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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Links - 18th July 2017

Pourquoi le deuxième fils est-il appelé le « cadet » ? - "« Cadet » est la traduction de « capdèth », mot qui en occitan gascon voulait dire « capitaine » ou « chef ». Il pouvait donc être utilisé pour désigner les officiers. Or à cette époque dans la noblesse, notamment en Gascogne, selon la tradition l’aîné devait hériter des terres et des titres, alors que ceux qui venaient ensuite devaient plutôt entrer dans l’armée."

No such thing as 'fat but fit', major study finds - "While BMI results for particular individuals could be misleading, the study showed that on a population level, the idea that large numbers of people can be obese and yet metabolically healthy and at no risk of heart disease was wrong."
I doubt the health at any size crowd will listen

$2k fine for man who beat up a credit card promoter… for asking if he was Singaporean or a PR

University of Hawaii Professor Demands White Men Quit Their Jobs - "A University of Hawaii math professor has urged every white man to quit their job or take a demotion and deemed those who disagree with her proposition as racist, sexist and transphobic. Piper Harron, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii who holds a PhD degree in mathematics from Princeton University, has penned an article for the American Mathematical Society (AMS) blog, calling on white men to “Get Out The Way”."
And some people claimed the SJW rot wouldn't spread to STEM

Math Professor Who Wants White Men to Quit Jobs Has a Bats**t Crazy Resume - "Harron even wrote her PhD while caring for children and pregnant. Her actual doctoral thesis contains a few maternity-themed drawings to remind everyone. Other parts of the thesis are just summarizing Wikipedia entries."

Canadian Student Association Apologizes For Playing ‘Transphobic’ 'Take a Walk on The Wild Side’ - "When an individual pointed out the song is considered revolutionary and one of the first to actually support transgender acceptance, the student union responded by saying the song is “understood to be transphobic” because it “devalues the experiences and identities of trans folks” and “minimizes the experiences of oppression” by talking about a person who transitioned by changing his appearance."

Do sea monsters exist? Yes, but they go by another name … - "Animals that have the audacity to wash up on beaches in various stages of decay can never, ever, be familiar creatures. They are always required by journalists to fit the narrative of a grog-induced pirate yarn. And so last year, when a dead marine mammal washed up on a Welsh beach, it quickly became the Beast of Port Talbot. Similarly, a bit of a sperm whale’s head that washed up on a beach in Mexico became the Mexican Sea Monster. Likewise, in New Zealand in 2013, a decomposing killer whale couldn’t just be a killer whale, it had to be a monstrous species of moray eel (although 10,000 scientists on Twitter were saying: “That is a dead killer whale”), or a bizarre prehistoric beast (“No, that is a killer whale”). Incredibly, against all odds, it turned out to be a rotting killer whale."

Russia's Top Religious Official Sprays Holy Water on Computers to Fend Off Ransomware Virus - "Apparently, it’s some sort of custom in Russia for Orthodox priests to bless server rooms and other bits of modern technology"

University of Michigan Students 'Marginalized' by 'Masculine' Dark Wood Paneling - "At a March student government meeting, one student reportedly told administrators that, when the Union is refurbished, the lush wooden paneling, a prized feature of the building dating back to around 1910, should come down because it makes some students feel unsafe. “[M]inority students felt marginalized by quiet, imposing masculine paneling” students claimed, according to the meeting minutes. They didn’t elaborate on precisely why the paneling was so problematic, but logic rarely comes into play in these kinds of complaints."

British Student Writes College Thesis on Pepe The Frog

All work and no pay: creative industries freelancers are exploited - "To this day, there is still an expectation that I will work for either an extremely low amount, or nothing at all. I love filming, but I have a bigger passion for, you know, being able to afford the rent and having enough to eat. It’s a source of ongoing frustration for creative contractors that, after years of training and hard graft, we’re told that our profession isn’t worth paying for. I firmly believe legislation should be introduced to stop exploitative free work where the client clearly profits financially."
If you can't compete, seek rent. Maybe we should ban charity and volunteer work too

20 million people are starving and the media only cares about Trump, says UN - "Twenty million people around the world are starving to death and the United Nations said the world is only paying attention to the latest scandal of Donald Trump. “If you turn on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN — it’s nothing but Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump!,” said the director of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP). Director-General David Beasley, a former governor of South Carolina, said the famine affecting Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria is “not fake news, this is reality.”"
How many virtue signallers actually do something good?

Military healthcare paying more than $400 for a $46 can of baby formula

Gay porn studio under fire for using a didgeridoo as a dildo - "Entitled ‘Didgeridoo Me’ (because of course it is), the scene sees two roommates with one having recently gotten back from Australia. While they do not go into detail of the frustrations of getting it through customs, his playing wakes his roommate up. Frustrated, his roommate decides to take out his frustration by penetrating his roommate with the instrument."

10 questions for the 'world's most feared' restaurant critic Jay Rayner - "The vast majority of what matters in restaurant cooking lies in the preparation. There is very little they can change to make the experience better. Or as another critic once said, there is very little a bad restaurant can do to become a good one just because I walk through the door. In any case I watch the way I am being treated to make sure it is not at odds with what is going on around me"

The New Burma Is Starting to Look Too Much Like the Old Burma - "Upon taking power, the NLD promptly proposed legislation that would reinstall some of the junta’s draconian restrictions on peaceful protest. And while many political prisoners have been released, the new government continues to pursue charges against some of the country’s most dedicated activists — such as Harn Win Aung, who has led resistance to a notorious copper mine built on land grabbed from displaced farmers. The NLD even censored a film at a human rights festival for portraying the military in a critical light... the party is systematically ignoring the non-governmental sector. When I recently interviewed more than two dozen activists — from large national civil society organizations to grassroots campaigners — all lamented Aung San Suu Kyi’s unwillingness to include them in developing plans to address the country’s problems. Many of those I spoke with reported that she conveyed disdain for their work, raised doubts about their ethics, and questioned their relevance in the new “democratic” Burma. This seems a particularly disturbing irony in light of the important role the country’s civil society played in challenging the military regime."

RIP Turkey, 1921 – 2017 - "Turkey’s Islamists have long venerated the Ottoman period. In doing so, they implicitly expressed thinly veiled contempt for the Turkish Republic. For Necmettin Erbakan, who led the movement from the late 1960s to the emergence of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in August 2001, the republic represented cultural abnegation and repressive secularism in service of what he believed was Ataturk’s misbegotten ideas that the country could be made Western and the West would accept it. Rather, he saw Turkey’s natural place not at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels but as a leader of the Muslim world, whose partners should be Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, and Indonesia... Erdogan, who would wield power not vested in Turkish leaders since the sultans, is actually a neo-Ottoman... Erdogan is simply replacing one form of authoritarianism with another. The Law on Fundamental Organization and the republic that followed were expressions of modernity. The Turkish Republic has always been flawed, but it always contained the aspiration that — against the backdrop of the principles to which successive constitutions claimed fidelity — it could become a democracy. Erdogan’s new Turkey closes off that prospect."

Barack Obama Was a Foreign-Policy Failure - "The crisis of 2008-2009 was the ideal moment to abandon the failed strategy of liberal hegemony that the United States had been pursuing since the end of the Cold War, but in the end Obama never broke with that familiar but failed approach. The result was a legacy of foreign-policy missteps that helped propel Donald Trump into the White House... “He who defends everything defends nothing,” warned Frederick the Great, and Obama’s inability to develop a clear set of strategic priorities hurt him throughout his presidency."

Does Chinese Civilization Come From Ancient Egypt? - "He conceived of this connection in the 1990s while performing radiometric dating of ancient Chinese bronzes; to his surprise, their chemical composition more closely resembled those of ancient Egyptian bronzes than native Chinese ores... “There’s a chauvinistic desire to push the historical record back into the third millennium B.C., putting China on a par with Egypt. It’s much more a political and a nationalistic urge than a scholarly one.” Others criticized the project’s methods and results. The Stanford archaeologist Li Liu, for instance, took issue with the fact that it regarded the Xia as historical and fixed dates for it, when there is still no conclusive archaeological evidence for its existence... Since the 1990s, most Chinese archaeologists have accepted that much of the nation’s Bronze Age technology came from regions outside of China. But it is not thought to have arrived directly from the Middle East in the course of an epic migration. The more prosaic consensus is that it was transmitted into China from Central Asia by a slow process of cultural exchange (trade, tribute, dowry) across the northern frontier, mediated by Eurasian steppe pastoralists who had contacts with indigenous groups in both regions."

The Case Against Peace - "prolonged periods of peace may also have a downside: They allow divisions within different societies to grow and deepen. Even worse, they may eventually drive the world back toward war."

Why drivers in China intentionally kill the pedestrians they hit: China’s laws have encouraged the hit to kill phenomenon. - "if you cripple a man, you pay for the injured person’s care for a lifetime. But if you kill the person, you “only have to pay once, like a burial fee.” He insisted he was serious—and that this was common."

Beijing seeks loyalty from ethnic Chinese with foreign passports - "The Chinese government wants to make use of foreign politicians who happen to be of Chinese extraction to support its causes, such as in its territorial dispute with Japan."
If ethnic Chinese are viewed with suspicion in the light of this, is it really totally unjust?

I've worked in foreign aid for 50 years—Trump is right to end it, even if his reasons are wrong - "Aid has resulted in remarkably few significant shifts in economic growth and poverty reduction. The truth is much of aid’s promise has come up empty. It is striking that the aid establishment has not dug deeper into the reasons why... outsiders cannot “nation build,” that development must be led by the people in the poor countries themselves, that dependency has been one of the few tangible results of the trillions we have spent, that the complexity and the context-specific nature of each country’s politics, social structure, and culture cannot be easily understood by outsiders and thus the short term three to five year aid “project” is a wildly inappropriate vehicle for aid... aid has become an industry, and is rapidly moving towards what a present day Eisenhower might call an “aid-industrial complex”... if aid is cut—even for the wrong reasons—to those nations where the evidence of its ineffectiveness goes back decades (almost half of the 48 countries on the UN’s Least Developed Countries list have been on it since the list began in 1971, e.g., Haiti, Malawi, Guinea, Benin, Niger, and others), there is a good chance that at least some of these countries will have a real incentive to take charge of their own future."

How Does China’s Imperial Past Shape Its Foreign Policy Today? - "Chinese exceptionalism rests on several hoary myths, but perhaps the most perplexing is that of China as the ultimate pacifist nation, the victim of all and an aggressor toward none. In this narrative, China, as presently constituted, emerged fully formed from the mists of history and expanded to its current size by entirely (or mostly) peaceful means. It is a view of regional history that often bemuses and frustrates China’s immediate neighbors, not the least Vietnam where the phrase “1000 Years of Chinese Domination” holds near as much resonance as “100 Years of Foreign Humiliation” does here in Beijing... my students, undergraduates from several different U.S. colleges and universities who are studying in Beijing, are looking at the legacy of Qing imperial expansion in the 17th and 18th centuries during which the Qing Empire fought wars in both Burma and Vietnam on the pretext of enforcing regional order. The Sino-Burmese Wars of 1765-1769 began, ironically enough for historians of the Opium Wars, when a local official escalated a trade dispute into an ill-fated attempt to expand Qing imperial power and prestige"

Foreign protesters' bark unleashes Chinese dog eaters' bite - ""Because of the protests, more people know that Yulin has a dog meat festival, so everyone comes and tries it," said the dog meat seller, surnamed Lin. "As we get closer to the dog meat festival, all Yulin’s hotels are completely full."... Andrea Gung, the Taiwanese-American founder of California-based Duo Duo, a group that organised a 2.5 million-signature petition against the festival, says that the fury she has encountered forced her to change approach. "Everyone hated us," she said of last year’s festival, noting that dog-lovers receive such animosity in Yulin that they no longer identify as activists. Now her group is sponsoring animal welfare programmes in schools, hoping to turn the next generation against dog eating by making it "uncool". "We want to come up with some slogan like, 'Cute girls don’t date dog eaters,'" she said, adding that most afficionados in Yulin are men, who believe the meat increases virility."

Foreign workers ‘served unappetising, stale food’ - "Foul-smelling curry, rock-solid fish with scales still intact, and roti prata so hard that it feels like one is “chewing on plastic” — these are how some foreign workers describe the food catered for them at work sites... “If you come by construction sites or shipyards early in the morning, you will see how packs of food are left along the roadside. By the time workers have their meals, often the plastic bags would have been broken (by cockroaches or rats). The food is so smelly it has obviously gone bad.”... there are no cooking facilities in many dormitories. “Employers and dormitory management urge the workers to eat the catered food,” he said."

The Business Habits of Highly Effective Terrorists | Foreign Affairs - "managers of terrorist organizations face the same basic challenges as the managers of any large organization. What is true for Walmart is true for al Qaeda: Managers need to keep tabs on what their people are doing and devote resources to motivate their underlings to pursue the organization’s aims. In fact, terrorist managers face a much tougher challenge. Whereas most businesses have the blunt goal of maximizing profits, terrorists’ aims are more precisely calibrated: An attack that is too violent can be just as damaging to the cause as an attack that is not violent enough. Al Qaeda in Iraq learned this lesson in Anbar Province in 2006, when the local population turned against them, partly in response to the group’s violence against civilians who disagreed with it. Terrorist leaders also face a stubborn human resources problem: Their talent pool is inherently unstable... as the alleged chief of the Palestinian group Black September wrote in his memoir, “diehard extremists are either imbeciles or traitors.”"

Recep Tayyip Erdogan caught on video watching his guards beat up Kurdish protesters in Washington DC
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