Sunday Link Encyclopedia

As someone said the other day, “Trump will win in 2020 because this is too much fun.” When I see things like the first sentence in this post or likethis truly ridiculous, pathetic meme, I realize it’s true.

If Trump is against “the invisible hand of the market”, then progressives will immediately become in favor.

Amongst all the stupidity people have spewed forth about Philip Roth, here is a great review by the always great Kenan Malik.

Sexual assault is not supposed to be funny. But it becomes so once college bureaucracies get involved. Check it out, folks, it has an interesting twist.

Only a woman gets this. Even the best, most intelligent, wonderful men simply can’t get it. But at least there are women who are not too cowed by incomprehending men to say it.

In my culture, we all know that “life only truly begins when you turn 40.” Which is why I was very confused by this article claiming that academics in my age group are particularly miserable. I mean, academics are always particularly miserable, it’s a requirement to join. But this kind of a twist on our gloominess is new to me.

An important article on workplace transformations. When I was saying these things only a few years ago, people debated ferociously.

When a teacher goes nuts. Sadly, it happens all too often.

37 thoughts on “Sunday Link Encyclopedia

  1. I take umbrage at your claim that men don’t get why burqas are so socially destructive. A couple of years ago I was trying to make the same points (nb, on a self-proclaimed feminist website) and was dismissed as trying to tell women what to wear (the feminists were totally all sisterhooding with their socially erased peers).


    1. It’s great to know I’m wrong. Really great. You have no idea how tired I’m of trying to explain why this is a big deal to men and encountering nothing but platitudes about fashion choices.


    2. Same here. I grew up seeing ‘purdah’ in my family in India, which is the Hindu practice similar to the burqa. I have a visceral hatred to all such practices.


  2. \ Amongst all the stupidity people have spewed forth about Philip Roth, here is a great review by the always great Kenan Malik.

    The link doesn’t work.


  3. Have you seen this at Malik’s latest links post? Sounds surprisingly good:

    Cognitive scientists define critical period for learning language
    Study shows children remain adept learners until the age of 17 or 18.

    A new study performed at MIT suggests that children remain very skilled at learning the grammar of a new language much longer than expected — up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that it is nearly impossible for people to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker unless they start learning a language by the age of 10.

    “If you want to have native-like knowledge of English grammar you should start by about 10 years old. We don’t see very much difference between people who start at birth and people who start at 10, but we start seeing a decline after that,” says Joshua Hartshorne, an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College, who conducted this study as a postdoc at MIT.

    People who start learning a language between 10 and 18 will still learn quickly, but since they have a shorter window before their learning ability declines, they do not achieve the proficiency of native speakers, the researchers found. The findings are based on an analysis of a grammar quiz taken by nearly 670,000 people, which is by far the largest dataset that anyone has assembled for a study of language-learning ability.

    Regarding having a shorter window if one starts after age 10, it may depend on the degree of immersion in the language. I think I know Hebrew like native speakers despite immigrating in early teens.


    1. I think this study is highly flawed as it only really tests knowledge of English grammar. This doesn’t equate to native-level fluency. Nor did they control for mother’s tongue, from what I can tell (a Chinese person will have a much harder time learning English grammar than a French or a Spanish person, whicn use similar tense structures).

      Like you I learnt one language as an adult and am close to native fluency and I know many other people who are the same. So IME these types of limits don’t really exist (and interestingly are often brought up by monolingual English-speaking people, who seem to have a fear from learning languages).


    2. I started learning Spanish in my twenties, and I’m more proficient than the absolute majority of native speakers on this planet. And I’m not in any way exceptional. I know many people who are like this.

      Sorry, this doesn’t jive with anything I’ve seen.


      1. I also want to mention that being better than a native speaker is not hard. The goal in language learning is to be like an educated native speaker. There’s an enormous difference.


        1. Also, grammar is not a good criterion at all. Most of my non-native literature students have better grammar than the native speakers in the same class. It doesn’t mean they are more fluent, though.


  4. I think that as long as the economy is doing fine, Trump will win again in 2020. People don’t really care too much about the scandals if the economy is good.

    Also, I strongly believe that if one of the two individuals involved in a sexual encounter is drunk, s/he obviously cannot consent to sex. And if both the man and the woman are drunk, then you can’t automatically assume that the man raped the woman, because he too, by definition, was unable to consent. This is just simple logic.


    1. For how long have “blonde-haired, blue-eyed” people in the Midwest and Appalachia overdosing on opioids while there was zero outrage and a complete refusal to accept that opioids are being overprescribed and there are Mexican drug cartels that are bringing enormous quantities of heroin into the country? Twenty years it took before somebody noticed. And even now this is still not fully accepted.

      That’s why I detest Twitter.


      1. A slow burn in a community is an entirely different phenomenon than a sudden disaster. The former is easy to ignore, the latter isn’t (unless it’s a black or brown community).

        Can you recall a response similar to that in hurricane Katrina or Maria in a ‘white’ city?


        1. FWIW, my parents came away feeling great about the local government and the response during Maria.

          Of course we were not hit nearly as badly as the islands or Puerto Rico. It also helped that the governor is a Republican.

          No government officials or people attached to government officials are mocking Floridians who were displaced by the storm. Donald Trump is out there throwing paper towels.

          You’re not mad at “Twitter” you’re mad at this person:

          ..Days after a new study from researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimated that the death toll from Hurricane Maria may be as high as 4,645 people, mainly because of delayed medical care, hundreds of protesters gathered on Saturday in the shadow of the United Nations to demand that the international organization audit the number of casualties.

          The Puerto Rican government is reviewing its official death toll from the storm, which it said in December was 64.

          “If it were 5,000 kittens, there would be outrage,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of Uprose, a Latino organization in Brooklyn. “If it was 5,000 dogs, there would be outrage. If it was 5,000 blonde-haired, blue-eyed women, there would be outrage.”

          The protest was organized by the Collective Action for Puerto Rico, a coalition of faith-based and labor organizations. Protesters held signs saying “Puerto Rican lives matter” and “If you are not angry you are not paying attention.”

          They took off their shoes as a symbol of the people who died as a result of the storm but who were not immediately counted, and called for more attention to be paid to the hurricane’s aftermath in the form of more assistance for people still struggling on the island as hurricane season begins.

          “Sisters and brothers in this country forget that the people of Puerto Rico are our fellow Americans,” said Linda Sarsour, who was one of the lead organizers of the Women’s March in Washington. “They deserve to be treated just like any American in any part of this country.”

          United Nations officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment…


          1. She’s probably hoping to run for something. But Brooklyn is not rich enough for her to be successful with this kind of rhetoric. She should run in the Hamptons with these slogans. Or at least in Manhattan. But who knows, I hear Brooklyn is quite gentrified, so it might work.


              1. With this kind of message, she’ll need Puerto Ricans with incomes in the 6 figures. And preferably not that Puerto Rican.


      2. “The former is easy to ignore”

        More on this. It’s easier to ignore because it happens over such a long period of time, that it’s easy to come up with reasons and remedies, depending on one’s ideology (tax cuts! regulations! free markets! tax raises!). Those remedies themselves take a lifetime to execute, and then you can always blame the implementation if you don’t like the results. And so on.

        Not so in an environmental catastrophe. A lot of water fell from the sky. People are dying. There’s no ambiguity. Now deal with it.

        So, to counter that article’s point with ‘what about the Appalachians?’ is to make an apples/oranges comparison.


    1. “The Gaza Strip could have turned into a blooming island. Optimists spoke about a “Second Singapore”. They spoke about a Gaza harbor, with due inspection of incoming goods either in Gaza or in a neutral port abroad. A Gaza airport, with appropriate security inspection, was built and used and then destroyed by Israel.”

      That’s exactly what I keep saying! I’m glad to know I’m not crazy and other people are saying it, too. Great article.


      1. “Great article” except that the author ridiculously blames Israel instead of the Palestinians for turning Gaza into a terrorist hellhole, when the Palestinians actually had the chance, with all the millions in aid coming in, to create a “Second Singapore” for themselves.



    The rightward lurch in American politics has reinvigorated the study of poor and working-class communities. But instead of blazing new trails in this endeavor, the emerging literature seems to be reworking tired old tropes. In a review of four recent books, I show that approaches that are rightly rejected as explanations of social behavior among impoverished black communities are adopted with great aplomb in the study of working-class whites. Rather than seeing their political culture as a product of their social conditions, these works often see workers’ culture as built-in and unchanging. I observe that this just amounts to a revived “culture of poverty” discourse in the study of the working class.


  6. Like


    What Do US Pundits Know About North Korea That 88% of South Koreans Don’t?

    “The kicker came on Sunday, April 29, when the Times’ Mark Landler painted the Korean summit as an affront to US national-security interests. Citing every establishment pundit he could find, Landler argued that a resumption of diplomatic ties between the Koreas “will inevitably erode the crippling economic sanctions against the North,” while making it hard for Trump “to threaten military action against a country that is extending an olive branch.” It was depressing to see such overt cheerleading for US imperial control over Korea in the media.”

    Media Ignore Government Influence on Facebook’s Plan to Fight Government Influence

    “Facebook announced Thursday it was partnering with DC think tank the Atlantic Council to “monitor for misinformation and foreign interference.” The details of the plan are vague, but Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab wrote in a non-bylined Medium post (5/17/18) that the goal was to design tools “to bring us closer together” instead of “driving us further apart.” Whatever that means, exactly.

    Behind its generic-sounding name and “nonpartisan” label, the Atlantic Council is associated with very particular interests. It’s funded by the US Department of State and the US Navy, Army and Air Force, along with NATO, various foreign powers and major Western corporations, including weapons contractors and oil companies. “


  8. To prevent the situation in which the first mention on this blog is about Israel shooting “peaceful protesters”:

    // Speaking at a Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting, defense minister says 400 of 600 incendiary kites have been intercepted by IDF, while the rest have damaged 9,000 dunams of crops and forests; vows to settle scores with Gaza terrorists, and ‘not abandon anyone’ in south Israel.

    “We should be clear that we are not prepared to accept the kites becoming normality. The same applies for riots on the border fence and attempts to breach it and cause damage to the sovereign territory of Israel,” Lieberman said during his remarks at the Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting.

    His comments were made as southern Israel residents have been forced in recent weeks to endure an upsurge in the number of flaming kites being flown across the border, causing huge fires that have incinerated agricultural areas and destroyed wildlife.,7340,L-5278488,00.html


    // IDF shoots dead armed terrorist attempting Gaza border breach
    Second terrorist wounded by Golani soldiers but flees back into strip after attempting to cross into Israeli territory armed with an ax; IDF scouring area for possible explosive device planted on border; Palestinians publish video of 3 Gazans setting fire to IDF post used by snipers.


    1. @el
      Your post above links to the first news article that I’ve seen about the actual damage that the incendiary kites have done.

      Unfortunately, many American news sources have shamelessly misrepresented the violent border assaults by the rioters, merely describing the participants as being “peaceful” or “unarmed,” while either failing to mention the flaming kites, pipe bombs, stones, axes, and other weapons used by the terrorists, or else falsely minimizing the damage done to the Israeli side as insignificant.


  9. Fun read.


    1. Yes, I read Joan Quigley’s memoir many years ago. Very funny and also she’s full of it even if you follow astrology.


    2. It’s not just Reagan. It’s done a lot more than it’s fashionable to say. Even Stalin built the modern Moscow on the basis of a plan created by the most famous astrologist in that era.


  10. As I predicted, it didn’t take long:

    // Public security minister says IDF snipers should shoot Palestinians in Gaza as they fly incendiary kites across the border into Israel; ‘The IDF’s targeted assassinations must also apply to these kite-flyers.’

    Israel has drafted in civilian drone enthusiasts as army reservists, instructing them to fly their remote-controlled aircraft into the kites, an Israeli general said.

    “If their drone ends up getting lost in the process, we compensate them,” the general told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The army has also fitted larger surveillance drones with weighted fishing lines or blades that can snag or slash kite strings in mid-air, the general said.

    But he acknowledged the limitations of such measures, saying: “We’ll probably end up having to shoot kite-flyers too.”

    “It began spontaneously. We never thought we would achieve such good results,” said Shadi, one of five Palestinian teenagers preparing kites with fabric dipped in diesel and lubricant oil in a Gaza field.

    “The idea is simple: use the simplest tools to cause damage and losses on the Occupation (Israel),” said Shadi, 19, wearing a “V for Vendetta” mask favored by protesters in many parts of the world and who, like the others, declined to give his last name.,7340,L-5279465,00.html


  11. One of side effects of receiving refugees is a mini-war in Tel-Aviv among the refugees themselves :

    Clashes break out at Eritrean protest against violence
    Riots erupt among the Eritrean community in south Tel Aviv over the support of Eritrea’s brutal regime, with supporters of the Eritrean dictator attacking their countrymen, who in turn called for them to be deported.

    The protests are a result of clashes which broke out Saturday, when thousands of Eritreans living in Israel gathered under heavy police presence near the Kanot Junction to celebrate the Eritrean Independence Day. This has angered those in the Eritrean community who oppose the oppressive regime in their country.

    Every single day ever since has been marked by protests involving hundreds of Eritreans in south Tel Aviv, pelting each other with rocks, smashing windows of cars and nearby stores, and even using cold weapons.

    This isn’t the first year clashes of this kind have broken out, yet this year has been marked by the increase in violence.,7340,L-5281005,00.html


  12. Two demonstrations:

    // Tel Aviv mayor vows to ‘smash barriers to equality’ as city’s 2018 Pride Parade begins
    Over 200,000 participate in annual march that concluded with a mass gathering at Charles Clore Park where people were treated to live shows by famous artists, including Eurovision Song Contest winner Netta Barzilai.


    // Al Naksa Day protests begin on Gaza border
    IDF uses riot-control techniques to disperse some 4,000 protesters who congregate along the border and burn tires in what is expected to be the most violent clash in recent weeks, as Palestinians mark 51 years since Israel seized control of land in 1967 Six-Day War.


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