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Valar Qringaomis

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Links - 14th May 2015

Bedtime Stories | Parkway Cancer Centre Singapore - "I have asked him to sleep in the next room because I am afraid that my cancer will come back if we have sex. So I tell my poor husband to take care of business himself,” said my patient matter-of-factly in Mandarin... Diet and lifestyle would top the list of questions. Sexual issues follow closely in second spot. There are some real problems with sex in cancer patients... If a patient beats cancer only to live a life full of fear and worry – that the slightest thing may set the disease off – I may have succeeded medically as an oncologist, but failed abysmally as a doctor. Life is precious, but in most cases, not so fragile as to be unable to withstand a romp in the bedroom."

SAD PUPPIES 3: The unraveling of an unreliable field - "The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings? There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land? A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop. Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women. Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues. Or it could be about the evils of capitalism and the despotism of the wealthy... SF/F literature seems almost permanently stuck on the subversive switcheroo. If we’re going to do a Tolkien-type fantasy, this time we’ll make the Orcs the heroes, and Gondor will be the bad guys. Space opera? Our plucky underdogs will be transgender socialists trying to fight the evil galactic corporations. War? The troops are fighting for evil, not good, and only realize it at the end. Planetary colonization? The humans are the invaders and the native aliens are the righteous victims. Yadda yadda yadda. Which is not to say you can’t make a good SF/F book about racism, or sexism, or gender issues, or sex, or whatever other close-to-home topic you want. But for Pete’s sake, why did we think it was a good idea to put these things so much on permanent display, that the stuff which originally made the field attractive in the first place — To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before! — is pushed to the side? Or even absent altogether?"

How the Hugo Awards Became a Battleground - "The story begins, as ever, with a small group of social justice-minded community elites who sought to establish themselves as the arbiters of social mores. This group would decide who deserved a presence in SFF and who deserved to be ostracised... former SFWA Vice President Mary Kowal, who handles political disagreement by telling her opponents to “shut the fuck up” and quit the SFWA. Or former Hugo nominee Nora Jemisin, who says that political tolerance “disturbs” her. Or, indeed, the prolific fantasy author Jim C. Hines, who believes that people who satirize religion and political ideologies (a very particular religion, and a very particular ideology, of course) should be thrown out of mainstream SFF magazines... Today, no one is safe. Right-wingers like Theodore Beale face ostracization over accusations of racism (Beale is himself Native American), while even progressives or independent authors like Bryan Thomas Schmidt are denounced as “cultural appropriators”; in Schmidt’s case, because he prepared an anthology of nonwestern sci-fi stories. Peak absurdity was achieved in 2014 when Jonathan Ross was forced to cancel his appearance at the Hugo Awards after the SJWs of SFF whipped themselves into a panic-fuelled rage over fears that Ross might – might! – make a fat joke. Even the New Statesman, which sometimes reads like an extension of Tumblr, came out and condemned the “self-appointed gatekeepers” of SFF... Character assassinations, doxing, and abuse campaigns from radical activists happen all the time, with little to no condemnation from the self-proclaimed opponents of “online harassment”... Wherever they emerge, social-justice warriors claim to be champions of diversity. But they always reveal themselves to be relentlessly hostile to it: they applaud people of different genders, races, and cultures just so long as those people all think the same way. Theirs is a diversity of the trivial; a diversity of skin-deep, ephemeral affiliations. The diversity that writers like Correia and Torgerson have set out to protect is different. It is a diversity of perspectives, of creative styles, and, yes, of politics. It is the kind of diversity that authoritarians hate, but it is the only kind of diversity that matters."

Jim Norton: Trevor Noah Isn’t the Problem. You Are. - "We save our collective outrage for the really important stuff, like things comedians say. Which brings us, of course, to Trevor Noah, our guest star on this week’s edition of Manufactured Outrage. When Comedy Central named Trevor as Jon Stewart’s successor, our trusty, tireless brigade of social-justice warriors immediately went to work digging through his tweets and stand-up to find something, anything to be upset about. Much to their relief, Trevor didn’t disappoint. Being a working comedian, he’d made plenty of jokes over the years that a susceptible person could pick up, blow the dust off and aim at themselves to achieve martyrdom... I read the tweets he was “under fire” for, and some were funny, some weren’t. The thread that connected them all for me is the embarrassment I feel for anyone claiming to be offended by them. They weren’t vicious or written to be harmful. And everyone reading them knows that. But knowing his tweets weren’t intended to be harmful isn’t important when people who list ‘victim’ as their occupation smell blood in the water. Because their outrage is a lie and their motives are transparent. They are simply using his tweets to get their dopamine drip"

Sorry, but it's your fault if you're offended all the time - "A microaggression, in other words, is what happens when someone says something inoffensive but the listener chooses to be offended by it anyway. Microaggressions are closely related to microinequities, which is when minorities, gays, and women are ‘overlooked’ or ‘singled out’ by a ‘gesture’ or a ‘tone of voice’ that manifests a ‘deeply rooted and unconscious’ bias. The great thing about the ‘unconscious bias’ shtick is that it allows someone to infer offensive meanings in what you say, while preventing you from defending yourself by assuming that you don’t actually know what you mean or how you feel. In the bizarre world of contemporary progressivism, only the Offended Person can tell you how you really feel, even if it isn’t how you feel. Essentially, you feel however the Offended Person feels you feel. Got it?... We are absolutely determined to be victims, and I think there are a few reasons for that:
First, many of us have been programmed to desire pity more than anything...
Second, we have come to believe that our Victimhood grants us wisdom and insight... Third, we are bored...
1) If it wasn’t intended to offend you, then you shouldn’t be offended.
2) You do not get to decide someone else’s intentions. They do.
3) Being offended is a choice you make. Nobody is responsible for that choice but you.
4) Even if the slight was intended and deliberate, functioning adults understand that they must move on and not dwell over every sideways glance or rude comment.
5) You have to stop doing the trendy internet thing where you write something on a piece of paper and take a picture of yourself holding it up while frowning. It’s just annoying at this point.
You’ll never be happy or satisfied if you don’t keep these five points in mind. But then, for the grievance mongers, I suppose happiness isn’t the goal.
If they’re happy then people might stop feeling sorry for them."

Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions’ - NYTimes.com - "Harry Stein, a contributing editor to City Journal, said in an email that while most people feel unjustly treated at times, “most such supposed insults are slight or inadvertent, and even most of those that aren’t might be readily shrugged off.” Mr. Stein took issue with the term “microaggressions,” saying that its use “suggests a more serious problem: the impulse to exaggerate the meaning of such encounters in the interest of perpetually seeing oneself as a victim.”"... One commenter on a BuzzFeed article on the “I, Too, Am Harvard” project wrote: “Make up your mind, do you want to be seen the same as everyone because you’re a human being, or do you want to be seen as a ‘colored’ girl, since not being seen as a ‘colored’ person is obviously offensive?” Another wrote, “I don’t get bent out of shape if a white person asks me are you, like, Hindu or something? I just correct them.”"

Singaporeans invited to re-enact molestation, mugging and caning in Singapore Police social media photo contest

Scientists Photograph Rare Teddy Bear-Like Creature For The First Time In Decades - "A rare Ili pika has popped out of hiding for the first time in over 20 years. Dubbed a “magic rabbit” by its finders, this adorable critter with a teddy bear-like face is native to the Tianshan Mountains of northwestern China. Unfortunately, the rarity of sighting has little to do with its location and more to do with the fact that the species is in danger of extinction. Only 2,000 of them are left in the wild, according to a 1990s estimate by the IUCN Red List."

What China’s rise means for South-east Asia and overseas Chinese - "China seems to have great difficulty in accepting Singapore as a multiracial meritocracy. It seems that this is, to the Chinese, an alien mode of conceptualising an ethnic Chinese majority country. At any rate, Chinese officials, sometimes at very senior levels, constantly refer to Singapore as “a Chinese country” and ask for our “understanding” — by which I suspect they mean “agreement” — of their policies on that basis. Of course, we politely, but clearly and firmly, point out that we are not a Chinese country and that we have our own national interests that we cannot compromise without grievous and probably irreversible internal and international damage"

Home Ministry seizes sexy dolls, rude tees, weed paraphernalia - "The raid aimed to cripple the distribution and sale of obscene material that can damage and negatively influence the rakyat... Seized merchandise included 150 items from one Japanese pop culture shop, which included mouse pads, books, shirts with suggestive logos, and scantily-clad dolls to suit a variety of fetishes."
Malaysia Boleh!

This Is What Happened When Maine Forced Welfare Recipients To Work For Their Benefits - "At the close of 2014 approximately 12,000 individuals were enrolled in the state assistance program. Keep in mind that these individuals are adults who aren’t disabled and who don’t have children at home and who are claiming the food-stamp benefits because of a lack of financial resources. After forcing these individuals to either work part-time for twenty hours each week, enroll in a vocational program, or volunteer for a minimum of twenty-four hours per month, the numbers showed a significant drop from 12,000 enrollees to just over 2,500... while I will say that getting a job can be harder than it sounds, Maine’s program solves that difficulty beautifully. If individuals can’t get and hold a part-time job of twenty hours per week, they can qualify by enrolling in training program. If that doesn’t get them a job, they can still qualify by volunteering."

What Happens When Second Graders Are Treated to a Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal - NYTimes.com

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