"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, September 27, 2014

Links - 27th September 2014

Newly Uncovered "Super Henge" Dwarfed Stonehenge - "The digital map — made from high-resolution radar and magnetic and laser scans that accumulated several terabytes of data — shatters the picture of Stonehenge as a desolate and exclusive site that was visited by few"

Strange but True: Less Sleep Means More Dreams - "losing 30 minutes of REM one night can lead to a 35 percent REM increase the next night—subjects jumped from 74 minutes of REM to a rebound of 100 minutes. Nielsen also found that dream intensity increased with REM deprivation"

Women prefer fun over fit! - "Almost all British women have said that a date with a gym obsessed bloke is not in any way fun. If he watches his carb intake the same as you do when ordering- there is something seriously wrong. Sharing a dessert is a much more appealing way to end a meal than tapping the calories from his starter and mains into his fitness app to see if he can spare the room... This extends to the bedroom too with many women worrying about stripping in front of a man with a six pack as it makes them feel self-conscious if they don’t match up... 82% of women who currently have an Average Joe in their bed are not looking to persuade them to get more toned or to diet"

Sex therapist Tracey Cox explains why 75% of women prefer FLAB to abs - "Three in four British women would choose a man with love handles over one sporting a six-pack. That's 23 million of us who find muscular men a turn off; 96% predict a date with an abs-obsessed bloke to be positively dreary... I'd love to meet a female whose sex life isn't affected by a 'fat day'. I've yet to meet one man who has let feeling fat stop them having sex."

▶ the Cast of Avenue Q performs "Call me Maybe" - YouTube

New Northern Ireland Violence May Be About More Than the British Flag - NYTimes.com - "Many had hoped that the old hatreds between Northern Ireland’s two main groups — the mainly Protestant, pro-British unionists, and the mainly Roman Catholic republicans, with their commitment to a united Ireland — would recede permanently under the auspices of the Good Friday agreement. That accord was reached 15 years ago as a blueprint for the power-sharing government that now rules the province. But the fragility of those hopes has been powerfully demonstrated by more than 40 days and nights of violence that were triggered by a decision to cut back on the flying of the Union Jack, Britain’s red, white and blue national flag, over the grandly pillared, neo-Classical City Council building in central Belfast... Under Britain’s strict rules about flying the national standard on public and private buildings, not even the Parliament buildings in London fly it on any but government-designated days. But the hauling down of the Belfast flag provoked a furious reaction, the most protracted period of unrest in many years in Northern Ireland"

Some Things You Can Do In Your Sleep, Literally - "People who are fast asleep can correctly respond to simple verbal instructions, according to a study by researchers in France. They think this may help explain why you might wake if someone calls your name or why your alarm clock is more likely to rouse you than any other noise."

Scientists uncover most potent carcinogen - "Aristolochic acid (AA), a natural compound in Aristolochia plants that grow all over the world, is used in herbal remedies for weight loss and to treat ailments ranging from arthritis to menstrual cramps. It causes 10 times more genetic mutations than smoking, they found, leading to kidney failure and cancers... AA is a natural compound found in Aristolochia plants, many of which are commonly known as birthwort, Dutchman’s pipe or “Guan mu tong”. It is commonly used in traditional herbal preparations, particularly in China and Taiwan, and sold as capsules. But the acid, known as “ma dou ling suan” in Mandarin, has been found to be highly toxic. In the early 1990s, about 100 people in Belgium developed kidney failure from a slimming mixture that contained AA. Some needed kidney transplants and others later developed bladder cancers. AA has been banned in many countries, including Singapore. But it has long been used as a traditional medicine and studies show that it continues to be used, particularly in Asia. In Taiwan and China, AA has been sold under names such as “chuan xi ling jiao nang”, “fei an pian”, “fu fang she dan chuan bei san” and “ji ming wan”, among many others. Earlier this year, scientists from King’s College London warned that millions of people may be exposed to the risk of kidney failure and cancer by taking such herbal medicines, because they are widely available in Asia and over the Internet... It is not known how many people here have used AA products, said Prof Teh, but in Taiwan, where it was commonly used until it was banned in 2003, patients with associated kidney failure and cancer are still being diagnosed... “Through this study, we would like to highlight the importance of raising public awareness when consuming ‘natural herbal remedies’,” she said."
100% natural! Proven safe through hundreds/thousands of years of Chinese medicine!
Keywords: Singapore General Hospital, SGH, liver

Nigeria police hold 'robber' goat - "Police in Nigeria are holding a goat handed to them by a vigilante group, which said it was a car thief who had used witchcraft to change shape."

Calls for Slavery Restitution Getting Louder - New York Times - "Some blacks still dismiss the reparations movement as a digression from the issues that matter. ''If the government got the money from the tooth fairy or Santa Claus, that'd be great,'' said Walter E. Williams, chairman of the economics department at George Mason University. ''But the government has to take the money from citizens, and there are no citizens alive today who were responsible for slavery. The problems that black people face are not going to be solved by white people, and they're not going to be solved by money. The resources that are going into the fight for reparations would be far more valuably spent making sure that black kids have a credible education"... Stuart E. Eizenstat, who as a senior official in the Clinton administration negotiated settlements under which Holocaust victims would receive $8 billion in reparations from the governments of Germany, France and Austria and from Swiss banks, said that he viewed those cases as different from the African-American claims, because Holocaust reparations are going largely to surviving victims, while slavery reparations would go to descendants generations removed... Part of the new momentum in the reparations movement comes from efforts to win restitution not just from the federal government, but also from companies that profited from slavery... Historians say that slavery was so central to the economy in the early days of America that almost every business benefited from it... it is a long stretch from a 19th-century slave trader to a 21st-century Dutch company that makes copying machines, and Océ officials seemed baffled by any possible connection to the slave trade. ''This is the first I've heard of it,'' said Karen Fitt, a company spokeswoman.
Maybe they should sue Africans whose ancestors profited from slavery too - but then, they don't have any money

Casey Martin discrimination, USGA - "In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court cited the Americans With Disabilities Act in a 7-2 ruling that the PGA Tour must allow Martin to ride in a golf cart between shots at Tour events. That use “is not a modification that would fundamentally alter the nature” of the PGA Tour, said Justice John Paul Stevens, who delivered the majority opinion."

United States v. Starrett City Associates - "Brief Fact Summary. Starrett City Associates has a policy to maintain a desired racial balance upon tenants in its apartment to promote racial integration. People are selected for the units based on income race and ethnicity. The United States brought action against Starrett for violating the Fair Housing Act of Title VIII.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A race-conscious affirmative action plan does not violate Title VIII of the constitution as long as it is only temporary and has a defined goal and is based on a history of racial imbalance"
"Forever minus one day" is still temporary

Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds - "Could the microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of "gut feelings?" There's growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds... Mayer thinks the bacteria in our digestive systems may help mold brain structure as we're growing up, and possibly influence our moods, behavior and feelings when we're adults. "It opens up a completely new way of looking at brain function and health and disease," he says... bold mice became timid when they got the microbes of anxious ones. And aggressive mice calmed down when the scientists altered their microbes by changing their diet, feeding them probiotics or dosing them with antibiotics... In the mice, many of their autism behaviors were no longer present or strongly ameliorated with probiotics... Mayer also has been studying the effects of probiotics on the brain in humans. Along with his colleague Kirsten Tillisch, Mayer gave healthy women yogurt containing a probiotic and then scanned their brains. He found subtle signs that the brain circuits involved in anxiety were less reactive"

Woman Testifies On $50,000 Leak - "Police were alerted to the scam by two bank employees, who testified that they tried to tell Rolek that $50,000 was too much to repair a leaky toilet."
Willing buyer, willing seller doesn't mean the contract is just

This conductor's got a cat's tongue - ""Tama is the only stationmaster as we have to reduce personnel costs. You say you could ask for the cat's help, but she is actually bringing luck to us," Wakayama Electric spokesperson Keiko Yamaki said. The company feeds her in lieu of salary... She rose to national stardom in January 2007 as the railway company formally appointed her as "stationmaster". Her appointment had an immediately positive effect, boosting the number of passengers using the line in January by 17 percent from a year earlier... Happy with her successful job as stationmaster, the company promoted Tama to "super-stationmaster" in January this year, making her "the only female in a managerial position" in the company's 36-strong workforce."

Any diet will do, say researchers, if you stick to it - "The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analysed data from 48 separate trials. The Canadian team concluded that sticking to a diet was more important than the diet itself. Obesity experts said all diets cut calories to a similar level, which may explain the results... The range of diets covered included, Atkins, South Beach, Zone, Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Volumetrics, Weight Watchers, Ornish and Rosemary Conley. It showed that after 12 months, people on low carbohydrate and low fat diets both lost an average of 7.3kg (16lb). Those on low carb meal plans had lost slightly more at the six-month marker. The report said: "The differences [between diets] were small and unlikely to be important to those seeking weight loss"... However, the study did not look at wider health issues, such as levels of cholesterol, which may vary according to diet. Prof Susan Jebb, from the University of Oxford and a government advisor on obesity, said diets were more similar than they appeared, advocating cutting calories to 1,500 a day, sticking to strict meal times and avoiding biscuits, cakes and chocolate."
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