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Friday, April 05, 2019

Links - 5th April 2019

The Internet Locusts Descend on Ristretto Roasters - "The career-destroying potential of the internet mob immediately snapped into action. Articles appeared in at least four newspapers and on innumerable websites. People on social media hurried to declare that they would never again spend a penny at Ristretto and were rewarded with approval from like-minded peers. A college-age girl walked into one of the cafes screaming, variously, that the baristas were in danger, and that working for Ristretto somehow posed a threat to the community. Employees who had previously been secure in their jobs became jittery and quit. One of Din’s managers suggested that he sell the company and that I offer a public apology before it was too late.This was within 48 hours of the first news reports appearing.The mob did not seem to notice (or mind) that Camila’s email had created precisely the kind of “demoralizing and hostile environment for employees” it was ostensibly intended to prevent. Young staff now worried that maybe the next crazed college girl would do more than scream; that they’d lose their jobs (and health insurance) if Ristretto were forced to close; that I—a person with whom they’d heretofore had a perfectly congenial relationship—might be a secret monster... I’d been labeled a “rape culture apologist,” that my work was “not journalism—this is privilege talking.” “It’s all on-script,” she replied. “They respond with the right words—fighting racism, transphobia, internalized misogyny—and build a group of believers who go out and do the work for them. They’re like the puppeteer. The fundamental difference between your situation and most others is that you’re facing real financial ruin.”... Many of them have not even taken the time to check what exactly they are attacking. Below one of the various Instagram posts drumming up a boycott of Ristretto, a woman wrote of #MeNeither, “I clicked, paused, down voted, then reported on YouTube that it violates community guidelines: hateful … I didn’t listen but it’s one way to make that shit go away.” This kind of virtual attack on something she hasn’t bothered to watch, to assess on her own, strikes me as childish—it is the behavior of a toddler whose tantrum brings a dinner party to a halt until it can be placated with the attention it seeks. I have invited my critics to speak with me; the whole point of #MeNeither is to provoke discussion. Only one woman took up my offer. It is evidently easier for some random guy on Facebook to send me the message, “You are scum. Rot in hell you dirty bitch.” Those with a bit more ambition have taken to phoning all my husband’s purveyors and telling them to discontinue their relationships with Ristretto. There is purpose here; there is drive; there is, maybe, a sense of triumph at a business being eradicated. “Yes, the delight in the potential destruction of others,” agreed Heying. There had, she added, been “total dismay in some corners” when she and her husband had survived."

When Everything Is Political, Nothing Works - "“Is this political? This feels political, but it shouldn’t.”This is because the left has made everything political, and reads politics into everything... You post a funny meme about vegans? Since most vegans are leftists, it’s immediately political. You post a meme about immigrants or speaking in broken English (keep in mind I am an immigrant and while I don’t speak in broken English – I glue all my English before speaking – I do speak with a noticeable accent, something my oldest fans love to tease me about) and because the left has wedded itself to open borders (in the hopes of electing themselves a new people), blam, the post is political.Do you post about your new car? No matter what you got, an SUV or a tiny hybrid, bam, your post is political, mostly because the left has planted its blood-soaked flag on the side of human-hatred, by claiming we’re killing the Earth or something (even while their political figures refuse to live like they believe it).What else can you post about? Oh, yeah. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse. Wait! Are you cis-heteronormative, whatever? POLITICS!I once posted something about how men and women were different and had barely time to blink before someone labeled the post transphobic (no, seriously, explain this one to me: if there is no difference, how come there are trans people? How can you be a male trapped in a female body or vice-versa if, in fact, the sexes are exactly the same except for minor external stuff? What is the whole point, even?).Honestly, it’s getting to the point I start cringing when people post about their cat, because you know somewhere in the mix there are probably PETA advocates who are going to accuse them of slavery… and then it’s political. Or people who are going to get offended because only women have cats and therefore this is sexist.There is a reason that science fiction conventions are dying. I attended one this weekend and a friend lamented that you can no longer be on a panel with anyone without the discussion devolving to politics. And you can barely talk to people in the halls because any topic can devolve into politics... the left has explicitly dragged politics into all these fields and made it unallowable to discuss them from anything but their point of view... The sad thing is that if we allow this poison to spread, if we allow leftists to take more and more debatable things out of the debatable sphere and instead enshrine them as political, which is to say “If you disagree with me, you’re a Nazi,” everything else will die too.It’s becoming hard to imagine any area of science, commerce or mere social interaction that is safe."

Man dies at Sussex care home as neighbours block ambulances sent to treat him in row over parking - "A man in his 90s died after two ambulances called to treat him were blocked for more than three hours by neighbours of his care home in a parking row.A couple used their two cars to block in the ambulances trying to reach the man in response to a "category 1 emergency" at Cedarwood House in East Sussex... "We are aware that ambulances were blocked in at the scene but there were no arrests.""
The police must be too busy dealing with hate crimes

The Independent - Posts - "Fan accused of mansplaining after telling female musician how to improve her own song"
Comments: "can we move past that a male can talk to a female and its not 'splaining" its just someone with a suggestion? FFSOr should we just stop talking to each other?I'm a chef, chefs create recipes if a member of my team makes a suggestion on a method or ingredients I don't get all "splain" about it. I listen, I discuss and we might give it a go. I don't stop and think a female told me so I'm going to get into a hissy fit over it.Now go cross your legs and shut the f**k up."
"I'm sorry, is now giving any sort of constructive criticism a bad thing? Or is it just if the criticism comes from a male? (oh, and please, do not take those questions as an example of a man asking you rhetorical questions. That'd be terrible!)"
"Do I have to mansplain what mansplaining is?"
"That sounds like a guitarist giving constructive criticism."
"Man says anything...MANSPLAINING!!!!"
"Not manspaining... what 50% of the population cannot criticise?"
"People such as yourself are trying to get it so that men aren't allowed to have an opinion, and if they manage to have one, they aren't allowed to voice it."
"She's released three albums and no one's ever heard of her. Is it possible her music needs improvement?"
"I just listened to the official song. There is no bass on it, just keyboard. It's also a really crap song."
"The Independent, always stirring the pot"

Denmark free education creates 'eternity students' who never graduate - "The country now deals with "eternity students" — people who stick around at college for six years or more without any plans of graduating, solely because they don't have any financial incentive to leave... For years, Denmark has had a program that allots students a monthly grant of around $1,000 to cover living expenses. According to Jakobsen, the freedom enables people to float in a kind of listless state, only half-considering their options for the future."

Looking up to leaders to tell the hard truth : singapore - " The pioneer generation of leaders, in particular founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, were highly critical of how things were done here and did not mince their words.He was famous for telling it as it was, scolding Singaporean managers for their lack of imagination, lamenting the low productivity of workers, highlighting shortcomings in the civil service, and the many areas that needed shaping up.Of course, he was that type of a leader and his straight-talking style might be ill-suited today.But the result was that the people came to expect leaders to be able to rise above the bureaucracy, to talk openly about its problems and not appear defensive.Over the years, however, as Singapore developed, the county has swung to the other extreme.Now, Singaporeans are constantly reminded how the country is the world’s best in this and that area and how well it is doing compared with others.This is fine if it truly is so and there is nothing left to improve.But, of course it isn’t. And the worse thing that can happen is if Singaporeans and their leaders believe their own propaganda... In fact, you do not need to go too far back into the early years to hear how Mr Lee responded to an incident.This was what he said in 2008 about the shocking escape from prison of the accused terrorist Mas Selamat: “I think it’s a very severe lesson of complacency that we are confident we have this man (Mas Selamat) sized up. It shows that it is a fallacy, it is stupid, to believe we are infallible.”Re-reading his quote, you wished someone would say it like he did about some of the recent incidents.I hope Singaporeans and their leaders will stop telling themselves how ahead they are of others and talk more often about how behind they are in many areas."

Nobel laureate Donna Strickland: ‘I see myself as a scientist, not a woman in science’ - "Strickland was surprised by the focus on gender. “I know there is certainly a lot of effort right now being placed on equity, diversity and inclusivity,” she says. “We consider that in our hiring practices and I’ve sat on many of the hiring committees. I was on the board of the Canadian Association of Physicists and we really discussed, as a board, how to incorporate these ideas. So, I’m certainly aware of the climate. But I don’t see myself as a woman in science. I see myself as a scientist. I didn’t think that would be the big story. I thought the big story would be the science.” Strickland’s focus has always been the science... From her first Nobel press conference onwards, Strickland has insisted that she has been treated as an equal throughout her career; she has always been paid the same as her male colleagues, always been given the same opportunities... She is a full-time tenured professor. The only reason she does not have the title of “full” professor is because she has never applied for the rank... Strickland would much rather talk about science than gender issues."
Maybe this shows that - surprise surprise - the way to have achievements in science is to do science, not constantly parade grievances

Napoleon: the insecure emperor - History Extra - "We are almost defined by the music we listen to as teenagers. You know, my generation won't be understood by somebody writing about them in 200 years time unless they can read all about the 60s culture, listen to the Stones and the Beatles and the whole thing and so on. And Napoleon's generation were brought up on the literature of the Enlightenment, but also on this most important influence of all was, there were two. One was that they were all brought up on Plutarch’s lives of the ancient heroes. This was sort of staple reading in every French school and military academy. And as religion, Catholic religion had actually been very much taken out of public life, it was replaced by a sort of swing back to a kind of rather gooey version of ancient mythology. So on the one hand, they all began to think that they were Romans and ancient Greeks. And in accordance with that mythology, there was always room for the sort of semi divine human being, who is the great transcendent hero. At the same time, it was the beginnings of the Romantic movement. And while on the one hand, he was endlessly sort of going on about Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. And the other hand, he was always reading, you know, the wonderful soupy novels of, of Bernard dans de Saint Pierre [sp?]. So there's this sentimentalism mixed in with heroism. They were all so excited by this that they really did, you do get quotes and letters from the times where they really, these young men really think that if they just dash into the jaws of death, they will somehow transcend it. And yes, you know, true heroism is the ultimate. It was kind of, you know latter day form of the lust for martyrdom that the Crusaders sought and it was a kind of pseudo religious urge, very very strong."

Wonders of the Middle Ages - History Extra - "‘The books did move between monasteries. And across the channel as you said, I've often been struck, how did that actually happen? There wasn't, there wasn't an interlibrary loan service was there?’...
‘Well, there sort of is in a way. Because if you create a new book, you need a copy, you need an exemplar. And if you are trying to create either a new work, a new legal text, or a collection of letters, you need something to copy from, and we have letters in this project saying, well, please, can you send me your copy of Augustine or whatever, because we, we need to, we'd like to make our own copy. And so sometimes, sometimes scribes were sent to, if the books couldn't be moved, but sometimes the books were, were sent and then came back... another reason I think you see these very close artistic connections because there's lots of circulation of text and ideas and artistic styles and people’"

Mary Anderson: singing – and windscreen wiping – in the rain - "Despite offering her device to all the early manufacturers of road vehicles, most thought the wiper unnecessary and a few even claimed it would be dangerous – one suggested that it could hypnotise drivers."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Matthew Hedges: 'I was psychologically tortured' - "‘Whenever I had to go to the bathroom, or to on occasion, use the shower, I would be escorted by four guards, and I would wear ankle cuffs. Whenever I was transported between different premises, I was blindfolded and handcuffed.’
‘And you had to stand up for quite a lot’
‘Yes. So one of the days when I had tried to, again, told the truth to the, to the interrogators, their reaction was to make me stand for the day wearing ankle cuffs’
‘All day?’
‘Do you know exactly what you confessed to, because you don't speak Arabic?’
‘I don't. All I know was that I confessed to being an MI6 agent’
‘They said you were a Captain. Bloody bizarre because there's no such rank in MI6’...
‘I was told this by not only the interrogators but also the state prosecutor. They said, in fact the state prosecutor told me you're very lucky that you've told us the truth from the start because if you hadn't you would be in jail for the rest your life’
‘And subsequently of course, you were convicted and you were indeed sentenced to life in prison’...
‘The information you had been collecting, to justify what they did to you, went far beyond standard academic practices. You took advantage of researchers in this country, you were using two different identities to gather information from your talks. In one you were a PhD researcher, and in another identity, you were a businessman, and so on.’
‘So I think at the heart of what in my response, it's academic freedom’...
‘Do you think that perhaps you were a bit naive?’
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