Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stop singing about Tommy Robinson, Luton Town CEO tells fans

Luton Town fans have been told to stop singing “hugely disappointing” chants about controversial right-wing activist Tommy Robinson.

The Hatters lost 1-0 against West Brom in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, and the club’s CEO, Gary Sweet, was left disappointed by sections of the 1,100 travelling fans signing about Robinson.

“Our experience was blemished, for the second away game running, by hearing the chanting of the name of a political figurehead by a small number of Hatters supporters,” Sweet said in an open letter to fans.

Yea, that’ll work.

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Will cotton bags save the environment?

From Hank Campbell at American Council for Science and Health,

Before straws this year, there was a war on plastic bags, brought about by, you guessed it, environmental press releases and carefully staged photos of garbage. Now poor people have to pay for bags, a regressive tax, unless they can foot the upfront cost for buying bags. But how often do people really wash their bags? Ever? Well, rarely, a study found. Even the most casual cleaner knows you don’t want meat drippings on your counter promoting illness the next time you make food, but most won’t think about it in bags. And if you keep them in your trunk the bacteria could increase 10X.

But it’s for Gaia.

Except it isn’t. A recent study found that a cotton bag will need to be reused 7,100 times (2) for it to make sense from a Life Cycle Assessment environmental impact perspective. 7,100 times means that if you go grocery shopping once per week (and you shouldn’t go more often because that’s bad for the environment too) you will have to use that bag for 136 years.More.

Reality check: The air is thick with virtue these days.

See also: Do-gooderism as a Millennial cult Berezow: WeWork, a company that provides shared office space for small companies and startups (i.e., Millennials), has decided to ban meat. Employees are no longer allowed to expense meals if they contain red meat, poultry, or pork. Why? It’s for the planet, of course.

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Is a Politically Correct chatbot as bad as Twitter? Worse?

  From Mind Matters Today:

Many tweaks later, is Zo correct enough? Is everyone pleased? Well, maybe the digital teen is too Correct now. From Quartz, where Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin has been checking in with Zo for over a year and finds her “sort of convincing,”speaking “fluent meme”:

But there’s a catch. In typical sibling style, Zo won’t be caught dead making the same mistakes as her sister. No politics, no Jews, no red-pill paranoia. Zo is politically correct to the worst possible extreme; mention any of her triggers, and she transforms into a judgmental little brat.

One wonders, what is the market potential for judgmental little brats? More.

See also: GIGO alert: AI can be racist and sexist, researchers complain Can the bias problem be addressed? Yes, but usually after someone gets upset about a specific instance.

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Humanities enrolment in free fall

From Alex Berezow at American Council for Science and Health,

Students are rejecting the humanities. The most striking graph, which includes data for English, Languages, History, and Philosophy, shows that the number of college degrees in these fields awarded as a percentage of all college degrees fell from roughly 7.5% in the 2000s to under 5% today.

While some humanities fields — such as cultural, gender and ethnic studies — have escaped the devastation, most others have not. Indeed, Dr. Schmidt reveals that enrollment is down in nearly every field considered part of the humanities. More.

Reality check: … “cultural, gender and ethnic studies — have escaped the devastation” … In short, the humanities as such are dying. Victimhood and grievance studies are not disciplines; they are a questionable form of therapy that – absent permanent progressive government – the public may begin to resent subsidizing.

See also: When an English major becomes health editor… Berezow: The truth is that the anti-vaxxer movement began with members of the progressive left, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Bill Maher.

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Cyberbully to dying pro-life teen: Your cancer is your mom’s late-term abortion

From Katherine Rohlhoff at Life News,

With perhaps only weeks left to live, Jeremiah—a former all-star, state champion football player from Waco, Texas—has been told numerous times on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook that he is not dying soon enough … because he took a stand for life.

“Cancer is giving your mom a late term abortion. Lmao [laughing my a– off],” one message said.

“Jeremiah … You aren’t dead yet? God do your job!” taunted another.

“Good Riddance,” another posted to Jeremiah’s prayer group page on Facebook, following with a one-star review.

Jeremiah’s mother, Kendra Thomas, quoted one person as saying Jeremiah has “a racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic [sic], hateful” agenda, and another as saying “He’s garbage and is suffering as he deserves.”

All of this because Jeremiah made a “legacy wish” through the 38-year-old Make-A-Wish Foundation’s chapter for the North Texas region.

Jeremiah’s wish was to abolish abortion. More.

Reality check: Well, these are, after all, abortion people. They aren’t deceiving us.

See also: Making abortion seem like just another blip in one’s life. Heldt: It seems though that, if nothing else, conservatives have every reason for optimism: Judge Kavanaugh’s recent nomination to the United States Supreme Court continues to worry abortion advocates.

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Canada lacks effective euthanasia safeguards

From Alex Schadenberg at Euthanasia Prevention Coalition:

Canada has instituted a self-reporting system that enables physicians and nurse practitioners who are willing to kill their clients, a system that enables them to cover-up decisions that are controversial or outside of the intended parameters of the law.

Canada’s euthanasia law also employs imprecise and undefined terms and require the doctor or nurse practitioner to lie about the cause of death on the death certificate. More.

Reality check: And if progressives remain in power, there will likely be a law against snooping into situations that sound suspicious. Could we call it a “bubble zone”?

See also: Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have euthanized nearly 4000 patients Smith: Moreover, the “foreseeable” limitation is likely unconstitutional — cases have already been filed — as the supreme court made it explicitly clear that the positive right to receive euthanasia it conjured was not to be limited to the dying. If (when) these court challenges succeed, Canada’s euthanasia numbers will spike even higher.

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Speaking of fake news, there’s Michael Moore…

From Phelim McAleer at Townhall:

According to Mr. Moore:

“In Nashville, a man with a knife leapt up on the stage and started coming toward me. The Seal grabbed him from behind by his belt loop and collar and slung him off the front of the stage to the cement floor below. Someone had to mop up the blood after the Seals took him away.”

After the book was published I inquired and Officer Don Aaron of Nashville Police Public Affairs Department said there is no record of such an incident involving Mr. Moore occurring in the area. More.

Reality check: The time for truth is over.

See also: An immigrant filmmaker (McAleer) on American progressive culture The Americans don’t stand a chance, any more than the rest of us, unless the Dems get beaten so badly in the next few elections that they must go back to being a workers’ party and not a party of the totalitarian elite fomenting grievances among the useless entitled.

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Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have euthanized nearly 4000 patients

From Wesley Smith at Life News:

Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have reported that they have killed almost 4,000 (3,714) patients since euthanasia was legalized in Quebec in December 2015 — after which it was legalized throughout the country by supreme-court fiat — an act of judicial hubris quickly formalized by Parliament.

That might be one reason that progressives don’t worry so much about balancing the budget.

The report notes that some euthanasia requests were refused because the patient wasn’t competent or the deaths were not reasonably “foreseeable” — the wording of the national law passed by Parliament.

But even these weak limitations are likely to be discarded soon. Canada is already debating whether to permit people to order themselves killed if they ever become incompetent with dementia.

Moreover, the “foreseeable” limitation is likely unconstitutional — cases have already been filed — as the supreme court made it explicitly clear that the positive right to receive euthanasia it conjured was not to be limited to the dying. If (when) these court challenges succeed, Canada’s euthanasia numbers will spike even higher. More.

Reality check: Progressives don’t stop. As Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot show, progressivism differs as to target but not as to outcome: mass murder

See also: So many patients had their lives “shortened” at British hospital that police do not know how to proceed

and

Fatal Flaws: A Canadian film chronicles the march of euthanasia

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Making abortion seem like just another blip in one’s life

From Brianna Heldt at Townhall:

More specifically, an article written by 52-year-old Deborah Copaken is presently making waves for attempting to rebrand abortion as a normal, inevitable part of an otherwise healthy motherhood.

“Three Children, Two Abortions” chronicles the author’s sometimes joyful, sometimes difficult reproductive years–from unexpectedly becoming pregnant at age 17, to having three children with her now ex-husband, to making the decision to (again) abort a baby conceived while an IUD was in place. (She also attempts to justify her post-marriage abortion by saying she was on a medication for toenail fungus at the time, which could have potentially led to birth defects.)

The effect that radically progressive news features, such as the one in the Atlantic, will have at the ballot box in November remains to be seen. Deborah Copaken’s feminist attempt at making abortion a valid, normal, and heroic act for mothers–just as natural as giving birth to the child–may indeed further rally liberals to protect their beloved Roe v. Wade. It seems though that, if nothing else, conservatives have every reason for optimism: Judge Kavanaugh’s recent nomination to the United States Supreme Court continues to worry abortion advocates. More.

Reality check: They have certainly got over the “safe, legal, and rare” phase. Abortion is back to being a sacrament. But in the age of euthanasia, we are all “the fetus” now. That may make a difference in how the abortion people are viewed as well.

See also: Hollywood wants a more positive image for abortion. Hollywood probably does not get the fact that the #MeToo revelations have robbed it of moral authority. People may not care what the celebs do but they don’t look up to them the same way either. Abortion chic will probably go the way of the many PC duds currently hitting the sod. There is just so much else nowadays to watch, see, and do, stuff that represents more accurately how real people think.

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When an English major becomes a health editor…

From Alex Berezow at American Council for Science and Health, on interesting moments in an English major’s efforts to understand science controversies:

It’s troubling enough that a person who knows nothing about public health is allowed to write about it. It’s far more troubling that a person who knows nothing about public health is in charge of the topic at a major international publication. So, I decided to take a look at some of the other articles this English major has published. What I found was predictable.

For instance, this: How disgraced anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield was embraced by Trump’s America. The truth is that the anti-vaxxer movement began with members of the progressive left, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Bill Maher. The demographics of the anti-vaccine movement have changed over time, but this rather inconvenient historical fact is missing from Ms. Boseley’s article. More.

Reality check: Getting the history wrong means getting the drivers wrong too. The rise in autism diagnoses, for example, coincided with the era of Trump but only Tinfoil thinks the two are related. Not sure if all that comes from being an English major or being a progressive as well.

See also: Science writer: New York Times is cool with pseudoscience

and

Another academic freedom meltdown in science, this time re GMOs

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Statistical survey: When do TV shows peak?

From Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur at The Ringer:

But there’s a clear shape to all of the graphs: an initial incline—the phase of which Apatow said, “You can feel us finding it”—leading up to a peak, a plateau, a decline, and then a rebound right at the end, corresponding to the series finale. There are some slight genre-dependent differences: Comedies and dramedies tend to peak 45 percent of the way through their runs, while dramas peak 25 percent of the way through their runs. The average comedy remains within .02 points of its peak for 30 percent of its run, while dramas and dramedies stay in that sweet spot for 20 percent and 10 percent of their runs, respectively. In general, dramas are the most resistant to steep declines, maybe because the sheer need to know what happens next keeps audiences placated even if the plotting and writing aren’t quite as adept as they once were. More.

Reality check: This is useful to know if you are wondering how long you will have to endure some awful exercise in Correctness. Go for a walk anyway, okay?

See also: The growth of an authoritarian centre in politics

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AI That Can Read Minds? Deconstructing AI Hype

From computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks at Mind Matters Today:

Fake and misleading AI news is everywhere today.

Here’s an example I  ran across recently: A  headline from a large-circulation daily’s  web page screams:

“No more secrets! New mind-reading machine can translate your thoughts and display them as text INSTANTLY!”

Not just “instantly,” notice, but “INSTANTLY!” The Daily Mail is the United Kingdom’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper.

As with all hype, there is some truth in the piece. A headline like “New AI outperforms humans by a factor of a BILLION!” could be written about a calculator that computes specific values of trig functions. Calculating the cosine of 27.3 degrees from scratch to six significant places is a laborious time sink for a human being. Most cheap calculators can do it in the blink of an eye.

The Daily Mail article is misleading in a similar way. We are led to believe that the AI application can do something much more unexpected and significant than it actually can.

The source for the claims seems to be a 2018 journal paper, … More.

See also: The driverless car: A bubble soon to burst? Author says journalists too gullible about high tech

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Is Bitcoin Safe? Why the human side of security is critical

From software engineer Johnny Bartlett at Mind Matters Today:

Between  Bitcoin (digital-only currency) and Ethereum (a platform that enables digital currencies), hackers have made off with a total of 14% of all of the available coinage.  That’s quite a bit for a currency that’s only been around since 2009. One Bitcoin exchange lost $436 million of its customers’ coinage.

But isn’t Bitcoin supposed to be “secure”?  If so, why does this sort of heist happen with such alarming frequency?

I have noticed that, while many people take very seriously the technical part of security, few take into account the human side.  Security systems must be used, and used properly, to be effective. If a security system is overly burdensome to its user, then, instead of following the security procedures, the user is more likely to go around them.  More.

See also: Claim: Yes, you can upload your brain. Fine print: They might have to kill you first

and

AI has a wonderful plan for your life. Tech-savvy religion scholars play with reshaping society. The team is pessimistic about getting politicians on side and hopes to persuade policy analysts to convince the politicians to adopt the policies their model suggests instead. Wildman predicts, “We’re going to get them in the end.”

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At the New York Times: Defending the failures of social science as “science”

Even while prominent people in that field are coming to terms with the problem. From a New York Times science writer:

It is one thing to frisk the studies appearing almost daily in journals that form the current back-and-forth of behavior research. It is somewhat different to call out experiments that became classics — and world-famous outside of psychology — because they dramatized something people recognized in themselves and in others.

They live in the common culture as powerful metaphors, explanations for aspects of our behavior that we sense are true and that are captured somehow in a laboratory mini-drama constructed by an inventive researcher, or research team.

Huh? Whether many people recognized something in themselves or not, the experiments were not really a form of science and they simply confirm prejudices. He goes on:

When Dr. Nosek published his first major replication paper in 2015, finding that about 60 percent of prominent studies did not pan out on a second try, it was a gift to skeptics eager to dismiss the entire field (and maybe all of social science) as a joke, a congregation of poorly anchored findings that shift in the wind, like nutrition advice.

It’s not. On the contrary.

Housecleaning is a crucial corrective in science, and psychology has led by example. But in science, as in life, there’s reason for care before dragging the big items to the curb. Benedict Carey, “Psychology Itself Is Under Scrutiny” at New York Times

Okay. So if we think that — in principle — such a field is always too infested by politics to be seriously considered a science, we’re “anti-science”? There’s something wrong with preferring to support sciences that aren’t such a laughingstock? Fine. The rest of us will own that and be proud.

As Andrew Ferguson notes at the Weekly Standard,

The crisis in the social sciences has grown so obvious that even mainstream social scientists have begun to acknowledge it. In the past five years or so, disinterested researchers have reexamined many of the most crucial experiments and findings in social psychology and related fields. A very large percentage of them—as many as two-thirds, by some counts—crumble on close examination. These include such supposedly settled science as “implicit bias,” “stereotype threat,” “priming,” “ego depletion” and many others known to every student of introductory psychology. At the root of the failure are errors of methodology and execution that should have been obvious from the start. Sample sizes are small and poorly selected; statistical manipulations are misunderstood and ill-performed; experiments lack control groups and are poorly designed; data are cherry-picked; and safeguards against researcher bias are ignored. It’s a long list.

Crassly put, the unreplicated runoff from the social sciences, as Ferguson goes on to note, keeps papers like the New York Times afloat in an age when we don’t need it for the weather or the score:

This last sort of news—easily digested findings that scientifically explain the mysteries of human behavior—is fed and constantly replenished by the same social science whose elemental assumptions are withering before our eyes. This is bad news for the news… For Benedict Carey, the Times science writer, the collapse of social psychology is an understandably painful subject. The tone of his mini-essay is mournful, as if he’s watching an old friend walk to the electric chair. Andrew Ferguson, “The New York Times mourns the death of bad social science” at the Weekly Standard

Much of the hysteria and many of the goofs and gaffes we see in once-mainstream media are best understood as the outcome of not mattering the way they used to. Maybe social sciences are in much the same boat…

See also: What’s wrong with social psychology, in a nutshell

How political bias affects social science research

Stanford Prison Experiment findings a “sham” – but how much of social psychology is legitimate anyway?

BS detector for the social sciences

All sides agree: progressive politics is strangling social sciences

and

Back to school briefing: Seven myths of social psychology: Many lecture room icons from decades past are looking tarnished now. (That was 2014 and it has gotten worse since.)

(Also posted at Uncommon Descent)

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British Tourist slapped with fine, slaps immigration officer

THIS is the shocking moment a British tourist slaps an immigration officer after being hit with a $4,000 fine for overstaying her visa.

Auj-e Taqaddas, 42, arrived at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday night to catch a flight to Singapore.

But after receiving her boarding pass, she went through immigration checks where officers noticed her month-long visa had expired on February 18.

Auj-e, who is of Pakistani descent, was taken into an office at 9.25pm where airport staff told her she had to pay a $25 fine for each of the days overstayed.

Having been in the country illegally for 160 days, she had to stump up a staggering $4,000.

The bill sent Auj-e into a foul-mouthed rage and she was caught on camera branding an immigration officer a “f***ing bastard”.

When she tries to snatch back her passport, the officer quickly pulls it away — and she retaliates by slapping him.

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