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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Links - 23rd February 2017 (1)

Investing in the ‘little things’ for the benefit of Singaporeans - "quite often, policy misunderstandings were intertwined with cynicism — even lack of trust — about the Government and its intentions. Our ambassadors would excitedly tell a pioneer citizen about his annual Medisave top-ups and show him how this would help to offset his MediShield Life premiums, only for him to reply: “Zheng hu (the Government) give me money, zheng hu take it back.” In one heartbreaking case, ambassadors told a wheelchair-bound senior about the Disability Assistance Scheme, which would give him $100 every month. They filled in his application form, made an appointment with a doctor for him, and left him a postage-paid envelope to submit the form in. Six months later, they visited him again, only to find that he had not submitted his form. Why? Because his friends had told him there was no way that the Government would “give out money for free”. That piece of misplaced coffee-shop chatter cost the senior $600 in cash benefits."

Scientist Dr David Goodall, 102, wins the right to keep job at Perth university - "A 102-year-old scientist has won his battle to continue his research on university campus after initially being kicked off amid concerns he was a safety risk."

Interesting Facts about Chinese Relationships, Marriages - "Generally, Chinese single men put most of their energy into work while women tend to arrange an enjoyable single life for themselves. To some extent, this has been an outcome of the popular idea that successful men and beautiful women are the most favored spouses... While gender equality has been widely supported in the country, Chinese women still prefer husbands who can earn two times their level or even more, so the men can be the major breadwinners in the family. In contrast, men prefer wives with comparative incomes."

Project Fear Brexit predictions were 'flawed and partisan', new study says

Feminists Defend Man Who Harassed Ivanka Trump on JetBlue Flight - "Progressives have a habit of shrieking about “harassment” any time one of their own is met with criticism. They define any sort of disagreement as abuse, but have no problem lobbing their own attacks at anyone whose views are not in alignment with their own. And when a man does it, it’s called “mansplaining.”"

How Pope Francis Became the Leader of the Global Left - WSJ

14 questioned over Christmas tree adorned with word "Allah" in Indonesia - "the chairman of Jambi's Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Adri Hasan slammed the hotel for the incident, which he claimed was blasphemous. "We want this case to be thoroughly investigated to prevent restlessness among Muslims," he said."
Maybe they will censor bibles next

Drexel Professor: 'Abolish The White Race' - "Cicariello-Maher, a white man who specializes in race and racism among other topics, has been the subject of criticism from media outlets and social media users after he tweeted on Saturday, “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide.” He subsequently deleted the tweet and brushed it off as a joke, saying that “White isn’t a race”... Ciccariello-Maher said that the massacre of whites during the Haitian Revolution was a “good thing.” During the Haitian massacre in 1804 as many as 4,000 whites were killed."

Stallion Imagery Too Sexist For Kentucky School - "Frederick Douglass High School, named in honor of the famed civil rights leader who was also a male, had intended to use a graphic of a stallion as the school’s mascot because of the community’s rich horse-breeding heritage. But Cahill’s online petition, that only elicited a relative handful of respondents, has killed the idea. Some of the 214 people who responded to the petition to stop the stallion found the imagery “inappropriate and sexist.”"

Preserving a unique slice of Singapore's rural life - "the agricultural sector, though small, plays a strategic role in the nation's food security, supplying some 10 per cent of its food."

How ‘Rogue One’ Brought Back Familiar Faces - - "“When Peter Cushing makes an ‘aah’ sound, he doesn’t move his upper lip. He only opens his jaw about halfway, and makes this square shape with his lower lip, that exposes his lower teeth.” Before nuances like this were accounted for, Mr. Knoll said their creation “looked like maybe a relative of Peter Cushing and not him exactly.”"

How The Fuck High Was This New Yorker Guy When He Wrote This Star Wars Take? - "Listen. I am not going to try to unpack and critique the bonkers Rogue One review published by the New Yorker’s Richard Brody today. I do not even know where to begin. I am just going to blockquote some portions down below this paragraph, and I invite you to join me in making halting, inarticulate, baffled vocalizations at them."

Why 'Rogue One' Is Superior to 'The Force Awakens' - "Rogue One contains more Star Wars head nods, hat tips and hidden treasures than an eight-year-old's toy collection and a San Diego Comic-Con exhibit hall combined. So why is it, then, that the film somehow feels fresher than The Force Awakens' nostalgia?... While The Force Awakens contented itself with putting a contemporary gloss on tried-and-true formulae, Rogue One took a shot at something new. The former used nostalgia as a currency and fan service as a cudgel; this semi-peripheral addition to the canon uses both of these elements for riffing and a big-picture–narrative spackle, but also as grist for making a statement"

Rogue One’s CGI Princess Leia: The sands of time are so cruel you can't even do motion capture for your younger self - "People have aged so much that you can’t even get them to do the motion capture. As you get older you’re not the same, your whole body language is different"

'Rogue One' director based battle scenes on real war photos

Admit it: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' stinks -- and here's why - "Sitting in the theater at "Avatar," I felt like I was being pounded into submission by a giant hedge fund. Watching "The Force Awakens," I felt as though I was being shown a trailer for the next four movies in the series. Except that trailers aren't normally two hours long and you don't have to pay $12.50 to see them. "The Force Awakens" will reinforce even more strongly a blockbuster, sequel-oriented style of moviemaking and marketing that has sapped Hollywood of its creative energies. Why be creative when that will merely interfere with merchandising, and when recycling is more dependably profitable?... One can envision Hollywood eventually turning out only two products: "Star Wars" movies and James Bond movies, each periodically "rebooted" for a new generation of customers by casting the latest new young stars in new costumes facing the same old perils and uttering the same old quips, with every other vestige of creative originality relegated to the void and forgotten."

Android Is Different, In A Good Way - "even though the Samsung Galaxy SIII got frozen at Android 4.3, it still retained the ability to see nearly all of its basic functionality updated up to current 2016 standards. Did it lose something? Yes, it lost some technical improvements within Android 4.4.2, 5.0 and 6.0 which improved smoothness and battery saving (though new versions then eat that away). However, most of the more important new version features which remain within the core Android OS deal mostly with support for new hardware. Since the hardware doesn't change on an old device, most of those improvements are meaningless... This trend towards making Android more modular and migrating more functionality away from the core OS remains in force. This trend makes the actual updating of the core OS less and less important... Many iOS users will be familiar with the experience. When updating iOS in their older devices, the new version bogs down their old device to near-unusable status... The thesis this article seeks to advance is that the OS update landscape is not as clear-cut as most people would have it. While a lot more Android devices will be stuck in earlier OS versions than Apple devices, when it comes to the actual core functionality Android is structured in such a way that even older OS versions have access to the latest core apps and most of the latest OS functionality. As a result, most of Android's core app functionality will actually be updated more often than in iOS"

Intrasexual Competition Shapes Men’s Anti-Utilitarian Moral Decisions - "Killing someone in order to save several lives seems more morally acceptable to men than to women. We suggest that this greater approbation of utilitarian killings may reflect gender differences in the tolerance to inflicting physical harm, which are partly the product of sexual selection. Based on this account, we predicted that men may be less utilitarian than women in other conditions. In four studies, we show that men are more likely than women to make the anti-utilitarian (hypothetical) choice of causing three same sex deaths to save one opposite sex life; and that this choice is more likely when there are fewer potential sexual partners, more likely for heterosexual men and less likely if the female character to be saved no longer has reproductive value."

The strange history and ugly core of Donald Trump Jr.'s Skittles tweet, explained - "The online “poisoned candy” metaphor started with feminists pushing back against the complaint that “not all men” are misogynists. Anti-feminists shot back, substituting Muslims for men in the analogy to demonstrate how offensive it would otherwise be. Then — truly missing the point — conservatives adopted it over the past year as a genuine argument that any migration from Syria is too big a risk... Ben Grelle, who turned the tweet into an image that went viral, argued that he only wanted to justify why marginalized people should fear the powerful majority, not the other way around: “What harm befalls an oppressive group if people are cautious of them?”"
Vox seems to think that "the point" is that men are evil

Italy told to brace itself for 'September assault' after arrival of 150,000 migrants - worldnews - "This is idiotic. The Mediterranean migrants are "rescued" about 12 km off the Libyan coast. The governments and NGOs patrolling just outside Libyan waters aren't rescuing anyone. All they're doing is providing a free taxi service for illegal immigrants. They might as well just charter free, ongoing flights between Italy and every African capital. Come one, come all.
FFS. Is it any wonder that the numbers keep growing?"

Google and Mozilla Remove Extension That Was Caught Selling User Data - "Ironically, the extension's purpose is to provide information on the reputation of websites that users are trying to access, if they're safe for kids, contain spam, are trustworthy, or don't respect user privacy."

Must-see artworks at National Gallery Singapore - "Commissioned by the Japanese army, Meeting of Generals Yamashita and Percival ( 1942 ) by Miyamoto Saburo immortalizes probably one of the darkest moments in the British history. In 1942, the Japanese government sent Miyamoto Saburo to Singapore to create a painting based on the surrender incident. But he did not witness the actual surrender; he came after it was done,” said Low. Therefore, he made sketches of the room where the event took place. He also had the chance to make detailed sketches of Yamashita and Percival. However, some elements of the painting are fictitious. “We know that the British were carrying a white flag and a British flag, but they were not allowed to bring those flags into the room where the ceremony took place,” said Low. However, the flags were later inserted into the painting at the request of Japanese military authorities. In addition to the actual event, the painting became proof that Japanese art is equally as impressive as Western works. “One idea that we want to bring forward in the exhibition is [that] painting is a subjective expression for artistic activity. So we have to understand how the arts were produced, [by] whom they were produced, and why they were produced,” Low explained.

‘Clinton quite effective at discrediting herself, doesn’t need Putin’s help’ - ex CIA analyst - "The report lacks any factual evidence, because the intelligence services apparently don’t have any, Larry Johnson believes"

Trump Uses Twitter as Strategic Weapon - "they do garner enormous media coverage and allow Trump to drive his message home... Alex Conant, former adviser to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's Republican presidential campaign in 2016, told Politico, "The challenge is by being spontaneous, it's hard to build an echo chamber of surrogates and supporters to consistently drive home the message. The opportunity is that Trump is able to connect with the American people in an authentic and real way that other recent presidents haven't been able to. When he tweets, people understand it's actually coming from him." Kevin Madden, a GOP strategist and former adviser to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, told Politico, "Trump understands one important dynamic: In a world where there is a wealth of information, there is always a poverty of attention, and he has this ability to generate four or five story lines a day. In the face of that, how can his opponents break through on even one of them? He is always in control.""

What's It All About, Shakespeare? - "The very thing I love about Shakespeare's girls is the very thing that means they're not really representative of the rest of their gender...
Shakespeare's women all, to my mind, have this in common. They are stronger than their sex. Or, at the very least, stronger than their sex is 'expected' to be. And, in many ways, that's to be applauded. Unlike some of Shakespeare's contemporaries, he didn't write insipid, weak female roles. Yet, unfortunately, this means he's not telling 'real' women's stories, either. These are girls who are breaking men's rules in order to play in a man's world. But what about all of those women who couldn't do that? Well, the fact is, their stories wouldn't have been anywhere near as entertaining!"
Similarly, the fetishisation of strong female characters makes them unrepresentative

Queering the Gaze: Calgary Hockey Breasts, Dynamics of Desire, and Colonial Hauntings - "This paper compares two hockey-related breast-flashing events that occurred in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The first was performed by Calgary Flames fans, the ‘Flamesgirls’, in the 2004 NHL Stanley Cup final, and the second flashing event occurred when members and fans of the Booby Orr hockey team participated in lifting their shirts and jerseys at a lesbian hockey tournament at the 2007 Outgames/Western Cup held in Calgary. We deploy an analysis of visual psychic economies to highlight psychoanalytic framings of masculinized and feminized subject positions in both heteronormative and lesbigay-coded sporting spaces. We suggest there is a queer twist to the Booby Orr flashing context, which we read as disruptive and potentially resistive. The paper ends by turning to Avery Gordon’s (1997) Ghostly Matters, to consider how even in its queer transgression, the Booby Orr flashing scene is simultaneously haunted and saturated by the absent presence of colonial technologies of visuality and sexual violence. It is argued that in this case, openings for transgressive gender dynamics might be imaginable – even as those logics themselves are disciplined and perhaps made possible through racialized colonial framings of appropriate desire."

Blair babes 'have failed' women in politics - Telegraph - "BLAIR'S babes, the record number of Labour women MPs elected in 1997, have put back the cause of women in politics by concentrating on their own working conditions since entering Parliament, says Gillian Shephard, the former Tory minister... She had "high hopes" that they would transform Parliament and make a big difference to government. But the new women were "whipped into line" and became mostly compliant, hopeful of preferment... by concentrating on their working conditions, they may have deterred other aspiring women from becoming politicians. In the book, she singles out Tess Kingham (Lab, Gloucester), who said she would not be standing at the next election because of late night sittings, and Julia Drown (Lab, Swindon S), who led an unsuccessful campaign for mothers to breast-feed anywhere in the House. Mrs Shephard quotes approvingly a reported comment from Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker, that she would have more sympathy when she saw check-out girls at Tesco breast-feeding their babies while doing their job. Criticism could be levelled at some of the "sillier aspects" of conditions at the Commons but all-night sittings and the "rough and tumble" of the place were not a secret. There could hardly be a workplace whose conditions were better known in advance. "If such conditions are unacceptable, and they may be to parents of young children, then it is better to wait to get elected until it is an easier proposition. Other professional women - lawyers, accountants and teachers - do not demand the right to breast-feed while in court, with clients or in front of a class. I imagine there would be uproar if they did. Why, then, do women MPs choose to give their own profession a bad name by demanding privileges not available to other women?""

Female MPs are useless not victims of sexism: Ann Widdecombe lashes out at the Blair Babes with a 'sense of grievance' - "Female MPs who complain about how macho politics are not the victims of sexism but simply ‘useless’, Ann Widdecombe has claimed. The outspoken former Tory minister dismissed the idea that Westminster was biased against women, and insisted both sexes were ‘roughed up’ during debates. In remarks likely divide opinion in Parliament, Miss Widdecombe said women must not go into politics with a ‘sense of grievance’. Miss Widdecombe, who was prisons minister in John Major’s last government, insisted those women who do choose a career in politics had to prove their commitment, and realise having a family might not be conducive to the rough and tumble of life in Westminster... ‘About sixth months afterwards, one of them came up to me in the corridor and she said to me: “Ann, isn’t it horrible how the men are so rude to us?” ‘And I said “yes, and isn’t it horrible how they are so rude to each other?” And she hadn’t thought of that."
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