"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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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Links - 8th November 2016

Media Bias: NBC News 'Fact Check' Declares False That Hillary 'Acid Washed' Her Server - "Fact-checkers are routinely derided and accused of bias for selectively choosing what to check and taking candidate’s comments out of context. During the second presidential debate, one fact-checker organization chose to fact check Donald Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton “acid washed or bleached” her emails, finding the claim false because “she did not use a corrosive chemical” in wiping clean her server."

Milk Chocolate Is Better Than Dark, the End - "Do you enjoy being reminded that the treat (“treat”) you are eating has been extruded from a crushed-up plant? Do you prefer desserts that go out of their way to inform you that they have been composed of beans? Then by all means, enjoy your Milky Way Midnight or whatever it is, but we really have nothing left to say to each other, because dark chocolate is bitter and aggressive, and, in general, I prefer my guilty-pleasure indulgences when they do not systematically attack me in the mouth. Also, dark chocolate is chalky. It doesn’t melt so much as it, for the most part, crumbles... “Sensory description of dark chocolates by consumers,” and its authors scientifically tested regular people’s assessments of the texture of dark chocolate. It concluded, scientifically:
'With respect to mouthfeel, chocolate with a lower cocoa content was characterized as melting and creamy, whereas the product with the highest cocoa content was characterized as dry, mealy, and sticky.'"

Pets Are Not Children, So Stop Calling Them That - "Your pet had a parent, and that parent was not a human being. That parent was another animal who, if it had the chance, would have taught your pet everything it needs to know about being the animal it is. Mostly how to find food, where to find shelter, and what to avoid that might kill it. What you have to teach your pet is how to relate to the human world (mostly how not to eat shoes, hump legs, or ruin carpets). This is the paradox at the heart of having a pet: We love them because they aren’t human, then spend their lives treating them like people. We project onto them what we wish we could see in ourselves and others. We don’t really want them to be animals — wild, free, ultimately unknowable — we want them to be like us, but more static and predictable. Something we can control... You can’t “parent” a pet because you aren’t teaching it how to leave you and become an independent being"
If you can identify as any gender you want, what's wrong with calling your pets children?

The C-word: why Hong Kong localists have offended all Chinese | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post - "The Chinese word 支那 [Chee-na] first appeared in the Buddhist scriptures of the Tang dynasty (6th century). It is believed to be the phonetic translation of the ancient Sanskrit word “cina”. Some see this as the origin of the English word “China”, but there is no conclusive evidence to support that. For most of its history, the term has had no derogatory meaning. Some scholars even argue that it is actually not the name of any particular country, but a loose expression for “land of the east”. The Chinese themselves almost never use it. In fact, even Zhongguo – the Middle Kingdom – was not often used in ancient times. Before the 1911 revolution, China existed not as a nation state in the Westphalian sense. It was a civilisation with an unbroken line of imperial dynasties. People referred to themselves as “people of the great Qing” or “people of the great Tang”. Few would call themselves “people of Zhongguo”, even fewer would use “Chinese”."

The Muhammad Ali Debate: What Happened With Bert's Son Hayden Wanting To Use Brown Make-Up To Portray Muhammad Ali? - "A couple of months ago, The Bert Show brought up a question that sparked a lot of controversy: whether or not Bert’s oldest son, 9-year-old Hayden, should wear brown makeup while portraying Muhammad Ali for class... Both Muhammad Ali and Mrs. Ali thought Hayden should be able to paint his face brown; in fact, they thought that the only thing offensive about it is that people were offended about it."
Muhammad Ali and his wife were racist!

The secret behind Italy’s rarest pasta - "there are only two other women on the planet who still know how to make it: Abraini’s niece and her sister-in-law, both of whom live in this far-flung town clinging to the slopes of Monte Ortobene. No one can remember how or why the women in Nuoro started preparing su filindeu (whose name means “the threads of God”), but for more than 300 years, the recipe and technique have only been passed down through the women in Abraini’s family – each of whom have guarded it tightly before teaching it to their daughters."

My Halloween email led to a campus firestorm — and a troubling lesson about self-censorship - "The community’s response seemed, to many outside the Yale bubble, a baffling overreaction. Nearly a thousand students, faculty and deans called for my and my husband’s immediate removal from our jobs and campus home. Some demanded not only apologies for any unintended racial insensitivity (which we gladly offered) but also a complete disavowal of my ideas (which we did not) — as well as advance warning of my appearances in the dining hall so that students accusing me of fostering violence wouldn’t be disturbed by the sight of me. Not everyone bought this narrative, but few spoke up. And who can blame them? Numerous professors, including those at Yale’s top-rated law school, contacted us personally to say that it was too risky to speak their minds. Others who generously supported us publicly were admonished by colleagues for vouching for our characters. Many students met with us confidentially to describe intimidation and accusations of being a “race traitor” when they deviated from the ascendant campus account that I had grievously injured the community. The Yale Daily News evidently felt obliged to play down key facts in its reporting, including about the two-hour-plus confrontation with a crowd of more than 100 students in which several made verbal and physical threats to my husband while four Yale deans and administrators looked on. One professor I admire claimed my lone email was so threatening that it unraveled decades of her work supporting students of color. One email... For seven years I lived and worked on two college campuses, and a growing number of students report avoiding controversial topics — such as the limits of religious tolerance or transgender rights — for fear of uttering “unacceptable” language or otherwise stepping out of line. As a student observed in the Yale Daily News, the concept of campus civility now requires adherence to specific ideology — not only commitment to respectful dialogue. The irony is that this culture of protection may ultimately harm those it purports to protect"
For how long more can SJWs be dismissed as a small, unrepresentative minority with no power and all the evidence about their antics be dismissed as right wing exaggerations?

Jeremy Corbyn met Syrian leader Assad on trip paid for by pro-Palestine group - "The Labour leader praised Assad for housing half a million Palestinian refugees and appeared to allege Israel meddled in American politics. During the trip, which cost £1,300 according to Mr Corbyn’s own Register of Members’ Financial Interests, the left wing politician said: “Once again the Israeli tail wags the US dog.”

Montreal professor known as 'The 'Gadfather' fights what he calls academic cowardice - "Saad is a Lebanese Jew who fled his home country with his family during the civil war in 1975 and moved to Montreal. Four years later, when he was 15, his parents returned to Lebanon and were kidnapped by a militia tied to the Palestinian Fatah, which he says was hired by someone who wanted to take his father's store. They were released about a week later but neither he nor his parents have returned to the country. Being forced to flee such a country has influenced his politics, he says. His experience as a youth is one of the main reasons he can't stay silent about a cultural phenomenon he believes threatens freedom of speech in Canada and the United States... He sees some respite, however, from the political correctness fever he says has gripped society — if only because it has become so bad "it's almost impossible to imagine how much more could the pendulum swing to the lunacy end.""

Reducing food waste could put birds and animals at risk - "birds that eat grain spilled in the harvest during stopovers along their migration routes could go hungry if farmers use more efficient machinery to reduce crop losses... In Europe, the authors of the paper noted, legislation in the wake of mad cow disease forced farmers to bury or burn dead animals that would normally be left lying in fields. “This led to a reduction in vulture populations to the degree that a number of species are now at risk of extinction”"

Teaching Coding to Kids Is a Scam - NYTimes.com - "A second grader should be running around, throwing a ball, scratching out drawings, learning fine motor skills and developing normal interpersonal social skills. Being hunched over a computer screen coding in some kiddy language to supposedly develop computer literacy is insane... Computers do not belong in the classroom, they belong in the library, the home, the office. They do not belong in an elementary school, once called a “grammar school” for a reason. There is no rationale for 10-year-olds becoming adept at "computational thinking" (a buzzword promoted by the computer industry) when they cannot spell well."

Jakarta Governor Race Heats Up With Ruckus Over Koran Comments - "Ahok said his opponents had "deceived" voters by using Koranic verses to try to convince them that Muslims were not permitted to support a Christian leader. His comments prompted thousands of Muslims to take to the streets in protest. Despite Ahok saying he was "very sorry" for the remarks after his police interview, thousands of protesters led by the Islamic Defenders Front are set to rally for a second time next week with plans to march on the State Palace after Friday prayers. About 10,000 protesters gathered two weeks ago, with some chanting “Reject Ahok.”
Can one dismiss 10,000 protestors as paid astroturfing tools?

At Tufts University, Offensive Halloween Costumes Could Be Investigated by Police - "Leaders of Tufts' Greek community sent an email to fraternities warning their members not to wear "inappropriate, offensive, or appropriative costumes," or costumes that appropriate cultures or "reproduce stereotypes on race, gender, sexuality, immigrant, or socioeconomic status." Also forbidden: "Outfits relating to tragedy, controversy, or acts of violence.""

Professional bridesmaids are popular in China and face physical and emotional abuse - "Bridesmaid traditions have a long history in China. In the feudal era centuries ago, when the female womb was seen as a precious resource for the production of an heir, brides were susceptible to kidnapping at weddings by rival clans and hooligans. Shouldering the responsibility to protect the bride, bridesmaids were dressed up like the bride to lower the risk that she might be identified and robbed. As legal protections for marriage were established, this was no longer necessary, and the role of bridesmaid took a more symbolic turn... Since bridesmaids also act as the last symbolic “hurdle” before the groom can enter the bridal room, the groom and groomsmen can pull off stunts laced with sexual innuendo. In more civilized cases, such stunts could involve the presentation of gifts such as peanuts (hua sheng), which share an identical pronunciation with “giving birth” (sheng) in Chinese. It could also involve licking a banana in public"
How come in Singapore it's the men who get tortured?

Thailand's red light district is back in business after the death of the king - "just over a week after the king died, hundreds of prostitutes lined the streets wearing black mini dresses, maid costumes, black boots, black suspenders and black gartars in their own unique mark of respect... 'We are wearing black dresses and boots to be respectful. We don't normally wear big boots like this, Thailand is too hot... 'Most of us wear black now. Black underwear and black dresses. We still have to remember the king.'"

Denmark reports surge in women being groped by migrants - "Rafi Ibrahim, a Syrian who has lived in Denmark for years, said new migrants don't know how to behave around women in Western society. He said: 'If they see a girl, they go nuts. They simply can't handle it. 'In Syria and many other countries, it is not normal for a strange woman to smile at you. 'Those girls who are harassed aren't necessarily scantily-dressed or drunk. Sometimes it is enough just to be a girl.'"

Blame the Internet of Things for today's web blackout - "Today's nation-wide internet outage was enabled thanks to a Mirai botnet that hacked into connected home devices, according to security intelligence company Flashpoint."

'World peace' hitcher is murdered - "An Italian woman artist who was hitch-hiking to the Middle East dressed as a bride to promote world peace has been found murdered in Turkey. The naked body of Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo, 33, known as Pippa Bacca, was found in bushes near the northern city of Gebze... She had said she wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people... Ms di Marineo was hitch-hiking from Milan to Israel and the Palestinian Territories with a fellow artist on their "Brides on Tour" project... "Her travels were for an artistic performance and to give a message of peace and of trust, but not everyone deserves trust," another sister, Maria, told the Italian news agency, Ansa"

Consumer group demands action over pork burger named ‘P. Ramly’ - "The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) has urged the authorities to take action against a restaurant for naming a pork burger “P. Ramly”, claiming it confused the public... The poster of the “P. Ramly” burger placed in front of the restaurant at a shopping centre in Damansara, as shown in the Berita Harian report, however, clearly states that the dish has pork. “Introducing P. Ramly ― juicy pork patty wrapped in an omelette, fresh lettuce, pickled onions, Thousand Island dressing, chilli sauce & mayonnaise,” reads the poster. A restaurant worker was also reported telling Berita Harian that the “P” in the name referred to “pork”. However, the newspaper reported two women who claimed that the use of the name “P. Ramly” was confusing, with one of them saying that it appeared to be disrespecting the late artiste Tan Sri P. Ramlee. “Even though the spelling is different, but it sounds almost the same. P. Ramlee is a big name in this country,” shopper Nur Alia Abdullah Tahir, 21, was quoted saying. Executive Nurhafeezah Che Haludin, 20, reportedly claimed she almost bought the burger because of the poster. “The advertisement was placed where people usually walk, as if they want to attract the attention of all consumers, including Muslims. This causes confusion,” she was quoted saying."
It is fashionable to reject the observation that Malaysians are stupid, but how long can the antics in Malaysia be blamed solely on politicians? It wasn't the politicians who were writing blog posts claiming the Wombat "Pig" was seditious

Academics Declare War On Colleague Tweeting Research Papers - "A popular Twitter account that highlighted ridiculous academic papers from the social sciences and humanities — some taxpayer-funded — was abruptly deleted recently apparently because critics threatened to expose the name of the anonymous tweeter, who feared career-ending retaliation from campus colleagues. The threats against @Real_PeerReview are telling about the state of soft academia. The tweeter’s primary activity was simply publishing links to abstracts and highlighting one or two sentences from their summaries... Some were “autoethnographic,” meaning the author simply recounted how they felt when experiencing something. Other papers had tiny sample sizes with authors speaking only to a few friends — hardly a representative sample. Low academic standards seemed to be especially accepted in the fields of “critical race theory” and feminism, making it prime fodder for tweeting, while prompting “social justice warrior” types to target the tweeter... The tweeter — who has an advanced degree in social sciences — also noted the authors sometimes received taxpayer funds for work with little practical application and offering no constructive solutions... Soon after the account was deleted last week, nearly a dozen people, including five academics, responded by creating a new group account to pick up where the @Real_PeerReview left off. One of them, Twitter user @okayultra, told TheDCNF she is a female in a non-Western country and is decidedly not a benefactor of the “patriarchy,” “whiteness” or the “hegemony,” but she thinks the public should be aware of the low level of cognitive activity that passes for serious academic work in certain enclaves of the humanities and social sciences. She said that since starting the new account, she, too, has become a target of hackers, possibly the same ones who threatened to “doxx” the original tweeter. “In modern academia one can lose a job over the slightest slights. I mean, students could claim they aren’t ‘safe’ around real_peerreview”... “I totally understand old peerreview’s situation, mocking ‘critical theory’ stuff in the western academia is like standing up for gays and personal autonomy in my country. Your academic types went so far to the left that they are emerging pretty much on the far right.”"
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