"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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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Links - 1st December 2011

"We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true." - Robert Wilensky


Saudi moral committee threatens to cover “tempting” women’s eyes - "Women with sexy eyes in Saudi Arabia may be forced to cover them up, according to the spokesperson of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) in the conservative Gulf kingdom... In 2002, the committee refused to let female students out of their burning schools in Mecca for “not wearing the proper head cover,” which contributed to a large number of dead"

Skinny People Need To Stop Pretending That They’re Fat « Thought Catalog - "When thin people talk about their poor eating habits, are they showing off? Are they letting us soak in the irony that they’ve maintained a nice figure by eating absolute crap?"

Bob Ostertag: Militarization Of Campus Police - "Apparently, in the state of California felons incarcerated for violent crimes have rights that students at public universities do not... former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper published an essay arguing that the current epidemic of police brutality is a reflection of the militarization (his word, not mine) of our urban police forces, the result of years of the "war on drugs" and the "war on terror"
"There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people"

Funny? The LTA not amused by pedestrian crossing prank - "At the pedestrian crossing in front of Rendezvous Hotel Singapore in Bras Basah Road, a button on the pedestrian crossing has been covered by a sticker which admonishes: 'Press Once Can Already'... [LTA] is not amused by the prank. It warns that individuals who are caught pasting signs or illegal advertisements on street infrastructure can be fined $300 for the first offence and $400 for a repeat offence. If prosecuted in court, they may be fined up to $2,000"
Apparently they don't have better things to do; it's significant that no one they asked disapproved of it per se - despite the journalistic imperative for "balance"

Oddly, Texas can teach the UK a thing or two on criminal justice - "It is the unlikely centre of a revolution in prison reform sweeping the US, overthrowing decades of failed polices and sterile debate driven by politicians scared of being seen as soft. The state has cut crime, costs and the numbers in jail to such an extent it has just shut a high-security prison for the first time in history. What makes this prison revolt even more unexpected is that it is led by some of the most conservative figures in politics. They have decided – correctly – that an expensive prison system repeatedly locking up the same people is a sign of failure. As a result, they have endorsed policies traditionally seen as liberal to keep people out of jail."

Racial murders: nearly half the victims are white - "Nearly half of all victims of racially motivated murders in the last decade have been white... The disclosure will add to the intense debate over multiculturalism in British society. The figures also overturn the assumption that almost all racial murders are committed against ethnic minority victims. Senior police officers have admitted that 'political correctness' and the fear of discussing the issue have meant that race crime against white people goes under-reported. One chief constable has claimed that white, working-class men are more alienated than the Muslim community... it was harder to get the media interested where murder victims were young white men... 'Sometimes we forget that ethnic minorities actually make up quite a small percentage of the population'"

Websites Let People Farm Out Chores - "Erika Dumaine, 24, logged onto TaskRabbit this April and saw the following plea for help: "Buy me shoes ASAP. I stepped in dog poop." So Ms. Dumaine, now a full-time nanny, bought and delivered a requested new pair of navy blue Toms shoes from Nordstrom's to the poster, Guillermo Rauch. (Her payment: $17.)"

Lawsuit: Man fired for not wearing "666" sticker

Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Natural History - NYTimes.com

African-American Atheists - NYTimes.com - "In most African-American communities, it is more acceptable to be a criminal who goes to church on Sunday, while selling drugs to kids all week, than to be an atheist who ... contributes to society and supports his family"

Alcohol-free whisky is halal-certified

Lawsuit Says Prosecutor Went Too Far In Charging Boy - "A 6-year-old Grant County boy has been accused of first-degree sexual assault after playing "doctor" with two 5-year-old friends... the prosecutor, Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker, on Monday morning asked a judge for a gag order in the case and was granted it. The gag order prohibits the boy's parents from talking about the case... "She (Riniker) bypassed the parents and sent a 6-year-old boy a summons, on which is a threat that the 6-year-old will go to jail for failure to appear"... The attorneys said they have sought the opinion of many experts who said that children "playing doctor" is not a sex crime"
"The lawsuit says that once he turns 18, he will be listed as a sex offender"

Perverted Justice - "The panic that followed Megan Kanka's murder produced an alarm system that often fails to distinguish between dangerous predators like Timmendequas, who had a record of assaulting little girls, and nonviolent lawbreakers like Elliot, who posed no discernible threat to the general public. They are all mixed together in the online registries of sex offenders that every state is required to maintain... Registration only rarely leads to murder, but it routinely ruins relationships, triggers ostracism and harassment, and impedes education and employment... In Miami local residence restrictions have given rise to a colony of more than 70 sex offenders who live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway, a bridge that crosses Biscayne Bay... Two decades of ever-more-punitive legislation have produced sentencing rules so bizarre and byzantine that the punishment for possessing images of sexually abused children can be more severe than the punishment for sexually abusing them... at least 13 [states] required [sex offender] registration for public urination... the rules aimed at discouraging sex offenders from committing new crimes can produce the opposite effect. "One of the most powerful things that keep people from breaking the law is a sense of what they will lose if they do," she says. "If you're treating someone like a cur, a dog that is being kicked out of the village, how are you strengthening that person's desire or ability to follow the law?"... "Though often thought of as the most persistent and dangerous criminals, sex offenders are among the least likely criminals to recidivate"... conventional wisdom assumes child-porn consumers are undiscovered or future molesters, that assumption is also wrong... "People who watch movies like Saw and Friday the 13th are being titillated by the act of torture and murder. That doesn't mean that they're going to go out and commit torture and murder"... a substantial share of defendants were themselves victims of sexual abuse as children and look at these images as a way of working through the trauma"

Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study
The interpretation is odd: in that case atheists who used to be religious would have atrophied brains too

Give them what they want: The benefits of explicitness in gift exchange - "Five studies show that gift recipients are more appreciative of gifts they explicitly request than those they do not. In contrast, gift givers assume that both solicited and unsolicited gifts will be equally appreciated. At the root of this dilemma is a difference of opinion about what purchasing an unsolicited gift signals: gift givers expect unsolicited gifts will be considered more thoughtful and considerate by their intended recipients than is actually the case (, and ). In our final two studies, we highlight two boundary conditions for this effect: identifying a specific gift and using money as a gift. When gift recipients request one specific gift, rather than providing a list of possible gifts, givers become more willing to purchase the requested gift (Study 4). Further, although givers believe that recipients do not appreciate receiving money as much as receiving a solicited gift, recipients feel the opposite about these two gift options (Study 5)."

Dartmouth Algorithm Rates Altered Images - "Dr. Farid got the inspiration when he read about feminist legislators in Britain, France and Norway who were trying to get legislation passed that required digitally altered photographs to be labeled as such... "Readers aren't fooled if you really sculpt the images," Seymour said. "If you're a good editor, you don't go too far these days""

Creative thinkers more likely to cheat: Study - "Creative people are more likely to cheat than less creative people, possibly because this talent increases their ability to rationalize their actions."

How my mother's fanatical feminist views tore us apart - "My mother's feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn't even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her. I love my mother very much, but I haven't seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son - her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology... Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating. But far from taking responsibility for any of this, the leaders of the women's movement close ranks against anyone who dares to question them"

Amazon.com: What's Wrong with Benevolence: Happiness, Private Property, and the Limits of Enlightenment - "The attractiveness of communism—the “emotional fuel” of communist revolutionaries for over a hundred years—has always been “exactly the same as the emotional fuel of every other utopianism: the passionate desire to alleviate or abolish misery.” Yet communism was such a monumental failure that millions of people today are still suffering its consequences. In this most prescient of essays, Stove warns contemporary readers just how seductive universal political benevolence can be. He also shows how the failure to understand the connection between benevolence and communism has led to many of the greatest social miseries of our age."

XXX Site to Taylor Swift: Convert to Islam, and We'll Take Down Photo - "We will remove the [photo] if Taylor Swift simply agrees to convert to Islam. To convert to Islam, Taylor Swift must publicly renounce her Jew God Jesus [...] then sacrifice a goat and devour its entrails"
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