Interesting stuff 2017-06-19

Boy, I’ve been tardy lately. Lot’s going on. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things in the coming weeks.

Here’s some interesting stuff for you to consider.

So if you are born male, but want to identify as female (including being surgically altered) then society is expected to confirm and celebrate your self-identity. But if you are born white, but want to identify as black then you deserve all the scorn that Twitter can unleash upon you.

After all, your race is genetically determined, but your sex is… well, ok… it is genetically determined. But your “gender” is an internal state, but race could not possible be an internal state. Because… well…

Because Twitter said so.

At least for now; give it ten minutes and I’m sure it’ll change it’s mind.

(And, just for fun, here’s another satirical example of transgenarianism).


Here’s an interesting assessment of the state of universities. Yikes! Not a pretty picture. Ill-prepared high school students. Massive student debt. Politically correct, but utterly useless, courses. The list goes on.


So here’s some more governance decisions from the blessed NDP that should inspire us to ask, “what could possibly go wrong?”

The NDP recently stripped out of the act regulating AIMCo any requirement that the agency’s directors have relevant financial, legal or board experience to qualify for overseeing the management of Albertan’s savings funds. It also granted Premier Rachel Notley’s cabinet the power to install its own handpicked people.

So they don’t need any experience in financial matters.

And the NDP can hand-pick them.

Yeah, that should work out just fine for Albertans.


More alarmism about trash in the oceans (which I briefly touched on previously). According to this story an extremely remote island (Henderson Island) is absolutely riddled with debris. Estimates as high as 38 million pieces of trash.

But things get a little strange when I started poking around.

First, as the article clarifies, the nature of ocean currents in the area are such that this island is likely to end up “catching” a whole lot of debris. So the state of debris on the island’s beaches is not indicative of debris in the oceans as a whole. Context, people.

Second, when you check it out on Google maps (using satellite data) the beaches look very clear. As far as I can tell the only beaches are on the North and East sides. Given the zoom level, obviously you aren’t going to see individual pieces of trash, but considering the alleged quantity of trash, and how brightly coloured it is (according to photos in the original article) we should see something other than just clear sandy colours on Google maps when we zoom in.

Furthermore, this is a UN protected site and, conveniently enough, the UN website has a page dedicated to this island. Those pictures don’t look at all trash-ravaged either, though it is possible they cleaned the beaches up for the photos. Still, that’s a lot of debris to clean up because some of the photos cover a fair bit of beach surface area.

When you do a Google search for Henderson Island images some of them are horridly trash ravaged, and others are stunning and crystal clear.

I’m not saying there isn’t a trash problem, I’m just saying that it’s all a little suspicious. And even if trash is a major problem (the perfectly clean photos notwithstanding…) it’s the kind of island that is, unfortunately, likely to face this problem in a way most other islands are not.


So a guy kills a man and gets jail time for life. Seems reasonable. Ah, but there’s a twist. The man he killed was transgender; a genetic male presenting as female. Apparently he didn’t disclose that to the killer before they started dating.

So here’s the question I have. If I beat and fatally stab a non-transgender person, should my sentencing be any different than if I beat and fatally stab a transgender person? If the victim is transgender I get life in prison, but if the victim is not transgender maybe I only need to serve 10 to 20 years.

Agree or disagree?

If you agree that this is fair then the justice system is inherently prejudiced toward certain minority (one might say, “protected”) groups, such as transgenders. These groups are given special privileges; special treatment under the law. In that case, not all murders are equal because not all citizens are equal. Some are afforded special status.

If you disagree – if you believe the sentence should be the same whether the person is transgender or not – then what’s the point of anti-discrimination laws? If murder is wrong – end of statement – then we don’t need laws reminding us that it’s wrong to kill transgender people. Why not? Because it’s wrong to kill anybody.

In that case murder is just plain wrong.

Which, in my estimation, is the essence of justice in a society founded on the principle of equality before the law.


Here’s a recent poll of religious attitudes and convictions in Canada. Surprisingly, we’re not as non-religious as those holding the megaphone would have us believe.

Some observations:

  • Over 50% hold to some kind of religious belief, even if privately.
  • The “religiously committed” was the only category more likely to favour altruism over self-interest.
  • The respondents were asked to comment on various moral issues. I would have found the responses interesting, but then I kept reading about their understanding of morality itself…
  • The “religiously committed” were most likely to understand people as sinners instead of “basically good.” But – and this gets interesting – every successive younger generation was less and less likely to see people as “basically good.” But even that isn’t as interesting as…
  • The majority of people reject relativism, and the majority of people affirm relativism.

Yeah, you read that last one right. When the question was worded one way, respondents were more likely to reject relativism. However, if the same question were worded a different way they were more likely to affirm relativism. Of course it is more nuanced than that – yes, the questions were technically different – but even if we tease out the nuances and explore the complexities I remain convinced that we would come to the conclusion that Canadians are generally pretty confused about the philosophy around objective morality. From one angle we desperately want to affirm it (in the face of moral horrors). From another angle we desperately want to deny it (when people expect us to act responsibly).

And in light of the moral confusion all the other questions take on a whole new context.

Fascinating.


Here’s an interesting book review about a book that seems to endorse the idea that “what’s wrong with America” (and, I would argue, much of Western Civilization) is not fundamentally a political discussion. It’s a discussion about culture. It’s a discussion about character. It’s the sort of discussion that the political sphere needs to kindly sit out of.

Take a read.


Here is a brilliant (and lengthy) essay on why we sometimes – and I emphasize sometimes (and rarely) – need to be jerks. Social sensitivity, according to the self-described hyper-sensitive author of the article, can be a prison for society and we need more people to occasionally act like (excuse me for quoting him), an “asshole.”

Well worth your time to read, so grab a cup of coffee, curl up, and find yourself edified.


I previously blogged (in numerous places – go look it up yourself, I’m too lazy to provide links right now) on the fact that the rise in CO2 is coinciding with a rise in vegetation across the globe. As it turns out, this phenomenon is taking place even in Antarctica!

Penguins have no excuse for not eating their veggies.


A little satire for your reading pleasure…

Christian Florist Sued For Not Weeping Tears Of Joy At Mere Thought Of Gay Wedding

Yeah, we’re not far off from that these days.


Here’s a very insightful piece about “social license” of which the NDP government in Alberta made a great deal. The problem, as Rex Murphy so masterfully explains, is that “social license” is one license which is never actually granted. Rather, once it becomes clear that you are the type of person to cave to peer pressure (a more accurate description of the real essence of “social license” in my humble estimation) then the peers simply revise their demands and ramp up their pressure.

The goal posts move.

“Social license” is no more real than the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and we waste our time pursuing it.


So apparently birds can exhibit “gay” behaviour. Which, predictably, is supposed to mean “if the animals do it, so can we.” Along that same line of thinking, consider this:

  • Lots of insects engage in sexual cannibalism. Kind of makes 50 shades of grey look pretty tame, doesn’t it?
  • Some animals don’t eat their mates, they eat their young. Pass the ketchup.
  • Some animals have been known to kill other animals and eat them. They are called “predators.” Their meals are called “vegetarians.”

Do you really want to follow that logic?


Speaking of animals, not only are we justifying human practices because “the animals do it” we are also, apparently anthropomorphizing animals; animals must feel this-or-that because we do. At least, that’s what seems to be happening when we read that Caribou were spared the “indignity” of life in a zoo.

I’ll admit, I’m becoming less and less a fan of zoos, so don’t consider this an endorsement of them. But “indignity”? Seriously. Do you really think the Caribou in zoos are hot and bothered about having to endure such an “indignity”? Colour me skeptical.


I think this article was supposed to be serious, but it made me laugh. Do you ever hear about people who want to “bike across Canada for charity?” Common enough, isn’t it? The problem is, it’s mostly a useless exercise (pardon the pun). As the article explains

In all of those cases, the fit participants would have generated more cash for their cause if they’d just stayed put, gotten an entry-level construction or resource job and donated the paycheque to charity.

Ouch.

Where’s the glamour? Where’s the “awareness?”

Where’s the workout?


And this is why automatically believing every claim of victimhood is a really bad idea! Because not every claim of victimhood is authentic, and the consequences of such lies are far too damaging.

The “we believe you” campaigns for sexual assault victims really should be adjusted slightly to read, “we believe you as long as your story checks out.”


So supporters of the NDP are apparently buying up memberships in parties that hold to policy positions that are rather obviously at odds with NDP policies. Not because they support them, but because they want to undermine the operation of those political parties.

It’s not hard to imagine where this is going. People in other non-NDP parties could end up buying memberships in the NDP party in retaliation, in order to disrupt that party’s operations. Eventually, the entire concept of political parties just becomes meaningless as people engage in these underhanded efforts to shut down their opposition instead of allowing them a voice.

Because some people simply cannot handle the concept that somebody might disagree with them and have a voice in the public sphere. Heaven forbid somebody doesn’t toe the party line!


Read this if you need to have the Liberal’s massive public deficit, put into perspective. I highlight this one because I love math. The one illustration I loved best was pointing out that the Canadian deficit is large enough to buy every homeless person in Canada their own luxury jet!


Do you remember when the Canadian national anthem was changed from “in all they sons command” to “in all of us command?” Why was it changed? In part because it was divisive.

[Never mind that it’s grammatically… ugh…]

Well, now it turns out that “us” is divisive.

Yeah, it never ends.

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