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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Links - 25th January 2020 (2)

Mom's anger after first grade students are given homework assignment to 'identify a fat person' - "Laura Lee Lewis, of London, said her daughter was given a worksheet from London Elementary School with adjectives and two pictures to go with each one.This included examples of picking which drawing best pictured what a hill is, what a cow is, what a dish is and so on.The last question was to identify the word 'fat' by circling one of two drawings of a larger girl and a smaller girl... They could have used an animal. I gave an example of a cupcake. They could have even used that, a bigger cupcake or a little cupcake, and say: "Which one is fat?"' She then said she explained why the assignment was being critical, and humiliating, about weight to her daughter.'I had to explain to her that it was body-shaming'"
Apparently even the word "fat" is body shaming - even when just used as a descriptor. The lady doth protest too much, methinks
If you have to explain why it's body shaming... maybe it's not

Indonesia Wants to Make Itself a Tourist Destination for Penis Enlargement Massages - "In Indonesia, alternative medicine is the answer to nearly every sort of ailment. Broke a bone? Get it massaged. Common cold? Rub a coin against your skin until your blood vessels pop. Trouble in the bedroom? Get a penis enlargement massage!... Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto declared penis enlargement massages, known locally as Mak Erot, to be a national asset that has the potential to attract medical tourists from abroad... “We must popularise the idea of traditional medicine for tourism. We have an incredible herbal medicine industry that no one knows about outside Indonesia”... He cited Tongkat Ali (a leaf that is said to boost athletic performance), Purwaceng (a viagra-like substance), and Mak Erot (penis enlargement massage) as exploitable services.  “If we package it correctly, foreigners will be interested”"

How To Grow Kangkung, Curry Leaves & Other Balcony-Friendly Plants Yourself - "Cilantro's a great way to add a fresh flavour to your dishes, but as most grocers sell them in rather large quantities, this can sometimes lead to wastage if you don't use them quick enough while they're still fresh.To avoid wasting, why not plant your own instead? You can use the root part that's usually left over from cooking - just make sure it has about three inches of the stem intact. Place it in a jar of water, give it enough sunlight and change the water everyday."

Apple Will Keep Throttling iPhones. Here's How to Stop It | WIRED - "Last year, controversy stirred as Apple acknowledged that it had, in fact, purposefully inhibited iPhone performance when the battery neared the end of its useful life. The good news: It wasn’t just in your head! The less-good news: Apple will continue the practice with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. While reports of the throttling first surfaced last December, Apple said it had started the practice in 2016 as a way to elongate the lives of iPhones. As a lithium-ion battery degrades over time, cold weather or high current demands can lead to a device shutting down altogether. Apple pushed a software update intended to keep iPhones from sporadically turning off, by limiting how much strain they could put on the battery in the first place. In doing so, though, Apple also forgot the important step of making it extremely clear to tens of millions of iPhone owners that an invisible boot would slam on the brakes as the battery aged. It further neglected to give those iPhone owners the option to turn that throttling off, in the event that they wanted the phone that they bought to work at the speeds they expected, regardless of the tradeoffs. And it apparently hadn’t considered that the solution to an old battery might just be a new one."

Clapping banned at Oxford University to stop people being triggered - "Students at the University of Oxford have voted to ‘replace clapping’ with a silent wave because it ‘could trigger anxiety’.They are instead being told to use ‘jazz hands’, where they wave their hands in the air... It comes after the University of Manchester passed a similar motion in September last year."

A fifth of students now get extra time in exams amid calls for rise to be investigated - "Dr Tony Breslin, a former chief examiner for GCSEs and a chair of examiners for A-levels, urged Ofqual to probe why requests for extra time have soared in recent years. He said that the “significant” growth in numbers of students being granted extra time should be scrutinised to ensure that no one is “gaming” the system... Ofqual has previously said that it is “right and only fair” that the exam system allows disabled students to have “reasonable adjustments”."
Maybe a fifth of UK students are really disabled, which is why they're so sensitive

Iraqi protesters bring out lions to counter police dogs : pics

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson's Mythopoeic PARTY BOAT - "Jordan Peterson is addicted to the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and has checked into rehab"
"klonopin withdrawal is one of the worst feelings in the world, so i'm happy to hear jordan peterson is going through it. suffer bitch
hoping peterson's wife leaves him after a speedy recovery"
Public (partial) mirror
Naturally, blue check mark
The irony is this person probably goes on about how it's easy to be a "decent human being"

Unofficial Artist formally known as Diversity and Comics Yaboiposting - Posts - "Hannah Gadsby on Why Men Should Be More Ladylike"
"Being asked to be more feminine, by a woman who’s completely rejected her femininity. That’s right"

Kanye West's Trump Support Strong Despite Liberal "Bullying" - "rapper and vocal Trump supporter Kanye West accused “liberals” of trying to bully him through the expectation that his race would determine his political affiliation.“Just as a musician, African-American, guy out in Hollywood, all these different things, you know, everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me,” said West, who has been roundly criticized for his support of the president by his show business colleagues. “And then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over; I’d get kicked out of the black community because blacks — we’re supposed to have a monolithic thought, we can only, like, we can only be Democrats and all.”... “I didn’t have the confidence to take on the world and the possible backlash and it took me a year and a half to have the confidence to stand up and put on the hat no matter what the consequences were,” West explained. “And what it represented to me is not about policies — because I’m not a politician like that. But it represented overcoming fear and doing what you felt, no matter what anyone said, in saying, you can’t bully me. Liberals can’t bully me, news can’t bully me, the hip-hop community, they can’t bully me.” “Because at that point, if I’m afraid to be me, I’m no longer Ye. That’s what makes Ye”"

Fertile Women More Likely to Wear Red - "Those who were wearing red or pink were about three times more likely to be at peak fertility than those who wore other colors... Some studies have found that women report increased sexual desire around peak fertility, greater attraction to masculine features, and a tendency to wear more revealing clothing... fewer women wore red at their peak fertility in the summertime, compared with the wintertime. A possible explanation for this finding is that women may be more likely to use the "wearing red" strategy in situations when they cannot use other attention-getting strategies, such as wearing less clothing (which would be easier in the summertime)"

'Go back to California': Wave of newcomers fuels backlash in Boise - Los Angeles Times - "He blames them for pushing home prices and rents up so high that Boiseans can’t afford to live here on the meager wages most Idaho jobs pay"
Does this count as xenophobia?

The BBC is leading the charge in rewriting our culture to suit the 'woke' brigade - "Everywhere you looked this week, culture was busy trying to correct the mistakes of the past. The new Broadway production of West Side Story has cut Maria's song "I Feel Pretty": the director explains he wants a rendition fit "for the 21st century".  Because, as we know, young women of today have ceased caring about their appearance, no longer enjoy getting dressed up for a big night out and are wholly indifferent to their attractiveness to the opposite sex. If there is still such a thing as the opposite sex, that is. Last time I looked, we were up to seven genders but, hey, it's still only Wednesday! "I feel stunning and entrancing/Feel like running and dancing for joy," a giddy Maria sang on the opening night of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's musical in 1961. Her frothy, feelgood "I Feel Pretty" made the perfect counterpoint to the agonising poignancy of One Hand, One Heart. How quickly love can become loss and party frock a funeral shroud.  West Side Story was an instant classic because it set eternal truths about human nature to immortal melodies. The attitude of its latest director, Ivo van Hove, seems to be: "Nice try, guys! Now let the #MeToo generation show you how it's done. Let's start by ditching the sexist crap about girls wanting to be pretty." The same wilfully wrongheaded thinking dominates at the BBC. No period drama is safe any more from the drip-drip of politically correct views, regardless of how bizarre they appear in a historical context. We will have to wait till Sunday night to see whether the latest adaptation of HG Wells's War of the Worlds is travesty or triumph. (As is now de rigueur, it has ignored the novel, put a woman and a gay guy centre stage and pushed aside the white straight men who were so annoyingly prevalent in Victorian England.) Its predecessor in that prime slot was a virtue-signalling dud. Blessed with a lavish budget and international cast, World on Fire should have been magnificent, shining a spotlight on Poland's overlooked role in the fight against Nazi Germany. Instead, it rapidly turned into a Woke War Two drama complete with an anarchist Battle of Britain pilot declaring, "I'm not fighting for Churchill or Britain" (God forbid!) and a far-fetched mixed-race, same-sex love story. The villain of the piece was Robina Chase (brilliantly played by Lesley Manville). I mean, OK, the Nazis were bad and everything, but Mrs Chase was a Conservative of decidedly old-fashioned opinions. Oh, the horror! Her racist and sexist views were probably held by 98 per cent of the population in 1939, but the drama still had to punish her for not being feminist or socialist. The BBC blew a few million quid of the licence-payer's money pouring contempt on such stoic, patriotic people with lines like: "Make sure you do what's right, not what’s British."... Remember it was the Manchester Guardian, the BBC house journal, which ran headlines praising Stalin and demanding that Britain didn't go to war with Hitler. Goodies can be baddies, and vice-versa; any great dramatist knows that. Such complexity is no longer welcome, however. Not when the priority is protecting snowflakes... Word from the set of No Time To Die is that this will be the "most politically correct James Bond movie" yet – a contradiction in terms as any reader of Ian Fleming's borderline sado-masochistic novels could tell you, but that clearly hasn’t stopped them trying.  The original plan to have 007 played by a black actress appears to have been shelved after an outcry on social media. But Great Britain's most successful libidinous export since Lord Byron faces humiliation when the patent Bond seduction technique fails miserably. "It's very funny," a source said.  Is it? Do we really want James Bond to be a figure of fun? I don’t... What female in her right mind wants to be James Bond to score a feminist point?"

Cambridge University students cry fowl over 17th century painting that upsets vegetarians - "Some Cambridge University students might consider it a privilege to eat beneath a 17th century oil painting. But not if the students are vegetarian or vegan, and the work features animals bound for the dinner table. The Fowl Market, from the studio of the 16th century Flemish artist Frans Snyders, has been removed from the dining room of Hughes Hall following complaints that it was putting non-meat-eaters off their food."

The real reasons girls are outperforming boys at school - "Boys fall behind girls at almost every level of education, from the moment they arrive at primary school to their GCSE and A-level results.  But such is the unpopularity of the topic, even discussing it has almost become taboo. Boys are three times more likely to get expelled than their female peers and last year, 38 per cent of female school-leavers went to university compared to 28 per cent of males, a gap that has widened significantly over the last decade... “Girls work harder and they listen,” said Prof Valsa Koshy, a professor of education at Brunel University. “Girls are more self-disciplined, determined and self-controlled. They are more likely to do their homework and less likely to take risks. Whereas boys are more entrepreneurial and they take more risks.” Some say that the “feminisation” of education is to blame, with the high proportion of women teachers, particularly in primary schools, leaving boys without role models. But research shows that boys fall behind early on, often before they even start school. “People think it’s something to do with working class boys,” said Prof Gemma Moss, who is the director of University College London’s international literacy centre. “It’s not. You can find the difference with middle class children too. There is something going on with boys which means they are more likely to be struggling with their language skills by the time they are five, and this has an impact on their literacy which means they are less engaged with school.” This can be partly attributed to different parental expectations, where they spend more time signing nursery rhymes and reading with girls while boys are left to enjoy “a bit of rough and tumble”, she said.But another explanation is social. While girls are not afraid to ask for help, boys with poor language and literacy skills will try to hide it and will do “anything they can” to stop people noticing... the phenomenon is not peculiar to the UK. The same trend can be seen across the developed world and is even more pronounced in countries like Iceland, Finland and Sweden which are considered to be the most socially advanced... Part of the reason for the international nature of the trend is biological. Professor Gijsbert Stoet, a psychologist who specialises in neuroscience and educational research at Essex University, explained that boys’ and girls’ brains develop at different speeds, which includes slower language development for boys. “In cognitive psychology we talk about executive function,” he said. “Boys are playful for longer; for a longer time they are unable to plan their own educational schedule. The brain ultimately dictates the speed of development.”He described that the “lack of interest” in boys’ underperformance at school as “frustrating”, given the scale of the problem."
Feminism strikes again in making it taboo to talk about men

Morality in the 21st Century: Noreena Hertz

BBC Radio 4 - Morality in the 21st Century, Episode 3: Noreena Hertz

"‘You've been doing research on generation K. Kids born after 1995. And you found something stunning about them. That their trust in institutions has dropped from a previous generation 60% to a mere 6%. Tell us something about how generation K or iGen is thinking.’

‘So I think one of the things that we sometimes get wrong about this generation is we think of them as the selfie generation. And we take that to mean that they're selfish, but actually encouragingly, what my research has found is actually this generation cares desperately, about morals, about ethics about right and wrong. 92% of this generation, and this is from surveys that I've done in the United States and the United Kingdom, believe that helping somebody in need is the right thing to do. And 70% of this generation, worry intensely about inequality. In fact, inequality is the thing they worry about the most, as much as they worry about terrorism. So that's the encouraging’

‘So why the loss of trust?’

‘But at the same time, they're very distrustful of big business. So only 6% trust big corporations to do the right thing. That compares to 60% of our generation who trust big corporations to do the right thing. But it's not just big corporations they distrust. They also distrust in government. Only 10% trust governments to do the right thing. And that's half the percentage of millennials, the older millennials, that trust in government. So what's happened is that the social contract between this generation and big business and government has broken down. They don't believe believe that capitalism has delivered a fair outcome.’...

‘Have we yet worked out a way of defining responsibility for a global world?

‘We haven't, and even Adam Smith, I mean, alongside the Wealth of Nations, he wrote the Theory of Moral Sentiments. Even Adam Smith realized that markets wouldn't deliver necessarily moral outcomes. Even he talked about the need for a night watchman, to look over the market.’

‘Of course, he believed and that we do have a genuine feeling for other people's welfare, and that we're able to stand outside our circumstance and be an impartial observer. Trouble is of course, everyone read his Wealth of Nations and very few people read his Theory of Moral Sentiments and they forgot that he believed that markets need morals and morals aren't themselves produced by the market. Are they eroded by the market?’

‘I think of the market as amoral rather than immoral.’

‘Let me give you an example. We sort of think as a virtue, loyalty. Now the market must undermine loyalty because you will always go for the best deal, the lowest price’…

‘I think the market undermines morality in another key way too. It undervalues those in society who choose as a job to do the good thing. I'm thinking about, for example, teachers, nurses, people who care. I mean, this constituency is consistently undervalued by the market, in fact, in real terms they've teachers and nurses have, earn less today than they did a decade ago. So the market can undermine morality.’...

‘One supplier of entertainment of films and programs, was once recently asked, what is your biggest competitive, thinking they would answer in terms of other suppliers and the head of this very famous corporation said our biggest competitor is sleep. So they're actually going out of the way, their way, some of these, well known, web, corporate, international corporations to make their products addictive to young people. That's really what social networks are about, am I right?’...

‘I think what is disturbing is that the quid pro quo wasn't made explicit.’

‘So it's a bit like those complicated financial instruments. An awful lot can go wrong, before we're even aware of it.’

‘Yes. And have you ever tried to even read the terms and conditions on any of these sites? They're almost unintelligible. But what's, what's interesting is that even in the wake of the Facebook privacy scandal, at least according to Facebook, they've seen no change in users. Do people care? Do people care enough? Should people care?’

‘So could we have reached the stage in which rather than markets serving us, we are serving them? And that must be an upside down world, isn't it?’

‘Oh, yes, we're past that’...

[On companies] ‘'We insist that you behave morally towards a workforce?' Can't they just shift to somewhere else?’

‘Oh, absolutely. There's a race to the bottom and there has been a race to the bottom for decades where companies have been chasing the best tax regime, the lowest cost labor. And that looks likely to persist. I was speaking to one of the leaders, titans of Silicon Valley the other day, discussing this desire in Europe now to tax tech companies on their revenues in Europe, rather than their profits. And he was absolutely aghast and he said here the mentality is we eat what we kill. You in Europe are not innovating. You in Europe don't have big successful tech companies. So you shouldn't be taking home any tax take.’

‘So this is pretty scary. We have devolved responsibility to the market and to governments. But it turns out that the markets aren't very good in teaching any of, any of us to be responsible. And so we rely on governments. But government now are disempowered because they’re national, and the corporations are global... Hasn't the time come to bring morality back again?’

‘Of course it has. But will we as a society, reinstate morality into the market? Will we choose tolerance and pluralism and equity over narrow interest of particular groups and self interest? I’m not sure’"

Links - 25th January 2020 (1)

As School District Implements Busing Over Near-Unanimous Opposition, Chinese Immigrants See Communism - "A Howard County, Maryland, school board voted Thursday to implement a busing initiative opposed by the vast majority of the public... The vote was part of a series taken by the board that, together, resulted in the large-scale moving of children to different schools based on their parents’ income, effective in 2020.  Residents of the center-left county are in shock that the board passed a busing plan will move about 5,300 children from their neighborhood schools to balance poverty, despite almost unanimous opposition in the testimony the board heard, and the school system’s own data showing no connection between equal demographics of schools and more equal performance of demographic groups.  Sarah Bedair, a resident who testified before the board, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the board received 6,650 pieces of verbal and written testimony opposing the plan and 150 pieces of testimony in support of it. The social engineering plan micromanaged the flow of children to such an extent that in some cases, students will be moved to a new school that contains only four classmates from their old school, parents said... numerous people who grew up in the Soviet Union and in Communist China said that the busing, and the process through which it was implemented, had the hallmarks of a communist regime... Martin Dimitrov said, “I grew up in Bulgaria during the socialism and what transpired with the redistricting brings horrible flashbacks from totalitarian times. This is slippery slope, folks, be vigilant and stay engaged.”  Anton Dmitriev said, “I grew up in the Soviet Union and the ‘great fight for social justice’ is a slogan straight out of the old soviet propaganda posters. … [Vladimir] Lenin and [Joseph] Stalin used the quote ‘The End justifies the means’ all the time – if the goal is morally important enough in their view, any method of attaining it is acceptable. And there we have it — corruption, wrong data, communities broken apart. … So, as an independent voter myself, I urge this group to become an educational resource to the over 300k residents of Howard County on the dangers of blind ideology.” Jianning Zeng, who is from China, said board chair “Mavis Ellis is a dictator. For those who don’t respect people, they deserve not be respected. They should resign from their [Board of Education] BOE position. Be alert, when an elected body tells citizens that they can not even silently & politely express themselves- that the tyranny of communism.”  Niyada Hin, from Cambodia, said, “The reason I emphasized socialist ideology is, because I have lived in a regime that worshiped it. Communist, to be exact. Socialism is just a milder form of communism but is still a progressive path toward it. Nothing does more damages to a country and human lives than these ideologies when put into practice. … You would not know it until you live it. And I have lived it. … You can ask any Cambodian, they will tell you which regime(s) to avoid.”... Marybeth Steil, a county resident and lawyer, told the DCNF, “I thought I was a Democrat before the August 22 release of the plan, but this totally alienated me. Lots of my neighbors have told me the same. They awoke a bear for sure.”  County Executive Calvin Ball, a Democrat, has a “chauffeur and personal security,” while the school system is spending on more buses instead of educational programs... Steil said the county’s quest for equal results has led to it holding back high achievers. “They are not tracking kids in classrooms. They are ‘integrated’ so that kids who are above grade level have to help teach the kids who are not ahead and still in the same classroom. China is going to eat our lunch, as a nation, if we keep up this crap”... A constellation of affiliated national activist groups, many backed by George Soros and citing what an economist called “junk science,” are pushing “equity” plans nationally. Even as Howard County residents vowed to vote incumbents out of office, neighboring Montgomery County, Maryland, is embarking on similar moves."

How a cultural revolt against "political correctness" helped launch Trump into the presidency - "Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory in part reflected deep cultural opposition to Political Correctness (PC) norms. People dislike being told that they are not allowed to speak their mind, and Donald Trump represented a cultural foil to express that frustration.  New research from Lucian Gideon Conway III, which studies the 2016 election campaign, shows that a sample of moderate Americans were influenced to support Trump by a brief mention of the PC movement, even though the PC movement was framed positively and the discussion had nothing directly to do with either candidate. Taken together, these results suggest that we need to look beyond simple markers of ideology to understand the Trump phenomenon – part of his support stems from a cultural revolt against Political Correctness... often lost in all the chatter about the election is that the American people actually told us that a revolt against restrictive communication (of the kind that characterizes the PC movement) was one of the reasons they were voting for Trump.  Polls from the election cycle showed that people liked his provocative language.  Similarly, feeling voiceless better predicted Trump support than multiple other variables, some of which included age, race, and attitudes towards Muslims, undocumented immigrants, and Hispanics... some people were just generally more prone to be unhappy with communication restrictions going into the study.  And that type of person – the person who was especially annoyed with movements like Political Correctness – was also more likely to support Trump.  Importantly, this was true on both sides of the political spectrum: Even when accounting for people’s conservative or liberal ideologies, the effect of concern with communication restriction remained"

The Yaboiposting - Posts - "Say goodbye, angels. Victoria's Secret announced today that it is officially canceling its annual fashion show because it is no longer "the right fit.""
"Y’all made VS quit their fashion show just cause y’all fat af and sensitive"
"I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Feminism is a war on pretty women"
This also explains why Slutwalks are so explicit - while feminists aggro pretty women who are less tasteless in exposing themselves (e.g. Grid Girls)

How pessimism is poisoning our politics - "Once Trump was elected, the hysteria was dialled up a notch. The new President was about to replace democracy with a fascist dictatorship. The Observer ran a special edition of its New Review supplement comparing our own era to that of the 1930s, based on Trump’s apparent similarities with the Führer. Newspaper columnists encouraged readers to pick up a copy of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (which they did in droves, despite Airstrip One having little in common with 21st century America) together with books by Philip Roth and Sinclair Lewis about fascist takeovers of the government.Three years on from the election of Trump, who has been an embarrassingly incompetent President but who has not, as yet, ushered in the Fourth Reich, it is now climate change that is about to bring the curtain down on civilisation... Indeed, predictions of the imminent demise of not just capitalism, but civilisation itself, have gone mainstream. “Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era,” wrote Paul Mason in the Guardian in 2015. As in the Thirties, many in the political centre are fretting about the end of capitalism too... A further delve into some of the articles prophesising the end of capitalism reveals a circularity to much of the reasoning. If capitalism is killing the planet, then, ergo, “Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism,” as a recent headline in another opinion piece for The Guardian read. Each catastrophic event (or the potential for a catastrophic event) is conveniently marshalled as evidence for the correctness of everything one already thought about the world. Apocalyptic anti-immigration tomes are also popular... Solipsism probably plays a role in some of the recent doom-mongering. We all want to live in epochal times because we all want to feel we have a consequential historical role. Or at least the average political activist does. The Nineties cult film Fight Club captured well the mood of anomie when such historical purpose is lacking. The film’s protagonist, Tyler Durden, laments the spiritual emptiness characteristic of consumer capitalism at the supposed ‘End of History’. “We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression.” For many intellectuals, journalists and activists, locating this purpose seems to be synonymous with existential crisis. Thus when the planes crashed into the twin towers on 11 September 2001, the polemicist Christopher Hitchens wrote of a feeling of “exhilaration”. The subsequent ‘War on Terror’ invoked a renewed struggle for civilisation against barbarous Jihadists. Moreover, the defence of ‘our way of life’ functioned as a convenient rallying cry to embark on a particular course of action — in the case remodelling the Middle East — that those who evoked it were already set upon... The “culture of crisis”, as Overy put it when writing about the Twenties and Thirties, was made possible by the “freedom to express fears openly and the competition to identify its causes”. Much of this competition today manifests itself on social media where, to quote from one of my favourite books of the year, online activists “take up more radical positions to get more attention”.  Grand pronouncements about the world burning, capitalist collapse or the death of the West make others sit up and take notice... And, of course, those who make such pronouncements are usually on hand to supply the magical solutions which they claim will reverse the slide towards apocalypse. We should thus take all such doom-mongering with a pinch of salt."

Christian cafe 'warned over homophobic Bible verses' - "The owner of a Christian cafe in Blackpool was warned by police that Bible verses shown on a TV screen breached public order laws.Jamie Murray, who runs the Salt and Light cafe in Layton, said he was told there had been a complaint about "homophobic material"... two police officers visited him last week and told him Bible verses on display in his cafe breached Section Five of the Public Order Act."I was quite incredulous at the way they treated me," he said."There was very little respect and they were quite aggressive."Mr Murray stated: "I did say to the police, 'are you seriously telling me I could be arrested for playing the Bible quietly on a screen?'."I was told, 'it's offensive and homophobic material we are against'."... He said he asked the officers if he could play Bible verses which did not refer to homosexuality.He said the officers replied they would be looking at anything that people could find offensive or insulting.He added: "I was just incredulous because as we all know the list of things that we find offensive is massive and varied and we don't expect the police to get involved.""
On the "myth" of the slippery slope. So much for more rights for some doesn't mean fewer for you

Met Police payout after Southgate preacher's wrongful arrest - "A Christian street preacher who had his Bible confiscated as he was handcuffed by police has been awarded £2,500 for wrongful arrest.Footage of the arrest of Oluwole Ilesanmi pleading with police to not "take my Bible away", has been viewed online almost three million times.He was detained outside Southgate Tube station in February after a 999 call claimed he had been Islamophobic.The Met said it had a right to investigate a potential hate crime. In a video posted online, Mr Ilesanmi, 64, is seen telling police: "Jesus is on the way."An officer, who arrested him for breach of the peace, can be heard replying: "I appreciate that but nobody wants to listen to that. They want you to go away."When Mr Ilesanmi tries to keep hold of his Bible, an officer says: "You should've thought about that before being racist." Mr Ilesanmi admits describing Islam as an "aberration" but said he was expressing his point of view as a Christian rather than denigrating Muslims.On Tuesday, Mr Ilesanmi will hand a petition to the Home Office, signed by 38,000 people, asking for greater protection for street preachers."
Interestingly, the preacher is black

Right to be offended does not exist says High Court judge - "A person's right to be offended does not exist, a senior judge has said, as he hit out at police forces for recording 'hate incidents' despite a lack of evidence.Mr Justice Julian Knowles claimed officers had become too quick to deem an event as a 'hate incident' even when no crime had been committed. He made the comment as the College of Policing, which issues guidance to all police forces across the country on how to record 'hate incidents', is facing a High Court challenge over whether the rules are lawful. The body's Hate Crime Operational Guidance (HCOG), issued in 2014, states a comment reported as hateful by a victim must be recorded, 'irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element'.Mr Justice Knowles told the High Court in London: 'That doesn't make sense to me. How can it be a hate incident if there is no evidence of the hate element?' 'We live in a pluralistic society where none of us have a right to be offended by something that they hear.'Freedom-of-expression laws are not there to protect statements such as "kittens are cute"; but they are there to protect unpleasant things.'Its utility lies in exposing people to things that they do not want to hear.'"

Why you shouldn't salt a leech that's sucking your blood - "The sight of a swollen, slimy leech clamped to your skin sucking away at your blood may evoke a wave of panic and disgust. But resist the temptation to pour salt on it, as folk wisdom recommends, because that could cause the leech to vomit into the wound, posing unnecessary health risks... he recommends using a fingernail or a credit card to break the seal between the leech's mouth and your skin quickly, "so it doesn't have time to regurgitate blood." Another option is to wait until the leech is done feeding so it will fall off on its own. That takes about 30 or 45 minutes. Kvist cautions, however, that because leeches' saliva contain powerful blood thinners that can cause you to bleed slowly for longer than usual — up to 36 hours. Because leeches are slow eaters, they are pretty careful about finding a nice spot to feed where they won't be disturbed, Kvist says."It tries to nestle in maybe between toes or any kind of crevice on your body — groins or armpits and stuff like that are what they normally like."... One key feature of bloodsucking animals that can transmit diseases is that they have multiple blood meals over their lives... That includes ticks, which can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick paralysis."The good news is it takes 24 to 48 hours [of sucking on your blood] before they have the capacity to transmit a disease," Currie says. If you remove them before that, you're probably fine.That's because they're extremely slow feeders. It takes them weeks or days to complete a blood meal of up to 600 times their body mass... The other requirement for disease transmission is that the microbes that cause the disease must be able to survive local conditions. Mosquitoes can carry West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis in Canada, but are theoretically capable of carrying a wider range of diseases, such as Dengue fever. It's just that the microbes that cause those diseases can't survive our current climate... In southeast Asia, there are vampire moths that suck blood from a range of animals, including humans. While only the females are bloodsuckers among many biting flies, in moths, it's the males that are out for blood. Currie says it's thought that the males take the salt from the blood and present it to the females as a "nuptial gift" — kind of like the moth version of flowers or chocolate... There are also some species of blood-feeding birds. They include vampiric ground finches in the Galapagos that peck at other birds and drink their blood, and oxpeckers in sub-Saharan Africa that eat blood-filled ticks, lice and mites, but also slurp from wounds in the skin of animals like rhinos and wildebeests... leeches have been important in medicine - they're still used to relieve blood congestion after surgery to reattach fingers and toes, and their powerful blood thinners were key to making the first human kidney dialysis possible in 1921"

Friday, January 24, 2020

Links - 24th January 2020 (2)

The hotel I’m staying at gives you a free drink at the hotel bar of you forego a room cleaning : mildlyinteresting

timmcguiness on Twitter -  "Just in: UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ just announced her support of dropping the SAT and ACT as an admissions requirement. Says research has convinced her the tests" really contribute to the inequities" of the system."
"@TeresaWatanabe @wesyang Next - athletic scholarships will no longer be tied to athletic abilities but done on a lottery basis."
"They can follow Harvard's lead and admit students based on 'like-ability' ... where people with low SAT scores and short, grammatically-incorrect essays about 'privilege' are considered ultra-charming."
"One negative consequence is that high schools will have even more incentive to inflate grades. At least with the SAT one could observe a huge mismatch between grades and test scores and suspect that grades at one school may be generally easier than at an other more demanding one."

Test preparation and SAT scores - "When researchers have estimated the effect of commercial test preparation programs on the SAT while taking the above factors into account, the effect of commercial test preparation has appeared relatively small. A comprehensive 1999 study by Don Powers and Don Rock published in the Journal of Educational Measurement estimated a coaching effect on the math section somewhere between 13 and 18 points, and an effect on the verbal section between 6 and 12 points. Powers and Rock concluded that the combined effect of coaching on the SAT I is between 21 and 34 points. Similarly, extensive metanalyses conducted by Betsy Jane Becker in 1990 and by Nan Laird in 1983 found that the typical effect of commercial preparatory courses on the SAT was in the range of 9-25 points on the verbal section, and 15-25 points on the math section. One of the most remarkable aspects of this line of research has been the lack of impact it has had on the public consciousness"
In other words, "there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that coaching can reliably provide more than a modest boost — especially once simple practice effects and other expected improvements from retaking a test are accounted for"
This doesn't stop liberals from claiming standardised tests are racist because they discriminate against poor kids who don't have the money for test prep

No one likes the SAT. It’s still the fairest thing about admissions. - The Washington Post - "It’s true that any system can be gamed if you’re willing to cheat, and students from wealthier backgrounds do have some advantages over others. But eliminating or watering down the SAT wouldn’t solve this problem; in fact, it would make it worse — by removing the one relatively objective admissions criterion that can both prevent fraud and increase social mobility by helping all high school students find the best college opportunities they can.Higher test scores definitely help students get into higher-ranked institutions. We published an article last year in the Journal of Intelligence showing that simply listing U.S. colleges and universities by their average SAT and ACT scores essentially reproduces the influential rankings produced by U.S. News and other organizations, despite the fact that many of these rankings place little emphasis on test scores... It has become a mantra in some quarters to assert that standardized tests measure wealth more than intellectual ability or academic potential, but this is not actually the case. These tests clearly assess verbal and mathematical skills, which a century of psychological science shows are not mere reflections of upbringing. Research has consistently found that ability tests like the SAT and the ACT are strongly predictive of success in college and beyond, even after accounting for a student’s socioeconomic status. Parents in the top 1 percent of income are quite likely to be above average in intelligence, conscientiousness, self-control and other traits that can set the stage for success. But they also probably experienced a large dose of luck — favorable circumstances, coincidences, right-place-right-time accidents — and their children won’t necessarily have the same kind of luck. In fact, their children’s test scores tend to mark them for lower-ranked, maybe even much lower-ranked, colleges than their parents might expect based on their own economic achievements... The children swept up in the admissions scandal exemplify this: If the SAT were nothing but a wealth test, then Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli and other super-rich parents would not have had to cheat to get their kids into the latter two schools. In reality, they had to fake intellectual ability — the one thing they could not buy. A worried one-percenter who didn’t want to resort to crime might instead campaign to remove standardized tests from the admissions process. This would increase the importance of extracurricular activities, interviews and athletics, and wealth provides many more options for gaming these squishy metrics. Even high school grades, touted as an objective substitute for tests, may not be immune from the influences of wealth: A recent study by the economist Seth Gershenson found that GPAs were inflated more from 2005 to 2016 in the richest parts of North Carolina than in the rest of the state, echoing previous studies of other areas that used different methodologies... Advocates of eliminating them should realize that SAT scores don’t just block students from elite colleges — for every privileged student whose bad SAT score keeps them out, there is another student whose SAT helps get them in. Indeed, at one time the SAT opened doors for Jewish students who were intellectually qualified yet essentially barred from attending Harvard, Yale and Princeton. And the recent movement to make tests optional does not seem to have increased student-body diversity... we should consider a proposal by the education scholar Susan Dynarski: “SAT/ACT for all,” a universal requirement that every high school student take a standardized college admissions test, free of charge during school hours... The value of universal testing is supported by the work of economists Caroline Hoxby and Christopher Avery, who used test data to identify a “hidden supply” of high-potential students from low-income families who don’t even consider top colleges and universities where they could receive large scholarships. But if universal testing identified high-ability candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds, they could be advised on how to take advantage of financial aid programs to apply to and attend better schools than they would otherwise. Then the combination of their abilities and their top-quality college educations would make them very likely to climb the socioeconomic ladder."

The Equal Rights Amendment: Back for an Encore Performance? Well…Performance, Yes, But Actual Constitution-Making, Probably Not. - "Do left-leaning feminists really want the ERA to be ratified? Or is this just political theater? The safe bet is that, for most of these supporters, it's probably the latter.  Several years ago, in an essay entitled "The Equal Rights Amendment: Back for an Encore Performance?," I wrote that many of the same organizations that are pressing for the ERA's revival led the opposition to California's Proposition 209... These left-leaning feminist organizations opposed it with a passion. Instead, they supported preferential treatment for women, particularly affirmative action preferences in state jobs and preferences for woman-owned businesses in public contracting"

Public Housing Is Fundamentally Flawed - The Atlantic - " Advocates have not been discouraged by the fact that violence and neglect led to the demolition of previous generations of public housing. Nor by the rats, leaks, mold, and lead paint that have now brought the New York City Housing Authority, by far the nation’s largest operator of public housing, under the oversight of a federal monitor... American public housing hasn’t just been poorly executed; it’s an idea with inherent conceptual and practical flaws. Those who suffer the most are those it’s intended to help: low-income tenants... the original premise of public housing—that the private market could not serve low-income communities properly—does not hold up under scrutiny. As early as 1907, a study by the U.S. Immigration Commission found that in low-income communities, “84 in every 100 homes were in either good or fair condition … The neglected appearance of the streets is the result of the indifference on the part of public authorities.” In 1909 the President’s Homes Commission found that even the poorest households, on average, spent just 21 percent of income on rent. Housing for low-income communities consisted of small homes and buildings, close together—rowhouses in Philadelphia, three-decker homes in New England, walk-up apartments in New York. Rooming houses abounded. In the years since then, new housing of this nature has been zoned or otherwise regulated out of existence... Government can do many things well. But there is little evidence that property management is one of them... Yet even if public housing were easily built, well managed, and well maintained, it would pose a serious problem for the health of cities. Call it the frozen-city effect. In a healthy, dynamic city, neighborhoods and land use are constantly in flux amid the search for better uses of property. Poor neighborhoods can become gentrified—and affluent neighborhoods can become poor. But demolishing and redeveloping even the most troubled of the nation’s public-housing complexes took years of herculean effort by local and federal authorities. Once built, most public housing has remained frozen in amber for decades. It hardly matters if today’s low-rise apartments with parking lots could be reimagined as mixed-use, mixed-income, more walkable developments, or if they might be better suited for a new business looking to expand and provide jobs. Public-housing advocates, of course, favor the idea of “permanent affordability”—but they overlook the fact that new uses for city spaces can create jobs for low-income residents as well as wealthy ones. The notion of turnover and repurposing of city land was captured by the legendary urbanist Jane Jacobs. In her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), Jacobs made tragically clear how public housing had destroyed lively low-income communities and small businesses, spawning what she called centers of “delinquency, vandalism and general social hopelessness.” Today’s public-housing advocates also overlook Bauer’s later-in-life concerns (expressed in her 1957 essay “The Dreary Deadlock of Public Housing”) that public housing was characterized by cold design and poor management."

Lady Maga on Twitter - *Liberal Drag Queen: Monster*
*Conservative Drag Queen: Beautiful*
"Any questions?"

Lady Maga on Twitter - *Liberal Drag Queen: Posing naked with pre-pubescent girl*
*Conservative Drag Queen: Posing with "Socialism sucks" T-shirt and "Babies Lives MATTER" sign*
"Any questions?"

British robbery suspect apparently tried to use pair of glasses to trick police - "David Springthorpe, 30, was wanted for allegedly shoplifting and violating a court order when he recently came into contact with a police officer in South Normanton. A "short chase" ensued, and he was detained"

Florida man asks police to remove mugshot from Facebook after theft, only for them to replace it with booking photo - "A Florida man accused of stealing over $1,000 worth of merchandise from Walmart was arrested on Thursday in Sarasota County after asking police to remove his mugshot from the department's Facebook page... Cody Pierce wasn't happy about his mugshot being posted on the DeSoto County Facebook page after police named him a suspect in the theft, so he took to the social media platform in hopes of getting the picture removed... He added his lawyer was "hungry for a case of slander and defamation of character."The DeSoto County Sheriff's Office responded on Facebook by telling Pierce they would happily remove his current mugshot and replace it with his booking photo if he decided to swing by their office... Pierce was arrested after taking them up on their offer... "As promised, we are now replacing Cody's previous photo with his BOOKING PHOTO!""

Chinese bitter melon – why the polarising ‘gentleman’s vegetable’ is just misunderstood - "In Chinese cuisine, bitter melon is sometimes called a “gentleman’s vegetable” because it doesn’t impart its bitterness on other ingredients when cooked. You’ll often find it stir-fried with fermented black beans or gently tossed with salted duck eggs... I’ve found that blanching chopped pieces with saltwater goes a long way in mitigating the melon’s bitter taste. A liberal coat of black bean sauce at the end is the cherry on top. There’s scientific evidence supporting this cooking method. A 1997 study found that salt selectively filters out flavours, suppressing bitterness while enhancing sweetness. It’s the same reason why some people sprinkle salt on their grapefruit and swear by a pinch of salt in their morning coffee."

Trains on UK railways now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries - "a significant proportion of the UK’s railways already are under state control, with Network Rail in charge of around 75 per cent of the industry, including the tracks, thousands of stations and signalling operations... almost all of these operators are (at least partly) state-owned already – only not by the British state... as Virgin Trains is soon reaching the end of the line, there are now few purely private operators left on UK railways."
Strange how many British people keep complaining about the railways being in private hands and how they'd do better back in public ownership. So if they complain about the state of their railways, this suggests that public ownership may not help

Rail across Europe: Public, private and beyond - "Europe’s railways have experienced dramatic change over the last 20 years, with the traditional state-owned railway corporation controlling both track and trains becoming a rarity. Countries including Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark have made radical reforms to the way in which both passenger and freight services are provided. In the case of regional passenger services, these changes are, in most cases, based upon strong devolved government, to mainly regional bodies (see TSSA Journal March 2012). However, inter-city and freight have not been immune from radical changes either. Some of the impetus for reform has come from the European Union, through a series of ‘rail packages’ which have liberalised the market for both international passenger and freight services... There is immense variation in how rail services are delivered within the EU, reflecting differing national priorities"

Morality in the 21st Century: Robert Putnam

BBC Radio 4 - Morality in the 21st Century, Episode 9: Robert Putnam

"‘I decided to use as an example of that membership in bowling leagues. And bowling is I know not so big in Britain as it is in America... it was and actually still is the largest participatory sport in America. And it's, even today, it's widely, people, a lot of people take part in, more Americans bowl than vote, for example. So it's a common game. And it's just about as frequent now as it used to be.

But what has changed is that mostly in the past people bowled in leagues, bowled in teams. And what has happened over the last 30 or 40 years is that league membership in bowling has declined by, now it's probably 50 or 60%. It's essentially, league bowling is almost disappearing.

A friend of mine who happened to be in the bowling alley business told me that I'd stumbled upon the crucial problem with their business model. Because it turns out that if you bowl in the league, you drink four times as much beer and you eat four times as many pretzels and the money in bowling is in bowling is in the beer and pretzels. It's not in the balls and shoes... more people coming through the door but their sales of beer and pretzels were going down...

Sociologists who study crime have taught us... the best predictor of a low crime rate in a neighborhood is not how many cops there are in the beat. But how many neighbors know one another’s first name. That is, it's the neighborhood networks that have the effect of deterring crime… we now know that social networks are valuable for our health.

Social isolation, which is growing in the UK and growing in Britain, loneliness and so on, has - social isolation has very powerful physical health effects. If you smoke, and belong to no groups, it's a close call as to which is a more dangerous behavior. That is, that's, that's how big the effect is, of being socialised'...

‘The mid 60s, that's when the data say the change occurred from a we society to an I society. For the first two thirds of the 20th century, from about 1900 to about 1965, 1970, America was moving in the opposite direction. America was becoming more connected. We were becoming more equal in distribution, the distribution of income was becoming more equal in that time. The gap between rich and poor was narrowing from about roughly 1900 to roughly 1965, 1970. Our belonging to organizations was growing. Our philanthropy per capita was growing, we were giving not just more money, but more money as a faction of our income. More, we were giving away more and more. We were depolarizing politically, we were more and more focused on the things that the community that and the things that we could contribute to the community.

And then as I say, in the mid 60s or early 70s, suddenly all those trends changed. And the Bowling Alone trend was one of the second half of that curve. It was the down curve for social capital. And the book our kids was focused on another strand, downturn strand, namely ,from with respect to equality.

But. Looking at the whole century allows me now to see that actually, there was a turning point back around 1900. Because in 1900, we were very much an I society too. We were very unequal. That was what we called in our, in American historiography is called the Gilded Age, this massive inequalities of great wealth, the Rockefellers and the Carnegies and so on. Great wealth and great poverty, a period of high immigration and that was causing turbulence in the society. A period in which, if we focused on we at all, it was very much a narrow we.

It was people who looked like us. And then in a relatively short period of time from roughly 1890 to 1910, we turned a corner culturally to begin to focus less on I and more on we and to have a wider and wider conception of we. At the beginning of that trend we meant we white guys basically but by the end it meant people of all races.

You can see over the, over the period from roughly 1930 to roughly 1970 that the the gaps which, the racial gaps in America in that period, I'm not talking, I'm talking before the Civil Rights Revolution, the gaps - economic and educational gaps and so on - between blacks and whites or between men and women were narrowing. Our we was not, was no longer a narrow we, it was a more encompassing we and then the rest then after 1965, as I say we turned in a different direction’"

Links - 24th January 2020 (1)

Man pays hitman 2 million yuan to kill competitor, gets busted after job is passed along four times - "Six people have been sentenced to prison time in China’s southern region of Guangxi in a parable of the perils of using middlemen.Back in 2013, a local real estate company owner named Tan Youhui in the provincial capital of Nanning decided that he wanted to bump off a competitor, surnamed Wei, who had filed a civil court case against his enterprises.Tan sought out the services of a man named Xi Guangan, paying him 2 million yuan ($282,000) in cash to do the deed and providing him with a copy of Wei’s identity card as well as his cell phone and license plate numbers.Xi took that money and handed half of it over to another man named Mo Tianxiang, telling him to kill Wei and passing along the relevant materials. Xi then went back to Tan and asked for an additional 1 million yuan. Tan agreed but said he would only give him the money after Wei was dead.Meanwhile, Mo went out and hired a man named Yang Kangsheng to carry out the killing, giving him 270,000 yuan and promising another 500,000 yuan after the job was done.Yang, however, turned around and handed off the assignment to yet another man named Yang Guangsheng, giving him 200,000 yuan upfront and promising an additional 500,000 yuan once he murdered Wei.Continuing the change, Yang Guangsheng hired a man named Ling Xiansi to kill Wei, telling him that he would be paid 100,000 yuan ($14,000) after the deed was done... Ling, however, thought that earning 100,000 yuan wasn’t really worth murdering someone. Instead, he hatched a plan, contacting Wei and meeting his “victim” at a coffee shop in April 2014 where he tried to convince him to help fake his own death.  Rather than go through all that trouble, Wei appears to have gone to the cops."

The Sociological Cinema - Posts - "Listen to me. Gender is a construct, society is a construct, money is a construct. But bedtime is very, very real"

Star Wars Episode III: Becoming Obi-Wan Webisode - YouTube

Waterproof Ratings and Breathability Guide - "Manufacturers typically describe the waterproof breathability of fabrics using two numbers. The first is in millimeters (mm) and is a measure of how waterproof a fabric is. In the case of a 10k or 10,000 mm fabric, if you put a square tube with inner dimensions of 1” x 1” over a piece of said fabric, you could fill it with water to a height of 10,000 mm (32.8 feet) before water would begin to leak through. The higher the number, the more waterproof the fabric.
The second number is a measure of how breathable the fabric is, and is normally expressed in terms of how many grams (g) of water vapor can pass through a square meter (m2) of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24 hour period. In the case of a 20k (20,000 g) fabric, this would be 20,000 grams. The larger the number, the more breathable the fabric.
The truth is that all outerwear designed for active winter sports has various degrees of water resistance, but will eventually leak given enough water, time and pressure. Manufacturers define “waterproof” according to different standards, and testing is not standardized. A rubber raincoat is completely waterproof, and may be the ideal garment for standing in a downpour waiting for the bus, but if you tried to ski or snowboard in it, you’d be wet in no time from your own perspiration. The trick is to balance protection from rain and snow on the outside with the ability to let water vapor (warm perspiration) escape from the inside."

Fleece jacket - Wikipedia - "A fleece jacket or simply a fleece is a lightweight casual jacket made of a polyester synthetic wool such as polar fleece.  A fleece jacket will typically have a zipper up the middle, rather than buttons or other fasteners. It will provide thermal insulation but is not normally weatherproof and so it will not effectively keep out wind and rain. Polar fleece originated in Massachusetts in 1979 when Malden Mills, (now Polartec LLC), and Patagonia developed Synchilla (synthetic chinchilla). It was a new, light, strong pile fabric meant to mimic—and in some ways surpass—wool. Company CEO Aaron Feuerstein intentionally declined to patent Polar fleece, allowing the material to be produced cheaply and widely by many vendors, leading to the material's quick and wide acceptance."

أبو عمّار on Twitter - "Hey Tez (Corbyn’s social media assistant) instead of being sinister by seeking info on me from our security services (as per below), how about you actually answer my questions? Again:
1) Is Hamas antisemitic?
2) Do you condemn Hamas as a terror organisation?
Still waiting...
Imagine these fools in No.10? If they try this shit on me, do you really wonder why 87% of British Jews are scared of them?
(who is Corbyn’s social media assistant) since you won’t answer whether Hamas is a terrorist org, perhaps -considering you sought to find out if I work for our security services- you would clarify if you agree with what Hamas does to “spies”?"
"Jesus,  Maajid, let's be clear about this - he's trying to get you killed.These are the people who could be responsible for our national security within 3 weeks.Remember this on polling day,  folks.  Please."

Why do billions of people still not have glasses? - "Historically, the World Health Organization has collected data on people who have really serious problems with their vision only.Many more can see well enough to muddle through daily life but would still benefit from spectacles. But how many? The world's leading lens-maker, Essilor, decided to find out, one assumes not for entirely selfless reasons.In 2012 came the answer: around the world, some two and a half billion people need glasses and don't have them. That's an eye-popping figure but serious people think it's credible.And many of those people may have no idea glasses could help them.In 2017, researchers tested the vision of hundreds of tea-pickers aged 40 or over on a plantation in Assam. They gave a simple $10 (£8.20) pair of reading glasses to half of those who needed them. Then, they compared how much tea was picked by those who wore the glasses and those who didn't. Those with the glasses averaged about 20% more tea. The older they were, the more their tea-picking improved. The tea-pickers are paid by how much tea they pick. Before the study, not one owned glasses. By the end, hardly any wanted to give them back.  How widely we can extrapolate from this study is hard to say: picking tea may reward visual acuity more than some other jobs.  Still, even conservative estimates put the economic losses from poor eyesight into the hundreds of billions of dollars - and that's before you think about people's quality of life or children struggling at school. One randomised trial concluded giving children glasses could be equivalent to an extra half year of schooling"

Scientists Have Implanted Memories Into Bird Brains - "[They] used "optogenetic manipulation"—where light is used to monitor and control brain activity—to guide the learning of songs. They controlled the interactions between two regions of the brain in order to create memories of syllables of a song—the length of a note corresponded to the length of light exposure. As a result, they guided the learning of the zebra finch with these implanted memories"

‘We failed to reach Europe – now our families disown us’ - "Most of the West African migrants who fail to reach Europe eventually return to their own countries, but it can be a bitter homecoming. In Sierra Leone, returnees are often rejected by relatives and friends. They're seen as failures, and many stole from their families to pay for their journey."
Strange how no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark, but these migrants returned

USAID set up microfinance in Guatemala. Migrants borrow to fund their illegal journeys. - The Washington Post - "Over the past nine months, the number of Guatemalans who have reached the U.S. border has swelled to more than 250,000. They include many of the country’s poorest people — subsistence farmers who have somehow managed to scrape together up to $12,000 to fund the journey north. What enables those payments is a vast system of credit that includes financial institutions set up and supported by the United States and the World Bank, part of the global boom in microfinance over the past two decades. The U.S. government and the World Bank have each extended tens of millions of dollars in funding and loan guarantees, money that helped create what is now Guatemala’s biggest microfinance organization, Fundación Génesis Empresarial, and backed one of its largest banks, Banrural.  But in Nebaj and communities like it around the country, those financial institutions now serve Guatemalans eager to migrate. Access to credit has helped make this Central American nation the largest single source of migrants to the United States over the past year. About 2 percent of the population has been apprehended at the U.S. border since 2018. It has also had devastating consequences for those who fail in their journeys — those who are deported before they earn enough to pay back their loans. They become ensnared by debt, losing savings, businesses and homes, which makes them more likely to try to migrate again."
Presumably this isn't what liberals have in mind when they claim that the US border crisis is caused by American intervention in Latin American countries. But then, they can continue to blame the US for everything wrong in the world, since the failed migrants face "devastating consequences"

News Fabricates Story That LAPD Planted Evidence, Offers Video 'Proof' Which Shows No Wrongdoing - "LAPD officers are under investigation by their department after a CBS2 report shows what the news agency claims is officers planting drugs on a suspect.Except the video actually shows the officers not planting drugs on a suspect.Unfortunately, nobody appears to have any idea what they are actually seeing in the video, and nobody seems to be questioning to absurd claims in the video... planting cocaine actually serves no purpose.  Possession of small amounts of cocaine in the state of California is a misdemeanor and usually not even charged by the prosecutor’s office. In this instance, Shields was charged with possession of cocaine, but only because he was already being charged with a felony hit and run.  The sentence for possession of cocaine often results in treatment and no jail time.  This begs the question – why would an officer illegally plant evidence on somebody who committed a felony in order to get them charged with an additional misdemeanor? It makes no sense.  In addition to that, it would require numerous officers conspiring together to illegally plant drugs on Shields in order to frame him for the misdemeanor... Officer Lee wrote in his report, and testified in court, that the cocaine was found in Shields’ front left pocket.  The news reports seem to suggest that the cocaine was located elsewhere, because Officer Gaxiola could be seen picking up the drugs from the ground and placing it in Shields’ wallet.  What every news agency is ignoring is that the drugs were on the ground next to the suspect’s wallet and cell phone. Why? Because Officer Lee emptied out Shields’ pocket and put the contents on the ground"

Have Democrats Tried to Impeach Every GOP President Since Ike? - "Claim: The Democratic party has tried to impeach every Republican president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Rating: Mostly False
What's True: Articles of impeachment were introduced against five of the six Republican presidents who have served since President Dwight D. Eisenhower."
Snopes strikes again!

Gingerswappingresponse - Posts - "remembered that time captain marvel tried to arrest a young black boy before he committed a crime he wasn't going to do"
"White women ALWAYS come out on top in the intersectional stack."

Meme - "if you are white you cant speak spanish"
"are u familiar with the entire country of Spain"

B.C. government looking to 'ticket' those who engage in racist behaviour - "Delta North NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon submitted a letter to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth requesting that the province crack down on “racist and hateful behaviour,” by measures that would include financial repercussions."

Per Bylund on Twitter - "What causes #poverty? Nothing. It's the original state, the default and starting point. The real question is, What causes #prosperity?"

Lingtrain - Posts - "How to irritate Europeans with one sentence
Italy: "I like pasta with ketchup.
Czechia & Slovakia: Are you Eastern Europeans?"

‘I want fine dining’: Influencer gives up on M’sian men after too many first dates at hawker stalls - "A Malaysian Instagram influencer, Sara Anna, caused a ruckus online after she filmed herself saying that she will not date Malaysian men anymore after too many disappointing first dates at hawker stalls... Sara added that she prefers going to a fine dining restaurant instead of a hawker stall. “Maybe after we’ve been a couple for a while, it would make sense to bring me to a hawker stall. But for the first 10 dates, I want fine dining.” Her ideal man would be someone who always compliments her and gives her flowers and gifts.She admitted that she is very clingy, which most Malay men can’t stand. The Malay men she dated had also taken advantage of her status as an influencer... Once, she went on a date with a Malay man at a hawker stall but when it was time to pay the bill, he acted clueless. She ended up paying for their meals. “I’m honestly tired of Malay men because I’ve had too many bad first date experiences with them.”"

Sex toy sparks terror alert at concert in the Vienna Konzerthaus - "A suspicious vibrato sparked a bomb scare during a performance by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra — before a buzzing sex toy was discovered in a concertgoer’s checked bag.The concealed device in the cloakroom began vibrating to the famed orchestra’s rendition of Richard Wagner’s works “Siegfried Idyll” and “The Valkyrie”"

David Hogg said he's been target of 7 assassination attempts - "David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting rampage and fierce gun critic, said that he has been the target of seven assassination attempts in the past year."
Press X to doubt

Liberal Jews are destroying their own religion - "When two of the Jewish community’s most celebrated writers, Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman, write an open letter stating that: “Any Jew, anywhere, who does not act to oppose President Donald Trump and his administration acts in favor of anti-Semitism; any Jew who does not condemn the president, directly and by name, for his racism, white supremacism, intolerance and Jew hatred, condones all of those things,” you don’t have to look far to see why.American Judaism is broken because the Jewish left broke it.A tiresome fixation on “tikkun olam,” which literally means “repair of the world,” has allowed Judaism to fall into disrepair.The phrase “tikkun olam” was quietly lifted out of context from a Jewish prayer before the Second World War to mean social justice. It was popularized in the 1970s and 1980s by radicals like Michael Lerner, who founded the extreme left-wing magazine, Tikkun.Since then, we have been led to believe that the purpose of the Jews in the world is to campaign for higher taxes, sexual permissiveness, reduced military spending, illegal immigration, opposition to fracking, the banishment of religion from the public square and every other liberal cause under the sun — all in the name of God.But the truth is that tikkun olam and its leftist politics have no basis in Judaism. Tikkun olam is not Judaism at all but a distinct religion, whose adherents, it might be said, have culturally appropriated this ancient faith. This religion of tikkun olam commands the allegiance of most non-Orthodox Jews (and some Orthodox ones), who make up the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community. The dogma of this religion is appealingly simple: Judaism is tikkun olam, which is social justice, which is liberalism. The Jews are called upon to do no less — and no more — than cultivate a liberal paradise in America.In this, liberal Jews have often had the hypocritical backing of the celebrity corps — literati, Hollywood executives, academics, politicians and financiers — who say one thing in public while, in several cases, doing unspeakable things in private. But above all, this liberalism — this tikkun olam — teaches that the Jewish People is an outdated and chauvinistic relic, with no need for a nation-state of its own in its ancient homeland. Consequently, Jewish social justice activists help to defame Israel and weaken America’s bond with the Jewish State... natural as it comes to the political exiles to oppose the new administration, these activists are discovering that left-wing social justice marches have no place for Jewish warriors.  And so the Jews have to choose between social justice and being Jewish"

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Links - 23rd January 2020 (2)

Does the ‘ hikikomori’ syndrome of social withdrawal exist outside Japan? A preliminary international investigation - "Two hikikomori case vignettes were sent to psychiatrists in Australia, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the USA... Respondents’ felt the hikikomori syndrome is seen in all countries examined and especially in urban areas. Biopsychosocial, cultural, and environmental factors were all listed as probable causes of hikikomori, and differences among countries were not significant."

The Efficiency-Destroying Magic of Tidying Up - "love of order is above all else about appearances. Streets arranged in grids, people waiting in clean lines, cars running at the same speed… But everything that looks good doesn’t necessarily work well. In fact, those two traits are opposed more often than not: efficiency tends to look messy, and good looks tend to be inefficient. This is because complex systems — like laws, cities, or corporate processes — are the products of a thousand factors, each pulling in a different direction. And even if each factor is tidy taken separately, things quickly get messy when they all merge together... I submit that we should look with suspicion at simple-looking systems. The physical world is like a river in which a thousand streams come rushing — it is supposed to look messy. Again, this insight applies to any complex system. For example, a city can look as messy as an anthill. But really, it’s a beautiful equilibrium that evolved to satisfy a thousand competing constraints: topology, weather, people’s traditions, skills, wealth, preferences… Planners may make their maps look better when they use zoning to separate the city into business, residential, and commercial neighborhoods, but they also destroy a subtle, efficient balance... One good example of an attempt to avoid the high modernist fallacy is Amazon’s “two pizza teams,” set up to run like small companies and encouraged to use the tools and processes that make sense at their level. The outcome can be messy — new Amazonians who come from more centralized companies often complain about the chaos there. But I, for one, would choose chaotic success over tidy failure any day.  Interestingly, other managers often pick the latter. They’ll see a dozen teams, each using different project management software, and lament: “what a mess! No one even knows what everybody else is doing!” They’ll then resolve to “put some order in here,” by mandating every team uses a single company-wide tool. But teams had been using different tools for a reason. Maybe they’re in different businesses — for example, hardware and software groups have different needs. Or their members could just have different preferences, which matter too — people are more productive when they use tools they like! It can be okay to sacrifice a company’s productivity so as to increase the coordination between its parts — so long as one makes this compromise with their eyes wide open. Unfortunately, managers all too often look only at the upside of such changes, and ignore their downside... who is complaining about the chaos? If outsiders complain, but people living inside the system seem happy with it, it probably means that the chaos is serving them right, and that it’s just foreign eyes who are unable to perceive its underlying order."
This totally contradicts Zen and minimalism

Man broke into my house and is now claiming squatters’ rights : legaladvice - "I own a house in California (San Bernardino) and frequently travel for business. My last trip I was out of the area for about two weeks. Upon returning home, I found that someone had broken into my house and is now claiming squatters’ rights. He has photographic evidence that he’s been there for about 10 days and is claiming that I now have no legal right to kick him out. He’s also claiming that he found the house in an abandoned condition. Some of the windows are currently broken and the place is trashed but it was fine before I left and I’m pretty sure he trashed it.He’s also threatened to call the police to kick me out because he said he’s the rightful tenant.Should I just call the police and see if they’ll get rid of him? Should I call a lawyer first?
Edit: Appreciate all of the advice. Just as I was about to call the police to get this figured out, a squad car pulled up to my house. The police officer proceeded to tell me that they received a call from a tenant claiming that they had an abusive landlord who was threatening to evict them without notice. I tried explaining to him that he wasn’t my tenant when the squatter came out and started complaining about how the place wasn’t livable and that all of the windows were broken. I could tell the police officer didn’t really want to be there and he said that these types of issues need to be resolved formally and that a court case would be required for a formal eviction. He then left. What’s my best course moving forward?"
Ahh, California!

Barquillo - Wikipedia
TIL love letters are from Spain

Being Libertarian - "Yang 2020"
"Landlords raising rent by $1000"
If landlords are all part of a massive cartel through which they coordinate to raise rent by the exact quantum of UBI... That's actually an argument for regulation

Knights in Ancient Armor Fight to Save Chinese Culture - "few authentic antique armor specimens still exist, Liu explains, due to the restrictive rules of China’s final dynasties. While European armor has survived through private collections, ownership of armor was a crime punishable by beheading during the Qing Dynasty, because the ruling authorities wanted to keep weaponry out of private hands in case of uprisings. In addition, the large amount of cloth used in many examples of ancient armor has made them hard to preserve, says Liu. It’s only in the past decade that he’s noticed Chinese craftsmen beginning to revive the lost art of armor production, using historical sources and the few existing examples for reference."

Wait a Minute. How Can They Afford That When I Can’t? - The New York Times - "No doubt, most people could improve how they handle their finances. But better money management isn’t usually the culprit: When people seem to be able to afford much more than their income would suggest, it’s often because there is hidden wealth or hidden debt... For years, Ellen watched her friends, who had similar jobs and the same number of children as she did, spend much more lavishly on just about everything compared with Ellen’s family. They did expensive home additions. They took twice as many vacations to places farther away. They drove nicer cars.  And she felt bad about it, assuming she and her husband were simply worse financial managers... if we’re going to envy our neighbors, it shouldn’t be for their BMW or new swimming pool. It should be for their fat 401(k) or gold-plated health insurance, because the ability to put away large amounts of money to secure our future and our children’s future is the sign of real wealth now... Over the last few decades, wealthy people have increased how much of their spending they direct to education and retirement, compared with members of the middle class, whose expenditures in those areas have remained more or the less the same."

Diversify Your Identity - "this man had never emotionally invested himself or identified with his roles as a father, a husband, a friend, a colleague — he had invested all of his identity (and time and effort) in making money and becoming rich. Then once his wealth vanished, so did his entire sense of self...
'When you have money, it’s always smart to diversify your investments. That way if one of them goes south, you don’t lose everything. It’s also smart to diversify your identity, to invest your self-esteem and what you care about into a variety of different areas — business, social life, relationships, philanthropy, athletics — so that when one goes south, you’re not completely screwed over and emotionally wrecked.'...
A lot of people I know in finance are like this. Their friends are their co-workers. The books they read and movies they watch relate to their job. Their social excursions are work and networking functions. The dates they go on with people they meet doing work-related things. There’s no diversification of where they’re receiving their validation. And therefore their emotional stability and self-esteem is at risk."

Is college worth it? A Georgetown study measures return on investment — with some surprising results. - The Washington Post - "Higher education is so expensive now, he said, that few can afford the luxury of meandering through a liberal arts education without making hard calculations about employment prospects... Some may discount the idea that the true value of higher education can be quantified, let alone calculated in dollars.  But given surging student-loan debt nationally, the study’s authors argue it’s a question that cannot be ignored. The issue has galvanized national attention, with many legislators loath to fund universities that aren’t preparing young people for the workforce. And it’s an issue that is deeply personal for many families as they worry about paying tuition bills each fall. Some of the results will come as no surprise: Among the top 10 colleges with the best long-term net economic gain are Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. Forty years after enrollment, bachelor’s degrees from private colleges have the highest returns on investment. But the top three on the top 10 list — eclipsing MIT and Stanford — are schools specializing in pharmacy and health sciences. The only two public schools to make that top 10 list are maritime academies.  And the Maine Maritime Academy? It’s on the top 10 list, outscoring Harvard... Surveys suggest many students are motivated to go to college to learn more about subjects that interest them — and to become a better person, said professor Anthony P. Carnevale, director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. But the vast majority cite a career as a primary goal for college... A drive for greater accountability has been gaining momentum for a long time, Carnevale said, amid a huge increase in college-going beginning in the 1980s and rapidly rising costs that inspired a demand for data on outcomes... The study concluded that even after paying off higher amounts of debt, the average graduate of a private four-year college has a net economic gain of $838,000 over 40 years — compared with $765,000 for a public college graduate.  Or a student could choose a theology school near the bottom of the long-term return-on-investment list — because salary is not important.  “This should encourage people to think like that,” Carnevale said. “ ‘What do I want, who am I, what can I afford, what are my options?’ ”"

8 Questions to Ask Someone Other Than “What Do You Do?” - "Research findings from the world of network science and psychology suggests that we tend to prefer and seek out relationships where there is more than one context for connecting with the other person. Sociologists refer to these as multiplex ties, connections where there is an overlap of roles or affiliations from a different social context. If a colleague at work sits on the same nonprofit board as you, or sits next to you in spin class at the local gym, then you two share a multiplex tie. We may prefer relationships with multiplex ties because research suggests that relationships built on multiplex ties tend to be richer, more trusting, and longer lasting. We see this in our everyday lives: The work friend who is also a “friend friend” is far more likely to stick with you should one of you change jobs. And it goes the other way, too: People who have at least one real friend at work report liking their jobs more... the question quickly sets a boundary around the conversation that the other person is now a “work” contact...
What excites you right now?...
What are you looking forward to?...
What’s the best thing that happened to you this year?...
Where did you grow up?...
What do you do for fun?...
Who is your favorite superhero?...
Is there a charitable cause you support?...
What’s the most important thing I should know about you?"

Cold Hard Truths About The Workplace I Learned The Hard Way - "You can’t mix your professional and personal life. And that’s not a great thing to hear, right? We all desperately want to have a great time at work. And I get it.You spend more time at work than any other place in your life, so it’s important to enjoy what you do. But doing what you love and workplace rules are two different things...
At work, people are there to earn a living.What do you think? That they will sacrifice a paycheck for your friendship? Not going to happen. Just be mindful of that and do your job.Stay professional. And have a good time with people at work. See them as professional relationships. Nothing more. Nothing less...
 Look, you can pretend it’s not about appearances at work, but it is. Looking busy and actually being busy are the same thing.Why? Because perception equals reality. If you’re perceived as the office clown, you are one. No matter how hard you work...
Most people are bad at receiving feedback. Again, we’re human beings. We don’t like it.So never be too honest. Does that make you fake? No, it makes you empathetic"

тυяσ on Twitter - "Study: Women need more sleep than men because they use their brains more"
"All that overthinking and jumping to conclusions"

Imam Tawhidi - Posts - "Religious freedom panel: Due to the safety of our panelists we cannot announce them on this program #ampfest2019"
I wonder why...

Morality in the 21st Century: David Brooks

BBC Radio 4 - Morality in the 21st Century, Episode 6: David Brooks

"'We've had 40 years of individualism, some of it on the right, which was about economic individualism, some of them on the left about social individualism, and we've pretty much run out the string. And to me, it's caused three overlapping crises.

First, a crisis of social solidarity. In my country, the US, a generation ago, you, 20% of Americans said they were lonely. Now it's 40%. We’re at a 30 year high in suicide rates and suicide is a proxy for lonely.

The second is a crisis of alienation. We don't trust our institutions. We're disconnected from the people who govern our lives.

And the third is a crisis of purpose. A telos crisis. It's shocking to me that after all we know about the brain and human behavior, that depression rates are on the rise, mental health problems are on the rise'...

‘Alexis de Tocqueville a long time ago, came to America in 1831, and saw something he'd never seen before and had to invent a new word for it, and he called it individualism. And he saw it as one of the greatest, perhaps even the greatest threat to democratic freedom'...

'One of the wisest bits of advice I was given once was surround yourself with the dead. Take pictures of the people you admire through history, put them on the wall, have them watch over you. And you won't be completely great person. But if you have a sense of, of what standard you should aspire to, you might be slightly less shallow than you would otherwise be.'...

‘Lincoln did not think lowly of himself. But he thought accurately about himself. And my favorite definition of humility is a sense of radical self awareness from a position of other-centeredness, the ability to be apart from yourself and to see accurately your strengths and weaknesses.

And because of that, ultimate accurate knowledge of himself and a sense of security, he gave what I think is the greatest speech in American history, which is his second inaugural. And that was the speech where the North had, was on the verge of a great triumph against the South. He could have been tribal. He could have said, we won you lost, we fought for good, you fought for evil. But instead it's a... great speech of unity. The key words in the speech are all: us, together’

‘Binding up the nation's words’

‘Right. And it's a great act of, of, of healing and a great act in a moment like today when we're, when we're divided along such tribal lines. To me it is the classic document of how even a moment of great division can can yield a plea for unity.’

‘And it was extraordinary that he held that sense of unity all the way through and used very religious language to evoke it. As indeed did Martin Luther King. I mean, what have we lost in religion nowadays that it's seen as a source of division instead of a source of reconciliation and healing?’

‘Yeah, he did have a sense of an Exodus story. I do think, and this is especially true in the United States, that we were, we had a national narrative, and it was the Exodus story. And you've spoken eloquently about this, that the Puritans came here, saw themselves leaving oppression, crossing wilderness coming to the Promised Land. The founders believed in this. Lincoln believed in this, King believed in this.

And I just spent a couple of months traveling the college campuses, asking students do you believe this is an Exodus story. This is a potential promised land or as Lincoln said, an almost Promised Land. And they look at me like I'm crazy. And they said, No, this is not like that, that I don't see any story of redemption here. I don't see any land of milk and honey here. I see a land of oppression.

And I came away thinking that whoever decided to teach or to stop teaching US history to American young people did a very effective job. Because they don't know much about it. And they've not been taught the essential promise of the country. They've been taught the wrongs and I understand that because there are great wrongs, and we should try to overcome them. But the unifying bond of that Exodus narrative has gone and it just doesn't resonate with people under 30 in my experience’

‘And there can be such a thing as collective Alzheimer's disease can't there? If you have Alzheimer's and you lose your memory, you lose your identity. And I see that happening to the nations of the West right now.’...

‘When I was a young boy I had two turtles named Disraeli and Gladstone. And it was the phrase I'm sure you've heard this in New York among New York Jews, it was Think Yiddish Act British. And so it was a it was a time of great reading of English history as a great unifying story and as frankly as a way to, to rise up and be classy, and it still exists, that, in the form of The Crown and Downton Abbey and things like that, but that great narrative of a story, of an Island Nation that really rose up and has become a great nation.

These are inspiring stories and we have no right to look down on people in the past as somehow inferior to us, that what CS Lewis called chronological narcissism or egotism. Their achievements, sometimes when I look back on, you know what happened in Britain between 1830 and 1848, which was a time of real social recovery… remoralization. And when I look back at the American founding or what happened in the United States between 1900 and 1910, another period of renormalization. I think I wish we could do that. I wish we were competent to do that. And so those were both moments of great achievements, both moments when nations turned themselves around without war.’"

Meanwhile today liberals just bash the other side as deplorables because they don't want to let biological men into women's toilets

Another side effect of liberals hating their countries (presenting the US as a land of oppression)
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