Saturday, September 24, 2016

Lili's thought for the day

Good on you, Jeremy Corbyn, you cold baked bean eating, manhole cover appreciating leader of the people of Britain! I think you're rather gorgeous.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lili's reality check for the day

Did you hear the celebrity "aspie" John Elder Robison on the radio (Life Matters, Radio National, ABC, Australian publicly-funded broadcaster) this morning, raving on about the time he had his head zapped by some quacks and the empathy button in his autistic brain was switched on? The whole unlikely story rests on some very shaky premises. The closest one to Robison is the assumption that autism or Asperger syndrome is or includes a deficit or complete absence of a normal ability to read the emotions of others just by looking at them or listening to their voices. The assumption that that assumption rests upon is the assumption that "normal" people actually possess such an ability. Problem is, they don't.

Think about it. If most people, the vast majority of adults, had the ability to read the emotions of others just by looking deep, deep into their joyful or sorrow-filled eyes, or observing their posture or gestures or listening to their voices, then it follows that no one would ever be able to get away with having an affair undetected (their spouse would easily be able to read a set of unaccounted emotions in their partner, and figure out that something was up). It also follows that every suicide would be entirely predictable and possibly preventable, but we know, in the harsh world of reality, that even psychiatrists with many years of training and university education and presumably buckets of empathy cannot read the minds and the intentions of their patients like a book. If practically everyone could read emotions, I'd also suppose that secrets would be very difficult to maintain, as at least the emotions associated with the concealed knowledge would be on public display, as though the name of the emotion was written on one's forehead in black marker pen.

So I call "BULLSHIT" to Mr Robison, to the people at Life Matters (who gave Mr Robison a run today that had no pertinent questions nor any note of skepticism), and the Australian Broadcasting Commission as a whole, which is most selective about which matters fall under their investigative eye. Bullshit, y'all!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Lili's compilation of unoriginal name ideas for census night

Joan Doe

Dr Ben Dover

Hu Flung Dung

Elkie Hall

Mary Warner

Coco Caine

Mike Hunt

So Su Mee

Seymour Butts

Connie Lingus

R. U. Dunn

Harry Balls

Sum K*nt

Bob Downe

Rhea Ender

B. A. Wiseman

Claude Balls

Eileen Dover

Phil McCafferty

Anita Bath

Ivanna Cock

Seymour Cox

And a pretty sharp footnote from Dalrymple

* The fact that I do not myself have any watertight metaphysic of morals does not mean that psychology can just rush in to fill the gap.

Theodore Dalrymple, Admirable Evasions: How psychology undermines morality

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Another quote from Dalrymple

The illusion of understanding is like the grin of the Cheshire Cat: it is what remains when all else has disappeared.

- Theodore Dalrymple, Admirable Evasions: How psychology undermines morality

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lili's quote for the day

If psychoanalysis had been invented by cavemen, Mankind would still be living in caves.

- Theodore Dalrymple, Admirable Evasions: How psychology undermines morality

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lili's reminder of the day

On Saturday please remember, a vote for the Liberals is a vote for Dame Edna as first lady.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lili's angry outburst of the day

I'm furious that former union leader, former ALP leader and former PM of Australia Bob Hawke appears to be trying to take the personal credit for setting up Australia's Medicare system of universal health service access. The Hawke Government did set up Medicare, but that was merely a continuation of the Medibank system that was created by Bill Hayden and the amazing ALP Whitlam Government in 1970s, from scratch. Apparently fossil Hawke even got the date wrong for the year that his govt established Medicare. Wikipedia says it was 1984, not 1983 as Hawke claimed in the advert.

Mr Hawke, you are a duplicitous creep and I have always hated you. You and similar duplicitous creep former unionist ALP leaders such as Bill Shorten are surely the main reason why people of my generation are reluctant to vote for your party. I keep our fridge stocked with chilled bottles of cider, on hand for a celebration of your passing, whenever that might happen.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lili's I guess I shouldn't be surprised but I'm still in a state of shock thought of the day

I've been following the ongoing unfolding story of the UK child sex abuse ring of elite entertainers, politicians and powerful figures with utter horror for years now. My left-leaning friends tell me that there's nothing in this horror-story to be surprised about, as people at the top are the lowest form of scum, but all the same, anyone's mind should be blown by the real possibility of British royalty or even a late former prime minister of the UK having a history of kiddie-fiddling. Australian society is still purging itself of books and art works and music created by revolting Rolf. His sentimental singalong nonsense was a part of the popular culture that I had to endure growing up. Everyone loved him to bits, as he groped respected local female journalists and radio personalities behind the scenes. Even Alice Cooper covered one of Rolf's songs. I'm glad to hear that Cliff Richard has not been charged with any sex abuse crime, despite the public trashing of his reputation. Apparently Cliff had a past connection to known child abusers, but I just don't feel that he is the same type of person. 

It's the recent and ongoing revealations about Sir Clement Freud that have made my jaw drop today. Women are still coming out of the woodwork with broadly consistent stories of him as an abuser, and he was so close to the tragic Madeleine McCann mystery, and he was the grandson of the evil piece of garbage Sigmund Freud who right-royally screwed-up the sciences of the mind for something like a century with a collection of revoltingly sexualized mythology that identified the victim and the patient as the co- author of their own mental distress. Clement Freud even looked like is creepy old grand-pop; long face and bulging, hyperthyroid eyes and all. I'd like to remind everyone about the grandfather Freud's unappealing dealings in the vile world of child abuse. Sigmund Freud published a case study of a patient who was given the anonymous name of Dora, who as an underage child had been hit upon repeatedly by her father's adult male friend. S. Freud's help for his patient was to try to convince her that she had really enjoyed the attention. How therapeutic! She didn't buy that nonsense and she removed herself from the care of the master psychoanalyst. Much more of a concern than this episode is the general direction of S. Freud's thinking about the mind and mental disorders. Some Feminists have argued that he changed the direction of his thinking dramatically away from considering his patients' allegations of child abuse to be credible, to inverting the entire concept into the vile and absurd Oedipus complex. The whole sordid betrayal has been named "the Freudian Coverup" which is I believe basically an accusation that in general, Freud covered-up not just one or a few cases of child sexual abuse, but covered-up the concept of child sexual abuse as a cause of mental problems. It stinks worse than a dead kangaroo left in the sun for a week. I'd like to check out every single book by Freud from my local university library and utilize them all as collections of bound sheets of toilet paper. 

I've got a few questions that I'd like answered, though I'm sure will never be addressed by anyone. Why has the Australian ABC public broadcaster never seemed to give much coverage to the UK elite pedo ring story in general, or the Freud angle in particular? I know they ran an imported news TV feature about the story last year or so, but what else? As far as I can tell, our ABC hasn't yet reported the link between Freud and the McCanns, and the ABC 24 news TV channel did not seem to be running any story about Freud today. The Clement Freud allegations and the McCann link is a horrible story with even more horrible possibilities, and also a story with some important angles. Where is it on Australia's major public broadcaster?

I'd also like to ask has there ever been any social connection between Clement Freud and the Australian rich person Rhonda Wyllie, who was at one time considered possibly linked the the McCann case? I have never met Wyllie (though I used to know an ex-employee) and I've no animosity towards her, but I have reason to ask, and I do think this question deserves a definite answer. 

Here's another question, for all to ponder. Which famous patriarchal lineage bred the creepiest brand of misogyny: Joseph P. Kennedy and his boggle-eyed presidential son, or S. Freud and his alleged girl-child-molester grandson C. Freud? Puke!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lili's tip for the day

There's an anecdote about Baron-Cohen on page 21 of the second volume of Richard Dawkins' autobiography, Brief Candle in the Dark. They know each other from way back and both have been a part of the John Brockman stable of pop science authors for ages, so don't expect to ever hear Dawkins apply his famously critical mind to any review of Baron-Cohen's ideas.

They will not be silenced

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What did I tell you?

Didn't I tell you that psychology is a science utterly compromised by publication bias? Psychology research is like sausages. Believe me, you don't want to look behind the scenes and see how it is made! It looks like another neuro-fad and supposed autism cure is nothing much more than a puff of wet mist. Isn't it time that charities and governments pull the plug on massively funding research into autism, a concept that doesn't map onto reality in any clear or clean way? 

Gotta wonder how many null finding studies of oxytocin the ARC are sitting on, or negative effect studies in general.

Lili's thought for the day

Tell 'em to stick their unpaid internship where the sun don't shine.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lili's thought for ANZAC Day

I do not want to hear a single word about the fine values that Australian military people fought for. We live in a country that mostly shows not a care in the world for the basic human rights of asylum seekers, is a more sexist place than it was 30 years ago, and still sees indigenous Australians facing discrimination every day and living shorter lives. I am anything BUT proud to be an Australian. Our nation is like a spoilt rich brat who has no idea what it is like to fight for survival and has never had reason to reflect on values or one's own shortcomings. Australia thinks and behaves like Donald Trump, the ugly, nasty mess topped of with the self-delusion of the Anzac legend, just like that bizarre thing that lives on Trump's head.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Lili's question for the day

Could this be the popularised new theory about the nature of savants, prodigies, autistic special talents and the gifted that will replace Treffert's popular writing on autism and savants with something better? Does this book have scientific or commonsensical credibility?

Interestingly, the word "savant" can't be found in this article outlining the book's ideas, even though the article is all about the relationship between child prodigies and autism, and the concept of savantism very often appears to belong at the intersection between the world of autism and related intellectual disability and the world of G&T, prodigies and genius. So why aren't the authors writing about savantism? Do they think there is something wrong with the concept?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sexism meets volunteerization in Australia, and I'm not the least bit surprised but I am very alarmed

All around Australia, all levels of government, non-profits and businesses have been converting work roles that were previously professional, skilled or unskilled paid jobs into volunteer roles, often with the same level of duties, recruitment process requirements and hours as the job once had as a paid role. This is alarming enough in an economic climate of recession and high levels of unemployment, but one aspect of this volunteerisation trend, which has been going on for a number of years, is that it appears to be happening the most in areas of work with high levels of female employees. Libraries, museums, hospitals and health services, counselling services, hospitality, beauty, hairdressing, broadcast media, journalism, marketing, environmental services, government cultural services and the events industry in government and private enterprise are employers and occupations that come to mind as participants in the volunteerization trend, but that could reflect my ignorance of other areas of work. This trend of converting jobs in feminized occupations into volunteer roles or internships could be seen as congruent with the well-known and long-established tradition of unequal pay for women, the only difference being instead of being underpaid, now the people performing in these roles, I guess mostly women, unemployed tertiary students and the elderly, get no pay at all and none of the associated rights of paid workers such as long-service leave, sick leave, parental leave etc. The workers are being screwed-over, women are being robbed of employment opportunities, a culture of sexism and the devaluation of women's contributions to society thrives unchallenged in Australia and we must also assume that those who are the recipients of these services will also be losers. 

Can we assume that volunteers, possibly elderly, retired, untrained, impoverished, unemployed or possessing dated qualifications, will give the same level and quality of service as workers appointed to paid roles? Of course we cant. The cost of wages is saved, but I think even within the organisations which convert paid roles into voluteer work, there will be added costs resulting from the new policy. Volunteer coordinators need to be hired, and this role might not be as simple as it might seem, as this role involves managing workers with diverse and varying levels of motivation who often have issues that extend beyond the workplace. Volunteer coordinators probably also have to deal with agencies beyond their own employer, in a role that that certifies volunteering requirements or volunteering credit schemes of schools, universities and agencies appointed by the federal government to run the lives of unemployed people. Burnout appears to be an issue for paid and volunteer volunteer coordinators, which is hardly surprising. Volunteer coordinators will also most likely be called-upon to act as referees for job-seekers, an unpaid role with considerable responsibility. There's also the stress of working in a position that consists of implementing corporate policies about the use of volunteers which could be immoral or illegal.

We also need to consider the possibility of added costs to the organisation flowing on from issues with the quality of work performed by volunteers. This isn't necessarily a criticism of volunteers per se, just an observation that many volunteers will have a casual attachment to the organization that they work for and might have less knowledge of its history and procedures, which could impact on work in process or publicity roles. At the risk of sounding ageist, I must point out that elderly volunteers of 2016 will come from generations that had rates of tertiary education much lower than average levels of education of the middle-aged "boomers" or the "gen Xers", who had the option of taking advantage of free degrees after the Whitlam era and before the "Dawkins Revolution" in the late 1980s. The elderly as a group also have much lower rates of education as the young generations with ages the same recent graduates of university degrees and post-graduate awards. Basic literacy cannot be assumed in retired and elderly volunteers. One report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics gave the proportion of people with an adequate or higher level of prose literacy in the 65-74 years age group as only 27.3% in 2006. The age group with the highest level of literacy found in 2006 was the 25-34 years age group with a level of adequate prose literacy of 61.5%, with literacy levels declining steadily as the ages of groups rose from this age group. 
I simply do not have time to outline the many hazards of employing uneducated or illiterate people into any kind of paid or volunteer role. The scope for screw-ups is beyond imagination. Any organization that relies on elderly volunteers will have to either wear the cost of having uneducated workers or will have to put in place pretty extraordinary recruitment strategies to extract motivated and educated volunteers from this target population. Good luck with that! 

Any discussion of the pros and cons of converting paid jobs into "volunteering opportunities" also needs to consider the little problem that this practice is generally illegal. Unless the organization that the volunteers work for is a non-profit, or the volunteering is a formal vocational placement that is part of an education or training course, I don't see how converting paid into unpaid roles can be legal under Australian law. Common sense tells us that it it immoral to train people to perform a role that has been volunteerised if the trainess have the expectation that their training will lead to opportunities in paid work, regardless of whether or not this training is done within a framework that is legal or illegal.

The only obvious benefit of this form of exploitation that I call "volunteerisation" is the savings of labour costs for governments, non-profits and businesses, but when you look at the big picture everyone loses, especially women.

Regina Titelius (2016) Perth’s Princess Margaret Hospital for children axes play co-ordinators. PerthNow. April 7th 2016.

Fair Work Ombudsman. Unpaid Work.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lili's thought for the day

In my personal opinion, I believe a balanced gender ratio goes along with a mentally balanced outlook in activist groups. 

New wave and old-fashioned sex segregation in everyday Australian life, and around the world

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Lili's rhetorical political question for the day

What does the federal Leader of the Opposition and leader of the Australian Labor Party Bill Shorten look like today? Most of the premiers of the Australian states and territories, Labor and Liberal alike, have joined in the campaign to demand that asylum-seeker children currently in Australia for medical treatment not be returned to the dangerous and unhealthy offshore detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island. These state premiers have shown their humanity, but our two federal leaders, the Liberal PM and the ALP Leader of the Opposition have failed. 

Is anyone surprised at Shorten's failure? Does anyone care now whether he might join the movement? It is simply time to ditch this hollow man, who won the leadership of the ALP over the political corpses of leaders that he had plotted against, one of them a leader who dragged the ALP from the wilderness of many years in opposition in a landslide election to be ousted in his first term as PM by a challenge spearheaded by Shorten. Shorten's psycho-eyes make it easy to believe there could be something behind the allegations of serious sexual assault that have never to my satisfaction been addressed. Time to take the rubbish out, I say! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lili's photo for the day

In this day and age, otherwise identical scrap books for use in primary school with gender stereotyped cover designs, found for sale in an Australian supermarket, with no gender-neutral version to be seen? 

Looks like another disappointing example of New wave and old-fashioned sex segregation in everyday Australian life, and around the world

Monday, January 18, 2016

Lili's tip for the day

There's an interview with Darold Treffert in New Scientist, mostly behind a registration-wall. Says something about a new centre opened in his name, or something....

Lili's question for the day

I was watching a report on TV about some bloke who was lost at sea and left treading water for days, who experienced many hallucinations before he was rescued, one of them the Virgin Mary. So does that mean that if that happened to me, as an atheist, I'd hallucinate the lovely Richard Dawkins? 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Lili's recommendation for the day

Brilliant summer reading:

Born to Be Conned.
Maria Konnikova
December 5th 2015 New York Times

Why bullshit is no laughing matter.

Gordon Pennycook
Aeon. January 6th 2016

Five Reasons Why Gendered Products are a Problem.

Lisa Wade
December 31st 2015 Sociological Images

The Poor Side of Life.

Lumosity Ordered To Quit Claiming Their Games Make Users Smarter, Prevent Dementia.
Laura Northrup
January 5th 2016 Consumerist

RSA Daily.