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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Links - 16th August 2016

Black Lives Matter UK blocks Heathrow Airport
The fact that Black Lives Matter has popped up in the UK proves that the movement is not about what it says it's about - protesting police killings of blacks

Teachers let pupils get LAP DANCES after teens claim she is a lecturer

Icelandic 'anti-incest' app aims to stop families getting too close

The amazing history of Egypt | Podcast | History Extra - "[On old Pharaohs] A key part of kingship was the ability to maintain a powerful, godlike public image through traditional rites, like running the sacred race. Although the idea of Pharaohs actually having to sprint. They also had to ritually spear crocodiles and hippos to show their prowess and surely run the sacred race...
Egypt because of its military weakness, it lost control of the gold mines in Nubia and so the Priest-Kings needed other sources of wealth. And they didn't have far to look. They decided to target the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings as part of official policy. And this is the very letter sent by the Priest-King Piank... given the euphemistic title: Opener of the Gates of the Necropolis. Official Thief, really. And he was told in his letter to go and perform for me a task on which you've never before embarked. Uncover a tomb among the tombs of the ancestors. Kind of dressing up what was actually state-sanctioned tomb robbery... [On the Nubians invading] There are now more pyramids in the Sudan - Ancient Nubia - than there are in Egypt"

Writing history in the 21st century | Podcast | History Extra - "'The great historiographical development over the past 30 years really but it's really started quickening over the past 10 is the application of methodologies that people would not think twice about applying to any other ancient civilisation to the origins of Islam and the emergence of the Caliphate. And in that context a book called Death of a Prophet by Stephen J Shoemaker seems to me to stand out... his background is in the study of the Bible... he applies those methodologies to the early stories that are told about Muhammed, in almost all of which Muhammed is described as leading the invasion of the Holy Land, whereas according to Muslim tradition he is dead before that happens and he teases out what might be going on... he demonstrates how contingent our understanding of early Islam is. And the chasm that separates the traditions that are told by Muslims and have been for hundreds of years and what the most contemporary cutting edge perspectives of contemporary historiography can provide on that. And I think that for all kinds of obvious reasons it's simultaneously the most sensitive but also the most thrilling area of historical research'
'But that sounds almost like it's doing now what was done for the origins of Christianity in the middle of the 19th century'...
'If the Rhodes must fall campaign goes on to its logical conclusion, will we be pulling down statues of Winston Churchill the racist?... in 100 years time if racism becomes the key distinguishing factor for good vs evil in society, then maybe even though of course Churchill was instrumental in destroying a far worse racism, an actual exterminationist racism, nonetheless, it will be impossible to present him as a positive figure because of his racism... we equally might all be judged on why on earth we allowed children to use mobile phones'"

Tudor monarchs and a medieval civil war | Podcast | History Extra - "One rather enterprising ambassador actually bribed a laundress to report on the state of Her Majesty's sheets so that he could see whether she was functioning normally as a woman... just how many things Elizabeth added sugar to that astonished me. So not just chocolates and sweetmeats and such things. She actually sprinkled sugar over her salads... that's taking sweet tooth just that little bit too far"

A Family-Friendly Policy That’s Friendliest to Male Professors - - "The underrepresentation of women among the senior ranks of scholars has led dozens of universities to adopt family-friendly employment policies. But a recent study of economists in the United States finds that some of these gender-neutral policies have had an unintended consequence: They have advanced the careers of male economists, often at women’s expense. Similar patterns probably hold in other disciplines, too. The central problem is that employment policies that are gender-neutral on paper may not be gender-neutral in effect. After all, most women receive parental benefits only after bearing the burden of pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, and often, a larger share of parenting responsibilities. Yet fathers usually receive the same benefits without bearing anything close to the same burden. Given this asymmetry, it’s little wonder some recently instituted benefits have given men an advantage."
Equality only leads to equal results if people are the same. Would feminists support a sexist, non-gender neutral policy to achieve their aims?

Office cake culture is 'danger to health' - "Prof Nigel Hunt, from the Faculty of Dental Surgery, at the Royal College of Surgeons, says "cake culture" is fuelling obesity and dental problems. At the organisation's annual dinner for dentists, he will say workplace temptation stops people losing weight. And staff should be rewarded with fruit, nuts or cheese instead."

Images of child nudity found in Michael Jackson s secret closet - "Dolls, arcade games, life-sized mannequins and a huge train set decorate the rooms, along with books that allegedly contained images of adult and child nudity. Inside Jackson’s secret closet, a framed portrait of Macaulay Culkin was found, signed by child actor saying: “Don’t leave me alone in the house”. Tables covered with remote-control cars, stuffed animals and dolls were also found inside the room... Several books seized by police showed partially dressed and naked children, teenagers and adults, but accompanying documentation categorised the items as non-pornographic."

Tom Bradbury - The most perfect thing I have ever seen just... - "White man sat in front of a mother and her son. Mother was wearing a niqab. After about 5 minutes of the mother talking to her son in another language the man, for whatever reason, feels the need to tell the woman "When you're in the UK you should really be speaking English." At which point, an old woman in front of him turns around and says, "She's in Wales. And she's speaking Welsh.""

Some Muslims upset with Big Box for organsing durian fest during fasting month - "Some Muslim customers are unhappy because the mall is having the durian fest during the fasting month of Ramadan. Big Box, tried to explain that was why they were having two sessions. But some Facebook users said that since the fast typically ends past 7pm, they will have very little time to eat the durians, and so it is not fair."
All lunch buffets should be cancelled during Ramadan!

Some questions about the Orlando massacre - "Those who claim that Christianity is just as homophobic as Islam should adduce data comparable to that above, remembering to survey all Christians, not just fundamentalist ones. And don’t forget the laws... all too often I’ve seen the very first reaction of Muslims is to worry that this will lead to their further demonization in America. That may well happen, and I’ll decry it if it does, but now is not the time to worry about your own image... her main reaction seems to be not sorrow for the deaths, but the worry that they will arouse hatred of her group... It seems hypocritical for organizations like CAIR—the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group that’s been criticized for ties to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist groups, and whose main mission is to minimize every malfeasance committed by Muslims while completely exculpating the religion—to now claim they’re allied with gays, and astoudingly, claim that the cause of gays and of “marginalized” Muslims are one... “Hatred” is so much easier to say than “religiously based hatred,” though Americans didn’t have trouble with the latter when Kim Davis refused to give marriage licenses to gay couples! Everyone speaks as if Omar Mateen really hated gay people. And perhaps he did, but we have to recognize that hating individuals for their behavior differs from hating the West as a whole for its supposed licentiousness—a major factor in Islamic terrorism. Did the men who flew planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center hate the people they killed? I doubt it."

China's rich prefer female bodyguards - "Female bodyguards are mostly paid twice more than their male counterparts, usually 300,000 yuan per year, because of their special strengths - more psychologically stable, trustworthy and less eye-catching."

Homophobia is now met with the same silence given to anti-Semitism - "Peter Tatchell, about the most consistent defender of universal values I know, is regularly branded an ‘Islamophobe‘ because he will not confine his criticism to reactionaries with white skins. The National Union of Students recently decided that gay men did not need special protection because they ‘no longer faced oppression’... Tell MAMA, an embattled and authentically liberal campaign against genuine anti-Muslim bigotry rather than phoney Islamophobia, recently tweeted the sad words of Martin Luther King after receiving another stab in the back:
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Many could echo that sentiment. Liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims have turned round looking for the support of their ‘friends’ in the West only to find that they had urgent reasons to be elsewhere. As have Jews on the left."

Most animal sex acts not against Canada's bestiality law: court - "Canada's bestiality law only bans sexual acts that involve penetration, the country's Supreme Court ruled"

Australian Cornish pasty region concerned about protected ruling - "Organisers of the annual Cornish festival in South Australia said the ruling threatens their heritage and want an exemption. The festival is held in the state's Yorke Peninsula region, which was populated by Cornish miners who came to work in the region's copper mines. "The area is peppered with Cornish pasty bakeries and cafés and the festival, which has been held since 1973, claims to be the world's biggest. But the European Commission ruling, imposed last month, means that only pasties cooked in Cornwall according to the traditional recipe can be called Cornish pasties."

Could Me Before You Have Avoided Alienating the Disabled Community? - "Some members of the disabled community have condemned the book and film, accusing both of promoting the message that a disabled life is not worth living. The hashtag campaigns #MeBeforeEuthanasia and #MeBeforeAbleism cropped up, and messages like the one below have peppered Twitter for the past few weeks... Disabled activist Ellen Clifford—a member of Not Dead Yet, a group that opposes assisted suicide—told BuzzFeed News that the film indicates “disability is tragedy, and disabled people are better off dead. It comes from a dominant narrative carried by society and the mainstream media that says it is a terrible thing to be disabled.”
Some people imagine only religious people were upset, as if religion were the only source of evil in this world

The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions - "Give homes to the homeless... the state saves $8,000 per homeless person in annual expenses. “We’ve saved millions on this,” Walker said, though the state hasn’t tallied the exact amount."

Who Is More Anti-Science? Republicans? Or Democrats? - "Do Republican’s deny science more often than Democrats? Turns out they don’t. But Republicans are more vulnerable because a hostile media is more likely to ask GOP candidates questions that potentially put them at odds with their base. Take childhood vaccines. No doubt there are people on the right who are fearful of them. But there are a whole slew of Hollywood liberals who believe that vaccines cause autismand they are very vocal about it. Or consider fluoridation of the water supply. This used to be a bugaboo of the right. But more recently it was liberal Portland, Oregon that nixed the idea... The big problem for Republicans is not what they believe. Their problem is that anti-Republican reporters are asking the questions... we are missing the most important science politicians have to deal with: economics. And the party that ignores economic science the most is the party of the left. Take the minimum wage law. Economists differ on whether they support the law. But there is one thing they do not differ on. No reputable economist thinks there is free lunch. If the minimum wage makes workers better off, someone must be worse off. If there is a benefit, there must be a cost."

Scott Walker refuses to discuss evolution: There is no good reason to ask the Wisconsin governor about human creation. - "Who cares if Scott Walker believes in evolution? Why, exactly, does it matter?... there’s no need to ask about evolution if what you want to know are a politician’s views on disease control. All you have to do is ask about disease control. And that goes for the constellation of science-based issues. Want to know what Walker thinks about climate change? Ask him. Want to know if he thinks the government should do more to protect natural environments? Ask him that, too... Views on evolution don’t actually tell you anything about how a politician will act or how he’ll approach science-based issues. Neither do they give any insight into public attitudes toward science... The best example of this is the anti-vaccine movement, where young, educated, and evolution-believing parents refuse vaccines for their children, despite the direct connection between evolutionary science and the making and development of vaccines. If you want an actual heuristic for whether a given person is going to support science-based policy, your best bet is to ask their party affiliation. If he is a Democrat, then regardless of his views on evolution, he is likely to support action on climate change or want to strengthen environmental protections. And if she is a Republican, the opposite is probably true."

All Hail Science! - "In Elf, Santa’s sleigh no longer relies on flying reindeer. Instead it converts “Christmas cheer” into jet power. That’s how some of these people talk about believing in science. If we don’t project our positive emotions towards it, it won’t take off. I am typing this on a plane from Detroit, Michigan — on Friday the 13th, no less. What happens if I suddenly stop saying in a hopeful whisper “I believe in you, science!” or if I take a deist bent and hold out the possibility that there’s something more than the material world out there? Will my plane suddenly plummet? Will gremlins slowly emerge from behind the seat in front of me, like Miley Cyrus climbing over a toilet-stall door?... Democrats are more likely to believe in paranormal activity. They’re also more likely to believe in reincarnation and astrology. I have personally known liberals who think crystals have healing powers who nonetheless believe that the internal combustion engine doesn’t actually rely on magical horse power."

Re: The Anti-Science Smear - "Why does the Left get to pick which issues are the benchmarks for “science”? Why can’t the measure of being pro-science be the question of heritability of intelligence? Or the existence of fetal pain? Or the distribution of cognitive abilities among the sexes at the extreme right tail of the bell curve? Or if that’s too upsetting, how about dividing the line between those who are pro- and anti-science along the lines of support for geoengineering? Or — coming soon — the role cosmic rays play in cloud formation? Why not make it about support for nuclear power? Or Yucca Mountain? Why not deride the idiots who oppose genetically modified crops, even when they might prevent blindness in children?"
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