"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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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Links - 2nd October 2018 (1)

Innovation and Urban Inequality Go Hand in Hand - "a growing chorus of urban theorists is making the case that the problems of the modern city are inextricable from their remarkable innovation and growth"

The benefits of inequality - "in the distant past, groups of hunter-gatherers may have recognized and accepted the benefits of living in hierarchical societies, even if they themselves weren’t counted among the well-off. This model could help explain why bands of humans moved from largely egalitarian groups to hierarchical cultures in which social inequality was rife."

Neoliberalism: Oversold? - "Although growth benefits are uncertain, costs in terms of increased economic volatility and crisis frequency seem more evident. Since 1980, there have been about 150 episodes of surges in capital inflows in more than 50 emerging market economies; as shown in the left panel of Chart 2, about 20 percent of the time, these episodes end in a financial crisis, and many of these crises are associated with large output declines... In addition to raising the odds of a crash, financial openness has distributional effects, appreciably raising inequality... Austerity policies not only generate substantial welfare costs due to supply-side channels, they also hurt demand—and thus worsen employment and unemployment. The notion that fiscal consolidations can be expansionary (that is, raise output and employment), in part by raising private sector confidence and investment, has been championed by, among others, Harvard economist Alberto Alesina in the academic world and by former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet in the policy arena. However, in practice, episodes of fiscal consolidation have been followed, on average, by drops rather than by expansions in output"

A sad reminder of the art lost in the years after the Reformation - "We think of Henry VIII and the destruction of the monasteries, but that was not the end of the destruction, it marked the beginning. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, hailed the reign of his son, the boy king Edward VI, as that of a new Josiah, destroyer of idols. After his coronation an orgy of iconoclasm was launched. In churches rood screens, tombs with their prayers for the dead, and stain glass windows, were smashed. The Elizabethan antiquarian John Stow complained, some of this Christian Taliban “judged every image to be an idol”, so that not only religious art, but even the secular thirteenth century carvings of kings in Ludgate were broken."

The risks of alcohol (again) - "This leads them to argue that there is ‘no safe level’ of alcohol... to experience one extra problem, 25,000 people need to drink 10g alcohol a day for a year, that’s 3,650g a year each... The paper argues that their conclusions should lead public health bodies “to consider recommendations for abstention”. But claiming there is no ‘safe’ level does not seem an argument for abstention. There is no safe level of driving, but government do not recommend that people avoid driving... Presumably people who choose to drink alcohol moderately get some pleasure from it, and any risk needs to be traded off against this enjoyment."

Olympic silver medalists tend to live longer than the gold medal winners - "When it comes to Olympic track and field, silver medalists have historically outlived athletes who took the gold, based on an analysis of competitions in the decades between 1896 and 1948... Olympians who came in first and second place weren’t that different from one another. They tended to be similar in height, age, and in other physical attributes and ability... Silver medalists made more money, and higher income, in turn, appeared correlated with longer lifespans. Notably, the second-place contestants had a tendency to seek higher-paying occupations than the winners after the Olympics were over"

Russian Feminist Blogger Investigated For Potential Hate Speech Against Men - "One meme shows a woman wielding a frying pan with the caption: "Beat up a brute, save Russia!" Other materials include texts featuring profanity and violent imagery."

Matchlocks, Wheellocks and Flintlocks: How Early Small Arms Were Fired

Thai citizen born in Bangkok pleads guilty to defaulting on NS in Singapore - "Ekawit’s lawyer, S Radakrishnan, said that his client had no reason to believe that he would still be liable to serve in the armed forces of a country that he did not really understand or had links to. “For all intents and purposes, (Ekawit) was born, lived, studied, served national service and found a job in Thailand, and identifies as a Thai national. He has spent his entire life to date residing in Thailand,” said Radakrishnan. “He has never received any benefits from any social, economic, or educational services rendered by the Singapore government or its statutory boards.” Apart from short visits to his grandmother who lives here, Ekawit never lived in Singapore long enough to comprehend the gravity of the charges he is facing now"
Singapore demands its pound of flesh out of spite

Someone threatens to murder Dana Loesch's children. Twitter yawns. - "NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch took to Twitter with some screen caps of a recent set of exchanges she had... a human being at Twitter looking at that call to murder Dana Loesch’s children and deciding that it didn’t cross the line into “abusive behavior.”... Would the same decision be reached if it were a call to murder children of the Obamas or Clintons? Highly unlikely. The user in that hypothetical case would have been out in the cold faster than they could try to log back into their account. While I know I’ve mentioned it before, Kat McKinley had her account suspended for writing a column about government policy regarding transgender troops in the military, and it contained zero threats or derogatory terms."

I Was Banned for Life From Twitter - "For lack of a more precise starting point, the election of Donald Trump did away with our near-universal agreement over the right to speak, driven by a false belief that too much free speech helped Trump get elected. Large numbers of Americans began not just to tolerate, but to demand censorship. They wanted universities to deplatform speakers they did not agree with, giggling over the old-timey First Amendment and taunting “conservatives” for not being able to do anything about it. But the most startling change came within the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which once embodied “defend the right, not the content” when it stood up for the free speech rights of Nazis in the 1970s... “Hate speech,” clearly not prohibited according to the Supreme Court, is an umbrella term used by censorship advocates to describe anything they don’t want others to be able to listen to or watch. It is very flexible and thus very dangerous. As during the McCarthy-era in the 1950s when one needed only to label something “communist” to have it banned, so it is today with the new mark of “hate speech.”... Those who gleefully celebrate the fact that @jack who runs Twitter is not held back by the First Amendment and can censor at will seem to believe he will always yield his power in the way they want him to. Google (until May) had a slogan commanding its employees: “don’t be evil.” Yet in China, Google is deploying Dragonfly, a version of its search engine that will meet Beijing’s demands for censorship by blocking websites on command. Of course, in China they don’t call it hate speech; they call it anti-societal speech, and the propaganda Google will block isn’t from Russian bots but from respected global media. Meanwhile, Apple removes apps from its store at the command of the Chinese government in return for market access. Amazon, which agreed to pull hateful merchandise from its store in the U.S., the same week confirmed that it is “unwaveringly committed to the U.S. government and the governments we work with around the world” in using its AI and facial recognition technology to spy on their own people. Faced with a future loss of billions of dollars, as was the case for Google and Apple in China, what will corporations do in America? Once upon a time an easy solution to corporate censorship was to take one’s business elsewhere. In 2018, the platforms in question are near-global monopolies. Pretending Amazon, which owns the Washington Post and can influence elections, is just another company that sells things, is to pretend the role of unfettered debate in a free society is outdated"

Facebook says cartoon depicting two Arabs happily hanging an Orthodox Jew doesn’t violate its community standards - "In yet another display of Facebook’s apparent tolerance of extreme antisemitism, the social networking site has refused to take down a disturbing cartoon which features two smiling Arabs hanging an Orthodox Jewish man... Facebook has form in this area. In 2016 we reported that Facebook had allowed a post that called for the genocide of all Jews"

Joyce TOO on Twitter: - "We live in an age where you can build an entire culture around anal sex & venereal disease & then parade the streets with giant dildos & call it Pride. But say you’re proud to come from a people that gave the world Aristotle, Shakespeare & Beethoven & you’re called a monster."

HDB owners vs tenants: unpacking the great illusion - "If you have a HDB flat on a 99-year lease, are you an owner or a tenant? The real answer: you are actually an owner of a lease... A tenancy is a technical legal concept. The word ‘tenant’ should not be used loosely as the law has a very strict understanding of what is or is not a tenancy, and if a court considers someone a tenant, they will automatically be awarded a special bundle of rights. Those interested can read the seminal case of Street v Mountford (followed in Singapore law)"

Very Religious Americans Lead Healthier Lives - "Very religious Americans are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are moderately religious or nonreligious. The most religious Americans score a 66.3 on the Gallup-Healthways Healthy Behavior Index compared with 60.6 among those who are moderately religious and 58.3 for the nonreligious. This relationship, based on an analysis of more than 550,000 interviews, is statistically significant after controlling for major demographic and regional variables... Very religious Americans make healthier choices than their moderately religious and nonreligious counterparts across all four of the Healthy Behavior Index metrics, including smoking, healthy eating, and regular exercise"

Betty Crocker’s Absurd, Gorgeous Atomic-Age Creations - The New York Times - "Mrs. Lincoln and the women of the W.E.A. badly wanted the sacrosanct light of science to illuminate women’s work — done in the kitchen — with an emphasis on what was replicable, observable, gradable and expressive of human dominance over and mastery of nature. Thus were foods bound, in mayonnaise or white sauce, or imprisoned, inside a pepper ring, or a melon round, or a pastry case or frosting, or in unmoving suspension in gelatin or mousse. Or in a jelly­roll or loaf pan."

Bad News for the Highly Intelligent - "The survey of Mensa’s highly intelligent members found that they were more likely to suffer from a range of serious disorders... The biggest differences between the Mensa group and the general population were seen for mood disorders and anxiety disorders"

Trudeau retracts 'barbaric' remarks - "Justin Trudeau offered an apology and retraction Tuesday over comments he made about the description of honour killings as "barbaric" in a new citizenship guide... The updated Discover Canada booklet includes a line that says, "Canada's openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, 'honour killings,' female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence." The term "barbaric" has been in the guide since 2009, but "forced marriage" was added to the line in this new version. Trudeau took the government to task, however, for using the term "barbaric" and said an official government publication should make an "attempt at responsible neutrality." He said the acts are "absolutely unacceptable" and that's not a matter of debate, but the language chosen by the government to describe them is objectionable"
Maybe it's Islamophobic to condemn honour killings

Take a Look at the Outfit This DC Woman Has Worn Every Day This Year - "Briggman’s uniform is simple: she wears black slacks, black shoes, a grey blazer and a white shirt. Every. Single. Day. She has one necklace. When she feels like accessorizing, she’ll add a muted red leather belt. Her attitude toward dressing isn’t militant: on weekends she’ll wear black jeans instead of slacks, and in the winter she’ll slip into black boots instead of pumps. But everyday, her look is essentially the same. She’s been going strong for over a year, and she says the decision has changed her life.
So much for male privilege and women needing to agonise over what they wear daily

LOLA on Twitter - "Malaysians: Haha your food is shit, your actors come here, your Malays can’t even speak Malay
Singaporeans: your government
Malaysians: WTF SO DAMN RUDE AND UNCALLED FOR"

Tunisia lifts ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims
Comments: "Innalilahi wainna ilaihi Rajiuun, End of world is getting close, Islam is perfect, if she believes in Islam , she wont do that, coz A muslim woman isn't allowed to marry non Muslim man."
"a real Muslim woman will not do that , and those women who tweet Bravo! , bravo for what ? are they blind ?! the law is crystal clear ! Muslim woman will only marry Muslim Man if not why she accept islam and why u call ur self a Muslim !"
"so what is big in this news. but the fact is by islamic law muslim women cannot marry with non muslim. so respect the other religions laws. these idiots so called muslim rulers doing this only to please west and america. shame on them"
"Thus its a invitation to the wrath of the almighty... Idk how muslims of tunis are silent.. Tunis is a great Islamic state with rich rich islamic heritage... And then this..."
"In Islam women are allowed to marry non Muslim... if this non muslim will accept islam... if not then your relationships are haram..."
"Tunisia was a slave and still for their excolonizers , instead of violating Islamic laws why don't you create jobs of the highly unemployed people when we are aware that Tunisia has of the highest unemployment rate in the world."
" Tunisia should also legalise..marriage btween Father & Daughter..or Mother & Sons and between sisters n brothers ..the west n Christians has done it. Theres nothing wrong wt that..if they love each other..or marry animals they love..Tunisia should make LOVE as their religion..#keepyourcommentstourself"
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