Daily Archives: July 16, 2017

Morals Without God?

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Does sexual abuse cause pedophilia?

Child Sexuality Research

Some psychologists have suggested that pedophilia is caused by childhood abuse. There is no empirical evidence to support this hypothesis.

Freund, Kurt; Watson, R.; and Dickey, R. (1990). “Does sexual abuse in childhood cause pedophilia: an exploratory study,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 19(6), 557-568.

The first however, to investigate the reliability of these offenders retrospective reports was Hindman (1988). This therapist compared paroled male adult sexual offenders against children in two periods: In the first (1980-1982) she interviewed 40 patients and in the second (1982-1988) she saw 129. The second period differed from the first in that the patients were told that they would have to submit to a polygraph test and that if their self-reports were contradicted they would be returned to jail. In the first period, during which patients were not threatened with polygraph testing, 67% indicated that they had been molested when children. In the second period…

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NASA at Saturn: Cassini’s Grand Finale

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Liberal Silence on Transgender Violence

For the last few days, we’ve seen the headlines about Randy Stair and his murderous rampage all over our news feeds. We’ve learned about Stair’s bizarre obsession with a Nickelodeon cartoon character. We’ve learned about his unapologetic admissions of racist, sexist, and homophobic prejudice.We’ve also learned that Stair was a transgender woman; a male who claims to “feel” like a woman on the inside, somehow trapped in the wrong body.On any other occasion, an admitted racist, sexist, homophobic white man who planned and executed a murder-suicide would illicit the publishing of several liberal op-eds on the same day. Yet, there seems to be an incredible reluctance when it comes to discussion of Stair’s transgender identity as it relates to his crimes.But, why?It turns out that claiming a transgender identity is a coat of armor against justifiable criticisms of male violence. In a way, it’s magical. Even a homicidal bigot can be insulated from the wrath of social justice criticisms if he claims to be trapped in the wrong gender. Randy Stair is only one example.In 2016, Dana Rivers, a transgender-identified white male, made headlines for murdering a black lesbian couple, Patricia Wright and Charlotte Reed, as well as their teenage son, Toto M. Diambu. Where was the liberal outrage? It seemed that when liberals did step forward to express their indignation, it had more to do with anger at Rivers being misgendered. The homicide of a black family at the hands of a white male didn’t seem to warrant a national discussion about transgender identity politics and male violence against women. It certainly didn’t inspire a conversation about liberal sexism, liberal racism, or the ridiculous reasoning behind the prioritization of a murderer’s identity preferences. Instead, the story faded into the ether almost as spontaneously as it came.There are several others.In 2014, transgender woman Donna Perry was charged with three counts of first-degree murder. His victims were three women known to law enforcement as prostitutes. Where were the liberal think-pieces on protections for sex workers? In 2016, charges against Julianna Fialkowski, a transgender woman who was accused of raping and choking a female victim, were dropped because of supposed inconsistencies in the victim’s story. Where were the liberal protests against disbelieving the victim? This year, Patrick “Tara” Pearsall was convicted for sexually assaulting two pregnant teenagers. Where were the liberals? Perhaps a better question to ask would be:Why do transgender-identified males consistently receive the utmost sensitivity from liberals, even when they harm women?

Source: Liberal Silence on Transgender Violence – The Fifth Column

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How Google Rigs Search and Hurts Consumers

I’m sure all of you heard about the $2.7 billion fine imposed by the EU on Google as a result of its anti-competitive behavior, but not many of you probably know exactly what the search giant did to earn it. To shine some light on the topic, let’s take a look at a few excerpts from a recent article written by Silicon Valley antitrust lawyer Gary Reback.

Below are some choice excerpts from the piece, You Should Be Outraged at Google’s Anti-Competitive Behavior:

Before 2007, if a user searched for a product on Google, other sites listing prices for that product would appear among the general search results, ranked in the order of their quality to users. These “comparison shopping sites” were designed to identify merchants with the lowest prices. The more accurate and comprehensive their results, the higher they were ranked and the more traffic they generated.

But the more successful that comparison shopping sites became, the more they threatened Google’s business plan. Google makes money by selling ads placed next to its free search results, and merchants could not be expected to bid for ad placement if the listings in comparison shopping sites on the same search undercut their prices.

To address this, Google developed a cunning plan, the first phase of which was documented in a report by the FTC. Portions of the report were published by the Wall Street Journal more than two years ago.

Quoting internal Google documents and emails, the report shows that the company created a list of rival comparison shopping sites that it would artificially lower in the general search results, even though tests showed that Google users “liked the quality of the [rival] sites” and gave negative feedback on the proposed changes.

Google reworked its search algorithm at least four times, the documents show, and altered its established rating criteria before the proposed changes received “slightly positive” user feedback. Internal Google documents predicted that the proposed changes would reduce rivals’ user traffic up to 20 percent and subsequently reported producing the desired results once the changes were implemented.

At the same time, Google started putting the results from its own comparison shopping service at the top of search results. After these changes, the only source of low-price information readily available on Google’s search platform came from Google’s own comparison shopping service, known at the time as Google Product Search, which listed the lowest prices for products in its database at no charge to merchants. 

Google’s conduct certainly hurt its rivals, particularly after a second round of search-listing demotions documented by the European Union. Many companies have been forced to lay off all of their employees and even shut down operations.

In 2012, Google took the extraordinary step to kill Google Product Search, replacing it with Google Shopping. This new service did not display the lowest price (or even a low price) in the general search results; rather, it displayed ads at the top of the search results page in response to the user’s search term. The ads were carefully placed by Google’s algorithms to minimize price competition among merchants, by, for example, showing ads next to each other that featured different product models at different price points.

Google Shopping also permitted merchants to purchase ads on a separate shopping page. Merchants — no longer promoted in search results for having lower prices — now must pay for better placement. Not surprisingly, they have raised prices to cover these costs.

Google’s competitors argued in a study, which I submitted to the European Commission a few years ago, that the prices in Google Shopping ads for specified products on search results pages were among the highest in Google’s database. Google’s displayed prices for everyday products, such as watches, anti-wrinkle cream and wireless routers, were roughly 50 percent higher — sometimes more — than those on rival sites. A subsequent study by a consumer protection group found similar results. A study by the Financial Timesalso documented the higher prices.

The Post’s editorial board claimed that the online availability of large merchant sites might restrain Google’s power over consumers. But those sites haven’t stopped Google from executing its plan so far. There is no denying that Google eliminated services showing the lowest prices, free to merchants, and replaced them with high-priced ads.

Some people like to blame all of the world’s problems on government. Others blame business for everything that ever goes wrong. I don’t fall into either of these categories. I think the greatest threat to humanity, freedom and our overall happiness comes down to concentrations of power. Too much concentration of power within business or government ultimately leads to tyranny and oppression, and the best solution is for all of us to fight against concentrations of power in all its manifestations. Personally, I think Google has far too much power in a service as important to modern life as search, and it seems executives there are doing what always happens with concentrated power — abusing their position.

My increased aversion to Google is a large driver behind my recent creation of a Patreon page. My goal is to get pledges up to $1,000 per month by the end of 2017, at which point I will remove Google ads from the site. If you have the means and care to support my drive to turn Liberty Blitzkrieg into a more reader-supported project, consider becoming a patron.

continue https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/07/07/how-google-rigs-search-and-hurts-consumers/

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