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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Links - 18th June 2015

In Sweden and the West, What Message Are We Muslims Sending? - "Mr. S., a Palestinian living in Malmö, arrived in Sweden as a refugee fleeing the Jordanian intelligence service two decades ago. He said, "I am a true Muslim. My wife wears hijab, I appreciate this country, and I just want to make a living but those Islamist crazies won't leave us alone. They say they support jihad, they deal drugs, they get drunk and harass women. At the same time, they look down on me because I have Christian Swedish friends. They threatened my eldest son; they said his friends are white non-Muslim Swedes. I swear to Allah, sometimes I feel I am not living in Malmö but in Afghanistan." "My daughter does not wear hijab," he added. "She has blonde hair and could easily pass for a Swede, therefore the minute she leaves the house, the local Muslim men start harassing her, thinking she is a native Swede. They think of Swedish girls as easy and prostitutes. When I confront these men harassing my daughter, they bluntly tell me they thought she was a Swede and they would have not harassed her if they had known she was a Muslim. Tell me what should I do now? Cut my daughter's hair? Force her to wear hijab? Now I understand how Swedes feel about us Muslims harassing their sisters and daughters""... Those of us who do not wish to live in the secular West -- why did we go there in the first place? If secular Western countries are evil and immoral in the view of some Muslims, why don't those who feel that way leave and relocate in Islamist states such Iran or Afghanistan? I would love to think that the Islamist fundamentalists in the West do not represent the majority of Muslims. But if that is so, where is our Islamic rage against these lunatics? Why are we Muslims in the West silent about those fundamentalists who want to Islamize and terrorize the countries we live in? Our silence means either that we do not care for our adoptive countries, or worse, that we agree to what the fundamentalists say and do... many of us Muslims in the West are enjoying governments' free hand-outs -- housing, education, healthcare, often even cash -- so we choose to stay while hating and insulting the societies that that pay for our stays with their tax money?"

Science Reveals What Cats Really Think of Us - "Your cat doesn't love you back.
Your cat poops on the carpet because it thinks you're a loser.
Your cat doesn't care whether you stay or you go.
Your cat has ulterior motives behind those displays of affection.
Cats actually hate it when you touch them.
Your cat thinks you're too damned stupid to feed yourself."

S. Korean Gov’t Requires Teens’ Phones to Have Spy Apps Installed: ‘Oppressing Freedom’ - "Park, who gave his daughter his second phone so she didn’t have to release her personal information to mobile carriers, said he feels “uncomfortable” that his child is growing up in a society of prying eyes. “Children will not have an ability to think for themselves,” he said."

Running goes 'viral' in once sports-shy France - "The epitome of Gallic beauty, French film star Catherine Deneuve - probably clouded in a haze of cigarette smoke - once scoffed at the idea of working out, saying: "I am not American"... Cost is an important point explaining the running surge, experts say, with gyms in Paris often charging exorbitant prices... "Is running right-wing?" the Liberation newspaper asked in a 2007 editorial, pondering the sport's focus on performance and individualism and Renaissance humanists' advice that one should receive a balanced physical and intellectual education"

Effects of Step-Wise Increases in Dietary Carbohydrate on Circulating Saturated Fatty Acids and Palmitoleic Acid in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome - "Recent meta-analyses have found no association between heart disease and dietary saturated fat; however, higher proportions of plasma saturated fatty acids (SFA) predict greater risk for developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease. These observations suggest a disconnect between dietary saturated fat and plasma SFA, but few controlled feeding studies have specifically examined how varying saturated fat intake across a broad range affects circulating SFA levels. Sixteen adults with metabolic syndrome (age 44.9±9.9 yr, BMI 37.9±6.3 kg/m2) were fed six 3-wk diets that progressively increased carbohydrate (from 47 to 346 g/day) with concomitant decreases in total and saturated fat. Despite a distinct increase in saturated fat intake from baseline to the low-carbohydrate diet (46 to 84 g/day), and then a gradual decrease in saturated fat to 32 g/day at the highest carbohydrate phase, there were no significant changes in the proportion of total SFA in any plasma lipid fractions. Whereas plasma saturated fat remained relatively stable, the proportion of palmitoleic acid in plasma triglyceride and cholesteryl ester was significantly and uniformly reduced as carbohydrate intake decreased, and then gradually increased as dietary carbohydrate was re-introduced. The results show that dietary and plasma saturated fat are not related, and that increasing dietary carbohydrate across a range of intakes promotes incremental increases in plasma palmitoleic acid, a biomarker consistently associated with adverse health outcomes."
Addendum: This is particularly interesting as some participants got the diet in the reverse order, and the same results were obtained, and the participants got traditionally "healthy" and "unhealthy" foods: "For the low carbohydrate diet phases, higher-fat beef and meats, whole eggs, and full-fat dairy products (e.g., cheese, whole milk yogurt, cream, butter) were emphasized. For the higher carbohydrate diet phases with lower saturated fat, leaner versions of beef, egg substitutes, and low-fat dairy (e.g., reduced-fat dairy, skim milk, low-fat/non-fat yogurt) were used instead. Whole grain and relatively low glycemic index carbohydrate sources were emphasized."
Keywords: experiment carbohydrate intake, as carbohydrate intake increased, increase carbohydrates

'Google's self-driving cars involved in 11 accidents' - "Internet search company Google's self-driving cars have been involved in 11 accidents, but have not been the cause of any, over the last six years since the project began"

Singapore's religious harmony a legacy to be treasured: PM Lee - "the internet and social media have made it easier for people both to cause offense and to take offence. When someone puts up something provocative or offensive, it doesn’t just affect the coffee shop in which you let off steam, it reaches the whole of cyberspace – may even stretch beyond Singapore, if it goes viral. One thoughtless comment can cause a mass reaction. Instead of a judicious response, it may provoke a self-righteous mob reaction and a public lynching, which is even worse than the original provocation”
Doesn't fetishising "racial harmony" egg on the self-righteous lynch mobs? So the obsession with "racial harmony" ironically undermines it

Insist on the middle ground - "Talk to concert promoters in Malaysia – there are not that many in this financially risky business – and they will tell you that Malaysia has a bad reputation among artistes in this region. Bad is an understatement, really... Our problem is that just about ­everyone in Malaysia wants to have a big say over how concerts should be organised, or whether they can be organised in the first place. And what is ridiculous is that most of them do not even know who the artistes are, yet they have strong opinions over whether they are “morally suitable” for the impressionable young minds in our country... Never mind if it was supposed to be a closed-door dance music event with only non-Muslims allowed, since beer would be served. For the organisers, one year of planning went down the drain, thanks to the fickleness of the police and the Subang Jaya Municipal Council... The PAS representative reportedly said it was her responsibility as a Muslim legislator to stop the concert, which is sponsored by beer company Heineken, as it would have an adverse social impact on society... Thank you very much to non-Muslims who cast their votes for PAS candidates in the 2013 general election. Thank you for believing that PAS policies, including the implementation of hudud laws, would not affect non-Muslims. Before this issue broke out, there was also a lot of debate generated when it was revealed that the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) had proposed that males and females be segregated during concerts. Its guidelines included a section on dealing with the organisation of entertain­ment events whereby Jakim said such programmes should not allow “mixing (percampuran) of males and females in the audience”... akim has ruled that jokes made during performances must be appropriate and cannot lead to “excessive laughter”... Malaysia is in danger of becoming a basket case with extreme theologians and communal champions appearing to combine their strengths to push their agendas."

Look: Mom holds million-yuan fashion show for 2-year-old tot

Peta calls for 'Britain’s oldest pub' to change name from Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and celebrate 'intelligent, sensitive chickens' - "In its latest campaign, the controversial group asks that Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, is renamed to Ye Olde Clever Cocks "in recognition of society’s growing compassion for animals and in celebration of intelligent, sensitive chickens" The eighth century pub, which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the UK's oldest, has had its current name since 1872 due to its history of cock fighting, a sport which was banned outright in England and Wales in 1835... As well as listing a number of claimed chicken traits, such as a love of sunbathing and a capacity for structural engineering, Carr urged the pub owners to celebrate a "fascinating but often abused and misunderstood animal"."

People Don't Trust You If Your Name Is Hard to Pronounce

How the Gluteus Became Maximus - "The men consistently preferred silhouettes with the 45-degree angle curve, regardless of their buttock size. The explanation–can you handle this?–is that the 45-degree curve allowed “ancestral women to better support, provide for, and carry out multiple pregnancies”... “This adds to a growing body of evidence that beauty is not entirely arbitrary, or ‘in the eyes of the beholder’ as many in mainstream social science believed, but rather has a coherent adaptive logic,” said David Buss, a University of Texas psychology professor and co-author of the study

I Toned My Weak Vagina With This Little Blue Blob - "But if I was going to spend $150 on a vibrating Kegel exerciser today, I would hope that it might also double as a decent vibrator in a pinch. And the answer to that is yes, yes it does indeed. Maybe Minna Life should advertise the kGoal as a tool for pleasure, which allows you to squeeze in a little exercise on the side."

The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society | Pew Research Center - "At the country level, there are notable exceptions to the view that sharia should apply only to Muslims. These include Egypt, where 74% of Muslims say sharia should be the law of the land and nearly three-quarters of them (or 55% of all Egyptian Muslims) say Islamic law should apply to people of all faiths... In South Asia, support for applying religious law to family and property disputes is coupled with strong backing for severe criminal punishments, such as cutting off the hands of thieves (median of 81%) and the death penalty for Muslims who renounce their faith (76%). In the Middle East-North Africa region, medians of more than half favor strict criminal penalties (57%) and the execution of those who convert from Islam to another faith (56%)... most Muslims say a wife should always obey her husband... in [half of] countries, women are just as likely as men to say that the question of veiling should not be left to individual women. When it comes to divorce and equal inheritance, there are even fewer countries where Muslim women are significantly more supportive of women’s rights than are Muslim men... The survey finds little evidence that attitudes toward violence in the name of Islam are linked to factors such as age, gender or education... Egypt is the only country in which more than one-tenth (12%) of the total Muslim population says it is a good thing that non-Muslims are not free to practice their faith... Medians of at least six-in-ten in Southeast Asia (79%), South Asia (69%), and the Middle East and North Africa (65%) say religious leaders should have at least some influence over political matters. This includes medians of at least a quarter across these three regions who would like to see religious leaders exert a large influence on politics... Devout Muslims tend to be more supportive of religious leaders playing a role in politics... most Muslims think Western music, movies and television pose a threat to morality in their country"
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