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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Links - 27th January 2015

Pico Rivera, tattoo: Gang member's tattoo of a liquor store slaying leads to his conviction - "Inked on the pudgy chest of a young Pico Rivera gangster who had been picked up and released on a minor offense was the scene of a 2004 liquor store slaying that had stumped Lloyd for more than four years. Each key detail was right there: the Christmas lights that lined the roof of the liquor store where 23-year-old John Juarez was gunned down, the direction his body fell, the bowed street lamp across the way and the street sign — all under the chilling banner of RIVERA KILLS, a reference to the gang Rivera-13. As if to seal the deal, below the collarbone of the gang member known by the alias "Chopper" was a miniature helicopter raining down bullets on the scene... Investigators don't believe Garcia's elaborate tattoo was a rash decision. Photos from several bookings over the years show the mural on his chest evolving as he added details to the tattooed murder scene — until one day Lloyd saw them as a whole and something clicked."

True purpose of scholarships - Forum Letters Premium News - The Straits Times - "A scholarship programme is not about the recipients, their careers, their earnings or their ever-changing interests; it is about the maximisation of our national intellectual capital for the benefit of society."
Comment: "If this is true: it is puzzling that a system which treats 18-year-old students not as individuals but simply "intellectual capital" to be maximised can claim any sort of moral high ground.
Furthermore, individuals have morals; capital does not. If Dr. Lee Hock Seng wishes to deny that scholarship holders are individuals, he cannot also demand that they adhere to moral standards. Let me disabuse Dr. Lee of the notion that he can have his cake and eat it too"

Muhammad Depiction After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre: Draw or Not? - "When did 'Mass Murder is wrong, but, you know...' become an argument, and why is it not applied elsewhere?
'The school shooting was wrong, but he was bullied in gym class.'
'It was wrong, but he didn't have a prom date.'
'It was wrong, but his father was an alcoholic.'
'It was wrong, but his classmates provoked him.''"

Why would anyone want an eyeball tattoo? - "if our eyes really are the window to our soul what else might a tattooed eyeball say about its owner? The man who first experimented with injecting ink into an eyeball is a US tattoo artist who goes by the name of Luna Cobra. Far from wanting to look evil, the original goal was to look like the blue-eyed characters from the cult science fiction film, Dune."

Kenneth Carvalho's answer to What are some funny stories that are not evil or even unpleasant about the war criminals in WWII like Hitler and Hideki? - Quora - "The Battle of Castle Itter was a bizarre battle in which Austrian Wehrmacht troops along with US infantry attempted to protect high profile French prisoners of war from being extradited by a local fanatical SS squadron which probably would have murdered them. What made this so unique was that local Americans en route to the castle themselves were approached and recruited by the Wehrmacht officer and convinced to help hold the line alongside his handful of men. Both nations managed to holdout and repel the siege for over six hours scattering the 17th SS division right into the maw of the 103 Infantry. What makes this more amusing is this is the only time in history Americans can claim to have participated in the siege defense of a medieval castle."

As a Muslim, I’m fed up with the hypocrisy of the free speech fundamentalists
Comment: "mehdi discussing how non muslims live their lives like animals, please enjoy the double standards"

Professional Cuddlers Embrace More Clients - WSJ - "“I am a convert,” says Melissa Duclos-Yourdon, 35, a freelance writer and editor in Vancouver, Wash. She originally hired a cuddler after hearing about it from members of her book club, thinking it could provide fodder for an essay. Once cuddled, “I felt transformed,” she says. While snuggling businesses have existed for years, interest is accelerating with newer online apps and meet-up services. Plans are under way for a cuddling convention... Employees wear “professional cuddling outfits” of velour leisure suits. Women have sent husbands and boyfriends to teach them how to cuddle properly. One of Ms. Peterson’s professional cuddlers got so comfortable that the client and the snuggler fell asleep past the alarm notifying them the session had ended"

Islam’s Problem With Blasphemy - - "Before all that politically motivated expansion and toughening of Shariah, though, the Quran told early Muslims, who routinely faced the mockery of their faith by pagans: “God has told you in the Book that when you hear God’s revelations disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse; surely then you would be like them.” Just “do not sit with them” — that is the response the Quran suggests for mockery. Not violence. Not even censorship."

Damon Gameau ate a 'healthy' diet for 60 days proving sugar is hidden in many foods - "Gameau said 'all the sugars that I was eating were found in perceived healthy foods.' 'Low fat yoghurts and muesli bars, cereals and fruit juices, sports drinks - these kind of things parents will often give their kids thinking they're doing the right thing,' Gameau told the program. The actor added that aside from the fact that hidden sugars were having an impact on physical health - as he put on 10 centimetres of visceral fat around his waist - there was also a potentially detrimental mental consequence too."

Can Corruption Be Eradicated? - "A certain reliance on foreign largesse was not exactly new to the country. In “Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History” (2010), Thomas Barfield observes that payment to leaders by wealthy outside powers has been a regular feature of Afghanistan’s history since the nineteenth century, and, indeed, that the distribution of these spoils has often constituted “the main glue that held the Afghan state in one piece.” Any highly corrupt society is bound together by a series of interlocking reciprocities: the local policeman who shakes down a passing civilian must in turn pay tribute to his police supervisor, who must pay his supervisor, and so forth; favors or spoils may be distributed in the other direction. The durability of these relationships makes corruption difficult to eradicate, but it may also have the paradoxical virtue of drawing together an otherwise fractious society... Some observers contend that China’s economic boom would not have been possible if the leadership hadn’t tolerated a symbiotic and often corrupt relationship between government and business interests. Beijing has now instituted an anti-corruption campaign that some worry may slow productivity. “In the past, with corruption, you could pay an official and get something done,” a Chinese economist, Mao Yushi, recently said to the Times. “Now the officials won’t accept money, but don’t approve things, either”... Noonan likens corrupt behavior to another human practice that is no less widespread for all the moral and religious opprobrium—sex... captured Taliban prisoners were asked why they joined the insurgency. The leading reason, according to Chayes, “was not ethnic bias, or disrespect of Islam, or concern that U.S. forces might stay in their country.” It was “the perception that the Afghan government was irrevocably corrupt”... Even a hard-nosed realist should regard corruption as a dire concern, she maintains, because it is not merely a matter of the rule of law and democratic principles—it is “a matter of national security.""

Causal Effects of Single-Sex Schools on College Entrance Exams and College Attendance: Random Assignment in Seoul High Schools - "Despite the voluminous literature on the potentials of single-sex schools, there is no consensus on the effects of single-sex schools because of student selection of school types. We exploit a unique feature of schooling in Seoul, the random assignment of students into single-sex versus coeducational high schools, to assess causal effects of single-sex schools on college entrance exam scores and college attendance. Our validation of the random assignment shows comparable socioeconomic backgrounds and prior academic achievement of students attending single-sex schools and coeducational schools, which increases the credibility of our causal estimates of single-sex school effects. Attending all-boys schools or all-girls schools rather than attending coeducational schools is significantly associated with higher average scores on Korean and English test scores. Single-sex schools have a higher percentage of graduates who attended four-year colleges and a lower percentage of graduates who attended two-year junior colleges than coeducational schools. The positive effects of single-sex schools remain substantial, even after taking into account various school-level variables such as teacher quality, the student-teacher ratio, the proportion of students receiving lunch support, and whether the schools are public or private.

Bill Maher: those who protest me “don’t get to wear je suis Charlie buttons.” - "“It reminds me of one of the protest signs I saw in Berkeley last month,” Maher said. “It said, ‘Islamophobia kills.’ Does it? Islamophobia kills? Maybe it’s more the AK-47s and the beheadings and the planes into buildings”...
'Liberals hate bullying, alright—but they’re not opposed to using it. When they casually throw out words like ‘bigot’ and ‘racist’ it does cow people into avoiding this debate. And if you’re doing that, you don’t get to wear the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ button. The button you should wear is "Je suis part of the problem"'...
Maher went on to say that even though he’s not a fan of Rush Limbaugh, “... if you’re one of the people with a website devoted to making him go away you are part of the problem.” Furthermore, if you push for a boycott of Limbaugh, you’re “not even a proper liberal because you don’t get free speech, you’re just a baby who can’t stand to live in a world where you hear things that upset you.”

I Wasn't Treating My Husband Fairly, And It Wasn't Fair - "How does it benefit me to constantly belittle my husband? The man that I've taken as my partner in life. The father of my children. The guy I want to have by my side as I grow old. Why do I do what women are so often accused of, and try to change the way he does every little thing? Do I feel like I'm accomplishing something? Clearly not if I feel I have to keep doing it. Why do I think it's reasonable to expect him to remember everything I want and do it just that way? The instances in which he does something differently, does it mean he's wrong? When did "my way" become "the only way?" When did it become okay to constantly correct him and lecture him and point out every little thing I didn't like as if he were making some kind of mistake?"

British schools drop Holocaust from history lessons so as not to offend Muslims - "A report by Britain’s Department for Education and Skills notes that an increasing number of schools are dropping the teaching of the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim students. The report, titled Teaching Emotive and Controversial History, also observes that many teachers are reluctant to discuss the Crusades because the lessons frequently contradict what is taught in local mosques"
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