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More adventurous than the average bear

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Links - 29th April 2018 (3)

Is being aggressive the best way to achieve social change? - "Not supporting free flow of refugees and immigrants into developed countries – XENOPHOBIC
Asking women to lean in and be more ambitious – SEXIST
Recounting an unpleasant experience about Chinese tourists talking loudly and cutting queues – RACIST
A doctor telling someone who is overweight to cut down on sugary drinks – FAT SHAMING...
As Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center, explains “Shaming is an attack, it triggers our desire to protect ourselves and withdraw. It is not the opening of a dialogue”... Some may perceive adopting a conciliatory approach and demonstrating empathy as being weak. That is not the case. Rather, it is being effective. This is especially Singapore and Asian societies, where people tend to be less confrontational. As Dr. Cherian George observes in his book Singapore, Incomplete, majority of Singaporeans don’t really value combativeness and are “allergic to people they perceive as argumentative”, often accusing them for creating trouble and “disturbing the peace”... Assuming ill motives almost instantly cuts us off from truly understanding why someone does and believes as they do"

Japan Wants Immigrants. The Feeling Isn't Mutual. - "According to the IMD World Competitiveness Center, Japan is the Asian country least appealing for foreign talent... the real reason Japan is so unappealing to skilled immigrants is just the same thing that’s at the root of so many of its other problems -- an inflexible, hidebound corporate system"

'Exercise pill' could deliver benefits of fitness in tablet form

Man, 25, duped of HK$450 for ‘sexual conviction record’ check after looking online for tutoring jobs - "Posing as a parent who wanted a teacher for his child, the suspect called the victim on August 29 to ask for HK$450 to check on the victim’s sexual conviction record with police. They met in the Eastern district, where the suspect took the money and gave the victim a receipt. Inspector Denise Li Ka-chai of Sha Tin police district said initial investigations showed there was no sexual conviction record check done in the victim’s name. In fact, those who want this background check must apply in person at the Sexual Conviction Record Check office at the police headquarters in Wan Chai. The fee is HK$115."
Why does this check even exist?

A Lifelong Leftist’s Cri De Coeur - "many of us lifelong left-leaning voters find ourselves described by our fellow lefties as, bafflingly, “right-wing”... I am a firm believer in free speech, including speech which might be deemed offensive or hateful. I believe in equal opportunities for men and women... No one should be either praised or blamed for the color of their skin or the content of their knickers... I’ve recently witnessed many people on the left “called out,” harshly critiqued, even demonized for sharing the views I’ve outlined here. Scorned, shunned and ostracized by the left, they’ve often sought out the sympathetic ears of media personalities, interviewers, talk show and podcast hosts who are right-leaning. Some of the more unsavory elements of the right have been behaving like ambulance chasers, waiting to cash in on the latest victims of the left’s woke-on-woke purity pogroms. We have only ourselves to blame for this. If we don’t want so many people to fall into the clutches of these self-interested faux-Samaritans, we shouldn’t leave them battered and bleeding by the roadside to begin with."

Will Health Insurance Reform Spur Entrepreneurship? - "If social safety nets are so great for entrepreneurship, why are European rates of entrepreneurship so much lower than ours?"

Is it Wrong to Blame Islam? - "consider the view of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who is an emeritus professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, the author of over fifty books, and the first Despite some lip service to liberal ideals, Nasr makes it abundantly clear that these enduring values don’t allow for any church-state separation.... non-Western scholar to deliver the prestigious the Gifford lectures... According to Obama, identifying Islam as problematic “alienates Muslims.” Fareed Zakaria said something similar during his recent appearance on Sam Harris’s podcast. That may be true, but denying that there is any problem alienates reformers and apostates. Moreover, political criticism may well alienate our political opponents. Indeed, it may even inadvertently provoke extremists on our own side to act violently against them. Few think that this establishes an obligation to abstain from harsh political criticism."

What motivates a Canadian jihadist? - "A new study based on interviews conducted over social media with foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria raises doubts about the commonly held notion that young men in North America and Europe who are drawn to violent Islamic extremism must be marginalized loners looking for an alternative to their dead-end lives. Three university researchers who contacted dozens of jihadists from abroad in Iraq and Syria, including some Canadians, say they seemed to be drawn mainly by the religious ideas—“no matter how ill-informed or unorthodox”—behind jihadism. Rather than being isolated individuals who self-radicalized in front of their computer screens, the report says they usually found mentors and, at least in the case of the Canadians, joined the fighting in “clusters.”... based on what fighters themselves say, they are “pulled” to Iraq and Syria by religious ideas, rather than being “pushed” by the realities of their lives in the West. “None of our sample indicated coming from familial situations of poverty or marginality,” they say. “On the contrary, many indicated they had fairly happy and privileged, or at least comfortable, childhoods. In general, there was almost no discussion of the economic situation of their families.” Dawson said today’s Associated Press report on the low level of knowledge about Islam among ISIS recruits might seem to contradict the Talking to Foreign Fighters report, but doesn’t really. He said the sincerity of the religious commitment of newly radicalized individuals “has nothing to do with orthodoxy or depth of knowledge.” In fact, he added, “Converts in general are usually among the least informed practitioners of any religion—they are new. But, as is common knowledge, they are usually the most enthusiastic and fervent in their faith and behaviour.”"

Liberal Muslims Are Losing The Battle In Britain - "there is misogyny. There is abuse, and an almost compulsive need for some religious conservatives within the population to immediately attack liberal Muslims, secularists and feminists. Those who suggest reform are immediately deemed to have been intellectually colonised by the west, “uncle toms”, branded as traitors who are supposedly siding with some sort of Zionist western liberal government conspiracy. For many liberal Muslims there is an apprehension in sometimes voicing criticisms of their own community in fear that it might become appropriated by the far-right... Criticism of conservative Islam becomes interpreted as Islamophobia to the point where it’s arguable that some groups actually profit from the word Islamophobia itself"

Is the Nanyang Girls’ High School Campus a Symbol of Women’s Rights? - Feng Shui Master Singapore, Chinese Geomancy - Way Feng Shui - "“A virtuous woman is one without talent”. Do you agree? Modern women have basically abandoned traditional concepts like the “three obediences and four virtues”. In a small island nation like Singapore, the awareness of women’s rights began around 1999 and became more obvious when Nanyang Girls’ High School moved to its current campus at Linden Drive... Hwa Chong Institution’s surroundings all use a “masculine” design, with “protruding” yang elements like the clock tower... Nanyang Girls’ old campus is located behind Hwa Chong Institution, which reflects the old idea of women silently standing behind and supporting “every successful man”. Hence, even though Nanyang Girls’ High School has groomed more than a few stellar “new age women”, there are many that “silently sacrifice” and are fully dedicated to supporting their spouses. The best example of this is late President Ong Teng Cheong’s wife, Ling Siew May, who graduated from Nanyang Girls’ High School... Now that the school has moved from its original place behind Hwa Chong Institution to face it from across the road, it seems to suggest that the trend of gender equality will increase. The next time you pass by Nanyang Girls’ High School, take note of the school building’s design. You’ll find that it’s similar to Hwa Chong Institution’s “masculine” buildings!Yes, the modern female has shed traditional “submissive” roles and stepped into the limelight, moving from reliance to independence, with the same status as your husband. This is evident in Nanyang Girls’ outstanding alumni (such as minister Grace Fu)."

New Legco elect: Hong Kong young people have 'nowhere to bang’

Most of the Recent Warming Could be Natural - Jennifer Marohasy - "Considering the results from all six geographic regions as reported in our new paper, output from the ANN models suggests that warming from natural climate cycles over the twentieth century would be in the order of 0.6 to 1 °C, depending on the geographical location. The difference between output from the ANN models and the proxy records is at most 0.2 °C; this was the situation for the studies from Switzerland and New Zealand. So, we suggest that at most, the contribution of industrialisation to warming over the twentieth century would be in the order of 0.2°C. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates warming of approximately 1°C, but attributes this all to industrialization"

Can Muslims Reopen the Gates of Ijtihad? - "The exercise of critical thinking and independent judgment – or Ijtihad --was an important way to address questions in the early centuries of Islam. After approximately 400 years, however, the leaders of the Sunni Muslim world closed the "Gates of Ijtihad;" Muslims were no longer allowed use itjihad to solve problems. If a seemingly new problem arose, they were supposed to find an analogy from earlier scholars and apply that ruling to the problem that arose. From the 10th century onwards, Sunni Muslim leaders began to see questioning as politically dangerous to their ability to rule. Regrettably, Sunni Muslim leaders reject the use of itjihad to this day... What followed the closing of the Gates of Ijtihad in the Muslim world were centuries of intellectual and political decline. At the same time, Europe, with its many states constantly at war with each other, was on the ascendancy. One of the major reasons Europe advanced appears to have been that its warring political entities needed to find new methods of defeating their adversaries. The Europeans were therefore drawn to study science and technology to enable them to produce weapons -- powerful naval vessels, for instance, that could be used in war both at home and overseas. The Muslims, on the other hand, who had fewer internal wars, had no incentive to invent new techniques to survive."

Turkish PM speaks out against assimilation - "The Turkish prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, has ended a tense visit to Germany by warning Turks there that assimilation is "a crime against humanity"."

Turkish Islamic organization DITIB admits preachers spied in Germany - "DITIB claims to be independent of the Turkish government, but its imams are trained in Ankara and classified as civil servants of the Turkish state."

Erdogan demos and counterprotests put Cologne on edge - "Some of the tens of thousands attending the event stopped for prayer; others professed their faith more loudly, shouting 'Alluha Akbar' during what had been billed as a secular event in support of democracy. Later, there were even calls for the reintroduction of the death penalty in Turkey following the bloody coup attempt of July 15. The gathered crowd sang along to the Turkish national anthem when it was played at the start of the events - but not many seemed to be able to recall the lyrics of the German national anthem, which followed immediately thereafter."

One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses as Much Energy as Your House in a Week - "In order to achieve a functional, trustworthy decentralized payment system, Bitcoin imposes some very costly inefficiencies on participants, for example voracious electricity consumption and low transaction capacity. Proposed improvements, like SegWit2x, do promise to increase the number of transactions Bitcoin can handle by at least double, and decrease network congestion. But since Bitcoin is thousands of times less efficient per transaction than a credit card network, it will need to get thousands of times better"

Outrage as convicted German rape gang WALK FREE from court despite leaving victim, 14, for dead - after judge says the attackers ‘appeared to feel sorry' - "only the adult, named as Bosko D, was handed a four-year jail sentence. Zivora S, 17, Alexander K, 16, and Dennis Masser, 15, were given probation under juvenile law."

Unconscious Patient With 'Do Not Resuscitate' Tattoo Causes Ethical Conundrum at Hospital - "While the DNR tattoo may seem extreme, the request to not be resuscitated during end-of-life care is most certainly not. Roughly 80 percent of US Medicare patients say “they wish to avoid hospitalization and intensive care during the terminal phase of illness.” Revealingly, a 2014 survey showed that the vast majority of physicians would prefer to skip high-intensity interventions for themselves. Of the 1,081 doctors polled, over 88 percent opted for do-not-resuscitate status. Indeed, measures to keep a patient alive are often invasive, painful, and costly. DNRs, which hospital staff refer to as “no-codes,” are an explicit request to forego high-intensity interventions like CPR, electric shock, and intubation tubes. More implicitly, it’s a request to not be hooked up to a machine. Typically, DNRs are formal, notarized documents that a patient gives to their doctor and family members. Tattoos, needless to say, are a highly unorthodox—but arguably direct—means of conveying one’s end-of-life wishes. That said, this patient’s tattoo presented some undeniable complications for the hospital staff. Is a tattoo a legal document? Was it a regretful thing the patient did while he was drunk or high? Did he get the tattoo, but later change his opinion? On this last point, a prior case does exist in which a patient’s DNR tattoo did not reflect their wishes (as the authors wrote in this 2012 report: “...he did not think anyone would take his tattoo seriously...”)."

But Seriously: Why Is There a Gender Gap in Laughter? - The New York Times - "When men and women converse, “females are the leading laughers, but males are the best laugh getters,” Professor Provine explains in his 2000 book, “Laughter: A Scientific Investigation.” He reached this conclusion by noting each time laughter occurred in a conversation and recording who laughed — the speaker, the audience, or both... When a woman spoke to a female audience, she laughed about 70 percent more often than her listeners. When she spoke to men, the ratio got more lopsided: she laughed more than twice as often as the guys listening to her. When a man was speaking to a male audience, he laughed about 20 percent more than the audience. But when he was speaking to women, they laughed a little more — about 8 percent — than he did... laughter isn’t usually a response to wit or absurdity — it’s generally an involuntary response that functions as a social lubricant. Professor Provine found that only 10 to 20 percent of the laughs he recorded were triggered by anything remotely amusing"

Anne-Marie Slaughter Grasping at Straws in "Have it All" Article - "how does she propose creating this equal world? Well, her first idea is finding the right spouse. The husband has to acquiesce to being a kitchen bitch, and to support her in her career by shouldering the majority of the domestic work. Essentially, she’s calling for an Amazon society — not equality... long distance running is a hobby. If the job calls on you to miss a race or skip training a few times, it isn’t a big deal. However, you cannot simply tell your kids “mommy/daddy has to spend all weekend at the office, so you’re on your own until Sunday evening.” That’s called “criminal child neglect”... Employers value people who are available not necessarily because of some driven quality, but because of their availability. When a problem comes up and everyone else is otherwise occupied, the available person will be called upon to handle it... There is nothing more telling about this article than that it both begins and ends with demands for support from men. That’s feminism in a nutshell: “We want it all, so you have to give it to us!” Well, here’s a little dose of reality for feminists: we couldn’t give you all you wanted even if we tried. We are mere mortals, and we recognize that. Furthermore, we are starting to recognize that the more we give you the more you’ll want, and we’re getting tired"
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