This weeks links (2017-08-14)

If fascism could be defeated in debate, I assure you that it would never have happened, neither in Germany, nor in Italy, nor anywhere else. Those who recognised its threat at the time and tried to stop it were, I assume, also called “a mob”. Regrettably too many “fair-minded” people didn’t either try, or want to stop it, and, as I witnessed myself during the war, accommodated themselves when it took over ... People who witnessed fascism at its height are dying out, but the ideology is still here, and its apologists are working hard at a comeback. Past experience should teach us that fascism must be stopped before it takes hold again of too many minds, and becomes useful once again to some powerful interests.

In brief:

* Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO

* We won’t be giving equal time to spurious arguments against marriage equality (2017-Aug-12) [The Guardian]

This is not about “political correctness”, that wonderfully nebulous term subverted by the right to become a catch-all cri de coeur against elites refusing to listen to the common sense views of ordinary people. Former prime minister Tony Abbott and the Australian Christian Lobby were both employing this handy it’s-really-about-something-else-entirely tactic from day one. “Voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks,” Abbott claimed, champing to lead the march into another war on something or other.
But quite obviously “political correctness” does not apply – even if we were clear about what it meant – because we already know (from actual, properly weighted, surveys) that the overwhelming majority of Australians want marriage equality and that it is the elites, in this case some churches and a determined group of politicians like Abbott, who are resisting.

My opinion: If you can’t explain how #marriageequality ruined Canada/US/UK/NZ etc, then you maybe don’t have an argument against it.

* Explainer: How data adjustments affect global temperature records (2017-Jul-19) [Carbon Brief]
Over the past two centuries, the times of day, locations and methods of measuring temperature have all changed dramatically. For example, where once researchers lowered buckets over the side of ships to collect water for measuring, we now have a global network of automated buoys floating around the oceans measuring the water directly.
This complicates matters for scientists putting together a long-term, consistent estimate of how global temperatures are changing. Scientists must adjust the raw data to take into account all the differences in how, when and where measurements were taken. …

* Social Atrophy: Know the Signs (2017-Aug-10) [The Simple Shift]

* Why we fell for clean eating The Long Read (2017-Aug-11) [The Guardian]
… As the conversation I overheard in the gym illustrates, this way of thinking is especially dangerous because it obscures the message that, in fact, small changes in diet can have a large beneficial impact. If you think you can’t be healthy unless you eat nothing but vegetables, you might miss the fact that (as a recent overview of the evidence by epidemiologists showed) there are substantial benefits from raising your fruit-and-veg intake from zero portions a day to just two.
Among its many other offences, “clean eating” was a series of claims about food that were all or nothing – which only serves to underline the fact that most people, as usual, are stuck with nothing.





Some reading/listening:


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