Lazy linking

A few things I have come across on the internet, which I thought might interest others.

Hail Satan?: The Satanists battling for religious freedom – A profile of the upcoming movie about the Santanic Temple and their fight for religious freedom and women’s rights.

Related to my blogpost on Trump, Greenland, and Denmark, here is a fun fact – The U.S. ambassador to Denmark starred in a movie mocked by MST3K

Something different from the stuff I usually post about – an archive of folk music from around the world. There is not a lot in it yet, but I suspect it will grow over time.

A somewhat scary article by Carl Zimmer in the NY Times: Zika Was Soaring Across Cuba. Few Outside the Country Knew.

The mosquito-borne virus spread through the island in 2017, but global health officials failed to sound the alarm.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who grew up around ‘broken’ and defeated Nazis, has some blunt advice for the alt-right (and Trump)

Lazy linking

A few links to articles and blogposts that I think worth sharing

Laurie Penny has written a long-read article about not debating people: No, I Will Not Debate You

Civility will never defeat fascism, no matter what The Economist thinks.

Professor Julie Libarkin of Michigan State University has compiled a list of know harassers in academia

Rates of sexual abuse and harassment in academic science are second only to the military. It’s estimated that at least half of women faculty and staff face harassment and abuse and that 20 to 50 percent of women students in science, engineering, and medicine are abused by faculty. Those numbers are generally based on surveys, which are an important way of getting a handle on the problem and how it changes women’s career trajectories.

But when it comes to holding institutions accountable and making meaningful changes, naming perpetrators may be even more powerful.

Julie Libarkin has taken on the challenge of creating a database of harassers. She’s a professor at Michigan State University and she heads the Geocognition Research Laboratory. She’s compiled a list of some 700 cases of sexual misconduct in academia.

The human league: what separates us from other animals? by Adam Rutherford

You are an animal, but a very special one. Mostly bald, you’re an ape, descended from apes; your features and actions are carved or winnowed by natural selection. But what a special simian you are. Shakespeare crystallised this thought a good 250 years before Charles Darwin positioned us as a creature at the end of the slightest of twigs on a single, bewildering family tree that encompasses 4bn years, a lot of twists and turns, and 1 billion species.

Republicans hoped voters would forget they tried to kill Obamacare. They bet wrong. by Andy Slavitt

Andy Slavitt described his article thus on twitter:

Do you notice this phenomenon where your MOC behaves differently in odd numbered years and even numbered years? My @USATODAY column this week explains.

There’s overwhelming evidence that the criminal-justice system is racist. Here’s the proof. by Radley Balko

This is very relevant to my earlier post about the need for a reform in the US judicial system.

Lazy linking

A few thing I have found of interest.

SF will wipe thousands of marijuana convictions off the books

San Francisco will retroactively apply California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases, District Attorney George Gascón said Wednesday — expunging or reducing misdemeanor and felony convictions going back decades.

The unprecedented move will affect thousands of people whose marijuana convictions brand them with criminal histories that can hurt chances of finding jobs and obtaining some government benefits.

Proposition 64, which state voters passed in November 2016, legalized the recreational use of marijuana in California for those 21 and older and permitted the possession up to 1 ounce of cannabis. The legislation also allows those with past marijuana convictions that would have been lesser crimes — or no crime at all — under Prop. 64 to petition a court to recall or dismiss their cases.

This is an important move. A lot of people have been jailed in the past for crimes which is no longer on the books, and it is only fair that they get released.

Science behind bars: How a Turkish physicist wrote research papers in prison

Thousands of academics in Turkish universities stand accused of either having supported terrorism or the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016. Theoretical physicist Ali Kaya is one of them. He was arrested three months after the failed coup and held for more than a year before his trial took place. On 20 December, a court declared him guilty of being a member of a terrorist organization and sentenced him to six years of imprisonment — but released him early owing to the time he had already served in prison while awaiting trial. Kaya says that he is innocent and is appealing against the verdict. In the meantime, he has been suspended from his academic post, and he has yet to learn whether his university, Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, plans to fire him or to await the outcome of the appeal.

This story shows how Turkey has become a totalitarian regime, and how scientists can persevere under horrible circumstances.

Your Grandma Was a Chain Migrant!

Jennifer Mendelsohn, a freelance writer based in Baltimore, has a low tolerance for bad faith. Last summer, after Stephen Miller, the White House senior policy adviser, went on television to support a bill that would penalize immigrants who didn’t speak English, Mendelsohn took to Twitter. “Miller favors immigrants who speak English,” she began. “But the 1910 census shows his own great-grandmother couldn’t.” Her tweet, which included a photograph of a census document indicating that Miller’s ancestor spoke only Yiddish, went viral. “It’s hilarious how easy it is to find hypocrisy,” Mendelsohn said. “And I’m a scary-good sleuth.”

Ursula K. Le Guin, the spiritual mother of generations of writers; John Scalzi pays tribute

World’s oceans rise to hottest temperatures ever recorded ‘by far’

‘Long upward trend that extends back many decades does prove global warming’

Not that we really need any more evidence.

Spiritual hyperplane

How spiritualists of the 19th century forged a lasting association between higher dimensions and the occult world

Interesting bit of history.

Lazy linking

A few links I thought worth sharing

Republicans Have Lost Touch With Blue America

You know how the media are always carrying on about how Democrats are so woefully out of touch with red America? Of course you do. We hear it in one form or another every day from conservative bloviators, and the mainstream media pick it up because after three decades of such attacks it’s just automatically accepted conventional wisdom. And I acknowledge there’s some truth to it. But here’s the other side of the coin, which no one ever, ever, I mean ever talks about: Republicans are totally out of touch with blue America.

Who goes Nazi? Media edition

There’s an article I think about pretty much every day called “Who Goes Nazi?” It is by Dorothy Thompson, one of the few Western journalists to interview Hitler, and it was published in the August 1941 issue of Harper’s. It is the best article ever written, narrowly beating Lynn Hirschberg’s profile of M.I.A. and Lynn Hirschberg’s profile of Kurt and Courtney.

The article’s premise is very simple. Thompson imagines a dinner party attended by well-heeled guests. Then she tells us which ones she thinks are, or will become, Nazis. “Nazism has nothing to do with race and nationality,” she writes. “It appeals to a certain type of mind.”

The Making of an American Nazi

How did Andrew Anglin go from being an antiracist vegan to the alt-right’s most vicious troll and propagandist—and how might he be stopped?

The Strange Saga of Arrested Inauguration Protesters’ Seized Property

Nearly a year after the J20 protests, the cops don’t seem to know exactly what they took from those arrested, or from who.

The articles is written by Siobhan

Richard Smith: Strong evidence of bias against research from low income countries

We know from previous studies that the acceptance rates of articles is higher when first authors come from English-speaking high income countries; and articles from high income countries have higher citation rates. Indeed, an author’s affiliation with the United States can increase his or her citations by 20% (probably because citations are derived from databases that favour American journals and because Americans cite Americans just as Brits cite Brits). But all this could be explained not by bias but simply because research from high income countries, particularly the US, is better. What has been needed is a study that controls for the quality of the research and even for the reviewer. Now we have such a study.

The study, which comes from Imperial College’s Institute of Global Health Innovation, is a double-blind randomised crossover trial in which 347 clinicians reviewed the same abstracts a month apart with the source of the abstract being changed without their knowledge between low and high income countries. Only three clinicians recognised that the abstracts came from a different source.

Link via Retraction Watch

Remembering

Came across this tweet, and thought I’d I share it

Wikipedia has a fairly good article on the 1973 student uprising.

Lazy linking

Another round of interesting links from the internet

Should complementary and alternative medicine charities lose their charitable status?

Right now, the Charity Commission is in the middle of a public consultation, asking whether or not organisations that offer complementary and alternative therapies should continue to have charitable status. This review presents an unprecedented opportunity for the public to turn the tide, and to make it clear to the Charity Commission that it is not enough to make a medical claim, but that such claims have to be backed up by reliable evidence.

The Good Thinking Society has raised the problem with organizations based on promoting pseudo-science having charitable status, forcing the Charity Commission to hold a public consultation on the subject. As part of his work for the Good Thinking Society, Michael “Marsh” Marshall (host of Skeptics with a K) has written a great opinion piece in the Guardian explaining the reasons behind the Good Thinking Society’s focus on this.

Note: the public consultation ended on March 19th, but it is still worth reading the piece anyway.

Making Progress Toward Open Data: Reflections on Data Sharing at PLOS ONE

Since its inception, PLOS has encouraged data sharing; our original data policy (2003 – March 2014) required authors to share data upon request after publication. In line with PLOS’ ethos of open science and accelerating scientific progress, and in consultation with members of the wider scientific community, PLOS journals strengthened their data policy in March 2014 to further promote transparency and reproducibility.[1] This move was viewed as controversial by many, particularly for PLOS ONE, the largest and most multidisciplinary journal to ever undertake such a mandate. In this post, we look at our experience so far.

Interesting blogpost by PLOS ONE on their data sharing policy, and what the effect of their policy has been, three years after they implemented it.

The Doomsday Scam

This NY Times Magazine article is from November, 2015, but I have just recently come across it. It is a fascinating look into a hoax-substance red mercury, which is supposed to be highly dangerous, and the people searching for it.

The Eurocrat Who Makes Corporate America Tremble

Vestager’s entire tenure has been laced with an instinctive mistrust of big corporations. She’s driven investigations of Amazon.com, Fiat, Gazprom, Google, McDonald’s, and Starbucks—and she still has two and a half years remaining in her term. Rulings on McDonald’s and Amazon, both under scrutiny for their tax deals with Luxembourg, are imminent. If Vestager levies a multibillion-dollar fine against Google—a distinct possibility because the company is fighting three separate European antitrust cases—she will truly set headlines aflame. Google came under review for allegedly forcing Android phone manufacturers to pre-install its suite of apps, favoring its own comparison-shopping services in its search results, and preventing third-party websites from sourcing ads from its competitors. As with Apple and Amazon, these cases were bequeathed to Vestager by her predecessor, but she’s accelerated them to their finish lines.

Great profile of EU commissioner Margrethe Vestager, which focuses not only on her work, but also how the American corporations don’t know how to approach her.

‘The Drug Whisperer’: Drivers arrested while stone cold sober (warning: autoplay video)

Apparently some American police districts teaches cops how to “recognize” signs of drug use. I use scare quotes around recognize, as this news segment clearly shows that they do nothing of the sort. Instead they jail people without a cause.

 

Lazy linking

Catching up on sharing interesting links – some of these might be used for posts in the future.

Seems like the far-right is spreading everywhere, including into the more niche communities, such as the furries. This has led to this article, which must be a headline writer’s wet dream (warning Daily Mail link)

Neo-Nazi furries uproar causes convention cancelation

The rise of the alt-right movement has many people nervous about the spread of neo-Nazi sympathies – and the furry community is apparently not immune to these political trends.

In shocking news, the Rocky Mountain Fur Con, the annual event that brings together furries, has been canceled after a splinter group known as the Furry Raiders came under fire for embracing ‘altfur’ symbols similar to those of Nazis and fascists.

Furries are pretty much at the bottom of the internet pecking order, but I can’t help notice that unlike many other groups that the far right has tried to infiltrate, they actually take action – in this case cancelling the convention.

My fellow FreethoughtBlogger Crip Dyke has written a great blogpost about the One Drop rule

The One Drop Rule

Shermer has had an abomination of a tweet called out by PZ Myers over on Pharyngula, and I’m sure most of you have read that. There are many good points to make about it and a number have been made there, but here I’d like to say something that hasn’t been mentioned yet over there. Here, I’d like to offer some praise for a One Drop Rule.

The One Drop Rule that Crip Dyke is praising is not the one that we generally know, but rather the inverse one – the one where minorities took in anyone who was forced out by the One Drop Rule, providing a community and a home for them.

This article is a year old, but it is important to keep sharing it, since the stereotype still exists, and forms policy in the US

A racist stereotype is shattered: Study finds white youth are more likely to abuse hard drugs than black youth

By now we can all agree that the real target of Reagan’s enduring war on drugs was never drugs, it was African Americans. But if rising incarceration rates among black youth or the utter failure to curtail drug use is not enough proof, perhaps a new study from Northwestern University on racial differences among drug users will do the trick.

According to the study’s findings recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, abuse and dependence on “hard drugs” (opiates, amphetamine, etc.) are “less common among delinquent African American youth than those who are non-Hispanic white.”

It can be debated whether the “war of drugs” is a good idea or not (though I think most of my readers will on the side of thinking it being a bad idea), but studies like this clearly shows that the law is being used to target minorities rather than doing what they are supposed to do.

 

The next link is an interesting article about mixed up identities and the slow awakening of the awareness of racial prejudice of a white woman in the US.

For 18 years, I thought she was stealing my identity. Until I found her

A woman apparently using my name meant a nightmare of unpaid traffic fines and a criminal record. But when I tracked her down, a different story emerged

Most of the problems encountered in the article is due to the lack of a national identity in the US, where people get confused with other people all the time (something John Oliver has covered relating to credit scores), but I found it interesting how the author slowly become aware of the racial prejudice that affected her namesake(s)

I had never been to any other kind of court except traffic court (at which, both times, the police officers had flat-out lied). While I was familiar with the statistics –75.6% of arrestees for misdemeanor crimes are African Americans or Hispanic – the reality took my breath away. Like any other privileged white person living in the protected segregation of New York, who isn’t directly dealing with the New York criminal justice system, I hadn’t seen it first hand. The room was almost entirely filled with people of color, other than the judge, the court-appointed lawyer, and me. Most of them had summonses for smoking pot, one of the city’s least offensive offenses.

 

It is incredible hard to hide one’s identity on the internet, especially if you are a public person, but you’d think that the head of the FBI would be able to do so. Apparently not.

This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account

Digital security and its discontents—from Hillary Clinton’s emails to ransomware to Tor hacks—is in many ways one of the chief concerns of the contemporary FBI. So it makes sense that the bureau’s director, James Comey, would dip his toe into the digital torrent with a Twitter account. It also makes sense, given Comey’s high profile, that he would want that Twitter account to be a secret from the world, lest his follows and favs be scrubbed for clues about what the feds are up to. What is somewhat surprising, however, is that it only took me about four hours of sleuthing to find Comey’s account, which is not protected.

Going to IT conferences, where security is often covered, has left me a bit cynical about the chances of hiding, or even protecting yourself, on the internet, but it seems Comey has done some pretty basic mistakes, which a person in his position should have avoided (e.g. not making the profile private).

 

This Scandinavia and the World strip pretty much summons up Brexit.

 

Berkeley Breathed made a great April 1st joke: A merger of Berkeley Breathed and Calvin and Hobbes. This even let to a great comic strip:

April 1st comic strip

Berkeley Breathed with Calvin and Hobbes

Lazy linking

I’ve come across a bunch of links that I thought my interest other people

First a bit of science geekery

What happens when a bullet hits an ‘unbreakable’ Prince Rupert’s drop

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Prince Rupert’s drop, this weird, scientific enigma is a glass object that’s created by dripping molten glass into very cold water.

That process creates all kinds of crazy physical properties, which we’ll go into later, but the end result is a teardrop-shaped piece of glass that’s pretty much unbreakable at its bulbous ‘drop’ end, but which shatters from the slightest pressure at the elongated tail end. Scientists have been obsessed with them since the 1600s. But what happens if you shoot one with a bullet?

There are a video showing the experiment in super slow motion.


 

And now, to something very different – the sometimes less foreseeable consequences of change

Self-Driving Cars Will Make Organ Shortages Even Worse

Much has been said about the ways we expect our oncoming fleet of driverless cars to change the way we live—remaking us all into passengers, rewiring our economy, retooling our views of ownership, and reshaping our cities and roads.

They will also change the way we die. As technology takes the wheel, road deaths due to driver error will begin to diminish. It’s a transformative advancement, but one that comes with consequences in an unexpected place: organ donation.

I don’t think the progress towards car automation, which would result in fewer fatal accidents in traffic, should be stopped because of a concern for fewer organ donations (because of those fewer deaths), but it is something that needs to be taken into consideration in future planning and research. There is work into growing organs in labs, and this should probably be intensified/prioritized.


 

There is a great NY Times article taking a look at fake academic journals and conferences.

A Peek Inside the Strange World of Fake Academia

The caller ID on my office telephone said the number was from Las Vegas, but when I picked up the receiver I heard what sounded like a busy overseas call center in the background. The operator, “John,” asked if I would be interested in attending the 15th World Cardiology and Angiology Conference in Philadelphia next month.

“Do I have to be a doctor?” I said, because I’m not one. I got the call because 20 minutes earlier I had entered my phone number into a website run by a Hyderabad, India, company called OMICS International.

“You can have the student rate,” the man replied. With a 20 percent discount, it would be $599. The conference was in just a few weeks, I pointed out — would that be enough time for the academic paper I would be submitting to be properly reviewed? (Again, I know nothing about cardiology.) It would be approved on an “expedited basis” within 24 hours, he replied, and he asked which credit card I would like to use.

If it seems that I was about to be taken, that’s because I was. OMICS International is a leader in the growing business of academic publication fraud. It has created scores of “journals” that mimic the look and feel of traditional scholarly publications, but without the integrity. This year the Federal Trade Commission formally charged OMICS with “deceiving academics and researchers about the nature of its publications and hiding publication fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.”

It is an interesting area – there are some conferences/journals that are obviously fake (OMICS seems to be one of these), so it is hard to feel sorry for people giving them money. Others are much better at hiding their fakeness, and might even been connected to reputable publishing houses, which makes me feel much more inclined to feel sorry for the people believing them to be real. Especially people without a strong academic background.


I am generally not into sob stories about sportspeople, but this is a truly inspiring one.

The remarkable story of TCU’s Rhodes scholar, Caylin Moore

Growing up in Southern California, Moore’s family struggled financially. Dinner often came from the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr. There were times when Moore’s mother didn’t have enough money to feed all three of her kids. “She would say, ‘Cay, You can only get one item,'” Moore recalled. “So I would just do pushups to take the pain from my stomach to the pain in my arms.”

Sometimes, Moore did pushups until he passed out in a pool of sweat. But he also built his upper body, which helped him excel in football, and that helped him reach college. Rather than give in to the many burdens on his shoulders, nudging him closer to the ground, Moore literally pushed back.

I think that it helps that the article focuses less on the sports aspects, and more on the academic and community aspects.


 

From back in May, an interesting article on how long-lived lies can exist on the internet

How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet

Years ago, maybe around 2003 when I was in middle school, I stumbled across the site TVTome.com. It was a user-edited wiki for TV shows. To be an editor for the big, popular shows you had to prove why you were qualified. After all, creating the official record of what happened on The Big Bang Theory was an important responsibility. But for some forgotten garbage show like Street Sharks, the screening process was nonexistent. Sensing an opportunity for nonsense, I became the Street Sharks editor and filled its page with lies. I made up characters, voice actors, episodes, plot descriptions, everything.

[…..]

For a little while, all these falsehoods just sat there, not bothering anybody. However, sometime later, TVTome got bought and integrated into the much bigger CBS Interactive website TV.com. Thanks to that expanded platform, all of my lies rapidly began infecting the rest of the internet. Most sites since have mostly purged themselves of my misinformation, but for years, IMDB, Amazon, and numerous smaller sites were unintentionally hosting my creative writing. If you’re paranoid and trying to spot a fake, pretty much any episode with a specific 1994 air date and episode description is a fraud. If a shady website claims it has streaming videos of “Feelin’ Lobstery” or “Goin’ Clammando,” and a lot still do since I still found these descriptions, it’s lying to you even more than usual. The only place that’s still entirely accurate is Wikipedia, hilariously enough.

We all know that we can’t trust anything on the internet, but it is interesting to read a case story of how a childhood prank has been spread, and even in some cases, caused false memories.


 

Somewhat related to the Steets Sharks  story, is the story about a movie, Shazaam, which only exists in the memories of people

The movie that doesn’t exist and the Redditors who think it does

Over the years, hundreds of people online have shared memories of a cheesy Nineties movie called “Shazaam”. There is no evidence that such a film was ever made. What does this tell us about the quirks of collective memory?

It is fascinating how no evidence (including the supposed main actor denying the existence of the movie) can convince some of the people believing in the existence of the movie.


Ending on a light note, an excellent profile of the person behind the brilliant MerriamWebster twitter profile

The Wordsmith Behind the Best — and Wittiest — Twitter of 2016

What with the 3 a.m. tweetstorms, Hamilton tirades and his prodigious use of “Sad!,” President-elect Donald J. Trump kinda won Twitter this year. No matter. We’ve got our eye on the runner-up, which on Monday tweeted a little lexicographical commentary: “‘Surreal’ is one of the most common lookups following a tragedy. ‘Surreal’ is our 2016 Word of the Year.”

Burned by a dictionary! If you use Twitter, chances are you’ve seen @MerriamWebster’s tweets. It has schooled the internet on the status of “bigly” as a word and the fact that “unpresidented” is not. During the second presidential debate, it revealed mass ignorance laid bare: “Note that more people are looking up ‘lepo’ (as in, “What’s a lepo?”) than ‘Aleppo.’ #debate.”

The person behind the saucy — and sometimes scorching — pedantry is a 33-year-old grad-school dropout and onetime freelance writer who favors claret-colored lipstick: Lauren Naturale. While a team of lexicographers feeds her material, Naturale is the company’s social media manager and the person behind the dictionary’s Twitter edition.

I am definitely a fan of that twitter account.

Lazy linking

A few links to things I have come across recently

3 Men Arrested in Plot to Bomb Kansas Aparment Complex, Mosque Following Presidential Election

Three members of a southwest Kansas militia dubbed the “Crusaders” were arrested Friday on charges stemming from a plot to attack a housing complex that houses a mosque in Garden City, Kan.

It is hardly a surprise that right-wingers are a genuine terrorist threat in the US, and it is good to see that the law enforcement are aware of this, and can stop them before they can effectuate their plans.

 

Parkinson’s researcher with three retractions heads to court on Monday

On Monday, Parkinson’s researcher Caroline Barwood will head to court in Brisbane, Australia, following a probe at her former institution, the University of Queensland (UQ).

Barwood was granted bail in November, 2014 — charges included  that she “dishonestly applied for grant funds,” and fabricated research that claimed a breakthrough in treating Parkinson’s disease, according to The Guardian. In March, Bruce Murdoch, a former colleague of Barwood’s at UQ, pleaded guilty to 17 fraud-related charges, and received a two-year suspended sentence after an institutional investigation into 92 academic papers.

It is fairly rare that scientists are facing trial after having fabricated research, probably because it can be difficult to be sure whether they actually fraudulently fabricated their result. In cases like this, where there were claims of breakthroughs in an area, giving people false hope, I think it is important for there to be a legal follow up.

 

Taking Trump voters’ concerns seriously means listening to what they’re actually saying

Donald Trump’s supporters deserve to have their concerns taken seriously.

If the media and commentators in 2016 can agree on nothing else, it’s this. It’s a bit of an odd meme. I can remember literally no one in 2012 dwelling on the importance of taking the concerns of Mitt Romney voters seriously, even though they made up a considerably larger share of the population than Trump supporters. No one talks about taking the interests of Hillary Clinton supporters, a still larger group, seriously.

But Trump supporters, a smaller group backing a considerably more loathsome agenda, have received an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy, undertaken as a sort of passive-aggressive snipe at unnamed other commentators and politicians perceived to not be taking their concerns seriously.

But there’s something striking about this line of commentary: It doesn’t take the stated concerns of Trump voters, and voters for similar far-right populists abroad, seriously in the slightest.

In the primary, though, the story was, as my colleague Zack Beauchamp has explained at length, almost entirely about racial resentment. There’s a wide array of data to back this up.

UCLA’s Michael Tesler has found that support for Trump in the primaries strongly correlated with respondents’ racial resentment, as measured by survey data. Similarly, Republican voters with the lowest opinions of Muslims were the most likely to vote for Trump, and voters who strongly support mass deportation of undocumented immigrants were likelier to support him in the primaries too.

We see the same in Denmark, where we always hear about how the voters for the xenophobic Danish Peoples’ Party (Dansk Folkeparti) have a lot of concerns which we should take serious, but when you listen to what the actual supporters say, it is all about foreigners and getting rid of them.

 

Lazy linking

A few links that I have come across recently which might interest you readers.

India’s angry Dalits rise against age-old caste prejudices

Every day, newspapers are awash with stories of injustices against Dalits and their oppression by upper-caste Hindus. Among the attacks on Dalits in the past month: a 13-year-old girl who was beaten up for drinking from a temple water pump; a Dalit team in the traditional Indian sport of kabaddi attacked by a rival upper-caste squad for winning a match; an impoverished Dalit couple hacked to death following a disagreement with an upper-caste shopkeeper over a debt of 15 rupees (22 cents).

But while Dalits — formerly known as “untouchables” — are still victims of thousands of attacks each year despite laws put in place soon after India’s independence, there has been a slow change in the way they react to the atrocities, say social scientists and Dalit activists.

If you speak with Indians from the higher castes, they often claim that the caste system doesn’t really exist any longer, and that people from the lower castes have the same opportunities as anyone else. Stories like the ones mentioned in the article, however, shows that this is not the case, and that the caste system is still used to repress people from the lower castes, allowing people from higher castes to do whatever they want, with little consequence.

The Disgusting Breitbart Smear Campaign Against the Immigrant Owner of Chobani

Hamdi Ulukaya is the model American immigrant success story.

In 2005, the Turkish-born Kurdish entrepreneur purchased a defunct Kraft foods plant in upstate New York with an $800,000 loan from the Small Business Administration. In just a few years, his Chobani yogurt went from selling a few containers at a Long Island kosher grocery to being the No. 1 selling yogurt brand in the country with annual revenue topping $1.5 billion. In addition to employing more than 2,000 people directly—all of whom earn above minimum wage and enjoy generous benefits—the company purchases 4 million pounds of milk from American farmers every day.

Breibart is wagering a smear campaign against Hamdi Ulukaya and Chobani with no regards to truth or decency.

I’d love for some of the victims of Breibart’s campaigns to be able to sue them for libel, bankrupting them like Gawker was bankrupted.

Kolkata will take a century to recover from Mother Teresa

If Mother Teresa, to be canonised at the Vatican on September 4, is to be named a patron saint of anything it should be for “misinformation”. In the last 20 years of her life, truth became an unknown entity to her. The media aided and abetted her lack of integrity and in a way she cannot be blamed for believing in her own lies.

Intellect was not her strong point and, for someone like her, to be surrounded by hordes of sycophants who were telling her if she said black was white then that had to be true, it became intoxicating. The media did spread the mega-myth about her, but she herself was the source. She repeatedly told the world she went around the city 24×7 “picking up” destitute from its squalid “gutters” (she did not), that she fed up to 9,000 in her soup kitchens (she did not), she never refused a helpless child (she did as a rule), that the dying destitute in her so-called home for the dying Nirmal Hriday died a “beautiful death” (they were treated harshly and often died a miserable, painful death).

Great article by Aroup Chatterjee on the real Mother Teresa and the consequences of her work in Kolkata. Aroup Chatterjee has been fighting Mother Teresa for a long time, and was a major inspiration for Christopher Hitchens.

Student who protested against asylum seeker’s deportation on flight found guilty

Melbourne woman Jasmine Pilbrow found guilty of interfering with an airline crew member for refusing to sit down during protest over the deportation of a Tamil asylum seeker

Pilbrow’s action led to the asylum seeker being taken off the plane.

Pilbrow argued that her actions were “in response to circumstances of sudden or extraordinary emergency”, and thus was legal, even if the actions themselves could be considered illegal in isolation. Unfortunately, the judge didn’t accept this argument, and found her guilty.

American Women in the 1900s Called Street Harassers ‘Mashers’ and Stabbed Them With Hatpins

In recent years, a conversation about catcalling and other forms of street harassment has grown heated online. But those who tire of unsolicited comments in public have been making their displeasure known for a long time, reports Laura Donovan for ATTN:. In the late early 1900s women were stabbing mouthy men with their hatpins. And that wasn’t the worst fate to befall so-called “mashers.”
Maybe hatpins should come into use again?
And finally, I have a couple of new blog posts up at my IT-related blog:

Is microservices the new SOA?

Think smaller

Project managers vs Product owners

I am trying to blog a bit more there, so if you’re interested in IT projects and IT consulting, then follow that blog.