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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Links - 5th July 2017 (2)

Is It Time to Legalize Prostitution? - "Dr. Kirby R. Cundiff, an associate professor of finance at Northeastern State University, finds regulation will allow states to set prices for sexual favors. He approximates a decrease in 25,000 rapes each year if fixed prices are established.“In the United States where prostitution is illegal, the low-end price for most prostitutes is about $200 and the monthly per capita income is $2,820,” he says. “In Amsterdam, Netherlands where prostitution is legal the price is $30. If prostitution were legalized in the United States it is rational to assume that prices would resemble those in the Netherlands, this would result in… a decrease in the rape rate of 10 per 100,000.”"

Rotherham Child Rape Victim: 'Authorities Did Nothing', Was Told Not to Mention Ethnicity of Attackers - "“But as soon as I said the names, I was made to feel as though I was racist and I was the one who had the problem.” “I was specifically told not to comment on the ethnicity of the perpetrators,” Emma said, adding she was told “numerous times” by police and social workers not to mention race. “I knew I wasn’t racist, but I felt like that was used as a way to silence me.”"

Instagram model asks to be roasted by Reddit and then deletes account after it gets brutal - "Unlike the usual “you’re ugly” comments you’d expect to read on a thread like this, these ones went much deeper. Some users psycho-analyzed her life, some criticized her silicone boobs and plastic surgery, and her obvious attention whoring nature, as evidenced by her making this thread"

Germany Confiscating Homes to Use for Migrants - "City officials have been seizing commercial properties and converting them into migrant shelters since late 2015, when Merkel opened German borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Now, however, the city is expropriating residential property units owned by private citizens... Socialists and Greens in Hamburg recently established a "hotline" where local residents can report vacant properties. Activists have also created a website — Leerstandsmelder (Vacancy Reporter) — to identify unoccupied real estate in Hamburg and other German cities... Hamburg's Socialist government presented a plan to build 6,000 new residential units per year. The plan never materialized, however, because prospective builders were constricted by government-imposed rental caps which would have made it impossible for them to even recover their construction costs. Since then, the city has turned to seizing private property to resolve its self-inflicted housing crisis."

Free Speech & Islam: I Was Fired from My Student Newspaper for Reporting the Truth - "I attended an interfaith panel discussion, “Unpacking Misconceptions,” at Portland State University, where I’m a political-science graduate student. I ended up being fired as the multimedia editor of our student newspaper, the Vanguard, for tweeting about what was said there... I shared a 40-second snippet of the video on my personal Twitter account, with a message that conveyed my understanding of the speaker’s meaning — namely, that non-Muslims would be killed or banished in a state governed by Koranic law... [A] person in the meeting said I should have taken into account the plight of victimized groups in the “current political climate.” The editor claimed I had “violated the paper’s ethical standards” by not “minimizing harm” toward the speaker... As far as I’m concerned, the job of any reporter is to report facts, and that’s what I was doing when I tweeted about the panel. I find it distressing that I could be fired for continuing to uphold that mission when the facts in question are liable to make people uncomfortable, as facts often are. Much like the student I spoke to that evening at the panel, I was disinclined to sugarcoat the truth. I just couldn’t have imagined it would cost me so dearly."

Portland Reporter Fired For Posting Video of Muslim Speaker Saying Atheism is Punishable by Death - "Benjamin Ramey, a secular humanist who represented the Freethinkers of PSU at the panel, disagrees with The Vanguard’s assessment.“As one of the panelists present at this event I would like to say that this speech is not taken out of context,” Ramey said on Twitter.PSU Assistant Professor of Philosophy Peter Boghossian weighed in on the conversation and said: ““The same people who want to punch ‘Nazis’ are completely silent when it comes to certain people advocating mass murder.”... 'The media adviser said I should have known better than to share the video of the Muslim panelist since I attended a mandatory training session on social justice in the media. At the training, we were taught to always consider which groups of people are ‘privileged’ and which are ‘oppressed’ in our work as leaders of student media. Non-Christians were defined as targets of oppression.'... “It’s no secret that the American public are highly distrustful of news media,” he added. “An unfortunate outcome is that many are turning to only social media instead, where disinformation runs rampant. It’s time we start valuing truth and accuracy over ideology and narrative.”"

Tennessee Enacts Nation's 'Most Comprehensive' Campus Free Speech Law - "The law mandates that public colleges and universities in Tennessee adopt free speech policies consistent with the University of Chicago’s 2015 Stone Report. Chaired by Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone, the report’s findings were adopted last year to great fanfare. Despite his emphasis on campus free speech, Professor Stone is hardly a right-wing ideologue. He clerked with archliberal Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, chaired the Board of the American Constitution Society, a leading lefty-leaning lawyers’ association, and served on the National Advisory Council of the American Civil Liberties Union. The Tennessee law will expressly prohibit the use of so-called “free speech zones” to limit the areas of campus on which certain viewpoints can be heard. University administrators are prohibited from rescinding the invitations from students or faculty of speakers with whom they disagree or fear will cause disruption."

Everyone fell for this fake story about a pastor eaten by crocodiles - "The Independent,The Daily Mail, Unilad, Metro, the Express among others had a version of the story citing the Daily Post in Nigeria, which in turn cited the Zimbabwe Herald."

Calais Jungle boy who made silly Lily cry has a father who is an ex-Islamist fighter - "The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the 49-year-old was a commander in the Islamist group Hezb-e Islami, led by the Butcher of Kabul, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar... He spent seven years living on benefits in Birmingham before his claim for asylum was accepted in September 2012. He then went back to Afghanistan, flying in via Pakistan, for the first of two three-month visits to the very country that had put him in fear of his life."

10 Tips To Do More With Your PDF Files On Google Drive - "OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a technology that allows text from images and PDFs to be read and converted into a searchable and editable document. To do this in Google Drive, right click on a PDF, then Open with > Google Docs. Once you have opened it in Google Docs format, save it again and you’ll have your searchable doc...
The Document Scanner for Google Drive (Android only) is really quite impressive. It automatically detects the edges of the paper and modifies the image to a high contrast to bring out the text. After the picture is taken, you’ll see some editing options in the top right corner. The plus sign “+” in the lower left allows you to put several photos together and upload as a single PDF. Once you’re done, click the “check mark” in the lower right corner and move on to naming and saving the file to a folder in Google Drive."

Feeling the guilt - "Compassion towards asylum seekers is the summit of status seeking through outward displays of perceived authenticity, a ladder beginning from virtuous food consumption through to climate sensitive transportation choices. Challenging such positions arouses visceral reactions because they are confrontations of the sacred, but in modern, secular forms. This quality for its adherents is a clue to its totemic power. The British sociologist, Will Davies, in a new book bemoaning happiness measurement titled The Happiness Industry, describes feelings as the new religion and increasingly as the only test of whether something should be allowed. American psychiatrist David Burns names this tendency as emotional reasoning, ‘a tendency that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are – I feel it, therefore it must be true’... when the myth is exposed, the cognitive dissonance is so intolerable that it is instead projected through accusations of racism, bigotry and ignorance... The problem for policy makers is that sober analysis of what is fast becoming the most pressing non-traditional security challenge for Western governments, that of unplanned, undocumented migration, is forever made murky by the growing politics of feeling. Identifying with perceived victims gives people a sense of vicarious virtue. The industry of vicarious virtue is also becoming one of the greatest markers of white privilege, all while the same groups accuse supposedly white, conservative men of abusing their power... The compassion competition that asylum seekers generate is one of the great markers of white guilt and it fuels greater resentment in the ordinary people who can see no markers of their supposed privileges in a rapidly changing world, only scapegoating... It is no coincidence that the vast majority of Australian citizens involved in Islamic terrorism have been derived from refugee populations, primarily Lebanese but increasingly Afghan and Iraqi. Monis, Sharrouf, Haider were all from this category. The same groups are over-represented in criminal activity... The resettlement funds Australia spends on each refugee, rated by the UNHCR as the most generous in the world per capita, can also generate significant resentment among other ethnic groups or disadvantaged sections of the community such as Aborigines, further threatening social cohesion."

There’s a misogynist aspect of Buddhism that nobody talks about - "In the tale of Sudinna, a young monk breaks his vows of celibacy after his old parents beg him to give his wife, whom he had abandoned, a child so that his family lineage may continue. When this is revealed, the Buddha admonishes him thus: “It is better for you to have put your manhood in the mouth of a venomous snake or a pit of burning charcoal than a woman.”
There are rules that refer to bestiality. Monks are warned against too much affection for cows and female monkeys."

Sexual thought police should back off - "In the national Start Early program, being rolled out at childcare centres and kindergartens next month, toddlers reportedly will be taught about sexuality, cross-dressing, and the fluidity of gender roles, and may even take group tours of the opposite sex’s toilets. Early Childhood Australia spokeswoman Clare McHugh told the Melbourne Herald — Sun the program would reduce domestic violence which she claimed is associated with “rigid views on gender”. She also said: “Children are sexual beings” What on earth does that mean? Why is the spokeswoman for an organisation that caters for innocent children aged 0-5 even talking about sex. And why are national programs being imposed that take away parental discretion in teaching their own children about such intimate issues... It was bad enough when we heard 11-year-olds were being advised to bind their breasts and tuck in their penises to practice being a member of the opposite sex. But the thought police invading preschools is positively Orwellian"

It’s Disrespectful to Let Old Folks Get Away With Crime - "We would even go so far as to say that we should expect more integrity from seniors. After all, they’ve lived longer. They have more experience. They should know better. If they choose to be criminals, then they don’t deserve sympathy even if they’re old... Leniency will only entrench beliefs that seniority entitles you to hurt others and get away with it... we have a responsibility, when it comes to the law, to look at old folks as equal to the rest of us. This, after all, is what genuine respect is about. You simply can’t demand the good side of it without being prepared to face the bad."
The soft bigotry of low expectations

Anti-Trump hysteria lets others whitewash their own crimes | Coffee House - "treating Trump as abnormal implicitly normalises that which preceded him. It whitewashes history. It forgives, or dilutes, the crimes of past politicians... The left’s arrogant, aristocratic withholding of legitimacy from Trump by extension legitimises his predecessors, including those who did far worse things than Trump has even countenanced. This is why some pretty unpleasant politicians have been able to rehabilitate themselves via the anti-Trump hysteria. Consider Madeleine Albright. She won heaps of Twitter praise last week when she said she might register as a Muslim in protest against Trump’s travel order. This is the same Madeleine Albright who in 1996, as Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the UN, was asked if the surplus deaths of Iraqi children following America’s imposition of sanctions was a price worth paying for weakening Saddam’s rule. Her reply? ‘I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.’... In what sort of moral universe is it considered worse to restrict the freedom of movement of the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries than it is to participate in the near-destruction of a Muslim country? In the warped moral universe of anti-Trump hysteria. In the historically illiterate world that has been fashioned by the protesters against him

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Myanmar's Sex Vote - "'I got a job in a night club where a lot of the girls were offering sex. There's a lot of ignorance, to be honest. I used to get angry when a client used condoms, thinking it meant he didn't trust me. A lot of my friends got HIV... There would be times at the night club where we would have free of charge sessions for the police. The owner had to provide them. We had to let them treat us any way they liked. For example if they didn't want to use condoms they'd threaten us'"

BBC World Service - Assignment, Hong Kong’s Secret Dwellings - "The biggest problem is that just isn't enough land to build on, says Marco. The government has reclaimed land from the sea, but that's becoming harder. It's trying to change the zones in which residential buildings can be built, but even if that does happen a lot of industrial buildings have multiple owners and it's harder for them to come to an agreement to sell. Plus there are often objections on an environmental or local level to certain projects"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Project Le Pen - "'Look, everybody admits that the French communist party, which used to treat homosexuals as madmen and wanted to lock them up, that was once anti-Semitic and supported Stalin has changed. But not us, oh no. We are still stuck in the 1930s, trapped in a black and white film. Other parties can evolve but we don't have that right... Take yourself back in all honesty to what people were saying just before the election of Francois Mitterrand in 1981. People said there'd be Soviet tanks under the Arc de Triomphe and that same kind of scare mongering is going on now'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Are we getting poorer? - "[On a post-Brexit trade deal] What happens with most trade agreements is that they take a long time because you have to persuade people to change the status quo. Normally the status quo is that you have existing tariff walls and other kinds of restrictions and you have to persuade the people who lose out by having those walls taken away that there are other gainers in the economy that offset that. So whereas normally in this case we start from a position where the enormous political economy pressure is for a deal so I think there will be a deal"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Of Maize and Men: Unpicked - "Grass-fed beef has about 50% more in Omega-3 fats than grain-fed. Those are the fats generally thought of as healthy...
At the moment here in the United States on average families are paying about 10 to 6 percent of their disposable income for their food. This often is held up as a success, whereas I would argue it, rather than being proud of that, we should be ashamed of it. The reason for that is that we produce that by exploiting at every step of the process and cutting costs everywhere that we can, either keeping costs off the books or literally not paying the farmers the value of what they're contributing to the food system. And most importantly farm laborers"

'BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Should You Drink Your Food? - "At the core of the campaign was the idea that milk was a complete food containing all the major nutrients that anybody would need, with the exception of Vitamin C. And so during the Second World War, what was available to mothers and new babies were subsidised milk and subsidised orange juice. And there is a neat historical comparison between milk and smoothies. Over a 100 years ago in Scotland as well as elsewhere in Britain, the fashionable, new and exciting place to go was a milk bar. Milk bars were presented as health-giving, clean, modern. Smoothies are presented as health-giving, modern. And in the new vocabulary for food, probably clean too...
'The science that I'm aware of actually indicates the opposite. Our body needs fibre. Fibre is involved in whole fruits and vegetables for instance. And so that fibre provides roughage that in essence helps clean out our systems. There's very little evidence that cleansers actually clean the colon or the gut.'
'The belief seems to be that you're giving your system a rest in some way'
'I think what gives your body a rest is waiting in between meals. And our stomachs are incredibly strong organs. They're really built to take a lot. It's a luxury to cut out a wide variety of foods that are commonly available. Only people who have a certain means of wealth and income can say: okay I'm only going to drink my calories. Soylent was developed by Silicon Valley. It's a darling of the high tech industry. The stereotype is that the computer programmer sitting at his computer can just drink this drink and not have to worry about fixing food. That's a pretty masculine persona and there have been other and are other meal replacements that are exactly the same thing or essentially the same thing and SlimFast the diet drink is one of those and that's gendered female of course. And then there's one for elderly people in the United States called Insure that's been around for a long time. But these don't have the cachet, these don't have the drama, the excitement of the product such as Soylent. Why is Soylent so much different and so much better than these other drinks that have been around? And I think some of it has to do with this masculine Silicon Valley persona...
Why would you [live on liquid]? I mean food is so important culturally and socially. If we take ourselves out of those important social and cultural institutions and rituals, we are cutting ourselves off from very important human social organisations'"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Freedom and Fear in Myanmar - "Take this encounter between a Rohingya woman called Jamelida and some of the investigating officials. She was trying to tell them how she saw a group of women being forced into the bushes by soldiers. It was broadcast on state TV as proof that no rape had taken place. Jamelia explains that she saw a group of women being taken away into the forest.
'Did you see if they were raped or not?' asked a translator.
When she says no he asserts 'so it isn't true'.
Jamelida replies that she saw the women bleeding from the groin, at which point the translator steps in and tells her not to say that - just to say that she didn't see any rape. We tracked down Jamelida. She's now one of those who's fled to Bangladesh. She told us that at the time she had spoken freely to the government investigation after being assured she'd face no reprisals. That turned out to be a lie.
'After they were gone I rushed back to my home and the military started looking for me. They searched for me in every village by putting all the women of every house in the yard, naming me and showing them my picture and asking where I was. I hid in the jungle for three days then I couldn't bear it any more, and I came here to Bangladesh'
Jamelida told us she had yet to recover from what the soldiers did to her...
'If Aung Sang Suu Kyi wants the military to stop fighting somewhere does she have the power to make that happen?'
'No. Neither Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi nor President Htin Kyaw have the power to stop that... As a new government which is trying to achieve through to modern country we have thousands of problems, thousands of problems. Economy, peace et cetera'
'But it's a serious problem. The UN has said there may be crimes against humanity taking place there'
'Well we don't believe it's crimes against humanity. It's an internal affair, it's not an international affair... please change the subject *laughs*'...
'Hundreds of them have been killed that's why we are raising the issue'
'Not hundreds. That's an exaggeration'"
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