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More adventurous than the average bear

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Links - 23rd March 2015

Could Antioxidants Speed Up Cancer Progression? - "Antioxidants appear to accelerate cancer progression by short-circuiting one of the body's key immune responses to malignant cells"

Is she too fat to be a Health Minister? Critics attack 20-stone woman leading Belgium's battle against obesity
Perhaps some of the people defending her would not be happy if a minister of women's issues were male

Western manners: The latest Chinese status symbol - "“Most of my clients had an embarrassing moment, overseas or during a business dinner. They come here because they want to make thing easier for themselves,” said Sara-Jane Ho, the perfectly groomed school founder, as she sat in a drawing room furnished with imported French antique furniture. “It’s mostly learning about how to behave in an international environment,” said Ho, who herself studied etiquette at the Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Switzerland, one of the last proper finishing schools in the world. So far she has attracted a couple hundred wealthy Chinese to her courses. She is opening a Shanghai branch in May... “The Chinese have no manners. It’s just not something that is taught by parents. I am always surprised when men hold the door for me in Paris. This would never happen in China,” said Yue-Sai Kan, a Sino-American TV host and producer, and author of Etiquette for the Modern Chinese, a national bestseller that has sold more than three million copies. Today, Kan lectures on etiquette and trains Chinese contestants for the Miss Universe contest. While some of what is perceived as rude by Westerners stems from cultural issues — the notion of public space and privacy is very different in China — other ill-manners date back to the Cultural Revolution when all that was seen as sophistication was considered bourgeois and severely punished."

Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics | Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project - "people in predominantly Muslim countries have mixed views of Christians and strongly negative views of Jews. In Lebanon, which has a large Christian minority, 91% of the public thinks favorably of Christians. Smaller majorities in Jordan and Indonesia also have positive views of Christians. However, in Turkey (63%), Morocco (61%) and Pakistan (58%), solid majorities express negative opinions of Christians. Anti-Jewish sentiment is endemic in the Muslim world. In Lebanon, all Muslims and 99% of Christians say they have a very unfavorable view of Jews. Similarly, 99% of Jordanians have a very unfavorable view of Jews. Large majorities of Moroccans, Indonesians, Pakistanis and six-in-ten Turks also view Jews unfavorably."

Anti-Semitic violence doubled in 2009 - "Most violent attacks in Western Europe came from people of Arab or Muslim heritage, the report found... “Synagogues are burned, and in response people at the top levels of European government say to us that this is a ‘natural response’ to these pressures, to what is happening in the Middle East,” said Arie Zuckerman, an Israeli attorney who serves as the secretary-general of the European Jewish Fund and an adviser to the EJC. “It is unthinkable that there are no boundaries to the kinds of reactions Europe is willing to tolerate inside the continent,” he said. “Every time the conflict flares up in Israel, we have to accept someone setting a synagogue on fire? If mosques were being attacked, would anyone say this was to be expected because there are conflicts in the Muslim world?” asked Zuckerman."

Emotional Infidelity Vs. Sleeping Around: Men And Women React Differently To Cheating - "“There has been significant disagreement about whether or not men and women tend to differ in their responses to sexual and emotional infidelity,” David Frederick, the study’s lead author and psychologist from Chapman University, said in a press release. “Most research relies on small samples or college samples. We set out to examine a broad and diverse sample of Americans.” Researchers asked 64,000 American men and women of varying sexual orientation how they would react to finding out their significant other was cheating on them. Did the sexual infidelity bother them more than the emotional infidelity? Answers varied depending on gender. “Heterosexual men really stand out from all other groups,” Frederick said. “They were the only ones more likely to be most upset by sexual infidelity.”"

In China’s Modern Economy, a Retro Push Against Women - - "Dong Mingzhu, president of Gree Electric, an air conditioner manufacturer with sales of $22.5 billion last year, blames women for their poor showing in the workplace. “Women don’t try hard enough,” she said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Zhuhai, in southern China. “They are too happy to go off and find a man to rely on.” Indeed, powerful cultural assumptions that women should marry young and focus on the family after a child is born account for some of the disparity. Women in the boardroom is hardly even an issue. “This issue is of interest only to a minority of females,” said Oliver M. Rui, a professor of finance and accounting at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, “and they’re not taken seriously in China”... On a recent trip to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, a rare female client, the head of a new dealership, took her under her wing. “She said, ‘You should do the most important thing in your life now,’ ” Ms. Fu said. “Find a husband.”"

More than 100 women drugged, raped and filmed in fake clinical study in Japan: reports

Action computer games can sharpen eyesight - "A study by scientists at the University of Rochester shows that people who play action video games for a few hours each day over the course of a month can improve their performance in eye examinations by about 20%... After 30 hours of gaming, both groups had their vision tested again. Those who played Tetris saw no improvement in their test score. However, the group that played Unreal Tournament scored 20% better in the eye test on average"

Gamers secretly enjoy getting killed - "Outwardly, players might seem to hate seeing their character get shot or killed, but their facial twitches, brain activity, heart rate, perspiration and respiration told a different story. Players often showed signs of positive emotion when they character got wounded or killed off. Similarly, many players showed signs of anxiety, or "high-arousal negative affect", while wounding or killing an enemy. "Instead of joy resulting from victory and success, wounding and killing the opponent elicited anxiety, anger, or both""

The Punishment for reading a Bible in Saudi Arabia - "Textbooks handed out in Saudi Arabian schools teach children how to cut off a thief’s hands and feet under Sharia law – Photo Daily Mail. The books were published and handed out to 9th and 10th-graders despite Saudi Arabia’s promises to clean up textbooks in the kingdom. Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, told Fox News: ‘This is where terrorism starts, in the education system. ‘They show students how to cut (the) hand and the feet of a thief,’ he said.The textbooks were printed for the 2010-2011 academic year and translated from Arabic by the institute. In one, for ninth-graders, students are taught the annihilation of the Jewish people is imperative. In addition to calling for the murder of Jews, the texts reportedly call women “weak” and teach that gays are dangerous and should be put to death."

More frequent meals linked to healthier eating - "Adults who had multiple small meals every day tended to eat better, and weight less, than those who had fewer but larger meals, in a recent study. People eating fewer meals tended to eat the most at night, and to drink alcohol with meals, both of which might contribute to their higher body mass index (BMI)"

Why We Shouldn’t Refer to ISIS as ‘Medieval’ - "Despite the reality of medieval torture, comparisons with ISIS are not intended to be meaningfully equivalent. Instead, they are conjuring up the one-dimensional myth of medievalism: of berserkers, barbarians and blood-eagling, a myth which leaves us, civilized and modern, wholly absolved of any connection with those actions."
Who is this Young Turk? I need Dutch courage to read this article and to navigate the Byzantine complexities of ISIS's politics so that I can take French leave to erect Chinese walls. Pardon my French but this article is Greek to me. Hopefully ISIS's time will be like an Indian summer.

Practicing Islam in Short Shorts - "I never quite rejected Islam, I just took a break from going through the motions of prayer out of guilt. I wanted to see if I could be compelled to return to my prayer rug. I did. I returned when I felt like my life was empty without worship. I prayed out of gratitude. I prayed and it gave me solace. Ablution became less about splashing water over various parts of my body and felt more like a daily cleanse. A baptism. I stopped obsessing about the small things and my new mantra was "Al-'amal bil niyat," which means actions are dependent on their intentions. My other mantra was "Al deen yusr," which translates to religion is ease. Exploring and wandering gave me the tools I needed to critically look at the hypocrisy of the 'ulama'a (Islamic elites/scholars/clerics). I realized that I did not have to practice my religion from the point of view of a largely misogynistic group of people. Two years ago, I denounced most hadith (prophetic traditions and sayings), fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and tafseer (interpretation) because these three things, all of which play a huge part in how Islam is practiced today, are filtered through the perspective of Muslims born into normalized extreme patriarchy"
What is the line between pluralism and heresy? Is it coherent to speak of an ideology if there is nothing its various adherents share besides identifying with the same umbrella term?

Why the Gap Between Worker Pay and Productivity Is So Problematic - "We could have doubled down on making the middle class so capable that it could compete with anyone, but I think instead, what we did collectively is we made a series of unsustainable promises to maintain the illusion of prosperity. Promises like let's extend credit to the middle class so that people can consume—especially houses; promises like the government will increasingly cover your healthcare costs in retirement; promises like the government will directly employ you. You then take those promises, couple them with a nasty recession and two wars and you wind up with a government that is physically hobbled and politically divided. So from government and from business you've got a systematic underinvestment in those shared resources that we need for the middle class to thrive."

Wheel of Fortune, NEW BABY BUGGY: Was Emil de Leon’s solve the greatest of all time?
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