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Friday, March 13, 2020

Links - 13th March 2020 (2)

Bane vs. Joji/Pink Guy/Filthy Frank Memes - "The Bane vs. Joji meme format uses a photoshopped image from the 2012 Batman film The Dark Knight Rises to show supervillain Bane and comedian Joji, aka Filthy Frank’s character Pink Guy in an apparent showdown. The original photo shows Batman and Bane staring each other down in a sewer.As both Bane and Joji have their arms raised to their sides in the image, it appears that they’re egging each other on, as if they’re about to fight. The seriousness and intensity of Bane’s character juxtaposed with the silliness and absurdity of Pink Guy add a layer of comedy to these memes. In some versions of the meme, Bane is depicted as much larger than Filthy Frank while in others, Filthy Frank is larger and looms over Bane."

Germany to Force Net Providers to Hand Over 'Hate Speech' Suspect Data - "Angela Merkel’s government is preparing a new bill that will force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to hand over data, including passwords, of those accused of engaging in “hate speech” online... Lambrecht was slammed by many over the proposal, with Hamburg’s data protection officer Johannes Caspar calling it an attack on privacy.  “The fight against the ugly phenomena of right-wing extremism and hate crime apparently acts as a door opener for a comprehensive expansion of state control powers”... Populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Joana Cotar said the proposed legislation was a “fight against the free Internet” and argued it would be used to silence citizens critical of the German government.  The far-left Die Linke agreed with the AfD, accusing the government of setting up a surveillance state. Germany already has one of the most draconian sets of laws concerning “hate” on social media, including approving legislation imposing fines of up to 50 million euros on social media companies who do not remove hate content in what the government considers a timely manner.  The German authorities are also known to engage in large-scale raids of citizens accused of spreading “hate speech” online, with a 2016 raid seeing 60 homes searched across 14 states."
Funny how in the effort to stop "Nazis", you end up behaving a lot like them
When the "far left" and "far right" agree on something...


Trickle-down Luxury : Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University; Robert Frank, Professor of Management, Johnson School of Management, Cornell University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘Some of the Latin American countries where revolution often followed in the wake of increases in inequality… You'll see some economists saying, well, it's it's an unfortunate consequence. If we didn't have all this inequality, the economy wouldn't function properly. And so everybody would be poor. That belies the experience of most of the European countries where inequality is much lower, and they've had good growth… what is the consequence of the fact that income has grown only at the top? And the the general rule is that people spend their income. If you have more, you spend more... the people in the middle don't seem jealous, they're not angry as they are in some other societies... But when the people at the top spend more that shifts the frame of reference that people just below the top use to figure out what they need or what's desirable for them...
In the counties where income inequality had grown the most, we saw three particular increases in finance, symptoms of financial distress. One was that people became more likely to file for bankruptcy in those counties… We also saw the biggest increases in divorce rates in those same counties where inequality had grown the most… another measure of financial distress is if you can't pay your bills and meet your mortgage payments… one solution is to move further away... And then you commute the long distance and suffer that inconvenience... when we actually looked we found in the counties where income inequality had grown the most, we saw the biggest increases in long commute times too…
‘Income inequality causes people to basically almost have, psychologically they feel like they have to start spending more money, which gets them to take more financial risks, get more fights with their spouses, and they have sometimes to move to places that are more difficult to commute to work to, in order to try and save money. That's very sad...
We could we could scrap the income tax and move instead to a progressive consumption tax. You pay tax on your your income minus your savings at a very steep rate, once you take [?] beyond a certain threshold. That would give people at the top an incentive to build smaller mansions. A lot of money would be saved. Build a... bigger mansion if you want to, but then pay heavy tax on that. And that would mean the tax burden could go down for people in the middle. So yeah, we could we could ease their burden without really costing the people at the top anything that's really important...
In France, how much they spend on each school doesn't depend on property tax. It's all, the budgets are the same. Still, the best schools are in the more expensive neighborhood, because that's where the students who perform best happen to live’
In other words, high inequality leads to more unproductive spending and conspicuous consumption and other negative consequences, despite libertarians thinking it's not a problem
So much for liberals' constant refrain about school funding being why poor pupils do badly


No, US school funding is actually somewhat progressive. - "It is still commonly supposed by much of the public that school funding is terribly unequal due to reliance on local funding mechanisms (especially property tax).   Although there were once modest inequalities associated with local income levels (several decades earlier), this information is generally wildly out of date today.   Within the vast majority of states districts with less advantaged students (read: higher poverty, lower income, fewer parents with college degrees, minority, etc) actually spend at least as much money per pupil (often more), both overall and in the narrower instructional expenditure category, and where there are inequalities these differences are usually quite modest and fleeting... districts with less advantaged students spend more per pupil... more segregated districts actually spend significantly more progressively (between schools within the district) even controlling for a bunch of other covariates... the notion that school resources are significantly responsible for socioeconomic outcome disparities (particularly within states) is at odds with a great deal of evidence... Above and beyond the lack of large systematic differences in inputs like revenues, there is also very little reason to believe that the modest differences in teacher attributes associated with school SES are of much practical significance today.  For instance, see this study on the association between teacher value-added metrics (VAM) and income amongst 26 representative schools (h/t Spotted Toad).  They find that the average difference in teacher effectiveness is very small... These sorts of achievement gaps are unlikely to be a substantially a result of our distributed education system because we also find similarly large socioeconomic gaps throughout Europe and in other developed countries with much more top-down systems of funding, management, etc"
Clearly, this is reason to channel even more money to poor schools!

NY and CA spend billions more in taxes than TX and FL — and get worse results - " California and New York are dominated by Democrats who have implemented the nation’s highest and sixth-highest marginal income tax rates, respectively, to help finance large social programs and bureaucracies. (New York’s rate rises to second-highest if New York City income tax is included.)Texas and Florida, meanwhile, have been governed mostly by conservative Republicans for decades; they are among the few states that levy no income tax on workers, while maintaining leaner social programs.Our big four states provide a good test case for two very different visions: Do higher taxes and bigger government actually deliver better outcomes, particularly in terms of education, poverty alleviation, and infrastructure? Or can simpler governments and lower taxes actually raise the fortunes of their citizens?... Neither blue state has shown any clear ability to improve the academic outcomes of their kids, alleviate poverty for those in need, or provide good roads and bridges for their people. While Texas and Florida have their share of problems, they seem to foster more upward mobility and trust in government, which partly explains why 6.4 million people have moved to those states since 2010... New York spends the most of any state per pupil by far at over $23,000 and nearly twice as much as the national average of around $12,000. California spends just above the national average. Meanwhile, Florida and Texas spend much less, just north of $9,000.But the difference in outputs is actually quite small... Minority students in Florida, meanwhile, tested among the highest in the nation across the board... there is no clear evidence that blue state anti-poverty spending is accomplishing much. From the end of the last recession in 2010 to 2018, the official poverty rate fell 3 percentage points in California and just 1.3 in New York, while falling 3 points in Texas and 2.8 in Florida.The official poverty rate, which measures only market income, remains slightly higher in absolute terms in Texas and Florida than New York and California. However, according to the supplemental poverty rate, which many social scientists prefer because it includes taxes and transfers and better reflects living standards, California is the poorest state in the nation with 18 percent of its population under the poverty line, followed by 16 percent in Florida, and 14 percent in Texas and New York... New York spends the most per capita of the four states on transportation at $538, according to NASBO, which is above the national average of $476. Florida, Texas, and California all spend below it at $427, $399, and $339, respectively.On a per-mile of highway basis, Florida and New York both spend a lot, around $241,000 and $215,000, respectively, while California and Texas spend less, about $125,000 and $73,000. Those higher per-mile figures could also reflect the higher density of Florida and New York.But while New York is spending a lot on its roads both per person and per mile in the state, there’s no evidence it provides value to the people living there. Its road quality is ranked 26th in the nation by the Federal Highway Administration, bridges 37th by the US Department of Transportation, and overall value of highways 45th by the Reason Foundation.Florida, which spends a lot per mile, seems to be getting better value, with its roads ranking 7th and bridges ranking 3rd. Texas and California, meanwhile, are ranked as having good bridges and bad roads."

Troubled Waters : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "‘Some of the mineral water have a large concentration of minerals and some of them, some contaminants that are not good for you. For example, arsenic in your water… There's some studies showing that some mineral water would have, because it's coming from natural spring will have some arsenic in the water.'...
'Two types of problem with bottled water. First is in some bottled water you can find level, high level of contaminant which are bad for you. That could include sodium, which is not so good, but it also it could include in some cases arsenic... in Central and Eastern Europe they find high level of radium, which is radioactive element… [On pure media being good] That's what we think, or that's what the media or this advertising would like us to think. But the thing is that mineral water should have, or drinking water should have some ingredients that are good for us, for example calcium and magnesium... Some studies have shown that deficiency of calcium and specifically magnesium is associated with a higher frequency of heart attack... Bottled water is actually regulated less strictly by the FDA, which is much less constrained, is much less, relative to the EPA.'"

Can Money Buy Happiness? : Dan Ariely, Duke University : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive - "'What do you spend your money on? Mainly they spend money on stuff and stuff for themselves. And that's fine. It’s nice to have nice house and a nice car and a nice everything. But it turns out when you look at research, doesn't do anything for your happiness. So the question is, if how we usually spend our money isn't making us any happier, is there anything else we can do to get more happiness out of our money?... you'll like the car better a little bit, you'll get used to it. But when you're driving it, it's kind of the same as any other car. So think about being stuck in traffic, it's a little nicer to be in a fancy car than a not fancy car. You're still stuck in traffic, regardless of the car that you're in. So it makes a little difference, but it's not going to change that much. And the difference in price is $40,000 let's say. Think what you could have used that $40,000 for instead of getting a nicer car’
‘But what if, what if it's a Prius?’
‘If it's a Prius, you can look like you're a moral person, and that's a whole other ballgame. But you're still going to be stuck in traffic in your Prius.’
‘Okay, so people don't know how to spend their money correctly. They don't buy the right stuff. So what stuff should they buy?’
‘Anything but stuff... the first one that comes to mind is experiences. So rather than buying material things that lie around, they seem better because you're going to have it forever. But in fact, a TV after a while, it's just a TV. And you just sit and stare at it. Doesn't do anything for you really, you're alone in a room by yourself. Imagine buying an experience with that amount of money, like a vacation, or even a little experience, like a meal out. Turns out, those are way better for happiness and stuff... One of the hardest ones for us to do is rather than buy anything for ourselves, is in fact to buy nothing for ourselves, and instead buy things for other people. And that seems very counterintuitive from many standpoints, which is who's better at getting the most utility out of my money than me using it for my own preferences because I know them perfectly? But it turns out that even though I don't know your gift preferences as well as you do, I get so much happiness from buying for you, that it's better for me to spend my money on you than on myself’...
'You can use your money not to buy love, but to show other people that you care about them, you know, so you take your family on vacations, that's a way really to use money to show love and cement bonds between people. And it's the same with taking somebody out to lunch. You're not buying their friendship, but you are in fact strengthening the friendship...
There's this thing in a lot of religions about the highest form of giving is fully anonymous, you know, the recipient doesn't know you gave, no one else knows you gave either so it's just a pure moral act. And you could think and maybe even hope that that's the best kind of giving for happiness, if you're just doing it to be good. It's totally wrong. So we've done studies and shown that, that yes, that makes you happier giving anonymously than spending on yourself. So it's still better to give than spend on yourself. But giving to someone you know, and giving to them face to face is way better than giving anonymously, because we're human. So we like people to clap for us and smile and say thank you and hug us. And that's a whole other source of happiness that, that we enjoy... Reciprocity… feels very tit for tat, you know, now you owe me a meal. But in fact, people owing each other meals is fantastic. It means you’re friends, it means you have something to talk about, it means I'll see you next week instead of never see you again. It isn't as negative as we often think it is.'"

Twitter bans political ads

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Twitter bans political ads (older podcast)

"[Mark Zuckerberg] ‘Banning political ads favors incumbents and whoever the media chooses to cover. But practically even if we wanted to ban political ads, it's not even clear where you draw the line. There are many more ads about issues than there are directly about elections. Will we ban ads about health care or immigration or women's empowerment? And if you're not going to ban those, does it really make sense to give everyone else a voice in political debates except for the candidates themselves? So there're going to be issues any way you cut this. And I believe that when it's not absolutely clear what to do that we should err on the side of greater expression.’...

‘Aaron Chowdhry was digital Creative Director for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016. And worked on new media for Barack Obama in 2008’...

‘It's remarkable that Jack Dorsey has managed to put people like me firmly on the side of Mark Zuckerberg. But I think he's just reading the room. You know, he's saying there's a lot of pressure from people wanting to stop misinformation, wanting to blame someone for their electoral failures, etc. And it's a convenient target. And as was just said, you know, Twitter ads are expensive and a bit useless and not that popular. But this pressure that's being put on Facebook could actually really be disastrous for grassroots.’

‘That's what worries you as a political campaigner. That if Facebook does the same thing, is pushed to do the same thing, what would that mean for someone like you?’

‘It would put campaigns like Bernie Sanders, like Elizabeth Warren, like Labour's, like Momentum’s here at a disadvantage because they have people power and not institutional power. And when you have people power you need to connect with them online. And Facebook, it is a shame that a private company has become the public square but that does not mean that that is not the public square’

‘But by the same token doesn't it also mean that it would reduce the ability for for Russia to try and influence elections, for gun owners or people who might have sympathies with the far right to be targeted?’

‘It might. It might reduce some of these things, but I think in a far greater way it reduces ordinary people power. I mean, the slight influence that I think foreign governments are able to influence through misinformation campaigns, no matter how targeted or systemic pales in comparison to the rise of people's movements we have seen happen online. Whether that is in the Middle East, whether that is in America or in the UK’

‘You say slight influence. You know there are huge troll factories in Russia pumping out loads of material all the time. We know they tried to influence the-’

‘They made millions of ads. And yet, you know, we can show that the average American saw a very, very small fraction of these, and how influential are they? It's hard to say. The election pattern in America followed exactly what a lot of people predicted based on economic and polling models. And so it's really hard to make the case that misinformation campaign was the critical factor.’

‘Okay, but when this ban comes into force on Twitter, individuals, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, they'll all still be able to tweet exactly the same campaign video just themselves rather than in a-’

‘They absolutely will. And organic reach is really important, especially on Twitter. But the thing is, the next Bernie Sanders doesn't already have an army, doesn't already have a big following, needs to find people, needs to reach people. You do that by interest, you do that by geography, and you do that by targeted ads. It's not just this insidious way to get into the brains of, you know, people who you're trying to convince them something. It's actually a way just to reach people in a certain place because you can't afford to reach everyone’

‘But don't you think when people see promoted content, that there's something, the minute that you see those words, it doesn't have the same credibility if you like, than when someone you know shares it to you. If you see it in a more organic, non paid for way, it has more resonanc’...

‘It's not such a big deal get rid of them. However, I feel like this is part of a movement of people to pressure a new kind of fact checking online that I think a lot of us find alarming. I would hate to see Facebook become the arbiter of what's truth, in the same way that say the three television networks in America in the latter half of the 20th century. It seemed very calm. It seemed like there was no misinformation because there was essentially a media monopoly of people who agreed. Those dissenting voices that are making so much noise and consternation aren’t-’

‘Yet there are campaign videos and certainly other political content that do have things that are misleading or sometimes deliberate falsehoods, it does happen. And Mark Zuckerberg was put under significant pressure on Capitol Hill the other day by Alexandra Occasio Cortez, when she took him to task on whether Facebook would remove material that was, that contained deliberate falsehoods. And he said they wouldn't. You agree with that?’

‘I agree with that. I admire the Congresswoman very much, and I see what she is trying to get at. But people have to be the arbiter of what's truth themselves. They, we cannot rely on the-’ ‘They’re not equipped to be the arbiters of truth’

‘We used to be. We used to have a less sort of infantile view of what the media was and how it was fed to us. I mean, you know, Britain has an amazing tradition of tabloid journalism in which people know what they're getting, know how to interpret it. And by reading a variety of sources arrive at the truth, which is obviously in between all of these things. We're now in a situation where we're asking a company, we're asking Google, we’re asking a blue checkmark, to be the arbiter of truth. And to me that is far more dangerous because it gets into a situation where we do have a monopoly on truth by corporations then’...

‘That super charging effect that's happened online, that has given rise to Jeremy Corbyn, to Bernie Sanders, to many, many things, that's going to be gone. We're putting the people at a permanent disadvantage against power and I think that would really be a shame’

‘And probably helped the rise of Donald Trump’

‘And probably helped the rise of Donald Trump.’

‘Okay, but you accept that that's all part of the same-’

‘Yeah, that is part of the same... power in the hands of the people.’"


Strange, I thought it was only in authoritarian countries that journalists were pro-censorship

Links - 13th March 2020 (1)

8-year-old girl at this Johor stall can fry char kway teow better than you - "Second-grader Zhuang Kaihui has been helping out at her grandmother's char kway teow stall ever since she was six, and recently picked up the spatula to learn the ropes of frying the dish. While she may be too young to wield the wok, Zhuang occasionally shows off her skills at the stall, frying up a mean plate of her favourite noodles under the watchful eye of her grandmother... Situated in Kulai, Johor, the stall, which locals christen "21-mile Char Kway Teow" due to the lack of a signboard, has been in operation for 42 years and shows no signs of stopping."

Pete Buttigieg faces criticism for calling Jesus a refugee - "South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg faced a flurry of criticism on Christmas day after he suggested that Jesus Christ entered into the world as a refugee."Today I join millions around the world in celebrating the arrival of divinity on earth, who came into this world not in riches but in poverty, not as a citizen but as a refugee"... "Joseph and Mary went to their ancestral home in Bethlehem for a census," conservative commentator Matt Walsh tweeted."[I]n no sense did Jesus 'come into this world as a refugee.' There’s also no reason to think that Joseph was particularly impoverished. So nothing about this tweet is correct". He argued Jesus wasn't a refugee when his family fled to Egypt, either, as "Egypt was a Roman territory."

Pete Buttigieg slammed for spreading fake news about Jesus on Christmas - The Post Millennial - "The Buttigieg Twitter storm over Jesus’s status is reminiscent of another recent row—one involving disgraced former women’s march organizer Linda Sarsour who tweeted the following back in July: “Jesus was Palestinian of Nazareth and is described in the Quran as being brown copper-skinned with wooly hair.”... As noted by Seth J. Frantzman in the Jerusalem Post, revisionist claims like Buttigieg’s and Sarsour’s result in “a negation of Jewish history and a modern-day attempt at replacement theology: to replace historical Jewish connections to the land 2,000 years ago, recreating an imagined history of Palestinians in place of Jews.”"

No, Buttigieg, Jesus Wasn't A Refugee, And Doesn't Endorse Your Policies - "Members of the holy family were not noncitizen refugees. Rather, they traveled to their home town of Bethlehem to register for a tax, or census. Their story relates to the $150 billion in cross-border remittances the United States loses each year when foreign residents send money abroad, and to the importance of counting citizens in the U.S. census — but it has nothing to do with refugee policy.Afterward, the holy family fled to Egypt when King Herod threatened them. But then they returned to Israel when the threat subsided. Notwithstanding the fact that both Israel and Egypt were controlled by Rome at the time of Christ, meaning the holy family didn’t even cross a border, today, many refugees remain in their destination countries indefinitely rather than returning home and aiding reconstruction. Buttigieg probably did not intend to suggest modern-day refugees should go back where they came from. An even worse immigration policy analogy came from a California church that protested President Trump’s border detention policy by displaying the baby Jesus and his parents as “kids in cages.” In fact, real-life “kids in cages” started under President Barack Obama. Moreover, the holy family were not illegal immigrants caught while unlawfully crossing an international border, unlike those detained in places where the U.S. needs a border wall. The general counsel of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office argued, “[O]n the night that we first came to the United States — Christmas Eve, 1979 — my mother, my brother and I were what President Trump would probably call illegal aliens.” Yet she also acknowledged that she and her family members were Jews fleeing Iran, a country that in 1979 succumbed to an antisemitic Islamist theocracy. Accordingly, Trump’s so-called Muslim ban privileged families such as hers because it “prioritize[d] refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution.”Prioritizing religious minorities not only helps Jews from Iran or Christians from Syria, but it also helps Muslims suffering persecution in countries such as China and Myanmar, and even atheists in places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. If the Brooklyn general counsel did her job, she would stop her office’s unconscionable and unconstitutional policy of treating illegal immigrants better than it treats U.S. citizens... If the experience of Native Americans losing their land to European immigrants offers a lesson for modern-day immigration policy, that lesson means the opposite of what Ocasio-Cortez and Buttigieg think it means. Importantly, Barber also alluded to another historical example that justifies immigration law enforcement. He said, “The reason we took the land is because people wanted to keep their slaves.” True. Spain brought the first African slaves to America 500 years ago. This year marks the 400-year anniversary of enslaved Africans reaching Virginia in 1619. The trans-Atlantic slave trade — human trafficking — is part of the history of immigration in America.This trade was banned in 1807. Nonetheless, the last known shipment of African slaves occurred decades later during an illegal border crossing"

Matt O'Brien: No, Trump's new Green Card rules are not un-American, anti-immigrant or unlawful - "U.S. immigration law explicitly states that anyone seeking admission to the United States, or applying for a green card, is ineligible if he/she is likely to become a “public charge.” The term “public charge” is a legal term of art that specifically refers to a person who is, or is liable to become, totally dependent upon government assistance for his/her survival... The first public charge law in the United States was enacted in 1645 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Public figures of the time praised this legislation in the decidedly blunt, un-PC language of their day, noting that it would prohibit the settlement of undesirable “vagabonds, paupers, toss-pots and other idle ne’er-do-wells.”... The first public charge law directly applicable to migrants was passed in 1882. For over one hundred years thereafter, immigrants’ admissibility to the United States was determined primarily based on their prospective ability to earn a living. And it is worth noting, millions of hard-working blue-collar immigrants still made their way to the United States and didn’t see public charge laws as “anti-immigrant.”In fact, had a social welfare system existed at the time, most of the Great Wave immigrants would have refused to access it. A desire to succeed through hard work, on their own terms, was what attracted them to the U.S. in the first place, not the promise of a handout. However, by the 1970s the notion of the “social welfare state” had taken firm root... In 1996, Congress attempted to address this situation, identifying “a compelling government interest to enact new rules for eligibility and sponsorship agreements in order to assure that aliens be self-reliant in accordance with national immigration policy.” It passed the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which strengthened public charge doctrine and required poorer immigrants to find a financial sponsor who agreed to support them should they fall on hard times. Both pieces of legislation passed with broad bi-partisan support and were signed without hesitation by then-President Clinton.However, in response to complaints from alien advocacy groups that the public charge rules were both “draconian” and “anti-immigrant,” the Clinton administration backpedaled... The Trump administration is both hewing closely to American tradition and respecting a law that was duly enacted by Congress. Why is it so important that the public understand the history of and logic behind the public charge rules? Because America’s social safety net is paid for with taxpayer dollars. Carelessly providing millions of dollars in benefits to foreigners who have never paid into our system will make America broke"

Bending the Law to Avoid Deporting Criminals - WSJ

Adam Liaw on Twitter - "My favourite (if controversial) summer barbecue hack is to buy a half loaf of bread and get them to run it through the slicer lengthways instead of sideways. It produces a sausage-sized piece of bread that makes for perfect “sausage in bread”. You’re welcome."

Nathan Puddy on Twitter - "What are some "guy secrets" girls don't know about?
The average guy is so starved for positive attention that a simple compliment is enough to get him interested in you."

How Often Should My Snake Eat? - "Snakes do not need to eat every day, and in fact they will not. If your new snake is refusing food, then you are probably feeding it too often. And if you feed your snake live prey (which is not always a necessity), the prey animal can injure and even kill your snake, especially if the reptile is not in the mood to eat. So how often should you feed your snake? It depends on a few variables, and there is no exact answer that will fit every snake. Here's what to consider.
    Size—How often you need to feed your snake varies by the size of the snake. And although it may seem surprising, smaller snakes actually need to eat more often. Small snakes, even adults, may need to eat twice every week. Larger snakes can go longer between meals, on average feeding once every one to three weeks...
Wondering why your reptile friend only needs to eat once a week? It makes sense if you think about it. Snakes swallow their food whole, and that means they need more time for digestion than you do, for instance. Your digestive process (and that of most mammals) begins when you start to chew your food. You have already helped along the process before the food reaches your stomach. Not so for your scaly companion, who has to expend a lot more energy simply on digesting its meal. Additionally, a snake's long, linear digestive system undergoes special processes to become dormant after digesting a large meal."

How Snakes Survive Months Without Food - "Snakes can lower their metabolic rates by up to 70 percent, allowing them to survive prolonged periods without food while growing longer nonetheless"

The Death of a Teenage Nymphomaniac - "Forrest Gump taught us that it doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, you can achieve anything as long as you’re a cis, hetero, white man."
"Oh, yes. Forrest Gump was so privileged. It’s not like he was mentally handicapped and his mother had to bang the school principal to get him into school or anything. It’s not like he was constantly bullied because he was handicapped and had braces on his knees. It’s not like he got into college only because he was a fantastic runner. It’s not like he went through a war and lost his best friend. It’s not like the woman he loved got sick and died and left him as a single father. Holy shit. Did you even watch the fucking movie, or are your concepts of privilege limited to one’s gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and sex? Or do you really believe that mentally handicapped people are privileged as long as they are cis, hetero, white males?"
"Apparently OP doesn’t like when disabled people belonging to certain races, genders, and sexual identities succeed."
"SJW logic: This mentally disabled person is privileged because he accomplished something and is a white man."

Lake District 'must change' to attract more diverse visitors - "The head of the Lake District National Park Authority in Cumbria says the rugged landscape excludes too many people and must change to attract a more diverse mix of visitors.His warning comes after attempts to make the UNESCO World Heritage site more inclusive have sparked a series of rows with conservationists. The authority is facing a High Court judicial review in the New Year over its refusal to ban 4x4 vehicles from some fell trails, while Keswick Town Council has passed a vote of no confidence in it over the creation of a tarmac path through woodland... Research shows visitors to the Lake District, where the rugged fells inspired the romantic poets and author Beatrix Potter, are too heavily weighted towards older, able-bodied white people. But conservationists have accused the park authority of launching an attack on the beauty and tranquillity of the area.  A crowdfunding effort to challenge the authority's "refusal to stop 4x4s and motorbikes ruining one of the most beautiful places in England" has raised more than £30,000 and will go to the High Court in 2020. Meanwhile, an £8m project to create an accessible multi-user trail with a tarmac surface between Keswick and Threlkeld has been condemned by Keswick Town Council.  The scheme, which will be completed at the end of 2020, was designed to replace a traditional stone-surfaced path that was destroyed by Storm Desmond in 2015."
"Diversity" ends up destroying everything

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Links - 12th March 2020 (2)

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Lawrence of Arabia - "‘There's the famous 1918 map where Lawrence sort of lays out his vision of what the region would look like. And it involves a Kurdish state, an Armenian state, an Arab state. But this is, I mean, to realize that kind of map would have involved what we now would call ethnic cleansing, right? Because it would necessarily call for the removal of populations into single ethnic states, which of course, the Middle East could never be because all of these regions were multi religious, multilingual, multi ethnic’"
We are told that Africa's problems are because of borders arbitrarily drawn by colonial masters, and the Middle East's are because of similar things (e.g. Sykes-Picot). That suggests that diversity is a bad idea - at a minimum, in the Third World. And given that Africa is also very diverse (if not even more so), those who propagate this hypothesis presumably think massive ethnic cleansing in Africa during decolonisation would've been a good idea

Episode 141: Devil, Satan, Lucifer, the Dev — The Art History Babes - "Satan first appeared in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, but he is not an evil figure in the Old Testament. Rather in the book of Job... Satan is an angel who just argues with God about whether Job is faithful or not. So like the phrase devil's advocate, that's basically what that means. So it's, it's not an evil figure. It's just a figure that is arguing kind of for the sake of having a counter argument... So Satan in Hebrew or Sah Tahn, I believe is how it's pronounced in Hebrew means the opposer. So the opposer is still God's dude, though he's just pointing out the ways in which humankind can betray God. And the snake that tempts Eve in the Garden of Eden is commonly thought of as Satan but a lot of biblical scholars actually think Genesis predates the idea slash character of the devil. But then once we move on towards the New Testament, which was written around like 2000ish years ago, Satan becomes evil. And he's viewed as a corruptor of those who were once faithful to God… there were apparently a faction of Jews who were working with the Romans. And Satan became like, viewed as that was the reason why they were doing it. There was no other kind of logical excuse… And then Lucifer becomes connected to the devil and Lucifer is an angel whose name translates to bearer of light that fell from heaven. And in the book of Luke, Jesus says, quote, I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. So there we go. That's the connection where Satan and Lucifer emerge...
Jesus had the sheep. And Satan had the goats and I thought like that's another prime example because obviously whenever anyone wants to take a shot at someone for just like kind of following the pack and like not thinking for themselves, you call them sheep, right? But the goat figure is kind of the figure of thinking for yourself and being independent. So you have this bigger theme of being like an individual and like that aligns with the devil and images of the devil"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Sommeliers: Wine waiters uncorked - "People are maybe a little bit surprised how little wine we actually drink. I would say that I have probably a lesser consumption of just enjoying and drinking wine than the normal Swede"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Can chocolate be clean? - "In Ghana and Ivory Coast over the years, there's been a lot of education with cocoa growing families about child labor, but it really isn't as simple as that is it? During the cocoa harvest everybody mucks in, it’s a few weeks. For the children in the family not to pull up the machete too, it would be very unusual...
I think 80% of artisan chocolate in the world is bought as gifts...
‘How much chocolate do you actually eat a day?’
‘None… I work in a chocolate factory. Can you imagine, you get sick of it after a while’"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Taiwan's Bright Ideas - "Greenland has a quarter of the world's supply of rare earth metals, which makes it something like the Saudi Arabia of the green future. You cannot have wind turbines, electric cars, computers or mobile phones without the minerals which lie in profusion here. In some places, you can shine an ultraviolet torch on a mountainside, and the rocks will glow like cinders, jammed with rare earth metal. President Trump was mocked for his plan to buy Greenland, but it makes economic sense. His offer was actually the third time since 1867 that the United States has considered it"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The fragile peace on the frontline in Eastern Ukraine - "The FSB been on to him from the very start. They showed me video footage Mr. Bag [sp?] says and admits he felt very alone and scared. They said: don't lie Freder [sp?]. We know everything. This September Mr Bag’s guards let him out of his cell to a prison office. Inside were the agents who arrested him at the table spread with food. They told him he was due to be freed, they were inviting him to celebrate. At that odd prison feast, the FSB had a copy of a report I'd filmed on his case some months before. It was the first time Freder had seen anything of his wife in almost two years. On the video Anita was crying. That was hard, the big man told me quietly. The agents had also bought two books about him that the prison censors had banned. They wanted him to sign their copies. Thanks for your cooperation he wrote, and he signed off Freder Bag, the fourth of a prison [sp?], then handed the books back to his interrogators. It was another two months before he was finally released, driven to the airport in the middle of the night. The FSB convoy stopped first at McDonald's. They eventually arrived at the Lithuanian border, where Mr Bag and two others were to be exchanged for Russian agents captured in Europe. The FSB read out the message from Putin. The pardon, Mr. Bag recalls. The five spies then approached one another on fought and crossed simultaneously to freedom. As that conversation winds down, I asked Freder Bag whether he feels safe to return to Russia, and he says he asked the FSB that at their farewell party. Of course you can come back, one of his interrogators had replied over shots of cognac. Come whenever you want, so we can arrest you again and swap you for another of our own. He was joking, Freder Bag tells me, but he's not planning to test that."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Can Afghanistan find peace? - "Something's not right here. I'm having to pinch myself. I’ve just come into the Arrivals Hall at reality King Khalid airport, and I've encountered the unexpected. An immigration officer sitting in his booth has just smiled at me and asked me how my day is going. I know. In case you think I'm being cheeky here, let me give you some context. For the 30 years that I've been coming to Saudi Arabia, these sort of pleasantries would be completely out of character. Ever since the Islamic Revolution swept across Iran in 1979, Saudi Arabia, its great regional rival, went out of its way to prove its adherence to an austere interpretation of Islam. As well as a ban on alcohol, that meant no public entertainment, no shisha cafes, no music. Basically no fun. Well, today, Saudi Arabia is changing. Fast. In the two years since my last visit, just before Prince Mohammed bin Salman known as MBS, became Crown Prince, the power and reach of the religious conservatives here has been radically curtailed. Under his direction, a massive drive for entertainment is underway. With international performers like Mariah Carey, David Guetta, and the Black Eyed Peas playing to packed and mixed audiences. The Crown Prince is on a personal drive to make the public image of Saudi Arabia, a softer, nicer place. But, and you probably guessed there was a but coming. There is a darker side to all this. If I was to characterize the Crown Prince’s approach to social reform, it would be this. It's either my way or the highway. In his determination to drive through much needed change, MBS has also driven a steamroller through human rights and democracy. Arbitrary detensions are rife, with women's rights protesters, Islamic clerics and pro democracy bloggers all put behind bars. Executions, sometimes following opqaue closed trials, are on the rise. I asked a Saudi commentator what he made of this twin edged aspect of MBS’s rule. He's no angel, he replied. But he's not a devil either. And Saudis he said, especially young people, are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Well, the optimism that so many Saudis still feel about this relatively young, charismatic Crown Prince is based in large part on his ability to deliver on the economic front. And this month, something happened that literally shocked the Saudi economy to its core. At 4am, on the morning of September the 14th, 25 cruise missiles and explosive drones, slammed into some of the country's most vital oil installations."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, If we burn you burn with us - "[She] thinks that Russia’s gender imbalance - 79 million women to only 68 million men -  diminishes women's bargaining power in relationships. She says her mother told her to put up with everything if she wanted a husband. We have an expression here she says, *something*. If he beats you He loves you...
Next to becoming a baker, the French want to be hairdressers. It's the second most popular artistsan career choice for school leavers. And hair salons are almost as plentiful as bakeries. About 85,000 of them countrywide, twice the number in the UK for about the same population. But when it comes to training, it's all color and styling. There's very little on actually how to cut hair. The result, bad haircuts, cunningly disguised with artful blow drying and tweaks of the tongs... In the salons, there are 10,000 job vacancies and at least the same number of dissatisfied customers... The style falls apart at the very next hair wash. Outside of Paris, well, I think the women have just given up, they have it all cut off in despair, a very masculine look... Young people, demoralized by apprenticeships spent sweeping the floor are further frustrated by the lack of modern training. Who wants to learn chemical hair coloring when organic is all the rage, so they comb the internet instead, looking for international inspiration and online tutorials. Many clients are so sick of being rushed through the copious big name chain salons, only to be coerced into buying expensive hair products at the till that they're opting for the tranquility of booking a cost effective haircut at home. For French women, keeping one’s figure is a non negotiable duty. One just has to stay slim. It’s hair that's the real obsession, an ever present opportunity for gorgeous reinvention"

The Cycle Of SJW Inclusivity : KotakuInAction - "Step One: We demand you include us in your space.
Step Two: We demand you change your space to accommodate us.
Step Three: We demand you stop harassing us because you don’t like our demands.
Step Four: We demand new laws or rules be enacted to remove “you” from the space “we’ve” created as you don’t fall in line with our vision of what the space should be.
Step Five: Why don’t you go off and create your own space if you don’t like it?
Step Six: We demand you not create your own space after we have kicked you out of “our” space as you having your own space is inherently racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic.
Rinse & Repeat."

Judith on Twitter - The Profane Feminist: "I hate men. And no, I won’t apologize for that statement or make qualifications. If you feel the need to point out the exceptions, you aren’t the exception."
"I'll say it again. The main reason people think feminists hate men is because they say they do. They don't hide it in shame, they are proud of it. And their hate is shared by hundreds of other feminists. Feminist ideologies are imbued with misandry."

Tinder Resistance - Posts - "M*n are tr*sh
Yet, I'm attracted to them. A conundrum, I know
Intersectional feminist & activist
Fuck Trump."

Orwell & Goode - Posts - "Sorry white people, but trying too hard not to be racist is low-key kind of racist"
"nothing is ever good enough"

Orwell & Goode - Posts - "2012: Occupy Wall St - 'Foreclose on banks not people'
2018: J.P.Morgan *Pride float*"
"Woke capital"

Age Of Shitlords - Posts - "If I can't even afford ramen, I'll eat the rich"
*Boots: $112.95-$259.98*
"How do you do, fellow poor people"?
I guess we now know why she can't afford ramen

Colin Grant On The Windrush Generation

Colin Grant On The Windrush Generation | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra

"In 1947 or 48, or even before, I think people had a real sense that they were British. There was no Jamaican passport in the 40s. There was no Trinidadian passport, there were British passports and everything revolved around Britain.

If you can imagine, my mother, born in 1932, when she went to school, all the books were imported from Britain. My mother knows how to fold the Union Flag. She knows how to recite verbatim Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth. I remember as a child being transfixed by her on a Saturday morning, she'd be cleaning the house, reciting Gunga Din by Kipling. Verbatim. She knew every single word.

When they went to the cinema, and the Realto cinema in Kingston, Jamaica in the 1940s, at the beginning of a screening the audience would stand up to sing the British National Anthem. At the end of the screening, the audience would stand up to sing the British National Anthem.

When I interviewed a man... from British Guiana, and now Guyana, he talked about the fact that when he came to this country, and he went to the cinema, and at the end of the film he stood up as the credits rolled, he looked around and everybody was seated. He couldn't believe it, he thought what’s wrong with these people? So they were actually very, very patriotic…

They were Anglophiles, or Afro-Saxons. And so then the notion of coming to England was very, very attractive, very, very exciting, because they’d read about Oxford Circus. They'd read about Trafalgar Square, just imagine the romance of those names. There's a man in the book called Wallace Collins came from Jamaica in the 50s. And what often happened when people arrived, they were so excited to say: we have reached, as we say in Jamaica, they would send photographs back home to the folks who were already very excited about what news would be coming forth from the motherland and send postcards. And this man Wallace Collins went to Trafalgar Square… a pigeon perched on his head and dropped something on his head. And he wrote back home really excitedly: I am making history…

Because nobody from their family maybe would have been there before. They were going on with this amazing adventure. They were going to the seat of Empire to the heart of the metropolis, and they were going to be rewarded in terms of the possibilities that opened up before them…

This phrase that was written in little cards and windows as people looked for a combination, that phrase was no dogs, no blacks, no Irish, no gypsies... a lovely woman from Guyana. She's 92 now, she's a teacher. Was a teacher, and one of the first educational psychologists, black psychologists in this country. And she said that she would send word in advance. If she saw an advert, she would send word in advance to the landlord that she was black, so that she wouldn't waste her or their time, because she would be refused so often...

I really loved the Caribbean approach to hardship and to slights. So, for instance, there are many, many slights shown to them when they were trying to find employment. But they would repel the slights... [Mr Johnson] talks about going to find employment and to get there, the potential post. Oh, sorry, Mr. Johnson. Oh, you just a minute too late. I'm so sorry. And Mr. Johnson said: boy the Englishman is the kindest man in the world when he's telling you no. So they had kind of humor which they used to protect themselves from these slights, from these injuries.

And we talk a lot these days about so called micro aggressions. These people were suffering macro aggressions on a daily basis, but they worked out strategies about how to get round it. They took things on the chin. They pulled up their collar, Charlotte and they walked on. And good for them…

After the Second World War, Britain was bombed out, there were mounds of rubble everywhere. In 1947 Winston Churchill pleaded, with the half a million people had put in applications to emigrate to Canada, to Australia, to New Zealand, to South Africa. These young white British people were leaving. Half a million of them left in the two years up, in the 10 years after 1948. And in a way they were replaced by West Indians, Irish, Indians, Pakistan, displaced Europeans, so they were needed...

In Guyana, he was a former policeman, he says in Guyana the only people who run are the people who are criminals running away from the scene of a crime, or running out of the rain. So when he gets Liverpool Street at five o'clock in the hour, he sees all these people running, running, running. He’d think oh my God, there’re so many criminals here…

They were also very surprised by things like outside toilets. I mean, the notion that these were uncivilized people coming into the civilized Motherland was turned on its head when they realized that the combination was drafty, dirty, grimy. They had to share a toilets and the toilets outside, you had to do your cooking on the landing on a parrafin heater. They met and were  surprised by the levels of privation… Derek Walcott said that many people were surprised by the sight of whites hands doing nigger work. That's his poem"


Perhaps this is where the myth of no dogs and Chinese came from

As the Guyanian lady knew, anti-discrimination laws just waste the time of both parties

A stunning indictment of modern snowflakes

Links - 12th March 2020 (1)

Countries With The Most Public Holidays - "Of all countries on the globe, Cambodia tops the list for the most public holidays with 28 public holidays observed annually. Sri Lanka follows with 25, India and Kazakhstan with 21, Colombia, the Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago with 18, China and Hong Kong with 17, and Thailand, Turkey, and Pakistan with 16."

For richer, for poorer: do public holidays help or hinder economic growth? - "“The sectors that lose from bank holidays are offices, factories and construction sites. These sectors account for about 47% of the economy. Those that gain are retail, wholesale, hotels and restaurants. These sectors account for about 14% of the economy.”In what it admitted was a rough and ready calculation, CEBR said each bank holiday cost £2.3 billion in foregone GDP, making more than £18 billion for all eight holidays... “Should we reduce the number of bank holidays...This is more a social than an economic judgment. Money is not the only thing and a healthy lifestyle needs time off to reflect and relax.”"

Haikal Idris on Twitter - ""Can anyone name ONE country where muslims is the majority and theres particular race being oppressed? Yes exactly. NONE!"
"Oh boy here’s a thread
Indonesia: Chinese minorities targeted in 1998 riots and culture genocide
Egypt: Christians killed, persecuted with most recent being 26 killed in a church bombing
Afghanistan: Hazara people massacred, persecuted and marginalised
Brunei: Christians banned from proselytism
Iran: Kurds and Baluchs discriminated and marginalised
Somali: Bantu ethnic minority marginalised, stigmatised and called slaves
Sudan: Slavery of black Africans with slaves sold at 50USD a person
Iraq: Kurds genocide, Mandaean and Yazidi ethnic cleansing, total number of Christians in Baghdad from 500k to 250k now
Lebanon: Apartheid against Palestinians in their country
Saudi Arabia: Anyone not Arab and from Asia is automatically a second class citizen
Bangladesh: 150k Biharis have been killed since 1971
Pakistan: Christian, Hindu, Atheist & Ahmadis discriminated, their places of worship attacked
Turkey: Discrimination against Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, Zazas and cultural genocide of Kurds
Malaysia: Ask your non-malay friend"

Andy Lee Chaisiri's answer to Why don’t some Chinese restaurants make authentic Chinese food instead of the Americanized version? - Quora - "When I lived in Beijing I once asked a cab driver what he considered ‘Authentic Beijing food’, his response was something along the lines of…
“Nothing is authentic Beijing food, not even duck, Beijing is where servants of the imperial court brought their regional foods and changed them to local tastes”.
So yeah that “Americanized Chinese food” you’ve had, it’s got over a century of history, it’s as ‘authentic’ as any Chinese food.
Hell most ‘Americanized Chinese food’ has more history than say ‘authentic Italian margarita pizza’, that tomato cheese dish was created in 1889. Meanwhile ‘new Americanized Chinese food’ like chop suey has been around since the 1800’s. How about that ‘authentic Beijing duck’?... 1864, that makes it possibly newer than ‘Americanized Chinese food’ like chop suey! Look at all those ‘Authentic Chinese dishes’ with tomatoes, baby corn, bell peppers, red peppers, those are all ingredients from the Americas, they’re the product of international trade."

Mon Querubin's answer to Why don’t some Chinese restaurants make authentic Chinese food instead of the Americanized version? - Quora - "I onced asked here on Quora why Americanized Chinese foods are maligned whereas Southeast Asian Chinese dishes are celebrated despite both being not authentic Chinese. My question was removed from Quora in 20 minutes."
An "insincere" question is anything which threatens the liberal consensus

Wish.com and the Rise of Shipping From China - The Atlantic - "The package came in a small black box, covered in tape. It had no return address. Under layers of packaging, there was a box labeled Smart Watch, with no brand name. Inside the box was the watch itself, which looked nothing like the inexpensive Apple Watch I’d hoped it would be. Instead, the large digital face featured icons for Twitter, Facebook, a pedometer, and a photo-taking app called “Camina” rather than “camera.” It was about what you’d expect for a smart watch that cost less than $20... Wish is emblematic of a growing trend in e-commerce: shoppers buying directly from Chinese manufacturers and merchants. Wish and sites like AliExpress, LightInTheBox, and even Amazon have enabled more Chinese sellers to penetrate the U.S. market, where they compete with U.S. manufacturers and U.S. retailers who themselves have been importing goods from China. Though the products from these sites take longer to arrive because they’re coming from overseas, some analysts think sites like Wish represent the future of shopping. Wish is, according to Forbes, worth $8.5 billion, about the same as Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Sears combined. Its valuation has more than doubled since a year ago, when it received $500 million in funding. Its logo now appears on the jerseys of the Los Angeles Lakers... “As long as retail has existed, you’ve always had retailers sell to customers, because many manufacturers were unfit to do so,” Juozas Kaziukėnas, the founder and CEO of Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce research site, told me. “But over time, as information has spread and it becomes easier, you have manufacturers selling, too.” Kaziukėnas estimates that as many as one-third of Amazon’s sellers are based in China. Often, Chinese sellers will ship products in bulk to the United States, where they’ll sit in warehouses operated by Amazon, Wish, or other companies, until U.S. companies order them, he said... The Postal Service makes it easy for Chinese sellers to ship cheaply to the United States: Under a program called ePacket, merchants can ship items that weigh less than 4.4 pounds, and receive tracking and delivery confirmation services for a low rate. Often, it costs less to ship a package to a U.S. destination from China than it does to ship that item domestically. Sites like Wish have created a whole new type of shopping for customers whose first priority is low prices... It’s much cheaper to make goods in China because of the low cost of labor and lax labor requirements. That’s why shoppers once flocked to stores like Target or Walmart, where they could buy low-priced goods imported from China. Target and Walmart provided quality control, but for customers willing to take a risk, sites like Wish work well... Sites like Wish also create problems for localities trying to collect sales tax on items sold online. Most sellers from China are third-party sellers, which means that sites like Amazon and Wish do not have to collect sales tax on items sold in most states. (Many states are currently fighting this practice in court.) Even if more states begin requiring third-party sellers to begin collecting sales tax, it will be more difficult to enforce the law against companies based in China than those with a U.S. presence... Still, there are signs that some customers won’t stand for low-quality products... At the end of the day, it seems, you still get what you pay for."

Duck has penis removed after mating 10 times a day - "The UK-based quacker was forced to have his “traumatized” penis surgically removed after it became infected due to his insatiable sex drive. Dave reportedly engaged in fowl play with flocks of lady ducks on the reg.Dave’s owner, Josh Watson of Torquay, Devon, said his “nymphomaniac” pet would “mate with his female companions” Dora, Edith and Freda “between five and 10 times a day” — even when it wasn’t mating season.  It got to the point where his threesome partners would “wander off” during sex and even peck at his pecker to ward off unwanted advances... Unfortunately, the horny drake (i.e., male duck) paid the ultimate price for his amorous activities — his member became “gangrenous.”  “The end of his penis had basically died and it was pretty horrific,” Watson said. “It started not going in, and we’d give him a bath to keep it clean.”  When antibiotics failed to remedy the problem, Watson took Dave to Bristol’s Highcroft Veterinary hospital. Veterinarian Sonya Miles said “overuse and him being far too amorous” had caused Dave’s member to prolapse and become septic — a condition that could become “life-threatening” if untreated.  So they lopped off his putrid phallus, leaving only a centimeter-long stub behind. Fortunately, Dave can still urinate — the duck penis is only used for sex... Dave’s lack of a penis won’t stop him from attempting to mate, according to Miles. To temper Dave’s temptations — and help him recover from surgery — Watson has since separated Dave from his feathery bedfellows."

Chloe Stunning German model that resembles an elf - "Chloe is a stunning model from Germany, she’s currently working as the exclusive brand model for the Korean boutique brand “Chuu” in Korea"

A camel through the eye of a needle: The influence of the prosperity gospel on financial risk-taking, optimistic bias, and positive emotion. - "prosperity gospel messages generate heightened optimistic bias (Experiments 1 and 2), high arousal positive affect (Experiment 2), and financial risk-taking (Experiment 1). The results also indicated that even a secularized version of prosperity gospel leads to positivity bias, for both theists and atheists. This suggests the effectiveness of prosperity gospel lies in its ability to evoke positive states rather than communicate specifically religious teachings"

Embankment's 'mind the gap' announcements have an emotional story behind them - "If you go to Embankment station and get on the Northern Line you’ll hear the famous cries of ‘mind the gap’ as you would in other London stations.However, at this specific station and on this specific line it isn’t the same announcement you’ll be hearing, and the story behind it is heartbreaking... The story – told by John Bull – starts with a woman bursting into tears at Embankment in 2016, begging staff to tell her where ‘the voice’ had gone. She was referring to the voice of the ‘mind the gap’ announcement, which had been recorded by a man called Oswald Laurence. Oswald was the woman’s late husband, and she’d come to Embankment (the last station where it was still played) to hear his voice since his passing, seven years earlier. John said: ‘The woman, a GP called Dr Margaret McCollum, explained that her husband was an actor called Oswald Laurence. Oswald had never become famous, but he HAD been the chap who had recorded all the Northern Line announcements back in the seventies. ‘Oswald’s death had left a hole in Margaret’s heart. But one thing had helped. Every day, on her way to work, she got to hear his voice. ‘Sometimes, when it hurt too much, she explained, she’d just sit on the platform at Embankment and listen to the announcements for a bit longer... The staff apologised to Margaret, telling her that there was nothing they could do, as the system was being digitised. But, touched by her story, they decided to see if they could at least find the recordings of Oswald. They managed to do more than just that in the end, thanks to some hard work from people across the London Underground network. As John said, ‘Archives were searched, old tapes found and restored. More people had worked to digitize them. Others had waded through the code of the announcement system to alter it while still more had sorted out the paperwork and got exemptions.’ Margaret was then given a CD of Oswald’s recordings, and his voice was later completely restored at Embankment, back where it had been since 1969"

Mind the Gap Tube announcement returns after wife's plea - "Oswald Laurence's voice was used on the northbound Northern Line but was phased out until only Embankment used it... The first voice used on the network was that of sound engineer Peter Lodge but several other voices have since been used... he always secretly hoped he would get a chance to "freak people" by saying "I warned you" if someone happened not to take note of the warnings."

How is NordVPN unblocking Disney+? It might be through YOUR own computer. Even if you’ve never used Disney+ or NordVPN. - "NordVPN is linked closely with a Lithuanian data mining company called Tesonet. NordVPN is said to be one of Tesonet’s projects, Oxylabs.io is another one.So what’s the big deal? Oxylabs.io advertises on its website “32M+ residential proxies…100% anonymous proxies from all over the globe with zero IP blocking.” Think of “residential proxies” this way: 1.) Oxylabs installs some malware on to a user’s device, unknown to the user, by bundling it with other software that the user downloads. 2.)This malware enables Oxylabs to sell off your bandwidth, your computing power, and your IP address to third parties, who will route their internet traffic through your device.Does that mean your device can be used by a third party to access child porn or hack into a bank? Absolutely! Another VPN provider named Hola was called out for reselling users’ bandwidth in this way through their B2B service (Luminati), and incidentally Hola is suing Tesonet for copying Hola’s technology."

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Links - 11th March 2020 (2)

The CBC wants to cancel Baby Yoda - The Post Millennial - "In a year of spectacularly horrible hot takes, the CBC managed to produce the most cringeworthy, nonsensical think piece yet—“The phantom menace: When Baby Yoda memes go bad.” This isn’t their original title. They originally went with “It’s time to cancel Baby Yoda.”... Veronica Shepard argues that Baby Yoda is problematic because the memes that have sprung up featuring his likeness do not necessarily reflect Disney’s intentions for the character. She claims there are “unmeasurable risks companies are taking by handing over their brands to unknown creators.” Basically, she’s calling for Disney to grab hold of the social media verse and shut down the memes because the memes are both annoying to her personally and don’t honour the integrity of the brand"

Why Child Care Is So Expensive - The Atlantic - "In the United States, per-child spending doubled from the 1970s to the 2000s, according to a 2013 paper by Sabino Kornich of the University of Sydney and Frank Furstenberg of the University of Pennsylvania. Parents spent more on education, toys, and games. But nothing grew faster than per-child spending on child care, which increased by a factor of 21—or approximately 2,000 percent—in those 40 years... The 1970s and ’80s—the two decades when the female labor participation rate grew the fastest—also saw the greatest acceleration in child-care spending, according to Kornich and Furstenberg. Raising young children is work—and it always has been work—but the rise of dual-earner households has forced more families to recognize this work with their wallets... The average cost of a full-time child-care program in the U.S. is now $16,000 a year—and more, in some states, than tuition at a flagship university... The industry is highly regulated, perhaps reasonably so, given the vulnerability of the clientele—which is the second key driver of child-care costs. As Jordan Weissmann has reported in The Atlantic, states with strict labor laws tend to have the most expensive facilities... Other costs include insurance to cover damage to the property and worker injuries, as well as legal fees to deal with inevitable parent lawsuits.  Finally, there’s the real estate. The most expensive child-care facilities tend to be situated near high-income neighborhoods or in commercial districts, where the rents are high. And they can’t downsize in a pinch, because most states require them to have ample square footage for each kid. The state of American child care might be defensible if it were expensive and high-quality—or if it were crummy but cheap.  Instead, the U.S. has the worst of both worlds... In 2015, the Council of Economic Advisers wrote that every $1 spent on early-childhood education results in roughly $8.60 of societal benefits, “about half of which comes from increased earnings for children when they grow up.”... building a high-quality national caretaking workforce will take years, and shoddy national day care might be worse than the alternative.An analysis of Quebec’s effort to expand access to cheap child care, for example, found mixed results. Its programs succeeded in raising the labor-force participation rate of mothers without breaking the bank for taxpayers. But young Canadians who were eligible for the program experienced, as teenagers, “a significant worsening in self-reported health and in life satisfaction” relative to Canadians from other provinces. So, did the Quebec child-care experiment “work”? Yes, for parents and public financing. Perhaps not for the kids."

Europe, Not America, Is the Home of the Free Market - The Atlantic - "When I arrived in the United States from France in 1999, I felt like I was entering the land of free markets. Nearly everything—from laptops to internet service to plane tickets—was cheaper here than in Europe.Twenty years later, this is no longer the case. Internet service, cellphone plans, and plane tickets are now much cheaper in Europe and Asia than in the United States, and the price differences are staggering... In 1999, the United States had free and competitive markets in many industries that, in Europe, were dominated by oligopolies. Today the opposite is true. French households can typically choose among five or more internet-service providers; American households are lucky if they have a choice between two, and many have only one. The American airline industry has become fully oligopolistic; profits per passenger mile are now about twice as high as in Europe, where low-cost airlines compete aggressively with incumbents. This is in part because the rest of the world was inspired by the United States and caught up, and in part because the United States became complacent and fell behind. In the late 1990s, legally incorporating a business in France took 15 administrative steps and 53 days; in 2016, it took only four days. Over the same period, however, the entry delay in the United States went up from four days to six days... The irony is that the free-market ideas and business models that benefit European consumers today were inspired by American regulations circa 1990. Meanwhile, in industry after industry in the United States—the country that invented antitrust laws—incumbent companies have increased their market power by acquiring nascent competitors, heavily lobbying regulators, and lavishly spending on campaign contributions... [EU] politicians were more worried about the regulator being captured by the other country than they were attracted by the opportunity to capture the regulator themselves. French (or German) politicians might not like a strong and independent antitrust regulator within their own borders, but they like even less the idea of Germany (or France) exerting political influence over the EU’s antitrust regulator. As a result, if they are to agree on any supranational institution, it will have a bias toward more independence... A central argument of the Chicago school of antitrust—whose laissez-faire approach was influential in persuading American regulators to take a more hands-off attitude toward mergers—is that monopoly power is transient because high profits attract new competitors. If profits rise in one industry and fall in another, one would expect more entry of new firms in the former than in the latter. This used to be true—until the late 1990s. Since about 2000, however, high profits have persisted, rather than attracting new competitors to the American market. This suggests a shift from an economy where entry acted as a fundamental rebalancing mechanism to one where high profits mostly reflect large barriers to entry. The Chicago school took free entry for granted and underestimated the many ways in which large firms can keep new rivals out... In my research on monopolization in the American economy, I estimate that the basket of goods and services consumed by a typical household in 2018 cost 5 to 10 percent more than it would have had competition remained as healthy as it was in 2000. Competitive prices would directly save at least $300 a month per household, translating to a nationwide annual household savings of about $600 billion... Monopoly profits do not translate into increased investment. Instead, just as economic theory predicts, they flow into dividends and share buybacks... Taxes cannot solve all of America’s problems. Taxes can redistribute. Competition can redistribute, but it can also grow the pie."

Miley Cyrus' split with Liam Hemsworth isn't just celebrity gossip — it's a blow to the patriarchy - "Over the past week, an assortment of trending stories — from Jeffrey Epstein to the Dayton and El Paso mass shooters, to Miley Cyrus’s separation and Julianne Hough’s declaration that she’s “not straight” — together have laid bare the strictures of an American patriarchy on the edge of a nervous breakdown. As the status quo, heterosexuality is just not working... Men need heterosexuality to maintain their societal dominance over women. Women, on the other hand, are increasingly realizing not only that they don’t need heterosexuality, but that it also is often the bedrock of their global oppression... This is a far cry from the type of freedom espoused by those on the right, for whom freedom, as I wrote in an earlier article on how misogyny is the driver of mass shootings in America, is conflated with domination... “A feminist critique of compulsory heterosexual orientation for women is long overdue,” Adrienne Rich wrote in her 1980 feminist classic “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.” It looks like this critique has finally arrived in the mainstream"
???
Did NBC publish this as part of a MRA plot to make feminists look batshit crazy?
Apparently it is a myth that feminists are lesbians


Quokka Selfies: What's the Deal With That Cute Australian Critter? - "Until recently, many people outside of Australia had never heard of thequokka, a Muppet-cute (despite its beady eyes and rat's tail) marsupial with an irresistible smile."

Matt Walsh on Twitter - "Leftists circa 2005: "Just let us live how we want. We aren't hurting you."
Leftists today: "Publicly renounce biological science or we will rip you to shreds and ruin your life.""
The "myth" of the slippery slope

The Yaboiposting - Posts - "To all the women who get annoyed when their kindness gets misinterpreted as romantic interest, it’s nothing personal. Kindness from strangers is so rare, we think overly nice men want to bang us too"

Boris Johnson: 'Sharia law in the UK is absolutely unacceptable' - "That is unacceptable to me. Everybody must be equal under the law, and everybody must obey the same law. That is absolutely cast-iron"
Proof of Tory Islamophobia!

Stangle: Impossible burgers are made of what? - " The impossible whopper has 10 grams of usable protein and the whopper has 22 grams of usable protein. So you would have to eat two and a quarter impossible whoppers to get the same protein in one whopper. Now, let’s compare the estrogen hormone in an impossible whopper to the whopper made from hormone implanted beef. The impossible whopper has 44 mg of estrogen and the whopper has 2.5 ng of estrogen. Now let me refresh your metric system. There are 1 million nanograms (ng) in one milligram (mg). That means an impossible whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper. Just six glasses of soy milk per day has enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male. That’s the equivalent of eating four impossible whoppers per day. You would have to eat 880 pounds of beef from an implanted steer to equal the amount of estrogen in one birth control pill... What’s funny about the impossible whopper being a GMO is that the people most likely to eat it are the ones most likely to be against GMO’s."

Nonprofit director slams ‘self-inflicted wound’ of ‘identity politics’ in English after liberal arts majors found to make less money - "“The liberal arts—taught with rigor—can make a vitally important contribution to a student’s education,” Johnathan Pidluzny, ACTA’s director of academic affairs, told Campus Reform. However, “ACTA is very concerned about the politicization of humanities disciplines,” Pidluzny explained. “One of the reasons for collapsing enrollments in majors like history is that fewer historians are teaching the meaningful, ‘big picture’ courses—the kind that cultivate real understanding of the American democracy and Western civilization.” Instead, he says that many humanities departments are failing to cultivate “even basic numeracy and literacy” in their students, making them undesirable to employers.  “The English major was once a guarantor of effective, formal writing skills and the ability to comprehend and analyze the complex thoughts found within centuries of brilliant and challenging poetry and prose,” the director of academic affairs told Campus Reform, discussing one such major. “Its decline into the epiphenomena of popular culture and identity politics is a self-inflicted wound that has rocked its credibility.”"

Is Majoring in English Worth It? - WSJ - "In a ranking of 162 college majors by median income and unemployment rate, English majors landed among the bottom dwellers, at 132. At $47,800 in median income, they did better than those in drama ($35,500) or fine arts ($37,000), but they earned less than half as much as someone who majored in, say, electrical engineering ($99,000). Alas, even if your undergrad is happy with his English major now, other studies say he will come to regret it. In June, a Payscale survey of 250,000 college grads reported 1 in 5 with a humanities degree as saying that, next to their student loans, their choice of major was their biggest educational regret. A 2017 MarketWatch story was blunt: It called English “the most regretted college major in America.”... Colleges sell themselves as a ticket to upward mobility, without providing the data students and parents need to weigh college costs against expected benefits. Humanities students have it even worse, because the watering down of the curriculum has diminished the value of degrees such as English or history... “When you spend $100,000 or more for something, you are entitled to know the probable value of what you are getting”... 48 of 52 top schools (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report) allow English majors to graduate without ever having taken a course on Shakespeare. In the past ACTA has also highlighted studies showing that the average grad, even those from prestigious flagship universities, shows little or no improvement in critical thinking for having gone to college.Here the much-maligned English degree is simply a proxy for what is wrong with college today. It isn’t that STEM subjects are the only majors worth anything. It’s that the humanities have disproportionately been infected by political correctness and the malignant influence of Herbert Marcuse, father of the “repressive tolerance” so prevalent on campuses these days... college grads who “strongly agree” they were challenged academically are 2.4 times more likely to say their degree was worth the cost.  So why have the sciences kept their integrity while the humanities haven’t? Mr. Pidluzny suggests it’s because the costs of a dumbed-down STEM degree can be both more obvious and more consequential.  “The university can’t get away with not teaching engineering students differential equations because we’d then have collapsing bridges all over the place”"

Why Kids Can’t Write - The New York Times - "Focusing on the fundamentals of grammar is one approach to teaching writing. But it’s by no means the dominant one. Many educators are concerned less with sentence-level mechanics than with helping students draw inspiration from their own lives and from literature... Ms. Wanzer led the students in a freewrite, a popular English class strategy of writing without stopping or judging. First, she read aloud from “Bird by Bird,” Anne Lamott’s 1995 classic on how to write with voice. “You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind,” the memoirist writes. “Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.”... even when Ms. Wanzer encounters juniors and seniors whose essays are filled with incomplete sentences — not an uncommon occurrence — she limits the time she spends covering dull topics like subject-verb agreement. “You hope that by exposing them to great writing, they’ll start to hear what’s going on.” Three-quarters of both 12th and 8th graders lack proficiency in writing, according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress. And 40 percent of those who took the ACT writing exam in the high school class of 2016 lacked the reading and writing skills necessary to complete successfully a college-level English composition class, according to the company’s data... So-called process writing, like the lesson Lyse experienced in Long Island, emphasizes activities like brainstorming, freewriting, journaling about one’s personal experiences and peer-to-peer revision. Adherents worry that focusing too much on grammar or citing sources will stifle the writerly voice and prevent children from falling in love with writing as an activity. That ideology goes back to the 1930s, when progressive educators began to shift the writing curriculum away from penmanship and spelling and toward diary entries and personal letters as a psychologically liberating activity. Later, in the 1960s and 1970s, this movement took on the language of civil rights, with teachers striving to empower nonwhite and poor children by encouraging them to narrate their own lived experiences... “Freewriting, hoping that children will learn or gain a love of writing, hasn’t worked,” Dr. Hochman told the teachers, many of whom work in low-income neighborhoods. She doesn’t believe that children learn to write well through plumbing their own experiences in a journal, and she applauds the fact that the Common Core asks students to do more writing about what they’ve read, and less about their own lives. “I call it a move away from child-centered writing,” she said approvingly, and away from what she considers facile assignments, like writing a poem “about a particular something they may have observed 10 minutes ago out of the window.”... she appreciates Dr. Hochman’s explicit and technical approach. She thought it would free her students’ voices, not constrain them. At her school, 100 percent of students come from low-income families. “When we try to do creative and journal writing,” she said, “students don’t have the tools to put their ideas on paper.”"
Identity politics means writing classes and English lessons don't actually teach you how to write or the English language respectively

Online Courses Are Harming the Students Who Need the Most Help - The New York Times - "the growth of online education is hurting a critical group: the less proficient students who are precisely those most in need of skilled classroom teachers. Online courses can be broken down into several categories, and some are more effective than others.  In “blended” courses, for example, students don’t do their work only online: They also spend time in a classroom with a flesh-and-blood teacher. Research suggests that students — at nearly all levels of achievement — do just as well in these blended classes as they do in traditional classrooms. In this model, online resources supplement traditional instruction but don’t replace it.  In the fully online model, on the other hand, a student may never be in the same room with an instructor. This category is the main problem. It is where less proficient students tend to run into trouble. After all, taking a class without a teacher requires high levels of self-motivation, self-regulation and organization... Online courses have many real benefits, of course. They can help high achievers in need of more advanced coursework than their districts provide through other means... The weakest students are hurt most by the online format."
This doesn't make libertarians happy, since it means their fantasy of children learning on their own online/through videos at low cost instead of in a government-subsidised classroom and learning more than they ever would in a traditional school remains just that - a fantasy (even if they assume most kids are disciplined enough to do so)

I was a liberal NY prof, but when I said the left was going too far, colleagues called me a NAZI & treated me like a RUSSIAN SPY

I was a liberal NY prof, but when I said the left was going too far, colleagues called me a NAZI & treated me like a RUSSIAN SPY

"What’s wrong with the American left? Suffering from Trump anxiety disorder, acting like cult members, and engaging in a new McCarthyism, the left has lost its collective mind. I saw it coming and left the left in the nick of time...

When the University of Michigan instituted a policy that offered students a carte blanche pronoun preference opportunity, a clever student offered “His Majesty” as his chosen pronoun, and his blasphemous pronoun choice made the news. The satirical trope hilariously underscored the absurdity of gender and pronoun proliferation, and the institutional lunacy that has attempted to keep pace with it. I posted a link to an article about the spoof on Facebook, without comment. I then proceeded to teach for the rest of the afternoon.

By the time I noticed the pandemonium, it was too late to manage it. A histrionic reaction had ensued. Hundreds upon hundreds of condemnatory threads and sub-threads multiplied beneath the link. Dozens and dozens of Facebook friends had sent private messages, demanding explanations and retractions. I was accused of betrayal, discursive violence, and transphobia.

I soon became defector from the party line and the university would come down on me like a ton of bricks...

Clearly, a collective hysteria has the left in its grip. I am not using a strict definition of the left that includes only the hard-core Antifa members, socialists, and communists, but also refer to many people formerly known as “liberals,” who’ve since become quite illiberal. I also include former moderate centrists, who’ve become part of the “resistance.” As an example of the latter, I point to an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in years, someone I’d considered a milquetoast liberal at most, yet who now sounded like a radical leftist when remarking bitterly: “I just wish someone would put a bullet through Donald Trump’s head!”

I don’t blame such foot soldiers of the resistance for their viciousness. They’ve been led to believe that they’re morally superior to Trump and his followers, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that they harbor such violent fantasies. They are not entirely responsible for their derangement. They are unwitting dupes being whipped into frenzies by the political and media establishments. They’ve contracted a “contagious psychosis,” wherein, as one study puts it, “certain ‘unrealistic’ human behavior and thoughts can be transferred from one subject to another, within the intimacy of the family circle or according to an epidemic including numerous protagonists.”...

With its parade of successive delusions – from the “Russian collusion” narrative, to the “Russian bots” narrative, and the latest, the Ukraine “quid pro quo” narrative – this seems to describe the contemporary left precisely. These narratives have in common a willful fabrication of crime stories believed to be true regardless of the lack of empirical evidence. Those who believe in these narratives merely repeat them ad nauseum in the hope that they’ll be become true, or at least that they’ll be counted as true – which amounts to the same thing for the left, because for the left, belief equals (or is greater than) reality.

As I’ve suggested, the left’s derangement is not limited to electoral politics and the aftermaths. If we consider cultural politics as well, then we must include gender pluralism and transgenderism, the expanding domain of “racism,” and other phenomena...

I was called into the dean’s office and pressured to go on a paid leave of absence by him and the head of human resources. “People are concerned about you,” the dean said. The implication was that I must be crazy for differing with the campus orthodoxy. I was also roundly denounced by an official committee, called the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group, who ended their sentencing by declaring: “The cause of his guilt is the content and structure of his thinking.” I have since dubbed them “the Conformity, Inequity and Exclusion Group.” They demand conformity with their “social justice” creed, treat as less than equal anyone who doesn’t conform, and attempt to exclude dissidents from the university, and by extension, from academia at large.

When I returned from leave, I was universally shunned by over 100 fellow faculty members, some of whom wouldn’t let me on an elevator with them. On the very last day of my first semester back from leave, a group of colleagues issued a series of blistering emails, attacking me for announcing on Twitter the forthcoming publication of my new book. I was called “alt-right,” “Nazi,” “short-pants White Devil,” “fragile white male,” and “Satan,” among other choice slurs. The emails continued for several days. Meanwhile, I had never once mentioned any individuals or groups by name, either in my initial interview, or in any subsequent media coverage.

Upon complaining to human resources and the equal opportunity employment officers about the abuse, nothing happened – except that my office was moved to… get this … the Russian department! I liked to joke that I was treated as if I were a Russian spy, sent to my own personal gulag. I was transferred to a completely isolated office with bare metal shelves containing none of my books, because the university refused to have them moved from my old office."

Links - 11th March 2020 (1)

2608 Magic Weapons and Armour in the Middle Ages, part 2 | The History Network - "A Transylvanian folktale of a dragon slayer has the hero don a lambskin coat and jump into an icy river so that the frozen wool would grant him protection similar to Ragnar. These explanations might seem naive and unbelievable. But in 1977, John McPhee published an account of his travels in Alaska, coming into the country, New York 1977. He recounted the story that male grizzly bears venturing out in winter would find a patch of open water in an otherwise frozen river, would wet their fur and then roll in the snow. The fur would thus acquire a thick ice plant. Arrows broke against the armoring ice, and it can be heavy enough to stop a bullet. This, according to McPhee, was the feared winter bear of the Eskimo, and this story seems to give credence to the saga version. We therefore see a plausible practical armor which could quite easily be interpreted or recorded as magical"

2706 Franco-German Rivalry | The History Network - "[On World War II] After the German surrender, the same cycle of revenge seemed to be repeating again. An early plan was to remove all industry from the Ruhr, and Churchill looked forward to converting Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastorall in its character. Secretary of the Treasury Henry J. Morgenthau wanted Germans to be fed three times a day with soup from army soup kitchens. Reparations were again to be paid to the victors, but in the form of industrial plant and labor. However, with the creation of the Communist Eastern Bloc, it seemed obvious that the West needed a strong West Germany on the border. Marshall Plan aid was extended to West Germany in 1948. In 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schumann proposed a radical new plan to stop the cycle of wars and revenge between France and Germany, forming a European Coal and Steel community to make war not only unthinkable, but materially impossible. For the first time in history, these two countries would be part of an alliance and the nations are finally at peace with each other"

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 243 - Bryan Caplan on "The Case for Open Borders" - "if you look at poor immigrants, they're much more likely to have successful kids than poor natives. Because it seems like a lot of the reason why first generation immigrants are poor is because they just start off with so many disadvantages of not being fluent in the language. Or they just didn't have the advantages that a native would have, of being able to arrange their career nicely and neatly.But then their kids wind up growing up in this country, and they do as well as their parents would have, if their parents had not had these disadvantages. Because they don't have them."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, No Love Lost - "These days guarding any Korean facility in Japan is a nervous occupation. Live bullets are being sent to the Korean embassy in Tokyo with the message: I've got a rifle and I'm hunting Koreans. Meanwhile, outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, two people died after setting themselves on fire during anti Japanese protests. Inside the airline office, a row of empty seats would normally be filled with eager customers booking flights. But these are not normal times. The Japanese government has issued a travel warning to citizens: go to South Korea at your own risk. No, not North Korea. I really am talking about South Korea. Across the Japan Sea, of course known as the East Sea by Koreans, South Koreans are boycotting travel to Japan. Korean Air has experienced a 90% drop in customers flying between these two Asian neighbors and several air routes have been suspended… The feud started a year ago when South Korea’s Supreme Court ruled that big name Japanese companies should compensate the families of Koreans who'd been forced labourers during World War Two. Fed up with such demands, the right wing Abe government decided to get tough. In July, Tokyo started to impede the export of chemicals that are vital to South Korean semiconductor manufacturing. Not a ban exactly, but no one is as masterful at strangling trade with red tape as Japanese bureaucrats, South Koreans reacted with demonstrations and a boycott of Japanese products. Some petrol stations are refusing to fill up Japanese cars. The government in Seoul scrapped an intelligence sharing arrangement that's crucial for monitoring North Korea. There's never been much love lost between Japan and South Korea despite a formal alliance in the face of threats from North Korea and China. Up until the 1990s South Korea banned Japanese films, books and music under the wonderfully titled ‘Law for punishing anti national deeds’. Now relations have sunk to a new low. Some Japanese nationalist are demanding a complete severance of ties with South Korea. And this being Japan, where there's a word for everything, there's a word for that too. Dan Kan [sp?], which literally means sever Korea...
[On communist Poland] My theme back then was the gap between hope and experience in the state restaurants of the day. A menu might offer you pickled wild mushrooms, or caramelized sour cherries with your barbecued duck. When you ordered though, you'd find yourself working your way down a list of dishes which one by one, a bored looking waiter would tell you were unavailable. You would generally end up with a grizzly lump of meat and a portion of potatoes which looked as if they'd been boiled in motor oil, and then finished with a flame thrower. I cringe a bit when I look back, but there did seem to be an inexhaustible appetite then for dispatches exploring how hotels in communist countries never had bath plugs, or how Eastern European tour guides would furtively negotiate to buy your jeans off you. Anyway, 30 years old, I found myself back in the same hotel. Now very much under new management of course. And I can report for those who seek a symbol of how far Eastern Europe has changed that the pickled wild mushrooms and caramelized sour cherries have arrived. They are admittedly 30 years late, but they are here. And if you seek difficulty in capitalism to match the misery of communism, it is that they are available now, but only at a price that someone living on an average salary in Poland couldn't possibly afford."

Pope Francis Tells Christians Not to Try to Convert Nonbelievers - "Pope Francis told Christian high school students this weekend they should respect people of other faiths and not attempt to convert them to Christianity, insisting “we are not living in the times of the crusades.”Asked by one of the students Friday how a Christian should treat people of other faiths or no faith, the pope said that “we are all the same, all children of God” and that true disciples of Jesus do not proselytize... “The last thing I should do is to try to convince an unbeliever. Never,” he said. “The last thing I should do is speak. I should live my faith with consistency. And it will be my witness that will awaken the curiosity of the other who may then ask: ‘But why do you do this?’ And yes, then I can speak.”  “But listen, the gospel is never, ever advanced through proselytism,” he continued. “If someone says he is a disciple of Jesus and comes to you with proselytism, he is not a disciple of Jesus. Proselytism is not the way; the Church does not grow by proselytism.”"
Uhh
Apparently proselytism is the same as waging holy war


Girl with Rare Disease Invents Teddy Bears That Hide IV Bags so Kids Don't Get Scared - "Ella Casano is the inventor of “Medi Teddy” and we are not talking about an adult inventor, but of a 12-year-old girl. This was her school project with a sole purpose to make the time spent in hospitals more comfortable to other children."

China Only Has One Time Zone—and That's a Problem - The Atlantic - "China, a country that is of roughly similar size to the continental United States, has one time zone: Beijing Standard Time. This means that when it's 6 o’clock in the nation's capital, it’s 6 o’clock almost 3,000 miles further west, in Kashgar... the single time zone does present odd sights: In the summer, for instance, it isn’t uncommon in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, to see people enjoying a beautiful sunset ... at midnight. Or for the sun to rise there in the winter around 10 AM. In order to accommodate people inconvenienced by the time zone change, shops and restaurants in Xinjiang often adjust their hours—but the effect can still be disorienting for the unaccustomed traveler... much of the Uighur population prefers to use their own time. In Urumqi, a city in Xinjiang's east populated mostly by the Han, Beijing Standard Time suffices. But as you head further west, into areas further away from Beijing (and with a higher concentration of Uighurs), knowing “which time” to use becomes trickier. In Xinjiang's extreme west, near China’s border with Pakistan, Beijing Standard Time is so irrelevant that it isn't even used on bus timetables"

Men are banding together in class-action lawsuits against discrimination in Title IX cases (opinion) - "Miltenberg is a legal pioneer who has won groundbreaking victories before the Second and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals. The Second Circuit decision, Doe v. Columbia University, is significant for prohibiting institutions from engaging in discrimination against men even for a short period of time and even in the absence of overt malice. The precedent Miltenberg won before the Seventh Circuit, Doe v. Purdue University, is no less significant because it relies on a “sex stereotyping” theory under which most (if not all) institutions in the nation would fail to comply with Title IX. Specifically, the Seventh Circuit found it intolerable that Purdue University would “blame men as a class for the problem of campus sexual assault.”Is it a radical notion that most American colleges engage in rampant discrimination against men? Hardly so. The lack of due process in Title IX tribunals has received widespread and bipartisan criticism in recent years from legal and academic experts. Critics include the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, the National Association of Scholars, former California governor Edmund Brown Jr., the NCHERM group, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the American College of Trial Lawyers and others. Various coalition letters have also condemned the unfair application of Title IX to sexual harassment disputes, eliciting hundreds of signatures on multiple occasions... A general survey of colleges and their current Title IX practices reveals a grim picture. The overwhelming majority of people accused and sanctioned under Title IX are male, but research has found that men and women experience sexual victimization at nearly equivalent rates, and the majority of male victims report female perpetrators. Meanwhile, the majority of Title IX administrators nationwide are women. In addition, Title IX administrators can also often use biased and unscientific training materials."

Lessons for capitalism from the East India Company | Financial Times - "By the beginning of the 19th century, the East India Company had become, as one of its directors admitted, “an empire within an empire”, with the power to make war or peace anywhere in the east.The EIC had created a vast and sophisticated administration and civil service in India, and built much of London’s Docklands. Its annual spending in Britain — around £8.5m — equalled about a quarter of total British government annual expenditure. No wonder the Company now referred to itself as “the grandest society of merchants in the Universe”. Its private armies were larger than those of almost all nation-states and its power encircled the globe; indeed, its shares were a kind of global reserve currency. As the parliamentarian Edmund Burke wrote: “The Constitution of the Company began in commerce and ended in Empire.” Its private armies were larger than those of almost all nation-states and its power encircled the globe; indeed, its shares were a kind of global reserve currency... the EIC remains history’s most ominous warning about the potential for the abuse of corporate power — and the insidious means by which the interests of shareholders can seemingly become those of the state... The EIC, in other words, was not just the world’s first great multinational corporation, it was also the first to run amok and show how large companies can become more powerful, and sometimes more dangerous, than nations or even empires...      Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.     https://www.ft.com/content/0f1ec9da-c9a6-11e9-af46-b09e8bfe60c0      England was a relatively impoverished, largely agricultural country, which had spent almost a century at war with itself over the most divisive subject of the time: religion.  In the course of this, in what seemed to many of its wisest minds as an act of wilful self-harm, the English had unilaterally cut themselves off from the most powerful institution in Europe, so turning themselves in the eyes of many Europeans into something of a pariah nation. As a result, isolated from their baffled neighbours, the English were forced to scour the globe for new markets and commercial openings further afield"
Perhaps after Brexit the UK can similarly prosper

Boris Johnson's hard Brexit makes Scottish independence all but impossible, whatever the emotions - "If it is such a calamity for Britain to leave the EU customs union - as the Scottish National Party tells us - then it must logically be a greater calamity for Scotland to leave the UK union since the same problems exist and are greatly magnified. “The links between Scotland and the UK are much deeper, so the pain for Scotland would be commensurately larger,” says Sir Andrew Large, ex-deputy governor of the Bank of England. Over 60pc of Scottish exports go to the rest of this Kingdom. Just 18pc go to the EU. The imbalance is overwhelming and Scotland is not geographically close to Europe’s industrial core, stretching from the Ruhr valley to Lombardy. It would face the logistical distance of Italy’s Mezzogiorno. I leave it to others with fingers on the northern pulse to judge whether the Scottish people really would wish to go through the trauma of withdrawal having observed how difficult it is to break up a 44-year union, let alone a 400-year merger of the kingdoms, especially if Boris Johnson ensures that powers devolved from the EU over fisheries, farming, the environment, etc, go generously to Edinburgh and are not whittled down by ‘Section 12 regulations’ in Westminster as Theresa May seemed bent on doing. It is surely a unionist imperative at this juncture to endow Scotland with greater self-government as a nation within the UK than it would enjoy as a nominally-sovereign member of the EU, without a legal opt-out from the euro, at the mercy of the Fiscal Compact and the deflationary anti-Keynesian ideology of monetary union. From a strict economic point of view nothing has improved for the independence cause since 2014, and much is now worse. Gone are hopes of an oil and gas rentier endowment. Brent crude no longer trades in a range around $110 a barrel as it did from 2011 to 2014, creating the illusion of a permanent plateau and permanent subsidy... from a fiscal standpoint Scotland is currently a dependency state, in stark contrast to Catalonia, Flanders, or Alto Adige. It is not a net contributor to the central budget: it is a recipient of net transfers on a grand scale. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says the implicit budget deficit was 7.9pc of GDP last year. Somehow the SNP is going to cut this to under 3pc over a decade, to placate EU inspectors and bond market vigilantes, and do this in the midst of a first order macroeconomic shock, with an ageing crisis for good measure. “It is a recipe for an almost never ending dose of austerity,” says Professor Ronald MacDonald from Glasgow University... The cuts cannot be squared with the SNP’s promise of a nordic social policy paradise. “Global investors should not worry about Scoxit any time soon,” is the acid verdict of Mike Gallagher from Continuum Economics... Were Scotland to go further and declare unilateral independence - like Catalonia, where regional leaders have been locked away in an Iberian Gulag -  it would start life in diplomatic as well as economic ostracism, a turbo-charged variant of the worst ‘no deal’. Spain would without question block EU accession in such circumstances. Scotland’s position would be catastrophic."
Plus the Scots will want to virtue signal about climate change so they wouldn't be able to use ridiculous oil price assumptions even if they wanted to. So bereft of equalisation payments, economic projections devoid of fossil fuel money would drive the putative country into a depression as the economy returned to being based on sheep

A Scottish independence weather warning: baby, it’s cold outside the Union - "No sensible Englishman should seek to bribe the Scots to stay in the Union, or make further constitutional concessions short of full independence. The reward for doing so in 2014 was 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats voting for the Nationalist party earlier this month, and thus declaring a ‘mandate’ for another plebiscite... Although the SNP’s share of the vote rose by eight per cent, the party attracted just 45 per cent of total support – exactly the proportion anti-Unionists recorded in 2014.  So, despite the allegedly traumatic effect the vote to leave the EU has had on Scotland, there is no net gain to the cause of separatism. And one says ‘allegedly’ because a poll in Scotland in 2016 showed that 36 per cent of Nationalists voted Leave in that year’s referendum – which, if you think about it, is an entirely logical position. Why, if you wish to end what you see as colonial oppression from London, would you willingly invite it from Brussels?... Scotland does not trade much with the rest of the EU. It trades with England... there is the question of what currency Scotland would use. This, readers will recall, was an issue in 2014. Then, Alex Salmond blithely said Scotland would go on using the pound, much as little islands in the Caribbean use the dollar.  Many such islands live in poverty extreme by our standards, largely as a result of having a currency that does not reflect the weakness of their economy. At least many of them are tourist destinations and entice people in to spend foreign currency; Scotland will have to develop itself considerably as a cold-weather theme park if it is to flourish in such circumstances. And, of course, if it adopts the pound, it will have a currency dependent on economic policies it can no longer affect in any way, and which will be formulated to help England, not Scotland... a condition of re-joining [the EU] would be the immediate adoption of the euro as the currency, and all that that entails. And if any Scot doesn’t know what it entails, ask Greece. Currently, the whole UK has a budget deficit of 1.1 per cent of GDP; Scotland’s alone is 7 per cent. And although the Scots deny being subsidised by the English, public spending is £1500 per capita higher in Scotland than it is in England; and the population of Scotland is estimated at 5.4million; and there is no money tree. In 2007 Mr Salmond rebuked me for doubting that the Scottish economy could not thrive alone. Oil (now $60 a barrel) was then around $135 a barrel. And I was implored not to forget the great Scottish financial services industry – RBS and HBOS. Within a year both banks were in intensive care, saved largely by the English taxpayer"

Refugees Can Now Vote In Scotland
Maybe the UK should let them go after all
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