"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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Saturday, April 06, 2019

Links - 6th April 2019 (1)

Bus Fares & Ticketing | Buses | Public Transport | Land Transport Authority - "About Distance Fares
All journeys must be within 2 hours of the first boarding (on the same journey).
Maximum of 5 transfers can be made within a journey.
Multiple rail transfers allowed with no additional boarding charges.
45 minutes for transfers between rail station and bus service, or between different bus services.
15 minutes for transfers between different rail stations.
Current bus service must not be the same number as the preceding bus service.
No exit and re-entry at the same station. "
Looks like transfer fares for transfers between different train stations finally got rolled out (quietly). I checked earlier this year and it was still the old rules (despite the end 2018 timeline) but now they're different

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Taking the Buzz out of Coffee - "For many, taking the punch out of the most widely consumed psychoactive substance on the planet really defeats the point. Decaffeinated coffee, a man once said, is kind of like kissing your sister...
Wouldn't it just be easier to go back to the very beginning of the production process and develop a caffeine free coffee plant? Well, they do exist.
‘The trouble is, although they’re zero or very low in caffeine. They taste disgusting... when you taste one of these coffees, which is sometimes found in a street market in Madagascar, for example, they are extremely acidic. I have tried quite a few and you don't want to try them again... it's not easy just to knock out a single chemical or range of chemicals associated with caffeine’"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Unseen: The Rise of Eating Disorders in China - "'Girls encourage each other to binge eat and vomit afterwards. And these people call themselves rabbit because in Chinese a rabbit is Tu Zhi and it has the same sound as the sound of what you call vomiting in Chinese.'
‘This is a country with a particularly food orientated culture, famine still looms large in living memory, and the availability of a rich and varied cuisine is prized. But so too is being thin.’
‘I have had like doctors tell me things like, you know, if you have too many muscles, no one's going to want to marry you'...
‘In a global world, the global beauty ideals are largely thin ideals. And that's not such a surprise because beauty ideals are typically the state of being that is difficult to achieve. And so in our world now, where there's an overabundance of food, and it is difficult to avoid gaining weight, then the beauty ideal of the thin woman becomes all the more paramount.’
‘Is it too simplistic, then, to say this is a result of westernization?’
‘Yes, as we see the rise of eating disorders in other parts of the world, the patterns are, on the one hand, similar, but in each case, there are unique aspects to the presentation and the understanding of eating disorders in cultural context’...
[In Mandarin and curiously untranslated] If they’re too skinny, men don’t like it. Men like some meat...
On the online shopping website Taobao there are vomit tubes being sold with instruction videos. You can push the tube into your stomach, clean out what you're eating, but no one is doing anything about it. And there's no law or regulation to restrict such things."

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, André Cointreau: My Life in Five Dishes - "[On Cordon Bleu] ‘We have been the first program to be accredited by the Ministry of Education in Thailand on Thai cuisine’"
Apparently the Thais love cultural appropriation

How Much Mightier Is the Pen than the Keyboard for Note-Taking? A Replication and Extension of Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014) - "Many students use laptops to take notes in classes, but does using them impact later test performance? In a high-profile investigation comparing note-taking writing on paper versus typing on a laptop keyboard, Mueller and Oppenheimer (Psychological Science, 25, 1159–1168, 2014) concluded that taking notes by longhand is superior. We conducted a direct replication of Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014) and extended their work by including groups who took notes using eWriters and who did not take notes. Some trends suggested longhand superiority; however, performance did not consistently differ between any groups (experiments 1 and 2), including a group who did not take notes (experiment 2). Group differences were further decreased after students studied their notes (experiment 2). A meta-analysis (combining direct replications) of test performance revealed small (nonsignificant) effects favoring longhand. Based on the present outcomes and other available evidence, concluding which method is superior for improving the functions of note-taking seems premature."

Gurwinder on Twitter - "Attacks on @Quillette almost always go the same way: someone accuses it of being a platform for fascists, but when asked to name specific articles, they proudly proclaim that they’ve never read it.
It’s as a reaction to this kind of incuriousness that Quillette even exists."
Ah, for the days when it was left wingers protesting censorship by people who didn't even know what they were trying to censor!

Politics is affecting dating and intimacy, expert says - "“Singles now, especially millennials singles, are more interested in having similar politics and talking about good politics than actually having good sex,” Spira said.The dating site OkCupid told HuffPost last month that for the first time in its 15-year history, the overall number of women who choose shared political views over "good sex" doubled from 2016 to 2018."

Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked - "Blockchains are particularly attractive to thieves because fraudulent transactions can’t be reversed as they often can be in the traditional financial system. Besides that, we’ve long known that just as blockchains have unique security features, they have unique vulnerabilities. Marketing slogans and headlines that called the technology “unhackable” were dead wrong... Susceptibility to 51% attacks is inherent to most cryptocurrencies. That’s because most are based on blockchains that use proof of work as their protocol for verifying transactions. In this process, also known as mining, nodes spend vast amounts of computing power to prove themselves trustworthy enough to add information about new transactions to the database. A miner who somehow gains control of a majority of the network's mining power can defraud other users by sending them payments and then creating an alternative version of the blockchain in which the payments never happened. This new version is called a fork. The attacker, who controls most of the mining power, can make the fork the authoritative version of the chain and proceed to spend the same cryptocurrency again."

Kirsten Powers apologizes for her role in toxic public debates - "I recently took a hiatus from social media to reflect on what role I might be playing in our increasingly toxic public square. I was not proud of what I found. During this time, I reflected not just on my behavior on social media, but also in my public expressions both on TV and in my columns. I looked back over the past decade of my work with a clear eye to assess whether I was shedding light on issues or just creating heat. I cringed at many of the things I had written and said. Many I would not say or write today, sometimes because my view has changed on the issue and sometimes just because I was too much of a crusader, too judgmental and condemning. What’s interesting is that at the time, I was convinced that I was righteous and “speaking truth” and therefore justified behaving as I did, and that anyone who didn’t like it just “couldn’t handle the truth.” “The truth hurts” was practically my motto. When I took to Twitter Monday to apologize for my lack of grace in the public square, many people expressed concern that I would stop speaking with moral clarity on important issues. This is not my goal. I will continue to stand on the side of equality and justice, but also mercy and grace. My goal is to speak in a way that remembers the humanity of everyone involved... the thing that struck me is how much I have changed. I’m not the same person I was a year ago, let alone 25 years ago. Yet our media routinely dig up information from decades ago and demands judgment be delivered with no regard to whether the person has evolved. We need to be more interested in who people are today, not who they were decades ago... In the Bible, a scapegoat was an animal burdened with the sins of others through a ritual, then driven away. This is in effect what our society does when we designate certain people to bear our collective sins. Once it's discovered that a person behaved in a racist, homophobic or misogynist way — often in the distant past — she is banished from society, creating a sense that something has been accomplished. That somehow there has been atoning because someone was punished... It’s critical to remember that people simply are not the sum of their worst moments in life... I frequently hear people who I knew to be homophobic 20 years ago express indignance over anyone who doesn’t support same-sex marriage today with no sense of self-awareness."

Consumer group claims fish may be non-halal - "Muslims must be wary about eating fish as some farms are feeding them non-halal animal by-products, the Penang Consumers Association (CAP) claimed today... Mohamed Idris also called for Jakim’s Halal Certification Procedure Manual to be amended to include animal feed as one of products certifiable by Jakim under its halal certification scheme.He called on the government to come up with a halal standard for animal feed preparation, production, distribution, labelling and handling to enable feed manufacturers to get their feed products halal-certified.“Meanwhile Muslims should refrain from eating meat until such laws are enforced”"
If a pig swims in the sea, all seafood is non-halal

Culture Shock for French in Quebec: ‘We Smoke Cigarettes, They Smoke Pot’ - The New York Times - "Louis Myard, a politics student at the University of Montreal, whose family moved from Paris to Montreal several years ago, mused that “a Mexican and a Chinese person had more in common than a Frenchman and a Quebecer.” “We play soccer, Quebecers play hockey,” he said. “We say “diner,” (dinner) they say “souper” (supper); we prefer wine, they prefer beer"... romance in feminist Quebec also posed challenges for young men reared in “machismo” France.“I have been glared at for opening the door for a Quebecois woman and once called a Quebecois girl I liked, ‘my little baby,’” he recalled. “She got very annoyed and said, ‘I am not your baby!’”... any culture shock had been more than offset by the attraction of a society she said was far less rigid than hierarchical France... Le Monde has proclaimed Quebec an “El Dorado” for a new generation of French drawn by, among other things, an unemployment rate of about 5.5 percent, compared with more than 9 percent in France, and some advantages under immigration rules for speaking and writing French.Between 2013 and 2017, France provided the second largest number of immigrants to Quebec after the Chinese, according to Quebec’s ministry of immigration. There are about 130,000 French people in Montreal... “We Quebecers know we are very different from the French but many French who come here think they are taking the train and going to the French countryside”... While Quebecers have long looked to Enlightenment France for inspiration, Gérard Bouchard, an eminent historian and sociologist with the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, said that as they “gained a stronger sense of identity in the 1960s, they increasingly looked to North America — not France — for self-definition.”... Gallic tempers can flare when their French-speaking cousins surpass them.In March, when Agropur, a Quebec dairy cooperative, edged out a French dairy producer to win the prize for having the world’s best Camembert... Nor are Quebecers amused by periodic breathless reports in the French media depicting Quebec as a frigid maple tree-covered frontier where, according to an article in the French magazine Elle à Table, every year pigs are “sacrificed” around Easter time before being frozen in the open air.After an outcry here, the writer of the article apologized, acknowledging that the “very ancient” ritual no longer takes place in contemporary Quebec... Cultural misunderstandings aside, the French influx shows little sign of abating... after spending $17,000 on her master’s degree in France, she was only able to find work there in a shoe store. In Montreal, she said, she found a senior marketing job in a matter of weeks.She said her generation had been galvanized by President Macron, but were frustrated by his inability to deliver on his promises.“Here I can find a good job, buy a house, am close to nature and have quality of life, and I can still live in French,” she said, adding: “I am angry at France for failing me.”"
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