"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, December 08, 2017

Links - 8th December 2017 (1)

A Baker’s First Amendment Rights - NYTimes.com - "in classic “compelled speech” rulings, the Supreme Court has protected the right not to be forced to say, do or create anything expressing a message one rejects. Most famously, in West Virginia v. Barnette (1943), it barred a state from denying Jehovah’s Witnesses the right to attend public schools if they refused to salute the flag. In Wooley v. Maynard (1977), the court prevented New Hampshire from denying people the right to drive if they refused to display on license plates the state’s libertarian-flavored motto “live free or die.” On Tuesday, the court will consider whether Colorado may deny Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the right to sell custom wedding cakes because he cannot in conscience create them for same-sex weddings. Mr. Phillips, who has run his bakery since 1993, sells off-the-shelf items to anyone, no questions asked. But he cannot deploy his artistic skills to create cakes celebrating themes that violate his religious and moral convictions. Thus he does not design cakes for divorce parties, lewd bachelor parties, Halloween parties or same-sex weddings... At some level, Colorado itself gets it. Three times the state has declined to force pro-gay bakers to provide a Christian patron with a cake they could not in conscience create given their own convictions on sexuality and marriage"

Car ploughs through trans lives matter protest in St Louis - "People were gathered to honor the life of Herring, a 30-year-old black transgender woman, who was shot dead by St. Louis police on Tuesday. Herring was killed by a police after she allegedly stabbed an officer and a neighbor with a large kitchen knife... Police spokeswoman Schron Jackson told the Riverfront Times: 'Tonight, a group of protesters marched from the Transgender Memorial to the intersection of Manchester and Sarah were they blocked traffic in all directions. 'A vehicle approached, stopped, honked its horn and attempted to drive around the protesters. 'The protesters surrounded the vehicle and began striking it with their hands and a flag pole. Several protesters also kicked and jumped on top of the vehicle.' She said the driver of the vehicle - a white male - then drove away when two women and a man 'fell from the vehicle'"
If you're black and attack the police and get shot dead, you're the victim
If you're a white man and people attack your vehicle and you drive off, you're a villain

Urinetown | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "[American Sign Language]'s a totally separate language from English... ASL has dialects so it has a black dialect and even has a Philadelphia dialect... New Yorkers are notorious for being fast talkers while Ohioans are more calm and relaxed. New Yorkers also curse more in sign and people in the Southern United States tend to touch their lower face and chest a lot when they sign which has become a distinctive regional accent. Lastly and most importantly just like American English speakers feel about Australians for example, people with certain foreign accents or dialects in sign are considered more attractive"

Driverless cars and trucks don’t mean mass unemployment—they mean new kinds of jobs | Cathy Engelbert | Pulse | LinkedIn - "As demographic trends collide with new types of mobility, we could easily imagine that aging Baby Boomers will need aides to travel with them to medical appointments and run errands—even if “driving” is not part of their job description. Travel and leisure will likely continue to grow. In general, there will likely be an expanding market around mobility management services that could offer incremental job growth. There will be new businesses that will digitally enable the planning and consumption of passenger and goods movement to be more efficient, enjoyable, productive, safer, cleaner, and cheaper. That could mean everything from maintaining vehicle fleets to remote monitoring. These are in adjacent spaces... consider one possible future that could occur soon, where autonomous trucks travel highways with a human “monitor” in the cab who can assist with particularly challenging driving like navigating city centers and ensure goods are delivered safely. Since the vehicles can operate for much longer periods without stopping, fewer total drivers would be needed, helping to alleviate the shortage. The jobs that remain could be less fatiguing and require shorter stints away from home (again, because the truck can operate almost constantly)."

Spanish airline is fined for making female applicants take a pregnancy test - "Iberia is Spain's national flag carrier. Its pregnancy test requirement for cabin crew jobs-- and the reason the airline cited for it -- was widely derided as sexist. The airline said the tests were administered to protect women from potential risks to their pregnancy"
If this were the US someone might sue because she had a miscarriage

James Cameron Thinks Wonder Woman Was a 'Step Backward' For Woman in Film - "Basically, Cameron is saying that because he feels Gal Gadot is prettier than Linda Hamilton, and because Wonder Woman is a superhero instead of a real person, Wonder Woman is somehow less impactful because regular women can’t relate to her as much. That seems incredibly misguided and sexist. (Does an average man have to watch movies starring overweight bald guys to relate to them better, or can he watch movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger?) Looks or ability should have nothing to do with it. Wonder Woman was a massive hit movie starring and directed by a woman, something that has rarely been allowed in Hollywood. It broke a mold and it’s a good thing. Period."
I can see a female feminist saying the exact same thing as James Cameron and getting applauded for it by Gizmodo

Why Is the Southern Poverty Law Center Targeting Liberals? - The New York Times - "Since the violence in Charlottesville 10 days ago, when white supremacists left one young woman dead and 19 others injured, the Southern Poverty Law Center has hit the jackpot. The Alabama-based nonprofit is set to receive millions of dollars in donations from some of the nation’s deepest of pockets. Apple pledged $1 million. JP Morgan Chase & Co.: half a million. George and Amal Clooney even got in on the action, promising to donate another $1 million... the S.P.L.C. is an organization that has lost its way, smearing people who are fighting for liberty and turning a blind eye to an ideology and political movement that has much in common with Nazism... Islamic extremism — a movement that aims to impose a caliphate and Sharia law by violent means — is as toxic as white supremacy. In the past two decades, it has certainly been responsible for many more deaths... the S.P.L.C. has nothing to say about Islamic extremists; only about their opponents... Cui bono? That question is nearly always the right one to ask of organizations like the S.P.L.C. Who really benefits from their activities? Repeatedly, and for more than a decade, journalists at publications ranging from Harper’s to Politico to The Nation to The Weekly Standard have pointed out that the center’s founders seem more interested in profiting off the anxieties and white guilt of Northern liberals than in upholding the civil rights of poor Southerners, or anyone else. There’s a less cynical explanation, though, which is that liberals are deeply and increasingly uncomfortable with calling out Islamic extremism for fear of being smeared as “Islamophobic,” or worse... Muslims today cannot freely debate the role of their religion in most Muslim-majority countries, where the charges of heresy or apostasy can mean a death sentence or a lynch mob. Here in the West, too, free discussion of Islam is getting harder not least because Islamic organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations pounce on any criticism of Islam, branding it “hate speech,” the modern word for heresy."
Comment: "There is another more basic reason to donate somewhere other than Southern Poverty Law Center: their $328,395,092 reserve. That's right. You can check their tax return out online. Last year they raised $58 million and only spent $45 million. For many years they have raised vastly more money than they can use effectively, which is why they have $328 million in assets and growing."

Confessions of a Singaporean male stripper - "While I do encourage clients to let me know if they have any special requests prior to my performance, I rarely receive them. But, of the few requests I have received recently, the most popular has to be role-playing as Song Joong-Ki’s character from that popular Korean drama series “Descendants of the Sun”. I’ve played that character at least 10 times since the series ended... I’ve met clients who try to take things further. I’m okay with that – I always give them an after-show option – but I do this solely in my personal capacity and not as someone representing my agency. If a client wants to have more “add-ons” besides the 30-minute stripping performance, then they can choose them. These “add-ons” refer to after show drinks... Many people think that having a good body is the most important requirement, but I don’t agree. Yes, you do need to have a decent body but to be a good stripper, you need to be good at entertaining. You need to know what makes people tick and how to entertain them."

Scientists train 'sniffer' wasps as mine hunters - "The scientists say that the wasps they are using - from the southern states of America - can perform to far higher standards than any sniffer dog and take as little as an hour to train."

Swedish Museum Accelerates Their Cultural Collapse By Turning Viking Artifacts Into Scrap Metal - "Following the revelations of one of its angry archaeologists, it emerges that the curators of Stockholms Länsmuseum have been ordering the systematic destruction of newly found artifacts from the Iron Age and the Viking period under the guise that it would be too burdensome to process. Coins, arrow heads, ritual amulets, weapons, jewellery and weights that were kept in the past are now directly dumped into metal recycling bins upon discovery instead of being treasured and displayed... This was kept secret until this week’s declarations by Johan Runer, archaeologist at the said museum. He tried to raise the alarm before but only met indifference from the Liberal Swedish Media. According to Runer, this has been going on since at least 2016 as he recalls the example of an entire human settlement from the Bronze and Iron Age that discretely got levelled to allow road works for Sweden’s E6 motorway to progress."

White people, here are 10 requests from a Black Lives Matter leader - "3. If you are a developer or realty owner of multi-family housing, build a sustainable complex in a black or brown blighted neighborhood and let black and brown people live in it for free.
4. White people, if you can afford to downsize, give up the home you own to a black or brown family. Preferably a family from generational poverty.
6. White people, re-budget your monthly so you can donate to black funds for land purchasing.
7. White people, especially white women (because this is yaw specialty — Nosey Jenny and Meddling Kathy), get a racist fired. Yaw know what the fuck they be saying. You are complicit when you ignore them. Get your boss fired cause they racist too.
9. OK, backing up No. 8, if any white person at your work, or as you enter in spaces and you overhear a white person praising the actions from yesterday, first, get a pic. Get their name and more info. Hell, find out where they work — Get Them Fired. But certainly address them, and, if you need to, you got hands: use them."
The New Civil Rights Movement is about firing people, beating them up and giving money to people you don't know

BLM Protesters Disrupt Montreal Pride During Moment of Silence For AIDS and Hate Crime Victims - "During a moment of silence at Montreal’s LGBT Pride parade on Sunday last Sunday to remember those in the LGBT community that have died of HIV/AIDS, hate crimes, 30 members of Black Lives Matter Montreal stormed onto the streets exploding smoke bombs and shouting “Black Lives Matter” and demanding more inclusion of QPOC and representation disrupting the solemn moment angering the pride parade spectators... One of the BLM protesters named “Brian” said they chose that exact moment “To make our voices heard we chose to do this during the moment of silence,” and added that “It wasn’t disrespectful because the moment was meant to commemorate the people who died [of AIDS or homophobic and transphobic laws], and most of them are trans women of color so we reclaimed that moment.”"

It’s much safer to back into parking spaces. Why don’t we do it? - "In a parking lot, the AAA thinks we should back in, recommending that “drivers reverse into parking spaces whenever possible, except where prohibited by law or parking lot restrictions.”... a 2010 study by Claudia C. Wolf and colleagues at Germany's Ruhr University-Bochum bore out the stereotype. The researchers took male and female drivers of varying experience levels to a parking garage and asked them to front a car into a space, back a car in, and parallel park backing up. The men parked significantly faster... As for accuracy (measured by the distance to neighboring cars), men were slightly better in all three maneuvers, with only parallel parking showing a statistically significant superiority... there is a difference between men and women — and more generally, within the overall population — on the skills that go into parking, especially parking while backing up. The most important such skill is what psychologists “mental rotation,” or the ability to imagine objects in other than their actual position. (You can test your own mental rotation skills here.) For reasons that are still widely debated, men are on the whole better mental rotators than women."

Predicting Productivity Gains from Parking Behavior by Shaomin Li - "I propose to use parking behavior as a direct measure of delayed gratification, a cultural trait recognized by psychologists and economists as contributing to people’s economic success. Specifically, I argue that people who park their cars back-in as opposed to head-in embody a culture of delayed gratification. Backing into a parking space requires more time and effort, but it will enable the driver to exit more easily, safely, and quickly in the future. The feasibility of collecting parking behavior data across countries provides a new and viable way to overcome the limitation of relying on attitudinal or experimental data to measure the culture and behaviors of delayed gratification."

The PISA fallacy in Singapore: insights from the NIE - "Director General of the Ministry of Education, Mr Wong Siew Hoong, projected graphs depicting Singapore’s stellar PISA results. He then juxtaposed these to OECD data on student wellbeing, and also of innovation in the economy, revealing Singapore in the lowest quartile. His conclusion was stark: “we’ve been winning the wrong race”. Wong Siew attributed Singapore’s PISA success to standardised test drilling and a culture of compliance, only to retort: “we’re building compliant students just as the jobs that value compliance are beginning to disappear”."
The MOE says he did not make these comments, but instead something else, which is quite different

ACLU hammered for tweeting 'white supremacist' photo - "The American Civil Liberties Union is apologizing after tweeting a controversial photo of a white baby holding an American flag. On Wednesday afternoon, the group posted the photo of the toddler wearing a 'Free Speech' onesie along with the caption: 'This is the future that ACLU members want'. The free-speech organization was blasted by social media users who accused the post of being racially insensitive and even likened it to pro-Nazi commentary."
Supporting free speech, being white and wanting the best for your country = white supremacist. So I guess liberals are right that white supremacy is really strong

Charles Barkley Is a Great Example of a Black White Supremacist - "What we as black people need to do, we need to worry about getting our education. We need to stop killing each other. We need to try to find a way to have more economic opportunity and things like that. Those things are important and significant."
The bar for being a white supremacist drops lower every day
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