"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, November 09, 2016

Links - 9th November 2016

Trump losing the presidential election will be bad for American democracy, according to an Oxford professor - "the next Republican candidate is unlikely to cleave close to the middle ground. Instead, Trump’s campaign has exacerbated the party’s tendency—well demonstrated by the rise of the Tea Party—to look for radical solutions to the country’s problems. This is not good news for those who fear that party politics need to become more conciliatory to avoid political deadlock and restore a sense of national unity. Moreover, this is not just an issue for the Republican party: It also has significant implications for the presidency. A candidate that espoused Trumpesque views without exhibiting his flaws and alienating women would have won this election—and could well win the next one, especially given four more years to build support."

Wikileaks: Clinton Aide Said James Comey Was Bad for FBI - "A senior aide to Hillary Clinton privately dismissed FBI Director James Comey as “a bad choice” in October 2015, according to newly released emails from WikiLeaks. The blunt assessment foreshadowed the dramatic tension that has escalated between Comey and the Democratic presidential candidate in the final days before the election. Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri forwarded to colleagues a news article in which the FBI director suggested that crime could be rising because police officers were becoming less aggressive as a result of the “Ferguson effect,” anti-police sentiment following unrest earlier that year in Ferguson, Missouri. Comey was widely criticized over the remarks."

Western Roman Empire: Overwhelmed by Immigrants - "On that occasion, known to history as the Battle of Adrianople, which is usually considered to be the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire, tens of thousands of Romans and their allies were hewn down, crippling the once-invincible Roman military and guaranteeing the supremacy of the Goths in the eastern portions of the empire ever after. Within a generation, the Goths, emboldened and battle-hardened, would arrive at the gates of the Eternal City itself, and become the first foreign power in eight centuries to sack Rome. And all of it began because of an immigration crisis.
For those who like to share silly articles comparing Trump to Hitler

'He's vulgar – but honest': Filipinos on Duterte's first 100 days in office - "From the hundreds of responses we received to our callout the main objection against the international media was not criticism for what Duterte has said or done, but the lack of recognition for the positive things his administration has implemented... There has also been a decrease in laglag bala (literally “drop bullet”) incidents at airports, after Duterte prevented authorities from arresting passengers who were found with bullets in their baggage. The tanim bala (bullet planting) scam saw staff insert bullets into the luggage of passengers as a means to extort them for money. Other developments have included a proposed nationwide ban on karaoke sound systems after 10pm, the removal of age limit requirements for job seekers, as well as the assurance that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be protected from corruption and abuse abroad. It is these changes that persuade people like Nique, from Baguio, that Duterte is the right president for the Philippines. “I think he has his hits and misses but more so on the hits. He did warn us that the war against drugs would be bloody, and here it is happening. Foreigners expect that a president should be prim and proper but he was voted by the majority of the Filipinos despite knowing his reputation as then-mayor of Davao”... “The world did not care about the Philippines before. Why is it, all of a sudden, concerned about the Philippines now?”"

And on Saturday: Too many festivals spoil the market - "This month alone, there are three film festivals competing for my eyeballs and credit cards: the German Film Festival (Nov 3 – 13), the French Film Festival (Nov 10 – 20) and, of course, the granddaddy of them all, the Singapore International Film Festival (Nov 23 – Dec 4). That’s not forgetting other film festivals that had already done their time: the Israel Film Festival (Sept 22 – 25); the Buddhist Film Festival (Sept 17 – 24), the Japanese Film Festival (Sept 1 – 18), the Design Film Festival (Sept 3 – 11), the Love and Pride Film Festival (Aug 19 – 31) and the European Union Film Festival (May 10 – 22)... As if that doesn’t pile on our misery, there are numerous arts festivals whooshing through and swishing around town. This month alone, there are six die-die-must-go festivals, happening almost one after another: the Singapore Biennale (Oct 27 – Feb 26), the Illustration Arts Festival (Oct 28 – Nov 6), the Singapore River Festival (Nov 4 – 5), the Singapore Writers Festival (Nov 4 – 13), the Affordable Art Fair (Nov 18 – 20) and the Anime Festival Asia (Nov 25 – 27)."

In Australia: giant spider carrying a mouse is horrifying and impressive

Algeria blocks social media to beat exam cheats

Malaysia police chief warns of 'push-pocket' blackmail scams - "Malaysia's police chief has advised the public not to fall prey to "push-pocket" criminals who accuse victims of stealing their personal items as part of a blackmail scam."

History is made at night: When the Waltz was Banned - "
'[The Waltz] had a swing that demanded a new style of dancing, a close hold (to maintain balance), and a breathless turn of speed that was itself intoxicating. Naturally, the pleasure it gave to the couples who lost themselves in each other's arms, who pressed breast against chest and who, as the music whirled on, embraced each other more and more tightly, itself attracted strong criticism. In parts of Germany and Switzerland, the waltz was banned altogether. A German book proving that "the waltz is a main source of the weakness of body and mind of our generation" proved popular as late as 1799"

Germans Are Leaving Germany 'In Droves' - "Data from the German statistics agency, Destatis, shows that 138,000 Germans left Germany in 2015. More are expected to emigrate in 2016. In a story on brain drain titled, "German talent is leaving the country in droves," Die Welt reported that more than 1.5 million Germans, many of them highly educated, left Germany during the past decade... At the height of the migrant crisis in October 2015, some 800 citizens gathered at a town hall meeting in Kassel/Lohfelden to protest a unilateral decision by the local government to set up migrant shelters in the city. The President of Kassel, Walter Lübcke, responded by telling those who disagree with the government's open-door immigration policy that they are "free to leave Germany at any time"... the newsmagazine, Focus, reported that Germans have been moving to Hungary. A real estate agent in a town near Lake Balaton, a popular tourist destination in western Hungary, said that 80% of the Germans relocating there cite the migration crisis as the main reason for their desire to leave Germany."

Piers Morgan Suggests Deporting 'White Trash Racists' To Make Room For Refugees

You Can’t Be a Real Country Unless You Have a Beer and an Airline - "In 1989 “The Real Frank Zappa Book” was published by the well-known songwriter and musician, and it included an instance of the remark mentioned above. Zappa was not eager to write a book, but he offered an important rationale in the introduction... One of the reasons for doing this is the proliferation of stupid books (in several languages) which purport to be About Me. I thought there ought to be at least ONE, somewhere, that had real stuff in it... Every major industrialized nation has A BEER (you can’t be a Real Country unless you have A BEER and an airline—it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need A BEER)."

Why The BBC Calls ISIS “So-Called Islamic State” - "This struck me as politically correct rubbish. Yet upon further examination, the term “so-called Islamic state” is something of a compromise by the Beeb after then British PM David Cameron led an effort last year to have the BBC stop using the term “Islamic State” altogether... in denying ISIS’ Islamic nature, both the British government and British Muslims demonstrate they are angrier at ISIS being called Islamic rather than they are at their murderous acts. Like it or not, there is a critical mass of Muslims in Britain who support ISIS and are prepared to travel to Iraq, Syria and Libya to take up the cause. Indeed, back in 2014, Britain’s Ministry of Defense reported there were more British Muslims fighting for ISIS than for the British military... how can we defeat an enemy if we’re worried about what to call it?"

Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference - "Christoph Bartneck, an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email inviting him to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US in November... A bogus research paper reading only “Get me off Your Fucking Mailing List” repeated over and over again was accepted by the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology, an open-access academic journal, in November 2014."
What does Alan Sokal think about this?

'Nobody calls it Czechia': Czech Republic's new name fails to catch on - "“I like the name Czech Republic because it sounds non-racial,” said Jana Stejskalova, an obstetrician gynaecologist originally from Moravia. “Czechia sounds too eastern. It’s not a good sound for a western country.” Eliska Cmejrkova, a Czech language teacher to Prague’s large foreign expatriate community, said calling the country Czechia could be justified historically but would be unlikely to stick. “Czechia makes some sense historically but the common people will call it the Czech Republic,” she said. “You cannot change a language by law; it’s like a living organism. Only linguists and nationalists care about this. When I talk about Czechia with my friends, we make fun of it and never us it.”"

Judge John McKeon blasted for sentence in incest case - "A judge who imposed a 60-day jail sentence plus probation on a Montana man who repeatedly raped his 12-year-old daughter has become the latest jurist to face the wrath of the public for his actions on the bench. More than 30,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the impeachment of District Judge John McKeon, whose sentence -- with credit for time served -- means the man could spend a total 43 days in jail for his crime. "No one spoke on behalf of the 12-year-old child at trial," the petition says. "It is time to start punishing the judges who let these monsters walk our streets."
The prosecution recommended a 25-year prison term for the man, who pleaded guilty over the summer to a felony count of incest as part of a deal that dismissed two additional counts of the same crime, according to court documents. McKeon instead imposed a suspended 30-year prison sentence, which the man will not serve if he successfully completes probation -- including a community-based sex offender treatment program and no unsupervised contact with minors... McKeon did not return a call seeking comment but he defended his decision in a statement issued last week, citing the plea agreement, state law as well as the testimony of a clinical social worker and relatives of the victim. In the statement, as well as in his judgment, McKeon wrote that longtime sex offender treatment specialist Michael Sullivan recommended community based treatment on grounds the man was at low risk to repeat his crime, according to CNN affiliate KTVQ. Based on Sullivan's testimony, treatment within the community in this case afforded "a better opportunity for rehabilitation" and "for the ultimate protection of the victim," the judge wrote. A state exception to mandatory sentencing policies is meant "to encourage and provide opportunities for an offender's self-improvement, rehabilitation and reintegration back into a community."
McKeon also cited statements from the victim's mother and maternal grandmother."
If you impeach every judge who makes a ruling you dislike, why have judges? Just crowdsource every case

How a Quest by Elites Is Driving ‘Brexit’ and Trump - NYTimes.com - "There was a trade-off between equality and maximizing income, a version of economic efficiency. Among the general American public, about half of those who played the game favored equality over efficiency. But the researchers also did the experiment at Yale Law School, an elite bastion filled with people who become Supreme Court clerks, White House aides and richly compensated lawyers. Among the Yale students who played the game, 80 percent preferred efficiency to equality. They were more worried about the size of the pie, apparently, than making sure everyone got a slice... To economists, 53,700 jobs churned each year is a small cost to be paid for a richer overall economy. To people who are among those 53,700, the pain may be enough to drive someone’s niece to vote for an antitrade candidate 30 years later... If there is one crucial lesson from the success of Mr. Trump and Brexit, it is that dynamism and efficiency sound a lot better to people who are confident they’ll always end up being winners."

Trump, Obama and the Assault on Political Correctness - The New York Times - "68 percent agreed that political correctness was a big problem, including 62 percent of self-identified Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. These views cut across racial lines. Seventy-two percent of whites and 61 percent of nonwhites (mostly African-American and Hispanic) describe political correctness as a big problem. A Rasmussen poll in August found that 71 percent of 1,000 adults surveyed agreed with the statement that political correctness was “a problem in America today.” This poll data indicates that even members of racial and ethnic minorities who are protected by speech codes as well as by the suppression of offensive language are hostile to political correctness... President Obama has been prescient in his critiques of political correctness, but his remarks have been empathetic rather than hostile and have done little to defuse the issue... Obama was more explicit in his criticism of political correctness on the nation’s campuses in a speech at the North High School in Des Moines:
'I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative. Or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans, or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. And I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of views'...
The Fairleigh-Dickenson poll suggests that liberals who seek to defend speech codes and trigger warnings, especially in schools and colleges, have ventured onto politically hazardous terrain."

The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy - "The cartel’s grip on the lightbulb market lasted only into the 1930s. Its far more enduring legacy was to engineer a shorter life span for the incandescent lightbulb... In carefully crafting a lightbulb with a relatively short life span, the cartel thus hatched the industrial strategy now known as planned obsolescence."

This Robot Can Do More Push-Ups Because It Sweats

The idea that gender is a spectrum is a new gender prison - "their identity as ‘non-binary person’ depends upon the existence of a much larger group of so-called binary ‘cisgender’ people, people who are incapable of being outside the arbitrary masculine/feminine genders dictated by society.And here we have an irony about some people insisting that they and a handful of their fellow gender revolutionaries are non-binary: in doing so, they create a false binary between those who conform to the gender norms associated with their sex, and those who do not. In reality, everybody is non-binary... to call oneself non-binary is in fact to create a new false binary. It also often seems to involve, at least implicitly, placing oneself on the more complex and interesting side of that binary, enabling the non-binary person to claim to be both misunderstood and politically oppressed by the binary cisgender people... Once we assert that the problem with gender is that we currently recognise only two of them, the obvious question to ask is: how many genders would we have to recognise in order not to be oppressive? Just how many possible gender identities are there? The only consistent answer to this is: 7 billion, give or take... They are for people who aren’t sure what they identify as, but know that they aren’t cisgender. Presumably because they are far too interesting and revolutionary and transgressive for something as ordinary and conventional as cis... The logical conclusion of all this is: if gender is a spectrum, not a binary, then everyone is trans. Or alternatively, there are no trans people"
A feminist critique of Special Snowflake Gender Theory

British army causes butthurt over picture posted on Twitter
To be non-racist the British army should stop using camouflage cream. Then the Russians can invade and kill everyone

Guy pretended to be a woman to win student position designated for women - "An Australian student by the name Alex Fitton, a member of the liberal party (Australia’s right wing party), became general secretary of the University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council on Wednesday night after he decided to identify as a woman. His sudden change in gender was a ploy to win a $12,000 executive position in the student election... The school SRC had recently introduced new laws that stipulate that the coveted council position can be shared by two people, but only if one of them identifies as a woman or a non-cisgender male"

Reformed Thai porn star Nong Nat says Buddhism, prayer helped land millionaire husband - "She stirred controversy in the 2000s by appearing in black market videos that were distributed throughout Thailand, including Tokyo Hunter and Asian Heart. The Asian beauty was prosecuted for appearing in the productions, which breach Thailand's anti-pornography laws... 'I used to be a Christian but I've been a Buddhist since I was about 21 years old,' she said... As a reformed porn star, the devotee of Buddhism still finds time to post images of herself in swimsuits to her 221,000 followers on Instagram."
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