Common Sense Returns, Finally: UK courts have overturned the Bell v. Tavistock (poor) decision

In December 2020, courts in the UK inexplicably and incompetently ruled that hormones were “experimental” and thus should be denied to Transgender children in the UK.  TERFs and other anti-Trans bigots cheered and rubbed their hands with glee at the thought of en masse suicides.

The original decision was a fiction and based on a falsehood.  The anti-Trans bigots found a single “detranstion” case of a teen, and (mis)used that individual as the tool of their agenda.  They made the false argument that one case of one person “detransitioning” meant that all Transgender children should be denied medical care that would save their lives.

They falsely inferred that treatment was “forced onto children” as if doctors were performing experiments on unwilling patients.  Hormone replacement therapy is not permanent, it can be reversed, so any claim of “harm” from HRT is a lie.  But the harm from undergoing unwanted bodily changes IS a source of harm to Transgender children.

The decision was reversed based on the Gillick Principle, that children who are aware can and should be part of their own medical decisions. The right for Transgender children to obtain care is no different than children wanting to be vaccinated or receive blood transfusions in defiance of their parents or others with legal custody.  A child’s health should come first before ideology, religion, or anything else.

Mermaids UK, a charity that helps Transgender children, has issued a statement in response to the decision and the ruling being overturned.

Mermaids statement on the Bell v Tavistock appeal

The Court of Appeal has today told the High Court that it got Bell v Tavistock wrong. Its judgment today overturns a judgment that the High Court made in December 2020. This is wonderful news following almost 10 months of huge difficulty.

Mermaids and most importantly the trans young people and their families that we represent are relieved that the Court of Appeal has today (Friday 17 September 2021) overturned the High Court’s decision from December 2020 that effectively barred trans young people from accessing life-saving medical treatment on the NHS unless they had a court order.

The decision today has reinstated the test of Gillick and re-emphasised that it is for the clinician together with the patient and the family to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. It was not for the court to make generalisations about consent at different ages, nor should the court be routinely part of the consent process for puberty blockers.

The Good Law Project also issued a statement:

Update from Court – The Bell v Tavistock appeal

Over the last two days, the Court of Appeal has heard submissions in relation to the decision made by the High Court in December regarding the ability of children under 16 with gender dysphoria to consent to treatment with puberty blockers.

Although the judges in the Appeal made clear that the High Court had not found illegality according to the terms of the initial claim (i.e. that children under the age of 16 could never meaningfully consent to treatment with puberty blockers; or that they were not being provided with the correct information to enable them to do so), the judges had issued a declaration and provided guidance in the judgment that has sown confusion and doubt in the minds of clinicians and patients as to the steps legally necessary for prescription.

Barristers for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust yesterday argued that in its decision the Divisional Court wrongly departed from what’s known as the Gillick principle of the capacity of a child to consent to treatment, and relied on unsubstantiated and improperly submitted evidence.

Fenella Morris QC representing the Trust emphasised the highly responsive and individualised consent checking processes which are applied when considering a referral for the consideration of puberty-blocking hormones. She also argued that the regulatory framework that governs such decisions is already both lawful and effective, in line with the principles set out in Gillick, and that a young person and their family should lawfully be supported by a clinical team to achieve informed consent, rather than requiring intervention by the Court.

The reversal means doctors will now be making medical decisions on a case by case basis (as they should be), and not by courts making sweeping judgements without concern for or endangering children’s health.

The question now is, will TERFs and other anti-Trans bigots like Rowling take the Scanners response to this?

Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Lokomotive Yaroslavl Team of 2011

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl are a hockey team in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).  Most KHL teams (19) are based in Russia, but five clubs are in nearby countries (Finland, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, China). This means many flights are on Russian air carriers, whether commercial or charter.

In 2011, Lokomotiv had a new head coach in Brad McCrimmon (1989 Stanley Cup champion with Calgary, also a long time Philadelphia Flyer) who was highly respected on and off the ice across North America and Europe.  They also had many high profile players such as Pavol Demitra, bringing them in and away from the NHL with large salary offers.  Oil prices peaked in the early 2010s (Russia is a major exporter), so many KHL teams and their sponsors had money to spend.

Below is a photo of the 2011 team, taken days before their season began.

 

On September 7, 2011, ten years ago, thirty sevem team members (players, coaching, staff, etc.) boarded a charter flight for an away game in Minsk, Belarus.  The Finnish goaltending coach and reserve players did not travel with the team.  Spirits were high for the new season, and everyone expected things to be normal. The flight crew were very experienced, and it was a sunny day.

Within an hour, all but two on the plane would be dead.

While the crew were experienced, and the captain the most experienced, he was not very familiar with the plane they were flying. He unknowingly was activating the brakes while trying to take off (video of computer animation). The plane become airborne a few hundred metres after the end of the runway, but crashed less than a kilometre away.  As all planes are at takeoff, it was loaded with fuel.  The crash ripped apart the plane, burning and killing all but player Alexander Galimov (who would die of burns the next day) and the flight engineer who was in the back of the plane.  He was the only survivor. It was the third worst sports related airplane crash ever (in number of athletes killed, not other passengers).

The coaching staff were three well known names: McCrimmon, Alexander Karpovtsev, and Igor Korolev. Among the players who died were several former NHL and AHL players and well known international players: Pavol Demitra, Robert Dietrich, Stefan Liv, Ruslan Salei, Josef Vašíček, among many others.

The disaster was notable for how it effected the entire hockey world. This wasn’t just a Russian sports disaster, every major hockey playing country was affected.  Everyone in the NHL and top European leagues (Finland, Germany, Sweden, Czechia, etc.) knew somebody on that team.  I don’t know if there has been another sports related incident or disaster (other than 1955 Le Mans race and the 1972 olympics) that has affected as many countries and people at the same time.

Though I had stopped watching hockey when I moved abroad (internet streaming wasn’t a thing, no internet radio stations carried games, and the US military channels in South Korea never broadcast the NHL), I knew about and had watched many of these players in the 1990s.  The news was devastating to hockey fans everywhere.

More Stuff To See: A video about factorials

I also ran across this video today, the seven types of factorials.  I knew several of them from statistics, compsci, and math classes in college: Standard, Double, and Primorial.  I’ve seen and used Hyperfactorial, but didn’t know its name or that it’s a thing; many Asian countries, cultures and religions are big on the number 108 (3^3 * 2^2 * 1^1).  Subfactorial and Exponential are cool but I never saw them, and I’m sure I would have encountered Superfactorial if I had gone on to more advanced stats or math classes.

What he doesn’t explain in the video is why he’s holding that plushie Pokemon ball.

And cripes, did I feel old.  “Hashtag”, guy?  Not pound or number sign (#)?

 

I Knew: But the detailed explanation helps

Have you ever wondered why there are no green stars?  A good educated guess is that it’s related to the narrow spectrum of visible light, that green is in the middle of the red, green, blue spectrum which together makes white light.  But this video gives a more detailed and comprehensible explanation of the science that the layperson can understand.

 

Where he lost me was when he hypothesized about how a star could appear green: an alien intelligence using “Dyson spheres” and “building a green filter around a star as a beacon” to attract attention.  But why create massive constructions when radio signals would be easier and detectable much further away?  Otherwise, it’s worth fifteen minutes (except for the ad from 5:20 to 6:20).

 

Grandfathered In, Part 2: I tried to Warner you….

Scatterbrain and procrastinator that I am, I never got around to the second part on the family tree of Chase aka Robots (the first written in January 2021).  The anniversary of a key computer game has finally kicked me out of my laziness.

This is Chase’s second family tree: First Person Shooters.  (This was originally intented to be the third part, but what the hey.)

As mentioned in part one many moons ago, Chase was the impetus for Berzerk, a twitchy maze game from 1980 with walls and robots trying to kill you.  At that time, Silas Warner was trying to create a game about World War II, watching films like “The Guns Of Navarone” for inspiration.  Around that time, he played Berzerk in an arcade and decided to create a slower paced and more puzzle-like maze game where the player’s goal was to escape from a Nazi castle.  Thus, Castle Wolfenstein and its sequel Beyond Castle Wolfenstein came to be.

Castle Wolfenstein was released in September 1981, forty years ago.

 

 

More below the fold.

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He’s Gone: Clive Sinclair, dead at (ZX)81

Clive Sinclair has died after a ten year battle with cancer (July 30, 1940 to September 16, 2021).

Sinclair was a prolific inventor, who created the first pocket calculator in 1972 (two years before Texas Instruments), the Sinclair Spectrum computer range which introduced millions of people to computing not just in the UK, but also across Europe and clones in the Soviet Union.  Generations of computer programmers exist because of his affordable computers.  He also invented a watch, an LCD TV, and others.

Kotaku: Father Of Home Computing Sir Clive Sinclair Dies Aged 81

Deutsche Welle: UK inventor, computing pioneer Clive Sinclair dies at 81

Boing Boing: Sir Clive Sinclair, 1940–2021

Engadget: Home computer legend Sir Clive Sinclair dies at 81

IEEE Computer Society: Sir Clive Sinclair (bio, not an obituary)

Some of the obituaries I’ve seen bother me because they keep bringing up the C5 and other failures instead of focusing on his successes and his influence on computing.  This is a man who changed lives without hurting people (unlike, say, politicians).  He deserves more respect than they’re giving him.

Self Owned: TERFs must love serving the patriarchy

The Terrible, Egregious Racists and Fascists (TERFs) prove once again how willing they are to live down to their name, that they are willing to serve and reinforce the patriarchy that their mouths frothingly claim to oppose.

Krystal Jackson was a school teacher in Fresno, California until recently after being arrested for raping a male junior high school student.  TERFs are using Jackson’s arrest to incite hate against Transgender women.

But there’s one slight, teeny-tiny, eentsy-weentsy, itty-bitty flaw in their argument:

Jackson is a cisgender heterosexual binary woman (or “biological woman” as gender hypocritical TERF trash call themselves).  Jackson is an XX person with breasts and a vagina that devoloped in the womb, not through surgery.
The TERF have passed judgement and ruled that Jackson “isn’t a woman, it’s a man with a penis!” because Jackson fails to meet the TERF standards of femininity and physical appearance.
From LGBTQ Nation:
Anti-transgender activists on Twitter are now saying that a woman who committed a sex crime is transgender because, they argue, the alleged molester’s mugshot doesn’t look like a cis woman.

Krystal Jackson, 39, is a teacher in the Kings Canyon Unified School District in California who was arrested this past Friday, accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy three times. She is facing four counts of rape, as well as several other charges connected to the alleged sexual abuse of the minor.

Local reporting has not said that Jackson is transgender or given anyone any reason to believe that she is. And a woman who claims to have grown up in the same town as Jackson said that she is “a cis hetero woman.”

But that’s not stopping anti-transgender activists from insisting that Jackson is transgender. The activists are commonly referred to as TERFs – transgender exclusionary radical feminists. They do not share the same ideology as most of the rest of the feminist movement and work with the religious right to oppose transgender civil rights.

“Does this mean HE gets to be placed in women’s prison??” wrote a Twitter user who goes by “Mel,” referring to Jackson with “he” and apparently arguing under the assumption that Jackson is transgender and should not be housed in a women’s prison. “Yeah, but Self ID is SUCH a grand idea.”

If not for the crime involved, this story would make for hilarious reading, especially while watching TERFs fall all over themselves.  First as they rabidly attack Jackson and spew insults at Transgender people, then as they beat a hasty retreat and try to scrub their facebook and twitter pages after Jackson’s genetics were revealed.  They want to pretend that they never said things that they did and were screencaptured.  And, of course, there are also the most rabid of all, those who still claim “Jackson is a man!” even after the majority of their ilk have run away from the story.
They must all wear coke bottle glasses.  They’re so short sighted that they can’t see what’s in front of them.

 

Point And Shoot: When politicians incite murder on camera

Gavin Newsom’s victory in Tuesday’s recall ballot was a foregone conclusion – not because “teh elekshun was stowlun!” as trumpkins would claim, but because the only people who wanted the recall vote were the excessively wealthy.  A 63% to 36% (7:4) margin of victory was inevitable, given Newsom’s management of the health crisis and other issues.

Rachel Maddow noted on Tuesday’s show (before the count was in) that Larry Elder’s laughable campaign admitted defeat in the recall vote, claiming they already have proof that the vote was rigged.  Before the vote happened.

At first that sounds like typical republican incompetence, but it was accompanied by words intended to incite violence.  Quoting Maddow, from the above link (Elder’s words in red):

[I]f you do not believe them, if you do not take these claims of theirs very, very seriously, they also want you to know the top republican candidate for governor in California also wants you to know that there’s a pretty good chance that if you don’t go along with this, if you don’t believe it, if you resist, there’s going to be some shooting.

Here is the opening salvo on that part of the website for Larry Elder, republican candidate for governor in California. Quote:

They say that in america, there are four boxes of liberty. The soapbox, the ballot box, the jury box, and the ammo box. We trusted in our elected officials to safeguard that ballot box. However, when those officials, either through laziness or incompetence, allow thieves to steal amidst the dead of night and cheat our ballot box, we can no longer rely on its contents.

Will we now have to fight the California jury box, in the hope that the final box – the one most akin to Pandora’s – remains closed?

If that isn’t an incitement to kill people after losing an election, what does it say?

As it turns out, a murder in Texas last November was a case of this.  A week after Cheetolini lost, a republican shot a married couple for being democrats, murdering the wife and severely injuring the husband who survived.  It was only revealed this week that it was a politically motivated murder.

Husband ‘relieved’ after suspect is charged for killing wife in central El Paso

EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — Daniel Kaufman, whose wife was shot and killed in central El Paso last year, said he is relieved to hear that someone has been charged for the crime.

El Paso police arrested 38-year-old Joseph Angel Alvarez on September 8, 2021.

According to the arrest affidavit, Alvarez conducted the crime because he didn’t agree with the beliefs or political views of the victims.

He was arrested in connection with the death of 50-year-old Georgette Kauffman and the assault on Daniel Kaufmann.

The shooting happened on November 14, 2020, at the 3000 block of Copper Avenue in central El Paso.

Cue republicans claiming that she “voted while dead”.

Don’t Try: Suicide by stupidity, as anti-vaxxer dies

Bob Enyart was an anti-vaxxer, anti-masker, religious fanatic, anti-LGBTQIA bigot and all around reprobate who contributed nothing to the world.  As a result of his own actions (refusing to wear a mask and refusing to be vaccinated), he died after contracting COVID-19.

Bob Enyart, proud ‘fanatic’ who fought virus mandates in court, dies of Covid-19

US radio host Bob Enyart — a self-proclaimed “right-wing religious fanatic” who urged a boycott of Covid-19 vaccines — has died after contracting the coronavirus earlier this month while fighting mask and social distancing restrictions in court.

The 62-year-old firebrand’s co-host Fred Williams confirmed Enyart’s passing in a Facebook post on Monday.

[. . .]

Enyart and his wife had refused to get the jab over false concerns that Big Pharma had “tested these three products on the cells of aborted babies,” he said on his website.

He was also an outspoken opponent of homosexuality and gay rights. On his old show, Bob Enyart Live, the host would “gleefully read obituaries of AIDS sufferers” while blasting the Queen song Another One Bites the Dust, according to Denver news outlet Westworld.

I’m not going to mock him or laugh at his death, but if he felt it was appropriate to play the song after someone’s demise, I’m happy to oblige him now that he can’t do it himself.  And his former co-host certainly won’t play it, falsely claiming it would “poor taste” to play it now.

Self Aggrandizing: Now I don’t have to hear to that Fleetwood Mac song

An amusing item: On September 3, Swedish band Night Flight Orchestra released their second album, Aeromantic II.  One song on the album is called “How Long”, seen below.

Two months ago, I joined a facebook group that fits my interests: Rhiannons Of The World Unite, a group where everyone is name Rhiannon, Rhianna, Rhea, or some variation of the name.  It’s very fun and very friendly.

Many in the group were named Rhiannon because of the Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac song.  That’s not why I chose it; I attended high school with someone who had the name.  I always liked how the name looked and sounded and its meaning, and it suits my UK ancestry.  She and I both graduated in 1985, which means she had the name a decade before the song came out.

Night Flight Orchestra’s song “How Long” contains the name (unrelated to Ace’s “How Long” from 1974).  Now I don’t have to hear that Fleetwood Mac song anymore, I can point people to this one.  There are only two Fleetwood Mac related songs that I like: Judas Priest’s cover of “Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)”, and Walter Egan’s “Magnet And Steel”.  Egan had a crush on Nicks (the song is about her), and Lindsay Buckingham played guitar on the song.

How long, Rhiannon, until the morning comes?

How long, Rhiannon?

I don’t know if I will ever face the light again

How long?

Bring whatever that can help me through the night

It’s nice to have a good song with your own name in it.  I have a friend named Shannon, and the only song I know of is that putrid Henry Gross song.

Bits Flip: How something so miniscule can pose a huge hazard

A quick one, since I should already be in bed:
The latest Veritasium video talks about a problem with computers that we can’t eliminate: bit flips caused by cosmic rays and interstellar particles.  You would think it would be impossible to detect a single bit flip in 64 bit computers with gigabytes of RAM, but he cites several provable examples, some which people have been recorded and documented.  (One of them proving why electronic voting is a bad idea and should always be done on paper ballots.)
There is another way bit flips can happen.  Bits in a computer are not actually “on and off”, charged or no charge.  They’re high and low states of charge, and if an improper charge is in between, a bit can be interpreted as on, off or both.

 

I Apologize: Excuse my absence

And I know there were factual blunders in my last post that need correcting, even without looking at the comments.

I’ve had several things to write about but not the opportunity.  A combination of work, a typhoon, and a failing refrigerator partly stole my time.  But more importantly, two relatives of Taiwanese friends are not doing well: one with a blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine that went to his brain, and one with cancer whose chances depend on experimental medication.  If only money were the problem, everything would be fine.

I do have something to say about Saturday’s 48th anniversary, the 162nd anniversary twelve days ago, and some other recent events.  I’ll get to them this week as time allows.

They Lose Again: Three times over

Chris Hayes’ “All In” show on MSNBC went all in yesterday, showing the direct link between US political incompetence, racism, and 2001/9/11.  A twenty year war was rationalized on the deaths of a scant few corpses while the results of rightwing ideology are three thousand times worse.

Two thousand nine hundred and ninety six people died in New York’s World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, almost 20 years ago.  Thanks to the US response to the attack, there are “officially” over 37,000 military dead from Iraq and Afghanistan (combat and suicides, not counting other losses), more than twelve times the deaths of that one terrorist attackThe two illegal wars have cost US$6.5 trillion dollars in interest alone, not counting principal. And that’s without counting the mental health issues, economic loss, and loss in political standing over twenty years while China’s rose.  With nothing to show for it.

Doing nothing definitely would have been better for the US.  And Iraq and Afghanistan would likely be no worse off than they are now.

Hayes also points out the number of US deaths from COVID-19 and the rightwingnut ideology that put clowns in place like Trump, Desantis, Abbott, Roem and others, how the inmates are now running the asylum prison-state.  Religious-driven fascism, racism and fanaticism are only one step away from taking over, and the democrats seem intent on making the fanatics electable for the last time (after which there won’t be elections).  They’re labelling the refugees and allies from Afghanistan “terrorists”, and the ignorant racist rabble will swallow it without a second’s thought.

 


 

I looked at the numbers.  The “official” death toll of COVID-19 in the US between March 25, 2020 and August 25, 2021 is 648,350 (which does not include those not counted and those falsely listed as dying of other causes).

That time span is 518 days or 74 weeks.  The US has averaged 8761 deaths per week.  For the past seventeen months, more people die in the US of COVID-19 every two and a half days due to incompetent national and state “leadership” than on one day in September 2001.

Those whining about “freedumb!”, who oppose wearing masks and oppose vaccination, are undoubtedly also those who had no objection to forfeiting civil liberties under the “patriot act”.

 

Just imagine where the US would be if George Bush had not retaliated against the terrorist attacks, had just sat on his hands and done nothing for eight years, and didn’t sign all those tax breaks and vetoed the repeal of Glass-Stegall. It would have been one of the most financially successful two term presidencies in US history, the “crazies” (as Karl Rove described them) wouldn’t be in power, and the US would be in an even stronger financial and military position than it was in 2000.

The US stuck its hand through a fence got scratched by the swipe of a claw. Instead of bandaging the wound and learning not to do that again, it jumped over the fence to “teach that animal a lesson” and got mauled, barely escaping.  And wants to pretend it was the winner.

I think we can no officially declare Osama bin Laden the winner.  Some might say “The US went home empty handed” but that’s not true. The government and military’s collective ass was handed to them.

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Another Year Passes: Happy Left Handers Day

International Left Handers Day was August 13th, the day when left handers cut the strings on bank pens, turn papers around on clipboards and staple papers on the opposite side to annoy the rest of you.  It was forty-five years ago, August 13, 1976, that Left Handers Day was founded.

(Yes, it was two weeks ago, but my job is eating my time.  The foreigner at the other school in my buxiban chain bailed in May when the mass spread happened.  He didn’t have the money to go two to three months without work, no speculation on his spending habits.  That means I’m covering and prepping the online classes for two schools, 30 different groups of kids per week until they hire a second teacher for October.  Not fun.  At least I’m getting paid.)

Dr. Marietta Papadatou-Pastou, Assistant Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, was interviewed by the International Labour Organization for a podcast published on August 13, 2021:

Left-handed workers in a right-handed world

About 10 per cent of people are left handed, yet the world of work is overwhelmingly set up for right-handers. There are also numerous examples – historical and contemporary – of discrimination and stigma in relation to left-handed people.

International Left-handers Day, on August 13, aims to counter some of these disadvantages and draw attention to the strengths of the world’s left-handed workers and the problems they face.

Below the fold are a number of studies published over the last twelve months.  There were enough scientific publications this year that I didn’t have to write anything.  Good, I can dispense with the fluff pieces and “who’s a lefty?” lists.

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Computer Games: Fifty years of wasted money and time

Commercialized computer gaming turns fifty years old this month.  It was August 1971 when Nolan Bushnell and Jim Stein unveiled Computer Space, the first coin operated video game.  Sure, there were computer games in the 1960 (tennis on an oscilloscope, chess and other games created on PDP computers at MIT) but Computer Space was the first game created outside of academic circles for commercial entertainment and profit.

Computer Space was a two player shoot-em-up, similar to MIT’s spacewar.

Here are a few articles on its history.

BBC: Computer Space and beyond: 50 years of gaming

What is now a multi-billion pound industry started out as a humble arcade machine created by a group of college students in 1971.

Before then, playing video games had been a geeky pastime for small groups on university tech campuses, but in 1971, Nolan Bushnell, a student at the University of Utah, joined up with Jim Stein, a Stanford University researcher, to make a game.

They were both players of a game called Spacewar!, which was being run in a university lab. From Nolan’s experience of working at amusement parks, the pair saw potential in making an arcade version of a video game.

After working on it for several years, they joined forces with Nutting Associates, an arcade company. Their game, Computer Space, was released for the first time for a physical test run in August 1971.

Herald Scotland (2021): Happy 50th Birthday video games

Engadget (2014): The world’s first video game arcade machine is a glittery fiberglass wonder

Technologizer (2011): Computer Space and the Dawn of the Arcade Video Game

Which reminds me: scatterbrain that I am, I never finished off the second and third parts about the computer game Robots and its 50th anniversary.