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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Links - 16th June 2018 (1)

Amazon And Ebay Opened Pandora's Box Of Chinese Counterfeits And Now Don't Know What To Do - "the source of many of the counterfeits was China and Hong Kong — the origin of 60% of the world’s knock-offs, according to the OECD.... there is no concept of intellectual property but also little economic incentive to just copy what someone else does exactly. No, there needs to be some form of innovation in the development process — either improve a feature, add a new capability, twist it into something that can be sold to a new market, or at least make the manufacturing or distribution processes faster or cheaper. In this way, shanzhai can become an incredibly innovative system, as rather than everyone harboring their own little patents in their own non-transparent little boxes, everything is thrown out into the open, people take whatever they want and then recontribute what they do back to the collective pot. Beyond sharing, the fundamental business strategy behind the shanzhai ecosystem is speed and constant adaption... The real problems arise when shanzhai goes global. When manufacturers who don’t need to abide by IP laws, labor regulations, or safety standards are given a platform to sell toe-to-toe against the original producers of the products they rip off -- when they can compete directly against original producers who need to pay for research and development, patents, trademarks, workman’s comp, health and safety tests, etc... Chinese counterfeiters often use the exact same photos and descriptions or even list on the same page as the original product, it is often impossible for the end consumer to tell the difference between a real and a fake before buying (and sometimes even after they never know)... Shanzhai moving into the e-commerce platforms of the West are like an invasive species invading an ecosystem where the native flora and fauna have no natural defenses against them. Amazon and Ebay’s attempts to combat shanzhai by delisting items or deleting accounts is like going into the jungle and trying to get rid of the mosquitos by swatting"

The Left Are Losing Their Internationalism - "When it comes to ethical consistency in foreign policy and relations, the left are dangerously wayward. Oz Katerji, a journalist, explained this to me as "hypocrisy based on outdated ideological assumptions about the world where discussing our international responsibility to protect civilians from harm, a fundamental precept of international law, is gas-lighted as British imperialism."... Is this a left being anti-war or anti-west? If they were genuinely committed to human rights and peace then they would condemn all who violate it, and yet when the perpetrator isn't western the left ignore the atrocities. A man called Marcus Papadopoulos, who Corbyn was this week pictured at a dinner with, denied the Srebrenica genocide taking place, just as he denied the Aleppo massacre. Labour's deputy PR chief Steve Howell on Twitter wrote that Assad was the only solution left in Syria. The Morning Star portrayed Assad's victory in Aleppo as "liberation" while Stop the War Coalition have regularly denied voices to Syrian democrats opposed to Assad and instead propped up regime apologists such as Mother Agnes. Corbyn's close ally Seamus Milne has repeatedly watered down the crimes of the Soviet Union while STWC co-founder Andrew Murray previously praised Stalin and North Korea... Genocide happens and parts of the left simply erase it on a consistent basis. I dialled down my criticisms of Corbyn after 8th June but it's immoral to remain silent over something as important as this. The Labour Party is becoming a political home for awful genocide apologists and it runs right through to the leader himself."
This suggests that liberals really do hate their countries/the West. One defence might be that they don't want to judge foreign countries, but this doesn't explain praising foreign dictators

Eye diseases changed great painters' vision of their work later in their lives - "In Marmor's simulated versions of how the painters would most likely have seen their work, Degas' later paintings of nude bathers become so blurry it's difficult to see any of the artist's brushstrokes. Monet's later paintings of the lily pond and the Japanese bridge at Giverny, when adjusted to reflect the typical symptoms of cataracts, appear dark and muddied. The artist's signature vibrant colors are muted, replaced by browns and yellows. "These simulations may lead one to question whether the artists intended these late works to look exactly as they do," said Marmor, who has long had interest in both the mechanics of vision and the vision of artists. "The fact is that these artists weren't painting in this manner totally for artistic reasons." Degas and Monet were both founders of the Impressionist era, and their artistic styles were well-formed before their eye disease affected their vision. But their paintings grew significantly more abstract in later life as, coincidentally, their eye problems increased... After reluctantly submitting to cataract surgery in 1923, Monet returned to his original painting style, even throwing away much of the artwork he'd done during the 10-year period that he had cataracts."
But Impressionism in general is like looking through the eyes of someone with an eye problem

Google just ‘ruined’ image search, but we’ll show you how to fix it - "Getty Images sells photos online for a living, and the company accused Google of anti-competitive practices. Google’s image search feature made it easy for people to find Getty Images photos and download them without permission or license. With the view image button disabled, it’s not as easy to open that image and then save it to your computer"

Don’t force food companies in S’pore to go halal, says S’porean Muslim - "It’s one thing to observe our food intake (it’s fine and principally important) but it’s another thing to behave like a jerk online with people."

Mate preferences do predict attraction and choices in the early stages of mate selection. - "when a mating pool includes people at the low end of social status and physical attractiveness, mate choice criteria are sex-differentiated: Men, more than women, chose mates based on physical attractiveness, whereas women, more than men, chose mates based on social status. In addition, individuals who more greatly valued social status or physical attractiveness on paper valued these traits more in their actual choices. In particular, mate choices were sex-differentiated when considering long-term relationships but not short-term ones, where both sexes shunned partners with low physical attractiveness. The findings validate a large body of mate preferences research and an evolutionary perspective on mating"
In other words, feminists are wrong (again)

Legalizing child pornography is linked to lower rates of child sex abuse - "the incidence of child sex abuse has fallen considerably since 1989, when child pornography became readily accessible – a phenomenon also seen in Denmark and Japan... The findings support the theory that potential sexual offenders use child pornography as a substitute for sex crimes against children... there was no increase in reported sex-related crimes generally since the legalization of pornography. Interestingly, whereas the number of sex-related crimes fell significantly after 1989, the number of other societal crimes – murder, assault, and robbery – rose significantly."
More porn, less sex crime. The usual answer will be an assertion that more consumption will increase demand and result in more children being abused, but somehow this doesn't show up in the statistics (which suggests that even if there is an effect, it is far outweighed by the reduction in child sex abuse due to increased consumption)

Is it possible to boost your intelligence by training? We reviewed three decades of research - "cognitive training programmes do not even necessarily boost those cognitive functions that the trained tasks are supposed to involve. What is enhanced is just the ability to perform the trained task and similar tasks."
In other words you can't train general intelligence, only task-specific skills

Duty-free shop at Heathrow apologises for 'discrimination' against Chinese customers - "Chinese customers were asked to spend more than £1,000 (US$1,383) to qualify for a discount voucher at the World Duty Free outlet at Terminal 2, while customers from other countries needed £79 to receive the 20 per cent discount voucher."
Yet it is okay to discriminate against locals (with tourist-only offers)

Hit-and-miss dining at Lavo - "A survey of our fellow diners tells us nobody is there to take the food seriously, since there is no way a pizza or porterhouse steak can hide in some of those bodies sheathed in second-skin outfits. Instead of nibbling on nightclub-compliant chi-chi fare, we're chowing down on hefty portions of family-restaurant style, American-Italian cooking - imagine an unholy liaison between Jamie's Italian and Denny's... Our Charred Octopus (S$32) arrives suspiciously fast, barely a few minutes after our orders are taken, like a mollusc-in-waiting that's suddenly called into action. The tentacle is cool rather than warm, sprinkled with black olive dust and over-vinegared dressing. It's already starting to dry out - once supple flesh taking on a somewhat stringy and powdery texture."

Malaysia apologises for Chinese New Year ad with rooster - "The full-page advert by the domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism ministry showed a rooster emitting the word "wang", used to represent a dog's bark in Mandarin... The ministry issued an apology late Thursday and said a "technical error" was behind the mistake, without saying how they had intended the ad to appear"
Next year it's the year of the pig

Someone's Sushi Came Alive and Tried to Escape at a Revolving Sushi Joint

Artist’s 'sexual' robin redbreast Christmas cards banned by Facebook - "Facebook has blocked the sale of a pack of Christmas cards featuring a robin redbreast because of its “sexual” and “adult” nature."... “There’s obviously nothing in the images themselves which is inappropriate. Similarly, there were no ‘trigger’ words used in the cards’ descriptions that I’m aware of. For instance, the robin card was simply called ‘Robin’, not ‘Robin Redbreast’ as some people have wondered."... Founder Mark Zuckerberg was accused by a Norwegian newspaper of “abusing [his] power” in a move that triggered a larger debate about Facebook’s role in the censorship and distribution of news. More recently, a photo showing a statue of Roman sea god Neptune was also not approved after being deemed “explicitly sexual”. Elisa Barberi, a local writer, attempted to post them on her page earlier this year... Until 2012, Effin, a small village in Limerick, was deemed “offensive” by the site and users were prevented from listing it as their registered “homeplace”."

Aging, but Still Working, in Singapore - The New York Times - "Some do so because they see it as a way to continue to contribute to society, and they’re reluctant to become a burden on their families. Others among them wish to escape the loneliness of an increasingly sedentary retirement. Many need the extra income that even such modest work provides (typically less than the equivalent in Singapore dollars of about $1,100 a month)... “Looking after your parents,” in this still strongly Confucian-influenced society, is a concept most Singaporeans have grown up with. So the notion of parents’ going out to work in a job past the retirement age, particularly in physically demanding, low-paid jobs like the food-hall cleaners’ work, sits uneasily with traditional ideas of filial duty. At the same time, providing for and looking after elderly parents within the family is becoming ever more challenging in a country renowned for its high-pressure work environment. Singapore’s high standard of living comes at a price: It has the longest working hours of any country in the world, and for a third consecutive year was ranked recently as the world’s most expensive city to live in."

Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice. - The New York Times - "Nobody wants to see your true self. We all have thoughts and feelings that we believe are fundamental to our lives, but that are better left unspoken. A decade ago, the author A. J. Jacobs spent a few weeks trying to be totally authentic. He announced to an editor that he would try to sleep with her if he were single and informed his nanny that he would like to go on a date with her if his wife left him. He informed a friend’s 5-year-old daughter that the beetle in her hands was not napping but dead. He told his in-laws that their conversation was boring. You can imagine how his experiment worked out. “Deceit makes our world go round,” he concluded. “Without lies, marriages would crumble, workers would be fired, egos would be shattered, governments would collapse.”

Shazam for Plants Will Identify Any Plant From a Picture

Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time? - "the premature deaths of elite scientists affect the dynamics of scientific discovery. Following such deaths, scientists who were not collaborators with the deceased stars become more visible, and they advance novel ideas through increased publications within the field of the deceased star. These "emerging stars" are often scientists who were not previously active within that field. The results suggest that outsiders to a specific scientific field are reluctant to challenge a research star who is viewed as a leader within that field. "

Your Fingerprint Isn't Protected by the Constitution - "Biometrics might be cool and convenient, but the technology could potentially undermine your legal rights under the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the government from compelling a witness to testify against herself. A court or police officer could legally compel you to press your finger onto your smartphone to unlock it"

LFW: London Modest Fashion Week to showcase Islamic dress
So normal fashion is immodest? Slut shaming is okay if Muslims do it?

Yelpers across North America frown on Chinese food
They hate their traditional cuisine too

Chinese New Year: Remembering how I first ate dog meat, and how differences bring us together - "I see this very much in the same way that Australian farmers love their cows and lambs. It doesn't stop them from slaughtering them, and many vegans would question why Western countries discriminate against all animals except cats and dogs — which again comes back to our different respective histories. In China and South Korea, the tradition of eating dog meat goes back at least 400 years according to Government statistics. Meanwhile, throughout Russia and Switzerland and other countries, many people also continue to have dog-meat-eating customs. During the current Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, locals have reportedly expressed their outrage at foreign media coverage of the consumption of dog meat by locals, claiming that these reports did not respect cultural histories and differences... my father's answer to "why do you eat dog meat" is that Australians eat kangaroo, and kangaroo is the symbol of Australia, and that "we would never do that in China" — and he probably has a point I think."

Parents Lose Custody Of Child For Refusing To Support Transgenderism - "Hamilton County Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon granted custody to the girl's maternal grandparents, who are open to transgender hormone therapy. The teenager has been living with them since 2016."

'Black Panther' Review: This Deeply Conservative Movie Makes Captain America Look Like A Neo-Marxist Stooge - "Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther" is so deeply conservative that it makes Captain America look like a washed-up neo-Marxist Berkeley grad who spends his days of unemployment shouting "speech is violence" from the rooftops at a Ben Shapiro rally. Let me count the ways:
"Black Panther" stresses the importance of fatherhood.
"Black Panther" highlights the pain of lost heritage.
"Black Panther" emphasizes the need for strong families.
"Black Panther" pays tribute to the power of tradition.
"Black Panther" denigrates the destructiveness of ethnocentrism.
"Black Panther" endorses Plato's concept of the philosopher king.
"Black Panther" favors national sovereignty over one-world governments.
"Black Panther" celebrates masculinity.
"Black Panther" sticks it to Marxist revolutionary psychopaths.
"Black Panther" has a unifying message: "We are one tribe."...
"Black Panther" is about the competition between two opposing ideological forces: tribalism vs. unity. The villain, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), is essentially a black nationalist revolutionary that would be right at home shouting "death to pigs" at a BLM rally"
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