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Friday, August 16, 2019

Links - 16th August 2019 (2)

Smartphones aren’t making millennials grow horns. Here’s how to spot a bad study - "This story became popular in part due to the nature of the modern media landscape, specifically how news organizations re-report stories, and how quickly stories steeped in moral panic are shared on social media. And recent research tells us that it is difficult, if not impossible, to correct a viral story once it has invaded the zeitgeist.

Jihadism has been an abject failure, but what does Western success look like? - "We now appear to be stuck in a holding pattern: jihadists cannot defeat us, but they will not give up; we can mitigate the jihadist threat, but we cannot eradicate it. It is a story of jihadist failure offset by mixed Western success.The truth is that we have probably reached the maximum point of threat-mitigation. Any improvements from here are likely to be at the margins, or adjustments to meet jihadist innovation... The appropriate analogy here is crime. No government pretends to be able to eradicate crime and no citizen expects it to. Success in the fight against crime is judged by the extent to which its harms are minimised, the operations of criminals constrained, and dangerous offenders removed from the community"

Manfred Man - My reply to this Canadian who wants to teach... - "My reply to this Canadian who wants to teach Singaporean how to be grateful.
Dear Mr Eric Brooks,
The reason why Singapore is what it is today, is because Singaporeans are always complaining and always pushing the govt to keep improving.... Afterall, they are the highest paid govt in the world, hence... when you have to pay such salaries to these people, it is natural that we demand them to live up to their worth..... you probably didn't feel the pain of many Singaporeans because you were privileged to be on the receiving end of the rope enjoying and reaping the benefits contributed by those on the other end of the rope that are exploited with suppressed wages while businesses (and you) profiting and benefiting from it....
Yes, high wages push up cost of things in Canada.... but they also enable people to earn a decent wage.... When you pay $40 a month for clearing of rubbish in Singapore, you enjoy the benefits of it.... but at whose expense? Let me tell you, it is at the expense of those lowly paid hardworking blokes that work like slaves.... If you are happy with that, it just shows what kind of man you are.... you are grateful for the benefits that you enjoy that was provided by the same people that you are now calling them "ungrateful".... the same people that you didn't think deserved a decent wage.... the same people that you think that it is ok to exploit so that YOU can get your rubbish cleared for $40 a month....
And that's probably why you came to Singapore... to seek a "better" life.... I went to Canada for the very same reason too.... to seek a better life... The only difference is, you came to seek a better life by exploiting on those that are less privileged.... while I sought a better life in Canada by bringing my business there that adds value and contribute to their economy so that those less privileged can earn a decent wage.... I don't complain about the high cost because I know it goes towards someone's decent wage.... I don't complain paying high taxes because I know (and feel assured) that should there be a day where I become incapable of earning an income, there will be social safety nets that I can fall back upon....
So in your same words, Canada do care for its people..... BE GRATEFUL, Eric....."

'Loco,' 'Hombres': Why Trump Uses Mock Spanish - "Trump’s use of hombres and loco illustrates what the late linguistic anthropologist Jane Hill termed “Mock Spanish,” an anglophone appropriation of Spanish words that, she argued, can serve as “a site for the indexical reproduction of racism in American English.”"
Code switching is racist!

12 NUS students would have been expelled under stiffer penalties for sexual offences - "For serious offences, offenders will get a minimum one-year suspension, which the university's Board of Discipline or Disciplinary Appeals Board cannot override or remove. In severe or aggravated cases, or multiple incidents without any mitigating factors, the offender will be immediately expelled... Examples of cases that the heads of the academic or non-academic units could handle are:
- Attempting an unwelcome kiss on a date
- Planting an unwanted kiss on the cheeks of a person
- Stroking a person's face without the person's consent
- Giving an unwanted massage on the arms of a person
- Briefly holding the waist or shoulder of a person without the person's consent
- Persistence e.g. continuing to communicate, send flowers, or to wait for another person even though the person has made clear that he/she is not interested in such advances.
- Staring inappropriately at the breasts of a person
- Making a joke about a person's private parts, sexual organs or sex life
- Using expletives such as "slut" or "whore" on a person
- Stealing undergarments
- Gesticulating body (fully clothed) in a sexually offensive way to another person.
The review committee also spelt out the types of sexual misconduct which it considers "severe" or "aggravated", and should lead to mandatory expulsion, even if it is a single incident or there are compelling mitigating factors such as being truthful during investigations. This includes touching a victim's private parts or sexual organs, perpetrating a significant number of sexual misconduct incidents or if there is an extensive duration of the misconduct. Other acts in this category are abusing authority, deliberately incapacitating a person in order to commit the sexual misconduct, possessing child pornography, affecting a significant number of people, and causing substantial harm, damage or trauma to the victim...
For serious cases which are single incidents, a suspension of at least one year will be meted out. The committee recommended that a two-year suspension or expulsion should be given if these offences happen more than once.
Offences in this category include:...
- Unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favours, sexually explicit remarks, offensive body language or gestures and other forms of sexual harassment"
In some ways, this is more extreme than the travesties that have happened/are happening in US college campuses thanks to Obama. Looks like gender segregation is going to come into effect in NUS
Removing discretion in response to public pressure is a good recipe for outrageous verdicts
Presumably "abusing authority" means the chairman of an ECA cannot enter a relationship with his vice-chair.
It seems if I make pelvic thrusts often or many people see me, I can be expelled. If I make them once and one person sees me, I can be suspended for a year

Corey A. DeAngelis on Twitter - Bernie Sanders: "The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I'm glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers."
"When you don't understand the difference between revenue & profit"

I’ll Have to Call My Lawyer - The New York Times - "“Good Samaritan” laws give legal protection to bystanders who courageously come to the aid of people in emergencies. Last month, the California Supreme Court gave its state law a disturbingly narrow interpretation that could discourage future good Samaritans from providing help out of fear of being sued.The ruling came after the victim of a car crash sued her would-be rescuer for negligence. On Halloween night in 2004 the car in which Alexandra Van Horn was riding crashed into a light pole. When her co-worker, Lisa Torti, who was in another car, saw the accident, she rushed over to help. Worried that the wrecked car would catch fire or blow up, Ms. Torti lifted Ms. Van Horn out of the front passenger seat. Ms. Van Horn, who ended up being paralyzed, sued, contending that Ms. Torti’s negligence in moving her caused her paralysis.In her defense, Ms. Torti invoked California’s good Samaritan law. All 50 states have laws of this kind, but the protection they offer varies. By a 4-to-3 vote, the California Supreme Court ruled that the state’s law did not give Ms. Torti immunity from liability because it applies only to people who offer medical help."
No good deed goes unpunished
Looks like this got amended later to include nonmedical help

Fake News: BBC Describes Refugee Terror Bomber from Iraq as 'Surrey Teenager' – Again - "The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been caught describing Iraqi refugee and convicted terrorist Ahmed Hassan as a “Surrey teenager” for a second time"

Poll: Trump Better for Black Americans Than Obama - "According to the national telephone survey, 55 percent think “life for young black Americans has gotten better since Trump’s election” or stayed about the same (33 percent and 22 percent respectively) while 36 percent think it’s gotten worse. In July 2016, only 13 percent said that “life for young black Americans had gotten better since the election of the nation’s first black president.”... Even though black Americans have better opportunities under Trump, voters still think the government should be doing more, and believe that the sour relationship between Trump and members of the Congressional Black Caucus doesn’t help—though it’s hard to say what the left-wing Congressional Black Caucus has actually done for black America. Years of race-baiting and playing the race card against Republicans to reinforce loyalty to the Democratic Party hasn’t had a positive impact"

Vernon Chan - Sounds fair since historically the Democrats were... - "Burgess Owens on Reparations: 'How About the Democratic Party Pay for All the Misery It Brought to My Race?'"
"Sounds fair since historically the Democrats were the slavery party, and modern SJW theory says historical sins are a permanent stain that cannot be forgiven or atoned"

Anti Social Justice Warriors - Posts - "Ordering a happy meal and the cashier asked 'for a boy or girl?' And then I explained for 30 minutes how damaging it is to enforce the gender binary. I am disgusted
"Now I see why Mcdonalds employees want 15 an hour"

Paris: metro tickets & gum tree tributes | The Lady Travels - "Some argue that the metro tickets left on Jean Paul Sartre’s grave symbolise communist struggles for freedom. Jean Paul Sartre was never afraid to show his communist sympathies throughout his life and writing, and was famously compared to fellow french philosopher Voltaire when pardoned by President Charles de Gaulle after being arrested for civil disobedience in 1968. “You don’t arrest Voltaire,” said de Gaulle in explanation for the pardon. France has always regarded Voltaire as a great French libertarian renaming Boulevard du Prince-Eugène after him in 1870 because it was the location of endless struggles for freedom and liberty. To this day, protests and demonstrations significantly take place along Boulevard Voltaire, and violence has often flared up along it. In 1962, nine people were killed by police outside the Charonne metro station located along the boulevard during communist protests against the Algerian war raging at the time. It is therefore believed the metro tickets represent the deaths of those individuals, their struggle and the location of their death, connecting Jean Paul Sartre with Voltaire: the location for freedom fighting and Voltaire: the freedom fighter.

Or it could just be that the metro tickets are left by fans who misunderstood it to be some sort of tradition practiced at all French luminaries’ graves having past Serge Gainsbourg’s head stone beforehand to reach Jean Paul Sartre’s."

How much sugar is there in my salt?

I was looking at the ingredients list of some salt I bought and was amused to see that there was some sugar inside.

Now, there are people who are so strict about eliminating sugar from their diet that even if a product contains 0.0001% sugar, it is unacceptable.

Of course, even natural foods like lemons and cucumbers contain some naturally occurring sugars at higher concentrations than 0.0001% (2.5% and 1.7% respectively) so you can't cut out sugar out from your diet completely (without it becoming very boring - even butter has trace amounts of sugar, for example).

But anyway, out of curiosity I decided to try to estimate how much salt there was in my sugar.

My first step was the nutritional information - 0g carbs per 1.5g. We know that under FDA regulations, if a food has under 0.5g of carbohydrates, the nutritional information may advertise it as having 0g of carbohydrates. So we know that my salt at most has 0.4999g of sugar per 1.5g.

Next, I went to the ingredients list. Ingredients must be listed in order of proportion - i.e. there's more of the first ingredient in the list than the second, more of the second than the third and so on. We can see that sugar is the third item on the list, so we know there is under a third of sugar in my salt at most.

However, we can see that the second ingredient is calcium silicate (an anti caking agent). My salt cannot be a third calcium silicate, or it wouldn't taste like salt.

I went to look up how much calcium silicate salt typically has. Under FDA regulations, salt can contain up to 2% calcium silicate. So we know there is at most 2% sugar in my salt.

If this is still too much sugar for you, you can always buy a different brand of salt (my concerns about this salt are about ease of pouring, but that's another story for another time).

Links - 16th August 2019 (1)

California Interest Groups Decide Hydroelectric Power Doesn't Count as Renewable Energy - "these interest groups have decided that the way to meet the renewable energy goal is to have more solar and wind power even if hydroelectric power is cheaper. They are set on their solution. Notice that that means that they don’t really want renewable energy. They want solar and wind"
Environmentalism: where means become ends

The Brain Needs Animal Fat - "although DHA does exist in algae, algae are not plants, and we don't know if we can access the DHA within edible algae without special extraction methods. Prior to the availability of algae-derived supplements (which only became available recently), the only pre-formed DHA naturally bioavailable to everyone would have come from animal foods"

Busy Boyfriend Makes Chatbot To Reply His GF; She Ends Up Sending It 300 Texts A Day - "Luckily for Mr Li Kaixiang, he works as a software engineer. He hatched a brilliant plan to keep his girlfriend company while he’s busy at work.According to Abacus News on Tuesday (11 Jun), Mr Li secretly created a chatbot to send ‘his’ girlfriend messages throughout the day."

Anne Lister, the Real 'Gentleman Jack' | History Extra Podcast - History Extra - "[On her diaries] Anne Lister had almost seduced every woman of her acquaintance, and written in lust and pleasure about that. No guilt, no lesbian self hatred, no desperation, but having fun. And so the friend Arthur Burrell advised John Lister to burn these diaries immediately. But John Lister did not. I have the feeling that these diaries are bigger than we are, and we may not burn them. What he did, in fact, was hiding them...
There have been homosexual acts all through history. But the awareness of being different is the modern part of it. So historians tend to say this happened in the late 19th century, this awareness of homosexuals of being different, and so on. So letting your sexuality give you an identity...
She gave life to everything in the in the act of writing. Living without writing was incomplete to her. See, she's quoting her orgasms and the orgasms of her partner. She is giving credits. Was it good? Was it not so good? She gives us exactly time and place. We learn about a quickie she and Mariana needed during the day only seven minutes to close the door. to take off their clothes, have sex, put on their clothes again and open the door again. That was seven minutes... Men did not write so openly about their day to day sexual practices like Anne Lister. For sure we do have the pornographic discourse since antiquity. But pornography belongs to literature and follows the rules of narration. So confessions on a non literate level, like this of and Lister’s are extremely rare. And now it's not from a man, it's from a woman. And then from a lesbian one, that's unique."

Bad translation : SWGalaxyOfHeroes - "The german translation for Shaak Ti's first special ability is not well thought out. The "Sturmabteilung" (literally: storm detachment) was Nazi Germany's paramilitary organization."

Get Woke, Go Broke: Evergreen State College Is Down To 300 New Enrollments - "the price of going "full woke" is evident: the school is welcoming the smallest incoming freshman class on record. Only 300 students have selected Evergreen State College for their education. "This fall, we expect less than 300 freshmen to attend Evergreen, a fifty percent drop from two years ago," one Evergreen professor admitted on the site, Heterodox Academy. "It is the only four year institution in the state of Washington that has seen a decrease in applications, and is currently publicly funded for 4200 students, far greater than this year’s anticipated total attending class of 2800.""

𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐢 波 on Twitter - "don’t let this tainted ‘self love’ trend have you 50 & alone because you walked away from everything that ‘didn’t serve you’ instead of learning conflict resolution."

Effects of sexualized video games on online sexual harassment.
Oddly, the study's official abstract doesn't mention that it was women who were doing more harassing in *both* the pre- and post-treatment conditions - of both men and women, or that men were sexually harassed more than women. Doubtless, it will then be used to bash men for being creeps. Indeed I have seen popular coverage of the study gloss over the results, just lamenting about how video games make women get sexually harassed (with the unspoken implications that it's men doing the harassing and that men don't get harassed)
The authors posit that the moral panic about men sexually harassing women could have led to these results - women don't see what they do as sexual harassment, and men aren't seen as objects of sexual harassment. Which shows the obvious harms of bashing men

We tried to publish a replication of a Science paper in Science. The journal refused. - "Science is supposed to be self-correcting. Ugly facts kill beautiful theories, to paraphrase the 19th-century biologist Thomas Huxley. But, as we learned recently, policies at the top scientific journals don’t make this easy.Our story starts in 2008, when a group of researchers published an article (here it is without a paywall) that found political conservatives have stronger physiological reactions to threatening images than liberals do. The article was published in Science, which is one of the most prestigious general science journals around. It’s the kind of journal that can make a career in academia... We drafted a paper that reported the failed replication studies along with a more nuanced discussion about the ways in which physiology might matter for politics and sent it to Science. We did not expect Science to immediately publish the paper, but because our findings cast doubt on an influential study published in its pages, we thought the editorial team would at least send it out for peer review.It did not. About a week later, we received a summary rejection with the explanation that the Science advisory board of academics and editorial team felt that since the publication of this article the field has moved on and that, while they concluded that we had offered a conclusive replication of the original study, it would be better suited for a less visible subfield journal. We wrote back asking them to consider at least sending our work out for review. (They could still reject it if the reviewers found fatal flaws in our replications.) We argued that the original article continues to be highly influential and is often featured in popular science pieces in the lay media (for instance, here, here, here, and here), where the research is translated into a claim that physiology allows one to predict liberals and conservatives with a high degree of accuracy. We believe that Science has a responsibility to set the record straight in the same way that a newspaper does when it publishes something that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. We were rebuffed without a reason and with a vague suggestion that the journal’s policy on handling replications might change at some point in the future. We believe that it is bad policy for journals like Science to publish big, bold ideas and then leave it to subfield journals to publish replications showing that those ideas aren’t so accurate after all... Open and transparent science can only happen when journals are willing to publish results that contradict previous findings"

Cameroon players 'crying and accusing FIFA of racism' after goal awarded by VAR in World Cup clash - "Cameroon manager Alan Djeumfa insisted every decision against his side had been wrong and defended his players, who claimed they were the victim of racism.'It was a miscarriage of justice. Why should I talk about anything other than that,' said Djeumfa.The 46-year-old refused to elaborate on what the injustices were, given that each of the VAR decisions had seemed accurate.He hinted that the sense of victimhood had been kindled by the VAR decision which saw fellow African nation Nigeria defeated by France last week."
If you incentivise something, you get more of it

Neighborhoods to Avoid When Visiting Minneapolis - "With a violent crime rate of 1,063 reported incidents for every 100,000 residents, nearly three times the corresponding national rate, Minneapolis is one of the most dangerous cities in the country"

Back in Omar's district, police deal with gangs, relations with tight-lipped Somali community - "In the dead of the cold, late night on Tuesday, a young Somali man was shot in the hip. Someone took him to the local trauma center, left him there, and drove off.The man told police at his bedside that he didn’t know who shot him, who took him to the hospital, or why he was targeted. “I’m intoxicated,” he told cops, while doctors tended his wound, before insisting he didn't know anything else about what happened.For the attending police officers, it was a frustrating, albeit familiar, response from a member of the Somali community, whose support in November sent one of their own, Rep. Ilhan Omar, to Congress. While Omar has spoken out frequently and forcefully on a range of issues - some that seem little connected to her district - most members of the Somali community she represents remain far more insular... According to data compiled last year by the Washington Post, more than half of all homicides statewide in Minnesota go unsolved. And that's in part because Somali-Americans in Minneapolis aren't talking enough to police, according to officers. The Somali community grew here rapidly here during the 1990s, when large numbers of Somalis fled a devastating civil war.. Omar, meanwhile, has consistently used her platform to take aim at law enforcement... For some officers, that kind of pushback from the top does more to divide than unite"

East African community reeling from weekend shootings demands solutions - "After the latest spasm of gang violence, Minneapolis’ Somali residents and business owners on Monday stepped up their calls for help from City Hall and police headquarters to help curb the senseless shootings that they say too often go overlooked... Abdi Ali sat drinking tea with friends in a coffee shop, tucked among the colorful stalls of spices and textiles and housewares. The others nodded in agreement as he questioned how seemingly so many acts of violence involving victims of east African descent go unsolved.“We’ve been here 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Ali, who owns a textile stall. “A lot of people are not coming to this area anymore.”"

Minneapolis' 'Little Mogadishu' Sees 56 Percent Increase in Violent Crimes Caused by Somali Gangs - "Violent crimes increased by more than 50 percent in 2018 in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, nicknamed “little Mogadishu,” which authorities attribute to Somali gang activity in the area... In 2008, the Minneapolis Police Department created a Somali liaison position to focus solely on addressing the issue. The department currently has 5 Somali-speaking officers to assist in outreach to the immigrant community. According an MPR report from the time, officers began to notice that Somali gangs were dividing themselves along the same clan lines of their war-torn country."

Anarchist group at UT Austin threatens to dox incoming freshmen if they join conservative campus clubs - "the network released extensive personal information of pro-Brett Kavanaugh demonstrators at UT Austin, including their names, photos and contact information. It went so far as to post some of the phone numbers of the employers of students and encouraged its adherents to call them to get them fired.Composed mostly of students at UT Austin, the group also actively encourages the harassment of conservative students, having praised the destruction of signs and tactics of physical intimidation during the pro-Kavanaugh demonstrations."

She Accused Them Of Rape. Every Witness Present Said No Sexual Contact Occurred. They Were Both Expelled. - "In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a judge in Tennessee has ruled that even a private college must provide basic due process rights to students accused of sexual assault... One witness, J.H., told campus investigators that he was with J.S. the entire time and would have seen if something happened, but he didn’t.C.S. didn't even identify J.S. (who has brought this particular lawsuit against the university) during interviews with campus investigators. She was not the one who reported the incident to the school. Rhodes opened the investigation on its own."

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Links - 13th August 2019 (2)

The Real Problem With Fake News - "Today, according to a new Pew Research Center study, Americans rate it as a larger problem than racism, climate change, or terrorism... One of the biggest risks often imputed to the current media environment, in which audiences can pick and choose news outlets that agree with them, is that people will become more and more siloed, cutting themselves off from information that they don’t like or that contradicts their prior assumptions.The Pew study suggests that fake-news panic, rather than driving people to abandon ideological outlets and the fringe, may actually be accelerating the process of polarization: It’s driving consumers to drop some outlets, to simply consume less information overall, and even to cut out social relationships."
If everyone who disagrees with you is a Russian bot and anything from a website you dislike can be dismissed because the website is 'biased'...

Why Fears of Fake News Are Overhyped - "many of the initial conclusions that observers reached about the scope of fake news consumption, and its effects on our politics, were exaggerated or incorrect. Relatively few people consumed this form of content directly during the 2016 campaign, and even fewer did so before the 2018 election. Fake news consumption is concentrated among a narrow subset of Americans with the most conservative news diets. And, most notably, no credible evidence exists that exposure to fake news changed the outcome of the 2016 election. The fake news panic echoes fears that prior forms of communication would brainwash the public. Just as exaggerated accounts of hysteria over Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast took advantage of doubts about radio, claims about the reach and influence of fake news express people’s broader concerns about social media and the internet... Consistent with behavioral evidence showing that online echo chambers are relatively rare, fake news consumption was concentrated among the 10 percent of Americans with the most conservative news diets, who were responsible for approximately six in 10 visits to fake news websites during this period. Even in that group, however, fake news made up less than 8 percent of their total news diet. Finally, people ages 60 and over consumed more fake news than other cohorts, which may reflect a lack of digital literacy or simply having more time to read news."

Testosterone and Civilization - Posts - "describe the American left in one image"
"tall blonde communist. won't date a man who makes less than 6 figures"

Brooklyn threesome killer sobs behind bars over girlfriend’s deceit: ‘I threw my life away for a f---ing lie’ - "He raced to his lover's defense, killing a man he thought raped his girlfriend in a three-way tryst — and now he sits in jail fearing she set him up.A disheveled Christopher Membreno was stunned on Saturday to learn that police believe the ménage à trois in Brooklyn involving his girlfriend and two men was consensual."I threw my life away for a f---ing lie? My life is over because of a f---ing lie?"... "She has not been charged at this point with anything," said a high-ranking police source, who noted that charges may never come. "Lying to your boyfriend is not the same as, say, lying to the police.""
Amazingly in response some people still say rapists deserve to die

Woman reveals the shocking 'toxic femininity' she's experienced at work - "Imagine turning up to work every day knowing the person sitting opposite you is doing everything in their power to push you out of your job.That was the shocking reality for Naomi Joy, a 30-year-old former PR director from London, who witnessed and experienced 'toxic femininity' throughout her career.She reveals one female colleague in her thirties once declared everyone in the office 'hated her', while another tricked her into making a mistake so that she would be favourite for a promotion... she conducted a survey of 1,000 employed British women and found more than half claimed to have been sabotaged at work by another member of the so-called sisterhood, while more than a third (37 per cent) said they'd actually felt scared or threatened by a female colleague. .. while men are buoyed by competition, women report negative emotions - but only when competing with other females... Evelyn Cotter, a career coach who founded SEVEN Career Coaching, told me that female clients routinely claim they have been undermined by other women."
Women need to do better!
Of course one of the interviewees found a way to blame this on men

Gender differences in response to competition with same-gender coworkers: A relational perspective. - "We take a relational perspective to explain how women and men may differently experience competition with their same-gender coworkers. According to gender socialization research, the female peer culture values harmony and the appearance of equality, whereas hierarchical ranking is integral to the male peer culture. As competition dispenses with equality and creates a ranking hierarchy, we propose that competition is at odds with the norms of female (but not male) peer relationships. On this basis, we predicted and found in 1 correlational study and 3 experiments that women regard competition with their same-gender coworkers as less desirable than men do, and that their relationships with each other suffer in the presence of competition. We discuss the implications of these findings for women’s career progression"

The Economists Who Studied All-You-Can-Eat Buffets - "New research shows that paying that much for a buffet might actually make the food taste better... Those who paid $8 rated the pizza 11 percent tastier than those who paid $4. Moreover, the latter group suffered from greater diminishing returns—each additional slice of pizza tasted worse than that of the $8 group... “We specifically refer to our ‘all-you-care-to-eat’ items in this way because we do not want to encourage our guests to intentionally overeat,” says Kerry Kramp, chief executive of Sizzler. “Sometimes guests misperceive these types of promotions and they take it as a challenge to potentially overconsume. That is not what we hope for and the majority of our guests greatly appreciate the flexibility to have a little more of their favorite menu items. We never create ‘consumption challenges’ and that is why we basically refer to these as ‘all you care to eat’ versus ‘all you can eat.’ People can eat a lot of food if they are not feeling like there is a value to the actual item.”... As far as dealing with those customers trying to “beat the buffet,” the maxim is this: It’s all about the average... The other key metric in buffet economics is managing waste"

Why spoilers are ruining storytelling - To the victor belong the spoilers - "Shocking plots are what get people talking, tweeting and tuning in. In television, they help to guarantee huge ratings on the day of broadcast. The hubbub encourages fans to book their cinema tickets in advance. The Russo brothers begging viewers not to ruin the Avengers films probably helped them to secure the biggest opening weekend in film history. See it now, that seemed to say, or have someone else spoil it for you. This attitude stifles proper discussion of stories by critics as much as viewers, and it inflicts damage on storytelling as a craft. By promoting one technique, the twist, and one effect, surprise, stories get bent out of shape. They try too hard to counter expectation and resist predictability. “The Lord of the Rings” is totally predictable from beginning to end, but the series does not suffer for it. William Shakespeare gave away the end of his tragedies by billing them as such and no one seemed to mind (“Romeo and Juliet” even told the audience the story in a prologue). “Columbo”, a classic crime serial, reveals who commited the murder at the beginning of each episode and succeeded in making the investigation thrilling to watch. Stories that promote surprise over character end up as mere soap opera, a series of sensational shocks. That corrodes credibility"

Rep. Omar filed joint tax returns before she married husband - "U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar misused campaign funds in violation of state rules. They also revealed that she had filed joint tax returns with her husband years before they were legally married and at a time when she was married to another man.The revelation put the freshman representative under more scrutiny from critics who have taken issue with her marital past... Omar has so far kept her tax returns private. While she has called for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, her campaign did not acknowledge the AP’s request to release hers. Her campaign also did not answer a question about whether there might be issues with other tax returns prior to Omar’s marriage to Hirsi in 2018."

AP: Ilhan Omar Ignores Request for Tax Returns, but Demanded Trump's - "Omar has joined Democrats in demanding that President Donald Trump release his tax returns, even claiming — oddly — that he had to do so because it was “required by law”"

Ilhan Omar Refuses to Comment on Terrorist Recruitment in Her District - "Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) declined to address a report that found the highest level of terrorist group recruitment has taken place in her congressional district.According to a Fox News report from February, “More men and boys from a Somali American community in Minneapolis have joined – or attempted to join – a foreign terrorist organization over the last 12 years than any other jurisdiction in the country.” The city of Minneapolis is located in Omar’s district."

Logic, Empathy, Honesty - Posts - "Homophobia used to mean "people who don't want gay people to have equal rights"
Now it's used to silence people saying "Let's try to keep sexuality out of schools"
Racism used to mean "people who discriminate against people over the color of their skin"
Now it's used to silence people saying "Maybe there are differences between different racial groups that affect outcomes"
Sexism used to mean "people who believe women should be controlled and subjugated",
Now it's being used to silence people who say "perhaps women don't have the same life goals as men, and choose not to earn more"
We once used powerful terms to call attention to people trying to restrict people's freedom. "

Licensed Memes - Posts - "There is now a K in LGBTQQICAPF2K+"
"How secure is your password? Fantastic, using that password makes you as secure as Fort Knox. Time to crack your password: 25 years"

Paul Embery on Twitter - "I voted Leave. Not once have I demanded Remain voters be:
-hauled through the courts
-banned from the media
-denied the vote unless they meet an intellectual requirement
I have seen all these things suggested by some on the other side of the argument.
But I'm the fascist."

Tempted to cheat on a written exam? Artificial intelligence is 90% certain to nab you - "Combining big data with artificial intelligence has allowed University of Copenhagen researchers to determine whether you wrote your assignment or whether a ghostwriter penned it for you -- with nearly 90 percent accuracy... "Our program identifies discrepancies in writing styles by comparing recently submitted writing against a student's previously submitted work. Among other variables, the program looks at: word length, sentence structure and how words are used. For instance, whether 'for example' is written as 'ex.' or 'e.g.'""

Why Asians get racially profiled

In subtle asian traits:

"Fun customs/biosecurity stories, go! Because it's never the nice white families who get 'randomly' selected for open bag screening 🤔

I'll go first: note that NZ has super strict biosecurity rules that don't allow you to bring in fresh fruit, vege, and most animal products including eggs.

So my Gran is coming to visit during mooncake season and of course she is bringing in mooncakes with egg yolks 🥚 - that's the best part! The biosecurity officer asks if her mooncakes have yolks, and she says NO. When they ask to cut into one to check, she provides one, they cut into it, no egg yolk and she's free to go - little knowing that she gave them the one she bought specially without yolk EXACTLY for that purpose! All the others have yolks. The friends she was travelling with ALL had yolk mooncakes that were confiscated, so everyone had to share hers.

As a side note, this is the same Gran who, in a later trip, pulls very illegal beef jerky out of a pocket of her handbag. She managed to sneak it in by totally forgetting it was there until she wanted a snack 😂😂😂

What have been your experiences at the border?"

My comment:

When I flew into new Zealand I got racially profiled by the Filipino customs official who asked if I had any food to declare

When I said no he asked specifically if I had barbecued pork from Singapore

Now I know why that happened!

Don't worry, I'm not triggered but the next time some Asian complains about stereotypes and starts a long rant about racism, I'll relate your grandma's story to them

Links - 13th August 2019 (1)

When you lose weight, your fat cells don't just let go of fat - "Like that grandparent, your fat cells are always trying to store stuff. Fats? Of course. Vitamins? Heck yeah. Hormones? You bet. Random pollutants and toxins? Sure. Adipose tissue will soak all that up like an oily little sponge and keep it safe until you need it again. That’s the whole point of body fat—to store energy for you. When you lose weight, your fat cells start shrinking, releasing lipids and other fats into your bloodstream. These get broken down, and eventually the smaller molecules exit via your urine or breath. But adipose cells release all the other molecules they've hoarded, too. That includes key hormones like estrogen, along with fat-soluble vitamins and any organic pollutants that found their way into your bloodstream as you gained weight."

Cuban infant mortality and longevity: health care or repression? - "The common assessment is that Cuba’s achievements in lowering infant mortality and increasing longevity are among the praiseworthy outcomes of the regime—a viewpoint reinforced by studies published in US medical journals (Campion and Morrissey 1993; Cooper and Kennelly, 2006) We argue that some of the praise is unjustified. Although Cuban health statistics appear strong, they overstate the achievements because of data manipulation. Moreover, their strength is not derived from the successful delivery of health care but rather from the particular repressive nature of the regime which comes at the expense of other populations... Physicians are given health outcome targets to meet or face penalties. This provides incentives to manipulate data. Take Cuba’s much praised infant mortality rate for example. In most countries, the ratio of the numbers of neonatal deaths and late fetal deaths stay within a certain range of each other as they have many common causes and determinants. One study found that that while the ratio of late fetal deaths to early neonatal deaths in countries with available data stood between 1.04 and 3.03 (Gonzalez, 2015)—a ratio which is representative of Latin American countries as well (Gonzalez and Gilleskie, 2017).2 Cuba, with a ratio of 6, was a clear outlier. This skewed ratio is evidence that physicians likely reclassified early neonatal deaths as late fetal deaths, thus deflating the infant mortality statistics and propping up life expectancy. Cuban doctors were re-categorizing neonatal deaths as late fetal deaths in order for doctors to meet government targets for infant mortality... physicians who worried that a mother’s behavior might lead to missing the centrally established targets will prescribe the forceful internment in a state clinic (casa de maternidad) so that they may regulate her behavior. Physicians often perform abortions without clear consent of the mother, raising serious issues of medical ethics, when ultrasound reveals fetal abnormalities because ‘otherwise it might raise the infant mortality rate’... Cuba has one of the highest abortion rates in the world... government restrictions of automobile ownership improves Cuban life expectancy by reducing accidents but also by forcing the population to increase their reliance on more physically demanding forms of transportation (e.g. cycling and walking)"

Election fraud allowed to take place in Muslim communities because of 'political correctness', report warns - "Election fraud has been allowed to take place in Muslim communities because of “political correctness”, a major report finds as it calls for unprecedented reforms to the British voting system.In a report commissioned by the Government, Sir Eric Pickles, the former Conservative Cabinet minister, today warns that the authorities are in a “state of denial” and are “turning a blind eye” to election fraud.He said that there is evidence of voter fraud “especially in communities of Pakistani and Bangladeshi background” but that the cases have been ignored because of “over-sensitivities about ethnicity and religion”.Sir Eric warns that “challenging issues” over community cohesion should never be an “excuse” for failing to “uphold the rule of law and protect British liberties”. Sir Eric’s report makes a series of recommendations to Theresa May, the Prime Minister, and calls for people to require identification when they are voting and for police cordons around polling stations to prevent intimidation.He also calls for officials at polling stations to be banned from speaking any language other than English and says that it should be made a criminal offense to attempt to influence someone to vote for a candidate because of their religion."

Meme - "Of Course This Is a Pipe. Nobody Really Thinks That Artistic Portrayals of Certain Objects Are Literally the Objects Themselves. Referring to Symbols as What They Are Understood to Represent Is Merely a Universally Employed Lingustic Convenience. Saying This Is a Portrayal of a Pipe Would Be Too Tiring. So Yes This Is a Pipe Because the Word Pipe Is Understood by Everyone to Refer to Portrayals of Pipes as Well as Actual Pipes. This Is How Language Works Stop Being Pedantic You Post-Modernist Bore"

Nico on Twitter - "Please don't police the bodies of pregnant people. To protect children against alcohol harm, take on the industry. Call for a ban on alcohol advertising. Campaign for a health tax on alcohol manufacture and distribution. Demand public parks and libraries next to bars.
Pregnant people are whole human beings, not baby incubators. Patriarchy demands that they be pure gestational vessels despite toxic environments and structural oppression, while absolving fathers of responsibility. If you want healthy babies, work for healthy societies.
If it bothers you to see a pregnant person drinking alcohol, does it bother you equally when your bros who are fathers are out drinking with you instead of being with their kids?"
"Drinking alcohol while pregnant is now a way to.... *squints* ...own the patriarchy. Yep. There’s your hot take for today, y’all."

Study of marathon runners reveals a ‘hard limit’ on human endurance - "Athletes who can run the equivalent of 117 marathons in just months might seem unstoppable. The biggest obstacle, it turns out, is their own bodies. A new study quantifies for the first time an unsurpassable “ceiling” for endurance activities such as long-distance running and biking—and it also finds that pregnancy’s metabolic toll resembles that of an ultramarathon"

SCANDAL: Bizarre royal sex toy exposed in TV documentary - "Known for his raunchy lifestyle, Bertie – also known as Dirty Bertie and Edward the Caresser – was the proud owner of this device, which allegedly allowed him to service up to two women at once, despite the restrictions of an increasingly rotund frame as he reached his older age... ‘What really perturbed me about the chair is that there was room on it for two ladies, one on the top and one underneath—but exactly how he got to the one underneath we never managed to actually work out between the whole crew."

Throwback Thursday: When the King of England had a love chair to 'pleasure two partners at once' - "Bertie seems to have had a particular taste for married women and often selected his mistresses from the wives of his intimate circle of friends, who considered it their duty to King and c*** to turn a blind eye...
Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, Pauline (1780-1825), took on so many well-endowed lovers that her doctors diagnosed her with an exhausted vagina."

41 Scandalous Facts About Edward VII, The Playboy King - "One of Edward’s favorite indulgences was to frequent the Parisian Brothel La Chabanais. He had his own room fitted with a copper bathtub decorated with half-swan-half-women, among other things. He quite enjoyed filling it with champagne and bathing in it with prostitutes. As one does."

Newspaper Article - We will maintain racial balance among S’poreans: PM Lee, TODAY, 9 February 2013, Page 4 - "The racial balance in Singapore will not change in spite of the immigration plans as set out in the White Paper on Population, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday."
Since the Chinese have the least children, this is a tacit admission that ethnic Chinese are targeted in immigration

The Encyclopedia of Mistresses/an Under-The-Covers Look at the Other Women of History's Most Influential Men: Dawn B. Sova - "This text is a record of the famous women throughout history who have been branded mistresses, many of whom used their sexual talents in the bedroom to wield heady power in the boardroom, the throne room, the battlefield and even the pulpit."

Prof. Jordan Peterson responds to CBC cultural appropriation fallout - "Journalists are already self-censoring in the toxic fallout from the CBC’s cultural appropriation controversy, University of Toronto Prof. Dr. Jordan Peterson says.Peterson, whose fight against mandatory use of genderless pronouns drew international attention, said the impact of political correctness on free speech and broader society is profound.“This is why I’ve been warning about the emergence of such ideas at the university,” Peterson told The Toronto Sun.“Anybody who thinks these ideas are going to stay in the university, believe me, they’re engaging in wishful thinking.”A number of prominent journalists have been criticized for their recent participation in a debate about cultural appropriation, whether writers using the creations of other cultures are exploring or exploiting them...
What are the implications for journalists?
“The first lesson is they’re going to be hung out to dry by their superiors … And the second is that the radical mob learned that with a relatively moderate level of effort, they can humiliate and take down even journalists that have impeccable reputations and large followings. So if the journalistic community wanted to teach their enemies the lesson they most want to be taught, they taught them that this week.”
In some cases, the journalist apologized. Why wasn’t that enough?
“You never apologize to a mob. You’re not dealing with individuals who you can reestablish a relationship with. You’re dealing with a soulless idea that has people in its possession. And it’s a shifting entity, it doesn’t even involve the same people necessarily across time although there’s often a core, and all the idea is going to do with your apology is note that you believe that the game is fair, the game that they foisted on you is fair and that you’re guilty of breaking the rules.”"

Alexandra Petri on Twitter - "what if as a nation we just did one BIG Kickstarter once a year to help everyone pay medical bills instead of 327 million individual ones"

Vietnamese Model Sparks Outrage, May Be Fined for ‘Offensive’ Dress at Cannes Film Festival - "A Vietnamese model who showed up at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in a look that left little to the imagination has received widespread condemnation in her home country.Ngoc Trinh, 29, attended the French film festival on May 19 for the premiere of “A Hidden Life,” a movie following an Austrian farmer who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II... The revealing dress has caused “public outrage” across Vietnam, according to the country’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism... Thien reportedly ordered officials to investigate the model for possible violations in Vietnam’s strict public decency laws... Many reportedly slammed Trinh’s taste as a disgrace to the country. Across message boards, users described her dress as “sexually explicit,” “weird” and “gross”"

Legal immigrant prof’s criticisms of illegal immigration result in calls for his ouster - "A legal Chinese immigrant professor from Georgia Gwinnett College is facing harsh criticism calls for his termination following “controversial” remarks he made about illegal immigration. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Fang Zhou of the college’s history department used phrases such as “ghetto thugs” and “libtards” on social media, and said he has a sign in his office which reads “Deportation of illegal immigrants.”Zhou said he “speaks truth to power” in his class and teaches about “the financial drain of illegal immigration on the economy and the high crime rates of illegal immigrants.” Upon completion of his course, Zhou said his students are “overwhelmingly against” illegal immigration... Zhou’s RateMyProfessors.com page is overwhelmingly positive, and the three negative reviews don’t mention illegal immigration nor classroom indoctrination"

Georgia professor’s immigration comments cause stir on social media - "“If you are going to to reward illegal immigrants, there will be more illegal immigrants,” he said.Zhou said he has plenty of students who disagree with his viewpoints, some have sent him hate mail. Critics, he said, must come with information to defend their position.“To make a convincing argument, please present evidence,” Zhou said"
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