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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Links - 5th January 2013

"The war between the sexes is the only one in which both sides regularly sleep with the enemy." - Quentin Cris


Woman's Mouth 'Falls Pregnant' With Twelve Squid Organisms

American Christianity and Secularism at a Crossroads - - "we frequently overestimate medieval piety. Ordinary people often skipped church and had a feeble grasp of basic Christian dogma. Many priests barely understood the Latin they chanted — and many parishes lacked any priest at all. Bishops complained about towns that used their cathedrals mainly as indoor markets or granaries. Lest Protestants blame this irreverence on Catholic corruption, the evidence suggests that it continued after Martin Luther nailed his theses to the Wittenberg church door. In 1584, census takers in Antwerp discovered that the city had a larger proportion of “nones” than 21st-century America: a full third of residents claimed no religious affiliation... Rates of church attendance have never been as sterling as the Christian Right’s fable of national decline suggests. Before the Civil War, regular attendance probably never exceeded 30 percent, rising to a high of 40 percent around 1965 and declining to under 30 percent in recent years... For most of our history, the loudest defenders of the separation of church and state were not rogue atheists, but Protestants worried about Catholics seeking financing for parochial schools or scheming their way into public office to take orders only from mitered masters in Rome. Activists on both the left and the right tend to forget this irony of the First Amendment: it has been as much a weapon of religious oppression as a safeguard for liberty"

Belle de Jour's history of anonymity - ""If there's one thing the history of literary anonymity teaches you, it's that very often anonymity has nothing to do with wanting to stay hidden," says John Mullan, professor of English at University College London. Anonymity is a useful tool for people whose lives are outside the mainstream. Letting go of your name frees you to tell a truth that many people never see, or try desperately to ignore. It gives certain things more weight, a kind of everywhere-and-nowhere sense where the reader feels they might even be reading the inner thoughts of someone they know. It's a powerful tool. In the internet age, we have become increasingly concerned about the effects of anonymous online commentary. Anonymous bloggers can have enormous global audiences. "Trolls" can bring criticism straight to the computer screens of the people they disagree with. These trends are solidly in the tradition of literary anonymity - from unsigned political tracts to biting satirical graffiti, we've seen it all before... Without Anonymous, there are so many classics we would not have had - Gawain and the Green Knight, virtually all of the Bible and other religious texts. Anon is allowed a greater creative freedom than a named writer is, greater political influence than a common man can ever attain, and far more longevity than we would guess"

Viewpoint: Why are couples so mean to single people?
At least this didn't try to pain them as yet another oppressed minority

Chinese firm rules out Scorpios, Virgos: report - "The report quoted a woman in charge at the unnamed firm as saying she had done research and found Scorpios had strong personalities and were moody, while Virgos were hugely critical and did not stay in one job for long. "I hired people with those two star signs before, and they either liked quarrelling with colleagues or they could not do the job for long"... State media reported in 2004 that one of the requirements for women applying to join the civil service in the central province of Hunan was for their "two breasts to be symmetrical"" 10/10/12 - how good are CEOs (and business books) really? - "stories of success and failure consistently exag­gerate the impact of leadership style and management practices on firm outcomes, and thus their message is rarely useful... The average profitability of the companies identified in the famous In Search of Excel­lence dropped sharply as well within a short time. A study of Fortune's 'Most Admired Companies' finds that over a twenty-year period, the firms with the worst ratings went on to earn much higher stock returns than the most admired firms... the original gap was due in good part to luck, which contributed both to the success of the top firms and to the lagging performance of the rest. We have already encountered this statistical fact of life: regression to the mean. Stories of how businesses rise and fall strike a chord with readers by of­fering what the human mind needs: a simple message of triumph and failure that identifies clear causes and ignores the determinative power of luck and the inevitability of regression. These stories induce and maintain an illusion of understanding, imparting lessons of little enduring value to readers who are all too eager to believe them" 10/24/12 - I fail to see what use woman can be to man - " Some traditions of early Christian commentary reveal a strong strain of hostility toward the female body, sexuality, and family life, despite the recognition of their necessity. Augustine, a Christian philosopher and theologian who lived from the fourth to the fifth century CE, for example, wrote 'I fail to see what use woman can be to man ... if one excludes the function of bearing children.' In his writings on marriage Augustine held up celibacy as the highest spiritual state... Tertullian's views on sexuality drew upon the tradition of blaming Eve for the introduction of sin into the world. 'You,' Tertullian wrote to Christian women, 'destroyed so easily God's image, man.'"

Women can tell a cheating man just by looking at them: study - "Women's ratings of unfaithfulness showed small-moderate, significant correlations with measures of actual infidelity... More masculine-looking men (were) rated as more probable to be unfaithful and having a sexual history of being more unfaithful."

Boushra Almutawakel: Photographing variations of the veil (PHOTOS). - "“I want to be careful not to fuel the stereotypical, widespread negative images most commonly portrayed about the hijab/veil in the Western media. Especially the notion that most, or all women who wear the hijab/veil, are weak, oppressed, ignorant, and backwards”... Almutawakel’s latest project for the hijab series shows how men’s traditional clothing can be similar to women’s in the Middle East. Her pictures show a woman dressed in long, loose masculine outfits that include a head covering"

China's job agencies say Singapore no longer the preferred work destination - "He said salaries in Singapore are now almost on par with what workers would get if they stay in China. And the latest bus driver incident has deterred some considering Singapore as a work destination... Job agencies said skilled labour workers now prefer to work in Europe, Japan and South Korea over Singapore for work because they get three to five times more for the same position. And with the growth of internet use and social media in China, workers including those in the rural areas are becoming more aware of labour laws and workers' rights, therefore making them more choosy about their workplace destination choices."
"Complacency" runs many ways

Israel's Acceptance of the Two State Solution - "In 2000, Israel made a series of two-state proposals which (contrary to popular myth) eventually included almost all of the West Bank (plus additional territory from Israel proper), the entire Gaza strip, Palestinian control over East Jerusalem, and a $30 billion solution for the Palestinian refugees. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat not only refused – he made no counter-offer, abandoned negotiations, and immediately began planning the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Arafat was heavily criticized for this, both by the American mediators and by fellow Arabs and Palestinians."

Did Israel Use “Disproportionate Force” in Gaza? - "Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, explained that international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court “permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives, even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur.” The attack becomes a war crime when it is directed against civilians (which is precisely what Hamas does)... Israeli population centers in southern Israel have been the target of over 4,000 rockets, as well as thousands of mortar shells, fired by Hamas and other organizations since 2001. The majority of those attacks were launched after Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in August 2005. Indeed, rocket attacks increased by 500 percent (from 179 to 946) from 2005 to 2006."

Chinese Talent Female Pavarotti SELLING FOOD SONG.mp4 - YouTube
Sequel: China Got Talent Season 2 55-years-old vegetable peddler Opera 2 - YouTube

On Singapore: the unexpected perils of meritocracy in an overly dense society - "The Dutch journalist Robert Biebels once commented in his insightful travel journal ‘De Olieprins en De Opiumboer’, that Chinese Singaporeans are surprisingly ‘chinezer dan de Chinezen’, observing that the Chinese Singaporeans have somehow come to embody typical Chinese values like money-mindedness, superstition and future orientation in a much more exaggerated manner than their forefathers. Perhaps this could be explained by a joint publication in 1995 called “Kinds of Third-Party Effects on Trust” by Ronald Burt and American organizational sociologist, Marc Knez, which explains that a lack of structural holes, coupled with a dense social network, produce situations in which the actors obtain consistent (but not necessarily correct) information about others, which incline them towards having extreme opinions about the trustworthiness about others, probably as an adaptation to reduce arguing about each other’s opinions in such tight networks. This can veer opinions in either the direction of extreme trust or extreme distrust."

Kat Banyard: 'We were sold a lie on an almighty scale, that equality had been won, the battle was over' - "Another perennial feminist dilemma is the tension between personal choice and duty to principle. Every woman who gets breast implants can't help but reinforce the message that it's perfectly normal and sensible to spend thousands of pounds being cut open and stuffed with fake breasts. I ask if she thinks feminists who do so are letting other women down. "It doesn't work like that," she says very firmly. "Not at all. The whole point is that feminism is about tackling the cultures that led women to feel like they didn't look good enough in the first place. I don't believe anyone has the right to judge another woman for the choices she makes in a highly sexist culture. Women have to find ways to survive and get by each day, and how we do that will depend upon our circumstances. I think judging other women on that basis is the antithesis of what feminism is about. And we need to have our sights set on the structures and the industries which feed this culture, who are the ones driving it and reaping the profits from it.""
Translation: Women have no agency and are incapable of moral responsibility; If a woman does something bad for feminism, you can't blame her. If a man does something bad for feminism, he is an evil, insidious tool of the patriarchy. Or, more simply, men are evil.
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