Friday, 29 April 2016

It's official: the greater the Muslim % of the population the greater the gender gap

The South China Morning Post reported on the 27 April that Saudi Arabia was still not ready to lift the ban on women driving (just contemplate that for a moment: women are not allowed to drive!).
Saudi Arabia isn’t ready to end the world’s only ban on women driving, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, arguing it’s not just a matter of ending strictures imposed by the kingdom’s austere form of Islam.
Allowing women to drive is “not a religious issue as much as it is an issue that relates to the community itself that either accepts it or refuses it,” said the 30-year-old prince, who has amassed unprecedented powers since his father, King Salman, ascended to the throne. “The community is not convinced about women driving” and sees negative consequences if it’s allowed, the prince said on Monday after outlining a plan to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil.  [my emphasis]
That got me thinking. Can it be that it's not a matter of religion (Islam)?

So I did a bit of research and analysis.

I put together the Global Gender Gap index of 2015, from the well-regarded World Economic Forum, together with the figures for the percentage of Islam by country in each of the 145 countries in the WEF index.  Then I did a correlation function.

The correlation between the two is: minus 0.63.  According the the Pearson correlation function, that's classified as a "strong" correlation.  In this case, a negative correlation: that is: the greater the percentage of Muslims in a country's population, the worse its gender gap.

Nothing else can explain the correlation.  These are countries with different ethnicities, different political systems (though most are authoritarian or theocratic), different histories and different geographies.  There's only one factor that binds them all, and that's the ideology of Islam. So as far as the Saudi ban on women driving is concerned, it's just that they take the gender gap just that little bit further.  Women driving? It's not Islamic.

Another highlight: The bottom 23 countries in the WEF Gender gap index are all majority Muslim countries.  The message is clear: if you're born a woman in a Muslim majority country, that's very bad luck for you indeed.

My calculations in an Excel spreadsheet are here.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Churchill on the respect for all "religions"...

In February 1945, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was in Egypt and wanted to discuss with the Saudi King ibn Saud a definitive and lasting settlement between Arabs and Jews .
Churchill was told that the King would not allow drinking or smoking in his presence. Churchill recorded:
"I was the host and I said that if it was his religion that made him say such things, my religion prescribed as an absolute sacred ritual smoking cigars and drinking alcohol before, after, and if need be, during, all meals and the intervals between. Complete surrender." Churchill by Himself, p353.
[Oh for such straight-talking by today's politicians!]

LATER:  More of Churchill's views on Islam.

The Spread of the Gospel.... and Islam

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Why the Left Loathes Western Civilization - Dennis Prager

This strikes me as a spot-on analysis. Worrying, what's more.
It's what happens when an ideology ("all are equal"), trumps intelligence and plain common sense.

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A Hong Kong Judge’s Warning

This article in the Wall Street Journal is just the latest in a recent string of actions by Beijing, squashing down on Hong Kong's basic freedoms: freedom of press, freedom of speech, the rule of law.
Some of the comments on this article I find ignorant and mocking.  It really is the rule of law, freedom of conscience and freedom of the press that are the basis for Hong Kong's wealth and openness, and these were operational well before Hong Kong became entwined with China from the early 1980s.

Why I renounced Islam - an ex-Muslim 's Critique of Islam

Omar Makram is spot on.  Watch and watch again.
Some timestamps:
0'27": "The best cure for religion is studying the scripture"..... Reading is what made me an atheist"
1'18": "Hadith more violent than the Koran"
2'25": The level of violence in the Koran is unacceptable to me"
2'45": "The Koran is incompatible with human rights"
3'25": "Mohammad as a historical figure is a fucking awful person"
5'20": "I might as well believe in werewolves or vampires, or Greek gods"

I found all these in my readings of the Koran and the Hadith.  What I don't get is why people should convert to Islam, after reading the scripture. Either these people haven't read the scriptures, or they have and they find them congenial (hence explaining whey so may converts become "radicalised" jihadis).
Less common is the conversion from Islam to atheism, as Omar explains in the above video. Mainly, I suppose, because of the penalties for becoming an apostate: coventry or death.  So that makes Omar not just an honest and thinking man, but also a very brave one.
As of writing, the comments are all supportive of Omar.
Related video on the same line.

Electric shock – Tesla cars in Hong Kong more polluting than petrol models

Hi Mark,
Yes, I saw that.  It was front page in the local South China Morning Post, a couple of weeks back.
Today, there's a counter-argument in a letter to the editor:

Electric cars still the greener option by far

I refer to the article, "Electric shock – Tesla cars in Hong Kong more polluting than petrol models" (April 13). The Bernstein report quoted in the article presents a distorted picture, skewing the data to fit the author's investment portfolio. Not surprising, given the report's author's oil and gas background and investments.

The most outrageous distortion is the choice of HK Electric in the estimation of carbon intensity, while completely excluding CLP, whose carbon dioxide emissions are 30 per cent lower. CLP generates three-quarters of the electricity, and powers 70 per cent of the electric vehicles, in Hong Kong. Correct that one distortion, and the report result is reversed.

Bernstein uses artificial fuel economy figures; production emissions are exaggerated, and the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the extraction, refinement and transportation of oil is understated.

All environmental protection agencies and governments globally recognise the benefits of electric vehicles, and support and promote their adoption. One distorted report from an oil company investor does not change that. The truth is that electric vehicles, even when powered by dirty coal, are still cleaner than comparable petrol vehicles today. In most cases, comparable petrol vehicles pollute at least 50 per cent more.

Hong Kong has already seen a 90 per cent reduction in emissions harmful to air quality from power generation over the past 20 years. Commitments for the coming 10 years will further reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50 per cent. An electric vehicle purchased today will get cleaner in the coming years, as power generation continues to improve, while a petrol car will get dirtier, as the engine deteriorates.

The only valid point in the whole biased Bernstein report is that Hong Kong needs a cleaner fuel mix for electricity generation. Such a migration to cleaner and more renewable energy is inevitable, and in progress. We as a community should support that, because it is not just electric vehicles that are powered by our electricity grid.

Mark Webb-Johnson, chairman, Charged Hong Kong

On 17 Apr, 2016, at 5:16 am, Mark Hodgkin <> wrote:

Hi Peter,
I hope the sailing went well, I am still waiting for my Open 40 experience...
This may amuse – from the FT
On Hong Kong island, electric cars are not the clean option

Never mind that Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of the electric carmaker, has described the city as "a beacon" for electric vehicles. This may be so — Hong Kong has one of the highest penetration rates of electric vehicles as a percentage of new car sales anywhere. But this may not be helping Hong Kong's carbon footprint or air quality. According to research from Bernstein, electricity generation for Hong Kong island is so dirty that a Tesla car charged there will be responsible for one-fifth more CO2 over its average life than an equivalent petrol guzzler. Based on its assumptions, the research house says Hong Kong would have to reduce its carbon intensity by 30 per cent before its citizens can justify buying electric vehicles for lower emissions.

This is not Tesla's fault, nor is it likely to deter buyers. Nor, judging from the response to the Model 3 launch, do delivery delays, for which the company has become infamous.

Perhaps they should. Early adopters of a technology normally accept that their gadget will become obsolete fairly rapidly. They may not expect this for cars. Delays were so long for the first buyers of Model S cars in Hong Kong that deliveries arrived only two months before upgraded hardware came out. Ambitious technology goals have caused teething problems in most models. The very popularity of Tesla in Hong Kong can lead to delays in fixing any problems.

No matter, Tesla offers a way out. As in some other countries, it has a trade-in option for the Model S, buying old cars at 75 per cent of the base price (and 65 per cent of add-ons) if returned within a window of 36 to 37 months of ownership. That deal does not hold, though, if you want to upgrade earlier.

Tesla cars have long run potential. But until it can learn to deliver, rational investors will steer clear.


What’s Really Killing India’s Smokers - WSJ

Here's yet another one of the many Things I Don't Get. That otherwise sane and sensible people can simply ignore scientific evidence. These are many of the same folk who urge, say, climate skeptics to "follow the science". 
Or who, in the case of GMOs, staunchly refuse the abundant scientific evidence that they're perfectly safe. (The "scientific consensus", as they would say in the case of climate science). 
And in the case of e-cigarettes, they refuse to accept the science that vaping is 95% safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes. 
This article exposes this idiocy at work in India. And, I'm sad to say, it's also at work in Australia. And in the WHO, headed by our very own Margaret Chen of Hong Kong. Shame on all these intelligent fools. 

"That vaping is as risky as smoking is a popular falsehood in other countries, notably Australia and Canada, and is spreading in the U.S. In 2014, the WHO "invited [countries] to consider prohibiting or regulating 'electronic nicotine delivery devices.' "

"India's unsubstantiated opposition to vaping is a travesty. Allowing smokers to seek healthier alternatives does not warrant imprisonment. Misinformation about vaping led to the injustice of Mr. Kumar and presents a growing threat to public health everywhere."

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Rethinking the Global War on Drugs -

About time too. (There's also an article from the WSJ of 2012, that argues the same case: if newspapers on the left and on the right agree on a policy, we're getting close to something that may be workable).
"At the urging of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, world leaders met at the United Nations in a special session last week to discuss saner ways to fight the drug trade. They did not get very far toward a shift in approach. Nonetheless, there was a consensus that investing in health care, addiction treatment and alternatives to incarceration would do more to end the drug trade than relying primarily on prohibition and criminalization."
Read on>>

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Zones of influence - China in Africa

We had a brief discussion on Dallinghoo about China in Africa.
Here's a short video I came across today in the latest Economist about China's special economic zones in Africa. Interesting I think.
Cheers to all!

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Is Hillary Clinton Dishonest? -

I hate Hilary. Hate, I say.
The one-word reason for my hate? Benghazi.
In that murderous incident, Clinton showed a shocking lack of character, a shivering lack of spine, a clear lack of of care; while yet she exhibited fulsome dishonesty: the violence and killings were "due to an anti-Muslim film". No they weren't. They were due to a resurgent Al Q'aeda.
Still, in the interests of fairness, here's an article by Nicholas Kristof that claims a fact-checking firm finds Hilary the most honest of the candidates on both sides.
If that's true then she deserves some recognition for that, even from a Hilary-hater like me.
Read on >>

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Italy’s universities bow to Islam and boycott Israel - Arutz Sheva

Italy colludes in its own demise.
With that bane of civilization, Saudi Arabia.
The two comments to date are ignorant.

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Did Time magazine bum you out? The internet debunks mag’s claim that you owe $42.998.12 for the national debt -

It's in Salon, but still..... The US is NOT insolvent and won't be anytime soon. Correction: won't be anytime, period.
A national economy is not like a household one. The US national debt is treated like cash. If it were paid down it would suck the air out of the international financial markets.

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I Love Islam | Frontpage Mag

The education of young Muslims in the United States >>

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

What Do Young British Muslims Think About the Caliphate? | Clarion Project

Some lazy thinking here. But dangerous in its ignorance and sheer bigotry.

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Fwd: Language learning

To the Financial Times:
> Sir,
> I thought Jeremy Paxman's article a refreshingly robust case for English as the global language ("Voila!", April 8). He is spot on.
> Another language that repays study is Chinese. I speak as one who learnt Mandarin Chinese, to interpreter level, as an adult. My
> mother tongue was Italian and I've spoken passable French and German in my time. So I agree with Alan Watson who says that knowledge of a "starter" European language is not a necessity for learning Chinese. (Letters 14 April).
> [Indeed it may well be a hindrance in learning a tonal language with ideographs, which nonetheless has a very simple grammar -- simpler than all European languages].
> My point is this: that English is the global language. And Chinese is a hugely helpful language in most of Asia: China itself, of course, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, much of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
> No one should be shy to take on Chinese. It takes study, to be sure, but it repays that study in spades, from insights into "Asian values" to appreciation of the elegance of Classical Chinese calligraphy.
> Peter Forsythe
> 9 Siena One
> Discovery Bay
> Hong Kong
> +852 9308 0799
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The Dirty Old Men of Pakistan - The New York Times

The Dirty Old Men of Pakistan


Memoona, the victim of an acid attack in a family feud, in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2011. Credit Insiya Syed/Reuters

Karachi, Pakistan — IN the world we live in, there is no dearth of pious men who believe that most of the world's problems can be fixed by giving their women a little thrashing. And this business of a man's God-given right to give a woman a little thrashing has brought together all of Pakistan's pious men.

A few weeks ago, Pakistan's largest province passed a new law called the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act. The law institutes radical measures that say a husband can't beat his wife, and if he does he will face criminal charges and possibly even eviction from his home. It proposes setting up a hotline women can call to report abuse. In some cases, offenders will be required to wear a bracelet with a GPS monitor and will not be allowed to buy guns.

A coalition of more than 30 religious and political parties has declared the law un-Islamic, an attempt to secularize Pakistan and a clear and present threat to our most sacred institution: the family. They have threatened countrywide street protests if the government doesn't back down.

Their logic goes like this: If you beat up a person on the street, it's a criminal assault. If you bash someone in your bedroom, you're protected by the sanctity of your home. If you kill a stranger, it's murder. If you shoot your own sister, you're defending your honor. I'm sure the nice folks campaigning against the bill don't want to beat up their wives or murder their sisters, but they are fighting for their fellow men's right to do just that.

It's not only opposition parties that are against the bill: The government-appointed Council of Islamic Ideology has also declared it repugnant to our religion and culture. The council's main task is to ensure that all the laws in the country comply with Shariah. But basically it's a bunch of old men who go to sleep worrying that there are all these women out there trying to trick them into bed. Maybe that's why there are no pious old women on the council, even though there's no shortage of them in Pakistan.

The council's past proclamations have defended a man's right to marry a minor, dispensed him from asking for permission from his first wife before taking a second or a third, and made it impossible for women to prove rape. It's probably the most privileged dirty old men's club in the country.

Some of us routinely condemn these pious old men, but it seems they are not just a bunch of pampered religious nuts. In fact, they are giving voice to Pakistani men's collective misery over the fact that their women are out of control. Look at university exam results; women are hogging all the top positions. Go to a bank; there is a woman counting your money with her fancy nails. Turn on your TV; there is a female journalist questioning powerful men about politics and sports.

One of these journalists recently was grilling a famous mufti opposed to the bill. Bewildered, the mufti said: Are you a woman, or are you a TV journalist? She was professional enough not to retort: Are you a mufti, or just another old fart?

It wasn't supposed to be like this. Three decades ago, most Pakistani women who had paid jobs worked at menial tasks, and the others were confined to traditional professions like medicine or teaching or, occasionally, law. There was a small and brave women's movement. Women were writing novels and making movies, but they were few in number. Now they are flying planes, heading companies, policing the streets, climbing mountains and winning Oscars and Nobel Prizes. There are millions of women across the country running little beauty parlors from their homes, employing other women and gaining a measure of independence.

But for every bank teller, there are still millions of women who are farmhands or house help. For every TV journalist, there are many more women who live in half-slavery, scrubbing and cleaning, and shouldering the heavy burden of protecting and raising their kids.

Let's not just blame the mullahs and muftis. Misogyny is way older than any religion. Even people who have never seen the inside of a mosque or the Sufis who want to become one with the universe wouldn't think twice before treating a woman as something between a pest and a pet goat.

Some members of Parliament stayed away when this bill was being passed in the Punjab assembly. They probably represent a majority. Some of us even call ourselves feminist. "See, I have never stopped my sister from going to school, never given my girlfriend a black eye. That makes me a feminist, right? But we must protect our families. You don't want a family-loving feminist man going around with a GPS tracker, do you?"

What really scares the so-called feminist men is that a lot of women are actually quite bored with talking about being a woman. They talk about their work. A film director talks about bad actors. A development worker talks about idiotic funding patterns. A maid talks about her cellphone and the quality of detergents.

There's a woman in my neighborhood who walks fast. She is always carrying two kids in her arms. Not infants but 3-, 4-year-old sturdy kids, heavy weights. She walks fast. Probably you have to walk fast when you are carrying two kids. She doesn't expect a lift from the many cars passing by. She can't afford a cab. She is walking toward her bus. Always with the two kids in her arms and a bag around her shoulder. She gives Quran lessons at people's homes.

I don't think all those pious men, or anyone else, can tell that woman with the two kids how to walk her daily walk. If someone asks her how it feels to be a woman in this society, she'd probably answer, "Can't you see I'm working?"

Continue reading the main story

What’s a European Liberal to Do? -

The Left (finally), or at least some of the Left, maybe finally gets it about fighting for the fruits of western enlightenment culture, and its superiority to the culture of Islam. That's right: superiority. (On this point listen also to Sam Harris' podcast -- "Ask me anything #4).
Sylvie Kauffmann discusses the issues.

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