Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 10th, 2014


How White people in USA demonstrate their biases?

By submitting to the Implicit Association Test?

Warning: Most probably, what this test is demonstrating is a human biased behaviour as old as his existence: The in-group/out-group biases. Particularly, when the out-group is so blatantly different in color, genders and native language…

Most white Americans demonstrate bias against blacks, even if they’re not aware of or able to control it.

It’s a surprisingly little-discussed factor in the anguishing debates over race and law enforcement that followed the shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers.

Such implicit biases — which, if they were to influence split-second law enforcement decisions, could have life or death consequences — are measured by psychological tests, most prominently the computerized Implicit Association Test, which has been taken by over two million people online at the website Project Implicit.

Chris Mooney December 8, 2014

Across America, whites are biased and they don’t even know it

Based on this data, it appears that whites in some states may exhibit higher levels of implicit bias than those in other states. The following map, courtesy of Project Implicit, shows the states with the highest level of implicit bias (high number, red) and lowest level of implicit bias (low number, blue). Gray represents states with a middle amount of implicit bias; Michigan is the median state. Overall, the map reflects the scores of 1.51 million individuals, ranging from a high of 99,660 test takers from California to a low of 1,722 test takers from Hawaii.

A cautionary note: The people who have taken the IAT at the Project Implicit website are not a random sample of Americans, either nationally or on a state-by-state basis. Rather, they’re people who, for some reason, chose to take an online test measuring their implicit biases — which may actually mean they are less biased than average. (After all, at least they wanted to know how biased they are.)

“Please keep in mind that this map describes volunteers for the online IAT,” says psychologist Anthony Greenwald of the University of Washington,  who created the Implicit Association Test in 1995. “These volunteers are younger, more educated, more politically liberal, and more female than the U.S. population as a whole.”

So, let’s take some time to unpack further what this image means — and doesn’t mean.

The Implicit Association Test comes in many versions, but in a version that detects uncontrolled racial biases or preferences — as opposed to, say, gender bias or age bias — your task is to rapidly sort a series of faces as either “African American” or “European American,” even as you also sort a variety of words (like “agony,” “joy,” “happy,” “anger”) as either “good” or “bad.”

Bias in the test occurs when people are faster at categorizing negative words when they are paired with African American faces, or faster at sorting positive words when they’re paired with white faces — suggesting an uncontrolled mental association between negative things or concepts and African Americans.

(The “pairing” occurs because you might be asked to sort both “African American” faces and “bad” words to the left side of the computer screen, and “European American” and “good” to the right. And since the differences in sorting speed are measured in milliseconds, this is not something people can consciously control.)

Bias in the IAT is measured in terms of a “D” score, which signifies how much faster people are in their categorizing when African American faces are paired with “bad” concepts (and white faces with “good” concepts or words) as opposed to vice versa. Any score over 0 means that  “when white and good are on the same side, the participants are responding faster than when black and good are on the same side,” explains Kaiyuan Xu, a data analyst for Project Implicit.

It is very important to note that implicit racial bias is not the same thing as conscious racism. People who harbor implicit biases may not think of themselves as prejudiced, and in fact, might consider prejudice to be abhorrent. They also may not know they even have these biases.

With this background in place, one key thing to notice about the map above is that white people in every U.S. state are biased. Their mean scores vary by state, but participants from the median state, Michigan, show an average, positive IAT score of 0.402. According to Xu, a score of .35 is the “cutoff point between ‘moderately prefer white’ and ‘strongly prefer white.'”

Xu says that at this point, researchers from Project Implicit cannot fully explain the most striking feature of the map, which is the fact that implicit bias levels appear stronger in the U.S. southeast and east.

It is also worth noting that there are reasons to think that Americans as a whole may be more biased than the map suggests. After all, as Greenwald noted above, the Project Implicit test takers trend younger than average, as well as towards liberal political beliefs and higher levels of education. But other research has suggested that older Americans past the age of 65, in particular, tend to have higher IAT D scores — suggesting that those included in this sample may be less biased than Americans as a whole.

Overall, looking at a map like this one tells us something pretty crucial to our understanding of racial bias: It is everywhere, from north to south, from Maine to California. It is present among liberals and conservatives, men and women, young and old.

We have a huge amount of work to do.

In an interview with BET, President Obama said time and vigilance is needed to tackle problems such as racism and bias​ in American society. (AP)


Gaza engineer develops new technology to replace cement

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Salameh Bihar, 56, who was displaced after Israel destroyed his house in Gaza’s Shajaiya neighborhood in the recent war, is still waiting to rebuild his three-story house. But he is not optimistic about succeeding.

He explained to Al-Monitor that materials are expensive and difficult to obtain. “The way construction materials are entering Gaza is unfair. For instance, a cement unit is worth 27 shekels [$6.70] for affected citizens, but how are they supposed to afford its price when their homes are destroyed?

Moreover, the unit cost exceeds 150 shekels [$37.50] for average citizens [not affected by the war], which raises the price of construction operations,” he explained.

Gazans who had their homes destroyed in the war have been complaining about the slow reconstruction process and the lack of entry of building materials.

Mohammed Othman Posted December 4, 2014

The pressing needs of Gazans has inspired innovators to develop solutions through available tools. Three successive Israeli wars in the last 6 years have devastated the Gaza Strip, most recently the preemptive war in July that destroyed or damaged more than 84,000 houses.

Engineer Imad al-Khalidi may have found a temporary solution to help alleviate the lack of construction materials, prevented by Israel from entering the Gaza Strip.

In 2008, he started to conduct experiments on natural materials to be used in construction instead of cement, and succeeded in creating a new technique.

Khalidi, a soil expert in organic architecture, said that the search for alternatives was based on materials found in Gaza. “We wanted to use local materials as an alternative, to save ourselves and provide the displaced with shelters, as nearly 5,000 housing units were destroyed in the 2008-2009 war. We examined various types of soil in Gaza, and found a suitable type rich in natural welding materials, such as potassium carbonate, magnesium, metal oxides, limestone and sand,” he explained.

He pointed out that the natural materials he found act like cement in its different stages, but they are more solid and can last hundreds of years.

Khalidi explained the process:

“We compose a homogeneous mixture by conducting a soil treatment through pressure, to which we add welding natural materials such as potassium carbonate, ground limestone powder and a small quantity of gypsum, to form an initial coherent product in the brick production. Yet, the strong cohesion begins after it is used and continues to solidify for hundreds of years, and to harden dozens of times more than its initial form. This means that the brick increasingly hardens with time, and has its own characteristics.”

Khalidi established in 2009 his own private factory to produce local bricks in different sizes.

At first, he designed machinery operated manually, then he created hydraulic machinery. “We have evolved, and we are now only relying on automated pressure systems. As some donor institutions demanded services to accommodate those affected by the wars, the work has increased in our factory with a production capacity reaching up to 50,000 bricks per day,” he said.

Khalidi said that after he developed his new product, he started working in small workshops, as there was a lack of oil and electricity.

Today, he owns another factory. “We have developed a technique to be able to produce bricks without the need for any kind of power, by using the same materials and introducing some improvements so that we can overcome the power crisis,” he added.

Although the material from which the brick is produced is solid, Khalidi believes that it does not consist of a substitute for traditional materials. The long blockade has prevented the reconstruction of destroyed homes, not to mention the natural population increase in the Gaza Strip, which, according to Khalidi, requires 80,000 housing units to be built over the next 5 years.


A near completed housing project by Ammar Heritage, northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 15, 2014. (Photo by: Ammar Heritage)

“The significant devastation in Gaza is accompanied by a new and great challenge, namely the provision of shelters. There would be at least 3,000 trucks loaded with construction materials in the Gaza Strip per day, in case there is a serious will to rebuild. For this reason, we are currently using this new technique only to help provide shelters,” Khalidi said.

Khalidi has kept the price the same as cement for locals looking to build homes, while upping the price for commercial projects. “The price per square meter ranges between $350 and $400 for ready-to-move-in private construction projects, and between $150 and $160 per square meter for shelter projects. As for the ordinary citizens who did not suffer any damages [to their homes] and would like to build their own home, it will cost them $220 [per square meter], which is the same price as cement.”

Safwat Mushtaha, chairman of Mushtaha and Hassouna Co., a construction company in Gaza, said that modern technology can help in light of the shortage of traditional construction materials because of the Israeli blockade.

Mushtaha told Al-Monitor that by using the new product, “the owners of destroyed homes will save 25% of the original cost of the building process with traditional materials.”

While Khalidi’s product is yet another example of Gazans exploring innovative solutions to help cope with the crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade, it is no replacement for the need to end the siege.

Note 1: Mohammed Othman is a journalist from the Gaza Strip. He graduated from the Faculty of Media in the Department of Radio and Television at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza in 2009.

He has received a number of Palestinian and Arab awards, including first place at the Arab Press Awards in Dubai in the category of Youth Press during its tenth session in 2011 and the Press Freedom Award from the Palestinian Government Media Center during its first session in 2011.

He also received the third place award for investigative reporting of corruption cases, organized by the Media Development Center at Birzeit University and the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2013.

Read more:–siege-new-technology.html##ixzz3LQIkFXs3

Read more:–siege-new-technology.html##ixzz3LQIYf2zG


Why Police indictments remain rare in the US?

Because keeping the cohesion in the Police Force is the main key factor for maintaining the status quo for any political/economic system, stupid.

Changing the training ideology in treating all citizens equally does not benefit any system in power.

Copyright 2014 Reuters

Copyright 2014 Reuters

Police indictments remain rare in the US, researchers say

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December 2014

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