Lazy linking – there is a lot going on

As everyone else, I am somewhat overwhelmed at the moment, and find it hard to find the time to write blogposts – instead I am fairly active on twitter, where I can be found under the handle Kriswager.

One of the big issues have been the BLM movement and the push-back on police violence. During this, the police has amply demonstrated that they don’t care about basic human rights, freedom of assembly, freedom of press, and a number of other fundamental principles of a society.

I could post hundreds of links on this subject, but here is one that I have come across recently.

Beverly Hills facing criticism after arrests of 28 peaceful protesters

Beverly Hills is facing criticism after officers arrested 28 people during a peaceful protest against police violence overnight, two weeks after imposing an unusual ordinance banning demonstrations in residential areas that “disrupted the tranquility.”

The latest protest, which began about 7:30 p.m. Friday and drew about 75 people, was the third demonstration in Beverly Hills organized by the Black Future Project, but the first that resulted in arrests, said organizer Austin Tharpe, 29.

The whole concept of an ordinance banning demonstrations in certain type of areas is fundamentally at odds with democratic concepts like the right to assembly.

On great product of the BLM movement and the talk about racism, is how people are stepping forward with stories about discrimination in workplaces, many of which are considered progressive.

Black Influencers Shortchanged By Big Brands Are Starting To Talk

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, as a new wave of Black Lives Matters activism ripples around the Black community and the world, Black people are choosing to speak up about the way we are treated in society and workplace.

People are lifting the lid on structural and institutional racism in their companies, on microaggressions in the office, and on the substantial career blocks and pay gaps they have faced in comparison with their white counterparts.

And what’s true of traditional careers is also true for Black influencers.

It is easy to dismiss the problems of influencers, since it can some times be hard to figure out what they are doing for the money that they get, but it should be a fundamental principle – no matter the job – that you should get equal pay for equal work (with clout as a factor in this case).

How to Know You’re Not Insane (And how a Cards Against Humanity Staff Writer was fired.)

This story is scary. A lone Black employee starts speaking out against racism at Cards Against Humanity, and they manage to get him committed to a mental ward (though pressure on his family). When he managed to get out again (not as easy as it sounds), he came back and got fired shortly after.

Cards Against Humanity has a progressive reputation much like e.g. Southpark, and the company is certainly progressive, when it e.g. comes to stand against Trump’s border wall. Unfortunately, as the article shows, they are progressive only when it comes to actions outside the company, not within the company.

I have always found Cards Against Humanity fake-edgy and faux-progressive, so I am not really that surprised by these news – other than the fact that it is possible to get people committed under such circumstances. That is a system ripe for misuse, as was the case here.

Popular YouTube channel FBE turns out to be racist

FBE is behind the popular kids/teens/college kids/adults/elders react channels, where a, often quite diverse, group of people react to something. FBE stands for Fine Brothers Entertainment, and the organization came out in support of BLM, which made several people remark on the fact that the founders, and owners, the Fine Brothers, had made racist sketches in the past, wearing blackface.

This is not the first time FBE has come under fire for being racist and sexist – most noteworthy was an anonymous article by a former FBE employee from last year.

A lot of people involved with FBE steps forward and share their stories about the problems at the place, leading to a number of popular reactors (people participating in the react videos) announcing that they are leaving. Others publish the fact that they were already in the process of leaving.

The link in the header takes you to a timeline of what have happened with loads of links.

Black Employees, Don’t Sign Away Your Right to Speak Out

[A]s we hold companies accountable when they share “we believe Black Lives Matter” statements, we must demand that black people feel empowered to share their stories of feeling sidelined, ignored and racially discriminated against. I stand with the labor activists, like the unions representing Condé Nast employees, who are calling for the ban of NDAs in such cases. I stand with my black peers like Tiffany Wines, who recently broke her NDA to publicly recount her painful experiences while working for Complex magazine.

After you leave a toxic work environment, not caving in to a “hush your mouth” document makes it better for the next black person. You can leave the door cracked with a detailed note. The bright and eager food editors have a right to know the names of allies, and the best office location to say a little prayer when times are rocky.

Not related to work, but rather to life outside work, Corina Newsome writes in the Audubon Magazine and tells fellow birders about life as a black birder in It’s Time to Build a Truly Inclusive Outdoors

It’s early April and American Woodcocks have begun twilight mating displays, making whistling, twirling falls from the sky. You’ve seen them before with friends, but to abide by social distancing rules you decide on a solo trip. Then you recall the sound of gravel behind you as a police car followed you to a trail head the other day. You quickly but calmly grabbed your binoculars and pointed them to a nearby tree. Not because you saw a bird, but to prove your innocence—to de-escalate what you feared could unfold. It’s cold outside and will be colder tonight when the woodcocks dance. You should layer up with your hoodie, but you know how that makes you look. Especially at night. Especially alone. You decide it’s better not to go.

If anyone ever is in doubt about the systematic, widespread racism in the US, articles like this clearly demonstrates how every aspect of the life of Black people in the US is affected. It is well past time it is addressed.

Unsurprisingly to everyone, the Trump administration keeps on proving to be horrible.

Federal officials allowed distribution of COVID-19 antibody tests after they knew many were flawed

Federal officials failed to immediately stop the distribution of many COVID-19 antibody tests they knew were flawed, leading to inaccurate data about the spread of the virus. Congress is now investigating why the FDA did not review the tests it allowed to be distributed widely throughout the U.S

This won’t surprise anyone remotely aware of what Antifa is, but it will certainly come as a surprise to both the US president and to many people living in conservative areas, fearing the great perils coming from Antifa.

White nationalist group posing as antifa called for violence on Twitter

A Twitter account claiming to belong to a national “antifa” organization and pushing violent rhetoric related to ongoing protests has been linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, according to a Twitter spokesperson.

It is a common tactic of the far-right to make fake profiles claiming to belonging to organizations that they are against. Some times these profiles are persons, but quite often they are supposed to be the actual organizations themselves. The tactic is more successful with leaderless organizations, like Anonymous and the Occupy Movement, and non-organizations like Antifa.

A couple of science related things.

Ethical and privacy considerations for research using online fandom data

As online fandom continues to grow, so do the public data created by fan creations and interactions. With researchers and journalists regularly engaging with those data (and not always asking permission), many fans are concerned that their content might end up in front of the wrong audience, which could lead to privacy violations or even harassment from within or outside of fandom. To better understand fan perspectives on the collection and analysis of public data as a methodology, we conducted both an interview study and a survey to solicit responses that would help provide a broader understanding of fandom’s privacy norms as they relate to the ethical use of data. We use these findings to revisit and recommend best practices for working with public data within fandom.

This article by Brianna Dym and Casey Fiesler seems much needed, and honestly isn’t just a necessary read for scientists doing research, but also, as they mention, the journalists writing about fandoms.

It’s Time to Abandon the “Classical Twin Method” in Behavioral Research

Twin studies supply the “scientific evidence” most often cited in support of the claim that human behavioral differences are strongly influenced by heredity. Yet genetic interpretations of twin studies of behavior, including areas such as IQ, personality, criminality (antisocial behavioral), schizophrenia, and depression are based on the acceptance of highly questionable or even false assumptions. I am compelled to keep writing about this because these studies have not gone away, despite the critics’ airtight arguments that indicate that they should have gone away a long time ago.

Twin studies are one of the common arguments used by evolutionary psychologists, and like everything else evo-psychologists use, they are deeply flawed at best, worthless in general.

New research reveals what made Danes stay home, and what didn’t

In a new study, researchers have shown how recommendations to maintain social distancing affect our behaviour. An experiment conducted among Danish residents at the peak of the pandemic reveals that reminders to stay home only affect people in poor health. The ensuing lessons about human behaviour can be crucial for campaigns in the second phase of the corona virus crisis.

It is worth remembering that Denmark is one of the success stories, but it seems like it wasn’t because of public appeals, but rather due to public restrictions. Most people were forced to work from home, which is considered a key factor in how Denmark got the spread under control.

Links to good causes

A lot of people are posting some great links to petitions, organizations, and fund raisers, helping BLM and other great organizations. I thought I’d post some links to some other great causes.

Code cooperative

The Code Cooperative is a community of people who learn, use, and build technology to create life changing possibilities for individuals and communities impacted by incarceration.

This initiative seems like a good way to have a lasting impact on the people it helps.

Modest Needs

Many, perhaps most, Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and is just one bad incident away from not being able to pay essential bills. The incident could be getting sick with COVID-19, having the car break down, or something else. Modest needs help such people stay afloat, often saving them from getting evicted, getting their power or phone cut of, or loosing their jobs.

In these pandemic times, the need for help is higher than ever.

Doners Choose

Founded in 2000 by a high school teacher in the Bronx, DonorsChoose empowers public school teachers from across the country to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students. Right now there are thousands of classroom requests that you can help bring to life with a gift of any amount.

It is amazing that it is necessary in a rich country like the US, but all too many schools are dependent on teachers buying supplies out of their own wages and/or people donating money and things. Unsurprisingly, this especially affects schools with many POC.