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Sunday, August 04, 2013

Links - 4th August 2013

Aevin Dugas: Woman has the world¿s biggest natural afro - "Despite loving her hair, she has to tie it back while driving as it is so difficult to see past it"

Hope Bra's advert make political opponents become bosom buddies in lingerie campaign

A French Dining Staple Is Losing Its Place at the Table - - "The average Frenchman these days eats only half a baguette a day compared with almost a whole baguette in 1970 and more than three in 1900... The decline is so worrisome that Observatoire du Pain, the bakers’ and millers’ lobby, started a nationwide campaign in June that champions bread as promoting good health, good conversation and French civilization... “Remember that buying fresh bread on the way home is a simple way of showing loved ones that you have thought about them and of giving them pleasure during the day”... France may still enjoy the highest density of independent bakeries in the world (32,000), but in 1950 there were 54,000... “This campaign looks like the inside of a white baguette: insipid,” he said. “It’s asking people to buy bread as part of their routine, like washing your hands or brushing your teeth. We need to talk about bread as an object of pleasure. We need to celebrate breads that make your taste buds dance.”"

France's unsolved mystery of the poisoned bread - The New York Times - "at the end of World War II when the French were asked what they most wanted, the answer was liberty and white bread... "historically white bread is so identified with upward mobility, with well-being. The bread of the Eucharist was a piece of white wheaten bread until the Church sold out and went for those horrible wafers""

You'll Never Be Able To Un-See This BART Sex Tape

Millionaire's ex-wife gets $500k in divorce settlement - "A businessman worth more than $21 million will get to keep the vast majority of his assets after a judge ruled that his ex-wife, 21 years his junior, be given only about $500,000. The 35-year-old Chinese national was married to the 56-year-old Singaporean man for only two years... He had paid $11 million for a landed property before they wed, and the matrimonial home was a $2.2 million condo unit. The ex-wife sought to divide these, as well as his company and related units worth $6.6 million, a $500,000 five-room HDB flat and several other assets totalling $21.36 million. Represented by lawyer Luna Yap, she argued for 15 per cent of all these assets... The judge accepted the husband made all direct financial contributions but ruled the wife's indirect contributions, like helping him through a hard time with his business, had to be weighed in along with the son's needs."
In other contexts, one might say that putting a monetary value on a woman's "indirect contributions" would be demeaning and even objectifying

Nazi-themed cafe draws fire in Indonesia - "Soldatenkaffee includes a red wall of Nazi-related memorabilia, including a large flag with the swastika and a giant picture of Adolf Hitler. Its wait staff dresses in SS and Nazi-era military uniforms, and can be seen posing in front of the cafe on its Facebook page. The menu carries an Indonsian dish rechristened "Nazi goreng"... Mulyana says his objective was not to breed hatred. Instead, he said he wanted to decorate his restaurant with Nazi symbols to attract customers, both local and foreigners. He told the Irrawady newspaper: "Controversy will always exist, depending on from what side we’re looking. The way I see it, the Nazis didn’t commit slaughter. War is crime, so there will always be acts of murder in a war." “I’m not personally familiar with the [Nazi] ideology, but even if I was, I don’t think I’d find it completely disagreeable. For example, communism in Indonesia was prohibited, but it’s flourishing in China. Maybe it’s just a matter of politics.”"

Russia finds Sergei Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion - "Browder was sentenced in absentia to nine years in a prison colony but the case against Magnitsky ends with his verdict as the authorities cannot take a case against a dead man any further. The trial of a dead person is almost unprecedented in post-Soviet Russia, and has raised concerns that that judicial authorities continued to persecute Magnitsky because of the furore over his death... Russia's Constitutional Court made it possible to try deceased people under a July 2011 ruling that allowed families of late defendants to push for their exoneration by the courts."

Misgivings Over Coup Spread in Egypt - - ""I'd rather have gridlock than a return to the feloul," said Omar Mahmoud, a 32-year-old investment banker from Cairo, who used the Arabic word for remnants associated with the former regime of President Hosni Mubarak. "That's not how I want to do politics, but Egypt is not a place where regular politics are done." Mr. Mahmoud joined raucous protests against the military ouster of Mr. Morsi despite having no Islamist leanings. He only halfheartedly chanted and stayed on the margins of the gatherings at Rabaa Mosque, choosing instead to hear the ousted leader's ardent supporters "to understand their viewpoint"... "He made some catastrophic mistakes, that must be said," said Mohamed Adel Ismail, a 26-year-old social worker. "But my understanding of democracy is you allow him to rule and fail and then vote him out"... He described himself as a staunch opponent of Mr. Morsi who voted for him to just keep his rival out of office... "We have no public figures I can see queuing five hours to vote for," said Mr. Kenawy, whose cousin died in a demonstration in November 2011 while protesting against the military's hold on power following Mr. Mubarak's fall. "I'm sorry. I have no faith in democracy in Egypt anymore.""

Dubai offers gold in return for weight loss

Letting children watch hours of TV improves academic ability, study claims - "Researchers at the University of London found that children who watched three or more hours a day were three months ahead of their peers who watched less than an hour a day, contradicting received wisdom that blames TV for diminishing youngsters’ brain power. The study also found that rules imposed by parents hoping to boost their children’s academic ability, such as insisting on regular meal or bed times, make only a relatively small difference. The report’s lead author Dr Alice Sullivan, senior academic at the university’s Institute of Education, said the educational value of children’s television had been "underestimated", adding: “It may also help expose some children to a broader vocabulary than they get at home.”"

SAF aims to recruit at least 500 more women by 2018 - "We are not about to put a woman in a job or promote her for the sake of doing so or to make a statement. It is about who is the best man for the job"

Do Condom Distribution Programs Actually Discourage Safe Sex? - "Let's shift the responsibility for safe sex back to the individual. The present expectation that condoms and lube will be provided can give gay men an excuse not to practice safe sex... Five percent of men worldwide use condoms... The availability and affordability of condoms is no longer an issue. Gay men have been saturated with the "safe sex" message. Despite all efforts, this message is not resonating! A recent survey among gay men in D.C. revealed that 40 percent of gay men did not use condoms with their last sex partner... I suggest an alternative: Shift the responsibility for safe sex to the individual. Anyone who cannot afford to purchase quality condoms and lubricant cannot deal with the consequences of STIs and possible HIV. Gay health organizations need to redirect their efforts from stuffing condom packets into teaching responsibility, safety and fun." I Love You For Your Brains!! (T-shirt)

Yes, porn can be vile and degrading but an authoritarian crackdown won't work | Suzanne Moore - "We had been fully against the objectification of women and the passivity of the "porn stars", and in those days you could still see pubic hair and unsiliconed breasts. It didn't do much for me so I started watching gay porn as it was the only place I could see the male body sexualised... Should sexual desire be policed and could it ever be PC? One of the reasons is that we saw what happened when theory became practice, when radical feminists started hooking up with the right. In the US in 1986 Dworkin, who had already worked with Catharine MacKinnon on legislation to close down sex shops, defining porn as a civil rights violation, gave evidence to the Meese commission. This was under Reagan's watch. Much of it we would agree with – such as the removal of porn mags from the top shelf. But the sight of radical feminists getting into bed with rightwing Republicans was abhorrent to me. These same people would ban abortion. Quite simply my mind was mind made up then: who do you want to hand over power to? Do you trust the state to act in the best interests of women or not? This is again the issue... In the day of Prism and maxi-surveillance, do we actually want more databases of those who access porn? I am aware that by saying this, I am on the side of the great mass of wankers. But I would like some facts here. The prevalent mythologies around porn remain disproven: that it is addictive, destructive of relationships, always about the idealised then violated female body. Much porn is samey and some is utterly vile, full of torture, faeces, urine, vomit and blood and the utter degradation of women who become nothing but a series of orifices. The legality of all this rests on whether the acts or the rape are "staged" or not... they are a sop to those who think censorship is the answer to powerlessness. Dworkin herself knew where her plans would go and warned that "the left cannot have its whores and its politics too". These days, though I am unsure what the left is, my gut recognises authoritarianism when it feels it... Meanwhile show me a regime anywhere in the world where women are empowered by censorship and I may change my mind."
This might be the best Suzanne Moore piece I've read

Google provokes ire of 'adult' bloggers with letter threatening to delete blogs - "Google is struggling to persuade people running "adult" blogs on its Blogger network that it will not necessarily delete them – after sending out a letter this week to thousands of blog owners threatening to delete their blogs from Monday. The move has already led to high-profile defections, including Zoe Margolis, author of the female erotic memoir Girl With A One-Track Mind. She told the Guardian that she is exporting her entire blog to a separate domain in case Google wipes it without warning. She added, "Nine years I've been with them, but only four days' notice. Disgraceful."... Violet Blue, a writer on sex topics, noted on Twitter: "All those things you liked about the early internet? Sexual expression/speech on public space blogs is a big one of those things." She called the move a "vague new anti-sex policy purge", adding: "It's wrong.""
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