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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Links - 17th July 2018 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Plastic straw and cotton bud ban - "Something very striking was reported by the European Union, actually, a little earlier this year, which is that of all the countries in the EU, Britain is the country with the warmest attitude to migration from outside the EU. We’re the most immigration-friendly country in the EU... Now outside the European Union we can have a truly colorblind migration policy that we can, if the British people want to, treat people from the Bahamas in the same as we treat people from Bulgaria"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Historic Korean summit - "'I doubt if the collapsing mountain was a big factor. Remember that Kim Jong Un has plenty of people and lots of pickaxes. If he wanted to build a new nuclear test site he could do so. What it's more the sanctum bringing North Korea to the table or is it a position of strength? Quite possibly a bit of both, and a bit too of other factors. For example we now have a relatively liberal president of South Korea with whom the North feels it might be able to do business and of course it's possible that things are going on inside Pyongyang that we can't see. That Kim Jong Un now believes he is strong enough to make big bold gestures...
Sometimes covering hope as a journalist can be more difficult than covering fear. Because it's hard to know where we go with this. There's not going to be a quick fix"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The secret to productivity at work - "In Britain the average person spends 2 days a week in meetings... fabulous work by a guy called Sandy Pentland for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He looked at the contribution of different things to our productivity. Now chat, conversations - face to face conversations, account for 40% of our productivity. Meetings account for close to 0...
We've entered this era where it's so easy now to put a meeting on someone's calendar. Effectively any gap seems like it's crying out for it and I always think of Charles Dickens... productive, he got the job done. 15 novels, 200 short stories, edited a weekly magazine. He didn't work afternoons. If Charles Dickens was working now, people would be asking him to jump on a call at 3 o'clock"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Attenborough on plants, plastic and extinction - "'Sometimes in the past, nature programmes including your own have come under criticism for not highlighting problems enough. There was a nature broadcaster talking about Planet Earth saying these programmes are still made as if this worldwide mass extinction is simply not happening'
'Yes, that certainly was a criticism, but I would defend the fact that occasionally you want to do a programme about zoology. You want to do a programme about natural history. And whether a animal is rare or whether it;s not rare is not the primary point of that particular programme. If you wanted to do a programme about monkeys, why shouldn't you show the range of monkeys that there are? And if you're doing a different kind of programme which is what is the danger about these particular areas of Africa or what, that's a different thing. But to say, as some people once said that it's a lie to show a monkey that's out there because it's endangered. That's not a lie. It is what that particular species of monkey is like. It's what we're talking about. And there's a time and a place for all these things. But we've been doing programmes about conservation, particularly about conservation. I think it'll be a great mistake if you decide that every time you put on a natural history programme you had to end up by saying: and by the way, these species are all endangered and it's all your fault. That is not what people need to know, necessarily about every natural history programme"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Friday’s business with Rob Young - "Even free traders are saying that Trump has brought the other parties, the trading partners to the negotiating table. So such as Germany now are fighting with France to get permission to lower their tariffs on American automobiles. Because America's a big market. So if you view Trump's threats of high tariffs as a negotiating strategy to get a better trade deal, Rupert would be for it"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Facebook's world changes - "Inconsistent standards and loopholes. How many people have had their bank cards defrauded by criminals and their accounts emptied? When this happened to me I was told that it was relatively common. Steps could be taken but in some ways it was easier to retain the existing system and pay out against the losses. That is not a measure of resilience...
1.2 billion baguette containing ham and butter were consumed last year, compared to 1.4 billion burgers. The first time the traditional French food has been outsold...
What can you do with a ham baguette sandwich? I mean not very much. And a lot of them extremely bad quality. A lot of ham is industrial ham, you can get very very poor baguette - industrially produced versions of the jambon fromage sandwich which you can get in your average boulangerie and they will be very very poor quality... you can make very very good hamburgers and you can Frenchify it with a bit of Tomme des Pyrénées or whatever it is instead of processed cheese... France is not as we like to think sometimes a place apart. It is part of the world, it is globalising and it was because the country felt itself to be different because we like to think of it as being different that these stories kept coming up...
The sit down meal, kind of lunch is something which you still see up to a point around Paris, but I mean much less. All around, near where the BBC is, near the Champs Elysees there used to be several traditional brasseire kind of places where you could go and have a sitdown meal, absolutely classic style with a lovely I don't know andouilette with a creamy sauce on it, whatever. And your coffee and your pudding and a bit of wine if you wanted it. Those places are disappearing. On the street where I'm talking to you from now, what's replacing them are trendy takeaway places where you can get high quality salads, Japanese food, fusion food, Peruvian-Japanese fusion food - all this kinda stuff is going on here as it is everywhere else of course. And the French are perfectly happy to accept it, I mean they hope it doesn't happen at the expense of their traditional fare but up to a point it is happening at the expense of their traditional fare"

The Vietnam War on film - History Extra - "As one Vietnamese American writer, one said, when Americans talk about the Vietnam War, too often, they're talking just about themselves. And that is absolutely true in Hollywood versions of the conflict and in documentaries and books rarely are the Vietnamese perspectives represented accurately and in full dimensionality...
'The war was begun in good faith by decent people'...
'What we were speaking about there was the original American impulse to get involved in Indochina. And that was during the Second World War... the precursor of the CIA sent operatives there to help Ho Chi Minh in his fight against the Japanese... the original impulse was, as in many American impulses at that time, was that we were trying to do the right thing to help people around the world...
I did develop more compassion for our leaders. I think the decisions they made were tragic and wrong in case after case after case, but in reading their memos and hearing their voices on tape, because we have secret tape recordings of Johnson and Nixon and Kennedy, I developed a deeper understanding of them as human beings and how they operated and who they talked to and how they spoke and how they thought. And so they became more real to me more three dimensional. And that is important because I think we tend, Americans anyway, to think about our presidents in particular, larger than life icons, who they might be all good or all bad, but they're not three dimensional human beings to us mostly"

Medieval bodies - History Extra - "[On blood letting] If someone was conceived in this very sensible, rational, well authenticated system - this is an authoritative system. It stretches back by the even by the year, 600 stretches back a good thousand years. And people have been writing and thinking, this is a serious paradigm. That's extremely hard to step out of it. It's been like someone postulating today that DNA doesn't really exist. It's very hard to move outside of the parameters of your time convincingly and successfully...
A useful way I think, to think about religion in the Middle Ages is to think about to sort of compare it to how we think about gravity today. We don't go around patting ourselves on the back saying, isn't it a good job that Newtonian physics... don;t float off the surface of the earth? Nice one! Nice one, gravity. Well played! But at the same time, it's a fundamental of how we understand our world. We just go about our daily life and that is how our feet stay on the ground... It's not necessarily something that everyone might walk around and talk about all the time, informs everything that everyone does at every waking moment. But what it does do is provide a baseline for how people understand things like creation, salvation"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, The 'Disneyland' of Food? - "They think that we heat pasta in plate every day. No. I used to eat tortellini for Easter, for Christmas and three time a year if there was a marriage... just for special occasion because if you want to prefer the fitting, the real fitting of the tortellini you spend three days"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, I Won't Farm! - "The definition of youth isn't universal. In the UN its fifteen to twenty four. In the African Union it's fifteen to thirty five. But in Somalia you are still classed as young until the age of forty"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, In Search of Wine's 'Holy Grail' - "To many is the holy grail of wine - rich, ripe flavors without high alcohol levels. Here's the problem - more mature grapes typically produce bolder flavors, but they also have more sugar which means a wine with more ethanol. Over the past thirty years consumer tastes for richer flavors and rising temperatures have led to a two percent increase in the global average alcohol content of wine. Fifteen or sixteen percent wines like the one I'm about to drink are no longer uncommon and this is something many scientists, health professionals, wine growers and drinkers see as a problem. As well as the obvious health concerns, alcohol in large quantities can destroy the taste"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Gordon Ramsay: My Life in Five Dishes - "My first two weeks in Paris under Guy Savoy was just the most extraordinary fourteen days. The first thing he taught me was a broccoli soup. So I got the head of broccoli, I took off all the little florets, put the water up to boil, boiled the little florets of broccoli and then he saved this water. And the water was put through a sieve three or four times then a tammy cloth so this water was like pure. And then he pureed the broccoli and added the water it was cooked in back to it. And then he made me close my eyes and taste it. And there was no cream, no butter, no shallots, no garlic, no chilli. Just this incredible water that the broccoli had been cooked in and added back... it's about the flavour profile...
Do you honestly think that restaurant Gordon Ramsey runs like Hell's Kitchen? I can't win either way. They invite me into the restaurant to turn their business around. I'm going to be ruthless. I'm going to tell them the truth. Now when they go off and become successful I don't get credit for that. When they close down I get blamed"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, The Food Pilgrims - "Frequently the tourism industry, in order to attract food tourists, focuses on finding dishes or ingredients or ways of eating that are very different and considered very exotic. That frequently that exoticises the whole culture. It takes foods that are not necessarily the most representative foods of a culture but because it's different, for the tourist that's the food that's highlighted. A good example of that is you go to Peru and have llama meat. It is something that is eaten occasionally in Peru but the restaurants that are catering to tourists, it's featured on their menu. So now people are thinking the national food of Peru is llama...
The curry in France was always a little bit toned down and a little bit boring maybe for British tastes and then he kept on joking that one day he was going to deliver me a curry to France and I thought well if we're going to do it it might be quite fun to do it by air"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, The New Animals - "[On GMO salmon] Ronald says his fish need twenty five percent less feed to grow to the same size as traditional Atlantic salmon. And because it can be farmed in land based facilities built close to major cities, the carbon footprint of his products will be much lower"

Sweden’s violent reality is undoing a peaceful self-image - "Sweden... is also increasingly associated with a rising number of Islamic State recruits, bombings and hand grenade attacks. In a period of two weeks earlier this year, five explosions took place in the country... In a country long renowned for its safety, voters cite “law and order” as the most important issue ahead of the general election in September. The topic of crime is sensitive, however, and debate about the issue in the consensus-oriented Scandinavian society is restricted by taboos. To understand crime in Sweden, it’s important to note that Sweden has benefited from the West’s broad decline in deadly violence, particularly when it comes to spontaneous violence and alcohol-related killings. The overall drop in homicides has been, however, far smaller in Sweden than in neighboring countries... Sweden has gone from being a low-crime country to having homicide rates significantly above the Western European average. Social unrest, with car torchings, attacks on first responders and even riots, is a recurring phenomenon. Shootings in the country have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore, unless they are spectacular or lead to fatalities... The rising levels of violence have not gone unnoticed by Sweden’s Scandinavian neighbors. Norwegians commonly use the phrase “Swedish conditions” to describe crime and social unrest. The view from Denmark was made clear when former President of NATO and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview on Swedish TV: “I often use Sweden as a deterring example.”... During a visit to the White House in March, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven admitted that his country has problems with crime and specifically shootings, but denied the existence of no-go zones... The head of the paramedics’ union Ambulansförbundet, Gordon Grattidge, and his predecessor Henrik Johansson recently told me in an interview that some neighborhoods are definitely no-go for ambulance drivers — at least without police protection... When the Swedish government and opposition refer to the country as a “humanitarian superpower” because it opened its doors to more immigrants per capita during the migrant crisis than any other EU country, they mean it. This has resulted in some impressive contortions. In March, Labor Market Minister Ylva Johansson appeared on the BBC, where she claimed that the number of reported rapes and sexual harassment cases “is going down and going down and going down.” In fact, the opposite is true, which Johansson later admitted in an apology... After repeated attacks against Jewish institutions in December — including the firebombing of a synagogue in Gothenburg — Bildt took to the same paper to claim that anti-Semitism is not a major problem in Sweden... One “false claim” listed by the government is that “Not long ago, Sweden saw its first Islamic terrorist attack.” This is surprising, since the Uzbek jihadist Rakhmat Akilov has pleaded guilty to the truck ramming that killed five people in Stockholm last April and swore allegiance to the Islamic State prior to the attack. Akilov, who is currently standing trial, has proudly repeated his support for ISIS and stated that his motive was to kill Swedish citizens. He also had documented contacts with international jihadis... the British and Canadian foreign ministries issued travel advice about the country, citing gang crime and explosions"
Maybe Politico is now considered a far right rag

Bali plastic bags being used to show what type of shopper you are - "merchants were bagging shoppers' items with different coloured bags to alert other stores on how hard they haggle... shoppers who were considered easy targets had their items placed in red plastic bags, while more aggressive bargain hunters were handed black... 'Our driver told us about this system and warned us to dump any red bags.'"
Ahh... the Third World!

The Curse of Lee Kuan Yew - "since the early 2000s the cult of Lee Kuan Yew has been an unmitigated disaster in Eastern Europe, where the example set by Singapore’s unapologetic autocrat has helped to rehabilitate and legitimize authoritarianism... in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, strongmen inspired by Lee Kuan Yew have only led their countries into war, chaos and economic dead ends, all the while professing to follow his example... Lee Kuan Yew was the inspiration of Russia’s deepening authoritarianism... the irony is that Lee himself had nothing but disdain for the Putin regime"

Battletech Devs Censor Forum Threads Criticizing Virtue Signaling, SJWism - "Harebrained Schemes decided to pull a BioWare. The Harebrained Schemes’ crowdfunded Battletech game is receiving some criticism for adding a gender neutral pronoun option in the character select screen, as well as some criticisms for purposefully not adding blonde hair to the character creation tool. The biggest complaint, however, is that the developers are censoring discussion around these topics... While some people would have been okay with the lack of blonde hair, they quickly noticed that there were options for blue hair, red hair, brown hair, and gray hair, but there are no options for blonde hair... Other gamers also pointed out that there’s a distinct lack of being able to customize the portraits and names of their company mercenaries. As shane757 pointed out, he didn’t want characters on his team with Middle-Eastern names, and that he preferred his German characters to have German names and portraits"
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