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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Links - 16th March 2013

Genetic factors predisposing to homosexuality may increase mating success in heterosexuals - "psychologically masculine females and feminine men are (a) more likely to be nonheterosexual but (b), when heterosexual, have more opposite-sex sexual partners. With statistical modelling of the twin data, we show that both these relationships are partly due to pleiotropic genetic influences common to each trait. We also find a trend for heterosexuals with a nonheterosexual twin to have more opposite-sex partners than do heterosexual twin pairs."

Peter singing Eye of the Tiger - YouTube

The Day The Earth Stopped Masturbating -- 2012 -- Trailer HD - YouTube - "When masturbation is made illegal, everyone is faced with a choice: Come or Die (english subtitles available)
Quand la masturbation devient illégale, chacun est confronté à un choix : Jouir ou mourir."

Juries? It's time they went the way of the ducking stool - "Mostly juries get it right, we are told, but then, mostly, so do magistrates and judges... A majority of criminal cases now depend heavily on technical knowledge of DNA evidence or of financial law. Conscientious jurors are bound to research such matters. That is why court houses are full of people gazing at their little screens. If lawyers do not like this, they had better get used to it. To think they can keep jurors ignorantly dependent on what lawyers tell them in court is archaic. Either jurors are, as lawyers like to claim, the embodiment of wisdom and judgment, in which case they can tell good evidence from bad, or they are dumb, in which case they should not be in court at all. The jury lobby cannot have it both ways, just to sustain a tidy little earner."

The Lecturer Has No Clothes - NYTimes.com - "As always, a spirit of competition hovers in the locker room — a game is being played. I haven’t figured out the rules, or the ultimate goal, but I’m pretty certain the main action is to carry on as many arguments as possible without acknowledging the fact that everyone is naked."

Disarmed Europe will face the world alone - FT.com - "In the 1970s, Mogens Glistrup, a prominent Danish politician, became famous for suggesting that his country replace its armed forces with a recorded message saying “we surrender” in Russian. Glistrup is no longer with us but his approach to defence seems to be gaining ground. Europe’s ability to use military force is dwindling fast, and with it the power of Europeans to defend their interests around the world... In 1990 Britain had 27 submarines (excluding those that carry ballistic missiles) and France had 17. The two countries now have seven and six respectively. And yet Britain and France are commonly regarded as the only two European countries that still take defence seriously... about 75 per cent of Belgian military spending now goes on personnel – causing one critic to call the Belgian military “an unusually well-armed pension fund”. None of this might matter much if the US was still willing to step in whenever the Europeans fell short. In fact, America is losing patience with Europe’s inability to act on its own... The US is fed up with a situation in which America alone now accounts for about three-quarters of Nato defence spending. One day, perhaps soon, the Europeans may wake up and find that the US military is simply not there to deal with whatever threat is lapping at the frontiers of Europe... Yet you do not have to look very far beyond Europe’s borders to see an array of potential threats massing over the next decade. The Middle East is in turmoil and thousands are dying in Syria, threatening the stability of the whole region. Iran’s nuclear programme could well lead to confrontation and threaten European energy supplies. Russian military spending is rising. And growing tensions between China and its neighbours could one day menace the freedom of navigation on which European trade depends. The risk is that Europeans may suddenly find that they need armed forces, after all – only to discover that they are not there any more."

Vamps and Tramps. - "A book by Paglia is a lot like sex itself: When it's good, it's very, very good. And when it's bad, it's still pretty good... feminism doesn't know how to account for men who feel they're under women's spell because of feminism's consuming focus on women as victims... "What feminists denounce as woman's humiliating total accessibility in porn is actually her elevation to high priestess of a pagan paradise garden....Modern middle-class women cannot bear the thought that their hard-won professional achievements can be outweighed in an instant by a young hussy flashing a little tits and ass. But the gods have given her power... The limitations of Paglia's analysis show up most colorfully in her objection to lesbians who use dildos"

Islam and alcohol: Tipsy taboo | The Economist - "IT IS Ramadan, Islam’s holy month of fasting. But even now Suleiman, a Muslim hotel worker in the Turkish town of Antakya, sees no reason not to drink alcohol, widely considered by Muslim believers to be forbidden by the Koran and the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. “The Koran bans getting drunk, but a beer or two doesn’t hurt,” Suleiman says. “This is a matter between me and Allah.” Centuries ago many of his co-religionists would have agreed (although not on the need for moderation)... Debauched nights in the courts of caliphates were enshrined in the khamriyaat, or odes to wine, by Abu Nuwas, an eighth-century poet. That has long since changed. Nobody knows exactly when Islamic scholars decided that booze was sinful... some put the total at 5% of those identifying themselves as Muslim... in Pakistan “drinks can be ordered to the door quicker than pizza”... In some Muslim circles drinking is about status"

Why aren't Japanese dating and mating? - "In such an apparent and blatantly sexual society, why is nobody breeding?... parties where women pay to attend in order to find a suitably rich and respectable husband [are not uncommon]... This pressure and stigma about remaining single pushes people into marriages they are not necessarily happy with. I spoke to one Japanese woman who commented: “I didn’t really like him at first,” with reference to the first few years of her marriage. Instead of looking for a person with whom they’d be entirely satisfied to spend the rest of their lives, people are just glad to be taken off the proverbial shelf. I asked some 24-year-old Japanese males what they consider to be most important when dating the opposite sex. The response came back: “She has to be nice.” Nice? Nice is the word they refuse to let you use after Key Stage 1 primary school education because it’s absolute bollocks. Everyone is “nice”—but using it as the basis for marriage? Nice is not a spark, and there lays a crucial fault in the Japanese mating system. People are so keen to get coupled up that a spark does not seem to need to exist here... the sex industry provides a means for men to enjoy the company of women without having to fork out on the wining and dining required by a future potential spouse. It’s a case of satisfaction in half the time, for half the price... Around a table of Japanese citizens of mixed gender, sex does not exist. It is rarely mentioned, and certainly never with reference to oneself. This sense of secrecy extends even to the love hotels, where you cover your license plate, pay through a machine, and leave through a back door onto a quiet street. When sex is required to be kept a secret, it is regarded with connotations of negativity. And when something is viewed negatively, it tends to be considered taboo... For the Japanese, the approach of a stranger is an act of almost biblical transgression. Where big, open rooms in Western bars and pubs are designed with communication in mind, Japanese izakayas are sectioned off into private rooms"

American teacher’s spin on Japan’s racism riles Net nationalists - "the Net uyoku put Dezaki in their cross hairs, sending him death threats and hounding his employers, previous employers and even the local politicians who oversee his employers... He really got his students’ attention when he talked about discrimination between Japanese groups. People from Okinawa, where Dezaki happened to be teaching, are sometimes looked down upon by other Japanese, he pointed out, and in the past have been treated as second-class citizens. Isn’t that discrimination?"

Girl Talk: What I Learned At An Orgy - "I noticed my surroundings – breasts bigger than mine, butts rounder than mine, stomachs toner than mine, and genitals balder than mine. These weren’t supermodels or porn stars, but they all had raw, real, beautiful features, and my hairy, flat-chested figure couldn’t compete. I ignored that voice of insecurity at first... Jared loves bushes. To him, hair conveys a mature brand of female sexuality that bald vulvas don’t. I always knew, abstractly, that some people prefer hairy to hairless genitalia, but this exchange stood out because no one had ever complimented me on my bush before. It’s seen as an acceptable choice, but not an overtly sexy one. Hearing that a stranger — who had no incentive to lie to me about his turn-ons — was actually excited about my hair was delightful news... People are attracted to different types of bodies, and if you’re at a large party, you’re bound to find someone who finds you attractive. In fact, you’re bound to find someone who is turned on by the very parts of yourself that you view as imperfections"

What Makes Korean Men So Appealing [Arirang Today] - YouTube - "Thanks to hallyu more Japanese women are becoming interested in Korean men. These men have flung off their authority and have armed themselves with sweetness. Arirang Today will meet Japanese women who have fallen in love with Korean men and listen to their story... 'they're more interested in Korean men because they expect them to be like the male characters they saw in those TV dramas'"

Physicist's proposal study uses science to prove why girlfriend should say yes - "The study - which began the first day the pair met - examined the couple's attraction over an extended period of time, locations and circumstances in order to evaluate their compatibility for marriage."

Smartphones, Foolish Security Choices - "People with smartphones could be smarter in their security practices. One smartphone user in every four, according to security firm AVG Technologies, stores intimate photos on a smartphone or tablet, a practice that makes a lost or stolen device a potential privacy problem."

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COMPETITION: EVIDENCE FROM A MATRILINEAL AND A PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY - "We use a controlled experiment to explore whether there are gender differences in selecting into competitive environments across two distinct societies: the Maasai in Tanzania and the Khasi in India. One unique aspect of these societies is that the Maasai represent a textbook example of a patriarchal society, whereas the Khasi are matrilineal. Similar to the extant evidence drawn from experiments executed in Western cultures, Maasai men opt to compete at roughly twice the rate as Maasai women. Interestingly, this result is reversed among the Khasi, where women choose the competitive environment more often than Khasi men, and even choose to compete weakly more often than Maasai men. These results provide insights into the underpinnings of the factors hypothesized to be determinants of the observed gender differences in selecting into competitive environments"

Friday, March 15, 2013

Links - 15th March 2013

Tiny Tokyo apartments make Japanese workers envious of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed microunits - "Some Tokyo residents are giving up windows, space and a whole lot more to cram their lives into coffin-like boxes in “geki-sema share houses.” The not-for-claustrophobes, closet-like rooms still set a renter back about $600 a month and offer little, if anything, in the way of amenities."

Hong Kong's poorest living in 'coffin homes' - "Nicknamed coffin homes for their physical similarities, the 15-square-foot enclosure is just one incarnation of the city's distinctive low-income housing alternatives. Others include the city's cage homes, which resemble livestock coops... even the second-tier properties are around 40% more expensive in Hong Kong than in other global cities like London, New York or Moscow... "Hong Kong has gotten more and more wealthy, but these people have been left behind," she said. "A dweller once said to me, 'I'm not even dead yet but I'm already living in my coffin -- four walls and nails'""
6.9 million!

Semen is 'good for women's health and helps fight depression' - "Oral sex is good for women's health and makes you feel happier, according to a study which studied the effects of semen's 'mood-altering chemicals'. The State University of New York study - which scientists carried out via survey rather than through practical experiment - compared the sex lives of 293 females to their mental health... women who have unprotected sex with their partners - and therefore are getting regularly inseminated by them - experience more significant depression on breaking up with these men than those who were not as regularly exposed to an ex’s semen, and that they also go on the rebound faster in seeking new sexual partners."

Normal behavior in Japan, taboo abroad - "In Japan, sitting in “seiza” (sitting with legs folded under one’s buttocks), is literally translated as “proper sitting.” However, in Korea, sitting in “seiza” is known as the “prisoner sitting style” and is widely considered a way to bring your guests much pain"

Les pulls Anti-Noël pour les Christmas-Haters

Hentak Kaki by James Khoo - Singapore Drama Short Film | Viddsee - "2nd Warrant Officer Teck Hong has served his entire life in the army. Now 38, he finds himself needing to make a pivotal decision, should he continue serving in the army or leave and face the harsh reality of life outside. He knows that if he continues serving, his past injuries limits his roles in the army to administrative positions, something he loathes. However, upon meeting a certain detainee at the Detention Barracks in the army, his life takes a turn."

Why Even Radiologists Can Miss A Gorilla Hiding In Plain Sight - "when you ask someone to perform a challenging task, without realizing it, their attention narrows and blocks out other things. So, often, they literally can't see even a huge, hairy gorilla that appears directly in front of them. That effect is called "inattentional blindness"... what we're thinking about — what we're focused on — filters the world around us so aggressively that it literally shapes what we see"

Owning Your Shit: This means war! - "The conflict that began with Elevatorgate has now overtly become "us vs them", with battle lines drawn by righteous feminists and vilification and exclusion of any who voice the slightest dissent. The "Four Horsemen" of atheism have been recast as the perpetually evil "old white patriarchs", an identifiable group which according to feminist agitprop should be dismissed out of hand. If a powerful, educated old white man said it, you can be sure it's garbage, right? Why? Because we say so! We're just trying to be inclusive!... It's amazing how closely this collective aggression and irrationality mirrors what's known in the pick-up artist community as the "shit test". A shit test is basically an irrational, manufactured conflict, attack or complaint on the part of a female partner against her male partner. This is not a "real" complaint... the horrible thing about shit tests is that they are a subconscious behavior... it's actually the appeasement and supplication of men like PZ Myers that's driving the female psychology underlying this collective shit test to a fever pitch. Validation of the insecurity that lies at the heart of this conflict only generates more of the same... from what I gather, what is considered an abhorrent thought when it comes from an enemy is permissible and even apt when voiced by a friendly. For a community that supposedly prides itself on empiricism, universality, evidence and logic, rather than hyperbole, emotionality, and kneejerking, that's really all you need to know to understand how far gone these people are."

Owning Your Shit: Is Feminism Hate? - "In California, feminist-inspired domestic violence mandatory arrest policies enacted in the 1980s led to a 37% increase in arrests of men and a 446% increase in arrests of women. That's some pretty solid evidence right there, especially when taken in conjunction with the then-multiple studies on DV that showed gender symmetry. Within a few years, however, feminist legal experts had written and successfully implemented predominant aggressor policies which prioritized relative height, weight, strength, AND patriarchal/feminist models of domestic violence (Duluth again), over inconvenient matters such as "who is the abusive party?" They essentially adjusted policy to make outcomes conform to their theory, rather than adjusting their theory to conform to reality. And conform the outcomes did--arrest rates returned to normal: at least 85% male, at least 1/3 of which would have been victims... It's no excuse for the treatment of Erin Pizzey by the feminist establishment in the UK, who were so angered and threatened by her assertion that women are as violent as men in their relationships that they subjected her to a campaign of bomb threats, death threats to her, her children and her grandchildren, and finally killed her family dog when they couldn't get to her. It's no excuse for taking data from tables and not just ignoring the actual numbers, but lying about them, so you can inflate the number of female victims and cast all the perpetrators as male... They actively suppressed the evidence, misrepresented the evidence, attempted to keep that evidence from public and government scrutiny, threatened and blacklisted researchers to prevent them from finding more evidence, and the moment that evidence began being reflected in arrest rates, they actually changed legal procedures so that arrest rates would conform to their theory... Robin Morgan said it herself: Man-hating is an honorable and viable political act--the oppressed have a right to class hatred against the class that is oppressing them"

And so, recently I... - "many feminists (many, not all) frame their arguments in a way that is implicitly accusatory towards all men in general... A vast amount of the general, non-event-specific feminist messages out there (at least those that I have seen) takes on this sort of tone: "Men, stop doing this. Men, the next time you ____, think about ____"... Men face their problems in this world, too. Don't we get offended when men make sweeping statements about women in general and how they make men's lives difficult? So why should we offend them with sweeping statements about them? This is about mutual respect between human beings"

Li Ching-Yuen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "Li Ching-Yuen or Li Ching-Yun (simplified Chinese: 李清云; traditional Chinese: 李清雲; pinyin: Lǐ Qīngyún (claimed DOB 1677 or 1736 - May 6, 1933) was a Chinese herbalist, martial artist and tactical advisor. He claimed to be born in 1736, while disputed records suggest 1677. Both alleged lifespans of 197 and 256 years far exceed the longest confirmed lifespan of 122 years and 164 days of the French woman Jeanne Calment, although his true age is uncertain and this was unverified."

Vegetarians' horror at plans by Walkers to add meat to smoky bacon and roast chicken crisps for the first time - "In what may be a surprise to many, neither of the varieties of crisps made by Walkers contain real bacon or real chicken - but instead rely on artificial flavours. The move to real ingredients is thought to be an attempt to shake off the ‘junk food’ label - but has been greeted with horror by vegetarians who have been tucking into the snacks for years."

The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts: The Baghdad Battery | Archaeology Fantasies - "Elizabeth Stone, Stony Brook University archaeologist and professor of archaeology, talked about her dig in Iraq, the first in 20 years. During the interview on NPR’s Science Friday she received a question from a caller asking about the battery. She replied that she didn’t know a single archaeologist who believed the Battery was a battery. Dr. Stone is considered an authority on Iraq archaeology, and if anyone knew anything about the Batteries, she would. Her null answer, speaks volumes on the topic."

Orthodox Priests and Marriage - "A recent survey of new priests concluded that "satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the celibate life is the strongest factor affecting overall priestly satisfaction," Hoge said. Ten percent to 15 percent of Catholic priests resign within five years of ordination, and more than half of the resigned priests questioned for the 2000 study did so for reasons related to celibacy, he said. About one-fourth had fallen in love with a woman and wanted to continue the relationship through marriage or other means; about one-fourth were heterosexuals who had no love interest but decided that they could not continue the celibate life; and 5 percent to 15 percent were homosexuals who wanted an open, long-term relationship with a man... The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America also has too few priests for a growing population. But a tradition of married clergy has helped create stability, said the Rev. Michael Kontogiorge, vice chancellor of the New York-based archdiocese. About 91 percent (575 of 630) of active Greek Orthodox priests in the United States are married, and it is "very rare" for Greek Orthodox clerics to resign, he said."

M+S Pte Ltd breaks ground in Marina South - "We are confident that this landmark development will play a prominent role in attracting international MNCS and talent to Singapore and become the gravitational epicentre of Singapore's new CBD."
Talk about pretentious

The Wages of Celibacy - NYTimes.com - "It’s a trap, falsely promising some men a refuge from sexual desires that worry them. That’s one explanation for what many church experts believe is a disproportionate percentage of gay men in the priesthood. In a world that has often convinced these men that they’ll be outcasts, the all-male priesthood can seem like a safe haven, and the vow of celibacy an opportunity to tuck one’s sexuality away on a shelf."

Man's prized possession stolen: His porn - "I had a collection that had every African-American that's been in porn, that's ever been in porn since the 70s"

How Arrogance and Militarism Endanger Singapore's Security

"Can bilateral relations qualitatively improve when the PAP and BN governments continue to engage in overt and covert forms of communal politics at the domestic and bilateral levels? Paradoxically, Singapore and Malaysia each construct their national identity in critical opposition to each other. In accordance with this inverted logic. Malaysia’s ethnic-based affirmative action policies have been projected by the PAP government as diametrically different to Singapore's supposedly meritocratic and multiracial society. Yet, as postulated in Chapter 3, the nation-building paradigms of the authoritarian states of Singapore and Malaysia possess more similarities than is acknowledged by the PAP and BN leadership.

To what extent are the deep-seated bilateral tensions between these neighbouring states a function of their asymmetrical status in the international arena? Singapore is generally considered a small power in contrast to Malaysia’s status as a middle-power (Ping, 2005). Womack (2006) has observed that smaller states are prone to paranoia and over—attention to the complexities in bilateral relations, while the larger state is inclined to make errors due to insufficient attention... Paranoia, dysfunctionality, errors of over-attention and under-attention — these are recurring themes in this study of Singapore-Malaysia relations...

The Singapore government is commonly perceived as arrogant, self-serving, calculative and inclined to look down on the less affluent neighbouring countries. Leifer has perceptively observed that

there has been a recurrent tendency on the part of some of its political leaders to address the region in a didactic manner which has been resented... Such resentments tend to be stored up so that when an episode of some tension arises . .. the measure of fury directed at Singapore has seemed to be out of all proportion to the presumed offense (2003: 23—24)

... Emboldened by its close security relations with Washington, the PAP leadership remains prone to aggressive posturing and is 'inclined towards games of chicken and bluff' (Deck, 1999: 254), at times pulling back just on the brink of a serious confrontation with neighbouring countries. During periods of diplomatic tension with neighbouring countries, the PAP government has often been unwilling to compromise or make concessions, lest it is seen as susceptible to caving in to pressure. This aggressive posturing, a classic Lee Kuan Yew trait, is ironic in view of the city-state's reliance on its neighbours...

The Singapore government's reluctance in signing an extradition treaty with Indonesia without expediently packaging it to [many conditions] have reinforced perceptions of the city-state as calculative, exploitative and unethical. Temasek and its stable of GLCs have been viewed suspiciously by neighbouring countries as being driven by an agenda of controlling strategic sectors in the region...

Singapore’s relations with states in the Asia-Pacific region have also been tenuous. Complaining of Singapore’s ‘arrogance’ and air of superiority’, the former PRC ambassador to Singapore, Chen Bioluin, accused Singaporeans of lauding their English language skills and global outlook over Chinese mainlanders. Moreover, the PAP government's characteristic pattern of janus-faced diplomacy — close relations with Washington and Taiwan whilst maintaining cordial relations with China —has not been overlooked by policy-makers in Beijing. Lee Kuan Yew’s racist reference to Australians as the ‘white trash of Asia’ has not been forgotten by Australian policy-makers and media. For example, the Australian media has seen fit to periodically remind the public of Lee’s unflattering view of Australians. In particular, the execution of repentant small-time Australian drug courier Nguyen Tuong Van in December 2005, despite pleas from the Australian government, the EU, Vatican, Amnesty International and other anti-capital punishment campaigners, while convicted drug barons and their associates have been allowed to enter the city-state and set up businesses, have exposed the Singapore government to criticisms of double standards and hypocrisy...

More than 40 years after merger and Konfrontasi, Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP leadership continue to view Singapore’s closest neighbours as the country‘s primary security threat. In response to this perceived security threat, the city-state has built and maintained a defence capability that is unrivalled in Southeast Asia. Paradoxically, Singapore’s formidable security apparatus has generated regional insecurities and reinforced its 'regional other’ image. Defence Minister Goh Keng Swee’s caution in 1978 against arming the republic to the teeth’ in order to prevent ‘an arms race in our part of the vorld (Huxley, 2000: 67) appears to have been ignored by Lee Kuan Yew and the technocratic PAP leadership. While Singapore’s sophisticated military industrial complex may have greatly assisted the SAF in its operational capabilities and in broadening its technological base, it has also contributed to a regional arms race and deepened the insecurity of the city-state. Problematically, this spiralling arms race between neighbouring states in Southeast Asia has not only enhanced regional insecurities but channelled vital state funds away from social services such as education and health.

In the long term, Singapore’s current military edge will narrow as neighbouring economics industrialise and ascend the technological ladder. This scenario has occurred in the Middle East, where Israel’s garrison state policies have fuelled a regional arms race and heightened regional instability. Ironically, Singapore’s economic success has allowed it to acquire formidable hard power capabilities which have eroded its soft power capabilities. The PAP leadership’s preoccupation with hard power has been at the expense of developing an independent foreign and security policy that is regionally centred."

--- Singapore in the Malay World: Building and Breaching Regional Bridges / Lily Zubaidah Rahim (2010)

Italian Food and "Authenticity"

"As noted by Theodor Bestor:

[...] historically derived cultural orientations help shape contemporary institutions and behavior, but their role is not determinative. In other words, often what is most important about the past is the present-day perception of it. (2004, 16)

In Italy, five hundred years ago, pasta was not an everyday dish and it was supposed to boil for at least two hours. That is more than overcooked for today's standard al dente, requiring between five or ten minutes boiling time. Contemporary Italian cuisine is perceived as a dish of pasta al dente and Italians as avid pasta eaters. In the past, the Neapolitans used to be called "leaf eaters" because of a diet based on vegetables, but today they are known as maccheroni and pizza devotees...

Restaurateurs, chefs and the like build and draw on cultural capital in order to make claims of authenticity. As noted by Zukin (2009), authenticity entails power. Power, in this case, is given by the ability to be considered an authentic Italian chef, restaurateur, or pizza chef by customers and among other chef/restaurateurs. As a recognized depository of authenticity, the establishment is given the opportunity to run what will be perceived as an authentically Italian operation"

--- Pizza and Pizza Chefs in Japan: A Case of Culinary Globalization / Rossella Ceccarini

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Rape" and metaphorical language

Christine Leigh Langtree's answer to Offensiveness: Is it now socially OK for a boy to write a joke about rape on a girl's Facebook wall? - Quora

(the question was on whether posting "WALL RAPE!!" on someone's wall is acceptable)

"I don't like the emerging alternative meaning of 'rape' and I told my 21 year old daughter that several times when she informed me she was going to rape some thing or another - one time, it was a Big Mac - she meant she was very very hungry.

She asked me if I was REALLY going to 'kill' the dog next door if it didn't stop barking.

Every generation must find words that offend in order to rebel. What are they to do when their parents use the words f*** and c*** as a matter of course?

The wall post in question is not a threat of physical violence.

How do we feel about using the common expression as a joke: I might as well just kill myself? I've had a close family member commit suicide and for a while, I found it extremely offensive - but I never thought the world should change for me. Offence is taken not given.

For the record, I am a rape survivor ."

This reminds me of an instance in Secondary School where I commented on possible sexual connotations of "fuck you".

I was told that there was a difference between "fuck you" and "I want to fuck you".

Another answer:

"Rape, as defined by Encarta...

3. violent destructive treatment: the violent, destructive, or abusive treatment of something "the rape of a beautiful stretch of countryside"...

Definition 3, however, has a more 'casual' less severe, definition. I hear it used by both men and women on daily basis. This definition has been used in literature for a long time to refer to things being corrupted or destroyed. This is definitely the least common of the definitions (barring 4), and some people may not be aware of its prevalence within certain circles. It is extremely common in gaming (video games) crowds and even fairly common in today's secondary and post secondary education crowds. Eg: "I am going to rape that English exam." Usually appropriate. "I am going to rape my English professor." Inappropriate. "I am going to rape my English professor on Call of Duty." Creepy, but fundamentally appropriate.

Definition 3 is a form of English evolving...

Rape, murder, and idiot have evolved to mean different things in different contexts. If I say, "My roommate is an idiot, I am going to kill him," because he let flatware go down the garbage disposal, I am not implying any threat and I know he is not a true idiot. It is a figure of speech. This is the direction rape is heading...

The casual use of words like rape and murder may bother some of the older crowd, but so did beads, weed, and hip-hop music. This is just an example of the status quo changing."

My answer:

"It is definitely socially unacceptable.

To "wall rape" someone is to "completely and utterly dominate a Facebook wall with numerous posts".

From the information provided in the question, the boy in question only wrote one post, in capital letters though it was. He thus doesn't fit the definition of "wall rape" and has abused the term, and is thus subject to social opprobium.

I used to write on the walls of people new to Facebook: "No more wall virginity!". This was before Timeline, before status updates and before mini-feeds, when walls were purely for friends to write on (yes, kids, I'm oldddddddddddd). This was not a sexual come-on or threat to take their maidenheads (assuming they were still virgins)."

Women = Innocent Victims, Men = Can Die (2/2)

(continued from Part 1)

"The use of numbers to suggest a drastic rise in proportions of civilian deaths is also questionable, as the Indian delegate to the Security Council pointed out in the 1999 debates, citing centuries of atrocities against colonized populations (UN 1999h, 1619). The current statistics include deaths from indirect and long-term causes, which have usually been excluded from casualty counts of earlier periods to which they are being compared. It also suggests civilian fatalities have increased rather than casualties in the broad sense of dead, injured or displaced, but many of the still living seem to actually be factored into the current estimate, exaggerating the novelty of the current situation compared to the past (Small and Singer 1982; Smith 1994, 2; Wood 1968, 24, cited in Beer 1981, 37). This frame produces the appearance of drastically rising civilian casualty rates. But as Frohardt, Paul and Minear write (1999, 17): “Data does not substantiate the view that civilians are increasingly being targeted by belligerents.”

So why does this view persist? While distorting, it presumably appeals to constituents’ immediate sense of urgency and agency: if wars were once “civilized,” perhaps they can be so again. It is reiterated strategically to the public by figureheads of protection agencies, even as those same agencies’ statistical divisions produce empirical data contradicting the public statements...

For women’s advocates, the emphasis on war-affected women was part of a strategy to promote women’s human rights in general, rather than those of civilians (Joachim 1998; Penn and Nardos, 2003; Thompson, 2002). As Keck and Sikkink describe (1998, 195), of all issues affecting women’s human rights, women’s advocates successfully seized upon “violence against women” because it was an issue that could unite a broad constituency.

While not all women who experience gender-based violence are war- affected, the problem of violence against women in armed conflict became a potent symbol for the broader problem of violence against women (Barstow 2000c, 238-239), which then epitomized the claim that the international community must take seriously the human rights of women (Respondent #5, August 2002). Widespread outrage over reports of mass rape in Bosnia provided a proximate political opportunity (Joachim 1998, 156): the Bosnian Muslim rape victim came to symbolize the plight of civilian women in war, at the hands of male (Serbian) soldiers... Drawing greater attention to "women and children in armed conflict" rather than civilians per se was the programmatic aim of women's advocates, and they worked actively with organizations in the civilian protection community to achieve this goal... Organizations such as the WCRWC also actively supported sex-specific protection initiatives such as the "United States Women and Children in Armed Conflict Protetion Act of 2003" (WCRWC 2003).

The connectivity between women’s network frames and those of the civilian protection network is evident throughout the post-Cold War era. In the early 1990s the discourse of women’s activism on war-affected women dovetailed in key respects with the civilian protection network’s focus on “women and children” as innocent victims of violence perpetrated by men. Both the Vienna Tribunal and the 1995 Beijing Conference, occurring in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, focused almost exclusively on women as civilian victims of war, despite some women’s participation in both the Bosnian conflict and the Rwandan genocide: “Those making the war are not women, however those being raped, yes, we are women,” lamented the judge appointed to hear the cases at the tribunal (quoted in Barstow 2000b, 236). Scholarship on war-affected women during this period also tended to emphasize women as civilian victims, and as particularly vulnerable to political violence (presumably in comparison to men).

Women and children, in particular, arc victims of widespread and apparently random terror campaigns by both governmental and guerilla groups in times of civil unrest or armed conflict. (Charlesworth, Chinkin and Wright 1996, 267)

Civilians — women, children and elderly men — are often the targets in [ethnic] conflicts. (Mertus 2001, 21)

Women’s advocates have often been reluctant to highlight women’s roles as agents of political violence or war crimes against men, children or other women*. Part of this stems from a fear that acknowledging women’s agency will reduce international leverage on their behalf as victims; and that acknowledging men as victims will draw hard-won resources away from women**. Moreover, because women’s advocates have understandably focused on the human rights of women, they have tended to avoid addressing the victimization of civilian men in armed conflict, except insofar as it affects women. Therefore:

* - Hutalia (2001) and Mukta (2000) discuss the leverage the feminist activists have sometimes gained from defining women as a uniform victimized group, an assumption that their analyses of women’s participation in communal violence demonstrate cannot be sustained.

** - Domestic feminist movements and literature have sometimes grappled with the same dilemma, as Gordon acknowledges in her study of family violence: “Defending women against male violence is so urgent that we fear women’s loss of status as deserving, political ‘victims’ if we acknowledge women’s own aggressions” (1997, 317).

Women are often forced to witness the brutal torture or murder of loved ones... Minka watched Out of the bushes as her father was murdered. They killed him and then cut him in pieces with a yard axe... (Bunch and Reilly 1994, 40)

As a result of the genocide, many women lost male relatives on whom they previously relied for economic support and are now destitute. (Human Rights Watch 1996, 2)

Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. (Hilary Clinton, 1998, quoted in Jones 2000,91- 92)

The use of such frames among women’s advocates has both reinforced and provided a disincentive for the protection network to challenge gender essentialisms associating women and children with civilian victim-hood and men with armies. Officials in the protection units of major protection organizations often cited the activity of the women’s network as crucial in their understanding of how to protect war-affected women; others felt constrained by the need to legitimize their work on behalf of “women and children” by appealing to the concerns of women’s advocates.

In the media women and children are often mentioned, especially if there are casualties, children who have died in the conflict. In UNHCR we often do use it as well. And I think it is linked to the way in which within the organization we are struggling to mainstream gender in our operations, and it’s also linked to the fact that a lot of HCR staff members, and a lot of donors are really pushing women and children all the time, and NGOs say we are still not doing enough for women and children. (Respondent #15, Personal Interview, August 2002, Geneva)

Some individuals in the gender units of these organizations, most of whom are drawn from the women’s movement and are aligned with both networks, often justified the use of such essentialisms and specifically advocated against a focus on men as victims:

I recognize our discourse is a bit outdated. But it’s very difficult because as soon as you stop talking about women, women are forgotten. Men want to see what will they gain out of this gender business, so you have to be strategic. (Respondent #18, Personal Interview, August 2002, Geneva)

If you have a situation in which women are already reasonably empowered and men are already reasonably prepared to cooperate, yes in that case you can get them together; in other places where there is complete oppression of women ¡ think if you involve men there would be a danger that they hijack the process again and you’ve lost what level of achievement you’ve reached. (Respondent #21, Personal Interview, September 2002, Geneva)

In short, the protection network is institutionally and ideationally reliant on the international women’s network in a way that constrains its ability or desire to challenge their discourses on civilian women. Protection agencies draw on women’s organizations to provide professional expertise on women’s issues, relieving them of the necessity of fully mainstreaming gender in their own programs. Data-gathering on women’s issues is often delegated to partners, such as the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children (WCRWC), and gender experts to fill the few “gender focal point” positions in major protection organizations are gleaned from within the women’s network, in lieu of a systematic mainstreaming process.* Moreover, protection agencies, who have often been accused of failing to adopt a gender-aware approach, look to the women’s network to legitimize their attempts to improve their policies. Often this is assumed to be better served by emphasizing what they are doing for “women and children” than to work systematically at a “gender-aware approach,” understood by most analysts as involving an awareness of gender as it affects both men and women (Anderson, Howarth and Overholt 1992; Benjamin and Fancy 1998, 10; Morris 1998, 3).*

* - Barbara Harrell-Bond told Doreen Indra in a 1998 interview: “No one believes that those outside feminist circles who talk about gender studies are actually including men or considering the dynamics of relationships between men and women” (Indra 1999, 56).

This results in both networks failing to address civilian men as victims in armed conflict. For the women’s movement, men’s victimization of one another is seen as simply beyond their mandate, except as this affects women. On the other hand, the mandate of the civilian protection network, which owes its attention to civilians per se, very much includes civilian men. Yet these advocates avoid the issue because they are invested in a discourse that associates civilians, innocence and vulnerability with everyone but the able-bodied adult male. Thus, while many interviewees readily — and often without prompting — rattled off a list of ways in which men and boys could be particularly vulnerable in armed conflict, few saw a politically realistic way to broach this problem at the level of official discourse...

The humanitarian community is driven by the demands of donor agencies within Western governments who are often beholden to ill-informed constituencies themselves reliant on essentialist discourses to make sense of their world (Aguire 2001; Ignatieff 1998). As a senior representative of World Vision once said, “You can’t confuse the public with complex issues” (quoted in Girardet 1993, 46). Despite calls from within the network for higher standards of accuracy (Caversazio 2001), in a context where the media and donor governments favor attention to certain groups or programs, and in which protection organizations are resource-hungry, there is little incentive to alter public discourse if it means foregoing money for programs (Respondent #34, Personal Interview, August 2002, Geneva).

It is unclear whether this frame distortion is actually required to mobilize support, or to what extent it affects civilian protection itself. However, many network actors apparently believe the trade-off is a rational one. They subscribe to the prescription Braumann outlined in 1993 in his essay “When Suffering Makes a Good Story.” Braumann emphasized a principled balance between the need to “exploit in the best interests of the victim the potential offered by the popular media” and “demonstrate that what they arc doing is founded on principles more solidly based, and hence more demanding, than the appeals to emotions which are so tempting to exploit” (Braumann 1993, 158). Network actors have deliberately distorted their frame for strategic reasons, but they believe the benefits in international attention and resource mobilization outweigh the distortion. They believe they have struck that balance: “We describe in all our objectives particular attention given to women and children. But that doesn’t mean we do not give attention to civilian men on the ground, it is whether we emphasize them or not” (Respondent #19, Personal Interview, August 2002, Geneva.

However, while more systematic evaluative research is warranted, available data does not support this optimistic view. A key point made at the ICRC’s recent workshops on “Strengthening Protection in War” is that organizations’ choices regarding the categories of people assisted will be influenced by the media and donors’ proclivities, with a number of side effects, including the possibility that some victims will “fall through the cracks” (Caversazio 2001, 66). While a recent report from the inter-Agency Standing Committee points out that draft-age men may face particular vulnerahilitics, specific programs to address these problems arc still lacking (TASC 2002, 175). The ICRC has collected information on “Women and War” but not on “Men and War.” Though it is well known that belligerents perceive adult men as combatants, ICRC delegates who disseminate humanitarian law “do not put gender first in our dialogues with the authorities” (Respondent #1, 2002). An official at the US Office for Disaster Assistance in 2002 was unaware of a single assistance program targeting civilian men and boys as such (Respondent #4, 2002). As I describe in the next chapter, ideas are not simply symbolic tools: once repeatedly invoked they become part of the way organizations think, and can influence actor practices despite their own best intentions"

--- 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender Norms and the Protection of Civilians / R. Charli Carpenter

In summary, men are evil.

Those interested in challenging "stereotypes" are only interested in doing so when it will help the group they are presuming to champion.

I actually stumbled across this while trying to locate an account by a journalist I'd read.

He often went to the Third World to find stories of children suffering, and he said when it was a boy suffering he asked if there was a girl suffering from a similar plight, since he found people responded more favorably to female than male suffering (even if both were children).

I still haven't found it, nor have I managed to find studies showing that people show more sympathy for women than for men, even if the two are suffering from the exact same condition.

The above is very damning, though (even more so, since it documents real-life examples of the phenomenon).

Addendum: This is an outgrowth of the same mentality that gives us the "White Ribbon Campaign", which asks men to stop violence against women.

The fact is that narrow-minded crowing about oppression does crowd out other concerns and other groups.

Alternatively, another way to look at it is to compare it to selective enforcement of the law based on race.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Comment draguer quand on est geek ?

"Ma voisine est ravissante !"

(via @GuillaumeG)

Women = Innocent Victims, Men = Can Die (1/2)

"Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat." - Hilary Clinton

I want to be a primary victim of war rather than a secondary victim (i.e. a man who gets killed) any day


The sexist obsession with protecting women (and only women) that leads to the neglect and marginalisation of male rape is bad enough, but this is even worse.

"Women and children first" might not have been a reality with shipwrecks, but for NGOs dealing with contemporary international conflicts it certainly is:

"The analysis in this chapter contributes to recent theoretical work in international relations on the role of transnational advocacy networks in contributing to inter-subjective understandings... I want to argue that even seemingly good norms may emerge as dysfunctional, and therefore their robustness may he diminished, if they are framed in a way that undermines their moral logic (Payne 2001).

Civilian protection discourse exemplifies this phenomenon... Each gender essentialism situates women alongside children as innocent, dependent and vulnerable, therefore civilians and therefore worthy of protection. These generalizations, even when rooted in empirical realities, draw attention away from the fact that able-bodied adult men may also he civilians worthy of the protection network’s concern...

The term “innocent women and children” abounds in international discourse, but protection agencies often make this association explicit. Their appeals for donations or international concern Lend to picture women as both the primary civilian victims of slaughter and the living in need of relief; their brochures picture hungry mothers or desolate refugees (Cohen 2001; Moeller 1998). The same year that 8,000 men and boys disappeared from Srebrenica, the ICRC published a slick brief entitled “Civilians in War,” which contained no images of un-uniformed adult men, and included sections on “women” and “children” alongside “mines,” “water” and “humanitarian law,” without discussing patterns of attack against civilian males. Web sites of major humanitarian organizations, such as the ICRC and the OCHA, contain “protection of civilians” web pages with links to “women,” “children” and sometimes “elderly” and “displaced” but not to “men.” Civilian protection advocates invoke the language of “innocent women and children” to call on belligerents to restrain themselves; on powerful states to intervene; and on potential donors to send aid...

[Save the Children's] 2002 State of the World's Mothers report specifically emphasizes armed conflict. Here, women are positioned as both mothers and civilians

It has become increasingly clear that the lives of children are jeopardized when the lives of women are not protected... the global community can and must do more to make the protection of women, of mothers, of children in armed conflict a priority. (Save the Children 2002, 2)

When houses, schools and hospitals are bombed, food supplies are cut off, agricultural fields are strewn with land mines and wells are poisoned, mothers struggle mightily to preserve their way of life and keep children safe and healthy. (Save the Children 2002, 4)

Belligerent parties deliberately inflict violence on civilian populations, and women and children are killed... (Save the Children 2002, 8)

This language is also reflected in the web content of the OCHA page on “Women and War,” situating women (but not men) as civilian care-givers: “in spite of all they endure in camps, towns, villages, and fields across war zones, women persevere and work to preserve the integrity of their families and communities.” Here, women’s role as mothers is linked to an assumption that they are inherently peaceful, which has led some actors to frame women as peace-building resources, in efforts to get major UN organs to see women’s rights as part of their broader agenda with security and peace (Cohn et al, 2004). This discourse also draws on traditional imagery, deployed by some UN agencies, situating women in the private sphere...

The disappearance of men is both assumed and treated as a factor affecting their families’ plight rather than a protection issue in its own right. The burden of parenting and care-giving is presented as entailing risks only for women. Civilian fathers, before and after separation from their families, are invisible in a frame that assumes their absence and associates childrearing with women. As Save the Children emphasizes: “the care and protection of women and children must be the humanitarian priority in ethnic and political conflicts” (Save the Children 2002, 6).

Attention by the protection network to “especially vulnerable populations” still tends to include every possible category except able-bodied adult civilian males. This discursive usage, which is to be distinguished from the sorts of vulnerabilities and capabilities assessment instruments popularized in the development community (March, Smyth and Mukhpadhyay 1999), equates “women and children” with vulnerability and is used to draw international attention to specific demographic groups (Caversazio 2001; Baines, 2004). Describing the concept of “vulnerability,” and considering whether adult men could be vulnerable, a representative of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told me: “Commonly when you speak of vulnerability you have the image of women, children and the elderly. The idea of a 20-year-old man who can’t defend himself Ilaughterl he can just run away and join the army or join the rebel force” (Respondent #29, Phone Interview, October 2002).

This framing of vulnerability is most evident in the attempt to place the protection of civilians on the agenda of international institutions. The Secretary-General’s 1999 Reports to the UN Security Council on the Protection of Civilians refer to the “special needs” of women as well as children (UN 2001 and UN 1999g). By contrast, no reference is made to the vulnerabilities of adult men, other than one statement in the September report that they are most likely to he killed. (This is buried in the section on page 3 regarding women’s special needs.) In 2001, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs disseminated a pamphlet entitled Reaching the Vulnerable which emphasized deprivation rather than lethal attack and whose images included no civilian males (OCHA 2001). The opening statement of the Report on the Civilian Protection Workshop in South Africa states: “Civilians are no longer just victims of war today. They are regarded as instruments of war. Sex is no defence, nor is age: indeed women, children and the elderly are often at the greatest risk” (OCHA 2002, 1)

When mention of the risks to men does appear in policy documents or speeches, it is seldom followed by analysis or policy recommendations. A recent report on gender-based violence in conflict settings acknowledges that “GBV programming targeting men and boy survivors is virtually non-existent among conflict-affected populations” (Ward 2002, 4) hut the report goes on to focus almost entirely on women and girls, and includes no recommendations regarding men other than the need to incorporate them into initiatives to eradicate violence against women. OCHA’s Emergency Relief Coordinator pointed out in a 2000 public statement that “While research has been undertaken on types of violence and traumatic stress disorders experienced by women during war, less is known about the psychosocial consequences of violence, including sexual violence, suffered by men during conflict” (McAskie 2000, 3). But none of the policy recommendations at the end of her talk included gathering data on such issues.

Actors within the civilian protection network have never agreed on how to define “vulnerability.” Protection workers I spoke to made reference to two partially conflicting definitions. To some, “vulnerability” accrues from physical characteristics, such as age or disability, which make certain individuals inherently less able to withstand attack or escape from harm... Women are often included as such in this group. Some respondents seemed to see women as inherently vulnerable “due to physical reasons and these kinds of factors” (Respondent #25, Personal Interview, September 2002, Geneva). Others, when probed, made it clear that it was only certain aspects of biology that rendered some women vulnerable some of the time, but these aspects were being generalized to women as a group. In particular, pregnant or lactating women possess inherent vulnerabilities stemming from their biological sex (IASC 1999). Overall, however, it makes objectively less sense to define able-bodied adult women without nursing infants as innately vulnerable. Although social vulnerability can vary greatly across societies, in strictly biological terms, a healthy adult woman is far more similar to a healthy adult man than to an elderly invalid or a child under five (Goldstein 2001, 132-134).

Others emphasize socially induced vulnerability. Regardless of physical characteristics, some groups in some contexts are more vulnerable than others to particular forms of threat based upon societal inequities in access to resources, role expectations or geographic location. It is perhaps less empirically problematic to include women as women in this construction of vulnerability. For much of the time under any given social system, women are indeed made vulnerable by social factors, and this is particularly true during times of armed conflict... Thus, there is a case to be made for conceptualizing all women as always socially vulnerable because of the gendered structure of power within war- affected communities. If empirically undistorted, however, such a frame would account as well for men's socially induced vulnerabilities. While able-bodied men, as adults, are among the least vulnerable group physically, they become far more vulnerable than women, children and the elderly to certain forms of attack in certain situations because of socially constructed assumptions about male gender roles (IASC 2002)...

Gender imagery proves a potent cultural resource in terms of agenda-setting, precisely because it resonates with pre-existing gender discourses, hut since this gender essentialism is fundamentally misleading, it distorts the civilian protection frame it is intended to promote.

According to Payne, frame distortion occurs when “normative debates fail to meet basic standards of communicative rationality,” which “imagines actors’ reciprocally challenging one another’s validity claims in order to find shared truth” (2001, 46-47). Payne asserts that only through such “genuine” persuasive practices can “true” norm-building take place. If the resonance of a norm is based on misleading or distorted claims, the process of norm-strengthening itself can be undermined by norm advocates’ internal contradictions (Smith 2001, 45). Target populations may respond to the frame rather than the norm: “We are civilized troops, so we will kill only the adult men.” Moreover, intentionally distorting a moral claim by appealing to only partially compatible symbolism can undermine the broader moral claim itself when the gap between the norm and its frame becomes evident to constituencies: “Women and children are under arms, so there is no longer any such thing as a civilian.” Particularly in the human rights field, “information that turns out to be exaggerated or biased harms the organization’s credibility and ultimately the interests of the people it seeks to help” (Caversazio 2001, 102).

Why do advocates sometimes engage in seemingly counter-productive frame distortion in order to promote their agenda? Part of the answer lies in the existence of such distortions prior to the process of framing. Pre-existing cultural tropes are the stock of ideational resources from which the frames themselves are built. 1f these symbolic technologies already contain distortions, challenging them can reduce the potential for a resonant frame. But the extent to which this is the case will be contingent on strategic factors, through which these cultural tools are filtered, and which therefore provide the incentive structure that drives framing choices. This combination of factors determines the way in which issues will be framed once they reach the agenda of elite organizations in international society, such as the UN Security Council.

Understanding this process renders explicable the persistent use by civilian protection actors of gender stereotypes they know to be outdated and which some claim to be destructive to their cause...

Given the gendered parameters of the immunity norm, and the fact that warring parties generally see adult men as agents during time of war, providing explicit assistance to men can undermine the perception that humanitarian actors are in fact neutral. Take the example of British relief shipments to German-occupied Greece during World War II. Junod (1951, 185) describes British concern that humanitarian aid would be channeled to Greek collaborators and thus sustain the German war effort: “Mr. Jordan, the commercial attaché of the British Embassy, was all in favour of relieving the sufferings of women and children, hut he insisted that men should not benefit... ‘you really must see that Her Majesty’s Government can never agree to feed factory workers in Greece who are working for the enemy’”...

[There is a] perception within the network that the protection of women and children is even more indisputable than the protection of civilians in general, both because gender norms governing protection of “women and children” seem universal, and because of widely held assumptions that women and children are “objective” non-combatants (Respondent #33, Personal Interview, August 2002, Geneva). Whereas intervening in civil wars (or promoting women’s empowerment) can he seen as the deeply politicized processes they are, “protecting women and children, well nobody can argue with that” (Respondent #4, Personal Interview, July 2002, Washington, DC). The gendered aspects of the immunity norm are "amplified” so as to resonate with individuals’ sense of familial obligation, and draw attention away from possibly divisive moral arguments about agency and neutrality, which are nonetheless an intricate part of the protection network’s activities on the ground (Snow et al. 1986).

Frame amplification is used to encourage action as well as to broaden the legitimacy of a frame. Activists frame an issue in such a way as to provoke a response: a check in the mail, a letter to an elected official, an interventionist force. They are faced with distinguishing their cause among the litany of appeals that potential “conscience constituents” will receive, and with overcoming the pervasive denial that afflicts donor populations (Cohen 2001; Moeller 1999). Frames are amplified when they are “clarified or invigorated to bear on a particular issue” (paraphrasing Snow et al. 1986). According to these authors, both principled and causal beliefs can be amplified in order to enhance the resonance of a particular frame.

Rhetoric on civilian casualties within the network is calculated to affect constituents’ sense of moral urgency (principled beliefs) as well as their empirical understanding of the current situation (descriptive beliefs). By claiming that most of the affected are women and children, the appeal is designed to invoke unconditional sympathy and response. By claiming that the severity of the situation is new, unprecedented, a break from the normality of the past, a sense of urgency is conveyed, along with a sense that things can again be “put right.”

The appeal distorts the frame because it is empirically specious. It reifies the association of women but not men with civilian status. More misleadingly, it suggests that of all adult civilians, women are most likely to be singled out for attack: “Civilian women are the primary victims of modern-day warfare,” reads the Midterm Review of the 2000 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeals, publicized by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR 2000, 2). This is the view that has been internalized and reproduced at the Security Council:

The most vulnerable in society — women, children and the elderly — are often targeted and deprived of the most basic human right, the right to life. (UN 1999a, 14)

Among the civilians who hear the brunt o such conflicts are women and children, the most vulnerable groups. They are targeted for physical elimination and abuse. (UN 1999a, 18)

Civilians have thus become the first and main target in armed conflict. Women, children, the elderly, the sick refugees and internally displaced persons have been attacked in large numbers. (UN 1999b, 3)

But as previously described, available data show that civilian men and older boys are more likely to be directly killed in war or civil strife (Goldstein 2001; Jones 2000); women and younger children are particularly affected by conflict’s long-term, indirect effects, in part because they tend to be disadvantaged socially during reconstruction (Cockhurn and Zarkov 2002; Gardam and Jervis 2001; Meintjes, Pillay and Turshen 2001), in part because they are more likely to survive the immediate conflict period (Ghobarah, Huth and Russell 2003) to suffer in the aftermath. By conflating these factors, “women and children” are framed as the primary “targets” of armed violence, obscuring sex-selective targeting of men and boys."

--- 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender Norms and the Protection of Civilians / R. Charli Carpenter (continued in Part 2)

Observations - 13th March 2013

"[She] is described as slim, fair-skinned with long black hair". That's like 90% of Singaporean girls, not very helpful.

Lowish temperature, lowish humidity and no airconditioning - Singapore's Impossible Trinity

It's not so much the pitter-patter of tiny feet as the piercing screams of high pitched voices.

Don't eat meat if you couldn't kill an animal. Don't use a toilet if you couldn't work in a sewage plant.

That awkward moment when you write to "Michael" in an email with 3 of them. And the wrong one replies.

It would be fun to play off two activists against each other and see each hurl accusations and allegations of bigotry at the other. Especially if they were activists in different areas (e.g. an animal rights vegetarian and a Third World poverty campaigner who believes insects are a good way to end malnutrition).

Wondering if people who uncritically accept minorities' allegations of discrimination believed Herman Cain's claims.

Wondering if those who condemn 377A as archaic and discriminatory would also condemn the Administration of Muslim Law Act as archaic and discriminatory. It certainly has a much larger impact than a non-proactively-enforced law.

Should female-to-male transsexuals do National Service?

"who cares, she's queer"
"Not in the "homosexual" meaning. She's just fucking weird"
"She's like hate on everything to be cool"
"I think that's the definition of a hipster"

RT: @QuotingJokes: Breaking a mirror Is seven years of bad luck. Breaking a condom is 18 years of bad luck.

RT: @razzle1337: For those thinking Disney acquiring LucasFilm is a good thing, remember they made the Avengers, but also murdered the Power Rangers

RT: @sickipediabot: If actions speak louder than words... then why is it the thought that counts?

"Friends may come and go, but enemies tend to accumulate"

"Forever 21..lbs overweight."

"Whenever someone calls me ugly, I get super sad and hug them because I know life is really tough for the visually impaired."

RT @JorgenSundberg: Job interview: "What's your greatest weakness?" "Honesty." "I don't think honesty is a weakness." "I don't give a fuck what you think."

"A pessimist sees a dark tunnel. An optimist sees a light at the end of a tunnel. A realist sees a freight train coming down the railroad tracks."

"It must seem like a really evil world out there when you interpret every behavior as a product of "male privilege.""

"In case of Twilight, there is some serious objectification of men. A man according to Twilight exists only to satiate an emotionally weak and unstable girl, to be with her forever ALL THE TIME. A man(according to Twilight) is meant to be obsessed with and only with one girl."

On Amy Cheong:

Wondering how many of those condemning "#racistamy" sniff at people who hold wedding banquets in cheap hotels.

Seeing interesting parallels between anti-Japan hatred in China & racial-religious 'harmony' in Singapore

"Russia had become a ‘telling’ society. The secret police actively encouraged people to inform on neighbours, work mates etc. and many suffered simply as a result of jealous neighbours/workers."

RT @BB_See: Oh dear, the netizens have gotten to Amy's employer. Yes, make her lose her job, won't you, just to feel better about yourself.

RT: @skinnylatte: The internet mob isn't against racism. It has no values. It only knows to bay for blood. Which is why I cannot stand behind the lynching.

"I am inclined to think that people do grow and change after making mistakes. But sometimes we are so focused on punishing the person that we don't leave any room or chance for the person to change."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Conversations - 12th March 2013

Me on anti-377A activists convinced that it's only religious fanatics who are for the law: I wonder how many times you must repeat that

Someone: lol. as long as it takes. talking to them is like talking to the fundies, same difference.

Me: basically the moral of the story is that religion is only a special case of the general case
the general case being ideological blinkers

Someone else: haha...typical ideologue...these people always overreact...I don't get it, but some people only want to hear what they want to hear.

Me: heh
hatred of hatred is not a virtue
‘piety requires us to honor truth above our friends’

Someone else: you don't sound very Chinese. lol

Me: no I'm not
a lot of people hate me :P

Someone else: Yeah I can see that. :) Keep fighting the good fight.

Me: hurr
eventually I will have no friends left >:(

Someone else: It's hard being different, I know very well... especially if you try to be fair and rational, that simply pisses people off, especially in Asia. sigh... But what is more important having fewer friends or a lot of friends you can't stand because you have such contempt for them?

Me: I try not to have contempt for people
unless they are far gone
it's more that I am sad for them
I always talk about "the misery of the human condition"

Someone else: you are originally from Singapore?

wow...there is hope! Actually for Asians, Singaporeans are not nearly as bad as people in East Asia, I think it is the influence that comes in to the culture from speaking English and being multiracial.

Someone on Japanese adult videos (JAV): the debuts all seem to follow a "template"
the girls act as if they had a harsh life and were unwillingly being coerced into this
and slowly strip bit by bit
and act v uneasy to being groped and fondled
by the 2nd release they'd be damn horny and slutty

Someone else: He speaks fluent Chinese, so he was talking about the issues he had over the years with people in Taiwan, including a business partner due to face.

You want to know how he gets along with Chinese people, his advise?

Anyway his advise was pretty racist, but you know, I'm sure it works.

He says don't talk about anything complicated never challenge anyone publicly, never comment negatively about anyone or about Chinese culture or even how things are done locally as it is bound to piss someone off very badly (if coming from a foreigner), make a lot of jokes (no irony/sarcasm, they can't understand that and it usually makes them confused or angry)...what else? Basically he said talk to them like they are a 13 year old European with a small ego. And you can have a lot of Chinese friends, but you will feel sick to your stomach.

oh yeah he said never argue with Chinese people, because as a foreigner you can never win, and you risk making the person loose face...so just stop talking. YES it sounds like dealing with women.
In this way Asian culture is very feminine from a Western point of view.

Someone: eh i have anecdotal evidence against your asian-women-are-frigid claim. my korean friend says that most of the korean girls she knows are very promiscuous, and that korean girls are generally more promiscuous than korean-american girls
there's a thing where koreans go abroad for a year after high school to improve their english
and korean girls go really wild with western men during this time, having orgies and such
but when they go back to korea, they pretend to be all virginal.
i think it's really a problem with contemporary asian culture that's forcing asian women to pretend to be frigid

Me: o_0
my friend who migrated from PRC said PRC chinese are quite sexually liberal cos of the cultural rev
are most of the korean girls she knows those who go overseas?

Someone: not sure if most of the korean girls she knows go overseas
yeah, i've heard that about prc chinese too
i'm telling you, i think it's asian-americans and asian-canadians who might be more frigid
b/c asian culture in north america is more traditional
it's like it froze after they immigrated
while the culture of their original homelands developed and liberalized
same problem for singapore b/c of chinese immigrants
asian values propaganda too
chinese immigrants as in your ancestors, not new prc immigrants today


it's a generational thing probably. she was talking about how korea changed really quickly

she [early 20s] now

Someone else: Another lawyer told me criteria for bf is minimal 7k
Luckily I don't earn so much man otherwise damn jialat

Ed: This is why female lawyers don't get married

Someone: hahahahahahaha
like ur friend's lawyer friend who says bf must earn at least $7k a month,
my criterion is "must have more [sexual] experience than me"

Me: that might be harder than 7k a month...


moral of the story: if you are fussy and have no luck, blame yourself

Links - 12th March 2013

Pursue Your Pork Passion! - "Are you a home chef in training, have hopes of becoming a world traveler or want to be known as the ultimate party host? Tell us how you want to pursue your pork passion and enter for chance to win $5,000."

Loving and leaving: Sex differences in romantic attachments - "We propose a two-part generalization about sex differences in entering into and giving up romantic attachments: (1) Men tend to fall in love more readily than women; (2) women tend to fall out of love more readily than men. Evidence in support of these generalizations is derived from a longitudinal study of 231 college student dating couples. The data suggest that women are more cautious than men about entering into romantic relationships, more likely to compare these relationships to alternatives, more likely to end a relationship that seems ill fated, and better able to cope with rejection"

Why Don't Women Ask Men Out on First Dates? - "One might think that after decades of increasing equality between the sexes, women might be doing more of the asking... a great majority of the women, 93%, preferred to be asked out -- only 6% perferred to do the asking. The majority of men preferred to do the asking, 83%, while 16% preferred to be asked out on a date. It is interesting that more men preferred to be asked out (16%) than there were women who preferred to do the asking (6%). That difference suggests that 10% of men may be waiting quite a while for a woman to ask them out on a first date... Men of my generation, who went to college in the 70s and 80s, mostly embraced the goals of the feminist movement. Greater equality, or at least equity, between the sexes seemed fair. And, from a male perspective, there might be some benefits for us as well -- including less inhibited female sexuality and the anticipation that women would begin asking us out on first dates. So we waited. And waited... and... we are still waiting!... This suggests that something deeper than arbitrary social gender role assignments may be involved in the development and persistence of this robust sex difference"

Viewpoint: In defence of narcissism - "Observations of babies indicate that they are born primed to expect that the world will be at their beck and call... Aristotle picked up the theme, explaining that good self-love is vital for intimacy. For one thing, he noted, if you cannot befriend yourself, warts and all, then how can you possible expect to befriend anyone else, warts and all. After all, you are closer to yourself than anyone else. I remember myself as a teenager feeling anxious when meeting new people. Looking back, I can see now that the difficulty wasn't the new people. It was more that I was a stranger to myself... It's also striking that the word "altruism" - the opposite of selfish egoism - is only 100 years or so old. It was invented by the 19th Century sociologist, Auguste Comte. It was as if he felt the need to distinguish the good love of selflessness from the supposed bad love of selfishness and drive a binary opposition between them. It's a modern division"

10 best Indonesian restaurants

In ‘Game of Thrones,’ a Language to Make the World Feel Real - NYTimes.com - "At his best friend’s wedding reception on the California coast, David J. Peterson stood to deliver his toast as best man. He held his Champagne glass high and shouted “Hajas!” The 50 guests raised their glasses and chanted “Hajas!” in unison. The word, which means “be strong” and is pronounced “hah-DZHAS,” has great significance for Mr. Peterson. He invented it, along with 3,250 other words (and counting), in the language he created for the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” called Dothraki... He aims to eventually expand Dothraki to around 10,000 words — or about the equivalent of college-level foreign language proficiency"

How did ancient prostitutes practice contraception? - Quora

I've won glasses since I was 5. Here's a good reason to wear them... on Twitpic

Ebooks: More Boon to Literacy Than Threat to Democracy - "By the time Fitzgerald died in 1940, his reputation—and that of The Great Gatsby—had petered away. “The promise of his brilliant career was never fulfilled,” The New York Times declared in their obituary. Only after his death did the novel begin to rise to the highest ranks of American literature. And its ascent was driven in large part by a new form of media: paperback books... Franzen seems convinced that ebooks are about to drive print books extinct. That’s a bad thing, he thinks, because ebooks are so fluid... He even thinks that democracy itself could be at risk... 'That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government'... To make the world work? I see the planet freezing in its rotation, governments reduced to hordes of zombies, all because the Kindle doesn’t feel quite substantial enough for Franzen... We’re still left with a romantic revisionism. Books were not frozen solid before the invention of the Kindle. Charles Darwin, for instance, rushed out The Origin of Species in 1859 in a fit of desperation, his hand forced by Alfred Russel Wallace’s near-simultaneous discovery of evolution. Darwin was not terribly happy with how the book turned out, and so he continued to revise it for decades, churning out six editions all told. He was perpetually adding clarifications, correcting typographical errors, removing arguments that he no longer liked. A century before computers, Darwin could not resist the urge to “delete that, change that, move it around.” And despite Darwin’s ebook-like compulsion to alter his own text, he still managed to establish the foundation of modern biology... Rather than set the world on fire with radical contigency, I expect that ebooks will follow much the same trajectory as paperbacks. They will start out being frowned upon as shabby, and then they will deliver literature conveniently to millions of people who might not otherwise have read it"

Spain offers residency to anyone buying a home worth more than £130,000 in bid to save its housing market
"Ireland and Portugal, for instance, now offer residency papers to foreigners buying houses worth more than 400,000 euros and 500,000 euros, respectively; while buyers in Latvia can receive residency permits if they purchase real estate in the capital of Riga worth €140,000 or €70,000 in the countryside."

Really, must parents act so entitled? - "One quality I've always considered integral in the Singaporean identity is an ironclad sense of entitlement... the most entitled people in this entitled population are Singaporean parents. They're fuelled by a potent mix of martyrdom and self-pity, salted over by a lack of sleep and intense body anxiety... [They] seem to live by the creed that "to those whom much has been given, much more should be given"... I can hear it now, the favourite riposte of the childbearing: You don't understand because you don't have a kid... I don't see why the passage of another human being through my birth canal would magically entitle me to special treatment. I respect parents and all the sacrifices they make for their kids, but come on, they're not amputees running a marathon, or quadriplegics painting watercolours with a brush in the mouth. I don't feel sufficiently moved by the plight of Singaporean parents to donate to their cause, which they seem to expect me to do. A tuition arms race and "overly hard exam papers" somehow do not arouse in me the sadness and desire to help that abused animals or victims of natural disasters do... when I choose to buy a pair of shoes, I don't whine about a heels-unfriendly environment, or the lack of adequate shoe storage space in my flat, or shifting social mores that discourage shoe ownership. The choice is mine, as are the consequences"

How not to have a Taoist sex ritual in Hong Kong - "Master Ma advises that as soon as anyone tells you to take off your clothes "that's a warning sign." There aren't any common rituals that require nudity or even physical contact"

The Craft and the Community: Post 23 – 24 - "As a student, I participated in a (fairly small) number of programs for women in math. The programs were all lousy. I love it when I find other women I can really talk to — it makes me feel more at home with myself, my gender, and my ability to learn to think. But these programs weren’t like that. These programs were blah. “Adding more women” is a boring aim, like “meeting normal people” or “meeting non-nerds”. Usually it’s achieved by taking whatever it is that might make the program distinctive (e.g., math talent, or an analytical/argumentative spirit) and watering down that distinctiveness until more women are involved... (It’s funny, folks who are the most politically incorrect about sex and gender, i.e. who have the most accurate maps of reality, are often nicer to women than the guys from the thought police.)"

GM food: Golden rice will save millions of people from vitamin A deficiency. - "Finally, after a 12-year delay caused by opponents of genetically modified foods, so-called “golden rice” with vitamin A will be grown in the Philippines. Over those 12 years, about 8 million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency. Are anti-GM advocates not partly responsible?... Most ironic is the self-fulfilling critique that many activists now use. Greenpeace calls golden rice a “failure,” because it “has been in development for almost 20 years and has still not made any impact on the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency.” But, as Ingo Potrykus, the scientist who developed golden rice, has made clear, that failure is due almost entirely to relentless opposition to GM foods—often by rich, well-meaning Westerners far removed from the risks of actual vitamin A deficiency... current regulations for GM foods, if applied to non-GM products, would ban the sale of potatoes and tomatoes, which can contain poisonous glycoalkaloids; celery, which contains carcinogenic psoralens; rhubarb and spinach (oxalic acid); and cassava, which feeds about 500 million people but contains toxic cyanogenic alkaloids. Foodstuffs like soy, wheat, milk, eggs, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, sesame, nuts, peanuts, and kiwi would likewise be banned, because they can cause food allergies. Here it is worth noting that there have been no documented human health effects from GM foods... The predominance of big companies partly reflects anti-GM activism, which has made the approval process so long and costly that only rich companies catering to First World farmers can afford to see it through... Greenpeace is already protesting that “the next ‘golden rice’ guinea pigs might be Filipino children.” The 4.4 million Filipino kids with vitamin A deficiency might not mind so much"

Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? - "The employment effect of the minimum wage is one of the most studied topics in all of economics. This report examines the most recent wave of this research – roughly since 2000 – to determine the best current estimates of the impact of increases in the minimum wage on the employment prospects of low wage workers. The weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage. The report reviews evidence on eleven possible adjustments to minimum wage increases that may help to explain why the measured employment effects are so consistently small. The strongest evidence suggests that the most important channels of adjustment are: reductions in labor turnover; improvements in organizational efficiency; reductions in wages of higher earners ("wage compression"); and small price increases. Given the relatively small cost to employers of modest increases in the minimum wage, these adjustment mechanisms appear to be more than sufficient to avoid employment losses, even for employers with a large share of low wage workers"

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cultural Conservatism and Sexual Immorality

There is a liberal delusion that only religious conservatives/fundamentalists are uptight or restrictive about sexuality issues.

In reality, there are many people who are culturally conservative and who are motivated by non-religious factors to control or restrict sexuality.

Take this sign, which seems to have been put up by a Buddhist association:

"Love and Respect Our Parents tops all virtues
Sexual Misconduct is the root of all evils"

(better pictures)

As of July 2012, this sign hung on Sim Lim Tower. As of Dec 2012, there was an identical sign facing Geylang from the other end (around Sims Road or Geylang Road).

"[On Sima Qian] Castration, on the other hand, was traditionally reserved specifically for sex crimes. The Great Commentary to the Exalted Documents (Shang-shu ta-chuan 尚书大传, attributed to Fu Sheng 伏胜, fl. third—second centuries B.C.), for example, states that castration (kung 宮) is the punishment for “those men and women who have intercourse without morality” 男女不以義交者. One of the oldest explanations of kung comes in the Comprehensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall (Po-hu t’ung 白虎堂), which explain that kung is the punishment for yin 淫, i.e., “licentiousness” or “promiscuity.”

女子淫,执置宫中, 不得出也。 丈夫淫, 割去其势也
When a woman is licentious, she is to be seized and held inside a room, and not allowed to leave. When a man is licentious, his genitals are to be cut off...

It is hard to escape the thought that Ssu-ma Ch’ien was punished as though he had committed a sex crime—that the court must have perceived his crime, in other words, to have had some underlying sexual dimension.

Part of the solution to this puzzle can be found in the story of Empress Dowager Lu 吕太后 (d. 180 B.C.)—the wife of Liu Pang 刘邦 (247—195 B.C.), the founder of the Han dynasty—and her son, Emperor Hsiao-hui 孝惠帝 (r. 194—188 B.c.). Empress Dowager Lu was the bitter rival of Lady Ch’i *** a concubine whom her husband had taken soon after having embarked on his meteoric rise from commoner to Emperor of China. Each consort had a son who was a potential successor to the throne. Empress Dowager Lu had a “humane and weak’ (仁弱 boy who was to become the future Emperor Hui; Lady Ch’i, a boy named Ju-i 如意 whom the emperor considered to be more like himself. Lin Pang wished to designate Ju-i his heir apparent, but several influential officials interceded and persuaded him to keep that dignity in the hands of Empress Dowager Lu’s gentle son.

When Liu Pang died in 195 B.C., Empress Dowager Lu got her wish and saw her son crowned emperor. Her resentment of Lady Ch’i was so great, however, that she had her rival imprisoned and her rival’s son poisoned. even though neither still posed a threat to her plans. Then she took care of Lady Ch’i once and for all.

The Empress Dowager then cut off Lady Ch’i’s hands and feet, removed her eves, burned her ears, gave her a potion to make her mute, and caused her to live in a pigsty, calling her Human Swine. When she had lived there for several days, she summoned Hsiao-hui to observe the Human Swine. Hsiao-hui saw her, and asked; then he was given to know that this was Ladiy Ch’i. Then he cried greatly, whereupon he became sick; for more than a year, he could not get up. He sent someone to plead with his mother, saying: “This is not the action of a human being. I am the Empress Dowager’s son, but to the end I will not be able to rule the world.” From this point on. Hsiao-hui drank daily and indulged in licentious pleasures. He paid no attention to government; that is why he was sickly.

The poor Emperor’s reaction to seeing his father’s consort brutally mistreated was so severe that he was unable to continue ruling. He withdrew from court and left all political affairs to his inhuman mother. (We remember that he was first introduced to us as “humane and weak” 仁弱) How, then, did he spend his days if he would not “rule the world” 治天下? He “drank daily and indulged in licentious pleasures” 日饮为淫乐. He was affirming that excessive sexual activity is the opposite of maintaining order and government.

The idea is not entirely new to us. We remember, for example, the connection between sexual activity and political machination forged by Han Fei in his essay on the sybaritic palace women (chapter 1). The woman who copulated the most, that thinker argued, naturally gained the most power and therefore constituted the most serious threat to the ruler’s absolute authority. After the unification of China and the founding of the empire under the First Emperor of Ch’in 秦始皇帝 (r. 221—210 B.C.), it became even more critical for the ruler to take into account Han Fei’s manner of thinking, for now every subject in the empire was a potential usurper. With so much more to lose than any ruler before him, the First Emperor took the monetous step of having a code of proper sexual conduct inscribed in stone atop the famous Mount Kuei-chi 会稽...

The First Emperor takes up the issue of sexual relations between his subjects, insisting that he will tolerate no immorality in this regard, either.

饰省宣义 Those who conceal their transgressions while proclaiming their own morality
有子而嫁 are [widows] who have a son and still remarry.
倍死不贞 They rebel against the dead and are not chaste.
防隔内外 I separate and divide the inner and outer (i.e., males’ and females’ quarters].
禁止淫佚 I prohibit and stop licentiousness and dissipation.
男女絜诚 Men and women will be pure and faithful.
夫为寄猳 If a husband becomes a sojourning boar [i.e., an adulterer],
杀之无罪 one can kill him with impunity.
男秉义程 This is the path to making men maintain morality.
妻为逃嫁 If a wife absconds and marries [someone else],
子不得母 her sons will not be allowed to consider her as their mother.
咸化廉清 Everyone will be made modest and pure.

... the First Emperor discloses his belief that his subjects’ most consequential moral and political acts are their sexual acts. He makes no specific prescriptions beyond the vague warning that they "maintain morality” 宣义 and be “modest and pure” 廉清. In accordance with the same principle of unity, the First Emperor condemns clandestine sexual relations among the populace. Husbands and wives must be faithful to each other, for the integrity of the glorious new era depends on the sexual morality of the emperor’s subjects. It is important to note that in this regard the First Emperor’s sexual code is not sexist: men and women must both be chaste. The only difference is that widowed mothers have an explicit obligation to remain faithful to their deceased husbands, while the emperor makes no similar demand of widowers, whether childless or not. As we shall see, later formulations of ideal sexual relations would be far less equitable in the requirements that they placed on men and women."

--- The Culture of Sex in Ancient China / Paul Rakita Goldin
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