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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Links - 4th July 2018 (1)

No hugging: are we living through a crisis of touch? - "somewhere in adulthood what was instinctive to us as children has come to feel awkward, out of bounds. In countless ways social touch is being nudged from our lives. In the UK, doctors were warned last month to avoid comforting patients with hugs lest they provoke legal action, and a government report found that foster carers were frightened to hug children in their care for the same reason. In the US the Girl Scouts caused a furore last December when it admonished parents for telling their daughters to hug relatives because “she doesn’t owe anyone a hug”. Teachers hesitate to touch pupils. And in the UK, in a loneliness epidemic, half a million older people go at least five days a week without seeing or touching a soul... “Of course we are moving away from touch!” exclaims Francis McGlone, a professor in neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores university and a leader in the field of affective touch. He is worried. “We have demonised touch to a level at which it sparks off hysterical responses, it sparks off legislative processes, and this lack of touch is not good for mental health.” He has heard of teachers asking children to stick on a plaster themselves, rather than touch them and risk a complaint. “We seem to have been creating a touch-averse world,” he says. “It’s time to recover the social power of touch.”... Field, meanwhile, is worried about the rise in paediatric pain syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia, previously common only in adults. She thinks this is due to stress and the absence of touch, and is also worried that “kids are getting more and more aggressive because there is less and less touch”.
Yay feminism

Is the era of hugging over? Some people sure hope so. - The Washington Post - "It seemed like a perfectly timed message for girls as the #MeToo movement picked up steam. “Reminder,” read a headline on the Girl Scouts Facebook page late last year. “She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays.” But the reaction was stunning . “You have gone overboard,” blasted one commenter among the hundreds of fiery responses to the November post. “One, no one MAKES a child give a hug. Two, don’t assume physical affection leads to negative behavior.” Countered another, “It’s about teaching a kid that her body is HERS, even from a young age.” Who would have thought that hugging could trigger so much ire? After all, America today is a nation of huggers, clutching each other every chance we get"

Gay cashier heard joking about homophobia dismissed after customer complaint - "The person who overheard the conversation was thought to be a middle-aged man. Initially a verbal complaint was made, which saw Conor called in to speak to management, and no further action being taken. However, this was followed up with a registered letter from the complainant, prompting him to be dismissed from his position."
Oversensitivity is why we can't have nice things

Childhood Sexual Abuse: A mental health issue - "men are much less likely than women to be recognized as victims of sexual abuse, much less likely to be taken seriously and much less likely to receive treatment. Male survivors of childhood sexual abuse are also often viewed as less vulnerable than women, and mental health professionals may be less likely to ask men or recognize sexual abuse"

Why, in China and Japan, a copy is just as good as an original - "The Chinese have two different concepts of a copy. Fangzhipin (仿製品) are imitations where the difference from the original is obvious. These are small models or copies that can be purchased in a museum shop, for example. The second concept for a copy is fuzhipin (複製品). They are exact reproductions of the original, which, for the Chinese, are of equal value to the original. It has absolutely no negative connotations. The discrepancy with regard to the understanding of what a copy is has often led to misunderstandings and arguments between China and Western museums. The Chinese often send copies abroad instead of originals, in the firm belief that they are not essentially different from the originals. The rejection that then comes from the Western museums is perceived by the Chinese as an insult... We could even say that the copy is more original than the original, or the copy is closer to the original than the original, for the older the building becomes, the further it is from its original state. A reproduction would restore it, as it were, to its ‘original state’, especially since it is not linked to a particular artist... A prior, primordial positing is alien to Far Eastern culture. It is probably this intellectual position that explains why Asians have far fewer scruples about cloning than Europeans... it is not by chance that printing was invented in China"

A Reckoning on Sexual Misconduct? Absolutely. But How Harsh, Women Ask. - The New York Times - "Some women caution that men need to be encouraged to join the conversation; others argue that men will change only if women collectively demand it. Some argue that making accusations on social media could become more dangerous for accusers, potentially exposing them to lawsuits; others see airing such accusations online as the only option. Older women said they were stunned at how little tolerance those just graduating from college had for toxic gender dynamics that had long been considered pretty normal; college students asked why women had tolerated sexual harassment for so long... Sherry Turner, a women’s career counselor in Kansas City, said that she was thrilled by the movement but that there needed to be different punishments for different kinds of misconduct — from “somebody makes a bad joke versus someone being physical.” She said that nuance needed to be brought into the conversation... Tiffany O’Donnell, 48, the chief executive of a professional women’s network in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said the wave of scandals might be causing some men to be too careful around women and overly focused on little issues. One man, she said, recently apologized after calling her and a group of her friends “guys.”... For Arianna Huffington, the founder of HuffPost and the wellness business Thrive Global, the blurring of the lines around sexual harassment hit home last month. That was when a photo shoot from 2000 featuring her with Senator Al Franken, who recently apologized for groping women, went viral as an example of his harassment, even though both parties agreed the images were meant to be funny."
Maybe there will be a #metoo of women calling for nuance

Horror of a Hidden Chinese Famine - NYTimes.com - "For the party newspaper to tell people that it was good for them to eat less at a time when it was also spinning fantasies about the bounty being engendered by the Great Leap was a relatively small, if telling, irony. At the larger, horrific center of Mr. Becker's account is the widespread resort among the Chinese people to that most sickening form of desperation: cannibalism, the selling of human flesh on the market, the swapping of children so people could use them for food without committing the additional sin of eating their own... Mao himself and his adoption of policies that had already proved disastrous in the Soviet Union were responsible for the famine, which affected virtually every province in China... the party encouraged officials to inflate grain production figures, then used those figures to justify seizing all the grain of a locality, leaving nothing for the local people to eat. And he seems to have heard enough accounts of cannibalism from widely separated areas to justify his most shocking conclusion: that it may have taken place ''on a scale unprecedented in the history of the 20th century.''"

Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise, and Triumph - The New York Times - "Chang believes that food “has the potential to sort of show that we’re all the same.” But even he isn’t entirely comfortable with the ubiquity of kimchi. “Let’s say you spent no time in Asia, you just found a recipe on YouTube,” he said. “That’s appropriation. It’s not about skin color. You have to have a story, pay respect to what it was and what it means.” At the same time, it seems reductive to expect Asian-American chefs to make food that somehow reflects their personal “story.” On season three of “Top Chef,” Hung Huynh, a Vietnamese-American contestant, was faulted for cooking that was technically dazzling but lacked explicit reference to his roots. “You were born in Vietnam,” Tom Colicchio, the head judge, said. “I don’t see any of that in your food.” (It’s hard not to hear an echo of the trope of the inscrutable Oriental, whose motives can’t be deciphered, and the common criticism of Asian-Americans at school and at work as being overly cerebral and lacking feeling.) The strictures of reality TV do demand a baring of the soul, but not all Asian-American chefs want to work with Asian flavors — and when they do, it’s not always in expected ways. Must every Italian chef make lasagna, every French chef coq au vin? Anita Lo, who closed her fine-dining restaurant Annisa in New York earlier this year, cooked there for 17 years without fealty to one region or cultural tradition. This puzzled some diners. “I had someone come in and say, ‘Where’s the big Buddha head?’ ” she said. When publications request recipes and she submits one without Asian ingredients, the response is often, “We were really hoping for something Asian” — or Asian-ish: Anything with soy, apparently, will do. “I send in Japanese, which isn’t even my background, but that works,” she said.... “There’s great pressure for chefs to have a story,” he said. “Maybe there’s no story beyond, ‘I want to serve this food and it tastes good.’ ”"
The flip side of complaining about cultural appropriation - pigeonholing minorities based on their ethnic origin

To Eat or Not to Eat: Lobster Tomalley - "The soft green mass in the body of a cooked lobster is a digestive gland, sort of like a liver and a pancreas combined. It’s known to marine biologists as the hepatopancreas and to lobster fans as the tomalley. Many in the latter group prize the tomalley for its creamy texture and intense flavor; our tasters described it as akin to “lobster concentrate.” Tomalley is eaten as is, whisked into sauces, or mixed into a compound butter and spread on toast."

UK government gives £6 million to extremist charities, report claims - "The funding is provided through Gift Aid, a form of tax rebate on charitable donations in the UK. Charities are able to claim from a donor’s tax payments to the UK treasury, thus increasing the gross size of the donation. It costs the UK treasury more than £1 billion every year. The report, entitled Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing: How Islamist Extremists Exploit the UK Charitable Sector, and published by the Henry Jackson Society, examines the activities and funding of some 30 charities which, although legal, raise serious questions about charity oversight."

1 in 4 Men Think it's Okay to Expect Sex From an Employee, Survey Says - "Nearly a quarter of men across eight countries—an aggregate that includes the U.S.—think it’s acceptable for an employer to expect an employee to have sex with them, according to a new poll commissioned by the non-profit CARE"
Behind the sexy headline, the truth is very different

New Global Poll: Significant Share of Men Believe Expecting Intimate Interactions, Sex from Employees is OK | CARE - "Nearly a quarter of men (23%) across eight countries think it’s sometimes or always acceptable for an employer to ask or expect an employee to have intimate interactions such as sex with them, a family member or a friend... The countries surveyed were: Australia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom and Vietnam... In the U.S., for example, 44% of men age 18-34 say it's sometimes or always acceptable to tell a sexual joke to a colleague at work, while only 22% of women in that age group do. And, in India, more than half of men (52%) say it's sometimes (34%) or always (18%) acceptable to rank colleagues based on their appearance, while only 35% of women say that's sometimes or always OK... In Egypt, 38% of women say it’s either sometimes or always acceptable for an employer to ask/expect an employee to have intimate interactions with them, a family member or a friend. The figure is 21% among women in India"
Apparently to ask is to expect. In which case affirmative consent is bunk

'Allah Is Queer... LGBT for Islam': Read the 'Racist' Leaflets that Got Lauren Southern Banned from Britain - "The “racist” leaflets which UK anti-terrorism police cited as the reason to detain conservative journalist Lauren Southern and bar her from entering the UK have been revealed to be leaflets promoting “LGBT for Islam.” “You have asked for leave to enter the United Kingdom as a visitor for up to five days. However, by your own admission, on the 24th February 2018 you were involved in the distribution of racist material in Luton,” declared a document which was handed to Southern while she was detained last weekend. “I believe that your actions whilst in the United Kingdom present a threat to the fundamental interests of society and to the public policy of the United Kingdom.”... The leaflets, which consisted of an LGBT rainbow flag and the text, “Allah is gay. Allah is trans*. Allah is lesbian. Allah is intersex. Allah is feminist. Allah is queer. Allah is all of us… LGBT for Islam UK,” were handed out by Southern, and conservative commentators Brittany Pettibone and Caolan Robertson in Luton. “It was for a social experiment video comparing peoples reactions when this statement was applied to different gods. It was inspired by Vice’s infamous ‘was Jesus gay’ article”... Southern also claimed she was asked a variety of bizarre questions while detained under the Schedule 7 Terrorism Act of 2000, including how she felt about people running Muslims over, how Christian she was, and how she felt about “right-wing terrorism.”... Southern was also allegedly threatened with the confiscation and subsequent hacking of her phone if she refused to give up her password, but was allowed to “identify as Pakistani” on documents."
According to the UK promoting a gay-friendly version of Islam is racist

Father-of-two who plastered stickers on supermarket chicken claiming 'Halal is barbaric and funds terrorism' says he is an animal rights activist and not a racist - "he denied that he was 'racially motivated' when he carried out the attack on the supermarket chicken and will face trial in July over the charge. It emerged that £16.50 worth of chicken had to be destroyed as a result of his actions. At the court hearing today, it was said that he was simply drawing attention to the 'inhumane' halal methods of animal slaughter, which involves slitting the animal's throat to allow the blood to drain out... the conditions of his bail including not going near the Sainsbury's supermarket in Salford"
Attacking chicken!

The science and magic of cheesemaking | Andy Connelly

The “Black Mirror” scenarios that are leading some experts to call for more secrecy on AI

Bitcoin Is Ridiculous. Blockchain Is Dangerous: Paul Ford - "Bubbles are melancholy things—swirls of lies and optimism used to hide a million unrealized yearnings. Bitcoin will crash because of course it will. Bubbles burst. The real estate and athletics management people go home, and the believers remain, meeting up, planning new markets. It could take years, it could take a decade, but the blockchain freaks have a world in their heads, and they won’t rest until it’s real. That the rest of us live here, too, is the least of their concerns. Some of the things they’ll do will be magical, community-building, economically thrilling. Others may keep us up at night."

Inside The Shady World Of DNA Testing Companies - "when Inside Edition had a set of triplets send their spit in to Ancestry.com and 23andMe, they got wildly different results from both services. Neither gave each triplet the same ancestry results -- which, considering they all came from the same womb, is pretty weird... Inside Edition found differences of over 10 percent between the triplets they tested. That is not a small gap. If you were off by 10 percent on a DNA test, you could technically be a mouse... Genetics experts from the University of Texas and the University of North Carolina have gone so far as to say that these companies are preying on people, because they don't truly have the information they need to pinpoint your origins on a map... Morgan admitted to having changed people's results. "We only did this on rare occasions, when we knew they weren't using it as means to harm someone."... It's not unheard of for genetic tests to be altered. New York crime lab workers have sued the police for forcing them to change or ignore results, and The New York Times found that anything related to DNA, from Ancestry results to crime scenes, can be fabricated easily... They Will Screw With Racists"

'Black Panther' Movie Had a Word Censored in India - "As for why the CBFC censored the Hanuman reference, even Indian audiences were puzzled over the decision as the reference in the film is not offensive, though some were disappointed in the choice, noting that it would have been culturally empowering for Indian audiences to hear one of their deities referenced in the landmark film."
Censorship can hurt the people they're mean tto protect

Men should be allowed sex slaves and female prisoners could do the job - and all this from a WOMAN politician from Kuwait - "Salwa al Mutairi argued buying a sex-slave would protect decent, devout and 'virile' Kuwaiti men from adultery because buying an imported sex partner would be tantamount to marriage.

Singapore news today | TATTOOED GOOD SAMARITANS HELPS BLIND MAN IN MRT WHEN NO ONE ELSE WOULD - "I saw a blind Indian guy walk for about 4 mins. Without anyone helping and all those mother f****r so called good singapore citizens just walk away. Knn pcb. You these mother f****r low class. Totally no standard."
Ahh... stereotypes!
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