"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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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Links - 18th December 2014

Here Are The Different Ways People Give Criticism Around The World - "Argentinians are the most direct speakers of the Latin American countries. Other Latin American countries see them as arrogant"

The Straight Dope: How could the Romans use corn? It's American! - ""Corn" comes from the Latin word for grain (granum), and through the ages it's been used indiscriminately for whatever grain happens to predominate in a particular region. In England, for example, corn is the word the natives apply to wheat. Up country a bit, in Scotland, the locals say "corn" when they mean "oats." Naturally, when our British forebears jumped off the Mayflower and found the welcoming committee brandishing long green stalks with funny yellow things pointing out of them, "corn" was the first word that came to mind, and the name stuck in American English"

Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis - "One study revealed that participants consumed 17% more energy than in their typical diet even after the energy from the soft drinks they consumed had been taken into account, suggesting again that soft drinks may influence other aspects of dietary intake... Other studies revealed a negative association of soft drink consumption with intake of both dietary fiber (r = −0.31) and starch (r = −0.27). Thus, these findings indicate that the increased carbohydrate intake associated with soft drink consumption primarily reflects greater consumption of added sugars. Soft drink consumption also was associated with decreased intakes of protein (r = −0.14), fruit juice (r = −0.17), fruit (r = −0.09), and riboflavin (r = −0.12), among others... Perhaps the most striking link between soft drink consumption and health outcomes was the prospective evidence obtained for type 2 diabetes... When diet soft drinks replaced sugar-sweetened soft drinks in the analysis, the increased risk was no longer present, suggesting that the risk was specific to sugar-sweetened soft drinks... The association between soft drinks and dental caries was not observed for diet soft drinks... A 10-week experimental study showed that individuals who consumed sucrose-sweetened beverages exhibited an increase in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure over the course of the study, whereas individuals who consumed artificially sweetened beverages exhibited a decrease in blood pressure"

In Pictures: New Islamic law in Indonesia - "Aceh province implemented Islamic law in 2001, but in September the religious "penal code" was extended to everyone, now applying to some 90,000 non-Muslims who live there. Offences not previously regulated such as adultery, homosexual acts, and sex outside marriage are now punishable with sentences handed down by Islamic courts, including public flogging. Buying or carrying alcoholic beverages could result in 10 strokes of the cane, 10 months in prison, or a maximum fine of 100 grams in gold... As the newly extended Islamic law technically forbids women from wearing trousers, the dress code imposed by Suzuya creates a problem for its female employees... In Banda Aceh it is not permitted to build new churches as the authorities forbid the construction of any places of worship that isn't Islamic... Religious police stop a family riding a motorbike on moral grounds because they broke the dress code imposed by the new Islamic law. The law prohibits tight trousers: All clothing that display the shape of the body are banned... A man is forced to do 10 push-ups as punishment for wearing shorts and sporting an 'improper' haircut... Confiscated goods at the police station include alcohol, a woman's bag, fire crackers, and improperly used Quranic inscriptions."

Aceh Town Bans Women From Straddling Motorbikes - "The Indonesian Home Affairs Ministry says it will review and potentially repeal the motorbike bylaw. The ministry has blocked more than 2,000 local laws across the country, but it has never revoked a sharia bylaw in Aceh... Almost 30 churches were shut down in the province last year."

Indonesia Is No Model for Muslim Democracy - NYTimes.com - "IT is fashionable these days for Western leaders to praise Indonesia as a model Muslim democracy... The rights of religious and ethnic minorities are routinely trampled. While Indonesia’s Constitution protects freedom of religion, regulations against blasphemy and proselytizing are routinely used to prosecute atheists, Bahais, Christians, Shiites, Sufis and members of the Ahmadiyya faith — a Muslim sect declared to be deviant in many Islamic countries. By 2010, Indonesia had over 150 religiously motivated regulations restricting minorities’ rights. In 2006, Mr. Yudhoyono, in a new decree on “religious harmony,” tightened criteria for building a house of worship. The decree is enforced only on religious minorities — often when Islamists pressure local officials not to authorize the construction of Christian churches or to harass and intimidate those worshiping in “illegal” churches, which lack official registration. More than 400 such churches have been closed since Mr. Yudhoyono took office in 2004... Mr. Yudhoyono is not simply turning a blind eye; he has actively courted conservative Islamist elements and relies on them to maintain his majority in Parliament, even granting them key cabinet positions. These appointments send a message to Indonesia’s population and embolden Islamist extremists to use violence against minorities"

INDONESIA West Java: Tasikmalaya authorities impose Sharia law and compulsory veil - "Activists and members of civil society in different parts of Indonesia have strongly criticized the proposal of the authority of the District of Tasikmalaya (West Java) to introduce norms inspired by sharia, or Islamic law, by mid-July ahead of the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer. The obligations will be the imposition of the veil for all women - foreign and local, and non-Muslim - better known in the archipelago as the jilbab."

Reasons Why Cyclists Suck - "Like everything else that is good for the environment, cycling has morphed from being a mode of transport into a weird annoying cult full of pious missionaries spreading the good word. As a driver, I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve been held up by a cyclist (usually with no helmet) taking up the center of the road and holding up traffic. Honk your horn and they’ll erupt in a fury of indignation. “I’m a cyclist dammit! I’m special!”. And there’s not much you can do about it, other than wait patiently until they turn off. Or run them off the road and face jail time… Like vegans, cyclists want everyone to know that they’re cyclists. The wear cycling t-shirts, post pictures of themselves cycling on facebook, visit cycling website, and even start their own annoying blogs about cycling and how great it is. Cyclists also hate motorists, and make a point of giving drivers dirty looks if they get too close or try to engage them in debate. Motorists are dirty, evil environment killers and are not worthy of talking to. Drive a car to work? Screw you, baby seal killer... In DC, it’s pretty common to see cyclists speeding through the streets without helmets (around 25%, according to the data)... 'perversely, increasing bike use can actually add to pollution and greenhouse emissions if roads are not updated to accommodate these bikes'"

Molest victim squeezes culprit's genitals to escape - "When he grabbed her breasts, both fell down."
"the article refers to her as 'girl' until the molest account, then she becomes a 'woman'. is this some rite of womanhood?"
Note: the line has been changed to "He grabbed her breasts. Both the worker and the victim fell down." - as usual without any note about the change

Statement of concern on Thio Li-Ann as speaker at EU human rights seminar - "Article 13 of the EC Treaty and the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights explicitly prohibits discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Moreover, the Commissioner for Human Rights recommends that authorities in Council of Europe member states should:
Take a strong public position against violations of the human rights of LGBT persons and promote respect on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, for example through human rights education and awareness-raising campaigns.
Take steps to encourage factual, objective and professional reporting by the media on LGBT persons and issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The European External Action Service lists one of its key roles as “Human rights defender”.
We are profoundly disappointed and we urge the EU and the EEAS to explain how inviting Prof Thio as a speaker for a Human Rights Day seminar is consistent with its own stated role as a defender and advocate of human rights."
If you approve of attempts to get the EU human rights seminar to boot out Thio Li-ann because her views are contrary to the EU's manifesto of LGBT rights, you should likewise support the Singapore Government's 'oppression' of gays since gay sodomy is illegal
Someone: "they are instrumentally rational
the law works for our cause we use it, if does not work for it, we oppose it
so there is an internal consistency of sorts"

Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’ - "Last month, at Britain’s other famously prestigious university, Cambridge, I was circled by Stepfords after taking part in a debate on faith schools. It wasn’t my defence of parents’ rights to send their children to religious schools they wanted to harangue me for — much as they loathed that liberal position — it was my suggestion, made in this magazine and elsewhere, that ‘lad culture’ doesn’t turn men into rapists. Their mechanical minds seemed incapable of computing that someone would say such a thing. Their eyes glazed with moral certainty, they explained to me at length that culture warps minds and shapes behaviour and that is why it is right for students to strive to keep such wicked, misogynistic stuff as the Sun newspaper and sexist pop music off campus. ‘We have the right to feel comfortable,’ they all said, like a mantra. One — a bloke — said that the compulsory sexual consent classes recently introduced for freshers at Cambridge, to teach what is and what isn’t rape, were a great idea because they might weed out ‘pre-rapists’: men who haven’t raped anyone but might. The others nodded. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Pre-rapists! Had any of them read Philip K. Dick’s dystopian novella about a wicked world that hunts down and punishes pre-criminals, I asked? None had. When I told them that at the fag-end of the last millennium I had spent my student days arguing against the very ideas they were now spouting — against the claim that gangsta rap turned black men into murderers or that Tarantino flicks made teens go wild and criminal — not so much as a flicker of reflection crossed their faces. ‘Back then, the people who were making those censorious, misanthropic arguments about culture determining behaviour weren’t youngsters like you,’ I said. ‘They were older, more conservative people, with blue rinses.’ A moment’s silence. Then one of the Stepfords piped up. ‘Maybe those people were right,’ he said. My mind filled with a vision of Mary Whitehouse cackling to herself in some corner of the cosmos... the students’ union at Dundee banned the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children from the freshers’ fair on the basis that its campaign material is ‘highly offensive’... They’re being made to take part in equality and diversity training. At British unis in 2014, you don’t just get education — you also get re-education, Soviet style."
Those who want to 'speak truth to power' just want to wield power themselves - and to shut down truth
If offence is a sufficient reason to ban something, liberals themselves should be censored
Comment: "the new fascists will call themselves anti fascists"
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