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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Links - 2nd May 2018 (2)

Why Disability Rights Movements Do Not Support Euthanasia: Safeguards Broken Beyond Repair - "There is no country where the disability rights movement is supporting euthanasia. Why is that? The example put forward to raise sympathy for the right to die movement is the terminally ill competent adult cancer patient in physical pain. We believe that the agenda of the right to die movement around the world is not just focused on the terminally ill patient, and we even believe that to be fixated on only one scenario within the end-of-life continuum is untenable and illogical. What are the safeguards suggested by the scenario of the case of a terminally ill cancer patient. There are four.
Euthanasia is for a terminal condition, which is defined by most health care systems as 6 months before death.
The purpose of euthanasia is to abolish physical pain.
Euthanasia is for the person who can give informed consent.
Euthanasia is about self-determination...
1. Terminal Condition. This position is by now abandoned by the right to die advocates around the world...
2. Physical Pain. Now, this has also changed. Emotional pain has been included in the debate...
3. Consent and competent adult. This safeguard is taken away in many ways at the moment. The most infamous case in the news at present is, of course, the Latimer case. Latimer murdered his daughter, Tracy, without consent. Now, you would think that the right to die movement would fight Latimer as he has broken one of the most elementary safeguards in the euthanasia debate--consent. But if you read the literature of pro-euthanasia people over the years you are not surprised that Latimer is actually openly supported by many of the right to die movement...
We believe that as long as disabled people are viewed as a suffering entity, as an object of charity, as a life not worth living, we cannot accept the broadening of our access to death. It is not without a reason that studies show that the support for euthanasia is greatest among the healthy and young and lowest among the elderly and frail and the ones with the least control over their lives. We believe that the legalization of euthanasia will force people to be euthanized in a misbegotten effort to do the right thing: save their loved ones from financial ruin, remove family members from the care taker role, cease to be a burden on the state. In a time where the percentage of elderly people is increasing and governments are reducing health care budgets and more and more people are without a circle of friends to support them, people find themselves facing the societal reality that There is a decreased willingness to provide social and economic support. The British Medical Journal reported on 29 October 1994 that, "People in Britain are more likely to request euthanasia to avoid being a burden on their relatives than because they are in pain"... We believe that euthanasia is another technique to free society of unwanted members of society among them disabled people and another expression of the ableism in western societies."
Yet, it is sometimes suggested that only religious people are against euthanasia. Or that the slippery slope is a fallacy (or that there will not be further slippage)
Tellingly this is from 1998

Man accused in death of Kate Steinle admits to Pier 14 shooting - "the man accused of shooting and killing a young woman at San Francisco's Pier 14 admitted to the crime and talked about where he got the gun... Sanchez tells ABC7 News that the shooting was an accident. He says he was wandering on Pier 14 after taking sleeping pills he found in a dumpster.
Barnard: "Where did you get the gun?"
Sanchez: "In the ground. When the... when the... over there in the bench, um, um, I put my leg and I see the one T-shirt and then see over there something like that."
He claims a gun was wrapped in that T-shirt and that it went off when he picked it up. "Then suddenly I heard that boom boom, three times," Sanchez said. He claims he kicked the gun into the San Francisco Bay, lit up a cigarette, and walked off, not knowing he shot someone until he was arrested by police hours later. Sanchez reportedly first told police he was shooting at sea lions."

Trump Tweets ‘Build the Wall’ After Immigrant Is Acquitted in Kathryn Steinle Case - The New York Times - "An undocumented Mexican immigrant was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges on Thursday in the killing of Kathryn Steinle, whose death while out walking on a San Francisco pier became a touchstone in the national debate over immigration fueled by Donald J. Trump. The man, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, who was also found not guilty of assault with a firearm, was convicted only of being a felon in possession of a firearm after a trial that lasted more than five weeks."
Looks like the Brooklyn Bridge has moved to San Francisco

SAS considers watering down tests for women applicants - "The SAS, whose selection process is considered among the toughest in the world, could be planning to permit female applicants to carry lighter rucksacks during gruelling marches... women - who can apply for all military roles from 2019 - might be allowed more time to complete tests and be given lighter loads to carry... analysis has shown that only about 4.5 per cent of women would be able to pass the tests to join even the infantry or tank units, both of which have significantly lower requirements than the SAS."
No wonder many people are against opening all combat roles to women
Actually, since the rhetoric is always that it's just a mental challenge rather than a physical one, this makes sense

Wearing tudungs used to be controversial in Malaysia?! How did things change so much? - "In the 1970s, it was very rare to see Malay Muslim girls cover up as they do now, at least according to Editorial Adviser of Sinar Harian, Datuk Jalil Ali. Tudungs were something that was reserved for special occasions, like during funerals or kenduris. Other than that, most Malay women were comfortable without it. There were even certain places in those days that prohibited women with tudungs"

In-Game Purchases Poison The Well - "Whatever form in-game purchases take, their mere existence damages the trust between people who play games and people who make them. Like Stephen wrote in 2009, the possibility of dirty tricks stinks enough that the tricks themselves are almost beside the point."

9 Arresting Facts About Conjugal Visits - "In 2015, India’s government passed legislation stating that conjugal visits are a right, not a privilege, for married inmates...
In Saudi Arabia, male inmates can have one conjugal visit each month. But that rule applies to each spouse, so men with multiple wives can have multiple visits each month! The Saudi government helps inmates’ families with money each month for housing, food, and education, and the government also pays for the travel (airfare and hotel) expenses that inmates’ family members incur to visit the prison. And, if the prisoner wants to attend a family wedding or funeral, he's given up to $2600 to give as a gift. The Washington Post reported that the Saudi government spent $35 million on these prisoner perks in 2014...
In April 2010, a 50-year-old inmate killed his 46-year-old girlfriend during a conjugal visit in a German prison"

Vegan eating isn't as environmentally friendly or sustainable as you think - "the vegan diet would feed fewer people than two of the vegetarian and two of the four omnivorous diets studied. The bottom line: Going cold turkey on animal-based products may not actually be the most sustainable long choice for humanity in the long term... the vegan diet wastes available land that could otherwise feed more people. That’s because we use different kinds of land to produce different types of food, and not all diets exploit these land types equally."

The Most Important Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of - "Lead pollution was as old as civilization itself... About 6000 years ago, humans discovered they could extract silver by smelting lead from sulfide ores. Ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians, and, later, the Chinese used lead to toughen glass. From the Babylonians onward, people glazed pottery with lead. With its low melting point, the soft and malleable metal was a metallurgy miracle."

Alexa Wainscott's answer to Is Hooters degrading to women? - Quora - "none of the women (including myself) felt degraded by the tasks of our job. At its core, it was a serving job, and while many disagree, it is a family-frequented establishment. And if any customer seemed at risk of going too far in some indecent capacity, it was nipped in the bud immediately. And part of that is credit owed to our management and kitchen staff, who cared for us and felt a sense of protection. The other women and I also largely protected and supported each other. Everyone was close and professional as a staff, as I experienced it. On the floor, it was generally a display of women empowering women, and I truly didn’t experience cattiness among the ladies. I always joke, for such a supposedly anti-feminist establishment, it certainly brought out a robustly supportive female camaraderie. Perhaps it was that most of the women were fairly confident, so less insecurity bred less pettiness. But I don’t know. Either way, it was one of the least pointlessly dramatic serving staffs with which I ever worked. And I respected nearly all of my fellow Hooters girls, most of whom were hardworking students, parents, etc."

Akshat Sinha's answer to Do you believe we are overly sensitive when it comes to race and ethnicity? - Quora - "I think we’re giving too much shit to white people. Their ancestors long, long ago may have done some treacherous things against your people but they are in no way, shape or form responsible for that. There should be no reason for them not to be able to celebrate and endorse other cultures and I find it absurd how many people, especially my age, seem to never take allegations of racial prejudice from white people seriously. I mean never. Here in the UK, where I’ve lived all my life, the incidents of racism I have encountered from white people are very far and few apart. Even then, they are limited to a few stares here and there, maybe a remark and that is ALL. However, if I go into a Muslim part of town, I’m afraid I can’t say the same thing. I am Indian and so being brown I tend to fit in just fine. However, if I am walking with female friends/family, who do not wear the hijab and are thus visibly non Muslim, the amount of racial prejudice that they encounter, as well as myself due to being associated with them, is truly mind boggling...
I’ve been insulted by them in languages I don’t even understand.
“Dirty Indian”
“Smelly infidel”
“Crazy Hindu”
“I’d like to watch you burn in hell fire”
“We will conquer India and blow up your dirty Taj Mahal”
These are a list of some of the more civil insults I’ve received...
I am on a weekly basis harassed and threatened by Muslims (ALMOST ALWAYS Pakistani Muslims) for my ethnicity and personal beliefs. A lot of my white friends will say the same thing. Ah, and don’t get me started on what my black friends have to endure. If I speak up about it, I am accused of being an “Islamophobe” and a “racist” by ironically the very same people who oppress me along with their ethnically British cronies who believe they have the moral highground by standing up for a “marginalised group”...
What we need is equality. And that entails minorities and their cultures being as open to criticism as any other group. That, my friends, is TRUE equality."

DBS Group's David Gledhill: Bitcoin is 'a Ponzi scheme' - "Bitcoin transactions are "incredibly expensive" and "all the fees are hidden through the crypto-mechanisms""

Cherokees hammer Elizabeth Warren on ancestry claim ahead of Mass. party convention - "Warren was listed in the early 1990s as a minority professor at Harvard University, but the only proof Warren has of her claim of 1/32nd Cherokee blood is family stories about high cheek bones that came from an ancestor... By all accounts, Warren didn’t participate in Native American activities in Cambridge, although she did contribute several recipes to a cookbook called “Pow Wow Chow.”"

Warren concedes she told Harvard and Penn about Native American ancestry - "Previously, Warren had said she had been unaware that Harvard Law School touted her as a Native American employee during her tenure there."

Why the Rich Are Never Happy - The Wealth Report - WSJ - "“If it flies, floats or fornicates, always rent it.”... wealth also breeds a kind of permanent malcontent. Large wealth, he says, “is certain to impose a degree of disharmony and irritation, if not from the stresses and strains involved in obtaining and protecting it, then from the guilt that inevitably accompanies its arrival.” Poverty is even less fun, of course... the only people the rich can truly trust are the people they knew before they became wealthy... being perpetually discontented is what drives many of the wealthy–like Dennis, perhaps–to keep creating businesses and jobs and reinventing themselves and the economy. A survey of millionaires from U.S. Trust this week found that half said their success came at the expense of their personal lives, relationships and health."

The Modern Epic of Denunciation - WSJ - "It’s a potentially endless circle. Every time someone in public life slips up, out come squads of reporters, not to cover the event, but to ask every other findable famous person whether he or she will condemn it in exactly the prescribed terms within the permitted time frame—and then whether they condemn one another for failing the test... Editors don’t pluck other non-occurrences from the ether and then send people out to cover them. Why is Mr. Trump waiting so long to condemn the Hells Angels rally in Nowheresville? The president hasn’t denounced North Korea in the past six hours: Does that signal a change in policy? What the “Denunciad” demands, rather, is a public performance of self-righteousness—a moral dramatization"

Lee Hsien Loong’s American Exceptionalism - WSJ - "no one in Asia is rooting for an American retreat. To the contrary, Asian leaders are eager to make America great again, however much they might disagree with Mr. Trump about what this means. If you held a “secret poll,” Mr. Lee says, every nation would vote for broader American engagement no matter what they might say in public"
And yet some people think China is all sugar and spice

Heavy Recruitment of Chinese Students Sows Discord on U.S. Campuses - WSJ - "Students such as Mr. Shao are finding themselves separated from their American peers, sometimes through choice. Many are having a tough time fitting in and keeping up with classes. School administrators and teachers bluntly say a significant portion of international students are ill prepared for an American college education, and resent having to amend their lectures as a result... Mr. Shao sat quietly in the back of a large lecture hall, dividing his time between Chinese social media on his smartphone and a lecture by Dave Nicol. He doesn’t remember ever asking a question in class. Mr. Shao says he doesn’t want to expend the energy it would take to bridge the culture and language gaps... Many Chinese students “are woefully underprepared,” she says. “They have very little idea what it means to be analytical about a text. They find it very difficult to fulfill basic requirements of analytical thinking or writing.”... “I didn’t expect to go abroad and take classes with so many Chinese people,” she said during a recent lecture on the U.S. regulatory environment. One of her Chinese roommates, determined to interact more with Americans, recently transferred to a small university in Ohio"

The Other Apple Innovation - WSJ - "Behold the Arctic Apple, developed by Canada’s Okanagan Specialty Fruits. The Arctic golden and granny are engineered to resist browning, meaning you can cut one up in the morning and it won’t be rotting in your kid’s lunch box by noon. Also approved are varieties of Simplot’s Innate spuds, which develop fewer black spots and release much less acrylamide—singled out by the FDA as a potential carcinogen—when cooked at high temperatures... About a third of global food production is wasted every year, according to U.N. estimates, and apples are among the most pitched produce. Less blight also means farmers can use more of what they harvest... it’s ironic that battling against this progress is . . . the green lobby... With such a lengthy and expensive regulatory process, as well as interest-group wailing, it’s a wonder scientists still make breakthroughs like the Arctic apple. The loser is society: For years major leaps like allergen-free peanuts have been in the pipeline, but fearmongers are keeping an agricultural equivalent of the iPhone from the market."

Gardens: the truth about apples | James Wong - "An apple is an apple is an apple. Right? What if I were to tell you that some varieties contain more than twice the antioxidants of others? Or that in the endless quest for sweetness, the sugar content of some has jumped by 80%, making some new varieties almost a fifth pure sugar (roughly twice as sweet as Coca-Cola)... A 2011 trial published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine illustrates the impact on health of choosing the right cultivar. Following the “apple a day” adage, researchers investigated the effect on heart health of adding one ‘Golden Delicious’ apple to the daily diet of a small group of overweight men. By the end of the eight-week trial, the men exhibited higher levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, putting them at a greater risk of heart disease. The researchers concluded that these counterintuitive findings were due to the variety of apple chosen, reporting the higher sugar and low-phenolic content of ‘Golden Delicious’ apples. They contain up to 75% fewer polyphenols than other commonly tested varieties."
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