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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, January 04, 2018

Links - 4th January 2018 (3)

The Famous Easter Island Heads Have Hidden Bodies

Why is Tajikistan imposing a dress code on its people? - "Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon has ordered a special commission to oversee an "appropriate" dress code for both men and women. This decision followed his Mother's Day speech in March in which criticised women for wearing "foreign" black clothing. The president was referring to the black Islamic dress that has become increasingly popular in Tajikistan despite his previous condemnations of it. His first criticism was voiced in 2015 after which a campaign against the hijab began with heads of institutions demanding that their employees not appear at work wearing one. Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic with a population of about 8 million, is a predominantly Muslim nation... "Wearing the hijab and blindly copying a culture that is foreign to us is not the sign of having high moral and ethical standards for women""

Burqa-wearing Muslim preacher says plucking eyebrows a sin - "The Saudi-trained Islamic College of Australia teacher, who converted to Islam 28 years ago, is weighing into a hot topic doing the rounds at Sunni workshops in western Sydney."

These Syrian Christians fled Muslim extremist harassment. Then they found it again in Germany. - "Bakhous was the only Christian among 10 Syrian refugees in a shared apartment assigned by German authorities. The others were devout Muslims who didn’t drink alcohol. “If you think beer is forbidden,” Bakhous says he replied, “Why did you come to Germany?” “We’re the majority in this house,” he says his roommate replied. “If you don’t like it, you can go.” Eventually he did... Open Doors Germany, a Christian organization, says it interviewed 200 Christian migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan this year, and that 88 percent of them reported being targeted by other migrants because of their religion. Most people reported facing insults, but some reported physical attacks and even some death threats... Awad left for Germany, and says he ended up at a refugee shelter where the majority of the refugees were Sunni Muslims. Awad says he overheard some of them boasting that they weren’t fleeing persecution, but that they were there to spread political Islam in Europe."

The Saudi Solution: Accommodations are plentiful in the kingdom for Sunni Muslim migrants - "The KSA has many unique attractions for Sunni Muslims. To begin with, it has 100,000 high-quality, empty fiberglass tents that can house about 3 million people in Mina, just east of Mecca. Fireproof and air-conditioned, complete with toilets and kitchens, this unique resource is occupied a mere five days a year by pilgrims on the hajj. Comparing the KSA to the states of northern Europe, shows its many other advantages:
Geography: Much closer.
Climate: Hot.
Language: Arabic.
Economics: An insatiable need for labor.
Legal system: Reassuringly familiar.
Religion: Islam, Islam, Islam...
The Persian Gulf countries have been berated for not taking in "a single" Syrian refugee. Yet the Saudi authorities claim to have taken in 2½ million Syrians. How to explain this discrepancy? In part, the Saudis are lying. But also, in part, the GCC and other Arabic-speaking states such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria never signed the 1951 Refugee Convention (because they reject the convention's goal of resettlement as applied to Palestinians). Accordingly, they avoid using the term refugee, with its implication of permanence, and refer instead to guests, who stay only temporarily until they return home. How many Syrians have been allowed into Saudi? One study, by Lori Plotkin Boghardt of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, estimates they number in the "low hundreds of thousands," say 150,000. That's a small fraction of the over four million in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan – and just 5 percent of the migrants who could be housed just in Mina's splendid tents."

Why Don’t More Muslims Denounce Barbarism? - "As for blaming colonialism: the notion that Islam had a gentler side when the West showed up is totally inaccurate. As I documented in my book about Napoleon’s scientists in Egypt, when the French arrived in Egypt in 1800—the first large-scale interaction between the west and Islam in modern history—they were appalled at the treatment of women. Just one example: in his journals, Vivant Denon—who would go on to be first director of the Louvre—described encountering a woman in the middle of the desert with an infant on her back. Blood streamed down her face and a close look proved that both her eyes had been stabbed out. Denon wanted to give aid, but the locals told him her husband had merely meted out the approved punishment to unfaithful women... [Aslan's] little essay outrageously attempted to equate savage Islamist attitudes toward women—sanctioned wife-beating, deprivation of basic rights including the right to divorce and drive cars and inherit wealth—with recent allegations in the atheist world that women have been harassed in elevators at atheist conferences."
So much for blaming Westerners for all the regressive laws in the Arabic world

Wax Parlour Threatens to Sue Blogger To Remove Bad Review. The Email Is SO BAD It Will Go VIRAL - "Beauty blogger Charlotte Ashlene had a misadventure when she went to hoping to get a cheaper waxing deal. Despite having had a bad experience at one of its affiliated vendors before, she went ahead with this deal at La Belle Skin beauty parlour. To cut a long story short, her waxer was sloppy, and left some of the sticky wax on her lady bits.Apart from TMI-ing all of us in the blogosphere, it appears that the La Belle Skin beauty salon also got wind of this bad review. The company emailed the blogger in what appears to be the worse legal threat letter we have seen, which appeared to be composed on a Mobile phone no less. Apart from spelling her name wrong, this quote really takes the cake—”We have discuss [sic] with our company lawyer and we will use libel and slander legal definition of slander to sue you.”"

Singaporean couple renovates their HDB home into a European Museum
European palaces aren't so cramped

A Rich Neighbor Named Xerox - ""You're ripping us off!", Steve shouted, raising his voice even higher. "I trusted you, and now you're stealing from us!" But Bill Gates just stood there coolly, looking Steve directly in the eye, before starting to speak in his squeaky voice. "Well, Steve, I think there's more than one way of looking at it. I think it's more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.""

Robert Mugabe could contest election as corpse, says wife - "Grace Mugabe has professed fierce loyalty to her husband, previously saying she would get him a wheelchair and push it for him so that he can continue to rule. Mugabe has declared he wants to live until he is 100 and rule for life"

Tesla’s Electric Cars Aren’t as Green as You Might Think - "Devonshire Research Group, an investment firm that specializes in valuing tech companies, dug into the data and concluded that Tesla’s environmental benefits may be more hyped than warranted. Devonshire isn’t saying that Tesla is pulling a Volkswagen, or that its cars are spewing greenhouse gases from invisible tailpipes. It’s arguing that Teslas (and, by extension, all electric vehicles) create pollution and carbon emissions in other ways. Each stage of an EV’s life has environmental impacts, and while they aren’t as obvious as a tailpipe pumping out fumes, that doesn’t make them any less damaging... “If you use coal-fired power plants to produce the electricity, then all-electrics don’t even look that much better than a traditional vehicle in terms of greenhouse gases... manufacturing an electric vehicle generates more carbon emissions than building a conventional car, mostly because of its battery”

There's a Wire Above Manhattan That You've Probably Never Noticed - "On the Sabbath, which is viewed as a day of rest, observant Jewish people aren't allowed to carry anything—books, groceries, even children—in public places (doing so is considered "work"). The eruv encircles much of Manhattan, acting as a symbolic boundary that turns the very public streets of the city into a private space, much like one's own home. This allows people to freely communicate and socialize on the Sabbath—and carry whatever they please—without having to worry about breaking Jewish law... New York City isn't the only metropolis in the U.S. with an eruv. They can also be seen (or not seen) in St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, and numerous other cities across the country"

Abe Lincoln Leads to Healthy Eating, Marilyn Monroe to Sinful Snacking - "Sixty percent of kids who saw a photo of Lincoln chose a healthy snack afterward, but less than 30 percent of kids who saw Monroe did the same — they opted for candy"

Is It Sexist To Say That Women Are Superior To Men? - ""Women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future. It is not just a matter of culture or upbringing. It is a matter of chromosomes, genes, hormones, and nerve circuits. It is not mainly because of how experience shapes women, but because of intrinsic differences in the body and the brain."... Konner, even while affirming that not all men are violent and not all women are nurturing, fearlessly advances his women's superiority thesis. Maleness is "a birth defect," he declares."
Imagine what would happen if someone said men were superior to women...

BAE ordered to pay £360k to secretary in sexism row after manager told her 'women take things more emotionally than men' - "A SECRETARY has been awarded a £360,000 sexism payout from her employers after a manager told her "women take things more emotionally than men"... the manager's comment plunged her into a mental breakdown... The then 52-year-old took sick leave with stress and and was sacked from her £22,000 a year job... The Tribunal either rejected or made no finding on 15 other sex discrimination complaints, but found that her dismissal had been unfair and an act of victimisation... BAE's legal team argued that to blame all her psychiatric problems on the manager's single comment "offended against all logic"."

By Percentage, Lesbians Sexually Assault More Than Campus Males - "'It has been estimated that between 17-45% of lesbians have been the victim of at least one act of violence perpetrated by a female partner (Burke et al, 1999; Lie et al, 1991), and that 30% of lesbians have reported sexual assault / rape by another woman (Renzetti, 1992).'
Taking the percentage fluctuation into account, those numbers are much higher than the embellished 1-in-5 stat tossed around by the Title IX exploiters, and the federal government has even taken notice... gay domestic violence appears to not only be at a higher rate than that of the male-on-female, “campus rape culture” epidemic, but it’s consciously under-reported by activists and their media because “victimization” is a big money business and something as irrelevant as LGBTQ “intimate partner” violence will not be allowed to turn off that (cash and sympathy) spigot... Nowhere in that advocacy Huffington Post piece is the issue of LGBTQ domestic violence even inferred"
"Patriarchy" is so powerful that it harms lesbians more than straight women

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity and I Wish I Hadn't - "Sex hurt. I knew it would. Everyone told me it would be uncomfortable the first time. What they didn't tell me is that I would be back in the bathroom afterward, crying quietly for reasons I didn't yet comprehend. They didn't tell me that I'd be on my honeymoon, crying again, because sex felt dirty and wrong and sinful even though I was married and it was supposed to be okay now... Ten-year-old girls want to believe in fairy tales. Take this pledge and God will love you so much and be so proud of you, they told me. If you wait to have sex until marriage, God will bring you a wonderful Christian husband and you'll get married and live happily ever after, they said. Waiting didn't give me a happily ever after. Instead, it controlled my identity for over a decade, landed me in therapy, and left me a stranger in my own skin. I was so completely ashamed of my body and my sexuality that it made having sex a demoralizing experience. I don't go to church anymore, nor am I religious. As I started to heal, I realized that I couldn't figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time. I chose sex. Every single day is a battle to remember that my body belongs to me and not to the church of my childhood. I have to constantly remind myself that a pledge I took when I was only 10 doesn't define who I am today. When I have sex with my husband, I make sure it's because I have a sexual need and not because I feel I'm required to fulfill his desires"

How our immune systems could stop humans reaching Mars - "“The results showed that in weightlessness, the immune system acts like it does when the body is infected because the human body doesn’t know what to do and tries to turn on all possible defense systems,” said Professor Evgeny Nikolaev, of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and theSkolkovo Institute of Science and Technology... astronauts who travelled into deep space on lunar missions were five times more likely to have died from cardiovascular disease than those who went into low orbit, or never left Earth. Astronauts are fitter than the general population and have access to the best medical care, meaning that their health is usually better than the general population. Those of comparable age but who never flew, or only achieved low Earth orbit, had less than a one in 10 chance of death from cardiovascular disease. But the chance of death rose to 43 per cent for those who reached the Moon or deep space, probably because of the impact of deadly space radiation."

Can less be more? Comparing duration vs. frequency of sexual encounters in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships - "While the sexual frequency data replicated past findings, with female same-sex couples reporting the lowest sexual frequencies, sexual duration data painted a very different picture, with female same-sex couples reporting significantly longer durations spent on individual sexual encounters than men and women in mixed-sex or male same-sex relationships"

Britain's youngest sex swap patient reveals why she's undergoing surgery to switch gender for the third time - "Ria – who was born Brad – became ­Britain’s youngest sex-swap patient at 15. Doctors controversially backed her belief she was a girl in a boy’s body. She was given blockers to stop her going through puberty, followed by injections of female hormones to impede face and chest hair and trigger the formation of breasts. But with her life spiralling out of control as she struggled with her new identity – and the fears of never being accepted as a woman – Ria decided to transition back and live her life instead as a gay man. Before having crucial surgery, she ended her treatment and became Brad again soon after her 18th birthday. It turned her into the unwitting poster boy for those who claimed teenagers were too young to be given gender reassignment. But five years on Ria is more certain than ever that is not the real her – and is making her second attempt at becoming a woman to have the future she always dreamed of."
So she's needed to do the Orwellian rewriting of the past thrice?

Great White Shark v Killer Whale: The two deadliest sea titans are now waging war on each other - ""Once the shark is at the surface, the killer whale pivots and lifts its tail out of the water and comes down on top of it like a karate chop,” she said. The shark’s fatty liver can weight more than 60kg and is rich in organic chemicals that make it a perfect food source for killer whales. Alison Towner, a biologist from the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, said: “They work together and are very co-ordinated. "Two orcas take a pectoral fin in their mouth and pull open a shark together to extract the liver.”... There are only two predators alive that are bigger than killer whales – the sperm whale and the giant squid. These two giants are locked in an equally titanic struggle as sperm whales eat giant squid, often suffering horrendous scars from the squid’s tentacles as it lashes out in self-defence."
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