When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, April 04, 2020

Links - 4th April 2020 (2)

Zimbabwe Today - Posts - "Happy 100th birthday Ian Smith.
My message to you is ______________"
The top comments are all positive

Wrong body cremated after funeral home mix-up - "A grieving family were at their home's void deck to receive their patriarch's body for the wake, only to be told by staff of Harmony Funeral Care that his body had already been cremated.To add to their distress, his send-off was done according to Christian traditions and funeral rites, when the man was a Taoist."

Couples With Daughters More Likely to Divorce - "Not only did researchers find that couples with sons are more likely to stick together, unmarried pregnant couples were more likely to have shotgun weddings if the baby was going to be a boy and divorced mothers of boys are more likely to remarry and stay remarried... Focusing on what "keeps a father around" may be a mistake, however, said Anita Kelly, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, because it fails to acknowledge that in the United States an "overwhelming majority of divorces are initiated by women" -- 73 percent"

'Like sending bees to war': the deadly truth behind your almond milk obsession - "Commercial beekeepers who send their hives to the almond farms are seeing their bees die in record numbers, and nothing they do seems to stop the decline."
So much for veganism being 'cruelty free' - even if you ignore cruelty to humans

How Facebook Is Killing Comedy - "Facebook gets so much traffic that they started convincing publishers to post things on Facebook. For a long time, that was fine. People posted things on Facebook, then you would click those links and go to their websites. But then, gradually, Facebook started exerting more and more control of what was being seen, to the point that they, not our website, essentially became the main publishers of everyone’s content. Today, there’s no reason to go to a comedy website that has a video if that video is just right on Facebook. And that would be fine if Facebook compensated those companies for the ad revenue that was generated from those videos, but because Facebook does not pay publishers, there quickly became no money in making high-quality content for the internet... linking out would be great. It would at least get people back to normal websites. Remember when your fingers just remembered different URLs, and you would go to The New York Times, and The Onion, and Funny or Die? Now it’s less so. You type in Facebook or Twitter or Reddit and then you just sit there and passively take in this feed of what’s selected for you. The other alternative would be to just pay, like cable had to do... The other solution, which seems crazy, is for there to be a meta organizing campaign, where media companies band together and refuse to post on Facebook, essentially going on strike and withholding their labor until they are compensated... There was a study recently that if you just give your cat a bowl of food every day, they get fat and depressed, because they don’t use their hunting instincts. So now some pet owners hide food around their house, and their pets are happier because they’re doing something. It’s the same thing with content. It’s better for us to try and find it, and get it from different sources and enter different worlds – to go on the tiniest journey to find something instead of having the trough open up and have the feed come pouring down into your face."
Or, just don't post on Facebook

What’s the link between developers playing golf with each other and their bids for government land auctions? An NUS study has the answer - "By studying the public records of all golf players in Singapore and the bids which developers put in for government land auctions, among other data sets, a group of university researchers believe that they have found “evidence of insider trading in the land market”... the top managers of Singapore’s real estate developers played golf with each other more frequently after the announcement of a Government Land Sales programme, and their winning bids for the tenders were 14.4 per cent lower than the winning bids put in by those who did not play golf. The researchers estimated that the shortfall in government revenue from the lower land prices was about S$147 million on average for every year between November 2010 and May 2014... women who played golf were more likely to climb the corporate ladder... "information sharing is not prohibited by law"... two bidders would be more likely to bid for the same land parcel after a golf game, but it did not increase the chances of either one winning the bid.The researchers have two explanations: Either the cartel was ineffective or there was none at all and that both developers were competing head-on."

No More Fake Teeth: Stem Cell Dental Implants Grow New Teeth In 2 Months - "by the age of 75, around 26 percent of adults have lost nearly all of their permanent teeth... At his Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Dr. Jeremy Mao and his team are now able to induce the body’s stem cells to develop a tooth based on a three-dimensional scaffold made of natural materials. The results? A better-fit, natural tooth that grows in as little as nine weeks.According to Dr. Mao, the approach (which eliminates the need to grow teeth in a Petri dish) is a more cost-effective one “for patients who cannot afford or who aren’t good candidates for dental implants.” As reported by Columbia University Medical Center, this approach to regrow teeth ‘factor in the faster recovery time and the comparatively natural process of regrowth (as opposed to implantation), and you have a massively appealing dental treatment.’  A new tooth developed using stem cells can also adapt and move with the mouth, preventing discomfort and more severe issues later on. It’s also healthier and more comfortable. This gives the approach distinct advantages over implants and dentures"

(JJ) Jackson Mucunguzi🇺🇬🇺🇬 on Twitter - "If forcing your wife into sex is rape, then forcing your husband to give u money is armed robbery."

Man requests 'trial by combat' sword fight with ex-wife to settle legal dispute - "A Kansas man has requested that a judge allow him and his ex-wife to engage in a sword fight to resolve their ongoing legal dispute — but only after he is able to secure some Japanese samurai swords.David Ostrom made the request in a court filing earlier this month arguing that his former wife, Bridgette Ostrom of Iowa, and her attorney had “destroyed (him) legally”.Mr Ostrom argued that the judge could let the parties “resolve our disputes on the field of battle, legally,”He added that trial by combat “has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States.”... Mr Hudson, in his response, argued that because a duel could result in death “such ramifications likely outweigh those of property tax and custody issues”. Mr Hudson, in his response, argued that because a duel could result in death “such ramifications likely outweigh those of property tax and custody issues”."

Brain parasite may strip away rodents’ fear of predators—not just of cats - "Toxoplasma gondii exerts a strange sort of mind control on rodents: Once infected with the brain parasite, they seem to lose their fear of cats and become more likely to get eaten. When they are, the microbe can make its way into the feline intestine to reproduce. But a new study argues that T. gondii’s effects on rodents aren’t cat specific; instead, the parasite simply makes mice more eager to explore and less fearful of any species that might gobble them up... Up to one-third of humans are thought to harbor a T. gondii infection, known as toxoplasmosis, and some research has linked it to schizophrenia and other mental illness. Soldati-Favre speculates that, because the parasite seems to produce fewer and smaller cysts in healthy humans than in mice, it may drive less inflammation and very minor behavioral change in people. The authors propose future studies to test whether infected humans show signs of inflammation, which is thought to contribute to certain neurodegenerative diseases. If researchers ever decide they do want to combat the effect of T. gondii infection in the human brain, the new results suggest reducing inflammation might help, Sullivan says. His team recently found that dosing T. gondii-infected mice with an anti-inflammatory drug could reverse some of their behavioral changes.  The new results suggest the parasite has found a “sweet spot,” he says: invading the brain enough to provoke an immune response that drives the animal toward predators, but not enough to kill its host right away"

PRESIDENT CRASHER: Vince Vaughn facing heat for talking to Trump - "Vaughn was seen chatting and laughing in a private box with the president, as Melania sat between them. The pair shook hands and Trump appeared to point to the star’s lanyard, according to a 31-second clip uploaded to Twitter.The exchange was filmed by Timothy Burke, a former Deadspin employee who captioned it with, “I’m very sorry to have to share this with you. All of it, every part of it.” People throughout the Twittersphere were quick to call for the “cancelling” of the comedic actor. This is not the first time a celebrity faced backlash for interacting with a Republican politician. A video of Ellen DeGeneres was scrutinized online as well after a video emerged of her sitting next to former President George W. Bush at a football game... And who could forget Jimmy Fallon facing massive backlash and a big hit to his ratings after he “humanized” Trump by running his hand through his hair the first time The Apprentice star was running for president."
Love Trumps Hate. Apparently.

Japanese model spends S$12 million in 3 months, divorces husband when told to spend less - "Kato Sari is a 29-year-old Japanese fashion model who is known for her luxurious lifestyle and love of high-end brands... After they got married, Kato’s ex-husband apparently asked her to stop her lavish spending as his company was facing financial difficulties, Line Today reports.However, angered at the prospect of not being able to continue her spending habits, Kato said she had “no more interest” in her husband after he had no money left.She even likened her husband to a fraud, stating that he had cheated her into sign the marriage papers... Kato admitted that she had married her husband for money... After the host asked her what else there was to her marriage other than money, Kato then joked that the host shouldn’t ask such questions with obvious answers... Sari had also stated in an Instagram post that unlike money, the value of love falls and disappears, which is why she trusts money over love. Since the divorce, Kato has been posting numerous Instagram photos with other men whom she refers to as “gentlemen”... “Everyone has different values. It’s okay for you to think that the man you married was trash. But you should realise that you yourself is even more trash.”"

jeremy bishop on Twitter - "When people say they like thicc girls they mean they like slight curves, not chronic type 2 diabetes"

Trump’s Vast Deregulatory Landscape Goes Unnoticed by the Experts - "the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)—where, until recently, I served as chief economist—dedicated a great deal of manpower preparing a comprehensive and rigorous assessment of deregulation since 2017. That report, released in June, concluded that the past three years of deregulation is comparable to, and probably exceeds, any deregulatory episode in modern U.S. history. That includes the historic deregulations of airlines, trucking, railroads, and energy that were initiated during the Carter administration... Take the 2016 prohibition of “junk” health insurance plans (i.e., plans that families like and purchase, in large part because the plans are cheaper than the plans endorsed by bureaucrats) that the Trump administration reversed in 2018. Whereas the typical regulation receives zero comments, this one received thousands. At the same time, the regulators assessed no cost for the rule because the rule was (with a bit of circularity) designated to be “economically insignificant.” Such designation is not supposed to be used unless there is no material adverse effect on a sector of the economy. It is absurd to deny any material adverse effect from a prohibition of a product that two million people would be purchasing (as estimated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office). The CEA estimated that the annual cost of this regulation was $13 billion, which is 130 times the monetary threshold for “economic significance.”... A similar phenomenon is revealed in the chart below, reproduced from another CEA report on prescription drug prices. It shows something historically unusual happening to prescription drug prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the change has to do with deregulation of the entry of generic drugs. The Food and Drug Administration had such a burdensome approval process for generic manufacturers that in some instances only one company was making a generic. A handful of lucky, or well connected, companies were able to sell a drug they did not invent at a price about as high as that charged when the inventor held the monopoly. President Trump’s FDA changed that... the CEA report estimates that over the next five to 10 years, the deregulatory efforts of the Trump administration will increase annual real incomes in the United States by $3,100 per household."

Donald Trump’s Track Record Is Better Than Most of his Predecessors - "When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, he made several promises, as politicians always do. But, unlike so many politicians, he has fulfilled most of those promises, especially the more important ones...  Wages have been increasing far faster at the bottom of the economic ladder than at the top.While wages climbed 3.6 percent in the year that followed November 2018, well above inflation, they were up 4.5 percent for the bottom 25 percent of wage earners. By contrast, wages rose by only 2.5 percent for those in the top 25 percent. Black and Hispanic unemployment are at the lowest rates on record. That is doubtless not unconnected with the fact that Trump’s approval rating with blacks and Hispanics has been rising during his presidency, a fact that should make the Democratic Party very afraid. The Dow-Jones Industrial Average is up 52.9 percent in the three years and two months since Trump’s election. That has, to be sure, greatly increased the inequality in the net worth of the billionaires vis-à-vis the vast majority of Americans. But that has also greatly increased the net worth of the tens of millions who hold 401(k) and IRA accounts. A booming stock market promises more secure retirements for the tens of millions who are vested in pension funds and have annuity accounts. I suspect these tens of millions care a lot more about their own net worth than the net worth of the billionaires over whom Democratic presidential candidates obsess. Thanks to fracking, which has revolutionized both world energy markets and the geopolitics of energy, national CO2 emissions declined another 2 percent in 2019 as coal use declined by yet another 10 percent. Many of the top tier Democratic candidates have pledged to ban fracking. They evidently prefer to lower carbon emissions by inhibiting the American economy."

Conflating Nation, Government and Race: China Shills

"Remember to support China 🇨🇳❤️

There will be many racists out there complaining about China, Chinese govt, Chinese people, etc.

Let's all stand up for China, home to the biggest population of Chinese people in the world.

Some racists may claim they don't hate Chinese people but just hate the govt/country... Be careful as many of those people are racist on the inside but just don't want to be obvious about it.

When you support China and made in China, you're helping poor boys and girls in China put food on their tables and tuition payments towards making a better life for themselves.

Let's stand with our 🇨🇳 Chinese brothers and sisters. ❤️"

(A lot of people scolded OP in the group)

China shills have figured out how to weaponise SJWs - just make spurious accusations of racism

Related: Explaining China Shill Psychology

Addendum: I've also seen a few threads in subtle asian traits where this sort of shit happens, but the mods always nuke the threads so no evidence survives

Links - 4th April 2020 (1)

B.C. First Nation ordered to pay $30,000 after "white bastard" comment - The Post Millennial - "British ColumbiaB.C. First Nation ordered to pay $30,000 after “white bastard” comment. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that a B.C First Nation to pay $30,000 after its chief referred to a woman councillor a “white bastard.”According to a new report by Blacklock’s, the Nee Tahi Buhn Indian Band of Burns Lake, B.C. must pay the fine after Chief Raymond Morris wrote “I resign. F*cking white bastards run it” in an email."

Evil Potato - Posts - "I actually had this idea for a fanfic. That the whole HP books were just delusions of Harry."
"when its just an illusion to harry bcoz both of his mother and father died and hes always imagine things bcoz hes alone bullying by his 2nd family and lock in the dark small room"
"And they all suffer a shared delusion. People sometimes see them walking head first or crashing a shopping cart into the wall in the derelict part of the old train station. Local police call them "Wizards" colloquially. "
"I love that Hagrid is a pimp."
Harry Potter as a dream of a Harry high on some substance

James Miller on Twitter - "My game theory class uses examples from dating. If I don't include examples with lesbians, students complain in course evaluations. But students seem uncomfortable when I (middle age straight man) discuss lesbian dating with them. Almost all my students females between 18-21."
"Only include dating between thruples of 9 dimensionally gendered fictional lizard people who shift their desires according to some family of stochastic flows. Students will be relieved to see you get off on fucking them in the face with abstract complexity and not real stuff."
"Just explain that some of the biological men in the sample identify as women.  Viola, a diverse group is built for the church girls of the woke.  Now maybe they can learn."
"You could be really meta, and model this problem itself as a game theoretic problem as an example in your class..."

Garbage Human re-follow - Posts - "Muslim population in England and Wales nearly doubles in 10 years"
"Homophobic hate crimes in London have increased by more than 122 per cent in less than a decade"

Man who coerced 13-year-old girl he met on live streaming app into sex gets 4 years, 11 months’ jail - "By persistently badgering a 13-year-old girl to “bend to his will” and give in to his sexual demands, Gil Dominic Barbosa Rojas eventually coerced the minor into having sex with him at a secluded car park."

Ex Muslim Atheist - "Except for Saudi Arabia, none of our countries used to speak arabic. Lebanese weren't arabs. Egyptians, Algerians, Moroccans, Syrians. We each had our culture, our language, our identity, that was wiped away because of Islam."
"Cultures, languages, heritage, even way of lives have all been erased and replaced by a foreign one some had no choice but to follow else face certain death due to violent imperialism at the time. It still continues to this day and regresses every place that it influence."

Police: Man's truck stolen while he was robbing store across the street - "The vehicle's owner told officers someone had stolen his red 1992 Chevrolet pickup. The owner had left his keys behind on the seat, and a thief drove off with the truck.But after surveillance video was reviewed, police discovered that the reason the pickup owner had left his truck was because he was off stealing items from a business across the street.The pickup owner was then booked in the Benton County jail on a warrant and a new burglary charge.His pickup is still missing."

This playboy tortoise had so much sex he saved his entire species. Now he's going home     - "A womanizing tortoise whose rampant sex life may have single-handedly saved his entire species from extinction has retired from his playboy lifestyle, returning to the wild with his mission accomplished.Diego's unstoppable libido was credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Espanola, part of the Galapagos Islands, after being shipped over from San Diego zoo as part of a breeding program.When he started his campaign of promiscuity, there were just two males and 12 females of his species alive on the island.But the desirable shell-dweller had so much sex he helped boost the population to over 2,000. The Galapagos National Parks service believe the 100-year-old tortoise is the patriarch of around 40% of that population."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Impeachment: endgame begins - "‘Researchers on Espanola had discovered in the early 60s that there were just 14 giant tortoises left in existence. All the remaining animals on the island were brought into an emergency captive breeding program. But there was a problem. All but two were female. So, after an urgent call to the zoo, Diego was shipped back to the Galapagos. His mission, reproduce and save the species from extinction. That program has now been such a success that today there are around 1,800 giant tortoises on Espanola. So well done Diego. As CNN reported this week, his rampant sex life may have single handedly saved his species. Well, not quite. These reports raised a question in with me. What about the other male tortoise? Among the 14 Espanola survivors, there was the less casually named E-5. He fathered 60% of the giant tortoise population compared to a mere 40% for Diego. So why does Diego get all the attention? Well, according to one Galapgos biologist I spoke to he's something of a public performer, the tortoise equivalent of the pesky guy at the bar. The species is generally quite shy, but Diego has personality. He's bold, and he's inquisitive. And he actually sounds quite annoying. He relentlessly harasses and mounts potential mates and, how to put this delicately, he likes to perform out in the open. He's also very vocal'"

Steven Haddock's answer to Why does KFC chicken taste better in Canada versus in the US? - Quora - "Harland Sanders, the epitome of the southern gentleman, the very emblem of the state of Kentucky…..Spent the golden years of his life in Canada running the KFC franchise operation there.Very early on, he sold the U.S. rights to another company. He agreed to stay on as a consultant and traveled extensively in the United States, but he was very critical about how the franchisors there ran the company. He found that the quality of franchisees was often very low. He complained publicly about it once proclaiming “this is the worst fried chicken I’ve ever seen”.However, he retained the rights to the Canadian operation"

Catholic Brexiteer 🇬🇧 on Twitter - "I want to know why on practicality every British TV advert we have a Mixed race family ? What is all this propaganda about ITV Channel 4 Channel 5. This is pure anti whiteism against the British population and insults intelligence. This is NOT a racist tweet just a question?"
"It’s not even subtle, as you say just about every advert now features a mixed race family, even television, historical dramas now recasting traditional characters as mix race or even a different race altogether to the traditional white character it always has been."
"Have you noticed how many adverts have same sex individuals kissing one and other also? Absolutely no issue with this, but do we really need it pushed at us so directly? Mums and dads do still kiss...believe it or not."
"My mates little daughter actually asked if she had to marry a black man when she gets older.. well thats what she sees on tv. Ahhh...the power of tv"
"This doesn’t even reflect our society, the vast majority is white, heterosexual, British...."

Segments of Random Thoughts - Posts - "This is a fair and valid question. Why are so many TV ads showing mixed race families when I see so few mixed race families and couples? They aren't doing this in Africa or India or China. So why in the UK and US?"
So much for having a responsibility to portray reality

KFC's BBQ Bacon Stacker Ad (Free Speech Version) - YouTube - "KFC Australia chickened out and banned commentary on their entire channel, partially due to an overwhelmingly negative reception to this ad."
The ad seems to have been removed. But it makes no sense and has no link to KFC

KFC Australia Ad Openly Promotes Cuckoldry - "out of the 46,432 people who viewed the ad (as of the writing of this article) only 190 of them gave it a thumbs up.In other words, 32% of everyone who viewed the trailer gave it a thumbs down.That’s a fairly significant ratio for the YouTube metrics between views and ratings.KFC also didn’t want to see any kind of dissension against their agenda, so they disabled comments to prevent people from speaking out against their propaganda."
It didn't strike me as cuckoldry at first but I can see how that's one interpretation

Richard Houck, "The War Against Whites in Advertising" - "I wondered if the purpose of “diverse” advertising was to sell more products, or really to indoctrinate, to condition, and signal how “progressive” they are... I thought about the probability that two of the three advertisement couples I saw in the mall that afternoon were there by mere coincidence. Between men and women, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and “other,” there are 25 possible combinations of couples. Twenty of which are interracial... If the “diversity” in advertising was truly about appealing to the greatest number of customers or potential customers, showing white women with black men at such a high level, seems to be a very odd strategy. To focus so much on one combination, while ignoring so many others – there simply must be some other goal beyond selling merchandise... Pew Research 2012 conducted a large study of interracial marriage that provides a considerable amount of data. Since 1980, the total percent of interracial marriages has risen from 3.2% to 8.4%. Of new marriages, the rate rose from 6.7% to 15.1%. In 2010 the most common intermarriage was white/Hispanic, at 43.3%, other mixed at 30.4%, white/Asian at 14.4% and white/black, the least common, at 11.9%. Not all interracial relationships, of course, are marriages, but we can use the marriage data to reasonably extrapolate the information to the wider society and relationships... A 2015 study examined the outcomes of women that have children with black men, the results were staggering. Currently, 70% of black children are born out of wedlock, however when the mother is white and the father black, the rate jumps to 97%. 98% of white mothers studied reported the father does not support their children financially, 97% report the father is not in the child’s life, and 97% of the women have used welfare to help support themselves and their children. Only 10% of women that have children with black men out of wedlock end up marrying. The vast majority of white women that have children with black men live far below the poverty line. A 2013 study of intimate partner violence in relationships, surveyed nearly ten-thousand people, the authors hypothesized that interracial couples would experience higher levels of violence compared to intra-racial relationships. They found that compared to white relationships, both black couples and interracial couples experience statistically significant higher levels of relationship violence"
The author claims all races other than whites have higher STD rates, but he ignores Asians

*interracial kiss*

Testosterone and Civilization - Posts - "Women have to deal with cramps, but what do men have to deal with?"

Protest Therapist on Twitter - "Too many aspiring white allies think racial justice is about diversity, "inclusion", and multiculturalism. No, no, no, sweetie. This is about overthrowing power that benefits you disproportionately, often exclusively. Are you ready to sacrifice access, entitlement, innocence?"
Since he admits social justice is not really about social justice...

Occupy Democrats Logic - Posts - "This week I have nine (9) trainings-presentations for school assistant principals and school principals. My trainings-presentations include a request that most books used in schools be burned. Stop using white history, white mathematics, and white science as the foundation."
Addendum: Unsurprisingly, this post got zucced. Mirror: James Lindsay - Posts | Facebook

Friday, April 03, 2020

Links - 3rd April 2020 (2)

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 244 - Stephanie Lepp and Buster Benson on "Seeing other perspectives, with compassion" - "Julia Galef:    School was closed, yeah.  So you got into an argument that was literally over, “Is it legal to leave our son home alone?” Your wife was saying it's not legal, and you were saying it is.What you realized, you say in the book, is that for your wife the disagreement was never about, is it legal? It was about, is Buster... Willing to pick up the slack. In this case by staying home and taking care of our son. And just in general -- is he the kind of partner who's willing to pick up the slack?And you chided yourself, at least implicitly, in describing this instance -- like, "I should have realized that discussing the literal fact of, 'Is it legal or not?' was not really the important thing."... it does seem not great to me if someone is arguing something that's literally false, and they don't care that it's literally false. Your wife was wrong about the legal fact of the matter, right? It seems not great for someone to be saying, "It's illegal," when what they really mean is, "I wish you would pick up more of the slack.""
The joys of arguing with women

BBC World Service - 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter, Whale and wind turbine - "History books tell us the vast number of humpbacks that were hunted commercially for their oil, meat and baleen. During this time, more than 90% of the global population were killed, and in 1998, they were listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN. But thanks to a moratorium on commercial whaling a few years earlier in 1982, amongst other reasons, by the International Whaling Commission, their numbers have steadily increased. They were reclassified in 2008 as being of least concern, although certain populations still retain an endangered status."
Great, Japan can hunt humpback whales too since extinction is fake news

BBC World Service - 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter, 30 Animals LIVE - "‘I've always been fascinated with brown bears, because they have this ability to hibernate for six month and do this without any harm to their organ functions. It's almost like a Swish Army Knife of solutions to medical problems that bears carry around. For example, when bears hibernate, they exclusively burn fat. And when we are on a diet, if we try to lose weight, we will of course lose fat but we always also lose muscle. And bears do not lose muscle while hibernating. So it's a very smart way for the bears to use their fat deposits in a constructive way. And their obesity is a healthy kind. When we look at plasma, taking from winter bears and then added to human muscle cell tissue, we can see that human muscle cell tissue grows with winter plasma but not with summer plasma. So it means that there's something in the plasma and we still haven't located what the pathways are, but we are looking very hard. There's something there that stimulate muscle growth. And this is a, of high relevance for humans because muscle wasting. If you’re an elderly person, or if you simply don't exercise or even if you're an astronaut, muscle wasting is what you want to avoid. If you want to send some human to Mars, it takes 6 to 8 months and there's no gravity. So this is really hard for muscle tissue in the astronaut. Potentially injecting a substance that could preserve their muscle tissue would be highly valuable because they need to come back hopefully and be able to function as a human being again'"

MAKE WOMEN WOMEN AGAIN - Posts - "When girls say "all guys ever want is sex from me and hate it." Tell them You have no hobbies, no talents, no wisdom, no legitimate interests beyond your personal vanity, original thoughts on politics, society, philosophy, anything else. All you talk is random celebrity dudes crushes exes, other shit that revolves around men getting a man while sharing the most generic memes imaginable. fuck else is there to want from vapid shell of person? Your only redeeming quality is you lay still dick. Why are you surprised?"

Is This Swim Stroke the Fastest Yet? - "In the last few decades, stroke mechanic experts have discovered that swimming under the surface is faster than swimming on the surface...  All swimming at the surface shares the same speed restriction. “You’re always limited by your hull speed,” says Ryan Atkison, a sport biomechanist at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. It’s a nautical principle that also applies to swimmers. The theory goes that a swimmer on the surface cannot go faster than the bow wave that he or she creates. The bow wave increases with swim speed until, in theory, it stretches along the whole length of the swimmer’s body. Atkison says that the maximum speed is one body-length per second, which is about 1.9 to 2.6 meters per second for a swimmer about 2 meters (6 feet, 5 inches) tall.  “You can’t go any faster than that unless you climb up over top of that wave,” says Atkison. “Some animals can, like dolphins can porpoise and jump over top of that bow wave, but humans can’t physically climb out of that trough,” he says. “The only real way to get faster is to be better under water, where we don’t really have those upper limits on speed.”  Coaches began to take advantage of this fact in the 1980s, when Harvard University coach Joe Bernal realized that some of his swimmers were faster if they stayed underwater and dolphin kicked. This is essentially identical to the fish kick, except that the swimmer is flat on his stomach, rather than turned on his side"

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is actually a GIRL… and here’s how we know - "there's no way that Rudolph can be a fella because male reindeer shed their antlers before mid-December... Other than females, castrated males are the only reindeer who keep their antlers into late December."

Ice baths & fish scales: New Year's in Poland - "you could also save a few scales from the carp that’s traditionally eaten at Christmas Eve. The Christmas carp tradition is also practiced in several neighbouring countries, such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and true custom says you should keep the carp alive, swimming in your bathtub, until it’s time to kill it for the family dinner. (Many modern Poles now choose to buy ready-to-eat carp, which makes bathing in the days leading up to Christmas far easier.) Everyone keeps a few of the fish’s scales in their wallets over the next 12 months to encourage good fortune"

Lisa Britton on Twitter - "Nearly 80% of divorces are initiated by women. I personally know 3 women who initiated divorce because they felt held down & that the ‘independent woman’ lifestyle seemed intriguing to them after having a family for a decade or two. All have expressed regret now. They’re alone.
This reason is a consequence of feminism.
Feminism is influencing girls & young women that being single is power & they shouldn’t start a family because a career is everything, but it also convinces married women that they’ve been wronged, leading to the destruction of families."

UMass Amherst Removed a Professor for Showing a Downfall Hitler Parody Video - "Catherine West Lowry is a senior lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. For the past 13 years, she has taught introductory accounting—a "dry and difficult subject matter," in her words.To make the class more exciting, Lowry has for years let students make funny videos for extra credit. Some of these have been shown in class. A parody video from 2009 was particularly popular and has resurfaced in subsequent years.Last semester, when Lowry showed this specific video, many students laughed at it. But at least a few were offended and complained to the administration, which subsequently relieved Lowry of her teaching duties... Dean Anne Massey removed Lowry from her teaching position and attended the class's next session to inform students. Many took the news poorly, shouting "bring back [Lowry]." They eventually walked out in protest... UMass Amherst is a public university, and punishing a professor for an attempt at humor raises some troubling First Amendment issues. The administration should correct course and reinstate Lowry. No one should be encouraging accounting professors to make their classes even more boring."
This is why we can't have nice things

Bank Closes Woman's Accounts After She Criticizes It on Twitter - "Julie Goislard's issues with the Société Générale branch at Clichy Centre could have been quickly resolved, but after 36 phone calls to the bank over several weeks went unanswered, she chose to escalate the situation on her own... Not everybody supports her in her struggle against Société Générale. One French Twitter user posted a compilation of tweets from her account where she complains to numerous accounts, saying she "continually harasses businesses" and is "not a client you want to have.""

Coincidence that fake news law applied to politicians, Singapore minister says - "Singapore's communications minister said on Monday it was a coincidence that the first few cases brought under a new fake news law were against political figures and parties.The law came into effect in October amid concern among rights groups and opposition politicians it could be used to silence criticism of the government ahead of a general election expected within months. The government has denied such suggestions saying the law, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), only tackles falsehoods and that legitimate criticism and free speech would not be affected."

Awkward Vintage Japanese Movie Monsters - "The kaiju eiga (literally “monster movie” in Japanese) was born in 1954 with Ishiro Honda’s landmark masterpiece Godzilla. Its immense international success spawned a chain of sequels, numerous imitators, more than a few rip-offs, and a slew of strange, bizarre cinematic creatures arising to threaten the existence of humankind."

Students Against Sleep - SAS - "Trainer: "Before we get started with your first session, what's your #1 fitness goal?"
Her: "I really just want to be able to ride dick for 30 minutes straight""

Motorcycle Chariot Racing was a real sport in the 1920s

Plucky rescue chicken learns to walk again with special wheelchair

Lettuce Has Made Over 1,000 People Sick This Decade - "at least some percentage of this is totally avoidable if you actually just cook the damn veggies, which kills off bacteria and other pathogens. You can grill it, stir-fry it, or put it in soup, for example (I recommend stir-fried — here’s a recipe). But raw food has been all the rage, and salad by nature isn’t cooked, so the only way to avoid getting sick from lettuce may be to break up with salad in the 2020s."

Trying Impossible Foods' fake pork as a practicing Muslim was super weird - "Alan Cook, a rabbi in Champaign, Illinois, says he also isn't particularly drawn to try Impossible Pork because pork's not a meat he misses. He points to a common attitude among many Jews that "if one is choosing to live a kosher (or halal) lifestyle, God doesn't want us to see it as burdensome. It's not about finding these workarounds and substitutes, and we should be happy with the bounty of foods that we do have available to us... an argument could be made that consuming plant-based products is one way to meet religious requirements if it has less of an environmental impact than meat production."
Certainly Malaysia is not going to grant it Halal certification

How Finland's fake four-day week became a 'fact' in Europe's media - "“Finland’s new prime minister, 34-year-old Sanna Marin, has announced plans to introduce a four-day week” says the Guardian, underneath the statement that Marin has “promised” a short working week.“Finland’s new prime minister calls for four-day working week” says the Independent... Not only are these proposals not included in the Finnish government’s policy programme, multiple government sources told News Now Finland on Monday evening that it’s not even on the horizon... At one point during the discussion Sanna Marin floated the idea that Finland’s productivity could benefit from either a four-day working week, or a six-hour working day (she never suggested both).  Marin also tweeted about it at the time, noting plainly that it was an SDP party goal to reduce working hours – but to be clear, again, this was never official government policy"
Of course, the Guardian and other mainstream media reporting this doesn't make them untrustworthy - only "right wing" outlets like Fox and the Daily Mail

Gelsenkirchen knifeman killed by German police 'mentally ill' - "He struck a police car with a stick and attempted to assault two officers standing by the vehicle, police said.He was also wielding a knife and was shot four times after refusing to heed a shouted warning, police said.Police are examining electronic data seized in their search of the man's flat and checking reports that he shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) during the attack. Police say the man was known for previous acts of violence... the man was on a list of people monitored for links to militant groups."
Strange. Liberals tell us it's only considered mental illness when white men do it

Toronto recruitment centre stabber cleared by appeal court to attend college on his own - "Ontario’s top court has upheld a decision allowing a man found not criminally responsible in a knife attack at a Toronto military recruitment centre to eventually take college classes on his own... Ali attacked several uniformed military personnel with a large knife in March 2016 and wounded at least two people before he was overpowered and subdued.  He was charged with attempted murder, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon, as well as carrying a weapon, all for the benefit of a terrorist group.  Last year, an Ontario judge found that while Ali carried out the attack based on his extremist beliefs, the formation of those beliefs was precipitated by mental illness... As a result, Ali was cleared on the terror element of the charges and found not criminally responsible on the lesser included offences."
If you're mentally ill to the point that you attack and injure people, should you be out in society, much less in college?

International News Coverage in Domestic Media

International TV news, foreign affairs interest and public knowledge

"This article investigates the volume of foreign news provided by public service and commercial TV channels in countries with different media systems, and how this corresponds to the public's interest in and knowledge of foreign affairs. We use content analyses of television newscasts and public opinion surveys in 11 countries across five continents to provide new insight into the supply and demand for international television news. We find that (1) more market-oriented media systems and broadcasters are less devoted to international news, and (2) the international news offered by these commercial broadcasters more often focuses on soft rather than hard news. Furthermore, our results suggest that the foreign news offered by the main TV channels is quite limited in scope, and mainly driven by a combination of national interest and geographic proximity. In sum, our study demonstrates some limitations of foreign news coverage, but results also point to its importance: there is a positive relationship between the amount of hard international news coverage and citizens' level of foreign affairs knowledge...

Hamilton (2010) argues that it is predominantly market influence that has pushed the US media system towards this reduction in international news coverage. Because international public affairs stories are more costly to create and yet receive low interest from the audience, this type of news tends to lose out in editorial meetings. Scholars have thus expressed concern about the future of this important area of news coverage; indeed, some have even predicted that international news is an ‘‘endangered species’’ (Emery 1989; Kalb 1990)...

Media outlets in many countries are becoming increasingly market-oriented and entertainment-centred (Hallin and Mancini 2004)*essentially, more similar to the US media...

Market-oriented media systems marginalize foreign affairs coverage more than media systems dominated by regulation and public service broadcasting...

As a response to corporate demands for larger profits and an increasingly fragmented audience, the coverage of international news by US media has declined significantly over the years. According to one estimate, US television news executives have reduced the space and time devoted to foreign coverage by 70 percent since the end of the Cold War (Shaw 2001). Moisy (1996) suggests that while national networks devoted 45 percent of the time to foreign news in 1970, this share was down to 13.5 percent in 1995. Similarly, Norris (1995) shows how the end of the Cold War seemed to be a turning point in Americans’ interest in the outside world. She demonstrates how the end of the Cold War brought a sharp increase in the number of foreign news items on American television (CBS and ABC) for a brief transition period (1990 1991), followed by a ‘‘dramatic fall’’ starting in 1992. From an all-time high of 41 percent of all news stories on network television in 1991, it went down to 29 percent in 1992 and 24 percent in 1993.

Evidence of a similar decline in foreign news coverage has also been found in Europe. National TV networks throughout Europe seem to have gradually given less priority to international news. This happens regardless of the fact that the number of news programs has increased over the same period (Papathanassopoulos 2002). In a British study by the Media Standards Trust, researchers found that while 20 percent of each paper was reserved for foreign news coverage in 1979, this figure had fallen to just 11 percent by 2009 (Moore 2010)...

It is certainly a global trend that television is becoming more market-driven and entertainment-centered, in that there has been a large increase in the number of privately owned television channels, facilitated by the growth of cable and satellite TV, and that positive program requirements on commercial channels have tended to be reduced... television systems in many parts of the world are becoming more like the US model (Hallin and Mancini 2004).

There are nevertheless still important differences in the ways in which different countries have arranged their television systems. At one end is the market-based television system of the United States, where public television accounts for less than 2 percent of audience time, and where a more entertainment-oriented commercial television system is no longer under any legal obligation to inform the public (Hamilton 2004). At the other end of the spectrum is Norway, where public channels in 2006 accounted for 44 percent of viewing time, and where the principal commercial television channels still are extensively regulated (Aalberg, van Aelst, and Curran 2010)...

Research comparing audience interest in news topics and editorial judgments of the same matter has shown wide mismatching (see e.g. Hargrove and Stempel 2002). A comparison between editors’ and readers’ ‘‘top stories’’, as polled in the United States for 1995 1999, showed 48 percent agreement and no correlation between audience interest in news and actual coverage (Tai and Chang 2002). This study suggests that news editors do not necessarily give audiences what they want, and that other forces may have a stronger influence on the news agenda.

What are the likely consequences of foreign affairs being marginalized in mainstream news coverage? It certainly represents a major challenge to the ideal of the informed citizen, as citizens need relevant and up-to date information about current affairs, domestic as well as international, in order to have (and act on) informed political preferences...

Dimock and Popkin... show that Europeans were very much better informed about world events than Americans, and suggest that this is due to ‘‘substantial differences between countries in the communication of knowledge by TV’’ (1997, 223)... studies suggest that there is a negative relationship between the level of commercial media and general news knowledge...

As expected, foreign news represents a minority of the news profile among national broadcasters in all 11 countries, but there is significant variation. Canada, Norway, and the United Kingdom devote a relatively large share of their newscast to foreign affairs. In the first two countries broadcasters devote about one-third of the newscast to international news while two-thirds of the newscast focuses on domestic matters. At the other end of the scale we find Australia, India, and the United States, which clearly prioritize domestic news much more highly than international news. The US broadcasters devote 14 percent of their evening news bulletins to international events while 86 percent focus on domestic stories. Measured as the proportion of total news, the Australian broadcasters were even less concerned with foreign affairs, with only 12 percent of the newscast devoted to international news...

In five of nine countries included, the public service channel (PBS) devotes a larger proportion of its newscast to international news, with the greatest gap found in three of the European countries: Norway, the United Kingdom, and Greece. The public service broadcasters in Australia and India also seem to prioritize international news more highly than the private broadcaster. In a minority of the countries we find a reversed gap, indicating that it is the private broadcasters who are most dedicated in their supply of international news. The private broadcasters in Italy, South Korea, and Japan provided a much higher share of international news than the public service channel in these countries. There was also a small gap in favour of the private broadcaster in Canada...

One potential explanation may be that we have not yet controlled for the type of international news the two types of broadcasters focus on. Perhaps a more distinct pattern emerges if we separate between hard and soft news categories. Not all international news can be classified as hard news, providing insight into political affairs and policy debates in other countries. On the contrary, there is reason to believe that a substantial share of the international news also consists of soft news and crime (as would be the case for the domestic news category)...

It is clear that most of the international and foreign news presented to the public in our 11 countries can be classified as hard news. It is also interesting to note that, as expected, the public service broadcasters devote more of their international coverage to hard news topics. On average, 56 percent of the international public service news can be classified as hard news, while the private broadcasters on average only devote 41 percent of their international coverage to hard news. The reverse pattern holds if we look at the soft news category...

The greatest media focus is on neighboring countries. Moreover, when non-Asian countries do focus on Asia, there is a large degree of national self-interest involved. On US television news, 13 percent of the international news related to the war in Afghanistan, while 9 percent of British television news focused on Afghanistan. The share was considerably lower for other countries that also had troops in Afghanistan, including Canada (4 percent), Australia (4 percent), Norway (2 percent), Italy and South Korea (1 percent). The more ‘‘peripheral’’ regions received less attention among our sample countries. South America, for instance, seemed to be a blind spot for Asian and Australian news editors. Eastern Europe also received relatively little coverage across all our 11 countries, as did Africa, although the latter did receive some attention typically related to the conflict in Somalia (United States and United Kingdom) or to the world championship in South Africa.

Hamilton (2010) suggested that low levels of foreign affairs coverage are due to lack of audience interest. The survey data gathered for this project do confirm that citizens in all countries find domestic news more interesting than international news...

The US public, compared to citizens in other countries, do not appear to be particularly disinterested in international news. On the contrary, the United States now ranks as one of the countries where people are most interested in international affairs... Respondents in Norway, Canada, and Italy, countries who all ranked at the upper end on the news supply scale, are somewhat less interested than the US respondents, suggesting a rather weak correlation between news interest and news supply. In fact it seems as if there is a quite striking mismatch between the supply and demand of international news in the Australian and the US case, but also for the Greek case, the latter probably caused by the international financial crises...

The Norwegians were most knowledgeable about the Copenhagen Summit, but a considerable share of other Europeans as well as Americans and Australians were able to identify the purpose of this world conference. Respondents in the three Asian countries were less aware of this event. A similar expected and geographical structure appears when we focus on respondents’ ability to identify Angela Merkel. Most Europeans are well aware of the German Chancellor, while respondents in other parts of the world were not able to identify the German leader. The Russian politician Vladimir Putin was also identified by most Europeans, and although respondents in other countries were somewhat less aware of Mr. Putin, a clear majority in all countries were able to answer this question correctly.

Turning to the questions with an Asian origin, the patterns are more mixed. Not surprisingly, almost all the Korean respondents were able to identify Ban Ki-Moon as the current UN Secretary General. A majority in Colombia and Norway were also aware of which position Ban Ki-Moon has, while approximately a third of the respondents in the other countries did. In the United States only a quarter of the respondents knew who the UN Secretary General was. Perhaps more alarming is that only 17 percent of the US respondents knew who the Taliban was, the Islamist militia group that for a long time ruled large parts of Afghanistan, and which was a central actor and reason behind the USled ‘‘Operation Enduring Freedom’’ in 2001*and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. We also recall that a relatively large share of the international news in the US focused on Afghanistan (13 percent), although this only includes four news stories as the overall level of international news was so low. By comparison, it is interesting to note that more than twice as many Australian and Canadian respondents were aware of the Taliban (42 and 43 percent), while a majority in most European and Asian countries were...

The relatively high interest in foreign affairs reported by US and Australian respondents indicates that news editors do not always give audiences what they want"

Libertarians would probably say that if the public is not interested in international news (as expressed by market demand, which is all that counts), that means that it is not important

I did an average of the scores for the 6 questions (where data was available). The most informed of the 11 countries was Greece (average of 79% right across 4 questions). The most ignorant was the US: 37%.

Full results:
Canada: 42%
US: 37%
Colombia: 57%
Norway: 71%
UK: 58%
Italy: 59%
Greece: 79%
Japan: 44%
South Korea: 50%
India: 41%
Australia: 50%

Links - 3rd April 2020 (1)

Sara Cockerill & Dan Jones On Eleanor of Aquitaine | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "She descends from a saint. She's got a wonderful roster of really feisty ladies who were her ancestresses. But the really dominant figure that one tends to think about is her grandfather, William the Troubadour. He was the first troubadour poet, which was a quite remarkable thing from somebody who was a Duke. He developed this, this sort of, partially rather sexual but later on rather romantic form of poetry, which he had got slightly from other regions, slightly from when he was on crusade, possibly with Spanish influences, and also with influences from the northern chansons to guess, but he then parlayed that into a distinctively Southern form of poetry and music...
[On Henry II] ‘As time wears on, the amount of power Eleanor has given seems to slide away. Quite what brings that about, whether it is clashes about the way they run the Empire, whether it's clashes about Beckett, or whether it's matters as simple as on occasions when Eleanor is left in charge of an area, there's a need for military action, and she has difficulty persuading people to act when she wants them to. Persuading her, the male barons to act as her command and Henry needs to come. Who knows which of these it is? But over time, Henry takes back more power. Just to see what to do with his sons.’
‘I mean, I was going to say, I mean this is sort of Henry all over it, isn't it? Is there anybody in his life ever that he doesn't end up falling out with at some point?’
‘His mother’"

Christmas 2019 History Quiz | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "How many dishes are there in the traditional Ukrainian Christmas dinner? The answer was a 12. There are 12 dishes in the traditional Ukrainian Christmas dinner, served as supper on Christmas Eve, each dish being dedicated to one of Christ's apostles.
Question number three, which of these is a traditional South African food? The answer was a Emperor Moth caterpillars. South Africa is home to some of the world's most unusual holiday food fare. Every December locals feast on a seasonal delicacy, the deep fried caterpillars of Emperor moths…
In 15th century Germany, you could be arrested for making what at any time other than Christmas? The answer was C. Gingerbread. In 15th century Germany, gingerbread making was such a serious undertaking that you had to be a member of a gingerbread guild to make it. The only exemptions were for personal use at Christmas and Easter...
For which festival Is it most likely to snow? The answer is B, Easter. According to the Met Office, it is more likely to snow at Easter than at Christmas. Between 1981 and 2010, December averaged 3.9 days of snow, but March had 4.2. Statistics show the earlier Easter falls, the higher the chance of snow. Easters where falling sleet or snow has been recorded at a large number of weather stations include most recently 2008 and 2013... London has had only three official white Christmases since 1975. Whereas Edinburgh has had eight…
What traditionally did you have to do in Greece after kissing someone under the mistletoe? The answer is B, marry them. A kiss under the mistletoe was considered a promise of marriage in Greek culture"

A Curious History Of Christmas | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘We found a sort of collection of Victorian Christmas cards that were actually really spiteful. The Victorian Christmas card was was commercially first produced in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole... there are some scrapbooks that survive in a museum in the Midlands that have a collection of the most weird sinister looking Christmas cards you've ever come across. Including, is our friend the Robin, including an image of a dead Robin, a child boiled in a teapot, a clown sneaking up on a policeman in order to assault him. It's kind of like a sort of Banksy Victorian Christmas card. A very-’
‘Is it along the red hot poker, he’s just jabbing him in the bum with a poker?’
‘He looks like he's going to attack him, yeah’
‘A grizzly looking snowman and a frog walking away with a dagger in his hand having stabbed another frog in the heart’
‘And stolen his wallet’
‘I mean the dead robin one's fascinating. It's a, it is a dead robin and there's nothing else right in the middle of a cream coloured card, the robin is flat on its back, winged out slightly, little robiny feet you know, raised up and it's motionless and it is an ex-robin. And at the bottom of the card,  it just says may yours be a joyful Christmas. Unlike this poor robin, I'm assuming’..
‘Christmas is as much about violence and rioting, back to our subversion, as much about violence and rioting as it is with sharing and caring. It is well known that Oliver Cronwell and his Puritans sought to abolish Christmas which they saw as a Popish superstition. They passed an ordinance by Parliament in June 1647, which threatened punishment to anyone who celebrated this festival. Now, as you can imagine, the ban didn't go down very well in all quarters. And in December 1647, many of the citizens of Canterbury defined it, taking to the streets to riot, and this is described in a pamphlet called Canterbury's Christmas, or a True Relation of the Insurrection in Canterbury on Christmas Last, and it describes how shops that stayed open on this holy day were ransacked, the mayor, aldermen and constables attacked. And the sheriff knocked down, his head fearfully broke. It was God's mercies his brains were not beat out’...
‘People getting stressed, people getting drunk, that happens quite a lot on Christmas Day and if your family ends up having a bit of a row by the end of the day, just have the reassurance that you're not alone and it's been happening for years and years and years’"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Tuesday's business with Dharshini David - "‘You've led the way with initiatives to tackle diversity, inclusion, harassment. Is the work done?’
‘Gosh, no, but we are definitely on the road towards it. The thing with diversity and inclusion, that people always think that somebody can come along and fix it for you. That it's about including everybody. So that definition shifts and changes all the time. I spend a lot of time with other CEOs of other organizations, and chairs of other organizations, and we are programmed as CEOs, as leaders to see a problem, identify the problems and fix it'"
This is an admission that the 'problem' will never be solved. So much for the 'myth' of the slippery slope

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Wednesday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "‘I should point that you actually take your research quite seriously. Don't you went out and rode for a while as a Deliveroo rider to see what it really was like’...
‘Much as I love my job, my job is to ultimately be a professional talker. And sometimes I have to talk even though people aren't listening, to actually go out and give a person a burger when they're hungover is really very rewarding’"

Honey, I Grew the Economy (Ep. 399) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "PHELPS: There was a question about, “Did you think that it’s important for your children to be obedient?” And it turns out that the countries where families prize obedient children, those countries are low in innovation. I love that result."

Episode 144: Chinese Calligraphy with Derek Zhang — The Art History Babes - "‘It might be a advantage for you. The reason being, you know people who know, who speak Chinese, who know Chinese characters, they would be distracted by the function, by the meaning, by the content of the calligraphy and not be able to fully embrace the visual aesthetics of this visual material in front of you. But you not knowing how to read it actually can take the advantage of not knowing’
‘We can appreciate the form and the design because we aren't trying to understand what it's saying.’...
[On calligraphy on paintings] There are three art forms... major art forms in Chinese and they, they rank as such right? Poetry,  Chinese calligraphy or the way of writing character. And then this painting. So painting is actually ranked the lowest."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The despair over India's failure to confront sexual violence. Why are the victims blamed? - "In Haiti, music, politics and protest often intertwine. It was a voodoo ceremony, the beating of drums and the blowing of conch shells that triggered the revolution of 1791 to 1804 when Haitians won their freedom from the French and founded the world's first Black Republic"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The despair over India's failure to confront sexual violence. Why are the victims blamed? - "Academic conferences can be pretty dry affairs. But, there's an edge to this one... [the] World Science Forum... Usually events like these, to be frank, are yawnfests, albeit with fancy canapes. But this is Budapest, home to one of the most right wing governments in Europe, and university staff in the city have been protesting increasingly anti liberal policies and interference in their academic freedom. The illustrious guests, I find, do their best to avoid politics. Nobody wants to say the wrong thing to offend their hosts. But it's not easy when whether the irony is intentional or not, the theme of this year's conference happens to be ethics and responsibility. The elephant in the room is this. A year ago Prime Minister Viktor Orban placed a ban on a small academic field called gender studies. Just on gender studies, nothing else. Why? Why did his government pick on such a niche discipline? The answer lies in what gender studies represents. Gender scholars, most of them women, examine expressions of cultural gender norms, society's understanding of masculinity, femininity and sexuality. But here in Hungary, it's seen by those in power as an ideology, pushed by liberal progressives in the West, who talk about things like gender as a spectrum, transgender rights, gay marriage. For Orban, along with his allies in Russia and Poland, this is a threat to their central belief, rooted in Christianity that men are men and women are women. They see gender studies as an intellectual font of moral decline. The Prime Minister's actions haven't gone down well on the global stage. There's been widespread criticism. But at the conference you would never know. Only in the back rooms and corridors do I encounter whispered anger and fear... In practice, she admits, the ban won’t effect more than 50 or so students, but it has symbolic significance. Despite the protests, the truth is that public sympathy lies more with Viktor Orban than it does with the academics. Many women support their prime minister. Before the end of communist rule, women in Eastern Europe were encouraged, even forced, to work just like men. So for some, the fall of the Iron Curtain was a liberation from the yoke of labor. Women were finally free, to be housewives. Today, many Hungarians still embrace traditional gender roles, particularly in rural areas. Strengthening the family has become a priority for this government. In February, it announced that women having four or more children would never have to pay income tax. Low interest loans were offered to women who got married under the age of 40, leading to a surge in weddings this year. Traveling around Hungary, you see posters of happy couples plastered on state sponsored billboards extolling the joys of family life. But family, in this case, is one man, one woman and as many Hungarian babies as possible to boost the native stock. The message: procreation, not immigration, is the answer to the country's declining population and brain drain. The chill this has sent down the spines of Hungarian scholars is palpable on the fringes of the conference. Though the conversation is polite, a storm is raging. During a stolen moment in a quiet corridor, Attila Harvash, an economics researcher, tells me that the clampdown on gender studies is just the start. He implores me to listen with a look of pure despair. Today it's gender studies. What will it be tomorrow?"
I remember when the headlines first came out, some people were calling it fake news.

Did Hungary Really Just Ban Gender Studies? - "Hungary is not banning gender studies at all... In reality, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban did sign a decree about gender studies. Effective October 13th, the government did remove federal funding and revoked approval for the master’s program. As such, students admittedly cannot currently sign up to take the program with federal funding.However, they did not in any way address anything related to undergraduate gender studies. Moreover, the university insisted it will still teach the program to give both MA and Ph.D. degrees.Further still, the decree did nothing to address gender studies in private schools and universities. There is a clear distinction between a ban and a removal of funding; the latter does not criminalize the act in question. Hungary, clearly, did not make it illegal for someone to practice gender studies. They furthermore will not be giving anyone a punishment for doing so. A lack of funding is not punishment; it is an inaction, not a negative action.So, the claim, which Fox News, Independent, and many other organizations made, is false. Though the Hungarian government took away federal funding and support for gender studies, they did not do anything to prohibit its practice."
CNN confirms this (and notes that the programs are continuing and one is still accredited by the US). I find it weird that withdrawing accreditation and funding from a course is somehow banning it. Apparently taxpayers need to support everything. Yet when it comes to something liberals dislike (Singapore's modern fairytales), government money is somehow taken as endorsement (and that's not even a university program)

MW17 – The Global Middle Ages with Stephen Morillo | The History Network - "‘I hate the term early modern, but I won't go again on that hobbyhorse here. But yeah, I think anything before industrialization is playing by essentially the same rule set. And therefore, comparisons of medieval, classical, ancient, what I call late agrarian, which most people call early modern, that is the period of 1500 to 1800, all sort of fall under the same rule set and any sorts of comparisons you can do within those periods should work at some level’
‘You’re most well known for the doing these kind of comparisons, is the knight against the samurai, and that's often kind of interesting and there's obviously the History Channel kind of version of it, but you look at something a little more deeper'…
'I did that partly with a study of the differences in warrior suicide in Europe in Japan in the 12th century, where it's a phenomenon simply unknown in Europe in the 12th century. Knights simply did not kill themselves, at least overtly. They might lead an suicidal charge into an overpowerful enemy. But motivations there get very complicated. Whereas in Japan, that was the beginning of what I call a culture of death in which suicide played a fairly central role and interestingly I think one of the uses of suicide was that making kills in Japanese warfare brought you prestige based partly on the the prestige of the victim. So that suicide was a way both of depriving your enemies of the prestige of killing you and in the certain odd sense, you've got the prestige of killing yourself… which only works in a system that's organized according to clans instead of lineages which is the cultures of death are always embedded in other sorts of social, economic, political constructs'"

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Links - 2nd April 2020 (3)

Zac Mabry on Twitter - "This plant-based alternative promises to help high schoolers stop vaping. *Cigarette*"

Gender differences in load carriage injuries of Australian army soldiers - "Fifteen percent (n = 6) of injuries in female soldiers and 6% (n = 23) of injuries in males were classified as Serious Personal Injuries... The injury risk ratio of SPI for female compared to male soldiers was 2.40... While both genders similarly have the lower back as the leading site of injury while carrying load, female soldiers have more injuries to the foot as the second leading site of injury, as opposed to ankle injuries in males. The typically smaller statures of female soldiers may have predisposed them to their observed higher risk of suffering SPI while carrying loads."
The power of patriarchy!

Army document reveals 86% of female soldiers failed new physical fitness test - "The “unisex” Army Combat Fitness Test has become a disaster for female Soldiers, as around 84 percent of them can’t seem to pass it, according to a leaking army document."

Study suggests women dress modestly to defend themselves against aggression from other women - "New research in Social Psychological and Personality Science provides evidence that women strategically dampen signals of sexual permissiveness and desirability to avoid provoking intersexual aggression. In other words, the study suggests that women “dress defensively” by wearing less revealing outfits when encountering other women... The participants tended choose more modest outfits when attending an all-female gathering compared to gatherings with both men and women. This tendency was exaggerated among women who rated themselves as more physically attractive.Women who considered themselves attractive also tended to dress less revealingly when meeting a prospective new female friend. But this was not the case when attractive women were told they would be meeting with an existing female friend. Women who considered themselves as less attractive, on the other hand, tended to dress more revealingly when meeting a prospective compared to an existing female friend... "Once we acknowledge the reality that women are active agents who compete and aggress against one another, we can generate so many questions about how women defend themselves against this aggression""
Of course, if you're not a feminist you'll know that women "slut shame" more than men

Being Classically Liberal - Posts - "[AOC's] tweet... frames military members as victims. She describes servicemen and women as "vulnerable, poor, & working people -who had little to no say in conflict."I think AOC overstates this. A 2016 study on the matter noted that, "Most members of the military come from middle-class neighborhoods. A neighborhood affluence study found that the middle three quintiles were overrepresented among enlisted recruits, while the top and bottom quintiles were underrepresented."... many see military service as a public service they find meaning in performing. I doubt these individuals would want to be portrayed as victims.  Another thing the tweet ignores is that many of the politicians that influence foreign policy were in fact combat soldiers (for example, the current Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is a combat infantryman.)"

Coconut milk gives you bigger breasts, Chinese drink ad insists - "A popular Chinese coconut milk manufacturer has again come under fire for adverts and packaging which claim that its beverage will make women’s breasts grow bigger.Adverts for the Coconut Palm coconut milk drink feature several large-chested women dressed in skimpy tops alongside slogans such as “drink one can every day, [your] curves will excite people, whiter and more plump”, “genuine Coconut Palm coconut juice, I drank from small to big” and “drinking more coconut milk every day can make [your] breasts fuller”... Coconut Palm was criticised for similar adverts for its coconut drink in 2017, when it also featured large-chested women in bikinis to promote its papaya juice, using the slogan “when I’m full of papaya I’m ample-chested”."

TP Pillay on Twitter - "Looks like frost but it’s Spider season In Australia "

Chinese chemist who broke woman’s ribs during CPR cleared of liability - "The owner of a pharmacy in northeast China who was sued by an elderly woman on whom he performed CPR after she collapsed in his shop has been cleared of any liability for breaking her ribs in the process... Despite the court clearing his name, Sun said he was forced to close his store in June because of dwindling business after some locals shunned him because of what had happened"
No wonder Chinese people in China don't care about those they don't know

RazörFist on Twitter - "PragerU, a growing hub of the online right-wing media machine, is using YouTube as a way to circumvent professors — and parents — to reach a new generation of students"
"I love that the Times just low-key admitted college professors are socialist indoctrinarians"

AMOSC: DEVITOPAPI on Twitter - "Girls have a hard time choosing where to eat, because the last time they chose, they doomed all of humanity"

Paradoxical | Counter-Signal Memes | Know Your Meme - "the damsel in distress trope is disgusting because it makes women seem helpless and in need of men to come save them
by the way did you know women are at risk of being raped and murdered every time they leave their house? that's why we need men to be feminists"

Study: to increase female participation, STEM profs should grade less 'harshly' - "A new study argues that the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) can be increased by simply making grading policies within the fields less harsh.In a paper titled “Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in STEM Majors,” Naval Postgraduate School professor Thomas Ahn, Duke University economics professor Peter Arcidiacono, Duke University researcher Amy Hopson, and James R. Thomas of the Federal Trade Commission argue that STEM programs at colleges and universities lacking female enrollment can be attributed largely to harsh grading policies in these fields. The researchers take the position that universities are discouraging students, especially female students, from pursuing STEM majors by allowing differences in grading policies and study time across different fields to exist. They contend that “harsher grading policies in STEM courses disproportionately affect women,” because women are more impacted mentally by receiving poor grades... Their research led them to the conclusion that women weigh grades more heavily when choosing which fields to pursue, and that their sensitivities to harsher grading policies and are in large part responsible for the lack of women in STEM fields."
This will surely dispel the 'stereotype' that women are bad at STEM, and raise the value of STEM degrees held by women!

BBC London - Posts - "A man walked past and told me to ‘cheer up’. It’s a phrase I’ve heard my entire life but in that moment I questioned it for the first time.I felt guilty for not looking happy and angry that a stranger had told me how to look and feel.I went to a female friend’s house and we talked about it. Why is it a thing men do? This sparked a conversation about sexual harassment and we swapped stories.Harassment was like a normal part of our day. On public transport, in school and at work.Some of my male friends said they don’t believe how much it happens.They said we were taking it the wrong way and that those were compliments.That inspired me to do something. So I started Cheer Up Luv, a photo campaign to tell women’s accounts of sexual harassment."
Hearteningly, most of the comments are bashing her. Still, for the BBC to even dignify this with a post...
Though on the bright side, this just reassures us that when feminists claim women face harassment all the time, they're talking rubbish

Video gamer who fought ISIS credits skills to Call of Duty - "John Duttenhofer of Colorado, traveled to Syria last April to fight ISIS alongside the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, in ISIS' de-facto capital, Raqqa"

You Can Get A Baby Onesie With A Built-In Mop That Lets Your Little One Clean While They Learn To Crawl

Lucas Lynch - "A rule that needs to be applied consistently, including to myself.If someone says something and it seems like word salad, whether intentionally or not, you always have the right to ask for a simpler version of what they said.One of the key differences I found between people in the sciences and people in the humanities is I found that if you drilled down people from a scientific perspective they were consistently take complex things and make them seem simpler and easier to comprehend. Many people in the humanities by contrast would take concepts that are actually quite simple and make them seem much more difficult and incomprehensible.I was accused of word salad, which was definitely not my intention, but it's perfectly reasonable to ask for further clarification. If it cannot be clarified, we should question whether or not it is a sound proposition  "

Blaire White on Twitter - "Morbid obesity and anorexia are both destructive and deadly, yet one is celebrated and hailed as beautiful. Miss me with that bullshit."
Feminists are more likely to be one than the other, so

Students Against Sleep - SAS - "Your last name originated from your ancestors jobs"
"Mr. Dickinson"
"Just to be clear, Ramsbottom is my married name. 🤣"

mcc on Twitter - "I really like Chinese vampires because as far as I can tell a culture that invented a divine bureaucracy concluded you can reanimate a corpse by filling out the correct piece of paperwork and filing it directly on their face"

Chaos Language Translator - Posts - "Hello There! *General Greivous vs General Kenobi in multiple languages, with photoshop*"

Students Against Sleep - SAS - "Really disappointed that @Maybelline would name a black eyeliner "Negro" in 2019. More reasons to get that #FENTY"
"That isn’t racism it’s just Spanish"
Spanish is racist!

Saitama man robs 7-Eleven with knives, steals 3 onigiri - "A 7-Eleven convenience store in Kasukabe City, Saitama Prefecture was the scene of a daring late-night armed robbery earlier this week as an unidentified young man held clerks at knife-point and made off with a total of three onigiri rice balls, whose combined value came to approximately 300 yen (US$2.94).He’d have gotten away with too, if it hadn’t been for the bread delivery guy… As he trailed the young bandit, the bread man dialed 110 on his mobile phone and called the authorities. Police swiftly rendezvoused with them and took down the suspect approximately 300 meters from the store.According to the authorities, the onigiri bandit was intoxicated at the time of the robbery, but they are still looking into a motive beyond him being wasted. It’s unclear what became of the rice balls."

Inside the rogue 7-Eleven, a convenience store completely cut off by its company - "This particular store has been the focus of nationwide news for over a year now, after its owner Mitoshi Matsumoto took it upon himself to not be open 24-hours a day due to a lack of staff. This angered the head office who threatened to terminate their franchise agreement, thus sparking a debate over the working conditions of convenience stores in general.The dispute continued in various forms until Dec 31, 2019, when the franchise agreement between Matsumoto and 7-Eleven was ended by the company, saying they received too many complaints from customers. The cancellation was challenged by Matsumoto, and the case is currently in the courts.The closure was widely covered by media, showing the owner marking down all of his goods for a clearance sale. At that time, it was reported that he would continue to run the store in 2020, but as an independent business rather than a 7-Eleven franchise. However, when the store reopened on Jan 3, many were surprised to find that the 7-Eleven signs were still up and Matsumoto, along with his two remaining staff members were still wearing uniforms.“I still think this is 7-Eleven,” he told media, adding that while the contract is still in dispute it cannot be cancelled.This created an odd situation. The store was technically open, but completely cut off from the 7-Eleven system. The ATM was shutdown, no fresh food was delivered, and the cash register stopped working. The people, however, continued to sell. The store had gone rogue."

Debunking Asia Review's myth that China didn't coverup the coronavirus

Did China really coverup the virus? A myth debunked - Asia Review

Depressingly, I saw one of my Facebook friends (who doesn't seem to be a China shill) sharing this ridiculous article.
I said western propaganda is very powerful. It can infect so many China Chinese in China into being angry with their government for covering up despite their being protected by the Great Firewall from Western lies and misinformation.
Then I saw another friend sharing it, and got annoyed (nowadays, getting annoyed is my number 1 motivation for writing full blog posts)

This shit article falls apart at the slightest scrutiny

It is dated March 20 but links to a 21 March Daily Beast post (White House Pushes U.S. Officials to Criticize China For Coronavirus ‘Cover-Up’). And it maliciously misquoted the Daily Beast post as claiming that American officials were told to propagate a coverup myth

A communications strategy is not the same as propagating fake news

Plus, the Daily Beast post says the US cable was sent on 20 March

Yet, we have known for a long time that China covered up the Coronavirus

More than a month before the US allegedly sent the cable telling its officials to propagate fake news, the South China Morning Post in February (Li Wenliang: an ‘ordinary hero’ at the centre of the coronavirus storm | South China Morning Post) already noted that Li Wenliang had been persecuted for trying to raise the alarm

It also notes that, contrary to the fake news from "Asia Review" that Li said the virus was SARS,

Li did not know whether the virus was actually Sars. In an hour he corrected it, explaining that although it was a coronavirus, like Sars, it had not been identified yet.

It is strange that US diplomats are so powerful that they can not only time travel but also influence Chinese state media. As the SCMP again notes:

“Although the title of hero was granted by the public, we cannot overlook the public opinion behind the wide recognition,” a commentary published on Monday on Shanghai Observer, a website of the party-run Liberation Daily, said.

“People don’t care if [he] was the first whistle-blower. What they care about is those who are loyal to the people and who answer their concerns.

“The reason that Li caused a public sensation is that he is an ordinary man doing what everyone would do. Making him a hero is [about] protecting their own rights.

Of course, you wouldn't learn all this from "Asia Review"

"Asia Review" also claims that China is not faking numbers because of unusually low mortality rates and there aren't trucks of dead bodies. I have not personally seen that claim but we know that China is faking their numbers for many reasons

Statisticians (China’s Coronavirus Figures Don’t Add Up. ‘This Never Happens With Real Data.’ - Barron's) note that the data do not look like real data

While there're no reports I can find about trucks of dead bodies, the high number of urns (Lines of urns in Wuhan prompt questions about the veracity of China’s COVID-19 death toll | National Post), the constant activity of crematoria (Estimates Show Wuhan Death Toll Far Higher Than Official Figure) and your only being counted if you die after being diagnosed (Can We Believe Any of China’s Coronavirus Numbers? | Time) suggest that the official numbers are wrong. The fact that even "respected Beijing gynecologist Dr. Gong Xiaoming" doesn't believe the official statistics are accurate is telling. Their changing their definition of coronavirus infections 7 times in 3 months contrary to global best practices doesn't inspire confidence either.

Meanwhile "Asia Review" claims that Japan, France and Italy have not been accused of coverups by the "Western media".

They must not have been looking very hard. Japan (Coronavirus in Japan: why is the infection rate relatively low?, A Coronavirus Explosion Was Expected in Japan. Where Is It? - Article - BNN) has been criticised for covering up their numbers - on far less evidence than China. And Italy and France are counting deaths more broadly than China, so this is a very strange form of tu quoque; "Asia Review" claims China doesn't coverup and points fingers at other countries not being accused of covering up despite doing less to "cover up" (in only one area, mind you) than China. If you're going to accuse countries doing less to "cover up" than China of covering up, that means China is even more guilty of covering up than them.

When the Chinese government officially promotes (on multiple occasions) the ridiculous conspiracy theory that covid-19 came from the US (US-China spar over coronavirus origin | China News | Al Jazeera), or Italy, or even that Li was a Communist Party Hero despite having been persecuted by the state (China’s COVID-19 disinformation push, aided by Canadian group, raises concerns about next pandemic | National Post) the level of gaslighting by "Asia Review" is preposterous.

Furthermore, someone on the second friend's Facebook wall points out:

"im quite sure this is a propaganda website tho

all the articles are written in march. isnt it a little suspect that a news source has such a short article history? then quick google search on the website name shows no history either. i can only conclude deep-rooted propaganda machinery or a zealot owner at work. altho i admit some predesposed skepticism due to the subject matter."
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