Hainan Airlines review: Awesome, but bring your own coffee

This is based on a recent Boston-Shanghai nonstop round-trip, about 14 hours each way on a Boeing 787.

Airfare was only $650 round-trip, including up to two checked bags, a sign of the lack of demand in November (probably the ideal time for a tourist visit to Shanghai due to moderate weather and minimal rain), and the plane turned out to be only 2/3rds full. (incredibly boring video, intended for toddlers, of the plane pulling in to park)

Hainan has a higher staff-to-passenger ratio at the check-in counters. Even though I arrived right at the magic 2-hour-prior peak moment, the typical 45-minute line to check in was absent. A helpful Chinese woman whose English was good checked me in and had me on my way to security within a few minutes of arriving at the curb.

Massport invested heavily in signs promoting free WiFi at Logan:

… and then did the usual American-quality job of provisioning to ISDN speeds:

(See below for how this is 1/100th the speed of WiFi at Shanghai Pudong Airport.)

Thanks to the plane being only 2/3rds full, boarding was a lot faster than less stressful than a typical JetBlue or United attempt to board a narrow-body plane with fewer passengers.

The ordinary economy-class seats are arranged as 3-3-3 and have a reasonable amount of legroom (I’m 6′ tall) and a reasonable recline. I had a whole row of three seats to myself (“poor man’s business class”). Even if the plane had been full, though, it would have been vastly better than sitting in coach on a U.S. carrier. More than 90 percent of the customers are Chinese, so the probability of sitting next to a tall obese person would have been low and, as mentioned above, the legroom is at least as good as on JetBlue and much better than what the typical U.S. carrier provides in coach. Chinese kids are generally cheerful, so the chance of being near a screaming child is also lower than on a carrier catering to Western customers.

The flight attendants begin the flight by standing solemnly near the front of each section and introducing themselves as a group, thanking passengers for entrusting them with this voyage, and expressing the hope that their service will bring us pleasure. They then bow to all of the passengers. All of the flight attendants appeared to be women in their 20s or 30s, elegantly attired in a Chinese-patterned dress. In other words, the people on both flights actually matched the flight attendants you might see in an ad for the airline. From a Hainan web page describing the uniforms designed by Laurence-Xu and introduced in 2017:

From the same web page:

At the same time as our introduction of the Rosy Clouds uniform line, Hainan Airlines has consulted with renowned make-up artist Mao Geping to create a new look that is both simple and sophisticated. This new style is fresh and clean, enhancing the natural beauty that is already there rather than garishly painting over it. The sandy color of the women’s lipstick echoes the colors of the cabin interior. The pearlescent eye shadow not only matches the blue and grays of the uniform but also the fabric on the seats. Our beautiful new uniforms paired with the elegant women who wear them creates a new professional image of the Hainan Airlines flight attendants.

Service is much more soft-spoken and elegant than in the U.S. They do use carts for serving meals from trays, but otherwise everything is done with trays including trash collection. Apparently a Chinese customer does not want to see a flight attendant carrying a trash bag down the aisle. Every passenger is provided with a kit containing a sleep mask, ear plugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, and travel socks. Headphones are offered at no charge.

The plane was configured to deliver WiFi Internet, but the service was not available on our flight. I am not sure how it would have worked given a route that goes over Greenland, Svalbard, and Siberia.

Food service is calibrated to the non-obese and the sleeping: a light dinner, some self-service snacks, sandwiches starting after about 6 hours, and a medium-sized breakfast. Pitchers of green and black tea are prepared for the Chinese customers. A request for coffee yields a cup made with freeze-dried instant coffee. If you’re planning to stay up for the flight and are accustomed to the American diet, it would make sense to bring fruit, nuts, carrot sticks, and cold-brew coffee.

I was expecting the Boeing 787 to be a whole new world of comfort and quiet and the noise control for a composite fuselage does seem impressive. However, the net result does not seem dramatically quieter than the front portion of a Boeing 737, for example (I neglected to bring my sound level meter, and the iOS ones are junk). Cabin pressure at 33,000′ was 4,650′ according to ForeFlight (3.8 psi versus 12.4 psi, for a differential of 8.6 (compare to 7.8 max differential on a Boeing 737, so I am not sure what all of the fuss is about)). Walking up and down the aisle it is plain that there is a “extra noise zone” near the back of the wing and therefore the engine exhaust. Try to avoid a seat around row 46. Seats farther back were actually quieter.

Seatback entertainment offers at least 100 movies and an awesome “3D Airshow” from Panasonic Avionics, much better than anything I have experienced on a U.S. or European carrier (video of the system’s animation of our route). There are power outlets (compatible with U.S. plugs as well as European) and USB A outlets for all of the economy seats.

I had thought that the weather over the Arctic tended to be smooth, but we hit some turbulence over Greenland at 33,000′ and experienced at least a few bumps for about 1 hour out of 12+. Everything in China was kept a bit warmer than in the U.S. and the Boeing 787 was no exception. I was comfortable in a T-shirt and jeans, but consider packing shorts to change into during the flight.

Arrival in Shanghai involves escalators, hallways, and a train. The distances seem vast, on the same scale as Heathrow, but everything is new and shiny. We arrived at what would have seemed like a busy time, around 6 pm on a weekday, but clearing immigration required waiting behind just one other person and took just a couple of minutes. Unlike in the U.S., the folks who check passports and suitcases are not armed. In fact, I did not see anyone in the Shanghai airport with a gun.

Apple Maps showed that the quickest way to central Shanghai was simply a taxi ($30 for a 45-minute drive despite the evening rush hour; note prices posted above baggage carousel), but I wanted to try the maglev (a fairly long walk from Terminal 2). If you’re on a budget, just take the Metro anywhere in the city straight from the airport for less than $1. That adds about 15 minutes compared to the maglev.

The return journey was equally smooth. My hotel was not right at a Metro station so I just jumped in a taxi for a 40-minute Sunday morning ride. Again arriving exactly two hours before the flight, I went from curb to bag check to passport control to the completion of security in about 10 minutes. China is a bit like Turkey in that passengers who can afford air travel are treated by the airport staff, even those involved with security, with a certain amount of deference and respect. As with the arrival, I did not see anyone carrying a gun. WiFi is fast, but the Great Firewall won’t let you reach Google, Facebook, or Wikipedia so you may end up sticking with roaming LTE (there does not seem to be any restriction on what can be accessed when roaming from a foreign country).

If you’re going to the G gates, accessible via train, keep in mind that there is more variety in shopping and food in the main D section of Terminal 2, i.e., before you get on the in-airport train. Most of the souvenirs that you’d want to buy, including fine silks and hand-made fans, are available at the airport and at roughly the same price as at a nice shop in the city.

Some items to note from the photos below: “Taiwan” is classified as something other than an “International” departure; the bathroom signage is pretty clear on what a “man”, “woman”, and “family” might look like. There are no “all-gender” restrooms. Starbucks and Burger King are available. See if you can find the special lounge for PHP programmers:

The flight back was just as good, but smoother and a bit longer. Again I had three seats to myself. The route stuck closer to the north coast of Alaska and took me back to Gjoa Haven and the heart of the Northwest Passage.

Since it had been around 70 degrees and dry every day in China I hadn’t bothered to check the weather for Boston. It turned out to be low IFR with a heavy rain cell right over Logan Airport during our scheduled arrival time. We were vectored around a bit and then, contrary to Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant theories, the Hainan crew did a perfect smooth landing. I checked the METAR:

KBOS 241850Z 02025G37KT 3/4SM R04R/2000V5500FT +RA BR BKN009 OVC017 08/06 A2911 RMK AO2 PK WND 01037/1847 TWR VIS 1 1/2 P0018

That’s wind from the northeast (020) at 25 knots gusting 37 with 3/4 statute miles of visibility (everything else in aviation is generally nautical miles). Compare to 1/2 miles of visibility as the minimum for the standard instrument approach to Runway 4R at Boston. Runway visual range (“RVR”) was as low as 2000′, variable up to 5500′. Compare to 1200′ RVR as the minimum for a CAT II ILS 4R at Logan. There was heavy rain and a broken ceiling of clouds at 900′ above the surface (compare to 200′ for the minimum on an ordinary ILS approach to 4R). Temperature 8C, dewpoint 6C.

For the non-Global Entry masses, the immigration lines were epic. Back in the Land of Freedom (TM), there were close to 100 government agents carrying guns in the immigration and customs area. The sluggishness of clearing people through immigration meant that baggage piled up on the carousel (passengers not having emerged in time to claim it). I saw more obese people in the 10 minutes after landing than during 10 days in China.

The good news for U.S. airlines is that it would be illegal for Hainan to operate U.S. domestic routes! Certainly this would be a preferred choice for an American consumer.

(Note that if you take Hainan to Shanghai and then need to connect to a flight from the second airport on the other side of the city need to connect across airports in Shanghai, there is a direct Metro line (2) that does this for $1. This should never be necessary since both airports are international and serve most destinations, but it would not be inconvenient or expensive.)

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Cost of adding 1,000′ of runway

I thought that “Morgantown Municipal Airport set to expand runway with FAA funding” contained two extra zeroes:

The Federal Aviation Administration has given final approval for the extension of the Morgantown Airport runway.

Under the plan, the runway will stretch another 1,000 feet from the current 5,199 feet. Currently, the Morgantown Airport runway is one of the shortest in the state.

The project will cost $50 million and take up to 10 years to complete

Surely it would be $5 million and 1 year?

Then I found the city’s page on the project, which estimated a cost of $45 million.

Does a mountain have to be moved? The airnav page for the airport does not show anything like that. It is a bit tough to interpret the official project plan, and the associated nearly 2,000 pages of environmental assessment documents, but the area of work appears to be fairly flat:

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China versus US debauchery

In “Cuba could attract Americans with sin?” I pointed out that Boston and Havana had pretty much switched places in terms of access to debauchery. I think the same may be true of China, a place that shocked Christian missionaries who arrived during what Professor Andrew Wilson calls “the golden age of commercial sex” in China (I recommend his 24-lecture course, Understanding Imperial China: Dynasties, Life, and Culture). Westerners were responsible for the expansion of opium use in China (history), but then they professed to be shocked at the number of opium users.

How about today? Let’s compare China versus the United States along various axes of debauchery.

Opium use? “The United States makes up 4.4% of the world’s population, and consumes over 80% of the world’s opioids” (source). Most consumption and addiction is funded by taxpayers (previous post). Drugs of abuse are available to some extent in China, but taxpayers don’t fund them and they are illegal.

Need to smoke some medical or recreational marijuana every morning? The U.S. is the place to do it, depending on the state. (see “China Cashes In on the Cannabis Boom” (nytimes) for how China may want to supply the U.S. market)

Need to unwind from demanding college classes by getting drunk every weekend and hooking up with a new friend? America: Yes. China: No. “Acceptance of premarital sex is relatively recent,” said a 50-year-old who got a degree and worked in the U.S. before returning to Shanghai, “but certainly the Tinder culture would never be acceptable for a properly raised young Chinese.”

What if the casual sex results in pregnancy? Will a single mom get the standard American package of free apartment, free health care, free food, and free smartphone (funded by taxpayers if she had sex with a low-income partner; funded by child support revenue if she had sex with a high-income partner in the right state)? “No,” replied my local hosts. “That’s simply illegal. The child will not be recognized by the state and will not be entitled to attend a state-run school or use the state-run health care system. Being a single mom is possible only for the rich who can afford to pay for private school and private health care. Some women will fly to the U.S. or Hong Kong to give birth and then the child can have a legal status in China as a foreigner.”

As in the U.S., prostitution is illegal but purportedly common. (I did not see any evidence of this, but let’s call this a draw in debauchery.)

Supposedly the Chinese now drink slightly more alcohol per capita than Americans (Guardian), but I did not see a drunk person during my peregrinations around Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou. Nor did I pass by a loud bar, though I was told by locals that I was walking down “the most famous bar street in Shanghai.” If the Chinese are drinking they’re doing it quietly and without having sex with a stranger right after.

How about porn, that cornerstone of the U.S. Internet? It is illegal in China.

Gambling? The U.S. has casinos in 43 states. China proper is home to 0 casinos. Chinese who want to gamble in a fancy casino need to get on a plane and fly to Macau (or the U.S.!).

How about vandalism? If we accept that as a category of debauchery, China comes out as much less debauched than the U.S. There are clean public restrooms in seemingly every metro station in Shanghai and Suzhou. I don’t think that they run security cameras inside the restrooms, so we can’t say that the lack of destruction of fixtures is due to surveillance. I am sure that it exists, but I did not notice any graffiti anywhere in China. Here are some photos that drew a few quizzical looks from the locals:

From a shopping mall (note the child-height sink, very common in China and also the signage giving a more limited array of gender ID options and family structures than you might see in a California restroom sign):

This is not to say that vandalism is non-existent. Here is a sign describing an incident that occurred in the 1960s:

Maybe the U.S. will end up with a sustainable economic advantage as a destination for Chinese who want to indulge in debauchery? We will be the 1920s Havana to 2020s Shanghai.

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Re-education camp for immigration wrongthinkers

“Man accused of bias crime, saying ‘go back to your country’ must write essay on immigrants” (KATU):

A man accused of spitting on an immigrant and telling them to go back to their country now has to write an essay about the hardships of immigration, the Multnoamh County District Attorney’s office said.

In a unique sentencing, Denson received 90 days in jail with credit for the time he’s served and has until March to hand in a 500-word essay.

If the court accepts his essay, the bias crime charge will be dropped. If the court does not approve of his essay, or if he fails to turn one in, Denson may face more jail time.

“This is a unique resolution to a very serious incident,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hermann who prosecuted this case. “Mr. Denson needs to understand the impact his actions had on the victim and our immigrant communities. This is an opportunity for him to reconcile his behavior through compassion, learning and understanding.

I would love to know if the judge can articulate a standard for evaluating whether the essay expresses the appropriate amount of contrition for wrongthinking!

(Separately, note the use of “them” as a pronoun for a Ukrainian described as a singular “man” in the article.)

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Self-partnered versus Cat-partnered

A (female-identifying) reporter on Facebook:

Emma Watson says she doesn’t like the term single and prefers “self partnering.” this sounds empowering to me–how does it strike you? Let me know for a possible [newspaper] article?

(Under California family law, there are only a handful of people in the world whom the high-income, high-wealth Ms. Watson could marry and not expose herself to alimony and child support lawsuits. See “Burning Man: Attitudes toward marriage and children”:

We had a lot of high-income women in our camp. All recognized that they could be targeted and potentially become the loser under California’s winner-take-all system. A medical professional said “There is no way that I’m going to pay to support a guy. It was bad enough the last time that I lived with a boyfriend and I had to pick up his socks all the time and do his laundry. Thank God I didn’t have to support him financially.” A finance executive said “I worked my ass off for 17 years for what I have. I am not going to risk losing it.”

If Emma Watson gets sued by a husband in her native England, she could lose half of her accumulated fortune after one or two years of marriage (prenuptial agreements are not enforced by the courts there).)

I’m not sure why at least some Americans who identify as women think that “self-partnered” is more “empowered” than simply “single,” but I wonder if a person with a lot of cats could be considered “cat-partnered”.

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If immigrants determine the outcome of U.S. elections, why pay for a military?

Front page of nytimes.com on November 10:

“An influx of immigrants has flipped a state….”

From the article:

Not long ago, this rolling green stretch of Northern Virginia was farmland. Most people who could vote had grown up here. And when they did, they usually chose Republicans.

The fields of Loudoun County are disappearing. In their place is row upon row of cookie-cutter townhouses, clipped lawns and cul-de-sacs — a suburban landscape for as far as the eye can see. Unlike three decades ago, the residents are often from other places, like India and Korea. And when they vote, it is often for Democrats.

In 1990, the census tracts that make up Mr. Katkuri’s Senate district were home to about 35,000 people — 91 percent of them white. Today, its population of 225,000 is just 64 percent white.

“If my parents came back today, they wouldn’t recognize the place. The changes came like a tidal wave.”

In the 13th Senate district, where Mr. Katkuri lives, one in five residents are immigrants.

Around the advent of the modern immigration system, in 1965, foreign-born people made up only about five percent of the American population. Now they are nearly 14 percent, almost as high as the last peak in the early 20th century. The concentrations used to be in larger gateway cities, but immigrants have spread out considerably since then.

The main purpose of funding a military is to prevent people from other countries from exercising political control, right? If the NYT is correct and people from other countries (“immigrants”) are exercising political control in the U.S. already, what is the point of working all of those extra hours each year to fund our $700 billion military?


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The female roots of all computer science, vol 17: Barbara Liskov

“The Architect of Modern Algorithms” (Quanta) is a recently popular link among some computer nerds on Facebook (all of the sharers, when I last checked, identified as older white males):

Barbara Liskov pioneered the modern approach to writing code.

But by the late 1960s, advances in computing power had outpaced the abilities of programmers. Many computer scientists created programs without thought for design. They wrote long, incoherent algorithms riddled with “goto” statements — instructions for the machine to leap to a new part of the program if a certain condition is satisfied. Early coders relied on these statements to fix unforeseen consequences of their code, but they made programs hard to read, unpredictable and even dangerous.

When she was still a young professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she led the team that created the first programming language that did not rely on goto statements. The language, CLU (short for “cluster”), relied on an approach she invented — data abstraction — that organized code into modules. Every important programming language used today, including Java, C++ and C#, is a descendant of CLU.

Note that in the discredited male-authored history of computer nerdism, the modern programming language dates back at least to ALGOL 60, developed when Professor Liskov was 21 years old. The public war on goto was waged not by Liskov, but by the developers of ALGOL and Edsger W. Dijkstra, a Dutch curmudgeon, who wrote “Go To Statement Considered Harmful” in 1968, pointing out that “the remark about the undesirability of the go to statement is far from new” and describes some of the history since at least 1959 (criticism by by Heinz Zemanek). Note that Dijkstra is also known for saying “The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offense.” Liskov, for her part, was known at MIT primarily for developing and teaching the standard software engineering class, 6.170, in which the CLU language was used by students. She was a usually modest and always hard-working person who believed that properly engineered software could function perfectly: “If you find a bug in your code, you should be as embarrassed as if you found a cockroach in your kitchen,” she memorably noted (we had a lot of cockroaches in our East Campus dorm and they were regularly visible during visits to restaurants in Central Square at the time!).

[The article also notes that Liskov is concerned about the impact of the Internet:

I’m worried about the divorced couple in which the husband publishes slander about the wife, including information about where she lives. There is terrible stuff going on.

Yet if one of these two sued the other, the most common precursor to their divorced status, the lawsuit, and anything said by a party during it, as well as the mailing address where the plaintiff wants the checks sent, was already public information, available to anyone who wanted to go down to the courthouse, decades before women developed microprocessors and TCP/IP. (see this study on Massachusetts court records, though records of litigation following out-of-wedlock sex are sealed) Reporters were covering divorce litigation in newspaper stories prior to the computer age, e.g., a November 11, 1939 piece in the NYT describing an allegation of “cruelty”, and one from December 2, 1934, “a charge of extreme cruelty won a divorce here today for Mrs. Edith Crocker Sanger from Prentice Sanger of New York City.” Divorce was apparently a good business even in the Depression. From September 24, 1931: “More than $1,000,000 was handed to Mrs. Eunice Essig Brach of Winnetka today with a divorce from her husband, Frank V. Brach, president of a candy company.” Certainly someone launching a divorce lawsuit and obtaining a profitable judgment in 2019 gets a lot less publicity than he or she would have prior to the Internet.]

Readers: What will the next edition in the “female roots of all computer science” saga be? What other fundamental technologies can be plausibly attributed to a person who identified as a “woman”? My vote: find a woman to replace William Shockley as developer of the semiconductor transistor and Silicon Valley. How can it be done? Here’s a National Public Radio story that credits Hedy Lamarr with having invented frequency hopping. Wikipedia contradicts this story to some extent and the actual patent to Ms. Lamarr and George Anthell reveals that they narrowly claimed a specific piano roll-style mechanism for controlling frequency hopping, not the broad invention of frequency hopping. So we need to find an early patent on a specific application of semiconductor transistors in which one of the inventors has a female-sounding name. Then we can discover the female roots of the modern transistor and rely on the fact that reporters won’t read the patent claims to see that they narrowly cover an application of transistors, not the transistor itself.

Also, will this article on Barbara Liskov and the promotion of the article by “allies” have the desired effect of getting more people who identify as “women” into computer nerdism? The article reveals that Barbara Liskov, despite having invented essentially all of practical programming technology, was not popularly recognized until she reached the age of 80. Moreover, she describes having to struggle as a result of her identification as a “woman” (see also a 2008 interview, in which she notes that “there were a large percentage of women” at her first programming job at MITRE in the early 1960s, at which she learned FORTRAN (several years after inventing ALGOL?) and then got a PhD working with John McCarthy, credited for now at least with the development of Lisp, and then met Dijkstra in 1969 (giving him the idea to write his 1968 screed against goto?)). Compare to Britney Spears, a top-of-the-charts success at age 17 who has never described being a cisgender female as a career handicap in her industry. Why wouldn’t a cisgender female aware of both Liskov and Spears conclude that computer science should be a last resort?


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Best Christmas gift ideas?

Who has good Christmas shopping ideas?

The most impressive book that I’ve seen, and one of the few that is a good argument for print, is a 1200-page Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals.

For the man who isn’t woke enough for Gillette and wants a higher-quality shave: Dorco Pace 7 razor. (see my comparison test)

For the nerd who has everything… and wants to back it up, a 16 TB hard drive (just recently available; progress in this area has been slow).

USB-C charger made compact thanks to GaN. (or for the car, since the car companies seem to be years behind on USB-C; or a power strip). Everything will charge much faster!

If the TBM is too slow and its payload too feeble: the newly certified Epic turboprop.

Readers: What are your ideas?

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Shanghai Disneyland review

What happens when Disney expands into China? How do the master storytellers of Hollywood tap into 5,000 years of history, art, language, and culture? Answer: you get U.S. Disneyland with a Chinese restaurant and without any obese people on mobility scooters.

A Metro ride will get you in smooth modern comfort from anywhere in the city to Shanghai Disneyland for between 50 cents and $1. There will be a clean restroom in every station through which you travel and the trains run every 2-5 minutes. From the center of Shanghai it is roughly 45 minutes on the Metro to Disney.

Bring your passport. Disneyland has not been briefed on the merits of hosting a large population of the undocumented. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at a ticket booth on site (no line at 10:00 am on a Monday, one hour after opening) at a cost of roughly 50 percent of what you would pay in Florida or California. Lines for rides can be 30-45 minutes so it makes sense to pay roughly double (still no more than the U.S. price) for a “Premier Access” add-on that gives you an anytime fast pass for each big ride.

You can do all of the big rides in one day, but it would probably take two days to explore all of the corners of the and wait in line for the smaller rides for which fast passes are not available (you can pay about $1,000 for the super VIP guide, though, and maybe skip those lines too?). As a strategy, consider saving the Crystal Grotto ride for after dark. It has beautifully lit scenes that might not seem magical during the daytime.

Most of the rides are tame so it is easy to get inured to the dire warnings cautioning the pregnant, the drunk, etc. The TRON roller coaster (ride through), on the other hand, makes you wonder “Why is this legal?” There is a “recovery area” for after the ride.

There is a fun ropes course:

Alice in Wonderland gets a maze (how long before everything related to Lewis Carroll has to be ripped out of U.S. parks?):

I did try the Chinese restaurant for lunch, noting on Facebook “The same boring noodles with crab sauce as at US Disney parks.”

Prices are fairly reasonable, but the most sensible strategy is to have lunch in the adjacent “town” that has a bunch of ordinary restaurants, including a Cheesecake Factory(!), selling Shanghai mall-style food at Shanghai mall-style prices (e.g., about $5 for a bowl of noodles with dumplings or whatever; divide the 35 price below by 7 and remember that it includes tax and service/tip). It is about a 5-minute walk from the park to these restaurants and getting back in is easy with your ticket.

Disney did bring the best of American cuisine to the captive Chinese audience e.g., turkey legs and corn dogs. A water bottle inside the park is about $1.50, but most Chinese bring their own bottles and refill as necessary.

Skip Remy’s Patisserie. Maybe a rat can cook, but he can’t bake.

If you need a souvenir, the castle contains a gift shop with a $260,000 glass replica of the castle..

The parade (video I made for the kids) is off the charts with between 5 and 20 dancers milling around each float and one float per movie. People begin occupying prime spots 30 minutes before it starts, though the Premier Access top level pass should give you a dedicated viewing area. It is helpful to be at least 6′ tall if you’re not going to arrive well before.

Going back to a downtown hotel is as easy as strolling to the Metro station:

Overall: a much better experience than in the U.S. Disney park due to the reduced crowding, a fun activity for an off-peak weekday if you’re in Shanghai, not too much Chinese-specific design.

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Evolution of Scholarly Opinion

“Rape-Prevention Scholar Who ‘Celebrated #MeToo’ Is Accused of Sexual Assault and Harassment” (Chronicle of Higher Education; paywalled, but this link might still work):

[Erin] O’Callaghan has accused Schewe, an associate professor of criminology whose research specialty is sexual-assault prevention, of assaulting her in November 2017.

Schewe has vigorously denied that claim, and Title IX investigators exonerated him after concluding that O’Callaghan’s most serious accusation — that Schewe undressed her and started to perform oral sex on her when she was too drunk to consent — could not be substantiated.

Schewe, who is in his early 50s and has worked in the field for more than a quarter-century, regards the implications of the movement differently now that he stands accused.

“I celebrated #MeToo. I thought, ‘Yes! Victims are finally being believed and men are being called out for their shitty behavior. This is fantastic,’” he said in an interview last week with The Chronicle. But the side effect of that, he said, “is that people are now guilty by accusation.”

(“guilty by association” with the drunk woman’s naked body?)

Working from a base of decades of scholarly inquiry, #BelieveWomen turns out to have some subtle exceptions:

He told Title IX investigators that he has devoted his life “to preventing violence against women” and is inclined ”to believe survivors” — even as he dismissed O’Callaghan’s accusations as “something she largely created in her own mind.”

But in his interview with The Chronicle, Schewe said: “If she would have told me that a professor got her drunk and took advantage of her, I would give her support. I would believe her.”

To Schewe, his ordeal is evidence that it’s gone too far. “Maybe it’s a warning to everybody that nobody is safe in the #MeToo era,” Schewe said. And his takeaway? “That guys should stay away from any woman because they have the potential to destroy their life with a couple of words with no consequence to them.”

Life at the University of Illinois can be cozy, at least for those who are not so drunk as to have forgotten most of it:

The lawsuit states that O’Callaghan, who had consumed one or two drinks at Schewe’s apartment [after five or six drinks at a bar], fell asleep on the couch. At some point the rest of the guests went on a late-night food run, leaving O’Callaghan and Schewe alone.

Schewe, intoxicated and “extremely tired,” said he lay down on his bed. He said that O’Callaghan followed him into the bedroom, took off her jeans, and climbed into bed with him.

“Nothing happened, of course,” Schewe told The Chronicle. “Being a sexual-assault-prevention researcher, I knew that there was no safer place that she could be.”

O’Callaghan says in the lawsuit that while she does not recall how she ended up in Schewe’s bed, she remembers that at some point, he “entered the bedroom, laughed, pulled her pants and underwear down, and performed oral sex on her, all without consent.” That’s when O’Callaghan says she blacked out.

Who paid for all of these drinks, you might ask? The taxpayers of Illinois! They’re on the hook to pay lawyers to defend the university from the referenced lawsuit. They’ll also be paying their share of the salaries of judges and other Federal court officials. They’re paying the accused scholar’s salary and benefits while he is “on administrative leave”. They’ll each work a few extra hours in 2020 if there is a fat settlement for the plaintiffs.

(Practical tip in case someone complains about the contents of your PC’s hard drive:

In his statement to the Title IX investigators and his interview with The Chronicle, Schewe dismissed many of the women’s claims outright. No, he did not offer cocaine to Kirkner and Lorenz, nor did he make the remark Lorenz’s partner attributed to him after her dissertation defense. While it’s possible Lorenz saw a nude woman on his desktop-computer screen, such images are common in work on rape prevention and teaching safe sex.

Another practical aspect of this is that the married guy in his early 50s (a “wife” is mentioned) was able to get a woman half his age to share his bed by expressing a passion for some female-oriented issues.)

The good news is that public radio will now have a little more color.

The lawsuit against Schewe, a clinical psychologist who has shared his expertise on rape prevention with such outlets as NPR and Quartz, is one of the more unusual sexual-misconduct cases confronting higher education. Schewe has served as director of the university’s Interdisciplinary Center for Research on Violence, and he recently co-edited the Handbook of Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault Prevention (Springer, 2019).


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