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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Links - 15th June 2019 (3)

Smiling men less attractive to women: study - "Women find men less attractive when they smile compared to when they take on swaggering or brooding poses, a Canadian study has found.In contrast, men find women more attractive when they smile, and least attractive when they look proud and confident... While previous studies have shown that women are judged more attractive when they smile, the researchers believe this is the first study to show that men are judged less attractive when they appear happy.They suggested it was because smiling men were judged to be more feminine and less dominant.The study "helps to explain the enduring allure of 'bad boys' other iconic gender types" and may "inspire online daters to update their profile photo""

Danish nightclubs 'ban' reufgees using language rules after sexual harassment complaints - "The trend started in Sønderborg, where a local military base was converted into refugee housing last year.... The Local.Danish media has reported complaints by women who say they have been harassed and groped by male asylum seekers in Sønderborg and several other towns. Rafi Ibrahim, a Syrian man who owns a nightclub in Haderslev, said refugees moving in since 2014 have “made their mark”. “Many of the refugees and asylum-seekers who go out at the weekend do not know the rules,” he told TV Syd. “When they see a girl, they go crazy, trying to grope her or grab her clothes.”"

Danish clubs use language rules to keep refugees out - " The Buddy Holly discotheque in Sønderborg has a rule that no one can enter the premises unless they can prove that they speak either Danish, English or German. According to the industry group Danmarks Restauranter og Cafeer, which has over 1,500 members nationwide, several other night clubs are considering a similar move.“If you have a group of guests that comes in and displays threatening behaviour then it presents some security-related challenges if you cannot enter into a dialogue”... women in Thisted, Haderslev and Sønderborg reported that some refugees and asylum seekers display aggressive behaviour, touch women inappropriately and refuse to take no for an answer."

William F. Buckley had a way with words - "Buckley never stopped at the surface, equivocated about his positions, or suffered fools gladly (“I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said,” he once quipped when presented with a viewpoint in opposition to his own). Buckley was no friend to the left (“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views”)

Bernie Sanders: Students Silencing Speakers ‘a Sign of Intellectual Weakness’ - "1) Students are too proud to admit their own intellectual weakness; 2) Most of these students are incapable of clearly articulating and defending ideas beyond a superficial level, and most of them know this (which means they'd get shredded by a seasoned speaker). The latter is the bigger problem today. Students feel certainty in the righteousness of their ideas, but not in their ability to express them. Fear and a weird mix of intellectual pride and insecurity are at the heart of this movement. The solution? Don’t bother exposing yourself or your ideas to such scrutiny; just silence the blasphemers.The tragic part is that universities are letting students get away with it."

Humanist Perspectives: issue 202: Social Justice – the new totalitarianism? - "whereas my views would once have been considered centrist, even a bit to the left, they are now considered right-wing and I’m told someone even referred to me as a “right-wing radical.” What happened?Our society has changed – radically – and I would dare to say this has been driven by radicals... I am a strong advocate of social justice, which by my definition means that every person is equal before the law, is entitled not to be discriminated against based on sex, race, ethnic group, religion or sexual orientation, and is free to live her life as she chooses, provided that it does not infringe on the rights of others. But that is not what social justice means in our society today. Social justice today does not mean equality of opportunity for all, but equality of outcome for groups... Any “under-representation” of whatever group in a desirable field of employment is to be attributed to discrimination and the inherent racism, sexism or colonialism of our society. No questions asked, and if you try to ask them, you’ll be vilified, “deplatformed,” and maybe lose your job... The demand for equality of outcome has serious implications for our freedoms. The first freedom to be lost is freedom of speech, that is, the freedom to express ideas that do not align with society’s progressive orthodoxy. In the war of ideas, words are the weapons, and you partially disarm your opponent when you force him/her/xer to use only words that you approve of (as Professor Jordan Peterson could explain). As an example of the enforcement of verbal orthodoxy, in its 2017 Stylebook, the Associated Press directs its journalists not to use the term “illegal alien,” which is a term with a clear legal definition, but “undocumented immigrants.” (And one AP article even used the term “undocumented citizen,” which would seem to be an oxymoron.) And of course, it isn’t going to stop with words. We are now seeing demands to tear down statues that reflect our “racist white capitalist” history in the United States and in Canada, where in August the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario passed a resolution urging school boards to consider removing Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from elementary schools. This demand to rewrite history actually reminds me of the Islamic concept of Jahiliyya, or the obliteration of any evidence of non-Islamic societies, as exemplified by the Taliban’s blowing up the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Ansar Dine’s rampages in the shrines of Timbuktu, the destruction of Palmyra by ISIS, and the desire of Egyptian Islamists to destroy the pyramids, among many other examples. It is not surprising to me that the totalitarians in the social justice movement should make common cause with the Islamist totalitarians, as the goal of both groups is to destroy Western civilization. This is promoted by destabilizing society, and undermining the family and fostering the identification with particularist groups that distrust one another is a very good start"
Addendum: So much for the "myth" of the slippery slope

The first culture war - "In today’s political landscape, where the obsession with identity is so prominent, it is easy to forget that the politics of identity is a fairly recent development. Concern with identity first emerged in response to the cultural confusions that took shape during the increasingly bloody but apparently pointless slaughter on the battlefield of the Great War. The traumatic upheavals unleashed during the course of this four-year-long conflict called into question the moral and intellectual premises of Western culture and civilisation. For many, the war served as the ultimate symbol of moral exhaustion and Western decline. In the immediate aftermath of the war, writes a contemporary historian, we can see the ‘gradual disintegration of Christian confidence in Western cultural values’... the interwar cultural elite was far better at discrediting received roles and identities than developing new ones through which they could endow their personal experience with meaning. Roles and values associated with the past were hastily rejected as redundant. At this point, confusion about identity was sublimated through a one-dimensional renunciation of the values and cultural practices of the pre-war world."

What happened when I wrote about Islam in Britain | Spectator USA - "It was called ‘A Visit to Islamic England.’... Britain’s multicultural policies have produced what the Nobel-prize winning economist Amartya Sen calls, ‘plural monoculturalism.’ That is, different communities, or monocultures, existing side-by-side with little to no interaction with one another.This is the reality I witnessed and described in parts of Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, and Luton. Media commentators can refute it all they like, but I’ve spoken with many Britons and British Muslims from those areas who agree with my portrayals. Plus, the data suggests it is a larger phenomenon across the UK. According to a 2016 survey by ICM Research for Channel 4, more than 50 percent of British Muslims live in areas that are at least 20 percent Muslim. Of that, around a fifth had not even entered the home of a non-Muslim in the past year... Her father began to regularly beat her.At 14, state authorities finally intervened after Halima’s boyfriend called the police. According to the 2014 court hearing, her father beat her with a tennis racket and said he would kill her ‘before the community finds out [about her non-Muslim boyfriend].’ Her father was later convicted of child cruelty and given a suspended sentence. Halima alleges that the police officer who fingerprinted her belonged to the same ethno-religious community and actually worked with her uncle in taking her to her grandfather’s home, where she was further punished... She says Britain’s fear of offending the religious is causing it to turn a blind eye to abuses happening from within. ‘I feel let down by mainstream British society, especially the authorities,’ she says. ‘If I was white my dad would’ve gotten prison time. [Society is] quite oblivious to what happens in spheres other than white middle class circles.’... The few surveys conducted on British Muslims show shockingly regressive attitudes on homosexuality, gender norms, and sex. A 2009 Gallup poll found zero percent of British Muslims believed homosexuality was ‘morally acceptable.’ ICM’s 2016 poll found that 52 percent believe homosexuality should be illegal in the country.These beliefs have implications for other groups in a society. According to a 2018 survey by NatCen, Britain’s largest independent social research agency, Londoners are actually less tolerant of homosexuality and premarital sex than the rest of the country. How could this be so in one of the most modern, cosmopolitan and diverse cities on earth? The survey’s researchers attribute this to ‘religious differences’ — and surely London’s 12.4 percent Muslim community contributes to those, along with black Evangelicals and Eastern European Catholics"

Why people think Germans aren’t funny - "this ability of the German language to be extremely concise perhaps explains why even a good German speaker of English might sound a bit overly precise in English – which can add to the impression that Germans are more earnest than funny... “I think when you try to speak with a literal translation from German to English, you lose a lot of meaning that makes a joke funny. And when you have to explain a joke, it just isn’t funny anymore,” Baumann said. “So naturally, they didn’t think I was funny.”... Fully aware of the stereotype the Germans are labelled with, he writes in his new book, Zum Lachen auf die Insel (To England with Laughs), that Germans are too honest to be polite and the English are too polite to be honest."

43% des Français ne prennent pas de douche tous les jours - "seulement 57% d'entre eux prennent une douche tous les jours, 24% 1 jour sur 2, 11% 1 jour sur 3 et 8% moins souvent"
"Les stéréotypes"

How Often People in Various Countries Shower - "One reason early-20th-century Americans ramped up their weekly baths to daily showers is that marketing companies capitalized on the insecurities of a new class of office drones working in close quarters. As Gizmodo wrote last week, to sell products like "toilet soap" and Listerine to Americans, "the advertising industry had to create pseudoscientific maladies like 'bad breath' and 'body odor.'"... In general, the world's women shower more than men. The exception, according to a 2008 study by hygiene-products company SCA, is Sweden"

The Best A Woman Can Get?

"I love you, Lois"
"I love you, Superman"
*Is he really the best I can get?*

"Is he really the best I can get?"

On female hypergamy

Links - 15th June 2019 (2)

Calgary-area mom served with cease-and-desist letter after going public with classroom concerns - "A Calgary-area mother who spoke out to CBC News over concerns about a large combined Grade 2 class at Red Deer Lake School has been handed a cease-and-desist letter by a law firm on behalf of the school board... Colborne, who has another child attending the school, says parents have been trying to get answers from the school division for months, and she was surprised to receive the three-page cease-and-desist letter.Other parents have also received the letter and are not willing to be interviewed as a result... "Just the sheer image of a school board putting out cease-and-desist orders is pretty alarming""

CARONA CHICKEN: PAST AND PRESENT - "Carona’s Fried Chicken Wing Rice was founded in 1982 with a stall at the then Victoria Street Food Centre. Due to the popularity of their wings, the business name and recipe were then sold to a company that changed its name to Carona Chicken. Not only did they open their flagship Carona Marina Restaurant in 1992, they also started to franchise the brand, Carona Chicken. As a result, many Carona outlets began to mushroom islandwide, and this inevitably led to a significant drop in their standards. The eventual demise of the brand was also caused by both the shrinkage in serving portion as well as the increase in pricing... The good news is that the original recipe for Carona Fired Chicken Wings can still be found at 2 different stalls. The original owner of Carona’s Fried Chicken Wing Rice has started Victor’s Fried Chicken Wing Rice & Hainanese Chicken Rice. Two Wings is the other fancier stall selling Carona style fried chicken wing started by Jeremy, whose granduncle created the recipe."

Turkey election re-run angers victorious opposition - "Turkey's electoral body has been condemned for ordering Istanbul's local elections to be re-held after an opposition victory... The ruling party has since challenged the results in Ankara and Istanbul, which has prompted opposition accusations that they are trying to steal the election"

Nick Gillespie on Twitter - "I'm old enough to remember when Presidential Medals of Freedom were given for showing courage and making sacrifices on behalf of the nation and the world. Tiger Woods ... hits golf balls for money"
"Narrator voice: In fact, this is a sign that @paulkrugman is too old to remember things correctly anymore or even bother to look them up on @Wikipedia anymore. The medals go to wide range of recipients and @BarackObama alone gave 12 to athletes."

Singaporeans spend triple the time searching for property than reading their children bedtime stories or speaking to their parents: HSBC study – Business Insider Singapore - "Calling property a “national sport for Singaporeans”, HSBC said on Thursday (May 2) that its Beyond the Bricks 2019 survey found that Singaporeans spend 3.29 hours every week on property-related window shopping. That includes searching for property online and reading property magazines even when they are not looking to buy a new home.In comparison, the respondents spent just slightly more than an hour (1.03 hour) reading their children bedtime stories, and less than an hour (0.94 hour) talking to their parents every week... Slightly more than one-third (36 per cent) are impulsive and buy properties based purely on first impressions. This is lower than the global 39 per cent... When it comes to deciding if one should buy a property, 55 per cent of Singaporeans said that “creepy neighbours” are the biggest deal-breakers, higher than the global average of 47 per cent.As for superstition, only around 33 per cent considered bad feng shui and 16 per cent cited unlucky door numbers or street names as deal-breakers."

Meme - "Can Sex Doll Cook Your Meals?
Can Sex Doll Have Your Kids?
Can Sex Doll Wash Your Clothes?
Can Sex Doll Make Your Home?
What's It? You'll Are Really Triggered TBH Ain't No Sensible Man That Is Buying That Shit"
"So Cos of Sex Doll Y'all Women Suddenly Think It's a Woman's Duty to Cook Wash and Take Care of the Home?"

Average American worker takes less vacation than a medieval peasant - "Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off.The Church, mindful of how to keep a population from rebelling, enforced frequent mandatory holidays. Weddings, wakes, and births might mean a week off quaffing ale to celebrate, and when wandering jugglers or sporting events came to town, the peasant expected time off for entertainment... As for the modern American worker? After a year on the job, she gets an average of eight vacation days annually. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way: John Maynard Keynes, one of the founders of modern economics, made a famous prediction that by 2030, advanced societies would be wealthy enough that leisure time, rather than work, would characterize national lifestyles. So far, that forecast is not looking good... Some cite the victory of the modern eight-hour a day, 40-hour workweek over the punishing 70 or 80 hours a 19th century worker spent toiling as proof that we're moving in the right direction.But Americans have long since kissed the 40-hour workweek goodbye, and Shor's examination of work patterns reveals that the 19th century was an aberration in the history of human labor. When workers fought for the eight-hour workday, they weren't trying to get something radical and new, but rather to restore what their ancestors had enjoyed before industrial capitalists and the electric light bulb came on the scene... In addition to relaxing during long holidays, the medieval peasant took his sweet time eating meals, and the day often included time for an afternoon snooze... the Greeks, who face a horrible economy, work more hours than any other Europeans. In Germany, an economic powerhouse, workers rank second to last in number of hours worked. Despite more time off, German workers are the eighth most productive in Europe, while the long-toiling Greeks rank 24 out of 25 in productivity... Speaking of Congress, its members seem to be the only people in America getting as much down time as the medieval peasant. In recent years, they've gotten upward of 239 days in vacation time"

Why is my company skimping on my vacation? - "In Canada, the average vacation entitlement is over four weeks"

Vacation time taken by only one in three Canadians workers - "Most Canadians get two weeks’ vacation per year, perhaps more as they gain seniority, but only one in three actually takes it, according to a survey by the payroll management company, ADP Canada. Another 28 per cent report taking less than half of their allotted vacation time. “I think in Canada right now our relationship to work has become somewhat dysfunctional,” says Katrina Onstad, journalist and the author of The Weekend Effect. “We’re at a moment where being busy, being overworked and exhausted actually has a kind of cultural currency.“Our identities are really fused to work. It’s not uncommon at a party if you meet someone, the first question is ‘what do you do?’ It’s not ‘who are you?’... Those Canadians who are employed full time get less vacation than do their counterparts in Europe who average four to six weeks. This may be because the labour union movement is not as strong. Some who study the issue think it may have to do with Canada’s history and the pioneering spirit of the first Europeans who arrived and had to put work above play. Either way, Onstad thinks it is the interest of businesses to have their employees take vacations because the workers who do, for example those in Germany and Norway, are more productive and stay at their jobs longer. She also says there are health implications. “People who don’t take vacations are more prone to heart disease—both men and women—and also marital strife… There’s something that happens to our relationships if we don’t have time off to connect with one another"

Why taking vacation is important - "the average permanent, full-time Canadian worker received 17.3 vacation days in 2016, but only took 14. Interestingly, the study identified millennials as the demographic most likely to leave vacation days unused because they’re too busy at work. Given Millennials’ bad rap for being self-indulgent and work-shy, it’s an eye-opening statistic. The study also found that when Millennials do take vacations, they more likely check in frequently regardless of where they’re vacationing, thanks to the connectedness of email and mobile devices. Ontario and B.C. workers tied to take the fewest vacation days (just 14)... nearly 34% of managers discourage leave"

Sandra Bullock Hollywood News - Posts - [On Joan of Arc] "At first, Joan refused to answer questions about her revelations. But under the pressure of interrogation – and with a public stage on which to assert the truth of her mission – she began to speak of what she heard and saw. There was a light, she said, and a voice, that she had first heard when she was 13 in her father’s garden: the voice of an angel, sent by God.The questions went on: how did she know the voice was from God? Was it an angel, or a saint, or directly from God himself? Over hours and days, she parried and demurred – until at last she gave the detail her questioners seemed to require. She had heard and seen the archangel Michael – the patron saint of Armagnac France – and the virgin saints Margaret and Catherine.What she did not know, as she talked of their crowns, their faces, and the fact that they spoke French, was that she was condemning herself. Theologians – unlike Joan – were aware that, if she had truly seen saints and angels, she should prove it by describing their spiritual essence. The more she sought to make them ‘real’, with details she had never before described, the more she demonstrated to her accusers that this was a visitation not from heaven, but from hell. Unease over her claims about the nature of her voices was evident on her own side too during the later hearings to clear her name. “It is very difficult to reach a settled judgment in such matters,” was the inquiry’s briefest of conclusions on the subject in 1456. For all the talk of miracles, Charles VII was won over by victory in battle
How did a peasant girl persuade Charles VII to put her at the head of his army? All the evidence from 1429 suggests that Joan’s claims that she had been sent by God were a source of deep anxiety at the Armagnac court. If Charles were to put his faith in a false prophet, his kingdom of France would be lost forever. But if he rejected the words of a true prophet, the result would be equally disastrous."

PortableApps.com - Browse /Mozilla Firefox, Portable Ed./Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition 56.0.2 at SourceForge.net
This is the last Firefox version that supports the old addons

The Iraq War Was Not About Oil - "The situation is best summarized by the Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary S. Becker: “If oil were the driving force behind the Bush Administration’s hard line on Iraq, avoiding war would be the most appropriate policy.”... Given that Saudi Arabia (alongside all the other oil-rich Gulf states with the exception of Kuwait) opposed the war, invading Iraq risked future deals. Leading war proponent and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was reported to be “more than pleased” that democracy in Iraq would make the Saudis uneasy and was supportive of “rocking the stability of tyrannies in the Arab world.” Such antagonism was antithetical to the interests of Shell and Exxon-Mobil who had made huge investments in the Kingdom’s natural gas... Both the Saudi monarchy and the Shah show that Big Oil’s profits are often better protected by a despotism that keeps its people down while passing on money to the West. If an appetite for Iraq’s oil fields was what drove U.S. policy then why not replace Saddam with a compliant strongman who could be controlled? Why insist on elections that would put the power to shape the Iraqi oil industry into the hands of the Iraqi people?After the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, no major oil company could even consider investing in Iraq. While an unstable underdeveloped country may hand over its resources to multinationals because it’s desperate for investment, the risk is that once a country recovers its government will reject what it sees as an unfair deal... Ultimately, the post-Saddam order, which gave birth to a thriving democracy and civil society, was a far cry from a playground for foreign oil companies or the “client state” resource colony Noam Chomsky accused the U.S. of invading Iraq to create... The biggest beneficiary of the post-war contracts has been China, emerging as the largest buyer of Iraqi oil in 2013... trying to claim that the U.S. or Britain in the 21st century is somehow colonial simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Despite the fact that Afghanistan is sitting on $1 trillion dollars worth of rare minerals, the young democracy has also been free to sign extraction agreements with China. Gaddafi already had dealings with BP, yet the West toppled the dictator despite the disruption it caused the company"

"Amoral masculinity": a theory for understanding Trump from feminist contrarian Christina Hoff Sommers - "In the past, activist students who disagreed with me came to my lectures to spar and debate.Today they issue trigger warnings and accuse me of giving them PTSD. At both Oberlin and Georgetown, activists organized safe spaces where students could flee if they were panicked by my arguments. At Oberlin, 35 students and a therapy dog sought refuge in a safe room... There is a lot of hostility toward men and toward women who don’t agree with them. There is a willingness, a readiness to censure, to silence people. It’s ironic because this is what feminists claim is being done to them... now the theory called intersectionality has taken over and it’s driving some of these tendencies in feminism, which are focused almost entirely on victim politics and paranoia, on conspiracy theories about how women are held back in the United States... Today, the women’s lobby deploys a faulty logic: In cases where men are better off than women, that’s injustice. Where women are doing better — that’s life... It is 2016. American women are among the best-informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning."

Nanny State Index | The best and worst countries to eat, drink, smoke & vape in the EU - "The Nanny State Index (NSI) is a league table of the worst places in the European Union to eat, drink, smoke and vape"

When students believed in liberty - "‘It was one of the great strengths of the Free Speech Movement’, says Bettina Aptheker, an FSM leader and now a professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. ‘The only requirement was that they believed in the First Amendment – freedom of speech. That was it; we didn’t care what their politics were.'"
So much for Berkeley's Free Speech Movement not actually being about free speech, as some liberals claim

I Was America’s First ‘Nonbinary’ Person. It Was All a Sham.

I Was America’s First ‘Nonbinary’ Person. It Was All a Sham.

"Four years ago, I wrote about my decision to live as a woman in The New York Times, writing that I had wanted to live “authentically as the woman that I have always been,” and had “effectively traded my white male privilege to become one of America’s most hated minorities.”

Three years ago, I decided that I was neither male nor female, but nonbinary—and made headlines after an Oregon judge agreed to let me identify as a third sex, not male or female.

Now, I want to live again as the man that I am.

I’m one of the lucky ones. Despite participating in medical transgenderism for six years, my body is still intact. Most people who desist from transgender identities after gender changes can’t say the same.

But that’s not to say I got off scot-free. My psyche is eternally scarred, and I’ve got a host of health issues from the grand medical experiment...

After convincing myself that I was a woman during a severe mental health crisis, I visited a licensed nurse practitioner in early 2013 and asked for a hormone prescription. “If you don’t give me the drugs, I’ll buy them off the internet,” I threatened.

Although she’d never met me before, the nurse phoned in a prescription for 2 mg of oral estrogen and 200 mg of Spironolactone that very same day.

The nurse practitioner ignored that I have chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, having previously served in the military for almost 18 years. All of my doctors agree on that. Others believe that I have bipolar disorder and possibly borderline personality disorder.

I should have been stopped, but out-of-control, transgender activism had made the nurse practitioner too scared to say no...

All I needed to do was switch over my hormone operating fuel and get my penis turned into a vagina. Then I’d be the same as any other woman. That’s the fantasy the transgender community sold me. It’s the lie I bought into and believed.

Only one therapist tried to stop me from crawling into this smoking rabbit hole. When she did, I not only fired her, I filed a formal complaint against her. “She’s a gatekeeper,” the trans community said.

Professional stigmatisms against “conversion therapy” had made it impossible for the therapist to question my motives for wanting to change my sex.

The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (Fifth Edition) says one of the traits of gender dysphoria is believing that you possess the stereotypical feelings of the opposite sex. I felt that about myself, but yet no therapist discussed it with me...

Dr. Ray Blanchard has an unpopular theory that explains why someone like me may have been drawn to transgenderism. He claims there are two types of transgender women: homosexuals that are attracted to men, and men who are attracted to the thought or image of themselves as females.

It’s a tough thing to admit, but I belong to the latter group. We are classified as having autogynephilia.

After having watched pornography for years while in the Army and being married to a woman who resisted my demands to become the ideal female, I became that female instead. At least in my head.

While autogynephilia was my motivation to become a woman, gender stereotypes were my means of implementation. I believed wearing a long wig, dresses, heels, and makeup would make me a woman.

Feminists begged to differ on that. They rejected me for conforming to female stereotypes. But as a new member of the transgender community, I beat up on them too. The women who become men don’t fight the transgender community’s wars. The men in dresses do.

The best thing that could have happened would have been for someone to order intensive therapy. That would have protected me from my inclination to cross-dress and my risky sexual transgressions, of which there were many.

Instead, quacks in the medical community hid me in the women’s bathroom with people’s wives and daughters. “Your gender identity is female,” these alleged professionals said.

The medical community is so afraid of the trans community that they’re now afraid to give someone Blanchard’s diagnosis. Trans men are winning in medicine, and they’ve won the battle for language.

Think of the word “transvestite.” They’ve succeeded in making it a vulgar word, even though it just means men dressing like women. People are no longer allowed to tell the truth about men like me. Everyone now has to call us transgender instead...

Trauma, hypersexuality owing to childhood sexual abuse, and autogynephilia are all supposed to be red flags for those involved in the medical arts of psychology, psychiatry, and physical medicine—yet nobody except for the one therapist in Pittsburgh ever tried to stop me from changing my sex. They just kept helping me to harm myself...

Despite having taken or been injected with every hormone and antiandrogen concoction in the VA’s medical arsenal, I didn’t look anything like a female. People on the street agreed. Their harsh stares reflected the reality behind my fraudulent existence as a woman. Biological sex is immutable...

When the fantasy of being a woman came to an end, I asked two of my doctors to allow me to become nonbinary instead of female to bail me out. Both readily agreed...

To escape the delusion of having become a woman, I did something completely unprecedented in American history. In 2016, I convinced an Oregon judge to declare my sex to be nonbinary—neither male nor female.

In my psychotic mind, I had restored the mythical third sex to North America. And I became the first legally recognized nonbinary person in the country.

The landmark court decision catapulted me to instant fame within the LGBT community. For 10 nonstop days afterward, the media didn’t let me sleep. Reporters hung out in my Facebook feed, journalists clung to my every word, and a Portland television station beamed my wife and I into living rooms in the United Kingdom.

Becoming a woman had gotten me into The New York Times. Convincing a judge that my sex was nonbinary got my photos and story into publications around the world.

Then, before the judge’s ink had even dried on my Oregon sex change court order, a Washington, D.C.-based LGBT legal aid organization contacted me. “We want to help you change your birth certificate,” they offered...

LGBT organizations helping me to screw up my life had become a common theme...

It wasn’t until I came out against the sterilization and mutilation of gender-confused children and transgender military service members in 2017 that LGBT organizations stopped helping me. Most of the media retreated with them.

Overnight, I went from being a liberal media darling to a conservative pariah.

Both groups quickly began to realize that the transgender community had a runaway on their hands. Their solution was to completely ignore me and what my story had become. They also stopped acknowledging that I was behind the nonbinary option that now exists in 11 states.

The truth is that my sex change to nonbinary was a medical and scientific fraud. Consider the fact that before the historic court hearing occurred, my lawyer informed me that the judge had a transgender child.

Sure enough, the morning of my brief court hearing, the judge didn’t ask me a single question. Nor did this officer of the court demand to see any medical evidence alleging that I was born something magical. Within minutes, the judge just signed off on the court order.

I do not have any disorders of sexual development. All of my sexual confusion was in my head. I should have been treated. Instead, at every step, doctors, judges, and advocacy groups indulged my fiction.

The carnage that came from my court victory is just as precedent-setting as the decision itself. The judge’s order led to millions of taxpayer dollars being spent to put an X marker on driver’s licenses in 11 states so far. You can now become male, female, or nonbinary in all of them.

In my opinion, the judge in my case should have recused herself. In doing so, she would have spared me the ordeal still yet to come. She also would have saved me from having to bear the weight of the big secret behind my win"

Links - 15th June 2019 (1)

Pakistani Christian girls targeted by Chinese as brides - "Parents receive several thousand dollars and are told that their new sons-in-law are wealthy Christian converts. The grooms turn out to be neither... Augustine accused the Chinese government and its embassy in Pakistan of turning a blind eye to the practice by unquestioningly issuing visas and documents. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that, saying China has zero tolerance for illegal transnational marriage agencies... Brides initially came largely from Vietnam, Laos and North Korea. Now men are looking further afield... “It’s purely supply and demand,” she said. “It used to be, ‘Is she light-skinned?’ Now it’s like, ‘Is she female?’”... Among all faiths in Pakistan, parents often decide a daughter’s marriage partner. The deeply patriarchal society sees girls as less desirable than boys and as a burden because the bride’s family must pay a dowry and the cost of the wedding when they marry. A new bride is often mistreated by her husband and in-laws if her dowry is considered inadequate.By contrast, potential Chinese grooms offer parents money and pay all wedding expenses."

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Resigns Amid Scandal - "Baltimore’s mayor resigned under pressure Thursday amid a flurry of investigations into whether she arranged bulk sales of her self-published children’s books to disguise hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks... She came to office contrasting her clean image with her main opponent, ex-mayor Sheila Dixon, who was forced to depart office in 2010 as part of a plea deal for misappropriating about $500 in gift cards meant for needy families."
"Let's elect Black women... More. women."
If you just want to hit a quota...

Gay Men Used to Earn Less than Straight Men; Now They Earn More - "the gay male earnings penalty had disappeared. And not only had it disappeared, it had turned into a 10% premium, meaning that gay men in recent years earned substantially more than straight men with similar education, experience, and job profiles... Previous studies have found that lesbians tend to earn more than straight women with similar education, experience, skills, and job characteristics... fundamental changes in family opportunities and responsibilities brought about by recent nationwide same-sex marriage may be exerting very different influences in gay male households than in lesbian households, and this changing nature of household specialization – theorized by Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker – could be producing some of the patterns we have documented. A gay male couple who gets married may have one partner select out of the workforce to focus on caregiving responsibilities; this might make the other partner more productive at work, resulting in relative improvements in gay men’s earnings relative to those of straight men. If the relatively lower earning partner systematically selects out of the labor market, this productivity effect would be compounded by a compositional change in the sample of relatively higher earning gay men we observe working"
Interestingly, one possible explanation for this (comparative advantage) also helps explains the gender wage gap
Doubtless the answer from some will be discrimination - just like a feminist explanation for why Google found that it was underpaying men was that women were discriminated against

Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operators (Job Market Paper) | Valentin Bolotnyy - "Even in a unionized environment where work tasks are similar, hourly wages are identical, and tenure dictates promotions, we find that female workers earn $0.89 on the male-worker dollar (in weekly earnings). We use confidential administrative data on bus and train operators from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to show that the weekly earnings gap can be explained by female operators’ taking less overtime and more unpaid time off using Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) than do male operators. We find that women value time outside of work more than men, and also have greater demand for schedule predictability and controllability. When overtime hours are scheduled three months in advance, men and women work a similar number of hours; but when those hours are offered the day before, men work nearly twice as many. When selecting work schedules, female operators avoid weekend, holiday, and split shifts more than do male operators. Women earn less in weeks with these unfavorable shifts, whereas men earn more by taking leave during the undesirable shift and substituting it with considerable overtime. Moreover, to avoid unfavorable work times, women prioritize schedule convenience over route safety, selecting routes with a higher probability of accidents. These results suggest that policies that increase schedule controllability, like shift-trading and expanded cover lists, can reduce the gender earnings gap and disproportionately increase the wellbeing of female workers."
Even in an environment where pay discrimination is literally impossible, there's a 11% gender wage gap. Such is the power of the patriarchy!
See also: Uber gender wage gap study

What Can the U.S. Health System Learn From Singapore? - The New York Times - "In the end, the government holds the cards. It decides where and when the private sector can operate. In the United States, the opposite often seems true. The private sector is the default system, and the public sector comes into play only when the private sector doesn’t want to.In Singapore, the government strictly regulates what technology is available in the country and where. It makes decisions as to what drugs and devices are covered in public facilities. It sets the prices and determines what subsidies are available.“There is careful scrutiny of the ‘latest and greatest’ technologies and a healthy skepticism of manufacturer claims,” Dr. Lim said. “It may be at the forefront of medical science in many areas, but the diffusion of the advancements to the entire population may take a while.”... In Singapore, campaigns have encouraged drinking water, and healthier food choice labels have been mandated. The country, with control over its food importation, even got beverage manufacturers to agree to reduce sugar content in drinks to a maximum of 12 percent by 2020.Should beverage companies fail to comply, officials might not just tax the drinks — they could ban them."

Coca-Cola, PespiCo and others agree to cap sugar in drinks in Singapore - "Seven major drinks companies including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo will limit the sugar content of drinks they sell in Singapore, as part of the city-state’s campaign to fight diabetes

How Powerful Is Vladimir Putin Really? - The New York Times - "The gulf between what Mr. Putin says and what happens in Russia raises a fundamental question about the nature of his rule after more than 18 years at the pinnacle of an authoritarian system: Is Mr. Putin really the omnipotent leader whom his critics attack and his own propagandists promote? Or does he sit atop a state that is, in fact, shockingly ramshackle, a system driven more by the capricious and often venal calculations of competing bureaucracies and interest groups than by Kremlin diktats?... A plethora of bureaucratic and political forces both reinforce and sap the president’s power: the security services, the Russian Orthodox Church, billionaire oligarchs, local officials and others, each with its own sometimes competing and sometimes overlapping interests. Mr. Putin has to manage them as best he can, but he doesn’t control everything they each do... “It is a great illusion that you just need to reach the leader and make him listen and everything will change,” she added. “This is not how it happens.”The illusion, however, is largely a result of the Kremlin’s own propaganda about the man at the top of what it calls the “power vertical.”"

How does legalization of physician assisted suicide affect rates of suicide? - "Legalizing PAS has been associated with an increased rate of total suicides relative to other states and no decrease in non-assisted suicides. This suggests either that PAS does not inhibit (nor acts as an alternative to) non-assisted suicide, or that it acts in this way in some individuals but is associated with an increased inclination to suicide in other individuals."
So much for the claim that you should legalise euthanasia to reduce suicide, and that if you don't let people get euthanised they will kill themselves anyway

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' director Rian Johnson doesn't care if J.J. Abrams retcons for 'Episode IX'/
So he didn't care about his movie in the first place

Poet stumped by standardized test questions about her own poem - Los Angeles Times - "Poet Sara Holbrook, who often writes humorous verse for kids, had some harsh words for the Texas Education Agency after she discovered she couldn't answer questions about poems on the its standardized tests — poems she herself wrote.In an essay for the Huffington Post, Holbrook wrote that she felt like "such a dunce" after she didn't know the answers to questions posed on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests about her poems — "A Real Case" and "Midnight" — meant for seventh- and eighth-grade students... Holbrook argues that asking students to dissect poems isn't an effective way to teach them about the joys of literature... Holbrook wrote that asking students to guess an author's intent in writing a piece of literature is doomed to be a pointless exercise."My final reflection is this: any test that questions the motivations of the author without asking the author is a big baloney sandwich," she wrote. "Mostly test makers do this to dead people who can’t protest. But I’m not dead. I protest.""
Since the author is dead, can she really complain?
This suggests that literature should not be an examinable - or perhaps even academic - subject

Netizens are up in arms after Netflix featured Singapore and Indonesia in a show on Asian street food, but left out Malaysia - "According to Netflix’s statement, four Singaporean dishes will find their way onto the show: wonton noodles made by the late Tang Siu Nam, chilli crab by KEK Seafood, and chicken rice from Sin Kee Chicken Rice.Also featured is putu piring, a steamed rice cake filled with palm sugar, made by professional pastry chef Aisha Hashim, whose family owns Michelin Guide-approved Haig Road Putu Piring... One netizen even tagged Malaysia’s tourism minister, Mohammadin Ketapi, to ask why."
Malaysia never disappoints
"Out of the 4 places featured in the Singapore ep of Netflix's Street Food (clarified by seetoh that we don't have those, by the way), one stall closed cos the chef died, one stall closed cos the chef got poached elsewhere and one had to use a central kitchen to mass manufacture the ingredients. The remaining was a restaurant. Hawker food is literally dying out.
PS: A friend pointed out this ep is like Our Planet, but for hawkers.."


The Walking Dead explain why two LGBT characters were killed in season 9 - "Their deaths sparked uproar within the community... ‘We want every single person to have the same full story that anyone would have. Taking death off the table for any group for any reason limits the types of stories we can tell for them, as well as our casting abilities."
How diversity stops you from telling good stories - or even presenting "minorities" as fully human and authentic characters

Twitter's Micro-Slavery - "'“Lizard brain” emotions such as fear and anger produce a more uniform reaction and are more viral in a mass audience. When users are riled up, they consume and share more content. Dispassionate users have relatively little value on Facebook, which does everything in its power to activate the lizard brain'... Public health campaigners and medical researchers have long equated the ravages, cruelty, and exploitation of narcotics addiction to chemical slavery. A virtually identical mechanism unfolds in a brain using Facebook or Twitter... The Hollywood actors who have done mighty work to support the Bolivian cocaine trade in the past can’t put Twitter down now, and that’s no accident.Digital abolitionists grow more and more strident and numerous these days. Many—including early Facebook investor McNamee—hail from inside Silicon Valley. A raft of articles over the last few years have documented the wave of Silicon Valley techno-elites who, like savvy drug cartel bosses, forbid their own children from using the devices and social media platforms they build, while they encourage their employees to spend frequent periods “unplugged.” They know social media and mobile devices create users, and some have been brave enough to lobby the public for a shift in consciousness... Brain researchers and those with unusual common sense have noticed that Twitter produces much the same effect on good judgement as drugs or a gambling compulsion. To watch full-grown adults turn into excrement-flinging six-year-olds, put on a hazmat suit and open up any hashtag... If the reader hasn’t noticed, all roads lead back to fear. Fear of missing out, fear of scorn and loneliness, fear of painful withdrawal, fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of being understood the wrong way, fear that others will have their say on Twitter without someone to correct their immoral use of data and benighted views. God forbid a stranger posts 280 characters on the Internet that goes unchallenged and causes democracy to perish."

How Radical Transparency Cures Web Censorship and Surveillance - "Banning sadistic trolls in mainstream fora serves to push them into desolate corners where their impulses will fester and intensify. The authors of a 2017 UNESCO study say that banning trolls is like playing “whack-a-mole”: They will just pop up somewhere else. A Brookings study similarly concluded that removing the accounts of trolls typically “increase[s] the speed and intensity of radicalization for those who do manage to enter the network.”While having a dialogue with trolls is difficult, it isn’t always impossible. And evidence-based research suggests that engaging even toxic ideological opponents in discussion sometimes can give them a chance to express themselves in a more positive way—while defusing their ability to create the friction and polarization that always attends the use of de-platforming. Which is to say: We don’t need more censorship. We need more soldiers in the fight for rationalism and civility.One of the most persuasive justifications for online moderation is that it helps protect children. But a study in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that at least one in six kids have had a negative online experience—notwithstanding the heavy moderation that already takes place on most popular online fora. According to the study author, Andrew K. Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute, “It’s kind of crazy that so much time and effort and money is spent to protect kids in this way when we don’t know if it’s effective at all.”Another study, this one conducted by the American Library Association, shows that controlling access to online content could harm the educational process, because the filters that are placed on school networks can prevent students from creating and sharing content: “Schools that over-filter restrict students from learning key digital readiness skills that are vital for the rest of their lives. Over-blocking in schools hampers students from developing their online presence and fully understanding the extent and permanence of their digital footprint.”"

Friday, June 14, 2019

Links - 14th June 2019 (2)

Why Seeing Photos of Ourselves Disappoints Us - "1. We think we're more attractive than we actually are.
2. The mere exposure effect works against us.
The mere exposure effect suggests that the more we encounter a stimulus, the more we tend to like it (Zajonc, 1968). It stands to reason that if we see ourselves often—for example, in the mirror—so we should find ourselves more attractive. However, when we look at ourselves in the mirror, our image is reversed...
Do you prefer selfies to traditional photographs of yourself? Many individuals do, especially if they take selfies regularly (Re et al., 2016). However, you should be aware that selfies only make you seem more attractive to yourself. When evaluating photographs of other people, most of us prefer photographs taken by someone else over selfies (Re et al., 2016).

Daniel Kahneman explains why most people don't want to be happy - "We think we want to be happy. Yet many of us are actually working toward some other end, according to cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics. Kahneman contends that happiness and satisfaction are distinct... working toward one goal may undermine our ability to experience the other. For example, in Kahneman’s research measuring everyday happiness—the experiences that leave people feeling good—he found that spending time with friends was highly effective. Yet those focused on long-term goals that yield satisfaction don’t necessarily prioritize socializing, as they’re busy with the bigger picture... satisfaction is based mostly on comparisons. “Life satisfaction is connected to a large degree to social yardsticks–achieving goals, meeting expectations.” He notes that money has a significant influence on life satisfaction, whereas happiness is affected by money only when funds are lacking. Poverty creates suffering, but above a certain level of income that satisfies our basic needs, wealth doesn’t increase happiness... In other words, if you aren’t hungry, and if clothing, shelter, and your other basics are covered, you’re capable of being at least as happy as the world’s wealthiest people. The fleeting feelings of happiness, though, don’t add up to life satisfaction. Looking back, a person who has had many happy moments may not feel pleased on the whole. The key here is memory. Satisfaction is retrospective. Happiness occurs in real time... a person who knows they can go on a trip and have a good time but that their memories will be erased, and that they can’t take any photos, might choose not to go after all. The reason for this is that we do things in anticipation of creating satisfying memories to reflect on later. We’re somewhat less interested in actually having a good time. This theory helps to explain our current social media-driven culture. To some extent, we care less about enjoying ourselves than presenting the appearance of an enviable existence. We’re preoccupied with quantifying friends and followers rather than spending time with people we like. And ultimately, this makes us miserable.We feel happiness primarily in the company of others"

Why Has Eating Become So Complicated? - "Remember a decade ago, when Atkins was all the rage? In hindsight, we were such innocents! Today, so many people I know are on a special dietary plan of some kind. Whether it’s gluten-free, raw food, keto, vegan, etc., it seems that we all have a defined nutritional regime. The last time I had friends over to my place, I had three guests each with vastly different diets (try simultaneously feeding a vegan and paleo mate and watch the moral sparks fly)! Finding food that everyone could eat required hours of online scouring and multiple levels of cooking which took all the social fun out of the night for this cook. The entire episode left me wondering: why does eating have to be so complicated and what’s happened in the last decade or so that’s driven us to the point where our starting point with food is that everything is likely to be bad for us, possibly toxic and undoubtedly deemed "wrong"?"
Sadly the article doesn't address the question or dig into the psychology of diets

Woman Who Media Claims Created Black Hole Image Contributed 0.26% of Code - "As the mainstream media attempts to give researcher Katie Bouman credit for the first “photos” of a black hole, it appears her role may have been mostly supervisory, and that other researchers did the majority of the leg work.According to data provided publicly by GitHub, Bouman made 2,410 contributions to the over 900,000 lines of code required to create the first-of-its-kind black hole image, or 0.26 per cent. Bouman’s contributions also occurred toward the end of the work on the code.In contrast, contributor Andrew Chael wrote over 850,000 lines of code. While CNN attempted to give Bouman full credit, explaining “That’s where Bouman’s algorithm — along with several others — came in,” they slyly admitted that fellow researchers told CNN “‘(Bouman) was a major part of one of the imaging subteams,'” even after CNN incorrectly wrote on the previous line that she was on one of the “imaging teams,” not subteams... While the Western media attempted to use her gender to make a point, Asian publications, including Asahi, offered a more nuanced and truthful article, writing that “207 scientists in 17 nations and regions took part in the project,” and refusing to assign the achievement to any one of the scientists.For her part, Bouman made it clear on Facebook that she did not want sole credit for the achievement... It appears the American mainstream media lost sight of the truth in an attempt to give a female scientist undue credit for a massive achievement that should have the entire scientific community involved with the photo patting itself on the back collectively."

How Katie Bouman Accidentally Became the Face of the Black Hole Project - The New York Times - "As the first-ever picture of a black hole was unveiled this week, another image began making its way around the internet: a photo of a young scientist, clasping her hands over her face and reacting with glee to an image of an orange ring of light, circling a deep, dark abyss.It was a photo too good not to share. The scientist, Katie Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow who contributed to the project, became an instant hero for women and girls in STEM, a welcome symbol in a world hungry for representation... In their eagerness to celebrate her, however, many nonscientists on social media overstated her role in what was a group effort by hundreds of people, creating an exaggerated impression as the photo was shared and reshared. As Dr. Bouman herself was quick to point out, she was by no means solely responsible for the discovery, which was a result of a worldwide collaboration among scientists who worked together to create the image from a network of radio antennas... While she led the development of an algorithm to take a picture of a black hole, an effort that was the subject of a TED Talk she gave in 2016, her colleagues said that technique was not ultimately used to create this particular image."

Scientific Progress and the Culture Wars - "Someone promptly created a Wikipedia page for her, and it is already more extensive than the Wikipedia pages for many Caltech professors with far longer records of accomplishment. At least one politician made a point of publicly congratulating her... singling out one individual from a large team (which reportedly includes 40 other women) denies the other team members their deserved recognition, possibly arousing resentment from co-workers. Also, justifying this lopsided attention as a remedy for some sort of social ill makes it harder to highlight anyone else. Even deserved attention for someone like Andrew Chael can now be tarred as part of a backlash... A good analogy might be trying to get your laptop to communicate with a friend’s document scanner via Wi-Fi. Your friend has everything configured in a particular way, has spent a lot of time playing with security settings, and uses a different operating system than you. Can you make it work? Probably. Will it take some hard work? Quite possibly. A team like the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration has to work at least as hard on integrating many different instruments and algorithms as on developing and improving the instruments and algorithms. This makes it meaningless for an outsider to conclude which individual was or wasn’t pivotal on such a project. The greatest unsung heroes of this work are almost assuredly the people who coordinated between the many sub-teams. An additional contributor to this mess is the poor quality of science journalism... Media outlets with little understanding of how large science projects work played up an individual’s role in a team effort, and worked to fit the story into a political narrative... the furor began with activists upbraiding news outlets (by name) for not mentioning Bouman, and every second that they didn’t run a story about her was another second for the critical Tweet to get shared more widely.

The Science Of A Great Subway Map - "a map need not stay geographically faithful to be visually useful. In certain other real-world applications, this understanding might be critical; designing in-car navigation maps that take peripheral vision into account could potentially save lives... The daily map, geographically inclined just as the public wanted back in the 1970s, is a mess. The diagrammatic Vignelli weekend map, meanwhile, hardly looks like a mongrel at all–a sign of the designer’s preternatural understanding of visual processing. Intuition confirmed."
Maps that are pretty and/or geographically accurate may not be useful

Twitter CEO Dorsey unleashes ‘hate speech’ storm with sign denouncing India’s caste system - "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is facing accusations of inciting hatred and violence in India, and has upset both activists and Hindu nationalists, by holding a sign denouncing the Hindu caste system.Dorsey posed for a picture with six women in India brandishing a poster that read “Smash Brahminical patriarchy” during a visit last week to discuss the role of Twitter in the country... [Twitter's] response [apologising] was less than satisfactory for activists who questioned why Twitter wouldn’t endorse a message to denounce an oppressive system. The uploaders of the photo also accused Dorsey and Gadde of “throwing us under the bus to save your skin”, claiming the image was not, in fact, “private” but was captured by a Twitter rep and mailed to the group to share."

Research confirms 5 uncomfortable facts about young male suicide - Australian Men's Health Forum - "A total of 1,994 of the 2,209 cases were found to be “non-LGBT” suicides. Of these, 4 out of 5 suicides (80.3%) were men and boys. In addition to finding that there were four times more male suicides than female suicides, the study also confirmed the following five truths about male suicide:
1. Most male suicides are not linked to mental health issues
2. Relationship problems are the key issue
3. Most men who suicide die on the first known attempt
4. Most male suicides had no history of suicidality
5. It’s a myth that men aren’t getting help"

95pc young grads work in unskilled jobs, survey shows - "Up to 95 per cent of today’s young graduates are overqualified for their current jobs while 50 per cent work in low-skilled non-manual occupations... “Not only do the skills mismatch signify wastage of human resources but they also put into question the view often expressed in the media that youth are ‘choosy’ about jobs — they should not be considered ‘choosy’ if they are doing jobs below what they are educated or trained for... KRI said the findings underscore the deeper structural problem that beleaguers the job market today, where supply of graduates far exceeds demand, industries continue to prefer cheap labour and mismatch in skills and requirements is widespread thanks to a backward education policy that puts too much focus on paper qualifications.”
And maybe the Malaysian education system sucks and can't produced trained graduates

Good Samaritan says woman who accused him of assaulting her after fixing her car made it up - "A Good Samaritan claims his life is in tatters after a woman who he helped falsely accused him of sexual assault.Kenan Basic spent two weeks in a maximum security prison, lost his job and is now going through a divorce, after a 19-year-old woman made false accusations against him.Mr Basic stopped to help the teenager in November last year after she crashed her car and pulled into a BP in Bankstown, in Sydney's south-west.The 36-year-old married father-of-one spent almost two hours helping the woman get her car back on the road.CCTV captured the entire interaction and shows the pair chatting happily and even embracing before she drives away... after they drove off, the woman told police Mr Basic indecently assaulted and stalked her. The teenager claimed Mr Basic had allegedly propositioned her for sex in return for his help before following her and once again propositioning her... all charges against Mr Basic were dropped after the woman broke down when pressed by detectives in an interview and finally told the truth - that she'd been lying about the accusations... Mr Basic said the incident has deterred him from stopping and helping a young woman ever again"
"You have nothing to fear if you're not a creep" - Feminists

A Midsummer Night's Dream

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, A Midsummer Night's Dream

"‘Is it true that he’s writing Romeo and Juliet at the same time?’...

‘They kind of go together. You know, I think of them as companion plays or sister plays because there are lots of crossovers between the two plots’...

‘Running away to the woods, running away together’

‘Yeah, the lovers who are blocked by parental opposition. That's there in the story, not just of Hermia and Lysander, but also of Thermis [sp?] and Thisby [sp?]. So there's lots of crossover with Romeo and Juliet. The fairies as well. The Queen Mab speech in Romeo and Juliet corresponds with the fairy themes in this play.’

‘We've all got used to the idea that Shakespeare nicked, stole, took whatever he could, wherever he could’...

‘This is actually really unusual play for Shakespeare. It’s one of the very few where there's no obvious principal source, so we can think of it as springing from his imagination. At the same time, he's creating this fresh new thing from lots of pre existent materials. And the striking thing about that is how diverse they are.

It's very much a play about mixing high and low. So on the high side, we've got Ovid’s metamorphosis, the great classical epic of change and transformation, allusions to that running all the way through - Ovid is very, very present in this play. Pluto's Life of Theseus is there. There's lots of allusion to court drama, court poetry. At the same time, on the low side, we've got folklore, particularly around the fairies, particularly around Puck. We've got folk festivals like Midsummer's Eve, and Mayday. And we've also got chucked into the mix all sorts of other things like-’...

‘Theseus tries to disparage imagination, but Hippolyta talking about the strange experiences of the lovers in the wood. She says, with all our minds transfigured so together, grows to something of great constancy but howsoever strange and admirable. Now she's talking about the strange experiences of the lovers, but it could stand for our experience of the play. Something strange and admirable, something to be wondered at. And I think she has the deepest access to that profound sense of wonder which the play as a whole agenders in us.’

‘She quite often is doubled, isn't she, with Titania as well, so we get a sense of her, Hippolyta’s sympathy for ottom the actor is also linked into the love relationship between Titania and Bottom earlier on in the play, and that sometimes you get a moment of her just remembering that or glimpsing that’

‘Yeah, in production that's often inserted. And it's very fascinating to think of Titania as a kind of dream persona of Hippolyta who's working out the kind of tensions and frustrations in her forthcoming marriage… the whole of the middle act, the space in the woods is like the kind of dream space of the play where characters work out their hostilities and their desires and their frustrations and in that space Titania seems to be the kind of alter ego of Hippolyta’

‘Somebody said they thought that it was like the unconscious working there.’

‘Yeah, I think that works very well. I think we can think of the outer acts of the play, acts one and five in Athens as the rational world or the waking world of the play, and the middle acts in the wood. Demetrius says here am I and wood within this wood. Now wood is an archaic word for mad. It’s a place of madness, of what Puck calls preposterousness where everything goes crazy, so everything can get all kind of mixed up and worked out in the world like a crazy dream. And then we come back to the rational world of Athens at the end.’...

‘I think the greatest thing ever said about imagination. Not the lunatic, the lover and the poet are of imagination all compact. Not that, the next bit, a few lines down… And as imagination bodies forth, The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen, Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothings (sic), A local habitation and a name.’...

‘It's one of the most wonderful things about imagination ever written. What we have to understand is that in Shakespeare's own time, this is a deeply radical statement, because the Elizabethans actually had a very negative view of the imagination. They saw it as dark and dangerous. The Bible told them that the hearts of men are full of wicked imaginations, so the imagination is sinful. The law defined treason as the compass or imagine the death of the monarchs, so the imagination is treacherous. Medical books of the time are full of people having all sorts of dark, disturbing delusions because of disordered imagination.

So the imagination is unruly, it's dangerous, it should be governed by reason. And Theseus in the speech that you've just quoted, he's just heard about the adventures of the lovers in the wood. And he's trying to dismiss them as shaping fantasies. He's trying to dismiss the imagination. But like everything in this play, it turns preposterous, preposterous literally means back to front, and it sort of turns into the opposite of itself, becomes a celebration of the free creative powers of the artistic imagination.

Now to us that can seem quite normal and familiar. But that's because our ideas about the imagination derive from the Romantic poets, who in turn derive their great philosophy of the imagination from Shakespeare. But in Shakespeare's own time, this is very much at odds with the way that people were thinking about the imagination. It's really fresh and new’...

‘The ass that [Bottom] gets changed into has the longest and hardest phallus of any animal on earth and so therefore, Titania the gossamer like Queen being attracted by this very bestial desire-’

‘There isn’t any mention of the phallus in the text though is there?’

‘No, but the Elizabetheans would have known that that was so’...

‘[A production] might have also easily played up the sexual elements that go on with that. I mean, it's not entirely clear what Bottom and Titania get up to and of course, most modern productions and certainly productions for school children suggest that she just weaves flowers in his hair. But the play does suggest I think… when Puck tells and Oberon are discussing how they're now going to actually release her, they’ve suggested they've left her at one stage you know, with him… the suggestion is, that Bottom and Titania have gone off into a private space. And I think the Elizabethans were very, very conscious about this nature of private spaces. So earlier in the play’s, for instance, Lysander and Hermia. Hermia won't let Lysander even lie next door, because this would potentially bring her into jeopardy.’

‘Infringe her virginity’...

‘In fact, when Titania embraces Bottom, she says, so the ivy enrings the barky fingers of the elm, you know, it's very erotic imagery’...

‘Bottom, who wants to play all the parts can be anything, and he does have the most lines in the play… so you have these high status characters, like Theseus, Hippolyta, but it's actually Bottom who has the most lines in the text’"

Links - 14th June 2019 (1)

Azealia Banks brands Irish people 'inbred', 'leprechauns' and mocks the potato famine - "Azealia Banks begged Conor McGregor to 'help her' after she unleashed another vile social media rant aimed at Irish people, days after she branded them 'f***ing ugly' on Instagram... A day later she then branded Irish people 'inbred', 'leprechauns' and asked if they 'had a famine to go die in' in a series of social media comments... She then replied, pleading with the Irish MMA star to help her. She wrote: 'Conor they are bullying me. Help me :('...
"It is impossible for a Black Person to be racist. As a singular black woman from NYC, I lack the institutional leverage to economically or socially oppress people in Ireland"...
She claimed she had been 'banned' from the airline after leaving the flight, saying she had been 'treated like a wild animal' on what she called her 'travel day from hell'... Banks famously launched a foul-mouthed tirade at a flight attendant calling him a 'f***ing f***ot' when she was unable to get off a Delta plane in 2005."
Apparently there is zero power associated with being a rich celebrity

Saatchi Gallery covers up two artworks after complaints from Muslim visitors - "The Saatchi Gallery has covered two paintings after complaints from Muslim visitors that the works are “blasphemous”.The two pieces are part of a new exhibition by the artist SKU, featuring classical-style nudes overlaid with Arabic script, in a way that appears to imitate the American flag – intended to represent the conflict between the US and Islamic extremists"
So much for art

Queensland Police Service’s epic Facebook fail - "A FACEBOOK post by the Queensland Police Service criticising conservatives has been quickly removed.Police yesterday marked the beginning of Ramadan by wishing the Muslim community well on Facebook... a member of the police media unit posted: “If you ever wanted proof that Conservatives are the real ‘snowflakes’, all you have to do is read some of the comments on this post.”It has since been removed.The Queensland Police Service issued a statement on Monday night, confirming that a staff member had mistakenly shared a private comment on the Queensland Police Facebook page."
When the police become politicised...

Occupy Democrats Logic - Posts - "With regard to the idea of whether or not you have a right to healthcare, you have to realize what that implies... I’m a physician, and that means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you are going to enslave not only me but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses... There's an implied threat of force, do you have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That's ultimately what the right to free healthcare would be."
Amazing how many people actually believe this nonsense - it's not just a few cranks
Comments: "I live in the UK and no medical staff here are forced by the police to treat anyone."
"is that what we do to support someone’s right to a fair trial? Break into peoples houses to grab jurors? No, at worst we ask that they come to court on specific days at specific times to carry out civic duty.Are teachers slaves to support our right to education? Are firefighters slaves???? Police?????"
"I think they should go all in and remove government funded roads, schools, and the postal service."

Comparing VA and Non-VA Quality of Care: A Systematic Review - "The Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system aims to provide high-quality medical care to veterans in the USA... The VA often (but not always) performs better than or similarly to other systems of care with regard to the safety and effectiveness of care"
So much for the public sector/government always being worse than the private sector/private business. But then cranks will just fall back upon the slavery due to taxpayer funding 'moral' argument

David Duke Endorses Tulsi Gabbard for President in 2020 - "“Tulsi Gabbard for President,” Duke tweeted Wednesday. “Finally a candidate who will actually put America First rather than Israel First!”... Gabbard reiterated her past pseudo-defense of Syrian President Bashar Assad, an unrepentant genocidal dictator"
Of course candidates are only white supremacists when David Duke endorses them if they're Republican

Gender fluidity exists – although with animals it’s not always obvious - "I noticed that news photo of three kangaroos: a male cradling a dying female, so that she could reach out to her child. See! Some gender fluidity. Males can be sensitive and caring. Olivia and I are right. But then the “animal behaviour experts” piled in with their oppressive stereotypes, insisting that the male had killed her while attempting copulation."
Is this peak Guardian?

Instagram Influencers Are the New, More Powerful Yelp Elite - "The late Anthony Bourdain said in a 2017 interview, “There’s really no worse, or lower human being than an Elite Yelper,” declaring them “universally loathed by chefs everywhere.” For years, restaurateurs and chefs have waged war against petty reviewers who hit them with one-star reviews for offenses ranging from refusing to serve them any more alcohol to not offering takeout, and numerous internet complaints suggest that pay-for-play ploys like Cartman’s were a semi-frequent IRL occurrence at restaurants across the country... During (arguably) Yelp’s cultural peak in 2011, one study showed that independent restaurants who see a one-star bump in their Yelp rating also see a significant jump in revenue, and in 2012, a study emerged indicating that even just a half-star increase means a restaurant is much more likely to be full at peak dining hours... “Yelp is such a negative platform — it’s like Twitter, a negative, vile place where everyone argues”... According to some professionals, focusing on Instagrammers is a much better investment for restaurants. In 2016, NYC restaurant Springbone Kitchen estimated that posts by Instagram influencers were responsible for five percent of its new customers each day, on average. A recent study shows that influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online method of acquiring new customers, beating out organic search (e.g. Googling something), paid search (the ads that show up in said Google results), and email marketing (the reason you’re constantly clicking “unsubscribe” links)"

What Is "Anal Cleft"? The Bikini Baristas Suing the City of Everett Are Wondering, Too. - "Seven bikini baristas and one coffee stand operater filed a lawsuit today challenging two new Everett city ordinances that criminalize the Pacific Northwest custom of wearing a bikini while working at a commercial coffee business. Baristas who violate the ordinances face draconian madness: up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. For wearing a bikini...
The arguments for free speech are also a doozy. They are both convincing and absurd in the lengths they go to avoid saying bikini baristas are meant to serve horny people.
By wearing a bikini while serving coffee, the Baristas communicate the messages of approachability and friendliness, and those messages give customers an escape—the feeling that they are at the beach or on vacation...
Everett City Council members who sponsored the ordinances say bikini coffee stands lead to increased crime and STDs, decreased property values, and corruption of minors. Lawmakers also claim, with evidence, that some of the coffee stands act as a front for lewd conduct and prostitution"

Finding Lena Forsen, the Patron Saint of JPEGs - "Every morning, Lena Forsen wakes up beneath a brass-trimmed wooden mantel clock dedicated to “The First Lady of the Internet.”... Lena’s path to iconhood began in the pages of Playboy. In 1972, at the age of 21, she appeared as Miss November, wearing nothing but a feathered sun hat, boots, stockings, and a pink boa. (At her suggestion, the editors spelled her first name with an extra “n,” to encourage proper pronunciation. “I didn’t want to be called Leena,” she explained.)About six months later, a copy of the issue turned up at the University of Southern California’s Signal and Image Processing Institute, where Alexander Sawchuk and his team happened to be looking for a new photograph against which to test their latest compression algorithm—the math that would make unwieldy image files manageable. Lena’s glossy centerfold, with its complex mixture of colors and textures, was the perfect candidate... Suzanne Vega had no idea that her voice had been used to create the first MP3 until a dad at her child’s nursery school congratulated her on being “The Mother of the MP3.” Two decades later, the voice actor Susan Bennett received a call from a friend who wanted to know why Apple’s new voice assistant sounded so familiar; Bennett, it turned out, was Siri"

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

John Roberts Commencement Speech: Read the Transcript - "I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes... You’ve been at a school with just boys. Most of you will be going to a school with girls. I have no advice for you."

The Danish way of life: putting loved ones first - "Anyone arriving in rural Denmark after 2pm on a Saturday might be forgiven for thinking there had been some sort of nuclear apocalypse – with empty streets and shops boarded up. But far from indicating an alarming atomic incident, this is just the way locals like it. Because weekends are ‘family time’ in Denmark, with shops shut from Saturday lunchtime until Monday morning.Studies show that having a close support network we see regularly makes us far happier than retail therapy ever can (harsh, but true) and Danes spend more time with their families than most other EU nations... With a short working week and a world famous work-life balance, loved ones come first in all aspects of Danish life... There are numerous public holidays, or ‘stop what you’re doing and eat cake’ days, as they’re known in our house, where again, the emphasis in on downing tools and hanging out with family and friends. Danes without relatives nearby are often ‘adopted’ for key calendar dates (thank you, Danish neighbours…) and it’s traditional to invite someone into your home for Christmas who might otherwise be alone. Even exes are included. Denmark has one of the highest divorce rates in Europe (42.7% according to Statistics Denmark) but because splits are so common, they’re often amicable with families reuniting for bank holidays and special events. As my neighbour puts it: “I didn’t like my husband enough to stay married to him, but he’s okay for Easter.”... What helps is that Danes don’t aim for idyllic, The Waltons-style family gatherings. The nation responsible for Nordic Noir and Marius-gate doesn’t insist on happy endings – they’re realists."

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Links - 13th June 2019 (2)

Is anything creepier than a ‘male feminist’? | The Spectator - "who doesn’t recognise the legendary matriarchs who rule many Indian families? The Jewish mother who controls her husband and the children with a rod of iron has, until recently, been a classic comedy figure. Men’s terror of women has been well-documented, epitomised by those tough old boots of the North, who demanded men’s pay-packets every Friday night. (Remember Andy Capp, the poor beleaguered anti-hero of the Daily Mirror cartoon, whose wife waited at the end of each strip with a frying pan or rolling pin to give him a good hammering because he’d spent too much money at the boozer?) Not to mention Les Dawson’s ferocious mother-in-law and Giles’s Gran in the Express. There are three reasons men declare themselves feminists. Firstly, they’re frightened... There’s another category of men who simply hate themselves. Little do they know how unattractive this is to women as they announce, thinking they’re being honest, that they’re actually loathsome, vile human beings, horrible people who can’t help thinking about sex all the time, slimy abusive toads, worthless fantasists who, if it weren’t illegal, would, at the drop of a hat, love to be popping out from behind bushes to assault passing women. They go along with the idea that men are the oppressor class, attributing collective guilt to an entire category of human beings. And we all know where that kind of thinking leads.And finally, there are the ones who declare themselves feminists in order to establish male superiority. They know we’re weak and vulnerable, and they want to take care of us and protect — all of this with the deeply patronising assumption we need protecting."

Britain will prosper with a 'hard but smart' Brexit say top German economists - "Embracing free trade would limit the damage caused by a "no deal" Brexit, give a bounty of cheaper imports to consumers and strengthen Britain’s hand in EU negotiations, according to top German economists.Slashing all import tariffs after Brexit would cut costs for households and businesses, giving the economy a boost, the Ifo Institute said in a new report, calling this model a “hard but smart” Brexit.At the same time it would rebalance the power around the negotiating table, which is currently based on a "no deal" Brexit harming the UK because it would involve Britain imposing WTO taxes on its own consumers.The EU has used this imbalance to its advantage. However, Britain is free to scrap these taxes across the board, freeing itself from this damaging trap, the Ifo said... Ifo economists estimate their "hard-but-smart" deal would mean Brexit costing about 0.5pc of GDP for the EU and for the UK, with a similar cost on the German economy.Meanwhile, Ireland would be hit far harder with a loss of more than 5pc of GDP - 10 times the hit to the UK - because it would have to impose a hard EU border on its imports from Britain, even as the UK trades more openly with the rest of the world.By contrast, leaving with no deal and imposing WTO tariffs would cost Britain closer to 3pc of GDP... “There would be no supply shortages because all goods and services would simply be waved through,” said Mr Felbermayr, noting that EU rules match UK standards now and will change little in the short-term.“There would also be no traffic jams on the French side of the English Channel or in Ostend; the snakes would be on the British side, caused solely by the EU, which is barely more prepared for customs clearance than the British.”"
It's ironic how the crowd who usually rage about the neoliberal agenda, look suspiciously on economic growth and proclaim that GDP is useless as a measure of wellbeing are so fixated with the damage Brexit will supposedly inflict on the British economy

Tim Pool on Twitter - "This is why they keep calling everyone "far right"
The right barely moved and the left has gone off the rails"

The Partisan Divide on Political Values Grows Even Wider | Pew Research Center - "in 1994 there was substantially more overlap between the two partisan groups than there is today: Just 64% of Republicans were to the right of the median Democrat, while 70% of Democrats were to the left of the median Republican. Put differently, in 1994 23% of Republicans were more liberal than the median Democrat; while 17% of Democrats were more conservative than the median Republican. Today, those numbers are just 1% and 3%, respectively."
Source of chart Tim Pool highlights
Interestingly from 1994 to 2004 the median Democrat and Republican didn't change that much. The extremism of Democrats in 2017 is really shocking
Interestingly there're consistently more liberal Republicans than conservative Democrats

The Lifespan of a Thought Experiment: Do We Still Need the Trolley Problem?

Hajnal line - Wikipedia - "The Hajnal line is a border that links Saint Petersburg, Russia and Trieste, Italy. In 1965, John Hajnal discovered it divides Europe into two areas characterized by different levels of nuptiality. To the west of the line, marriage rates and thus fertility were comparatively low and a significant minority of women married late or remained single; to the east of the line and in the Mediterranean and select pockets of Northwestern Europe, early marriage was the norm and high fertility was countered by high mortality."

Between the Lines - "What if the free and abundant parking drivers crave is about the worst thing for the life of cities?... For businessmen and courts around the country, the invention of the parking meter was on par with shooting at a judge. In Alabama in 1937, the state supreme court declared Birmingham’s parking meters unconstitutional and ordered them removed. In Los Angeles the Times editorial staff went full steam. Three city attempts to install meters during the 1940s were beat back by stories that described parking meters as “illegal,” “immoral,” and “a perversion.” Nonetheless, in 1949 in North Hollywood the first 400 meters were installed on Lankershim and Magnolia... The problem, according to Shoupistas, is that meters are priced equally. “Imagine what would happen at Dodger Stadium if every seat cost the same and went on sale game day,” says Dan Mitchell, an engineer at DOT. “Everyone would run for that seat behind home plate—it would be insanity. But that’s what we have now with parking—equal pricing.” This spring the DOT plans to introduce an $18.5 million smart wireless meter system... Should a block remain empty, its meters will drop their hourly rates over the course of a month. Nobody, of course, really knows what will happen once L.A.’s system powers up. After Seattle conducted its own study on performance-based parking, engineers noticed an oddity: When prices dropped on certain blocks, drivers actually parked less. No one can explain this... "county workers were offered free parking downtown when federal workers had to pay. ” Link’s student employees proposed a study. “They found that 72 percent of county workers drove to work alone,” says Shoup, “but 60 percent of federal employees carpooled, took public transportation, or even walked. These were workers in the same professions, driving to the same location.” When forced to pay a practical value for their parking, drivers were twice as likely to carpool—traffic congestion was halved, carbon emissions were halved. “The more I thought of that,” says Shoup, “the more I thought there was a perfect storm here. No one can tell you why parking prices are set as they are. But when people pay comparatively little for something that’s expensive to produce, the result is collective irrational behavior.”... Shoup is not opposed to all parking lots; he’s against cities requiring parking lots. “Would you require every home to come with a pool or every office to include a dining room because someone might want it?” asks Shoup. “Why not let developers build parking where the market demands it and charge its true value?”"

Snopes Introduces New 'Factually Inaccurate But Morally Right' Fact Check Result | The Babylon Bee - "Popular fact-checking site Snopes.com confirmed Wednesday they are debuting a new "Factually inaccurate but morally right" fact check result for claims they don't want to debunk because they coincide with Snopes editors' worldview... "We were often running into situations were a truth claim was absolutely absurd, but it supported progressive causes," said one Snopes editor. "So sometimes we just called it a 'Mixture,' but then people might get the idea that our favorite politicians are being slightly dishonest sometimes.""

Hadi: Muslims who view Islam as non-political matter are deviants - "PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang today chastised Muslims who view faith as a private non-political matter as deviants, declaring the aim for Islamic political power as integral of the faith... “There cannot be an exercise of Islam that is incomplete or imperfect; the religion is all-encompassing”... “One of Islam's key teachings is do no evil, prevent evil. Establishing (Islamic) political rule is the ultimate manifestation of this teaching. “If it's not political it's not Islam”"

Single? Female? Over 30? Chinese companies bring in ‘dating leave’ for Lunar New Year - "Two companies behind a Song dynasty-themed tourist attraction in eastern China are giving their thirty-something single women employees extra time off during the Lunar New Year to “go home and date”.

Food products containing alcohol exempted from liquor control laws following review: MHA - "From Friday (Jan 18) onwards, food products containing alcohol can be sold and consumed in public places after 10.30pm."
So much for getting drunk on rum and raisin ice cream
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