"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Links - 26th January 2011

"Never knock on Death's door: ring the bell and run away! Death really hates that!" - Matt Frewer


Russian Orthodox Church calls for dress code, says miniskirts cause 'madness' - "While his proposed dress code would also apply to men who go into public wearing T-shirts, shorts, or track suits, the letter was most likely to rankle Russian women, who are famous for their love of shocking colors, generous makeup, and daring fashions... "One big difference between today's Russia and the USSR is that, though the state is politically authoritarian, it no longer attempts to interfere in peoples' private lives," and it's not likely to empower the church to do so either"

Islamic scholar attacks Pakistan's blasphemy laws - ""[Fundamentalists] have become stronger, because they have street power behind them, and the liberal forces are weak and divided. If it continues like this it could result in the destruction of Pakistan"... "Ghamidi's is a voice for the converted. But that won't solve our problem""
The last is the best comment on this issue, despite the vacuity of hope

Solar Heating Improves Hygiene in Rural China - "Statistics show that at least 200 million out of China's 800 million rural residents only bathe once a month. Tens of millions were found to bathe only once every quarter or every six months"
Proof that many PRCs don't bathe!

Where now? - "The recent credit crunch was not a crisis of capitalism; it was a crisis of western financial markets. Capitalism is doing perfectly fine in China, India, Brazil and Germany. Moreover, totalitarianism was just as much the cause of the credit crunch as capitalism. It was the democratic deficit in China and elsewhere that created the savings glut which tornadoed through the US property market... the problem with the “Washington consensus” which Hobsbawm attacks was not that it was liberal, but that it was so extreme... It is not the spectre of communism that haunts Europe, but of scientific socialism: the process of thinking, most common on the left in the work of John Rawls and books like The Spirit Level, that we should rationally identify a perfect society and then bend our country into this conceptual framework... We understand justice better by comparing real alternatives than by trying to build a castle to social justice in the air. Movements work by deciding between available alternatives, whereas theorists fail by blaming each other for still being so far away from perfection... it was the false consciousness of the intellectuals, not the proletariat, that [Marx] should have worried about. And it was the wisdom of the labour movement that proved a better solution to reducing this unnecessary suffering than the predictions of inevitable revolution... while we should harness the “creative destruction” of capitalism, we must not forget that destruction is painful"

Cat ordered to do jury service - "Anna Esposito, wrote to Suffolk Superior Crown Court in Boston, US, to explain that a mistake had been made, but a jury commissioner replied saying the cat, named Tabby Sal, "must attend" on March 23. Mrs Esposito had included a letter from her vet confirming that the cat was "a domestic short-haired neutered feline". Tabby Sal had been entered by Mrs Esposito under the 'pets' section of the last census"

21 Things That Cannot Be Unseen
No, not in the NSFW way

UK bans ‘Koran burning’ pastor
He didn't actually burn a Koran, while you have Britons calling for the "Return of the Khilafah" and throwing bricks and concrete through windows

My beef isn't with beef: why I stopped being a vegetarian - "Every meal you eat that supports a sustainable farm changes the agricultural world... For me, it took a return to carnivory to live out the ideals of vegetarianism"

What would Hermione look like if she came from the other three Hogwarts houses?

Heroic Naturalists or Imperialist Dogs? - "To call this local knowledge [of animals new to Western Science] “discovery” is like saying Newton didn’t discover gravity, because people already knew that things have a way of falling down. The key to scientific discovery is making knowledge available to people everywhere... the Chinese “did not have a discipline, a system of knowledge, or even a coherent scholarly tradition equivalent to Western notions of ‘natural history,’ ‘botany,’ or ‘zoology’”... A simple-minded story line about imperialists appropriating natural resources — with great white hunters playing out their heroic exploits at the expense of local cultures — may have its revisionist appeal. But it’s at least equally important to recognize that the work of early naturalists continues to save lives and protect resources today. The best evidence of its value is that every country from China to Gabon to Colombia now employs this scientific system of discovery and classification as a better way to understand not just our world, but theirs"

'Bust-boosting' cookies pose health risks - "THREE 16-year-olds here, fans of American pop star Katy Perry, also admired her for being well-endowed. So when one of the trio, Abigail Chua, came across made-in-Japan 'breast-enhancement' cookies, it seemed just the sweet secret to the ampler bosoms they wished to have. They each ordered two boxes of these 'F-cup cookies' from an online shop. For two weeks, they substituted their main meals with the cookies, as they were told to do by the seller, on the promise of a side benefit of some weight loss. All the girls got were gastric pains and diarrhoea... The cookies contain pueraria mirifica, a plant-based oestrogen commonly found in bust-enhancement creams sold here... Blogshop owner Evie Tan, 19... said that although they have not delivered on their promise of an F-cup chest, her breasts are now fuller and firmer. 'There's nothing wrong with me,' she said... Plastic surgeon Andrew Khoo of the Aesthetic & Reconstructive Centre said that in theory, they could indeed increase one's bust size as stimulation of breast tissue by oestrogen would make it bigger. But he warned: 'It has been documented that quite a number of breast cancers are oestrogen-receptor positive, which means they are hormone-triggered tumours'"

Salaries of our fresh graduates 2010
Interestingly, NTU accountants are paid little but many of them are employed. And a surprising number of engineers are unemployed (or poorly paid)

New Research Shows Testing, Not Cramming, Key To Learning

Tory MP Dominic Raab calls for male equality: Feminists are bigots - "He pointed out women in their 20s are now paid more than their male peers, who work longer hours, retire later and die earlier... He said men were blamed by society for the banking crisis, discriminated against by parental leave rules which favour women who want time off and ignored by the courts when relationships break down and they seek custody of their children... 'Gay men earn more than straight men, lesbian women more than heterosexual women. Does that sound like a society ­riddled with discrimination? ‘Meanwhile, pay is just one of the terms of employment. Men work longer hours, enjoy their jobs less, commute further and are more likely to get the sack’"

Politics and Blacks - "Blacks hold high offices and dominate the political arena in Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New Orleans and other cities. Yet these are the very cities with the nation's most rotten schools, highest crime rates, high illegitimacy rates, weak family structure and other forms of social pathology... the solution to most of the major problems that confront many black people won't be found in the political arena and by electing more blacks to high office. In fact, politicians tend to be hostile to some of the solutions to problems many blacks face such as school choice as a means to strengthen education, the elimination of oppressive licensing restrictions for various occupations, and supportive of job-destroying labor legislation such as minimum wage laws. The bottom line is there is very little evidence anywhere on the planet that political power is a necessary condition for economic power"

The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies - "If black pride made it hard to grapple with the increasingly separate and unequal family, feminism made it impossible. Fretting about single-parent families was now not only racist but also sexist, an effort to deny women their independence, their sexuality, or both. As for the poverty of single mothers, that was simply more proof of patriarchal oppression. In 1978, University of Wisconsin researcher Diana Pearce introduced the useful term “feminization of poverty.” But for her and her many allies, the problem was not the crumbling of the nuclear family; it was the lack of government support for single women and the failure of business to pay women their due... children in single-parent homes were not doing as well as children from two-parent homes on a wide variety of measures, from income to school performance to teen pregnancy... Though they always caution that “marriage is not a panacea,” social scientists almost uniformly accept the research that confirms the benefits for children growing up with their own married parents"
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