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November 2015

I Hear the Future Calling

Onwards to tomorrow, the progressive way

Student protesters at the University of Missouri asked white supporters to leave Wednesday night in order to create a “black only healing space.” Steve Schmidt, an activist who was at the protest, tweeted that Concerned Student 1950 group were “asking white allies to leave.”

Free from any contaminating pallor, the students claimed they would be able to “share, decompress, be vulnerable and real.”

I couldn’t swear to it, but I have a vague feeling this has been tried before.

But What Matters Is How It Looks

Further to this, on women in front-line military roles, and the last item here, on attempts to attract female fire-fighters by dramatically lowering standards of competence, here’s something to feel inspired by:

Instructors reportedly ‘fudged’ the scores of Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder, allowing her to graduate the FDNY Fire Academy despite not receiving a passing score on the Functional Skills Test and the required 1.5 mile run, the New York Post reports. Doirin-Holder, 39, was a court-mandated priority hire [on grounds of “diversity”], who had previously failed out twice, and has been described by a former classmate as, “the most pathetic specimen of physical fitness I’ve ever seen.” She completed the Functional Skills Test with a time of over 24 minutes, the passing time required is 17 minutes and 50 seconds. The test requires trainees to complete a course of job-related tasks such as dragging dummies all while in full gear. According to an FDNY insider, Dorin-Holder failed to complete the required 1.5 mile run in under 12 minutes, finishing it in 12 minutes 6 seconds. This was after the start and finish lines were moved, shortening the course a quarter-mile.

So, physically incompetent and therefore a danger to both the public and her colleagues.

Ms Doirin-Holder is, however, female and black. So full marks there.

Elsewhere (184)

Janice Fiamengo continues her series on feminism and its fictions, this time on women in the military:  

Why are women so poorly represented on the front lines? Because most women can’t do the job, don’t want to do the job, and in cases where they can do it, can’t do it as well as men… A recent study has demonstrated a big disparity in women’s and men’s battlefield ability. The US Marine Corps examined over a year the impact of female integration on combat readiness and found conclusively that women cannot match male performance. Male units were faster, more effective and able to evacuate casualties in less time. Overall, the study concluded, all-male squads performed better than mixed groups in 69% of the tasks evaluated. Women performed notably less well in their use of every individual weapons system, and in addition women had higher injury rates than men. So in terms of women’s own well-being as well as the overall effectiveness of the fighting force, its ability to kill enemies and save wounded comrades, the study showed that the presence of women in combat units has a negative impact.  

See also the last item here, on “progressive” priorities and attracting female fire-fighters by dramatically lowering standards of competence.

And Roger Kimball on the Idiot Weeping Fever™ currently sweeping academia: 

[The protesting student] had put up about ten signs before a security guard asked him to leave. Nothing doing. The guard asked again. Nada. So he grabbed the student and dragged him, kicking and screaming, from the room. What was he screaming? The chief burden of his plaint revolved around that Indian village. Greg Lukianoff had said that the response to Erika Christakis’s email was so violent that you would have thought someone had destroyed an Indian Village. He didn’t advocate destroying an Indian Village. No villages of any sort were despoiled in the conduct of his remarks. He merely suggested that the response to an email treating students as responsible adults (first mistake!) was wildly disproportionate. 

That bit of hermeneutical reasoning was beyond the distraught, poster-wielding student. And not only him. Soon there was a crowd of twenty students demanding to get into the attendance-by-reservation only event. Then there were fifty or more. Soon they were chanting loudly outside the hall. “Genocide is not a joke” was one of the little ditties with which they entertained us. By the time the last session began, word came that they intended to bar the exits. More security was marshalled and when the proceedings came to an end the speakers and the audience were escorted out of the room. A cordon of enraged students holding signs and yelling “Genocide is not a joke” greeted us. Another fifty or so lined the sidewalk outside.

Kimball refers to the fevered protestors as “snowflakes,” which sounds much too innocuous and misleading. Given the students’ dogmatism, hair-trigger intolerance and eagerness to shut down and punish any speech with which they disagree, the term Mao-lings seems more apt.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.

Friday Ephemera

There’s quite a bit of bacteria on a donkey’s penis. // She has pneumatic wings. (h/t, Darleen) // Starlings at 200 frames per second. // Low pass. // Grandma caterpillar putting on lipstick. // Vertical planters. // Dots, tendrils and laminate glass. // At last, classical action figures. // Why cats don’t rule the Earth. // Cardboard Lincoln Continental. // Ocean drifters. // Real treasure. (h/t, Damian) // There’s something to be said for thoroughness. // Elstree 1976. // Emu insemination is harder than you’d think. // This. (h/t, Franklin) // Star Wars trilogy redubbed. // Meanwhile, in art restoration news, man taking dump discovered. // For hardcore Whiskey drinkers. // For all your underwater drilling needs. // And finally, never look directly at the Sun in high definition.

The Final Outrage

In other Earth-rumbling news,

Twitter is struggling. Its disappointing financial results, mass layoffs and declining user experience show things aren’t well for the little blue bird. And now this: the replacement of the beloved “fav” star with a heart.

Dark days.

The hearts are the final straw: it’s time to nationalise Twitter.

Yes, it’s the Guardian. How did you guess? Specifically, the musings of Mr Osman Faruqi, a “Sydney-based writer and activist” who wants someone else – apparently, taxpayers on the other side of the world – to pay for his leisure activities.   

It’s infrastructure for basic communication, which is why people are so upset over the change to hearts: imagine if, instead of saying “OK” on the phone to a relative stranger, you were forced to say “I love you.” It’s that basic.

Such are the horrors facing today’s Twitter user. It’s New Coke all over again.

So how do you monetise an intangible combination of excitement and trepidation sparked by the overwhelming awe of talking to the whole world?

Or perhaps more likely, a vanishingly tiny part of it. With almost half of “users” having never sent a Tweet, and the overwhelming majority of those who have boasting fewer than 200 followers, with the majority of their tweets, around 70%, attracting no acknowledgment whatsoever. However, the stakes are high and according to Mr Faruqi, “casual social interaction,” which is good, is “anathema to the desire for profit,” which is bad, obviously. This is, after all, the Guardian. And as Twitter’s modishness is, it seems, fading, it therefore must be nationalised and paid for by the taxpayer. To keep it hip and happening, and to prevent more icon changes. Until the next thing comes along. And then, presumably, we must nationalise that too.

On Twitter, Mr Faruqi is currently struggling with the news that many readers had assumed his article was “taking the piss.” Apparently, this failure to appreciate his seriousness and insight merely “shows how right-wing our political debate has become.” 

Update, via the comments:

Continue reading "The Final Outrage" »

Therapeutic Shredding

Of that “oppressive document,” the United States Constitution:  

When this idea came up in our newsroom about campus administrators shredding the Constitution because it’s a trigger against students, we didn’t think people would actually fall for it. We underestimated just how stupid and politically correct these people are.

The impossibly fretful and neurotic student featured in the video is actually a journalist playing a role. The obliging administrators, including an Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity at Vassar College and a Director of Feminist Studies at Oberlin College, are quite real. 

It Will Only Encourage Him (2)

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