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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Links - 7th March 2018 (2)

The 100 million killed under Communist regimes matter - "One argument I often get is that they meant well. This is in contrast to the National Socialists in Germany, who were exterminationist. To a first approximation, this seems clear…but as someone who is personally from rural “landlord” background, I doubt they meant well to everyone! The dictatorship of the proletariat was going to overturn the old order, and the losers were not going to be happy about it. Not only were they going to be dispossessed, but they were often targeted and killed. There were class enemies, and it was clear early on that revolutionary Marxists were not going to be gentle with those class enemies. They would liquidate them. But whatever their intent, with Communism we have several repeated instances of massive death counts of the very people that the revolutions were supposed to help. The famine in Ukraine, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cambodian Genocide are clear examples.Then there is the North Korean famine the late 1990s. And the greatest decline in poverty the world has ever seen has occurred after the Chinese Communist state veered away from the regnant Marxist-Leninist economic orthodoxy of the 20th century... the body count issue is interesting because apologists for Communism regularly suggest that these numbers may be exaggerated. Refutations of the statistics for the Chinese famine suggest that it was closer to 10 million, rather than 45 million. This is like saying the Nazi regime has been slandered, because they killed 2 million, as opposed to 6 million, Jews. Quibbling over numbers in a passionate manner like this is the domain of Holocaust deniers, and yet with Communism, I encounter this regularly... The Communist orders were long on rhetoric, but short on actually figuring out a way to change hearts and minds"

Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings - "We find significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past... state prevalence of firearm ownership is significantly associated with the state incidence of mass killings with firearms, school shootings, and mass shootings."

The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010 - "We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides."

Body Positivity is Killing Women - "What do the hashtags #IWontCompromise, #EffYourBeautyStandards, #DareToWear, #AndIGetDressed have in common? They are all ultra intersectional feminist, “body positive,” and have accumulated over 700,000+ tags and counting on Instagram. Oh, and they are also killing women... The way these ladies will twist the truth to make it sound like they’re being victimized by the fashion industry is incredible. Of course reality is not as conspiratorial as these feminists would like you to believe. The majority of the time when a fashion brand uses bigger models for clothes that aren’t exclusively for bigger customers, the campaign loses money. The clothes don’t sell as well as ones that were used on smaller models. And whose fault is that? The consumer. Chanel, Gucci, Givenchy etc. don’t have plus size collections because generally plus size women don’t spend hundreds of pounds on clothing. If these growing numbers of avid hashtag users were so happy with their shape, why isn’t the fashion industry changing? They’re excluding 24.9% of British who are obese from buying their products. Because that 24.9% aren’t buying them... Obesity is not positive. It’s a dangerous plague that is being fueled by disillusioned women convincing themselves that they are happy, while leading a generation into early graves."

Can we make Tolkien “woke”? - "the audience for fantasy literature in the United States and England is going to be mostly white, and white people seem to identify with other white people in fiction whether literary or visual... one of my criticisms of Throne of the Crescent Moon is that it substitutes a Eurocentric white hegemony for a Near Eastern quasi-Islamic hegemony. That is, the world of Throne of the Crescent Moon seems highly derivate of the Abbasid Caliphate of Harun al-Rashid, and reflects the cultural self-confidence of the period for Muslims. It’s certainly not one where oppression is in scarcity. This isn’t necessarily a bug, but Ahmed basically traded swords for scimitars, and deracinated Christianity for quasi-Islam, and called it good. And perhaps it was good. I didn’t have a problem with it fundamentally. And if your problem with “white supremacy” is the “white” part then that is solved. The only issue though is that there was clearly a supremacy left within the story... the regressive and reactionary nature of high fantasy is literally baked into the nature of the genre... Science fiction plays with physics, biology, chemistry, as well as anthropology, economics, and history. In contrast, high fantasy as we understand it is delimited by a vision of anthropology, history, and linguistics. As such the canvas of the stories is necessarily narrower. High fantasy is by definition a genre which looks before the industrial revolution, and so takes as a starting point the norms and expectations of agrarian societies... Remove all inequality and guarantee affluence? In a Malthusian world, this is simply not conceivable. Abundance existed, but only for elites, or in the afterlife. Mitigation and amelioration of injustice and inequality were plausible, and in many religious-ethical systems preferred and meritorious, but there was no expectation or conception that injustice could be totally eliminated... a messy and imperfect world is actually fertile ground for narrative tension. One of the problems with Star Trek as envisioned by Gene Roddenberry was that in the liberal utopia of the future all the dramatic tension had to come from external sources... the current postcolonial fixation with white supremacy elides the reality that the problem is not whiteness, but supremacy"

Domestic violence against men hits record levels as numbers treble in past decade - "organisations that offer help to male victims are sparse. There are fewer than 100 beds in 20 refuges or safe houses for male victims in the UK, compared with 7,500 for women. One male victim of domestic abuse told The Sun on Sunday that when he was attacked by his girlfriend it was assumed that he was the abuser... “She was screaming and out of control. “Two guys came out of the pub and began attacking me. “I was on the floor telling them that I was the victim but they didn’t stop kicking until she told them that she had hit me." “After that I told her to get help but she refused so I went to the police. “The police were unwilling to help and I eventually dropped charges and ended our relationship.”"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Brexit: Has the government made enough progress? - "If we were to come out on World Trade terms many countries in the world including our principal trading partner the United States... do rather better on world trade terms in respect of their trade with the EU than we did do"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Kurdistan, independence and the fight against IS - "We've experienced a lot of terrorism in the past ten or fifty years in Iraq and I've been in the middle of all of that. Then I think sometimes when I look at the laws in Europe these guys are giving too much room in the mosques to be recruited. So the preachers are given too much space to brainwash these people. If you don't stop them there at the root of course you're going to have the kind of problems you have right now"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Has North Korea changed the rules of nuclear disarmament? - "If he is talking about multilateral disarmament I am actually a member of the, active member on the board of Nuclear Threat Initiative trying to reduce unnecessary nuclear weapons wherever that can be, can be done. But it has to be multilateral. Bruce Kent's spent his life saying we should disarm regardless of what other people are doing and that is absurd. Imagine if Kim Jong Un of North Korea was the, the country that had nuclear weapons and nobody else had. Do you think he is likely to be responsible and sound and believing in the rule of law?"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Turkey's arms deal with Russia - "It's interesting that you say people on these islands are proud of their colonial or former colonial identity. I think a lot of people around the world who look at the empires of old would imagine that most people would be only too happy to get rid of that colonial identity but that's not the case in St Martin, that's not the case in British Virgin Islands, that's not the place in Anguilla'
'It's about money. At the end of the day if you look at all of these dependencies they're better off than many of the other countries which took independence. People don't like talking about it. Every once in a while here in Jamaica the Gleaner newspaper which is one of the oldest in the entire Americas does these surveys which says: would you prefer to remain part of the British Empire and people often say they would because they feel that security would have been better, crime would have been not as big a problem, they would have had more money in their pocket... as someone who is of African descent in these countries you can sometimes feel like a second class citizen... in some of the islands there is a sense of people who are born there who are belongers regardless of their color and they come first"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Catalonia prayers - answered? - "[On Malay sultans] They are also informally the guardians of Malay culture and this is something that many of them take very seriously. And of course bear in mind that Malay culture is rooted very much in sort of like a Hindu-Buddhist culture in the pre-Islamic days and so in its folk culture you still see imagery from the subcontinent from Hinduism and that has been very problematic but they are defenders of the culture and actually this is interesting because part of the definition of Malay is not just being Muslim but it's following Malay custom... Malay society is really quite feudal. If you erode Malay norms then in a way that weakens the position of the Muslims because it breaks down those sort of feudal links, this idea of loyalty which is woven into Malay culture...
'Why is China so secretive about the financial help it gives to developing countries when potentially it could be a good PR for China?'
'Because secrecy is China's way. It has a long list of state secrets: its nuclear arsenal, whether it is a nuclear power. The birthday of its President Xi Jinping is considered to be a state secret. Also I think because so much of this money is wrapped up in commercial loans. This really goes against the ethos of the aid community. So I don't know if it really would be good PR if we knew that China had given a market rate loan to a country that is obviously struggling and is a developing country. Particularly when they're loans to countries that might not be doing very well on the world stage or or might not have such good PR themselves. North Korea is a great example'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Thursday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "When we launched the five pound note we were unaware of the issue of the animal derived additives... the only alternative the suppliers could identify that had a robust enough supply chain was palm oil. In the consultation there were about three and a half thousand people responded. And 88% of them were against the animal derived additives but about forty eight percent were against palm oil so trying to find something that was going to erm sort of look at all of the protected characteristics, everyone's interests, looking at environmental impact of palm oil and also bearing in mind the additional cost moving would have had an impact on the taxpayer, in the end after a lot of consideration we decided that for the time being we're definitely going to stick with-"
You can't please everyone

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The popularity of Angela Merkel - "She grows on rambling holidays like all kinds of Germans. She knows the price of butter to a cent in a public debate when it's asked unexpectedly"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Does France always turn on its presidents? - "As Macron himself once said the French partly regret killing off their kings. Or that as others believe they are driven to repeat the experience with every leader who looks a little bit like one.
'The French have an historical relationship with the president which is quite strange since they made the Revolution and they killed the king... when someone is elected something happens in France and they still think he's the king. So what they do after he's been elected is that they tried to cut his head off'...
It probably didn't help that the man who invented the modern French presidency after World War II positioned himself above the daily grind of politics - aloof, regal, the voice of France"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Today at 60: How has politics changed? - "[On Trump] When you look at how he's handled North Korea I am not so sure I am very critical. One of his first things very wisely was to talk to the President of China in Florida and China has conducted themselves so far with imagination and some courage... he's obviously a huge narcissist but he's intelligent and he knows how to use the media and he knew how to win the crucial seven rust belt seats away from Hillary Clinton"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Why the robin is the UK's favourite bird - "Robins have been well known for many years since the wonderful scientist David Lack discovered this back in the 1930s but robins are vicious little creatures. They will attack other robins, they will sometimes - not very often - fight them even to the death and it's again it's all part of this territorial imperative and it's one of the reasons why we love robbins is that they're all around us, they're in our gardens. But our gardens are a hot bed of robin sex and violence...
'It used to be called a redbreast'
'That's right. In fact the name robin is a nickname. My nan used to call the birds Jenny Wren and Tom Tit and Robin Redbreast... the funny thing about redbreast of course is of course if you look at a robin it's not red at all, it is orange... the name red breast is older than the use of the word orange in English to describe the color which of course only came on board when we started getting oranges from Spain and Portugal and realized that there was a color which was different from red'"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Cow Candy - "It's junk food, it's full of sugar'
'It is. But once it's mixed with other ingredients it is a good food. It's like a recipe that your mother, your grandmother would do. One ingredient can be bad for you but all mixed together, all cooked together it is a good thing'"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, My Life in Five Dishes: Madhur Jaffrey - "I started out with a kind of love of sweet things. You saw all the grown ups around you eating hot and spicy things and licking their lips and wanting more but my mouth couldn't take it at that time but by the time I was three or four I sort of graduated and could eat very hot and spicy things...
I started writing my cookbooks in the early 80s. The BBC actually hired me to do these programs and they were considered educational programs. Nobody thought anybody was going to really cook with them. And I think they printed thirty thousand books to begin with not thinking they'd sell but they were gone. After the first program all those books were gone so they realized that they had a population that was hungering for Indian food and they were making it themselves. There would be reports that all Manchester ran out of green coriander after I had made chicken with green coriander"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Competitive Eating: The 'Gurgitators' - "In Japan for example we have long competitions for people eat for a very long time to see how much they can eat because in Japan it's considered very almost vulgar or not good to eat fast but in America it's not good to eat a lot so their take on it is to eat a lot but really short time...
[On world hunger] The pools that swimmers swim in that need gallons of water - that water is not going to people who need water"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Competitive Eating: Chewing it Over - "It can help people recover from eating disorders... He was severely anorexic in his teens... People with eating disorders that send me their stories and tell me how much I've helped them... a good amount of people that watch my videos have eating disorders"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Pony Tales - "We collected like 80, 82 samples and five of them had them at least three hundred milligrams of linolenic acid which is an essential omega 3 fatty acid per hundred grams of fresh meat and according to the European regulation if a product passes the three hundred milligram limit it could be labeled as a source of omega three. So the interesting thing of that was that for the first time we found red meat which is rich in omega three... In France horse meat consumption rose in popularity in the late nineteenth century and the country is still the second largest consumer in Europe after Italy but in recent decades appetite has waned"
They produce less methane than cows too. Interestingly tartare is traditionally made from horse

Sleep is More Important than Food - "We continue to live by a remarkably durable myth: sleeping one hour less will give us one more hour of productivity. In reality, the research suggests that even small amounts of sleep deprivation take a significant toll on our health, our mood, our cognitive capacity and our productivity. Many of the effects we suffer are invisible. Insufficient sleep, for example, deeply impairs our ability to consolidate and stabilize learning that occurs during the waking day. In other words, it wreaks havoc on our memory. So how much sleep do you need? When researchers put test subjects in environments without clocks or windows and ask them to sleep any time they feel tired, 95 percent sleep between seven and eight hours out of every 24. Another 2.5 percent sleep more than eight hours. That means just 2.5 percent of us require less than 7 hours of sleep a night to feel fully rested. That’s 1 out of every 40 people... Great performers are an exception. Typically, they sleep significantly more than the rest of us"

Strange Snacks of the World: Japanese Fish Sausage

Radical leftists nearly lynched by Arab mob - "Two women from the radical leftist group Machsom (checkpoint) Watch, which regularly badgers IDF soldiers serving at checkpoints, were in for an unpleasant surprise, after they were nearly lynched by Arabs in a Samarian Arab village. 0404 reported that the incident unfolded when the two arrived at the Samarian village of Azzun to show their support for local Arabs. As one of the women extended her hand to give an object to some of the Arabs, another Arab at the scene snatched a bracelet from her wrist and started to run. The two women chased after him in their car until they came to the neighboring village, where Arabs proceeded to attack them, pelting the vehicle with large rocks. The women managed to escape the premises and, in the meantime, an IDF force rushed to the scene"
Since they protest the IDF so much, the IDF should've left them alone
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