"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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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Links - 16th December 2014

5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die - "MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.
MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.
MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.
MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work...
Why do these reckless claims have so much appeal and staying power? For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. Finally, armies of advocates depend on “killer stats” to galvanize their cause. But killer stats obliterate distinctions between more and less serious problems and send scarce resources in the wrong directions. They also promote bigotry. The idea that American men are annually enslaving more than 100,000 girls, sending millions of women to emergency rooms, sustaining a rape culture and cheating women out of their rightful salary creates rancor in true believers and disdain in those who would otherwise be sympathetic allies. My advice to women’s advocates: Take back the truth."
Addendum: This is now 6 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die, with "MYTH 6: Men are the privileged sex... Today’s women’s lobby deploys a faulty logic: In cases where men are better off than women, that’s injustice. Where women are doing better—that’s life."

Anatomy Of A Troll Job: The xoBang Gang And The Business Of Rage - "My client got enormous exposure. For every potential customer they alienated, there were ten more who became aware of them for the first time. The outraged bloggers, for their part, got pageviews and uniques and followers, which their bosses cashed out in the form of ad sales and impressions, and then some small portion of the ad revenue trickled back down to the typists—excuse me, writers. The short end of the stick went to you, the audience. All you got was offended, annoyed, and sucked into another virtual pissing contest about sexism in the media. (You also, perhaps, acquired brand awareness of my client—a company that wants your money in return for overpriced shit you don’t need.) To recap: I won. My client won. The bloggers won. Everyone else got fucked... Had Felicia Sullivan kept her anger to herself, rather than sharing it with her 4,936 Twitter followers, it would have been as though xoBang were never published—which, again, is what she claimed to want. So why the hell did Felicia share it?... Breadcrumb and I had a hypothesis that the “social justice” component of these Twitter tantrums in response to the SWPL outrage du jour is bullshit, basically; a convenient cover for less noble aims. xoBang, which is both irresistible to the social justice warriors and completely unworthy of their attention, was created to test that hypothesis... The girl bloggers and their assorted hangers-on were drawn to “xoBang” like lemmings to a precipice, and upon reading it, promptly took the bait and lost their shit... That’s what rage profiteers do: They traffic in content that is so irresistibly inflammatory that it hijacks our attention and forces us into the rage profiteer’s audience. Rage profiteering has surely existed, in one form or another, from time immemorial. But the diffuse lens of the internet and digital media created an extraordinary range of new niches for rage profiteering, and has thus caused a proliferation of rage profiteers such as society has never before seen... Your attention (as distinct from your education, enrichment, or well-being) is Felicia’s stock-in-trade. That is why her online persona has been meticulously calibrated to hijack your time, thoughts, and emotional state. Her goal is to make you look her way, then parlay you into new Twitter followers, bigger social marketing clients, better Amazon sales numbers, and—above all—more dollar bills in her purse."

Dancing death - "This was not the first outbreak of compulsive dancing in Europe. In fact, there had been as many as ten dancing epidemics before 1518, one in 1374 engulfing many of the towns of modern day Belgium, north-eastern France and Luxembourg... My explanation rests on the fact that the dancers were in a trance state; otherwise they would have been unable to dance for such lengths of time. We know that the trance state is more likely to occur in people who under extreme psychological distress, and who believe in the possibility of spirit possession. All of these conditions were satisfied in Strasbourg in 1518. The city's poor were suffering from severe famine and disease. And, crucially, we also know they believed in a saint called St. Vitus who had the power to take over their minds and inflict a terrible, compulsive dance... The dancing plague died out because the supernaturalist beliefs that fed it gradually disappeared. In the short run, cities like Strasbourg were no longer susceptible because they became Protestant during the Reformation and spurned the saint worship on which the dancing plague depended. In the long run, the fervent supernaturalism of the medieval world had to make way for the rise of modern science and rationality. The dancing madness was effectively starved out of existence. Even so, half a millennium later it still serves as a reminder of the ineffable strangeness of the human brain"
"Possession" is a strange thing indeed

The Phobia of Being Called Islamophobic | Ali A. Rizvi - "The problem is a seven-minute film being shown at the soon-to-open museum called The Rise of Al Qaeda. Narrated by NBC's Brian Williams, it uses words like "Islamist," "Islamic," and "jihad" in reference to the 9/11 hijackers and their motives. Some Muslim groups, and others like the Interfaith Center of New York, want the film edited to remove those terms. They don't want the public to think that Islamism or jihad had anything to do with Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks, because that could foster "Islamophobia"... As a brown-skinned person with a Muslim name, I can get away with a lot more than you'd think. I can publicly parade my wife or daughters around in head-to-toe burqas and be excused out of "respect" for my culture and/or religion, thanks to the racism of lowered expectations. I can re-define "racism" as something non-whites can never harbor against whites, and cite colonialism and imperialism as justification for my prejudice. And in an increasingly effective move that's fast become something of an epidemic, I can shame you into silence for criticizing my ideas simply by calling you bigoted or Islamophobic. For decades, Muslims around the world have rightly complained about the Israeli government labeling even legitimate criticism of its policies "anti-Semitic," effectively shielding itself from accountability. Today, Muslim organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) have borrowed a page from their playbook with the "Islamophobia" label -- and taken it even further... Last month, a white American man successfully convinced the Massachusetts liberal arts school Brandeis University that he was being victimized and oppressed by a black African woman from Somalia -- a woman who underwent genital mutilation at age five and travels with armed security at risk of being assassinated. That is the power of this term... The most tragic aspect of all this is what Alishba Zarmeen has coined the "Greenwald Syndrome" -- the phenomenon of Western liberals, in a supposed show of tolerance, embracing an apologist stance in favor of the intolerant. My good friend and writer/activist Faisal Al Mutar, who escaped repeated death threats for his secular beliefs in his native Iraq, put it best: "Many of [the Western liberals] have betrayed us liberals in the Middle East and other Muslim countries, and [inadvertently] sided with the Islamists against us.""

Where have all the IBs gone – Part 3: Their cause and its effect | The Online Citizen - "This effectively makes our piece of cyberspace rather unhealthy for the casual user, who would be in all likelihood take such views to be those of the “average Singaporean”. Clearly, they are not. Co-ordinated online attacks by PAP IBs are meant to skew perspectives through sheer numbers, or divert attention from the actual policy issues by antagonising those who voice displeasure at these policies. Such efforts by IBs are best described as astro-turfing, and while on their own harmless, such activities have the potential to disrupt a proper assessment of public opinion on issues and policies, be it by other citizens or policy makers. More importantly, given that the PAP has clearly voiced no qualms about their IBs hiding behind the vile of anonymity to swing public opinion in the party’s favour, the question to ask would be whether the PAP has actively sanctioned such activities, or is merely unaware of the effect that such activities have in social media... While Ministers and MPs criticise bloggers for “taking issues out of context” and misleading the public with information, the fact that pages like FAP and FLOP continue to operate in a manner which seeks to demean opposition members and its supporters through misleading headlines and quotes taken out of context, with no word from the PAP MPs, is a double standard by itself"

Disney's 'Frozen' apparently inspired a color-changing bra - "The Close Sister Bras, as they're officially named, can instantly take on a new hue when friends wearing a matching pair come into contact with each other. To create the design, Triumph (which has a history of... odd bra designs) recruited gadget-maker Fashion Entertainments, which was responsible for making and providing the electronic-paper used to trigger the color changes in the bra. Apparently, there's no plan to take the Close Sister Bras to market -- it's all about empowering self-confidence and sisterhood, according to the firms behind the eccentric underwear."

Sweet dealing schoolboy hands over crisps and drinks to homeless after business ban - "A schoolboy entrepreneur who shot to fame after making £14,000 selling sweets at his school has given away the last of his stock to the homeless. Tommie Rose found himself in trouble with his headteacher after it was revealed his ‘black market’ school tuck shop had raked in thousands of pounds to pay his University fees. Now, with the looming threat of suspension from his school, Tommie has decided to close the playground business and give away the rest of his sweet-toothed goods to Manchester's rough sleepers... Meanwhile Tommie, is considering a new business venture - involving T-shirts - and has attended a meeting ahead of a prospective job offer. Simon Swan has offered the teenager and internship at his Manchester-based recruitment firm Hiring-Hub, which connects job-hunters with recruitment agencies via the web. Tommie said: “I have had a few other job offers since the story broke, including an offer to sell fragrances. I just love the world of business.”

Have Sperm, Will Travel: The ‘Natural Inseminators’ Helping Women Avoid the Sperm Bank

Will the Swiss Quit Cooking their Kittens and Puppies? - "the number of feline-feasting Swiss has proven impossible to back up with hard data, although nearly all Swiss animal rights groups agree on the figure. According to SOS Chats Noiraigue, which has gathered more than 16,000 signatures for a petition to the Swiss government to stop the practice of consuming cats, the three percent figure comes from a survey conducted by Swiss media in which they asked “would you” and “could you” eat a cat... “In almost all rural areas of Switzerland, it is customary to eat cats and dogs”... SOS Chat Noiraigue founder Tomi Tomek says the practice is such an open secret, many rural Swiss can readily repeat their favorite cat recipe. She says most Swiss pet eaters cook their cats using rabbit recipes, often stewing them with garlic and wine, stuffing several cats into a crock at the same time since there just isn’t a lot of meat on most felines. According to Swiss press reports, younger cats in the litter are the most tender and, as such, are the preferred cat cuts. Dogs, Tomek says, are instead generally ground into sausages and eaten by those who believe dog meat lessons the symptoms of rheumatism... In October, the government of Denmark announced it would vote on whether to stop the practice of bestiality or having sex with pets, which has, until now, been perfectly legal. Eating pets as food also has roots across Europe. In 2010, a popular Italian television cook known as Chef Beppe was taken off the air after including cat recipes on his televised cooking class. “If you don’t have meat, kill the cat,” he said. He later told CNN that eating cat was a pre-war custom across Italy. “In Parma the cat was nicknamed 'the rabbit that runs on roofs,' in Liguria, the cat is nicknamed 'the rabbit with short ears, in Piedmont it is called the 'rabbit that meows.’” he said. “Today we are scandalized by this. Why? Because times have changed. The cat has become a domestic animal. This was not the case before." According to The Daily Meal food site, the Hawaiian government recently shelved a plan to make eating dogs illegal, apparently because, although the practice is popular among certain communities, there was just not a lot of evidence that crimes were committed between getting the dogs from the back yard to the barbeque"
I need to go back to Switzerland and make friends with a local before they ban cat meat
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