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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Links - 23rd March 2013

The Dirty Secret of Apps: Many Go Bust - WSJ.com - "Plenty of independent developers have made fortunes off the boom in mobile apps. But many more have failed after learning the hard way that computer skills, a little money and a good idea often aren't enough in the competitive market... well-heeled companies with big marketing budgets hold sway. "There are so many startups that die with a whimper," said Dan Cheung, the 37-year-old software engineer who quit his job to build Spork. "That's the worst type of death....You walk into the office one day, you look at each other, and kind of realize it has to come to an end"... they were beaten to the punch by a rival app called Foodspotting, which offered similar functions but was backed by more funding for advertising and marketing... Reaching a few hundred downloads a day used to get an app on a Top 10 or 20 list a few years ago. It now requires several thousand, so larger apps companies—such as Electronic Arts Inc., Walt Disney Co., Zynga Inc. and Rovio Entertainment Ltd.—tend to dominate the top-seller lists. Only 2% of the Top 250 publishers for iPhone apps in the U.S. App Store are newcomers"

Ex-UBS executive to be tried in online vice ring case - "His lawyer, Mr Selva K. Naidu, told reporters on Wednesday the main issue in this case would be whether mens rea - a guilty mind - is required to constitute the offence. "In this case, it will be argued that mens rea is required. The accused must have known that the girl was underage in order for him to be guilty of this offence,'' he said. Mr Naidu said that previous cases where people have pleaded guilty to this sort of charge have been on the assumption that mens rea is not required, and they will be guilty even if they did not know that the girl was underage."

Calls to revisit race-based policies - "Commenting on the issues raised at the session, Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC Inderjit Singh said a shift in racial perspectives will "take generational changes". "It's not a bad idea to have policies directed by a socio-economic principle," he said. "But, at the same time, Singaporeans still value race distinction because it makes communication easier and more comfortable.""
Actually it's true that people value racial categories. That is why people of ambiguous racial appearance have the opportunity to complain that they get annoyed when others keep asking them what race they are. Or take the common heuristic that conflates Malay and Muslim

No tents, no camels - "One of Kasmiya’s more recent efforts, Road to Jerusalem, which he describes as a kind of black comedy, is still lost in the corridors of the censor’s office. It is an adventure game telling the story of a young Palestinian boy on his way to Jerusalem. He needs to use various skills and tricks (never violence) to get through the checkpoints and pass other obstacles. It is a kind of modern day Asterix and Obelix, Kasmiya says. “The Gauls are the Arabs, and the Romans are…” He does not finish the sentence."

The Perils of Being a Nice Guy: Contextual Variation in Five Young Women’s Constructions of Acceptable Hegemonic and Alternative Masculinities - "Masculinity is often studied as produced and enacted by men, unintentionally positioning women as mere consumers of masculinity, rather than active agents in its construction. This study explored five young South African women’s constructions of masculinity in the contexts of work, friendships, family, and romantic relationships and the contextual variation of acceptable masculinity across contexts. While they advocated nonhegemonic ‘‘nice guy’’ masculinities in social and work contexts, they appealed strongly to ‘‘hegemonic’’ or traditional masculine ideals in romantic and family contexts. It seems that these women were particularly willing to accept subjugation to engage in ideals of romantic partnership congruent with emphasized femininity. This study demonstrates that (1) contextual variation is a very important feature in the production of hegemonic masculinity and (2) analyzing masculinity from women’s perspectives may provide valuable insight into the contribution that women make to the construction and maintenance of counterfeminist masculine ideals and identity frameworks."

"Dirt" (2007) - Parents Guide - "First there are flashes showing a man and Courtney removing their clothes. Then the man is shown to have mounted Couteney in missionary style and his buttocks are visible. Her breasts are not visible as they are covered by the man's hands. However, her facial expressions are very erotic implying deep penetration. "

Cold Mountain (2003) - Parents Guide - "The whole movie is mildly intense because you don't know if the two lovers will ever meet again. The ending is very sad."

Female Scarcity Reduces Women’s Marital Ages and Increases Variance in Men’s Marital Ages - "When women are scarce in a population relative to men, they have greater bargaining power in romantic relationships and thus may be able to secure male commitment at earlier ages. Male motivation for long-term relationship commitment may also be higher, in conjunction with the motivation to secure a prospective partner before another male retains her. However, men may also need to acquire greater social status and resources to be considered marriageable. This could increase the variance in male marital age, as well as the average male marital age. We calculated the Operational Sex Ratio, and means, medians, and standard deviations in marital ages for women and men for the 50 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States with 2000 U.S Census data. As predicted, where women are scarce they marry earlier on average. However, there was no significant relationship with mean male marital ages. The variance in male marital age increased with higher female scarcity, contrasting with a non-significant inverse trend for female marital age variation. These findings advance the understanding of the relationship between the OSR and marital patterns. We believe that these results are best accounted for by sex specific attributes of reproductive value and associated mate selection criteria, demonstrating the power of an evolutionary framework for understanding human relationships and demographic patterns. "

Amazon Pulls Digital Edition of SimCity as EA Struggles to Fix Servers - "If you see a cheetah running at the same speed as a llama, you know you’ve entered the strange world of SimCity"

Collective-Evolution – Why Did The Media Keep The Recent Peaceful Icelandic Revolution Quiet? - "An assembly is elected to write a new constitution (based on the Denmark’s) to avoid entrapments of debt based currency foreign loans. 25 citizens are chosen — with no political affiliation — out of the 522 candidates. The only qualifications for candidacy are adulthood and the support of 30 people... It’s quite a story isn’t it? You can most definitely see at this point why this was not covered in newspapers, on radio networks and on television. Imagine seeing this story on TV several times each day wherever you live in the world; do you think the people would start to get ideas? Maybe try the same thing? Most definitely. There is always a constant push of fear, murders, anger, government success, health fallacies and false information, but never do we hear of stories that could be a threat to the system."
Why did the Media keep the Arab Spring quiet when it could give people ideas about rising up against their governments? Oh wait, they didn't.

We need to face up to hatred of prostitutes – among feminists, too - "Sunday was International Sex Worker Rights Day. This year it provided an occasion for sex workers and erstwhile colleagues including Brooke Magnanti (Belle de Jour) to highlight the vicious abuse they have received under the Twitter hashtag #whenantisattack. Writer and former call girl Magnanti is forced to live in secrecy, her number taken to the top of any 999 summons list because of the innumerable threats she has received. One recent example proposed that she should be gang-raped and then executed. She has been accused of being responsible for rape, sexual slavery, and prostitution itself. Her family's privacy has been invaded to find the "causes" of her choice and her personal appearance derided, not least within what might otherwise be called the sisterhood. Magnanti reminded us of Julie Burchill's observation in her 1987 essay "Born Again Cows" in the book Damaged Gods: "When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women." This would seem crazed were it not for MSP Rhoda Grant, who is sponsoring an "end demand for sex trafficking" bill in the Scottish parliament, declaring violence against sex workers a price worth paying to secure her proposals... [whore-bashing] includes a cohort of feminist critics who, in abhoring the activity, choose to hate the perpetrator. This is evident not only in Burchill's string 'em up stance, but the notion that, as "all prostitution is rape", sex workers cannot know their own minds, or be in control of their bodies, and thus consent. The upshot is a curious coalition with streetwalker-hounding religious extremists who are unhappy not merely with the low-hanging fruit of selling sex, but with women having sex at all... It is a small step from being able to dismiss some women as stupid sluts to dismissing all women as stupid sluts, the former operating as some sort of entry level for the latter. As Magnanti noted: "Ladies wearing shiny things, high heels, and makeup also Very Suspect". That's me guilty as charged, then, and my eight-year-old niece. Marriage continues to be considered to veil sex with respectability, whatever its financial motivations. Nobody campaigns against the career courtesans who are Belgravia bankers' wives, or the footballers' consorts of Cheshire. The message: sex for money is fine – just put a ring on it before you put out"
Hatred of prostitutes is just a specific case of general hatred and anger

Oxytocin is not a love drug. Don’t give it to kids with autism. - "The problem with the moral molecule idea is that it turns science—messy, complex, frustrating as it is—into a tidy fable. It’s a bit too ... well ... TED-dy. It not only tells people what they want to hear but also makes them feel delightfully subversive for understanding the secret simplicity of the world. One molecule underlies morality? Seems far-fetched, but not impossible. Hugs can change the world? Everyone likes hugs! We can counter our imps of the perverse by breathing in the right molecule? Yahtzee!... ome scientists have found that oxytocin boosts envy and schadenfreude, as well as favoritism toward one’s own clique... socially secure people remember their mothers in a more positive light after inhaling oxytocin, while anxious ones remember mum as less caring and more distant. Along similar lines, she showed that oxytocin hinders trust and cooperation among people with borderline personality disorder... Many of the scientists I have spoken to have been approached by parents who had bought oxytocin from the Internet and were using it to treat their relatives"

Be Careful During Earth Hour



via Fabrications by Anntonii

Happy Earth Hour

Earth Hour is all wrong. We need more electricity, not less.

"On the evening of March 23, 1.3 billion people will go without light at 8:30—and at 9:30, and at 10:30, and for the rest of the night—just like every other night of the year. With no access to electricity, darkness after sunset is a constant reality for these people.

At the same time, another 1 billion people will participate in “Earth Hour” by turning off their lights from 8:30-9:30.

The organizers say that they are providing a way to demonstrate one’s desire to “do something” about global warming. But the reality is that Earth Hour teaches all the wrong lessens, and it actually increases CO2 emissions. Its vain symbolism reveals exactly what is wrong with today’s feel-good environmentalism.

Earth Hour teaches us that tackling global warming is easy. Yet, by switching off the lights, all we are doing is making it harder to see.

Notice that you have not been asked to switch off anything really inconvenient, like your heating or air-conditioning, television, computer, mobile phone, or any of the myriad technologies that depend on affordable, plentiful energy electricity and make modern life possible. If switching off the lights for one hour per year really were beneficial, why would we not do it for the other 8,759?

Hypothetically, switching off the lights for an hour would cut CO2 emissions from power plants around the world. But, even if everyone in the entire world cut all residential lighting, and this translated entirely into CO2 reduction, it would be the equivalent of China pausing its CO2 emissions for less than four minutes. In fact, Earth Hour will cause emissions to increase.

As the United Kingdom’s National Grid operators have found, a small decline in electricity consumption does not translate into less energy being pumped into the grid, and therefore will not reduce emissions. Moreover, during Earth Hour, any significant drop in electricity demand will entail a reduction in CO2 emissions during the hour, but it will be offset by the surge from firing up coal or gas stations to restore electricity supplies afterward

And the cozy candles that many participants will light, which seem so natural and environmentally friendly, are still fossil fuels—and almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs. Using one candle for each switched-off bulb cancels out even the theoretical CO2 reduction; using two candles means that you emit more CO2.

Electricity has given humanity huge benefits. Almost 3 billion people still burn dung, twigs, and other traditional fuels indoors to cook and keep warm, generating noxious fumes that kill an estimated 2 million people each year, mostly women and children. Likewise, just 100 years ago, the average American family spent six hours each week during cold months shoveling six tons of coal into the furnace (not to mention cleaning the coal dust from carpets, furniture, curtains, and bedclothes). In the developed world today, electric stoves and heaters have banished indoor air pollution.

Similarly, electricity has allowed us to mechanize much of our world, ending most backbreaking work. The washing machine liberated women from spending endless hours carrying water and beating clothing on scrub boards. The refrigerator made it possible for almost everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables, and to stop eating rotten food, which is the main reason why the most prevalent cancer for men in the United States in 1930, stomach cancer, is the least prevalent now.

Electricity has allowed us to irrigate fields and synthesize fertilizer from air. The light that it powers has enabled us to have active, productive lives past sunset. The electricity that people in rich countries consume is, on average, equivalent to the energy of 56 servants helping them. Even people in Sub-Saharan Africa have electricity equivalent to about three servants. They need more of it, not less.

This is relevant not only for the world’s poor. Because of rising energy prices from green subsidies, 800,000 German households can no longer pay their electricity bills. In the United Kingdom, there are now more than 5 million fuel-poor people, and the country’s electricity regulator now publicly worries that environmental targets could lead to blackouts in less than nine months.

Today, we produce only a small fraction of the energy that we need from solar and wind—0.7 percent from wind and just 0.1 percent from solar. These technologies currently are too expensive. They are also unreliable (we still have no idea what to do when the wind is not blowing). Even with optimistic assumptions, the International Energy Agency estimates that, by 2035, we will produce just 2.4 percent of our energy from wind and 0.8 percent from solar.

To green the world’s energy, we should abandon the old-fashioned policy of subsidizing unreliable solar and wind—a policy that has failed for 20 years, and that will fail for the next 22. Instead, we should focus on inventing new, more efficient green technologies to outcompete fossil fuels.

If we really want a sustainable future for all of humanity and our planet, we shouldn’t plunge ourselves back into darkness. Tackling climate change by turning off the lights and eating dinner by candlelight smacks of the “let them eat cake” approach to the world’s problems that appeals only to well-electrified, comfortable elites.

Focusing on green R&D might not feel as good as participating in a global gabfest with flashlights and good intentions, but it is a much brighter idea."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Links - 22nd March 2013

Dining Alone on Ramen Is a Little Less Depressing With a Smartphone Dock Bowl - "the bowl also doubles as a passive amplifier for your phone's speaker when it's empty, making it possibly one of the most useful smartphone accessories ever devised"

Park Si-hoo Questioned Over Rape Charge - "A female friend of the aspiring actress apparently sent her a text message advising her to either "get a lot of money" from the actor or "bring him down." Park's accuser allegedly responded, "I'm going to show them how well I can act by looking like the victim." But police said they intend to use the Kakao Talk records merely as reference, and other messages actually support the accuser's claims. "Park has yet to present evidence showing that the sex was consensual""
What is "evidence showing that the sex was consensual"? A signed agreement?

Alleging Human Rights Violations, Howard Students Sue to Get Into Sorority - "Howard University seniors and sorority hopefuls Laurin Compton and Lauren Cofield find themselves in a plot with elements of a teen novel: arguments about who can wear pink, accusations of snitching, a cabal of girls called "the Sweets." But instead of devising an elaborate way to get back at the in-crowd, Gossip Girl-style, they're suing the sorority and the university to become sisters—and alleging that their human rights have been violated."

Bureaucratics, Photos of Civil Servants from Around the World

Women in Paris finally allowed to wear trousers - " On January 31, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France's minister of women's rights, made it officially impossible to arrest a woman for wearing trousers in the French capital. The law required women to ask police for special permission to "dress as men" in Paris, or risk being taken into custody... The law was kept in place until now, despite repeated attempts to repeal it, in part because officials said the unenforced rule was not a priority, and part of French "legal archaeology." In July however, in a public request directed at Ms Vallaud-Belkacem, Alain Houpert, a senator and member of the conservative UMP party, said the "symbolic importance" of the law "could injure our modern sensibilities," and he asked the minister to repeal it... The restriction focused on Paris because French Revolutionary rebels in the capital said they wore trousers, as opposed to the knee-breeches, or the "culottes," of the bourgeoisie, in what was coined the "sans-culottes" movement. Women rebels in the movement demanded the right to wear trousers as well, but were forbidden to do so"
I'm sure French women were terribly discriminated against and were in mortal fear of being arrested before this
Someone: Indeed. you could say the same for those in the LGBT community.


How much people save is partly a function of the language they speak. - Ideas Market - WSJ - "Chen presents compelling evidence that people who speak languages without strictly distinct future or past tenses are a lot more likely to save money. His argument is that, in these languages, people aren’t as distinct from their future selves; linguistically, at least, today and tomorrow are more of a continuum. The future in languages such as Chinese isn’t some far off thing that can be ignored; on the contrary, in these future-less tongues the future sounds (and perhaps feels) like just another version of the present, which it is."

The Pee Deflectors of Amsterdam - "An interesting aspect of grungy, dark cornered areas on Amsterdam, is the city’s methods to keep the city clean and odor-free by teaching those drunken fools who think every little corner is their personal urinal. Most of the buildings near the main squares in Amsterdam are equipped with “pee deflectors” that were installed by the Dutch government... city hall devised the implementation of pee deflectors that would splash the pee back on the pisser to teach them a lesson. Most of these are triangular shaped metal sheets that protrude and are angled to splash pee back on the man conducting the act. Some have sharp barbs to conduct a lesson of pain on the perpetrator. In the 1980′s they had electrical charges running through some of the deflectors so that the law-breaker would be shocked"

'Have Sex With Older Woman,' Feminist Advises Teen Virgin - "Sociologist Ueno Chizuko (64) shocked readers when in an Asahi Shimbun life advice column she replied to a male middle-school student whose problem was finding sexual relief that, “It’s best to ask a mature woman to let you have sex with her’."

Is China Running Out Of Workers? - "China, which has had one of the best demographic profiles of any nation, will soon have one of the worst. The economic effect of population decline will, in all probability, be severe, long-lasting, and evident soon."

China’s 'Little Emperors' more neurotic, risk averse

Some DNA ancestry services akin to 'genetic astrology' - ""On a long trudge through history - two parents, four great-grandparents, and so on - very soon everyone runs out of ancestors and has to share them. "As a result, almost every Briton is a descendant of Viking hordes, Roman legions, African migrants, Indian Brahmins, or anyone else they fancy.""

Why do people keep lists of enemies? - "For those who self-identify as opponents of a particular group, appearing on such a list can be a valediction. "It's a badge of honour," says award-winning cartoonist Tony Auth, who appears on the NRA document. "If I wasn't on it I'd be appalled." Actor Paul Newman said his inclusion on Nixon's list was his greatest achievement. Journalist Hunter S Thompson wrote of the "gross sense of injury" he felt when he realised his name was omitted."

Different veils worn by Muslim women around the world - Imgur

Groupon Fires Andrew Mason As CEO - " “After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family,” Mason wrote. “Just kidding — I was fired today. If you’re wondering why … you haven’t been paying attention.”"

Designate May 20th as Macho Man Randy Savage Day. | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government

Obama petitioned over baby formula - "“We request for international support and assistance as babies in Hong Kong will face malnutrition very soon”... It was not immediately clear what the anonymous author of the petition wanted Obama to do but Internet users in Hong Kong saw the appeal as an attempt to embarrass the government into action. “The whole world will be laughing at Hong Kong for this,” a mother on one popular baby forum said, the South China Morning Post reported. Hundreds of mainlanders have been stuffing tins of baby milk powder into large bags and boxes near train stations at the border in recent days... Other recent petitions on the White House website to have grabbed the headlines include one requesting the government build a Star Wars-inspired “Death Star” by 2016 to “spur job creation” and strengthen national defence. More than 34 000 people signed the appeal but the government rejected it last month with a tongue-in-cheek response saying “the administration does not support blowing up planets”... Other current petitions call for looser regulation of cigars, the legalisation of marijuana and the minting of a $1 trillion coin"

The Purchase of Intimacy: Viviana A. Zelizer - "In their personal lives, people consider it essential to separate economics and intimacy. We have, for example, a long-standing taboo against workplace romance, while we see marital love as different from prostitution because it is not a fundamentally financial exchange. In The Purchase of Intimacy, Viviana Zelizer mounts a provocative challenge to this view. Getting to the heart of one of life's greatest taboos, she shows how we all use economic activity to create, maintain, and renegotiate important ties--especially intimate ties--to other people. In everyday life, we invest intense effort and worry to strike the right balance. For example, when a wife's income equals or surpasses her husband's, how much more time should the man devote to household chores or child care? Sometimes legal disputes arise. Should the surviving partner in a same-sex relationship have received compensation for a partner's death as a result of 9/11? Through a host of compelling examples, Zelizer shows us why price is central to three key areas of intimacy: sexually tinged relations; health care by family members, friends, and professionals; and household economics"

Judge ordered lazy sinkie wife to go out and work!! - "That guy earn only take home 2k but his ex-wife demand 2.3k i think that guy is not a grad but his ex-wife is a grad who quit her job yrs ago. The judge only get the guy to pay $450 + $100 per mth and order the wife go find a job."

Pourquoi les seins nus disparaissent des plages - "Pour la plupart des femmes que nous avons interrogées, un beau sein n’est pas un sein cramé... « Parce que je me dois de les chouchouter si je veux qu’ils restent ronds et fermes le plus longtemps possible. »... « Je ne veux pas de tous les regards sur moi. Je préfère laisser le reste à la magie de l’instant, aiguiser l’appétit plutôt que de tout livrer. Le topless, c’est comme si tout était gagné. »... « Je fais du 90 C, j’ai l’habitude des regards sur moi, bien souvent trop dirigés au sud de mes yeux. Ça m’amuse mais parfois j’en souffre aussi. Les regards ne sont pas tous doux. Certains sont lubriques, d’autres jaloux (c’est souvent celui des filles d’ailleurs), d’autres graveleux et d’autres agréables. »... « Pas au Maroc parce que je me ferais brûler vive par les islamistes. »"

The Harlem Shake is Racist

The Problematics of the Fake Harlem Shake » Sociological Images

"The irony of an African-American cultural relic being white-washed to the point where other people of color perform its bastardized version is not lost, and this takes on a whole new level as teams with majority African-American members such as the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets add to the fake Shake canon...

A major problematic of this meme is that it takes an already marginalized group in America, one whose history and culture has often been appropriated and co-opted in fetishistic ways by the white majority, and makes a mockery of not just them, but an entire dance tradition. This is not lost on residents of Harlem, many of whom recognize cultural appropriation and malrepresentation when they see it...

This literal erasure of black culture and its replacement with an absurdist movement and meme needs to be considered in light of African-American oppression and institutionalized racism in the United States. Supplanting the sinuous artistry of the Harlem Shake with frenetic styleless arm flailing and hip thrusting is yet another brick in a grand wall of symbolic and structural violence that further relegates an entire culture to the margins, both on and offline."


THE (fake) HARLEM SHAKE IS RACIST!!!
CULTURE IS STATIC!!!
MINORITY CULTURE CAN'T BE PARODIED (even unknowingly)!!!


Comments:

"If the Harlem Shake meme videos strike you as "parody" of the classic NYC dance, that says more about you than anything else."

"was Jimi Hendrix erasing and appropriating Indian, or Greek culture? Where do you think the guitar came from? Or the Pentatonic scale? The "original" Harlem Shake had its inspiration in dances and music that most of the people doing it probably never knew, just like every other bit of folk culture in history"

"So you're saying all of this hyperbole about cultural erasing and white oppression comes down to the presence of a name appropriated from the Dutch representing a neighborhood appropriated from the Lenape?"

"Nothing in culture is "fake". And it seems its only problematic if you problematize it. Next you can complain that image macros take the image out of the original creators context and re-purpose it."

"No true Scotsman would do the fake Harlem dance."

"Cultural appropriation is not the equivalent of anthropology's 'cultural borrowing'. Cultural borrowing occurs when two cultures interact and share cultural traits, thus disseminating cultural traditions and rituals between two groups which otherwise maintain their diversity. Cultural appropriation occurs in the context of racial or ethnic oppression, in which the dominant group creates real consequences for the subordinate group practicing their cultural traits, and yet when members of the dominant group practice those traits they are not harassed and may often receive social benefits. The dominant groups use of cultural appropriation frequently results in the erasure of the subordinate group's cultural practices, whereas cultural borrowing and exchange allows both groups to remain autonomous."

"If I'm following your definition of "cultural appropriation," then we'd have to be able to show that there have been negative consequences enacted on blacks by whites when blacks do the "Harlem Shake," and then show whites turning around, taking the same dance and adopting it for their own and getting benefits for it.
But while we certainly see people who aren't black enjoying something called the "Harlem Shake" - what we don't see is any history of blacks being persecuted for doing the dance themselves. So following your definition this example doesn't seem to bear up.
I would also add that for quite a while now - around 50 years at least - African-American dance in this country has been extremely popular, beloved, praised, exalted, admired, and is incredibly pervasive throughout the media. So the notion that blacks have been persecuted or stigmatised for their forms of dance only to have them stolen doesn't sound right. The notion of "cultural appropriation" just doesn't seem applicable in the case of contemporary black-invented dancing."

"So... how is the case of the two dances called 'Harlem Shake' either, unless the name itself qualifies as a cultural trait? And how do either of them differ from cultural evolution?"

"The fact of the matter is, cultures change over time and whether that process respects our subjective ideas of "value" or morality, is irrelevant; it happens. You, however, seem very fixated on the idea of violent cultural appropriation, even though notions of what is borrowed and what is appropriated are highly relative. By your logic, the original Harlem Shake was forcibly appropriated out of existence, yet you conveniently forget that it was simply NOT POPULAR among its original cultural owners, however you splice it. Your trying to forcibly bridge the gap through the lens of cultural imperialism (how ironic!) seems a bit too contrived. Furthermore, where is your proof? Other than what they share in name, where is the relationship between one phenomenon and the other? The fact of the matter is, popular (however you define it) media has brought back attention to the "original” Harlem Shake, and may have in fact saved it. The Shake lives on in spite, not because, of people like you, and in that sense you may truly be irrelevant."

"What does "problematic" mean? "All of which I am offended by"? "All of which I find reveals you to be less cultured and refined than I"? What?"

"Tell you what, you can have the phrase "Harlem Shake" back, when I can put the words "queer", and "gay" back into general use with their original definitions."

"Some of those who appear to be making a mockery of the dance may simply be making a badly-executed tribute imitation."

"I did something I called The Harlem Shake in the 70's. It was cute, I was in elementary school and it involved flowers and a dance. Therefore anything called Harlem Shake but my little dance is culture appropriation and wrong wrong wrong and "stop that shit".
No?
Well damn. I guess culture DOES evolve and you can't own it."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why Men Shouldn't Use Women's Shampoo



(This pisses Jezebel off, so you know it's good)

Amusing comments:

"I did have a transman room mate who used all the man flavoured shower/shaving products, and it seemed to be a simple way for him to identify male"

"My BF's hair is longer than mine and it's glorious as fuck.
I call him beautiful all the time. I LOOK UP new words to make sure he understands that he is a beautiful ass man in all his pulchritude and that it's like he has an aureole of titillating tresses that are simply rapturous to the touch."

"I once spent the night with a Sikh guy just because he had long hair. Long, black, wavy, thick, shiny hair all the way down to his gorgeous butt. In fact, I made a stopover in London just to see him. I didn't know him at all apart from having chatted with him on the internet. He looked a lot like Naveen Andrews as Kip in "The English Patient"."

"when I moved in with my boyfriend I was surprised/kind of annoyed when his shampoo ran out and he started using all my lady products. He even started using my conditioners and was like "Oh my God! My hair is so soft! This is what this is for?!" So now I buy hair products for two. "

"I would love if my husband had slo-mo lady hair. He has dumb long hair in a ponytail that he only brushes when it's wet."

"My boyfriend did this, too. We don't live together, but I stay by him often enough that I left shampoo, conditioner and soap there (he uses Irish Spring and it makes my skin too dry). One day I go to his house right after he gets out of the shower, he goes to hug me and I stop, kinda sniff him and say "you smell...like me." To which he replied that my shampoo and conditioner are the best things EVER and my soap makes his skin all soft. *Sigh."

"Oh come on, not everything has to be an issue. This is more of a parody of the commercials themselves, and it's hilarious! Learn to laugh."

"my boyfriend recently worked on a dove for men commercial and they brought tons of product on set to use. turns out they didn't really need to use any of it so they donated all 3 boxes full of stuff to men's shelters. in short, i don't care about this commercial."

"I did see Fabio in Whole Foods once and I'm pretty sure he travels with an invisible wind machine aimed at his hair."
"I'm pretty sure Fabio is never an aside to any conversation, especially when it's about hair."

"my buddy's half-sister makes $72/hour on the internet. She has been unemployed for nine months but last month her pay was $18223 just working on the internet for a few hours"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Links - 19th March 2013

Allah in the Cafeteria: Inside the school prayer scandal at Valley Park Middle School - "an imam from Darus Salaam was leading the prayers in the school’s cafeteria, and that the girls were being made to sit behind the boys... Most of the journalists emphasized one detail that secular Canadians found particularly objectionable: any girl who was menstruating couldn’t participate in the prayers, and could only observe from the back row. Orthodox Muslims, like members of a number of other faiths, consider menstruating females impure for religious functions... When I phoned Nickolas Stefanoff and asked him how he was dealing with the complaints about the prayer service, he responded defensively. He instructed me to learn something about Islam before I start asking questions. When I told him that I was a Muslim, he backed down... One parent claimed that many children couldn’t settle down once they returned to class, and it was difficult to carry out the lessons. Friday afternoons were basically a write-off for every student—Muslim or non-Muslim. Banerjee claims the TDSB bends over backwards to accommodate Muslims above all other groups, and he has been criticized as an Islamophobe for saying so... Banerjee arranged for a series of people to deliver speeches opposing the board’s accommodation policy at the protests. (The only Muslim to speak was the journalist and women’s rights activist Raheel Raza. She was heckled by a group of young Muslim men and women, who criticized her for betraying her own religion)... The school may be following a policy of accommodating special requests, but there’s a striking difference between designating a room for a handful of students and converting the largest room in the building for group prayer. The school becomes, in effect, a mosque."
A part left out: "Christian and other prayers are disallowed in the public school system"

Did a Cross-Dressing Priest Sex Ring Bring Down Benedict XVI? - "The priests, it seems, are allegedly being blackmailed by a network of male prostitutes who worked at a sauna in Rome’s Quarto Miglio district, a health spa in the city center, and a private residence once entrusted to a prominent archbishop. The evidence reportedly includes compromising photos and videos of the prelates—sometimes caught on film in drag, and, in some cases, caught “in the act”... In 2010, investigative journalist Carmello Abbate went undercover with a hidden camera to write a shocking exposé called “Good Nights Out for Gay Priests”. Abbate caught the priests on hidden camera dirty dancing at private parties and engaging in sex acts with male escorts on church property. He also caught them emerging from dark bedrooms just in time to celebrate mass. In one postcoital scene, a priest parades around seminaked, wearing only his clerical vestments. “This is not about homosexuality,” Abbate told The Daily Beast when he published the exposé. “This is about private vices and public virtues. This is about serious hypocrisy in the Catholic Church”... At the time that Marrazzo’s relationships with the transvestites were discovered, his driver reportedly told investigators that several high-ranking priests and even cardinals were customers of Rome’s elite transsexual circuit"

Comment: Why I’m no longer Gay but still want to marry someone of the same sex - "I can remember the first time I chose to be Gay. I was 15 and bored on my way home from school... I remember seeing a guy buying a copy of Gay Times magazine and he looked like me but happier. That’s when I first thought about being Gay as an identity; a semi-conscious process that may sound flippant now but really made a mark on me in that moment... I decided to reinvent myself by playing the Gay role wholeheartedly. Coming out at school the next day was simple: I confided in someone I knew would tell everyone else... I remember one day we were fundraising for the campaign and I was dancing with Robbie Williams and other celebrities at the Royal Albert Hall. We sang We Are Family and the atmosphere in the hall was beautiful. I didn’t feel part of any family though. They couldn’t see me, only my Gay mask. You can’t love a mask... Fourteen years later, I don’t think I’m Gay anymore; I just think I’m in love with a wonderful man"

How Racist Are We? - "I find I’m like most people: I take race seriously in making practical decisions. I think American blacks are likely to be less efficient and less capable at most jobs than are American whites. I think whites are likely to be sloppier and ruder than East Asians. I think Southeast Asians are likely to be cheerier than everyone. I’m worried that poorly-educated Latino immigrants might create a culture of Catholic poverty and Latin populism here in the U.S. But then, more than a racist, I’m an interesting-conversation-ist, a stands-up-straight-ist, a decent-grooming-ist, a beauty-and-fitness-ist, a pro-literacy-ist. I discriminate in favor of people I think can hold down a job and do decently at it. I especially favor those who do great work in their jobs or study successfully in school. I’ll bet you, do too... Today, in American culture, overt white racism is unacceptable, both in law and in public conduct. Black racism is another matter... a group of white girls from the University of Arkansas Zeta Tau Alpha sorority won the national “Sprite Step Off” step-dancing competition. Step-dancing is a coordinated stomping, hip-hop dance routine style that gained popularity first among black fraternities and sororities. When a team without a single black member won the competition, beating several all-black teams, an outcry arose from advocates for black culture and black pride. The Coca-Cola Company, sponsor of the competition, quickly back-tracked and awarded a second first-place result to an all-black team, Alpha Kappa Alpha of Indiana University. Coca-Cola said they had found a “scoring discrepancy.” But they divulged no details, and no one believed them. Many black commentators decried the Coca-Cola cave-in for the racism it represented, yet the fact that the decision was demanded by many and that it stood shows that some varieties of racism are more equal than others... According to the economists Rohini Somanathan and Rajiv Sethi, most Americans would rather live in a mixed-race neighborhood than a single-race one. If we could find a mixed-race area that met our other criteria for a good neighborhood—such as good schools, nice houses, and fun entertainment—we would like to move there. But there’s a catch. Most would prefer any neighborhood where their own race dominates to any neighborhood where they are not members of at least a racial plurality. So middle-class whites won’t move into a nice, middle-class—but mostly-black— neighborhood, and vice versa. In this way, each race stays segregated, though it is practically no one’s first choice... race often indicates culture. And, now, with growing appeals to “Latino” identity—despite the fact that Uruguayans and Mexicans have quite different cultures and histories—people of Latin American descent are getting into the act, too. Sonia Sotomayor, a sitting Supreme Court justice and card-carrying liberal, thinks being a “wise Latina” makes her a better judge than a “white male” would be. Whether or not we agree, we all know what she means"

Get Your Ramen With a Side of Boobs at Tokyo Bar - "Have you ever heard of Boobs Ramen? That’s the nickname for a bar in Tokyo where, much like Hooters in the US, the most appealing aspect of the joint is always on display. But apparently the food is pretty good too... This isn’t some sleazy sex shop though. It’s a totally wholesome and regular bar… whose owner happens to have really fascinating breasts... The reason this place is known as Boobs Ramen is its most popular menu item, the ramen noodles. The slightly sweet soup made with lots of nori seaweed extract tastes delicious and thick. It goes down quite smoothly, leaving a happy sense of satisfaction almost like resting your tired head on a soft bosom... Really the popularity of this place is built on a lot more than the owner’s chest... In case you were wondering: they’re I-cups. Hayakawa is actually a former “gravia idol”, or sexy bikini model. She even has some DVDs to her name. No wonder she is so confidently beautiful!... Open 7 p.m.-7 a.m. (or until she gets tired) every day"

English language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "A computerised survey of about 80,000 words in the old Shorter Oxford Dictionary (3rd ed.) was published in Ordered Profusion by Thomas Finkenstaedt and Dieter Wolff (1973) that estimated the origin of English words as follows:
- Langue d'oïl, including French and Old Norman: 28.3%
- Latin, including modern scientific and technical Latin: 28.24%
- Germanic languages (including words directly inherited from Old English; does not include Germanic words coming from the Germanic element in French, Latin or other Romance languages): 25%
- Greek: 5.32%
- No etymology given: 4.03%
- Derived from proper names: 3.28%
- All other languages: less than 1%
A survey by Joseph M. Williams in Origins of the English Language of 10,000 words taken from several thousand business letters gave this set of statistics:
- French (langue d'oïl): 41%
- "Native" English: 33%
- Latin: 15%
- Old Norse: 2%
- Dutch: 1%
- Other: 10%"

We Compare Senran Kagura’s Virtual Breasts with Real Ones… You Know, for Science and Stuff - "The PS Vita edition of breast simulator game Senran Kagura has become an instant hit, selling out in stores everywhere immediately after hitting store shelves. However, the question stands: With these virtual boobs in the hands of so many, how can we be sure they’re getting an authentic experience?... By employing a real, amply chested woman, we determined that the game has achieved near perfect results."
Damn Japs...

Fake Bishop Tries to Sneak into Vatican Meeting - "His cassock was several inches too short, his sash was the wrong color and, instead of a skullcap, he wore a fedora. But Ralph Napierski, a self-appointed German ”bishop” from the apparently made-up Corpus Dei order, somehow managed to get through a manned Vatican checkpoint and mingle with Cardinals as they gathered for a meeting in preparation to elect a new Pope."

Shieldmaiden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "There are few historical attestations that Viking Age women took part in warfare, but the Byzantine historian Johannes Skylitzes records that women fought in battle when Sviatoslav I of Kiev attacked the Byzantines in Bulgaria in 971"

SNL: Amazon Mother’s Day Ad (Video) - "This Fifty Shades of Grey parody Mother’s Day commercial for Amazon.com from last night’s Saturday Night Live was the highlight of the entire show"

Serangoon's French invasion - "The French community in the area is so large that you will often hear a smattering of French as you walk along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3. They have an association, called the RFS, which offers a lot of activities for French people. Ms Desaulles relates that they gather at the Serangoon community club, which she says is "half-Singaporean, half-French""

Police: Naked scammers seduce, blackmail men on Web - CNN.com - "In the wonderfully sensational style of journalism reminiscent of Next Media Animation's "animated news" (the Taiwanese folks who showed us Tiger Woods' 2009 traffic mishap and Steve Jobs turning into a ninja) Singapore TV station HD 5 created a 10-minute "reconstruction" of the scam... "You can imagine how a man, believing he is being seduced online by a sexy woman, might be all too eager to click on a link she suggests or run a malicious program on his computer," Cluley wrote on his blog. "Before he knows it, his computer could be under the control of a hacker"... "Be careful out there, and keep your trousers on, chaps.""
CrimeWatch makes it to CNN!; The only folly of man...

Reasons to learn languages


"I'm learning Russian so I can trade recipies with my babushka"
"i'm learning Spanish so I can communicate better with my coworkers"
"I'm learning Thai... so I can go to Thailand for... a thing"

The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

Moral Maze 30 Jan 13: How should we make a moral calculation between the needs of the majority and the suffering and losses of the minority?

Host (David Aaronovitch): Is your essential view that those who are against progress, against development, are essentially the haves who resent or don't want the putting of riches... over the have-nots?

Martin Durkin: Broadly speaking, yes. The green debate on this - its mainly green argument, and you find that it comes from, for the most part, people with, who are very well off by global standards.

When you look at their arguments against consumption, you find it's usually mass consumption that upsets them. They haven't got any objections to posh cheese shops or vintners, or places that sell nice Italian tiles. It's Ikea and Tesco and places like that really upsets them. Places that produce things efficiently for the masses.

This is a very peculiar kind of anti-Capitalism... I call it posh anti-Capitalism. Right-wing anti-Capitalism. In the olden days, when I was on the Left... anti-Capitalism, we used to complain about capitalism because it would cause the immiseration of the masses. But of course it didn't. Actually the masses did rather well out of mass production, which is hwy they didn't buy our silly magazines. And instead, anti-Capitalism today, this sort of posh lot, seem - their gripe seems to be about the success of Capitalism...

The problem is, on the subject of NIMBYism, that NIMBYism has created the green belts and crowd us all into towns and cities created enormous suffering. It is against the good life... Town and Country Planning Act, which excludes, which means that 90% of Britons live on only 10% of the land in Britain.

BKK 2012 - Day 2, Part 1 - Ayutthaya

BKK 2012
Day 2, Part 1 - 8th September - Ayutthaya


This day I went to Ayutthaya, an old Thai capital. Walking to the station, I got to breathe in, as with the previous night, the heady, exhilarating scent of Southeast Asia: rubbish, excrement and rotting food.

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A lot of young ang mohs doing an ad for SMU. Occidentalism!

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ISO 9001 certification

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Seating for monks

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"Stop corruption"

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I didn't get this "train body wrap" thing. It seems to be an advertising medium.

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Wanted posters?

Seeing a lot of young ang mohs, knew I had gotten the right train. I got to sit near 4 German-speaking backpackers... till I found out I was in second class when I had bought a third class ticket (20 Baht only! - a tour would've been 2,250 Baht), and got unceremoniously booted out. Before that one of the German guys said when Thais saw Europeans they thought they were rich and ripped them off. In reply to my query about why westerners like Thailand, he said for Germans it's exotic because in Germany everyone knows what to do but it's not that way in Thailand. This was a strange type of exoticism.

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Hawker in train. The food wasn't fresh. However I was impressed by styrofoam trays (with shrink wrap) containing minced mystery meat with basil and a fried egg on rice.

The "rapid" train took 95 mins to go 70-80 km.

Third class had padded benches with 90 degree (straight) backs. Second class had individual seats which could recline at a slight angle, making sleeping slightly easier than in third class.

Road sign: "Japanese village". Seems it wasn't a scam.

At one point they had some pillars set up for a construction project. Two dots and a curve made it look like a frown:

--------
| 0 0  |
|  -   |
| / \  |
|      |
--------

When I hit Ayutthaya, a guy offered me 300 Baht for 1 hr of transport. The 2009 Rough Guide said I should have paid 200 Baht. Giving allowances for inflation I offered 250 and he accepted. I was originally intending to walk to some of the sites which were nearer to each other, but the fee seemed reasonable to me.

The first stop was Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol, with a Sleeping Buddha:

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Ticket

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Sleeping Buddha

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Kids saving 20 Baht in admission fees

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Posing with Buddha. This was supposed to be disrespectful, but these people seemed to be Thai, and even did a thumbs-up sign. Ah well.

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Plastering gold foil on Buddha. As you can see he's a Working Buddha, and is not a museum piece.

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Doraemon Shrine

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English signage was almost non-existent, and signs didn't say BC or AD.

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Ordination hall

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High tech: "Chill in Ayutthaya"

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On Wat Yai Chaimongkhon (variant spelling)

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Phra Chedi Chaimongkhon

I bumped into the 4 Germans. They paid 200 Baht per person for 3 hours, and there were 4 of them. So it was about the same. So I got quite a good deal, because I wasn't white.

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Clothed Buddhas

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Sleeping dogs

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Serenity and Idiocy

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Without dumb girl posing

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The King, The Tourist

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Foil Buddha

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Sara Din
This scene of Buddhas kneeling to each other was called elsewhere "Wihan"

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6 of the Thirty-Eight Blessings

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Holy pigs (?)

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Bodhisattva door

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Toilet donations: you will notice there's somewhat on the girls' side than the boys'. Are they more generous or do they use the toilet more?

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I like the man in shorts with his hands on his hips. Maybe this is a farang unhappy at being swindled.

Ayutthaya Football Club has an amusing logo of what is presumably an ancient Thai warrior.

Sign: "Koh rean restaurant". I think it was a misspelling.

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Korean toilet

Next was Wat Phanan Choeng. Admission was 20 Baht for foreigners. Presumably it was free for locals, but it was a modest amount so I was okay with it.

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Who said money doesn't grow on trees?

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Tiger Buddha

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Big Buddha statue

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Worshippers, with monk bestowing blessings

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Big Buddha

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Lots of monks' robes. Notice the guy making music.

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Praying

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Big Buddha

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Ji Gong (?)

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Foil Buddha

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At first I thought these were charms for your dog. But it seems the Thai zodiac is the same as the Chinese one.

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Incongruous tentage advertising Baby Angel Beauty & Spa

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Bell

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Dog... with a diseased member

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Elephant, monk

There was an "ASEAN study centre" with ASEAN flags on its outer wall. Hah.

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"Landscape renovation Ayutthaya Province. Accomplished Ayutthaya World Heritage site to be the host city-Ayutthaya World Expo 2020"
They haven't actually been awarded the 2020 World Expo

I saw a white couple cycling. The guy was ahead and never looked back to the girl. The girl didn't whine, shout or complain. Ahh, gender equality!

There was what was presumably a school with a sign "Child Show 2011". Then there were photos of schoolgirls in uniform. Uhh.

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"Clean Ayutthaya", Dirty Sign
Maybe this was in the imperative mood

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Stiff the foreigners! Notice that the price for locals is not in Arabic numerals. I think it was 10 Baht for locals - 20% of the foreigner price. Bah.
You don't have this bullshit in the developed world, but then again you also have few people swindling you.

There was a place selling Coke. A can was 20 Baht and a bottle 30 Baht. But a bottle was 450ml so it was more expensive than the can, ml for ml. Gah.

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On Wat Maha That

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No climbing

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Guy climbing

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Sandstone Buddha Head

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Dear Japanese, "please... do not stand over the Buddha head (it's insulting!)"

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Couple

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Women

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Finally a clear shot.

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Perambulating in ruins

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Solo man

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Stupa

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Woman with jerry can in one hand and handbag in the other

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Buddha head again

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Buddha head closeup

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Squirrel and coconut

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Next was Wat Ratchaburana

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Entrance

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Grand Hall, Wall

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Grand Hall

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Carvings

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View from above

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One could climb up to enter this structure.

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Stuff they found inside

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French-speaking guys going down stairs. I went down 1 level and there was nothing. 1 guy went even further down and said there were "inscriptions", "une grotte", "murales" and "peintures". I figured that it was not worth it, and asked him. He didn't think it was worth it either.

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Elephants. As with mechanical ones, they were probably more fun to see than ride on. Especially alone.

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Phra Mongkol Bopitr

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Approach

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Thai torture device - they haul you to the middle of the pond and put you on one of thes

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???

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Dog donation box

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On Phra Mongkhon Bophit

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Buddha, worshippers

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Altar

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Place before the restoration, when there was no roof

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Restored Buddha, non-restored building

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Back side of Buddha

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I don't know what this was

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Ruined building

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Paper tree

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On the Buddha of Phra Mongkhon BoPhit

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Foreign visitor - German Duke and Duchess, with a Thai Prince. I find it hard to believe German nobility came to "worship"

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After a fire


I find shacks with satellite dishes amusing. The opium of the masses is important even if you're poor.
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