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Friday, May 26, 2017

Links - 26th May 2017 (2)

30mn Africans may come to Europe within next 10 years – EU parliament chief

EU to Open Migration Centres in Africa Because Europe 'Needs 6 Million Migrants'
Why do EU politicians and officials conflate encouraging migration humanitarian and economic reasons?

Nonprogressing HIV-infected children share fundamental immunological features of nonpathogenic SIV infection - "Although most people that get infected with HIV develop AIDS, rare individuals maintain immune function in the presence of virus, a phenomenon also seen in natural hosts of the closely related SIV. Muenchhoff et al. describe a cohort of pediatric HIV patients who have normal CD4 T cell counts, despite high viremia and lack of antiviral treatment. These children have low immune activation, including less chemokine receptor CCR5 expression on central memory CD4 T cells, similar to sooty mangabeys infected with SIV. The immune mechanisms described in these patients shed light on HIV pathogenesis, which may help develop future treatments."

Letters from Africa: Is Nigeria being punished by God? - "This attitude of attributing life circumstances to forces beyond people's control is antithetical to progress and development. It is impossible to cultivate a spirit of innovation and transformation when people believe themselves helpless about their plight."

Senegal plans to ban full-face veil amid militant threat - "The move should not be seen as anti-Islamic, as Senegal was a mainly Muslim state, Abdoulaye Daouda added. If the plan becomes law, Senegal will be the fifth African state to restrict the wearing of the full-face veil."
Islamophobia!

Thank Trump for Enforcing Obama's 'Red Line' in Syria - "Norms like the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons are not self-enforcing. They require a superpower like America to deter other dictators from future violations. When the U.S. abdicates its responsibility to make good on its red line on chemical weapons, it invites mischief from rogues all over the world. So it's not surprising that China's predations in the South China Sea, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Iran's meddling in Yemen all happened after Obama punted on the red line in Syria."

Man held at knifepoint knocks out mugger, takes selfie - "He received both positive and negative comments. Some accused him of racism. Others, like comedian and actor Siv Ngesi, who was also his friend, jumped to his defence on Facebook. Wood said it was interesting that some were upset about the photo, but not the crime."
So apparently if you're white you're supposed to let a black robber rob you, or you're racist

Jamie Foxx: black stars – including Will Smith – need to #actbetter to win Oscars - "Appearing at the American black film festival awards on Sunday, the Oscar-winner joked that he and Denzel Washington were unimpressed with complaints over the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ failure to nominate a single actor of colour for the second year in a row."

The French African Connection - "African leaders, well aware of France's need for their countries' resources, adopted the same manipulation tactics once used on them. So, after supporting a war in Biafra, overthrowing several presidents, collapsing Guinea’s economy and bribing leaders to support its interests, France started to lose the control that it once exercised in Africa. Some African leaders insisted on selecting French ministers and ambassadors. And presidents like Omar Bongo of Gabon and Mamadou Tandja of Niger realised that they could leverage their natural resources to sway French decision-making."

They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia. Now Liberia Is Erasing Them. - The New York Times - "As bodies were piling up in the streets and global health officials were warning that the country’s ages-old traditions for funerals and burials were spreading the disease, these men did what few Liberians had done before: set fire to the dead. And for four months they did so repeatedly, burning close to 2,000 bodies. Villagers protested near the site, hurling abuse and epithets at the men they called “those Ebola burners them.” The government deployed police officers and soldiers along the dirt road to the crematory site in a field to keep angry locals from the men."

Fewer Tomatoes in Ketchup? East Europeans Pursue Parity at the Grocery - The New York Times - "When Simona Budinska, a 31-year-old public relations specialist, had trouble finding lactose-free products at her local grocery, she and her husband began driving across the border to Austria, where the stores were teeming with choices. But it was not the variety of products on the shelves as much as what was in them that stunned the couple. “The washing powder was just much more effective, and the ketchup contained more tomatoes than the Slovak one,” Ms. Budinska said... Food producers and industry analysts point out that it is common for ingredients to differ from country to country, sometimes to favor local producers, sometimes to appease local tastes and, yes, sometimes to increase profits by substituting cheaper ingredients... Food producers and industry experts insist there are often sound reasons for products to differ between countries: local tastes, a preference for local ingredients, divergent buying patterns."
This is why you shouldn't shop in Malaysia

Growth, Not Forced Equality, Saves the Poor - NYTimes.com - "Cutting down the tall poppies uses violence for the cut. And you need to know exactly which poppies to cut. Trusting a government of self-interested people to know how to redistribute ethically is naïve. Another problem is that the cutting reduces the size of the crop... The magic has been tried, in Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China. So has the violence... As a matter of arithmetic, expropriating the rich to give to the poor does not uplift the poor very much. If we took every dime from the top 20 percent of the income distribution and gave it to the bottom 80 percent, the bottom folk would be only 25 percent better off. If we took only from the superrich, the bottom would get less than that. And redistribution works only once. You can’t expect the expropriated rich to show up for a second cutting... In South Korea, economic growth has increased the income of the poorest by a factor of 30 times real 1953 income. Which do we want, a small one-time (though envy-and-anger-satisfying) extraction from the rich, or a free society of betterment, one that lifts up the poor by gigantic amounts?"

Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs With Smartphones? - The New York Times - "interactive media appears to play to similar impulses as drug experimentation, including sensation-seeking and the desire for independence. Or it might be that gadgets simply absorb a lot of time that could be used for other pursuits, including partying... the phone provides a valuable tool for people at parties who don’t want to do drugs because “you can sit around and look like you’re doing something, even if you’re not doing something, like just surfing the web.”"

If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama - The New York Times - "Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists."

IBM Gives Watson a New Challenge: Your Tax Return - The New York Times

Caste Is Not Past - The New York Times - "Politics is where caste has gotten a surprising new lease on life. After money and education, democracy is, of course, the third powerful force transforming Indian society. But Indians, it turns out, are passionate about the caste of their politicians. Nearly half of the voting population of even a highly educated city like Bangalore considers caste to be the No. 1 reason to vote for a candidate. Democracy gives power to people who previously had none. But, like race, caste can shift political discussions from present-day merit to payback for historical injustices... Indian political parties have played caste politics for years. The powerful Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party and its derivatives have thrived on an anti-Brahmin platform in Tamil Nadu. The compelling rise of Mayawati, a Dalit woman who goes by one name, to chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was built on the support of her caste. But, once in office, her reputation as one of the world’s most influential female politicians was marred by corruption and mismanagement in her administration"

Dangerous Fruit: Mystery of Deadly Outbreaks in India Is Solved - NYTimes.com - "Beginning in 1995, investigations variously ascribed the phenomenon to heat stroke; to infections carried by rats, bats or sand flies; or to pesticides used in the region’s ubiquitous lychee orchards. But there were few signposts for investigators. Instead of occurring in clusters, the illness typically struck only one child in a village, often leaving even siblings unaffected. A joint investigation by India’s National Center for Disease Control and the India office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, published in the British medical journal The Lancet Global Health on Tuesday, has identified a surprising culprit: the lychee fruit itself, when eaten on an empty stomach by malnourished children."

France’s Obsession With Decline Is a Booming Industry - NYTimes.com - "“To put it in Manichaean terms: Anything positive doesn’t sell, and anything negative sells, as if there were a sort of masochism on the part of some readers,” said the historian Robert Frank, the author of the 2014 book “The Fear of Decline: France from 1914 to 2014.”... Even if declinism is going strong, France’s birthrate is still among the highest in Europe, and studies have consistently shown the French to be more pessimistic about their country than about their own lives."

Cecil the Lion: variety of activists have angry tweets decrying lack of attention to non-lion causes in wake of hunting dentist story. - "the sentiment stirred by Cecil's death is not shared by many Zimbabweans, and the outpouring of grief is perplexing to people dealing with tough economic and social problems in addition to the occasional threat to life and property by wild animals...
'So, people in Zimbabwe are telling the American press, “black lives matter,” referring to their own lives relative to Cecil.'"

Burger King hijacks the Google Assistant, gets shut down by Google

Islamic Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi speaks out against halal Easter eggs - "Hiding out in Adelaide under police instruction, Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi has said halal certification on chocolate Easter eggs is not necessary. Imam Tawhidi said in a Facebook post: “Muslims would never eat products with Jewish terminologies or Christian cross”. “Stamping Australian products with Islamic terminologies is an insult to 98 per cent of Australians, and is a threat to their way of life,” he wrote in the long social media post. “I, as an Australian Muslim, feel very insulted when the culture I have adapted to for decades is now being changed.”"

WATCH – Black Lives Matter Has EVIL Message For Police. ARREST THEM. - "Black Lives Matter has been terrorizing America, rioting and causing mayhem, but it’s time that BLM and their rhetoric is stopped before more innocent lives are lost. Janaya Khan, an “activist” of the Black Lives Matter movement, stated, “I think we start with the demilitarization of the police…that means taking money out of police budgets and slowly phasing out police because we don’t actually need them in our communities. This woman would rather abolish society’s brave protectors based on a false belief system rather than encourage criminals to change their behavior. BLM would rather blame the police for the country’s problems than take responsibility for their own heinous actions.”

9 signs your Mental Illness is made up for attention - "2. You are constantly sharing shit about it on social media. Every time someone writes a #powerful #essay on whatever website about their struggle with upper-middle-class anxiety, you share it. You share “How to date someone with ____.” You share “7 things only people with OCD know.” It’s your whole identity, and you’re constantly reminding people that you are sick and brave and in a permanent struggle against the world.
3. You list it in your bios. If your bio announces from the get-go that you have depression — before you even mention, I don’t know, a job or a hobby or an accomplishment, you need help. And not in the “Lexapro” department, in the “you have nothing interesting to say about yourself besides a disorder” department."

Teacher cleared of raping pupil warns men to stay away from teaching: "There is nothing to protect you" - "A geography teacher cleared of raping a pupil has warned that men should steer clear of the profession, after a false allegation shattered his dream career."

Allrecipes reveals the enormous gap between foodie culture and what Americans actually cook. - "To work your way through the Allrecipes hall of fame, Julie & Julia–style, is to be confronted with an obvious truth: Most people are far more concerned with convenience and affordability than authenticity or novelty"

"Suicides" really honor killings? - "Swedish Radio News reports that the police in this Nordic sensation suspect a dozen cases of reported suicides since 2006 were possibly honor killings - the murder of young women and girls in mostly immigrant families - by parents or brothers outraged that the girl has refused orders to marry someone against her will … or defying the family's honor by dating a Swede or other boy friend not approved for cultural, ethnic or religious reasons."

Aging population and automation effect on economic growth - ""There is no evidence of a negative relationship between aging and GDP per capita," they wrote in a paper entitled "Secular Stagnation? The Effect of Aging on Economic Growth in the Age of Automation." The paper continues, "On the contrary, the relationship is significantly positive in many specifications.""

Here's the surprising reason highways have those concrete walls alongside them - "Those walls were actually constructed for noise reduction. A wall higher than the average person can lower sound by five decibels."

$43 million was found in a Nigerian apartment and everyone made the same joke

For growth we want good institutions—democracy is irrelevant - "Perhaps democratic ignorance and expert narrow-mindedness roughly balance out—or perhaps representative democracies and non-democracies both choose similar sorts of people to rule anyway. Either way, the evidence seems to suggest that insofar as we can help countries to develop, the key institutions we should be supporting are markets, property rights and the rule of law, and considerably less significance should be accorded to democratisation."

'Ban Cars to Stop Terror' Says Sweden's Best-Selling Newspaper After Stockholm Attack - "The idea of reducing the number of cars in Swedish cities was backed last month by Sweden’s environment minister, who argued that driving is a gender equality issue as well as a matter of shrinking the nation’s carbon emissions. “Cars are driven largely by men so by giving a lot of space to cars; we’re giving a lot of space to men — at the expense of women,” Karolina Skog explained."

Homosexuality in Islam

"All the legal schools [of Islam] regard sex between males as unlawful... When we turn from the question of sex between males to that of love or attraction between males, the picture is a little different. There are a number of indications that the Prophet was not insensitive to the attractiveness of other males... there is no evidence that [the Prophet] regarded the attraction itself as foreign to his own nature, rather the contrary. In fact later writers, such as Ibn al-Farid, assumed that the Prophet himself loved another man, namely his Companion Mu'adh ibn Jabal. The Prophet is reported to have said, "O Mu'adh, truly I love thee" (Arberry 1956:53n24). Ibn al-Farid takes this relationship as a paradigm of chaste love between males.

Romantic love between males, provided it is chaste, appears to have had an accepted place in Islamic cultures, in a way it has rarely if ever had in Judeo-Christian ones"

--- Muhammad and Male Homosexuality / Jim Wafer in Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature (ed Will Roscoe, Stephen O. Murray)


"It is sufficient for a good Moslem to abstain from those things which Allah has forbidden, and which, if he choose to do, he will find charged to his account on the Day of Resurrection. But to admire beauty, and to be mastered by love - that is a natural thing, and comes not within the range of Divine commandment and prohibition"

--- Ibn Hazm, Andalusian theologian


"Abdal-Hakim Murad [a Sunni theologian]... accets "homosexuality as an innate disposition" in some (though not all) cases... Murad stresses that there are no circumstances under which an individual with homosexual "tendencies" - which he likens to the impulses of a pyromaniac "mental pateitn" - can lawfully act on his or her desires. The only religiously acceptable option for someone with a homoerotic orientaton is permanent chastity: Murad sees it as a test from God. His stance coincides with the Muslim Women's League statement"

--- Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith and Jurisprudence / Kecia Ali


Christopher van der Krogt, Lecturer in History and Religious Studies at Massey University:

"Scriptures and later writers usually referred only to particular sexual acts and did not raise the issue of personal sexual orientation."

(Homosexuality and Islam: What does the Qur’an actually say about gay people?)


In other words, just like in Christianity a distinction is drawn between homosexual desires and homosexual acts (what are truly condemned).

Links - 26th May 2017 (1)

Salman Abedi named as the Manchester suicide bomber - what we know about him - "The suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens more at the Manchester Arena has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, according to US officials. Born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children his parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime."
Saying that almost none of today's attacks are by current refugees is not comforting

Are Tories the workers' party? Labour polling figures suggest they are - "Jeremy Corbyn appears in this election campaign to have achieved something even Ed Miliband was unable to do: lose the majority support not only of Britain’s skilled workers, dubbed social class C2 by the pollsters, but also the DEs – the semi-skilled, unskilled and unemployed.

The Comey memo offers no proof for impeachment of Trump - "this memo is neither the Pentagon Papers nor the Watergate tapes. Indeed, it raises as many questions for Comey as it does Trump in terms of the alleged underlying conduct... Impeachment is not meant to be an alternative for criminal cases that cannot be submitted to a grand jury. It is also not meant to be politics by other means. Finally, it is not a vehicle to redo an election for those with morning-after regrets. Ironically, for those who charge that Trump has compromised the legal system, the same objection can be made over demands for criminal charges or impeachment based on his still undisclosed memo."
"Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He testified during the Clinton impeachment and serves as the lead defense counsel in the last impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate for Judge Thomas Porteous."

London Summit 2017 | SeekingArrangement - "Becoming a Sugar Baby just got easier! SeekingArrangement.com’s Sugar Baby Summit is a meeting of Sugar Babies that features progressive courses on how to succeed in Sugar. This Summit is aimed at providing a skill set unlike any other. The event features experienced Sugar Baby coaches, as well as a roster of financial, career, and relationship experts. Each course provides valuable knowledge about Sugaring, but is also designed to improve your life overal"

Forget paleo, go mid-Victorian: it’s the healthiest diet you’ve never heard of - "Health expectancy provides valuable comparative insight. Mid-Victorians enjoyed relatively good health in old age. The elderly then, including workhouse inmates, were physically capable of working until the last few days or day of their lives. Agricultural labourers regularly worked into their 70s. Hospital capacity was limited because of home nursing and a lesser need for non-acute medical facilities. In contrast, men today can anticipate spending the last 7.7 years of their lives in a state of increasing medical dependency: for women that figure is in excess of 10 years. From this perspective, the medical gains of the last century are severely tarnished. The implications of a better understanding of mid-Victorian health are profound. It becomes clear that, with the exception of family planning, the vast edifice of post-1948 healthcare has not so much enabled us to live longer but has merely supplied methods of controlling the symptoms of non-communicable degenerative diseases, which have become prevalent due to our failure to maintain mid-Victorian nutritional standards. Dysnutrition is arguably the largest cause of ill-health today. Our study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (here, here, and here) shows that the majority of the Victorian urban poor consumed diets which were limited, but contained extremely high nutrient density. Bread could be expensive but onions, watercress, cabbage, and fruit like apples and cherries were all cheap and did not need to be carefully budgeted for. Beetroot was eaten all year round; Jerusalem artichokes were often home-grown. Fish such as herrings and meat in some form (scraps, chops and even joints) were common too. All in all, a reversion to mid-Victorian nutritional values would significantly improve health expectancy today... In the 1870s Victorian health was challenged by cheap sugar and the first generation of mass-processed high-salt and high-sugar foods. This dragged urban health and life expectancy to a nadir around 1900 — a date that consequently provides a highly misleading baseline. (The trend was even reflected in people’s height. The minimum height for infantry was lowered from 5ft 6in to 5ft 3in, then later to 5ft, in just two decades.)"

It’s dangerous and wrong to tell all children they’re ‘gender fluid’ - "What started as a baffling skirmish on the wilder shores of victim culture has now turned into something more menacing. The Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee has produced a report saying transgender people are being failed. The issue is not just whether they really do change their sex. The crime being committed by society is to insist on any objective evidence for this at all. According to the committee, people should be able to change their gender at will merely by filling in a form. Instead of requiring evidence of sex-change treatment, Britain should adopt the ‘self-declaration’ model now used in Ireland, Malta, Argentina and Denmark. To paraphrase Descartes, ‘I think I am a man/woman/of no sex, therefore I am.’... for trans people gender is certainly not irrelevant but is of all–consuming importance. Yet Miller and her committee would deprive them of the ability to announce their new sexual identity on passports or other official documents. Is this not, by Miller’s own logic, cruelty to trans people? But of course logic doesn’t come into this. Gender politics is all about subjective feelings. It has nothing to do with fairness or equality. It embodies instead an extreme egalitarianism which holds that any evidence of difference is a form of prejudice... a UK survey found about half of young and a third of adult transgender people said they had attempted suicide. The committee does not suggest this is most likely because of the unbearable mental conflict over their sexual identity. Instead, it blames ‘transphobia’ for driving them to this despair... Trans and gender issues, says the committee, should be taught in schools as part of personal, social and health education. We can all predict what will happen. Gender fluidity will be actively promoted as just another lifestyle choice. Under the commendable guise of stopping the minute number of transgender children being bullied, the rest of the class will be bullied into accepting the prescribed orthodoxy — that gender is mutable, and any differentiation in value between behaviour or attitudes is bigoted and prohibited... According to Professor McHugh, prepubescent children who begin imitating the opposite sex are being treated by misguided doctors with puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgery less onerous — even though such drugs stunt children’s growth and risk causing sterility. These are the very drugs that the Miller committee wants the specialist Tavistock gender clinic to prescribe to children with less delay."

The sneering response to Trump’s victory reveals exactly why he won - "The suggestion that American women, more than 40 per cent of whom are thought to have voted for Trump, suffer from internalised misogyny: that is, they don’t know their own minds, the poor dears... those who do politics these days — the political establishment, the media, the academy, the celeb set — are so contemptuous of ordinary people, so hateful of the herd, so convinced that the mass of society cannot be trusted to make political decisions, and now those ordinary people have given their response to such top-down sneering and prejudice. Oh, the irony of observers denouncing Middle America as a seething hotbed of hatred even as they hatefully libel it a dumb and ugly mob... The respectable set’s allergy to Trump is fundamentally an allergy to the idea of democracy itself."

Taipei’s Fiery New Mayor Knows Whose Culture Is Best | Foreign Policy - "For the [world’s] four Chinese-speaking regions — Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mainland China — the longer the colonization, the more advanced a place is. It’s rather embarrassing. Singapore is better than Hong Kong; Hong Kong is better than Taiwan; Taiwan is better than the mainland. I’m speaking in terms of culture. I’ve been to Vietnam and mainland China. Even though the Vietnamese are seemingly poor, they always stop in front of red traffic lights and walk in front of green ones. Even though mainland China’s GDP is higher than that of Vietnam, if you ask me about culture, the Vietnamese culture is superior... I once said that when more than 99 percent of Chinese people close the doors while doing their business in bathrooms, we can start talking about reunification. This hurt the feelings of many Chinese people, but a cultural gap [between mainland China and Taiwan] does exist"

India Doesn’t Understand Its Rape Problem | Foreign Policy - "Protesters, politicians, and celebrities have advocated vocally for harsher punishments for rapists, from public execution by firing squad to surgical castration. But violent retribution, judicial and extrajudicial alike, has done little to end rape. Statistics from India’s National Crime Records Bureau show that incidents of reported rape in the country increased 35.2 percent between 2012 and 2013. Rather than solving the rape problem, the bloodlust pulsing through India has instead squelched the country’s ability to address the problem’s roots... Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the advocacy group All India Progressive Women’s Association, argues that the obsession with punishment “deflect[s] attention from the accountability shared by the state” — its failure to address social norms that lead to sex crimes against women. These norms often emerge from legal and educational institutions that place little to no premium on gender equality. India’s preoccupation with capital punishment gives “individuals a way to distance themselves from potentially sexist beliefs they may themselves hold”... the Justice Verma Committee report included numerous legal reform recommendations, such as stiffer sentencing and an expanded list of criminal offenses against women. It also advised against capital punishment or chemical castration as punishments for rape, citing a lack of empirical evidence that either deters violence... India’s lower house of Parliament passed a bill that ignored many of the Justice Verma Committee’s most substantive recommendations... In April 2014, a Mumbai court handed down death sentences for three men convicted in the 2013 gang rape of a journalist. Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor in the case, said he sought the death penalty because he “wanted to send a message to like-minded persons that if they commit such crimes the death penalty is inevitable.” “For the government, legislation was the easiest change they could enact,” says Nikhil Mehra, an advocate who served as a researcher with the committee. “Generating serious societal change, on the other hand, is much more difficult.”"

The Social Laboratory | Foreign Policy - "many current and former U.S. officials have come to see Singapore as a model for how they'd build an intelligence apparatus if privacy laws and a long tradition of civil liberties weren't standing in the way... they are looking to analyze Facebook posts, Twitter messages, and other social media in an attempt to "gauge the nation's mood" about everything from government social programs to the potential for civil unrest... In a country run by engineers and technocrats, it's an article of faith among the governing elite, and seemingly among most of the public, that Singapore's 3.8 million citizens and permanent residents... are perpetually on a knife's edge between harmony and chaos... This economic rise might be unprecedented in the modern era, yet the more Singapore has grown, the more Singaporeans fear loss... Singaporeans' boundless ambition is matched only by their extreme aversion to risk... by U.S. standards, Singapore's privacy laws are virtually nonexistent, and it's possible that the government collected private communications, financial data, public transportation records, and medical information without any court approval or private consent... The officials running RAHS today are tight-lipped about exactly what data they monitor, though they acknowledge that a significant portion of "articles" in their databases come from publicly available information, including news reports, blog posts, Facebook updates, and Twitter messages... One Singaporean told me it's easy to find porn -- just look for the web addresses without any obviously sexual words in them... Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus, by Donald Low and Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, argues that the ruling People's Action Party, which has held uninterrupted power since 1959, may have invented the notion that Singapore is one step away from ruin in a bid to subdue the masses and cement the government's hold on power... "In Singapore, the threshold for surveillance is deemed relatively higher," according to one RAHS study, with the majority of citizens having accepted the "surveillance situation" as necessary for deterring terrorism and "self-radicalization.""

University of Wisconsin Study Finds Eudaimonic Happiness Lessens the 'Bite' of Risk Factors for Disease - WSJ - "Some researchers say happiness as people usually think of it—the experience of pleasure or positive feelings—is far less important to physical health than the type of well-being that comes from engaging in meaningful activity. Researchers refer to this latter state as "eudaimonic well-being." Happiness research, a field known as "positive psychology," is exploding. Some of the newest evidence suggests that people who focus on living with a sense of purpose as they age are more likely to remain cognitively intact, have better mental health and even live longer than people who focus on achieving feelings of happiness. In fact, in some cases, too much focus on feeling happy can actually lead to feeling less happy, researchers say. .. symptoms of depression, paranoia and psychopathology have increased among generations of American college students from 1938 to 2007, according to a statistical review published in 2010 in Clinical Psychology Review. Researchers at San Diego State University who conducted the analysis pointed to increasing cultural emphasis in the U.S. on materialism and status, which emphasize hedonic happiness, and decreasing attention to community and meaning in life, as possible explanations"

How to Trick the Guilty and Gullible into Revealing Themselves - WSJ - "By the early 1980s, Van Halen had become one of the biggest rock bands in history. Their touring contract carried a 53-page rider that laid out technical and security specs as well as food and beverage requirements. The "Munchies" section demanded potato chips, nuts, pretzels and "M&M's (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES)." When the M&M clause found its way into the press, it seemed like a typical case of rock-star excess, of the band "being abusive of others simply because we could," Mr. Roth said. But, he explained, "the reality is quite different." Van Halen's live show boasted a colossal stage, booming audio and spectacular lighting. All this required a great deal of structural support, electrical power and the like. Thus the 53-page rider, which gave point-by-point instructions to ensure that no one got killed by a collapsing stage or a short-circuiting light tower. But how could Van Halen be sure that the local promoter in each city had read the whole thing and done everything properly? Cue the brown M&M's... During the Middle Ages, if a court couldn't determine whether a defendant was guilty, it often turned the case over to a priest who would administer an "ordeal" using boiling water or a smoking-hot iron bar. The idea was that God, who knew the truth, would miraculously deliver from harm any suspect who had been wrongly accused. As a means of establishing guilt, the medieval ordeal sounds barbaric and nonsensical. But according to Peter Leeson, an economist at George Mason University, it was surprisingly effective—because it let the garden weed itself... After a new employee has completed a few weeks of training, Zappos offers them a chance to quit. Even better, the quitter will be paid for their training time and get a bonus representing their first month's salary—roughly $2,000—just for quitting! All they have to do is go through an exit interview and surrender their eligibility to be rehired at Zappos. What kind of company would offer a new employee $2,000 not to work?... Mr. Hsieh figured that any worker who would take the easy $2,000 was the kind of worker who would end up losing the firm a lot more in the long run. By one industry estimate, it costs an average of roughly $4,000 to replace a single employee, and one recent survey of 2,500 companies found that a single bad hire can cost more than $25,000 in lost productivity, lower morale and the like"

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms, Such as Watery Eyes, Sneezing and Fatigue, Can Significantly Impair Driving Ability - WSJ - "Common seasonal allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, sneezing and fatigue, can significantly impair driving ability, says a study in the July issue of Allergy. Allergy symptoms' effect on driving was comparable to having a blood-alcohol concentration nearing impaired levels, according to the researchers. Allergy medications weren't wholly effective at reducing the symptoms' effects...
Bedrooms of boys with above-average BMIs had significantly more TVs, electronic games and magazines. Bedrooms of boys with average or below-average BMIs had more souvenirs from other places, computers, religious items and artwork or pictures. Girls with above-average BMIs had more board games, dolls, and stereos. Girls with lower BMIs were more likely to have objects associated with physical activity, such as calendars, schedules and spinning disco balls...
Pressure from waist belts, especially worn over a large waistline, can cause pockets of silent acid reflux to develop in the lower esophagus without noticeable symptoms...
People with peripheral artery disease, or narrowed leg arteries, were able to walk significantly farther using Nordic walking poles than when they didn't use poles, according to a study in the June issue of the British Journal of Surgery. Poles work the body 23% harder than normal walking, but the participants didn't seem aware of the extra exertion, the researchers said"

For More Teens, Arrests by Police Replace School Discipline - WSJ - "A generation ago, schoolchildren caught fighting in the corridors, sassing a teacher or skipping class might have ended up in detention. Today, there’s a good chance they will end up in police custody... a student got a misdemeanor ticket for wearing too much perfume... a teen was charged with theft after sharing the chicken nuggets from a classmate’s meal—the classmate was on lunch assistance and sharing it meant the teen had violated the law... Nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database... In recent decades, a new philosophy in law enforcement had been applied to schools. It was “deal with the small stuff so they won’t go to the big stuff, and also it sent a strong message of deterrence”"
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