"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 (2)

Veganism is on the rise, but experts say the cons of the diet outweigh the pros - "some of the science behind the campaign and the policy is partial and misleading.It is long on things that we all know are bad, such as some excesses of factory farming and rainforest clearing to raise beef cattle. But it is mostly silent on such things as the nutritional assets of animal products, especially for children in rural African settings, and the sustainability benefits of livestock in areas as diverse as sub-Saharan Africa to traditional European upland valleys. And, if vegetarian diets show that traditional markers for heart disease, such as “total cholesterol”, are usually improved, this is not the case for the more predictive (and thus valuable) markers such as the triglyceride/HDL (or “good” cholesterol) ratio, which even tend to deteriorate.More importantly, most nutritional “evidence” originates from epidemiology, which is not able to show causation but only statistical correlations. Not only are the associations weak, the research is generally confounded by lifestyle and other dietary factors. Not to mention that part of the epidemiological data, such as the PURE study, show that the consumption of meat and dairy can be associated with less – rather than more – chronic disease. In any case, even if plant-based diets can in theory provide the nutrients people need, as long as they are supplemented with critical micronutrients (such as vitamin B12 and certain long-chain fatty acids), that is not to say that in practice shifting people towards them will not result in a great many people following poorly balanced diets and suffering ill health in consequence. And when a vegan diet fails, for instance due to poor supplementation, it may result in serious physical and cognitive impairment and failure to thrive. The approach seems particularly risky during pregnancy and for the very young, as also documented by a long list of clinical case reports in medical literature. Animal products are exceptionally nutrient-dense dietary sources – removing them from the diet compromises metabolic robustness. Without sufficient insight in the complexities of nutrition and human metabolism, it is easy to overlook important issues as the proportion of nutrients that can be absorbed from the diet, nutrient interactions and protein quality... A shift towards a radically plant-based planetary diet loses the many benefits of livestock – including its deployment on land that is not suitable for crop production, its contribution to livelihoods, and the many other benefits that animals provide. It mistakenly assumes that land use can be swiftly altered and ignores the potential of farming techniques that may even have mitigating effects."

Vegan diets are adding to malnutrition in wealthy countries - "Vegans can prevent micronutrient deficiency by consuming fortified foods (food with added vitamins and minerals) and taking supplements. But supplement use is often resisted by those on a plant-based diet and they have been reported to interfere with the absorption of other important nutrients.Also, plant-derived vegan supplements tend to have low biological activity in humans. For example, studies show that vegan-friendly vitamin D2 supplements are less effective in raising blood vitamin D levels than the more widely used vitamin D3 supplements. Other supplements, such as vitamin B12, may be largely inactive in the body"

Vegan influencer caught eating fish shocked by fans outrage - "A vegan YouTuber and Instagram influencer who has nearly 3 million combined social media followers is being condemned by her foodie fans for faking her lifestyle and making money off of it after she was caught eating fish.Yovana Mendoza Ayres, 29, is known for her lifestyle brand called Rawvana, which promotes plant-based living through a vegan diet (which means not ingesting any animal-sourced products, whether meat or dairy or eggs) and skincare routines. She even sells meal plans and weight loss programs, including a 21-day raw challenge, that sell for up to $99. But after she made an appearance in a friend’s YouTube video eating a plate of fish and trying to hide it, the platform that she’s created is falling apart... she shared that in 2017 it seemed that the way that she was eating, and namely the things that she wasn’t eating, was impacting her health to the point where she was nearly anemic, and even stopped ovulating. “I wasn’t ovulating,” she said in the video. “I was basically anemic and my thyroid levels were low. It was really bad, but it was borderline.”... she not only kept her intake of fish and eggs a secret from her vegan followers, she also continued to make money off of them while promoting a plant-based lifestyle throughout the three months that she had already stopped living it"

These Vegans Really Believe Animal Crackers Are 'Problematic' - "Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Whole Foods all sell their own brands of vegan animal crackers; Barbara’s Snackimals and Stauffer’s are likewise free of eggs and dairy. Nabisco, arguably the most well-known animal cracker variety, is not only vegan but scored extra points with animal rights activists last month when it released its lions, tigers, and bears from their century-long cage captivity on the snack’s packaging. Cages linked the morsels with the circus industry, and in a letter PETA urged Nabisco to update the snack’s graphics “given the egregious cruelty inherent in circuses” towards four-legged friends. The company acquiesced, a visual tradition that began in 1902 came to a halt, and numerous headlines ensued... There's a school of vegan sociologists that steer clear of all animal-shaped foods, no matter their ingredients—bye-bye, plant-based gummy worms, Easter bunnies, Swedish fish, goldfish crackers, bear-shaped vitamins, and bunny grahams—out of concern that these could act as a gateway snack... Where do photo cakes fit in? What does this say about— gasp—people who eat gingerbread men?“Human-shaped cookies and crackers,” notes Wrenn, “are usually generic forms. If they were designed to specifically resemble Jewish persons or African Americans and were marketed to White children, we can perhaps recognize the ideological problem with animal crackers being marketed to human children in an anthropocentric society that engages in widescale, systematic violence against animals.”... Every December, American children nibble on Santa Claus-shaped cookies and it is fair to assume that they would not willingly harm a cherished idol who brings them toys and yuletide joy. Consuming gingerbread people has not been linked with a desensitization process that promotes cannibalism or violence towards others, and many animal crackers could also be considered generic. “Likewise eating gingerbread houses promotes, um,” says Karen Meyers Barbuscia, a Philly-based vegan, who doesn’t have the same hangups about food-shape, “oh fuck, I can’t even finish!”"

Student official faces recall after saying ‘retarding,’ also not asking for peers’ preferred gender pronouns - "A student government official at Western Washington University is facing a recall after he used the word “retarding” to describe the slow pace of a budget committee... [he] has also been accused by fellow student government board members of “misogyny” for voting against the appointment of a female student to a campus activities council, which at the time had only one female member... McKenzie Bolar, the student government’s Disability Outreach Center community engagement coordinator, said in a subsequent interview with the Review that the “word in itself has always carried various meanings throughout time, but the important aspect to realize is that most people do know it as a slur today.”Yet according to Merriam-Webster, to “retard” is “to delay or impede the development or progress of: to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment.”... Student government President Millka Solomon said the importance of pronouns is “not up for debate” in an interview with the Review.And Levi Eckman, student vice president for academic affairs, told the Review: “Simply assuming someone’s gender can be very harmful and has proven to contribute to a variety of consequences, much of which can create lasting trauma.”... Meza-Roa said he had a problem with appointing someone solely because of their gender"

Lara Logan: 'Seek Out Breitbart' to 'Know' the 'Other Side' - "Lara Logan, foreign correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes, said Breitbart News offers “the other side” of news media relative to what she described as a mostly left-wing and partisan Democrat news landscape in the U.S. and abroad...
' Visually, anyone who’s ever been to Israel and been to the Wailing Wall has seen that the women have this tiny little spot in front of the wall to pray, and the rest of the wall is for the men. To me, that’s a great representation of the American media, is that in this tiny little corner where the women pray you’ve got Breitbart and Fox News and a few others, and from there on, you have CBS, ABC, NBC, Huffington Post, Politico, whatever, right? All of them. And that’s a problem for me, because even if it was reversed, if it was vastly mostly on the right, that would also be a problem for me.My experience has been that the more opinions you have, the more ways that you look at everything in life — everything in life is complicated, everything is gray, right? Nothing is black and white.'...
News media homogeneity cripples many people’s desire for getting to the truth about political goings on, determined Logan... 'One ideological perspective on everything never leads to an open free diverse tolerant society. The more opinions and views … of everything that you have, the better off we all are. So creating one ideological position on everything throughout your universities, throughout academia, in school and college, in media, and everywhere else, that’s what concerns me. I don’t have to agree with everybody.'
Logan added, “Although the media has historically always been left-leaning, we’ve abandoned our pretense — or at least the effort — to be objective, today. … We’ve become political activists, and some could argue propagandists, and there’s some merit to that.”... Most news media outlets ignore the origins of ostensibly grassroots political activism, stated Logan. She pondered the geneses of such campaigns, speculating on technology firms’ roles in amplifying such campaigns... Logan dismissed news media claims allegedly rooted in singular anonymous government sources as unreliable. “That’s not journalism, it’s horseshit,” she said.“Responsibility for fake news begins with us,” said Logan, referring to journalists and reporters.Logan recalled that Media Matters for America (MMFA) targeted her following a 60 Minutes report she filed related to the September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. “I made one comment about Benghazi,” remarked Logan, “[Then] I was targeted by Media Matters for America, which was an organization established by David Brock, who has dedicated himself to the Clintons. It was their known propaganda organization.”... Towards the end of the interview, Logan quipped, “This interview is professional suicide for me.”"

Lessons From a Recovering Identity Warrior - "It’s normal to want to be proud of your heritage, especially when you’re part of a minority group that you don’t see reflected back within the larger culture you inhabit. But there’s a reason why many religious traditions treat pride as a sin: It usually doesn’t end with an innocent fondness for a flag, or a symbolic salute to a dead president or king who resembles that beloved grandfather you’d never met. Pride can easily push you into one-sided distortions of history... Blaming America for the backwards nature of my home country felt right to the resentful teenager I then was. And even as I grew older, my lefty (white) friends never called me out on it—even when I wasn’t making sense—because I was railing against The Man. I was punching up. Who needs facts, when you have a nodding, guilt-ridden white ally to vent to? It was like a woke intellectual masturbation session that offered a symbiotic catharsis. An exaggerated sense of race-based pride is birthed in the absence of a strong centre, and nourishes itself on the ego of restless young men. I began to build my own ideological world, and connected with other like-minded people who were playing the same game, feeding the same psychological appetites. Over time, it turned from a defence against the real racism of others, into a socially-accepted program of aggressive anti-white rhetoric, which continues to be encouraged, or at least willfully ignored, by the liberal mainstream and by many of my white friends."

(12) Interethnic Bias in Willingness to Engage in Casual Sex Versus Committed Relationships - "Interethnic romantic relationships are widely seen as a strong indicator of a well-integrated society. However, racial bias may still be evident in the tendency to engage in casual sex versus committed relationships. Using a large, age-diverse sample of 3,453 White British participants, this study found a general preference for White partners over racial minority partners. Furthermore, in line with social structural theory, participants reported a relative preference for marriage (versus casual sex) with White partners, but a relative preference for casual sex (versus marriage) with racial minorities. This pattern was further modified by sex: Men reported a general preference for casual sex (versus marriage) with all racial groups except White partners. Women, however, reported a general preference for marriage (versus casual sex) with all groups, but this preference was strongest for White partners. The pattern was not further modified by sexual orientation."

Singapore remains world's most expensive city - "Singapore was found to be 11% more expensive than New York for basic groceries.And together with Seoul, it was found to be the most expensive place in the world for clothes, "with prices 50% higher than New York", the EIU said."
It's not just cars

Cost of Living Comparison between Australia and Singapore - "According to the Cost of Living Survey 2017 byMercer, Australia has the 12th highest cost of living in the world, while Singapore sits in 5th position. Generally speaking, living in Singapore is more expensive than living in Australia, but costs can vary significantly depending on where in Australia you reside.Based on the most recent available data, consumer prices in Sydney are approximately 3% higher than similar costs in Singapore. Other major metropolitan areas of Australia are cheaper than Singapore, however, with consumer costs ranging from 2% lower in Perth to 7.5% lower in Brisbane, relative to Singapore. Adelaide and Melbourne also have lower overall consumer costs.Groceries are more expensive in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth compared with Singapore, but Brisbane grocery costs are cheaper. Furthermore, the cost of eating out in a restaurant is higher across Australia than it is in Singapore.Rental costs are more extravagant in Sydney than in Singapore, but this is an anomaly in an overall comparison – every other major Australian city has lower rents than Singapore."

"The best predictor of future behavior is … past behavior" - "past behavior is a useful marker for future behavior. But only under certain specific conditions:
High-frequency, habitual behaviors are more predictive than infrequent behaviors.
Predictions work best over short time intervals.
The anticipated situation must be essentially the same as the past situation that activated the behavior.
The behavior must not have been extinguished by corrective or negative feedback.
The person must remain essentially unchanged.
The person must be fairly consistent in his or her behaviors...
the situation plays a critical role in behavior. The situation is often more determinative than individual character traits. Personality theorist Walter Mischel - frequently cited in connection with the "best predictor" maxim - suggests that behavioral consistency is best described through if-then relationships between situations and behaviors, as in: "She does A when X, but B when Y." So, a person may engage in heavy drug use when in the company of drug-using peers, but may stop using when she moves away and gets a fulfilling job... with detected recidivism among sex offenders falling somewhere between a low of about 3 percent and a high of no more than 15 percent, it's pretty hard to argue past as prelude. And if we apply the mantra to murderers, as did "Dr. Death" in Texas, we will be even further off the mark. In California over the past two decades, about 1,000 people have been paroled from prison after serving time for first- or second-degree murder. Their recidivism rate for murder?Precisely zero... The best-predictor axiom ignores such base rates, which are essential to accurate prediction"
Again, ignoring 'stereotypes' is the base rate fallacy

Cangue - Wikipedia - "A cangue (/kæŋ/) or tcha is a device that was used for public humiliation and corporal punishment in East Asia and some other parts of Southeast Asia until the early years of the twentieth century. It was also occasionally used for or during torture. Because it restricted a person's movements, it was common for people wearing cangues to starve to death as they were unable to feed themselves... a typical cangue would consist of a large, heavy flat board with a hole in the center large enough for a person's neck. The board consisted of two pieces. These pieces were closed around a prisoner's neck, and then fastened shut along the edges by locks or hinges. The opening in the center was large enough for the prisoner to breathe and eat, but not large enough for a head to slip through"
So the Chinese punishment device has a name
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