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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Links - 15th August 2018 (2)

Korean Tutor Motivated His Students By Promising To Buy Them Prostitutes - "Korea TV show "Shocking Real Life Stories" recently told the story of a tutor who brought the grades of his pupils up by promising to bring them to a brothel"

New Zealand adds prostitution to list of employment skills for would-be immigrants - "The skill is regarded as providing social companionship in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list... The applicants should also have relevant recognized qualifications or have at least three years of work experience in the relevant industry."

Gourmet demand revives Central America cocoa farms - "Spanish explorers recorded that indigenous people used cocoa beans as currency. Ten could buy a night with a prostitute, 100 could buy a slave, according to archeologist Michael Coe, joint author of a book called “The True History of Chocolate.”"

Spilt milk: are the breastfeeding wars finally over? - "since the start of this century, pragmatists have been increasingly drowned out in favour of a 00s absolutism that affected all kinds of areas of parenting (principally, motherhood): a mother who would accept second-best was barely even a mother. Breastfeeding was the frontier issue in a burgeoning culture where intense risk aversion was a sign of perfect parenting. It covered alcohol in pregnancy, soft cheese, stress; at one point, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists put out advice to pregnant women not to sit on new furniture... the science was never actually that settled... Comically, one of the reasons that was given in favour of breastfeeding was that it prevented the return of menstruation, and therefore acted as a contraceptive This is comical, a) because it’s not very reliable and you actually can get pregnant while you’re breastfeeding, and b) because a woman in Keswick does not need to breastfeed in order to prevent a pregnancy. It’s like telling a population in South Korea to clean a wound with ash to ward off infection: ash might be better than no ash, but not if you’ve got Germolene... Writing anything about evidence bases, much like writing anything about economics, always invites a fair amount of sneering (“Why, oh why, does this journalist think she could ever understand this material which only I understand”) but this is, funnily enough, the only time I have ever been physically threatened... The underlying issue was class-based: breastfeeding, the middle-class choice, gave middle-class parenting a superior status that would otherwise have been difficult to assert"

All about sex: Real reason why Chinese women bound their feet ... and it wasn't for their pleasure - "Crippled feet required one to walk in a certain mincing manner to avoid toppling over; as a result, it was believed, the inner thigh and pelvic muscles became unusually tight. Thus, more lurid thought processes went, the smaller the bound feet, the stronger the vaginal muscles would be during lovemaking."

Duck snapped twice for speeding in 30km zone - "A duck or pair of ducks have been caught by the same speed camera flying at more than 20 kilometers per hour over the limit. The feathered felons are still at large... The alpine country calculates fines based on the offender's wealth. In 2010, it billed a Swiss driver some $290,000 for clocking 137 kilometers per hour in an 80-kilometer zone."

Aussie girl marries her Swiss Guard soulmate - "A few things can delay a budding romance with a Swiss Guard. Firstly, Swiss Guards are called to celibacy, and can only marry if they become a corporal, of which there are only 10 in Vatican City. Secondly, all Swiss Guards work six days a week, and have an extra three days on reserve – which according to the corporal means a Swiss Guard is “never free”. Thirdly, couples intending to marry must apply to the Holy See’s Secretary of State for permission, and foreigners are taken through a rigorous reference check. A Swiss Guard also promises to serve and give his life in service for another three years. And he also cannot marry the secretary to the commander as it is considered a “conflict of interest”."

I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t - "Facebook had replaced much of the emotional labor of social networking that consumed previous generations. We have forgotten (or perhaps never noticed) how many hours our parents spent keeping their address books up to date, knocking on doors to make sure everyone in the neighborhood was invited to the weekend BBQ, doing the rounds of phone calls with relatives, clipping out interesting newspaper articles and mailing them to a friend, putting together the cards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and more. We don’t think about what it’s like to carefully file business cards alphabetically in a Rolodex. People spent a lot of time on these sorts of things, once, because the less of that work you did, the less of a social network you had"

Diane Abbott repeatedly refuses to say what should happen to illegal migrants in car-crash interview with Piers Morgan - "Pressed on the issue, Ms Abbott refused EIGHT times to lay out exactly what her solution would be if she got into power... Piers replied: “With respect, that’s not an answer to my question. I don’t think it’s unreasonable in the light of this massive scandal to ask the shadow home secretary what Labour’s policy on illegal immigrants is... The interview will revive memories of Ms Abbott’s slip-up during the election campaign last year, when she suggested that it costs only £30 a year to hire a police officer."

Breaking Video: Police are pursuing a stolen tank across Central Virginia - "Police were spotted early tonight behind a tank-like military vehicle that was stolen from Fort Pickett. The tank was spotted along Route 460 in Dinwiddie, then it was spotted on interstate 85 and interstate 95."

Clean up San Francisco’s streets, tourist industry pleads - "People injecting themselves with drugs in broad daylight, their dirty needles and other garbage strewn on the sidewalks. Tent camps. Human feces. The threatening behavior of some people who appear either mentally ill or high. Petty theft. “The streets are filthy. There’s trash everywhere. It’s disgusting,” D’Alessandro said, adding he’s traveled the world, and San Francisco stands out for the wrong reasons. “I’ve never seen any other city like this — the homelessness, dirty streets, drug use on the streets, smash-and-grabs."

President Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian Lawmakers
Looks like Norway is Far Right too

Stanford Prison Experiment: why famous psychology studies are now being torn apart - "A new exposé based on previously unpublished recordings of Philip Zimbardo, the Stanford psychologist who ran the study, and interviews with his participants, offers convincing evidence that the guards in the experiment were coached to be cruel. It also shows that the experiment’s most memorable moment — of a prisoner descending into a screaming fit, proclaiming, “I’m burning up inside!” — was the result of the prisoner acting. “I took it as a kind of an improv exercise,” one of the guards told reporter Ben Blum. “I believed that I was doing what the researchers wanted me to do”... Perry has also revealed inconsistencies in another major early work in psychology: the Milgram electroshock test, in which participants were told by an authority figure to deliver seemingly lethal doses of electricity to an unseen hapless soul. Her investigations show some evidence of researchers going off the study script and possibly coercing participants to deliver the desired results. (Somewhat ironically, the new revelations about the prison experiment also show the power an authority figure — in this case Zimbardo himself and his “warden” — has in manipulating others to be cruel.)...
I can list so many more textbook psychology findings that have not stood the test of time. Like:
Social priming: People who read “old”-sounding words (like “nursing home”) were more likely to walk slowly — showing how our brains can be subtly “primed” with thoughts and actions.
The facial feedback hypothesis: Merely activating muscles around the mouth caused people to become happier — demonstrating how our bodies tell our brains what emotions to feel.
Stereotype threat: Minorities and maligned social groups don’t perform as well on tests due to anxieties about becoming a stereotype themselves.
Ego depletion: The idea that willpower is a finite mental resource...
Psychology has changed tremendously over the past few years. Many studies used to teach the next generation of psychologists have been intensely scrutinized, and found to be in error. But troublingly, the textbooks have not been updated accordingly."

The Real Lesson of the Stanford Prison Experiment - "Much of the study’s cachet depends on the idea that the students responded en masse, giving up their individual identities to become submissive “prisoners” and tyrannical “guards.” But, in fact, the participants responded to the prison environment in all sorts of ways. While some guard shifts were especially cruel, others remained humane. Many of the supposedly passive prisoners rebelled

Where the jobs are: The new blue collar - "Although manufacturing jobs have declined 35% since 1980, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there's actually been a resurgence in recent years as American companies have found that moving jobs offshore was not a good approach for production that requires highly skilled labor. "There's a lot of re-shoring," says Andrew Crapuchettes, CEO of Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. "They're coming back, but they are coming back different. More technician jobs, which pay more. There may be fewer jobs, but they are better jobs."... Society's push to get all young people into four-year colleges — what William Symonds calls the "one road to heaven" approach — contributes to a shortage of skilled workers."

Belief in free will affects causal attributions when judging others’ behavior - "we tested whether believing in free will is related to the correspondence bias—that is, people’s automatic tendency to overestimate the influence of internal as compared to external factors when interpreting others’ behavior. Overall, we demonstrate that believing in free will increases the correspondence bias and predicts prescribed punishment and reward behavior."

The Peak Age For Beauty, Happiness, Salary And More - "Our salaries are highest around age 40, and our arithmetic skills are best at 51, for instance. And get this—life satisfaction peaks at the ripe old age of 69. So, whenever you start feeling like you’re past your prime, just remember the best is likely yet to come."

The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images - "If I want to know whether I will suffer a heart attack, I will have to release my data for public research. In the end, privacy will be an early death sentence... It’s hard to know whether complete and utter transparency will realize a techno-utopia of a more honest and innovative future. But, given that privacy has only existed for a sliver of human history, it’s disappearance is unlikely to doom mankind. Indeed, transparency is humanity’s natural state."

Why Unfriending People on Facebook Is Immature and Counterproductive - "What is being lost in this age of unfriending is debate. What might seem commonsensical to you might not be so to others. Or, they just might have a different opinion. I would expect no belief of mine to be shared by seven billion others on this planet, nor even among my 150 closest friends. Honest dialogue and discussion only makes us stronger. That’s impossible when you’re clicking the unfriend button at the first sign of distress... Ideally, education is a lifelong pursuit. This means coming to terms with views that challenge your own"
When liberals talk about "education", they only want to "educate" other people - not themselves

This Is What A Cup Of Tea Looks Like In 22 Different Countries

NFL national anthem policy: Players on field must show 'respect'
"I bet all my leftist friends who kept asserting as culturally good that private companies could enforce whatever speech they wanted for whatever reason - and loved it when it was against speech they dislike - are just thrilled about this"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Eating Blockchain, What if you could tip the farmer that grew your coffee?

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Absolute Food: Part I - "Some of the greatest disasters of agricultural policy and food production, but also some of the greatest humanitarian disasters in history have revolved around the attempts by Communist dictatorships to force independent farmers into agricultural collectives, and to make them produce set quotas for the government...
'What's more common... in most autocracies today is policies which privilege the urban over the rural sector by keeping food prices low and providing little support to farmers. In the short term this can work in the regime's favor, but in the long run, it can backfire.'
'By discriminating against the agricultural sector you're reducing the incentives for farmers to produce. So you create a long term liability for the country and a dependence on food imports. And this is what happened in Egypt and other countries in Africa that have really discriminated heavily against the agricultural sectors. That they become less autonomous in food production and more dependent on imports. And so when some sort of an exogenous shock hits the system, whether it be a collapse in the oil price or whether it be an increase in the price of imported food, this policy equilibrium, which really may have worked in the long run to prevent unrest in cities and to buy off urban elites can backfire on a regime, because the country doesn't produce much food and they have to import food at a high cost. And that's when the policy equilibrium starts to come undone. And that's what we saw in Egypt before the Arab Spring, where the government's promises to provide affordable food to the population particularly cheap bread and cooking oil and staples like that really couldn't be met in the face of soaring global food prices"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Absolute Food: Part II - "Dictatorships tend to ignore the relatively large agricultural sector and to tax that sector in order to provide lower food prices for the urban interests, which are more powerful because they can mobilize and protest against government policies that increase the price of food. There are a lot of people working in the agricultural sector, but the interests of the agricultural sector tend to be under represented under dictatorship, because they don't need to win elections...
[On ISIS] They wanna fight the West and say everything from the West is bad, but saying go away, we hate you. But leave your Chicken McNuggets, leave your Pepsi. There is a certain hypocrisy to it. And also, I have to say the quantities, and I know that in Islam... it's not very Islamic to order and eat a lot of food and be wasteful with food like this. And I have to say that even when food was left over where we were staying they were throwing away food in large quantities...
As a specialist in Chinese food, I knew that state socialism with its hostility to private enterprise and elitist culture was usually the enemy of gastronomy in China. In the 1950s privately owned restaurants had been nationalized during the Cultural Revolution. A decade later, even street vendors were banned as capitalists.Grand restaurants were forced to abandon their menus of expensive delicacies and serve instead cheap and substantial food for the masses, Standards of food and service plummeted to a notorious low."

This ‘air umbrella’ is amazing and amazingly pointless - "This Air Umbrella, pictured above as a non-working prototype, promised to be an “invisible umbrella” that uses a stream of air to shield you from the elements. It was on Kickstarter in mid-2015. Judging by the rough schematic diagrams, it was basically a Dyson Air Multiplier fan that you hold above your head. But the Air Umbrella Kickstarter went belly up in December 2015, with the founders finally admitting that they couldn’t pull off the next-generation product – but not before the project raised US$102,240 from 842 backers... This capitulation should have surprised no one – the flaws in this ‘umbrella’ were immediately obvious. This Air Umbrella was pointless. This was tech for the sake of tech"

Feel Busy All the Time? There’s an Upside to That. - "the perception of oneself as a busy person — having what we call a busy mindset — can actually increase people’s self-control via a boost in self-importance. In other words, a busy mindset may make you more likely to choose the fruit bowl."

Weinstein to Congress: You Can't Say 'Donald Trump Is President' in Campus Safe Spaces

Bret Weinstein Testifies Before Congress: Social Justice Activists Function 'Like a Cult' - "“Am I alleging a conspiracy?” Weinstein began. “No. What I have seen functions much more like a cult in which the purpose is only understood by the leaders, and the rest have been seduced into a carefully architected fiction. Most of the people involved in this movement earnestly believe that they are acting nobly, to end oppression. Only the leaders understand that the true goal is to turn the tables of oppression.”"

The lengths people go to deny news they don't like

Edward C. Yong - brilliant!

Edward Yong: Hungarian govt abolishes gender studies as it is useless in the country's job market

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: Fake news I think. No mention at all on their official website: http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-human-resources/news

And classes at CEU are still continuing: https://gender.ceu.edu/

Me: You think they'd publish it in English so soon?

This is sourced from a Hungarian outlet which has been around since 1979 and I Google translated the article and it's legit

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: The Sun has been around since 1964, and Fox News since 1996. Both are legitimate news agencies.

Me: Yup. And some people would insist the earth was flat if the sun and fox news said they were round


Hungary Bans Gender Studies From Universities

"Marta Pardavi, -- co-chair at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights watchdog organization -- criticized the Hungarian government with an "#academicfreedom" hashtag."

Do people still want to allege this is fake news?

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: It's quoting from the same source as the other article.

Edward C. Yong: give it a week or so...

Me: So you think that Marta Pardavi, co-chair at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights watchdog organization is so stupid she is taken in by fake news

Please tell her on twitter that she has been led. Presumably she should resign as she is propagating fake news about human rights in her country

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: She is basing it on the same source you did. Perhaps she is mistaken, perhaps she isn't. I am merely pointing out the fact that the news has yet to be registered on the official Hungarian human resources website, the same ministry that has been quoted as having initiated the ban. Secondly, the university in question has yet to announce it on their site as well. Unless you can provide more substantial evidence, it seems that it might be fake news. I am not a Hungarian news correspondent. This just seems too unlikely to be true.

Me: Maybe she thinks it's a credible source. Or maybe she has access to sources (which might not be online) that we don't. I trust that she would not be misled by fake news given her position

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: Don't you think that if this news were true, the western media would report it? The western media have no love for Hungary, and this would be sensationalist news, perfect as a headline.

Hungary is making a mockery of ‘EU values’. It’s time to kick it out | Owen Jones

In Orban’s Hungary, a Glimpse of Europe’s Demise - WSJ

Me: It's on fox news

Hungary's populist government abolishes gender studies courses

We can see that gender studies has been facing a hostile climate

Ambivalent situation for gender studies in Hungary | Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: Thank you. I see they also used the same source. Though, I can't be certain if it was verified. However both universities are still offering the course

Gender Relations, Gender Roles and Beliefs

The supposed spokesman's twitter account makes no mention either:

Zoltan Kovacs (@zoltanspox) | Twitter

Me: You know they don't update university websites immediately right?

The fact that both fox news and a human rights activist use the same source suggest it's credible

If the straits times reported that a government memo had been sent to nus but you found nothing on the nus website or the government website would you be calling the straits times fake news?

Wayne Yeo: Lol "the fact that both fox news and a human rights activist use the same source suggest it's credible" - when there is a sea of information it's very difficult to tell what's true and what's not. Reading from the internet is just as fallible as reading from the library. That's why there's always a bibliography or reference section at the end of every scholarly journal to check where the author has gotten its sources from. Tagging fox news and worse still, a "human rights activist", is the shittiest argument you can make for yourself. You want to learn about true information? Go and read Chomsky before making such comments. Or else you're the real problem with people and politics - making baseless arguments without understanding the reality of the situation.

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: This is the official blog of the PM of Hungary http://abouthungary.hu/ no mention of it there

This is a news agency from Hungary established in 1877
No mention there

Me: This is getting ridiculous

How about this. We come back in a month or if this story is proven true, whichever is later, and if it is true you guys admit you were wrong and being ridiculous

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: Why are you convinced it's true? I'm giving you hard evidence

Give me a credible source, and I will agree. I am not taking a side, I'm just stating a matter of fact.

Me: Is the straits times a credible source?

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: Yes it is to an extent

Me: "If the straits times reported that a government memo had been sent to nus but you found nothing on the nus website or the government website would you be calling the straits times fake news?"

What do you think?

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: First of all, if the government in Singapore issued such a statement, it would be reflected on all their official sites within the hour. Which in this case, it hasn't. Secondly, the HV is not an equivalent of ST. I've given you two other primary sources, both legitimate and do not report this news.

Me: do you think the Hungarian government works like the Singaporean government?

Here is what Wikipedia says about hvg


"Founded in 1979,[6] Heti Világgazdaság is closely modeled on the Economist in style and content.[7][8] It is a sister publication of the business daily Világgazdaság.[9] The magazine, published weekly, was very important in the years spanning the transition from communism in airing new ideas and challenging boundaries.[10] During the same period it was also a leading investigative publication.[11] In 2003 Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung acquired 75% of the magazine.[11]

HVG is often referred to as the leading news magazine in the country.[1][12] Some articles are also available online and in English.[13]

The circulation of HVG was 120,000 copies at the end of the 1990s.[8] The weekly had a circulation of 140,000 copies in 2004[10] and a readership of more than 500,000.[7] The circulation of the magazine in the fourth quarter of 2009 was 93,775 copies, making it the third most read weekly after Helyi Téma and Szabad Föld in the country."

In some ways it seems more credible than the straits times

furthermore just because a news story does not appear on a source doesn't mean the source is denying that news story

Nevermind. I will set a reminder in a month to return to this thread

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: You're verifying your sources using Wikipedia?

Me: You're welcome to follow all the citations if you want

Also: Study shows Wikipedia Accuracy is 99.5%

"the accuracy of drug information on Wikipedia was 99.7%±0.2% when compared to the textbook data."

Sean Benedict Guttensohn: That article is not peer reviewed, nor an academic source. How can you verify Wikipedia, using a study done on another unverifiable source?

And I've checked the citations

http://ptks.pl/cejc/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/CEJC_Vol7_No1_Sipos.pdf This was one of the citations

You can see that the magazine has been accused of non factual reporting

Tai Yu Hsiang: The Telegraph has picked it up now: Viktor Orban moves to ban gender studies courses at university in 'dangerous precedent' for Hungary

Good enough a source yet?

Also, Inside Higher Ed has published a statement by one of the two affected universities (CEU):

“A recent proposal drafted by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Human Capacities touches upon the future of Gender Studies in Hungary,” CEU said in a statement provided to Inside Higher Ed. “The draft cannot yet be considered to represent the official standpoint of the Hungarian government. Regarding the issue, CEU informed the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, and thereby the Hungarian government, about its position. Since this matter is currently in an ongoing and not public process, we do not wish to enter into the details. At the same time, CEU reaffirms its commitment to academic freedom and rejects any attempt at censoring academic curricula.”

(Proposal to Ban Gender Studies in Hungary)

I'll just state that the original article link that started this kerfuffle has a misleading headline. The course has not YET been abolished, but as of the present, there is merely an amendment to legislation that would end up with the course being abolished. But that is made clear in the text of the original article.

Me: We know that we can't trust the Torygraph either!

Anyway Reuters has joined the fake news bandwagon and become a far right tabloid

"Hungary’s government will stop financing gender studies university courses, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Tuesday, marking one of the first concrete steps in a cultural shift signaled last month." Hungary to stop financing gender studies courses: PM aide

Looks like it didn't even need a month

Note that ELTE is still offering the course


And the supposed spokesman's twitter account makes no mention either:


The official blog of the PM of Hungary is silent on this as well


Perhaps Reuters has been taken in by fake news too...

Btw you mixed up Heti Valasz and Heti Világgazdaság. Just because both start with "Heti V" does not mean they are the same. Indeed the source explicitly endorses HVG:

"we have to mention the Weekly World Economy (HVG) first as the most important specialised journal. Although the political environment did not allow it theoretically the editors and journalists of it observed Western professional standards before 1989. Because of this running tradition this weekly has become the most important place for precise and investigative journalism in Hungary after 1989 — and partly because of the possibility the editors could own their weekly in the 1990s, which was a thriving and independent weekly (and a European professional investor, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, bought 75 percent of the HVG in 2003)."

Links - 15th August 2018 (1)

Ivy League Admissions Are a Sham: Confessions of a Harvard Gatekeeper - "Ivy League admissions are a complete racket, rigged in favor of the privileged and completely impervious to change... each candidate launched into their prepared speech to show that they personally bucked the popular image of the Millennial as a smartphone-obsessed, Ritalin-addicted egomaniac with no work ethic. In fact, they mostly went on to question whether such people even existed outside the minds of East Coast media commentators. Sure, each of them liked their iPhones and maybe they did struggle a bit to understand other people's worldviews, but that's also why they needed to take that trip to Tanzania or volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or take a field trip to an inner city school or… You get the idea. The only thing that told me was that either everyone under 18 reads New York Times Op-Eds and The Atlantic cover stories religiously, or—much more likely—that they were coached by someone who actually did. There were other red flags to look out for, too. How they sat straight up when it was time for the open-ended questions. How their eyes glazed over and they looked right past you once they started to recite their canned answers. How their outrage, their compassion, their conspiratorial asides seemed just a bit too…performative... At my day job, I've interviewed mid-career professionals who struggle with interview questions more than these high schoolers generally do"

This Singapore woman shares what she does as a debt collector - "“We are trained not to use scare tactics like threats or violence to intimidate debtors. Instead, we try to understand where they’re coming from,” explains Yvonne. “If they can’t pay up because they’ve lost their jobs, we help them find one – without taking any commission.”"

The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina - "Further proof that the sole goal of mankind is now to take selfies absolutely everywhere possible, a vibrator that can video capture an orgasm from its epicentre has been invented"

Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for - "The company this week launches Fleshlight Launchpad, which allows users of their flashlight-shaped, vagina-like toy to plug it into the back of an iPad in order to 'fully immerse themselves' in whatever they're watching."

Scientific peer reviews are a 'sacred cow' ready to be slaughtered, says former editor of BMJ - "Richard Smith, who edited the British Medical Journal for more than a decade, said there was no evidence that peer review was a good method of detecting errors and claimed that “most of what is published in journals is just plain wrong or nonsense”... an experiment conducted during his time at the BMJ, in which eight deliberate errors were included in a short paper sent to 300 reviewers, had exposed how easily the peer review process could fail... the process of peer review before publication could also work against innovative papers, was open to abuse, and should be done away with in favour of “the real peer review” of the wider scientific community post-publication... The editor of the second of the country’s two leading medical journals, Dr Richard Horton of The Lancet, wrote in an editorial earlier this month that “much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue”, blaming, among other things, studies with small sample sizes, researchers’ conflicts of interest and “an obsession” among scientists for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance”. “The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming,” he wrote. “In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt their data to fit their preferred theory of the world.”"

Porn actors working with VR cameras strapped on 'having trouble keeping it up'

How Canadian Customs Decides Which Porn is Too Hardcore - "some of the decisions reported by CBSA don’t make much sense at first glance. The film Taboo Handjobs 2: admissible. Taboo Handjobs 3: denied. Or, why was Daddy I’m a Big Girl Now! barred, while Daddy Made me a Mommy was OK? Other allowable titles included Don’t Let Grandpa Babysit Your Daughter 3, My Niece is my Bae, and Brothers Fucking Their Stepsister 10. At the same time, Exercise in Domination, Bitches of Cruel Intent, and Pain Train (along with a dozen or so others) were turned away."

The Fallacy of 'Giving Up' - ""When you ask most people where they want to die," Volandes said—referring, of course, to people who have some context for the nature of the question—"most people say, I want to die outside of the hospital, in my home, in comfort." Nearly 80 percent of Americans, in fact, say that. And yet, close to 55 percent of older adults die in a hospital or nursing home. Fewer than one in four manage to die at home... people died fighting. They died fighting even when the fight was futile. They died on sterile wards with electrodes taped to their chests and tubes in orifices both natural and manmade. They died deprived of sleep and good food and all things familiar. They died in uniform gowns, whose singular purpose is accommodation of gastrointestinal processes. And worst, they died the way they most likely wouldn't have wanted to die. Most of those cases could have been, and could now be avoided, Volandes argues, if doctors and patients would just have The Conversation... in one large study Gawande cites, patients even ended up living just as long when they went into hospice care as did their aggressively medicalized counterparts. Of 4,493 people studied, the researchers concluded, mean survival after three years was actually 29 days longer for hospice patients than for non-hospice patients... "[Doctors] think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really, it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive.""

The Rubble of Palmyra and Its Lessons - "When one reads this catalog of coexisting divinities, one is reminded of the old Enlightenment argument, made against the exclusivist and bellicose tendencies of the monotheistic faiths, about the innate tolerance of a polytheistic universe. Where there is one God, there is one way. Where there are many gods, there are many ways"

Why Teenagers Hit Puberty and Take Dumb Risks - "fighting with parents actually accelerated the onset of puberty... the effect of peers on adolescent risk taking may be hard-wired in the adolescent brain because of the impact of peers on the brain’s reward centers. Just being around your friends is so rewarding that it makes you do crazy things. Now that was pretty exciting."

Populist talkshows fuel rise of far right, German TV bosses told - "The head of Germany’s most powerful cultural body has called for the plug to be pulled on the nation’s multitude of political talkshows for a year, arguing that their populist agenda has helped fuel the rise of the far right. Olaf Zimmermann, who heads the German cultural council, an umbrella group for organisations from art galleries to television companies, said public broadcasters needed to step back and rethink a format that has helped cement gloom-ridden public attitudes towards refugees and Islam, and propelled the Alternative für Deutschland party into parliament at last September’s election. “I’d suggest for them, take a break for a year ... though the length of the intermission isn’t the decisive factor. What is crucial is that they return with new talkshow concepts and try to come up with more suitable contents with regards to social cohesion in our society,” Zimmermann said, arguing that the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF were obsessed with refugee-related issues, often framing them negatively... The production team of Hart Aber Fair said it rejected the accusation that they had unfairly labelled all refugees as dangerous. “As journalists we find the concept of framing alien to us. We are simply trying to represent the issues which are occupying people, for what they are,” they said... the AfD – whose representatives are relative newcomers on the talkshow circuit, the party only having been founded in 2014 – have been deeply critical of the extent to which they are excluded from TV debates"
Voting fuels the rise of the far right. Ban voting

Why closing legal brothels is a bad idea: Weitzer - "although long forgotten, the National Organization for Women voted in 1973 to support decriminalization in the United States. The resolution declared that NOW “opposes continued prohibitive laws regarding prostitution, believing them to be punitive” and “therefore favors removal of all laws relating to the act of prostitution.” These are just a few examples showing that legal prostitution is not a crazy fringe idea. In fact, the American public is much more sympathetic to the idea of than is commonly believed. Recent national polls show growing tolerance: Support for legalizing prostitution increased from 38 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2015 and 49 percent in 2016. And legalization bills have been recently introduced in Hawaii, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C... In the Netherlands, where prostitution has been legal since 2000, a report by the Ministry of Justice in 2007 stated that “it is likely trafficking in human beings has become more difficult, because the enforcement of the regulations has increased.” Evidence from Germany seems to confirm this argument. Government figures show a consistent decline since 2002 (when legalization took effect)... Unlike illegal street prostitution in many other places, Nevada’s legal brothels do not disturb public order, create nuisances, or negatively impact local communities in other ways. Instead, they provide needed tax revenue for cash-strapped rural towns"

Why a DNA data breach is much worse than a credit card leak - "while it’s possible for someone to receive a credit report and easily dispute it, almost no one has the genetic literacy to find their information, understand it, and correct it. There aren’t enough genetic counselors as it is and a recent study showed that some primary care providers didn’t feel comfortable interpreting the results... ultimately, a breach of genetic data is much more serious than most credit breaches. Genetic information is immutable"

Honey bees can understand the surprisingly complex concept of zero - "Andreas Nieder, a German neurobiologist, explains why it’s so astonishing that humans and bees demonstrate similar cognitive abilities. “Their last common ancestor, a humble creature that barely had a brain at all, lived more than 600 million years ago, an eternity in evolutionary terms,” Nieder writes. But somehow, separately, both vertebrates and insects developed these similar skills."

Two surgeons based in China say a head transplant is “imminent.” We need to grapple with the ethics now. - "We do not know how far the microbiome’s influence on our behavior goes. In one study, however, scientists took two sets of mice — one set timid, the other adventurous. They then took the gut microbes from each set and transplanted them into another set of mice (whose microbiomes had been removed). Astonishingly, the recipient mice took on the personality traits of the mice whose microbiomes they received. The prominence of the gut microbiome and the ENS gives scientific backing to the notion of having a “gut feeling.”"

The Myth of the Racist Cop - WSJ - "Last year’s 12% increase in homicides reported to the FBI is the largest one-year homicide increase in nearly half a century. The primary victims have been black... More police are being killed this year too... Officers are second-guessing their own justified use of force for fear of being labeled racist and losing their jobs, if not their freedom. On Oct. 5 a female officer in Chicago was beaten unconscious by a suspect in a car crash, who repeatedly bashed her face into the concrete and tore out chunks of her hair. She refrained from using her gun, she said, because she didn’t want to become the next viral video in the Black Lives Matter narrative. The Chicago Police Department now wants to institutionalize such dangerous second-guessing. Its proposed guidelines for using force would require cops to consider the “impact that even a reasonable use of force may have on those who observe” it... The Black Lives Matter narrative about an epidemic of racially biased police shootings is false: Four studies published this year showed that if there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites"

Ray Kelly: The NYPD: Guilty of Saving 7,383 Lives - WSJ - "in each of the city's 76 police precincts, the race of those stopped highly correlates to descriptions provided by victims or witnesses to crimes... The NYPD has too urgent a mission and too few officers for us to waste time and resources on broad, unfocused surveillance. We have a responsibility to protect New Yorkers from violent crime or another terrorist attack—and we uphold the law in doing so. As a city, we have to face the reality that New York's minority communities experience a disproportionate share of violent crime. To ignore that fact, as our critics would have us do, would be a form of discrimination in itself."

Four Nations Are Winning the Global War for Talent - Real Time Economics - WSJ - "The world’s highly skilled immigrants are increasingly living in just four nations: the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, according to new World Bank research highlighting the challenges of brain drain for non-English-speaking and developing countries... While the share of the world’s population living outside their birth country has hovered around 3% since the 1960s, the highly-skilled component—defined as workers with at least one year of tertiary education—has risen more than three times as fast as the number of low-skilled immigrant workers. And China, India and Philippines have edged out the U.K. as the biggest supplier. Despite efforts of non-English-speaking nations to attract high quality workers, almost 75% of the total OECD highly skilled workforce in 2010 lived in the four main Anglo-Saxon countries—almost 40% in the U.S. alone. Around 70% of engineers in Silicon Valley and 60% of doctors in Perth, Australia, were foreign-born in 2010."

So Busy at Work, No Time to Do the Job - WSJ - "As companies flatten hierarchy and preach collaboration among their ranks, a growing share of bosses’ time is spent coordinating, directing traffic and overseeing employees who may or may not report directly to them. Managers and executives complain that the push for teamwork, innovation and speed has left them little time to do real work."

Wozniak: Apple Couldn’t Emerge in Singapore - Indonesia Real Time - WSJ - "Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, said a company like Apple could not emerge in societies like Singapore where “bad behavior is not tolerated” and people are not taught to think for themselves. “Look at structured societies like Singapore where bad behavior is not tolerated [and] you are extremely punished” Mr. Wozniak said in a recent interview with the BBC. “Where are the creative people? Where are the great artists? Where are the great musicians? Where are the great writers?”"

American Job Openings Now Outnumber the Jobless - WSJ - "The labor market is forcing employers to rethink their approach to hiring, said Terri Greeno, owner of an Express Employment Professionals office in Crystal Lake, Ill. She is asking clients if they are being realistic in their demands for workers with clean criminal histories and higher levels of education... To attract workers, the Saladworks restaurant chain has raised its starting wages about 5%. It also has relaxed standards on tattoos and piercings, allowed employees to wear jeans and bandannas, and gotten more flexible about schedules."

Affirmative Action Lands in the Air Traffic Control Tower - WSJ - "When a plane starts its final descent, are the passengers more concerned about the competence or about the skin color of the air-traffic controllers on the ground who will help the pilot land safely? The answer may be obvious to readers, if not to the Obama administration. A recently completed six-month investigation by Fox Business Network found that the Federal Aviation Administration has quietly moved away from merit-based hiring criteria in order to increase the number of women and minorities who staff airport control towers. The changes come despite the fact that the FAA’s own internal reports describe the evidence for changing the hiring process as “weak.” Until 2013, the FAA gave hiring preference to controller applicants who earned a degree from one of its Collegiate Training Initiative schools and scored high enough on an eight-hour screening test called the Air Traffic Selection and Training exam, or AT-SAT, which measures cognitive skills. The Obama administration, however, determined that the process excluded too many from minority groups... Given that training an air-traffic controller can cost more than $400,000 on average, selecting candidates based on who is likely to complete the process makes economic sense. Hans Bader, a legal scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, writes that the FAA’s focus on diversity is not only inefficient but may be a violation of the Civil Rights Act. “The FAA’s jettisoning of merit-based hiring criteria violated the Supreme Court’s Ricci decision, [Ricci v. DeStefano, 2009] which limits agencies’ ability to discard hiring criteria in order to increase minority representation, especially when there is no strong evidence that the criteria are not job-related,” said Mr. Bader... Advocates of “diversity” insist that discounting objective measures of ability and competence is harmless, but history shows that it can be deadly. In 1973 Patrick Chavis was one of five black students admitted to a medical school in California through an affirmative-action program designed to increase minority enrollment. Allan Bakke, a white applicant who was rejected despite having much higher test scores than the black applicants, sued. In 1978 the Supreme Court struck down the program, but Chavis would go on to earn his medical degree and become a poster child for advocates of racial preferences. In 1995 he made the cover of the New York Times magazine. Sen. Ted Kennedy called him “the perfect example” of how affirmative action worked. In 1998 the California medical board revoked Chavis’s medical license, noting his “inability to perform some of the most basic duties required of a physician” after several patients in his care died or were severely injured."
Besides "Dear Colleague"'s ruining of due process for campus sexual assault cases, we have another thing we can definitely say "Thanks Obama" for

McDonald's World Cup 2014 Advert - YouTube

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Links - 14th August 2018 (2)

No, 'Star Wars' Isn't Failing Because Of Hateful Trolls. It's Failing Because Kathleen Kennedy Has Done A Garbage Job. - "Calling your audience a bunch of deplorables didn’t work well for Hillary Clinton; it’s not going to work well for Disney, either. But that didn’t stop Bernardin from laying all the blame for Star Wars’ failures not at the feet of studio head Kathleen Kennedy but at the feet of the “toxic fandom.”... Why all this effort to blame the fans for the series’ troubles? Because we must never – ever, under any circumstances – blame Kathleen Kennedy. Kennedy, you see, is woke. The Lucasfilm story group is entirely female. Their goal, according to The New York Times: “They wanted to tell beautiful stories, fulfill the expectations of loyal fans and create meaningful female characters.” The Times gushes, “Today, the Lucasfilm story group is a diverse outlier in Hollywood: five of its members are people of color, and the team includes four women and seven men. … A new, unpublished analysis of Star Wars films shows striking progress in their representation of gender and race.”"

The Women Who Run the ‘Star Wars’ Universe - The New York Times - "Five days a week, in the foggy hills of San Francisco, 11 writers and artists discuss the minutiae of storm troopers. This is the Lucasfilm story group, and its members hold the keys to everything “Star Wars”... Kathleen Kennedy founded the group in 2012 when she succeeded George Lucas as president of Lucasfilm, putting Kiri Hart, a former film and TV writer, in charge of the unit. Ms. Hart’s first move was to make the story group entirely female, starting with Rayne Roberts and Carrie Beck... They wanted to tell beautiful stories, fulfill the expectations of loyal fans and create meaningful female characters... the Lucasfilm story group is a diverse outlier in Hollywood: five of its members are people of color, and the team includes four women and seven men... In addition to maintaining the continuity of the “Star Wars” universe, they aim to increase its diversity. This goal has sometimes led to struggles over their female characters."
This suggests that having all women in charge at the start might have led to bad decisions. Ironically this ties in with the liberal line that you need gender diversity for better outcomes. But since in 2017 it was more 'diverse' it might also suggest that pushing an agenda makes for a bad story
This is even more conclusive proof than "The Force is Female" T-Shirts that the new Star Wars films are indeed trying to push an agenda

How NVIDIA's Driver Installers Are Eating Up All Your Free Space - "There are actually two directories you can confidently nuke once an NVIDIA driver install is complete. The first one you probably already know:
The second directory is a little hidden away, and you'll need access to the "Program Files" folder of your Windows drive. The path you want to navigate to is this one:
C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\Installer2"
Also C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\Downloader

Opinion | The German Feminists’ Dilemma - The New York Times - "The cases have added fuel to the far right’s fiery anti-immigrant rhetoric. And it has created a dilemma for Germany’s liberal feminists... Is it even possible to defend pluralism and women’s rights at the same time in Germany today?... the narrative of a new “cultural” threat to women’s rights is spreading to the political center... Figures from Bavaria published last September show a 50 percent increase in reported cases of sexual crimes against women in the first six months of 2017. In 18 percent of those cases, the suspect was an immigrant."

Why do some job adverts put women off applying? - "A job descrittion that uses the phrase "We're looking for someone to manage a team" may seem innocuous enough. But research, based on an analysis of hundreds of millions of job ads, has shown that the word "manage" encourages more men than women to apply for the role. Changing the word to "develop" would make it more female-friendly, says Kieran Snyder, chief executive of Seattle-based Textio, an "augmented writing software" company... Textio taught her company to avoid terms such as "coding ninja" - a common phrase in Silicon Valley job ads. "These words send a message to women that these are hostile work environments for female staffers," says Ms Blanche. And the word stakeholder apparently "serves as a signal to people of colour that their contributions may not be valued", adds Ms Blanche"
If fewer men than women apply when they see "develop" (i.e. the gender disparit is dirven by men, not women), the team is already up (thus "developing" it is not the primary focus and this is false advertising) and you don't want someone who fits company culture, that is all presumably not a problem

North Korea media breaks tradition to report summit - "Citizens are traditionally told - pretty much from birth - that the United States and former colonial power Japan are the great enemies of the people of the Korean peninsula. North Korea has changed its narrative in recent months. It has been speaking of a "changed era", where old certainties are being rethought to achieve denuclearisation and peace. The country has also hyped up its intentions to develop a floundering economy."

Chris Foo - I HATE the month of Ramadan. I don't hate the culture... - "I HATE the month of Ramadan. I don't hate the culture or religion. I hate that every year during this fasting period I have to feel anxious about eating anywhere. All because I have tanned skin and look Malay... I remember one individual once shouted at me "tak Puasa ke Babi?!" And just walked away. Leaving me in complete humiliation as it left everyone staring at me like I'm some sort of fool."
Maybe some people will say that this, together with people being beaten up (or even killed) for eating during Ramadan, is why we should ban Ramadan fasting (as per their logic for banning the hijab)

The Most Successful Ethnic Group in the U.S. May Surprise You - "29 percent of Nigerian-Americans over the age of 25 hold a graduate degree, compared to 11 percent of the overall U.S. population... Traditionally, education has been at the heart of the community’s success... Anyone from the Nigerian diaspora will tell you their parents gave them three career choices: doctor, lawyer or engineer
So much for racism
Strangely this sounds like what works for Asians

University theater performance segregates whites, makes them sign 'declaration' - "A student-created dance performance at the University of Melbourne is causing an uproar as white attendees have been segregated from people of color in the theater, and they’re required to sign a “declaration” in order to gain entrance to the show. According to The Australian, Isabella Mason’s “Where I Stand” is designed to show “how indigenous people and people of colour have been excluded from society and history.” Mason admits she has “confronted” some (white) attendees at her show.. People of color get first dibs on entering the venue, while whites have to “wait outside where four dancers, who introduce themselves by their preferred pronouns, talk to them about white privilege.”"

Jack Dorsey Apologizes for Eating Chick-fil-A After Twitter Mob Attacks - "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was attacked by a large number of users, including Soledad O’Brien, after he decided to eat at Chick-fil-A during “Pride Month.” He apologized, explaining that he “completely forgot about their background.”"

Anime featuring yakuza thugs getting gender reassignment surgeries to become idols begins in July

Race, Gender and Trump: Everything You Think You Know is Wrong - "It is truly striking that Clinton performed so poorly (in terms of vote share and turnout) considering her historic status as the first female candidate at the top of a major party ticket, and given the unending media portrayal of her opponent as a sexist, misogynist, serial harasser with a policy agenda that was just as horrible as his rhetoric. The puzzle grows all the more fascinating in light of the fact that Democrats’ vote-share among women has been consistently eroding across most midterm and general elections of the last decade (attrition mostly to third-parties)... the most decisive votes for the 2016 race came from people who had supported Barack Obama in 2012 (and often 2008 as well) but then switched to Trump. If these were people horrified by a black commander-in-chief, it is not clear why they would have voted to give him another four years to pursue his agenda (let alone have voted for him in 2008)... scholars bend over backwards trying to find ways to “prove” that Trump voters were especially racist or sexist. Such narratives may be edifying for those who count themselves among the “resistance” — however, the real-world costs of politicized research likely outweigh these emotional benefits"

Men from Mars, women from Venus: terrifying truth behind experts call for shortened work week girls - "Experts recommend that women should work shorter hours in order to compensate for the unpaid jobs they do every single day."
I'm sure people will still demand equal pay. So this will be the clearest evidence that feminists want equal pay for unequal work

Association of male circumcision with risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis. - "overall findings showed nonsignificant reduced risk (odds ratio (OR) 0.88, P=0.19) of PCa in circumcised men compared with uncircumcised men, obtained under heterogeneous conditions (I(2)=65%). Heterogeneity and nonsignificance were erased when the overall effect was subjected to outlier treatment and three studies omitted (OR 0.90, P=0.04, I(2)=0%). Furthermore, subgroup analysis showed significantly reduced risks in the following subgroups: (i) post-PSA testing publications (OR 0.88, P=0.01), (ii) population-based studies (OR 0.84, P=0.05), (iii) studies that collected data by personal interview (OR 0.83, P=0.03) and (iv) studies in black race (OR 0.59, P=0.02). The strengths of these summary effects lie in the robustness revealed by sensitivity analysis."

Male circumcision greatly increases risk of urinary tract problems - "The condition is called meatal stenosis and the risk of developing it is 16-26 times higher in circumcised than intact boys under the age of ten. These are the conclusions of a new study based on data from the National Patient Register, the Central Population Register, and the National Health Service Register in Denmark between 1977 and 2013... Frisch and Simonsen estimate that circumcision is responsible for at least 42 per cent of all operations for meatal stenosis and other urethral strictures in less than ten-year-old UK boys. In the US, the proportion rises to at least 78 per cent, and, in Israel, to at least 81 per cent."

Male Circumcision and the HIV/AIDS Myth - "We now know that penile cancer is only slightly more prevalent in the uncircumcised, and routine circumcision is not the best way to go about preventing it, just as routine double mastectomy in women who are done with breastfeeding (and thus have no remaining physiological need for their breasts) is not a good approach to preventing breast cancer — which is much more common than penile cancer. We also know that the human papilloma virus (HPV), which also causes genital warts, is the most important risk factor for cancer of the penis — and genital warts are more easily contracted by circumcised men. Moreover, penile cancer is much less prevalent in countries like Denmark, where circumcision is uncommon, compared to the United States, where between 50-60% of males are circumcised... how do you go about conducting a randomized, controlled intervention trial looking at HIV infection in circumcised adult men? Probably not the way that these researchers did... the males in the study that underwent circumcision were not only told to abstain from sex for a significant time period after the operation — reducing their exposure time by six weeks compared to the uncircumcised (control) group — but told to use condoms, taught how to use them, and educated about their benefits. During this six week period, the men in the uncircumcised group did not have the same restrictions. There also doesn’t seem to be any mention of the researchers calling up the circumcised men after six weeks to say, “Okay, time’s up. Ease up on the condom use from here on.” The possibility that many of these men might have become accustomed to using condoms, armed with knowledge about their benefits, didn’t seem to be much of a concern... As a continent, Africa has the highest percentage of circumcised men, over 60%. Africa also has — as most people know — the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS... it’s quite possible that circumcised men are more likely to give their female partners HIV/AIDS than uncircumcised men... A recent study looking at sensitivity of the penis in the circumcised and uncircumcised male found that the five most sensitive areas on the penis are removed at circumcision, and that the keratinized glans on the circumcised penis is less sensitive than the foreskin-protected, mucosa-lined glans on the uncircumcised penis. The skin removed from the penis at circumcision makes up close to 50% of the total penile skin, amounting to 15 square inches in an adult. Even the mildest form of female circumcision is illegal... [Male genital mutilation] is still covered by many insurance providers, and Medicaid in most states, despite being completely unnecessary."

Denmark Doctors Declare Circumcision Of Healthy Boys 'Ethically Unacceptable' - "According to a nationally representative poll from the summer of 2016, 87 percent of Danes favor a legal ban on non-therapeutic circumcision of boys under the age of 18 years... Doctors and medical organizations in Denmark, the other Nordic countries and, with one notable exception, elsewhere in the Western world agree that circumcision of healthy boys is ethically problematic. It is considered an operation seriously and patently at odds with the Hippocratic oath (”first do no harm”) and one that is in conflict with a variety of international conventions, most notably the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child... Amputation of healthy infant foreskins constitutes the single most common surgical procedure in the United States ― a several hundred million dollars a year industry... not one medical association in the whole world recommends circumcision of healthy boys... only around one in 200 intact boys will develop a medical condition necessitating a circumcision before the age of 18 years. In other words, the chance is around 99.5 percent that a newborn boy can retain his valuable foreskin throughout infancy, childhood, and adolescence and enter adulthood with an intact penis"

Are circumcised men less promiscuous than uncircumcised? - "Circumcision does greatly decrease sexual enjoyment... so therefor circumcised men don't get as satisfied and then feel the need to have sex and masturbate more often or they participate in more risky behavior. The risky behavior though has been more attributed to, since a circumcised male lacks a lot of sensitivity, adding a condom to that makes the sensitivity so low a man doesn't' feel like he can be satisfied and is therefore less likely to use them."
"It has been linked to premature ejaculation(1) and psychological problems.(2) Circumcised men are also more likely to engage in elaborate and rougher sex, and are also slightly more likely to exhibit addictive behavior.(3)"

Ritual circumcision and risk of autism spectrum disorder in 0- to 9-year-old boys: national cohort study in Denmark - "boys who undergo ritual circumcision may run a greater risk of developing ASD. This finding, and the unexpected observation of an increased risk of hyperactivity disorder among circumcised boys in non-Muslim families, need attention, particularly because data limitations most likely rendered our HR estimates conservative"

'Foreskin Man': Comic the Latest in Anti-Circumcision Group's Push for San Francisco Ban - ""The first issue dealt with medicalized circumcision, and in that case the villain was a doctor," he said. "Jewish circumcision is just one part of an ongoing series." The third issue of the series, starring an African "Vulva Girl," attacks tribal circumcision"

alittledashofwisdom: Exposing fckh8 (because... - " Exposing fckh8 (because feminists are spreading this piece of bullshit like the plague) fckh8 do not support feminism. Like homosexuality and so on, fckh8 does not donate a single penny to organisations they claim to support... Fckh8’s customer service is absolute shite. feel free to read ALL these reviews from people who have recieved wrong orders or simply not recieved it at all."
On the "Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism" company

Showing IKEA print to Art experts - YouTube - "To promote the new IKEA Art Event Street Art collection 2015, we made it to the ultimate test: Would art experts notice an IKEA painting, from NEVERCREW, compared to a million dollar peace in the museum?"

Outdated ideas on home ownership and land shortage are crippling us (Singapore)

Technological progress is reading an article via a low quality screenshot because of an inflexible paywall.

Luckily most of it is available elsewhere. Since Chua Mui Hoong calls this a "Must read piece on the Hdb lease issue", I am filling in the gaps:

Outdated ideas on home ownership and land shortage are crippling us
Ku Swee Yong
Buyers of HDB flats must accept that these flats are sold on leases that decay to zero at 99 years

With the recent cooling measures introduced for the private residential market, discussions around the decaying value of Housing Board (HDB) flats aged over 40 years have quietened down for a while.

While the Government has said this is an issue it will study, as resolving it requires serious trade-offs, my concern is whether we may be tempted to kick the proverbial can down the road for future generations to inherit the consequences. As a society, we may be too wedded to outmoded ideas to tackle the issue realistically.

The truth is, as government ministers have said, that addressing the issue head-on requires Singaporeans to accept that any good solution will involve some pain and sacrifices for some of us. If not us, our children and their children will have to suffer the pains.

But how ready is Singapore to deal with the issue?

For example, many Singaporeans view their prized HDB flat as an asset whose value must appreciate, and make plans accordingly. This is not necessarily the wisest decision with a rapidly ageing population, where an increasing number of baby boomers will die as they age and add a significant supply of old resale flats to the market.

Meanwhile, the rhetoric of HDB flat ownership continues to be promoted on websites and official publications that talk about “buying” an HDB flat and becoming a flat “owner”. The Government continues this narrative of home ownership, when in fact those who pay for a new HDB flat are lessees for its 99-year term.

When the issue arose for public discussion some months back, HDB explained that flat buyers are owners, not just tenants. This is why they are allowed major renovations to suit their own tastes. The other explanation is that rental rates do not go up over 99 years, so the buyer is actually an owner, not just a lessee.

But in fact, a tenant can be allowed to renovate the premises extensively. I rented my office space and I renovated it to suit my tastes and my operational requirements.

As for the rental argument, if a tenant paid the full 99 years of rent upfront, in a lump sum, why should the monthly rents be expected to move up?

Any “buyer” of HDB flats who has signed official documents knows that the contract is a lessor and lessee contract. Consistent with most rental contracts, this contract grants the tenant a right-of-use and peaceful enjoyment of the premises for 99 years from when the HDB flats are completed. In the case of a “resale” HDB flat, the right-of-use and enjoyment is transferred, with its remaining lease tenure, to the next tenant.

However, unlike most residential rental contracts, the HDB lessee is responsible for paying maintenance fees and property taxes. Such terms can form any rental negotiations for private residences. It is not set in stone that landlords or tenants must foot the property tax and common area maintenance bills.

How about the argument that HDB flats are owned by their buyers, and this is why they are allowed to mortgage the flats?

But here again, it should be noted that long-term leases may be pledged as security to banks, such as the 30-year leases of factories in Singapore. In the United States, Toys ‘R’ Us collapsed in a mountain of debt secured against their long-term rentals of retail malls. So the argument that a mortgage indicates ownership is also flawed.

Singaporeans – citizens and the authorities alike – need to alter the language we use and the outdated mindset we cling onto.

I would recommend that we be honest with ourselves and recognise that we are merely lessees who rent the HDB flats for their terms.

We should change the words we use to describe HDB flats – from “buy”, “sell” and “owner”, to “lease”, “transfer lease” and “tenant”.

We should also question the concept of using HDB flats as a hedge against inflation, if they are merely depreciating leases.

Another concept that interferes with a proper understanding of ownership and decaying values of HDB’s flat leases is the idea that Singapore is in dire shortage of land. Most people are confused over private land sale on 99-year leases, and renting out HDB flats for 99 years.

The idea of land shortage is a planning assumption that was valid during the days of rapid growth during nation building, but is becoming more irrelevant today.

Singapore has expanded by more than 2 sq km per year for the last 59 years. Meanwhile, improvements in urban planning, the increasing plot ratios of HDB estates, and the release of massive new sites in the future will free up more land.

According to the HDB Annual Report 2016/17, existing HDB towns can house another 490,000 residential units. Bidadari, Tampines North and Tengah Forest Town are three new sites that started development in the past three years.

Beyond 2030, Paya Lebar Airbase and the Greater Southern Waterfront at Pasir Panjang may add over 200,000 housing units. With the flight path of Paya Lebar Airbase removed, plot ratios in Aljunied and Hougang will increase, examples of which we can already see from changes to the master plan made to the Aljunied neighbourhood.

As I argued in an earlier article in 2016, the result is that land can be used more intensively. The current stock of 1.3 million units can be expanded, to house a bigger population of up to 10 million. This is not to say we should aim for such a population figure; my point is that increased land use density and the opening of new towns can significantly add to our housing stock.

In conclusion, Singaporeans should accept the immutable fact that HDB flats will be returned to the Government with zero residual value after being leased out for 99 years. HDB will then recycle the land for more appropriate and higher density use in the future.

Only by discarding the dead weight of outdated ideas about home ownership and land shortage will we find progress.

* Ku Swee Yong is a licensed real estate agent with International Property Advisor Pte Ltd and the co-founder of HugProperty.com

Links - 14th August 2018 (1)

Famed impulse control 'marshmallow test' fails in new research - "The new research by Tyler Watts, Greg Duncan and Hoanan Quen, published in Psychological Science, found that there were still benefits for the children who were able to hold out for a larger reward, but the effects were nowhere near as significant as those found by Mischel, and even those largely disappeared at age 15 once family and parental education were accounted for."
Paper: "this bivariate correlation was only half the size of those reported in the original studies and was reduced by two thirds in the presence of controls for family background, early cognitive ability, and the home environment."
This assumes that there is no genetic, intelligence or environmental component to self control

The marshmallow test held up OK - "The replication created categories for time waited (e.g. 0 to 20 seconds, 20 seconds to 2 minutes, and so on), rather than using time as a continuous variable. It also focused on children with parents who did not have a college education – too many of the children with college-educated parents waited the full seven minutes... The original claim was not that the marshmallow test was the best or only predictor... In the replication data, most of the predictive power of the marshmallow test was found to lie in the first 20 seconds. There was not a lot of difference between the kids who waited more than 20 seconds and those that waited the full seven minutes"

phrases - Never Meet Your Heroes - Is this expression an adage?

May takes swipe at business, saying 'this can't go on anymore' - "Today too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass on the streets"

The Israeli Army Unit That Recruits Teens With Autism - "for the military, it’s an opportunity to harness the unique skill sets that often come with autism: extraordinary capacities for visual thinking and attention to detail, both of which lend themselves well to the highly specialized task of aerial analysis... childhood autism was two to four times more prevalent in the Dutch technology hub of Eindhoven as in other Dutch cities of similar size, support for a possible link between autism and scientific ability. Other people have observed a similar phenomenon in Silicon Valley."

Landmark 100 Percent Renewable Energy Study Flawed, Say 21 Leading Experts - "the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published a scathing critique of Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson’s analysis, which claims a full transition of all sectors of the U.S. energy system to wind, water, and solar power by 2050 is “technically and economically feasible with little downside.”"

Anthony Bourdain says he would poison Trump if given the chance

Genetic influence on family socioeconomic status and children's intelligence - "Environmental measures used widely in the behavioral sciences show nearly as much genetic influence as behavioral measures, a critical finding for interpreting associations between environmental factors and children's development. This research depends on the twin method that compares monozygotic and dizygotic twins, but key aspects of children's environment such as socioeconomic status (SES) cannot be investigated in twin studies because they are the same for children growing up together in a family. Here, using a new technique applied to DNA from 3000 unrelated children, we show significant genetic influence on family SES, and on its association with children's IQ at ages 7 and 12. In addition to demonstrating the ability to investigate genetic influence on between-family environmental measures, our results emphasize the need to consider genetics in research and policy on family SES and its association with children's IQ."

I am against gender-neutral parenting. Here's why - "A couple in the UK raised their child for five years not letting anyone know the gender. According to the couple they wanted the child to decide... Sasha wears a "ruched-sleeved" girl's shirt as part of his school uniform, and has been banned from sporting combat trousers. Why ban him from wanting to wear something that could be perceived as masculine? The youngster is also encouraged to wear flowery tops at weekends. This to me sounds like the parents are influencing which direction this little boy goes. They obviously want a girl... if your child is clueless of what society deems as gender normal behavior, makes a decision out of ignorance and has a hard time being accepted by his/her peers or dealing with the internal battle of where he/she fits in, you as the parent must be ready to accept responsibility. You failed to protect, and educate, your child properly."

Rape is rarely violent and doesn’t merit a jail term, claims Germaine Greer - "Rape is rarely a violent crime and should be punishable by 200 hours of community service, Germaine Greer has suggested, as she poured scorn on the idea that victims are left with post traumatic stress disorder. The feminist said the system must be overhauled because few cases that hinge on consent end in a conviction... Greer was the victim of a rape when she was in her late teens – a violent attack in which she was repeatedly beaten. But she told an audience at the Hay Festival: “Most rapes don’t involve any injury whatsoever. We are told it’s one of the most violent crimes in the world – bull----. Most rape is just lazy, just careless, just insensitive. Every time a man rolls over on his exhausted wife and insists on enjoying his conjugal right, he is raping her. It will never end up in a court of law.” She went on: “Instead of thinking of rape as a spectacularly violent crime – and some rapes are – think about it as non-consensual, that is, bad sex... “the official position now is that 70 per cent of rape victims suffer PTSD and only 20 per cent of veterans”. She added: “At this point you think, what the hell are you saying? That something that leaves no sign, no injury, nothing, is more damaging to women than seeing your best friend blown up by an IED is to a veteran?” She argued that we should stop “pathologising” rape and saying that it destroys women’s lives"
This is one possible endpoint of the endless hysteria of feminists about 'rape'. The other of course being the dominant narrative - doubling down and becoming even more hysterical about ever more minor phenomena
Does this mean she's no longer a feminist?

Legendary Special-Effects Artist Rick Baker on How CGI Killed His Industry - "'When you have a good actor, in a good makeup, and he's been sitting in the makeup chair looking at himself in the mirror, seeing himself become something else, and then he walks onto a set and he knows where he is, he knows what he looks like, he gives a performance that he's never going to give on a motion-capture stage.'"

Kosher bacon attempts to break one of Israel’s greatest taboos - "When the so-called pork law was enacted in 1962, forbidding the raising and slaughtering of pigs, most secular Jews had no objection. Even then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion – who had previously admitted to eating pork and who believed the idea of prohibiting the raising of any animal was “absurd” – supported the law in order to appease the religious parties. The reason may be that since the dawn of Jewish history, the pig has always been considered the symbol of impurity. That may explain why even today many secular Israelis, who describe themselves as omnivores, still won't eat pork... “Bacon is a combo of saltiness, fattiness and crispness – and that’s what people are looking for,” he says. “The taste is not the same, but it serves the same function. Many people don’t notice the difference.”... Bulka points to the Talmud as the source for the practice of imitating foods. Yalta, the wife of Babylonian scholar Rav Nachman, said that “Whatever the Merciful one has forbidden us, he has permitted us something of equal worth.” In other words, it’s acceptable to taste forbidden things by eating similar substitutes"

"Taboo, Unclean" Pork Vanishing From Tel Aviv Restaurants - "Tel Aviv was the place to go for pork in the early 20th century, when secular immigrants from Europe were pouring into the country with a taste for the meat and without cultural or religious sensitivities towards it. Even when pork was considered off-limits and abhorrent in other parts of the country, it was easy to find in Tel Aviv. Today, however, things are different. A survey published earlier in the month revealed that a whopping 70.6 percent of Israelis do not eat pig’s meat, findings that are consistent with the first-hand experience of Tel Aviv restaurant owners and chefs."

Safety first: Afghan shoppers go online to avoid bombs, harassment

WhatsApp overtakes Facebook as top ‘fake news’ source: Reach survey - "WhatsApp was the most common source of false information, with half of the respondents saying they came across fake news on the messaging platform. In comparison, 46 per cent cited Facebook."

Transgender Parent Demands Baby Is Made Legally Motherless - "A baby could become the first born in England or Wales to not legally have a mother if a female-to-male transgender activist wins a court battle, historically altering Britain’s definition of a family. The parent, who was born a woman and still retains female biology including the ability to bear children, has “identified” as a man for a few years and wants to begin the process of effectively legally erasing the essential role of biological women in gibing birth... The transgendered man has taken legal action against the body registering births and deaths in the United Kingdom, complaining of discrimination and claiming that being described as a mother after giving birth will violate their “human rights”."

NHS to Offer Biological Men Cervical Cancer Smear to Avoid 'Triggering Gender Dysphoria' - "Biological women who legally define themselves as men will not be routinely scanned for breast and cervical cancer, even if they retain these organs and remain at risk... biological men who regard themselves as women are being invited for cervical smear tests – even though it is impossible for them to have a cervix – an official guidebook states."

Boy, 14, left fighting for life after his intestines were sucked out by swimming pool filter - "A teenager was left fighting for his life after his intestines were sucked out by the filter of a swimming pool. The 14-year-old became trapped in the purifier of his local pool and was unable to free himself because of the force of the suction."
Life imitates art (Chuck Palahniuk)

Plastic Straws Aren’t the Problem - "Straws make up a trifling percentage of the world's plastic products, and campaigns to eliminate them will not only be ineffective, but could distract from far more useful efforts... this well-intentioned campaign assumes that single-use plastics, such as straws and coffee stirrers, have much to do with ocean pollution. And that assumption is based on some highly dubious data. Activists and news media often claim that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day, for example, which sounds awful. But the source of this figure turns out to be a survey conducted by a nine-year-old. Similarly, two Australian scientists estimate that there are up to 8.3 billion plastic straws scattered on global coastlines. Yet even if all those straws were suddenly washed into the sea, they'd account for about .03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastics estimated to enter the oceans in a given year... at least 46 percent of the plastic in the garbage patch by weight comes from a single product: fishing nets. Other fishing gear makes up a good chunk of the rest"

The Closing of the American Mind - "It did not bother Bloom that liberal education was available in practice only to a privileged few. He took for granted that American democracy (or any society, for that matter) would always contain hierarchies of power, knowledge, income and wealth. The question for Bloom was not whether America should or shouldn’t have elites, but rather what kind of elite was most compatible with democratic ideals... He warmly remembered his students of the Fifties, who arrived at college full of firm convictions, but also eager for intellectual exploration that might challenge them. In contrast, students in the late Eighties, having grown up believing that all beliefs and ways of life are equally valid, were “easygoing” and “nice,” but almost completely indifferent to the profoundest aspects of human life. For Bloom, this was apparent in the way they thought about things like romance and culture... Underneath a nonjudgmental relativism, Bloom saw a creeping nihilism: believing that all judgments of value had equal weight, the students ended up not believing or aspiring to much of anything at all. As a result, they no longer aspired to learn the truth, but rather to be “open-minded.” Incapable of treating moral questions and culture as anything other than matters of personal preference, they couldn’t be bothered to take seriously the task of self-reinvention that their education demanded of them. But if liberty had been replaced by indifference, equality in post-sixties America had been hijacked by a form of fanaticism. Radical political movements like feminism and Black Power had introduced an absolutist notion of egalitarianism into everyday discourse. Bloom claimed his students had reverted to what Tocqueville called the “passion for equality,” a rudimentary instinct in democratic societies to insist dogmatically that all individuals are fundamentally the same"

Gender differences in perceptions of emotionality: The case of close heterosexual relationships - "Previous research suggests some support for the stereotype that women are the more emotional gender, but very little research has examined whether women are more emotional than men in the context of close relationships. We examined gender differences in reports of emotions experienced and expressed in close heterosexual relationships. A sample of 197 couples (at different stages of relationship involvement), most of whom were white and from middle-class backgrounds, responded to a list of 25 positive and negative emotions three times. Participants indicated how often they experienced the emotions, how often they expressed the emotions, and how often they believed their partner experienced the emotions (all in the past month). Women reported experiencing several emotions to a greater frequency than men, regardless of degree of relationship involvement. Further, women reported being more emotionally expressive than men in dating and more advanced (e.g., engaged) relationships, but not in marital relationships. Finally, women believed that they were generally more emotional than men, whereas men believed that women were more emotional in the experience of negative but not positive emotions. The results were generally consistent with the stereotype that females are the more emotional gender."
Keywords: Women are more emotional than men

The Economics of Dining as a Couple - "A communist economy is a terrible idea. A communist dinner table, on the other hand, truly is a bounteous paradise. This is the final flowering of the dining experience, when the barriers wither away and all ordering is centrally planned, with the fruits distributed equally. You will know that this happy moment has arrived when you start telling the waiter “Just put the plates anywhere; we share everything.”"

Why sex and love don’t belong in the same bed - "“It’s dreadful and destructive what modern culture would have us believe. By conflating sex and love, we have young people wanting plastic surgery to change their bodies. They think that by having surgery they’ll become more shaggable, and therefore more lovable. Isn’t that pathetic?”... The French are right: you cannot desire what you already have"

Trump at G7: How Photos of the Same Scene Can Tell Different Stories

Indomie-inspired clutch in Indonesia is noodle brand lovers’ wet dream

Kim Jong Un went sightseeing in Singapore the night before Trump summit - The Washington Post - "Singapore’s government appeared to be sending a signal to Kim about the possibilities for his own future, See said. “I would not be surprised that part of the message the U.S. has for North Korea in bringing them here is to say, ‘If you take the right steps tomorrow, this could be the global prosperous city or country you can be in a generation,’ ” he said."

Families In A Maya Village In Mexico May Have The Secret To Getting Kids To Do Chores : Goats and Soda - "Volunteering to help is such an important trait in kids that Mexican families even have a term for it: acomedido... "Toddlers are very eager to be helpful," says David Lancy, an anthropologist at Utah State University, who documented this universality in his new book, Anthropology Perspectives on Children as Helpers, Workers, Artisans, and Laborers. Toddlers are born assistants. Need help sweeping up the kitchen? Rinsing a dish? Or cracking an egg? No worries. Toddlers Inc. will be there on the double. In one study, 20-month-olds actually stopped playing with a new toy and walked across the room to help an adult pick up something from the floor. And they didn't need a reward for their assistance. In fact, the toddlers were less likely to help a second time if they were given a toy afterward, the study found... In many instances, Western moms tell the toddlers to go and play while they do the chores, she says. But moms with indigenous heritage often do the exact opposite... Encourage the messy, incompetent toddler who really wants to do the dishes now, and over time, he'll turn into the competent 7-year-old who still wants to help."
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