"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Links - 30th April 2018 (1)

Health: Shift Work Disorder, the Night Shift and Circadian Clock - "The study in Occupational & Environmental Medicine looked at more than 3,000 people living in France, about half of whom had experience working shifts. Those who had done so, either in the past or present, had lower scores on tests of memory, processing speed and overall brain power than those who worked normal office hours, the study finds. These effects persisted even after researchers controlled for effects of sleep deprivation and they got even stronger after people had worked nights for 10 or more years"

How often do ethics professors call their mothers? - "In a series of empirical studies – mostly in collaboration with the philosopher Joshua Rust of Stetson University – I have empirically explored the moral behaviour of ethics professors. As far as I’m aware, Josh and I are the only people ever to have done so in a systematic way. Here are the measures we looked at: voting in public elections, calling one’s mother, eating the meat of mammals, donating to charity, littering, disruptive chatting and door-slamming during philosophy presentations, responding to student emails, attending conferences without paying registration fees, organ donation, blood donation, theft of library books, overall moral evaluation by one’s departmental peers based on personal impressions, honesty in responding to survey questions, and joining the Nazi party in 1930s Germany... Ethicists do not appear to behave better. Never once have we found ethicists as a whole behaving better than our comparison groups of other professors, by any of our main planned measures. But neither, overall, do they seem to behave worse... Nonetheless, ethicists do embrace more stringent moral norms on some issues, especially vegetarianism and charitable donation... But when asked later in the survey whether they had eaten the meat of a mammal at their last evening meal, we found no statistically significant difference in the groups’ responses... 'Disconnecting professional ethicists’ academic enquiries from their personal choices allows them to consider the arguments in a more even-handed way. If no one expects us to act in accord with our scholarly opinions, we are more likely to arrive at the moral truth'

Furor over Texas A&M philosopher's comments on violence against white people - "The article, called “When Is It OK to Kill Whites?” quotes Curry as saying in the podcast, “In order to be equal, in order to be liberated, some white people might have to die”... in pursuing this discussion Curry is not simply exercising his First Amendment rights as a private citizen, but also is doing the job for which he has been awarded tenure at Texas A&M.” Curry’s “assigned role at Texas A&M is to teach and research in critical race theory, an area where he is an acknowledged expert”
So maybe the problem is really with critical race theory

China ‘tourist’ spending concealing flow of investment overseas, says Fed report - "China’s travel expenditure as a share of GDP was reported to be higher than Britain’s in 2014, even though the latter’s per capita GDP is seven times China’s. Similarly, in the same year, spending by Chinese tourists abroad was reported to have increased four times faster than the actual number of tourists."

Twitter: Suspension of New York Times account was human error - "the platform temporarily locked a New York Times account for violating its rule against hateful conduct, but the tweet in question, a report on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apology over the treatment of native people in Newfoundland and Labrador, was rather unoffending -- further muddying what will and won't get you suspended by the platform"

The Men’s Movement Deserves More Recognition and Respect - "We claim we want to help men feel comfortable opening up and yet, when they do, men face severe backlash by people saying that they are “misogynistic” for having the audacity to address men’s domestic violence issues. Is it truly misogynistic to look at the statistics and be concerned not only for women but understand the need to extend that to men?"

Jais denies raiding Hindu temple, says wanted to speak to bride about her religion - "Jais would not punish anyone just because an individual has a Muslim name. “For example, if Rafael Nadal comes to Malaysia and goes to a church, we have to investigate because he has a Muslim name. So please do not jump to conclusions,” he said in referring to the world number one Spanish tennis player. It was reported on Sunday that officers from Jais had interrupted the wedding at a Hindu temple after receiving reports that the 32-year-old bride could be a Muslim. Checks on the bride’s MyKad showed that she was Muslim, and Jais officers took her away for questioning before she was released. The department acted under Selangor’s Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims), which outlines offences deemed as acts of proselytisation by non-Muslims towards Muslims, and grants Jais the power to launch investigations and arrest individuals without producing a warrant."

Islamic feminism and miniskirts: The veiled truth about women in Iran - "The seventh century saw the Arab invasion. They brought Islam into the country and with it, a decline in women’s rights... things only really changed in 1925, when Reza Shah Pahlavi came into power. In a way, he and his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi were Iran’s ultimate feminists... They wanted to emancipate women and on the outside that’s exactly what it looked like. Iranian girls and women went to university, wore miniskirts and women’s magazines thrived. But this is one of the biggest ‘myths’ that Ansary explores in her book: that not all Iranian women were actually liberated. Many traditional families did not want to embrace these new policies, and when the veil was banned, strict fathers would stop their daughters from leaving the house. It meant they were unable to go to school, and many were prohibited from the new freedoms the Shah wanted them to have... It meant the Pahlavi monarchy failed. The Shah’s son was overthrown in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini, who Ansary describes as “a misogynistic cleric.” What surprised her when she first researched Khomeini, was that his greatest supporters were women. In the west, we might expect women to have supported the Shah's equality - but at the time many women could not relate to it, or understand it. Instead they were attracted to Khomeini’s rhetoric about going back to tradition and cultural authenticity. It was predominantly those who came from traditional families who supported him. But well-educated women such as Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi - who was one of the first women to become a judge in Iran under the Pahlavi monarchy - were not immune to his charms"
For all the people who show photographs of Tehran and Kabul in the 70s and concludes that Iran and Afghanistan were progressive, feminist countries since there were women in miniskirts

Charlotte Church: "I regret defending Kim Kardashian over naked selfie - she is a t***" - "When asked by another Twitter user about her remarks, she replied: "I'm not having a go at her for naked photos, I'm saying she is un-empathetic and self serving. And probably quite bad for women." "I'm generally not in the business of spreading negativity but I didn't want people to think that I support her ethos. I don't want to be the person who stands up for KK" "She goes about saying she's empowering women, I don't think she cares ... And when you have that much power and influence, it's dangerous to be so self serving whilst saying you're trying to empower people - [it] starts to cheapen and hollow out the meaning of the word and therefore the action.""

The Problem with Processed Storytelling - "Pixar films make me feel as if I were watching the cinematic equivalent of irresistibly processed food, with a ramped-up and carefully calibrated dosing of the emotional versions of salt, sugar, and fat... the result, whether for C.G.I. or for live-action films, is a sort of cyborg cinema, a prefabricated simulacrum of experience and emotion that feels like the nexus of pornography and propaganda."

Un homme tente de s’accoupler avec des juments - "Alors qu’il se rendait auprès de ses deux juments pour une visite de routine, le propriétaire a surpris un septuagénaire en train de s’accoupler avec l’un des animaux... L’homme, vivant seul depuis le départ de sa femme en maison de retraite"

How to Avoid Work: A 1949 Guide to Doing What You Love - "No matter where you work, you’ll get a lot of good ideas if you’ll:
Start with the little everyday problems. When something goes wrong on the job, see if you can figure out what to do about it.
Get into the habit of going to the boss with your suggested solution to a problem, instead of just dumping the problem into his lap.
If your solution is no good, find out what’s wrong with it, so you can do better the next time."

Why humans couldn't domesticate zebras - "zebra are not really “people friendly” and as a species they do not fit the criteria for domestication. According to the English explorer and polymath Francis Galton (a relative of Charles Darwin), these requirements include displaying a desire for comfort, being easy to tend, being useful and showing a fondness for man."

The Western Press Revolts in North Korea - "During my first trip to Pyongyang, in 2005, I mindfully shut off my lights each morning in order to conserve electricity, but when I returned in the evening every light—including the closet light—was switched on. The Party was trying to impress a Chinese delegation led by the leader at the time, Hu Jintao."

Why BuzzFeed’s “People Try Durian (The Smelliest Fruit in The World)” is Racist - "I’ve noticed that it’s the Asian Americans in the videos that have the most exacerbated and theatrical reactions, as if they needed to distance themselves. And I get where instilled patterns of internalized racism, while not diminishing how nuanced and complex as they are, lead to the desire to be affirmed as ‘American’ by exhibiting less ‘Asian’ behaviors come from... BuzzFeed ends up tokenizing the Asian Americans and other POC who exhibit their own racist reactions for the sake of supporting the “story” that this food is truly disgusting. This is tokenization because we see few POC on screen, there is almost exactly one representative of each ethnic background"
My comment on this was going to be: "Asians who hate durian must hate their culture, family, ancestry and heritage", but the article already said that
Amusingly this article has 3 editor's notes, 2 of which are mea culpas about how they themselves were being oppressive
One commenter acknowledges that they do the same thing for white and European foods, but somehow doesn't say why that isn't problematic

It Changed My Life: Migrant worker goes from painting condos to boss of own company - "he and his family moved into a $1.2 million condo in Pasir Ris. He says: "I used to paint condos but I never dreamt I would one day live in one.""

The war against Pope Francis - "Pope Francis is one of the most hated men in the world today. Those who hate him most are not atheists, or protestants, or Muslims, but some of his own followers... within the church, Francis has provoked a ferocious backlash from conservatives who fear that this spirit will divide the church, and could even shatter it. This summer, one prominent English priest said to me: “We can’t wait for him to die. It’s unprintable what we say in private. Whenever two priests meet, they talk about how awful Bergoglio is … he’s like Caligula: if he had a horse, he’d make him cardinal”... To judge by the voting figures at the last worldwide meeting of bishops, almost a quarter of the college of Cardinals – the most senior clergy in the church – believe that the pope is flirting with heresy... To accuse a sitting pope of heresy is the nuclear option in Catholic arguments. Doctrine holds that the pope cannot be wrong when he speaks on the central questions of the faith; so if he is wrong, he can’t be pope. On the other hand, if this pope is right, all his predecessors must have been wrong."
Yet many liberals won't be happy as long as he's still Catholic, since the liberal wishlist is endless

Sex, politics and François Hollande: how France plays by its own rules | Jonathan Freedland - "Sex will succeed where wars in Syria and the Central African Republic, questions of racial tension and the future of the European Union have all failed. It will persuade the world to do what it has so rarely done before – and tune into a press conference by the president of France... So far the only political fallout from the Closer revelations has been a slight uptick in the opinion polls for the president. You read that right. Conforming to Gallic stereotype, French voters appear to think more of Hollande now that they know his bodyguard ferries him by motorcycle for alleged late-night trysts with his lover... Hollande can seize the moral high ground, saying it is the press who should be ashamed for intruding on his private life, that he never chose to publicise his relationships (unlike his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy) and that France was a better place when it did not pry into the lives of others (unlike those prurient, curtain-twitching English). He could even go big picture and say that this is why the NSA scandal has so appalled people the world over: because the right to a private sphere is a sacred part of being human and that no one deserves to have that violated, not even a president. In Britain such pomposity would bring howls of derision. Said in the White House, those words would bring calls for impeachment. But when it comes to sex and politics, no universal rules apply. In France, you might just get away with it."

I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat (but farm it right) | George Monbiot - "If pigs are fed on residues and waste, and cattle on straw, stovers and grass from fallows and rangelands – food for which humans don't compete – meat becomes a very efficient means of food production... If we stopped feeding edible grain to animals, we could still produce around half the current global meat supply with no loss to human nutrition: in fact it's a significant net gain... Like many greens I have thoughtlessly repeated the claim that it requires 100,000 litres of water to produce every kilogram of beef. Fairlie shows that this figure is wrong by around three orders of magnitude. It arose from the absurd assumption that every drop of water that falls on a pasture disappears into the animals that graze it, never to re-emerge... Similarly daft assumptions underlie the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's famous claim that livestock are responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, a higher proportion than transport. Fairlie shows that it made a number of basic mistakes. It attributes all deforestation that culminates in cattle ranching in the Amazon to cattle: in reality it is mostly driven by land speculation and logging.. many vegetable oils have a bigger footprint than animal fats, and reminds us that even vegan farming necessitates the large-scale killing or ecological exclusion of animals: in this case pests"

The murderers next door - "William and Patricia Wycherley were killed at their home in Forest Town, Mansfield, some time over the 1998 May Day bank holiday weekend. As soon as the banks reopened on the Tuesday morning, Susan and Christopher opened a joint account into which they would transfer the Wycherleys’ savings, pensions, disability benefits and winter fuel allowances, gradually siphoning off every penny. They wrapped her parents’ bodies in a duvet cover and buried them a metre under their lawn, a few steps from their own back door. And then… nothing. Nobody came looking for the Wycherleys, and no one noticed they were dead. Susan and Christopher visited the house regularly, mowing the lawn, cleaning the windows and clearing the gutters. They wrote letters to the Wycherleys’ GP’s surgery, excusing them from vaccinations when reminders came in the post. Susan sent Christmas cards to relatives filled with news of her parents’ extended holidays. “It is like he is having his second youth now because when he does speak now he speaks of travel – and travelling. I cannot really keep up with where he is planning to settle!” she wrote to one of her cousins in 2011. “It is good to see them with such zest.” She had buried them 13 years earlier."

Super noodles: the rise and rise of ramen - "Whereas most Japanese food is bound by tradition and a set of unspoken rules, ramen fans embraced innovation and experimentation... The Japan represented by sushi is a very different country from the one represented by ramen. The former was a hushed, refined, serious country of fine taste and even finer economic means, but ramen represents a less intimidating, less exotic Japan, one dominated by bright lights, bold flavours and the electric pulse of youth-driven pop culture."
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