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Monday, January 19, 2015

Links - 19th January 2015

Chinese Man’s Life with Beautiful Ukrainian Wife Envied - "Ukraine was an unknown country, and initially thought this country was in Africa... “When I first arrived, I saw black bread in the store. I thought it was made with chocolate and bought a whole bunch, but when I took a bite, it was both bitter and hard, like a rock. In the end, I had to throw it all away,” Mei Aicai said... Mei Aicai couldn’t understand anything during class, as the professor had a deep accent, and to him it all sounded like someone selling lamb skewers... "For the first two years, the things I ate the most were potatoes and cabbage, as these two things are the cheapest in Ukraine. Only during Chinese New Year was I willing to buy two tomatoes. At the time, I thought tomato scrambled with egg was a luxurious meal""
From AsiaOne: "Mei said Ukrainian girls marry less for money and more for love"

Petition · To uphold the values of free speech, academic freedom and tolerance in Singapore by affirming the decision to invite Professor Thio Li-ann as a speaker at the 'Role of the Judiciary in the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights' seminar. · - "Even if some may legitimately dissent, the writers of this Statement should not resort to bully tactics to attack Professor Thio Li-ann’s credibility as a scholar rather than challenge the merits of her argument. The writers presume that their conception of ‘human rights’ is gospel truth, and are tyrannical in their silencing of anyone who holds contrary views... In fact, as exemplified by the Statement of Concern, the rhetoric of “human rights” is often an attempt to hijack human rights to advance a political claim. This assertion becomes a card played to pre-emptively silence dissent by arbitrarily restricting the scope of legitimate debate. Unfortunately, the forceful rejection of dialogue betrays the morality which underlies human rights laws. By seeking to attack Professor Thio Li-ann’s involvement in the seminar, these individuals have ironically proven her right in stating that “Homosexual activists often try to infiltrate and hijack human rights initiatives to serve their political agenda, discrediting an otherwise noble cause to protect the weak and poor.”"

Diner's fury as she is refused glass of water at posh restaurant - "the restaurant's owners now risk finding themselves in breach of new legislation, brought in just a week ago, which makes it an offence for alcohol retailers to turn down customers who ask for a glass of tap water free of charge. Refusal has been made punishable by a fine of up to £20,000, six months in prison or the drinks licence being revoked. The move is part of the phased introduction of new laws to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder."

THE POWER OF TV: CABLE TELEVISION AND WOMEN'S STATUS IN INDIA - "we find that the introduction of cable television is associated with significant decreases in the reported acceptability of domestic violence towards women and son preference, as well as increases in women's autonomy and decreases in fertility. We also find suggestive evidence that exposure to cable increases school enrollment for younger children, perhaps through increased participation of women in household decision-making"
TV does corrupt traditional values after all!

House Prices and Birth Rates: The Impact of the Real Estate Market on the Decision to Have a Baby - "short-term increases in house prices lead to a decline in births among non-owners and a net increase among owners. Our estimates suggest that a $10,000 increase in house prices leads to a 2.1 percent increase in births among home owners, and a 0.4 percent decrease among non-owners... changes in house prices exert a larger effect on current period birth rates than do changesin unemployment rates">

'Being homeless is better than working for Amazon'
Comments: ""Other than not liking her job at Amazon, what exactly is she protesting?"
"I have no idea either after slogging through most of those 10,000 words. I'm not surprised she didn't make it as a writer.""
"What you dismiss as privilege, most of us call hard work."

Gaza War Protest - "After the rally, a few thousand people joined the march through downtown San Francisco; because the counter-protesting Israel supporters decided to not go on the march, every single one of the marchers was anti-Israel -- except for this one guy, who tailed along on the sidewalk carrying what I thought was the most interesting sign of the day. And yet, with all the flag burning and screaming and traffic-blocking and menacing chants, can you guess who was the only protester to be stopped by police and ordered to leave? That's right -- the single anti-Hamas protester. Figures. The police's given reason, naturally, was that he should leave "for his own protection" and that he shouldn't incite the crowd by expressing a reasonable opinion. Nothing so enrages an unreasonable crowd as a reasonable opinion!... Meanwhile, protesters who openly supported the terrorist organization Hamas and waved the Hamas flag (as seen here) received no warnings at all about inciting the crowd. Which sharply highlights a depressing truth: If you express an opinion, no matter how wrongheaded, you are safe from criticism if enough people share it with you; but if you express an opinion, no matter how insightful, you will be penalized if you stand all alone... apparently middle-class Americans are willingly chanting "Long live the Intifada! Intifada, Intifada!"... if you think the pro-Hamas Jews were naive, what about the gay protesters who were there opposing Israel (and by default thereby aiding Hamas)? Are they even aware that under the Hamas regime, gay Palestinians, should any be foolish anough to make themselves known, are executed?... An interesting aspect of this picture is the banner on the right which calls for a "Democratic secular Palestine." Under Hamas, Gaza was turned from a secular society into a theocracy governed by shari'a law. And yet these socialist groups still support Hamas -- the very Hamas which destroyed secularism in Gaza -- believing in the insane pipe dream that, once freed from Israeli influence, Palestine will become a communist nation. It is my opinion that this impossible communist fantasy is what drives the Left's support for Palestine. In the early '70s, the Palestinians began using socialist buzzwords and phraseology, and the American (and European) left fell for it like a ton of bricks, and have been falling ever since"

American Public Health Association - Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence - "Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases. Reciprocity was associated with more frequent violence among women (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.9, 2.8), but not men (AOR=1.26; 95% CI=0.9, 1.7). Regarding injury, men were more likely to inflict injury than were women (AOR=1.3; 95% CI=1.1, 1.5), and reciprocal intimate partner violence was associated with greater injury than was nonreciprocal intimate partner violence regardless of the gender of the perpetrator (AOR=4.4; 95% CI=3.6, 5.5)."
So it seems that men are victims of domestic partner violence more than women (ignoring severity of injury and cases of reciprocal violence [i.e. where both are abusing each other])

What It’s Like to Be an Atheist in Palestine - "I was beaten by prison guards who demanded to know who had made me write against Islam. In their minds, I could only say these things as the result of some plot, some conspiracy. The idea that I might simply want to express my independent thoughts was alien to them. The 10 months I spent in Palestinian prison were the worse of my life. I faced constant pressure to retract my statements. I was told they had removed my blog and that I must apologize for publishing it. Even once I was freed, I was told I should never again use the Internet, nor meet with the media. For months after my release, I was harassed by the security services, who further interrogated me and detained me without cause. I received letters from people saying they wanted to kill me."

Old foes slam US over torture report - "China, Iran and North Korea have slammed the United States after a Senate report revealed that the CIA brutalised terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks."

Women More Likely Than Men to See Nuance When Making Decisions - "men tend to organize the world into distinct categories whereas women see things as more conditional and in shades of gray... Emergency medical workers—such as paramedics and emergency room doctors—need to look at a set of symptoms and diagnose a patient with a particular medical condition. Judges have to make decisions about the legality of evidence, testimony, objections raised, etc., throughout a trial. Managers and CEOs must be comfortable making definitive judgments over and over. All of these professions are heavily male-dominated, by about 2:1 in the U.S.... Research finds that men engage in more abstract thinking about many topics—using categories, generalizations—while women are more disposed to context-specific thinking—in terms of concrete situations and relationships. This is evident, for one thing, in how some psychologistscontrast the moral reasoning of males and females. Males’ moral judgments tend to be governed by abstract principles of justice, duty, and fairness that apply to all people and situations (e.g., whether a law is broken, whether justice is served). Females’ moral judgments give more weight to specific relationships between people and extenuating circumstances in a given situation; moral judgments are made through subjective feelings (e.g., whether someone feels betrayed or harmed) rather than abstract principles... men seem to be more comfortable in the black-and-white world of categorical thinking. This offers a different perspective on why men are not just overrepresented in many leadership positions, but also usually aspire to these positions more strongly than women"
This might also explain why women are less interested in philosophy

Jihadi attacks - November's 5,000 deaths broken down by country, victim and terror group
Comments: "Where's the chorus of the US kills more people now? More Muslims are killed by other muslims than anyone else."
"Imagine the fallout if the headline had read American instead of Jihadi. Will there be any protests about this, I doubt it. I wonder what message this sends out, maybe Muslims killing Muslims is no big deal."
"A tawdry attempt at justification for flat out racism. This article contains few facts if any. What should be obvious is that capitalism is the problem." (I suspect this isn't taking the piss)

Raw milk company shared image mocking labelling of product as unsafe - "Despite the recent death and illnesses, and warnings from medical professionals, some parents discussing the issue on online forums were unwilling to believe unpasteurised milk was potentially deadly. One parent wrote: “Sucking in the teat of an actual animal is safe as far as contamination goes. It gets complicated once it leaves the animal in any sort of container, that’s when contamination can start.” In fact milk can become contaminated as soon as it touches the teat, which is located close to the animal’s bowel and is often in contact with faeces."
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