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More adventurous than the average bear

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Links - 13th August 2017 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, A Haircut and a Pedicure - "Like many people who start out promisingly in their careers Paul Manuelez put his success partly down to his days at college. Not so much the studying though but the time he spent smoking shabu, the Filipino version of crustal meth. Shabu was an upper and it gave me lots of energy says Paul who went on to get a well paid job as a software designer. At college it helped me do poetry and write blogs. And in the corporate world it gave me confidence I used it daily without any negative effects"

"Bad Box Art" Mega Man - "This version of Mega Man is based on the North American box art of the first Mega Man game (1987). This horribly drawn box art contains virtually nothing that can be found in the actual game. Mega Man himself resembles a middle-aged man rather than a boy, his costume is colored yellow and blue instead of being entirely blue, and he is holding a handgun instead of his arm cannon. Over the years, the cover art has become infamous in the gaming community. It has been considered one of the worst game covers of all time. As joke, Capcom included this version of Mega Man in Street Fighter X Tekken as a playable guest character."

The Complicated Relationship Between Official Fandom & The PT (Its Fans Too): Commentary - "One day it seems like they’re pro-PT, one day I wonder if they really are. I’m not putting all of the blame on the Disney purchase either since this sort of thing has been happening even while Lucas still ruled the roost. For instance, the official Star Wars Twitter account several years back retweeted a fan-made cartoon where Deadpool kills a guy for praising the prequels and Hayden Christensen. The retweet was deleted after this site and several other fans protested. (And to be fair, this was way worse than a couple of IGN jokesters on “The Star Wars Show.”)"

Prof: 'white marble' in artwork contributes to white supremacy - "Professor Sarah Bond demonstrates in an article published in Hyperallergic that “many of the statues, reliefs, and sarcophagi created in the ancient Western world were in fact painted,” meaning the “white marble” often seen in such pieces of art were intended to be colored... “The assemblage of neon whiteness serves to create a false idea of homogeneity — everyone was very white! — across the Mediterranean region,” she adds, later stating that misconceptions of the classical era provide “further ammunition for white supremacists today, including groups like Identity Europa, who use classical statuary as a symbol of white male superiority.”"

Sci-Fi Novel Where All Women Gain Power to Kill Men Wins Fiction Prize - "The Power, by Naomi Alderman, was announced last night as the winner of the Bailey’s Prize for women’s fiction, which carries prize money of £30,000 (about $40,000)... Early in the “feminist science fiction” novel, by former Guardian writer Alderman, an unexplained event means women can suddenly fire electrical blasts from their fingertips, inflicting huge pain – and death – on men."
This seems to be a puerile inversion of the current order (as perceived by feminists) rather than a more sophisticated exploration of what an "inversion" of power might lead to. Just flipping everything is not very creative (I haven't read the book but this is what I gather, plus the Guardian review also calls it "a mirror image"). It is significant that women with *superpowers* don't lead to intra-gender relations changing
It ticks all the feminist boxes: God becoming a woman, men being frightened to walk alone at night, a simplistic dig at evolutionary psychology (claiming by extension that evo psych ignores historical evidence), what seems to be an endorsement of violence (“I’m so excited by young feminists today. I’m inspired by how these young women are not afraid to show their anger. They aren’t afraid of not being nice.”) etc
And the implied message of the novel is that today's world ("patriarchy") is a conspiracy between men to oppress women (since in the novel the women seem to conspire to oppress men), but of course reality is a good deal more complicated

Neo-Nazi Website Endorses UK Socialist Leader Jeremy Corbyn Because he's 'Seriously Anti-Jew'

Gay Trump supporters denied entry into Charlotte Pride Parade - Story - "Talbert, a member of "Gays for Trump, which is not affiliated with the "Gays for Trump" based in Greensboro, NC, said he and a fellow gay Trump supporter sent in an application to Charlotte Pride so they could have a float in this year's Charlotte Pride Parade. "It was going to be fun. We wanted to be energetic. We wanted to show that we weren't the racist, bigot, misogynistic…We wanted to show that we are Americans, love our country and our president. We wanted to be there to celebrate gay pride. Everything fell into place except being able to celebrate who I am," he said... "For a group of people to claim to want tolerance, acceptance, and give it to every single person you can imagine to give it to, for them to sit back and judge me for exercising my right as an American to choose my leader without judgment is hypocritical""

Why Now is NOT the Time to Fully Arm UK Police Despite the Recent Terror Attacks - "Most firearms are banned in the UK and those people who do own rifles or shotguns (handguns are totally banned), are closely monitored by the police. If even terrorists are struggling to get hold of guns, something must be working. Following the attack at London Bridge, President Trump tweeted how there would be no debate in the UK about gun control. That’s correct- the UK doesn’t need to have that debate for the very reason that they have gun control. Imagine if the attackers had been armed with guns. As terrible as these attacks were, it is highly likely that the fatalities and injuries would have been many, many times higher. Yes, there are guns in the hands of criminals in the UK – but even so, it is the country’s strict gun laws that have prevented far higher death tolls. Following the terror attack, others tweeted how the UK now needs to have Second Amendment rights, like in the US, so that civilians can arm themselves. They do not seem to grasp that it would also mean the terrorists would be able to arm themselves too. The simple truth is that more guns mean more gun deaths"

Saudi soccer team refuse to stand for London victims - "The Saudi Arabian soccer team refused to line up for a minute's silence for the London terror victims on Thursday night because it is not in keeping with their culture... An Islamic imam has suggested the Saudi Arabian team refused to take part in a minute's silence for the London terror victims because they believe 'it is not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer'. Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says it is a 'lie' to say the Muslim culture does not remember the dead with a moment of silence, and instead argues the football team did not partake in the mourning because they stand with the jihadist men. 'They did not stop for a moment of silence because according to Wahhabi Islam - which governs Saudi Arabia - it is not wrong or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim,' he told Daily Mail Australia... Sheikh Tawidi also added the team would have been 'ridiculed' back home if they had commemorated the victims of the London terrorist attack"
Maybe it's ethnocentric and Islamophobic to expect them to observe a minute's silence because that goes against their culture. Just like it's ethnocentric and Islamophobic if a woman goes to Saudi Arabia and refuses to put on a headscarf because it goes against her culture

Digital Footprints Paint an Eerily Accurate Picture of Europe's Refugees - "When conducting the analysis, the researchers focused on a surprisingly simple formula: look for trends in Arabic language search queries originating in non-Arabic language speaking countries. Most refugees crossed into Greece from Turkey by sea, before continuing on to final destinations in Europe. The presence of the migrants in these countries—where Arabic is spoken at a minimal—accounted for the disproportionate number of Arabic-language searches done in Turkey and elsewhere during the period 2015-16, which was the period covered in the new study."

Betsy DeVos Names First Amendment Crusader to Prominent Higher Ed Role - "In what might indicate a significant shift in federal priorities for college oversight, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has picked a civil libertarian activist as deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs... see an outraged response by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), who apparently objects to using the same legal standards to prove sexual misconduct in college courts and in ordinary courts"

How African-Americans and African Immigrants Differ - "As an immigrant to the United States from Sierra Leone, I perceive a huge chasm between African-Americans and African immigrants in the United States. That chasm has widened over the years. It has caused deep animosity between many African-Americans and their African immigrant cousins... most Africans have typically dealt with white Americans who went to Africa as Peace Corps volunteers, missionaries, doctors or teachers. These Americans acted as mentors and guardians to the Africans and developed positive relationships with them. When they come to the United States, it has been my experience that Africans can easily identify with white Americans because they understand each other. Before migrating to the United States, the majority of Africans have had little to no direct negative experiences with whites. They simply do not hate them... African Americans usually see racism as the main cause of poverty among their people. They are also quick to point out instances of perceived racism, even in circumstances where it is ambiguous, unclear or more complex than simple racial bigotry or discrimination... For Africans, after suffering many years in civil wars, military coups and other problems, they are happy to be in a country that offers them freedom. They are ready to integrate into the American culture without getting involved in the lingering racial conflicts... Perhaps the greatest difference I have seen between African immigrants and African-Americans is how they react to adversity. Most African immigrants to the United States came here for economic advancement. They do not have any political agenda. They are willing to take any job and do not blame the “system” when they fail in their endeavors. Most African immigrants to the United States often live in mixed neighborhoods instead of black neighborhoods and they easily integrate. African immigrants know who they are. They are not easily offended when someone tries to put them down. They know where they come from and why they are here. For African-Americans, there is often a tendency to blame slavery for most of the problems they face today. For instance, when African American students fail in school, some educators blame slavery and do not look for other factors. However, the time has come for African Americans to realize that while racism still persists, the best thing they can do for their children is to teach them to take full responsibility for their actions. Fathers need to take care of their children and young women need to stay in school instead of having children."
Can you be an Uncle Tom if you're from Africa?

Biology Professor: Trump Presidency Is So Traumatic It Will Change Human Genome Forever - "Peter Ward, an academic at the University of Washington, predicted “an evolutionary consequence” because of the “stress” Trump’s term in the White House is causing the American population."

Spanish Authorities Warn: Don't Use Your Drone to Film Naked Ladies Sunbathing - "A group of men ran afoul of Spanish authorities after using a camera drone to spy on several women bathing topless, on a yacht off the coast of Majorca. The men, who were partying on a different yacht parked nearby, used the tiny flying robot to photograph at least seven women, five of whom were completely nude"
Apparently there is a right to privacy in public

SJW Outlet Roasted For Asking If White Man Who Saved Two Infants By Shooting Black Man Should Be Punished - "Leland Foster was allegedly threatening the mother of the children with a knife when a 12-year-old girl who was in the home ran to Cash Freeman’s house for help. The outlet states that Freeman rushed to the home, where he found Foster attempting to drown two 3-month-old twins in a bathtub. Freeman, according to the outlet, proceeded to shoot Foster twice in the back, killing him."

Is Religion the Cause of Most Wars? - "religion is the cause of a very small minority of wars. Phillips and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars lays out the simple facts. In 5 millennia worth of wars—1,763 total—only 123 (or about 7%) were religious in nature (according to author Vox Day in the book The Irrational Atheist). If you remove the 66 wars waged in the name of Islam, it cuts the number down to a little more than 3%. A second scholarly source, The Encyclopedia of War edited by Gordon Martel, confirms this data, concluding that only 6% of the wars listed in its pages can be labelled religious wars. Thirdly, William Cavanaugh’s book, The Myth of Religious Violence, exposes the “wars of religion” claim. And finally, a recent report (2014) from the Institute for Economics and Peace further debunks this myth."
Statistics on religion motivating wars

Is Religion the Cause of Most Wars? - "History simply does not support the hypothesis that religion is the major cause of conflict. The wars of the ancient world were rarely, if ever, based on religion. These wars were for territorial conquest, to control borders, secure trade routes, or respond to an internal challenge to political authority. In fact, the ancient conquerors, whether Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, or Roman, openly welcomed the religious beliefs of those they conquered, and often added the new gods to their own pantheon. Medieval and Renaissance wars were also typically about control and wealth as city-states vied for power, often with the support, but rarely instigation, of the Church. And the Mongol Asian rampage, which is thought to have killed nearly 30 million people, had no religious component whatsoever. Most modern wars, including the Napoleonic Campaign, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the American Civil War, World War I, the Russia Revolution, World War II, and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, were not religious in nature or cause. While religious groups have been specifically targeted (most notably in World War II), to claim that religion was the cause is to blame the victim and to misunderstand the perpetrators’ motives, which were nationalistic and ethnic, not religious. Similarly, the vast numbers of genocides (those killed in ethic cleanses, purges, etc. that are not connected to a declared war) are not based on religion... Of course the Hebrew Bible chronicles many wars — most notably Moses’ conflicts in the desert and Joshua’s conquest of the nations of Canaan — and we may see these as examples of religiously sanctioned violence. Here, though, we must recognize that archeological evidence points to the conclusion that these conquests never occurred, or at least not as dramatically as described in the Bible. As one who reads the Bible for spiritual truths, not historical facts, I am, of course, quite happy that no such slaughters occurred. The ancient Rabbis also understood these stories not as celebrated victories, but as warnings about the dangers of warfare"

Fees and the cost of au pair services - "Au pairs on the au pair program are to be compensated by the host family at a weekly rate based upon 45 hours of child care services per week and paid in conformance with the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the U.S. Department of State... The minimum weekly federal stipend of $195.75 for the au pair participant for up to 45 hours per week and $146.81 for the EduCare participant for up to 30 hours per week is calculated based on the federal minimum wage less a credit set by the Department of Labor for room and board."
How come au pairs are exempt from the minimum wage? Isn't this "exploitation"?

Dojo Singapore. Our Story. - "No matter the sort of day you might be having, nothing beats chowing down on a juicy pork patty sandwiched between two toasted buns. The problem is, where can you possibly have such an experience? Pork burgers were only available in limited places in Singapore, especially ones made with pulled pork, that was until Dojo opened for business... Dojo started with a simple objective, to bring the delicious taste of pork burgers to everyone in the most innovative and titillating ways possible... The brand’s passion for pork stems from its founder, Janice Tan, whose late grandfather was a pig farmer from Seremban, Malaysia. Her many years of culinary experience handling and preparing pork has made her an expert in enhancing its flavour. The pork patties used in the burgers are seasoned with a secret family recipe that gives them a unique taste that you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Janice is also meticulous in her selection of ingredients as well as the cooking techniques used to prepare them, so guests can be sure they are getting only the best quality and value at Dojo."
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