Friday, September 9, 2016

September 9, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

Video: "Showcasing HEMA - Strength in sword fighting"--Blood & Iron Martial Arts. This is a good video on strength versus skill in martial arts. Although the video addresses the topic in relation to fencing, I believe it has application to other martial arts.

North Korea conducted its fifth and biggest nuclear test on Friday and said it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile, ratcheting up a threat that its rivals and the United Nations have been powerless to contain.
    The blast, on the 68th anniversary of North Korea's founding, was more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to some estimates, and drew condemnation from the United States as well as China, Pyongyang's main ally.
    The Daily Mail reports that the power of the blast was 10 kilotons, which is less than the 15 kiloton weapon used over Hiroshima. I would note, however, that 10 kt is within the power of air-fuel bombs, so the magnitude of the explosion does not necessarily guarantee that it was from a nuclear weapon.
      [Hollande] defended the country's Muslim minority following a vitriolic debate on the banning of the Islamic burkini swimsuit.
        "Nothing in the idea of secularism opposes the practice of Islam in France, provided it respects the law," Hollande said.
          Secularism was not a "state religion" to be used against other religions, he said, denouncing the "stigmatisation of Muslims."
          However, as Stephen Green points out, Hollande is asking the wrong question. Green writes:
          The problem isn’t that France hasn’t made room for Islam. There’s been room for it in France’s “sensitive urban zones,” where Muslims have lived unassimilated for generations. And France has made more room for Islam in the form of tens of thousands of migrants from North Africa and the Levant. That hasn’t been going very well, either, as France’s Muslim guests have created new cultural and criminal tensions with native Secular/Catholic/Jewish French citizens.

          The real problem then is the still-open question of whether there’s room for the French in Islam. [Underline added]
          West Midlands Police said it will discuss allowing the traditional Islamic dress - which covers the entirety of a woman's face and body - to become part of Muslim female officers' uniform.

          At a recent meeting, Chief Constable David Thompson, said he would consider employing staff who wear a burka as he looks to increase black and minority ethnic (BME) officers in the region to 30 per cent.
          This is an example of "diversity" simply for the sake of diversity; not because it adds any value or enhances the ability of the organization to do its job. 
          Many millennials hate interacting with people, according to a new survey.
            Nearly a third of people 18 to 24 prefer ordering from the drive-thru at restaurants because "they don't feel like dealing with people," according to a study by Ohio-based Frisch's Restaurants, which owns and franchises 120 Big Boy Restaurants.
            Calhoun was studying the effects of overcrowding on rats (with the idea of applying the findings, by extension, to humans). I mostly remembered the research because of the high infant mortality rates and cannibalism, but as I was reviewing the Wikipedia entry on his "behavioral sink" theory the other day, another factor that presented itself was this: "Among the males the behavior disturbances ranged from sexual deviation to cannibalism and from frenetic overactivity to a pathological withdrawal from which individuals would emerge to eat, drink and move about only when other members of the community were asleep." (Underline mine). Is that not descriptive of the archetype of the Millennial living in his/her parent's basement? 
            The first international beauty contest judged by “machines” was supposed to use objective factors such as facial symmetry and wrinkles to identify the most attractive contestants. After Beauty.AI launched this year, roughly 6,000 people from more than 100 countries submitted photos in the hopes that artificial intelligence, supported by complex algorithms, would determine that their faces most closely resembled “human beauty”.
              But when the results came in, the creators were dismayed to see that there was a glaring factor linking the winners: the robots did not like people with dark skin.
                Out of 44 winners, nearly all were white, a handful were Asian, and only one had dark skin. That’s despite the fact that, although the majority of contestants were white, many people of color submitted photos, including large groups from India and Africa.
                Unfortunately for the politically correct AI researchers/programmers who are trying to make their machine less biased, their algorithm isn't wrong. For instance, an OK Cupid survey of its users shows that whites are considered more attractive than darker skinned people, even by those of color. (See also this Psychology Today article (pdf); this article from CNN; this article from Germ Magazine; and this article from The Atlantic). Perhaps it is a result of modern advertising and colonialism as many naysayers assert, but that doesn't explain the historical demand of for white female slaves by Muslim men
                • Interesting if true: "Former Kissinger CEO Says The World Is Run By 30 Families"--Your News Wire. The interlocking nature of the boards of major corporations (where a small number of people sit on the board of directors of major corporations--even companies that are business rivals) has been well known for decades--I remember looking at the topic in both a cultural anthropology course and a business ethics course many years ago when I was in college.
                • "When the Little Green Men Invade Arizona"--Popular Mechanics. A good article discussing the fundamentals of hybrid-warfare, looking both at the example of how Russia used it successfully in Ukraine, and hypothesizing how a Mexican drug cartel could do the same in the United States using the Tohono O'odham nation (an American Indian nation whose land straddles the Arizona-Mexican border). The steps to such conflict are, according to the author, to (1) find a proxy, (2) win phase zero (the propaganda war to stoke hatreds and conflict between the proxy group and the nation being invaded/attacked), (3) introduce the "little green men" (i.e., the persons with the know how and firepower to make the revolution possible), and (4) spark a crises and take control. Of course, he could just as well be talking about the rise of Black Nationalism (e.g., Black Lives Matter), or bringing in a foreign population to dilute the political power of the native population, such as is happening in Europe and the United States.

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