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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, September 05, 2014

Links - 5th September 2014

Nate Doromal's answer to Why would the IDF arrest Palestinian teens playing soccer? - Quora - "A story was told to me by a IDF soldier. He was in a tank and taking small arms fire from a window. He looked at the window and saw a 10 year old boy. Under the boy's shoulder there was a rifle sticking out. There was a man using the boy as a human shield. He wondered if he should take the shot or not from the tank turret gun. The risk was that if the man pulled out a rocket launcher then certainly he and his team would all die. In the end, he decided not to take the shot. Luckily nothing else happened. He had another friend in a similar situation where the aggressor had a rocket launcher and his friend perished in that situation."

Why do human beings keep fighting wars? - "The early American psychologist William James once suggested that war is so prevalent because of its positive psychological effects. It creates a sense of unity in the face of a collective threat. It binds people together – not just the army engaged in battle, but the whole community. It brings a sense of cohesion, with communal goals, and inspires individual citizens (not just soldiers) to behave honourably and unselfishly, in the service of a greater good. It supplies meaning and purpose, transcending the monotony of everyday life. Warfare also enables the expression of higher human qualities that often lie dormant in ordinary life, such as courage and self-sacrifice. This seems tantamount to suggesting that human beings fight wars because we enjoy doing so"

Last of the burrnesha: Balkan women who pledged celibacy to live as men

Please don’t tell me what I should think about Israel - "we turn to Britain, where I now live, and where, as Roger Cohen wrote in the New York Times recently, “not having a negative opinion of Israel is tantamount to not having a conscience”... a film festival being cancelled is not on a par with civilian deaths. But it says something very telling about certain lazily left-ish attitudes towards Israel in this country, not least because the Tricycle is not the only theatre in Britain to cancel a Jewish event: a theatre company from Jerusalem was forced not to perform in Edinburgh after protests, and a show featuring dancers from Ben Gurion University is also being targeted. Meanwhile, the London Palestine Action group protests outside factories in this country that allegedly manufacture weapons for drones for Israel. At least that protest is logical, unlike those who congratulate themselves for shutting down Jewish cultural events. Things have come to a pretty pass when a liberal American Jew finds clearer thinking among a Palestinian liberation group than those who run theatres a few miles from her home."

Global epidemiology of HIV among female sex workers: influence of structural determinants - "Decriminalisation of sex work would have the greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings, averting 33—46% of HIV infections in the next decade"

Legalized prostitution: There’s no way to end demand for sex work. So why are Sweden and Canada trying? - "Legalizing prostitution appears to be somewhat more popular in Canada than in the United States. An Angus Reid survey conducted in June found that Canadians were split 45–45 on whether buying sex should be legal. But the gender gap on legalization was yawning: Fifty-six percent of men believe that buying sex should be legal, while 55 percent of women believe that it should not be. Canada’s Conservatives attract far less support from women than men, and embracing the Swedish model seems like a shrewd way to shore up female support for the party by uniting feminists and social conservatives. What should worry Canadians is that the fundamental premise of the Swedish model—that it is possible to “end demand”—is profoundly flawed... One imagines that many of the men who purchase sexual services find themselves unable to experience physical intimacy via other means, in which case it is cruel to assume that their motives are necessarily predatory. And then there are men who are wary of investing every sexual encounter with emotional significance, and who appreciate the transactional nature of sex work. It’s not entirely clear that it is preferable for these men to manipulate their way into getting the casual sex they crave rather than have them pay for it... If legalizing sex work really does decrease the rate of sexual assault and the spread of venereal disease, as the latest evidence strongly suggests, we need to have a much better reason for banning it than the fact that we hold prostitutes and johns in such low esteem."

Valar Morghulis: A Statistical Guide To Deaths In Game Of Thrones - ""Hold up," you say. "You're meaning to tell me that the infant mortality rate in Game of Thrones is lower than Afghanistan's?" Well, I guess, but George R.R. Martin is not about to name every two-year-old struck with pneumonia at King's Landing."

Swedish man arrested for being too buff - "Police in Malmö arrested a man after approaching him because his muscular physique led them to suspect steroid use"

Using Twitter, Linguists Find Global ‘Superdialects’ - "a Spanish speaker from urban Madrid, for instance, sounds more like someone from urban Miami than someone from rural Andalucía. Cities, the researchers found, naturally exert a “linguistic centripetal force that favors dialect unification.” In plain English, people living in densely-populated urban environments begin to sound more and more like one another, and more and more like those living in other densely-populated urban environments across the globe. The ubiquity of Twitter and other tools for mass communication have helped the process along."

I Went to a Blowjob Bar in Bangkok, Thailand - "Bangkok, Thailand, is one of the world's deepest pits of pure sin, a forbidden zone where you can get pretty much whatever sexual perversion tickles your pickle presented to you on a silver platter, with drugs and booze on the side. Countless massage parlors, brothels, and call services exist to cater to the humongous sex-tourism industry. So how does an aspiring entrepreneur, uh... stick out in such a super-saturated marketplace? Well, the first step is to take a cue from branding experts: Be as obvious and memorable as possible. That's the thinking behind Dr. BJ’s Salon, the most notorious suck bar in Bangkok... “I think the name conveys what we do pretty well," he told me recently when I visited the salon. "It’s easy to remember, and the logo is easy to spot. When I got involved in the sex industry, I couldn’t understand why no one made an effort to stand out. How could they not take note of the real experts in retail? We looked at what McDonald’s and KFC did. In every location, you see Ronald and the Colonel, right? We wanted to do that too. Dr. BJ is the Ronald McDonald of the sex industry"... "It’s sleazy to be like, I got a blowjob from a whore, but it’s interesting to be like, I went to a place called Dr. BJ's and got blown by a fake nurse.”"

User talk:Groyn88 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This has the most warnings I've ever seen on Wikipedia

Letters of last resort - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "According to Peter Hennessy's book The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War, 1945 to 1970, the process by which a Trident submarine commander would determine if the British government continues to function includes, amongst other checks, establishing whether BBC Radio 4 continues broadcasting"

Understanding Genetics: Hair Color - "You are right in saying that almost always, two redheads will have kids with red hair (click here to learn why). But as your family shows, this doesn't mean that all of the kids will have the same shade of red. They can have strawberry blonde, almost orange, auburn and mixtures of all three. What do all these hair colors have in common? A pigment called pheomelanin. Our bodies make at least two different pigments, eumelanin and pheomelanin. It is the amount of each of these that determines hair color."

"Honor Killings" of Muslim Males in the West - "Islamic honor killings normally target the women-folk, bearers of the family honor ('ird), not the men involved with them. But in some cases, to be documented here, men kill or maim other men for reasons related to family "honor.""

Top public transport system a necessity, not a luxury - "Singapore has the highest car ownership costs in the world. The rationale for this - to keep roads uncongested - is a good one. However, the trade-off is that many people will not be able to own cars. In contrast, cars are an achievable aspiration for most people in many other countries. The sacrifice of the majority in Singapore, so that a minority can enjoy uncongested roads to drive on, must not be trivialised. It also means that public transport here cannot be just a "next-best", utilitarian form of transport. On the contrary, it must not only be comfortable but also be superlative. It is absurd to contend that comfort is a choice that one pays for, when more comfortable options such as cars have been priced beyond the reach of most people; it is also coldly out of touch to think that ordinary people have the choice to pay for better transport... It is the attitude of policymakers that has to change, and not that of commuters."

Man jumps to his death in a mall after meeting his virtual girlfriend of six years for the first time - "Gonzales asked the woman: “Is that really you? How can that girl be you? You have dark skin. You fooled me for six years!” Gonzales first met the woman through social media. They carried on a virtual relationship for six years. When the two finally met in person, Gonzales was disappointed with the woman he saw standing in front of him. Gonzales reportedly had a hard time facing the fact that the woman looked different in person than on the photos she posted. The woman used Instagram filters to enhance her looks before posting her photos to the Internet."

Thai Military Looks to Boost Nation's Spirits - WSJ - "The centers would organize rural equivalents of a series of street parties in Bangkok, such as one Wednesday night in an area previously used as a rally site for antigovernment protesters and featured female dancers dressed in revealing army fatigues as one of its attractions... Wassana Aiemjaroon, a 42-year-old street cleaner who attended Wednesday's street party, said she was happy to see people enjoying themselves. "I'd been very stressed by the political tension for years and felt insecure with the situation. Now I'm happier and I can laugh," she said."

Classroom Decorations Can Distract Young Students - "Researchers observed five-year-olds in highly decorated classrooms and in classrooms that were relatively bare. And the kids were less able to hold their focus, spent more time off-task and had smaller learning gains in the busy rooms than in the bare rooms."

The politics of penetration from a lesbian perspective - "When I bought my very first “strap-on” (67 dollars and difficult to use), I told my gay male friend about it, thinking he wouldn’t impose any of his moral beliefs or principles on me. But instead of sparking an awkward conversation, it became a debate. He assumed that since I was gay, I must be a feminist, too. I think my response went something like, “Umm, no amigo! It doesn’t work that way. Who the hell told you I am a feminist? And stop using the word lesbian.” His argument was that since lesbians reject the penis, they must be feminists, and therefore the simple act of buying and using the “strap-on” only gave him “supportive evidence” to question my sexual identity and think of my “lesbian sex” as “bisexual sex.”
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