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Monday, February 25, 2013

Links - 25th February 2013

"It would prove the most ingenious and infallible ageny for defeating justice that human wisdom could contrive" - Mark Twain, on Juries


Police visit Chinese blogger who exposed sex scandal - "Most reports of corruption have come from online whistleblowers, such as Zhu, who post their findings on China’s Twitter-like microblogs, known as weibo. Some bloggers had hoped the anti-corruption drive would help them avoid the harsh government reprisals they have experienced in the past. But many are increasingly quoting an ancient saying once used to describe the execution of criminals and now a reference to the party’s long, unforgiving memory: “Wait to settle your scores until after the autumn harvest.” If local authorities are allowed to punish whistleblowers, experts warn, the anti-corruption campaign will lose what little momentum it has gained in the past two months."

Beijing smog: When growth trumps life in China - "The government often played down the pollution in the capital, insisting it was merely fog, despite evidence to the contrary that was plain for all to see... following public pressure, the authorities introduced new pollution readings at the beginning of this year. They were prompted by the hourly air-quality readings published by the US embassy in Beijing, which the authorities had previously denounced as "foreign interference". And so, when this smog hit, the state media - for the first time on this issue - barrelled in. The pollution story led China's main evening TV bulletin. Even the People's Daily - the mouthpiece of the Communist Party - ran a headline asking "What's wrong with our air?""

Gay-Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance Of Gays Back 50 Years | The Onion - America's Finest News Source - "Among the parade sights and sounds that did inestimable harm to the gay-rights cause: a group of obese women in leather biker outfits passing out clitoris-shaped lollipops to horrified onlookers; a man in military uniform leading a submissive masochist, clad in diapers and a baby bonnet, around on a dog leash; several Hispanic dancers in rainbow wigs and miniskirts performing "humping" motions on a mannequin dressed as the Pope; and a dozen gyrating drag queens in see-through dresses holding penis-shaped beer bottles that appeared to spurt ejaculation-like foam when shaken and poured onto passersby... "I have a cousin who's a gay, and he seemed like a decent enough guy to me," said Iowa City, IA, resident Russ Linder, in Los Angeles for a weekend sales seminar. "Now, thanks to this parade, I realize what a freak he's been all along. Gays are all sick, immoral perverts.""

Eric Sawyer's answer to Do gay pride parades have a positive or negative impact on the perception of the LGBTQ community? - Quora - "The younger LGBTQ folks out there don't remember that the intent of the original pride parade was to honor and commemorate Stonewall - the event that sparked the gay rights movement. It was not supposed to be a parade, but a demonstration and protest. Fast forward to today and the parades seem to be about which gay bar can sponsor the biggest float with the hottest guys wearing the least amount of clothes.
I always laugh when I hear gay people (especially the younger ones) complain about discrimination and tolerance - but it never occurs to them that in order for us to be treated equally there needs to be some level of assimilation into mainstream culture. Parading down Main Street in a thong, jockstrap or leather chaps (leading your "dog" around on a leash) will only further alienate the community from the mainstream. Not that all parade participants behave this way - in fact the majority don't Most of the people in the parades I've participated in were everyday normal people just like me. There were employee groups, church groups, bowling and softball leaguers, and gay parents. The problem is that the news cameras are not going to film the boring office workers or softball players. They're going to zoom in on the bare asses, leather clad "boys" and the lewd behavior in public and that's what gets broadcast to middle America. How can we expect to be treated equally when we insist on this type of display and call it "pride?"
Yes - there are plenty of heterosexuals who take part in what most would call "fetish" behavior but they do it behind closed doors, in private - where it belongs."

Singapore to relax, but not remove, death penalty: Deputy PM - ""We also propose to give the courts the discretion to spare a drug courier from the death penalty if he has a mental disability which substantially impairs his appreciation of the gravity of the act, and instead sentence him to life imprisonment with caning"... Not all Singaporeans were in the mood for compassion, with several arguing on websites the lighter sentences would encourage crime. "Why do we need to lower our threshold? To appease foreigners who grew up with drugs?," What Now wrote on Yahoo Singapore. "This government is selling our future.""

HTML5 port puts 'Dune II' in your browser - "Following in the footsteps of a recent Command & Conquer remake, Russian developer Aleksander Guryanov has created a full HTML5/JavaScript port of the 1992 title Dune II"

Do Men Really Love Bitches? - "Healthy, stable men will date the “bitchy” woman for a bit, either because the woman is hot or she knocks it out of the park in bed. Or both. But they won’t date them for long or marry them. That is, unless those men enjoy being bossed around, henpecked and generally enjoy being emasculated... You have to understand that the book, “Why Men Love Bitches” doesn’t really support the theory that men love bitches. That book was given a provocative title so it would sell... we didn’t really understand that we were being presented with caricatures and exaggerations. Women just heard the title to that book and assumed that being “bitchy” was okay because men “love” that.

The progressive “climate of hate:” An illustrated primer, 2000-2010 - "Activists have published an “Anti-Gay Black List” of Prop. 8 donors on the Internet. If the tables had been turned and Prop. 8 proponents created such an enemies’ list, everyone in Hollywood would be screaming “McCarthyism” faster than you can count to eight. A Los Angeles restaurant whose manager made a small donation to the Prop. 8 campaign has been besieged nightly by hordes of protesters who have disrupted the business, intimidated patrons, and brought employees there to tears. In fear for their jobs and their lives, workers at El Coyote Mexican Café pooled together $500 to pay off the bullies. Scott Eckern, a beleaguered artistic director at the California Musical Theatre, was forced to resign over his $1,000 donation to the Prop. 8 campaign... Sentiments like this one, found on the anti-Prop.8 website “JoeMyGod,” are common across the left-wing blogosphere: “Burn their f—ing churches to the ground, and then tax the charred timbers.”"

Floyd Lee Corkins charged in Family Research Council shooting - "The man authorities say was angry with the conservative stance of the Family Research Council and shot the group’s unarmed security guard in a downtown D.C. office was ordered by a judge Thursday to undergo a mental evaluation. An FBI affidavit quotes 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II of Herndon telling the guard, “I don’t like your politics” as he pulled a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol from a backpack he had carried with him on Metrorail from East Falls Church... In his bag [were] 15 sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, which combined with the suspect’s statement added a political dimension to the shooting... At a news conference Thursday, the president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, condemned what he called “reckless rhetoric” that labels his organization a “hate group,” saying it incited the shooting... agents interviewed Corkins’s parents, who said their son “has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner.”"
What is sauce for the homophobe is also sauce for the homophile

A new report says political conservatives have a much better sex life than Democrats - "Republicans have the highest rate of orgasm of any group in the report. Especially conservative Republicans. No wonder those tea partiers always look so happy. In fact, a majority of self-identified conservatives reported that during sex they reach orgasm just about every single time... Such a high conservative orgasm rate compares with only 40% reported success for liberal Democrats who, being liberal, talk openly forever about subjects like sex to affirm their liberality. But we now know they're over-compensating for inadequacy and self-report experiencing considerably less satisfaction in private"
The Daily Beast on other results: "men, not women, who are more willing to settle for somebody who isn’t a soul mate. Thirty-one percent of men said they’d be willing to commit to somebody who “has everything they are looking for in a partner” but with whom they weren’t in love, and 21 percent said they’d commit to somebody they were not sexually attracted to. Women, meanwhile, are more likely than men to say they “must have” someone with a similar level of education, a successful career, and a sense of humor. “Women are the picky sex,” says Fisher... more men than women—43 percent of men to 33 percent of women—say they believe it’s acceptable for a male partner to be a “stay at home dad”... a third of respondents did not believe sexual fidelity to be a “must have” in their own relationship—but 9 of 10 believe there are “no acceptable excuses” for a politician caught with his (or her) pants down"

Congratulations! You Just Made Rush Limbaugh Sympathetic! - "Imagine this scenario: you are a lifelong liberal. You pretty much hate everything Rush Limbaugh stands for, and says. You are really glad that the times have finally seemed to have caught up to him, and that people are outraged by his callous, gross comments. So what do you do next? You do the one thing that will make him a sympathetic figure. You call on the FCC to remove him. Think this is just not-very-good satire? If only. Nope, I draw from this example because in an opinion piece just published on Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Robin Morgan did exactly this. In the process they seem to have played into the exact stereotype of the thin-skinned, hypocritical liberal. One who supports the First Amendment and freedom of speech … except for when they don’t... As long as liberals argue that government should protect us from upsetting opinions they are never going to win, and shouldn’t"
Related: Liberalism and Tolerance (including the survey which showed twice as many liberals as conservatives and moderates have blocked, unfriended or hidden someone on social networks because of political reasons

Wraps Are The Worst Food On Earth - "A wrap is a sad burrito made with a shitty tortilla and stuffed with a gross salad... Sometimes you can't even tell the difference between the tortilla and the paper it is wrapped in"

A Death a Day: Fatal Insomnia - "Michael Corke was a music teacher in Chicago. Shortly after he turned 40, he began to have trouble falling asleep. The insomnia grew worse and worse, until he finally could not sleep at all. Corke had Fatal Familial Insomnia, a rare genetic disorder that doesn't emerge until the person is an adult"

Food for friendship: Bonobos share with strangers in exchange for company - ""Our results show that generosity toward strangers is not unique to humans. Like chimpanzees, our species would kill strangers; like bonobos, we could also be very nice to strangers. Our results highlight the importance of studying bonobos to fully understand the origins of such human behaviors."
People only complain that you can't compare animals to humans when they don't like the results

The history of the future in 10 images
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