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Valar Qringaomis

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Links - 28th November 2014

The Inner Workings of the Apologist Mindset - "What Aslan is saying here is pretty extraordinary. He is asserting that sizeable percentages of Muslims around the world — many of whom have said in multiple polls that they support killing apostates and stoning adulterers to death — don’t get these views from their religion, but their attitudes are somehow inherent in them as people... “The conclusion that disproportionate numbers of intrinsically violent and misogynistic people reside in a certain region of the world could not be more bigoted or racist.” Recall also when Ben Affleck referred to criticism of Islam as “racist.” By saying that, he implied that Islam or its adherents are all of a particular race. This, of course, is a remarkably racist assertion in itself... This is the consequence of conflating criticism of ideas with bigotry against a people... Aslan insists that approaching these holy books the way most people approach most books — by reading the words on their pages precisely as they are written and assuming that the author actually meant what he wanted to say — is somehow “unsophisticated”... Words have power. Aslan acknowledges this when it comes to the role of politics, culture, and nationalism in shaping people’s “prejudices” and “preconceived notions.” But he doesn’t acknowledge this when it comes to religion. This doesn’t make any rational sense, considering the incredible influence these holy books have held over billions of people for millennia, despite a plethora of scientific discoveries and advancements that have successfully countered virtually all of their claims... I think it is an injustice and an insult to genuine victims of anti-Muslim bigotry to exploit their pain and struggle by using it to stifle any legitimate criticism of Islam. This is precisely what umbrella terms like “Islamophobia” do."

Gay marriage is now the issue through which the elite advertises its superiority over the redneck masses - "gay marriage has achieved this hot-potato status without the benefit of a mass movement demanding it, far less any public streetfighting or serious civil unrest by homosexuals determined to get hitched... The thing motoring the gay-marriage campaign, its political engine, is not any longstanding desire among homosexuals to get married or an active, passionate demand from below for the right of men to marry men and women to marry women. No, its driving force, the reason it has been so speedily and heartily embraced by the political and media classes, is because it is so very useful as a litmus test of liberal, cosmopolitan values... The use of gay marriage as a platform from which to announce one’s superior moral sensibilities can be seen in the way that its backers, those ostensibly liberal reformers, look down with undiluted snobbery upon their critics and opponents. Those who are against gay marriage, whether it is Catholic bishops or conservative politicians, are not seen simply as old-fashioned or wrong-headed, but as morally circumspect, possibly even evil. They are even branded as mentally disordered, being tagged as “homophobic” (that is, possessed of an irrational fear) if they so much as raise a peep of criticism of gay marriage. Here, ironically, gay campaigners rehabilitate the very same psychobabble that was once used to brand homosexuality as a disorder of the mind and wield it against anyone who now dares to say “I don’t like the gay lifestyle”. Indeed, liberal campaigners frequently claim that gay marriage, unlike every other issue in the world, is a straightforward black-and-white matter on which there is only one right answer – “yes”... there is no room for nuance, disagreement or even for debate when it comes to gay marriage – instead, paraphrasing George W Bush’s post-9/11 splitting of the world into good and evil camps, for many gay-marriage activists you are either for gay marriage or you are a lowlife. The bizarre emptying-out of political debate from the issue of gay marriage, and its transformation instead into a clear-cut moral matter that separates the good from the bad, shows what its backers really get out of it – a moral buzz, a rush of superiority as they declare, to anyone who will listen"

Gabriel Seah's answer to What bothers you the most about atheists? - Quora - "As an atheist, what bothers me the most is that many atheists seem to irrationally hate religion, as evidenced by the fact that they blame religion or religious institutions instinctively (and sometimes irrationally) and don't look at other factors or examine matters more deeply. For example, take the case of Savita Halappanavar - the woman who died in Ireland supposedly, we were told, because she couldn't get an abortion. At the time this was a plausible interpretation, not least because the media kept harping on it. Later, more detailed reports (the Health Service Executive and the Health Information and Quality Authority; Death of Savita Halappanavar) came out later which, yes, did find that hangups about abortion were one reason why she died. Yet, medical incompetence was a much more important reason. Yet, most atheists who I pointed this issue out to doggedly insisted that religion played a major role in her death and interpreted the inquiries' reports in a frankly bizarre way."

New way to show off your manicure

Obesity genes - "A study of 311 pairs of twins who had been raised apart and 362 pairs who had been raised together corroborated the results of other twin studies and indicated that the shared childhood environment has little or no influence on obesity. Moreover, other studies that compared the degree of obesity of participants who had been adopted with the degree of obesity in their biological relatives and members of their adoptive family also confirmed the evidence of a genetic influence on obesity and the absence of the effects of the environment in which they were raised"

NUS team's drug finding could help in obesity fight - "IF YOU cannot resist fatty food and get hungry soon after a meal, scientists in Singapore may have found a way to help you. They have discovered several potential drugs which target a genetic variation that greatly increases the risk of obesity in about one in six people. There are two copies of the gene, called FTO, in each person, but some variations of the gene have been found to make people 70 per cent more likely to become obese... Describing obesity as a widely misunderstood disease, Assistant Prof Woon said: "We frequently hear comments like, 'oh, why don't fat people just exercise more and eat less', but most people fail to appreciate that our body weight is not a personal choice. "It is very much biologically determined, with strong genetic influences that programme a person's size and appetite." British scientists had found that people with the FTO variations appeared to be wired to find high-fat foods more appealing. After those people finished a meal, their levels of ghrelin, which increases hunger, fell less and then climbed more quickly compared with other people who do not have the genetic variations."

#TakeDownJulienBlanc: Julien Blanc leaves Australia with his tail between his legs - "The Melbourne talk was originally set to take place at The Como Melbourne but was forced to move to a different venue after thousands spoke out against the misogynistic tactics used by Blanc under the hashtag, #takedownjulienblanc... Despite mounting pressure to cancel to his Melbourne talk, Blanc's team hired a boat from Melbourne River Cruises as a makeshift venue in Southbank, where around 50 ticket holders gathered to get tips from the so-called 'pick-up artist'. The substitute seminar was held by Blanc's assitant 'Max', who claimed that he did not know the whereabouts of Blanc at the time. Protesters gathered at St Kilda Pier before sun down, flashing banners saying "Destroy rape culture. Destroy Julien Blanc". According to News Limited reports, as the boat attempted to leave the pier at 8pm, dozens of protesters swarmed the vessel -- some managing to climb on board and hang on to ropes to stop it from leaving, forcing attendees to abandon the seminar"
So harassment and criminal intimidation are okay when used on some people; it's okay to "destroy" people you don't like

CNN.com - Transcripts - "Those girls I was hanging out with, you know, during my time there I did place my hand around their neck. I did not physically choke them... This is not what I teach. I don't do this, I don't teach it"
How many of these people signing the petitions would protest that those who ban the Satanic Verses without reading it are idiots - and yet have not seen Julien Blanc's material personally?

Ellie Goulding's Halloween costume sets off race row with critics - "Conservative MP Philip Davies last night called on the singer to ‘stick to her guns’, saying: ‘As far as I’m concerned, all of these people who are complaining are idiots. 'I never cease to be amazed at how easily people will take offence – and usually this is white, middle-class, Guardian-reading, sandal-wearing, politically correct do-gooders who are offended on someone else’s behalf. 'The people concerned are never usually offended themselves.’ Miss Goulding also received support from Crystal Speer, who works for the Native American Heritage Association in the United States. While the organisation does not have an official opinion on the matter, Mrs Speer said in a personal capacity: ‘I do think [the reaction] is a bit much. People these days will jump at anything to get offended at"
"WHite Man's Burden, it's really not even about Native Americans, honestly it is just how upper class liberal whites look down on whites they see as lower class or acting lower class....this type of thing is never about the minority it it is simply white folks class 'ish , minorities should never get confused by this type of status/education/income signaling."

18 complaints against Sim Lim Square's Mobile Air this year: CASE - "Shopkeepers at Sim Lim Square say little can be done about the unethical business practices of a small number of retailers at the mall, and are concerned that they might suffer retribution from the errant retailers if they voice their concerns publicly. One tenant, who declined to be named, said: "On Levels One to Three, all those dealing with mobiles phones and cameras, they have very bad reputations. Every now and then you can see police cars coming every week, visiting the shop because most of the time it's the shopkeepers having conflicts with the customers.” But he said he was resigned to the situation. “Even if I were to say something, I would not know what is the response I am going to get, whether the black sheep will take revenge on me. There is nothing much I can do. At the end of the day, the landlord will just say: 'Who's going to pay my rent? Are you going to rent my shop?’”"
Singapore: a pro-business country

Just half of Singaporeans make full use of their paid vacation days: Survey - "While Singaporeans only use an average of 14 out of 16 paid vacation days a year, just 52 per cent of bosses approve of them taking vacation time, according to a new survey by travel site Expedia released on Friday (Nov 7). And despite only 53 per cent of workers in Singapore using their full allotment of vacation days, 64 per cent of all workers still said that they were vacation deprived. Of all surveyed, 34 per cent said of the workers cited difficulties in coordinating time as the main reason, said the travel site, with 33 per cent saying their work schedule did not allow for it, and 26 per cent saying they lacked money. Singaporeans also enjoyed fewer paid vacation days for Singapore compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific, which had an average of 19 days. However, this pales in comparison to Europeans, who have nearly twice as many paid vacation days every year, according to the survey. Of the countries in the region surveyed, South Koreans were shown to take the least vacations, using only seven out of 15 days, while residents of the UAE used all of their 30 days allotted. The UAE also had the most paid vacation days, while Thailand had the least: Just 11."

Aural sex? It's just everyday ear cleaning in Chengdu - "A friend told me I just had to try it. She described it as an orgasm in her ear. Sounded more to me like an infection in my ear. The ancient practice of ear cleaning is alive and well in Chengdu, the leafy and relaxed capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China. Middle- aged men with a handful of metal tweezers and tongs and feathered sticks and bamboo scoopers roam parks and street corners looking to sit you down and scrape out your ear wax. Every big city in China is known for something: Shanghai is the financial capital; Hangzhou is a city of natural beauty; Guangzhou is the place to eat. As for Chengdu, it's the city of leisure. Traditional teahouses have largely disappeared in most of China, but they are still a thriving part of life in Chengdu, a place to while away the afternoon playing chess, gossiping with neighbors or just snoozing. For many Chinese, it's also the perfect place to get your ears cleaned while sipping tea"
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