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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Links - 4th October 2017 (1)

Naked female scientist tries to tame beluga whales in the arctic - "marine experts believe belugas do not like to be touched by artificial materials such as diving suits... The average human could die if left in sub-zero temperature sea water for just five minutes. However, Natalia is a yoga expert and used meditation techniques to hold her breath and stay under water for an incredible ten minutes and 40 seconds."

Pictured: Orthodox Jewish man covers himself in PLASTIC BAG during flight - "It was believed the man is a Kohein, a religious descendant of the priests of ancient Israel, who are banned from flying over cemeteries."

Koreans See Japan More Negatively Than Other Nations - "Almost all the Thai respondents, or 94.1 percent, think favorably of Japan, as do 76.3 percent of French respondents, 74.3 percent of Americans and 65.9 percent of Britons. But fewer than one in three Korean respondents (29.5 percent) have a positive perception of Japan. Results from China were unavailable since the designated polling firm there refused to ask that particular question. Asked to mention the name of a Japanese person they know, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first choice for Koreans, Chinese and Thais. But the differences became noticeable when it came to their second choices. Chinese and Thai respondents chose singer Momoe Yamaguchi and idol and adult film star Sora Aoi... even Chinese are not as preoccupied with Japan’s ugly history as Koreans."

EDITORIAL : The myth of ‘leftover’ women - Taipei Times - "Women’s empowerment and gender equality awareness have allowed women to weigh their options more carefully and prompted men who have had trouble finding spouses at home to turn to foreign brides."
Their definition of "myth" seems to be "something I don't like and will not even attempt to disprove, instead just dismissing"

For those who now consider Itailian-Americans... - Anthony Petrosino - "For those who now consider Itailian-Americans "white"--understand it wasn't always so. The largest mass lynching in U.S. history took place in New Orleans in 1891 — and the victims were Italian-Americans. What was the reaction of our country's leaders to these lynchings? Teddy Roosevelt, not yet president, famously said it was "a rather good thing." The response in The New York Times on March 16, 1891 referred to the victims of the lynchings as "... sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins." An editorial the next day argued that: "Lynch law was the only course open to the people of New Orleans. ..." John Parker, who helped organize the lynch mob, later went on to be governor of Louisiana. In 1911, he said of Italians that they were "just a little worse than the Negro, being if anything filthier in [their] habits, lawless, and treacherous.""
And yet, Italian Americans managed to overcome such huge barriers (not to mention the prejudice that still exists in some quarters today)...

25 English words that mean very different things in Britain and America

Vigilante mob attacks home of paediatrician - "Vigilantes have forced a doctor from her home after daubing her walls with anti-paedophile graffiti. Yvette Cloete, who works at Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, found her home daubed with the word "Paedo". Police said they believe vigilantes confused the words paediatrician and paedophile."

The PC revolution devours its own - "In the mid-20th century, conservative philosophers provided justifications for banning homosexual acts between consenting adults, which “harmed” no one. “Society is justified in taking the same steps to preserve its moral code as it does to preserve its government,” said the British judge Lord Devlin as he upheld the use of criminal punishments to regulate sexual expression. “The suppression of vice is as much the law’s business as the suppression of subversive activities.” By the late 20th century, it was the turn of the left to demand that the law suppressed vice, even when the vice did not provoke the harm of violence. As the authoritarian strain in the left – which is always there – became dominant, intellectuals rushed to justify their friends and allies’ belief that the giving of offence was a good enough reason to call the police. In the 1980s, the American legal philosopher Joel Feinberg attacked Mill by saying that offence was a harm, which we feel like a wound... academics promote philosophers far less rigorous than Feinberg. Jeremy Waldron, for instance, suggests speech which attacks the dignity of others should be banned. Rae Langton of Cambridge University puts the arguments of the anti-pornography campaigners of the 1980s into obscure – and therefore academically respectable – prose. Pornography silences women, she argues, not by actually silencing them, but by making their protestations harder to believe. None deals adequately with how the law should gauge the pain of offensive speech. You can say that, of course, words can hurt more than blows, But that does not mean that psychic wounds are the same as real wounds. If I deliver a blow, the broken bones can be seen; the damage measured. If I incite violence, the court can again measure the consequences... FEW CONTEMPORARY theorists grasp that people oppose censorship not because they respect the words of the speaker but because they fear the power of the censor... Philosophers raised in the enclosed world of the Anglo-American university never explain why the punishments they inflict on their enemies should not be inflicted on them... One correspondent wrote, “I would like to tweet about your murder you fucking parasite.” So much for the safety of those who seek to challenge “safe spaces”... Howard Fast, the author of Spartacus, described why he left the American Communist Party in 1956. Rather than fighting for equal rights for blacks, Communist commissars policed language. They were convinced that the smallest slip provided evidence of buried racism.
People were expelled from the Party for speaking of a ‘negro girl’ or of a ‘black night’, for both ‘girl’ and ‘black’ had become magical taboo words, the use of which indicated that a white person had deep well of racism within him. The particular horror mounted to a point where dozens of Communists I knew avoided I knew avoided the company of all negroes, so terrified were they of taboo words or actions that could lead to expulsion. Work among negroes collapsed completely...
Dogmatists prefer changing language to changing society. Then as now, there is a particular type of witch-finder, always prominent in the universities, left-wing parties and public sector bureaucracy, who delights in hunting down “inappropriate” language. They delight in it because censorship is so easy... they can get away with any cruelty as long as they observe modern manners... Censors never confine themselves to deserving targets. The record shows they aren’t snipers but machine gunners, who will hit anything that moves. Give them permission to shoot, and one day they will hit you."
One of the problems with the current fetish for promoting the harms of mental health is precisely this - it is hard to gauge and subjective

Why history matters to Singapore - "Lee found it increasingly difficult to exercise self-control in front of a microphone, and he developed a pattern of making outrageous and inflammatory speeches, which Toh Chin Chye later admitted were anti-Malay. Lim Kim San, years later, was asked in an interview whether they had asked Lee to tone down his speeches, and he replied:
“Oh yes! We did! But once he got onto the podium in front of the crowd, paah, everything would come out. Exactly what we told him not to say, he would say!”
So it in this context of Lee inflaming the racial situation that the 1964 “race” riots happened. Thus, if we simply call them “race” riots then we totally neglect the fact that the conditions for the riots were created by Lee Kuan Yew and inflamed by selfish, short-sighted, racist politicians, on both sides of the causeway, for their own personal ambition. And it is because of this whole situation that that Goh Keng Swee desperately opened secret negotiations with UMNO in mid-July 1965 to arrange separation. He wanted to avoid mutual destruction. And the final formula that both sides agreed on centred on the creation of a lie that would become the foundation of Singapore’s nation-building mythology: the myth that the Tunku expelled Singapore from Malaysia against its will. People today still repeat this myth even though Goh Keng Swee admitted the truth in 1996. Why did he admit the truth? I think it was because 1996 was the year National Education started. Goh felt compelled to finally reveal the truth to avoid the systemic perpetuation of a lie. In Singapore’s official history, the riots have been depicted as racially, not politically, motivated, because in the immediate aftermath of separation, the government needed to create a narrative which supported its actions throughout Malaysia... The race issue was so dangerous that after the 1964 riots, the government rushed to create Racial Harmony Day in… 1997. If racial tensions were such a big issue, why did it take the PAP 33 years to start Racial Harmony Day? Because 1996 was the beginning of National Education. The reason for the day is not race, but politics. Without this myth about the 1964 riots, we realise that Singapore has never had a riot caused primarily by racial antagonism or racial hatred."

Europe's Mass Migration: The Leaders vs. the Public - "Is Bill Gates a Nazi, racist, "Islamophobe" or fascist? As PG Wodehouse's most famous butler would have said, "The eventuality would appear to be a remote one". So far nobody in any position of influence has made such claims about the world's largest philanthropist. Possibly -- just possibly -- something is changing in Europe... The annual survey of EU citizens recently carried out by Project 28 found a unanimity on the issue of migration almost unequalled across an entire continent. The survey found, for instance, that 76% of the public across the EU believe that the EU's handling of the migration crisis of recent years has been "poor". There is not one country in the EU in which the majority of the public differs from this consensus. In countries such as Italy and Greece, which have been on the frontline of the crisis of recent years, that figure rockets up. In these countries, nine out of ten citizens think that the EU has handled the migrant crisis poorly... At the same time as the public has known that what the politicians are doing is unsustainable, there has been a vast effort to control what the European publics have been allowed to say. Chancellor Merkel went so far as to urge Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to limit posts on social media that were critical of her policies. This was just one example of a much wider trend. Across the continent, any private or public figure who dared to warn that importing so many people in such a disorganised manner was the origin of a catastrophe found themselves impugned with the darkest imaginable motives."

Life As An Ex-Fatty: Here’s Why It’s Still Hard - "The one thing I really loved about being fat was being able to eat anything I want without hesitation at any time!"

Swedish Libraries Removing Pippi Longstocking Children's Book Because of 'Racist' Content - "The new edition of the children’s book doesn’t feature the phrase “king of the Negroes” or “Negro King”, which was used in the original in reference to Pippi’s father. The new book substitutes the phrase with “king of the South Seas” or “South Sea king.”"

Fake news in The Guardian - "Maclean doesn’t just get this quotation wrong—she edits it so that it says exactly the opposite of what Buchanan actually wrote. This isn’t an aberration. It’s not a sloppy mistake in an otherwise well-researched book. This is Maclean’s modus operandi"

AI Is Inventing Languages Humans Can’t Understand. Should We Stop It?

You are not Spider-Man - "Spider-Man gives us a constant excuse for our own behavior, or the behavior of those who let us down, through the hyperbole of his struggles. He’s hurting, the people around him are hurting, but at least the real work he’s doing makes him a hero to the people whose literal lives he’s saving. He’s a mess in his personal life because he’s so good in his public life"

Feminists treat men badly and it's bad for feminism - "a lot of feminist rhetoric today does cross the line from attacks on sexism into attacks on men, with a strong focus on personal behaviour: the way they talk, the way they approach relationships, even the way they sit on public transport. Male faults are stated as sweeping condemnations; objecting to such generalisations is taken as a sign of complicity. Meanwhile, similar indictments of women would be considered grossly misogynistic. This gender antagonism does nothing to advance the unfinished business of equality. If anything, the fixation on men behaving badly is a distraction from more fundamental issues, such as changes in the workplace to promote work-life balance. What's more, male-bashing not only sours many men - and quite a few women – on feminism. It often drives them into Internet subcultures where critiques of feminism mix with hostility towards women... in the 1970s with the rise of radical feminism. This movement, with its slogan, "The personal is political," brought a wave of female anger at men's collective and individual transgressions. Authors such as Andrea Dworkin and Marilyn French depicted ordinary men as patriarchy's brutal foot soldiers... Sitting with legs apart may be a guy thing, but there is plenty of visual documentation of women hogging extra space on public transport with purses, shopping bags and feet on seats. As for "mansplaining," these days it seems to mean little more than a man making an argument a woman dislikes. Slate correspondent Dahlia Lithwick has admitted using the term to "dismiss anything said by men" in debates about Hillary Clinton. And the day after Clinton claimed the Democratic presidential nomination, political analyst David Axelrod was slammed as a "mansplainer" on Twitter for his observation that it's a measure of our country's "great progress" that "many younger women find the nomination of a woman unremarkable"... Feminist commentary routinely puts the nastiest possible spin on male behaviour and motives. Consider the backlash against the concept of the "friend zone", or being relegated to "friends-only" status when seeking a romantic relationship – usually, though not exclusively, in reference to men being "friend zoned" by women. Since the term has a clear negative connotation, feminist critics say it reflects the assumption that a man is owed sex as a reward for treating a woman well. Yet it's at least as likely that, as Australian-born feminist writer Rachel Hills argued in a rare dissent in The Atlantic, the lament of the "friend zoned" is about "loneliness and romantic frustration," not sexual entitlement. Things have got to a point where casual low-level male-bashing is a constant white noise in the hip progressive online media"

Gender Language Differences: Women Get Interrupted More - "“When speaking with a female, participants interrupted more and used more dependent clauses than when speaking with a male,” they wrote. Over the course of each three-minute conversation, women, on average, interrupted men just once, but interrupted other women 2.8 times. Men interrupted their male conversation partner twice, on average, and interrupted the woman 2.6 times."
This was referenced in the link above as: "The study that is cited as evidence of excessive male interruption of women actually found that the most frequent interrupting is female-on-female ("femterrupting"?)"

Having more sex than peers makes us happy - "sex apparently is like income: people are generally happy when they keep pace with the Joneses and they're even happier if they get a bit more."

What Descriptors Are Men And Women More Likely to Use on OKCupid? - "Men, by placing a profession at the forefront of their appeals, are seemingly responding to the expectation that they can contribute financially to a relationship, while women elect to highlight their looks and femininity"

Kanye West Thinks He Is Discriminated Against For Not Being Gay - "Kanye West said he faced discrimination in the fashion industry because he is not gay"

College Admissions Mania: Does It Matter Where You Go to School? - "These economists are not telling you that you can get straight Cs in high school and magically improve your life just by mailing an application to Princeton. It means, rather, that actually getting into Princeton isn't as critical as being the type of person who could get into Princeton. (They did find, however, that for low-income students, more-prestigious schools yielded higher earnings, which is another issue entirely.)"

Shops in strata-titled malls pull out all the stops to avoid closure - "The fading fortunes of Beauty World Centre — built in 1984 at a cost of S$45 million — is mirrored across the island: Strata-titled malls, where stallholders own the individual units, find themselves stuck in time and on the brink of oblivion... there are about 80 strata-titled malls in Singapore — many among them were household names in the past including Katong Shopping Centre, Queensway Shopping Centre, City Plaza and Golden Mile Complex, to name a few... The problems are strata-titled malls are well-documented: It is almost impossible to get individual owners to agree on issues ranging from collective sale to maintenance. Such malls have management councils made up of subsidiary proprietors to represent owners. Compared to institutions such as real estate investment trusts (Reits), management councils do not have strong profit incentive or the resources to keep the malls in tip-top condition. There is also a lack of vision and coordination in terms of promotional or marketing efforts. The end result? A hodge-podge of retailers, often selling similar goods and services, housed in rundown malls in need of a facelift... vacancy rates at strata-titled malls — which happen to include several of the oldest properties on the island — in the second quarter of the year reached about 10 per cent, compared to 7 per cent in malls managed by professionals."
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