Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Speed Blogging August 13, 2013. From Moscow Olympics via Iran, Internet Harassment to Left-Handedness.

I promise that not all my future posts will be of this sort. 

First, the question about Moscow Olympics and the Russian anti-gay laws.  There's much to be said about all this, and better-informed people have done so.  The small bit I wanted to add is that different countries can indeed have different average public sentiments about human rights, the proper place of women or LGTB and different views about race and racism. 

I know that sounds obvious but the political treatment of those differences in the US can be quite tricky, what with religion and culture and economics entering the fray.  When do we refrain from criticizing the traditions or views of another culture or country and when do we criticize them?  What determines the difference?  I struggle with this myself. 

Second,  this is an informative article on the question of Internet harassment and its possible relationship to free speech, especially when the harassment is gender-based.

Third, Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani,  nominates a female vice president, Elham Aminzadeh.  Assuming that the nomination will be approved, she will serve as the Vice President for Legal Affairs.  I don't know how meaningful this nomination is, as a gauge of Rouhani's view on women's proper place.

Fourth, this study about white Californians' reactions to various ways of determining who gets into college is interesting.  I haven't looked at the study in any detail, however.  But it's probably true that we humans are often good at thinking that fairness is the same as the likely success of people not unlike ourselves.  The wider point is, of course, that there is no one perfectly objective way of deciding who gets into college.   Meritocracy, completely untainted by any other consideration, is probably impossible, not to mention the difficulty of defining by what we mean by it.  And so on

Finally, today is the international day of the left-handed.