Friday Links (8-Jun-12)

  • Mike the Mad Biologist has a nice reductio on thinking that IQ scores as measured between different groups reveals some socially-significant genetic facts. Alabama whites have about the same scores as Massachusets blacks. “Ergo, Alabama whites are also genetically inferior untermenschen whom we should not waste our time trying to educate. Look, I’m just bravely telling it like it is. If it doesn’t fit for your conservative preconceptions, that’s too bad. We have to heroically follow the data where they lead us.”
  • The idea that colourblindness is good (ie. “I don’t see people in terms of race, I treat all people equally”) seems to be quite popular. If you’re not aware of the problems with this, here is a comprehensive argument by Tim Wise, as well as a study that suggests colourblindness reduces kids’ ability to see/challenge racism. Finally, a post by Stephanie Zvan about an example of how colourblindness can kill.
  • This video shows a handy and entertaining use of game theory in the face-off between two contestants in the UK game show Golden Balls.
  • Security expert Bruce Schneier responds to Sam Harris and argues decisively that not only does profiling not work but it’s ineffective. He also touches on security theater and the systemic problems with the airports’ knee-jerk reactions to single incidents.
  • Along similar lines, former El Al security expert Isaac Yeffet (who now consults for the US) says the same thing on CNN, among other worthwhile suggestions. And then he drops a whopper that left me speechless (emphasis mine):

    CNN: What do you think of using full body scanners?
    Yeffet: I am against it, this is once again patch on top of patch. Look what happened, Richard Reid, the shoebomber, hid the explosives in his shoes. The result — all of us have to take off our shoes when we come to the airport. The Nigerian guy hid his explosives in his underwear. The result — everyone now will be seen naked. Is this the security system that we want?
    We have millions of Muslims in this country. I am not Muslim, but I am very familiar with the tradition, I respect the tradition. Women who walk on the street cover their body from head to toe. Can you imagine the reaction of the husband? Excuse me, wait on the side, we want to see your wife’s body naked?… This is not an answer.

  • A particularly tragic tale of what happens when social mores pressure people to stay in the closet: How I learned my husband was gay. Spoiler: it was at his funeral.
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The thinly-veiled identity of lives and rants in Sydney. Views not his own, provided by hivemind. All my original work on this blog is licensed under a CC BY-NC License.

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