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Valar Qringaomis

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Links - 26th April 2017 (2)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Awkward Questions - "[On Calais] I watched a German reporter at the edge of the camp become hysterical, suddenly screaming: he's got my phone, give me my phone. She raced into the shadows between the tents. The Russian ex-special forces security guard protecting her shouted at her to come back, that it wasn't safe, but she kept running after her iPhone 6 already well in the swift hands of a hooded thief.
That was the 5th time I'd seen something snatched from a journalist or volunteer. I know journalists who bought their own phones back later at the camp's informal night market after haggling with the thief who stole it. It's difficult to ignore the raw and unpalatable facts of Jungle life...
There was affable Asif. A 37 year old Afghan who unlike thousands of others with their dreams of England, had made it to Britain, hated it and stowed away back to Calais...
[On Montenegro] I walk into cafes that make me cough with their rough carcinogens, yet for the ashen faced old men going slowly up in smoke, it's the draft coming in through the door with me that raises them to a flutter of panic about their fragile health. Although Montenegrans' world record levels of smoking makes the context for their Promaja conviction particularly poignant, they are not alone in these beliefs. The Promaja blows across Macedonia and Kosovo where the same word for it is used by both the Albanians and the Serbs. In Croatia it is the Yugo wind to blame for a similarly diverse range of physical and psychological ailments"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Memento Mori - "[In Poland] Like other eminent directors in the former Soviet Bloc, [Andrzej] Wajda found it difficult to adjust to a free market economy where the public clamored for the latest Stallone or Van Damme film... Wajda said he thought that when freedom came, he would be able to make the films which it had previously previously been impossible to get past the censors. I thought that the public was waiting for them, he said. I didn't realise that my audience had long since left the cinema"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, This Mortal Coil - "[On Hong Kong] Surveys show 80% of young people are unhappy with politics while nearly 60% want to emigrate"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Middle class terrorists - "[On Nigeria] An insurance company is telling me to bribe the police in order to get the paperwork to file a claim.. corruption has seeped into every facet of Nigerian life... I have never lived in a country with there is such a shocking lack of trust between people. Where else for example are you expected to pay your rent 2 years upfront regardless of whether you're renting a mansion or a hovel?... Many Nigerians don't criticise official corruption, they actually celebrate it... Nigeria is a patchwork of various ethnicities and different faiths and each group demands that its leaders or politicians should get their fair share of the spoils by any means...
Many civil servants are poorly paid and haven't received their salaries in months because of the current economic downturn"

Does Korea have a problem with hidden cameras? - "The other day I just typed into the search box the word for a very obscure term in music. I'm learning the guitar and I wanted to know what acciaccatura meant. What it doesn't mean is what popped up, namely a very hard-core Korean pornography site - which is odd in a country where pornography is illegal. It illustrates, to my mind, some hypocrisy about sex. Pornography, like prostitution, is illegal, but available. The authorities constantly close down websites only for similar ones to pop up, often with obscure names for those in the know... there's an industry in pornography provided for the web by hidden cameras in ladies' toilets, incredible though that may seem and as unattractive as that may sound.The authorities do try to combat it. There's an official squad in Seoul which searches toilets for hidden cameras... Manufacturers co-operate by installing an audible shutter-click on phone cameras to deter the taking of pictures surreptitiously up skirts. So serious is this problem that the government printed posters of a woman on an escalator with a man behind her taking a low photo. The caption said: "Please cover your skirt"... Korean marketers do think sex sells. Some members of Korean girl bands, for example, are only in their early teens but they exude sexuality in their clothes and the gestures on stage. It's called the "Lolita concept" in the South Korean media. People who complain are accused of prudery. Men are told that they must be perverted to have noticed... Families share small flats, all sleeping in the same room with children, so sexual frustration is not unknown - it's partly why there are so-called Love Hotels where even married couples rent rooms. When I first flew on Korean Air, I was amazed to hear a pre-flight announcement warning that sexual harassment of cabin attendants was contrary to aviation law. It was an attempt to protect the glamorous female staff from the octopus hands of businessmen."
Maybe upskirts/toilet peeping appeal to the East Asian psyche due to sexual repression

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Neither Love Nor Money - "She boasts that she is one of the most trusted and prolific cutters or soways as they are called in Sierra Leone, in all of Freetown.
It's a great and ancient tradition, she insists. We don't hurt girls, I would never hurt them. And it's not just about circumcising them she says. We teach them how to be wives. How to cook and clean. We have big parties for the initiations she explains where we dance and sing and feel good."

BBC World Service - The Documentary, 'Stealing Innocence' in Malawi - "It's an honorific title given to a man at the centre of an ancient ritual. In legend, the hyena is a thief. A scavenger who steals under cover of darkness. In human form, he's a man who's provided with prey by the village itself. In this region he performs so-called cleansing. Widows, it seems, are required to have sex with him before they can bury their husbands. And most startling of all, so must teenage girls before any of them can pass into adolescence. It's the final chapter of a girl's initiation...
I think he knows what he does is shocking to people like me, but there's still a clear note of pride when he describes his work.
'When the girl is coming, she's escorted by the parents who bring in food. When I finish eating, she lies there. I take my time of course, and when I know my time has come to have sex, I walk in and have sex... These girls never get scared. Actually they find pleasure in having me as their hyena. They actually are proud and tell other people that know this man is a real man, he knows how to please a woman...
'And yet, having unprotected sex with a strange man - isn't there a risk of disease by doing that?'
'There's no risk for any disease because we choose a man who we know for sure that is HIV-free'
'How do you know?'
'These are the men that we raise in our village. We see what they're doing, if they're indulging in immoral behaviors of not. So we choose a quiet man that seems to be nice and doesn't seem to know a lot of women'...
'Do the girls ever get pregnant as a result of seeing the hyena?'
'No, they cannot get pregnant. You mean sleeping with a man once, a person can get pregnant?'
'Yeah. I do mean that'
'They've never heard anything quite so funny. I later discover that according to local lore, it is totally impossible for one sexual encounter to cause pregnancy...
'We are very devoted Christians'
'And what does the priest say about these traditions?'
'The priest has no right to condemn the practice because he knows this is our culture and just recently we had to bring a hyena for the daughter of the pastor'...
'I never sent my children to see the hyena but he, my parents are the ones who insisting while I was out from the place'...
'Since I was diagnosed and tested HIV positive, I'm now promoting the HIV and AIDS campaign to stop hyenas from sleeping with women, but you know I'm also poor man, I need money, so I still do the rituals here and there'

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Dordogneshire - "The AR-15 is a semi-automatic machine gun firing high velocity rounds. It's a battlefield weapon used by the US army and causes far more traumatic injuries to its victims than a conventional rifle...
His phone keeps ringing, but he looks at it intently and then often doesn't answer. Why not, I ask him. Extortionists, he says. Hondurans only answer the phone when the call's from a number they recognise. One night as we drive through the city, I gaze out of the window ata long strip of glitzy buildings all lit up with flashy neon. They look like nightclubs. They're not... they're 24 hour funeral parlors...
[On geisha outside Kyoto] We have to keep confidential the conversations we have with clients. So we just say we work in the hospitality industry... Geisha can't marry or their career is over... She says it's true she cannot marry, but she can make boyfriend. And they can go on being geisha as long as they are able. There's no retirement age. The owner of this bar has been an active geisha for over half a century...
Westerners sometimes confuse geisha with high class prostitutes, which they are not. So I ask if clients ever misbehave.
'Some Japanese men do not remove their shoes, which is very rude' says Ichna. And their rare Western visitors?
'They want to touch our wigs' says disapprovingly. The geishas' wigs are made, she explains, of human hair from China or Tibet, because Japanese hair is too soft"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, The Brexit Wind Tunnel - "People in Britain often tell me that Europeans don't like us... wherever I travel in Eastern Europe, people tell me how much they love the British for our idiosyncrasies, our awkwardness, our stubborn pints and unconvertible inches. We're respected for keeping our own currency and resisting the faceless Euro. Our diplomats are admired for helping other nations end their wars and our soldiers for doing the job they were given, then going home...
Indians in general rarely follow international news with more than a cursory glance at the headlines... as the UK referendum results started coming in, it became clear that many here were riveted...
[On Russia] The doping ban is 100% politics, he tells me, claiming Russia has been unfairly singled out for punishment. It's the World Anti-Doping Agency which should be disqualified, he says. Put all their functionaries in jail...
They target sport because they know our President is such a sports fan. I hear similar views in a Moscow bar when I chat to football fans about Russian hooligans...
President Putin even blamed the West for World War II, claiming some Western leaders had been too busy trying to restrain and isolate the Soviet Union to take the Nazi threat seriously. Searching for scapegoats may help deflect criticism at home but the one thing it doesn't do is help you make friends abroad"

Why Russians watch TV news they don't trust - "88% of Russians said that TV news was one of their main sources of information. But here's a funny thing - at the same time 31% of respondents said they thought they were being completely misled by the information provided. That means that about one in five Russians choose to watch the news on TV, while at the same time believing that news to be a lie. How to account for that?... "We in Russia could use postmodernity in order to explain to the West that if any truth is relative, then we have our special Russian truth that you need to accept." Mr Dugin's contorted Orwellian logic is influential in Kremlin circles, though not necessarily among the masses. Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist, gave me a different interpretation. "People are not looking for news as such," she said. "They are looking to decipher a system of signals - who is on air today and who was yesterday, what is the intonation, the choice of words. It is important to understand all this, because it helps you survive if you are dependent on the state." And so, Russians are hyper-attuned to what the state is thinking. Even children."

Secret Hitler | Board Game | BoardGameGeek - "The objective of the liberal team is to pass five liberal policies or assassinate Secret Hitler. The objective of the fascist team is to pass six fascist policies or elect Secret Hitler chancellor after three fascist policies have passed."
Apparently assassination is a justified way for "liberals" to stop "fascists" who are following the constitutional process

Why do Chinese websites look so busy?

Overcooling and overheating buildings emits as much carbon as four million cars - "42 percent of workers report being dissatisfied with the temperature in their offices, with 14 percent being very dissatisfied"

If Britain were a U.S. state, it would be the second-poorest, behind Alabama and before Mississippi - The Washington Post - "Nelson argues that income inequality and racial tension in the United States are more visible because of factors such as “white flight,” which Britain doesn’t have space for, and Americans’ tendency to publicly discuss these issues. “No one beats up America better than Americans,” he wrote. “They openly debate their inequality, conduct rigorous studies about it, argue about economics vs. culture as causes…. And the debate is so fierce that the rest of the world looks on, and joins in lamenting America’s problems. A shame: we’d do better to get a little angrier at our own.”"

What is the economic cost of terrorism? - "In Israel, a nation that is constantly threatened by the fear of violence, experts say that the country’s per-capita GDP would have been 8.6% higher between 1994 and 2003 had there been no violence"

Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time - "One OECD study shows that five years after receiving their degrees, more than 60% of PhDs in Slovakia and more than 45% in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany and Spain were still on temporary contracts. Many were postdocs. About one-third of Austria’s PhD graduates take jobs unrelated to their degrees. In Germany 13% of all PhD graduates end up in lowly occupations. In the Netherlands the proportion is 21%... The [wage] premium for a PhD is actually smaller than for a master’s degree in engineering and technology, architecture and education. Only in medicine, other sciences, and business and financial studies is it high enough to be worthwhile. Over all subjects, a PhD commands only a 3% premium over a master’s degree... In one study of British PhD graduates, about a third admitted that they were doing their doctorate partly to go on being a student, or put off job hunting. Nearly half of engineering students admitted to this. Scientists can easily get stipends, and therefore drift into doing a PhD. But there are penalties, as well as benefits, to staying at university. Workers with “surplus schooling” — more education than a job requires — are likely to be less satisfied, less productive and more likely to say they are going to leave their jobs."

The Curious Case Of The Singapore Worker - "SINGAPORE workers are caught between their cubicle and a hard place. They work among the longest hours in the world, and in return, they are described as ''not hungry'' and lacking ''fire in the belly''... Mr Shen suspects that Singapore workers have low productivity rates because of the multiple layers of checks in certain organisations."

Staff physically present but mentally absent in over half of Singapore firms: survey

Economics is making us greedier - "At the very beginning of their freshman year, Israeli college students who planned to study economics rated helpfulness, honesty, loyalty, and responsibility (pdf) as just as important as students who were studying communications, political science, and sociology. But third-year economics students rated these values as significantly less important than first-year economics students... Business economics may be more devastating than other brands. When comparing students in political economics and business economics, economists found that “the willingness to contribute decreases dramatically for business students.” This may be why the late Stanford professor Hal Leavitt lamented that business education distorts students into “critters with lopsided brains, icy hearts, and shrunken souls.”

Ragnar Shaggy-Trousers and Eystein Foul-Fart: the truth behind Viking names

Why the Gold Standard Is the World's Worst Economic Idea, in 2 Charts - "This policy inflexibility was the major cause of the Great Depression, as governments were forced to tighten policy at the worst possible moment. It's no coincidence that the sooner a country abandoned the gold standard, the sooner it began recovering... There's been 23 times less variance in prices since the Fed started quantitative easing than there was under the gold standard"

The Economics of Discrimination - "In the case of a segregated restaurant in the free market, the penalty now is not on the employer but on the discriminating customers. By hypothesis, the only way the owner evades financial loss from discriminatory practices is if his customers, in turn, are willing to pay higher prices. This means that the bigoted whites in our hypothetical community are paying more for eating out (in whites-only restaurants) than their colorblind neighbors, who are happy to patronize restaurants with black employees and customers. Again, the free market doesn't prohibit people—whether as employers or consumers—from acting on their prejudices, but it does make them pay for it"

Observations - 26th April 2017

"C-section seems to fit the Singaporean mentality
Turning a messy, somewhat random and uncertain event into a controlled one."

Amused that Singaporeans beat up on "outside food" as Singlish, but Disney World (US) and the New York Times use it.

If we can import persimmons from Spain why not oranges?

Amused that to PRCs from Guangdong and Fujian Singapore isn't very different. So they prefer Canada and Australia (which is why you see few Southern Chinese in Singapore). And multiple PRCs have confirmed that Singapore is a lower tier destination - the US/UK are more appealing choices.

Amused that Sections 90 and 305 of the Penal code imply that you cannot lie to XMMs (under 18).

Singaporeans love to say "that is my opinion". But just because anyone can have an opinion doesn't mean it can't be challenged or questioned. Challenging an opinion doesn't mean you are denying someone's right to it.

Asbestos is 100% natural and organic. So feel free to inhale it

"I was talking to someone who sells... in India. The purchasing manager has been telling him ''next week' for 13 months... He burnt his hand at a barbecue so he can't sign the document"

"Rich, dark, hairy man with a girl in a castle - Beauty and The Beast
Poor, dark, hairy man with a girl in a 2-room flat - Crime Watch"

If when the fire alarm sounds you need to wait for them to investigate to see if it's a false alarm, doesn't that waste precious minutes in an emergency?

If a Christian says he thinks murder is wrong because that's in the Bible, is that imposing his views on non Christians?

Actually Christians' condemnation of the "gay lifestyle" is an important distinction: at least in theory they are not opposed to gay people per se.

If policies discouraging single parenthood punish them and their children, what about anti-anti-vaxxer policies like childcare bans?

"I've been watching a show recently where the father was shown as loving, intelligent, a role model for his son and a dedicated member of the community. He's the first TV show father I've seen in a long time who wasn't an idiot.
Unfortunately it's Man in the High Castle, and that man is a nazi."

Orientalism does to Asia what nostalgia does to the past. So what's the issue?

Ebola killed 11,000 people in 2 years. In contrast the flu kills 36,000 people a year. One might thus conclude that the Ebola epidemic was exaggerated, wasn't really a problem, that the media and worldwide health authorities were following their own agenda and that this is just racism against Africa (since we're told that since Islamic terrorism hasn't killed many non-Muslims, we are just overreacting and islamophobic)

"democracy and the will of the people are important to check authoritarianism and need to be followed unless it contradicts their unpopular liberal values at which case the state needs to act in an authoritarian way to enforce their values"

Calling applying critical thinking skills "denying, dismissing or derailing the conversation" is one way to pretend you've won the argument.

Is it a bigger micro aggression to ask an Asian-American if he speaks his ethnic language or to assume he doesn't?

Maybe the recurrent terrorist attacks in Turkey are due to Ottoman colonialism.

Links - 26th April 2017 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Animal Farm - "He gets masses out of Wigan. It is his first reconciliation with England. But being Orwell, he goes to Wigan to attack capitalism and comes out of it attacking socialism. He goes to Spain to attack fascism and comes out of it attacking communism. You never quite know where you are with this guy, but you do after 1941, and he's onsite, and he's happy...
Jonathan Cape actually says yes I will [publish it]. But then he thinks oh I better ring up the Ministry of Information who tell him: no, you better not. Stalin's our ally. Actually the guy who tells him is a guy called Smollett who's a spy working at the Ministry of Information...
What about Nazism? That's totalitarian to. And I think Orwell felt he somehow, there's a mixture of the vile, the vicious and the absurd in Soviet Russia that I think Orwell just doesn't see in Nazism and he's very angry when people represent Hitler as a buffoon but there's just that strange mixture of the hilariously ridiculous. All of these animals going and confessing their various transgressions in these show trials for which they're instantly slaughtered...
[He] was inveighing against people who complained about poor people spending their money on luxuries. He says: when you're poor, it's the little things you don't need that are most important to you. They don't matter to rich people...
Early 1990, we had some Polish academics over. And the thing I wanted to ask them was: what was it like to live in a regime like that relentless, and they said: you just never believe anything at all, ever. Now that's not what you get in Orwell. What you get in Orwell is the sense that you don't know and so you're credulous. What's it like in North Korea at the moment? I don't think it's like Animal Farm or 1984. I think it's more like Poland"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality - "If you think about someone like Achilles, you don't imagine him having a rich and complex interior life. If he wants to do something, he just does it. He doesn't brood, he isn't anxious and self-reflective. He just gets out there - he gets very annoyed when his honour is being insulted, but it's part of Nietzsche's story that a confluence of an entry into society and the restructuring of the society by the values of slave morality introduces a much sharper distinction between the inner and the outer in our lives. And one way in which Christianity contributes to that is through the practice of confession. The idea is that if you want to have the right relationship to God, you have to make sure that not just your actions conform to what's right but you don't have evil thoughts either. And the only way you can do that is by developing a form of scrupulous self examination in which you disclose the furthest reaches of your interior life to the priest in the confessional"

Black British history and Charles I’s children | Podcast | History Extra - "16th century... you have a medieval mindset that is fascinated by the colours black and white and their contrast and their extremes, where blackness is associated with all sorts of diabolical, devilish things. The night, superstition, magic, and whiteness is associated with purity and virginity. Human blackness is an immensely exciting, exotic and erotic challenge to that colour aesthetic. But also again Africans are associated with wealth, with their continent... Africans are seen as challenging to European ideas...
A lot of people have presumed and understandably perhaps is that all black people in Britain when we discover their lives or their remains must have been slaves. We know that this is not the case for many of the black Tudors. A lot of them are servants. A lot of them are people with specialist skills from Europe who've come into the Iberian world... there's a risk we project what happens later on earlier periods. This is the 16th century. This is not the 18th century...
We've forgotten how proud people in this country were at Abolition... there is a period in the 1830s and 1840s when opposition to slavery is seen as part of what it is to be British... millions of people sign petitions against the slave trade. Britain does go out to West Africa to try and suppress the slave trade"

Historians in parliament | Podcast | History Extra - "I was thinking of applying for PPE at Oxford and I was dissuaded by my school teacher who said that I'd learn more about politics if I studied the court of Henry VIII. I actually have...
I think... being a politician helps you become a better historian, but necessarily the other way round...
Doesn't it give you a kind of gyroscopic effect as a politician? You know that these things will pass...
When I look at politicians, effective politicians, the 2 most arguably effective politicians in the last 50 years, arguably, were Thatcher and Blair and both of them were incredibly unhistorical. In terms of their knowledge and approach"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Raymond Briggs: I could do more work - "I don't like Christmas at all. I don't think anybody does... I get letters all the time from people saying: we agree with you. It's dreadful. It's full of anxiety, isn't it? Have I got enough? Have I spent enough? Have I spent too much? We had them last year so we have to have so and so this year. Oh dear. No, I can't bear it really"

A new 600-digit number each month: Even cyber spies can’t remember their passwords - "He said that the NCSC has recently determined that demands for regularly changing, long passwords using numbers, capital and lower case letters, mean people are effectively being asked to memorise a new 600-digit number every month under the official guidelines. Martin also criticised websites which bar people from being able to paste their passwords online, saying it was “completely pointless” and actually damaging security... Ian Levy, technical director at the NCSC, said asking members of the public to remember so many passwords was “dumb”"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The door-to-door poet - "It's not just homophobia. His mother was German and when she moved here, he remembers people spitting at her in the street. Swastikas were painted on the door

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, How has language changed in American political debate? - "[Glenn Beck:] It started before Trump. It started with the Left and Michael Moore, saying horrible things about George W Bush who I think is an honorable man. I really strongly disagreed with his policies but I think he was an honorable man and he never struck back. The Right did, but the Left was just pummeling. And then when they came into power, we learnt from that and they hit them harder than they hit us

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Will the UK welcome President Trump? - "Marches and petitions are very good at bringing one side together and feeling good about each other and where they stand. It's not very good for, to bridge that divide"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The Holocaust: The secrets we don't know - "Once I started meeting former Nazis 25 years ago, they don't give you the answers that you imagine they're going to give you. For example I thought they'd say: oh, we were all acting under orders. Actually many of them say: do you know, at the time I thought it was the right thing to do. So there was an internalisation within them of thinking: actually this is a good thing. And that's something you want to keep probing away at...
You cannot see this as Adolf Hitler having a blueprint in the early 1920s of what's going to happen. It happens in a much more intriguing complicated way, which is you have a political leader in Adolf Hitler who is a visionary. And he has a vision which is a psychopathic hatred of these people. And he believes something's got to be done, and what form that something is changes and evolves over time according to a whole series of other influences and circumstances...
None of this need have happened. None of this was inevitable. There wasn't, it's not like a heist movie and psychologically we want to believe that - some people do...
'When you talk to former Nazis, they will sometimes say to you - will they not? The Jews had got above themselves. The Jews had got too much power. The Jews had to be sorted out in society'...
'You also find that they blame the British for this. There's a level of mentality here that's quite extraordinary... The Nazis genuinely believed in the Summer of 1940 that Britain was going to make peace because it was the logical thing to do as they saw it. And so what happened was then there never would have been the Holocaust as they saw it'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Michaela DePrince: From a Sierra Leone orphanage to the London stage - "'Why do ballerinas smoke?'
'I don't know why they smoke. When I started it was because I wanted to lose weight'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, What makes a good political speech? - "Every speech is normally incremental change dressed up in hyperbole

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Who is Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch? - "The acting attorney-general who was a holdover, went quite a bit further than simply raising issues about part of the order and she seemed to imply that she disagreed with it. That's fine. And people sometimes even resign when they have a disagreement, but to order the Department not to defend it because she doesn't like it is really an overstep and I think it was unfortunately something that led to this dismissal

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Thursday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "What I find fascinating about Twitter is that once you have more than a relatively few number of followers, it's almost impossible to read anything at all. So it's all about talking rather than listening and maybe that says a lot about the age in which we live"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is the Trump dossier fake? - "[On the Trump orgy] He would have to be a congenital idiot to have participated in anything like that, and whatever else he is, he is not a congenital idiot...
Why is it being released by a Western source? The answer is it is his political enemies who seem to be behind the release of it... I haven't seen one shred of practical evidence. Not a foot of film or a few beats of recorded conversation
So if you look at the possibility that it really happened, you have to admit only the FSB could have organised it. Only they could get access to put in this extraordinarily complicated technology in the Presidential suite of this particular hotel in Moscow. So if they did it, they organised it, it is not they that are doing the releasing"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is Turkey's President Erdogan a democrat or a dictator? - "From a minister telling women not to laugh in public, to the President calling anyone who drinks an alcoholic, to Mr Erdogan rejecting mixed sex university dormitories, the government's conservative message has hardened. They came to power 14 years ago appearing to bridge divisions between pious and liberal, but it changed...
A few years ago Turkey was held up as a model. A Muslim democracy bringing together different sides."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Tuesday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "Money goes where it is wanted and stays where it is well-treated"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The inauguration of Donald Trump - "He has enough money so at least he won't go in there and steal anymore"

Paul Diamond: 'Religious accommodation with outer limit' - "Islamic law says that you cannot drink alcohol. We cannot serve it, we cannot buy it, we cannot sell it. We shouldn't even sit at a table where alcohol is being served. The rule is not the same for pork. We cannot consume pork but the rule is not as strong on that... Will a till worker refuse to process a cake that has got champagne in it or chocolate that has got brandy in them?... We can't eat any meat that's not Halal. So will they refuse to process any chicken or meat or lamb because it's not Halal? I don't know how far we're going to go"
Strange. I thought pork was more haram

Hey from DTR on podbay - "In English speaking countries, each month more than half a billion messages are sent on Tinder. Half a billion. And guess what? 1 in 5 of those messages on Tinder, that's 100 million per month, start with the word hey...
I think that hey is the dating app conversational equivalent of the bread basket that is on the table when you go into a restaurant. It's just to try and you know get the ball rolling, get the gears going, get the stomach ready for the meal that's going to come. It's not like you go into the restaurant and eat the bread and leave. You're doing that before you get into even your appetiser...
Michelle used to hate getting hey... Once she started initiating the messaging, putting herself in the guy's shoes, things changed dramatically. She tried finally tailoring her opening lines before making them unique to each guy, but those didn't work either. And so she found herself resorting to 'hey'. It turns out if you turn hey over and look at it from the other side, it's not an empty gesture. It's a blank slate.
'I have so much more empathy than I used to. It's definitely... there's a really bad return on investment with sending crafted messages, so I'm just gonna say hey and if she's like interested or he's interested, they can write back and we can take it from there'...
People who use GIFs on Tinder messaging are 30% more likely to get a response than those who don't. And not just that but people who use GIFs are more likely to have conversations that last twice as long...
They chatted exclusively in GIF form for almost a week"

Dick Pics from DTR on podbay - "I have a confession to make. I actually like dick pics... We assumed most women were like Katie. Like thanks but no thanks. But that assumption was based really on nothing other than gender stereotypes. Like I said, I love receiving DPs. Mainly because they're a shortcut to knowing whether someone's into me. It totally takes the pressure off. And then I don't really have to worry about impressing him that much because clearly he's buying what I'm selling...
Males display their penis and sometimes in some species the penis is very brightly coloured. The penis seems to be used as a kind of display ornament... For these female monkeys, seeing the genitals before you commit to a mate is sort of like a routine part of the research. And it's not just monkeys. Other animals do this sorta thig too...
[On Kinsey] More than half of the women reported never being turned on by looking at a dick. And Kinsey wrote that many women were 'surprised to learn that there is anyone who finds the observation of male genitalia erotically stimulating'. But for the dudes in Kinsey's study it was almost completely reversed. They loved looking at their own dicks. 56% of them reported being turned on looking at their own genitals...
'It is difficult for most males to comprehend that females are not aroused by seeing male genitalia. Some males never come to comprehend this'...
'Straight guys out there who think you're real cool sending a woman a dick pic that doesn't want to see it. You know what? If she's got gay friends, there's a good possibility she's passing that on'"

I'm a 5, He's a 10 by DTR - "The shallowest humans on earth.
'Babies. Their pupils will dilate when they look at photos of their mothers but also when they look at photos of attractive people'...
Guys have what we call a unifactorial model of women. Whereas women tend to have a much more complex model...
The vast amount of data he's seen at Tinder shows that when men rate women they tend to do it on a single scale. 1-10, based on looks. That simple. Whereas women tend to have multiple scales...
Guys are incredibly easy to predict. Women are much harder to predict...
One study out of University of Texas at Austin called 'Levelling the Playing Field' found that when there's a big discrepancy in looks, it's often because people started out as friends...
'People thought she was a relative or a friend as opposed to a girlfriend'"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Turmoil in Thailand - "These protestors are speaking of what they know about their own country. This is after all a place where for a modest sun assassins can be hired for a modest sum. Where children of wealthy families can get away with serious crimes, where helpless refugees are sold as slaves by Thai police"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Higher Powers - "I remember one chapter in the English book on quadratic equations where they discussed the process known as completing the square. This is where you convert a quadratic equation... into a different form... This A level text explained the method with a song.
This is how we complete the square, complete the square, complete the square
This is how we complete the square of a simple quadratic equation.
Half the coefficient of x, fficient of x, fficient of x,
Half the coefficient of x and subtract that squared from the constant
In France if anyone suggested teaching quadratics with a ditty, they'd have conniptions. Just not done. No, here the method is very clear. It's dry as dust, it makes heavy use of symbols, it's very abstract, it's formidably logical. In a word, and the word after all comes from their first great master of maths, it is Cartesian...
This French approach to math seems to me very much aimed in typical French style at seeking out an elite. That lucky tranche who really get it. They can then be hothoused to create the country's Republican Guard of brilliant engineers, programmers and theoreticians. Most people I fancy find the abstract symbol based method off-putting and if they survive it's mainly by memorising rather than understanding. The second thought... many people over the centuries have observed that the French think differently from the Brits. They think in concepts. They crave all-explaining systems. They dislike what cannot be categorised. They find nothing laughable in what we scoff at as high falutin theory. In my brief foray into baccalaureat maths, I've caught a brief glimpse of why this may indeed may be so"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Changing Fortunes - "The carpet will be sold along with hundreds of others just like it to Turkey...
But Turkey is not a country short of carpets I say cautiously, not wanting to offend. Why the demand?
It's hard to explain, he smiles. You know that a lot of so-called Bokharan carpets are nowadays made in China? Well a lot of Turkish carpets are made here in Margilan. They like the quality."

Gay marriage plebiscite could lead to suicide: Shorten - "The fate of the plebiscite, which could be held as early as next year, is in Labor’s hands but Mr Shorten has ramped up pressure on the government to drop it and allow a parliamentary vote instead, introducing a private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage. “The idea of young people, perhaps yet to come out, seeing the legitimacy of their identity debated on the national stage, that is not an ideal which we should inflict on any citizen when we have a better path,” Mr Shorten said as he introduced his bill. “Let me be as blunt as possible: a No campaign would be an emotional torment for gay teenagers and if one child commits suicide over the plebiscite, then that is one too many. Mr Speaker, achieving marriage equality should be an occasion for joy, a unifying moment of celebration.”"
The emotional blackmail of the gay lobby apparently has no limits

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Links - 25th April 2017

Carrie Fisher's complicated relationship with her iconic Princess Leia gold bikini

War survivors weigh in on referencing Syonan-to - "Like Mr Huang, fellow war survivor Chin Kah Chong, 86, was similarly philosophical about the name. “To me, the name is harmless now,” said Mr Chin, who was a war correspondent for Pana News Agency, covering the Vietnam War in 1965. Meanwhile, the debate continues to rage on. Creative producer Gracie Teo, 37, felt “the choice of name could have been more sensitive to (take into consideration) the generation who went through the Sook Ching incident”... But Mr Timothy Wee, 32, pointed out that in Germany, many concentration camps still retain their original names — despite the painful memories they evoke. “It would have been easy to sweep unpleasant details under the rug of history, but I applaud the National Archives of Singapore’s brave decision,” said the freelance travel writer, who felt that the choice of name was “a good way to start a national conversation on the Syonan experience”."
Ironically, there is a Sook Ching memorial in Chinatown
Sadly, when the War generation dies off offence mongers will be free to claim offence on their behalf without (m)any counters

The most insane deaths seen by an NYC medical examiner - "she removed all of Booker’s major organs and placed them between his legs — the best way to ensure they wouldn’t slip and fall to the floor. Then she removed Booker’s testes, took a sample from each, and put them back in the scrotum. “I had been taught to replace them unless there was a tumor or signs of injury,” Melinek writes. “Families can be very particular about the testicles”... “Did he suffer?” is the question, Melinek writes, that she’s most often asked and most often dreads. She almost always lies. “What’s the worst way to die?” is the next-most-asked question, to which Melinek usually replies, “You don’t want to know”... she has a final warning for New Yorkers who live alone with cats: The urban legend is true. “Your faithful golden retriever might sit next to your dead body for days, starving, but the tabby won’t,” she writes. “Your pet cat will eat you right away, with no qualms at all. I’ve seen the result.”"

"Very Right Wing" People Are Happiest With Their Sex Lives - "in most countries sexual satisfaction increased the further right you went along the political spectrum... The study also showed than in Britain at least, people with right wing and very right wing politics were markedly happier overall than their left wing counterparts – but this trend did not replicate across Europe"

Salman Rushdie's New Novel is About Political Correctness and the Culture Wars - "“When people say, ‘I believe in free speech but …,’ then they don’t believe in free speech,” he said. “The whole point about free speech is that it upsets people.” “It’s very easy to defend the right of people whom you agree with — or that you are indifferent to,” Rushdie said. “The defense [of free speech] begins when someone says something that you don’t like.” “There are no safe spaces against offensive ideas,” said Rushdie. Rushdie has come to lose his confidence in the progressive left—including those who once defended his controversial book"

The three questions that every patient should ask their doctor - "The JAMA study suggests that doctors frequently don’t know and certainly, don’t know best. This is vexing but not all doom and gloom because doctors now have at their disposal an unprecedented number of sound guidelines, robust protocols and genuinely plain-language information for patients, not to mention easy web-based access to experts. When it comes to doctors seeking advice the world really is a global village. In a world of rapidly evolving information, patients should be prepared for a doctor to say, “I don’t know” provided this is followed by, “but I’ll find out.”
Here are three questions that every patient should ask of every new proposed drug or intervention:
What are my options?
What are the specific benefits and harms to me?
What happens if I do nothing?"

Print Friendly & PDF - "Make any web page print friendly"
"Save paper & ink"

Muslim women shouldn’t use emoticons, says the National Muslim Youth Association in Malaysia - "An anti-Valentine’s campaign called “Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap” has also been held by Jakim since 2011, where volunteers approach youths to warn them of the celebration’s alleged danger. In addition, previous sermons had claimed the day originally worshipped ancient Roman deities, or celebrated the fall of Muslim rule in Cordoba, Andalusia, now in modern-day Spain."

China's attempt to punish Taiwan by throttling tourism has seriously backfired - "Taiwan set a new record for international tourism last year. And it did so by courting visitors from the rest of Asia, thus reducing its reliance on Chinese tourists... even when China was sending over large numbers of tour groups, they were only benefiting a small number of Taiwanese businesses that were aimed primarily at this market. On top of that, many of these local businesses were only getting a fraction of the total money spent, with most of the spoils going to Chinese tour organizers."

I’m a gay New Yorker — and I’m coming out as a conservative - "All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened... I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was outside of the liberal bubble and looking in. What I saw was ugly, lock step, incurious and mean-spirited... It can seem like liberals are actually against free speech if it fails to conform with the way they think. And I don’t want to be a part of that club anymore. It used to be that if you were a gay, educated atheist living in New York, you had no choice but to be liberal. But as I met more Trump supporters with whom I was able to have engaging, civil discussions about issues that impact us all, I realized that I like these people — even if I have some issues with Trump himself... I hope that New Yorkers can be as open-minded and accepting of my new status as a conservative man as they’ve been about my sexual orientation."

Is 'Generation Z' the most conservative since WW2? - "The research, which surveyed more than 2,000 people, forms parallels with recent evidence that young people are less likely to drink and take drugs than their immediate elders. Sir Mark Walport, the government's chief scientific adviser, told The Times that technology had had a huge effect on society and teenager's values. Computer games and internet use meant they had 'less time and opportunity to participate in traditional risky behaviours'"

The Great Hypocritical Muslim Cover-Up - "Did these non-Muslim women—indulging their Orientalist fetish by covering their heads—not stop to consider for one moment that their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and under Taliban or ISIS rule also require our solidarity in taking their hijabs off?"

German nursery rhyme about fox who steals a goose banished from town after complaint from vegan

What if the internet stopped working for a day? - "losing internet access for a few days just made people fall behind on their work. “People carried out all the same activities they would have done had the internet been up, but they just did it two or three days later,” Borg says. “The economy is set up to deal with what essentially amounts to a holiday weekend”... In some cases, shutting down the internet for a short time might even increase productivity

The Next Big Blue-Collar Job Is Coding

How Reliable Are Surveys? - "only 9 percent of people asked to take part in surveys actually do"
This is a much better objection to surveys than sample size

Syrian refugees don’t want to camp in Saudi Arabia. They want a future

Millennials are struggling at work because their parents 'gave them medals for coming last' - "Studies may show that the millennial generation reports having high self-esteem, but that largely includes narcissism and extrinsic rewards: “Reporting that you’re self-confident and being self-confident are not the same thing,” Sinek points out."

San Francisco janitor who earned S$380k in a year caught hiding in closet during work hours - "Mr Liang Zhao Zhang, who cleans the Powell Street station in downtown San Francisco, reportedly earned a total of US$271,243 (S$385,000) in 2015... According to Transparent California, there were at least 49 other janitors who earned over US$100,000 in 2015."

Mark Pearson tried for sex crime after brushing past actress in Waterloo station - "It cannot be said with certainty that the artist and the actress made even fleeting physical contact. CCTV images showed only that they walked past each other.Yet the woman, who is in her 60s, claimed Mr Pearson sexually assaulted her – penetratively – for ‘two or three seconds’... Mr Pearson wonders whether he is ‘a victim of the way the CPS is rigorously trying to redress the balance’. One of his supporters, author Erin Pizzey, the family care activist who founded the world’s first shelter for victims of domestic violence, certainly believes so."

Farmer spends 16 years studying law by himself to sue firm

Asylum seekers who burnt down Dusseldorf refugee camp shouted 'damn Germans', court hears - "Adel Z., a 27-year-old Algerian Muslim, is accused of setting the hall on fire because he was outraged that food and drinks were given to non-fasting roommates during Ramadan."

Why Westerners and Easterners Really Do Think Differently - "complex images were shown to test subjects from East Asia and North America. The scientists tracked the eye movements of the participants in order to gauge where their attention was focused. It was found that the Chinese participants spent more time looking at the background of the image, while the Americans tended to focus on the main object in the picture. Holistic and individualistic thinking manifested in one clear example... Even today, more than 100 years after the colonization effort, the effects of living in a society that was so recently a frontier show up in individual and holistic thinking tests. With residents of Hokkaido demonstrating tendencies towards individualism to a larger extent than the rest of the Japanese population."

Galaxy Harassment - "Galaxies are generally not found in isolation. Most of them are surrounded by a swarm of satellite galaxies and are often embedded in larger aggregates such as galaxy groups or clusters. In these environments, interactions between galaxies are not uncommon and in general, can be divided into two basic types: mergers and ‘fly-bys’. Interactions involving high-speed fly-bys are often referred to as galaxy ‘harassment’."

Muslim Apostates in North America Face Leftist Scorn, Muslim Death Threats - "One common method of dismissing her aims, Haider said in the speech, is to assume that she is “pro-war” or that she broadly supports the far-right agenda in some way, though neither is the case. “Sometimes I am called an Uncle Tom or a House Arab. Another term thrown around at ex-Muslims and other brown critics of Islam is ‘native informants.’”

castleships: Okay I’m only gonna say this once... - kind Bird King - "The last Eyak fluent speaker died in 2008, her name was Chief Marie Smith Jones and she was also the last full-blooded Eyak on Earth. The very last. Please appropriate Eyak culture. It’s the only way it’s going to survive. There’s less than 500 of us remaining, and we’re scattered more and more every year. Families I grew up with in Alaska converted to Catholicism. The military took my family across the globe and left us an entire continent away. The language I learned at the dinner table in 1998 now almost exclusively exists on those cassette tapes my white father recorded that night and in reconstructive attempts from a French academic that studied our language from halfway across the globe. It sucks shit guys, it really does. When I first saw the Thunderbird skin I cried, I cried for an hour. Because Overwatch is huge. It will live on for years if not decades. And there’s Pharah with her hair in braids I haven’t seen my mother wear in over a decade. Wearing the colors that remind me of a home I no longer have. Embodying a mythic figure that I trusted to protect me during Y2K and sought out constellations in the sky for."

Berrywoman | alluringdolls: check-your-privilege-feminists: ... - " Tumblr social justice: spreading the world apart instead of bringing us together, one group at a time.
I hate Tumblr :)
That’s why I hate the “cultural apropriation” crap, it’s only an excuse to make people ashamed of their interests and create a segregation between people. Fuck this."

How Jim Carrey deals with paparazzi

Everyone mistook a priest for a KKK member - "social media became a furious storm of confusion regarding a man in white robes roaming along 10th St. and purportedly armed with a whip."

Is terrorism in Europe at a historical high? - "The number of fatalities from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 1990 amount to considerably more than those killed between 1990 and 2015. In 1988, more than 425 people were killed in terror-related attacks in Western Europe. One of the most fatal, the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, led to the deaths of 270 people when the plane came down in the Scottish town of Lockerbie."
Of course, ignoring the higher, very localised ETA/IRA component in the 1970s/1980s deaths obscures much compared to today's more widespread threat

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Food Chain: The Musical - "[On Ghana Jollof] 3 Nigerian women walk up to these 3 Nigerian men to serve them their Jollof rice which they enjoy, but then I appear with my Ghana Jollof and to make sure that you know that it's Ghana Jollof I have the national flag of Ghana, little one, standing out of the very orange-red rich Jollof with chicken and salad on the side and then you see all the Nigerian men leave their wives"

Papa John's in Singapore

I contacted Papa John's HQ about the outlets in Singapore (Tampines and Hillview), which seem to have gone off the radar.

Their reply:

"Dear Gabriel,

Thanks for contacting us. Unfortunately we have closed our 2 franchise stores in Singapore - March 31st. We appreciate your comments and please feel free to contact us at the number below if you need any further assistance.

Thanks again and have a great day!"

Oh well, at least I got to try it once (in Singapore) before it closed...

Good food in Singapore doesn't last (one way or the other)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Links - 22nd April 2017 (2)

Italian Model Vows to Give 19 Million Men Oral Sex - "She promised everyone who voted “No” in Italy’s Brexit-like referendum a blowjob... So far during the first leg of her oral sex tour, Saulino has given approximately 400 blowjobs"

Rotherham child sex gang shout 'Allahu Akbar' in court as they are jailed for 80 years for abusing girls, including one who became pregnant at just 12, after being groomed with alcohol and drugs

Transexual murderer moved from female prison after 'having sex with female inmates' - "Paris Green, who was born a man, had been allowed to serve her sentence at HMP Edinburgh’s female wing. But authorities sent the 23-year-old back to a male institute after it was alleged she had been intimate with other prisoners. ‘The women want sex and Paris is the only person who can give it to them’... Green, who was previously known as Peter Laing, had been accused of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ with inmates before."

Single Mothers, Fathers Equally Successful At Raising Children - "A new nationwide study refutes the theory that children in single-mother households are disadvantaged because they lack the presence of a father. Researchers at Ohio State University compared a sample of 456 15- and 16-year-olds who lived in single-father households with 2,583 teens who lived in single-mother households. The results showed that the two groups were very similar in terms of deviance and behavior at school, relationships with others, and school performance once factors such as family income and parent education are accounted for... “It is well-known that there are a lot of problems associated with children who grow up in single-mother households,” Downey said. “But our results suggest the problems aren’t mainly due to the lack of a father. We believe the problems rise more from the absence of a second parent in general, and the fact that single mothers are more likely to be disadvantaged in terms of income and other factors.”"

Are Pakistan’s female medical students to be doctors or wives? - "In Pakistan's prestigious medical schools, female students outshine and outnumber their male counterparts. However, many do not end up as practising doctors - and now there are calls to limit their numbers... The government body that regulates the medical profession, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), says more than 70% of medical students are women... government figures suggest most of these bright female undergraduate doctors do not actually go on to practise. Only 23% of registered doctors are female... some female students are more keen on catching a husband than on pursuing a career. "It's much easier for girls to get married once they are doctors and many girls don't really intend to work as professional doctors," he says. "I know of hundreds of hundreds of female students who have qualified as a doctor or a dentist but they have never touched a patient"... the "doctor wife" is more than a trophy: her absence from hospitals has serious implications on the healthcare system of a poor country like Pakistan. The government spends millions of rupees on subsidies per student - yet there is a serious shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas where women prefer to be examined by female doctors"
This is a more extreme version of why Singapore had a quota on female medical students
Being progressive (the lack of a gender quota) can lead to worse social outcomes
Somehow a 50/50 quota (when women are in the majority) is sexist. But feminists don't hesitate to call for quotas when women are in the minority

Unrealistic Realisms: Critique of NUS Open Day 2017 (Poster) | Messy Lines of Mantarui - "There are certain fields in the disciplines of the so-called social sciences which maintain that there are objective, ’empirical’, “social realities” that can still be measured, cut up and dissected. There is a belief that to conduct ‘good’ analysis, one must be distanced, unemotional and detached. There is a reason why these fields are not classed under the ‘Humanities’, and rightly so. Dispassion is a paragon, an ideal, in these disciplines. Emotions have no place in their high towers of cold realism... Don’t get me wrong. Essentialisations and categorizations are sometimes inevitable. They are footholds and signposts by which we navigate our everyday lives. We cannot run away from our internal biases and prejudices. Perhaps the best we can do is be aware of them. But this the tagline for my faculty. This is the tagline for a faculty that taught me about the religious, gender, cultural vibrance and vitality of Southeast Asia; the school that taught me to write sharp and think sharper; the place that introduced me to Foucault, Collingwood, Huntington, Marx, Yeoh, Kong, Loh, Lau, Hong."
You know something is written by a lit student when there's a contempt for objectivity and attempts to find out about the world, and gratuitous scare quotes to attempt to problematise concepts

Pakistan International Airlines goat slaughter mocked - "Pictures went viral showing PIA ground staff slaughtering a black goat next to an ATR-42 aircraft which was about to leave for a domestic flight. It was the first such flight since PIA grounded its ATR fleet for tests after a 7 December crash killed 47 people. In Pakistan killing a black goat is supposed by many to ward off evil."

I am a Muslim doctor. I saved a Christian in Pakistan and it nearly cost my life - "Fearing he might die, I instinctually grabbed the emergency medicine donated via zakaat, an Islamic system of alms-giving, and performed the life-saving hemodialysis. He survived but I immediately faced the wrath of the nurse. She was mad at me because the patient was a Christian and she said Islamic alms are not meant to be used on non-Muslims. But I did not know the patient’s faith, nor did I know that such a law existed. I promptly replaced the medicine, which cost around $20. But it didn’t end there. The representative of a conservative Islamic NGO, which was a donor to the clinic, was furious about what I had done. They attributed my lack of knowledge about the alms laws to the fact that I belong to a minority Muslim sect. A departmental inquiry followed and I was discriminated throughout the entire process. The workplace discrimination gave way to threatening phone calls and vandalism of my car and bike. They found out my family lived in America and that I was alone. This made me an easy target. I was threatened with death at a medical conference hosted by the chair of the same NGO which had complained about me"

As giant rats menace Pakistan, conspiracy theories swirl - The Washington Post - "Others believe the rats were bred on U.S. military bases in Afghanistan and brought to ­Peshawar in the trucks that are withdrawing coalition supplies on Pakistani highways... There have been allegations that the rats were genetically modified by a foreign power and left here to terrorize Muslims"
It's not just the Arabs who love the conspiracy theories

Pakistan: Moderate Muslim scholars say no grief/sympathy allowed for murdered governor - "Moderate Muslim leaders in Pakistan have warned muslims against expressing any sympathy towards the assasinated Punjab Governor in Pakistan, Salman Taseer... 'Five hundred Pakistani religious scholars have warned that anyone who expresses grief over the assassination of a senior ruling party official who opposed the country's blasphemy law could suffer the same fate.'"

College Apologizes For Serving Mexican Food During Sci-Fi Event - "Stevenson College has different themed nights each month for students. He explained that officials at the school decided to serve Mexican food during "Intergalactic" night. Kilmeade said that some students were offended, because they felt the combination of food and the theme was racist. Students cited the association between Mexicans and illegal immigrants."

Every time a Disney villain falls in defeat: ChiefBrodyRules makes a supercut of baddies plunging to their death (VIDEO). - "it’s not just the villains of Disney who tumble to their death—moment of silence for Mufasa, please—but the trope does make particular sense as a way of dispatching the bad guy: It spares impressionable kids the gore of a more visceral demise, and allows the hero to emerge triumphant yet unscathed by a messy murder"

When life gives you bad Chinese tatto, what could you make? 當 AV 女郎遇上錯誤的中文紋身 ... - "When life gives you bad Chinese tatto, what could you make?
當 AV 女郎遇上錯誤的中文紋身
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", we can find a Chinese version on the back of an awarded pornstar, Riley Reid, although it is in a wrong grammar form.
"生活帶來您時檸檬做檸檬水" is what we can see on Riley Reid's back. But by reading it in Chinese, it just says, "life brings you when lemons make lemonade" , [生活 (life) 帶來 (brings) 您 (you) 時 (when) 檸檬 (lemons) 做 (make) 檸檬水 (lemonade)] . It is totally not the same as the original one."

Domestic violence is most commonly reciprocal - "In recent years researchers have approached populations without preconceptions as to the direction of violence. Large epidemiological studies have demonstrated that domestic violence is most commonly reciprocal and that when only one partner is violent there is an excess of violent women. Whitaker et al, in a study of 14 000 young US couples aged 18-28 years, found that 24% of relationships had some violence and half of those were reciprocally violent. In 70% of the non-reciprocally violent relationships women were the perpetrators of violence. Reciprocal violence appears to be particularly dangerous, leading to the highest rate of injury (31.4%). This may be because reciprocal violence is more likely to escalate... a significant proportion of females seeking help for victimisation are also perpetrators of intimate partner violence, and that those who treat battered women may need to consider addressing the perpetration of violence with their female clients... women were slightly more likely than men to use one or more act of physical aggression and to use such acts more frequently. Younger aged couples showed more female-perpetrated aggression.Only examining rates of violence perpetrated against women risks perpetuating an inaccurate stereotype of women as victims and men as aggressors"
This won't stop the "men are evil" narrative, of course

Counterintuitive Trends in the Link Between Premarital Sex and Marital Stability - "For women marrying since the start of the new millennium:
Women with 10 or more partners were the most likely to divorce, but this only became true in recent years;
Women with 3-9 partners were less likely to divorce than women with 2 partners; and,
Women with 0-1 partners were the least likely to divorce.
Earlier research found that having multiple sex partners prior to marriage could lead to less happy marriages, and often increased the odds of divorce... premarital sex with one partner substantially increases the odds of divorce"

There's No Evidence that Conservatives Buy More Porn - "Other variables analyzed make the story complicated, to say the least, for advocates of the “conservative porn” hypothesis. For example, porn subscriptions were more prevalent in urban than in rural areas. This is a particularly striking counterexample for our showcased state Utah, since its only urban area is also its most liberal/Democratic/non-Mormon area. Also, zip codes with higher marriage rates were much less likely to consume porn. Further, there was no statistically significant difference in porn consumption between zip codes with high and low church attendance. There was also no relationship between presidential voting in 2004 and porn usage at the zip-code level. In fact, the only number that appeared even remotely to make the “conservative porn” case was a zip-code level positive correlation between porn consumption and aggregate conservative positions on some social issues. But again, it could very well be the liberals in those areas who, feeling repressed by the dominant social norms, turn to porn. Or not. But the bottom line is, we can’t know from the data."

MoMA Hung Matisse Gouache Upside Down for 47 Days - "an exhibit “The Last Works of Henri Matisse” opened at the New York Museum of Modern Art. It consisted of large cut gouaches – including Matisse Le Bateau (The Boat). Le Bateau is an image of a boat and its reflection executed in very simple lines and shapes. For 47 days Le Bateau hung upside down in the gallery until a stockbroker by the name of Genevieve Habert came to visit. Up until this point, none of the torrent of visitors, critics, the curators nor the art dealing son of Matisse, Pierre, had noticed the mistake"
Modern art!

Is Battlestar Galactica Racist? - "Does adding central hispanic and asian characters really make up for the lack of black actors on the show? Out of the entire human population in the civilian and military fleets, there have only been two black characters. One completely minor, and the other the subject of an entire episode (which exposed Admiral Adama's abandonment of him in Cylon territory previously."
Everything is racist

URL Decoder—URL Converter—Remove special characters from web addresses - "Sometimes, you try to grab a URL (website address) nested inside a link. Or you try to copy an URL from the source code of a page. But the address has been encoded with all kinds of strange characters, such as "%20". The characters are formed with a "%" symbol and a hexadecimal number. This technique is called percent encoding, and in some ways it is very useful for people who make web systems, but for users it can be a real pain."

Time limit on kissing to avoid parking problems - "exactly 3 minutes at the Aalborg Airport in Denmark. The Aalborg Airport features a Kiss & Goodbye zone where people can park for a moment to say goodbye to the traveller. It’s a place that has probably seen a lot of hugs, kisses and tears. Maybe too much…"

Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords

7 Of The Strangest Services Offered On Fiverr - "I Will Dance To Any Song In A Hot Dog Costume"

How Did Insect Metamorphosis Evolve? - "The primary advantage of complete metamorphosis is eliminating competition between the young and old. Larval insects and adult insects occupy very different ecological niches. Whereas caterpillars are busy gorging themselves on leaves, completely disinterested in reproduction, butterflies are flitting from flower to flower in search of nectar and mates. Because larvas and adults do not compete with one another for space or resources, more of each can coexist relative to species in which the young and old live in the same places and eat the same things"

Cheating Frenchman sues Uber for tipping off wife about affair

Islamic fundamentalism is widely spread | WZB - "The author analyzed data from a representative survey among immigrants and natives in six European countries. Two thirds of the Muslims interviewed say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live. Three quarters of the respondents hold the opinion that there is only one legitimate interpretation of the Koran. These numbers are significantly higher than those from local Christians. Only 13 percent of this group put religious rules above national law; just under 20 percent refuse to accept differing interpretations of the Bible. For Ruud Koopmans, this powerful tendency toward Muslim religious fundamentalism is alarming... Almost 60 percent of the Muslim respondents reject homosexuals as friends; 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted; and an equally large group believes that the West is out to destroy Islam. The Christians’ answers for comparison: As many as 9 percent are openly anti-Semitic; 13 percent do not want to have homosexuals as friends; and 23 percent think that Muslims aim to destroy Western culture."

Some Muslims 'support those who carry out terror attacks' - "Koopmans, who is a professor of sociology and migration research at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the director of integration research at the WZB Berlin Social Science Centre, stressed that not every one of them was ready to exert violence directly. But he added: 'They support the radicals, they encourage them and provide them shelter or simply keep their mouths shut when they observe radicalization.'"

Losing their religion: The hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims

Losing their religion: The hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims

"Sulaiman Vali is a softly spoken 33-year-old software engineer. A natural introvert not drawn to controversy or given to making bold statements, he’s the kind of person who is happiest in the background. He lives alone in a modest house on a quiet street in a small town in East Northamptonshire. He doesn’t want to be any more specific than that about the location. “If someone found out where I lived,” he explains, “they could burn my house down.”

Why should such an understated figure, someone who describes himself as a “nobody”, speak as if he’s in a witness protection programme? The answer is that six years ago he decided to declare that he no longer accepted the fundamental tenets of Islam. He stopped being a believing Muslim and became instead an apostate...

As real as the potential for violence might be, it’s not what keeps many doubting British Muslims from leaving their religion. As Simon Cottee, author of a new book The Apostates: When Muslims Leave Islam, says: “In the western context, the biggest risk ex-Muslims face is not the baying mob, but the loneliness and isolation of ostracism from loved ones. It is stigma and rejection that causes so many ex-Muslims to conceal their apostasy.”

Like the gay liberation movement of a previous generation, Muslim apostates have to fight for the right to be recognised while knowing that recognition brings shame, rejection, intimidation and, very often, family expulsion...

He confessed his atheism to his horrified family. One of his brothers reminded him that the penalty sharia law stipulates for apostasy is capital punishment.

“I don’t think he would have any qualms about me being killed,” says Vali, although he emphasises that he doesn’t believe anyone from his family would seek to do him physical harm or encourage others to do so. Instead he was ousted from the family. He was disowned.

There has been a great deal of public debate in recent years about what drives young Muslims towards radicalisation. It’s an urgent subject of study in various disciplines of academia, has spawned a library of books, and is the focus of well-funded government programmes.

What is much less known about, and far less discussed, is the plight of young Muslims going in the opposite direction – those who not only turn away from radicalisation but from Islam itself.

Although it is fraught with human drama – existential crisis, philosophical doubt, family rupture, violent threats, communal expulsion, depression, and all manner of other problems – the apostate’s journey elicits remarkably little media interest or civic concern. According to Cottee, there is not “a single sociological study… on the issue of apostasy from Islam”.

No one knows what numbers are involved, few understand the psychological difficulties individuals confront, or the social pressures they are compelled to resist. As with many other areas of communal discourse, insiders are reluctant to talk about it, and outsiders are either too incurious or sensitive to ask.

In this sense the struggle of ex-Muslims is markedly different from that of early gay rights campaigners. Where gays and lesbians could draw support from other progressive movements, ex-Muslims are further marginalised by what Cottee calls “the contested status of Islam” in western societies.

To raise the subject of apostasy is to risk demonising an embattled minority. Some will see it, almost by definition, as Islamophobic or even racist. To be a “Muslim” in 21st-century Britain is no longer simply about religious affiliation; it also suggests membership of a cultural entity that receives far more than its fair share of scare stories and alarmist reporting. So it’s vital to be aware of the discrimination that many Muslims encounter. But what of the minority within the minority who have to deal with fear, guilt, shame and isolation? Must they remain invisible as a mark of religious respect?

Vali has seen his mother just once for a few minutes four years ago. “She didn’t want to touch me,” he says. “She thought her God would be angry with her if she treated me kindly”...

It was immediately after 9/11 and she turned up at school demanding to wear a long black dress instead of the school uniform. “I said if you don’t let me, you’re breaching my freedom of expression as a Muslim, and they accepted it.”

She loved the sense of rebellion her pronounced Muslim identity conferred. That was largely the extent of the politics. When she looked at Islamic countries, she didn’t care about human rights atrocities. “There were women wearing scarves, that was what was important”...

“I’ve had bouts of clinical depression,” Nasreen says. “The thing is, Islam teaches you to grow up with low self-esteem and lack of self-identity. Without the collective, you’re lost. You’ve been taught to feel guilty and people-pleasing as a woman, and you do that from a very young age. I kept thinking, ‘Why do I want to wear short skirts? That’s so disgusting!’ No, it’s not disgusting. It took me a long time to appreciate my sexuality and my femininity. There was a lot of stress. I lost my friends. You’re very lonely and you’re ostracised.”

However, she couldn’t bring herself to tell her parents. And nine years later, she still hasn’t informed them. Her compromise has been to let them know she doesn’t pray or wear a headscarf. That’s been problematic enough – her parents, like many Muslims, have become more religious over the past decade or so.

She blames the ghettoisation of multiculturalism and identity politics for this shift, the tendency to view individuals as members of separate cultural blocks. Or as Namazie puts it: “The problem with multiculturalism – not as a lived experience but as a social policy that divides and segregates communities – is that the “Muslim community” is seen to be homogenous. Therefore dissenters and freethinkers are deemed invisible because the ‘authentic’ Muslim is veiled, pro-sharia and pro-Islamist.”

One success of the Islamist movement in Britain has been to define the cultural identity primarily in terms of religion.

“We went from a Bengali to a Muslim community. It’s almost as if we’re suffering a second colonisation, the Arabisation of Asian cultures. Even my brother wears long Arab dresses.” As a consequence, she thinks Muslims have been encouraged to police other Muslims.

“I’ll give you a couple of examples,” she says. “The other day I ordered some food online – pork buns – and afterwards a guy called me up from the company and he said ‘Nasreen, do you know it’s not halal?’ I said yes, I’m not a Muslim, but afterwards I wish I’d said ‘Who are you to police what I’m eating? How dare you call me up to remind me.’ But that’s how people think: you’re a Muslim, you’ve got a Muslim name.”

She took a degree in anthropology at the University of London. “And I started to do my dissertation on ex-Muslim identity. My supervisor was this Muslim guy and he told me that it was rubbish, there’s no academic purpose to it.”

She had to complain to get another supervisor, who was very supportive, and, undaunted, continued with the research. “I succeeded in completing an original piece of empirical research on the ex-Muslim reality,” she says. “I even went on to achieve a special award for this very dissertation. I felt quite vindicated by that.”

Nevertheless, she detects a strong reluctance at universities to confront the concerted efforts by Islamist groups to lay claim to Muslim students. Not only are Islamic societies often run by extremists, with groups like the Islamic Education and Research Academy seeking to impose gender segregation, but the terms of academic discourse tend to endorse their brand of grievance politics.

“Go to your average sociology class,” says Nasreen, “and it’s very much about making Muslims victims of Islamophobia – a terminology I disagree with. It’s anti-Muslim bigotry. I dislike Islam – that’s OK, it’s an ideology, but I don’t dislike Muslims. They are two different things”...

He has tried to link up with feminist societies at universities. “But there’s a real problem in this country,” he says. “People don’t want to touch anything to do with leaving Islam. Especially in universities, where the politics are insane.”

He has a point. In recent times the National Union of Students have refused to condemn Isis on the grounds that this would justify Islamophobia. Shams believes that this kind of gesture and the NUS decision last month to lobby alongside Cage, the militant Islamic prisoners pressure group, undermines the position of dissenting Muslims. “What it does is to say to reformists and secularists, you’re not really Muslims”...

Shams comes from a Bangladeshi background but grew up in Saudi Arabia. He says that in many ways he found the ex-pat compound in which he and his family lived in Saudi Arabia more progressive than Britain. “It was when my mother came here that she got really radicalised.”

He believes Muslims face an identity crisis.

“We don’t know who we are. There’s a feeling of insecurity as a brown person, often for good reason. I went to school in a really white school. My nickname was “Terrorist”. The kids didn’t know better. I grew up in that narrative. I was very religious. I believed there was a caliphate and we should fight for that. I had a strong sense of justice. One of the things that people do not understand about radicals is that they’re often guided by a sense of justice.”

He lost faith because his sense of justice could not be reconciled with the manner in which he was taught to believe other religions were bad...

Too often, he believes, non-Muslims are unable or unwilling to see beyond the religious identity of Muslims. They are increasingly trained to understand religious needs but are frequently flummoxed by those who reject those needs...

It certainly seems perverse that while there is no taboo on the discussion of Islamic radicalisation, the mention of Islamic apostates still occasions widespread discomfort. We can publicly accept that there are Muslims that are so estranged from western society that they prefer to live as fundamentalists, but have far more trouble recognising that there are Muslims who are so estranged from their religion that they prefer to live as freethinkers...

The demonisation of apostates as ‘sell outs’ and ‘native informants’, which can be heard among both liberal-leftists and reactionary Muslims, needs to stop. People leave Islam. They have reasons for this, good, bad or whatever. It is a human right to change your mind. Deal with it.”"

Links - 22nd April 2017 (1)

Real life CSI: Google's new AI system unscrambles pixelated faces - "The neural network could be used to increase the resolution of blurred or pixelated faces, in a way previously thought impossible; a similar system was demonstrated for enhancing images of bedrooms, again creating a 32x32 pixel image from an 8x8 one."

President Duterte Is Repeating My Mistakes - - "Not only did we fail to eradicate drug production, trafficking and consumption in Colombia, but we also pushed drugs and crime into neighboring countries. And we created new problems. Tens of thousands of people were slaughtered in our antidrug crusade. Many of our brightest politicians, judges, police officers and journalists were assassinated. At the same time, the vast funds earned by drug cartels were spent to corrupt our executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. This heavy-handed approach to drugs did little to diminish the drug supply and demand in Colombia, much less in markets like Western Europe and the United States. In fact, drugs such as cocaine and heroin are as accessible as ever from Bogotá to New York to Manila... Taking a hard line against criminals is always popular for politicians. I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs during my time as president. The polls suggest that Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs is equally popular. But he will find that it is unwinnable. I also discovered that the human costs were enormous. We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts. We started making positive impacts only when we changed tack, designating drugs as a social problem and not a military one"

Finally: Mozilla adds working HTML5 Video autoplay blocking to Firefox - "I just wrote a tutorial on disabling auto-playing Flash and HTML5 videos in Firefox and Chrome in which I mentioned Firefox's media.autoplay.enabled preference"

Police Officer Who Spoke out on Migrant Crime Now Under Investigation for Racial Hatred - "A police officer who broke ranks to reveal that migrants are to blame for the vast majority of serious crime in Sweden is now under investigation for incitement to racial hatred. Peter Springare’s exasperated rant describing the face of crime in Sweden received a huge amount of attention since it was posted to Facebook on Friday 3rd. In the post, the officer concedes that while it’s not politically correct to say so, almost all the serious crime cases he had dealt with over the past week involved migrants. He also states that this situation has been ongoing for the last decade or more. But now the department of internal investigations is probing Mr. Springare for incitement to racial hatred as a result of the post, police have confirmed... Appearing on SVT Tuesday night renowned criminologist Leif GW Persson also came to Mr. Springare’s defence. He described the Facebook post as “refreshing”, and said he believes that most police officers are voting for the anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats (SD) party."

Are gender feminists and transgender activists undermining science? - "Gender feminists often point to a single study, published in 2015, which claimed it isn’t possible to tell apart male and female brains. But when a group of researchers reanalyzed the underlying data, they found that brains could be correctly identified as female or male with 69% to 77% accuracy. In another study, published in 2016, researchers used a larger sample in conjunction with higher-resolution neuroimaging and were able to successfully classify a brain by its sex 93% of the time... In my experience, proponents touting the “blank slate” view are willing to agree, in private conversations, that neurological sex differences do exist, but they fear that acknowledging as much publicly will justify female oppression. This is backward. As it stands, female-typical traits are seen as inferior and less worthy of respect. This is the real issue the movement fails to address: Nobody wants to be female-typical, not even women. Distortion of science hinders progress. When gender feminists start refuting basic biology, people stop listening, and the larger point about equality is lost... transgender activists and their allies have branded desistance as a “myth,” and those who suggest otherwise are called bigots or, dismissively, trolls. It’s not hard to understand why. The idea that some gender dysphoric people may grow up to be comfortable in their birth sex is interpreted as a threat to the community. Acknowledging that reality may seem like a slippery slope to denying the need for gender reassignment surgery even in adults. But ignoring the science around desistance has serious consequences; it means some transgender children will needlessly undergo biomedical interventions, such as hormone treatments. Even detransitioning from a purely social transition can be a difficult process for a child. In one 2011 study of 25 gender dysphoric children, 11 desisted. Of the desisters, two had socially transitioned and regretted it. They struggled to return to their birth sex in part because of fear of teasing from their classmates, and they did not dare to make the change until they enrolled in high school."

Berlin Report: 92 Percent of Left-Wing Activists Live With Parents, One in Three Unemployed - "The data was based off of 873 political activists, who had been investigated by authorities between 2003 and 2013. 84% of those investigated were men, while 73% were between the ages of 18 and 29... Left-wing activists were also reportedly responsible for the attempted murder of eleven people between 2009 and 2013"

Some fiendishly complex archaic kanji just won't die - "Be very afraid: A monster kanji is created by artistically combining four separate characters, which in Chinese are read 招財進寶 (zhao cai jin bao), meaning 'invite fortune, enter treasure.'"

Brendan O'Neill - I do not support Trump. But right now I am more... - "I do not support Trump. But right now I am more worried about the rash, even unstable global response to Trump than I am about Trump himself"

Brendan O'Neill - "No president has been as hostile to press... - ""Trump is racist though. An actual racist president. This is unheard of in the modern era." Well, FDR interned thousands of Japanese Americans. He signed an actual executive order -- EO 9033 -- okaying the rounding up of Japanese people. And he remains a lefty hero. Bill Clinton's crime bill of 1994 led to the incarceration of blacks on a mass, unprecedented scale. That was pretty racist... This is literally the level of Trump fever we have reached. To cling to historical perspective, to refuse to give in to the historical amnesia of treating Trump as the worst president ever, is to be a fellow traveller of fascism. To tell the truth is to be a fascist. It is no longer enough to oppose Trump -- you must also agree that he is the worst ever, a unique threat, a barbarian we must all organise against, or else you're out of polite society. These are indeed worrying times, but not because of Trump. it's the demand by the anti-Trump lobby that we capitulate to hysteria and embrace historical ignorance under pain of being considered a fascist that should worry you."

That One Time the Nazis Helped China Fight Japan - "For about a decade, German soldiers advised Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek in his campaigns against Chinese Communists … and also against Germany’s future allies, the Japanese"

S’pore company used forklift & bubble wrap to recreate CNY firecracker sound

Secretive Beijing demands transparency over missing jet - "China’s strident calls for Malaysia to divulge all it knows about flight MH370 are in stark contrast to its own history of secretiveness when calamities have struck, such as after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, analysts say."

The Disputed Story behind the Statue of Liberty’s Muslim Heritage - "“The Statue of Liberty was born a Muslim!” yelled activist Linda Sarsour, at a rally in New York City on Sunday, January 29th... Bartholdi’s initial sketches for the monument that would become the Statue of Liberty bear striking resemblance to his drawings for the Suez Canal sculpture—the final product does, too. And indeed, when the young artist presented his idea to the Egyptian khedive, he described a freed Egyptian female slave. At the time, the country’s population was primarily Muslim, so the veiled Egyptian woman that Bartholdi envisioned has been assumed to symbolize the same religion. But when Bartholdi presented his vision to the United States, he took a different tack, describing the robed woman as Libertas"
Some suggest that Egyptian slaves during that period would've been Christian so the claim is even more dodgy

Amanda Ellen - Sit-in "protests" have been happening a lot this... - "A few concurrent thoughts on this Ohio U photo and "demand sit in"... What is fascist about an order that has as much support from the public as it does criticism? What is fascist about an order that has almost equal support from voters of the Democrat party than it does from Trump's own? Whether you or I like it or not, Trump's ban is very much supported. And the dismissive and reductionist identity politics which tries to lie and say otherwise, is the same lies which oversimplified Trump's voter base and put him in the office in the first place. It helps no-one to ignore facts and nuance, however inconvenient, and least of whom does it help the liberal cause here... "if every day was Christmas, it would never be Christmas" also applies to calling everyone you disagree with a "fascist". Same goes with "Nazi", "bigot", "racist", "SJW", and any other label intellectual weaklings want to throw out to avoid having to form a valid, evidentiary based criticism of someone else. The words stop having meaning, and I am not okay with that...
Is there anything truly "fascist" in this situation? Yes, there is.
- Occupying a non public space the occupiers have no legal right to
- For the purpose of making demands against a NON government body
- Refusing to leave until every demand is unconditionally met
- Refusing to engage in democratic discussion about the demands, or reform/changes to them
- Intolerance of any opposition...
Do they not understand how dangerous and illiberal a precedent it sets to start politicizing academic institutions?! Because if they don't, someone needs to remind them of the political brainwashing done in universities during communism in Eastern Europe."

6 Words That Will End Picky Eating - "every time he says yuck or I don’t want that, I say calmly, “You don’t have to eat it,” and tuck into my own meal... But the biggest revelation was that it gave me permission to stop hounding my son to eat—to even, really, stop monitoring what he eats. Because the meals I make are reasonably healthy and somewhat varied, I can enjoy my meal and let him eat, or not eat, without any Sturm und Drang. I don’t keep a (very limited) list in my head of “what my kid will eat.” It’s also stopped the short-order-cook thing in its tracks. I cook whatever I want to eat, and if my son doesn’t want to try, say, squash and sausage casserole one night, that’s up to him—there’s garlic bread on the side, and carrots from the salad, and I’ve probably put a few apple slices on everyone’s plate. He may try a bite maybe the 20th time I serve it, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the casserole, my younger son is picking out the sausage and eating the squash, and it won’t go to waste. This system totally eliminates the power struggle that goes along with “getting kids to eat.” It also allows kids to pay attention to their body’s satiety cues—it turns out that my son doesn’t eat much dinner at all, ever, no matter what I serve. He’s just not hungry in the evening. So I try to make the earlier meals as nutritious as possible and don’t worry about dinner"

Curing the antibiotics 'disease' - "It found that one-third of patients expect antibiotics to be prescribed by their GPs for common ailments like cough, sore throat, runny nose and blocked nose. These are mainly caused by viruses, and not bacteria. Many of the patients were not aware that antibiotics are useless against viruses... The study, which involved 914 adult patients from 24 GP clinics across Singapore, also found that half of those expecting antibiotics would ask their doctors to prescribe the medication or would see another doctor if antibiotics were not prescribed... In Britain, GPs are paid by the National Health System to reduce their antibiotic prescriptions. While results have proven effective - with prescriptions for all types of antibiotics down by more than 2.6 million in 2015 compared with the previous year - questions have been raised about whether doctors should be paid for doing something that is essentially part of their job. Other suggestions such as separating drug dispensing from prescription have also been mooted, but this could increase GPs' consultation fees and lead to more hassle for patients who would have to collect their drugs separately."

Trump: Doing the necessary or bigotry in action? - "a refugee intake of 50,000 per year was actually the 15-year average before 2016. Former President Obama was the one who had gone beyond the norm by increasing it to 110,00 in 2016. Mr Trump is merely going back to the norm, added Mr French, citing data from the Migration Policy Institute, a US non-profit think tank."

'Anti-theist' stabs Christian housemate to death in Germany 'because he hated religion' - "Just 10 days after moving in together, Daniel stormed into his victim’s room and asked to hear her position was on same-sex marriage, prosecutors said. When she rejected it, he withdrew a knife hidden in his pocket and stabbed her as she sat on the bed"
Chalk one up for the homophiles...

The Truth and Myth Behind Animal Trials in the Middle Ages - "Weevils destroy your crops? Pig maim your children? Dying to get back at these creatures? In Europe during the Middle Ages, you could bring them to court, where they could face sentences ranging from gruesome mutilation to excommunication. Or at least that is what many reports say, although the hard evidence of such legal actions is scant... one of the most famous cases of beasts on trial, involving a bunch of rats, was “completely made up just to defame the lawyer who supposedly defended the rats.” Even with so much uncertainty about which animal trials were real, McDougall stresses that some did still take place... most large animals were tried for offenses such as murder, and generally executed or exiled, while smaller, more diffuse pests and offenders were more often excommunicated or denounced by a church tribunal. But all were thought to have been given their day in court... In 1916 an elephant named Mary murdered her trainer and was hanged in Tennessee using a crane. In 2008, in Macedonia, a bear was convicted of stealing honey from a beekeeper. The parks service was forced to pay $3,500 in damages"

Camels vs Mules - "When the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers imported 34 camels in the spring of 1856 to survey the wagon road from Albuquerque to Los Angeles the mule lobby in Missouri threw a hissy. “Camels,” they said, “were ill-tempered, stubborn and ugly, had bad breath and wouldn’t learn English.”

Britain kept nuclear weapons in Singapore during cold war? - "Britain kept nuclear weapons at bases in Cyprus and Singapore during the cold war without telling the governments of the two countries, according to a study to be published this week. Tactical nuclear weapons were deployed at RAF Akrotiri in southern Cyprus as early as 1960. Two years later Harold Macmillan, then prime minister, personally authorised the storage of nuclear weapons at RAF Tengah in Singapore."

Killer Snails - "In the deck-building card game Killer Snails: Assassins of the Sea, you are the scientist collecting predatory cone snails that prey on fish, worms and other mollusks, to build a venom arsenal of potentially life-saving peptide toxins. Out-strategize your competition and concoct the winning solution!"

Seagulls in WWI trained to spot submarines - "The idea was that they could train seagulls by covering their own submarine periscopes with food, so that when they put their periscopes out of the water, the seagulls would flock to get the food. The eventual view was that over a period of time seagulls would then learn that if a periscope of any kind popped out of the water it would contain food. Therefore whenever they saw seagulls flocking to an area, the navy would know that a German submarine was in the vicinity."

Is It Time to Desegregate the Sexes? - The New York Times - "The problem schools face is that they can’t prevent sex discrimination unless they can say with certainty what sex is. And in an age of gender fluidity, the word is hard to define. This year the agencies told schools to interpret “sex” as a psychological condition, an “internal sense of gender,” rather than an anatomical one. The new interpretation has some science to back it up. But the way the change was made — by fiat, without public debate — has produced a surprisingly broad backlash, from secular feminists as well as evangelical conservatives... people have a right to privacy. Courts have largely agreed that no one should have to undress unwillingly in front of a member of the opposite sex, or see that person naked. Call it prudishness, if you like, but such modesty is common. We live in a sex-segregated world. After a certain point in childhood, men and women go their separate ways for almost every activity that involves exposing the body. The word “segregation” brings Jim Crow to mind, of course, and indeed, transgender activism has been compared to the civil-rights movement. But we have to ask whether physical modesty is tantamount to racism or has a more legitimate basis... In defining sex so expansively, the agencies may have walked themselves into a legal contradiction. Title IX has also been interpreted as saying that schools must not tolerate a “hostile environment” that makes girls feel threatened and could impede their education. If the cisgender girl claims that the transgender girl is invading her privacy in a discomfiting way, that could also constitute a Title IX violation. As the Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk Gersen wrote in The New Yorker, “The federal government is putting schools in a position where they may be sued whichever route they choose.” And so they have been... a transgender girl, “Student X,” danced to music with explicit lyrics — “Milkshake” by Kelis, for example — while twerking, grinding and at least once lifting up her skirt to show off her underwear. When one girl edged away, according to the complaint, Student X made rude comments about her. When she and other girls moved to a different locker room, Student X came in and changed next to them. Student X allegedly asked one girl her bra size and suggested they “trade body parts.”"
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