"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 (2)

Travelling to New Zealand? Hand over your password or risk a US$3,300 fine - "The new regulations, which took effect on Monday (Oct 1), are part of additional powers given to New Zealand's Customs Service to allow them to make so-called digital strip searches if they have reasonable suspicion of offence or wrongdoing...
New Zealand is not the first country to introduce such digital strip searches. United States’ Customs and Border Protection agents are also allowed to perform "advanced searches" on travellers' electronic devices, and can review, copy and analyse the content if there is "reasonable" suspicion of wrongdoing or national security concern."

Commentary: Know your rights when a border agent demands access to your digital device - "Both Australian and New Zealand customs officers are legally allowed to search not only your personal baggage, but also the contents of your smartphone, tablet or laptop. It doesn’t matter whether you are a citizen or visitor, or whether you’re crossing a border by air, land or sea... In Canada, for example, hindering or obstructing a border guard could cost you up to C$50,000 (US$38,514) or five years in prison... Find out whether what you are being asked is optional or not. Just because someone in a uniform asks you to do something, it does not necessarily mean you have to comply... Microsoft, Apple and Google all indicate that handing over a password to one of their apps or devices is in breach of their services agreement, privacy management, and safety practices"

Berkeley Whole Foods store obtains restraining order against vegan activists - ""DxE members have repeatedly entered our stores and property to conduct demonstrations that disrupt customers and team members by blocking access to our aisles, departments and cash registers, interfering with our business and putting the safety of both customers and team members at risk," a Whole Foods representative said in a statement to the Guardian."

The decline of the French intellectual - "Successive generations of modern intellectuals — most of them schooled at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris — have hotly debated the meaning of life in books, newspaper articles, petitions, reviews and journals, in the process coining abstruse philosophical systems such as rationalism, eclecticism, spiritualism, republicanism, socialism, positivism, and existentialism... The dominant characteristics of contemporary French intellectual production are its superficial, derivative qualities (typified by figures such as Bernard-Henri Lévy) and its starkly pessimistic state of mind. The pamphlets which top the best-selling non-fiction charts in France nowadays are not works offering the promise of a new dawn, but nostalgic appeals to lost traditions of heroism, such as Stéphane Hessel’s “Indignez Vous!” (2010), and Islamophobic and self-pitying tirades echoing the message of Marine Le Pen’s Front National about the destruction of French identity... How is France’s loss of its bearings to be explained? Changes in the wider cultural landscape have had a major impact on Gallic self-confidence. The disintegration of Marxism in the late 20th century left a void which was filled only by postmodernism. But the writings of the likes of Foucault, Derrida and Baudrillard if anything compounded the problem with their deliberate opaqueness, their fetish for trivial word-play and their denial of the possibility of objective meaning... Arguably the most important reason for the French loss of intellectual dynamism is the growing sense that there has been a major retreat of French power on the global stage, both in its material, “hard” terms and in its cultural “soft” dimensions. In a world dominated politically by the United States, culturally by the dastardly ‘Anglo-Saxons,” and in Europe by the economic might of Germany, the French are struggling to reinvent themselves."

Chinese experts ‘filtered’ trade war advice to Beijing policymakers - "Chinese policymakers have been left searching for answers to the trade war with the US because the domestic think tanks Beijing has called on for guidance have provided “filtered information” to avoid offending supervisors... Beijing’s researchers also have been hamstrung by government restrictions on foreign travel... Coming under scrutiny is the Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi Jinping’s ambitious infrastructure plan aimed at helping China to better connect with Asia, Europe and Africa. The undertaking – representing a sharp departure from former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s diplomacy maxim of “hiding capacities and biding time” – is blamed by some critics for triggering confrontational anti-China sentiment in the US."
What happens when you have a lack of freedom of speech

United States or China as world leader? Asians overwhelmingly prefer the US, Pew study finds - "When it comes to global leadership, Asia prefers the United States over China by a wide margin, according to data compiled by the Pew Research Centre. When asked if it would be better for the world to have the US or China as the leading global power, 73 per cent of Asian respondents – represented by polls taken in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia – favoured the United States, versus 12 per cent for China, the new research showed. The 25-country median – which includes Germany, Canada and Brazil – was 63 per cent for the US and 19 per cent for China... “If you look at the data about the preference for US leadership in Asia today, it is huge in preference for the United States despite the fact that China is the dominant economic partner for every country in East Asia”... “In terms of Chinese soft power, what really hurts them is the perception that they don’t protect the civil liberties of their own people.” On that point, the broader international poll found that 51 per cent of respondents believe “the US is more likely to respect personal freedoms”, compared with 37 per cent for China.
Clear proof that the US has brainwashed the world, according to Sinophiles

China’s detention of ex-Interpol chief highlights the arrogance of its anti-corruption investigators - "The international media have overwhelmingly and rightly panned Beijing for its audacity in disregarding international norms, which has undermined the international community’s confidence in Chinese leadership of global organisations and set back its efforts to expand its international presence. Ironically, the incident, like a short, dark film played out on the international stage, could have been avoided or its implications minimised through a simple phone call or an email from the Chinese authorities to Interpol on the day of, or soon after, Meng’s secret detention in Beijing... it was not the first time an incident like this happened. Back in 2015, when the bookseller Lee Bo suddenly disappeared and later reappeared in Shenzhen – widely believed to be the work of Chinese security officials – both the Hong Kong government and the Chinese government’s own liaison office based in Hong Kong appeared to have been caught off guard. That episode caused widespread international concern and tarnished the reputation of both Hong Kong and China."

WHOOPI GOLDBERG STILL FIGHTS FOR ROLES - "Goldberg tried to carve out a niche after the success of ''The Color Purple,'' her debut film. She went after parts written for white women or men (''Jumpin` Jack Flash,'' ''Burglar,'' ''The Telephone''-which wasn`t even released nationally) and through sheer force of personality won the roles."
Power relations means it's only bad to race swap in one direction

Cate Blanchett defends straight actors playing gay characters - "Hollywood has been criticised for giving LGBT roles to straight actors. Scarlett Johansson dropped out of playing a transgender character in July following a backlash. Blanchett, who played a lesbian woman in 2015’s Carol, disagrees with the idea that a performer can only form a deep bond with a character if they have shared experiences, and believes it defies the point of acting."

Leonardo da Vinci’s genius may be rooted in a common eye disorder, new study says - The Washington Post - "There is now evidence that da Vinci’s renowned capacity to reproduce the three-dimensional world in paintings may have been aided by an eye disorder that allowed him to see in both 2-D and 3-D... Da Vinci is believed to have had a condition called intermittent exotropia — commonly referred to as being “walleyed” — a form of strabismus, eye misalignment that affects about 4 percent of the U.S. population"

A pioneering scientist explains ‘deep learning’ - "there’s a convergence occurring between AI and human intelligence. As we learn more and more about how the brain works, that’s going to reflect back in AI. But at the same time, they’re actually creating a whole theory of learning that can be applied to understanding the brain and allowing us to analyze the thousands of neurons and how their activities are coming out. So there’s this feedback loop between neuroscience and AI which I think is even more exciting and important"

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Loederman sold his medal for $765,000 to pay medical bills - "In a lot of ways (and as others have observed) Lederman’s story represents the best and worst of America. Lederman was born in the 1920s to a father who worked in a laundry facility. He went on to discover the Higgs boson subatomic particle, the so-called “God particle” that you can read more about here. But even an accomplished physicist and university professor isn’t immune from America’s sky-high health care prices. The United States routinely has health care prices well-above the rest of the world. A day in an American hospital, for examples, costs an average of $5,220 here — compared to $765 in Australia or $424 in Spain"

JC teen says 'no studying' sign at Coffee Bean outlet is "discriminatory against students"
Nowadays everything is "discrimination"

How Chinese cuisine became Indian food - "Indianised Chinese food was becoming increasingly popular, which food writers say was because it appealed to the country’s gravy-loving palate and was packed with delicious flavours. The secret to its success was the use of a “holy trinity” of ingredients—tomatoes, soy sauce, and chilli—that offered Indian customers a taste of something they couldn’t often find in local food. “Indian (food) is one of the few cuisines that has very few umami flavours…That was the one taste that Indian cuisine was lacking, and the creation of Chinese cuisine satisfied that,” Sanghvi said."

Indonesia home to 252 satay varieties - Food - The Jakarta Post - "the research also came out with a new definition of satay as a side dish made up of meat or vegetables cooked in spices according to its respective regions.... The festival also put the spotlight on Indonesia’s popular nasi goreng, from seafood, lamb and Padang to fried corn rice. Murdijati said the research she conducted on the variety of fried rice in Indonesia found that there were 104 different varieties across the country. Of them, the origins of 36 are known, while the rest was developed from existing recipes"
Following this definition, lots of countries have satay - not just Indonesia

Pizzas must shrink or lose their toppings under Government anti-obesity plan - "Pizzas must shrink or lose their toppings under Government plans to cap the calories in thousands of meals sold in restaurants and supermarkets... Research shows one in five meals are consumed outside the home, with today’s children spending at least twice as much time eating out as those who grew up in the 1970s."
The state of the UK

Healing From Internalized Whiteness 3-Day Training - Everyday Feminism - "whiteness is like the air that you breathe when you live in a polluted city — where you get taught that pollution has no negative impact. You don't notice that it’s toxic or pervasive — even when it's making you feel sick. And like pollution, whiteness is treated like it’s healthy, normal, and comes with no consequences. So you feeling sick is ‘good’ and any attempt to treat it is wrong — and socially punished. No wonder it’s so hard for white people to notice how much white supremacy and racism is both around and within them!"
Why're there so many masochistic suckers out there?
What would happen if someone held a workshop on combatting "blackness"?

Shoebox Britain: how shrinking homes are affecting our health and happiness - "Britain’s housing crisis is pushing more of us into shoebox homes. Houses are shrinking, too. In 2014, the average new-build in the UK was 76 sq m, the smallest in Europe (Danish homes were almost double the size, research by the University of Cambridge showed). The average living room in a house built in the 1970s, meanwhile, was 25 sq m, compared to 17 today, according to LABC Warranty, which provides warranties for new-builds."
Meanwhile in Singapore...
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