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Valar Qringaomis

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Links - 25th April 2017

Carrie Fisher's complicated relationship with her iconic Princess Leia gold bikini

War survivors weigh in on referencing Syonan-to - "Like Mr Huang, fellow war survivor Chin Kah Chong, 86, was similarly philosophical about the name. “To me, the name is harmless now,” said Mr Chin, who was a war correspondent for Pana News Agency, covering the Vietnam War in 1965. Meanwhile, the debate continues to rage on. Creative producer Gracie Teo, 37, felt “the choice of name could have been more sensitive to (take into consideration) the generation who went through the Sook Ching incident”... But Mr Timothy Wee, 32, pointed out that in Germany, many concentration camps still retain their original names — despite the painful memories they evoke. “It would have been easy to sweep unpleasant details under the rug of history, but I applaud the National Archives of Singapore’s brave decision,” said the freelance travel writer, who felt that the choice of name was “a good way to start a national conversation on the Syonan experience”."
Ironically, there is a Sook Ching memorial in Chinatown
Sadly, when the War generation dies off offence mongers will be free to claim offence on their behalf without (m)any counters


The most insane deaths seen by an NYC medical examiner - "she removed all of Booker’s major organs and placed them between his legs — the best way to ensure they wouldn’t slip and fall to the floor. Then she removed Booker’s testes, took a sample from each, and put them back in the scrotum. “I had been taught to replace them unless there was a tumor or signs of injury,” Melinek writes. “Families can be very particular about the testicles”... “Did he suffer?” is the question, Melinek writes, that she’s most often asked and most often dreads. She almost always lies. “What’s the worst way to die?” is the next-most-asked question, to which Melinek usually replies, “You don’t want to know”... she has a final warning for New Yorkers who live alone with cats: The urban legend is true. “Your faithful golden retriever might sit next to your dead body for days, starving, but the tabby won’t,” she writes. “Your pet cat will eat you right away, with no qualms at all. I’ve seen the result.”"

"Very Right Wing" People Are Happiest With Their Sex Lives - "in most countries sexual satisfaction increased the further right you went along the political spectrum... The study also showed than in Britain at least, people with right wing and very right wing politics were markedly happier overall than their left wing counterparts – but this trend did not replicate across Europe"

Salman Rushdie's New Novel is About Political Correctness and the Culture Wars - "“When people say, ‘I believe in free speech but …,’ then they don’t believe in free speech,” he said. “The whole point about free speech is that it upsets people.” “It’s very easy to defend the right of people whom you agree with — or that you are indifferent to,” Rushdie said. “The defense [of free speech] begins when someone says something that you don’t like.” “There are no safe spaces against offensive ideas,” said Rushdie. Rushdie has come to lose his confidence in the progressive left—including those who once defended his controversial book"

The three questions that every patient should ask their doctor - "The JAMA study suggests that doctors frequently don’t know and certainly, don’t know best. This is vexing but not all doom and gloom because doctors now have at their disposal an unprecedented number of sound guidelines, robust protocols and genuinely plain-language information for patients, not to mention easy web-based access to experts. When it comes to doctors seeking advice the world really is a global village. In a world of rapidly evolving information, patients should be prepared for a doctor to say, “I don’t know” provided this is followed by, “but I’ll find out.”
Here are three questions that every patient should ask of every new proposed drug or intervention:
What are my options?
What are the specific benefits and harms to me?
What happens if I do nothing?"

Print Friendly & PDF - "Make any web page print friendly"
"Save paper & ink"

Muslim women shouldn’t use emoticons, says the National Muslim Youth Association in Malaysia - "An anti-Valentine’s campaign called “Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap” has also been held by Jakim since 2011, where volunteers approach youths to warn them of the celebration’s alleged danger. In addition, previous sermons had claimed the day originally worshipped ancient Roman deities, or celebrated the fall of Muslim rule in Cordoba, Andalusia, now in modern-day Spain."

China's attempt to punish Taiwan by throttling tourism has seriously backfired - "Taiwan set a new record for international tourism last year. And it did so by courting visitors from the rest of Asia, thus reducing its reliance on Chinese tourists... even when China was sending over large numbers of tour groups, they were only benefiting a small number of Taiwanese businesses that were aimed primarily at this market. On top of that, many of these local businesses were only getting a fraction of the total money spent, with most of the spoils going to Chinese tour organizers."

I’m a gay New Yorker — and I’m coming out as a conservative - "All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened... I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was outside of the liberal bubble and looking in. What I saw was ugly, lock step, incurious and mean-spirited... It can seem like liberals are actually against free speech if it fails to conform with the way they think. And I don’t want to be a part of that club anymore. It used to be that if you were a gay, educated atheist living in New York, you had no choice but to be liberal. But as I met more Trump supporters with whom I was able to have engaging, civil discussions about issues that impact us all, I realized that I like these people — even if I have some issues with Trump himself... I hope that New Yorkers can be as open-minded and accepting of my new status as a conservative man as they’ve been about my sexual orientation."

Is 'Generation Z' the most conservative since WW2? - "The research, which surveyed more than 2,000 people, forms parallels with recent evidence that young people are less likely to drink and take drugs than their immediate elders. Sir Mark Walport, the government's chief scientific adviser, told The Times that technology had had a huge effect on society and teenager's values. Computer games and internet use meant they had 'less time and opportunity to participate in traditional risky behaviours'"

The Great Hypocritical Muslim Cover-Up - "Did these non-Muslim women—indulging their Orientalist fetish by covering their heads—not stop to consider for one moment that their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and under Taliban or ISIS rule also require our solidarity in taking their hijabs off?"

German nursery rhyme about fox who steals a goose banished from town after complaint from vegan

What if the internet stopped working for a day? - "losing internet access for a few days just made people fall behind on their work. “People carried out all the same activities they would have done had the internet been up, but they just did it two or three days later,” Borg says. “The economy is set up to deal with what essentially amounts to a holiday weekend”... In some cases, shutting down the internet for a short time might even increase productivity

The Next Big Blue-Collar Job Is Coding

How Reliable Are Surveys? - "only 9 percent of people asked to take part in surveys actually do"
This is a much better objection to surveys than sample size

Syrian refugees don’t want to camp in Saudi Arabia. They want a future

Millennials are struggling at work because their parents 'gave them medals for coming last' - "Studies may show that the millennial generation reports having high self-esteem, but that largely includes narcissism and extrinsic rewards: “Reporting that you’re self-confident and being self-confident are not the same thing,” Sinek points out."

San Francisco janitor who earned S$380k in a year caught hiding in closet during work hours - "Mr Liang Zhao Zhang, who cleans the Powell Street station in downtown San Francisco, reportedly earned a total of US$271,243 (S$385,000) in 2015... According to Transparent California, there were at least 49 other janitors who earned over US$100,000 in 2015."

Mark Pearson tried for sex crime after brushing past actress in Waterloo station - "It cannot be said with certainty that the artist and the actress made even fleeting physical contact. CCTV images showed only that they walked past each other.Yet the woman, who is in her 60s, claimed Mr Pearson sexually assaulted her – penetratively – for ‘two or three seconds’... Mr Pearson wonders whether he is ‘a victim of the way the CPS is rigorously trying to redress the balance’. One of his supporters, author Erin Pizzey, the family care activist who founded the world’s first shelter for victims of domestic violence, certainly believes so."

Farmer spends 16 years studying law by himself to sue firm

Asylum seekers who burnt down Dusseldorf refugee camp shouted 'damn Germans', court hears - "Adel Z., a 27-year-old Algerian Muslim, is accused of setting the hall on fire because he was outraged that food and drinks were given to non-fasting roommates during Ramadan."

Why Westerners and Easterners Really Do Think Differently - "complex images were shown to test subjects from East Asia and North America. The scientists tracked the eye movements of the participants in order to gauge where their attention was focused. It was found that the Chinese participants spent more time looking at the background of the image, while the Americans tended to focus on the main object in the picture. Holistic and individualistic thinking manifested in one clear example... Even today, more than 100 years after the colonization effort, the effects of living in a society that was so recently a frontier show up in individual and holistic thinking tests. With residents of Hokkaido demonstrating tendencies towards individualism to a larger extent than the rest of the Japanese population."

Galaxy Harassment - "Galaxies are generally not found in isolation. Most of them are surrounded by a swarm of satellite galaxies and are often embedded in larger aggregates such as galaxy groups or clusters. In these environments, interactions between galaxies are not uncommon and in general, can be divided into two basic types: mergers and ‘fly-bys’. Interactions involving high-speed fly-bys are often referred to as galaxy ‘harassment’."

Muslim Apostates in North America Face Leftist Scorn, Muslim Death Threats - "One common method of dismissing her aims, Haider said in the speech, is to assume that she is “pro-war” or that she broadly supports the far-right agenda in some way, though neither is the case. “Sometimes I am called an Uncle Tom or a House Arab. Another term thrown around at ex-Muslims and other brown critics of Islam is ‘native informants.’”

castleships: Okay I’m only gonna say this once... - kind Bird King - "The last Eyak fluent speaker died in 2008, her name was Chief Marie Smith Jones and she was also the last full-blooded Eyak on Earth. The very last. Please appropriate Eyak culture. It’s the only way it’s going to survive. There’s less than 500 of us remaining, and we’re scattered more and more every year. Families I grew up with in Alaska converted to Catholicism. The military took my family across the globe and left us an entire continent away. The language I learned at the dinner table in 1998 now almost exclusively exists on those cassette tapes my white father recorded that night and in reconstructive attempts from a French academic that studied our language from halfway across the globe. It sucks shit guys, it really does. When I first saw the Thunderbird skin I cried, I cried for an hour. Because Overwatch is huge. It will live on for years if not decades. And there’s Pharah with her hair in braids I haven’t seen my mother wear in over a decade. Wearing the colors that remind me of a home I no longer have. Embodying a mythic figure that I trusted to protect me during Y2K and sought out constellations in the sky for."

Berrywoman | alluringdolls: check-your-privilege-feminists: ... - " Tumblr social justice: spreading the world apart instead of bringing us together, one group at a time.
I hate Tumblr :)
That’s why I hate the “cultural apropriation” crap, it’s only an excuse to make people ashamed of their interests and create a segregation between people. Fuck this."

How Jim Carrey deals with paparazzi

Everyone mistook a priest for a KKK member - "social media became a furious storm of confusion regarding a man in white robes roaming along 10th St. and purportedly armed with a whip."

Is terrorism in Europe at a historical high? - "The number of fatalities from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 1990 amount to considerably more than those killed between 1990 and 2015. In 1988, more than 425 people were killed in terror-related attacks in Western Europe. One of the most fatal, the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, led to the deaths of 270 people when the plane came down in the Scottish town of Lockerbie."
Of course, ignoring the higher, very localised ETA/IRA component in the 1970s/1980s deaths obscures much compared to today's more widespread threat

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Food Chain: The Musical - "[On Ghana Jollof] 3 Nigerian women walk up to these 3 Nigerian men to serve them their Jollof rice which they enjoy, but then I appear with my Ghana Jollof and to make sure that you know that it's Ghana Jollof I have the national flag of Ghana, little one, standing out of the very orange-red rich Jollof with chicken and salad on the side and then you see all the Nigerian men leave their wives"

Papa John's in Singapore

I contacted Papa John's HQ about the outlets in Singapore (Tampines and Hillview), which seem to have gone off the radar.

Their reply:

"Dear Gabriel,

Thanks for contacting us. Unfortunately we have closed our 2 franchise stores in Singapore - March 31st. We appreciate your comments and please feel free to contact us at the number below if you need any further assistance.

Thanks again and have a great day!"


Oh well, at least I got to try it once (in Singapore) before it closed...

Good food in Singapore doesn't last (one way or the other)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Links - 22nd April 2017 (2)

Italian Model Vows to Give 19 Million Men Oral Sex - "She promised everyone who voted “No” in Italy’s Brexit-like referendum a blowjob... So far during the first leg of her oral sex tour, Saulino has given approximately 400 blowjobs"

Rotherham child sex gang shout 'Allahu Akbar' in court as they are jailed for 80 years for abusing girls, including one who became pregnant at just 12, after being groomed with alcohol and drugs

Transexual murderer moved from female prison after 'having sex with female inmates' - "Paris Green, who was born a man, had been allowed to serve her sentence at HMP Edinburgh’s female wing. But authorities sent the 23-year-old back to a male institute after it was alleged she had been intimate with other prisoners. ‘The women want sex and Paris is the only person who can give it to them’... Green, who was previously known as Peter Laing, had been accused of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ with inmates before."

Single Mothers, Fathers Equally Successful At Raising Children - "A new nationwide study refutes the theory that children in single-mother households are disadvantaged because they lack the presence of a father. Researchers at Ohio State University compared a sample of 456 15- and 16-year-olds who lived in single-father households with 2,583 teens who lived in single-mother households. The results showed that the two groups were very similar in terms of deviance and behavior at school, relationships with others, and school performance once factors such as family income and parent education are accounted for... “It is well-known that there are a lot of problems associated with children who grow up in single-mother households,” Downey said. “But our results suggest the problems aren’t mainly due to the lack of a father. We believe the problems rise more from the absence of a second parent in general, and the fact that single mothers are more likely to be disadvantaged in terms of income and other factors.”"

Are Pakistan’s female medical students to be doctors or wives? - "In Pakistan's prestigious medical schools, female students outshine and outnumber their male counterparts. However, many do not end up as practising doctors - and now there are calls to limit their numbers... The government body that regulates the medical profession, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), says more than 70% of medical students are women... government figures suggest most of these bright female undergraduate doctors do not actually go on to practise. Only 23% of registered doctors are female... some female students are more keen on catching a husband than on pursuing a career. "It's much easier for girls to get married once they are doctors and many girls don't really intend to work as professional doctors," he says. "I know of hundreds of hundreds of female students who have qualified as a doctor or a dentist but they have never touched a patient"... the "doctor wife" is more than a trophy: her absence from hospitals has serious implications on the healthcare system of a poor country like Pakistan. The government spends millions of rupees on subsidies per student - yet there is a serious shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas where women prefer to be examined by female doctors"
This is a more extreme version of why Singapore had a quota on female medical students
Being progressive (the lack of a gender quota) can lead to worse social outcomes
Somehow a 50/50 quota (when women are in the majority) is sexist. But feminists don't hesitate to call for quotas when women are in the minority


Unrealistic Realisms: Critique of NUS Open Day 2017 (Poster) | Messy Lines of Mantarui - "There are certain fields in the disciplines of the so-called social sciences which maintain that there are objective, ’empirical’, “social realities” that can still be measured, cut up and dissected. There is a belief that to conduct ‘good’ analysis, one must be distanced, unemotional and detached. There is a reason why these fields are not classed under the ‘Humanities’, and rightly so. Dispassion is a paragon, an ideal, in these disciplines. Emotions have no place in their high towers of cold realism... Don’t get me wrong. Essentialisations and categorizations are sometimes inevitable. They are footholds and signposts by which we navigate our everyday lives. We cannot run away from our internal biases and prejudices. Perhaps the best we can do is be aware of them. But this the tagline for my faculty. This is the tagline for a faculty that taught me about the religious, gender, cultural vibrance and vitality of Southeast Asia; the school that taught me to write sharp and think sharper; the place that introduced me to Foucault, Collingwood, Huntington, Marx, Yeoh, Kong, Loh, Lau, Hong."
You know something is written by a lit student when there's a contempt for objectivity and attempts to find out about the world, and gratuitous scare quotes to attempt to problematise concepts

Pakistan International Airlines goat slaughter mocked - "Pictures went viral showing PIA ground staff slaughtering a black goat next to an ATR-42 aircraft which was about to leave for a domestic flight. It was the first such flight since PIA grounded its ATR fleet for tests after a 7 December crash killed 47 people. In Pakistan killing a black goat is supposed by many to ward off evil."

I am a Muslim doctor. I saved a Christian in Pakistan and it nearly cost my life - "Fearing he might die, I instinctually grabbed the emergency medicine donated via zakaat, an Islamic system of alms-giving, and performed the life-saving hemodialysis. He survived but I immediately faced the wrath of the nurse. She was mad at me because the patient was a Christian and she said Islamic alms are not meant to be used on non-Muslims. But I did not know the patient’s faith, nor did I know that such a law existed. I promptly replaced the medicine, which cost around $20. But it didn’t end there. The representative of a conservative Islamic NGO, which was a donor to the clinic, was furious about what I had done. They attributed my lack of knowledge about the alms laws to the fact that I belong to a minority Muslim sect. A departmental inquiry followed and I was discriminated throughout the entire process. The workplace discrimination gave way to threatening phone calls and vandalism of my car and bike. They found out my family lived in America and that I was alone. This made me an easy target. I was threatened with death at a medical conference hosted by the chair of the same NGO which had complained about me"

As giant rats menace Pakistan, conspiracy theories swirl - The Washington Post - "Others believe the rats were bred on U.S. military bases in Afghanistan and brought to ­Peshawar in the trucks that are withdrawing coalition supplies on Pakistani highways... There have been allegations that the rats were genetically modified by a foreign power and left here to terrorize Muslims"
It's not just the Arabs who love the conspiracy theories

Pakistan: Moderate Muslim scholars say no grief/sympathy allowed for murdered governor - "Moderate Muslim leaders in Pakistan have warned muslims against expressing any sympathy towards the assasinated Punjab Governor in Pakistan, Salman Taseer... 'Five hundred Pakistani religious scholars have warned that anyone who expresses grief over the assassination of a senior ruling party official who opposed the country's blasphemy law could suffer the same fate.'"

College Apologizes For Serving Mexican Food During Sci-Fi Event - "Stevenson College has different themed nights each month for students. He explained that officials at the school decided to serve Mexican food during "Intergalactic" night. Kilmeade said that some students were offended, because they felt the combination of food and the theme was racist. Students cited the association between Mexicans and illegal immigrants."

Every time a Disney villain falls in defeat: ChiefBrodyRules makes a supercut of baddies plunging to their death (VIDEO). - "it’s not just the villains of Disney who tumble to their death—moment of silence for Mufasa, please—but the trope does make particular sense as a way of dispatching the bad guy: It spares impressionable kids the gore of a more visceral demise, and allows the hero to emerge triumphant yet unscathed by a messy murder"

When life gives you bad Chinese tatto, what could you make? 當 AV 女郎遇上錯誤的中文紋身 ... - "When life gives you bad Chinese tatto, what could you make?
當 AV 女郎遇上錯誤的中文紋身
#RileyReid
#tattoofail
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", we can find a Chinese version on the back of an awarded pornstar, Riley Reid, although it is in a wrong grammar form.
"生活帶來您時檸檬做檸檬水" is what we can see on Riley Reid's back. But by reading it in Chinese, it just says, "life brings you when lemons make lemonade" , [生活 (life) 帶來 (brings) 您 (you) 時 (when) 檸檬 (lemons) 做 (make) 檸檬水 (lemonade)] . It is totally not the same as the original one."

Domestic violence is most commonly reciprocal - "In recent years researchers have approached populations without preconceptions as to the direction of violence. Large epidemiological studies have demonstrated that domestic violence is most commonly reciprocal and that when only one partner is violent there is an excess of violent women. Whitaker et al, in a study of 14 000 young US couples aged 18-28 years, found that 24% of relationships had some violence and half of those were reciprocally violent. In 70% of the non-reciprocally violent relationships women were the perpetrators of violence. Reciprocal violence appears to be particularly dangerous, leading to the highest rate of injury (31.4%). This may be because reciprocal violence is more likely to escalate... a significant proportion of females seeking help for victimisation are also perpetrators of intimate partner violence, and that those who treat battered women may need to consider addressing the perpetration of violence with their female clients... women were slightly more likely than men to use one or more act of physical aggression and to use such acts more frequently. Younger aged couples showed more female-perpetrated aggression.Only examining rates of violence perpetrated against women risks perpetuating an inaccurate stereotype of women as victims and men as aggressors"
This won't stop the "men are evil" narrative, of course

Counterintuitive Trends in the Link Between Premarital Sex and Marital Stability - "For women marrying since the start of the new millennium:
Women with 10 or more partners were the most likely to divorce, but this only became true in recent years;
Women with 3-9 partners were less likely to divorce than women with 2 partners; and,
Women with 0-1 partners were the least likely to divorce.
Earlier research found that having multiple sex partners prior to marriage could lead to less happy marriages, and often increased the odds of divorce... premarital sex with one partner substantially increases the odds of divorce"

There's No Evidence that Conservatives Buy More Porn - "Other variables analyzed make the story complicated, to say the least, for advocates of the “conservative porn” hypothesis. For example, porn subscriptions were more prevalent in urban than in rural areas. This is a particularly striking counterexample for our showcased state Utah, since its only urban area is also its most liberal/Democratic/non-Mormon area. Also, zip codes with higher marriage rates were much less likely to consume porn. Further, there was no statistically significant difference in porn consumption between zip codes with high and low church attendance. There was also no relationship between presidential voting in 2004 and porn usage at the zip-code level. In fact, the only number that appeared even remotely to make the “conservative porn” case was a zip-code level positive correlation between porn consumption and aggregate conservative positions on some social issues. But again, it could very well be the liberals in those areas who, feeling repressed by the dominant social norms, turn to porn. Or not. But the bottom line is, we can’t know from the data."

MoMA Hung Matisse Gouache Upside Down for 47 Days - "an exhibit “The Last Works of Henri Matisse” opened at the New York Museum of Modern Art. It consisted of large cut gouaches – including Matisse Le Bateau (The Boat). Le Bateau is an image of a boat and its reflection executed in very simple lines and shapes. For 47 days Le Bateau hung upside down in the gallery until a stockbroker by the name of Genevieve Habert came to visit. Up until this point, none of the torrent of visitors, critics, the curators nor the art dealing son of Matisse, Pierre, had noticed the mistake"
Modern art!

Is Battlestar Galactica Racist? - "Does adding central hispanic and asian characters really make up for the lack of black actors on the show? Out of the entire human population in the civilian and military fleets, there have only been two black characters. One completely minor, and the other the subject of an entire episode (which exposed Admiral Adama's abandonment of him in Cylon territory previously."
Everything is racist

URL Decoder—URL Converter—Remove special characters from web addresses - "Sometimes, you try to grab a URL (website address) nested inside a link. Or you try to copy an URL from the source code of a page. But the address has been encoded with all kinds of strange characters, such as "%20". The characters are formed with a "%" symbol and a hexadecimal number. This technique is called percent encoding, and in some ways it is very useful for people who make web systems, but for users it can be a real pain."

Time limit on kissing to avoid parking problems - "exactly 3 minutes at the Aalborg Airport in Denmark. The Aalborg Airport features a Kiss & Goodbye zone where people can park for a moment to say goodbye to the traveller. It’s a place that has probably seen a lot of hugs, kisses and tears. Maybe too much…"

Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords

7 Of The Strangest Services Offered On Fiverr - "I Will Dance To Any Song In A Hot Dog Costume"

How Did Insect Metamorphosis Evolve? - "The primary advantage of complete metamorphosis is eliminating competition between the young and old. Larval insects and adult insects occupy very different ecological niches. Whereas caterpillars are busy gorging themselves on leaves, completely disinterested in reproduction, butterflies are flitting from flower to flower in search of nectar and mates. Because larvas and adults do not compete with one another for space or resources, more of each can coexist relative to species in which the young and old live in the same places and eat the same things"

Cheating Frenchman sues Uber for tipping off wife about affair

Islamic fundamentalism is widely spread | WZB - "The author analyzed data from a representative survey among immigrants and natives in six European countries. Two thirds of the Muslims interviewed say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live. Three quarters of the respondents hold the opinion that there is only one legitimate interpretation of the Koran. These numbers are significantly higher than those from local Christians. Only 13 percent of this group put religious rules above national law; just under 20 percent refuse to accept differing interpretations of the Bible. For Ruud Koopmans, this powerful tendency toward Muslim religious fundamentalism is alarming... Almost 60 percent of the Muslim respondents reject homosexuals as friends; 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted; and an equally large group believes that the West is out to destroy Islam. The Christians’ answers for comparison: As many as 9 percent are openly anti-Semitic; 13 percent do not want to have homosexuals as friends; and 23 percent think that Muslims aim to destroy Western culture."

Some Muslims 'support those who carry out terror attacks' - "Koopmans, who is a professor of sociology and migration research at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the director of integration research at the WZB Berlin Social Science Centre, stressed that not every one of them was ready to exert violence directly. But he added: 'They support the radicals, they encourage them and provide them shelter or simply keep their mouths shut when they observe radicalization.'"

Losing their religion: The hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims

Losing their religion: The hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims

"Sulaiman Vali is a softly spoken 33-year-old software engineer. A natural introvert not drawn to controversy or given to making bold statements, he’s the kind of person who is happiest in the background. He lives alone in a modest house on a quiet street in a small town in East Northamptonshire. He doesn’t want to be any more specific than that about the location. “If someone found out where I lived,” he explains, “they could burn my house down.”

Why should such an understated figure, someone who describes himself as a “nobody”, speak as if he’s in a witness protection programme? The answer is that six years ago he decided to declare that he no longer accepted the fundamental tenets of Islam. He stopped being a believing Muslim and became instead an apostate...

As real as the potential for violence might be, it’s not what keeps many doubting British Muslims from leaving their religion. As Simon Cottee, author of a new book The Apostates: When Muslims Leave Islam, says: “In the western context, the biggest risk ex-Muslims face is not the baying mob, but the loneliness and isolation of ostracism from loved ones. It is stigma and rejection that causes so many ex-Muslims to conceal their apostasy.”

Like the gay liberation movement of a previous generation, Muslim apostates have to fight for the right to be recognised while knowing that recognition brings shame, rejection, intimidation and, very often, family expulsion...

He confessed his atheism to his horrified family. One of his brothers reminded him that the penalty sharia law stipulates for apostasy is capital punishment.

“I don’t think he would have any qualms about me being killed,” says Vali, although he emphasises that he doesn’t believe anyone from his family would seek to do him physical harm or encourage others to do so. Instead he was ousted from the family. He was disowned.

There has been a great deal of public debate in recent years about what drives young Muslims towards radicalisation. It’s an urgent subject of study in various disciplines of academia, has spawned a library of books, and is the focus of well-funded government programmes.

What is much less known about, and far less discussed, is the plight of young Muslims going in the opposite direction – those who not only turn away from radicalisation but from Islam itself.

Although it is fraught with human drama – existential crisis, philosophical doubt, family rupture, violent threats, communal expulsion, depression, and all manner of other problems – the apostate’s journey elicits remarkably little media interest or civic concern. According to Cottee, there is not “a single sociological study… on the issue of apostasy from Islam”.

No one knows what numbers are involved, few understand the psychological difficulties individuals confront, or the social pressures they are compelled to resist. As with many other areas of communal discourse, insiders are reluctant to talk about it, and outsiders are either too incurious or sensitive to ask.

In this sense the struggle of ex-Muslims is markedly different from that of early gay rights campaigners. Where gays and lesbians could draw support from other progressive movements, ex-Muslims are further marginalised by what Cottee calls “the contested status of Islam” in western societies.

To raise the subject of apostasy is to risk demonising an embattled minority. Some will see it, almost by definition, as Islamophobic or even racist. To be a “Muslim” in 21st-century Britain is no longer simply about religious affiliation; it also suggests membership of a cultural entity that receives far more than its fair share of scare stories and alarmist reporting. So it’s vital to be aware of the discrimination that many Muslims encounter. But what of the minority within the minority who have to deal with fear, guilt, shame and isolation? Must they remain invisible as a mark of religious respect?

Vali has seen his mother just once for a few minutes four years ago. “She didn’t want to touch me,” he says. “She thought her God would be angry with her if she treated me kindly”...

It was immediately after 9/11 and she turned up at school demanding to wear a long black dress instead of the school uniform. “I said if you don’t let me, you’re breaching my freedom of expression as a Muslim, and they accepted it.”

She loved the sense of rebellion her pronounced Muslim identity conferred. That was largely the extent of the politics. When she looked at Islamic countries, she didn’t care about human rights atrocities. “There were women wearing scarves, that was what was important”...

“I’ve had bouts of clinical depression,” Nasreen says. “The thing is, Islam teaches you to grow up with low self-esteem and lack of self-identity. Without the collective, you’re lost. You’ve been taught to feel guilty and people-pleasing as a woman, and you do that from a very young age. I kept thinking, ‘Why do I want to wear short skirts? That’s so disgusting!’ No, it’s not disgusting. It took me a long time to appreciate my sexuality and my femininity. There was a lot of stress. I lost my friends. You’re very lonely and you’re ostracised.”

However, she couldn’t bring herself to tell her parents. And nine years later, she still hasn’t informed them. Her compromise has been to let them know she doesn’t pray or wear a headscarf. That’s been problematic enough – her parents, like many Muslims, have become more religious over the past decade or so.

She blames the ghettoisation of multiculturalism and identity politics for this shift, the tendency to view individuals as members of separate cultural blocks. Or as Namazie puts it: “The problem with multiculturalism – not as a lived experience but as a social policy that divides and segregates communities – is that the “Muslim community” is seen to be homogenous. Therefore dissenters and freethinkers are deemed invisible because the ‘authentic’ Muslim is veiled, pro-sharia and pro-Islamist.”

One success of the Islamist movement in Britain has been to define the cultural identity primarily in terms of religion.

“We went from a Bengali to a Muslim community. It’s almost as if we’re suffering a second colonisation, the Arabisation of Asian cultures. Even my brother wears long Arab dresses.” As a consequence, she thinks Muslims have been encouraged to police other Muslims.

“I’ll give you a couple of examples,” she says. “The other day I ordered some food online – pork buns – and afterwards a guy called me up from the company and he said ‘Nasreen, do you know it’s not halal?’ I said yes, I’m not a Muslim, but afterwards I wish I’d said ‘Who are you to police what I’m eating? How dare you call me up to remind me.’ But that’s how people think: you’re a Muslim, you’ve got a Muslim name.”

She took a degree in anthropology at the University of London. “And I started to do my dissertation on ex-Muslim identity. My supervisor was this Muslim guy and he told me that it was rubbish, there’s no academic purpose to it.”

She had to complain to get another supervisor, who was very supportive, and, undaunted, continued with the research. “I succeeded in completing an original piece of empirical research on the ex-Muslim reality,” she says. “I even went on to achieve a special award for this very dissertation. I felt quite vindicated by that.”

Nevertheless, she detects a strong reluctance at universities to confront the concerted efforts by Islamist groups to lay claim to Muslim students. Not only are Islamic societies often run by extremists, with groups like the Islamic Education and Research Academy seeking to impose gender segregation, but the terms of academic discourse tend to endorse their brand of grievance politics.

“Go to your average sociology class,” says Nasreen, “and it’s very much about making Muslims victims of Islamophobia – a terminology I disagree with. It’s anti-Muslim bigotry. I dislike Islam – that’s OK, it’s an ideology, but I don’t dislike Muslims. They are two different things”...

He has tried to link up with feminist societies at universities. “But there’s a real problem in this country,” he says. “People don’t want to touch anything to do with leaving Islam. Especially in universities, where the politics are insane.”

He has a point. In recent times the National Union of Students have refused to condemn Isis on the grounds that this would justify Islamophobia. Shams believes that this kind of gesture and the NUS decision last month to lobby alongside Cage, the militant Islamic prisoners pressure group, undermines the position of dissenting Muslims. “What it does is to say to reformists and secularists, you’re not really Muslims”...

Shams comes from a Bangladeshi background but grew up in Saudi Arabia. He says that in many ways he found the ex-pat compound in which he and his family lived in Saudi Arabia more progressive than Britain. “It was when my mother came here that she got really radicalised.”

He believes Muslims face an identity crisis.

“We don’t know who we are. There’s a feeling of insecurity as a brown person, often for good reason. I went to school in a really white school. My nickname was “Terrorist”. The kids didn’t know better. I grew up in that narrative. I was very religious. I believed there was a caliphate and we should fight for that. I had a strong sense of justice. One of the things that people do not understand about radicals is that they’re often guided by a sense of justice.”

He lost faith because his sense of justice could not be reconciled with the manner in which he was taught to believe other religions were bad...

Too often, he believes, non-Muslims are unable or unwilling to see beyond the religious identity of Muslims. They are increasingly trained to understand religious needs but are frequently flummoxed by those who reject those needs...

It certainly seems perverse that while there is no taboo on the discussion of Islamic radicalisation, the mention of Islamic apostates still occasions widespread discomfort. We can publicly accept that there are Muslims that are so estranged from western society that they prefer to live as fundamentalists, but have far more trouble recognising that there are Muslims who are so estranged from their religion that they prefer to live as freethinkers...

The demonisation of apostates as ‘sell outs’ and ‘native informants’, which can be heard among both liberal-leftists and reactionary Muslims, needs to stop. People leave Islam. They have reasons for this, good, bad or whatever. It is a human right to change your mind. Deal with it.”"

Links - 22nd April 2017 (1)

Real life CSI: Google's new AI system unscrambles pixelated faces - "The neural network could be used to increase the resolution of blurred or pixelated faces, in a way previously thought impossible; a similar system was demonstrated for enhancing images of bedrooms, again creating a 32x32 pixel image from an 8x8 one."

President Duterte Is Repeating My Mistakes - NYTimes.com - "Not only did we fail to eradicate drug production, trafficking and consumption in Colombia, but we also pushed drugs and crime into neighboring countries. And we created new problems. Tens of thousands of people were slaughtered in our antidrug crusade. Many of our brightest politicians, judges, police officers and journalists were assassinated. At the same time, the vast funds earned by drug cartels were spent to corrupt our executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. This heavy-handed approach to drugs did little to diminish the drug supply and demand in Colombia, much less in markets like Western Europe and the United States. In fact, drugs such as cocaine and heroin are as accessible as ever from Bogotá to New York to Manila... Taking a hard line against criminals is always popular for politicians. I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs during my time as president. The polls suggest that Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs is equally popular. But he will find that it is unwinnable. I also discovered that the human costs were enormous. We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts. We started making positive impacts only when we changed tack, designating drugs as a social problem and not a military one"

Finally: Mozilla adds working HTML5 Video autoplay blocking to Firefox - "I just wrote a tutorial on disabling auto-playing Flash and HTML5 videos in Firefox and Chrome in which I mentioned Firefox's media.autoplay.enabled preference"

Police Officer Who Spoke out on Migrant Crime Now Under Investigation for Racial Hatred - "A police officer who broke ranks to reveal that migrants are to blame for the vast majority of serious crime in Sweden is now under investigation for incitement to racial hatred. Peter Springare’s exasperated rant describing the face of crime in Sweden received a huge amount of attention since it was posted to Facebook on Friday 3rd. In the post, the officer concedes that while it’s not politically correct to say so, almost all the serious crime cases he had dealt with over the past week involved migrants. He also states that this situation has been ongoing for the last decade or more. But now the department of internal investigations is probing Mr. Springare for incitement to racial hatred as a result of the post, police have confirmed... Appearing on SVT Tuesday night renowned criminologist Leif GW Persson also came to Mr. Springare’s defence. He described the Facebook post as “refreshing”, and said he believes that most police officers are voting for the anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats (SD) party."

Are gender feminists and transgender activists undermining science? - "Gender feminists often point to a single study, published in 2015, which claimed it isn’t possible to tell apart male and female brains. But when a group of researchers reanalyzed the underlying data, they found that brains could be correctly identified as female or male with 69% to 77% accuracy. In another study, published in 2016, researchers used a larger sample in conjunction with higher-resolution neuroimaging and were able to successfully classify a brain by its sex 93% of the time... In my experience, proponents touting the “blank slate” view are willing to agree, in private conversations, that neurological sex differences do exist, but they fear that acknowledging as much publicly will justify female oppression. This is backward. As it stands, female-typical traits are seen as inferior and less worthy of respect. This is the real issue the movement fails to address: Nobody wants to be female-typical, not even women. Distortion of science hinders progress. When gender feminists start refuting basic biology, people stop listening, and the larger point about equality is lost... transgender activists and their allies have branded desistance as a “myth,” and those who suggest otherwise are called bigots or, dismissively, trolls. It’s not hard to understand why. The idea that some gender dysphoric people may grow up to be comfortable in their birth sex is interpreted as a threat to the community. Acknowledging that reality may seem like a slippery slope to denying the need for gender reassignment surgery even in adults. But ignoring the science around desistance has serious consequences; it means some transgender children will needlessly undergo biomedical interventions, such as hormone treatments. Even detransitioning from a purely social transition can be a difficult process for a child. In one 2011 study of 25 gender dysphoric children, 11 desisted. Of the desisters, two had socially transitioned and regretted it. They struggled to return to their birth sex in part because of fear of teasing from their classmates, and they did not dare to make the change until they enrolled in high school."

Berlin Report: 92 Percent of Left-Wing Activists Live With Parents, One in Three Unemployed - "The data was based off of 873 political activists, who had been investigated by authorities between 2003 and 2013. 84% of those investigated were men, while 73% were between the ages of 18 and 29... Left-wing activists were also reportedly responsible for the attempted murder of eleven people between 2009 and 2013"

Some fiendishly complex archaic kanji just won't die - "Be very afraid: A monster kanji is created by artistically combining four separate characters, which in Chinese are read 招財進寶 (zhao cai jin bao), meaning 'invite fortune, enter treasure.'"

Brendan O'Neill - I do not support Trump. But right now I am more... - "I do not support Trump. But right now I am more worried about the rash, even unstable global response to Trump than I am about Trump himself"

Brendan O'Neill - "No president has been as hostile to press... - ""Trump is racist though. An actual racist president. This is unheard of in the modern era." Well, FDR interned thousands of Japanese Americans. He signed an actual executive order -- EO 9033 -- okaying the rounding up of Japanese people. And he remains a lefty hero. Bill Clinton's crime bill of 1994 led to the incarceration of blacks on a mass, unprecedented scale. That was pretty racist... This is literally the level of Trump fever we have reached. To cling to historical perspective, to refuse to give in to the historical amnesia of treating Trump as the worst president ever, is to be a fellow traveller of fascism. To tell the truth is to be a fascist. It is no longer enough to oppose Trump -- you must also agree that he is the worst ever, a unique threat, a barbarian we must all organise against, or else you're out of polite society. These are indeed worrying times, but not because of Trump. it's the demand by the anti-Trump lobby that we capitulate to hysteria and embrace historical ignorance under pain of being considered a fascist that should worry you."

That One Time the Nazis Helped China Fight Japan - "For about a decade, German soldiers advised Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek in his campaigns against Chinese Communists … and also against Germany’s future allies, the Japanese"

S’pore company used forklift & bubble wrap to recreate CNY firecracker sound

Secretive Beijing demands transparency over missing jet - "China’s strident calls for Malaysia to divulge all it knows about flight MH370 are in stark contrast to its own history of secretiveness when calamities have struck, such as after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, analysts say."

The Disputed Story behind the Statue of Liberty’s Muslim Heritage - "“The Statue of Liberty was born a Muslim!” yelled activist Linda Sarsour, at a rally in New York City on Sunday, January 29th... Bartholdi’s initial sketches for the monument that would become the Statue of Liberty bear striking resemblance to his drawings for the Suez Canal sculpture—the final product does, too. And indeed, when the young artist presented his idea to the Egyptian khedive, he described a freed Egyptian female slave. At the time, the country’s population was primarily Muslim, so the veiled Egyptian woman that Bartholdi envisioned has been assumed to symbolize the same religion. But when Bartholdi presented his vision to the United States, he took a different tack, describing the robed woman as Libertas"
Some suggest that Egyptian slaves during that period would've been Christian so the claim is even more dodgy

Amanda Ellen - Sit-in "protests" have been happening a lot this... - "A few concurrent thoughts on this Ohio U photo and "demand sit in"... What is fascist about an order that has as much support from the public as it does criticism? What is fascist about an order that has almost equal support from voters of the Democrat party than it does from Trump's own? Whether you or I like it or not, Trump's ban is very much supported. And the dismissive and reductionist identity politics which tries to lie and say otherwise, is the same lies which oversimplified Trump's voter base and put him in the office in the first place. It helps no-one to ignore facts and nuance, however inconvenient, and least of whom does it help the liberal cause here... "if every day was Christmas, it would never be Christmas" also applies to calling everyone you disagree with a "fascist". Same goes with "Nazi", "bigot", "racist", "SJW", and any other label intellectual weaklings want to throw out to avoid having to form a valid, evidentiary based criticism of someone else. The words stop having meaning, and I am not okay with that...
Is there anything truly "fascist" in this situation? Yes, there is.
- Occupying a non public space the occupiers have no legal right to
- For the purpose of making demands against a NON government body
- Refusing to leave until every demand is unconditionally met
- Refusing to engage in democratic discussion about the demands, or reform/changes to them
- Intolerance of any opposition...
Do they not understand how dangerous and illiberal a precedent it sets to start politicizing academic institutions?! Because if they don't, someone needs to remind them of the political brainwashing done in universities during communism in Eastern Europe."

6 Words That Will End Picky Eating - "every time he says yuck or I don’t want that, I say calmly, “You don’t have to eat it,” and tuck into my own meal... But the biggest revelation was that it gave me permission to stop hounding my son to eat—to even, really, stop monitoring what he eats. Because the meals I make are reasonably healthy and somewhat varied, I can enjoy my meal and let him eat, or not eat, without any Sturm und Drang. I don’t keep a (very limited) list in my head of “what my kid will eat.” It’s also stopped the short-order-cook thing in its tracks. I cook whatever I want to eat, and if my son doesn’t want to try, say, squash and sausage casserole one night, that’s up to him—there’s garlic bread on the side, and carrots from the salad, and I’ve probably put a few apple slices on everyone’s plate. He may try a bite maybe the 20th time I serve it, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the casserole, my younger son is picking out the sausage and eating the squash, and it won’t go to waste. This system totally eliminates the power struggle that goes along with “getting kids to eat.” It also allows kids to pay attention to their body’s satiety cues—it turns out that my son doesn’t eat much dinner at all, ever, no matter what I serve. He’s just not hungry in the evening. So I try to make the earlier meals as nutritious as possible and don’t worry about dinner"

Curing the antibiotics 'disease' - "It found that one-third of patients expect antibiotics to be prescribed by their GPs for common ailments like cough, sore throat, runny nose and blocked nose. These are mainly caused by viruses, and not bacteria. Many of the patients were not aware that antibiotics are useless against viruses... The study, which involved 914 adult patients from 24 GP clinics across Singapore, also found that half of those expecting antibiotics would ask their doctors to prescribe the medication or would see another doctor if antibiotics were not prescribed... In Britain, GPs are paid by the National Health System to reduce their antibiotic prescriptions. While results have proven effective - with prescriptions for all types of antibiotics down by more than 2.6 million in 2015 compared with the previous year - questions have been raised about whether doctors should be paid for doing something that is essentially part of their job. Other suggestions such as separating drug dispensing from prescription have also been mooted, but this could increase GPs' consultation fees and lead to more hassle for patients who would have to collect their drugs separately."

Trump: Doing the necessary or bigotry in action? - "a refugee intake of 50,000 per year was actually the 15-year average before 2016. Former President Obama was the one who had gone beyond the norm by increasing it to 110,00 in 2016. Mr Trump is merely going back to the norm, added Mr French, citing data from the Migration Policy Institute, a US non-profit think tank."

'Anti-theist' stabs Christian housemate to death in Germany 'because he hated religion' - "Just 10 days after moving in together, Daniel stormed into his victim’s room and asked to hear her position was on same-sex marriage, prosecutors said. When she rejected it, he withdrew a knife hidden in his pocket and stabbed her as she sat on the bed"
Chalk one up for the homophiles...

The Truth and Myth Behind Animal Trials in the Middle Ages - "Weevils destroy your crops? Pig maim your children? Dying to get back at these creatures? In Europe during the Middle Ages, you could bring them to court, where they could face sentences ranging from gruesome mutilation to excommunication. Or at least that is what many reports say, although the hard evidence of such legal actions is scant... one of the most famous cases of beasts on trial, involving a bunch of rats, was “completely made up just to defame the lawyer who supposedly defended the rats.” Even with so much uncertainty about which animal trials were real, McDougall stresses that some did still take place... most large animals were tried for offenses such as murder, and generally executed or exiled, while smaller, more diffuse pests and offenders were more often excommunicated or denounced by a church tribunal. But all were thought to have been given their day in court... In 1916 an elephant named Mary murdered her trainer and was hanged in Tennessee using a crane. In 2008, in Macedonia, a bear was convicted of stealing honey from a beekeeper. The parks service was forced to pay $3,500 in damages"

Camels vs Mules - "When the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers imported 34 camels in the spring of 1856 to survey the wagon road from Albuquerque to Los Angeles the mule lobby in Missouri threw a hissy. “Camels,” they said, “were ill-tempered, stubborn and ugly, had bad breath and wouldn’t learn English.”

Britain kept nuclear weapons in Singapore during cold war? - "Britain kept nuclear weapons at bases in Cyprus and Singapore during the cold war without telling the governments of the two countries, according to a study to be published this week. Tactical nuclear weapons were deployed at RAF Akrotiri in southern Cyprus as early as 1960. Two years later Harold Macmillan, then prime minister, personally authorised the storage of nuclear weapons at RAF Tengah in Singapore."

Killer Snails - "In the deck-building card game Killer Snails: Assassins of the Sea, you are the scientist collecting predatory cone snails that prey on fish, worms and other mollusks, to build a venom arsenal of potentially life-saving peptide toxins. Out-strategize your competition and concoct the winning solution!"

Seagulls in WWI trained to spot submarines - "The idea was that they could train seagulls by covering their own submarine periscopes with food, so that when they put their periscopes out of the water, the seagulls would flock to get the food. The eventual view was that over a period of time seagulls would then learn that if a periscope of any kind popped out of the water it would contain food. Therefore whenever they saw seagulls flocking to an area, the navy would know that a German submarine was in the vicinity."

Is It Time to Desegregate the Sexes? - The New York Times - "The problem schools face is that they can’t prevent sex discrimination unless they can say with certainty what sex is. And in an age of gender fluidity, the word is hard to define. This year the agencies told schools to interpret “sex” as a psychological condition, an “internal sense of gender,” rather than an anatomical one. The new interpretation has some science to back it up. But the way the change was made — by fiat, without public debate — has produced a surprisingly broad backlash, from secular feminists as well as evangelical conservatives... people have a right to privacy. Courts have largely agreed that no one should have to undress unwillingly in front of a member of the opposite sex, or see that person naked. Call it prudishness, if you like, but such modesty is common. We live in a sex-segregated world. After a certain point in childhood, men and women go their separate ways for almost every activity that involves exposing the body. The word “segregation” brings Jim Crow to mind, of course, and indeed, transgender activism has been compared to the civil-rights movement. But we have to ask whether physical modesty is tantamount to racism or has a more legitimate basis... In defining sex so expansively, the agencies may have walked themselves into a legal contradiction. Title IX has also been interpreted as saying that schools must not tolerate a “hostile environment” that makes girls feel threatened and could impede their education. If the cisgender girl claims that the transgender girl is invading her privacy in a discomfiting way, that could also constitute a Title IX violation. As the Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk Gersen wrote in The New Yorker, “The federal government is putting schools in a position where they may be sued whichever route they choose.” And so they have been... a transgender girl, “Student X,” danced to music with explicit lyrics — “Milkshake” by Kelis, for example — while twerking, grinding and at least once lifting up her skirt to show off her underwear. When one girl edged away, according to the complaint, Student X made rude comments about her. When she and other girls moved to a different locker room, Student X came in and changed next to them. Student X allegedly asked one girl her bra size and suggested they “trade body parts.”"

Friday, April 21, 2017

Links - 21st April 2017 (2)

‘No pork’ restaurants can be penalised for trying to confuse Muslims, says ministry officer - "The Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Co-operatives Ministry can act against restaurants with “no pork” sign, purportedly for attempting to deceive Muslim consumers into dining there... An enforcement director told the newspaper that the sign does not mean a restaurant is classified “halal” or permissible under Islam, and thus action can be taken under Sections 28 and 29 of the Trade Descriptions Act 2011 for attempting to confuse Muslims through Quranic verses and objects... The newspaper also quoted Malaysian Islamic Consumer Association (PPIM) as urging Federation of Malaysian Consumer Association to act on restaurants with “no pork” signs, saying that it raises doubts on whether food and beverages in these premises meet the criteria of Jakim standards... In August 2014, PPIM had urged authorities to compel food outlets to display their halal or non-halal signs more prominently to protect Arab tourists ignorant of Malaysia’s cultural diversity."

Report: After crackdown, hardware traders label all paint brushes as non-halal - "Some hardware traders in Johor Baru have taken to tagging all their paint brushes as non-halal for fear of reprisal from authorities after a recent clamp down on those made of pig bristles... there was little demand for halal brushes but he would order synthetic ones for customers who insisted. “Nylon brushes are not sought after because nylon does not hold paint well and is impractical” Tan was quoted as saying... “It does not make sense for us to keep sending paint brushes for tests at the laboratory before selling them. “Just to be safe, I have also put up tags to inform customers that all my paint brushes are non-halal,” the 36-year-old was quoted as saying. Chan said he might lose a few customers in the process, but he was willing to do so then to risk having his stock confiscated. National news agency Bernama yesterday reported Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin saying that his ministry seized 2,003 paintbrushes made with pig bristles worth almost RM11,000 in a nationwide “crackdown”. He reportedly said the brushes were confiscated under the Trade Descriptions (Goods Made from any Part of Pig or Dog) Order 2013, which states that such products must be labelled and separated from other goods, Punishments for violations of the minister’s order are RM100,000 fines, three years’ jail or both for individuals, while corporations face fines of up to RM250,000. Subsequently, Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia (PPIM) called for a logo to differentiate items containing pig-derived parts to inform the “not that smart” Muslim consumers."
It seems Malaysia has a lot of stupid Muslims

Dear God, save us from the Church dipping sauce - "I am referring to the two Muslims who commented on the Texas Chicken Malaysia (TCM) FB page which has gone viral since. The first Muslim urged TCM to explain its dipping sauce, branded “Church”, claiming that “Muslims do not eat food from church brand.” Upon TCM’s clarification that “Church” is the surname of the company’s founder, the second Muslim suggested that the brand name be changed as a sign of respect to Muslim customers. Wow. Seriously I had no idea that dipping a piece of chicken into a sauce branded “Church” could weaken our faith. Perhaps these people are genetically related to those folks in Taman Medan whose faith were shaken at the sight of a cross hanging on a church building. And yes, they should also be distant relatives of those people who made a fuss of clothes shaped like “T”... Some of the people I work with even make a big fuss over dining at eateries owned by non-Muslims even when certified halal. Somehow they believe the nons have a hidden agenda, as if serving Muslims with non-halal food gives them great satisfaction. I have also met Muslim friends who are reluctant to allow their children to swim in the same pool as non-Muslim kids. Perhaps their Muslim identity would peel off by sharing the same pool. And just recently, a Muslim friend of mine got real annoyed with her parents for advising her not to get too close to her non-Muslim friends... If serving “Church” sauce is insensitive to Muslim feelings, isn’t attaching the “Bismillah” phrase to everything we do insensitive to non-Muslim feelings?"

Most Germans Think the Press Is Lying to Them About Refugees - "The criticism is mainly directed at reporting on the refugee crisis. According to a recent survey by the Allensbach Institute, a respected German polling firm, only a quarter of Germans believe that the media paint a correct picture of the level of education and share of women and children among incoming refugees... many more journalists sympathize with the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) or the Green Party than the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU). "No wonder conservatism is being wiped out.""

Storm of reaction to news Syrian refugee charged with sex assaults - "Soleiman Hajj Soleiman, 39, was arrested Saturday and charged with six counts of sexual assault and six counts of sexual interference after six teenage girls, all younger than 16, told police they were inappropriately touched while swimming at the West Edmonton Mall water park... Mohamed Huque, executive director of the Islamic Family and Social Services Association, said reports about Soleiman's refugee status unfairly vilified an entire community... Huque said the suspect's immigration status is not relevant to the crime, and journalists had a duty to keep those details out of their coverage. He said news outlets, including CBC, are often inconsistent in their reporting on the racial backgrounds of suspects. Media reports must take into account the everyday discriminations newcomers to Canada often face, Huque said."
It's always easier to shoot the messenger

Protesters destroy pristine ND environment to protest low probability that the environment will be damaged in future - "This seems to be the “logic” of the protesters who opposed the 1.5 mile completion of the 1,700 mile Dakota Access Pipeline near the Cannonball River in North Dakota: We’ll destroy the pristine environment today in North Dakota, including the destruction of grass on 50 acres of pristine land (see photos below) where the camps were located due to “the unauthorized placement of structures, vehicles, personal property and fires,” creating great environmental risk of soil erosion and contaminated sediment runoff during possible spring flooding, to protest the almost non-existent chance that there could be some future environmental damage from the pipeline"

Pakistani court bans Valentine's day - "The court's order came after a petition was submitted by a citizen called Abdul Waheed -- who claimed that ongoing promotions of Valentine's Day were "against the teachings of Islam and should be banned immediately.""

Georgetown Islamic Studies Professor: Slavery OK, So is Non-Consensual Sex - "A professor at Georgetown University is teaching his students that men do not need consent to have sex with women, and that slavery is justifiable under Islamic teachings"

What would happen if the world suddenly went vegetarian? - "Around one-third of the world’s land is composed of arid and semi-arid rangeland that can only support animal agriculture. In the past, when people have attempted to convert parts of the Sahel – a massive east-to-west strip of Africa located south of the Sahara and north of the equator – from livestock pasture to croplands, desertification and loss of productivity have ensued. “Without livestock, life in certain environments would likely become impossible for some people,” Phalan says. That especially includes nomadic groups such as the Mongols and Berbers who, stripped of their livestock, would have to settle permanently in cities or towns – likely losing their cultural identity in the process. Plus, even those whose entire livelihoods do not depend on livestock would stand to suffer. Meat is an important part of history, tradition and cultural identity... Animal products contain more nutrients per calorie than vegetarian staples like grains and rice, so choosing the right replacement would be important, especially for the world’s estimated two billion-plus undernourished people. “Going vegetarian globally could create a health crisis in the developing world, because where would the micronutrients come from?”"

This Girl's Hilarious Rant About Why Sunfish Are Awful Was Shut Down By A Marine Biologist - "“That dude [dude] has no idea what he’s talking about!” begins the retort. According to the marine biologist, any animal that eats mainly jellyfish is helping the environment, because overfishing of the ocean has led to a huge increase in the amount of the squidgy jelly animals. Then the whole rant is fact-checked. Sunfish aren’t drifters, and are active swimmers, controlling where they go with as much thrust as a penguin. “Not bad for a 5,000 pound fish head with wings.”"
How come it became a dude?

UK TV drama Cold Feet digitally alters Singapore footage deemed too English - "when they returned from filming, what was shot was considered not authentic enough because the crew had filmed scenes in what was described as Singapore's "Englishtown". "They actually did shoot this in Singapore, but for some reason they shot it in 'Englishtown'. You know, we have a Chinatown in London, they have an Englishtown in Singapore," Millar said in the report. He added: "When we saw the rushes we thought they actually had filmed this in Manchester, but we only belatedly discovered they really did shoot it in Singapore." Molinare was then tasked with adding authenticity to the scenes, such as changing English signs to Chinese, adding specific buildings into the background and removing British tourists, Radio Times reported. “We had to make it look a bit more like Singapore – given it was Singapore,” Millar said in the report."

Ibn Warraq - Timeline - "The great ideas of the West—rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, the rule of law and equality under the law, freedom of thought and expression, human rights, and liberal democracy—are superior to any others devised by humankind. It was the West that took steps to abolish slavery; the calls for abolition did not resonate even in Africa, where rival tribes sold black prisoners into slavery. The West has secured freedoms for women and racial and other minorities to an extent unimaginable 60 years ago. The West recognizes and defends the rights of the individual: we are free to think what we want, to read what we want, to practice our religion, to live lives of our choosing. In short, the glory of the West, as philosopher Roger Scruton puts it, is that life here is an open book. Under Islam, the book is closed"

ICA - Response to 'Stumped by what's classified' (Straits Times Online, 22 Feb 2010) - "Security guards at buildings, condominiums and other premises are not authorised by the regulations to retain a visitor's NRIC. However, it is not illegal for them to do so if the visitor authorises them to hold his NRIC as a condition for entry in exchange for a visitor's pass. This is a private arrangement between the two parties concerned. But the law provides that any misuse of the confidential information by anyone acting without authorisation is actionable."
Of course if you don't give them your IC you can't go in

BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Colony - "'If you won you got a medal with a quote from the Bible on it.'
''I have a goodly heritage'. Everybody's interested in eugenics. It was sort of like the environmental movement of its day... everybody was a eugenicist because they were innocent of all the crimes that would be committed in its name at that time'...
He wanted to sterilise Carrie. To sever her fallopian tubes so she couldn't have children. So the case went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1927, and the justices voted 8 to 1 in favor of sterilising Carrie Buck. They said basically not only is it constitutional to sterilise her, it would be irresponsible not to...
'You could be sterilised for being blind, deaf, apoleptic, feeble minded as they said. Sometimes just for being poor'
'Poverty had a medical diagnosis. Pauperism. Basically if you were seen as a drain on society you were a candidate'"

Black as Hell, Strong as Death, Sweet as Love - "An old Turkish proverb perfectly describes the country’s unique take on my favorite caffeinated beverage: “Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love”

Why do women physicians work fewer hours than men physicians? - "Because of the large public investment in medical education, it is important to understand why women physicians work significantly less than men physicians. National survey data on office-based private practice physicians were used to estimate (using two-stage least squares technique) hours and weeks worked for men and women physicians separately. Contrary to conventional wisdom, shorter work weeks for women physicians are not the result of child care responsibilities. Nor would higher earnings encourage women physicians to work longer hours. Instead, we found significant work reductions among married women physicians (but not men), implying subordination of careers by women where combined family incomes are high."

The Best Welfare Reform: Give Poor People Cash - "When governments give people in-kind support like food, it frequently costs more to deliver that support than it would to distribute cash—and for the same or even a lesser impact. Jesse Cunha of the Naval Postgraduate School conducted a randomized trial of cash versus in-kind transfers in rural Mexico. In addition to finding that cash recipients didn’t spend more on tobacco or alcohol, Cunha learned that those who received cash experienced the same improvements in nutrition and child-health measures as those who received food. But the food program cost at least 20 percent more to administer, and the cash program led to significantly higher non-food consumption by recipients. In other words: At less cost to the government, cash programs led to the same health outcomes as food-based programs, but also provided additional resources for recipients to spend on schooling, medicine, and transport. This is not a one-off finding... Cash also has a larger multiplier effect. Bring food from elsewhere to an area, and the impact of that food stops with those who eat it. Give people cash and they spend it on goods provided by local farmers and traders, who are often poor themselves and benefit as well... Perhaps most important, cash transfers often lead to productive investments... As in the Mexican cash-transfer program, spending on alcohol and tobacco did not rise after the transfer. Perhaps that’s because recipients felt less need for a pick-me-up: They reported feeling happier after the transfer, and tests of cortisol in saliva revealed lower biomarkers for stress"

Black Lives Matter Toronto Co-Founder Needs To Resign - "normally my white skin would admittedly preclude me from even suggesting that a black activist should hang up the megaphone, but Khogali has made a habit of directing violent, hateful language towards people with white skin, so much so that I feel comfortable calling her out. She once mused that just by having white skin, white people are sub-human. She tried to qualify that statement by saying white people did not have a high amount of melanin, which prevents them from absorbing light, and with it a sense of moral clarity. Now, maybe if this was her only controversial statement all could be forgiven, but this is a pattern of hate that can't be ignored any longer. In April 2016 Khogali tweeted "Plz Allah give me strength to not cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today. Plz Plz Plz.""
When even the Huffington Post calls you out...

I Helped Create the Milo Trolling Playbook - "people are really giving the alt-right exactly what they want. One of the best ways to sow and exploit division is to look for moral hypocrisy. With the Planned Parenthood stunt, we were able to say: “Look, you claim to care about reproductive rights, yet you are turning down $500,000.” (Your smarter fans appreciate the brilliant trolling and your dumber fans really buy the argument). When protesters try to revoke someone’s right to speak or when someone like Richard Spencer is physically assaulted on camera, you’re not intimidating anyone—you’re emboldening them. You’re giving them a wonderful recruiting tool. They’re laughing all the way to the bank. That’s what’s so misguided about what happened at UC Berkeley. From what I understand, most of the violence was perpetrated by infiltrators who were looking to sow chaos and destruction. Yet many of the peaceful protesters and organizers have admitted that they too were attempting to shut down Milo’s talk. The last thing you ever want to do is give an opponent the moral high ground—and attempts to suppress, intimidate and revoke constitutional rights do exactly that... It’s easy to sound smart and provocative when you’re the underdog. It’s easier to be reckless when you have nothing to lose. It’s also easier to create a united front when you really are being persecuted or attacked—when you’re an outsider"

Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist

Articles: Weekend Must-Read: Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist
By Danusha V. Goska

"How far left was I? So far left my beloved uncle was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party in a Communist country. When I returned to his Slovak village to buy him a mass card, the priest refused to sell me one. So far left that a self-identified terrorist proposed marriage to me. So far left I was a two-time Peace Corps volunteer and I have a degree from UC Berkeley. So far left that my Teamster mother used to tell anyone who would listen that she voted for Gus Hall, Communist Party chairman, for president. I wore a button saying “Eat the Rich.” To me it wasn’t a metaphor.

I voted Republican in the last presidential election...

10) Huffiness...

We rushed to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed. We lived our lives in a constant state of outraged indignation. I did not want to live that way anymore. I wanted to cultivate a disposition of gratitude. I wanted to see others, not as victims or victimizers, but as potential friends, as loved creations of God. I wanted to understand the point of view of people with whom I disagreed without immediately demonizing them as enemy oppressors...

The disconnect between leftists’ announced value of championing the poor and the leftist practice of expressing snobbery for them stung me. Already vulnerable students would be taught by a professor who regarded association with them as a burden, a failure, and a stigma...

Professor X projected a series of photographs onto a large screen. In one, commuters in business suits, carrying briefcases, mounted a flight of stairs. This photo was an act of microaggression. After all, Professor X reminded us, handicapped people can’t climb stairs...

In the left, I found a desire to be in pain constantly, so as always to have something to protest, from one’s history of incest to the inability of handicapped people to mount flights of stairs.

9) Selective Outrage...

When Mitt Romney was the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, he mentioned that, as Massachusetts governor, he proactively sought out female candidates for top jobs. He had, he said, “binders full of women.” He meant, of course, that he stored resumes of promising female job candidates in three-ring binders.

Op-ed pieces, Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show,” Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon posts erupted in a feeding frenzy, savaging Romney and the Republican Party for their “war on women.”

I was an active leftist for decades. I never witnessed significant leftist outrage over clitoredectomy, child marriage, honor killing, sharia-inspired rape laws, stoning, or acid attacks. Nothing. Zip. Crickets. I’m not saying that that outrage does not exist. I’m saying I never saw it.

The left’s selective outrage convinced me that much canonical, left-wing feminism is not so much support for women, as it is a protest against Western, heterosexual men. It’s an “I hate” phenomenon, rather than an “I love” phenomenon.

8.) It’s the thought that counts

My favorite bumper sticker in ultra-liberal Berkeley, California: “Think Globally; Screw up Locally.” In other words, “Love Humanity but Hate People”...

7) Leftists hate my people.

I'm a working-class Bohunk. A hundred years ago, leftists loved us. We worked lousy jobs, company thugs shot us when we went on strike, and leftists saw our discontent as fuel for their fire...

Leftists freely label poor whites as "redneck," "white trash," "trailer trash," and "hillbilly." At the same time that leftists toss around these racist and classist slurs, they are so sanctimonious they forbid anyone to pronounce the N word when reading Mark Twain aloud. President Bill Clinton's advisor James Carville succinctly summed up leftist contempt for poor whites in his memorable quote, "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find."

The left's visceral hatred of poor whites overflowed like a broken sewer when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in 2008. It would be impossible, and disturbing, to attempt to identify the single most offensive comment that leftists lobbed at Palin. One can report that attacks on Palin were so egregious that leftists themselves publicly begged that they cease; after all, they gave the left a bad name. The Reclusive Leftist blogged in 2009 that it was a "major shock" to discover "the extent to which so many self-described liberals actually despise working people." The Reclusive Leftist focuses on Vanity Fair journalist Henry Rollins. Rollins recommends that leftists "hate-fuck conservative women" and denounces Palin as a "small town hickoid" who can be bought off with a coupon to a meal at a chain restaurant.

Smearing us is not enough. Liberal policies sabotage us. Affirmative action benefits recipients by color, not by income. Even this limited focus fails. In his 2004 Yale University Press study, Thomas Sowell insists that affirmative action helps only wealthier African Americans. Poor blacks do not benefit. In 2009, Princeton sociologists Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford demonstrated that poor, white Christians are underrepresented on elite college campuses. Leftists add insult to injury. A blue-collar white kid, who feels lost and friendless on the alien terrain of a university campus, a campus he has to leave immediately after class so he can get to his fulltime job at MacDonald's, must accept that he is a recipient of "white privilege" – if he wants to get good grades in mandatory classes on racism.

The left is still looking for its proletariat. It supports mass immigration for this reason. Harvard's George Borjas, himself a Cuban immigrant, has been called "America’s leading immigration economist." Borjas points out that mass immigration from Latin America has sabotaged America's working poor.

It's more than a little bit weird that leftists, who describe themselves as the voice of the worker, select workers as their hated other of choice, and targets of their failed social engineering.

6) I believe in God.

Read Marx and discover a mythology that is irreconcilable with any other narrative, including the Bible. Hang out in leftist internet environments, and you will discover a toxic bath of irrational hatred for the Judeo-Christian tradition...

5 & 4) Straw men and "In order to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs."

It astounds me now to reflect on it, but never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist...

Ron Kuby is a left-wing radio talk show host on New York's WABC. He plays the straw man card hourly. If someone phones in to question affirmative action – shouldn't such programs benefit recipients by income, rather than by skin color? – Kuby opens the fire hydrant. He is shrill. He is bombastic. He accuses the caller of being a member of the KKK. He paints graphic word pictures of the horrors of lynching and the death of Emmett Till and asks, "And you support that?"

Well of course THE CALLER did not support that, but it is easier to orchestrate a mob in a familiar rendition of righteous rage against a sensationalized straw man than it is to produce a reasoned argument against a reasonable opponent.

On June 16, 2014, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank published a column alleging that a peaceful Muslim was nearly verbally lynched by violent Islamophobes at a Heritage Foundation-hosted panel. What Milbank described was despicable. Unfortunately for Milbank and the Washington Post's credibility, someone filmed the event and posted the film on YouTube. Panel discussants, including Frank Gaffney and Brigitte Gabriel, made important points in a courteous manner. Saba Ahmed, the peaceful Muslim, is a "family friend" of a bombing plotter who expressed a specific desire to murder children. It soon became clear that Milbank was, as one blogger put it, "making stuff up."

Milbank slanders anyone who might attempt analysis of jihad, a force that is currently cited in the murder of innocents -- including Muslims -- from Nigeria to the Philippines. The leftist strategy of slandering those who speak uncomfortable facts suppresses discourse and has a devastating impact on confrontations with truth in journalism and on college campuses.

2 & 3) It doesn't work. Other approaches work better...

Many of my students lack awareness of a lot more than vocabulary. They don't know about believing in themselves, or stick-to-itiveness. They don't realize that the people who exercise power over them have faced and overcome obstacles. I know they don't know these things because they tell me. One student confessed that when she realized that one of her teachers had overcome setbacks it changed her own life.

My students do know -- because they have been taught this -- that America is run by all-powerful racists who will never let them win. My students know -- because they have been drilled in this -- that the only way they can get ahead is to locate and cultivate those few white liberals who will pity them and scatter crumbs on their supplicant, bowed heads and into their outstretched palms. My students have learned to focus on the worst thing that ever happened to them, assume that it happened because America is unjust, and to recite that story, dirge-like, to whomever is in charge, from the welfare board to college professors, and to await receipt of largesse.

As Shelby Steele so brilliantly points out in his book White Guilt, the star of the sob story my students tell in exchange for favors is very much not the black aid recipient. The star of this story, still, just as before the Civil Rights Movement that was meant to change who got to take the lead in American productions, was the white man. The generous white liberal still gets top billing.

In Dominque La Pierre's 1985 novel City of Joy, a young American doctor, Max Loeb, confesses that serving the poor in a slum has changed his mind forever about what might actually improve their lot. "In a slum an exploiter is better than a Santa Claus… An exploiter forces you to react, whereas a Santa Claus demobilizes you."...

1) Hate.

If hate were the only reason, I'd stop being a leftist for this reason alone...

Those posting messages in this left-wing forumpublicly announced that they did what they did every day, from voting to attending a rally to planning a life, because they wanted to destroy something, and because they hated someone, rather than because they wanted to build something, or because they loved someone. You went to an anti-war rally because you hated Bush, not because you loved peace. Thus, when Obama bombed, you didn't hold any anti-war rally, because you didn't hate Obama.

I experienced powerful cognitive dissonance when I recognized the hate. The rightest of my right-wing acquaintances -- I had no right-wing friends -- expressed nothing like this. My right-wing acquaintances talked about loving: God, their family, their community. I'm not saying that the right-wingers I knew were better people; I don't know that they were. I'm speaking here, merely, about language...

I needed to leave the left, I realized, when I decided that I wanted to spend time with people building, cultivating, and establishing, something that they loved."
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