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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Links - 13th September 2018 (2)

Chaat-Fix in Little India – Our Recommendations

Give China a Taste of Its Own Bad Trade Medicine - "A better plan would be to adopt the same restrictions on Chinese companies in the U.S. that Beijing imposes on foreign firms there. In other words: Give the country a taste of its own bad medicine."

An illustrated compendium of Chinese baos

Trouble in Paradise: A Chinese Occupation in Tahiti - "China — like any lender — exacts a price for its aid, and Pacific nations are gradually learning the cost. Nothing sums up the challenges and dilemmas Pacific peoples face in dealing with a rising China more than the simmering political scandal over the Chinese consulate in Tahiti’s illegal occupation of a house used for China’s diplomatic offices in French Polynesia."

Sex and flirting in Japan from a foreigner's perspective (originally from lj user supacat) - "Japanese social interaction is all about intuiting the other person’s wishes without discussing them openly, at the same time that they are intuiting your wishes without discussing them openly, so that although nothing is ever verbalised, the two of you will always exist in a compromise position of equilibrium. If you like someone, that intuitive part goes into overdrive, because you should be able to understand everything about that person without them ever telling you, and you should be able to please them without ever asking how, even more than you would with a normal person. So it’s more important than ever to be indirect... sex in Japan is not a mutual sharing experience with both partners spontaneously doing whatever they feel like or enjoy whenever they feel like doing it. Sex has rules and sex has roles just as every social interaction in Japan has rules and roles. There is an active partner and a passive partner. Active means moving; passive means unmoving. In heterosexual sex, the active partner is always male, and the passive partner is always female... Japanese guys are generally more stressed out by sex than western guys and that is because they are responsible for the sex; as the active male, the sex is their burden, they have to do everything, it’s all up to them. Sex equates not only (sometimes not even primarily) with ‘fun’ or ‘pleasure’, it also equates with ‘work’ and ‘obligation’. I also can’t emphasise enough just how passive the passive partner is. The way a woman kisses is by submissively opening her mouth, not moving her tongue unless she is cued to do so; if she’s really feminine she won’t open her mouth at all, until she’s told to. Sometimes women will move around a (very) little during sex, but mostly not at all. The slang term for a woman who lies completely still in bed is maguro (tuna). For me, with my western sensibilities and preconceptions, calling someone a ‘tuna’ in bed sounds like an insult, conjuring up images of cold dead fish, but in Japan that word has a very positive connotation. Tuna’s an expensive delicacy... Seiji told me much later that dating me made him feel like he was gay, because I was active in bed, and he couldn’t connect that with anything except masculinity... It’s not liberating for a Japanese person to be told there are no rules, it’s frightening
Looks like JAV is not an inaccurate depiction of Japanese sex

Why Weight Loss Diets Fail | SELF - "an interdisciplinary group of researchers started a workplace-based study called the “Dietary Intervention-Randomized Controlled Trial” (DIRECT), in which 322 moderately obese adults over the age of 40 (the mean age was 52, and 86 percent were men) were randomly assigned to either low-fat/restricted calorie, low-carbohydrate/no calorie restrictions, or Mediterranean style/restricted-calorie diets, and met with registered dietitians for 18 90-minute sessions over two years. This trial has an added bonus: Participants received a four-year follow-up analysis after the two-year period ended, allowing researchers to also take a look at any long-term (six years total) effects of the diets. In their findings, published in 2008, they found that participants assigned to all three diets gained back lost weight. After six years, net weight losses (so, the weight they lost after accounting for what they gained back) were one pound, seven pounds, and four pounds for the low-fat, Mediterranean, and low-carb groups, respectively... The brain’s response to caloric restriction tends to be to increase cravings for foods that are highly rewarding (delicious stuff that’s some combination of sweet, fatty, and salty) and reducing our perception of being full. In short, our body and our brain work together to vigorously defend against weight loss and promote weight regain. It’s an unending “feedback loop,” and once the loop gets off kilter, it’s very hard to turn it back around. As David Levitsky, Ph.D., professor at Cornell University’s School of Human Ecology, tells SELF, “The body has had millions of years to develop mechanisms to resist starvation. You cannot bypass them by simply going on a diet.”... Diets frequently fail because “...they have an endpoint and are not real lifestyle change”... "most people, and many research protocols, encourage dieters to take on lifestyles that at best are tolerable, and at worst involve ongoing suffering by way of some combination of cultivating hunger or cravings, eliminating enjoyable foods or food groups, and making it difficult to lead normal lives with friends or family. So perhaps it's not surprising that the outcomes of diets that involve suffering are short lived"... People who experience bias because of their weight may be at an increased risk for developing obesity and staying obese... a history of dieting can be associated with greater weight gain, not weight loss"

Perceived Weight Discrimination and Obesity - "Participants who experienced weight discrimination were approximately 2.5 times more likely to become obese by follow-up (OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.58–4.08) and participants who were obese at baseline were three times more likely to remain obese at follow up (OR = 3.20, 95% CI = 2.06–4.97) than those who had not experienced such discrimination... Rather than motivating individuals to lose weight, weight discrimination increases risk for obesity."

Guess Which Country the U.N. Decries Now - WSJ - "The World Health Organization seems to have its hands full. With the Rio Olympics only two months away, the Zika virus has become an international public-health emergency. Ebola’s embers still glow in West Africa, and yellow fever besieges Angola. Yet the WHO found time at its annual meeting in May to tackle what it must consider a particularly pressing item: Israel... The WHO’s session neglected to address the bombing of Syrian hospitals by Syrian and Russian warplanes. It skipped the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, where the Saudi-led bombings and blockade have left millions without food and water. Israel, like any country, makes mistakes. Its actions should be scrutinized, but it shouldn’t be held to an arbitrary, higher standard. Far from being outraged, the WHO should laud the Jewish state for its treatment of Syrians in the Golan... This typifies the Jewish state’s humanity. Palestinians regularly go to Israeli hospitals for treatment. Two years ago, the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh underwent emergency treatment in a Tel Aviv facility shortly after Hamas-Israel fighting ended. Health outcomes in the West Bank and Gaza might surprise many readers. Take life expectancy at birth, a classic benchmark. In 2014, the figure for these territories was 73, according to the World Bank. Compare that with Libya (72), Iraq (69), Egypt (71) and Jordan (74)."

After Najib’s Ouster, ‘The Leash Is Off’ for Malaysia’s Scrappy Media - WSJ - "At the Malay Mail, managers sent around an email informing staff that it was now an independent news organization, Mr. Edward said. Board members at the largest Malay-language daily Utusan Melayu stepped down after Mr. Najib’s shock defeat, as the publisher declared a new business model: “The board and the management have expressed their commitment to adopt more balanced reporting,” Utusan said. Many readers of the UMNO-owned paper were surprised to see it publish an article extensively quoting the country’s best-known ethnic-Chinese politician, Lim Kit Siang, about how Mr. Najib was in denial about the scale of UMNO’s election defeat. The paper had demonized him for years as a threat to the majority Malays’ privileged status here."

Obama Attacks Wealthy For Big Houses Before Returning To His $8 Million Mansion - "After the speech calling for rich people to get smaller houses, Obama traveled back to America and to his $8.1 million eight-bedroom, nine-and-a-half bathroom mansion in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world... The mansion is Obama’s second home."

Goldman Sachs: David Solomon, veteran banker and part-time DJ, named new boss - "A veteran banker who also DJs under the stage name D-Sol has been named as the next chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs. David Solomon, 56, will take over from the current boss, Lloyd Blankfein, on 1 October"

Beijing's air pollution helps its trees grow better, faster, stronger, study finds - "countries with high levels of PM2.5 – the small particles that are most harmful to human health – such as China, India and Brazil should reduce their carbon footprints by a larger percentage in the future to compensate for the loss of this “positive side effect” from air pollution. Aerosols are minuscule particles floating in the atmosphere, including soot, dust and sulphates. They can be produced from industrial and agricultural processes such as burning coal, gas or wood. Such particles are harmful to human health but help plants to photosynthesise, the process whereby they convert light into energy."

Stop Gendering Your Baby - "Washington, Oregon, and California are implementing third-sex gender markers on identity documents like birth certificates—which is great, since biological sex doesn't exist."
Ahh... science and the left!

Attacks on Asians Highlight New Racial Tensions - The New York Times - "“We recommend our staff not to say it,” Ms. Tan said, looking over the crowd. “We don’t want to escalate with African-Americans, so we don’t say it.” Then she turned and faced a reporter. “But it is racial,” she said. “That’s fact.”... The recent spate of highly publicized attacks on elderly Asians by black teenagers has abruptly enhanced a longstanding perception among Asians that they are disproportionately targets of racially motivated violence... hundreds of Chinese lined up at a board meeting to tell stories of assaults and intimidation, sometimes without clear motivation, by young African-Americans. Two days later, a young black man, Amanze Emenike, 21, said he was 12 when he heard older boys talking about why they singled out Asian and Latino immigrants: they would not report the crime and had no gangs to back them up... Part of the frustration, some say, is fueled precisely by the reluctance — both among Chinese and among San Franciscans generally — to discuss such issues. “Because San Francisco sees itself as very progressive, people just don’t want to talk about these issues,” Mr. Der said. “But that’s how people feel about it. You can’t argue it away.”... “I wake up and I’m hungry, my stomach growling,” Ms. Blunt said. “Why am I just getting by when there’s this Asian walking out of the house with a laptop going to the cafe?” There is also the frustration at perceived prejudice by Asians. Ms. Blunt still recalls a Chinese classmate in junior high ignoring her requests to borrow a pencil.
It's okay, we can still blame white people. Or maybe Asian "anti-blackness"

A $1.5 Million Plan to Count Every Cat in Washington, House Cats Included - The New York Times - "Stray and feral cats roam the streets of Washington, protected by neuter-and-release policies. They prey on wildlife and carry diseases that are dangerous to humans, concerning conservationists. Their quality of life can be poor... some conservationists are fighting the neuter-and-release practice.“No-kill simply moves the killing to other places,” Travis Longcore, science director at the Urban Wildlands Group, told Los Angeles Magazine last year. “Maybe you aren’t euthanizing that feral cat, but you are guaranteeing the death of lizards and birds and contamination of waterways with Toxoplasma gondii and adverse impacts to sea lions and seals.” Cats not only carry diseases like rabies that can be spread to people, they have also contributed to at least 63 extinctions."

The Astonishingly High Administrative Costs of U.S. Health Care - The New York Times - "about 30 percent of American health care expenditures were the result of administration, about twice what it is in Canada. If the figures hold today, they mean that out of the average of about $19,000 that U.S. workers and their employers pay for family coverage each year, $5,700 goes toward administrative costs... Like the overall cost of the U.S. health system, its administrative cost alone is No. 1 in the world... By one estimate, for every 10 physicians providing care, almost seven additional people are engaged in billing-related activities... Costs related to billing appear to be growing... One obvious source of complexity of the American health system is its multiplicity of payers. A typical hospital has to contend not just with several public health programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, but also with many private insurers, each with its own set of procedures and forms (whether electronic or paper) for billing and collecting payment. By one estimate, 80 percent of the billing-related costs in the United States are because of contending with this added complexity. “One can have choice without costly complexity,” said Barak Richman, a co-author of the JAMA study and a professor of law at Duke. “Switzerland and Germany, for example, have lower administrative costs than the U.S. but exhibit a robust choice of health insurers.” An additional source of costs for health care providers is chasing patients for their portion of bills, the part not covered by insurance"
Looks like the "slavery" of single payer isn't such a bad idea after all
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