"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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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Links - 27th September 2018 (1)

MagicGate: game culture’s new civil war - "Jeremy Hambly’s UnsleevedMedia channel has become prominent in part due to his criticism of WOTC’s incorporation of identity and sexual politics: WOTC has reduced the attractiveness of female character designs, uses ‘they’ as the second-person singular pronoun in official texts, and uses explicitly ‘inclusive’ language and tone-policing at MTG events. After Hambly made negative comments about a female cosplayer (someone who dresses up as a fictional character at public events), he was accused of ‘harassment’ and banned for life from participating in WOTC-sanctioned tournaments and online play. He became the first MTG player to be banned for life without the possibility of appeal without having cheated or committed a crime. It seems that Hambly’s severe punishment was due not to a violation of MTG guidelines, but to his unpopularity among some fans and his criticism of WOTC policies. Hambly’s supporters are often described as bigots and misogynists intent on making MTG a space ‘unsafe for female players’. They are dismissed as insincere ‘trolls’. But matters became more serious when he exposed a number of criminals convicted of sex crimes who were, at that time, not banned from MTG events. A number of paedophiles had ‘judge’ status and therefore had access to child gamers through game stores and sanctioned tournaments. His vlogs named the individuals using data in the public domain and contrasted their MTG accreditation with his lifetime ban. (Later on, WOTC did ban some of the individuals he named.) The decision to ban Hambly led to a division in MTG fandom, dubbed ‘MagicGate’, with those who had also tired of its identitarian drift siding with Hambly. Activists began to describe these critical fans as ‘dangerous’ ‘Nazis’ and ‘harassers’ intent on making MTG an ‘unsafe environment’. They began equating their criticism and mockery with actual violence. The meme of ‘punch a Nazi’ has circulated widely among left-wingers for years, with their definition of ‘Nazi’ seemingly being anyone critical of identity politics. (A Kickstarter is currently trying to raise funds for a comic advocating political violence called Always Punch Nazis.)... a man asked him if he was Jeremy Hambly. When he said yes, the man repeatedly punched him while holding his shirt, yelling that he was going to kill him. Hambly broke free and went inside the bar. The attacker was prevented from entering and punched a window before leaving. According to witnesses, the alleged attacker was another convention attendee and professor, whose social-media profiles proclaim he ‘punches Nazis’. In a tweet before the altercation, the suspect said that he would ‘fight’ anyone who objected to the attendance of noted feminist Anita Sarkeesian at GenCon. (Hambly posted a negative comment about her presence before the attack.)... some have even taken his attacker’s side. Chelsea Pendragon, who writes for the website ‘Comic Crusaders’, wrote an op-ed (later removed) in which she advocated violence when persuasion and boycotting do not generate obedience... if you exercise your freedom of speech you will be assaulted. Verbal criticism is now ‘repeated acts of terrorism’."
Presumably it's a moral duty to not just punch but kill "Nazis"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, 'Islamophobia is a form of racism' - "Just to put this into some context, most people think of veiling or covering in any sense as something that was brought into by Islam or originated from Islam, but actually it's much older than that. We see veiling or covering of women amongst the Hittites, the Greeks, the Persians, Romans, and there was a gender as well as a class aspect to this, so that women who were the elitist women in society generally tended to be secluded from society based on their class and social standing. The sense was that noble women would have far more to lose if they were dishonoured. And it's in this context that you have verses from the Koran in seventh century Arabia as well, where there's already a sense that women wore loose clothing. Some women would have their head covered. Some women, men and women actually, because even today, you have some men who, in North Africa, who refuse to show their face fully because they have it covered... you have verses in the Koran that say that prophets' wives should be asked for something behind a screen, and that's where you get the context of hijab from. You also have verses that say tell the believing women to draw something upon their front so that they're not displaying their beauty to all and sundry. And these are the kind of verses that have led to a diversity of expressions...
'There's a lot of diversity and dress across the Muslim world.'...
'There is absolutely. And I think that's one of the issues that most Muslim women and men have. Is that why has the niqab and the full face veiling, even the burka become, even if it's only a small minority, become such an issue, an increasing issue. When actually there is a huge diversity of how Muslim women choose to dress. And if the Koran and post-Koranic traditions were so clear on what women had to, how women had to dress then you would have uniformity. Having said that, I would argue that there is an increasing sense of homogeneity now amongst lots of Muslim women. That they feel there is only one way to dress modestly. So, modesty itself has been reduced to how you cover'...
Do we have a useful definition of hatred of Muslims and is Islamophobia the right term?"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Boris' burka jibe - "'Other people on social media and other places have documented how in a pension, in a GP surgery, pensioners stood up and used Boris Johnson's terminology when there was a woman wearing a niqab sitting there... We need to have accountability'...
'This article was written in support of women being allowed to wear the burka'...
'I think this seems to be a divergence from the concern that has been raised. The concern is not the raising of the issue, the concern is about the dehumanising of Muslim women by using terminology that is deeply, deeply concerning. That is the problem, the use of words which a politician recognizes would have a certain impact and appearing to deliberately use them to stoke up this hatred... there are consequences to the words that are used'"
Yet we are told at the same time that Death to America doesn't mean Death to America. Go figure - only certain people's words count and need accountability
Apparently it's not dehumanising to wear a burka - but it is to comment on how you look


I back Boris on the burka, and so do millions of Muslim women like me - "Morocco is sealing shut the factories which weave the fabric to make burkas. Turkey strictly forbids the niqab (the veil that leaves all the face covered apart from the eyes) and even the hijab among its judicial and military personnel. Yet in 2018 Britain finds itself mummified within the niqab... I fully back Boris’s right to objectify the veil because the veil itself is an instrument of objectification. Unlike him, however, I would ban the niqab from British streets altogether. Its true purpose is to demarcate the wearer and the secular world, to overshadow the public space. It derives from misogyny. Islamism views women as a threat to society, so it is best that they are seen and not heard. Some women even remain veiled inside their family homes. My religion does mandate modesty, but there is no basis in Islam for the niqab. The reaction to Boris’s comments, particularly the false accusation of Islamophobia, plays into the Islamists’ hands. It masks the diversity of Muslim opinion, treating voices like mine as if they do not exist, and aided by pseudo-intellectual liberals in the West, allows Islamists to falsely present their dress code as the only true face of Islam... [In the West] these differing opinions are tolerated as part of each of our personal expressions, and experiences, of Islam. They are not tolerated by the Islamists, as I have found myself, having received threatening and vulgar abuse for speaking out. If we do not defend our public spaces as secular shrines to pluralism, not only will public discourse on these issues
be extinguished, but it will become that much harder for anti-Islamist Muslims like me to speak out. That’s why I back Boris."

Boris Johnson burka row: Sky Data poll finds majority back former Foreign Secretary - "60 percent did not believe Mr Johnson’s controversial comments in a newspaper earlier this week amounted to racism while 33 percent thought it did."

Boris Johnson’s burka ‘joke’ was a ‘pretty good one’, Rowan Atkinson says as row over remark intensifies - "All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them. You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Corbyn reacts to Netanyahu - "'He's a man who speaks about dialogue and peace making. But you don't need to attend terrorist memorial events to do that. If he's serious about dialogue and peacemaking, where is his record of dialogue with the Israelis? He's now in a tweet war...
When you say he opposes all forms of violence don't you find it odd that he has so often been on stages and at places where people who support violence, whether it's against Jewish people or homosexuals or whoever it's against, where they happen to be?'...
'I can't answer that question. It's an absurd question'"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Mexican-American War - "Manifest Destiny... Mexicans weren't ready to govern themselves, is at the heart of Manifest Destiny. It's an assumption that white Anglo-American Protestants should govern North America, because they were superior and liberty-loving and superior to both the native peoples... and the Mexicans... it was manifest destiny. It's obvious, it's manifest and its destiny, it's determined by God, that the United States should over-spread the continent...
'The brutality with which some Americans respond to that... there's a great deal of opposition among some of the soldiers. The Mexican War has the highest desertion rate of any war in American history. Over 8 percent of the soldiers in the American forces desert during the conflict... many of them are Catholic'...
'There is that fear with the creation of St Patrick's Battalion, a group of deserters that were mostly Irish Catholic, but also other immigrants and some escaped slaves and they join the Mexican side... fight very fiercely against the Americans... that brings the fear that can these Catholics in our midst be trusted to be loyal to the United States.'"
Maybe that's why they detained the Japs during World War II

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Warfare - the Soundtrack of Their Lives - "This social phenomenon has been given a name in Korean... the Sampo generation, which is said to have given up three things: dating, marriage and having children... South Korea has the lowest fertility rate in the world. The average woman here is expected to have one point zero five children in her life. That's exactly half the rate needed to maintain a stable population...
I spot a sign outside the ladies' reassuring students that there are no hidden cameras in the loos. There are whole websites dedicated to showing the result of that particular form of invasive voyeurism. I even hear about a subgenre of this phenomenon in which men post videos they've secretly recorded of themselves having sex with their girlfriends. The horrifying twist is that these videos are popular because the women have gone on to take their own lives, as a result of the videos being put online"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Jeremiah Tower: My Life in Five Dishes - "Thank God kale has disappeared... Kale is winter food for cows for god's sakes. I hate all the shows: Gordon Ramsey's trying to get somebody to cry and no no that's not what our industry is about at all. Like Jamie Oliver right now. He just went too far...
'But it's the chef's job to innovate.'
'Yes, but innovating what? Innovating presentation? I mean now every plate in the world, in any restaurant you've heard of it, it all looks the same. Whether it's in Sydney or Tokyo, London, Paris, you know, there's that dot dot dot dot dot, the little sauce around the plate. Are you supposed to taste each of those dots in order? And therefore, in which order? They should give you a little diagram of how to eat this dish. And then that sort of smear of stuff across the plate which I've recently described as somebody took a cat's *beep* and wiped the plate with it... The only American thing about American cuisine now is this stupid plating presentation"

2410 The Battle for Dorking and Spy Fever | The History Network - "The home office would routinely request proof that a naturalized British citizen of German origin had relinquished all rights to German citizenship. With the outbreak of war in 1914, the State organized the rounding up and internment of German nationals. Naturalized British citizens of German origin were asked to sign a declaration showing their commitment to Britain. The first wave of internment occurred in August and September 1914, but this only amounted to 10,000 Germans. It was not until the anti German riots in May 1915 that it was decided that all Germans of military age should be interned... spy fever, with the outset of war had turned into open Germanophobia"
Strangely, British Germans are not complaining about this today, unlike Japanese Americans

Low-background steel - Wikipedia - "Low-background steel is any steel produced prior to the detonation of the first atomic bombs in the 1940s and 1950s. With the Trinity test and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and then subsequent nuclear weapons testing during the early years of the Cold War, background radiation levels increased across the world. Modern steel is contaminated with radionuclides because its production uses atmospheric air. Low background steel is so called because it does not suffer from such nuclear contamination. This steel is used in devices that require the highest sensitivity for detecting radionuclides. The primary source of low-background steel is ships that were constructed before the Trinity test, most famously the scuttled German World War I battleships in Scapa Flow"

Why forgetting is really important for memory: U of T research - "Richards says there are two very good reasons why you may want to forget at least some of the information you come across. For one, in a constantly changing world old information becomes outdated and not as important to remember... The other important reason reflects a concept used in models for artificial intelligence known as regularization. This principle aims to get computer models to learn how to make generalizations based on large amounts of data. In order to do this, there must be some forgetting of details in the data involved in order to prioritize the core information that is necessary for decisions"

Starship Troopers: One of the Most Misunderstood Movies Ever - "Starship Troopers is satire, a ruthlessly funny and keenly self-aware sendup of right-wing militarism. The fact that it was and continues to be taken at face value speaks to the very vapidity the movie skewers."

Redcore CEO admits ‘100pc China-developed browser’ is built on Google’s Chrome, says writing code from scratch would ‘take many years’
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