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July 2016

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For newcomers wishing to know more about what’s been going on here for the last nine years or so, and in over 2,000 posts, the reheated series is a pretty good place to start. If you can, do take a moment to poke through the discussion threads too. The posts are intended as starting points, not full stops, and the comments are where much of the good stuff is waiting to be found. And do please join in.

Again, thanks for the support, the comments, and the company. 

Friday Ephemera

At last, your very own jet pack golf cart. // Gaze manipulation. // American vacations of the 1900s, in colour. // On the inhalation of “delectable air,” i.e., nitrous oxide. (h/t, Dr W). // Painted ladies. (h/t, Hubert). // Pokémon + Tinder = modern dating. // Apollo 11 command module. // It’s teeming with Earthlings. // The true sizes of countries. // 100 coats. Because it can be done. // Coke delivered to your door, 1934. // Because you can always use more Kate Bush gifs. // Berlin, July 1945. // Shrink rays would be bad for you. // Times Square of yore. // A thread devoted to 1980s 12” remixes. // Wanting not to forget. // Will she be wonderful? // Amulets on standby, people. // The word ‘effects’ doesn’t quite do them justice. // And finally, I think it’s some kind of omen.

Elsewhere (208)

Christina Hoff Sommers on feminism, facts and philosophy: 

The [feminist philosophy] movement also ignores the finding — consistently documented by a large empirical literature — that, on average, men have stronger interests in investigative and theoretical pursuits and women stronger preferences for social and artistic pursuits… These are just group tendencies of course, and we should be careful not to over-generalise, but they are pronounced and persistent… Yet when the New York Times invited five feminist philosophers to discuss the gender gap [in philosophy] in 2013, not one even entertained the possibility that women might tend to find other subjects more interesting. Instead, the group talked exclusively about things like male privilege, harassment, and stereotypes…

Philosophy departments are not biased against women in hiring. There may be fewer women interested enough in philosophy to pursue it as a career, but those who do are more likely to get hired. According to a study by the American Philosophical Association, between 2012 and 2015, other things being equal, female PhDs were 65% more likely than men to find a permanent academic job within two years of graduating. And look at the APA itself. Over the past 5 years, more than half of its divisional presidents have been women. For 2016, women hold all the top positions. It is difficult to see how a profession that hires women at a higher rate than men and awards them its top leadership positions is rigged against women.

On a similar theme, this item from the archives. And also this one

Michael Poliakoff and Drew Lakin on unknown history: 

The overwhelming majority of America’s most prestigious institutions do not require even the students who major in history to take a single course on United States history or government. Disregard for the importance of United States history in the undergraduate history major is matched by the overall disappearance of United States history requirements from general education, the core curriculum that should be part of every student’s education… [A] survey of seniors at the “Top 50” colleges and universities, those holding the most prestigious positions in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, found that only 22% could match the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” with the Gettysburg Address.  

And somewhat related, Duke Pesta on the left’s choke-hold on higher education - and its consequences:

I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test… just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students - I’m talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years – they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They’re 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention… How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that’s what they think of their own country – that America invented slavery? That’s all they know.

Worth watching in full. 

Feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

Can’t Fault Her Confidence

Here’s a thing:

Elementary school teacher Tracy Rosner… is suing the Miami-Dade County Public Schools in federal court because she claims “the principal had an unfair policy of requiring its foreign language teachers to actually speak the language they were teaching.”

No, you didn’t misread that

Outside of not knowing Spanish, she asserts she was “otherwise qualified” for the position.

As a result of the school rejecting her suggestion that they also employ an additional member of staff to handle the actual Spanish teaching, Ms Rosner has apparently suffered “emotional pain, mental anguish, [and] loss of enjoyment of life.”

Today’s Word Is Juxtapose

From the archives, this:

No, dear reader. It's not PhotoShopped.

And in the Financial Times:

Guardian Media Group hit with £173 million record loss

When the foremost printed organ of the British left publishes so many of these things, week after week, that they’re collected and circulated as works of minor surrealism, and are then mistaken for spiteful parodies by the paper’s own contributors, this may not be an ideal business model.

Via sk60. Readers are welcome to suggest variations of their own.

Friday Ephemera

“This just looks impossible.” // Why sunny weather is bad for your secret identity. (h/t, Damian) // Why crashing into the Sun is harder than you think. // Westeros mapped. // Old shoe found in well. // Hello, Mr Williams. (h/t, Ace) // Game over. // A billion degrees of separation. // It’s a quaint Swiss villa and also a bunker. // Making tennis balls. // Split flap display combines abbreviations and cats. // Korean cinemas knock it up a notch. // The Darwinist dangers of Pokémon Go - an Islamic scholar speaks. // An enterprising young lady. (h/t, Julia) // Train set of note. // Springtime tornadoes. // How many fireflies would it take to match the brightness of the Sun? // And finally, make your own sperm fitness videos: “This can be done without getting semen on the phone.”

Fat We Can Fix, The Excuses Are Trickier

I need you to try to learn to love the lush overgrowth of your body. Let it grow wild and untamed as a garden you loved as a child. Love it for the way it sustains you, keeps you warm, goes to such lengths not to let you get hurt. Its only job is to care for you. I need you to try to love it if you intend to love me.

In the pages of Everyday Feminism, an anonymous woman of girth, a size 26, wants other people to stop trying to lose weight and to stop acknowledging their own fatness, except in flattering terms, as this makes her – our anonymous, rather demanding woman of girth - feel bad about herself

Every discussion about bodies  —  whether in the media or amongst friends   — is about how to avoid the horrible fate of looking like me… When you say that you shouldn’t have eaten that lunch or dessert, or when you announce your new year’s resolution to lose 5, 10, 25 pounds, you are saying that you don’t want your body to end up like mine.

Well, at risk of being indelicate, yes.

I know that all of us are impacted by body shaming, and that everyone has real, valid, deep, hard feelings about our bodies. I still need you to stop perpetuating it, especially when talking about yourself. No amount of caveats or prologues make it hurt me less. I need you to know that I’m taking it personally because it is personal.

So if any readers are planning to drop a few pounds by cycling, or jogging, or walking the dog, or just eating less, this makes you complicit in the sin of body shaming, and therefore an oppressor of those with surplus flesh.

Continue reading "Fat We Can Fix, The Excuses Are Trickier" »

Elsewhere (207)

Ben Shapiro on facts versus feelings: 

If the political goal is to alleviate feelings of discrimination, no end point can ever be reached so long as a disproportionate number of black people end up in prison. And a disproportionate number of black people end up in prison not because of discrimination in the criminal-justice system, but because a disproportionate number of black people commit crimes… Crediting the unjustified feeling that there is pervasive bias in the criminal-justice system means making evidence secondary to perceptions. In the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., a large majority of black Americans felt that Officer Darren Wilson was guilty of murder in August 2015. They were wrong. But according to our political leaders, such feelings ought to be granted the patina of legitimacy. This isn’t leadership. It’s moral cowardice.

It’s also, quite often, arrogance and vanity

Thomas Sowell on egregious media bias and the war on cops: 

To the race hustlers, black lives don’t really matter nearly as much as their chance to get publicity, power, money, votes or whatever else serves their own interests. The mainstream media play a large, and largely irresponsible, role in the creation and maintenance of a poisonous racial atmosphere that has claimed the lives of policemen around the country. That same poisoned atmosphere has claimed the lives of even more blacks, who have been victims of violence by thugs and criminals who have had fewer restrictions as the police have pulled back, or have been pulled back, under political pressure. The media provide the publicity on which career race hustlers thrive. It is a symbiotic relationship, in which turmoil in the streets gives the media something exciting to attract viewers. In return, the media give those behind this turmoil millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity to spread their poison.

Part 2 here. Heather Mac Donald’s book The War On Cops, which is recommended by Sowell, can be purchased here (Amazon UK) and here (Amazon US).

Speaking of media bias

This is apparently the current state of American journalism. The newspaper printed a fact, but that fact was unacceptable based on the demographics of the people who might potentially see it.

And Franklin Einspruch on why sport remains hugely popular while art is in decline: 

Baseball hasn’t spent a hundred years smashing its own conventions. Baseball players don’t endeavour to turn hitting into a critique of late capitalism. Baseball doesn’t call upon fans to comprehend discussion full of coinages by PhD students trying to impress their dissertation committees, or implicitly punish them for having bourgeois values. Audiences instinctively and rightly hate this kind of pretentiousness.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

Friday Ephemera

This really isn’t the time to be having trouble with your roof rack. // Erotic dining. // Edison films Twain. // Hamster-powered hamster-drawing machine. // Harryhausen’s Martians. // Queen of Mars, 1924. // Space dashboard. // Ooh, I don’t like that cracking sound. // This rarely works with cats. // Harry Connick Jr corrects audience clap-along. // A brief history of evil twins in soap operas. // “Scientists draw eyes on cow butts to protect them from lions.” // A brief history of the bra. // Bookstore. // Bananas. // How big is yours? // If architecture grew. // Recapping Thrones. // Razor-less post-mortem shaving powder has “no offensive odour.” // Miracle breakthrough in high-tech armpit cooling. // And finally, probingly, “Scientists have accurately recreated the feel of a rectum.”

Their Interest In Children Is Not Benign

Because of my race, I can eat at a fancy restaurant without the wait staff expecting me to steal the silverware. 

The psychological abuse of children by leftist educators continues

The video of the 14-year-old student’s slam poem at his school has gone viral in the midst of heated national discussions regarding race and privilege. Performed at a slam poetry competition in May at The Paideia School in Atlanta, Royce Mann’s winning poem offers a reflection on the privilege he feels he has been automatically awarded as a result of his being white and male… Royce said that he knew about white and male privilege for most of his life, but never knew how prevalent it was in society until he attended a class called “Race, Class and Gender” that opened his eyes.

Because when a credulous 14-year-old is encouraged to declare that all white males are “scared of what it would be like if… I didn’t have my white boy privilege safety blankie,” this is now an aesthetic and political triumph. And when that same child says, “It is embarrassing that we still live in a world in which we judge another person’s character by… the colour of their skin,” while judging millions of people by the colour of their skin, and doing it proudly, this is something to applaud as both brave and insightful. Behold the makings of a morally corrected citizen.

The poem in question can be heard in full below:  

Continue reading "Their Interest In Children Is Not Benign" »

Someone Pass The Healing Stone

Menstruation is universally referred to as your “moon time”; there is a Moon Lodge with a “Moon Blood Earth Altar” where we are encouraged to offer our “Holy Menstrual Blood to Mother Earth” with prayers and intentions. 

Marisa Meltzer ventures into the sisterly world of braiding circles, “water healing,” and ayurvedic breast massage:

“We have created — and are creating — a community of mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers,” Spirit Weavers’ founder and trademark owner, Amy Woodruff, says into a microphone. She has long brown hair and a deep tan. In 2011, a photo of her doing a naked headstand while simultaneously breastfeeding her daughter Naia went viral. (“I was just doin’ my daily flow when the little sweet pea came to sneak a suckle,” Woodroff wrote at the time on her blog, Daughter of the Sun, where she also sells juice cleanses, incense, and “organic baby bootie balm.”) A Kundalini yoga teacher, Woodruff used her newfound fame to pivot into a kind of nexus for the sort of women who are drawn to water births and food-fermenting workshops. 

Oh, there’s more. Much more. And yes, there is a photo.

Via Alice.