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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Links - 20th March 2021 (2) (Women in the Military)

Norwegian warship accident raises questions on women in armed forces - "A multi-million dollar warship under the NATO command was entirely submerged after it struck an oil tanker in the early hours of November 8 in a Norwegian fjord.The KNM Helge Ingstad, dubbed as 'unsinkable', collided with a Malta oil tanker Sola TS. A 10-metre-long gash was torn into the side of the warship, which is one of the five in Norway's navy. The tanker, however, is said to be unharmed... Questions remain as to why the well-equipped warship could not avoid hitting the slow moving, 62,557 ton, 250-metre-long oil tanker. The KMN Helge Ingstad is one of the five Nansen-class frigates billed as “unsinkable” due to its construction with water-tight zones designed to keep the warship “intact and operable”... The crash and the subsequent sinking of the frigate has given rise to discussions on gender politics and political correctness in Norway.Sound recordings and radar logs have revealed crude, almost incomprehensible, human errors made by the crew. According to experienced naval officers, the mistakes make the crew look amateurs. This, too, seems to have supported the claim of sceptics who have wondered about the role of women in armed forces.In 2016, Norway introduced conscription for women. The Navy received the highest number of women after conscription duties were introduced.The Norwegian publication Armed Forces had in an article heaped praises on the KNM Helge Ingstad crew in which four out of five navigatos were women. “It is advantageous to have many women on board. It will be a natural thing and a completely different environment, which I look at as positive,” Lieutenant Iselin Emilie Jakobsen Ophus, a navigation officer at the warship, had said.Norwegian journalist, military expert and political analyst Helge Lurås has suggested that the dramatic incident is closely related to the proportion of women in the Norwegian Armed Forces.Luras claimed that the inclusion of women in the armed forces has had an effect on its professional culture. He writes that the armed forces prefer to be politically correct by increasing the number of women in the agency. "It is assumed that women make the Armed Forces better. Those who should think otherwise, receive a plain message that their opinions are undesirable," Lurås wrote. Luras questioned Navy's reluctance in giving out the details of the incident as to who were at the helm at the time. He asks whether the Navy's priority should be spending energy and resources on 'integration' and creating a 'balanced' work environment or defending the country with the best available resources.The uninsured frigate has cost the Norwegian Navy its entire annual budget, but the country also lost millions of dollars with several oil and gas fields being temporarily shut down due to the accident."
Get woke, go broke

Royal Norwegian Navy comes under fire in HNoMS Helge Ingstad collision report - ""The navy lacked competence requirements for instructors and procedures to ensure the functioning of the bridge team while administering training... As a consequence of the clearance process, the career ladder for fleet officers in the navy and the shortage of qualified navigators to man the frigates, officers of the watch had been granted clearance sooner, had a lower level of experience and had less time as officer of the watch than used to be the case"... This implies that due to a shortage of personnel, officers are being pushed through the process quicker than in the past, resulting in a lack of operational experience. The report recommends the navy undertake measures to ensure “that bridge teams have a sufficient level of competence and experience”.It also suggests that the navy review its bridge procedures and governance to solve issues of “organisation, leadership and teamwork” that played a role in the Helge Ingstad’s collision."

Deployed US Navy Has a Pregnancy Problem, and It’s Getting Worse - "A record 16 out of 100 Navy women are reassigned from ships to shore duty due to pregnancy, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act... That number is up 2 percent from 2015, representing hundreds more who have to cut their deployments short, taxing both their unit’s manpower, military budgets and combat readiness. Further, such increases cast a shadow over the lofty gender integration goals set by former President Barack Obama. Overall, women unexpectedly leave their stations on Navy ships as much as 50 percent more frequently to return to land duty, according to documents obtained from the Navy... The evacuation of pregnant women is costly for the Navy. Jude Eden, a nationally known author about women in the military who served in 2004 as a Marine deployed to Iraq, said a single transfer can cost the Navy up to $30,000 for each woman trained for a specific task, then evacuated from an active duty ship and sent to land. That figure translates into $115 million in expenses for 2016 alone... “A pregnancy takes you out of action for about two years. And there’s no replacement,” said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a nonpartisan public policy organization. “So everybody else has to work all that harder,” adding that on small ships and on submarines, “you really have a potential crew disaster.”... The Navy has been dogged for years by lingering claims that some women get pregnant simply to avoid deployment... the Navy provided many lucrative incentives to men and women — including free housing, medical care, recreation and educational opportunities.But women got additional benefits, including free prenatal care, daycare, counseling, and special education for toddlers and children with disabilities or for other “special needs.”“Since benefits offered to recruits who are women are so very generous, it almost becomes an incentive,” said Donnelly. “One feminist advocate many years ago referred to the military as a ‘Mecca for single moms.’”... Obama, during his eight years in office, sought to increase dramatically the number of women on ships.In May 2015, Admiral Michelle Howard announced a quota of 25 percent of women on all ships... Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in September 2015 pushed the new policy, stating that the Navy SEALs and all other combat jobs in the Navy should be open to women, with no exemptions as part of the Pentagon’s new “gender-neutral” employment policy.Eden believes the policy of increasing women on ships results in failure. “It’s bad policy when you think of ships that have to be battle-ready and then have to transfer women off for pregnancy — something that has to do with controlled behavior or voluntary behavior”"
Presumably more gender diversity is needed so the navy can be even more exposed to operational risk

The US Marines tested all-male squads against mixed-gender ones, and the results were pretty bleak - "In 2013, the US military lifted its ban on women serving in combat. Shortly after, the Marine Corps began what it calls an “unprecedented research effort” to understand the impact of gender integration on its combat forces. That took the form of a year-long experiment called the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, in which 400 Marines—100 of them female—trained for combat together and then undertook a simulated deployment, with every facet of their experience measured and scrutinized."

Debunking the Israeli 'women in combat' myth - ""it is a common misperception that Israel allows women in combat units. In fact, women have been barred from combat in Israel since 1950, when a review of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War showed how harmful their presence could be. The study revealed that men tried to protect and assist women rather than continue their attack. As a result, they not only put their own lives in greater danger, but also jeopardized the survival of the entire unit. The study further revealed that unit morale was damaged when men saw women killed and maimed on the battlefield"... Writes Edward Norton, a reservist in the Israel Defense Forces: "Women have always played an important role in the Israeli military, but they rarely see combat; if they do, it is usually by accident. No one in Israel, including feminists, has any objection to this situation. The fact that the Persian Gulf War has produced calls to allow women on the front lines proves only how atypical that war was and how little Americans really understand combat." "Few serious armies use women in combat roles. Israel, which drafts most of its young women and uses them in all kinds of military work, has learned from experience to take them out of combat zones. Tests show that few women have the upper-body strength required for combat tasks. Keeping combat forces all male would not be discriminatory, as were earlier racial segregation schemes in the military, because men and women are different both physically and psychologically"... Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld has written extensively about the failure of the IDF to successfully integrate and use women in combat.Finally, even Israeli citizens don't relish the thought of allowing their women into combat roles. In 1998, a survey conducted by the Jerusalem Post newspaper found that 56 percent of Israelis don't want women in combat."

DTIC ADA262626: Women in Direct Combat: What Is the Price for Equality - "Women fighting as members the Soviet Army during WWII and Israeli Army during the War for Independence form the historical basis for the evaluation. Current issues include: physiological and psychological studies to provide data to evaluate relative physical and mental capabilities, a comparative analysis of women serving as guerrillas, police, and firemen, as well as, a review of the Canadian Forces' experience with gender integration. From this assessment, the monograph concludes that allowing women to serve in direct combat units would reduce cohesion and subsequently combat effectiveness"

Female Marine and Army recruits suffer injuries from £79million battle kit designed for men - "The high-tech £79 million Virtus battle equipment system is causing women trying to become Britain's first commandos and infantry soldiers to endure agonising leg and hip problems, according to scientists.They say the 90-litre capacity rucksack is too big for most female troops while the webbing pouches used to carry ammunition and worn around the waist hurt their hips, which are naturally wider than a man's... In 2013, female RAF recruits were awarded £100,000 after suffering pelvic fractures caused by marching in step with taller male colleagues during basic training.
Clearly, the solution is for the women to carry less and let their male comrades carry the rest (since women get injured more than men regardless). And to introduce special kit designed not just for women's but also trans people's bodies.

Women in the Infantry: A Reflection on The Experiences of Allied Nations - "Tasks are deemed “essential” according to the consequences that follow from failure to complete them. Essential tasks are those whose failure would result in at least one of the following:
    Injury or death to the Canadian Armed Forces or to the general public
    Compromise the outcome of a mission or operation
    Cause significant damage to Crown (i.e., government) property
Unless the CAF can show that one of these three consequences is reasonably likely to occur as a result of failure to perform a task, then they cannot enforce the task as an occupational standard... after reviewing after action reports from Afghanistan and training exercises, Canada found that using the fireman carry to extract a wounded comrade is a nice fantasy but dragging is overwhelmingly more common... The CAF occupational standards are also informed by the legal Duty to Accommodate, which states that Canadian employers must provide employees the leeway to complete occupational tasks with work methods to which they are individually suited. In other words, for the purpose of placing a heavy box on a high shelf, it is not the business of the CAF to dictate that a soldier favors the use of his/her arms or hips or legs. Their only business is whether the box makes it atop the shelf. (There’s a lesson here for the US Army, who recently found that despite a relative lack of upper body strength, women were able to load heavy objects by emphasizing their hips and core in the lifting movement.)... the US military community’s concern for women’s pullup strength seems out of proportion to the unique demands of combat. In the participating allied countries, upper body strength is measured with a more diverse set of exercises and in a smaller proportion to the rest of the PFT. Corporal Malin Tilfors, a female Combat Craft Driver in the Swedish Marine Corps, noted that the ability to stay awake without eating for days at a time has played a much larger role than upper body strength in her combat training"

US army halts gender neutral fitness test as women struggle - "The US army is considering scrapping its new gender neutral fitness test because women have been failing in much larger numbers than men.Research showed that the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), which is the same for male and female soldiers, was leading to lower results for women with a knock-on effect for promotions.An early Pentagon study showed women were failing the ACFT at a rate of 65 per cent, compared with 10 per cent for men. Congress has halted implementation of the new test and the army has begun an independent review into whether it is fair. It has been suggested that the standard test could be evaluated differently for men and women... average scores for women so far are said to have been 100 points lower.Congress has now declared that the test in its current form should not be a factor in deciding whether someone gets promoted... An army officer told Military.com: "We have to figure out a way to make it fair to both genders.""
Good luck at the next war
So much for equal pay for equal work

With Equal Opportunity Comes Equal Responsibility: Lowering Fitness Standards to Accommodate Women Will Hurt the Army—and Women - "As the Army’s first female infantry officer, I have long awaited the elimination of a gender-based fitness test. The drastically lower female standards of the old Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) not only jeopardized mission readiness in combat units but also reinforced the false notion that women are categorically incapable of performing the same job as men. The new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) promised to alleviate these issues by finally assessing women on the same fitness scale as men and setting minimum physical standards based on branch requirements rather than gender.However, these gender-neutral standards have recently garnered criticism. Due to an initial ACFT fail rate of 54 percent among women, activist groups have raised concerns that the test will disadvantage female servicemembers. As such, lawmakers directed the Army to halt implementation of the ACFT until the service can prove it will not negatively impact the recruitment and retention of soldiers in critical support jobs, particularly those with large female populations... First, reverting to gender-based scoring could drastically reduce the performance and effectiveness of combat arms units. Specifically, without a separate, minimum standard for combat arms, the requirements to join the nation’s combat forces could soon be as low as performing ten push-ups in two minutes, running two miles in twenty-one minutes, deadlifting 140 pounds three times, and performing only one repetition of a leg tuck or, failing that, two minutes of a plank exercise. Proponents of this ACFT standard will undoubtedly claim that it is an appropriate predictor of success for combat arms soldiers; as a recent infantry company commander, I can promise you it is not. While these low standards may have seemed adequate in a controlled study, I know from experience that they will not suffice in reality.Indeed, the presence of just a handful of individuals who cannot run two miles faster than twenty-one minutes has the potential to derail a training exercise, not to mention an actual combat patrol. Entire companies of 130 soldiers will be forced to frequently halt operations in order to medically evacuate the ill-prepared as they succumb to fatigue and injury. Missions will be delayed and other soldiers will be overburdened with the weight of their unfit teammates’ equipment. This scenario is inconvenient and bad for morale during a training exercise; in combat it could be deadly. Instead of addressing the issue of having some soldiers insufficiently prepared for the physical rigors of combat, which sparked the APFT’s revision in the first place, a gender-based ACFT in combat arms will normalize it and make it unmanageable. It is wholly unethical to allow the standards of the nation’s premiere fighting units to degrade so badly, just to accommodate the lowest-performing soldiers. Reverting to gender-based scoring and reducing the minimum standard for combat arms will also hurt the women in those branches. Under a gender-based system, women in combat arms have to fight every day to dispel the notion that their presence inherently weakens these previously all-male units. Lower female standards also reinforce the belief that women cannot perform the same job as men, therefore making it difficult for women to earn the trust and confidence of their teammates. The original ACFT promised some respite from these perceptions, but a reversion to gender-based scoring threatens to validate them. While it may be difficult for a 120-pound woman to lift or drag 250 pounds, the Army cannot artificially absolve women of that responsibility; it may still exist on the battlefield. The entire purpose of creating a gender-neutral test was to acknowledge the reality that each job has objective physical standards to which all soldiers should be held, regardless of gender. The intent was not to ensure that women and men will have an equal likelihood of meeting those standards. Rather, it is incumbent upon women who volunteer for the combat arms profession to ensure they are fully capable and qualified for it. To not require women to meet equal standards in combat arms will not only undermine their credibility, but also place those women, their teammates, and the mission at risk."
Internalised misogyny!

What is the New 'Woke' Military Really Preparing Us For? - " social experimentation is directly undermining this readiness. This comes at a time when the military is already understaffed and overstretched, with fewer squadrons and active soldiers than defense experts—both inside and outside the government—recommend. The fitness of Navy ships and Navy readiness are also on the decline, as evidenced by the 2017 collision off the coast of Japan between a U.S. destroyer and a container ship. Presidents have deployed the military for all manner of objectives, which can only with great imagination be justified as defending national security, such as the 2012 hunt for Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony in the jungles of Uganda.Hasson is at his best when decrying the inanity of social justice initiatives imposed upon the armed forces. Our military academies, like secular academia writ-large, offer courses that attack America’s history and identity as backwards and corrupt, while promoting identity politics, the transgender agenda, and anti-religious sentiments. It fosters living arrangements that put people of all sexes and sexual identities together, a recipe for trouble...
'The credo of intersectionality is entirely incompatible with traditional military culture, with its hierarchy of command, its focus on duties rather than rights, and its emphasis on the merit, disciplined conduct, and professional competence of its members rather than their assumed victimhood.'
The military cannot afford to be a “safe space,” because it will never execute its mission in safe spaces. It cannot endure complaints about micro-aggressions, because the very nature of combat necessitates enduring acts of aggression. It cannot cater to all the unique variations of individual soldiers, because it is, in Hasson’s words, a “great equalizer” of men and women, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, or economic status. The military now accepts transgender soldiers and even allows soldiers to “change” genders while in military service; it pays the bill for these treatments and accepts that those who undergo them will be unavailable for months. Not to mention that those who identify as transgender have much higher rates of psychological problems, including depression and suicide, than others. What is the military supposed to do when soldiers have these issues while deployed to places where they are consistently in combat? “These intensive medical procedures are simply incompatible with wartime service,” says Hasson. Unsurprisingly, a 2016 Military Times poll found that only 12 percent of active-duty troops thought the new Obama administration’s policy would improve readiness.Apart from this, according to Hasson’s documentation, there is also the lowering of standards in U.S. Army Ranger school, one of the most elite programs in the entire military. This allowed underperforming women to graduate. Women have also been allowed into combat units, despite mounting evidence compiled by the Marine Corps that co-ed units perform less well than their all-male counterparts. The harsh reality that men and women are physiologically different must be ignored to meet the demands of identity politics... Terrifyingly, 71 percent of Millennials are not even eligible for the military because they are obese, have criminal records, or lack high school diplomas or GEDs. The military is already granting waivers to many applicants to make up for their shortfalls. Meanwhile, our soldiers are being told that evangelical Christianity and Catholicism are forms of “religious extremism.”"

New Army hair and grooming standards allow for ponytails, buzz cuts and earrings - "The Army will make major changes to its hair and grooming policy, including allowing long ponytails, buzz cuts, earrings, lipstick and nail polish for women in uniform, in a push to be more inclusive... Another change also authorizes “professional” lipstick and nail polish, meaning no loud colors.Psychologists on the panel said such additions “allow the opportunity for a woman to still feel like a woman inside and outside of uniform,” Sanders said.“One thing we can never forget is that at the end of the day, our women are mothers, are spouses, they are sisters and they definitely want to be able to maintain their identity,” Sanders said.The changes also include cutting words from the existing regulations that are viewed as offensive or racist... The newest policies come after then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in July ordered a review of whether current grooming standards are racially biased, part of a directive aimed at stamping out racial discrimination within the military.While grooming regulations are meant to reinforce uniformity, many women of color have complained that the strict rules don’t allow for braids or other hairstyles that are easier for those with different textures and hair lengths.
How come it doesn't apply to men?

History According to Bob - Misc

Napoleon:

New French Elections 1816

"The fundamental problems of the restoration were essentially extra political in the narrower meaning of politics. Louis 18th recognized clearly what they were and when he wrote his brother in 1817, he did not intend to be the king of a divided people. All the efforts of my government, he said are directed to the effort to fuse the two peoples who exist too much in fact, into a single one, and when happily, the 100 days had broken that spell of general reconciliation, which had only operated for a moment in 1814. Now a White Terror raged in the south before the central government was able to gain control. *Something* in the chamber of Paris demanded that chains, executioners and tortures, defenders of humanity, he cried, learn how to shed a few drops of blood to spare torrents of it. Doubtless to the disappointment of such real enthusiasts, the legal proceedings resulted in only a few thousand imprisonments...

There's great evidence to indicate that Ney’s execution was simply staged. He fell before the shots were fired, no coup de gras was applied after the firing squad. Was quickly, the body was loaded quickly on the cart and left and not very long later on, a gentlemen lands in the United States, who knows an awful lot about Napoleonic history"

How the French Government Manipulated [Elections]

"To attain a reliable body of supporters, the government had to resort to methods of shall we say, electorial management. And some of these had actually been used experimentally under the Directory and were to become classic government steps in the 19th century of France. Reducing the taxes for example of known opponents for the purpose of robbing them of their ability to vote was a common device. So if you made enough money somehow or another in order to keep you from voting, they looked over your taxes and and reduced it. To prevent appeals against exclusions, the lists of electors might be posted up only at the last moment at night, not in alphabetical order and at a height on a wall that made them unreadable without a ladder. The perfects who managed the elections for the government saw to it that all government servants voted for the right candidate. Electoral meetings were prohibited. The Electoral colleges were presided over by officials and although the ballot was in theory secret, supporters of the government took care not to conceal their votes. Once in the chamber, the function of the deputies were limited. Choice of ministers rested in the hands of the king. And the cabinet system was as yet only imperfectly evolved"

Ancient Warfare:

The Sling in Ancient Warfare:

"You will find some of these lead bullets with markings on them. Some of the Greek ones actually say in Greek, take that. Some of them have the name of towns on them. Some of them have the names of the commander or the general so that when you got hit, you knew who was doing it to you, which is kind of interesting"

Helenistic Elephant Warfare Part 1:

"Numerous accounts report that prior to battles elephants were given large amounts of wine to increase their aggressiveness, but this is probably the reason they have a tendency to rampage in the nearby friendly units when they're wounded or become distressed and disoriented."

Silver Shields Part 1:

"At this time, the youngest Silver Sword were about 60, some 70 and a few older. Well how in the world do they hold up in this kind of combat? Ancient sources insist they were still unsurpassed in combat prowess. Physically, the single collision of a hoplite or a phalangite phalanx was ideally suited for men of all ages as the troops only required enough stamina for a single day's fighting. It is logical to conclude that the Silver Shields doing battle in much the same way as hoplites and not needing to be as nimble as they were when they were the hinge unit, could function very well over the course of a couple of hours of battle. The Silver Shields may even have discarded their 7 foot long dori and were now using the large sarissa and as a phalangite it wouldn't have to require them much agility at all. All they needed to do is to be able to hold it and poke and push"

Silver Shields Part 2: "The Silver Shields were simply unstoppable. They were not checked and charged directly into Antigonus’s main phalanx. ‘The Silver shields were so superior in skill and strength that of their own men they lost not one of them, but of those that opposed them they slew 5000 and routed the entire main phalanx of Antigonus’s centre’...

Unfortunately, the rest of Eumenes’s army was not as fortunate. His cavalry on the far left had been driven off and in the dust Antigonus’s cavalry was able to capture the baggage train of Eumenes... the next day Eumenes wanted to restart the battle. After all Antigonus’s phalanx was destroyed. So Eumenes thought that the Silver Shields plus his cavalry could turn the tide. Ah but Antigonus held something special, the baggage. Which meant that was the Silver Shields’ baggage. That was their money, that was their wealth, but it was also their wives and their children... So they moved quickly on Eumenes...

The Silver Shields were now in Antigonus’s service but they were very dangerous. So [Plutarch] says that they were sent to the satrapy or the province of Archicoa [sp?], which is in Southeast Afghanistan. There the governor was ordered to send them on dangerous missions so that they would gradually be destroyed and certainly would not return to Macedonia. There's some discussion that they would break them up into smaller units so they could be easier to remove. Plutarch may have stretched that a little bit to give them a little better background.

It is not really likely that Antigonus would have done something like that to this special group. They are old enough, by just sending them off to a distant area, they could simply live out their days without causing Antigonus any more trouble. In that area Afghanistan, which includes Bactria to the north, and whatever, there are a lot of Macedonian troops that retired there to their own villages and trained their own sons. And then years later you would have some of the other successors would recruit their sons to come in and join them in battle. That's how they got, reconstituting the Macedonian army, so that's a possibility"

Miscellaneous:

Jesse James:

"Mom's gonna make a little money off of this deal... Jesse James's mother charged 25 cents a head to come and see her son's grave. Now, the grave is also covered with some pebbles from the local creek. She would allow people to take those pebbles for 25 cents a piece. Of course, when they ran low on pebbles, she just went down to the creek, got more pebbles and covered it over."

Mansa Musa:

"Many of the other West African kingdoms, their leaders didn't use gold as an emblem. It was too common. They use the rare metal - copper. Great trading network, you actually have trading from West African kingdoms to the north. One of the things that they're desperately in need of it is salt. And they will trade gold for salt pound for pound... A lot of gold in Western Europe, that is going to come from West Africa. And that's going to be the main source of gold until the discovery of, you know, the New World… this idea that the Europeans disrespected these West African kingdoms really isn't true. That's going to take place later, much later but they were revered because of the kind of financial power that they possess"

Teapot Dome Punishment:

"The Inca Empire, if you are a government official and you committed any crime no matter how petty they executed you because they wanted everyone to be sure that they were were fairly treated."

Fritz Haber:

"[He’s] really helped humanity, now he becomes a killer for humanity. And it appalled his wife, his wife was just stunned. Actually called, said that he had prostituted his knowledge from the benefit of man, to the destruction of man and begged him to stop. But Fritz was a very patriotic individual, wanted to help his country, and he refused to stop. And a short time later, his wife committed suicide."

Links - 20th March 2021 (1) (Business School)

The Default Major: Skating Through B-School - The New York Times - "Business majors spend less time preparing for class than do students in any other broad field, according to the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement: nearly half of seniors majoring in business say they spend fewer than 11 hours a week studying outside class. In their new book “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” the sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa report that business majors had the weakest gains during the first two years of college on a national test of writing and reasoning skills. And when business students take the GMAT, the entry examination for M.B.A. programs, they score lower than students in every other major. This is not a small corner of academe. The family of majors under the business umbrella — including finance, accounting, marketing, management and “general business” — accounts for just over 20 percent, or more than 325,000, of all bachelor’s degrees awarded annually in the United States, making it the most popular field of study... as long ago as 1959, a Ford Foundation report warned that too many undergraduate business students chose their majors “by default.” Business programs also attract more than their share of students who approach college in purely instrumental terms, as a plausible path to a job, not out of curiosity about, say, Ronald Coase’s theory of the firm.“Business education has come to be defined in the minds of students as a place for developing elite social networks and getting access to corporate recruiters,” says Rakesh Khurana, a professor at Harvard Business School who is a prominent critic of the field. It’s an attitude that Dr. Khurana first saw in M.B.A. programs but has migrated, he says, to the undergraduate level. Second, in management and marketing, no strong consensus has emerged about what students ought to learn or how they ought to learn it. And finally, with large student-faculty ratios and no lab equipment, business has historically been cheaper to operate than most departments... business students’ scores improved less than any other group’s. Communication, education and social-work majors had slightly better gains; humanities, social science, and science and engineering students saw much stronger improvement.What accounts for those gaps? Dr. Arum and Dr. Roksa point to sheer time on task. Gains on the C.L.A. closely parallel the amount of time students reported spending on homework. Another explanation is the heavy prevalence of group assignments in business courses: the more time students spent studying in groups, the weaker their gains in the kinds of skills the C.L.A. measures... The pedagogical theory is that managers need to function in groups, so a management education without such experiences would be like medical training without a residency. While some group projects are genuinely challenging, the consensus among students and professors is that they are one of the elements of business that make it easy to skate through college. Donald R. Bacon, a business professor at the University of Denver, studied group projects at his institution and found a perverse dynamic: the groups that functioned most smoothly were often the ones where the least learning occurred. That’s because students divided up the tasks in ways they felt comfortable with. The math whiz would do the statistical work, the English minor drafted the analysis. And then there’s the most common complaint about groups: some shoulder all the work, the rest do nothing... he estimates that a third of students in the business school don’t engage with their schoolwork. At Radford, seniors in business invest on average 3.64 hours a week preparing for class... It is near-universal student folklore that accounting and finance are where the hard work happens... For a career-oriented major, management strikes many business educators as too theoretical and amorphous — a potpourri of psychology, economics, game theory, ethics and international relations... he developed a game-theory model of the “market” for courses. The model predicts that, over time, courses will inexorably become easier as students (even the conscientious ones) choose courses where they can expect higher grades, and professors (even the most dedicated) turn to strategies that they expect will improve their student evaluations.It’s a simplified model — it assumes students are motivated only by grades and instructors by evaluations. But Dr. Mason believes it offers a fair approximation of reality. In a 2003 paper in the Economics of Education Review, he buttressed that model with a national survey of 259 business professors who had been teaching for at least 10 years. On average, respondents said they had reduced the math and analytic-thinking requirements in their courses. In exchange, they had increased the number of requirements related to computer skills and group presentations. Dr. Mason says that without some kind of hard constraint — like the licensure tests that accounting and finance students must face — courses inexorably become less rigorous.And what about employers? What do they want?According to national surveys, they want to hire 22-year-olds who can write coherently, think creatively and analyze quantitative data, and they’re perfectly happy to hire English or biology majors. Most Ivy League universities and elite liberal arts colleges, in fact, don’t even offer undergraduate business majors."

Business majors: College's worst slackers? - "Ever wonder why business is the most popular college major in the United States?Maybe it's because business majors have the most fun... Business majors, according to the survey, studied the least among college students. The average business student studied just 14 hours a week. In contrast, engineering students, the hardest workers on college campuses, studied 19 hours a week"

Abolish the Business Major! - "the growth of the business major inflicts a significant cost on colleges and the students they serve. In an era in which calls to reform higher education are rampant, eliminating the undergraduate business major is one simple reform that would dramatically benefit both colleges and their students. While this change would not require the kind of disruption reformers sometimes seek, it would improve student learning outcomes and refocus colleges on their core mission.Many of the students choosing to major in business and related degrees presumably believe it will lead to higher salaries... The Chronicle’s 2014 Almanac concluded that preprofessional majors initially make more than academic majors, but that by midcareer the gap has largely been erased. The Hamilton Project found almost no difference in median lifetime earnings between chemistry, political science, marketing, and business management and administration majors. An analysis by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) concluded that over one’s career, median annual earnings for humanities majors and professional/preprofessional majors are almost exactly the same, whereas majors in the sciences and mathematics tend to make more. At their peak earnings, humanities majors, the study found, make more than professional/preprofessional majors... gender may shape future earnings more than college major. As Benjamin Schmidt noted, “the difference between humanities majors and science majors, in median income and unemployment, seems to be no more than the difference between residents of Virginia and North Carolina. If someone told to me not to move to Charlotte because no one there can make a living, I would never take them seriously. But worried relatives express the same concerns about classics majors every day, with no sounder evidence.” The data are not only contradictory, but also messy. It’s not clear, for example, whether majoring in business leads to higher salaries, or whether other factors are more important... The most important complicating factor, however, is self-selection... The evidence suggests there is no reason to believe majoring in the liberal arts and sciences will have a negative impact on earning potential. Indeed, majoring in the arts and sciences may actually improve graduates’ prospects. According to an AAC&U study, employers overwhelmingly desire college students with a liberal education, both for the kinds of knowledge and perspectives such an education offers and because of the higher-end skills it develops.Employers have been saying this for a long time. Back in 1953, John L. McCaffrey, who was then president of International Harvester, stated that a business graduate’s perspective tends to be too narrow, and therefore he “does not see overall effects on the business.” McCaffrey encouraged engineering and technical schools “to give a larger part in their courses to the liberal-arts subjects” because business leaders needed a “rounded education.” In 1960, William Benton, a partner in an advertising firm, admitted that as “a student at Yale forty years ago, I specialized in a mishmash labeled ‘Finance’ — to my everlasting regret.” Business programs “too often are a waste — of time, money, and the priceless opportunity to prepare for successful careers.”... For Benton, “even four years of Latin are more useful than a once-over-lightly course in production or merchandising.” This leads to the second major weakness of the undergraduate business degree: It is less likely to foster the skills that employers value. In Academically Adrift (University of Chicago Press, 2011), the sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa found that students taking courses in the arts and sciences produce significantly greater gains in critical thinking (as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment) than do business majors. They attribute the result to the fact that students in the sciences study the most hours, and students in the humanities read and write the most... The third, and most important, reason to abandon the business major is because business majors are antithetical to college education and unworthy of a college degree even if it could be proved that they do produce higher salaries. College students ought to study the liberal arts and sciences because they provide the knowledge, skills, and virtues that are necessary both for preparing people to be effective citizens and leaders and productive participants in the work force, as well as to further their own learning. While there may be utilitarian arguments for majoring in business, colleges must remain true to their own internal purposes... A college graduate ought to be a different kind of person than someone who did not attend college... The business major is for students who want a college degree without a college education. The philosopher Tal Brewer has written that the very notion of business school is an “oxymoron.”

On "#chinesevirus" and "Anti-Asian" sentiments

We have repeatedly heard a claim that the term "Chinese virus" is not just offensive but incites anti-Asian hate crimes.

Now we have a study, Association of “#covid19” Versus “#chinesevirus” With Anti-Asian Sentiments on Twitter: March 9–23, 2020 | AJPH | Vol. Issue, that reports that from Mar 9 to Mar 23 (the weeks before and after Trump tweeted: "The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!"), 19.7% of those who used the hashtag #covid19 had "anti-Asian sentiment" vs 50.4% of those who used the hashtag #chinesevirus and concludes that the former is less "stigmatising".

Ironically the crowd who usually crow that "correlation is not causation" don't say that when they like the findings. Indeed, if you dig into the methodology of this paper, it raises more questions than it answers.

For one, there is the issue of what is considered "anti-Asian". If you read the paper, you can see that hashtags such as #makethecommiechinesepay and #commieflu were coded as "anti-Asian". As is usual with this kind of grievance mongering, criticism of the Chinese Communist Party is conflated with racism against Chinese/Asian people, which is very dishonest.

You can also see that hashtags that "supported restrictions on Asian immigration" were coded as "anti-Asian". Ironically, border controls have been a key tool in the fight against covid. Australia has been praised for its "success" against covid. Yet, Australia banned the entry of foreign nationals who had been in Mainland China on 1 February 2020, and South Korea on 5 March, only closing its borders to all non-residents (regardless of country of origin) on 20 March. So presumably Australia was "anti-Asian" for most of the period this study is about.

Other coding of "anti-Asian" hashtags can also be questioned. "#bateatingchinese" was deemed "anti-Asian". But if you truly believed that covid came about because a human got infected when eating a bat, does using this hashtag really mean you are "anti-Asian"?

Unfortunately, the exact coding of the hashtags is not available, nor is the breakdown of which "anti-Asian" hashtags (or even which types of "anti-Asian" hashtags) were used by each group of hashtag users during each period.

The study also does not qualify the kind of tweets involved. Tweets from an organisation talking about how to protect yourself from covid are going to be different from tweets by individuals about their getting covid, which in turn are going to be different from tweets about how China covered up covid. It is reasonable to expect that tweets using "#chinesevirus" are going to be about different subjects than those using "#covid19". And for all we know, tweets from #covid19-using individuals talking about how their loved ones had died of covid had more "anti-Asian" hashtags than similar tweets from #chinesevirus-using individuals.

But even if we take the study at face value, there is also an interesting complication visible in TABLE 2—Comparison of Hashtags #covid19 Versus #chinesevirus on Twitter Before and After 18:51:00 on March 16, 2020: before Trump tweeted the term "Chinese virus", in the #chinesevirus group there were 495 hashtags per day, of which 305 (61%) were "anti-Asian". But after Trump tweeted it, there were 96,737 hashtags per day, of which 51,085  (53%) were "anti-Asian". So while it seems Trump did popularise the use of the term "Chinese virus", he actually reduced the "anti-Asian" prejudice of its users.

Since the paper fits the narrative, though, these questions will likely never be answered, and the paper's conclusions will be taken at face value to further support the narrative.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Links - 19th March 2021 (2) (China's 'peaceful' rise)

TikTok apologises after being accused of censoring black users - "TikTok has been accused of censorship before, including allegations that it suppressed posts related to anti-government protests in Hong Kong, as well as videos by disabled, queer and overweight creators."

First Covid-19 lawsuit filed against Chinese government in latest sign of bubbling unrest - "When Zhang Hai checked his father into a hospital in Wuhan mid-January, he had no idea a novel coronavirus was sweeping through the city... The unprecedented lawsuit poses immense risk for Mr Zhang as it challenges the ruling Communist Party’s official narrative, which denies a cover-up, glosses over missteps, and instead focuses on containment success.China has used a selective timeline to defend against growing criticism over its lack of transparency in the pandemic, even as lawsuits seeking punitive damages from Beijing pile up across the globe, including in the US, India and Nigeria. “The case is very sensitive, so the court will probably give us a cold shoulder,” Yang Zhanqing, Mr Zhang’s lawyer, said from the US where he sought refuge after being detained in China for his work. “At the same time, the court will notify the local government, and the authorities will coerce him to withdraw the lawsuit.”... One state-owned company employee was pressured by her manager to stop complaining to journalists that a hospital refused to issue a coronavirus diagnosis, even though she tested positive and needed a positive diagnosis to file an insurance claim. Her boss warned doing so was a “political mistake”... Others have been compelled by police and local party officials to abandon their pursuits for reparations. Lawyers in China have also been told to cease providing assistance... Most people acquiesced out of fear, but Mr Zhang continues to defy threats. His social media posts have been censored and police have made clear they’re watching him.Police waved a printout of his comments in a group chat – since shut down by the authorities – with more than a hundred people hoping to seek reparations for relatives’ deaths, chiding him for “meddling with ‘anti-China’ forces”... “If we say anything, they accuse us of handing a knife to ‘anti-China’ agents,” said Mr Zhang. But “they’re the ones wielding the knife, hurting me, so why am I not allowed to speak up?”... Despite the risks, Mr Zhang refuses to give up.“Many families have fallen silent under pressure, which I understand,” he said. “But I won’t be gagged. If I am, my father will have died in vain, and that wouldn’t do him justice.”"

Zoom admits cutting off activists' accounts in obedience to China - "Zoom has admitted it suspended the accounts of human rights activists at the behest of the Chinese government and suggested it will block any further meetings that Beijing complains are illegal.On Thursday the video conferencing platform was accused of disrupting or shutting down the accounts of three activists who held online events relating to the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary or discussing the crisis in Hong Kong. None were given an explanation by Zoom... The statement raises questions about Zoom bowing to Chinese pressure. Unlike many Western social media platforms, it is not blocked in China... Zoom said it had no ability to block participants from particular countries and so it ended three of the meetings and suspended or terminated the associated host accounts... It is unclear why the company would shut down the accounts of Zoom users based in the US and in Hong Kong. The account of Zhou Fengsuo, a Chinese activist based in the US, was shut down days after he hosted a memorial for the Tiananmen crackdown."

Uighur model sends rare video from Chinese detention - "Merdan Ghappar was used to posing for the camera.As a model for the massive Chinese online retailer Taobao, the 31-year-old was well paid to flaunt his good looks in slick promotional videos for clothing brands.But one video of Mr Ghappar is different. Instead of a glitzy studio or fashionable city street, the backdrop is a bare room with grubby walls and steel mesh on the window. And in place of the posing, Mr Ghappar sits silently with an anxious expression on his face.Holding the camera with his right hand, he reveals his dirty clothes, his swollen ankles, and a set of handcuffs fixing his left wrist to the metal frame of the bed - the only piece of furniture in the room.The video of Mr Ghappar, along with a number of accompanying text messages also passed to the BBC, together provide a chilling and extremely rare first-hand account of China's highly secure and secretive detention system - sent directly from the inside... Mr Ghappar's account appears to provide evidence that, despite China's insistence that most re-education camps have been closed, Uighurs are still being detained in significant numbers and held without charge.It also contains new details about the huge psychological pressure placed on Uighur communities, including a document he photographed which calls on children as young as 13 to "repent and surrender"... Mr Ghappar's relatives say that Mr Ghappar was told it would be best for his modelling career to downplay his Uighur identity and refer to his facial features as "half-European".And although he had earned enough money to buy a sizeable apartment, they say he was unable to register it in his own name, instead having to use the name of a Han Chinese friend... Mr Ghappar's account suggests the enforcement of quarantine rules were much stricter in Xinjiang than elsewhere. At one point, four young men were brought into the cell aged between 16 and 20."During the epidemic period they were found outside playing a kind of game like baseball," he writes."They were brought to the police station and beaten until they screamed like babies, the skin on their buttocks split open and they couldn't sit down."... the sounds of torture were much clearer."One time I heard a man screaming from morning until evening"... It is impossible to independently verify the authenticity of the text messages. But experts say that the video footage appears to be genuine, in particular because of the propaganda messages that can be heard in the background."Xinjiang has never been an 'East Turkistan'", says an announcement in both Uighur and Chinese from a loudspeaker outside his window."Separatist forces at home and abroad have politicised this geographical term and called for those who speak Turkic languages and believe in Islam to unite," the announcement says.James Millward, a professor of history at Georgetown University and an expert on China's policies in Xinjiang, translated and analysed Mr Ghappar's text messages for the BBC.He says they are consistent with other well documented cases, from his transportation back to Xinjiang and the initial processing in crowded, unsanitary conditions... Whether his earlier conviction for a drugs offence was just or not, his current detention is proof that even well-educated and relatively successful Uighurs can become a target of the internment system."This young man, as a fashion model, has a successful career already," said Professor Millward. "He speaks wonderful Chinese, writes very well and uses fancy phrases, so clearly this is not someone who needs education for a vocational purpose."Dr Adrian Zenz argues that this is the point of the system. "It doesn't actually matter so much what the background of the person is," he says."What matters is that their loyalty has been tested by the system. At some point almost everybody is going to experience some form of internment or re-education, everybody is going to going to be subjected to this system." The Chinese government denies that it is persecuting the Uighur population. After heavy criticism over the issue recently from the US, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, invoked the death of George Floyd, saying that Uighurs in Xinjiang were free in comparison to African Americans in the US."

State Dept. Confirms China Potentially Carrying Out Worst Genocide Since the Holocaust - "“Natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically; growth rates fell by 84 percent in the two largest Uyghur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, and declined further in 2019.”
“Government documents bluntly mandate that birth control violations are punishable by extrajudicial internment in ‘training’ camps. This confirms evidence from the leaked ‘Karakax List’ document, wherein such violations were the most common reason for internment.”
“Documents from 2019 reveal plans for a campaign of mass female sterilization in rural Uyghur regions targeting 14 and 34 percent of all married women of childbearing age in two Uyghur counties that year.”
“By 2019, Xinjiang planned to subject at least 80 percent of women of childbearing age in the rural southern four minority prefectures to intrusive birth prevention surgeries (IUDs or sterilizations), with actual shares likely being much higher.”
“Shares of women aged 18 to 49 who were either widowed or in menopause have more than doubled since the onset of the internment campaign in one particular Uyghur region. These are potential proxy indicators for unnatural deaths (possibly of interned husbands), and/or of injections given in internment that can cause temporary or permanent loss of menstrual cycles.”
“Between 2015 and 2018, about 860,000 ethnic Han residents left Xinjiang, while up to 2 million new residents were added to Xinjiang’s Han majority regions.”...
Despite the ever growing evidence of Nazi-like targeting of the Uyghur people in China, American corporations and even sports teams continue to placate the evil Chine regime.At one point, the NBA’s official store even banned customers from emblazoning the slogan “FreeHongKong” on custom T-shirts. However, they did allow messages like “KILLCOPS.”... During a campaign rally in May 2019, Biden mocked President Donald Trump’s tough stance on China."
Some of this is basically what the Han used to be subjected to under the one child policy (and perhaps still are under the two child policy)

There's Jim Crow in China, but no one seems to care - Los Angeles Times - "In China, there is systemic discrimination against non-Han Chinese. Ethnic minorities — about 10% of the Chinese population — are routinely denied access to elite universities and urban job markets in the name of Han supremacy. Under China’s internal passport system, many non-Han aren’t permitted to even look for work outside of their rural provinces. Tibetan and Uighur citizens are often barred from using Chinese hotels... The Han are simultaneously erasing minority cultures and reducing them to kitsch for Chinese tourists. Mongols now make up less than 20% of Inner Mongolia’s population. Minority languages aren’t taught in many schools in places like Tibet. In America, we increasingly hear that enforcing immigration laws is a kind of hate crime. But we mint about 700,000 new citizens each year. Meanwhile, in China, it is almost impossible to become a Chinese citizen if you weren’t born there to Chinese parents. The 2010 census found just 1,448 naturalized citizens. (Yes, total, not just for the year 2010.)... the United Nations reported that China is holding millions of Muslim Uighurs in a sprawling gulag of “counter-extremism centers” and “reeducation camps for political and cultural indoctrination.” Prisoners are forced to swear loyalty to the Chinese leader Xi Jingping. Bans on Muslim garb and long beards are becoming more common. Much of this has gone unnoticed in America, no doubt in part because many refuse to be distracted from their constant watch for Islamophobia here in America... it does seem as though we’re most reluctant to invoke our moral lodestars precisely when they most apply."

Sri Lankan journalist sacked by Chinese media after COVID-19 story - "A Sri Lankan journalist has been sacked by a leading Chinese media institution after his name appeared on a news item accusing the Chinese Government over the COVID-19 pandemic... Aravinda had sent a letter to the Chinese media institution explaining that he had only reported what the consumer rights group had said but there has been no response to his explanation.Colombo Gazette learns there was also pressure on Daily Mirror to retract the story, which the newspaper refused to do."

Weaponising the Baizuo. - "Targeting social media is not beyond China’s remit, indeed China has recently begun a campaign of flooding the site with targeted ads blaming Trump for the pandemic, even going as far as to insinuate the virus was created and spread by the United States... the use of anti-Trump hysteria and the Western Left’s deep-rooted anti-Americanism (itself a remnant of Cold War-era Soviet propaganda the modern left-wing remains beholden to) in this context is a clever ploy for the Chinese state to again deflect criticism from, and subsequently political action against, itself. It is easily observable that early into the pandemic, China’s preferred approach was to downplay the virus to protect its own economic interests. This started with a wave of articles from state/party outlets insinuating a connection between proposed travel restrictions and anti-Chinese racism... While originating in the Chinese press, a variety of left-leaning outlets immediately jumped on the opportunity to create yet another racism scandal revolving around the Trump administration and Western society. This led to a series of articles equating concern around the virus’ potential with being racist. This can be seen in headlines like The coronavirus exposes the history of racism and “cleanliness” from Vox, published early February 2020, THE NEW CORONAVIRUS IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO BE RACIST from The Verge or even this op-ed, Who Says It’s Not Safe to Travel to China? The coronavirus travel ban is unjust and doesn’t work anyway from the New York Times; a small sample of outlets issuing such content. The egregious, uncritical and immediate regurgitation of the Chinese government “racism” narrative raises serious questions about our media’s irresponsibility, and role in contributing to hampering preemptive government responses. It should be noted that travel bans on outbreak centres are a standard accepted measure in dealing with a pandemic spread... such measures have gone on to be taken by a huge swathe of world governments across the political spectrum in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The WHO’s differing responses are particularly suspect, as its early action around COVID-19 was to immediately pedal the Chinese government line and claim travel bans were unnecessary, while restrictions were an immediately recommended measure to deal with Ebola. Tedros Adhanom, the current chief of the WHO, has gone on to engage in accusations of racism against China’s traditional enemy, Taiwan, for its own government’s public dispute with the CCP regime’s numbers, as well as scepticism of the WHO’s independence, something that is being widely called into question as of late. In early March, Twitter lit up with the hashtag #ChinaLiedPeopleDied, which despite trending to number one in the UK at one point, mysteriously vanished within the hour. Such disappearances are common behaviour by Twitter administrators, who appear to engage in damage control regularly over political mobilisations they dislike, despite claims to the contrary from the company itself. However, of significant interest was the sudden and rapid appearance of #TrumpLiedPeopleDied while the original hashtag was trending, in exact tandem... of anecdotal note is occurrences on university Facebook confession pages, an anonymous submission format for an institution’s student body to post comments and musings to their respective community. Several universities, mostly in London and with large Chinese student bodies, have had their pages subjected to a spate of posts parroting Chinese government propaganda, mostly in the vein of equating criticism of the CCP regime to anti-Chinese ethnic discrimination, or praising the Chinese government for supposedly heroic assistance to afflicted countries. This manifests as newly created, suspect accounts in the comments sections often randomly interjecting about the Trump administration or making claims of rampant racism towards themselves on campus when discussion of China’s dodgy COV-19 statistics occurs... The picture that emerges from this coterie of media statements and internet subversion is that of a carefully researched and ingenious Chinese propaganda project. Observing the prevalence of concern around racism and pop culture anti-Trump sentiment in the “baizuo”, China has manufactured its campaign of psychological warfare to tailor specifically to these cultural sensibilities. In the age of Twitter cancel culture, “wokeness” and political correctness, peddled by everyone from universities to highly influential celebrities, no better route presents itself than to invoke the high crime of “racism” against any and all of the Chinese government’s critics. By carefully manipulating these prominent narrative threads that have snowballed in Western discourse over the past decade, China has created an army of unwitting journalists, spads and activists ready and willing to push its disinformation, and by consequence, damage any attempt by national governments to hold the CCP regime accountable in both the short and long term.These methods will not simply be here for the duration of COVID-19, they are likely to continue long into the aftermath... enter the baizuo, the future vehicle for Chinese interests in “Cold War 2”. It can be expected in the coming years that we shall see vignettes such as a government renationalising a Chinese-owned utility being met with accusations of “Sinophobia”, a term that I imagine will become common parlance in the years to come. We can also expect claims of a deep, institutional anti-Chinese racism if serious action is taken to curb the growing problem of Chinese espionage in academia. We can additionally expect a drift of some Western left-wing parties and factions into explicit pro-Chinese foreign policy and cheerleading for the Chinese Communist Party regime, as well as the proliferation of covert Chinese front groups into mainstream Western politics, as the Soviet Union once did. We may even see a philosophical shift in Western leftist politics in totality, the potential for which is already laid in the wake of the collapse of the middle-class, libertine socialism of Jeremy Corbyn’s disastrously failed 2019 election bid, and the recent implosion of Bernie Sanders second presidential campaign. This drift, if it occurs, will be towards an explicit embrace of Chinese state ideology, aping a more authoritarian, explicitly neo-Confucian worldview"

Why China is losing the coronavirus narrative | Financial Times - "When Roger Roth received an email from the Chinese government asking him to sponsor a bill in the Wisconsin state legislature praising China’s response to coronavirus, he thought it must be a hoax. The sender had even appended a pre-written resolution full of Communist party talking points and dubious claims for the Wisconsin senate president to put to a vote.“I’ve never heard of a foreign government approaching a state legislature and asking them to pass a piece of legislation,” Mr Roth told me last week. “I thought this couldn’t be real.” Then he discovered it was indeed sent by China’s consul-general in Chicago. “I was astonished . . .[and] wrote a letter back: ‘dear consul general, NUTS’.”It is impossible to see this episode as anything but another disastrous own goal in Beijing’s attempts to boost its global standing in the time of coronavirus.From the deplorable treatment of African citizens in southern China to the export of faulty medical equipment, or the official endorsement of conspiracy theories blaming the US military for the outbreak, most of the Communist party’s efforts to control the international narrative have backfired... 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/8d7842fa-8082-11ea-82f6-150830b3b99aWang Jisi, a legendary scholar at Peking University, says the virus fallout has pushed Sino-US relations to their worst level since formal ties were established in the 1970s. He describes bilateral economic and technological decoupling as “already irreversible”.The shift has been striking in the UK too, where influential Conservatives have called on the prime minister to be tougher on China, the British press has become more critical, and intelligence agencies have promised to focus on the threat from Beijing. In Europe and Australia, governments have rushed to block Chinese companies from buying assets cheaply amid economic carnage. And Tokyo has set aside $2.2bn explicitly to help Japanese companies move their supply chains out of China.But it is not just the US and its allies that have soured on Beijing. North Korea, China’s only treaty ally, was the first country to close its northern border at the start of the outbreak, despite Beijing’s objections to international travel bans. Russia quickly followed. Even Iranian officials have criticised China for hiding the extent of the outbreak... Many multinational companies have been badly burnt since Beijing effectively sealed its borders and cancelled visas last month. The expulsion of much of the US press corps from Beijing will also harden international attitudes. China’s main government mouthpiece has even threatened to withhold medical supplies and block medical exports to the US so it can “cast America into a novel coronavirus hell”."

China admitting that its own statistics cannot be trusted

From December 2015

Archived from 变“数字出官”为“数字黜官” which in turn was archived from http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2015-12/10/c_1117414620.htm. Neither is online anymore

变“数字出官”为“数字黜官”

多年来,地方GDP“增速高于全国、总量大于全国”的统计乱象引发公众质疑。有专家指出,这种“数据掐架”既有重复统计、数出多门和基础资料不全等原因,但其深层次则是“数字出官,官出数据”的扭曲政绩观在推波助澜。相形之下,东北三省部分地方数据造假之风尤甚,不仅误导中央和地方的规划决策,且已演化为破坏党风政风、损害政府公信力的腐败推手。(新华社12月10日电)

“数字出官,官出数据”,可以说已是久治难愈的官场痼疾。为何久治难愈,说到底,还是有人从中得到了好处。尽管我国统计法明确规定,“利用虚假统计资料骗取荣誉称号、物质利益或者职务晋升的”,除依法追究法律责任外,还要“取消其荣誉称号,追缴获得的物质利益,撤销晋升的职务”,但在实际执行中极少有人为此丢官。

实际上,不仅极少有人因为统计数据注水而丢官,更多的人还因此不断地升官。如果一个镇官因为数字注水升了县官,那他要想继续升个副市长,肯定还会继续作假,因为他有了直接经验。反过来,就变成了“上级压下级,层层加码,马到成功;下级哄上级,层层掺水,水到渠成”。

如果注水的数字不能升官,那官员自然失去了数字造假的兴趣。如果数字造假不但不能升官,反而会因此丢官,“数字出官”变成了“数字黜官”,那官员们非但不敢统计数据造假,恐怕还会变成另外一种“一级压一级”,即要求下级挤干水分。因为他怕“连坐”,怕因为督察不力而影响了自己的仕途。

新华社记者在报道中认为,“无论多报虚报、瞒报谎报,还是少报漏报、凭空捏报,只要能转化为政绩指标,至多被视为作风不实而敷衍了事。这种失之于宽的纵容行为,助长一些地方统计数据竞相掺水,其社会危害程度并不亚于贪腐。”既然数据掺水兑假的社会危害程度已经不在贪腐之下,那么就应该修订相关法律,刑上“官假”。一个社会危害程度远远低于“官假”的民间骗子,往往都能判个十年八年的,“对村骗乡,乡骗县,一直骗到国务院”的造假统计数据的“官骗”,难道就可以逍遥法外?

从新华社的报道中看到,在东北各级官员层层造假中,受到最重的处分也就是某镇长被免职。其他的党纪政纪处分没有明说,应该 没有高于该镇长的处分。试想一下,给党和政府形象严重抹黑,给当地经济发展带来了巨大决策失误的数字造假,竟然如此轻处,既没有撤职查办的,更没有移送司法的,没有人真正负责。这对“数字出官、数字稳官”事实上就是鼓励。

要杜绝数字造假,层层骗,关键要变“数字出官”为“数字黜官”,即凡是造假的官员,轻则降职降级,重则罢黜(撤销)其官职。造成重大经济损失的,则刑法伺候,看看还有谁敢再造假。(文/江锡钰)

Unfortunately, this is too complex for me to do even a rough translation

Links - 19th March 2021 (1) (China's 'peaceful' rise)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Japanese Justice and the Fugitive CEO - "[On Xinjiang] Beijing says these are not prison camps, but vocational training centers. But now China stands accused of locking up citizens from some neighboring countries too. In East Kazakhstan, Claire Press [sp?] met with several Kazakhs who'd been imprisoned in China."

Xinjiang Shows We Haven't Learnt a Thing from Auschwitz - "Just when you thought China's brutality could not shock any further, chilling footage emerged last week of Uyghurs, with heads shaven, being blindfolded, shackled and herded onto trains, headed for these camps.I am loath to make Holocaust comparisons, especially as one whose family both survived and perished during this darkest of chapters in modern human history, but it is impossible not to draw such parallels in the face of overwhelming evidence of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing and genocide by China's Communist regime.The main difference today, though, is that during the Holocaust, the Allies claimed they did not know about Auschwitz, whereas China's wanton brutality is unfolding in full view, right before us in real time. To its credit, the United States is, thus far, the only country that has been prepared to stand up to China and take any kind of meaningful action... The Muslim world has completely turned its back to the cries of their own people being slaughtered. As Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council suggests, they have been entirely outmaneuvered by China, their silence bought with billions of dollars in supposed aid and investment.Enlightened Europe, which recently managed to secure over 1,000 parliamentarians to sign a letter condemning Israel's proposed application of sovereignty over the West Bank, has not been able to muster more than a whimper when it comes to China. Meantime, the United Nations, which was created in the wake of the Holocaust to serve a bulwark against genocide and crimes against humanity, has likewise been deafeningly silent, with China's Security Council veto guaranteeing virtual impunity. At the same time, in an abominable act of injustice, China is now set to be elected to the U.N. Human Rights Council... In his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel warned us "there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.""

Melissa Chen - "Banning TikTok doesn’t go far enough.Think of all the US tech companies and apps that are banned in China - Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.Time to adhere to a policy of reciprocity. National security issues aside, this asymmetry allows a closed authoritarian system to exploit an open one.Enough. It’s done enough damage."
Of course, giving China a long-awaited taste of its own medicine just shows how despicable the US is, according to China shills

China should heed Deng's warning - "President Hu Jintao urged the Chinese Navy to accelerate its transformation and “make extended preparations for warfare.” While perhaps unexceptional, the words caught the attention of the foreign media and that of China’s neighbors, which generally do not have much of a navy to speak of. That is natural. The small fear the big and the weak fear the strong. That is the natural order of things, and the Chinese know it well.Thus, when China set out in the 1970s on the road to modernization, its leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, was keenly aware that an economically strong China would inevitably also be a military power and could be seen as a threat by other countries. That is why he repeatedly made assurances that China would never become a superpower and would “never seek hegemony.”... It is good that Chinese leaders are mindful of Deng’s pledges and are willing to periodically renew such pledges. This certainly should help to reassure the country’s neighbors as they see China developing into a strong military power, especially a naval power.But they must be a bit confused over what China really stands for when they read articles in the Chinese press, such as one recently in the Global Times, which warned countries involved in territorial disputes with China that they should “mentally prepare for the sounds of cannons.”Moreover, retired Gen. Xu Guangyu has said: “We kept silent and tolerant over territorial disputes with our neighbors in the past because our navy was incapable of defending our economic zones, but now the navy is able to carry out its task.”This suggests that as China’s capabilities change, its attitudes and its policies would also change. This certainly undermines confidence in pledges about never seeking hegemony.In his address to the United Nations, Deng went much further than promising that China would never behave like a superpower.In fact, he made this extraordinary exhortation: “If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.”Those are strong words. China’s leaders should keep them constantly in mind."
Maybe Deng was a CIA agent

Chinese professor known for challenging the party leadership sacked by university - "The notification, dated on Wednesday, was sent to Xu Zhangrun by courier on Saturday, according to a friend who requested anonymity for fear of retribution... teachers would be fired or punished if they said or did anything that undermines the authority of the Communist Party or violated the directions and policies of the party.They also say teachers have to be patriotic and uphold academic integrity."

Fifty-four scientists have lost their jobs as a result of NIH probe into foreign ties - "For 93% of the 189 scientists whom NIH has investigated to date, China was the source of their undisclosed support."

Visiting Stanford researcher found to be a secret member of the Chinese military - "A visiting Stanford University researcher has been charged with visa fraud for allegedly concealing her job as a member of the Chinese military.Song Chen, 38, got a J-1 visa meant for work- and study-based exchange programs, supposedly as a neurologist interested in studying brain disease. In her November 2018 application, Song said she had served in the Chinese military from 2000-2011 and that she was currently employed by Xi Diaoyutai Hospital in Beijing. She entered the U.S. two days before Christmas 2018.But according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday, that was a lie. Instead, the agency alleges, an investigation by the FBI uncovered that Song was really an active member of the military and the hospital story was just a cover... Song also allegedly deleted a folder on her external hard drive labeled, in Chinese, “2018 Visiting School Important Information,” which included a letter she wrote to the Chinese Consulate in New York explaining that she was planning to extend her stay in the U.S. and that because the hospital listed on her original application was a false front, she had instead gotten approval to stay from the Chinese military."

The world is finally uniting against China's bully tactics - "Twenty Indian soldiers are murdered in a surprise cross-border attack by the People’s Liberation Army. A Philippine fishing boat is sunk in its own territorial waters by increasingly predatory Chinese ships. Peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong are beaten bloody by riot police on Beijing’s orders. Australia’s farmers and miners are hit with trade sanctions after Canberra suggests that the virus, which came out of China, may have come from . . . China... India, for one, is clearly not intimidated. In response to China’s unprovoked attack, the largest democracy in the world has moved 30,000 troops to the Himalayan border. Many Indians are now boycotting “Made in China” products, a task made easier because online retailers like Amazon have been ordered by New Delhi to tell buyers where products are made.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also raised tariffs on Chinese goods, restricted Chinese investments and banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps from Indian phones.Meanwhile, the people of the Philippines are up in arms over China’s expansionism into areas of the South China Sea claimed by Manila. When anti-US President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in 2016, he initially ignored popular sentiment and announced a “pivot to Beijing” on the promise of $24 billion in Chinese investments.Four years later, all that has changed. With the Chinese navy sailing ever closer to Philippine shores and few Chinese projects in progress, Duterte has reversed his earlier decision to terminate his country’s Visiting Forces Agreement with the US. Given a choice between having American or Chinese naval vessels anchored in Subic Bay, the decision was pretty obvious.The sight of the 7.3 million free people of Hong Kong being crushed under the heel of the Communist boot is one the world will not easily forget. It has already prompted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to offer British citizenship to 3 million Hong Kongers, not to mention take a tougher line toward China itself. Huawei, for example, can kiss its 5G business in the UK goodbye. The Australians are also fed up with Beijing’s bare-knuckle efforts to spy on and disrupt their country’s government, infrastructure and industries. To counter the recent surge in cyberattacks, Canberra has promised to recruit at least 500 cyberwarriors, bolstering the country’s online defenses. Meanwhile, an astonishing 94 percent of Australians say they want to begin decoupling their economy from China’s.The same story is being repeated around the globe. From Sweden to Japan to Czechia, more and more nations are coming to understand China’s mortal threat to the postwar democratic, capitalist world order.Xi Jinping and the Communist Party that he leads have so badly overplayed their hand that they have, in a mere six months, accomplished what Donald Trump could not in almost four years: They have unified the world against China. And Communist leader Xi has only himself to blame."

U.K. Found ‘Critical’ Weakness in Huawei Equipment - Bloomberg

Huawei's dishonesty continues as it argues that people who call HarmonyOS an Android skin have no idea about software, despite admitting that its OS runs on AOSP

China Is Failing at Making Semiconductor Chips, Showing Success of U.S. Sanctions - "The strange spectacle of a city government funneling money into a global tech giant and ending up with a budget phone maker is emblematic of China’s problems in developing its own technologies. China has the ambition, and it can do things at scale. It can also raise the money, even (when necessary) from unlikely sources. But it lacks the broad ecosystem of commercial cooperation, intellectual property protection, and intelligent venture capital that makes deep technology collaboration possible. China’s command economy is a cookie-cutter economy, but high technology is a networking game. The fact that the U.S. government could so easily hobble the world’s largest smartphone maker and 5G infrastructure supplier in less than one year is indicative of the fragility of China’s highly centralized high tech sector. China’s electronics industry relies on U.S., Taiwanese, South Korean, and Japanese suppliers for many key components, but the most strategic of strategic technologies is the microprocessor. And despite years of strategic investment, China has (so far) been unable to master the production of these highly specialized but utterly ubiquitous computer chips... The only serious Chinese rival to these advanced U.S. chips is the HiSilicon Kirin 9000, designed by Huawei’s own in-house “fabless” chip-design subsidiary. In the arcane lingo of semiconductor manufacturing, a fabless chipmaker is one that lacks its own fabrication facilities, known as “fabs” or “foundries.” Until this year, Huawei’s HiSilicon chips were actually made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, but tightening U.S. sanctions put an end to that. Broader U.S. export controls on chip design software and foundry machine tools mean that Huawei now has little chance of developing an advanced fabrication capability of its own. As a result, the Kirin 9000 is effectively stillborn. China’s most advanced chip foundry is Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), based in Shanghai. Like Huawei, SMIC is on both the U.S. Commerce and Defense departments’ watchlists, severely restricting its access to U.S. technology and finance. Without foreign help, SMIC is generations away from being able to produce a chip like the Kirin 9000... If China has been unable to match its international competitors on microprocessors, it’s not for want of trying—or spending. China established a $22 billion National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund in 2014 (known as the Big Fund) in a bid to reduce its reliance on imported chips, but to little avail. Today, only 16 percent of China’s semiconductors are made locally, and these tend to be the least sophisticated in every category... If China is allowing such well-connected firms as semiconductor foundries and university research groups to go bust, financial conditions in the country must be much more dire than its announcements of multibillion-dollar investment funds would suggest. So dire, in fact, that the governor of the People’s Bank of China, Yi Gang, felt compelled to publicly warn local governments last week not to expect bailouts for bad business decisions—such as taking over struggling companies or subsidiaries with uncertain futures. China made chipmaking its top civilian technology priority of the last decade, but it has little to show for it"

Huawei bid to move production to China faces supplier resistance - Nikkei Asia - "Huawei Technologies is struggling to meet a goal to shift a key part of its output into China, with some of its suppliers reluctant to make changes to their own operations amid deepening uncertainty in the global semiconductor industry."

Taiwan digital minister warns of China's 5G 'Trojan horse' - Nikkei Asia - "Putting Chinese equipment in a country's core telecom infrastructure is akin to inviting a Trojan horse into the network... Tang, 39, said the people of Taiwan, a democratically governed island that China sees as part of its territory, saw the risks of using equipment made by the likes of Huawei and ZTE six years ago, when these tech giants were little known outside China."While the world is talking about whether or not to include China-linked companies in 5G infrastructure, we already did that in the 4G era," Tang said."

Huawei's base station teardown shows dependence on US-made parts - Nikkei Asia - "Huawei Technologies still remains heavily dependent on U.S.-made chips and components for manufacturing equipment for 5G telecom base stations, a leading revenue source for the Chinese tech giant, while being battered by the fierce fight between America and China over who controls the technologies of the future.A breakdown by Nikkei of Huawei's core base station unit for fifth generation wireless networks has revealed that parts from U.S. suppliers make up nearly 30% of the product in value terms. The dissection has also shown that the main semiconductor device in the unit was supplied by a Taiwanese contract manufacturer. The findings indicate that Huawei is struggling to wean itself from dependence on overseas suppliers but currently needs to make do with stockpiled inventories."

Eric Schmidt: Huawei has engaged in unacceptable practices - "Huawei poses challenges to national security and has engaged in unacceptable acts, Google's former boss Eric Schmidt has told the BBC... "There's no question that Huawei has engaged in some practices that are not acceptable in national security," Mr Schmidt told a BBC Radio 4 documentary.He said it was possible to think of the company as a means of "signals intelligence" - a reference to spy agencies like the UK's GCHQ or NSA in the US."There's no question that information from Huawei routers has ultimately ended up in hands that would appear to be the state... One of the problems in the US and particularly in Silicon Valley, Mr Schmidt believes, is a historical blindness to the role of the government in supporting research."Everything you see in Silicon Valley to the first order came from initial federal science grants of one kind or another.""

Why Are Huawei’s Customers Satisfied With Defective Products? - "The sexy headlines today about Huawei have to do with the U.S./China dispute, but the real problems are so much more basic, prosaic, operational, and unforgiving. American and Chinese leaders could decide tomorrow to settle their differences, “drop the charges,” and eliminate the geopolitical aspects of the controversy. But you can’t wave away “several hundred vulnerabilities” and “poor and sometimes non-existent” processes of basic technology management. No tech company I know would survive this damning report card. The outcome here is predictable."

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Links - 18th March 2021 (2)

Art for the 99 Percent - "If your family is wealthy, you’re more likely to become an artist...
'The proportion of female creatives is relatively high, time constraints can be a hindrance for taking up a creative occupation, racial inequality is present and tends to change only slowly, and education plays a significant role for taking up a creative occupation.'...
If creative activity correlates with the education, economic security, and leisure time that tend to accompany wealth, the problem is not any of these things as such but rather their maldistribution. Seen this way, Borowiecki’s findings might just as easily complement the argument for democratic socialism — which above all else seeks to extend free time, education, and material well-being to the many, where they are currently limited to the privileged few.If having time, a good education, and economic security increases the likelihood that people will take up creative pursuits, that’s all the more reason they should be treated as rights to be enjoyed by everyone. Real freedom, after all, means the ability to spend your time as you see fit — to write, to think, to paint, to sculpt, or to do nothing in particular — and, under capitalism, the rich have a lot more freedom than the rest of us. But it doesn’t have to be that way."
Women have less need to get a stable job
Under capitalism, the rich have a lot more freedom than the rest of us. Under capitalism, no one is free, which solves the "problem"

'Huge breast' outside Facebook HQ - "A medical tattooist who draws nipples on women who have lost them due to mastectomies, says she’s being blocked on social media after her work is being mistaken for pornography.Vicky Martin, from Wokingham in Berkshire, was joined by about 50 supporters, many of whom have lost breasts through cancer treatment.Facebook says the suspension of her account was a mistake."

Her landlord didn’t tell her the home she rented had lead pipes — and he didn’t have to

Is there lead in your tap water? Canada-wide investigation exposes dangerous levels of toxic metal

Cities in Ontario are declaring themselves exempt from lead testing. And they don’t have to tell the province

The Seeds of Ideology: Historical Immigration and Political Preferences in the United States - "We test the relationship between historical immigration to the United States and political ideology today. We hypothesize that European immigrants brought with them their preferences for the welfare state, and that this had a long-lasting effect on the political ideology of US born individuals. Our analysis proceeds in three steps. First, we document that the historical presence of European immigrants is associated with a more liberal political ideology and with stronger preferences for redistribution among US born individuals today. Next, we show that this correlation is not driven by the characteristics of the counties where immigrants settled or other specific, socioeconomic immigrants’ traits. Finally, we conjecture and provide evidence that immigrants brought with them their preferences for the welfare state from their countries of origin. Consistent with the hypothesis that immigration left its footprint on American ideology via cultural transmission from immigrants to natives, we show that our results are stronger when inter-group contact between natives and immigrants, measured with either intermarriage or residential integration, was higher. Our findings also indicate that immigrants influenced American political ideology during one of the largest episodes of redistribution in US history — the New Deal – and that such effects persisted after the initial shock."

Human eggs prefer some men's sperm over others, research shows - "Different women's eggs attract different men's sperm—and not necessarily their partner's."

Vandalism at hundreds of French churches | World | The Times - "A spate of thefts and vandalism in French churches has led to calls for the government to act. Recent incidents have included a fire in Saint-Sulpice church in Paris, human excrement smeared on the wall in Notre-Dame-des-Enfants church in Nîmes, southern France, and vandalism of the organ at Saint-Denis basilica outside Paris, where all but three of France’s kings are buried... 875 of France’s 42,258 churches were vandalised last year. Thefts were reported in a further 129. The interior ministry said that 59 cemeteries were also vandalised... François Huguenin, a historian specialising in Christianity, said that although only about five per cent of French people were practising Catholics, the church remained “the depository of social markers. It is therefore more difficult for [Christians] to express indignation than it is for other communities”. He said that the anti-Christian acts came against the spread of “fundamentalist secularism that is no different from religious fundamentalism”."
Strange how it took over a century for laïcité to lead to all this

Here's Exactly How Inefficient Wireless Charging Is - "wireless charging is drastically less efficient than charging with a cord, so much so that the widespread adoption of this technology could necessitate the construction of dozens of new power plants around the world... wireless chargers lose a lot of energy compared to cables. They get even less efficient when the coils in the phone aren’t aligned properly with the coils in the charging pad, a surprisingly common problem... On top of this, both wireless chargers independently consumed a small amount of power when no phone was charging at all"

Xi's the One - "She's a lonely, overworked waitress in a downbeat Chicago pizza joint, and he's the president of the People's Republic of China on a tour of the United States. Their stressful, boring lives are about to heat up like a pizza oven after a chance encounter outside Manny's Pizza Barn. "Call me Xi Dada," he says. From there, Delanie takes Xi Jinping by the hand and leads him on a whirlwind tour of of Chicago as they struggle to keep their hands off each other."

Almost 1 in 3 pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses, aviation minister says - "More than 30% of civilian pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses and are not qualified to fly, the country's aviation minister revealed Wednesday.Addressing Pakistan's National Assembly, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said 262 pilots in the country "did not take the exam themselves" and had paid someone else to sit it on their behalf."They don't have flying experience"... The results of the investigation were announced Wednesday as part of a preliminary report into a plane crash that killed 97 people in the southern city of Karachi on May 22. The PIA plane crashed after taking off from Lahore, killing all but two of the passengers and crew on board... the pilots were chatting about the coronavirus and repeatedly ignored warnings from air traffic controllers before the plane went down in a residential area near the airport... the pilots were told three times by air traffic controllers that the plane was too high and they should not attempt to land, "but the captain did not pay any heed to these instructions."The pilots proceeded with trying to land -- without lowering the landing gear."

All the main James Bond song titles categorized : JamesBond

Biggest differences between French and American parents - "In the book "Bringing Up Bebe," author Pamela Druckerman wrote  that French parents establish clear expectations of what is expected and what is unacceptable behavior from their kids at an early age. This creates an authoritative parenting style and leaves little question as to who is in charge in the family. In the US, kids generally learn two "magic words," which are "please" and "thank you." According to "Bringing Up Bebe," French children learn four — "s'il vous plaît" (please), "merci" (thank you), "bonjour" (hello), and "au revoir" (goodbye). Although it is polite to say greet people in the US, in France, it is essential... in France, "saying bonjour acknowledges the other person's humanity." So, it's important. The concept of a "children's menu" or "kid's meal" — which tend to be bedrocks in American restaurants — aren't as common in France.  According to the book "French Kids Eat Everything," there is very little distinction between what might appear on a parent or child's plate.Kids are given strong, mature flavors from a young age (think Roquefort cheese and pate), which gives them time to develop a taste for things that their American counterparts would find "icky."... vegetables are usually served at the start of a meal, when kids are hungriest, which ensures that they will have more motivation to eat them... French parents tend to have their kids stick with one haircut  — a classic bob  — but anything goes in the US... French parents utilize something called "The Pause." This is a technique in which parents wait a few minutes before tending to their child if they hear them start to cry, which gives them a chance to "self-soothe." Over time, this can train kids to sleep through the night on their own. American parents often find that their weekends are dominated by their kids' activities, like soccer practice, violin lessons, and tutoring sessions... French parents center their weekends around themselves and simply bring their children along, or, if they're old enough, let them do their own thing. Children in France are given much more freedom and responsibility than kids of their own age in the US. According to The Huffington Post, it's common for kids in France to start walking to school by themselves by age 7 and riding public transportation solo by age 11... French parents generally keep a routine in which kids eat three meals a day, plus one snack in the afternoon... In many ways, guilt seems to be a standard byproduct of American parenting. (Possibly because there is a cottage industry in the states dedicated to proving that everything American parents do is unequivocally wrong.)In France, there is less of an expectation for parents to do everything and be everything... French parents don't use food as a bribe, punishment, or reward. This helps French kids from developing strong emotional associations with certain types of food that may impede them from eating it (or, in some cases, could encourage them them to gorge on it), and may lead to an overall healthier relationship with food... parenting books aren't as common in France as they are in the US. Instead, parents use their instincts and other culturally-approved techniques, which has helped to create a more nationally cohesive parenting style.
American parents are more patient with their kids...
"What French women would tell me over and over is, it's very important that no part of your life — not being a mom, not being a worker, not being a wife — overwhelms the other part.""

No, Vegetable Oil Won't Make Girls Lazy, TV-Watching Diabetics - "When I was learning how to do word problems in elementary school, we were taught to ask ourselves a few questions after arriving at an answer. One of them was, "Does my answer make sense?"...
Red flag #1. Unsaturated fats are healthy...
Red flag #3. The team's methodology was terrible. The researchers examined the behavior of 11-year-old girls. They collected data not on individuals but on entire nations, which is a weak study design... First, the authors did not analyze omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids separately. Instead, they lumped all PUFAs together, despite omega-6 fatty acids being the supposed problem, not all PUFAs. Second, if PUFAs turn kids into lazy, good-for-nothing, couch potatoes, then there should be a correlation between eating PUFAs and obesity. But the authors did not find one, which means the results are internally inconsistent.
Red flag #4. The authors thought Norway was weird, so they removed it from their analysis.
Red flag #5. The authors also examined PUFA consumption in women aged 25 and older. They did not find a link between PUFAs and obesity. And they also did not find a link between PUFA consumption and diabetes, even though the paper's title, a university press release, and sensationalist media coverage suggests that they did.
Red flag #6. As Ross Pomeroy, my friend and former colleague at RealClearScience pointed out to me, the study was partially funded by egg and dairy farmers. The question of who funds research doesn't matter if the science is good. Accurate science is accurate whether it was paid for by government, industry, the Koch Brothers, George Soros, or Vladimir Putin. But the question of funding might matter if the science is bad, as it clearly is in this study"
I'm sure keto people are very excited by this paper

Sungai Petani school canteen gets hotel-style makeover - "One school canteen in Kedah has definitely upped its game by offering students and teachers a dining experience like no other, all for less than RM2 per serving.Photos of the canteen at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Taman Seri Wang in Sungai Petani recently went viral with netizens likening it to a hotel restaurant... now only about two per cent of students and teachers bring their own food to school as many enjoy eating and hanging out at the canteen."

David Attenborough: upper-class warrior - "I think that making essentially the same nature documentary roughly 10,000 times is not an automatic qualification for sainthood... But the sad truth is that, in his twilight years, a new figure has emerged, a new light has been cast on the Attenborough legacy. He recently made a Corbynesque appearance at Glastonbury, tottering out from backstage to deliver a short, sharp lecture on climate change, the sad fate of polar bears, and the naughtiness of plastic. The Glastonbury audience listened carefully, of course. Sir David lavished praise on the audience for not buying any of the plastic that was not available to buy this year, and the audience roared with approval. It was an ecologically conscious version of ‘what a great crowd you are’, including a tactful failure to mention the several hundred tonnes of discarded trash that the Glasto crowd leaves behind each year... In a recent appearance before parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, he compared changing attitudes to plastic to changing attitudes to slavery. He also complained that air travel was ‘extraordinarily cheap’. He called for prices to be hiked, conceding that this would hit the poor hardest. At the same time, he admitted that he himself travels by air ‘frequently’. The best way to ‘restrict’ air travel would be ‘economically’, he argued. So a man who has clocked up more air miles than the average African dictator is deeply concerned that your once-a-year package holiday to Spain is destroying the planet. If Attenborough had his way, a certain class of people (by coincidence, his class) would be allowed to jet around the world enjoying themselves, while others would be restricted from doing so. Attenborough also seems to think that the British people must bear the greatest cost of green policies because our ancestors developed, discovered and invented more rapidly than those in other parts of the world. Britain ‘started the problem’, said Sir David, to parliament. ‘It was the Industrial Revolution that started here, based on burning coal.’ For Attenborough, the Industrial Revolution was a crime for which people who were not alive at the time must be condemned. While Sir David observes lions, whales and penguins with a certain geniality, he doesn’t seem to extend the same warmth to his fellow man, especially the poor and working class. Like much of the liberal elite, he sees us as a species to be studied, guided, ruled, prodded and nannied."

America ranked among worst countries to raise a family: study - "the United States has been named the second-worst wealthy nation in which to raise a family in 2020... To determine the most and least family-friendly countries, the couple rated 35 OECD countries (part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development forum) according to safety, happiness, cost, health, education and time.The US clocked in at an abysmal 34th place, just ahead of last-place finisher Mexico, whose murder rate jumped to the highest in nearly two years as drug cartels have run amok during the coronavirus lockdown. Leading the pack of overall fam-safe nations were Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland... Most surprising was America’s global safety rating, which was, according to the research, the second-poorest after Mexico.Despite statistics showing that reported crimes have been on the decline nationwide, the US homicide rate is still eclipsed only by Mexico... The Land of the Free also came in “fourth-worst” for human rights — here defined broadly across several categories including “protection against enslavement, the right to free speech and the right to education.”The Fergussons attributed the United States’ nationwide mood dip to record “income disparities,” 20% of Americans suffering from mental health issues each year and a suicide rate that has “increased by 33% between 1999 to 2017.”"

Ritter Sport wins exclusive right to square chocolate bars - "Swiss chocolate maker Milka cannot make square chocolate bars after Germany's highest court declared the distinctive confectionary configuration is the sole property of Ritter Sport... The ruling comes after a 10-year-long attempt by American confectionary brand Mondelēz – the third-largest confectionary company in the world after Mars and Ferrero – to overturn Ritter Sport's monopoly on quadratic chocolate bars... Ritter Sport's thick, square-shaped bar design dates back to 1932 when Clara Ritter – who founded the company with her husband Alfred in 1912 – proposed the idea to the Ritter family."Let's make a chocolate that fits into any sports jacket pocket without breaking and has the same weight as the normal bar"... In a similar chocolate-related legal battle in 2018, Nestlé lost the rights to a European trademark for the tearable, four-fingered design of its KitKat chocolate bar."

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