"The happiest place on earth"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Links - 25th October 2014

Telegraph Journalist Accuses World Health Organisation of Gay Stereotyping - "The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been accused of promoting gay stereotyping following it’s report published last week, which urged gay men to use antiretroviral drugs as an additional method of HIV prevention."
Apparently it's better to let gay men die than to 'stereotype' them

Israel, Hamas, WhatsApp And Hacked Phones in the Gaza Psy-War - "Liron Shamam, a popular anchor on Israel’s most-watched morning news show, was sitting in her apartment in Tel Aviv, wondering what it must be like for those living in Gaza. So she embarked on a quest to find her Palestinian doppelganger. “I was so sad and depressed,” she said. “I couldn’t help but think there must be someone in Gaza, sitting in their apartment wondering the same thing about me.” Minutes after posting a message on Facebook, she was talking to a Palestinian journalist in Gaza. But the conversation was cut short when the man on the other end of the line had to run to the shelter. “Before he hung up, I told him, ‘be safe!’ and he wished me the same.” Ironically, rockets began flying over Shamam’s apartment in Tel Aviv that very moment. The symmetry of their experiences only made her more determined to continue her journey. “I remember thinking, this is fucked up.”"

Lawrence Kurniawan's answer to Why are women so negative about the "picking up women" school of thought? - Quora - "the rabbit hole goes really deep and some women have only tasted the breadcrumbs the old rabbits left behind. Suffice to say they didn't like the mould... What you read from Neil Strauss's The Game is old and just the tip of the iceberg. I'm guessing that some women didn't like pick-up because of some techniques advocated there (like negging) and the objectification of women, amongst other things. I agree that they are horrible, but they don't represent the whole pick-up field. To say that pick-up is nasty because of that is akin to hating Biology because you think cloning is immoral... Does pick-up benefit women?
Yes, in many ways.
1. Many things taught in pick-up are actually androgynous. They are transferable to life in general and business, especially networking. It teaches you how to read people better, connect with strangers, take calculated risk, act despite fear, be a better person and the list goes on.
2. More men with better dating skills mean you will have better love life and better selections.
Every good things in this world can be used for bad purposes, pick-up is no exception."

Prostitution Law Canada: Should Bill C-36 Debate Hear From Johns? - "Atchison says that what's missing from the new law is a basic understanding of how many johns there are in Canada and what motivates them to buy sex. He says the best comparative numbers are from Britain, New Zealand and Australia, where four to seven per cent of the male population have purchased sex. "[But for Canada] there is no indication at the broader level. Which then begs the question, how is it that we can have this legislation that has been proposed to address a problem when nobody knows the magnitude of the so-called problem." In his research, Atchison has spoken to "literally thousands" of men who bought sex. The act itself is the main reason they visit prostitutes, but it is not the only one. Johns have told him they want companionship, conversation, physical touch. Some are handicapped or suffering from degenerative diseases that leave them paralyzed. Perhaps most surprising, there are johns who have long-term connections with a sex provider that in some cases last for years. They are what he calls "pseudo-monogamous relationships." In a recent interview on CBC Radio's The 180, James Rodney admitted to having been a regular user of sexual services in the 1990s. He was working at a fly-in job in a remote area of Canada and didn't feel having a one-night stand was fair to the woman... John Lowman, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University who has studied prostitution and the law since 1977, thinks Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — equality rights — will get a workout this time around. He explains that the proposed law would allow a woman to sell sex without fear of prosecution. "Then the full weight of the law can be brought against the man who buys those sexual services. It is institutionalized, state-sponsored entrapment," he says. On top of that, argues Lowman, this approach will just put prostitutes at as much risk of violence as they were under the old regime — the exact opposite of what this law is supposed to do. "I think that [abolitionists] are quite prepared to sacrifice sex sellers in the name of their particular ideology, which is about creating what they think is an equal society by abolishing prostitution," says Lowman."

'Inventing Wine': The History Of A Very Vintage Beverage - "People would add a variety of unexpected ingredients to obscure and enhance the flavor. Everything, Lukacs says, "from lead to ash to myrrh to various kinds of incense, spices. And the most common thing added, especially to wines that people valued, were fresh resin from pine trees or boiled resin — namely pitch — from pine trees. Lead, in fact, will sweeten wine, so lead was used for thousands and thousands of years." The book is filled with surprising facts about the drink. Pharaohs have been buried beside jugs of it. The Quran promises baths of wine in the afterlife because here on Earth, humans are too weak not to succumb to its temptations. In World War I, France sent bottles of wine to its troops to help fortify them against the horrors they were experiencing in the trenches."

Coffee and qahwa: How a drink for Arab mystics went global - "In Mecca, Cairo and Istanbul attempts were made to ban it by religious authorities. Learned shaykhs discussed whether the effects of coffee were similar to those of alcohol, and some remarked that passing round the coffee pot had something in common with the circulation of a pitcher of wine, a drink forbidden in Islam. Coffee houses were a new institution in which men met together to talk, listen to poets and play games like chess and backgammon. They became a focus for intellectual life and could be seen as an implicit rival to the mosque as a meeting place. Some scholars opined that the coffee house was "even worse than the wine room", and the authorities noted how these places could easily become dens of sedition. However, all attempts at banning coffee failed, even though the death penalty was used during the reign of Murad IV (1623-40). The religious scholars eventually came to a sensible consensus that coffee was, in principle, permissible."

SCIENCE: WHY EUNUCHS DON'T WEAR TOUPEES - "If you don't fancy drugs, surgery or resignation, Dr Nilofer Farjo, Harley Street surgeon and expert in balding treatments, suggests the only other way to prevent pattern balding is castration. "A bit drastic but eunuchs don't go bald," she notes." Andy Bryant, director of Natural Hair Products, begs to disagree. Having saved his own head of hair with no loss of body parts, he now advises up to 1,500 people a year on lifestyle changes which he says can slow hair loss and give measurable regrowth. His prescription is simple: reduce stress, reduce or cut out tea, coffee, alcohol and high sugar foods. All, he argues, increase stress hormones such as adrenalin and prolactin which increase levels of testosterone and consequently DHT. "If you stabilise the over-reaction of the adrenal glands, the rate of hair loss slows quickly," says Bryant, who is convinced that whatever the genetic background, levels of circulating DHT are the key. In countries where tea, coffee, alcohol and sugar consumption is low, he notes, pattern baldness is less prevalent, as is prostate cancer. When Japanese men move to the US, their rate of prostate cancer increases three to five times, and Japanese researchers, who believe consumption of more animal fat is giving Japanese men increasingly greasy scalps have also reported a link between excessive oil in the scalp and hair loss... Medical experts tend to dismiss lifestyle approaches, arguing that changing diet or reducing stress won't change hair follicles genetically programmed to fail. But the strains of modern life could explain a phenomenon clearly identified by both medics and alternative proponents. And that is that men are balding earlier... Being licked by a cow may work - the chemicals in cow saliva may stimulate growth factors in the scalp."

Marion Cotillard justifie son (mauvais) jeu d'actrice: une stratégie douteuse - "elle conclut : "Quand je n’aime pas le réalisateur et le tournage, je suis mauvaise à l’écran." Risée du grand public, Cotillard semble avoir trouvé ici une occasion de se justifier auprès de ses pairs. Le fait qu'elle ne place pas Nolan dans les réalisateurs qu'elle admire, alors qu'il l'a dirigé dans deux énormes succès, laisse apparaître en filigrane une critique envers sa direction d'acteurs. En effet, pointée du doigt pour la médiocrité de son jeu dans "The Dark Knight Rises", elle souligne ici le fait que l'origine du problème est toujours dû à son lien avec le réalisateur."

Five Reasons China Won't Be A Big Threat To America's Global Power

Why Have Female Hurricanes Killed More People Than Male Ones? – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science - "Jung team thinks that the effect he found is due to unfortunate stereotypes that link men with strength and aggression, and women with warmth and passivity. Thanks to these biases, people might take greater precautions to protect themselves from Hurricane Victor, while reacting more apathetically to Hurricane Victoria. “These kinds of implicit biases routinely affect the way actual men and women are judged in society,” says Sharon Shavitt, who helped to design the study. “It appears that these gender biases can have deadly consequences.” But Jeff Lazo from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research disagrees. He’s a social scientist and economist who has looked into the public communication of hurricane risk, and he thinks the pattern is most likely a statistical fluke, which arose because of the ways in which the team analysed their data."
Ahh... feminist research!

Trans activists really need to lighten up - "There must be some reason why the trans community, as it calls itself, is worse at taking criticism or tolerating insulting commentary than, say, the Christian community or the butch lesbian community, both of which also get flak on the internet and elsewhere but don’t tend to respond to it in the way trans types do... When I wrote a piece arguing that Bradley Manning is not a woman, despite his claims to the contrary, I was bombarded with suggestions that I should kill myself. This from trans activists who (ludicrously) held Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn responsible for the suicide of a trans schoolteacher and said the media must be careful never to criticise this community lest its members feel tempted to kill themselves... Some groups seem more capable of riding out criticism than others. Yes, Christian outfits play the victim card and bleat to officialdom about feeling offended by an ad or an article, but mostly they just ignore web-based Christian-bashing, which is voluminous. Islamists are more sensitive, hollering for beheadings whenever someone mocks Muhammad or says the Koran is cobblers. And the trans lobby is even more sensitive than that, reacting with censorious anger not only to insults but also to people’s allegedly incorrect use of language, to being called ‘a transsexual’, for example, rather than ‘a member of the trans community’. They even picket the offices of newspapers that have the temerity to piss them off. Why the extraordinary touchiness? I think it reflects the fundamental flimsiness of the trans identity, the fragility of this so-called community... this is a ‘community’ so sadly uncertain of its own claims, so instinctively aware of the largely phoney nature of its arguments, that it must protect itself from any form of public ridicule or questioning lest its facade be knocked down."

Observations - 25th October 2014

"I don't get Asian guys obsession with "pure" and "innocent"...those girls are usually the most messed up emotionally...it's only good for women who are young, after arouned 25, forget it, chick is usually nuts or manipulative"

"Being an ugly girl is like being a guy. You have to work"

"There's more money in lying to women than in telling them the truth"

"women need assurance
just like cars need petrol
men need sex
just like cars need petrol"

Saying you should migrate if you don't like the system instead of trying to change it is like saying you should disown your parents if they don't like your boyfriend.

If you think CPF is good as people are too irresponsible to save for their old age/housing, why not go all the way and have a welfare state?

"After you've spent enough time exploring immigration policies in most first world nations, you'll quickly notice that Singapore is easily one of the easiest places in the world to work and obtain a PR or Citizenship."

"Organised religion lost me forever when I was 11 and the preacher at my primary school bible knowledge class told me that sci-fi like Babylon 5 were works of the devil."
"Science lost me forever when I was 13 and a scientist was rude to me"

Amused that people don't talk about Islam being pluralistic when it comes to stands they agree with (i.e. that interpretation they like could be wrong).

If you don’t like what your religion says, just reinterpret it.

A new low: got telemarketing call from BSS on behalf of UOB. Made by a machine. "If you're not interested, press 2".

Telemarketer for hospital payout plan refused to take no for an answer. I said unless he was offering a gold bar a day I'd heard it all. He thanked me for picking up the call.

Telemarketer gave me her name & number when I declined her offer. Tempted to write them on toilet walls with the words "Free Sex".

Spam email: "can i trust you.let me know".
Tempted to reply: "No. I'm a Nigerian 419 scammer"

BodyContours called me for the umpteenth. Told them I'm allergic to spas and the last time I broke out in hives for a whole week. Of course, they continued to call me.

Telemarketer: "I'll make this call short". Was tempted to hang up on her to make it even shorter.

Tempted to be a food blogger who only reviews bad food.

Your larder and fridge must be totally empty for you to go out and order Maggi Sup.

What do you do when someone you disapprove of promotes a cause you support?

The larger the group size, the higher the probability of eating mediocre food.

"Whenever you are feeling uncreative and/or lonely, just remember that 30 wedding shoots took place in NTUC fairprice outlets in 2013"

The number of vulgarities or incivilities in a piece of writing is a good proxy for how much sense it makes.

[On Koro] "During the span of last hundred years..all the published reports concern the ethnic Chinese"

It's not called a compromise if only one side is always compromising

A lot of talk about not judging people is just arguing for moral relativism. There are better and worse ways to judge.

Amused that the Telegraph has a Men section.

“Haha I boycott Starbucks. Because they support LGBT.”

If mental anguish suffices as a criterion for euthanasia that basically means it’s a free for all since, as with abortion, the anguish is internal and subjective

Most critiques of GDP are only about very short term GDP. Bad health, the environment, wasteful spending etc all depress it in the long run.

One of my fantasies is to go to Québec, be caught in a Juste pour Rire (Just for Laughs) gag and troll them back.

If "revert" didn't exist, we'd have to invent it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Links - 24th October 2014

Why Are Liberals Opponents of Israel? - "Leftists/liberals/progressives believe that the great moral drama of our era is "the rest against the West" or the "people of color" against the "white man." This has replaced poor-against-rich or worker-against-capitalist as the core idea of progressive thought. Seen through that lens, Israel (the "Western," "white" guys) is automatically wrong and the Palestinians (the "anti-colonialist" "people of color") are automatically right. On the other side, conservatives value Israel as a free country, a democracy, and an ally of the United States... In the 1960s and 1970s the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, and the leadership of some of the individual Mainline Protestant denominations turned sharply to the Left. To an outsider it looked as if they were replacing religious faith with political messianism. They embraced "revolutionary" forces in Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other "third world" places even though those forces were both anti-human and anti-God. And they embraced Palestinian "revolutionaries" in the same spirit."

“Fast-Food Civil Rights”: Would You Like Fries With That, Comrade? | Thought Catalog - "This notion of “justice” being applied to fast-food jobs is the latest way to organize and make demands. Once it’s politicized it becomes an argument that takes on a whole new tone. If you don’t support this call for a “living wage,” suddenly you’re against civil rights, and that makes you a racist bigot who is beneath contempt. But I believe framing this as a civil-rights issue is ludicrous and an insult to the people who endured the civil-rights struggles of the past. Even though Rep. John Lewis has compared the movements, calling the pay “starvation wages,” no one is being forced to work at any fast-food restaurant against their will. Ronald McDonald isn’t siccing the dogs or turning the fire hoses on these poor souls. The restaurant industry has responded that the jobs are meant to be entry-level positions and not lifelong careers. Their concern is that if they had to pay employees $15 an hour, customers would feel the pinch. It doesn’t take a business whiz to realize that if a fast-food worker starts at $15 an hour then the industry will change how it conducts business, either by drastically raising prices or laying off workers—probably both. That would be ironic considering other low-wage earners would then likely be priced out of the one restaurant experience they can usually afford. Some of the fast-food workers at Saturday’s convention were wearing T-shirts that said, “We Are Worth More.” But are they really?... a reporter speaking to the two dozen or so activists at a Krystal hamburger restaurant noted that the majority were not actually workers, but union organizers or members. The Service Employees International Union has been providing financial and organizational support to these protests. So this movement would seem to be more about consolidation of union power and union dues than any real concern over civil rights. It was also noted that one protester held a sign quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stating “Capitalism has outlived its usefulness”... Only anti-capitalists would organize for a union that would seek to suck the profits and wages in union dues from a business instead of banding together to start their own business to compete in the marketplace. But then again, whining for what you want is always easier than working for what you want"

French Muslim women creatively circumvent burqa ban - "in a number of Paris suburbs, Muslim women walk around with long scarves that cover their hair and with surgical masks originally intended for medical usage on their faces. Police say that a number of women they arrested produced documentation supporting their medical claim to wearing the mask."

What it really feels like to wear the 'burqa' - "The first thing I realise, apart from the fact that it is incredibly hot and airless under the thick black material is that I can no longer communicate with the people I pass. On a pedestrian crossing, I turn to smile my thanks at the driver who's stopped to let me cross. But black material hides the gesture... It's a tiny moment of human communication and relationship which I, in the solitude of my black tent, am wholly excluded from. No one even bothers to look in my direction. It makes me feel less than human... Lately, we've made a big fuss about hoodies, and young men wearing motorbike helmets aren't allowed into office buildings unless they remove their helmets so we can see their faces... I see someone I know very well walking towards me. I know where she works and I guess she's on her way there now. I stare at her as she approaches but, of course, I'm just a mobile black shape. I'm nobody. Then I think that if she was also dressed as I am, I wouldn't recognise her either. Two friends could pass each other by a matter of a few feet and be none the wiser... The veil is an explicit statement of separation and distance. It seems to me to be far more than a statement of religious identity. Nuns wear habits, to express their relationship to their God, but you can always see their faces. Their dress is not shouting out "don't deal with me". The burqa is different. It says, or at least to me it seems to say, "I don't want to have anything to do with you" and, at this level, it is hard not to see it as a rejection of our society and of our world, especially of the way in which women live in our world... I end up bumping into three different people because I couldn't see them from out of the corner of my eyes"

Don't be outraged for Muslim women - ""Did you wear a burqa when you lived in Saudi Arabia?" a young woman I met at a party recently asked. I responded in the affirmative, upon which she inquired again: "But weren't you outraged?" "Not particularly," I said. Fixing me with an earnest stare she declared, "Well if you weren't then I am outraged on your behalf!" It's tricky to respond to this with equanimity. The sentiment behind the utterance is undoubtedly a sincere and genuine one, free of any deliberate intent to patronise, but it was patronising nonetheless. This seems to be the initial turn-off when western feminism comes to the rescue, the blanket assumption that the victim has no volition nor can respond to adversity with the commensurate degree of outrage because she is so accustomed and desensitised to her own subjugation. It is a strange mix of protective sororal sympathy and smugness."

The Math Sex Gap Revisited: A Theory of Everyone - "With a male-to-female variance ratio of 1.15 and zero gap in the means, filling tenured faculty slots in rank order of ability imposes the following bounds:
Case I: No more than 26% of faculty positions will be occupied by women.
Case II: No more than 33% of faculty positions will be occupied by women.
Thus, "the discrepancy in variances is not large" means that it only restricts female participation in this segment of the marketplace to between 26% and 33%. And we have not considered the sex gap in the means. Accounting for it, the bounds drop to between 16% and 22%... If we incorporate this proclivity factor of 5 into the rank-order calculation, the ceiling on tenured women faculty in math-intensive fields at research institutions drops to between 4% and 6%. In elite departments, say the top five, the ceiling will be lower still. Prenatal testosterone supplements might improve the numbers... The ACT composite score is a weighted average of English, math, reading and science scores. In Colorado and Illinois, where there are no sampling problems, as well as nationally where there are, girls outscore boys in English and reading, while boys outscore girls in math and science. And, as in SATs, boys outnumber girls 2 to 1 in the highest ACT levels of mathematics achievement... Allowing for statistical fluctuation, it is evident from Table 1 that:

Why Don’t I Criticize Israel? : Sam Harris - "this is an incredibly boring and depressing question for a variety of reasons. The first, is that I have criticized both Israel and Judaism. What seems to have upset many people is that I’ve kept some sense of proportion... Whatever terrible things the Israelis have done, it is also true to say that they have used more restraint in their fighting against the Palestinians than we—the Americans, or Western Europeans—have used in any of our wars. They have endured more worldwide public scrutiny than any other society has ever had to while defending itself against aggressors. The Israelis simply are held to a different standard. And the condemnation leveled at them by the rest of the world is completely out of proportion to what they have actually done... What would the Jews do to the Palestinians if they could do anything they wanted? Well, we know the answer to that question, because they can do more or less anything they want. The Israeli army could kill everyone in Gaza tomorrow. So what does that mean? Well, it means that, when they drop a bomb on a beach and kill four Palestinian children, as happened last week, this is almost certainly an accident... What do we know of the Palestinians? What would the Palestinians do to the Jews in Israel if the power imbalance were reversed? Well, they have told us what they would do. For some reason, Israel’s critics just don’t want to believe the worst about a group like Hamas, even when it declares the worst of itself... Every day that you could read about an Israeli rocket gone astray or Israeli soldiers beating up an innocent teenager, you could have read about ISIS in Iraq crucifying people on the side of the road, Christians and Muslims. Where is the outrage in the Muslim world and on the Left over these crimes? Where are the demonstrations, 10,000 or 100,000 deep, in the capitals of Europe against ISIS? If Israel kills a dozen Palestinians by accident, the entire Muslim world is inflamed. God forbid you burn a Koran, or write a novel vaguely critical of the faith. And yet Muslims can destroy their own societies—and seek to destroy the West—and you don’t hear a peep... apart from the influence of Jewish extremism (which I condemn), Israel’s continued appropriation of land has more than a little to do with her security concerns"

Big breasts discourage women from exercising (except when they don’t) - "the research specifies that there is no observed link between breast size and physical activity, meaning it’s not just larger-breasted women who are put off exercising. So exactly why so much coverage specifies that it’s big-breasted women who are put off is anyone’s guess. It’s almost like mentioning big breasts in a headline is more likely to get web traffic or something... The fact that breast size isn’t linked to reluctance to exercise suggests the main reasons are more social or cultural. Women can only be too aware that their breasts get a lot of negative attention. It’s also worth considering that, despite the declarations of the headlines, the original study shows that breasts are ranked 4th as a reason for not exercising, behind lack of energy, time constraints and health reasons. All of these reasons are perfectly valid, but clearly aren’t considered as important or interesting as “having boobs”"

Mega Uses Random Data From Your Mouse and Keyboard To Beef Up Its Already Insane Encryption (Updated)

Video Game Racism "The New Norm"? - "this sort of rumination seems to me to be picking a fight where none exists. And it points up the difference between sensitivity and tolerance. Not everything has to provide a teachable moment or avoid an uncomfortable subject altogether. Look at film"

Moderate Muslims in Singapore must speak up. - "the Malay Muslim community in Singapore should unite and speak up to counter the image that ISIS and local extremists have portrayed on the whole Muslim community. Funnily, the local Muslim community were so vocally anti-Israel when the Jewish state launched ground offensive against Hamas with some even called for the boycott of McDonalds but the community were muted when it comes to ISIS and its local supporters."

The Perils of Wealth

"Having only riches enough to be able to gratify reasonable desires, and yet make their gratifications always a novelty and a pleasure, the family occupied that just mean in life which is so rarely attained, and still more rarely enjoyed without discontent."

--- The Gilded Age / Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner

Kurt Vonnegut and novelist Joseph Heller were once at a party hosted by a billionaire hedge-fund manager. Vonnegut pointed out that their wealthy host made more money in one day than Heller ever made from his novel Catch-22.

Heller responded, “Yes, but I have something he will never have: enough.”

Chinese Filial Piety as Child Abuse (1/2)

"Filial piety is one of the oldest moral codes of the Chinese, who have emphasized it since the first millennium B.C. Scholars, philosophers, and political elites considered it the essential moral principle as well as the pivot of social order in Chinese society. To this day, the teaching of filial piety is pursued in Taiwan in schools, public speeches, theatrical performances, children’s story books, and promotional articles in newspapers and magazines. As Wilson (1970:62) points out, “Overt training in filiality begins in kindergarten and is most marked in the early years of school.” During the heyday of the so-called Cultural Renaissance Movement in Taiwan between 1966 and 1971 (to counter the Cultural Revolution in China), the government sponsored some 400 articles and speeches, either written or delivered by high officials and well-known scholars, to echo President Chiang’s emphasis on Confucian moral teachings (Hsiao 1973: 19). About 100 of them explicitly stressed filial piety as one of the most important moral tenets for the restoration of Chinese culture—the beginning of the ultimate task of retaking mainland China. Although these articles and speeches can be seen as relevant to this specific political context, they can also be viewed in the literary tradition of classic Chinese writing, which for centuries glorified filial piety. We cannot fully understand Chinese child rearing without first understanding the historical, cultural, political, and psychological background of filial piety.

Filial examplars are still cited today in newspaper articles and school texts. Twenty-four were selected by Guo Jujing (Kuo Chu-chin) of the Yuen dynasty (13th century A.D.) for a children's story book, the modern version of which is read by almost every Chinese child in Taiwan...

Because filial piety toward parents and elders was so strongly emphasized in China throughout time, records of model filial persons regularly appeared in personal biographies, local gazettes, and official historical books in every part of China. From time to time court historians would be asked to compile an encyclopedic document in which a section or a chapter would usually be reserved for the illustration of filial deeds of extraordinary nature. Two chapters of one such book, Tai-Ping Yu-Lan (Imperial Review of the Grand Peace), compiled during the Sung dynasty (960— 1279 A.D.), illustrate model filial behavior as esteemed in traditional Chinese society. The chapter entitled “Xiao Gan" ("Hsiao-Kan") (Filial Move) comprises sixty short accounts of remarkable filial deeds performed by commoners, officials, and even emperors, which moved heaven, animals, and people. All except one of these deeds of“filial move,” the highest filial deed, were performed by males. A later chapter, “Xiao Nu" (“Hsiao Nu") (Filial Daughters), recounts twenty-nine stories of filial deeds performed by a girl or an adult woman.

A review of these cases reveals that filial piety was expressed not only toward parents but also toward patrilineal elders of the third, or even the fourth, ascending generation. Table VIII-I shows more instances in which filial deeds are directed by the son to his mother and by the daughter to her father than to same—sex parents. We should not speculate about an Oedipal relationship, however, without first analyzing the cultural context. Another point worthy of mention concerns filial behavior toward a stepmother. In these stories stepmothers were invariably described as mistreating their stepchildren. Ironically, the stepchild’s submissive and tolerant behavior won him or her a place in the documentation of model filial behavior. We shall return to this point about stepmothers.

The ages of the filial children ranged from three years to adolescence, and some of the subjects were elderly. According to the manner in which filial behavior was displayed, the stories may be classified into nine categories, described as follows.

CATEGORY I. Sacrifice of one's own life or one's child's life for the parents' sake

Several stories portray a father who committed a crime and was sentenced to death. When a son or a daughter offered to die in the father’s place, the emperor was so moved that he pardoned the father. In one case a poor man decided to bury his infant son alive in order to provide properly for his elderly mother. While digging the grave intended for his son, the man struck gold, a reward from heaven.

CATEGORY 2. Mourning in excess of the normal ritess

When a parent died, these filial sons and daughters cried day and night until their eyes bled, or until they fainted repeatedly. Some of them prolonged the mourning period; one Son mourned his father continuously for thirty years without taking off his mourning costume and remained a vegetarian bachelor all his life. Filial sons and daughters sometimes committed suicide in their mourning.

CATEGORY 3. To accomplish an impossible task or to suffer self-inflicted bodily pain in fulfillment of a parent's (especially a mother's) wishes or demands

In these stories we see obvious manifestations of child abuse. In two of them a stepmother mistreated a stepson, who accepted her unreasonable demands obediently. In the first story a nine-year-old boy, Wang Yen, was asked by his stepmother to find live fish in a severe winter when the river was frozen. When Wang Yen was unable to provide the fish, he was beaten until he bled. He went to his own mother's tomb and cried. A live fish, which was said to be five feet long, suddenly appeared on his mother’s tomb. He therefore was able to please his stepmother and thereafter was spared her harsh treatment. It is noteworthy that in a different version of the story of Wang Yen’s filial behavior his biological mother rather than his stepmother mistreated him. As an apparent indication of his mother’s deliberate maltreatment, it was pointed out that he did not have decent clothing to cover himself in the severe winter.

The second story worthy of special mention tells about a buy named Wang Xiang (Hsiang) who, in order to catch live fish for his stepmother in winter, lay on the ice to melt the frozen river. On another occasion his stepmother ordered him to watch a fruit tree at night. When the wind blew, the boy clung to the tree trunk in order to stop the fruit from falling off the tree. His stepmother was still not satisfied with him, however, and intended to kill him with a dagger. The boy miraculously escaped his stepmother's attack during his sleep. When he realized his stepmother’s intention, he kneeled before her and offered his head. It was said that his stepmother's heart was suddenly moved and that she thereafter treated him as if he were her own son.

Mention should be made here of another model filial child whose deeds are acclaimed (Tai-Ping Yu-Lan, chap. 413):

Wu Meng, who lived during the fourth and fifth century, showed already at the age of eight years, great love for his parents. . . . Every summer night when the mosquitoes annoyed his parents, Meng took off most of his clothes and lay down near their bed to attract the mosquitoes away from them to himself. Stoically he suffered, and gladly endured the bites for those whom he loved and reverenced. [Koehn 1944:20]

CATEGORY 4. To attend sick parents or to seek medicine or a cure through extraordinary behavior or miracles

To take special care of a sick parent is another popular expression of filial piety. In the stories under review, even a wealthy official who possessed hundreds of servants or slaves would personally attend to a parent's sickbed, sacrificing his own proper diet and sleep to show his concern. To cook the herb medicine oneself and to test the medicine before it is served to the sick parent is considered an essential part of filial behavior under such circumstances (cf. Hsu 1970:78). It seems that filial piety through concern and sharing of the suffering (by not eating or sleeping) adds to the efficacy of the medicine. Another example of extraordinary behavior in attending to a sick parent concerned a son who sucked his parent's boil or tumor to relieve the swelling. The story explicitly pointed out that “the son's face displayed not the slightest expression of hesitation or unwillingness [while sucking his parent's boil]."

The belief that a child’s suffering and pain could assist a parent’s recovery from illness has developed through time to such an extent that as a last resort—believed to be a sure cure—a filial son or daughter would cut a piece of flesh from his or her arm or thigh to be used as one of the ingredients for the parent’s medicine. News of such filial behavior was reported until not too long ago in Taiwan (see Hsu 1970:79 for occurrences in China).

CATEGORY 5 . To provide parents with a proper, decent burial

One of the prevalent themes in filial piety concerns an impoverished child trying to find a way to provide the deceased parent (especially the father) with a decent tomb. Some children worked hard to accumulate the needed burial fee; others sold themselves into slavery in order to raise funds for construction of a tomb.In two cases, a son who grieved over the impossibility of finding his father's bones among thousands of remains on the battlefield was advised to use his own blood as a detector. It was believed that if a son's blood touched his father’s bones it would penetrate into the bones. The son cut his arms and legs to bleed upon hundreds of skeletons and finally, before killing himself through loss of blood, he was able to locate his father’s bones for a proper burial.

CATEGORY 6. Extreme bravery in protecting a parent or a parent’s corpse from harm or damage

The stories ranged from a young boy or girl who shielded a father or a mother from an attacking tiger or a threatening bandit to an adult son who refused to leave his parent’s coffin when a fire in a neighbor’s house threatened to spread. The tiger was so touched that he retreated; the bandit was moved to spare the parent; the parent's corpse was saved when the fire stopped short of the coffin and the weeping son. In one case, however, the filial son threw himself onto the flames and died when the house in which his father’s coffin lay caught fire and was beyond saving.

CATEGORY 7. Attachment to parents (especially a son to his mother) through extrasensory or supernatural communication

One story portrays a mother-son attachment so strong that, when visitors unexpectedly arrived while the son was collecting firewood on the mountains, the mother needed only to bite her fingers. The son suddenly felt a heartthrob and rushed home to see if anything had happened to his mother.

CATEGORY 8. To avenge a father's death

CATEGORY 9. To support parents despite difficult circumstances or through self-sacrifice

These cases describe filial sons or daughters who faithfully provide for parents despite their own hardships. In most of the cases concerning women, a daughter or a daughter-in-law would remain single or refuse to remarry in order to stay with parents or parents-in-law and support them.

Although for the sake of clarity I have classified the filial behaviors reviewed into the above nine categories, many of the stories could easily fit into more than one category. The typology of the stories is summarized in table VIII-2. Although these stories may be regarded today as cultural myths, as only a few of them would be acted out in real life, they still have implications for parent-child relationships and influence child training in modern Taiwanese society.

The following moral and cultural tenets can be inferred from the above analysis of historical eases of model filial children:

1. From a very young age children are expected to show great devotion to their parents, especially the mother.

2. The parent's welfare comes before the child's welfare or that of a son's wife and children. One should not be happy when one’s parents are not happy.

3. At the loss of a parent one is expected to express one’s grief openly and dramatically. Those whose mourning behavior exceeds that prescribed by the rites are considered filial. The most filial would rather die than continue to live without the parent's company. This last point is again an extension of the emphasis of attachment even after a parent's death.

4. No matter how unreasonable a parent's demands, or how harsh the treatment inflicted by a parent, a son or a daughter should obey and endure and make sure that the parent's wishes are fulfilled. Children should be considerate and pleasing in order to make their parents as comfortable as possible, even though they may thereby suffer bodily pain or damage. (children’s submissiveness to a stepmother's maltreatment is praised.

In short, the parents' pleasure is the children's suffering. Psychiatrists T'seng and Hsu (1972) make two useful remarks in their study, “The Chinese Attitude towards Parental Authority as Expressed in Chinese Children’s Stories," which is based in part on modern versions of the historical accounts of filial piety. They say, first, that the “extremely close and prolonged relationships between son and mother may appear pathological to a Western psychiatrist. In most eases, this close relationship is considered virtuous in Chinese culture and is not highly sexualized." Their second noteworthy comment is: “From a Western point of view, these sons serve their fathers in a masochistic way” (referring to the son who warmed his Father's bed in winter and to the son who allowed the mosquitoes to bite him) (T'seng and Hsu 1972:29). Indeed, many daring Chinese scholars have questioned the “unnatural” behavior required of children, but they were overruled by public and political pressure.

One could argue that the emphasis on and the teaching of traditional values of filial models enhance parental control but ignore children's rights. Furthermore, l believe that the stories concerned with stepmothers help to legitimize, at least in the minds of the stepmothers, institutionalized abusive treatment of stepchildren and, further, of adopted daughters in Taiwan (to be discussed later)."

(To be continued)

--- Child Abuse in Taiwan / David Y. H. Wu in Child Abuse and Neglect: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (1983)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Links - 23rd October 2014

The Case for Delayed Adulthood - NYTimes.com - "Studies reveal adolescence to be a period of heightened “plasticity” during which the brain is highly influenced by experience. As a result, adolescence is both a time of opportunity and vulnerability, a time when much is learned, especially about the social world, but when exposure to stressful events can be particularly devastating. As we leave adolescence, a series of neurochemical changes make the brain increasingly less plastic and less sensitive to environmental influences. Once we reach adulthood, existing brain circuits can be tweaked, but they can’t be overhauled... For many, after its initial novelty has worn off, marriage fosters a lifestyle that is more routine and predictable than being single does. Husbands and wives both report a sharp drop in marital satisfaction during the first few years after their wedding, in part because life becomes repetitive. A longer period of dating, with all the unpredictability and change that come with a cast of new partners, may be better for your brain than marriage."

How To Dance Like A White Girl

How I Rebuilt Tinder And Discovered The Shameful Secret Of Attraction - "some judgments are too secret — and shameful — to say out loud, or even admit to ourselves. Katie never said “too not-white,” “too poor,” or “too uneducated.” We cloak those judgments in language that generally circles the issue: “Nothing in common,” “he wouldn’t like me,” “I can’t see us together.” Those statements aren’t necessarily lies, but they’re also not always full truths either — and often rely on overarching assumptions about what differences in race, class, education, and religion dictate not only in a relationship, but any interaction, romantic or otherwise... Tinder’s lack of information forces assumptions from its swipers, which is is a perfect example of what makes Tinder so unique and perfect for this experiment. On OkCupid or Match, there would be clear markers of one’s political views. But on Tinder, you have only the presence of a pair of pleated khaki pants to tell you if the person is, say, conservative, “a douche,” and thus unattractive... he raw idea of attraction — that knee-jerk “thinking from the genitals” decision — has less to do with our unmentionable parts and much more to do with a combination of our deepest subconscious biases and with our most overt anduncharitable personal politics. And if that’s the case, it’s no doubt the reason why Tinder is so popular, addictive, and ultimately insidious."

Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision - "Redish believes their results speak to a continuity between humans and other animals. “We’re not surprised by hearts or legs being similar, so why should we be surprised that brain structures and computations are similar?” he says."

Nature of war: Chimps inherently violent; Study disproves theory that 'chimpanzee wars' are sparked by human influence - "A team of 30 ape researchers assembled extensive data sets spanning five decades of research gathered from 18 chimpanzee communities experiencing varying degrees of human influence. In all, data included pattern analysis of 152 killings by chimpanzees. The key findings indicate that a majority of violent attackers and victims of attack are male chimpanzees, and the information is consistent with the theory that these acts of violence are driven by adaptive fitness benefits rather than human impacts."
Claiming that chimps only wage war because of humans sounds like claiming that formerly colonized people only do bad things because of the White Man

Will IGP, Zahid dare to arrest Dr M for saying 'Malays are lazy’? - "He called them "lazy", "unashamed of being failures" and accused them of "lacking integrity in handling money" and even went as far as suggesting that they are petty thieves. Such derogatory remarks are far worse than calling Umno "celaka" and one wonders if Umno Youth would storm the octogenarian's house in protest. Furthermore, aren't Mahathir's remarks considered seditious? Will the current sedition law dragnet include him as well?"

Shall we stick on the sex tape, darling? - "Middle class lovers are 70 per cent more likely to film themselves in the act of coitus than working class couples, according to a YouGov poll, suggesting that stereotypes of stiff-upper-lipped prudes are no longer relevant... Agony aunt and sex expert Dr Pam Spurr agrees that filming yourself during sex is now “exceedingly common” as it’s a nifty way to satisfy sexual curiosities and “broaden your sexual repertoire”. Dr Pam suggests that familiarity with eroticism in European films might encourage couples to try creating their own sex tapes as “it might lead to a potentially higher level of curiosity about life, and that includes your sex life,” she says. But before you start panicking about the number of skills on your sexual CV and stocking up on Kama Sutra books, take heart: making sex tapes is a relatively tame type of sexual exploration. Cox says that even timid couples are more open to making sex tapes than role play. “Very few people really get into role play because it’s embarrassing and they’re very self conscious,” she says. “A sex tape is completely different – there’s no acting required, you can just be natural. You don’t feel like you’re going to make a fool of yourself.”"

To Make Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians, Stop Talking About Moral Equivalency - "Speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv earlier this week, the White House Coordinator for the Middle East, Philip Gordon, declared: “This is a moment for leaders on both sides to demonstrate reason and calm,” mainly because “there has clearly been far too much recrimination and some reprehensible examples of racism on both sides.” Gordon then called on the Israelis in the room to work toward finalized borders, and promised that the United States will protect Israel and “guarantee” its safety—presumably, one assumes, in the same way this administration has “guaranteed” the security of Iraq. The laughable nature of Gordon’s remarks was demonstrated very clearly when the conference in which he was speaking was interrupted because of missiles launched at Tel Aviv from Gaza, which Israel, striving to work toward finalizing its borders, exited from in 2005; it is hard to escape the conclusion that the result of exiting the West Bank at this point in time would be twice as many rockets with a much greater range. As The Times of Israeleditor David Horovitz wrote in a stellar account of Gordon’s speech, “sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”"

“Women who attract chikan, and women who don’t”: The illustrated guide that’s provoking debate - "Those most at risk from chikan, the notes below the image tell us, are school students in uniform, and meek-looking women in demure clothing. Women who wear loud clothing, or who look tall or powerful, are less likely to be attacked."
Fortunately, most people don't get distracted by feminist red herrings about victim-blaming and consider the useful/interesting information here. But then, this is Japan.

Cross-dressing man in women-only train car causes controversy in Japan

Are Women-Only train cars illegal in Japan? - "for reasons that are difficult for us to fathom, a small subsection of “Men’s Rights” guys in Japan take particular offense to the existence of women-only train cars, arguing that it somehow singles out all men as potential gropers/rapists. As if being a man wasn’t already a pretty cushy gig, these guys for some reason want in on the one last refuge women have available to them to escape the groping hands of men on their morning commutes. One of the main arguments coming from this group is that women-only cars aren’t legally enforceable because it’s technically a gender-discriminatory practice. While that’s true, it’s one of those things we’re probably all better off quietly accepting – since, you know, men not being able to ride one particular train car at limited times during the day isn’t going to kill anybody."
In other words, the editorial stance is that it's okay to discriminate against men

‘Teach men not to rape’: Turn off the outrage machine - " this logic seems almost entirely at odds with how the real world operates with regard to all sorts of criminal acts. No one would ever suggest that companies selling home alarms are promoting a “burglary culture” or that public transit crime prevention tips urging vigilance against pickpockets promote a “theft culture.” No one would argue that, instead, we really should be teaching potential criminals not to pick pockets or break into homes. Nor would anyone claim that we are condoning pedophilia by educating kids about inappropriate touching instead of teaching people not to molest children. In most areas of life, urging caution among people who are at risk of being victimized is simply a matter of common sense. Yet when it comes to stopping sexual assault on college campuses, such advice is the subject of heated controversy... the overwhelming majority of men need no teaching that rape is a repugnant crime. Yet some men still commit it — just as people steal, rob, and even kill despite strong legal and social prohibitions. Research by Boston-area clinical psychologist David Lisak finds that a tiny minority of young men — about 4 percent — are serial predators who knowingly coerce unwilling women into sex, usually by taking advantage of their intoxication. These men are also very likely to commit other offenses, from battery to child sexual abuse. The message “don’t rape” is likely to be lost on them... Much has been made of claims that a Canadian poster campaign reminding men that an unconscious woman cannot consent led to a 10 percent drop in reported sexual assaults. But correlation does not prove causation. In crime surveys in the United States, the rate of sexual assaults dropped by more than 50 percent from 1999 to 2005 with no targeted educational campaigns. Today’s campus sexual assault prevention programs built around teaching men not to rape focus on telling male students to make extra-sure they have their partner’s consent, even if she seems willing. Such advice is likely to make many decent young men super-anxious or super-chivalrous — to the point of condescension — without having any impact on actual bad guys. It also perpetuates the idea, which Lisak has criticized, that acquaintance rape is a misunderstanding rather than a deliberate act of violence."

The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not To Rape - "One bit of obfuscation that the Perpetually Outraged Everybody’s A Victim crowd likes to engage in is lumping all sexual assaulters into one bucket, even though it is a complicated subject with several different types of offenders. So if you say that concealed carry, pepper spray, or martial arts is helpful against one type, they’ll respond by saying “but that does nothing against rape within marriage or date rape, and so does nothing at all!” That’s really either profoundly stupid or disingenuous. That’s like saying I’ve got fire extinguishers in my house, but because fire extinguishers are useless for combatting thousand acre wild fires, I should throw them all away, and if I don’t then I’m pro-arson."

One Theory of Marriage and Kids: 'Very Cute in the Abstract' - ""For men, yeah, being married makes you happier, and the good news is, it doesn't matter at all who you're married to. It could be like a mail-order bride from Russia—does not matter at all"... For women, happiness fluctuates significantly based on the quality of their marriages... "What else do we think makes us happy but really doesn’t? Children," said Sanderson, the mother of three kids who must have been raised with excellent dinner-table banter. "Children are very cute in the abstract," she said. "In the abstract, they’re much easier—like, they’re much quieter. The idea of children is very appealing. But the reality is, if you ask people who have children, especially young children, life consists of chores they don’t really like doing." And they're damned expensive. "Has anyone here looked at their children and said, 'If I didn’t have you, I’d have a vacation home?'" she asked the room...
"My husband and I have been married 20 years, and the secret to our marriage is as followed: We have three kids, and we have a dog. We decided several years ago that if one person left the other one, the person who left would have to take all three kids, and the person who didn’t leave would get the dog," she said. "And that has kept our marriage so strong.""

The 'lost world' of Socotra, a remote island with plants up to 20 MILLION years old
Ahh... the powers of Micro Evolution!

Fifty Years in America - "A book that influenced me was The Socialist Phenomenon (1979), by Igor Shafarevich, a Russian mathematician and a friend of Solzhenitsyn’s. Socialism began as a Christian heresy, he points out, and it has three primary goals: the destruction of private property, the family, and religion. If achieved, this would ensure that everyone will be dependent on the state or the ruling power."

The Latest Decalogue

The Latest Decalogue

Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would tax himself to worship two?
God's image nowhere shalt thou see,
Save haply in the currency:
Swear not at all; since for thy curse
Thine enemy is not the worse:
At church on Sunday to attend
Will help to keep the world thy friend:
Honor thy parents; that is, all
From whom promotion may befall:
Thou shalt not kill; but needst not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Adultery it is not fit
Or safe, for women, to commit:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When 'tis so lucrative to cheat:
False witness not to bear be strict;
And cautious, ere you contradict.
Thou shalt not covet; but tradition
Sanctions the keenest competition.

Arthur Hugh Clough

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Links - 22nd October 2014

Japan porn queens raise thousands of dollars from 'Boob Aid' - "A group of Japanese porn actresses raised tens of thousands of dollars at the weekend by having their breasts squeezed by fans at a "Boob Aid" charity event for AIDS prevention... A man was seen pressing his palms together in the style of a Buddhist prayer before and after he softly touched the breasts of each of the nine. Women were occasionally spotted in the mostly male crowd, prompting one of the girls to say in rapture: "Wow, I'm happy. I want her to touch my breasts!" The event was part of a 24-hour "Stop! AIDS" campaign event in Tokyo, which was also televised live on a Japanese adult cable channel... "I'm really looking forward to lots of people fondling my boobs,"Rina Serina told the Tokyo Sports newspaper before the event. "But I would be very happy if you would please be delicate." The bizarre event was staged after sexist heckling of a Tokyo assemblywoman hit the headlines, highlighting old-fashioned views toward women that still permeate Japanese society. "I never thought my boobs could contribute to society," said the ponytailed Serina, apparently unaware of any contradiction. Fellow porn actress Iku Sakuragi had no qualms about being groped by hundreds of pairs of hands. "It's for charity," said the 21-year-old. "Squeeze them, donate money - let's be happy.""

President Barack Obama and race: It's not my job - "As he has grown weary of Washington, President Barack Obama has shed parts of his presidency, like drying petals falling off a rose. He left the explaining and selling of his signature health care legislation to Bill Clinton. He outsourced Congress to Rahm Emanuel in the first term and now doesn't bother to source it at all. He left schmoozing, as well as a spiraling Iraq, to Joe Biden. Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, comes across as more than a message-meister. As the president floats in the empyrean, Rhodes seems to make foreign policy even as he's spinning it. But the one thing it was impossible to imagine, back in the giddy days of the 2009 inauguration, as Americans basked in their open-mindedness and pluralism, was that the first African-American president would outsource race... Obama has muzzled himself on race and made Sharpton his chosen instrument — two men joined in pragmatism at a moment when idealism is needed. We can't expect the president to do everything. But we can expect him to do something."

Austrian brothel owner has last laugh after nine-year planning battle - "Does prostitution count as "heavy physical work"? Will the presence of a brothel next to a through-road increase the accident rate? How many cubic metres of air are needed for two people to have sex safely? Not questions a judge has to consider every day, but these are the conundrums courts in Austria have been mulling over lately in a farcical battle over a planning application from a pimp."

'Sex drive-in' hailed as success after year-long experiment in Zürich - "Swiss authorities are basking in the afterglow of their decision last year to create a sex drive-in in Zürich, with social services hailing it a success on its first anniversary on Tuesday"

Interpol searching for Malaysian sex blogger Alvin Tan
Ahh... priorities!

Student vows to carry mattress everywhere until her alleged rapist is expelled - "Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University student, has claimed she was raped in her bed last year at university by a fellow student. She is one of three women who complained to the university about that student, but Columbia’s dean found him to be not guilty in each case."
Hopefully Columbia has more of a commitment to due process than feminists

Emma Sulkowicz | Rape Awareness | Due Process - "Sulkowicz plead her case to the university. But why didn’t she go to the police? Why rely upon the school’s justice system to take action? Cases like this highlight what seems to be a growing problem in higher education. Professor Jacobson wrote about a similar case in May, also occurring at Columbia. A male former Columbia student filed a complaint with a federal court in New York alleging he was found guilty of sexual assault by university officials based on weak evidence. He also claimed he was denied proper due process proceedings. Legal Insurrection frequently writes about the death of due process on college campuses. Serious allegations would be better be handled by law enforcement equipped to handle them and by a justice system designed to dispense justice as opposed to whatever is most politically expedient."
"I don’t want to deal with the police any more right now. It’s so disorganized, and it’s really upsetting to work with them at all."
Someone: translation "i feelz bad so please serve me justice on a platter"
or more precisely "i prefer the kangaroo court of public opinion as opposed to a legal system in which i know my chances of getting my desired outcome is relatively low due."
so it actually makes sense
she's just choosing the path that will allow her to achieve her means better.
even with the 50.01% burden of proof, she still failed to prove guilt

Not all feminists: How modern feminism has become complicated, messy and sometimes alienating - "By the dictionary definition, the 22-year-old from Melbourne, Australia, is a feminist — she believes in equality for the sexes. And yet, she rejects feminism with a vengeance, brushing it off as a “rude and nasty” movement that is more interested in trashing views that stray from the party line even if, at day’s end, the cause is common. “If feminism really accepted equality, they would not tell me my views are wrong, they would accept it and let me be”... she found Women Against Feminism, a Tumblr page that collects submitted photos of women holding signs explaining why they don’t “need” feminism. A typical sign: “I don’t need modern “feminism” because I am not a victim and I am not a misandrist”... Sheila Sampath, editor of Shameless, an intersectional feminist magazine for teen girls and trans youth, admits she usually has more arguments with feminists about feminism than she does with men. “People have very legitimate reasons to reject feminism,” Ms. Sampath said. “It doesn’t surprise me that the narrative they’re responding to is the dominant narrative. That narrative itself is pretty racist, pretty capitalist and focused only on gender. To be honest, I reject that too.”"

Please Stop 'Burning In' Your Earphones - "Shure has tested some thoroughly used pairs of its E1 earphones, which first launched in 1997. And guess what? They measure the same now as when they came off the line. In fact, during the 15 years Shure has been actively selling earphones, its engineers have reached the same conclusion again and again: The sound produced by these tiny transducers during final testing is the same sound you’ll get in a day, in a year, and in five years… unless something goes wrong... all of this variation gets at the real thing people are reacting to when they buy new head- and earphones: mental burn-in. If you’re used to dark-sounding headphones, neutral ones may sound bright at first until you get used to the new sound. That flexible calibration is how many of our senses work"

5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day - "1. A nap restores alertness. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a short nap of 20–30 minutes “for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.”
2. A nap prevents burnout. In our always-on culture, we go, go, go. However, we were not meant to race without rest. Doing so leads to stress, frustration, and burnout. Taking a nap is like a system reboot. It relieves stress and gives you a fresh start.
3. A nap heightens sensory perception. According to Dr. Sandra C. Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, napping can restore the sensitivity of sight, hearing, and taste. Napping also improves your creativity by relaxing your mind and allowing new associations to form in it.
4. A nap reduces the risk of heart disease. Did you know those who take a midday siesta at least three times a week are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease? Working men are 64 percent less likely! It’s true, according to a 2007 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the study said, “Taking a nap could turn out to be an important weapon in the fight against coronary mortality.”
5. A nap makes you more productive. Numerous medical studies have shown workers becoming increasingly unproductive as the day wears on. But a 2002 Harvard University study demonstrated a 30-minute nap boosted the performance of workers, returning their productivity to beginning-of-the-day levels."

Count Only Unique numbers in a pivot table - Excel User Group - "Within the data field of a pivot table, I know we can sum, count, average, etc,...but is there a way to get a count of unique entries/numbers there?"
Addendum: The link is now down. The formula is =IF(COUNTIF($A$1:A1,A1)=1,1,0)

NeuroLogica Blog » Artificial Sweeteners and Diabetes - "A new study published in Nature is getting a lot of press, and it seems making a lot of people worried. The Nature News article discussing the study has the headline: Sugar substitutes linked to obesity. I think this headline is misleading. Here’s a breakdown of what the study does and does not tell us... The scientific community is already starting to pick over the results of this study, and dampen public reaction by putting it into perspective. First, the majority of this work was done in mice, who have a different glucose metabolism, diet, and tolerance than humans. The small study with 7 human subjects is very preliminary, and far from sufficient to conclude that the mice data will be applicable to people. The Science Magazine article points out that the study was published in a basic science journal, and that a clinical science journal would probably have been much more critical of their clinical speculations. Another potentially serious criticism is that the researchers combined saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame data. It seems highly unlikely that three very different molecules would all have the same effect on gut microbiota. It’s possible that what the researchers are seeing is isolated to saccharin alone, which the research focused on. Earlier trials used aspartame, which had a smaller effect so the researchers switched to saccharin... A large European epidemiological trial published last year and involving cohorts with >10,000 subjects found an association between drinking sugary drinks and Type II diabetes. It also found an association with drinking NAS containing drinks, but this association vanished when controlled for energy intake and BMI. In other words, people drink diet soda because they are overweight, not the other way around."

On Death and iPods: A Requiem - "We made playlists that spoke to the lives we lived at the moment. Looking at someone’s iPod was like looking into their soul. In their music you could see who they were. You could tell if they were sophisticated or rough. You could see in their playlists the moments they fell in love and the moments they fell back out again. You could see the filthiest, nastiest hip hop in the little white boxes of the primmest people, and know their inner lives a little better than you did before... Soon there will be no such thing as your music library. There will be no such thing as your music. We had it all wrong! Information doesn’t want to be free, it wants to be a commodity. It wants to be packaged into apps that differ only in terms of interface and pricing models. It wants to be rented. It wants to reveal nothing too personal, because we broadcast it to Facebook and we should probably turn on a private session so our boss doesn’t see that we listen to Anaconda on repeat and think we’re high at work. (Point of information: Why is he on Facebook at work?)... I miss the time when we were still defined by our music. When our music was still our music. I miss being younger, with a head full of subversive ideas; white cables snaking down my neck, stolen songs in my pocket. There will never be an app for that."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pro-Choice - what you can Choose

"I am pro choice!"

"Can I choose to smoke?"
"No, it's not good for you."

"Can I choose a large soda?"
"No, it's not good for you."

"Can I choose to own a gun?"
"No, it's not safe for kids."

"Can I choose an incandescent light bulb?"
"No, it's not good for the planet."

"Can I choose low-cost coal?"
"No, it's not good for the planet."

"Can I choose to honor God?"
"No, it's offensive."

"So what can I choose?"
"An abortion."

Keywords: gay marriage, Linus and Lucy from Charlie Brown

Monday, October 20, 2014

Links - 20th October 2014

Breast implants: Venezuelan women using 'wrong size' due to national shortage - "Venezuelan women are suffering from a shortage of breast implants due to restrictive currency controls. The lack of brand-name breast implants has made women so desperate that they are using versions made in China, where quality standards are less rigorous. Some women are so keen to have plastic surgery on their breasts that they are even asking they are using implants that are the wrong size... Venezuela is thought to have one of the world’s highest plastic surgery rates, with boob jobs being the most common procedure... "I'm not saying they're not safe, but I've removed more than a few ruptured Chinese implants. I just don't feel comfortable with them"... There are fears that the lack of breast implants will affect Venezuela’s culture of taking part in international beauty pageants. Edna Lerebours, owner of Agencia Eme model agency in the Dominican Republic, told The Daily Beast: “The lack of breast implants will of course impact the future of Venezuela’s success in these contests.” She added that Venezuela’s beauty pageant success is “not only from the breast implants in Venezuela, but plastic surgery in general. Of course it will affect Venezuelan beauty pageant culture because many of the women use plastic surgery to look perfect.” On social media, some people are taking the shortage less seriously. Many are using a Twitter hashtag that riffs on the Colombian telenovela "Sin Tetas, No Hay Paraiso" ("Without Boobs, There's No Paradise")"

If I can befriend 'the other woman' then so can you. Here's how... - "7. In the first instance, avoid the pub and meet for cake, or chips. Booze might make you both belligerent, but it’s really hard to stay cross with someone when you’re both eating carbs.
8. Your friendship will totally freak out your ex. You’re allowed to enjoy that feeling.
9. However, when your ex suggest a threesome, as mine did, you must threaten to throw them in the nearest large body of water.
10. Wait until your relationship is solid before you make any quips about having deliberately given your ex an STI to pass on to her."

Cheating boyfriend confronted at airport by his 3 girlfriends - "They shouted at him as he came through customs, calling him a 'liar' and a 'cheat'. Fisher reportedly 'froze', before 'running to his granny' and being driven away in her car... The three women are now friends and told MailOnline that they're planning to meet up and have a couple of nights out. Said Connery: "we can't think what we saw in Charlie in the first place""

Study: Couples who smoke marijuana are less likely to engage in domestic violence

When Scientists Give Up : Shots - "Glomski's problem was that he could only get funding to do very predictable, unexciting research. When money gets tight, often only the most risk-averse ideas get funded, he and others say... Instead of helping society improve its defenses against deadly anthrax, he's starting a liquor distillery, Vitae Spirits. He's actually excited about that. It's a big challenge, and it allows him to pursue an idea with passion, rather than with resignation.

For Brazil’s sex workers, a World Cup brothel boom turns to bust - "Brazil has had a reputation for debauchery since the first Portuguese explorers arrived and sent titillated letters full of descriptions of naked and shameless indigenous people. It became, eventually, a part of the national identity – some nonspecific quality of sexiness that all Brazilians, but women in particular, are said to possess, brewed from the tropical climate, the mesmerizing natural beauty, and stereotypes about race and the mixing of it... people, both foreign and local, have a fascination with the range of skin tones in Brazil, and the sexual mixing it implies, both historical (between European masters and African slaves) and current. It may no longer be socially acceptable to voice these ideas over dinner but they haven’t really changed, she said: the darker a skin tone is, the more sexually available, skilled and interested a person is assumed to be... Before the Cup, there were dark predictions from anti-trafficking organizations that tens of thousands of people, including children, would be moved into and within Brazil to cater to sex tourists. It was enough of a concern for government that President Dilma Rousseff warned that Brazil welcomed visitors but was “ready to act against sexual tourism.” Those fears of mass trafficking were ridiculous, according to Thaddeus Blanchette, an anthropologist focused on sex work at the Federal University. “You have waiting lists to get taken on at the termas that are two years long,” he said. “They called up their reserve list in anticipation of the Cup. They didn’t need to traffic anyone in here”... from 2004-2007 fewer than 1 per cent of cases of sexual exploitation reported involved a foreigner and that the vast majority of cases of sexually abused children involved an adult known to them, suggesting that the high-profile focus on trafficking was misdirected. “Men don’t go to brothels to dominate women; they go to [act out their] perform masculinity,” he said. “And if you’re already there in the stadium drinking loads of beer, cheering with all your friends, you don’t need to go to a brothel.” Many tourists paid the $75 admission fee for the higher-end establishments “for the experience” and taking the brothel selfie, but not paying the additional $200 to have sex with a woman upstairs, he added... For Ms. da Cruz, the stereotype of Brazilian women is just one more demand of her job. “It’s a lot of pressure – men who come here with the idea that Brazilian women are hotter, they’re better in bed. I have to pretend I’m [having an orgasm] for them, they expect that.”"

‘Hook-up app’ numbers spike in Brazil - "“My friends have been stalking gringos like jaguars,” she said. “They don’t care what they look like, they just want a gringo.” She paused. “But a lot of them are really cute.” Her friends don’t speak English, and the gringos don’t speak Portuguese. “But they don’t mind that. They say it’s even better that way.” Ms. Costa has so far been out with an American and a Frenchman she met on the app, and met an Argentine and an Italian in bars. The first two were nice enough – but the Frenchman shoved his face in her cleavage and the Argentine was only interested because she fulfills a stereotype of a curvaceous mixed-race Brazilian women, she said. In the end, she’s not sure there is any point pursuing gringos. “They’re all men: They’re all the same below the waist, aren’t they?”... His last night in Curitiba, after the game, his phone battery had died and he was left wondering how he would figure out the way back to his AirBnB crash pad. But then a young woman called his name out a car window: She recognized him as a “match” from Tinder, he said, and she got him home just fine."

Al Qaeda's new Indian branch attacks Pakistani frigate instead of an American ship - "Ten heavily armed militants from the terror cell had planned to storm an American military vessel in Karachi's sea dock - but found a Pakistani naval frigate in it's place. The men were easily overwhelmed before they could do any damage, investigators said, with three of the militants killed and the remaining seven arrested... News of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent's failure to successfully carry out the terror attack has been met with mockery by ISIS sympathizers. Extremists took to Twitter to brand the group 'out of date' and condemned it for committing terror attacks without ever attempting to seize territory."

(NSFW) Thai woman commits suicide by leaping into crocodile pond

Chinese woman's virginity violated by married man leads to $5000 compensation - "A married Chinese man has been ordered to pay 3000 pounds ($4880 USD) compensation to a woman for ‘violating her right to virginity‘ because he pretended to be single when they slept together... A woman who called herself Su Qinglian would also reflect: ‘Chinese law still has a saying about virginity rights — that’s really sexist.’"
Is Su Qinglian blaming the plaintiff for perpetuating sexism?

Fake links to nude celebrities crash New Zealand Internet

How big was Marilyn Monroe & what size dress did she wear - "A strange mythology has sprung up over actress and model Marilyn Monroe's dress size. For decades people said Marilyn Monroe was a size 12 back in the 1950s. However, in more recent years, Elizabeth Hurley (2000) and Roseanne Barr (1996) have claimed Monroe was a size 16. (snopes.com) This notion has become popular with overweight women who justify their size 12s, 14s and 16s as making them the same size as Marilyn Monroe. However, one only has to look at old newspaper photos to question the "plus-size Marilyn myth." We've all seen Monroe in movies and photos with her voluptuous chest and hips... and slender, even delicate, arms, legs, neck and waist. Although her weight fluctuated slightly over the years, is it possible her dainty hour-glass figure was ever a size 16? Google offers a page of links to this same quote: "Her measurements were recorded by her dressmaker as 36-23-37 and sometimes fluctuated between that and 36-24-37.""

Majority of French drinkers say they know little about wine, poll finds - "Most French people do not consider themselves knowledgeable about wine and 43% say they know nothing at all.. In May, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) suggested American drinkers had overtaken the French in wine consumption for the first time. US drinkers consumed 2.91bn litres in 2013, while French consumption fell to 2.8bn litres. Italy (2.2bn litres), Germany (2bn litres) and China (1.7bn litres) completed the top five wine-drinking countries."

'Offensiveness' and children’s books: censoring ‘slut’ from a Roald Dahl classic - "Though Aldi acted to prevent potential parental backlash, the reaction to the removal of Dahl’s book has been overwhelmingly negative. Over 90% of respondents in a Fairfax media pollbelieve Aldi acted wrongly, and there have even been calls for a boycott of the supermarket. Many parents are concerned by inappropriate products being marketed toward minors, as when youth-oriented jewellery outlet Diva was criticised for selling a Playboy range of jewellery in 2011. However, adults also don’t like the cultural touchstones of their own childhoods being tampered with. When original 1970s episodes of Sesame Street were released on DVD in 2007, they were sold with an adults-only warning label indicating that they “may not suit the needs of today’s pre-school child”. Adults who had been raised on a Cookie Monster who did not know the meaning of a “sometimes” food were offended that their childhood viewing could be considered harmful... Golliwog characters were removed from editions of the Noddy series in the 1980s. References to the titular character and Big Ears sleeping in the same bed have also been expurgated. In the mid-1990s, the Faraway Tree books saw the spank-happy schoolteacher Dame Slap sanitised into Dame Snap, and characters Dick and Fanny can no longer prompt sniggering fits as Rick and Frannie. As with the complaints about the use of “slut” in Dahl’s rhyme, many people mocked the notion that Blyton’s simply written and ubiquitous childhood books could suddenly be regarded as offensive or inappropriate. Indeed, when it comes to children’s books, almost any form of content could be considered unsuitable to somebody, somewhere in the world. Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, for example, appears on the American Library’s Association’s list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000... James and the Giant Peach has been challenged because of its depiction of magic, use of the word “ass”, references to tobacco and alcohol, and for alleged promotion of communism."

Andrew Sullivan on the Politics of Offence and Censoring Words

From the famous bigot, homophobe and religious fundamentalist Andrew Sullivan:

Engaging The T, Ctd « The Dish

"This plea in a university to be free of hearing things that might hurt, offend, traumatize or upset you is an attack on the very idea of education itself. And don’t get me started about “trigger warnings.” So many things worth thinking about, grappling with, and chewing over can be offensive at first or second blush. That’s what a real education is about: offending your pre-existing feelings and prejudices with reason and argument and sometimes provocation. Education is not and never should be about making you more comfortable and more safe within your current worldview. It should not be about accusing someone with whom you might disagree of a hate crime.

And the idea that trans people or gay people are those signing up for this mindless crap is particularly distressing.

Policing language is something no gay person should ever countenance – if only because our language and our speech, as tiny minorities, could be the first to be policed in that brave new world. And what does it say about someone’s self-esteem that they run crying out of a seminar because they cannot handle a simple fricking word (and that they do that, while preferring to be referred to as “it”!). I know life as a member of a sexual minority is not exactly an easy one. But what happened to self-empowerment? Whatever happened to the proud, fearless trans people fighting back against the cops at Stonewall? Whatever happened to the great tradition of flouting all sorts of public norms and parading down main street in full Pride regalia? Or the tradition of bawdy outrage perfected by generations of drag queens, gay satirists, cultural provocateurs, and performance artists whose goals often include the salutary impact of – precisely – offense?

All of this is to be buried in a ghastly, quivering, defensive crouch of affirming claptrap, with trans people whining to teacher that someone said a naughty word, and incapable of taking in even a completely benign discussion without collapsing into trauma and tears. There is only one word for this and it is pathetic."


On labelling people 'bigot':

What’s In A Bigot? « The Dish

"I once described the goal of Virtually Normal - written at a time when marriage equality was still a joke to many – as getting past the dynamic of one side yelling perverts and the other side yelling bigots. That has some emotional satisfaction for both sides, but it achieves nothing, and closes dialogue, rather than opening it. And dialogue is what supporters of marriage equality should always want – because our arguments are so much better. Another reader backs me up:

'I have a lot of sympathy for the idea that not every opponent of gay marriage is a bigot. The problem is that I don’t think there is a simple binary between good people who respect gay people and therefore accept marriage equality and evil people who wish to take away the fundamental right of a loving couple to marry'...

People are usually much more complicated that one word “bigot” can convey."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes