"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 (2)

The Rise of China and the Fall of the ‘Free Trade’ Myth - The New York Times - "economic history reveals that great economic powers have always become great because of activist states. Regardless of the mystical properties claimed for it, the invisible hand of self-interest depends on the visible and often heavy hand of government. To take only one instance, British gunboats helped impose free trade on 19th-century China — a lesson not lost on the Chinese. Britain was protectionist before it was a free-trading nation. The United States itself was, while industrializing, the “mother country,” as the economic historian Paul Bairoch wrote, “and bastion of modern protectionism.” Its average tariffs in the late 19th century were nearly as high — 45 percent — as the steepest ones Trump has slapped on imports of washing machines. The philosophical father of economic protectionism is, in fact, Alexander Hamilton, the founder of the American financial system, whose pupils included the Germans, the Japanese and, indirectly, the Chinese."

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un impersonators thrown out of Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Midnight at Cuppage Plaza: Where Japanese Salarymen Keep Loneliness at Bay - "I tell him that having observed this place for the last three hours, I am reminded a little of a typical night scene in Shinjuku. M-san’s eyes immediately light up, because by coincidence he also hails from that part of Tokyo. “Yes it’s a little bit like that. You can stay out late without worrying about safety. But it also resembles Japan only in appearance – you have to communicate with the girls in English. Food and drinks are so much cheaper in Japan, spending a night out here is already quite expensive,” he laments. “And the food at Cuppage, well…” M-san gives me one of the longest hesitation before finding his answer three seconds later. “it’s just 差不多.” (Chinese for average quality)."

'Sisters' peddle sex in cars at park - ""There are some sisters who do it because they enjoy the sex and are lonely. There are very few places where people can accept us," says one. They choose to solicit in Woodlands Town Garden because a number of them live near the Causeway, making it easy for them to return to Malaysia. "Changi Village is too far and too crowded."... "After a while, you know the regulars," says one sex worker. "We become friends, and they visit us for some company. It's not always sex.""

College girls in Malaysia available for a price at budget hotels - "Each session cost RM250 to RM300 for locals while the foreigners charged between RM165 and RM200."

Sex trade in Geylang goes online to avoid crackdown by police - "a Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman said that the police take a pragmatic approach to prostitution, which focuses on confining vice activities within traditional red-light areas... The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that there has been a rise in the number of foreign women arrested for vice-related activities in apartments in Geylang... The police focus is to maintain law and order in Geylang and it has implemented measures such as better street lighting, more police cameras and stepped-up patrols. This has reduced the number of streetwalkers"
More like confining vice activities to licensed establishments

Singapore teens stream live via new app: Strangers tell them to show off their bodies - "Bigo Live's popularity could be attributed to what today's teenagers value: social validation. "Their identities online matter as much as... their identities offline. So an app that allows them to not only show their talents and share their interests, but also allows them to gain fans and earn money would definitely seem attractive.""

I Dove Into My Whatsapp Archives. Here's What I Learnt About Growing Up. - "My chats from 2015 reminded me that I used to have seemingly infinite hope and faith in humans when I was younger. I would heartily throw myself into developing connections, regardless of potential failure and rejectio"

Russian nuclear scientists were arrested for using a supercomputer to mine bitcoin - "Russia is becoming a hotbed of cryptocurrency mining because of its low-cost energy reserves"

Indian officer busted after trading secret info with ‘Pakistani spies’ for nude pics

Oxford study saying Trump supporters share more fake news is fake news - "Researchers at the Computational Propaganda Project, who are the recipients of over $200,000 in taxpayer funding, spent "several years" developing its "junk news" list, which is actually full of the most popular conservative websites on the internet. Websites on the researchers' "watch list" of propaganda news outlets include the Washington Free Beacon, the Daily Caller, National Review, and the Drudge Report, which is the seventh most highly visited media publication in the United States. Contrary to the claim that conservatives are sharing the most fake news, the study proves nothing other than finding conservatives tend to share conservative media online."

Yale Researchers Accidentally Expose Facebook's Bias Against Conservative Media - "If Facebook’s methodology for determining “broadly trusted” news sites is similar to that of this study, as its authors suggest, then it is likely to vastly inflate the “trustworthiness” rankings of mainstream news networks, many of which are the least trusted brands in America. A Gravis Marketing poll last year found that half of Americans believe that CNN does not provide objective news and analysis — a number which included 27.2 percent of Democratic respondents... One thing that the study proves conclusively is that people are far less likely to trust sources they don’t recognize. If Facebook is judging sources by their name recognition, that’s good news for the establishment, and bad news for anyone who hoped the internet would create a truly open marketplace of ideas."

Sex perceptions of women in Australia, Italy and Egypt - "Australian women tolerate men 'asking for sex' and 'wolf-whistling' more than women from other countries. Just 26 per cent of Australian women are against men asking for sex at a 'social event' according to a study published by Curtin University. This compares to 100 per cent of women in Egypt, 99 per cent in Indonesia, 97 per cent in Japan and 88 per cent in Portugal. Buying a drink in the bar was offensive to just 12 per cent of women in Australia, compared to 71 per cent in Indonesian women. Wolf-whistling was unsuitable according to just 25 per cent of Australian women compared to 98 per cent of Egyptian women. Egyptian and Italian women in contrast were more accepting of stalking behavior compared to Australians... less than 16 per cent [worldwide] found asking you out just as friends, talking about you to mutual friends after meeting you just once and telephoning you after one initial meeting were unsuitable"
Presumably the less than 16% who think asking a woman out as friends is unsuitable are feminists

Doritos isn’t to blame for gendering foods. We are. - "as much as we’d like to believe our food choices don’t come down to gender stereotypes, they do — at least, according to scientific research... Zhu’s research “Macho Nachos,” which was published in the journal Social Psychology, examined the decisions men and women make around food solely based on their own implicit bias. And, according to his findings, Nooyi’s comments about packaging foods to appeal to men and women differently were spot on for the CEO of a major food company looking to sell more products... “What we’ve found is people are a lot more likely to purchase the food when the food is unhealthy and the packaging is masculine, or when the food is healthy and the packaging is feminine,” Zhu said, again, keeping in line with gender bias. “The reason is it’s consistent with their implicit associations in their minds.” And beyond purchasing food, Zhu’s team found that people literally thought food tasted worse when it was packaged in the mixed-gender packaging."
It's quite funny they need to qualify this with "at least, according to scientific research"
Feminist ideology is bad for business

Watching David Attenborough documentaries just as good for you as mindfulness, study finds - "Following 22 trials, they found no convincing evidence that either mindfulness and meditation promoted open-mindedness or empathy more than jogging and watching TV"

Little fuss over Dayak party’s pig symbol for polls - "THE adoption of the pig as the election symbol by one of Sarawak's smallest political parties, Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS Baru), for the 14th general election might be a little off-beat, but it hardly raised a flap among the state's Malay-Muslim politicians or voters... Unlike in the peninsula, Malay Muslims who make up about 25% of the state’s population are generally more tolerant towards religious and cultural differences."

Black speedskater rips US Olympic team, invokes Black History Month after he’s not named flag bearer - "The Thursday tweet from Shani Davis’ account said Team USA “dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022.”"
A coin toss is racist?

Ithaca College Faculty Backs Female President Convicted of Sexual Assault in 2001 - "Despite the recent #MeToo movement, Collado has received widespread support from the faculty of Ithaca College. Over 200 faculty members signed a statement that declared that the recent disclosure of her conviction has not shaken their collective admiration for Collado"
A mere allegation means a man must resign. But a conviction is no problem for a woman

Old Spice Creates New Playable Class for 'Dungeons and Dragons'

If You’re So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week? - "A professional’s insecurity is rooted in the inherent intangibility of knowledge work. How do you convince your client that you know something worthwhile and justify the high fees you charge? The insecurity caused by this intangibility is exacerbated by the rigorous “up or out” promotion system perpetuated by elite professional organizations, which turns your colleagues into your competitors. How do you convince your boss that you’re worth more than your closest colleague? There is no chance for a professional to rest on their laurels — or even to rest. Exacerbating this problem, elite professional organizations deliberately set out to identify and recruit “insecure overachievers” — some leading professional organizations explicitly use this terminology, though not in public... The tendency to hard work is reinforced by the strong culture of social control created by elite professional organizations"

PwC pay gap review finds “no evidence of gender bias” at BBC - ""Our analysis has shown that, where pay differences have been identified amongst employees in similar roles, these are typically driven by material and justifiable factors unrelated to gender"... The report also noted that high profile individuals who work across genres or “whose profile with the audience is high” are typically paid more, and that those individuals “right at the top, are mostly men”."
In other words, unequal pay for unequal work

The Death of Clothing - "Apparel is being displaced by travel, eating out and activities—what’s routinely lumped together as “experiences”—which have grown to 18 percent of purchases. Technology alone, including data charges and media content, accounts for 3.4 percent of spending. That now tops all clothing and footwear expenditures... It used to be that office workers needed suits and ties or pleated pants, long skirts and heels to get through the week. By the early 1990s, that seemed to change. The genesis is debatable, but many chalk it up to tech firms in Silicon Valley pushing a business-casual look dominated by khakis. That trickled into other industries, as casual Fridays became common. Now, office apparel is just as casual on Monday as on Friday for many workers. Over the past five years, there has been a 10 percentage point spike in employers that permit casual dress any day of the week... Neckties are disappearing, even in industries such as finance. Sneakers can be worn to any occasion, including weddings and religious services. And about half of Americans say they can wear jeans to their professional offices"

Woman reveals why she cheated on her boyfriend with the man who raped her... and her story will shock you

Rich Chinese pouring more & more money into S’pore, not Hong Kong: Bloomberg - "At the end of the day, Hong Kong is still an official part of China — and Singapore is not. As what the Bloomberg report says, the rich like to diversify—not only among asset classes, but among political regimes."

Sweden: Muslim Classmates Gang-Rape 14 Year-Old Girl - Remain in School Because "Rapists are Victims too"

The lack of progress in science: sex differences - "the Olympic caliber female German fencers were on the lower end of the male distribution... there are now people with academic appointments arguing for the ending of sex segregation in sports. Often they are sociologists, who believe all things are socially constructed, and take some element of non-binary aspect to gender to meaning that the distribution of possibilities are entirely flat and arbitrary... The reality is that race and sex/gender are social constructs. The atom is a social construct. Matter and energy are social constructs. Cities are social constructs. Everything is a social construct, as we look through the glass darkly. But social constructs operate on various levels of clarity and distinctiveness and exhibit different levels of pliability and utility. Dalton’s atomic model is profoundly wrong. It has long been superseded by quantum physical models, which have the utility of making correct predictions, whatever their correspondence to reality on a metaphysical level might be. But the Daltonian model is still often implicitly the one introduced to children to allow them to gain some intuition as to the nature of how matter is constituted. In contrast, the metaphysical ideas of the ancients as to the material nature of the universe are both wrong, and, lacking in utility. All models are wrong, but there are still superior and inferior models. Their measure is in how they correspond to, and predict, reality. Not how they correspond to our ethical judgements of how the universe should be. Many sociologists dissent from this position. They’ve marched into the academy and taken it over. Because of their ideology that all things are social, they believe they can reshape the fabric of the universe through their own normative preferences
Many years ago I came up with arguments "proving" that men being stronger than women was socially constructed to satirise constructionism. Looks like sociologists have caught up

Why Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch is utterly depressing | Nathan Robinson - "
Comments: "Perhaps the real question should be 'why are people paid to write Opinion pieces and edit 'Culture' publications when they could be out "solving violence, poverty, and disease"'? Once you've got all those solved, feel free to get back to us."
"Aaaah, Whataboutery being practiced at it's highest level - the ills of the world must be healed before any scientific advance in any other area can be considered. What utter tosh. If you wait until "violence, poverty, and disease are solved", we'll still be stuck on this rock in 10,000 years time."
"Here's some spinoffs we use thanks to NASA and the Apollo missions"
"What is utterly depressing is the Guardian's ability to somehow make every news story about either identity politics or inequality. Elon Musk is only trying to ensure the long term survival of humankind by becoming a multi-planetary species..."
"what an utter load of claptrap. So, according to this journo, human kind can only deal with one problem at a time, no space exploration before we figure out Malaria, no wait, no Malaria cure till we figure out how to deal with religious extremists, no wait, cant do that till we figure out how to make the deserts green, no wait, cant do that till we figure out how to reduce world hunger, no wait, cant do that till we end modern-day slavery, no wait, cant do that till we build a better mouse trap, no wait, have to first sort out the equal pay issue for women, no wait... ad nauseam. Musk has reduced the cost of launching payload by 90%. That in itself is huge."
"This article is based on the premise that the problem's on Earth can be fixed"
"Surely more useful than spending it on a superyacht or a football club?"
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