"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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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Links - 14th June 2018 (1)

Toxoplasmosis: how feral cats kill wildlife without lifting a paw - "Unfortunately, Australian marsupials are very susceptible to toxoplasmosis. Species such as the eastern barred bandicoot typically die within 2-3 weeks of infection. As a result, toxoplasmosis has thwarted conservation attempts to introduce the species to French Island in Victoria... mothers infected with Toxoplasma have been found to give birth to more sons in both mice and humans. While the reasons for this are unclear, infection with Toxoplasma may gradually skew the sex ratios of our threatened wildlife in favour of males. Over time, this would reduce the number of females in a population, further reducing the reproductive capacity of many declining species and exacerbating ongoing population declines... Most responsible pet owners keep their domestic cats indoors and restrict their hunting activities, minimising the risk of infection. But feral cats need to hunt and kill to survive. . Therefore, feral cats are the most important player in the Toxoplasma cycle. To break the cycle and eliminate the parasite, we need to eliminate feral cats."

The Relation of Toxoplasma Infection and Sexual Attraction to Fear, Danger, Pain, and Submissiveness - "Behavioral patterns, including sexual behavioral patterns, are usually understood as biological adaptations increasing the fitness of their carriers. Many parasites, so-called manipulators, are known to induce changes in the behavior of their hosts to increase their own fitness. Such changes are also induced by a parasite of cats, Toxoplasma gondii. The most remarkable change is the fatal attraction phenomenon, the switch of infected mice’s and rat’s native fear of the smell of cats toward an attraction to this smell. The stimuli that activate fear-related circuits in healthy rodents start to also activate sex-related circuits in the infected animals. An analogy of the fatal attraction phenomenon has also been observed in infected humans. Therefore, we tried to test a hypothesis that sexual arousal by fear-, violence-, and danger-related stimuli occurs more frequently in Toxoplasma-infected subjects. A cross-sectional cohort study performed on 36,564 subjects (5,087 Toxoplasma free and 741 Toxoplasma infected) showed that infected and noninfected subjects differ in their sexual behavior, fantasies, and preferences when age, health, and the size of the place where they spent childhood were controlled (F(24, 3719) ¼ 2.800, p < .0001). In agreement with our a priori hypothesis, infected subjects are more often aroused by their own fear, danger, and sexual submission although they practice more conventional sexual activities than Toxoplasma-free subjects. We suggest that the later changes can be related to a decrease in the personality trait of novelty seeking in infected subjects, which is potentially a side effect of increased concentration of dopamine in their brain."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Turf Wars - "Truckloads of qat don't have any problems getting from farms on one side of the front line to markets and customers on the other. Vehicles carrying anything else - guns, aid, people - are regularly held up. 'No one is going to shoot the qat driver'... People in the qat business have a kind of diplomatic community nobody else in Yemen enjoys"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, From Our Home Correspondent - "On the Falls you'll find Palestinian flags. On the Shankill you'll find Israeli ones. Division breeds division. We read other places' conflicts through the lenses of our own. While fewer people go to church now than before faith continues to be a strong cultural identifier. Catholics tend to say Ireland and mean here. Protestants tend to say the UK and mean here. And so church gatherings at Christmas, say, can take an odd political turn here because when people in Belfast speak about places like Bethlehem, they're often speaking about how they understand here, not there. Is Bethlehem a town in Israel? Is Bethlehem a town in Palestine?"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, DRC - A Country On Hold? - "Many other decent men are nervous because they've been thrown off balance. They don't know how to act anymore. Several times in the past few weeks an interviewee I've known for years or a colleague I've worked with for ages has lent in for a hug only to draw back and say with an awkward laugh: oh no you'll probably accuse me of harassment. Or they'll stop halfway through a benign compliment and mutter embarrassed: I guess I can't say that anymore. Maybe that is the office environment that we'll end up with - one where there are no references to the way a woman looks, where there are no innocent hugs and certainly no flings between colleagues... so what if men are under pressure some women ask? Let them suffer they add as women have for decades and if a few innocent men are falsely accused or made to feel uncomfortable it's a price worth paying... historically women suffer when men get mad at us"

Bullshit - Wikipedia - "Publicly formulated the first time in January 2013 by Alberto Brandolini, an Italian programmer, the bullshit asymmetry principle (also known as Brandolini's law states that:
The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

The Faces of Olympic Figure Skating

Woman Reunited With Childhood Pet She Was Forced To Give Up

GUNTER: C’mon, we all know ‘peoplekind’ wasn’t a joke - "Have you ever noticed how smug people often claim they were only joking when you catch them saying something foolish? As in, “Oh, come on. It’s obvious I was just kidding.” Well, now that his preposterous (and eposterously pompous) “personkind” remark has gone viral globally, that’s just what our smug prime minister is doing – claiming he was only kidding. After he interrupted a young woman during a townhall at Edmonton’s MacEwan University last week – and after video of his preachy, politically correct interjection gained him headlines and scorn as far away as India – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week was insisting he was only making a “dumb joke.”"
Mansplaining is okay if you're a feminist

UK Government Orders Large-Scale Review After Surge In False Rape Accusations - "In October 2017, a woman had been sentenced to five years in prison after filing a false charge against a 22-year-old soldier. As with the other cases, the accusation came after the defendant engaged in consensual sex but rejected offers of a long-term relationship. Prosecutor Joanne Jakymec stated that Rebecca Palmer, 26, had “invented fake friend profiles and produced false correspondence hoping that these would be accepted as supportive evidence of her false claims“. Also in October, a police officer considered committing suicide after a woman he met on a dating site falsely accused him of rape. He was later acquitted."

The Horse Who Wanted to Be a Dog: Swedish Kids Taught About Transsexuality
Does this mean transspeciesm is next?

Millions of Americans as destitute as the world’s poorest? Don’t believe it. - "the New York Times published an opinion piece by Angus Deaton, a Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist, in which he claimed that millions of Americans — specifically, 3.2 million to 5.4 million, depending on the poverty line used — “are as destitute as the world’s poorest people.” This is simply wrong... it is incorrect and misleading to draw an equivalence between poverty in America and poverty in low-income countries. It is only through the misinterpretation of poverty statistics that one can equate the two... The World Bank, which runs many of these surveys, has noted the dangers in comparing income and consumption-based poverty figures. In one report, its experts observe that many of the people who “declare zero income on a survey” have “a consumption level that is not zero.”"

How Unmarried Childless Feminists Are Blaming Men For Their Own Unhappiness - "famed British journalist Elizabeth Day. Who while voicing her concerns that over a fifth of British women over 40 are now childless, (a statistic that rises every year) also proudly declares, “I spent much of my 20s fervently avoiding pregnancy as if it were a communicable disease.” You might think from the above quote, Ms. Day seemingly holds herself responsible for this lack of children she now seems to regret so much. This is sadly not the case however for the admitted divorcee, who instead goes on to explain that the real problem for her and other women in her position. Is that the available men just aren’t up to their high standards..How people choose to live their lives is their own business, as long as they don’t then get angry and lash out at others when their life choices eventually catch up to them... even younger girls finding reasons to blame male shortcomings for why they remain single. One popular excuse? That women are just too smart for modern men. With one 23 year old, for example, stating she believes, “the sense of achievement derived from learning is alien to most men.” For all their intelligence it would appear these smart women can’t seem to figure out that insulting the entire male gender isn’t the best way to find a man"

En-bloc sales ‘fracture’ communities, veteran architect says - "“This profit-driven solution is not sustainable and, hence, after every wave, there will come a saturation, and then everyone waits for another wave,” he said. “Meanwhile you have created so much friction, so much fracture among residents and communities, it is going to hurt the willingness to put our care into our (living space) and that’s very, very sad. We should correct that quickly.” The Land Titles (Strata) Act needs to be addressed as well, he pointed out, referring to how the provisions “encourage people to uproot from where they stay”, and have a “let’s get rich by destruction” mentality, instead of staying put to “add value” to the community. He added: “This is not quite appropriate especially if we want to encourage a sense of community, a sense of togetherness, and a sense of place in Singapore.” He discovered this when a “voluntary conservation” project that he and his partner Daniel Law embarked on at Pearl Bank three years ago hit a snag, although they managed to get 92 per cent consent from residents on the redevelopment, aimed at giving the building a fresh lease of life. Under the law, they needed to get unanimous consent to realise the project, which would see the building receive conservation status, as well as the erection of a 27-storey residential block with an infinity pool and a rooftop garden integrated with the Pearl Bank facade. The Urban Redevelopment Authority had said at the time that it was necessary for all subsidiary proprietors to agree to the proposal as it affects the entire development. “So you need 100 per cent consent to protect a building, but 80 per cent to strike it off the surface of the earth,” Mr Tan said. If left unaddressed, the country will “reach a point when every home is just a market value to be realised or reaped very quickly”, he added. “This mentality and sentiment is not healthy for our younger generation.”"

The Songs That Bind - The New York Times - "The most important period for men in forming their adult tastes were the ages 13 to 16. What about women? On average, their favorite songs came out when they were 13. The most important period for women were the ages 11 to 14... The key years, in fact, match closely with the end of puberty, which tends to happen to girls before boys. This also adds one more piece of evidence to the growing scientific consensus that we never really leave middle school and high school."

Why do poor Americans eat so unhealthfully? Because junk food is the only indulgence they can afford - "For parents raising their kids in poverty, having to say "no" was a part of daily life. Their financial circumstances forced them to deny their children's requests — for a new pair of Nikes, say, or a trip to Disneyland — all the time. This wasn't tough for the kids alone; it also left the poor parents feeling guilty and inadequate. Next to all the things poor parents truly couldn't afford, junk food was something they could often say "yes" to. Poor parents told me they could almost always scrounge up a dollar to buy their kids a can of soda or a bag of chips. So when poor parents could afford to oblige such requests, they did. Honoring requests for junk food allowed poor parents to show their children that they loved them, heard them and could meet their needs... Junk food purchases not only brought smiles to kids' faces, but also gave parents something equally vital: a sense of worth and competence as parents in an environment where those feelings were constantly jeopardized."

S’porean WW2 pilot fought in Europe, captured by Germans, & escaped by jumping off train

Albany’s Dreamers Act puts illegal immigrants before New York citizens - "an illegal immigrant can get free tuition plus expenses paid from a subsidized fund for which a student with two American parents isn’t even eligible. This is a taxpayer-funded codification of discrimination against Americans... a 19-year-old, for example, could sneak into the country, make his way to New York, wait 30 days, get a GED and qualify for TAP or Excelsior... according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, illegal immigrants pay $192 million per year in New York state taxes but cost state and local taxpayers $9.5 billion per year including $5.83 billion in annual education costs"

Lollipop man resigned 'because council told him high-fiving children could be considered grooming' - "Bryan Broom, 77, said that he loved his job but he could no longer work in a world where he would constantly have to watch his 'Ps and Qs'. He slammed the 'political correctness creeping into society' but thanked 'the ordinary people' who came to his defence and requested that he continue in his role. The respected and much-loved lollipop man left yesterday after 20 years in the job during an emotional afternoon and was showered with gifts and hugs from devastated children who urged him not to leave... “It’s rather peculiar because two or three months ago there were pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge high-fiving at a school and I should have sent copies of those to the council."

Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer - "In a classroom exercise I have conducted many times over the years, I begin by recruiting a student to draw a detailed picture of a dollar bill – ‘as detailed as possible’, I say – on the blackboard in front of the room. When the student has finished, I cover the drawing with a sheet of paper, remove a dollar bill from my wallet, tape it to the board, and ask the student to repeat the task. When he or she is done, I remove the cover from the first drawing, and the class comments on the differences."

In Sweeping War on Obesity, Chile Slays Tony the Tiger - The New York Times - "Today, three-quarters of adults are overweight or obese... by focusing on the packaging and advertising of unhealthy foods that appeal to children, the Chilean government is hoping to reprogram the next generation of consumers."

Students Walk Out After Princeton Professor Uses Racial Slur In Class On Hate Speech - "Destiny Salter, a 19-year-old Princeton student who identifies as black, told HuffPost that about 10 minutes into the class, Rosen gave this example: “Which is more provocative: A white man walks up to a black man and punches him in the nose, or a white man walks up to a black man and calls him a n****r?”″ He repeated the example once more, leaving students “shocked and visibly uncomfortable,” Salter said. A few minutes later, students began to point out their discomfort with a white professor using the word in its entirety. When one student asked if Rosen planned to keep repeating the word in future classes, the professor reportedly responded that he would if he deemed it necessary for the discussion. Rosen then said, “I purposely did that, because I wanted everyone to feel the power of that word,” Salter told HuffPost... Rosen reportedly continued to defend his use of the slur and refused to apologize... she said she’s decided to drop the class. “I did not come to this school to hear my professor spout the N-word in class. Period.”"
Daily Princetonian: "Byrd later returned to class and allegedly confronted Rosen using an expletive"
Of course, they filed a complaint. Maybe they would complain about pornography in a class on erotica too

Princeton's Free Speech Class Canceled After Prof Uses the 'N-Word', Student Shouts 'F-You!'

New Erotica for Feminists - "“Maybe it’s time for some roleplay," my husband murmurs, trying to get me in the mood.
“Okay.” I giggle.
“I’ll be a big Hollywood producer, and you’re a rising starlet.”
“Hot,” I say, nuzzling his neck. “Tell me more.”
“I see your spectacular… talent and I treat you with respect.” His hands are wandering. "I line up a female screenwriter, director, and cinematographer for your next film.”
I moan as he continues.
“Your box office receipts are soooo big that studio heads are finally convinced that women-driven films are bankable. Not only that, Greta Gerwig wins her tenth Oscar.”
“Yes!” I shout. “Cast me now!”"
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