"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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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Links - 15th February 2014

Singaporeans still conservative about certain social issues, says IPS survey - "80.3 per cent of respondents said they felt sexual relations with someone other than their marriage partner was always or almost always wrong. Though slightly less than half of the respondents (44 per cent) disapproved of living with a partner before marriage. 78.2 per cent felt likewise about sexual relations between two adults of the same sex... 72.9 per cent found gay marriage always or in certain cases wrong, and 15.7 per cent thought it was not... about 43 per cent of respondents felt divorce was wrong always, or in most instances. About 69 per cent felt that way about gambling"
Despite liberal claims, Singapore really is a conservative society

For Depression Treatment, Meditation Might Rival Medication

Made To Penetrate: Female-on-Male Rape - "In a largely overlooked study focusing exclusively on college males, 51.2 percent of participants reported experiencing a least one incident of sexual victimization, including unwanted sexual contact (21.7 percent), sexual coercion (12.4 percent) and rape (17.1 percent). Of course, most men assume they’ll be ostracized for reporting such emasculating violations, so the real numbers are likely at lot higher... A recent study of sexual violence found that women by age 18 were almost equally as likely as men to commit sexual abuse (at 48 percent and 52 percent, respectively)... Male victims were actually excluded from the legal definition of rape until the Department of Justice updated it in 2012, 85 years after the fact. Even now, it only accounts for those men who were anally or orally raped by males. In other words, an ill-intentioned penis and a vulnerable orifice are imperative to a rape indictment... In the CDC’s national survey of sexual violence, for example, “made to penetrate” is not included as a form of rape. If it were, incidents of male rape would rise from 1 in 71 to a staggering 1 in 16 nationally (female rape is just under 1 in 5). The majority of the offenders of male victims would also be female. The authors of the survey, which is sponsored by the Violence Against Women Act, maintain that being “made to penetrate” is a form of sexual victimization unique to males, and therefore independent of rape. As a consequence, “made to penetrate” cases seem less criminal, and certainly less provocative... Just as with female victims of sexual violence, more than 1 in 4 men are abused at the hands of an intimate partner. According to the CDC, of the 5,451,000 who report having been “made to penetrate,” 45 percent were victimized by a current or former girlfriend, 45 percent by an acquaintance, and just 5 percent by a stranger. But while male abusers tend to achieve their ends through physical means, women often employ more psychological methods, like extortion: I’ll say you hit me. I’ll divorce you. I’ll kill myself. I’ll kill you. Women also pursue their victims in situations when they’re more vulnerable, whether drunk, sleeping, sick, drugged or demoralized by psychological venom... Ben’s ex also threatened to tell the authorities that he had raped her if he dared tell anyone about what had happened, a variation on an intimidation tactic commonly associated with male-on-female rape. Victims are often told, “No one will believe you.” However, only female abusers can say, “Not only won’t anyone believe you, but they’ll believe me because I am a woman. There’s proof that we had a sexual encounter, and I can use that against you.”"
Hurrah feminists!

Appeasement is the proper policy towards Confucian China - "China’s leaders should be careful not to succumb to the Wilhelmine illusion that economic and strategic momentum is the same as actual power... Factions in Beijing appear to think that China will win a trade war if Washington ever imposes sanctions to counter Chinese mercantilism. That is a fatal misjudgement. The lesson of Smoot-Hawley and the 1930s is that surplus states suffer crippling depressions when the guillotine comes down on free trade; while deficit states can muddle through, reviving their industries behind barriers. Demand is the most precious commodity of all in a world of excess supply."
Comment: "the last time a Brit advocated appeasement, it came with a black umbrella - and Hitler marched all the way to the English Channel before the Americans were left to clean up the mess created in Munich...now you want us to do the same thing with a nuclear-armed giant of 1.6 billion people?"

China’s young officers and the 1930s syndrome - "“China’s military spending is growing so fast that it has overtaken strategy,” said Professor Huang Jing from the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. (He kindly let me quote his remarks.) “The young officers are taking control of strategy and it is like young officers in Japan in the 1930s. They are thinking what they can do, not what they should do. This is very dangerous... Let us hope that the Communist hierachy in Beijing can rein in those young officers. But as Dr Huang said, they can no longer control much of anything, least of all the 17m-strong base of the Communist Party. “The empire has lost control of its officials, which is how Chinese empires have always fallen in history.”"

Conductors and their spells.

Dominance Is The First Emotion A Victorious Athlete Feels, Study Finds - "Researchers from San Francisco State University examined Olympic and Paralympic judo athletes, which showed that both kinds of athletes displayed this demonstration of dominance after an athletic accomplishment. Such demonstrations of dominance include raising the arms up, tilting the head back with a smile, and puffing out the chest. "It is a very quick, immediate, universal expression that is produced by many different people, in many cultures, immediately after winning their combat," study researcher David Matsumoto, a professor of psychology at the university, said in a statement. "Many animals seem to have a dominant threat display that involves making their body look larger." Because the victorious poses were observed even in people from varying cultures, as well as Paralympic athletes who were blind, researchers noted that this behavior is likely innate."
Not as sexy as what makes the headlines, but still Evolutionary Psychology

CDC: “Being made to penetrate isn’t rape” - "I do, however, have a guess as to why the researchers do not want to included being forced to penetrate as rape... That bolded portion is why they do not include it. If they counted it, the rate of rape against males rises from 1 in 71 (1.4%) to 1 in 16 (6.2%). While I still believe that is a low estimate, it is much higher than anyone expects to see. Likewise, the majority of the rapists of males would be female. If you are part of a group invested in painting sexual violence as a women’s issue and a crime only men commit, those results would severely hurt your argument. Here is another guess: the CDC researchers likely made their decision about categorizing sexual violence after they saw the results. They likely did not expect such high rates of reported sexual violence from males, especially given the victim-oriented wording of their questions. They could not deny the data or withhold it, however, they could present in such a way as to significantly lower rate of sexual violence against males than their numbers actually show. Since the researchers had to know that a report about rape would garner more attention than anything about sexual assault, I think they chose to play semantics in order to protect the above political agenda."
Just as with "NoToRape", it's only rape when men do it

Taxi woes and the ghost of 1985 - "The Straits Times carried several stories in recent weeks of taxi queues in the city during the evening, with waiting times much longer than they were a year ago. A Sri Lankan businessman was quoted as saying: "It's the worst thing I hate about Singapore - standing in taxi queues." One statistic alone tells the story of how poorly the service here compares with that in other cities: Singapore has 29,000 taxis, Hong Kong has only 18,000. But despite their fewer numbers, Hong Kong taxi drivers make more than a million trips a day, compared with fewer than a million here... If the price is set too low, cabbies have to pick many fares through the day to make a decent living. Each fare then becomes relatively unimportant because it represents a smaller part of his overall earnings, as he knows he can pick another fare just round the corner. Taxi drivers operating in this scenario tend to be choosy about the fares they pick. On the other hand, if the price is set higher and demand is lower, you can expect better service as every customer contributes a larger share to the driver's earnings. It's the difference between a supermarket and a boutique. Both types of taxi service can be found all over the world - the supermarket model prevailing in developing countries, whereas in, say, Tokyo or London, it's a boutique service."

How Inequality Hollows Out the Soul - NYTimes.com - "One of the well-known costs of inequality is that people withdraw from community life and are less likely to feel that they can trust others. This is partly a reflection of the way status anxiety makes us all more worried about how we are valued by others. Now that we can compare robust data for different countries, we can see not only what we knew intuitively — that inequality is divisive and socially corrosive — but that it also damages the individual psyche."

‘Old-Person Smell’ Really Exists, Scientists Say - "Lundström became interested in studying the effect of age on human body odor when he noticed that old people in the U.S. seemed to smell just the way did back home in Sweden. One day, when walked into an elderly care center near Philadelphia to give a lecture, he realized that the smell of the place was familiar — it was the exact same scent of the nursing home in Sweden where his mother worked when he was a boy... Interestingly, despite its uniqueness — and contrary to the stereotype — old-person smell isn’t exactly bad. The participants rated it as less intense and less unpleasant than body odor from younger donors. By gender, participants rated middle-aged men’s smell as the yuckiest and most intense, and old-man smell as the most pleasant and least intense. By contrast, middle-aged women’s scents were rated as more pleasant than old-lady smells."

Protesters storm governors' offices in Ukraine - "In Lviv, a city in near the Polish border 450 kilometers (280 miles) west of Kiev, hundreds of activists burst Thursday into the office of regional governor Oleh Salo, a Yanukovych appointee, shouting "Revolution!" and singing Christmas carols. After surrounding him and forcing him to sign a resignation letter, an activist ripped it out of Salo's hands and lifted it up to the cheers and applause of the crowd. Salo later retracted his signature, saying he had been coerced. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters smashed windows, broke doors and stormed into the governor's office in the city of Rivne, shouting "Down with the gang!" — a common reference to Yanukovych's government. Once inside, they sang the national anthem."

The truth about the luxury of Qatar Airways - "Qatar Airways' CEO, Akbar Al Baker, also owns the airport in Doha and the country's only private license for alcohol and pork... Any action on Gina's part can be construed as an attempt at bribery. After all, the guard is there to monitor her. To ensure that Gina never sleeps anywhere but the staff housing. Never gets home later than mandated by the company. Never allows an unregistered guest into her room, never leaves during her leisure times or has anyone sleep over."
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