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Valar Qringaomis

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Links - 21st February 2017

South Korea Appoints 'Twitter Officer' to Monitor Donald Trump's Tweets - "The JoongAng Daily reported: “The Korean government is still in the process of building ties with Trump and does not have a lot of insight into his foreign policies—like most of the world. “His 140-character posts are currently the most effective insight into policies of the incoming administration.”"

FIFA fines British teams $100K for poppy displays - "FIFA forbids players and fans of its 211 member nations from displaying political or religious symbols during international games. This includes the poppy emblems used to remember those in the armed forces who died in the line of duty."

How Intersectionality Makes You Stupid - "whoever shouts the loudest and claims victimization on account of more facets of their identity can expect to get what they demand, regardless of the quality or even logic of what they have to say. Proponents of intersectionality have elevated its categorical paradigms of all-encompassing, omnipresent “oppression,” and its attendant, identity-based hierarchies of virtue, to that of a Weltanschauung, a new morality to replace the basic, classical liberal principles of freedom, individual rights, and equality before the law on which Western civilization is based. Because of intersectionality’s insistence that identity politics trumps all, reflexive condemnation replaces reasoned discussion, and those claiming to represent a higher good smother the rights of individuals. Likewise, intersectionality compels one to adopt agendas that have nothing to do with his or her own. Worse, in the name of “solidarity” with other supposedly “oppressed” groups, it leads to alliances with those actively hostile to one’s cause. This is how a gay rights organization led by well-meaning progressives can be duped into disinviting private citizens of the one country in the Middle East respecting the humanity of gays, all at the behest of people who use cultural relativism to excuse Muslim societies that throw homosexuals from the tops of buildings."

‘Chess worse than gambling & eating pork’ – Turkish imam

Syrian refugee 'who asked ISIS for money for cars he could drive into crowds' arrested - "Prosecutors said the man 'admitted contact with the ISIS but denied terrorist motives' - suggesting he claimed to have attempted to defraud the extremist group."

ACLU: Obama Worse Than Bush On Civil Liberty Issues

‘Screw for Denmark’ sex campaigns produce baby boom in months - "According to research by Denmark’s Politiken newspaper, the summer months of June-August this year will produce 1,200 more Danes than last summer. In total, some 16,200 babies are due to be born."

PAX South 2015: Why We Need Games Like Social Justice Warriors - "as a game journalist (represented by the Mage class here), you could greatly deplete your opponent's reputation (one of their two health bars) by choosing the "public naming and shaming" attack, but at a great cost to your own reputation too, as well it should be. Meanwhile, sticking to options that involve empathizing with, listening to, and educating your foes grants you bonuses. The dirty stuff might work in the short term, but in the long term, you really only hurt yourself and the discussion."

Tourists didn't recognise the Queen when she left her tiara at home on Balmoral walk - "Richard Griffin described how Her Majesty had gone for a walk near the grounds of Balmoral dressed in tweeds and a headscarf. So low key was her look, that a group of American tourists completely failed to realise who she was. Mr Griffin, who was speaking at a recent talk about his time working with the royals, said the Queen was keen not to blow her cover... She played along when the American tourists asked: 'Do you live round here,' simply replying that she had a house nearby. And when asked if she had met the Queen, she simply gestured to her companion and said: 'No, but he has,' according to the policeman."

Michael Fitzjohn's answer to Were soldiers returning from Vietnam really spat on in airports? - Quora - "My university was a liberal, activist place where the Vietnam war was widely condemned... The professor looked at me as if he was having a heart attack. He screamed “you’re a baby killer.” He threw me out of class and everyone cheered him as I left the room. I tried to say I was a medic. He didn't care. I learned to keep my mouth shut, live with fellow veterans, and drink. I got my degree."

Gender Differences in Partner Influences and Barriers to Condom Use Among Heterosexual Adolescents Attending a Public Sexually Transmitted Infection Clinic in Singapore - "condom use at last intercourse for both genders was negatively associated with Malay race and peer connectedness and was positively associated with confidence in the ability to use a condom correctly. Being employed was positively associated with condom use for female respondents only. For male respondents only, condom use showed a positive association with living in better housing, older age at first intercourse, and engaging in sexual intercourse with commercial sex partners. Almost all (90%) commercial sex partners suggested condom use and provided condoms compared with 8.1% of non–sex worker partners. Condom use showed a negative association with inconvenience in its use among male respondents but not female respondents."

35,000 Brits sign up for dating site helping Muslim men find multiple wives - "According to the site’s creator, 33-year-old Azad Chaiwala, secondwife.com promotes “fidelity, morality and old-fashioned values.” “Users police each other and every picture is vetted for decency. We do not allow cleavage,” the East Midlands-based businessman explained."

Iceland wants UK to join Nordic alliance of non-EU countries - "“When Britain leaves the EU, we will see a triangle that covers a large part of the globe: Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway - and now the United Kingdom,” Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said in an interview to Iceland Monitor. The countries do not belong to the European Economic Area (EEA) or any part of the EU... The European Free Trade Association (EFTA), made up of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, will also become much more relevant after UK’s escape from the European bloc, according to the president."

Shelby Donovan Completely Misunderstood Her Mother's Christmas Gift - "Her gathered family quickly realized what Donovan thought, and they themselves began laughing, punctuated by her mother bursting out with, “Do you actually think I would get you a dildo for Christmas?” Turns out, the teen was holding the present upside down, and it was actually a cupholder to use with her morning coffee"

“Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 × 8”? - "No scientific studies were found in support of 8 × 8. Rather, surveys of food and fluid intake on thousands of adults of both genders, analyses of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed because the surveyed persons were presumably healthy and certainly not overtly ill. This conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks (and, to a lesser extent, mild alcoholic beverages like beer in moderation) may indeed be counted toward the daily total, as well as by the large body of published experiments that attest to the precision and effectiveness of the osmoregulatory system for maintaining water balance. It is to be emphasized that the conclusion is limited to healthy adults in atemperate climate leading a largely sedentaryexistence, precisely the population and conditions that the “at least” in 8 × 8 refers to. Equally to be emphasized, lest the message of this review be misconstrued, is the fact (based on published evidence) that large intakes of fluid, equal to and greater than 8 × 8, are advisable for the treatment or prevention of some diseases and certainly are called for under special circumstances, such as vigorous work and exercise, especially in hot climates"

Premarital Sexual Intercourse Among Adolescents in an Asian Country: Multilevel Ecological Factors - "Independently significant factors for premarital sex among boys were pornography viewing (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 5.82 [95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.34–14.43]), lack of confidence to resist peer pressure (OR: 3.84 [95% CI: 2.27–6.50]), perception that more than one half of their friends had engaged in sex (OR: 3.37 [95% CI: 1.92–5.92]), permissiveness regarding premarital sex (OR: 3.41 [95% CI: 2.10–5.55]), involvement in gang activities (OR: 3.45 [95% CI: 1.66–7.15]), drinking (OR: 1.77 [95% CI: 1.07–2.94]), smoking (OR: 1.91 [95% CI: 1.14–3.20]), and living in low-cost housing (OR: 3.25 [95% CI: 1.64–6.43]). For girls, additional factors were previous sexual abuse (OR: 7.81 [95% CI: 2.50–24.41]) and dropping out of school (OR: 2.72 [95% CI: 1.32–5.61]), and stronger associations were found for lack of confidence to resist peer pressure (OR: 5.56 [95% CI: 2.94–10.53]) and permissiveness regarding premarital sex (OR: 6.25 [95% CI: 3.30–11.83]). Exposure to persons with HIV/AIDS or sexually transmitted infections in the media was negatively associated with sex for boys (OR: 0.27 [95% CI: 0.16–0.45]) and girls (OR: 0.24 [95% CI: 0.13–0.47])."

Someone Drew the Disney Princesses With Normal Bodies and They Look Beautiful - "
Comment: "what does snow white having blue hair and Jasmine having tattoos have to do with anything? That doesn't make them "normal". Smh social media..."
"Ummm ... they're cartoons. I've never seen a "normal" mouse that looked like Mickey Mouse, but I never felt the urge to complain."
"Before you know it, they are going to start criticizing Sci-fi and calling those unrealistic too."
"so all white girls are chubby with a large waist?"
"instead of shaming bigger girls we can start shaming skinner girls. Brilliant!"
"Artist seems to only make the white characters overweight - interesting"
Why not redraw the Disney princesses so they look as good as normal people, i.e. make them uglier? Why celebrate body positivity, i.e. being fat, but not being ugly?
If you redraw them as they would be in an African country, i.e. as black, is that blackface?
Friend: "They should draw Disney princesses with type 2 diabetes
Body positivity is fucking dangerous for Asian people
We are more vulnerable to obesity related diseases than Ang Mohs, who tolerate being hamplanets much better"


Weird crash with multiple windows showing up - "This same thing happened to my computer just the other day. I had been away and came back to discover well over 50 mysterious windows open with strange titles, including:
- igfxtrayWindow
- MCI command handling window
- PersistWndName
- ReceiverMessageWindow
and many more, some of which were extremely cryptic. Some did not have titles at all. Several of them were tiny, not much bigger than a short title bar. A few looked like they had something to do with Citrix. Most of them looked like they were spawned from the applications I had running at the time, especially Windows/Internet Explorer, which claimed at least 40 of the windows. I looked at the task manager and saw that sidebar.exe and several instances of iexplore.exe were hogging the CPU. Also, the Start menu was blank."

"Fuck Trump": Four In Custody After Man Tortured In Facebook Live Video - "“Fuck Donald Trump, fuck white people,” the man says... Johnson said police were investigating if the incident was a hate crime, but so far he said there was no indication it was motivated by politics or race... A second video shows the victim being threatened with a knife until he says, “Fuck Donald Trump,” gets on his knees, and kisses the floor."
If white people kidnapped and tortured a black person, made him say "Fuck Obama" and the police said "there was no indication it was motivated by politics or race...

CNN Panelist Blames Trump For Racist Torture of Mentally Disabled Man

Pro-Trump narratives converge in one awful attack streamed on Facebook - The Washington Post - "If the attackers had been white and the victim had been black, the incident would have, of course, conjured America's ugly history of white mobs committing violence against black people. There is no parallel history of the reverse happening on anything remotely approaching the same scale."
Comment: "So Callum Borchers wrote this? No more credibility for him. Is he living in the real world?

Lucas Lynch - A disabled child is tortured in Chicago and the... - "A disabled child is tortured in Chicago and the Whataboutery being tossed around by members of the social justice left is predictable and depressing as ever. What about George Zimmerman not being in jail and Eric Garner being murdered? Well, at the time, you pointed out how ridiculous it was to divert the focus from the victims of the crimes just as they happened. "All Lives Matter" and "Not all men" rightfully became objects of ridicule and satire as people tried to deflect from the horrific reality of what had just taken place... Even worse, are you *more* concerned that the assailants saying "Fuck white people" makes your ideology look bad more than the state of the victim? Because you basically are saying your ideology is more important than a human being - pretty similar to people choosing to defend the Confederate flag in the wake of the Dylan Roof shooting rather than focusing on the victims and the pernicious ideas that inspired Roof to take their lives. Lost in it all is the victim himself. I wish him a speedy recovery, even though he's a privileged white male and thus the root of all evil."

Wide Racial Divide in Sentencing - WSJ - "Prison sentences of black men were nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years, an analysis by the U.S. Sentencing Commission found... the findings drew criticism from advocacy groups and researchers, who said the commission's focus on the very end of the criminal-justice process ignored possible bias at earlier stages, such as when a person is arrested and charged, or enters into a plea deal with prosecutors"

Black Lives Matter activist giving Yale lecture compares protests to Boston Tea Party - "A prominent Black Lives Matter activist has offered a defense of violent looters who plundered U.S. cities like Ferguson and Baltimore in a lecture series delivered at Yale. DeRay McKesson, 30, was invited to the prestigious school to lecture on the movement... McKesson, a former math teacher is a prominent activist associated with Black Lives Matter. He often speaks to the media from large-scale protests in strife-ridden areas across the country. He has amassed 234,000 Twitter followers and Hillary Clinton has personally invited him to political meetings."

Merkel wanted refugees to be lorry drivers - "German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September tried to push through a plan that would allow refugees to be trained and hired as lorry drivers – just months before a lorry was used by a suspected asylum-seeker to mow down civilians during Monday’s Berlin terror attack. Merkel encouraged companies to hire refugees – even if they hadn’t yet been granted asylum – as drivers and also wanted to make it cheaper for migrants to trade in their foreign driver’s license for a German one... the Organization of German Profession Lorry Drivers (BDBK) fought back. “We give a definite no to use refugees as lorry drivers,” BDBK chairman Wolfgang Westermann said at the time. “Professional lorry drivers need a thorough and qualified education. You cannot let everyone drive off in a 40-ton lorry.”

English Kings and French Homage

"The peculiar status of the English kings in the French political order dated back to the treaty of Paris of 1259. Before that treaty the dukes of Aquitaine had acknowledged no superior on earth. They had performed no homage to the kings of France since the confiscation of their continental dominions had been proclaimed by Philip Augustus at the beginning of the thirteenth century, an act which they regarded as unlawful and which they refused to recognize. It was an unsatisfactory stalemate which the parties proceeded to replace in 1259 with an even more unsatisfactory compromise. The treaty doubled the size of the duchy, suddenly extending its boundaries from the coastal plain to the steep valleys of the interior and into regions which had not known English rule for half a century. But the surrender of these great territories was hedged about by qualifications and exceptions. The English dynasty recovered certain ill-defined rights in the ‘three bishoprics’ of Limoges, Perigueux and Cahors. Subject to equally ill-defined conditions, they were also promised the return of the diocese of Agen and parts of Saintonge and Querey. There was no comprehensive territorial settlement of south-western France. All that was finally settled in Paris in 1259 was that the Duke held his lands there as the vassal of the King of France and owed him liege homage, the feudal bond to which all other loyalties yielded. On 4 December 1259 Henry III performed the act of homage in a fine ceremony in the garden of the royal palace in Paris, but what were the territories for which he was doing homage and what were his rights within them were questions which were left for his successors to argue out with increasing vehemence in the courts of successive French kings and finally on the battlefield. It was ‘a defiance of good sense’ as an Archbishop of Canterbury acidly observed twenty years later, and more than any other act it earned Henry his place in that region of Dante’s Purgatory reserved for children and negligent kings, ‘il re de la semplice vita’."

--- Hundred Years War Vol 1: Trial by Battle / Jonathan Sumption

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Museum Of Lost Objects

BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Museum Of Lost Objects: Palmyra

"[On Russia flying in an orchestra to play in Palmyra] I really felt it was ridiculous. It was ridiculous in terms of the continuous tragedy of Syria. I mean, let's assume that you are in the BBC going to give the Syrian news 30 seconds today. They stole those 30 seconds from the hundreds of people that were killed that day...

[On Boris Johnson's replica of part of Palmyra] Nasser feels this zeal for restoration misses the point.

'I do not think that reconstructing the temple would be the best way of honouring its memory. And if the idea is to actually create a Palmyra, let's do a Disney Palmyra somewhere else. There's no value to reconstructing fake monuments in an authentic site. Perhaps what I'm saying is a bit of an extreme opinion and perhaps there is a way of reconstructing something but also the difference is that Palmyra was always in ruins. We have to allow it to age and to die. We have to allow it to turn into ruins. Even if it's actually by a wanton act of criminality as what Daesh did in Palmyra.'

Let ruins be ruins. In that case, should we do nothing in the face of the cultural destruction?...

'My dream would be to reconstruct them using only the pieces that remain'...

'The very very earliest figures, representations of leaders we have in Mesopotamia from around 3500 BC. One of the key things they do is also fight lions. They're not shown fighting, killing other people because that's almost demeaning. They have to have a lion who is the only real sort of, not quite equal but near rival because they're incredibly powerful and sort of unpredictable'

From the imagery of Babylonian and Assyrian kings to Islamic miniatures of the medieval and early modern period, we find scenes of the hunt. Of brave princes struggling with lions. The lion was both regal and untameable. The quintessence of strength and Man's ultimate opponent. So much of the male Kingly obsession with the lion had to do with imagining its destruction.

In modern Syria, there is no escaping the lion. The last name of Syria's ruling dynasty, Al-Assad means the Lion. It features prominently on the regime's propaganda. One slogan goes 'Syria and Al-Assad for eternity after eternity'. But the family name only became Al-Assad a few generations ago...

Saddam posing like an Assyrian king. He is on an Assyrian chariot, led by two horses and the horses are trampling on a lion that must have been killed by Saddam with an arrow on it... there he is, Saddam pointing his bow and arrow at... American missiles and a helicopter"


BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Museum Of Lost Objects, Bombed and Bulldozed in Syria

"[Al-Mari's] deep skepticism about organised religion led him to critique both Islam and Christianity, to imagine Mohammed shouting from a minaret and Jesus banging a bell. Al-Mari suggested that religion was just sound and fury, signifying very little.

'He was someone who doubted all the received wisdom and the received religions around him. And you have to remember if you lived in 970, 980 which is when he was a young man, in the area where he lived, you were not surrounded only by Sunni Muslims. But you had all the Christian churches in huge numbers, I would say in huge proportion and also you had all the splinter group from Islam, namely the Alawis that rule Syria today were staring to appear then. But also you had the Ismailis. And then you had the Sunnis and you had the Shia.

So he lived already in a multiple faith environment and reflected on if you want the stupidity of all of these followers of the different faith in terms of fighting over what he thought of as undeserving of the fighting, his importance if you want in his poetry is that he knew his Islam. This is not someone who is coming from outside.

And he basically started questioning the validity of the claim that this is divine. Now of course if you say that today you lose your life. And as a matter of fact you don't need to be in ISIS land to lose your life for that"


BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Museum Of Lost Objects, Looted in Iraq

"I feel as an Iraqi, there is not a lot in our modern history to be very proud of. So for many Iraqis we draw a lot on our ancient history, on the history of Mesopotamia, home to the first civilisations of the world. I feel very proud...

[On sculpture] The big curly beard is also a sign of virility and the beards kind of got smaller and less complicated as you got less important...

[On a Nimrud Genie head locked away in Scotland Yard] Its looting may have prevented its destruction...

Gilgamesh and his companion Enkidu are aggressors, ecological thieves. They come to Humbaba's forest to take its timber back to their treeless homeland in Mesopotamia. In this newly discovered tablet of the epic, we find remarkably a sense that the heroes of the tale were in the wrong... it points to the ambiguity of the Gilgamesh epic.

In so many other ancient epics like the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf for example, we find a black and white world: a clear binary of good and evil. In Gilgamesh there is plenty of grey...

'You can think of archaeology as kind of like crime scene investigation in the ancient past, so what you want is not just the knife but the knife on the floor next to the blood splatter with the footprints and the, you know, if someone just turns up at the police station and hands them a knife. And it's like look I found this knife. Aren't you guys always collecting knives? They'd be like, no, not really but okay, thanks'...

Lamia describes how Arab friends had a hard time accepting that Baghdadis were responsible for the looting of their own treasures.

'Literally I had a telephone from Algeria... right across the Arab world... everyone had its own theory of who looted the museum... I started doing statistics.

So it depends whom you don't like. Was it the Americans? Was it the Israelis? Was it the Kuwaitis?... they never ever accused the actual people in Baghdad that looted it'"

Links - 19th February 2017 (2)

Londoners launch anti-Tube Chat campaign - "London commuters have attempted to prove they are insular and unfriendly by wearing badges discouraging fellow passengers from talking to them."

Why Do Women Risk Pain and Injury Wearing High Heels? - "as heel height increases, men pay more attention to women—much more attention... Men lust after women, and some women experience male-style desire. But many women feel less motivated by lust than the need to feel desired, to attract and hold male attention. High heels attract male gazes. Women often complain about the downsides of high heels, but continue to wear them. Apparently, the yearning to appear desirable beats the desire to feel comfortable."

Want a helping hand? Try wearing high heels. - "Are men more likely to respond to women in heels because they find them more attractive, and are they more likely to answer survey questions from or help an attractive woman? Or are the men who help a woman in heels pick up her glove correctly perceiving that a woman in heels is in fact, physically, less stable than a woman in flats, and might therefore be more likely to need their help? Or, more interestingly still — and more troublingly — does a woman’s perceived instability and vulnerability make her more physically attractive to some men?"

Men’s music ability and attractiveness to women in a real-life courtship context - "This experiment tested the assumption that music plays a role in sexual selection. Three hundred young women were solicited in the street for their phone number by a young male confederate who held either a guitar case or a sports bag in his hands or had no bag at all. Results showed that holding a guitar case was associated with greater compliance to the request, thus suggesting that musical practice is associated with sexual selection."

Gardener accidentally triggers ‘red alert’ for northern lights while cutting the grass

Hamas condemns video of Muslim and Jewish people dancing as 'disgraceful spectacle' - "Officials from Hamas have criticised a video appearing to show Muslim and Jewish people dancing together at a Hanukka ceremony, describing it as a “disgraceful spectacle”. The Islamist group said the video from the event, hosted by the king of Bahrain and attended by members of the local Jewish community, was “humiliating” after it was posted on YouTube."

Disney to reportedly receive £41 million insurance payout after death of Carrie Fisher

Who Said It: A Suffragette or a Member of the KKK?

Witchcraft banned from Rwandan soccer matches after bizarre incident

Self-driving cars will exacerbate organ shortages. - "There’s also evidence that both monetary and nonmonetary compensation offer strong incentives for donation. In 2008, for example, Israel instituted a benefit package for living donors that included full wage reimbursement for 40 days and up to five years of paid expenses for a variety of services, including health and life insurance. The country also amended its organ transplant law again in 2010 to allow a patient to gain priority allocation on a transplant list if a member of his or her family demonstrated willingness to donate an organ. The number of living organ donors increased by 67 percent between 2011 and 2013 compared with the previous three-year period."

Man convicted of bacon attack on mosque dies in jail - "Kevin Crehan, who was from Knowle in Bristol, was jailed in July. He was convicted along with three others of committing a racially aggravated public order offence. In January 2016 they shouted racial abuse at a member of the Jamia Mosque on Green Street in Totterdown in Bristol while rashers of bacon were placed on the door handles and a St George’s flag was tied to the fence."

White House fails to make case that Russian hackers tampered with election - " The US government's much-anticipated analysis of Russian-sponsored hacking operations provides almost none of the promised evidence linking them to breaches that the Obama administration claims were orchestrated in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election."

Shanghai working woman opens Instagram account to document lucrative affair with her boss

Malaysian man says he is living in fear after wife buys million-ringgit insurance in his name - "The man, who has been a construction safety officer since retiring in 2011, said two men posing as civil engineering students attempted to strangle him inside a car on Sept 10."

Steve Martin deletes tweet calling Carrie Fisher 'beautiful' after backlash
Comment: "so she was not beautiful? or she was not a creature? which is it? is it wrong to say a person is a creature of habit? that's what feminists are for sure - they are creatures of habit when it comes to criticizing anything a man states..."

Monkeys Make Stone "Tools" That Bear a Striking Resemblance to Early Human Artifacts

This Chinese Billionaire Is Moving Production to the U.S. to Cut Costs - "Wage and transportation costs are getting higher in China, Cao says. "Compared with four years ago, labor wages [in China] today have tripled," he told China Business Network. Meanwhile, "transportation in the U.S. costs the equivalent of less than one yuan ($) per kilometer, while road tolls [in China] are higher," he added, pointing out that some mid- and small-sized Chinese enterprises have already started moving to Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Cambodia for cheaper wages and materials."

Indonesia's Growing Islamist Populism - "There is one group in particular, the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam/FPI), which has always been around since 1998, but it was seen as a splinter group; it was seen as a group that was only active at the very Islamist margins. They have now proven that they can mobilize numbers of people that was unprecedented in Indonesian history. Again, the demonstration on the 2nd of December probably had around 750,000 people on the streets of Jakarta. That is larger than any demonstration we have seen, including in the 1950s and 1960s. So that has catapulted the leader of this particular group, Habib Muhammad Rizieq Syihab, into the center of Indonesian politics."

This smart urinal will clean your dick entirely hands-free

Three British Airways passengers treated like 'rock stars' when they found they were the only people on board their flight

People think they've seen 'Shazaam,' but it never existed - "If you fondly remember the early-1990s film "Shazaam," starring the comedian Sinbad as an incompetent genie who tries to help out two young children — then you are wrong. Not because the movie isn't good, but because it never existed in the first place."

Somali-American teen becomes the first Miss USA hopeful to wear a hijab and a burkini - "she stuck to her conservative Muslim dress code, covering her head with a hijab and wearing a burkini during the swimsuit competition. A burkini is a swimsuit worn by many Muslim women, which covers most of the body"
If you don't stick to the rules, shouldn't you get thrown out?

It’s time to accept reality – Hong Kong is a city in decline and it’s our fault | South China Morning Post - "Virtually everything that is wrong with us is rooted in our fight for so-called true democracy. We lie to ourselves that our promised high degree of autonomy equals self-determination with elections free of any Beijing input. We delude ourselves that this so-called true democracy will shield us from the mainland."
???

Singapore named second most vegan-friendly city in Asia by Peta - "Taipei, Taiwan, pipped Singapore to the top spot on the list by the international animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or Peta."

audioBoom / Today: Should women fight on frontline? - "We are physically different... as an example, in my squadron, we deployed with a lot of very heavy communications vehicles. We had, there were quite a lot of physical tasks to be done every time we deployed on exercise. We had a maximum of 4 girls in my squadron, 4 women in the squadron and it was perfectly natural and normal that the guys would do all the heavy jobs and those jobs which were physically demanding, whilst women would do the slightly less physical. I mean it was just the normal course of events. It was absolutely fine in the situation that I was in. But when we're talking about an infantry section of 8 guys and you've got 1 person who is not actually as physically strong or as physically capable as the other 7, over possibly an extended period of time, which is what has not been tested, that could create an effect on our combat effectiveness... Captain Katie Petronio who was a combat engineer, an American combat engineer, who herself was definitely up for anything that a man could do when she joined. She spent an extended period of time in Afghanistan, had to carry a very heavy load and was physically affected very seriously and she has said herself: Stop. Stop. Women should not be placed in these situations
Which is more valuable? A feminist perspective or the perspective of someone (who is incidentally a woman) who has on the ground military experience?

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The fall of the Soviet Union: The Rosenberg reports - "'By nature, I am a typical monarchist'
'You'd like a Tzar back'
'I want the Tzar. I understand that the country is so big, and it has so many problems that I don't see anybody else but a strong mighty powerful person who's gonna run this country'
'Does Vladimir Putin fulfil that need for a Tzar?'
'To my understanding, yes'
'Western governments would say the President is being aggressive. The West doesn't trust Vladimir Putin'
'So why should they like him? He's not a girl. He's not a pretty woman. Why should they like him? Not everybody likes people who have their own point of view'...
'The West has very often believed that Russia was insulted, that Russia was humiliated and that the West has done wrong and the West should look at its own mistakes, where did we get Russia wrong. I would say no. The West did not get Russia wrong. Russia got itself wrong. Russia constructed its own grief. Russia constructed its own litany of concerns, cos this was a new ideology that was very much befitting the authoritarian drift in Russian domestic politics. We needed an external enemy. And we needed a new sense of confrontation with the West in order to consolidate Putin's domestic power'"

Stupid Reasons to Go to War in the Middle Ages - "Another strange medieval conflict was the so-called ‘War of the Bucket’, fought in 1325 between the Italian city-states of Bologna and Modena. They had been foes for many years before this, and during a period of heightened tension, a group of Modenese soldiers sneaked into Bologna, and stole a bucket from the main city well. The Bolognese demanded the return of the bucket, which was refused, and then mustered an army of 32,000 men to attack Modena. However, the Modenese met them at the Battle of Zappolino. Two thousand men were left dead on the battlefield, and the Bolognese being routed. You can still see the famous bucket on display in Modena."

The War on Stupid People - "[In the 1950s] hiring decisions were “based on a candidate having a critical skill or two and on soft factors such as eagerness, appearance, family background, and physical characteristics.”... The 2010s, in contrast, are a terrible time to not be brainy. Those who consider themselves bright openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over microaggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the nonsmart. People who’d swerve off a cliff rather than use a pejorative for race, religion, physical appearance, or disability are all too happy to drop the s‑bomb: Indeed, degrading others for being “stupid” has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement... Harvard Business School professor Chris Argyris argued that smart people can make the worst employees, in part because they’re not used to dealing with failure or criticism. Multiple studies have concluded that interpersonal skills, self-awareness, and other “emotional” qualities can be better predictors of strong job performance than conventional intelligence, and the College Board itself points out that it has never claimed SAT scores are helpful hiring filters... Intelligence and academic achievement have steadily been moving up on rankings of traits desired in a mate; researchers at the University of Iowa report that intelligence now rates above domestic skills, financial success, looks, sociability, and health... the less brainy are, according to studies and some business experts, less likely to be oblivious of their own biases and flaws, to mistakenly assume that recent trends will continue into the future, to be anxiety-ridden, and to be arrogant."

The Three Stages of Stupidity - "I suggest there is a three stage mental process undertaken by thinkers of the New Left...
The three stages are:
1: Holding the urge to protect and support the underdog above all other motivating forces to the point of myopia. Support for the underdog is felt by most humans, thankfully, and should be. But it is so strong in some that it is followed unequivocally and other motivations are ignored.
2: With that as a motivating principle each problem is approached, subconsciously and consciously, by dividing all actors in a situation into the ‘oppressor’ and the ‘oppressed’. This is done along demographic lines, be them race or gender or sexuality or whatever. If you are part of that group you’re treated as the group. The view struggles with seeing individuals at all.
3: The thinker then falls for Bertrand Russell’s fallacy of ‘The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed‘. The weaker group in the binary situation is of superior virtue. No. Matter. What...
let’s say there is an article in the Guardian about the oppression of women in the Muslim world. The Muslim woman becomes part of the oppressed minority of Muslims against the oppressor, which is the West, and her individual struggle as a woman is then subsumed. Despite solicitous studies in the field of intersectionality, you really are only part of one group at a time with this process. Because the people speaking of feminist ideals become part of the West they have to be bad. For although feminists are on the oppressed side in a UK based topic, these ones are up against Muslim men, who are lumped in simply as Muslims, and therefore the feminists must conform to their larger identity, Westerners. Hence why we see committed feminist writers, plagued by this process, willingly abandon their sisters in a Muslim country under talk of cultural relativism and of different standards applying."

The Secret History of Yoga

BBC Radio 4 - The Secret History of Yoga

"The celebrated champion of the Hindu Renaissance, Swami Vivekananda, who was invited to talk at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, is usually credited with introducing Yoga to the West. But it turns out, he wasn't keen on physical postures either...

I visited the Lonavala Yoga Institute to meet [India's] leading expert on traditional Indian yoga poses.

'Nowadays when I travel all over the world, I find different funny names of the yogas. I don't know why they want to use yoga like you know, dog yoga, wine yoga, nude yoga, beach yoga. Sorry to say but there is no any mention of all such yogas in the ancient manuscripts'

Dr Manmath Gharote has dedicated his life to tracking down ancient yoga manuscripts to understand what they tell us about the practice of yoga in the past...

'Integration of personality is the prime aim of yoga. There are 5 aspects of personality. Physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. 5 different aspects of personality should work harmoniously with each other. Flexibility of the spine, flexibility of the joints, flexibility of the muscles, is the pre-requisite, important aspect of that. But it is not the ultimate aspect. So yoga says although you practise asana through the body, it is for the mind. As when you're capable to stable the mind, then you can achieve complete eradication of the suffering, and then you go for the attending eternal peace...

Surya Namaskar, salute to the sun, a dynamic sequence of 12 backward and forward bends...
'Most of the people, they think Surya Namaskar as yoga. But you will never find any reference about Surya Namaskar as yoga. Because what *something* says asanas has 2 characteristics: *something* stability, *something* comfort. In Surya Namaskar, there is no *something* stability. It is a dynamic, and when dynamic exercises are there, it is not yoga'...

That most iconic of yoga poses: the downward dog...

'Does that feature in any of your older texts?'

'Not until this 18th century text mentions a posture called Gaja so actually that's the elephant pose, but that corresponds to the downward dog of today'

All these years I thought I was imitating a dog and actually it was an elephant...

In the early 20th century... spurred on by the eugenics movement, there was a burgeoning worldwide interest in what became known as physical culture.

'Gymnastics, bodybuilding, running, jumping. Anything that will make the body fit, fast, strong, healthy'...

'Indians could build their bodies, become strong in the service of national emancipation'...

'To prove their fitness for self rule meant Indians demonstrating that their physical prowess was the equal of their colonial masters'...

Using X-rays and other then novel tools of medical science, this sort of experimentation helped to distance yoga from its unsavory association with those grizzled street corner yogis.

'What we're seeing a process of modernisation. And in that process aspects which aren't prior to this time part of the yoga system start to be incorporated'"

Links - 19th February 2017 (1)

Couples Must Show Marriage Certification To Sit Next To Each Other In TransMalaya Express Bus - "The company relayed it segregates female and male passengers, both Muslim and non-Muslim, with the exception of married couples and family members. This is seen as an advantage to female passengers, to provide them with comfort, upon looming concerns of sexual harassment. “We have heard and read reports of how female travellers get molested by strangers, so we took this effort to give them a greater sense of security and comfort."... As of February last year, tickets were issued out to passengers according to appropriate seats − women on the right, while men on the left. Checks were also conducted for Muslim couples, where they would first need to show their marriage certification to the counter staff to sit together on the bus."

Bus driver who goes the extra mile awarded trip to UK - "On Dec 10, at the bus company’s inaugural awards night, Mr Kumaran — who joined the UK-based operator in May after 16 years with SMRT — received his biggest prize yet for excellent service: A pair of return tickets to London and five nights’ accommodation worth S$4,500. About 60 commuters have written in to praise him since the company launched its services. This is at least double the number of compliments that most of the firm’s top-performing bus drivers get, Tower Transit’s group communications director Glenn Lim said.""

Multilingual S’porean woman prevented WWIII in France airport by acting as peace corp translator - "The potentially planet-ending incident occurred after an American of African descent had overheard a group of mainland Chinese tourists saying “那个”, while waiting in line to clear immigration at the French international airport. The Chinese words, “那个”, which can be pronounced as “na ge” or “nei ge”, depending on accent and when spoken out loud in the mainland Chinese volume, bears an uncanny resemblance to “n*gger”. The American was witnessed to have gone ballistic and the Chinese tourists retaliated because they did not know what led to his aggression, resulting in a shouting match."
Ahh... Americans imposing their cultural context on others and then getting offended

9 of the Queen's Strangest Powers and Privileges - "SHE CAN DRIVE WITHOUT A LICENSE."

Rescue Mission Launched As Thousands Stranded On Higher Moral Ground - "A WORLDWIDE rescue mission has been launched today after thousands of internet commentators were left stranded on higher moral ground in dangerously ignorant conditions, following an incident in a Cincinnati zoo where a gorilla was shot in a bid to protect a young boy. Internet rescue service personnel have been inundated with emergency calls from people trapped in comment sections, many of whom are incredibly passionate about news stories they can jump to conclusions on without reading the facts."

An army of 1000 Japanese soldiers was decimated by saltwater crocodiles during the Battle of Ramree Island of World War II.

Chinese Velveting 101: An Introduction to Water-Velveting - "Velveting meat—the practice of marinating slices of meat in egg white, wine, and cornstarch—is a Chinese cooking technique that we've covered here on Serious Eats before. Typically, after the meat is marinated, it is quickly blanched in a bath of hot oil and then drained, at which point it's ready to be stir-fried. The end result is meat that's tender, silky, and smooth in texture"

Mother of Kiryat Arba terrorist: My son is a hero - "The mother of the Palestinian terrorist who killed an Israeli teenage girl as she slept in her bed early this morning tells a Hebron news channel that her son was “a hero” who made her “proud.” “My son died as a martyr defending Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Palestinian Media Watch organization quotes the mother of Muhammad Tarayrah as saying. “Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, he [my son] has joined the martyrs before him, and he is not better than them. Allah willing, all of them will follow this path, all the youth of Palestine. Allah be praised.”"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Who murdered Clara Kirton? - "Hair without a root can be used to determine ethnicity that might help narrow down a field of suspects or confirm the identity of someone already in the frame. But in most cases, strands of hair without roots will not deliver a full DNA profile. It's thought that will be possible in 3-4 years"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, How do you become a comedy writer? - "I worry about modern comedy though. It seems to be getting cruder and cruder. Charm and subtlety are lost. The double entendre has been replaced by the single entendre"

It’s time to move on from AWARE - "Poor Malay women were told they need to stop having children, while educated Chinese women were being given benefits to have more. When AWARE was formed, reproductive rights to abortion and contraception were fought for as a “choice,” as it is for Chinese women, but Malay women were not even given this choice due to sterilization programmes, and this is an issue that has been largely ignored by AWARE. The truth is, AWARE was not started to combat the pain and horror of this country’s eugenicist policies. Nope. It was formed to protect precious Chinese wombs."
Will Sangeetha's allies abandon her now?; the left eats itself

The Epic of Gilgamesh Theme of Sex - "Shamhat uses sex as a way to civilize Enkidu. In Mesopotamian culture, sex with a gal like Shamhat connected her lover to the divine life-force, so to speak. This apparently explains how Enkidu becomes more man than beast (which, when you think about it, is a funny inversion of how we usually think about sex—that it makes us like animals)"

Central Java Governor bans ancient sex ritual on Mt. Kemukus - "Those who seek wealth are encouraged to have sexual intercourse on the mountain with someone other than their legal partner in order to achieve prosperity... Before his death, Prince Samodra left a message stating that for any person willing to engage in intercourse with a person other than his or her legal partner seven times on Pon Friday, the day when Samodra died alongside Ontrowulan, the person'€™s wishes would be fulfilled."

Why Stormtroopers Always Miss - Imgur

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Chronological Episode Order | StarWars.com

Why the Pentagon opening all combat roles to women could subject them to a military draft

Tetris taught me that when you try to fit in you'll disappear. : Showerthoughts - "But if you don't fit you lose..."
"Isn't Tetris actually a metaphor for communism?"

Raccoons and the Myth of Washing Food |

Australia data shows gun controls a huge success 20 years after mass shooting - "The chances of being murdered by a gun in Australia plunged to 0.15 per 100,000 people in 2014 from 0.54 per 100,000 people in 1996, a decline of 72 percent, a Reuters analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed... The country has had no mass shootings since."

Class Size: What Research Says and What it Means for State Policy - "Class-size reduction has been shown to work for some students in some grades in some states and countries, but its impact has been found to be mixed or not discernable in other settings and circumstances that seem similar. It is very expensive. The costs and benefits of class-size mandates need to be carefully weighed against all of the alternatives when difficult decisions must be made... Harris finds short-term rates of return for computer-aided instruction, cross-age tutoring, early childhood programs, and increases in instructional time that are all greater than those for CSR... The popularity of class-size reduction may make it politically difficult for policymakers to increase class size in order to sustain other investments in education, even in a time of budget austerity"

UK's leading student union adopts controversial new stance on gay men - "The National Union of Students (NUS) LGBT+ Campaign has concluded during its recent annual conference that gay men do not require a reserved place on society committees because they ‘do not face oppression as gay men within the LGBT+ community.’ It is now appealing to LGBT+ societies all over the country to drop their gay men’s representatives. The conclusion stemmed from the shared view of the delegates at the conference, which took place in Sheffield from 15-17 March, that ‘white cis gay men’ are often responsible for misogyny, racism and anti-transgender and anti-bisexual sentiments"

In Photos: Feasting on Dog Meat at China’s Infamous Summer Solstice Festival

Stand-Up Comics Have to Censor Their Jokes on College Campuses - "they wanted comedy that was 100 percent risk-free, comedy that could not trigger or upset or mildly trouble a single student. They wanted comedy so thoroughly scrubbed of barb and aggression that if the most hypersensitive weirdo on campus mistakenly wandered into a performance, the words he would hear would fall on him like a soft rain, producing a gentle chuckle and encouraging him to toddle back to his dorm, tuck himself in, and commence a dreamless sleep—not text Mom and Dad that some monster had upset him with a joke... I saw ample evidence of the repressive atmosphere that Rock and Seinfeld described, as well as another, not unrelated factor: the infantilization of the American undergraduate, and this character’s evolving status in the world of higher learning—less a student than a consumer, someone whose whims and affectations (political, sexual, pseudo-intellectual) must be constantly supported and championed. To understand this change, it helps to think of college not as an institution of scholarly pursuit but as the all-inclusive resort that it has in recent years become—and then to think of the undergraduate who drops out or transfers as an early checkout... “You can’t use logic on these people,” Geoff Keith told me over dinner at the Hilton, “or then they think you’re a dick.”... The college revolutions of the 1960s—the ones that gave rise to the social-justice warriors of today’s campuses—were fueled by free speech. But once you’ve won a culture war, free speech is a nuisance, and “eliminating” language becomes a necessity."

Maths study shows conspiracies 'prone to unravelling' - "the chance that a conspiracy is revealed becomes quite large as time passes and the number of conspirators grows. The Moon landing hoax, for instance, began in 1965 and would have involved about 411,000 Nasa employees. With these parameters, Dr Grimes's equation suggests that the hoax would have been revealed after 3.7 years"

Russian atheist faces year in jail for denying existence of God during webchat

Large breasts and narrow waists indicate high reproductive potential in women. - "women with higher breast-to-underbreast ratio (large breasts) and women with relatively low WHR (narrow waists) have higher fecundity as assessed by precise measurements of daily levels of 17-beta-oestradiol (E2) and progesterone. Furthermore, women who are characterized by both narrow waists and large breasts have 26% higher mean E2 and 37% higher mean mid-cycle E2 levels than women from three groups with other combinations of body-shape variables, i.e. low WHR with small breasts and high WHR with either large or small breasts. Such gains in hormone levels among the preferred mates may lead to a substantial rise in the probability of conception, thus providing a significant fitness benefit."

New Theory on Why Men Love Breasts - "In a 1951 study of 191 cultures, anthropologist Clellan Ford and ethologist Frank Beach reported that breasts were considered sexually important to men in 13 of those cultures. Of those, nine cultures preferred large breasts. Two — the Azande and Ganda of Africa — found long, pendulous breasts most attractive. Another two — the Maasai of Africa and Manus of the South Pacific — liked breasts that were upright and "hemispherical," but not necessarily large. Thirteen cultures also reported breast simulation during sex, but only three of those overlapped with the societies where men reported finding breasts important for sexual attraction. In a chapter in the book "Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives" (Aldine de Gruyter, 1995), cultural anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler describes telling friends in Mali about sexual foreplay involving breasts and getting responses ranging from "bemused to horrified."... A 2011 study compared men's preferences for breast size, symmetry, and areola size and color in Papua New Guina, Samoa and New Zealand and found that men from Papua New Guinea preferred larger breasts than men from the other two islands. Because the men surveyed from Papua New Guinea hailed from more of a subsistence culture than the men in Samoa or New Zealand, the results support the idea that in places of scarcity, padded bustlines could signal a well-fed woman with reserves for pregnancy and childrearing, the researchers wrote. Areola size and color preferences were highly idiosyncratic between cultures... Recent studies have found that nipple stimulation enhances sexual arousal in the great majority of women, and it activates the same brain areas as vaginal and clitoral stimulation. When a sexual partner touches, massages or nibbles a woman's breasts, Young said, this triggers the release of oxytocin in the woman's brain, just like what happens when a baby nurses. But in this context, the oxytocin focuses the woman's attention on her sexual partner, strengthening her desire to bond with this person. In other words, men can make themselves more desirable by stimulating a woman's breasts during foreplay and sex. Evolution has, in a sense, made men want to do this."

Gene Expression: Intercourse and Intelligence - "Depending on the specific age and gender, an adolescent with an IQ of 100 was 1.5 to 5 times more likely to have had intercourse than a teen with a score of 120 or 130. Each additional point of IQ increased the odds of virginity by 2.7% for males and 1.7% for females. But higher IQ had a similar relationship across the entire range of romantic/sexual interactions, decreasing the odds that teens had ever kissed or even held hands with a member of the opposite sex at each age... The student surveys at MIT and Wellesley also compared virginity by academic major. The chart for Wellesley displayed below shows that 0% of studio art majors were virgins, but 72% of biology majors were virgins, and 83% of biochem and math majors were virgins! Similarly, at MIT 20% of 'humanities' majors were virgins, but 73% of biology majors. (Apparently those most likely to read Darwin are also the least Darwinian!)... Looking at this chart it would strongly appear that higher complexity majors contain more virgins than majors with lower cognitive demand... Sexual behavior (or at least the investment needed to procure a partner or sustain one) may compete with time/resources required for other goals, and intelligent people may have more demanding goals. James Watson even hinted at this in a recent Esquire magazine piece:
If I had been married earlier in life, I wouldn't have seen the double helix. I would have been taking care of the kids on Saturday. On the other hand, I was lonely a lot of the time...
intelligence correlates with less sex within marriage for the same age range. While still consistent with pregnancy fears and competing interests, lower sex drive seems like a better fit. In fact another revealing finding from the Counterpoint survey was that while 95% of US men and 70% of women masturbate, this number is only 68% of men and 20% of women at MIT!... the smartest men in the GSS (approx. IQ >120) were also more likely to visit a prostitute. (Hardly indicative of cautiousness) This may suggest intelligent men are less able to find willing sex partners. Are smart men less attractive to women? Perhaps in some ways. For instance HS found that smart men were less likely to be athletic, and this paper shows, unathletic men and women have fewer sex partners. Athletic men, with more willing sexual partners are also less likely to visit a prostitute. Athletic activity gives men more masculine bodies, which are more attractive to women. A more masculine physique correlates with (PDF) an increased number of sex partners."

'White Allies': #BlackLivesMatter Walrus Admits She Only Wants Their Money (UPDATE) - "Want to know what the BLM thugs think about their white allies? This one says she only wants to use white allies to drain their bank accounts, says that every single possession or cultural aspect whites own was stolen — she claims that literally everything white people have should be given away to blacks. And to top it all off, she wants to physically beat white allies who show up at protests, and thinks that they should only be utilized in militant operations as dumb, silent, “police buffers”."

On the Mess that is Qoo10

A: Thinking of ordering some things
-> Open qoo10/lazada
-> Panic ensues

what-the-fuck UI.

B: Qoo10 is what you get if you browse Amazon while being on LSD

C: Qoo10 UI is absolute rubbish. That's why I don't use them at all.

D: Qoo10 is the epicentre of misleading marketing. It's a miracle people still go there.

A: Upfront honesty is rare around here. O Amazon why hath thou forsaken us.

D: At least Lazada doesn't advertise a certain price in the search page and then add a bunch of ridiculous surcharges because of item colour or warranty.

A: I think its the sellers' fault for all these misleading prices. For example 3000k 810lm led lamps really shouldn't cost 30 singapore pesos, each. More like 3 and at most 10.

D: It's also Qoo10's system at fault for allowing such behaviour. Seems to work for them though…

E: Most sinkies are idiots. That's why scam sites like qoo10 are still in business.

F: Be patient.. the lord Amazon will soon draw nigh.. Take heart O shopper for thy faith will be rewarded.

G: You'd be surprised how many of the older gen doesn't give 2 shits about the UI, hence it being left like that since time began (also that a cluttered layout used to be more appealing towards an Asian culture)

H: It's still more appealing in most Asian culture, mostly I think due to language system. Singapore is a bit different because we use mostly English.

I: I knew folks who used to work there. No good rationale, just money making corp agendas

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Women and the Salon

BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Salon

"A woman trusts 2 people with her head. The first person is a psychologist. And the second is the hairstylist...

[In Japan] 'As women who work at the department store, we are particularly told not to dye our hair red or blonde. Also, we have to tie our hair back so it doesn't fall down when we bow. Every day at the morning meeting, there is a check to make sure we look respectable.'

There's only one acceptable colour of hair for women in Mamie's [sp?] workplace, and that's black. So she heads to the salon to have her grey roots dyed black again...

My husband had got me a dog without so much as a word. She's family. If it wasn't for Mini, I probably would have split up with my husband. We have lots of conversation through the dog. She mediates. When I'm with Mini, people always talk to me so I've made new friends...

'For some women, an important aspect of womanhood is being a mother'...
'Another aspect of a woman's identity could be her sexuality'
'One could be her religion'
'Now imagine a woman who's struggling to come to terms with all 3'
'What does she do?'
'She gets a haircut'
'What I'm saying to myself with my hair is body ownership. I choose. It's the only part of you and your body that you can shape and really personalise. It's my body, it's my hair. It belongs to me. I can say yes and I can say no'...

'The voluptuous Westernised version of sexiness is beyond their reach as Japanese. So instead of sexy, they go for cute'
'Typical Japanese figures are not really sexy, are they? Maybe about 1% of us can be sexy. Girls are short, so are boys'
'Perhaps because we are cute to start with. Westerners can look good. They are cool'
'They just wear H&M and just look so cool'
'The Japanese are cute, so perhaps we are emphasising the Japanese cuteness.'
'I'd actually like to look more grownup, but with my face and I'm short, so it doesn't really work. So I try to most out of what I have and be cute'
'We Japanese want to look young'...

[On Brazilian hairstyles in South Africa, costing almost $400] 'I need to consider Tracey's brothers as well. Their needs and some of their wants'

This is Tracey's mother, Hope. When it comes to Tracey's looks, Tracey pays for everything. Nails clothes, shoes, hair...
'The cost of Brazilian is the cost of what some people pay for rent... just so she can look good... Tracey and myself take the huge chunk of my income: 20% would go to Tracey and myself. For our hair and our clothes and beauty in general... Young girls go for good things. And good things require money, so as a parent if you can't afford to give your child what they want, they'll look for men that have the money to support them, and that I can't have that in my house. I need my child to concentrate on school.

Time for rich men will come in the near future. Maybe 10, 15 years from now... My child needs to look good, my child is an extension of me. So you look at my child looking good, you expect the mother to look just as good or better'...

It was difficult as a woman to find someone to cut her hair as short as she liked it.

'I used to go to barbers' shops before and they always did a bad job. The looks you get when you walk in because you're a woman turning up at a barber shop, historically a place where men go to get their hair done, you'd kind of feel unwelcome'

'And why didn't you go to hair salons?'

'Oh, god. They're even worse. Firstly they charge you astronomical prices for like a 2 minute job and also when you say short you never come out with the shortness that you asked for. It's like their definition of what short hair should look like'


The reason women get charged more is because they're more fussy (despite the lady who got short hair complaining it was discrimination for women to be charged more than men)

Links - 18th February 2017

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Secret Lives - "Timing matters too. One study found that as romantic partners get to know each other, they become more judgmental about the disclosures they make...
I've reached the point that when... my sister or someone tells me: hey, I want to tell you something but you have to keep it a secret, I just say: don't tell me. Don't tell me because that is a burden. Especially if I cannot tell my husband, don't tell me"

Big Secrets Can Burden You Physically | What is Psychology? - "individuals seem to feel physically burdened when asked to think about or cover up meaningful secrets. These meaningful secrets being harbored by the participants included important issues such as infidelity and sexual orientation. “People who recalled, were preoccupied with, or suppressed an important secret estimated hills to be steeper, perceived distances to be farther, indicated that physical tasks would require more effort, and were less likely to help others with physical tasks” (Slepian, et al., 2012).

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Beauty from Within? - "The Victorian lady was expected to her have beauty as a gift from God. A pure mind and pure living would create a beautiful face. Shop-bought cosmetics were the preserve of actresses, prostitutes and the French. So if you go through Victorian beauty manuals, strawberry juice was said to be very very good for removing wrinkles and freckles, the despair of blondes, could be addressed with green beans boiled and pulverised...
More than half of all the food, drinks and supplements to make beauty claims to be launched in 2015 were in the Asia-Pacific. 25% in Europe and just 4% in the US...
The clinical studies we have done, we normally run them over 3 months. And we start to see statistically significant effect after 1 month of intake, and that is daily intake. Basically when we age, our collagen network starts to fragment, it's not as cohesive and that's when you get wrinkles and sagging. And what we can see is we can actually reverse that trend and make that collagen network more intact. We can show that the overall collagen density increases so these are like objective measurements...
But not everyone agrees the science behind these products is rigorous enough...
As dermatologists we certainly know that poor nutrition can have very detrimental effects on your skin. What we don't know too well is if in a person that already has a good nutritional status, if we add supplementatiom of these compounds, are we getting beneficial effects. So now you're talking about the collagen peptides and certain studies have shown that when these are taken as supplements, they can accumulate in the blood and possibly modify the skin. There's been no large controlled studies proving their efficacy. When you ingest something it has to be a process by your digestive tract and then absorbed into your bloodstream and then make it to whatever target tissue it's designed to act at. It's possible to measure for example the concentration of these collagen peptides within the blood, but from there it's very hard to know whether or not they're getting into the skin. And that's true for most supplements. Knowing how much is actually getting there is not a simple question"

‘CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION’ KEEPS PEOPLE LOCKED IN POVERTY - "poor families around the world – those living on less than $2 a day – spend much of their income on goods that do not appear to alleviate poverty. For example, the average spending on festivals is as high as 15% of income in some regions of India. Similarly, South Africans spend on average a year’s income on an adult’s funeral, often financed by borrowing... Moav and Neeman propose that people care about their economic status and try to signal their income through conspicuous consumption. The analysis shows that if human capital is somewhat observable and correlated with income, then an unfortunate outcome driven by ‘signalling’ can emerge, in which poor individuals spend a large fraction of their income on conspicuous consumption. In particular, individuals with high human capital have a recognisable earning ability – professional titles, degree certificates, prestigious jobs, etc. – and relatively little need to signal success. In contrast, those without certified accomplishments have a relatively stronger motivation to impress via conspicuous consumption. As a result, the fraction of income allocated to conspicuous consumption can decline as the level of human capital rises – and the income allocated to savings and education can increase. Thus, the analysis predicts that among poor families with low levels of education, there will be low saving rates and low investment in the future – particularly in children’s education."

Over half of women wake up in a mood with their partner - because he annoyed them in a DREAM in the night

The world's most secure smartphones - and why they're all Androids - "This may seem odd, as Android has long been dogged by a poor reputation for security. However, building on Android is much easier than building a smartphone OS from scratch. Also, because the core of Android is open source, it's much more likely that bugs will be spotted and fixed... there can also be a cost-saving element: without secure phones, some customers in investment banking could only discuss certain sensitive deals in person, so the phones can save money, speed up projects and pay for themselves in a week."

Christina H. Sommers on Twitter - "When young women say no to feminism, feminists don't accept that no means no."

Anti-gun dildo protest at UT-Austin is 'sexual harassment' according to federal definition - "The federal government should be descending on the University of Texas-Austin any day now to investigate the school’s response to hordes of students who practiced blatant “sexual harassment.” That’s because students who oppose the state’s new campus-carry law were publicly brandishing dildos to protest the law last week – and that’s certainly “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” to at least some students."

curioustraveller1985 comments on Discouraged, more under 30 stop looking for jobs - "when I was working in a industry trade association, I often had to deal with hundred of SME bosses. Nearly all were asking for relaxation of foreign manpower curbs. When I asked them why they are so dependent on manpower curbs, "NS liability" was one of the informal answers very often given to me, although not a single one of the bosses would ever put it down on paper."
"A common complaint was "we've become the training ground for the middle east". This wasn't a case of MOM not willing to renew the S-Passes or Work permits; this was a case of their staff not wanting to work in Singapore because they received better-paying offers elsewhere in the world. When we suggested that they paid better salaries to retain their most talented staff, they refused to accept it. Instead, they suggested things like the duration of work permits and S-Passes should be doubled or tripled; one even suggested that the leaving staff should somehow be "forced" to stay in Singapore. I was like thinking "WTF" when i heard that at industry engagement session."

Bust of talent agencies for pimping porn starlets reveals hard times in industry - "Latin Quarter and Haute Couture used their web sites to attract customers by posting the names of actresses, their photographs and titles of their films were posted on the sites. Popular actresses fetched upwards of 80,000 yen per 120-minute session, with the bathhouse taking a cut of 15,000 yen... Fuzoku writer Taizo Ebina says that more women are entering the AV trade to snag a rich husband. “Girls are half-heartedly entering the trade on a lark with friends, some of whom are looking to score big by marrying into money,” says Ebina. “With the title ‘AV actress,’ women have a chance to encounter rabid fans with money from the Middle East and China.” (Though such an assertion may sound absurd, actress Yuria Satomi appears to be highly skilled at befriending wealthy men.)"

Transgender kids: Have we gone too far? - "“When we ask, ‘When did you first learn about this label of gender dysphoria’, they’ll say, ‘Me and Mom watched Oprah,’ ” adds Dr. Hayley Wood, a member of his team... Gender confusion is often temporary. About three-quarters of little kids who have issues with their gender – boys who want to be princesses, girls who throw their dresses in the garbage – will be comfortable with it by adolescence, according to Dr. Zucker. (Many of them will grow up to be gay or bi.) Gender confusion can also be a handy label for whatever ails a child (or her family). That’s why Dr. Zucker takes a watch-and-wait approach. He even advises parents of princessy six-year-olds to say, “You’re not a girl. You’re a boy.”And in the hotly politicized world of gender politics, that makes him, in many people’s eyes, a dangerous reactionary... At what point do you start taking life-altering decisions for a child that will have enormous physical, social and emotional consequences? Alice Dreger is a bioethicist and professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. She calls herself an (im)patient advocate who prefers evidence to ideology. She is a strong supporter of transgender rights. But she thinks the pendulum has swung too far... For some people, including some adolescents, transgender treatment is lifesaving. But these treatments are neither simple nor benign. They may, among other things, retard maturation, suppress your growth or render you sterile. And in the end, medical science cannot create a body that makes you forget you were born the other sex. “Some kids need it, but for the kids who don’t, it’s dangerous,” she says. “All else being equal, it’s better to avoid long-term hormone therapy and major surgery that removes a lot of tissue.” Disturbingly, data on long-term outcomes for transgender kids are scarce. No one is tracking the evidence on puberty-blocking intervention either. “We are doing major interventions and we have shockingly little idea what the outcomes are,” Ms. Dreger says. You get the sense that what we have is not so much a rational approach to a psychosocial issue as a radical ideological experiment. Here’s more unwelcome news from Ms. Dreger. A child’s gender issue may merely be a symptom of other family problems. “The dirty little secret is that many of these families have big dysfunctional issues. When you get the clinicians over a beer, they’ll tell you the truth. A lot of the parents aren’t well in terms of their mental health. They think that once the child transitions, all their problems will magically go away, but that’s not really where the stress is located.” Clinicians won’t say these things publicly, she says, because they don’t want to sound as if they’re blaming gender problems on screwed-up families."

The Transgender Battle Line: Childhood - WSJ - "sexologists, who presumably would be able to determine the healthiest approach, are extremely reluctant to get involved. They have seen what happens when they deviate from orthodoxy. In 2003 a sex researcher and psychology professor at Northwestern University named J. Michael Bailey published “The Man Who Would Be Queen,” a book that countered the idea that male-to-female transgenderism is innately tied to gender identity. For some, he said, the attraction is related to a sexual fantasy of being a woman. Dr. Bailey was quickly accused of transphobia and sustained several years of vicious public attacks. The episode left a lasting impression on sexology: Science that doesn’t align with prevailing attitudes can be dangerous. Witness the recent experience of Kenneth Zucker, a psychologist in Toronto (who has conducted research with Dr. Bailey)... We don’t allow children to vote or get tattoos, yet in the name of progressive thinking we are allowing them to choose serious biomedical interventions with permanent and irreversible results."
The right wing is hardly the only side which manipulates science for political purposes

How the Fight Over Transgender Kids Got a Leading Sex Researcher Fired - "Zucker had built up quite a CV during his time leading the clinic: In addition to being one of the most frequently cited names in the research literature on gender dysphoria and gender-identity development, and the editor of the prestigious journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, he took a leading role helping devise diagnostic and treatment guidelines for gender dysphoric and transgender individuals. He headed the group which developed the DSM-5’s criteria for its “gender dysphoria” entry, for example, and also helped write the most recent “standards of care” guidelines for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health — one of the bibles for clinicians who treat transgender and gender-dysphoric patients... the real scandal here is how CAMH responded to a sustained campaign of political pressure: by allowing a vital scientific question — vital not only to gender-dysphoric and transgender young people, but to anyone who is a parent or will one day become one — to be decided by activists on the basis of flimsy, anonymous allegations. They think the activists’ claims about the clinic are unfounded, and argue that the controversy has more to do with adult agendas than with genuine concern for gender-dysphoric children and youth. As Dr. Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist with a research focus on gender-identity issues, explained in an email, this fight resembles many other culture-war battles: “[C]hildren serve as proxies for the competing value systems of adults.”"

Stop calling them boys and girls! Advisers paid £200k to help train teachers claim using sex specific classrooms is unfair to transgenders

Transgender cop's uniform keeps her out of event she organized - "Officer Christine Garcia, who transitioned last year, helped plan the event and was part of the Police Department security detail that watched over a commemorative march down University Avenue. After the march, when Garcia tried to enter the event as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, she was asked to leave because her uniform could upset others in attendance."

Paglia: ‘Transgender Mania’ is a Symptom of West's Cultural Collapse - "Paglia went on to talk about her book Sexual Personae and how the emergence of transgenderism signifies the end of Western culture. “Now I am concerned about this… In fact, my study of history in Sexual Personae, I’m always talking about the late phases of culture.
“I was always drawn to late or decadent phases of culture. Oscar Wilde is one of the great exponents of that in the late 19th century. He’s one of my strongest influences from my earliest years.
"And I found in my study that history is cyclic, and everywhere in the world you find this pattern in ancient times: that as a culture begins to decline, you have an efflorescence of transgender phenomena.That is a symptom of cultural collapse.""

Transgender Identities Are Not Always Permanent - "Alexis Arquette (formerly Robert Arquette), a transgender performer and activist, returned to living as a man before his death on September 11, 2016, at the age of 47. Arquette appeared in the movies Pulp Fiction and The Wedding Singer and was a force for transgender rights... 'In 2013, amid increasing health complications, Alexis … began presenting herself as a man again, telling [her close friend] Ibrahim that “‘gender is bullshit.’ That ‘putting on a dress doesn’t biologically change anything. Nor does a sex-change.’ She said that ‘sex-reassignment is physically impossible. All you can do is adopt these superficial characteristics but the biology will never change.’” That realization, Ibrahim suspects, was the likely source of her deep wells of emotional torment.'
The process of abandoning the transgender life and reverting back to one’s innate gender/sex is called detransitioning. As someone who has detransitioned myself, I only wish more would speak up about the reality of what life is like after transitioning to the other gender and why some people eventually decide to embrace their birth sex."
If someone undergoes a sex change twice, do you need to perform the Orwellian rewriting of his historical name (e.g. pretending that Switched on Bach was released by Wendy Carlos) the second time too?

Hair salon at Plaza Singapura shuts, leaving customers with thousands of dollars in unused treatments - "She said many clients of the previous salon have come to her with outstanding amounts on their packages ranging from $100 to $20,000."
Who buys a $20,000 package?!

Sex changes are not effective, say researchers - "The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham's aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective... most of the medical research on gender reassignment was poorly designed, which skewed the results to suggest that sex change operations are beneficial. Its review warns that the results of many gender reassignment studies are unsound because researchers lost track of more than half of the participants... the high drop out rate could reflect high levels of dissatisfaction or even suicide among post-operative transsexuals. He called for the causes of their deaths to be tracked to provide more evidence... Research from the US and Holland suggests that up to a fifth of patients regret changing sex. A 1998 review by the Research and Development Directorate of the NHS Executive found attempted suicide rates of up to 18% noted in some medical studies of gender reassignment... "You either have an operation or suffer a miserable life. A fifth of those who don't get treatment commit suicide""
If either way you're miserable and may kill yourself...

On Evaluating Poetry, and Dead White Men's Pre-Eminence in it

Abstract: Two independent but highly correlated measures of permanent fame and a measure of contemporary fame were investigated for a sample of 50 eminent poets. The greater the permanent fame of the poets, the more they avoided references to concepts and emotions and the more they focused upon concrete images. Permanent fame was related to estimated intelligence but unrelated to wealth or social class. Contemporary fame was found to be unrelated to permanent fame and could not be predicted by the variables investigated. It is apparently based upon different criteria in different epochs. For neither permanent nor contemporary fame was there any evidence that rich white men have any advantage in becoming famous.

Article: There has recently been controversy about the canon of great works ofWestern literature. It has been argued that one must be a rich, preferably dead, white man in order to gain admittance. This argument is rather fatuous. Some poor white men such as Robert Burns somehow got admitted. Some women such as Jane Austen also managed to get in. Even Phyllis Wheatley, a black woman, has been in the canon of American poetry for several hundred years. It certainly does help to be a dead white man to be included in the canon, but examples such as those cited above show that this is not a necessary condition. It is most certainly not a sufficient condition to be a dead white man. The vast majority of dead white men who tried their hand at literature have been justly consigned to oblivion. If they ever were in the canon, their names have been expunged.

Another criticism of the canon has been that one’s works must uphold the status quo in order to be admitted. If I understand Marxism, Feminism, and the New Historicism, the main business of society is to oppress poor people, women, and people of colour. It has also been held that we want to oppress ‘the other’. Because it is nevermade very clear who ‘the other’ is, I would guess that these are rather difficult people to find, let alone oppress. Herrnstein Smith (1988) argues that canon formation is a political process. One must say what the ruling class wants to hear or he or she will have no chance of being admitted to the canon.We are left to wonder how a poet such as Ezra Pound made his way into the canon. He certainly didn’t say anything that the American ruling class wanted to hear. Van Peer (1996, see also Chapter 1 in this volume) compared versions of the Romeo and Juliet story by Shakespeare and Arthur Brooke. Shakespeare’s version went against the mores of the ruling class, whereas Brooke’s version conformed with them. Why is Shakespeare in the canon and Brooke forgotten? One imagines that the reason has to do with literary quality.

In the past, the ruling class may have taken some interest in literature. At least in Western Europe and North America, this has not been the case for quite a while. They are too busy making money to have the slightest interest in literature. To take the most extreme case, no one at all reads contemporary poetry with the exception of other poets and teachers of literature (Auden 1948). Canon formation may be political, but it is academic politics. Like much in academia, arguments as to who should or should not be in the canon are pointless, as the canon is literally cast in concrete. Martindale (1995) did a study of how many books the Harvard University libraries have about the 602 poets listed in the various Oxford Book of English Verse. Shakespeare came in first with 9,118 books about him. Milton was a distant second with 1,280 books devoted to him. At the other end of the scale, no books at all were devoted to 134 of the poets. The top 25 poets accounted for 64.8% of the books. These are certainly canonical authors, and nothing is going to change that. Even the relative ordering is unlikely to change. ForMilton to surpass Shakespeare, 78 books about Milton would have to be written in each of the next 100 years. This seems quite unlikely.

One could certainly argue that if no one reads the books about Shakespeare and Milton, then the numbers I have cited count for nothing. However, we shall see below that contemporary fame is a fleeting thing unrelated to permanent fame. The canon refers to permanent fame. How does one obtain permanent fame? One supposes by the literary quality of his or her works. The beauty of one’s poetry is not in the colour or one’s skin or one’s social class but in the quality of what he or she has produced. Beauty is most certainly not in the eye of the beholder. I have done dozens of studies in which people were asked to rate works of art or literature. The most relevant is Martindale and Dailey (1995). We replicated I.A. Richards’s (1929) experiment and used statistical methods to measure agreement amongst subjects. Richards was simply wrong. People agree perfectly well as to the meanings of poems. The only way to explain this is to postulate that there is something in the poems that people perceive in the same way. It is well to recall Hume’s (1757) comment: “Whoever would assert an equality of genius and elegance between Ogilby and Milton...would be thought to defend no less an extravagance, than if he had maintained a mole-hill to be as high as Tenerife, or a pond as extensive as the ocean.”

One would suppose that literary quality is determined by the way an author puts together words. However, a moment’s thought reveals that which words are combined is also important. A sonnet sequence on the joys of trading pork bellies on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange would not be well received. Computers are not very good at determining a well turned phrase, but they have no trouble in tallying words or classes of words. A few computer studies concerning the difference between good and bad literature have been carried out...

Contrary to the views of the layperson, poetry has not dealtwith the expression of emotion for several centuries (Martindale 1997). Contemporary British and American poetry by eminent poets contains about the same amount of emotional content as is found on the front page of the New York Times (Martindale 1990)"

--- Some correlates of literary eminence / Colin Martindale in The Quality of Literature: Linguistic Studies in Literary Evaluation / ed Willie van Peer
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