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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Links - 4th July 2017 (1)

Postwar occupations and Raleigh bicycles | Podcast | History Extra - "Eisenhower issues a ban on fraternisation in April 1945. And so men and women serving in Germany aren't allowed even to be ordinarily polite with Germans. Germans are meant to understand that they are beyond the moral pale by the fact that the American occupiers won't shake hands with them, won't exchange any kind of courtesies with them at all. But the ban is widely disregarded... [on GIs' 'souvenirs'] GIs' term for themselves, the sort of punning supercate [sp?] the Lootwaffe in Germany to sort of playfully invoke the notion that they were rather good at acquiring German stuff... the Bush administration and architects of Operation Iraqi Freedom (so-called) were constantly in the six months leading up to the invasion of Iraq invoking the postwar occupations of Germany and Japan to reassure skeptics that it would be relatively easy to debaathify Iraq and to remodel that country as a lodestone of democratic values in the Middle East. Now like many historians I was convinced in late 2002 and early 2003 that the analogy simply didn't hold water. Germany and Japan in 1945 had been thoroughly thoroughly beaten. These were devastated, exhausted countries and of course that they had started the wars that they lost and the populations of those countries knew themselves to be beaten and even if they didn't necessarily welcome the occupiers with open arms, they had no choice but to accept the new Pax Americana. And they mostly did so with varying degrees of quiescence but there was very little armed resistance... now of course if you invade a country in a war of choice then it seems to me very obviously you can expect there to be resistance"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Stem Cell Hard Sell - "Every time I called a lawyer... They would look him up online and just say: he doesn't have malpractice insurance, it's not worth suing him...
You know people fly on aircraft. If we told everybody and said you are personally responsible for making sure that the navigation system works and make sure you know everything about the pilot, that the pilot has passed all of his or her exams and knows how to fly the aircraft and make sure you go and check the landing gear. I mean most of us get on planes - we don't know how to do that, we assume that the people have taken those steps in our protecting us and I would say when it comes to these sorts of businesses most people are going to have a very difficult time managing to see through the hyperbole the marketing hype in order to understand what they're actually being exposed to"

Using ‘they’ and ‘them’ in the singular - "the practical reason that people often use this form of words is if you are referring to someone of an unknown gender, to use he, him, his, etc. is nowadays considered sexist. Using them, they, or their is a way to avoid making an assumption of gender as there is no gender explicit in these pronouns. Find out more about gender-neutral language. Second, people prefer not to use he or she, him or her, etc. because they are long-winded and can be distracting, especially if they have to be repeated several times in the same sentence or paragraph."
How come there's nothing said about plural confusion? e.g. "While R2-D2 is active, whenever a Light Side ally scores a Critical Hit, dispel all debuffs on them" (i.e. does "them" mean both of them)?

The case for raising chickens in virtual reality - "Key to the vision of Second Livestock is that it would enable what Stewart calls "Virtual Free Range™" living... "There's research suggesting that free range chickens show all the signs of having a stressful life," Stewart says. "They have more broken bones, they get broken legs, etc., whereas birds raised in little boxes don't have those indicators of stress. And who's to say which is better?""

Lesbian go-go dancing: subverting the gaze one sexy step at a time - "I’ve gone to a bunch of these parties and it has always struck me that the spectacle of a woman dancing half-naked for tips would, in a different context, be considered objectification. And yet, when a woman dances provocatively for other women – when you have lesbians exercising a female gaze – it intuitively feels far more equitable than a woman dancing for men. But is that really the case?"
If you like dancing for women but not men isn't that sexist?

5 Things Women Do Better Than Men - "1. Beat up children
2. Pop pharmies
3. Gang rape
4. Stalk, attack and psychologically abuse a partner
5. Cheat on a partner"

Domestic Violence Against Men: Women More Likely To Be 'Intimate Terrorists' With Controlling Behavior In Relationships - "Women were more likely to verbally and physically aggressive to their partners than men... "This was an interesting finding. Previous studies have sought to explain male violence towards women as rising from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women's behavior, using violence if necessary,” Bates said. This suggests IPV may not be motivated by patriarchal values, and should be further studied with other forms of aggression. The stereotypical popular view, although still dominant, is being challenged by research over the last ten to 15 years, shedding light on male domestic violence... Sixteen percent of adult men who report being raped or physically assaulted are victims of a current or former spouse, cohabitating partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or date"

Inside a Sex Party Where Straight Women Are Gay for a Night

The small world of modern thrillers - "The new spate of universe-shrinking, of plots driven by personal animus, could well be a sign of how narcissistic our culture has become, and how desperate film and television studios are to please fans who are obsessed by their favourite characters. But it’s also a symptom of globalisation: now that studios are so reliant on overseas sales, they don’t want to risk offending foreign markets. It’s safer to be personal than political."

Hillary Clinton Sets 104-Year Record for Faithless Electors - "It’s a fitting end to a presidential election in which the media coverage was so divorced from reality PPD readers and millions of other Americans sometimes felt like they were in the Twilight Zone"

Aung San Suu Kyi made angry 'Muslim' comment after tense exchange with BBC presenter Mishal Husain, it is claimed - "Aung San Suu Kyi lost her cool following a tense interview with BBC presenter Mishal Husain and was heard muttering "no one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim", it has been claimed. The leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy was challenged on anti-Islamic attitudes and violence towards Muslims in Burma, a majority Buddhist nation where Muslims make up just four per cent of the population."

Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard - "One of the seminal texts on grief is Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s 1969 On Death and Dying, which outlines five steps of the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Since its publication, modern experts have questioned and criticised its central claims, particularly the understanding that successful mourners let go of the departed and move on. Today, many counsellors help mourners realise that their loved ones continue to be with them, in some sense, after they die. The relationship changes, but it is still there."

The man taught to have sex by lesbians - "I thought I'd become the world's best male friend and all my girlfriends would come round and I'd do their hair and make-up and send them out on dates. And then she'd come back and cry on my shoulder saying, "Mik, he had sex with me and then he dumped me, why can't boys be like you?" I, of course, didn't see what I would now recognise as a come-on - I thought they're never going to want to be with me because I can't "do it''. So I'd be like, "Oh yeah, don't worry, next time you'll be fine."... At the time, lesbianism and feminism were very closely associated and they were very radical these girls. And they truly believed that what was wrong with the planet was men and their erectile function. All penetration was bad. So suddenly I was this new type of man, an evolutionary leap for man according to these girls, and they thought it was great. I really liked these girls and they took me under their wing and even made me an honorary lesbian. I used to go on lesbian marches, wearing make-up and looking like Boy George on wheels, going, "Down with men, men are bad!""

More than half of Democrats believed Bush knew - "I've been looking for a good analogue to the willingness of Republicans to believe, or say they believe, that Obama was born abroad, and one relevant number is the share of Democrats willing to believe, as they say, that "Bush knew [about 9/11].""
Too bad accusations of racism are more sexy than what this form of conspiratorial partisan paranoia

Putin shrugs off Trump's nuclear plans, says Democrats sore losers - "Russia's Vladimir Putin said on Friday he was unfazed by President-elect Donald Trump's plans to boost the U.S. nuclear arsenal, praising Trump for being in touch with U.S. public opinion while branding the Democrats sore election losers"

The uncertain future of democracy - "political elites – which includes many in the media – are suddenly talking about the need to defend democracy. “But defend democracy against what? Against the people?” asks Hoey. By getting the public involved in the biggest political debate in decades, Brexit was phenomenal, she says. “People who hadn’t voted for years came out.” Yet many still identify the populist backlash itself as the problem, rather than an expression of a deeper issue. Brexit and Trump voters are stigmatised for being bigots – “deplorables” – or for being misled by misinformation or lying politicians. But to dismiss millions of people like that will get us nowhere, says Hoey. “Our political parties have run away from talking about the issues that matter to people,” she says. “If you're not asking the really big questions about what kind of society you want to live in, what’s left?” If people care about something, it needs to be discussed – no matter how difficult a topic. “You need to have clashes of opinion,” she argues. “If you want to revise democracy that’s the only way to do it. There are no other fixes.” For Hoey, Brexit and the election of Trump are electoral shocks that could be good for democracy in the long-run. “All these years, nobody’s really cared about democracy,” she says. “Suddenly everyone’s talking about it and that’s great”... In non-democratic countries around the world – in parts of Asia, in sub-Saharan Africa – survey data shows that people want it"

Drunken man dies in India after road built over him

Did love or fury spur Dutch gorilla's attack? - "The 11-year-old silverback has become a national celebrity since he leaped a 4 meter (13 ft) moat surrounding his pen and ran amok in the zoo restaurant amid panicking visitors. The 180 kg (397 lb) Bokito seriously injured a woman, who it later emerged has visited the ape almost every day since his arrival at the zoo a year and a half ago, a fact which has left the country guessing the motive behind his attack... Women can easily develop an emotional tie to big apes as they are "the perfect macho" with their rippling muscles and masculine gait, some academics have suggested... Dutch Media widely reported that the woman misunderstood what she perceived as a smile from the gorilla. Experts suggest he was more likely to have been baring his teeth as a threat. Dutch citizens lost sympathy for the woman after it emerged that she has visited the gorilla about four times a week and said that Bokito "remains her darling" despite suffering a broken arm and wrist and around 100 bites. In a poll published some days after the accident, some 33 percent of those surveyed said the victim was responsible"
Is this victim blaming?

The rise of the Asian expat - “Asian companies are more likely to send staff overseas than Western companies”

Chris Pratt Forced to Apologize to Deaf Community After Asking People to 'Turn Up the Volume' - "The controversy arose after the video featuring Pratt was posted to Marvel’s Facebook page promoting his latest movie, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2.”C’mon seriously dude,” the Hollywood star said in the video and asked people to ignore the subtitles in the clip. “You’d rather read those than hear me?”... This isn’t the first time Pratt came under fire for causing offense to someone. Recently, he was forced to apologize over a suggestion that “the voice of the average, blue-collar American” isn’t represented in movies and TV shows."

Study: Video Games are Among the Most Popular Ways for Men to Cope with Stress - "a significant percentage of male participants (29%) listed video games as a main coping strategy, with women trailing behind slightly at 18%. In contrast, more than half (52%) of female participants listed prescription pills to deal with hard times, with only 27% of men listing it as a coping method. Both genders rate “talking with friends” as their primary way to cope. The research serves as a strong rebuke to those who claim that video games carry no social purpose, especially for men and a significant percentage of women, many of whom play online video games for both social interaction and relaxation."

Feminist Writer Says We Need to Put an End to 'Orgasm Privilege' - "At one point, she undercuts her own argument by claiming she just wants “the justice to have the good sex that they deserve — whether that includes an orgasm or not.”"

Bias Incident Team: Students' Three Blind Mice Halloween Costume "Makes Fun of a Disability" - "The incident took place at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, according to records reviewed exclusively by Heat Street. The offending students had posted pictures of themselves in costume on Facebook."
Again, a public university - not an elite college

France begs its citizens to lighten up with tourists - "Commerce Minister Fleur Pellerin said France needed to “recover a sense of hospitality”, as “too often we mistake service for servility”... foreign visitors rate the French capital as one of the world’s most hostile places - although France is currently also the world’s most visited country. The TripAdvisor website found foreigners voted it the rudest city in Europe, and other researchers have reported that visitors thought it had the least friendly locals, the most unpleasant taxi drivers and the most aggressive waiters. On the other hand, Parisians themselves reportedly do not enjoy Parisian manners either. A survey two years ago by Paris transport operator RATP found that 97 per cent of Parisians believed their fellow citizens “were ill-mannered and lacked civility” – statistics which do not bear too much looking into, as they suggest that those complaining must be rude themselves."

Absurd Creature of the Week: The Ferocious Bug That Sucks Prey Dry and Wears Their Corpses - "why steal plant goo when you can harness the power of the millipede? Some assassin bugs exclusively target the many-legged critters, which release a noxious secretion to ward off predators. (Hilariously, lemurs exploit this by chomping down on millipedes and getting high off the toxins.)"

Bruges Built an Underground Beer Pipeline to Improve Traffic

Is the human brain hardwired to appreciate poetry? - "It is the first time that we show unconscious processing of poetic constructs by the brain"

Why We Should Design Some Things to Be Difficult to Use - "Ease of use encourages somebody to pick up your product. But the promise of mastery ensures that they will never want to put it down."

No One Can Agree What a Spoiler Is, But Maybe This Guide Can Help - "Instead of diminishing the enjoyment of readers, Christenfeld found not only that spoilers actually increased enjoyment, particularly for mysteries and stories with twist endings. “Knowing whodunit actually made them enjoy it more,” he says... there is plenty of historical precedent for internal spoilers, from plays like Romeo and Juliet, which reveals its entire tragic plot in the first fourteen lines of its prologue, to films like Titanic and Apollo 13, where we know exactly how it’s going to end but enjoy watching it play out anyway. “People underestimate the extent to which they can enter into a notion of suspense even when they know the outcome”... We need only look as far as HBO’s Game of Thrones for a perfect embodiment of this duality: a massively popular series where part of the audience is obsessively concerned with spoiler avoidance–and woe betide he who runs afoul of them–while another significant part of the audience knows exactly what’s going to happen, and remains riveted anyway... demanding that people stop their conversations to accommodate your viewing schedule is a bit like holding a light bulb and expecting the world to revolve around you... "if you care so much about a show that you’re willing to get upset about someone spoiling you, and you haven’t put forth the effort to see the show, then you are the spoiler. You’re spoiling the fun of talking about art.”"

The Case Against the Case Against the Crusades - The New York Times - "the broad story of the era and the movement can’t be explained without a recognition that the context of the crusades, from the 11th century beginning to the echoes at Lepanto and Vienna centuries later, always included 1) ongoing conflict between Islamic and Christian forces in territory that had been Christian before an earlier wave of Muslim conquest and 2) the emergence of new Islamic powers, first Seljuk and then Ottoman, whose advances threatened first Byzantium and then, after its fall, the Balkans, the Christian Mediterranean and eventually Central Europe. One can argue back and forth over whether this or that crusade met “just war” criteria, but none of them sprang de novo from a world of stable borders and religious peace, and all of them were part of a longer story of attack and counterattack in which both sides were playing for potentially-existential stakes. Which makes a comparison between the Crusades as a historical phenomenon and various specific institutions — the sort of comparison in which “Crusaders” get casually likened to “slave owners”, for instance — seem, well, not even wrong: It’s just a category error... the Crusades are nowhere near that simple, and to disown them requires a kind of amputation, a schism with the past, a triumph of forgetfulness over the more complicated obligations of actually remembering."
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