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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Links - 2nd September 2011

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson

***

After 27 years, man cuts off hair for charity - "A man who has been growing his hair for 27 years had it hacked off for a good cause Thursday morning. He's donating his ponytail to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for people battling cancer... McGuinness had to get the major trim for a new job. When he heard the position required short hair he was going to turn it down but when he realized that long mane could help someone else he decided to go for it"

Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists

'My callous lover gave me herpes so no one else would want me'... and now he's in prison for it - "Nigel Scott, spokesman for the Herpes Viruses Association, compared the case to prosecuting children for 'giving their friends chicken pox'"

BBC favours Muslims, complain Hindus and Sikhs - "An analysis of programmes from the BBC's Religion and Ethics department claims that since 2001, the BBC has made 41 programmes on Islam, five on Hinduism and one on Sikhism."

Manchester United voted 'most hated company in Britain'

Gaza flotilla participants created war atmosphere before confronting Israel - "On the day before the Gaza flotilla confronted the Israeli navy, Al-Jazeera TV documented the pre-battle atmosphere created by men on board the flotilla, who chanted a well-known Islamic battle cry invoking the killing and defeat of Jews in battle: "[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!"... Al-Jazeera also reports that before the confrontation, flotilla participants announced that they would use "resistance" against Israel. Mukawama (resistance) is the Arabic term used by Palestinians to refer to all violence against Israel, including suicide terror"
From Wikipedia: "The flotilla was reported to be carrying ballistic vests, gas masks, night-vision goggles, clubs, and slingshots... Two-thirds of the medicines delivered by the flotilla expired between six and fifteen months prior to the raid, and were found to be useless. Some other medicines found on the flotilla were due to expire soon. Additionally, Israel said that much of the cargo, including sensitive medical equipment, was found to have been scattered in the ship's holds, and put in piles rather than packed properly for transport, and consequently damaged. Operating theater equipment, which was supposed to be kept sterile, was carelessly wrapped"
It's telling how people ignore all this evidence


Belief in Witchcraft in Africa - "Unfortunately, most texts, studies and reports on witchcraft in Africa avoid evaluating or ascertaining the veracity of witchcraft claims. Last year, UNICEF published a report, Children Accused of Witchcraft: An Anthropological Study of Contemporary Practices in Africa. The objective of the study was to ‘reveal and analyze the diversity and complexity of these phenomena – often falsely associated with ‘African tradition’- related to beliefs in witchcraft and the “mystical” world.’ The document carefully avoided doing a critical evaluation of claims or accusations associated with witchcraft. The study did not come out with a position statement as to whether witches exist or not or whether claims associated with witchcraft are true or false. This report did not do justice to the topic and phenomenon of witchcraft accusation because it did not provide answers to questions that have been boggling the minds of Africans for ages, such as: Is witchcraft science or superstition? Is witchcraft myth or reality? Do witches actually exist or are they imaginary entities? The report could not let us know if indeed human beings can bewitch one another as most Africans believe... People can suspect anyone of engaging in witchcraft, it is mostly vulnerable members of the population who are openly accused, confronted and persecuted"

The Yale Journal of Medicine & Law blows it big time on alternative medicine - "It's always frightening when lawyers delve into the realm of medicine. It's even worse when pre-law students and political science majors do the same... it's obvious that she didn't even bother to do a bit of research into the relevant law and regulations, which is the sort of thing you'd think--oh, you know--writers for a law journal would do. You'd think that a Yale student publication such as the Yale Journal of Medicine & Law could attract better student authors, capable of less sloppy, ideologically motivated work. You'd think wrong, apparently. Even though the Yale Journal of Medicine & Law is an undergraduate journal, presumably its authors are interested in going into--oh, you know--medicine or law or related fields"

The new definitions of Halal | Unscientific Malaysia - "Somehow, the simple process of choosing what’s halal and what’s not using observation has evolved into a complex, almost paranoid approach to declare suspected ones as haram... “This kit will pick out traces of pork anywhere, even from dishes which have been washed!” claimed the exhibitor with excitement... What are the chances of pork traces floating around somewhere in the vicinity of some eateries? At times, it will be quite high. When before this, one can continue eating in a halal restaurant situated beside one that sells pork, now one will probably avoid it based on a test that picks up what should be negligible traces. And even after samak — an act considered to cleanse one out from pig’s traces — is found to be haram by this method, what hope is there for Muslims?... Lest we forget, the Quran mentioned: "He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah – Al-Baqarah (The Cow) [2:173]". We do not see any mentions of RNA, DNA nor protein of swine."
Malaysia Boleh!

Singapore, Curry Day and scapegoating - "We were told quite proudly by the agent that there were “no Indians” living in the block. By now, J and I were completely stumped. “What’s wrong with Indians?” we asked.“Their food is very smelly,” was the reply. “We don’t like renting to Indians.” Every single one of these comments came from Singaporean Chinese... Singaporean Chinese were discriminating against Indians and complaining about the smell of their food long before one million mainlanders flooded the country. But I do applaud them for a neat sleight of hand. Now none of this is their fault At All. Well played, Singaporean Chinese. Well played."
Addendum: The comments are telling

Do Romantic Thoughts Reduce Women's Interest in Engineering? - IEEE Spectrum - "A new study suggests thoughts of romance can reduce college women's interest in science and engineering"
I can't wait to see what the feminists say in response; I would imagine that since the Arts are coded as feminine, men would be similarly disadvantaged in an equivalent reverse situation

Charlie Wilcox: 'Smoking thousands of cigarettes was GOOD for my unborn daughter' - "Charlie Wilcox, whose daughter Lilly is now 14 weeks, reckoned that smoking would make her unborn child’s heart stronger by restricting her oxygen supply and forcing her heart to work harder... Miss Wilcox, who had hoped to join the police but currently lives on benefits, even claims giving up smoking caused a friend’s miscarriage"

The fetal alcohol crisis - "In addition to the tragedy caused, the cost of women binge-drinking while pregnant now exceeds that of the national debt... [a] 1997 Supreme Court ruling that a pregnant Manitoba woman addicted to glue sniffing could not be forced to get treatment. “Women’s rights groups heralded this decision as a major triumph,” Ms. Buxton says. “All I could think about was whether that child’s life would turn out to be as heartbreaking as our daughter’s.” She is in complete agreement with the two dissenting judges who wrote: “When a woman chooses to carry a fetus to term, she must accept some responsibility for its well-being, and the state has an interest in trying to ensure the developing fetus.” “The question,” Ms. Buxton points out, “is how can the state make sure the baby is born healthy without forcibly incarcerating women?”"

When it comes to politics, is ignorance bliss? - "The more informed people get, the more dogmatic they tend to become. “It might even be better to be ruled by the relatively ignorant public, because they tend to be more open-minded”... The web helps to fuel dogmatism. His studies have found that, on average, people who use the Internet more than newspapers “are interested in fewer subjects and have more extreme views on those subjects.”"

AI vs. AI. Two chatbots talking to each other - YouTube - "Well, that was exactly what I expected. The woman was irrational and didn't make any sense. She also lied."

Moon cake tax proposal stirs debate - "Employees will have to pay a personal income tax on moon cakes offered by their employers this Mid-Autumn Festival, which has caused public dissatisfaction, but analysts said Sunday it's a type of fringe benefit tax that is reasonable, and could cut down on waste"

retired doc's thoughts: The problems of Evidence-based medicine widely accepted hierarchy of evidence - "It seems that the elephant's cloak of invisibility was torn away when a number of small clinical trials allegedly found that such things as homeopathy and reiki ( the most improbably absurd of the improbable methods of CAM) seemed to work or at a minimum the claim was made that larger trials were needed... The message of "trials trump basic science" seemed to have taken to heart by the folks at Cochrane."

Are Crunches Worth the Effort? - NYTimes.com - "The researchers had expected that the volunteers with the sturdiest cores would outshine the others on the tests of physical performance. But they did not. There was little correlation in this study between robust core muscles and athleticism"

Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence - "We show, somewhat against the conventional wisdom, that low-skill immigration can lead to a lower tax burden and less redistribution than would be the case with no immigration, even though migrants (naturally) join the pro-tax/transfer coalition. Data on 11 European countries over the period 1974–1992 are consistent with the implications of the theory: a higher share of low-education immigrants in the population leads to a lower tax rate on labor income and less generous social transfers."
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