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September 03, 2021

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The strength of biological relationships based on DNA makes for interesting graphs. Google use to have an online graph app that I used to generate a graph of my 23AndMe relationships.

Ancestry.com claims that I'm detectably related to over 100 thousand people that it has DNA data for. I would like to see a graph for those relationships printed out on a large format printer.

Since this is a new open thread, I'm reposting this on the offchance that anybody who might have enjoyed it didn't see it on the old open thread.

Open thread, thank God, so. Michael Parkinson has been having a bit of a retrospective of his famous talk show (he now looks fairly ancient), and among the bits shared was this, which may appeal to many, not just fans of Buddy Rich:

https://twitter.com/TSting18/status/1433501253594669065

I realize many here have little if any use for George Will. But I think you may be in substantial agreement with him on this.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/03/its-time-end-excessive-secrecy-about-saudis-911/

To my mind, it's long past time to drop any pretense that the Saudis are, or should be, any kind of allies. Put them on about the level of the Taliban -- who we actually are cooperating with in their attacks on ISIS-K. But nothing closer than that.

damn right. SA is a horrorshow.

Saudis: Taliban with money.

Saudis: Taliban with money.

Taliban: Saudis with heroin instead of oil. The money will come in due time. Harder to transport; bigger profit margins.

China may be willing to help them with their transportation problems.

The mind boggles
https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/
The California Department of Education has proposed revisions to its mathematics curriculum. It dedicates two full chapters to social-justice education through math. Math? Seriously?

Some days it seems as though liberals are trying to provide the far right's anti-woke antics with fodder.

It dedicates two full chapters to social-justice education through math. Math? Seriously?

Not really. They dedicate two full chapters to acknowledging that their classrooms are diverse places where students speak many different languages and have many different backgrounds, and they encourage teachers to broaden the connection between the students and the subject at hand by leveraging the things the students already know and already engage with as scaffolding for building new knowledge.

Examples they give are things like allowing more groupwork and not policing student language when engaged with each other in discussion. Forming groups that are mixed in language, but not isolating students from others in the class who share their language to allow for better collaboration. Using more visual examples to overcome linguistic barriers arising from limited vocabularies, etc.

Teaching towards justice just means working to ensure that all the students in the class can see themselves as part of the mathematical community and see their own world and concerns reflected in the material.

That's just good pedagogy. And it makes the class work better for everyone when everyone is engaged. I teach in some of the most diverse classrooms in any major university in the US, and this is what I have had to do to make those spaces effective.

If Q has taught us anything, it's that the far right will always find something to be anti-woke about even if they have to lie to do it. Trying to head that off is just a massive time suck.

My wife's cousin, in his early 50s and fully vaccinated, died of COVID early this morning after a few weeks in the hospital and being put on a ventilator. He had a kidney transplant a few years ago and was immunocompromised because of it, so the vaccine wasn't enough to save him.

The people who think it's their right not to wear a mask or get vaccinated don't seem to care that he and people like him no longer have any rights.

Something like half the people in this country have lost the script. I really want to punch someone in the mouth right now.

(Please, no condolences. I didn't really know the guy, but it's just a sh*t situation that pisses me off.)

And since this thread is ostensibly about big data, I recommend that anyone still interested in the Pinker v. Spelke debate download and read the chapter in the CA ed framework that wj links to above that discusses assessment (Ch. 11). They do a good job of discussing the limits of assessment and how alternative methods of assessment alter our understanding of what students have (and can) achieve.

Research shows that narrow tests particularly misrepresent the knowledge and understanding of girls and women, leading to inequities in education and employment. In 2012, the team at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducting the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) testing performed a focused analysis on mathematics, with a special report on gender (PISA, 2017a). They found that when taking an individual timed mathematics test, girls achieved at significantly lower levels than boys in 38 countries, despite mathematics achievement being equal in the countries. When the researchers factored in anxiety, the achievement differences disappeared, showing that the under-achievement of girls came from the anxiety provoked by the testing. Further evidence for this was provided by a PISA test of collaborative problem solving (PISA, 2017b). Students were tested individually but they interacted with a computer agent, connecting ideas to help solve complex problems together. In that collaborative assessment, girls out performed boys in all 51 countries. This achievement for girls was matched by another important result. In the collaborative assessment of problem solving there were no differences in the achievement between students from socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds, a result that is very unusual in large scale testing. Considering these two PISA results side by side suggests that girls are disadvantaged in individual tests of mathematics as anxiety reduces their capacity to be successful, but they are enabled in tests that involve collaboration, even with a computer agent. Since the ability to collaborate and to effectively utilize technology are necessary skills in modern workforce environments, modern assessments should, ideally, incorporate these skills.

And in case anyone here is wondering, this is a good example of structural bias.

The people who think it's their right not to wear a mask or get vaccinated don't seem to care that he and people like him no longer have any rights.

yep.

He had a kidney transplant a few years ago and was immunocompromised because of it, so the vaccine wasn't enough to save him.

a friend of my father got a kidney transplant from his wife about 2 years ago. they haven't had any contact with anyone (not even their own kids, who were sent away to live with relatives) since COVID. literally, no contact. they live on a big chunk of farmland in upstate NY, groceries are delivered to a box at the end of their 1000ft driveway, and they haven't left the property in almost 2 years.

when my father goes to their house to visit, he stays on the lawn and they sit on the 2nd story porch above him.

--

i play disc golf a couple times of week at the local community college, usually around lunch time. all summer long, there's been a lonely nurse sitting at a table in the parking lot, offering COVID vaccines to anyone who wants one. i've never seen her give a shot. until yesterday, when there were five cars waiting in line, some with multiple people getting shots.

i gave the line two thumbs up when i walked past.

so, the message is seeping in.

On the Afghanistan question, it seems that what the other NATO leaders are most upset about is a lack of coordination with them over the withdrawal.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58416848

Note to them all to step up as the US has to do some housekeeping.

I've really hesitated to post this, and was about to write privately to lj to ask his advice, because it was to him (I think) that I made the comment after the LA protests about how very uncomfortable it was to be grouped with RWNJ transphobe bigots by people who were in other respects pretty much my ideological allies on most other issues.

But despite the fact that I have always said (and meant) that I don't want to become a spokesman for a particular viewpoint on trans issues while I am still working on my own, nonetheless when I remarked that I was suspicious because no trans-woman I had ever known or heard of would have put themselves or other women in the position this person had apparently done in the Korean spa, it turned out to be prescient, and since there are separate Guardian editions some of you may not have seen this.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/02/person-charged-with-indecent-exposure-at-la-spa-after-viral-instagram-video

Darren Merager "has been a registered sex offender since 2006, police said, and has a history of previous indecent exposure charges. Merager was convicted of indecent exposure in LA in 2002 and 2003, and pleaded not guilty to seven counts of indecent exposure in an alleged December 2018 case, according to court records. That case is still open."

I should mention (and I think lj has previously highlighted) that the Guardian has been resolutely against the gender-critical movement, to the extent that some of their most famous columnists etc, not to mention readers and supporters, have left in disgust.

https://voidifremoved.substack.com/p/the-guardians-ideological-dead-end

[In this piece] "The Guardian returns focus to their initial obsession: that this propagated virally because of the far-right, proving their long-standing contention that those who are critical of self-id are at best far-right adjacent."

All I am hoping for, in this forum, is that people here, generally so fair minded, do not automatically make the assumption which I have put in bold text above

This issue still has so many twists and turns to go through, I think it is vital for people of good will to have an open mind about arguments made by others whom they have reason to believe are also of good will. In a previous discussion about this, nous said:

Wedge issues only create division when the people who are conflicted choose solidarity with bad actors over carefully compartmentalized matters of principle rather than maintaining a united front with their allies.

I hope that the concept of "solidarity with bad actors" does not become the standard one uses in assessing the various arguments being made about this very tormented current issue of our times.

OK, I have now posted about 3 almost identical comments on this thread, and they've all gone into the spam trap, some for reasons I think I know, but the last one at least should not have. Perhaps it is a hint from the FSM that I should leave well alone, but being an atheist I am not prepared to assume so. I would be grateful if somebody with the keys would rescue the most recent one.

OK, I've just done that. Obviously, what has happened is that as soon as I stop looking at the spam folder, it collects it. Tricky, that spam folder...

Obviously, what has happened is that as soon as I stop looking at the spam folder, it collects it. Tricky, that spam folder...

My sentiments exactly. I check 2-3 times a week, mostly. But as soon as I slack off, something gets put there that shouldn't have. Sigh.

"...their long-standing contention that those who are critical of self-id are at best far-right adjacent."

I admit to mixed feelings about self-id. On one hand, it seems not unreasonable for most cases of transgender individuals. On the other hand, it looks incredibly open to abuse.

How common would said abuse be? No idea. And no data. But my impression is that trans individuals are a quite small percentage of the population. Small enough that the number of those with records for things like indecent exposure (not to mention worse offenses) is significantly larger.

That makes me reluctant to give self-id blanket approval. There may not be a perfect solution. But that one seems excessively problematic.

I may try to take a deep dive into this, and see what I can find. Not to bust anyone, I do know that not just the Guardian, any organization can take a line that may, later, looks really dumb. Frex

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/may/07/guardian-200-what-we-got-wrong-the-guardians-worst-errors-of-judgment-over-200-years

I also was a bit baffled why Freudian theory was being mentioned, but I see that self-id is actually this
https://diversity.google/story/using-self-id-to-create-more-inclusive-workspace/

Of course, a bit irony with google I have to note
https://www.theverge.com/22309962/timnit-gebru-google-harassment-campaign-jeff-dean

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/12/04/1013294/google-ai-ethics-research-paper-forced-out-timnit-gebru/

https://www.wired.com/story/google-timnit-gebru-ai-what-really-happened/

I post that last link, fully aware of the irony of me posting that after previously busting CharlesWT for similar headlines in his links. So it goes.

I post that last link, fully aware of the irony of me posting that after previously busting CharlesWT for similar headlines in his links. So it goes.

Clearly Charles has managed to shift the Overton window of ObWi.

The Guardian position on this seems entirely consistent.

The Wi Spa situation is complex, yes, not the least because I don't think that the LAPD should be treated as a neutral party in this. The independent media in the area has been highly critical of the police presence, saying that it was responding more aggressively to the protesters there supporting trans-rights than they were responding to the Proud Boys, Q supporters and anti-trans protesters.

The largest of the local LGBT media outlets in the area have been supportive of Wi Spa and are reporting the indecent exposure charges from the past with a degree of suspicion, pointing out that those charges have been used, historically, to intimidate and criminalize non-conforming gender presentation. For this reason, I think it's premature to argue that this incident validates the fears of those who say that women's spaces will be invaded by predators. Or, more properly, I don't think we yet know who in this incident was the predator and who was the prey.

It seems likely to me that the woman who posted the initial report is an anti-trans activist who went to the spa hoping to instigate a confrontation. I'm not sure how else a conservative christian woman with a child ends up at a Koreatown spa widely known to be trans-friendly and inclusive.

The rest is all much more fraught and uncertain. Given all this, I think the Guardian has been responsible in its reporting. If further information comes out that the individual reported on and arrested was sexually harassing the other patrons, then I would expect that the reporting would be updated to reflect that.

1. nous, thanks for your 10:49.

2. More pictures at BJ.

nous's 10:49 reminds me of a class meeting I attended with my son when he was in law school: a student-run seminar called "Queering the Law." I don't remember what the main focus was that night, but there were pro and con arguments in relation to trying to get certain laws passed. One argument on the "con" side was that passing the laws wouldn't help, and might even do more harm than good, given that the police who would be implementing them are often part of the problem in the first place.

I'm starting to read up about the incident and there is a wikipedia article

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi_Spa_controversy

It's a bit difficult to understand because it separates the reports into a time line and then talks about the protests in a second time line but it links to most of the other news accounts.

As I said earlier, I was unaware of 'self-id' as a thing, and given the inability of Americans to accept an identity card. I'm not saying they should, here is the ACLU with 5 reasons why
https://www.aclu.org/other/5-problems-national-id-cards

But it is a bit distant from me. As a foreigner, I am legally required to always have my zairyu ca-do and when I was in Korea, I always had to have my ARC (Alien Registration Card). What's more, in South Korea, all South Koreans need to have a National Identity card
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korean_identity_card
which grew out of the 21 Jan incident where North Korean special forces assaulted the Blue House in an attempt to assassinate President Park Chung-hee in 1968, an event that was lost in the shadow of the seizure of the USS Pueblo. (It was pretty amazing for me to learn about it when I was there)

Having the card has made South Korean society much more wired, so I could go to the doctor, write down my Alien Registration Number and get rehab (wrenched shoulder doing jiu-jitsu) There is also a problem with identity theft as the wikipedia page points out
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resident_registration_number
For example, it was found that former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun's resident registration number was used to gain access to hundreds of pornographic websites, as well as entertainment and gaming websites.

whoops.

The thing is, because gender can be changed legally, the locus of contention is how the state allows or disallows people to do so. And most other countries (other than the US and UK) have National ID cards.

There was another interesting connection, obviously the spa was in Koreatown, but I didn't realize that it was modeled on a jjimjilbang

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jjimjilbang
(the wikipedia page has a warning, but I thought it was pretty accurate, check here
https://www.koreatravelpost.com/guide-to-jjimjilbang-in-korea/

However, while men do not normally go wandering around with their junk hanging out, it's generally old women who handle the seshin where they take mitts and scrub the top layer of your skin off (seriously)
https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/TonetoEdo/Gokpb-living_health
(I never went for it, the idea of my upper epidermis in a pile at the bottom of a table was a bit much for me)

I've mentioned before that South Koreans are a lot more prudish than Japanese, but every guide to jjimjilbang warns westerners to be prepared for being naked. I don't mean to dismiss all of this, but from my distant perch here, a more relaxed attitude towards nudity would really go a long way to reducing this problem.

Well one thing is certainly clear, there were plenty of bad actors mixed in with the opposite at that spa, both during and afterwards.

It seems likely to me that the woman who posted the initial report is an anti-trans activist who went to the spa hoping to instigate a confrontation.

From what I've read, this is beyond doubt.

The Guardian, having taken an unequivocal stand on the main issue, may or may not (like many of us) be having to modify it in the face of ongoing developments.

passing the laws wouldn't help, and might even do more harm than good, given that the police who would be implementing them are often part of the problem in the first place.

It's not an argument against passing laws, but you get absolutely no argument from me that the police are often more part of the problem than the solution.

My only real point is that there are so many people of bad faith involved in this issue, that it is unnecessary and unhelpful to assume that everybody on one side or the other is acting in bad faith as well.

I've really hesitated to post this, and was about to write privately to lj to ask his advice, because it was to him (I think) that I made the comment after the LA protests about how very uncomfortable it was to be grouped with RWNJ transphobe bigots by people who were in other respects pretty much my ideological allies on most other issues.

Dissent is not well-received within the bubble. It's a universal phenomenon and not unique to the Left. So, good for you for standing apart. You're in for an uphill fight. Here are some examples:

The Wi Spa situation is complex, yes, not the least because I don't think that the LAPD should be treated as a neutral party in this.

But, the good news is that Nous, the Guardian and everyone else who has staked out their ground are completely neutral and objective.

The largest of the local LGBT media outlets in the area have been supportive of Wi Spa and are reporting the indecent exposure charges from the past with a degree of suspicion, pointing out that those charges have been used, historically, to intimidate and criminalize non-conforming gender presentation.

That's because they are neutral and objective. It is CRAZY to suggest that a registered sex offender would try to fly under the radar by claiming to be a woman.

It seems likely to me that the woman who posted the initial report is an anti-trans activist who went to the spa hoping to instigate a confrontation. I'm not sure how else a conservative christian woman with a child ends up at a Koreatown spa widely known to be trans-friendly and inclusive.

Yeah, kind of like Autumn Summer who keeps suing because Jack Phillips she can't get her special cake made, except that no one mentions this angle when talking about what a bigot Phillips is.

But, since we are question-begging, if we don't believe people on that side of the question, please explain why people on the other side are objective and credible.

Here's another fun thing about assessing witness credibility based on political orientation: that knife cuts both ways. What's worse, is that if we allow a pre-conceived notion (a/k/a a bias or a prejudice) against a particular outlook, we wind up adjudicating right and wrong based on who can stack the deck or the jury with like-minded believers. Talk about bringing back religious wars.

If further information comes out that the individual reported on and arrested was sexually harassing the other patrons, then I would expect that the reporting would be updated to reflect that.

So, what is the standard for believing women? Believe all women, some women, some women depending on the political alignment of the accused, some women depending on the political alignment of the accused but not if the accused is a trans-woman? The rules are so complicated!

My only real point is that there are so many people of bad faith involved in this issue, that it is unnecessary and unhelpful to assume that everybody on one side or the other is acting in bad faith as well.

Life in a binary world can't be very happy. It is plain as the nose on anyone's face that sexual predators are not deterred by the already existing laws against sexual predation. That's how they get convicted (I know, the police are involved, which is awful). So, if those with an agenda that you largely share then introduce a new variable, one that you and other similarly situated women have to deal with in the actual here-and-now and if that variable is a clear and present danger to your well being, how do you remain a member of the congregation?

Here's a larger question: your bubble has all kinds of rules it would impose on others. Invariably, these rules are for everyone's benefit and everyone who is a good person knows this to be the case, even if living with those rules and their byproducts is not something the rule-makers themselves will have to deal with.

Now, you and other women have to live with anatomically intact men sharing your private spaces because they say--and can say, without fear of contradiction--that they are women. Parenthetically, a solid number of progressive men have daughters. I wonder--when it comes down to fidelity to the Creed vs their daughters' well being--how they would react in real time to a man following their daughters into the women's facilities. Anyone care to answer this one?

It's easy to make rules that you won't have to live by. Nous will never have to deal with being a woman and having a man standing in the stall next to her urinating. But, he's happy to tell women that they have no business being in any way bothered by this and that, in fact, they are some kind of "ist" if they are bothered. Just suck it up and go along. It's for your own good.

Talk about mansplaining.

In Santa FĂ© this weekend they burned Zozobra, loaded down with all their woes. Old apotropaic magic to hold the darkness at bay.

Seems that McKinney has named his straw effigy after me this weekend.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zozobra

Zozobra (also known as "Old Man Gloom")

I'm jealous, that oughta be me!

Anyone with an excess of gloom is encouraged to write down the nature of their gloom on a slip of paper and leave it in the "gloom box" found in City of Santa Fe Visitors' Centers in the weeks leading up to the burn. Participants can also add documents on the day of the burning, up until 8 pm MT, at a "gloom tent" in the venue where they can add to the marionette's stuffing. Legal papers, divorce documents, mortgage pay-offs, parking tickets and even a wedding dress –– all have found their way into Zozobra to go up in smoke.

Oh, and don't forget, nuance, it's really tough...

Life in a binary world can't be very happy.
Particularly for transgender individuals.

I thought someone had closed the comments to this thread. Apparently not. Note to GFTNC, first, I hope your situation works out. Second, I understand your frustration with people who can't respond substantively.

Nous if you want to go to bat for the Guardian and against GFTNC, why can't you at least explain why you have as much skin in the game as the women you would expose to sexual predators who fly under the radar screen. Or is it your position that those things just don't happen, that sexual predators have a line they won't cross and that line is claiming to be a woman to gain access to other women? I'd welcome some elucidation.

https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2021/09/a-brief-service-announcement.html

far too much harrumph on this thread. see y'all in a better place.

GFTNC:

Get through your ordeal with our thoughts perhaps lifting you. Best.

Thank you, McKinneyTexas for throwing a gender reveal party for me.

Blue sparklers and squirt guns all around. Just be careful of the fire danger.

Let the critical reappraisal of my work commence.

Nous if you want to go to bat for the Guardian and against GFTNC

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2021/08/31/bank-robbers-brazil-tie-hostages-cars/5663130001/

Anyone care to answer this one?

I asked my daughter whether she would have a problem with seeing male genitalia in a women-only spa facility. She said no, not really, but it wouldn't happen because trans people don't want to show their wrong-gender bits.

I think that implies that it's reasonable to prohibit the exposure of male genitalia in a women-only spa.

Regarding restrooms: in the UK one wouldn't know what anyone was doing in the next stall, but I recall that men's restrooms are somewhat more open-plan in the USA; perhaps it's the same for women. I suggest a redesign.

Usually the same over here in Germany.
Also most newer facilities have extra unisex toilets equippped for the handicapped that usually can be used by anyone (the handicapped just having priority), so there is no stigma attached. Given that trans people tend to be a small minority, the capacity should be more than sufficient. So not even a need for a redesign in service of privacy.

[Add lame pun on privacy and privy here, if you feel the need]

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