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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Links - 23rd April 2014

Nine-month-old boy charged with attempted murder in Pakistan granted bail by judge - "Toddler Muhammad Mosa Khan was booked in February along with 30 other people, including a number of members of his family, after stones were allegedly thrown at police and energy officials during raids on homes in Lahore. Residents had been accused of not paying for electricity. Apparently deciding that the nine month old was capable of - and had - taken part in the alleged stone throwing, Sub-Inspector Kashif Ahmed decided to arrest the child. What followed were farcical scenes in which the toddler was fingerprinted and made to sit on his grandfather’s lap in court, drinking his bottle."

sausage fest meets girl

Nexus of homosexuality and Islam in Singapore | CORETAN - "This particular individual has equated Islam with extreme intolerance, specifically, of homosexuality while preaching a truth which in reality is based on one opinion and interpretation, therefore, unrepresentative of other Malay-Muslims. It signifies a myopic perspective compounded with misleading view of Islam. Should such intolerant and homophobic view is pervasive in the Malay-Muslim community; it does not bode well for the future for all Malay-Muslims, both heterosexuals and gay Malay-Muslims. On the surface is the lack of understanding pertaining sexual identities. At the very core, is the absence of critical thinking in assessing and following Islamic injunctions which are based on diverse interpretations. Waleed Aly, a politics lecturer and a former spokesman for Islamic Council of Victoria (Australia), highlights an important point during a televised debate, which Muslims tend to overlook or even unaware of: Islamic tradition is anarchic, specifically Sunni Islam; as there is no central authority to define an issue within established parameters thus, to be taught anything is “X” is automatically open for contestations. He emphasized that whatever the question or issue is, the position one takes is most likely to be of the majority, and more importantly, Muslims cannot make definitive statements on behalf of God because that is ultimately an act of polytheism. As such to conflate colonial legacy through its legal instrument with Islamic precepts acting as a moral compass is a gross mistake in understanding homosexuality at all. Period!"
So apparently no one can say anything definitive about Islam at all and all the schools of Islam are wrong about homosexuality being wrong (and indeed everything else)

The consequences of single parenthood for subsequent generations - "Until the 1960s it was generally assumed that broken homes , had dire consequences for the children raised in them, consequences that extended throughout their lives. Ironically, it was Daniel Patrick Moynihan's confirmation of this assumption in The Negro Frunily: The Case for National Action that sent the pendulum swinging temporarily in the other direction. In his 1965 repon, Moynihan suggested that the deterioration of the black family-the increasing numbers of single-parent black families on welfare-could prevent the next generation from taking advantage of the greater opportunities being made available through the War on Poverty and Great Society programs. The repon created such a furor in a society newly sensitized to racism that academic researchers responded by emphasizing the strengths of single-parent families and particularly the strength of black women, who, lacking male support, often raised large families while working long hours at menial jobs. Thus many studies in the late 1960s and 1970s suggested that family disruption had few, and relatively small, persistent negative effects on the lives of offspring... the rate of out-of-wedlock births to white teenagers is still mounting, whereas in the black community it is declining. It is no longer considered a form of veiled racism, therefore, to explore the intergenerational consequences of single parenthood. And the evidence indicates that public opinion and not researchers were right the first time: children from single-parent families are disadvantaged in a number of ways that impair their future and the futures of their own children... single mothers exercise less supervision over their daughters' dating, which in turn leads to earlier sexual activity and premarital births.'' (This thesis blends into the argument for economic deprivation. If a single mother can stay home to watch her teenaged children or see that they are involved in group activities, there need be no lack of supervision.) It has been suggested as well that single mothers are less effective disciplinarians-less authoritative and sure of themselves than are parents in two-parent families. Whatever their capabilities for managing their children, a couple can gang up on a teenager; a single parent cannot"
Politicisation - bad for science regardless of which side does the politicising

For the Love of Money - - "IN my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted."

Tai-tai: I visit club because I can't resist temptation - "The men went from table to table between their sets to chat or play dice games over drinks. They flirted and teased, sometimes with a hand on the lap, or an arm across the shoulder, a whisper or just holding hands. Think simple 'boyfriend touches' - an effect that is probably lacking in the women's lives. There were no vulgar moves in the club, except for the occasional over-indulgent woman. One was locked in a tight embrace with a Chinese entertainer - despite the presence of her eight women friends. The Chinese host seemed to be the most popular, getting about $1,800 worth of garlands and sashes whenever he sang. While the owner of the club declined to be interviewed, he insisted that the club was 'like any other normal karaoke club'. What takes place after closing hours is beyond his control, he added. That is when the story becomes murky, with some women and the men singing different tunes, as we discovered during our stake-out."

In bread with my doner - "There's something about choosing the shish that brings out the artiste in the average kebab-joint operative. Yes, he will assure you that it will only take a few minutes but, once he's begun barbecuing, he becomes subject to some strange atavism. Once more, he is a sheep herder, high on the Anatolian plateau. In his mind's eye, he crouches, eyes narrowed, to spear the precious lamb chunks on his wickedly sharpened dagger. The winds howl all around, the wolves join in, the dogs yowl, the sheep "mmmaa-aaa-aaa" in dread anticipation. Outside, the yoof of Bexhill-on-Sea may be swigging Bacardi Breezers and talking arse, but inside the kebab shop it's a mystic communion between man and fire of Zoroastrian significance. Or so I thought, as the minutes ticked away and I cursed myself for not having risked the doner: "Um, I really do have a train to catch," I remonstrated with the Turk as he fiddled with his meaty spillikins. "I know, I know," he shot back, "but you can't have these underdone." No, indeed - an underdone shish kebab would be as bad as . . . well, as bad as a doner kebab."

Stop Calling All Criticism “Shaming” - "Most English-speaking Americans recognize that the words hating and hater have been overused for years now, propped up like fluffy blankets to muffle all kinds of criticism. More recently, a similar journey from useful and specific to vague and meaningless was traversed by the word troll... There are times when we should feel shame, like when we’re tempted to hunt for Communists. But nowadays one suspects that Joe McCarthy would have just accused his critics of “red-shaming”... The more I hear about filter-shaming, the harder it is to really hear what a problem body-shaming can be. We really should restrain ourselves from mindlessly slapping this label on every single thing in the world that makes us feel bad... Pretty soon, doctors may be known as sickness-shamers. Dentists might be scolded for cavity-shaming. Teachers could catch flak for their relentless ignorance-shaming. Even police officers might be lambasted for their thoughtless and cruel crime-shaming"

I’m not a troll—why does everyone on the Internet keep calling me one? - "I was honestly surprised by Warren’s and other troll-hurlers’ reactions. Sure, my piece and its headline were hyperbolic—nobody, not even software engineers, gets that fired up about software. But that over-the-top stance was intentional, a rhetorical device to make a point about iTunes’ awfulness. (And iTunes is genuinely, unmitigatedly awful.) This seemed obvious to me. So why had some people misinterpreted my passion as a sign of insincerity? I’ll tell you why: Trolling has been defined down. Not long ago trolls were easy to identify—they were the kids on 4Chan who caused trouble just for the lulz, or the delinquents who disrupted otherwise serious online discussion of folklore with out-of-nowhere, baiting speculation about Tolkien’s cross-dressing fetish (or something like that). Trolls, these people who picked fights just to pick fights, soon escaped online bulletin boards. Now they’re everywhere, and rather than just cause trouble for kids who love Zelda, trolls have put themselves at the center of serious, high-minded discussion. Trolls now write prestigious opinion columns, edit newsmagazines, and land cushy gigs on radio and TV. The thing about trolls is that you never quite know when you’re dealing with one; they come in all shapes and sizes, and even if someone seems halfway genuine about what he’s saying, you’d be a fool to buy it. Even someone as anodyne as David Brooks—David Brooks!—is secretly trolling you, and you’re an idiot for taking him seriously. Juan Williams? “Most successful troll in America,” says noted troll-hunter Jay Rosen. Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Fox News, the Daily Caller, the late Andrew Breitbart—troll, troll, troll, troll, troll! The Daily Mail. The New York Times. Donald Trump, obviously... On the off chance you have trouble spotting a pattern in that list, let me offer this helpful rule, a definition for troll circa 2012. Anytime you don’t like something someone else is saying, or even if you do like what he’s saying but think he might be saying it the wrong way, there’s a very good chance you’re dealing with a troll. This could be true even if the guy is making an argument that purports to bolster your position—in that case, he may be a “concern troll.” The corollary to making this identification is that you’re free to ignore him... To prove that Trump is a troll, we’d need to show that he doesn’t actually believe what he’s saying. In other words, to call Trump a troll is to suggest that he’s not nearly as dumb as he looks."

Polyamory May Be Good for You - "One thing that seems to unite the polyamorous community is a real enthusiasm for digging into emotions. Honesty, openness and communication are cornerstones for polyamorous relationships, Holmes has found. "They're talking a lot, they're negotiating a lot, they're bringing their feelings to the table a lot," he said... The University of Michigan's Moors has found that people who cheat on their partners sexually are less likely to engage in safe sex while doing so than are people in consensual nonmonogamous relationships"

Singapore Seen | Models beaten up at Circular Road: This video shows what really happened - ""From what I know, the minute the girls came out of the car, they started pushing and beating the guy. "Out of self-defense, he pushed and kicked them away. "One girl actually punched him right in the face when he was held by people on both sides." According to him, the man was actually alone and did not have any friends with him. Passers-by had stopped to help break up the fight... "He only knew it was serious when police came knocking on his door the next morning with complaints that he had assaulted three girls. "The girls were lying when they said that they were hammered by a drunk man, when they themselves were under the influence of alcohol too." Chuckz said that the police had detained the man and he has only recently been out on bail."

Is the stereotyping of respectful opponents of same-sex marriage as "bigots" a form of intolerance?

Gabriel Seah's answer to Is the stereotyping of respectful opponents of same-sex marriage as "bigots" a form of intolerance? - Quora

I don't think opposition to gay marriage is very logical but I have seen respectful opponents of it shouted at and even called 'bigots'.

'Bigot' is very strong word.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000; bigot) defines a bigot as:

One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

Merriam-Webster online (Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary) defines it as:

a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)

There is a lazy stereotyping of opponents of same-sex marriage as behaving like members of the Westboro Baptist Church, when it is very clear that most are not. If one is tolerant of gay people except for the issue of same-sex marriage, and if one does not dislike them, one does not deserve this strong label.

I also note that some gay people are against same-sex marriage, and they are certainly not called bigots.

We can say that opponents of same-sex marriage are wrong, but if they are not motivated by hate or dislike and they tolerate gay people, it is inaccurate to call them 'bigots'.

Yet call them 'bigots' many people do; same-sex marriage is turning out to be the liberal shibboleth of this generation, and opponents are readily labelled 'homophobe' or even 'bigot'.

It is telling that some people are comparing opposing same-sex marriage to endorsing slavery, as if they were anywhere near similar.

Consider that again for a moment:

is the same as:

I think it is quite clear that equating the two is even more illogical than being against same-sex marriage.

Many of those who are fervently against 'homophobia' and 'bigots' are, I  observe, not very nice people. Besides hating 'bigots', they can be nasty to other people who don't tick the boxes of 'people who possess  characteristics protecting them from criticism'. I conclude that the  urge to hate and to demonise the Other are endemic to the Human  Condition - the groups we hate might change over time and depending on  our pre-existing ideologies, but the hate itself doesn't.

I  note that what is sauce for the 'homophobe' or 'bigot' is also sauce  for the homophile - the demonising of 'homophobes' also has serious  consequences, with at least one case of a shooting motivated by a hatred of 'homophobic' 'bigots' (Floyd Lee Corkins charged in Family Research Council shooting).

Indeed,  I would venture that many supporters of same-sex marriage are  themselves 'bigots', in their readiness to stereotype, hate and demonise  the other side.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Links - 22nd April 2014

Female Unhappiness and Revealed Preference - "while the United States is supposedly so bad for working mothers, the women (1) have more kids, and (2) work more. At least superficially, then, it seems as though the U.S. is better for working mothers, not worse. Now, one can certainly argue against this behavioral argument. Maybe men in the U.S. are so poorly paid relative to Europeans that the women have to work. (I think this is clearly untrue.) Or maybe the lack of universal health care means people don't want to risk only having one person with employer-provided insurance (more plausible to me). But the burden of proof is clearly on those who claim the U.S. is on a whole worse for working mothers, since so many more of them seem to be choosing the lifestyle"

Yohan John's answer to What percent chance is there that whole brain emulation or mind uploading to a neural prosthetic will be feasible by 2048? - Quora - "the concept of mind uploading is still incoherent
from both philosophical and scientific perspectives...
We don't know what the mind is from a scientific/technological perspective.
We don't know which processes in the brain (and body!) are essential to subjective mental experience.
We don't have any intuition for what "uploading" means in terms of mental unity and continuity.
We have no way of knowing whether an upload has been successful...
the idea of uploading minds is even more problematic than faster-than-light travel, because the idea does not have any clear or
widely accepted scientific meaning, let alone philosophical meaning. Faster-than-light travel is conceivable at least, but mind uploading
may not even pass that test!"

What's Wrong: Thought Catalog - fuck advocacy - "5 Things College Teaches You About Life
Here's TC's five-step guide to college success, based on their list:
1. Don't pay for anything, but make sure you have the stupid high standards of veganism and a strict Whole Foods mentality.
2. Drink, but don't expect to actually find anyone worthwhile while doing this. This is actually good advice, but —
3. Have sex with as many people as possible. Wait. Hold on. Don't drink, because you won't remember somebody's number, but who cares because you should just have sex with them? Don't do what your parents did? I'm confused. Why can't I drink and fuck?
4. Oh, and while you're drinking and fucking everybody at these crazy college parties (you must be at one of those shitty state schools that has too many liberal arts), throw up a profile on OKCupid and get that online hookup engine revving as well.
5. And you know what, since we're all having so much sex, we can't accomplish anything, so don't bother graduating from college. Just stay in your shitty adolescence forever. Why not. Whatever happened to that girl earlier who had that one great two-month relationship on a beach at 18? Why even bother going to college in the first place? Seems legit...
What have we learned.
Thought Catalog should either start reading its own articles to create a recursive self-destructing feedback loop, or we should just stop pretending it's acceptable. Stop reading it. I'm never going back again. I made a horrible mistake reading enough of it to write this blog post. I'll let you judge for yourself whether TC is "fun, smart,
and creative"."

Women Are Unfair, And it is against their interest to be so -"Women are an unfair specie. They live longer.
Q: Why do men live less years than women?
A: Because they want to...
Women are an unfair specie. They can multi-task... Women are an unfair specie. They can articulate better"
This (or a version of it) got published
in the Business Times, but as of the time of writing AWARE had not protested (of course)

E-mail error ends up on road sign - "When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed. Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated". So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket... The blunder is not the only time Welsh has been translated incorrectly or put in the wrong place:
• Cyclists between Cardiff and Penarth in 2006 were left confused by a bilingual road sign telling them they had problems with an "inflamed bladder".
• In the same year, a sign for pedestrians in Cardiff reading 'Look Right' in English read 'Look Left' in Welsh.
• In 2006, a shared-faith school in Wrexham removed a sign which translated the Welsh for staff as "wooden stave".
• Football fans at a FA Cup tie between Oldham and Chasetown - two English teams - in 2005 were left scratching their heads after a Welsh-language hoarding was put up along the pitch. It should have gone to a match in Merthyr Tydfil.
• People living near an Aberdeenshire building site in 2006 were mystified when a sign apologising for the inconvenience was written in Welsh as well as English."

Potsdam University Removes Masculine Generic from Official Documents - "The governing body of Germany's Potsdam University ruled this week that the feminine forms of titles like Professor and Research Assistant will become the standard generic reference in official university documents. It was the second university to make such a decision in the last month, but controversy broke out when several news organizations, including this one, began reporting that the feminine form would have to be applied in specific cases, meaning that male professors would have to be called "Herr Professorin" (literally, Mr. female professor). The reports sparked a wave of public ridicule and disapproval... the University of Leipzig became the first German university to officially implement the generic feminine form, using it to refer to all professors in a new version of the university constitution. A footnote explains the reason for the usage.
Sexual equality means prioritising women
Comment: "Does anybody else think of Orwell when they read this, this particularly: ""If you want to change the reality, you have to change language too," says Pusch ""

41 Secretly Incredible Travel Destinations
Cappadocia, Nuremberg, Mont Saint Michel, Fes, Alexandria, Hallstatt, Segovia, and the Giant's Causeway are off the beaten path?! The Alcazar of Segovia doesn't look like that. Also 2 of them are in the Crimea

Containing atheism - "A number of academics and experts have underlined the need for serious efforts to contain atheism in the Kingdom. Claiming that there is a link between the spread of atheism and extreme religious views, the experts said a moderate image of Islam must be promoted and any doubts youths may have about religion must be addressed in a convincing manner... Their comments came in light of a poll that showed the Kingdom is the first country in the Islamic world where the number of atheists had crossed the 5 percent mark... Ghazi Al-Maghlouth, professor of Islamic culture at Al-Ahsa University’s Faculty of Shariah, said atheism is not at all linked with religious discourse. It is purely related to the personality of individuals who have some confusion about certain religious doctrines, in addition to having a skeptical mind. They always search for mysteries behind anything and everything and ask questions for which there may not be any clear-cut answers”... Al-Maghlouth specially referred to the controversial book by the Egyptian philosopher Abdul Rahman Badawi, titled “A history of atheism in Islam.” In the book, Badawi explains how several Muslim philosopher-scientists and students of the medieval period questioned and often refuted some basic Islamic tenets and eventually became atheists"
This is surprisingly civilised

Bread Shaming - Eating Bread in Public - "Welcome to the era of Bread Shaming, where your ciabatta roll is suddenly everyone’s business. “I get weird looks in the street,” says Laure Ayel, a lithe blonde Parisian who works in advertising and lives in Manhattan, “because I am eating a piece of a fresh baguette, and the women make weird faces at me!”... “It’s like a competition! But it’s not fun… nobody ever wins.” “That’s exactly what it is,” says Isabel Foxen Duke, a health coach and emotional eating expert whose job is to help clients separate food and self-worth. “In [our] culture, women constantly compare their weight and their food intake with each other. Sometimes it comes out as a ‘holier-than-thou’ declaration, like, ‘How can you eat that? It’s so bad for you!’ Note the people saying that are almost never doctors or nutritionists, by the way… but then there’s also a competitive aspect some friendships foster around food. You’ll think, ‘If you have a piece of bread, am I allowed to have a piece of bread? If you have a piece of bread, am I stronger and better than you because I can resist it?’ When Bread Shaming happens, it’s because in a relationship, the bread is being used by weight-obsessed people as a substitute for worth or power. And the more obsessed someone is with their weight, and their worth compared to others’ around them, then the more aggressive they’ll be about it. So you just have to say, ‘If you Bread Shame me, that’s your fucking problem. Because I feel like when you do, you’re really saying, I wish I were eating bread, too!'”... she found Bread Shaming so uncomfortable, she actually changed her friends. The last straw? “I had a pizza and movie night,” she recalls. “I was in charge of the movie and my friends ordered the pizza… Only when it arrived it was not pizza, but wheat-free, gluten-free cardboard.” After suggesting they order a “real” pizza, too, Montgomery was met with so many glares that she made a new social rule: “I love you if you eat carbs”... 'most girls who make me feel gross about eating bread are the same ones smoking, and chewing gum, and drinking diet soda'"

The forces of evil easily triumph over Krugman and DeLong - "Krugman wisely decided to avoid this bet, which suggests he’s smarter than he appears when he is at his most political... For a guy who is right about everything Krugman sure seems to have been wrong about an awful lot of recent events. Over at Econlog I’m about to do an important post documenting Krugman’s consistent attempts to shift position in order to avoid seeming to have been wrong about fiscal stimulus. Of course on monetary policy nothing can prove him wrong. If it works, great, he’s a fan. If not, well he was skeptical all along... PS. If Krugman regards Mankiw as evil, what possible adjective could he use to describe Ed Prescott?
PPS. My comment about Krugman avoiding the bet was a joke. I actually don’t think academics are required to bet their beliefs. Public humiliation is more effective in any case."

The Complexity of Consent

Sexual Consent in Heterosexual Relationships: Development of a New Measure

"Hall (1998) examined the giving of sexual consent in day-to-day sexual interactions involving both coital and non-coital sexual behaviors. In his sample of 310 sexually active heterosexual college students, Hall found that sexual behaviors usually occurred without overt consent being given. Permission giving was reported most frequently when the behavior in question was vaginal or anal intercourse. The rate of permission giving for other sexual behaviors (e.g., kissing, touching) was markedly lower. In addition, consent giving was most often nonverbal in nature, except for intercourse, for which consent was verbal about half of the time. Hall’s research suggests that there is a sliding scale of priority when it comes to making certain consent has been given. Sexual behaviors that are deemed more intimate are more likely to lead individuals to overtly negotiate consent...

There is a wide range of behavioral approaches used to signal sexual consent to a partner. Factor analysis revealed that sexual consent behaviors could be categorized as direct or indirect and verbal or nonverbal. Direct consent signals were defined as straightforward and unambiguous tactics (e.g., stating, “I want to have sex with you”) whereas indirect consent signals were more veiled and ambiguous tactics (e.g., “she/ he touches and kisses you”)...

Hall’s (1998) research suggested that there may be differences in consent based on the type of sexual behavior being negotiated. By focusing only on intercourse, the process of consent cannot be fully understood. Researchers also have not examined whether consent is situation specific. It is possible that inferring and conveying consent on a first date is very different than in a long-term relationship. For example, a smile in response to being asked “do you have a condom?” could indicate consent giving in an established relationship, but might indicate nervous apprehension on a first date...

Whether or not someone has experienced sexual intercourse seems to be a better predictor of consent attitudes and behaviors than current relationship status or the number of sexual intercourse partners...

Weak attitude–behavior consistency has been an issue of long standing interest in human sexuality and social psychology research (Baumeister and Tice 2001). The difficulty when trying to obtain high attitude– behavior consistency is that there are “plenty of immediate situational factors and pressures [that] can intervene between an attitude and a behavior.” (Baumeister and Tice 2001, p.136). In sexual contexts at college or university, one of the primary culprits is alcohol. Sexual consent behaviors do not occur in a vacuum and therefore the strictest or most cautious standards may not be followed when the complexity of the immediate sexual situation presents itself."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Links - 21st April 2014

Jeff Kay's answer to Should women be accepted into the U.S. Navy Seal teams? Would the training need to be modified to allow them on the teams? - Quora - "I am going to get hated for this, but, no, they shouldn't. Whether or not you disagree, unless you are a veteran or currently serving, you probably wouldn't quite understand my reasoning. Military manning is usually a very precise thing. Speaking from a Navy standpoint, each division is assigned so many positions, or billets, which need to be filled for efficient operation. But billets are assigned by time, also. If a 3 year billet is filled, then the billet won't normally be filled again for nearly 3 years. If a sailor is assigned to a billet for a 3 year tour, then leaves for some reason a year later, the billet may remain unfilled for up to 2 years. For males, there are very few reasons to leave a billet prior to the end date. For females, however, one glaring reason makes them more likely to leave before a billet is completed. Pregnancy."

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh orders end of English as official language - ""We're going to speak our own language," he said, without specifying which of the poor West African country's indigenous tongues would replace English... Gambia stunned the Commonwealth, which mainly groups former British colonies, by withdrawing from the 54-nation bloc in October, branding it "an extension of colonialism""

One Man's "Terrible" Cosplay Makes the Internet a Better Place - "If we go by the typical standard metrics by which cosplay is judged, you might say this cosplay isn't very good. That it's bad. Or even terrible. But those standards don't matter. This is totally wonderful, incredibly creative, and utterly brilliant.P Meet Anucha "Cha" Saengchart. By day, he works as a caretaker for the elderly. In his free time, he runs Facebook page Lowcost Cosplay. Instead of tracking down special fabrics or other materials, the idea is that you cosplay by using whatever you have in the house—like eating utensils, plungers, towels, baking flour, etc."

Missing MH370: Police deny modifying pictures of impostors - "Assistant chief inspector-general of police secretariat Asst Comm Datin Asmawati Ahmad said the pictures were video grabs from CCTV footage in KL International Airport. “We did not modify the pictures. What actually happened was the two pictures were stapled together but the bottom portion of the second suspect’s photo was torn off. “When we photocopied the photo of the second suspect, it overlapped with the photo of the first one,” she said when contacted Wednesday. ACP Asmawati was responding to allegations on social media that police had doctored the photos of the two imposters as both suspects appeared to have the same pants and legs."

Malaysia failing credibility test - "Frustration over the fruitless search has increasingly been directed at Malaysian officials after a series of fumbling news conferences, incorrect details given by the national airline, and a long delay in divulging details of the military's tracking of what could have been the plane hundreds of miles off course. The missteps have ranged from conflicting information about the last time of contact with the jet to the sharing of photos of two passengers in which they had the same pair of legs. "The Malaysians deserve to be criticized - their handling of this has been atrocious," said Ernest Bower, a Southeast Asia specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington... U.S. officials said Malaysia's failure to disclose the military's radar tracking data until days after the plane's disappearance meant important evidence may have disappeared. "The lack of communication about what is going on is catastrophic," said one Western regulatory source, asking not to be identified. "We are in the fourth dimension here"... Ministries often meet requests for information or interviews with silence. "There was a lot of confusion on the first and second days of this incident," a senior Malaysian defence official with knowledge of the operations told Reuters... As details emerged that some passengers had boarded the flight using stolen passports, Malaysia's home minister was quoted by state news agency Bernama as saying that two men travelling on Italian and Austrian documents had "Asian faces". That was denied by Hishammuddin, and the muddle deepened when Malaysia's aviation chief attempted a confusing analogy with the black Italian footballer Mario Balotelli... Perhaps the greatest confusion was generated by the Malaysian military's revelation on Sunday that the plane may have turned back from its scheduled path off Malaysia's east coast before disappearing. Officials did not give more details on the suspected "turnback" until Wednesday, leaving a gap that was filled by speculation the government was hiding something and doubts over whether the search was being conducted in the right place... Malaysia's apparent mishandling of the situation could have long-term strategic consequences in a region where China's economic and military might is growing rapidly. "They have no maritime domain awareness and it doesn't look like they have a strong command and control structure and they're not well coordinated with friends. Sadly, that's what the MH370 situation demonstrates," he said of Malaysia. "It's not good and it fits in with the narrative I believe is forming in Beijing that China should and needs to take control.""

Steven Dillard's answer to Sex: Is it okay to have sex while your cat is in the room? - Quora - "Her bed had a very broad headboard, and when we retired to the bed, the cats arranged themselves above her on the head board, and they stared at me the whole time we were doing it. Except that when she she had an orgasm, the cats opened their mouths and screamed along with her. Both of them. That was too creepy for me, and I had the impression the cats were quite used to doing this, thought obviously not when I was there."

Is it a date? Or hanging out? Survey reflects confusion - "Svendsen, a marketing manager who lives in New Lenox, Ill., is among today's singles trying to navigate dating with fewer rules. Courtship has become casual, with texts, hookups and hangouts. For Millennials in particular, who view a "date" as too much of a commitment — both in time and emotional connection — the vagaries of dating can be especially confounding. New data, provided exclusively to USA TODAY, bear out just how muddy the landscape can be. An online survey of 2,647 singles, ages 18-59, illustrates that level of ambiguity: 69% are at least somewhat confused about whether an outing with someone they're interested in is a date or not. Although 80% agree that a date is "a planned one-on-one hangout," almost one-quarter (24%) also think it is "a planned evening with a group of friends," and 22% agree that "if they ask me out, it's a date." The survey, conducted in September, was commissioned by dating and"

Topless Photos of Lebanese Olympic Skier Cause a Scandal Back Home - "Faisal Karami, Lebanon’s caretaker minister of youth and sports, was less enthusiastic. According to Lebanon’s National News Agency, he ordered the country’s Olympic committee to launch an inquiry and take all steps necessary to avoid “harming Lebanon’s reputation.” That statement elicited an even greater scandal, as Lebanese across the spectrum ridiculed the minister for his shortsighted take on what really ails Lebanon. In an editorial titled “What Reputation?” the English language Daily Star newspaper lashed out at Karami and Chamoun’s critics. “Since the beginning of 2014, there have been no fewer than six car bombs,” the editorial said. “There is a general lack of law and order, not to mention the lack of a working government. Is there a better definition of a failed state than ours? This woman, who should be a source of pride to the country, … is being blamed for something she chose to do with her free will, while the everyday concerns of citizens are being wholly and fundamentally neglected.” Lebanon’s online news portal, NOW, was more blunt, placing Chamoun’s pinup alongside an image of a heavily armed man in camouflage under the headline “Boobs over Bullets.”"

Why Men Find It So Hard to Understand What Women Want - "What captured my and my friend's attention most in Dr. Shpancer’s post was the importance to a woman of being desired in a very primal way, a point with which my friend—a woman—strongly identified. She told me that one of the best things about her current relationship was how strongly desired her boyfriend made her feel—both physically and intellectually—at the same time that she felt respected and cared for. She said it was important for her to be desired physically, but not justphysically: desired for everything she is, inside and out. My response was that it is difficult for men, especially those of us who appreciate and embrace the importance of being respectful and considerate toward women, to balance those attitudes with the animalistic, nonrational expressions of passion and desire that women want from us. Most men want to express those feelings as well—and some men, unfortunately, do so in ways that are hurtful and wrong. But I think it’s natural that men who respect and appreciate women are confused about when it’s acceptable to express those desires in a more primal, animalistic way. It's difficult for a guy to know when it’s OK to express desire and passion, and if he waits until a woman explicitly allows it, that defeats the purpose of spontaneous expressions of desire; as Dr. Shpancer puts it, quoting Dr. Marta Meana, a woman wants to feel “overwhelmingly desired, not rationally considered.” The problem for the considerate man, however, is how to express “overwhelming” desire within the constraints he holds himself to and he feels a woman is entitled to; in other words, he doesn't know how to be both the beast and the gentleman she wants and deserves."
The problems with 'enthusiastic consent' continue...

A new report says political conservatives have a much better sex life than Democrats - "Republicans have the highest rate of orgasm of any group in the report. Especially conservative Republicans. No wonder those tea partiers always look so happy. In fact, a majority of self-identified conservatives reported that during sex they reach orgasm just about every single time. That's way higher than the Democrat's national job approval. Such a high conservative orgasm rate compares with only 40% reported success for liberal Democrats who, being liberal, talk openly forever about subjects like sex to affirm their liberality."
This supports the suggestion that feminism is bad for your sex life

Liberal Women Wish for More Sex. Why? - "16% of “very conservative” women say they’d prefer more, compared with 29% of conservative women, 31% of moderates, 47% of liberals, and 50% of “very liberal” women... remarkably, it isn’t much affected by how much sex they’ve actually had recently. That is, while greater recent frequency of sex predicts less desire for more sex, it does nothing to diminish the link between political liberalism and wanting more sex. And women of all political stripes report statistically-comparable frequency of sex. In regression models, the measure of political liberalism remains significantly associated with the odds of wanting more sex even after controlling for the frequency of actual intercourse over the past two weeks, their age, marital status, education level, whether they’ve masturbated recently, their anxiety level, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, depressive symptoms, and porn use. Many of these are significant predictors of wanting more sex. And still the political thing matters... I floated this to a female friend, an economist... More liberal women therefore want to have more sex because they feel the lack of sufficient transcendence in life. If sex is one of the few pathways to it, then it’s sensible to desire more of it. Basically, liberal women substitute sex for religion... So I added religious service attendance to the regression model described earlier, predicting wanting more sex, and—wouldn’t you know it—political liberalism finally went silent as a predictor. Barely."
This is consistent with the suggestion that feminism is bad for your sex life

Has equality destroyed your sex life? A controversial book claims feminism and the rise of ¿new men¿ have killed off women's libidos... - "Using the internet, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam analysed half a billion sexual fantasies, preferences and practices, then correlated their findings with animal behaviour studies and the latest findings in neuroscience, to come to the very non-PC conclusion that when it comes to sex, women are wired to find sexual submission arousing. And that gender equality, far from liberating women sexually, actually inhibits desire."

China and Japan: Seven decades of bitterness

China and Japan: Seven decades of bitterness

"Should today's generation bear the responsibility for past mistakes?...

I have long felt that I was not taught enough at school, so last year I wrote an article about the shortcomings of Japan's history education. It pointed out that the syllabus skims through more than a million years of Japan's relations with the rest of the world in just one year of lessons. As a result, many Japanese people have a poor understanding of the geopolitical tensions with our neighbours.

My article made many people in my home country, including some of my own family, uncomfortable.

It was not a foreigner criticising Japan, it was a Japanese reporter openly criticising Japan in front of global audience.

"Traitor" and "foreign spy" are just two of the many names I was called. "Don't you love your own country?" one person asked on Twitter. Of course I do.

When I confronted Japan's past, it was like experiencing a bad breakup. I went through similar stages - shock, denial, anger and sorrow. I eventually came to accept that I could not change what had happened...

Why don't other Asian countries, where the occupying Japanese army also killed many civilians, hate the Japanese as much as China and South Korea do?

"Hate" may be a too strong word - but it seemed to me to describe the feelings of Chinese protesters who were burning Japanese cars...

Singapore, where I've lived since 2006, also suffered at the hands of Japanese soldiers, but there have not been anti-Japanese protests there for decades.

Different sources cite different numbers of casualties, but 50,000 to 100,000 ethnically Chinese Singaporeans are believed to have been killed in what is known as the Sook Ching massacre. In a small city state of some 800,000 in 1942, that is a huge number...

"When we became independent from Malaysia in 1965, the general assumption was that we had about three years before we would have to crawl back into Malaysia. So when Japan came along and offered financial support and investments, the most logical thing was to accept them instead of criticising what they had done to us in the past"...

"To [Filipinos], Japan was just another colonial power after the Spanish."

In fact, China also seemed to be heading towards a pragmatic relationship with Japan in the 1970s, under Chairman Mao Zedong, when the two countries restored diplomatic relations.

"Chinese Communist propaganda at the time emphasised the victory of the communist side during the Chinese civil war," says Robert Dujarric, director of Temple University's Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies - referring to the war between Mao's Communists and nationalists under Chang Kai-shek, which lasted until 1949.

In 1972, when the then Japanese Prime Minister, Kakuei Tanaka, apologised for what Japan did during the war, "Chairman Mao told him not to apologise because 'you destroyed the Kuomintang, you helped us come to power'," Prof Dujarric says.

But the Party's propaganda seems to have taken a turn towards nationalism after the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which the Chinese army crushed to death students who were demanding democratic rights, on 4 June 1989.

"Before the 4 June, it portrayed the Communist Party as victorious and glorious - it defeated the nationalist Kuomintang army in the civil war. But after 4 June, the government started emphasising China as a victim," says Prof Akio Takahara, who teaches contemporary Chinese politics at Tokyo University.

The Communist Party now casts itself as the party which ended a century of humiliation at the hands of outsiders, he says.

"And the way they do it is to breed hatred against the most recent invader and aggressor."

Switching on the television in my Chinese hotel room, it was easy to find television programmes dramatising China's resistance to the Japanese invasion. As part of the country's "patriotic education" policy, more than 200 were made last year.

We spoke to an actor who "died" eight times a day, playing the role of a Japanese soldier in countless anti-Japanese dramas.

Had I grown up watching them, I would probably conclude that Japan was a horrible nation...

Years later, when she travelled to Japan to recount her experiences, people hugged her and apologised, saying they had no idea their ancestors had done such things.

Japan's leaders have also apologised to China many times.

Ma Licheng, who used to write for China's state-owned People's Daily newspaper, says he has counted 25 apologies from Japan to China overall. But none of these - nor Japan's financial aid to China, amounting to 3,650bn yen ($35.7bn; £21.8bn) over the years - have been covered in the Chinese media, he says, or taught to children at school.

"What Japan did in China during the war was horrible," Ma wrote in his book Beyond Apologies. "But demanding that they kneel on the ground is pointless. The wording of the Japanese apologies may not seem enough to us, but to them, they were a huge step so we have to accept them and move on."

When he published his book, he was called a traitor - a response he describes as "normal", given the emotions the subject stirs.

Haining confirms that she was not taught about these things at school. On the other hand, she doesn't think it would make a big change to Chinese attitudes towards Japan, even if children did learn about them."


Why Are Japan’s Apologies Forgotten?

"The “history” debate that constantly attends Japan postulates that the country has never apologized for past aggression within the region. In fact, Japan has provided Asian countries with assistance that was a form of compensation. The Asian Women’s Fund lacked clarity, but Tokyo offered payments to victims of sexual slavery. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama declared in 1995 that Japan’s “colonial rule and aggression (…) caused tremendous damage and suffering,” expressing his “remorse and (…) heartfelt apology.”

Earlier, in 1993, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono spoke of “the involvement of the military authorities” in the “comfort women” issue and added that “Japan would like (…) to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those (…) who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable (…) wounds.” Several prime ministers wrote to surviving sex slaves noting that “with an involvement of the Japanese military (…) [it] was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women. (…) our country, painfully aware of its moral responsibilities, with feelings of apology and remorse, should face up squarely to its past.”

This is far more apologizing and contrition than the world average.

So why has Japan gained so little recognition for these actions? One reason, noted previously, is that its Axis partner, Germany, has performed better on the atonement front. But this is not the only factor.

Another one is international politics. Strategic imperatives dictated that Israel, Western Europe and, after the Cold War, Central European states better their ties with the Federal Republic of Germany. In Asia, however, Japan’s position has deteriorated. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), not wasting much time on the past, wanted Tokyo’s money, which it got in vast amounts. Today, Beijing no longer needs the cash. Japan’s ally, the U.S., has replaced the Soviets as the enemy. Moreover, the CCP now fosters Japanophobia to bolster its chauvinistic credentials.

South Korea was a poor autocracy when it normalized relations with Japan in 1965. It received Japanese economic assistance as part of the treaty, but Seoul indemnified Japan against claims related to the colonial era. Since democratization in the late 1980s, many Korean leaders have worked hard to better relations with Japan. However, there are also electoral incentives to play the “anti-Japan card.” Being labeled “soft on Japan” is a curse. This is particularly true for President Park Geun-hye, whose father, the late general-president, began his rise as a lieutenant in the Army of Japanese Manchukuo (a patriotic choice, but one that carries an image problem today)...

Koreans also noted reports that Japanese diplomats complained to a New Jersey town about a memorial to the “comfort women”...

Another recent episode, which is minor but illustrative, concerns Ahn Jung-guen, the Korean assassin of the Japanese Resident General in Korea in 1909. Referring to plans to erect an Ahn statue in China, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called him a “criminal.” One of my alma maters, Yale University, boasts a sculpture of Nathan Hale, a colonial subject and activist who, like Ahn, was hanged by the authorities of the day. But one would not imagine Her Britannic Majesty’s government taking offense. Former colonies routinely honor those who fought the occupiers, often in barbaric ways.

Interestingly, in 1964, Prime Minister Eisaku Sato (Abe’s grand-uncle) awarded the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun to the American General Curtis LeMay, whose B-29s incinerated Japanese cities during the war. Koreans might be surprised to learn that Ahn, who like the American aviator considered he was waging a just war on Japan, is a “criminal” but that LeMay belongs to a select group of foreigners granted prestigious decorations (he was thanked for his work with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces, but it is unlikely premier Sato was unaware of that LeMay’s men killed around 100,000 civilians in Tokyo alone)."


"yeah Japan has apologized a lot and paid a lot of both China and South Korea, and South Korea under Park and China under Mao made peace with Japan, accepted apologies, accepted no interest loans, and cash payments...this was all part of re-normalizing relations with between those nations. However now China wishes to ignore this for domestic political gain, and South Korea says that Park was a dictator and didn't represent the Korean people's interests, so things are not settled (not that this is Japan's fault). This is why Japanese don't understand what is going on, they feel these matters have been settled. Even Yasakuni Shrine (where I have been) is a weird issue. It is a private shrine, that houses remains of not only war criminals, but Korean and Taiwanese people who died fighting for the Japanese empire (which is why some Taiwanese go there and pray including the old Present Lee Deng Hui), this is similar to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. that has the remains of Civil war confederate troops who betrayed the U.S. and fought for slavery...but it also has the remains of all soldiers who fought for the U.S., including black soldiers. Also unlike Yasakuni it is public, I don't see black Americans getting upset about Arlington, those people are dead. The shinto believe that in death all are equal and have to be judged by the gods, so they won't remove the remains of certain people, and this is a privately owned shrine, so the government cannot force it closed. In this way I think the CCP and the South Korean government takes advantage of victims of WWII and uses them. It's sick."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Links - 20th April 2014

Freescale loss in Malaysia tragedy leads to travel policy questions - "Some United States companies sending employees to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi worried too much about terrorism and not enough about more mundane risks like street crime and medical emergencies, he said. “You also have to realise that this type of tragedy, as horrific it is, is very infrequent,” Mr Horner said of the Malaysian airliner loss. “This is not something that occurs with any great frequency.”"

A Short Essay on Why Thought Catalog Sucks | One Day, I'll Move Out. - "Oh my Lord, if I have to read, see or hear about another “Why Your 20s are the Worst” article, I will blow chunks. All over the place... SNAP THE FUCK OUT OF IT. Your 20s were not forged in the fires of Mordor. Chances are, your life is pretty awesome. Chances are, while it’s not your dream job, you are employed, and you are paying off your debt albeit slowly. And, chances are, you have the opportunity to live at home until you choose to A) move out of state, B) marry someone, C) die from alcohol and steak-and-cheese sub poisoning, or D) all of the above. There are far worse things in life, people. For instance, living in Russia. Or not having clean water. Or a bed to sleep on let alone a roof over your head. OR A TOILET. And/or dogs stealing what food you do have if your kind soul didn’t already give said food to said dogs. (See also Russia.) And worst of all, no friends to encourage you to dream big, or hand you a glass of wine and a bowl of guac and tell you they love you anyway when you are a fucking mess, or to reminisce about the good ole’ days when you built illegal slip-and-slides all over campus and had zero worries in the world"

Animals Sucking at Jumping

Teacher from Forest Heights Middle School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the United States, accidentally shows students sex tape featuring her and fiancé

Man Goes to a 'Magic, the Gathering' Tournament, Takes a Selfie with Every Single Exposed Buttcrack

Ignoring pain can lead to problems, hasten death for elderly
"Pain is weakness leaving the body"
"What doesn't kill me makes me stronger"

Plastic ring prevents pregnancy and HIV

This Exhibit is Temporarily Awesome | Museums Askew - "This object has been temporarily removed as we revise its facial expression, which was deemed zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children"

SAPVoice: Solving Traffic Congestion - "In “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from U.S. Cities,” researchers show any increased capacity from additional roads is temporary. Traffic increases to fill the added capacity... Because roadways have natural levels of congestion to which they always return, mass transit projects do not reduce traffic... The authors conclude that the most effective approach is to charge a fee for cars to travel on roads during peak congestion hours"
"Adding lanes to solve traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to solve obesity." - Glen Hemistra (as they spell it online)/Glen Hiemstra (as it seems to be spelled)

The Germans Play Monopoly - Existential Comics

Public Toilet in Japan Accidentally Exposes Your Most Private Moments

Oversexed, overpaid and over here - "Conditions were harsh in Britain in the early 1940s and there was also an undercurrent of unease that was conveyed by the phrase, especially amongst British men, who resented the attraction of GIs, with their ready supply of nylons and cigarettes, amongst British women. The artist Beryl Cook, who was a young woman at the time confirmed this in an interview to the BBC in the late 1970s. I can't find the transcript of the interview, but from memory it was words to the effect of, 'food was scarce, but we supplemented our income by a little impromptu whoring with the GIs - we all did it'. Many of these liaisons were love matches rather than merely commercial transactions though, as the thousands of marriages between US servicemen and British women (the GI brides) is evidence of. The line was also used in Australia, in much the same context. "

Criminal Law and the Moral Panic on Campus Rape - "the Newsweek article describes this situation entirely from the accusers perspective, uncritically repeating a Department of Justice report claiming that "college women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the rest of the population" and "95% of rapes on campus will never be reported." But, actually, it's worse than that: the article by Katie J.M. Baker also cherry-picks the evidence from that report. According to Baker, "victims told the DoJ there were several reasons not to involve law enforcement officials, including fear of being treated with hostility by the police and 'anticipation that the police would not believe the incident was serious enough and/or would not want to be bothered with the incident.'" Yet the 2000 article at the link shows that these were not the leading reasons women gave for not reporting the alleged rapes: "The common answers included that the incident was not serious enough to report and that it was not clear that a crime was committed." Among the women the 2000 survey classified as victims of completed rape, 49 percent did not regard the incident as a rape; 46 percent did. If this looks like deliberate bias rather than sloppy one-sidedness, perhaps that's because it is. Several Twitter users have brought attention to the fact that Baker came over to Newsweek from, a leading website in the radical feminist blogosphere... The infographic Baker touted, which purports to illustrate the tiny percentage of rapists who are convicted and jailed and the even tinier percentage of accused men who are innocent, is based on such shoddy data that even radical feminist blogger Amanda Marcotte has criticized it as inaccurate"

Tiffany Jenkins: Obsession with rape ‘a moral panic’ - "There is a moment in Nirbhaya, Yael Farber’s harrowing new play about rape, on show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, based on the true story of a 23-year-old woman who was gang raped in New Delhi last year and who later died from her injuries, that made me uncomfortable... the different members of the cast stood tall with their arms raised, looked directly at the audience, and said: “We will be silent no more.” It was a powerful statement, but if I am truthful my first thought was: are we still silent about rape?... I am sure it’s therapeutic for the participants, but what about for those of us watching? “Women are raped for entertainment” suggests Alan Bissett in his show when he describes pornography. Isn’t there something that is similarly voyeuristic in our interest in the horror of sexual violence? What are we really saying about women and men when we stage these stories again and again? Because we are retelling these stories, again and again... Women are raped and abused, we are constantly told, they cannot recover. And what about men? They are all rapists, wife beaters, or about to commit an act placed on a continuum of sexual violence, even if it’s just a leer or a threatening line. This picture has become the dominant narrative, a little like the paedophile trope... If the men are not touching up girls, they are killing young boys. And no-one is surprised. We are creating a two-dimensional narrative of nasty men and vulnerable women that is limited when it comes to drama which needs and benefits from nuance, some light to offset the darkness or even, shockingly, a happy relationship. Although in Nirbhaya there is poetry in parts of the writing, the message is black and white: Indian men rape Indian women, it seems to say. Is that right? What’s more, ironically, in the process, the individual stories are lost in well-intentioned propaganda."

Moral panic for fun & profit - "A burglar robs your house because he wants what is in the house and is more concerned with his satisfaction than he is in your security and peace of mind. He will steal your car for the same reason and with the same lack of remorse. In the same manner, the rapist rapes because he or she wants sex. There is nothing surprising about it. There are no political motives. The tiger is not raping because he wants to repress the tigress or because he wants to stifle her political ideology. He is raping because he desires to have sex. The college student that first asks a girl on a date then tries to sway her with sweet talk and pleasant verbal coercion while touching and fondling until rejected and only then resorts to more coercive tactics is not repressing the girl out of hatred or a desire to control her. He is behaving that way because he wants sex. But let us not forget that we are playing the role of villains, so we need to twist this around. We will do this by taking the natural crime out of rape and claim it is an act of control, not sex. This technique works marvelously, as now when anyone points out the obvious fact that rape is rooted in our biology we can scream “You are a rape apologist. Rape culture!”... We will scour various sources for rape figures. When those figures do not add up to enough to convince people, we twist them around, we add different figures together to reach higher numbers... We throw the words ‘Rape culture’ like rice at a wedding. The meme spreads, panic ensues. Women everywhere are gripped in a viral moral panic. “What do we do?” they ask “Rape is everywhere around us!”... Of course if you report to the police that your car was stolen and during the course of the investigation he learns that you left the keys in the ignition while you ran into the store, the officer is going to tell you that you had it coming. But as we the hypothetical evil villains have convinced both the officer and the hapless citizen that rape is not like other crimes, he will not even think of taking the woman’s dress, behavior, or location into consideration."

Oxford graduate leaves City job to retrain as plumber - "An Oxford arts graduate has joined the ranks of highly-educated young people abandoning their careers in the City to pursue a life of manual trade as a plumber. The promise of a good salary, flexible hours and job security is tempting a growing number of graduates to train as plumbers, who can now earn more than £100,000 a year. The Telegraph last week found that many white-collar professionals, including an accountant and a computer consultant, were attending classes in how to fix taps and stop leaks. There is a shortage of qualified plumbers, which is why earnings within the industry are so high: up to £50 an hour. Last year the Construction Industry Training Board announced that by 2005 the nation would face a shortfall of 29,000 trained workers. City workers, who are experiencing a wave of redundancies with thousands losing their jobs, are also attracted by the lack of stress"

AdNews: ASB throws out complaints car ad reduces men to the same level as animals - "The ad watchdog has thrown out complaints a TV spot from car manufacturer Great Wall Australia animalises and demeans males. The ad depicts a man literally “in the dog house” after a fight with his wife as he has purchased an expensive four-wheel drive when he could have bought one from Great Wall for less than $24,000. The man in the ad is shown crouched in a dog kennel, sparking complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) that the ad “shows a male as being at the same level as an animal” and “would create outrage” if the protagonist were female... The manufacturer of Great Wall, Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd, argued the ad was all in “light-hearted humour” and does not “vilify or demean the male gender”... The ASB wrote: “the advertisement did not depict material that discriminated against or vilified any person or section of society”."

Do Artists and Musicians Live Longer Lives? - "Writers and musicians born in the Low Countries—Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg—between 1700 and 1850 had a life expectancy comparable to that of their society’s most elite strata... This effect was not found among visual artists, perhaps because of toxic elements found in the paints of the era. But that group turned things around over the next half-century, with painters and sculptors born between 1850 and 1899 having a similar life expectancy to members of the elite class. While somewhat inconsistent and subject to caveats, the findings are “in line with observed favorable effects of practicing arts on health in the short term”"

A Good Reason to go to Confession

A man walks into a confession booth in a Catholic church and says "Father, I'm 83 years old and I've been married to the same woman since I was 19. I've always been faithful, until today. Today I picked up two young women hitchhiking, and we ended up going to a motel and all making love together for several hours."

The priest says "For your sin of adultery, say ten Hail Maries and ten Our Fathers."

The man says "Say ten what now?"

The priest says "Ten Hail Maries, ten Our Fathers."

The man says "What are those?"

The priest says "You're 83 years old and you don't know Hail Mary and Our Father? What kind of Catholic are you?"

The man says "I'm not a Catholic. I'm Jewish."

The priest says "Then why are you even telling me this?"

The man says "I'm telling everybody!"
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