Monday, March 30, 2015

The Diet that Dare Not Speak Its Name

From the Daily Mail:

'Your child could be a jihadist if they've stopped eating baguettes': Bizarre French government infographic shows way to spot radical Islamists

Here is the poster:

Warning: the French government infographic offers nine telltale signs to worried parents 

Except that, according to Google, “Ils changent brutalement leurs habitudes alimentaires” translates to “They abruptly change their eating habits.”  That doesn’t have anything to do with bagettes; in the current context, it means suddenly observing Sharia dietary restrictions, an obvious sign of radicalization.

Unfortunately, rather than illustrating this with a picture of, say, a pig, they tried to appease Muslim sensibilities with a double-bankshot reference to food in general . . . and wound up looking a little ridiculous.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Makeup and Future-time Orientation

Chaeteau, commenting on a study measuring makeup’s only limited ability to improve attractiveness, writes:

It’s not surprising, then, that men and women will breathlessly grasp at the slimmest advantages to tilt the sexual market playing field in their favor, where the only game that matters is played, and played for a zero sum outcome in a battle as pitched, if not quite as bloody, as any war for survival. It’s why women will color their faces, despite receiving little benefit and less still the morning-after when the ruse is smeared off, for an infinitesimally small leg up over their female competition.

The stakes are that high.

Except there are only so many hours in a day.  What I find noteworthy (and frustrating during those happily long-passed times that it affected me personally) is that with the amount of time that some women spend in front of a mirror, they could improve their attractiveness far more with exercise.  That 30 – 60 minutes or whatever, on a day-to-day basis, spent in a gym, would be an SMV enhancer in a way that makeup accomplishes for only a tiny minority of women.*

Of course, the effect is only cumulative.  Any particular 60 minutes spent exercising isn’t going to give a woman anything like the 2% they allegedly get from makeup.  Exercising 60 minutes a day for a month will get you the 2%.  Exercising 60 minutes a day for a year will give you a 20%, two full SMV points.

But that kind of calculus requires conscientiousness, a.k.a. “future-time orientation.”  It doesn’t speak well of women who spend more time at makeup for +2% than they do at exercise for +20% simply because the payoff takes longer to realize.

* If it needs saying, then yes, men can be fat too.  But leaving aside whether being in good shape, in and of itself, improves a man’s SMV as much as it improves a woman’s, I struggle to think of any male analogue to makeup.  Unless we define it so broadly as to encompass . . . well, everything a man ever does.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"A thousand strands of time . . ."

Tonight's Daily Bread devotional was exceptionally poetic. After reading from Nehemiah 1, wherein Nehemiah expresses his lament at Israel's lack of border control, ODB had this to say:

A thousand strands of time, events, and people weave into a tapestry we call place. More than just a house, place is where meaning, belonging, and safety come together under the covering of our best efforts at unconditional love. Place beckons us with memories buried deep in our souls. Even when our place isn’t perfect, its hold on us is dramatic, magnetic.

The Bible speaks frequently of place. We see an example in Nehemiah’s longing for a restored Jerusalem (Neh. 1:3-4; 2:2). It’s no surprise, then, that Jesus would speak of place when He wants to comfort us. “Let not your heart be troubled,” He began. Then He added: “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2).


Read the whole thing.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Air Force Diversity

From the desk of Deborah Lee James, the 2015 Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Initiatives:

Promotion Board Memorandum of Instruction (MOI):  Through a MOI, the Secretary of the Air Force provides specific instructions to board members for every officer promotion and federal recognition board to ensure only the best qualified officers are selected for promotion or recognition.  In addition to seeking officer demonstrating commitment to the welfare of our Airmen and to our core values of Integrity, Service, and Excellence, board members are instructed to find officers who have demonstrated that they will nurture and lead in a diverse and inclusive Air Force culture.

I’m skeptical that Ms. James really believes her service lacks leadership.  I suspect that she is looking for an end run around the legal precedents from the 1990s that limited racial quotas in promotion boards.  I suspect that participation in various Diversity Days will be taken as evidence for the ability to “nurture and lead in a diverse and inclusive culture”.  Since these ceremonies are radioactive to healthy white men by design, they become a screening tool for minorities and self-hating liberals.

Increased Female Officer Applicant Pool:  Despite a rich pool of talent across our Nation, our female officer applicants typically comprise only 25 percent of our applicant pool.  Therefore, we have set an applicant pool goal of 30 percent for our officer accession sources.  This goal will encourage our accession sources to more aggressively compete for our Nation’s top female talent and encourage the next generation of innovative leaders to apply for our officer corps.  The female officer population was selected as a starting point, as it is a smaller group than the enlisted force on which to focus efforts.

This is pushing responsibility for the quota game downward.  I’m not sure what “aggressively compete” means in this context, but I’m sure that if it goes legally sideways, Ms. James will insist that she never TOLD her recruiters to discriminate against white men.

Post-Pregnancy Deployment Deferment:  some of our most talented Airmen are choosing to leave the Air Force because they are struggling to balance deployments and family issues, especially soon after childbirth.  Since our families are a source of strength and resilience for our Airmen, we are looking to increase our current six month Post-Pregnancy Deployment Deferment to one year.  According to analysis at the aggregate level, the overall impact on manning and deployment levels will be negligible.

“Overall”, perhaps.  But the impact won’t be “negligible” on the men who now have to spend 15% – 20% more of their careers deployed than they did before to take up the slack.

Monday, March 09, 2015

“Nice Guy” Alert

From the autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, describing his courtship of the future Mrs. Kyle:

Taya was working as a drug rep from a pharmaceutical company when we met.  Originally from Oregon, she’d gone to college in Wisconsin and moved out to the coast a couple of years before we met.  My first impression was that she was beautiful, even if she looked pissed off about something.  We started talking, and I also found out she was smart, and had a good sense of humor.

I sensed right away that maybe she was someone who could keep up with me.  But, maybe she should tell the story.  Her version sounds better than mine.

Taya:

I remember the night we met; some of it at least.  I wasn’t going to go out; this was all during a low spot in my life.  My days were spent in a job I didn’t like.  I was fairly new in town and still looking for some solid female friendships.  And I was casually dating guys, with not much success.  Over the years I’d had some decent relationships and a couple of bad ones with a few dates in between.  I remember literally praying to God before I met Chris to just send me a nice guy.  Nothing else mattered, I thought.  I just prayed for someone who was inherently good and . . . nice.

Chris would go on to achieve 160 confirmed kills as a sniper during four tours in the Iraq War.

Monday, March 02, 2015

BLEG: Google Navigator TTS

As if I didn’t have enough aggravation . . .

My Galaxy S5 has two voice options for its text-to-speech (TTS) function:  the Samsung Voice (warm and sultry) and the Google Voice (chirpy and efficient).  When I purchased the phone, the default setting was the Samsung Voice, which I had come to prefer.  Unfortunately, about a month ago, the TTS for the Google Navigator application unexpectedly switched to the Google Voice.  This despite the phone’s TTS setting (under “Language and Input”) still set to Samsung Voice.

Google Navigator is the only application with which I ever use TTS, so it is disappointing that it has started using Google Voice irrespective of the phone’s global setting.  Does anyone have any idea how to get Navigator to change TTS voices?

Thanks in advance.

Monday, February 23, 2015

How much atonement?

Ross Douthat cites Rod Dreher’s response to Douthat’s earlier reaction to Obama’s remarks about the Crusades.  All of the articles are required reading.

Dreher:

The New York Times wrote today on a new research report by an organization that has been studying lynching, and has documented almost 4,000 acts of extrajudicial murder by white mobs from the years 1877-1950. Most, but not all, of the deeds took place in the South. Five of the top 10 counties for lynching are in my home state, Louisiana. Here is a summary of the Equal Justice Initiative’s report.

EJI’s contribution was to identify several hundred additional lynching cases.  The previous total from the Tuskegee Institute was 4743, of which some 3446 were of black.  Note that the EJI’s report considers only blacks, and only the South.

Dreher quotes from the summary:

Lynchings Based on Fear of Interracial Sex. Nearly 25 percent of the lynchings of African Americans in the South were based on charges of sexual assault. The mere accusation of rape, even without an identification by the alleged victim, could arouse a lynch mob. The definition of black-on-white “rape” in the South required no allegation of force because white institutions, laws, and most white people rejected the idea that a white woman would willingly consent to sex with an African American man.

Dreher concludes:

We all need to know these things, and face down what our ancestors did. These weren’t Crusaders sacking Constantinople. These were our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, doing it to the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers of our black neighbors. Attention must be paid. That may be the only atonement available now, but it’s better than what we have had, which is nothing.

If it needs be stated, I will (again and again):  I am opposed to extrajudicial murder as an inherent violation of the Constitution’s due-process protections.  And I will add to that that I am opposed to torturing people to death in all circumstances.  (As Dreher points out, many of the murders described in the EJI’s summary would do ISIS proud.)

But the problem with Dreher’s call to atonement is that it never specifies exactly when the heirs (if heirs they actually be) of the murderers of century past can be assured that their accounts are settled.  Here Dreher is asking for “attention”.  Yet the inclusion of lynching, and the mistreatment of American blacks in general, is a staple of history curricula at all levels of education across the country.  My own daughter is finally having her first public school class in American history, yet over the last three years consideration of slavery, segregation, and the Civil Rights movement have dominated the assigned (and unassigned) readings in both her Social Studies and her English lessons.  You will fail to find any public figure anywhere who would call for as much nuance in our treatment of lynching as I do here.  How much attention does Dreher think is enough?

EJI and Dreher both want us to generalize from the numbers to characterize lynching as an especially Southern and racist phenomenon.  But I have a generalization of my own:  the majority of lynching victims were accused of heinous crimes that then merited the death penalty.  The EJI summary as quoted above does its best to obscure this – rape is only “sexual assault” is only “fear of interracial sex” – but EJI itself apparently found only a few hundred cases of lynching for mere social protocol violations.

I would also point out that the racial disparity in lynching (73% victimization borne by 13% of the population is a 5.6x overrepresentation) reflects the racial disparity in crime, yet EJI specifically condemns the contemporaneous public figures who pointed this out.

No public figure points this out today, and black violence against white victims isn’t even A Thing in elite discourse, school curricula, or polite conversation.  But that’s kind of the point:  Obama and his followers invoke the crimes of the past to obscure the crimes of the present.