"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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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Links - 11th May 2017 (2)

Families cause loved ones to suffer at end of life by 'begging doctors for treatments' - "Up to a third are given chemotherapy, dialysis, blood transfusions or CPR in their final weeks which is of no benefit and only serves to prolong suffering. Researchers say family members are unwilling to let loved ones go and pressurise doctors into performing 'heroic interventions.'"

How Ule is revolutionising small businesses in China - "In one month in 2015, Lou says, her website sold 800 pairs of shoes to this 1,000-person village. And that she credits entirely to her membership of Ule - the fast-growing commerce platform created by the postal service and a Hong Kong multibillionaire, which aims to transform a million village stores into the world's biggest real-time searchable retail database."

MIT has created a $250,000 award for disobedience

'Feminists Are Too Busy Picking First-World Fights To See What's Under Their Noses' - ""A public, tearful, apology, repentance and retraction, merely for dancing. Welcome to the United Kingdom in 2017. We may have just witnessed our first online religious fundamentalist inquisition. "Initiated, conducted, and concluded, all online. And the worst part of this? Is it happened a couple of days before International Women's Day, and you'd be forgiven for not having heard of it. "Not a single global, nor national, feminist movement adopted this as a cause. Not a single mainstream, left wing nor liberal, media outlet reported on this. "And I am wondering whether feminists are too busy picking first world fights while neglecting the minorities within minority communities. Like women within Muslim communities, who face a triple threat, who are discriminated from three different directions"

How Beats Tricks You Into Thinking It Makes a Premium Product - "the headphones are so cheap that Beats actually needs to add weight to make them feel heftier"

Teachers who avoid touching children are guilty of child abuse, experts claim
It's abuse if you touch them - it's abuse if you don't

Chinese government warns of dangers of Korean dramas as Descendants Of The Sun hits 440m views in China - "the ministry offered examples of several extreme cases - a couple who divorced due to Korean dramas and a man who went through plastic surgeries to reclaim his wife's heart, who was smitten by the male protagonist of a Korean drama - to illustrate the "potential troubles" faced by those watching Korean dramas"

The Isolation of College Libertarians - The New York Times - "Leftists, in an effort to make campuses welcoming — ostensibly, for everyone — end up frequently silencing conservative and libertarian students. They paint any argument that isn’t progressive as immoral, so conservative students can find themselves branded as such. Needless to say, this can be socially isolating. Animosity toward campus conservatives and libertarians was a common topic among students at the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend in Washington. Many of us who attended are outliers on our liberal campuses, and there was a general feeling of excitement and relief to be among like-minded peers. One discussion, about how to deal with protests against conservative speakers visiting campus, became a bonding session for those of us who have found that we can’t bring up controversial topics without being told we are fomenting hate or invalidating someone else’s existence. One student remarked that it was harder for him to be openly conservative on campus than it was to tell his peers he was gay... a growing tendency to reject conservative ideas as oppressive is taking a toll on learning. Sometimes it is subtle. For example, when I argued that a $15 minimum wage might hurt some workers by pricing them out of the labor market, a fellow student accused me of a lack of empathy for the poor. There was no attempt to grapple with the data I presented on academic terms... because I invited Mr. Yiannopoulos, a professor said publicly that other students at Bucknell should “impose a steep and lasting price” on me and my peers. We were singled out as “racists and fascists,” and I returned to my dorm one evening to find “Tom is a fascist” written on the door. The Bucknell administration was silent."

Myth busting: Are synthetic pesticides, used with some GMOs, more dangerous than natural ones? - "we eat an estimated 1.5 grams of natural pesticides a day, “which is about 10,000 times more” than the amount of synthetic pesticide residues we consume. This amount would be significantly higher in vegetarians and vegans. As an example, the authors provide a list of 49 different pesticides found in cabbage alone. The concentrations of these pesticides are in parts per thousand or parts per million, whereas the amount of synthetic pesticides we find on our food are in the parts per billion range."

Govt's double standards a danger to society - "The government must realise that it is impossible for anyone to be accurate or true all the time. It is a standard which the authorities themselves are unable to fulfil. Thus, when it sets such a standard and then fails to live up to it, while castigating others for the same, it becomes a question of hypocrisy which erodes public trust."

The paper lantern of elite education in Singapore - "Once, the vice principal ordered all the students to the hall during assembly, and projected upon the screen statistics showing our air-conditioning bills. What followed was an hour of reprimanding and lecturing from the teachers, about how ungrateful, inconsiderate and selfish we were about the resources endowed upon us, and how unbecoming it was that the future leaders of Singapore were so wasteful of their resources. One year later, on the first day of school, we arrived to see the foyer decorated in a dazzling array of potted flowers, the school entrance fixed with a beautiful, flowing water feature complete with a koi pond, and absolutely no explanation from the school as to why we needed even more beautification than before."

India washing machine launched with 'curry' button - "The machine has five other cycles aimed at the Indian consumer, including one to remove traces of hair oil"

Marine Le Pen - "Many in the Muslim community do not trust her. Iman Mestaoui, a 25-year-old clothes designer of Moroccan parents, sees Marine Le Pen as merely a more presentable version of her father. “She's definitely a racist, but she hides it better. She hides the Islamophobia. She is totally scary,” she says. But this “just-scratch-beneath-the-surface” argument has its limits. If people insist over and again that they do not have a particular opinion, is it fair to judge them by saying that you think they do? In France they call that a procès d'intention - putting people on trial for views you tell them that they have. People who resent the allegation that they are racist are voting FN to thumb their noses at the establishment... “I concede that the FN label shocks some people. But since Briois came to power the only things that have changed are that the taxes have come down and the place is better run. There is no discrimination. The North Africans are still on their market stalls.”
Calling people racist when you have no evidence is like saying Jews are part of some international conspiracy (with no evidence)

Vending machines dispense short stories to bored French commuters

French hitchhiker 'goes berserk' in New Zealand after four days stuck without a lift

Almost 30 percent of French Muslims reject secular laws, new poll finds - "When asked if they considered the Islamic legal and moral code of sharia to be more important than the French Republic’s laws, 29 percent of respondents answered “yes.” The poll found that 20 percent of male Muslim respondents and 28 percent of female Muslim respondents were in favour of the face veil, the niqab, and of the burqa which covers both face and body... The Ifop poll contradicted previous estimates which said Muslims made up to 10 percent of France’s population of some 65 million. It said Muslims represented 5.6 percent of the country’s citizens aged 15 and over and 10 percent of under 25s"
What do you do when more Muslim women than men favor veiling?

McDonald's Korea Kicks Out Kids For Ordering $250 Worth of French Fries

The French have some sauce to ban tomato ketchup - Telegraph - "In one of the more bizarre prohibitions of modern times, France has banned tomato ketchup from primary schools"

France's Jews Flee As Rioters Burn Paris Shops, Attack Synagogue | The Huffington Post - "France’s politicians and community leaders have criticised the “intolerable” violence against Paris’ Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of cars. It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city’s Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of “Gas the Jews” and “Kill the Jews”, as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as “little Jerusalem”."

America’s “middle class” shrinks, as many move into the upper middle class

What do you mean we need a new cooker? We only got it in 1963 - "Manufacturers used to pride themselves­ on making things that lasted. It is the lack of will, not lack of know-how and technical skill, that has caused this rise in throwaway appliances. It is short-sighted environmentally, and it is short-changing consumers who seem to accept that their appliances will break as soon as the one or two-year warranty is over... “White goods built in the 1950s, 60s and 70s would often last 15 years or more, now it is more like six or seven,” he says. “Consumers have demanded cheaper and cheaper products, so the quality has declined. Until the mid-1980s washing machines were serviced like cars with annual or biannual checks. “Now manufacturers are creating products that cannot be repaired economically, or with sealed parts that cannot be repaired at all. They often sell products as ‘eco-friendly’, but if they can’t be fixed and have to be thrown out after a few years the damage to the environment is phenomenal.””

Money Trees - "Apparently in several wooded areas around the UK, passersby have been stopping for decades (if not centuries), meticulously hammering small denomination coins intro trees"

How Elmo Ruined Sesame Street - "Elmo stories, on the other hand, tend to affirm and celebrate the child’s perspective. Rarely, if ever, is Elmo’s innocence challenged, or is he forced to think about someone’s happiness other than his own. He spends most of his time hanging out with Zoe, Abby, Telly, and Baby Bear—Muppets who share his emotional maturity, and unlike Grover, Kermit, and Ernie, do nothing to push him. In fact, he is the de facto leader of his group—the dialogue lowers to Elmo’s level, rather than rising to an older character’s. And while this is cute and fun, it gets old fast, and it doesn’t really go anywhere. Elmo is learning about counting to four and different shapes, but he’s not learning a whole lot of life lessons."

Customers can pedal for a scoop at this bicycle-churned artisanal ice cream parlor - "if you'd like to pedal for ice cream, you can be in the Peddler's Club and sign up for a 15-20 minute session on the bike powering the churner (enough for a single batch to be made), receiving a free scoop for your efforts. It's not just a slow spin that's required, though, and riders should be prepared to keep up a 15 mph pace during the session."

Resident tracks woman offering sex services in condo, records 111 visitors in 3 weeks - "When I was working in a HR department, i saw letters where neighbor wrote in and complain that our staff is always seen at home and doesn't seem to be at work. Our investigation show that our staff actually took leaves and legitimate MC.
Oh yes, the neighbor have a log too.
A total waste of our time investigating."
"safety of the residents? Why???? You are talking as though those visiting the woman are supernatural mythical creatures out to eat any human they see"
"If she is so kaypoh over one thing, you can bet she's kaypoh about other things. The people I invite to my house, she also has to know? What time I come and go to work, she must write down? How do you know she isn't prying into other people's business?"
"why does a "condo resident" have access to CCTV footage? Aren't her neighbors concerned about the invasion of privacy? I mean, you have someone watching you and your kids coming in and out. Flip it around, that access could just as easily be abused for less well-intentioned purposes."

Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame - "Many famous social media stars are too visible to have “real” jobs, but too broke not to"

Why There's So Much Confusion Over Health and Nutrition - "By taking advantage of the public's desire for practical health information, so-called "experts" sell us everything from juicers to supplements, convincing us the whole time we'll live forever thanks to their advice. It shouldn't work, but it does... Selling health is only half of the job. The other half is undermining public trust in science-based medicine and traditional authorities (although they carry blame too—we'll get to that in a moment) so they can swoop in to the rescue... 'Even the person in charge of the first pyramid, Louise Light, wrote a book about how screwed up the process was by industry and differing interests. She said that the grain-based pyramid would cause obesity and diabetes, and it did. The people in charge told her that fruits and veggies are kind of interchangeable with grains, plus grains are cheaper for food stamps'...
'Researchers used to think that vitamins E and A may protect against disease if supplemented. Dozens of trials later, it turns out that both may slightly lower lifespan or cause a bit more disease. One reason is that nutrients work in concert — eating a healthy diet where the foods naturally have a variety of nutrients is probably a better idea than relying on supplements to save you from a crappy diet. Indeed, there are no "superfoods" or "supernutrients"...
'It's probably more important to eat a natural diet that has some of each nutrient in addition to some healthy plant and animal components that aren't classified as essential nutrients (these are good/great for optimal health, but not technically necessary to live).'"

In the face of contradictory evidence: report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee. - "Important aspects of these recommendations remain unproven, yet a dietary shift in this direction has already taken place even as overweight/obesity and diabetes have increased. Although appealing to an evidence-based methodology, the DGAC Report demonstrates several critical weaknesses, including use of an incomplete body of relevant science; inaccurately representing, interpreting, or summarizing the literature; and drawing conclusions and/or making recommendations that do not reflect the limitations or controversies in the science. An objective assessment of evidence in the DGAC Report does not suggest a conclusive proscription against low-carbohydrate diets. The DGAC Report does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that increases in whole grain and fiber and decreases in dietary saturated fat, salt, and animal protein will lead to positive health outcomes. Lack of supporting evidence limits the value of the proposed recommendations as guidance for consumers or as the basis for public health policy. It is time to reexamine how US dietary guidelines are created and ask whether the current process is still appropriate for our needs"

Who Is Chinese? Voices in Hong Kong and Taiwan Reveal Deep Cultural Divide - "“Hong Kong’s today is Taiwan’s tomorrow”... The gamble by Deng Xiaoping and his successors was that reunification would strengthen identification to China in the Hong Kong population, which in turn, would make the difference in economic and political systems harmless to national unity. Patriotism would defang autonomy. Instead, identification to Hong Kong as a specific entity has been gaining strength particularly among young generations educated under Chinese sovereignty. In a strange historical twist, decolonized Hong Kongers seem less attached to their Chinese identity than their colonized parents were. This sense of estrangement sometimes turns to outright hostility or contempt, fueled by what’s regarded as the negative influence of mainland China – from soaring real estate prices to pressures on the freedom of the press to the influx of mainlanders, whether they are tourists or illegal immigrants. In 2012, Hong Kong activists even bought a full-page ad in Apple Daily to denounce the invasion of “locusts”... many Hong Kongers and Taiwanese find China wanting compared to their former colonial overlords. This rhetoric strikes at the heart of Chinese nationalism by recalling the tropes of colonial times on Chinese backwardness... violent rhetoric suggests that the root of the problem might well be Chinese – for it is Chinese nationalists on both sides of the Taiwan Strait who made political loyalty a question of national identity, equating patriotism with obedience to an authoritarian regime"
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