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Valar Qringaomis

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Links - 29th January 2016

Japan teacher who paid for sex with 12,000 women convicted over naked child photographs - "Takashima had meticulously catalogued nearly 150,000 photographs of his sexual encounters over a 27-year period in around 400 separate albums. Takashima was quoted as having said in court that he “has a habit of collecting things” and wanted “to keep the memories”. The former middle-school principal started paying for sex when he was dispatched to a Japanese school in Manila in 1988. He later went on three sex tours a year to the country, making a total of 65 visits. During that time, he had sex with more than 12,000 women, with Nippon TV saying they were aged between 14 and 70."
Are teachers in Japan paid so much? How do you have sex with almost 200 women a visit?

Why is Johor the only Msian state with its own private army? - "The army, called the Royal Johor Military Force (or Askar Timbalan Setia Johor in BM), was formed by the current Sultan Ibrahim’s great-great grandfather Sultan Abu Bakar in 1886. Not only is it the only state army, it is also the oldest army in Malaysia... At a time where Britain was colonising the Malay states one by one, Sultan Abu Bakar managed to hold on to a degree of independence. So in the Treaty, Johor was referred to as the ‘Independent State of Johor’. And to assert this independence further, he built an army... It was part of the agreement for them to join the Federation in 1948"

Local bus companies proven wrong by new bus company, Tower Transit - "Treating driving buses as a profession, with proper procedures for advancement and overtime benefits, is clearly more attractive than portraying bus driving as an dead end job. According the profession due respect by limiting the job scope to a specific skilled task – as opposed to lumping all sorts of duties on a driver – goes a long way. For example, a bus driver’s responsibility is to drive safely and punctually. He shouldn’t have to worry about refueling or cleaning the bus!"

Told to commit suicide, survivors now face elimination from history - "Choho Zukeran was a schoolboy, mobilised to dig beachfront trenches, when US soldiers landed on his native Okinawa, sparking one of the bloodiest battles of the second world war. Over the next few weeks, some 200,000 Japanese and Americans would die, including more than a quarter of Okinawa's civilian population. Most died in the invasion, others killed themselves - on the orders of the army that was supposed to be protecting them. "The army had given us two grenades each. They told us to hurl the first one at the enemy and to use the second one to kill ourselves," Mr Zukeran told the Guardian from his home in Okinawa, a subtropical island 1,000 miles south-west of Tokyo. Whole families and communities committed suicide together. Yet if the government in Tokyo gets its way, Japanese children may never learn how hundreds of Okinawa residents, under direct or indirect pressure from the military, took their own lives."

Haw Par Villa to get fine dining, new museum

81-year-old keeps sculptures in good shape - "For the past 68 years, Mr Teo Veoh Seng has maintained Haw Par Villa's 1,000-odd surreal sculptures. Mr Teo, who has been a painter there since he was 13, is the last of six artisans working on the park's statues after the rest retired. Armed with a paint brush, chisel and scraper, the 81-year-old nimbly climbs scaffolds to reach the larger-than-life statues that dot the sprawling park. Mr Teo was trained by a master craftsman who had worked at Haw Par Villa's sister park, the now defunct Hong Kong Tiger Balm Garden."

Senior Saudi Salafi Cleric: 'ISIS Is A True Product Of Salafism'

Google Online Security Blog: Are you a robot? Introducing “No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA” - "While the new reCAPTCHA API may sound simple, there is a high degree of sophistication behind that modest checkbox. CAPTCHAs have long relied on the inability of robots to solve distorted text. However, our research recently showed that today’s Artificial Intelligence technology can solve even the most difficult variant of distorted text at 99.8% accuracy. Thus distorted text, on its own, is no longer a dependable test... This new API also lets us experiment with new types of challenges that are easier for us humans to use, particularly on mobile devices. In the example below, you can see a CAPTCHA based on a classic Computer Vision problem of image labeling. In this version of the CAPTCHA challenge, you’re asked to select all of the images that correspond with the clue. It's much easier to tap photos of cats or turkeys than to tediously type a line of distorted text on your phone."

Alleged mum of ITE slasher defends son's actions and says victim had 'no guts' - "The fight had apparently started over a girl. A 19-year-old suffered lacerations and a fracture while the 16-year-old, who swung a bread knife at the older student, was arrested... In one profanity-laced post, the woman defended her son's actions and criticised the 19-year-old for not having the courage to fight her son. This post was apparently in response to Twitter users who slammed her son's behavior... The woman also called her son 'brave'."

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Africa Surprising, Africa Surprising - Change and Innovation - "Arriving at the Zanzibar capital, Stone Town by high speed jet foil ferry from Dar E Salaam, it didn't feel tense at all. From this Stone Town rooftop, you can see and hear that this is not a powder keg of fundamentalist extremism. Across the roofs one way, the stone spire and clocktower of the Anglican cathedral. Right next door here, the white spire of a Hindu temple... and when the sun has set into the sea, the town is bathed in the voices of imams calling from the mosques"
"Uniquely Singapore" is not so Unique, despite what surprisingly parochial Singaporeans think

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, New Year Questions - "[On Kota Bharu] 10 years ago, this city was designated the Islamic City of Malaysia, where Islam would be observed in every aspect of life. There are morality police here, to keep an eye out for unislamic behavior. The only cinema closed down when it was decreed that the auditorium lights must remain on at all times and that male and female cinema goers should be segregated. The fun had gone out of going to the movies...
[On one of the largest Buddhas in Southeast Asia] The tourist leaflets at my hotel don't mention these sights, I tell her. No, she said. The policy is only to tell visitors about the Islamic monuments and museums"

Freakonomics » Is Migration a Basic Human Right? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast - "ALBRIGHT: Well, I think the basic issue is fear. And the fear often comes from a sense that there’s an economic loss. That somebody’s taken your job, or your house, or married your sister...
CALLAHAN: I at one point, myself, held the libertarian position like Tabarrok’s on immigration. Many of the libertarian economists are anarchists actually, and are in favor of the nation-state going away. And they think that private-law institutions could handle everything the nation- state does. So in many cases, I suspect that the real objection is to the existence of the nation-state, not to its particular policy...
many refugees now are paying thousands of dollars in smuggling fees and bribes. Wouldn’t it be better for that money to go directly to their destination country rather than fueling a black market?"

Freakonomics » Ben Bernanke Gives Himself a Grade: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast - "BERNANKE: the person who sort of most understood fiscal policy, in some sense, was Adolf Hitler. Because the rearming of Germany in the ’30s was so big and so extensive — of course, he had other objectives in mind — but the side effect of that re-arming, together with a big highway building program, was such that Germany, which had a very deep depression, actually came out of it much quicker than other countries, and suggested that a more aggressive fiscal program would have helped the United States as well. And of course, what ultimately brought the United States out of the Great Depression was World War II which was, unintentionally, a huge fiscal program... We’ll never know what would have happened if the Fed and Treasury didn’t do what they did. But I will say this: it’s always easier to shout about the things that have gone wrong than to appreciate what hasn’t gone wrong. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately after the terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere. Every attack produces the predictable cycle of shock and then the recrimination and finger-pointing – sometimes as much at law enforcement and intelligence and military officials as at the perpetrators. But what about when those same officials prevent a terrorist attack? Our appreciation is generally muted and short-lived. We forget about the catastrophe that was a hair’s breadth from happening. And we move on. Kind of like we’ve moved on from the financial crisis that Ben Bernanke helped steer us through."

Why would a dissolute rebel like Paul Gauguin paint a nativity? - "It was painted in 1896 by Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), who inscribed the title at the bottom left of the canvas: Te tamari no atua, which means — roughly, since Gauguin’s grasp of Tahitian was shaky — ‘The Child of God’... He was attracted to the idea — in the air in the 1890s — that all the world’s religions and mythologies were essentially the same. In 1897 he wrote a long, rambling essay entitled ‘The Catholic Church and Modern Times’. In this Gauguin claimed that divinity was an ‘unfathomable mystery’. ‘God does not belong to the scientist, nor to the logician; he belongs to the poets, to the realm of dreams; he is the symbol of Beauty, Beauty itself.’"

Obituary: Big Daddy - ""Big Daddy" was born Shirley Crabtree in Halifax. According to some accounts, his grandmother picked "Shirley" from the eponymous novel by Charlotte Bronte for his father, who was also a professional wrestler, and seemed to have thought the name character-building. In any event, the young Crabtree soon had to contend with schoolmates calling him Shirley Temple. He fought them off, built his impressive physique, became a miner, and took up rugby like his father."

White Employee Wins Racial-Discrimination Lawsuit - "White supervisor fired for racial email has valid discrimination case over unequal discipline. A white supervisor received and then forwarded to others in the company a racial email titled “Why There Are No Black NASCAR Drivers.” It contained a series of derogatory stereotypes of Blacks. The supervisor was fired for violating the company’s anti-harassment and improper-computer-use policies. He sued under Title VII, claiming that the discharge was racially discriminatory. The court agreed that he had a valid case because, in the same time frame, several Black employees had been using company email to circulate “How to Dance Like a White Guy!” It contained a series of derogatory terms and stereotyped characterizations of white men. However, these employees only received short-term suspensions for violation of the harassment and computer policies. There was an appearance of racial disparity in the issuing of discipline for virtually the same infraction. Smith v. Lockheed-Martin Corp. (11th Cir., 2011)."

Barred from remote island, Myanmar's opposition sees dirty tricks in campaign - "Both the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the Nobel peace laureate's National League for Democracy (NLD) have fielded candidates on the Coco Islands, an archipelago off Myanmar's west coast and the country's smallest parliamentary constituency. But NLD parliamentary nominee Win Min has been prevented from going to the Coco Islands, where the main installation is a naval base, making it almost impossible for him to canvas for votes in the Nov. 8 poll... The Coco Islands are a restricted area and transport links are sparse. A military plane flies every two weeks from Yangon, while a navy ship and a state-owned boat also make occasional trips. Win Min said he made plans three times to visit the islands since the campaign started on Sept. 8, once by boat and twice by plane. His scheduled boat trip was abruptly cancelled while he was waiting to board. He was told there was no space on two subsequent flights to the island... Win Min's USDP rival, Thet Swe, who until August served as commander-in-chief of the navy, has been able to campaign freely on the island."

AUE: "anymore" and "any more" - "Opinion concerning "anymore" vs "any more" divides roughly into three camps:
1. There is no such word as "anymore". It is simply a misspelling.
2. "Anymore" and "any more" are two ways of spelling the same thing, and the two have the same meaning.
3. There is a useful difference in meaning between the two"

Look, I've gone slightly insane and installed Windows XP on my watch

As a fan of Star Wars, Mark Zuckerberg has... - The 501st Legion - "As a fan of Star Wars, Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he is giving away a fully operational Starkiller Base. What you may not have heard is that he plans to give it away to loyal Imperial subjects like YOU! All you have to do is copy and paste this message into a post IMMEDIATELY and tag 501 of your friends. At midnight intergalactic standard time, Facebook will search through the day's posts and award one person with this multi-planet-destroying space station. Such a powerful vehicle for connection and bringing order the galaxy.
Edit: We have heard that this may be a hoax, but it can't hurt to share it anyway, right?"

Until NEXPTIME | bit-player - "I should mention a discovery I’ve made at the end of Knuth’s terminological proposal. Everyone knows that settling the P = NP question will earn you a prize of $1 million from the Clay Mathematics Institute. I suspect that many are unaware of another prize offer, made more than 30 years ago. Knuth writes:
I’m willing to give a prize of one live turkey to the first person who proves that P = NP.
Note that this appears to be a one-way-only offer. Proving that P ≠ NP won’t win you the turkey. (You have three days left until Thanksgiving.)"
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