"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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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Links - 22nd August 2018 (1)

Should we stop keeping pets? Why more and more ethicists say yes - "research is revealing that the emotional lives of animals, even relatively “simple” animals such as goldfish, are far more complex and rich than we once thought (“dogs are people, too”, according to a 2013 New York Times comment piece by the neuroscientist Gregory Berns). “The logical consequence is that the more we attribute them with these characteristics, the less right we have to control every single aspect of their lives,” says Herzog. Does this mean that, in 50 years or 100 years, we won’t have pets? Institutions that exploit animals, such as the circus, are shutting down – animal rights activists claimed a significant victory this year with the closure of Ringling Bros circus – and there are calls to end, or at least rethink, zoos. Meanwhile, the number of Britons who profess to be vegan is on the rise, skyrocketing 350% between 2006 and 2016... in 1877, the city of New York rounded up 762 stray dogs and drowned them in the East River, shoving them into iron crates and lifting the crates by crane into the water. Veterinarian turned philosopher Bernard Rollin recalls pet owners in the 1960s putting their dog to sleep before going on holiday, reasoning that it was cheaper to get a new dog when they returned than to board the one they had."

Does Fiber Make You Feel Full? - "The women didn't feel any more full after eating the fiber-rich meal bars... when women consumed the same amount of fiber in either a solid form (like oatmeal) or a liquid forms (like a shake), the solid foods stayed in the woman's digestive system one hour longer, and was more satisfying... protein is a great hunger-queller"

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Fiber Keeps Us Full - "Scientists have figured out the reason fiber is such a wonder food: It contains an anti-appetite molecule called acetate... The researchers looked at a dietary fiber called inulin, which comes from chicory and sugar beets, and is often present in cereal bars. They fed mice a diet high in fat with additional inulin"
Experiments on people > those on rats

Saudi Arabia wants to troll Qatar by turning it into an island - "Riyadh is reportedly fielding offers from at least five companies to dig a canal along the Qatari-Saudi border — known as the “Salwa Canal” project — that would turn the peninsula of Qatar into an island. That would mean creating a 38-mile-long, 65-feet-deep, 660-feet-wide channel simply to surround Qatar completely with water — turning an existing political rift between the two countries into a physical fact... Some reports indicate that Saudi Arabia would use the area along the canal as a place to store nuclear waste — just to rub some salt (or uranium) in the wound."

Canada's Trudeau grilled on efforts to turn back asylum seekers - "A Canadian official familiar with the matter told Reuters that Canada wants to amend a bilateral agreement to allow it to block border-crossing refugee claimants but that the United States is not cooperating... More than 26,000 asylum seekers have crossed illegally into Canada from the United States to file refugee claims in the past 15 months, walking over ditches and on empty roads along the world’s longest undefended border... Trudeau’s government has faced complaints from the province of Quebec, where the vast majority of border crossers have arrived"

The UN Human Rights Council Is a Deeply Flawed Body - "The Council’s rules single out Israel for scrutiny of its actions in the occupied Palestinian territories. No other country is similarly named. The broader problem, however, are the countries doing the scrutinizing: countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Ethiopia... Although this geographical quota system addresses the disparities in global representation, it is also the Council’s most serious flaw. With a few honorable exceptions, the overwhelming majority of countries outside the Western Europe and others grouping have flawed-to-abysmal human-rights records and policies. Many are not democracies. Few have representative governments. Fewer still have an incentive to pursue and commit to universal human rights. That these are the countries that criticize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is bad enough; that they do it while pursuing their own draconian policies makes the membership laughable.
I wonder how many of the people bashing Trump for the US pulling out even knew what the body was about, what it did, or the human rights abusers using it for their political agenda

OK, so The Economist has an ongoing series of articles about the shortcomings of the economics profession - "The article then makes one of the most annoying arguments in journalism, which is to find two conflicting results and conclude that the entire literature is full of conflicting results: Studies finding small or no short-term effects of minimum wage on employment vastly outnumber studies finding big effects, but the article does not mention meta-analysis or the relative quality of the methodologies in question. Waving around papers on publication bias and doing he-said-she-said cherry-picking of empirical results is a GREAT way to get the public not to trust whole literatures full of good, valuable, careful, highly informative research. This kind of thing is not good for anyone. It doesn't help improve the academic literature, and it doesn't help policymakers or the public extract information from the academic literature...."

Report: Trump 'threw' Starburst on table during G7 talks, told Merkel 'don't say I never give you anything'

Schumer rejects GOP proposal to address border crisis - "The GOP leadership supports a bill that would require that immigrant families be kept together in a humane setting while waiting for an immigration judge. Furthermore, it would expedite their hearings to minimize their time in detention."

Beijing Wants to Rewrite the Rules of the Internet - "Beijing has instituted standards that force foreign companies to build China-only versions of their products, and to comply with government surveillance policies. Government security audits allow Beijing to open up these companies’ products and review their source code, putting their intellectual property at risk, which was documented comprehensively for the first time last March in a report by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Article 37 of the cybersecurity law also increases government control over the sort of data that can be transferred out of the country, while unwritten rules reward companies that store data on local servers. Many of these elements serve a dual purpose: supporting domestic industry while further closing off the internet"

Former PAP candidate Victor Lye apologises for mistake where WP banner was covered by his own

How ‘Weird Al’ eclipsed (almost) every star he ever parodied | The Washington Post

Opinion | How Democracy Became the Enemy - The New York Times - "The democratic West needs to awaken from its slumber. The forgotten people of the post-1989 decades have spoken. They have embraced disruption at any cost, declaring “Enough!” to the economic prescriptions (mainly austerity) and the smug impunity of globalizing elites. Europe cannot open its doors to everyone. It needs a shared immigration policy that works, economic policies that offset rather than accentuate inequality and a Brussels bureaucracy that delivers tangible results to a half-billion Europeans."

Women Are Evil - "women post stories of rape culture and harassment. The responses are overwhelmingly positive, but it is often women, not men, who tell us we are being unfair and perhaps too “hysterical” about the whole thing... This menace of white women has yet to be reckoned with and there is a reason why: criticize the hypocrisy of women and they hide behind their roles as wives and mothers. As if using one’s uterus has ever conferred innocence or empathy."
When feminism and intersectionality find their next oppressor, and when feminism is about silencing women's voices

‘It’s A Human Right’ — Mexican Presidential Candidate Calls For Mass Exodus To America
Maybe Mexico should welcome the rest of Latin America into their borders

Japan worker's pay docked for taking lunch 3 minutes early - "The city had previously suspended another official in February for a month after he had left his office numerous times to buy a ready-made lunch box during work hours. The official was absent a total of 55 hours over six months"

World of Reel: Owen Gleiberman: "Star Wars" is a religion that has begun to lose its faith. - "Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has been described by an insider [Link] as person that “too frequently second-guessed her own choices and hasn’t effectively resolved disagreements with directors.”... Lest we forget, that if there is a director Kathleen Kennedy has warmed up to during her tenure as Lucasfilm head, it would have to be Rian Johnson. Yes, the same Johnson who is all but HATED by a fairly large group of "Star Wars" devotees and, yet, was given the task of creating a new "Star Wars" trilogy from scratch for the next decade. So Owen is right, the religion is, in fact, maybe over, and Kathleen Kennedy is to blame"

Free College Will Increase Inequality; Here’s A Better Alternative - "Taiwan... a huge spike in college enrollment has led to a ~25% dip in graduate wages. The graph below comes from the wonderfully titled, “Massification of Higher Education in Taiwan: Shifting Pressure from Admission to Employment”"
Expanding university enrollment leading to falling premium for degrees is consistent with the signalling hypothesis

The heart attack gender gap - "Some studies suggest that during a heart attack, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, and fatigue (see "Is it a heart attack?"). But other research finds that regardless of gender, the symptoms usually are more similar than different... 'one study that measured how long people waited before seeking treatment for a heart attack found a median delay time of about 54 hours for women, compared with about 16 hours for men'... women were less likely to receive potentially beneficial medications such as aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs, or to receive advice about quitting smoking. Women tend to be older and have more health problems when they develop heart disease, and experts have long assumed those differences might in part explain the gender survival gap. But according to the study authors, providing universal, high-quality care at hospital discharge could help to eliminate the death rate disparities. However, research also shows that women are less likely than men to take prescribed medications"
So much for the feminist claim that women are discriminated against by heart attack health advice because it's targeted at men's symptoms

What your country’s emoji use says about you | Arwa Mahdawi - "Canada uses the “smiling poop” emoji more than any of the other countries... French is still the language of love, even in emoji. The French are far too refined for eggplants or bananas and appear to be more interested in the heart than other organs. The heart emoji is used four times more by French speakers than it is in any other language. About 55% of emojis sent by French speakers are hearts, compared with just 8% in US English, and 12.5% on average. France also leads the world in wedding-related emoji. When it comes to texting, the French really like to put a ring on it. This isn’t quite the case when you’re trying to put a same-sex ring on it, however. French speakers are the least likely to use LGBT emoji."

Oh Roy, my heart goes out to you - "if ordinary citizens such as Roy and I had much better access to data, information and communication channels—including unbiased media outlets that openly discussed, say, the pros and cons of the CPF system—then I might be more critical of him right now... Society is setting a very high bar for tolerable dissent if only academics and writers are adjudged to be dissenting properly. Even though the elitists may not like it—and it represents a marked shift from Singapore’s traditional modus operandi—I believe we need to foster an environment where everybody, from Chairman to satay man, feels confident expressing his/her dissenting view... there are all sorts of obstacles in front of academics and writers such as myself. For every issue and topic in Singapore that I feel confident writing about, there is another that I am unable to broach because of these obstacles. In other words, the evidence of dissent should not be confused with an acceptable climate for dissent"

Singapore’s outdated national security policies - "Singapore’s national security policies aresingapore_flag outdated and in dire need of revision. These policies are heavily influenced by the paranoias of the 1960s, when a vulnerability fetish gave rise to a siege mentality amongst Singaporean leaders that persists today. But Singapore’s main security threats now are not other states but non-state actors, specifically pirates and terrorists... Though Israel is surrounded by hostile neighbours, Singapore is not. Despite what some hawks might argue, it is very difficult to imagine a scenario where modern Indonesia or Malaysia would attack Singapore. In fact, I cannot see any other state attacking Singapore. Why? Simply, Singapore has become too important to the global economy... the biggest deterrent to would-be aggressors is not Singapore’s Armed Force; it is the Armed Forces of China and the US, hovering around the broader Asia-Pacific region... The only period in recent history when South-east Asian states fought against each other was in the 1970s, when Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam were all, to different degrees and in varied ways, caught up in the American-led Vietnam war. South-east Asian states are getting closer by the day, as the region prepares for deeper economic integration in 2015... Singapore currently spends more on defence than on education. Is our country trying to build a knowledge economy or a military state?"

Reimagining the Singapore Armed Forces and National Service - "even if Singapore demilitarises as suggested here, we must always keep open the possibility of remilitarisation. This will not be a difficult or costly process. It might take a couple of years, just like it did in the mid 1960s. But our geopolitical considerations will not change suddenly overnight. They will do so gradually, if at all... maybe there really is some small chance that Malaysia will invade us tomorrow, as hawks have long suggested. Just like there is some small chance that the world will perish on 21/12/2012, as the Mayans once predicted."

Todd Mclaughlin - The stuff that I see on the road still amazes me... - "The stuff that I see on the road still amazes me
I think the romans are attacking"

I'm a Rape Victim Who Hooked Up With My Attacker Years Later - "I knew I should be ashamed and, frankly, worried that my boyfriend—who I’d been with for a year and would go on to date for another three—would find out. But I was neither. Instead, I felt like I’d scratched a hard-to-reach itch. Cheating wasn’t something I took lightly, but whatever deep-seated need I’d satisfied that night was more important than fidelity. An obscure yet palpable sense of relief drove away any hint of guilt before it could take hold. Counterintuitive as it may seem, my impulse to initiate a second encounter with my attacker more than a year after the original incident makes sense to experts on sexual assault"
Maybe this is why the 'rapists' don't think of themselves as rapists
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