"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, January 06, 2019

Links - 6th January 2019 (1)

Mark Zuckerberg Defends Facebook as Furor Over Its Tactics Grows - The New York Times - "Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg passed off many critical security and policy decisions in recent years and delayed responses to abuse on Facebook or played down its significance. More recently, Facebook went on the attack, employing other companies to divert attention to critics and competitors. In one case, an opposition research firm, Definers Public Affairs, worked to discredit protesters by trying to link them to George Soros, the liberal financier... “Up to now, whatever you said about Facebook, you couldn’t say it was a two-faced company,” said Rishad Tobaccowala, chief growth officer for the Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s biggest advertising groups.But now it is clear that “it says one thing to you and does something completely different,” Mr. Tobaccowala said. “This is very hard if you are a marketer.” In Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike blasted Facebook. Senator Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, said in an interview on CNN that he was concerned over Facebook’s power as a “monopoly.”Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota, said at a hearing on Capitol Hill that she planned to ask the Justice Department to investigate whether Facebook’s hiring of opposition research firms to influence politicians violated campaign finance rules."

Facebook reportedly discredited critics by linking them to George Soros - "Amid growing pressure from lawmakers over its role in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Facebook increasingly turned to Definers Public Affairs, a Washington DC based political consultancy founded by Republican operatives and specializing in opposition research, according to the report. One of Definers’ tactics was to publish dozens of negative articles about other tech companies, including Google and Apple, in order to try to distract attention from Facebook’s public relations woes... Soros has been openly critical of Facebook and Google"

Too Much Caffeine May Stress the Heart - The New York Times - "In moderate doses caffeine has mainly positive effects for most people. But it increases production of cortisol, which can lead to health problems including anxiety, weight gain and heart disease... what if, like my brother, you are consuming six or more cups of coffee a day? Even if your sleep is not disrupted, that amount of caffeine has been associated with an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, jitteriness, irritability and anxiety, all of which can have untoward effects on cardiovascular function... For those at risk of heart disease, perhaps the most serious adverse effect of excessive caffeine consumption is its ability to raise blood pressure"Creepy Places to Visit in Eastern Europe - "The Sedlec Ossuary (located in Sedlec, near Kutna Hora) is one of the Czech Republic's creepiest tourist attractions. This Roman Catholic Chapel is decorated almost entirely with human bones, and the effect is both beautiful and spooky. Of particular interest may be the delicate-looking chandelier made of human skulls, long bones, and shoulder blades of the deceased...
At the Karosta Prison Hotel in Latvia, prisoners—"guests"—can subject themselves to the bleakness and dankness of a former Soviet prison, as well as verbal abuse from the prison "guards." Comfort certainly isn't the goal of this hotel, and the creepiness factor is not only apparent in the physical surroundings but also in the memory of the actual prisoners who paid for their stay with suffering instead of with cash."

The Evolution of a Restaurant Dish, From Vision to Revision - The New York Times

WATCH: Celine Dion Empowers Newborns to ‘Choose’ Their Gender in Kids' Clothing Ad - ""Dion’s heart is certainly in the right place but her clothing partnership reinforces the idea that traditionally masculine attire is acceptable for all genders, while traditionally feminine attire is for girls alone," Teitel wrote. "Plain: good. Fabulous: bad. Is this really the 'new order' we want to establish?"Others object to the promotion of gender neutrality in general, seeing such activism as evidence that progressivism has overreached. As University of Notre Dame political scientist Patrick Deneen argued in his 2018 book-length takedown of the liberal project, "Why Liberalism Failed":"Under the guise of differences in race, an exploding number of genders, and a variety of sexual orientations, the only substantive worldview advanced is that of advanced liberalism: the ascent of the autonomous individual backed by the power and support of the state and its growing control over institutions, including schools and universities." To be fair, Dion's ad evinces a sense of humor, ending with Dion getting cuffed by security guards and hauled off the jail. And on an interview Wednesday with HLN's “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” Dion averred that she was not telling anyone how to raise their kids."

DPM maintains that female circumcision is part of Malaysian culture - "Putrajaya has reaffirmed its stand that female circumcision is part of Malaysian culture.The statement came following a flare-up when on Nov 9, Malaysian delegates to the Universal Periodic Review on human rights in Geneva, Switzerland, defended the practice of infant female circumcision as a “cultural obligation” in Malaysia... in affirming the government's stand, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said female circumcision here was unlike that practised in some African countries."

This Male Conservative Politician Says He’s Now A Woman, And Is Therefore Free To Talk About Abortion - "Nationals senator Barry O'Sullivan has told parliament he is declaring his gender "to be a woman", so left-wing politicians will stop attacking him over his anti-abortion views."

Student Senate Tries To Impeach Student Body VP For Saying 'Illegal Alien' On Personal Facebook - "The Associated Student Government at Emporia State University in Kansas tried to impeach the student body vice president for using the term "illegal alien" on her personal Facebook page. The vote failed a two-thirds approval vote with 11 votes in favor, seven against, and three abstentions... the Justice Department instructed U.S. attorneys to use the term "illegal alien" instead of "undocumented immigrant" because the "word 'undocumented' is not based in US code and should not be used to describe someone’s illegal presence in the country."... "It was crushing to see my peers call me an unfit leader, ignorant, and racist solely based on one post I made, expressing my political beliefs," she said. "ESU strives to be a campus of diversity and inclusion, but the diversity of political thought is next to none. I have been taught that I may not be able to control what people say or do to me, but I can control how I react. Which is why I am dedicated to having better dialogue between students and myself, so that together we can learn and grow from listening to different perspectives and beliefs."... the student government canceled its weekly meeting because of "serious concerns for the safety and well-being of the campus community.""

China plans to launch an ‘artificial moon’ to light up the night skies - "Chinese scientists are planning to launch an artificial moon into orbit by 2020 to illuminate city streets after dark.Scientists are hoping to hang the man-made moon above the city of Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, according to a report in Chinese state media. The imitation celestial body — essentially an illuminated satellite — will bear a reflective coating to cast sunlight back to Earth, where it will supplement streetlights at night."

Human genome sequencing: the real ethical dilemmas - "The misconception that drives many a myth about genomics is that it is a simple and deterministic science. This is not just born of Gattaca, but of headlines that proclaim the supposed discovery of "genes for" obesity, binge-drinking and so on, and of the long-running and often futile nature versus nurture debate. It also reflects the way many of the first genes discovered to have medical importance are indeed deterministic – people with the Huntington's mutation will get the disease, as will those with two copies of the recessive cystic fibrosis variant.But for the most part, the genome does not work this way. Genomics is much better understood as a complex and probabilistic science, in which a constellation of genetic variations makes the odds, but many other factors, environmental as well as biological, decide the outcome... An employer who wants to hire bright staff will always get more reliable results from a relevant aptitude test. Height is strongly influenced by genes, but nobody in their right mind would measure it with a DNA test. So it is with other complex traits. There may be a case for outlawing genetic discrimination, but because it won't work, not because it will... Insurance companies are businesses in need of customers. If they rule out everyone at high genetic risk of disease, they will have nobody to cover. We may need a new safety net to protect the minority with truly deterministic genetic variations, such as Huntington's carriers, but for the rest of us, the market will likely suffice"

Apple's T2 Chip Makes Third-Party Mac Repairs Impossible - "If you own a 2017 iMac Pro or 2018 MacBook Pro, Apple requires proprietary software to repair your device, even if all you need is a new battery or keyboard replaced, which means only Apple and authorized service providers can fix your Mac... What makes this worse is the fact that once Apple decides to stop supporting models fitted with a T2 chip in future, there will be no way to repair them. They will become dead products.If the high cost of purchasing an iMac Pro or MacBook Pro wasn't enough, this requirement for proprietary software during a repair puts a hard limit on the lifetime of a device... Blocking repairs ultimately leads to higher prices and enforces planned obsolescence. The best way to fight it is by supporting right to repair initiatives and bills such as the California Right to Repair Act. You could also choose not to buy Apple, but it seems unlikely enough people would be willing to do that for Apple to even notice."

Self-driving cars will be used for sex and prostitution - "nearly 60% of all Americans have had sex in a car. This time-worn tradition may only increase when you consider that self-driving cars are essentially private rooms on wheels... 'AVs will provide new forms of competition for hotels and restaurants'... they’ll also revolutionize red light districts, putting prostitution on wheels... “Urban studies in general tends to conceptualize social life in terms of the daytime.” We ignore what happens at night."

Judges recommend healing lodges for violent offenders - "Judges across Canada have recommended healing lodges for violent offenders, a CTV News review of court cases has discovered.John Holmes, for example, was killed in 2016 when his wife stabbed him 17 times in their Alberta home. Barbara Holmes, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a crime described by Justice James Langston as “frenzied,” received a five-year sentence in 2018. In his sentencing decision, Langston spoke at length about Canada's mistreatment of Indigenous people and noted that the killer’s mother had been in residential schools... Over the past seven years, 20 people convicted of killing minors have served at least part of their sentences in such facilities."

Watch: B.C. car thieves arrested in 'bait car' at McDonald's drive-thru - "A bait car is a vehicle intended to be stolen, fitted with interior video surveillance and an engine that can be switched off at the click of a button when police are in position. The program has been effective, said Inspector Brian MacDonald, the officer in charge of the program. Abbotsford Police confirmed that car theft is down for a fourth straight week in the region."

Supreme Court to hear case of woman arrested after not holding escalator handrail - "The Supreme Court of Canada agreed Thursday to hear the case of a woman who was ticketed and arrested after she refused instructions to hold onto an escalator handrail.Bela Kosoian was in a subway station in the Montreal suburb of Laval in 2009 when a police officer told her to respect a pictogram with the instruction, "hold the handrail."She replied that she did not consider the image, which also featured the word "Careful," to be an obligation. She refused to hold the handrail, and tensions mounted after she also refused to identify herself."

Why prostitutes in the Wild West had a better life than their more moral sisters (apart from having to sleep with hundreds of different men) - "In the nineteenth century, a woman who owned property, made high wages, had sex outside of marriage, performed or received oral sex, used birth control, consorted with men of other races, danced, drank, or walked alone in public, wore makeup, perfume, or stylish clothes -- and was not ashamed -- was probably a whore.In fact, prostitutes won virtually all the freedoms that were denied to women but are now taken for granted... Decades before American employers offered health insurance to their workers, madams across the West provided their employees with free health care. While women were told that they could not and should not protect themselves from violence, and wives had no legal recourse against being raped by their husbands, police officers were employed by madams to protect the women who worked for them, and many madams owned and knew how to use guns... In the silver mining boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, in 1879 there were 120 saloons, 19 beer halls, 188 gambling houses, and only 4 churches... "Of course, I had guilt feelings at the beginning, but they soon disappeared when I saw my savings begin mounting up."... In studies conducted in New York during the 1900s and 1910s, 11 percent of prostitutes listed coercion as the reason for entering the trade, but almost 28 percent named the money they could earn... Prostitutes who rose to the top of the industry to become "madams" owned more wealth than any other women in the United States. Indeed, they were among the wealthiest people in the country, and especially in the West."

51 Illegal Photos Of North Korea That Kim Jong Un Doesn’t Want You To See - "Perhaps The Most Ridiculous Prohibition I Faced: This Official Painter Was Working On A New Mural In Chilbo. I Took The Picture, And Everybody Started Yelling At Me. Since The Painting Was Unfinished, I Couldn’t Take The Picture...
Only In North Korea: I Was At A Factory Shooting With My Tv Crew. We Were Followed By A Local Cameraman Who Filmed Throughout The Trip (On The Right). On This Day, The Government Sent Another Cameraman To Film Us All! Very Meta"

South Koreans resist arrival of Yemeni asylum seekers - "An influx of nearly 1,000 Yemeni asylum seekers into the South Korean resort island of Jeju has triggered a fierce backlash against immigration rules that many South Koreans perceive to be lax and dangerous to the well-being of their society.The concern has grown suddenly with 950 foreign nationals — the majority fleeing conflict-wracked Yemen — applying at the Jeju Immigration Office for legal refugee status after arriving as tourists. In the whole of last year, only 312 people applied for refugee status on Jeju and local people fear their island is being targeted as an easy way into the East Asian nation."It has become really bad in recent weeks and it is all because Jeju introduced a program that enabled people from 186 countries to come here without a tourist visa," said Hank Kim, owner of the Core Travel Agency. "It is meant to promote tourism but these people have realized that it gives them an easy way into the country"... "We have all read about the problems that immigrants have caused in Europe — in Germany and France in particular — and we do not want that to happen here."And we are also worried because of their religion," he admitted. "We have had no contact with Muslim people before, but we know that they all have big families and they bring their own culture instead of trying to adapt to the place where they live, so people here think that they should have gone as refugees to other Muslim countries."... "There are already Muslims living in South Korea, many of whom have married a Korean and been granted permanent residency here, but they still choose to live in their own districts and make no effort to integrate into this society," he said. "They also attempt to convert Korean people into their religion.
South Korea is very far from Yemen
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