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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, August 04, 2017

Links - 4th August 2017 (1)

Keeping Kids From Toy Guns: How One Mother Changed Her Mind - "We didn't always used to frown upon weapon play; children of the 1950s grew up steeped in television shows showing gun-toting heroes like the Lone Ranger, and toy soldiers and cowboy costumes were common playthings. But societal panic intensified in the wake of a spate of tragic school shootings in the 1990s, and a shift towards zero tolerance policies and regulating how children should play has been steadily increasing ever since. We've become so panicked about toy weapons that we are rewriting them out of our past. Jay Mechling, a professor at the University of California, Davis, recounts in The Journal of Play how surprised he was that an icon of postwar 1950s American childhood - the Daisy BB gun - was utterly absent, along with toy guns, when he visited the Strong National Museum of Play. The Daisy and toy replica guns had been nominated for inclusion in the museum's National Toy Hall of Fame multiple times, but protests against them by parents and teachers prevailed.* Toy guns were systematically being erased from the American cultural history of childhood. Although many of us in America worry that gun play desensitizes kids to violence, the research doesn't bear this out. In fact, it can actually help teach children to read each other's facial cues and body language, figure out their place in a group, and learn how to adjust their behavior in social settings. Play helps children learn how to signal each other: this is fantasy
This also applies to TV violence

If in doubt, add an egg. The 10 cooking tips everyone should know - "Meat and fish cooked on the bone will always have a deeper, more interesting taste than the equivalent fillets, and stocks made from bones will not only add flavour to your soups and sauces, but richness: a good stock should have a slightly wobbly consistency at room temperature thanks to the gelatine content (don’t worry, it will melt when you heat it up)."

Osaka Escort Erotic Massage Club - "This site is engaged in the education of our youth very seriously." (NSFW)"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Maths in the Early Islamic World - "A lot of people assume that it started because of the birth of this new religion Islam in Arabia. Whereas in fact for a whole century there was an Islamic dynasty the Umayyad where scholarship didn't really flourish. The Golden Age is really thought to have begun with the Abbasid dynasty... The Abbasids were very much influenced by Persian culture. And in Persia there was this long long tradition of scholarship and learning. And so they became obsessed with texts and books. So the Golden Age really began with a wonderful flourishing translation movement...
Algebra itself, all the way through the Islamic period, didn't have symbols. They had to wait for people like Descartes. So they were writing everything rhetorically, everything in prose. But that didn't slow them down in terms of doing algebra...
[On Indian numerals] We know that it had reached as far as Syria by the 600s because there's a lovely quote from a Syrian Christian bishop complaining about the Greeks thinking they know everything and the Indians are marvelous"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Seneca the Younger - "He got very into extreme philosophical practices. He adopted vegetarianism and his father thought that was rather a dangerous thing to do in case he was associated with an exotic religious sect and then might be subject to the Emperor Tiberius at the time was cracking down on exotic religions...
You can only show the virtue of mercy if you have the capacity to chop someone's head off. So mercy is always an autocratic virtue"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum - "People don't seem to realise... We're in a very cold period of time in earth history. We have ice at both poles. We have about 70m of sea level potential locked up in that ice and as we've looked back through the whole of geological history, it's very difficult to find any other period of time where we have ice at both poles"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Wives Wanted in the Faroe Islands - "[On coming from Southeast Asia] When I step from the plane the first feeling I feel is the fresh air. I feel like I'm drowning because of the freshness of the air"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Cathedral of the Fallen - "In nineteen fifty nine because Franco did not have enough people from the Nationalist Front to bury in the Valley of the Fallen, what he did was dispatch an order throughout Spain to remove the remains of those killed and bring them there without anyone's permission"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, #GrannyWisdom - "So I asked my great grandma... how she learned about sex and she said that she learned everything from her husband. And so I asked well how did he find out and she said oh when he was sixteen his family had a maid and she took him down the cellar and taught him"

Study: Walking Can Be as Good as Running - "The key to improved cardiovascular health, according to this study, is calorie expenditure, regardless of how it's expended. Runners aren't healthier by virtue of being runners -- they're just more efficient in their exercising. If you prefer walking, you can be just as well off, health-wise. "Assuming a slow jogging speed of a 12 minute mile, compared to a walking speed of 17 minute miles, you would need to walk about 50 percent further to expend the same energy as running," lead author Paul Williams explained to me. In terms of time, "you would need to walk for about twice as long.""

Laser technology uncovers 1,600-year-old Christian frescoes in Rome's biggest catacomb - "It is a myth that Christians buried their dead underground in secrecy, the academics said. The reason they dug catacombs was to accommodate thousands of dead bodies, while only paying tax on the surface area of the land. In the St Domitilla Catacombs, the Christians dug down to a depth of 100ft."

Statue of Dog Peeing Pops Up Near NYC's 'Fearless Girl' - "Gardega said the "Fearless Girl" wasn't made by some individual artist making a statement, but made by a billion-dollar financial firm trying to promote an index fund."

Why Hong Kong chefs age fish used in sashimi and sushi – just as good steaks are aged | South China Morning Post - "certain types of fish are refrigerated and aged to enhance the texture and taste, in the same way good steaks are aged for flavour and tenderness. While sushi cognoscenti were aware of this, chefs outside Japan rarely talked about it – until now."

Deep Learning Algorithm Rewrites Traditional Recipes for New Regions, Ingredients - "Imagine your favorite go-to recipe mutated to conform to the traditional methods and ingredients of any number of diverse regional food cultures. Consider, say, lasagne, but a sort of lasagne that's instead a naturally occurring part of Japanese or Ethiopian cuisine. Not "fusion," but something deeper—a whole rewriting of what a lasagne even is according to the culinary traditions of some other place"

Why China chose the German instead of English legal system | South China Morning Post - "civil law works very badly in dictatorships, where it politicises justice and leads to socially inefficient outcomes. There is strong evidence to show that when civil law is transplanted through colonisation into an environment with a bad government, it will lead to more abuse. Transplantation of common law does not suffer as much from this problem as the sovereign is less able to use the legal system for political purposes... The German system had a distinctive communitarian character. It was the product of the Prussian desire to build up a rational state bureaucracy and a strong military command in fear of Napoleonic France, and unite the many small states, principalities and cities in Bismarck’s Germany"

It’s not just Donald Trump: The Pope makes it a point to look miserable around visiting dignitaries - "It’s a treatment that Francis has given to a who’s who of foreign dignitaries. Irish president Michael Higgins, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Japan’s Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko and former U.S. president Barack Obama, among others, all came back from the Vatican bearing official portraits showing them standing next to a surprisingly disinterested pontiff. The Pope is essentially in the same boat as Queen Elizabeth II. As a non-partisan constitutional monarch, the Queen similarly has to avoid any sign that she’s giving special favour to any particular politician or visiting world leader."

Why Maajid Nawaz Refuses To Praise Didsbury Mosque For Speaking Out Against Isis - ""Surprise, surprise you happen to have the same sorts of speakers, with the same sorts of views that would sympathise with the same sorts of things that al Qaeda want to implement in their theocratic Caliphate. "So what you oppose ISIS, so what? That's like saying "I oppose Stalin but I support the Nazis" or else "I oppose Hitler but I support Stalin gulags""... "Until we can separate, until we can separate these extremists from our community, and isolate them, don't blame the rest of society for wondering whether every Muslim is an extremist, when our mosques are hosting the extremists themselves.""

Take the test: Feminist shenanigans or satire? - "Below are five stories about feminist antics. One is pure invention, the others are true. Can you tell which one is false?"

No, You’re Not More Likely to Be Killed by a Right-Wing Extremist than an Islamic Terrorist - "when these apologists for Islam get bored of claiming that jihadists are incessantly and inexplicably lying about their religious motivations, they invariably engage in the crass exercise of throwing around skewed data in a desperate attempt to deemphasize the danger posed by Islamic terror. As far as I can tell, this is not due to some well-meaning concern for people worrying unnecessarily, or to ensure that counter terrorism strategy is accurately focused upon the most serious threat, it seems rather to be a tactical attempt to prioritize the protection of odious 7th century folklore over the welfare of real human beings... Muslim adults comprise less than 1% of the U.S population, and yet according to this study, are responsible for a whopping 27% of the terrorism in the country. This is a significant overrepresentation among such a tiny minority and, as expected, is completely overlooked in this report...
they will be citing a report or article that contains most, if not all, of the below errors:
A tally which starts after the biggest terror attack committed on U.S. soil.
A tally which ends before the deadliest mass shooting on U.S. soil. (Both of these attacks were committed by jihadists.)
A tally which fails to include certain other jihadist and right-wing attacks.
A tally which misreports certain attacks as “right-wing” or “far-right”.
A report which fails to include figures for Americans killed abroad.
A report which ignores foiled plots.
A report which ignores the number of non-fatal casualties.
A report which is not calibrated to consider the disproportionate focus of counter-terror analysis on Islamic terrorism.
A report which is not calibrated to consider the disproportionate number of attacks by Muslim extremists in relation to their lack of prevalence as a minority group.
A report which conflates several disparate ideological motivations for non-Islamic terrorism by lumping them all into the “far-right” bracket.
A report which ignores all terror attacks outside of the United States...
Ironically, those of us concerned about the global impacts of Islam, are routinely accused of xenophobia and bigotry, often by the very same people who demand that we measure threat by ignoring Islamic terrorism in foreign states. They seem to be arguing that as long as jihadism is negligible in the good ole U.S. of A, then it’s as though the threat to “foreigners” in the rest of the world is of little to no concern. I must say, that sounds a lot like bigotry and xenophobia to me."

Watching movies with children: How my daughter’s screen habits changed my criticism. - "Watching P. grow into a very different kind of watcher than I am—less passive and analytic, more collaborative and engaged—has been a welcome stripping away of my own viewing habits and assumptions. I’d long presumed films should be watched from beginning to end; she’s happy to keep returning to one beloved scene, or watch a musical song by song, skipping all the dialogue in between, or watch the first half-hour of 101 Dalmatians 10 nights in a row."

Disney Kills Star Wars Game Without Telling Creator - "All in all, it's rough. I understand needing to reallocate resources (yes, even when you're a company of Disney's "that's no moon!"-level size), but treating developers poorly is a) classless and b) a crappy way to run a business."

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Subversion, Russia and the West - "What's so interesting here in Moscow is that almost everyone you speak to portrays Russia as the one on the defensive. It's the one under attack with the West trying to undermine its position, to stir up dissent. It's a refrain you hear from almost everyone you speak to now"

Fool Me Once | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "Hands are really hard for everybody, and they always have been and that's why back in the day in the Renaissance, the Old Masters used to separate fee for each visible hand that would be depicted in the painting. And this would be spelled out in contracts before the painting was done. So if you were a wealthy patron that was commissioning a work of art and when you got the estimate back it seemed too high, the hands might be a place that you could skimp...
When Customs and Border Patrol seizes counterfeit goods they go back to the company whose products are being knocked off and they'll give them a choice of having the goods destroyed or they can be saved and used in the time of an emergency. So after Katrina the state of Mississippi tapped into this stockpile using prison labor to help sort and distribute the goods. Since seventy percent of the counterfeit goods originate in China it expedited things to teach the prisoners to read basic mandarin to speed up sorting all the boxes...
[On the Ghost Army in WWII] In their spare time they drew each other and they painted like the scenery: the bombed out villages and the whorehouses... they would create fake headquarters and pretend to be generals which was really fun because that was breaking all army regulations which they enjoyed a lot...
[On Brian the Wiz] He was offered a hundred thousand dollars to get breast implants and he did and he had to keep them in for a year. And he didn't like, he chest hair and everything it was anyway he did it and then as long as I knew him he never took him out because he always said it was really good for getting girls... I don't know if you guys know many magicians but they learn magic cause they're not naturally good with the ladies so. So anyway it was like hey can you believe it I have breast implants and the girls are like really and it was like an ice breaker I guess"

Under the Hood | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "[On the popularity of kosher food products] Romaine lettuce for instance is infested with aphids... if you are a kosher certified restaurant you will have a rabbi or a trained individual in the back checking every broccoli floret, every cauliflower and every piece of lettuce... a large percentage of those who purchase kosher products do so because they have the impression of cleanliness... it pays for itself because you don't have to spend very much in total in order to be able to reach two percent of the market or five percent of the market and that's a win. The New York Times in 1975 did a study and the price for a consumer to purchase a kosher product, when you buy Coca Cola - how much are you as a consumer paying for the Orthodox Union that ubiquitous OU on the label? It is 6.5 millionth of a penny. So based on incremental sales, from a factory perspective it makes perfect sense... about sixteen percent of all kosher consumers are Muslims. It's actually beautiful. Now one of the few areas that imams and rabbis talk almost on a daily basis has to do in the food industry"

Money Money Money | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "The ten dollar bill from the Cook Islands in the middle of the Pacific its famous for having the most R rated design in the history of currency. It's an image of a topless woman riding a shark...
[On the Radhanites] 'So can I ask Alana: where there is money there is fraud so how did you protect against that?'
'Beheadings. Yeah it was very seriously enforced and you couldn't marry off your daughter so if our house of Dubner didn't pay his debt his daughters and the daughters of everyone related to him wouldn't be able to marry. It was reputationally based money'"
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