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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Links - 12th September 2015

The Chinese Lingerie Venders of Egypt - "Egyptian women need two separate wardrobes, for their public and their private lives. Usually, they also acquire a third line of clothing, which is designed to be sexy. The two women in niqabs quickly found two items that the sheikh approved of: matching sets of thongs and skimpy, transparent nightgowns, one in red and the other in blue... Chinese dealers rarely speculate about their Egyptian customers, even the ones they see frequently. Kiki told me that some local women visit two or three times a month, and they acquire more than a hundred sets of the nightgowns and panties, so China Star changes its stock every two months. When I pressed the Chinese to analyze the demand, they often said that it’s because Egyptian men like sex, and because there are so many restrictions on public attire... I was certain that even the most self-confident American woman would be mortified by the idea of shopping for lingerie with her fiancé, her mother, and her teen-age brother, not to mention doing this in the presence of two Chinese shop owners, their assistant, and a foreign journalist. But I had witnessed similar scenes at other shops in Upper Egypt, where an arusa is almost always accompanied by family members or friends, and the ritual seems largely disconnected from sex in people’s minds... when I asked casually what he considered to be the biggest problem in Egypt, the forcefulness of his response surprised me. “Inequality between men and women,” he said immediately. “Here the women just stay home and sleep. If they want to develop, the first thing they need to do is solve this problem""

Is new China the old Japan? - "Pointedly, at the recent Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in Shanghai, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled a new “Asian Security concept,” which in essence called for Asian security to be left to Asians. China has indeed “stood up,” and a century of “humiliation” at the hands of Western powers is long over, as China, the second-largest economy in the world, resumes its “rightful” place in the world order. Flash back to the 1930s and 1940s as Imperial Japan’s propaganda machine exhorted Asians to control their own destinies and throw aside the yoke of Western colonial rule. Asia for Asians was the mantra. And better yet, Japan’s leaders argued, come join Japan in a “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere,” where all would benefit as Japan took its rightful leadership role in the region. Well, we all know how well that played out"

As a former extremist who knew Anjem Choudary, I fear for the mentality of British Muslims - "Despite the fact that up to 1000 British citizens have travelled to join Isis’ medieval theocratic nightmare, and in some cases entire families have up and left, it is true that only a tiny minority of Muslims worldwide support ISIS. But I fear that too many Muslims disagree with Isis’ caliphate, not because it is a caliphate, but because it is not their caliphate. The very idea of resurrecting a theocracy in this day and age has worrying levels of support. According to one survey, 33% of British Muslims supported the notion of creating a worldwide caliphate based on a version of sharia, as law. And if our only criticism of Isis is that its theocracy is not utopian enough, this doesn’t bode well. The cumulative effect of our Islamist preaching in the UK since the early 90s has resulted in polarised communities and unhealthy theocratic aspirations forming a normalised part of life among too many British Muslims... when wider society adopts this trope of liberal Muslims being the ‘other extreme’, it shows how low expectations of Muslims have become in the mainstream"

Did defenders of castles really pour boiling oil down on attackers? - "oil was a valuable resource and it was probably too scarce to be anything other than an occasional weapon... the prize for ingenuity has to go to the defenders of Chester who, in 905, are said to have inflicted a stinging defeat on the Vikings by dropping the town’s beehives on them."

How MH370 Changed Malaysia - "Malaysia’s independent media and political opposition were energized by the government’s sudden responsiveness. MH370 was proof that enough pressure (combined with international shaming) could bring at least some transparency to Malaysian politics and governance. In the year since the disappearance, independent media and Malaysia’s opposition have been much more aggressive in their questioning of the government. And they've produced real results, including a long-sought audit of a Malaysian government development fund plagued by allegations of financial mismanagement... Not long after the disappearance, a former Malaysian ambassador to Beijing told the Malaysian Insider that he believed that China’s reaction revealed a “bullying tendency,” and added: “China has bullied the Philippines and Vietnam. So Malaysia has to be careful.” He also said that Malaysia should review ties between the two countries.Over the last year, the Malaysian government has also made an effort to build closer ties with the United States. It even invited U.S. spy planes to use bases on Malaysian territory -- an invitation that likely infuriated China"

British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown given police protection after being followed and photographed in Hyde Park - "Clare Rewcastle Brown, the sister-in-law of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has been accused of “activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy” after publishing documents on her blog Sarawak Report detailing how nearly $700m was paid into the personal bank accounts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Officials in Kuala Lumpur have said the money came from an unnamed Arab donor and was for political not personal purposes."

Two Mac viruses strike at the heart of the platform's secure image - "So proud has Apple been of its security that it even ran several spots in its Mac vs PC ad campaign dedicated to the idea that Macs don’t get viruses... “Apple was informed about said bug months ago and as usual did the irresponsible to fix it for some beta half a year in the future only.""

Breaking: Colorado Anti-Gay Cake Baker Loses Appeal, Again - The New Civil Rights Movement - "A Colorado Court of Appeals finds there is no difference between discriminating against someone because they are gay and discriminating against someone because they are marrying someone of the same gender."
If I refuse to sell a wedding cake to a Muslim man marrying his second wife am I guilty of discrimination?

Raising minimum wage a 'completely hopeless' way of reducing poverty, says OBR - Telegraph - "The Chancellor's new "national living wage" is a "completely hopeless" way of trying to reduce poverty that could leave the economy with higher unemployment if another crisis hits, economists have warned. Stephen Nickell, one of the leaders of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the Government’s fiscal watchdog, claimed that the number of people in “poor” households who were likely to benefit from a higher minimum wage was “very small”. “In other words, minimum wages as a method of relieving poverty is completely hopeless because most people on the minimum wage don’t live in poor households,” he told the Treasury select committee... the OBR expects half of the cash gains in household income to be accrued to to the richest 50pc of households. This is because many workers on the minimum wage are second earners living in higher income households"

'Abortion drone' to fly pills across border into Poland

What happened when an anti-Semite found he was Jewish? - "As his old personality collapsed, Szegedi performed radical surgery on himself. He even set fire to copies of his own biography, I Believe in the Resurrection of the Hungarian Nation... Budapest is a great place to be a Jew in, he beams - with its kosher restaurants, synagogues, and Jewish shops. You can practise your culture, and practise your faith here. You might get funny looks if you wear a kippah - a traditional Jewish skullcap - but you won't be spat on, or physically threatened as you might be in France or Belgium. "The paradox of Hungarian nationalism," says the man who used to fly its banner, "is that we are proud of our own achievements, but we're not willing to look at those of other peoples. We're afraid their cultures might be as valuable as ours.""

10 Hours of Walking in Paris as a Jew - "In the film he dons a kippah - the traditional Jewish skullcap - in front of the Eiffel Tower, and wanders the streets of the city. He appears to face significant abuse as he walks around. Residents are seen staring and spitting at him, while others apparently shout "Jew" and "Viva Palestine"... The clips featured appear to be shot in poorer and predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods. Could he be accused of deliberately seeking out negative comments? He doesn't see it that way. "If I was walking around with an Israeli flag, I understand it might create negative feelings. But I don't think [wearing a kippah] should generate that kind of thing." So are Jewish people confronted with this kind of abuse throughout the city? No, not everywhere, Klein tells BBC Trending. In its more famous neighbourhoods - around the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower - he saw "a little bit, but nothing worth putting in the video". "As we went to the suburbs, or certain neighbourhoods in the city, the remarks became more violent," he says"
If you show evidence that Muslims are racist, you're racist!

Why Jianbing is China's Most Popular Street Breakfast - "After word of Grandy's success at cooking jianbing reached China, it led some to accuse her of "stealing" jianbing, leading to a storm of internet controversy. A sense of cultural ownership may go some way to explaining why everyday Chinese people felt the need to vent their rage when they learned foreigners were cooking "their" jianbing. Over the next week, every jianbing vendor in China seems to be discussing how an American has stolen the Chinese secret of jianbing and is now getting rich on the knowledge. "She learned how to make jianbing in Ningbo," one vendor tells me, confidentially. "It took two years." Another tells me she studied in Beijing. Everyone, it seems, can't believe an American can charge six dollars for something that costs them about 80 cents. "Those Americans," says one vendor. "They're so good at business.""

Two women referred to ‘terror’ court for driving in Saudi Arabia

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS140 - Kenny Easwaran on, "Newcomb's Paradox and the tragedy of rationality" - "in the 1950s, the statistician R.A. Fisher, in his early life developed a lot of the important groundwork of statistics and biology that shaped much of the 20th century. But later in life he was actually working for the cigarette companies. He was arguing that the evidence we have, so far, at least in the 1950s, doesn't prove that smoking causes cancer. What he said is, "For all we know, there's just certain people that tend to like smoking and this is caused by some sort of biological feature, and it's just a coincidence that the people who tend to like smoking, the same trait that causes them to like smoking also tends to cause lung cancer," he said... some hospitals have higher death rates, and people often assume that this means that the hospitals are worse, but in fact they're better hospitals and they're just taking on riskier cases of people who are more likely to die anyway, and the hospitals are increasing their chance of surviving. Still, the base rate of death is just higher, because those are tougher cases."

29 baller castles you can rent on Airbnb

Here is the New Indonesian Passport DesignIndonesian Perspective to Global Audience - "The new passport, which comes with 48 blank pages, has a variation of background images. These images are sampled from the Indonesian flora, fauna, scenery and other natural resources. Among the background images are those of a turtle, cendrawasih (bird-of-paradise), tropical forest, Samosir Island, and raflesia flower. These background images are significantly more enriched as compared to the old passport, which only contained one kind of background image in all its pages, a flower."
Third World country, First World passport

Canadian passport reveals its design secrets - "each fairly standard-looking page of the passport (historical figures, well-known monuments etc) is brought to life in a blaze of pattern and colour when view under a 'black light' or ultra-violet light source. The design feature acts as an additional security feature that many Canadian's are just unaware of but presumably is viewable at passport desks around the world."
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