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Friday, July 25, 2014

Links - 25th July 2014

Speaker: Islam should not be judged by the actions of Muslims | Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) - ""Islam should not be judged by the actions of Muslims just as Christianity should not be judged by the actions of Christians and Judaism should not be judged by the actions of Jews," Ahmed said. "Islam should be judged by the Quran and the example of the prophet Muhammad.""
America should not be judged by the actions of its government, but by its Constitution

Rob Breakenridge: Pornography — Canada’s other sex trade - "Canada is simultaneously dealing with a bit of a crisis in the adult film industry. Earlier this year, three Canadian erotica channels were scolded by the broadcast regulator for falling short of the mandated threshold for Canadian content. In other words, not enough Canadian porn is being churned out by Canada’s porn producers and the federal government is not going to stand for it. Yes, yes, there are plenty of Canadians who have strong moral objections to both prostitution and pornography. But while porn objectors grumble about the proliferation of adult content, the most they’ve called for is online filters or an opt-in system involving ISPs. The government is not under any pressure to criminalize the industry, nor do we see the op-ed pages filled with laments about the “sale of human flesh” or the “commodification of people” or even the classic “you wouldn’t want your daughter/sister/etc., doing this!” that I opened with here."

Women are more likely to be physically aggressive towards their partners than men - "Analysis showed that women were more likely to be physically aggressive to their partners than men and that men were more likely to be physically aggressive to their same-sex others. Furthermore, women engaged in significantly higher levels of controlling behaviour than men, which significantly predicted physical aggression in both sexes. Dr Elizabeth Bates explained: "This was an interesting finding. Previous studies have sought to explain male violence towards women as rising from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women's behaviour, using violence if necessary. "This study found that women demonstrated a desire to control their partners and were more likely to use physical aggression than men. This suggests that IPV may not be motivated by patriarchal values and needs to be studied within the context of other forms of aggression, which has potential implications for interventions.""
Once again, 'women are being oppressed' fails as a description and 'patriarchy' fails as an explanation

Emerson Dameron's answer to Creepiness: What's the creepiest/weirdest offer of sex you've ever had? - Quora - "I noticed a payphone ringing in the night air. No one else was in sight. I picked it up. I heard a voice of ambiguous gender and a strong WNC accent. It sounded like thousands of cartons of Marlboro Reds. After a few seconds' hesitation, it asked, "Want me to SUCK your DICK?!?!""

Facebook manipulated users emotions in secret study: Report - "A study detailing how Facebook secretly manipulated the news feed of some 700,000 users to study "emotional contagion" has prompted anger on social media. For one week in 2012 Facebook tampered with the algorithm used to place posts into user news feeds to study how this affected their mood...
their institutional review boards approved the research "on the grounds that Facebook apparently manipulates people's News Feeds all the time""
Am pretty sure cussing at people does more harm than manipulating their Facebook newsfeeds. Why is the former not unethical?

Psy’s ‘Hangover’ Doesn’t Reveal All about South Korea’s Drinking Culture: Study - "Another research from Euromonitor International previously reported that South Koreans drink more hard liquor than any other nationality. Psy himself admitted to Billboard he consumes much alcohol. "Yes, I'm a heavy drinker. I can honestly say (I have hangover) half of the year," Psy said. Research analyst Kim Min-ji attributed the high consumption rate to a "team building culture that is centered on alcohol. South Koreans look at drinking as a chance to bond with friends, colleagues and family.""

Ocean's nasty plastic garbage is disappearing: What's going on? - "mesopelagic fish, which live in the hazy twilight zone 660 to 3,300 feet beneath the ocean's surface, may be mistaking these bits of plastic for zooplankton of the same size. Perhaps the fish are gobbling them up at night when they come to the surface to feed, and then bringing the plastic back down to the deeper ocean where they spend most of their lives. Over time, the plastic may sink deeper when excreted or when the fish dies. The researchers also note that recent studies have shown bacterial populations growing on plastic microfragments, weighing them down and causing them to sink."

Study Reveals Biological Identities of Bigfoot, Yeti, Bolstering Case Against Them - "Of the supposed Bigfoot specimens from North America, three were from cattle. Other hairs belonged to sheep, raccoon, and porcupine. (See “Bigfoot Hoax: “Body” Is Rubber Suit.”) The sole study sample attributed to the ape-like Orang Pendek, meanwhile—a creature said to lurk on the Southeast Asian island of Sumatra—proved to be tapir, a large, pig-like tropical forest mammal. Russian samples attributed to the fabled Almasty or Almas, a rumored crypto-hominid from central Asia, were actually horse hair in three cases, according to the study."

Computer gender-perception a valuable tool - "Computers can mimic human perception of gender, according to new research published in the prestigious international journal PLOS One. A multi-disciplinary team of three computer scientists and two human anatomy experts at The University of Western Australia has, for the first time, developed a mathematical model that matches the gender scores people give to human faces ranging on a continuum from very masculine to very feminine."

What Happened After These 15 People Texted The Wrong Number Was Hilariously Epic.

Smart ways to manage work conflicts - "A most satisfying form of self-indulgence, sarcasm is usually not understood or convinces the other person that you are nuts. Searing wit is not well understood, but the intention to wound and denigrate is. So all you will have achieved is alienation without admiration - a waste of time. Write a book about it instead; you can be as sarcastic as you like in that."

Psychologists Find that Nice People Are More Likely to Hurt You - "agreeable people will often choose to do destructive things because they don't want to upset anyone by disagreeing with direct orders."

Anti-Gay: Homosexuality and Its Discontents by Mark Simpson - "Have you ever wondered (to yourself, in private): Why most gay culture these days is mediocre trash? Why so many lesbians have such a problem with long hair and dainty footwear? Why being gay is like being a member of a religious cult, except not so open-minded? What happens when a gay activist takes 'celebrating diversity' seriously and sleeps with someone of the opposite sex? If you have, it's ok. You're not alone any more. Anti-Gay, the shameful anti-dote to prideful feel-good politics, will give you the strength to tell the world you're not glad to be gay after all"

A wedding in Westeros: Couple tie the knot as Game Of Thrones' 'Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow'

The Economics of Sex - YouTube - "How do women decide to begin a sexual relationship? Pricing"

Rushing to cash in - Equal Ground - "A few years ago, in its over-zealousness to profit from the trend, a major hotel promoted a “Ramadan luncheon”. This was quickly stopped after the hotel received a barrage of criticisms from Muslim groups and the Malay media. In another instance, a radio station overstepped the line when it asked its listeners which was the more important event – fasting or celebrating Hari Raya? Fasting, one of the five tenets of Islam, cannot have its decree questioned nor its merits debated."
What else in Islam cannot be questioned or debated?

Sex Researchers Rethink Female Sexuality - "the problem I’ve long had with the arousal studies is this: the vagina is not the homologue to the penis. The penis's homologue is the clitoris. The vagina comes from different embryological tissue altogether, so why should we expect it to behave in a way that is comparable to the penis? The reason the clitoris gets an erection when a woman is sexually excited, the reason most women reach orgasm via their clits and not via their vaginas, is because the clitoris is the organ that corresponds to the penis... An international group of sex researchers working out of the Netherlands has managed to cleverly redesign the usual laboratory vaginal measuring device to also measure the response of the clitoris. (Their paper is referenced here.) They even managed to design one that did not require lab personnel to hold it to the subject; this is one the subject can insert herself, alone in a laboratory test room... “the inverse relationship between VPA [the vaginal response] and CBV [the clitoral response] at moments of high sexual arousal suggests that VPA may be a more automatic, preparatory response rather than a measure of genital arousal per se.” In other words, their results suggest that, sure enough, women’s arousal patterns may be a lot more specific—more like men’s—than the vaginal measurements reveal... how could we explain the life histories that seem to show that women are on average more sexually fluid than men? Maybe the truth is that women choose sex partners—especially long-term partnerships from which surviving children may be more likely to result—based less on immediate arousal than on other considerations. Like what? Oh, you know, like a consideration of who can be trusted to find their clitorises."
The flippant dismissal of women being sexually fluid in their revealed preferences is really lazy. If nothing else, some ex-lesbians get together with men - who presumably are less able to find the clitoris - and vice versa (from which children cannot result)

What’s Wrong With Choosing to Be Gay? - "Brandon Ambrosino is thinking this orthodoxy through for himself, and concluding that “I can’t help myself” is an insulting narrative... No wonder he’s getting corrected by the LGBT thought police... Desire happens unbidden. Exactly what you’re supposed to do with a deviant flicker has varied over time and space: become a nun or priest; get slotted into a third gender between male and female, called “hijra” or “fa’afafine” or “two-spirit”; marry heterosexually and rear a family, while having “special friends” on the side. But if you get that flicker, you’re faced with a choice, whether or not you choose consciously. Do you suppress the flicker, or follow its lead? If you follow, do you do so openly or secretly? According to Kinsey, up to 37 percent of men had some sexual experience with another man. “Lesbian until graduation” is by now a well-known phenomenon, and plenty of lesbians and gay men have tangled with those who come to visit for a few nights but head back to heterosexuality once vacation is over. And of course, many gays and lesbians who now identify as 100 percent homosexual have had opposite-sex relations when they were younger. Many adults, in other words, have a little internal leeway to choose which of their desires they will pursue... Gay isn’t the desire; it’s the social identity we layer on top of the desire—and it’s only yours if you claim it. Even men who have sex with men (MSMs, in the lingo) are not gay unless they say so... having teammates who refuse to wear the T-shirt is only half of the problem with wrapping an identity around desire. Here’s the other: desire is not a fixed or reliable compass. It varies, usually not in a willed way. I know many women who say that they were once so identified with one direction of desire that it never occurred to them it would ever vary—and yet fifteen or thirty years later, are stunned to find that their attractions take a U-turn. Some women who spend their younger adulthood identifying as lesbians shift in midlife and get involved with men. Some straight women have serious, meaningful relationships with men—and are stunned when they fall hard for a woman, not with a mild crush, but with full-on love and desire. These women often don’t call themselves “bisexual.” They say: at one point I was straight and then became gay (or vice versa). And that involves choice... Our society protects chosen identities. One’s being a Seventh-Day Adventist, Sufi Muslim or Hasidic Jew may be strongly influenced by the culture one is born into—but it’s not genetic. People convert in and out, in a way that involves new conceptions of their core identity. In some parts of the world, and in large swaths of Western history, choosing the “wrong” religion can be a death-penalty offense. But in our era we protect your freedom of religion. It’s time to be neutral about orientation in just the same way, protecting personal freedom of choice. Because really, who cares?"

Google reverses decision to delete British newspaper links - "The Guardian protested the removal of its stories describing how a soccer referee lied about reversing a penalty decision. It was unclear who asked Google to remove the stories... Privacy advocates say the backlash around press censorship highlight the potential dangers of the ruling and its unwieldiness in practice. That in turn may benefit Google by stirring debate about the soundness of the ruling, which the Internet search leader criticized the ruling from the outset. Google, which has received more than 70,000 requests, began acting upon them in past days. And it notified the BBC and the Guardian, which in turn publicized the moves. The incidents suggest that requesting removal of a link may actually bring the issue back into the public spotlight, rather than obscure it. That possibility may give people pause before submitting a "right to be forgotten" request"

Women's Sexual Aggression Against Men: Prevalence and Predictors - "Almost 1 in 10 respondents (9.3%) reported having used aggressive strategies to coerce a man into sexual activities. Exploitation of the man's incapacitated state was used most frequently (5.6%), followed by verbal pressure (3.2%) and physical force (2%). An additional 5.4% reported attempted acts of sexual aggression. Sexual abuse in childhood, ambiguous communication of sexual intentions, high levels of sexual activity, and peer pressure toward sexual activity were linked to an increased likelihood of sexual aggression"

Man has bizarre new Lego-style hair do to impress a girl - "'My friends call him blockhead, I can imagine he might have found someone as he had a good and respectable job as a medical laboratory scientist at the National Taiwan University Hospital. But he should act his age.' Wu who is still single despite the expensive hairdo said: 'I can't understand it. I make an attractive monthly income of TWD 70,000 (£1,400). 'I adopted this hairstyle because I wanted to look like a guy in his 20s or 30s to attract the girl who rejected me. Or in fact any girl.' Styling his hair was not an easy task. He reportedly needs to use up two cans of gel and spends two hours doing his hair. He can also only comb it once every 15 days to get rid of dead hair."

Weird private photographs of Hitler practicing dramatic gestures for his speeches - "Hitler actually characterized different effects for the various poses, such as “gebieterisch” (domineering) or “kämpferisch” (pugnacious)."

Reunited at 80: Childhood sweethearts separated by war finally tie the knot after 70 years - "Bob wrote to her regularly from France, but unknown to both of them, his letters were never passed on by Bernie's parents who disapproved of the relationship. With the missives having seemingly dried up, she later met Roy Bluett – a Kiwi bomber pilot who had spent most of the war recovering from a crash which shattered both his legs. The pair went on to marry and she emigrated to New Zealand where she has lived ever since. Bob, meanwhile, also married after thinking Bernie had simply rejected his love and the pair remained apart for seven decades."

‘Can’ or ‘may’? - Oxford Dictionaries - "There is a widespread view that using can to ask for permission is wrong and that it should only be used in expressions to do with ability or capability, e.g.:
Can she swim?
Can you speak Italian?
But the 'permission' use of can is not in fact incorrect in standard English. The only difference between the two verbs is that one is more polite than the other. In informal contexts it’s perfectly acceptable to use can; in formal situations it would be better to use may."

Why You Need To Stop Posting #100HappyDays Updates | Thought Catalog - "the 100 Days of Happiness phenomena fosters a faux-positive culture while pandering to the twin pitfalls of social media: narcissism and banality. Let’s talk about the pitfalls first. According to the website,, the 100HD challenge “is for you — not for anyone else.” If that’s true, why are you plastering it all over Facebook? Social media is exactly that — it’s inherently social. If this exercise is solely personal in nature, write it down in your Trapper Keeper. Once upon a time, they even made a website that was specifically designed for such navel-gazing — it was called Livejournal. (Remember that website that you used to obsessively post Bright Eyes lyrics?) But if you throw up a photo of your brunch on Instagram with a #100happydays and a #blessed hashtag, you’re putting it out there for public consumption. And if that’s the case, you’re assuming that the public cares. Which probably isn’t the case. The even larger problem with 100HD is that it encourages, nay, demands banality. No one has 100 exciting days in a row, not even Rihanna or Beyonce. Definitely not you. So while you can feign (or even feel) excitement over the fact that the vending machine gave you two Snickers bars instead of one, the rest of us can’t. Which is kind of the problem with social networking in general, isn’t it? Imagine for a second that you’ve been transported to a dystopic near-future where everyone on your friends list is concurrently participating in this infernal challenge. What fresh hell would await you every day, logging onto Facebook only to be greeted by a veritable cavalcade of the insipid, the trivial, the nominally positive? Which brings us back to my first point. 100 Happy Days misses the mark because it draws a false dichotomy between being busy and being happy, and unfairly makes the implication that negativity is so pervasive on social media because people are busy... Moreover, this obsession with pushing positivity into the public forum overlooks a more fundamental reality: the human experience is inherently dualistic. To focus on the happy to the exclusion of the sad is to do a disservice to both facets of human emotion — we appreciate joy and sorrow in part because we understand them in relationship to each other. To manufacture emphasis on one over the other is to distort reality."
This might be the highest quality Thought Catalog article ever

Egypt and Ramadan: Hot and slow | The Economist - "A reduction of two hours’ work a day means that 40 hours are lost in the month, equalling a week of full-time work for everyone in the formal sector. A study published last year by Dinar Standard, a consulting group that specialises in the Muslim world, suggests that Ramadan may cut the month’s GDP by nearly 8%. Last year in Egypt that would have meant a loss of $1.4 billion."

- About Us : Bottling Plant - "Villa d’Equilibrium is more than just a bottling plant. The Villa and the verdant surrounding stands beautifully on the southern slope of Mt. Salak (2211 meter above sea level), on the island of Java. Radiating the Grecco-Roman architecture, but yet breathing out the Oriental culture, the Villa is an icon of equilibrium. Harmony with nature is portrayed by its perfect 10 geomancy (Fengshui) score. Visitors can easily feel the serenity and peacefulness created by the Yin-Yang balance in the sprawling bottling plant."

The Myth of Israeli Collective Punishment - "Every time Israelis are murdered, the Jewish State is accused of punishing Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza for the actions of a few individuals. Israel is fighting an enemy that insists on having all the advantages of a state and statelessness with none of the disadvantages. The PLO/Hamas unity government is a state when it wants something from the United Nations or the United States, but it’s not a state when it comes to taking responsibility... When the Palestinian Authority unity government of Hamas and the PLO wants to go to the UN, it is said to represent the political will of a populace. But when Hamas attacks Israel, suddenly it’s not a collective act, but an individual crime. If Israel targets Hamas leaders, then it’s attacking political representatives. But if Israel blockades an area run by terrorists who claim to be a state, it’s accused of engaging in collective punishment. The terrorists claim political immunity as leaders of a collective and immunity from collective attack as individuals, rather than leaders and citizens of a political entity. Critics of Israel not only want to have it both ways, they want to have it every single possible way that advantages the terrorists and disadvantages Israel, so that in every possible scenario Israel is wrong. The paradox deepens when it comes to Israel. The PLO and Hamas political leadership of the PA aren’t held responsible for their terrorist attacks, but Israel is held responsible for the individual actions of its civilians... When Israeli teens are killed by Hamas terrorists, instead of it being a case of a statelet engaging in random terror as a collective punishment, it’s put down to some populist impulse as a result of the “occupation.” But when Israel strikes Hamas, it’s suddenly collective punishment if any members of the civilian population that support the terrorist group and willingly act as its human shields are killed. And it’s collective punishment if Israel further shuts off access to territory ruled by Hamas. Collective punishment, like everything else about the conflict, only works one way. Anything that Israel does to the PLO and Hamas can be considered collective punishment. Anything that they do to Israel, including randomly firing rockets at schools and houses, isn’t... When half-a-million Israelis have to flee to bomb shelters, that’s not an individual crime. It’s a war. All the peace process accomplished was to give the PLO and Hamas the power and infrastructure to wage full scale war without the obligation to follow any of the rules of war and without giving their victims the right to fight back by treating them as an enemy state."
With Hamas using civilians as human shields, it's a wonder the casualties aren't higher

Joseph Wang's answer to Why do people who are homeless, hungry and without family not break the law intentionally so that they can go to prison? - Quora - "He made his money asking game show questions to tourists, and if the tourists don't feel safe, then he doesn't make his money. One other tip is if you want money, find a couple. If you go to a lone female, you will scare them. If you go to a lone male, they will ignore you. If you go to a couple, then the woman will feel safe but sorry for you, and pressure the boyfriend to give you money."
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