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Monday, November 17, 2014

Links - 17th November 2014

'Inventing Wine': The History Of A Very Vintage Beverage - "People would add a variety of unexpected ingredients to obscure and enhance the flavor. Everything, Lukacs says, "from lead to ash to myrrh to various kinds of incense, spices. And the most common thing added, especially to wines that people valued, were fresh resin from pine trees or boiled resin — namely pitch — from pine trees. Lead, in fact, will sweeten wine, so lead was used for thousands and thousands of years." The book is filled with surprising facts about the drink. Pharaohs have been buried beside jugs of it. The Quran promises baths of wine in the afterlife because here on Earth, humans are too weak not to succumb to its temptations. In World War I, France sent bottles of wine to its troops to help fortify them against the horrors they were experiencing in the trenches."

Coffee and qahwa: How a drink for Arab mystics went global - "In Mecca, Cairo and Istanbul attempts were made to ban it by religious authorities. Learned shaykhs discussed whether the effects of coffee were similar to those of alcohol, and some remarked that passing round the coffee pot had something in common with the circulation of a pitcher of wine, a drink forbidden in Islam. Coffee houses were a new institution in which men met together to talk, listen to poets and play games like chess and backgammon. They became a focus for intellectual life and could be seen as an implicit rival to the mosque as a meeting place. Some scholars opined that the coffee house was "even worse than the wine room", and the authorities noted how these places could easily become dens of sedition. However, all attempts at banning coffee failed, even though the death penalty was used during the reign of Murad IV (1623-40). The religious scholars eventually came to a sensible consensus that coffee was, in principle, permissible."

SCIENCE: WHY EUNUCHS DON'T WEAR TOUPEES - "If you don't fancy drugs, surgery or resignation, Dr Nilofer Farjo, Harley Street surgeon and expert in balding treatments, suggests the only other way to prevent pattern balding is castration. "A bit drastic but eunuchs don't go bald," she notes." Andy Bryant, director of Natural Hair Products, begs to disagree. Having saved his own head of hair with no loss of body parts, he now advises up to 1,500 people a year on lifestyle changes which he says can slow hair loss and give measurable regrowth. His prescription is simple: reduce stress, reduce or cut out tea, coffee, alcohol and high sugar foods. All, he argues, increase stress hormones such as adrenalin and prolactin which increase levels of testosterone and consequently DHT. "If you stabilise the over-reaction of the adrenal glands, the rate of hair loss slows quickly," says Bryant, who is convinced that whatever the genetic background, levels of circulating DHT are the key. In countries where tea, coffee, alcohol and sugar consumption is low, he notes, pattern baldness is less prevalent, as is prostate cancer. When Japanese men move to the US, their rate of prostate cancer increases three to five times, and Japanese researchers, who believe consumption of more animal fat is giving Japanese men increasingly greasy scalps have also reported a link between excessive oil in the scalp and hair loss... Medical experts tend to dismiss lifestyle approaches, arguing that changing diet or reducing stress won't change hair follicles genetically programmed to fail. But the strains of modern life could explain a phenomenon clearly identified by both medics and alternative proponents. And that is that men are balding earlier... Being licked by a cow may work - the chemicals in cow saliva may stimulate growth factors in the scalp."

Marion Cotillard justifie son (mauvais) jeu d'actrice: une stratégie douteuse - "elle conclut : "Quand je n’aime pas le réalisateur et le tournage, je suis mauvaise à l’écran." Risée du grand public, Cotillard semble avoir trouvé ici une occasion de se justifier auprès de ses pairs. Le fait qu'elle ne place pas Nolan dans les réalisateurs qu'elle admire, alors qu'il l'a dirigé dans deux énormes succès, laisse apparaître en filigrane une critique envers sa direction d'acteurs. En effet, pointée du doigt pour la médiocrité de son jeu dans "The Dark Knight Rises", elle souligne ici le fait que l'origine du problème est toujours dû à son lien avec le réalisateur."

Five Reasons China Won't Be A Big Threat To America's Global Power

Why Have Female Hurricanes Killed More People Than Male Ones? – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science - "Jung team thinks that the effect he found is due to unfortunate stereotypes that link men with strength and aggression, and women with warmth and passivity. Thanks to these biases, people might take greater precautions to protect themselves from Hurricane Victor, while reacting more apathetically to Hurricane Victoria. “These kinds of implicit biases routinely affect the way actual men and women are judged in society,” says Sharon Shavitt, who helped to design the study. “It appears that these gender biases can have deadly consequences.” But Jeff Lazo from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research disagrees. He’s a social scientist and economist who has looked into the public communication of hurricane risk, and he thinks the pattern is most likely a statistical fluke, which arose because of the ways in which the team analysed their data."
Ahh... feminist research!
Keywords: the original paper was called "Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes"

Trans activists really need to lighten up - "There must be some reason why the trans community, as it calls itself, is worse at taking criticism or tolerating insulting commentary than, say, the Christian community or the butch lesbian community, both of which also get flak on the internet and elsewhere but don’t tend to respond to it in the way trans types do... When I wrote a piece arguing that Bradley Manning is not a woman, despite his claims to the contrary, I was bombarded with suggestions that I should kill myself. This from trans activists who (ludicrously) held Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn responsible for the suicide of a trans schoolteacher and said the media must be careful never to criticise this community lest its members feel tempted to kill themselves... Some groups seem more capable of riding out criticism than others. Yes, Christian outfits play the victim card and bleat to officialdom about feeling offended by an ad or an article, but mostly they just ignore web-based Christian-bashing, which is voluminous. Islamists are more sensitive, hollering for beheadings whenever someone mocks Muhammad or says the Koran is cobblers. And the trans lobby is even more sensitive than that, reacting with censorious anger not only to insults but also to people’s allegedly incorrect use of language, to being called ‘a transsexual’, for example, rather than ‘a member of the trans community’. They even picket the offices of newspapers that have the temerity to piss them off. Why the extraordinary touchiness? I think it reflects the fundamental flimsiness of the trans identity, the fragility of this so-called community... this is a ‘community’ so sadly uncertain of its own claims, so instinctively aware of the largely phoney nature of its arguments, that it must protect itself from any form of public ridicule or questioning lest its facade be knocked down."

'Worst' File-Sharing Pirates Spend 300% More on Content Than 'Honest' Consumers | TorrentFreak - "So what might encourage infringers to stop accessing content illegally? As usual, pricing, availability and convenience top the list. Interestingly, fears over internet disconnections in the Top 20% group trumped fears of being sued."

Illegal downloads surge after the Netherlands blockades Pirate Bay, study finds

Bikini Waxing Dangers: 5 Health Risks To Consider - ""Any infection that requires contact to spread will be more easily caught if there is any damage to the skin in the area," Krant told HuffPost in an email. "This can be anything from obvious cuts all the way to microscopic torn follicle roots that aren't visible on the surface. Herpes, HPV (genital warts and possibly cervical cancer), HIV, and other STIs also have increased risk with skin trauma.""

How To Turn A Feminist Into Your Sex Slave
This was quite funny, but unfortunately they've removed it

Why Famous Men Become Outspoken Feminists - "The fact is that their fanbases are predominantly female. Women are doing most of the subscribing/following of their social media accounts, buying most of the products they advertise, buying most of the tickets to their shows/movies, and generally providing most of the vocal support that drives their celebrity. Modern celebrity culture is highly feminized by necessity – it is built to cater to the people who fuel it most, and those people are overwhelmingly women... most high value men maintain standards that their fans wouldn’t want to hear about. More often than not, these men have extremely attractive, well-groomed, fit females on their arms. Men like John Legend (one of the more recent self-proclaimed male feminists in Hollywood) have dating histories that consist almost exclusively of relationships with physically fit, aesthetically elite models. Actions speak louder than words: these men have standards, and those standards do tend to favor fit, well-groomed women. Men like Legend cannot come out and say that, however, because if they do their female fanbases will no longer be able to delude themselves into believing that they have even the slimmest of chances of appealing to a high value male like him."

Oscar Pistorius: Salvaging the Super Crip Narrative - The Feminist Wire | The Feminist Wire - "From the vantage point of a black crip feminist, I am both fascinated and perturbed by the narratives surrounding the fatal shooting of Steenkamp. Through the lens of pop culture, what makes that which has transpired, and has yet to transpire, tragic? How are the tragedies framed in the media? And why? Here, I critically examine these and other questions to demonstrate just some of the ways in which power relations have shaped perceptions of innocence, violence, heroism, context, and death... The reality that Oscar may have shot and killed his girlfriend seems almost too ludicrous of a probability for many people to fathom because for Oscar to have “overcome” the so-called tragedy of disability means that, surely, he must be in possession of a positive disposition that (literally) enabled him to do so in the first place. Therefore, owing to that positive disposition (embodied through the active disembodiment of disability), he is seen as incapable of premeditating murder, which has manifested itself in a rather problematic presumption of innocence. To be clear, the “innocence” to which I refer functions not necessarily as an endorsement of his character, but rather as a form of ableism born out of a denial of agency to disabled bodies. Indeed, many people don’t conceive of Oscar as an active agent in his own life because, off the track, compulsory able bodiedness outperforms him."

Chris Bast's answer to Feminism: Is it correct to state that someone who is not a feminist is by virtue of not being a feminist, a sexist or a misogynist? - Quora - "It's really tiring the way so many feminists insist that "feminism" means nothing more than "the desire for gender equality". Perhaps that was the original meaning, but definitions change over time. Words acquire new meanings and new connotations as language and ideas evolve. Once upon a time the word "liberal" referred to (among other things) a person who strongly believed in free market capitalism. And the words "left-wing" and "right-wing" referred to supporters of a French republic versus supporters of a French monarchy. Today those words obviously don't mean the same thing. They have acquired different (sometimes radically different) connotations... To say "if you are not a feminist then you are sexist / misogynist" is like saying that anyone who refuses to join a revival of the National Socialist German Worker's Party must therefore hate Germans and factory workers."
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