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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

A line I'm using a lot recently

Buergin Juerg v Public Prosecutor

"I am not aware of any known defence in criminal law that a person is not guilty of an offence if he was a victim of some other offence"

(this also applies to tit-for-tat arguments, like terrorism being okay if you're being oppressed)

The Contempt in which "Allies" are held by "Minorities"

Note: This was excerpted from Links - 21st April 2016 in order to classify it under the label "sangeetha"

Chinese people writing articles about Chinese... - Sangeetha Thanapal - "Chinese people writing articles about Chinese privilege: your self-flagellation, and consequently expected adulation for simply pronouncing that you have Chinese privilege does not make you an ally. Stop annoying me and using the frameworks and terminology I created to show off what a 'good' Chinese person you are, without doing anything to actually threaten or dismantle this Chinese supremacist system."

"Allies" are probably held in secret (or not-so-secret) contempt by the "minorities" they champion. Indeed the very term "ally" indicates that never the twain shall meet

Does pouring out hatred against Chinese people on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr count as doing something to threaten or dismantle a "Chinese supremacist system"?

Addendum: Is her friend Adeline Koh "doing anything to actually threaten or dismantle this Chinese supremacist system"?

Links - 21st April 2016

How I hit the headlines on Siberian TV - "we're making a news report about life outside Moscow. "Is that a problem?" I ask. "Yes it is," he replies, "judging by the kind of programmes the BBC makes." In the hotel that evening, I switch on the TV to see what kind of programmes Siberian Television makes - rather imaginative ones, judging by its main evening bulletin. "BBC in Novosibirsk" is headline news. But it's more fairy tale than fact. The newsreader introduces us - incorrectly - as the same BBC team that made that Panorama programme about the Kremlin. "Now they've received a new assignment straight from BBC headquarters!" says the reporter, as if this is some kind of spy thriller. The reporter says that we've been filming things which we haven't. And, at the end, the newsreader makes this announcement: "Tune in tomorrow to find out what the BBC's report is really about... As relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated, the amount of anti-Western reporting on pro-Kremlin TV channels has risen. The Russian authorities, too, often complain about what they see as increasing anti-Russian rhetoric in the Western media. But I wonder how effective this message is in Russia? Next day, out on Lenin Square, I interview some pensioners who are protesting against the government's economic policies. "Hang on, I saw you on TV last night. You're that British journalist aren't you? You're bad!" one woman suddenly says to me. "Do you believe everything you see on pro-Kremlin channels?" I ask. "You've come on to the street to criticise your authorities. So why are you so ready to believe that the BBC is bad?" "Well, it's all right for us to criticise our government," she replies, "but if we complain to you about our government, that's not patriotic.""

Man who killed 64-year-old praying in park jailed 16 years - "When he saw Loo chanting Buddhist prayers in the park, Sumanthiran attacked the victim and challenged him to make Buddha appear before them. He also used an umbrella that he found nearby to strike Loo on his shin... She noted Sumanthiran’s string of offences in five months in 2010 — including slashing victims with a parang and breadknife, punching and kicking victims — and risk of future violence. In mitigation, defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said his client had had a “bad year” after failing to make it to the Youth Olympics Games team, as he was in contention to join the national track and field team."
How come no one raised the racial-religious harmony angle?

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Poles Apart - "[On Poland] The government said it was biased, so it introduced a law making it more difficult for the court to review legislation. Likewise with the public media, which according to the foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski, has been promoting a Marxist worldview. One filled with cyclists, vegetarians and renewable energy"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, The Colonel's Cameraman - "[She] was referred to the [geriatric] centre after becoming depressed but didn't want to come because, as she told me, 'All old people do is moan about their diseases'. Her children insisted and now she loves it. So do people moan about their illnesses, I ask her. When they start boring on I just change my seat. I say you're complaining because you need something else. You need a husband. When the men complain I ask them if they want to marry me. That soon stops them. I'm struck by how much"

When is a fine a bribe? - "Of course then we realised we didn't have enough money on us. So the police offered to drive us to a cash machine. It was then I started feeling a bit suspicious. Police taking us to a hole in the wall? I'm sure this wouldn't happen back home. But it was the first time I'd been in trouble with the law here, and the truth is they did it so professionally it didn't even feel like a bribe... As we chatted about Mexico's corruption problems, I compared them to Britain's parliamentary expenses scandal. "Yes," said Pardinas. "I followed that story and we Mexicans thought it was really sweet. I mean, a British politician claims for a satellite TV subscription in his house - come on - a Mexican politician would claim the whole house," he laughed"

How China guards the Xi creation myth - "The propaganda chief had started threatening to confiscate our recordings. President Xi may have left his heart in Liangjiahe but I didn't want to leave all the material I'd gathered there. That night we made a sudden bolt, driving 200 miles (320km) to an airport from which we could get our work out of China. Strange exploits when you consider that the cave years are possibly the most positive chapter of Xi Jinping's life even without persuasion and threats from the propaganda department."

Chávez’s revolution was more successful outside of Venezuela than at home - "behind the rhetoric and grand programs, Chávez’s record was spotty. In 2011, 8.5% of the population lived in extreme poverty, compared to 23% in 1999, according to government figures. Yet the country’s official murder rate has doubled according to official figures, and may be even higher in reality. Crime in the hillside barrios the president sought to uplift has risen. Prisons, hospitals and public schools are still some of the worst in the region, and trade unions have been left weak. “He kept hope for a revolution to come. After 14 years, we’re still waiting for the revolution,” said Diego Moya-Ocampos, an analyst at the consultancy firm IHS, at a recent panel discussion in London’s Frontline Club. Instead, Chávez honed his international image and forged alliances with countries in his attempt to build a multipolar world that could exist outside of the grip of the United States. “Never has a Latin American leader wasted so much money, misspent so many resources and misused such power. Chávez could have transformed the country, but instead used those resources to build a personality cult, push a failed ideology and decimate the country’s economy”"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Opting to go lower caste - "The private sector is estimated to only employ some 12% of India's workforce, and the slowdown in the global economy has not helped either. So for many Indians, the most secure form of employment is to land a government job... He's been a staunch Sisi supporter as long as I've known him. Not anymore. Don't ask me about him, he practically shouted when I last saw him. At least under Morsi, I could breathe, I could express an opinion. Under his successor, freedom has been sucked from Egyptian life like oxygen being drained from a closed room"

Human Races Exist: Refuting 11 Common Arguments Against the Existence of Race - "No Credible Scientists Believe in Race
This is false and usually stated with no proper citation. As reviewed in (Liebermann et al. 2004), surveys show that many researchers around the world believe in the existence of human races...
There Hasn't Been Enough Time for Races to Evolve
The Moose has evolved several subspecies in the last 100,000 years (Mikko and Andersson 1995), 2 subspecies of waterfowl evolved in less than 100,000 years (Wilson et al. 2011), 8 subspecies of tiger evolved in roughly 72,000 years (Lou et al. 2004), the Lizard Laudakia stellio evolved 2 subspecies in 12,000 years (Brammah et al. 2010) and, finally, the polar bear has only been evolving separately from the brown bear for 70,000-100,000 years (Lindqvist et al. 2010). Moreover, it only took 200,000 years for Neanderthals and modern humans to evolve into separate species (or perhaps subspecies)...
Races Cannot Be Important Because We All Share 99% of Our DNA
We also share 95-98% of our DNA with chimps and, yet, there are some pretty big differences between us and chimps (Varki and Altheide 2009)"

Vlad The Impaler - "Dracula was very concerned that all his subjects work and contribute to the common welfare. He once noticed that the poor, vagrants, beggars and cripples had become very numerous in his land. Consequently, he issued an invitation to all the poor and sick in Wallachia to come to Târgoviste for a great feast, claiming that no one should go hungry in his land. As the poor and crippled arrived in the city they were ushered into a great hall where a fabulous feast was prepared for them. The princes guests ate and drank late into the night, when Dracula himself made an appearance. 'What else do you desire? Do you want to be without cares, lacking nothing in this world,' asked the prince. When they responded positively Dracula ordered the hall boarded up and set on fire. None escaped the flames. Dracula explained his action to the boyars by claiming that he did this, 'in order that they represent no further burden to others so that no one will be poor in my realm.
Nobody was immune from his cruelty. Another widely disseminated tale involves the arrival in his court of two foreign ambassadors:
"Some Italian ambassadors were sent to him. When they came to him they bowed and removed their hats and they kept on the berets beneath them. Then he asked them why they did not take their caps off, too. They said it was their custom, and they did not even remove them for the Emperor. Dracula said, 'I wish to reinforce this for you.' He immediately had their caps nailed firmly on their heads so that their caps would not fall off and their custom would remain. Thus he reinforced it."
In other versions, the ambassadors are Turkish and the caps are turbans. But the essence of the story remains the same. "

Angary Definition - "Angary includes the alleged right to seize the goods - property and money - of neutral states on payment of compensation, where such seizure is necessary for the defence of the seizing state"

You've been eating Toblerone wrong your entire life

Russia Shows What Happens When Terrorists’ Families Are Targeted - NYTimes.com - "“There is systematic abuse of the family members of insurgents,” Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, and an expert on the Caucasus, said in a telephone interview. “There can be short-term results, but I wouldn’t call it success,” she said. “You can prevent some episodes of violence at the moment, but you are radicalizing whole communities.” “When innocent Muslims are targeted for the expediency of security services, this legitimizes the jihadist cause,” she said. Ms. Akmedova explained how the sense of injustice and outrage develops. After her younger son was killed in 2013, she said, the police came by and told her and her son’s widow that the grandchildren, despite being in kindergarten and elementary school, would be put on watch lists."

Moshi Moshi - What Does It Mean?

20 readers who lost fluency in their language

Belief in scientific–technological progress and life satisfaction: The role of personal control - "belief in scientific–technological progress is a stronger predictor of life satisfaction than religious beliefs in a nationally representative sample of the Dutch population (Study 1) and across 69 out of 72 countries (Study 2). Additional analyses highlighted the role of personal control beliefs as the mechanism driving this effect: a strong belief in scientific–technological progress was associated with an enhanced sense of personal control, which in turn contributed to higher life satisfaction. Consistent with previous research on “shared reality” and person–culture fit, the beneficial consequences of an individual's belief in scientific–technological progress were enhanced when this belief was widely held within a specific culture."

Block ads? That only makes you more attractive to advertisers - "people who block ads could generate more money for publishers because they are likely to be tech savvy and in the “millennial” age range that advertisers want to reach, are less likely to be bots (computers posing as humans), and are likely to see fewer ads overall."

Science Kombat Arcade Game Featuring Eight Science Legends is Playable Now - "If you dig what you see here, you’ll probably enjoy some of the other Superinteressante newsgames, like Filosofighters, which is basically the exact same thing, except with legendary philosophers like Karl Marx and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Because man is born free, but everywhere he will be IN PAIN!"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Food Waste: How Low Can it Go? - [On France] 'I want to say you the truth, Manuela. And I want to say the truth to all the person that will listen you. Supermarkets lie. Why? Because when they throw out their unsold food, they obtain again the tax'
'You're saying they get a tax rebate on the food they throw away'
'Exactly. On the same thing, the harmony, thanks to their food, they sell at the same time. Because they lie about the expiration of the date of the food. Everybody know that this is not an expiration to consume, but only an expiration to sell'...
It's easy to see the problem of food waste as a tale of greedy supermarket beavers exploiting innocent consumers, but... [the UN food agency says] it's consumers who waste the most"

The Failure of Palestinian/Arab Leadership

"Shared this before and am going to share this again, here's a cold, hard look at the I-P Conflict that just lays the facts out on the table.

Anybody who wants to pass any statement on the issue best acquaint themselves with these first:

Under the terms of the 1948 and 1979 agreements, the Arab refugees are to be resettled. The reasons this has not happened are:

1) The many Arab refugees who tried to make homes in Jordan and Lebanon were forever denied citizenship and expelled after Arafat tried using them as a power base to overthrow the governments of those countries.

If he had not done this, today the Arab refugees would be living normal lives. Instead, during Black September and the Lebanese Civil War, not 2,000, but tens and hundreds of thousands of Arabs (respectively) were murdered by other Arabs. Because the fundamental reason for hostility to Israel is antisemitism, the far greater death toll of Muslims murdered by other Muslims is not controversial.

2) Arafat and his successors have and continue to turn down offers of a Palestinian state - in 1948, 1973, 1979, 2000, 2004, 2008, etc.

In 2000, the Arabs were offered a state consisting of 95% of what they asked, plus compensation and international aid amounting to $30 billion, enough to fully develop the territories many times over. Arafat instead walked away from the table and went back to terrorism. The reason for this was, according to Clinton and others present, the stipulation that any agreement had to result in an end to the conflict. Because Arafat was a career terrorist and not a politician, a wealthy Egyptian and not a refugee, he preferred war to peace.

3) Egypt keeps the Rafeh Crossing shut, primarily for two reasons. First, they want no part of Hamas' self-destructive terrorism, and second, as a dictatorship, the Egyptian leadership is unprepared to handle the political consequences of ending the conflict with Israel.

Those are the facts, not rhetoric or accusations or what have you, just facts, the cold hard numbers, historical and political background, of what is going on over there...

Palestinian leaders have historically laid on the tin foil thick as a means of getting political capital to keep their people in line and focused on blaming everything on the Joos instead of their own inaptitude.

But in doing so they also created a monster that they must constantly feed or else they would lose legitimacy. Hamas for example started the 2014 rocketderp after more radical groups started shooting because to not do so was to give out a picture that they were less anti-Israel than the rest.

The recent knife attacks have less to do with Israeli occupation and more to do with a particular piece of tin foil that has taken a life of it's own- namely the idea that Israel intends to demolish Muslim sites on the Temple Mount and build their some Zionist stuff there, didn't help that Abbas went to egg people on the "defend" the Temple Mount.

Palestinian govt. helpless to stop the knife attacks? They sparked it off basically. More Palestinians will die because they believe they are fighting to prevent some tin foil from happening.

Live by the derp, die by the derp."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Links - 18th April 2016

Why I Haven’t Felt The Bern - NYTimes.com - "What you see, on this as on multiple issues, is the casual adoption, with no visible effort to check the premises, of a story line that sounds good. It’s all about the big banks; single-payer is there for the taking if only we want it; government spending will yield huge payoffs — not the more modest payoffs conventional Keynesian analysis suggests; Republican support will vanish if we take on corporate media. In each case the story runs into big trouble if you do a bit of homework; if not completely wrong, it needs a lot of qualification. But the all-purpose response to anyone who raises questions is that she or he is a member of the establishment, personally corrupt, etc.. Ad hominem attacks aren’t a final line of defense, they’re argument #1. I know some people think that I’m obsessing over trivial policy details, but they’re missing the point. It’s about an attitude, the sense that righteousness excuses you from the need for hard thinking and that any questioning of the righteous is treason to the cause. When you see Sanders supporters going over the top about “corporate whores” and such, you’re not seeing a mysterious intrusion of bad behavior into an idealistic movement; you’re seeing the intolerance that was always just under the surface of the movement, right from the start."

This tech company is giving its employees a half-day vacation so they can sleep-in after 'Game of Thrones'

Russia's Putin admits Panama Papers accurate, blames US - "Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday (April 14) acknowledged the accuracy of the Panama Papers revelations, but claimed funds had been spent on musical instruments as he blamed the leak on the United States."

Sanders Under Fire for Supporter's 'Whores' Remarks - "It's hardly the first time a speaker at a Sanders event have created distractions. Actors Tim Robbins, Rosario Dawson, and Susan Sarandon have all been sources of controversy that threaten to overshadow Sanders' events"

Guatemala's new leader Jimmy Morales has the last laugh - ""Lots of people started to believe that politics was not synonymous with corruption."... "When you run on the notion and only on the notion that you are not a thief, that tells you a lot about the state of the political system," says Kevin Casas Zamora of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington DC. "One should expect much more than that from the leaders in a normal democracy - not just not being a thief" ... not all of Mr Morales' jokes have been successful. One episode of Moralejas that sticks in many people's minds is when he performed in blackface, triggering accusations of racism."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, The Comedian President - "If you ever go and visit Vladimir Barabanov, you'll know by the graffiti that you've come to the right address. 'Barabanov is a traitor to his country and his people'. These words are spray painted all over the lobby of his apartment block. As you climb the stairs, there are more messages on the walls, more phrases full of bile. 'Barabanov has sold out to the American fascists', 'Barabanov has betrayed Russia'. Not that Vladimir views himself as a traitor. Quite the opposite. Russia used to call him a hero. Vladimir is one of more than 600,000 Soviet soldiers who fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s. That war proved disastrous for the USSR. More than 15,000 Soviet soldiers were killed. But when Moscow pulled out the troops, it praised its soldiers for having done what Communism called their Internationalist Duty. Back home in Bryansk , Vladimir became Chairman of the local Afghan War Veterans association helping those who survived the conflict to get housing and healthcare, and the other social benefits they were due. When we came home, Vladimir tells me, the authorities told us they'd learned their lesson. They promised there would never be a second Afghanistan. That this would be the very last war Russia would start. They made a deal with us. And then they broke it. By the 1990s, an independent Russia was using its army against its own citizens, to crush the separatist movement in Chechnya. The Chechen war, Vladimir says, showed how little human life was now worth. In that conflict, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers, Chechen fighters and civilians were killed. More recently, Vladimir criticised Russia's involvement in Eastern Ukraine, condemning the authorities for sending troops and weapons over the border in support of pro-Russia rebels. Last year he and some of his colleagues from the Afghan Veterans' association took to the streets to protest. They held placards with simple messages: 'Stop the War. Don't make Ukraine a second Afghanistan'. Despite all the evidence pointing to Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine, Moscow denies it's been fueling and funding a war across the border. It was after this tiny protest that the graffiti appeared in Vladimir's
block of flats. He received abusive phone calls too, accusing him of treachery. But Vladimir refuses to stay silent. He says he owes it to the victims of the Afghan War to speak his mind"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Donald Trump 2.0 - "I can still recite whole passages of John Major's stump speech [when he lost to Tony Blair], I heard it so often. Donald Trump has stump ideas. It's an anagram of a speech, with words, ideas, bits of sentence, syntax and grammar having been put into the equivalent of the green Scrabble bag, shaken vigorously and thrown onto the board... One told me he hated the Democrats and hated the Republicans and loved Trump, because he was the 'screw all of you' candidate... he is their champion. A billionaire who grew up moneyed and privileged. The hero of the downtrodden...
Tens of thousands of Qadri supporters had made their way to the park in a vast gathering. Qadri's body looked as though it was floating on a sea of people, with rose petals thrown from all directions. If you'd just arrived in Pakistan that day and didn't know who Mumtaz Qadri was, you could be forgiven for thinking he was a national hero. The banners at the rally certainly described him that way. One said: 'Mumtaz Qadri, we salute you for your bravery'. Young men carried cards on their chests saying 'We are all Mumtaz Qadri'. But Mumtaz Qadri was in fact police guard turned assassin and the funeral was held after he was hanged 5 years after killing Punjab governor Salman Taseer, the man he was supposed to protect. Mr Taseer had spoken out against the country's controversial blasphemy law... Blasphemy is a capital crime in Pakistan. But the law fails to explain exactly what constitutes blasphemy. Those who are accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed or any members of his family, or desecrating the Koran could face the death penalty. But most of the time people take the law into their own hands. A mere accusation with no evidence or proper investigation can put someone's life and their family's into danger...
Timber people from Thailand are chopping down our teak forests and and China is taking away our jade... They are the new colonialists, and the military and its rich business friends get lots of money from them... Myanmar is in turns both staggeringly beautiful and depressingly ugly. The ancient crumbling temple complex of Bagan in the centre of the country with its more than 2,000 pagodas and stupas stretching into the central plain beside the Irradaway River must rank as one of the world's great wonders. 'Free the classic, clear the plastics', pleads a sign. But the country seems powerless against a rising tide of rubbish, a rash of garish new buildings, many of them hotels to accommodate the crowds of tourists who for so long were locked out of the country, is disfiguring many towns and cities"

The return of the 'Made in America' label? - "An almost perfect storm of factors is boosting American manufacturing. The shale revolution has lowered energy costs and made the US look competitive again. Rising wages in emerging markets like China is another reason. Black & Decker says it now costs the same to produce in America as it does in China once logistics and transport costs are taken into account. Plus, the US has maintained its position as the technology leader, so productivity is high"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, A Tunnel of Stories - "An Indian friend told me the refugees are referred to in Hindi slang as "kabutar" (sp?) or pigeons. The word in this context means something like opportunists or scavengers. "If I was fleeing war, Rohini told me, I would stay with people of my own culture as near as I could to my own country. And I thought of the young Syrian tattoo artist who told me had worked a year in Istanbul but was unhappy with the wages - 800 pounds a month - so had joined the exodus to Germany."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Old Fears Return - "He grasps a fistful of wild lavender and crushes it to his nose. He uses this he says to cover his tracks. Before he wore a set of clothes which he'd left in a barn with some sheep. But he soon realised when he started interacting with people they found the smell rather offensive. Now with the lavender he can hide from the animals while smiling quite pleasant"

Screaming from the only studio with a bidet - "The reason why a broadcasting correspondent has an easier time now than he did in the 40s is simple: it is that communications have improved. Communications are the only things that change in news. The news itself, despite what some may claim about there being more of it today, or less of it, remains remarkably similar from one decade to the next. And, in fact, the only really novel events that have happened in my time are space travel, political hijackings, mass tourism and the plastic explosion in household equipment - what one advertising man once described to me as "the breakthrough in plastic toys for budgerigars... It defines, too, the frontiers of your powers of endurance and rubs in the valuable lesson that the way things appear on the spot are nearly always different from the way they are visualised by the reader or listener in an armchair. Now this has nothing to do with inaccurate reporting. It has to do with the human imagination, which seems unable to cope with anything smaller than twice life-size. I don't remember being seriously frightened on a story I was actually covering, but I was often terrified when I read other people's reports of it afterwards."

food.recentrunes.com | Mee Goreng as the National Dish of Singapore - "It is cooked by an Indian Muslim in Ghee, using a Chinese wok, with Chinese cabbage, Hokkien noodles, Malay chilli padi, Indian mutton (marinated with the Sup Kambing) and American Ketchup."

List of those exempted from Delhi government's odd-even formula for cars - "the cars with odd numbers will ply on odd dates and even number cars on even dates...
Who are exempted from the scheme:
- President
- Vice President
- Prime Minister
- Chief Justice of India
- Lok Sabha Speaker
- Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha
- Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha
- Leaders of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha
- Chief Ministers of state and union territories except Delhi
- Governors of State
- Lt Governors of Union Territories
- Union Ministers
- Judges of Supreme Court, judges of Delhi High Court and Lokayukta
- Single women drivers, women drivers with a male child up to the age of 12"

Even steven: Delhi sticker crooks have already devised odd-even jugaad - "Special vinyl stickers which can be pasted on number plates to replace the last two digits, have become the hottest selling car accessory in Delhi"

The city in love with cars even though its air is toxic - "For 90 minutes, we sat in a logjam surrounded by a thick haze of diesel exhaust, just a few minutes' walk from our flat, on one of Delhi's major north-south thoroughfares. Police stood by while the rich in their Lamborghinis and BMWs drove against the traffic, some mounting pavements, others blocking intersections, and still others attempting U-turns in the tiniest of gaps. High-decibel horn blasts rent the air, tyres squealed, and gangs of young men abandoned their vehicles to argue with other drivers. The result was a traffic jam stretching out in every direction."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Inspecting the Troops - "[On Rusia in Syria] I asked the spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry to respond to these accusations... No army in the world has ever been so open about who it's targetting. It's terrorists we're attacking... Are you saying, I responded, that after nearly 6,000 sorties by your airforce, there hasn't been one civilian casualty? Correct, replied the spokesman... The less you know beforehand, he explained, the safer you'll be. That is why, at times, being embedded with the Russian military felt like some kind of Magical Mystery Tour"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, A special Boxing Day edition - "No East German has ever sailed in the Warnamunde apart from the officials who went on her maiden voyage and her crew, who were not allowed offshore in Denmark. The Warnamunde's predecessor on the Gesser (?) run, a Danish ferry, used to be allowed to take along East Germans just for the trip. They were not allowed to land in Denmark. But there were too many ugly scenes, with passengers leaping over the rail and swimming for it, and plainclothes people's policemen splashing after them in pursuit. So now East German holidaymakers and dockyard workers wave to the Warnamunde from a distance, closely watched by 7 naval ratings spaced along the quayside and armed with submachine guns. The People's Own Motorship is for foreigners only. And the people's chance of ever seeing Denmark, just across the water, is rather smaller than the prospect of a visit to Peking...
[On the Twist] Is there a connection between the desperate state of the world and the popularity of this frenetic dance? I think there is. Certainly one can't imagine such a dance getting widely popular in a time when people felt satisfied and confident in the future"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Nervous Sweden - "A group of young Iraqi men huddle in the doorway... It's so cold here! the biggest man complains... It's very pretty, but there are no jobs. No nothing actually. We don't get nothing in Finland. He asks where I come from and when I reply London, the group instantly choruses: 'London! London! We want to go London!'. Many of those seeking asylum never bargained on being in Finland at all... The 92 Euros or 70 Pounds a month allowance he receives as an asylum seeker barely keeps him in cigarettes. Disillusioned, 2000 mainly Iraqi mirants volunteered to return home last year. That's riled many Finns who argue that it's proof that plenty of so-called refugees are not fleeing for their lives at all but are simply lifestyle shopping. A few years ago, those views would only have been voiced by the populist Finn's party and would've been viewed as extreme. Now the government is pretty much singing from the same songsheet. It's even set up a Facebook page in Iraq and Afghanistan, warning migrants that Finland is not a paradise, that they're in the process of cutting back benefits and they predict 2/3 of asylum applications this year will be rejected. Last Autumn, the head of the Lutheran Church here, to which 3/4 of Finns belong, called upon parishioners to shelter and welcome the refugees. Unfortunately, his appeal backfired and prompted a mass resignation from the church on a public internet forum"
Maybe they rather die than be cold

Chinese Legalism

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Chinese Legalism

"'The Legalist view of punishment is actually that crimes committed among kin were judged to be more severe than crimes that were actually committed by strangers, and that is very interesting because that touches perhaps on some Confucian ideas of the family unit or the family as a sanctioning, a sanctioning unit...

If as a father, you know, you decided for some reason to beat your son to death, that wouldn't be a punishable crime. If a son denounced his father, that would be punishable. Or if a son denounced his grandparents that would be a severe, a severe crime. And the ways in which people implemented punishment and the physical nature of it was also graded. And so these punishments, they graded, they were graded from the most physically mutilating punishments, which meant the chopping off the nose, chopping off limbs, tattooing the face and mutilating visual parts of the body. Shaving of the beard and shaving of the hair was one of the lighter punishments. It was an insult to somebody's manhood if you want. To obviously the most severe punishments: boiling people alive, quartering them and so on and so on. One was able to redeem oneself from one's crimes by buying oneself out of some of the more severe punishments. And specifically officials were able to do that. Not by paying cash but by handing over shields and armour, so there was a very military kind of nature about the redemption of punishment there.'

'How does this differ from a reign of terror?'

'For the people on the ground, I assume, it doesn't... terror is seen as in one way a binding mechanism that guarantees the institution of rulership is seen as absolute'...

'In times of peace... taxation and surplus of revenue was meant to be spent on military affairs, to keep people busy. To keep them trained. In times of peace, farming is not simply about producing agricultural produce but farming is about controlling the population. And in essence, warfare and farming are two skills that are transferable... the way you work the fields, the way you fight the soil... the cooperative units of farmers on the fields create bonds that are easily transferable in a military context. So if every citizen, adult male doubles up as a farmer and a military conscript, you are creating a formidable military machine'...

It became villified because one of the great laws in Dynastic history in China is that you also always should villify your immediate predecessors...

[The First Emperor] physically he's described in the most extraordinary kind of animal-like terms. The face of a wolf and the breast of a chicken and all sorts of things like that. And it is... to do with justifying the Mandate of Heaven. That the Han has been appointed by Heaven, as it were, to overthrow this evil beast... he is really one of the strongest kind of hate figures in Chinese history"

Sunday, April 17, 2016

SINFUL ENGLISH (First World Problems)

Links - 17th April 2016

Green hobby grows into a business - "Mr Linneberg, 45, a Singapore permanent resident who has lived here for 18 years, was spurred to invent a device that would let them grow their own food without having to worry too much about maintenance.... Luscious green leaves sprout from each pocket, with some stalks bearing juicy fruit. Some of the edibles they grow include cucumber, kale, tomato and passionfruit. They have also hired a horticulturist to help them improve the gardening aspect of the operations, such as testing plants that would grow better in Singapore's climate, fertilisation and pest control. Mr Linneberg says of their D-I-Y venture: "I expected to build these few towers and that was it. But you get excited seeing your basil grow and you can harvest kilos of tomatoes and you want to improve it. "It's so appealing to grow your own food.""

Have a siesta in Seoul cinema for $12 - "WHAT do you do when you are desperately in need of a lunchtime nap? If you work in Yeouido, Seoul's financial hub, and have 10,000 won (S$12) to spare, you could make a dash for the Yeouido CGV, where the cinema chain transforms its Premium Theater into a cozy sleep nook during lunch hours, Monday through Thursday."

World of Tanks shows Belarus potential beyond Soviet-era farms - "Lukashenko, who once called the internet "garbage", has left the technology sector alone and now seems proud of his country's IT prowess. Commenting on an episode when Belarusian hackers stole hundreds of thousands of dollars, he told parliament: "Of course it is a disgrace. But sometimes you look and you are proud that our people know how to do this." Aleksander Klaskovskii, a Belarusian political analyst said Lukashenko is not scared that access to sophisticated technology and the Internet will bring political ideas that could undermine his rule. "The Belarusian authorities are not so primitive. They are not Internet-phobic. Lukashenko is a rational person," he said. "Revolutions do not occur due to the fact that someone writes something on the Internet"... The low cost of living and the country's position outside the European Union also helps keeps wage costs down compared to nearby EU members.

Deception Island, Antarctica - "This has become a favourite spot for those fortunate enough to have prioritized a visit to Antarctica in their lifetime. One reason is for the legendary “Polar Swims” which one is encouraged to do (doing so at your own risk and with a support team nearby in case of hypothermia). You would think that with the warmer sands that the sea inside would be relatively warm. Unless troubles bubbling below, you would be slightly deceived in this notion. Having done the swim myself, I can assure you there was nothing ‘warm’ about that swim!!"

Juicing Is Bad for You and the Earth - "no one seems to be listening these days. According to IBIS World, the market forjuices and smoothies is $2 billion annually and expected to grow by hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years. You can scarcely go a week without hearing about a coworker or celebrity being on a “juice cleanse,” either. Juicing is not just another fad though: it is a privileged, wasteful form of food consumption that’s worse for you than cooking and bad for the environment; juicing is the triumph of marketing over science. When juiced, a basket of fruit would probably serve half—if not less—the amount of people as it would if eaten whole. Lost to juicing are fibers that satiate (including the skin which is loaded with heart-healthy, cancer-fighting flavonoids), vitamins, and most importantly, fat. Fat matters because the body needs it to absorb a whole host of vitamins like A, D, E, and K (PDF). Without fat in that juice combo, those vitamins pass right through you... After the juice has been squeezed out of food, tons of pulp is left behind, thrown into landfills where they emit significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide"

Hong Kong bookseller Lee Bo says he will abandon UK residency - "The UK has previously expressed concern about the disappearances, particularly that of Mr Lee. It said last month he was probably "involuntarily removed" to China in what would have been a "serious breach" of the Hong Kong handover treaty... In response to his TV interview, the UK government said it was ready to provide consular assistance, but had not so far been allowed access to Mr Lee, despite formal requests to the Chinese government.

A Quest for the Black Knight: Casting People of Color in Arthurian Film and Television - "The way the film uses race as the basis for comedy raises the question of why it should be considered funny to cast a black actor in a film set in the medieval period. Must actors of color be portrayed as the “Other” when (or if) given roles in films made in the West about the European Middle Ages?"

As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity - "The mandate that women cover their hair relies on misinterpretations of Koranic verses. In Arabic dictionaries, hijab refers to a “barrier,” not necessarily between men and women, but also between two men. Hijab appears in a Koranic verse (33:53), during the fifth year of the prophet Muhammad’s migration, or hijra, to Medina, when some wedding guests overstayed their welcome at the prophet’s home. It established some rules of etiquette for speaking to the wives of prophet Muhammad: “And when ye ask of them anything, ask it of them from behind a hijab. This is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.” Thus, hijab meant a partition. The word hijab, or a derivative, appears only eight times in the Koran as an “obstacle” or “wall of separation” (7:46), a “curtain” (33:53), “hidden” (38:32), just a “wall of separation” (41:5, 42:52, 17:45), “hiding” (19:14) and “prevented” or “denied access to God” (83:15). In the Koran, the word hijab never connotes any act of piety. Rather, it carries the negative connotation of being an actual or metaphorical obstacle separating the “non-believers” in a dark place, noting “our hearts are under hijab (41:5),” for example, a wall of separation between those in heaven and those in hell (7:46) or “Surely, they will be mahjaboon from seeing their Lord that day (83:15).” Mahjaboon is a derivate verb from hijab. The Saudi Koran translates it as “veiled.” Actually, in this usage, it means, “denied access.”"

The 'Shame, Shame' Nun Speaks! - "I was about to get on a plane, just myself and my daughter. It was in the very early morning and I was totally in Mommy mode with no makeup on. I sat down next to this guy, and he said, “Am I right in thinking you can ring my bell?” And I said to him, “Yes, but I’m really insulted that you even recognized me!” Seriously, I always need to put a little mascara or something on when I leave the house."

Cab tragedy: Cardboard auntie gave away what she collected - "After her meal, 77-year-old Poh Ah Gin enjoyed wandering around the neighbourhood, sometimes collecting cardboard boxes to recycle to pass time. This was what she was doing on Tuesday evening when the driver of a Comfort taxi reversed into her twice at high speed... Yesterday, at Madam Poh's wake at Block 120, family members described her as a "happy-go-lucky" woman who was single by choice. She had lived alone in her three-room flat since 1975, after her mother died. However, she also had a "stubborn" streak, said her sister, Madam Mary Poh, 73, who lives one street away from her and would frequently cycle over to visit. "My siblings and I would chip in for her expenses. We've told her many times that she doesn't need to collect cardboard, but she insisted on doing it to pass time." Madam Poh Ah Gin, who was the third of 11 children, would give the cardboard she collected to a rag-and-bone man for free, said her nephew, Mr Francis Loo, 49, who works in the pharmaceutical industry. "She never earned a cent from it. She was just kind-hearted.""
Maybe according to frothing anti-PAP types, she was so poor she gave away the money she earned from collecting cardboard because the PAP is evil

'Cardboard auntie' who was knocked down by school bus was in driver's blind spot: Coroner - "An 86-year-old woman who died in November 2014 after she was struck by a school bus in Marsiling Lane had been collecting recyclable items such as cardboard and cans as "a pastime" and "exercise", a coroner's court heard on Friday... Police investigation officer Nor Affendy Jaffar told the court Madam Ching's family said she had been collecting items as "exercise" for about three years. One of her sons had also told the inquiry that she was in good health, not in any financial difficulty, and had taken to collecting recyclables as a pastime."

Chee Soon Juan Highlights Plight Of Bukit Batok Granny, But Netizen Found Out That Granny Works To Exercise - "In his Facebook post, he highlighted that not only is she underpaid at $5.50/hour, she also has to work for long hours and her work is considerably strenuous for her age... In the video, she said that she works as a form of exercise. She does not want to stay at home alone because her mind tends to wander off. She also told the interviewer that there are people at home to take care of her."

Granny helping hubby collect cardboard dies after BMW crashes into them - "His mother would then join his stepfather, who worked as a rag-and-bone man, to collect cardboard and other recyclable materials on weekends. "She liked it. It was her way to keep active. They did it every week and when I was younger, I also joined them sometimes.""

Minister Tan Chuan-Jin Finds Tissue Seller Who Works For Fun - "The elderly lady that Minister Tan talked to has two daughters and a husband who works. Whether the old lady is a retiree or not is unclear, but she appears to be selling tissues because she has nothing to do, rather than because she is hard-up on cash; something Minister Tan wouldn’t have found out if he hadn’t chatted with her. Lesson learned? Don’t stereotype tissue peddlers. Some really can’t make ends meet, but some also sell tissues to pass time."

Singapore news today | MISSING TEEN BLOGGER AMOS YEE SPOTTED IN MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA?

UI #91 - Unfit to Teach - "On November 29th of 1911, the New York City Board of Education barred 4 young teachers from the classroom because their young children had caused them to be absent from school far too many times. As a result a new policy was put into place that forbade women with young children from being teachers in the New York City school system. Should a woman have a child while employed by the district, she was given only two options. One: resign from her position or Two: be fired. If a woman chose to resign, she could apply to be rehired once her children had grown. But if she opted to let the Board of Education terminate her employment, then she could never ever work for the New York City school system again... It was an existing policy of the school board never to hire married female teachers. That is unless their husbands were mentally or physically unable to support them."

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 154 - Tom Griffiths on "Why your brain might be rational after all" - "For something like causality, causality is a weird and interesting thing, because nobody has actually ever observed a causal relationship. Causal relationships are things that, they don't exist in the world. As Hume pointed out, you've never really got good evidence for a causal relationship being something that actually exists. It's more an expectation which we're imposing on the world around us. It's interesting to ask the question of whether there's a notion of causality independent of the human construal of causality. I think a lot of statistical arguments that you can have about, okay, what's a good way of characterizing a causal relationship or not, really end up being psychological arguments about the intuitions that we have about the nature of causality."

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Robert Hooke - "It was a perfect world when you looked at all these fleas and lice and such"
"In a way, the whole book is an example of Natural Theology. This way of arguing from the Natural World to prove the existence of God the Great Designer. So for example he draws analogies, similarities between different things he looked at, because they're part of God's Plan. But right at the beginning he says, he follows Francis Bacon. He says: Yes, our senses were damaged in the fall and therefore Micrographia for him is the first installment in a grand project to enhance the senses... so this is a religious enterprise all the way through"
So much for non-overlapping magisteria

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Holbein at the Tudor Court - "The really interesting thing about Holbein... Holbein like Goya had this talent for showing his antipathy to some of his patrons without his patrons ever noticing. And of course the classic panel portrait of Henry, the small view now in Madrid, the most famous portrait of him wearing the cloth of gold and cloth of silver doublet, with the cap, with the feather in it, shows a brooding threatening man whose piggy eyes glower with suspicion, but Henry thought this was top stuff...
When Anne [of Cleves] arrived, Henry just didn't like her. And then on the wedding night he said basically he felt her belly and breast and then decided she was no maid and that made him temporarily impotent"

Egypt Under al-Sisi: The Republic of Dread - "The awfulness of military strongman Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi’s of Egypt is becoming scarily clearer by the day. Lawlessness and police abuse of citizens is the norm. Disappearances, common. Torture, a tool of choice. All this is done in the name of fighting terrorism and an Islamic-based armed rebellion. But of course, as befits a venerable pattern of dictatorship, there is always time to repress and frighten any regime critics, real or imagined."
Wondering what all those who cheered Morsi's removal have to say about Sisi's dictatorship

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, No Way to Macedonia - "[On Ethiopia] As an affluent foreigner, you want to help, but Susan Aitchison says giving them money only encourages them to leave school and take up hassling full time... she advises giving money direct to the schools... he then told me he desperately needed books for school and I relented. He led me off into a shack selling newspapers and a single dictionary. I bought it for him, and he ran off jubilant. On Susan Aitchison 's advice, I went back to the bookstore the next day. As she predicted, there was the dictionary back on the shelf. The boy had presumably sold it back for cash. But Ethiopia needs entrepreneurs... if this young man grows up to be a businessman, how can I complain about falling for his scam?"

The snipers trained to protect rhinos - "They're part of an SAS-trained private army raised to protect the species from poachers. I ask the sergeant what he would do if he spotted one of his friends or neighbours up to no good. His reply is unequivocal. "If he comes to kill rhinos he is robbing the entire community. And I will shoot him dead"... when they spot poachers, they don't arrest them. They don't even invite them to lay down their arms. Instead, they kill them - 19 so far, in split-second ambushes during which their victims probably never knew what hit them. Dyer says this is the safest way to deal with men facing 25 years in prison if convicted. "Technically we do have to offer them the opportunity to surrender," he adds, "but this tends to happen after they've been, er, incapacitated"... "The poachers are learning," says the rifleman. "Now they are using bows and poison arrows." I suggest that this might make them easier to arrest, but the sergeant shakes his head. "We will still kill them," he says."
How many people against capital punishment are for shootng rhino poachers?

Which Regional French accent is the most detested?

"Kuiper's 76 informants were given a map of France and asked to “circle and identify in writing any regions "where people have a particular way of speaking" (Kuiper 1999: 244). A composite map produced from these responses shows that Alsace—Lorraine was the second most frequently designated area (55/76 or 72% of responses); in this it was preceded only by Provence (63/76), and followed by the Nord/Lille (44/76). The informants were then given a list of 24 regional varieties of French, and asked to rate them according to degree of difference from the norm (that is, the respondents’ own variety), correctness and pleasantness. Lorraine French rated very highly (or badly) on all three rankings: 20th out of 24 for degree of difference (where 24th was maximally different, i.e. perceived to be furthest from the norm), 21st for correctness and 22nd for pleasantness. For these Parisians therefore, Lorraine French sits very near the bottom of the perceptual heap, as they believe it to be strongly divergent from the norm, incorrect and unpleasant. But what the Rennes test results show is that when a different method is adopted, namely when listener-judges are presented with authentic samples of Lorraine French (albeit urban, Romance-substrate Lorraine French), they perceive very little regional divergence, and are largely unable to link it to a particular geographical area when they do."

--- Perception and production in French dialect levelling / Armstrong & Boughton in Sociolinguistic variation in contemporary French
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