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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, July 07, 2018

Links - 7th July 2018 (1)

Child abuse imagery found within bitcoin's blockchain - "German researchers have discovered unknown persons are using bitcoin’s blockchain to store and link to child abuse imagery, potentially putting the cryptocurrency in jeopardy... Interpol sent out an alert in 2015 saying that “the design of the blockchain means there is the possibility of malware being injected and permanently hosted with no methods currently available to wipe this data”."

Three women arrested for smuggling 20 pounds of gold down their bras at Hokkaido airport

Parsons Green terror attack: Foster parents of teenage bomber Ahmed Hassan demand to know why he was not stopped - "Ron and Penny Jones MBE, took Iraqi refugee Ahmed Hassan, now 18, into their home in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, and cared for him like a son. They were never told of his links to the Islamic State terror group and have accused the Home Office and social services of putting their lives at risk. Hassan, who arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry in 2015, was found guilty yesterday (FRI) of attempted murder after causing a blast that injured 51 people on a packed London underground train"

About Contra Krugman | Contra Krugman - "Contra Krugman is a weekly podcast, available on iTunes and Stitcher, that critiques the New York Times column of economist Paul Krugman"

Japan Trend Shop | Upskirt Umbrella - "We're not going to pretend this is a mainstream trend in Japan but even the puritans among us have to admit: it's a fun idea. The Upskirt Umbrella (or An-burera, a play on the words for "underpants" and "umbrella") by Million Girls Project might be the most original umbrella you ever buy. Please just be careful not to get arrested when using it, though! The Upskirt Umbrella is a very tongue-in-cheek spin on Japan's reputation for turning schoolgirls into sex objects"

NHS 'plan to harvest organs of babies' which develop fatal defects in early stages of pregnancy - "A serious shortage of donated organs means mothers will be “supported” to have the baby at nine months instead of aborting it so the child’s vital organs can be taken for transplant... the proposal prompted an ethical debate with critics describing the proposal as “ghoulish” which also risked undermining public confidence in organ donation. The move was revealed at the annual meeting of the British Transplantation Society in Glasgow."

CA Senate names undocumented immigrant to financial aid post - "Senate officials acknowledged Friday that Mateo was not the first undocumented resident appointed to a statewide post."
If legal and illegal immigrants are all the same...

Indonesia makes criticising politicians a crime - "The so-called MD3 law opens to the door to pressing charges against anyone who "disrespects parliament or its members" but does not set out possible minimum or maximum jail terms."

Wollongong man convicted of oral sex on train 'couldn't help it' - "A commuter who received a criminal conviction and a $700 fine after receiving oral sex on the train wants to know 'how can you be so lucky and unlucky in the one day?'... Mr Brennan said he started speaking to the woman - who had a 'mad body' - on the train platform when she said, 'I'm horny, will you f*** me?'... He declined to have sex with her - but when the woman started masturbating on the otherwise 'empty' train carriage they shared he decided he would let her perform oral sex instead... It's unclear whether she ever got in trouble for her lewd behaviour, something he finds outrageous... Mr Brennan pointed out there was no one in the carriage at the time and 'you'd think the train guard would've said "good on ya, mate".'"

Mysterious Disappearance of Mano Sabnani’s Facebook Post - "A Facebook post by Chairman and CEO of Rafflesia Holdings Pte Ltd, Mano Sabnani, has mysteriously disappeared. The post, published on the 7th of March, was on the contrast between the behaviour of parliamentarians in the UK and Singapore. According to Sabnani, it received 350 reactions, 155 comments and was shared 650 times before it was mysteriously taken down two days later. It still remains unclear as to why or if Facebook took down the post."

WeChat joins list of Chinese technology banned by overseas militaries on security worries - "Late last year the US military banned the use of drones made by China’s DJI, the world’s largest maker of the devices, citing “cyber vulnerabilities.” Other Chinese technologies have come under scrutiny, with a plan by mobile phone maker Huawei for a tie-up with US telecoms firm AT&T falling through under US government pressure."

'God Bless You:' Microaggression Against Muslims, per Group - "The list, compiled by a group of college librarians in Boston, also counts ‘Merry Christmas’ as an offensive phrase. According to an “Anti-Oppression Library Guide” written by a group of librarians at Simmons College in Boston, “saying ‘God bless you’ after someone sneezes” is a microaggression against Muslim people... According to the guide, however, it is a big deal. In fact, it contains an entire section explaining that the prefix “micro” on the word “microaggression” is not intended to convey the idea that such supposed offenses are small matters with small impacts"
And we were told the War on Christmas was a paranoid right wing invention

Who are the real beneficiaries of overinflated costs in our public healthcare system? - "Paracetamol which retails online for less than $0.40 per packet of 16 tablets, MOH priced the cost of a generic drug at more than $5, equivalent to more than 12 packets. This despite bulk purchases in the tens/hundreds of thousands of tablets."

Jordan Peterson in Australia: ‘Important speech is offensive’ - "Dr Peterson’s appearances on university campuses regularly attract demonstrations — at a recent appearance at Queen’s University in Canada, protesters surrounded the building and smashed windows. One was later caught with a garotte. The 55-year-old has been highly critical of Western universities and in particular the humanities departments, which he blames for much of anti-free speech culture seeping into the private sector as graduates enter the workforce at companies like Google. He said it was “hard to tell” what the long-term impacts would be. “The broader social effect is not going to be good, because lots of the things that are happening in the universities that aren’t good are already leaking out into the broader social world”... “Part of what is going to happen is that people are going to stop coming and speaking on campuses. The comedians in the United States, many of them already won’t come and do their shows on campus, because everybody is so sensitive to offence. “But it also drives political polarisation, which isn’t a good thing, unless you want to drive political polarisation. And I think the universities are going to cut the branch off that they sit on.” He hit back at the suggestion being sensitive to causing offence was akin to good manners. “It’s a terrible problem,” Dr Peterson said. “Imagine the rule is you can’t offend anyone. Let’s say you’re speaking to one person. “I can’t offend you — all right, fair enough. What if I’m speaking to 10 people? Do I get to offend one in 10? How about one in 100? How about one in 1000? You’re going to come out onstage and you’re going to say something important about something vital and you’re not going to offend one person in 1000? “You can’t say something important about anything ever, without offending. Important speech about important issues, especially contentious issues, is instantly offensive.” On the Canadian law that started it all, Bill C-16 — which made it illegal to refuse to refer to a transgender person by their preferred “gender pronoun” — Dr Peterson described it as worse than a mere curtailment of free speech. “It’s a demand that the population uses a certain kind of linguistic approach,” he said. “It’s an appropriation of speech. There’s no excuse for that. That never has happened once in the history of English common law. It’s a barrier that we do not cross.”"

Norse culture and language "irrelevant" to students, says Norwegian government agency. They are dead wrong - "Schools barely touch upon Old Norse in the first place, so we may rightfully ask what there is left to cut before these lifelines are entirely severed. Downsizing whatever remains of a cultural historical perspective would no doubt have the opposite effect, if the goal is to encourage the intellectual development and independence of the students. Awareness of our linguistic heritage is essential to understand, not only the basis for the immense regional richness of our language, but also how Icelandic and Norwegian developed into two distinct languages. Such things are relevant to any society wishing to understand itself and its surroundings in a long-term perspective"

Did your spouse euthanize or steal your dog when leaving you? - "Some people try to hide assets from their spouses during a divorce. Other people try to take assets that have emotional value to the other person, including dogs or other pets. Keeping an animal away from you during a divorce can be a powerful tool to ensure you give the other person whatever he or she asks for during a divorce... If your former spouse had the the animal put down as a means of revenge, the courts may consider that terrible act as evidence of emotional abuse on the part of your former spouse. By demonstrating that your former spouse intentionally took actions to inflict great suffering on your part, your attorney may be able to obtain a more favorable division of assets"

Commentary: The buffet metaphor for integrated shield plan riders only goes so far - "A flat minimum co-payment rate may not do the trick – it does not adequately distinguish between an elective surgery and a heart operation, between a class A ward or a class B ward, or the choice between an expensive procedure that is only statistically slightly better than another significantly cheaper one... The Government can help by mandating that all medical establishments in Singapore share anonymised data on admissions, medical conditions, treatments, ward stays, medicines, outcomes and use of diagnostic services. Using this data, insurers can tightly price co-payments and deductibles on a per treatment or condition level. They can use data analytics to identify gaps in procedures that escalate costs unnecessarily and use the evidence to adjust contract conditions or influence care providers. Third, to avoid all this complexity from overwhelming consumers and to encourage price competition, there should be some means of comparing among insurance providers. The Government can help by setting up a web service to compare policies."

Justin Trudeau is less popular than Stephen Harper was at this point in his tenure as PM - "Angus Reid had to go back to Brian Mulroney in 1988 to find a prime minister with approval numbers as low as Trudeau’s at this point in their first term"

Lalo Dagach - Lalo Dagach added 121 new photos. - "“Lol free speech. That old chestnut.” - Yassmin Abdel-Magied, winner of the 2018 Young Voltaire Award for free speech."

Beepocalypse Myth Handbook: Dissecting claims of pollinator collapse - "There is no dangerous decline in the global honeybee population – in fact, bee populations are rising in North America and globally – and a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids are not fostering a global pollinator crisis. For years, some environmental advocacy groups have been warning of an impending “bee-pocalypse.”"

Pollinator myth: Are bees responsible for one third of global food, heightening crisis? - "Sixty percent of America’s crops can grow just fine without bees. Wheat, corn and rice are wind-pollinated. Lettuce, beans and tomatoes are self-pollinated. The 12 crops that worldwide furnish nearly 90 percent of the world’s food — rice, wheat, maize (corn), sorghums, millets, rye, and barley, and potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassavas or maniocs, bananas and coconuts — are wind pollinated, self-pollinated or are propagated asexually or develop without the need for fertilization (parthenocarpically). It’s true that about 35 percent of America’s crops — about a third — rely to some extent on bees. Sometimes the bees are essential. In other cases, they’re nice to have around, but their absence does not present a crisis"

'Clock boy' Ahmed Mohamed's lawsuit against Irving ISD, city dismissed - "U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay on Tuesday ordered that the suit be "dismissed with prejudice" and that "all relief requested by plaintiff is denied... Two months after Ahmed's arrest, the family's attorney sent letters to city and school officials that demanded they apologize and pay $15 million to stave off a lawsuit."
So much for that easy money train - maybe the plan failed

Nerds Rage Over Ahmed Mohamed's Clock - "Electronics experts who examined photos of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed’s creation called it a fraud loudly enough to grab the attention of famed atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins, who on Sunday tweeted: “We were all fooled.” Dawkins went as far as suggesting the ninth-grader had a “motive” for his arrest over the digital clock, which was inside a black pencil case and tied shut with a cable. “If this is true, what was his motive?” Dawkins wrote. “Whether or not he wanted the police to arrest him, they shouldn’t have done so.”... Anthony DiPasquale, the webmaster for, exposed the circuitry behind Mohamed’s clock.the self-styled electronics geek says that Mohamed’s homemade gadget is actually a factory-produced clock. “Somewhere in all of this—there has indeed been a hoax,” he wrote in a controversial post on Artvoice. “Ahmed Mohamed didn’t invent his own alarm clock. He didn’t even build a clock.”... DiPasquale questioned if other aspects of the teenager’s story about the clock aren’t being fully reported or fact-checked by reporters. In one interview, for example, Mohamed says he closed the pencil case with a cord so it wouldn’t look suspicious in school. “I’m curious, why would ‘looking suspicious’ have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock?”... For some electronics experts, Mohamed’s windfall is unfair to students that actually invent things. Bryan Bergeron, an author of electronics books and editor in chief of the magazine Nuts & Volts, said that Mohamed’s project “would be ‘cute’ for someone age 7. But even then, not ‘inventive.’”"

'I did have the blinders on': Former feminist on what changed her mind - "Jaye's perspective has since changed, thanks to conversations she had while making her documentaryThe Red Pill. In the film, Jaye initially set out to expose men's rights activists, who have been criticised for providing a rhetorical basis for, and participating in, harassment campaigns against women. Researchers have also called the movement a backlash against feminism. "I definitely thought that they were woman haters, and I was fearful to go and interview them in person," she says, "I had heard from other feminists that men's rights activists would send them death threats and rape threats ... that's what I was expecting." But while meeting and interviewing members of men's rights organizations, Jaye says she began to reassess her own assumptions... "When I looked at their words ... they weren't woman bashing, they were not promoting violence against women, they were simply wanting to talk about men's issues"

What a lifelong Democrat learned from a year trying to live like a Republican - "At the evangelical youth rally, Stern was immersed in intense discussion on racial equity and refugees — how to help them, not how to kick them out. Why hadn't the mainstream captured the generosity and progressive ideas of this community? Why was an open mind denied to all those affiliated with America's right-wing party? There was one glaring structural issue that seemed to explain it... liberals in the media outnumber conservatives five to one... "We would never think about covering race issues with only whites, no matter how good a journalist we are. Or gender issues with only men, no matter how committed to the craft of journalism they are. We can't really be covering politics with people from one side no matter how dedicated, how honest, they are... By the end of his foray in conservative life, Stern discovered one thing supporters of both Republicans and Democrats can agree on: neither group is properly represented in the political system. He believes the rise of Donald Trump is a symptomatic of the nation-wide feeling of being left out of the conversation... "I didn't actually expect this. I went out a Democrat, spent a year as a Republican, and when I came back I re-registered as an Independent""
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