"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, April 09, 2019

Links - 9th April 2019 (1)

Daily fried chicken linked to 13% higher risk of death - "A regular serving of fried chicken or fish is associated with a higher risk of death from any cause except cancer, according to a new study done in postmenopausal women in the United States.Women who enjoyed fried chicken once or more per day had a 13% higher risk of death from any cause compared with women who did not eat any fried food, according to the study, published Wednesday in the medical journal BMJ... eating fried chicken had a 13% greater risk of death and 12% increased risk of a heart-related death. For fried fish, the rise in risk of death and heart-related death was 7% and 13%, respectively.But there was no link between total or specific fried food consumption and cancer deaths... In Spain, research into the association between fried food consumption and mortality from all causes showed no links between the two, because the population used olive oil... Lynne Garton, dietetic adviser to the charity Heart UK, said the study is "interesting" but warned about drawing firm conclusions. The women who ate more fried foods tended to be generally less healthy, meaning there are a "host of factors" that could have led to the results, she explained.Additionally, their "diet was assessed at the beginning of the study, which assumes the same diet was followed for the whole 18 years of follow-up.""
The wonders of epidemiology

From California to Oslo: Foreign subsidies fuel Norway's e-car boom, for now - "Norway has the world's highest rate of electric car ownership in the world, partly thanks to long-term perks such as free or discounted road tolls, parking and charging points, which boost the appeal of second hand models unwanted elsewhere. The government also exempts electric vehicles from taxes on traditional vehicles that are very high in a country which does not have its own fossil fuel car industry to lobby against them. Rebates offered by other countries are another part of the equation"

Why the world’s recycling system stopped working | Financial Times - "On December 31 2017, China, previously the centre of the global recycling trade, abruptly shut its doors to imports of recycled material, citing the fact that large amounts of the waste were “dirty” or “hazardous” and thus a threat to the environment. The prices of plastic scrap collapsed, as did the price of low-grade paper. Suddenly, the lucrative trade that had sprung up shipping recyclables around the world was in crisis... The investigation found an industry undergoing unprecedented disruption, with the very purpose of recycling thrown into question. While it has grown and often profited as consumers have become more aware of the environmental costs of landfill, the sector has long had an unsavoury side. This has been exposed by the National Sword policy, as an industry plagued by allegations of smuggling, corruption and pollution has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight. China’s ban has also laid bare the uncomfortable economics behind household recycling, and triggered a profound re-examination of the practice — one that many say was long overdue... Technically, China does still accept some forms of scrap, but it has set such a high bar for the cleanliness of the materials that can be imported that most people in the industry refer to it as a “ban”. In the US, many companies have had to send recycling to landfill because there is nowhere else to put it, a painful reversal after decades of growth in recycling programmes... “Recycling is like a religion here,” says Laura Leebrick, head of government affairs at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in Southern Oregon. “It has been meaningful for people in Oregon to recycle, they feel like they are doing something good for the planet – and now they are having the rug pulled out from under them.”... With China out of the market, the cost of managing the recycling programme has tripled... Globally, about half the plastic intended for recycling is traded overseas, according to a recent study in Science Advances. That percentage is even higher on the US West Coast – California exports two-thirds of the stuff tossed into household recycling bins... “China finally realised that it was a net deficit to their country to take this scrap,” says Jim Puckett, director of the Basel Action Network, a non-profit focused on the hazardous waste trade. “The harm to the groundwater and the harm to the air, those have big economic costs.”
"Sustainability" isn't sustainable

'Moment of reckoning': US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports - "There isn’t much of a domestic market for US recyclables – materials such as steel or high-density plastics can be sold on but much of the rest holds little more value than rubbish"

What Happens Now That China Won't Take U.S. Recycling - "About 25 percent of what ends up in the blue bins is contaminated, according to the National Waste & Recycling Association. For decades, we’ve been throwing just about whatever we wanted—wire hangers and pizza boxes and ketchup bottles and yogurt containers—into the bin and sending it to China, where low-paid workers sorted through it and cleaned it up. That’s no longer an option. And in the United States, at least, it rarely makes sense to employ people to sort through our recycling so that it can be made into new material, because virgin plastics and paper are still cheaper in comparison. Even in San Francisco, often lauded for its environmentalism, waste-management companies struggle to keep recycling uncontaminated... Cleaning up recycling means employing people to slowly go through materials, which is expensive. Jacob Greenberg, a commissioner in Blaine County, Idaho, told me that the county’s mixed-paper recycling was about 90 percent clean. But its paper broker said the mixed paper needed to be 99 percent clean for anyone to buy it, and elected officials didn’t want to hike fees to get there. “At what point do you feel like you’re spending more money than what it takes for people to feel good about recycling?” he said... Americans tend to be “aspirational” about their recycling, tossing an item in the blue bin because it makes them feel less guilty about consuming it and throwing it away... many other cities are finding that glass is so heavy and breaks so easily that it is nearly impossible to truck it to a place that will recycle it. Akron, Ohio, is just one of many cities that have ended glass recycling since the China policy changes... Items made of different types of plastic nearly always end up in the trash, because recyclers can’t separate the plastics from one another—Reed equates it with trying to get the sugar and eggs out of a cake after you’ve baked it

Commentary: Why recycling, less single-use plastics are not the answers to our plastic scourge - "the crux of the real problem which stems from the 21st century’s super-efficient supply chain system has seamlessly designed, sourced, manufactured and distributed materials and goods to consumers on such a large scale and low cost in virtually every nation of the world.Paradoxically, it is both a supply chain system built on waste and convenience, but born out of necessity when it has provided needed infrastructure for some of our most basic needs such as food, water, and healthcare.Solutions that may appear logical on the surface, such as reducing usage, eliminating single-use plastic, and developing new product alternatives can lead to an even worse impact to the environment if the same supply chain system stays intact."

The Era Of Easy Recycling May Be Coming To An End - "a full 66 percent of people surveyed by Harris Poll last October said that they wouldn’t recycle at all if it wasn’t easy to do.Some experts have credited single stream with large increases in the amount of material recycled. Studies have shown that people choose to put more stuff out on the curb for recycling when they have a single-sort system. And the growth of single-stream recycling tracks with the growth of recycling overall in this country.But it also pretty closely tracks with skyrocketing contamination rates... contamination can be high enough that it ends up counteracting any increase in the volume of material you got from the ease of single-sort... “It’s cost-effective for the waste haulers,” Lee said. Single stream makes it easier and cheaper to collect recycling — you need fewer staffers to operate fewer trucks, which collect recycling more efficiently, and require less fuel to run"

Why Do Americans Smile So Much? - "countries with lots of immigration have historically relied more on nonverbal communication. Thus, people there might smile more... when there are a lot of immigrants around, you might have to smile more to build trust and cooperation, since you don’t all speak the same language.People in the more diverse countries also smiled for a different reason than the people in the more homogeneous nations. In the countries with more immigrants, people smiled in order to bond socially. Compared to the less-diverse nations, they were more likely to say smiles were a sign someone “wants to be a close friend of yours.” But in the countries that are more uniform, people were more likely to smile to show they were superior to one another. That might be, the authors speculate, because countries without significant influxes of outsiders tend to be more hierarchical, and nonverbal communication helps maintain these delicate power structures... when McDonald’s entered Russia in the ’90s, they had to coach their employees on how to smile"

Raising CPF Withdrawal Age Will Lead To A Breach Of Trust: Dr Toh Chin Chye, 1984 - "In June 1984, Dr Toh Chin Chye, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, gave a passionate parliamentary speech, criticising the CPF Board for attempting to raise the withdrawal age."

Mark Rozells - "A Minimum Sum with no Maximum
It's not that easy to find information on the changes to the CPF over the last 40 years. You would think that the CPF Board would have made a simple, easy to read article or poster charting those changes, but no. (I wonder why...) So I looked through the Hansard, (the record of what is discussed in Parliament) to find out when the changes took place and the reasons for those changes and the promises each Minister made, and whether they stuck to those promises or not...
What a difference 35 years makes, doesn't it.
1985 - at 55, you get access to all your CPF money and can use it how you see fit.
2020 - at 55 you can get $5,000 of your CPF money plus the rest except for the first $181,000 (or first $90,500 if you pledge your HDB) which you will get in a monthly payment from age 65 onwards."

The Forgotten Story Of How Marina Bay Sands Sanitised Gambling - "The year is 1960 and Singapore is under attack, as usual.However, the enemy is not an Indonesian commando waging Konfrontasi or the yet-unborn Al-Qaeda franchise Jemaah Islamiyah.Instead, it was a nefarious homegrown terrorist—the Tikam Tikam man. Armed with his Tikam board and an arsenal of delicious snacks, he would set up shop outside a school to corrupt innocent school children, turning them into ‘scoundrels’ and ‘gamblers’ with his seductive game of chance... If gambling is so evil that 5 cents can destroy a child’s future forever, how did we reconcile it with our decision to build a casino?This is the question that is raised and answered in Professor Lee Kah-Wee’s book ‘Las Vegas in Singapore: Violence, Progress and the Crisis of Nationalist Modernity’. Recently published by NUS press, it is a fascinating study of Gambling’s long history in Singapore, as well as the government’s (colonial/PAP) paradoxical, love-hate relationship with the ‘vice’ of gambling... Unlike most casinos which sought to distinguish themselves from the competition by outrageous ‘themes’ and glitzy signs, Marina Bay Sands blends into CBD skyline, or what Prof Lee calls the ‘aesthetic order’ of Marina Bay. It conformed to what the civil servants called the ‘principle of zero visibility’ by camouflaging itself in the architectural vernacular of the CBD. Like the recently finished Marina Bay Financial Centre, it contained ‘sky-connectors’ and water pavilions which transformed the IR into a part of ‘public urban life’."

Amnesty International has toxic working culture, report finds - "Amnesty International has a “toxic” working environment, with widespread bullying, public humiliation, discrimination and other abuses of power, a report has found.A review into workplace culture, commissioned after two staff members killed themselves last year, found a dangerous “us versus them” dynamic, and a severe lack of trust in senior management, which threatened Amnesty’s credibility as a human rights champion... Staff reported multiple accounts of discrimination on the basis of race and gender and which women, staff of colour and LGBTQI employees were targeted or treated unfairly."

STW video: “HuffPost’s lies, hate speech, and incitement to violence exposed” - "Consisting only of screencaps of items that appeared on HuffPost’s pages (mostly its front page), and passages from its articles, the video walks the newcomer through a representative sampling of the grim reality. Specifically, that as contrasted its executives’ repeated public statements that it is a completely nonpartisan, professional “news” organization, dedicated only to practicing “the highest standards of journalistic integrity,” and that it does not allow any kind of hate speech or incitement (archive below), the reality is that HuffPost is and does exactly the opposite of what it claims...
'Sorry Liberals, A Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any'
'Trump Supporters Deserve To Die More Than I Do'...
HuffPost senior editor incites readers to stalk and harass Republican Congressional representatives, including at their homes [UPDATE: Two weeks later, radical leftists began harassing the neighborhood in which the Republican chairman of FCC lives]...
Jesse Benn, whom HuffPost enabled to write an article explicitly advocating and legitimizing the use of political violence by radical leftists (see Case Study 2), took to Twitter, and justified the attempted assassination of Scalise and the others"
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