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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Links - 25th April 2012

"All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else." - H. L. Mencken


TODAYonline | Travel | To Myanmar with love - "After visiting my cousin working in Myanmar last October, I found myself appreciating certain aspects of the country I highly doubt would exist if the hermit state had been more sociable from the start"
Comments from Burmese: "Please Don't Anyhow INSULT Any Country... Anyway, I just feel like by writing this kinda article, you are showing the public how jealous, low-standard and closed-minded you are... Be Mindful with your Words Ms Serene Lim.. I hope your words ain't represent All the Singaporeans....."
"what a pathetic reporter writing an article in such a prejudiced way..."
If you thought Singaporeans had a poor grasp of English, the Burmese are even worse

Apple crafting weapon to vanquish Flashback virus - ""All the stuff the bad guys have learned for doing attacks in the PC world is now starting to transition to the Mac world," McAfee Labs director of threat intelligence Dave Marcus told AFP. "Mac has said for a long time that they are not vulnerable to PC malware, which is true; they are vulnerable to Mac malware." Dr. Web has now determined that more than 650,000 Mac computers may be infected with Flashback, which is designed to let hackers steal potentially valuable information such as passwords or financial account numbers"

Japanese firms face penalties for overweight staff

'In God We Trust' suit rejected by Supreme Court - "Michael Newdow, an atheist, has filed numerous lawsuits against government-sponsored religious invocations, including the words "under God" that were added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954... in a 2-1 decision in October, a different appeals court panel said "under God" was a historic, nonreligious recognition of the faith of the nation's founders in a higher power as the source of all rights... Judge Carlos Bea wrote that the court recognized in a 1970 ruling that the motto has a "patriotic or ceremonial character" and "has no theological or ritualistic impact.""

Taoists upset over priest's robe worn at fashion show - "Leaders of the Taoist Federation are upset with the Floral Designers Society Singapore (FDSS) over a fashion show it held during a gala dinner last month... Federation president Tan Thiam Lye said that since Monday, it has received more than 10 calls from outraged Taoist devotees who have threatened to make police reports against the FDSS."
What is the distinction between religion and culture? Is "in God we trust" necessarily a declaration of religious faith?; Once you open the floodgates, it's a free for all. We're going to need to hire more police officers.

Soldier who refused to lose heart - "When doctors diagnosed him with a slow heart rate, Private R. Saravanan's hopes of becoming a combat soldier appeared dashed... 'I've always wanted to be a combatant who goes outfield and leads men... I wanted to do something more fulfilling during my NS,' said the former Yishun Junior College student... After appealing to his superiors and going through a seven-month battery of tests such as heart scans, the NSF was eventually deemed combat fit and started his BMT in Pulau Tekong last December"
One can apply the logic "you're crazy for trying to get what so many others are trying to avoid" (e.g. "you're crazy for having an abortion when so many people are trying for a baby")

The Incredible Story Of How Laid-Off OMGPOP Workers Got Hired Back Just In Time To Cash-In On The Big Sale A good contrast to OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter's Twitter Mishap

Bib:Love Offers Free Sex To Female Students, Promises Better Grades - "Female university students in Germany who are feeling stressed out and potentially receiving bad grades because of that stress can now use a service known as “Bib: Love” to help relieve their stress through free one-night stands. The program was started by three University of Mannheim students who thought offering a “stress free environment” to students would be a great service and the benefits for those men is obvious... at least a few female students have agreed to give the service a try with decent results. One female says she had “no complaints” about the service that was offered."

Why Does Bottled Water Have an Expiration Date?

The Dangerously Clean Water Used To Make Your iPhone - "The ultra-pure water used to clean semiconductors and make microchips would suck vital minerals right out of your body. Plus it tastes really nasty... That’s the kind of claim about water that people scoff at--it seems ridiculous on the face of it. Water too clean to drink?"

'Star Wars: The Old Republic' allows players to explore homosexual relationships - "It’s strange that Perkins is so upset about an extremely minor game-play addition which will allow a gamer to pursue an extremely quote-unquote “relationship” with a character created entirely with pixels, especially since The Old Republic also allows players to join the all-encompassingly evil Sith Lords and brutally conquer the galaxy. (But who cares about totalitarian despotism? Gay people: screech!"

Darlene Mayes, 73-Year-Old “Drug Kingpin,” Arrested in Oklahoma [Video] - "In one of the most bizarre stories of the day, a 73-year-old grandmother has been arrested for allegedly running a major marijuana drug operation out of her northeast Oklahoma home... Mayes also had $300,000 in cash and numerous guns stashed throughout the house"

THE ECONOMICS OF HIGH-END PROSTITUTES - "Among the many things we are left to consider in the wake of the Eliot Spitzer scandal, there is one I still can't quite get over: the staggering price of a high-end call girl. What service can anyone provide to justify up to $5,500 an hour?... It seems purchasing sex is like buying shellfish: it should come from a reputable provider. Meeting a woman in a clean, well-kept environment signals higher quality and lowers the risk of an infection substantially. Some argue that such no-strings transactions are ultimately less harmful to both career and marriage than taking a mistress. The men at the airport lounge also pointed out that the premium buys discretion. But at these prices, it is difficult to avoid a paper trail... A colleague with some experience arranging escorts for clients (when he worked at a rather nefarious-sounding private-equity firm) explained that a higher price often meant that a woman was either especially talented and versatile (ie, would provide a wider range of services), or simply more popular and experienced. I had been under the impression that this was a job in which seniority was undesirable. It depends on the woman, he said, just before emphatically denying ever using a call girl himself. As with all things, a premium price signals quality. Men who seek out high-end prostitutes may question the value of a bargain. The industry feeds their narcissism (hence the name "Emperors club VIP")"

The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press - "There are virtually no gender differences in opinions about abortion. Last November, about half of women (52%) and men (50%) said abortion should be legal in all or most cases; 42% of women and 44% of men said it should be illegal in all or most cases. These views have changed little in Pew Research Center surveys going back more than a decade"
Given attempts to silence anti-abortion views when they come from men, this is significant

Rights or Benefits? Explaining the Sexual Identity Gap in American Political Behavior - "Lesbians, gays, and bisexuals (LGBs) are far more likely than heterosexuals to support the Democratic Party and its candidates. But is this support due to the Democratic Party support for the civil rights agendas of historically disadvantaged groups, or is it based on other factors? In this article, we use the issue of same-sex marriage to attempt to explain the nature of the sexual identity gap. We demonstrate that a substantial portion of LGBs place a great deal of importance on winning healthcare and other employee benefits for their spouses, but that they are less concerned about having legally recognized marriages. Furthermore, we find that it is the goal of acquiring spousal benefits, not the right to marry, that influences the degree to which LGBs support the Democratic Party. We conclude that the sexual identity gap is generated more from LGB concerns about acquiring tangible economic benefits than from an interest in pursuing civil rights."

Self-Righteous Cyclists Cause Share of Road Rage | The Urban Cyclist - "What struck me about both the cyclists I experienced was their complete lack of self-awareness, especially considering that both men were dressed like Lance Armstrong-wannabes with expensive clothing to match their expensive bikes. Yet, for all the money they spent on their gear and equipment, they proved to be more of a harm to other cyclists than any angry motorist. Why? Because the excessive and rude actions of both the cyclists provoked and antagonized the motorists around them"

Swedish minister in 'racist cake' controversy - "Sweden's culture minister is facing calls to step down after she was photographed cutting a cake designed like an African tribal woman... the cake was supposed to highlight the issue of female circumcision. But the Association for African Swedes said it was a crude racist caricature and called for Ms Liljeroth to resign. Kitimbwa Sabuni, a spokesperson for the group, told Swedish news agency TT: "To say that you did this for a good cause only makes the mockery of people who are victims of racism and of circumcision worse." The artist behind the cake, Makode Linde, who is black but was born in Stockholm, said the work had been misunderstood... "I was invited to speak at World Art Day about the freedom of art and the right to be provocative, and then they asked me to cut up the cake""
Moral of the story: try to be as bland as possible so nothing bad will happen to you

Swedish culture minister in 'racist cake' row - "Pictures of the Swedish culture minister cutting a cake designed like an African tribal woman has caused widespread anger and prompted prompted one organisation to demand her resignation. Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was invited to cut the cake, which doubled as an art installation... The exhibit at the Moderna Museet was meant to highlight the issue of female genital mutilation, and Makode Aj Linde, its Afro-Swedish creator was part of it all with his head built into the cake. When Adelsohn Liljeroth put the knife into the cake, he screamed "No, no!" from inside the installation... Adelsohn Liljeroth described the incident as a "bizarre situation". "I was invited to speak at World Art Day about the freedom of art and the right to be provocative, and then they asked me to cut up the cake... [The artist] has for several years used art to criticise stereotypes of black people and said that female genital mutilation as a choice of theme for the cake "was quite natural, as you would have to cut it up"... Karin Olsson, culture editor of Swedish daily Expressen, wrote that the event appeared to be a "brilliant performance, in which the initially humourostic tone raised questions about power and colonial perspectives. "Of course it would have been easier to do as PR consultants and nervous press spokesmen probably would have recommended: politely decline cutting the cake, to avoid tough questions afterwards. But such sterile politicians, who never take a risk, are not wanted," she wrote. The arts critic Dan Jonsson of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter raised the possibility that Adelsohn Lijeroth had been "trapped", and said that whatever the minister had chosen to do, it would have been "wrong". "Either she'd been accused of being judgemental about artistic freedom, or to express racism," he wrote. "If this is the case, it was a skillfully set trap.""
Political Correctness hurts Art (and arguably activism). Though from a certain point of view it's comforting that this sort of thing can still happen in Sweden; Al Jazeera has the most incisive of the 4-5 articles I found on this topic
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