"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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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Links - 10th April 2019 (1)

Is Japan losing its umami? - "“This is what gives our soy sauce its unique taste,” Yamamoto said, pointing to a 150-year-old wooden barrel. “Today, less than 1% of soy sauce in Japan is still made this way.” Until 70 years ago, all Japanese soy sauce was made this way, and it tasted completely different to what the world knows today. But despite a government ordinance to modernise production after World War Two, a few traditional brewers continue to make soy sauce the old-fashioned way, and Yamamoto is the most important of them all. Not only has he made it his mission to show the world how real soy sauce is supposed to taste, but he’s leading a nationwide effort to preserve the secret ingredient in a 750-year-old recipe before it disappears"

Italy’s practically perfect food - "Pound for pound, Parmigiano-Reggiano can compete with almost any food for calcium, amino acids, protein and vitamin A – and is prescribed by doctors to cure ailments."

BBC says 1 in 6 stars 'must be gay or lesbian or disabled' by 2020 - "a review by the BBC Trust, the corporation's watchdog, found that six stations - including Radio 2 - raised concerns that they were failing ethnic minority audiences."
So much for "to educate, inform and entertain"

Why is Chinese media blurring these actors' ears? - "The decision by a popular Chinese video streaming platform to censor the ears of actors wearing earrings has sparked a heated debate online.Images taken from programmes produced by the Netflix-like streaming service iQiyi, show actors with large blobs covering their earlobes and have been widely shared online.The hashtag #MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings has been used more than 88,000 times on Weibo where many users are expressing their outrage at the censorship"

Rocking like a baby promotes better sleep in adults - "Researchers from the University of Geneva built a special bed that rocked gently throughout the night.They tested it on 18 young adults and found they woke up fewer times and slept more deeply than on a normal bed.Scientists said the rocking motion resulted in a longer period of slow brainwaves which caused deep sleep, and improved their memory."

'Racist' Gandhi statue removed from University of Ghana - "A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the famed Indian independence leader, has been removed from a university campus in Ghana's capital, Accra.University of Ghana lecturers began a petition for its removal shortly after it was unveiled in 2016 by India's former President Pranab Mukherjee.The petition said Gandhi was "racist" and African heroes should be put first."
First they came for Cecil Rhodes...

Can 'voluntary colonialism' stop migration from Africa to Europe? - "The European Union, or a body like the World Bank, should build and run cities in Africa in order to boost job creation and development on the continent, Germany's Africa Commissioner, Gunter Nooke, told the BBC in an interview in which he outlined his thinking on how to stem migration to Europe. This will mean African countries leasing their land to a foreign body to "allow free development for 50 years", Mr Nooke said... Some proponents of the idea see Hong Kong as a model. They argue that the Chinese territory owes its economic development to when it was under British control between 1841 to 1997."

A Point of View: Should countries be more like families? - "What matters to us in our democracy is not that majority opinion should prevail, but that we should be equal participants in the political process, and equally protected by it. In a nation state the law is the common property of every citizen. It stands above every person and every faction. It protects the dissenter from the orthodox, the minority from the majority, and the nation as a whole from those who seek to confiscate its assets. It does this by bringing us all together in a shared first-person plural. Europe is moving not towards democracy but away from it, as we lose the right to define ourselves in that way. Democracy ends when we find ourselves governed not by us, but by them."

GCSE book pulled after stereotyping Caribbean dads as 'largely absent' - "A publisher has said it will stop selling a GCSE textbook after it was found to contain stereotypes about Caribbean families.AQA GCSE (9-1) Sociology says Caribbean men are "largely absent" from family situations.The comments have been called "really dangerous"... The paragraph in the sociology of families section of the book reads: "In Caribbean families, the fathers and husbands are largely absent and women assume the most responsibility in childrearing."When men and women live together, it is usually in cohabiting or common law relationships that reproduce the traditional patriarchal division of labour."It adds: "The family system is also characterised by child-shifting, that is, the passing of children to other relatives or acquaintances if the parents find themselves unable to take care of them. As a result, multiple women are involved in childhood socialisation."People on social media have called the text "racist"... "I do acknowledge that the number of families with absent fathers is higher in the black community, proportionally... If we had an educational system that actually studied and analysed the black experience, including the impact of the slave trade and racism in society, it would be different""

Absence of fathers in homes described as social emergency - "THE absence of fathers in most Jamaican homes has been described as a social and public health emergency that demands urgent attention, according to Dr Michael Coombs.Dr Coombs, founder of the National Association for the Family (NAF), was speaking at Tuesday's official launch of the organisation in Kingston.Dr Coombs, who said the NAF was a group of concerned Jamaicans from various professional groups sharing the common concern for the degrading of family life, noted that "85 per cent of Jamaican children were born out of wedlock, which he said was perhaps the highest in the world. He added that the breakdown in family life has led to increased levels of crimes and violence, youth incarceration and sexual abuse, among other social maladies."
Presumably there's a lot of racism in Jamaican society

Young, black and proud to be a father - "If you are an African-Caribbean child you are twice as likely as your white British counterpart to grow up in a single-parent household. In fact, the figure is probably higher. An Equality and Human Rights Commission report in 2011 found that as many as 65% of African-Caribbean children are raised by one parent – nearly always the mother... "As black men, we need to show our love. We need to show all those absent dads that they are missing out. Fatherhood is much more satisfying than driving around in a big car.""

Jail for father who beat 9-year-old son with hanger over homework - ""The accused was angered by the victim's mistakes," said the prosecutor. He left the dining room, returning with a plastic hanger while his son begged him for leniency.He grabbed the boy's hand and yanked him forcefully from the chair, causing him to tumble onto the floor.He then pulled him up by his left leg, so that the boy was held upside down, and hit him on his buttocks and legs with the hanger, swinging it down "with his full strength", court documents said... He then threw the hanger at the boy and kicked him again before chasing him into the bedroom, where he hit the boy's buttocks with his hands."
Given that caning is prescribed as punishment by the judicial system this is hilarious

British town council to have a vote on whether Father Christmas is a man - "A row over the gender of Father Christmas has erupted in a town in northern England after a woman was chosen to play the festive figure.It's a Christmas tradition in Newton Aycliffe that a member of the local community travels around town dressed as Father Christmas on December 24th.Great Aycliffe Town Council will now have a vote on the matter after two women put their name forward for the role and one of them was granted permission to dress up as Father Christmas"

Christopher Tolkien and the legacy of his father J.R.R. Tolkien: The Steward of Middle-earth - "Now, after more than 40 years, at the age of 94, Christopher Tolkien has laid down his editor’s pen, having completed a great labor of quiet, scholastic commitment to his father’s vision. It is the concluding public act of a gentleman and scholar, the last member of a club that became a pivotal part of 20th-century literature: the Inklings. It is the end of an era... “The value of myth,” C.S. Lewis wrote in an essay defending The Lord of the Rings, “is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’” In this, fantasy did precisely the opposite of what its critics alleged—it did not represent a flight from the real world but a return to it, an unveiling of it. A child, Lewis wrote, “does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods,” but “the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.”... The reason for the broad appeal of Tolkien’s work—for its chameleonic ability to speak to every time and place and people—is that while it is full of ideas, it never becomes ideological. This approach is often a source of frustration in our explicit day (“What was Aragorn’s tax policy?” complained George R. R. Martin), but a great myth cannot lay out its answers plainly, Tolkien believed: It must do so implicitly through storytelling."

Have Women Done It? - The New York Times - "payroll data show that jobs held by women have declined less than jobs held by men in the current recession, as well as in previous ones.But there are important differences between payroll jobs, total employment and the labor force. The payroll jobs (as assessed by the Current Employment Survey) do not include many agricultural jobs or the self-employed, categories dominated by men. And the labor force includes those seeking work as well as those currently employed... women are more than twice as likely as men to work part time (24.6 percent in 2008 compared with 11.1 percent in 2008). A measure of equal participation in paid employment should take that difference in hours into account."
On the "mancession"

Tech employees are much more liberal than their employers — at least as far as the candidates they support - "Tech employees tend to be predominantly liberal when it comes to politics; their corporate employers are much more middle-of-the-road.Those are among the findings from an examination of political contributions during this election cycle, using data from Open Secrets, a nonprofit political spending database by the Center for Responsive Politics... The vast majority of those donations went to Democrats. The most extreme examples were Netflix ($321,000) and Twitter ($228,000), which had about 99 percent of employee donations go to Dems"
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