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

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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Links - 5th March 2019 (1)

Spurning Erdogan’s Vision, Turks Leave in Droves, Draining Money and Talent - The New York Times - "The flight of people, talent and capital is being driven by a powerful combination of factors that have come to define life under Mr. Erdogan and that his opponents increasingly despair is here to stay. They include fear of political persecution, terrorism, a deepening distrust of the judiciary and the arbitrariness of the rule of law, and a deteriorating business climate, accelerated by worries that Mr. Erdogan is unsoundly manipulating management of the economy to benefit himself and his inner circle... Applications for asylum in Europe by Turks have also multiplied in the last three years... “If one looks at any major country collapse in history, it is normally preceded by a migration of wealthy people away from that country”... some of Turkey’s largest companies were divesting in Turkey. Several such companies have made significant transfers of capital abroad, amid fears they would be targeted in the post-coup crackdown or as the economy began to contract."

At least 23,000 dollar-millionaires have left India since 2014: Report - "2.1% of India's rich left the country in 2017 alone, compared to 1.3% for France and 1.1% for China. In fact, India has lost the highest percentage of high net worth individuals (HNWI) - those with net assets of more than $1 million - to migration since 2014... The raw data source for the above is global market research group New World Wealth, which maintains a database of over 150,000 HNWIs across 125 cities worldwide... "Over-taxation has become a problem in most major European countries. In particular, inheritance taxes are very high in France and the United Kingdom (around 40%). This could be one of the reasons why many HNWIs are now moving away from these countries"

‘Dead Skunk’ Stench From Marijuana Farms Outrages Californians - The New York Times - "When Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, there were debates about driving under the influence and keeping it away from children. But lawmakers did not anticipate the uproar that would be generated by the funk of millions of flowering cannabis plants."

Why Are We Still So Fat? - The New York Times - "There is just one almost uniformly effective treatment, and it is woefully underused: only about 1 percent of the 24 million American adults who are eligible get the procedure.That treatment is bariatric surgery, a drastic operation that turns the stomach into a tiny pouch and, in one version, also reroutes the intestines. Most who have it lose significant amounts of weight — but many of them remain overweight, or even obese... many patients and doctors persist in thinking — all evidence to the contrary — that if overweight people really set their minds to it, they could get thin and stay thin.Scientists got an unsparing look at what they were up against 50 years ago, when a clinical researcher at Rockefeller University, Dr. Jules Hirsch, did some old-fashioned experiments. He recruited obese people to stay at the hospital and subsist on a 600-calorie a day liquid diet until they reached a normal weight.The subjects lost 100 pounds on average, and they were thrilled. But as soon as they left the hospital, the pounds piled back on.Dr. Hirsch and Dr. Rudy Leibel, now at Columbia University, repeated the study again and again, with the same result. Eventually, they found that when a very fat person diets down to a normal weight, he or she physiologically comes to resemble a starving person, craving food with an avidity that is hard to imagine... Obesity’s genetic connection was conclusively demonstrated in the 1980s in a series of papers showing that body weight is strongly inherited, almost as strongly as height. Children adopted as infants ended up with weights like those of their biological parents. Twins reared apart ended up with nearly identical body weights... no single target seemed to make much difference in weight loss... The hope now is to figure out how to have the benefits of bariatric surgery without the surgery. The operation alters the body’s orchestra of hormones and signals, among them leptin but also many others."

Nice People Have Emptier Wallets - "A study correlating personality traits with financial data found that agreeable people had lower savings, higher debt and higher bankruptcy rates"

Young people in China don't know the internet we do – and they like it that way - "China is now exporting its model of a censored internet to other countries, including Vietnam, Tanzania and Ethiopia... Two economists from Peking University and Stanford University concluded this year, after an 18-month survey, that Chinese college students were indifferent about having access to uncensored, politically sensitive information. They had given nearly 1,000 students at two Beijing universities free tools to bypass censorship, but found that nearly half the students did not use them. Among those who did, almost none spent time browsing foreign news websites that were blocked. “Our findings suggest that censorship in China is effective, not only because the regime makes it difficult to access sensitive information, but also because it fosters an environment in which citizens do not demand such information in the first place”... She reads news sometimes on the news app Jinri Toutiao but found that many countries were embroiled in wars and riots. “China is so much better,” she says.Wen Shengjian, 14, wants to become a rapper and idolises Drake and Kanye West. Shengjian, whose family moved in July from Beijing to Dongying, an oil town in eastern Shandong province, said he had noticed that American rappers were very vocal about social issues and that some even criticised the president in their music.That would not work in China, he said, because it is a developing country and needs social stability. That is a line that the Communist Party makes sure that the state media and school textbooks repeat all the time... when he returns to China to visit his family for holidays, Fang said, it is hard not to be able to use Google. He has also learned not to check sensitive political news in front of his parents, who have scolded him for doing so.“The Chinese apps become useless as soon as you move abroad,” he says. But with Google and others, “whichever country you go to, you can still use these apps,” he added. “The return on investment is very high.”"

Amid #MeToo, Men at Odds with Women on What Makes Harassment - "younger people and men were less likely than older Americans and women to view something as harassment... The reported instances of harassment were higher among Democrats and those with at least a college degree across both genders... about one in 20 women “always” perceive asking a colleague for lunch as harassment, compared with about one in 30 men. More than one in ten women said comments on appearance are harassment, versus less than that for men... two-thirds of those ages 65 and up think that asking for a sexual favor always counts as sexual harassment, but the number fell to only about half for young adults ages 18 to 29."
This suggests that some alleged sexual harassment is only classified that way due to socialisation
34% of people thought verbal consent was needed for kissing someone. I guess "kiss me, you fool" is romantic

How a Huge Blood Clot Took the Shape of a Lung Passage - "Somehow, a man coughed up an intact blood clot shaped like a lung passage."

As the Arab World Warms to Israel, a Synagogue Grows in Dubai - "Leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates now see Iran as a greater threat than the Jewish state. That has pushed them into an undeclared alliance with Israel and broken long-standing taboos on dealing directly with it. And with Donald Trump seeking a Mideast peace agreement, Arab governments are prodding the Palestinians and Israel to resolve their conflict... The U.A.E. in particular has sought to project an image of openness, easing restrictions on religions other than Islam in a campaign aimed at generating more business. The country has appointed a minister of tolerance, who in November sponsored a World Tolerance Summit for 1,200 Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews, and others from around the world

The Problem With Plastic - "China, which once imported as much as 45 percent of the world’s used plastic for disposal or recycling, stopped accepting the waste in part because too much of it was contaminated. In any case, just 9 percent of plastic is recycled. The process isn’t always cost-effective since the half-dozen main chemical variants of plastic must be separated first... Critics of plastic restrictions note that a paper bag has to be reused at least three times and a cotton bag 131 times to undercut the effect on global warming of one use of a plastic bag, according to a report sponsored by the U.K. government. An analysis commissioned by the American Chemistry Council, an industry group, concluded that plastic is less damaging to the environment overall, and the ocean specifically, than the alternatives such as glass, tin and aluminum because they’re four times heavier on average and thus take more energy to transport. Critics of plastic restrictions say the solution to garbage in the oceans is to keep it out by improving waste-disposal systems, especially in quickly developing Asia and Africa, the location of eight of 10 rivers responsible for an estimated 90 percent of plastic input into the seas."

Bad News: The Plastic Drinking Straw Ban is BS - "It's just too bad, then, that this campaign is based on bad statistics, lies, and a whole lotta deflection. Remember that figure about how we use 500 million straws a day? (You should, as it was only two sentences ago.) It turns out that comes from a telephone survey conducted by a nine-year-old in 2011. We don't know how many companies they called or what methodology they used to calculate this figure, but that hasn't stopped everyone from CNN to The Washington Post to National Geographic from citing it... When several marine experts were surveyed on what they considered to be the most prevalent forms of maritime pollution, they cited "fishing-related gear, balloons, and plastic bags," while other experts are worried about the problems posed by plastic bottles. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch comprises 46 percent fishing nets... Even if the worst estimate of the environmental damage done by straws is true -- that our coastlines are covered in 8.3 billion of the tiny bastards -- that only accounts for 0.03 percent of the more than eight million tons of plastic garbage that enters the oceans every year. It's also incredibly disturbing that this campaign fails to account for the fact that plastic straws provide a simple, accessible means for many disabled people to drink (such as those who use wheelchairs or live with muscular disorders), and that asking them to remember their own straws (or risk not being able to drink at all), or deal with straws made of unsuitable materials such as metal or paper seems ... assholish, to say the least. That's the problem, though. It's easier for us to lay the blame on a tiny contributor to pollution (in spite of the objective good they do) than it is to examine our larger habits surrounding single-use plastics or recycling, or even to look at the industries that commit much larger offenses on a daily basis."

Woman with TWO vaginas speaks out about the physical and emotional problems she faces with the rare condition - “My doctor told me I had two wombs, two vaginas and two cervixes."

Riding this Dildo Hoverboard is not for the faint of vagina - "The short clip features a woman riding around the city on a hoverboard as an attached dildo does its work. “The easy-to-use control panel lets me pick my favorite thrusting speed and rhythmic vibration,” she explains, making a face of on-the-go rapture. While we wouldn’t be shocked to see an actual device like this, the Dildo Hoverboard is joke from Michael Krivicka, who also gave us the Dildo Drone, the Dildo Selfie Stick, and other faux dildo products that are sure to become reality in the foreseeable future. After all, considering that Manhattan has its own masturbation booth, anything is possible"

Japan museum takes care of lost stuffed toy for 30 years, still hopes to find its owner - "Workers at the Chido Museum have given this Donald Duck stuffed toy a bath and even knitted it a new set of clothes - 30 years after a visitor left it behind... It was discovered about 30 years ago in the museum parking lot and since then, museum employees have taken turns to have the toy on their desks"

Huawei Demotes Workers After Embarrassing Tweet From An iPhone

The Sword in the Stone at Montesiepi Chapel – Chiusdino, Italy - "Michael told Giudotti to renounce all of his earthly possessions. He responded that this would be as difficult as splitting a stone, and to prove his point, thrust his sword into a rock. To his surprise, the sword went through the impenetrable surface as though it was water. Shortly after, an errant horse led Giudotti to the very hilltop that had appeared in his visions, where he was moved to plant a cross. Not having any wood handy, he plunged his sword into a rock, just as he had in the vision, where it was embedded for all time. One year later Giudotti died, and in 1185 Pope Lucius the 3rd declared him a saint, and the Montesiepi Chapel was built up around it."
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