When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, July 02, 2022

Links - 2nd July 2022 (2)

Stephen Chow, 59, seen playing water sports with Miss Hong Kong contestant, 17, assistant denies rumours - "One of the women in the group was 17-year-old Ukei Cheung, a Miss Hong Kong 2021 contestant... Apple Daily added that the pair would meet frequently, with Chow treating Cheung especially well. This included sending a private car to pick Cheung up every time they met, having meals and alcohol, and even ordering a suite for her to rest after a night of drinking.  They also reportedly took the yacht out to sea almost every week. "

Miss Hong Kong 2021 contestant removes photographs on comedian Stephen Chow’s yacht from social media as demanded - "Miss Hong Kong 2021 contestant Ukei Cheung has confirmed that she has complied with the demand letter issued by Hong Kong comedian Stephen Chow to remove photos taken on his yacht from her social media.  Cheung said she communicated with Chow after the demand letter was issued, and confirmed he only wanted to remove the photos, Ming Pao reported.  Cheung however said she is still keeping copies of the photos for remembrance."

The military made a robot that can eat organisms for fuel - "“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” is a sentence no one should ever have had to say. That was Harry Schoell, CEO of one of the companies making this robot, after a panic-filled scientific world started rumors of corpse-eating robots... The designers of the phase I engine stressed heavily that the robot is not going to eat the dead. Instead, it runs on “fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings, and wood chips — small, plant-based items.”  Cyclone and RTI swear this robot is strictly a vegetarian "

Henry Pryor on Twitter - "‘Had my first jab last week and thought I was hallucinating when I saw the Honey Monster. Then realised it was a woman reading a magazine’ #ThankYouTwitter"

Brutal rejection letter from 1928 is every writer's worst nightmare - "The poet, Frederick Charles Meyer, was shown no mercy after he submitted his work to Angus and Robertson Ltd in Australia.  "Dear sir," the letter begins.  "No, you may not send us your verses, and we will not give you the name of another publisher.  "We hate no rival publisher sufficiently to ask you to inflict them on him.  "The specimen poem is simply awful. In fact, we have never seen worse."...   However, it seems the harsh words didn't put Mr Meyer off - he went on to publish Jewels of mountains and snowlines of New Zealand in Wellington."

This Portland resident got extremely triggered when he saw a big, scary truck - "Normally, I wouldn't pick on someone random for sharing a dumb tweet, but this person publicly posted the truck owner's state-issued license plate and tagged the police department to dox the owner before the entire world... Ironically, this fine gentlemen has applauded defunding the police he's now tagging on Twitter."

John Withington On History's Assassinations | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘It was a Russian who said about the Russian Empire that their method of government was despotism tempered by assassination. But actually, that was far more true of the Roman Empire. The problem with the Roman Empire was that there were no rules of succession really, the, the Roman Empire just kind of appeared. And so they had to kind of make it up as they went along... I looked at the 17 assassinations. 15 of those were carried out by the Emperor’s own bodyguard or by his own troops. And it was Augustus the first Roman emperor who said the most terrible thing is that most people have to be afraid of their enemies, but we, we emperors have to be afraid of our friends and those closest to us.’
‘One thing that I found particularly interesting was there's an… ethics of assassination, which I know it's a bit paradoxical. But there's been various philosophers over the years, who've, you know, they posited this argument that actually assassination, if you're wanting to get rid of a tyrant, is an ethical way of doing it, because you're just, you know, you're killing one person, as opposed to going to war and risking hundreds of 1000s’...
'In the 1950s, the French had rather an interesting approach. So, there are a lot of Russian emigres in France, who left Russia at the time of the revolution, didn't much like the communist regime. So in the 1950s in France, if Soviet dignitaries were visiting, these potential troublemakers among the emigres would be very strongly advised and invited to go and stay in an expensive country hotel at the expense of the French government while the Russian visitors were in the country... Abraham Lincoln, what, the night he was assassinated. His regular bodyguard was off doing another job and he had a standing bodyguard who had already been reprimanded, I think for falling asleep on duty and, and Lincoln let his standing bodyguard go off for a drink and so when, when John Wilkes Booth arrived at the presidential box to shoot him there was no bodyguard to be seen.'...
‘Do assassinations work?’...
‘I analyzed 266 assassinations. Now all of them worked in the sense that the victim died. But what I tried also to analyze is whether the assassin would have been happy with the outcome of the assassination. Disraeli, for examples said, after Lincoln, after Lincoln's assassination, that assassination never works. Well, for what it's worth, this is plainly a very subjective decision, isn't it? How, you know, trying to evaluate would a particular assassin have been happy with this particular outcome, but for what it's worth I, I made a judgment in about 215 cases, and I, and the judgment I made was that in about 132, the assassin would have been happy. But in 83, they would not have been happy. There was a study actually that American, an American team did in 2007. This is slightly more precise than the one that I did. They looked at 300 assassination attempts, and they looked at a sort of narrower question than I did, really. And they concluded that killing democratic leaders had very little effect. But that if you killed, if you assassinated an autocrat, that had a 13% greater chance of that country, transitioning to democracy, if the plot succeeded than if it failed...
‘The classic example of unintended consequences was perhaps the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Now, there are arguments about whether that quote caused the First World War or not, but it's certainly was an important factor in kicking off the First World War. So you couldn't have a much more momentous consequence. And although there're, although there are arguments, or some historians will argue, well, the First World War was going to happen anyway. But what we do know is that at least some of the assassins who would kill Franz Ferdinand felt that they were responsible for the First World War, and one of them said, If I'd known what was going to happen, I would have sat down on our bombs and blown myself to bits. So I don't think any I don't think any of those assassins who killed Franz Ferdinand believed this was going to lead to the most dreadful conflict the world had seen up to that point...
The first [assassination] I could find was an Egyptian pharaoh called Teti, who was assassinated about 4300 years ago… an Egyptian, ancient Egyptian historian wrote about it, about 300 BC, so 2000 years after it happened, but possibly drawing on sources that have since been lost to us. And the historian said that Teti was, quote, murdered by his bodyguard...
I think the prize for failed assassinations has to go, to those who tried to kill Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro actually was the subject of a documentary, which is called something like 683 ways to kill Castro. Because that was the number of failed assassination attempts that his security services calculated had been made. And the CIA were behind a lot of those and they, they tried all sorts of things. They tried exploding cigars, radio full of poison gas, a seashell that would explode at his favorite snorkeling spot. And all of them misfired. And on the very day, actually, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, yet another attempt on Fidel Castro's life failed, using a poisoned pen… he said, actually, if there was an Olympic event of beating assassination attempts, I would win the gold medal.’"
Some (presumed) anti-theist was claiming there was no evidence Jesus ever existed, claiming that since the earliest non-Christian sources are from 30 years after his death, they are unreliable. Presumably this master of historiography would think even less of a source 2000 years after the event. I wonder how much of history we'd have to throw out to meet this (ideologically motivated) standard

Rebels, hostages and diplomats: royal women of the crusader states - HistoryExtra - "'What sort of differentiates Outremer from Europe is the fact that because of all the military pressure on the society, across all levels, women are beginning to outlive male rulers. So women who would ordinarily be controlled by their husbands or their fathers for their whole lives are suddenly finding themselves orphaned or widowed, and in unique positions to forge new roles for themselves in the political landscape… the kings of Jerusalem who were actually born in the Holy Land, they had an average life expectancy of 26 years old in the 12th century. Whereas if you compare them to their counterparts in France, and England, the average life expectancy of a native born king is 57, and 56. So you can see that in Outremer, the male rulers just aren't living as long. And that's due to a variety of factors, whether it's them being killed on the battlefield, or, you know, horrible diseases that are less common in Europe such as leprosy… in Europe, because the dynasties and the family groups are so established, having been there for generations, even if one male relative dies, even if there isn't, you know, a brother or a son to succeed, there's generally a convenient cousin living in the next county who can pop over and assume, assume the rule of that region… At this period for the Crusader states to survive, there needs to be absolute unity. And what we begin to see is in the latter half of the 12th century, when the unity between the different Christian rulers in the region begins to deteriorate rapidly, that's when the Crusader states and Outremer begins to crumble. And so it's that they're, they're, they're living in a very delicate balance. They're almost on borrowed time in unfamiliar lands. And so maintaining a stable line of succession is vital. And it's for this reason alone, that women are able to, you know, fight their way up to the top and become Queens Regnant and Princesses Regnant and regents for their children and the like and claim real agency.'"

The Elizabethans: everything you wanted to know - HistoryExtra - "‘How did the Elizabethans remember Henry the Eighth? Was it out of sight and out of mind? Or did they reference him and remember significant days in his life?’
‘Henry had definitely made an impression, and he was remembered throughout the reigns of all of his children. And we know that Elizabeth in particular revered him and his memory. And by her, by the time that she came to reign, he was remembered as great Harry, who had saved England from the folds of the Catholic Church in Rome. So you know, this was really his his legacy and his posterity. But everything else that he'd done, you know, including executing his wives, executing numbers of his subjects. This seemed to have been either completely forgotten or overlooked…
‘I would always have assumed that she would have been a bit antagonistic towards him with the death of her mother.’
‘No, it's interesting. She always identified herself with her father publicly, at least anyway, so say, yeah, at least in public, she was she was keen to be remembered as Great Harry's daughter...
Fruit and vegetables were also available. But interestingly, the rich didn't tend to eat lots of vegetables, it was mostly considered to be a poor man's food. And fruit would often appear baked in pies and tarts, as opposed to eaten raw…
In 1567, there was even an attempt at a lottery. So ticket holders were promised a prize in the form of money and also freedom from arrest for all crimes other than murder, felonies, piracy or treason. But unfortunately, it was something that never took off. More's the pity.’"

The Byzantine Empire: Everything You Wanted To Know - HistoryExtra - "‘Basil I was a very extraordinary figure. He started as a stable boy, he was one of those who made a career by looking after horses. And he became such a famous horse tamer and groom, that he was adopted by the Emperor Michael III, and he became his friend. And then he decided that he'd rather be Emperor in place of his friend. So he had him murdered. That's a very Byzantine story…
‘When you say something is Byzantine, and it implies it’s really complex like, labyrinthine. So where does that idea come from? And does it have any basis in history?’
‘I think there are two ways of looking at this. One is that the Byzantium court in Constantinople was the only medieval court in the Western Hemisphere, apart from China. Was the only major court that had a ceremonial with costumes, with regalia, with ceremonies and processions and amazing set pieces for banquets, and all sorts of activities, which were very highly choreographed and very brilliantly set up with colors, with music, singers. Everything that we associate with a very powerful ruler. And that notion of power expressed symbolically in these very major events that took place frequently on a Christian, Christian, celebrat-, celebrations, particularly at Easter, for example. But nonetheless, that that court was a hub of intrigue, everybody wanting to get ahead, all the different courtiers competing with each other to win the favor of the Emperor or the Empress. And sometimes the children of the Emperor all competing for the same thing. And so it was a center of enormous power. And everybody wanted a slice of the pie. And quite a number of the visitors from the West expressed their jealousy, their envy, their admiration, but it was admiration through gritted teeth. They didn't really want to admire these Greek speaking emperors with all their finery. They didn't really want to admire their churches and their art. They didn't really want to think about how they used Greek and what they knew, because they quoted Homer and all this, Aristotle and Plato. They didn't really want to say, this is a great center of learning. They were jealous, and they went home. And they said to the Bishop of Rome, these people are heretics. They speak Greek. They have all sorts of customs that we would never allow. They have all these eunuchs, castrated men who organize the court. It's a, it's a dreadful place, and the women are too powerful. And so on, and so on. So they gave the Byzantines a very bad name in the West. And although we know perfectly well, that great rulers like Charlemagne admired the Byzantine art and its culture and wanted desperately to learn Greek, and understand what they, what the Byzantines were studying, many lesser rulers were just envious. And so there was a problem for the Byzantines, who are undeniably proud, stuck up people who wanted to show that they were very great achievers, and they had a great empire. And they had this extraordinary center of patronage. And they wanted to convert all non Christians to Christianity, and they took it very seriously as a Christian duty. And they spread Roman law and they spread good traditions among people who'd never been part of the Greco-Roman world. So they did a great deal for the rest of Europe and Russia and the Near East, in the same way, as the Chinese emperors did. But there was no, there was nothing else that was quite like it in the West. And I think it meant that people there, were constantly looking to this city. There were rumors, you know that there was so much gold, they didn't know what to do with the gold, they paved the streets with gold. Ridiculous rumors that were not true. But it is correct that in the, in the Byzantine Empire, the gold currency was sustained at a very reliable level. And people continue to pay their taxes in it. And the gold circulated through the Empire, and was very, very much admired in the West where they only had a silver currency. And they could not extract taxation, and arrange a similarly sophisticated type of administration.’"

Jennifer Higgie On Women's Self-Portraits | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘I was intrigued to read about how smiling in a portrait could be quite a transgressive act.’... ‘In Holland, it was really common to depict people smiling and laughing… But in France, we've got the French court, which is obviously extremely rigid. And Louis XVI had really rotten teeth. And so it wasn't done, apparently to smile around him, because he was so, so conscious of his teeth, he never smiled. And he didn't want other people showing off their beautiful teeth. And so to even depict yourself in a painting, smiling, was, was seen as insulting the king, because essentially, you were saying that you had a much better set of teeth than than he did. And so it became a sort of mark of seriousness that there was no levity in the paintings, that they were very serious that people would look out at the world in a very sort of serious way. And if if there was even the slightest smile, then you wouldn't show the teeth. So to show the teeth was considered very radical. And then we have this wonderful painter, Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun. And she steps in. She was a really remarkable painter. She was Marie Antoinette’s favorite painter. She was very beautiful. By all accounts, she had really great teeth. And she was also a sort of very wily self promoter. And so she very famously depicted herself holding her small daughter, Julie, and smiling broadly. Teeth included. And it was absolutely scandalous. It was, you know, there were, there were editorials written in the papers that she had no shame, that, you know, it was licentious. It was basically, you know, saying that she had no morals, but she knew exactly what she was doing because she knew the rules of the game very well. And of course, she became very famous, and everyone wanted to be painted by her, because her paintings were so charming. And she ended up painting herself smiling over and over again, actually’"

Dr Melanie Giles On Bog Bodies | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘I was fascinated by that point in the book you made about the medieval sort of dialogue about saintly, incorruptible bodies and how these, this would be leveried [sp?], bog bodies might, might fit in that dark [sp?]. It's a very interesting line of attack, I think.’ ‘Yes. And I think that was one of those surprises to me that that, you know, you see these glimpses and some of the poems about these marvelous bodies. Of course, they're lost to us now. But they must have been phenomenon that you were trying to understand within the ideology of the day, and the other marvelous bodies you would encounter were the bodies of saints. And your failure to decay was seen as a kind of blessing by God… But other people have very different interactions and ideas about them. Certainly by the historic period, some were appalled, they were aghast at a body that had failed to decay. And that too, was troubling. So some of the ideas around the, the walking dead or the revenant, and probably started haunting some of those other bog bodies by the 17 and 1800s'"

Cleopatra: Unpicking Myth From Reality | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘‘Cleopatra is often described as the last Pharaoh of Egypt. Do you think this is an accurate title of her?’ ‘It's not technically correct, because she was a co ruler with her son Caesarion. And he actually outlived her by a few days. So technically, no, she's not the last Pharaoh of Egypt. But to all intents and purposes, she was, because with her suicide in 30 BC, that was really the end, I would say, of the dynastic period, because that's when Egypt becomes absorbed by, well it becomes absorbed by Octavian actually, it becomes part of his personal holdings, but essentially, it's absorbed by Rome. And everything changes at that point’
To what extent was she connected to the ironic era?’...
‘It depends how you define the Pharaonic era. If you define it as having a pharaoh on the throne, then she is definitely. A lot of people would cut off at the arrival of Alexander the Great. But, when Alexander arrives in Egypt, he, to all intents and purposes, and he's not there very long, but he behaves as a traditional Pharaoh. We have images of him dressed as a traditional Pharaoh doing traditional Pharaonic things. And the Egyptian people, they've always accepted that once someone is crowned king or Pharaoh, and if they behave in the traditional way, and they look like a traditional Pharaoh, they are the Pharaoh. So this is probably a very astute move on Alexander's part to to get the people of Egypt on his side. He fulfills this need that they have that they do need a pharaoh because they need somebody who will connect them to the gods, because only the pharaoh or the king can communicate properly with the gods, and he's a sort of conduit between people and gods. So Alexander does that and other foreigners who have come to Egypt and ruled Egypt have done exactly the same thing. When Alexander dies, there's a bit of a gap but then his general Ptolemy takes over his role in Egypt. And again, he does exactly the same things... So I think Cleopatra would very much have seen herself as a pharaoh’…
‘How unusual was it for a woman to rule or even be a co ruler of Egypt at this point?’
‘Looking at the dynastic age as a whole, it is unusual for a woman to rule Egypt… There have been some females who have ruled Egypt, the most notable one I would say being Hatshepsut who ruled for over 20 years. But it's rare. But when you get to the Ptolemies, it changes slightly, and they develop the tradition of brother sister marriage, which hasn't happened for some time. In the dynastic royal family, and you get brothers and sisters ruling together. So it becomes less rare than it has been, you get these four, four women who are ruling alongside men. Cleopatra herself never actually rules alone. She always has a co ruler. She's either with one of her brothers, she has two brothers and one, one after the other. And then her son Caesarion, so she's not actually alone. But because there's always a massive age gap. I mean, her elder brother is still about 10 years younger than her. And then she she is associated with and possibly maries a younger brother, and then she's associated with Caesarion being a baby. So she is always the dominant ruler, although technically, maybe she shouldn't be. But she was always going to be because obviously, if you're co ruling with a baby, you're obviously going to be in charge of that baby. And if you're that baby's mother, you're even more likely to be in charge of things for quite some time, I would say’"

Stephen Walker On Yuri Gagarin, First Man In Space | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘This man represents everything that the Soviet Union both is and can be to a divided world come back to what I was saying at the beginning. He represents everything. So he's got to be perfect. He's got to look the part. He's got to be the part. He's got to be the poster child for communism worldwide at a time when this was where history was. History is, Khrushchev, the leader at the time said is on our side, right? Remember this is just before the Vietnam War, okay, it's right there. I mean, Titov himself subsequently went to space, as the second Soviet in space. And a few days after he came back, the Berlin Wall was put up so it, right in that center that absolutely kind of epicenter if you like, ground zero of the Cold War, that's where we are. Okay. So it's really important, absolutely critical that the guy they choose is right. So the guy has the background, he's got the face, he has this dazzling smile. Everybody goes on about Gagarin's smile. And that was all part of it. He interacted well with people. He was somebody who could be, who could look good. And Titov was also actually very handsome, fit sort of guy. But at the same time he had, he had a darkness about him that people spotted, he was not easy to get on with, he could be quite arrogant. He could be quite standoffish. And it's subsequently when he went on a tour of the United States after he became famous when he flew, that tour was a complete disaster. Because everybody gets to him. And the American press loathed him. And so, in a way, the choice of Gagarin was the right choice. Here was somebody that was destined not just to represent the Soviet Union, but actually for immortality. We're talking about him today, 60 years later. And the only reason why not more people are talking about him today is because subsequently we had the lunar landing. And so Neil Armstrong has kind of taken that mantle. But before Neil Armstrong, before the first man on the moon, there was a first man in space... The first time his family discovered that their son was actually in space. When they heard it on the radio. His mother… hears it on the radio… She thinks her son is flying fighter jet somewhere. She has no idea what's going on. And she thinks at first as does her husband, it's impossible that my, that this is not the same person, different Gagarin… Her first reaction is, how could he be so incredibly irresponsible. He's got two small children. And she gets so angry about it that she gets on a train and goes straight to Moscow to be with Gagarin's wife and her two little children… underneath each of their mattresses, the doctors have put strain gauges, in order to measure every movement each of those two men make in bed through the night. So that if they're moving too much, they're not sleeping. So by moving too much, Gagarin could have actually lost his place to be the first human being in space. He must have sensed that. He had to pretend he didn't know about the strain gauges, but he knew he had to looke like he'd slept. So he lay still, he said this later, he lay absolutely still all night and pretended he'd had a beautiful refreshing night when in fact, he hadn't slept a wink. So we know he was terrified. There was less than a 50% chance of that mission being successful. And no human being had ever sat on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile, and lit the fuse. Particularly the biggest in the world’"

Meme - "Hello, I'm a new employee and I'd like to change my username. How am I supposed to sell our software using this address?
Lorenzo Servantez
"Mr. Servantez,
Unfortunately, all email addresses are automatically generated by the system and cannot be changed. Please, believe me.
Biron Tchaikovsky

Elizabeth Marvel on Twitter - "The tiny parchment notes my 3rd grader is passing to friends at school, sealed with the wax from her baybel cheese."

Cr Ryan Murphy on Twitter - "Dear kid who graffitied some cool Ray Bans and a mustache on me. I'm not even mad."

Mike Primavera on Twitter - "My neighbor told me coyotes keep eating his outdoor cats so I asked how many cats he has and he said he just goes to the shelter and gets a new cat afterwards so I said it sounds like he’s just feeding shelter cats to coyotes and then his daughter started crying."

Terry Pratchett's Fantasy As Social Commentary - "Perhaps the most famous piece of Pratchett's social commentary is what is known as the Sam Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness, from Men at Arms... Pratchett's writing is full of such musings, explicitly confronting the kind of political and social issues which fantasy books often seem to shy away from. His books cover topics such as gender relations (Equal Rites), economic theory (Making Money), organized religion (Small Gods), and religious fundamentalism (Thud!)"
Someone who approvingly quoted the "Sam Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness", when confronted with numerous counterexamples showing how price wasn't a good indicator of quality, pivoted and claimed that Terry Pratchett was only talking about "essential technologies at a medieval level". But it's clear that Pratchett intended this as contemporary social commentary and anyway lots of people online quote this passage approvingly as contemporary social commentary

Robot vacuum cleaner becomes internet hero after giving up work at Travelodge and running away

Mislabeled TikTok convinces Florida woman to go to Gastonia - "Gastonia and Switzerland don’t have much in common. But a viral TikTok video influenced a Florida woman to go visit what she thought was a small pastoral village surrounded by snowy mountains in North Carolina.  Olivia Garcia road tripped with her family to the Carolinas from Jupiter, Florida, to check out the snow during Winter Storm Izzy last week. While driving to Angel Oak Park in Charleston, S.C., the 26-year-old found a TikTok video labeled “Gastonia, NC.” Mesmerized by the mountains in the video, she convinced her family to make a detour... What Garcia did not know is that the TikTok was actually a video of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, not Gastonia, west of Charlotte."

The Strongest Predictor of Men’s Well-Being Isn’t Family or Health - "The strongest predictor of men’s happiness and well-being is their job satisfaction, by a large margin—and the strongest predictor of job satisfaction is whether men feel they are making an impact on their companies’ success"

Nearly half of Britain’s cats are obese and need to go on a diet, vets warn - "Nearly half of Britain’s pet cats are obese with more than 50,000 suffering from diabetes, vets have warned, as they called for owners to enrol their fat felines in trials to reverse the condition... Feline obesity in Britain has risen alongside trends to keep domestic cats indoors, with almost half of owners saying they do not let their pets outside, particularly those living in cities.  A study by Nottingham Trent University found that owners were particularly concerned about protecting their pets from traffic, people and other wildlife, even though an indoor lifestyle can be bad for their physical and mental health...   Owners are being asked to sign up for a 12-month programme that would involve a special diet, and regular glucose monitoring. They will even be provided with glucose monitoring cat litter."
More like wildlife needs to be protected from cats in terms of their literal physical existence

BMT Recruits Use Mats For Exercises, Older S'poreans Envy Better Life In The Army - "food served at the numerous cookhouses has improved tremendously — soldiers can now look forward to meals like kimchi stew and turkey puff during festive occasions. Recently, a picture uploaded by the Basic Military Traning Centre (BMTC) caught the eyes of Facebook users, in particular, those who have regained their ICs.  The picture shows recruits on all fours, with their hands resting on what appears to be foam mats, which protected them from the rough concrete ground."
Singaporeans' "strong support for national service" is really just a sadistic urge to make other people suffer

This guy has eaten nearly all of his meals at Six Flags for the past seven years. It only cost him $150 a year. - "He got the idea after an internship landed him in Valencia, California, where he could see the roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain from the window in his office...
'for a one-time fee of $150, he could eat two meals a day, every day at the park for an entire year. Since his office was just a five-minute drive away, it was a no-brainer... After just seven years of daily meals at the theme park, Dylan paid down his student loans, got married and bought a house.'... the first year was kind of rough, as the park only provided items like "a burger and fries, or a pizza and breadsticks, or this pathetic sandwich and a refillable soda cup."  However, the menu has evolved over the years to where he can now get "stuff like tri-tip sandwiches and vegan options like black bean burgers and meatless meatball subs."... It's encouraging that Dylan drew the line at walking around the waterpark in his business attire. You gotta draw that line somewhere."

Disappointed father in China drinks pesticide as son still unmarried at nearly 30 years old - "Netizens suggested that perhaps the father was exasperated not just by his son's bachelorhood but lack of success in Shanghai and reliance on his parents to finance his search for a girlfriend."

Can the PAP catch its own tigers? - "Although China is a one-party state, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) checks itself by having different government departments check each other. If the PAP is to effectively check itself, it must be as ruthless as the CCP in catching its own tigers.  Beyond having different government departments check each other, the CCP fosters internal competition. This is explained by Xu Chenggang, a former professor at Hong Kong University. According to Xu, Chinese officials are assessed by their superiors on how well they performed in administering the cities or provinces under their control.  The Chinese officials who performed best would be promoted. In this way, Chinese officials competed against each other in an internal tournament. This was one of the reasons China prospered, and the CCP did so well in governing China even though China is not a democracy, explained Xu when I attended his lectures while studying for a Master’s of Economics at Hong Kong University."
Of course, they also fake a lot of data, which is why even the CCP doesn't trust Chinese statistics

A South African Couple Has Turned Elephant Dung Into Award-Winning Gin - "Liquor stores and restaurants across South Africa and now Europe are selling out of their Indlovu Gin, Zulu for “elephant.” Skeptics may pooh-pooh what comes across as a novelty item, but tasters far and wide are praising a uniquely smoky, woody, earthy flavor that comes from the unlikeliest of ingredients.   The idea came to co-founder Paula Ansley after visiting Botlierskop Game Reserve, home to a herd of majestic African elephants. There, the couple learned that only about 30 percent of the animals’ bush diet of fruits, nuts, flowers, leaves, and bark is actually digested. The animals leave behind an undigested mass of flavorful botanicals in their giant clods of poop...   A perhaps less obviously unique facet of Indlovu comes from the fact that, given the variation in elephants’ regional and seasonal diets, no two batches will taste exactly the same. As such, each bottle will be labelled with the GPS coordinates and date on which the dung was collected."

The Roman Emperors: Everything You Wanted To Know

The Roman Emperors: Everything You Wanted To Know | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra

"‘How much should the scandalous stories about Emperors like Nero and Caligula a true and how much of it is spin from their enemies?’

‘Yeah, this is another really nice question because it also goes to, a bit like I was saying before, it goes to the idea of the sorts of sources that we're left with from antiquity. And Arista is absolutely right in pointing out the fact that our historical record does have some issues with it, because it is, largely speaking for Emperor's like Caligula Nero, it comes from people who wrote quite significantly after their reigns. A generation after in some cases, but but often more than that as well, farther removed than that. We do occasionally, we do have some contemporary sources, sources from Nero's reign, for example, the poetry or other types of writings, but we don't have those histories, those narrative historical accounts, those come from later. So from the early second century, when we talk about Tacitus and Suetonius, or in fact, from the late second century and early third century, when we talk about Cassius Dido. And so those scandalous stories, some of them, this is sort of the perils of being an ancient historian, really, you have to try and make lots of judgments as Arista is saying here. 

I am sometimes a little bit skeptical about some of the more scandalous stories that are told. Particularly when you wonder, how does the historian you know, how does the later Roman historian or biographer know about these things? So there's some things that you can kind of think, okay, so that is in an imperial archive, that would be in the records of the Senate. That, you know, is traceable, also, through material evidence, we can see inscriptions that there are out there, so we can see other, other sources that are drawing on the same sorts of themes. But there are other times where you think, well, when you hear accounts of the private things that Nero supposedly did in his bedroom with the various people that he married and shouldn't, so the castrated Sporus, for example, you do wonder… 

Suetonius also talks about graffiti that's still around in his time that, you know, talks about Nero in various different ways. So we sort of look out for those sorts of clues. Is this, you know, something that is backed up by other ai-, other sources? Is there evidence that can come from an archive or a collection of records from the Senate? Or is this probably more going to be something to do with the gossip going around the city, and we're quite lucky that sometimes the historians tell us that themselves. So for example, one of the most scandalous stories about Nero is that he apparently sung and played the lyre while Rome burned, so stood watching that event, and, and composing and singing. And Tacitus says, well, you know, that was a rumor… Actually, you know, he was trying to get people into into safety, he opened up his gardens. And Tacitus says, he was helping out as well’...

‘Why do we hear more about the earlier emperors such as Nero, Caligula, etc? Whereas later emperors like Caracalla, Elagabalus, Severus Alexander, etc, had some really interesting stuff going on.’

‘Yeah. Erm, Carmen's right. They did have some great stuff going on. Elagabalus, in fact, is one of my favorite emperors. I wrote my master's dissertation on Elagabalus. But Carmen’s right in saying that we do hear in popular culture, at least much more about those early emperors. And I think part of the reason for that, perhaps, is because our sources are a little bit more reliable for that period. So we have a Roman historian called Tacitus, who is a great historian he, you know, without his text, we would be certainly much worse off for that period. And he writes about, he actually wrote about Emperors right the way up to Domitian. But we don't have much of what he said from the beginning part of Vespasian onwards… because we have Tacitus as a source, we have a bit more information to go on. I say that because he really did take into account things like the records of the Senate, daily journals that were being written from Rome to the provinces, those sorts of things, which is brilliant source material, whereas when we get to the later period, so, as Carmen said, Emperor's like Caracalla, Elagabalus, Severus Alexander, and these are all Severan emperors of the early third century. 

And these are, for this time period, we have less secure historical narrative at least. So we have a fragmentary version of the text of Cassius Dio, who was actually writing probably around the same period. So he's contemporary, which is great. He lived under these emperors, but his text is fragmentary. And then we also have another text, which is a collection of biographies known as the Historia Augusta or Augustan History, which are quite difficult to deal with because it, within the text, it claims to be written by six writers, but it's now been fairly conclusive, conclusively proven that it's only one. And there are parts of it, where it's easy to see that the writer is is lying, to be frank, and is making things up. 

And so while his or he, he or she actually, we don't know who wrote it, but while there are accounts of the, of the Emperor's like Caracalla, Elagabalus and Severus Alexander, are a bit more reliable, because we've got a few other texts that we can go on as well. And also sorry, I should say, Greek writer named Herodian to for this period, but we don't have someone quite comparable to Tacitus to be able to get our information from so if that's the source material is a bit of an issue for these later periods. But there's also I think, something about the first dynasty, the Julio Claudian, so Nero, Caligula, those other Emperor's as well Claudius and Tiberius and Augustus, because it is a really fascinating time for thinking about the system of the government of the Principate. So looking at those emperors allows you to ask questions about how these different characters were negotiating the Principate in this early, in the earliest period of its, of its existence.’...

‘How many Roman emperors were assassinated?’

‘Ah, yes, um, I don't know. The answer to this question. So the reason why I say I don't know is because if you were to take all of the rumors and insinuations about when, about the Roman emperors who were assassinated, you would come to the conclusion that virtually all of them were assassinated’"


Some (presumed) anti-theist claimed that Tacitus was an unreliable source about Jesus because his source for Jesus must have been the Gospels. Great historiography. I guess he had no access to other sources, including Roman records. 

Another claimed that since our earliest copy of Tacitus is from a Christian monastery, it must have been tampered with and is unreliable. Weird how the monks who tampered with it didn't rewrite it to be favorable to Christians

Links - 2nd July 2022 (1 - Trans Mania: Sports)

Muscle Strength, Size, and Composition Following 12 Months of Gender-affirming Treatment in Transgender Individuals - "In this single-center observational cohort study, untrained transgender women (TW, n = 11) and transgender men (TM, n = 12), approved to start gender-affirming medical interventions, underwent assessments at baseline, 4 weeks after gonadal suppression of endogenous hormones but before hormone replacement, and 4 and 12 months after treatment initiation... One year of gender-affirming treatment resulted in robust increases in muscle mass and strength in TM, but modest changes in TW. These findings add new knowledge on the magnitude of changes in muscle function, size, and composition with cross-hormone therapy, which could be relevant when evaluating the transgender eligibility rules for athletic competitions."
Of course, the "science" tells us that as long as transwomen have sufficiently low testosterone levels, they can compete with "cis" women

How does hormone transition in transgender women change body composition, muscle strength and haemoglobin? Systematic review with a focus on the implications for sport participation - "In transwomen, hormone therapy rapidly reduces Hgb to levels seen in cisgender women. In contrast, hormone therapy decreases strength, LBM and muscle area, yet values remain above that observed in cisgender women, even after 36 months. These findings suggest that strength may be well preserved in transwomen during the first 3 years of hormone therapy."

Eight of Iran's women's football team 'are men' - "Eight of Iran's women's football team are actually men awaiting sex change operations, it has been claimed.The country's football association was accused of being "unethical" for knowingly fielding eight men in its women's team... Football is highly popular among many Iranian women, despite religious rules that bar them from entering stadiums to watch matches between male teams.Earlier this month the women's national team captain was unable to fly with the squad to Malaysia because her husband refused her permission to fly."
From 2015

Iran are accused of playing a MAN as a goalkeeper for their women's national team by rivals Jordan - "Zohreh Koudaei, 32, saved two penalties during the 4-2 shoot-out victory over Jordan in Uzbekistan on September 25, meaning the Iranian women's team qualified for its first ever Women's Asia Cup.  The President of Jordan's FA, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, tweeted a letter 'requesting a gender verification check' on Koudaei from the Asian Football Federation (AFC)... The Jordan Football Association's letter, dated November 5, cited doubts over the 'eligibility of a participating player'.   It also alleged that the Iranian women's team 'has a history with gender and doping issues', and called for 'due process' to be followed.  Irandoost said the accusation was being used to cover up for Jordan's loss."
Lucky they're Muslims - or it'd be transphobia and/or misogyny

Feminists Declare Victory After Obliterating Women's Sports, Relabeling Mothers 'Birthing Persons', Getting Women Drafted | The Babylon Bee

BoysVsWomen.com - "Male High School Athletes vs Female Olympians  If boys win against the fastest women, is it fair for males to compete in female-only athletic events?"

Meme - "You support Lia Thomas because you're pro Trans rights
I support Lia Thomas because I am anti women's sports
We are not the same"

Meme - Reka @RekaGyorgy: "My finals spot was stolen by Lia Thomas, who is a biological male. Until we all refuse to compete nothing will change. Thanks for all the support retweets and follows I wont stop fighting."
Reka @RekaGyorgy_: "Account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules. Learn more"

USA Swimming Official Quits In Protest Of Lia Thomas: ‘Everything Fair About Swimming Is Being Destroyed’ - "Cynthia Millen “has officiated at USA Swimming events for 30 years, but she hung up her whistle last week in protest over Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, and she hopes others will follow her lead.”"

Penn Trans Swimmer's Teammate Speaks Out As Lia Thomas Smashes More Records - "friction has been building within the team, according to a Penn female swimmer who said she feared for her ability to find employment after graduating from college for sharing her honest opinion about a transgender teammate... "When the whole team is together, we have to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, go Lia, that’s great, you’re amazing.’ It’s very fake”...   “When I have kids, I kinda hope they’re all boys because if I have any girls that want to play sports in college, good luck. [Their opponents] are all going to be biological men saying that they’re women,” Thomas’ teammate told OutKick. “Right now we have one, but what if we had three on the team? There’d be three less girls competing.”"

Second Female Penn Swimmer Steps Forward, Describes Teammates In Tears - "Even after a Wednesday team meeting where a source says Penn administration “strongly advised” its swimmers to avoid talking to the media about the situation surrounding transgender Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, a second female Penn swimmer has stepped forward to speak out... Penn swimmers are “angry” over the lack of fairness in the sport as Lia Thomas destroys the record books and brings fellow teammates to tears...   “Usually everyone claps, everyone is yelling and cheering when someone wins a race. Lia touched the wall and it was just silent in there”... after the 200 freestyle, Thomas could be overheard bragging.  “That was so easy, I was cruising,” Lia Thomas allegedly said... As for the biological women, they’re left to battle it out for second place in the freestyle events and receive lectures from school administrators who want them to be good foot soldiers so the school isn’t attacked by an angry transgender community for speaking out against Thomas."

Idaho athlete who lost five times to transgender competitors tells Pennsylvania swimmers to speak up - "Madison Kenyon filed a motion in Idaho State Court last year along with teammate Mary Kate Marshall to intervene in a legal challenge to the state's Fairness in Women's Sports Act, the first legislation in the nation to bar transgender competitors assigned male at birth from competing in women's sports.   Kenyon described the experience of losing to 'biological males' on the field as 'extremely deflating'"

Lia Thomas May Be Out Of NCAA Championships After New USA Swimming Rule - "University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, formerly known as Will Thomas, may be barred from competing in the NCAA championships in Atlanta in March after USA Swimming updated its rules.  On Tuesday, USA Swimming announced that competitors in women’s events must have recorded low levels of testosterone for 36 months; the previous rule required only one year... Jenner added that Thomas “is also not good for women’s sports. It’s unfortunate that this is happening. I don’t know why she’s doing it. She knows when she’s swimming she’s beating the competition by two laps. She was born as a biological boy. She was raised as a biological boy. Her cardiovascular system is bigger. Her respiratory system is bigger. Her hands are bigger. She can swim faster. That’s a known. All of this is woke world that we’re living in right now is not working. I feel sorry for the other athletes that are out there, especially at Penn or anyone she’s competing against, because in the woke world you have to say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great.’ No it’s not.” In early December, Thomas utterly crushed the women competing with Thomas at the University of Akron’s Zippy Invitational, winning the 1650 free by a gargantuan 38 seconds ahead of the young woman finishing second, winning the 500 free by a whopping twelve seconds ahead of the woman finishing second, and winning the 200 free by a still-huge seven seconds, setting new Penn records along with meet and pool records."

Women's Swimming Champion Calls for End to Trans Swimmers in Women's Sports - "Jeri Shanteau, an 11-time NCAA All-American swimming champion, is stepping up to call for an end to biological men competing as women in college swimming as U Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas continues a controversial swimming career."

Lia Thomas breaks record at Ivy League Women's Championships - "Trans swimmers Iszac Henig and Lia Thomas have won races and broken records at the Ivy League Women’s Championships."

Meme - "O wonder why there are no women transitioning to men and trying to compete in men's sports."


Meme - "Lia Thomas, left, is seen on the podium on Thursday night as second placed Emma Weyant celebrates with Erica Sullivan (third) and Brooke Forde (fourth)"

Scott Morrison backs bill for transgender exclusions in sport - "Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thrown his support behind a bill that would make it easier for sporting organisations to exclude transgender women from competing in female sports.  Liberal Senator Claire Chandler introduced her “save women’s sports” bill to Parliament earlier this month during a heated debate about whether religious schools should retain the right to discriminate against transgender students on the basis of their faith. Senator Chandler said the purpose of the bill was to clarify that offering sports for athletes born biologically female was legal under the Sex Discrimination Act."


Transgender Women in the Female Category of Sport: Perspectives on Testosterone Suppression and Performance Advantage - "We report that the performance gap between males and females becomes significant at puberty and often amounts to 10–50% depending on sport. The performance gap is more pronounced in sporting activities relying on muscle mass and explosive strength, particularly in the upper body. Longitudinal studies examining the effects of testosterone suppression on muscle mass and strength in transgender women consistently show very modest changes, where the loss of lean body mass, muscle area and strength typically amounts to approximately 5% after 12 months of treatment. Thus, the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed. Sports organizations should consider this evidence when reassessing current policies regarding participation of transgender women in the female category of sport."

How does hormone transition in transgender women change body composition, muscle strength and haemoglobin? Systematic review with a focus on the implications for sport participation - "In transwomen, hormone therapy rapidly reduces Hgb to levels seen in cisgender women. In contrast, hormone therapy decreases strength, LBM and muscle area, yet values remain above that observed in cisgender women, even after 36 months. These findings suggest that strength may be well preserved in transwomen during the first 3 years of hormone therapy"

Sport must face up to reality - fairness and inclusion cannot co-exist with trans participation - "Studies tracking trans women who reduce testosterone levels for up to 36 months consistently show only slight reductions in variables including muscle mass, volume, and strength. Relative to the known typical differences between males and females, these reductions are small. For example, where muscle strength is found to be 30 to 40 per cent greater in males than in females (both trained and untrained), reductions of between 0 per cent and 10 per cent have been found with the suppression of testosterone. Some biology is fully reversed – hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in our bodies, reaches female levels within months of testosterone suppression – but other systems are unaffected. Think of body structure – height, limb lengths, hand size, pelvic width, and other skeletal differences are never reversed, yet all have performance implications for many sports...  if the athletic base of that person is sufficient for the athlete to have been relatively highly ranked in men’s sport, residual advantages, which improve ranking in women’s sport, will be enough to catapult a relatively good - but not great - male athlete to the very top level of women’s sport."

Photographer 'surprised and disappointed' at Today's edited Lia Thomas photos - "Photographer and University of Pennsylvania graduate Erica Denhoff was shocked to see her work significantly altered on the Today show last week, adding that at first, she thought "something was honestly wrong with the video." She said she was "disappointed" by the show's choice and that "I pride myself on providing authentic images as a photojournalist."  After watching the segment multiple times, she came to the conclusion that the apparent softening of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas's features in her pictures was "intentional," telling the Washington Examiner, "It's really important as photojournalists that we transmit authentic photos that have not been altered."

Thomas Barnidge's answer to Why do people in California eat at Chipotle when they have better Mexican food locally? - Quora - "I asked an “old country” Latina why do I see Mexicans eating at DelTaco, Chipotle, etc. instead of “genuine “ Mexican restaurants. She replied we don’t consider those places as Mexican restaurants. We consider them American restaurants and sometimes we like to eat American food. if it tastes good, why not eat it?"

Team GB stars face losing Olympics place as trans cyclist begins racing in female events - "Emily Bridges, 21, will compete in the women's cycling category for the first time in 2022."

Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges barred from racing at British National Omnium Championships - "Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges has been declared ineligible to race in the women’s event at the British National Omnium Championships this weekend... The initial decision to allow Bridges to race caused major controversy, with threats of a boycott from other female riders if she was allowed to compete... “It would not have been fair to ask Laura Kenny and the other women cyclists that Bridges would have come up against to have to race a rival with the advantages of a biological man,” said former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies.  “No amount of testosterone reduction can mitigate that, but we’re being told to turn a blind eye to science and biology, to keep quiet and suck it up.”"

Sex-based differences in physiology: what should we teach in the medical curriculum? - "With the recent recognition of important sex-based differences in disease, there is now a burgeoning literature addressing sex-based differences in normal physiological function and effects of sex steroid hormones on the function of multiple organ systems. The goal of the Refresher Course symposium was to summarize our current state of knowledge of sex-based differences in three systems for which there are prominent differences between men and women: cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and immune systems"
From 2007. Clearly hormones are the only things that matter

All-trans women soccer team to play on Trans Day of Visibility - "On Transgender Day of Visibility — March 31 — an interesting fixture in the world of soccer will take place. A competitive league side from Dulwich Hamlet FC will meet in a friendly against a squad made up entirely of transgender women, perhaps the first in the history of the game, representing TRUK United FC."
DHFCTV LIVE | Dulwich Hamlet W v TRUK United FC - YouTube
Surprisingly, the trans team lost 4-0

The Trans Movement Is Not About Rights Anymore - "A recent internal report by the Transgender Law Center confirms the bleeding obvious: “Right now, our opposition wins the debate on trans youth in sports against any and all arguments we have tried for our side … Our base and persuadables want to support transgender student-athletes, but are extremely susceptible to our opposition’s argument that excluding trans youth is necessary to protect the fairness of women’s sports.” Well, yes. This is the problem. And why won’t you admit it — instead of insisting that there is no issue of fairness for biological women here at all?... the TLC report recommends creating “villains” as one of the more effective strategies. Here’s a good example published in the NYT: “It’s not even, really, about women’s rights or biology. It’s about how terrifying some Americans find any shift toward inclusivity and tolerance.” That may be effective propaganda, but it simply isn’t true. And it’s sickening to claim that people are full of fear and hate simply because they have a different view on a complex subject. Among those seeking a compromise is the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group, led in part by Martina Navratilova, who once had a pioneering trans coach, Renée Richards, who acknowledged she had an unfair advantage over cis women, and is now a member of the working group. “Options [for trans athletes] could include separate heats, additional events or divisions and/or the handicapping of results,” according to a report on the group’s work. Another of its leaders, Donna Lopiano, just penned a piece on how to update the NCAA’s rules to both maintain fairness in competition and protect trans participation. “Sport’s transgender debate needs compromise not conflict,” begins an op-ed by another member of the group, Joanna Harper, a trans athlete herself. Are all of these women “villains”?"
TRAs want trans women to be treated 100% the same as cis women, so there is no possibility of compromise with them

By conflating gender and sex we undermine sporting competition - "What is fairness? In sport, everything. From childhood, we come to see the head start in the playground race, the shove in the goalmouth, a rogue thumb on the egg (and spoon) as unjust, and quickly, loudly, “Oi!” object.  The same sense of probity works its way up into professional sport... From puberty, the sexes compete separately in most sports most of the time. These are long accepted norms. Or were... By conflating gender and sex, I would argue we fudge the very reason we have sex categories in sport: the male performance advantage. Without a separate category for females, there would be no women in Olympic finals. Even in the 100m, one of the events with the smallest performance gap, approximately 10,000 men worldwide have personal bests faster than the current Olympic female champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.70sec). And it’s not just track and field. While the smallest attainment gap between the sexes comes in running, rowing and swimming events (11-13%), this moves up to 16%-22% in track cycling, and between 29% and 34% when it comes to bowling cricket balls and weightlifting. The difference in punch power between men and women is a whopping 162%. Not, then, to be sniffed at. But the International Olympic Committee tweaked its guidelines in 2015 to allow athletes such as Hubbard to compete in the women’s category, provided their total testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months. Transgender men face no restrictions in the male category for obvious reasons. Increasingly, however, research is showing that these testosterone guidelines do not guarantee the “fair competition” the IOC was hoping for. Ross Tucker, a sports scientist and expert on testosterone advantage in sport, succinctly sums it up: “Lowering of testosterone is almost completely ineffective in taking away the biological differences between males and females.” There is just no proof that reducing testosterone takes away the advantage of muscle mass, strength, lean body mass, muscle size or bone density. Despite this new evidence from Drs Emma Hilton and Tommy Lundberg, the IOC has put off any further decisions making until after Tokyo and left it up to individual sports federations to decide their own transgender policies. Some have been bold, others have written their policies alongside trans lobby groups without consulting women’s organisations or sports scientists. Those questioning the narrative are accused of transphobia – as Martina Navratilova and Nicola Adams have discovered. The most common argument used in favour of inclusion is that sport is all about natural advantage and that being a trans woman is just another factor to add to the list alongside Michael Phelps’s size 14 feet and double-jointed ankles. The problem with this argument is that we don’t compete according to foot-size, but we do protect the integrity of women’s sport because the advantage gained from male puberty is so comprehensive in terms of speed, power, strength and so much else. Phelps’s feet gave him an advantage as a swimmer; male puberty gave him a much bigger advantage across the board. At the Beijing Olympics, he won the 200m freestyle in 1.42.96, breaking the world record. Federica Pellegrini broke the women’s world record at the same distance, finishing in 1.54.82 – a time that wouldn’t have got her into the men’s semi-finals. It wasn’t internalised misogyny slowing her down. Serena Williams told David Letterman that were she to play Andy Murray, “I would lose, 6-0, 6-0, in … maybe 10 minutes”... Some claim that this debate is irrelevant as trans women aren’t winning everything, which is true. The simple explanation is that the athletes who have transitioned haven’t generally been good enough... The American cyclist Veronica Ivy (previously known as Rachel McKinnon) says hang the heartache, trans women are women and should simply be able to self-identify themselves into the women’s category at every level. This argument has got some traction. In which case, why bother having sex categories for sport at all? Just put everyone in together and watch biological males win the lot."

Gender games: The complex issue of sport categories and why they matter - "the best women runners in history are outperformed every year by hundreds of boys younger than 18, and by many thousands of adult men.  The gap between the respective champions in most track and field disciplines is 10% to 12%, and thousands of biological males fit into that space. As a result, if women’s sport did not exist as a category, women would vanish entirely from elite track and field.  Consider next that a 10% to 12% difference is actually relatively small. In weightlifting, the difference is 30% to 40%. For tasks like serving in tennis, it is 20% and for punching power, the male advantage has been measured at 160%.  These differences are enormous and within a relevant comparison group (like Olympic athletes, or high school athletes competing for scholarships), they are insurmountable."

NCAA, leaders are deliberately turning a blind eye to injustices in women's sports - "They used to call me "the fastest girl in Connecticut." But I couldn’t outrun an injustice.  For four years, I competed as a high school runner and made it to the state championships every one of those years. But in my junior year, I lost four of the state titles I earned to males who identified as females....
Chelsea Mitchell is a college sophomore and track athlete. She is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom...
Female athletes like me make a ton of sacrifices to compete—working tirelessly to shave fractions of seconds off our personal times and giving up what many would consider the "normal" teenage life by watching what we eat, skipping parties for practice, going to bed early to get up early and practice yet again. It becomes almost like a career. And we do all this while working hard to earn scholarship opportunities with preferred colleges and universities. It’s all worth it to us because we know we stand a chance at victory against our fellow female athletes—but not against those who aren’t biologically female. It’s demoralizing to see all that effort and sacrifice as futile, where we are punished for a biological reality we can’t do anything about. And that’s what’s been happening on high school and college campuses across America for the last several years. With the permission of coaches and administrators, as well as those in leadership at the National Collegiate Athletic Association, some male athletes have been pushing their way onto women’s sports teams and playing fields. With their physical advantages, they’ve been taking the positions, the wins, and the opportunities so many women and girls have worked so hard—often their entire life—to obtain. When women protest this—objecting to seeing the rewards for all our hard work go to competitors with a biological edge we can’t hope to overcome—we’re accused of hatred and bigotry. But the issue is fairness. And the people who should be protecting us and defending our rights are letting us down, time after time... Everyone in leadership seems to want someone else to take responsibility. Many of them are understandably scared that a minority of loud activists are going to take aim at their sport, their school, or them personally. So, they’re throwing female athletes under the bus, hoping we will eventually be quiet and all the commotion will eventually go away.  If it does, women’s sports will become a thing of the past. There’s no way athletic administrators in every sport can’t see this. If biological males move into women’s competition, they will dominate whatever contests they enter. Eventually, nearly all the titles, all the scholarships, and all the opportunities to compete, earn scholarships and endorsements, and one day maybe even coach will go to the ones with the anatomical edge.  That’s just biological reality, and the leaders of sport are deliberately turning a blind eye to it. Under Title IX, they have a legal obligation to protect female athletes from this unfairness, but—just like the Connecticut Association of Schools, which I and other girls sued through our attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom—they’re not doing it. And that must mean that the dreams of women, the opportunities for women, the rights of women just don’t matter. On the playing field, or under the law. Which means there’s a lot more at stake here than a footrace. Or a swimming event. Or an Olympic title. This is about what we think of women in America. This is about what’s safe and fair.  And that’s a responsibility our athletic administrators can’t outrun."

Meme - "Dad, why are there so many strong female athletes lately?"
Aragorn: "They were once men."

Meme - Mx. D. Anderson supports the MPLS tea...: "so many of these men so convinced that being AMAB gives trans women a "natural advantage" in sports are the same men who are convinced they could beat Serena Williams in tennis."
No borscht for you, Comrade: "In 1998 Venus and Serena Williams claimed that they could beat any male player ranked outside the world's top 200. Karsten Braasch, ranked 203rd, accepted their challenge. He defeated Serena 6-1. Then he defeated Venus 6-2."

Fina bars transgender swimmers from women's elite events if they went through male puberty - "Fina will also aim to establish an 'open' category at competitions for swimmers whose gender identity is different than their birth sex. The new policy, which was passed with 71% of the vote from 152 Fina members, was described as "only a first step towards full inclusion" for transgender athletes. The 34-page policy document says that male-to-female transgender athletes could compete in the women's category - but only "provided they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 [which marks the start of physical development], or before age 12, whichever is later". The decision was made during an extraordinary general congress at the ongoing World Championships in Budapest.  It means that transgender American college swimmer Lia Thomas, who has expressed a desire to compete for a place at the Olympics, would be blocked from participating in the female category at the Games. However, the policy does not apply to national federations or the US college championships, the NCAAs, at which Thomas recently won in the 500-yard freestyle. Instead, each national federation - including British Swimming - will need to decide if it is to implement the Fina policy... Fina members heard a report from a transgender task force made up of leading figures from the world of medicine, law and sport.  "Fina's approach in drafting this policy was comprehensive, science-based and inclusive, and, importantly, Fina's approach emphasised competitive fairness," said Brent Nowicki, the governing body's executive director... Former Great Britain swimmer Sharron Davies, who has argued against transgender participation in women's elite swimming, told BBC Sport she was "really proud of Fina".  "Four years ago, along with 60 other Olympic medallists, I wrote to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and said 'Please just do the science first' and no governing body has done the science until now"... Asked whether Fina's policy left trans athletes "in limbo" while they waited for an open category to be created, Davies praised Fina for having conversations around trans inclusion that should have "happened five years ago".  "Sport by definition is exclusionary - we don't have 15-year-old boys racing in the under-12s, we don't have heavyweight boxers in with the bantamweights, the whole reason we have lots of different classes in the Paralympics is so that we can create fair opportunities for everybody"... "So that is the whole point of having classifications in sports and the only people who were going to be losing out were females - they were losing their right to fair sport."... 'Athlete Ally' - an LGBT advocacy group which organised a letter of support for Thomas in February, called the new policy "discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 IOC principles". Australia's four-time Olympic champion Cate Campbell had addressed Fina before the decision was made, asking the governing body to "uphold the cornerstone of fairness".  However, fellow Australian swimmer Maddie Groves has criticised Campbell's comments, asking if she was "OK with ostracising an already marginalised group". "There are already gender diverse people in swimming and I'm guessing they're not feeling very accepted right now," Groves said on Twitter  .  "Shame on everyone that supported this discriminatory and unscientific decision."... Fina's decision follows a move on Thursday by the UCI, cycling's governing body, to double the period of time before a rider transitioning from male to female can compete in women's races.  The issue in swimming has been catapulted into the spotlight by the experiences of American Thomas.  In March, Thomas became the first known transgender swimmer to win the highest US national college title with victory in the women's 500-yard freestyle... More than 300 college, Team USA and Olympic swimmers signed an open letter in support of Thomas and all transgender and non-binary swimmers, but other athletes and organisations have raised concerns about trans inclusion.  Some of Thomas' team-mates and their parents wrote anonymous letters supporting her right to transition, but added it was unfair for her to compete as a woman."
"Science" is anything that helps trans people
Liberals claim that people against trans athletes in women's sports didn't care about women's sports before trans athletes came along, which proves they don't care about women's sports. But that's like saying the police ignore citizens unless they are preyed on by criminals, so that proves they don't care about citizens: if there's no problem in a certain area, it's not hypocritical to not talk about it

Now International Rugby Bans the Trans—Is More Sanity on the Way? - "The IRL indirectly admitted that letting men play rough contact sports with women is not only unfair but also dangerous... the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, opened the door for more non-pro leagues to follow suit. “I’ve always made it clear — if we ever get pushed into a corner to that point where we’re making a judgment about fairness or inclusion, I will always fall down on the side of fairness,” averred Coe. In an encouraging sign for fans of sanity and fair play, he added, “We have always believed, and repeated constantly, that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this.”... Throughout the sports world’s current obsession with trans madness, two truths have held steady: No “transgender” men have crushed the competition in men’s sports, and no “transgender” men have qualified to play on a professional team. And isn’t it interesting that there aren’t any “transgender” women on pro women’s teams? I’d love to see that battle, once actual business competition is involved."

More than half of Britons want trans women BANNED from all-female sports, poll suggests - "Transgender women should not be allowed to compete in female-only sports, 57 per cent of respondents to a new poll have said... Most raised the idea of having a separate or mixed category for trans athletes to take part in... British Olympian Sharron Davies said Bridges was 'not a woman', called her inclusion in women's sports 'unfair' and claimed that she would herself have be banned from swimming, had she had 'as much testosterone in her system as Emily Bridges' when she competed in the 1970s and 80s.  Between 1975 and 1985, Davies missed out on a string of medals while competing against East German drug cheats.   She believes there are parallels between the state-sponsored doping campaigns of the Cold War and transgender athletes taking hormone-suppression medication in a quest to win medals in women's categories... 'If we get to the point where we can't talk facts because it might hurt someone's feeling where the hell is this going to lead us? How can we measure feelings? Why is one persons feelings more important than another persons feelings? See… feelings cannot be a measurement of truth.' In March Labour leader Keir Starmer refused to say if a woman can have a penis during a debate about trans rights."

Sport’s trans issue is here to stay. But at last, the debate is starting to change - "Recent studies, though, suggest that significant strength and muscular advantages remain even after hormone therapy. Thomas’s performances appear to back that up. Before transitioning, she was not a serious challenge to male records but is now swimming only 2.6% slower than the current 200‑yard female record. It means, as the developmental biologist Dr Emma Hilton points out, Thomas has gained a significant ranking advantage from switching category... Some will argue that sport is never truly fair, that Michael Phelps’s big wingspan gave him genetic advantages too. But male puberty provides such a categorical advantage – in terms of muscle mass, strength, lean body mass and bone density – that it far exceeds the advantage of a few centimetres in arm length... At the Sport Resolutions dispute resolution service last week several experts were able to discuss openly and courteously what sports should do next. It made for fascinating listening. For David Grevemberg, of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, inclusion mattered most. And if sport had to radically change, then it should. “Are there ways, that are not infringing on human rights, to create a level playing field?” he asked. “Are there other conditions that we can create – for example staggered starts in the 100m? Or delayed starts?”"
Sport is never fair, so there's nothing wrong with doping. Because no one would ever dope to get an advantage, just as no one would ever "transition" to get an advantage.

The shameful silencing of sportswomen - "Two elite British female runners, one of whom is an Olympian, have told the BBC that transwomen should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports... What is surprising, and not a little depressing, is the fact that these two athletes felt they could only state the bleedin’ obvious anonymously. Saying that only women should be allowed to compete in the women’s 100 metres has apparently become too risky for athletes to say out loud. As the two athletes told the BBC, they can’t risk the social-media ‘backlash’ that would surely follow, and the career-ending effect it might have on sponsorship deals. And so they refuse to put their name to an opinion with which the vast majority of the public would agree – namely, that allowing biological males to compete against biological females in women’s competitions is unfair, not to mention palpably absurd. Of course, retired athletes, from US tennis great Billie Jean King to British swimming star Sharron Davies, have bravely spoken out about the destructive impact the trans-inclusion agenda has had on women’s sport. But they have been liberated to a degree by retirement and sporting achievement. They may still be subject to irate op-eds from achingly right-on commentators. And they will certainly get a lot of stick on social-media from those with #BeKind emblazoned on their pitchforks. But they have nothing, sporting-wise, to lose at this point. They’ve already got their trophies and their medals, and no one can take those away from them... Surely, the vast majority of female athletes are opposed to having to compete against biological males. Earlier this year, an anonymous survey found that 92 per cent of elite women’s cyclists are opposed to competing against transgender cyclists. One suspects such unanimity of feeling prevails across women’s sport."

Sex Differences, Gender, and Competitive Sport - "The table below demonstrates the world records achieved in male and female events and the percent differences between them. These results alone should give a solid rationale for why there should be separate sex categories in sport, to allow for fair competition. Confirming this is the fact that within male competition, the world’s best performances by different individuals often fall within 1 percent of each other, sometimes even within 0.1 percent. The same is true of female competition. These results are also mirrored across other sports, such as within cycling and swimming. This clearly demonstrates that there is not a continuum of performance results between the biological sexes, rather the results are bimodal, and the average female and the average male differ substantially. To be clear, this is not a moral argument, or an attempt to justify any one individual being treated differently to another, it is simply a review of the empirical evidence and a rationale for why the different categories exist. It could be argued that even within a given sex there are large differences between individuals, and you may well see substantial differences between ages or races. While this may be true, how far down the intersectionalist mindset do you have to go until you are happy that competition can take place between equal individuals? It is simply not possible, since by definition any single person is an individual, with their own unique characteristics and differences. Even within separate age brackets and races, there are large differences between individuals in terms of physical characteristics and prerequisites to performance. Trying to determine what these categories are and who qualifies for what is a nightmare not worth considering. In this respect, sport proves to be a devastating blow to intersectionalism and its limitations. In fairness to the discussion on differences however, the actual observed variance between races is far smaller than that observed between male and female categories and may only be realized at the very pinnacle of elite sport, such as the 100m final where 100 percent of the champions in the past 30 years have been from West African heritage. However, the top results observed from other races fall within a much narrower bracket around these top results than the results from the opposite sex. There have been many arguments over the years that the differences observed between men and women in sports performance are due to socialization and environment. This blank-slate ideology of human beings appears somewhat naïve to the facts of sexual dimorphism present in all mammals. Despite our common tendencies towards egocentrism, surely, we don’t believe that we are the only species that does not differ through sex?... While there will always be the ignorant arguments that some women are taller than men, or some women are stronger than men, of course what we are talking about is on average. Or, more importantly with regards to sporting competition, the very best men compared to the very best women... Many studies across large samples form different cultures have found men to have 30–40 percent more muscle mass than females... Men and women also vary in the size and structure of the skeleton... men can jump around 25 percent higher than women, can punch around 30 percent harder, accelerate around 20 percent faster, and throw around 25 percent further. And, it is also not just with regards to strength and power that we see sex differences. Men have larger lung capacity, greater cardiac output, and show greater resistance to injury... even before puberty, there are observed differences in many characteristics including body size and shape, and also in levels of aggression. Indeed, it is been highlighted that over 3000 genes contribute just towards muscle differences between men and women... There has perhaps been an assumption that because gender identity may be accepted as somewhat fluid, then biological sex must also be fluid. But someone’s own perceived gender identity is not the same as biological sex. This is an example of someone’s subjective feelings versus objective reality. And while a person is free to believe whatever they choose, their subjective feelings can never overrule empirical evidence. It certainly may be apparent that many of the proponents of inclusion and participation are also the same people who dislike the idea of competition in general. Thus, for them the idea of not being allowed to participate in which every category a person wants is terrible. But this is not what most people think about sport and certainly not at the elite level... This is not just about fairness in competition and the potential earnings at stake. While there are many females who make a living in professional sport, there is a perhaps an even larger danger. This could be apparent in boxing and combat sports, where the higher levels of strength and power could lead to devastating consequences... perhaps there is no need for separate sex categories at all? Well, I think it is clear what that would do to most of the women currently competing in professional sports. While this would also solve the problems of equal pay in sport, it would likely result in far fewer women actually being able to compete at the professional level. So, if we decide not to abandon the sex categories, do we then add a third category of competition? This sounds like an okay solution, but there is certainly the worry here that this in itself would be classed as exclusion. Another option would be to make the men’s category an “open” category, where men and women (including trans) can choose to compete if they wish"

Why So Many Progressives Are Arguing That Biological Sex Doesn't Exist - by Jesse Singal - "Most politicized science denialism follows the same pattern. Scientists claim X, X is viewed as threatening to a moral or political or religious belief held by some group, and so members of that group develop reasons as to how it can’t possibly be true. It’s a neat little pattern that shows up everywhere... the right certainly doesn’t have any monopoly on science denialism. Lately there’s been a spate of it published and disseminated by progressive media outlets and organizations. It’s part of an effort to debunk the concept of biological sex, or at least complicate it so much that it is no longer seen as a reasonably accurate model for carving up the human world into biological males and females. Sometimes this is framed as debunking the concept of “biological sex” itself, other times as dismantling the “sex binary.”... at the end of the day, whether you talk about a binary or a bimodal distribution or whatever else, about 99% of people’s bodies can be straightforwardly and accurately categorized as ‘male’ or ‘female.’... A bunch of journalists and activists have lately sought to muddle all this, sometimes by misstating the science, sometimes by confusingly using different terms and definitions at different times (including in the same sentence or paragraph), and sometimes by simply taking unreasonable approaches to the question of at what level of correlation it is acceptable to posit that two things are so connected they can be seen as roughly analogous... the question of whether biological males have an athletic advantage over biological females is temporarily replaced, by a professor who shows up to defend the sex-skeptical position, with a different question about a “level playing field,” as though anyone involved in this debate is arguing that sports is a “level playing field” in some zoomed-out sense, rather than that there are reasons to separate male- and female-bodied athletes, and then let individual differences, unfair as some of those may be, determine who wins.  That same professor then opines that “It’s very hard to single out sex as the only” factor that gives someone an athletic advantage. It’s one of those statements that is kinda, sorta true in a too-literal sense, but also false in the broader, more useful sense that would make it relevant to this controversy. Let’s say I told you I was picking five names at random from a full high school roster, and that I would let you choose five other names non-randomly, but knowing nothing else about the kids in question. If your kids beat my kids in an athletic competition, you live. If not, you die. (Sorry, this got dark!) A thousand times out of a thousand, you will pick male names, and assuming the sex distribution in the class is 50-50ish, this will greatly improve your odds of prevailing given that my names were picked at random and will likely include two or three females as a result. So in many practical senses it does, in fact, make sense to “single out sex,” maybe not as the only characteristic that grants athletic advantages, but as the biggest and most broadly useful one in many contexts. If not, why do we have women’s sports teams at all? None of these pieces ever answers that question... If most people are “unaware of the fact” that “hormone suppression… negates any competitive advantage due to testosterone,” that’s a good thing, because that isn’t a fact. The Nation is spreading false information here. Some of the benefits of going through male puberty do linger even after someone no longer has the same amount of testosterone flowing through their blood, as this excerpt from a chapter in the book Transgender Athletes in Competitive Sports shows:
Male average higher performance is mostly due to the influence of testosterone during development, which causes males to develop larger muscles and a different osteology, such as larger jaws, brow ridges, and tuberosities on bones where muscles attach (Sheridan 2000). Genetic males also have relatively narrower hips, as estrogen at puberty causes a relative widening of the hips in females. The absence of testosterone in post-pubertal MtF transsexuals, while reducing muscle mass, does not reverse the developmental effects of high levels of testosterone and low level of estrogen on the skeleton. Therefore, the osteological advantages that males typically acquire by puberty are retained even after transsexual transition (Reeser 2005). This allows MtF transsexuals to retain an average advantage over biological females in the generation of power in certain specific actions.
I emailed LaVoi to ask her about her claim. “My understanding is that after a year on hormone suppression the advantages of testosterone are mitigated,” she said. “You can watch these Distinguished Lecture on the topic, this is where I learned of it myself.” That was it — she didn’t provide any physiological or anatomical explanation of how all those advantages are mitigated [but provided a 95 minute video]... It is fairly remarkable to see the [ACLU] claim that there is “ample evidence that girls can compete and win against boys” come immediate prior to a mention of Title IX, which exists in part because girls cannot compete and win against boys and therefore, to have the opportunity to play sports competitively, require their own leagues... I emailed the ACLU’s press office twice to ask if they had an actual source for that claim, but I never heard back... Slate published an article arguing that there’s no such thing as a male or a female body... If a baby has a penis, 99% of the time he will grow up to have a body that is, by all the definitions of ‘male,’ male. I suppose one could inflict on newborn infants more invasive testing to make super sure they aren’t intersex, but what would be the point of this? The claim that the “components of sex are far more complex than just external genitalia” is true, but it’s completely compatible with the practice of noting a baby’s sex based only on his or her external genitalia, because the presence of a penis indicates, almost always, that those other components are there, too, or will be after puberty. In what other area of science or life do we not accept 99% as an acceptable rate of correlation at which to conclude that “If X, then Y” is a reasonable approximation for everyday life?...
I just can’t imagine a clearer example of progressive science denialism that won’t help anyone in the long run than the claim that people get to define whether, based on their own identity, they are biologically male or female. Imagine if someone really believed this: It could cause them to seek out the wrong health services, to not understand what biological, well, stuff, they can expect at different stages in their lifespan, and on and on. This also undermines the case for expanding access to hormones and surgery itself. If there aren’t biological sexes, why do trans people need either? What are some of them attempting to get to match up with their gender identity, as much as possible, if not their biological sex? The traditional argument for trans rights and healthcare, that some people just can’t live with their biological sex and will endure great harm if they aren’t allowed to alter it, is perfectly coherent, and is part of the reason there’s such a strong, clear moral imperative to treat trans people with dignity and afford them access to care. Important foundational arguments for not just women’s sports but for trans rights, too, go out the window if you start pretending there’s no such thing as biological sex... This idea, that it’s bigoted to even acknowledge that there could be any competing rights claims here, is really unfortunate"
Virtue signalling only works if the signal is ridiculous

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