Lies, damn lies and pointless statistics

new “experimental analytical index” uses census data to measure relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage for households in very small areas

An early contender for this week’s most pointless news article and even more pointless research has emerged from the crowd.

Disparities in social advantage within Sydney suburbs have been revealed by data that shows a pocket of about 80 households in the northern suburb of Frenchs Forest is the city’s most well-off locality.

Six of the 10 most advantaged suburban enclaves are located in the city’s north-west, but none are in the east, the Australian Bureau of Statistics new Index of Household Advantage and Disadvantage (IHAD) shows.

The second most advantaged neighbourhood was a cluster of just over 100 homes not far from Taronga Zoo within the harbourside suburb of Mosman.

Or put another way, “areas everyone already knew were affluent, are affluent“.

No, seriously.

If you have five minutes spare and fancy a chuckle, read the methodology here.

According to the calculation, if your mortgage payment exceeds $2,800 a month, you are “advantaged”. Lucky you!

In total, there are over 50 variables that have been shaken together in this advantaged/disadvantaged cocktail to provide the lovely colour-coded map reproduced in the news article.

When all the data has been crunched, what did we learn?

The people living in expensive areas with new German cars on the driveways of large houses with swimming pools are, in the main, “advantaged”.

Bill’s Opinion

When the employees of the Australian Bureau of Statistics go home on a Friday evening, do you think they tell themselves they’ve moved the human condition forward at all?

The same question applies to “churnalists” such Matt Wade and Nigel Gladstone.

I looked over Jordan, what did I see?

A suitable air gap exists now between the much-hyped appearance of Jordan B. Peterson on Australia’s “QandA” TV panel show for us to review it without being trampled in the rush.

Our woke friends at the Sydney Morning Herald were exceptionally quick off the mark, publishing this review so soon after the show that a cynic might wonder whether the body of the article was already written so that a couple of specific details just needed to be added.

Certainly, the almost predictable template was adhered to; Peterson is an arrogant quack offering clichés as advice using pseudo-science as evidence, none of which I will try to refute.

Plus ça change.

Before I start my review, full disclosure; I don’t normally watch the programme. Actually, because it’s all such utter drivel, I don’t normally watch Australian terrestrial TV and was pleasantly surprised that our TV could be tuned to receive content that wasn’t over the ChromeCast dongle (this is only a slight exaggeration). 

My reasons for not normally watching QandA are as follows;
1. The format is shit. Too many people on a panel, too little time to answer a question beyond throwing in a pithy soundbite.
2. The host, Tony Jones, is an arrogant, self-aggrandising, biased fool. His body language alone (head and body leaning to one side, elbow out, hand on hip) speaks volumes.
3. The audience seems to be consistently of the opinion that, whatever the problem, the government must do something to solve it. To be fair to the ABC, I’m not accusing the channel of bias, they don’t need to manufacture this opinion; it’s pervasive in Australia.
So, 90 minutes of my life that I will never get back this week;
The already flawed format was worsened by the enforcement of a 1 minute per answer rule. Yet the questions posed were of the “is there a God?” type (seriously, that was asked!). 
The overall impression one gets is that Australians are quite star-struck by Americans (yes, I know he’s a Canuck, but that’s just another name for a quieter American). The panel were not only star-struck but also somewhat fearful of Peterson, the two politicians in particular, in the way people who make a living from obfuscating often are when confronted by those with less of a filter on expressing their opinions.
From left to right of the TV screen, here’s my summary of each person’s performance;
Tranny pensioner – agreed with much of what Peterson said, there’s never much to disagree with though, unless you’ve decided that penises can be female and zhe didn’t try that line. However, zhe mainly just rambled on as if zhey were some kind of national treasure like Australia’s version of Joanna Lumley.
Jordan B. Peterson – tried to smile a lot more than usual, got justifiably grumpy at an angry fat girl in the audience and the left wing politician (unironically) sat to his left and was interrupted with “time’s up, Mr. Peterson” every time he was about to start his second sentence. It seemed pointless him being there, frankly.
Left wing politician – presented well and was clearly scared by Peterson. Steered away from throwing too many local political rocks, which was commendable at least. She’s swallowed the equity=equality kool aid, though.
Tony Jones – he probably thinks he’s an objective journalist. Dunning and Kruger wrote a report about his problem.
Right wing politician – prepared for the performance by standing in a forest presumably, judging by his wooden demeanor. Kept talking about things we can’t talk about, which was confusing. 
Fat angry twitter woman – was fat, angry and unable to let anyone else speak more than 5 words before interrupting with sarcasm. If she isn’t single and surrounded by smelly cats, something is seriously wrong in the world.
Guest appearance – Milo Yiannopolis on a pre-recorded question.
Somebody should have cracked the old favourite:
Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Milo.
Milo who?
That’s showbusiness!
Bill’s Opinion
If you wanted to waste 90 minutes of your life for no reason and without seeing a result, consider watching a soccer match instead.
The terrestrial TV function of our TV is in little danger of being used again this year.

Not all heroes are Geoff Capes

Two boys won gold and silver in the Connecticut State girls indoor track competition.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Washington Times article is hilarious, especially if you read it out aloud in a sarcastic and sceptical tone:

Yearwood, a 17-year-old junior at Cromwell High School, is one of two transgender high school sprinters in Connecticut, transitioning to female.

She recently finished second in the 55-meter dash at the state open indoor track championships. The winner, Terry Miller of Bloomfield High, is also transgender and set a girls state indoor record of 6.95 seconds. Yearwood finished in 7.01 seconds and the third-place competitor, who is female not transgender, finished in 7.23 seconds.

…..Critics say their gender identity amounts to an unfair advantage, expressing a familiar argument in a complex debate for transgender athletes as they break barriers across sports around the world from high school to the pros.

…..“I have learned a lot about myself and about other people through this transition. I always try to focus most on all of the positive encouragement that I have received from family, friends and supporters,” Yearwood said. “I use the negativity to fuel myself to run faster.”

Well yes, that and a lifetime of physical development using male hormones.

Yearwood acknowledges she is stronger than many of her cisgender competitors, but says girls who are not transgender may have other advantages.

The Washington Times is using “cisgender” instead of “girl“. Thats the official end of that newspaper then.

“One high jumper could be taller and have longer legs than another, but the other could have perfect form, and then do better,” she said. “One sprinter could have parents who spend so much money on personal training for their child, which in turn, would cause that child to run faster.”

Quite right, and one child might pretend to be a girl and win every fucking competition.

The Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school sports in Connecticut, says its policy follows a state anti-discrimination law that says students must be treated in school by the gender with which they identify.

“This is about someone’s right to compete,” executive director Glenn Lungarini said. “I don’t think this is that different from other classes of people, who, in the not too distant past, were not allowed to compete. I think it’s going to take education and understanding to get to that point on this issue.”

Fuck me, so boys running in girls’ races is the same as Rosa Parkes riding the bus now, is it?

Yearwood is hoping to qualify for this year’s National Scholastic Athletics Foundation national championships in March. The group recently adopted new rules allowing pre-pubescent girls to participate with their affirmed gender, though no ages are specified.

What the Washington Times means when it says, “pre-pubescent girls” is actually “pre-pubescent boys“, such is the upside down clownworld they are inhabiting.

Bill’s Opinion

Lunacy encouraged by mendacious media.

This is fibber country

After using our patented razor, we were somewhat sceptical of Jussie Smollett’s allegations of an attack in Chicago last month.

Let’s get an update from that unbiased and objective news source, CNN:

Oh, that’s awkward.

The men, who are brothers, were arrested Wednesday but released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.”

Interesting.

The sources told CNN the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Which translates to something along the lines of, “police threatened to throw the book at them unless they confessed fully. This they’ve done and Smollett is toast“.

Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.

The sources told CNN there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago.

Two Nigerian brothers he just happens to know from his work.

Bill’s Opinion

When fighting in the Culture Wars, if a story emerges that supports your side and it seems perfect, the truth will certainly be 180 degrees reversed.

Australia discovers the internet

There’s an Australian government body, the ACCC, that regulates commercial competition, ostensibly new behalf of the consumer but, as we will discover, perhaps not.

Firstly though, let’s crack that old joke, “why is there only one anti-monopoly agency?”.

The ACCC has recently discovered that people aren’t getting so many newspapers delivered to their houses these days.

No, really.

The ironically-named “competition tsar”, Rod Sims says;

“I was getting the response of people saying ‘isn’t this just creative destruction? You know, classic Schumpeter, the way the world works?” he said in an interview ahead of the speech. “Well… it isn’t. This isn’t just like the car taking over from the horse and buggy, or more recently, Uber taking over from the taxi”.

What is it then?

The internet has been accessible to the majority of Australians since the mid 1990s. Therefore the value destruction of print media and journalists’ careers has been one of the most signalled disruptive industry changes in several generations, yet somehow the media organisations failed to adapt.

The ACCC estimates that the number of journalists employed in the print sector fell by 20 per cent in the three years to 2017; while between 2006 and 2016 the number of journalists employed by traditional publishers fell 26 per cent.

Let’s remind ourselves what those employed in news media are supposed to do every day they come to work…

The harsh reality is their real job description was, “produce interesting content that captures an audience for advertising”.

Perhaps the journalists would prefer something more worthy like, “identify and investigate important changes in the status quo and inform their customers”.

Either way, they’ve failed spectacularly.

Bill’s Opinion

From the mid 1990s, traditional news media failed to spot the impact the internet, cheap mobile phone data and smart/camera phones would have on their profession.

Which is a bit of a problem if your job is called “the news“.

Please don’t make us pay to keep this rubbish alive any longer than it needs to be.

Baby Hubris

Let’s hope this young journo doesn’t look back on this piece with regret.

Throughout 2018, I literally had recurring dreams where I would find out I was pregnant. Part of me blames Kylie – I often watch her content before going to sleep. Stormi is ridiculously cute. Part of me also blames my 26-year-old uterus’ own increasingly vocal biological agenda.

Having a baby right now doesn’t square with my career ambitions or financial reality. And, yet, Kylie has somehow hacked my brain into thinking having my own little Stormi right now is exactly what I want.

So far so biology or another woman’s fault. But wait, surely we can blame men for something?

Oh yes:

Patriarchal societies have a vested interest in making motherhood look like the ultimate utopic end goal women should prioritise above all else. This keeps women feeling “bad” if they can’t have or don’t want kids and naturalises their role as “caregivers” in society, thus helping to keep them from accruing the same influence as men in other domains like business, law, politics and culture.

Wait, what?

You’ve just admitted that your uterus is shouting at you to have a baby but somehow that’s duh patriarchy?

Men keep you feeling “bad” for not having a baby? Do women have any agency in this decision?

Bueller? Anyone?

Bill’s Opinion

Listen, Natasha Gillezeau, if your career was so important to you that you’d put your instinctive desires to give birth on hold, one would hope that it would have paid off by now.

As it is, you’re being paid a pretty crappy salary (you are on the books, right, and not just a freelancer?) working for a company that is very much in decline even for an industry that is in decline in general.

Mr Scientist puts it more eloquently:

No Natasha, if you want a baby and you’ve found the right person to have one with, chuck the contraception away and get on with it.

Finally, the financial reason you mention, which I assume will be something along the lines of, “we’re only renting a small apartment“, is just an excuse. Kids don’t give a stuff whether you’ve got a mortgage or a rental contract.

“All we are saying, is give pills a chance”

The infamous Sydney pirate, Peter Fitzsimons, jumps the shark today with this classic long bow to draw:

Not testing illegal drugs at music festivals is like the Vietnam War.

It’s not a parody. He starts by quoting John Kerry’s famous 1971 appearance before the Senate;

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

And then makes the comparison with young people taking illegal drugs whilst dancing to music;

How do we ask another festival-goer to die for want of instituting the very policy advocated by most of those on the front-line – the police, doctors, and emergency workers?

Of course, this is written in a left wing newspaper so the claim that most professionals back drug testing doesn’t need to be qualified or supported with data.

We’ve written about this previously and the false dichotomy being presented for political purposes.

Do your own research to discover quite how effective drug testing at festivals has been in other countries and, indeed, whether the news that the pill one has just purchased is going to be bad for you has much effect on people’s intention to consume it.

The nearest he gets to a nuanced argument is that, although drug testing isn’t that accurate currently, it will be one day so we should do it now so that we’re ready. Ok, Pete.

Meanwhile, let’s just have a minute’s silence for the 58,220 dead American men who probably would have much preferred to have gone to a music festival instead.

Bill’s Opinion

The great value Peter Fitzsimons brings to society is that, for any issue other than sports-induced head injuries, if you can’t be bothered to spend the time to work out what the best position is to take, take the opposite of Peter’s.

I bet we’re not

Perhaps Donald Trump has done something that’s ground for impeachment, maybe he hasn’t. I don’t know and nor do you.

One thing’s for certain, our generation’s Woodward and Bernstein are unlikely to be currently writing listicles for Buzzfeed.

A report in BuzzFeed alleges that Donald Trump instructed his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to mislead Congress about his plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, a claim that has been denied by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Got any documents or other evidence to support that then?

The latest developments have stunned the political class in Washington D.C and provoked broad agreement that this is one of the biggest and most damaging news stories for Trump since Mueller’s investigation began.

Well, that’s not a high hurdle to leap, is it? Meuller has been dry-humping this investigation for longer than some of Trump’s marriages and has so far failed to find a smoking gun, or even a gun that’s recently given up smoking and is now weaning itself off vaping.

In a story attributing its reporting to two unnamed law enforcement officials, BuzzFeed reported late on Thursday night local time that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations.

The authors of the story have broken some of the most significant stories on the Trump-Russia beat, and their reporting has later been backed up by the courts.

Right, and those stories amounted to what, exactly? Excuse our cynicism but the Russia collusion story hasn’t rocked the world yet has it?

If the BuzzFeed story is correct, we are not only at another level, we are at impeachment.

The word “if” seems to be doing all the hard work there.

Bill’s Opinion

Trump may be guilty of something illegal.

Evidence would be nice though. You know, how investigative journalism used to work.

UPDATE: The impeachment excitement barely lasted half a day this time before being extinguished.

Is there a single journalist alive today who can describe the meaning of “confirmation bias”? Anyone?

Have we hit “peak” Sydney Morning Herald?

Quite possibly.

In the past few years, the world has finally started to wake up to the socially constructed ways in which some people are given an easier ride through life than others.

Here we go, which people?

Male privilege acknowledges how being a man means earning a higher wage than women, not being discriminated against because of their gender, and being far less likely to be sexually assaulted. And white privilege recognises the ongoing discriminations faced by people of colour in job opportunities, safety and every other part of life.

Ah, men. White men being the worst.

Those white men who do all the jobs with the high fatality and injury rates?

Yes, those but especially the ones who don’t binge eat;

But what about being thin? Is there an advantage, nay a privilege, associated with being slim in our society? It seems that yes, there is.

Well, we can agree on that. Hence why many of us eat sensibly and exercise.

The “thin” in “thin privilege” is not about being supermodel-skinny but being at a weight that means you are not subjected to judgment and harassment from strangers. It means that you can go into almost any clothes shop and find something that will fit. You can eat a hamburger in public without people clearly judging your decision. You can wear something figure-hugging without people sniggering at you.

You’ve just described the effects, not the cause of being a reasonable weight for your height.

Melbourne academic and body positivity advocate Jenny Lee says that women are especially vulnerable to this type of rhetoric because “women are still valued for their beauty first and are socialised accordingly”.

Ok, “Melbourne academic and body positivity advocate” Jenny Lee and the author of this article, Alana Schetzer, are early contenders for the Steve Sailer First Law of Female Journalisn Award, 2019.

“When I speak about thin privilege, I am talking about the advantages that thin people in Western culture experience, such as being assumed healthy and having a wide array of clothes available, as well as a body that aligns with dominant ideas of what is attractive,” says Dr Lee, who teaches gender and literary studies at Victoria University.

Ok, I admit it, Jenny Lee doesn’t in any way align with my personal idea of what is attractive. Where do I report to be sent to my re-education camp and will I also have to be subjected to gender and literary studies lectures?

“It’s time to acknowledge thin privilege the way the Left has acknowledged white privilege, class privilege or straight privilege. As a white middle-class person, albeit with working-class roots, it is worth noting here that I can’t speak for all fat women, and I have barely been able to touch on the prejudice that fat people of colour experience.”

Ah, that’s a helpful clue about where the morbidly obese sit in the Victim Olympics medal table;

Gold – dark skinned working class fatties

Silver – white working class fatties

Bronze – to be determined, they’re still panting their way around the track.

The conversation around thin privilege got a kick-start when US blogger Cora Harrington wrote a series of tweets explaining what it is and how people can benefit from it, even if they don’t think of themselves as thin.

“No one groans or rolls their eyes when they have to sit next to me on a plane or a bus,” she tweeted in July. “ In fact, no one comments on my body at all. The ability to move through life without people insisting you need to be a smaller size … if you don’t have to think about that, it’s privilege.”

No, it’s just the default position for anyone who has learned to control their calorific intake. That doesn’t make them a Nazi, just a functioning human adult.

Society has long determined that overweight people are not only flawed but also fully responsible for their weight gain. That being “fat” is simply deemed to be a failure caused by nothing but greed and gluttony, a byword for laziness, being undisciplined, greedy and unintelligent.

Let me correct that for you;

Society Nature has long determined that overweight people are not only flawed….

If you were too heavy to chase dinner on the plains, the rest of the tribe would view you as a liability. There is a very simple evolutionary reason for “society’s” judgement on obesity and it probably pre-dates language.

Another take on the label is that it’s not so much that thin privilege exists but that “fat inconvenience” does – a sort of social tax that bigger bodies have to pay, whether it’s the lack of choice in shops to buy clothes, or nasty stares and under-the-breath comments from airplane neighbours for taking up too much space.

Let’s remind ourselves the author is writing for a media outlet with a default position that any problem can be solved by the government taxing it. It would seem you can’t have it both ways (yes, I was going to write “cake and eat it” but just caught myself); either the “fat tax” of society’s disapproval and inconvenience works or it doesn’t.

Whatever you want to call it, there is undoubtedly a series of hardships that bigger people face, most of which are socially constructed as a way to control and belittle them. If we can create it, then we can unmake it.

Are far higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems and early mortality also “socially constructed”?

Bill’s Opinion

Obviously it’s our fault that Alana has an eating disorder.

How do I know she has an eating disorder?

Well, according to her Twitter feed, she’s a single female who owns a cat. You rarely get those two without the third.

Oh, here’s her blog at The Huffington Post.

Over the past year, I knew I had put on weight. Dresses and pants that used to fit comfortably now squished against my growing belly and left nasty red lines against my skin.

Whenever I was upset, I would skip dinner and instead plunge into a family-sized bag of Doritos, and the only exercise I was getting was waddling to the fridge and back to the lounge room, where I would read.

And here’s the explanation behind most of her journalistic output;

Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism;

The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

So what you’re saying is…

….Japanese men compete hardest when there is more cultural “face” to lose, particularly when competing against women?

Here’s an insight from the economic heavyweight that is the Sydney Morning Herald’s Economics Editor, Ross Gittins.

To be fair, he’s achieved one requirement of journalisming; to inform. I, for one, had never heard of this Japanese sport before;

He also explains that there is a vast database of to be mined about how men and women compete in single sex and mixed sex races, both in terms of results and penalties for aggressive fouls.

What does this data tell us?

Wait for it; men are more aggressive than women, even more so when they are competing with women.

Which surprises no-one who has a passing knowledge of Asian culture.

There is then a whole bunch of word salad about something called “gender identity“. 

Bill’s Opinion

Japanese men in competitive sport don’t like losing.

Japanese men in competitive sport really don’t like losing to women.

Japanese women in competitive sport take fewer risks than men.

This research and Ross Gittins’ subsequent regurgitating of it is analogous to the discovery of the double helix by Watson and Crick in it’s importance to the human species. 

It’s possible that blog posts here may reduce in frequency soon, depending on how successful I am in my application for a 3 year research grant to investigate why men and women tend to urinate standing up and sitting down, respectively, and the influence of the cis-heteronormative patriarchy on the cultural appropriation of gender norms in the use of toilets.

In related news, if you want to understand how completely arrogant and boorish Gittins is, risk your mental health by listening to this podcast where he is interviewed by our friend Jess I can use a spreadsheet to diet, and you proles can’t Irvine

Gittins may be hugely qualified in his profession but, my goodness, when speaking he sounds an awful lot like every old bloke in the office you’ve ever met who’s close to retirement and wants to give you unsolicited advice at each opportunity that seems more about explaining how smart he is than being of any practical use to you.