"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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Friday, January 06, 2017

Links - 6th January 2017

Pimp who ran vice ring offering BDSM services jailed 4 years for an array of crimes - "A 24-year-old man pimped a group of six women to provide sexual services - including bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM), a court heard. The BDSM services included caning, face slapping, trampling on a customer's private parts, torture and getting customers to role-play as dogs. Wong Jun Siang, who is unemployed, even sold soiled sanitary pads, bras, panties and socks belonging to the women, aged between 17 and 22... The offences include: arranging a sham marriage, procuring a woman for the purpose of prostitution, living on the earnings of prostitution, recruiting a child for sexual exploitation, theft, criminal breach of trust, and cheating."
According to the Women's Charter prostitution is defined as: "the act of a female offering her body for sexual penetration for hire, whether in money or in kind". Under Section 140 of the same Charter, "Offences relating to prostitution", "carnal connection" suffices to be an "offence relating to prostitution". Yet, looking at Britain's and other ex-British colonies' laws it looks like carnal connection needs penetration

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 172 - Brian Nosek on "Why science needs openness" - "There has been one experiment that I know about on transparency of peer review. It didn't check about retribution but it did check on if people, when they have to sign their names, are they less critical of the research?... they found no difference in the extent of the critique from transparency or not."

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 169 - Owen Cotton-Barratt on "Thinking About Humanity's Far Future" - "these papers, I think they were by Kahneman and Tversky, but certainly someone in that field. Where they were looking at hiring decisions. And they were comparing our default gut hiring decision where we just use our intuition to decide who's the best candidate, and they compare that to a much more quantitative method. Where we come up with categories that we think are important to a good hire, and we rate people in those categories and then we give them the total score across those categories. That more formalized method did better than the intuitive guessing, the default method. But what did even better than both of them was the method where you use the formal approach to sort of call your attention to things that you haven't been paying attention to before, you haven't been giving weight to. And then after you go through that whole exercise, you then go with your gut -- except now it's an informed gut instead of an uninformed gut"

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 167 - Samuel Arbesman on "Why technology is becoming too complex" - "Vinayak Prasad... co-wrote the book Ending Medical Reversal in which he was talking about all these medical results that were consensus among doctors, and put in practice for years. And then finally the solid gold standard long-term trial was done, and found that, "Oh actually, stents don't have the positive effects on mortality that we thought they did. Oops.” Or “Oh, promoting handwashing in the hospital, or sorry, wearing gloves in hospitals, doesn't have the positive effects we thought it did. Oops." He says he thinks that one reason for this, the reason this keeps happening, is that medical students are taught to think like physicists. Where the human body is this machine, and you can reason about what would happen if you do this thing or that thing. Instead of being taught to think like biologists, where you only really trust results if you have seen that, in fact, the evidence supports it and not just the theory."

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 165 - Robert Frank on "Success and Luck" - "apparently no one had much remarked about [the Mona Lisa] for its entire early history, hundreds of years, until 1911. What happened then? It had been stolen from the Louvre by an Italian maintenance worker. He walked out with it one night. This was the first time that a picture of a painting had appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world as the theft was reported in great detail... we really need to pay attention to the probabilities, to the uncertainty currently looking forward, in whether Donald Trump will in fact win the presidency. Because it's currently, I don't know, 36% or so. If he does win, there will be a ton of think pieces of how this was inevitable and why we “of course could've known from the start that he was going to win.”... and if he doesn't win, there will be all these think pieces about it. “Of course, he was going to lose, because X, Y, Z.” We really need to just call it right now that it is uncertain, head the hindsight bias off at the pass... somebody who's constantly bombarded with a message that says, "Look, you can work hard and be very skillful, you still probably won't win because luck's such a big part of the story," that person's more likely to say, "The hell with it, there's an easy early reward. Why should I study hard to get into a good school, I'll just take the easy reward now." If you really encourage people to think that they're not the captain of their own fate, there could be bad consequences to that... There have been experiments done, trying to probe that. You can prime people to believe either than free will is a thing or that it's not a thing. The people who are primed to believe that there is no freewill, they don't work as long or as assiduously on a hard problem that you give them to work on... one of our recent episodes, it was with Gregg Caruso, who is a philosopher, who argues basically that we have no free will and also that our society would be better off if we acknowledged that we have no freewill -- because, for one thing, we would be able to pursue a justice without retribution, essentially. A justice based on rehabilitation or utilitarian concerns in general"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Gettysburg Address - "Its greatness wasn't immediately clear... The Times of London opined 'Anything more dull and commonplace it would not be easy to produce'. The Times was wrong... Lincon comes to the presidency saying he's definitely not going to do that. He says we're not going to abolish slavery. Under the Constitution, slavery is permitted. We do not have the right under the Constitution to abolish slavery. So he's not an emancipationist when he comes to power...
the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and it's interesting that he references that ahead of the Constitution which is 10 or so years later, because the Declaration of Independence can widely be interpreted and seen as a much more radical document than the Constitution becomes. The Declaration of Independence sets out: all men are created equal. All men have inalienable rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution is a much more dry, legalistic document which is really about how you actually manage to organise the states to function as a federal government, and it makes compromises with issues like slavery, in order to keep the United States united. So it allows the states to have representation based on slavery, it allows the states to reopen the Transatlantic Slave Trade until 1808. These are issues that are in the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence is much more sort of raising these lofty ideals and Lincoln is harking back to that original document saying our Founding Fathers, and bizarrely written by Thomas Jefferson who of course was a slave owner. This is the sort of ideal we should be and this is a continuity of what we're doing, and that's why you can in some respects interpret the Civil War as Act 2 of the American Revolution. And that it's continuing and completing things that really should have been done 87 years ago. And that's the link he's making...
[On 'government of the people' etc] in the future going forward, people constantly attribute that to Lincoln... Lincoln borrowed that phrase from other people and people had used it before. The famous Italian Republican Mazzini had used exactly the same phrase and there's lots of Europeans who'd used it before...
Usually during civil wars people avoid the country but America had an in-migration and again it wasn't just the immigrants who'd come and fled their, seeing that this democracy might be something they could realise their dreams, bring them back to Europe. But they continued to come there even during the war. You had the growth, the expansion - as we know, war is very very strongly associated with industrial growth. It wasn't any exception in the United States at the time
Abraham Lincoln was a bigot!

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Songs of Innocence and of Experience - "Wordsworth and Coleridge having been educated all the way through, would've been educated in the Classics. Blake was very against the Classics. Very against the reading of Virgil, the study of Latin and so on...
[On The Sick Rose] O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
At one level, that's a poem about a rose.
A rose flowers for only a short time, but a canker in a rose destroys it. But if one starts looking closely at the language, the invisible worm in the night, finding out the bed, the sense of crimson joy, the dark secret love, one sees that this is also a poem about sex and sexuality. There's no doubt that a key aspect of Blake's radicalism as a religious thinker is that he believes, as he says somewhere, that energy is eternal delight. He believes that sexual passion comes from God and is a good thing. And that one of the worst things about the established church is its attitude to sex. In later years after his death, Blake was taken up as an apostle of free love...
This poem reminds us that the idea of sexual delight is something that can be destructive... sometimes Blake is misread as a kind of 1960s hippie before his time. Because actually the imagery here of sort of the loss of virginity and the destruction of the rose and the sense of darkness, the dark secret love, suggests that sexual desire can rebound upon one in a very destructive way"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Plasma - "That can knock out power transmission lines across the earth when those big ejections take place. The most famous event in 1989 when Quebec, the whole of Quebec went out for about 9 hours and 6 million people were out of electricity oweing to the sun. And it also mucks up GPS"

Guys of /r/singapore, what's the biggest hint you missed from a girl? : singapore

Recovering from the Trauma from Sh*tty Sushi-Ordering Software - "We all know that Singapore is suffering from a shortage of wait staff. More and more restaurants it seems are moving towards using technology to allow their customers to order food. Unfortunately, I have been traumatized twice over the past 2 days by the software used by two sushi restaurants -- Itacho Sushi and Sakae Sushi"
Comment: "Pic is crap actually
Just an avenue for vendors to sell crap softwares to sme that doesn't really use them at an inflated price
Really waste money but boost economy"

Man without arms denied housing loan due to inability to provide fingerprints
Related stories on the site: Armless man becomes master in calligraphy with mouth, donates 3 million yuan in 8 years
Society: Armless woman keeps fighting for better life
Armless farmer builds new hands for himself, others
Armless student pursues painting dream

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura Halal Certification Terms & Conditions
- "All Halal food/raw materials must be physically segregated from non-Halal items during transportation. Cross contamination between the equipments/utensils used for Halal and non-Halal food should be avoided."
So, according to MUIS, Halal and non-Halal items can indeed be transported in the same vehicle

9+ GREAT Health Benefits of Kefir - "Rich in gut-healing probiotics, kefir is a traditional fermented milk drink that is made with kefir “grains” (a fermentation starter). Originating in the Caucasus Mountains, this nutritious drink is made by mixing sheep, goat or cow milk with the specially prepared “grains”. Traditionally, it was stored in skin bags that hung over doorways. Each time someone passed through the door, they would knock the bag around to keep the kefir and milk well mixed."

Auto Unload Tab :: Add-ons for Firefox
Best Firefox tab unloading/suspending add-on

‘NZ is a state of Australia’: Immigration officials detain Kiwi traveller in Kazakhstan - "Ms Phillips-Harris said New Zealand was missing from a map of the world in the room she was interrogated in, which made it impossible for her to convince Kazakhstan immigration officials that her home country really existed. She said she realised too late she probably had to pay her way out of the tricky situation. “Plainclothes policemen got involved, immigration police got involved, airport officials got involved ... and at that stage it was a bit late to bribe my way out, which apparently is what I was supposed to do from the beginning, but being a New Zealander we’re not familiar with that,” Ms Phillips-Harris said... Eventually, with the help of contacts in Kazakhstan, Ms Phillips was able to secure a new visa, a US passport and an exchange of cash that allowed her to escape detention and enter the country, where she ended up staying for six months. “The people I knew in Kazakhstan got me a new type of visa and paid the right people and got me out, that’s probably the easiest explanation,” she said."

Richard Sherman: "All lives matter," doesn't "fully support" Black Lives Matter - ""It's hard to formulate an opinion and generalize because they have several different messages," Sherman told Foxworth. "Some of them are peaceful and understandable and some of them are very radical and hard to support. Any time you see people who are saying, 'Black Lives Matter,' and then saying it's time to kill police, then it is difficult to stand behind that logic. They are generalizing police just like they are asking police not to generalize us. It is very hypocritical. So, in that respect, I find it difficult to fully support that movement." "I stand by what I said that All Lives Matter and that we are human beings," Sherman told Foxworth. "And speaking to police, I want African-Americans and everybody else treated decently. I want them treated like human beings. And I also want the police treated like human beings. I don't want police officers just getting knocked off in the street who haven't done anything wrong"... "I think there is also a mentality that we want to blame someone else for black fathers not being there for all these people having all these kids and nobody raising them. We want to say that's systematic, but when do we stop saying it's systematic and move forward and make a difference?"... "from personal experience, living in the hood, living in the inner city, you deal with things, you deal with people dying," Sherman said. "I dealt with a best friend getting killed. It was two 35-year-old black men. Wasn't no police officer involved, wasn't anybody else involved. I didn't hear anybody shout black lives matter then"
Luckily he's black so at most he'll be called an Uncle Tom

Sexy French Farmers Pose for Shirtless 2017 Calendar

Trump and the Taiwan Call - "Don’t worry about China going to war over a phone call. They understand Trump, in part because they read my blog too. And look at the brilliance of China’s diplomatic response. Their Foreign Minister labelled the phone call, "a shenanigan by the Taiwan side.“ That is exquisite diplomatic framing, Master Persuader-style. You can see why China and Trump respect each other; they both earned it."

Amazon accused of 'dehumanising' staff to deliver gifts in time for Christmas - "Amazon was last night accused of 'dehumanising' its staff battling to deliver gifts to millions of customers in time for Christmas."

Study: Elite scientists can hold back science - "researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) released a working paper — titled, "Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?" — that puts Planck's principle to the test. Sifting through citations in the PubMed database, they found evidence that when a prominent researcher suddenly dies in an academic subfield, a period of new ideas and innovation follow."

Maria Ladenburger murder - EU official daughter killed by refugee - "Ms Ladenburger reportedly worked in her spare time helping out in refugee homes in Freiburg. But it is unclear whether she ever met her murderer before he took her life. The dead girl's father is Dr. Clemens Ladenburger, a lawyer who works as the right hand man to the legal director of the European Commission."

Islamic State Earns High Marks for Diversity, Liberal Study Finds | Mufti News - "According to a new study released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Islamic State is 2016’s big winner when it comes to setting new standards of diversity and inclusiveness. According to their latest statistics, ISIS boasts representatives of over 76 different nationalities among its ranks, making it among the most diverse organizations in the world... “As bad as ISIS is, it’s at least a good thing that Islam has managed to positively impact ISIS in at least this one respect,” reminds SJWPLC Director of Sensitivity and Coddling, Marvin Harbschmidt. “Even though it has nothing at all to do with Islam and is in no way connected to it, ISIS has incorporated Islam’s amazing penchant for tolerance and inclusion for an amazing variety of people.” In a moment of weakness, we made the mistake of noting to the SJWPLC that some people have voiced concerns about the treatment of ex-Muslims, atheists, Ahmadis, Ba’hais, homosexuals, and other minority groups, both within ISIS and within the greater Muslim world as a whole, and that perhaps these trends might, at a minimum, comprise a counterpoint to (while not detracting from) the labels of “progressive” and “inclusive” that have come to characterize both groups. “I’m sorry, but I don’t engage with Islamophobes,” said Kohn, who immediately got up and ended our interview. “But I would strongly suggest that you check your privilege. Because at the SJWPLC, our deeply rooted sense of self-loathing causes us to believe that all religious beliefs other than our own Judeo-Christian traditions are beautiful, worthy, and equally valid.” “No exceptions,” she added, before calling security."
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