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Monday, April 17, 2017

Links - 17th April 2017 (2)

Int'l Legal Experts Slam IDF - For Over-Warning Gazans - "The IDF went to extraordinary lengths last summer to prevent civilian casualties while fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza, achieving a remarkable 1:1 civilian to combatant ratio, but according to international legal experts it went too far in avoiding casualties among the enemy population. Willy Stern of Vanderbilt Law School, in an article to be published next Monday in the Weekly Standard, details what he found while spending two weeks with attorneys in the IDF's international law department dubbed "Dabla" as well as front-line commanders, and documents the IDF's "legal zeal" which as he notes has not stemmed the deluge of international criticism against it. Stern listed how the IDF bombarded Gaza residents with thousands of telephone calls, leaflet drops, TV and radio messages, as well as calls to influential citizens urging them to evacuate residents, and in doing so gave the terrorist enemy detailed information about its troop movements. "It was abundantly clear that IDF commanders had gone beyond any mandates that international law requires to avoid civilian casualties," writes Stern. He reported how Dabla attorneys have to sign off on a "target card" for each airstrike on terror targets, with the cards enumerating all of the relevant data about the planned strike. In contrast, the Hamas "doctrine manual" captured by the IDF in the Shejaiya neighborhood early last August documents how the terror group urges its fighters to embed themselves among civilians in hopes that the IDF will kill civilians... he expressed his fear that the IDF "is setting an unreasonable precedent for other democratic countries of the world who may also be fighting in asymmetric wars against brutal non-state actors who abuse these laws."

Marital power, conflict, and violence in a nationally representative sample of American couples. - "Equalitarian couples had the lowest rates of conflict and violence and male-dominant and female-dominant couples had the highest rates. Although consensus about the legitimacy of a male-dominant and female-dominant power structure reduced conflict and violence in such families, when conflict did occur in such families, it was associated with a much higher risk of violence than a similar level of conflict in equalitarian families"

Is the media biased toward Clinton or Trump? Here is some actual hard data. - The Washington Post - "We found that all of the media outlets that we considered “liberal” treated Clinton more favorably. The more conservative outlets seemed more on the fence about Trump. In our sample of articles, only the coverage of Fox News was more positive toward Trump than Clinton, at least to a statistically significant degree. Coverage at Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune didn’t clearly favor one candidate or the other."

Father accused of sex abuse saw doctor for botched procedure a month before trial - "The man had argued that the botched procedure, which he underwent in 2009, caused his penis to become deformed and painful and ooze pus, and left him unable to have sex. However, he did not seek medical attention until seven years later, in 2016. Urologist Dr Lee Fang Jann examined the accused in October last year, a month ahead of his trial. He testified on Monday that the man showed up at his clinic at Singapore General Hospital with a letter from his lawyer. The letter said the patient in question had a pending court case, and asked the doctor to examine the man’s penis and give his expert opinion on whether he could have had sexual intercourse with an 11-year-old girl. Dr Lee said this was unlikely as due to the size of his deformed penis, intercourse “would require a fair amount of force … and (would be) painful … for himself and his partner”. However, he did not rule out the possibility completely, and agreed penetration could have been achieved if lubricant had been used... According to the defence, the man underwent three enlargement procedures in Johor Baru in 2005, 2007 and 2009, at the behest of his now ex-wife."

Pay toilets: An inconvenience when nature calls? - "If we have pay toilets, make it an attractive business. The customers are willing to pay because it’s very nice. Every toilet experience must be a spiritually uplifting one"

Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science? - "While Republicans are divided evenly on the GMO question, Democrats rate them unsafe by a 26-point margin, despite almost 2,000 studies spanning a decade saying otherwise... And it's largely liberal Democratic politicians pushing anti-vaping laws, despite public health agencies estimating e-cigarettes to be around 95% safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes and early evidence they help smokers quit. And vaping products don't contain any tobacco or its resultant tar, yet the FDA still wants to treat them as tobacco products... Only 45 percent of Democrats support expanding the use of nuclear energy, as compared to 62 percent of Republicans, despite the fact that except for Chernobyl, not a single person, including nuclear workers, has ever died due to a commercial nuclear reactor accident. Burning natural gas extracted through fracking is cleaner than oil or gasoline, and far more economically viable than non-nuclear renewable sources"

Chinese man cycles 500km in wrong direction to get home - "The unnamed man could not read maps, meaning he had to rely on others for directions"

Malaysian cultural differences in knowledge, attitudes and practices related to erectile dysfunction: focus group discussions - "The Malay and Chinese traditional remedies for preventing or treating ED are commonly recognized among all races. Many have a negative perception of someone with ED. Malay and Chinese men tended to blame their wife for their problem and thought that the problem might lead to extra-marital affairs, unlike the Indian men who attributed their condition to fate. Malays would prefer traditional medicine for the problem. The Chinese felt they would be more comfortable with a male doctor whilst this is not so with the Malays or Indians"

RightToClick Enables Right Clicking on Sites that Disable It - "Some sites (like IMDb) prevent you from performing certain actions, like right clicking, on their pages. Firefox extension RightToClick disables these scripts, giving you the ability to right click, select text, or perform other actions forbidden by a given web site."

ELI5: Is there any particular reason that water bottles have a 'flat' bottom and pop/soda bottles have a 'five pointed' bottom? : explainlikeimfive - "An arch is a strong structure. Imagine taking an arch and spinning it around, you get a dome which is also a very strong structure. It's good at resisting forces from inside too. A bottle with a dome can better resist pressure. Soda has pressure because the bubbles are CO2 gas which can dissolve in water, but getting enough into the water to make it fizzy takes cold and pressure. When you do get enough in there, it doesn't like to stay in the water. Keeping the water under a bit of pressure can help though. We have glass soda bottles without curved bottoms, so what's different? A curved bottom means the bottle can be thin, and it's easy to make."

At Least 580 Individuals Convicted In Terror Cases Since 9/11, At Least 380 Are Foreign-Born - News Releases - Senator Jeff Sessions - " Of the 380 foreign-born, at least 24 were initially admitted to the United States as refugees, and at least 33 had overstayed their visas. Additionally, of those born abroad, at least 62 were from Pakistan, 28 were from Lebanon, 22 were Palestinian, 21 were from Somalia, 20 were from Yemen, 19 were from Iraq, 16 were from Jordan, 17 were from Egypt, and 10 were from Afghanistan... Because we lack complete information for either list, the numbers are likely much higher. And it is clear that these lists do not include cases that are sealed, have otherwise not been made public, or that have been handled strictly through civil immigration proceedings."

Denmark’s New Front in Debate Over Immigrants: Children’s Lunches - The New York Times - " It is being called the “meatball war.” To be precise, pork meatballs and other pork dishes such as roasts have become the latest weapons in the culture wars playing out in Europe over immigration after a Danish town voted this week to require public day care centers and kindergartens to include the meat on their lunch menus... In Denmark, a small Scandinavian country where farming has long been part of the national identity and pork is a popular staple, some commentators said it was not surprising that the ubiquitous pig had become a point of contention. In 2014, crispy pork with parsley sauce was named Denmark’s national dish. The country is also among the world’s largest pig meat exporters, according to the Danish Agriculture and Food Council."

Danish anti-immigration party swaps power for meatballs - Telegraph - "A Danish anti-immigration party has agreed to abandon a closely-fought mayoral campaign in suburban Copenhagen if the current mayor promised to serve more pork meatballs in public canteens... Mr Dencker had campaigned on a promise to bring back traditional Danish meatballs known as "frikadeller" after claiming that Denmark was "losing its identity" when some public nurseries removed them from the menu."

Fake news is a convenient scapegoat, but the big 2016 problem was the real news - "Pro-Trump fake news was a moneymaking scheme and nothing more. “Earlier in the year,” the reporters explained, “some in Veles experimented with left-leaning or pro–Bernie Sanders content, but nothing performed as well on Facebook as Trump content.” Trump was good for the fake news business in part for the exact same reason he’s been good for the real news business — he’s a fascinating person and a skilled entertainer, whose unlikely rise to the presidency has been just flat-out weird. But he was also good for the fake news business for the specific reason that the real news about him was generally bad... But it also seems clear that the impact of fake news, whatever it may have been, was minor compared with the impact — for good or for ill — of the traditional news media. A team of researchers working for Gallup found that what Americans heard about Clinton during the campaign was overwhelmingly information related to emails. By contrast, they found, “Americans' reports of what they have read, seen or heard about Donald Trump over this same period have been more varied and related to his campaign activities and statements”... For Clinton and her closest allies and supporters, “fake news” makes a convenient boogeyman because it paints her essentially as a victim of circumstances beyond her control... for journalists working at mainstream establishments, the focus on “fake news” is a convenient way to connect the dots between an electoral outcome most journalists deplore and larger trends in technology and media economics that most journalists also deplore"

N.C. man told police he went to D.C. pizzeria with gun to investigate conspiracy theory - "Police said 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C., walked in the front door of Comet Ping Pong and pointed a firearm in the direction of a restaurant employee. The employee was able to flee and notify police. Police said Welch proceeded to discharge the rifle inside the restaurant; they think that all other occupants had fled when Welch began shooting... The restaurant’s owner and employees were threatened on social media in the days before the election after fake news stories circulated claiming that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s backrooms"

Did fake news help elect Trump? Not likely, according to new research - "the role of social media was overstated, with television remaining by far the primary vehicle for consuming political news. Just 14 percent of Americans deemed social media the primary source of their campaign news, according to their research. In addition, while fake news that favored Trump far exceeded that favoring Clinton, few Americans actually recalled the specifics of the stories and fewer believed them. "For fake news to have changed the outcome of the election, a single fake article would need to have had the same persuasive effect as 36 television campaign ads," they conclude. The paper is worth consideration especially given overriding press assumptions about the potency of ideologically driven news coverage... most people do not get their news from ideologically driven sources, with more traditional neutral wire service and local TV fare outweighing the much chronicled cable news channels, notably Fox News, and politically skewed websites."

Conservatives aren't the only ones who believe fake news. - "Green Party candidate Jill Stein has raised at least $6.2 million for a doomed recount effort in three critical Electoral College states. She’s done this by feeding into the theory that the election might have been hacked by Russians or other nefarious actors—a claim for which there is no direct evidence. A report by New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman airing the claims of a group of computer scientists and election lawyers who believe the election may have been tampered with spread like wildfire on liberal Facebook last week, prompting further calls for a recount. That group’s circumstantial proof was quickly debunked. And while there are good governance reasons to do a paper recount, even the academic being cited by Stein in her court filings has said he thinks it’s unlikely the election was hacked... Liberals were actually primed for this brand of foolishness throughout the primary season by Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who tacitly encouraged his supporters to believe that the primary vote had been “rigged” for Hillary... According to one 2007 Zogby poll, about 40 percent of liberals said they believed that the government either perpetrated the [911] attack or “let it happen.”"

The fake pictures of the Rohingya crisis

How did fake US embassy operate in Ghana for a decade? - "The US State Department says Ghanaian and Turkish organised crime rings were running the fake embassy complete with a US flag and a portrait of President Barack Obama "unhindered... for about a decade"... The State Department said the embassy provided some customers "fraudulently obtained, legitimate US visas" as well as counterfeit visas, false identification documents (including bank records, education records, birth certificates, and others)."

Man who printed fake barcode stickers to cheat supermarkets sentenced to 6 months' jail - "A provision store owner printed his own barcode stickers and fixed them on various items in supermarkets to obtain them at lower prices"

Skeptics Corner – In Search Of Fake Eggs | Dongguan HubHao.com - 东莞好不好 - 中国 - China - "If you’ve lived in China, chances are you’ve heard about fake eggs. This should surprise few, as almost everything is counterfeited in China... I found a report of a government employee who wrote to then Premier Wen in 2008 about the fake eggs. He received an official reply 5 months later, stating that an extensive investigation in several provinces uncovered no fake eggs on the market. He subsequently posted an open reward of 1000 RMB, yet unclaimed, for a verifiable fake egg in the local newspaper. Anecdotally, I have not found anyone in China, expat or local, who has rigorously examined a fake egg. After some further digging, it turns out that truth is stranger than fiction. Fake eggs are not the real scam. The real scam, ironically, is that scam schools are scamming prospective scammers, by promising to teach them how to make something that can’t be done. The schools show how the yolk and white can be formed into an egg shaped gelatin, but claim the shell forming process happens overnight – giving them plenty of time to replace them with real eggs before the students return. It is a perfect crime with no recourse, and poetic justice for the scammers. As I realized that, my eyes rolled back so far I saw the back of my skull."

Upworthy Generator - Instantly create Upworthy-style articles

This Plus-Size Model Was Inspiring. But Then She Lost 100 Pounds, Which Was… Also Inspiring? Even Though She Was Already Perfect Before? But She Is Also Perfect Now?

The debate over punching white nationalist Richard Spencer in the face, explained - "America has strong norms against violence in politics. We are supposed to settle our political issues through civil discussions, peaceful protests, and the vote. That’s one reason we revere people like Martin Luther King Jr. so much: They got a lot done — notably, including fighting racism — through peaceful means, exemplifying the kind of discourse we should strive for in politics. Punching someone, no matter how detestable his views are, should be out of the question. “We want a civil society, where ideas are met with other ideas,” Randy Cohen, who formerly wrote the Ethicist column in New York Times magazine, told Vice. “We don’t want a society that encourages thuggish behavior, where if someone has politics different from yours, you get to beat them up. Aside from it just being morally wrong in itself to assault people, there’s the practical consideration that in a society where ideas are met with fists, one is as likely to be the punched as the puncher, and it’s no fun to be punched in the face”... Others argue that violence can hurt left-wing causes — and reinforce extreme right-wing views. When I asked about this, Michael Kazin, a history professor at Georgetown University and editor of Dissent magazine, told me, “Because people on the left want to promote a vision of a nonviolent society governed by the ideals of democracy, equality, and cultural tolerance. And because non-leftists often see [the left] as a disruptive, lawless force. Violence tends to confirm that view”... to condemn Nazism and fascism at least in part because of their use of politically motivated violence and then turn around and punch someone in the face because he’s a Nazi — and bond over it online through memes and jokes — seems hypocritical. After all, it wasn’t long ago that liberals widely praised the American Civil Liberties Union for defending the free speech rights of everyone, including groups like the Ku Klux Klan and actual neo-Nazis. And it was just a few months ago when Michelle Obama campaigned for Hillary Clinton arguing, “When they go low, we go high.” The fact that some liberals are backing away from that stance — one that pushed for free, peaceful public discourse above all — shows how extreme politics has gotten in a short period of time."
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