When the mathematics of probability is misogynistic

Tragically, a young woman was raped and murdered in Melbourne last week.

She was walking home from her work as a comedienne late on Tuesday night and was attacked by a stranger in a park.

The police officer leading the investigation, Superintendent David Clayton, made some comments at a press conference that have stirred up the professionally-offended.

The egregious comments were reported in the Grauniad, thus;

Clayton told reporters that because the park was an area of “high community activity” women needed to aware of who may be around them.

“So just make sure you have situational awareness, that you’re aware of your surroundings,” Clayton said. “If you’ve got a mobile phone carry it and if you’ve got any concerns, call police.”

The issue seems to be that the statements above somehow partially-exonerate the scum who raped and murdered her.

In the words of the State of Victoria’s Premier, Andrew Daniels, a man who generally gives the adjective “incompetent” a run for its money when trying to describe his capabilities;

…..Because women don’t need to change their behaviour. Men do.

All men, Andrew, or one man in particular; the one who grabbed Eurydice, forced himself on her and then killed her?

Putting it another way, if we wanted to prevent this type of crime in the future by trying to change male attitudes to women’s right to life and safety, would our resources be best spent on targeting particular men or all men in general? I suppose it depends on whether one believes all men are potential rapists and murderers or just a very small subset.

With regards to Superintendent Clayton’s comments, let’s reverse the meaning to see whether his original messages were 180 degrees incorrect;

because the park was an area of “high community activity” women neededdidn’t need to be aware of who may be around them.

“So just make sure you don’t need to have situational awareness, that you’re or be aware of your surroundings,” Clayton said. “If you’ve got a mobile phone don’t carry it and if you’ve got any concerns, don’t call police.”

If a police officer had made the revised statement above they’d be forced to resign before sunset, surely?

Bill’s Opinion

Most men you will meet consider rape or murder to be most heinous crimes and something completely abhorrent. These men do not need to change.

Sadly, there will always be a tiny minority of men who will commit rape and a small proportion of men and women who will commit murder.

If you are a lone individual walking across a park late at night, being aware of that fact of statistical distribution might just be the difference between you becoming the victim of a tragedy or getting home safely.

Is it right, is it fair? Of course not. It’s reality though and not “victim blaming”.

For a more comprehensive analysis of the lunacy of accusations of “victim blaming”, visit the Secular Detective.

Let’s keep it low key and not make a fuss, Darling

Second marriages tend to be understated events; both parties are older, wiser, more experienced and often are focussed on making the public commitment to each other in front of a small group of close friends and family. Unless one or both parties were widowed, there’s a recognition that the “to death do us part” element of the commitment isn’t quite as legally-binding as they may have thought during the giddiness of their first attempt at the ceremony.

Obviously, there’s always an exception to prove the rule. Witness; planning a non-binary wedding.

I couldn’t even pick a pronoun. How was I supposed to decide what costume to wear on one of the most important days of my life?’

Yes, you sound a real catch, nice and stable, a great choice for a long term life partner.

“I’m in a body that isn’t saying the right things. It’s not me,” I explained. “I feel like I’m wearing a rubber suit all the time and nobody can see me inside it.”
“I see you,” he said. I knew he did. I felt it.

Is it just me or does anyone else remember this Peter Cook line from the classic film, Bedazzled;

George Spiggott (the Devil incarnate): In the words of Marcel Proust – and this applies to any woman in the world: If you can stay up and listen with a fair degree of attention to whatever garbage, no matter how stupid it is, that they’re coming out with, ’til ten minutes past four in the morning… you’re in.

I’d recommend not reading the article and, let’s face it, it’s on the Guardian’s website, so few will but it continues in a very similar LOOK AT ME!!! theme;

When I walk down the aisle this time, in front of every person who knows me, it will be as someone who lives in their body. Not a bride on a cake, but as myself, a person who is too complicated for the simple rituals that are the pattern of our lives.

Let’s have moment’s silence for all those poor brides and grooms who were married as people not living in their body, but brides on cakes who sadly were commensurately-simple for those simple rituals.

No, I’ve no idea what any of that word salad means either.

Further ramblings and some pictures of a woman with a short hair cut can be found here.

Bill’s Opinion

There are few modern ironies greater than the fact that the only member of ZZ Top not to proudly display a beard is called Frank Beard.

However, the lack of self-awareness of people who angst about what their preferred pronoun should be is a close candidate.

Minimum wages and unemployment

Australia raised the minimum wage by 3.5% this month.

Hurrah for all the lowest-paid workers, I hear you cheer.

Some cynics have suggested that this might not be the universally good news that most commentators suggest, however.

Their argument goes something like this; an organisation has a finite amount of available funds to pay workers. If the rate at which they must pay these workers is raised by legislation, there will be less money and therefore fewer hours of work will be offered to the workers.

The finance and economics commentator, Stephen Koukoulas, disagrees in this article on Business Insider. It’s worth reading in full but a fair summary might be, “price signals work in both directions; if wages were higher, the 5.5% of the potential working age population who are currently unemployed would find paid work more compelling than whatever else it is they do with their time“.

The Kouk is a well-respected commentator and generally talks a lot of sense but his position doesn’t ring quite true on this occasion.

He uses the technique of looking at the extremes to seek the truth, which is a useful method. If the wage was $100 an hour, who in their right mind would sit around at home watching daytime TV, for example?

There’s a problem with this however; it assumes everyone is capable of finding and keeping a job.

This chart shows the flaw in that argument;

It’s the distribution of IQ across the bell curve.

Look closely at the left hand side; 2.2% of the population have an IQ below 70. A score below 70 is a crushing intellectual disability, with very few suitable jobs available that could be undertaken by someone in that part of the distribution. Cognitive abilities will be severely limited and reading, reasoning and basic mathematics will be real challenges for them.

13.6% of people are between 70 and 80 on the IQ distribution. Although not as severe an inhibitor, these people will struggle with more complex tasks and interactions.

It gets worse…. of the jobs we are rapidly automating, the first cabs off the rank are the ones more easily codified into simple rules and processes. Mainly, these sit in the distribution to the left of a score of 80. Anyone who has been into a McDonalds recently will have noticed that orders can be placed on automatic tellers now; it’s not the manager who has been replaced but the entry level staff.

Bill’s Opinion

There is a point beyond which raising the minimum wage will have no effect on the level of unemployment if one of the reasons for unemployment is a fundamental incompatibility between the potential workers and the vacant roles due to genetics.

It’s not necessarily the fault of the person with an IQ of 70 that they can’t get a job.

“Full employment”, is a utopia that will never be achieved. Is an unemployment rate of 5.5% as close to full employment as Australia can get? Unlikely but it might not be too far off either.

The swimsuit issue

Reading or watching the news this week will have enlightened you with the fact that the Miss World competition is dropping the swimsuit element of the pageant and will be focussing instead on the achievements and character of the contestants rather than physical appearance.

….which is not dissimilar to existing competitions in the real world such as university entrance exams, job interviews, and other merit-based selection processes.

“How very progressive”, I don’t hear you say.

Of course, the coverage of the news aligns with whichever agenda the news outlet prefers to push; the NY Times piece linked above, for example, makes great mention of the female majority on the organisation’s board.

Statistics that seem to be lacking, on the other hand, include the viewing figures of the current competition. Perhaps my research is flawed but it would seem that, in the USA, only 172,000 tuned in to the 2016 broadcast, which is probably only a few more people than the extended families and friends of the contestants.

This chimes with the anecdotal experience too; think about it, have you ever had a conversation with a family member, friend or acquaintance about the Miss World competition? If so, was it at a time before or after the original Dukes of Hazzard tv series was still in production?

Bill’s Opinion

News articles helpfully informing us of changes to the Miss World competition format are about as relevant to most people’s lives as a 3 hour documentary on the relative merits of the viscosity of engine oil.

As for the future of Miss World now that the diversity balance has been addressed on the board, time will tell. It would seem that the prime objective of the competition (bringing an acceptable level of soft porn and glamour to mainstream TV viewing) has been somewhat usurped and trumped by the vast range of porn available on the internet.

Whether or not the competition can re-launch itself as a merit-based competition where physical beauty isn’t a factor will be interesting to observe, given that’s how most of the rest of human endeavour is judged anyway.

Of course, now that looks don’t matter, it surely won’t be long before the gender requirements will be challenged and dropped and the various attention-seeking types will enter the competition. A prediction for the archives; by 2025 a transgender person will be lauded for winning Miss World.

What other subjects are men not allowed an opinion on?

The other gift that keeps on giving*, Clementine Ford, offered another couple of hundred words in Sydney’s Morning Herald last week. The subject was the Irish referendum which resulted in abortion being legalised for a more wider range of reasons than previously. To be more accurate, the column would have probably been just fifty words if one could filter out “misogyny“, “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture“, i.e. Clementine’s default reasons for anything she finds offensive in the world.

As always with La Ford’s ramblings, she links multiple subjects (the war in Syria, border disputes in Israel, etc.) with the point she’s trying to make (“abortion should be legal and free on demand“), but there were two sentences that leap out as indicative of the mental gymnastics that must be performed to maintain a level of certainty as rock solid as Clementine’s.

This is the first;

Abortion is an issue of reproductive health-care, not morality.

Wait, what?

A useful epistemological technique to test the truth of a position is to look at the very extremes to see if the statement still holds true. In this case, we could imagine a situation where a full-term pregnant woman requests a termination whilst the baby is in the birth canal and in the process of being born, let’s suppose for reasons of her mental well-being.

If La Ford’s statement is correct, the midwife would have no need to hesitate before, sorry for the mental image, suffocating the baby as its head emerged from the woman’s vagina. It’s doubtful anyone sane reading this would disagree that there’s a moral element to that decision.

If we can agree on that, La Ford’s statement might still be true if we can find a point between conception and birth that the termination of the foetus doesn’t require a morality question to be answered. Birth minus 1 week? 5 weeks? 10 weeks? It seems hard to find a reason or trigger for her no morality decision required position.

The second sentence that indicates a contortion of logic is this one;

Men who cannot get pregnant need to learn that their opinions on this issue are irrelevant.

There’s quite a lot going on in those 16 words, let’s unpack them shall we?

Men who cannot get pregnant“. At first that seems a tautology; of course no man can get pregnant so why add the extra 4 words? Unless…… she’s making a very subtle point that there are some men who can get pregnant; men who used to be women but are now, in La Ford’s mind, men. Being a man and carrying a foetus to full term are not mutually-exclusive in Clementine’s mind. Okaaaaay.

Those “men” who weren’t born with a uterus and the other physical requirements to conceive and give birth, i.e. the people we used to call “men” in those halcyon days when all of us understood the term,  aren’t allowed to express an opinion on abortion, according to Clementine, and if they were to express an opinion, it would be deemed irrelevant.

Bill’s Opinion

At the risk of wasting my time writing an opinion that will instantly be dismissed as irrelevant because of nature of my genitalia, I’m going to anyway.

Abortion is a highly-nuanced and difficult issue and one that many very intelligent people have struggled with over several decades in many jurisdictions. That La Ford feels so certain that it is not an issue of morality and that a male’s opinion on the subject is irrelevant says more about her intellectual dwarfism rather than the correctness of her opinion.

As for men being able to give birth, that’s simply a land grab of language to suit a Cultural Marxist agenda.

As Bertrand Russell eloquently put it;

Fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves.

Of course, Russell’s opinion is not relevant to La Ford because, in all likelihood, he had a penis.

 

 

*Herpes is the original gift that keeps on giving.

Australia’s NBN; where taxpayer’s money goes to die

National Broadband Network chief executive Bill Morrow has warned there may never be a time when all Australians get the fastest available internet speeds, as such a project would cost “billions and billions” of dollars.

For those unaware of the Australian National Broadband Network, it is a national government initiative to deliver fibre optic internet to 90% of homes and business in the country and satellite or high speed wireless internet to the remainder.

No, really; that was the ambitious stated deliverable of the programme when it was launched in 2009 and it would only cost 43 billion dollars and take 8 years to complete.

So, imagine everyone’s surprise to learn, a year past the original scheduled completion date, NBN won’t actually deliver its objective and won’t be able to connect everyone.

In fact, the scope of the deliverable has atrophied whilst the cost has increased. Most dwellings won’t be receiving fibre to their home but that bleeding edge technology known as copper wire, the stuff Alexander Bell used to summon Mr. Watson over.

In addition, depending on which source you go to, the cost has blown out to nearly double the original estimate. Then there’s the lived experience of those consumers who have been connected; a Google search illustrates a potential systemic level of service delivery failures.

If only this fiscal disaster at the expense of the taxpayer could have been predicted in some way….

Bill’s Opinion

Australia’s NBN is a case study of why government spending is always, I repeat; ALWAYS inefficient and results in sub-optimal solutions. There is a list of mistakes as long as the cables they aren’t installing with this programme, but some stand outs include;

  1. The wrong “exam question” was asked. Instead of, “how will the government provide high speed connectivity to the entire country?“, the question should have been, “how does the government provide high speed connectivity to the 3% of the population that the telecommunications providers will find uneconomical to connect?
  2. The politicians behind the creation of the programme determined the solution not the problem statement by initially stating that the high speed connectivity would be via fibre optic cable. In the meantime, the global market in wireless technology has introduced 5G which is capable of speeds close to those selected by most NBN customers.
  3. Rather than deregulate the telecommunications market and local planning laws to allow multiple new telecommunications providers to compete for business and then oversee their services to ensure quality and value, the NBN programme opted for a central planning approach. The clear evidence around the globe of large, centrally-planned programmes is that they spiral out of control.

Government programmes take on a life of their own, regardless of the good intentions at the outset, and eventually become a siphon direct from the wallets of the taxpayers to the employees of the programme. The NBN is likely to be the case study of this in future.

Everything is racist.

Even how one pronounces the name of a consonant is racist.

No, really it is;

No research has conclusively established….” seem like the most relevant words in that paragraph.

I heard a talk radio show once. Extrapolating the comments by the callers is a valid and reliable scientific approach“.

By pronouncing the letter H in the way that you do makes you responsible for the extinction of other languages“.

…and, not content with driving other languages to extinction, you are also responsible for historic and current violence against minorities“.

“Sinister. Yes, it may seem harmless but you’ve killed other languages and dealt violence on the innocent with your language pedantry, you monster. Look at what you have done. Happy now?

Bill’s Opinion

Voltaire didn’t actually write the quote being paraphrased and re-purposed above, his biographer did.

….he is also an utter cockwomble with a complete disregard for critical thinking, investigation of fact and application of logic.

He must be very comfortable and well at home in academia.

Meaty, Beaty, Hannah Mouncey

Our old friend Hannah Mouncey was back in the legacy press this week, on IDAHOBIT Day (yes, that’s a real “day”). The Grauniad gave him her some column inches to write about transphobia.

There’s no need to read the complete article, it’s mainly self-serving guff about how the AFL are tying themselves in logical knots trying to work out what to do with a “woman” player who has been on testosterone treatments (i.e. they were a man) for their entire life until their mid-twenties but wishes to compete in the female league. The picture Hannah and the Grauniad chose (above) to illustrate the injustice might not be quite as persuasive as they would hope. Nice guns there, Hannah, what do you bench?

The key part of the entire column is here;

But with latest figures showing 80% of young trans people having self-harmed, 48% reporting having attempted suicide at some point in their lives and rates of depression and anxiety approximately 10 times higher than other young Australians, it is important that people are aware of the impact their actions have. Those commenting on trans people and their place in society – as Chris Judd has recently – really need to be careful about the potential impact this has, as well as ensuring that what they have to say is informed.

Firstly, the comments by Chris Judd are here and are about as balanced an opinion as one is likely to see on any subject and has several academic studies referenced in support of the opinions. In summary, the physical advantages of a male athlete over a female athlete are not negated simply because they have recently reduced their testosterone levels and increased estrogen; the bone and cell advantages remain. For a less scientific version of this view, refer back to the picture above.

Secondly, Hannah seems to have jumped to the conclusion that transgender folk are depressed as a consequence of societal factors, rather than than a more inherent cause. It’s worth repeating that the only groups of people with documented rates of suicide approaching those of transgender people were prisoners in Soviet gulags and Nazi death camps.

For there to be a societal cause to the transgender suicide problem, we would have to agree that transgender people are being brutalised at a comparable scale to those two groups. Let’s just pause for a second and, if need be, go to Google and search for images and video footage of the liberation of Belsen.

Can you honestly claim western society is treating people like Hannah in a way that is similar to those war crimes?

Hannah also raises the issue of the perceived irresponsible use of speech that risks “harming” young transgender people. Apart from the balanced and academically-referenced article by Judd, the only evidence of this “harmful” speech offered was a news article reporting some signage on a bathroom door in a restaurant in the US (i.e. another continent away from Hannah’s house). What was the signage?

This;

Bill’s Opinion

Using our patented razor, it’s most likely that transgender people are depressed and suicidal due to their internal existential conflict rather than the reaction of the outside world to the outward displays of their internal existential conflict.

Regarding the irresponsible use of language, of course it is important that we consider carefully how we discuss the problems of others but it’s a dangerous path that leads from suggesting we can’t discuss facts. Hannah currently benefits from free speech; there are many locations in the  world where he she would be unable to write a newspaper column such as the one in the Grauniad simply due to who he she is. Be very wary of restricting what others might say, regardless and especially if you disagree with what it is they are saying. The true test of your belief in free speech is that you specifically allow and defend the right of opinions you reject to be expressed.

As for the bathroom signage…. well, I think it’s quite funny actually.

In fact, why would a Grauniad reader feel that it is offensive given their firm assertion that Bruce Jenner was a man and Caitlyn Jenner is most definitely a woman. If that statement is correct, what is inaccurate or offensive about the doors?

 

Luxurious lamb

Welsh farmers will need protecting against evil foreign farmer following Brexit.

It’s obvious isn’t it, really?

The poor farmers of Wales will have to contend with the unfair competition from New Zealand farmers once the UK has exited the EU and struck trade deals with its former colonies.

This is indeed an economic tragedy on a scale of which there is no precedent.

Imagine the devastation to the British consumer of cheaper, market-priced food appearing in the supermarkets.

The Welsh Assembly is correct in its assertion that government intervention is required to ensure that no farmer is negatively impacted by this loss of EU subsidies and market protection from superior or cheaper imported products.

Or perhaps we are being sarcastic.

Bill’s Opinion

Why would the Welsh Assembly prioritise a small group of farmers above every carnivorous UK citizen?

The best interests of everyone in the UK who enjoys eating lamb is for them to be able to source a quality product at the best possible price.

Protecting a particular special interest group at the expense of the consumer is a return to mercantilism and the Corn Laws. Of course, this is precisely what the EU has been increasingly implementing over the decades following the UK’s entry into “The Common Market” (that was the name of the entity of which the 1975 referendum confirmed continued membership).

Perhaps feminists should talk to Jerry Hall

My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit.

Jerry Hall

Jerry was wildly off the mark with her infamous quote. No, what the world really needs can be summed up by this classic piece of critical thinking;

But until men are doing, on average, half of this daily work (housework) worldwide, and finding the joy and benefits in it, we will not achieve the full equality that women and girls deserve.

Hopefully that’s cleared things up for everyone.

Of course, there’s a few assumptions inferred in the article linked above, none of which are explicitly called out or tested with those annoying things we sometimes refer to as “facts”.

Assumption 1

Men and women are equally-suited to whatever task they decide they wish to undertake.

Whilst it’s true that there are many areas of human endeavour where women and men are able to perform at equivalent levels of competency, there are surely countless areas where this is patently untrue. Anything requiring physical strength, real-time mental assessment of a parabolic curve, endurance, etc., as evidenced by the difference in Olympic records.

Yes, there are some women who are stronger, faster, more skillful at judging parabolas than many men, but these are on the extremes of the female distribution. A difference of one standard deviation results in almost 100% of the best humans at those tasks being male.

Assumption 2

Men are lazy bastards lying on the sofa while their wives clean the house.

Perhaps the author, Gary Barker, is guilty of this but the majority of men are busy working, often in more physically-demanding and dangerous jobs than women.

Assumption 3

All or most women actually want men to do half of the child caring and housework.

Sure, there will be some women who want there to be a perfect split of domestic duties but anyone who has met other humans recently would also realise that most women would rather not get up on a ladder with a bag of tools and fix the roof or sit on the laundry floor with the washing machine in bits as they hunt a rogue sock stuck between the drum and the filter.

Assumption 4 

The gender pay gap is significant and is a result of duh patriarchy.

Oh Uber, not only are you destroying vested interests and rent-seekers in the taxi industry, but you’ve chucked a big rock in to the previously-placid lake of feminist logic.

Bill’s Opinion

Gary Burton, CEO of Promundo Global and author of the article linked above is either guilty of mendacity in his avoidance of the 4 elephants in the room OR he’s unable to think critically about a subject without allowing his inherent biases to intervene.

What inherent biases?

Well, Promundo’s business model requires that there is gender injustice for it to justify taking the begging bowl to a plethora of governmental bodies for its funding each year. Click that link and go to page 16 – Financials and look at the number of different United Nations’ agencies so generously handing out other people’s money for us to be lectured about our domestic choices.

Oh, and it should surprise nobody that Gary’s utter bollocks was published on the website of our friends the World Economic Forum.

Dear Gary, do your own fucking vacuuming, you Cultural Marxist.