"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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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Links - 12th March 2017

Here’s why we aren’t upset by TANGS’s International Women’s Day frying pans promotion - "If reaching out to women who are interested in cooking is deemed to be a problem by the likes of Marketing Interactive and AWARE, are these folks then saying that women who enjoy cooking and would be interested in a promotion like that are not the women International Women’s Day celebrates?... Here’s a fact for you: every woman is every bit of a woman as any woman you might have in your mind. A prostitute is a woman. A domestic helper is a woman. A policewoman is a woman. A woman who is attracted to other women is, you guessed it, still a woman... frying pans are just two of the items on the “menu”. The list consists, in fact, overwhelmingly of makeup and facial products, none of which we see anyone taking issue with. Now, why is that? Why aren’t they criticising TANGS for saying that “women must wear make-up” or “women must look after their complexion”?"
If they'd had a discount on dresses you could say that they were promoting stereotypes that women should wear dresses. If they had promoted pants you could have said they were trying to suggest real women wear pants. If vitamins had been on discount one might've criticised them for trying to suggest that women are hypchrondriacs. Basically if people (e.g. AWARE) want to get offended they will find something to get offended about

Commuting from Barcelona: a London worker who makes it pay - "It began as a joke. “I was renting at the time, getting very frustrated with London prices – the usual scenario,” explains Sam Cookney. “I said to a friend that I bet it would be cheaper if I actually lived in Barcelona and commuted every day.” He did the maths and the figures seemed to agree. In a 2013 blog post, he laid out the cost of the 930-mile commute, concluding that he would save €387 a month. So, earlier this year when Cookney found himself looking for a new flat, he decided to heed his own advice and head south... He estimates that when all is said and done, he’s saving a few hundred pounds each month. More importantly, he said, his quality of life has increased. “It’s probably been the best decision I’ve ever made,” he added. “The quality of life is just so much better in every respect – housing, transport, food. It’s just not really comparable to my previous London lifestyle”... he has noticed some familiar faces on the flights to London"

Church seeks legal injunction against protesting strippers - "Weary of strippers protesting and showing their naked breasts, a church pastor and his flock are suing them... the protesters have been threatening church members, blocking church entrances and exits, and violating the First Amendment right to religious freedom and the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which also applies to churches."

It’s okay to end a friendship over politics - "“I don’t want to have anything to do with someone who’d vote for Romney,” she explained, “I choose to take their support for Republicans as a personal attack on my right to control my body. Friendship can’t survive that”... the capacity to put friendship ahead of politics was largely a function of privilege. It’s almost axiomatic that the lower one’s personal investment in the outcome, the easier it is to banter civilly with one’s political opponents"
In the light of 2016, this article from 2014 is telling

Inflation targeting does not anchor inflation expectations: Evidence from firms in New Zealand - "In spite of a quarter century’s worth of central bank efforts to communicate inflation targets and shape public expectations, firms are no better than the general public in estimating inflation and often fail to incorporate recent inflation data into their business decisions... “Google searches confirm this paucity of interest [in monetary policy],” they write. “Online searches for macroeconomic variables like GDP, unemployment rate and inflation are consistently topped altogether by online searches for puppies.”"

A comic predicted Apple inventing Microsoft's Surface three years ago - "It's Apple's reality distortion field in full effect. Genius"

GE2015: Town council issues come to the fore again in final Workers’ Party rally - "The PAP seems uncomfortable with talking about happiness. Perhaps they are more comfortable with sadness, since we always see Mr Lim Swee Say and Mr Lim Boon Heng crying in public, ever so often"

Women Don't Mean Business? Gender Penalty in Board Appointments by Isabelle Solal, Kaisa Snellman - "Using data from two panel studies on U.S. firms and an online experiment, we examine investor reactions to increases in board diversity. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that appointing female directors has no impact on objective measures of performance, such as ROA, but does result in a systematic decrease in market value. Similarly, we find that companies that are committed to diversity more generally suffer a decline in value. We argue that the gender penalty in board appointments is not due to discrimination based on stereotype bias, but instead results from inferences investors make about the firm. The appointment of a female director is interpreted as a diversity measure, and as a result we find that it signals an underlying preference for social goals, to the detriment of shareholder value maximization. Observing this signal prompts some investors to sell their holdings, which in turn causes the firm’s market value to drop. This mechanism operates irrespective of the actual or perceived competence of the female appointee. We discuss the implications of our results for understanding gender inequality in leadership."

Kirsten Han - Vivian Balakrishnan said that the PAP does not have... - "Vivian Balakrishnan said that the PAP does not have a habit of backstabbing its mentors. Strange, because over the past couple of years I've met many members of the Old Left who remember how their movement - and their leader Lim Chin Siong who co-founded PAP - carried the party to prominence and victory, only to get detained without trial under Operation Coldstore. Loh Miaw Gong, for example, was detained by the colonial government under charges of subversion. Her defence lawyer was Lee Kuan Yew, who was making a name for himself by representing these activists. Years later, after winning an election - in which she beat three other candidates, including PAP - she was detained without trial again, this time by Lee Kuan Yew and for the same charges he had previously insisted were baseless."

Carbon dating suggests ‘world’s oldest’ Koran could be older than the Prophet Muhammad - "Small said that would lend credibility to the historical view that Muhammad and his followers collected text that was already in circulation to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than receiving revelations from heaven. “This would radically alter the edifice of Islamic tradition and the history of the rise of Islam in late Near Eastern antiquity would have to be completely revised, somehow accounting for another book of scripture coming into existence 50 to 100 years before, and then also explaining how this was co-opted into what became the entity of Islam by around AD700,” Small said."

Japan raises the bar for weirdness, produces fan-made magazine devoted to male nipples

On Trigger Warnings | AAUP - "if such topics are associated with triggers, correctly or not, they are likely to be marginalized if not avoided altogether by faculty who fear complaints for offending or discomforting some of their students. Although all faculty are affected by potential charges of this kind, non-tenured and contingent faculty are particularly at risk. In this way the demand for trigger warnings creates a repressive, “chilly climate” for critical thinking in the classroom. Our concern extends to academic libraries, the repositories of content spanning all cultures and types of expression. We think the statement of the American Library Association regarding “labeling and rating systems” applies to trigger warnings. “Prejudicial labels are designed to restrict access, based on a value judgment that the content, language, or theme of the material, or the background or views of the creator(s) of the material, render it inappropriate or offensive for all or certain groups of users….When labeling is an attempt to prejudice attitudes, it is a censor’s tool.” Institutional requirements or even suggestions that faculty use trigger warnings interfere with faculty academic freedom in the choice of course materials and teaching methods... trigger warnings conflate exceptional individual experience of trauma with the anticipation of trauma for an entire group, and assume that individuals will respond negatively to certain content. A trigger warning might lead a student to simply not read an assignment or it might elicit a response from students they otherwise would not have had, focusing them on one aspect of a text and thus precluding other reactions. If, for example, The House of Mirth or Anna Karenina carried a warning about suicide, students might overlook the other questions about wealth, love, deception, and existential anxiety that are what those books are actually about. Trigger warnings thus run the risk of reducing complex literary, historical, sociological and political insights to a few negative characterizations. By calling attention to certain content in a given work, trigger warnings also signal an expected response to the content (e.g., dismay, distress, disapproval), and eliminate the element of surprise and spontaneity that can enrich the reading experience and provide critical insight.

Ashley Madison Code Shows More Women, and More Bots - "Ashley Madison’s army of fembots appears to have been a sophisticated, deliberate, and lucrative fraud. The code tells the story of a company trying to weave the illusion that women on the site are plentiful and eager. Whatever the total number of real, active female Ashley Madison users is, the company was clearly on a desperate quest to design legions of fake women to interact with the men on the site."

Rejected by condo management, SPP candidate gets creative - "she organised a picnic at Wilkinson Intermin Park. The Park's location was a strategic one as it was just a stone's throw away from many private estates. Through the picnic, she had the opportunity to meet many residents of private estates and along with the conversations, there was good food to go around too."

Rich People Exercise, Poor People Take Diet Pills - "An emerging body of research helps explain how the stress of poverty hampers the decision-making process. A study in Science last year found that poverty equates to a mental burden similar to losing 13 IQ points. Another study just published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who experienced economic uncertainty gave up on solving a difficult puzzle faster."

Are You Hearing This?Frank Lin’s research ties hearing loss to dementia, with big implications for public health: Unbundled, accessible audiology services and reimbursement for audiologic rehabilitation could be key, he says, to battling cognitive decline associated with hearing loss.

Europe Facing New Uncertainty in Terrorism Fight - NYTimes.com - "The most plausible scenario is some return to the situation prevailing in France in the mid-1990s after a series of Islamist attacks on trains and train stations. For a brief period, military personnel patrolled inside the trains and baggage was checked. Mr. Brisard noted that such patrols have, potentially, a much more dissuasive effect than the mere sight of armed soldiers in train stations."

'Chef' fools fine diners into enjoying inferior food - "a chef's personality in today's food and celebrity-obsessed world is as important as what they serve on the plate. The growing phenomenon of celebrity chefs -- and diners' apparently insatiable appetite for interacting with them -- means that the gastronomic experience can be authenticated and elevated as a result, even if dishes are inferior in ingredients and execution."

No Liquid Allowed in Carry On, Woman Drinks Entire Bottle of Cognac at Beijing Airport Security

How one German millennial chose to live on trains rather than pay rent - "Müller frequently travels late at night, although she tries to sleep at the apartments of relatives or friends"

Just how 'far right' are the Sweden Democrats? - "“Far-right is a strange label, often used not as an analytical but as a normative and negative way of characterizing many of the parties in Europe that are immigrant-unfriendly and often un-civic in rhetoric,” she said. “Aggressive nationalists would be a more adequate way of labeling many of them.”"

You Really Don’t Need To Work So Much - "Once upon a time, it was taken for granted that the wealthier classes enjoyed a life of leisure on the backs of the proletariat. Today it is people in skilled trades who can most find reasonable hours coupled with good pay; the American professional is among those subject to humiliation and driven like a beast of burden... in 2006, the top twenty per cent of earners were twice as likely to work more than fifty hours a week than the bottom twenty per cent, a reversal of historic conditions."

Medical community reflects on 'disgusting and scandalous' episodes in the operating room - "One person defended the doctors described in the essay who, in his view, were merely trying to defuse high-pressure situations by injecting some levity into the operating room. “The stress on these professionals is SO great that once in awhile, a little steam MUST be released in order to bring themselves and their teams back into some logical perspective,” wrote Robert J. Pegritz, who described himself as a medical/legal consultant. “The lay observer or medical student has no idea of the cumulative stress that can be present inside someone who daily cuts open living, breathing people.”"

Why are Chinese tourists so rude? A few insights | South China Morning Post - "Yong Chen, tourism researcher and post-doctoral fellow at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said most “bad” tourists don’t intend to be “bad” or “tourists”, they are just being themselves - they are being Chinese... Living in China, where the rule-of-law doesn’t exist, means everyone has to look out for their own interest. It also means people have little or no respect for laws... A poll by the Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong recently found that the number of Hongkongers holding negative feelings towards Beijing and mainland Chinese is up by about 40 per cent since November."
One claim is that those who travel are the nouveau riche and are not representative of PRCs as a whole. But I would trust the analysis of the tourism researcher over ad-hoc hypotheses

Schoolgirl 'fully radicalised' by Isis propaganda must be taken away from 'deceitful parents', judge rules - "The girl, who can only be referred to as “B”, has already attempted to travel to Syria to become a “jihadi bride”."

Student demands female composers on A-level music syllabus - "Given that female composers were not prominent in the western classical tradition (or others for that matter), there would be very few female composers that could be included"

The day I removed a toy dinosaur from a woman's vagina - "As student nurses, we pick one of our second-year placements and are advised to go into an area that interests us most. I chose to do a five-week stint in a sexual health clinic. Sexual health clinics are magical places where surprises spring from the walls. I once walked into work to find an aggressive looking – but lovely – nurse loudly spelling the word “gonorrhoea” down the phone while slurping white hot chocolate from a mug with the c-word on it. All before 7.30am."

A new app and blood test can predict suicide risk with startling accuracy, study says

The perilous plight of middle managers: Exploitation, domination and depression - The Washington Post - "middle managers were significantly more likely to suffer symptoms of depression and anxiety than their counterparts at the top or bottom of the workplace hierarchy."
"Managers" here includes executives

Secrets of longevity may lie in long-lived smokers, a ‘biologically distinct’ group with extraordinary gene variants - The Washington Post
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