"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, October 03, 2019

Links - 3rd October 2019 (3)

Stare Down Gulls to Avoid Lunch Loss - Scientific American - "Gulls aren’t the only ones who behave better when being watched. A 2006 study found that people paid three times as much for their drinks at an unattended honor-system coffee bar when just an image of staring eyes was displayed nearby."

Tourist Photographs Help African Wildlife Census - Scientific American - "the estimates from tourist photos were just as good as those gleaned from traditional methods. And the tourists were actually the only ones to see elusive cheetahs—the researchers would have missed the cats without the citizen science data"

Attractive Young Females May Have Justice Edge - Scientific American - "Mock trial studies have suggested that attractive people have an edge in the criminal justice system. So Ferguson and his colleagues looked into that stereotype using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, the largest long-term study of people who began participating in the study as teens... Ferguson and his team looked at a subset of nearly 8,800 respondents and examined the correlation between attractiveness and arrest, conviction and sentencing. After controlling for things like gender, race and socioeconomic status, they found that attractiveness did have a protective effect—but only for females."Girls or women who are more attractive were less likely to be arrested if they'd committed a crime and less likely to be convicted if they were arrested for that crime. However, it did not have any impact on their sentencing. So once they were convicted, attractiveness conveyed no further benefits."

Rhinos and Their Gamekeepers Benefit from AI - Scientific American - "“What people don’t know is about a thousand gamekeepers—the UN kept numbers until, I think, 2014—have been murdered by poachers in order to get at the animals being protected. This is about humans. Well, how do you basically protect rhinos with AI? Well, that’s a good question. Being a kid who grew up in the Bronx my thought was, well, you know, you put a collar on the rhino, analyze where they are, their travel patterns. And the guy who ran the reserve in South Africa sort of laughed, said, ‘This does not help.’”... 'when the rhino stops moving you’ll know it was dead. That’s really not helpful.’... 'what you do is, get a bunch of animals that are easily spooked, like gazelles, antelopes, that sort of thing, and what you do is you collar them.’ We looked at that, and we thought about it and said, that’s brilliant, because they become sentinels. Because you see, when a poacher enters an area that it will encounter these creatures, it’s going to encounter rhinos, they’re by far more rare. When they encounter the creatures, like any other animal they spook and run.'"

Backpack Harvests Energy as You Walk - Scientific American - "Picture a pendulum mounted to a backpack frame and stabilized with springs on either side. The pack's weight is attached to the pendulum, so the pendulum swings side to side as you walk. Gears then use that swinging motion to drive a generator, and the generator spits out electrical current to charge a battery.Volunteers carried the pack while walking on a treadmill and wore masks to measure the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Walking with the slightly swaying 20-pound load, the device did not significantly affect the volunteers' metabolic rate compared to when they carried the same weight fixed in place. In fact, the energy-harvesting pack reduced the forces of acceleration they'd feel in a regular pack, which might mean greater comfort for a long hike. And the device did produce a steady trickle of electricity—the operative word being trickle. Because if you up the load to 45 pounds, the passive motion of the pack could fully charge a Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone only after 12 hours on the trail"

Some Hot Dog Histology - Scientific American - "he and his colleague Jordan Radigan got their hands on three types of dogs: a no-name brand from the supermarket, another all-beef dog and a third from a ballpark vendor. They then took cross sections for slides and used stains to identify different types of tissue. And found, to their surprise, that most slices consisted primarily of fat globules, with very little skeletal muscle—the stuff we tend to think of as "meat." In fact, the no-name brand actually had more skeletal muscle than the all-beef brand. The researchers also found bits of bone and blood vessels and cartilage—even plant material. How did vegetable matter get in there?"Let me put it this way. Sometimes I get biopsies from human colons and I find vegetable matter. I'll just leave it at that.""

Mind and Body Benefit from Two Hours in Nature Each Week - Scientific American - "Two hours a week. People who spent at least that much time amid nature—either all at once or totaled over several shorter visits—were more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those with no nature exposure.Remarkably, the researchers found that less than two hours offered no significant benefits... the two-hour benchmark applied to men and women, to older and younger folks, to people from different ethnic backgrounds, occupational groups, socioeconomic levels and so on. Even people with long-term illnesses or disabilities benefited from time spent in nature—as long as it was at least 120 minutes per week"

Antiperspirant Boosts Armpit and Toe-Web Microbial Diversity - Scientific American - "the antiperspirant and foot powder actually boosted the diversity of microbes in the armpits and in between the toes—perhaps because those products change nutrient and moisture levels and thus create conditions that foster a wider variety of tiny occupants"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Surveillance and Human Freedom - "[On Xinjiang] According to the Chinese state, it is necessary to counter terrorism. In echoes of Orwell’s doublethink they also say it's to improve human rights… Broadcasting House here where we are was the model for 1984’s Ministry of Truth...
‘It's interesting, isn't it that you revert to paedophiles and terrorists, you know, which is kind of feels unarguable, but this technology won’t just be used for pedophiles and terrorists. It’ll be used for burglars, it'll be used, goodness knows what it’ll be used for, it’ll be used for people with speeding records’…
‘Where's the human in this process? I've talked to citizens in a citizens jury, and they're very worried about what is called an automated decision systems or ADS. They don't want a decision about their insurance, about their criminality, about their health made by a machine with a black box algorithm which can't be explained to them.’"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Love and Relationships - "‘When my partner says, I love you. I want them to be saying it to me, rather than to the cameras.’...
‘Love can be a performance, even if it's a private performance for one. I mean, if somebody wants to seduce somebody else, for some game, they might do in private, so the fact that there aren't cameras watching doesn't make it any more real’...
I think this polarization or binary look at love, which is that the deep love, the self sacrificial love that grows out of companionships. You know, a lot of societies, whether they're Asian or Middle Eastern, or Islamic, or you know, different religious fundamentalisms, will say that love is actually about sacrifice and just companionship, and it's not about the western hegemony of romantic love... to say that love has to be self sacrificial, I don't think that's absolutely true."

BBC Radio 4 - Homer, Hagrid and the Incredible Hulk - "'We live in an era now where to be nerdy is to be cool. Geek culture has taken over. There are cool people who pretend to be nerds now. That was unfathomable to me when I was a kid'...
'One of the things that makes it so appealing is that everyone starts at the same place.... All the fans initially start at that same place when that world comes out
a Ph.D who can come in and start telling you: nono, you're wrong about this that and the other. There's just the author and then there's you and your fellow fans. Obviously over time, as some people become deeper and deeper into it and continue with it, people will see them as sort of as experts, as we are considered experts, but I think there's a great general sense that everyone can become an expert on this in a way that you don't have to go to university and get a doctorate to be able to considered an expert or feel like you have an expertise in this area'...
'People look at us and they try to read the tea leaves of what we say to try to figure out what George is doing. So if I suddenly change one day my opinion on some theory, people will say oh George must have told them something and they're trying to reposition themselves. So I just stick to arguing sometimes quite strenuously the wrong point, because otherwise people will figure out maybe that something has changed in my knowledge. So yeah it is something that you have to be very careful with'...
'The people who think of comics of being, you know,pedestrian or childish, they're on the wrong side of history. Comic books were recognised as an American art form, I believe before jazz was'"

Blake Hammond on Twitter - "They say white people don’t have their own culture but I just got invited to a gender reveal party for a dog and there’s no way we appropriated that from anyone else."

Charles Luo - "Ironic innit? Fast fashion labels like H&M are the one of the biggest waste producers, based on UN environment statistics. But hey. They’re the good guy for charging you to use a bag that they used to provide for free."

Meme - "A man leapt from a second-floor apartment after his gun-slinging date tried to shoot him because he refused to give her oral sex"
"Why isn't it her mugshot there instead of his picture. And why wasn't she charged with sexual battery or attempted rape?? If this was a man he would have the charge"
"This is the woman's mugshot."

India lifted 271 million people out of poverty in 10 years: UN - "India lifted 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016, recording the fastest reductions in the multidimensional poverty index values during the period with strong improvements in areas such as “assets, cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition”"
For those who claim democracy doesn't work and India is a basket case because of it compared to China

Doug Robertson's answer to Why do people get angry when I try to share the word of God with them? I only do it because I care about them deeply and don’t want them to end up in hell. I feel like some people avoid me because of this. Is there any way to get through to them? - Quora - "The entire process is not what you think it is.It is specifically designed to be uncomfortable for the other person because it isn’t about converting them to your religion. It is about manipulating you so you can’t leave yours.If this tactic was about converting people it would be considered a horrible failure. It recruits almost no one who isn’t already willing to join. Bake sales are more effective recruiting tools.On the other hand, it is extremely effective at creating a deep tribal feeling among its own members.The rejection they receive is actually more important than the few people they convert. It causes them to feel a level of discomfort around the people they attempt to talk to. These become the “others”. These uncomfortable feelings go away when they come back to their congregation, the “Tribe”.If you take a good look at the process it becomes fairly clear. In most cases, the religious person starts out from their own group, who is encouraging and supportive. They are then sent out into the harsh world where people repeatedly reject them. Mainly because they are trained to be so annoying.These brave witnesses then return from the cruel world to their congregation where they are treated like returning heroes. They are now safe. They bond as they share their experiences of reaching out to the godless people to bring them the truth. They share the otherness they experience.Once again they will learn that the only place they are accepted is with the people who think as they do. It isn’t safe to leave the group. The world is your enemy, but we love you.This is a pain reward cycle that is a common brainwashing technique. The participants become more and more reliant on the “Tribe” because they know that “others” reject them.Mix in some ritualized chanting, possibly a bit of monotonous repetition of instructions, add a dash of fear of judgment by an unseen, but all-powerful entity who loves you if you do as you are told and you get a pretty powerful mix.Sorry, I have absolutely no wish to participate in someones brainwashing ritual."

Straight Black Men Are the White People of Black People - "It feels counterintuitive to suggest that straight black men as a whole possess any sort of privilege—particularly the type of privilege created for and protected by whiteness. In America, we are near or at the bottom in every relevant metric determining quality of life. Our arrest and incarceration rates, our likelihood of dying a violent death, our likelihood of graduating high school and attending college, our employment rates, our average net worth, our likelihood of surviving past 70—I could continue, but the point is clear.But assessing our privilege (or lack thereof) on these facts considers only our relationship with whiteness and with America. Intraracially, however, our relationship to and with black women is not unlike whiteness’s relationship to us. In fact, it’s eerily similar."
Intersectionality meant it was only a matter of time before they were thrown under the bus too

Koran teacher who abused girl is spared jail to help his family - "An Islamic teacher who molested a girl as he taught her the Koran has avoided prison after claiming his family was dependent on him because his wife speaks “very little English”.Suleman Maknojioa, 40, repeatedly rubbed the 11-year-old’s leg and reached underneath her headscarf to touch her chest while giving her and her two brothers private tuition in Arabic.Maknojioa was said to have “favoured” the girl and believed the touching was “appropriate” to reassure her... He was later convicted of five counts of sexual activity but on Monday he was given a 40-week sentence suspended for two years after a court heard he was on benefits with a family reliant on him"

On the purpose of exams

On the latest furore over exam testing in Singapore (3 ‘exceptionally difficult’ 2019 PSLE math questions circulate online after students left in tears):

Ian Chung:

"My brief take on this:

If we accept that exams need to serve the dual functions of allowing students to demonstrate mastery and allowing the tester to have a sorting mechanism, then a good exam needs to have these sorts of questions.

Will 3 questions make a huge difference to a student's score? I doubt it. If they did, that would actually be a poorly designed testing instrument. Can 3 questions make a huge difference to a student's confidence? I have no doubt about it.

However, that raises the question of how we have trained our students to think about exams and testing in general. If you get stuck on 3 questions at the expense of completing the rest of the paper, that is clearly poor exam-taking technique. If your confidence is damaged after one exam, then what about the rest of the hard knocks down the road of life?

If the argument is that we shouldn't strike our kids down at this early stage, then what exactly do we want as a society? We've already done away with exams at P1 and P2. Maybe we should bring them back instead, and include such pattern recognition questions from an earlier age? The alternative is a race to the lowest common denominator, where your testing instruments no longer serve the differentiation purpose, and exist solely to affirm prior learning.

This sounds great, except...testing is embedded at all levels of education as a form of quality control (even PhD candidates need to defend their work!), and it shouldn't be just to show that you have learnt something; it should also encompass the ability to apply and extrapolate from that acquired knowledge.

On a more pragmatic, Singaporean note, how will we sort our kids into secondary school without this kind of testing? Are parents really going to accept a system where there is no longer any form of sorting mechanism at work?

So when we complain about such questions, are some of us really saying "This is unfair because it damages my kid's prospects of getting into [insert school of choice]"?"

Links - 3rd October 2019 (2)

Govia Thameslink fined £1m over Gatwick Express window death - "A rail firm has been fined £1m after a man died leaning out of a train window.Simon Brown, 24, was killed when he hit his head on a steel gantry on the side of the track while on the Gatwick Express in London in August 2016.In May, Govia Thameslink Railway admitted a health and safety breach because a sign saying not to lean out was not displayed clearly enough. The rail regulator has written to firms demanding "immediate action" over trains with these types of windows.Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC, at Southwark Crown Court, said while there was a warning sticker on the door, it was "jumbled" around other notices."The signage around the window was confusing," he said, adding no risk assessment of the windows had been carried out... The Office of Rail and Road said there were about 1,500 of the "droplight" windows - which allow passengers to reach through to open doors from the outside once the train has stopped at a station - in circulation on the rail network."
British people must be very stupid, since they need to be told very clearly not to put their heads out of train windows
The photo of the window indicates a lot of other important notices, so the next time when another calamity happens the railway can be fined again because those notices were made less prominent - in order to make the one about not sticking your head out more obvious


'Masturbation helps you fall asleep': German health insurer's self-help campaign goes viral

The Hidden Cost of GoFundMe Health Care | The New Yorker - "A third of the money raised on GoFundMe in 2017 was for medical expenses. This isn’t surprising, given that the United States has the highest over-all health-care costs in the developed world. Since 2008, health-insurance deductibles have increased eight times as quickly as wages. A study in The American Journal of Medicine last fall found that 42.4 per cent of the 9.5 million people diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2012 had depleted their assets within two years... In crowdfunding, this kind of storytelling has become crucial to success. “The story is obviously the paramount piece of any campaign, whether you’re raising capital for a big tech idea or raising capital for a problem you have,” Roy Morejon, the president and co-founder of Enventys Partners, a prominent crowdfunding consulting firm, told me. A good story attracts attention, from which more attention often grows. “We’ve now launched more than a thousand crowdfunding campaigns, and what we’ve seen at work is FOMO—the fear of missing out—and a sense of urgency,” he said. “Nobody wants to be the first person on the dance floor, but, once there’s a party on the dance floor, people join in.” In most successful campaigns, the first third of funding comes from one’s real-life community. “Once that happens, you usually have about an eighty-per-cent success rate to fully fund the ask”... Yet putting so much weight on storytelling also underscores its limits. Stories dictate their own span: beginning, middle, resolution. This is not how major change happens, and the strength of social storytelling—its ability to make problems seem individual and ordered—can also become a weakness. Storytelling looks past all the interlocking motions of society in favor of the personal, the private, the atomized view. (In “Mary Poppins,” when young Michael incites a run on the bank and then goes off flying kites, we don’t see the effects of this financial collapse beyond Cherry Tree Lane.)... Cataldo was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree theft by deception. She did not have cancer. Through two GoFundMe campaigns, she had fraudulently raised thirty-eight thousand dollars; altogether, she had taken in nearly half a million dollars, most of it through a seven-year false narrative perpetrated on her family and friends... “People erroneously assume that GoFundMe is doing fact checking,” Adrienne Gonzalez, who monitors the platform on her Web site, GoFraudMe, said... The risk in giving medical aid on the basis of stories is that the theatre of change trumps actual systemic reform; the guy with resources helps an ailing friend, or donates to a stranger whose experiences resonate, and believes that he’s done his part. Meanwhile, the causes of problems go untouched."

Stan Lee's daughter sides with Sony in Spider-Man spat with Disney - "While many fans have rallied behind Disney in the wake of reports that talks had broken down between the company and Sony over future Spider-Man films, at least one person is standing behind Sony — Stan Lee’s daughter.In a statement to TMZ, Joan Lee said Marvel and Disney need to be “checked and balanced” as they seek total control of her father’s creations. “Whether it’s Sony or someone else’s, the continued evolution of Stan’s characters and his legacy deserves multiple points of view”... Lee seemed to support Sony’s decision not to accept this new co-financing deal.“When my father died, no one from Marvel or Disney reached out to me,” Lee said. “From day one, they have commoditized my father’s work and never shown him or his legacy any respect or decency. In the end, no one could have treated my father worse than Marvel and Disney’s executives.”"

'London Bridge is down': the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death - "For a long time, the art of royal spectacle was for other, weaker peoples: Italians, Russians, and Habsburgs. British ritual occasions were a mess. At the funeral of Princess Charlotte, in 1817, the undertakers were drunk. Ten years later, St George’s Chapel was so cold during the burial of the Duke of York that George Canning, the foreign secretary, contracted rheumatic fever and the bishop of London died. “We never saw so motley, so rude, so ill-managed a body of persons,” reported the Times on the funeral of George IV, in 1830. Victoria’s coronation a few years later was nothing to write home about. The clergy got lost in the words; the singing was awful; and the royal jewellers made the coronation ring for the wrong finger. “Some nations have a gift for ceremonial,” the Marquess of Salisbury wrote in 1860. “In England the case is exactly the reverse.”What we think of as the ancient rituals of the monarchy were mainly crafted in the late 19th century, towards the end of Victoria’s reign. Courtiers, politicians and constitutional theorists such as Walter Bagehot worried about the dismal sight of the Empress of India trooping around Windsor in her donkey cart. If the crown was going to give up its executive authority, it would have to inspire loyalty and awe by other means – and theatre was part of the answer. “The more democratic we get,” wrote Bagehot in 1867, “the more we shall get to like state and show.”"

If Your Boss Could Do Your Job, You’re More Likely to Be Happy at Work - "employees are far happier when they are led by people with deep expertise in the core activity of the business. This suggests that received wisdom about what makes a good boss may need some rethinking. It’s not uncommon to hear people assert that it’s a bad idea to promote an engineer to lead other engineers, or an editor to lead other editors. A good manager doesn’t need technical expertise, this argument goes, but rather, a mix of qualities like charisma, organizational skills, and emotional intelligence. Those qualities do matter, but what our research suggests is that the oft-overlooked quality of having technical expertise also matters enormously... The benefit of having a highly competent boss is easily the largest positive influence on a typical worker’s level of job satisfaction. Even we were surprised by the size of the measured effect. For instance, among American workers, having a technically competent boss is considerably more important for employee job satisfaction than their salary (even when pay is really high)... The bottom line is that employees are happiest when the boss knows what she or he is talking about, and that drives performance: there is growing evidence, from randomized trials done under laboratory conditions, that when you make workers happier they become more productive. One study found that quite small boosts in happiness went on to produce a reliable 12% extra in labor productivity. Moreover, employees who are happy at work are less prone to quit, and it is well known that a high level of quits is expensive for a company. Lastly, it has recently been demonstrated that firms with happy employees go on to have better stock-price growth in the future."

YouGov survey: British sarcasm 'lost on Americans' - "Plenty of Americans working in the UK have complained about British passive-aggressiveness, or their annoying tendency to beat around the bush"

Retire at 55 and live to 80; work till you're 65 and die at 67. Startling new data shows how work pounds older bodies. - "The studies were based on the number of Pension Fund cheques sent to Boeing retirees. The Boeing experience was that employees retiring at age 65 received pension cheques for 18 months, on average, prior to death. A similar experience was discovered at Lockheed Martin, where on average, employees received pension cheques for just 17 months.Apparently the experiences at Ford Motor Company and Bell Labs were similar to those of Boeing and Lockheed. Statistics at a pre-retirement seminar illustrated that the average age of retirement at most large corporations in the US was 57. So people retiring at age 65 are a minority, but it is still a startling statistic.The thought is that the hard working late retirees (65) are more than likely putting too much stress on their ageing bodies and minds and due to the stress, they develop a variety of health problems. The associated stress induced health problems lead to them dying within two years of retirement.Another startling statistic from the same Corporations is that those who retire earlier, say age 55, tend to enjoy their retirement on average for more than 25 years. The chances are that those able to retire earlier have less stress, have planned and managed their lives better, with respect to finances, health and career and are able to retire comfortably.One important observation is that these younger retirees (55) aren’t necessarily idle in retirement, but they are far less stressed than their working counterparts from age 55 to 65. This means they may be busying themselves with part time work, hobbies and things they enjoy doing, so much so that ‘work’ becomes fun and is done at a more leisurely pace."

Where are Singapore noodles from if not from Singapore? - "According to renowned Singaporean chef Damian D’Silva, the dish started in Hong Kong. “Created in either the 50s or 60s by chefs in Hong Kong, they wanted to make something exotic, hence the addition of curry powder. I believe the name is a coincidence, as the chefs felt it would add to the ‘exotic’ nature of the dish, due to the fact that Singapore wasn’t as well-known during that time. The dish then spread overseas and to Europe during the travels of the Hong Kong chefs while they were under British rule,” says chef D’Silva, who champions Singapore’s heritage food in his Eurasian and Peranakan restaurant Folklore, and who was a judge on last year’s inaugural MasterChef Singapore. When visiting Singapore, the closest dish would be Xin Chow (the old name of Singapore) Bee Hoon, or Sin Chew Bee Hoon, which is made from stir-fried vermicelli, vegetables, seafood and soy sauce – no curry powder or sliced red peppers here... “One side of the argument would be that it showcases different aspects of cuisines that are commonly found in Singapore, thanks to the different prevalent cultures due to our location as a trading port. Stir-frying is a Chinese style of cooking; rice vermicelli is one of the main noodle types that Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine all use. Curry is as universal as it gets in Singapore”... “Singapore is known for trying to combine a bit of everything when it comes to cooking. In that sense, one could argue that the entire dish, from the ingredients to the way the dish is put together, is very much reflective of Singapore,” he says, adding that even when cooking Italian cuisine at Bar Cicheti, he tries to add the big, bold flavours loved by locals."
Too bad Hong Kong noodles seem to only be found in Singapore, probably because comparatively few Singaporeans migrate

The CubeSat revolution changing the way we see the world - "CubeSat pioneers have embraced the fail-fast model of Silicon Valley.Nasa, as a public agency, has a very low tolerance for risk. But an expendable CubeSat allows a different approach: if you're launching dozens at a time, you can lose one or two here and there. While Nasa has traditionally focused on ensuring that expensive kit works perfectly, the CubeSat model says don't worry.Failing with disposable satellites is cheaper than succeeding with big ones. If it doesn't work, try again.But third, don't dismiss the public sector too casually. It is easy to define private space exploration in contrast with Nasa and other national space agencies.Image copyright NASA. In fact Nasa has quietly supported CubeSats - by funding small CubeSat-launching rockets. It has also given CubeSats free rides to the International Space Station, where they can be launched through a special airlock"

Killed for spying: The story of the first factory - "The Russian revolutionaries were not slow to embrace the factory.In 1913, Lenin had condemned the stopwatch-driven, micromanaging studies of engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor as "advances in the extortion of sweat". After the revolution, the stopwatch was in the other hand, with Lenin announcing: "We must organise in Russia the study and teaching of the Taylor system.""

The Long Island Iced Tea company said it's pivoting to blockchain — and its stock is soaring by more than 400% - "Shares of The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation soared as much as 432% pre-market Thursday morning after the company said it would change it’s name to Long Blockchain Corp.
The company will continue to sell its line of bottled drinks based on the eponymous cocktail, it said, but its parent company "is shifting its primary corporate focus towards the exploration of and investment in opportunities that leverage the benefits of blockchain technology"

'Long Blockchain' Maybe Not as Smart as It Thought - "Remember “Long Blockchain,” or rather, the company formerly known as Long Island Iced Tea Corp. that saw its stock skyrocket after it changed its name to refer to the foundational technology behind the cryptocurrency boom and made a vague pivot to “globally scalable blockchain technology solutions”? Turns out that might not have been so smart!... Long Blockchain now hovers at a value of $5 million, well below both the nearly $70 million it shot up to after changing its name in December and the roughly $20 million it was originally worth before that."

Liberals loving Muslim Conservatism/Radicalism; Anti-colonialism vs Anti-Westernism

"Like many of my fellow progressive Muslims and ex-Muslims, I have been referred to as a “sellout,” an “Uncle Tom,” and an “Oreo” (implying I’m brown on the outside and white on the inside—a relatively appetizing slur compared to the others). I have been accused of “cozying up to the imperialist agenda” and being a “native informant,” a term used by Deepa Kumar, a journalism and media studies professor at Rutgers University, to describe ex-Muslims.

Keep in mind, these are all well-educated liberals who are dedicated to fighting “Islamophobia.” This is a key research interest of Professor Kumar, and Lean has even written a book entitled The Islamophobia Industry. There is an underlying narrative powering all of their work—that the West is oppressive and Islamism is somehow the third-world reaction to this oppression. As one would expect, the growing influence and audience of reformers, ex-Muslims, and liberals who recognize the problem of Islamism like Bill Maher and Sam Harris, pose a very inconvenient challenge to their narrative.

All of this begs several questions. What exactly is this “imperialist agenda”? And what does “cozying up” to it look like? And why is it that when a brown-skinned person rejects his ancestors’ religion to embrace secularism and liberal values, he is called a “sellout”?

What would a regressive leftist call the dissidents of Christian Europe centuries ago who stood up, fought, and died for the same secular values and liberty that today allow him or her to call dissidents in the Muslim world—who are trying to achieve the exact same thing in their societies—“sellouts”? Must all good brown boys think alike and have the same beliefs, lest they be “sellouts” to that well-oiled imperialist machine? Again, religion is not determined by skin color. How is it that Western, non-Muslim men like Greenwald, Lean, and Werleman are discrediting the narrative of people like Ayaan, who grew up in Somalia in a strict Muslim household, or Maajid, a former Islamist who spent five years in an Egyptian prison, demanding that they should conform to their narrative, and then demonizing them as “House Muslims” if they don’t?

The topic of imperialism is also a sore spot among my peers in Pakistan. There’s a pervasive sense that renouncing the Islamic religion somehow translates to abandoning your people. Even believing Muslims who merely adopt values seen as Western—free speech, secularism, liberalism, and so on—are thought of this way. Indeed, many South Asian Muslims have a glaring blind spot when it comes to imperialism.

Why do you speak against Islam?” they ask me. “This is our heritage, our identity. You are betraying your community by selling your soul to the imperialists and colonialists.” As dramatic as that sounds, it is a very close paraphrasing of what relatives, friends, and strangers alike have told me. If you still feel that it may be an exaggeration, consider that leaving Islam is considered a form of treason in Pakistan, and according to a 2013 Pew research poll, 62 percent of Pakistanis believe this apostasy should be punishable by death. Note also that by telling me I’m selling my soul to the imperialists, they are simply talking about my advocacy for secularism... Misogyny, for instance, doesn’t suddenly get a pass the moment it appears in a holy book. If you want to fight patriarchy but won’t fight religion, you’re not fighting patriarchy.

The notion that people from Muslim backgrounds who embrace progressive values or a critical approach toward their ancestors’ ancient beliefs are somehow “betraying” their identity and heritage suggests that the only true Muslim is a conservative Muslim. It also suggests that progress, freedom, and liberalism are somehow Western ideas that no self-respecting Muslim should adopt. And by labeling a Muslim reformer or ex-Muslim dissident a “lapdog,” “House Muslim,” or “native informant,” Western non-Muslim liberals, astoundingly, join the chorus and perpetuate this toxic idea...

As for my Pakistani Muslim friends who accuse me of betraying my heritage and being blindly obsequious to Western imperialism, I say only this:

Islam is an Arab religion. Consider that you are a person of South Asian heritage who:

• follows an Arab religion;
• reads and reveres an Arabic holy book;
• prays in Arabic;
• greets others in Arabic;
• reveres and emulates an Arab prophet; and
• bows in the direction of Arabia five times a day in prayer.

In light of this, how can you possibly accuse me of being part of an “imperialist agenda” with a straight face? Western imperialism (which I’m not a fan of either) isn’t the only imperialism out there. Read the history of your religion and how it was spread. Consider the Arab-Islamic imperialism of seventh-century Mecca, which spread as far west as Spain and east as India in a matter of decades, and to this day has an intractable chokehold on the lives and minds of over a billion people. From the language that you pray in, to the headscarves worn by your women, to meeting loved ones with the Arabic greeting As-salaam-u-alaikum, to your people showing more solidarity with Palestinians than Kashmiris, to a majority of your people believing that apostates from this Arab faith must be killed—this foreign ideology has transformed your heritage and history in a way that you can hardly recognize it. How is Western imperialism any different? If you oppose Western imperialism but not the Arab-Islamic imperialism of the seventh century, you’re not anti-imperialism—you’re just anti-West."

--- The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason / Ali A. Rizvi

Links - 3rd October 2019 (1)

Disney (DIS) Shares Fall After Missing Profit Estimates - "Walt Disney Co. shares took their worst tumble in nearly four years after the opening of the most highly anticipated theme-park attraction in the company’s history fell flat, hammering results in its latest quarter... As the Star Wars opening approached, Disney tried to manage an anticipated surge in crowds at its California resort. For example, the company allowed only those with reservations to enter the attraction for the first three weeks. But social media was aflutter with images of lightly walked streets and short waits for attractions. Sales of Star Wars merchandise slumped"
Get woke...

Disney's Star Wars Land Isn't Drawing Crowds

Star Wars: 5 Things The Prequel Trilogy Did Better Than The Sequel Trilogy (& 5 Things The Sequels Are Doing Better) - "9. Prequels did better: Original stories
The sequel trilogy is less of a story and more of a Star Wars greatest hits album. All of the best moments from the original trilogy have just been rehashed and strung together in a loose narrative. An evil empire wants to dominate the galaxy. A band of rebels fights to stop them. A Skywalker has turned to the Dark Side and is controlled by a badly scarred puppet-master. A scavenger from a desert planet is realizing their dreams of intergalactic adventure and discovering their latent Force abilities. A rogue pilot is learning to respect authority. It’s the same story, just told far worse. The prequels, on the other hand, had engaging and unique narratives we hadn’t seen before in the Star Wars saga: a Jedi’s forbidden love, the creation of a Clone Army, a politician who is secretly a Sith Lord slowly taking over the galaxy.
7. Prequels did better: Characters arcs
Where are the journeys of Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren heading in The Rise of Skywalker? It’s entirely unclear. Rey keeps teasing a Dark Side connection, Kylo Ren can’t decide what side of the fight he wants to be on despite leading one of them, Poe is as cool as a cat now as he was when the trilogy began, and Finn has been stuck at the same stage of his character development since half an hour into The Force Awakens.
5. Prequels did better: Tying in to the overall saga
The prequel trilogy is essential to the overall Star Wars saga. It justifies its existence by telling a story that adds to the original trilogy. The sequels don’t do this – in fact, they detract from the original trilogy.By having the Empire come back more powerful than ever and turning the Rebels into bumbling buffoons with no real plan, as well as breaking up Han and Leia and making Luke all bitter and angry and grizzled, the sequel trilogy has undone everything that made the original trilogy a thoroughly developed story. The sequel trilogy is hardly integral to the Skywalker saga – it’s actually better without it.
3. Prequels did better: Overarching storylines
There is really no overarching storyline in the sequel trilogy. It’s vaguely about the Resistance fighting the First Order, but there’s no forward momentum or discernible endgame.
1. Prequels did better: Understanding Star Wars
From Disney’s forced snowflake-friendly messages to Kathleen Kennedy’s focus on creating products and not movies to J.J. Abrams’ irritating mystery-box habit, the sequels just don’t get Star Wars. The new movies don’t even class as space operas – they’re even in the wrong genre!"

Spot-on George Lucas cosplay at Comic-Con - "Rotating through a Rolodex of Lucas-inspired catchphrases, Thompson walked around the convention yelling to no one in particular, "Those are my movies, dammit.""

Slave lucas : StarWars
With Evil Mickey Mouse holding the chain

RIGHTS-EAST ASIA: Compensated Dating Picks up among Youngsters - "‘’Typically, these children don’t have a dire need for financial support,” added McCoy, but ‘’they have a desire to purchase consumer goods”... ‘’Most are ‘typical’ teenage students, usually girls, from middle-class families and with few outwardly perceivable social or financial problems”... A 16-year-old Thai girl identified as ‘May’ is a case in point, it adds. Before being caught in a ‘’lucrative escort business”, she had been selected to ‘’lead an anti-drug advertising campaign and was a well-known student at a leading educational institution”.She mirrors what child rights activists had learnt about Japan, where the girls come from ‘decent’ families and are ‘’not particularly rebellious nor trouble makers”. According to ECPAT, the attraction to this form of ‘dating’ with adult men who are strangers is a way of ‘’earning gifts and extra spending money to supplement living expenses, buy consumer goods, cover nights out with friends or pay for hobbies and trips”.The age of children trapped in this net of abuse varies. In Japan, ‘enjo kosai’ is so common a phenomenon that ‘’13 percent of respondents in a recent survey of junior high school students in their final year admitted to practising it”, the report reveals.The common age of junior high school students is between 13 to 15 years.In South Korea, a police study cited by the report highlights ‘’two to three students in every middle and high school class” believed to be involved in prostitution. ‘’Statistics for 2000 show 222 girls aged 18 or younger were caught by police engaging in ‘wonjo kyojae’, with girls aged under 16 accounting for 62.6 percent of cases.”‘Wonjo kyojae’ is the Korean word for ‘compensated dating’, which is often made through on-line chats on the Internet."

Female Students Vulnerable to Sex Trade on Internet - "One in every three female secondary school students in Busan were found to have received sex trade proposals while chatting online.... Among the female students who received the offers, only 35 percent said they ignored them. Nearly 20 percent said they were actually engaged in the sex trade, while the rest said they were ``intrigued'' by the offers... Among those who sold sex, 37 percent said they did so on impulse, 25 percent did so for money, and the rest out of curiosity and other reasons"

Thread by @Chokinghijabi: "Chinese warlord era is a very underappreciated period in history. For example: a converted Christian warlord named Feng Yuixang was known fo […]" - "a converted Christian warlord named Feng Yuixang was known for baptizing his soldiers with a firehose before Battle as a way to "Shield" them against death...
Zhang Zuolin, an illiterate warlord who controlled wealthy Manchuria thought that printing money would make him rich, but it blew up in his face when it caused hyperinflation and ruined the economy. In response he blamed the leading merchants in his domain and had them all shot.
Zhang zongchang the "dogmeat general" was a man with a large appetite. He was known to keep 30 to 50 concubines of different nationalities, including Koreans, Japanese, white Russians, French and Americans who were all given numbers since he could not remember their names... Zhang was also known as the "Three Don’t Knows" since he could never keep count of how much money, soldiers or concubines he had...
Wu Peifu, the "Philosopher General" billed himself as the protector of Confucian values, usually appearing in photographs with the scholar's brush (a symbol of Confucian culture) Wu liked to appear in photos taken in his office with a portrait of his hero, George Washington...
He also loved to boast about the size of his penis, which became part of his legend. He was widely believed to be the most well-endowed man in China, nicknamed "General Eighty-Six" as his penis when erect was said to measure up to a pile of 86 Mexican silver dollars...
Once during a drought Zhang Zongchang visited a temple to pray for rain. When he entered he slapped a statue and yelled "FUCK YOUR SISTER! HOW DARE YOU MAKE US SUFFER BY NOT GIVING US RAIN! He then ordered his artillery to fire at the sky until it rained.It rained the next day. Another thing he did was after seeing a basketball game for the first time, he asked “Why the hell are they fighting over a single ball? We’re the hosts. Are we seriously this poor?” He ordered all the players be given a basketball...
His infatuation with Vajrayana Buddhism and his eccentric personality mixed with brutal and often violent treatment of enemies and his own men earned him the moniker "The Mad Baron" He preferred to call himself “The incarnated God of War and Khan of grateful Mongolia"."

Want to Improve Your Memory? A Decade-Long Stanford Study Suggests You Should Stop Doing This 1 Thing - ""heavy" multitaskers significantly underperformed "light" multitaskers on tasks that required working memory and sustained attention. Multitasking, in other words, went hand-in-hand with a diminished ability to process memories and sustain a single point of focus."

5 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain - "The Global Burden of Disease study named lower back pain the leading cause of disability across the globe.What’s even more interesting is that most back pain isn’t caused by serious medical conditions, like cancer or arthritis. Instead, it’s often brought on by stress or strain from bad posture, awkward sleeping positions, and other lifestyle habits...
For some people, sleeping on their back may be the best position to relieve back pain:
Lay flat on your back.
Place a pillow underneath your knees and keep your spine neutral. The pillow is important — it works to keep that curve in your lower back.
You may also place a small, rolled up towel under the small of your back for added support"

FATAH: Shariah law makes a comeback in Ontario - "Two Muslim men — an activist turned Shariah mortgage seller and an Islamic cleric who sold his Islamic seal of approval on such mortgages — were acquitted on Friday of a dozen criminal charges by an Ontario Superior Court judge who validated aspects of Sharia law in reaching her decision. Justice Jane Ferguson described the trial as a “huge learning curve in Islamic finance.”Shariah in Canada?But what happened to the declaration by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, on September 11, 2005, that “there will be no Shariah law in Ontario”?"

Toronto Muslim: Executing gays may sound “unfair” , but it's Sharia law | David Menzies - YouTube

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey: Plant-based meat not good for your health - "“The [brands] who are capturing the imagination of people — and I’m not going to name these brands because I’m afraid I will be associated with the critique of it,” says Mackey, “but some of these that are extremely popular now that are taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods.”... And Mackey isn’t alone. Some dietitians aren’t completely sold on the plant-based burger craze either.“They are not necessarily healthier than beef burgers,” Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian, told CNBC in July. “They’re totally fine to eat, but there’s no need to replace your beef burger if you don’t enjoy these,” Rumsey added, pointing out that both plant-based burgers and traditional beef burgers have the same amount of sodium and saturated fat."

Let's All Just Chill About Processed Foods | WIRED - "You are you and I am me because of processed foods, because our ancestors learned how to cook meat and make bread and, perhaps more importantly, beer. Accordingly, our brains grew and our guts transformed. But those two words smashed together, processed foods, take on new terror in this era of organic, locally sourced, artisanal, cage-free, free-range, I-want-to-know-the-given-name-of-the-chicken-I’m-eating food... it’s time to get real about processed foods. For one, processed doesn’t have to mean unhealthy, and indeed it’s only because of certain processed foods that people around the world get the nutrition they need. Two, processed foods keep better, cutting down on food waste. And three, if we expect to feed a growing population on a planet with finite arable land, we have to engineer new sources of food, protein in particular. The core of the confusion around processed foods is definitional. According to the Institute of Food Technologists, processing is—and get ready for this—“one or more of a range of operations, including washing, grinding, mixing, cooling, storing, heating, freezing, filtering, fermenting, extracting, extruding, centrifuging, frying, drying, concentrating, pressurizing, irradiating, microwaving, and packaging.”So … virtually everything you put in your mouth is processed"

Whitewashing the truth of why men kill themselves - "Imagine the outcry if a man was appointed head of a leading domestic violence prevention organisation? So how come the federal government has just proudly announced a woman, Christine Morgan, as National Suicide Prevention Officer? This is just the latest move by a government determined to deny the fact that suicide is overwhelmingly a male problem, with six out of eight of our daily suicides taking the lives of men.Amazingly the recently released National Suicide Prevention Implementation Plan is proudly “gender neutral”, failing to acknowledge that men not only dominate suicide statistics but offering no special programmes to address the unique causes of male suicide, which differ dramatically from those of women who end their own lives. The alleged link to mental health problems is the most glaring mistake. “Around 80 per cent of people who die by suicide have a mental health issue,” declared ScoMo yesterday when announcing Morgan’s appointment. No, Prime Minister. That’s simply not true of men, the major group at risk. Australian research shows over half of all male suicides, 78 per cent of male farmer suicides and 83 per cent of suicides in older men were not predominantly associated with a mental health diagnosis... There’s solid evidence that the major cause of suicide in this country is not mental health problems but rather the toll taken by family break-up, where fathers often face mighty battles trying to stay part of their children’s lives, up against a biased family law system which fails to enforce contact orders, and often facing false violence allegations which are now routinely used to gain advantage in family court battles... Remember that lavish ABC series, Man Up, made by radio star Gus Worland? Hours of television focusing on the high male suicide rate, endlessly discussing why men won’t talk about their feelings – and barely a word about why men are killing themselves. Last year Worland’s new charity, Gotcha4Life, raised nearly half a million dollars to “save the lives of men suffering mental illness”, money to be spent mainly on programmes in schools teaching boys to express their feelings. Whenever there’s a known link to female suicide, like post-partum depression, the money pours in to properly address the problem. Yet men struggling to deal with the devastating consequences of dealing with family break-up are given no support. Key organisations providing support for men in these circumstance – like Dads in Distress – face constant battles for funding."

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Links - 2nd October 2019 (2)

Chinese Cartoonist, Cosplayers Who are 'Spiritually Japanese' Arrested for ‘Anti-China Extremism’ - "“Spiritually Japanese” is a derogatory term for Chinese fans of anime and cosplay, according to Yahoo! News Japan. However, the Communist Youth League of China explicitly states that the term, also known as jingri (精日), refers to Chinese people patronizing Japanese nationalism — particularly their World War II military — and expressing contempt for their own country.Jingri went viral in March 2018 when two young people were arrested in Nanjing for cosplaying Japanese World War II military uniforms. At the time, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi reportedly described jingri as “scumbags among Chinese people.”"

saira rao on Twitter - "Quite a few Black and brown women have recently asked me how they can help their white women friends understand white privilege, in the hopes that they'll start their anti-racism journey. In the hopes that their white women friends can become trustworthy.
Here's what I've learned: whiteness is the most powerful drug on the planet. And if you, yourself, don't want to wean yourself off of whiteness, it can't and won't happen. You have to not just want to wean yourself, you have to *desperately* want to wean yourself.
I was a white feminist until 2016. I was deeply self-loathing and internally oppressed. Nearly all my closest friends were white women. These women were in my wedding, and I in theirs. They cradled me when I wept for my dead mother. They would have done anything for me.
EXCEPT GIVE UP WHITENESS. I spent one full year meeting them for coffee, drinks, lunch, dinner. I sent them articles. I wrote articles. I sent them those. Rather than show an interest in awakening, nearly ALL of them, dumped me.
Dumping has involved a pinch of ghosting, a dash of "I'm really worried about you, WE are really worried about you." It's involved leaving me and my family out of group plans - and pretending it was an accident.
It's involved leaving me out of group plans - and not pretending it was an accident. Some of these women weren't really even friends before, but have bonded over their mutual disdain for me and my "craziness." They've bonded around WHITENESS.
This is no different than the KKK. Instead of robes, they coalesce around brunch, weddings, spin classes."
Comments: "Why does everyone leave me after I pester the shit out of them for only a year with my cult beliefs and I call them innately defective? Why world, why are you such an enigma?"
"This reminds me I'll tell my friends to give up their brownness while I give up my whiteness it's only fair"
"Giving Tatiana a run for her money. Great parody!"
"How do you give up whiteness? Like how do I get rid of my skin colour?"
"Why would anyone choose to be around someone who is so virulently RACIST, making them feel quilty for the color of their skin, their nation’s history, culture, heroes and traditions? Surprised they hung around you at all."
"You're depressing, hateful, angry, with a one-trick mind that leaves your needle stuck in the groove, ranting over and over about the invisible baddies. Learn something new, expand your heart."
"You’re either a comedic genius or a complete loon. Either way, I was entertained."
"Weird how they didn't like to hang with somebody who thought they were all racists."
"Let me get this straight: You were surrounded by close friends, who attended your wedding and involved you in their own, who supported you through loss — and you spent an entire year repeatedly telling these people their skin makes them evil monsters. And they DIDN’T instantly drop you, they phased out after a whole YEAR of this?And somehow this reflects poorly on THEM?"
"I would also dump a friend who was a cultist trying to get me to join their cult. What sane person wouldn't?"
And liberals claim anti-racism is not about hating white people


Segments of Random Thoughts on Twitter - "I came to America decades ago as a woman from Lebanon trying to make it.I never understood where all of this talk about inequality comes from. Americans have NO CLUE how lucky they have it.Go live in the Middle East for a year and tell me you don’t have equality here. Morons."
"@ACTBrigitte Make him who is without inequality check the first privilege."

Mike Pitts On Britain's Archaeological Discoveries | History Extra Podcast - History Extra - "I think the biggest story at the moment, is that until very recently, it was easy to imagine Stonehenge as an isolated monument, this incredibly distinctive structure with these carved megaliths, the biggest, best everything else, you know, you like. And not far from London, so it's very much in the public eye, you know, and to see that in isolation. And in fact, in the middle of last century, archaeologists were actually talking about imagining an architect coming from ancient Greece to design Stonehenge because it was impossible to put it into any kind of local context"
If it'd been made by non-white people, people would be calling the mid-20th century archaeologists racist

Inside the museum dedicated to failure

The only sport that matters - Japanese office chair racing

Dr Jessica Budds 🇪🇺 #FBPE #RevokeArticle50 on Twitter - "We are rolling out our #KnifeFree chicken boxes in over 210 chicken shops in England and Wales, including Morley’s, Dixy Chicken and Chicken Cottage. They use real life stories to show people how they can go #KnifeFree."
"@ukhomeoffice Is there some sort of link between fried chicken and knife crime?"

Watch - Discover - "Parrot and Hamster Playing With Hamster Wheel
Parrot Putting Hamster in Hamster Wheel and Spinning it! One of the funniest things I have seen in a long time! Brilliant!
On closer look it might actually be a mouse!"

Amazon will pay $0 in taxes on $11,000,000,000 in profit for 2018 - "TCJA had been criticized in large part due to the benefits it provided the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. Wamhoff says it’s ironic that the corporate tax rate was slashed to 21% (from its previous 35%) because the effective corporate tax rate under previous tax law was 21%, after accounting for tax breaks and loopholes.Therefore, Wamhoff says, we’ll likely see the effective tax rate fall even lower.But if anyone thinks that Amazon is alone, they would be wrong. Last week, Netflix also did not pay American federal or state income taxes according to a separate ITEP report, despite posting record profits. Netflix has disputed those findings, while ITEP claims that the $131 million paid by Netflix is taxes on foreign income.And historically Wamhoff says, this story is nothing new. Several corporations have avoided paying federal income tax throughout the years"

Enough With the Obsession With Gender-Diverse Space Crews - "Vice President Pence chaired the sixth meeting of the recently revived National Space Council, a group originally chartered in 1958, disbanded in 1993 and then revived under the current administration to help chart the direction of America’s activities in space. There were four guest panelists highlighted at the end of the session. One spoke about nuclear power and nuclear thermal propulsion for spaceflight; one spoke about in situ resource utilization on the Moon and Mars; and one spoke about planetary exploration, the Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s moon Titan in particular. All were interesting and appropriate topics for a meeting whose topic was, well, the future of space exploration.And then there was Saralyn Mark, an M.D. and specialist in gender-based medicine, who spoke about gender bias. Her main point: NASA needs to — no kidding — realize there are gender differences because sending “gender diverse” crews to Mars is going to be difficult. At least I think that was her point. It was frankly hard to listen to because enough already! We’ve been sending gender-diverse crews to space since 1983. We’ve had women do every job a man does in space. Every one. Space walks? Check. Shuttle commander? Check. Space Station commander? Check. Record for long-duration flights? Check. So what’s going to be the new gender-bias thing NASA needs to start — start? — paying attention to?... Dr. Mark’s big pitch is that diversity demands attention, especially in situations like a long space flight during which people have to understand their differences and get along. Well, what about six men and women on the Space Shuttle or the International Space Station representing multiple nationalities, different ethnicities and religions, and — in their home countries — competitive political ideologies? That’s not diverse enough for you? NASA has been doing this quietly and efficiently and without fanfare for the better part of the past 36 years.After Dr. Mark’s testimony, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine once again mentioned how inspired his 11-year old daughter would be to see women taking leadership positions in space exploration. Well, Mr. Bridenstine, your agency has had women in leadership roles on and off the planet far longer than you have held your current position. And there have been women astronauts living, working and leading on spacecraft decades longer than your daughter has been alive. Why is she not inspired by that? I fully support the goal of landing American astronauts on the moon and on Mars. I will be proud to wave that flag. Because that’s the only flag we should be waving."
Internalised patriarchy!
She missed the memo that it's fascist to wave the American flag


Garbage Human - Posts - "Jenny @ San Japan A5
@asunnydisposish:
I've been seeing this happen a lot recently on my TL so I just wanted to say that if you are non-Asian and drawing Asian characters with literal yellow skin and slits for eyes, you should take a moment to consider why you choose to depict us that way."
*Picture of @asunnydisposish with slits for eyes*"

How Trump got under the media’s thin skin - "For all the truly righteous indignation we’ve summoned in response to President Trump’s treatment of us, we’ve also put ourselves on too much of a hair trigger when it comes to denouncing criticism and scrutiny. Jack Shafer summed it up nicely in a piece for Politico, in which he fought back against the criticism of scouring journalists’ social media accounts:
As much as I would like to sympathize with my fellow journalists, it doesn’t strike me as unreasonable to ask them to own or repudiate vile or impolitic things they might have stated in the past. Nor is it remotely unfair for the president’s supporters to demand that journalists, who are forever denouncing him as a racist (because he is), be held accountable for their bigoted speech, on Twitter or anywhere else. Journalists don’t deserve a get-out-of-bigotry-jail free card just because they’re journalists. If their past tweets, however ancient, undercut their current journalistic work or make them sound hypocritical, they can’t blame their diminished prestige on Trump’s allies. It’s like blaming a cop for writing you a ticket for speeding in a school zone...
there is also a tendency to label most every criticism of the media an attack on “the free press.” That makes it sound like Trump is attacking our very freedoms and our right to criticize him, when often he’s just complaining about coverage... Attacking coverage is something every president does"

Driving A Tesla Results In More CO2 Than A Mercedes Diesel Car, Study Finds - "A Tesla Model 3 is touted as a zero-emissions car by government regulators, but it actually results in more carbon dioxide than a comparable diesel-powered car, according to a recent study.When the CO2 emissions from battery production is included, electric cars, like Teslas, are “in the best case, slightly higher than those of a diesel engine, and are otherwise much higher,” reads a release from the German think tank IFO. “It’s better read as a warning that new technologies aren’t a climate-change panacea. Recall the false promises about corn and cellulosic ethanol"... IFO isn’t the first research group to conclude electric cars might not reduce carbon dioxide emissions as promised.A study released in 2018 also found driving electric cars might come with higher emissions than diesel vehicles, largely because of lithium-ion battery production.Likewise, a Manhattan Institute study from 2018 also found putting more electric cars on the road would likely increase emissions compared to internal combustion engine vehicles."

University lowers entry score for female applicants in male-dominated courses - "The University of Technology Sydney is trying to encourage more young women to study engineering, computing and construction degrees by adjusting year 12 entry scores for female applicants.The university has received approval from the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board to make a 10-point adjustment to the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of female students applying for those degrees for the 2020 academic year... “We looked at the performance of Atar and the performance of [grade point average] so a lower Atar did not mean they would get a lower GPA. A higher Atar did not mean they were best in the class,” Agarwal said."
This is a good way to increase hiring discrimination against female engineers, and to degrade the value of your female engineering graduates
Funny how despite the supposed justification of Atar being a bad predictor, they didn't lower the bar for men


These Maps Reveal the Hidden Structures of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Books

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Ebola spreads to Uganda - "On Monday morning, a family were heading from the Democratic Republic of Congo, back home to Uganda after a funeral. The grandfather had died from Ebola and his daughter had gone to Congo a few weeks earlier to try nurse and back to health. By the time the family got close to the Ugandan border, most of them were suffering from high fevers and diarrhea, telltale symptoms of the deadly virus. They stopped in the health clinic and were put in isolation awaiting tests. But after dark, six members of the family, including a five year old boy, slipped out of the clinic and set off down a desolate and poorly policed road that crosses into Uganda. A few days later, both the boy and his grandmother had died. Health officials have long feared that this outbreak of the Ebola virus could pass over the porous border into Uganda. The border’s over 500 miles long, and many of the crossings are informal. Sometimes just a couple of planks laid across a shallow river...
In Russia, the vast majority of criminal cases that go to court end in a conviction. Less than 0.3% of all verdicts are not guilty...
I've been told many times that everyone hitches around [New Zealand’s] South Island... Given the safety issues everywhere else in the world, South Island must be the last bastion of the habit. The early European settlers relied on pooling their resources. Public transport is still pricey and scant. And somehow in private vehicles the trust is there, on both sides of the gearstick. Here, local people hitch just as much as gap year travelers. There's no shame to it, or to offering a ride to others. I found it hard to chat with other hitchers, but not because we were competing, but simply because we were scattered so far apart"
No wonder Ebola is such a problem there

The Past in the Present: Memories of the 1964 'Racial Riots' in Singapore

The Past in the Present: Memories of the 1964 'Racial Riots' in Singapore

"The 1964 racial riots are a prominent event in Singapore's history. They are often cited officially but rarely discussed by the Singapore community. This paper examines the riots from the perspective of a sociology of collective memories. A comparison of official and popular memories reveals a number of contrasts in the interpretations placed on these events by different groups. An official interpretation of the memory of the riots is disseminated to the younger generation through the media and education, and used to justify and legitimize the ideology of multiracialism and its social policies. Older people's memories give rise to more varied interpretations...

A nation is a collective group whose members' individual memories are tied up with the rest of the community. However, on this level, the articulation of what is to be remembered belongs to the political leaders and intellectual elites who bring their personal memories and interpretations to bear heavily on the social memories of Singaporeans. Thus within Singapore, the dominant discourse on the riots provides the official or "national" memory (Fentress and Wickham, 1992:127). Memories can therefore be re constructed or manipulated, or used as a tool against internal or external opponents. In Singapore, "national" memory is seldom contested openly by social groups. It is transmitted through educational insdtutions and the media and used to entrench institutional interests and ideology. National memory articulated through dominant discourses is imposed from the rul ing elite down to the general population through private or public means. These conceptions of the past are linear and chronological leading even tually to a legitimate present situation. The dominant memory can become hegemonic and totalizing such that alternative memories are regarded as irrelevant, inaccurate and at times even illegitimate. This subjugation of alternative memories depends on how tolerant the national culture can be and the degree to which it can be challenged. Individuals or social groups can support or challenge public representations of the past because these will either "guarantee their identity or deny its significance" (Tonkin, 1992:10). In Singapore, the dominant memory of the riots serves to define the identity of a multiracial society...

In each of these [official] discourses, the narrative structure of the riots in national memory has remained the same. The selection and ordering of events creates a moral order. Chronology can therefore be seen as a tool used by historians to construct a timeline to connect and compare the sequence of events. This in turn can direct thought, since the narrative structure suggests that events are causally connected. The riots are presented as being a result of political tension because of racial issues raised by politicians, and the racial divisions existing within the population. This then becomes a factor in the Separation from Malaysia. The moral drawn is that we need interracial harmony, or rioting and chaos will be the inevitable end. This moral story is used by the political elite to discipline the population. In the official memory, the narrators lend their authority to the account, and the moral precedent built in to it legitimates the ideology supported by the teller...

Many of my informants did not experience any fighting or rioting at all because they lived in calm areas and carried on their lives as normal. For them the rioting seemed far and removed from their every day life...

Of the 23 informants who lived through this period, 16 were unaffected by the riots because their residences were calm and peaceful. The only fear was that outsiders would enter their kampong and pick a fight with them. Thus, contrary to official discourse, which claimed widespread fighting, the popular discourse showed otherwise. Violent clashes only occurred in areas near the precipitating event

The Malays as a collective ethnic group believed that the riots were not "racial" to begin with. Contrary to the official memory, it began as a "religious" riot because it occurred during "one of the biggest religious festivals" in the Muslim calendar...

Many Malay informants also observed that the Muslim procession was a mix of a majority of Malays and Indians and perhaps some Chinese and thus could not have been racially motivated. Collectively they expressed a sense of loss, since the procession was subsequently banned because of the riots...

Although they believed it was the Chinese who initiated the riots, some thought they were Chinese gangsters, belonging to Secret Societies (SS), taking advantage of the chaotic situation to initiate fights with rival SS members, leading to skirmishes between Chinese and Malay youth gangs in certain parts of the island. Many believed that the local community was not involved...

Informants who read widely or held civil service jobs believed that the riots could be politically motivated due to the internal politics between the two opposing parties, PAP and UMNO, and the on-going Indonesian Confrontation. Mr Buang, a civil servant, believed it was "mainly motivated by political parties", but was unsure which party was the instigator...

Others thought Indonesian agents instigated the riots and shifted the blame onto the Chinese. This was the opinion of Mr Awang, a former police officer, who obtained his information from newspapers he read during and after the riots, and from discussions with his colleagues...

The riots did leave the Malay informants initially angry at the Chinese. In some kampong, this affected their relationships and interactions with one another. However these feelings did not last long when they realized that there could be other causes of the riots:

Sure angry lah, how can the Chinese fellow throw stones, kill these fellow, do these things. But after that nothing lah relationship the same. (Mr Farid)

Mr Awang, who saw himself as part of the collective group of Malays in Singapore, expressed this anger in a collective mode rather than an individual one:

Everybody you know. Majority of Malays all angry, but 1964 was a small misunderstanding between Malay and Chinese. Most of the villages in Singapore were living peacefully together.

... Those informants who read widely or who held government occupations, and were in touch with the political scene of that time, tended to attribute the cause of the riots to the political situation...

Contrary to selective official memory, which views the 1964 racial riots as Singapore's worst riots, the Malay informants remember the Nadra riots as bigger. The Nadra riots were recalled as a significant occasion on which they had stood and fought for their religion. Religion is of greater importance in the Malay construction of identity than is typical for other groups. Islam evokes such deep feelings in the community that all of them felt involved...

As we have seen, the Nadra riots were not emphasized in the official dis course examined thus far, perhaps because, having a religious rather than a racial colouring, they are perceived to be less useful in a narrative devoted to emphasizing the importance of ethnic harmony.

In contrast, all my Chinese informants, especially those who witnessed frightening episodes, believed that the Malays were responsible for starting the riots...

Mr Goh uses the same political discourse as Mr Lim to explain the reason for the instigation of the riots. Their memories replicate the national memory...

The Indian informants, on the other hand, seem marginal to the riots. They had very vague memories and were unable to recollect much...

Within the dominant memory, mutual antagonism, fear and hatred prevailed between ethnic groups. The spectre of the racial riots is used often in the state's discourse to justify and legitimate ideology and policies. In order for it to be effective, memories have to evoke scenes of violence and fighting. However, within popular memory, helpfulness and co-operation is a recurring theme. In ethnically mixed settlements, the riots served to "gel" the two races together to protect their own kampong. My informants recollect many instances of people living in harmony. The fact that this theme runs so consistently throughout the popular discourse testifies that this was a common phenomenon during the riots...

The official memory of the riots portrays a one-sided picture of chaos, violence and fighting between the Malays and the Chinese over the entire island, while popular memory shows otherwise. The fighting and rioting were confined to areas adjoining Geylang Serai. Many of the informants pointed out that sporadic incidents did occur in other parts of the island but were only small skirmishes and many other parts were unaffected. In contrast to official memory, which represents the two races living in fear of one another, many informants relate living harmoniously and helping one another...

Through discursive practices, the 1964 riots have evolved as a dis cursive object. Since their occurrence, they have been discussed by ordinary people, the media and the state. The riots as a discursive object is embedded in a discourse of multiracialism. It is invoked by the government, both to raise racial awareness and to justify social policies. The re presentations of the memories of the riots as racial can be associated with the process of state and nation building, within which "political rhetoric" depends on the past as a "legitimation device" for political action (Fentress and Wickham, 1992:132). Once this rhetorical discourse is in place, it affects present actions, and conditions future activity as well. The past is a "resource to deploy, to support a case or assert a claim" (Tonkin, 1992:1)...

he government has also used the riots to justify social policies. In 1989, the government was concerned that certain minority groups were forming concentrations in certain estates. The Minister for National Development explained that these "enclaves will become seedbeds for communal agitation" (Straits Times, 7 January 1989). The spectre of the riots was used to rationalize the policy of ethnic quo tas for each estate in this discourse on race relations. There is a prevalent belief that spatial segregation would lead to racial conflicts similar to the 1964 riots (Hill and Lian, 1995:116). Framed in such a manner, the riots are decontextualized and over-simplified. The existence of ethnic enclaves need not lead automatically to antagonism and riots...

Although the older generation, having been through the riots, have their personal memories, which at times contradict national memories, this contradiction is confined to the private arena due to the state's hegemonic control over the public sphere. Their statements reflect this dilemma. On the one hand, they emphasized that: "Riots will never happen again" (Mrs Prabalakshmi); "Life is so secure now, who wants to cause trouble and destroy all we have today?" (Mr Cheong); or "Today people more educated, how to happen again?" (Mr Farid). On the other hand, being embedded within the multiracial discourse, they contradictorily state that racial harmony and tolerance is important because: "Racial issues so sensitive, someone want to take advantage can easily spark it off" (Mr Awang); "We must be sensitive" (Mr Cheong); or "We will face riots days again" (Mr Goh)...

When the second generation were asked which events in Singapore's history they considered important, none included the 1964 riots... most of their historical memory is formed through additional information through the latest educational programme (National Education), from books, or through television programmes. Most were also unable to furnish further details of the events that unfolded prior to or after the riots. None could discuss political or economic issues in 1964, or could give a well-defined account of what had happened in the riots...

Although students have gone through these activities, how much is retained in their memory is debatable. One of my informants commented that "it was all very boring. Some of us skip the lectures lah" (Karen). Jamil was not at all interested: "I didn't pay attention, so I can't remember what they said". For Peter, "I forgot already ah, can't remem ber what it is all about." However, the discourse only requires the riots to be remembered factually as race riots and as a natural consequence of interracial disharmony. The images that students have retained, either from the media or their exposure to the NE programme, are suitably lurid:

It's not out of the question that riots will come again. (Norlina)
Anarchy, chaos everywhere, homeless people, burning house. (Melissa)
If a riot occurs, the government will step in with their tanks. (Anita)

These extreme images are a contrast to the older generation's popular memories of the riots being localized and peaceful relations prevailing. Thus the NE programme serves to further disperse statements on the 1964 riots, and make them more effective and powerful tools for justifying and legitimating state initiatives"


In other words, maybe the 'race riots' weren't really race riots, and really, they didn't threaten to destroy Singapore.

Links - 2nd October 2019 (1)

Chemicals turning fish ‘gay’ new threat to water safety in Malaysia - "These pollutants, called endocrine disruptors (EDCs), are turning fish in Malaysian rivers “gay” and even “transsexual” by changing their hormones which, in turn, affect their sex, said hydro-chemistry expert Prof Ahmad Zaharin Aris.According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there is growing evidence that humans and animals have “exhibited adverse health consequences from exposure to environmental chemicals that interact with the endocrine system”."
I thought Alex Jones's Infowars was fake news?

Obamacare’s Unpopularity Suggests Medicare For All May Be A Hard Sell - "most Americans do not think “Medicare for All” is a good idea if it means replacing all private health insurance with the government version... Let’s take the Affordable Care Act as an example... once the law passed in 2010, it was generally rated unfavorably... even if most elements of a policy poll well, public opinion may come to be driven by the policy’s least-popular items. That’s especially true if the opposition launches an extended campaign against it."

City hopes ‘Baby Shark’ song will drive homeless away - "Officials in West Palm Beach are hoping a continuous loop of children’s songs played throughout the night will keep homeless people from sleeping on the patio of a city-owned rental banquet facility. "

Singapore minister spreading disinformation about drug policy - "Shanmugam claims the social costs of decriminalization have been underplayed. For example, he asserts that drug mortality rates in Portugal increased 150% between 2001 and 2008, after drugs were decriminalized. It was impossible to find a source for this claim. In reality drug-related deaths in Portugal have actually drastically decreased from 80 per million in 2001 to 4 per million in 2017. This remains much lower than the most recent European average of 22 deaths per million. Another welcome outcome of decriminalization in Portugal has been a dramatic fall in HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections from 1,016 to 18 during that same period.Shanmugam also warns that decriminalization of cannabis has been responsible for an uptick in criminal activity, citing the US state of Colorado as an example. But evidence shows just the opposite to be true. For example, one federally sponsored study found that there was no relationship between cannabis regulation and crime. Another study published this year came to the same conclusion, “except for in California, where the medical-marijuana law reduced both violent and property crime by 20%.”Worried that the legalization of drugs is used for private gains, Shanmugam has also claimed that “for every $1 gained in tax revenue from cannabis legalization, about $4.50 will be spent mitigating these downstream effects.” Quite to the contrary, a large body of research now overwhelmingly shows that drug-law reform, including decriminalizing and adopting a health-centered approach to drugs, is significantly more cost-effective than prohibitionist approaches. Singapore is one of a tiny number of countries classified by Harm Reduction International as “high application” states in the use of capital punishment for drugs. All executions carried out in the country in 2018 were for non-violent drug offenses. Recently, Shanmugan claimed that Singapore imposes the death penalty for drugs because evidence has shown that it is an effective deterrent; “not for any other reason.” Although officials have repeatedly affirmed that Singapore has one of the lowest rates of drug use in the world, the government has consistently failed to provide transparent data.Contrary to this, there is no evidence that the death penalty has any unique deterrent effect on either the supply of drugs, or the use of drugs. In fact, the opposite is true... In 2017, Shanmugam said: “I would ask the death-penalty abolitionists to go and study the places where laws have been relaxed, places where drugs have been legalized, find out what has happened and look at the number of deaths that have taken place in society, and then come back and let’s talk.”Minister Shanmugam, the studies have been done and the evidence is in: Punitive drug laws don’t reduce drug use or drug trade, and there no evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect."
Time to use the fake news law?

Colorado State: 'Avoid' using 'Americans,' 'America' - "CSU lists both “American” and “America” as non-inclusive words "to avoid," due to the fact that America encompasses more than just the U.S. By referring to the U.S. as America, the guide claims that one “erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.” The school suggests using “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” as substitutes.The university additionally lists many gendered words and phrases to avoid. These include “male,” “female,” “ladies and gentlemen,” and “Mr./Mrs./Ms.”... “Straight” is another word to avoid, according to CSU. The guide explained that “when used to describe heterosexuals, the term straight implies that anyone LGBT is ‘crooked’ or not normal,” and says to use the word “heterosexual” instead. “Normal person” was also listed as a phrase to avoid because it “implies that ‘other’ people… are not whole or regular people.” The guide offered no substitute word because it claimed that it is never appropriate to use the phrase to describe someone. According to the list, the phrase “handicap parking” should also not be used because it can “minimize personhood” and offend disabled people. The guide recommends “accessible parking” as an alternative. “War,” “cake walk,” “eenie meenie miney moe,” “Eskimo,” “freshman,” “hip hip hooray!”, “hold down the fort,” “starving,” and “policeman” were among other words and phrases deemed non-inclusive by CSU... CSU warned against using gendered emojis to make social media interactions more inclusive."

No, Apple, we don’t need 72 different emojis to represent gay, straight & lesbian couples in 5 races - "If I wanted an emoji to look exactly like me, I’d just send a photograph. But then, unlike Apple and Google, I understand that they are a symbolic shorthand, not a racist tool of oppression that ignores my identity... Who cares that there are already over 3,000 registered emojis, despite the fact that only a dozen account for half the usage, while the rest clutter up your phone making the needed ones harder to find... you do the math timetables for all the possible permutations. Ken Broni, who calls himself “the world’s first emoji translator and researcher” has done them. He told Yahoo that to be truly “inclusive,” companies must introduce 80,000 emojis. The average active vocabulary of an American is 20,000 words... Now, there are more of them than Egyptian hieroglyphics and Japanese kanji, and through abandoning their abstractive philosophy they’ve unintentionally grown more discriminatory... somewhat aptly, this case also serves as a symbolic representation of the liberal West’s endless desire to fetishize and pander to minorities and separate identities, instead of improving conditions for the majority, or indeed, for us all."

Film Crit Hulk on Twitter - "We often think of foods having a specific relationship to each of those qualities. Candy is sweet! Potato chips are salty! etc. But when you look at what makes something taste *really good* it's usually food that knows how to combine and balance those tastes with others.
Chocolate chip cooks need salt to amplify the sweetness! Really fatty foods need acid to cut through the richness! Bitter foods like coffee and chocolate get a little bit of sugar in them and WHOA, transformed! Etc."
So much for the Singapore anti-diabetes ad which claims sugar has no place in the art of coffee

Gabriel Weinberg's answer to Why should I use DuckDuckGo instead of Google? - Quora - "#1 — Google tracks you. We don’t.
#2 — Block Google trackers lurking everywhere.
#3 — Get unbiased results, outside the Filter Bubble.
#4 — We listen.
#5 — We don’t try to trap you in our “ecosystem.”
#6 — We have !bangs.
To further this point, we have a built-in feature called bangs that enables you to search other sites directly, completely skipping DuckDuckGo if you like
#7 — We strive for a world where you have control over your personal information.
#8 — Our search results aren’t loaded up with ads.
#9 — Search without fear.
When people know they are being watched, they change their behavior. It's a well-documented behavior called the chilling effect, and it happens on Google. For example, an MIT study showed that people started doing fewer health searches on Google after the Snowden revelations, fearing that their personal ailments might get out.
#10 — Google is simply too big, and too powerful."

My husband dumped me for Ilhan Omar, DC mom says in divorce filing - "Dr. Beth Mynett says her cheating spouse, Tim Mynett, told her in April that he was having an affair with the Somali-born US representative — and that he even made a “shocking declaration of love” for the Minnesota congresswoman before he ditched his wife"

Silicon Valley’s Chinese-style social credit system - "The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts... A company called PatronScan sells three products—kiosk, desktop, and handheld systems—designed to help bar and restaurant owners manage customers... PatronScan helps spot fake IDs—and troublemakers. When customers arrive at a PatronScan-using bar, their ID is scanned. The company maintains a list of objectionable customers designed to protect venues from people previously removed for “fighting, sexual assault, drugs, theft, and other bad behavior,” according to its website. A “public” list is shared among all PatronScan customers. So someone who’s banned by one bar in the U.S. is potentially banned by all the bars in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada that use the PatronScan system for up to a year... Airbnb—a major provider of travel accommodation and tourist activities—bragged in March that it now has more than 6 million listings in its system. That’s why a ban from Airbnb can limit travel options.Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason... You can be banned from communications apps, too. For example, you can be banned on WhatsApp if too many other users block you... The most disturbing attribute of a social credit system is not that it’s invasive, but that it’s extralegal. Crimes are punished outside the legal system, which means no presumption of innocence, no legal representation, no judge, no jury, and often no appeal. In other words, it’s an alternative legal system where the accused have fewer rights."

Tampines eatery staff fired after printing racially offensive message on customer’s receipt - "'3bun jee indira parekk nakkeling gomblok... The message reads, “Three buns only for this stupid Indian pariah”"
At Abang Gemuk

Monalisa on Twitter - "Who says the minority can't be racist? Do you know the things I've heard my Malay classmates have said in their language towards the Indians while in Malay class? They are just as bad. What will Sangeetha say about her fellow Indians getting shit on like this?"
"Internalised Chinese supremacy"

Enid Blyton has been cancelled - "The Royal Mint has decided against honouring children’s author Enid Blyton with a commemorative coin, marking the 50th anniversary of her death... the Mint feared there would be a backlash to a Blyton commemorative coin. And since the story broke, the usual, perma-outraged suspects have backed the Mint’s decision. It seems that ‘cancel culture’ is now so ingrained that institutions like the Royal Mint are cancelling long-dead authors – and caving in to online outrage mobs preemptively... this tendency to dispense with literary or historical figures who do not measure up to today’s moral standards is not healthy. Plus almost anyone born in 1897 would probably fail this test. Celebrating Enid Blyton does not mean endorsing everything she might have thought or said. It’s bizarre that anyone even has to point this out"

UK's 'most independent town' finally beaten - and will get Caffe Nero - "The bohemian market town of Totnes in Devon has long prided itself on being virtually 'chain free' - famously seeing off plans for a Costa. But despite strong opposition it has now been forced to accept a Coffee #1 - a subsidiary of Cafe Nero.In 2012 it blocked Costa Coffee after thousands of people rallied in a huge backlash against the firm which didn't open there despite being granted planning permission.It has continued to bat off corporate giants ever since but is now believed to be the final town centre in the UK to succumb to a coffee chain.And locals now fear it could open the floodgates for the likes of Starbucks and McDonalds to follow."

CALIFORNIA: 'Why Don't We Murder More White People' Film Aired By Arts Center - "People who promote diversity or anti-racism tend to correspondingly harbor resentment towards one certain demographic. They will make claims that it is impossible to be racist against this group... In San Francisco, a progressive paradise, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) aired a film called “Why Don’t We Murder More White People”... The Film’s creator, Jonathan Garcia, appears to be employed by The Kapor Center as a “Culture & Inclusion Fellow.”

So long 'Die Hard' Christmas: Cinemas losing access to Fox films - "Canadian cinemas say they are losing the rights to screen fan favourites like Die Hard and Home Alone after the 20th Century Fox back-catalogue was swallowed up by The Walt Disney Co.Theatre operators across the country, from entertainment giant Cineplex Inc. to smaller indie cinemas, said Wednesday they can no longer book popular films from the Fox archives.Independent filmhouses have been worried about losing access to the archives ever since Disney took over Fox's entertainment assets... "Disney has had a long-standing practice of not allowing any of its archival catalogue to be screened theatrically."... "It's certainly never a good thing when one company owns too many things""
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