"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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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Links - 18th April 2019 (2)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, John Malkovich: Harvey Weinstein inspired play may 'upset' people - "I'm sure for some people, it would be very painful. In the end that's kind of what theater is for. A lot of great plays done well elicit the question: do I laugh or do I cry, and I think a lot of great comedy exists on this knife's edge."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, How should social media be regulated? - "‘Many people will have seen the video that emerged yesterday of Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Ireland in 2009 before the Irish voted for a second time on the on the Lisbon Treaty saying that, talking about a European Empire of the 21st century, talking about creating one massive great Frankenstein, Europe becoming subservient to the wishes of NATO and the aims of NATO. Are these his true views on the European Union?’
‘I saw that late last night. These are the views of Jeremy when he was on the back benches shaking the tree and challenging the establishment governments in both Ireland and the UK.’
‘Are they still his views now?’
‘No. No, his views now are that of the Shadow Cabinet and the Labour Conference’"
A "good and decent man" indeed

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Trump's State of the Union - "‘He's a counter puncher. Remember, John, he won't punch you unless you punch him first. Remember, the key word is counter puncher and he's been like that for 40 years in the public's eye’
the folks that were, got in trouble like Paul Manafort were for tax evasion... There's nothing to do with the president and or any, or Cohen, Cohen was was indicted for tax evasion and pay to play. It has nothing to do with the president and Russia collusion... look, he's been, they've been searching for two years and they found nothing"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Friday's business with Rob Young - "[On Marie Kondo] What's happened more recently is that people are reacting to the results of a 20 year boom in purchasing. Research that I've done shows that the number of things people have purchased increased dramatically in the 1990s and then well into the 2000s...
Our generation is busier, I think our generation has inherited the stuff that their parents collected or their own stuff...
The simplest explanation is that prices have gone down, particularly the prices of manufactured goods. These fell a lot which led people to buy a lot more of them. Apparel is a great example of this dynamic. You see it a lot in consumer electronics, or in furniture in what I've called the IKEA effect. Suddenly, one can buy really stylish furniture at a fraction of what it costs to buy in the past"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Pre-natal tests & genetics - "There’s an ideology in the private sector that the more the better. And therefore in the NIPT test they offer the whole range of conditions that they screen for, for which we have no data about how effective, if how worthwhile the medical screening is. There are many women that are having these expanded tests that being given information of a high risk for various chromosomal abnormalities. And then they come, they're extremely worried. They end up having an invasive tests, which was the first thing that they wanted to avoid it in the first place. And then of course, the invasive test shows that the results of the NIPT test was wrong...
‘We had a lady a little while ago who had received an email at eight o'clock on a Saturday morning. And by the time we finally caught up with that woman on the Monday, she was actually contemplating a termination without any testing at all. And she had a history of anxiety and depression.’"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Friday's business with Katie Prescott - "If there's a ban on single use plastics, on packaging and water bottles and so on, you just have to ask the question, well, what are you going to put in its place? And, you know, there's a simple, you know, simple story here. If you swap a plastic bottle for for a glass bottle that takes about 80% more energy, and that will be more energy, more carbon emissions, that bottle is a lot heavier. And so it takes an awful lot more energy to, to transport it around. And so the point here is, yes, we should be concerned about plastics. But before we start sort of whacking that mole, we should also worry about where it pops up somewhere else. And that's that was the main point"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Turkey slams China's treatment of Uighurs - "Opposition figures have picked this up, and they are questioning what they call a hypocrisy. They are saying that the government is accusing China of human rights abuses, whereas it commits them here at home. But that kind of rhetoric is not very likely to hurt the government at the moment. Nearly all dissent in Turkey is silenced and strong opposition to government policies, what they call as oppression is at the moment not possible"

Maryam shariatmadari on Twitter - "Maryam Mirzakhani, was the first female winner of the prestigious Fields Medal. She did'nt wear Hijab when receiving the medal, so the IR photoshopped her picture for their own propaganda. Now, @Nike has done the same! After leaving Iran, she never wore Hijab in public. #IWD2019"

The Perils of the Siege Mentality in Singapore - "two things, I realized, have never changed. They seem to be the few constants in Singapore’s history: one is the ruling PAP; the other is the siege mentality it has inspired from day one. Singapore, we are told, is unique. Our circumstances are unique (as if the same cannot be said of just about every other country on earth), and what they have tried to drill into our minds from a very young age, is that we are also uniquely vulnerable... What is surprising is not so much that Singapore spends that much on defense – we already know the government is operating under a siege mentality– but there is hardly any serious public discourse on whether such high expenditures are justified. It is taken almost as an article of faith that Singapore needs a strong defense for survival, so the government is allowed to do whatever it takes to maintain that, no questions asked. After all, national education has ensured that Singaporeans are brought up on the orthodoxy that we constantly need to be on our guard against all imaginable sorts of threats – thus the aggressive campaign for “total defense”. The problem is that everything comes with an opportunity cost... The acute sense of vulnerability and by extension, that Singapore has to do all it takes to avoid failure, also has ripple effects across society. It is at the heart of Singaporean kiasu-ism: the fear of failure is most acute when one believes that any failure at all is a threat to one’s survival... This “national conversation”, however, is bound to be a project with form (semblance and appearance of consensus-forging, public consultation) but no substance as long as the government is resistant to questioning its most fundamental premises of nation-building. To be sure, the government has no intention of doing that, not when the minister leading the conversation believes that the national conversation should seek to “reaffirm, recalibrate and refresh national values and policies”. Clearly they don’t see anything quite wrong with the fundamentals when all they want the national conversation to do is to, simply put, repackage an old good"
It's really no surprise 200 people listening to Watain's death metal music can rip apart Singapore's social fabric, since someone making offensive remarks about religion online can incite racial riots and cause Singapore to sink into the sea like Atlantis. The key issue is not religion or conservatives but Singapore's paranoia (e.g. with National Service/NS). Pascal's Wager is a fallacy, after all

Sydney Watson on Twitter - "Strong women don't have to play the gender card.
We don't try to be men.
We don't want preferential treatment or gender quotas to give us a leg up.
We earn based on merit.
If you're a woman who wants to play the victim, don't drag the rest of us down with you."

“Princess Qajar” and the Problem with Junk History Memes - "Junk history is embodied perfectly in a recent viral meme that portrays a nineteenth-century Persian princess with facial hair alongside the claim that 13 men killed themselves over their unrequited love for her. While it fails miserably at historical accuracy, the meme succeeds at demonstrating how easily viral clickbait obscures and overshadows rich and meaningful stories from the past."

How the Ballpoint Pen Changed Handwriting - "Perhaps it’s not digital technology that hindered my handwriting, but the technology that I was holding as I put pen to paper. Fountain pens want to connect letters. Ballpoint pens need to be convinced to write, need to be pushed into the paper rather than merely touch it. The No.2 pencils I used for math notes weren’t much of a break either, requiring pressure similar to that of a ballpoint pen.Moreover, digital technology didn’t really take off until the fountain pen had already begin its decline, and the ballpoint its rise. The ballpoint became popular at roughly the same time as mainframe computers. Articles about the decline of handwriting date back to at least the 1960s—long after the typewriter, but a full decade before the rise of the home computer."

Why is food so expensive in Australia? - "it is partly because shoppers have simply got used to high prices and foodie shows such as MasterChef may also encourage us to pay a premium for food... According to Numbeo, a website where users contribute data from around the world, grocery prices in the US were 24.85 per cent lower than in Australia. In Singapore they were 18.52 per cent lower, in the UK 12.25 per cent lower, France 9.67 per cent lower and Japan 9.47 per cent lower. When it comes to food prices, news.com.au analysis of the EIU’s data found that Sydney was more expensive than London, New York and Hong Kong if you calculated the price of a basket of food including bread, butter, apples, tomatoes, eggs, mince, fresh chicken, cheese, spaghetti and milk.The price of cheese bumped up Sydney’s result considerably, if this is removed from the basket of goods, then New York is the most expensive city out of the four. However, Sydney boasted the highest prices for apples, tomatoes and mince, all foods that are produced in the country... People often point to high wages in Australia and while this can be a factor, this did not explain why prices in other high-wage countries such as France were often cheaper... Senior economist John Ferguson at the Economist Intelligence Unit agreed that Australians had been accepting of high food prices for many years and this was partly due to the strength of the economy... Australia needed more competition as there were only two major supermarkets operating in the country... “Woolworths’s earnings before interest and taxes is 7.6 per cent and this is one of the highest in the supermarket world”... Australia’s smaller population compared to Europe was one of the biggest factors... Australia’s huge land mass is another factor that drives transportation costs... Australian food regulations tended to be more extreme than those overseas and this meant imports of cheaper products from other countries was restricted."

STUDY: Alzheimer's Looks To Be Caused By Gum Disease - "Porphyromonas gingivalis, a key bacteria in chronic gum disease, appears to be the cause of Alzheimer's disease... The finding, says the site, could lead to a vaccine for Alzheimer’s"

Ryan Isaacs's answer to What's wrong with Sydney? - Quora - "Population density there is shockingly low for a city of its size. Even taking out the large areas of parkland, Sydney’s population density is about the same of that of Maidstone, a biggish town in the English county of Kent. Once you leave the innermost suburbs, you’ll find mostly sprawling suburban (almost semi-rural) estates punctuated by the occasional Bunnings. You can literally walk five to ten minutes from Central station and be among houses with backyards."

Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap - "Perhaps, I thought, male bosses undervalue women. But I discovered women without bosses--who own their own businesses-- earn only 49 percent as much as male business owners. Why?When the Rochester Institute of Technology surveyed business owners with MBAs, they discovered money was the primary motivator for only 29 percent of the women, versus 76 percent of the men. Women prioritized autonomy, flexibility (25 to 35-hour weeks and proximity to home), fulfillment, and safety.These contrasting goals were reflected in contrasting behavior: male business owners working 29 percent more; being in business 51 percent longer; having more employees; and commuting 47 percent farther.To make a fair legal assessment of the value of these differences requires more than saying, for example, that people who work 33 percent more hours should earn that much more pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that people who work 33 percent more hours get about double the pay. For example, people who work 44 hours per week make more than twice the pay of those working 34 hours. (Not at the same job, but, for example, at a job like a national sales representative, that would not even be available to someone who could only work 34 hours per week.)After a decade of research, I discovered 25 differences in men and womens work-life choices. All of them lead to men earning more money; and all lead to women having lives more balanced between work and home. (Since real power is about having a better life, well, once again, the women have outsmarted us!)... Women who have never been married and are without children earn 117 percent of their male counterparts. (The comparison controls for education, hours worked and age.) Why? The decisions of never-married women without children are more like mens (e.g., they work longer hours and dont leave their careers), and never-married mens are more like womens (careers in arts, etc.). The result? The women out-earn the men... dont female executives also make less than male executives? Yes. Discrimination? Lets look. Comparing men and women who are corporate vice presidents camouflages the facts that men more frequently assume financial, sales and other bottom-line responsibilities (vs. human resources or PR); they are vice presidents of national and international (vs. local or regional) firms; with more personnel and revenues; they are more likely executive or senior vice-presidents. They have more experience, relocate more, travel overseas more, and are considerably older when they become executives.Comparing men and women with the same jobs is still often to compare apples and oranges. However, when all 25 choices are the same, the great news for women is that then they make more than men... we miss 80 fields in which women can work, for the most part, fewer hours and fewer years, and still earn more than men. Fields such as financial analyst, speech-language pathologist, radiation therapist, library worker, biological technician, funeral service worker, motion picture projectionist.Thus women focused on discrimination dont know which female engineers make 143 percent of their male counterparts; or why female statisticians earn 135 percent... Employers today often feel in a precarious relationship with their female employees. Will the woman submitting her employment file today be filing a lawsuit tomorrow?"
In other words, the true gender wage gap is that women are paid more than men once you control for relevant variables
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