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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Links - 16th June 2018 (3)

Russian women should not sleep with World Cup guests, warns MP - "Russian women should refrain from sleeping with visiting World Cup fans so as to avoid becoming single mothers with mixed-race children, a lawmaker who heads the parliament's family committee said"

Radical plan to split California into three states earns spot on November ballot

How women have ALWAYS been better dressed than men - "Women often wore better quality clothes than men in the Middle Ages, an archaeologist has discovered. She studied scraps of cloth from between 400 and 1,000 AD from clothes worn by women and men, to reveal that while females were buried in robes made of linen, males wore garments of lesser twill.

Man jailed 24 months for sex with 15-year-old sugar baby - "As her sugar daddy, he provided her with a monthly allowance of $1,600 and also had sex with her despite knowing that she was underaged. On Tuesday (20 February), 45-year-old Adrian Tan Lee Guan was sentenced to 24 months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to three counts of having sex with a minor under the age of 16... After taking her to dinner at the Pan Pacific Hotel, the pair then proceeded to the Capella Hotel on Sentosa. Tan brought the girl to the first tier of the hotel’s cascading swimming pool where he asked the girl to perform oral sex on him. She complied... a former business development director drawing a salary of $10,000 a month – has since lost his job. Tan’s wife has also filed for a divorce and he has also been forced to move to a rental flat. The lawyer said that his client had faced increasing credit card debts – amounting to $37,000 – in the period leading up to the offence and was depressed as a result."
If I had $37,000 in credit card debts, blowing $1,600 more a month wouldn't be my first course of action

Spending Patterns of Chinese Parents on Children’s Backpacks Support the Trivers-Willard Hypothesis: Results Based on Transaction Data from China’s Largest Online Retailer - "Treating backpack cost as a proxy measure of parental economic status, such results indicate that parents of high economic status invest more heavily in sons whereas parents of low economic status invest more heavily in daughters, as predicted by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis. The discovery of a third group, between the high- and low-status parents, who invest equally in sons and daughters further strengthens the argument."

New York Times Opinions: Conservatives Finally Welcome - "Two days after the election, its executive editor Dean Baquet told the paper’s media columnist Jim Rutenberg, “If I have a mea culpa for journalists and journalism, it’s that we’ve got to do a much better job of being on the road, out in the country, talking to different kinds of people than the people we talk to — especially if you happen to be a New York–based news organization — and remind ourselves that New York is not the real world.”"

Young Sikh Men Get Haircuts, Annoying Their Elders - The New York Times - "While there are no hard data, Jaswinder Singh, a lawyer and leader of a “turban pride” movement, estimates that half of India’s Sikh men now forgo the turban, compared with just 10 percent a couple of decades ago... A “Smart Turban 1.0” CD-ROM offers step-by-step instructions to create fashionable looks and guides new turban wearers on how to choose the most flattering style according to face shape. To promote the turban as a fashion item, Sikh leaders have also started holding Mr. Singh International pageants. Contestants are judged by looks, moral character, personality, knowledge of Sikh history and principles, and turban tying skills"

Should You Shower in the Morning, or at Night? Yes - The New York Times - "For those who have a hard time waking up, a morning shower can make a big difference, said Dr. Janet K. Kennedy, a clinical psychologist and sleep expert in New York. It can boost alertness, she said, but she recommends a somewhat cooler, not cold, shower to avoid raising your body temperature dramatically. For those who struggle with insomnia, Dr. Kennedy said she’d suggest showering at night, about 90 minutes before bed. “The body naturally cools down as bedtime approaches, in sync with the circadian rhythm,” she said. “Showering artificially raises the temperature again and allows for a faster cool down, which seems to hasten sleep.” Showering is also a good way to unwind and release muscle tension, she said, which aids sleep.But don’t get carried away. Those long, steamy showers spent unpacking the day and draining the water heater could damage your skin... “Humans tend to perspire at night,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “When you wake up in the morning, there’s all this sweat and bacteria from the sheets that’s just kind of sitting there on your skin.”"

The Art of Changing a City - The New York Times - "Another initiative in a small area of the city was to replace corrupt traffic police officers with mime artists. The idea was that instead of cops handing out tickets and pocketing fines, these performers would “police” drivers’ behavior by communicating with mime — for instance, pretending to be hurt or offended when a vehicle ignored the pedestrian right of way in a crosswalk. Could this system, which boiled down to publicly signaled approval or disapproval, really work? We had plenty of skeptics. At a news conference, a journalist asked, “Can the mimes serve traffic fines?” That is legally impermissible, I answered. “Then it won’t work,” he declared. But change is possible. People began to obey traffic signals and, for the first time, they respected crosswalks. Within months, I was able to dissolve the old, corrupt transit police force of about 1,800 officers, arranging with the national police service to replace them."

Why I No Longer Identify as a Feminist - "I criticized sexist attitudes at work, which were still quite unapologetic in the 90s, informing my boss that he was a “good boy” when he called me a “good girl” and refusing to say anything apart from “cheep” to any man who referred to me as a “bird.” Liberal feminism was aggressive then, but a quite different quality of aggression to the spiteful malevolence we see now. It was optimistic, almost playful. We were confident that we were winning. It was fun seeing how we could disconcert the perpetrators of sexist stereotypes and challenge casual sexism, often humorously. We did not think older men (or women) with sexist assumptions were terrible people or want them punished. We simply wanted them to realize the times had changed and catch up... the academic shift in the humanities and social sciences towards postmodernism began, and gradually filtered through to feminism in praxis. Intersectionality was forming... The right to criticize one’s own culture and religion is seemingly restricted to white westerners (The best analysis of “The Racism of Some Anti-racists” is by Tom Owolade). Universal liberal feminists were horrified by this development. Our old adversaries, the radical feminists, looked positively rational in comparison. They might tell us we are culturally conditioned into internalized misogyny, and they certainly had a pessimistic and paranoid worldview but at least it was coherent. The intersectional feminists were not even internally consistent. In addition to the cultural relativity, the rules change day by day as new sins against social justice are invented. We opposed the radical feminists for their extreme antipathy towards men but at least they shared a bond of sisterhood with each other. The intersectional feminists not only exhibit great prejudice against men but also turn on each other at the slightest imagined infraction of the rules. Having not the slightest regard for reason or evidence, they vilify and harass those imagined to have transgressed. In addition to their failure to support the most vulnerable women in society, intersectional feminism cultivated a culture of victimhood, negatively impacting all women in society but particularly young women... Like many universal liberal feminists of my generation and above, I decided to hang on and try to tackle, from the inside, the problems of cultural relativity, science denial, raging incivility and the disempowerment of women by feminists. This resulted in my being blocked by feminists, told I am not a feminist, called an “anti-feminist,” a “MRA,” a “misogynist” and even a “rape apologist” (I had suggested that the men who invented date-rape drug detecting nail polish were well-intentioned). I have been told to fuck myself with a rusty chainsaw, and that I am a confused middle-aged woman who does not understand society. Following one encounter with a feminist in which I said I did not get death and rape threats from men, a new account with a male name was suddenly set up which began sending me some."

Can you enjoy romance fiction and be a feminist? - "‘I am of the opinion that a genre that is written by women, for women, about women, about the female experience, even if that experience is codified and structured within patriarchal, established boundaries, is inherently feminist,’ says Sarah Wendell, co-founder of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, a US-based website devoted to reviewing romance novels through a critical lens."

Does too much pornography numb us to sexual pleasure? - "In 1969, Denmark became the first country to legalise pornography. In the years that followed, onlookers watched with interest and trepidation: what would happen to Danish society? As it turns out, nothing – or rather, nothing negative... rates of sexual aggression had actually fallen... in many ways, pornography is no different to a scary movie or a bungee jump. We just view it differently because it happens to involve sex. ‘There is a general idea that porn is special or unique in the brain. But frankly, it doesn’t look that different from other rewards,’ she says. ‘Lots of other things are as powerful. For someone with lower sex drive, for instance, watching porn evokes the same magnitude response as eating chocolate, in similar brain areas.’... When Prause and the psychologist James Pfaus of Concordia University in Quebec recently measured sexual arousal in 280 men, they found that watching more pornography actually increased arousal to less explicit material – and increased the desire for sex with a partner. In other words, it made them more, not less responsive to ‘normal’ cues, and more, not less, desirous of real physical relationships. In a 2014 review, Prause likened pornography addiction – the notion that, like a drug, the more you watch, the more, and higher doses, you crave – to the emperor who has no clothes: everyone says it’s there, but there is no actual evidence to support it... viewing pornography increased couples’ desire to be with their significant other, whether they’d seen the film alone or together... A 2012 review of studies that, since 2005, have looked at the effects of internet porn on adolescents’ social development and attitudes found that the prevailing wisdom that pornography leads to unrealistic sexual beliefs, more permissive attitudes and more experimentation is not founded on replicable research... We see pornography as a socially destructive force, but there’s nothing inherently destructive about it. It becomes so only when it is the one thing adolescents see as they discover sex: they use it as a learning script. It’s not a problem of pornography as such, but rather, a problem of the absence of a competing script, something that contextualises porn as a fantastical, not real-life, experience... pornography has been shown to improve acceptance of homosexuality, birth control and extra-marital sex."

Begging Gangs Hire Babies and Drug them to Sleep - "The infants are drugged for two reasons – it makes adult beggar’s work easier, and also succeeds to earn from the sympathy of unsuspecting public. In such cases, the adult beggar is not even the actual parent of the child, the child is in fact hired – rented on a day to day basis. It was shocking to learn that the infants were given doses of depressants like cough syrups, sleeping tablets and even injected with narcotic substances. The adult beggars take these drugged babies in alms and carry out their begging business throughout the day, under hot sun and extreme weather. Under the influence of these drugs, the children sleep for days and end up dying sometimes... When you find a lonely mother on streets with a sleeping baby in her arms, you may sympathize with her and simply lend a helping hand in the form of some money. But you may be missing to see the broader picture behind that child’s fate. There can be more more complicated issues going on behind their cute faces and pathetic clothes, and unknowingly you may in fact be doing them harm by encouraging begging. When you give money to those begging kids on street, you are in fact paying them to not be in school. Their parents too get used to this money their child earns from begging, and encourage begging and other crimes – spoiling the future of the child. Begging discourages the parents to make honest efforts of finding a good work, and it comes to be regarded as work. This way begging has become a legacy for majority of families involved in the ‘business’. The parents train their children and engage them into begging and even crimes like stealing. Unfortunately, that is the kind of education they give their children. And this legacy goes on, making begging families into groups and then gangs. In these cases, the money you offer out of sympathy can also go to criminal gangs that run the operation from behind the scenes."

After Barcelona: Let the Denial and Excuses Begin - "the usual excuse makers will still be trying to blame the Iraq war, or the Crusades, or the fact the perpetrator may have been unemployed as the motivations for the atrocity. I worked for several years as a youth worker with unemployed young British men from many ethnic and racial backgrounds. None of them ever resorted to driving over their fellow citizens to quell the boredom and frustration of being jobless... I read one post on social media. It was written by the type of person who had harped on continuously about Charlottesville for the past few days. But when it came to Barcelona, they described these attacks as nothing but a footnote in the weekly news that should be given less attention. I doubt the victim’s families see the murders of their loved ones as nothing to cause a fuss about."

How bloody was medieval life? - "though violence was common, people were not simply inured to it. On the contrary – they really cared about it. This is not to say that violence was simply deemed to be wrong: rather, it was a problem about which people worried and talked"

Millennials have a new attitude about cleavage that's forcing 'breastaurant' Hooters to close locations and change its strategy - "People from the age of 18 to 24 are 19% less likely to search for breasts on pornographic website Pornhub compared to all other age groups"

The best way to charge your phone - "It turns out that the batteries in our smartphones are much happier if you charge them occasionally throughout the day instead of plugging them in for a big charging session when they're empty. Charging your phone when it loses 10% of its charge would be the best-case scenario"

Violent video games 'reduce crime' - "rather than violent crime rates soaring when new violent video games are released, they actually drop as gamers are 'too busy' at home playing the games, adding: "Time spent gaming cannot be spent on other activities, both legitimate activities and illicit violent activities.""

Malaysian deputy minister says potholes fixed after photos of him 'praying' went viral

The City of New York Uses Yelp to ID Foodborne Illness

Watch a bombardier beetle escape from a toad’s stomach - "Once inside a predator’s stomach, the beetles eject a hot chemical spray that induces vomiting... the beetles walked away unscathed, some after bathing in the toad’s stomach juices for more than an hour... the chemical spray was key to the escape plan, because “pretreated” beetles—which had already sprayed out much of their chemical supply—were unlikely to survive. Only 5% came back from a trip down the toad’s gullet"

On the Myth of Female Empowerment in pre-Revolution Iran

When talking about women in Iran, people like to share images like the following:

The message of course being that before the Islamic Revolution, women in Iran were free but now they are oppressed (something similar is said about Afghanistan).

This simplistic view is unfortunately contradicted by reality:

"In 1967 the Family Protection Act (FPA) reformed family law. According to these reforms, a man could marry a second wife only with the permission of the court. In 1975 the consent of the first wife was added, unless she was unable to have sexual relations with her husband or unable to bear children. The first wife also had the right to seek divorce if her husband married a second wife. A woman could apply for divorce if her husband was unable to have sexual relations with her, was unable to provide for her, ill-treated her, suffered from a contagious disease, abandoned her or was insane. Divorce could be obtained only in the civil courts. The 1975 Act also raised the age of marriage to 18 for women and 20 for men. In 1977 abortion was legalised, but married women had to obtain their husband’s written consent. Unmarried women upon their written request could have an abortion.

These reforms were ambiguous. For example, consent to a husband’s polygamy was often given because the woman feared her husband’s violence. The reforms did not contradict shariah law, but left women as inferior beings in many ways. Women could not be employed on the political staff of the foreign ministry; in the course of the land reform which began in 1962, land was sold only to men. The man was still the head of the family: a wife was still legally forbidden to hold a job which the husband considered damaging to the dignity and prestige of the family; a woman could not leave the country without the permission of her husband or father; the wife was not free to choose her place of residence. A woman, regardless of her age, had to obtain her father's permission to marry for the first time, at divorce, the husband retained custody of the children — even with the husband‘s death, it was the husband's father who automatically became guardian of the children and not the children's mother. According to ghisas (the law of retribution), a part of shariah law, it was not a criminal offence for a man to kill his wife for the defence of his dignity. The Muslim system of polygamy, under which a man can have four wives, remained legal, although the number of polygamous marriages declined for economic reasons and strengthened the nuclear family relationship. Sighe (temporary marriage), when a man lakes a woman as his wife for a limited period, continued to be sanctioned by the clergy...

Women (except nurses) were forbidden to work between 10 pm and 6 am and to do heavy work, as they were considered weak...

The shah's rhetorical support for women's rights and gender equality issues was more consistent with his concern to project a Westernised image to the West rather than with a genuine concern for gender equality... Paradoxically in 1978, under the pressure of conservative Islamists, he reduced the age of marriage for girls from 18 to 15 and dropped the post of Minister of State for Women's Affairs...

The shah’s state, in the 1960s and 1970s, entitled only a minority of women to some reforms. The impact of the modernisation of state and society, based not on an indigenous model but as part of the Pahlavi Shah’s process of Westernisation, was particularly painful for the majority of the population. They had to endure Westernisation and at the same time observe the absolute Islamic values of segregation, including the wearing of the chador (long Islamic cover) as dictated by their families, especially male relatives who regarded the culture of modernity based on Western model as horrific and inappropriate for their women. For respecting these values and traditions, on the other hand, they had to pay the heavy price of being labelled as backward in schools, universities and workplaces. These women were torn between their families’ traditional religious values and a society which promoted Western values, including the wearing of the latest European fashions. They were expected by their families to leave home wearing the chador as a sign of honouring their Islamic tradition, but outside of the home they felt rejected for wearing the chador, which was assumed to be a sign of backwardness... many others took a defensive position and wore the hijab as a sign of protest at the uneven economic, political and social change...

The majority of women of different social classes and with different levels of religious observance participated on a mass scale in the 1979 revolution. During this period millions of women took part in daily demonstrations, most wearing the black chador."

--- Women, Power and Politics in 21st Century Iran / Tara Povey

(more [previously shared]:

How the Muslim World Lost the Freedom to Choose – Foreign Policy

Islamic feminism and miniskirts: The veiled truth about women in Iran)

Keywords: Tehran was not Iran

Addendum: More from the same:

"Reza Shah’s Westernisation of economy and society attracted a section of the society which rapidly became the new bourgeoisie and the professional salary-earners. The Islamists lost much of their economic and political power and this created intense hatred for Reza Shah among large sections of the population who identified with the Islamists and were excluded from the process of socio-economic and political development...

Under the dictatorial regime of Rexa Shah the power of the Islamic clergy declined. However, the power of Islamic ideology on issues relating to women and the family remained strong (Paidar 1997: 120—23). Most feminists and women’s rights activists in this period, therefore, concentrated on female education. health, and unequal marriage and divorce laws. They only indirectly argued about the question of the veil and women‘s right to vote. Some leading members in this period were practising Muslims and considered the teaching of Islam necessary. But they were critical of the way women were treated. They argued that child marriage and not allowing women to be educated and to participate in public life was un-Islamic.

During 1935—6 Rexa Shah, as part of his Westemisation of society. campaigned to force women to abandon the veil in all public places. In 1937 he prohibited the celebration of 8 March, International Women’s Day, and declared 7 January the first official day of the public unveiling campaign as the Iranian Women’s Day. Women’s responses varied; many considered the compulsory unveiling and forcing women to wear Western-style female hats to be a case not of women’s emancipation but of police repression. Others celebrated the occasion since many women’s rights activists were disappointed with the secularists and Islamists, who had failed to introduce female suffrage and the reform of women’s education and employment...

Reza Shah’s reforms were based on massive repression of all political groups, from communists to liberals, of protesting clergy, trade unionists, women‘s organisations and minority nationalities. The aim of Reza Shah's reform was to centralise state power, which meant keeping the clergy and religious institutions under strict control. Despite this. the reforms in relation to women and the family remained ambiguous and not necessarily in contradiction with basic shariah law. For example, the age of marriage was left to depend upon local interpretation of the age of puberty, a wife had the right to object to her husband marrying another woman, and the man had to inform his wife if he intended to do so. But in many parts of the country civil courts did not exist and the local clergy dealt with marriage and divorce issues according to their own interpretation of the law. The law continued to regard men as superior, and they retained their Muslim privileges of having up to four wives at a time and divorcing at will. A man was still recognised as the legal head of the family and enjoyed more favourable inheritance rights. Women remained deprived of the f‌ight to vote and could not stand for election. Moreover, the limited reforms led to a long-lasting political conflict between the Islamists and the Pahlavi regime...

Many [women] took a defensive position and wore the hijab as a sign of protest at the uneven economic, political and social change (Tabari and Yeganeh 1982: 9—10). They detested the Pahlavi regime under which they were considered backward and had experienced nothing but humiliation because of their commitment to Islamic values. They had felt marginalised because they were ideologically and materially debased, degraded and neglected. The Pahlavi state ideologically restricted their access to secular education and employment. Therefore they did not benefit from the limited reforms which undermined some aspects of patriarchal gender relations...

The majority of the population related more to the Islamists modernists than to the secular left and the nationalists (Rostami-Povey 2010b: 46—80).

The majority of women of different social classes and with different levels of religious observance participated on a mass scale in the 1979 revolution. During this period millions of women took part in daily demonstrations, most wearing the black chador. As discussed above, many young women of these families had been forced to imitate Western values when they went to work or to university, while their families insisted that they should behave according to the religious values. This imbalance resulted in a crisis for them. Their support for the Islamists was a political act against alienation and dissatisfaction, reflecting their anger. More importantly, as I learned when I interviewed a number of these women. behind the passive image given to them by the Western media — they were serving God and men — was another reality, of strong women taking initiatives, organising and raising the consciousness of men and women about injustice and inequality. These women marched confidently, rejuvenated and glorified by Islamic values. They were excited and moved not just by their belief in Islam but also by their involvement in political activities acknowledged and supported by the Islamists (Rostami-Povey 2010a: 123—5)."

Links - 16th June 2018 (2)

Countries with Higher Levels of Gender Equality Show Larger National Sex Differences in Mathematics Anxiety and Relatively Lower Parental Mathematics Valuation for Girls - "we tested a number of predictions from the prominent gender stratification model, which is the leading psychological theory of cross-national patterns of sex differences in mathematics anxiety and performance. To this end, we analyzed data from 761,655 15-year old students across 68 nations who participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Most importantly and contra predictions, we showed that economically developed and more gender equal countries have a lower overall level of mathematics anxiety, and yet a larger national sex difference in mathematics anxiety relative to less developed countries. Further, although relatively more mothers work in STEM fields in more developed countries, these parents valued, on average, mathematical competence more in their sons than their daughters. The proportion of mothers working in STEM was unrelated to sex differences in mathematics anxiety or performance. We propose that the gender stratification model fails to account for these national patterns and that an alternative model is needed"
This is a blow to the "role models" and "normalisation" theory of motivation (which is used, among other things, to justify quotas). Again, feminism fails (absent elaborate ad hoc hypotheses and falsifiable voodoo logic)

The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in STEM - "women in countries with higher gender inequality are simply seeking the clearest possible path to financial freedom. And often, that path leads through STEM professions... in almost all the countries—all except Romania and Lebanon—boys’ best subject was science, and girls’ was reading. (That is, even if an average girl was as good as an average boy at science, she was still likely to be even better at reading.) Across all countries, 24 percent of girls had science as their best subject, 25 percent of girls’ strength was math, and 51 percent excelled in reading. For boys, the percentages were 38 for science, 42 for math, and 20 for reading. And the more gender-equal the country, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, the larger this gap between boys and girls in having science as their best subject... the countries that minted the most female college graduates in fields like science, engineering, or math were also some of the least gender-equal countries. They posit that this is because the countries that empower women also empower them, indirectly, to pick whatever career they’d enjoy most and be best at."
Presumably, in Google this would be considered hate speech

Study: Leftists just as likely to be dogmatic authoritarians as those on the right - "left-wing authoritarianism was associated with liberal views, dogmatism, and prejudice among both samples of participants, suggesting it is a valid concept."

Guess Which Mass Murderers Came From A Fatherless Home - "As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox pointed out back in 2013: “From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s ‘list of U.S. school attacks’ involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.” His observation is largely ignored. In contrast, conversations about black-on-black violence often raise the link between broken households (or fatherless homes) and juvenile delinquency. But when the conversation turns to mass shootings, we seem to forget that link altogether."
Those who talk about "toxic masculinity" argue at the same time that having no fathers doesn't affect children (despite plenty of research showing this is false)

Negative adult influences and the protective effects of role models: A study with urban adolescents - "adolescents’ exposure to negative adult behavior was associated with increased externalizing, internalizing, and substance using behaviors, as well as more negative school attitudes and behavior. We found that role models had protective effects on externalizing and internalizing behaviors and compensatory effects on school outcomes. Collectively, our findings indicate that role models can contribute to the resilience of African American adolescents who are exposed to negative nonparental adult behavior...
When asked to identify significant persons in their lives, adolescents overwhelmingly name parents and other members of their immediate and extended family (Blyth, Hill, & Theil, 1982; Galbo, 1983; Hendry, Roberts, Glendinning, & Coleman, 1992; Shade, 1983), with females more likely to list their mothers, and males more likely to list their fathers as the most significant adult in their lives"

Russia Only Bought Facebook Ads After Trump Won The Election - "Facebook’s vice president of advertising Rob Goldman took to Twitter to state that even though most of the coverage on Russia’s alleged involvement in Trump’s victory at the polls revolves around their supposed attempt to influence the outcome of the election, the Russian ad spend only occurred well after the election... “The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election,” he continued, launching into a condemnation of the mainstream media. “We shared the fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Trump and the election.”"

Simon Lanham stabbed by his girlfriend faces double standards - "During his stay in hospital he claims one doctor said; 'So mate, we are all dying to know did you deserve it?'"

SOROS: Online Speech Is a 'Public Menace' that Must Be Regulated - "Since the populist outcome of the Brexit vote, George Soros has met with the European Union’s unelected leadership 11 times. Britain’s elected Prime Minister, Theresa May, pales in comparison with only 3 meetings. Soros has aggressively opposed Brexit, recently providing half a million British pounds of support to groups blocking the historic vote to leave the E.U. Social media’s effectiveness has surprised Soros in multiple elections with ideas that would otherwise only be spread by those with vast financial means."

Apple's Excellence in Design Leads to Employees Smacking Into Glass Walls - "It’s hard to imagine a more metaphor-packed scenario than Apple’s products distracting its employees as they weave through a perfectly designed office and bang their faces into glass walls"

A Prosecutor's Disillusionment With India's Fight Against Rape - "A study by the Delhi commission for Women found that 53.2% of rape cases filed between April 2013 and July 2014 were proven false. Another study of rape cases in Delhi found that in over 20% of the cases, the alleged victim admitted to having filed a false complaint or turned hostile to the prosecution... The current scenario of an unrealistically low burden of proof (the law presumes a woman will not falsely claim to have been raped) coupled with an unacceptably high rate of false accusations is a perfect recipe for miscarriage of justice. Contrary to what we have been led to believe, India has one of the strongest anti-sex crime laws in the world. The presumption that a woman would never falsely claim to have been raped due to stigma attached to being a sex crime victim, and ‘rape on breach of promise to marry’ are exclusive to the Indian criminal justice system. In my experience as a public prosecutor, a rapist walking free due to legal technicalities is unheard of... The knee jerk approach of increasing criminal liability and enacting overly broad laws without understanding its unintended side effects has and will continue to only lead to questionable convictions and frittering away of resources from genuine victims... The most important change, however, is a change in society’s perception of women, a change that involves viewing women as equals to men, not the weaker sex that needs to be protected by special laws."
In other words, victim culture entrenches women's inferiority

Civil servants are 'refusing to probe illegal immigrants' - "Some Whitehall ministries outright ‘refused requests’ for information while others asked for a fee, according to the study by immigration watchdog David Bolt."

Fundamentalists vs The New York Times - "It ought to have been obvious to all but the most stubbornly obtuse that Weiss was using Nagasu’s accomplishment to salute the part played by immigrants in America’s successes, and that she did so to signal her explicit disapproval of xenophobic politics. A backlash might therefore have been expected from the retrogressive Right, but it came instead from the retrogressive Left. Nagasu, Weiss’s critics complained, had been born in California to immigrant parents, so describing her as an “immigrant” is evidence of racism. As condescension and abuse piled up in her mentions, Weiss deleted the tweet but her refusal to apologise only sent her critics into new paroxysms of high dudgeon... Criticism of Weiss’s tweet grew to encompass her views on unrelated topics, and articles that she (and even members of her family) had written for the Wall Street Journal were circulated on social media as further evidence of her political transgressions... Mutiny stirred even within the New York Times itself, and as their embattled colleague tried to defend herself on social media, Times employees took to the Slack chatroom to bellyache about “microagressions,” the merits of mandatory “implicit bias training,” and the “hostile work environment” allegedly produced by Weiss’s innocuous tweet... The accusations made by the Farrow family are in fact extremely dubious, but certainty regarding Allen’s guilt seems to have calcified into an article of faith among progressive millennials, in particular. To disagree is, by itself, enough to be considered morally and politically suspect... Stephens was not the first person to point out that, if the statistics routinely cited by anti-rape activists were accurate, levels of sexual violence on college campuses would be comparable to those found in the war zone of East Congo. Nevertheless, for Osita Nwanevu at Slate, Stephens’s use of this analogy was prima facie evidence of racism... All of the accusations against Stephens fell apart once subjected to a moment’s critical scrutiny, but the prevailing mood amongst the readership and wider Left was one of denunciation not inquiry... as the Left continues to divide against itself in the Trump era, heterodox opinions on a whole range of complex questions are being re-described as heresies so that the sphere of reasonable disagreement diminishes while the list of non-negotiable orthodoxies lengthens. Invited to discuss the vilification of political scientist Charles Murray at Middlebury on Charlie Rose last year, the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt described the incident in explicitly religious terms. “The best way to understand what happened,” Haidt argued, “is an auto-da-fé – a religious rite.” That is why the protesters were so adamant that the event be moved off-campus, he explained: “The campus is like a church and you cannot have blasphemy on campus.”"

Bari Weiss, Outrage Mobs, and Identity Politics - "In our identitarian age, the bar for offense has been lowered considerably, which makes democratic debate more difficult—citizens are more likely to withhold their true opinions if they fear being labeled as bigoted or insensitive. (The irony, of course, is that I can be a critic of identity politics without being labeled racist in part because of identity politics.) In the longer term, the effects of identity-driven discussions become even more pernicious. As I recently argued, basing our positions on who we are rather than what we believe is polarizing precisely because identities are more fixed than ideas. This is why identity politics can sometimes seem like a new sort of political theology. Belief and conviction are good things, but only if there’s something to believe in. Identity politics and the virtue-outbidding it necessitates often signal the absence of religion in search of religion—with followers mimicking its constituent elements: ritual, purity, atonement, and excommunication. In purely practical terms, moral posturing doesn’t usually change anyone’s mind, because people intuitively interpret it “as a form of jockeying for in-group status.” But it doesn’t need to change minds, nor is it necessarily supposed to. Its point is to transform politics into a question of purity. It’s not enough to have the right opinion or intent: The precise words used to convey the right opinion become just as important, as Weiss herself quickly found out. Within this framework, acknowledging the legitimacy of different opinions—if the language used can conceivably be seen as insensitive to a disadvantaged group—becomes more than difficult, too; it becomes a moral failing"

Classical Music’s White Male Supremacy is Overt, Pervasive, and a Problem

Exclusive: Fake black activist social media accounts linked to Russian government - "A social media campaign calling itself "Blacktivist" and linked to the Russian government used both Facebook and Twitter in an apparent attempt to amplify racial tensions during the U.S. presidential election, two sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN... Both Blacktivist accounts, each of which used the handle Blacktivists, regularly shared content intended to stoke outrage. "Black people should wake up as soon as possible," one post on the Twitter account read. "Black families are divided and destroyed by mass incarceration and death of black men," another read. The accounts also posted videos of police violence against African Americans. The Blacktivist accounts provide further evidence that Russian-linked social media accounts saw racial tensions as something to be exploited in order to achieve the broader Russian goal of dividing Americans and creating chaos in U.S. politics during a campaign in which race repeatedly became an issue. The Facebook account had 360,000 likes, more than the verified Black Lives Matter account on Facebook, which currently has just over 301,000."
That moment when you rage against the Russians but simultaneously stoke identity politics tensions yourself

The Korean grandmothers who sell sex - "Sex with them costs 20,000 to 30,000 Won (£11-17), but sometimes they'll give you a discount if they know you"

Orientalist Feminism Rears its Head in India - "“Native informants”–people who can give us the illusion of authenticity in promoting these narratives by identifying as nationals from the countries and societies in question, such as Mona Eltahawy and Ayaan Hirsi Ali–are key to this narrative"
Lived experience only counts when it supports the narrative, and everywhere on earth is equally bad

Why is Modern Art so Bad? - "something happened on the way to the 20th Century. The profound, the inspiring and the beautiful were replaced by the new, the different, and the ugly. Today the silly, the pointless, and the purely offensive are held up as the best of modern art... Beginning in the late 19th century, a group dubbed The Impressionists rebelled against the French Academie des Beaux Arts and its demand for classical standards. Whatever their intentions, the new modernists sowed the seeds of aesthetic relativism -- the "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" mentality. Today everybody loves the Impressionists. And, as with most revolutions, the first generation or so produced work of genuine merit. Monet, Renoir, and Degas still maintained elements of disciplined design and execution, but with each new generation standards declined until there were no standards. All that was left was personal expression. The great art historian Jacob Rosenberg wrote that quality in art "is not merely a matter of personal opinion but to a high degree . . . objectively traceable." But the idea of a universal standard of quality in art is now usually met with strong resistance if not open ridicule."

H.I.S. ‘fly with girls of Todai’ campaign crashes as travel agency assailed - "Major travel agency H.I.S. Co. has been forced to cancel a sales campaign offering customers the chance to travel with “beautiful girls” from the University of Tokyo after an online backlash... Under the campaign, the winners would get a chance to sit next to one of the girls on the way to a foreign destination, with their female travel companion providing highly knowledgeable travel commentary en route about the destination and its tourist attractions."

Shari'a and Violence in American Mosques - "mosques that segregated men from women during prayer service were more likely to contain violence-positive materials than those mosques where men and women were not segregated"

In vitro meat probably won’t save the planet, yet. - "Cultivation of in vitro meat requires more industrial energy—often produced by burning fossil fuels—than pork, poultry, and maybe even beef. As a result, the global warming potential for cultured meat is likely to be higher than that of poultry and pork but lower than that of beef. The reason for these differences is that animals must perform a variety of functions to build muscle mass: They must digest food, circulate nutrients and oxygen, maintain an optimal body temperature, and protect against disease. Food energy fuels these processes in organisms, but carneries will have to use industrial energy, i.e. fossil fuels, to accomplish the same tasks. For example, unlike animals, meat grown in a factory will not have an immune system. That means everything that touches it must be sterilized to avoid contamination with harmful microbes. Both heating water and using chemicals for sterilization could require a great deal of energy... To complicate matters even further, meat is not the only product derived from livestock. Inedible components such as blood, internal organs, hide, and feathers are used for a variety of applications including leather, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and many other household and industrial products"

The Economy Seat Concept That Will Have Passengers Booking the Middle Seat - "Because of its clever staggered design, airlines can fit more passengers in the Economy cabin while each passenger in a triple enjoys a greater sense of separation with room to stretch out in both directions"

Being a Go-Getter Is No Fun - "people do, in fact, assign more tasks to those they perceived as more competent... A separate experiment found that participants not only assigned more tasks to the go-getters—but underestimated how much work it would take to get the job done... high performers were not only aware that they were giving more at work—they rightly assumed that their managers and co-workers didn’t understand how hard it was for them, and thus felt unhappy about being given more tasks"

Observations - 16th June 2018

"There has now been created a world in which the success of others is a grievance, rather than an example." - Thomas Sowell


"I've done a gal with [no boobs] before. Take it from me only do it if she is very pretty
Otherwise you will feel a bit strange when you feel nothing at all in front
You will also feel a bit pedo and a bit gay"

If soy really gave you boobs East Asian women would be stacked rather than being the smallest in the world

"the flatter the girl, the closer you can be to their heart"

"If your class is full of pretty girls, you're studying a useless course."

"I can't afford a sex doll, so I just get my wife to lie in a bathtub full of ice water for about 15 minutes before coming to bed. She then lies perfectly still, staring off into the distance while I pretend she's a lifeless, pasty rubber sex-golem."

Maybe people are dogmatic and judgmental about diet because unlike religion, talking about your diet is not frowned upon in polite company, so they feel like they can channel their impulses that way

"I can assure you if I order the same food, it will be much cheaper. It's happened many times. I get my nasi padang and my wife likes the look of it and she orders the same thing and she pays more than I... I'm tanned and I speak Malay like a native... The same thing happens also with others. I once had lunch with a group from the place I worked. The women complained about the price of the nasi padang. One woman had exactly the same food as me. But mine was cheaper. She was furious. Haha."
"The Nasi pandang machek who speaks to me in Malay English charged me about $1.5 less cos I am tanned n look Malay."

If, according to the prevailing theory of sexual offence motivation, sex is not the motive but power, then gay men cannot use their sexuality as a defence against accusations of sexual assault

"If breasts aren't sexual then we should change cultural greetings like shaking someone's hand to "breast grabs". If a man grabs your breast it should be no different than if he patted you on the back and said "Nice work on that Anderson account, Tammy". ...(HONK!), (HONK!) No more sexual assault charges. No more "Inappropriate touching" or sexual harassment complaints."

"We need to MANsplain because many of you MISSunderstood the facts"

Is it sexist to advise women to wear "culturally appropriate clothes" when travelling?

If a man refuses to sleep with black women, is he racist?
If a lesbian refuses to sleep with men, is she sexist?

At what point does the validity of appeals to history expire? Is it okay for the Hans to hate on Manchus today because the Qing oppressed them for 4 centuries?

"'Trump is Hitler!' I've heard that so many times that if he turns out to be anything less than Hitler, I'm going to be like, 'He did a pretty good job.'" - Dave Smith

"I am starting to understand why I find Asian Americans Insufferable
It probably has something to do with how they have abandoned their original cultures and have been lucky enough to be adopted by another that has allowed them to be successful, but at the same Time they have a victimhood complex despite having easier lives than Asian Asians and are biting the hand that feeds them"

"I have lectured in Belarus and taught in Serbia during the Milosevic regime and I said what I damned well pleased. I have to say though that the only places I really felt I had to watch my mouth were Saudi Arabia - and American universities." - Stephen W. Browne, who was also elected Honorary Member of the Yugoslav Movement for the Protection of Human Rights in 1997 (Source)

"My 'punch a nazi in the face' friends have suddenly disappeared now that it's a Palestinian waving the swastika."
"The IDF took down more neo-nazis in one day than Antifa has in the past half century."

[On land redistribution in South Africa] "Zulu's aren't native to that region either. They migrated to SA from further north. Waring with every tribe on their way. People assume just because they black they're native to SA."
"Most of the African slave trade was and is still Africans trading other Africans to each other."

Links - 16th June 2018 (1)

Amazon And Ebay Opened Pandora's Box Of Chinese Counterfeits And Now Don't Know What To Do - "the source of many of the counterfeits was China and Hong Kong — the origin of 60% of the world’s knock-offs, according to the OECD.... there is no concept of intellectual property but also little economic incentive to just copy what someone else does exactly. No, there needs to be some form of innovation in the development process — either improve a feature, add a new capability, twist it into something that can be sold to a new market, or at least make the manufacturing or distribution processes faster or cheaper. In this way, shanzhai can become an incredibly innovative system, as rather than everyone harboring their own little patents in their own non-transparent little boxes, everything is thrown out into the open, people take whatever they want and then recontribute what they do back to the collective pot. Beyond sharing, the fundamental business strategy behind the shanzhai ecosystem is speed and constant adaption... The real problems arise when shanzhai goes global. When manufacturers who don’t need to abide by IP laws, labor regulations, or safety standards are given a platform to sell toe-to-toe against the original producers of the products they rip off -- when they can compete directly against original producers who need to pay for research and development, patents, trademarks, workman’s comp, health and safety tests, etc... Chinese counterfeiters often use the exact same photos and descriptions or even list on the same page as the original product, it is often impossible for the end consumer to tell the difference between a real and a fake before buying (and sometimes even after they never know)... Shanzhai moving into the e-commerce platforms of the West are like an invasive species invading an ecosystem where the native flora and fauna have no natural defenses against them. Amazon and Ebay’s attempts to combat shanzhai by delisting items or deleting accounts is like going into the jungle and trying to get rid of the mosquitos by swatting"

The Left Are Losing Their Internationalism - "When it comes to ethical consistency in foreign policy and relations, the left are dangerously wayward. Oz Katerji, a journalist, explained this to me as "hypocrisy based on outdated ideological assumptions about the world where discussing our international responsibility to protect civilians from harm, a fundamental precept of international law, is gas-lighted as British imperialism."... Is this a left being anti-war or anti-west? If they were genuinely committed to human rights and peace then they would condemn all who violate it, and yet when the perpetrator isn't western the left ignore the atrocities. A man called Marcus Papadopoulos, who Corbyn was this week pictured at a dinner with, denied the Srebrenica genocide taking place, just as he denied the Aleppo massacre. Labour's deputy PR chief Steve Howell on Twitter wrote that Assad was the only solution left in Syria. The Morning Star portrayed Assad's victory in Aleppo as "liberation" while Stop the War Coalition have regularly denied voices to Syrian democrats opposed to Assad and instead propped up regime apologists such as Mother Agnes. Corbyn's close ally Seamus Milne has repeatedly watered down the crimes of the Soviet Union while STWC co-founder Andrew Murray previously praised Stalin and North Korea... Genocide happens and parts of the left simply erase it on a consistent basis. I dialled down my criticisms of Corbyn after 8th June but it's immoral to remain silent over something as important as this. The Labour Party is becoming a political home for awful genocide apologists and it runs right through to the leader himself."
This suggests that liberals really do hate their countries/the West. One defence might be that they don't want to judge foreign countries, but this doesn't explain praising foreign dictators

Eye diseases changed great painters' vision of their work later in their lives - "In Marmor's simulated versions of how the painters would most likely have seen their work, Degas' later paintings of nude bathers become so blurry it's difficult to see any of the artist's brushstrokes. Monet's later paintings of the lily pond and the Japanese bridge at Giverny, when adjusted to reflect the typical symptoms of cataracts, appear dark and muddied. The artist's signature vibrant colors are muted, replaced by browns and yellows. "These simulations may lead one to question whether the artists intended these late works to look exactly as they do," said Marmor, who has long had interest in both the mechanics of vision and the vision of artists. "The fact is that these artists weren't painting in this manner totally for artistic reasons." Degas and Monet were both founders of the Impressionist era, and their artistic styles were well-formed before their eye disease affected their vision. But their paintings grew significantly more abstract in later life as, coincidentally, their eye problems increased... After reluctantly submitting to cataract surgery in 1923, Monet returned to his original painting style, even throwing away much of the artwork he'd done during the 10-year period that he had cataracts."
But Impressionism in general is like looking through the eyes of someone with an eye problem

Google just ‘ruined’ image search, but we’ll show you how to fix it - "Getty Images sells photos online for a living, and the company accused Google of anti-competitive practices. Google’s image search feature made it easy for people to find Getty Images photos and download them without permission or license. With the view image button disabled, it’s not as easy to open that image and then save it to your computer"

Don’t force food companies in S’pore to go halal, says S’porean Muslim - "It’s one thing to observe our food intake (it’s fine and principally important) but it’s another thing to behave like a jerk online with people."

Mate preferences do predict attraction and choices in the early stages of mate selection. - "when a mating pool includes people at the low end of social status and physical attractiveness, mate choice criteria are sex-differentiated: Men, more than women, chose mates based on physical attractiveness, whereas women, more than men, chose mates based on social status. In addition, individuals who more greatly valued social status or physical attractiveness on paper valued these traits more in their actual choices. In particular, mate choices were sex-differentiated when considering long-term relationships but not short-term ones, where both sexes shunned partners with low physical attractiveness. The findings validate a large body of mate preferences research and an evolutionary perspective on mating"
In other words, feminists are wrong (again)

Legalizing child pornography is linked to lower rates of child sex abuse - "the incidence of child sex abuse has fallen considerably since 1989, when child pornography became readily accessible – a phenomenon also seen in Denmark and Japan... The findings support the theory that potential sexual offenders use child pornography as a substitute for sex crimes against children... there was no increase in reported sex-related crimes generally since the legalization of pornography. Interestingly, whereas the number of sex-related crimes fell significantly after 1989, the number of other societal crimes – murder, assault, and robbery – rose significantly."
More porn, less sex crime. The usual answer will be an assertion that more consumption will increase demand and result in more children being abused, but somehow this doesn't show up in the statistics (which suggests that even if there is an effect, it is far outweighed by the reduction in child sex abuse due to increased consumption)

Is it possible to boost your intelligence by training? We reviewed three decades of research - "cognitive training programmes do not even necessarily boost those cognitive functions that the trained tasks are supposed to involve. What is enhanced is just the ability to perform the trained task and similar tasks."
In other words you can't train general intelligence, only task-specific skills

Duty-free shop at Heathrow apologises for 'discrimination' against Chinese customers - "Chinese customers were asked to spend more than £1,000 (US$1,383) to qualify for a discount voucher at the World Duty Free outlet at Terminal 2, while customers from other countries needed £79 to receive the 20 per cent discount voucher."
Yet it is okay to discriminate against locals (with tourist-only offers)

Hit-and-miss dining at Lavo - "A survey of our fellow diners tells us nobody is there to take the food seriously, since there is no way a pizza or porterhouse steak can hide in some of those bodies sheathed in second-skin outfits. Instead of nibbling on nightclub-compliant chi-chi fare, we're chowing down on hefty portions of family-restaurant style, American-Italian cooking - imagine an unholy liaison between Jamie's Italian and Denny's... Our Charred Octopus (S$32) arrives suspiciously fast, barely a few minutes after our orders are taken, like a mollusc-in-waiting that's suddenly called into action. The tentacle is cool rather than warm, sprinkled with black olive dust and over-vinegared dressing. It's already starting to dry out - once supple flesh taking on a somewhat stringy and powdery texture."

Malaysia apologises for Chinese New Year ad with rooster - "The full-page advert by the domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism ministry showed a rooster emitting the word "wang", used to represent a dog's bark in Mandarin... The ministry issued an apology late Thursday and said a "technical error" was behind the mistake, without saying how they had intended the ad to appear"
Next year it's the year of the pig

Someone's Sushi Came Alive and Tried to Escape at a Revolving Sushi Joint

Artist’s 'sexual' robin redbreast Christmas cards banned by Facebook - "Facebook has blocked the sale of a pack of Christmas cards featuring a robin redbreast because of its “sexual” and “adult” nature."... “There’s obviously nothing in the images themselves which is inappropriate. Similarly, there were no ‘trigger’ words used in the cards’ descriptions that I’m aware of. For instance, the robin card was simply called ‘Robin’, not ‘Robin Redbreast’ as some people have wondered."... Founder Mark Zuckerberg was accused by a Norwegian newspaper of “abusing [his] power” in a move that triggered a larger debate about Facebook’s role in the censorship and distribution of news. More recently, a photo showing a statue of Roman sea god Neptune was also not approved after being deemed “explicitly sexual”. Elisa Barberi, a local writer, attempted to post them on her page earlier this year... Until 2012, Effin, a small village in Limerick, was deemed “offensive” by the site and users were prevented from listing it as their registered “homeplace”."

Aging, but Still Working, in Singapore - The New York Times - "Some do so because they see it as a way to continue to contribute to society, and they’re reluctant to become a burden on their families. Others among them wish to escape the loneliness of an increasingly sedentary retirement. Many need the extra income that even such modest work provides (typically less than the equivalent in Singapore dollars of about $1,100 a month)... “Looking after your parents,” in this still strongly Confucian-influenced society, is a concept most Singaporeans have grown up with. So the notion of parents’ going out to work in a job past the retirement age, particularly in physically demanding, low-paid jobs like the food-hall cleaners’ work, sits uneasily with traditional ideas of filial duty. At the same time, providing for and looking after elderly parents within the family is becoming ever more challenging in a country renowned for its high-pressure work environment. Singapore’s high standard of living comes at a price: It has the longest working hours of any country in the world, and for a third consecutive year was ranked recently as the world’s most expensive city to live in."

Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice. - The New York Times - "Nobody wants to see your true self. We all have thoughts and feelings that we believe are fundamental to our lives, but that are better left unspoken. A decade ago, the author A. J. Jacobs spent a few weeks trying to be totally authentic. He announced to an editor that he would try to sleep with her if he were single and informed his nanny that he would like to go on a date with her if his wife left him. He informed a friend’s 5-year-old daughter that the beetle in her hands was not napping but dead. He told his in-laws that their conversation was boring. You can imagine how his experiment worked out. “Deceit makes our world go round,” he concluded. “Without lies, marriages would crumble, workers would be fired, egos would be shattered, governments would collapse.”

Shazam for Plants Will Identify Any Plant From a Picture

Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time? - "the premature deaths of elite scientists affect the dynamics of scientific discovery. Following such deaths, scientists who were not collaborators with the deceased stars become more visible, and they advance novel ideas through increased publications within the field of the deceased star. These "emerging stars" are often scientists who were not previously active within that field. The results suggest that outsiders to a specific scientific field are reluctant to challenge a research star who is viewed as a leader within that field. "

Your Fingerprint Isn't Protected by the Constitution - "Biometrics might be cool and convenient, but the technology could potentially undermine your legal rights under the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the government from compelling a witness to testify against herself. A court or police officer could legally compel you to press your finger onto your smartphone to unlock it"

LFW: London Modest Fashion Week to showcase Islamic dress
So normal fashion is immodest? Slut shaming is okay if Muslims do it?

Yelpers across North America frown on Chinese food
They hate their traditional cuisine too

Chinese New Year: Remembering how I first ate dog meat, and how differences bring us together - "I see this very much in the same way that Australian farmers love their cows and lambs. It doesn't stop them from slaughtering them, and many vegans would question why Western countries discriminate against all animals except cats and dogs — which again comes back to our different respective histories. In China and South Korea, the tradition of eating dog meat goes back at least 400 years according to Government statistics. Meanwhile, throughout Russia and Switzerland and other countries, many people also continue to have dog-meat-eating customs. During the current Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, locals have reportedly expressed their outrage at foreign media coverage of the consumption of dog meat by locals, claiming that these reports did not respect cultural histories and differences... my father's answer to "why do you eat dog meat" is that Australians eat kangaroo, and kangaroo is the symbol of Australia, and that "we would never do that in China" — and he probably has a point I think."

Parents Lose Custody Of Child For Refusing To Support Transgenderism - "Hamilton County Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon granted custody to the girl's maternal grandparents, who are open to transgender hormone therapy. The teenager has been living with them since 2016."

'Black Panther' Review: This Deeply Conservative Movie Makes Captain America Look Like A Neo-Marxist Stooge - "Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther" is so deeply conservative that it makes Captain America look like a washed-up neo-Marxist Berkeley grad who spends his days of unemployment shouting "speech is violence" from the rooftops at a Ben Shapiro rally. Let me count the ways:
"Black Panther" stresses the importance of fatherhood.
"Black Panther" highlights the pain of lost heritage.
"Black Panther" emphasizes the need for strong families.
"Black Panther" pays tribute to the power of tradition.
"Black Panther" denigrates the destructiveness of ethnocentrism.
"Black Panther" endorses Plato's concept of the philosopher king.
"Black Panther" favors national sovereignty over one-world governments.
"Black Panther" celebrates masculinity.
"Black Panther" sticks it to Marxist revolutionary psychopaths.
"Black Panther" has a unifying message: "We are one tribe."...
"Black Panther" is about the competition between two opposing ideological forces: tribalism vs. unity. The villain, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), is essentially a black nationalist revolutionary that would be right at home shouting "death to pigs" at a BLM rally"

Friday, June 15, 2018

Links - 15th June 2018 (3)

Christmas history quiz - History Extra - "Mexicans traditionally celebrate new years' eve by eating one grape with each of the twelve chimes of a clock during the midnight countown while making a wish with each one...
Baubles originated in Germany where they were spotted by FW Woolworth who started importing them to the united states. There they began to replace traditional apples on the Christmas tree. Christmas trees derived from European medieval paradise plays which feature a paradise bound representing the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. This had apples and a snake on them. In nineteenth century Britain Christmas was promoted at a time to remind the Empire of the ties that bind them to their mother country. As such the only proper topping for the tree was the union flag question"

Mary Shelley and her monster - History Extra - "There's also a question about whether she fell in love with other women in her adulthood. Or indeed in her girlhood. And that's something that's almost impossible to decode I think because of the era's tendency for passionate female friendships. And you know terms in which they're expressed but she did tend to have one, one at a time. One terribly close woman friend or in the case of Jane Claire her stepsister."
Luckily unlike close male friendships we don't see these things through the lens of homosexuality today

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, No Go Areas - "Israel honours more people from Poland than from any other nation for rescuing Jews...
[On Mozambique] The music is infectious, joyful and loved by the crowd but when I talk to band leader Matchume Zango afterwards, he tells me many of the lyrics are calling for investment in hospitals, education and culture. and asking why the government is still buying guns....
[On menstruating women being unable to enter a Hindu temple] Contradiction was embedded within the religion itself. There are certain times when human beings are considered ritually impure. Women are considered so during periods he said. That's Artha Hinduism - the kind of Hinduism found in the ancient Hindu texts. However, he went on, in Shakta Hinduism, which is the body of Hinduism that celebrates the feminine - the goddesses, menstration is considered purifying rather than polluting."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Your Move! - "Since twenty eleven all children in Armenia from six to eight years old have compulsory chess lessons. It's the first country in the world to include it on the national curriculum... with a population of a little over three million Armenia currently has one of the highest proportions of chess grandmasters per capita in the world"

Thinking Is Expensive. Who’s Supposed to Pay for It? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "TUFEKCI: There’s all these really smart engineers. They’re the brightest computer scientists, and all they’re thinking about is, “How do I keep someone on Facebook for 10 more minutes? What’s the exact combination of things that will keep them staying on the site as long as possible so that we can show them as much advertisement as possible?”...
Philanthropy, especially large philanthropy, in the form of a foundation or especially wealthy person represents the exercise of power in which they attempt to use their own private wealth to affect public outcomes or to produce public benefits or make social change. Power deserves scrutiny in a democratic society, not gratitude. I’d add on top of that that a foundation, in particular — which is a legal form that allows a wealthy person to create a donor-directed, unaccountable, barely transparent, perpetual, and tax-subsidized corporate form in order to use their private assets to affect the public — is an especially interesting and potentially worrisome form of power...
The top five Silicon Valley companies are amongst the largest sources of lobbying, greater even than the five top Wall Street firms in New York. There’s been a parallel ramping up of the philanthropy that’s associated with the tech firms. That philanthropy comes in a variety of different forms."
This puts the much welcomed news that "Philanthropist George Soros donates most of his net worth to charity" into perspective (since it was his own charity)

Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me [Updated] - "Google denied any role in Lynn’s firing, and Slaughter tweeted that the “facts are largely right, but quotes are taken way out of context and interpretation is wrong.” Despite the conflicting story lines, the underlying premise felt familiar to me: Six years ago, I was pressured to unpublish a critical piece about Google’s monopolistic practices after the company got upset about it. In my case, the post stayed unpublished... Deliberately manipulating search results to eliminate references to a story that Google doesn’t like would be an extraordinary, almost dystopian abuse of the company’s power over information on the internet. I don’t have any hard evidence to prove that that’s what Google did in this instance, but it’s part of why this episode has haunted me for years: The story Google didn’t want people to read swiftly became impossible to find through Google. Google wouldn’t address whether it deliberately deep-sixed search results related to the story... Google said it never urged New America to fire Lynn and his team. But an entity as powerful as Google doesn’t have to issue ultimatums. It can just nudge organizations and get them to act as it wants, given the influence it wields."

Are We Running Out of Ideas? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "BLOOM: Moore’s Law goes back to an observation made by Gordon Moore, who is one of the co-founders of Intel back way, way, way back in 1965. And he noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on a circuit doubled roughly every other year.
VAN REENEN: And that’s led to something like, every year, 35 percent improvements of productivity in semiconductors. So enormous rates of improvements of technological progress in that sector driving the kind of digital revolution/computer revolution. So people often point to this. So what we did was we said, “Okay, that’s great. But to get that 35 percent improvement every year, how much research and development had to go into doing that?” And what we show — the amount of research going into semiconductors has enormously increased, but productivity growth in that sector hasn’t accelerated.
BLOOM: So back in 1965, there were a few teams around the country working on this. Now, there’s hundreds and hundreds of millions, billions, globally spent on trying to improve the speed of silicon chips. And as a result, we calculate the amount of resources has gone up by 25-fold. So we’ve had a 25-fold increase in inputs just to maintain the same speed... Yes, so we also looked at thousands of firms publicly listed in the U.S. And we looked at how much they spent in R&D and how that translated into gains in sales, gains in employment, and gains in market capitalizations. And in all cases there’s a positive relationship. The more you spend, generally the more you sell, and the more valuable you are. But that relationship has been falling over time. So for a million dollars of R&D in the ’60s, you got something like three times as much impact in terms of sales as you would in the ’80s. And again, it’s been falling ever since. The low-hanging fruit has all gone, and it’s becoming far harder... in every case huge inventions that have changed the world seemed to in history come from one or two individuals. And now it’s taking huge corporations, universities, and the government hundreds or typically billions of dollars to push it ahead."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Putin calls the shots in Syria - "They are quietly and perhaps a bit smugly relishing the fact that all of the dire prediction that this would become another Afghanistan for Russia, they would get bogged down, there would be real. the huge losses that would cost at home, that hasn't happened. And for all the talk about there is no military solution in Syria, Russia brought about a military solution"

Padmaavat: India clashes as controversial film opens - "Hardline Hindu groups allege the film Padmaavat is disrespectful of their culture by depicting a romance between a Hindu queen and a Muslim king... The film tells the story of 14th Century Muslim emperor Alauddin Khilji's attack on a kingdom after he was smitten by the beauty of its queen, Padmavati, who belonged to the Hindu Rajput caste. Hindu groups and a Rajput caste organisation allege that the movie includes a scene in which the Muslim king dreams of becoming intimate with the Hindu queen. But director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has said the film does not feature such a "dream sequence" at all."
Singaporean logic: ban the film because it disrupts religious harmony

Padmavati row: Karni Sena threatens to cut off Deepika Padukone’s nose - ""Rajput Karni Sena is fighting to protect the image of women being portrayed in the films. We never raise a hand on women but if need be, we will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha for violating the rules and culture of India."... Rajput community in Meerut has also announced a bounty of Rs 5 crore on the filmmaker’s head."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Trump tweets target Britain - "It's is quite difficult to use it as a means of exchange. There was a flurry of organisations saying yes we accept bitcoin a few years back, but what's happened is the very fact that it's appreciated so rapidly has made it less useful as a currency. If you've got something in your pocket, if you've got a bitcoin in your pocket you're not going to spend it on a pizza today if tomorrow that bitcoin is going to be worth an awful lot more, so people tend to horde them. So it has become really an asset, a speculative asset that's caused a mania that some are likening to the seventeenth century tulip mania in the Netherlands... I was asked by a physiotherapist the other day what's this bitcoin thing. And I thought that's a moment when this bubble really is inflating"

Director David Yates defends keeping Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 2 - "David Yates threw his support behind the actor, who was accused physical abuse by ex wife Amber Heard, saying that Depp is ‘full of decency and kindness’, and that Amber’s accusation ‘doesn’t tally with the kind of human I’ve been working with.’... He added that his strong defense of the actor comes from the testimonies of many of his exes"
Since women never lie, Amber Heard and Depp's exes' testimonies will cause a singularity

Grindr is updating its app to be more gender-inclusive
Why are women using Grindr?

networking - I have LOTS of TAP-Win32 Adapter OAS and TAP-Windows Adapter - "the TAP adapters will keep coming while you keep a KMS activator or a VPN client of sorts running, which can keep installing these adapters over and over (the reason for that I don't really know, bad programmers maybe? :P )."

Alarm suddenly turned off overnight. : iphone - "I set my alarm yesterday for 7:30 am and I naturally wake up 7:28 and expect my alarm to go off.
I check my iphone at exactly 7:30 and see the alarm is suddenly turned off?
I searched on the web but those issues arose when the overnight update of iOS turned everything off, but afaik I didnt update anything while I slept."
"Apple sucks when it comes to clocks, daylight savings and alarms. Seriously they just can't get it right. Same with WIFI."

No, Canada Will Not Take Your Child Away If You Disagree With Their Gender Identity
Comments: "Your headline: "No, Canada Will Not Take Your Child Away If You Disagree With Their Gender Identity"
Your Article: "Mere disagreement with a child about their gender identity or gender expression is not enough to bring the child into care. Instead, it has to be part of "a pattern of abuse, neglect or serious emotional harm" before removing the child can be considered, according to Akihito Tse, a spokesperson for the advocate's office."
Also: "The reasons a child may require protection are laid out in section 74(2) of Bill 89. There is no specific reference to gender identity or gender expression, but if a child is suffering sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, including "serious" psychological effects, child welfare agencies may intervene."
Most importantly: "One of the most noteworthy changes is around gender. Accommodating a child's gender identity or gender expression is now given the same protection as race, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation, bringing it in line with the province's human rights code."
You just noted that a child CAN be removed from their parents by law if eventually the parent doesn't bend to the whim of their child.
So, you lied."
"Isn't it reasonable to surmise that, pursuant to the purpose of the bill, if a child suffers anxiety or depression resulting from the lack of gender identity/expression consideration that it could potentially constitute the need for protection? Why do you do this Buzzfeed? Why do you have no integrity?"

Trump’s Road to 2024 - The New York Times - "I’d put the chances of impeachment at under 10 percent and of his re-election at about 25 percent. That’s partly because the Democratic Party has not yet begun a serious reckoning with its defeat last year. It hasn’t grasped the degree to which it lives, still, in a coastal echo chamber of identity politics and Trump-bashing. Just being anti-Trump won’t cut it. As Chuck Coughlin, a Republican political consultant who once worked for Senator John McCain, put it to me, “Somebody who speaks to common-sense American values — that is what the Democrats need.” I’m not sure who that person is, but I am pretty sure she or he does not reside in New York, Massachusetts or California."

In first, Hezbollah confirms all financial support comes from Iran

Bjørn Lomborg - Posts - "The world is mostly run on fossil fuels (81%). Nuclear makes up 5%, with 14% from renewables. Solar panels and wind turbines contribute 0.8%. When you hear 14% renewables, you will likely think 'wow, things are going pretty well with the switch to renewables'. But these renewables are not the ones you hear about. The biggest contributor is humanity's oldest fuel – wood... Contrary to the weight of news stories on how solar and wind is taking over the world, solar panels and wind turbines really make up a very small part of the global energy mix... Remember, this is *very* different from just electricity, which is how solar and wind is often described. Electricity makes up a smaller part of the total energy consumption, and global warming concerns go to *all* energy emissions, not just the smaller subset of electricity"

'Travel' without the hassle on Japan's 'flights' that don't go anywhere - "That's exactly what 12 passengers did at First Airlines in central Tokyo this week, where they relaxed in first-class and business-class seats and were served four-course dinners, before immersing themselves in 360-degree virtual reality (VR) tours of the City of Light's sights... the majority of First Airlines' visitors are older Japanese from around the country. Mr Abe added that domestic "flights" around Japan will be added soon, with meals highlighting the region's cuisine"

Diet and stomach cancer in Korea. - "An increased risk of stomach cancer was noted among people who frequently consume broiled meats and fishes, salted side dishes (salted/fermented fish products) and salty stewed foods, such as soybean paste thick stew. Frequent consumption of mung bean pancake, tofu, cabbage, spinach and sesame oil decreased the risk. Analysis by cooking method showed that risk of stomach cancer from the same foods varied with preparation. For meat and fish, pan frying was associated with decreased risk, whereas stewing or broiling was associated with increased risk. Pickled vegetables increased the risk, whereas fresh vegetables did not. In a recent cohort study in Seoul, green vegetables and soybean foods were associated with a decreased risk of stomach cancer. Case-control and cohort studies have reported that ginseng intake decreased the risk of gastric cancer."

Kenan Malik's lecture on the British debate on immigration - "Multiculturalism gave an institutional form to what we now call identity politics. Policy makers came to treat people less as British citizens than as members of particular racial, ethnic, cultural or faith groups, and to define policy largely in terms of the perceived needs and desires of those groups. And people came to see themselves in that way too - not as British citizens but as Muslims, or African Caribbeans, or Scottish. Two consequences flowed from these developments. First, there has been increasing conflict between identity groups. Britain today is less defined by confrontation between the state and minority groups, than by conflict between those groups. Because Britain is seen as a community of communities, so each group seeks to maximise its interests at the expense of others, creating animosity. Second, there is a greater disengagement between individuals and the political process. Because individuals are often treated not as citizens but as members of particular groups, so they feel less inclined to think of themselves as citizens or to see to political process as being of great value... 50 years ago the fear was of immigrants becoming permanently attached to Britain. Ironically, many of the initial immigrants were single men who expected to return home after a short time working here. But once the 1962 Immigration Act came into force they had no choice but to settle here and bring their families over, because if they left they might never have been able to get back in again"

1983: the Cold War almost goes nuclear

1983: the Cold War almost goes nuclear - History Extra

"Reagan accuses the Soviet Union of being a terrorist state, committing atrocities. And this sort of language the Soviet leadership are not used to hearing about themselves. They're proud men, they regard themselves as the nation that effectively destroyed Nazism in the Second World War. They're a super power with an immense nuclear capability, and they don't like these insults that are coming from the man they perceive as an ex actor in the White House, and they get increasingly riled and nervous by Reagan's aggressive tone.

As far as he's concerned he's just partly playing to his constituency in America, partly playing - he has a constant hostility to Communism which is there throughout his life from, say from the 1940s onwards, he's just saying, what to him is obvious, what's natural. Is not unusual about what he's saying, but he's really upsetting the Kremlin leadership who think there must be something else to this.

They start thinking, well, this isn't just a politician on the huskins talking out to try and win votes. They begin to wonder if this is actually Reagan preparing the American people for the fact that he's going to go to war with the Soviet Union. Seems crazy now, but nevertheless this constant belligerent aggressive tone was really misinterpreted in the Kremlin by the Soviet leadership.

And these are men who haven't traveled in the West... most of them have only been in the West if at all for a few days, a state visit. So they have no real understanding of how American political dialogue operates...

Andropov was not a well man. He was suffering from a variety of complaints. The worst of which was a kidney disease... eventually led to him being put on a kidney dialysis machine. So as this crisis unfolds into the autumn of 1983, the Soviet leader was actually spending several hours a day on a dialysis machine, which is very, very exhausting. And everybody describes how fatigued he looked, but he also wasn't even in the Kremlin. His office had moved to a clinic... just outside Moscow. So he was conducting the leadership of the nation actually from a bed or a private room in a clinic outside Moscow... come November 1983, the poor man is, the entire Politburo, the Soviet leadership have to go out to the clinic every day to see him. He never leaves his bedroom in the clinic...

When you tell an intelligence agency: go out and look for signs, go out and look for evidence of these things, invariably they come back and find those signs. We know that is the history of intelligence. When you say find the evidence of secret weapons, they usually find some evidence and come back. We saw that in the prelude to the Iraq war in 2003 and 20 years before that in 1983, the KGB come back with all sorts of stories, all sorts of reports... they were ticking boxes and able to see more and more boxes being filled. Often for completely unconnected reasons.

About a week before the Able Archer exercise towards the end of October 1983, there is a huge truck bomb in Beirut. This was launched by Hezbollah against the American Marines who were occupying Beirut in the aftermath of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

And this had nothing whatsoever to do with US or Western/Eastern relations. But as a consequence of this truck bomb, the Americans put all their bases around the world on maximum alert for terrorist attacks. The Soviet intelligence organization, the KGB pick up on this and say, ha ha. There we go. This is evidence that the US military and NATO are hunkering down in preparation of a nuclear attack...

Reagan launches an attack upon the tiny Caribbean island of Granada, which happens to be a Commonwealth territory. Margaret Thatcher objects strongly... There's a lot of backwards and forwards communications between London and Washington, the KGB pick up on this and say, aha, any Western attack upon the Soviet Union, there will be a lot of communication between London and Washington"
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