"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 26, 2016

Links - 26th April 2016

The Office Workers Left Behind by the Casual Dress Revolution - "Despite relaxed dress code standards across a variety of fields, the jeans and t-shirt lifestyle never infiltrated such professional industries as accounting and banking. Dress-down days first popped up in the '90s and became an "everyday thing" by the end of the decade—but only for a certain set of office workers. For the last 15 years, the chunk of employers that allow casual dress has hovered steady at around 62 percent, according to yearly surveys by the Society of Human Resources... only 36 percent of employers offer casual dress opportunities more than one day a week. Client-service-heavy fields such as accounting and consulting have held out, in part because of the nature of the work. "The overwhelming majority [of people] that are coming in to get your guidance on taxes—they look at you, and if you're wearing an $800 dollar suit, they think: She must know something,"said Edward Yost, a human relations business partner at SHRM. Like many perks, the freedom to wear jeans is a recruiting play. Crowe boasts that it's the only accounting firm in the top 10 that has gone casual. The firm plans to showcase its video at recruitment fairs on college campuses... Higher-ups were advised to embrace the policy to set an example. "I showed up in blue jeans the first day," said Cama. "If you wear it, they will"... Crowe's employees like having the option to wear jeans more than they like wearing them in actuality. They describe it as liberating... Some senior employees at Crowe still think workers should dress formally every day, said Cama. Messages have gone out to partners emphasizing the importance of accepting the policy. "You can't make people feel bad if they don't wear a suit," said Cama. Some people believe that how workers dress affects their output, and some evidence supports that view. While one study found that those who wore doctor's lab coats performed better on a test than those who didn't, it's not clear that this confers advantages on those working in a suit in front of a computer. Another study found that wearing a suit makes people think more expansively, rather than paying too much attention to detail—not necessarily a good thing for number crunchers"

Small French Town Resistant to Change Name From ‘Death to Jews’ - "A Jewish group has petitioned to change the name of La-mort-aux-Juifs... the deputy mayor of Courtemaux, the village of 289 people that oversees the contested hamlet, is resistant to a name change, arguing that the tradition should be respected. “It’s ridiculous. This name has always existed,” Marie-Elizabeth Secretand told AFP. “No one has anything against the Jews, of course. It doesn’t surprise me that this is coming up again. Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names.”... a Spanish town called Castrillo Matajudios (Little Hill Fort of Jew Killers) changed its name to Mota de Judios (Hill of the Jews)."

Venezuela is switching to a 3-day weekend in a desperate bid to save electricity - "Friday will be a holiday for all public sector employees for the duration of April and May... critics of the three-day weekend say enforcing a day off work – along with a not-too-subtle implication to raise productivity levels to make up for the 'holiday' shortfall – doesn't make sense"

ADF Celebrity Muslim Mona Shindy wants a PA, media advisor, a diary manager, more "high impact" speaking gigs and much more - "Mona now needs:
extra security,
an investigation to find the people who are saying nasty things about her,
the RAN to give her legal advice about her rights to take action against people she doesn't like,
more public speaking gigs
a Comms Strategy (as discussed with the Chief of Navy)
a Mona-Shindy dedicated media/communications savvy personal assistant (as discussed with the Chief of Navy)
help in selecting high-impact speaking engagements for Mona's Message
assistance with speech writing and effective messaging
help managing her diary to balance work commitments and Mona's personal well-being
protection for Mona's personal and professional interests when it comes to managing Mona as a "commodity"
help addressing the inevitable "vitriol" that comes with being Mona"

Muslim Navy officer Captain Mona Shindy silenced after controversial tweets - "A senior Muslim navy officer has been counselled and her Twitter account shut down after she tweeted controversial views concerning Islamic extremism and then prime minister Tony Abbott."

Sikhism Religion of the Sikh People - "What is Jhatka Meat and Why?
Jhatka meat is meat in which the animal has been killed quickly without suffering or religious ritual.
Sikhism, A Complete Introduction, Dr. H.S.Singha & Satwant Kaur, Hemkunt Press
We must give the rationale behind prescribing jhatka meat as the approved food for the Sikhs. According to the ancient Aryan Hindu tradition, only such meat as is obtained from an animal which is killed with one stroke of the weapon causing instantaneous death is fit for human consumption. However, with the coming of Islam into India and the Muslim political hegemony, it became a state policy not to permit slaughter of animals for food, in any other manner, except as laid down in the Quran - the kosher meat prepared by slowly severing the main blood artery of the throat of the animal while reciting verses from the Quran. It is done to make slaughter a sacrifice to God and to expiate the sins of the slaughter. Guru Gobind Singh took a rather serious view of this aspect of the whole matter. He, therefore, while permitting flesh to be taken as food repudiated the whole theory of this expiatory sacrifice and the right of ruling Muslims to impose iton the non-Muslims. Accordingly, he made jhatka meat obligatory for those Sikhs who may be interested in taking meat as a part of their food.
Sikhs and Sikhism, Dr. I.J.Singh, Manohar Publishers.
And one semitic practice clearly rejected in the Sikh code of conduct is eating flesh of an animal cooked in ritualistic manner; this would mean kosher and halal meat. The reason again does not lie in religious tenet but in the view that killing an animal with a prayer is not going to enoble the flesh. No ritual, whoever conducts it, is going to do any good either to the animal or to the diner. Let man do what he must to assuage his hunger. If what he gets, he puts to good use and shares with the needy, then it is well used and well spent, otherwise not."

Mara offers 50% discount on study loans for students who failed - "Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) announced a 50% discount to Mara Education Loan borrowers who failed to make the grade in their respective fields, said its chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa. Annuar said the offer was given to students who fail to complete their studies for whatever reason, including those facing legal action in court, regarding the loan."
People respond to incentives. Malaysia Boleh!

Mp3tag - the universal Tag Editor (ID3v2, MP4, OGG, FLAC, ...) - "Mp3tag v2.75 cannot be used in a military domain or in a similar domain (Weapon creation, armament, etc.)."

Ho Ching’s Korea holiday Facebook posts are veritable poetry

Is Singapore A Racist Country? — Iwani - "Prejudice is when old men think it's appropriate to ask if you're a 'negro like Michelle Obama.'
Prejudice is when you realise that the grumpy and rude auntie serving you is perfectly pleasant to everyone else before and after you.
Prejudice is in the slip of the tongue, when even the friendliest of faces equate blackness to violence, theft, corruption and crude behaviour.
Prejudice is when complete strangers see you as a novelty, and poke you and prod you and pull your hair on the MRT without ever asking.
Prejudice is when 'You're not that type of black ah. You're the good kind of black,' is meant as a compliment."
What if a Singaporean SJW told someone 'You're not that type of Chinese. You're the good kind of Chinese'?

George Orwell, the prophet of political correctness, does not belong to the Left – Telegraph Blogs - "the BBC has blocked a statue of Orwell on the grounds that he was too “Left-wing”... Orwell came to accurately foresee the prevailing mode of thinking, a set of ideas that is generally called “political correctness”. PC, for want of a better expression, describes a set of acceptable beliefs, outside of which it is not permitted to step – and that has been a very significant development. As Orwell wrote in 1984: ‘The B vocabulary consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.’ One only has to look at how words such as “elitist” or “discrimination” have been altered since Orwell’s death to see how changing the meaning of a word can make the terrain of debate very difficult for one side... That’s why today Orwell, and in particular his final work, is quoted far more by the Right than the Left, and why you’ll find few objections to a statue from conservatives. Perhaps that's not the real reason, and the Beeb are just saving the spot for Antonio Gramsci."

How my disabled son has changed my mind about political correctness - "I have just tried an experiment. I wondered whether I could write down some of these terms, but I found myself more or less physically incapable of doing so. The thought that the keyboard at my fingers could utter those words made me feel slightly sick."
Freedom is Slavery

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 153 - Dr. Vinay Prasad on "Why so much of what we 'know' about medicine is wrong" - "probably about a third of practices were really based on robust evidence. They found about 15% of what we were doing has really been contradicted, but yet we haven't abandoned it. They found about 50% of what we're doing, there's just no data for... not many people have really looked at the effects of rationality training yet even to the extent that it has been studied. We did one small RCT a couple of years ago where we had 20 people come to our workshop and 20 people, a statistically identical control group, not come to the workshop. Then, we tested them before and then a year later where the treatment group had come to the workshop and the control group didn't. We looked at a bunch of outcomes to see if they were different. You might look at, say, money. Does learning rationality make you more effective at earning money? You might think that should be related. It seems like it should be probably, but we found no effect... even 7, 8 years afterwards, people were citing the original '81 beta carotene paper at very high rates. And he looked through those citations, and it's not cited to say, "Hey, look how we got it wrong." It's cited to say, "Look, beta carotene still remains promising." There is a lag time. It's probably around a decade... Many things that do work also we have very little idea how they even work at all. For instance, inhaled gases for anesthesia. Even to this day, we really don't know why they knock people out, yet many of cancer drugs are very intelligently designed. The more you study medical history, you just keep seeing the role serendipity plays, in terms of a drug that you thought interrupted one protein. It was given randomly to a bunch of patients, and some other people responded. Then later they started to look, like, "Well, what was it about them that responded?" Then, they discovered a different protein that actually worked on."

France declared war on prostitution, but not on prostitutes - "in the wake of Wednesday's decision, there was a protest against the law outside the National Assembly -- a protest by French prostitutes themselves... The protest highlighted something subtle but unavoidable: the quiet but permanent awkwardness -- some would say hypocrisy -- behind the French government's morality crusade against prostitution. If the current administration would like sex workers to disappear, the inconvenient truth for its members is that they will have to legislate and police the entirety of French cultural history, a terrain in which the courtesan is a celebrated, even vaunted, figure. In real life, there was Madam du Barry, the mistress of Louis XV ultimately sent to the guillotine in 1793: today, any objet d'art whose provenance can be traced from her private collection immensely increases its value... These figures are so ubiquitous that the Musée d'Orsay, one of the nation's premier museums a few blocks from the National Assembly, just closed in January 2016 "the first major show on the subject of prostitution." The Musée d'Orsay is a national museum, and thus it would seem that the prostitute is an important piece of French national heritage. Will this new law apply retroactively to Madame du Barry?"

A historical perspective on the word 'Keling' - "none of these examples of the use of the word or references to 'kelings' - from the Sejarah Melayu in the 16th century down to the British travelogues of the 19th century - were in any way used in any derogatory sense or intended as racial slurs. It was simply a word to describe the people of South India or their descendants in the Peninsula. I personally would hate to see a word that has come down to us over the centuries and used in the epics of Malay literature to be suddenly struck out of our vocabulary in classic Orwellian 'new-speak' style - just because some people might think it is a quick-fix solution to address racism towards Malaysians of Indian descent. I realize myself that many people do use the word 'keling' in a derogatory manner and I deplore the use of terms such as 'keling mabuk todi' or 'keling karam' - but I doubt if 'India mabuk todi' or 'India karam' would be deemed less of a racial slur. Banning a word is futile if you don't address the racism - institutional or otherwise - behind its derogatory use. And that is by far a more challenging task than striking a word out of our dictionary."

FRENCH FOOTPRINTS: The Sinister Clog-Makers of Bethmale - "When the Saracens invaded the south of France and the Pyrénées in the 9th century, during their occupation of the village of Bethmale the son of the invaders' chief fell in love with a local maiden named Esclarlys, which means 'luminous white lily'. Despite being engaged to a local boy named Danert, the girl welcomed the attentions of her new suitor. The young men of the village took to the mountains plotting revenge on the invaders. But while they fashioned weapons, Darnert carved clogs with long thin spiky toes. The other men mocked him, but Darnert just kept whittling away. One night the villagers swooped down and attacked the sleeping Saracens. Next morning Darnert was walking around in his strange footwear. Each spike was embellished with something red and shiny wet. On his left clog dripped the heart of the faithless luminous white lily, and on the right the heart of the chief's son. It's been a custom ever since for Bethmale's young men to give their lady loves at Christmas a pair of spiky-toed clogs decorated with a heart made from golden nail-heads"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Memories of Murder - "This was not fighting. This was ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing. was not a term coined by the foreign media. It is the phrase the Bosnian Serbs themselves used to describe what they were doing...
[On a HK private kitchen] There's always an element of competition between tables. As one of Susan friend noted, on any given day, there is only one best crab"

The United States of Cory Booker - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "I’m so proud that I’ve got bills and amendments passed with everybody from Ted Cruz to Chairman Inhofe, the Republican chairman of the EPW committee who famously brought a snowball to the Senate floor. I’ve found friendships in unexpected places, a genuine goodness in folks that I would not have discovered if I labeled them as Tea-Party or Republican, but I found that common ground and it’s resulted in some good things."

The Christian militia fighting IS - "And then the man himself arrives with a small entourage, most of them in suits but one young man with a wispy beard is in military clothing. I'm not sure how seriously to take Kildani. The militias have persuaded the central government to cover their expenses and as a result they are, taken altogether, receiving about $1.4bn (£1bn) a year. For a militia leader like Kildani it's more than $600 (£450) per man per month. Good money. There are stories about people renting a house in Baghdad, gathering a few people together, announcing they have formed a militia and going to the government to apply for the funds"

Yes, the American Economy Is in a Funk — But Not for the Reasons You Think - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "GORDON: We had virtually no progress in human life between the Roman Empire and the late Middle Ages. Studies of England, where they have some of the best data and statistics, show that over 400 years between 1300 and 1700, economic growth was only at a rate of 0.2 percent a year. And to put that into concrete terms, something growing that slowly, at 0.2 percent, requires 350 years to double."
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