"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, May 04, 2019

Links - 4th May 2019 (2)

Italian driver hijacks and sets alight to school bus full of children 'in retaliation' for migrant drownings - "An Italian bus driver of Senegalese descent was arrested on Wednesday after hijacking his own vehicle and setting it on fire, allegedly threatening to kill more than 50 children on board whose hands he had bound.The 47-year-old man said he was acting in revenge for the thousands of migrants, many of them African, who have drowned in the Mediterranean in recent years while trying to reach Europe from Libya... Police said the suspect had a criminal record, with convictions for sexual molestation and driving while drunk. He obtained Italian citizenship in 2004.Mr Salvini, the interior minister and head of the anti-immigration League party, asked why a person with a criminal record was allowed to drive a school bus... The traffic has slowed considerably after the EU beefed up the Libyan Coast Guard – which has been accused of human rights abuses – and Italy’s populist government decreed last summer that it was closing its ports to NGO vessels that rescue asylum seekers."
Maybe it's Europeans' fault that migrants drown in the Mediterranean because they let them stay in Europe. So they should turn them all away instead - since what Italy's 'populist' government is doing seems to be working
Naturally the media isn't obsessing over this like Christchurch

Number Of Migrant Deaths In Mediterranean Fell In 2018 - "Fewer migrants attempted the perilous Mediterranean crossing toward Europe last year, leading to a drop in migrant deaths at sea, as patterns of migration shifted amid growing anti-immigrant sentiment."

NVIDIA Develops AI That Can Remove Noise, Grain, And Even Watermarks From Photos - "Researchers from NVIDIA, Aalto University, and MIT have developed an AI that can remove noise from grainy photos and automatically enhance them. This technology can be beneficial in several real-world situations where it is difficult to obtain clear image data like MRI scans, astronomical imaging, and more."

Drinking a litre a day of mineral water 'can prevent onset of Alzheimer's' by flushing out aluminium - "Drinking a litre of mineral water every day can prevent cognitive decline in Alzheimer's sufferers by removing aluminium from their bodies, a study found yesterday.British researchers found drinking silicon-rich mineral water 'significantly reduced' the levels of neurotoxin aluminium in the body.Aluminium has long been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s but no scientific relationship has yet been proved."

Having 'white nuclear family' promotes white supremacy, says New York professor, report says - "A City University of New York sociology professor reportedly said in a tweetstorm last week that “the white-nuclear family” promotes racism, prompting a backlash on social media.Jessie Daniels, described as an expert on “the Internet manifestations of racism” on her CUNY page, infuriated social media users after reportedly saying that white families promote racism by default... She reportedly ended her arguement suggesting that “white people” should confront their racism and stop perpetuating inequality by leaving their homes for their children."

Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar - "Previous analyses have found that the most feasible route to a low-carbon energy future is one that adopts a diverse portfolio of technologies. In contrast, Jacobson et al. (2015) consider whether the future primary energy sources for the United States could be narrowed to almost exclusively wind, solar, and hydroelectric power and suggest that this can be done at “low-cost” in a way that supplies all power with a probability of loss of load “that exceeds electric-utility-industry standards for reliability”. We find that their analysis involves errors, inappropriate methods, and implausible assumptions. Their study does not provide credible evidence for rejecting the conclusions of previous analyses that point to the benefits of considering a broad portfolio of energy system options. A policy prescription that overpromises on the benefits of relying on a narrower portfolio of technologies options could be counterproductive, seriously impeding the move to a cost effective decarbonized energy system."
Presumably PNAS has been taken over by paid nuclear and fossil fuel lobbyists

Why Renewables Advocates Protect Fossil Fuel Interests, Not The Climate - "if solar and wind are substitutes for fossil fuels, why are the world’s biggest oil and gas firms promoting them?Over the last three years, the five largest publicly-traded oil and gas companies, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP, and Total invested a whopping one billion dollars into advertising and lobbying for renewables and other climate-related ventures."

The Real Reason They Hate Nuclear Is Because It Means We Don't Need Renewables - "the two greatest successes when it comes to nuclear energy are Sweden and France, two nations held up by democratic socialists for decades as models of the kind of societies they want... it is only nuclear that has, by powering high-speed trains everywhere from France to Japan to China, decarbonized transportation, which is the source of about one-third of the emissions humankind creates... Ordinary people tell pollsters they want renewables for the same reason they buy products labeled “natural”: they are in the grip of an unconscious appeal-to-nature fallacy.The appeal-to-nature fallacy is the mistaken belief that the world can be divided into “natural” and “unnatural” things, and that the former are better, safer, or cleaner than the latter.In reality, solar farms require hundreds of times more land, an order of magnitude more mining for materials, and create hundreds of times more waste, than do nuclear plants.And wind farms kill hundreds of thousands of threatened and endangered birds, may make the hoary bat go extinct, and kill more people than nuclear plants.But because of our positive feelings toward sunlight, water and wind, which we view as more natural than uranium, many people unconsciously assume renewables are better for the environment. By contrast, renewable energy advocates and investors like Gore, McKibben, Klein and the heads of Sierra Club and NRDC know perfectly well that solar and wind farms have huge environmental impacts. They have to deal with the public backlash every day.Google for a few minutes and you'll find widespread resistance to solar and wind farms around the world. It's the kind of grassroots opposition championed by Gore, McKibben, and Klein — but only when it's against nuclear and fossil fuel plants... After World War II, the working class in developed nations become materially rich, undermining the case that only a radical, socialist transformation of society could end poverty... In response, radical critics of capitalism shifted their focus. The problem was no longer that capitalism was causing material poverty but rather that it was destroying the environment."

Social work: no place for Christians - "social work is more often a reflection of dominant social mores than a challenge to them. For example, while it now espouses homosexual equality and acceptance, this has not always been the case. A 1971 edition of the British Journal of Social Work published an article advocating aversion therapy for gay and ‘cross-dressing’ men. The key change has been the adoption of ‘anti-oppressive practice’ (AOP), a central component of social-work training pre- and post-qualification... Some even argue that social workers have a duty to combat ‘animal oppression’. As someone who has owned and bred several racing greyhounds, I can only hope this remains a fringe sentiment or else I, as someone who lectures on social work at a university, may end up in a similar position to Ngole. The striking thing about the radical social-work movement is how, in quite a short space of time, it went from viewing the working class as the solution to society’s problems to seeing it as the problem – a group of unenlightened bigots who required professional training to eradicate their prejudices... Yet if Ngole does not allow his private beliefs to affect his practice, then why should he not be allowed to pursue a career in social work? In other words, as long as he does not discriminate against homosexual clients, or try to convert them, then there is no reason why he cannot perform his job.But this is the glaring problem with AOP. It actively encourages social workers to challenge and attempt to change the beliefs and behaviours of those they encounter who do not adhere to the current moral orthodoxy. So, if a social worker’s own beliefs do not adhere to that orthodoxy, then he or she is in trouble"

India's first nuclear missile submarine crippled as sailor leaves hatch open - "A hatch left open on the INS Arihant lead to saltwater flooding the propulsion area, rendering the $2.9 billion submarine inoperative."

American Military Aid to Israel Is Less Than It Seems - "According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the United States spends roughly $36 billion annually on military capabilities in Europe, almost 10 times its annual assistance package to Israel. Of course, that spending accounts for operations in more than two dozen countries. But those are countries that, unlike Israel, Washington is treaty-bound to defend... Israel is hardly the only American ally in the Middle East to receive military aid. Egypt is the second-largest non-NATO recipient after Israel, and Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are beneficiaries as well. Unlike U.S. aid to Israel, most of which is funneled back to the American defense sector, U.S. defense spending toward its forward-operating presence in Europe and Asia is composed of hundreds of thousands of “boots on the ground”"

The Perfect Irony That ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Film Was Also a Real-Life Scam - "both Low and DiCaprio have starring roles in a 251-page Department of Justice indictment documenting the multibillion dollar criminal scheme. Low, the alleged mastermind of what Attorney General Loretta Lynch referred to as the greatest kleptocracy the world has ever seen, was DiCaprio’s friend. They’d partied together in Vegas and Cannes; they schemed together to beat the system in Hollywood. Most of all, though, he handed DiCaprio the money to make his dream project — The Wolf of Wall Street — that no one in Hollywood would bankroll... It seems the socially-awkward Low had a thing for rich, mildly attractive, blonde daughters of famous American families. Because while at Wharton, Low developed a well-known crush on Paris Hilton. His roommates say he watched House of Wax, her debut movie, at least a half-dozen times. Little did Low know that, one day, a drunken Paris Hilton would regularly party with him, and be photographed with his sweaty, alcohol-flushed face on her shoulder... he was dating Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr. They watched the Super Bowl together in a private box with Aziz and Red Granite co-founder Joey McFarland, who until then had mostly been known as Hilton’s party-planner. While they all watched the game, Katie Holmes stopped in to say “hi,” as did fellow model Kate Upton... The only person to truly see Low for the criminal he was? A fellow conman — the OG Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort, who acted honorably when he crossed paths with Low. As Belfort recalled: “They flew me to Cannes four or five months after they bought the movie and they wanted to announce it in Cannes. It hadn’t even gone into production yet, and they threw a launch party. They must have spent $3 million on a launch party. They flew in Kayne West, and I said to Anne [his girlfriend], ‘This is a fucking scam, anybody who does this has stolen money.’ You wouldn’t spend money you worked for like that”"

What’s The Deal With Pussy Slapping? - "Pussy slapping, also called cunt spanking, clit slapping, clit smacking, vagina slapping, and clit tapping, is pretty much what it sounds like. Though one might get the visual image of an open-handed slap on the pussy as if it were a face, that’s not quite the way it goes. It can involve the head of a dick slapping the clit, a hand, a finger, or objects such as rulers, or for more advanced kinksters, a whip or belt. In some porn, it’s related to squirting."

What I Learned About Racism as the Only Chinese Person at a 'Chinese' Festival - "The local butcher shop has been renamed "The China Butcher Shop," while the bakery has transformed into a "Chinese Bakery" selling fresh "Chinese donuts and pretzels." There's light beer, dark oak furniture, and red Chinese lanterns. The phrase "Ni hao!" is being shouted out at will.Amid all this, I am the only real-life Chinese person in sight. The source of my confusion lies in the small German city of Dietfurt, situated along the Altmühl river in the south east of the country. Every Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the city is transformed into "Bavarian China," and its inhabitants become "Chinese," dressing up in "traditional" clothing and wearing yellowface makeup. This annual festival is not some niche sideshow—around 20,000 people flock to Dietfurt every year to take part... For me, racism means writing people off based entirely on their origin or skin color. Or when people think a "Chinese costume" consists of a kimono and chopsticks, "because it's all Asian anyway." But how devaluing is it when a whole city celebrates their perception of Chinese culture? Calling themselves Chinese, having a Chinese landmark in their town, and regularly receiving guests from China?"
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