Odds and Ends

A grab bag of items that fell across the transom

I have worked all night and am now heading to Vienna to catch my flight to the USA. I am going to Dallas for CPAC. I’m not getting much out of that whole cup of coffee right now. Before I board the plane, I will post some random thoughts.

First, I warn you to not try the Viennese liver cheese “leberkas”. It was chopped liver that I liked, so I decided to give it a try. It was closer to spam. Ugh. It’s obvious that I shouldn’t have bought the cinnamon roll.

Onward to more pleasant things:

A Public Library has joined forces with a Middle-High School to establish a “gender affirming closet”.

The closet offers students clothing, chest binders, makeup, and other items for trans and non-binary kids

— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) August 2, 2022

I swear! Public middle schools and libraries are cooperating to allow minors to pretend to be the other sex. They are GROOMERS and are using taxpayer money to groom! It is a shame that Oregonians, and others, have to put up with this. Is it really so bad for us as a nation that we can’t even look at the evil? It is, after all, evil.

Where are the Oregon churches? Do you stand up? You can at least warn your congregations.

As America continues to descend into ideological madness and America is still a country of ideology, Britain may have just turned the corner. From the Times of London’s powerful editorial on the forced closure of the Tavistock Clinic, the Mengelian facility that ruined the lives of many children. Excerpts:

The damage done is immeasurable. It is impossible to know how many years of ideology, inadequacies and failure to take into account the mental well-being of children at the Tavistock Clinic are going to affect thousands of people who were referred to the Gender Identity Development Service. The scandal was stopped by the government yesterday. Ministers shut down the clinic after a March report revealed that it had been prescribing puberty blocksers in reckless ways. Children who are unsure of their gender identity or have concerns about it will be treated by well-respected regional hospitals.

Disbanding the Tavistock is not before time. This once-pioneering centre in north London that specialized in psychiatric treatment of children is now a prison for trans activists. They are unwilling to challenge the use of puberty blocksers and analyse long-term results. The Tavistock failed to collect data on puberty blockers for those under 16, refused to follow up the effects of its treatments and paid virtually no attention to other common factors such as autism, eating disorders or histories of trauma and abuse. The Tavistock mistakenly confused gender identity with sexual orientation, and accepted as true all children’s declarations that their bodies were not the right ones. It also treated complex issues through the lens of gender.

There were many warning signs. Senior staff complained that the clinic didn’t follow the established protocol for safe and effective use of hormone treatments. Many left the clinic, unable to express their concerns. Transphobic whistleblowers were decried. As transphobia became more political and polemic, there was an incredible rise in referrals to the clinic from all over the country, particularly among girls who were unsure about their gender. Last year there were more than 5,000 referrals compared to 250 a decade ago. Parents, warned by trans activists that failure to offer early access to hormone treatment before puberty could lead to their children’s suicide, besieged the clinic, the only one in Britain focusing on the issue.

The entire editorial is well worth reading. What happens when ideologies take over scientific and medical institutions?

So it is. From a job posting:

The Department of Physics at the University of Guelph invites applications for a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Experimental Physics. Physics Department is an academic unit that is highly research-intensive. It has a wide range of activities including astrophysics, gravitation, biophysics, medical physics and physics education. The Department has many internationally known research leaders as faculty. Participation in the Guelph Waterloo Physics Institute and Biophysics Interdepartmental Groups (GWPI), as well as collaborations with facilities like the Canadian Light Source and TRIUMF, enhances the Department’s graduate and research programs.

The successful candidate in experimental physics will be a world-class, innovative researcher whose contributions have had a significant impact on their field. The candidate will have an excellent track record in attracting graduate students and fellow postdoctoral scholars and be able to supervise them. They will be expected to build a diverse team of researchers to maximize their potential and provide opportunities for those who are most in need. The successful candidate is expected to build on the Department’s rich tradition of interdisciplinarity collaborations. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the possibility for synergy and collaborations between the candidate and the Department’s strengths and those of the University. Candidates who have completed research in any of the following areas may apply: Biophysics and Medical Physics.

A “distinguished and innovative international researcher in experimental Physics whose achievements have made a significant impact on their field.” Wow! This must have helped to narrow the field. It’s great to see that University of Guelph seeks the best in subatomic physics and condensed matter Physics.

But wait! Continue reading. The emphasis is on the original

Candidates must have a PhD and be full professors or associate professors that are expected to be promoted to full professor within one or two years of the nomination. Candidates who are not from academia must also have the necessary qualifications to be considered for these positions. Candidates must be from one or more of the following equity-seeking groups to apply: women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and racialized groups. Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. The salary is subject to negotiation and will be determined based on experience and qualifications. The CRC Secretariat will review all applications and approve them. Review of applications and nominations will begin on September 21, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled.

The CRC Program, Canada’s most highly regarded Research Chair program is The CRC is affiliated with NSERC, Canada’s major federal agency that funds engineering and natural science research. This program is intended to draw top scientists and scholars. The CRC Tier I Chair is eligible for funding up to $1.4M per year (renewable only once), most of which will be used to fund the Chair and its research program. Please consult the CRC program website for full program information, including details on eligibility.

They don’t care about the top candidates. They only want tokens. They don’t care much about high-quality science.

I keep track of all the stuff because it’s important. This is evidence that our civilization has fallen from grace. When I first read the story about the collapse of technical know-how in the fall of the western Roman Empire, I was puzzled at how an advanced civilization could forget such a vast amount. Now I understand. But the Romans weren’t willing to forget. We are exactly doing that.

Here’s a fascinating story about Jumi Bello, tapped to be a leading emerging voice in fiction-writing, until she was discovered to be a fraud and a plagiarist. After plagiarizing a portion of her first novel, which was later withdrawn, and in an essay explaining the reasons, she then plagiarized another part. Excerpts:

Just a few hours after Bello’s essay was posted, it was removed from Lit Hub’s Web site and replaced with a message: “We’re sorry, but the content you are looking for doesn’t exist. Perhaps searching could help.”

Cached copies of the essay began making the rounds. The essay was “def Googled” and the article appeared online as something written :/,” by Riverhead author Kristen Arnett. She tweeted the same thing just a minute later: “The part about plagiarism history!” !”

Arnett had the right idea. Bello was wrong in his paragraph about the history of plagiarism. This time, Bello fell prey to Jonathan Bailey’s words, who owns Plagiarism Today. (Lit Hub posted a statement that afternoon, saying that the essay had been retracted due to “inconsistencies in the story” and “a further incident of plagiarism.”)

“That was a mistake I made in not citing,” Bello says now. “I am sorry for the man I copied. It was the history of plagiarism. It was the history of plagiarism.”

But the irony inherent in the incident unleashed a wave of online Schadenfreude. Some of the discussion began to break down along racial lines. Many BIPOC writers quickly defended her. Akwaeke Emezi, best-selling author of Heart Berries tweeted that “This industry was not safe for Black neurodivergent authors and the people who are in power don’t care in making it safer.” “When it goes well, everyone and their mama was now involved, but when it goes to shit, it’s only the author who takes the fall.”

“White people who are excited and happy to be cruel and judgmental towards a Black woman who’s obviously struggling–you’re showing yourself,” tweeted Terese Marie Mailhot, author of the best-selling memoir Heart Berries.

Bello views things differently. She tells me that she doesn’t believe what happened is because of her race. “I think what happened to me is because I committed plagiarism.” But, she adds, “the reason that The New York Times and The Guardian picked it up is because I’m a Black woman.”

Of course. Of course. Woke solidarity to defend a plagiarismist. This is the most terrible thing you can do as a writer. The reason that the paper picked it up was because Jumi bello was supposed be a huge star. Her book received a significant advance. It’s great news!

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You’ve got to read the whole thing. This article reveals the dysfunctional culture at the Iowa Writers Workshop that produced Jumi bello. Although she isn’t a victim, I can assure you that you wouldn’t be able to pay her enough for me to enter this nest of madness.

OK. The plane is currently boarding. More later…

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