"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, April 12, 2016

Links - 12th April 2016

Linguistic Obfuscation in Fraudulent Science - "Fraudulent papers were written with significantly higher levels of linguistic obfuscation, including lower readability and higher rates of jargon than unretracted and nonfraudulent papers. We also observed a positive association between obfuscation and the number of references per paper, suggesting that fraudulent authors obfuscate their reports to mask their deception by making them more costly to analyze and evaluate"
Does this happen in the humanities too?

Braised Vegetables with Red Fermented Beancurd (南乳炆齋) - "I used to marinate shitake mushrooms, then steam them before cooking with other ingredients. By using this method, the texture of mushrooms would turn to be tender and smoother. I learn this trick from my mother. She cooks every dish of shitake mushrooms with fabulous taste."

Muammar Gaddafi’s personal jet grounded in France: from the heights of luxury to a barbed-wire limbo

Emma Watson to Take Break From Acting to Focus on Feminism - "Watson also told hooks that one of the most valuable things she’s learned from feminism is the ability to resist self-doubt. “I’m on my journey with this and it might change, but I can tell you that what is really liberating and empowering me through being involved in feminism is that for me the biggest liberation has been that so much of the self-critiquing is gone,” she said. “Engaging with feminism, there is this kind of bubble now that goes off in my head where these really negative thoughts about myself hit where I’m able to combat them in a very rational and quick way. I can see it now in a way that’s different""
Since feminists assume they're infallible, this sounds about right

Black Lives Matter Cries 'White Supremacy' after Holding 'Color-Only' Meetings at Library - "Black Lives Matter activists are crying white supremacy after a Nashville public library told them they were not allowed to exclude people from their meetings based on race. The group’s general meetings are “open to black and non-black people of color only,” according to its website. According to WSMV-TV, “library officials told the group that if it holds a meeting at a public space such as the library, it has to be open to everyone.” The activists didn’t agree."
"In our space, we really don’t have that time to deconstruct the ways in which white people can help our movement. It really is a time dedicated to healing and community building among black people and people of color"
Some races are more equal than others

Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture - "Not only are organic pesticides not safe, they might actually be worse than the ones used by the conventional agriculture industry... organic foods tend to have higher levels of potential pathogens... Organic foods did, however, have higher levels of overall fats, particularly trans fats. So if anything, the organic livestock products were found to be worse for us (though, to be fair, barely)... over two-thirds of respondents said organic produce and meats taste better than non-organic ones. But when researchers had people put their mouths to the test, they found that people couldn't tell the difference between the two in blind taste tests... the real reason organic farming isn't more green than conventional is that while it might be better for local environments on the small scale, organic farms produce far less food per unit land than conventional ones. Organic farms produce around 80% that what the same size conventional farm produces (some studies place organic yields below 50% those of conventional farms!). Right now, roughly 800 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, and about 16 million of those will die from it. If we were to switch to entirely organic farming, the number of people suffering would jump by 1.3 billion, assuming we use the same amount of land that we're using now. Unfortunately, what's far more likely is that switches to organic farming will result in the creation of new farms via the destruction of currently untouched habitats, thus plowing over the little wild habitat left for many threatened and endangered species."

Mythbusting 101: Sharks will cure cancer - "North American populations of sharks have decreased by up to 80% in the past decade, as cartilage companies harvest up to 200,000 sharks every month in US waters to create their products. One American-owned shark cartilage plant in Costa Rica is estimated to destroy 2.8 million sharks per year... It's bad enough that all this ecological devastation is for a pill that doesn't even work"
At least shark's fin soup tastes good

The More Chores A Husband Does, The More Likely The Marriage Will End In Divorce - "the correlation could be because couples are happier when they have clearly-defined roles in the relationship where people aren't stepping on each other's toes. "There could be less quarrels, since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight," he added."

More Chinese couples say 'I do' to intimate weddings - "The gatecrash ritual is a Chinese tradition and involves bridesmaids setting up obstacles or games for the groom and his entourage to overcome before they can enter the bride's home... As many as one in five young couples in their late 20s to early 30s now choose to forgo this ritual altogether... At the same time, smaller-scale weddings are gaining momentum here. Tan Weiwei, a 28-year-old senior wedding planner at Chere: Weddings & Parties, who has planned weddings for almost seven years, said about 20 per cent of couples now opt for smaller weddings with 80 to 120 guests. Traditional Chinese banquet weddings host about 300 guests on average. Ms Tan added that another trend is for some couples to have large wedding banquets "followed by smaller and more intimate celebrations"... Many prefer smaller-scale weddings for the intimacy and quality time they get with their guests. Said the 26-year-old: "Couples are able to mingle more... and they don't find the need to have large banquets, when half the guests are people you do not know or have not met for years.""

Overseas weddings a growing appeal for Chinese - "The cost of a wedding abroad is not necessarily that much more than a wedding in China. It costs between 6,900 yuan (S$19,200) and 8,000 yuan for a table of 10 at a wedding banquet in an up-market hotel in Beijing, whereas something comparable overseas can cost less than half that, Pan says... A small ceremony in a castle in Denmark over three days can cost 80,000 yuan for a couple alone, while the same thing in Queenstown, New Zealand, will cost 20,000. For Vivienne Li and her husband, the cost for the 50-guest wedding in Bali was about 500,000 yuan including fees for the local wedding planner, filming, photography, banquets, all guests' accommodation. That included $450 for the services of a rain stopper. "The constant rain just before the wedding day worried me greatly," Li says. "Fortunately someone advised me to get a rain stopper, the efficacy of whose services were virtually guaranteed," she says, beaming. "Thanks to the rain stopper, performing rituals such as burning incense behind stage, we had a perfect, rain-free wedding.""

It Only Takes A Few Hours For A Virus To Spread Through An Entire Office

Alibaba Helps Chinese LGBT Couples Say 'We Do' in West Hollywood - "In an event co-sponsored by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and the Chinese gay dating app Blued, the lucky couples won the chance for a destination wedding and star treatment in Los Angeles. The winning couples were chosen this February through online voting on Alibaba’s shopping site Taobao. They were married this Tuesday at the West Hollywood Library, with the city’s mayor officiating."

Health, absence, disability, and presenteeism cost estimates of certain physical and mental health conditions affecting U.S. employers. - "Ranges of condition prevalence and associated absenteeism and presenteeism (on-the-job-productivity) losses were used to estimate condition-related costs. Based on average impairment and prevalence estimates, the overall economic burden of illness was highest for hypertension ($392 per eligible employee per year), heart disease ($368), depression and other mental illnesses ($348), and arthritis ($327). Presenteeism costs were higher than medical costs in most cases, and represented 18% to 60% of all costs for the 10 conditions"

Mumtaz Qadri appears in court for trial hearing - Pakistan - "Some 35 Qadri supporters from an Islamic youth group gathered outside the jail, reciting Koranic verses and shouting: “Allah is the Greatest”, “We salute you Qadri” and “Long Live Qadri, Long Live Punjab police”... The killing has reignited controversy over Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which were recently used to sentence a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, to death following a dispute with her fellow villagers in southern Punjab. Taseer sought to amend the law, which human rights activists say is often abused in petty disputes, but in the face of huge public support for the legislation the government has said it has no plans to change it."

Thousands at funeral of Pakistani executed for murdering governor - "An estimated crowd of more than 100,000 people have attended the funeral of Mumtaz Qadri, in a massive show of support for the convicted murderer of a leading politician who had criticised Pakistan’s blasphemy laws... The extreme sensitivity of the issue was reflected in the silence of Pakistan’s usually voluble politicians on the decision to execute Qadri. On Monday night, video footage appeared online showing the information minister, Pervaiz Rasheed, being heckled by passengers in the departure lounge of Karachi airport. One politician who did comment was the minister for religious affairs, Pir Muhammad Amin Ul Hasnat Shah, who released a statement that described Qadri as a martyr and urged people to participate peacefully in his funeral."

LSE students: We don't want to live in a university safe-space bubble - "Charlie Parker is talking about a recent debate at the LSE student union. “A woman asked the union officers if they would ban something like a colour if it offended students and the welfare executive said yes,” says Parker, 21, a second-year philosophy student, sitting down on a blue beanbag at one of the campus cafés. “That stuck out for me as being absolutely crazy.” Parker and his friends Chiara Cappellini, 19, and Christian Benson, 20, have set up a speakeasy society to bring free speech back to their university in a nationwide climate of “safe spaces” and bans — sombreros were recently banned at the University of East Anglia in the name of preventing racial stereo-typing, and Parker tells me that at Edinburgh clapping and laughing are banned if motions are rejected at union meetings... The Speakeasy is planning three campaigns: inviting people who have been no-platformed (prevented from speaking) to talk, another recounting the history of free speech and the third, called Expose Yourself, debating ideas that people might be uncomfortable with... Trigger warnings have been placed in front of the Palestine society’s stall, saying their content may be upsetting, and the atheist society was prevented from wearing T-shirts showing Jesus and the prophet Mohammed holding hands... Capellini, who is studying international relations, says there is “a veil of hypocrisy” where “people pretend they agree so as not to disrupt the safe space”, and she says that one of her lecturers has commented that “we are being treated like kids by this paternalistic approach”... someone with an ambiguously gendered name was criticised by the Feminist Society on Facebook and called a “white, privileged man who didn’t understand feminism”. That person turned out to be a woman. Another online group called LSE Memes mocked this, and the Feminist Society asked for their jokes to be taken down. LSE Memes refused."

LSE criticised after Islamic Society holds segregated gala dinner - Telegraph
Was this a safespace? - "men and women were divided by a 7ft screen and left unable to see each other... Yet, the LSE’s student union defended the event as being held in a ‘relaxed’ atmosphere where men and women did interact with each other."

Video: Human rights campaigner heckled at blasphemy lecture - Telegraph - "she went ahead with the talk but “brothers” of the university’s Islamic Society started coming into the auditorium and repeatedly banged the door, heckled he and shouted at her. Ms Namazie, who fled her native Iran’s repressive government and now is a fierce campaigner against Islamic extremism, said: “They shut my projector, shouted over me, threw themselves on the floor. They created a climate of fear and intimidation. I spoke as loud as I could... Goldsmiths Islamic Society has previously hosted a number of radical speakers including Moazzam Begg of Cage, the charity which described ISIS terrorist 'Jihadi John' as a 'beautiful, kind man'. Another recent Goldsmiths speaker was Hamza Tzortzis, who says that non-Muslims 'should be killed' if they ever fight against Muslims and once proclaimed: 'We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech.' The university's student union previously ran into controversy when its diversity officer, Bahar Mustafa, banned white male students from a meeting and tweeted '#killallwhitemen'. Last week a second Goldsmith University student officer accused of bullying and harassing the union president quit his post. Alex Etches, campaigns and activities officer, stepped down amid allegations that he created a "hostile" working environment."
Maybe the talk was a safe space for Muslims

Tunisia hotel shooting: Mosques accused of 'extremist preaching' to be shut down amid security clampdown - "Tunisia is to close about 80 mosques accused of extremist preaching as part of a security clampdown in the country following last week’s devastating attack."
Sounds like what Donald Trump wants to do. Islamophobia!
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