"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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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Links - 18th May 2016

Student accused of violating university 'safe space' by raising her hand - "According to the association’s rules, student council meetings should be held in a “safe space environment”, defined as “a space which is welcoming and safe and includes the prohibition of discriminatory language and actions”. This includes “refraining from hand gestures which denote disagreement”, or “in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made”... “At that meeting we were discussing BDS, the movement to boycott Israel. I made a long and passionate speech against us subscribing to this, on the basis it encourages anti-Semitism on campus. It was only after I made that speech that someone made a safe space complaint. I can’t help but think it was a political move against me. “Later on in the meeting, someone threatened me with a second complaint because I was shaking my head – but when I was addressing the room about my worries about Jewish students, there were plenty of people shaking their heads and nothing happened.”"

Politically correct universities 'are killing free speech' - Telegraph - "British universities have become too politically correct and are stifling free speech by banning anything that causes the least offence to anyone, a group of leading academics warns on Saturday. A whole generation of students is being denied the “intellectual challenge of debating conflicting views” because self-censorship is turning campuses into over-sanitised “safe spaces”, they say... the academics, led by Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Canterbury, and Joanna Williams, education editor, Spiked, say it is part of a “long and growing” list of people and objects banned from British campuses, including pop songs, sombreros and atheists"

University of Wollongong criticised over thesis by anti vaccination activist - "The University of Wollongong has come under fire from members of the medical profession over a thesis claiming collusion between the World Health Organisation and the pharmaceutical industry. The thesis by anti vaccination activist Dr Judy Wilyman claims the 2009 swine flu pandemic was declared by a secret WHO committee, with ties to drug companies that stood to make big profits from the outbreak of the disease. Dr Wilyman undertook a social-science based thesis entitled 'A critical examination of the Australian government's rationale for its vaccination policy' in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts."

University Islamic Society students 'make death threats' in human rights lecture - "Radical Muslim students made death threats while interrupting a lecture on blasphemy by a prominent human rights activist, it was claimed today. Maryam Namazie, who fled Iran's repressive regime and now campaigns against Islamic extremism, was speaking at the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society of Goldsmiths in London. However, the event on Monday night was disrupted by students from the university's Islamic Society - which claimed that it would 'violate their safe space' because of Ms Namazie's outspoken views... When the lecture went ahead and planned, a number of Islamic Society activists attended and tried to disrupt Ms Namazie - even switching off her PowerPoint when she showed a 'Jesus and Mo' cartoon which depicts the Prophet alongside Christ... 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'"

Casting of white actor as Martin Luther King prompts outrage from playwright - "Oatman, who like Hall is black, said in a statement in August promoting the play that he chose a white actor for the production “to explore the issue of racial ownership and authenticity”. “I didn’t want this to be a stunt, but a true exploration of King’s wish that we all be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin,” Oatman said. “I wanted the contrast … I wanted to see how the words rang differently or indeed the same, coming from two different actors, with two different racial backgrounds.”"

Complaint says crosses at Catholic school offensive, prevent Muslim prayers

The Case Against (and for) 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' - "Rather than imagining what the post-Return of the Jedi civilization might have built over 30 years, J.J. Abrams wiped it out, resetting the game board to where it was in 1977: scrappy underdog fighters versus a ruthless fascist force... the lack of originality nearly kills the film. The Force Awakens feels, in some ways, like a betrayal of Star Wars, or a misreading of its essence. There’s nothing wrong with Abrams returning to the universe that the prequels seemed to completely ditch, the one of screaming TIE fighters and of actual human beings with feelings getting wrapped into an epic quest. But there’s something wrong with him returning only to wallow, with him almost completely declining to build anything new within it. It might seem superficial to say, but a huge part of the original film’s greatness was the way that its production design served up something mindblowing and unfamiliar basically every five minutes... The only element that actually got me excited about what another galaxy might look and feel like was Rey’s instant bread. Yum... by so clearly aping the original’s story beats, it prevented much suspense. The assault on the Starkiller felt perfunctory, given that we’ve seen two versions of it before... There’s another problem that’s typical to 2015 blockbusters: story jankiness, caused by the need to set up other franchise properties... The Force Awakens didn’t only not bother to build a world; it took the old world and made it more confusing... the plot moves mostly because of the story requirements of the screenwriters—aided by the catchall plot powers of the Force—rather than because of the decisions of characters with defined goals."

Oberlin Students Take Culture War to the Dining Hall - The New York Times - "The students at the college in Oberlin, Ohio, are accusing the campus dining department and Bon Appétit Management Company, the main dining vendor, of a litany of offenses that range from cultural appropriation to cultural insensitivity. Earlier this month, students with the school’s black student union protested outside of the dining hall at the Afrikan Heritage House, after demands for more traditional meals, including more fried chicken, went unmet, according to the campus paper, The Oberlin Review... Another article, published by The Review in November, detailed what students said were instances of cultural appropriation carried out by Bon Appétit. The culinary culprits included a soggy, pulled-pork-and-coleslaw sandwich that tried to pass itself off as a traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwich; a Chinese General Tso’s chicken dish made with steamed instead of fried poultry; and some poorly prepared Japanese sushi... “When you’re defending the cultural authenticity of GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN, you’re a living Portlandia sketch,” Fredrik deBoer, an academic, wrote on Twitter, in a reference to the IFC show that satirizes Oregon hipsters... Oberlin’s black student union issued a list of demands to campus administrators, which include the creation of segregated safe spaces for black students on campus, and an annual 4 percent increase in black student enrollment. “These are demands and not suggestions,” the document read. “If these demands are not taken seriously, immediate action from the Africana community will follow.”"

Fag Wars: How The Phantom Menace Inspired a Generation of LGBT Youth - "Niv and Sean aren't the only queer fans who were moved by the Queen of Naboo. Aimee, a transgender woman, watches all six of the Star Wars films annually and cries every time. Her favorite character is Queen Amidala. In The Phantom Menace, a handmaiden named Sabé (portrayed by Keira Knightly) acts as Padmé's decoy in order distract the Queen's political enemies. To throw the Trade Federation off Padmé's scent, Padmé dons drab brown robes, and Sabé, the decoy, dresses like a drag queen. It's that subterfuge that speaks to Aimee, who lived in secret with her trans female identity for years. "Disguising herself as a handmaiden so as not to reveal her true self, living that double life," Aimee says. "It's certainly something I can relate to"... "Jar Jar Binks is basically a gay Jamaican man," one gay millenial says. "[The Phantom Menace premiered] around the time I realized I was gay"... "Darth Maul is the real queer icon," Niv assures us. "He was born on a planet ruled by femme witches and was a part of the masculine species called Nightbrothers who are all subs.""

Cheese triggers same part of brain as hard drugs, study finds

'Missing' British traveller in Thailand expresses guilt over family distress - "A British backpacker in Thailand has expressed guilt for causing distress to his family by giving the impression he had been held against his will when in fact he was “having too much fun”. When Jordan Jacobs, 21, from Lyneham, Wiltshire, apparently vanished five days ago with a cryptic phone call to his family, saying a Thai man would not let him leave the island of Ko Phi Phi Don, it prompted alarm... The family’s ordeal began when his mother received a Facebook message on Saturday. “Saturday morning my mum received a message via Facebook from my brother which basically said he can never see us again, that he is sorry he can’t see us one last time, that he loved us etc”... Alarmed by the message, Jacobs’ family urged him to make contact. He did so a few hours later, telling his mother on a borrowed phone that he was with a Thai man who would not allow him to leave. He told his family he had “said too much” and “can’t talk”"

George Lucas nearly wrote a perfect prequel trilogy. He just didn't notice - "While they might be merry old samurai hippies in the original trilogy, the organised, prolific, altogether more militarised Jedi of the prequel period are a hardcore conservative faction, incredibly rigid in their doctrine, code and methods. They are ubiquitous, unchallenged, and if anything, slightly too powerful. They have restrictions on sexuality, a strict religious code, make free use of mind control for ‘the greater good’, and enforce stoicism to the point of detachment. They demand utter devotion, are run by an oligarchy, and almost entirely cut themselves off from the outside world. Sound a bit cultish? It is. The Sith, on the other hand, are staunch libertarians. They accept no oversight or control from the state, practice a self-centred philosophy, and value personal freedom over social responsibility"

Zoophiles protest against German bestiality ban - "Angry that Germany wants to criminalize his unusual love affair, Kiok joined other zoophiles at Berlin's Potsdamer Platz on Friday to protest against new legislation banning bestiality. “I found her advertised in a newspaper after my old dog passed away,” Kiok told The Local, saying the new law was unfair. “We feel like criminals. This is all because of fanatical animal rights demonstrators who think we hurt the animals.” Late last year, Germany's lower house of parliament made having sex with animals a criminal offence carrying a fine of up to €25,000. The upper house, the Bundesrat, signed off on the measures on Friday, as part of a package of measures aimed at bolstering animal protection. “We are going to appeal to the highest court,” said Kiok, whose hat was covered in Cissy's hair... Kiok said he could not see how he was committing a crime, if an animal is big enough to protect itself from human sexual advances yet still submits willingly. For him it's love, but in a different package. Despite a few early problems with Kiok's many cats, Cissy soon became part of the family and they have been inseparable ever since... He said moralists had a distorted image of all zoophiles violently abusing animals with sex toys. “These are the worst lies,” he said... “We cannot do anything about being zoophiles, and so are trying handling our inclinations responsibly”

Running long distances can cause your brain to shrink, study finds

Angry Metal Worker Makes Video Debunking ‘Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams’ 9/11 Meme - "Tye openly doesn’t care about whether or not 9/11 conspiracy theories are true. “What I am concerned about is the retarded metallurgical things you are saying,” he says bluntly. “If you hold this up for a reason for a conspiracy, you are an idiot.” By heating a piece of structural steel to around 1800, the Georgia-based blacksmith demonstrates that steel loses nearly all of its structural integrity long before it ever melts. “Your argument is invalid. Get over it. Find a job,” he concludes."

"What was the saddest moment of your life?"... - Humans of Singapore - ""What was the saddest moment of your life?"
"When someone called me 'Garbage Man' for the first time. Until then I just think it was my job - because there is more to life than job, like family, children, being happy. But then someone call me that, and I realize people think it is my identity. That day I come back and cry to my wife and say - Why people care about what I do? They don't say to anyone else they lawyer man or banker man, then why do they call me garbage man? It is like that is only thing left in Singapore that people care about - what you do, not how you are as person.""
How many people who praise garbagemen would want themselves, their children or their children in law to be garbagemen?
Do firemen, policemen, satay men and chairmen feel sad when people call them that? (my similar comment on the post exposing their bad logic, as well as other ones exercising critical thinking got deleted pfft - no wonder the comments there are all so positive)

Parliament: No styrofoam packaging ban, but hawkers discouraged from using it - "Hawkers here are discouraged from using disposable plates, bowls and utensils made of polystyrene foam, better known as styrofoam, which are non-biodegradable and environmentally unfriendly. But the Government will not impose a ban on them in consideration of other factors, such as the cost of alternatives and inconvenience to hawkers and consumers, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said... Other types of disposable ware, such as plastic containers and coated paper boxes, cost about two to three times more than the clamshell polystyrene foam packaging"
Hawker food is in enough peril. Banning styrofoam may be the finishing blow
Comment: "A number of stall owners (Chinatown) told me their utensils (plates, bowls etc.,) fail to return. And it is a heavy cost to keep replenish. A lady boss of economical rice store replaced all her utensils with disposal for this reason, another she suspects customers stole it. Another during peak hours the cleaners couldn't catch up washing and returning the utensils leaving her short of it."

Historical child abuse investigators warned to be wary of 'fantasists' - "Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, said: “An understandable modern concern for victims’ rights is now in real danger of morphing into a medieval contempt for the accused and a shocking disinterest in the basic norms of justice... “it is the job of the police to conduct impartial, objective investigations, not to indulge narcissists and fantasists, and certainly not to hand over the right to determine the truth to people on the sole basis that they claim to be the victims of crime”... Mark Williams-Thomas, the former police officer who exposed Savile as a serial sex offender, warned that many of the current allegations against political figures were unsubstantiated and could “totally undermine” efforts to tackle child abuse"
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