Seems a good enough reason

Even a fair and accurate analysis of current political life:

Sir Tony Robinson, the actor and a former member of Labour’s ruling body, has quit the party after 45 years over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Semitism and Brexit.

Sir Tony, best known for playing Baldrick in the hit comedy Blackadder and as presenter of Channel 4 programme Time Team, is a former vice-president of actors’ union Equity and served on the NEC from 2000-04.

He tweeted: “I’ve left the Labour Party after nearly 45 years of service at Branch, Constituency and NEC levels, partly because of its continued duplicity on Brexit, partly because of its antisemitism, but also because its leadership is complete s—.”

This isn’t how it works Honey

It might sound dramatic, but I have often likened my experience of hearing about how black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students do worse than their white peers at university to the five stages of grief.

There was the initial shock and denial that there could be any discrepancy between my white student peers and myself in achieving a first or upper 2:1 class degree. Surely this gap would vanish if entry requirements, subjects, and socio-economic backgrounds were all accounted for?

When I saw that a 13% gap persisted even after other factors were controlled for, I felt frustration and anger. I could not imagine how universities had allowed this to happen. As BAME students, we expect that if we put in the hard work, we should get good grades.

There comes a point in every education where hard work isn’t the thing any more. There really is a stage at which aptitude, innate intelligence, skill, perhaps, is what is being tested.

Different systems might have this at different stages, from the whining schoolboy having to do Greek to the post-doc student having to actually some up with some new knowledge. But we really are trying – the point of the system being – to sort between those who simply work hard at it and those who are good at it.

This is, of course, nothing to do with BAME. Uncovering talent is uncovering talent irrespective of culture, nationality and melanin content. But to fail to grasp that it ain’t about studiousness at some point in the process is to have failed to grasp the point of the system itself.

Do other apes get STDs?

I might have mentioned this before but if I have I can’t recall the answer. Or maybe I just think I did and didn’t, which would be why I can’t recall the answer rather than some onset of LATE.

Do other apes get sexually transmitted diseases?

There’s a pretty big variation in sexual patterns among our close relatives. Gorillas are polygamous and while the Silverback rules sexual activity remains within that small group. Chimps are hierarchical and the alpha male gets a lot more while the betas try to steal the occasional shag if they can. Bonobos have sex like the man who drinks halves asks whose round is it – often and widely.

I would assume that STDs exist in other apes. Can’t see any reason why bacteria and viruses wouldn’t colonise where they could. But are they there? And are there different patterns of them consistent with those different mating patterns?

I’d sorta assume that anything that happens to bonobos – within the varied population groups at least rather than across them – must be trivial in symptoms because anything serious would have wiped out the group that had it already.

But does anyone actually know?

Perhaps I should but I don’t actually believe it

Given that I have zero medical training what I think about it is irrelevant of course and yet:

An end to the Aids epidemic could be in sight after a landmark study found men whose HIV infection was fully suppressed by antiretroviral drugs had no chance of infecting their partner.

The success of the medicine means that if everyone with HIV were fully treated, there would be no further infections.

Among nearly 1,000 male couples across Europe where one partner with HIV was receiving treatment to suppress the virus, there were no cases of transmission of the infection to the HIV-negative partner during sex without a condom. Although 15 men were infected with HIV during the eight-year study, DNA testing proved that was through sex with someone other than their partner who was not on treatment.

It is indeed possible to wipe out diseases where humans are the only ones that get it. Smallpox proved that, we’re damn close with polio too. Where there’s a reservoir in anther species – plague, leprosy, say – then we can’t. And yet I don’t really believe this with HIV.

We know that it is highly adaptable, it mutates all the time. All it takes is one more mutation around that current treatment and off we go again.

And given human propensities I think we would be off again. Something that reduces the cost of unprotected sex is, among us shaved apes, going to increase the amount of unprotected sex. Actually eliminating HIV from those currently infected might work but suppressing it? Doubt is somehow.

Sure, it’s great that we’ve stopped infection and all that but the elimination is the bit I suspect ain’t gonna happen.

Politicians should have much more power

And this is the malaise within politics. People with ambition, but without a shred of wisdom, nor still a philosophy or a sense of public duty to direct it, now populate many of our political parties, and all of those on the right. But pure self-interest and political aspiration are poor bedfellows. They never combine to create either good policy or sound government because they are compromised from the start by the inherent conflict within them.

Both statements from the same bloke. Amazing what you can believe if you set your mind to it, eh?

A statement for which you can get fired these days

Given that it’s the only one actually selected as an example this must be verboten speech:

On OpenPsych, a non-peer-reviewed journal, Carl alleged in 2016 that the percentage of Muslims in a country’s population are positively “associated with Islamist terrorism across Western countries”. Carl has also spoken at the London Conference on Intelligence – a conference on race intelligence and eugenics which in the past has been covertly held at University College London.

I’ve no idea whether it’s true or not of course. It would be interesting either way. There is a correlation with the Muslim percentage of the population? There isn’t?

After all, if Britain had zero Islamic population then 7/7 would not have happened…..

Shouldn’t be too difficult

Risk of obesity can be accurately predicted in babies, study finds

Look at the parents, if they’re land whales likelihood is so will the kiddie be.

Doesn’t matter whether we think that land whaleism is genetic or environmental as learned experience within the family. Looking at the parents will still tell.

Which does lead to an interesting question. We’ve all sorts of studies of twins raised separately and together to look at things like shirtlifting, intelligence and so on. Has anyone ever had a look through the same studies to look at obesity? That assumes that weight was measured in them but would have thought that would be a normal sort of thing for people to have done.

So, BiG, others. Anyone know?

Seriously weird idea

UK shamed as Europe’s biggest market for sex slaves

It’s unlikely to be largest market for immigrants who then sell sex. Germany, Spain, that’s legal. You expect to have more of what’s legal.

Actually, it’s legal in the UK but brothels aren’t etc.

And imagine that it really is true. Proper sex slavery. Then that would indicate that Spain, Germany, have less of it – where brothels etc are legal.

Can’t really see any way that this supports the standard feminist narrative. Also, can’t see the full report, maybe someone else has reported on it too…..

Crazed of the day

It therefore seems a strange time to restore at such cost a monument to the western civilisation that helped create these conditions. It is time to take a hard look at buildings such as Notre Dame and ask what they represent, and whether we should still be treasuring them.

Our current ideas on climate, environment, and inequality are partly the product of medieval Christian states.

Well, yes

I wonder if there’s some kind of explanation for the way in which Michael Phelps, who is a straight white man, was treated differently from Caster Semenya, who is a gay black woman. It’s a mystery!

Phelps is competing in an open category. Semenya in a limited one. Limited to those of a particular gender. A gender – or sex if you prefer – which she’s not really quite one of.

Ritchie’s new project

Anyone who did so refer outside the in-group would quickly find out that the acronym is less than fortunate. Our colonial friends use the can as a synonym for prison. And many varieties of English use the can as a synonym for the toilet.

Hmm, perhaps not so inappropriate. The Corporate Accountability Network, where one goes to defecate.

Umm, it doesn’t love

Why does female armpit hair provoke such outrage and disgust?
Yomi Adegoke

It is indeed a cultural thing, in some to many places, that there shouldn’t be any. But disgust?

Seriously, can we at least try to maintain the details of the language, where possible mild distaste is understood as being different from disgust?

Well, no, not really

Jared Harris:

Why does he think he had that block? “You’re so conscious of class growing up in Britain, and suspicious of that world and not feeling you belong to it.” But wasn’t he surrounded by posh actorly types when he was growing up? “No. My father had a massive mistrust of that world. The closest I would have got to that would have been through Rex.”

He remembers how she would turn up at his boarding school for visiting days, always late, always gorgeous in a giant hat and mini skirt. “The other boys would sit there and say why can’t your mother show up on time because their parents would turn up early and they couldn’t see the latest fashion she was wearing.”

Can’t say I recall that in the slightest but there we are. And at least in that side of life there weren’t that many posh people around. Still, observing the world now I do think it fun that one of his major collaborators – Peter Morgan – is someone he knew at that boarding school. Networks and connections do seem to matter after all.

How long have donkeys been in England?

Donkeys hate the British weather and would rather be inside, study finds

The research looks sensible in its results. But how long have we had donkeys in England? So, don’t we know this? Did anyone, for example, go talk to a few donkey handlers?

Sorry, not putting this well. I’d rather assume that this is local knowledge of that Hayekian type, among those who keep donkeys and horses. What I’m wondering is whether the scientists bothered to go and ask them?

Researchers studied 208 healthy, semi-free ranging donkeys and horses in Somerset and Devon, over 16 months where temperatures ranged between 33f (1C) and 91F (33C).

The temperature, wind speed, rainfall, light and density of and degree of harassment by flying insects at each site were measured and the behaviour of the donkeys and horses recorded as the weather changed.

Overall, unless it was hot and dry, donkeys spent a great deal less time outdoors than horses, preferring the sanctuary of a shelter. When it rained, donkeys were three times more likely than horses to stay indoors, and they tended to seek shelter when the temperatures dropped below 57F (14C), which is higher than the average annual temperature in Britain 46F – 51F (8C to 11C).

Or was that temptation to do Science! such that they didn’t bother to ask first?