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Valar Qringaomis

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Monday, February 01, 2016

Links - 1st February 2016

"There is beauty in darkness in everything. Sorrow in joy, life and death, thorns on the rose. I knew then that I could not escape pain and torment any more than I could give up joy and beauty" - Cate Tiernan

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‘One man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric’: Toronto man found not guilty in Twitter harassment trial - "Stephanie Guthrie and Heather Reilly accused Elliott of harassment partly based on his use of hashtags — a word, acronym or phrase after a number symbol used to create trackable conversations — they used. It was an assertion the judge found contrary to the open nature of Twitter. He said the pair may have felt harassed, but he couldn’t prove Elliott knew they felt that way, nor did the content of his tweets include explicitly threatening language. Knazan also discussed the link between Twitter and freedom of expression. People must “tolerate the annoyance” of oppositional views as part of that Charter right, “Freedom of expression represents society’s commitment to tolerate the annoyance of being confronted by unacceptable views…One man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric,” he said, quoting from Robert Sharpe and Kent Roach’s book the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The judge also noted a lack of “reasonableness” in Guthrie’s assertion she could expect to use Twitter to make negative comments about Elliott and not be exposed to his response or self defence... Elliott peppered his tweets to Reilly “with mean, crass” comments, the judge noted. But again he cited the fact that Reilly, like Guthrie, had also continued to tweet negative things about Elliott. And he noted that the crown in either case wasn’t able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt there was a real threat of violence... His defence argued the pair continued to “taunt” Elliott even after blocking him, and they wouldn’t have done so if they were genuinely afraid of him."
If being rude to rude feminists were a crime, would being a rude feminist be a crime?

Jail no place for prolific tweeter - "it is not reasonable to be afraid of someone simply because that person expresses disagreement with you. In this case, we are reminded that “one man’s vulgarity is often another man’s lyric.” If the lyrics are hurting your ears, take off your headphones, because complaining to the police about it will no longer get the lyricist thrown behind bars."

Oplexus comments on Europe the Unready. "At first sight, the financial crisis, the refugee crisis, and the terrorist attacks might not seem to have anything in common. But in each case Europe’s ability to protect itself turns out to have been undermined by its imperfect union." - "Europe has taken its prosperity for granted, assuming that it would always be there. What a lot of European politicians don't seem to realize is that the values that made Europe the wealthiest continent on Earth need to be protected. Simply throwing open your borders to everybody on the globe does not bode well. If you're not willing to protect and stand up for your societies, other people will eventually see that as weakness and take it for granted.
I wonder how much longer countries like Sweden and Germany can sustain their lavish welfare states with hundreds of thousands of people pouring into their countries with no knowledge of the native language or culture. European leaders are naive, and had this strange idea that because they had achieved egalitarian, progressive societies, suddenly everybody else on the planet deserved a piece of it. If Europe is not willing to defend the values that made it great, it will lose it all. Which is a shame, because it took centuries of war and misery for Europe to even reach this point, and now it is willingly thowing it away due to its own hubris and white savior complex"

The Accidental Sexism of Google's Gift to Women - "each attendee received a swag package containing a notebook, a pen, a package of mints, and a mirror... to some, the kit--in particular, the makeup-compact-style mirror--was a reminder of the double standard that too often constrains women in Silicon Valley to prescribed roles, when it's not excluding them entirely. For one of the most admired tech companies on earth to give out makeup mirrors at a women's event--what kind of message does that send?... it seems every week offers fresh evidence of just how hard it is to retire hackneyed stereotypes. Just recently, IBM faced criticism for an ad campaign asking women engineers to hack hairdryers. Last week, venture capitalist Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital said his firm wouldn't lower its standards to hire more women. Defending the choice of swag items, Google points out that the kit was meant for attendees. Half of those in attendance were men, according to the company. Remaining boxes were shared after the event with the (mostly female) entrepreneurs presenting. The idea was to hand out materials that would help anyone of any gender prepare for a presentation, a Google representative explains. This wasn't the first time the company has given out mirrors, either--they've done so at general events and trainings"
Moral of the story: dont bother doing stuff for "diversity". You'll just get whacked anyway
Real "diversity" means lowering standards to let in "minorities"


BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, In the Shadow of the Strong Men - "'In Libya, everybody was happy', he told me. 'In America, there are people sleeping under bridges. In Libya, never. There was no discrimination, no problems, nothing. The work was good and so was the money. My life is all thanks to Gaddafi. He was the Messiah of Africa.' Kareem was far from unusual in this part of Ghana. As we talked, two other men sauntered over to join in the conversation and turned out to share his passion for the late Libyan dictator. 'Gaddafi was a nice guy', said Mustafa Abdel Mormin (sp?), a cheerful 35 year old construction worker who had worked in Libya for 7 years. 'He never cheated anybody. He was perfect. The best. What was the point of killing him?' added Elias Yaya (sp?), the local Iman, who had a round hat, a pointed beard and a very loud voice. 'You kill someone to solve the problem, and now the problem is worse. Why kill Gaddafi?'
Gaddafi may have been a ruthless autocrat but for years the relative affluence and stability of his rule was a godsend to migrants desperate for work... Before Gaddafi was ousted, he officially warned the European Union that if his regime were to collapse, as many as 2 million migrants would arrive on Europe's shores, creating chaos. He may have been more a dictator than a Messiah, but he seems to have been right about that...
'You know why I put it here?' he asks. 'When you open a FN office, you have to do exactly the same thing as if it's a... sex shop'
'Really?' I ask
'Yes. It's exactly the same thing as a sex shop. It has to be seen but no one should see who's inside'
'Like a guilty secret', I suggested
'Exactly', he says. 'The Front National is like a guilty secret'"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, November in Paris - "What purpose has the narrow gauge train with its maximum speed of about 25 miles per hour been serving recently? I once asked a station master on a narrow gauge line in the western state of Gujarat why so many passengers were waiting for the train at his station when the main road with faster buses on it ran parallel with the track. He replied with a broad smile: 'That's obvious. We are not too particular about ticketless travel. The bus conductors collect the fares'. The station master at Jabalpur assured me the passengers on his lines did buy tickets... an ex-soldier, recognisable by his formidable white moustache, was on his way to a hospital appointment. He felt the train was more dignified than the bus... Several passengers told me they found the train more comfortable than the bus. I didn't like to think what travelling in the buses was like. The train was so overcrowded that passengers were standing on the steps outside carriages, clinging precariously to the open doorway, while others sang cross-legged on the carriage roofs. High speeds on broad gauge lines and on many main lines overhead electrification have rendered the old Indian tradition of rooftop riding almost obsolete. Another tradition which is dying is the variety of food which used to be cooked on railway platforms"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Damascus Rules - "'Do you think the 7 million Colombian victims of the 50 year war with the FARC will see that as justice?', I asked him... 'Listen, the victims, the families of the 200,000 dead, they are the strongest supporters of peace', he said. Colombia is a country of victims...
There are huge paintings of historic battles against the Chinese in which many thousands were killed, but only from the 10th to 15th centuries. Strangely there's nothing about Vietnam's more recent border war with China in 1979, which it also won. 'When a small country wins against a big country, it has to be careful' explained one veteran of Vietnam's conflicts... Fishing is crucial, not only to its economy but also to shoring up defences against China. Gal's (sp?) work is seen as so vital that he and others have been exempted from military service"

Crowd cheers as woman is brutally caned for being seen near man who wasn't her husband - "Nur Elita, 20, had to be removed from Baiturrahumim Mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in an ambulance after she was brutally punished for allegedly showing affection towards another university student."

Sharia Law is alive and well in the UK as investigation uncovers shocking details - "An Islamic judge "laughed" at a domestic violence victim who had gone to him seeking help and asked her "Why did you marry such a man?", it has been claimed... Dutch scholar Machteld Zee managed to get unparalleled access to a number of the religious courts currently operating in the UK - thought to number around 30. Her report, entitled Choosing Sharia? Multiculturalism, Islamic Fundamentalism and British Sharia Councils which has been seen by the Independent newspaper, also claims one judge, known as a qadi at a sharia council also said UK law did not matter in cases of divorce."

Belgium and the Netherlands swap land – because it 'makes sense' - "While Belgium will be losing a splendid piece of nature that juts into the Meuse river dividing the two nations, it will also unburden itself of a jurisdictional nightmare that developed over time as the river meandered to turn the portion of land belonging to Belgium — about 15 soccer fields’ worth — into a peninsula linked only to the Netherlands. Over time, the area was rumoured to be increasingly lawless, a haven for drug dealers and illicit sexual escapades. Then, three years ago, passersby discovered a headless body... In short, the Dutch could not go there because it was Belgian, and Belgian police and judicial authorities found it tough to get there. They are not allowed to cross into the Netherlands without permission and the peninsula had no proper landing zone for boats or equipment coming in by water."

Want to improve your sperm quality? Try having casual sex - Telegraph - ""Men produced higher quality ejaculates when exposed to novel, rather than familiar women," wrote the study authors. "Additionally, men ejaculated more quickly when viewing a new woman after being exposed to the same woman repeatedly." "Our findings are the first to demonstrate that men's ejaculate behaviour and composition change in response to novel female stimulus"... The study expresses concern that male fertility is going under-reported in the medical community, as semen samples are often produced while viewing material of unfamiliar women rather than the man's partner, thus falsely boosting sperm quality."

The 'Apple of China' is selling a water purifier, and the reason why is genius - "Xiaomi has previously been criticised for allegedly appropriating Apple’s designs: Apple’s head of design Jony Ive once went so far as call such copycats “theft.” But the real reason Xiaomi is often referred to as the Chinese equivalent of Apple is the astonishing loyalty of its fans... “This, then, is the key to understanding Xiaomi,” Thompson writes. “They’re not so much selling smartphones as they are selling a lifestyle, and the key to that lifestyle is MiUI, Xiaomi’s software layer that ties all of these things together.”"

Xiaomi now world's second-biggest wearables maker - "Chinese technology firm Xiaomi has become the world’s second largest wearables manufacturer in less than a year"

Alas, I Will Never Actually De-Clutter My House - "To live as Kondo recommends requires a faith in a continuing abundance and prosperity that I was raised not to have. How can you whittle your sock drawer down to six joyful pairs when you know full well that socks wear out?"

When It's Cool To Have Nothing - The New York Times - "others have begun to raise questions about minimalism’s class biases. At her blog Simply Fully, Taryn McCall notes that while she enjoys reading about minimalism online, “many of the most popular blogs that I read are written from the perspective of people who left high-powered, well-paid and benefited corporate careers for a simpler life and now have plenty of savings to show for it”... “Getting rid of things requires the having of things. If minimalism is a kind of voluntary thing-poverty, then real poverty is involuntary minimalism.” She adds, “It will always be easier to say having things doesn’t matter when you have too many things.”"

The Real Victims of Victimhood - The New York Times - "So who cares if we are becoming a culture of victimhood? We all should. To begin with, victimhood makes it more and more difficult for us to resolve political and social conflicts. The culture feeds a mentality that crowds out a necessary give and take — the very concept of good-faith disagreement — turning every policy difference into a pitched battle between good (us) and evil (them). Consider a 2014 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which examined why opposing groups, including Democrats and Republicans, found compromise so difficult. The researchers concluded that there was a widespread political “motive attribution asymmetry,” in which both sides attributed their own group’s aggressive behavior to love, but the opposite side’s to hatred. Today, millions of Americans believe that their side is basically benevolent while the other side is evil and out to get them. Second, victimhood culture makes for worse citizens — people who are less helpful, more entitled, and more selfish... Victims and their advocates always rely on free speech and open dialogue to articulate unpopular truths. They rely on free speech to assert their right to speak. Victimhood culture, by contrast, generally seeks to restrict expression in order to protect the sensibilities of its advocates. Victimhood claims the right to say who is and is not allowed to speak... The fight for victims is led by aspirational leaders who challenge us to cultivate higher values. They insist that everyone is capable of — and has a right to — earned success. They articulate visions of human dignity. But the organizations and people who ascend in a victimhood culture are very different. Some set themselves up as saviors; others focus on a common enemy. In all cases, they treat people less as individuals and more as aggrieved masses."
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