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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Links - 27th June 2017 (2)

Marvel Confirms Popular Fan Theory About Stan Lee's Cameos - "Stan Lee has secretly been playing Uatu the Watcher, an extraterrestrial from the comics whose species appear to observe major events."

Fathers' rights protester scales Buckingham Palace - "Royal security was under fresh scrutiny today after a Fathers 4 Justice campaigner dressed as Batman staged a protest on a balcony at Buckingham Palace. Jason Hatch, 33, from Gloucester, managed to reach the royal residence despite the presence of armed guards, the group claimed. Matt O'Connor, a spokesman for the organisation, said: "We've got a guy dressed as Batman who is on Buckingham Palace on a balcony. He legged it past the armed guards.""

How censored is China's version of WoW? - World of Warcraft Forums - "skeletons being turned into undead player models and undead player models having their exposed bones covered up"
"You cant see Pandaren at all, they are just giant blurry images."
"I know that games in Brazil can't mention alcohol so things get changed from say wine to 'grape juice' or the likes. Our government (Australia) wanted to censor A cup women because it was considered borderline child "adult material" and exploitation of minors."

Well done, feminism. Now man are afraid to help women at work - Telegraph - "Sex & The Office suggests men now view such ordinary, decent behaviours as “too risky” – and, in what will be a bitter irony for equality campaigners – claims that, as a direct consequence, women are now failing to advance at work. This terror of being accused of sexual harassment is now so common it has its own term, “backlash stress”. It sounds like something straight out of a Claims Direct ad – where the only victims are men. The book’s author, Kim Elsesser, a research scholar at the University of California, argues that a “sex partition” has sprung up, which impedes women from building the vital network of contacts both within the workplace and socially... companies themselves are contributing to this mess, as they are now so terrified of legal action they send staff on sexual harassment training courses, and are duty-bound to follow up on any allegation, however minor. Ludicrously, Elsesser cites examples of men who have been dragged in by their HR departments for simply opening a door for a female colleague or complimenting her on a new suit... Elsesser’s book echoes an insightful New York Post article from earlier this year called ‘Powerful Men Now Hide Behind Open Doors’. The writer, Naomi Schaffer Riley, paints a depressingly familiar picture of university lecturers who won’t even close their office doors when alone with a female student... Riley cites a US National Journal survey where a male Congress aide said: “Several female aides have been barred from staffing their male bosses at evening events, driving alone with their congressman or senator, or even sitting down one-on-one in his office for fear that others would get the wrong impression.” In a lawsuit-happy culture, where claims can seemingly be made on a 'he said/she said' basis, men are now trying to ensure their actions are always covered by a third party witness. Increasingly, they want to make sure the walls have ears – just in case something “inappropriate” is said... By carrying on like this we are nurturing and mollycoddling victimhood and it is having profound impacts. Last month in Britain, “fearless feminist” barrister Charlotte Proudman publicly shamed Alexander Carter-Silk, 57, a senior solicitor, for complimenting her “stunning” LinkedIn profile picture – then claimed it was her career that had been “ruined”... This is the bed Third Wave feminism has made. Now we all have to lie in it"

Health food and drinks nutritionists want you to STOP buying in 2017 - "'If you remove gluten from your diet without medical necessity, you will run the risk of missing out on some vitamins and other essential nutrients. 'Many gluten-free products available tend to be quite low in iron, calcium, fibre, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. 'Many gluten-free foods would be tasteless without the higher levels of sugar, salt, and other additives to make them more palatable. 'And don't forget that gluten-free junk food is still junk food.'"

What women REALLY want: To marry a rich man and stay at home with the children - "Despite years of equality campaigning and advances for women in the workplace, 64 per cent said they aspire to find a husband who brings home a larger pay packet than they do. None wanted to marry a man who earned less. And 69 per cent said they would prefer to stay at home to look after their children if money were not an issue. Only 19 per cent wanted their other half to be better educated than they are. Instead 62 per cent said they wanted a man to have the same level of intellect... The survey follows controversial research published last week by Dr Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics, which claimed more women are choosing to ‘marry up’ by picking wealthy men for their spouse than in the 1940s. In her report, published by the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, she said men dominate the top positions because women do not want careers in business... equal roles in the family, where husband and wife shared employment, childcare and housework, was ‘not the ideal sought by most couples’."

Successful women begrudge husbands who earn less, study claims - "one in five women are the main breadwinners in their relationships. Of female high-flyers, one in six actually resented their loved one for not earning more cash and one in ten disliked the financial responsibility... relationships were far less fiery when the man retained his traditional breadwinning role... sociologists as Virginia University, in the U.S study, found that those with traditional marriages, in which couples stick to old fashioned gender roles - with the husband as the main breadwinner - were happier. Entitled What's Love Got TO With It, the report showed women who worked were more dissatisfied with their husbands than those who stayed at home, and the happiest were those whose husbands brought in at least two-thirds of the household income, regardless of how much they helped with domestic chores."

Feminist Academics Blame The Patriarchy For Feeling Like Frauds - "The study draws on well-known feminist Peggy McIntosh’s research which concludes that women generally feel like frauds in their professional life due to patriarchal forces. The authors wrote: “personal feelings of fraudulence are linked to broader, political context.” They criticized universities for adopting “neoliberal” economic accountability that forces scholars to produce applicable research because such traitorous scholars are “likely to be rewarded within a patriarchal system.” Thus Sharp and Weaver suggest that feminist scholars, who don’t accept the “neoliberal” way of doing research, will tend to feel like frauds because they won’t be rewarded as much and will feel inadequate."

Why I'll never date a feminist - "People who are more loyal to their gender and not their significant other don’t make good partners. They will always look at you as inherently more fortunate than them. They’ve bought into the “battle of the sexes” mentality and it often pervades their perceptions of romance. Romance turns into a power struggle rather than a partnership."

Female Islamic Professor Says Allah Allows Muslims To Rape Non-Muslims In Order To Humiliate Them [Video] - "Al-Azhar University is a renowned institute in Cairo, Egypt, that is the oldest degree-granting institute in all of Egypt. The university is touted as “Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university.” Therefore, the statements made by the female professor are concerning due to the rampant rape by the Islamic State to their “war prisoners,” the Yazidi people."

The dating gap: why the odds are stacked against female graduates - "Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, says women looking for equally-educated male partners, “will be forced to compete, I guess, and those that lose will have to downgrade their expectations and are likely to marry later as a result.” There is historical evidence for this – he points to analyses of parish marriage registers from an area of Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries. “We see this in the historical data – actual ages at marriage are later for those who marry down the social scale than those who marry up or at the same level.”

Switzerland guns: Living with firearms the Swiss way - "Although it is still possible for a former soldier to buy his firearm after he finishes military service, he must provide a justification for keeping the weapon and apply for a permit... It is a condition of the interview that I don't give his surname or hint at his address. "I do as the army advises and I keep the barrel separately from my pistol," he explains seriously. "I keep the barrel in the basement so if anyone breaks into my apartment and finds the gun, it's useless to them." He shakes out the gun holster. "And we don't get bullets any more," he adds. "The Army doesn't give ammunition now - it's all kept in a central arsenal"... when I ask him if he feels safer having a gun at home, explaining that even if he had ammunition, he would not be allowed to use it against an intruder... "there is a strong correlation between guns kept in private homes and incidences occurring at home - like private disputes involving the husband shooting the wife and maybe the children, and then committing suicide"... "over the last 20 years, now that the majority of soldiers don't have ammunition at home, we have seen a decrease in gun violence and a dramatic decrease in gun-related suicides. Today we see maybe 200 gun suicides per year and it used to be 400, 20 years ago"... Prof Killias cannot hide his anger with those in America who use Switzerland to illustrate their argument that more gun ownership would deter or stop violence. "We don't have a gun culture!" he snaps, waving his hand dismissively... "There is no point taking the gun out of your home in Switzerland because it is illegal to carry a gun in the street. To shoot someone who just looks at you in a funny way - this is not Swiss culture!""
If stricter gun control reduces gun deaths in a place without a gun culture, it will even more so reduce them in a place with it

Meet Bodhi - the pet dog who's also a paid MENSWEAR model for top brands including ASOS - “Working with Bodhi is like working with any model, sometimes he’s happy, sometimes he’s not feeling it - at the end of the day he’s the boss.”

Against ‘Sustainability’ - The New York Times - "as the Christian God retreated after Descartes, the attributes traditionally ascribed to Him — goodness, perfection and permanence — were in different ways transposed onto the body of nature... the planet has seen mass extinctions of species and significant alterations to the climate before. The fact that they are traced to the behavior of an individual species only makes them particular, not in some way “unnatural.”... Mass extinctions are no doubt catastrophic, but they are only tragic if nature is viewed as something perfect that we are destroying, rather than as a state of flux in which we are participating... the environmental movement has become, and perhaps always was, infused with a sense of mourning and melancholia (not to mention nostalgia). This melancholia, I would argue, is connected to the death of God, or the ability to conceive God in a certain way, and stems from that Romantic transference of the divine into nature."

I am interested in learning more about how biotech seeds improve sustainability... - "Toward environmental sustainability, the GM insect tolerant crops allow much less broad-spectrum insecticide to be used, which has many advantages. Insect populations are more diverse, and abundant, except for those that directly harm the crop... Economic sustainability means a positive net balance between the cost of production and the value of the product. The best example is perhaps the Hawaiian papaya. Papaya farmers find the GMO papaya much more sustainable than non-GM, virus sensitive varieties"
"Herbicide-tolerant crops have encouraged farmers to practice no-till farming. In conventional farming, the fields are plowed ("tilled") to control weeds. Because of the superior weed control from GM crops, farmers now have to till much less often. This has led to improved soil health and water retention, reduced runoff, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture"

Is the key to romance outsourcing household chores? - The Washington Post - "comprehensive outsourcing is actually the most economical decision for them. Not only does it free them up to devote more time to their professional work, but it also relieves the stress on the family and the marriage... “Families tend to over-buy things and under-buy services given what psychologists have told us about how spending money impacts happiness.”... "I got a lot more joy out of dancing for 15 minutes with Matilda than I would have from a Starbucks cappuccino. And it cost me about a Starbucks drink to pay our assistant [to] spend 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen.”"

Why science is so hard to believe - The Washington Post - "even students with an advanced science education had a hitch in their mental gait when asked to affirm or deny that humans are descended from sea animals and that the Earth goes around the sun. Both truths are counterintuitive. The students, even those who correctly marked “true,” were slower to answer those questions than questions about whether humans are descended from tree-dwelling creatures (also true but easier to grasp) and whether the moon goes around the Earth (also true but intuitive)... people need to hear from believers they can trust, who share their fundamental values... In the debate over climate change, the central allegation of the skeptics is that the science saying it’s real and a serious threat is politically tinged, driven by environmental activism and not hard data. That’s not true, and it slanders honest scientists. But the claim becomes more likely to be seen as plausible if scientists go beyond their professional expertise and begin advocating specific policies. It’s their very detachment, what you might call the cold-bloodedness of science, that makes science the killer app"

Does Islam Have a Role in Suicide Bombings? - "Khomeini and fellow radical Shiite clerics framed the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) as a modern incarnation of the Battle of Karbala, portraying the Iranian people as Muhammad's grandson and Shiite martyr Hussein ibn Ali and Saddam Hussein as his nemesis Caliph Yazid. They understood that Shiite veneration for the self-sacrifice of Hussein's followers, who died willingly along with their leader, could be leveraged. Khomeini also relied on passages from the Qur'an extolling the virtue of "one who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah." Yet most authors of books on suicide terrorism ignore how Khomeini and Amal's Musa Sadr carefully manipulated Islamic tradition, preferring the simple and uncritical assertion that Islam prohibits suicide... The will to equivocate is so strong that it prompted Navid Kermani to advise those looking to understand the 9/11 attacks to ignore the Qur'an and blame Nietzsche... the LTTE [Tamil Tigers] did not engage in suicide terrorism prior to its contact with Hezbollah... Many claim that foreign occupation causes suicide bombing worldwide. But no French or Dutch suicide bombers targeted Nazi occupiers in the early 1940s. The Irish Republican Army's Bobby Sands (above) starved to death during a hunger strike, but the group never adopted suicide bombing as a tactic against British occupiers. No Palestinian suicide bombers targeted Egyptian and Trans-Jordanian occupiers in the Gaza Strip and West Bank from 1948 until 1967... Mira Tzoreff of the Moshe Dayan Center also documents the predatory methods used by Arafat's Tanzim whereby Palestinian girls and young women are seduced, impregnated, threatened with exposure, and then offered a means of escape through their own "martyrdom.""

How Neil Young, Greenpeace work to starve the world’s poor - "to Greenpeace’s loud cheers, MASIPAG, a closely allied organization, violently attacked and destroyed a Golden Rice field trial in the Philippines. The group claimed to be a “farmer-led network,” but local officials reported that its thugs had been bused in from a nearby city. MASIPAG’s list of supporters and partners reads like a directory of European church- and government-sponsored social-justice and development groups... Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace in the 1970s, broke with his creation and now works to expose Greenpeace’s actions in the developing world. He’s joined with Golden Rice inventor Ingo Potrykus in calling for putting Greenpeace on trial for crimes against humanity."

Employer fails to pay, worker goes to jail - "The doctor at CGH prescribed him five months of medical leave. During this period, Ali’s employer merely paid him a small portion of his medical leave wages. To compound matters, Ali was constantly harassed by his employer to sign blank papers, which he steadfastly refused. But the constant pressure on him made it increasingly intolerable to continue staying in the dormitory. When finally, on 13 November 2013, his request for the reimbursement of his medical expenses and leave wages infuriated his employer, Ali moved out of the dormitory. Like many migrant workers, Ali would not want to risk being seized by “repatriation gangsters” hired by employers, and be bundled out of Singapore without completing his course of medical treatment or receiving compensation for permanent disability. The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) clearly states that employers are to pay workers their medical leave wages promptly and cover medical expenses for work-related injuries. However, tardiness or failure to pay is a recurring complaint among injured workers who seek help at Transient Workers Count Too; Ali is one of the many cases I have encountered in just the first month of my internship. Having moved out of his dorm for his own security, Ali now had to find a way to pay over $200 a month to rent a bunk bed somewhere. Without a viable financial means to support himself and his family back home, Ali had no choice but to take on alternative employment, even if illegally"

The Gadfly

The Gadfly - The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Haidt roams the stage, TED-talk style (he’s delivered four), and explains what he calls "the new moral culture spreading on many college campuses." It is a culture, he says, that values victims, prioritizes emotional safety, silences dissent, and distorts scholarship. It is a culture that undermines the university’s traditional mission to pursue truth — "veritas" is right there on the seals of Harvard and Yale — in favor of a new mission: the pursuit of social justice. It is a culture that Haidt believes is fueled by three factors: political polarization, the rise of social media, and a lack of ideological diversity in the professoriate.

Through the 1980s, Haidt says at the conference, liberals outnumbered conservatives on college faculties by about two to one. In his own field, psychology, a left/right disparity of four to one existed until the mid-1990s. "That’s not really a problem as long as there are some people on the right who can raise objections if someone says something that’s just overtly partisan and isn’t backed up by the facts," he says. Today, however, precious few conservatives are in psychology departments. "If you say something pleasing to the left about race, gender, immigration, or any other issue, it’s likely to get waved through to publication," says Haidt. "People won’t ask hard questions. They like it. They want to believe it." This represents "a real research-legitimacy problem in the social sciences."

Solving that problem has become a crusade for Haidt. In 2015 he co-founded Heterodox Academy to advocate for what its mission statement calls "viewpoint diversity." The organization began as an online salon frequented by a few colleagues, but after high-profile student protests at the University of Missouri, Yale, and elsewhere, the ranks began to swell. The group now has more than 800 members, primarily tenured or tenure-track faculty. The active ones conduct research and distill their findings into blog posts, which has made the Heterodox Academy website a clearinghouse for data and views on academic bias, scientific integrity, and the latest campus free-speech flaps. Last year a quarter-million people visited the website...

At the Students for Liberty conference, Haidt explained that his activism is driven by a belief that the stakes could not be higher: "This could be the beginning of the end for liberal democracy."...

"The election has ramped up emotions so strongly that any effort to say, ‘You really need to have more conservatives in the university, and you need to listen to them’ strikes some people as immoral." On the other hand, he says, the election has forced a reckoning. More academics are saying, "Wow, we really are in a bubble. We must get out of this bubble."...

When he taught at Virginia, the psychology department hosted a weekly lunch presentation. One day the topic was women and math. The talk focused on how cultural messages girls receive dissuade them from pursuing math. Haidt proposed an alternative explanation: "We know that prenatal hormones influence the brain, changing all kinds of interests. Is it possible that girls are just less interested in math?" There was dead silence. "Wait," he pressed. "Do you think hormones influence behavior?" More silence. "Nobody agreed, nobody disagreed, nobody would touch it," he recalls. "That’s when I realized our science is suffering. Social science is really hard; it’s always multiple causal threads. If several threads are banned, then you cannot solve any problem."

In 2011, during a talk at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Haidt asked the audience of about 1,000 people for a show of hands: How many considered themselves liberals? Eighty percent raised their hands. Centrists or moderates? About 20 hands. Libertarians? Twelve. Conservatives? Three. "When we find any job in the nation in which women or minorities are underrepresented by a factor of three or four, we make the strong presumption that this constitutes evidence of discrimination," he said. "And if we can’t find evidence of overt discrimination, we presume that there must be a hostile climate that discourages underrepresented groups from entering." He likened the situation of nonliberals in social psychology to closeted homosexuals in the 1980s.

His talk became a sensation. The New York Times covered it; the society’s email list lit up in debate. One post in particular caught Haidt’s attention. It was by Jose Duarte, a grad student at the University of Arizona, who argued that social psychology is so riddled with embedded ideological assumptions that a lot of peer-reviewed research might be invalid...

Haidt believes that the vast majority of professors share Heterodox Academy’s concern over the spread of illiberal attitudes on campus, but that many are reluctant to speak up. The cause of that reluctance, he thinks, is twofold: Some liberal professors fear giving even inadvertent comfort to the right, especially with Trump in the White House and a Republican majority in Congress. Others, he argues, are intimidated by the bullying tactics of the far left.

That diagnosis rings true to David Bromwich, a professor of English at Yale. His 1992 book about the campus culture wars, Politics by Other Means (Yale University Press), is a withering assault on both traditionalists of the right and thought-policers of the left. (As John Silber wrote in a review, the book might have been called A Plague on Both Your Houses.) Asked how the current mood on elite campuses compares with that time, Bromwich says it’s at least as bad. "There is a horror of being associated with anything or anyone conservative," he says, calling it "a mark of the timidity of the academic personality in our time. It leads to a great deal of conformity, small acts of cowardice, and the voluntary self-suppression of ideas."

A week after Heterodox Academy began, Kate Manne, an assistant professor of philosophy at Cornell, wrote a defense of trigger warnings in The New York Times. She took specific aim at "the idea, suggested by Professor Haidt and others, that this considerate and reasonable practice feeds into a ‘culture of victimhood’ " and described Haidt’s view as "alarmist, if not completely implausible." Haidt responded on his blog, reiterating his objections to trigger warnings but adding that Manne’s efforts to shield her students from potentially upsetting material suggest that she’s a "caring teacher." Manne shot back on Twitter, accusing Haidt of "uncharitably interpreting and patronizing a younger female colleague" and making "stereotypical assumptions about teachers/professors you’ve not met, nor discussed their pedagogy with." Haidt was genuinely dumbfounded. He thought he was paying her a compliment: "But you discussed your pedagogy. I called you caring based on what you wrote."...

"When I went to Yale, in 1981, it said above the main gate ‘Lux et Veritas’: Light and Truth. We are here to find truth," Haidt says as he paces the stage at the Students for Liberty conference in Washington. "This is our heritage all the way back to Aristotle, Plato, Socrates." But the pursuit of truth is being supplanted by a new mission, he warns, the pursuit of social justice. He paraphrases Marx: "The point is not to understand the world; the point is to change it."

It’s human nature to make things sacred — people, places, books, ideas, Haidt says. "So what’s sacred at a university?" he asks. "Victims are sacred," he answers. And a victimhood culture offers only two ways to get prestige: Be a victim, or, if you can’t manage that, stand up for victims. How? "By punishing the hell out of anyone who in any way, shape, or form, even inadvertently, marginalizes a member of a victim class."

He clicks to reveal a slide titled "The Six Sacred Groups." "The Big 3" are Blacks, Women, LGBT. "The Other 3" are Latinos, Native Americans, Disability. The list of sacred victims, he says, is growing. Among the newly sacrosanct are Muslims, transgender, and Black Lives Matter. "I’m in no way saying these are not victims," Haidt says. "I’m not dismissing claims of systemic racism. I’m just pointing out that the quasi-religious conflicts we have on campus nowadays tend to revolve around these groups."

According to Haidt, the culture of victimhood is exacerbated by the arrival of an infantilized student body, especially on elite campuses. He says that cable television inaugurated an era in which news about crime filled the airwaves and magnified parental fears about the safety of their children. As a result, many of today’s college students haven’t been allowed to explore, face dangers, surmount them, and come back stronger. "Kids need thousands of hours of unsupervised time to learn how to live without their parents," he says, "so when they go off to college it’s not the first time they’re unsupervised. They’re not getting it anymore."

In October, Heterodox Academy released a Guide to Colleges that rates campuses on whether they’re conducive to free speech and diversity of thought...

At the top of the list is the University of Chicago, where the dean of students sent a letter to the Class of 2020 stating that the university does not condone safe spaces, trigger warnings, or disinviting controversial speakers. Near the bottom of the list is Brown University, where administrators have described social justice as a "bedrock commitment" and responded to student protests in 2015 with a pledge to invest $100 million to create a "just and inclusive campus."

Haidt hopes the rankings will lead to a schism between those universities committed to truth and those that regard social justice as the highest good, so each can go their own way and high school students would know more about the intellectual climate of the colleges they’re considering attending. To help force the issue, Heterodox Academy offers a model student-government resolution that activists can use to affirm their university’s commitment to free speech and intellectual diversity. In March, Northwestern University became the first — and thus far only — campus to pass such a resolution...

Haidt is fearful not only for the country but also for himself. His default intellectual style is provocation. He used to relish posing questions like, "List all the good things Hitler did," and he even invented a game, "Racist Jeopardy," in which he names a stereotype and asks students to identify the ethnic group it describes. "It was very uncomfortable," he says, adding that he no longer plays the game because he’s worried about running afoul of NYU’s bias-response team. He’s already been the subject of at least two student complaints.

"I’m used to skating on thin ice, but I knew how thick the ice was," he says. "Now I have no idea.""

Links - 27th June 2017 (1)

'Jungle drums' probe at Wiltshire Council 'unfair' - "A report into how a council dealt with a racism complaint after the phrase "jungle drums" was used at a meeting has found its investigation was unfair. The complaint was made after the phrase was used to describe gossip during a public meeting at Wiltshire Council. An equality campaigner present found the comment to be racist and offensive. The authority investigated and found it was a valid complaint."
If water buffalo and black hole are racist...

Why was Dr Raabe sacked? - "the appointment of Dr Hans-Christian Raabe to the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) caused at least one member of the committee to threaten resignation. It wasn't the doctor's ideas about drugs which upset his council colleague ("just say no", if you are interested), but his views on homosexuality... [he] claimed that there are a "disproportionately greater number of homosexuals among paedophiles"... You cannot simply sack somebody appointed to a government advisory body because he/she has strong religious views that are irrelevant to the job in hand. That would seem to be discriminatory. Support for this view comes from a surprising quarter - the former Lib Dem MP, Dr Evan Harris. Now director of the Campaign for Evidence Based Policy, he says: "No advisor should be dismissed purely for holding and expressing entirely lawful views on another subject, no matter how objectionable.""

Monkey attack sets off deadly tribal clashes in Libya - "The monkey pulled off a girl's headscarf and reportedly bit and scratched her, leading men from the Awlad Suleiman tribe to retaliate by killing three Gaddadfa people - as well as the monkey."

Why rice growers in China are more sexually liberal than wheat growers - "I found that people from provinces such as Sichuan that have lower levels of trade and cultural exchanges with Western countries have more liberal views on extramarital sex and homosexuality than people from more “westernised” provinces such as Fujian and Jiangsu. But people from more westernised provinces did have more liberal views on premarital sex."

Dr. Seuss book Hop on Pop does not encourage ‘violence against fathers,’ library says in rejecting ban request - "A ban request on the book Complete Hindi required a bit more legwork by the committee. A complainant wrote that the book should be removed from the collection because it inaccurately states that “Hindi and Urdu are paired languages.” The “Hindi-Urdu controversy”— the ongoing dispute over the idea that the two Asian languages are the same — is so widespread it has its own Wikipedia page. After consulting with “a professor of Hindi language and literature at a major Canadian university,” the review committee failed to take a side, but kept the book because “as in all languages, there are different opinions on correct usage.”"

What Can We Do About Junk Science? - "In 2013 scientist-turned-journalist John Bohannon conducted a sting operation to determine just how easy it is to publish bogus research in open-access journals. Under a false name, he wrote a flawed paper about a fake drug and sent it to 304 open-access journals. Of the 255 journals that responded, 98 rejected the article and 157 accepted it. Once erroneous information is rubber-stamped as peer-reviewed, it can be futile for mainstream scientists to try to counter it... A website named Jenny McCarthy's Body Count uses data from the CDC to tally the number of Americans who have died from vaccine-preventable illnesses since June 2007. As of February 2014 the number had reached 1336... Offit, who invented a rotavirus vaccine that has saved the lives of thousands of children, receives hate mail accusing him of being an industry shill"

How to stop a zombie apocalypse – with science - "There are typically four response strategies to zombieism, each with a grounding in epidemiological study"

The Astonishing Age of a Neanderthal Cave Construction Site - "Neanderthals were more sophisticated than anyone had given them credit for. They wielded fire, ventured deep underground, and shaped the subterranean rock into complex constructions. Perhaps they even carried out rituals; after all, there was no evidence that anyone actually lived in the cave, so what else were the rings and mounds for?"

Release the Kraken: Squid, Octopus, and Cuttlefish On the Rise

Hey You Guys – You Can’t Say 'You Guys' Anymore - "their children off at college are being sternly warned not to say “you guys” (it might make women feel excluded), not to “show surprise” if a feminine-looking woman says she is a lesbian (acting ability now being as essential as learning ability) and to be very very careful about singing along with rap lyrics, even when alone in a car... The author Theodore Dalrymple noted in 2005 that political correctness is simply “communism writ small,” adding:
I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to...
It fell to the American novelist Lionel Shriver to fight back against the speech police by appearing at an Australian writers’ conference mocking P.C. hysteria while wearing a sombrero. Naturally, the conference disavowed her remarks and disappeared her speech from their website"

Freedom and Intellectual Life - "as all human goods are either put to use or discarded in the struggle for social and political ends, we lose our humanity and the dignity it implies. We lose what makes life worth living, whether that is intellectual life or any of the other unutterably precious human activities that dwell in peace and holy uselessness."

seriously, the guy has a point - "In effect, Fearless Girl has appropriated the strength and power of Charging Bull. Of course Di Modica is outraged by that. A global investment firm has used a global advertising firm to create a faux work of guerrilla art to subvert and change the meaning of his actual work of guerrilla art. That would piss off any artist... commercialization can take something important and meaningful — something about which everybody should agree — and shit all over it by turning it into a commodity. Fearless Girl is beautiful, but she is selling SHE; that’s why she’s there."

FLASHBACK VIDEO : Democrats Cheered President Clinton’s Plan to Deport Illegals

Why Saint Thomas Aquinas Opposed Open Borders - "dealing with those who wished to integrate fully into the life and worship of Israel required a certain order, Aquinas observed. “For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations.” “The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst,” Aquinas logically reasoned, “many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.” In other words, Aquinas taught that total integration of immigrants into the life, language, customs and culture (including worship, in this case) was necessary for full citizenship."

Witnesses to Michael Brown Shooting Feared Contradicting 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Narrative - "Several expressed concern for their safety should they choose to contradict that narrative publicly. As one witness noted, there were signs in the neighborhood reading “snitches get stitches.”...
'Two black women approached Witness 102, mobile phones set to record, asking him to recount what he had witnessed. Witness 102 responded that they would not like what he had to say. The women responded with racial slurs, calling him names like “white motherfucker.”'

The Single Most Important Ingredient - NYTimes.com - "Salt has a greater impact on flavor than any other ingredient. Learn to use it well, and food will taste good."

Meet Mumbai's Iconic Veggie Burger - "Traditionally cooked and sold by Mumbai's street vendors, vada pav is loved by people across society and is a symbol of local culinary creativity – combining local flavors with foods (potato and bread) introduced to the subcontinent by Europeans... Walk through the streets of Mumbai and you can see vendors dunking spicy mashed potato balls into chickpea batter before dropping them into a pan with hot oil. Then, they cut open the pav – the roll – and smear the inside with three different types of chutney: green chutney, made with cilantro and green chilies, sweet and tangy tamarind chutney and a dry lasoon chutney, made with garlic and spices. Then, they stuff the hot, golden vadas in the rolls and serve them with fried green chilies."

The Traveling Hungryboy: Bombay Burgers in Singapore
Comment: "What kinds of food do Indian people eat every day? Surely they can't be eating this stuff. Where are the fresh vegetables? The meals without loads of salt and fat?"

The Chinese-Mexican Cuisine Born Of U.S. Prejudice - "If you ask people in the city of Mexicali, Mexico, about their most notable regional cuisine, they won't say street tacos or mole. They'll say Chinese food. There are as many as 200 Chinese restaurants in the city."

All-Natural But Still 'Imitation'? The Strange Case Of The Skim Milk Label - "Because Wesselhoeft doesn't add vitamins back in once the fat is removed, officials say her skim milk is considered an "imitation milk product" and in 2012 insisted that she begin labeling it "Non-Grade 'A' Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed" — wording Wesselhoeft is dead set against adding... a federal judge ruled that state officials are perfectly within their rights to require added vitamins as part of nutritional standards for milk... Wesselhoeft's lawyer says his client can't donate her skim milk to food pantries or shelters — she'd have to get the label approved first."

How Snobbery Helped Take The Spice Out Of European Cooking - "this notion of layering many contrasting flavors and spices isn't unique to Indian cooking. In fact, most of the world's cuisines tend to follow that principle, says Tulasi Srinivas, an anthropologist at Emerson University who studies food and globalization. And up until the mid-1600s, European cuisine was the same way... "Rather than infusing food with spice, they said things should taste like themselves. Meat should taste like meat, and anything you add only serves to intensify the existing flavors"... For Indian and Asian chefs, the sauce or curry was the star. In India, Jains — and many Hindus — don't eat meat. And in general, most Indians believed that meat was unclean and inelegant, so the goal was, in part, to cover up the fleshiness of meat by thoroughly infusing it with spice. "In Europe, meat was considered the manliest, strongest component of a meal," Laudan notes, and chefs wanted it to shine. So they began cooking meat in meat-based gravies, to intensify its flavor."

Why The U.S. Chills Its Eggs And Most Of The World Doesn't - "Soon after eggs pop out of the chicken, American producers put them straight to a machine that shampoos them with soap and hot water. The steamy shower leaves the shells squeaky clean. But it also compromises them, by washing away a barely visible sheen that naturally envelops each egg... A 38-country survey by the International Egg Commission found that people feel strongly about how their eggs should look. The Irish, French, Czechs, Hungarians, Portuguese, Nigerians and Brits hanker for brown eggs. Canadians, Finns, Americans and Indians prefer white shells. Dutchmen and Argentines don't seem to care."

Why Did Crowd Flee Shanghai Subway After Foreigner Fainted? - ""Everyone is hoping someone else will take care of him. Everyone is waiting for someone else to react," says Huang. "But no one takes the initiative to help." "It's probably because there is an inherent weakness, a mentality that permeates Chinese society," Huang continues. "No one wants to be dragged into things that aren't their business."... "People want to trust," says Huang, "but given what's happened in the past, they have no choice but to be skeptical." "What's happened in the past" is this well-known scam: An elderly person collapses in public. When someone tries to help, the senior citizen accuses him or her of knocking him down — and then demands money... the Chinese government even issued a document warning those who might want to help someone in distress to first find a witness to ensure that the "victim" can't later try to extort money from them. Yan is writing a book on morality in China. He says the scams and a reluctance to help strangers are rooted in a traditional way some Chinese still view relationships."
Or you could just blame capitalism

40 Years On, A Controversial Film On Islam's Origins Is Now A Classic - "Akkad embarked on an ambitious quest to create a truly Arab screen epic. He was determined to create a film spectacle about nothing less than the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the birth of Islam in the 7th century. He intended the film as a bridge for understanding between Islam and the West. But it would prove extremely difficult to make, and faced a backlash in many parts of the Muslim world — and was even linked to a violent event in Washington, D.C... Controversy mounted. The Cairo scholars who had initially approved the shooting script withdrew their support and called the completed film, which was released in 1976, "an insult to Islam." More backlash followed and several countries banned the film. "He was confounded by the controversy that exploded around the movie," says Abou El Fadl. "It was banned all over. Banned in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait. Banned in Egypt."
Islamophobia before it was fashionable

What Kind of Marriage Can Exist With a Nine-Year-Old Girl? - "once a woman has begun to menstruate, she is a legitimate candidate for marriage. PhiIips’ views do not differ from those of many contemporary imams steeped in traditional Islam... Philips makes a point to contrast the Islamic view of marriage with that of pedophilia, saying that because the “couple” is engaged in the institution of marriage, it is not considered child abuse."

Brussels mayor warns: All our mosques are being controlled by Salafists

Why Mental Pictures Can Sway Your Moral Judgment - "Some dilemmas produce vivid images in our heads. And we're wired to respond emotionally to pictures. Take away the pictures — the brain goes into rational, calculation mode.

Why Doesn't America Read Anymore? - "We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven't actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let's see what people have to say about this "story.""
This had a lot of comments

CAIR: Supporters of Gun Control Bill Are Anti-Muslim -
CAIR’s gotten away with the Islamophobia card for so long that they didn’t even bother pairing this propaganda with any semblance of logic."

Penang Hokkien will be ‘dead’ in 40 years if people stop using it, says language expert - "Penang Hokkien’s singsong words are a mix of borrowed words and grammar from Malay, English, Cantonese and Teochew, adding that they are a reflection of the multicultural melting pot that makes up Penang... She believes that in most homes now, they don't speak Hokkien anymore due to a misguided belief that Hokkien is somehow inferior to Mandarin as it is being used as a medium of teaching in Chinese schools... many people tend to think Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka or Teochew were deviations from Mandarin and that these were inferior and not worth learning which is untrue as these languages are actually the original mother tongue languages that were spoken by their ancestors."

Monday, June 26, 2017

Links - 26th June 2017 (2)

Herpes Strikes Two More NYC Babies After Ritual Circumcisions - " In the most controversial part of this version of the Jewish ritual, known as metzitzah b'peh, the practitioner, or mohel, places his mouth around the baby's penis to suck the blood to "cleanse" the wound."

Seattle Mayor Proposes Soda Tax To Fight White Privilege - "After it was suggested to him his proposed two-cents-an-ounce tax on soda sweetened with sugar would be borne disproportionately by the poor and people of color, Murray lowered the levy and included all sweetened drinks, incuding diet soda. If it doesn't doesn't explode from the sheer weight of its daffy intentions, the City Council is expected to consider the proposal sometime in June. Diet drinks, Hizzoner reasoned, were more likely to be consumed by "upper middle class white people." It had become for him "an issue of equity," a way to tackle "white privileged institutionalized racism.""
We should tax gyms at the same rate as cigarettes too

Mob attacks engineer after Friday prayers for honking at another driver blocking his way - "JOHOR BARU: A 28-year-old man was injured and the car that he was driving, damaged, when he was attacked by several men outside a surau just after Friday prayers concluded at Taman Austin Perdana here today."

Study: For Malays, being Malaysian equals being Malay - "while respondents from the three major ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese, Indian) identified more strongly with their ethnic identities rather than a national one, Malay respondents believed that there was little difference between “being Malaysian” and being Malay."

What we lose, when family recipes vanish - a legacy of love and sacrifice - "“Don’t worry if your dough not nice - for anything that is imperfect, there will always be a remedy. Like make up - if a girl is not beautiful, she just has to put on makeup and she will look nice!” she said, as she loaded the sheets into the pasta machine again... Do you still like cooking, I asked her. “I’m sick of it. I have been cooking since I was 15,” she said... she was reluctant to teach me because she didn’t want her granddaughter to be banished to a kitchen (“so much work,” she repeated), now that there are other ways to make sure your children are fed. “Women today have earning power. If you don’t have food at home, go to a restaurant. Don’t do what I did - making noodles is beneath you,” she told me... “There’s no use in learning all this. They won’t want this type of food. They would want modern food. The world will be a different place, and we have to advance with it,” she said pragmatically"

Cannabis factory couple who gave £400,000 drug dealing fortune to poor Kenyans jailed for three years

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks - "The human brain, it is said, is the most complex object in the known universe. That a part of it “lights up” on an fMRI scan does not mean the rest is inactive; nor is it obvious what any such lighting-up indicates; nor is it straightforward to infer general lessons about life from experiments conducted under highly artificial conditions. Nor do we have the faintest clue about the biggest mystery of all – how does a lump of wet grey matter produce the conscious experience you are having right now, reading this paragraph? How come the brain gives rise to the mind? No one knows. So, instead, here is a recipe for writing a hit popular brain book. You start each chapter with a pat anecdote about an individual’s professional or entrepreneurial success, or narrow escape from peril. You then mine the neuroscientific research for an apparently relevant specific result and narrate the experiment, perhaps interviewing the scientist involved and describing his hair. You then climax in a fit of premature extrapolation, inferring from the scientific result a calming bromide about what it is to function optimally as a modern human being. Voilà, a laboratory-sanctioned Big Idea in digestible narrative form. This is what the psychologist Christopher Chabris has named the “story-study-lesson” model, perhaps first perfected by one Malcolm Gladwell. A series of these threesomes may be packaged into a book, and then resold again and again as a stand-up act on the wonderfully lucrative corporate lecture circuit... the great movie-monster of nearly all the pop brain literature is another region: the amygdala. It is routinely described as the “ancient” or “primitive” brain, scarily atavistic. There is strong evidence for the amygdala’s role in fear, but then fear is one of the most heavily studied emotions; popularisers downplay or ignore the amygdala’s associations with the cuddlier emotions and memory"

The Voice S'pore auditions call for those who can sing in fluent Mandarin, drama ensues (Facebook post comments) - "Before people complain about privilege and racism and all that shit, the real reason is because mm2 couldn't get the rights for other languages from the licensor, they're restricted to holding the competition only in Mandarin."
"I think it's fair. It's a Chinese programme. You have to be fluent in speaking and singing mandarin songs. If it's an English programme, singing English song, surely the candidates need to be fluent in English language as well."
"Asians who thinks that they can make it big by singing english songs show us how dumb they can be. There is a reason why america born chinese like Wang Lee Hom end up singing in Mandarin instead of English."
"look at all these chinese people defending their privilege"
"Its like I going to Suria, sing in english and demand the other contestants don't sing in malay and only sing in english."
Being upset at The Voice Singapore/Malaysia only being in Mandarin is like being angry at someone eating a doughnut because you're on a diet

Why are so many Muslims suddenly visiting Japan? (Facebook post top comments) - "Inshaa Allah with more influx of Muslims in Japan will one day open up the window for more Japanese to be receptive of Islam and ultimately more will get the hidayah to become Muslim."
"Allah promise will surely come true.
Islamic religion will triumph the world and will become the largest religion in the world one day."
" Japanese will be better Muslims in sya Allah.
There have the manners minus Iman but with Iman, they will lead the ummah in a better position in sya Allah."

Answers to all the rude questions about transgender people. - "Q: Do I really have to use transgender people’s preferred pronouns?
A: Yes.
To intentionally call attention to the fact that another person is trans and that you, personally, question the legitimacy of trans identities does not make you a bold truth-teller any more than the 12-year-old who calls her grandmother out for the ugliness of her Christmas sweater is a bold truth-teller. You are, of course, entitled to your opinions, but basic politeness dictates that you not needlessly antagonize or humiliate other people in public...
Q: If feminists believe that gender is socially constructed, then doesn’t that mean there’s no such thing as transgender people? Please pat me on the back for being the first person to expose this liberal hypocrisy.
A: Not so fast. Although it is surely true that believing gender is 100 percent socially constructed is not compatible with the view that transgender identities are 100 percent inborn, there are a great many ways to merge an understanding of the socially constructed aspects of gender with acceptance of transgender people’s innate desire to transition. As with most complex traits, there are likely genetic and environmental factors contributing to this thing we call gender. You have not blown anyone’s mind, and this is not an unresolvable conflict within liberal thinking. Next!
Comment: "evan's only been a man for six months and he's already using his male privilege to mansplain life to to trans-exclusive radical feminists! "
Facebook comment: "Snarking about the identified "hypocrisy in liberal thinking" and saying there are many ways of reconciling it is not actually an answer to this question."
Is the moral of the story of the Emperor's New Clothes that basic politeness dictates that you not needlessly antagonize or humiliate other people in public?


Ernst & Young Removes Degree Classification From Entry Criteria As There's 'No Evidence' University Equals Success

Pizza Hut's shrimp tempura, mayo, and hotdog pizza tastes as heinous as it looks - "As Shanghaiist's food editor I've eaten my share of WTF eats from fermented fish to yak penis. None did I dread trying more than the Pizza Hut special, a pie with shrimp tempura, steamed shrimp, squid rings, fish cakes, pineapple, wasabi mayonnaise, and a hot dog-stuffed crust (73RMB), now available at all China outlets!"

Pepsi And Chicken-Flavored Lay's Potato Chip Highlights Food Fusion In China - "cola chicken — a clear example of fusion cuisine — is a popular dish in China. Cola is often mixed with soy sauce and spices in a marinade that caramelizes when sauteed."

Small Canadian town will give land, a job to anyone willing to move - "since the town is not qualified for the Foreign Worker Program, it can take only people who are legally authorized to work in Canada (just a few extra steps for any foreigner who really really wants the job)."

The architect of China's Great Firewall embarrassed after needing to use VPN in front of live audience - "Things got awkward really fast, however, when he attempted to access blocked web pages hosted in South Korea to demonstrate his point. From there his speech went from being a defense of the Firewall to a demonstration of its stupidity. Unable to access the websites he needed to continue his speech, Fang somewhat unexpectedly resorted to the same illicit tool which all expats in China are all familiar with: the beloved VPN... The incident was so embarrassing that Fang ended up ducking out of a planned Q and A session that was supposed to take place after the speech, though not before exhorting his listeners to do he said and not as he did."

Some Urban Homesteader Is Living In A Bucolic Cabin On A Roof In Manhattan

Granny mistakenly prays before statue of online game character - "The photos come from outside an internet café, the woman is seen kneeling and burning incense in front of a statue that bears quite the resemblance to Lord Guan, a Chinese general during the Three Kingdoms period, immortalized in one of China's most famous books, and turned into a god. However, it turns out that the statue is actually Garen, a League of Legends character, also an accomplished military leader."

Japanese 'table manner guidebook' released after Chinese customers refused from restaurants - "Sushi Mizutani, a Michelin-star restaurant, refused to take bookings from a Chinese guest after a number of foreigners had abandoned their reservations. Last year, the story of a Chinese student who demanded cooked "sushi" at Japan's most famous sushi restaurant drew condemnation from web users in both countries...
Need to go to the bathroom during your meal? No. Japanese respect chefs very much and would only go before or after their meals. Also, when dining, don't touch your hair, don't talk while eating, and don't make noise with your utensils."

Guangdong college says all student sex is 'illegal prostitution', threatens expulsion - "“All restaurants outside of the dining hall are using gutter oil,” read a handwritten notice displayed on campus, according to a photo posted online. “All unmarried male-female relationships are illegal prostitution.” The notice also mentioned that police surveillance cameras had already caught several couples engaging in “illegal cohabitation.” It warned students that anyone caught breaking the rules would be subject to disqualification from awards and scholarships, and even expulsion or “more severe penalties.” “If you want to eat, go to the dining hall. If you want to love, get married,” the notice continued... Chongqing University installed free condom machines across campus, while last month a college instructor in Guangxi made headlines and earned widespread praise for handing out condoms to his students as a Christmas present."

Protestors hurl eggs at Japanese porn stars during Dalian sex expo - "A survey on Weibo found that 48.3 percent of netizens among 2,434 polled supported the protest, agreeing that such seXXXy exhibitions should be banned in China."

Chinese drama 'The Empress of China' taken off air for being 'too sexy' - ""there is a chance the TV drama will be completely banned from showing if no modification has been made," and that the only solution is to "make the breasts smaller," which would require a great deal of effort from the post-production team... SARFT did announced a new set of regulations in November requiring content providers to censor scenes in shows and film depicting one-night stands, adultery and excessive nudity, among a slew of other filthiness"

Watch: Footage of last month's collision between Chinese and Vietnamese ships in disputed waters - "At the time of the collision, China and Vietnam traded accusations of which side was the aggressor, but this video appears to validate the Vietnamese account, showing a much larger Chinese vessel steaming after two Vietnamese fishing boats. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei has responded by wondering aloud, "who was it who took the initiative for the clash? Who was it who created tension on the scene?" "This is very clear," Hong said."

The multiple shades of the hijab - "thanks to long-sleeved, close-fitting tops, veiled women can buy any piece of clothing, from strapless tops to backless dresses. In a society where expression of sexuality remains a taboo, Abaza believes that by adapting sexy outfits to the hijab, young women are attempting to be veiled and appealing at the same time."

'This is a library!' Student shuts down protesters and becomes viral sensation - "Libraries are meant to be a bastion of peace and quiet, so when these noisy protesters interrupted the silence, one student took it upon himself to shut them down. A ‘hero’ confronted anti-Trump supporters at a library in the University of Washington... “Hey, hey, hey, hey,” the visibly irked student interrupts, walking into the middle of the group, before telling the protesters: “This is library!”"
Lucky it was an Asian student doing this

‘Duties of care’ to the careless and criminal - "It seems unlikely that criminals of a previous generation would have had the gall to sue for injuries sustained while burgling somebody’s home. In 1976, Lord Denning, then Master of the Rolls, considered whether a burglar’s estate could sue a householder who had been convicted of the burglar’s manslaughter. He suggested that such a claim would fail on the grounds that a person should not be permitted to benefit from his own criminal conduct... Newbery had only intended to frighten the burglar away, but the court found that he owed the burglar a duty of care, and that he had breached this duty by firing a shotgun in the dark without knowing whether there was anyone in front of it... in recent years, negligence law has developed as a means of excusing one’s own failings... the inebriated soldier who falls off a lorry while trying to climb on to its canvas roof obtains a ruling that he and his comrades should have been supervised - like children on a school outing."
This is an interesting angle on "victim blaming"

Star Wars and Spirituality

Everyday Ethics: ISIS, Prisons, Assisted Dying & Star Wars
(17/8/2014)

"Is there really a spiritual connection? The former astro physicist David Wilkinson who is now a theology professor at Durham university certainly thinks there is. He is the author of the Power of the Force: the Spirituality of Star Wars...

I love the, the story line, I love the heroes, I love the special effects. But underneath I think what really got me even as a teenager were some of these big questions. Questions about hope and good and evil and whether there's more to the universe than just science and technology and those are the questions that stayed with me both as a scientist and my professional career as an astrophysicist and then on as a theologian. It's popular culture's interest in some of these big questions...

[Star Wars] does have a spirituality but it doesn't have a set of answers...

Someone once said that when you go and see a movie, you feel a movie first before you then rationalize it. You encounter the story, you internalize the story. You either reject it or you play with it. And so spirituality is multi layered in Star Wars. That's why some people have said well its Buddhist. Some people have said it's a christian allegory. I don't think it's either of those things - I think there's a whole number of questions layered one on top of another which invites the viewer to come in and find your own way through the questions...

I don't think there's a god. I think there's a question about god... Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry who very much had a humanist agenda and Roddenberry believed that as we explored the universe, as we developed in science and technology then human beings would be brought together. There was no need of god. And so on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise people from all different backgrounds found themselves together in this united quest and apart from one or two problems with Klingons eventually all would be well

'You had the first interracial kiss there in American TV didn't you?'

But Star Wars is much more open ended. It rejoices in the technology. It loves the light sabers and the Death Stars and all of this technology but ultimately that doesn't provide salvation in Star Wars. Salvation in Star Wars comes from something that goes beyond science and technology. Indeed one critic has said that Star Wars is a way of exploring both our good and bad feelings about science and technology. It doesn't reject science and technology but it says, particularly in this concept of the Force that there is something more that goes beyond the rational.

'What is meant by the Force in Star Wars?

Huh! Alec Guinness a devout Roman Catholic once came out of mass one day and a Star Wars fan ran up to him and said: May the Force be With You and Sir Alec without thinking about it replied: and also with you and i thought to myself what a silly thing to say...

I think the Force is simply that concept which allows us to think beyond science and technology: that which we can explain or that which we can control. It says there is something to the universe that lies beyond our power

'And why can't we call that god?'

I think in popular culture we don't want to close down the answers too much. We want to leave them open and of course in the Christian understanding of God, God is not simply that which goes beyond ourselves. God is the one who reveals himself to us in particular ways so that we know his nature and that's where I think a number of different faith communities can use the question of the Force to resonate with their belief in some kind of higher power or transcendence as we theologians would say to the universe...

Star Wars plays with evil in really quite a complicated way. A lot of people see the movies and see the iconic evil figures of Darth Vader or the satanic looking Darth Maul and think that evil is that which is outside of us, embodied. But actually of course Darth Vader starts off as this young cute child Anakin Skywalker. And part of the first three movies is to explain how someone good falls. How they succumb to temptation or in Star Wars language the Dark Side. And so evil is both outside of us, embodied, but it's also something that we struggle with internally in terms of our moral choices and temptations...

[Besides the idea of Lucifer the fallen angel] You can also hear the echoes of what often is represented in the Bible as the mess of human sin. That often small things take, become completely out of proportion and lead people from one step to another. And so Lucas starts the saga with a trade dispute in a rather obscure part of the galaxy. A trade dispute which will lead to eventually an evil empire taking over the galaxy. Much criticised by some of its critics who said: why go into such a small thing in order to tell this big saga? Well I think what is resonating there with is what a number of faith communities would say, that moral choices in small things can have very very big consequences down the line and you see that in a Biblical narrative as well...

The world isn't as simple as that but popular culture does have this belief that good will always triumph. It's embodied in hope and its posing the question: where does hope come from? If you look at lots of movies you see this hope embodied in lots of different ways. Sometimes the hope is based on science and technology will deliver us. They will bring in utopia. Other times the hope is simply dear Annie singing the sun will come out tomorrow. It's all going to be fine anyway. I think what makes Star Wars slightly different is the belief that good will triumph because of this other power to the universe. Now that's very much a Christian belief, that good triumphs because of the grace and love of God rather than simply the choices that humans will make. But all movies are simplistic. They don't tell the whole story and we know that the world is far more complicated than that...

The original Star Wars trilogy came out of the nineteen seventies with American angst about the ending of the space race and the fact that westerns were no longer on television and a whole number of things. And it will be very interesting to see how this new trilogy of movies picks up not just location but the culture of the decade that we're now in with all of the different questions that we encounter in spirituality and in the way that the world is shaped by religion and by politics as well"

Links - 26th June 2017 (1)

Yale-NUS admin speech sparks debate - "Chan’s comments caused a split among Yale-NUS students shortly thereafter. Some students called for Chan’s removal from the school’s governing board, while others said a removal would be unfair because Chan was speaking as a Singaporean ambassador, not as a governor of the college... Yale-NUS students interviewed said the issue has sparked heated discussion on campus, especially among activists for LGBTQ rights. Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis affirmed that Chan is a “lively and positive force” on the governing board... “Calling for Chan’s removal is naïve and demonstrates a lack of understanding of local politics,” said another anonymous student. Changes in Singapore often stem from within, as opposed to through extreme means such as advocating for someone’s removal from office, the student added."
Diversity!
Comment: "Self-styled "progressives" have expressed concern that the Singapore government would impair freedom of speech at Yale-NUS. But this article suggests that it is those at Yale-NUS supporting the position of the Singapore government on this issue who are afraid to speak out in fear of retaliation from self-styled "progressives." The ironies could hardly be richer. And I don't support this sodomy law."


National Parks Popular With White People, But Not Minorities. Why? - ""The idea of roughing it in a tent, however, can feel to some people like going backward, said Ms. Cain, a first-generation American who said the stories in her family about escaping the hard rural life still resonate." This strikes me as the truest line in the piece—and the biggest hurdle to diversifying outdoor participation. Yes, there are economic barriers, but the cultural ramifications of those economic barriers are more devastating, as they ripple across generations... Why on Earth would you use your hard-earned vacation time to spend a week eating freeze-dried food in the woods—rather than, say, reclining at a seaside hotel on Miami Beach, frozen margarita in hand?"

A Portait of the Pope (Made of Condoms) Sparks Outrage - "“This was never intended to be derisive, mocking or disrespectful of the pope,” museum board of trustees president Don Layden told the Journal Sentinel. “It was to have a conversation about AIDS and AIDS education. And my hope is when the piece appears in the museum that will be the focus of the discussion.”"
Apparently outrightly offending people is how you start a conversation

LTA officer questioned over reluctance to issue summons for illegally parked cars - "It was mentioned by the website's contributor that the Siglap South Community Center was having an event with a Member of Parliament attending the function."

Age Differences in the Big Five Across the Life Span: Evidence from Two National Samples - "Extraversion and Openness were negatively associated with age whereas Agreeableness was positively associated with age. Average levels of Conscientiousness were highest for participants in middle age"
Old people are nice but they won't go and talk to you first

Organic crops use carcinogenic pesticides - "I say this… Not because I want you to fear Organic food. Quite the opposite. The moral of the story is that ALL food is safe, because the dose makes the poison. (Take 2 Tylenol, not the whole bottle)."

Estrogen Link In Male Aggression Sheds New Light On Sex-specific Behaviors

Pomegranate Supreme Court case: Food industry nutrition claims sound scientific but are magical. - "Aside from preventing scurvy, vitamin C hasn’t actually been proven to do anything. Not for brain health, not for colds, not for cancer, not for pneumonia, not even for gout. The same, disappointingly, holds for fish oil and pomegranates... When examining the effect of qualified health claims, investigators reported that FDA qualified health claims at Levels 2 and 3 were actually “more positive with a disclaimer than without.” For health claims in general, “the disclaimer being there made no difference.”... The antidote to deceptive advertising isn’t further government regulation. Instead of regulating labels, public and political focus should be on media literacy education, especially regarding science"

When good people do bad things: Being in a group makes some people lose touch with their personal moral beliefs - "Belonging to a group makes people more likely to harm others outside the group"

How antioxidants can accelerate cancers, and why they don't protect against them - "Virtually all such trials have failed to show any protective effect against cancer. In fact, in several trials antioxidant supplementation has been linked with increased rates of certain cancers. In one trial, smokers taking extra beta carotene had higher, not lower, rates of lung cancer."

Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship - "as more journal issues came online, the articles referenced tended to be more recent, fewer journals and articles were cited, and more of those citations were to fewer journals and articles... this may accelerate consensus and narrow the range of findings and ideas built upon."

A Disease of Scienceyness - "The argument in favor of scienceyness fandom hinges on the assumption that uncritical hyping of sciencey content does scientific progress more good than harm...
"I fucking LOVE science. *is handed peer reviewed journal* Haha nonono I meant CGI pictures of space with misattributed quotes as captions""

A rational nation ruled by science would be a terrible idea - "Science may give us data, but it doesn’t mean that data points to truth – it’s just what we currently understand as truth. So how we act on the data requires nuance and judgement. It’s philosophical, maybe religious, and certainly political."

Fleming's discovery of penicillin couldn't get published today. That's a huge problem. - "Big, time-consuming studies are coming at the cost of smaller and cheaper studies that, taken together, may be just as valuable and perhaps more applicable (or what researchers call "generalizable") to more people and places... Researchers have estimated that about $200 billion — or about 85 percent of global spending on research — is routinely wasted on poorly designed and redundant studies."

Why so many of the health articles you read are junk - "One new study, published in the British Medical Journal, assigns a large fraction of blame to the press shops at various research universities. The study found that releases from these offices often overhype the findings of their scientists — while journalists play along uncritically, parroting whatever showed up in their inbox that day. Hype, they suggest, was manufactured in the ivory tower, not the newsroom"

Most College Humanities and Social Science Programs Have Become Enemies of Freedom and Reason - "we have the worst of both worlds: schools that keep up the pretense of forming young people in humanistic disciplines, while the teachers who’ve grabbed control of the relevant departments are doing exactly the opposite. So students pass statues of Homer, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare and Washington, en route to classes whose teachers and texts sneer at every value any of those men would have treasured. Your average humanities department is thus like a seminary whose theology department has been captured by tenured atheists. Even in schools that still retain a Western core curriculum, there are influential teachers like the late Edward Said of Columbia, who boasted that he taught the “canon” of Western literature as a means of exposing our culture as the oppressor of most of the world... The great critic of Nazi and Communist totalitarianism, Eric Voegelin, explained how to distinguish a legitimate, grounded worldview from an ersatz religion, or ideology. In The New Science of Politics, he noted that ideologues defend their systems not by anticipating objections and answering them, but instead by forbidding the questions... Even the self-righteous and often violent radicals who took over campuses in the 60s didn’t have melt-downs, public crying fits, and apparent nervous breakdowns when Nixon beat McGovern. Whatever crackpot ideologies they might have adopted, they had been through the training in rigorous, critical thinking that Western education has prided itself on since the ancient Greeks. Our current generation wouldn’t know rigor from rigor mortis."

The science of getting your kids to eat more vegetables - "Studies show infants have a “flavor window.” It likely opens at four months and closes around 18 months. Hit it, and your kids might be like cauliflower as much as they like cake... toddlers can be made to like a new food by introducing it 5-10 times. Kids aged 3-4 may need to try it 15 times before developing a taste for it. But the flavor window may never completely shut... around half of children’s liking for fruits, vegetables and protein foods was attributed to genetics; the rest was due to environmental factors like what foods parents ate and kept in the home."

How the New Science of Computational History Is Changing the Study of the Past - "“On average across all five polities, a change of ruler in one year increased the probability for another change in the following year threefold,” says Preiser-Kapeller. So the closer you are to an upheaval, the more likely there is to be another one soon. Or in other words, upheavals tend to cluster together. That’s a rule that should sound familiar to geophysicists"

Bayesian reasoning implicated in some mental disorders - "Experiments guided by Bayesian math reveal that the guessing process differs in people with some disorders. People with schizophrenia, for instance, can have trouble tying together their expectations with what their senses detect. And people with autism and high anxiety don’t flexibly update their expectations about the world, some lab experiments suggest. That missed step can muddy their decision-making abilities."

Summer of Science - How Often Is B.M.I. Misleading? - NYTimes.com - "there was a strong relationship between B.M.I. and body fat percentage, but for almost one in five adults, the two measurements disagreed"
A 80+% accuracy rate hardly justifies the claim that BMI is "bullshit"

The caste system has left its mark on Indians’ genomes - "Using a common system for extrapolating generations from genetic recombination, the researchers estimated "all upper-caste populations, except [one] from Northeast India, started to practice endogamy about 70 generations ago... This time estimate belongs to the latter half of the period when the Gupta emperors ruled large tracts of India (Gupta Empire, 319–550 CE)." This genetic shift was most marked among the upper castes who spoke Indo-European languages. Other groups appeared to have stopped intermarrying much later."

Are there too many science PhDs or too few jobs? - ""We show that the reproduction rate in academia is very high," they write. "For example, in engineering, a professor in the US graduates 7.8 new PhDs during his/her whole career on average, and only one of these graduates can replace the professor’s position. "This implies that in a steady state, only 12.8% of PhD graduates can attain academic positions in the USA." A lack of growth on the demand side suggests that is unlikely to improve... increasing positions would only make things worse in the long-run, the authors say."

What next: locking up Leavers? - "Of all the toxic bilge that has flown since referendum day, the calls to criminalise Leavers is the worst yet. Think about it for a second: spurned Remainers are putting pressure on the state to police debate, to lock up people for disagreeing with them. What do they think this is? The GDR?... The idea that the public is only ever one poster, speech or bus slogan away from launching a pogrom is what underpins the idea of incitement. Incitement to hatred is, and always has been, a means of policing political viewpoints deemed too toxic for the feckless public to hear"

Antibiotic resistance discovered in the guts of ancient mummies - "genes that can confer resistance to antibiotics were relatively widespread hundreds of years before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928. “It’s ridiculous to think evolution of antibiotic resistance began when penicillin was discovered,” said team-member Raul Cano, also at California Polytechnic State University, at the meeting while discussing the findings. “It’s been going on for 2 billion years.” These genes existed long before antibiotics became common, but it is our overuse of these drugs in both people and livestock that caused the superbug resistance to explode worldwide, said Cano."

New Survey: Most Millennials Both Pay For Streaming Services And Use Pirate Streams When Content Isn't Legally Available - "The attitude of these respondents seems pretty clear by the numbers: hey, we tried to pay for the content, but you wouldn't let us, so we went and got it from a place that had it."

Islamic fatwa decrees that toilet paper is halal in Turkey - "Hand sanitizes and other similar products used for hygiene products are now halal. 'While it is forbidden to drink substances containing alcohol that were produced for cleaning purposes, it is acceptable to use them for cleaning,' Hurriyet Daily News reported. The fatwa stated that places that had been cleaned with the products would not need to be washed again with water prior to performing prayer. A new ruling on begging, stating that anyone who begs and earns money beyond their immediate needs is 'demanding the fire of hell.'..
Muslims must say before entering the toilet 'In the name of Allah, O Allah! I seek refuge with You from all offensive and wicked things'
People should not speak, greet anyone else or read while they are relieving themselves
Muslims should not go to the toilet standing up but should squat or, if necessary, sit"

British man who launched Isil suicide attack was Guantanamo Bay detainee awarded £1m compensation - "Al-Harith, who used the nom de guerre Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, entered Syria via Turkey in 2014 to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, leading to questions at the time about the monitoring of terrorist suspects. It also raised the possibility that compensation money paid by British taxpayers had been handed on by him to Isil."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Links - 24th June 2017 (2)

'Disgusting' and 'extraordinary' scenes as Chinese delegation shouts down welcome ceremony - "Participants at an intergovernmental meeting hosted by Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop in Perth have described "disgusting" and "extraordinary" scenes as the Chinese government delegation shouted over the welcome to country ceremony and forced the suspension of proceedings. A Taiwanese delegation was later ejected from the Kimberley Process meeting at the behest of the Chinese delegates who objected to their attendance... another session later in the morning involving a panel discussion with executives from mining companies was abandoned altogether because of continual interruptions by various African delegations in support of the Chinese position."
China's peaceful rise

Hospital administrators allegedly warn junior doctors that they are replaceable with 3rd world country doctors who are willing to work for $3K per month

YMI | My Heart-breaking Relationship with A Non-Christian - "In our first two months together, Alex and I got along really well. But whenever I brought up the topic of being “unequally yoked” and the need for him to convert, he would look extremely hurt and ask me not to talk about it again. There were moments when I wondered if we could just get married even if he didn’t become a Christian, but the Holy Spirit kept reminding me that believers should not be yoked with unbelievers. I told myself that if we were ever to get married, Alex had to become a Christian first. So I prayed for him every day and even fasted over him periodically."
The moral of the story - if you keep trying to force your partner to convert to your religion, your relationship will fail

Radio play with ‘ludicrous accents’ being re-recorded following online protests - "Singapore’s first Youth Poet Ambassador and Young Artist Award Recipient 2016, Pooja Nansi, posted about the reading on Facebook Tuesday evening (March 21), questioning the “ludicrous accents” of the voice actors, who play Singaporean Indian characters. One glaring example is the voice actor playing the protagonist’s mother, speaking in an accent that could be a far-fetched imitation of someone from Chennai, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, but the character is Singaporean Punjabi... during the recording session, he asked actors - who are Singaporean - to amp up the ethnic accents"
If the actors had spoken naturally and sounded like Singaporean Chinese, people would be protesting too

Give priority, not exclusive privilege, to people with disabilities - "in crowded places, it is common to see a long queue especially for female toilets while the accessible toilet remains empty, despite the six-to-one ratio. So what makes people with disabilities unable to wait for the toilet? Take, for example, the designated areas in buses and trains for wheelchair users. When a bus or train is packed, should not this designated area be occupied by the crowd, rather than be kept unoccupied for exclusive use by wheelchair users despite the demand for space?"

The Transformative Fungus That Powers Japanese Cuisine - "Koji is something of a celebrity in Japan, where fans can buy koji cell phone charms, read koji-focused manga, and celebrate the microbe on October 12, a.k.a. National Fungus Day. But, although it was the subject of the first biotech patent ever granted in the U.S., in 1894, it has not caught on outside of Asian cuisine. Until now"

Tabitha Leah Ritchie: Canadian arrested smuggling cocaine in fake baby bump - "28-year-old Tabitha Leah Ritchie was stopped while trying to board an Air Canada flight in Bogota after an inspector noted that her belly was unusually cold and hard. He says police discovered a false belly made of latex taped to her body and they found 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of cocaine"

Stop Preordering Video Games - "By getting your commitment to purchase a game in advance, when all you’ve got to go on is a marketing campaign, you’re signaling that you’re totally cool spending $40-$60 on a game simply on the strength of how it’s been marketed. Time was, you could download a demo of a game and try it out at home. Why have demos more or less ceased to exist? Preorders are why. Want to know why exclusive missions and items are withheld from everyone’s game and are instead sprinkled across various competing retailers? Preorders are why. Want to know why it’s now accepted that you can sometimes pay more for a multiplayer game and start with a competitive advantage? Preorders are why."

Couple gets caught having sex in park - but the judge’s punishment shocks the whole court - "For 21 years, this charismatic judge has practiced something he calls "creative justice," where he gives unexpected but fitting punishments to those found guilty... A man insulted police and called them "pigs." As a punishment, he had to stand on a street corner with a 350-pund pig (170 kg) and hold with a sign saying "This is not a police officer.""

The Golden Ratio: Design’s Biggest Myth - "The golden ratio’s aesthetic bona fides are an urban legend, a myth, a design unicorn. Many designers don’t use it, and if they do, they vastly discount its importance. There’s also no science to really back it up. Those who believe the golden ratio is the hidden math behind beauty are falling for a 150-year-old scam."

Saudi Man Sentenced to Death After Declaring Himself an Atheist in Online Video

Patient dies after 54 years in same Airdrie hospital - "He only ever learned how to say three words again - his three loves - 'home', 'pub' and 'horses'. "We often took him on holidays in Britain and the hospital knew how much he loved the pub so they would even take him there now and again.""

Cyberbullying of Teachers - "Children as young as seven are posting abusive and damaging comments about their teachers on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to new research. Even worse, some of the children's parents are adding their comments to what constitutes a serious escalation in the cyber-bullying of educators. The British teaching union NASUWT conducted a survey of more than 7,500 teachers. It found that almost half of teachers had reported abuse to the school, police or the website on which the insults were posted. Other figures show that more than 20 per cent of teachers felt they had been cyber-bullied in the past year. Three per cent of the comments were from under-elevens."

Child refugees in Turkey making clothes for UK shops - "Marks and Spencer says its inspections have not found a single Syrian refugee working in its supply chain in Turkey. But Panorama found seven Syrians working in one of the British retailer's main factories. The refugees often earned little more than a pound an hour - well below the Turkish minimum wage. They were employed through a middleman who paid them in cash on the street."
Outsourcing!

'Heist of the century': Brazilian gang hits security vault and police HQ in Paraguay - "Brazilian gangsters have taken armed robbery to a lethal new level with a cross-border attack on a Paraguayan security vault and police headquarters using automatic rifles, dynamite and anti-aircraft guns in what local media have described as “the heist of the century”."

PARIS IS BURNING: Anti-Fascist Protesters Against Election Result Turn Violent, 29 Detained - "Following the announcement of the results, a large number of anti-fascists demonstrators went to the streets at the historic Place de la Bastille protesting the results. The protest quickly turned violent as the Antifa groups started hurling glass bottles and firecrackers and setting cars on fire. AFP reported that at least five vehicles were set ablaze... “We have come here to protest against the pantomime of this election,” one protester told AFP. According to The Telegraph, shortly after the results were announced, protesters arrived to the square waving red flags shouting “No Marine and No Macron” among other chants. Another 300 protesters gathered at Place de la Republique to protest the results."
"Anti-fascism" seems to be anti-democracy. As someone commented, ANTIFA = Anti-Freedom Alliance

Europe's youth don't care to vote—but they're ready to join a mass revolt - "Around 580,000 respondents in 35 countries were asked the question: Would you actively participate in large-scale uprising against the generation in power if it happened in the next days or months? More than half of 18- to 34-year-olds said yes."

Fyre Festival, Ivanka Trump, and other gratuitous misuses of philosophy - "Taking a clutch of quotes from Nietzsche, Stoics, and Utilitarians and using them to support an argument might sound nice, but “there’s no real regard to how totally inconsistent those three ways of thinking are"

Wikipedia's Jewish Problem: Pervasive, Systemic Antisemitism - "Israel-related articles almost uniformly emphasize the Palestinian and Arab narrative while marginalizing the Jewish one. Rudimentary facts about Israel’s history: including Palestinian massacres on Jewish civilians, Arab intransigence being a primary factor in the conflict’s intractability, and even the Jewish people’s origins and indigeneity to the land of Israel are either downplayed or outright erased. On some articles, it fails to recognize Jews as an ethnic group in the Middle East, whereas others engage in casuistry in order to present anti-Israel opinion as incontestable fact"

DNC Vice Chair Threatens Anyone Who Dares Criticize Anti-Semitic Activist Linda Sarsour - "Criticism of her views has been declared Islamophobia by Elle magazine, and others on the left have chimed in to denounce her critics... As the Democratic Party continues to tie itself to extreme personalities like Linda Sarsour with a leadership hellbent steering it into the rocks, it’s no surprise that moderate liberals are bailing from the listing ship."

'Seductive' dress gets girl barred from chess tournament - "A 12-year-old girl was forced to withdraw from a chess championship for wearing a dress that was allegedly deemed "seductive" by the organisers of the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 on April 14 in Putrajaya... A photo of the girl's dress that was shared by Kaushal showed the girl wearing a short sleeved black and orange striped dress that stops just above her knees."

Equal blame in Minneapolis bike-car crashes - "The city found crashes usually happen when when one or both parties fail to yield the right of way, or otherwise ignore the rules of the road. Cyclists were to blame in about 60 percent of crashes, as were drivers, meaning oftentimes, both parties were at fault"
Of course cyclists will just dogmatically blame the drivers

The men who live as dogs: 'We're just the same as any person on the high street' - "While the pup community is a broad church, human pups tend to be male, gay, have an interest in dressing in leather, wear dog-like hoods, enjoy tactile interactions like stomach rubbing or ear tickling, play with toys, eat out of bowls and are often in a relationship with their human “handlers”."

Cities need to plan for sex in public parks - "Project Marie was a six-week operation by Toronto Police that used plainclothes officers to find people soliciting sex. Police filed 89 charges – only one of which was criminal in nature -- against 72 people, the vast majority of whom were men. While some neighbours have balked at the fact that men are cruising for sex in the park, Jen Roberton thinks that if a city's public parks are to be truly for all members of the public, then cities have to design their parks for all users — including the men who have sex with men (MSM)."
Apparently it's homophobia if you don't want people to have sex in the park

Belarusian president accidentally sparks international striptease - "Alexander Lukashenko was talking about the importance of technology to the national economy when he urged citizens “to get undressed and work till you sweat”. But citizens took the words of their authoritarian president literally, and started posting pictures of themselves naked at work, using laptops and other office equipment to protect their dignity."

West Point Cadets' Raised-Fists Photo Sparks Investigation - "West Point officials are now investigating whether the image violates academy rules that restrict political expression while in uniform. The raised fist, which has long been a symbol of unity for African Americans, is also associated with the Black Lives Matter movement... “I would not have re-tweeted the raised-fist photo because I am well aware that our culture views a black fist very differently from a white fist,” she said. “I knew it was their expression of pride and unity, but I am old enough to know that it would be interpreted negatively by many white observers. Unfortunately, in their youth and exuberance, it appears they didn’t stop to think that it might have any political context, or any meaning other than their own feeling of triumph.”"
Naturally they got cleared. If they'd been eating fried chicken would they have been accused of racism?
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