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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Links - 10th November 2016

Two King Edwards | Podcast | History Extra - "One of the characteristics of a disempowered monarchy that no longer has political clout or can intervene decisively in anything is that the monarchs become more and more absorbed by and fascinated by technical niceties and trivia. And the obsession with uniforms and clothes and dress and appearance of Edward VII and of George V is, would now be thought OCD, though i don't think it was anything of the sort. But it was one of the ways in which the monarchs could still show power, admitted... in many ways on a pathetic level. And there's a wonderful account of Lord Salisbury, the Prime Minister, turning up for a royal audience with Edward VII in completely the wrong clothes. He's wearing the jacket of an Elder of Trinity House and then the Court Trousers. And he's soundly rebuked by by Edward VII and replies: "I'm very sorry Your Majesty but it was a very dark morning and no doubt my mind was on smaller matters"...
[Elizabeth II] has completely toed the line. I mean she has never in her life said anything of the slightest interest to anybody on a public occasion. She'd sometimes overheard by microphones but she doesn't do that. She doesn't do what Edward VIII did, which was sort of make noises of appeasing noises or anything controversial. She keeps out of controversy at all costs. And she knows that the essence of the monarchy is to be inclusive and not divisive. Really, I think you can say that her devotion to duty and her taking the middle path and being inclusive and not divisive for the whole of her very long reign has been part of the legacy of Edward VIII... As the present Queen apparently once said, she's got to be seen to be believed. In other words she's got to project herself... she has got to be there as the National Fetish... The monarchy is, it's a quasi-religion. It's a form of, been described as a form of British Shintoism"

The end of the First World War and the Duke of Wellington | Podcast | History Extra - "For many of these states, the post-war conflicts are extremely important because this really marks the beginning of independent statehood. It also helps countries like Poland for example to avoid the very difficult issue that many Poles fought in different armies. Some fought in the Germany army, some fought in the Russian army. Others fought in the Austro-Hungarian army. So how can you commemorate this conflict say in Poland without opening a number of wounds? The post-war conflict by contrast helped to establish the Polish nation state. They are also associated with certain victories that were over Russia and therefore much easier to commemorate as success stories than the deeply divisive events of the First World War"

Patently Absurd! - More absurd UK patents - "UK Patent Application No. GB2272154. A ladder to enable spiders to climb out of a bath. It comprises a thin flexible latex rubber strip which follows the inner contours of the bath. A suction pad 5 is attached to the top edge of the bath."

The Truth About Spiders In Your Bath - deBugged - "The truth – which you’ll probably be relieved to hear – is that spiders don’t come up the plughole of your bath. There is almost always a U-bend in the plumbing just below your plug holes. The reason for this isn’t to keep spiders coming up them, but to stop items falling down and clogging the drain."

ExpatSingapore - What does 'light cooking' mean? - "Light cooking means just what it says - no heavy cooking. No pungent smell such as cooking belachan. No deep frying that smokes out the whole house. No strong curry that permeates to your neighbours. In short, considerate cooking. Soup, instant noodles, rice, microwave etc."

Chris Rock and ‘Real Things to Protest’ - WSJ - "No one would mistake funnyman Chris Rock for a political conservative, but his observational humor has never spared liberals—including fellow blacks—as the nation witnessed once again during Sunday night’s Oscar telecast... Mr. Rock mocked black celebrities who successfully command tens of millions of dollars a film and then denounce the entertainment industry as racially “unfair.” More pointedly, he urged viewers to keep matters in historical perspective... He noted that in the 1950s and 1960s black people didn’t have time to protest trivialities like the lack of recognition from Tinsel Town “because we had real things to protest,” such as the denial of basic civil rights. Al Sharpton, whom Mr. Rock mentioned in passing, has nothing better to do these days than boycott the Oscars because serious black leaders like Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King Jr. fought and won infinitely more consequential battles—such as against legal racial discrimination and voter disenfranchisement—more than 50 years ago... The disconnect between the agenda of liberal black elites and the needs of the people they claim to represent is as wide as ever... The Democratic candidates have gone out of their way to reassure black voters that white oppression explains racial disparities, and that more government is the solution. The black underclass is being told in so many words that they bear little or no responsibility for their circumstances. They are being told that black incarceration rates are a bigger problem than black crime rates. They are being told that white racism, not antisocial behavior and counterproductive attitudes toward work, school and marriage is the more significant barrier to upward mobility in America today. The political left’s ultimate objective is to strip blacks of their capacity to make choices and act on their own"

Why it's not OK for white people to have dreadlocks - "Sure, dreadlocks have appeared at different unconnected parts of the world over time – so you may attribute it to Egyptians or Celtic “fairie locks”. But really, the source of its current popularity is largely due to the life and death of Marley and the apparent “humanist” movement he created (NB humanism sort of preaches “we’re all humans”, so sees things such as anti-racism and feminism as holding us back). For some it may even be an appreciation of the Rastafari movement. Now, I don’t know why white people choose to wear dreadlocks, but there seem to be a few reasons. If you wear dreadlocks as an appreciation of black culture, then by wearing dreadlocks and perpetuating white privilege as a result then aren’t you actually harming the black diaspora in the UK? If you truly cared for black people and not just our culture you wouldn’t want to wear dreadlocks. Secondly, if you wear dreadlocks because it “looks cool” then you’re still perpetuating white privilege and you’ve chosen to be ignorant of the significant contemporary history. Finally, if you wear dreadlocks because you think it symbolises a humanist ideal, then you’ve attached the wrong political meaning to them and instead you’re damaging the anti-oppression movement for which they truly symbolise... The intrinsic politics in dreadlocks is that it is a symbol of global anti-racism – which is why it’s a fallacy to use something held dearly to the black liberation movement to perpetuate white privilege."

Banning child labour imposes naive western ideals on complex problems - "Do parents whose offspring work love their kids any less? No. Many of these children work simply to make their families’ ends meet, poor families whose income is around the subsistence level often have little choice. We easily forget that child labour was commonplace in western societies before they were affluent. For instance, nearly half of the workforce in British cotton mills in the early 19th century consisted of children. One may argue that a formal ban on child labour will be the requisite trigger to reform labour conditions in low-income countries, or at least improve the living situation of former child labourers. This is a naive idea, because it ignores the direct and indirect effects of such a ban. For families with subsistence incomes who cannot rely on a societal safety net, an efficiently enforced ban can be devastating... One academic study demonstrated the unintended consequences of a western-imposed ban on soccer balls stitched at home by children and their families. Researchers found that the initiative, which involved shifting the work away from homes and into more formal stitching centres, led to income drops, reduced female work participation rates, and offered no clear benefits for children of the affected Pakistani families. When talking in terms of a categorical ban on child labour, it’s also important to understand that the involvement of children in economic activities is subject to intercultural differences. Many societies see children working as perfectly acceptable, especially in the context of family business"

Why some factory owners are celebrating India's child labour bill - "Under a new, controversial child labour law that has just been passed by the Indian parliament, children younger than 14 are barred from working. But a provision says they may work after school hours and on holidays in the sports or entertainment industry or in family enterprises."

The 'Beyond Burger' probably won't make you give up beef - "Beyond Meat has been researching the idea of building protein products out of plants for more than seven years. It eventually settled on a formula that uses pea protein with some canola and coconut oil to create a slightly fatty, cholesterol-free patty that's even the right shade of red, thanks to the addition of beet juice. It actually changes color as it cooks to... the texture is the most damning thing here. While I found the Impossible Burger to be softer and mealier than beef, Beyond's patty lands at the other end of the spectrum. It's tough, though not impossible to eat. It was also inconsistent: Some parts seemed more gamey than others, like cheap ground meat you'd buy with a higher level of gristle. Those bits were still edible, but they threw off the mouthfeel."

That Dire Helium Shortage? Vastly Inflated - "“I’ve seen a lot of talk about this global shortage of helium—that’s actually not the case. In the United States, we’ve got at least 20 years of known supplies that are easily, readily available.” There’s far more worldwide—including now this new rich deposit found in Tanzania. In 2014, the US Department of Interior estimated that there are 1,169 billion cubic feet of helium reserves left on Earth. That’s enough for about 117 more years."

'Racist' African-American 'Battle of Complexions' causes outrage - "A nightclub event pitting light skinned, brown skinned and dark skinned African-American women against each other in a beauty contest of complexions has caused outraged. 'Battle of the Complexions' contest held last night in St Louis has been accused of degrading women and promoting historical divisions... The event went ahead as planned on Friday and was hailed a success by Nelly Da'Celeb on his Facebook page."

Merkel - Jihadists are among migrants

Official from Dutch government claims Isis is 'Zionist plan' - "Yasmina Haifi, who works for the Dutch Justice Ministry's National Cyber Security Centre, made the controversial statement on Twitter yesterday, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported."

Now Brussels clamps down on freedom of British press - "it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.”

Turkey is not part of Europe – as the history of our continent shows - "The trouble with basing the arguments for Turkey’s admission on particular strategies of foreign policy is that circumstances change. Turkey no longer looks so shiningly like a democratic, secular state, but more like an Islamising one with an Ottoman nostalgia. The “moderation” of its avowedly Islamist government is beginning to look like a mask that may soon be thrown off. Like Saudi Arabia, it does not scruple to co-operate with religious fanatics in bringing down the secular regime in Syria... To adapt the words of Charles de Gaulle, we do have a certain idea of Europe. It may be fuzzy at the edges, but it has something to do with the Roman Empire, something to do with Latinity and Hellas and all that we inherit from both of those, and something to do with Christianity and its own mediation of Latin and Greek culture, the heritage of Israel. Then there is the Renaissance, the scientific revolution – all the ways in which Europe made modernity. Even the European wars of religion, the conflict between Lutheranism and Catholicism, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation have shaped a common experience and even, paradoxically, a sense of how we can come together. However shakily, European history – not to mention geography – does give some content to a European ideal. But this is not at all what the rulers of the European Union believe. The only part of European history that seems alive to them is the two world wars... Europe detached from history, culture and geography becomes indefinitely expansible, subject to imperial overstretch and a candidate for eventual implosion"

People Were Not Happy With Ellen After She Posted A Usain Bolt Meme - "Some Twitter users are offended by the image of a white woman “riding” a black man... Oh, and in case you were wondering, Usain himself retweeted her original image."
This is why people aren't more inclusive
Comment: "those claiming racism are truly the racists because Ellen doesn't judge on colour, but apparently you do."

Chinese Privilege or Natural Competitiveness? - "There is no doubt that racism and prejudice exists on an endemic level in all populations, even in relatively homogenous communities. However Sangeetha herself is not terribly interested in really standing up to legit examples of such, having managed to use the classic sleight-of-hand “minorities cannot be oppressors” logic to excuse the blatant bigotry in her social activism, which at of this point has managed to make a villain of anybody who isn’t South Indian, female, dark skinned and fat. What is interesting is how local progressive liberals who are the targets of her “you are not true social justicers” drivel are taking it, given a good chunk of her attacks are directed at other SJWs. It always warms my heart to see SJWs eat each other... Does Chinese Privilege really exist in Singapore? The problem with this question is that Sangeetha has chosen not to define it, keeping it, as in the words of the comic above, “spooky and vague, and hence advantageously non-falsifiable”. The closest one could come to a general definition of it would be “anything the Chinese do that causes butthurt for a minority in Singapore”. Which of course is not a very useful definition because it is reliant on the subjective feelings of people... The employer could try the social justice route and attempt to hire a minority non-Chinese speaker for front-line service staff, but in all likelihood would quickly find that this isn’t an optimal business choice. This is how the math simply works, this is not Chinese Privilege any more than being omnivorous gives you more food choices than a vegan means you have Omnivore Privilege... At the end of the day, a lot of the touted “institutional advantages” that any group enjoys boil down to being butthurt about how some mundane confluences of circumstances have led to a particular group having competitive advantages by virtue of the environment. This is a very big difference from asserting that the less-stellar outcomes or difficulties come from deliberate and overt oppression and prejudice. The proper response would be to understand these realities, and seek to best work around or even co-opt them instead of bitterly railing against the cards that nature has given us."

A New Demon for Sangeetha Thanapal | Talon's Rest - "Apparently the whole Chinese Privilege gig was getting a bit old, given she has single-handedly alienated her Chinese “allies” by berating them at every turn and demanding they hand over status or resources, because Sangeetha is now moving further afield to another unmined demographic to cast her aspersions on. Other Indians... Don’t be a dope and pledge “solidarity” with a person who only wants your destruction at the end of the day. There are only a few appropriate responses one should level at such folks and their ilk and they all revolve around apathy and ridicule."

7 Malaysian wardens radicalised by detainees

DAILY POST: What motivated this Nigerian boxer to do the unthinkable in Rio will surprise you (VIDEO) - "Nigerian Boxer, Efe Ajagba, took just 23 seconds to knockout his Trinidad & Tobago opponent, Nigel Paul, in Boxing Super Heavyweight 91kg quarter finals at Rio 2016 Olympics. His left and right combination were devastating. His secret? He says, “I just focused all the anger I had for the Nigerian Government in one blow”"

Man Dressed as E. Coli Kicked out of Halloween Party for Appropriating Bacterial Culture - "“I knew that guy was bad news as soon as he showed up,” reported party host Aaron Sweeney, picking up the boa feathers and Harley Quinn wigs strewn about his living room and wiping Tostito crumbs off of his ‘Bernie or Bust’ T-shirt. “He just made everyone so uncomfortable. I thought we were past that era in our history now, but apparently not. I mean, every day I see anti-bacterial and sanitizing products being used without thought, it’s a disgusting assault on Prokaryotic-Americans.” When asked how he responded to the egging of his house, Sweeney turned and pointed to the massive plate of scrambled eggs on his kitchen table and gave a sad thumbs up, as salmonella vomit slowly drizzled out of his mouth."
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