"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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Monday, November 26, 2018

Links - 26th November 2018 (1)

4chan solved part of math problem puzzling scientists for decades - "Apparently part of the solution to a difficult mathematics problem has been available for years on a 4chan board about anime. The anonymous author provided it as a tip about how to best watch a non-linear series. The amusing story where anime and science intersected was brought to light by Robin Houston, a computer scientist and mathematician... The problem in question comes from the math field of combinatorics and deals with permutations. A permutation is an act of changing the arrangement, especially the linear order, of a set of items. For instance, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 can be arranged in six different ways, i.e. there are six possible permutations for three elements. A superpermutation is a string that contains all possible permutations of a set as sub-strings."

Social media ‘aids oppressors’, says Saudi rights campaigner - "One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent exiled activists has quit Twitter and Facebook, saying that the social media giants have become tools for oppressive governments and trolls to harass and silence campaigners."
Of course, "oppressive governments and trolls" aren't the only ones who "harass and silence" people on Twitter

Why Fascists Hate Masturbation - "Reich suggested that sexual suppression was a tool of fascism, a way to train young people to submit to authority, even in something relating to their own body."

In Milpa Alta, people still speak the Aztec language - "Milpa Alta (‘high cornfield’ in Spanish) couldn’t be more different from the smog-laden city to which it formally belongs and that it overlooks from its mountainside location. What used to be known as distant farmland and Nahua villages has slowly been ceded into the city. Although literally part of Mexico City, it's rarely visited by other Mexico City residents. Foreign tourists are even more unusual. And although it’s officially within the city limits, the people of Milpa Alta in many ways live as they have done for hundreds of years."

North America’s nearly forgotten language - "Powell cautioned me that it was important to get the story of Chinook Wawa right. “There’s nothing transcendent about Chinook Wawa,” he said. “Because it’s part of our history, it enriches our present. That’s all.”... “People say how romantic our place names sound, and are always disappointed when I tell them they’re descriptions that mean ‘big water’, ‘shaped like a hummingbird beak’, or ‘purple flowers grow here’,” said Erik Blaney a business owner and tour operator from the Tla'amin First Nation. He tells me that people are always after a story; “something with a great creator or full moon.”"

[1705.03394] That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi's paradox - "If a civilization wants to maximize computation it appears rational to aestivate until the far future in order to exploit the low temperature environment: this can produce a 10^30 multiplier of achievable computation. We hence suggest the "aestivation hypothesis": the reason we are not observing manifestations of alien civilizations is that they are currently (mostly) inactive, patiently waiting for future cosmic eras. This paper analyzes the assumptions going into the hypothesis and how physical law and observational evidence constrain the motivations of aliens compatible with the hypothesis."

Do we really need eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night? - "The sleep period is made up of 90-minute cycles. Waking up between these sleep cycles is a normal part of the sleep pattern and becomes more common as we get older... It’s thought the siesta was the dominant sleep pattern before the industrial revolution required people to be continuously awake across the day to serve the sleepless industrial machine. It’s still common in rural communities around the world, not just in Mediterranean or Latin American cultures. Our siesta tendency or post-lunch decline of alertness still occurs in those who never take afternoon naps. And this has less to do with overindulging at lunchtime and more to do with our circadian rhythms... International sleep researchers have trialled a number of different sleep schedules: sleep for 20 minutes every hour; one hour sleep every three hours; ten hours sleep every 28 hours. Participants survive easily on all these schedules despite their impracticality in our 24-hour world."

My Parents Give Me $28,000 a Year - "Not long ago, my wife, a composer, asked me if I would ever advise a student from a low-income family to pursue a career in the arts... “Your parents give you $28,000 a year. They paid for your tuition. They made it possible for you to do what you’d do if money were no object—because money was no object for you.”... We spend a lot of time in the New York City theater scene talking about how to bring in “new voices.” We talk about ways to create more performance opportunities for historically underrepresented groups, such as women and people of color. We talk about ways in which society as a whole tends to favor straight white guys—and how that manifests itself in the arts. And while these conversations are important, and while I agree that society is, often, skewed to favor those SWGs (bless their hearts), it’s amazing how little time we spend discussing the largest, most obvious barrier to new voices in the arts: money... $28,000 is a dollar figure familiar to children of the wealthy. Actually, the new dollar figure is $30,000, as it just increased this year, due to inflation. (Come on, parents! Keep up with the times. Heh heh…) It’s the maximum amount a couple can give to an individual, tax free. Wealthy individuals are frequently advised by their accountants to do this to avoid the (quite low) inheritance tax. It results in free income for wealthy kids. I don’t even report it to the IRS–and that’s entirely legal. I could get this money every year for the rest of my life (or as long as my parents choose to give it to me)—without having to lift a finger
Also, she had a boyfriend but now identifies as a "queer woman" (so much for "born that way"/"born this way")
Too bad the sums for her proposals of free college tuition, universal healthcare and universal basic income can't be paid for by stiffing the rich (as she suggests) don't add up


Trump Is Right to Leave the Universal Postal Union - "President Donald Trump declared his intention to exit a 144-year-old international postal agreement known as the Universal Postal Union. If he follows through, Trump will be helping the American small businesses that so many politicians woo on the campaign trail, only to abandon once in office... Chinese counterfeiters can offer free shipping because they pay only about $1.40 to send a mug 8,000 miles from China to an American home, or five times less than what we pay. Let the absurdity of that situation sink in for just a moment, and then consider that we can’t ship a mug across the street for $1.40. And if I were to ship one Mighty Mug to China, the U.S. Postal Service would charge me $22.00—or $62.50 with tracking. As the weight of the package increases, so does the problem: We pay up to $17.61 to mail a four-pound package, but a shipper in China pays $3.67.The culprit is the Universal Postal Union, or UPU, which a century and a half ago set the conditions for global mail exchange. The UPU required postal authorities to give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail, and established a uniform flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world... Despite being the world’s second-largest economy, China is still classified as a developing country, getting the same subsidized rates as countries such as Cuba and Botswana. What this amounts to, in essence, is a massive undue subsidy paid for by U.S. ratepayers in the form of higher shipping costs... The overall effect of discounted rates on U.S. businesses is difficult to measure, but in the 2017 fiscal year, the U.S. Postal Service lost $170 million on inbound packets from China, and that cost is expected to balloon in the 2018 fiscal year to roughly $300 million... What the president did is good for consumers—who may not even realize they’re buying lower-quality knockoffs— good for postal ratepayers, good for the postal service, good for the country, and good for the planet if it discourages wasteful international shipping. It will also go a long way to keeping me and my 12 workers on the job."

Universal Postal Union fast-tracks rate review on Trump threat

Vatican's 'Pokemon GO' game lets you chase Jesus

There is a difference between elites and those with elitist attitudes: Chan Chun Sing - "Sweeping generalisations of people are also unfair and unnecessary, said Mr Chan. He recounted a visit to Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) where a few students said they have been mocked by others, and called elitist. “Is that fair? Let’s pause for a moment. We hardly know the individual but we have branded them”... Mr Chan said that he and his sister were raised by their mother in a three-room flat after his parents’ divorce. There were instances where he was looked down upon, because he did not “speak the way they speak”."

Jews Defending Themselves, That's What Bothers the UN and Europe - "The UN and EU, who completely ignored terrorist arson, missiles and general destruction aimed at Israel for the past eight months, have now suddenly woken up. The prospect of Jews defending themselves is more than they can bear"

‘Masculinity crisis’ in China leads parents to enrol kids in boot camp - "Her son, on the other hand “lacks the time to play” because playtime has “made way for a range of extra-curricular activities”. Monday is for calligraphy; Tuesday is for piano and robotics; Wednesday is for language and calligraphy; Thursday is for English; Friday is for Weiqi (the intellectual board game Go); Saturday is for mathematics, English and Weiqi; and Sunday is for badminton, art and Weiqi. “I pack in so many activities for him because that’s what everyone does. I don’t have a choice,” she said.""

IKEA customer arrested for 'drawing phallic symbols' on walls

Genes linked to being gay may help straight people get more sex

In This Insect, Females Have Penises And Males Have Vaginas - "At io9, Annalee Newitz has written an interesting piece criticising much of the coverage of this story, including this post, and specifically the use of the term “female penis”... do we make a special case for sex-related terms? Newitz would say yes, because of the cultural and social baggage that “female penis” carries, in a way that “snail foot” does not"
Basically io9 says that because of politics we should change how we do science. Not coincidentally that happened in the Soviet Union too
Given that this is from 2014, io9 would certainly have a different view today, thanks to trans mania


Singapore's Public Housing, Envy of World, Hits Rough Patch - "The value of the homes has been falling even as prices of private dwellings rebounded over the past five quarters, leading to a 13.8 percent gap in their price performance, the widest in more than a decade. Private home prices rose 0.5 percent in the third quarter, after climbing 3.4 percent in the previous three months."

People Are Horrified That Many Bank Notes Are Made Of Animal Fat - "the currency of at least 23 countries contains the hard, fatty substance that derives from rendered animal fat... other counties include the UK, Malaysia and Singapore... even our mobile phones contain animal parts... Someone else suggested: "That is really horrible to hear. But, we can all limit cruelty of animals in our daily life by going vegan and using cruelty free products. Its sooo easy." Others, meanwhile, were quick to defend things - saying that it was a good use of animal by-products."
Tallow, tallow everywhere

Apps Installed On Millions Of Android Phones Tracked User Behavior To Execute A Multimillion-Dollar Ad Fraud Scheme - "a significant portion of the millions of Android phone owners who downloaded these apps were secretly tracked as they scrolled and clicked inside the application. By copying actual user behavior in the apps, the fraudsters were able to generate fake traffic that bypassed major fraud detection systems."

Top Apple Mac App Adware Doctor Sends User Data to China: Research

Gender issue with these tissues: Kleenex rebrands Mansize tissues sold in Britain - "Kleenex "Mansize" tissues sold in Britain will be binned after more than 60 years on the shelves. They will be called "Extra Large" tissues instead, after consumers had issues with the tissues, complaining that the name "Mansize" was sexist... A spokesman from Kimberley-Clark, which owns Kleenex, told The Telegraph that its consumer service had been registering a consistent increase in gender-related complaints about the Mansize name."
Ironically when it comes to censorship (for conservative ends, at least) we are told that we shouldn't let a small, unrepresentative minority bully everyone else. So much for "if you don't like it, don't buy it"
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