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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Links - 24th May 2016

Anti-Semitic statements of 'joy and peace' selfie star - "The iconic picture above has been widely shared on social media over the last few days and reported on by BBC Trending and a host of other news outlets around the world. Many who saw it were charmed by Ms Belkhiri's stunt which seemed to use humour to defuse a potentially awkward confrontation outside a Muslim lifestyle exhibition in Belgium. Photos of the event showed that even some of the placard-carrying demonstrators from the far right Vlaams Belang group seemed to find it funny... since then a series of deeply disturbing anti-Semitic statements made by Ms Belkhiri on social media have come to light. In one tweet dating from November 2012, she wrote: "Hitler didn't kill all the Jews, he left some. So we know why he was killing them." And in another Facebook post from March 2014, she used an expletive to describe Jews before adding: "I hate them so much." After these and other statements emerged, Ms Belkhiri deleted all her social media accounts"
If the BBC says the same thing as Breitbart, is Breitbart still wrong?
If anti-Semitic people justify their anti-Semitism by claiming it's just anti-Zionism, does it suggest that much purported anti-Zionism is really anti-Semitism?

Former President of Mexico Compares Bernie Sanders to Hugo Chávez - ""In Latin America, we have a century of experience of suffering from messianic, populist leaders that have broken our economies, that have brought poverty into all of Latin America," he said in response to a question about Sanders during an interview with Mother Jones this week. "Yes, I'm talking here about the Hugo Chávezes, the Evo Moraleses, the Kirchners in Argentina, the Peróns in Argentina, and so many of those populists that we've had in Latin America"... Sanders' popularity, he said, shows that the United States is "moving towards extreme left, extreme populism, extreme demagoguery"... "These are two false prophets that are going to take you to the desert. They are going to take you nowhere. So for the first time now, Latin America can speak with the voice of experience. We have experienced the Bernie Sanders, many of them throughout Latin America. We have experienced the Trumps, many throughout Latin America in the 20th century. So please, America, don't listen to these false prophets.""

Activist roasted on Facebook for slamming Kho Jabing’s execution - "A Singaporean anti-death penalty activist earned a drubbing on Facebook after she wrote an emotional tribute about Kho Jabing, the Sarawakian who was executed in the island state yesterday for the murder of a Chinese national. Angered by the hero treatment they claimed Kirsten Han had given the convicted killer, Facebook users flooded her timeline with comments, many angrily telling the activist to pay the same respect to the murdered Cao Ruyin. “If Kirsten wants to make the murderer the victim and martyr and the victim anonymous, I have very serious doubts about her own personal values.
Just because I am against Amos Yee being prosecuted doesn't mean I lionise him as some sort of hero. What more this?

Tiananmen Square: the long shadow — - "He is more optimistic about the desire of young Chinese to learn the truth of 1989 – a taboo in China – from what he hears from his mainland students in Taiwan. “Many of them are eager to know the truth … what happened 25 years ago,” he says, explaining that when they arrive in Taiwan, many go straight to Facebook, which is banned in China, to learn about Tiananmen. “They still have curiosity and are eager to know, that is very important.” But he thinks the current generation will fight differently – using the internet as a potent tool – and for a slightly different cause than the protesters who filled Tiananmen Square in 1989. “Our generation fight for the benefit of the country or the state. Democracy for us is for China,” says Mr Wang. “For the young generation, the post-90s generation, sooner or later they will stand up to fight, but maybe fight for their own benefit, for the freedom of themselves”... The rescue of Tiananmen Square student leaders began just days after the tanks rolled in and the government published its most wanted list of “counter-revolutionaries”. It was called Operation Yellow Bird after a Chinese proverb: “The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the yellow bird behind.” Its goal was to smuggle prominent members of the movement to safety in the west. The operation was extremely successful. It brought together an unlikely mix of ordinary Chinese citizens, sympathetic Communist officials, Hong Kong activists, western intelligence agencies, diplomats and Hong Kong triad gangsters... The extraction missions, aided by MI6, the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, and the CIA, according to many accounts, had scrambler devices, infrared signallers, night-vision goggles and weapons. Sympathisers helped student leaders travel more than 2,000km from Beijing to the Hong Kong border by bus, boat, train, car, donkey cart and in storage tanks."

Fictitious Dishes: Elegant and Imaginative Photographs of Meals from Famous Literature

Worst passwords of 2013: 'Password' is no longer the top choice - but what is? - "In news that will have computer security experts celebrating and shaking their heads, it seems that the most popular password is no longer ‘password’. It’s ‘123456’... security experts recommend that instead of trying to memorise a random jumble of letters and numbers such as ‘d73h58fjk’ we pick phrase passwords – combinations of known words such as ‘monkeysteeplefacejacket’ that tend to stick in the memory.ecurity experts recommend that instead of trying to memorise a random jumble of letters and numbers such as ‘d73h58fjk’ we pick phrase passwords – combinations of known words such as ‘monkeysteeplefacejacket’ that tend to stick in the memory."

How Could Disney Do This To Maleficent? - "Maleficent's plan is to keep the Prince alive and well, until he's too old for Aurora. To let him sit in misery for 100 years until she releases him as an old man. Prince Philip would be able to save his beloved, only to have her wake to a shriveled, 100-year-old stranger. That is rough. It's chillingly cruel, but astoundingly brilliant. You had to admire this monster for her creativity. This is where I depart from the new, live-action origin story. She's just not that clever. Every act in Maleficent's life is completely reactionary and pretty hasty... The original movie offers zero explanation for why Aurora would meet the sharp end of a spinning wheel and fall asleep. Were they all really into spinning wheels at some point? Is that a metaphor for women being constantly attacked by little pricks all the time? Who knows? But finding out that the reason Maleficent cursed Aurora with a spinning wheel was because it was TO THE LEFT of the King was disappointing to say the least. The significance was entirely arbitrary; it could have been an old sock, a pile of leaves or a raccoon skeleton they found in the basement. It makes no sense. In a way it's like a metaphor for this movie: Why should we make a Maleficent movie? For no reason at all... at the very end it's revealed that Princess Aurora is the movie's narrator. So it's no wonder this story doesn't make any sense, because it's being told by an idiot"

Are 'Tiger Moms' Better Than Cool Moms? - "They found both parenting styles can be effective; the key is in how the child views his or her relationship with the mother. In Asian-American culture, children are often expected to rely on their families, but European-American families tend to value and encourage independence. Parental pressure provokes different reactions in each culture: Asian-American students said they felt like parent involvement in their lives is a form of support, while European-American children resented the pressure to perform."

Genius man used one first class airplane ticket to eat free for a year - "He booked a first class ticket on China Eastern Airlines and went to the VIP airport lounge at the Xi'an airport in Shaanxi, China and ate a delicious meal before his flight. Just like any first class traveler would. Except he never takes the flight. After he finished eating, the man changed his flight's departure for another day and went back home. Until tomorrow. Armed with a brand new first class ticket for a new day, he comes back to the airport lounge, eats another fantastic free meal and after he finishes up, yep, pushes his flight back again. Lather. Eat. Repeat. For free... The best part though? When China Eastern Airlines started investigating this heroic man for changing his flights too many times, he simply canceled his airplane ticket and got a full refund"

Is Marvel Intentionally Sabotaging Its Relationship With Fox? - "It's not enough for Fox to have an underperforming movie: the logic behind these moves could be that if Marvel stays silent, the Marvel fans that guide the word-of-mouth will keep Josh Trank's upcoming The Fantastic Four from being profitable, leading to Fox surrendering the rights to Marvel... one of the unusual nuggets that Marvel keeps from Fox and Sony are the merchandising rights. If any other studio owned the merchandising rights to someone else's blockbuster, they'd start churning out toys immediately. Instead, you can't go to the store to find a single toy or gizmo tied to X-Men: Days Of Future Past because Marvel flat-out didn't make them... It's looking more and more like Marvel is being seduced by the movies, and surrendering their legacy as a result, one issue at a time"

Plastic Legacy: Humankind's Trash Is Now a New Rock - "Melted plastic trash on beaches can sometimes mix with sediment, basaltic lava fragments and organic debris (such as shells) to produce a new type of rock material"

How great would Sweden’s proposed six-hour workday be? This great. - "Studies have shown that there appears to be an inverse relationship between the number of hours worked by OECD countries and how efficient they are (though the United States is an outlier here, working both long and hard). Unfortunately, of course, life is not quite that simple. The Swedish town of Kiruna actually gave up its six-hour working days in 2005 after finding that the increased intensity of work was not a positive. "People have seen there that the intensity of the job increases significantly, with negative effects on health as a consequence," Carina Bildt at the National Institute for Working Life told the Swedish press at the time. "It has certainly helped to improve productivity, but sickness has also increased.""

Artillery shell casings from Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral to be given to individuals, organisations
I rather have hairs from his head; if this violation of the Arms and Explosives Act is unproblematic it's no wonder 377A isn't either

How Muslim Governments Impose Ignorance - The New York Times - "Even the Bible, the world’s best seller, is banned in Saudi Arabia — no matter that the Quran praises it. In Egypt, under the iron fist of President Abdelfattah al-Sisi, a range of literary works can be outlawed. Last month, a novelist was sentenced to two years in prison for “violating public modesty.”... When Muslim minds aren’t challenged by “dangerous” ideas they cannot develop the sophistication needed to articulate their own... Today, many Muslims, including those who censor books or punish “heretics,” long for that “golden age of Islam” and lament that our civilization is no longer great. Few seem to realize, however, that the greatness of Islam was made possible thanks to its openness to foreign cultures and ideas"

French woman aged 91 gets PhD after 30 years - "“It took a bit of time to write because I took breaks,” Bourlier said, explaining the decades it took her to complete her work."

80% of Americans Support Mandatory Labels on "Food Containing DNA" - "A survey by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics finds that over 80 percent of Americans support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,” about the same number as support mandatory labeling of GMO foods “produced with genetic engineering... A 2012 National Science Foundation survey even found that about 25% of Americans don’t know that the Earth revolves around the sun, rather than vice versa... It would be a mistake to assume that widespread political and scientific ignorance are the result of “the stupidity of the American voter,” as Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber put it. Political ignorance is not primarily the result of stupidity. For most people, it is a rational reaction to the enormous size and complexity of government and the reality that the chance that their vote will have an impact on electoral outcomes is extremely low. The same is true of much scientific ignorance"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, 'I was accused of abusing my own children' - "She never thought it would go as far as this, because she's used the false allegation tactic before and nothing ever happens to her. Very very few women end up in court accused of making false accusations... It's such a common tactic used... It's affected my mental health. I was diagnosed with stress. It affects your reputation, damages your reputation. People think there's no smoke without fire. And obviously it affects your children. I don't know what my ex-wife says to them but at the end of the day they will know that their dad has been accused of being a criminal, when that's not the case"
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