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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Links - 13th September 2018 (1)

Americans have forgotten what 'treason' actually means — and how it can be abused - "Treasonous acts may be criminal, but criminal acts are almost never treason. As Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution specifies, “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” The Founders went out of their way to define treason narrowly because they knew how it had been repeatedly abused in the past. For much of the pre-revolutionary period in England, the accusation was a means of suppressing political dissent and punishing political opponents for crimes as trivial as contemplating a king’s future death (what was known as “compassing”), or speaking ill of the king (“lèse majesté”). King Henry VIII even had two of his six wives executed for alleged adultery on the ground that such infidelity was, of itself, “treason.” The English abuse of treason was anathema to a nascent republic dedicated to the rule of law and the right of peaceful dissent. Thus, to ensure that treason could not likewise be co-opted for political or personal purposes, the Constitution’s drafters not only defined it precisely (it’s the only offense specifically defined in that document), but also specified that “No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.” (Article III also limits the punishment that can be inflicted, even with a conviction.)... Even during the height of the Cold War, when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were tried, convicted and executed for conveying nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, the charge against them was espionage, not treason."

I swear to make the patriarchy uncomfortable. And I'm proud of it. - "That is the power of profanity — and why it is important for women to not shy away from it. Indeed, whenever I stand at a podium to give a lecture, I begin with my declaration of faith: “F**k the patriarchy.” Whether I am lecturing on feminism in Lahore, Pakistan or Dublin, Ireland or Johannesburg, South Africa or New York City, my declaration never changes... Actress Helen Mirren, who is child free, has said that if she had had a daughter the first words she would have taught her would have been “f**k off”"
Basically feminism is about being rude. And apparently men are never criticised for being rude. I guess all the editorials against Trump are fake news

What the world would look like if we taught girls to rage - "From a very young age girls around the world are told that they are vulnerable and weak"
And when they grow up feminism continues to tell them they are vulnerable and weak
Undoubtedly, male rage is taken to be "toxic masculinity" and all the world's problems are blamed on it. But female rage is supposed to be a good thing. Somehow defying "stereotypes" and socialisation is taken to be progress. Maybe we should teach everyone to shit in the street to improve the world

Paedophile who filmed vile sex attack on young girl is spared jail because he 'wouldn't cope' - "A man with autism who sexually abused two young girls on separate occasions has been spared a sentence because he "wouldn't cope mentally in prison"."

My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave-Trader - "my relatives gleefully recounted Nwaubani Ogogo’s exploits. When I was about eight, my father took me to see the row of ugba trees where Nwaubani Ogogo kept his slaves chained up... “I can never be ashamed of him,” he said, irritated. “Why should I be? His business was legitimate at the time. He was respected by everyone around.” My father is a lawyer and a human-rights activist who has spent much of his life challenging government abuses in southeast Nigeria. He sometimes had to flee our home to avoid being arrested. But his pride in his family was unwavering. “Not everyone could summon the courage to be a slave trader,” he said. “You had to have some boldness in you.”... African intellectuals tend to blame the West for the slave trade, but I knew that white traders couldn’t have loaded their ships without help from Africans like my great-grandfather. I read arguments for paying reparations to the descendants of American slaves and wondered whether someone might soon expect my family to contribute... The descendants of freed slaves in southern Nigeria, called ohu, still face significant stigma. Igbo culture forbids them from marrying freeborn people, and denies them traditional leadership titles such as Eze and Ozo. (The osu, an untouchable caste descended from slaves who served at shrines, face even more severe persecution.)"

Why Whales Got So Big - "Most of the explanations for this trend treat the ocean as a kind of release. The water partly frees mammalian bodies from the yoke of gravity, allowing them to evolve heavy bodies that they couldn’t possibly support on land. The water unshackles them from the constraints of territory, giving them massive areas over which to forage. The water liberates them from the slim pickings of a land-based diet and offer them vast swarms of plankton, crustaceans, and fish to gorge upon. But William Gearty from Stanford University has a very different explanation. To him, the ocean makes mammals big not because it relieves them of limits, but because it imposes new ones."

Humans Can Size One Another Up with a Roar - "Listeners to a person letting loose with a roar can accurately estimate the size and formidability or the human noise maker... "the U.S. National Park Service actually recommends roaring as a defense strategy against bears.""

People Ration Where They Roam - "An analysis of the movement of some 40,000 people suggests most of us frequent only 25 places—and as we sub in new favorites, we drop old ones"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, George and Robert Stephenson - "Railways have been around for at least 200 years before the Stephensons came on the scene. We can date back to the early 17th century, and most of these lines were part of the mining or extractive industries. So they were carrying coal or minerals like limestone, and they were very effective as bulk carriers. You could move things on a railway, which it was almost impossible to move on the roads as they existed at the time. But these were short railways, they were usually only a few miles long at maximum, and they were part of a transport system that extended beyond the railway... most of them were horse powered, although some of these railways used gravity as well"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The Taste Of Climate Change - "The minister insists differences can't be solved by confrontation and he points out how the blocked is actually making Qatar more reliant on Iran as its planes now need access to Iranian airspace. For the most part, Qatar, the world's richest country relative to its number of citizens, has bought its way out of this crisis. When Saudi dairy imports were cut, a local firm flew in thousands of cows from top breeders in the US and Europe. Now the country produces all of its own fresh milk...
About a dozen women in matching T-shirts, tracksuit bottoms, aprons and hairnets stand huddled together as an instructor demonstrates how to make a bed. Then they take turns changing the sheets two at a time. It's like a synchronized dance. They marry each other's movements, keeping an arm's length away from the mattress, working quickly but systematically. The goal is to do this in less than eight minutes. There will be a test. Later they learn how to use a microwave and a vacuum cleaner, clean a kitchen worktop, scrub down the bathroom. Many of the cleaning products are similar to those you would find in the Middle East, but that's not where we are. Welcome to Sri Lanka's mandatory pre-departure training for migrant domestic workers. Every year, the country sends tens of thousands of women to the Middle East to work as house maids. Some are grandmothers who have been making the journey since the 1980s...
[On K Pop] At the entertainment companies she explains, they usually tell you that your weight in kilograms has to be 120 less than your height in centimeters."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Open For Business - "If you're going to Petra on your own, watch out for the Jack Sparrows, he tells me with a smile... These young Bedouin guys who grow their hair long, wear bandanas and put kohl around their eyes, because they think western women like that look... [I] find several backpacker blogs written by young women warning about these smoky eyed seducers. If one of them invites you back to his cave, don't go says one... There's no doubt that the tales of Jack Sparrows scamming female tourists haven't helped their reputation. Some local hostels even have signs up warning lone women travelers"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Playing To The Crowd - "[On Lucha Libre in Mexico] My ticket cost 225 pesos which is eight pounds 50, a hefty sum in a country in which the average family earns 629 pounds a month... For lots of families the lucha is their major source of entertainment outside the house where they watch soap operas day and night"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, A Hidden Conflict - "In January, it was Marriott Hotel's [turn]. Its Chinese website was blocked for seven days after Taiwan, along with Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau were listed as separate countries on a customer questionnaire. Next, airlines which placed Taiwan in drop down lists of countries received angry letters. Taiwanese cities should be listed under the heading China Beijing said. Or at the very least, China should be included after the word Taiwan. Some apologized, most complied. The government in Taipei, then sent letters of its own, urging companies to be courageous, defy the bullying and reverse the wrong decisions. The US State Department criticized China's demand as Orwellian nonsense, but China insisted it had every right to request companies that do business in China follow its laws and do not hurt the feelings of its people. And a Chinese regulator demanded apologies from the fashion brand Zara and medical device maker Medtronic after their websites suggested that Taiwan was a country... Even in airports in mainland China, flights to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau are grouped in the international departure area and Chinese travelers have to pay roaming charges when they use their phones in Taiwan. When my WeChat malfunctioned recently, I had to contact a Chinese social media company to reset my password. And surprisingly I found Taiwan listed among the countries in this drop-down menu"

Londoners least liberal on homosexuality and pre-marital sex - "London is known as a bastion of liberal values. But by some measures the capital city is less progressive than you might think. Findings from the British Social Attitudes survey found that residents were the least likely to say that pre-marital sex and homosexuality were rarely or never wrong... The trend is despite London having the largest proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the country. Researchers said the regional variations were down to "religious differences" between different areas of the country and Londoners' social conservatism was "largely driven by religious factors"... London is the most religiously diverse area of the country, with over a fifth of the population following a faith other than Christianity. It has the highest proportion of Muslims, at 12.4 per cent, compared to 4.8 per cent across England and Wales, and the lowest proportion of Christians, with less than half of people following Christianity... Londoners were more predictably liberal on issues such as crime and punishment, with just 53 per cent arguing that criminals deserve stricter sentences, compared to up to 73 per cent in other regions, and 29 per cent in favour of the death penalty, compared to up to 51 per cent in other areas."

Why the UK has so many words for bread - "A study conducted by the University of Manchester identified seven terms used around the UK for the generic bread roll, mostly found in Northern England, or, in the case of ‘bap’ and ‘blaa’, Scotland and Ireland. Other variations are ‘batch’, which turned up with most regularity in Coventry and Liverpool; the Lancashire ‘barm’; and the West Yorkshire ‘teacake’. Oldham got in on the action with ‘muffin’, while ‘bun’ and ‘cob’ are more generally used in north-east England and the Midlands respectively"

Sir Winston Churchill 's family feared he might convert to Islam - "Churchill’s fascination led him and his close friend Wilfrid S. Blunt, the poet and radical supporter of Muslim causes, to dressing in Arab clothes in private while in each other’s company. Dr Dockter said of the letter from Lady Gwendoline: “Churchill had fought in Sudan and on the North West frontier of India so had much experience on being in 'Islamic areas’."

Parenting website Mumsnet 'hijacked by sex discussions' - "Hidden behind discussions of nappies, family holidays and breast feeding are explicit threads about sexual practices, how to please a man, bedroom positions and ménage à trois"

5 Ancient Hair Dye Techniques That Are Utterly Disgusting, Reminding Us To Be Thankful For Boxed Dye - "In ancient Rome, the Romans used all sorts of crazy methods to dye their hair, including using actual gold dust to make their locks "gold". If you wanted to dye your hair black, however, you were in for a disgusting experience. One would prepare a mixture made from leeches mixed with vinegar. That's right, leeches. They would then allow this awful mixture to ferment for two months. After the allotted fermenting period, they would apply this to their hair and sit in the sun to allow it to bake in"
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