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Valar Qringaomis

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Links - 14th August 2014

Logo design: SG Tipsy Trivia | just random designs - "SG Tipsy Trivia is Singapore’s only regular Singapore-themed pub quiz, voted by TimeOut Singapore as the Best Pub Quiz for Local Trivia. They meet every last Thursday of the month, and are a roving event, so each pub quiz is held in a different location.
I was approached to design a clean logo that reflects the pub quiz’s equal parts of booze, brains and hipsterness."

The book rustlers of Timbuktu: how Mali's ancient manuscripts were saved

Richard Dawkins, what on earth happened to you? | Eleanor Robertson | Comment is free | theguardian.com - "Dawkins has been arrogant for years, a man so convinced of his intellectual superiority that he believes the one domain in which he happens to be an expert, science, is the only legitimate way of acquiring or assessing knowledge... Dawkins’ narrowmindedness, his unshakeable belief that the entire history of human intellectual achievement was just a prelude to the codification of scientific inquiry, leads him to dismiss the insights offered not only by theology, but philosophy, history and art as well. "
Comments: "The anger Dawkins' comment provokes just shows how much we still expect to be able to argue and protest things on emotion and insistence alone (when reason really is a better approach to most things)"
"He was good friends with Douglas Adams and married an actress. I think it's doing him a slight disservice to say that he believes "the humanities are expendable window dressing". The man loves to flog a dead horse, but this journalist is clearly determined to attack him for any imagined thing."
"A lot of the attitudes Ms Robertson assigns to Mr Dawkins have never been expressed by him. Therefore either she is, herself, psychic or her conclusions result from misunderstanding as John suggested. No need to read minds to come to that conclusion."
"But he has dared to disagree with the Highest Dogma of Feminism and must therefore be castigated and outlawed."
"This article should have been better titled: 'I Hate Richard Dawkins: My Feeble Attempt to Gain Notoriety By Attacking Someone More Famous Than Me.'"
"So the author decides to write an article about Dawkins' tweets and then refuses to actually engage in any critique of tweets themselves but instead continues with a long winded, poorly though-out personal attack.
And to top it off she takes to Twitter to tweet "your a dick" (her misspelling, not mine) at Richard Dawkins.
Anyways, I think I will go eat a bag of scrabble tiles because whatever is excreted will make for more pleasant reading."


Man jailed 30 months for underage sex with teen - "He told her that he had a girlfriend and practised polyamory - the philosophy of being romantically involved with multiple individuals at the same time. He also told her that he had a fetish for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism, and encouraged the girl, then a virgin, to read up on this group of erotic practices, called BDSM in short. She complied. The girl turned up at his home on Aug 1, 2012 when he had sex with her for the first time. He also had kinky sex with her by slapping her face and buttocks a number of times and choking her lightly... She agreed with the prosecution that Chee had morally corrupted the girl."
BDSM is morally corrupt in Singapore

20 Honest Slogans Reveal The Truth About World’s Biggest Brands - 9GAG

Mississauga moves to cut off 'vexatious' complainers - "“I get five calls a day from one individual — that’s a record”... “I had a resident call me once and tell me not to let a rooster (in a nearby farm) wake them up at 5 a.m. “To the resident making the complaint, it is very valid. It’s very delicate. The resident has to feel that I’m going to listen to their issues.” But like other councillors, Saito says that too often, residents just won’t accept the answer they’re given. “It starts to become frivolous. It can use a tremendous amount of staff time. My staff are on the phone for hours, we do site visits, but they keep coming back on exactly the same issue.” She said often a resident’s issue is actually a private dispute with a neighbour."
Taxpayers love to waste taxpayers' money

Justin Cremer's answer to Relationship Advice: I have to pick between my girlfriend, whom I absolutely love, and my dream job, which pays five times as much as I currently make. What do I do? - Quora - "I had this choice once. I chose the girl.
It is the only regret I have in my life.
The job was on a NASCAR pit crew.
The girl is long-gone. As was the NASCAR opportunity by the time that was sorted out.
The most important thing that stands out to me from here, now, is "why did I perceive these to be mutually exclusive choices?" That was a false problem. If she really loved me, the job wouldn't have stood in the way. We could have worked it out together."

Could you give up sex for a year? This man did - "His flatmate bet $2,000 (£1,100) that Lynagh - who had slept with 20 women the previous year and was known to friends as “Ireland’s horniest export” - would not be able to see out this period of celibacy... According to the rules drawn up by Lynagh and his flatmate, he would be allowed to kiss women but all further physical contact was banned. Lynagh almost lapsed two months in with a woman he had been seeing. He said the experience was “frustrating for both of [them]” and he decided they should stop dating. Instead he channelled his energy into Free to Shine, the charity that would receive the proceeds of the bet, which aims to bring young Cambodian girls out of the sex trade and into schools... Since winning the bet earlier in the year, Lynagh has started a relationship with a woman he met through his fundraising page."

Man Sends Wife Spreadsheet of All Her Excuses For Avoiding Sex - "A husband emailed his wife a spreadsheet of all the reasons that she gave for not having sex with him over the last seven weeks. According to the relatively young husband (26 years-old), he only had sex with his wife (also 26) three times out of 27 asks over that time period."

Exposing militant leftist propaganda - "In a story headlined "Israeli Politician Declares War on the Palestinian People," Resnick actually suggested I compared Palestinian children to “little snakes,” and accused me of fomenting Palestinian genocide. This vilification was later picked up by several bloggers and reporters, all of whom were convinced of this frightening notion, without even a scrap of fact or truth. Let's start with my July 1 Facebook post. It was written some 12 years ago, but never published, by a dear man, the recently departed journalist Uri Elitzur. The gist of his article was that once one side in a war attacks the other side's civilians, they can no longer morally claim a special status for their own civilians. Go ahead, ask a Hebrew speaking friend to translate it for you, they'll confirm this is what my Facebook post was about. But you'll find not a trace of that in Resnick's account. Perhaps it's his own ignorance of the Hebrew language. After all, he got the text from Electronic Intifada, a website dedicated to daily and hourly vilification of my country. All Resnick had to do to make Elitzur's sober, legally minded discussion sound like a speech made by Hitler himself, was to cherry pick words out of context. A call for the indiscriminate killing of children is a terrible thing. But what if the statement was that any time you kill our children, you're exposing your own children to the same fate? Still unsettling, but rational when you consider that they purposely use their kids as human shields. It's not a call for indiscriminate murder. And then Resnick turned to character assassination. He cited an attack on me by Haaretz. They said I was “representative of an ideology unembarrassed by its racism.” Haaretz, unfortunately, may look like The New York Times, but it is far from being a liberal, curious newspaper in the Anglo Saxon tradition. Expecting Haaretz to write about a political opponent like myself in an honest, informative—if critical—manner, is a little like expecting Gideon Resnick to offer an unbiased, honest citation from a pro-Zionist post. And so, when Haaretz, read by a mere 30,000 Israelis, give or take, says I'm racist – I'd look for a more reliable source."

Chinese shopping mall provides bigger parking spaces for female drivers - "Some women think the move is offensive, while others think it is helpful. “I think this is very convenient. Other parking spaces are too narrow,” said Yong Mei, who took advantage of the new spaces. Mei added that the new parking spaces weren’t “gender biased," but went on to say that “women have a few issues with vision when parking”... The driving spots were created after women found parking in the standard slots difficult."
I'm sure the women who enjoy the larger spaces are upset with the feminists

When Do Chefs And Doctors Buy Generic? - "When it comes to food, chefs buy generics for baking (baking soda, brown sugar baking mix) much more often than the general public. Also, interestingly, tea. But chefs buy name-brand yogurt, cereal and ice cream more often than the rest of us. Maybe that fancy ice cream really is worth the extra money. Doctors and pharmacists buy generic pain medicine more often than laypeople do. But they're much less likely than the rest of us to buy generic Alka-Seltzer. Is there something we should know about generic Alka-Seltzer?"

Bistro cat feeder and health monitor identifies cats using facial recognition
How to prevent one cat bullying the others

Promoting fist bumps could deal a blow to infectious disease, study says - "fist bumps, where two people briefly press the top of their closed fists together, transferred about 90 per cent fewer bacteria than handshakes... High-five slaps transferred about half the amount of bacteria as shaking hands."

Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops - "It began five years ago with an unexpected windfall of stimulus money from Washington, D.C., and good intentions to help the district’s students, the majority of whom are under or near the poverty line, keep up with their wealthier peers. But Hoboken faced problem after problem and is abandoning the laptops entirely this summer. “We had the money to buy them, but maybe not the best implementation,” said Mark Toback, the current superintendent of Hoboken School District. “It became unsustainable.” None of the school administrators who initiated Hoboken’s one-to-one laptop program still work there... Screens cracked. Batteries died. Keys popped off. Viruses attacked. Crocamo found that teenagers with laptops are still… teenagers. “We bought laptops that had reinforced hard-shell cases so that we could try to offset some of the damage these kids were going to do,” said Crocamo. “I was pretty impressed with some of the damage they did anyway. Some of the laptops would come back to us completely destroyed”... “There is no more determined hacker, so to speak, than a 12-year-old who has a computer,” said Crocamo. All this security software also bogged down the computers. Teachers complained it took 20 minutes for them to boot up, only to crash afterwards. Often, there was too little memory left on the small netbooks to run the educational software... The $500 laptops lasted only two years and then needed to be replaced. New laptops with more capacity for running educational software would cost $1,000 each, Toback said. Additionally, licenses for the security software alone were running more than $100,000 and needed to be renewed every two years. And the final kicker: the whole town was jamming the high school’s wireless network. “A lot of people knew the username and password”"

Srini Kasturi's answer to Begging: Should you or should you not give alms to a beggar? - Quora - "Anyone who is approaching this question as a moral one has no clue about begging in India. Especially anyone who thinks beggars aren't hard working is patently wrong and ignorant. Begging is a profession with a career just like any other. Begging is usually an organised industry with begging spots territorially marked across gangs. Have you never wondered why all beggars don't crowd to the same lucrative high traffic begging spots? Because begging spots are bid and paid for."

The divided culture of the Deaf - "Outrage in the deaf community over comments made by Dr Dimity Dornan, Queensland's Business Woman of the Year, has prompted Simon J. Green to dig a little deeper into deaf culture, and ask why not everyone wants their disability cured. "It [deafness] is a scourge in our world but it can be almost completely eradicated..."... I have cystic fibrosis, a chronic genetic disease. I'd love a cure for CF, so when I read the angry backlash against Dr Dimity Dornan, who'd just won the Queensland Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award for her work with deaf children, I was surprised and confused. Why were sections of the deaf community railing against this woman?... It's fair to say that, overall, the disability sector is striving towards two things: seeking cures and solutions to the afflictions within their fold, and raising awareness, acceptance and support for those affected - cures and advocacy. The desire to keep afflictions and shun cures, to not even see a disability as a disability, but rather just another way to be, seemed unique to the deafness community... Perplexed, I turned to Moncia Lay, genetic counsellor at Cystic Fibrosis Victoria. She hadn't really heard of these attitudes elsewhere. Ms Lay suggested that in cases of chronic illness like CF, which can lead to death as a direct result, or something that can affect intellectual ability like cerebral palsy, the instability and severity of the disability meant a cure was actively sought. These problems affect the family and community, whereas deafness can result in a full-length life, with satisfying communication among family members. She'd heard of deaf people told, "You can find a cure for deafness, when they don't think they need to be cured from it because they don't think it's a problem." The key points of the deaf community that advocate this non-disability perspective, or the culturally deaf, is that they have a unique language (AUSLAN, or Australian sign language), activities, support and culture. They aren't a disability like cystic fibrosis. They are a culture, like being Aboriginal or Texan or Jewish. This is reflected in the language being used: genocide, eradication... If deafness is not a disability, but a cultural marker, what happens to how we've traditionally looked at deafness? Is restoring hearing akin to changing religion? Should deaf societies be removed from the disability sector and placed elsewhere? Why is deafness a cultural marker, but cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy or blindness not? As a CF patient, should I feel guilt for wanting to be rid of my unique element?"

No, I wasn't abused by priest, says Vincent - "Dr Wijeysingha, 44, first made public the "sorry incident" in a Facebook post on June 23. In it, he had referred to a priest "who would engage me in play wrestling and attempt to touch my crotch in the process". He also claimed that the priest took a stack of pornographic magazines from his wardrobe in his bedroom to show him. However, in his latest post on the issue on Saturday, Dr Wijeysingha, Singapore's first openly gay politician, said: "It was an attempt without any conclusion and therefore I consider myself neither to have been abused nor damaged subsequently." Referring to the incident as an alleged molestation attempt, the Church had suggested that Dr Wijeysingha either report to the police or to the Catholic Archdiocese Professional Standards Office (PSO)... Associate Professor Eugene Tan from Singapore Management University said Dr Wijeysingha's allegations, and then his reluctance to follow up on them, make it difficult for people to take him seriously. "For him now to effectively avoid the matter damages his standing and his credibility," he said. He added that Dr Wijeysingha should be well aware of the serious allegations he made against a respected institution, and that he owes the Church an apology."

Christians Who Watch 'Game of Thrones,' Nudity Are 'Recrucifying Christ,' Says John Piper - "For all the believers who view nudity in entertainment, Piper asks, "Am I recrucifying Christ?" "Christ died to purify his people. It is an absolute travesty of the cross to treat it as though Jesus died only to forgive us for the sin of watching nudity, and not to purify us for the power not to watch it," he states. The Reformed theologian and author also calls on believers to ask themselves "do I care about the souls of the nudes?"... "When will I tear out my eye, if not now?" Piper asks. Seeing a naked person causes one to sin with their minds and their desires and often with their bodies, he says, pointing to the New Testament verse on tearing out one's eye if it causes one to sin."
What?

Dangerous Liaison: Sexually Transmitted Allergic Reaction to Brazil Nuts. Issue 3, Vol 17, 2007. JIACI - Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology - "Brazil nuts are the second most frequent cause of nut allergy in the United Kingdom. We report the case of a 20-year-old woman with documented Brazil nut allergy who developed widespread urticaria and mild dyspnea after intercourse with her boyfriend who had earlier consumed Brazil nuts. Skin prick testing with the boyfriend’s semen after Brazil nut consumption confirmed signifi ant reactivity whereas a sample before nut consumption was negative. We believe this to be the first case of a sexually transmitted allergic reaction."

The Global Divide on Homosexuality | Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project - ""In the Asia/Pacific region, where views of homosexuality are mostly negative... 54% in Japan agree [that homosexuality should be accepted by society]... Elsewhere, majorities in... China (57%) also say homosexuality should not be accepted by society [and 21%] say it should be accepted... Russia receives low scores on the religiosity scale, which would suggest higher levels of tolerance for homosexuality. Yet, just 16% of Russians say homosexuality should be accepted by society. Conversely, Brazilians and Filipinos are considerably more tolerant of homosexuality than their countries’ relatively high levels of religiosity would suggest."
Attributing all opposition to homosexuality to Abrahamic religious conservatism is widely off the mark

NSW judge Garry Neilson suspended from criminal cases over incest remarks - "The NSW attorney general, Brad Hazzard, referred Neilson to the commission earlier on Friday and called for him to be removed from overseeing any criminal trials... Neilson's comments this week about the taboo falling away from incest sparked outrage. He reportedly said the community might no longer see sexual contact between siblings as "unnatural" or "taboo", just as homosexuality is now widely accepted. "A jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now available, not having [a] sexual partner" he was reported as saying by Fairfax media. He said the only reason incest was still a crime was because of the high risk of genetic abnormalities in children born from consanguineous relationships. "In my view the community would be rightly appalled at his reported comments," Hazzard said in a statement. "Incest is completely reprehensible, unacceptable, disgusting and criminal." Neilson's comments outraged child protection advocates. Dr Cathy Kezelman, president of adults surviving child abuse, said his comments were archaic and "beyond belief"... Hetty Johnston, from child protection group Bravehearts, called for the judge to step down from the bench for his "ludicrous and obscene remarks"."
Maybe 100 years ago homosexuality would've been "completely reprehensible, unacceptable, disgusting and criminal". And isn't it progressive rather than archaic to recognise that there's nothing wrong with incest?

The Palestinian Textbook Fiasco | The Tower - "The report is not only flawed, but also dishonest. It systematically exaggerates the faults in Israeli textbooks and downplays those found in the Palestinians’. Its methodology tends to distort the raw data rather than analyze it, usually to the detriment of the Israeli education system. Put simply, it makes every possible effort to create the impression that Israeli and Palestinian attitudes toward each other are the same, even when this is demonstrably untrue—according to the study’s own research data. It is no surprise that the State Department, which funded the study in its early phases, has endorsed neither the composition of the committee nor the report’s findings... Victims of Our Own Narratives? they claim, simply ignores passages from Palestinian textbooks that are breathtaking in the danger they represent in an educational context... the authors not only ignore passages from Palestinian textbooks that are hostile toward “the other,” they ignore cases of outright anti-Semitism, hatred, and incitement to violence... while the report places such importance on the Haredi system, it also completely ignores the Hamas-run school system in Gaza... One of the main findings of the report is, indeed, that Israel’s state school system textbooks are in fact less problematic than Palestinian texts... “the other” is portrayed in positive or neutral terms in 51 percent of Israeli textbooks, but only 16 percent of Palestinian textbooks. “The other” is portrayed in negative terms in 49 percent of Israeli textbooks, but a stunning 84 percent of Palestinian texts... the examples taken from Israeli textbooks deal with concrete actions taken by the modern State of Israel in the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In contrast, the Palestinian text deals with actions taken approximately 1,300 years ago by a Muslim ruler who was not a Palestinian. (Omar hailed from Mecca.) It’s impossible to see how this is related in any way to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, let alone the Palestinians’ portrayal of their own society. Indeed, the reader can be forgiven for thinking that, if better examples had been found, they would have been cited instead. And if this is the best the Palestinian education system can do, one would think the authors of the report would note it. But they don’t... When one puts the media hype aside and examines the Victims study in full, one almost gets the feeling that the authors didn’t read their own report. In the face of overwhelming data, collected by the authors themselves, the report reaches the baffling conclusion that both sides embrace “unilateral and exclusive national narratives” and that “both Israeli and Palestinian school books forcefully and consistently establish distinct unilateral and opposing narratives.” Throughout, they claim, the textbooks show “a lack of recognition of the presence and absence of information about the other.” Contradicted by report’s own data, these conclusions are simply unsupportable."
Kumbaya ("we are all equally responsible and equally virtuous") doesn't gel with reality

Arlington National Cemetery and Yasukuni - "Not every soldier is a war criminal. Some are lucky enough to live in times of peace. Others are unlucky enough to be ordered to commit war crimes. But in addition to committing war crimes under orders of Class A war criminals (typically political leaders), some soldiers commit war crimes despite explicit orders against doing so. Such individual war crimes typically are killing civilians and killing prisoners of war. The traditional don't ask, don't tell policy about these extra-legal killings means almost anyone buried at Arlington could be a war criminal... As to the atrocities of the Philippines, several soldiers directly connected to them are buried at Arlington (and given the genocidal nature of the conflict, probably most U.S. soldiers who served there were complicit or participants in war crimes). We have the leader, General Arthur MacArthur himself, in grave 856-A, Section 2. Colonel William Henry Bisbee, who was told not to report his destruction of civilians to his superiors, lies in grave 1872, Section 3. Edwin Glenn, convicted by a courts martial of torturing civilians, suspended from duty for one month, and fined $50, lies in 3103-ES"

'Disgusting!,' Cry Legal Experts: Is This The Lowest A Top U.S. Law Firm Has Ever Stooped? - "In what is surely one of the most controversial civil suits ever filed in the United States, the Los Angeles office of Chicago-based Mayer Brown is trying to prove that the so-called comfort women – the sex slaves used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II – were no more than common prostitutes. The suit has been filed on behalf of two Japanese-Americans, Michiko Shiota Gingery and Koichi Mera, plus a corporation called GAHT-US (a bizarre entity whose involvement must be a particular embarrassment to any decent person at Mayer Brown – more about this in a moment). At the center of the controversy is a Korean-funded memorial to the comfort women which was recently established in a park in Glendale, California. The suit suggests that the above named Japanese-Americans will suffer “irreparable injury” from “feelings of exclusion, discomfort, and anger” if the memorial is not remove"
The politics of identity and offence strike again
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