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Friday, March 17, 2017

Links - 17th March 2017

Papua New Guinea: Rape and sexual assault is too common - "Sexual violence is so common in Papua New Guinea that rapists from ‘raskol’ gangs are happy to proudly pose for photos and boast about what they’ve done. The statistics are horrifying. Two thirds of women are subjected to some kind of physical or sexual violence. Doctors Without Borders have reported that in Papua New Guinea they are dealing with levels of gender violence normally experienced in war zones."

One third of asthmatics may not have the condition, study suggests - "One third of people with asthma may not actually have the condition either because it has got better, or they were wrongly diagnosed in the first place"

Japanese toilet industry agrees to standardize complex bidet controls - "The toilet manufacturers plan to implement the eight new pictogram on models released from this year onward, with a view to the system becoming an international standard. The icons in the image above mean (from left to right) raise the lid, raise the seat, large flush, small flush, rear spray, bidet, dry, and stop."

Adam Pacitti who spent last £500 on billboard begging for job spends first pay packet on another to say thanks - "He made headlines around the world after using his last £500 on a huge billboard advert begging employers to give him a job. And it appears the ploy paid off after 24-year-old Adam Pacitti landed a position with a top media firm. Delighted with his new employed status, Mr Pacitti has now used his first pay packet to fund another huge billboard in Shoreditch, London, reading: 'I spent my first wage packet on this billboard. Thank you for helping me'... The site was swamped by more than 1.5 million hits from around the globe and Mr Pacitti found himself at the centre of a social media storm."

Republicans, White Voters and Racial Polarization - The New York Times - "The Democrats haven’t just been passive players in the recent racial polarization of the parties: Rather, they’ve embraced and furthered the trend, as a necessary part of making their new presidential-level “coalition of the ascendant” work. Where the Clinton-era Democrats still tried to win working class whites outright, the Obama-era Democrats mostly just used scorched-earth campaigning to try to minimize the G.O.P.’s margin and/or keep these voters on the sidelines. Where the pre-Obama party still made room for immigration skeptics and coal-country populists, the Obama-era Democrats have pushed in policy directions calculated to alienate many of the swing voters who cast ballots for Byron Dorgan in the past, or Joe Manchin or Mark Pryor in the present. Where the pre-Obama party spoke the language of “safe, legal and rare” on abortion and basically set gun control aside as a losing issue, the Obama Democrats have mostly dropped the “rare” part and, post-Newtown, taken up the gun-control cause anew. And so on... Energizing “ascendant” constituencies while pushing working-class whites toward the Republicans has represented a form of “positive polarization” for the Democrats, since it’s left them with a presidential-level majority that they did not enjoy before. But like any successful gambit, it’s also created vulnerabilities"

Faking Cultural Literacy - - "According to a recent survey by the American Press Institute, nearly six in 10 Americans acknowledge that they do nothing more than read news headlines — and I know this only because I skimmed a Washington Post headline about the survey. After we’ve skimmed, we share. Commenters frequently start their posts with TL;DR — short for Too Long; Didn’t Read — and then proceed to offer an opinion on the subject at hand anyway. As Tony Haile, the chief executive of the web traffic analytics company Chartbeat, recently put it, “We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading.”

How to stop your period - The New York Times - "one of the reasons many women don’t try period suppression is that they’ve been conditioned to believe that a monthly period is a sign of good health... many women don’t realize that if they are using a hormonal form of birth control, their monthly period is already artificially induced by stopping the hormones for seven days a month. Other women worry that suppressing their period might lead to an unnatural buildup of the uterine lining. Dr. Erin Saleeby, the chairwoman of OB-GYN at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center, said that using continuous birth control prevents that from happening."

France Fears Becoming Too ‘Anglo-Saxon’ in Its Treatment of Minorities - The New York Times - "So what is it that makes the Anglo-Saxon model so scary to the French today? Emile Chabal, a professor of modern French history at the University of Edinburgh, traces it to France’s deeply held faith in a single, indivisible republic that makes no distinction among its citizens."
A good primer for those who see the French burka ban as racism

More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead - - "“Outside of popular culture, there are no highly skilled hit men for hire,” Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and an authority on the Russian security services, said in an interview. “If it’s a skilled job, that means it’s a state asset.” Other countries, notably Israel and the United States, pursue targeted killings, but in a strict counterterrorism context. No other major power employs murder as systematically and ruthlessly as Russia does against those seen as betraying its interests abroad. Killings outside Russia were even given legal sanction by the nation’s Parliament in 2006."

Paying With Cash Hurts. That’s Also Why It Feels So Good. - - "When people pay for items using cold, hard cash rather than by card or online, they feel more of a sting and therefore assign more value to the purchase"

How To Hide Who You Follow On Facebook

What Oxfam's misleading stat gets wrong about inequality - "if you use Oxfam’s methodology, my niece, with 50 cents in pocket money, has more wealth than the bottom 40% of the world’s population combined. As do I, and as do you, most likely, assuming your net worth is positive. You don’t need to find eight super-wealthy billionaires to arrive at a shocking wealth statistic; you can take just about anybody."

Oxfam statistics are both meaningless & misleading – Institute of Economic Affairs

You Pay, Computer Prays For You - "Information Age Prayer is a site that charges you a monthly fee to say prayers for you. A typical charge is $4.95 per month to say three prayers specified by you each day. "We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying," the company states. "Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen.""

The brain police: judging murder with an MRI - "To Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi, sentencing her last June to life in prison, Sharma's electro-encephalogram left no doubt: the brain scan revealed "experiential knowledge" which proved that she had to be the killer"

Get Thai tourism back on track - "The airports in the German and Polish capitals are large, with international standard facilities - but so are those in the smaller cities. Here in Thailand, only Suvarnabhumi and Phuket airports match that standard, while in other cities, the airport is small and "provincial" in style. For convenience of travel within those cities, it is better to arrange your own transportation... Say Loei is promoted, but the only way to get there is by bus or pre-arranged transportation. If you go there by bus, the only way to get around the province is by private taxi or small bus. Having limited transport choices means limited opportunities for hosts to make money and for travellers to take in the real charms of the destination. Another thing that marks out European countries is that their domestic and foreign visitors tend to enjoy the same treatment. Fewer taxi drivers or restaurants are known to overcharge foreign tourists. The Thai tourism authority should realise that it is issues like these that must be addressed."
Europe FTW

Tonal languages require humidity - "The weather impacts not only upon our mood but also our voice. An international research team including scientists from the Max Planck Institutes for Psycholinguistics, Evolutionary Anthropology and Mathematics in the Sciences has analysed the influence of humidity on the evolution of languages. Their study has revealed that languages with a wide range of tone pitches are more prevalent in regions with high humidity levels. In contrast, languages with simpler tone pitches are mainly found in drier regions. This is explained by the fact that the vocal folds require a humid environment to produce the right tone."

The Real Reason Excite Turned Down Buying Google For $750,000 In 1999

Uncleftish Beholding - Wikipedia - "Uncleftish Beholding (1989) is a short text written by Poul Anderson. It is written using almost exclusively words of Germanic origin (Anglish), and was intended to illustrate what the English language might look like if it had not received its considerable number of loanwords from other languages, particularly Latin, Greek and French."

Jew-hating airline cancels flight rather than allow Israeli passengers - "Kuwait hates Jews so much that its national airline has ditched a popular and lucrative New York-to-London flight rather than allow Israelis on its planes, authorities said Thursday. Kuwait Airways killed the flight to spite American officials, who threatened to pull the airline’s permit to fly to the United States if they continued discriminating against Israeli passengers."

Democrats Have an Identity-Politics Problem - "there's great risk when a party becomes obsessed with identity over issues. It fuels racial polarization, where one's party label or positions on issues becomes synonymous with race or ethnicity. There's less coherent connection among their constituents' interests—beyond gender or the color of one's skin"

Singapore - "In Singapore, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. You may wish to learn more about the following penalties for certain crimes in Singapore:
Possible imprisonment, caning or fines for sex crimes or sexually inappropriate behavior. Lewd, unwanted behavior, including inappropriate comments, messages, or photography,, toward women who find it offensive may result in fines and imprisonment (“Insulting the modesty of woman”). If there is unwanted physical contact of any kind involved (“Outrage of modesy”, molestation), the laws are gender neutral and punishments generally more severe."
What does it say that the US State Department finds this noteworthy?

What Is Causing the College Student Mental Health Crisis? - "college students are showing greater levels of stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and poor sleep patterns than any time in our nation’s history, and the current trend lines suggest that it will continue to get worse... There is much evidence that the current generation has both higher levels of assertiveness and confidence in some ways, but also are lacking in coping skills and empathy and demonstrate a sense of entitlement. There are many possible causes (see above), and it can easily be considered to be part of a self-fulfilling cycle. As therapists know, narcissists are often not “value added” to social systems. A generation of them is going to create serious mental health consequences"

Research shows high self-esteem is not always what it’s cracked up to be - ""There are many kinds of high self-esteem, and in this study we found that for those in which it is fragile and shallow it's no better than having low self-esteem," said Michael Kernis. "People with fragile high self-esteem compensate for their self-doubts by engaging in exaggerated tendencies to defend, protect and enhance their feelings of self-worth"... "Individuals with low self-esteem or fragile high self-esteem were more verbally defensive than individuals with secure high self-esteem. One reason for this is that potential threats are in fact more threatening to people with low or fragile high self-esteem than those with secure high self-esteem, and so they work harder to counteract them." On the other hand, individuals with secure high self-esteem appear to accept themselves "warts and all," and, feeling less threatened, they are less likely to be defensive by blaming others or providing excuses when they speak about past transgressions or threatening experiences. One reason the study's findings are important, Kernis said, is that it shows that greater verbal defensiveness relates to lower psychological well-being and life satisfaction."
Sounds like SJWs

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The 12th Century Renaissance - "People like to think there's one factor. It's very attractive to think there's one factor, I mean it comes from belief in monotheism I think... very clever concept... of the Trinity, because if you have one god who is also three gods, it's much easier to explain your belief to societies that are pagan and are very very cautious of leaving behind the god for illness and the god for fertility...
'A shift in focus from God the Father, quite an austere figure, punishing punitive figure'
'Old Testament'...
'To a focus on the suffering Christ. And this came with quite a big theological debate that Anselm kicked off and Abelard took on quite importantly. That the question of why was Christ incarnated. Why do we have to kill Christ at all. And the traditional explanation had been that humanity had given over its rights to the Devil and that God had to trick the Devil into killing the one innocent human which would then redeem the rest of us, whereas Anselm said the Devil never had any rights. This is silly, because only Christ can pay the debt that we owe to God. But Abelard pointed out the problem in that. It works brilliantly but the problem in it is that it leaves us with quite as astonishing God, a god who cruelly, purposefully creates his own son and then has him slaughtered and Abelard said, and it didn't stick immediately but it became the most influential thing in the 12th century about the theology of Christ. Abelard said the only reason for this gesture, this dramatic outrageous gesture must be to demonstrate love, and it must be so that Christ can show us how much he loves us. And that introduction of the idea of love as central to theology then feeds into the idea of confession but also into affective piety, as we call it, the kind of piety which is emotionally driven...
Male monasteries are not devoid of women because there're lots of recluses. Every male monastery had a group of women living in the grounds to pray for the souls of the monks. Because if the monks pray for the souls of the laity, who is going to pray for the monks? The monks needed to buy in or make available a corner of their grounds for groups of 5 or 6 recluses"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Johannes Kepler - "He always felt that he didn't have the right body to be a pastor. As a pastor you're meant to be bulky and bearded and he's inherited his mother's body...
Kepler is a man of principle. He has endless opportunities to sell out. He could've become an Orthodox Lutheran, got a nice job in a university. He could've converted to Catholicism and been showered with rewards. He insists on holding to his lonely, isolated position unlike someone like Galileo who's prepared to sell out anytime you ask him to, almost. Kepler accepts the consequences of refusing to fit in"

YOLOCAUST - "Yolocaust is a project by Israeli satirist and author Shahak Shapira that explores our commemorative culture by combining selfies from the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin with footage from Nazi extermination camps. The selfies were found on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder and Grindr. Comments, hashtags and "Likes" that were posted with the selfies are also included."
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