"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 26, 2013

Links - 26th December 2013

Muscle-Pain Reliever Is Blamed for Staten Island Runner’s Death - New York Times - "The athlete, Arielle Newman, a cross-country runner at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, died after her body absorbed high levels of methyl salicylate, an anti-inflammatory found in sports creams like Bengay and Icy Hot"

Getting and using a horse passport - GOV.UK - "All horses, ponies and donkeys must have a horse passport.
The passport helps:
make sure horses treated with certain medicines don’t end up as food for people
prevent the sale of a stolen horse, pony or donkey, as the passport proves its identity
The animal’s rider or keeper must have the passport with them at all times when they’re with the animal, unless it’s in a stable, grazing in a field, or being moved by foot. Owners can take their animals for short rides without one.
You (or the animal’s main keeper) may have to show the passport to a Trading Standards inspector or an animal health officer."

Badass of the Week: Murad IV - "Murad then outlawed coffee, smoking, and drinking in his empire, made these offenses all punishable by death, and closed every bar and coffee shop in Turkey claiming that they were places where people could meet up and talk shit about the government and play a lot of shitty music he wasn't in the mood to hear... Of course, it also bears mentioning here that even though the sentence for public intoxication was immediate no-questions-asked summary execution by scimitar, Murad himself was a crazy raging alcoholic who once wrote, "Even if rivers become wine they wouldn't fill my glass." When someone asked him about the double standard, he said, "Wine is such a devil that I have to protect my people by drinking all of it"... In order to ensure that his rules were being followed, Murad was famous for going out into the city in the middle of the day, dressed in normal robes, and carrying a sword under his clothes. If he saw someone doing something he didn't approve of, he whipped out his blade and decapitated them. Of course, the things he didn't like weren't always things that were specifically illegal – like one time he beheaded a musician for playing a Persian song in a bazaar. Another time some annoying chicks were singing really loudly and really badly so he had them all tied into sacks and thrown in the river. On yet another occasion he saw some perverted asshole climbing onto the roof of his house to try and look into the Sultan's harem (the place where his hundreds of hot girlfriends lived) so he drew a rifle and sniped the would-be Peeping Tom from a hundred yards away"

Someone needs to fight the selfish, short-sighted old - "One of the Conservatives' key election promises was to protect NHS spending in real terms. More health spending means overwhelmingly more spending on the old, and more tax paid by the young. Old: 4. Young: 0.
Take climate change. For the old, the slowness of environmental ruin spells little lifetime danger. Instead, it means the inconvenience of wind turbines spoiling a view. So we have offshore turbines costing 60% more: it is more expensive repairing a turbine from a boat on the Dogger Bank than from a Land-Rover in Yorkshire. Old: 5. Young: 0."

The Overwhelming Heteronormativity Of ‘Born This Way’ - "We have potential. We make choices. We change. We grow. Many of us have the potential to be different to what we are- and maybe someday we will. Or we won’t. Life is complicated, and it sends us in unexpected directions sometimes. The idea of ‘born this way’ ignores all of that. ’Born this way’ introduces the idea that we have no choice in who we are, who we love, and what we do. On one hand, it encourages a horrible narrative in supporting equality- the idea that we simply can’t help who we are. Who, it asks, would ever choose such a terrible fate as to be queer? If we could be cishet we would, right? ‘Born this way’ doesn’t challenge heteronormative ideals of the superiority of particular relationship forms. It doesn’t celebrate anything about queerness- not the relationships we have, the cultures and families we create, and the things we have to teach cishet society. Instead, it asks for ‘normal’ people’s pity. Don’t be mean to us. We can’t help it. We were born this way."

AE FAQs - "Do I need a licence to import paintball guns into Singapore?
Paintball guns fall under the definition of "arms" under the Arms & Explosives Act and hence, you need a licence to import paintball guns. You can apply for a licence through a forwarding agent. However, we do not allow possession by an individual in Singapore"

Foreign Workers Paid Only $2.25 an Hour! - "Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam had visited a foreign workers’ dormitory in Yishun and had said that the foreign workers “have no complaints about working conditions, about salaries, about their employers”. It was also reported that, “he also urged the foreign workers to voice out any other concerns with regards to their wages and living conditions”... In a survey that was conducted by the Singapore Management University (SMU), it was found that, “65% of injured and salary-claim workers reported that they had been threatened by their employers with premature repatriation. Of working workers, 12% have been so threatened”. In another study conducted by TWC2, it was found that, “only 28 percent of injured workers have been offered accommodation by their employer (sometimes, MOM) post-injury”. In fact, in a study conducted by the Ministry of Manpower, it was found that, “slightly more than half of total costs (to recover from workplace injuries and ill-health actually) fall on workers themselves, when quantified into dollar terms”... Yesterday, we received a pay slip of a foreign worker. The job of the foreign worker is to be a welder and he is paid only $2.25 an hour. His monthly overall wage is only $500.13... Perhaps our policymakers might consider them as labour to be contracted, used and sent back – which might explain the knee-jerk reaction to suspend “25 private bus services which ferry workers to the area”, to take away the only leisure activity that they can have, and to even consider “housing some foreign workers at nearby offshore islands”, as National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan had suggested. In case our policymakers have forgotten, these foreign workers are human as well, and any human being should be treated with the basic respect and dignity that we would want to confer onto ourselves as well... It would be highly questionable if our policymakers deem it fit to pay themselves the highest political salaries in the world, but pay Singaporeans and foreign workers the lowest wages among the high-income countries. Such exploitation of the workers say a lot about a government, who would rather believe in “growth at all cost”, while allowing the “weakest” to be left behind. Indeed, Singaporeans have to ask ourselves – if we have a government which would treat the “weakest members” in our society with such disdain that would they treat the citizens with such unkind actions as well, and I think for many Singaporeans, we already have the answer."

London: Muslims demand ban on alcohol, threaten sellers with 40 lashes - "Brick Lane is renowned as a popular location for office Christmas parties. Protest organizers told The Times the protest was held on Friday to coincide with the large number of office workers who would be in the area for Christmas parties. The protest was led by Anjem Choudary, one of Britain’s most controversial preachers, and the former leader of the Al-Muhajiroun group, which was banned under terrorism laws. Choudary told those gathered at the protest it was his wish that Sharia law, banning alcohol, should be enforced in Britain. Around 60 men and women in burkas distributed warning letters to Muslim-owned businesses in the area. They also held up banners with slogans including: "Save lives, don't drink or sell alcohol! Stand for Shariah!" and “Islam is the perfect system for all mankind.”"

Stupidity works - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

Social encounter networks: characterizing Great Britain - "We observe that children, public-sector and healthcare workers have the highest number of total contact hours and are therefore most likely to catch and transmit infectious disease"
Children: cesspools of disease

Chinese girls still prefer sugar daddies to empty wallets - "Compared to Western men, Chinese men seem to be more willing to assume the role of financial provider. I don't want to stereotype here, and I'm sure there are exceptions, but in general Chinese girls are less shy to admit they judge men by their bank accounts and Chinese men seem to accept it as the most natural thing in the world... Chinese men tend to assume they have to do everything for their girlfriends, in trivial ways that are rarely seen in the US or Europe... Out of curiosity I once asked one of my male friends, who pays all the rent for the apartment where he and his girlfriend live together, "Why do you have to pay for everything?" His answer was, "She's such a fine girl and she spends the best years of her life with me. That's her youth and I have to cherish it and be nice to her." But isn't a guy's youth also precious? Why is it only girls' best time that is worth money?... In big cities you actually see more single girls who hunt for available men. It's not ridiculous. The reason is simple: There're just not enough good, that is, rich, guys for them. The girls would rather be single than go out with a boy with an empty wallet... if women want to be treated equally, maybe they should stop looking for men who treat them like little girls"

Games Definitely Don't Harm Kids, Says Huge Study - "A decade-long study of over 11,000 children in the UK has found no association between playing video games from as young as five, and mood or behavioural problems in later life... watching more than three hours of TV a day at the age of five did lead to a small increase in behavioural problems in youngsters between the ages of five and seven. It's worth noting too, that a much lower number of children spent as long playing video games as they did watching TV... We've reported before how video games have been found to help dyslexic children read better, and how they can also increase spacial orientation and memory formation."

Men Still Paying For Dates ... And Women Are Partly Responsible - "New research presented at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting this week found that 84 percent of men and 58 percent of women say men pay for most entertainment expenses -- even after they have been dating for some time. And while 57 percent of women say they offer to help pay, 39 percent admitted that they hoped men would reject their offers, while 44 percent were bothered when men expected them to chip in. Nearly two-thirds of men believe women should contribute to dating expenses. "One of the reasons we are interested in looking at who pays for dates is because it is one arena where women may be resisting gender changes more than men," study researcher David Frederick, an assistant professor of psychology at Chapman University in California, told The Huffington Post. "As social roles start to change, people often embrace the changes that make their lives easier, but resist the changes that make their lives more difficult"... Younger men were more likely to agree that if they paid the bill, women should engage in sexual activity"
People fight for their interests harder than for other people's rights

‘Just kidding’ not an out for online slurs (poll) - "most young people now say it’s wrong to use racist or sexist slurs online, even if you’re just kidding. But when they see them, they don’t take much personal offense. A majority of teens and young adults who use the Internet say they at least sometimes see derogatory words and images targeting various groups. They often dismiss that stuff as just joking around, not meant to be hurtful... Americans ages 14 to 24 say people who are overweight are the most frequent target, followed by gay people. Next in line for online abuse: blacks and women... Racial insults are not that likely to be seen as hurtful, yet a strong majority of those surveyed — 6 in 10 — felt comments and images targeting transgender people or Muslims are... “It’s still socially acceptable to comment on someone’s weight and what someone is eating,” said Caprigno, 18, of Norwood, Mass. “We need to change that about our culture before people realize posting stuff like that online is going to be offensive to someone.”"
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