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Valar Qringaomis

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Friday, November 06, 2015

Links - 6th November 2015

Peta sues to give copyright for 'monkey selfies' to macaque who snapped them - "The suit was filed in federal court in San Francisco by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta). It seeks a court order allowing Peta to administer all proceeds from the photos for the benefit of the monkey, which it identified as six-year-old Naruto, and other crested macaques living in a reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi... Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor who supports animal rights, expressed misgivings about the litigation. “It trivializes the terrible problems of needless animal slaughter and avoidable animal exploitation worldwide for lawyers to focus so much energy and ingenuity on whether monkeys own the copyright in selfies taken under these contrived circumstances,” he said."
Somehow giving the copyright to the animal means giving it to Peta

PETA monkey selfie lawsuit: It's not just absurd. It's cruel. - "At this point, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is known largely as an organization devoted to executing tiresome publicity stunts that, while theoretically attached to the concept of animal rights, mostly function as self-promoting performance art. While irritating, this is generally not a great moral crime... OK. So, PETA filed a silly lawsuit. In other news, it was warm in Florida last week, and Starbucks is doing a brisk business in pumpkin spice lattes. The reason this suit is particularly galling, though, is that, in this case, the group has sued not a massive corporation with a significant legal budget, but a random nature photographer, who will likely have to drag himself into court and quite possibly spend some of his own money to defend this ludicrous claim, at least until a judge has the decent sense to dismiss it"

22 photographs showing that the world is more amazing than it first seems

If you don’t speak French, how can you judge if Charlie Hebdo is racist? - "Much of this anti-Charlie prissiness comes from how the magazine has been typified in the Anglo press. ie, idiotically for the most part. An infinity of pundits have made blithe diagnoses of general knavishness while not speaking any French at all... How can you make any sensible judgement about Charlie if you cannot read it? Is it enough to look at the pictures? Didn't we used to hesitate before doing something so confidently asinine? Can you imagine how enraged we would be if monolingual French people judged Private Eye or Spitting Image with the same blind assurance... I cringe with embarrassment every time a French person asks me what is going on. I’ve started pretending I’m Swedish... this is akin to saying the incomparable Jonathan Swift was a baby-eating Nazi and that A Modest Proposal was actually a cookbook... They have a weekly space for animal rights stories, for Chrissakes!!! Run by a woman who calls herself Luce Lapin. With the best will in the world, even if Lucy Rabbit wanted to be a racist or a fascist, how good at it would she be with a name like that? What would all the other racists and fascists think?... Yes, Charlie is tasteless and discomfiting. Have I somehow missed all the gentle, polite satire? That amiable, convenient satire that everybody likes."

What Descriptors Are Men And Women More Likely to Use on OKCupid? - "When Hawley analyzed the words appearing more on male profiles than female ones, he discovered an overwhelming use of terms describing professional occupations, including “engineer,” “software,” “musician,” and “construction.” (“Ladies” does, however, take the top spot.) Conversely, the words that appeared more on female profiles than male ones emphasized appearance and personality traits, with far fewer professional terms cracking the list. Instead, words like “girly,” “sassy,” and “curves,” dominated. “Nurse” was the sole exception."
People hate "stereotypes". Even if - or especially if - they're true.

civil engineering - How is the design life of a reinforced concrete structure calculated? - "History has shown that unreinforced concrete structures can last hundreds of years. The Romans have some examples of this such as the Pantheon. The problem with reinforced concrete is that eventually the reinforcing will corrode, expand in size, and cause the concrete to crack"

The NRA Myth of Arming the Good Guys - "If only Sandy Hook's principal had been packing heat, the argument goes, she could've stopped the mass killer. There's just one little problem with this: Not a single one of the 62 mass shootings we studied in our investigation has been stopped this way—even as the nation has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of recent laws has made it easier than ever for ordinary citizens to carry them in public places, including bars, parks, and schools. Attempts by armed citizens to stop shooters are rare. At least two such attempts in recent years ended badly, with the would-be good guys gravely wounded or killed. Meanwhile, the five cases most commonly cited as instances of regular folks stopping massacres fall apart under scrutiny: Either they didn't involve ordinary citizens taking action—those who intervened were actually cops, trained security officers, or military personnel—or the citizens took action after the shooting rampages appeared to have already ended. (Or in some cases, both.)"

Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S. - The New York Times - "Under the terms of the Pacific trade chapter, foreign investors could demand cash compensation if member nations “expropriate or nationalize a covered investment either directly or indirectly.” Opponents fear “indirect expropriation” will be interpreted broadly, especially by deep-pocketed multinational companies opposing regulatory or legal changes that diminish the value of their investments. Included in the definition of “indirect expropriation” is government action that “interferes with distinct, reasonable investment-backed expectations,” according to the leaked document. The cost can be high. In 2012, one such tribunal, under the auspices of the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, ordered Ecuador to pay Occidental Petroleum a record $2.3 billion for expropriating oil drilling rights."
If a corporation can sue another for violating an agreement, why can't it sue a government for the same?

Facebook glitch leads to marriage

Letter to Daniel - "Your coming has turned me upside down and inside out, so much that seemed essential to me has, in the past few days, taken on a different colour. Like many foreign correspondents I know, I have lived a life that, on occasion, has veered close to the edge: war zones, natural disasters, darkness in all its shapes and forms. In a world of insecurity and ambition and ego, it's easy to be drawn in, to take chances with our lives, to believe that what we do and what people say about us is reason enough to gamble with death. Now, looking at your sleeping face, inches away from me, listening to your occasional sigh and gurgle, I wonder how I could have ever thought glory and prizes and praise were sweeter than life."

Why Can't You Pump Your Own Gas in Oregon and New Jersey? - "New Jersey and Oregon don't trust people to not blow themselves up while pumping gas, and the states would rather leave the job to professionals."

Why does Belarus President Lukashenko take son Kolya to work? - "There are claims Mr Lukashenko is grooming his youngest son to be his successor. Speaking to the BBC in 2012, Mr Lukashenko denied this and insisted the boy was so attached to him that he would not go to sleep without him."

We tried a Tobin tax and it didn’t work - FT.com - "One aim of the proposed tax is to improve the efficiency of financial markets by reducing speculation. Another is to generate tax revenues. Those were also the reasons why Sweden introduced a transaction tax in 1984. At that time, the outflow of capital from Sweden was limited by foreign exchange controls, which meant that Swedish investors were restricted in moving capital to foreign markets. Even so, investors fled the tax regime... By 1990, shortly after the last vestiges of the currency controls were abolished in Sweden, more than 50 per cent of the trading in Swedish shares had moved to London. Conversely, once the tax was abolished in December 1991, trading on the Stockholm stock exchange recovered... Rather than merely reducing speculative trading, the Swedish tax tended to reduce and redirect financial investments that reflected other needs than speculation. So Europe should learn from Sweden: a transaction tax is likely to lead to distortions in the form of short-term and long-term transactions migrating to other countries, and to untaxed financial instruments – or they might come to a complete halt."

Naked hookers in boxing match after dispute over $80

Public urinator shoots himself in the groin: police

Egg War: Why India's Vegetarian Elite Are Accused Of Keeping Kids Hungry - "Why this vehement opposition to eggs? Well, the local community of Jains, which is strictly vegetarian and also powerful in the state, has previously thwarted efforts to introduce eggs in day care centers and schools. Chouhan is an upper caste Hindu man who recently became a vegetarian... While these states as a whole may be mostly vegetarian, the poorest — and most malnourished — Indians generally are not. They would eat eggs, if only they could afford them, says Dipa Sinha, an economist at the Center for Equity Studies in New Delhi and an expert on India's preschool and school feeding programs... We often assume Indians are largely vegetarian, but that assumption doesn't hold up against data. A 2006 surveyby the Delhi-based Center for the Study of Developing Societies found that more than 50 percent of Indians are in fact non-vegetarian. They eat fish, chicken, beef and, yes, eggs, too. Vegetarianism is often limited to privileged, upper caste Hindu communities and a couple of other religions, like Jainism... "Wherever eggs are introduced, attendance goes up," says Sinha. "It's very popular, because children don't get it at home." Eggs are also an easy way to provide much-needed protein and fat to malnourished children, says Sachin Jain, the food rights activist. They are easy to procure locally, and storage and transportation aren't a problem. "No ... vegetarian food item is that good a source of protein," he says. Milk, which comes close and is often touted as a good alternative by vegetarians like Chouhan, comes with many complications. It is often diluted by suppliers and is easy to contaminate, says Jain. It also requires more infrastructure to store and transport to remote rural areas."
“The human body is meant to consume vegetarian food, which has everything the human body requires.”

Young Tech Worker Who Called 911 On Behalf Of Injured Cyclist Arrested, Roughed Up, Jailed - "SFist contacted the SFPD for comment. Spokesman Albie Esparza explains that Partensky was arrested for interfering, resisting arrest, and public intoxication. According to police, he was both drunk and disruptive as police and fire department medical personnel arrived, he was told several times by officers to back up and remove himself. "If someone calls 911," Esparza says, "They are expected only to be a good witness, and to obey anything they're told to do by arriving officers."During Partensky's ensuing detention, one officer sustained an injury when Partensky allegedly swung his elbow and struck the officer in the eye"
This is a followup to "Good Samaritan Backfire"
Also, notably, he is white


Putin’s Big Lie Turns Reality on Its Head - "Lavrov blithely declared that Putin “is the world’s most popular leader” and that many public opinion polls backed up his assertion. Regrettably Lavrov appeared unaware that, according to a Pew Research Center survey released August 5, Putin has a median trust rating of 24 percent and is viewed negatively throughout Europe, North America, Latin America and the Middle East. Nor did Lavrov let his audience of youth leaders know that since Russia’s takeover of Crimea—a violation of international law—and its clandestine war against Ukraine, people around the world overwhelmingly mistrust Russia these days."
Someone once claimed to me that everything reported about Russia in English is wrong. Maybe that's because all the Russian reporting is controlled by Putin
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