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The Great Sex Robot Debate at Ideacity

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Inside the Madness at Evergreen State

Biology professor Bret Weinstein has settled his lawsuit against Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. Mr. Weinstein became a pariah last spring when he criticized an officially sanctioned “Day of Absence” during which white people were asked to stay away from campus. He and his wife, anthropology professor Heather Heying, alleged that Evergreen “has permitted, cultivated, and perpetuated a racially hostile and retaliatory work environment.” They claimed administrators failed to protect them from “repeated provocative and corrosive verbal and written hostility based on race, as well as threats of physical violence.”

Last week the university announced it would pay $500,000 to settle the couple’s complaint. Evergreen said in a statement that the college “strongly rejects” the lawsuit’s allegations, denies the Day of Absence was discriminatory, and asserts: “The college took reasonable and appropriate steps to engage with protesters, de-escalate conflict, and keep the campus safe.”

A different story emerges from hundreds of pages of Evergreen correspondence...

The Red Balloon

I gather they don't show this in schools anymore, but when I was a little kid, it was played in class every year for kids in kindergarten, and grades 1 & 2.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Nuclear Deal Is Iran’s Legal Path to the Bomb Iran sees it. It’s time the U.S. did too.

President Donald Trump has sensibly insisted that the Iran nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—has to be revised. The reaction in some quarters, mainly among many of the former Obama administration officials who negotiated this bad deal, has been horror. Unfortunately, the media have uncritically swallowed many of the false assumptions and naive arguments of the deal’s supporters, and the elite consensus is that the agreement must be preserved lest the White House bumble us into a crisis—or worse, another war in the Middle East.
Please. The accord is riddled with problematic provisions that essentially put Iran on a legal glide path to the bomb. The agreement’s various sunset clauses, its leaky inspection regime and Iran’s growing missile arsenal have all been subject of much discussion. Yet, one of the most dangerous aspects of the JCPOA that allows Iran to design and construct advanced centrifuges has largely escaped notice. Given the JCPOA’s permissive research and design provisions, Iran can effectively modernize its nuclear infrastructure while adhering to the agreement.
The Islamic Republic will most likely not build a bomb in one of its declared facilities, for such a move would expose it to immediate military retribution. More likely, Iran will sneak out by covertly enriching uranium at a hidden, undisclosed facility—after all, they’ve done it before. This option, however, requires the development of advanced centrifuges that can operate with efficiency at high velocity. A small cascade of the so-called IR-8 centrifuges can quickly enrich vast quantities of uranium to weapons-grade quality. Because so few of these centrifuges would be required to complete the task, they can be housed in small facilities that may evade detection in a timely manner. Iran is a vast country, and should the clerical oligarchs choose to litter their territory with numerous such small installations, they can effectively conceal their activities from prying inspectors. All this becomes even more alarming as the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program fade with time...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

"America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars" - Happy Rosh Hashana from antisemite Valerie Plame Wilson


...A young beltway socialite, Plame was catapulted to stardom in 2003 when her name appeared in a Washington Post column. While working as a CIA operations officer, according to conservative columnist Robert Novak, she had recommended sending her husband, a former ambassador, to investigate the production of yellowcake uranium in Niger.

The Left accused the Bush White House of outing Plame in the press as retribution for her husband's opposition to the war. (It came out much later that Novak had actually learned about her involvement from Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.) She was cast as a victim, becoming a cause célèbre overnight. She was quoted, booked on television, and handed a book deal.

Plame's star faded when Bush left office and she found other pursuits. Recently she was a bundler for Hillary Clinton's ill-fated presidential campaign and launched a campaign to buy Twitter in-order to delete President Trump's account...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Politics of the Professoriat: Political diversity on campus

Universities are supposed to be dedicated to the exchange of ideas. But according to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, campuses now skew so far to the left that they've become what he calls "political monocultures" in which voices that stray too far from liberal orthodoxy are shouted down. Paul Kennedy speaks with Professor Haidt – and with other scholars who have been thinking about the complex question of diversity on campus...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More evidence that Britain isn't really a democracy

Britain has, in common with dictatorships, a number of restrictions on free speech and free expression. This recent proposal by its Electoral Commission suggests democracy is really just a facade there:

Banning social media trolls from voting could help reduce the amount of abuse faced by politicians, the election watchdog has said.

The Electoral Commission says legislation around elections should be reviewed and new offences could be introduced.

In the commission’s submission to a committee on standards in public life inquiry into the intimidation of political candidates, officials say many offences under electoral law date back to the 1800s or earlier.

They say some electoral offences can result in an offender being disqualified from voting or from registering to vote. Such deterrents could be considered to stop abusive people, the submission says...

Climate alarmists screwed up again and the world is actually not about to end. What a shock.

...For politics, the stakes are high. Just ponder these two potential outcomes:
  • Suppose the paper is correct, then 1.5°C is a distinct possibility, about the same effort that we previously thought for 2°C. There would be real and tangible hope for small island states and other vulnerable communities. And 2°C would be a rather feasible and realistic option, meaning that I would have to go eat some serious humble pie.
  • Suppose we start to act on their larger budgets, but after another 5-10 years we discover they were wrong. Then we may have completely blown any chance of 1.5°C or 2°C.
I seriously hope they have this right, or at least, I hope they will be vocal if they revise their estimates downwards!
For science, I can’t help but frame the paper in two ways:

President Donald Trump's address to the UN General Assembly

Monday, September 18, 2017

'Non-binary' Georgia Tech student shot dead by campus police

...Georgia Tech Police officers responded to a 911 call about a person with a knife and a gun on the downtown Atlanta campus at 11:17 p.m.

The GBI said that when officers arrived, they found Scout Schultz, 21, outside a dormitory with a knife...

"Come on, man, drop the knife," one officer says. "Come on, let's drop it," another officer says. 
Schultz walks toward them slowly and shouts, "Shoot me!"...  

In a head-to-head assessment, Canada's Health Care system ranks among the worst

From the New York Times:

“Medicare for all,” or “single-payer,” is becoming a rallying cry for Democrats.

This is often accompanied by calls to match the health care coverage of "the rest of the world." But this overlooks a crucial fact: The “rest of the world” is not all alike.

The commonality is universal coverage, but wealthy nations have taken varying approaches to it, some relying heavily on the government (as with single-payer); some relying more on private insurers; others in between.

Experts don’t agree on which is best; a lot depends on perspective. But we thought it would be fun to stage a small tournament.

We selected eight countries, representing a range of health care systems, and established a bracket by randomly assigning seeds...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Praising Young Children for Being Smart Promotes Cheating

Kang Lee is a brilliant researcher who is one of the very few professors at OISE who isn't a crazed Marxist. His early childhood psychology research is indeed groundbreaking, however it appears OISE never incorporates its results into their other programs.

Praise is one of the most commonly used forms of reward. It is convenient, is nearly effortless, and makes the recipient feel good. However, praising children for being smart carries unintended consequences: It can undermine their achievement motivation in a way that praising their effort or performance does not (Cimpian, Arce, Markman, & Dweck, 2007; Kamins & Dweck, 1999; Mueller & Dweck, 1998; see Dweck, 2007). In this study, we investigated whether the negative consequences of praising children for being smart extend to the moral domain, by encouraging cheating.

There is some prior work suggesting that evaluative feedback can influence children’s moral behaviors (Fu, Heyman, Qian, Guo, & Lee, 2016; Mueller & Dweck, 1998; Zhao, Heyman, Chen, & Lee, 2017). Telling 5-yearolds (but not younger children) that they have a reputation for being good leads to a reduction in their cheating, presumably because they are interested in maintaining this reputation (Fu et al., 2016). We propose that telling children that they are smart, a form of ability praise, may have the opposite effect by motivating them to cheat to appear smarter. In a study consistent with this possibility, Mueller and Dweck (1998) found that 10-year-olds exaggerated how well they had performed after receiving ability praise. However, little is known about whether ability praise can influence young children’s moral behavior. The present research addressed this question by comparing the effects of ability and performance praise on preschool children’s cheating.   
                                      Method 
Participants were 300 preschool children in eastern China: one hundred fifty 3-year-olds (age range = 3.08 to 4.00 years, M = 3.62, SD = 0.27; 71 boys, 79 girls) and one hundred fifty 5-year-olds (age range = 5.01 to 6.00 years, M = 5.38, SD = 0.33; 78 boys, 72 girls). To measure cheating, we used a version of a wellestablished peeking paradigm (see Heyman, Fu, Lin, Qian, & Lee, 2015), in which an experimenter hides a playing card (with a number from 3 to 9, excluding 6) behind a barrier and children guess whether it is greater or less than 6. The children are told that they can win a prize if they guess correctly on at least three of the six trials.

The session began with a practice trial in which the children were told that they had guessed correctly. They were then randomly assigned to three conditions (50 children in each condition): In the ability condition, children were told, “You are so smart.” In the performance condition, they were told, “You did very well this time.” In the baseline condition, no praise was given.

The real guessing game, which was identical across the three conditions, followed this practice trial. On each trial, the children were instructed not to peek. Unbeknownst to them, the game was rigged to ensuresuccess on two of the first five trials and failure on three...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Godfather of Missile Defense


When President Ronald Reagan asked physicist George A. Keyworth II to start thinking about how to shoot down an enemy’s ballistic missiles, few imagined a world in which a chubby dictator’s missiles and bombs would pose a threat to the U.S.

Jay Keyworth, who died on Aug. 23, became Reagan’s science adviser in 1981. Reagan believed that the Cold War needed to end, and part of his strategy for ending it was developing a technology to shoot down ballistic missiles in flight. It is hard to overstate the derision that greeted Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. The day after Reagan announced SDI, Sen. Ted Kennedy mocked the President’s “reckless Star Wars schemes.”

Used relentlessly by the press to describe SDI, the Star Wars name stuck, and Jay Keyworth’s job was to convince skeptics that Reagan’s idea of shooting down missiles in flight wasn’t Hollywood science fiction.

The opposition to building antimissile defense systems never relented. To his credit, and the country’s good fortune, Jay Keyworth was tireless in publicly supporting the effort as scientifically achievable. It eventually gave us systems like Thaad, which can effectively intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and is now deployed on the Korean Peninsula...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens, one of the remarkable spies of World War II


Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens, one of the remarkable spies of World War II, died last week in France at the age of 98. Like so many intelligence officers, she had a gift for getting people to talk. But she had something else: dauntless, unblinking courage in facing the enemy.

De Clarens stole one of the vital secrets of the war — Germany’s plans to build and test the V-1 and V-2 rocket bombs at Peenemünde. Her intelligence encouraged the British to bomb Peenemünde, delaying and disrupting the program, and “saving thousands of lives in the West,” said R. James Woolsey Jr., then CIA director, at a private ceremony at the agency in October 1993 honoring de Clarens.

How did this charming, diminutive woman accomplish her mission impossible? She listened. De Clarens was a fluent German-speaker, and in 1943, she teased the first threads of information about the rocket program out of some German officers she had befriended in Paris as a translator. And then she kept pulling on the string. 
“I was such a little one, sitting with them, and I could not but hear what was said. And what they did not say, I prompted,” she told me in 1998. “I teased them, taunted then, looked at them wide-eyed, insisted that they must be mad when they spoke of the astounding new weapon that flew over vast distances, much faster than any airplane. I kept saying: ‘What you are telling me cannot be true!’ I must have said that 100 times.”

“I’ll show you!” one of the Germans finally said, eager to convince the pretty, young Frenchwoman. He displayed a document from Peenemünde; de Clarens, with her photographic memory, registered every word and transmitted the information through her case officer to London.

Her code name was “Amniarix,” and she was part of a British spy ring in Paris known as the “Druids.”...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Rex Murphy: 'Antifa' are despicable fascists — call them that, openly, now


...A neo-Nazi and/or white supremacist threat to American democracy exists only in the heads of those who read Marvel Comics for news and think Twitter is a medium for sentient beings.

The real question about the antifa nihilist deadheads is how long so many are going to (a) avoid making judgements on them and (b) put up with their blatant violence and duplicity. In a multitude of press reports after Charlottesville they enjoyed a real pass. The most witless or insolent of reporters/commentators likened them (Lord, spare us) to the Allied soldiers landing on the Normandy beaches, a classic example of the excusatory overtime put in to “justify” a set of thugs who enact the defining brutalities of fascism while calling themselves anti-fascist. What we have seen from antifa and Black Bloc is Mussolini in the bud.

Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun was outstandingly on the mark from the beginning, seeing them for what they were. Most reporters HuffPuffed their disdain for the troglodytes of the right, but held mum or waxed pious on the antifa mobs.  Following an attack on a reporter at the Berkeley melee, Goldstein offered this gem of rebuke: “Hey, look, Mainstream Media! Your pets are off the leash.”

Bloomberg Media woke up a week late with “Antifa has more in common with the Nazis than with American ideals.” No less than Nancy Pelosi, after Berkeley, found it expedient to declare “The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

Would we could have heard some of the same here in Canada after the Montreal melee. The Toronto Star, in a backflip that left spider monkeys agape in awe of its agility, declared in a headline: “Violence at Right Wing Protest.” Their overworked public editor should do a column: “Fake News and Atkinson Principles, How Easily they Blend.” All the violence at that right-wing protest was antifa, Black Bloc and left wing.

Antifa and Black Bloc, in one or other of their various incarnations, have been around for two decades, and provided they were in sync with any “progressive” agenda item, earned a media pass...

Justin Trudeau seeks to punish leaker of his secret multi-million tax dollar payout to a terrorist


The Privy Council Office says it has launched an investigation into who leaked confidential information about settlement money paid to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr.

Following a report from online political news website iPoliticspublished on Wednesday, PCO spokesperson Shane Diaczuk confirmed that his office “is following up to determine the facts surrounding this release of information and will be taking appropriate measures.”...