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Valar Qringaomis

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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Links - 9th June 2015

500 S’porean men, women & children start volunteer army to protect MINDEF from online harassment | New Nation - "Concerned that the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) is unable to sufficiently protect itself from repeated online harassment, 500 Singaporean men, women and children have started a volunteer army unit to help stave off any further intimidation... One of the local men, Jin Seow Onn, who is chief commander of the volunteer army, said he, his wife and three children were deeply moved by the plight of MINDEF after reading about it in the news detailing its struggle to put up a resistance against an online website run by a handful of volunteers: “I cannot sit idly by as MINDEF is getting cyber assaulted by shadowy, nebulous figures on the Internet,” he said as he wiped the tears of patriotic anguish from his eyes... Other Singaporean men said MINDEF’s struggle at fending for itself is proof that Total Defence is a mindset that needs to be cultivated from young."

10 things Singapore does better than anywhere else - "8. Street food for wimps
While Singapore has more than its share of international celebrity chef restaurants, there's also cheap food everywhere. Yes, other places lay claim to great street fare but Singapore has a more orderly (of course) approach. Translation: If you're a bit of a street food wimp, this is the place to try it."

The Economist explains: Why so many Dutch people work part time | The Economist - "the high prevalence of part-time jobs is largely down to the wide availability of good quality, well-paid “first tier” part-time jobs in the Netherlands: jobs often considered inferior in many other countries."

It is about being respectful to my religion Storm of controversy over sign banning Muslim staff from washing their feet in city office public toilet before their daily prayers - "Paul Culbi from Jamesons, the strata managers of the building, said the cartoon was 'racist, defamatory and a breach of owner corporation guidelines'."

Norwegian sex-ed show teaches kids how to French kiss and masturbate
If a parent taught a child how to masturbate that would probably be considered sexual abuse

Our national nightmare is brought to life in Star Wars: The Binks Awakens parody

If the Fish Liver Can’t Kill, Is It Really a Delicacy? - New York Times - "Thanks to advances in fugu research and farming, Japanese fish farmers are now mass-producing fugu as harmless as goldfish. Most important, they have taken the poison out of fugu’s liver, considered both its most delicious and potentially most lethal part, one whose consumption has left countless Japanese dead over the centuries and whose sale remains illegal in the country. But what could be seen as potential good news for gourmands has instead been grounds for controversy: powerful interests in the fugu industry, playing on lingering safety fears, are fighting to keep the ban on fugu livers even from poison-free fish."

Spare a thought for the Western men trapped in Japan - "According to a survey conducted by OZmall, a popular Japanese women’s information site, 72 percent of women would not be willing to marry “without money” — presumably meaning a case where the couple concerned had no money to speak of between the two of them... Sebastian, a 32-year-old university student with several part-time jobs and 12 years of service in the German Federal Armed Forces, discovered this disconnect the hard way when a Japanese girlfriend he had been together with for a year and had proposed to dumped him because he had “no future.” According to her, his Japanese major was not a promise of a successful career and, not being a native speaker of English, he could not secure teaching jobs. “Why is it always about money?” he asks. To borrow from the headline of a past column by Kaori Shoji from these pages, “Marriage has little to do with romantic love.” No wonder foreign husbands often complain about Japanese women suddenly transforming from sweet and cute girlfriends into shufu — professional housewives emotionally and physically distant from their husbands and fully devoted to their children and home. Men can be sidelined when it comes to participation in child-rearing and other home-related matters, such as controlling the family budget. As opposed to a safe haven from the pressures of work, marriage can become an additional source of stress for men."
Followup: Do Western men have it bad in Japan? Readers discuss

Is Africa fated to be a metaphor of disaster? - "Why is Africa perennially announced to the world as a problem, but African voices hardly feature in analyzing their continent, in charting the path out of crises? Why is the EU meeting, speaking and setting the agenda on Africa’s latest graveyard in the Mediterranean, but the AU remains staunchly taciturn? Why are Brussels, London, Rome and Paris pronouncing on the hordes of African desperadoes staking everything to reach Europe while the tongues of Abuja, Pretoria, and N’Djamena remain cold, stilled?... "The prediction of Africa’s imminent collapse is a long-founded cottage industry. Africans will once again outlive the current frenzy of dour prophecies and gloomy forecasts.” These days, watching events in South Africa, watching images of Africans flailing and drowning in the Mediterranean in their thousands, one isn’t so certain about the sense of confidence."

How Can There Still Be a Sex Difference, Even When There Is No Sex Difference? - ""genetic mosaicism" of women's brains may lead to an interesting sex difference that spans many different traits: men show more within-sex variability than do women. This means that there can be a sex difference between men and women on a trait even when their group averages are the same... This finding of greater male variability in IQ scores has been replicated with many different populations and in more modern times"

Daniel Radosh's Rapture Ready! - "Show a kid a Christian comedian, and soon he's likely to discover that the guy is a pale imitation of this much funnier guy—Jon Stewart—who's not a Christian at all, and doesn't even like Christians. Which might then lead to a whole new set of anxieties, such as: Why are Christians so constitutionally unfunny? And, what is the point of Christian culture, anyway? In the '80s, Christians were known as the boycotters, refusing to see movies or buy products that offended them. They felt about commercial culture much the way a Marxist might: that it was a decadent glorification of money and meaningless human relationships. Then, sometime during the '90s, when conservative evangelicals started coming out of their shells, they took a different tack. The boycotters became coopters and embarked on the curious quest to enlist America's crassest material culture in the service of spiritual growth... Every American pop phenomenon has its Christian equivalent, no matter how improbable... There are Christian raves and Christian rappers and Christian techno, which is somehow more Christian even though there are no words. There are Christian comedians who put on a Christian version of Punk'd, called Prank 3:16. There are Christian sex-advice sites where you can read the biblical case for a strap-on dildo or bondage (liberation through submission)... When you make loving Christ sound just like loving your boyfriend, you can do damage to both your faith and your ballad... "Christian subculture was nothing but a commercialized rip-off of the mainstream, done with wretched quality and an apocryphal insistence on the sanitization of reality""

How Ignorant Are Americans? - "The current conflict over government spending illustrates the new dangers of ignorance. Every economist knows how to deal with the debt: cost-saving reforms to big-ticket entitlement programs; cuts to our bloated defense budget; and (if growth remains slow) tax reforms designed to refill our depleted revenue coffers. But poll after poll shows that voters have no clue what the budget actually looks like. A 2010 World Public Opinion survey found that Americans want to tackle deficits by cutting foreign aid from what they believe is the current level (27 percent of the budget) to a more prudent 13 percent. The real number is under 1 percent. A Jan. 25 CNN poll, meanwhile, discovered that even though 71 percent of voters want smaller government, vast majorities oppose cuts to Medicare (81 percent), Social Security (78 percent), and Medicaid (70 percent). Instead, they prefer to slash waste—a category that, in their fantasy world, seems to include 50 percent of spending, according to a 2009 Gallup poll. Needless to say, it’s impossible to balance the budget by listening to these people. But politicians pander to them anyway, and even encourage their misapprehensions. As a result, we’re now arguing over short-term spending cuts that would cost up to 700,000 government jobs, imperiling the shaky recovery and impairing our ability to compete globally, while doing nothing to tackle the long-term fiscal challenges that threaten … our ability to compete globally... James Fishkin has been conducting experiments in deliberative democracy. The premise is simple: poll citizens on a major issue, blind; then see how their opinions evolve when they’re forced to confront the facts. What Fishkin has found is that while people start out with deep value disagreements over, say, government spending, they tend to agree on rational policy responses once they learn the ins and outs of the budget. “The problem is ignorance, not stupidity”"

This Is Not "Fuck You" in Japanese Sign Language

Love, and Gay Marriage - "I don’t come to my understanding of marriage because, as some will undoubtedly assume, because I am a “bigot,” or have animus toward gays and lesbians. I have been reflecting on the issue in a philosophical and historical way for more than a decade now... I love my sister not for (or against) her sexuality, but for her total personality, which includes humor, intelligence, beauty, kindness, and generosity. In a word, I love her character. Mary and I live in a pluralist age when people of goodwill often hold radically different views. This calls, I think, for tolerance of the old-fashioned kind, not persecution of those who differ...tolerance calls for civility despite differences. At root, I believe it calls for love...
I had a conservative upbringing in South Louisiana, where “coming out” was reserved for debutante balls... Despite many conversations and attempts at persuasion, they still insist on buying pure-breed dogs. They are doing something that we, on moral grounds, wouldn’t do ourselves. So are we required to hate them, or their dogs? Should we refuse to associate with them, and wish them ill? Of course not. Our views are in a certain sense independent of our friends and family; and while we wish they agreed with us, we accept that they sometimes won’t, no matter what we say to them... Of course being gay is a huge part of who I am, but it’s definitely not all that I am... I choose at once to love my sister and disagree with her on gay marriage
Should vegetarians hate meat-eaters?

Muslim man argues he cannot serve on jury as religion forbids him from judging others - Telegraph

North Korea executes defence chief with an anti-aircraft gun: South Korea agency - "Hyon Yong Chol, who headed the isolated nuclear-capable country's military, was charged with treason, including disobeying Kim and falling asleep during an event at which North Korea's young leader was present"
Do the crime, serve the time!

Why So Many People Care So Much About Others' Sex Lives - "Casual sex is psychologically good for you if you if think it’s acceptable, but not if you don’t... promiscuity—by both men and women—is more likely to be considered a moral violation in places where women are economically dependent on men... We’ve evolved to consider sex, the researchers argue, as a game of finite resources. For our ancestors, multiple sexual partners meant things could get knotty when it came to proving whose kids were whose. For women who depended on men for their livelihoods (and the livelihoods of their offspring), that uncertainty meant losing out on the support of their male partners. Bad news. For men, it meant investing in the well-being of children they hadn’t necessarily fathered. Also bad news. The connection between sexual behavior and morality, then, may have come about as a way of keeping a gender-based social order intact... women, in particular, are hardwired to slut-shame out of self-interest"

'I was bashed with a dildo by man in leather mask' - "AN Andergrove mother was bludgeoned with a rubber dildo wrapped in duct tape by a home invader who also killed her little pet dog by strapping it up to a palm tree in a public park"
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