"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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Friday, October 05, 2018

Links - 5th October 2018 (2)

*laughs in diabetes* - "The Guardian: "Fighting fatphobia. Ten ways to do the right thing."
"Unhealthy lifestyles put four in five adults at risk of early death""

Governments have failed Canada's sex workers—and they're running out of patience - "There hasn’t been a recorded murder of a sex worker in Vancouver in nearly a decade... The changes can be traced back to 2012, when Vancouver police drafted a new policing strategy that completely overhauled how they deal with sex workers, and the sex trade more broadly... in Vancouver, sex work is effectively decriminalized... But Vancouver is a lone exception to the rule in Canada. Go outside Metro Vancouver—where police, by their own policy, are largely unconcerned with enforcing Canada’s laws around sex work—and it’s a totally different scenario... According to a research project conducted by York University masters student Arlene Jane Pitts in 2015, sex workers have in recent years “not witnessed any decrease in police harassment and instead stated it had increased”... Canada’s new laws—ones that supposedly decriminalized sex work, complying with a major Supreme Court ruling on the matter—have only made things worse... some peer-review studies back up the assertion that decriminalization does reduce violence and improve health comes for sex workers. A 2016 study, published in peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, studied the correlation between HIV transmission rates amongst sex workers and government policies on the sex trade... Decriminalizing sex work doesn’t win many votes. Cracking down on it does."

Acute HIV infection in Singapore: predominance of men who have sex with men. - "Men who have sex with men account for the majority of patients with acute HIV infections in Singapore, many of them also being co-infected with syphilis"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Brainwashing, Legal Brothels and Hair Transplants - "Officially China says these reeducation camps don't exist… China censors big time, but thus far, it can’t censor satellite photographs taken from space. A human rights researcher in Germany called Adrian Zenz has made it his life's work to document the rise of the camp system in Xinjiang. He matches the images of camps he finds on Google Earth with tenders for construction and staffing. He identifies barbed wire, walls, watchtowers and car parks for the guards. He reckons up to a million Uighers may be in the camps"

Why some men in Papua New Guinea cut their skin to resemble crocodiles - "the older men bear the marks of crocodile initiation. But it's dying out. "The missionaries were against it," says Simon Kemaken, a primary school teacher. "We still have a ceremony every few years to revere the crocodile, but these days few local boys are getting cut." He says the cost of arranging the scarification ceremonies is putting the younger men's families off. Yet in Parambei, where the Catholic church is present, scarification remains almost universal among the men. I wondered why the church's influence hadn't prevailed here... It was one of those moments when modern Westerners like me often tut and think "Oh, why can't we leave these people's customs alone?" Until Malingi revealed the missionaries had also persuaded his ancestors to stop head-hunting... heads were stripped of their flesh - which would be mixed with pig and dog meat and fed to children, to make them strong. I imagined the practice had disappeared ages ago, so was surprised when he insisted it only ended around 1943... he told me the next mass scarification of the village's young men into the cult of the crocodile would take place this November. "It is important we continue this in Parambei," he insisted. "The crocodile cutting gives us a sense of purpose. After the men have undergone the pain of cutting they are ready for anything in life.""

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Leading The Change - "It would be easy to laugh at Macedonia’s dispute with Greece... try not to chortle at the accusation that a poor, tiny land-locked country of two million citizens might have territorial designs on a chunk of its much larger southern neighbour. And suppress those giggles when you hear of the protesters insisting that the people to the South have no right to call themselves Macedonian because their ancestors only arrived in the sixth century… Few visitors can keep a straight face when they clap their eyes on the center of Skopje. Over the past decade Macedonia’s capital has suffered severe collateral damage during an epic campaign of trolling aimed at Greece. The main square now boasts - if that's the right word - a humongous, poorly proportioned representation of a warrior on a horse perched on a vertiginous plinth surrounded by musical fountains. It's not officially Alexander the Great, but there's little doubt about who it's supposed to be. Nearby on another fountain he’s represented as a breastfeeding baby and his father Philip of Macedon is also rendered in stone completing Macedonia’s bid to claim for its own a family of Greek heroes. In fact, this was the core of a government policy known as antiquisation. It was an effort to recast Macedonia as the cradle of civilization and involved the construction of vast neo-classical buildings as well as the installation of scores of statues...
[As a member of a South African group which fought for civil rights in 1968] The vast estate on which the University was built was donated by Cecil Rhodes. His statue, brooding with his chin in his hand, stood at the foot of the main campus. I winced every time I went by - aware of his legacy as an imperial figure and it was good for me. It was just the kind of barb students need to prod them into inquiring into the past. But the students of 2015 saw things very differently. Human excrement was flung at the statue, demonstrations were held. The university administration, attempting to contain the rage, removed Rhodes, but the fury only escalated. The vice-chancellor's office was trashed, works of art were removed and burnt, lecturers were abused and classes disrupted. Each time the administration attempted to reason with the students, to no avail. Amnesties were given and criminal action forgiven yet still the anger burned. One of our fellow members of the 68 protest was forced to abandon his classes - in maths, of all things, and lecture from home by video finally. Finally and tragically, the bullying contributed to the death of one of South Africa's finest black academics - Professor Bongani Mayosi, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. He took his own life. The circumstances are contested, but few deny that the aggression and abuse he received played no part. As the Vice Chancellor put it, all of us at UCT failed him"
SJWism kills

Mary Beard’s life in Classics - History Extra - "They help us see ourselves from the outside. History is partly about realizing how weird you're going to look in two thousand years' time... what would the Romans think think of us has to be a question that follows, what do we think of the Romans?...
We have to be careful about being, being too confident of our own superiority. And I think I once spent a long time in the Colosseum just listening to what largerly school parties were told, and it was interesting that every European language that I could understand, the teacher's pattern was very much the same. It would say, what happened here? And eventually usually a little boy would say: Oh people came and killed people here for pleasure. And the teacher would then say, would we do that now? And they say oh no we wouldn't. And you wanted to say, hang on, you know, hang on. I know that boxing isn't a fight to the death, but what do you think happens to boxers in old age? I think the same goes for slavery... do we have slaves now? And you say no. Hang on a minute. There are people on this planet living in the same conditions that we are now deploying. So I think that there's two sides to the morality."

Female spies of the Civil War era - History Extra - "Letter locking. The modern envelope, the mass produced envelope, is actually nineteen century invention. So before the 19th century letter writers folded the sheets of paper on which they had written the words in such a way that it became its own sending device. Writers really manipulated their paper in such a way that the the folding could sort of function as a key. For instance, it could identify the letter writer. If we were both spies we would, for instance, have agreed that you would send me a leter folded like a triangle shape which was particularly different to fold, so if the letter was intercepted and then re-sealed by the interceptor and it would receive it, I could sort of check all the folds to see whether all the paper locks are still intact, whether all the paper fibers would still line up, whether all the slits or corners are exactly as I would expect, so it would actually advertise better, a letter would have been tampered with...
Women were thought to be inferior in this period and they were thought not to be capable of political thoughts. So when an interceptor came across a letter for instance, written in a woman's hand, he would often not open that letter thinking that a woman’s letter would be full, of domestic tittle tattle anyway. So those letters passed through the post office unopened. So you actually see some male spies mimicking women's hands because they obviously realize that this is happening. And when women were caught and interrogated they were often released within weeks or days, even because it was sort of concluded that because these spies were women, they could not have acted as a spy. They would not have necessarily have had the skills to act in a political way. So they were released whereas the men were executed...
Good spies are invisible. So that also means that I've only found the unsuccessful spies"
Patriarchy!

Charles de Gaulle reconsidered - History Extra - "[He did] end two, or 150 years of French history, because the French had been deeply divided since the Revolution between those people who looked back a bit nostalgically to a more, a regime where there was greater power, the government executive, almost like a monarchical regime and those who looked to a more fragmented palimentary system. And De Gaulle, who had been a monarchist in his youth, created what he explicitly called a Republican monarchy. And so you could say that his achievement is in some sense to bring together the two traditions. The Republic on one side and the monarchy on the other side, which had divided France since 1789.. not everybody likes the Fifth Republic and its works, but nonetheless there is a broad consensus about the political regime for the first time since the Revolution. And that is an extraordinary achievement...
De Gaulle… the antagonist for him in 1940, for 39/40 wasn’t Nazism, s it was Germany.. he believed that the fundamental motor of human history is the nation state, so he never really believed in ideology. So it wasn't Hitler the Nazi, it was Hitler, the incarnation of the desire for Germany to dominate Europe… he never talked about the Soviet Union, he always talked about Russia, and he said, often, that… the old Russia will absorb Bolshevism like blotting paper absorbs ink. In other words, there is nothing eternal about the Cold War...
People used to say that the Mediterranean ran through France, like the Seine runs through Paris, so that's what made Algeria,so much more traumatic for the French it, it's not just giving up a bit of Empire - it’s giving up a bit of France. frass. In fact, Algeria had been French for longer than Nice"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, When is comedy offensive? - "I think the job of comedy, well, certainly the kind of comedy that I love is about shining a light into dark corners. So being able to expose things that you don't normally talk about, and being able to kind of laugh at them in lots of ways is quite sort of healing. A friend of mine ran a whole festival in fact, around consent, and lots of people got very upset at the idea that we were gonna have a comedy night at this and it was an all-female bill actually...
I think it was George Carlin, who was accused of being a shock comic and he said he wasn't offended by that term. Because shock is a form of surprise, which all comedy is based on. So there's always gonna be that kind of element to stand up comedy, I would say, in terms of sensitivity. So a lot of the time when people are getting offended it’s actually on someone else's behalf, and that's what's quite interesting. So, for example, with this consent night we're talking about, we're talking about Natalie's show just there. My friend who was running it was a survivor. And we did loads of interviews. And the people who got upset were people who kind of weren’t affected by it. So I think sometimes it's the feeling, the need or getting upset on someone else's behalf. Rather than your own. And also you can't control that because each individual person has a different thing that they would find offensive. So you'd end up talking about nothing if you start pandering to what everyone thinks you should and shouldn't talk about…
‘What I was surprised by this year was unlike last year, people seemed to be much more even-handed about Brexit. I think last year, there was a certain amount of... a lot of people using Trump and Brexit as a punchline for jokes without actually having the joke there’"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The threats around President Trump - "The key thing is, unlike the IMF or the World Bank China doesn't ask many questions. What is your business model, how are you going to make a profit? So the money was coming... New buildings, this new airport. Everything is looking very positive in Sri Lanka, but the government is not making money out of these projects. As a result for example, the port which hardly attract one or two ships a week, which means the Sri Lankan government was not able to repay the money. As a result they had to re-negotiate the debt deal just for the port alone and China took control of the port on a 99 year lease and that it was clear that China was not expecting this money to come back."
If willing buyer willing seller meant China's predatory loans are okay, then there's nothing wrong with loansharking

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Addendum: EP1 Imperial Germany vs Nazi Germany - "The fact that the Second World War German military is infested and run by Nazis is what makes it inferior to the First World War military... the ideological question now becomes at least as important, and I think you can easily make the argument more important than the question of merit. Or technical expertise. Once ideology becomes more important than merit, and once the Nazis begin to place people in positions all up and down the leadership tree from top to bottom, just like Stalin did in his system, then you begin to see the impact of people that are less competent on the system...
The [WWI] German military was extremely adept at walling off their ability to negatively impact things too much. And the best example of that, of course at all, is how the military dictatorship of Germany were able to sort of isolate and quarantine the Kaiser himself, the imperial warlord of Germany. Sit in the corner, play with your maps and your ships. We have a war to conduct, and they did...
Well why didn't the Germans cut their losses when you have all this territory in the Soviet Union? Well, in the First World War, that's when you make a deal, right? You go to the Russians, and you go, listen, all this territory of yours and we're gonna stay here. But I tell you what, you give us a good peace deal, we'll pull back a little. You can negotiate from that, right? But the Nazis were hemmed in by their ideology. They can't make a deal here. This isn't a battle for the best deal we can get. This is in Hitler's mind, a life or death struggle. The plans that the Nazi leaders have for this area in the East requires them to move millions of people eastward, maybe have a starvation plan to start culling the numbers and then inserting German farmers into this whole, the entire thing. There is no plan B here. There is no place for compromise."

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Addendum: EP3 A Four-Star Conversation - "The All-Volunteer Force is a different kind of army from a citizen-based army. And I think it's probably true that a professional force can be a learning organization whereas by and large, citizen-based armies are not because they're constantly taking in new guys for a short term of service and they have to train them from the beginning, every six months."
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