"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Links - 19th January 2016

Shuquan Tang - Mobile Uploads - ""Research Enables the Singapore Economy And Ranking to Climb Higher"
Found this lovely acronym which accurately embodies what research in universities is all about.
yup. Singapore Economy and RANKING"

Interview with Rob Janoff, designer of the Apple logo - "From a designer's point of view and you probably experienced this, one of the big phenomena is having the experience of designing a logo for whatever reasons you design it, and years later you find out supposedly why you did certain things. And, they are all BS. It's a wonderful urban legend. Somebody starts it and then people go "oh yeah, that must be it"... Unfortunately now everyone has all of the tools at their disposal regardless whether they have any talent for designing. Everyone thinks he's a designer by pulling down a filter in Photoshop"

City to spend big bucks to remove bike lanes on 95th Avenue - Edmonton - "The city will spend almost $500,000 to remove an eight-kilometre stretch of painted bike lanes along 95th Avenue that were put in less than two years ago. Councillors agreed this week that the lanes are under-used, unsafe and take up too much space on the busy road... A city report showed that while 11,000 vehicles use 95th Avenue each day, only 50 cyclists use the bike lanes, a tiny increase from the 20 who used them each day prior to 2014."
According to the cyclist lobby, this is not supposed to happen

Money wasted on cyclists: NRMA - "TAXPAYERS are pouring millions of dollars into lining motorways with cycleways that are barely used - and are building a new bicycle lane the NRMA says will effectively cost $300,000 for every cyclist that uses it. Despite pleas from Sydney's Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, for bicycles to reclaim the streets, the motoring organisation says residents are sticking to four wheels. In a submission to the Roads and Traffic Authority it accuses the Government of wasting millions on cyclists at the expense of motorists, who are forced to battle worsening congestion as lanes are removed from busy roads. The cycling lane on the M2 attracted just 130 cyclists a day. The Iemma Government is building a cycleway alongside choked Epping Road, despite as few as 25 cyclists using that corridor each day. At $7.6 million for the Epping Road cycleway, the NRMA says that would amount to spending $300,000 per cyclist on a lane that is unlikely to attract many more riders, based on the experiences of the M2 motorway... "When you have high traffic volumes of more than 35,000 vehicles per day, this is not a sensible use of resources," Mr Evans said. "Cyclists appear to be the only winners on Epping Road, at the expense of thousands of motorists.""
More facts to shock the cycling lobby

Red Deer Advocate - Majority oppose bike lane expansion - "88 per cent of the respondents supported multi-use trails, and recreation trails (91 per cent) and expansion. Eighty-one per cent did not like the on-street bike lanes, 77 per cent did not like the bike routes and 77 per cent of the respondents did not support expanding the on-street routes. The survey also noted 19 per cent of respondents are supportive of bike lanes and 16 per cent use them. City manager Craig Curtis concluded in his report that it is clear the majority of residents do not support bike lanes or routes when they affect traffic or parking... While the initial pilot took off with four kms of lanes in 2011, it wasn’t until 2012 when 16 kms of lanes were painted that the public backlash unfolded. The public reaction was generally negative with major concerns related to traffic congestion, safety and loss of street parking. As a result, lanes on 55th Street were eliminated and parking was reinstated on 59th Avenue. The city conducted another review and as a result the lanes on 40th Avenue and immediately adjacent to the intersections of 40th Avenue/39th Street and 59th Avenue/67th Street were eliminated."

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Truth - "Post-modernism is a kind of celebration of the disappearance of truth. Or, if you prefer it, the relativisation of truth into your truth, my truth, his truth. You know, who's to argue about it, who's to say"
"If I believe that, that's what I believe in it. I'm not taking any"
"I think that kind of skepticism or relativism - they may be different but let's not bother too much - I think that's been very much part of the contemporary culture for a long time."
"In that sense philosophy has gone into contemporary culture quite neatly"
"Well, I think we want to fight against that, most of us. Because it's just not true that anything goes. I love the remark, I think it's attributed to Clemenceau, after the end of the First World War. Somebody said: 'I wonder what historians are going to make of this'. And the reply was, 'one thing they won't say is that Belgium invaded Germany.' In other words, it's not true that anything goes. There are, for example, historical facts, not only interpretations"...
"Truth is a value. And it's embedded in other values like integrity, honesty, curiosity, discovery is a good thing. It may have no practical consequences how the universe started, but we're deeply interested to know. And the thought that the notion of truth isn't substantial, there's nothing to it, kind of pulls the rug away from that kind of question"

Why mass shootings don't convince gun owners to support gun control - "It's not even clear that opinions on guns and gun violence remain amenable to argument. Over the past few decades, gun ownership in the US has evolved from a practical issue for rural homeowners and hunters to a kind of gesture of tribal solidarity, an act of defiance toward Obama, the left, and all the changes they represent. The gun lobby has become more hardened and uncompromising, pushing guns into schools, churches, and universities. This has taken place in the context of a broader and deeper polarization of the country, as Red America and Blue America have become more ideologically homogeneous and distant from one another. The two sides are now composed of people who quite literally think and feel differently — and are less and less able to communicate. The gun issue is a salient example, but far from the only one. This suggests that if the status quo on guns in the US is to change, it will be through overwhelming political force, not through evidence and argument. Guns have now ascended to the level of worldview and identity, areas largely beyond the reach of persuasion... To our gun owner, another mass shooting is not an argument for getting rid of guns. It's a confirmation of his every instinct, another sign of moral and societal decay, another reason to arm himself and defend what he's got left."

Corbyn’s ‘new politics’ means the self-righteous left wallows in its cruelty - "Comics and writers tear into Daily Mail and Sun readers but never Guardian and Observer readers. They assume that you are virtuous... Police are investigating a death threat made against Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey, after he voted to allow the RAF to attack Islamic State in Syria. His colleague Diana Johnson said the abuse of Labour MPs who supported the action was horrendous. “‘Murderous cunt’ is one of the terms I have seen.” Now, as so often in the past, the similarities between the far left and far right are more striking than the differences... Brecht understood that the certainty of your virtue will lead you into cruelty. Leftwing men can treat women appallingly and leftwing agitators can mimic the language and tactics of the far right. They are so convinced of their righteousness they cannot admit their faults. Leftists would behave better if they stopped acting like teenage vegetarians and found the honesty to acknowledge their kinship with the rest of compromised humanity. The Corbyn generation shows no sign of doing it. And it ought to be obvious by now that Labour people will be their targets... The Corbynites’ real enemies are not Tories, whom they rather respect for standing up for the interests of their class, but Labour MPs who fail to show the required radical virtue and betray the leftwing cause. They don’t mutter darkly that there will be “no hiding place” for Tory MPs who voted in favour of bombing Isis. They don’t scream that Conservative women are “witches” and “cows”. They don’t deliver death threats to David Cameron. Their virtuous hatred is righteously reserved for their own side and its ugliness will destroy the myth of leftwing decency more thoroughly than the right ever could."

A Taiwanese Girl Living Overseas Won't Return Because, "I Don’t Like The Taiwanese Culture" - "I feel very uncomfortable when living in Taiwan, sometimes even painful. Everything I do is restricted, no matter when and where, and is bond by an unreasonable ethic and value system... [In France] nobody would ask me about my family background, work experience and education. No one knew my past and they didn’t care. All they could see was a girl laughing and dancing around. They didn’t know I was from a single-parent family or whether or not I had good grades. They didn’t know I’m actually shy and only have a few friends. They knew nothing about the past twenty-something years of my life, but only saw the person I was that night... In Taiwan, good looks are very important. Regardless of your personality, as long as you are pretty, guys flatter you in every way. The personality, charm and inner beauty of women are completely ignored. However, in the three countries I have stayed in before, France, Germany and Sweden, not only can appearances attract men, but also the personality and charm that comes out of conversations, such as confidence, ideas whether or not you make sense and so on... Asian men prefer gentle, obedient and virtuous women to the aggressive ones, which is even taken to be a flaw. Nevertheless, western men prefer women who are active and have a strong character... In the Asian society, women aren’t the only ones oppressed, but also men. The society unreasonably expects men to be rich and to take on the entire responsibility of raising a family. I used to think that the idea, “You can only have a wife if you have money, a house and a car,” only existed in certain families. I never thought it would happen to me."

Ailing Sumner Redstone is obsessed with sex and steak: suit - "It claims Redstone “demands, to the extent he can be understood, to engage in sexual activity every day, even though [his doctor] has repeatedly recommended that he abstain from daily sexual activity,” according to Variety. As recently as last month, Redstone had a “romantic partner” visit his home, but because he could not communicate clearly, a male nurse was needed to direct "the intimate actions,” Herzer’s filing claims. The Herzer petition also claims Redstone is “obsessed" with eating steak but has diminished interest in former passions such as baseball and a memoir he started with a ghost writer."

Easier for gay refugees to get EU asylum now - "the court made a crucial distinction between legislation which criminalises homosexuality and is actively enforced, and anti-gay laws which are on the statute books in many countries but are not applied. "The fact that punishment is threatened for homosexual acts is not enough" said presiding judge Alexandra Prechal. "Actual imprisonment must be imposed and carried out in the refugee's country of origin" before an application for asylum can be accepted, she added."
Too bad for anti-377A activists

Girls are limiting their career options by choosing 'worthwhile' jobs, study finds - Telegraph - "Girls are limiting their career options by going for "worthwhile" jobs while boys go after big salaries, new research by Oxford University has found. This means girls are "self-limiting" their career options in favour of low paying jobs like working for charities or museums, while boys focus mainly on salary and have higher aspirations for their future careers... The survey, of nearly 4,000 sixth formers in all types of schools, also found that girls by the time they hit their teenage years are already limited their career options, as they start "internalising gender stereotypes"... "Women look for more than salary for the careers that they are going into. Traditionally we've always looked at men as being breadwinners but that is now changing. It could be an underlying reason [for women to choose jobs that make them 'feel good'].""
More confirmation that the gender wage gap is not primarily due to discrimination
Presumably we should socialise women to be as heartless as men, then no one will work for charities or museums

Chinese Food and the Joy of Inauthentic Cooking - "When it came to the Chinese, one experience in particular seemed to evoke universal feelings of appreciation: “The familiar and pleasurable experience of eating Chinese food.” Once an indictment of barbaric ways, Chinese food had, by the end of the fifties, become a commonplace delicacy that seemed to bring an exotic people a little bit closer. As one of the people Isaacs interviewed remarked, “One feels that a people who have evolved such food must have high qualities and a high civilization”... What Wu and the past decade of celebrated chefs represent is a turn away from the Asian chef as some kind of native informant. When Irene Kuo published “The Key to Chinese Cooking,” one of the first major cookbooks devoted to Asian cuisine, in 1977, it was presented as a glimpse into the Chinese psyche as much as an introduction to Chinese cooking technique"

Why Shanghai's first American Chinese restaurant is taking off - "Dave and Fung flew Fung's father over to Shanghai to teach the chefs how to make each dish, so it is exactly the same as the food served in the family's American restaurants... "As weird as it sounds, we actually import a lot of ingredients to make authentic American Chinese food in China"... Items like Philadelphia cream cheese, Skippy peanut butter, cornflakes and English mustard powder must all be brought in from outside China. Even the soy sauce must be imported from Hong Kong, because that's what the first Chinese immigrants to the US used in their cooking... Some locals come into the restaurant and ask for their food to be served in American-style white cardboard takeaway containers, mimicking meals they've seen on sitcoms like Friends and the Big Bang Theory"
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