"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, November 27, 2018

Links - 27th November 2018 (1)

Trial by Combat? Trial by Cake! - "In 1817, a strange case shook London. A man accused of murder demanded a trial by combat, and his demand was granted. The public was shocked. No one had claimed the right to trial by combat in England since 1638. Surely there was no way that such a thing could happen in this day and age. The court, however, begged to differ. Trial by combat had never been taken off the books of English law, and as a result, the accused killer, Abraham Thornton, was perfectly within his rights to try his case on the battlefield... the practice remained a popular means of settling disputes for centuries. Perhaps this is because there were pragmatic justifications for the practice as well as religious ones. In a tight-knit medieval village, where everyone knew everyone else’s business, a trial by combat swiftly resolved simmering tensions with the catharsis of a bloody spectacle. Moreover, everyone was obliged to accept the result as the will of God, which saved the presiding magistrates from taking any responsibility for an unsatisfactory outcome. Even the Church did not hesitate to defend their land claims with the help of burly hired champions... If an accused man died before the time of his duel, his corpse would be carried to the appointed place. In fact, there was at least one case of a dead man winning his duel: His body was too heavy for his appointment to carry from the field of battle, so the corpse was declared the victor. The trial by combat was only one of a number of ordeals used in medieval England to determine guilt or innocence: The Ordeal of Fire, the Ordeal of Hot Iron, the Ordeal of Water. The names suggest the painful and treacherous tasks which the accused underwent in the attempt to prove their innocence. Far more appetizing, however, is the Trial by Cake, which involved swallowing a dry lump of consecrated bread, or “corsned,” without convulsing. Unsurprisingly, the Trial by Cake was fairly easy to pass, although there is a story about how Godwin, the Earl of Kent, choked on a lump of bread after solemnly swearing that he had had no hand in the assassination of the king’s brother. In the end, the value of these rituals was not that they revealed the truth, but rather that they removed the uncertainty. They gave people an outcome. They did not unveil the truth—they created it... the English courts learned their lesson from the Thornton and Ashford case, and the right to trial by combat was stricken from the books. This is just as well, as in 2002 a man evoked the ancient right in an attempt to get out of paying a small fine. He challenged the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to appoint a champion to face him in a fight to the death “with knives, swords, or heavy hammers.” His request was denied, no doubt saving the life of some poor intern."

Criminal Behavior, Not Racism, Explains 'Racial Disparities' in Crime Stats - "A new study on racial disparities in police conduct found that differences in offending by suspects, not racism, explains officers' responses... 'When adjusting for crime, we find no systematic evidence of anti-black disparities in fatal shootings, fatal shootings of unarmed citizens, or fatal shootings involving misidentification of harmless objects'... Two recent studies found cops more reluctant to use deadly force against blacks... aren't blacks routinely "racially profiled" by cops? Not according to the Police-Public Contact Survey... There's also the National Crime Victimization Survey, which questions victims of crimes, whether or not the criminal was captured, as to the race and ethnicity of the suspect. It turns out that the race of the arrested matches the percentage given by victims. So unless victims are lying about the race of their assailant, unconcerned about whether he gets caught, blacks are not being "overarrested." A reasonable discussion about blacks and police practices cannot take place without acknowledging the disproportion amount of crime committed by blacks... "the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer"... when civilians knew they were being recorded, they — not the cops — behaved better and stop making false accusations. The use of force by cops also declined, but, again, not because the police changed their conduct. No, the cops continued performing as they'd been trained. Civilians, aware that they were being taped, were less confrontational and were more likely to cooperate and follow instructions. As a result, cops needed to use force less frequently."
For some reason many Americans think they should be confrontational to the police and then when the police use force the latter are in the wrong
Supposedly even though very few black people are killed by police, this is worth protesting because the police are supposed to be representing the justice system and so are held to a higher standard. Yet false rape accusations and convictions, even if we accept that they are rare, are alright because they are few

Student charged for allegedly making false anti-LGBT threats against herself - "Anna Ayers, who is a member of the OU student senate, was arrested Monday and charged by the Ohio University Police Department with three separate counts of “making false alarms.” It is alleged that Ayers falsely reported multiple threatening messages, including a “death threat,” which she claims was because of her being a member of the LGBTQ community"

Vegetarian meat substitutes 'exceeding salt limits' Meat has more flavour after all

Peruvian Lomo Saltado Actually Comes From Chinese Immigrants - "Although it refers to Chinese food, the dishes that make up chifa are far removed from anything you would find in China. It’s also markedly different from the hybridized Chinese takeout you find throughout the United States and has little similarity to other hybridized Chinese-Latino cuisines. This uniquely Peruvian style of Chinese food incorporates Peruvian ingredients and is altered to suit Peruvian tastes, while also playing into the orchidaceousness that many Peruvians of the time associated with East Asia. What this translates to is a repertoire of flamboyant, meaty specialties swimming in intensely seasoned sauces. Dishes feature flavors, textures, and ingredients that are uncommon in Peruvian creole cuisine: sticky fruit-studded gravies, land and sea animals on the same plate, and dainty garnishes of boiled quail’s eggs. This makes trips to a chifa feel like a culinary adventure to the average Peruvian, let alone Joe Shmoe. Additionally, dishes maintain Hispanicized versions of Cantonese names, adding to chifa's colorful mystique... One of the most celebrated Peruvian dishes after ceviche also has its origins in chifa: Lomo saltado, with its balance of Peruvian and Cantonese elements, is perhaps the strongest (and most delicious) example of the ingrained Chinese food culture in Peru. Furthermore, the technique for making this stir-fry is quintessentially Chinese, as is the addition of soy sauce. The kick of ají chili, the nuttiness of ground cumin, and the slices of juicy tomatoes against crisp French fries all represent the combination of European and indigenous traditions that form the foundation of Peruvian cuisine. Add a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a scoop of white rice, and you have the Peruvian melting pot on a plate"

if You Keep Insulting Muslims and Their Culture They Are Going to Become Violent Terrorists!! - "We Must Help Them Feel Included So They Can Feel Like They Are Fairly Represented in Our Society Instead of Maligned and Mocked or Else They Will Turn Against Us!
White People Are All Redneck Uneducated Racists With Privilege. Ha Ha You'll Be a Minority. You Stupid Fucking Bigots.

We’ve launched a migrant rescue ship to resist the racist right in Italy | Michael Hardt and Sandro Mezzadra
Apparently if you don't facilitate human trafficking, you are racist

Trump-Hitler comparisons too easy and ignore the murderous history - "“Everyone seems to have become Hitler.” Historian Gavriel D. Rosenfeld wrote these words in his study of how the Nazi past has become a recurring theme in contemporary culture – to the point of almost becoming trivial. What is especially interesting is that he had already reached that conclusion a year before Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th president of the United States... As a historian of modern Germany, I have spent many years exploring the crimes that Hitler and his followers committed. When people make facile comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis, they are trying, usually in good faith, to warn us about the dangers of ignoring history and its supposed lessons. But it is my very familiarity with that history that makes me highly skeptical about the inflationary use of such comparisons. They do more to confuse than clarify the urgent issues at stake... The Hitler comparison has, for many, become nothing more than a cudgel for branding someone or something as morally wrong or evil, for making what the Germans call a Totschlagargument: a “knock-out” or “killer” argument intended to end all discussion... False equivalencies not only risk trivializing Hitler and the horrors he unleashed. They also prevent people from engaging with the actual issues at hand – ones that urgently require our attention: immigration reform, rampant xenophobia, social and economic restructuring in a globalized world, and a loss of faith in government’s ability to solve pressing problems. There is an ultimate reason why the Hitler comparison should not be used as lightly as it often is nowadays. Whenever we apply that political or moral comparison, we set the bar for inhumanity as high as possible. Should the abyss of World War II and the Holocaust really be the main measure for all things political? The danger here is that policies only become worthy of moral outrage if they lead to genocidal violence. One would hope that in the 21st century, our society would have developed higher – or perhaps lower – standards than these."

Why do digital health startups keep failing? - "Consumer technology startups often push quickly to get a minimum viable product to market and then iterate to improve that product based on what most resonates with consumers. Entrepreneurs and investors from the tech world mistakenly assume that this “lean startup” approach, which works well for products like photo-sharing tools and meal-delivery apps, should be equally successful for tackling any kind of problem. However, this strategy is ill-suited to healthcare, a much more complex and regulated industry... tech’s “move fast and break things” model can become “move too quickly and break your company.” For example, many founders coming from tech are focused on building and marketing products to consumers. They don’t realize until well into their company’s development that doctors and insurers are actually the gatekeepers and customers to whom they should be selling their products. This is why 61% of digital health companies that start B2C end up pivoting to B2B and selling to insurance companies, employers, hospitals, or other healthcare providers. A better approach for healthcare is need-driven innovation. Rather than leaping to invent a technology (like a sleep monitor) and then searching for a challenge it can be used to address (promoting more restful sleep), one starts by deeply understanding an important problem in healthcare and then designs a technology that is uniquely suited to solve it."

The Bosnians who speak medieval Spanish - "When Jews fled Spain during the Inquisition, they carried their language with them. Today, Ladino reflects the trajectories of the Sephardic Jewish diaspora, but can it survive?"

The Science of Sibling Rivalry - "We don’t choose our siblings the way we choose our partners and friends. Of course, we don’t choose our parents either, but they usually make that up to us by sustaining us on the way to adulthood. Brothers and sisters are just sort of there. And yet, when it comes to our development, they can be more influential than parents. This holds whether they are older and cool, or younger and frustrating; whether we follow in their footsteps, or run screaming in the other direction."

Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease - ""Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker," Jaber told CNN. "We've never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.""

Commentary: What’s wrong with the Singaporean accent? - "I have noticed that some Singaporeans are speaking English with a somewhat “foreign” accent. I have also received queries from concerned observers about why more and more Singaporeans are sounding “fake”... These speakers, linguists such as William Labov would say, are motivated by “a profound linguistic insecurity”. Speakers exhibit signs of linguistic insecurity when they brand their own speech variety as inferior to other varieties, and show “an observable recognition of an exterior standard of correctness”. The Singaporean accent, for these speakers, is considered to be less than ideal. To feel linguistically superior, it becomes paramount to adopt someone else’s accent which is supposedly more “correct” and more “standard”... My research on the Singaporean accent has shown that Singaporean English speakers are highly intelligible, and that the Singaporean accent is well understood all around the world, and in fact, even more so compared to other well-known accents of English."

Lewinsky affair not an abuse of power, says Hillary Clinton - "Lewinsky, for her part, long maintained the affair was consensual, but in an essay published in Vanity Fair earlier this year wrote she had begun to re-evaluate that view. Bill Clinton has also been accused by several other women of sexual misconduct in cases going back to the 1970s, prompting a reckoning of his place in history by Democrats in light of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements."
It's only bad when non-Democrats do it
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