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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Links - 8th September 2018 (2)

Star Wars Sequel Saltiness — The Last Jedi Novelization Actually Makes TLJ an Even Bigger Insult
Doubling down is a great way to lose even more money

The Last Jedi: The Problem with Rose - "Plenty of other pieces have already criticized the unnecessary distraction of the Canto Bight storyline. You could feel the energy sap out of the theater every time the action cut away from Rey arguing with Luke or Poe being Poe. The city isn’t the strikingly cool galactic gambling center we were led to expect; it’s just a Vegas substitute where some actors are wearing masks. The phrase “master code-breaker” sounds so juvenile I’m shocked it made it into the script. The betrayal doesn’t land because we don’t know much about DJ in the first place, we don’t care, and he and Finn/Rose don’t go way back like Lando/Han did. (Really, it was kind of dumb for Finn and Rose to trust him as much as they did.) The constant references to the military industrial complex (Canto Bight’s elite are rich on the weapons industry, but they sell to both good guys and bad) were initially fascinating, but promptly dropped and never mentioned again. Otherwise, all the Canto Bight arc does is give Poe a reason to stir up some drama on the main rebel ship and make us think for much of the movie that Holdo is a baddie. But my biggest frustration is that Rose is the most irrelevant part of an already irrelevant arc... Rose could have made so many different choices–choices of importance–that would have demonstrated real growth. But instead, her character feels like a handout. Rose, like many of the offhand references to the military industrial complex and environmentalism, felt like a well-intentioned gesture towards diversity and social awareness that fell flat because there was no follow-through. Rose reads like a diversity set piece... Rose’s budding romance with Finn irks me. I’m not opposed to their getting together in general, but their kiss felt strange and seriously out of left-field. We’ve seen Rose and Finn develop a good friendship, but we haven’t seen any previous signs of romantic attraction between them. There’s no chemistry"
This is an Asian girl who said she loved the movie, so she can't be dismissed as racist, sexist, toxic fanboy
Too bad she didn't notice Rose's sexual assault of Finn

Asia’s secret World Heritage site - "The Lenggong Valley is so significant that it was named Malaysia’s most recent Unesco World Heritage site. But few people know about this lost world – and even fewer get to see it."

10 ‘sweet-talking, pretty girls’ among suspects arrested over London gold trading scams, Hong Kong police say - "Ten pretty, sweet-talking female brokers were among 31 people arrested in a crackdown on a gold trading syndicate which left 33 men about HK$19 million (US$2.4 million) out of pocket... the syndicate hired young, attractive girls, mostly secondary school graduates, and disguised them as “star financial consultants” to fish for victims on social media. The girls then sweet-talked the men into paying to trade gold on the London market with low risks but high returns. Some even promised to develop love relationships."

Bukit Timah found to be safest district in Singapore, while Yishun North is the most crime-prone - "Using crime data compiled by the Singapore Police Force and its Neighbourhood Police Centres from 2012 to 2016, research analyst William Hoffman identified five districts with the least amount of crimes reported and five others that are more prone to criminal activities. The rankings take into account a variety of felonies, including robbery, housebreaking, snatch theft, motor vehicle theft, unlicensed moneylending, as well as unlicensed moneylending harassment... Other districts in the top tier of the list include Bishan in second place, Kampong Java in third place and Marine Parade in fourth. Sembawang is (gasp!) the fifth safest neighborhood in the country... “Over the past five years, neighborhoods on either end of the spectrum tended to remain there consistently, with little movement in their rankings”"

More than a third of Chinese millionaires want to leave China - "The U.S. is the top destination among Chinese millionaires looking to move their families, and money, to another country, according to a new study. More than a third of rich Chinese surveyed “are currently considering” emigrating to another country... the U.K. ranked second, followed by Ireland and then Canada. The strong education system, cleaner air and better food safety made the U.S. a favorite for Chinese investors. The Trump administration's tax plan also got high marks from respondents... Canada had been ranked second but it fell to fourth place after raising its net worth and investment requirements for its investment visa program in March. Buying overseas real estate has become a popular way for the Chinese rich to offshore their fortunes. Foreign exchange deposits and “immovable property” are the most popular overseas investment options"

Court Of Appeals Ends 'Clock Boy' Case Against Shapiro With A Bang - "Ahmed Mohamed's father filed suit against Shapiro, asserting claims for defamation and defamation per se. Shapiro filed a motion to dismiss the claims pursuant to chapter 27 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code by alleging that his statements were non-actionable opinions, Ahmed Mohamed was required to prove actual malice because he was an all-purpose public figure or limited purpose public figure, the plaintiff could not establish actual malice or show that Shapiro’s statements were false, and Shapiro's statements were protected as “fair comments” and under the qualified privilege... The court ruled that all costs Shapiro incurred had to be covered by Mohamed"
So much for trying to milk this case

Women's health at risk as researchers fail to consider differences over SEXISM fears - "Scientists are concerned that they will be labelled as ‘a pariah in the eyes of the neuroscience mainstream,’ according to a guest editor of a special edition of the Journal of Neuroscience Research. One area in which medication is understood to differ between genders is for the drugs that are used to treat stroke patients. Under the current method, scientists are assuming that results can be generalised for both sexes, which could place women’s health at risk... Professor Larry Cahill, a neurobiologist from University of California Irvine, said: ‘The assumption has been that, once you get outside of reproductive functions, what you find in males and females is fundamentally the same and therefore there is no reason to study both sexes — and beyond that it is not good to study females as they have pesky circulating hormones. ‘The last 15 to 20 years has overwhelmingly proven that assumption is false, false, false.’ Others have called into question the need to test both genders, suggesting that there are no significant differences. Professor Gina Rippon, of Aston University, described some of the research as ‘neurosexism’... Professor Cahill claims that he has been warned against studying the difference between sexes as it could harm his career... another paper published in the journal highlighted a stroke treatment called Lazaroids that was rejected at the final stages of testing as its effectiveness seemed to decline. The authors suggested that the drug may have continued to work, but only for men, and when it was given to women in the latter testing stages, the findings appeared worse as a result"
Yet another case of how feminism harms women. Ironically feminists complain women are not properly catered to in medicine or represented in trials, so treatments are aimed at men

'Money just flew out of the country': Swiss attorney-general on 1MDB 'Ponzi scheme' - "You cannot bribe me, I have a small apartment in Zurich where I live, I have no car, no bicycle, not even a boat. All I have is what you see on me, that's it"

China does not manipulate other countries: Chinese ambassador responds to remarks from former Singapore diplomat Bilahari Kausikan - "Mr Kausikan’s speech outlined three ways in which China stands out from other major countries that “persuade, induce and coerce". The first involves rejecting the norm of non-interference in another state’s domestic affairs and believing that its interests should be promoted wherever they may be, The Straits Times’ report stated. The second is where China uses a range of tactics from legitimate diplomacy to more covert and often illegal deployment of agents of influence and operations - to sway decision makers or public opinion leaders. The third, Mr Kausikan said, refers to the aim of its influence operations, which he added was not just to direct behaviour but to condition it as well. He also said a key tactic is to present target countries with oversimplified narratives, "forcing false choices on you and making you choose between them", The Straits Times reported. "China doesn't just want you to comply with its wishes, it wants you to ... do what it wants without being told”"

Life inside the Forbidden City: how women were selected for service - "With hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of concubines at the emperor’s disposal, any lady the emperor graced with a visit would be subject to jealous rivalries. Concubines had their own rooms and would fill their days applying make-up, sewing, practising various arts and socialising with other concubines. Many of them spent their entire lives in the palace without any contact with the emperor... Confucianism emphasised the ability of a man to manage a family as part of his personal growth in daxue (great learning)... It was believed that organising the emperor’s sex life was essential to maintaining the well-being of the entire Chinese empire. The Chinese calendars of the 10th century were not used to keep track of time but rather to keep the emperor’s sex schedule in check. The rotation of concubines sleeping with the emperor was kept to a regimented order. Secretaries were employed to record the emperor’s sex life with brushes dipped in imperial vermilion... Imperial sons were breastfed by a wet nurse whose own child was a girl, and vice versa in the cases of imperial daughters. This way the yin and yang could be matched and the substitution of babies, accidental or otherwise, could be averted."

God bless The Washington Post, which cited ClickHole in a story about Green Day - "The paper cited a ClickHole article written last year by “Billie Joe Armstrong,” in which he “reveals” that—and we’re quoting a completely fake quote here, to be clear—“now that enough time has passed to let the dust and controversy settle, I finally feel comfortable revealing that the ‘American Idiot’ I sang about was none other than President George W. Bush.”"
Funny, I thought only the Daily Mail and Fox News were unreliable

A revealing map of the world’s most and least ethnically diverse countries - The Washington Post - "countries in Europe and Northeast Asia tend to be the most homogenous, sub-Saharan African nations the most diverse. The Americas are generally somewhere in the middle. And richer countries appear more likely to be homogenous. This map is particularly interesting viewed alongside data we examined yesterday on racial tolerance... Internal conflicts appear on first blush to be more common in greener countries, which might make some intuitive sense given that groups with comparable "stakes" in their country's economics and politics might be more willing or able to compete, perhaps violently, over those resources... Diversity correlates with latitude and low GDP per capita... Strong democracy correlates with ethnic homogeneity... In general, it does not matter for our purposes whether ethnic differences reflect physical attributes of groups (skin color, facial features) or long-lasting social conventions (language, marriage within the group, cultural norms) or simple social definition (self-identification, identification by outsiders). When people persistently identify with a particular group, they form potential interest groups that can be manipulated by political leaders"
Also why identity politics is bad

How To Free Up Space on Your iPhone
Alternatively get an Android and don't run out of space

Chill: Robots Won’t Take All Our Jobs - "If automation were, in fact, transforming the US economy, two things would be true: Aggregate productivity would be rising sharply, and jobs would be harder to come by than in the past... If automation were truly remaking the job market, you’d also expect to see a lot of what economists call job churn as people move from company to company and industry to industry after their jobs have been destroyed. But we’re seeing the opposite of that... Median job tenure today is actually similar to what it was in the 1950s—the era we think of as the pinnacle of job stability... A rigorous study of the impact of robots in manufacturing, agriculture, and utilities across 17 countries, for instance, found that robots did reduce the hours of lower-skilled workers—but they didn’t decrease the total hours worked by humans, and they actually boosted wages... Corporate America, for its part, certainly doesn’t seem to believe in the jobless future. If the rewards of automation were as immense as predicted, companies would be pouring money into new technology. But they’re not... The outsourcing of work to machines is not, after all, new—it’s the dominant motif of the past 200 years of economic history, from the cotton gin to the washing machine to the car. Over and over again, as vast numbers of jobs have been destroyed, others have been created. And over and over, we’ve been terrible at envisioning what kinds of new jobs people would end up doing. Even our fears about automation and computerization aren’t new; they closely echo the anxieties of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Observers then too were convinced that automation would lead to permanent unemployment... The peculiar thing about this historical moment is that we’re afraid of two contradictory futures at once. On the one hand, we’re told that robots are coming for our jobs and that their superior productivity will transform industry after industry. If that happens, economic growth will soar and society as a whole will be vastly richer than it is today. But at the same time, we’re told that we’re in an era of secular stagnation, stuck with an economy that’s doomed to slow growth and stagnant wages. In this world, we need to worry about how we’re going to support an aging population and pay for rising health costs, because we’re not going to be much richer in the future than we are today"

The epic mistake about manufacturing that's cost Americans millions of jobs - "Trump’s story of US manufacturing decline was much closer to being right than the story of technological progress being spun in Washington, New York, and Cambridge. Thanks to a painstaking analysis by a handful of economists, it’s become clear that the data that underpin the dominant narrative—or more precisely, the way most economists interpreted the data—were way off-base. Foreign competition, not automation, was behind the stunning loss in factory jobs. And that means America’s manufacturing sector is in far worse shape than the media, politicians, and even most academics realize... the method statisticians use to account for these advances can make it seem like US firms are producing and selling more computers than they actually are. And when the computers data are aggregated with the other subsectors, the adjustment makes it seem like the whole of American manufacturing is churning out more goods than it actually is... the parts of the US hit hard by Chinese import competition saw manufacturing job loss, falling wages, and the shrinking of their workforces. They also found that offsetting employment gains in other industries never materialized... when China joined the WTO, it extinguished the risk that the US might retaliate against the Chinese government’s mercantilist currency and protectionist industrial policies by raising tariffs... Manufacturing jobs tend to pay better, and create opportunities for learning skills that are particularly important to workers with less formal education. Factories also encourage innovation by attracting research and development (R&D) facilities, which need access to production lines to translate design into real products and to work out the kinks in prototypes. This is why when plants shutter and are moved overseas, R&D centers almost always go with them... workers hit by mass layoffs suffer unusually big wage losses throughout their careers, and many exit the workforce entirely."
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