"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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Monday, March 13, 2017

Links - 13th March 2017

Higher Minimum Wage May Have Losers - NYTimes.com - "when forced to pay more in wages, many employers were hiring more productive workers, so that the overall amount they spent on each job changed far less than the minimum-wage increase would have suggested. The more productive workers appeared to finish similar work more quickly... The results are broadly consistent with a 2013 study by the economists Daniel Aaronson, Eric French and Isaac Sorkin, showing that a sizable minimum-wage increase in New Jersey resulted in many lost jobs as numerous businesses closed, but an almost offsetting number of new jobs as other businesses opened, which the authors argue were more productive."

Meet the founder of the French jihad-busting Mothers’ Brigade – Women in the World in Association with The New York Times - "Remadna and her “moms’ army,” with more than 1,000 members and a core brigade of 15, are battling rising religious extremism at its source. “The problem for Muslims isn’t Islamophobia or stigmatization — it’s radicalization,” says Remadna, a free-thinking Muslim who carries the Koran in her handbag but also likes to celebrate Christmas... The Moms’ group cites the work of researchers like British criminologist Simon Cottee who has studied how religion can “transform petty criminals into terrorists” by offering them redemption and a theological rationale for violence against all “bad Muslims” or non-Muslim “kuffars.” “The idea that the secularly profane habits of jihadists and their emulators is evidence religion plays little or no role in radicalization just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny,” Cottee, Senior Lecturer in criminology at the University of Kent told Women in the World. Judge Marc Trevidic who investigated French terrorist cases for almost a decade has also highlighted the role of religion, raising the alert on burgeoning “Salafist hotbeds” — because “the cause of terrorism is radicalization”... Remadna’s lament is that French society has been cynically “imprisoning” young children of immigrant, Muslim origin in a dangerous victim mentality... “The liberal-left, to its shame, colludes in this, because, to use George Orwell’s terminology, it doesn’t want to “give ammunition to the enemy” — the far right — by exposing the crimes and injustices within Muslim communities... The Islam specialist has documented the growth of “Salafist enclaves” and “rupture” with French society, apparent in some Muslim-populated neighborhoods, exposing the ballot box-motivated left as complicit."

The Power of Three - NYTimes.com - "in ads, stump speeches and other messages understood to have manipulative intent, three claims will persuade, but four (or more) will trigger skepticism, and reverse an initially positive impression."

Your Surgeon Is Probably a Republican, Your Psychiatrist Probably a Democrat - The New York Times - "One explanation could be money. Doctors tend to earn very high salaries compared with average Americans, but the highest-paid doctors earn many times as much as those in the lower-paying specialties. The fields with higher average salaries tended to contain more doctors who were Republican, while the comparatively lower-paying fields were more popular among Democrats. That matches with national data... female physicians were more likely to be Democrats than their male peers, mirroring another trend in the larger American population"

Free Wi-Fi Kiosks Were to Aid New Yorkers. An Unsavory Side Has Spurred a Retreat. - NYTimes.com - "The Wi-Fi kiosks in New York were designed to replace phone booths and allow users to consult maps, maybe check the weather or charge their phones. But they have also attracted people who linger for hours, sometimes drinking and doing drugs and, at times, boldly watching pornography on the sidewalks... Users were expected to make short stops at the kiosks. But the sites quickly attracted homeless people and other idle users who took full advantage of the unlimited access to the internet to turn the kiosks into al fresco living rooms, watching movies and playing music for hours. “People are congregating around these Links to the point where they’re bringing furniture and building little encampments clustered around them,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance, a business group in Manhattan. “It’s created this really unfortunate and actually deplorable condition”... She likened turning off the browsers to the decision during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s to block pay phones from accepting calls. All along Amsterdam Avenue, she said, crack dealers were using pay phones as business offices."

Do You Care More About a Dog Than a Refugee? - NYTimes.com - "I wonder what would happen if Aleppo were full of golden retrievers, if we could see barrel bombs maiming helpless, innocent puppies. Would we still harden our hearts and “otherize” the victims? Would we still say “it’s an Arab problem; let the Arabs solve it”?"

North Korea Unveils Netflix-Like Service With Propaganda on Demand - The New York Times

A Cautionary Tale of ‘Stem Cell Tourism’ - NYTimes.com - "The surgeon gasped when he opened up his patient and saw what was in his spine. It was a huge mass, filling the entire part of the man’s lower spinal column. “The entire thing was filled with bloody tissue, and as I started to take pieces, it started to bleed,” said Dr. John Chi, the director of Neurosurgical Spine Cancer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It was stuck to everything around it.” He added, “I had never seen anything like it.” Tests showed that the mass was made up of abnormal, primitive cells and that it was growing very aggressively. Then came the real shocker: The cells did not come from Jim Gass. They were someone else’s cells. Mr. Gass, it turned out, had had stem cell therapy at clinics in Mexico, China and Argentina, paying tens of thousands of dollars each time for injections in a desperate attempt to recover from a stroke he had in 2009. The total cost with travel was close to $300,000."

I ‘Went Back to China’ — and Felt More American Than Ever | Foreign Policy - "Being brought up in the United States meant my standards for racial equality were forged in a culture built around the dissent, dialogue, and disruption that the First Amendment vouchsafes. It was only after six years in Hong Kong that I began to understand why people leave their countries to come to the United States and why it’s so difficult to repatriate. You can’t unlearn what you’ve learned or unsee what you’ve seen. Neither could I unlearn the promises of equality that I’d repeated every time I took the Pledge of Allegiance."

‘Provoked’ driver runs over German couple kissing on zebra crossing, kills woman

HuffPo: 'Women to Blame' for New Year's Sex Attacks

Cologne Sexual Assault Victim Called a Racist and Harassed After Identifying Her Attackers

Suicide on Campus and the Pressure of Perfection - The New York Times - "In 2003, Duke jolted academe with a report describing how its female students felt pressure to be “effortlessly perfect”: smart, accomplished, fit, beautiful and popular, all without visible effort. At Stanford, it’s called the Duck Syndrome. A duck appears to glide calmly across the water, while beneath the surface it frantically, relentlessly paddles... William Alexander, director of Penn’s counseling and psychological services, has watched a shift in how some young adults cope with challenges. “A small setback used to mean disappointment, or having that feeling of needing to try harder next time,” he said. Now? “For some students, a mistake has incredible meaning”... social media is a huge contributor to the misperception among students that peers aren’t also struggling. When students remark during a counseling session that everyone else on campus looks happy, he tells them: “I walk around and think, ‘That one’s gone to the hospital. That person has an eating disorder. That student just went on antidepressants.’ As a therapist, I know that nobody is as happy or as grown-up as they seem on the outside.”... These cultural dynamics of perfectionism and overindulgence have now combined to create adolescents who are ultra-focused on success but don’t know how to fail... Penn researchers studying friendship have found that students’ best friends aren’t classmates or romantic partners, but parents."

The Fear of Having a Son - The New York Times - "“I wanted a girl mainly because I felt it was harder to be a boy in today’s society. If I have a boy I will embrace the challenge of raising a boy…who can learn the power of vulnerability even as male culture tries to make him see it as weakness. But, frankly, I hope that when I have a second child, it’ll be another girl.’” This was emblematic of a lot of the responses, which revealed that men felt more confident, or “better equipped,” co-parenting “a strong, confident daughter.” Ms. Martin says that her own husband was relieved to have daughters instead of sons. He says: “‘I haven’t felt like I fit into a lot of the social norms around masculinity…. I’m much more interested in the challenge of helping a girl or young woman transcend sexist conditions. It feels more possible and more important, in some ways”... this preference for girls might occur because adoptive parents “fear dysfunctional social behavior in adopted children and perceive girls as ‘less risky’ than boys in that respect.” Adoptive parents are even willing to pay an average of $16,000 more in finalization costs for a girl than a boy. Same-sex couples and single women showed an even greater proclivity for adopting girls. These preferences weren’t limited to adopting parents... Paradoxically, for some men, the third-wave feminism they embrace strong-arms them into muting the very sensitivity and empathy that opened their eyes to women’s plight.
Thanks, feminism

A Manhattan McDonald’s With Many Off-the-Menu Sales - The New York Times - "The Times Square of today often seems like a theme park, a blend of wax museums, flashy billboards and slow-walking, street-clogging tourists. But this nearby McDonald’s, on Eighth Avenue between 34th and 35th Streets, is a throwback to a seedier era in New York, a place where those same tourists sit amid drug addicts looking for a fix or nodding out at tables after taking methadone, or maybe something else."

Empty Nest? In Slovakia, It May Begin When the Child Is 35 - The New York Times - "Last year a United States Census study drew considerable attention when it revealed that 15 percent of adults 25 to 34 were living with their parents. And a recent Office of National Statistics study in Britain also inspired much hand-wringing when it revealed a similar figure. But that’s nothing. In Slovakia, 74 percent of adults 18 to 34 years old — regardless of employment or marital status — still live with their parents, European Commission statistics show... The conservative culture here and in other traditional nations not only encourages young people to stay under their parents’ protection until marriage, but also attaches no stigma in doing so."

Will the Left Survive the Millennials? - The New York Times - "my address maintained that fiction writers should be allowed to write fiction — thus should not let concerns about “cultural appropriation” constrain our creation of characters from different backgrounds than our own. I defended fiction as a vital vehicle for empathy. If we have permission to write only about our own personal experience, there is no fiction, but only memoir. Honestly, my thesis seemed so self-evident that I’d worried the speech would be bland. Nope — not in the topsy-turvy universe of identity politics. The festival immediately disavowed the address... social media went ballistic. Mainstream articles followed suit. I plan on printing out The New Republic’s “Lionel Shriver Shouldn’t Write About Minorities” and taping it above my desk as a chiding reminder. Viewing the world and the self through the prism of advantaged and disadvantaged groups, the identity-politics movement — in which behavior like huffing out of speeches and stirring up online mobs is par for the course — is an assertion of generational power. Among millennials and those coming of age behind them, the race is on to see who can be more righteous and aggrieved — who can replace the boring old civil rights generation with a spikier brand. When I was growing up in the ’60s and early ’70s, conservatives were the enforcers of conformity... As a lifelong Democratic voter, I’m dismayed by the radical left’s ever-growing list of dos and don’ts — by its impulse to control, to instill self-censorship as well as to promote real censorship, and to deploy sensitivity as an excuse to be brutally insensitive to any perceived enemy... In obsessing over micro-aggressions like the sin of uttering the commonplace Americanism “you guys” to mean “you all,” activists persecute fellow travelers who already care about equal rights... In an era of weaponized sensitivity, participation in public discourse is growing so perilous, so fraught with the danger of being caught out for using the wrong word or failing to uphold the latest orthodoxy in relation to disability, sexual orientation, economic class, race or ethnicity, that many are apt to bow out. Perhaps intimidating their elders into silence is the intention of the identity-politics cabal — and maybe my generation should retreat to our living rooms and let the young people tear one another apart over who seemed to imply that Asians are good at math. But do we really want every intellectual conversation to be scrupulously cleansed of any whiff of controversy? Will people, so worried about inadvertently giving offense, avoid those with different backgrounds altogether?... In my youth, liberals would defend the right of neo-Nazis to march down Main Street. I cannot imagine anyone on the left making that case today."

Taiwanese town builds a high heel shoe shaped church to attract female worshippers - "Zheng Rongfeng, spokesman of the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area, said there will be a total of 100 female-oriented features in the church, among which 71 have been finished. They include chairs for ‘lovers,’ maple leaves, biscuits and cakes - all ideal for romantic photographs."

Passenger takes turkey on flight as 'emotional support animal' - Telegraph - "In 2014 an American woman (pictured below) was forced to get off a plane after bringing a 70-pound pot-bellied pig on board for "emotional support""

Painting a Picture of the Early Republic - "With one or two notable exceptions, the Jedi we meet in Star Wars are full of themselves. They ignore the counsel of others (often with terrible consequences), and seem honestly to believe that they are at the center of the universe. When the chief Jedi record-keeper is asked in Attack of the Clones about a planet she has never heard of, she replies that if it's not in the Jedi archives, it doesn't exist. (The planet in question does exist, again, with terrible consequences.)... Palpatine believes that the political order must be manipulated to produce peace and stability. When he mutters, "There is no civility, there is only politics," we see that at heart, he's an esoteric Straussian... Their victory over the Empire doesn't liberate the galaxy--it turns the galaxy into Somalia writ large: dominated by local warlords who are answerable to no one."

Inside the world's first McDonald's Next - "in Hong Kong, 40 years after the chain first entered the territory, signs of change glimmer on the greasy fast food horizon. In December, McDonald's transformed one of its Hong Kong branches into the world's first McDonald's Next -- an evolved version of the brand that strives to be "modern and progressive.""

Nikola Tesla Wasn't God And Thomas Edison Wasn't The Devil - "Alas, The Oatmeal has fallen prey to Tesla idolatry, confusing his genius for godhood and of course, setting up the now all-too-common 'Edison as Tesla's arch-villain' narrative."

Sean Penn is a college freshman’s Che Guevara T-shirt personified - "Penn, who, in his own words, speaks little more Spanish than “hola” and “adiós,” shamelessly glamorizes one of the most ruthless criminals in modern Mexican history"

Abeer Dahiya's answer to To what extent does Chinese privilege exist in Singapore? - Quora - "Multiculturalism is a founding pillar of Singapore’s democracy, and ethnic minorities here are represented, as some in the States would say, in disproportionately high numbers at all levels of government:
1. Indians, and Tamils: Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Home Affairs and Law Minister, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, amongst many, many others. Tamil is an official language of Singapore and is seen on all government buildings, many heritage signs, all MRT and public transport signs, and all National Libraries.
2. Malay: Speaker of Parliament (a woman, Mrs. Halimah Yacob), Information and Muslim Affairs Minister, Environment and Water Use Minister. Malay is the original indigenous language of Singapore, and the official name of Singapore, the crest slogan, all national honours, gallantry medals, military squad instructions, as well as all government signs and Changi Airport signs are in Malay.
3. Eurasians: English is the preferred official language of Singapore, the de jure official language used in all court documents and official correspondence, and is the major component, along with Malay and Hokkien Chinese, of the de facto national vernacular creole, Singlish. Eurasians, while a tiny minority compared to the others listed above (about 0.4 per cent of the total population), are economically influential and are at the board of directors of many major local companies, including SingTel, and have historically been influential in establishing the nation’s most prestigious schools and colleges, including Raffles Institution, St. Joseph’s Institution, Tanglin Trust School, and Anglo-Chinese School."
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