"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, July 20, 2016

Links - 20th July 2016

2006 The Schlieffen Plan – A Pistol Cocked at England’s Heart? | The History Network - "Plucky little Belgium also helped Britain in another unexpected way. At a time when there was no conscription, propaganda had to be used to encourage enlistment. In an ironic embezzlement of very recent history, some of the propaganda portrayed as German atrocities in Belgium was in fact what had been portrayed in the Belgian Congo under the notorious Leopold II...
A decided advantage rested with the defence. Up to 40 years earlier, almost 85% of all deaths on the battlefield were due to disease, with the remainder directly attributed to being shot. By the First World War, the relative positions had been reversed, with 85% now dying directly because of being shot. This turnaround had little to do with medical improvements but significantly greater with new, much more lethal technology... artillery accounted for almost 2/3 of all deaths...
Democracy [prolonged] the war. In former times, national leaders, being answerable only to their monarchs would have agreed to peace overtures much sooner after a stalemate had been reached. But now they had to pander to their electorates. Directly following on from that, instead of being employed to explore peace opportunities for the most part, diplomacy was subverted to enlisting new allies with extravagant promises or even contradictory promises. Democracy too was in part responsible for the Second World War. It was considered that the unusually harsh terms of the Treaty Versailles would appease and mollify the electorate for their sacrifices, particularly in France"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The West helps Libya to aim high - "There's a weird sort of Stockholm Syndrome going on, a form of psychological imprisonment that needs no bars or chains. Many slaves apparently love their masters and prefer enslavement to poverty. If they escaped, they would have nothing: only the life of an outcast. Paradise is under your master's foot, is an old Mauritanian saying. One journalist reported seeing a slave and his master walking along the street holding hands. They told him they were best friends"

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS143 - Scott Aaronson on "The theorem that proves rationalists can't disagree" - "Aumann's theorem is a theorem in interactive epistemology... if you've got two rational agents who are Bayesian, which is that they obey, they both believe, the rules of the probability calculus; and they've got common priors, which means that they assign the same probabilities before seeing anything to each possible state of the world; and we all know that they're honest and rational; and we all know that we know that, and know that we know that we know that, and so forth. These are admittedly big assumptions. Then these agents go off and live separate lives. They have different experiences. One of them reads one book, one of them reads another; one visits one country, and so forth. They have different experiences, which then causes them to update their beliefs differently... of course having had different experiences, having different knowledge, they may have different beliefs about this question. But it says, if they can ever reach a position where their opinions are common knowledge to each other, meaning that they both know each other's opinions and they both know that they know them, and they know that they know that they know them and so on, forever -- then that very fact implies that their opinion has to be equal. It's often summarized by saying that they cannot agree to disagree. Having common knowledge of each other's opinions precludes the opinions being different... if you've got rational Bayesians with common priors and so forth, then they're never going to exchange in speculative trade. They're never going to buy or sell stocks... If we could reach the point where I am arguing for a more liberal position and then five minutes later I switch or I'm now arguing for the more conservative position, and then I switch back and so forth, that is actually a good sign. That's a sign of people updating as rapidly as the math says that they should."

STUDY: 94 Percent of Gay Men More Likely to Bareback With Someone Attractive - "seven in every 10 gay men in London preferred to have sex without condoms. Additionally, four of every five gay men have previously engaged in condomless sex with someone they didn't know. The study, which was first reported by PinkNews, surveyed 160 gay men in London about their sex habits. Researchers found that 94 percent of the men said they were more likely to go bareback with someone attractive."

Latino Students Upset Over McDowell High School Prank Involving Wall - "Students at the Marion, N.C., school built a wall using cardboard boxes, reportedly alluding to the border wall proposed by Donald Trump, which upset the school’s Latino students"

I poured drain cleaner in my eyes to blind myself - "The afflicted woman knew from a young age she wanted to be blind, and would attempt to harm her eyesight by staring at the sun while “blind-simming,” or pretending to be blind."
"When I thought I was fat, they said no, I was anorexic. When I thought I was a girl, they said yup, have some hormones."

Becoming disabled by choice, not chance: ‘Transabled’ people feel like impostors in their fully working bodies - "Most crave an amputation or paralysis, though he has interviewed one person who wants his penis removed. Another wants to be blind. Many people, like One Hand Jason, arrange “accidents” to help achieve the goal. One dropped an incredibly heavy concrete block on his legs — an attempt to injure himself so bad an amputation would be necessary. But doctors saved the leg. He limps, but it’s not the disability he wanted... Some of his study participants do draw parallels to the experience many transgender people express of not feeling like they’re in the right body. Baldwin says this disorder is starting to be thought of as a neurological problem with the body’s mapping, rather than a mental illness. “It’s a problem for individuals because it’s distressing. But lots of things are.” He suggests this is just another form of body diversity — like transgenderism — and amputation may help someone achieve similar goals as someone who, say, undergoes cosmetic surgery to look more like who they believe their ideal selves to be... As the public begins to embrace people who identify as transgender, the trans people within the disability movement are also seeking their due... this has been met with great resistance in both the disability activist community and in transgender circles... “They tend to see transabled people as dishonest people, people who try to steal resources from the community, people who would be disrespectful by denying or fetishizing or romanticizing disability reality,” Baril says, adding people in both transgender and disabled circles tend to make judgmental or prejudicial statements about transabled people. “Each try to distance themselves.” Baril — who is himself disabled and transgender — believes the transgender community distances itself because it has worked very hard to de-pathologize what’s known as ‘gender dysphoria,’ and sought its removal from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders"
Feminist circles used to have great resistance to the transgendered

Original Cosplay Is The Best Cosplay

Designer behind Kikkoman soy sauce bottle dies at 85 - "His desire to design was ignited after he saw Hiroshima's devastation following the U.S. atomic bombing of the city. When he saw the mangled cars, homes and household objects, he “heard their voices”: They said they wished they had been utilized more, he explained in a pamphlet for his Hiroshima exhibit last year."

Here's What Podiatrists Think About Your Crocs - "“Unfortunately Crocs are not suitable for all-day use,” Dr. Megan Leahy, a Chicago-based podiatrist with the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, told HuffPost. While she granted that they “offer nice arch support,” she added that the real reason you shouldn’t wear them over long periods of time is that “these shoes do not adequately secure the heel. When the heel is unstable, toes tend to grip which can lead to tendinitis, worsening of toe deformities, nail problems, corns and calluses. The same thing can happen with flip flops or any backless shoes as the heel is not secured.”"

Russia's 'valiant hero' in Ukraine turns his fire on Vladimir Putin - "After nearly two years of sitting quietly, the erstwhile poster boy of the pro-Russia cause last week released a declaration strongly critical of President Vladimir Putin, and predicting upheaval and bloodshed in Russia in the near future... A radical nationalist who believes Russia should seize all the lands where ethnic Russians live, and who describes Ukrainians as “Russians who speak a different dialect”, Strelkov said it was fatal that Putin stopped after annexing Crimea... “The Kremlin is very scared of nationalists, because they use the same imperial rhetoric as Putin does but they can do it much better than him,” said Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and opposition politician. “That’s why there are nationalists in prison, even those who supported Putin. They went to kiss his feet, and he kicked them away.”"

Russian soldier: 'You're better clueless because the truth is horrible' - "The leader of the Donetsk rebels has admitted there are Russian soldiers in the region but says they are not there on orders of the Russian army but "on holiday"."

Armed robbers thwarted trying to hold up McDonald's where 11 special forces officers happened to be eating dinner - "Along with the French counter-terror police unit, le RAID, the GIGN are highly admired by peers in Britain and beyond. One former SAS officer, Col Tim Collins, recently described them as "among the most effective anti-terror forces in Europe, if not the world""

Jennifer Mulford claims she breastfeeds her bodybuilder boyfriend - "A woman from Atlanta has sparked outrage on social media after publicly announcing that she quit her job to breastfeed her 36-year-old bodybuilder boyfriend. Speaking to The Sun, Jennifer Mulford claimed she wanted to start an 'Adult Breastfeeding Relationship' with her partner Brad Leeson after reading about the bond breastfeeding could create between two people... Jennifer, whose own daughter is now 20, has to 'dry' breastfeed Brad every two hours to induce lactation and fool her body into thinking she has had a baby... Jennifer, whose own daughter is now 20, has to 'dry' breastfeed Brad every two hours to induce lactation and fool her body into thinking she has had a baby... Jennifer and Brad's decision to publicly share their story has been slammed on social media, with many claiming the story is false, and others accusing Jennifer of 'sexualising' breastfeeding"

Narwhal tusk - Scientists finally solve its real purpose - "theories of how the animals used the body part differed greatly. Some biologists believed the horns are used for ice picks, while others said the horns picked up noises deep under water. Researchers discovered the horn is, in fact, used as a sensory organ"

Babies’ cuteness is key to their survival. What happens when they’re not that cute? - "Unattractive babies may face discrimination"

Waitress assaulted on French Riviera for 'serving alcohol' on first day of holy month of Ramadan - "In October 2014, three men, including the owner of a Halal store - since forcibly closed by police - threatened a baker who sold ham sandwiches, saying he wasn’t a “good Muslim”... Last month, a message purporting to come from the spokesman of Isil called on followers to launch attacks on the United States and Europe during Ramadan, calling it “the month of conquest and jihad”"

Some British people are getting laid a lot—just not in Britain - "Two groups of researchers analyzed surveys of what British people do when they travel abroad and found that sex is high on the list... The group was composed of people from 16-74 years old, who reported having at least one sexual partner in the past five years. Out of this group, 9.2 percent of men and 5.3 percent of women said they found one or more new sexual partners while outside the UK. And out of those groups, according to Tanton and her colleagues, there was a lot of "disassortative sexual mixing," meaning cross-nationality intermingling... People who had sex while overseas were also more sexually adventurous in general; they reported having more partners both at home and abroad, as well as multiple partners and partners of both sexes... This is especially true in the case of backpackers, who were the subject of a second study of sexual activity among people backpacking in Thailand. "Over one-third of backpackers traveling without a longterm partner or spouse had vaginal and/or anal intercourse with a new partner; one-third of these did not use condoms consistently," write medical researchers C.T. Lewis and G. de Wildt in their paper. When it came to safer sex, Brits and Swedes were the most likely to report not using a condom during their escapades. Germans had less unsafe sex than Brits and Swedes but only because they hooked up less often. Canadians were most likely to say they'd used a condom and were also more likely to hook up with a new partner than other groups. (So the best travel sex is with Canadians, everybody.)"

Refugees allowed into Italy after threat to drown babies
People respond to incentives

University of Oregon -- Martin Luther King Quote Almost Removed for Not Being Inclusive Enough - "Student leaders at the University of Oregon considered removing a famous Martin Luther King Jr. quote from a wall on its student center on the grounds that it was just not inclusive enough — because it talked only about racial discrimination and not discrimination based on stuff like gender identity...
Oh, and it gets worse: The entire reason that quote was put there in the first place was to replace another quote that students had found offensive — one that called the university “leader in the quest for the good life for all men” — which is obviously, you know, sexist as hell."
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