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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Links - 4th August 2018 (2)

How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang - "The academic job market is structured in many respects like a drug gang, with an expanding mass of outsiders and a shrinking core of insiders. Even if the probability that you might get shot in academia is relatively small (unless you mark student papers very harshly), one can observe similar dynamics. Academia is only one example of this trend, but it affects labour markets virtually everywhere"

Incivility Solution: Avoid Provocation - "Understand that you don’t have to comment on every single news story...
Don’t let the constant news cycle steal your joy"

Why Doesn't Anyone Answer the Phone Anymore? - "Perhaps 80 or even 90 percent of the calls coming into my phone are spam of one kind or another"

The RedState Firings and the Decline of Viewpoint Diversity on the Right - "Like politicians, conservative pundits also feel constant pressure to praise Trump, or at least refrain from criticizing him. The pressures of pleasing a Trump-friendly audience are similar in many ways to the challenge of winning votes from a Trumpian electorate"

How They Hijacked Anthropology - "Perhaps the greatest shift in any academic field in the past 30 or 40 years has been in anthropology. Call it an epistemological paradigm shift away from science. Three main influences led to this shift: One was the morphing of symbolic anthropology into interpretive anthropology under the influence of Clifford Geertz, who distanced himself from science and likened anthropology to literary criticism. The second was a Marxist and feminist commitment to political activism and advocacy. The third was the postmodern rejection of objectivity. The three influences merge, in that the removal of scientific knowledge as a goal opens the way for political activism and advocacy."

Self-driving technology is going to change a lot more than cars - "We can expect the owner-operated segment of the market—for both transporting people and stuff—to shrink over time. Of course, some people will still want to drive themselves around and shop in brick-and-mortar stores. But labor costs account for more than half of the cost of a conventional taxi service. So as the cost of self-driving hardware inevitably falls with scale, we can expect self-driving taxis to cost dramatically less than a conventional taxi costs today. That should increase demand for taxi rides—both from former bus riders, who can now afford a more convenient option, and from some former drivers who are happy to give up the hassles of car ownership. And we should see a similar shift in the transportation of stuff. As on-demand delivery options get more affordable, some people who would previously have driven to the store will let stores send stuff to them instead. Others will shift from two-day shipping on Amazon to 30-minute shipping using an on-demand service... Much of the weight of a conventional vehicle comes from the need to protect passengers in a crash. But if a vehicle is only designed for cargo, it can be much lighter and simpler."

Least stressful cities around the world in 2017 - "Of the 150 cities ranked, four out of the top ten most stress-free cities are in Germany... Residents of Singapore and Taipei are most satisfied with their cities' public transport, while Leipzig, Germany and Montpelier, France have the lowest levels of traffic congestion... while sunny weather is an instant mood-lifter all over the world, high levels of annual sunshine didn't count for much in terms of a city's overall ranking. War-torn Damascus came out top in that category, while Bordeaux -- at No. 56 -- was the sunniest city in the top ten... The race equality category -- based on data from a World Bank ethnic inequality report -- is, perhaps surprisingly, topped by cities in the US. San Francisco, Boston and Seattle take the top three slots."

Menu | JAPAN RAIL CAFE - "BEAUTY SALAD: A well-balanced diet especially suited for the ladies, that contains many anti-aging ingredients such as tofu and avocado. Choice of dressing: onion, sesame, caesar"
A feminist slammed this as: "I'll have one serving of healthy misogyny please", which is telling. Misogyny apparently is defined as marketing to women, keeping in mind what many of them look out for and/or acknowledging gender differences. No wonder feminists like to pretend that men and women are identical (except, of course, when women "are superior", or quotas need to be railroaded through and a case needs to be made for "diversity")

Courts find executed Chinese teenager 'not guilty' - "A court in China has cleared a teenager of the rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet, 18 years after he was executed, state media report. The teenager, Huugjilt, was 18 when a court in Inner Mongolia convicted him... Such rulings are rare in China. The murder happened during an anti-crime drive and detectives admitted being under pressure to secure a conviction... Huugjilt had tried to help save the woman after hearing her cry out from a public toilet. He reported the crime to police. However, in April 1996, he was found guilty of raping and murdering the woman and in June of that year he was executed... Courts in China are controlled by the Communist Party and have a very high rate of conviction. Rights groups allege that confessions are often extracted under torture."
China is the future! The decadent West is doomed!

Parents of wrongly-executed Chinese man say they wanted to live long enough just to clear son's name - "For the parents of Nie Shubin, China's most famous case of a miscarriage of justice, the only thing that has kept them alive for the past 20 years is their relentless drive to clear their son's name. That fight began in 1994, when their son was arrested for rape and murder of a woman whose body was discovered by her father in a corn field on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang city, in the northern province of Hebei. Despite the fact that the time, method and motive for the murder could not be confirmed, and key documents related to witnesses and the defendant's testimony were missing, Nie was convicted of murder and executed by a firing squad on April 27, 1995. He was only 21. His parents were not informed of his execution and did not see him for the last time before he died."

CHINA Woman allegedly "murdered" reappears after "killer" executed - "Shi Xiaorong, declared by police a "murder victim" in a April 1987 case in Mayang county in central Hunan Province, said she was actually swindled and sold to east Shandong Province as somebody's wife in March that year, one month before a dismembered body was found in a Mayang river and claimed by local police the body of "disappeared Shi". Butcher Teng Xingshan was convicted of the murder as the police said the dismemberment technique was "very professional" and executed in 1989 despite pleas of innocence... The case comes just two months after a man who served 11 years in prison for murdering his wife was declared innocent, two weeks after the victim reappeared in their hometown in central Hubei Province. Former security guard She Xianglin claimed he was deprived of sleep during 10 days of interrogation until he signed documents pleading guilty to murder"

Why China Executes So Many People - "The death penalty has deeply-entrenched roots in China, and the notion of sha ren chang ming, the Mandarin equivalent to "an eye for an eye", is rife in Chinese literature and tradition. But a judiciary beholden to the interests of the Communist Party arguably has a bigger impact. "If the case is deemed to be detrimental to social stability, the government might order the courts to issue the death penalty... Six decades of Communist rule have inculcated the idea that an individual life can be sacrificed for the greater good, a belief exemplified by the one-child policy... A survey of respondents in Beijing, Hubei and Guangdong conducted in 2008 by the Max Planck Institute revealed that almost 60 percent supported the death penalty. Unsurprisingly, capital punishment provides great legitimacy to the Communist Party, which claims to be satisfying popular sentiment and public indignation when it executes corrupt officials... China currently has 55 offenses that are punishable by death -- the most in the world. Of these, 31 are non-violent offenses"

France bans use of meat-like terms in packaging for vegetarian food - "Food producers in France will be forced to think of new ways to describe some of their vegetarian and vegan foods when they are banned from using terms such as “vegetarian sausages”, "vegetarian mince" and “vegan bacon”. French MPs have voted to outlaw use of such vocabulary, claiming they mislead shoppers"

Most Europeans want immigration ban from Muslim-majority countries, poll reveals - "An average of 55 per cent of people across the 10 European countries surveyed wanted to stop all future immigration from mainly Muslim countries... Only 20 per cent disagreed, while 25 per cent said they did not know... In no country did more than 32 per cent disagree with a ban... A Pew survey of 10 European countries in 2016 found majorities in five countries had an unfavourable view of Muslims living in their country."

Exclusive: Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice in Peru May Be World's Largest - "While incidents of human sacrifice among the Aztec, Maya, and Inca have been recorded in colonial-era Spanish chronicles and documented in modern scientific excavations, the discovery of a large-scale child sacrifice event in the little-known pre-Columbian Chimú civilization is unprecedented in the Americas—if not in the entire world... societies along the northern Peruvian coast may have turned to the sacrifice of children when the sacrifice of adults wasn't enough to fend off the repeated disruptions wrought by El Niño. "People sacrifice that which is of most and greatest value to them"

Ancient Shark Fisherman Burials Found in Peru - "Dozens of "very unique" ancient burials have been discovered on the northern Peruvian coast, many of which appear to contain valuable metal objects, whimsical ceramic pots, and—in some cases—additional human limbs."

IAAF female classification rules slammed as 'blatantly racist' - "The rules have been called sexist, racist, unethical, and based on bad science, although the governing body is sticking to its guns. Under the new regulations, from November 1 some female runners with naturally high testosterone levels will be banned from competing over distances from 400 metres to the mile at international meets. The measures are based on a study it commissioned last year which concluded that "female athletes with high free testosterone (fT) levels have a significant competitive advantage over those with low fT in 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, hammer throw, and pole vault"... research shows the number of intersex women in elite athletics is 140 times more than the general female population... "What it's actually saying is that if you're an intersex woman you should take treatment and shut up, or you're excluded. It's creating a situation where you either conform to medical norms about what it is to be a woman or you're out""
If testosterone levels aren't taken into account, maybe male athletes should all just identify as women and grab the top prizes in women's events

Why Orthodox Christian Nations Remain Stuck - "Eastern Orthodox Christianity has done more to shape certain ex-Communist countries than communism. It also, some say, made their people relatively unhappy and anti-capitalist...
'Western Christianity (which gave rise to Catholicism and Protestantism) placed emphasis on rationalism, logical exploration, individualism, and the questioning of established authorities. Eastern Christianity (from which Eastern Orthodoxy originated) was associated with mystical and experiential phenomena, was more affectionate and communitarian, and put less emphasis on law, reason and questioning authorities.'...
This explained the relative success of countries like Poland and the Czech Republic in their post-Communist transitions... Orthodox Christians are less satisfied with their life and have less social capital than Catholics or Protestants — and about as much as non-religious people. They are also less likely to support new ideas, take risks or want to work in large private companies. They are more supportive of government responsibility and government ownership. In short, they are less suited to capitalism."
Luckily this research applies to white Christians, or it would be slammed by everyone

Are you really Facebook’s product? The history of a dangerous idea. - "Network TV in the early 1970s had much in common with Facebook today. It was the everyperson’s refuge, a groundbreaking technology that had morphed into a mindless escape for the masses. It was also a primary source of news, which wedged awkwardly in between the soap operas, comedies, and crime shows. As such, it was widely accused of distorting, oversimplifying, and sensationalizing the vital information of democracy in a crass bid for ratings (read: advertising dollars). Finally, it was a medium that concentrated enormous cultural power in a few corporations—ABC, CBS, and NBC... “If you aren’t paying for it with money, you’re paying for it in other ways.” Whether it’s your time, your privacy, or your intellectual property, you’re giving over to Facebook something of value every time you use it"

Change Your Screen to Grayscale to Combat Phone Addiction

SPLC: From Klan Hunters to Multimillion-Dollar Smear Machine - "the SPLC included a piece about the best-selling author in its daily Hatewatch Headlines, a compilation of media reports on bigots, thugs, and other assorted creeps. Why was the neuroscientist and prominent atheist thrown in together with Mark Anthony Conditt, the Austin bomber who had murdered two black men, and Nazi war criminal Jakiw Palij? Because Harris defended Charles Murray, a political scientist best-known for arguing that genetic differences may account for varying levels of intelligence between races. The assertion drove many in academia and journalism to label Murray a racist; he was famously shouted out of an appearance at Middlebury College last March, and was labeled a “White Nationalist” and an “extremist” by the SPLC. But when the prominent Harvard geneticist David Reich echoed Murray’s ideas in a New York Times op-ed last month—arguing that “it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among ‘races’”—Harris took several of Murray’s critics to task on Twitter, including Vox’s Ezra Klein. Klein responded in his typically obfuscating fashion, doing little to discuss the ideas at hand and a lot to strangle them with potent ideological terms... Examples of this sort of lunacy abound. The SPLC, for example, still maintains a watch list of groups and individuals promoting “male supremacy,” an ideology that “misrepresents all women as genetically inferior, manipulative and stupid.” Among its preachers, according to the SPLC, is Christina Hoff Sommers, an American philosopher and writer who has criticized the radical feminist position that saw all women as perpetual victims and called instead for an “equity feminism,” a classical liberal position that focuses on equal treatment of men and women rather than on identity politics... When a venerated organization whose mission statement still speaks of “seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society” spends so many of its considerable resources besmirching utterly legitimate activists and advocates—many of whom, like Nawaaz, working to reform oppressive and violent structures—we would do well to stop and recognize the pernicious patterns at play here. The SPLC applies the powerful language of civil rights to mark those with whom it disagrees as bigots or racists or white supremacists, inviting likeminded journalists to use the organization’s sterling reputation as an unimpeachably credentialed reason to push political opponents outside the bounds of acceptable debate... The SPLC has half a billion dollars and seemingly endless appetite for such character assassination campaigns, which should trouble anyone committed to unfettered inquiry, intellectual exchange, and the other old-fashioned values for which journalism, academia, and other high-minded pursuits once stood."

Why Dictators Love Development Statistics - "The problem with using statistics to sing the praises of autocracy is that collecting verifiable data inside closed societies is nearly impossible. From Ethiopia to Kazakhstan, the data that “proves” that an authoritarian regime is doing good is often produced by that very same regime... Chavismo heir Nicolás Maduro justified his crackdown on dissent—torturing and kidnapping student protesters—in a New York Times op-ed citing data showing that his regime “consistently reduced inequality,” “reduced poverty enormously,” and “improved citizens’ lives over all.”... In 1987, two Soviet economists published an article called Lukavaya Tsifra (“cunning numbers”) which demonstrated that between 1928 and 1985, the USSR’s GDP had grown over ten times slower than reported by the regime’s Central Statistical Administration. They showed that the regime’s “official” economic data was being falsified to whitewash human suffering. In 2014, researchers at Bucknell compared satellite images of nighttime lights over time (a proxy for economic activity) to reported GDP growth to show that dictatorships, on average, exaggerate economic growth significantly more than democratic governments... Often, the reason data from dictators remains unchallenged is that so many economists, financiers, diplomats, and donors rely on it to do their jobs"

These NASA Scientists Think Pluto IS a Planet, And Here's Why - "it defines a planet as an object orbiting around our sun - thereby disqualifying the planets around other stars, ignoring the exoplanet revolution, and decreeing that essentially all the planets in the universe are not, in fact, planets."

Texas Man Sentenced To 50 Years In Prison For Stealing Over $1 Million Worth Of Fajitas - "A Texas man will spend the next 50 years in prison for stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas over nine years... Fifty-three-year-old Gilberto Escamilla... had been intercepting fajitas that he ordered through the Cameron County juvenile center where he worked and delivering them to his own customers. His scam was uncovered when he missed work for a medical appointment and an 800-pound fajita delivery arrived at the center, which doesn’t serve fajitas."

Observations - 4th August 2018

"I'm glad I grew up in the 80's, where we learned to fight back against bullies. A story with no villains has no heroes."

The Texas Revolution is a cautionary tale of open borders and uncontrolled migration - when it was Americans who were rushing to settle in Mexico, not vice versa (see also: Dilemma: The Syrian Refugees are just like the Pilgrims / The Pilgrims were genocidal religious extremists)

Who checks the bias of the ones checking bias?

It is interesting that 20 years ago Ahmed Best got a lot of flak over his portrayal of Jar Jar Binks, just as Kelly Marie Tran is today. But the narrative framework being used to understand the former and the one being used for the latter are very different

Whataboutism used to be called pointing out hypocrisy (and considered a good thing).

"I find that view pathetic in many ways, but I do have to admit that I think Nietzsche's famous "God is Dead!" passage does strike me as an accurate description of *why* identity is becoming the central force in modern politics. The gods have been destroyed by the enlightenment, and people are looking for something "real" to believe in. In that sense, identity has a leg up over abstract commitments like classical liberalism or humanism. Ultimately, I think the benefits of liberalism are also real, but they are separated from direct observable reality by a series of logical steps. Whereas, "I'm black, and you're white" has a reality that is right at the surface"


"So a depressed person genuinely believes he's worthless. Is it appropriate to call him worthless in accordance with how he perceives himself?"

[On intersex people 'proving' that sex isn't binary] "Genetic defects are what you are arguing to be treated as the norm and in turn you are arguing to justify permanent physical changes to one's body in encouragement of a psychological dysphoria."
"Would you let a minor get a nose job, liposuction, or a boob job if they are suicidal due to a negative body image?"


"If it's unofficial, it's hazing or ragging. If it's sanctioned, it's team-bonding, resilience-building, being a sport, mandatory OBS or conscription."

"Strangely for a country which professes to hate state control, Americans prefer the interventionist traffic light to the natural minarchism and self-regulation of the mini-roundabout"

"Wakes are purposeful. They serve to comfort the living that have been left behind. They celebrate the life of the person who has passed and band together the living so they can support each other through the loss. Weddings, on the other hand. Entirely pointless. They're basically a very expensive announcement to the world that the couple can now do the nasty with social approval."

Maybe the American predilection for, in drama, endangering the world in order to save just one person is linked to their culture's exalting individualism

So Yogalingam is a real name. So is Gaylord, but the risque meaning of gay is quite recent, while Lingam has been associated with the penis for 5 millennia

"A car is really one of the underappreciated heroes of modern child rearing. It's a self propelled, all in one diaper changing station, rain shelter, noise insulator, stroller carrier, breastfeeding cover, extra clothes / supplies carrier and white noise generator. Oh, and it can serve as a cause of all that child rearing too."


"We have a proverb that essentially states in the land where a prophet (or imam) is martyred, that land will be cursed. And having prayed at the Tomb of Jesus Christ / the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and seeing where the crucifix was planted, I can see that this must be the only reason that Israel and Palestine continue this way 70 years later."

According to City Time Traveller 2's Intramuros (Manila) episode, one difference between Spanish and Dutch, British and Portuguese colonialism was that the latter were about economic exploitation but the Spanish were also about cultural transformation, including religion. Also Casa Manilla is cool because its base is stone and its top is wood

"I often wonder how History would have viewed the USA if we had the bomb but not used it. “You had the capability to end the war, a war which killed hundreds of thousands of allied forces and millions of Japanese civilians, a war that left Japan fragmented and half under occupation by the Soviet Union, yet you failed to use it""

Links - 4th August 2018 (1)

Apple's Ridiculous Censorship of the Nudity in Papers, Please - "Papers, Please's pixelated, low-res nudity—which is seen when you use a body-scanning X-ray machine on the citizens who wish to enter your country—is hardly pornography, neither titillating nor sensual. Second, Apple is happy to sell you movies on iTunes that have actual naked humans, so it has a double standard for games. But the biggest issue is that removing Papers, Please's nudity defangs the game's artistic impact. Papers, Please is about the degradation to which those crossing the border into a totalitarian nation are subjected, and the bleakness of working in that situation."

What's Too Sexy for the App Store? Even Apple's Not Sure

The Buddhist Acceptance and Rejection of Mock Meats - "There is mention of seitan textured to emulate goose in the classic Chinese cookery book Recipes From the Sui Garden by the Qing Dynasty Chinese poet Yuan Mei. And the Ming Dynasty novel Journey to the West references wheat gluten several times, including a scene in which demons attempt to serve a monk a meal of human flesh and brains fried to resemble wheat gluten—that is, meat masquerading as mock meats... She says it’s all about creating a savory, umami flavor and a chewy, satisfying texture—that is the point of mock meats, not that they clearly resemble any animal. “Why do people want to eat meat? They want it because of the texture and the flavor, not because it’s a dead animal.”"

Hampstead ponds row continues on whether transgender demands are going too far - "they said they were ‘identifying’ as men for the day to highlight the problems inherent in the planned legislation, adopting Man Friday as the name of their campaign, set up on the website Mumsnet... some participants have faced a barrage of online abuse and even physical threats from hardline transgender activists... One woman sported a pantomime beard; another wore a lime green mankini (a male version of a bikini). It was all done with a lightness of touch but serious intent... Hannah also cites the case of sexual predator Christopher Hambrook, who four years ago was jailed indefinitely in Canada after falsely claiming to be transgender and sexually assaulting vulnerable females in women’s refuges... Twitter has been condemned for deleting accounts of female members of the group Fair Play For Women for stating what its members term the ‘biological fact that men cannot become women’. Gender self-identification has wide implications for women’s rights, yet the government minister Maria Miller, chair of the Women And Equalities Committee, led an inquiry that proposed it should become law without hearing from a single women’s organisation. Women like Hannah and her fellow pond protester Amy Desir, 30, a divorced mother-of-two from Luton, Bedfordshire, are incensed at this silencing of free speech. Amy, who works in middle management for a medical technology firm, was sufficiently concerned to become an activist. ‘I’ve never seen myself as a feminist until now’... ‘In December, when Swim England published its guidance about men who self-identify as women being allowed into female changing rooms, I thought it was Orwellian. It was talking about “re-educating” people.’... Teacher Debbie Hayton, 50, is among the handful of trans women who are prepared to talk publicly. She supports both the right of men and women to preserve single-sex spaces, and the ‘good-natured’ Man Friday campaign... To abandon this ‘gate-keeping’ process in favour of an amorphous ‘feeling’ of womanhood could engender suspicion of trans people and their motives... ‘Women and girls do not expect to see male genitalia in women-only changing areas, and I don’t either. Trans women with male genitalia who apply discretion are more likely to be accepted that than those who do not. Grudging toleration is a poor substitute for genuine acceptance.’... ‘Views are being suppressed because critical thinking is being conflated with criticism, which, in turn, is being conflated with hate — and that is dangerous because it leads to the shutting down of free speech."

Transgender Woman Is Charged With Voyeurism at Target in Idaho - The New York Times - "Based on a review of surveillance footage and interviews with witnesses, the suspect and her roommate, a detective on Tuesday arrested Shauna Smith, 43, on one felony count of voyeurism. She was booked into Bonneville County Jail as a man, using her legal name, Sean Patrick Smith"
We were told that this possibility was a paranoid right wing invention

Target Sex Offense Study Press Release - "voyeurism-related offenses increased significantly after the publication of Target’s policy—doubling or tripling according to all measures, while other sexual offense categories changed little. The findings are consistent with the “sex-predator” theory which has posited that sexual offenders may use gender-identity policies in private spaces to gain access to women and children in order to perpetrate sexual violence. This study is the first longitudinal analysis of risks related to gender-inclusion policies. The incident database is open-source and is available for further exploration and analysis."

Cassandra Raper - Edit. I dont ever want any threats being... - "this is a great example of how when if comes to men being abused by women it is laughed at and swept under the rug. But could you imagine the reaction if men were saying the exact same things about their girlfriends or wives. It would cause an outrage. I dont care how you put it. These are examples of abusive behaviour towards men. And it just goes to show why men usually keep that shit quiet and dont tell anyone. Ever notice how we barely see or hear anything about domestic violence on men?? Did you know men have a higher suicide rate in Australia? How humiliating it must be to know your girlfriend boasts about throttling you infront of your friends online. Violence against men should not be ignored and if you read these comments and think im being ridiculous then you are part of the problem... If you carry enough self pride to post these things online then clearly something in your brain tells you this behaviour is completely acceptable."

New York gay sex club defends reduced entry price for tops - "I’m a big big old bottom, and this has always been a fantasy of mine, but for it to work – and for the experience to be achieved for the cumdump bottoms – we need a huge ratio of tops to bottoms, which means discounting admission for anyone who wants to top."

China's ZTE built to spy and bribe, court documents allege - "ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications company bidding for major contracts in Australia, and at the centre of Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing, was established partly as a front for military intelligence and has been linked to corruption in 18 countries, according to explosive court documents filed in the US"

Software is Eating the World-Tesla Edition - "Last week Consumer Reports refused to recommend Tesla’s Model 3 because it discovered lengthy braking distances. This week Consumer Reports changed their review to recommend after Tesla improved braking distance by nearly 20 feet with an over the air software update!"

Chinese group hacks a Tesla for the second year in a row - " For the second time, Chinese security researchers were able to hack a Tesla Model X, turning on the brakes remotely and getting the doors and trunk to open and close while blinking the lights in time to music streamed from the car's radio — an effect they dubbed "the unauthorized Xmas show.""

Fire at London’s Hayward Gallery as Rotting Fish Artwork Explodes

About Us| 6IXTY8IGHT - "Launched in 2002, 6IXTY8IGHT is renowned for fun and inspiring fashion and lingerie targeted at females aged between 15-30 years old. Young, fresh and full of attitude, 6IXTY8IGHT girls love mix-and-matching their wardrobe, interpreting contemporary trends, and styling their self-expressive looks with a casual-cool attitude. Today, there are more than 100 6IXTY8IGHT stores across Hong Kong, China, Macau, Taiwan and Korea."
6ixty8ight = 69 minus 1?

Local man fired after one day of driving a school bus - "he explained to his new bosses that he had a legal, medical marijuana prescription... “They called me to say there was a complaint from a parent saying they smelled marijuana,” said Madore, adding he couldn't get any more details on the complaint, such as where the smell was coming from or when the parent smelled it. Madore said he didn’t meet any parents along the way. He said he didn’t use any of his medical marijuana that day – he only smokes it in the evening. He wasn’t carrying any and he didn’t have any devices used to smoke it."

If wages are to rise, workers need more bargaining power - Free exchange: Power is money - "Product markets have become more concentrated, meaning that fewer firms account for a larger share of output. That increases companies’ power in labour markets, since workers are less able to find alternative employment or to pit rival employers against each other in a bidding war. In a recent paper Suresh Naidu, Eric Posner and Glen Weyl estimate that this rise in firms’ power may reduce labour’s share of national income by as much as a fifth. They argue that one way to help struggling workers might be to use antitrust policies to make product markets less concentrated and more competitive. A complementary approach would be to increase workers’ power
The Economist promoting unions - parallel universe confirmed

Rutgers Professor Unleashes Anti-White Rant: 'Little Caucasian A**holes' - "James Livingston, who teaches history at the university, bashed white people, including children, after visiting a burger joint. Livingston notes that he is a white person but was quick to "resign" himself from the race."

Opinion | Elon Musk, the Donald of Silicon Valley - The New York Times - "The Apple of the 1980s was a brilliant idea with a terrible leader. Tesla, by contrast, today is a terrible idea with a brilliant leader. The terrible idea is that electric cars are the wave of the future, at least for the mass market. Gasoline has advantages in energy density, cost, infrastructure and transportability that electricity doesn’t and won’t for decades. The brilliance is Musk’s Trump-like ability to get people to believe in him and his preposterous promises. Tesla without Musk would be Oz without the Wizard. Much of the blame for the Tesla fiasco goes to government, which, in the name of green virtue, decided to subsidize the hobbies of millionaires to the tune of a $7,500 federal tax credit per car sold, along with additional state-based rebates. Would Tesla be a viable company without the subsidies? Doubtful. When Hong Kong got rid of subsidies last year, Tesla sales fell from 2,939 — to zero. It may be unfair to describe Tesla as Solyndra on wheels, but only slightly... Electric vehicles were supposed to be the car of the future because we were running out of oil — until we weren’t"

Sultan of Yogyakarta: A feminist revolution in an ancient kingdom - "The sultan, who is 72, recently changed his own title so that it is gender neutral and has given his eldest daughter the new name Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Mangkubumi - which means The One Who Holds the Earth. That was seen as further indication she is being lined up to take over the throne when the time comes... He says the move is a dangerous break with hundreds of years of tradition and accused his brother's family of being power-hungry and greedy. And he sends a strong warning about what will happen. "We have made a family commitment that we will not fight now, but when the sultan has left this world, we have an agreement with the people that we will drive his wife and his daughters out of the palace."... The Javanese royal rule stretches back to the 16th Century and while the family is now Muslim like most Indonesians, the rituals they carry out are steeped in mysticism, a product of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism of the past. And tradition has it that the Sultan of Yogyakarta has to take the goddess Kanjeng Ratu Loro Kidul as his mystical wife... Yogyakarta is the only place in Indonesia where residents don't get to directly elect their leader. When it was suggested by Jakarta that this should change in 2010 there were angry protests on the streets of Yogyakarta and the central government backed down... Despite an increasing number of young Javanese Muslim women now choosing to wear the headscarf, hijabs are not allowed in the palace... "This is not about religion, it's about protecting our culture and tradition and society understands that. The Sultan is above all religions." But this is increasingly a provocative stance to take in today's Indonesia. Recently the daughter of Indonesia's first President Sukarno, Sukmawati, was reported to the police for blasphemy and forced to apologise for saying in a poem that the Javanese hairbun was more beautiful than a Islamic chador."
Islamophobia!
Shockingly, this article doesn't mention if he has any sons (he doesn't)


Royal revolution as Indonesian sultan taps female heir - "the recent ceremony to mark the 70th birthday of Hamengku Buwono X, Indonesia's last sultan with real political power, had one key difference from previous celebrations - many of his relatives refused to attend... "A female sultan is an impossibility," the sultan's cousin, Kanjeng Raden Tumenggung Jatiningrat, told AFP. "One symbol in this palace is a rooster - so if we have a queen should we change it to a hen?" The rooster is a symbol of bravery. He added that a female ruler could not oversee rituals in the mosque or other ceremonies that have traditionally been led by men... "About 90 per cent of the family don't respect him anymore," raged Gusti Bendoro Pangeran Haryo Prabukusumo, a stepbrother of the ruler who snubbed the event."

Landlady Offers Free Rent for One Year if Tenant Spends One Night With Her - "his young man in Beijing, China who was renting a room received a message from his landlady as he had been delaying his rent payment for a month."

S’pore loan shark runner reports non-payment for loanshark work to police, gets arrested instead

Ambien Makes People Crazy and Everyone Knows It - "Sanofi, makers of the sleep aid Ambien, branded Roseanne Barr a racist in a tweet and claimed their drug has many side effects but "racism" is not one of them. That's a risky claim. For one, Ambien has been reported to make people do things they would never do if not on the drug. That's a fact. A simple Google search will show you countless stories of horrific hallucinations and behaviors that people have experienced while taking Ambien... The drug is classified as a hypnotic. The known side effects are extremely worrying, including confusion, depersonalization, dysphoria, paranoia, hallucinations and becoming violent. This drug appears to be very dangerous and Sanofi is making light of it by claiming that their drug had nothing to do with Roseanne's odd online behavior. Are they sure about that?... Scott Adams, Dilbert creator and internet personality, thinks Sanofi's flippant tweet is one of the worst things he's ever seen a company do. In a Periscope broadcast, he said, "Like a bad lawyer, [Sanofi has] introduced into evidence something you shouldn't have introduced into evidence," which has opened up a line of questioning about their drug that they probably don't want to have. As a result, stories of Ambien users having bad experiences are flooding the web...
Side effects of 'Ambien' (Sanofi-Aventis) include:
ABNORMAL THINKING BEHAVIORAL CHANGES AND COMPLEX BEHAVIORS"

Bill Clinton: Press Went Easy on Obama --- 'They Liked Having the First African-American President'

When your girlfriend is a radiologist and she decides to finally send you nudes

Scientists Just Discovered That Water Can Exist as Two Different Liquids

Star Citizen’s is selling a $27,000 bundle of spaceships - "Star Citizen, announced in 2012 with a $500,000 Kickstarter campaign, has been in development since 2011. It has been heavily criticized for the lengthy development period"

Protesters toss scooters into street to block tech buses in SF - "Protesters in the Mission District blocked tech buses for nearly an hour Thursday morning in San Francisco, tossing scooters into the street to waylay the commuters. The activists, blocking buses at the intersection of 24th and Valencia streets, set off smoke bombs, chanted “we are unstoppable, another world is possible,” and carried signs that read “Techsploitation Is Toxic,” and “Sweep Tech Not Tents,” in reference to the city’s recent efforts to clear homeless encampments."

Friday, August 03, 2018

Links - 3rd August 2018 (2)

Colour Blindness - "Colour (color) blindness (colour vision deficiency, or CVD) affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world"

The women with superhuman vision - "Although the relevant combination of genes does not seem to be especially rare – perhaps 12% of women might have four distinct cones – many of the people that Jordan tested just didn’t seem to show any differences in their perception"

Men and Women Really Do See Things Differently - "Females are better at discriminating among colors, researchers say, while males excel at tracking fast-moving objects and discerning detail from a distance—evolutionary adaptations possibly linked to our hunter-gatherer past."

The Story Behind This Bald Eagle Stealing a Rabbit From a Fox - "“I thought the eagle would scare the fox into dropping its dinner,” says Ebi. Yet, for just a few seconds, the fox steadfastly held on before it was flung back onto the ground."

Somali militant group bans samosas for being too Christian - "the extremist group al-Shabaab has proclaimed—via loudspeakers mounted to vehicles—that this delicious snack shall henceforth be banned from sale or consumption. Samosas are, in the words of al-Shabaab, “offensive.” Their reason for offense? The triangular shaped of the snack (it’s known as samboosas in the Horn of Africa) resembles the symbol of Christianity’s Holy Trinity"

The making of StarCraft - "With Command & Conquer having found huge success with its modern military setting, it was clear there was one option for Blizzard from the start—and so initially ‘Orcs in space' was the driving goal for the game. “It was sort of like re-envisioning what would happen if the world of Warcraft just went into space,” Patrick says, “and so the perspective was the same, the art style was a bit different.” Gone was the natural greens and browns of fantasy-fuelled Warcraft, instead here Blizzard opted for something more space-like—a horrific blend of putrid pinks, bright blues and garish greens. It stood out, for sure, but not in a good way. Blizzard found itself the victim of trade show disaster as the team attended E3 1996 to discover that no one was a fan of what would be the company's next game."

As far as Mahatma Gandhi (and lots of others) are concerned, eggs are as vegetarian as milk - "One fourth of India's vegetarian population actually seems to quietly go along with this. The Hindu-CNN-IBN State of the Nation survey in 2012 concluded that about 31% of Indians profess to vegetarianism while another 9% count themselves as "eggetarians," essentially vegetarians who will eat egg... Indian vegetarians' shunning of eggs can be vehement – a Jain Samiti spokesperson commenting on Madhya Pradesh's move said it would reduce "sensitivity" in children. But their championing of other animal products, like milk or even cow urine can be equally vehement."

Girl Surprised When Man Wearing Confederate Flag Helps Change Tire - "“For me and my family, as a black person, the Confederate army = oppression,” she tweeted. “Therefore the flag as a symbol utilized = oppression.”"

Wellness, Womanhood, and the West: How Goop Profits From Endless Illness - "Since Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop launched in 2008, the site has earned its reputation as the internet’s kooky rich aunt. From detoxes to cleanses; vitamins to clean food; vaginal eggs to vaginal steaming and recurring features by a self-described “Medical Medium” (a man who diagnoses disease via spirit guidance), Goop has built a small digital empire. In between primers on how to wear denim jackets and a curated shop featuring Ulla Johnson jumpers and Marni sandals, Goop peddles “wellness,” the site’s iteration of health content, sleekly packaged as lifestyle content"
I said something very similar to Jezebel, the feminist blog, and got scolded for being misogynistic, so

Mario Rudeboy - Posts - "I'm a Muslim and proud to be one but I think it's time as Muslims we fix this bullshit problem we have. Yes we do have a problem with our community & so called 'Muslim' brothers. Whatever is going on it's time we stop blaming others, stop being the 'victims' & blaming the west. We need to fix this epidemic of inbreds from doing these despicable crimes. Sorry I don't care if you think I'm being harsh. Islam is a beautiful religion BUT these uneducated monkeys misinterpret things & feel they are acting on Gods behalf & it's only getting worse... I'd love to see these people talk crap in Muslim countries. They would be smashed in seconds. Locked up & tortured. I think it's time the British or west deport not only those who incite hatred against the country themselves, but the entire family also. You come to a country to milk the benefit system, free education & health system yet complain. Try that in Pakistan or Iraq or the Gulf. See what will happen. It's pissing me off seeing this shit. Monkeys like Anjem Choudhury etc. Try talk bad in the Muslim states and see... I was raised in England. Never had any issues with racism or islampbobia. My closest friends were English & non Muslims. They treated me like a brother and likewise. I was able to practice my religion without offending them and they did without offending me"

How common is lntersex? A response to Anne Fausto‐Sterling - "If the term intersex is to retain any meaning, the term should be restricted to those conditions in which chromosomal sex is inconsistent with phenotypic sex, or in which the phenotype is not classifiable as either male or female. Applying this more precise definition, the true prevalence of intersex is seen to be about 0.018%"
In response to SJWs who claim Male/Female as choices for sex is inadequate

How to Save Europe
Interestingly Soros is against ever closer union, compulsory migrant quotas and compulsory Euro membership

There's No Such Thing as a Slut - "All but five or six of the women practiced “slut-shaming,” or denigrating the other women for their loose sexual mores. But they conflated their accusations of “sluttiness” with other, unrelated personality traits, like meanness or unattractiveness. It seems there was no better way to smear a dorm-mate than to suggest she was sexually impure."
It would be more accurate to title this "Why, when women call each other sluts, they don't mean 'a promiscuous woman'"
Also this suggests that just bashing men for oppressing women is misguided


Japan’s Affection for Love Hotels - "love hotels came to be categorized as “immovable sex-related establishments,” placed under the jurisdiction of the police. Because of this, when new hotels were built an effort was made to steer clear of the “love hotel” classification. This was done, for example, by hotel owners avoiding designs featuring bizarre exteriors and interiors... around 90% of the time women are the ones to choose the room at a love hotel. More love hotels these days are offering special, low-priced “ladies plans” for female guests who simply want to spend the night at a hotel. This offers guests a resort-like experience, with upscale amenities such as esthetic services and gourmet meals. Hotels hope that women who take advantage of these plans will end up as return customers, bringing along a male companion the next time."

MGTOW—A boycotting of women - "generally speaking: women just aren’t worth my time. Doesn’t mean I hate women—just means I’m not interested in them. Feminists have two important slogans: “her body her choice” and “She doesn’t owe you anything”. Well, it goes both ways: “MY body, MY choice”, “I don’t owe YOU anything.”"

WHAT A WAYNE-ANKER: LeedsLive Editor Says Reporter Who Published Tommy Robinson Address was 'Brave' - "Robinson wrote on social media “Do you know how many times I have gone into Bedford police station, I have gone into Kempston police station, to say here are comments to kill my family but nothing ever gets done.”... an address had been released online claiming to be where he lived, but the information was wrong and the current occupants of that address were now “terrified”."
Doxxing is good when it's against the "Far right"

Women now hold a majority of all management and professional positions in the U.S. - "Women now hold 52 percent of management, professional, and related positions, according to a new report from BMO Bank."
"Male privilege"

Mariella Frostrup: Men face 'double standard' over celebrity lust - "Broadcaster Mariella Frostrup has complained of a new "double standard" that allows women to lust over men - but sees accusations of sexism arise when the role is reversed... she can comment on a "shot of a shirtless, sea-soaked Aidan Turner". But men would not be able to remark similarly on his female co-stars... "we live in confusing times and I'm the first to admit to double standards - if a male colleague had penned those preceding lines about any of Turner's equally appealing female co-stars, his cries of contrition would be drowned out by Twitter's Troll Chorus." The presenter said she feared that "we are losing not only our sense of humour but our sense of proportion as we throw every act of perceived sexism into the #MeToo basket"... "There's an enormous difference between judging a person's worth only on the basis of their physical assets and expressing admiration for a fellow human with God's gift (allegedly) of good looks.""
In a different age this would've been called... sexism
To say nothing of the double standard that if a man had said the exact same thing as her, Twitter's Troll Chorus would've been bashing him as a misogynist


'Pokemon Go' players deter suicides in Fukui - "“The area around Tojinbo had been very dark and eerie after 5 p.m. after all the tourists leave,” Shige told The Japan Times on Friday. “But since ‘Pokemon Go’ was released, the area has been bustling, even late at night.”... the atmosphere “was not quite right for committing suicide”"

Black applicants make up half of cheats, says Ucas - "More than half of students submitting fraudulent applications for degree courses are black, the university admissions body said yesterday. Black candidates make up 52 per cent of all applications flagged despite comprising only 9 per cent of applicants, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) said. The figures triggered a race row... Applications can be considered fraudulent for several reasons, including plagiarism of the personal statement, falsifying exam results, sending false documents, using fake identities, or making multiple applications at once. Ucas defended its systems from accusations of bias, saying the software that flagged questionable applications did not see the candidate’s ethnicity, and neither did university staff who raised queries. It said the proportion of flagged, or suspicious, applications from black students turned out to be almost identical to the proportion later confirmed as fraudulent... Only a small number of applications were flagged — 5,160 (0.18 per cent) and about 40 per cent of those — 2,085 (or 0.07 per cent of all applications) had their applications cancelled. The percentages cancelled, by ethnic group, were broadly proportionate to the percentages flagged in each ethnic group... The Ucas report said: “This suggests that the verification activities undertaken by Ucas are generally robust and fair.” It reviewed all cancelled applications from the past two years, and said it found they were genuine."
Of course, this story is being reported differently in other news sources, which omit the fact that the number of applications confirmed as fraudulent roughly matches up with that flagged by the software
Comments: "Sad to say it, but this was my experience in the university I worked in for years. We had proportionately far more issues with plagiarism, outright copying and various other forms of cheating amongst certain BME groups than among 'the rest'. I've had postgrad applications from African and Middle Eastern countries with 'degree certificates' from the Universities of Potters Bar and Golders Green; personal statements lifted straight from Google; syllabus details for degrees that don't exist and even a 'certificate' from my own university which had been faked. The other trick is to get someone else to sit your English language test. When IELTS started requiring photo ID at tests, we got a lot fewer mis-matches between results and actual ability."
"A huge majority of all applicants do not cheat. This whole business has been blown out of all proportion"


Oxford University involved in Twitter row with David Lammy - "Oxford University has apologised to David Lammy after retweeting a post labelling his criticism "bitter". The original tweet, sent by a student, was in response to the Labour MP saying Oxford was "a bastion of white, middle class, southern privilege"."
Apparently you can't be bitter in the pursuit of social justice

The Deadly Legacy of HIV Truthers - "Thousands of people died because the conspiracy theory was able to outrun the facts, thriving in the climate of fear and suspicion around a grisly disease that had struck a vulnerable population. To some groups who’d been fighting on behalf of AIDS patients, it was too tidy to see a multimillion-dollar drug market emerge, to treat the same people who’d already been stigmatized and marginalized... The message to HIV educators, Sheehy said, was “you’re an enemy of the gay community, and we’re going to silence you.” Finally, ACT UP San Francisco spokesman David Pasquarelli and one other activist were arrested and jailed. (The other activist said he didn’t agree with Pasquarelli’s views on HIV, but felt that HIV-prevention campaigns were aimed at suppressing gay sexuality.)... The more frequently someone used the internet, the readier they were to believe that there was no proof that HIV causes AIDS.
Conspiracy theories can kill

Samantha Bee Apologizes For Her Ivanka Trump Comments After Widespread Backlash - "Samantha Bee has apologized for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c**t” on her show “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”... “The collective silence by the left and its media allies is appalling”"
Gendered insults against women aren't bad when used against "conservatives", even when they come from feminists

Actor Patton Oswalt Triggered By Ivanka Trump Cuddling Her Son

British man beaten by 10 Chinese in Cambodia for having 'Taiwan' tattooed on his forehead - "One of the Chinese men then shouted in Mandarin "Taiwan, China! In response, Paul retorted "Taiwan, Taiwan!" Paul says that they then "went insane, grabbed poles and started attacking me."

Israel restores electricity to Gaza - "IEC employees repaired the damage caused to the company's equipment in the Gaza vicinity as a result of a rocket fired by terrorists."
Worst. Genocide. Ever.
I'm sure many people blame Israel for a terrorist taking out Gaza's electricity supply in the name of "resistance"


Former NTUC Income CEO shares his thoughts on newly introduced CareShield Life versus ElderShield - "The increase in premium is about 15%. This is reasonable considering that the benefit provided under the new scheme is 50% higher."

Police dog killed with an axe by man shouting 'Allahu akbar' in Schiedam, Holland - "the suspect was a Syrian who had been living with his father in Schiedam"

Beware: Amazon Still Sells Counterfeit Memory Cards - "Counterfeit products can be found across Amazon these days. Engadget reports that two years ago, Apple purchased 100 Lightning cables and chargers marked “Fulfilled by Amazon” over 9 months and found that roughly 90% of the cables it received were counterfeit. In 2011, a SanDisk engineer estimated that roughly 1/3 of SanDisk-branded memory cards on Earth are actually fakes"

Painfotainment

Hardcore History 61 – (BLITZ) Painfotainment

"[On the Middle Ages] It talks about one of these breaking on the wheels that happens, and the original source is talking about how as the condemned is being killed, as they're being broken on the wheel, they are singing or shouting religious verses, and the crowd is picking up where the condemned leaves off. So he'll do the first verse, they'll do the second in unison. He'll do the third, they'll do the fourth, it's a call and response while he's being killed.

What's more, according to the source, he's talking to the guy who's killing him - the executioner. And I guess the only way to put it is he's making requests. Tell the crowd, I want the next verse in Latin and all this kind of stuff. It's completely bizarre to the modern mind, but as Freedland says, this is the kind of thing that the people in that era would have seen as potentially beautiful, a wonderful lesson for the kids, right? A morality lesson here.

Here's what could happen to you, if you go wrong, but if you continue to believe in God and you sincerely seek redemption through repentance, you too can make it to heaven... the people in the crowd very well may have seen the violence being done to the malefactor's body as necessary to get to the heavenly goal. And if that's the case, that what was being done to that malefactor's body was a good thing...

Spectators did so largely out of a sincere desire to participate in the ceremony that held profound personal meaning for them and not because they wanted to gawk from a distance at the suffering of others. These were less spectacles, he writes, in the way that we understand the words today, than they were rituals in which those who attended saw themselves as full participants rather than onlookers, when was as usually the case, the condemned participated fully in the ritual of repentance, seeking forgiveness from divine and earthly authorities... the public transformation of the condemned criminal into a repentant sinner enabled the entire community to undergo a kind of healing...

When they will finally do away with the public execution here, some of the people who were critical of that said that you're depriving the condemned of the only support they have in this moment where they're going to die, the crowd's on their side. But sometimes it's not...

The executioner is at hand. And this person shows up... in his best robes of office, came with a drink and shared the famous last drink with the condemned. There's also in many places, was a famous last meal, sometimes called the hangman's meal. And this is supremely weird, I think it was Richard Evans who pointed out for a lot of these poor convicted German criminals during this era, this lavish meal that they gave them right before they died was probably the greatest meal that they'd ever had and far above anything that they'd ever even seen. And oftentimes the people who judged you and the religious figures, and even the executioner will eat with you at this meal and you might be required to wear your own burial shroud so the whole thing's not weird, not at all, right? It's part of the psychological breakdown...

But if a guy with 394 kills on his record comes to me and says, listen, I know what I'm doing here, I've done this a lot of times, let me tell you how it's gonna go easiest for you and easiest for me, I think I'm gonna listen to him. After all If I squirm around too much and don't do what this guy wants, he's gonna take more than one shot at my head if this is a decapitation... these people are under enough pressure anyway, they have a reputation not totally without reason of drinking too much... violence against executioners who botch the job, well, the sources are abundant"

Links - 3rd August 2018 (1)

What's Behind Marvel's Campaign To Remove The X-Men From Merchandising? - "Where the feud has been most public recently has been through the sale of things that aren’t comics, however. The comics website Bleeding Cool has long kept track of merchandising changes — but recently there have been several egregious examples of Marvel excluding the X-Men and Fantastic Four from toys and clothes. Last year, a list of Fantastic Four-related characters that were allegedly not allowed to be used as part of a series of collectible cards celebrating the companies’ 75th anniversary got leaked to the site, but the latest (and most bizarre) alterations highlighted by Bleeding Cool have come from T-Shirts, funnily enough."

Did Marvel Comics Just Silently Kill the X-MEN? - "It looks like Marvel’s finally doing what we’ve long feared they would do: using the Inhumans to eradicate the X-Men once and for all. Why? Because unlike the X-Men, Marvel can bring the Inhumans to the big-screen, and they plan on doing so when they kick off Phase 4 with an Inhumans flick in 2019."

A giant indoor farm in China is breeding 6 billion cockroaches a year. Here's why - "The world’s largest cockroach farm is breeding 6 billion adult cockroaches a year and using artificial intelligence to manage a colony larger than the world’s human population – all for medicinal use. It is part of the production process for a “healing potion” consumed by millions of patients in China"

Bill’s fashion – Steven Seagal in the 80s, Hillary’s fashion – Steven Seagal right now

NEVER go full Tariq! Tariq Nasheed’s WOKE take on Cosby verdict is the WOKEST level of WOKENESS - "This Bill Cosby verdict is a perfect lesson for Black ppl. One Black person having money does NOT make you exempt from systematic white supremacy. They used the "I'm white and I say so" law to take Cosby down. Thats because white supremacists know the importance of being on code"
This is just the modern equivalent of OJ Simpson

5 criticisms of billionaire mega-philanthropy, debunked - "“Couple decides to give majority of their earnings to charity” is hardly a headline that you’d expect people to take umbrage at. But when you replace “couple” with “Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan,” suddenly everyone goes crazy. Even though the majority of commentators have been positive, a significant proportion of people have reacted with anger or even condemnation to the news this week that the first couple of social media will be donating 99% of their Facebook shares (some $45 billion) to a new charitable initiative."

Only woman MP in male-dominated S’pore Parliament voted against Abortion Act in 1969 - "Chan Choy Siong was one of the first few female politicians in Singapore, and she was the only woman MP in Parliament at that time. She was against the Abortion Act... Speaking to the male-dominated Parliament, she stated: “All of you are not women.” She explained that the MPs for the Abortion Act are not well aware of the effects and damages that will be inflicted upon a woman during the abortion process."
What would a feminist say?

Bullet trains and the economics of high-speed railways - "There’s a “sweet spot” for HSR success, according to David Walker, associate director of KPMG’s Infrastructure and Project Group, who was also involved in a 2013 feasibility study into HSR in Australia. “The sweet spot is where there’s a journey duration of less than three hours and greater than two,” he says. “You need major cities a bit over 150km away from each other so that people want to use HSR, but not too far apart that the journey time becomes arduous. It comes down to geographics and population density. It’s going to work very well in some countries and not so well in other countries.”"

Does Malaysia Need High-Speed Rail? - "Between March 2017 and February 2018, 4 million people flew the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route. Yet as you note, HSR’s supporters would have us believe that 22 million people will ride the line by 2036. Even cut in half, such a projection is unrealistic. Which brings me back to costs. As many a tourist has learned, the Shinkansen is one of the most expensive ways to move around Japan — and that certainly is one factor that keeps it in the black. By contrast, China’s HSR is wonderfully inexpensive and egalitarian — and loses money on all but a handful of routes"

Judge calls for kitchen knives to be blunted amid crime wave - "Judge Nic Madge has suggested introducing a scheme whereby members of the public could get their kitchen knives modified. They would be taken to centres where they would be grounded down to have round ends"
Knives can't be used for slashing?

‘Reparations Happy Hour’ Invites White People to Pay for Drinks - The New York Times - "In Portland, Ore., organizers of the “Reparations Happy Hour” invited black, brown and indigenous people to a bar and handed them $10 bills as they arrived, a small but symbolic gift mostly funded by white people who were asked not to attend."
How much longer can people be guilt tripped?

How Does Submissive Sex Work in the Age of #MeToo? - The New York Times - "Her 25 years as a counselor have taught her what many women and men privately know, but are now too afraid to admit — the same truth that the success of “Fifty Shades of Grey” tells: Many women like to be dominated in bed. “Not in their lifestyle, not in their career, but in the bedroom, many women would like to surrender,” Dr. Boehm said. This may explain why, on Amazon’s list of best-selling erotica — a medium that, unlike pornography, is mostly produced and enjoyed by women — themes of male dominance tend to, well, dominate... separate research conducted by the sexologists Meredith Chivers and Marta Meana supports the idea that biology plays a supporting role. Moreover, a 2009 study by Patricia H. Hawley at the University of Kansas found that the more socially dominant a woman was, the more likely she was to enjoy fantasies of sexual submission... [the conversation] tends to ignore certain messy truths about sex — the fickleness and wide variability of female desire, for instance, or the inconvenient fact that good sex often defies logic, political values and social mores. This has put young feminists like Ms. Tallarico and Virginia Rand, a 24-year-old writer and actress in Los Angeles, in a tricky situation. Ms. Rand recalled one recent sexual encounter in which her partner asked for verbal consent “every step of the way.” A rape survivor, Ms. Rand is well versed in feminist theory; she understands just how important and vital a shift such behavior from a young man is when it comes to casual sex. Yet, in practice, she had mixed feelings. “It’s difficult because on the one hand you’re like, ‘Dude, if I didn’t want it, I would stop you,’” she said. “On the other hand, that can be used against you if it was assault.”... “it seemed we were going one way, and then all of a sudden we were not.” He asked her if she was sure she didn’t want to. “And then she said, ‘No, it’s O.K.,’” he said. They had sex. Now Mr. Mobley is plagued with a sense of uncertainty and guilt over the incident: “Was it wrong of me, to ask a clarifying question? Was that coercion? That wasn’t what I meant at all. I was just legitimately confused.” Mr. Mobley said that post-#MeToo he and many of his male friends have sworn off making the first move... We tend to expect sexually liberated women to act the same as sexually liberated men (or at least the idea of them — promiscuous, assertive and self-centered in their pleasure seeking). It makes sense: For most of history, we only had the male model as an example. However, in practice, women may choose to enjoy sexual liberation in significantly different ways than their male counterparts... the concept of prescriptive, universal guidelines is anathema to truly mind-bending sex. So is codifying it into a moral or political act"
In other words, yet more problems with affirmative consent and downsides to #metoo

Funny, Crazy Secrets of Animal Behavior Revealed - "Similar to penguins, pandas remind us of toddlers, in the way they sit and eat and hold their food, or stumble around helplessly. We have therefore totally infantilized these bears, creating a mythology that they somehow need our help to survive. But the infantilized pandas we see in zoos are nothing like wild pandas. For instance, there’s this idea that pandas are rubbish at sex and hopeless at reproduction, but this is simply not true. In the wild, pandas are virile, with sperm counts a hundred times higher than humans. They’ve been observed mating up to 40 times in an afternoon"

The Case for Lowering the Voting Age … to Zero

.Mixed IDF units to see lighter physical tests for female soldiers - "Six months after instructing that women in mixed brigades carry 4 full magazines rather than 6, Brig. Gen. Mordechai Kahane announces decision to do away with demand that female soldiers clear an obstacle wall as part of physical assessments; ‘In two wars in Lebanon and Gaza I never saw a need to clear this kind of wall.’"
Maybe in war the enemy won't shoot if they see female soldiers
If such requirements are really unnecessary why not align them for male and female soldiers?


The psychology of stealing office supplies - "Employees who experience broken promises tend to experience a series of very intense negative emotions such as anger, frustration and outrage, which in turn will lead to a higher desire to dominate, retaliate and get even with the employer."

Every story in the world has one of these six basic plots - "researchers at the University of Vermont’s Computational Story Lab, analysed data from thousands of novels to reveal six basic story types – you could call them archetypes – that form the building blocks for more complex stories. The Vermont researchers describe the six story shapes behind more than 1700 English novels"

Michael Jackson's Gravity-Defying Lean Continues To Fascinate - ""Several MJ fans, including the authors, have tried to copy this move and failed, often injuring themselves in their endeavors," reads the paper published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. Trained dancers can lean forward a maximum of 25 to 30 degrees, but even then, it can put serious strain on the Achilles tendon.""

How gut microbes are joining the fight against cancer

This settles it: Cold days are superior to hot days - The Washington Post - "Heat makes people miserable. Economists have found that people would generally be willing to pay 1 percent to 3 percent of their annual income to avoid a 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in summer temperatures... When you get colder, people's emotions start to dip, too, after a point — but by a lesser amount. And there's a lot more variation in how people respond to colder temperatures... You can always put on more clothes when you get cold — but after a certain point you can't take any more off when you're hot (this is especially true when you work in an office)... a one-degree increase in temperature has an effect on your happiness that's similar to living in an area with a median income that is $500 lower. This starts to have implications for what we know about the effects of global warming"

Hotter years 'mean lower exam results' - "Researchers calculated that for every 0.55C increase in average temperature over the year, there was a 1% fall in learning. Colder days did not seem to damage achievement - but the negative impact began to be measurable as temperatures rose above 21C. The reduction in learning accelerated once temperatures rose above 32C and even more so above 38C."
The tropics suck

The Dark Knight of the Soul - "descriptions of meditation's adverse effects have been collecting dust on bookshelves for centuries."

35 and flat broke? Money saving tips to go debt-free - "Across Singapore, 30-something career women with no kids or mortgages are chalking up dizzying amounts of debt. According to Credit Bureau Singapore, women aged 30 to 34 who have unsecured credit (this includes credit cards) owe an average of $5,445 each. And as of July last year, 62,830 unsecured credit customers had not made a minimum payment in two months – a striking 12.7 per cent jump from the previous year."

Africa's last absolute monarch renames Swaziland as 'eSwatini' - "He said the name “Swaziland” had caused confusion. “Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland,” the king said"

Gay marriage in Australia: Brisbane protest turns violent - "THE debate over same-sex marriage turned ugly last night when a protest by “yes” campaigners erupted into violent scenes. Protesters outside a Brisbane church claimed they were attacked with cars as they gathered to oppose a meeting they described as a “homophobic forum”. Police attended the gathering at St Michael’s Dorrington Catholic Church at Ashgrove and at least one woman was treated by paramedics."
Now conservatives have more than the Hamilton Square Baptist Church riots to talk about when talking about gay violence

Why South Asia’s majorities act like persecuted minorities - Banyan
Why grievance politics is dangerous

The economist manifesto - "Smith saw the task of political economy as the pursuit of "two distinct objects": "first, to provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people, or more properly to enable them to provide such a revenue or subsistence for themselves; and second, to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for the public services". He defended such public services as free education and poverty relief, while demanding greater freedom for the in­digent who receives support than the rather punitive Poor Laws of his day permitted. Beyond his attention to the components and responsibilities of a well-functioning market system (such as the role of accountability and trust), he was deeply concerned about the inequality and poverty that might remain in an otherwise successful market economy"

I got kicked out of diversity training - "Things went south even before the workshop actually started, setting a poisonous tone. As the group got organized online, one member shared a screen grab from her Facebook feed, in which a stream of self-appointed diversity advocates pounced on a young woman who had shared her happiness about graduating from medical school. Almost immediately, someone minimized her accomplishment by attributing much of it to “white privilege.”... the workshop leader was the worst of all, egging on members of the forming group to charge “privilege” toward every accomplishment of every white woman. She was bullying and encouraging bullying, and I said so... this expert’s credentials existed only in her imagination... She told us that no woman of color could ever trust any white woman. She told us that every white woman owed every woman of color reparations — and then asked for donations through PayPal. (And yes, some women in the group were quickly guilt-tripped into donating money.) Every question from a group member was denigrated as an avoidance tactic. She shared a video clip of an on-site training in which she shamed and ridiculed a participant for eight minutes — no mention as to whether the participant gave consent for her “whipping” to be paraded in front of some 50 people. She whipped up derechos of blame. I stood up to it and was erased from the group. (A couple other women did the same and were tossed out too.)... I’m not black, Latina, Asian or Native American, and I don’t know what it’s like to move through life initially defined by the color of my skin. But I know what it’s like for people to judge me based on my appearance"
Diversity = bashing white people

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Links - 1st August 2018 (2)

Why the left has turned its back on freedom of speech - "When they call for far-right marches or speakers to be banned, leftists repeat the censoriousness of McCarthyism. (Indeed, the House Un-American Activities started as a purge of fascism from America before moving on to communism.) When some on the left fret that lads’ mags or ‘sexist’ songs like ‘Blurred Lines’ or old books that contain the word nigger will unleash readers’ and viewers’ base instincts and potentially destabilise society, they echo the stiff, Christian censorship radicals once opposed. When leftists brand as ‘phobic’ – that is, irrational – anyone who thinks a man cannot become a woman, they repeat the terrible thing that was once done to them: they brand those who hold views they find difficult or offensive as ‘ill’, unstable, a threat to society... the idea that unfettered speech leads to the expression of prejudiced ideas and that this could damage the self-esteem of certain groups. It is such a racially paternalistic argument, setting up white liberals, essentially, as the defenders of black people from psychic harm... Across the board, leftists demonise freedoms they once argued for... The left has helped to make ‘freedom’ into a dirty word. Freedom is dangerous, they claim. It makes minority groups feel bad. It stirs up hateful passions among the mob (ie, the public). It can even cause rape and death: see the idea that lads’ mags facilitate rapaciousness or that criticism of the ideology of transgenderism can cause young trans people to kill themselves. Where earlier radicals saw freedom as the greatest social good, the thing that allowed individuals to become truly autonomous and understanding and knowledgable, today’s so-called radicals see it as the harbinger of hate and spite and violence and death... Anyone who believes they can make the argument that certain words and images are too dangerous for public life and that this argument won’t then be used against their words and images is a fool of the most serious kind. Thomas Paine, intellectual architect of the left, made this point: ‘He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.’... the left embrace of censorship promotes the idea that individuals are either wicked or weak, either dangerous creatures who must be controlled or fragile creatures who must be protected. It promotes suspicion and distrust of humankind... The story of the left’s embrace of censorship is a really a story of its growing estrangement from the people."

10 Bizarre Uses of Animals in War - "Several armies have set animals on fire and directed them at the enemy to panic and scatter war elephants. One of the most spectacular of these unpleasant schemes was undertaken the Turkic general Timur while invading India in 1398. Piling hay and wood onto the backs of camels, he set them on fire and sent them screaming into the enemy elephant formation. Flaming animals have also been used against other enemy troops. In a battle between rebels and the Chinese army during the Southern Song Dynasty, monkeys were clothed in straw, dipped in oil and set on fire. Released in the enemy camp, they spread the flames to tents and caused chaos among the troops...
during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). During the siege of a monastery, Nationalist pilots attached live turkeys to fragile supplies before dropping them into the monastery. The flapping of the turkeys was intended to slow the fall of the supplies, acting as a form of a parachute. The turkeys could then be added to the defenders’ food supplies – a poor reward for their heroic service...
During the First Gulf War (1990-1991), the United States planned to use chickens to detect poisonous gasses... 41 of 43 chickens intended for use in Kuwaiti Field Chicken (KFC) died within a week of arriving in Kuwait, and the plan was abandoned."

Gender, Partisanship, and Issue Gaps - "for a number of issue areas, women are more supportive of an activist government than men of the same party"

The liberal case against identity politics - "I expected there to be some reaction, just from people who are totally committed to identity politics. But I was not expecting the tsunami of response. The piece was the most-read political commentary piece in the New York Times that year, and I got my first Twitter bath, all in acid, and realised just how difficult it is to even raise the questions that I raised... I discovered just how symbolic and self-reinforcing the politics of the identity movements are, and the degree to which they’re getting in the way of building a democratic majority in the country again... identity politics has become focused on the identity of the individual self, rather than a shared characteristic and an idea of how we might pursue a common agenda together. Identity politics in this country became much more about self-expression, self-assertion and self-discovery, and so the political horizon of young people growing up in this atmosphere is limited to issues touching the way they happen to define their identity... it’s led to a kind of narcissistic turn within, accompanied by an indifference and an incomprehension of the realities of achieving anything in the long-term politically. And it’s that turn within and the radicalisation which comes with it, which has led to a very subjectivised politics. If I have a political aim and a political position, I can argue with someone about that, and my commitment is to my argument and my principles. But if my politics comes out of the way in which I define myself in an intimate way, and the way I understand my subjective experience, I’m not going to be very interested in engaging with people who are very critical. I’m going to be highly sensitive and feel that my very self has been challenged, rather than my arguments or my politics... Even in our educational system, from a very early age, kids are taught about their identities... children start keeping a diary about their identity – in kindergarten, from the age of six... You look at American movies, you look at the way in which American corporations deal with diversity issues right now, identity is put forward as this kind of secret self within, this little homunculus that’s your true self and made up of all these attachments that you can gain or drop as you like. And those identities have to be protected and cultivated and not offended. That’s not a psychological model that opens people up to public debate about issues, including those that don’t necessarily have anything to do with them personally. For example, there’s very little interest among young people today about foreign policy, because it doesn’t have anything to do with their identities... Take the rise of white identity. There are all sorts of things that have contributed to white supremacy, which is real. But the recent spike in this sense of a wounded white population, if you look at surveys, really starts to surge in about 2014. What contributed to this was the identity focus on the left, and then how that played out on right-wing media. It became a weapon for Fox News and for Breitbart to portray the Democrats as only being about these groups, and not being about you, the Fox viewer. You just don’t want to be in that position... Right after my article was published in the New York Times, someone who teaches at my university, Columbia, whom I’ve never met, wrote an article in the LA Review of Books comparing me to David Duke, who is the head of the KKK. She said we were both white supremacists

How the left and right switched places - "There will always be left-wing people and right-wing people. Basically, the former think people are essentially good and the latter warn that people are foremost bad... the new conservatives tend to mask themselves as ‘progressives’, ‘liberals’ or ‘left-wing’... it is the modern left that now believes humanity is essentially bad, inherently fallen. Meanwhile, where is the hatred for mankind emanating from conservatives? It seems to have evaporated. Old-fashioned conservatives today speak in terms of solutions, not problems"

Singapore’s workforce ranks the unhappiest amongst her Asian counterparts - "Office location, good colleagues, and company reputation are important drivers of job happiness
Fresh graduates are happiest at work and C-suites the unhappiest
Poor Leadership and lack of training and development opportunities are main cause of unhappiness"

I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet - "I guess those first months felt so good because I felt the absence of the pressures of the internet. My freedom felt tangible. But when I stopped seeing my life in the context of "I don't use the internet," the offline existence became mundane, and the worst sides of myself began to emerge... So much ink has been spilled deriding the false concept of a "Facebook friend," but I can tell you that a "Facebook friend" is better than nothing."

“But Will It Last?”: Marital Instability Among Interracial and Same‐Race Couples - "Comparisons across marriage cohorts reveal that, overall, interracial couples have higher rates of divorce, particularly for those marrying during the late‐1980s. We also find race and gender variation. Compared to White/White couples, White female/Black male, and White female/Asian male marriages were more prone to divorce; meanwhile, those involving non‐White females and White males and Hispanics and non‐Hispanic persons had similar or lower risks of divorce"

RNLI naked mugs sacking: Two lifeboat heroes dismissed over 'safety risk' - "The pair had swapped “banter" tea mugs as a Secret Santa present – one of which had Mr Winspear’s face superimposed on a naked woman. RNLI bosses let them go after a female manager discovered the mugs at their HQ in north Yorkshire... Both men were hauled before disciplinary hearings that looked through their private messages on WhatsApp. Mr Winspear and Mr Laws were dismissed, and four of their colleagues have also walked out over the incident... "The mugs were just banter, a bit of fun. One of the sacked men served 15 years.""

Swedish woman raped and sexually assaulted by Afghan migrant teens - "she had been a member of a Facebook group which campaigns against the deportation of migrants from Sweden... She said Hassani asked her why she had followed them back if she did not want to have sex with them."

Michael Gove: A-level ranking plan insults any child who wants to succeed on merit - "I’ve been confronted with more and more evidence from universities that A-levels are no longer doing the job they should. Professors tell me they have to provide catch-up classes for bright students who arrive at university with good grades, but who have not been provided with enough knowledge in the A-level syllabus to match the performance of students from other countries, or students who started the same course a generation ago. The same academics also tell me they are finding it more and more difficult to identify the most able pupils, when so many come with fistfuls of As and A stars. . we have the silly idea from one exam board, tellingly launched at the Labour Party conference, that we should further devalue the gold standard. The education system, it is argued, should inflate the value of lower grades if a candidate comes from what is believed to be a weaker school. All students are to be treated equally, but some will be treated rather more equally than others. The authors of this scheme, I am sure, imagine they are doing their bit to advance social mobility."

How low can we go? An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system and the scope reduction by 2050 - "A switch from beef and milk to highly refined livestock product analogues such as tofu and Quorn could actually increase the quantity of arable land needed to supply the UK"

Scientists Find Half The Advice on Dr Oz Is Wrong or Has No Evidence to Back It Up - "the shows give their viewers around 12 different recommendations per episode. But only half of them are supported by research. The other half are either baseless or actually contradict what the best-available science tells us."

'Rogue One' Has The Perfect Heroine — But Where's Our Female Han Solo? - "It’s no secret that Rogue One went through extensive reshoots. /Film’s Peter Sciretta painstakingly combed through the scenes from the trailers and promotional teasers that were left out of the finished film, noting that early reports suggested that screenwriter Tony Gilroy “reworked the Jyn character to make her less arrogant and abrasive and more empathetic”"
This would seem to explain why female feminists are obnoxious - they see it as a feminist move
It's quite apparent the author didn't saw watch the same movie. Quite apart from the scene that was supposedly "cut entirely from the film" (which is virtually all in it), the author missed Jyn's confronting Cassian about his assassination mission, having "continually unexpected" behavior, lying to K-2SO about knowing it wasn't him and leading a rogue mission (literally) - or maybe even all that isn't enough. Plus it seems Han being cast as unlikeable when he was apparently flying off with his reward but redeeming himself when he saved Luke during the Death Star run (which also shows how Luke couldn't have destroyed it without help) doesn't count - because both of them are men


Star Wars: The Last Jedi Toy Sales Tank - "Star Wars toys sales were down for 2017 despite Star Wars: The Last Jedi having been released in the all-important holiday month of December... Star Wars: The Last Jedi featured no new memorable characters, which is right on the money. A lot of fans weren't happy with the new characters in Star Wars: The Last Jedi with reasons cited including the new characters weren't needed or they took time away from the Force Awakens characters. Admiral Holdo, DJ and Rose just aren't likable characters. It probably didn't also help that a majority of the audience didn't like Star Wars: The Last Jedi as well. And now we see how much of a mistake it was including "cutesy" creatures like the Porgs who obviously were written into the script to sell merchandise, but this, too, backfired on director Rian Johnson and Disney."

The Fans Behind the Force: A Look at the Demographics and Interests of Star Wars Fans - "A typical Star Wars fan is likely male, aged 18-44, watches science, history and horror TV shows and works in IT or legal."
Of the The Force Awakens characters, Kylo Ren was a lot more popular than Finn and Rey - combined. Which is telling

10 Theories Why 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' is Underperforming at the Box Office - "Perhaps the most popular theory as to why Solo isn't hauling in money is because The Last Jedi "ruined" the franchise for fans and now, those who feel this way are refusing to see Solo as a way to "punish" Disney. There have been actual calls for fans to straight-up boycott Solo because of their displeasure with The Last Jedi."

'Solo' Will Post First Loss for Disney's 'Star Wars' Empire

Disney’s Star Wars And The Problem No One Will Talk About - "Push an agenda
Demonize anyone who doesn’t support the agenda
Lose fans and money
Blame the fans for your failure
If Social Justice Warriors actually took Economics in college, this would be their four-step business model...
While some will blame “Star Wars Fatigue”, Disney’s other property known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has shown no such fatigue after 10 years of superhero movies... The blame for this lies in one person’s hands. Kathleen Kennedy. Kennedy has turned Star Wars into her own personal playground for her feminist agenda at the expense of the fanbase... For six months, the brass at Lucasfilm and many media outlets mocked and demonized people who hated the direction of the franchise calling them “angry sexist bigots” in defense of the film. This is why The Last Jedi has a 91% with critics, but on 46% with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes denies claims that The Last Jedi scores were rigged by bots

An Amazon Echo sent someone's private conversation to one of their contacts

‘Kindly adjust’ to our English - "Indian English is a living, practical language, used by millions every day. Many phrases we take for granted in ordinary conversation are actually quite unusual abroad—calling elders 'auntie' or 'uncle'... 'mugging' (cramming hard for an exam, with much rote learning involved) means two very different things abroad (a criminal assault by a robber, or an elaborate and often comically exaggerated expression). When an Indian student tells a foreigner he was “mugging for an exam”, bewilderment is guaranteed. Some Indian Englishisms are merely translated from an Indian language: “what is your good name?” is the classic, since all Bengalis have a daak naam that they are called by, and a bhalo naam (or good name) for the record"
Did Indian English influence Singlish?

London cyclists too white, male and middle class, says capital's cycling chief in vow to tackle diversity 'problem' - "Too few women and people from ethnic minority groups cycle in London and more must be done to promote diversity among a largely white, male and middle class biking community, the city’s walking and cycling commissioner has said. Grand schemes, such as the Cycle Superhighway network of partially-segregated routes linking the suburbs with the centre, are too often perceived as simply a way of getting “middle-aged men cycling faster around the city”, Will Norman acknowledged. He said he was considering setting diversity targets for London’s cycling population to ensure progress was achieved. Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups account for about 15 per cent of the city’s cycle trips – around two-thirds less than Transport for London estimates it could be."
Alternatively, they could just discourage white middle class men from cycling, since BAMEs are smart enough to use modern technology to get around
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