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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Links - 15th July 2017 (2)

A moment that changed me: lashing out at a man who opened the door for the newly thin me - "I began screaming at him at the top of my lungs. “No, you can not open this door for me! You wouldn’t have opened it two years ago, so you damn sure can’t open it now!” I scowled and stormed away, completely enraged. It was the third time that week that a man had done something polite for me"
And feminists wonder why people have problems with feminism
Comments: "Speaking as someone who routinely holds doors open for people, whatever their weight or sex, and often gets ignored for it, I think you might be projecting your own issues on that man."
"I remember being at school, when a (very decent) male teacher held the door for a female teacher. The female commented - fairly loudly - in front of a group of students and staff, that he was 'a good old-fashioned male chauvinist'. He let the door go, knocking a pile of books and papers out of her hands, which she had to pick up herself in front of those watching. Priceless!"
"I offered my seat on the tube to a woman I suppose of my age with shopping who snapped " I've got a perfectly good pair of legs I don't need your seat ""


Iranian Media Clash Over Ahmadinejad’s Embrace of Chavez’s Mother - "In the picture taken last week at Chavez’s funeral Ahamdinejad can be seen touching the hands of the grieving Elena Frias de Chavez, Chavez’s mother, under the watchful eye of his Deputy Hojat al Islam Mohammad Reza Mirtaj Aldini. The picture immediately went viral on Facebook and Twitter. Most users either joked about his sincerity or wondered how religious circles would react back in Iran. Islamic law forbids the touching of unrelated men and women. The reaction from religious circles was swift."

Survey reveals Muslim views on violence - "Up to 1.3 percent of Indonesian Muslims nationwide admit using violence against people or objects they consider contradictory to their beliefs... The survey, conducted from 2001 to March 2006, found 43.5 percent of respondents were ready to wage war on threatening non-Muslim groups, 40 percent would use violence against those blaspheming Islam and 14.7 percent would tear down churches without official permits... a simultaneous study on the reasons for the results found Islamic teaching and Islamism made the most significant contributions to violent behavior, both in the domestic and public spheres... between 30 percent and 58 percent approved of amputation of the left hand for thieves and the stoning to death of rapists, as well as other tenets of sharia law, and opposed the election of non-Muslims for president."

‘Ghost in the Shell’: Mamoru Oshii on “Whitewashing” Allegations - "While Johansson’s casting has been decried by many — including George Takei and Margaret Cho — one notable defender has been the original director of the classic 1995 anime version, Mamoru Oshii. In an interview with IGN, Oshii voiced his approval of Johansson and displeasure with fans who took issue with her portrayal of The Major.
“What issue could there possibly be with casting her?” Oshii asked. “The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name ‘Motoko Kusanagi’ and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply”... “I believe having Scarlett play Motoko was the best possible casting for this movie. I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics,” he added."
Looks like the Japanese need to be educated about how they are being oppressed

We Don't Have A Wage Gap Problem, But Hollywood And The White House Do - "We live in a time when people think they’re courageous for saying things that everyone agrees with... the White House suffers from a deeply alarming pay gap. And a pay gap that hasn’t gotten better since Obama took office. We have two possible scenarios here. Either the White House — the headquarters of Mr. Equal Pay himself — suffers from a whopping pay gap of 13.3 percent, practicing unconscionable sexism by paying its female staffers an average of five figures ($10,100) less than the male staffers, or the White House is guilty of deception about pay gaps. It’s actually the latter, but it’s not like our media will press them on the matter... It’s sort of hard to feel bad for a group of women who made more money this year than you will in 20, but if there is one industry that is super sexist (and racist, not that Arquette mentioned that), it’s Hollywood. This is an industry riddled with problems. Charlize Theron apparently found out from those hacked Sony emails that she was being paid $10 million less than her less experienced male co-star named Chris Hemsworth."

Parents of 'unarmed' white teen shot dead by cop outraged - "their fight for justice appears to have fallen on deaf ears because of the teen's race. "It's sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen," Bland told The Washington Post. "The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.""
Black lives matter more than it is claimed

"Snow White: An Islamic Tale" Reviewed - "the only person to take note of her beauty is the vain stepmother. In fact, more fuss is made over her style of Quranic recitation and generosity than over her looks. And much to my delight, the seven male dwarves are replaced with dwarf sisters-in-faith who not only teach Snow White calligraphy, herbal medicines, veterinary arts, but how to run a business!... It’s amazing to see an Islamic alternative source of fairy tale entertainment return so much agency back to the “princess.”"

Why demonizing white bread falls flat - "White flour contains only the endosperm, but since the 1940s, it’s been fortified to replace nutrients... All “whole grain” breads, artisanal or store-bought, she explains, are cut with white flour. “Bread made entirely from whole grain is very dense and heavy and not to most peoples’ taste,” she explains. “It’s a totally different product.” (Try making pancakes with whole-wheat flour and you’ll see.) It also means that the nutritional advantages of breads labeled “whole grain” varies from brand to brand and bakery to bakery... When it comes to taste, white break remains king, say bakers... “White flour allows for a perfectly thin crisp crust with a soft center,” she says, and restaurants prefer it."

Free booze is drying up in Las Vegas casinos - "If you bet the max—usually $1.25 or so—for four or five hands, the green light goes on and a free drink is headed your way. The red light will cut off the flow of gratis booze if you slow down your playing pace."

Why 30 is the decade friends disappear — and what to do about it - "starting at age 25, we lose more friends than we make each year. On the other side of the 30, we keep adding casual friends, but most of us won’t gain close friends like before; no more best friends. The 30s are a time for settling in to friendly acquaintances and hanging on to faraway friends over texts and Facebook... It has become harder to make friends after each move and each passing year, and my expectations have shifted. I’m no longer waiting for someone who loves reality TV and Twitter as much as I do or has the same warm personality as one of my old friends. I’m down to the important things: someone who lives close enough, responds to my texts, and is willing to hang out."

How Friendships Change Over Time - "“The largest drop-off in friends in the life course occurs when people get married,” Rawlins says. “And that’s kind of ironic, because at the [wedding], people invite both of their sets of friends, so it’s kind of this last wonderful and dramatic gathering of both people’s friends, but then it drops off”... Hanging out with a set of lifelong best friends can be annoying, because the years of inside jokes and references often make their communication unintelligible to outsiders. But this sort of shared language is part of what makes friendships last. In the longitudinal study, the researchers were also able to predict friends’ future closeness by how well they performed on a word-guessing game in 1983... If you never see your friends in person, you’re not really sharing experiences so much as just keeping each other updated on your separate lives. It becomes a relationship based on storytelling rather than shared living—not bad, just not the same."

You Can Now Buy A 70 Mph Adult Version Of The Little Tikes Toy Car.

Age no excuse for failing to learn a new language - "When asked to apply the rule to new words, the 8-year-olds performed no better than chance, while most 12-year-olds and adults scored over 90 per cent. Adults fared best, and have great potential for learning new languages implicitly, says Ferman. Unlike the younger children, most adults and 12-year-olds worked out the way the rule worked – and once they did, their scores soared"

Tokyo court ruling says adultery OK if it's for business: experts

Does True Love Wait? Age of First Sexual Experience Predicts Romantic Outcomes in Adulthood - ""We still don't understand precisely why delaying sexual intercourse is correlated with more satisfied adult relationships," Harden said. "In the future, we are interested in looking at whether sexually active teens are more likely to have negative relationship experiences like intimate partner violence that may put them at risk for worse relationship outcomes later in life." Harden also explains that delaying sexual intercourse isn't always associated with more positive outcomes. In her previous work, she found that teenagers who were sexually active in romantic dating relationships had fewer delinquent behavior problems. "The idea that abstaining from sex is always 'good' for teens is an oversimplification. Teenagers' sexual experiences are complicated," she said."

BBC Threatens To Tell Your Boss If You Post 'Offensive' Comments Online - "It seems reasonable that the BBC should be allowed to report potential criminals to the police. It is less clear what the aim of calling employers or schools could be, other than to get people in trouble without actually having to prove it by interacting with the criminal justice system."

How the Potato Changed the World - "Compared with grains, tubers are inherently more productive. If the head of a wheat or rice plant grows too big, the plant will fall over, with fatal results. Growing underground, tubers are not limited by the rest of the plant. In 2008 a Lebanese farmer dug up a potato that weighed nearly 25 pounds. It was bigger than his head. Many researchers believe that the potato’s arrival in northern Europe spelled an end to famine there. (Corn, another American crop, played a similar but smaller role in southern Europe.) More than that, as the historian William H. McNeill has argued, the potato led to empire: “By feeding rapidly growing populations, [it] permitted a handful of European nations to assert dominion over most of the world between 1750 and 1950.” The potato, in other words, fueled the rise of the West.""

Some old-age truths about happiness - "About 72 per cent of the Chinatown elderly and 69 per cent of the Toa Payoh elderly indicated that they were happy and satisfied with life. However, their reasons for life satisfaction were quite different. The Chinatown elderly lived in smaller HDB flats and preferred to meet friends in community centres or the void decks; their main reasons for life satisfaction were family or social relationships and good health. The Toa Payoh elderly were living in bigger flats and their main reasons for life satisfaction were the comfortable homes and good health. When we assessed the rate of depression in both groups, the prevalence was 5 per cent in the Chinatown elderly and 9 per cent in the Toa Payoh elderly. There was more social interaction among the Chinatown elderly who tended to congregate at public places to chat, watch television, read the papers or play mahjong. The Toa Payoh elderly did not interact as much with neighbours and seemed more isolated and lonely. In short, the Chinatown elderly, although poorer, were happier with lower prevalence of depressive disorder."

British man who lives with TWO girlfriends becomes a dad with BOTH women

How Successful Valedictorians Are After High School - "how many of these number-one high school performers go on to change the world, run the world, or impress the world? The answer seems to be clear: zero... what makes students likely to be impressive in the classroom is the same thing that makes them less likely to be home-run hitters outside the classroom... Academic grades correlate only loosely with intelligence (standardized tests are better at measuring IQ). Grades are, however, an excellent predictor of self-discipline, conscientiousness, and the ability to comply with rules... schools reward being a generalist. There is little recognition of student passion or expertise. The real world, however, does the reverse"

Yale Dean Caught Calling People 'White Trash' and 'Barely Educated Morons' on Yelp - "Apparently Dean June Chu is a champion of diversity and “cultural sensitivity,” except when she goes to crappy restaurants. She referred to customers as “white trash” and “low class folks” and to some employees as “barely educated morons.”"
What does it say that many people who promote "diversity" are intolerant? Someone on Quora drew a parallel with male anti-gay figures caught in public toilets behaving inappropriately

The Official Star Wars Art of Singaporean Darren Tan (Wraithdt)

Oxford student who stabbed boyfriend could be spared jail 'because of her extraordinary talent'
The contrast of the reaction to this with that to Brock Turner is instructive

Dutch King Willem-Alexander reveals secret flights as co-pilot - "he was co-piloting passenger flights incognito, twice a month as king... He told De Telegraaf that he never used his name when addressing passengers and was rarely recognised in uniform and wearing his KLM cap. However, he admitted that some passengers had recognised his voice. "The advantage is that I can always say that I warmly welcome passengers on behalf of the captain and crew," he said. "Then I don't have to give my name.""

Time-restricted feeding study shows promise in helping people shed body fat - "The first human test of early time-restricted feeding, or eTRF, found that this meal-timing strategy reduced swings in hunger and altered fat and carbohydrate burning patterns, which may help with losing weight. With eTRF, people eat their last meal by the mid-afternoon and do not eat again until breakfast the next morning"

Can we bring together Islam and Democracy by Father Professor Samir Khalil Samir, S.J. :: - "Wlodzimierz Redzioch: - Professor Bernard Lewis, outstanding historian and specialist in Islam, claims that Christianity was born in the Roman Empire and developed being aware of the division between religion and state. The historical experiences of Islam are completely different: Muhammad was a prophet but at the same time he was a political ruler. That's is why since the beginning of the history of this religion there has been no difference between the sphere of politics and the sphere of religion in the Islamic society. Is this vision of a religious country still valid in the contemporary Islamic world?
Father Professor Samir Khalil Samir, SJ: - The religious life of Muhammad can be divided into two periods. During the first one, years 610-620, he lived in his hometown Mecca and preached. During that period his teaching was of religious and moral character, and he focused on acknowledging the Only God and the Last Judgement over all other deities... A new period started in Muhammad's life, which lasted till 632. During the second phase the Prophet also became a political leader and organiser of the state...
a predominant majority of Muslims think that religion and politics must be strictly connected and the state is to support Islam so that everybody could or - as some people claim - must practice it. Those who discern the necessity to separate the political sphere from then religious sphere are seen as people who are influenced by the West."

Swedish Migration Policy

On migration in Sweden:

"My friend's brother
He went to Sweden with a tourist visa

He worked with a lawyer for a migration case.

He told them that I don't want money from you, I don't want anything, I just want to have a residency with my family because I'm an atheist and it's very gangrenous for us to stay in Baghdad as he was receiving threats

I will open a private business when I will be settled with my family " he has two small daughters "

The answer from the Swedish immigration office was

Rejected: as you are able to open a business so you don't need our help to stay here, we focus on the people who are in a real need.

And the guy told her
My daughters life is in danger and you only thought that as I'm in a good economic level, so I'm not" the migrant " that you target ?"


This fits in with what we know about Swedish migration policy. The scrapped permanent residence for all Syrians policy aside:

The Swedish Government’s overall EU priorities 2017 - Government.se:

"In its EU-related work in 2017, the Government is giving priority to... a solidarity-based refugee and migration policy"

sweden-promoting-labour-market-integration-among-migrant-population.pdf

"Between 2003 and 2012, nearly 20% of permanent migrant inflows into Sweden were made up of humanitarian migrants – the largest share of all OECD countries. Such migrants have more difficulties to integrate in all OECD countries."

Sweden - the OECD's highest per capita recipient of asylum seekers

"When the figures are adjusted on a per capita basis then Sweden takes a clear lead. It received 5,700 asylum seekers for every million residents of the country. This is more than twice as many as any other country in the OECD"

Should Borders Mater? / A Defence of Nationalism

BBC Radio 4 - The Public Philosopher, The Global Philosopher: Should Borders Matter?

"[On allowing in asylum seekers but not economic migrants] 'What's the difference between dying from bombs or dying from starvation?'...

[From an Indian] 'We've always been told that the world is a global village and the earth is our planet but the truth of the matter is that the reason why some countries become popular destinations for living is because they do some things right. Today if people choose to live in countries like Switzerland, like Germany, like US and UK, it's because they do some things much better than other countries... that unique selling proposition of that country is no longer valid when you flood that country with a million or 10 million people. Germany will lose its proposition as the chosen geography if suddenly it found itself besieged with 20 million people...

'Let's take international law point of view, that international law says if I'm a refugee I have the right not to be killed. So I can flee from bombs, from shootings, from whatever, but I don't have the right to actually choose which country I want to live. Even international law doesn't say that a refugee can choose between countries'...

In Italy... people living in North of Italy are culturally more close to German people than the people living in the South of Italy. A very famous statement from a politician in Italy when Italy has been built. He say: now we have done Italy. We have to do Italians...

Alister from South Africa is puzzled by the difference between inequality between countries and inequality within a country. He asks: if you allow free immigration where do you draw the line? Living in a very unequal society like South Africa would he Alister have to allow someone from a nearby township to move into his house?...

And then there's the question of patriotism, which underlies much of this debate.

Is patriotism a virtue? Or is it a kind of prejudice? A prejudice for our own kind. Ideally to be overcome.

Back in the 18th century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote powerfully in defence of patriotism and particularity. And this was the argument he offered. He said: it seems that the sentiment of humanity evaporates and weakens in being extended over the entire world and that we cannot be affected by the calamities in Tartary or in Japan the way we are by those of a European people. This is Rousseau. Interest and commiseration, he wrote, must somehow be limited and restrained to be active. Do we want people to be virtuous? Rousseau wrote. Then let us begin by making them love their country. But how can they love it if their country means nothing more to them than it does to foreigners, allotting to them only what it cannot refuse to anyone"


Is Nationalism Good for You? | Foreign Policy

"The bad rap on nationalism relies almost exclusively on cherry-picked exceptions. These conclusions were drawn without considering the far-more-common cases in which nationalism was not the root of some evil. Moreover, many previous studies on the causes of war lacked one key component: an adequate measure of nationalism. Absent this measure, it is impossible to tell if the brand of nationalism of, say, the Axis powers was more intense than others in the years leading up to 1939. Yet, scholars are quick to blame nationalism for a host of ills.

Why this haste? Part of the reason lies in the scholarly reverence to homo economicus, the cool-headed and self-interested person thought to make optimal decisions at all times. This assumed rational egoist stands in direct opposition to the stereotypical nationalist. After all, the nationalist is often anything but coolheaded. And, being willing to die for his compatriots if need be, he isn’t selfish either. Thus, many scholars conclude, if nationalism does exist, it would only disturb the God-given rationality of humanity, and that meant trouble in politics and economics.

But the deeper roots of antinationalism seem to lie in the value system of scholars. Success in academia is often gauged by how coldly logical one can be. Intense emotional content is frowned upon. So your run-of-the-mill academic, devoted to library stays, will naturally view nationalism as unintelligent and primal. And being so, nationalism could not possibly produce better countries. Or could it?

Modern political science generally holds that nationalism predisposes a nation’s members to see outsiders as potentially inferior and evil. This perception is supposed to make it easier for nationalists to, say, curtail trade with others and even wage war. But there is a problem with this logic. If nothing else, nationalism is a sense of collective unity that turns large groups into extended families. In itself, this says nothing about how one nation should treat another. In everyday life, we usually love and identify with our own family. That certainly does not make us believe that neighboring families pose a threat. The same goes for nationalism. It does not manufacture hatred for others, just concern for one’s fellow citizens. By believing that everyone is in a national endeavor together, citizens value each other’s welfare as well as their own. In other words, nationalism makes people less selfish. Granted, the altruism that nationalism provides is not the cosmopolitan sort that philosophers dream about. Members of a nation may not care about all the people in the world, but they do exhibit a selective altruism in caring about their fellow compatriots. And this selective altruism, when shared by all citizens, makes for a better country than one populated by purely selfish individuals...

Across the board, countries with a higher average level of nationalism were consistently wealthier. This evidence flies in the face of the antinationalism harbored by many economists. In truth, though, the problem with many poorer countries is that their citizens are not nationalistic enough. Consider Eastern European states such as Latvia and Slovenia, which many fear contain the seeds of hypernationalism. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, these countries are actually among the least nationalistic of the group. And rich Western countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the United States, score as the most nationalistic. It’s a fair bet your economist never taught you that.

The virtues of nationalism also transcend citizens’ bank accounts. If nationalism fosters altruism, its effects should be visible in political and social life as well. Consider corruption. Research in this area is still relatively scant, but it is apparent that there is a broad relationship between nationalism and the ability to keep corruption in check. Using corruption estimates from the World Bank and the same survey data on nationalism, another positive effect of nationalism emerges: Corruption is consistently lower in countries with higher levels of nationalism...

The countries endowed with a higher level of nationalism tend to have a stronger rule of law. For all nationalism’s supposed faults, it is incredibly — and consistently — associated with things we value in economics, politics, and society...

Nationalist aberrations are possible only when other forces are at play. One such factor is military power. When technological advances and military tactics allow for the easy conquest of other countries, nationalism might be tempted to expand...

Nationalism can also be dangerous whenever a single territory is contested by many nations, especially when there is a history of violence among them. When these conditions exist, as in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, civil war is a real possibility. Young democracies are also at a higher risk of virulent nationalism. In these democratizing states, ambitious leaders might pursue risky strategies — such as invading a neighbor — to boost the immature nationalism of their people for their own motives. And nationalism can turn ugly if it mixes with a belief that one’s nation is beyond any standard of morality. That was possibly the case of Nazi Germany, because the German people’s love for their nation was not counterbalanced by a moral doctrine that valued self-control and compassion.

However, the important thing about these unsavory forms of nationalism is how rare and sporadic they really are."

Links - 15th July 2017 (1)

How to get a random Pocket article – Roman Papush – Medium - "At one point I realised that in no way I’ll be able to read the earliest of entries. Or when I finally get to them, the information might be already outdated or simply of no more interest to me. So naturally, to be fair to my articles and to treat them equally, I set out on a quest to find a way to get myself a “random pocket article” button…"

The Faking Orgasm Scale for Women: Psychometric Properties - "(1) Altruistic Deceit, faking orgasm out of concern for a partner’s feelings; (2) Fear and Insecurity, faking orgasm to avoid negative emotions associated with the sexual experience; (3) Elevated Arousal, a woman’s attempt to increase her own arousal through faking orgasm; and (4) Sexual Adjournment, faking orgasm to end sex"

Faking Diversity and Racial Capitalism - "behind the smiling, diverse faces, many institutions also share a dirty little secret. A lot of the diversity is the result not of the institution’s inclusive practices when it comes to recruiting, hiring, admitting or whatever other word is appropriate. Rather, it’s the result of Photoshop... a recent study of 371 college and university viewbooks found that black and Asian students were overrepresented by 50% in photographs relative to their actual presence in the student body."

The World's Most Efficient Languages - "The prize for most economical language could go to certain colloquial dialects of Indonesian that are rarely written but represent the daily reality of Indonesian in millions of mouths. For example, in the Riau dialect spoken in Sumatra, ayam means chicken and makan means eat, but “Ayam makan” doesn’t mean only “The chicken is eating.” Depending on context, “Ayam makan” can mean the “chickens are eating,” “a chicken is eating,” “the chicken is eating,” “the chicken will be eating,” “the chicken eats,” “the chicken has eaten,” “someone is eating the chicken,” “someone is eating for the chicken,” “someone is eating with the chicken,” “the chicken that is eating,” “where the chicken is eating,” and “when the chicken is eating.” If chickens and eating are à propos, the assumption is that everybody in the conversation knows what’s what. Thus for a wide variety of situations the equivalent of “chicken eat” will do—and does... Experiments have shown that [the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis] is often true to a faint, flickering degree a psychologist can detect in the artifice of experimental conditions... When a language seems especially telegraphic, usually another factor has come into play: Enough adults learned it at a certain stage in its history that, given the difficulty of learning a new language after childhood, it became a kind of stripped-down “schoolroom” version of itself... the colloquial forms of Arabic like Egyptian and Moroccan are somewhat less elaborated than Modern Standard Arabic—they were imposed on new people as Islam spread after the seventh century."

Ghost Army: The Inflatable Tanks That Fooled Hitler - "The Ghost Army, today, is estimated to have saved tens of thousands of soldiers' lives with its deceptions, and to have been instrumental in several Allied victories in Europe. It accomplished all that by, among much else, taking "the art of war" wonderfully literally."

Why Didn't People Smile in Old Portraits? - ""By the 17th century in Europe," he writes, "it was a well-established fact that the only people who smiled broadly, in life and in art, were the poor, the lewd, the drunk, the innocent, and the entertainment.""

Why Do So Many Women Wear So Much Makeup? - "Women think men prefer skinnier body types than men actually do, and the same goes for men and muscley-ness... The female participants thought the models looked better with slightly more makeup than the male participants did. However, all of the participants thought male observers would want the models to be wearing more makeup than female observers would. They were wrong—men and women preferred the same amount. And that amount was less than the models had actually applied. Specifically, people thought the models looked best when they were wearing just 60 percent as much makeup as they had actually applied... “Taken together, these results suggest that women are likely wearing cosmetics to appeal to the mistaken preferences of others,” Jones and Kramer wrote in the study, forthcoming from the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. “These mistaken preferences seem more tied to the perceived expectancies of men, and, to a lesser degree, of women.”"
More evidence that women don't make themselves look pretty "for themselves". Or even "for other women". But for men

When You Fall in Love, This Is What Facebook Sees - "As couples become couples, Facebook data scientist Carlos Diuk writes, the two people enter a period of courtship, during which timeline posts increase. After the couple makes it official, their posts on each others’ walls decrease—presumably because the happy two are spending more time together"

The Blog Comment That Achieved an Internet Miracle - "Whenever he desired someone, he reproached himself for not having any right to his feelings. At undergraduate orientations or workshops to prevent sexual-harassment, he reacted differently than male peers who were less credulous, less over-scrupulous and better at understanding ambiguous social dynamics. "With their endless lists of all the forms of human interaction that 'might be' sexual harassment or assault, and their refusal, ever, to specify anything that definitely wouldn’t be sexual harassment or assault," he wrote, "I left each of those workshops with enough fresh paranoia and self-hatred to last me through another year." Without hard rules, he felt a moral duty to error on the side of extreme caution, to never act toward women in a way that might be considered patriarchal or oppressive. "My recurring fantasy, through this period, was to have been born a woman, or a gay man, or best of all, completely asexual"... This self-loathing caused him to have constant suicidal thoughts and to pursue other radical remedies. "At one point, I actually begged a psychiatrist to prescribe drugs that would chemically castrate me"... "feminists throwing weaponized shame at nerds is an obvious and inescapable part of daily life," citing an awful collection of images that are hard to distinguish from anti-Semitic cartoons mixed in to underscore his point... Over seventy-five percent of psychology majors are female—a disproportion which blows out of the water the comparatively miniscule 60-40 disproportion favoring men in mathematics... 'women actually gain a few percentage points as they enter Silicon Valley. What the heck do high schoolers know about whether Silicon Valley culture is sexist or not?...The entire case for Silicon Valley misogyny driving women out of tech is a giant post hoc ergo propter hoc'... there is no faster way to short-circuit cooperation than treating overall degree-of-privilege and degree-of-victimization as vital questions to adjudicate before identifying or addressing specific problems."
More damage caused by feminism

A New Universal 'New Yorker' Cartoon Caption: 'I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.' - "Charles Lavoie argued that every New Yorker cartoon—from bears-waiting-in-an-elevator to two-old-businessmen-playing-with-dolls—could be aptly captioned “Christ, what an asshole!” Lavoie was correct: They totally could. He documented the rewritten cartoons on his blog for many years... Sometime later, the artist Cory Arcangel suggested a different universal caption: “What a misunderstanding!”"

Daylight Saving Time Is America's Greatest Shame - "DST, and shifts and the rupturing of sleep patterns is also linked to myocardial infarctions (a.k.a. heart-attacks), car accidents, and medical equipment malfunctions... Think about what you could do with $147 million. That's how much the Air Transport Association estimated the 2007, one-month shift cost the airline industry because time schedules with the world (a lot of which does not believe in DST) were messed up."

Roller Coasters Could Help People Pass Kidney Stones

How Often People in Various Countries Shower - "Americans attested to showering more frequently than the Chinese, Brits, and Japanese, where respondents said they take about five showers per week, but not nearly as often as people in Brazil and Colombia, where people seemingly sometimes take more than one shower per day... Perhaps the warm climates play a role—though that wouldn't explain the habits of balmy, relatively-infrequently-bathing Turkey and Spain. It's interesting, too, that in most countries people don't shampoo every time they shower. Mexicans and Japanese people come closest to fully sanitizing their hair each time. In general, the world's women shower more than men. The exception, according to a 2008 study by hygiene-products company SCA, is Sweden, the only country surveyed where men were more likely to shower every day than women were... The ideal woman also apparently "has long hair" (repeat: not on her legs), but she "does not wear it up." Meanwhile, the top tasks required of "the ideal man" were to cut his hair and nails short... "Russian women have to contend with the biggest demands for the attributes of beauty—jewelry, makeup and shaved legs—from those closest to them. The survey also indicated that Russian women value these attributes the most for their well-being.""

How the Hospitallers used slaves - "While some slaves could be used to be personal servants and others would be sent as gifts to various European rulers (including the Papacy), it seems that most would find themselves working on sugar plantations"

Yes, Millennials Have More Personality Disorders - "A 2016 UK survey found that, since 1990, rates of depression and anxiety among the young have increased by 70%, while the American Counseling Association has reported a “rising tide of personality disorders among millennials.” That such disorders appear to be an acute problem with this generation may be an unintended outcome of the unprecedented experiment conducted in the 1990s and 2000s by progressive parents. In 2014, a survey of 100,000 college students at 53 U.S. campuses by the American College Health Association found that 84% of U.S. students feel unable to cope, while more than half experience overwhelming anxiety... The majority of millennial children (now aged 18-34) had two working parents; this was partly an ideological project of feminism and partly economic necessity. The downside was the damage done by daycare, services for which grew by 250% between the 1970s and ;90... 'Children in full-time day care were close to three times more likely to show behavior problems than those cared for by their mothers at homes'...
'Your free speech is raping and killing us.'
People with High Conflict Personality disorders experience similarly paranoid emotions about hidden messages, omnipotent threats, and imminent violence... Parents were taught to not scold or punish, and instead to use “positive reinforcement” in an attempt to raise their children with “high self-esteem.”... Positive Parenting created young people with a “narcissistic wound” for whom the real world would be perceived as a threat to self-worth."
More evidence for this explanation of SJW antics

A Patient With Diabetes No Longer Needs Insulin After Receiving A Bioengineered "Pancreas"

Feminists Go Insane Over Mistletoe - "Feminists have been duped again. First they peed their pants for “equality,” then they ran marathons without tampons to end “period shaming” and now they are on a mission to end the Christmas tradition of kissing under mistletoe because it promotes “rape culture”... The scam which exposed the feminist obsession with victimhood was born by a mere suggestion"

Do Attractive People Make More Money? - WSJ - "Better-looking workers bring in more for the employers, just as a more intelligent worker will. Paying them more is still a form of discrimination, but their attractiveness also tends to raise their productivity... You would think you could find examples of occupations where being unattractive wouldn't hurt you at all. But in every one I have looked at, being better looking helps you. For example, you wouldn't think it would matter much if you are teaching in college. But based on my studies, better-looking [professors] are more appreciated by their students. The only counter-example I've seen is a study showing that if you [commit] armed robbery or theft, it pays to be uglier. The white-collar criminals are more successful if they are better-looking, but for crimes involving force, I'd rather be an ugly robber because I'd scare the guys and they'd give me their money faster...
WSJ: For those of us who are beauty-challenged, what about plastic surgery?
Mr. Hamermesh: I know of only one serious study on that, and that research suggests it isn't a good investment. While looks can be altered by clothing, cosmetics and other short-term investments, the effects of these improvements are minor. We are generally stuck with what nature has given us in the way of looks. Surgery pays back less than $1 for every $1 spent. But it might make you feel better."

Why I Just Can't Become Chinese - WSJ - "Beijing doesn't ever expect to hear from foreigners who want to become Chinese citizens... let's say that I decided to become fluent in Mandarin, brush up my knowledge of Chinese history and culture, move to China and live the rest of my life there. Even then, even with thousands of generations of Chinese genes behind me, I would still not be accepted as truly Chinese... China lags behind the U.S. in a crucial 21st-century way: embracing diversity and making something great from many multicultural parts... The premise of the "banana" diatribe was that an ethnic Chinese—even one born and raised in the U.S.—must be essentially loyal to the Chinese motherland. That assumption could be called romantic or racial. It can't be called modern"
Why does China expect loyalty from overseas Chinese if it won't give them citizenship?

The Myth of the Trigger-Happy Cop - WSJ - "In a city of 8.2 million people—and in a police department of more than 35,000 armed officers who in 2015 responded to more than 66,000 calls involving weapons—NYPD cops shot and killed eight criminal suspects. All of these individuals had prior arrest histories, five were carrying a gun or pellet gun, one was stabbing an officer with a knife, and two were violently struggling with cops to avoid arrest... according to an unofficial database maintained by the Washington Post, it is clear that fatal officer-involved shootings are actually statistically rare—and unjustified officer-involved fatal shootings are rarer still... of the 963 people shot and killed by police last year, 852 had guns, knives or other weapons, according to the database, while 48 of the people shot and killed were described as unarmed. (In 63 cases, it was unknown if a weapon was involved.) ... The notion that cops are engaged in the wanton slaughter of Americans of any race simply isn’t true. Indeed, one tragic measure of the risks that cops face is the number of them killed while doing their jobs. According to news reports, 64 of America’s 900,000 law-enforcement officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2016, a third in “ambush-style” attacks that in some cases were prompted by anger over recent police shootings"

How Surgeons Stay Focused for Hours - WSJ

MPs blast firms that order women to dye their hair blonde and wear heels in the office after public backlash
How come you can make men wear ties?

If this is feminism...

(this was meant to be posted yesterday but wasn't, resulting in 2 links posts in a row)

If this is feminism...

"The dust-up on social media over Rebecca Tuvel’s article, “In Defense of Transracialism” published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, has given a new meaning to the public/private split central to the history of feminism. For decades, feminists have argued the personal is political, and explored the politics of our private lives. The split between what people wrote to both Rebecca Tuvel and to me in private, and what they felt compelled to say in public is one indication that the explosion of personal insults and vicious attacks on social media is symptomatic of something much bigger than the actual issues discussed in Tuvel’s article...

[Some] supported Tuvel in private while actually attacking her in public. In private messages, these people apologized for what she must be going through, while in public they fanned the flames of hatred and bile on social media. The question is, why did so many scholars, especially feminists, express one sentiment behind closed doors and another out in the open? Why were so many others afraid to say anything in public?...

Tuvel claimed that the very public cases of Rachel Dolezal’s transracial transition and Caitlyn Jenner’s transgender transition operate according to a similar logic when it comes to thinking about identity and identity politics. Tuvel argued in favor of both transgender and transracial identities, as well as for a more fluid conception of identity more generally. In subsequent responses to her critics, Tuvel has said her article was a response to the media sentiment that transgender identity is socially acceptable (Jenner was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair, was a runner-up for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year”, and was named woman of the year by Glamour magazine), while transracial identity is taboo (Dolezal was fired from her job at the NAACP and scorned in the media)...

The feeding frenzy in response to Tuvel’s article couldn’t have happened without social media. The viciousness of the attacks was fueled by the mob mentality of Facebook. Dissenters, even those who just wanted a civil discussion of the issue, were shut down immediately or afraid to voice their opinions in public. Some who in private were sympathetic to Tuvel, felt compelled to join in the attacking mob. The thought police were in full force. Both Tuvel and the journal were under pressure to retract the article and apologize. In a private message to me, one of my academic friends said one editor’s Facebook apology for publishing such an “offensive” article, “sounded like something ISIS makes its captors read in a hostage video before beheading them.” Joking aside, there was (and still is) tremendous pressure to condemn Tuvel and her article. Some who joined in the protests later admitted in private that they hadn’t even read the article... I received a text from someone I respect, lamenting the cruelty on social media, but telling me she was sure she would disagree with the article and find it offensive, even though she hadn’t yet read it...

I summoned up the courage and entered the fray suggesting only that Hypatia invite critical responses to the article. This suggestion was met with ridicule and derision. I then asked critics to respond with philosophical arguments rather than lobbing insults, which was met with claims that I was doing “violence” to marginalized scholars.

The most vocal figures on social media claimed they were harmed, even traumatized, by Tuvel’s article, and by my defense of its right to exist. Some said that Tuvel’s article harmed them, and I was doing violence to them, even triggering PTSD, just by calling for an open discussion of, and debate over, the arguments in the article. While I readily agree that words can do harm and that hate speech exists, my call for philosophical engagement with Tuvel’s article does not constitute harmful speech. In fact, if an essay that openly supports trans identity does violence, and defense of open debate causes PTSD, then by which name should we call the physical violence inflicted on trans people and others daily? What of the PTSD caused by domestic violence, rape, and hate crimes? If an essay written by a young feminist scholar in support of trans rights is violent and harmful, then haven’t we leveled all violence such that everything has become swept up by it, and the very notion of violence has lost its meaning? Certainly, at the very least, we need to distinguish between levels of violence. One Facebook critic called my remarks “unforgivable,” seemingly putting them on par with crimes against humanity. At this point in the social media blowout, (until the Daily Nous published a defense of the article, which elicited support from all sides) I seemed to be the only one publicly defending Tuvel, in spite of the private support she received from folks too afraid to go public.

Through every medium imaginable, senior feminist scholars were pressuring, even threatening, Tuvel that she wouldn’t get tenure and her career would be ruined if she didn’t retract her article. When I called out the worst insulters for threatening an untenured junior feminist, they claimed they were the victims here not her. I wonder. Tuvel’s article in support of transgender and transracial identities didn’t threaten anyone, and didn’t jeopardize anyone’s career. Whereas those calling for a retraction were doing just that to a junior woman in a field, philosophy, nearly 80% of which is still populated by men and which is still resistant to feminism. A senior feminist philosopher called to warn Tuvel that she should be appealing to the “right people” if she wanted to get tenure and warned her not to publish her book on this topic or it would ruin her career and mark her as “all that is wrong with white feminism”...

Apparently, Tuvel’s worst offense was the “deadnaming” of Caitlyn Jenner. Deadnaming is using a trans person’s birth name instead of their chosen name, which can do harm when outing a person as trans, or when that person considers their old self or old name “dead.” I was fiercely attacked on Facebook for pointing out that Jenner is a public figure, a Reality TV star, who doesn’t reject deadnaming herself in her book: “Transgender guidelines suggest that I no longer be referred to as Bruce in any circumstance. Here are my guidelines: I will refer to the name Bruce when I think it appropriate. Bruce existed for sixty-five years, and Caitlyn is just going on her second birthday. That’s the reality.” The irony is that some of the same people publicly disparaging Tuvel for deadnaming Jenner, privately admitted that they’d never heard the word “deadnaming” before the Facebook frenzy. Call it a teachable moment...

Some suggest they don’t want to “dignify” the article with a response. They’d rather just express their outrage at its very existence. My point here isn’t to defend the arguments in Tuvel’s article, but rather to defend the possibility of an open dialogue and debate, and to try to diagnose the outraged response to that idea—the idea upon which the discipline of philosophy, and the academy more generally, if not also democracy itself, are based...

The feminist thought police are the flip side of the alternative facts machine. And both are threats to the open dialogue that is so vital for critical thought inside and outside the academy.

What I find most distressing about the hostile attacks against Tuvel, the article, and my defense of an open dialogue about it, is that there are people and institutions out there that are trying to deny rights to women, especially trans women and women of color. Dissent and debate allow feminism—and scholarship more generally—to flourish and advance, while insults and censorship are the tools of those who would shut us down. In this battle, feminists embracing inclusivity are not the enemy. Far from it. The real enemy is our culture of displaced outrage and its symptoms, namely the thought police and the alternative facts machine. Let’s have critical debate and philosophical arguments instead of cyber-shaming and personal insults"


Besides hypocrisy, another way to describe being supportive in private but critical in public is... virtue signalling.

Significantly, this happened in academic feminism, so the furore cannot so easily be dismissed as one wrought by "pseudo feminists", "tumblr feminists" or "internet feminists" who don't "understand" "feminism".


Comments:

"I liked your piece until I got here: " In this battle, feminists embracing inclusivity are not the enemy. Far from it."So you are saying that feminists who recognise that identity politics is deeply problematic are the enemy? The reality is that the culture of bullying has been part of academic and Internet discourse long before Trump ran for office and transwomen have benefited from this vitriol, often trashing women for having what is called "exclusionary" politics to some, but very much a feminist politics to most where males are not made the focus of political force. If anything, the institutions have been denying the rights of women to evoke their discontent with this mob culture which has taken them hostage, shunned their voices, for so long while making transgender as the fluffy white kitten in the room. What Tuvel's article shows is the incoherence of identity politics for she has merely applied the nonsensical discourse of transgender to race. And of course people are outrage by this use of gender theory--it shows up how incoherent feeling identity really is.

Until we can discuss openly the fact that identity politics is the problem to include this mystical thinking that somehow males can ever become women, such faux progressive discourses will continue to eat themselves. If anything, this debacle has shown up that indeed, not only does it not add up that feeling identity equates the reality of that alleged identity, but that reality still has a stake in the world."


""Gender" seeks to erase biological sex, which is the axis on which female people are oppressed and have been for thousands of years. It is deplorable. No other oppressed group (females) is ever asked to a) let their oppressor self-define his way into their class (outrage! a la Dolezal) or b) tell the oppressed group they aren't allowed to define what they even are. This is patriarchy and misogyny dressed up in progressive clothing. It's another strain of a Men's Rights Movement.

How convenient to make talking about the source of female oppression (being female -- our biological sex) an act of violence! and bigotry! The absurdity is beyond astounding, not to mention that it's no different than what men have done to women for forever when they try to discuss sexism."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Links - 14th July 2017 (2)

Expat life not as rosy as it appears - "the reality of expat life is that marriages, inevitably, come under stress due to changes in routines as a result of relocating, changes in relationship dynamics when one spouse is no longer working or pursuing their career, and with children changing schools, and culture shock. In my research on expat divorce, marital stress among expatriates is found to be very high."

Chinese passenger deploys emergency slide to get off plane 'faster' in Hainan - "In another similar incident in Hangzhou, a Chinese man opened the emergency exit just before the plane took off to "get some air"... The incidents come right after a Chinese woman made the news by splashing hot water on an AirAsia stewardess because she was unhappy about not being given a seat beside her boyfriend."

Muslim men in Terengganu now face two years' jail for missing Friday prayers

The lost art of offline dating - ""People have an easier time picking out an emoticon to display the emotion they are feeling rather than actually showing it on their face"... "Men are almost afraid of being in the role of pursuing because they don't want to be perceived as creepy," Battista said. "And successful, independent women still want men to step up. As a result, it's almost like a standoff." Rejection, the kind that manifested itself in the awkward insecurities of middle school and survived maturity, remains the biggest enemy of dating success"

Why it's really possible to fall in love online - "Those who met in the dark room, on the whole, were much more open and intimate with their fellow participants than those who met face-to-face under the fluorescents. In short: When you get rid of all the stress attached to face-to-face meetings, people feel more free to be themselves and get to know each other... The Web allowed participants to pare away interpersonal distractions and focus on communicating openly and honestly.

Wing Commander II Took Its Installation Guide Very Seriously - "Back then we worked to enjoy “one of the most powerful entertainment products available,” and we loved it."

This is What Happens When Men Recreate Cliched Womens’ Photos

The lone wolf: a terrorist in search of a cause - "The simplistic idea that one thing leads to another seldom explains the specific actions of an individual: anger does not drive people to commit an atrocity; being an abusive husband does not lead to mass murder; and, contrary to the slippery-slope theorists, dislike of gay people does not necessarily end in a rifle-assault on a gay club... Although lone-wolf terrorism is a global problem, it is particularly prominent in the US. ‘American terrorism’, argues Hoffman, ‘differs from terrorism in other countries in that a significant proportion of terrorist attacks have been carried out by unaffiliated individuals rather than by members of terrorist organisations’. The motives driving these individuals are diffuse, ranging from racism and homophobia to radical Islamism and a desire for notoriety. What unites this disparate set of motivations is that the individual feels they are responding to a perceived threat to their identity and culture."

NHS: the state religion - "That the NHS is seemingly beyond criticism is hardly surprising. After all, as this weekend’s Observer put it, ‘it is much more than a provider of healthcare – it is a cherished national institution’. And as such, it is no longer to be questioned or improved like any other public-service provider; it is beyond criticism. Indeed, it’s a moral symbol; a ‘source of national pride’; a manifestation of British virtue. Where once Brits were encouraged to look to the imperial past as a source of glory, today they’re to look to Moorfields Eye Hospital or Great Ormond Street. This is why the NHS was the centrepiece of Danny Boyle’s London 2012 opening ceremony, and why the following year it beat both the monarchy and Team GB in an Ipsos-Mori poll on reasons to be proud to be British. For Britain’s cultural and political elite, the NHS has become the closest thing there is to a bona fide source of national identity and quasi-moral purpose, a reason to fight, an ideal to be defended. It is near enough sacred, or at least, to quote the former chancellor of the exchequer Nigel Lawson, ‘the closest thing the English have to a religion’... the NHS, this most sacred of secular cows, has become just about the only way for the state to establish a meaningful relationship between itself and its citizens. It provides the state with its moral purpose, and citizens with an idea not of the Good Life, but of the Healthy Life. It allows the state to relate itself to us not as citizens so much as patients, apparently with an ever-expanding set of biological and increasingly mental needs"

Don’t misuse Prophet Muhammad’s name to justify rape and marriage, ex-mufti says - "there were other considerations for a Shariah judge before approving marriage applications to minors. “To me, how far the marriage can make the child happy is subjective. It’s to do with how she is treated and nafkah,” he said, using an Arabic word meaning subsistence for living... "To the majority of Malay Muslims out there, you are not Prophet Muhammad. Stop pretending you are Prophet Muhammad""
Aren't Muslims supposed to emulate the Prophet Muhammad?

China should heed the lessons of Pearl Harbour - "For all the differences between Imperial Japan in the 1930s and Communist China today, I cannot help but see parallels between the two. Like Japan then, China is a rising Asian nation whose thinking is informed by patriotism, suspicion of outsiders and the remnants of an inferiority complex toward the West. Its military seems not entirely constrained by civilian control. And just as Japan did in the 1930s, China is defying international opinion and challenging the maritime status quo in the western Pacific, where the US defends vital sea lines of communication for all nations... The artificial islands it recently created by landfilling in the South China Sea seem to be a Chinese version of the “Manchurian Incident” of 1931 — a pretext Japan used for asserting sovereignty over disputed areas. Last July’s International Court of Arbitration award challenging China’s island-building is a contemporary version of the Lytton Commission report, which exposed Japan’s illicit aggression."
The comments (presumably by Singaporeans) are disappointing

Poll Says Hong Kongers Would Prefer British Rule - "An informal online poll by a Hong Kong newspaper inspired by a recent referendum in the Falkland Islands shows that 92 percent of readers who voted think Hong Kongers would prefer a return to British rule... He said the government had paid more attention to public opinion and traditional freedoms under British rule and that the gap between rich and poor had been narrower."

April Fools is no joke: China's official news agency Xinhua - "The occasion "does not conform with our nation's cultural traditions, nor does it conform with the core values of socialism""

No, China Is Not Reclaiming Land in the South China Sea - "China is not reclaiming land in the South China Sea in order to improve conditions on a land feature – an island – that has deteriorated due the impact of the environment or human use. China is dredging sand from the seabed and coral reefs to create artificial islands. China misleadingly states it is reclaiming land on islands over which it has sovereignty. This is not the case. China is building artificial structures on low tide elevations (submerged features at high tide) and rocks. China cannot claim sovereignty over these features. These features are not entitled to maritime zones or airspace... China is slowly and deliberately excising the maritime heart out of Southeast Asia."

China company rewarded best employee with a night with actress - "A company in China rewarded its best employee with a night with a Japan adult video actress at its appreciation dinner recently"

In China, Say Everything in Mandarin, Please - "About 30 percent of China’s 1.3 billion population, 400 million people, can’t communicate in Mandarin, according to Li Weihong, director of the State Language Commission, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Sept. 21. Include only those who speak the official dialect fluently, and the number shrinks further. “About 70 percent of the total population can speak Putonghua, and 95 percent of the literate population knows how to use standard Chinese characters. However, only 10 percent [of that 70 percent] can speak standard Putonghua fluently”"

Huawei's PR fail highlights wrongheaded approach for China's tech giants - "a bunch of foreign journalists went on a government-organized tour of several big Chinese tech companies designed to give them a chance to show off their facilities and technology. But the Huawei stop was weird. First, Huawei told reporters they couldn’t photograph anything for “security reasons.” Then, when a reporter asked about Huawei’s connections to the government reporters were told there was no comment. Then they were told they couldn’t mention Huawei at all in their articles, or even the name of their tour guide. When confused reporters wondered why they’d been invited in the first place, then, a PR person apparently told them: “We didn’t invite you. It was the government that invited you and now you should leave.”"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The moral purpose of tax - "When you think of the Victorian period, a period of great inequality, tremendous dynamism in the economy but also a period marked by levels of philanthropy which we don't have today because of the welfare state. In other words that was a period when rampant inequality as you would see it went absolutely hand in hand with and contributed to a sense of personal commitment to each other and benevolence which we don't have today...
Clement Atlee who founded the welfare state famously said if a rich man wants to help the poor he should pay his taxes, not dole out money on a whim...
He made the point that people ought to contribute. Now I think that is rather an interesting point because otherwise the great danger of democracy, that's really the point I was getting at in the last question to the last witness, the great danger of democracy is if you have lots of people not contributing then of course they can all gang up and say well we can have everything we want just by making the top one percent pay or the top ten percent, just as long as it's not me. So actually there is quite a strong case if you are going to have taxation, if you're going to get people to consider the morality and the ethics of taxation, of getting pretty much everybody spared because then everyone can appreciate that it's not just a free game where they can get someone else to pay"
The Atlee quote is from Francis Beckett

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Muslim Leadership - "There are said to be more British Muslims fighting for ISIS than serving in the British army. One in five of the inmates of our top security prisons is now a Muslim even though they only make up fewer than one in twenty of the population...
'Isn't it the case though that the Koran contains very explicit calls to violence? Isn't that an essential part of the problem here?'
'No it is not. That is the cut and paste approach which some people have taken which is causing the problem'
'Do you condemn those verses which are violent?'
'Absolutely not. My belief is that they don't condone the, I do not condemn any part of the Quran whatsoever because my belief is that this is the word from God. What I do condemn is the misuse out of context of certain verses by violent terrorist extremists-'
'But hang on. If you don't condemn the violent verses then aren't you also an extremist?'...
'The verses that are very explicit about fighting non believers about lying in ambush for them and being very brutal in the fight against them are within the context of a battle'...
'I want to try and work out where this sort of tradition of self critical vigilance which you talk about exists within the tradition that you occupy. I mean if you've never had those doubts, if you've never had doubts about the Koran, about God, how do you develop self critical vigilance?'...
'That is the fundamental tenet of Islam. One cannot have any doubt in the existence of God if they want to claim to be Muslim'...
'I did some research in northern cities many years ago and I was told that the attitude of young Muslim men towards white women was highly problematic. And it was kind of peculiar mixture, a moral critique of the west plus just men being men and we see that expressed in its extremist form, what happened in Rotherham'"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Is it a Moral Duty to Vote? - "Mr Brand has more followers on Twitter than the entire House of Commons. More people belong to the RSPB the bird charity than all the political parties put together...
The point of democracy is it is the voice of the people freely given. It's not something that should be demanded...
The only rational vote is a spoilt paper because you can write a message on the paper and all of the candidates will see that paper because all this spoilt votes go to the candidate"

Halal: Is it meat you’re looking for? says China businessman - "hundred of Muslims took to the streets in Xi’an to protest the sale of alcohol in halal restaurants. In Qinghai province a crowd destroyed a bakery after pork sausages and ham were found in its delivery trucks."

Learning Mandarin is really, really hard — even for many Chinese people - LA Times - "There are aspects of Chinese that make it hard for foreigners to learn, and there are aspects that make it difficult for native Chinese. I think the one that gets the most press — and is in some sense the most controversial — is the Chinese characters. For alphabetic languages, there’s what they call a virtuous loop between the writing, speaking and listening — those three categories constitute one composite skill. But the problem with Chinese, and to some degree Japanese, is it breaks that loop. Speaking does not necessarily help your reading. Reading doesn’t necessarily help your writing. These become three different skills that have to be mastered in parallel, and separately... The implicit policy used to be that everyone had to learn Putonghua, but not everyone had to speak it in their local regions. The government wanted it to be a tool for universal communication, but the local dialects could continue to exist. And what’s happening now is the government is pushing that boundary, and encroaching onto the education system in places like Tibet and Xinjiang, increasingly insisting that classes be conducted in Putonghua. So the schoolkids in these areas are increasingly not exposed to their own language. That’s a big political controversy — a firestorm really — as a lot of ethnic Tibetans and Xinjiang people feel that the government is eroding their culture."

The sealed bottle garden still thriving after 40 years without fresh air or water

Cat videos are a ruse: Cats are fundamentally narcissistic and aggressive, and they’d eat you if they could. - "“Cats are like having a teenager. They just look at you over and over and say, ‘Can I have more stuff?’ ” he said. “They don’t really do anything; they lay about, so it’s hard to tell cats apart from teenagers, except teenagers hang out at malls more. And yet people still love their teenagers. And their cats.”... All other domesticated animals that humans adore are working animals... I should say I don’t mind looking at cats on the Internet, in part because they are ubiquitous and can’t be avoided, and in part because I think that’s where cats should live, on the Internet, imprisoned by my browser and one click away from being banished."

French mayor rants against kebabs so critics declare an international kebab festival - "the mayor justified his decision to block restaurants opening in Beziers's historic city center by explaining: "We are a nation of Judeo-Christian tradition." Menard then said that there were too many kebabs in his town, and that he would block new kebab restaurants opening in Beziers"

Passion Plays | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "[On passionfruit] The passion comes from the passion flowers. It refers to the Passion of Jesus in Christian theology...
As a product designer I care about engaging people's emotions so they feel connected to their product. In other words I want you to fall in love with your appliances so when I was leading the interaction effort for a robot vacuum cleaner called the Neato botvac I thought very hard about the personality of the robot and how it might come to life using electronics. With my team we looked at the spectrum of emotion that the robot might have from feeling pride at successfully cleaning the room to maybe despair at getting stuck under the couch and then hired a composer to create the sounds for those emotional moments"

Collections | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "vegetables and fruit are actually believed to be bad for the body... if you were going to take an herb sugar was a preservative... sugar was medicine and you had beer for breakfast...
There are two Russian languages: there's standard Russian and then there's Mat, which is the language of profanity. Here's how it works. So there are four really bad Russian words... over hundreds of years Russians have developed literally thousands of variations on these words that can mean anything under the sun. This means that Russians can have entire conversations using almost nothing but swear words. Entire plays and novels have been written in swear words and they do this because mat adds oomph. So it's like in English you could say f-ing for every word, except in Russian they add dicks and whores and vaginas... I can tell someone off by sending them to the dick *something*. I can put my dick on to something *something* which means to ignore it. Or I can throw my hands up and I can say *something* the dick knows which means that nobody knows... the Russian government over hundreds of years has tried to crack down on it seeing it as a language of dissent and resistance to authority so this means that if you take any period in Russian history and you look at the government's attitude towards mat it's a good barometer for the freedom of expression in general"

Does eating cheese before bed give you nightmares? - "85 percent of the female participants who were given a piece of Stilton before bed reported having super-crazy, vivid dreams, including "talking soft toys, a vegetarian crocodile upset because it could not eat children, dinner party guests being traded for camels, soldiers fighting with each other with kittens instead of guns, and a party in a lunatic asylum". Red Leicester, on the other hand, was great for ensuring a good night’s sleep, with 83 percent of the participants who ate it reporting that every night after a bit of Red Leicester was a good experience. And also a nostalgic one - 60 percent of the Red Leicester participants reported dreaming about fond memories of their childhood."
Supposedly the fungus is the reason for the cheese dreams (as per TMSIDK)

Links - 14th July 2017 (1)

Emmanuel Macron's Africa 'civilizational' statement was racist - "At a press conference at the G20 summit in Hamburg, on July 8 he was asked about a “Marshall Plan for Africa.” The president gave a disquisition on Africa’s “real” problems – among them, in his view, demographics. The continent’s true challenge was “civilizational,” including failed states, shaky democracies, trafficking, extremism, and population growth. Later in his reply—the effect was compounded in a spliced video that circulated widely—he pointed again to demographics. Where there are “7 or 8 children per woman,” he said, spending billions is pointless."
The only people who are kept poor with high fertility rates are, apparently, white rednecks

Demographics and Poverty | Center For Global Development - "we see across all developing countries over time a strong inverse relationship between fertility and per capita income, and fertility and life expectancy - two very common indicators of well-being. There is also a clear connection between high fertility and poverty and the formation of a trap in which low incomes may exacerbate high fertility rates and vice versa."
Racist!!!

Otto Fong - Yesterday, the true impact of the rule against... - "some gay people cannot even be with their foreign partners to peacefully protest."
"[He] admits that pinkdot is NOT a campaign or a celebration but a protest!"

Yes to Coffee and Wine: Rewriting the Rules of Pregnancy - WSJ - "medical care during pregnancy seemed to be one long list of rules. Being pregnant was a good deal like being a child again. There was always someone telling me what to do, but the recommendations from books and medical associations were vague and sometimes contradictory. It started right away. "You can only have two cups of coffee a day." I wondered why. What did the numbers say about how risky one, two or three cups were? This wasn't discussed anywhere. The key to good decision making is evaluating the available information—the data—and combining it with your own estimates of pluses and minuses. As an economist, I do this every day. It turns out, however, that this kind of training isn't really done much in medical schools... The key problem lies in separating correlation from causation... avoiding sliced ham would lower my risk of listeria from 1 in 8,333 to 1 in 8,255. I just didn't think it was worth it. It would have made more sense to avoid cantaloupe"

What ‘La La Land’ and ‘Fifty Shades’ Get Wrong About Love - WSJ - "Despite their self-consciously naughty accouterments, the “Fifty Shades” movies are actually a steamy variant of a very old fantasy: the idea that the love of a good woman—and in this case, her submission to degrading sexual practices to save her beloved from his tortured past—can transform a cold man into a warm one... I have been troubled to discover how many young women, including patients of mine and their contemporaries, accept the premises of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” and consider behavior that is perverse and degrading as liberated, and not just in fantasy"

So You’re Not Desirable ... - NYTimes.com - "even if Neil is a 6 on average, certain women may vary in their impressions of him. Amanda fails to be charmed by his obscure literary references and thinks he is a 3. Yet Eileen thinks he is a 9; she finds his allusions captivating"

No Kids for Me, Thanks - The New York Times - "The news media periodically trot out articles about how parents are unhappier than their childless counterparts... other research followed that has, if not debunked claims of the misery of parenting, then at least made them more nuanced. A study last year from the Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business found that “parents’ happiness increases over time relative to non-parents.” Another 2014 paper, from the London School of Economics and the University of Western Ontario, determined that the first two children boost short-term happiness (which later returns to pre-birth levels), but not a third."

Eat Up. You’ll Be Happier. - NYTimes.com - "[On dog penis] “It tasted exactly like tripe — intestine,” my father-in-law recalls. “You’re always supposed to say, ‘like chicken,’ but it didn’t taste at all like chicken.” Anthropologists are at the extreme end of what used to be a universal rule of hospitality: When a host offers you food, you eat it. It’s a show of trust, and a sign of belonging. Refuse his meal and you’re effectively rejecting him. But as anyone who has recently tried to host a birthday party or a dinner in the English-speaking world knows, this rule no longer matters. Forget about dog penis; try offering visitors lasagna (it’s not vegan, not gluten-free, and it couldn’t have been cooked by a caveman)... even anthropologists aren’t exempt: An Australian colleague said she had asked her Aboriginal subjects to accommodate her gluten-free diet, followed by choice, not by medical necessity... 68 percent of French adults said they force themselves to eat some of everything when they’re invited to someone’s house. A Parisian academic told me she became incensed when an American dinner guest requested a vegetarian meal. “Although she was extremely friendly and pleasant — never again!"... The overarching conventional wisdom — what everyone from government experts to my French girlfriends take as articles of faith — is that restrictive diets generally don’t make you healthier or slimmer. Instead, it’s best to eat a variety of high-quality foods in moderation and pay attention to whether you’re hungry. In “Selective Eating,” Jean-Denis Vigne, of France’s National Museum of Natural History, concludes that the Paleolithic diet is “more inspired by the myth of the noble savage than by the realities revealed by science,” and that humans are adaptable omnivores. Choosy eating interferes with another key aspect of French mealtimes: the shared experience of food... Americans often described eating as part of an individual journey of self-discovery, in which each person tries to “find out over time and experience what my true nutritional self is, and satisfy it."

A Formula for Happiness - NYTimes.com - "After 40 years of research, they attribute happiness to three major sources: genes, events and values... we inherit a surprising proportion of our happiness at any given moment — around 48 percent... while one-off events do govern a fair amount of our happiness, each event’s impact proves remarkably short-lived. People assume that major changes like moving to California or getting a big raise will make them permanently better off. They won’t... choosing to pursue four basic values of faith, family, community and work is the surest path to happiness, given that a certain percentage is genetic and not under our control in any way... relieving poverty brings big happiness, but income, per se, does not. Even after accounting for government transfers that support personal finances, unemployment proves catastrophic for happiness. Abstracted from money, joblessness seems to increase the rates of divorce and suicide, and the severity of disease. And according to the General Social Survey, nearly three-quarters of Americans wouldn’t quit their jobs even if a financial windfall enabled them to live in luxury for the rest of their lives. Those with the least education, the lowest incomes and the least prestigious jobs were actually most likely to say they would keep working, while elites were more likely to say they would take the money and run. We would do well to remember this before scoffing at “dead-end jobs”... Work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, empowering us to create value in our lives and in the lives of others... In other words, the secret to happiness through work is earned success"

Good Lovers Lie - NYTimes.com - "When it comes to love, both honesty and deception should be practiced in moderation. Only then can we celebrate the intoxicating illusions of love. Odysseus, Cleopatra, Scheherazade, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Molly Bloom — all of our greatest lovers have been fabulists, equivocators, promoters ... liars"

Belgium Commemorates Waterloo With a Coin, and France Is Not Pleased - NYTimes.com - "After it objected to a decision in March by Belgium to introduce a new 2 euro coin to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, the Belgians retreated, scrapping 180,000 coins they had already minted. But victory for France is proving elusive. This week, Belgium decided to circumvent French resistance by invoking a little-known European Union rule that allows countries to issue euro coins of their choice, provided they are in an irregular denomination. That led to the unveiling of a €2.50 coin — a first in Belgium — and 70,000 of them have now been minted. The coins, which can only be spent inside Belgium, display a monument of a lion atop a cone-shaped hill on the site of France’s humiliation, as well as lines indicating where troops were positioned when forces led by Britain and Prussia defeated Napoleon in the countryside near Brussels."

Giving Doctors Grades - The New York Times - "the report cards backfired. They often penalized surgeons, like the senior surgeon at my hospital, who were aggressive about treating very sick patients and thus incurred higher mortality rates. When the statistics were publicized, some talented surgeons with higher-than-expected mortality statistics lost their operating privileges, while others, whose risk aversion had earned them lower-than-predicted rates, used the report cards to promote their services in advertisements... The best surgeons tend to operate at teaching hospitals, where the patients are the most challenging, but you wouldn’t know it from mortality statistics. It’s like high school students’ being penalized for taking Advanced Placement courses... Ironically, there is little evidence that the public — as opposed to state agencies and hospitals — pays much attention to surgical report cards anyway. A recent survey found that only 6 percent of patients used such information about hospitals or physicians in making medical decisions."

No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day - NYTimes.com - "Many people believe that the source of this myth was a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that said people need about 2.5 liters of water a day. But they ignored the sentence that followed closely behind. It read, “Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”"

Gay Rights and the Race Analogy - NYTimes.com - "Suppose I’m a photographer who can’t stand children. You want me to take pictures at your child’s birthday party — there will be games and clowns and other things I find annoying — and I decline... When civil rights laws were passed, discrimination against blacks was pervasive, state-sponsored and socially intractable. Pervasive, meaning that there weren’t scores of other photographers clamoring for their business. State-sponsored, meaning that segregation was not merely permitted but in fact legally enforced, even in basic public accommodations and services. Socially intractable, meaning that without higher-level legal intervention, the situation was unlikely to improve. To treat the lesbian couple’s situation as identical — and thus as obviously deserving of the same legal remedy — is to minimize our racist past and exaggerate L.G.B.T.-rights opponents’ current strength... There’s a big difference between private business owners and public employees, such as city clerks’ issuing marriage licenses (including the Kentucky clerk whose case has been in the news this past week). There are differences between various kinds of providers: an independent artistic photographer, for example, versus a mall portrait-studio employee whose job is to line people up and press a button (“Say cheese!”). And there’s a difference between being denied a portrait or a cake and being denied, say, an apartment or a job... How pervasive or intractable does discrimination need to be before we should invoke the long arm of the law to solve it? I don’t have a simple formula for answering that question. I’m wary of those who do."
A call for subtlety in claims that all forms of discrimination are wrong

All This Impeachment Talk Is Pure Trump Derangement Syndrome - "The impeachment of Bill Clinton was one of the major mileposts in the long, ongoing shift of America from a high-trust to a low-trust country, one in which faith, trust, and confidence in most of our major public, private, and civic institutions have taken a massive beating for decades now... Low-trust countries don't actually shrink the size, scope, and spending of government. Perversely, citizens call for "government regulation, fully recognizing that such regulation leads to corruption."

‘Lie of the Year’ Winner Barack Obama Admonishes Congress to ‘Speak the Truth’ About Obamacare - "Obama's rhetoric has always been ready to champion the notion of "going high," while making sure to land some low blows along the way... Obama's purported high road is even less convincing when he complains that Obamacare "was easily subject to misinformation and fearmongering." More on that, from the winner of Politifact's 2013 "Lie of the Year": [that 'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it']... I would find Barack Obama more believable about speaking truth to power if he volunteered more than just a stammering semi-acknowledgment of the whole "you can keep your doctor" whopper, and then went on to cover the sundry other Obamacare dishonesties, from gaming the Congressional Budget Office within an inch of its life, to claiming that increased preventative care would save money, to serially misportraying the Affordable Care Act as a victory over "special interests." And we will probably wait in vain for specific declamations of fearmongering from his own side. But I suppose hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, etc."

Crazy Rich Asians filming in Malaysia - "the family home of the lead character, Nick Young, is palatial and we couldn't find such a place in Singapore"

The story behind the famous Adam Road nasi lemak - "It was Mr Hassan Abdul Kadir's wish to involve his brood in the business, and he was banking on his eldest son to rally everybody together. As he could not bring himself to let his father down, Mr Abdul Malik agreed - but he wanted carte blanche to run the business... The engineering graduate introduced processes including proper book-keeping, paid his staff CPF and put in place a roster to make more effective use of manpower. Then came little tweaks to the recipes; such as substituting Thai rice with basmati rice for a better texture and improving the batter and marinade for the fried chicken."
Isn't it illegal to not pay CPF?

From pizza by the slice to Adam Road nasi lemak - "Besides Pezzo, the group also has a restaurant chain, Miam Miam, which serves food inspired by French and Japanese cuisine. "We have been quite popular actually, in fact we are opening our fourth store by the end of this year," Mr Chiang said. However, the challenges of running a restaurant reaffirmed his decision to focus on growing new concepts in the kiosk space instead. The group rolled out its second concept for kiosks last December, with a new brand, Stuff'd. The stores specialise in Turkish and Mexican food, with items including kebabs and burritos. The company also entered an equal partnership with Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak from Adam Road, to start its latest brand, Crave."
Everything is a chain

20 cents for a massage, 60 cents for instant noodles: Peacehaven nursing home residents 'earn' and 'spend' on activities - "they came up with an incentivising model of care where the 120 nursing home residents and 40 daycare residents there have to "earn" money before they can "spend" it on activities they enjoy... "After people are admitted into an institution, they lose their usual way of living. "When they lose their autonomy, they can become disinterested in beneficial activities and their health and social life deteriorate." He added: "That is why we want to replicate what is available outside - whether massage or minimart - so that they can continue to enjoy these normal activities which they were once familiar with, but within a nursing home." True enough, the "hair salon" that Madam Ng chose to go to looked like it came from the pages of a 1980s magazine. Posters of the perfectly coiffed hair of actresses Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor hung on the walls, next to huge mirrors... "Residents no longer need to be chased from their rooms to do the group exercise, now they just all turn up at 8.30am sharp""

Man jailed for sex with 15-year-old girl - "In January last year, she missed her period. She told Nur Shafiq she suspected she was pregnant, but he said she was just "late", and they continued to have unprotected sex. Feeling unsettled, she took a pregnancy test in early February, which confirmed her pregnancy. Nur Shafiq did not believe her even then and even after another test confirmed the result. He continued to have sex with her."

Legal eagles who left law for other careers - "In 2014, in his speech to mark the opening of the legal year as thenpresident of the Law Society of Singapore, Mr Lok Vi Ming says that by the first decade of practice, three out of four lawyers here would have opted to leave."

From The Straits Times archives: My wedding dress cost just $399 - "After encountering a series of pushy and overly affectionate saleswomen who demanded that we sign up with them on the spot for ridiculous deposits and no assurances and for items I didn’t need, we staggered out of the bridal fair, gasping for air. Note: Touching my arm repeatedly and calling me “dear” do not make me your friend. D. shook her head: “They’re banking on your insecurity and panic. Everyone down there is a first-time bride, and they’re feeding them ideas about what a perfect wedding should be like.” I called my partner and told him: “I am never going to another bridal fair. It’s a meat market that preys on your anxiety.” In planning our wedding, my partner and I have been shocked to find out how much of a “typical” wedding here is wedded to stereotypes, rather than sincere symbolism... I went for one bridal fair – just one – and the terrifying hyper-commercialism of what the wedding industry had become was enough to make me not want to have a wedding at all... While a wedding can be a wonderful, heartfelt occasion brimming with memorable moments, it lasts for a day, and a marriage goes on for a lifetime."
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