"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, June 19, 2017

Links - 19th June 2017 (2)

The Legacy of Fear - The New York Times - "leaders in some countries simply made better political decisions. Most of these countries enacted economic reforms, like deregulating prices and privatizing nationalized companies. Some nations like Estonia and Poland enacted reforms radically and quickly, while others tried to do them gradually or barely at all — with expensive security blankets for protected interests. The quick and radical group saw a slightly bigger output drop over the near term but much more prosperity over the long run... these nations lacked the basic building blocks we take for granted. Before you have a stock market, for example, you have to have publicly available data about companies, credit records and accounting systems. Finally, and most important, there is the level of values. A nation’s economy is nestled in its moral ecology. Economic performance is tied to history, culture and psychology. Poland, for example, had been invaded throughout its history, yielding a pragmatic, survivor ethos. The Poles had a keen desire to initiate reforms on their own. Poles also had a clear sense of justice and injustice, since they had seen the Russians do things the wrong way on their own territory. They placed a high value on education and social mobility... Many of the ailing countries are marked by distant power relationships. Those with power — even in an office or neighborhood — are aloof and domineering. Those without power hanker for security at all costs. They’re nostalgic for the imagined stability of communism. When everything seems arbitrary and crooked, people tolerate strongman rule. The lesson of the past 25 years is that democratic prosperity is built on layers of small achievements 10,000 fathoms deep"

The Educational Power of Discomfort - "The problem goes much deeper — it is my students’ fragility. I do not mean the sort of fragility provoked by a class dealing with the representation of human-rights abuses, or the sort of fragility they undoubtedly feel as they read a nonfiction piece about a Chilean mental institution. I mean the fragility I witness when a student misses an assignment because he simply forgot to check the syllabus, or when a student speaking aloud in class for the first time starts shaking, or when a student who is handed back an incomplete paper with a C on it immediately tears up... What we should not do is shelter our students. There is so much talk about "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" in academe today... my classroom is always a safe space. Not because it is devoid of uncomfortable materials, but because I make sure all my students respect one another’s opinions by actively listening and responding to one another during debates and class discussions... Toward the end of every semester, my students are transformed. Their fragility, though still not entirely eradicated, becomes less visible, less relied upon. They become critical readers, not only of literature, but of their own environments. Their fragility shifts as we embark on our journey into discomforting worlds, witnessing, firsthand what it means to exist within the complex world of human emotions, atrocious histories, and, often, our own failures."
Comments: "Wait, Berkeley students don't know that a paper needs a title and a thesis statement?"

Christie Blatchford: B.C. teacher fired for having the wrong opinion - "A teacher at a posh private school in British Columbia was fired last month after making an innocuous comment about abortion to his Grade 12 law class... “I find abortion to be wrong,” he said, as another illustration of this gap, “but the law is often different from our personal opinions.” That was it, the teacher said. “It was just a quick exemplar, nothing more. And we moved on.” A little later, the class had a five-minute break, and when it resumed, several students didn’t return, among them a popular young woman who had gone to an administrator to complain that what the teacher said had “triggered” her such that she felt “unsafe” and that, in any case, he had no right to an opinion on the subject of abortion because he was a man. The school, for the record, is a witheringly progressive one... "I was recognized as an outstanding teacher, but student ‘safety’ was the school’s primary concern.”"

Wisconsin teacher removed for essay defending Ku Klux Klan - "A Wisconsin charter school teacher has been suspended after giving students an essay to defend the Ku Klux Klan... The teacher, who is African-American, emphasised the goal was to teach seventh-graders to write persuasively"
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

This building uses emoji cast in concrete as modern gargoyles

PAP’s association with FAS comes to sad end, thanks to FIFA - "The People’s Action Party’s long association with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) now seems to have come to a sad end. This is in light of news, 25 April, that its last-appointed President of the FAS – former Mayor and former PAP Member of Parliament, Zainuddin Nordin – is under police investigation and is currently out on bail... Since Singapore’s Independence in 1965, the head of the FAS has always been a government appointee, whether a civil servant, a magistrate, a minister or an MP. The government’s power to appoint council members was hardwired into the constitution of the FAS which, incidentally, is the oldest football association in Asia, having been established in 1892... The current saga in the FAS came about when, in 2015, the world governing body for football, FIFA, stepped in and informed the FAS that its practice of having government appointees to head the association was in breach of FIFA’s Statutes... the FAS had spent a mere $70,000 on supporting grassroots football, while it paid its own top executives millions over several terms in charge."

Burger & Lobster - Continental - Dining - Resorts World Genting - "Fancy your Burger & Lobster rare? There’s only one place in Malaysia"
I like how Resorts World Genting acknowledges that Malaysia is such a benighted shithole that there's only one place in the whole country you can get rare lobsters and burgers

British Airways offloads British couple at military base over demand for business class upgrade

Female dragonflies fake sudden death to avoid male advances - "He observed 27 out of 31 females plummeting and playing dead to avoid males, with 21 of these ploys successful. Plunging at high speed is risky though, and according to Adolfo Cordero-Rivera at the University of Vigo in Spain, it may be a strategy that they use only in areas with lots of dragonflies. “Females may only behave in this way if male harassment is intense,” he says."
Toxic masculinity and patriarchy are powerful indeed

A vigilante is putting a huge amount of work into infecting IoT devices - "Hajime uses the same list of user name and password combinations used by Mirai, the IoT botnet that spawned several record-setting denial-of-service attacks last year. Once Hajime infects an Internet-connected camera, DVR, and other Internet-of-things device, the malware blocks access to four ports known to be the most widely used vectors for infecting IoT devices. It also displays a cryptographically signed message on infected device terminals that describes its creator as "just a white hat, securing some systems.""

Police officer 'not racist' for using black monkey toy - "A counter-terrorism officer was not being racist when he put a monkey toy on a black colleague's desk, a disciplinary panel has found. Det Sgt Andrew Mottau was cleared of gross misconduct, but was told he should have realised the animal could be perceived as offensive. He will now receive management advice - the lowest form of disciplinary action. The woman who brought the complaint said he used the toy to signal whose turn it was to make tea and coffee... The panel found him guilty of misconduct, but concluded that the monkey toy was used in an innocent way to share out the tea-making duties among the team at the South East Counter-Terrorism Unit. They also decided the woman at the centre of the case, who has not been named, had an unwillingness to participate in the tea round, and the phrase "black monkey" was not used in the office. The woman, who was the only black person in the team at the time, had known Det Sgt Mottau for more than 20 years. Det Sgt Mottau was described as "a highly skilled investigator" who never displayed bullying or racist behaviour"
Perhaps the moral of the story is that you shouldn't interact with minorities, in case they falsely accuse you of racism/some other form of discrimination and try to get you fired

Study finds links between swearing and honesty

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Women Are Sexist, Too - "Men are certainly aware of a widespread female presumption that we really do know better when it comes to home and kids. In an article in New York magazine, therapist Barbara Kass calls many of us out on this account: “So many women want to control their husbands’ parenting. ‘Oh, do you have the this? Did you do the that? Don’t forget that she needs this. And make sure she naps.’ Sexism is internalized.” On Huffington Post, dad blogger Aaron Gouveia notes it’s mostly the moms “who claim to be over- worked and desperate for dads to do more” who also criticize dads for not doing things right when they do step up. “And by right, I mean their way. I’ve seen dads criticized and made fun of for how they dress the baby [and] for how they feed the baby”... We have been asking for “help.” That means we decide what needs to be done and we ask the men in our lives to help us do it. It’s not going to work that way. Real equality means equality at home just as much as at work. It means a whole new domestic order. It has taken Andy and me a long time to get to this place. For years, I got upset with Andy about why everything domestic seemed to be my responsibility. Although he did lots of stuff, it was almost always when I told him what needed to be done, and he never seemed to feel the urgency or necessity of getting it done himself. But then I came to realize something else: for a long time I wasn’t really willing to let him take responsibility. I did feel, deep down, that I knew what I was doing in terms of running our household better than he did. I didn’t really trust him to be able to do it on his own, or certainly not to do it the way I would. As our sons would be quick to point out, that’s sexism, plain and simple. I was assuming, like almost all the women I know, that he wouldn’t be able to take care of the kids or run a house­hold as well as I could because he’s a man. But of course if a man were to assume that I really can’t practice law or medicine or busi­ness or any other profession or job as well as he can because I’m a woman, I would hit the roof."
Gatekeeping: one reason women do more house and child care work

Freighter Full of Sheep Accidentally Takes Out Russian Spy Ship

Being Single Is Now a Disability, According to the World Health Organization - "The controversial new classifications will make it so that heterosexual single men and women, as well as gay men and women who are seeking in vitro fertilization to have a child, will receive the same priority as couples. This could make access to public funds for IVF available to all."

Why Airplanes Still Have Ashtrays in the Bathrooms - ""Back in 1973, a flight crashed and killed 123 people, and the reason for the crash was attributed to a cigarette that was improperly disposed of. "The FAA has decided that some people (despite the policies against smoking, the warning placards, the smoke detector, and the flight attendants) will smoke anyway, and when they do, there had better be a good place to put that cigarette butt.""

We Finally Know How Dogs Sniff Out Diabetes

Study: People Who Point Out Typos Are Jerks

Chinese man's girlfriend and ex BOTH jump in river demand to be saved - "A Chinese man who was embroiled in a three-way tug of love between his current and ex girlfriends was forced to choose between the two women when they both jumped in a river and demand he save them. Wu Hsia, 21, had broken up with long-term girlfriend Jun Tang, 20, after meeting new love Rong Tsao, 22, in the city of Ningbo in eastern China's Zhejiang province. But Jun had taken the split badly and, over the following three months, engaged in a campaign of harassment in an effort to make her beau leave his new girlfriend"
Let both drown

Left Outside the Social-Justice Movement's Small Tent - "“I never voiced my personal disagreements because having dissenting views is strictly forbidden in the activist circles I was a part of,” he explained. “If you’re white, you will be charged with being a ‘bad ally.’ (There's also certain gatherings you cannot come to because your mere presence might be threatening.) If you’re a person of color, your disagreements will usually be dismissed as some form of ‘internalized racism,’ ‘internalized sexism,’ or ‘respectability politics,’ among many other activist jargon's thrown at individuals who do not conform the groups views.” Eventually, he started to speak up anyway, he said. “On Twitter,” he wrote, “I discussed how trigger warnings have almost been rendered useless now that they’re used to alert individuals when talking about normal everyday things, like food, cars and animals. And that their use could potentially have adverse effects on academic freedom. I was accused of being outrageously insensitive and apparently made three activist cohorts have traumatic breakdowns.”... "I was accused of being a ‘respectable negro,’ ‘uncle tom,’ ‘local coon’... too many left-wing student groups treat no one as badly as students of color or women who consider themselves to be classical liberals, libertarians, or conservatives, or who merely disagree with the actions of progressive protesters on campus. They’re seen as special kinds of traitors."

Okayama's Naked Festival

The Crackdown on Little Free Library Book Exchanges - "We've constructed communities where one must obtain prior permission from agents of the state before freely sharing books with one's neighbors! And their proposed solution is to get scarce public art funds to pay for the needless layer of bureaucracy being imposed on the thing already being done for free. The power to require permits is the power to prevent something from ever existing"

The Sony Hack and the Yellow Press - NYTimes.com - "Finally the media got serious. Not because no one gets more use out of the First Amendment than they do, and here was a group threatening to kill people for exercising it. Not because hackers had released Social Security numbers, home addresses, computer passwords, bank account details, performance reviews, phone numbers, the aliases used when high-profile actors check into hotels (a safety measure to keep stalkers away), and even the medical records of employees and their children. But because a stolen email revealed that Jennifer Lawrence was being undervalued... so much for our national outrage over the National Security Agency reading our stuff. It turns out some of us have no problem with it at all. We just vacated that argument."

Follow a Career Passion? Let It Follow You - NYTimes.com - "Every time our work becomes hard, we are pushed toward an existential crisis, centered on what for many is an obnoxiously unanswerable question: “Is this what I’m really meant to be doing?” This constant doubt generates anxiety and chronic job-hopping. As I considered my options during my senior year of college, I knew all about this Cult of Passion and its demands. But I chose to ignore it. The alternative career philosophy that drove me is based on this simple premise: The traits that lead people to love their work are general and have little to do with a job’s specifics. These traits include a sense of autonomy and the feeling that you’re good at what you do and are having an impact on the world"
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