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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
September 20, 2017 • 99 Comments

Movies usually take at least two years to go from conception to completion, even with all the money in the world behind them. For example, the sequel to the August 2014 surprise hit Guardians of the Galaxy arrived in theaters in May 2017, 33 months after the original.

So, it’s obvious that all the Oscar-bait movies currently debuting on the festival circus were conceived of no earlier than November 9, 2016. Or at least that’s the impression we are supposed to get …

From The Atlantic:

How This Year’s Oscar Contenders Are Tackling Trump

Some of the biggest hits—and one notable flop—at the Toronto International Film Festival played as blunt allegories for the current political moment.

DAVID SIMS 1:23 PM ET CULTURE

When introducing his new movie The Shape of Water at the Toronto International Film Festival last week, the director Guillermo del Toro was clear about the message he wanted to convey. The Shape of Water is a romantic, grown-up fairytale, where a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) working at a secret government facility in 1962 falls in love with a sea creature (Doug Jones) that’s being held there against its will. It’s a story of empathy triumphing over prejudice, one where the facility’s villainous supervisor (Michael Shannon) is largely driven by hatred of what he doesn’t understand.

… When discussing The Shape of Water, del Toro (who is Mexican) has been equally upfront about how its sea creature is a stand-in for “the other,” or the outsider, in any kind of political situation. As this year’s Oscar race kicks off, del Toro’s movie is resonating—it won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. It’s also part of a larger trend in political and allegorical mainstream filmmaking, where directors are plainly and loudly tackling the Trump administration, some with more grace than others.

… This year, a sizable chunk of the festival’s biggest hits have a few key things in common—they’re coming...

September 20, 2017 • 192 Comments

From Taki’s Magazine:

Not Affirmative Enough
by Steve Sailer
September 20, 2017

Affirmative action privileges for blacks and (to a lesser extent) Hispanics have been a near-universal feature of college admissions for what is now approaching a half century.

What have we learned since the late 1960s?

Perhaps the strangest result is that the biggest winners from racial quotas have turned out to be blacks who aren’t descended from victimized American slaves but are instead descended from the slave peddlers, or from whites, or, as in the case of Barack Obama, from both.

Read the whole thing there.

September 20, 2017 • 116 Comments

From today’s Science Denialism news in The Guardian:

Testosterone Rex triumphs as Royal Society science book of the year

Psychologist Cordelia Fine’s dissection of the myths that sustain assumptions about sexual difference acclaimed by judges as ‘a cracking critique’

‘There are no essential male or female characteristics’ … Cordelia Fine

Tuesday 19 September 2017

A book that rubbishes the idea of “fundamental” differences between men and women has become the 30th winner of the prestigious Royal Society prize for science book of the year.

The psychologist provides more evidence that the inequality of the sexes in society is cultural not natural

Psychologist Cordelia Fine is the third woman in a row to win the £25,000 award, which has been described as the Booker prize for science writing. Her book, Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds, follows Gaia Vince’s win for Adventures in the Anthropocene in 2015 and Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature in 2016.

Judges of the Royal Society Insight Investment science book prize, which was awarded in London on Tuesday, praised Testosterone Rex for its eye-opening, forensic look at gender stereotypes and its urgent call for change.

… Her 2011 book Delusions of Gender challenged the idea that differences were hardwired into male and female brains.

… In Testosterone Rex, the 42-year-old author concentrates on hormones, writing in the Observer: “There are no essential male or female characteristics – not even when it comes to risk-taking and competitiveness, the traits so often called on to explain why men are more likely to rise to the top.” …

“There have been plenty of books about gender and stereotyping and unconscious bias. What’s original in this book is that she takes apart the science so forensically. I was slightly surprised that it ends with this great call to action, but that is what is refreshing about it,” said Hammond.

 

For a dissenting...

September 19, 2017 • 49 Comments

From the blog of George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones:

A Sadness

Sep. 10th, 2017 at 3:51 PM

Jerry Pournelle has passed away. He was 84.

… Pournelle has been a major figure in the field for as long as I have been a part of it. I first met him in 1973 at the worldcon in Toronto, where both of us were finalists for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer (along with Lisa Tuttle, Ruth Berman, George Alec Effinger, and Robert Thurston). …

I came out of the night all right. It was an honor, a huge honor, just to be nominated. And in the aftermath I came up with the idea of a Campbell Awards anthology. A couple editors told me it was an idea worth pursuing, but of course I needed to get all the nominees to sign on… and the key one was Jerry, the winner. So I bought him a drink and pitched him the notion, and he said yes (though, being the consummate pro, he made that contingent on me being able to pay competitive professional rates). Eventually that conversation led to my NEW VOICES anthology, and launched my career as an editor and anthologist… and I’m still going strong there, forty-four years later.

The Hugo voters knew what they were doing when they gave Pournelle that first Campbell; he went on to have an amazing career, both on his own and in collaboration with other writers, particularly Larry Niven. With INFERNO, LUCIFER’S HAMMER, FOOTFALL, and (especially) MOTE IN GOD’S EYE, the two of them helped transform the field in the 70s. They were among the very first SF writers ever to hit the big bestseller lists, and among the first to get six-figure advances at the time when most writers were still getting four figure advances… something that Jerry was never shy about mentioning. Though he was nominated for a number of Hugo Awards in the years that followed, he never won one… but if that bothered him, he did not show it. “Money will get you through times of no Hugos better than Hugos will get...

September 19, 2017 • 200 Comments

From The Guardian:

It’s time to take the ‘great’ white men of science off their pedestals
Yarden Katz

Tuesday 19 September 2017

… As this latest controversy shows, science also has its monuments to white supremacy. Like Confederate monuments, these statues should be removed. They are daggers to the open wounds of communities that have long known that white supremacy reaches far beyond the sphere of conventional politics into medicine and science. But removing these monuments won’t be sufficient on its own. …

There are also institutional monuments within science to be revisited. Britain’s prestigious biomedical research institute, the Crick, is named after Francis Crick, famous for his Nobel-prizewinning work on the double helix structure of DNA with James Watson. Both were proponents of eugenics. In the early 1970s, Crick defended other prominent racist scientists who proposed a plan where individuals deemed unfit would be paid to undergo sterilisation. Crick wrote in one letter that “more than half of the difference between the average IQ of American whites and Negroes is due to genetic reasons”, which “will not be eliminated by any foreseeable change in the environment”. He urged that steps be taken to avoid the “serious” consequences. Crick also proposed that “irresponsible people” be sterilised “by bribery”. In the brochure of the institute bearing his name, Crick is nonetheless presented as a scientific hero known for his “intelligence and openness to new ideas”.

Indeed, Sir Francis Crick’s parents named him after the archdemon Sir Francis Galton. So what more do you need to know about Crick’s innate, hereditary evilness?

… A controversial memo recently circulated by a Google engineer, for example, based its claim that women are less capable than men in certain jobs on evolutionary psychology – a claim that, as physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein subsequently wrote, gains legitimacy from...

September 19, 2017 • 149 Comments

Usually, a lot of NFL quarterbacks rack up impressive statistics in the first few games of the season because they start off uninjured and the weather is good. Then autumn blows in, injuries take their toll, and statistics come back down to earth.

This year, however, the passing statistics in the first two weeks seem more like December than September. The average ESPN QBR rating for the 32 main quarterbacks is only 48.8 (on a 0 to 100 scale), compared to 57.1 for the top 30 quarterbacks for all of last season.

Did the hurricane last Sunday cause bad weather across much of the country? Did they change some rule to make it harder on quarterbacks?

September 18, 2017 • 152 Comments

From the Duluth News Tribune:

Duluth’s Leif Erikson statue vandalized

By News Tribune Today at 5:10 p.m. September 18, 2017

Seems like a pretty Minnesotan-level of vandalism…

Someone sprayed dark spray paint over part of the wording on Duluth’s Leif Erikson statue over the weekend. …

The vandal painted over the portion of the wording that listed Erikson as being the “Discoverer of America” in 1000 AD, a claim that’s still the subject of much historical debate.

Some people say that, no matter what European got here when, America didn’t need to be discovered: It was already home to Native Americans and had been for centuries.

This is a rather hearty-looking statue. It might not be that easy to topple when the time comes.

September 18, 2017 • 89 Comments

From DNA Info:

Hispanics Pass Blacks As Chicago’s 2nd Largest Racial, Ethnic Group: Census

By Tanveer Ali | September 14, 2017 2:21pm | Updated on September 15, 2017 11:38am
@tanveerali

CHICAGO — Hispanics are officially the second-largest ethnic or racial group in Chicago, based on Census data released Thursday.

Hispanics formed 29.7 percent of Chicago’s population in 2016, based on Census estimates. The population climbed 17,751 over the previous year to 803,476.

Meanwhile the black population dropped by more than 40,000 in one year. There are now 793,852 black Chicagoans, about 29.3 percent of the population.

Since 2000, Chicago’s black population has dropped by more than 250,000 people.

As I’ve often mentioned, there is a huge amount of real estate profit to be made by population transfers of blacks out of potentially valuable inner city locations. You can’t understand the roots of the Obama Administration, or so many of its key figures, such as consigliere Valerie Jarrett, finance chief and cabinet secretary Penny Pritzker, first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, second chief of staff William Daley, and so forth, without comprehending this long push to cut Chicago’s black population.

Similarly, the Obama Administration tried to cripple the ability of less desirable locations, such as Ferguson and Dubuque, to resist getting Chicago’s unwanted ex-residents dumped on them.

September 20, 2017 • 4 Comments

While I was writing an article about Russian IQ for Sputnik and Pogrom the past few days, I noticed this amazing statistic from the 2010 Census.

Percentage of the population with a postgrad degree:

1. Ingushetia: 1.59%
2. Moscow: 1.12%

90. Chechnya: 0.32%

Ingushetia is Chechnya’s quieter, lower T, slyer brother. They are part of the same Ichkerian nation. But instead of going head on against a nation that outnumbered them a hundredfold in the 1990s, they manipulated the situation to extract very generous monetary concessions from the federal center while their kinfolk withered under Russian bombs.

Today, they are the region with Russia’s highest rate of unemployment, the lowest Internet penetration, the lowest patents per capita. They are 85% subsidized by other Russian regions, more so than any other region. Back during the Soviet period, there were only 90 scientists for every 100,000 Ingush, versus 573 for the Russians.

Even so, this region somehow manages to have the the highest rate of people with postgrad degrees in Russia.

Say what you will about ol’ Ramzan, but at least he keeps his peeps in check. Based Chechen men need no diploma mill degrees.

September 17, 2017 • 38 Comments

I have finally had it with Amazon.

No, I am not talking of Bezos deleting 1 star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book on how the Russians are to blame for her losing to Trump. Though that’s also a factor. It is firmly part of the globalist empire and the day when they start censoring more than just book reviews can’t be too far off.

I’m talking of their “reform” to the highlights system.

Here’s how things work. When you buy books from Amazon you aren’t really paying for the actual product but for “access” to it, the terms of which can be changed at will. The most famous and ironic case was the removal of copies of Orwell’s 1984 from users’ libraries back in 2009, though that was more of a kerfuffle than anything sinister.

More recently, though, they started enforcing publisher limits on the amount of notes and highlights you can export from your Highlights page. What’s even worse is that each publisher has different policies on the amount and length of highlights they allow you to export. These limits tend to be more stringent for academic works – that is, the ones were you can actually be expected to make a lot of highlights. So imagine plowing through some massive opus, making copious notes and highlights on the way, and then discovering that you only have access to the first ten of them.

Judging from my forum thread at Amazon, many people have similar complaints.

Just spent over an hour talking with six different Amazon customer service reps. Most did not even know what the Your Notes and Highlights Page was. They kept passing me higher up until I got to someone who understood the issue. I explained to him that I have thousands of dollars and hours invested in reading and highlighting Kindle books for research and teaching (I have over 1300 Kindle books), and that I can no longer access all my highlights. He said he was sorry, but this is the new system and that nothing can...

September 16, 2017 • 50 Comments

East-Central Europe – the Visegrad nations and the Balts – are commonly considered to have had far better post-Communist transitions than Russia. They started earlier, and from a more privileged position; in contrast, the Soviet economy was more distorted in the first place, and there were no living memories of prewar capitalism. They got more economic and institutional support from the West. There was no haphazard rush to privatize state assets, preempting the development of a powerful oligarch class that in Russia’s case has become a byword for sleaze and boorishness.

One positive result of this was a generally much lower degree of income inequality than in Russia.

This conventional view is mostly true.

However, as Leonid Bershidsky has just pointed out, citing a recent research paper by Thomas Piketty et al., there is a small catch.

Finally, the large negative foreign asset positions of Eastern European countries should obviously be put in relation to the fact that these countries have adopted a development strategy based upon economic and political integration within the European Union. Eastern European countries are largely foreign-owned, but the owners tend to come from EU countries (in particular from Germany). So in some sense it is not entirely different from the situation of peripheral regions that are being owned by more prosperous central regions in a large federal country.

It is also worth noting that these patterns of foreign ownership also have consequences for the study of domestic inequality. In particular, as demonstrated by Novokmet (2017), the fact the holders of top capital incomes tend to be foreigners rather than domestic residents contributes to lower top income shares in countries like the Czech Republic or Poland or Hungary (as compared to countries like Russia or Germany). I.e. foreign owned countries tend to have less domestic inequality (other things equal).

In other words, a lower net international investment p...

September 14, 2017 • 20 Comments

According to the latest estimates, Russia might harvest as much as 133 million tons of grain this year.

This would make 2017 a record harvest not just by post-Soviet standards, which were pretty dismal until the past decade, but relative to the RSFSR’s peak of 127.4mn tons in 1978.

(This is the case even after adjusting for Crimea’s absence from the RSFSR after 1954, since the parched peninsula only produces about a million tons of grain per year).

The US Department of Agriculture predicts that Russia will overtake the US and the EU to become the world’s largest single wheat exporter in 2017, accounting for a sixth of the world’s total and recovering its old Tsarist status as one of the world’s great breadbaskets.

Incidentally, if it were to also recover its Tsarist era borders, especially the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, it would account for about a third of world wheat exports.

One of the big proximate reasons for this are recent economic developments. Few sectors of the Russian economy have gained as much from the ruble devaluation and the sanctions as agriculture.

However, there are strong secular trends that Russia’s new breadbasket status is here to stay.

The world population is growing, and the climate is warming. This will raise global demand for calories, channeling investment into Russian agriculture, even as crop yields go up thanks to longer growing seasons and more atmospheric CO2, and previously inhospitable lands are opened up for agricultural exploitation.

Russia is predicted to economically benefit more than any other country from global warming, and relatively speaking, agriculture can be expected to benefit more than any other sector. Meanwhile, conviently, major competitors such as Australia and the US will be wracked by droughts.

Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, where grain imports were running at 30 million tons by the 1980s – that is, about as much as just Russia by itself now exports –...

September 14, 2017 • 43 Comments

The other day the Chechen social media page vk.com/karfagen was banned.

This is not surprising, considering that it was genuinely extremist from head to toe, though it is perhaps telling of the Russian state’s priorities that it took longer for Roskomnadzor to catch onto them than it did for it to illegally block the moderate Russian nationalist website Sputnik i Pogrom.

The ban came a few hours after a Meduza article by Daniil Turovsky on the webside, which was translated into English by Kevin Rothrock. The website, allegedly run by a 19 year old Chechen student, was devoted to harassing young women who shared “immoral” photos on social media, including posting their addresses and relatives’ contact details. If that resulted in honor killings, that’s just too bad, one of the Carthage activists shouted in all caps: “IF I FIND OUT THAT SOME VAINAKH FAMILY HAS KILLED THEIR OWN DAUGHTER FOR SOME SERIOUS OFFENSE, THEN I WILL STAND UP AND APPLAUD, BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.” Women were forbidden from commenting.

Apart from doing their bit to make White Sharia real in Chechnya, the Carthage activists also embraced a sort of horseshoe theory Islamism (“You’re trying to distort our religion, publicly promoting the slogan ‘Islam is a religion of peace and good’”), as well as ultranationalist rhetoric. As with women, this extended to website administration; a tenth of the user base identified as Russians were kicked out in September. This is connected with Carthage billing itself as a “youth movement for the purification of the Vainakh people.” They did not mince words about their opinions of the Russian kuffar, who “pair off with anyone they want like animals” and “conceive children in the nightclub toilets.” Although they don’t promote Chechen independence, that is clearly driven by pragmatic reasons: “Chechnya is currently a subject of the Russian Federation,...

September 13, 2017 • 41 Comments

Liberal electoral victories in Moscow compared to the prevalence of those ultimate SWPL status symbols, bike sharing stations…

… the upscale organic food store Azbuka Vkusa…

… and concentrations of nomenklatura housing as of 1989.

At first glance, one of these is not like the others.

But that’s not all that surprising.

Dig into the family histories of the Russian liberals, as they are disparagingly called, and all sorts of Communist and chekist skeletons tumble out of the closet.

  • Evgenia Albats (liberal enforcer, sort of like a one-woman SPLC) – Grandfather a candidate member of the Communist Party, arrested and shot in 1937.
  • Konstantin Borovoy (simply a clinical Russophobe on Novodvorskaya’s level) – Mother was secretary of the “Association of Proletarian Writers,” cooperated with the KGB.
  • Alexey Venediktov (head of Echo of Moscow) – Grandfather was a military prosecutor. From the award handed out to him: “He carried out a ruthless struggle with turncoats, spies, and traitors against the Motherland; dozens of traitors were judged by him and sentenced to their deserved punishment.”
  • Maria Gaidar (went to Ukraine after Euromaidan) – Her father was an editor of political economy in the Communist Party journal, “Communist.” Grandfather was head of the military section of Pravda.
  • Vasily Gatov (gained fame for an unsolicited apology for the Crimean deportations on behalf of Russia) – Grandfather was the fourth in the chain of command of the NKVD; head of the Senior Officer School of the NKVD – and headed the operation to resettle the Crimean Tatars.
  • Masha Gessen (lesbian Jewish feminist who hates Putin for the lack of European cheese in Moscow) – Grandmother worked for the MGB (predecessor to the KGB) as a telegram censor in Moscow.
  • Dmitry Gudkov (anti-Crimean socialist) – Father worked in the KGB in the 1980s.
  • Irena Lesnevskaya (pro-Ukraine activist)...

September 11, 2017 • 179 Comments

On September 10 there was a round of gubernatorial elections in Russia, as well as elections to local councils in Moscow.

There’s a lot of confusion on account of whether it was a victory for United Russia.

On the one hand, the low turnout – which traditionally favors more motivated liberals – allowed them to outright win most of the prestigious areas of Moscow.

Amazing correlation between liberal victories (green) and bike sharing stations, that ultimate SWPL symbol.

On the other hand, United Russia did score 76% even in Moscow, gaining 1,150 deputies out 1,500. In contrast, liberal opposition, with 180 deputies, didn’t even manage to gather enough mandates to pass the municipal filter for participation in the Mayoral elections in September 2018. Since municipal councils in Moscow are toothless, having no access to the city budget and answering for little more than park benches, this would seem to be irrelevant.

That said, one thing that most people agree on is that this was a defeat for Navalny. He had distanced himself from the Moscow elections, not out of ideological reasons but personal ones; his deputy Leonid Volkov had fallen out with Maxim Kats, a liberal hipster figurehead who went on to unite with Dmitry Gudkov to form the United Democrats, the anti-Putin opposition bloc that went on to sweep SWPLy Moscow in close cooperation with Yavlinsky’s Yabloko. Incidentally, their positions are radically anti-Russian, more so even than Navalny’s; according to insider accounts, disavowal of Crimea – to say nothing of the Donbass – was a hard condition of entry into their coalition. Although this performance might not be that impressive in the large picture, it still probably counts for more than the number of Navalny’s YouTube views.

How important is this development? Probably, not very.

First, turnout was only 15%, and this naturally favored the liberals, who are more motivated than average.

Second, this pattern...

September 7, 2017 • 146 Comments

The conventional view of nationalism is that it was a product of mass literacy and the modern state, underpinned by schoolbooks and Tombs of the Unknown Soldier. Recent years have seen challenges to this historiographic consensus at both a general level (e.g. Azar Gat’s Nations), and with respect to specific peoples (Robert Tomb’s recent The English and Their History comes to mind).

Our latest translation of Russian conservative intellectual Egor Kholmogorov is more than just a Russian contribution to this debate. It makes the much more radical argument that not only was Russia not a laggard in the process of nation-building, as European historiography has long claimed, but was at the very forefront of this process for longer than a millennium, from Novgorod’s implicit devotion to the Russian commonweal in the 13th century to Russia’s defense of a “Europe of Fatherlands” against the globalist tide of national annihilation today.


Mammoths and Patriots on the Russian Plain

A Brief History of Russian National Sentiment

by Egor Kholmogorov

Translated by Fluctuarius Argenteus

Original: https://um.plus/2016/04/09/rossiya-rodina-mamontov-i-patriotov/

Sometimes I hear that saying “patriotism as a national idea” is akin to saying that water is wet. However, this argument comes from people with a very superficial understanding of how difficult it is to be patriot given that, unlike a comfortable cosmopolitanism, patriotism is the path of struggle. Also, they fail to realize how important the contribution of Russia and Russian culture is to shaping the very phenomenon of a patriotic consciousness in the modern world. The Russians developed patriotism as a national idea far earlier than most European nations. And it is Russia that keeps its faith in a “Europe of Fatherlands” or a “World of Fatherlands” in today’s age of identity erasure.

“Russia is the Motherland of elephants.” This zinger, coined as a mockery of Russian...