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Friday, June 22, 2018

Links - 22nd June 2018 (2)

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Turkey moves on Syrian Kurds - "President Duterte's current trust and approval rating here in the Philippines makes him far the most approved and trusted president in nearly a decade and that's backed up by numerous conversations I've had with taxi drivers, people living in poor areas. Even expats I've spoken to who say that the incidences of bag snatching, crime on the street have come down. People say that the capital manila is a lot safer now under President Duterte so he has a lot of support in this country, something that people outside of the Philippines really struggle with"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, New nightmare for Yemen - "A physically attractive person is more likely to vote Republican - that is on the right - than Democrat. Why? It's something they describe as the halo effect - put crudely the idea that by and large better looking people are treated better, have better lives and therefore think the world is less messed up and therefore requires less lefty staff such as wealth redistribution and state intervention generally. Not surprisingly this research has produced - to put it mildly - an avalanche of reaction."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Germany nears a new government - "However tempting it may seem to treat retirement as the chance finally to do nothing, if we can afford it, and stop dead, metaphorically, if we try it we might indeed stop dead - literally. And if the sudden absence of workplace stress doesn't bring on a heart attack the absence of mental stimulation may lead to dementia. A recent study of civil servants in Britain found that stopping work and putting your feet up causes a marked and rapid decline in brain function... verbal memory, which gets worse as you get older anyway, got worse far quicker in those who retired than in those still turning up to the office every day. Deprived of the stimulus of work, these highly educated folk used to thinking for a living risked their brains atrophying"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, South Africa gets a new leader - "In certain parts of India where there were certain packages being offered. You could have the basic package on cheating, you could have the luxury package on cheating with someone actually sat your exam for you...
There're rumors about teachers giving students the answers, there're loud speakers in exam halls dictating the answers to children...
There was actually an anti cheating lawn in Uttar Pradesh which was reversed by a previous Chief Minister because there was so much public pressure against it"
Racist stereotypes about India!

"Eden Ang Kept Fingering Me, Even When I Pushed Him Away. Then, He Penetrated Me."
For an outlet with journalistic pretentions, it's strange that Rice doesn't even bother to contact Eden Ang to get his side of the story (or probe deeper)
If 18 year old girls are really so innocent, naive and easily manipulated (as many people claim), why do we let them have sex, drink, smoke and 3 years later vote? We need to raise the ages of consent to protect them

The Delicious Pleasure of Name and Shame Posts - "we want the perpetrator to pay, no matter the cost. And the ‘best’ part about the court of public opinion is that the person being ‘shamed’ is deprived of a voice. They are irrevocably guilty until proven innocent (if ever). Many of us like to think that we’re doing a public service by sharing name and shame posts for the greater good. But let’s be real, the main goal in naming and shaming, or sharing name and shame posts, is because they make us feel better about ourselves. They are essentially self-indulgent ways of seeking justice. And there’s nothing wrong with being honest about this. Naming and shaming feels good because it simplifies a complicated world and separates it into black and white, right and wrong."
Ironically this was written by the same writer as the above less than 2 months before

The problem with Rice Media’s exposé of Eden Ang - "a media outlet who gains popularity for enterprisingly riding on the #MeToo wave without the burden of the need to be responsible in their reporting. Only they know what their real agenda is, but is this the type of media that we truly want/need in Singapore? Ultimately, we have to decide for ourselves, rather than blindly follow a trend that is happening overseas."

Condoleeza Rice Says Keep Monuments to Slave Owners - "When you start wiping out your history; sanitizing your history to make you feel better? It's a bad thing"
White Supremacy!

What Are the Defining Ingredients of a Culture’s Cuisine? - "For the majority of cuisines, the most common ingredient is a cooking lubricant like butter or oil. Northern and southern European cuisines display a clear divide on butter and olive. Butter for the Germans, English/Scottish and Scandinavians, and Olive Oil for the Spanish/Portuguese and Greek. In most other cuisines, the most common ingredient is a condiment or a seasoning: soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, onion. The one exception to the trends is Jewish cuisine, in which eggs are the most common ingredient. This is perhaps due to the unique place of eggs in Jewish dietary restrictions... Thai food is distinguished by the use of galangal, also called siamese ginger, and it just might be why you like those curries so much. Galangal is found in over 10% of Thai dishes, but in only 0.1% of the dishes of other cuisines."

The Invention of the Chilean Sea Bass - "In the seventies, seafood dealers renamed the slimehead, a fish named for its “distinctive mucus canals,” the “orange roughy.” Sales of the goosefish -- long thrown back by fishermen -- skyrocketed in the 1980s and 1990s once rechristened the monkfish. Rebranding sea urchins -- once known by Maine lobstermen as “whore’s eggs” -- under its Japanese name “uni” helped it catch on as a popular sushi ingredient now achieving popularity in other cuisine... Celebrity chefs embraced it, enjoying, as Knecht writes, it ability to “hold up to any method of cooking, accept any spice,” and never overcook. The Four Seasons first served it in 1990; it was Bon Appetit’s dish of the year in 2001."

SPLC Declares Voice for Men a Hate Group - "for the first time, the SPLC added two male supremacy groups to the hate group list: A Voice for Men, based in Houston, and Return of Kings, based in Washington, D.C. The vilification of women by these groups makes them no different than other groups that demean entire populations, such as the LGBT community, Muslims or Jews, based on their inherent characteristics."
I look forward to Everyday Feminism being added to the list too

Christina Sommers on Twitter: "The Factual Feminist has been denounced by the Southern Poverty Law Center as enabler of male supremacy. Oy vey. Last year leader of MRA group denounced me for being a female supremacist https://t.co/tZyxr8ak8q Both wrong. I’m a facts & logic supremacist. https://t.co/5U5RCKNmL4"

Do you know the state of your country? Take the test, as poll reveals perception gap - "People worldwide tend to exaggerate the proportion of foreign-born prisoners, overestimate teenage pregnancies and underestimate the health of the nation... “Our brains handle negative information differently and store it more accessibly,” he said. “We overestimate what we worry about: the more we see coverage of an issue, the more prevalent we think it is, especially if that coverage is vivid and threatening.”"

What is it like to have a Japanese girlfriend? - Quora - "My ex of 3 years would always send me furniture, toiletries, clothes, etc in the mail whenever she knew I needed it, without asking. I guess you could say they're very nurturing and supportive. In general they're really feminine, much more so than women in the West. They are usually thinner, and wear more/better make-up than their Western female counterparts. But, they are the same socio-economic status, so they're less likely to steal or commit petty crime than other Asians. Japanese women care about their family and tradition... Many Japanese men complain about the stark change from their sweet and giving girlfriend into their demanding, sexless wife after marriage. At least your wife will still be slim and look good though!"

Why does my Japanese girlfriend say 'dame, dame' when she's experiencing sexual pleasure? - Quora - "I understand "da me" to mean "No" or "stop" However, when I'm fooling around with my Japanese girlfriend and she gets really turned on from sex, she always says "dame, dame." She repeats it many times during sex when she is really really passionate. She tells me that she's not saying "stop" but she can't explain the meaning of it. She says that "dame" can sometimes mean "yes" even if it usually means "no.""
"to some extent, I think we can regard this as kind of reflection of Japan's "Shame Culture" (恥文化)。.. Japanese woman says "dame" during the sex with her husband/boyfriend, just a Natural Reaction because it is clearly kind of "shame" in her mind that naked in frond of a man (even he is boyfriend/husband). and she has to do/say sth to convince she already gets this, otherwise, she will be regarded as "not feeling of shame" even by herself. which is Inconsistent to her "standards" since educated. And of course, this "dame" doesn't mean she wants her boyfriend to stop sex. (and in addition in Japan, a country with very big male chauvinism , it may be kind of pleasure for the man to hear the "dame" during the sex. the pleasure of conquest ...)"
"I was taken aback and wondered for a moment if I should pause...but then the girl's violent hip thrusting and tongue assaults (excuse the graphic imagery) left little choice but to carry on...
I think these are the possible implied meanings:
"No, we shouldn't/it's improper" (...though it's awesome)
"No, you're making me into a dirty girl...""
When a (Japanese) lady says no, she means...

'Blacked up' carnival bobsleigh team cleared of racism by police - Wales Online - "Four carnival revellers who “blacked up” to look like a Jamaican bobsleigh team have been cleared of racism - after a six-month police investigation."

How a love of Japan led me to stop dating its women - "90 percent of Western male scholars of Japan, when they had a wife, tended to have a Japanese one. I can’t argue with his observation: Nearly all the heterosexual Western men I know in Japan have Japanese wives. Indeed, the overwhelming attraction of Western men to Japanese women has over the past 50 years been much commented on.... Somewhere in the cultural differences between Japan and the West I felt that I could define my own personal sense of self. Having a Japanese partner, I repeatedly discovered, unbalanced this sense of freedom. No longer was I in control of my relationship with Japan; now I tended to feel more like a prisoner in a relationship with a foreign culture from which I could not escape. The only way I could truly enjoy and develop my love for Japan, I concluded, was by excluding my love life from that cultural relationship... Like so many other Western men in Japan, I soon discovered that at the age of 25 I was dating a drop-dead gorgeous Japanese girl of such loveliness that I had to pinch myself to believe she could be interested in my shabbily dressed self... My feisty Korean girlfriend was a constant source of cultural bewilderment to me, exploding into a fury if I did not fulfill her strange demands — she once took off a stiletto and hurled it across a train station foyer at me — and yet suddenly switched to mawkish tenderness. The Nepalese girlfriend would tell me about her “uncles” in the Himalayas and leave me dreaming about making hazardous trips into Kathmandu airport to visit her family. After all the excitement of these girlfriends, my periodic return to the arms of Japanese girlfriends seemed like interludes of Zen-like stillness. And yet pursuing a relationship with someone from another East Asian country was never really an option — I was too devoted to my studies in Japan to have time for another major cultural commitment. I eventually moved out of my East Asian period and into my “New World” phase, dating American, Canadian and Australian girls. I found my New World girlfriends exciting and stimulating and yet never mentally tiring or a distracting cultural commitment... The New World girlfriend, I concluded, was the perfect match for me. I found that the nationality of the girl I was dating greatly affected my mental mood and how I thought about things."

Flying taxis? Uber has a competitor in Chinese drone maker Ehang - "the electric-powered flying taxi has a limited range, but Ehang said it is stable enough to fly in thunderstorms and even typhoon conditions. In the event that something goes awry, a human pilot in a control centre can take over piloting of the drone remotely."

Inside the OED: can the world’s biggest dictionary survive the internet? - "Every lexicographer I spoke to made clear their distaste for “word-lovers”, who in the dictionary world are regarded as the type of person liable to scrawl “fewer” on to supermarket signs reading “10 items or less”, or recite “antidisestablishmentarianism” to anyone who will listen. The normally genial John Simpson writes crisply that “I take the hardline view that language is not there to be ‘enjoyed’”; instead, it is there to be used."

Instagram ban on emoji has sexters searching for fruity alternatives - "Instagram has launched a surprise crackdown on the symbol for an eggplant, or aubergine, which the Guardian can reveal is employed by some users to represent a penis when posting a message with their pictures... The illustrations for the banana and the peach remain unaffected... Some enterprising Instagram users have also started using the banana to direct users to images of the eggplant emoji"

Jennifer Lawrence responds to 'sexist' dress criticism: 'It was my choice' - "An article in Jezebel had the headline, Please Give Jennifer Lawrence a Dang Coat, showing the actor’s co-stars, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons among them, wearing large coats and scarves... One tweet that called it “quietly depressing and revealing” received over 12,000 likes."

Eric Weinstein on Twitter: "Thug-Review, n: a post Peer Review practice where threats of violence to life, limb, reputation & livelihood determine academic publication. https://t.co/jOICrOiWeu"
On Bruce Gilley's The case for colonialism being withdrawn due to "serious and credible threats of personal violence", "linked to the publication of this essay". Probably those issuing those threats believe they are "speaking truth to power"

Association between rainfall and diagnoses of joint or back pain: retrospective claims analysis - "no relation was found between rainfall and outpatient visits for joint or back pain"
On weather and pain

East London primary school backs down over hijab ban - "A primary school that controversially banned pupils from wearing hijabs appears to have backed down after the chair of governors announced his resignation following complaints from parents. St Stephen’s primary school in Newham, east London, hit the headlines at the weekend after the Sunday Times reported it had banned Muslim girls under the age of eight from wearing headscarves... That decision, along with curbs on children fasting on school days during Ramadan, upset many parents"
Actually banning hijabs being worn by under eights and stopping them from fasting are pro-Islamic moves, since they're only supposed to do all these when they hit puberty

Extremists who bullied head into hijab ban u-turn exposed - "a deluge of poisonous emails — totalling several thousand — have swamped her personal inbox. One was headed ‘You horrible vile rat’. Another was signed: ‘Yours disrespectfully and may you never be happy.’ Others have branded her a ‘paedeophiliac person’, the ‘scum of the earth’, and an ‘Islamophobe’ and ‘racist’ who ‘deserved what was coming’... the campaign of intimidation against Miss Lall culminated with her even being compared to Adolf Hitler in a video uploaded to YouTube... ‘If pupils choose to wear the hijab, it should be their freedom of choice . . .’... An organisation repeatedly accused of extremism, MEND gloated on Twitter that their hijab victory was an ‘important step towards resolving concerns about structural Islamophobia’. The organisation insists it champions Muslim involvement in public and political life while fighting Islamophobia, but it has links to speakers who have promoted jihad, anti-Semitism and homophobia. At least one former official has legitimised the killing of British troops in Iraq. A group of Labour councillors, including three who attended a MEND event in 2016, played an instrumental part in the campaign against Neena Lall. They are unlikely to face censure from the party for any ties with MEND... ‘A couple of years ago I asked the children to put their hands up if they thought they were British,’ she said. ‘Very few put their hand up. They thought they were Indian, they thought they were Pakistani, but very few thought they were British.’"

Chinese Restaurants in the US - vs the UK

So "Racist History" has a video titled "Racist History of Chinese Restaurant" where they claim that the US has a lot of Chinese restaurants because of historically racist immigration laws with a loophole for restaurants.

It is amusing how Americans love to explain various phenomena as uniquely American, when in a global context they aren't so special (this being a form of US exceptionalism). And how liberal Americans blame racism for everything.

Having been to more than 30 countries I have seen Chinese restaurants are everywhere, even in countries with a lower Chinese population than the US. Chinese people set up restaurants all around the world.

I don't know what the video's source of there being 45,000 Chinese restaurants in the US today, but let's take it at face value; Chinese Restaurant news, the "largest monthly publication that specialized to serve American-Chinese restaurants in North America", says that "There are more than 36,598 Chinese restaurants in the U.S".

The number of Chinese restaurants in the UK was estimated at 7,000 in 1984 (China to Chinatown, Chinese Food in the West, Roberts, 2002, quoted in Consumer Culture and Chinese Food in Britain, Featherstone and Tamari, 2006).

The US population in 2017 is estimated at 325.7 million and the UK population in 1984 at 56.42 million - just under 1/6 of the US. So once you correct for total population, there is a very small gap in the number of Chinese restaurants in the two countries (for completeness, if the UK population in 1984 had been the same as the US's in 2017, a simple extrapolation means it would've had about 40,400 Chinese restaurants - 90% of the US figure given by the video).

The UK does not seem to have specifically targeted Chinese or yellow immigrants as the US did. There was the 1919 Aliens Restriction Act, but unlike the US's Chinese Exclusion Act it didn't target the Chinese. Nor did it ban immigration. And neither the original Aliens Restriction Act 1914 nor the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919 placed extensive restrictions on immigrant employment (only on Civil Service jobs - note that the restaurant loophole is the central claim of the original video). To say nothing of how many ethnic Chinese came in to the UK via the colonies (before the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 many of them could go over).

Consider too that the ONS's, "Focus on Ethnicity and Religion (October) 2006" is cited as giving a figure of "over 400,000" for British population of Chinese descent. In 2006 the UK had 60.6 million people in total. So about 0.7% of the UK is of Chinese origin.

Compare that to 1.2% being ethnically Chinese in the US according to the 2010 US census. So relative to the UK the US's slightly greater number of Chinese restaurants is more likely to be explained by a greater number of ethnic Chinese than a restaurant exemption in migration rules (Keith Productions notes that in the UK in the 1960s, "Electric washing machines lead to a decline of Chinese laundries and many Chinese mom-n-pop operations switch to the thriving Chinese-restaurant business", which suggests another reason for the number of Chinese restaurants; incidentally it also says that in 2001 there were 12,000 Chinese takeaways and 3,000 Chinese restaurants in the UK, which means the UK proportionately has a lot more Chinese places than the US).

Evidently, this video's claims are suspect.

Links - 22nd June 2018 (1)

What students know that experts don't: School is all about signaling, not skill-building - "Students notoriously seek out "easy A's" — professors who give high grades in exchange for little work... Academics and administrators also sense the importance of signaling, even if they won't admit it. Why else would they bother to combat cheating? If school were merely a place for students to invest in their skills, cheaters would literally "only be cheating themselves," spending time and tuition for naught. If, however, school is primarily a place to convince firms you're worthy of employment, cheating has a slew of victims. The cheater who successfully impersonates a good student doesn't just rip off whoever hires him. He also taints the prospects of all his peers who toiled for their degrees. Researchers consistently find that most of education's payoff comes from graduation, from crossing the academic finish line. The last year of high school is worth more than the first three; the last year of college is worth more than double the first three. This is hard to explain if employers are paying for acquired skills; do schools really wait until senior year to impart useful training?... These behaviors make perfect sense if — and only if — employers are eager to detect workers who dutifully conform to social expectations. In a society where parents, teachers and peers glorify graduation, failing classes and dropping out are deviant acts... While the education workers need to do a job is quite stable, the education they need to get a job has skyrocketed since the 1940s... employers can't readily judge your job performance until they actually hire you — and they can only hire a tiny fraction of their applicants. If they ignore less-credentialed prospects, they may lose a few good workers but they save tons of precious time... If, as experts preach, students are building a stockpile of precious skills, taxpayers are getting a solid return on their money. But if students' firsthand experience tells the real story, taxpayers are mostly fueling a futile arms race. Generous government support has caused massive credential inflation. Educational austerity is the simplest path back to an economy in which serious on-the-job learning starts during high school — not after college."

Is There a Backlash Against Online Nationalism? - "Regardless of any public backlash, Little Pinks have attracted praise from official organs including People’s Daily’s Public Sentiment Monitoring Unit, which recognized their “strong and emotional variety of patriotism, refuting Western negative information to discredit the Chinese government.” At East Asia Forum, Macquarie University’s Kevin Carrico recently pointed out the dangers of the government’s embrace and cultivation of nationalist sentiment, often summed up with the proverb “when you ride a tiger, it’s hard to dismount” (骑虎难下).
'This is the catch-22 of seeking socio-political stability through nationalism: it is inherently an unstable ideology'"

The obesity paradox: Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health - "researchers noticed that some patients with chronic conditions such as heart disease fared better than others. This should have been encouraging news, perhaps a clue to future treatments. Instead, researchers were baffled. Because the factor that seemed to be protecting these patients was fat: They were all overweight or mildly obese."

Shades of grey - "The problem with simple messages and black-and-white statements is that they tend to be absolutes and so the easiest to falsify. The line that the science of global warming is ‘settled’ must have seemed like a good idea at the time, and when taken to refer to the narrowest of scientific questions it is correct, but it was (fairly) interpreted as insistence that no queries remained. Even legitimate debates on outstanding issues — climate sensitivity, say — can now be painted as unsettling not just to the scientific position, but also to the policy response it demands."

The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give (Updated With Podcast) - The New York Times - "Epic failure is part of being human, and it’s definitely part of being married. It’s part of what being alive means, occasionally screwing up in expensive ways. And that’s part of what marriage means, sometimes hating this other person but staying together because you promised you would. And then, days or weeks later, waking up and loving him again, loving him still."

The Myth of the Hero Teacher - The New York Times - "“We were developing beautifully crafted lesson plans that no one could use. I was learning esoteric phrases about test design. I spent two semesters doing a research project. I just wish somebody told me how to get a cellphone out of a kid’s hand"... Often, the least experienced teachers get assigned to the most difficult classrooms. Then they quit, leaving vulnerable students with a parade of rookies, falling further behind each year... He wrote the book, he said, to dispel the myth of the hero teacher, and the idea that just caring was enough"

Feminist Accuses English Language Of Being Sexist, Gets Brilliantly Schooled By Linguist - "Feminist Chewbacca came unstuck. Reblogging a post she had found on Visual Poetry, she had probably not counted on being fact-checked by an actual linguist. Her poorly chosen examples were deconstructed one by one, until she began to look rather basic, and a bit silly... by introducing her post with the words: “Men fabricated the idea that they are the default sex to compensate for their biological inferiority and general superfluousness,” Feminist Chewbacca sets a militant tone that isn’t going to endear her to many people, and she needs to have rock-solid arguments to respond to the inevitable attacks on her position."

Seafaring Orang Laut strive to stay afloat - "Chicken is not as tasty as curry snakes or black pepper crocodiles. But the most delicious is grilled scorpions, they are more crispy than fried calamari"

When ‘free speech’ becomes a political weapon - The Washington Post - "First Amendment absolutism was a luxury that only a stable, peaceable society could afford... our constitutional rights are not unchanging abstract principles, but, as Hook and Schlesinger argued, always evaluated in terms of their consequences for society at any given historical moment"
"when you're so desperate to censor the alt-right that you conclude that actually McCarthy was good"
If modern America is not "a stable, peaceable society", how many places would count?
Comments: "When the progressives did not have "cultural hegemony" (i.e. the 40's thru 80's) their mantra was "free speech" is absolute and for anyone and everyone. But now that they have achieved their "cultural hegemony" its "free speech....meh""
"Hey, thanks for the good example of how "Democracy Dies In Darkness!" Good luck reaching your goal of killing democracy through opinion pieces arguing that the First Amendment only applies sometimes -- you are off to a great start!"
"Funny how the Left would never tolerate the idea of limiting the freedoms of Islamist's* who's intention is to overturn our liberal society but are comfortable doing so with the similar Alt-Right."
"The whole purpose of "free speech" is as a "political weapon.""

#ReviewForScience: Scientists leave bizarre online reviews for common objects - The Washington Post - "Tea strainers and colanders are one of the most-reviewed items, having been used to drain mashed testicles, sift bones out of cat feces and for “sieving parasites out of poop.”"

The Entrepreneur Of Time's Cafe Coffemin Serves Everything For Free - "Coffeemin is Singapore and Asia’s first and only time cafe, the name an amalgamation of coffee and minute. Instead of by drinks, customers are charged for time spent – $6 for the first hour, and $1 for every subsequent 10 minutes. Everything else is free and so the place makes for an attractive hideout... To create coziness, the cafe design and furniture are deliberately mismatched, emulating how homes change as furniture is gradually added."

No, honey, you can’t be anything you want to be. And that’s okay. - The Washington Post - "pursuing overly-ambitious goals can be harmful. When researchers study organizations that set stretch goals for employees–goals intended to motivate high performance–they find that these lofty goals often have significant negative side effects. In particular, they find that when people are focused on a goal, and failure to achieve that goal has high costs, unethical behavior increases... Telling kids that they can do anything—whether fueled by imagination or hard work—obscures the critical role of chance in success. Not every child who wants to be a surgeon or sports star can become one, even if they work hard at it... children who don’t recognize the significant role of random chance in determining life’s outcomes may blame themselves or stop trying... I see books like “You Can Be Anything” as a mirror of our own anxieties about our children’s identities and futures"

The problem with following your passion - The Washington Post - "Passion is increasingly labeled as mere post hoc storytelling, an empty cliché that makes for a good narrative... The goal shouldn’t be to find your passion—as if it has been there, undiscovered, from the beginning—but to create one... Psychological research shows that life satisfaction correlates with the ability to assess something from multiple viewpoints. And so by widening the meaning of passion, we also allow ourselves more opportunities to find meaning and satisfaction in the lives we lead... Germans can be passionate about an activity without feeling the need to pursue it as a profession or worry about higher ideals. From this view, work is a means to an end, enabling the pursuit of passion during non-work time... Although it’s important to value work that is intrinsically fulfilling, let’s stop advertising the myopic idea that life without passion—whether it is something to be found or created—is not worth living. Working adults aren’t either passionate and fulfilled or lifeless and miserable. That’s an overly simplified worldview, in which the dreary desk workers of the world are constantly pitted against the Elon Musks."

Screw Finding Your Passion - "If you think you’re supposed to be working 70-hour work weeks and sleeping in your office like Steve Jobs and loving every second of it, you’ve been watching too many shitty movies. If you think you’re supposed to wake up every single day dancing out of your pajamas because you get to go to work, then you’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid. Life doesn’t work like that"

The Deathbed Fallacy – Rikard Hjort - "The deathbed is not a representative state of life, and what you want when you are there might not have much correlation with what would have been the happiest, most satisfactory and/or meaningful life you could have led...
Reason 2: You don’t know your past selves, but you think you do
Reason 3: Most people that die today lived in a world very different to yours...
those who “figure out” what life is really about seem to be pretty far up in Maslow’s pyramid of needs, and focus a lot on the higher-order needs... I’ve met quite a few people who are very concerned about living an authentic, carefree life without having a lot of other things figured out first. They don’t have a stable income (or at least the contacts and knowledge required to make some money when they need to), good relationships, and a good grasp of their material priorities. These are struggling artist, miserable drifters or just pretty aimless people with romantic dreams that leave them disappointed with the real world... Don’t bother with the Deathbed Fallacy. Look at happiness research, which tells you a stable income, focus on relationships and experiences rather than stuff, practicing acceptance, and small things like short commute times make you happier"

Christian swingers: \'God uses us to spread his word\' - ""You can't get closer to someone than having sex with them." He believes that he's been given a unique opportunity to share his faith with those who might otherwise never hear about Jesus"

[Review] Marsiling’s Automated Tray Return System - "Cleaners are working double-time to clear the cutlery off tables because there are no trays for them to pile the cutlery on and remove in a single motion. and then they clean the tables... we all hate it so much that no one is coughing up the deposit for the trays, resulting in patrons not even using them any more. People are even revolting against the idea, returning only the trays but leaving the crockery behind... Even worse, there are people who actually want to clear their table themselves and return their trays and crockery, but the System has made it so inconvenient to do so that the considerate ones would rather not come back a second time"

Telegram: Contact @sgmrt - "Get realtime MRT disruption and delay updates, plan alternate routes and minimise inconvenience!"

Study finds masturbation kills 100 Germans every year - "Forensic examiner Harald Voß said the most common reason for autoerotic deaths was the desire for the ultimate orgasm through depriving oneself of oxygen"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, US says Jerusalem is Israel's capital - "As marketing people would say, stick with your brand. And President Trump put, as he sees it, America first. It was obvious when he made his announcement, one of the issues which mattered to him was that presidents before him had either lost courage or changed their mind and always issued a waiver about moving the embassy to Jerusalem. But he Donald J Trump would be different. He was finally taking a decision...
The interesting thing is that after that ban was announced we heard all kinds of Russian politicians and officials and sporting administrators huffing and puffing and saying this was awful and talking about you know, how Russia should boycott, no Russian athletes should go under the neutral flag, under the olympic flag. Then Vladmiri Putin came out... and said no we're not going to boycott. I'm not going to stand in the way of any Russian athlete who wants to take part under the Olympic flag and then all those other calls for a boycott went silent"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Trump's first big win - "[On Taiwanese repression] It surprised me that mainland Chinese visitors didn't feel quite comfortable with the treatment of Chiang in Taiwan even though they were taught he was the arch enemy. One visitor I took to the hall blamed the times for what he did, saying 'What else could he have done? He had to maintain control over Taiwan at the time'. But I shouldn't have been surprised. We chinese people have for thousands of years been taught that our leaders regardless of whether they are emperors or presidents are our guiding lights. Challenging and questioning authority is also not encouraged in our culture regardless of whether it's in the home or society. That's why what is happening in Taiwan is so remarkable. The Taiwanese are doing what's probably never been done in ancient or modern Chinese history, at least not by ordinary people - tearing down the former leader status and truly assessing his legacy. The main reason this is possible is because Taiwan is a democracy"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, North and South Korea Meet - "Seventy years ago one of my relatives was paid to walk into hotel rooms to witness two fully dressed people sitting quietly on a bed. It was a strange byproduct of the English divorce laws. Adultery was one of the few ways of getting out of a bad marriage but it had to be proved. The answer was to book a hotel room and then pay a stranger to sit on the bed and then ask for a hotel employee to walk in to witness them together. Nothing would be going on, it was just a way of avoiding too much scandal. Even if it was the woman who had actually strayed it was almost always the man who agreed to go through the charade. It just looked better. The object was to prove that someone had committed adultery. There was in that phrase a heavy dose of moral disapproval. You commit a crime. It was one of the reasons we no longer say on the BBC that someone committed suicide. Words change. So over the years adultery turned into being unfaithful and then having an affair or moving on. Or even more likely we just say the marriage broke down as if it was an unreliable car. No one was to blame, it was just that this thing called a marriage malfunctioned. It's a problem I have to deal with all the time because one of my jobs is to write obituaries... I find myself going back to things i wrote fifteen years ago and wincing... heroin or cocaine is still illegal but we increasingly avoid the moral censure and choose to frame it as a problem and not as a description of a person. There are many things that we used to be much more blunt about... There are also words that have gone in the opposite direction lolita, jailbait and cradle snatcher were all terms from an age rather more relaxed about men with a sexual interest in girls under the age of consent"

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Links - 17th June 2018 (2)

FUREY: The world has all of a sudden revised its take on Justin Trudeau - "The news that Jaspal Atwal, a Sikh extremist convicted of attempted murder, had been invited to a dinner with Trudeau in India is really just the story that broke the dam for this international deluge of criticism the PM is currently in the midst of. Before the Atwal story came out, both Canadians and international observers were already scratching their heads about how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had clearly snubbed Trudeau, how excessive his family photos were and how silly their garments were, trying to dress more stereotypically Indian than the actual Indian people they met. “There does not seem to be any purpose for, or proper planning to, his visit”... Then came the motherlode, the point of no return. The “peoplekind” comment. It was too much even for the wackiest of leftists... the PM’s top adviser, Gerald Butts, called some of Trudeau’s critics Nazis on social media, leading Jewish human rights activists to denounce Butts’ ill-mannered meltdown... Trudeau is now at the midway point of his first term. The budget has not balanced itself. Key campaign planks have faltered. The PMO’s deliverology has failed to deliver. And, perhaps most damaging of all, Trudeau’s image is fraying even among his base."

Justin Trudeau ridiculed by Indians for his 'fake' outfits - "Ministers, authors, journalists and ordinary Indians lined up to mock him on Wednesday, saying his wardrobe was 'fake and annoying'. Perhaps taking note of the criticism, the Canadian leader donned a suit on Thursday as he visited Jama Masjid, one of India's largest mosques... 'We Indians do not dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood.'... 'Too flashy even for an Indian', proclaimed Outlook India while The Print suggested that he looked like he was auditioning to be a model... India Today described the choice of clothing as 'tacky', suggesting it was insulting to his guests... Trudeau's trip has also been criticised back home for his lack of official engagements - just one in eight days - making it more like a family holiday than a diplomatic visit"

Justin Trudeau adores donning traditional Indian outfits - "Also donned Philippines shirt and First Nation headdress on previous occasions"

Anastef 🇨🇦 on Twitter: "Canada's Most Prolific Actor ... multi personalities is a disorder .. You need a mental evaluation SCUMBAG ⬅️… https://t.co/IqUxGBRzUV"

Barkha Dutt: Trudeau's India trip is a total disaster -- and he has himself to blame - The Washington Post - "I confess, from afar, I used to be a Trudeau fan-girl. But after this trip, I’ve changed my mind. Trudeau has come across as flighty and facetious. His orchestrated dance moves and multiple costume changes in heavily embroidered kurtas and sherwanis make him look more like an actor on a movie set or a guest at a wedding than a politician who is here to talk business. Suddenly, all that charisma and cuteness seem constructed, manufactured and, above all, not serious. “He seems more much more convinced of his own rock-star status than we ever were,” said one official in the Indian government who preferred to remain anonymous. Indians are also wondering, what is Trudeau doing here for so long? Doesn’t he have a country to run?"

Canadian town refuses to remove swastikas from park - "Corey Fleischer, who goes around Montreal removing hateful graffiti, tried to paint over the swastikas. But the mayor stopped him and had police remove him from the park, arguing the anchor is a part of local history... The statement cites an article by Radio Canada, which says that before 1920 the swastika was a symbol of peace. Online sleuths have speculated that the anchor could have been made by the British manufacturer WL Byers in Sunderland, England. The anchors were adorned with a swastika as a good luck charm, it is claimed, before the rise of Hitler."

San Francisco's 'Diseased Streets' Are Being Compared to Some of Worst Slums in the World - "not only do the needles cause viral diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, but dried fecal matter can release airborne viruses like the rotavirus... some parts of San Francisco may be worse than the world’s dirtiest slums... in those countries, slums often serve as long-term housing, and thus, their residents work to maintain them. But in San Francisco, he suggested that the homeless do not make an effort to keep the streets clean because they are forced to move around frequently"

NTU scientists develop patch that helps burn fats - "patch which delivers drugs that are known to turn energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat, via micro-needles. In tests by research fellow Dr Aung Than, the patches were able to reduce the fat mass in mice on a high-fat diet by more than 30 per cent over four weeks. The rodents also had significantly lower blood cholesterol and fatty acids levels compared to the untreated mice."

Marvel comics' Fresh Start looks like a return to old cliches - "Over the past couple of years Marvel has made some genuinely significant changes to its core characters: it replaced billionaire inventor Tony Stark in the Iron Man costume with a 15-year-old black girl, Riri Williams; deemed Thor unworthy to wield the hammer Mjolnir and passed the mantle to love interest Jane Foster; and in the most divisive storyline ever, “revealed” that Captain America was a secret sleeper agent for Nazi analogue, Hydra. But Fresh Start is a back-to-basics approach, restoring the original versions of Marvel’s triumvirate, as well as bringing back a dead one: the deceased Bruce Banner, who will reclaim his position as Hulk from current jolly green incumbent, Amadeus Cho... new readers who are introduced to the characters by the movies should have their eyes opened to the possibilities of what can be done in comics, which eclipse even the biggest Hollywood special effects budget. They should be offered a wider universe, not just a mirror one... the studio’s attempts to diversifying its universe by adding more female, black, Asian and LGBT characters was not going down well with the core readership. Brian Michael Bendis, one of the company’s star writers and the creator of Iron Man’s female replacement Iron Heart and the Miles Morales African-Latino version of Spider-Man, has since left for rivals DC Comics. And two gay characters with their own titles – Iceman and America Chavez – had their books cancelled at the end of 2017, not long after an industry breakfast that Marvel hosted for comic shop owners at New York Comic Con, where some retailers lambasted the diverse additions, with one repeatedly insisting that kids didn’t want to come in to his store and buy a comic that featured “Iceman kissing dudes”. If Marvel is indeed pandering to a more conservative readership that has grumbled incessantly about the proliferation of black, LGBT and female characters in recent years, then – given the phenomenal box office success of Black Panther this last week – there’s something decidedly rotten in the state of Fresh Start. Maybe they’ll get back some of white, male Middle America that’s drifted away, but comics are and should be progressive and transgressive"
In other words, Marvel should continue to make SJWs happy even though they don't buy comics. Maybe liberals think Marvel should use movie profits to subsidise a progressive, loss-making comics division

A Modest Immigration Proposal: Ban Jews - The New York Times - "Jewish intellectual life in the 1930s and 40s was largely defined by one’s stance toward one thing: The Party. Historians reckon that Jews accounted for nearly half the Communist Party’s total membership in those years, while many other Jews were close fellow travelers."
Comments: "immigrants from that last century came legally. The immigrants we are talking about today have not... Back then, the Doctors did most the vetting to keep infectious disease out of our country"
"in 1900 immigrants were affected by the strong push of the melting pot while by comparison today the University of California considers even the term melting pot a micro aggression. So assimilation is happening far slower than in the past"

Supermarket Snacking Boosts Sales - "noshing while shopping convinces consumers to buy the featured product more often than does simply seeing the product displayed at the end of the aisle. They also found that repeating the sample offering multiple times translates into sustained interest in the product…and that stores that have a smaller assortment of products for sale benefit more than the warehouse-sized emporia... nibbling on one brand of cookies makes you hungry for cookies in general—including those from competing brands."

Chinese "Little Brat" Urinates on Elevator Control Panel, Gets Trapped When It Breaks Down

Report: Only 2.65 Percent of Immigrants into Italy Are Refugees - "half of the migrants arriving in the country (90,334) never even requested asylum, but disappeared into the country as undocumented immigrants, commonly referred to by the Italians as “clandestini.” The remaining 91,902 migrants applied for asylum, and 60 percent of these (54,252) had their petitions rejected unconditionally. Another 21 percent (18,979) were awarded “humanitarian protection,” allowing them a renewable yearly permission to remain in the country, and 14 percent more (12,873) were given “subsidiary protection.” The 4,808 immigrants who were awarded asylum represent 5.28 percent of the asylum seekers and therefore only 2.65 percent of the total number of immigrants entering in the country during the year."

Turkey threatens invasion of Greece, but why do so few care? - "Edward Said a profound theorist in post-colonial studies has essentialised the West and in doing so, the East. The Jordanian Marxist scholar, Sadik Jalal al-’Azm views Said as a captive to his own Western conceptions of Orientalism. According to al-‘Azm, Said failed to understand the modern nationalisms that guided post-colonial struggles in Asia Minor and the Middle East... Progressive media now seems to agonise whenever the notion of colonialism is extended beyond the confines of Western industrial European power. In the post-colonial theory rulebook, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America are infantilised and complex nations, their communities and leaders are mere marionettes responding to Western colonialism... The Greek War of Independence 1821, the first anti-colonial wars of the modern world, is a subject avoided in post-colonial discourses. It was a modern conflict, no less modern than the American Revolution, or the Vietnamese War against the French; however it doesn’t fit the orthodoxies of post-colonial theory... The Ottoman Empire colonised the Balkans and the Middle East for 400 years but in post-colonial studies it is as though it never existed... Post-colonial theory as it is now presented in public discourse moves towards simple binaries, like coloniser and colonised. Ann Wilson when reviewing Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins’ 1996 Post-colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics points to how the mercantile coloniser is seen as culturally hegemonic while the latter, “the colonised, is diverse and polyvalent.” She emphasises the “simplicity of this schema, and the sentimental idealization of the culture of the colonized, thus valuing diversity for its own sake.”
Comment: "It goes straight to the crux of the glaring double standards of post-colonialist “theory”. I would also go so far as to say that the British Empire for example, although so excoriated, did a hell of a lot more for the peoples it colonised and the world as a whole, then the Ottoman Empire, which seems to exist in some sort of black hole outside of the consciousness of post-colonialist theorists... when a group of artists organised a conference called something like ‘decolonise your arts practise’ I mischievously posted a question. I asked if they would consider in their conversations the Han, Khan, Ottoman or Persian colonisers? The post was quickly removed."
And just to get it off my chest: I can’t stand Edward Said. He had a massive chip on his shoulder. The East been just as free to “occidentalise” the West, as the West ever was to “orientalise” the East. His whole premise is nonsense."

Chan Chun Sing says severe implications if Singapore does not have sufficient reserves. But just how much is enough? - " according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its surveillance of member states' foreign exchange reserves adequacy*, for a country with a mature economy, a large banking sector and a very open capital account, like Singapore, the upper limit for prudent level of reserves is 20% of broad money or M2. Singapore's broad money stands at 135% of GDP - in other words, going by the IMF's opinion, the prudent limit stand at 27% of GDP or S$113b. That means, the MAS alone, not counting the foreign assets managed by GIC (entirely foreign) and Temasek (70% foreign) has foreign reserves more than 3 times the prudent limit"

Why Malaysians are slow to board their new trains - "KL, as the locals call the city, has the lowest proportion of people using public transport despite having the most developed rail network"

NSFs who went AWOL helped archaeology dig at Fort Canning Hill: John N. Miksic interview - "Miksic advocates that the archaeological findings should be used to solidify the idea that people of different ethnicities have been living here together for the longest time, with a hybrid culture — possibly the precursor to the Peranakan culture.
Miksic said:
“They had lived together here for hundreds of years before the British came. I think there was already a hybrid culture, because we found all these glass beads on Fort Canning, which are well known to be part of Peranakan culture.”"
Among other things, this problematises claims of Malay exclusive indigeneity

When it comes to Laci Green, the writing has always been on the wall - "after starting to pay attention to her, I got wind of the issues with Laci Green and her work... Now, Laci’s become a vessel for the alt-right community to shine a light through, and Twitter has been dragging her all week for it. Seemingly in the wake of her beginning to date Twitter user and alt-right brodude Chris Ray Gun, she’s provided these people with a space to “have conversations” — and with them come TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) and other bigots... A quick Google search will show you that she’s had a history of problematic behavior, combined with a willful ignorance and lack of desire to correct it, for the sake of “conversation.”"
This has fascinating parallels with Christian fundamentalists claiming that ex-Christians were never really Christian

Feminist Laci Green, popular internet host, harassed over relationship with controversial YouTuber - "many of Green’s former supporters going so far as to insinuate that she is a traitor to marginalized people everywhere... Among those voicing their disapproval is activist Zinnia Jones, who seems to be pushing for an online campaign to sabotage the relationship and implying that “getting laid” is more important to Green than her feminist work."
Women's choices are only to be respected when they are approved by feminism

Feminist Commentator Laci Green Slammed by Leftists for Dating Anti-SJW YouTuber, Wanting Open Debate - "“My, how quickly some feminists who claim to be anti-harassment, anti pile-on, or anti sex-shame turn around and do just that,” she continued. “Amazing.”... Steve Shives, who is known online for the large amount of Twitter users he has blocked, claimed that Green’s embrace of open debate and discussion was the “embrace” of “white supremacy.” Actor Benjamin O’Keefe added that Green’s desire for civilized debate between both sides of the political spectrum equated to “not giving a fuck about: her friends, women, people of color, interacial [sic] couples, trans people, [and] Muslim people.”"

The British dream: why Europe's African citizens come to Britain | Mukul Devichand - ""I think the UK is more open than other European countries," says Jibril, who is now a London bus driver. He and many other Somalis told me they admired the success of non-white people in Britain – which was conspicuously absent, they felt, on the continent. Jibril mentions the Asian community who came to the UK from Uganda. "They are landlords, they are businessmen, lawyers," he enthuses. "It's amazing."... their admiration of our society does seem to indicate some kind of "British dream" that has drawn in many millions"
Someone needs to tell Black Lives Matter UK

"Correlation does not imply causation"

(via Correlation does not imply causation. Except when it does.)

Links - 17th June 2018 (1)

S Spa Singapore - Posts - "S Spa celebrates its 4th annual D&D to thank the staffs for their hard work and dedication all these years. Our company remains committed to giving the best customer service to all our customers"

Daughter sues parents for ‘embezzling’ US$9,200 of red envelope money - "The Jinan court said in a separate post that “giving red envelopes is an act of giving, and the receiver of the act is the child. All of the rights related to red packets are transferred to the child”."

Lunar New Year: Chinese TV gala includes 'racist blackface' sketch - "The skit begins with a routine by a group of African dancers in "tribal" attire and people dressed up as zebras, giraffes, lions and antelopes"
Justice Bao must be wiped out from Chinese culture because of blackface
Of course few people are looking at the condescending tone and propaganda value, which are much more relevant than something resembling a practice last commonly seen when most people alive today hadn't been born yet

Google Fired and Disciplined Employees for Speaking Out About Diversity [Updated] - "Google’s practice of formally reprimanding—and in at least one case, firing—employees for comments the company deemed discriminatory toward white men suggests that Google made an effort to moderate speech by its liberal employees as well as its conservative ones. These efforts have left some Google employees concerned that they will face professional consequences if they voice support for Google’s diversity and inclusion efforts and wondering if the company’s HR system is being gamed by employees who want to stamp out diversity initiatives... Colin McMillen, a staff software engineer at Google who has worked at the company for eight years, said he was reprimanded by human resources for an internal post in which he stated he did not want to work with individuals who shared Damore’s beliefs... Chevalier penned a blog post comparing the logic of James Damore’s memo to that used by domestic abusers to justify and perpetuate their abuse. The post, which Chevalier linked to on internal Google Plus, compared Damore’s memo to the manifestos written by mass shooters Eliot Rodger and Marc Lépine. Damore’s writing reflected similar feelings of entitlement and gender superiority to those on display in Rodger’s and Lépine’s manifestos and in the behavior of domestic abusers, Chevalier argued... “White boys (not only white boys, but especially) are taught not just that they’re entitled to a perfect female partner/servant in the way Bancroft describes, but also that they’re entitled to high status because of their maleness and whiteness; that being white and male are precious gifts that no one can ever take away from them,” Chevalier wrote in the post. This line, he was told, violated Google’s harassment and discrimination policy... Chevalier’s caption was, “White men felt disenfranchised because their needs are no longer centered and people of color and women are getting a fair share.”... McMillen wrote on internal Google Plus that he would refuse to work with other employees who supported Damore’s views. In mid-September, McMillen was called into a meeting with HR and told that a complaint had been made about his post... McMillen was told that he should excuse himself from all hiring and promotion decisions. “The stated reason was there were concerns about my ability to be impartial in evaluating other people”... Google stepped up its recruiting efforts at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)... with some employees questioning why Google had selected these particular schools rather than other universities that had not historically served black students. The former Google employee responded, calling those questions unequivocally racist. The employee received a formal reprimand from Google HR in 2016 for the comment—a copy of which was reviewed by Gizmodo—which called the statement “disrespectful and divisive”... Spitznagel highlighted a racial justice workshop and noted it might be useful to white co-workers who were interested in becoming more involved in the cause. The title of the workshop, which Spitznagel herself didn’t reference in her post, was “Healing from Toxic Whiteness to Better Fight for Racial Justice.”The phrase “toxic whiteness” triggered the HR complaint"... “It’s people provoking you, trying to get a reaction out of you. As soon as they get reaction, they can leak it to an extremist site that will get you harassed outside of work, or they will report you to HR”... "The anti-discrimination laws are meant to protect marginalized and underrepresented groups—not those who attack them,” Chevalier said."
At least we have an admission that diversity is about hating white people and men, and that according to pro-diversity people it's okay to refuse to work with people with diverse views and it's good to discriminate against them
I'm sure there're people who think Damore's well written, nuanced memo was unforgiveable but hating on white people and men must be protected
If you stare at an Ah Beng and he beats you up, it's your fault for provoking him

'Insensitive' Black History Month Meal At NYC Sparks Outrage, Firing - "Two Aramark employees have been fired by the food service after preparing a meal at NYU during Black History Month that was deemed racially "insensitive." Reports suggest that the employees are African-American... The meal, the student claimed in a Facebook post, consisted of barbecue ribs, collard greens, watermelon-flavored water, Kool-Aid, and mac and cheese.
Anti-racism is bad for black people. Then again maybe it's better to not have a job than have someone else be offended

Why climate change is good for the world | The Spectator - "There are many likely effects of climate change: positive and negative, economic and ecological, humanitarian and financial. And if you aggregate them all, the overall effect is positive today — and likely to stay positive until around 2080. That was the conclusion of Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University after he reviewed 14 different studies of the effects of future climate trends. To be precise, Prof Tol calculated that climate change would be beneficial up to 2.2˚C of warming from 2009 (when he wrote his paper). This means approximately 3˚C from pre-industrial levels, since about 0.8˚C of warming has happened in the last 150 years. The latest estimates of climate sensitivity suggest that such temperatures may not be reached till the end of the century — if at all... You can choose not to believe the studies Prof Tol has collated. Or you can say the net benefit is small (which it is), you can argue that the benefits have accrued more to rich countries than poor countries (which is true) or you can emphasise that after 2080 climate change would probably do net harm to the world (which may also be true). You can even say you do not trust the models involved (though they have proved more reliable than the temperature models). But what you cannot do is deny that this is the current consensus. If you wish to accept the consensus on temperature models, then you should accept the consensus on economic benefit... Overall, Prof Tol finds that climate change in the past century improved human welfare. By how much? He calculates by 1.4 per cent of global economic output, rising to 1.5 per cent by 2025. For some people, this means the difference between survival and starvation. It will still be 1.2 per cent around 2050 and will not turn negative until around 2080. In short, my children will be very old before global warming stops benefiting the world. Note that if the world continues to grow at 3 per cent a year, then the average person will be about nine times as rich in 2080 as she is today. So low-lying Bangladesh will be able to afford the same kind of flood defences that the Dutch have today. The chief benefits of global warming include: fewer winter deaths; lower energy costs; better agricultural yields; probably fewer droughts; maybe richer biodiversity. It is a little-known fact that winter deaths exceed summer deaths — not just in countries like Britain but also those with very warm summers, including Greece. Both Britain and Greece see mortality rates rise by 18 per cent each winter. Especially cold winters cause a rise in heart failures far greater than the rise in deaths during heatwaves... Global warming has so far cut heating bills more than it has raised cooling bills... The increase in average carbon dioxide levels over the past century, from 0.03 per cent to 0.04 per cent of the air, has had a measurable impact on plant growth rates. It is responsible for a startling change in the amount of greenery on the planet... more greenery for goats to eat means more greenery left over for gazelles, so entire ecosystems have benefited."

HYSTERIA: 'Racism' Investigation Launched After 'To Kill A Mockingbird' Poster Found In English Classroom - "When a girls varsity basketball team from Virginia discovered a handmade poster based on the novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" in an English classroom, racial hysteria unfolded. A local "activist" took to TV cameras to call for action and the school launched an investigation into the allegedly "racist" poster."

Giving birth ages women faster than smoking or obesity, study suggests - "Scientists at the George Mason University in Virginia measured the lengths of telomeres, the end section of a chromosome associated with longevity, in women with children. The results, published in the journal Human Reproduction, showed that the length of their telomeres were on par with women more than ten years older than them. “We were surprised to find such a striking result. It is equivalent to around 11 years of accelerated cellular ageing,”said study author Dr Anna Pollack. Women who had five or more children had even shorter telomeres compared to those who had none, and relatively shorter than those who had one, two, three or even four, according to the study... Sexual intimacy has also been linked to the length of a woman's telomere. A study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology in 2017 found that women who have sex at least once a week displayed longer telomeres. This increased telomere length was not associated with any other relationship factors... "Scientifically, this does fit with what we understand pretty well. We know that having kids is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes""

Indian state offers free breast implants to the poor - "The Tamil Nadu state health department on Wednesday launched the free service at a clinic in the capital Chennai. “If we don’t offer [the procedure for free], they may opt for dangerous methods or take huge loans for it”... “There is a psychological benefit. Many girls who have larger breasts don’t like to go out. There is no reason this surgery should be restricted from the poor.” The procedure would also be available to men, she said... Tamil Nadu’s government is known for its largesse, particularly under former chief minister Jayalalithaa, who pioneered free food canteens and doled out wedding jewellery and venues to the poor."

Exploring rare genetic resources - "in a 2001 study of Cambridge students the team found that scientists had more autistic traits than humanities students: "We found higher rates of autism amongst the maths students compared to other disciplines. The scientists have more autistic traits than those in the humanities, and mathematicians an even higher rate than other scientists.""
And men have more autistic traits than women. Therefore there are fewer women in STEM because of patriarchy

Newcastle grooming gangs were allowed to abuse 700 girls because police blamed the victims, review finds - "Grooming gangs that preyed on 700 vulnerable girls and women in and around Newcastle developed an "arrogant persistence" because the authorities locked up the victims rather than the offenders, a Serious Case Review has found... the abusers were mainly "not white but came from a diverse range of backgrounds including Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Iranian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Turkish, Albanian and Eastern European". In some cases the victims of the gangs were placed in secure accommodation because of what was seen as their poor behaviour, while the offenders were seen to be innocent and went unpunished. Efforts to find out why the perpetrators thought they could abuse vulnerable women and girls have been rebuffed, with only one defendant agreeing to help the inquiry, and he denied guilt, blaming a government cover up. The Serious Case Review concluded there there was no reluctance to start an investigation into grooming due to political correctness - a factor in previous abuse scandals elsewhere."

Teacher accused of 'misgendering' child was told by police that she committed a hate crime - "The teacher, who claimed they were a “grammatical purist”, refused to acknowledge that the pupil self-identified as a boy and failed to use the pupil’s preferred pronouns of “he” or “him”... Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids, a charity which supports transgender children and their families, told how the teacher had laughed in the child’s face and said “if you don’t want to be called a girl then don’t look like one”. She said that the teacher and school’s management ignored three months of pleas from the transgender child and their parents and dismissed their requests, until she was informed by police that her actions constituted a hate crime."
Comments: "I don't see how the teacher's actions contravene this act, she didn't treat the child 'less favourably' as far as I can tell."
" in villages married women often are referred by their maiden names. Just because people know them for years from child age. Maybe another case of hate crime for disregarding married status and a new surname?"
"At least there are no current surges in knife crime, terrorism or sexual assaults for the police to be dealing with, otherwise the country would really be in trouble..."
"This is a faulty interpretation of the Equality Act. The Equality Act applies "protected status" to gender re-assignment, something that is currently only available to over-18s under UK law. So this teacher did not breach the Equality Act, because it does not apply to minors in this instance"

Schools accused of 'sowing confusion' in children's minds by over-promoting transgender issues - "Dr Joanna Williams, a university lecturer and author of the book Women vs Feminism, claims that "time, effort and money" is being allocated to "monitoring" transgender policies that are "out of all proportion" to the number of children who identify as transgender. Speaking at The Telegraph Festival of Education on Friday, Dr Williams said that feminists were attempting to reshape school policies on gender, adding that children were being forced to “unlearn” the difference between boys and girls. "We are increasingly reminded that schools are struggling financially. Yet the time, effort and money that goes into producing and monitoring Transgender Policies is out of all proportion to the tiny number of trans children currently in British schools,” she said. “Research suggests that just one per cent of the population experience gender issues... "Although the number of transgender children is small, it is growing rapidly. Children - encouraged by their experiences at school - are beginning to question their gender identity at ever younger ages. "In doing more than just supporting transgender children, and instead sowing confusion about gender identity, schools do neither boys nor girls any favours."... Criticising “feminist campaigners” for attempting to use schools as a platform to challenge “sexist stereotypes” Dr Williams added that teachers are now “urged to see trans children as an opportunity to enrich the school community.” “Despite the fact that girls do so well today, the influence of feminism in schools shows no sign of diminishing,” she added. “Teaching subject knowledge becomes blurred with the promotion of particular values. At the forefront of this are political goals concerned with encouraging children to think about gender and sexuality in new ways. “The role of the teacher becomes policing the values, thoughts and language of children to bring them in line with one particular ideological position.” Her comments come as recently published figures show that one three-year-old and 12 children aged four were referred to a gender identity clinic between 2014 and 2015."

'Would you burn the Mona Lisa if it was sent?': Our horror bureaucratic bungle - "It’s a bungle that has floored botanists around the globe and embarrassed the Australian government. How did 105 priceless and irreplaceable historical plant specimens, sent here by the French, end up being destroyed by biosecurity officers?"

Peter Rabbit 'food bullying': Film studio apologises over scene showing animals pelting allergic man with blackberries - "Allergy UK said the film, due to be released in the UK next month, "mocks" allergy sufferers and trivialises a life-threatening condition"
I'm sure some people die after slipping on banana peels. So we should ban such scenes

Muslims burn Pampers because cat looks like prophet's name in Arabic - "Muslims in India have been filmed building a pyre of Pampers products because they can see the word Mohammed in the face of a cartoon cat. They say that the lines illustrating the whiskers, nose, mouth and left eye look like the prophet’s name in Arabic or Urdu. Critics have called it an insult to Islam... the group said Pampers – owned by US multinational Procter & Gamble – had ‘hurt the feelings’ of the Muslim community and called for the products to be taken off the shelves immediately... The letter went on to say: ‘Arrest them and punish them.’"
"If it really looks like the prophet’s name, isn’t it blasphemous to burn it?"

Flinders University Professor Writes About the 'Horrors' of Heterosexuality - "Brook describes “heterosexuality” as an issue that needs to be fixed
I'm sure some people claim that heterophobia is a paranoid right wing delusion
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