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Thursday, June 02, 2022

Links - 2nd June 2022 (2)

Meme - "And of course today was a Wal-Mart day in court. Literally all but one of my clients on today was for a larcenous charge from WalMart. Maybe it is time to hold the company accountable."
Hot Takes Nobody Asked For - Posts | Facebook - "Hold Walmart accountable for making people commit crimes? Were they asking for it because of their merchandising? Maybe they shouldn't be showing their goods at those hours?"Shoplifting means you are a victim

Ida Bae Wells on Twitter - "Why do “school choice” advocates never advocate eliminating school district boundaries/funding schools by local property tax and allowing poor, Black students to attend white, wealthy schools in neighboring municipalities? They don’t really want choice, just privatization."
Weird. What world is she living in? That's exactly what they want

Covid and the “Birthday Effect” - Freakonomics - "We did not find that the link between birthdays and Covid-19 changed if the majority of the people in the county voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016.  It also didn’t seem to matter if there was a shelter-in-place policy in effect, which makes sense, since these policies were kind of toothless to police smaller, private social gatherings.  And, for good measure, we even looked at the weather. We thought that rainy days might drive people indoors more. But turns out there was no relationship between rainfall during the week of a birthday and a Covid-19 diagnosis afterwards...
PRASAD: If your goal is to have sort of a sustained and reasonable pandemic response, to some degree, you have to count on the fact that not everyone’s going to do everything you say, not everyone’s going to do everything you wish they did. People are people... I think appreciating that people are primates and primates have needs has to be a part of any sort of public health response. That might’ve been a missed opportunity of the pandemic. When it comes to important life events, like a child’s birthday, people want to celebrate those events. And so, the strict thing is to say, “You can’t do that.” Another strategy might’ve been to say, “Maybe there are ways you can do that more safely.”"
Understanding means you can't mock and hate other people

Do As Docs Say, Not As They Do - Freakonomics - "my colleagues Michael Frakes, Jon Gruber and I evaluated a very similar question using data from the U.S.  We used military health records. And we found only trivial differences between how much doctors and non-doctors did things like get vaccinations or go in for an M.R.I. to help diagnose back pain.  Another 2013 study in the Netherlands estimated the effects of attending medical school on health outcomes of doctors vs. non-doctors. The results showed only modest impacts of becoming a doctor on health outcomes. Doctors drank a little less alcohol. But the study also found that they exercised less. And being a doctor had no significant impact on smoking or obesity rates.  And in 2019, Dr. Hannah Wunsch and her colleagues did an interesting analysis of doctors in Canada. They found that the care doctors receive at the end of their lives is actually not that different from the care that non-doctors receive.  I thought my fellow doctors would actually tend to choose less aggressive end-of-life care. But Wunsch and her team showed that just wasn’t true. In their study, doctors and non-doctors were equally likely to spend their last days in the hospital. All of this is to say that what doctors may advise their patients may not, really, fully square with the decisions they make for themselves when they’re faced with the same incredibly difficult choices...
Doctors and their families were 3.8 percent less likely to follow the guidelines about prescriptions...
Driving down costs may help. But even in settings like Sweden where people don’t have large out-of-pocket medical costs, people only take their prescribed medications about half the time...
PERSSON: I think trust is important here. It’s easy for us to sit in our ivory tower and think everyone ought to know that you should stick to taking prescribed medications. But out there in the real world, there are many competing sources of information. So in that cloud of information, sometimes misinformation, we found it plausible that access to an expert, but not just an expert but a trusted expert, a family member who’s a nurse or a doctor, can make a difference for health behaviors. But if the trusted expert has to be a family member, then that’s a little bit of bad news if we’re trying to design policy."

How to Solve a Medical Mystery - Freakonomics - "I did a study a few years back that showed that the older a doctor was, the worse the outcomes were for their patients. That may seem a bit disheartening, but we did find that doctors who treated a lot of patients as they got older— these are doctors who were still in the thick of it, learning— those doctors didn’t see the mortality of their patients affected by their age in the same way...   Where I work, Mass General in Boston, many doctors actually wear short white coats. Normally, you only see those coats on medical students. But the purpose for wearing them is for us all to remember that we should always be learning."

The Mystery of the Man with Confusion and Back Pain - Freakonomics - "cognitive biases.   For example, my colleague Dan Ly showed that doctors who recently treated a patient with a pulmonary embolism – which is a clot in the blood vessels that supply the lung – those doctors increased their rates of pulmonary embolism testing in subsequent patients, some of whom were unlikely to actually have that condition.   This is just one example of how diagnostic decisions of doctors can be affected by cognitive biases, in this case something that Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman termed the “availability heuristic.”  For doctors who’ve recently treated a patient with a pulmonary embolism, the diagnosis may just be more front of mind or mentally available, leading them to prioritize testing for that condition over other more likely diagnoses in future patients."

Why Fridays May Be Dangerous for Your Health - Freakonomics - "companies and even governments take advantage of our inattention and release reports and news on Fridays that they’d rather we didn’t pay much attention to. The goal is to avoid unflattering media coverage. For example, any story that might impact a company’s stock price...
Luis and his research partners found that alerts were more likely to be communicated on a Friday than any other day of the week. They also found that alerts released on a Friday were shared 34 percent less on social media, and they were 12-51 percent less likely to receive news coverage."

Where Do All the Bad Ideas Go? - Freakonomics - "JENA: We looked at people who worked in a Veterans Affairs hospital. And often V.A. researchers, they write about health care issues and quality-of-care issues in the V.A. system. And I thought “Hm, I bet that V.A. researchers, when they write studies about the V.A., are going to be finding things that are positive.” Like, “The V.A. does this good, the V.A. does that good, etc.” And we didn’t find that.  We actually wrote that up because I thought this question of ideological bias no matter what you found would be interesting. And we got it published...
LEVITT: Somebody approached me and they asked me if I could study texting and driving and what the effect was. And I had never thought about the problem and I didn’t have any great ideas. So almost on a lark, I called up a friend I had at a big insurer and I said, “Hey, if I could link the data you have on driving to data on texting, would you be interested?” And he said, sure. And then I called up a really big telecom company, a friend I had there, and I said, “Hey, if I could link your data to this insurance data, would you be happy to do it?” And amazingly, they said, yes. And we developed this partnership where we were the trusted third party of these data that they wouldn’t give to the other company, but they would give to us. And we went to a lot of trouble to put it together and it wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty good. Now, part of the problem was the insurance company didn’t actually know when people crashed. They just knew when they slammed on the brakes. But it turned out that when people were texting, they just slowed way down. They hardly ever slammed on their brakes because I think they were driving so slow and were so far away from other cars that they probably weren’t driving very well, and they weren’t doing anything that was discernible that was dangerous. And in the end, we found that there was no impact of texting on any bad driving outcomes. And it could have been a good paper, but I think nobody would have believed it. And the companies we were working with weren’t very excited about it. And then my R.A. went off to grad school and the project never died, it just didn’t happen. It was one of those cases where this bias that arises in publication, which is we had a perfectly good result. We had a draft of a paper, but everybody just ran out of steam because we knew it’d be such a war to try and get it published because it would go so much against people’s priors, but not in a way that will make people excited, just in a way that will make them angry and frustrated"
So much for conflict of interest

Should introverts act more extraverted? - "extraverted behaviour and social situations can promote pleasant emotions. There may be limits, but acting extraverted seems beneficial for most people, at least in some circumstances. We have no interest in forcing extraverted behaviour on anyone, but introverts might think of it as a helpful tool to boost moods or get certain tasks accomplished"

Did Cold Weather Cause the Salem Witch Trials? - "the most active era of witchcraft trials in Europe coincided with a 400- year period of lower-than-average temperature known to climatologists as the "little ice age."Oster, now an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago, showed that as the climate varied from year to year during this cold period, lower temperatures correlated with higher numbers of witchcraft accusations... Weather patterns continue to trigger witchcraft accusations in many parts of Africa, where witch killings persist. According to a 2003 analysis by the Berkeley economist Edward Miguel, extreme rainfall — either too much or too little — coincides with a significant increase in the number of witch killings in Tanzania. The victim is typically the oldest woman in a household, killed by her own family."

Do Checklists Make People Stupid? (NSQ Ep. 26) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "‘There are many things that I love about New York. And I think many of those fall within the parameters of one word, which is propinquity… it's kind of an active form of density, it means that there's a certain amount of density that lends itself to collaboration or collisions, some of which are intentional, and some of which are unintentional. And that generally produces a greater output than you might have elsewhere. That's how I define propinquity’...
‘What about the argument that things have changed… and with Zoom, and with WiFi, you don't need to live in New York to discover your tribe, that you could do it virtually?’
‘They said that when the telegraph happened, they said that when the telephone happened, they said that when the fax machine happened. You know, I was a young writer, when the fax machine was coming out and the personal computer was getting really popular. And the conventional wisdom across the board was, oh, nobody, especially a writer, will ever have to live in a city. Why on earth would you want to live in a city? Because you can do what you do from anywhere. And I can tell you, I could give probably 1000 examples in my life, where an idea or a story or a way of thinking about something was informed by the result of propinquity’
‘I think you're right, this all comes down to propinquity. And whether human beings from millennia of evolution, get the same rewards from real propinquity and virtual propinquity. And being on a Zoom call with 10 people is different than being in a park with 10 people’...
‘My friend James altucher wrote a piece about his having left New York and he says forever, although I don't believe him, and that New York City is over forever... And then others attacked him including Jerry Seinfeld in the New York Times writing an op ed. And basically Seinfeld's take was like this guy James Altucher is a putz who is not loyal and I certainly wouldn't want him on any team of mine. But the irony of that is that Jerry Seinfeld is writing this piece defending New York City from his house in the Hamptons because he too left’"

How Should You Ask for Forgiveness? (NSQ Ep. 27) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "‘It is interesting though, in medicine, for instance, for years, there was essentially a prohibition for doctors to apologize to patients if things went wrong, because that might lead to malpractice.’
‘Right, because it's an admission of responsibility.
‘And then a bunch of states passed what came to be called I'm sorry laws that allowed doctors to apologize without having any liability accrued to them. And they found that that actually cut down on malpractice lawsuits.’...
‘Recently, the director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield said that if you just got everyone to wear masks, it would be even more effective than there being a vaccine. Masks are extremely effective, you know, they’re primitive technology and vaccines are great, but vaccines tend to not be 100% effective for all people’...
‘Kurt Lewin was this amazing scientist, you know, you've really made it when your name becomes an adjective. So you know, it's Lewinian. If you read these old articles that he wrote, he has all these like force diagrams, just like we learned in physics, like the arrows pointing different ways. And he really thought of behavior change as essentially a problem where you have promoting forces, like I could be healthier if I started exercising, maybe it would be a way to meet other people. But then you have restraining forces, like I don't have any of the stuff to exercise. I get out of breath very quickly. I feel kind of silly, doing things that I don't know how to do. So Lewin had the insight that when we tried to change our own behavior, and especially when we try to change somebody else's behavior, our romantic partner or colleague, what we tend to do is we try to pile on more promoting forces. We tell people all the reasons why they should exercise, we try to make it sound better’
‘Which can come off as preaching and scolding, by the way’
‘It tends not to work for various reasons, including that one. And then the further insight was that you can actually get more leverage in many cases by removing the restraining forces, by identifying the reasons why the person isn't yet exercising, and then taking them out of the way.’"
Mask fetishism strikes again. Why even bother with a vaccine then, since we are told that vaccines will end the epidemic, and masks are even better? Those who won't get the vaccine won't wear masks anyway

Which Incentives Are Best at Boosting Vaccination, and Why? - Freakonomics - "Stephen says that blood-pressure readings in a doctor’s office tend to be much higher than elsewhere. Among patients who exhibit high blood pressure at a doctor’s office, 15 to 30 percent of them may have what’s called “white-coat hypertension” — or high blood pressure that occurs during an appointment with a physician, but not in other settings. But the reverse effect is also true — “masked hypertension” occurs when patients display normal blood pressure at their doctor’s office but a higher range in other settings. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information, the prevalence of masked hypertension lies between 8% and 20% of untreated adults, and up to 61% of treated adults!"

Why Do So Many Donated Kidneys End Up in the Trash? - Freakonomics - "Alvin ROTH: Transplant centers are measured in a way that penalizes them for unsuccessful transplants, but doesn’t penalize them for transplants that they decide not to... If you have a kidney that has an 85% chance of success, that might look like a life-saving opportunity to a patient, but it might look to a transplant center like risking censure you can’t have a 15% failure rate in the United States...
Transplant centers are kept under watch by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients and also the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. And according to their criteria, hospitals get dinged when their one-year survival rate after transplant surgery falls below 98 percent — in other words, they get penalized when fewer than 98 percent of the patients who received new kidneys at the hospital survive 12 months after the surgery., Sumit Mohan again.
MOHAN: Those centers that fall about a percent and a half below that? So about 96, 97 percent get flagged as underperforming transplant centers. And that’s important because patients who are on the transplant waitlist, who are on dialysis, have a 20 percent annualized mortality rate. So the survival rate for patients who are on dialysis compared to patients who have received a transplant is not really comparable. And that one and a half percent difference between an as expected performing transplant center versus an underperforming transplant center? While it may be statistically significant, it’s not clinically, meaningfully different. And that becomes part of the problem. Transplant centers are not incentivized to transplant their patients...
And there’s a strange thing that’s missing from the criteria in this system. The powers that be … don’t seem to care about wasted kidneys. That’s not a thing that they even look at... the national standards don’t necessarily represent what patients may want. A person facing death might be happier living five years with an imperfect kidney than living only five months on dialysis. And measuring quality by a one-year survival rate is also questionable."

Why Does the Richest Country in the World Have So Many Poor Kids? (Ep. 475) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "ROMNEY: There are substantial penalties in our safety-net system for individuals who might get married. So a single person with a couple of children at home is going to do better off not married than he or she would do if they did become married. And guess what? Incentives have an impact. And so people don’t get married. And we know that one of the keys to being able to help people get out of poverty is being married and having two people in the home that can invest their time and talents raising a child."

Introducing a New “Freakonomics of Medicine” Podcast (Ep. 465) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "For patients in areas near marathon routes, the percentage who died within 30 days of being hospitalized — the 30-day mortality rate — was 13 percent higher if they had a heart attack or cardiac arrest on race day than if they had either one of those conditions on a non-race day.  We didn’t find any increase in mortality on marathon days in those people who lived in nearby ZIP codes that were unaffected by the race route, which makes a lot of sense. Their trip to the hospital shouldn’t have been affected by blocked roads.  You might be thinking — correlation isn’t causation.  When we do a study like this, we have to be sure to eliminate all the other possible reasons for the effect that we’re seeing. So what are some of those other possible explanations?  What if the people having heart attacks were actually running in the race? Well, we studied patients aged 65 years and older — and, okay, there are lots of runners who are over 65. So we looked at people with multiple medical conditions — people who were chronically ill and therefore were really unlikely to be running a marathon.  Or what if, for some reason, the patients having heart attacks on marathon days were just different from patients on any other day? It doesn’t seem plausible, at least not to me, but to double-check, we compared patient characteristics — like their age, or other cardiac problems. And we found that those characteristics were about the same on race days vs. non-race days.  What if hospitals are short-staffed on marathon day? That didn’t explain it either, because hospitals were performing all of their typical cardiac procedures on marathon days. Which suggests that there were plenty of people on hand to care for heart attack patients. It occurs to me that those folks must have gotten an early start on their commute so they didn’t get stuck in traffic!  What if ambulances took patients to hospitals that were further away to avoid roadblocks. We found that the hospitals that patients were taken to were actually the exact same on marathon days and non-marathon days. It just took patients longer to get there.  All we were left with to explain the difference in mortality was a delay in treatment.  So what kind of delays are we talking about here? On a typical, non-marathon day, the average travel time in an ambulance for patients with a heart attack or cardiac arrest was 13.7 minutes. On a race day? That went up to 18.1 minutes.   That means, on average, it took about four and a half minutes longer — 32 percent longer — for patients to get treatment on the day of a marathon. That may not seem like a long delay for your average commuter, but even small delays in care can lead to significant heart damage — which, by the way, is why we say in medicine that when it comes to heart attacks, “time is tissue.”"

How to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot Apocalypse (Ep. 461) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "In the spring of 2018, David Autor was asked to co-chair an M.I.T. task force called The Work of the Future. It included researchers from a variety of disciplines — economics, engineering, political science, anthropology even. The mission was to explore how new technologies like robotics and automation will affect labor markets, especially whether certain groups of workers would be left behind. Keep in mind that this sort of prediction is really hard — as evidenced by the predictions that economists made about globalization. They predicted that when the U.S. offshored manufacturing jobs to China, that Americans who worked in manufacturing would be made better off, since they’d theoretically be “reallocated” into better jobs. But as David Autor told us in that earlier episode, this didn’t happen.
AUTOR: Some people are leaving the labor market, some people are going into unemployment, some people are going on to disability, and so the reallocation process seems to be slow, frictional, and scarring. The real differentiator is the skill level of the worker. So, higher-paid and more highly educated workers, they seemed to reallocate successfully out of manufacturing into other jobs.
DUBNER: So, the H.R. person at a big textile firm gets an H.R. job elsewhere and the manufacturers on the line are probably not."

The Future of New York City Is in Question. Could Andrew Yang Be the Answer? (Ep. 462) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "Andrew Yang has parlayed his quixotic presidential campaign into front-runner status in the race to become the next mayor of New York City. As such, he’s being attacked from a variety of angles. A group called Asians Against Yang, for instance, opposes him in part because he has taken some pro-police stances...
We’re going to make outdoor dining permanent in part because it is shown to drive small-business revenue up for adjacent businesses by something like 45 or 50 percent."
Given that Asians are generally pro-police, this is ironic

Facebook - "Chris Pratt follows fascists on twitter. He is NOT our Mario. I just checked and he's still following these accounts. This is not made up. It's his verified account."
The tolerant left at it again - cancelling someone because of who he follows on Twitter and what church he goes to

Women are less likely to date men posing with cats, study finds - "Men who like cats are less likely to get a date... "Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable""

zay🗿 on Twitter -  "Our Founding Fathers wouldn't recognize the America we live in today.   They would be horrified, and rightfully so."
"founding fathers: you freed the WHAT"

Max Adams On The Dark Ages | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "'Britain in 400, looks very, very different from Britain in 600. So you've got this black hole into which our history tumbles. And this is the period when archaeology has to deliver. Unfortunately, the tools that we normally have at our disposal are either missing for this period, or we're not sure how to use them. And by that, I mean, first of all, we rely on things we can date. So that means wet pieces of wood, which have tree rings in them. Roman coins don't arrive here after about 390, 400. So are, we can say when things happened after a certain time, but not when. Pottery, which we also use to date sites, is not really being made in industrial quantities anymore. And the other sort of help me get out of jail free card for archaeologists is radiocarbon dating, which can normally supply dates within sort of 50 years, or even 50 years is not much cop for those 200 years. But in particular, for those 200 years, we have this frustration that radiocarbon dating relies on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere being absorbed by living things being not absolutely constant, but being on a sort of gentle curve. For those two centuries, it just so happens that the carbon atmospheric content goes haywire. So so even radiocarbon dating is not helping us... People eat McDonald's and drive Japanese cars and use and use German technology. But we're not actually subject to military conquest by those people. So the artifacts that archaeologists find are not biographies of the people with whom we find them...
If you, if as I do, you spend a lot of time walking through the British Isles, you actually see some of those regional identities change really quite, quite quickly. I mean, for example, you know, the north south divide, which is always jokingly said to begin at the Watford gap, a really interesting place. It really is the divide because no Viking ever settled southwest of the Watford gap on Watling Street. Why? Because Watling Street is the line between all the rivers that flow north and east and all the rivers that flow south and west. It's a real, it's a real internal frontier in Britain's landscape. And, right into the Viking period, people are sensitive to those very small geographical niceties, if you like’
‘Of course, this this period is traditionally referred to as the Dark Ages. But in recent years, a lot of historians have pushed back against that title saying that they they find it a bit, a bit too negative about the kind of cultural, the culture of the time. What's your opinion on that debate? Do you think we should still call it the Dark Ages?’
‘I suppose, first of all, I don't care. Second of all, if Bede has only got 19 lines to say about it, that's dark. I mean, dark as in obscure. I mean, in terms of cultural exuberance, and poetry and art, and culture and sophistication. No, no, not dark at all. But in terms of obscurity, I mean, if, you know, I, I use the term early medieval to my academic colleagues. And they know exactly what I mean. You know, we talk, we talk an internal language between us, you know, just the way archaeologists talk about an archaeological site in a way that, you know, an archaeologist would never call it an excavation a dig. Dig is a public word for an excavation, but it's an excavation. So you know, we all use different terms, I'm very happy to, I get told off all the time for calling it the Dark Ages. I don't really care because, because it's, it's like calling the Roman period, the Roman period. It’s not really the Roman period, it's a useful tag. And for a period that is so, it's the most obscure period in our history. It's dark in the sense that you have to hold up a candle to get the merest glimpse of what's going on, but you, you, it's no more than candlelit. So for me, it can stay the Dark Ages, but I can call it the early medieval. I can be, you know, I can call it the period 425 to 585 if you really, you know if we want to get that nerdy about it, but I don't really. Dark Ages is, you know, we've gonna call it something. We call it the Arthurian period, and it drives us mad as well.’"

Hungary's fertility rate returns to pre-1995 levels - "the rate was 1.59 in the January-November period this year, up from 1.57 in 1995, before austerity measures introduced by Lajos Bokros, the then finance minister. The fertility rate had been declining since 1979, when Hungary’s fertility rate was above 2.0. It declined to 1.8 at the time of the 1989-90 change in political system before dropping even further, to an all-time low of 1.2 after the 2008 “crisis management” of the previous Gyurcsány-Bajnai left-wing government, Rétvári said. Rétvári, a lawmaker of the co-ruling Christian Democrats, said their government “strongly believes in families”, which is why, he added, it had introduced a multitude of schemes to help couples wanting to raise children."

Women patients at greater risk when male surgeon operates, study finds
Men treated by women also had better outcomes, supposedly. Strangely, the usual "correlation is not causation" crowd will be awfully silent, since they like the results. Yet, the paper itself mentions that: "female surgeons in both relevant dyads were younger and had lower annual surgical volumes than male surgeons" and "female surgeons treated younger patients with less comorbidity than male surgeons." This suggests that XY surgeons get the harder cases; though they claim that "there is not an underlying rationale to support that male surgeons are more likely to perform a more complex subset of each procedure", earlier research tells us that there is "sexism" because female surgeons perform less complex procedures than male ones.

Gender may not be the biggest factor in women doctors’ lower patient mortality - "The mortality rate among patients cared for by female physicians was 0.47% lower than for male physicians, tracking closely the results of a large American study published in 2017 that showed a 0.43% lower 30-day mortality for the patients of female doctors. This gap held when the Canadian researchers adjusted for patient characteristics such as age, gender, and disease acuity, and for hospital differences. But when they accounted for physician characteristics such as years of experience, the difference between male and female doctors’ patient mortality rates wasn’t statistically significant, except marginally so in cases where the “most responsible physician” was also the attending and discharging physician... The researchers also compared differences in processes of care, such as prescribing medications and ordering diagnostic imaging and bloodwork. They found that women physicians requested more diagnostic tests than men but that didn’t have any bearing on patient mortality."

Medieval manuscript makers

Medieval manuscript makers | History Extra

""‘How uncommon is Margery Kempe?’

‘Well, I suppose it, it depends how you want to measure common or uncommon, right? If you take the fact that she's a female writer, that is surprisingly common, I think, is one of the great misconceptions that there were very few female writers from the Middle Ages. In fact, in the book, I talk about women, and women's role in the production of manuscripts, as scribes, as authors, as patrons, as artists. I talk about them in every chapter, except for one, the chapter that I talked about, disasters where manuscripts were very nearly lost. Because I want to make clear that actually, we have this rather kind of narrow vision of the past, where we, it's in our vision of the past is kind of infused by our own patriarchal prejudices. And actually, the past is often richer and more interesting than we give it credit for. The question of, is, is Margery Kempe common in the sense that she's a woman of a kind of lower social status? And how frequently do we hear from those people? Well, there's another example in the book, these amazing letters from the 15th century called the Paston Letters, which is kind of cache of letters between several generations of one family, who also lived in East Anglia where Margery Kempe was from… the women in the family seemed to have been able to read, but many of them couldn't write. And so they dictated their letters to scribes, who, who had their words and wrote them down. And some of them actually developed relationships with those scribes’...

‘I think scribes felt that they had the license to play with a text in a way that perhaps we wouldn't today,’

‘How much influence did an author have in the production of a manuscript of their work? Obviously, if they're in different centuries, or it's been copied several centuries later, it's not going to obviously really have that direct influence on that. But what about if they were a bit closer in time?’

‘I think a lot of authors showed a keen awareness of how once the text was out of their hands, they really had very little control over it. There's a famous little poem that Chaucer, supposedly by Chaucer, but some scholars disagree with them. In which also addresses a scribe called Adam who copies his work. And, you know, he complains about, and he says, Adam, please really just copy this correctly. And that is true in the 15th century, but also, there's a writer from the early medieval period, called Alfritsche [sp?], a 10th century writer who writes something very similar in his, in his collection of, of saints’ lives. He says, you know, scribes, please make sure you copy this correctly. He knows full well. So I think authors probably were aware of that. 

There's a very interesting writer, called Hugerberg [sp?], who was a missionary nun in the eighth century who, who wrote these two saints’ lives. And at the end of one, in the beginning of another one, she wrote this little section in code, which explained what her name was. And in the main text itself, the author announces themselves as little more than a indignous saxonica [sp?], so a lowly Saxon woman. So we know that the author is a woman, but nobody knew what the author's name was, until the 1930s, when a scholar was able to untangle this little code that was sort of stitched into the end of the text. And I, I often think about that, because I sometimes wonder whether she knew the way that her text would be copied and recopied over time, and the process of transmission would mangle it. And perhaps she knew that in the process of transmission, so often, authors’ names were lost, because if an author's name was ever attached to a text in the first place, it probably appeared, you know, in what we might call a rubric, meaning literally written in red. But not necessarily written in red, but essentially a title at the beginning of a text. And that rubric could just fail to be copied, or it might be lost. And so an author's name might be erased, especially if that author's name was female. And so I sometimes wonder whether she was fully aware of how her name might be erased, and, which is why she chose to record it in a little code. 

There's another lovely example, which is Marie de France, who wrote an Anglo Norman, which was the language of the kind of educated elite in England after the Norman Conquest. And she embedded her name. She described herself as called Marie, and she said that she was from France. Although she probably actually was from England. But what's interesting is that she embedded her name within the verse of her text. So she used as it were the kind of controlling mechanism of rhyme, which ensured that, that name had to be copied and recopied correctly in order to make the rhyme work, right. And again, I often think about that. I often think, was that a strategic decision? Did she know how her name would most often, most likely be erased from a text over time if it was female?’...

‘Most manuscripts, particularly in the early medieval period, were were made from parchment. And parchment is the prepared skin of a domestic animal, so a sheep or a calf, and it's an unbelievably elaborate process to make parchment. I actually went to William Cowley’s, which is the last parchment maker in the UK and watched this process. And it's, it's an incredible experience. It's very, very smelly. It's also very labor intensive, but it begins with these hides being soaked in quicklime. And then they get thrown over a sink called a stump, and they have their hair removed, and then they get soaked again. And then they get hung up and stretched over a kind of frame that looks like a sort of rustic trampoline, and then they get scraped again, and then they get put in an oven. It's am it takes a long time. And at the end of this, lengthy process, what you get is this, a fantastic writing material, it's it's it's flexible, it's milky smooth, it's, it has lots of advantages as a writing service, because you can rub out, if you write out, if you make a mistake you can rub it out. And what's great about it is it's durable. It's it's so so durable. There are manuscripts like for example, the Codex Sinaiticus, which was made in about around 325 to 375. It's an important partial copy of the New Testament. And that manuscript, given its age is in pretty mint condition. And that's a real testament to the durability of parchment. It's a great irony that cheap 20th century paperbacks with glued spines often present kind of more of a headache for library conservation department than medieval manuscripts, because they just, they just aren't built to last. And modern paper is made from wood pulp. Whereas medieval paper was made from, from rags that were basically boiled down in a kind of big vat and then sort of sieved out and pressed between layers of felt. And so, actually medieval paper is a lot more durable than modern paper.’"

Links - 2nd June 2022 (1 - Covid-19: Lab Leak)

HANSON: How COVID prompted politics of disinformation | Toronto Sun - "Political frenzy was inevitable since the SARS-CoV-2 virus likely escaped from a level-4 security virology lab in Wuhan, China. The rapid fire spread soon threatened to indict the communist Chinese government for nearly destroying the world economy and killing millions.  Western elites, in response, feared their own lucrative investments in China would be jeopardized by such disclosures — and so acted accordingly in defending Beijing.   Nonetheless, the most likely scenario remains that the escaped virus was birthed by gain-of-function research scientists — overseen by elements of the Chinese communist military. Worse, the lab was given subsidies by U.S. health authorities, routed through third parties. Hiding all of that damaging information warped government policy and media coverage...   From the outset, the World Health Organization simply spread false talking points about the outbreak from the Chinese government, delaying a robust global response... Trump’s Operation Warp Speed project to develop vaccinations was also pilloried. Candidates Kamala Harris and Joe Biden did their best to talk down the safety of the impending inoculations. But once in power, they projected their own prior harmful rhetoric onto so-called “anti-vaxxers.”  Then they claimed credit for the initial success of the Trump vaccinations.  The Pfizer corporation had promised a major pre-election announcement about its likely rollout of a vaccine in October, just days before the 2020 election.  Then, mysteriously, Pfizer claimed the vaccine, in fact, would not be ready before Nov. 3. A few days after the election of Joe Biden, the company reversed course and announced the vaccinations would soon be available. Then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo obstructed almost all federal help with Trump’s fingerprints on it. That way Cuomo became a media, Emmy-winning darling, before resigning in disgrace.  Cuomo’s policies of steering infected patients into long-term-care facilities doomed over 10,000 of the elderly. New York is now illegally using race to grant preferences in the allotments of tests and new drugs. In the waning days of the 2022 campaign, Biden went so far as to blame Trump personally for all the deaths from the virus.   Once the vaccinations had seemed to work in early 2021, an upbeat Joe Biden boasted that he would end the virus by summer 2021, by following “the science.” He went so far as to claim that no one had been vaccinated prior to his inauguration even though 17 million, including Joe Biden himself, had been... the left now calls for realism, emphasis on treatments and acknowledgment of the value of natural immunities. It is even newly curious about the origins of the virus and the need to “get back to normal.”  We are suddenly told that thousands had died “with” rather than “because” of COVID — the exact opposite of what we heard in the Trump era.  A skeptic might suggest terror over the impending midterms finally made the left face reality."

Science has become a cartel - "the “consensus” that Covid must have an entirely natural origin was established by two early pronouncements, one in The Lancet in February 2020 and the other in Nature Medicine in March 2020. These were op-eds, not scientific papers. Both spoke with certainty about matters which it was impossible to be certain about. Wade writes: “It later turned out that the Lancet letter had been organized and drafted by Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance of New York. Dr Daszak’s organisation funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. If the SARS2 virus had indeed escaped from research he funded, Dr. Daszak would be potentially culpable. This acute conflict of interest was not declared to the Lancet’s readers. To the contrary, the letter concluded, “We declare no competing interests.” In other words, the guy who was orchestrating research on bat coronaviruses at the lab in Wuhan corralled other scientists, with similar professional interests, into making a declaration to the effect that anyone who mentions the (obvious) possibility that the pandemic (which started in Wuhan) might have a connection to this research could only be doing so with bad intentions... The yawning gap between the actual state of knowledge at the time and the confidence displayed in the two letters should have been obvious to anyone in the field of virology. And indeed, there were scientists from outside the guild, but in fields adjacent enough to speak competently, who said as much. The Lancet  and Nature Medicine letters were in fact anti-scientific in spirit and intent. Yet the pronouncements had the effect of shutting down inquiry that was not only legitimate, but urgently needed... “in today’s universities speech can be very costly. Careers can be destroyed for stepping out of line. Any virologist who challenges the community’s declared view risks having his next grant application turned down by the panel of fellow virologists that advises the government grant distribution agency.”   This is consistent with everything we know from the sociology of science. With the centralisation and bureaucratisation of scientific funding, defection from a well-institutionalised consensus is even more costly now than it was when Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He showed that it is almost always from outside a research community that challenges arise. Progress happens when a prevailing scientific consensus is revealed to rest on the loyalties and intellectual affinities of an established research milieu, and not simply on correspondence with reality.   Something is left unexplained in the consensus view, and to focus on this lacuna is to be an outsider. Reliably, such challenges are fought tooth and nail by the research empire built on the encrusted consensus. The scientific paradigm they are invested in is typically superseded only when the scientists sitting atop the institutional hierarchy literally die, or retire. It is not “anti-science” to acknowledge this. Rather, the point is that one has to keep in mind that scientists are human beings first.  That much is old news. But in the catastrophe of the Covid pandemic, something novel and disturbing comes into view. A peculiar form of intellectual intimidation has become prominent in public life in general, and science has not been spared... The invocation of “conspiracy theory” has become a reflex by which incumbents in many domains seek to arrest criticism. They have had to do a lot of this over the last 10 years, as the internet has broken the knowledge monopolies by which institutional credibility is maintained... policy challenges from outsiders presented through fact and argument, offering some picture of what is going on in the world that is rival to the prevailing one, are not answered in kind, but are met rather with denunciation that is highly moralised. Epistemic threats to institutional authority are resolved into moral conflicts between good people and bad people. What is significant is how effective the early, pre-emptive declarations of scientific consensus in The Lancet and Nature Medicine were in garnering media enforcement of public opinion on the matter. The “fact checkers” of PolitiFact used these statements to shut down any discussion of the lab leak hypothesis. In effect, it appears the scientists who were signatories to the two letters may have been acting as a classic research cartel. Such behaviour is common enough in science. But because of the political environment, they were able to use the magic words “conspiracy theory” to trigger a wider epistemic immune reaction in high-prestige opinion...   As the evolutionary biologist turned cultural critic Bret Weinstein (who specialises in bats, as it happens) has pointed out, the resulting moratorium on pursuing the lab leak hypothesis may have been quite consequential, as an engineered virus behaves differently from a naturally evolved one, and this has implications for how it can best be fought... Nicholas Wade’s powerful and widely circulated article appeared, not in any national outlet, but on the blog site Medium. (It has since been republished by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, not an organisation within the orbit of virology or public health.) Only now has “the nation’s newspaper of record” and other organs of acceptable opinion been dragged into acknowledging what may be the most important story of the pandemic.  The logic of the surrounding political frame for these events is painfully simple. 1. Donald Trump publicly floated the idea that Covid may have had its origin in a Chinese lab. 2. It was therefore a point of conviction for all those who believe in science that such a hypothesis could only be a conspiracy theory, probably rooted in “Sinophobia”... When the lab leak hypothesis has been mentioned at all in the legacy press, the “conspiracy theory” has often been juxtaposed with reporting on anti-Asian hate crimes, thereby subsuming an urgent scientific question to the Trump-era morality play.   Journalism suffered a general intellectual collapse during the Trump administration, as many have noted on the Left and Right alike. The moral grandeur of #Resistance appears to have been so intoxicating to those who felt the mantle of Saving Democracy settle on their shoulders that the workaday demands of journalistic diligence and sceptical curiosity seemed paltry. The great imperative was to keep underlining the divide between good people and bad people. What we have learned is that a Manichaean atmosphere of moral sorting is intimidating, and therefore provides the perfect cover for “informal pacts of mutual protection,” to borrow a phrase from Martin Gurri. Liberalism began as a doctrine of political scepticism directed at rulers, based on the truism that power corrupts, and always adopts a virtuous pose. In time, this gave rise to a complementary form of journalism that was basically adversarial towards the politicians it reported on"

'Damning' science shows COVID-19 likely engineered in lab - "“Damning” science strongly suggests that COVID-19 is a man-made monster, optimized in a lab for maximum infectivity before hitting the outside to catastrophic effect, two experts said Sunday.  Writing in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Steven Quay and Richard Muller pointed to two key pieces of evidence to support the claim, which has increasingly gained steam after long being derided as little more than speculation."

Wuhan clan: the price I paid for my lab leak exposé - The Spectator World - "On March 12 last year, I texted a trusted source connected to Australia’s foreign intelligence agency. “What do you think about the theory that the virus came from a virology lab in China? Does that have credibility? I know it’s officially a conspiracy theory but China is not exactly a picture of transparency so I thought it’s possible.”  He replied to say he knew someone “very involved in the observation of that lab and its activities” and it was a definite possibility the virus leaked from the facility. It was a surprising response because, at the time, this view contradicted every utterance by scientists and world leaders, who insisted the virus had a natural origin. Most media outlets dismissed the lab-leak theory as a conspiracy.   A month after this exchange, I confirmed and reported on a global scoop for my paper in Australia, that the Five Eyes intelligence network of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were seriously examining the possibility of a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The story went global. For the following year, as I developed new sources around the world and unravelled the complexities of the Chinese Communist party’s suppression of the theory, I wrote a book on the topic and my reporting made me a target of the CCP...   There have been hacking and malware attempts as well. My Wikipedia page is subject to constant trolling from IP addresses registered in China. The night after my first Wuhan scoop, I received anti-Semitic death threats that also targeted my family.  It wasn’t until I spoke with officials who had led intelligence agencies that I properly understood the motivation behind such a concerted campaign against me in the Chinese media. The former secretary of state and CIA director Mike Pompeo told me that the CCP was desperate to control the narrative about how the virus began and to deflect any attention from the Wuhan lab... Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6. He told me that China was leading a “bloody outrageous global disinformation operation… You can bet your bottom dollar that the ministry of state security has been in control of the narrative from day one.”  “This is what the CCP have spent decades since Tiananmen preparing for,” says Matt Turpin, the White House’s former director for China on the staff of the National Security Council. “They’ve got the influence and the media and propaganda apparatus to be able to control the story.”  As someone who became fodder for the Chinese propaganda machine, I certainly discovered this to be the case. But what I found most remarkable in the past 18 months was the number of western scientists, government officials and tech giants who willingly accepted the CCP line. In doing so, they not only helped push China’s narrative, but shamefully aided and abetted the CCP’s vituperative attacks on people like me who dared question that narrative."
If you don't "trust the science" you are a dangerous, ignorant, far right conspiracy theorist
One cope I got was that since the consensus that covid was natural was not published as a scientific research paper but as a statement in the Lancet, it didn't mean "science" was politically influenced - despite what we had been told earlier about what "science" claimed.

Adam Housley on Twitter - "Also...US intelligence believes China is trying to produce variants that suggest it came from bats to cover up that it originally came from a lab. The belief is still that it escaped accidentally, but was allowed to spread."

Scientists believed Covid leaked from Wuhan lab - but feared debate could hurt ‘international harmony’ - "Leading British and US scientists thought it was likely that Covid accidentally leaked from a laboratory but were concerned that further debate would harm science in China...   An email from Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, on February 2 2020 said that “a likely explanation” was that Covid had rapidly evolved from a Sars-like virus inside human tissue in a low-security lab.  The email, to Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Francis Collins of the US National Institutes of Health, went on to say that such evolution may have “accidentally created a virus primed for rapid transmission between humans”... Viscount Ridley, co-author of Viral: the search for the origin of Covid, said: “These emails show a lamentable lack of openness and transparency among Western scientists who appear to have been more interested in shutting down a hypothesis they thought was very plausible, for political reasons.”  In the emails, Sir Jeremy said that other scientists also believed the virus could not have evolved naturally. One such scientist was Professor Mike Farzan, of Scripps Research, the expert who discovered how the original Sars virus binds to human cells. Scientists were particularly concerned by a part of Covid-19 called the furin cleavage site, a section of the spike protein which helps it enter cells and makes it so infectious to humans.  Summarising Professor Farzan’s concerns in an email, Sir Jeremy said: “He is bothered by the furin site and has a hard time (to) explain that as an event outside the lab, though there are possible ways in nature but highly unlikely.   “I think this becomes a question of how do you put all this together, whether you believe in this series of coincidences, what you know of the lab in Wuhan, how much could be in nature - accidental release or natural event? I am 70:30 or 60:40.”  Later emails showed that by February 4, Sir Jeremy had revised his estimate of a laboratory leak to 50:50, while Professor Eddie Holmes, of the University of Sydney, gave a 60:40 estimate in favour of an accidental release.  The emails also show that Bob Garry, of the University of Texas, was unconvinced that Covid-19 emerged naturally...   Professor Andrew Rambaut, from the University of Edinburgh, also said that furin cleavage site “strikes me as unusual”.   He added: “I think the only people with sufficient information or access to samples to address it would be the teams working in Wuhan.”... by February 2 2020, scientists were already trying to shut down the debate into the laboratory leak theory...   Institutions which held the emails have repeatedly resisted efforts to publish their content.   The University of Edinburgh recently turned down an Freedom of Information request from The Telegraph asking to see Prof Rambaut’s replies, claiming “disclosure would be likely to endanger the physical or mental health and safety of individuals”.  James Comer, the Republican congressman who secured the unredacted emails, said it showed that experts like Dr Fauci had taken the Wuhan lab leak theory “much more seriously” than they had let on."

COVID 'more likely lab leak than weapon,' U.S. spies find - "Some US spy agencies had believed the virus originated in nature. But there has been little corroboration.  The ODNI report said four US spy agencies and a multi-agency body have “low confidence” that COVID-19 originated with an infected animal or a related virus."

The Lab-Leak Debate Just Got Even Messier - The Atlantic - "According to a “critical review” co-authored by 21 experts on viruses and viral evolution that was posted as a preprint in July, “simple evolutionary mechanisms can readily explain” the site’s presence in SARS-CoV-2, and “there is no logical reason” why it would look the way it does if it had been engineered inside a lab. “Further,” the authors wrote, “there is no evidence of prior research at the [Wuhan Institute of Virology] involving the artificial insertion of complete furin cleavage sites into coronaviruses.”  But the apparent DARPA grant proposal complicates these arguments, at the very least. The engineering work that it describes would indeed involve such an artificial insertion. We don’t know whether that work was ever carried out—remember, DARPA rejected this proposal. Even if it had been, several experts told us, the genetic engineering would have happened at Ralph Baric’s lab in Chapel Hill, about 8,000 miles away from where the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak started. Yet now we know that the idea of inserting these sites was very much of interest to these research groups in the lead-up to the pandemic. “This is the first time they reveal that they are looking for these sites”... Vaughn Cooper, who studies pathogen evolution at the University of Pittsburgh, told us that he hasn’t changed his view that SARS-CoV-2 is extremely unlikely to have been created in a lab—but the lack of candor is “really concerning.” The DARPA proposal doesn’t “mean that much for our understanding of the origins of the pandemic,” he said, “but it does diminish the trustworthiness of the research groups involved.”"

The Covid lab leak theory just got even stronger | The Spectator - "a bunch of emails, uncovered by a lawsuit from the so-called White Coat Waste Project, returned the ball right back over the net. They comprised an exchange between the American virus--hunting foundation, the EcoHealth Alliance and its funders in the US government. The scientists discussed collecting viruses from bats in eight countries including Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos between 2016 and 2019. But to avoid the complication of signing up local subcontractors to their grants in those countries, they promised to send the samples to a laboratory they already funded. And where was this lab? Wuhan... As for that missing furin cleavage site, another leaked document revealed in September by Drastic, a confederation of open-source analysts like Demaneuf, sent shock- waves through the scientific community. Dr Peter Daszak, head of the EcoHealth Alliance, spelled out plans to work with his collaborators in Wuhan and elsewhere to artificially insert novel, rare cleavage sites into novel Sars-like coronaviruses collected in the field, so as to better understand the biological function of cleavage sites. His 2018 request for $14.2 million from the Pentagon to do this was turned down amid uneasiness that it was too risky; but the very fact that he was proposing it was alarming.  Most of the funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology comes from the Chinese not the American government, after all; so the failure to win the US grant may not have prevented the work being done. More-over, exactly such an experiment had already been done with a different kind of coronavirus by — guess who? — the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It is almost beyond belief that Dr Daszak had not volunteered this critical information. He played a leading role in trying to dismiss the lab-leak idea as a ‘conspiracy theory’, using his membership of the WHO-China investigation to support the far-fetched theory that the virus reached Wuhan on frozen food. If the trail to the source of the pandemic leads through Laos, it is possible western countries can find out more. The Chinese government has blocked anybody who tries to get near to the mineshaft in Yunnan where RaTG13 was found. But now that we know the US government was funding virus sampling in Laos, the EcoHealth Alliance should be required to report in full on exactly what was found. Saying ‘Oh, that data belongs to the Chinese now’ is not good enough. American taxpayers funded the work. Belatedly, the US National Institutes of Health has requested more information... But even finding relevant viruses in Laos still won’t answer the question of how they got loose in Wuhan. And with the continuing failure to find any evidence of infected animals for sale in Chinese markets, the astonishing truth remains this: the outbreak happened in a city with the world’s largest research programme on bat-borne corona-viruses, whose scientists had gone to at least two places where these Sars-CoV-2-like viruses live, and brought them back to Wuhan — and to nowhere else."

China's mishandling of the early stages of Covid-19 pandemic revealed by leaked documents - "In a report marked "internal document, please keep confidential," local health authorities in the province of Hubei, where the virus was first detected, list a total of 5,918 newly detected cases on February 10, more than double the official public number of confirmed cases, breaking down the total into a variety of subcategories. This larger figure was never fully revealed at that time, as China's accounting system seemed, in the tumult of the early weeks of the pandemic, to downplay the severity of the outbreak. The previously undisclosed figure is among a string of revelations contained within 117 pages of leaked documents from the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention... The Chinese government has steadfastly rejected accusations made by the United States and other Western governments that it deliberately concealed information relating to the virus, maintaining that it has been upfront since the beginning of the outbreak... The Chinese government has previously pointed to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan as the likely initial epicenter of the outbreak in mid-December, where meat of exotic wild animals was sold. Yet that claim has been at least partially challenged by a Lancet study of the first December patients, which determined one third of the 41 infected that month had no direct connection to that market. Yichang, 320 kilometers (198 miles) west of Wuhan, was hit hardest by the influenza outbreak -- almost three times as many as Wuhan in the same week beginning December 2... During the last 30 years, analysts say, many in China have appeared willing to relinquish political freedoms in return for increased material wealth, social stability and greater opportunities. The virus fundamentally threatened that social contract -- putting hundreds of millions at risk while damaging an economy already weakened by an ongoing US-China trade war."
Damn CIA, fabricating documents again!

Question the ‘lab leak’ theory. But don’t call it a conspiracy. - "If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, labels get in the way of facts and make the truth that much harder to find... like everyone else involved in the discussions about the lab leak theory, scientists have something at stake: If SARS-CoV-2 did escape from a lab, it could further shake trust in research, and threaten funding. In the search for truth, it is good to ask questions, and it is good to doubt, as colleagues and I have noted elsewhere. It is also good to try to understand the motivations of those who ask questions. A lack of obvious financial incentives doesn’t mean someone isn’t biased or making other gains.  But just because your intellectual opponent has particular motivations, it doesn’t mean that they are wrong — or, on the flip side, that they are right if their motivations align with yours... kneejerk dismissal — from both “sides” — has played out time and time again during the pandemic.  In the last 18 months, for example, practically no one could have a dispassionate discussion of the evidence — or the lack thereof — for using various older drugs, usually approved to treat parasites, against Covid-19. Such discussions frequently escalated into screaming matches between polarized opposites. If you had ever made a comment that could be interpreted as saying that Donald Trump was not wrong about absolutely everything — including his boosting one such drug, hydroxychloroquine — you were clearly promoting the drug because you were partisan. If you dismissed the drugs, surely you were partisan on the other side. And if you gained any following thanks to media mentions, or had ever been paid to write anything for a media outlet, clearly you were opposed to ivermectin, another of these drugs, only to make a name for yourself. And so on.  A similar dynamic played out in discussions about vaccines. Public health officials, mindful of vaccine hesitancy in some quarters, made the vaccines sound 100 percent safe, when no such thing exists. They opted for clear messaging over nuance, dismissing safety concerns. But when a small number of reports of blood clots surfaced and they paused one vaccine’s rollout, that only led to even more distrust (and accusations of a conspiracy). Peter Sandman, a longtime communications strategist, argued that a better approach would have been to provide what’s called “anticipatory guidance,” which involves advising people about rare side effects that may happen. It takes away the reactive “but you told us X, so now I don’t trust you” argument that can further muddle a complex situation. Just as with the nuances about vaccine safety, too many people were too quick to dismiss the lab-leak theory as a conspiracy. But once they took a careful look at some of the evidence, they sometimes had to update stories and statements to acknowledge the possibility, however remote, of a lab leak. (One correction by the Washington Post  specifically removes the term “conspiracy theory.”)... Some may argue that, in the middle of a health crisis like Covid, it’s justifiable to shut down an idea that lacks evidence of certainty by labeling it a “conspiracy theory,” particularly if it distracts from the main goal of preventing more illness and death.  But there is at least some evidence that the approach doesn’t work. According to a 2016 study, people are no less likely to believe something just because it’s dubbed a “conspiracy”; in fact, that label may even prompt them to give the idea extra consideration or credibility. That makes intuitive sense: If you hear something referred to as a conspiracy theory and then you learn that one of the arguments supporting this theory, however minor, is factual, that revelation may bolster the idea that there really is a cover-up. Or perhaps you learn that a vocal critic of the lab-leak conspiracy theory had a significant but undisclosed conflict of interest — namely that his organization had collaborated with the Wuhan lab that would have been the site of the leak. Along these lines, evidence of stonewalling by the Chinese government also reinforces the suggestion of a cover-up. It is human nature to want a definitive answer to questions. But science is not about certainty"
Science is not about certainty. But the same people who scream "trust the science" are very quick to claim that "the science changed". So we are supposed to treat as gospel truth something that changes

Addendum: Wuhan Lab Publishes Study Manipulating H7N9 Virus To Be More Lethal.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Links - 1st June 2022 (2 - Trans Mania)

Meme - "When you haven't told anyone you're trans in 5 minutes *veins on forehead popping*"

Helen Staniland on Twitter - "Men who get angry over perceived 'transphobia' often have no problems at all with overt sexual misogyny."
Meme - "stay mad terfs I'm drinking champagne at a big gay wedding and the sun came out, suck my dick x"

Schools politicising lessons on gender, says Ofsted - "Schools are using “overtly political materials” to teach children about gender issues, Ofsted has warned, despite the statutory requirement for neutrality... Chris Jones, Ofsted’s director of corporate strategy, said that when the Equalities Act was introduced in 2010, it was “contentious from the outset”, particularly in relation to characteristics relating to sex, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.  “The increasing political sensitivities in these areas have made it harder for schools to handle equalities well”...   Earlier this year, reports emerged of schools sanctioning the use of male names for girls as young as 13 without the consent of their parents... Dr Susan Matthews, an honorary senior research fellow in creative writing at Roehampton University, analysed a series of books that are being circulated in British schools.  She concluded that children were being put at risk by transgender books in primary schools that “misrepresent” medical knowledge on puberty blockers.   Her critique of children's literature was published in the 2019 book Inventing Transgender Children and Young People.  Books and lesson plans that were designed educate pupils about transgender issues “fail child safeguarding and conflict with the law”, she said.  Dr Matthews found that much of the information given about medical transition was “inaccurate”, adding that “potential harms are ignored, glossed over or falsified”."

The "myth" of the slippery slope strikes again

Camden trans walkway: New zebra crossing causes chaos for guide dog and police horse - "a coalition of groups representing millions of disabled people wrote to Mr Khan warning him the colourful crossings were dangerous.  The collective – made up of organisations including the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Guide Dogs and Scope – said they hurt some people.  Their open letter to the Mayor revealed some visually impaired people with light sensitivity found the extremely bright artwork 'painful to look at'.  It added those with learning disabilities were likely to find it difficult to interpret abstract artwork as a crossing.  Mr Khan responded quickly announcing he had moved to 'introduce a temporary pause on the installation of any new colourful crossing on its network'."
Met Police Training Horses to Cross Rainbow Road Crossings - "Now it seems the Met have had enough of the institutional equine homophobia from their mounted division and sent them on an LGBTQ+ crossing awareness course."

Meme - "Puberty blockers are a human right"
Imagine pushing child abuse this hard. And this was shared by Trans Army

Kelley Paul on Twitter - "Chinese third graders are learning multi-variable calculus. Our third graders are being taught that “men can have babies.” This will not end well."

JON MILLER 🇷🇺 on Twitter - "Why is pedophilia a stretch? Some are old enough to remember 2011 when the whole gay marriage thing was being thrown around, we said “jeez what’s next, normalizing transgenders?” They said “That’s ridiculous! That would NEVER happen. C’mon. You’re just being extreme for shock.”"

Erin, Trail Mom on Twitter - "Trans people owe nobody disclosure. Nobody. The idea that trans women have to tell people they sleep with that they are trans is transphobic as hell. If anything, people who don't believe trans women are women should have to disclose that to potential partners."
Is it sexual assault if a "AFAB" has sex with a lesbian without telling her that he "identifies as male"?

Beehive Groyper 🇷🇺 on Twitter - "75-90% of children who experience gender dysphoria grow out of it ( while Post sex reassignment surgery people are 19 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population ( You’re the one messing with trans kids."

Meme - Christian Youtuber @ErenRespecter: "Can we reflect on how sick and twisted the pro-transgender suicide argument is? They basically tell us "Play pretend with us or we'll commit suicide. And it'll be YOUR fault." No. We are not responsible for the fact that you cannot accept reality.
One minute these guys are saying "What others do has no effect on you sweaty", then the next minute are threatening to off themselves because someone didn't use a pronoun they want"

Meme - "Personally I don't care what consenting adults do, but this is kind of hilarious that at least 3 of the 4 have happened since and the one is on the brink."
"r/lgbt. 11 yr. ago:
"What will happen if gay marriage is legalized.
What will happen if gay marriage is legalized?
Gay people wil get married - 100%
A third World War will break out - 0%
Various plagues - locusts, frogs, etc. will erupt - 0%
Schools will begin teaching kids how to have gay sex - 0 %
The terrorists will win - 0%""

Leaked documents show how teachers recruit students, form gay and transgender clubs in schools - "Imagine a scenario in which your child comes home from school and tells you that they now identify as “pansexual.” Or, while telling you about the school day, your child mentions that he or she was told he or she was gay based on a test a teacher gave them. Or you discover he or she was recruited by a teacher to lead a gay and transgender student club but was instructed not to tell any parents because “what happens in the student club, stays in the club.” These are the alarming contents of a packet distributed by the California Teachers Association regarding the formation of gay and transgender clubs in schools.  The packet acts as an instructional guide on propagandizing students with gay and transgender information. One of the most disturbing parts is the recommendation for these clubs in elementary schools, where children are 10 years old or younger. Another concerning section focuses on teachers proactively recruiting students to be leaders of these clubs. It provides a section for teachers to list the names of the students they think would be interested. This particular packet was from a previous California Teachers Association LGBTQ+ Issues Conference. The packet also asks teachers to list supporters and enemies of these clubs... one of the recommended activities is for teachers to ask students their Kinsey Scale rating... the Kinsey Scale analyzes sexual perversions and other mature, if not odd, content. It emphasizes that “sexuality is fluid” and that human sexuality does not fit into “two strict categories.” Moreover, it asks participants to describe their emotions behind having sexual intercourse with people of the same sex and other sexual fantasies. It’s a completely inappropriate activity for teachers to do with students, regardless of age... Other perverted indoctrination activities include a recommended videos list. The packet suggests the First Person YouTube channel. It provides 52 videos on various topics such as “Drag as a Tool for Self-Advocacy,” “Queer Black Cosplay,” “Growing Up Intersex,” “Asexuality,” and “The Importance of Being Cliterate,” among many others. Additionally, other suggested videos are “Coming out GAY to my 5 year old brother” and the animated music video “Everyone is Gay.” The clubs are supposed to be “student-led.” Yet the packet reveals that teachers are partially funding these clubs. A section asks how much of their money teachers are “willing to put into this project.” As such, it is obvious that teachers are the true leaders of these clubs, not students. Instead, teachers recruit students to be figureheads and then use them as pawns to spread this propaganda. They are using students to brainwash other students into thinking a certain way. “I think it’s wrong what is going on. A child’s innocence is being taken away,” said a California Teachers Association member who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity. “Children are being indoctrinated. Teachers are trying to encourage different sexualities among students. It’s disturbing, and it’s violating young and innocent minds.”   The packet also encourages discretion with these clubs. A sample ground rule states, “What is said here, stays here.” This encourages students not to be honest with their parents about what is happening at school. This type of deception is similar to other recent accounts of teachers who organized gay and transgender clubs to indoctrinate students. It’s indicative of the great lengths teachers will go to brainwash students with this propaganda. “When teachers unions and their affiliate organizations strategize, create, train, fund, and then target students for a sexual identity exploration club that hides content from parents while showing potentially explicit content, we have a serious issue,” said Kelly Schenkoske, a mother of two in California and the host of A Time to Stand.   It is one thing to want to create a space for any gay or transgender student who may feel alone or scared while at school. It is entirely another to be feeding children propaganda to influence their sexuality or gender identity."

Why a Virginia Middle School Is Removing Urinals from the Boys’ Bathrooms - "It’s bad enough that a middle school in Loudon County, VA, has decided to remove “male” and “female” signs from its bathrooms.  But in an even more extreme nod to social insanity, this same school is removing the urinals from the boys’ bathrooms. Why? It’s because a number of biological females, who identify as males, are offended by the presence of urinals... the perceived needs of roughly 0.3 percent of the population, now turn the world upside down for the other 99.7 percent... in 2011 in the context of the trajectory of LGBTQ activism, I asked, “How far have we already deviated from the path? Where will this current trajectory take us? If our college kids can describe themselves as ‘genderqueer dykes’ and ‘transgender gay males,’ what is coming next? How about the ‘trans child’? How about ‘queer in the crib?’”"

School System Deflects Cover-Up Charges in Girl's Rape by ‘Gender-Fluid’ Boy - "  Loudoun County Public Schools in Northern Virginia is being accused of covering up allegations that a boy in late May sexually assaulted a ninth grade girl in her school’s restroom—the nightmare scenario so often described by opponents of radical transgender school policies.   The school system allegedly covered up the incident by transferring the male student to a neighboring school where police said he was arrested after sexually assaulting another student... the statement notably did not express sympathy toward or compassion for crime victims or their families... Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler may have lied when he said at the June 22 school board meeting that “the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist,” adding: “We don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”   Prior, the parent activist who leads Fight for Schools, emphasized to The Daily Signal that if Ziegler “knew and lied, he should be immediately terminated.”   “If he didn’t know, he is an incompetent fool and should be immediately terminated”"

Teacher cries as she quits in front of Virginia school board considering more inclusive transgender policy - "One of the speakers, Laura Morris, said she had been a teacher for 10 years, five of those in Loudoun County, and quit her job in front of the school board ahead of the vote on the new transgender policy... “School board, I quit. I quit your policies, I quit your trainings, and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly politicised agendas on our most vulnerable constituents – the children. I will find employment elsewhere. I encourage all parents and staff in this county to flood the private schools”... School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan said on 22 June: “We will not back down from fighting for the rights of our students and continuing our focus on equity.”"

Mother of Convicted Loudoun County School Sex Offender Blames the Victim - "The mother of the skirt-wearing teen who was found guilty of “forcible sodomy” in a girls’ bathroom sexual assault in Loudoun County, Virginia, blamed her son’s victim for the crime. According to the criminal’s mother, he is just “a 15-year-old boy that wanted to have sex in the bathroom,” and the victim didn’t do enough to fight back. She said, “You’re 15. You can reasonably defend yourself. You’re not just going to sit there and take it.”...   The mother went on to say that her son depicted the rape as an accident, telling her that he didn’t mean to insert his genitalia inside the girl’s anus, and that he was surprised when it caused her pain...   The mother, however, insists that her son is “not transgender,” adding that he wasn’t wearing a skirt in order to slip into the girls’ bathroom, but rather, because he is still “trying to find himself.”  “He is not transgender,” the mother told Daily Mail. “He would wear a skirt one day and then the next day, he would wear jeans and a t-shirt, a Polo or hoodie.” “He was trying to find himself and that involved all kinds of styles,” she added. “I believe he was doing it because it gave him attention he desperately needed and sought.”  The school’s principal, however, apparently had no idea that the teen suspect identified as male...   The mother also blamed the victim’s father, Scott Smith, for being “all riled up” over his daughter’s sexual assault, which caused news of the incident to “spread like wildfire.”...   The son also reportedly identifies as “pansexual” — a term referring to when someone is romantically attracted to anyone, regardless of whether they are a man, a woman, a man who identifies as a woman, or a woman who identifies as a man."
Victim blaming is good when it protects "minorities"
Weird. I thought this never happens and that talk of increased attacks in toilets is right wing fearmongering

Loudoun County and the cruelty of trans ideology - "Scott Smith is the father of a 15-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom by a boy who was allegedly wearing a skirt. For speaking out and defending his daughter, Smith has been vilified by woke zealots who care more about pushing pro-transgender policies than the safety of children...  the major media have largely ignored the story, hoping no one will notice, because it raises serious questions about the trans ideology that is being forced on kids through their schools.   Back in June, Smith, a plumber, attended a school-board meeting in Loudoun County, an affluent suburb of Washington DC. The area is well known for its progressive political views. On the agenda was the board’s proposal to allow students to use the bathroom of either sex, according to their self-declared gender identity. In response to objections raised by parents, school-district superintendent Scott Ziegler claimed that ‘We don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our bathrooms’. Parents opposed to the radical policy were fighting phantoms, apparently. ‘The predator transgender student or person simply does not exist’, Ziegler said. Smith went to the meeting to express his anger about the assault of his daughter that had occurred just weeks before, and to protest the policy. Shamefully, Smith was taunted by activists and he got into a shouting match with a woman who said she didn’t believe the rape happened. Police intervened and arrested him. A video of Smith being tackled by the police, floundering on the floor as his t-shirt was ripped open, went viral. The Twitterati mocked and fat-shamed him.   Smith was then charged with two misdemeanors. The prosecutor, Buta Biberaj, pressed to have him jailed. Ms Biberaj is known for her woke politics and for supporting the ‘decarceration’ of criminals. But she was willing to make an exception to put this father behind bars. Thankfully she failed to do so and Smith was released. Three months later, in late September, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) worked behind the scenes with White House officials to craft a letter to President Biden, which it released on 29 September. The letter implored the president and federal law enforcement to crack down on ‘threats of violence’ against school-board members. It likened protesting parents to ‘domestic terrorists’ and suggested that counter-terror measures in the Patriot Act should be deployed against them. What evidence was there of this violence against school-board members? One of the examples cited in the letter was the arrest of Smith at the Loudoun school-board meeting. The rest of the evidence for this apparently growing threat was similarly weak. Nevertheless, two days later attorney general Merrick Garland directed the FBI to address ‘a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff’.   At this point, Smith, whose daughter was the victim of a horrific sexual assault, was shown zero sympathy by an array of elites. Instead he was ridiculed by trans activists, brushed off and silenced by the school board, arrested by the police and used as fodder by the White House and Department of Justice to justify an unprecedented clampdown on parents... the Loudoun school superintendent had lied in June when he told parents opposed to the transgender bathroom policy that no sexual assaults had occurred in school bathrooms across the county. According to a disclosed email, Ziegler had notified the school board of Smith’s daughter’s sexual assault the day it happened in May. It was also revealed that the board was aware the attacker had been transferred to another school in the county, Broad Run High School, where he proceeded to sexually assault another girl according to recent charges. This is such an outrage. The superintendent and board members knew about the attack on Smith’s daughter the day it happened. And then, at a public meeting, they denied knowledge of it, had the police arrest Smith, said not a peep as Smith’s reputation was dragged through the gutter, and covered all of it up for months. Why? Because the board members could not let anything stand in the way of imposing their transgender policy...   Many parents in Loudoun are livid and are demanding the school board’s resignation... even though attorney general Garland relied on the now-discredited NSBA letter and its flimsy evidence, he has not called off the FBI from targeting parents."

Loudoun County judge finds boy 'in a skirt' GUILTY of sexually assaulting female student

'Tennis club goes woke': Trans row after upmarket club dumps female membership option - "Julia Stephenson was renewing her £300-per-year fees at Putney Lawn Tennis Club when she spotted the "female" option was no longer valid when it came to selecting members gender.  Taking to Twitter the enraged fitness goer share a picture of the options writing: "I am renewing my tennis club membership but am confused that my gender, 'female' is 'no longer valid'.  In the picture, the drop down menu can be seen with options for members' sex with the first option being 'Female (including trans woman)', there is also an option for 'Male (including trans man)', 'Non-binary' and 'Other', the final option is 'Female (no longer valid)'... a spokesperson for Putney Lawns Tennis Club said: "It has been brought to our attention that there was a glitch in the third-party digital platform (Member Mojo) we use for our annual membership renewals.  "This happened after we made some recent minor amendments to our membership wording TRIANGLE to align with NHS guidelines, and we were unaware that the platform was also showing Female and Male categories as being invalid — something which is clearly untrue."

Neither marginalised, abused nor vulnerable - "you will inevitably hear the following sentence with minimal variation.  “What we must remember is that the trans community is one of the most marginalised, abused and vulnerable in society.”...   Let’s begin with the clearest indicator of the extent to which a community is “marginalised and abused”: the murder rate of those within it. Because there is no stable definition of what constitutes a “trans person”, there is no standardised method for recording the deaths of trans people across the UK. However, we know that there have been just eight reported murders of people who defined themselves as transgender, transsexual or cross-dressers in the UK since reporting began in 2008. Even trans organisation Transrespect, which includes people who have committed suicide and people whose death was originally and erroneously treated as suspicious in their numbers for “murdered” victims, says the number from 2008 to 2020 is eleven.   Note that the UK is not a European anomaly — in Germany there hasn’t been a murder of a trans person since 2008, while 26 countries in Europe have reported no murders of trans people for the entire period. Even though we’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of people who identify as transgender in the last few years, a trans person hasn’t been murdered in the UK for nearly three years and there are, for example, no reports ever of a trans person in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland being murdered.  Moreover, not one of even the eleven people Transrespect says were murdered, were killed due to “transphobia”. The victim in each case was typically murdered by a male sexual partner due to drugs or money issues. None were killed by a woman — and one was killed by a man who identifies as a woman. According to this fact check, the average adult in England and Wales has a one-in-100,000 chance of being murdered in a given year whereas the average trans person has a one-in-200,000 to one-in-500,000 chance of being murdered in the UK over the course of a year... a trans person is less likely to be murdered than the average person. In fact, a trans person is less likely to be murdered than just about any other accepted category or identity. Perhaps we can look at the number of hate crimes committed against this vague category of person. Doing so also suggests the trans “community” is far from abused... The hate crime rises that many politicians refer to when talking about the trans issue, is due to new College of Policing guidance that arrived in in 2014, which states that the “defining factor” in whether something is measured as a hate crime is “the perception of the victim, or any other person”. Many of these seem to be so subjective that they’re absurd, such as someone beeping their horn at a fellow motorist — who reported it to the police as a racist attack, and at least one force has admitted it has included, in its hate crime statistics, incidents in which no crime had actually taken place.  Another report revealed that police officers are victims of hate crime incidents in almost half of all hate crime prosecutions. This presumably includes the young man with autism who made the mistake of asking a trans-identified female police officer, “Are you a boy or a girl?” He was convicted. Perhaps it’s time to retry the 2003 case of the teenager who asked a mounted policeman, “Is your horse gay?” Despite all this nonsense, of the five monitored strands that the police record as hate crimes, the transgender category has, every year, and by some distance, seen the least number of “hate crimes” against it. In fact, religion — the next-lowest — saw nearly three times as many incidents in the last recording year. Trans rights activists are acutely aware of the lack of hate crime statistics to back up these repeated claims. Here, the Scottish Transgender Alliance Manager at the Equality Network, James Morton, asks a trans person to report their claim of victimhood to the police — for the simple reason that “we need the stats”. Another statistic that is commonly used to show trans vulnerability are suicide rates. In particular, one line often trotted out is that “41, or even 48, per cent of young transgender people have attempted suicide”.  The 41 per cent study’s authors have admitted their research was flawed, while the 48 per cent study comes from a survey by mental health charity PACE that has also been widely debunked. In fact, its sample size alone, of just 27 self-selected people, meant that the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) issued a statement that journalists who repeat the statistic are misrepresenting the truth as it “highlights potential editorial standards issues relating [to] accuracy”. The NHS’s Tavistock GIDS has suggested that suicidality amongst those who are referred to the service is “extremely rare” and a study by Professor Biggs found that children with autism, depression or anorexia are many times more likely to take their life than a child with gender identity issues. A US study in 2018 found that LGBT children experience a higher rate of suicides from the very low base of heterosexual boys, but the biggest issue was whether they were female or not: transgender, lesbian and bisexual females all saw a similar rate.   The motives of trans rights activists in convincing the general public that transgender people are the most vulnerable demographic, against all available evidence, are manifold.  Parents of unhappy or mentally unwell children who express questions about their gender identity will naturally take extreme measures and support flawed policies which they believe will prevent their child from taking his or her life.  Opportunists like Owen Hurcum and Morgane Oger can bamboozle the public into thinking that privileged white men are worthy of your sympathy and support.  Students can pretend that women like Kathleen Stock are monsters, thereby excusing their own monstrous behaviour as they harass and terrorise them.  As for politicians, it’s a bluff. An easy way of pretending they have a grasp of a stance that not even its proponents understand. But its usefulness may be coming to an end, because even if journalists continue to let them get away with it, an increasingly better-informed public certainly will not."
Grievance mongers love "hate crime" statistics, since they are easily inflated

Richard Dawkins: ‘Race is a spectrum. Sex is pretty damn binary’ | Times2 | The Sunday Times - "There’s not much that frightens Richard Dawkins. He shrugs off his regular hate mail from angry evangelicals, occasionally taking to YouTube to read it aloud. He has never backed down from his withering criticisms of Islamic fundamentalism, despite the potential for blowback. He’s happy to pick intellectual fights with eminent fellow scientists and has even been known to find fault (hard to imagine, I realise) with the odd journalist or two. But Dawkins tells me there are two things he does fear: one is being cancelled by the left. The other is hang-gliding... His considerable reputation as an evolutionary biologist, atheist and intellectual was forged in the hot cauldron of public debate. With forceful clarity and occasional rattiness, he has for decades gone about slaughtering sacred cows like a bloodthirsty butcher. So if Dawkins is now afraid to speak his mind, I’m not sure where that leaves the rest of us. “I self-censor,” he admits. “More so in recent years.” Why? “It’s not a thing I’ve done throughout my life, I’ve always spoken my mind openly. But we’re now in a time when if you do speak your mind openly, you are at risk of being picked up and condemned.”... He recalls reading the historian Jan Morris’s 1974 book Conundrum on transitioning to become a woman. “She felt herself to be a woman trapped in a man’s body,” Dawkins says. “I think that’s a real phenomenon. I have sympathy. But when trans people insist that you say she is a woman, you redefine something. If you define a woman as a human with an XX karyotype, then she’s not a woman. If you define a woman as someone who identifies as a woman, feels they are a woman and has maybe had an operation, then by that definition she is a woman. From a scientific point of view, she’s not a woman. From a personal point of view, she is.” As a matter of “personal politeness” then, he’s happy to use whatever pronouns people ask him to use. “But I don’t like the idea that people can pillory someone like Jordan Peterson for refusing to be compelled to change his language,” he says. In this Dawkins senses something he doesn’t like: a quasi-religious faith that cannot be opposed. Or as he puts it: “Denying reality and it’s a heresy to do anything other than that.”... The strike against Dawkins has long been that his atheism can be too militant. The “new atheist” movement that came to prominence in the mid-Noughties poured scorn on faith of all stripes. It was led by the “four horsemen”: Dawkins alongside the philosophers Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and the journalist Christopher Hitchens. But should they have offered more carrot with their stick? Was the militancy critique fair? “Yes, I think it probably was,” he says. “I’m not much of a politician. It might have been more politic to seduce the reader rather than attempt to persuade. To meet them halfway and say, ‘I understand where you’re coming from.’ I suppose that hasn’t been my way.” People, he reflects, “don’t wish to be told they’re an idiot”. He ponders for a moment. “But I think I don’t mind being told I’m an idiot, if I am.”"

'Too Fat to Transition' Recap: Seven Heartbreaking Moments - "While it’s impossible to ever be too “anything” to transition from one gender to another, Too Fat to Transition pulled at heartstrings as it told the medical journeys of two inspiring transgender individuals who were both tasked with losing weight before their procedures."
Of course, leftists mock people who are denied organ transplants for being unvaccinated, even though the underlying logic is supposedly similar (according to covid hystericists)

The Left used to champion women – now they appear to have abandoned them - "One of the hallmarks of contemporary Leftist thinking is what the poncy (hands up) call “defamiliarisation”: taking something that is instinctively obvious and flipping it. Winston Churchill a hero? Wrong: he’s a racist. 9/11 was a hideous and uncalled for act of war? Wrong: it was America’s fault. Britain is one of the most diverse and least racist countries on Earth? Wrong: it’s a systemically racist backwater still in thrall to its genocidal imperial past. The latest and most shocking case of this mischief is the pretence that “woman” is not actually what you thought it was, but is rather whatever you want it to be, or nothing at all... it is the very parties who used to champion women – Labour in Britain, the Democrats in the US – that have now abandoned them.  This, at least, is the implication of the way “woman” has become a slur, avoided everywhere from courts to medical school was nothing short of bizarre to watch Blackburn, an anti-abortion Republican, spelling out the words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late liberal Supreme Court justice, that “physical differences between men and women are enduring. The two sexes are not fungible. A community made up exclusively of one sex is different from a community composed of both.” Jackson looked blank: she didn’t know the quote...   It can be hard to remember that until very recently most people didn’t have to think too hard about what women were. They were people first and foremost, but people with key differences from men that required recognition in medicine, sport, prison, social work, the law, and anywhere where violence against women is taken seriously. By the 2000s, this was utterly basic, widespread knowledge, and the interesting stuff was always to do with how far biology dictated women’s lives, and the battle to promote and sustain fair treatment and freedom from the most egregious forms of discrimination and assault. Nobody remotely sane had the time, or felt the need, to begin to hash out – as if women were some kind of new species – what women were. And yet there we are, forced by the woke Left to reinvent the wheel, all while pretending there is no wheel. It has been disappointing that women have been abandoned by the Left, but not all that surprising. After all, the Left has a long history of misogyny: in 1970 the women’s liberation movement burst out of the frustration of socialist women tired of being treated as third-class citizens, there mainly to serve tea, provide sexual favours and have their ideas pinched by their beardy comrades.  History doesn’t repeat, but it sure does echo, and the Left’s new obsession with defending the rights of biological men over those of women is an all too familiar reverberation."

Transgender father-of-two, 47, awaiting gender reassignment surgery is jailed for three years - "A transgender father of two awaiting gender reassignment surgery has been jailed in a male prison for three years after being exposed as a paedophile. Britnee Aitken, 47, will have her treatment delayed after two girls said she molested them ten years ago when she identified as a truck recovery driver called Marcus."

School nurse suspended for revealing student, 11, is on puberty blockers - "A Connecticut school nurse has been suspended over a Facebook post revealing that an 11 year-old at the school where she worked was on puberty blockers.  Kathleen Cataford, who worked at the Richard J Kinsella Magnet School in Hartford, was axed from her role Monday over the post, which was branded transphobic.  Writing on a local mom's group in response to a request for local school recommendations, the 77 year-old said: 'Investigate the school system curriculum...CT is a very socially liberal, gender confused state'... 'As a public school nurse, I have an 11yo female student on puberty blockers and a dozen identifying as non-binary, all but two keeping this as a secret from their parents with the help of teachers, SSW [social workers] and school administration.   'Teachers and SSW are spending 37.5 hours a week influencing our children, not necessarily teaching our children what YOU think is being taught.' Cataford went on to claim that 'children are introduced to this confusion in kindergarten.'... Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez issued a statement condemning Cataford's remarks, but did not name the nurse, citing privacy concerns."
Weird. I thought this never happens.
More whistleblowers the left hates

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