the city’s bar scene, live music and culture. The Windy City, which racked up 138.2 points, was also deemed “one of the happiest and proudest cities” worldwide."

Monopoly will release cheaters edition of board game this fall - "If you've ever tried to sneak some extra cash from the bank at Monopoly or have tried to avoid paying rent when landing on Park Place, then we have good news. There's a version of the game for you... "A recent study conducted by Hasbro revealed that nearly half of game players attempt to cheat during Monopoly games, so in 2018, we decided it was time to give fans what they've been craving all along - a Monopoly game that actually encourages cheating"

The Psychology of Inequality - "access to the database had a “negative effect on workers paid below the median for their unit and occupation” but “no effect on workers paid above median.” The message the economists took from their research was that employers “have a strong incentive” to keep salaries secret. Assuming that California workers are representative of the broader population, the experiment also suggests a larger, more disturbing conclusion. In a society where economic gains are concentrated at the top—a society, in other words, like our own—there are no real winners and a multitude of losers... He has come to believe that what’s really damaging about being poor, at least in a country like the United States—where, as he notes, even most people living below the poverty line possess TVs, microwaves, and cell phones—is the subjective experience of feeling poor. This feeling is not limited to those in the bottom quintile; in a world where people measure themselves against their neighbors, it’s possible to earn good money and still feel deprived. “Unlike the rigid columns of numbers that make up a bank ledger, status is always a moving target, because it is defined by ongoing comparisons to others,” Payne writes... "inequality itself can cause risky behavior"... the privileged prefer not to think of themselves that way. One woman, who has an apartment overlooking the Hudson, a second home in the Hamptons, and a household income of at least two million dollars a year, tells Sherman that she considers herself middle class... If affluence is in the eye of the beholder, then even the super-rich, when they compare their situation with that of the ultra-rich, can feel sorry for themselves... Sherman construes things differently. Her subjects, she believes, are reluctant to categorize themselves as affluent because of what the label implies. “These New Yorkers are trying to see themselves as ‘good people,’ ” she writes. “Good people work hard. They live prudently, within their means. . . . They don’t brag or show off.”... Like humans, capuchin monkeys, the researchers wrote, “seem to measure reward in relative terms.”"

The Conversation #MeToo Needs to Have - "we’re starting to lose the crowd. This gets called “backlash,” which makes it seem a product of sexism, but to a significant extent it’s also a product of the rage itself, and the irrational, score-settling things it can make people do... when messy hook ups and ill-conceived passes receive the same public shaming and career-damaging punishment as serious crimes, you also get the attention of millions of wives, mothers, and sisters who are not willing to see their loved ones unfairly targeted, and some of them are starting to cool on the movement. As for the men—the good ones—they’re eager to fight rape, but unwilling to lose their jobs over unfounded or minor accusations... #MeToo has made cowards of many people who are terrified of having the mob turn on them... There were a few women who were willing to stand up for Franken. The law professor—and feminist—Zephyr Teachout wrote in The New York Times that she was not convinced Franken should quit: “Zero tolerance should go hand in hand with two other things: due process and proportionality.” These words—a balm of Gilead for anyone hoping to strengthen the movement by adding reason and fairness to its core ideals—seemed not to register within the larger, “burn it down” spirit animating the mob. Bill Maher told his audience about the trouble Matt Damon got into for saying that “There’s a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation.” That prompted Minnie Driver to tweet, “No. You don’t get to be hierarchical about abuse. You don’t get to tell women that because some guy only showed them his penis, their pain isn’t as great as a woman who was raped.” It was like the kind of hyper-gendered conversation that women’s magazines of yesteryear loved to decode for their readers: He was talking about facts; she was talking about feelings... how many women have alienated the very people they need to make this movement successful because they are so blinded by rage that they can only speak in radical and alienating terms? Add the opportunists who see in this movement a potent opportunity for self promotion, and we begin to see the rocky path that #MeToo must travel if it is to grow from a vehicle of outrage to a mechanism for lasting change."

America Is Not a Democracy - "public policy does not reflect the preferences of the majority of Americans. If it did, the country would look radically different: Marijuana would be legal and campaign contributions more tightly regulated; paid parental leave would be the law of the land and public colleges free; the minimum wage would be higher and gun control much stricter; abortions would be more accessible in the early stages of pregnancy and illegal in the third trimester... Four broad theories have long sought to answer a fundamental question about our government: Who rules? One theory, the one we teach our children in civics classes, holds that the views of average people are decisive. Another theory suggests that mass-based interest groups such as the AARP have the power. A third theory predicts that business groups such as the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and the National Beer Wholesalers Association carry the day. A fourth theory holds that policy reflects the views of the economic elite. Gilens and Page tested those theories by tracking how well the preferences of various groups predicted the way that Congress and the executive branch would act on 1,779 policy issues over a span of two decades. The results were shocking. Economic elites and narrow interest groups were very influential: They succeeded in getting their favored policies adopted about half of the time, and in stopping legislation to which they were opposed nearly all of the time. Mass-based interest groups, meanwhile, had little effect on public policy. As for the views of ordinary citizens, they had virtually no independent effect at all... The massive influence that money yields in Washington is hardly a secret. But another, equally important development has largely gone ignored: More and more issues have simply been taken out of democratic contestation. In many policy areas, the job of legislating has been supplanted by so-called independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau... They are now responsible for the vast majority of new federal regulations... treaties and agreements offer real benefits or help us confront urgent challenges. Whatever your view of their merit, however, there is no denying that they curtail the power of Congress in ways that also disempower American voters... This same tension between popular sovereignty and good governance is also evident in the debates over the power of the nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court... The American right has long railed against “activist judges” while the American left, which enjoyed a majority on the Court for a long stretch during the postwar era, has claimed that justices were merely doing their job. Now that the Court has started to lean further right, these views are rapidly reversing... a political elite with less and less backing from the people ultimately has to resort to more and more repressive steps to hold on to its power; in the end, any serious attempt to sacrifice democracy in order to safeguard liberty is likely to culminate in an end to the rule of law as well as the rule of the people."
Addendum: Reported by the BBC as Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy
Findings: "Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence"

Snip snap - Male circumcision - "SEXUAL, health and aesthetic norms do not vary much across the West. Male circumcision is an exception. Over half of American boys are snipped, compared with 2-3% in Finland and Britain. The procedure is justified in America on grounds given little credence in Europe: that it makes genitals cleaner, nicer-looking and more socially acceptable... Over 80% of American men are circumcised. Parents worry that uncircumcised boys will be teased in the changing rooms; fathers often want their sons to look the same as them “down there”. Many parents think foreskins are hard to clean, says Georganne Chapin of Intact America, a group lobbying against infant circumcision. But if men can become astrophysicists or master carpenters, she says, surely they can learn to wash? American doctors routinely ask new mothers whether they want their sons circumcised before they go home. Insurers often pay, so providers have an incentive to promote it. Parents who want to decide on rational grounds get little help. The American Academy of Paediatrics says the benefits “outweigh the risks” but also that they are too low to justify routine circumcision. Most parents go with the flow. European doctors’ associations take a different line. The Nordic ones insist that there are no health benefits for young boys. The Royal Dutch Medical Association urges a “strong policy of deterrence”; it stops short of recommending a ban only for fear of driving circumcision for religious reasons underground."

Gay Coffee Shop Owner Blasts Anti-Abortion Activists In Viral Video - "The openly gay co-owner of a Seattle coffee shop is feeling the heat after a video of him asking a group of anti-abortion activists to leave his establishment surfaced last week. Ben Borgman, who co-owns Bedlam Coffee in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, got into an argument with members of Abolish Human Abortion when he asked the group to take their business elsewhere. A video of the altercation was posted to Abolish Human Abortion’s Facebook page with the caption, “Angry homosexual kicks Christian customers out of coffee shop.”"
Maybe they should sue him for religious discrimination, since they didn't even ask him to give them coffee with latte art reading "abortion is bad"

As crime dries up, Japan’s police hunt for things to do - Petty officers - "they are becoming more inventive about what constitutes a crime, says Kanako Takayama of Kyoto University. In one recent case, she says, they arrested a group of people who had shared the cost of renting a car, deeming the arrangement an illegal taxi. Some prefectures have begun prosecuting people who ride their bicycles through red lights."

Defending Silicon Valley’s Professional Men, not “Bros” - "There were a few of us women promoted to the executive suites and venture capital offices in the ’90’s... When passed over for a promotion or funding, in today’s “sis” culture it is all too easy to blame discrimination. However, there are usually multiple male candidates for that same position or investment. What can they point to as the reason they failed to get ahead? Results-orientation, interpersonal skills, ambition—all these are characteristics needed in the intensely competitive and dynamic market of technology. This is a rough-and-tumble world, where boys become men or don’t make it as leaders. Many women are unprepared for, or shy away from, that kind of competition, hard work, and risk-taking. The reality is that any time off, from family leave to vacations, may leave a worker vulnerable to not gaining key experience, or missing a great opportunity to shine and be more promotable. That’s life. Making those kinds of choices is a freedom we all have. I didn’t take a single week of vacation my entire corporate career, only an occasional Friday or Monday holiday. Many thought I was crazy. Yet that allowed me to rise to be the only woman in a roomful of men, and usually the youngest, too. In my experience, Silicon Valley’s professional men are fully aware of women’s strengths and contributions to their business, and readily seek out those who can contribute to bottom-line profits... Too many women are choosing to wield the power of public opinion, government regulations, and attorneys to protect them from these supposed “bro” bullies, threatening retribution based on innuendo, false expectations, vague promises, and unprovable claims. They seek equality of condition, not equality of opportunity. Women do have power and justifiable recourse through management and/or human resources, and ultimately our legal system. But it is as wrong to exploit the law for vengeance, or to compensate for one’s own foolhardy decisions, as it is to exploit gender-specific restroom chats. And men can hardly be blamed today if they fear entrapment and false accusations. Current events prove just how easily a career can be destroyed with careless words or purposeful vindictiveness. Unfortunately, professionalism is such a vague term that it is hard to challenge specific behavior inappropriate to today’s fluid workplace setting. Ideally, experienced men should be mentoring the younger generation of boisterous males in how to behave around co-workers. But experienced women should also be teaching young females how to handle dicey situations that are bound to arise. Naïveté is no excuse once you’re an adult. This is serious work, not play. No more cocooned university campus. No more Mom and Dad running interference. Casual dress code or an off-site meeting does not mean anything goes. There are real consequences for your choices... if you don’t like where you are working in Silicon Valley, quit. Both men and women have done that for years. In fact, many successful entrepreneurs got their start because the working environment was not to their liking. California’s reputation as a mythical land of milk and honey, formed centuries ago, continues to this day. Utopia in any form doesn’t exist. Nor do unicorns. Women who believe that they deserve wealth simply for landing a job in tech will be just as disappointed as the majority of men"

“Hate Speech” Does Not Incite Hatred - "This common understanding of the role of “hate radio” overlooks basic facts of Rwandan history, including the fact that the genocide took place in the midst of a Tutsi-dominated insurgency that had begun in 1990, and which had resulted in hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Rwandans as insurgent forces approached the capital in 1993, just a year before the beginning of the genocide. Thus, the myth that Rwanda was an Arcadia of ethnic harmony before the “hate radio” broadcasts began is just that: a myth. Perhaps more importantly, the popular narrative regarding the role of “hate radio” ignores twenty years of scholarship which finds little evidence that the radio broadcasts caused people to engage in genocide... Contrary to popular belief, there is little evidence that propaganda is able to change minds; rather, it is generally effective only among those who already agree with it, and counter-productive among those who disagree. That was true even of Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda, which decreased denunciations of Jews by ordinary people in areas which had not historically been anti-Semitic. Therefore, the scholarly consensus is clear: “Hate speech” does not engender hatred. Rather, to the extent that is has any effect on violence at all, it makes it somewhat easier for those already inclined towards violence to act, largely by placing an imprimatur of official approval on acts of violence, and thereby making people who are already hateful and prone to violence believe that they can get away with acting violently. This implies that censoring “hate speech” by ordinary persons is pointless – it is only “hate speech” by elites that can be dangerous (and even then not by creating hatred)... efforts to censor extremists can backfire by causing them to see themselves as a persecuted minority who are justified in using violent means to be heard"

Whatever you do, don’t quit your job to pursue your passion - "Quitting your job to pursue your passion is bullshit. This messaging is only beneficial for privileged people and very dangerous for working class people. The statement alone reeks of privilege. It confirms you had a full-time job to begin with. It confirms you had time to develop a passion (that you can capitalize off of, enough to meet your cost of living). It confirms you had the option to pursue something different because you feel like it. There are more challenges to being self-employed than just mental perseverance and grit. We are predatorily luring working class people into an entrepreneur lifestyle as the answer to living a meaningful life and making loads of money. It’s the new American Dream."

Why They Hate Us - "deliberating groups tend to move toward a mole extreme point in line with their pre-deliberation tendencies. If like-minded people are talking with one another, they are likely to end up thinking a more extreme version of what they thought before they started to talk... It should be readily apparent that enclaves of people, inclined to terrorist violence, might move sharply in that direction as a consequence of internal deliberations. Three aggravating factors are of special relevance to the issue of terrorism. First, if members of the group think that they have a shared identity, and a high degree of solidarity, there will be heightened polarization... if members of the deliberating group are connected by affective ties, polarization will increase. If they tend to perceive one another as friendly, likable, and similar to them, the size and likelihood of the shift will increase. These points obviously bear on the cult-like features of terrorist organizations, in which shared identity helps fuel movement toward extremes. Third, extremists are especially prone to polarization... It is tempting to think that conformity plays a large role. Conformity may be at work, but the data make clear that group polarization is not a matter of conformity; people do not simply shift to the mean of their respective initial positions... If you think of yourself as the sort of person who opposes gun control more than most people do (because, hypothetically, you think that you are unusually disposed to reject liberal homilies), you might shift your position once you find yourself in a group that is very strongly opposed to gun control. If you stay where you were, you may seem more favorably disposed toward gun control than most group members, and this may be disconcerting, thus producing a shift... Terrorist leaders act as polarization entrepreneurs. They create enclaves of like-minded people. They stifle dissenting views and do not tolerate internal disagreement. They take steps to ensure a high degree of internal solidarity. They restrict the relevant argument pool and take full advantage of reputational forces, above all by using the incentive of group approval... Training routines specifically reinforce the basic message of solidarity amidst humiliation... if a nation aims to prevent terrorist activities, a good strategy is to prevent the rise of enclaves of like-minded people"
In other words, echo chambers self radicalise and virtue signalling is a thing

Friday, May 25, 2018

Links - 25th May 2018 (3)

The differences in career preferences between genders - "The results were based on a poll of 15,000 university students across the UK and it seems that women are more likely to be driven by ‘serving a greater good’, whereas men want to be seen as technical or functional experts... almost three quarters of women are more likely to apply to a firm with a good benefits package, a third consider the brands commitment to corporate social responsibility, and over half are swayed by the availability of flexible working... men tend to prefer ‘macro’ employers with women favoring medium sized orginisations. And males want to work in companies they perceive to be constantly innovative, offering high levels of responsibility and rapid promotion schemes. Females want to work for organisations with high ethical standards, opportunities for international travel or relocation, respect for their people and a good basis for a future career"
Maybe Damore went back in time to interfere with this study's methodology to justify his sexism and misogyny

What’s Wrong with the New NIH Study on Transgender Kids? - "It’s common practice for federal bureaucrats to design and then publicize biased studies to promote their preferred policy. We outlined this practice in our new book, Deconstructing the Administrative State: The Fight for Liberty. The process is simple: (1) issue requests for research proposals slanted in favor of a particular outcome, (2) fund studies that reach the expected conclusions, and (3) cite that research in subsequent studies to claim that a “growing body of evidence” favors the preferred policy. These techniques are now being deployed in a new area: treatment for gender dysphoria. Dr. Quentin Van Meter, an Atlanta pediatric endocrinologist with extensive experience in the science of gender dysphoria who trained at Johns Hopkins Hospital, states flatly that there is “zero point zero zero” evidence that the concepts of gender fluidity and gender identity have any scientific basis. But it takes a courageous physician to risk opprobrium and accusations of insufficient compassion by rejecting the new dogma... What data are there about children who are treated with puberty blockers so that natural puberty, with its likely positive effects on their gender dysphoria, is short-circuited? A study from the Netherlands of seventy such children found that all of them went on to embrace a transgender identity—unlike the vast majority of children not given such treatment. According to the American College of Pediatricians (ACP),
This is a cause for concern...
To have 100 percent of pre-pubertal children choose cross-sex hormones suggests that the protocol itself inevitably leads the individual to identify as transgender. There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging a young child with GD to socially impersonate the opposite sex and then institute pubertal suppression...
Research has also established that administering cross-sex hormones after puberty-suppression creates a multitude of harmful physical effects (some certain, others potential). These hormones will render the patient infertile for life, since they prevent the maturation of gonadal tissue and gametes in both sexes."
Keywords: hormone blockers

Transgender Regret Is Real Even If The Media Says Otherwise - "sex change regret is quite common. One such study commissioned by The Guardian of the UK in 2004 reviewed 100 studies and reported that a whopping 20 percent (one fifth) of transgenders regret changing genders, ten times more than CNN’s Costello reported... Consider the findings of a 2011 Swedish study (not the study Ms. Costello used) published seven years after the 2004 UK review. It looked at mortality and morbidity after gender reassignment surgery and found that people who changed genders had a higher risk of suicide... According to several studies, the majority of transgenders have co-existing disorders that need to be treated. This helps to explain why regret and suicide are prevalent among transgenders. The following studies provide irrefutable evidence that transgenders overwhelmingly suffer from a variety of mental disorders... 41 percent attempt suicide, 90 percent have a “significant form of psychopathology”, 61 percent also have other psychiatric disorders and illnesses, 50 percent had depressive symptoms, 40 percent showed symptoms of anxiety... Every time a transgender ends his or her life, the LGBT will blame society or the victim and push for more laws to “protect” them"'

Optimistic mothers have boys, study says - "Evolutionary biologists call this the Trivers-Willard hypothesis. It suggests that when a mother feels under pressure, from anything ranging from poor health and living conditions to scarce food, it makes biological sense for her to give birth to a girl rather than a boy."

The Hero Nobody Wanted - "*Virtue Signal* 'Minorities need me to speak for them!'
The hero nobody wanted. The hero nobody asked for"

Ethnic Chinese and want to live in China? Find out if you qualify for new five-year visa - "Foreigners of Chinese origin will be allowed to apply for visas from this Thursday that permit them to stay in China for five years or enter the country multiple times over that period, provided they meet set criteria. The new policy, which takes effect from February 1, is an improvement on the current one-year multiple-entry visa for this group. Foreigners of Chinese origin with residency will be able to extend the period of their stay from three to five years... a foreigner of Chinese origin refers to a former Chinese citizen who has obtained foreign citizenship, or the offspring of present or former Chinese citizens. The applicant only needs to have one parent, grandparent or ancestor who is or was a Chinese citizen. The authorities specified no limit on the number of generations"

Is organic really better for the environment than conventional agriculture? - "Despite strong public perception of organic agriculture producing better environmental outcomes, we show that conventional agriculture often performs better on environmental measures including land use, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution of water bodies"

The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They're Not What You Think - "Depression is often measured by scientists using something called the Hamilton Scale. It runs from 0 (where you are dancing in ecstasy) to 59 (where you are suicidal). Improving your sleep patterns gives you a movement on the Hamilton Scale of around 6 points. Chemical antidepressants give you an improvement, on average, of 1.8 points, according to research by professor Irving Kirsch of Harvard University. It’s a real effect – but it’s modest. Of course, the fact it’s an average means some people get a bigger boost. But for huge numbers of people, like me, it’s not enough to lift us out of depression – so I began to see we need to expand the menu of options for depressed and anxious people. I needed to know how. But more than that – I was startled to discover that many leading scientists believe the whole idea that depression is caused by a “chemically imbalanced” brain is wrong. I learned that there are in fact nine major causes of depression and anxiety that are unfolding all around us. Two are biological, and seven are out in here in the world, rather than sealed away inside our skulls in the way my doctor told me. The causes are all quite different, and they play out to different degrees in the lives of depressed and anxious people. I was even more startled to discover this isn’t some fringe position – the World Health Organization has been warning for years that we need to start dealing with the deeper causes of depression in this way"

Swallowing tapeworms, the beauty fad that continues to haunt us. - "The Victorian era, roughly the 1830s to 1900, is notorious for its bizarre notions of beauty and its even more bizarre secrets to attaining it. The ideal of the time was modeled after those afflicted by consumption (tuberculosis). Pale skin, dilated eyes, rosy cheeks, crimson lips, and a meager and fragile figure. From swallowing ammonia to bathing in arsenic—which they knew to be poisonous—to using figure-molding corsets in a never-ending quest for the “perfect” 16-inch waist, there was no limit to what fashionable Victorians would do... What’s scariest about this diet is not that it may have been used by the same people who willingly ingested carbon but that its idea continues to be around. Like air pollution and zombie films, it simply refuses to die. Its presence is evidenced by the numerous online forums dedicated to the question of the diet’s efficiency, and the (fairly dubious) reports of Mexican clinics that will give you the treatment for a couple thousand dollars."

Egos inflating over time: a cross-temporal meta-analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. - "A cross-temporal meta-analysis found that narcissism levels have risen over the generations in 85 samples of American college students who completed the 40-item forced-choice Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) between 1979 and 2006 (total n=16,475). Mean narcissism scores were significantly correlated with year of data collection when weighted by sample size (beta=.53, p<.001). Since 1982, NPI scores have increased 0.33 standard deviation. Thus, almost two-thirds of recent college students are above the mean 1979-1985 narcissism score, a 30% increase. The results complement previous studies finding increases in other individualistic traits such as assertiveness, agency, self-esteem, and extraversion."

Struggling Taiwanese Food Stand Quadruples in Sales After Hiring 小桃子 - "A struggling food stand in Taiwan was able to turn its business around after hiring a miracle worker to tend to their customers just for one night. The owners of the braised meat snack stall located in Beitun District, Taichung City revealed that they recently invited Vivi, aka Little Peach (小桃子), to serve as their “one-day shop manager” to see if she could help draw in more customers."

Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona by John R. Lott - "Using newly released detailed data on all prisoners who entered the Arizona state prison from January 1985 through June 2017, we are able to separate non-U.S. citizens by whether they are illegal or legal residents. Unlike other studies, these data do not rely on self-reporting of criminal backgrounds. Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences, more likely to be classified as dangerous, and 45% more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens. Yet, there are several reasons that these numbers are likely to underestimate the share of crime committed by undocumented immigrants"
To liberals, immigrants and illegal immigrants are the same thing so maybe this will be used as justification to reduce all immigration

Venezuelan Pirates Rule the Most Lawless Market on Earth - "Venezuela and the island of Trinidad are separated by only 10 miles of water and bound together by the most lawless market on Earth today. Playing out at sea and on the coasts, it is a roiling arbitrage—of food, diapers, weapons, drugs, and women—between the desperate and the profit-minded. Government is absent, bandits are everywhere, and participating can cost you your life"
Anarchist Paradise! I'm sure the anarchists will find some way to blame government still

Malaysia tops in South-East Asia for online child pornography - "Malaysia has the highest number of IP addresses uploading and downloading photographs and visuals of child pornography in South-East Asia"

Freedom versus democracy - "Democracy and freedom are too often confounded. Britain itself did not have anything close to democracy until the Reform Act of 1832. But it had freedom long before that. The fundamentals of freedom -- limited government, separation of powers, an independent judiciary, free speech, jury trials -- existed in Britain for many generations before the franchise was extended to most males. The whole spirit, and many of the phrases, of the Constitution of the United States derive from British law and government. Just as freedom can exist without democracy, so democracy can crush freedom"

Serwer Error: Misunderstanding Trump Voters - "In a recent article for Foreign Policy, the neoconservative writer and analyst Max Boot credited Serwer, and these figures specifically, for helping him to finally acknowledge his own ‘white privilege.’ The only problem is that the figures are incorrect. I’ve been studying the reputable American National Election Studies (ANES) 2016 election survey for almost a year now, so this was relatively easy to check... In foregrounding racial resentment, he downplays the importance of other variables that help account for Trump’s election win. First, it should be noted the degree of anti-minority sentiment among Trump voters appears to be overstated. According to the ANES out-group feeling thermometer data (scored along a 0-100 scale), Trump voters, on average, evaluated Blacks (mean=63.8) and Hispanics (mean=64.4) in the ‘warm’ direction. By comparison, the mean ratings for both of these groups among Clinton voters were 75 and 73.9, respectively—warmer, but not as much as one might expect. Second, while Serwer blames Trump’s presidency on racial resentment, one could just as easily point the finger at ‘PC fatigue’. For example, a recent Cato study found that 58 percent of Americans believe “that the political climate today prevents them from saying things they believe.” And whereas 73 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents endorsed this statement, a majority of Democrats (53 percent) did not. As this relates to the election, my own research — which I’ll soon be submitting for publication — finds that even after controlling for various measures of prejudice (sexism, hatred of minorities, racial resentment, etc.), issue-attitudes (economic discontent, immigration, refugees, etc.), and ideological orientations (authoritarianism, social dominance orientation), opposition to political correctness significantly predicts voting for Trump. This finding is consistent with the results of a recent experimental study, which found that priming ‘PC norms’ elicited greater support for Trump (and greater opposition to Clinton) irrespective of political ideology. Likewise, I found that even among Clinton voters, greater opposition to PC linearly coincided with greater positivity (albeit still negative) towards Trump. The ANES data also suggests that anti-immigration attitudes are more informed by cultural and economic anxieties than anything having to do with skin color. For example, support for decreasing immigration was most strongly correlated with assimilationist attitudes (immigrants should learn English, adopt American customs etc.) and the belief that immigrants take away jobs but only weakly correlated with self-reported importance of ‘white identity’ and negativity towards ‘people of color.’... All told, the evidence suggests that Trump’s election had more to do with economic disquiet, the fear that America is trending towards a culturally balkanized identitarian society (i.e. political multiculturalism), and a climate of PC that discourages voicing of concerns about either. We can debate whether these concerns are reasonable. But the hypothesis that they’re simply a guise for white bigotry and the continuance of white supremacy finds no support in the present data. In the end, it’s almost as if Serwer’s explanatory model conveniently includes only those variables that absolve the Left of any culpability in the Trump phenomenon... I worry that these broad-brush ‘whitelash’ interpretations allow the Left to demonize millions of Americans and dismiss their concerns. Should this continue, the appeal of the Democratic Party will forever be confined to cosmopolitan bubble-land."

Effects of physical attractiveness on political beliefs - "Controlling for socioeconomic status, we find that more attractive individuals are more likely to report higher levels of political efficacy, identify as conservative, and identify as Republican"
"political efficacy is the citizens' faith and trust in government and their belief that they can understand and influence political affairs. It is commonly measured by surveys and is used as an indicator for the broader health of civil society."

The Fake-News Fallacy - "“No political body must ever, under any circumstances, obtain a monopoly of radio,” she wrote. “The greatest organizers of mass hysterias and the mass delusions today are states using the radio to excite terrors, incite hatreds, inflame masses.”

We Are Truly Fucked: Everyone Is Making AI-Generated Fake Porn Now - "More people are creating fake celebrity porn using machine learning, and the results have become increasingly convincing. Another redditor even created an app specifically designed to allow users without a computer science background to create AI-assisted fake porn. All the tools one needs to make these videos are free, readily available, and accompanied with instructions that walk novices through the process... “Top is original footage from Rogue One with a strange CGI Carrie Fisher. Movie budget: $200m,” derpfake wrote of his creation. “Bottom is a 20 minute fake that could have been done in essentially the same way with a visually similar actress. My budget: $0 and some Fleetwood Mac tunes.”"

In male-dominated subjects, hiring favors women—for teachers in France - "One of the main conclusions of the paper, co-authored by Thomas Breda and Mélina Hillion of the Paris School of Economics, is that in fields as diverse as mathematics, physics, economics, and literature, there is no evidence of discrimination against the underrepresented gender. “We rather find that the gender in minority is increasingly favored” during teacher hiring as the level of underrepresentation in academic faculty positions increases"... The most plausible explanation, they continue, is that examiners were trying to counteract gender stereotypes
Going against stereotypes leads to discrimination

No, feminism is not about choice - "we all critique the notion that “choice” should be the ultimate arbiter of women’s freedom... the choice arguments are fundamentally flawed because they assume a level of unmitigated freedom for women that simply doesn’t exist. Yes, we make choices, but these are shaped and constrained by the unequal conditions in which we live. It would only make sense to uncritically celebrate choice in a post-patriarchal world.
Good to have a feminist admit it, and that they don't support women's choices

On the poverty of the Duluth Model

"One study has shown that if the husband had not previously assaulted the wife but she had assaulted him (however mild the assault), there was a 15% probability that he would seriously assault her the next year-far higher than normal. Furthermore, increases in recidivism among male offenders have been correlated to the actions of their spouses. A recidivism rate of 6% has been reported when the female partner abstained from violence compared with a rate of 23% when the wife used minor violence and 42% when the wife engaged in severe violence (Feld & Straus, 1989).

Research by Michael Johnson (1995, 2000) proposes a typology of violent relationships that accounts at least partially for the impact of a violent family structure on subsequent acts of domestic violence. He believes that there are distinct causes, developmental dynamics, and probable requirements for different types of interventions. His typology of domestic violence is based on the dimensions of physical aggression and coercive control. Intimate terrorism (which he labeled “patriarchal terrorism") is perpetrated by a partner who is the generally violent offender described previously. In contrast, common couple violence is committed by both partners, either or both of whom might be individually violent but neither of whom is controlling. The violence might be a product of the couple's behavioral relationship. Hence, the same offender might not be abusive in a different relationship...

In his research, Johnson (2000) found that only 11% of violence fit the terrorism category"

--- Responding to Domestic Violence: The Integration of Criminal Justice and Human Services / Eve S. Buzawa, Carl G. Buzawa, Evan D. Stark

Keywords: Domestic abuse, reciprocal

Links - 25th May 2018 (2)

Barack Obama's Trumpesque policies - "Extreme vetting of Muslims began in 2008 under a programme dubbed the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Policy, also known as CARRP. Shrouded in secrecy and barely publicised by the media, CARRP authorises special vetting by the FBI of persons thought to pose a terrorism threat. As a practical matter, all of the immigrants subjected to CARRP are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim."

Sex in men's prisons: 'The US system cultivates rape. If you treat people like animals, they behave like it' - ""Early on, the other prisoners told me, 'After so many years you'll start to turn', and I was like, 'No, no, no, I've got a girlfriend'. But, gradually, all my belief systems and conditioning started falling away. Being in prison made me question my own sexuality."... perhaps more striking and surprising than all of the above is the tender, loving relationships he documents. Mostly, couples keep their relationship private, as having anything valuable on display leaves one open to sabotage. But not all."

Shutting Down Conversations About Rape at Harvard Law - "near the time that CNN broadcast the documentary “The Hunting Ground,” which focusses on four women who say their schools neglected their claims of sexual assault, I joined eighteen other Harvard Law School professors in signing a statement that criticized the film’s “unfair and misleading” portrayal of one case from several years ago... the filmmakers did more than understandably disagree with criticism of the film, which has been short-listed for the Academy Award for best documentary. They wrote, in a statement to the Harvard Crimson, that “the very public bias these professors have shown in favor of an assailant contributes to a hostile climate at Harvard Law.” The words “hostile climate” contain a serious claim. At Harvard, sexual harassment is “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including verbal conduct that is “sufficiently persistent, pervasive, or severe” so as to create a “hostile environment.” If, as the filmmakers suggest, the professors’ statement about the film has created a hostile environment at the school, then, under Title IX, the professors should be investigated and potentially disciplined.... The dynamics of racially disproportionate impact affect minority men in the pattern of campus sexual-misconduct accusations, which schools, conveniently, do not track, despite all the campus-climate surveys. Administrators and faculty who routinely work on sexual-misconduct cases, including my colleague Janet Halley, tell me that most of the complaints they see are against minorities, and that is consistent with what I have seen at Harvard. The “always believe” credo will aggravate and hide this context, aided by campus confidentiality norms that make any racial pattern difficult to study and expose"

The truth about false rape accusations - "it’s exceedingly rare for a false rape allegation to end in prison time... adult false accusers who persist in pursuing charges have a previous history of bizarre fabrications or criminal fraud... while false accusers often have similar histories, they have various motives. These can be divided into roughly four categories: personal gain, mental illness, revenge, and the need for an alibi."

False rape allegations. - "With the cooperation of the police agency of a small metropolitan community, 45 consecutive, disposed, false rape allegations covering a 9 year period were studied. These false rape allegations constitute 41% the total forcible rape cases (n = 109) reported during this period. These false allegations appear to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention. False rape allegations are not the consequence of a gender-linked aberration, as frequently claimed, but reflect impulsive and desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations."

German judge removes cross during trial of Afghan migrant, faces backlash - "Klaus-Juergen Schmid, a judge in the Bavarian town of Miesbach, has ordered a crucifix to be removed from the courtroom during the trial of a 21-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker accused of making death threats to another Afghan who converted to Christianity."

National Union of Students LGBT+ campaign accuses Student Pride of being run by 'cis white gay men' as the groups cut ties - "The National Union of Students (NUS) LGBT+ campaign has cut ties with the biggest gay student group, after accusing it of being run by “cis white gay men” and not being inclusive enough."
The left eats itself

Not just about sex: throughout our bodies, thousands of genes act differently in men and women - "beyond just genes on X and Y, a full third of our genome is behaving very differently in men and women... some sex biased genes were involved in brain function, reopening the debate about differences in male and female behaviour. These new findings could explain why men and women are often differently susceptible to diseases, and suggests treatments need to be based on studies of both sexes."

ArtAsiaPacific: Palestinian Museum Opens Despite Management Disputes - "The long-awaited Palestinian Museum, located in the university town of Birzeit just north of Ramallah, opened on May 18 to coincide with the 68th anniversary of Nakba (May 15), the massive exodus of roughly 700,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Palestine War. Unlike most, if not all, museum launches, however, the Palestinian Museum debuted without any exhibitions—the result of disagreements between former director Jack Persekian and members of the museum’s board, which led to the resignation of Persekian in December 2015. The idea for the museum was first conceived in 1997 by the Ramallah-based nonprofit Taawon-Welfare Association, which supports Palestinians locally and abroad, as well as conserves the region’s cultural heritage. The May 18 opening celebrated the completion of the institution’s first phase: a 3,500-square-meter building, designed by Dublin-based architectural firm Heneghan Peng for a grand total of USD 24 million, which includes exhibition spaces, an open-air amphitheater, classrooms and a library"
At least this beats funding terrorism

REPORT: Hillary Clinton Shielded Top Staffer from Accusations of Sexual Misconduct During 2008 Campaign - "on at least two occasions Hillary refused to fire senior advisor Burns Strider in 2008 after he was accused of sexually harassing a female campaign staffer... Clinton tried to capitalize on the “women’s issue” of sexual harassment by denouncing Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, despite her long history of being closely associated with him over the last twenty years... Why it took a decade for this latest Hillary news to come to light is a vexing question for the media, especially coming on the heels of a story revealing a photo of Barack Obama meeting with notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, which was reportedly hidden for 13 years to protect Obama’s political ambitions."

Conservative Blogger's Visit to Google HQ Triggered Security Panic - "Software engineer and political blogger Curtis Yarvin was escorted from Google headquarters by security personnel after his presence triggered an alert... Yarvin was visiting a Google employee for lunch, but his presence at the company’s headquarters triggered a “silent alarm”... Yarvin’s presence on campus triggered an alert because he is on a “blacklist” of conservative figures. Other individuals on the list include Theodore Beale, better known by his pen name “Vox Day,” and InfoWars founder Alex Jones."

Entire class punished for 'microaggressive' comments - "A Columbia University professor recently described how an entire class was punished after some students used “microaggressive” language in an online chat. Matthea Marquart, who teaches online classes for graduate students studying social work, noticed that some students used unspecified “racially microaggressive” language during the live chat of a recent online class... The response, as Marquart indicated, consisted of punishing the entire class with extra work."

Anti-White Transgender Model Munroe Bergdorf Verified on Twitter - "A transgender model who was fired from her job at L’Oreal following a racist rant against white people has been verified on Twitter, despite the platform’s announcement that it would no longer verify people who engage in racism... Bergdorf was fired from L’Oreal last year after she published a Facebook rant calling white people “the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth.”... Bergdorf appeared on the BBC to defend her comments, where she further added that “all white people benefit from racism.” In November, several popular conservative accounts were stripped of their Twitter verification, including anti-Islam activist and author Tommy Robinson and commentator Laura Loomer. Twitter also stripped prominent alt-right accounts of their account verification, including Richard Spencer and James Allsup, and declared that accounts could now lose their verification for “promoting hate,” or “directly attacking” people “on the basis of race.” Days later, the platform announced its intentions to start sanctioning users for their offline behavior too. Though Twitter maintains its claims that account verification is a way to let “people know that an account of public interest is authentic,” prominent individuals such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remain unverified on the platform."

Confronting Habits of Whiteness: A critical forum for addressing anti-blackness in non-black communities of color | Berkeley Law - "Non-black communities of color benefit from white supremacy through both deliberate and unconscious efforts to approximate whiteness, thereby perpetuating anti-blackness. Join Berkeley Law affinity groups and community organizers for an important conversation about recognizing and dismantling anti-blackness in our communities. Dinner will be provided!"
This confirms that whiteness just means success

Teacher Trainer Lays Out Plan To Fill Schools - " Heather Hackman operates Hackman Consulting Group and was formerly a professor of multicultural education at Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University, where she taught future teachers. On Friday, Hackman was given a platform at WPC to deliver a workshop with the lengthy title “No Freedom Unless We Call Out the Wizard Behind The Curtain: Critically Addressing the Corrosive Effects of Whiteness in Teacher Education and Professional Development.” The long title masked a simple thesis on Hackman’s part: Modern education is hopelessly tainted by white supremacy and the “white imperial gaze,” and the solution is to train prospective teachers in college to be activists as well as pedagogues. In fact, Hackman argued teachers shouldn’t even bother teaching if they aren’t committed to promoting social justice in school... “The racial narrative of White tends to be like this: Rugged individual, honest, hard-working, disciplined, rigorous, successful,” she said. “And so then, the narrative of U.S. public education: Individual assessments, competition, outcome over process (I care more about your grades than how you’re doing), ‘discipline’ where we care more about your attendance and making sure you’re not tardy than we care about your relationships … proper English must be spoken (which is just assimilation into standard U.S. dialect), hierarchical power structure, and heavy goal orientation.” While the traits listed may simply be regarded as positive traits for success in the modern world, Hackman described them as specific cultural traits chosen and emphasized to favor whites to the detriment of non-white groups, who are forced to assimilate white traits such as good discipline and goal orientation or else be left behind. Hackman’s natural solution, then, is to train teachers to move away from all these aspects of white privilege in education. She routinely touted the benefits of collective assessments (measuring student learning at the class level instead of determining whether each student knows the material), as well as eliminating all school grades entirely. Hackman said when she was a professor, she freely employed these methods with her own students. She once let a student complete an essay assignment as a graphic novel, and allowed students to write in non-standard English or even foreign languages she herself couldn’t read... Hackman acknowledged in the current white supremacist system, there is some expectation that teachers will know conventional English and possess other basic knowledge. As a result, she admitted modern activist teachers should try to learn those things sufficiently to get a job, but only for the purpose of infiltrating schools to change them from within... She predicted her approach will triumph, and the sinister force she dubbed “Super-Whitey” (and compared to the Eye of Sauron) will eventually be swept aside."

Twitch forces black streamer to submit DNA analysis over african cooking show - "Streaming giant Twitch has caused outrage after banning an African-American girl for her Africa-themed cooking show and seeming to accuse her of being a white cultural appropriator. The girl — youtuber Brittany Venti — was then forced into the humiliating position of having to submit an actual DNA analysis to prove her descent"
It looks like most of the outrage is because she is black - not that you need to have black DNA to do a black cooking show'

Haiti: Mud cakes become staple diet as cost of food soars beyond a family's reach - "Brittle and gritty - and as revolting as they sound - these are "mud cakes". For years they have been consumed by impoverished pregnant women seeking calcium, a risky and medically unproven supplement, but now the cakes have become a staple for entire families. It is not for the taste and nutrition - smidgins of salt and margarine do not disguise what is essentially dirt, and the Guardian can testify that the aftertaste lingers - but because they are the cheapest and increasingly only way to fill bellies."

Pakistani humanist denied UK asylum after failing to identify Plato - "The Home Office said Hamza bin Walayat’s failure to identify Plato and Aristotle as humanist philosophers indicated his knowledge of humanism was “rudimentary at best”."

450,000 Fled Deep Blue States In 2017 - "Three Democratic-leaning states hemorrhaged hundreds of thousands of people in 2016 and 2017 as crime, high taxes and, in some cases, crummy weather had residents seeking greener pastures elsewhere... New York’s domestic out-migration during that time period was about the same as it was in the same time 2015 and 2016. Since 2010, the state’s outflow of just over 1 million residents has exceeded that of every other state, both in absolute terms and as a share of population"

WATCH: Ginuwine Accused Of Transphobia For Refusing To Kiss Trans Woman On Live TV - "Tolerance is no longer about tolerating; now it is about engaging in the issue at hand. For example, you're now considered an intolerant transphobe for refusing to make out with a transgender person. Ginuwine found this out first hand. The R&B singer, appearing on the U.K. reality show "Big Brother," is being slammed as a transphobe for refusing to kiss his male-to-female transgender co-star India Willoughby on live TV... You know how the saying goes, "No means no — unless a transgender person is making the advances, then you better comply or you'll be labeled a transphobic bigot."... Last week, male-to-female transgender folks accused cis-men of being insecure and weak for refusing to date them."

Injured UC San Diego Student SUES SCHOOL For Failing To Stop Her From Protesting Trump - "A University of California, San Diego student, Maria Ana Carrola Flores, is suing the school for failing to stop her from protesting President Donald Trump, a decision she says led to her being hit by a car on California's I-5 freeway."

Soros to Google and Facebook: 'Your days are numbered' - "Billionaire investor George Soros launched a scathing attack on tech giants at the Davos summit on Thursday (Jan 25), calling them monopolies that could be manipulated by authoritarians to subvert democracy... the investor's traditional Davos predictions do not always pan out. Last year in Switzerland he warned that the stock market rally would end after Trump's election and that China's growth rate was unsustainable. China's growth has continued while US stocks are regularly hitting record highs."
Maybe he prefers to do it himself

Why some Singaporeans want to see the Mahathir Government fail

Donald Low - After my Malayan road trip, I’ve been wondering why...

"After my Malayan road trip, I’ve been wondering why so many pro-Establishment folks in Singapore, including some in the mainstream media, PAP IBs, even some former senior civil servants, seem so keen to see the Mahathir government fail.

The most common reason given is that Mahathir wasn’t very friendly to Singapore when he was PM, and that he’s asked to review projects like the HSR from KL to Singapore. The implication here is that he’s driven, partly as least, by a desire to do Singapore in. So the argument, as far as I can make out, is that we should want him and his government to fail so that they are less able to hurt us.

But that argument is deeply flawed. Surely what’s in our long-term interest is a stable and well-governed Malaysia. Also, it is quite clear that if BN had won, that would almost certainly be bad for our long-term interests. While it is premature to predict that the new government would, or even could, lead Malaysia to a post-racial future (basic differences over whether any race should be given a special privileged position being the main reason Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965), there’s almost no doubt that the only serious alternative—a government formed of an alliance between BN and PAS—would have been a mono-ethnic government. That could be worse for us. Indeed, for many years, we were concerned about the changing demographics in Malaysia leading to ever more racially divisive politics and policies in the country, with spilllover effects to Singapore. This prospect, for now at least, has become less likely. Even if the new PH government does not bring about “systemic change” (which I take to mean Malaysia becoming more meritocratic and “race-blind”), the fact that it’s a multi-ethnic government with at least a post-racial rhetoric (if, not yet, reality) is surely a plus for Singapore.

What about the argument that Najib was friendly to us and Mahathir wasn’t? That’s mostly rubbish and reflects a naive, even childish, ignorance about international relations. As the dictum goes, “in international relations, there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.” Our permanent interest is (or should be) to maintain stable, mutually beneficial relations with our closest neighbour. This is far more likely if Malaysia under the new government, is stable and successful. Why in the world should we want the new government to fail? How does it help us if we are nostalgic about Najib as PM or the warm relations we had with him? There’s very little room for sentimentality or nostalgia in IR. Incidentally, on my recent road trip, I found the Najib (and Rosmah) brand to be incredibly toxic, and that this sentiment cut across ethnic lines.

Meanwhile circumspection (and prudence) seems to be completely lacking in the comments made by some of our pro-establishment sites about the new Malaysian government. We should really be quite careful not to antagonise the beast in Mahathir. The best way to understand him is that, in many ways, he’s Malaysia’s LKY—at least insofar as his nationalism and country-above-all-else mindset go. And if that beast is provoked, the intransigent and prickly Mahathir that we fear will indeed be the one we would be dealing with.

Ultimately though, I think the reason many pro-Establishment people want to see the Mahathir government fail is that they seem to be doing everything that our Establishment says cannot or should not be done, eg GST abolition (which I also think is a bad idea; I think it should be reformed not removed), review of repressive laws (like the anti-fake news law that was recently passed, the Printing Presses Act, Sedition Act, etc.), a clearer separation of powers between different branches, etc. In other words, the reason many here would like to see the new Malaysian government fail is that its success would cause them cognitive dissonance and discomfort. So to preserve the coherence and consistency of their worldview, they are willing to put Singapore-Malaysia relations at risk. So who’s being reckless and dangerous now?"

Another reason, I would add, is that Singapore's economic model is based on being an oasis of success and stability in a comparatively poor region, rather than aiming for shared prosperity (and network effects).

This is especially so for Malaysia, given the dependence on Malaysian manpower, extending to poaching Malaysians as Permanent Residents and (ideally) ultimately citizens.

Links - 25th May 2018 (1)

Ugandan president backs 'frank' Trump after 'sh*thole' remark - "Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday hailed Donald Trump for speaking "frankly" to Africans, after the US president unleashed a storm by reportedly describing African nations as "sh*thole countries." "I love Trump because he speaks to Africans frankly. I don't know if he was misquoted or whatever. He talks about Africans' weaknesses frankly"... No stranger to controversy, on Monday he described Uganda as a "pre-industrial society" and said he regretted removing the death sentence, saying the move had been "a recipe for chaos"."

Kickstarter Bans Book On Rape, Immigrants - "Swedish academic Ann Heberlein was booted from American crowdfunding platform Kickstarter Thursday after trying to raise money for a book studying the link between rape and immigration... In Heberlein’s planned book, entitled “Rape and Culture – A survey of group violence in Sweden 2012-2017,” the academic seeks to “perform a statistical analysis of all convictions in group violence targets in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, taking into account the perpetrator’s age and birth.” The Swedish government no longer keeps statistics on the ethnic backgrounds of rape offenders, Heberlein claims, and so this information is desperately needed... Though the book was planned as a simple statistical analysis, Kickstarter banned the project for “hateful or offensive content”"

Avalanche of Donations After Kickstarter Ban on Swedish 'Rape Book' - "Before the ban, Heberlein managed to attract a total of SEK 161,704 ($21,500), still far short of the target of SEK 400,000 ($51,000). "To survey the [Crime Prevention Council]'s statistics is thus 'racist.' Do you understand where we are heading? Freedom of expression is not threatened. It's throttled," a dismayed Ann Heberlein tweeted. Gothenburg PR expert Bobbo Sundgren, who is known for having patented the PR-method called "talk trigging," predicted that Kickstarter's decision to stop the crowd-funding campaign has in fact done a good service to Heberlein. Likewise, Sundgren argued that being blocked on Facebook and hounded by "anti-racist trolls" has also boosted her popular support... the Kickstarter ban, coupled with the media attention, resulted in an avalanche of donations for Heberlein's project. By her own admission, she received over SEK 700,000 ($89,000) in less than two days... Earlier in January, however, the Swedish government tasked the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) with researching the reasons behind the spike in rape cases (such as a 400 percent increase in Stockholm over the past two decades alone). As it is unclear how deep the government investigators are prepared delve into the matter, Heberlein's report is seen as an alternative."

Belgians say their country is being invaded: 74% see Islam as an intolerant religion - "The poll with 4,734 people, indicates that 74% of respondents consider Islam an intolerant religion (against 38% for Judaism and 14% for Catholicism) and 71% judge it incompatible “with the values of Belgian society”. According to the study, 60% of Belgians also see Islam as threat to the identity of the country and two-thirds feel that their country is being increasingly invaded. Only 13% see Islam as a “cultural enrichment factor” for their country."

Where Nassar's Judge Went Wrong - "Subjecting Nassar to a lifetime of rape is not my idea of justice, and fantasizing about it is not my idea of judicial temperament... Some crimes are bad enough that no remedy exists for them in civilized society. I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’s famous line that some men are indeed fit only to be slaves, but none is fit to be a master."

Jagmeet Singh: Presumption Of Innocence Is ‘Strictly’ For Courts - "The presumption of innocence is "strictly" a legal construct that shouldn't stop Canadians from believing women who come forward with allegations of assault, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday. While some members of his caucus stood behind him with incredulous looks, Singh told reporters there are "different issues" at play when women step forward with accusations... The NDP leader had called on Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown to resign after a CTV News report Wednesday featured two women alleging inappropriate sexual behaviour
What if women accuse Jagmeet Singh of sexual assault?

New German swimming pool will have a separated area for Muslim women - "Earlier the city already introduced gender-segregated swimming hours, during which only women were allowed. Especially Muslim women were given the opportunity to swim and bath unobserved by men. But now the city has gone a step further with a completely separated basin with a huge curtain that blocks view. Some German media say the city and its swimming pool are now “Shariah ready”. Local politician Werner Hümmrich (FDP) says: “We do not want to exclude a group from using the pool and therefore we meet certain social demands. The swimming pool will be specially designed so that gender-segregated swimming can be offered.” According to Hümmrich, that was a “political requirement”."

Germany hands out swimming pool etiquette guides after sexual harassment reports against migrants

Why IFLScience is Anti-Science - "Have you heard about the coming ice age? You may have seen articles with titles such as “Thanks To Reduced Solar Activity, We Could Be Heading For A Mini Ice Age In 2030.” and “‘Mini Ice Age’ Not a Reason to Ignore Global Warming.” Of course such sensational headlines led to rebuttal articles such as “No, We Aren’t Heading Into A ‘Mini Ice Age’” Once again, a hyped headline is used to drive page views, and which only serves to mislead readers. Hence a follow up article on how “The ‘Mini Ice Age’ Hoopla Is A Giant Failure Of Science Communication.” Here’s the thing, though. All of these articles are from IFLS also known as “I’ll use profanity in my website title so people will think I’m edgy and cool.”... Why correct your “mistakes” when your lies get you nearly 76,000 likes on Facebook?"

Survivorship Bias - "a brilliant statistician named Abraham Wald saved countless lives by preventing a group of military commanders from committing a common human error, a mistake that you probably make every single day... How, the Army Air Force asked, could they improve the odds of a bomber making it home? Military engineers explained to the statistician that they already knew the allied bombers needed more armor, but the ground crews couldn’t just cover the planes like tanks, not if they wanted them to take off. The operational commanders asked for help figuring out the best places to add what little protection they could... The military looked at the bombers that had returned from enemy territory. They recorded where those planes had taken the most damage. Over and over again, they saw that the bullet holes tended to accumulate along the wings, around the tail gunner, and down the center of the body. Wings. Body. Tail gunner. Considering this information, where would you put the extra armor? Naturally, the commanders wanted to put the thicker protection where they could clearly see the most damage, where the holes clustered. But Wald said no, that would be precisely the wrong decision. Putting the armor there wouldn’t improve their chances at all... the holes showed where the planes were strongest. The holes showed where a bomber could be shot and still survive the flight home... If you are thinking about opening a restaurant because there are so many successful restaurants in your hometown, you are ignoring the fact that only successful restaurants survive to become examples. Maybe on average 90 percent of restaurants in your city fail in the first year. You can’t see all those failures because when they fail they also disappear from view... Survivorship bias pulls you toward bestselling diet gurus, celebrity CEOs, and superstar athletes... In short, the advice business is a monopoly run by survivors. As the psychologist Daniel Kahneman writes in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, “A stupid decision that works out well becomes a brilliant decision in hindsight.”... success boils down to serially avoiding catastrophic failure while routinely absorbing manageable damage

Are modern cars less problematic? - "the general consensus seems to be that modern cars don't break down as often as older ones. When the U.S. government offered the "Cash for Clunkers" program in 2009, it was intended to stimulate the economy and improve the fuel efficiency of the American cars on the road. It also served as a tacit confirmation that newer cars are better. That might be a controversial claim, but the numbers don't lie: The car with the record for the most miles driven was a 1989 Saab 900SPG, owned by a Wisconsin traveling salesman who logged 1,001,385 miles in 17 years before retiring it [source: AP]. The decline of car maintenance costs also shows that modern cars are becoming increasingly less problematic"

I'm a sex worker in a legal brothel – here are the biggest misconceptions about what I do - "I've been working in Nevada's legal brothels for almost a year and a half now. In this time I've learned a lot about sexuality, psychology and relationships. My job is a mix of customer service and fantasy fulfillment, and I love it. It suits my needs and allows me financial stability I never had access to before... Sex work is a physically intimate therapy session for most of our clients... You'd be surprised at the range of people who walk through our doors. We entertain middle-aged couples looking to spice up their love life. Young military veterans visit struggling to transition back into civilian life and dating. Respectable business men, lawyers, doctors, and professionals who are overworked without time for dating. Men with Asperger's who find navigating traditional social relationships challenging and confusing. For many, seeing a sex worker is more than just the act of sex. We provide a safe space to be comfortable with sexuality and physical intimacy. Clients are able to let their barriers down and have a connection with a near stranger and it is often highly therapeutic for them. We're also teachers, guiding our virgin clients through sex and intimacy for the first time. Our clients treat us with respect and adoration, and are as kind to us as we are to them. Shaming our clients demonises their sexuality, which is repressive and judgmental... Our work is deeply personal and intimate. We see people at their most vulnerable, when they're naked and expressing their inner most desires. These desires may have been hidden away for years, decades. The relationships I develop with my clients are genuine and I'm happy to see them leave basking in a glow, relaxed and relieved. Making people feel good about themselves brings me a profound sense of happiness."

Cameron didn't have 'bromance' with Obama and thought he was a narcissist, claims former adviser - "“My old boss, former British prime minister David Cameron, thought Obama was one of the most narcissistic, self-absorbed people he’d ever dealt with,” Mr Hilton said on his Fox News show. “Obama never listened to anyone, always thought he was smarter than every expert in the room, and treated every meeting as an opportunity to lecture everyone else. This led to real-world disasters, like Syria and the rise of Isis.” He said for the world’s elites, such problems were not an issue as they existed within their own bubble... “For them, it’s all about style and tone, not substance and results. Donald Trump offends the elites aesthetically, like a piece of art that’s not to their taste”"

Women's rights group sue Trump's Education Department for 'discriminating against victims of campus sexual assault' - "A consortium of women’s rights groups have sued the Trump administration for implementing policies they say violate the rights of campus sexual assault survivors. The Victims Rights Law Centre, Equal Rights Advocates, and SurvJustice – a not-for-profit that provides legal help to survivors – filed suit against the Department of Education over its new gender discrimination policy... Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the changes to the Title IX policy in September. She vowed to end a "failed" Obama-era system and replace it with a new one offering more protections for the accused. The move was heralded by activists who felt the government had become overzealous in its crackdown on campus sexual assault."
Losing gulag powers sure hurts. But what is given by executive action can be taken away by executive action

It’s time we started celebrating masculinity - "Alpha males are the product of high levels of testosterone, which increases aggression. This, contrary to popular opinion, is a useful trait: it makes people brave, reactive and better in battle. Testosterone has been known to make people territorial too. Scientists have found that footballers demonstrate a substantial rise in the stuff before playing a home game. It even has important organisational structures in the male brain, and can help with spatial ability, which proves useful in combat and many other jobs. All in all, it is great to be macho. And I wish our society celebrated, and encouraged, masculinity – instead of sneering at its expression... When I walked through a fight several years ago, never was I more grateful to see four macho coppers burst onto the scene; I'll never forget the man who protected me from another on a walk through Oxford Street last year. With such atrocities taking place all the time, I thank my lucky stars for the brave souls who want to stop it."

Pingtjin Thum - A well meaning statement by the Worker's Party,... - "A well meaning statement by the Worker's Party, but one that draws incomplete conclusions from #Brexit. Immigration was the precipitating factor, but not the fundamental cause. The underlying issue with Brexit was the nature of the European Union. It is an intrinsically anti-democratic institution. The laws and policies of the European Union are worked out behind closed doors, at meetings between ministers and civil servants from the member states. The discussions between them are kept almost entirely secret. Once a decision has been made, it is then presented to voters as fait accompli. In this way, politicians seeking to evade political accountability for unpopular decisions can blame European diktat. I believe that the more relevant interpretation of Brexit for Singapore is to ask what happens when a comfortable and complacent political class loses touch with the voters and retreats into the state and other elite institutions; when unaccountable governments continually impose unpopular policies on an electorate, while evading responsibility for its decisions; and when voters become disenchanted, frustrated, and angry but have no recourse or alternatives"

Men, women & the secrets of skin colour - "men of all races are subconsciously attracted to fairer-skinned women, while women are more drawn to dark-complexioned men... Men are subconsciously attracted to fairer skin because of its association with innocence, purity, modesty, virginity, vulnerability and goodness, according to researchers at the University of Toronto. Women are attracted to men with darker complexions because these are associated with sex, virility, mystery, villainy and danger... When they analysed adverts featuring white women only, they found that women with the darkest complexions were more likely to be in an advanced state of undress. They were also more likely to have a bared midriff, and only they are shown with bared feet or are implied to be totally nude."

Young American liberals are losing the ability to argue | Down with campus censorship! - "Duke University professor Jerry Hough commented on a New York Times article, which blamed the Baltimore rioting on racism (or, as the NYT itself described it, ‘the century-long assault that Baltimore’s blacks have endured at the hands of local, state and federal policymakers’). Hough’s most controversial statements centred on why, in his words, ‘Asians who were oppressed [as much as blacks] did so well and are integrating so well, and the blacks are not doing so well’. Hough continued: ‘[Asians] didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard… Every Asian student has a very simple, old American first name that symbolises their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolises their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous [and] black-white dating is almost non-existent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.’ Duke University responded: ‘The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse.’... The liberal establishment dismisses Hough’s comments as the racist ramblings of an old white fool. Perhaps that’s right. But here’s the problem: if no one confronts such ideas, they will not go away. ‘[N]o one has said I was wrong, just racist’, Hough writes. Another Duke professor, Michael Munger, argues that universities educate conservative students by challenging them, while liberal students get a pass. As the chair of indignation studies (whatever that is) told Munger, ‘I don’t really need to spend much time with the liberal students because they already have it right. I spend most of my time arguing with the conservative students.’ Derision, rather than refutation, seems to be the norm of discourse in mainstream politics as well. Accordingly, opposing views are seen as a sign of some moral defect, not genuine disagreement. Earlier this year, for example, a prominent Democrat compared delaying the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general (she’s the first African-American woman to be given the role) to Jim Crow segregation. Elsewhere, questioning certain sexual-assault statistics makes one a ‘rape apologist’; proponents of traditional marriage are dismissed as ‘bigots’; and even President Obama is called sexist for arguing with Senator Elizabeth Warren about a trade bill (he called her ‘Elizabeth’). Progressives think their vitriolic name-calling undermines their opponents. But Munger has it right: ‘The absence of [dissent] is harmful, not so much to those who would agree with the dissenting voice, but to those who are thus denied the chance to collide with error.’"
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