"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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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Links - 20th May 2018 (2)

US military aid to Israel makes sense for both countries - "As former President Shimon Peres, one of the main architects of Israel’s unmatched military superiority, once put it, Israel’s military strength led her adversaries to “the conclusion that it’s very hard to destroy Israel.” As a result, there has not been a large scale military conflict between Israel and any Arab state for decades... in the conflict between the U.S. and its allies against Iran and its proxies, one can count on American leadership and steadfast support. America is not in retreat — It is doubling down on democracy and renewing its relationships with its core allies."

Why Japan celebrates Christmas with KFC - "The Party Barrel for Christmas became almost immediately a national phenomenon, says Joonas Rokka, associate professor of marketing at Emlyon Business School in France. He has studied the KFC Christmas in Japan as a model promotions campaign... the meals have morphed into special family meal-sized boxes filled with chicken, cake, and wine"

North Korea accidentally hit one of its own cities with a missile, report says - "In its relentless pursuit of nuclear strength, North Korea's first land target may have actually been itself. The Diplomat reported Wednesday that an intermediate range ballistic missile launched by the regime last spring accidentally hit the city of Tokchon, which has a population of more than 200,000."

The Roots of Obama’s Appeasement - "In truth, appeasement, not deterrence, is the more reckless path. With serial concessions, democratic leaders convince aggressors that they must be stronger than they actually are. Those fantasies increase the likelihood that weaker dictators and terrorists will miscalculate and set off a deadly confrontation down the road."

“Hiding the Tears in My Eyes – BOYS DON’T CRY – A Legacy” by Jack Halberstam | Bully Bloggers - "The film, Boys Don’t Cry, which took years to research, write, fund, cast and shoot, was released to superb reviews and went on to garner awards and praise for the lead actor, Hilary Swank, and the young director, Kim Peirce, not to mention the film’s production team led by Christine Vachon. The film was hard hitting, visually innovative and marked a massive breakthrough in the representation of gender variant bodies. While there were certainly debates about decisions that Peirce made within the film’s narrative arc (the omission of the murder of an African American friend, Philip DeVine, at the same time that Brandon was killed), Boys Don’t Cry was received by audiences at the time as a magnificent film honoring the life of a gender queer youth and bringing a sense of the jeopardy of gender variant experiences to the screen. It was also seen as a sensitive depiction of life in small town USA. Kim Peirce spoke widely about the film in public venues and explained her relationship to the subject matter of gender variance, working class life and gender based violence. In recent screenings of the film, some accompanied by Peirce as a speaker, others just programmed as part of a class or a film series, younger audiences have taken offence to the film and have accused the filmmaker of making money off the representation of violence against trans people"

Former New York Times Science Editor: Race Is Real - "Clark has uncovered a genetic mechanism through which the Malthusian economy may have wrought these changes on the English population: The rich had more surviving children than did the poor. From a study of wills made between 1585 and 1638, he finds that will makers with £9 or less to leave their heirs had, on average, just under two children. The number of heirs rose steadily with assets, such that men with more than £1,000 in their gift, who formed the wealthiest asset class, left just over four children... The values of the upper middle class — nonviolence, literacy, thrift, and patience — were thus infused into lower economic classes and throughout society. Generation after generation, they gradually became the values of the society as a whole. This explains the steady decrease in violence and increase in literacy that Clark has documented for the English population. Moreover, the behaviors emerged gradually over several centuries, a time course more typical of an evolutionary change than a cultural change."

Italy gives world-famous opera Carmen a defiant new ending in stand against violence to women - "In what is believed to be a world first, a production of Bizet’s Carmen will see the gypsy Carmen shoot her thwarted admirer Don José with a pistol that she grabs off him, rather than being stabbed to death by him.... With horrific cases of domestic violence coming to light almost every month, the directors of the work said they were uncomfortable with the idea of audiences applauding the final scene, in which Carmen is stabbed to death and lies motionless on the stage. “At a time when our society is having to confront the murder of women, how can we dare to applaud the killing of a woman?” said Cristiano Chiarot, the head of the opera house, the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino."
Comments: "applause is for the performers, not the plot. what kind of opera house head doesn’t understand that? are we applauding tuberculosis when we clap at the end of La Traviata?"
"I watched Romeo and Juliet and applauded because I’m an ardent supporter of unnecessary, teenage double suicides."
"We're going to start fixing stupid opera plots now? Because I can think of a bunch of them that'll be reduced to a prelude and an interval."

Chrome is turning into the new Internet Explorer 6 - "Google has been at the center of a lot of “works best with Chrome” messages we’re starting to see appear on the web. Google Meet, Allo, YouTube TV, Google Earth, and YouTube Studio Beta all block Windows 10’s default browser, Microsoft Edge, from accessing them and they all point users to download Chrome instead. Google Meet, Google Earth, and YouTube TV are also not supported on Firefox with messages to download Chrome"

In 2017, the myth of powering the world with 100% renewables has started to crack - "there was the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar”, by 21 prominent scientists taking issue with Mark Jacobson’s earlier study claiming that 100% renewables is feasible in the USA by 2050. In a nutshell, the paper found many poor assumptions in the Marc Jacobson paper and ultimately finds that its conclusion that 100% renewables in the United States by 2050 is false. And how does Marc Jacobson respond to this criticism? Does he review his work, make changes and then show that his conclusion remains valid? No, he does what some would do when their beliefs are under attack, he sues. This is one of the most shameful episodes of the year... we saw Germany called out for its lack of progress on decarbonization in recent years while holding COP23 in Bonn late this year. While massively investing in new renewables, these are unable to take the place of its closing nuclear plants, thereby making coal king in Europe’s most polluting nation. This story shows how a 12-thousand-year-old forest that has been almost completely consumed by the country’s ravenous addiction to coal power... we saw something this past year, we have not seen before – the rise of the pro-nuclear environmental NGO – as those who care about the environment and climate change are starting to realize that renewables alone is a path to nowhere. This includes such organizations as Environmental Progress, Energy for Humanity, Bright New World and Mothers for Nuclear... Even with massive investment in renewable technology, fossil fuels remain king in electricity generation by 2040 still producing about half of all global electricity. Wind and solar increase to anywhere from 20% in the New Policy scenario to about a third of electricity generation in the Sustainable Development Scenario (the scenario that shows what can be done to meet Paris objectives). This is even though wind and solar make up about 45% of the total investment in new capacity and global subsidy for renewables grows from about $140 billion per year to $200 billion. Looking deeper at the numbers, it can be seen that this investment results in a huge increase in wind and solar capacity of 5000 GW in the Sustainable Development Scenario. All other things being equal, this same amount of energy would only have required about 1500 GW of nuclear to be built since a nuclear plant produces about 3 times more energy than an equivalent size of solar plant and more than 4.5 times as much energy as wind capacity. And this is before any consideration of variability and the needed improvements to systems to accommodate that – and of course the predominantly fossil backup needed for wind and solar. What this shows is that wind and solar are good ways to reduce fossil use, probably by about 30% or so. But they are not good ways to REPLACE fossil fuels in their entirety. This must be done by more robust alternatives such as hydro and nuclear. These are the only large-scale base load options that are both reliable and low carbon available today."
Fusion has been 30 years away for 60 years. 100% renewables is similar

A Blockchain Explainer - "Totalitarian societies know the power of common knowledge very well. When Gary King’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science reverse-engineered the Internet censorship practiced by the Chinese government, they found that the government cared less about insults and criticisms than one might expect. What it censored aggressively were social media posts making plans to meet in person. Online, talk is cheap: but face-to-face people can build common knowledge."
The Chinese government knows slacktivism, awareness and online outrage are impotent

Prank SWAT Call May Have Led to Wichita Police Killing a Random Man on His Own Doorstep - " No doubt there's going to be a lot of attention on the prank call that sent the SWAT team out to the Finch home, but we absolutely must not forget that it's the police who decided how to behave when they got there. As far back as 2014 I was warning that the overmilitarization of our police departments helps makes pranks like this become dangerously violent mechanisms that can get out of hand"
If civilians are better armed than the police...

No penalties for hate crimes in Malmo, despite record attacks - "Despite a record number of complaints about hate crimes in the Swedish city of Malmo, not a single person was convicted of such offenses in more than two years... According to members of the community, most anti-Semitic attacks are perpetrated by Muslims, though Malmo Mayor Ilmar Reepalu has denied this. He advised Jews who want to be safe in Malmo to reject Zionism, which he listed along with anti-Semitism as an unacceptable phenomenon. Reepalu has also said the Jewish community had been “infiltrated” by anti-Muslim agents."
How come people don't blame Muslims for Islamophobia?

Why Women Live in Fear in the First 'Feminist' Nation - "In Sweden today, it seems there are two sets of women's rights: one for native women and another for immigrants. "I think there is, just like in many nations, hypocrisy," says Swedish parliament member Amineh Kakabaveh. She also knows a thing or two about Iran and headscarves. A Kurd born into a Muslim family in Iran, Kakabaveh became a Peshmerga guerilla fighter as a teenager rather than lose her rights as a woman in Iran's Islamic theocracy. Today she is fighting for women as a member of Sweden's Left party, but she has been called a "racist" and an "Islamophobe" when she has spoken out against Islamic fundamentalism or honor violence in migrant communities. Kakabaveh's message is that in a nation that likes to think of itself as one of the most advanced societies in the world – a nation with roughly the same population as the state of North Carolina – 200,000 young people are now at risk from honor violence. Swedish media reports some hospitals have even done virginity checks on young women, which is a key component in honor culture... Tasers and pepper spray are illegal in Sweden, so authorities somehow think bracelets that say, 'do not molest me,' will help... Demands that migrant men become more civilized in their treatment of women is also viewed by some in Sweden as a racist notion. "The Swedish model is multiculturalism and the official message is 'keep your culture, you don't have to integrate,'" says Sanandaji. "That's the government message: 'in fact, we don't want you to integrate.'""

Employees at socially-conscious companies are more likely to lie - "The more the researchers emphasized the employees’ personal connection to their charitable efforts, the more unethical the workers became... The culprit, the researchers argued, is moral self-licensing: the permission, conscious or not, that people give themselves to do something “bad” after they’ve done something “good.”"

Saying you are English is racist, claims Llewelyn-Bowen - "‘I don’t often use the term “England” because I think it’s racist,’ says Llewelyn-Bowen. ‘Whereas “British” can be used in the way that “To be Roman” didn’t mean coming from Rome at all. ‘I like that . . . and this is me speaking as a Welshman — an aborigine of the island. I’m very pleased to welcome you all in, obviously.’... Suggesting he associates England with Anglo-Saxons, rather than Celts, he adds: ‘You have to understand that the English all come from just outside Amsterdam, which is why they tend to be ginger and tall.’... ITV executive producer Brian True-May was suspended after saying Midsomer Murders was the ‘last bastion of Englishness’ which relied on an ‘English genteel eccentricity’. He suggested the detective drama would not work if there was racial diversity in the village. And former Newsnight reporter Paul Mason, who is now a prominent Jeremy Corbyn supporter, said he did not want to be English."

Stop addressing officers as 'sir' on the phone, soldiers told as greeting is 'outdated' and risks offending people - "The move comes at a time when the military has been accused of caving into political correctness. Last month, the army outlined plans to drop the famous “Be The Best” slogan on the grounds it was deemed elitist and frightened off recruits, until defence secretary Gavin Williamson intervened and reversed the decision. Troops are also being told to use gender-neutral terms instead of words like “mankind” and “manpower”."

Michael Sata - obituary - "As a mineral-rich nation laden with copper, Zambia was an early target of China’s sweep into Africa. By the early 21st century, Chinese companies were operating mines and running supermarkets in the capital, Lusaka. While Beijing called this a “win-win” partnership, ordinary Zambians could not help noticing that one side tended to win much more than the other. The minerals that China extracted were vastly more valuable than the infrastructure it built in return; Chinese factories put local competitors out of business; and a series of accidents claimed scores of lives in Chinese-run mines... “We want the Chinese to leave and the old colonial rulers to return. They exploited our natural resources too, but at least they took good care of us. They built schools, taught us their language and brought us the British civilisation. At least Western capitalism has a human face; the Chinese are only out to exploit us.”
What did the Romans ever do for us?

The Washington Post Totals on Police Killings Again Eliminate the Laws of Probability in a Land of Guns, Poverty, and Crime - "What’s not mentioned, as always, is the chance of being shot and killed by police per arrest for blacks, whites and Hispanics is approximately the exact same: 1 in 12,000. The major reason for a shooting that occurs in under .001% of encounters with police: Citizen behavior... PhD Criminologists say, “Relative to violation frequency as reported by crime victims, the likelihood of arrest for white and black offenders is roughly equal.”... A U.S. Department of Justice 2004 NCJRS report says, “Interestingly, none of the characteristics of the suspect was important. In other words, officers were equally likely to stop individuals whether they were male or female, African-American or white, low or high socioeconomic status"... 43% of police were killed by someone black, according to The Washington Post’s research in 2015. Thus, the 22% killed by police being black might actually be construed as lower than expected... Fatal police shootings today are down 70% for blacks since 1968 (more than three times) but is the EXACT same for every other racial group. In reviewing hundreds of stories related to police killings, I’ve seen no mainstream media touch this newsworthy information. I recommend they do."

Man convicted of rape freed after deleted Facebook messages prove his innocence - "Danny Kay, 26, of Derby in England, had been jailed in 2013 after a woman accused him of rape following a sexual encounter the year before, according to local media. Key to his conviction were Facebook messages that appeared to show him apologizing for sex without the woman’s consent. It turned out the woman had selectively deleted messages in an apparent effort to prove her version of the story... Kay told the paper that he owed his liberty to a conversation with a fellow inmate who convinced him the Facebook messages he thought were lost were recoverable. Kay then asked Maddison to log in to his account. “I couldn’t believe how easy it was to find the messages,” she told the Daily Mail. “I am no social media expert,” she said, but “it only took me a minute to find them, so how trained police couldn’t is beyond me.” Kay had strenuously denied the charges to police... one edited message considered by the jury read “sorry,” implying that forced sex had taken place. The complete messages, however, showed that it was a response to the woman asking him why he was ignoring her. Also omitted from the version presented to the jury was her response: “Dnt [sic] be.”"
So... when will the false accuser be charged?

How to Recover Deleted Facebook Messenger Messages on Android - dr.fone
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