Quotulatiousness

February 22, 2018

DicKtionary – E is for Eugenics – Otmar von Verschuer

Filed under: Germany, History, Science — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

TimeGhost
Published on 21 Feb 2018

E for eugenics, pseudo science about race,
Selective breeding of humans can make the world a purer place,
When saying, “that’s scary”, those words are ne’er truer,
Then of the main man today, Otmar von Verschuer.

Hosted by: Indy Neidell
Written by: Spartacus Olsson
Produced and Directed by: Astrid Deinhard
Executive Producers: Bodo Rittenauer, Astrid Deinhard, Indy Neidell, Spartacus Olsson
Camera by: Jonas Klein
Edited by: Spartacus Olsson, Jonas Klein

A TimeGhost chronological documentary produced by OnLion Entertainment GmbH

Dieting and mental health

Filed under: Health — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Kaitlin Ugolik discusses her own recent experience of trying a new diet:

We don’t often discuss the mental impact of restrictive diets like Whole30 (no “inflammatory” foods), keto (low carb, high fat) or paleo (foods supposedly eaten during the Paleolithic era). People like to tout the weight loss and mood-boosting effects of these diets, but experts say they can push some of us toward disordered eating.

I tried Whole30 this January, and at first I kind of enjoyed it. I tend to get overwhelmed by options and confused about what’s the latest “right” thing to eat for breakfast, so it was nice to have guidelines. It gave me an excuse to make smoothies and try some new dinner recipes, too.

A few days in, though, I started noticing some disconcerting thoughts. I was reading the labels on everything and starting to think of anything that had any kind of processed sugar — cane sugar, brown rice syrup, anything — as “bad.” I also noticed that some of Whole 30’s carceral language was starting to stick in my head. Foods are labeled as “compliant” or “non-compliant,” for example. Knowing several people who have struggled with eating disorders, I wondered if diets like this, that say you can’t even eat beans or quinoa, might be a gateway to disordered eating for some people. The consensus among the experts I spoke to is that they are.

“All weight-loss diets work against learning to eat ‘normally’ according to appetite cues, which is also called intuitive eating,” said Karen Koenig, a Florida-based social worker who counsels people with eating disorders. “The more we restrict eating—by food type, weighing food, or by counting calories or fat grams—the more we ignore and override our body’s signals for hunger, satisfaction and fullness.”

While some people do benefit from restrictive diets because of their choice-limiting nature, like I did at the beginning, many have a hard time not taking it to the extreme. Most people are taking part in these diets as part of some kind of goal, whether it’s to lose weight, clear up their skin, or just feel better. If (and more likely when) it doesn’t work, it’s normal for anyone to get frustrated. But for people who are already prone to anxiety and obsessive thinking (*raises hand*) or those who have “addictive personalities,” a detox or diet can actually lead to something much more dangerous.

Curse of the FRIDAY THE 13TH I IT’S HISTORY

Filed under: Europe, France, History, Middle East, Religion — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

IT’S HISTORY
Published on 21 Feb 2018

On today’s episode we are going to talk about the end of the Templar Order and the famous curse of Jacques de Molay.

The worst episode of The Avengers? “How to Succeed … at Murder”

Filed under: Britain, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In a column ostensibly devoted to the British Labour party’s ongoing ructions over their “all women shortlist” problems, David Cole recaps what he calls the worst episode of the brilliant 1960s British TV show The Avengers:

(Image via Aveleyman.com)

When I think of The Avengers, what comes to mind is not the bloated comic-book franchise in which overpaid actors cavort in front of a greenscreen for the masturbatory pleasure of nerds. No, to me, there is and will always be only one Avengers, and that’s the 1960s British crime and espionage TV series. As a kid, it was my favorite show, and I have fond memories of rushing home from elementary school every day to catch Emma Peel (my favorite of John Steed’s female partners) in action.

Among Avengers superfans, there is one episode that is generally considered the worst. Indeed, the episode is outright despised, because in a series lauded (and properly so) for being a trailblazer when it came to presenting strong, intelligent, and independent action heroines, the episode “How to Succeed…at Murder” is seen as a giant chauvinistic step backward. It’s known as the “anti-feminist” episode, the one that took the show’s message of female empowerment and stood it on its head. “How to Succeed…at Murder” was first broadcast in March 1966. The setup is typical Avengers-style mystery. Prominent businessmen are being murdered by unknown assailants, and it’s up to Steed and Peel to get to the bottom of it. It turns out, a group of sexy female ballet students have created a secret society dedicated to the destruction of powerful men. They use their feminine charms to get hired as secretaries, only to quickly begin taking control of the business to the point that when they murder the boss, ownership falls to them. The society’s motto is “Ruination to all men.”

Mrs. Peel infiltrates the group and learns that the girls take their orders from a female marionette, which seems to speak and move on its own. In a voice somewhat resembling that of a drag queen, the marionette explains the group’s mission: “To take woman out of the secretary’s chair and put her behind the executive desk. To bring men to heel and put women at the pinnacle of power.”

The marionette’s “helper” is Henry, the clumsy, doughy owner of the ballet school where the secret society meets.

Emma is soon exposed as an infiltrator, and it’s up to Steed to confront the evil ballerinas on their home turf. “No man will dominate us again,” the girls crow as they hold Steed at gunpoint. However, the unflappable Steed quickly deduces that the marionette is actually being controlled remotely by…Henry. Yep, these women had a male boss all along! Revealed as the mastermind, Henry tearfully explains that following the loss of his late wife’s ballet company at the hands of greedy investors, he vowed vengeance against powerful businessmen (it’s also revealed that the marionette is crafted in his wife’s image, and Henry, his mind bent by grief, actually believes he’s his dead wife when he gives the puppet voice). To achieve his revenge against the business world, Henry took advantage of the anti-male sentiments of his students. “No man will ever dominate you?” Steed mockingly asks the girls. “You’ve been taking orders from a man all this time!” As the murderous dancers stand crestfallen, their mouths agape, their boastfulness sapped, Emma disarms the lead girl and beats the living crap out of each and every one of them.

You cannot read a review of this episode on any Avengers fansite without encountering the words “sexist,” “reactionary,” or “misogynistic.” The vitriol stems from the fact that the man-hating feminists turn out to be gullible morons. In their fanatical crusade against male domination, they inadvertently allowed a weak, delusional man-who-believes-he’s-a-woman to dominate and control them.

How to Read Wood Grain | Paul Sellers

Filed under: Woodworking — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Paul Sellers
Published on 2 Feb 2018

What does it mean to ‘read the grain’ in woodworking? In this video Paul explains what this means, how to do it, and how it helps you achieve better, quicker results. Paul shows how some pieces of wood can simply be planed using a shallow set and a sharp plane while others need to be planed in the right direction. Sometimes wood can be planed in either direction but occasionally there are pieces of wood that are too difficult to tackle with a plane at all.

For more information on these topics, see https://paulsellers.com or https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com

QotD: The importance of defining your terms

Filed under: Liberty, Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

If you don’t understand these [gun-related] terms already, why should you care? You should care because when you misuse them, you signal substantially broader gun restrictions than you may actually be advocating. So, for instance, if you have no idea what semi-automatic means, but you’ve heard it and it sounds scary, and you assume that it means some kind of machine gun, so you argue semi-automatics should be restricted, you’ve just conveyed that most modern handguns (save for revolvers) should be restricted, even if that’s not what you meant.

It’s hard to grasp the reaction of someone who understands gun terminology to someone who doesn’t. So imagine we’re going through one of our periodic moral panics over dogs and I’m trying to persuade you that there should be restrictions on, say, Rottweilers.

Me: I don’t want to take away dog owners’ rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
You: So what do you propose?
Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
You: Wait. What’s an “attack dog?”
Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
You: Huh? Rottweilers aren’t military dogs. In fact “military dogs” isn’t a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
Me: Don’t be ridiculous. Nobody’s trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn’t own fighting dogs.
You: I have no idea what dogs you’re talking about now.
Me: You’re being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
You: What the fuck.
Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I’m not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don’t need to own.
You: Can we?

Because I’m just talking out of my ass, the impression I convey is that I want to ban some arbitrary, uninformed category of dogs that I can’t articulate. Are you comfortable that my rule is going to be drawn in a principled, informed, narrow way?

So. If you’d like to persuade people to accept some sort of restrictions on guns, consider educating yourself so you understand the terminology that you’re using. And if you’re reacting to someone suggesting gun restrictions, and they seem to suggest something nonsensical, consider a polite question of clarification about terminology.

Ken White, “Talking Productively About Guns”, Popehat, 2015-12-07.

February 21, 2018

10 AMAZING things you can do with a combination square!

Filed under: Woodworking — Tags: — Nicholas @ 04:00

Stumpy Nubs
Published on 16 Feb 2018

LINKS TO TOOLS SEEN IN VIDEO (clicking on these links helps support us, at no cost to you)►
iGaging combination squares (high quality, moderate price): http://www.chipsfly.com/category/RS.html
Starrett combination squares (highest quality, high price): http://amzn.to/2sC1DLU

British KFC outlets fall fowl of distribution fustercluck

Filed under: Britain, Business — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

The BBC reports on recent supply disruptions that have forced the majority of British KFC restaurants to close or run reduced hours:

KFC says some of the outlets which had to close when delivery problems meant they ran out of chicken have reopened.

Latest figures show that 470 of the fast-food chain’s 900 outlets in its UK-based division were shut as of 13:00 on Tuesday.

That compares with 575 that were closed at 21:00 on Monday.

Last week, the fried chicken chain switched its delivery contract to DHL, which has blamed “operational issues” for the supply disruption.

Earlier a KFC spokesperson said: “We anticipate the number of closures will reduce today [Tuesday] and over the coming days as our teams work flat out all hours to clear the backlog.

“Each day more deliveries are being made, however, we expect the disruption to some restaurants to continue over the remainder of the week, meaning some will be closed and others operating with a reduced menu or shortened hours.”

[…]

Until 13 February, KFC’s chicken was delivered by specialist food distribution group Bidvest.

But after the contract switched to DHL, many of the food giant’s outlets began running out of chicken products.

The GMB union said it had tried to warn KFC that switching from Bidvest to DHL was a mistake. The change led to 255 job losses and the closure of a Bidvest depot, said Mick Rix, GMB national officer.

He said: “Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them.

“KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre. Three weeks ago, KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.”

Signs posted in a KFC store window in Nottingham
Photo from the Nottingham Post (click image to read their article)

H/T to Jim Guthrie, who said “I suspect that this will be a ‘how not to do it’ example in delivery logistics for years to come.”

Transistors – The Invention That Changed The World

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Real Engineering
Published on 12 Sep 2016

QotD: Regulation

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Economics, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

… “regulation” could also be described as high-handed and ignorant interference in the mutually advantageous deals contracted voluntarily among the miserable serfs of the state, interference at best inspired by antique theories of natural monopoly and using antique policies appropriate to obsolete technologies, and at worst by conspiracies to benefit existing rich people, backed by state violence. Much of regulation, looked at coldly, would fall under such a definition, if not immediately on its passage, then after a few years of technological change or regulatory capture.

Deirdre N. McCloskey, Bourgeois Equality, 2016.

February 20, 2018

Russian Rifles of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special feat. C&Rsenal

Filed under: History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 19 Feb 2018

Othais’ video about the Winchester Contract Rifle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4grSRn5wnHI

Indy and Othais from C&Rsenal talk about Russian Rifles during World War 1.

The EU transition period proposals “are the sort of terms which might be imposed by a victorious power in war on a defeated enemy”

Filed under: Britain, Economics, Europe, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Martin Howe on the way the European Union “negotiators” are treating the transition period for the UK as a re-run of the Versailles Treaty, with the UK substituted for the Kaiser’s Imperial Germany:

The European Union’s proposals for the UK’s transition period make grim reading. They are the sort of terms which might be imposed by a victorious power in war on a defeated enemy. They are not terms which any self-respecting independent and sovereign country could possibly agree to, even for an allegedly limited period.

Apparently, we must agree to implement every new EU law while having no say or vote; and we shall not be allowed to conclude trade agreements, even to roll over existing agreements which the EU has with other countries so that they continue to apply to us, without the EU’s permission. We must abide by the rulings of a foreign court on which there will no longer be any British representation.

Apparently, an outrageous and demeaning proposal by the Commission that the UK should be subject to extra-judicial sanctions under which the EU could suspend market access rights is now to be “re-worded”. But that would still leave the UK extremely vulnerable to damaging new rules being imposed on us during the transition period by processed in which we would have no vote and no voice. As reported in the Telegraph last week, the EU has plans to use these powers in order to launch regulatory “raids” on financial institutions on British territory and to make rules which will damage the competitiveness of the UK’s financial services industry.

But quite apart from the totally unacceptable terms for the transition period itself which are being proposed by the EU, the EU is seeking to use the transition period deal as a lever to secure damaging long term commitments from the UK. The most damaging of these is the EU’s attempt to lever the Irish border issue in order to force the UK to act as a long term captive market for EU goods exports by pressing for legally binding text that would force us into a long term obligation to comply with EU tariffs and regulations on standards of goods, on the specious ground that it is impossible to have an open border without all tariffs and regulations being the same.

There should be no doubt that being required to follow either EU tariffs or EU standards on goods would be a total disaster for the UK. It would make it difficult or impossible to conduct an independent trade policy, and to negotiate trade agreements with non-EU countries. How could we expect any significant trading partner to be willing to enter into an agreement with us, if we tell them that we cannot grant mutual recognition to their own goods standards because our own are permanently regulated by the EU? And how can subordinating the UK to the vassal status of taking rules on which we have no vote possibly be compatible with the British people’s vote to take back control of our laws and our courts?

Johan Norberg – Swedish Myths and Realities

Filed under: Economics, Europe — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

ReasonTV
Published on 6 Aug 2008

Johan Norberg, author of In Defense of Global Capitalism, sits down with reason.tv’s Michael C. Moynihan to sort out the myths of the Sweden’s welfare state, health services, tax rates, and its status as the “most successful society the world has ever known.”

QotD: Kindness

Filed under: Humour, Quotations — Tags: — Nicholas @ 01:00

Be kind. Mean is easy; kind is hard. Somewhere in eighth grade, many of us acquired the idea that the nasty putdown, the superior smile, the clever one liner, are the signs of intelligence and great personal strength. But this kind of wit is, to borrow from the great John Scalzi, “playing the game on easy mode.” Making yourself feel bigger by making someone else feel small takes so little skill that 12-year-olds can do it. Those with greater ambitions should leave casual cruelty behind them.

Megan McArdle, “After 45 Birthdays, Here Are ’12 Rules for Life'”, Bloomberg View, 2018-01-30.

February 19, 2018

Graphing good news

Filed under: Books, Economics, History — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

In the Times Literary Supplement, David Wootton reviews Enlightenment Now: A manifesto for science, reason, humanism and progress by Steven Pinker:

This book consists essentially of seventy-two graphs – and, despite that, it is gripping, provocative and (many will find) infuriating. The graphs all have time on the horizontal axis, and on the vertical axis something important that can be measured against it – life expectancy, for example, or suicide rates, or income. In some graphs the line, or lines (often the graphs compare trends in several countries) fall as they go from left to right; in others they rise. In every single one, the overall picture (with the inevitable blips and bounces) is of life getting better and better. Suicide rates fall, homicides fall, incomes rise, life expectancies rise, literacy rates rise and so on and on through seventy-two variations. Most of these graphs are not new: some simply update graphs which appeared in Pinker’s earlier The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011); others come from recognized purveyors of statistical information. The graphs that weren’t in Better Angels extend the argument of that book, that war and homicide are on the decline across the globe, to assert that life has been getting better and better in all sorts of other respects. The claim isn’t new: a shorter version is to be found in Johan Norberg’s Progress (2017). But the range and scope of the evidence adduced is new. The only major claim not supported by a graph (or indeed much evidence of any kind) is the assertion that all this progress has something to do with the Enlightenment.

Since the argument of the book is almost entirely contained in the graphs, those who want to attack the argument are going to attack the figures on which the graphs are based. Good luck to them: arguments based on statistics, like all interesting arguments, should be tested and tested again. Better Angels caused a vitriolic dispute between Pinker and Nassim Nicholas Taleb as to whether major wars are becoming less frequent. In Taleb’s view the question is a bit like asking whether major earthquakes are getting less frequent or not: they happen so rarely, and so randomly, that you would need records going back over a vast stretch of time to reach any meaningful conclusion; a graph showing falling death rates in wars over the past seventy years won’t do the job. But it certainly will tell you that lots of generalizations about modern war are wrong. Much, indeed most, of Pinker’s argument survived Taleb’s attack, which in any case was directed at only one graph among many.

A more radical line of criticism of Better Angels came from John Gray. How can one find a common standard of measurement for the suffering of a concentration camp victim, of a soldier who died in the trenches, and of someone killed in the firebombing of Dresden? To turn to economics, how can one find a common standard of measurement for books and washing machines, oranges and steak pies? Money, you might think, provides that standard, but what happens if many of the goods being measured – electric lighting, cars, televisions, computers – get cheaper and cheaper as time goes on, so that a rising standard of living is concealed by falling prices? For Gray, to place one’s faith in statistics, which claim to be measuring the unmeasurable, is no different from believing in conversations with angels or in the efficacy of Buddhist prayer wheels. Quantification is our religion.

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