"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Links - 18th January 2017

Avengers: Infinity War will only feature 67 characters, no big deal - "Sixty. Seven. Characters. Tallying up the main characters from the MCU, including those from the Netflix shows, only results in about three dozen names. So where exactly are these 30 extra characters coming from? The Marvel roster runs deep, but pulling 67 players into Infinity War seems ambitious, to say the least. Will some characters return from the dead to help reach that total? Can the Russos really wrangle 67 characters without losing control of the plot? Can 67 characters even fit on a movie poster?"

Andrea Bocelli backs out of singing at Trump's inauguration after receiving death threats | Daily Mail Online - "The revelation came as another singer – Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday – last night pulled out of the President-elect's festivities after being threatened and branded an 'Uncle Tom'."
A true basket of deplorables

Women’s March on Washington Opens Contentious Dialogues About Race - NYTimes.com - "she read a post on the Facebook page for the march that made her feel unwelcome because she is white. The post, written by a black activist from Brooklyn who is a march volunteer, advised “white allies” to listen more and talk less. It also chided those who, it said, were only now waking up to racism because of the election... contentious conversations about race have erupted nearly every day among marchers, exhilarating some and alienating others... some complained that the event had turned from a march for all women into a march for black women. In Louisiana, the first state coordinator gave up her volunteer role in part because there were no minority women in leadership positions at that time... at a time when a presidential candidate ran against political correctness and won — with half of white female voters supporting him — is this the time to tone down talk about race or to double down?... “I needed them to understand that they don’t just get to join the march and not check their privilege constantly,” she said. That phrase — check your privilege — exasperates Ms. Willis. She asked a reporter: “Can you please tell me what that means?”"

Rosie O’Donnell Calls For Martial Law: 'Delay The Inauguration'

Islamic State: Where does jihadist group get its support? - "the dodgy dealings and strange alliances are beginning to look very similar to events that occurred during the Lebanese civil war, when feuding war lords would similarly fight and do business with each other. The point is that Islamic State is essentially self-financing; it cannot be isolated and cut off from the world because it is intimately tied into regional stability in a way that benefits not only itself, but also the people it fights."

France shaken up by Zemmour and 'new reactionaries' - "None of the neo-reactionnaires - not even Camus - claims allegiance to the FN. Many of them are Jewish. Nonetheless they stand accused, by expressing such strong views on Islam, identity and the nation, of promoting the cause of the far right. Zemmour says he is fed up with being asked about the FN. "Can't they understand that the FN is not a cause, it is a consequence. It is a consequence of the disintegration of France. "People vote for the FN to say to their elites, 'Stop doing what you are doing!' But they never do. "It was Stalin who first realised how effective it was to turn the enemy into a fascist. That is what they are doing to us today.""

Millions of historical images posted to Flickr - ""Most of the images that are in the books are not in any of the art galleries of the world - the original copies have long ago been lost." The pictures range from 1500 to 1922, when copyright restrictions kick in."

China 'seizes' eight Taiwanese from Kenya - "Taiwan has accused China of "extrajudicial abduction" after eight Taiwanese acquitted of fraud in Kenya were deported to mainland China."
China's peaceful rise

Rise in CO2 has 'greened Planet Earth' - "This is in line with the Gaia thesis promoted by the maverick scientist James Lovelock who proposed that the atmosphere, rocks, seas and plants work together as a self-regulating organism. Mainstream science calls such mechanisms "feedbacks"."

Angolan rebel Jonas Savimbi's family lose Call of Duty case - "A French court has rejected a case in which the family of late Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi sued the makers of Call of Duty over his depiction in the best-selling video game... Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 shows him rallying his troops with phrases like "death to the MPLA". His family had said they were outraged at the depiction. "Seeing him kill people, cutting someone's arm off... that isn't Dad," Cheya Savimbi said."

Gay slur aimed at hairdresser 'not homophobic' - French ruling - "A Paris tribunal has ruled that calling a male hairdresser a "faggot" is not homophobic - "because hair salons regularly employ gay people"."

A Point of View: When does borrowing from other cultures become 'appropriation'? - "PC has its absurd aspects. It is funny because it puts more weight on the words we use than the actions we take, always a mistake... There is something funny about this undue weight given to words, because we can't be endlessly sensitive and attentive and courteous in every interaction we have in life. People who try end up seeming insipid and exasperating rather than entirely admirable. My own wife, Martha, for instance, who does try to be so in every exchange, is, though much loved, also famous for the length of time it takes her to extricate herself from a social occasion, having first to be certain that she has been nice to everyone. This leads her, perversely, to avoid many social occasions for fear of wearing herself out from attentiveness - the price of such niceness can be very high. Prolonged punctiliousness is exhausting to all, particularly to husbands - er, mates - er, partners - er, co-habitating life colleagues... One of my favourite stories of how healthy cultural hybrids happen involves Japan and the West, though not, in this case, the Mikado. You know those beautiful 19th Century Japanese prints, by Hiroshige or Hokusai or their friends, poetically depicting everyday events, or favourite places, all in charming comic book colour, with Mount Fuji often delicately if secretively included in every view (like a kind of sublime Where's Wally). Those delicate black-edged figures and long almost cartoonish faces, those startling juxtapositions of foreground and distance, that informal and haiku-like lyricism - Japanese prints had, as everybody is taught in class, an enormous influence on French Impressionist art in the middle of the 19th Century. They were, exactly, an exotic appropriation. Well, it turns out that they weren't really exotic at all. They were the product of the Japanese infatuation with Western perspective drawing and graphics... The Japanese appropriated Western perspective in ways that Westerners would never have imagined. Then the Japanese pictures got sent back to Europe, where they looked wonderfully exotic, and re-made the Western art they originally hailed from... Appropriation is far more often empowering than oppressing. There's no cheaper way to get the drop on a bad guy than to borrow his hymns and habits and make them your own. That's what diaspora Jews have done throughout their history. It's how German bred with Hebrew to become Yiddish and Yiddish became the great language of Jewish folk tale and protest"

'Cultural Appropriation!': Theater Forced To Rewrite Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Set In Japan By Leftist Bullies - "the left’s asinine fight against cultural appropriation means that nobody can produce Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado the way it was written, warts and all. Instead, Gilbert and Sullivan will be set in Italy -- which isn't cultural appropriation because Italy isn't a foreign country. Or something... Odd, then, that the same theatergoing community that finds The Mikado so offensive has no problem whatsoever with Hamilton, a piece of musical theater in which historical roles clearly hijacked from white Americans are played by minority cast members. When the producers of Hamilton put out a casting call asking for only non-white actors, members of the Actors’ Equity complained... when politics trumps art, art dies."

Slippery banana study wins Ig Nobel - "The Japanese scientists are interested in how friction and lubrication affect the movement of our limbs. The polysaccharide follicular gels that give banana skins their slippery properties are also found in the membranes where our bones meet."

Characterization of lactic acid bacteria isolated from infant faeces as potential probiotic starter cultures for fermented sausages

Report buried Trump-related ‘hate crimes’ against white kids - "The SPLC’s widely cited report — “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools” — reported that 40 percent of the more than 10,000 educators who responded to the survey “have heard derogatory language directed at students of color, Muslims, immigrants and people based on gender or sexual orientation.” The takeaway was that Trump-supporting white kids have been harassing minorities at the nation’s schools... The Montgomery, Ala.-based nonprofit self-censored results from a key question it asked educators — whether they agree or disagree with the following statement: “I have heard derogatory language or slurs about white students.” Asked last week to provide the data, SPLC initially said it was having a hard time getting the information “from the researchers.” Pressed, SPLC spokeswoman Kirsten Bokenkamp finally revealed that “about 20 percent answered affirmatively to that question.” Bokenkamp did not provide an explanation for the absence of such a substantial metric — at least 2,000 bias-related incidents against white students — from the report, which focuses instead on “anti-immigrant sentiment,” “anti-Muslim sentiment” and “slurs about students of color” related to the election. “They left that result out because it would not fit their ideological narrative,” former Education Department civil rights attorney Hans Bader said. “It was deemed an inconvenient truth”... Bader pointed out that most of the anti-minority “hate crimes” and “hate incidents” cited by SPLC do not legally constitute hate crimes, and many involve constitutionally protected speech. “It is simply ridiculous that SPLC treats ‘build the wall’ as hate rhetoric,” he said. The center counted people mentioning “build the wall” as 467 incidents of hate."

How the fairytale of New York can become a nightmare - "you can have anything you want, as long as you pay for it. Put another way, it's a great place, if you have money, and a terrible place, if you don't have money. Things have got so out of hand that you can actually pay to bypass normal security lines at the airport - $85 and a background check will give you the right to keep your laptop in your bag and your shoes on your feet. One mustn't be delayed by those huddled masses, I suppose. Then there's the aggression and annoyance to be found on every New York street, and most of its avenues. An hour after landing at the airport - having gone through security with the normal people - I'd been barked at by a pizza chef, a taxi driver, a guy selling bus tickets, and some random woman crossing the street. The city's rudeness is of course legendary, but what really sets it apart is its completely unapologetic nature. Actually it's even more than that. New Yorkers are proud of being brash, loud, and offensive. They like it."

Fifty Shades of Grey 999 call spike expected by London Fire Brigade - "London Fire Brigade (LFB) said it was "concerned" the 13 February release could lead to a "spike" in people being stuck or trapped in handcuffs or rings."

Woman could win cash payout 20 years after divorce - "In a statement, Mr Vince branded the court's decision "mad". "I feel that we all have a right to move on, and not be looking over our shoulders," he said. "This could signal open season for people who had brief relationships a quarter of a century ago." Mr Vince said the time gap was "extremely prejudicial" and the fact there was "no paperwork in existence" had enabled the claim. It was "hard to defend yourself" under such circumstances, he said."

Delays on M74 after dog 'drives' on to carriageway

'Vicious' fox traps eight people in Cambridgeshire sports club - "A woman who tried to distract the fox with food sustained a bite to her hand. A man who tried to outpace the creature on his bicycle was chased into a field and fell off, losing his glasses in the process. "He had to fend the fox off with his bicycle," Mr Staines said."

Egyptians lambast 'ugly' new Nefertiti statue

The day I ordered pizza that 'doesn't exist' - " I made the mistake of asking her for a marinara - which is a simple tomato and garlic pizza - with the addition of mozzarella. As soon as I say the words, Emanuela looks at me with disbelief and, in retrospect I realise, disgust. "You can't have a marinara with mozzarella," she says. "It doesn't exist." "What do you mean, it doesn't exist?" I reply, oblivious to her hostility, since she's quite aggressive at the best of times. "I'd just like a marinara but with some mozzarella on top." Unwittingly I make matters worse by miming her mozzarella-sprinkling action. "La marinara is a pizza rossa," she states frostily. "A pizza rossa is made with tomato and without mozzarella. So you can't have a marinara with mozzarella because there's no such thing." Then she says something I find incredibly funny. "I suppose," she mutters grudgingly, "I could make you a margherita with garlic." (For those unfamiliar, a margherita is a pizza topped with tomato and mozzarella. )"
Comments: "I had a similar experience in Rimini (in the Emilia Romagna region) where their local specialty is piada. You could order it with various (but not all) combinations of rucola (rocket), tomato, squacquerone (cheese) and prosciutto. However, when I asked for one with the lot, they simply didn't understand... you simply can't have a piada with all 4 ingredients together. Strange but true...
"When visiting Budapest and out for a quick lunch, I ordered fruit soup and my husband ordered the Gundell pancake. But he had noticed that there were house-made pickles on the menu so he asked for an order of those just to try them out. Our waiter, a true professional, was appalled. He said we simply could not have pickles with such an order nor would he compromise with any other selection than the goulash. As goulash was too large and heavy a dish for our lunch, we never did get the pickles."
"A dear, dear friend of mine upsets French waiters by asking for her meat to be 'very well done'. Through clenched teeth the waiters explain that the chef will refuse to cook all the taste out of the meat; they have standards to uphold. My friend ignores their obvious disdain and asks, 'But it will be cooked properly? Not a hint of pink?' They seethe and mumble unkind things about expecting nothing else from a nation that boils vegetables like their washing, while I try to salvage international relations by ordering my meat sanglant."

Towson University Hosts Student Presentation Claiming ‘White People Are A Plague’ - "“‘White people are a plague to the planet’ lmao imagine if it said ‘black people’ instead… that wouldn’t be so pretty,” one user said. Another sarcastically noted, “#ItsNotRadicalToSay white people are a plague to the planet.” But leftist Twitter users seem to agree with the anarchic statement, some even repeating it for full efffect."

Friendships at Age 50, episode #176 of Question of the Day on Earwolf - "The arenas in which you really want or need good feedback can be the arenas in which it's really hard to get it"

BBC Radio 4 - The Public Philosopher, The Global Philosopher: Should the Rich World Pay for Climate Change? - "'They should actually contribute in some way. But not because of a historical argument. I think that the idea that to blame the rich countries for global warming when we didn't even knew the consequences during the Industrial Revolution seems to be immoral. And I believe that if they have any responsibility it should be for reasons like outsourcing all their production to China in modern days, but not because of something they did ages ago and no one that is alive at that time is alive today'...
'The proposed taxes on countries or the carbon offsetting for admissions is like doing a sin and then paying alms to a religious leader and asking for forgiveness' [Ed: This is telling - environmentalism as religion]...
'I just don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with the consume nature. It is important to protect environment, yes, but if we can develop ourself, if we can improve the living standard of our peers, why would you put environment superior to humanity? Why would you care more about the need of environment over the need of humanity?'"
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