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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Links - 30th June 2016

Malaysians who discredit or ridicule government can be barred from travelling overseas for 3 years - "the Immigration Department had enforced this ruling several months ago in a move to safeguard the country's image. "Anyone who runs down the government or 'memburukkan kerajaan' in any manner will be barred from going abroad... Immigration director-general Sakib Kusmi, in an e-mail reply to The Star, confirmed the existence of such a provision, adding that the ownership of a Malaysian international passport was a privilege and not a right... Datuk Sakib could not provide statistics on the number of Malaysians who have been barred from leaving the country for discrediting or ridiculing the government. Several people including politicians and social activitists who criticised the government are known to have been barred from leaving the country along."
Malaysia Boleh. Singapore welcomes them

Cannibalism Normal For Early Humans? - "Genetic markers commonly found in modern humans all over the world could be evidence that our earliest ancestors were cannibals, according to new research. Scientists suggest that even today many of us carry a gene that evolved as protection against brain diseases that can be spread by eating human flesh... A growing body of evidence, such as piles of human bones with clear signs of human butchery, suggests cannibalism was widespread among ancient cultures"

Ask Anything: Would Cannibalism Make You Fat? - "Taken as a whole, a cooked cadaver would yield about 81,500 calories’ worth of food"

Eating Sweets Could Actually Help Control Eating Habits - "eating sweet foods causes the brain to form a memory of a meal. In fact, the effects of sweets on the brain could be used to control eating behaviors... activities like watching television disrupts the memory encoding of a meal, thus increasing the amount of food people will consume during their next one.. even when they’ve already eaten, people with amnesia will continue to eat when presented with food because they have no memory of a meal."

Meal memories may influence later feelings of satiety - "the research team showed volunteers either a small or large portion of soup just before lunch, but then manipulated the actual amount of soup they consumed by means of a covert pump that could refill or empty a soup bowl without the eater noticing. The team found that the level of hunger reported by the volunteers was proportionate to the amount of food they had eaten immediately after they ate, however 2 to 3 hours after lunch, volunteers who had been shown a larger portion of soup reported significantly less hunger than those who had seen the smaller portion."

Women Who Go To Church Regularly Might Be Better Protected From An Early Grave - "There is evidence that it provides social support, discourages smoking, decreases depression, and promotes optimism or hope. These things affect health and appear to improve longevity"

Magic-mushroom drug lifts depression in first human trial

When TV Ads Go Subliminal With a Vengeance, We’ll Be to Blame - The New York Times - "That’s why NBC announced last month that it would remove about 30 percent of the commercial time from “Saturday Night Live” next season. It will seek to make the money back by giving advertisers occasional opportunities to sponsor bits based on whatever it is they’re selling. If it’s done right (and one assumes the “S.N.L.” producer Lorne Michaels will accept no less) the audience won’t even notice the sponsorship, which could come as a spoof based on the advertiser’s product."

NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses

Language Log » Backward Thinking about Orientalism and Chinese Characters - "The problems with the article start with the title: “Chinese is Not a Backward Language”, which raises a red flag at the outset. For any scholar of the Chinese language, the question immediately arises: “Chinese language or Chinese script?” The two are not synonymous, after all. Reviewing the article, it is obvious that Mullaney constantly conflates, confuses, or ignores the distinction between the two. Sometimes the conflation seems careless and unintentional, but at other times I suspect that he blurs the line intentionally to bolster the straw-man argument of his piece: namely that criticisms of the Chinese characters are part of a lingering racist, “Orientalist” prejudice against the Chinese language, and by extension, Chinese culture itself... Exactly who is saying that Chinese is a backward language? For the record, no reputable contemporary scholars are espousing anything like this claim, which is why Mullaney has to go back to Hegel and Social Darwinism for his examples. One can, however, find plenty of reputable linguists and experts who have much to say about the problems with the Chinese script, and many of these problems are still with us despite the relatively successful adoption of characters into cyberspace. But the claim that the Chinese language itself is under assault from chauvinistic Western linguists is a much starker and more sensationalist narrative that draws more media attention and re-tweets... Surely Mullaney is aware that the fiercest critics of the Chinese writing system were not foreigners, but the Chinese themselves. May Fourth intellectuals such as Chen Duxiu and Guo Moruo advocated the eventual abolition of Chinese characters, and even China’s most famous modern writer, Lu Xun, was quoted as saying “If the Chinese characters are not eliminated, China is doomed.” Were these patriotic May Fourth Chinese guilty of racism, or colonialist thinking?... in the years prior to the communist takeover in 1949, Mao Zedong and his language planners expressed every intention of abolishing Chinese characters once they came to power"

Hard Truths About Race on Campus - WSJ - "They demanded increased affirmative action, more diversity training, more funds to support scholarship and teaching about race and social justice. What harm could it do?... the existing research literature suggests that such reforms will fail to achieve their stated aims of reducing discrimination and inequality. In fact, we think that they are likely to damage race relations and to make campus life more uncomfortable for everyone, particularly black students... People notice useful social cues, and one of the strongest causes of stereotypes is exposure to real group differences... For black, Asian and Latino students, “membership in ethnically oriented student organizations actually increased the perception that ethnic groups are locked into zero-sum competition with one another and the feeling of victimization by virtue of one’s ethnicity”... A review of diversity interventions published in 2014 in the journal Science noted that these programs “often induce ironic negative effects (such as reactance or backlash) by implying that participants are at fault for current diversity challenges”... microaggression training is likely to backfire and increase racial tensions. The term itself encourages moralistic responses to actions that are often unintentional and sometimes even well-meaning. Once something is labeled an act of aggression, it activates an oppressor-victim narrative, which calls out to members of the aggrieved group to rally around the victim. As the threshold for what counts as an offense falls ever lower, cross-racial interactions become more dangerous, and conflict increases... How would your behavior change if anything you said could be misinterpreted, taken out of context and then reported—anonymously and with no verification—to a central authority with the power to punish you? Wouldn’t faculty and students of all races grow more anxious and guarded whenever students from other backgrounds were present?... the U.S. Army escaped from the racial dysfunction of the 1970s to become a model of integration and near-equality by the time of the 1991 Gulf War. The Army invested more resources in training and mentoring black soldiers so that they could meet rigorous promotion standards. But, crucially, standards were lowered for no one, so that the race of officers conveyed no information about their abilities. The Army also promoted cooperation and positive-sum thinking by emphasizing pride in the Army and in America... Instead of focusing on microaggressions, our campuses might talk about blunders, misconceptions and self-righteousness—and about civility and forgiveness. As Martin Luther King Jr., put it in 1957: “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”"
Identity politics and organising along identity groups just deepens one's sense of grievance

I Went to a Eurovision Sex Party - "Eurovision was starting, and the host told us the rules. The rules. Nothing quite gets the juices going like a rigorously enforced and laminated list of regulations. We would each be assigned a country, the rules stated, and when our country performed, we would take our underwear off in front of everyone. I was Ireland, which made me nervous in case the hosts had plans for the winner, but by the time the winner was crowned we'd all be in the shameless post-coital glow by then. Right?... I was in a room with 30 guys who wanted to have group sex, but not until we had watched every song of the Eurovision Song Contest"

Why A Little Mammal Has So Much Sex That It Disintegrates - "It’s August in Australia, and a small, mouse-like creature called an antechinus is busy killing himself through sex. He was a virgin until now, but for two to three weeks, this little lothario goes at it non-stop. He mates with as many females as he can, in violent, frenetic encounters that can each last up to 14 hours. He does little else... the males, which were forced to compete intensely with each other in a matter of weeks. They didn’t fight. Rather than using claws or teeth, they competed with sperm"

If equality means sending my daughters to war, I want no part of it - "being a feminist doesn't have to mean standing up for sending our daughters to war. I am a feminist, and I do not support including women in selective service."
Comment: "Fine, you don't want women to be drafted, then women don't get to vote. That's always been the deal for men."

BBC blasted as ‘too Christian’ and may televise Muslim prayers from mosque - "THE BBC could broadcast the Muslim call to prayer according to plans from the corporation’s controversial head of religion — who previously compared Mary and Joseph to illegal migrants... he had written a report for director-general Tony Hall that would answer criticisms from non-Christian faiths that they were under-served... While working for Channel 4, Mr Ahmed upset Roman Catholic priests by commissioning documentaries that appeared to contain a pro-Islam bias. One series, called Christianity: A History, was criticised by Church figures for trivialising the religion. The channel was also accused of being biased towards Islam and failing to show enough respect to Christianity under Mr Ahmed. Under his tenure, the channel screened a week of special programmes on Islam including a feature-length documentary on the Qu’ran, and a series of interviews with Muslims around the world talking about their beliefs. Yet the main Christian documentary broadcast for Easter 2011, called The Secrets of the 12 Disciples, cast doubt on the validity of the Pope... “So the only ‘Christian’ output is Songs of Praise and Choral Evensong on R3 (which is all about the music and the excellence of British choral singing). It sounds to me as though Lord Hall isn’t very familiar with his own organisation’s output.”"

Scandinavia treats its 1% even better than the US - "Nordic tax policy protects the wealthiest 1% by placing very high taxes on income and, by American standards, modest taxes on large inheritances. The high income taxes make it harder for a successful Scandinavian entrepreneur to earn his way into the top 1%. The low inheritance taxes make it relatively easy to pass on large estates. In America, income taxes are lower, and estate taxes higher on wealthy fortunes are higher... there is some evidence the richest Americans are more likely to be self-made entrepreneurs rather than members of family dynasties."

Senior policewoman suspended after spat with female colleague over 'who has the best breasts' - "The 46-year-old is said to have got into a "loud disagreement" with Superintendent Sarah Jackson about who had the "best boobs" while attending the Senior Women In Policing conference"

The Female Libido Pill Is No Viagra

Put Your Shirts Back On: Why Femen Is Wrong - "Wearing the hijab, to be clear, is a sacred act of worship that many Muslim women practice voluntarily. In fact, I have friends who cover their hair against the will of their husbands and fathers who, ironically, fear for their safety in an increasingly Islamophobic climate... "They write on their posters that they don't need liberation but in their eyes it's written 'help me.'" As supposed trailblazers in initiating a discussion on women and religion, it is tragically ironic that when Muslim women spoke up, Femen didn't care to listen. "
If a Muslim man tells a Muslim woman not to put on a hijab, is this patriarchy?
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