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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Links - 5th November 2014

Is it time to get rid of the word pervert? - "For the longest time, in fact, to be a pervert wasn’t to be a sexual deviant; it was to be an atheist... Only at the tail end of the 19th century did the word ‘pervert’ first leap from the histrionic sermons of fiery preachers into the heady, clinical discourses of stuffy European sexologists... Not so long ago, some Neo-Freudian scholars were still interpreting anal sex among gay men as an unconscious desire in the recipient (or the ‘bottom’) to nip off the other’s penis with his tightened sphincter. ‘In this way, which is so characteristic of the pervert,’ mused the influential South African-born psychoanalyst Mervin Glasser in the paper ‘Identification and its Vicissitudes as Observed in the Perversions’ (1986), ‘he [is] trying to establish his father as an internal object with whom to identify, as an inner ally and bulwark against his powerful mother’... Although, happily, we’re increasingly using science to defend gays and lesbians, deep down most of us (religious or not) still appear to be suffering from the illusion of a creator who set moral limits on the acceptable sexual orientations. Our knee-jerk perception of individuals who similarly have no choice whatsoever over what arouses them sexually (be they paedophiles, exhibitionists, transvestites, or fetishists, to name but a few) is that they’ve wilfully, deliberately, and arrogantly strayed from the right course. In other words, we see them as ‘true perverts’... As a society we’ve become so focused on the question of whether a given sexual behaviour is ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ that we’ve lost sight of the more important question: Is it harmful?... When it comes to sexual harm in particular, what’s harmful to one person could be not only completely harmless to another but might even, believe it or not, be helpful or positive. A gay Muslim who dies only to find himself in an afterlife thronged with 72 beautiful female virgins, as the Koran promises its faithful, will be in hell, not in heaven. One man’s angels are another’s demons. once one abandons the notion that one can ‘commit’ a sin by thinking a thought, it becomes quite clear that sexual desires — no matter how deviant — are intrinsically harmless to the subject of a person’s lust, at least in the physical sense. Mental states are ‘a mere breath on the air’ as the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote"
This is one reason people get years in jail for child pornography possession

Teach youth that gender is a cultural construct - "One can be pro-family and yet against the patriarchal family, which some religious groups support. Other cultural impositions are also possible, as “mainstream values”, by definition, exclude significant values held by minority communities. Even more frightening is the thought that progressive perspectives on gender that are taught in our universities will be cut out of the sex education curriculum. I hope I will be proven wrong... Youth who are taught that gender is a cultural construct would make sense of such research. They would recognise that the long history of the patriarchal socialisation of men, rather than nature, explains the different responses between the sexes. They would know that a progressive education can overturn such gender inequities."
The aggressive pushing of an ideological agenda: why parents are scared of sex education
Isn't the cutting out of non-progressive perspectives on gender what those who complained about Focus on the Family's sex education were aiming to do?

Leibovitz Sees Glitz and Grit, Sontag Broods on the Big Idea - "By interspersing sexy photographs of Heidi Fleiss and Nicole Kidman with closeup shots of victims of domestic violence at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, Ms. Leibovitz and Ms. Sontag have created a book that fairly hammers you over the head with its agenda. On one page, you get three Houston socialites with big hats and fake smiles; on the next, black coal miners in Alabama. Rather than letting you get drawn into the photographs, Women wants to make sure you get the point. If you want to look at Sigourney Weaver in a fishnet body stocking and shiny black ankle boots, well, you better not skip over the photograph of two grossly overweight women outside a gas station in rural Texas. The problem is, the book’s point-that women come in all shapes and sizes; that women are still oppressed; that women grow old; that women are deans of law schools and farmers and astronauts and scientists-feels a bit tired by now. Surely we know these things. Ms. Sontag would perhaps respond that we do know them, but that we don’t know them enough. If we did, women would earn equal pay to men and would not be subject to reflexive hostility when they show ambition and independence. Fair enough. But the essay ignores the photos that accompany it. Read Ms. Sontag’s critique of “today’s hugely complex fashion-and-photography system” and you wonder if she bothered to turn to the book’s last page, where Ms. Leibovitz ends her acknowledgments with, “I am extremely grateful to Anna Wintour and Vogue .” If only Ms. Sontag had written an essay that tackled head-on Ms. Leibovitz’s financial and artistic symbiosis with “today’s hugely complex fashion-and-photography system.” What would she make of the photograph, taken from below, of the red panties and crotches of four faceless, high-kicking Kilgore College Rangerette cheerleaders? Is it commentary-the male sports establishment exploits women by making them dress up as cheerleaders-or is it appreciation? How does the photograph jibe with Ms. Sontag’s statement that this is a book about women’s “ambition,” which women have been “schooled to stifle in themselves”? Is a photograph of women’s underwear a celebration of ambition? Ms. Sontag may not be particularly interested in what male viewers think of Ms. Leibovitz’s pictures. Her essay dismisses men as bores. She writes, “A book of photographs of women must, whether it intends to or not, raise the question of women-there is no equivalent ‘question of men.’ Men, unlike women, are not a work in progress.”"
Rangerettes was quite nice

Leonardo DiCaprio with a Swan - AnOther's Lovers
Leonardo and the Swan

Every Comment On Recipe Blogs - "“I didn’t have buttermilk, so I just poured baking soda into a container of raspberry yogurt. It tasted terrible.”
“I love this recipe! I added garlic powder, Italian seasoning, a few flakes of nutritional yeast, half a bottle of kombucha, za’atar, dried onion, and biscuit mix to mine. Great idea!”"

Pavement-hogging cyclists caught in the act - "At least 100 cyclists were caught within an hour and 15 people were issued fines of $20, Shin Min Daily News reported. This follows a report last month by The New Paper that there were many cyclists riding along the pavements of Woodlands Avenue 9 and many near-misses with pedestrians... One resident, Ms Chen, said that many cyclists are very reckless. "My five-year-old son was nearly knocked down by a bicycle a few days ago. It was really dangerous," said Ms Chen, who is in her 40s. A police spokesman said that when cyclists cause hurt to pedestrians, they could be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to one year, or both. Shin Min reported that the pavement where the operation took place was narrow, but in a span of 10 seconds, at least 30 bicycles would pass by. Before the Traffic Police operation started, some reckless cyclists were spotted, with two cyclists brushing against each other. Many pedestrians were also seen looking back frequently as they walked on the pavement, seemingly to look out for cyclists coming from behind. It is understood that many of the cyclists would ride from residential areas to industrial estates between 7am and 8am to get to work. Many cyclists interviewed by Shin Min said that cycling on the roads was too dangerous, so they decided to cycle on the pavement... Writing on his Facebook page about the operation in Woodlands Avenue 9, Mr Khaw said that a cycling lane had been created for cyclists but there were still those who rode along walkways."
The roads are dangerous - so we need to make pavements dangerous too

What If Hogwarts Had A Mandatory Sex Ed Class? - "'That was so informative! Did you know that witches can store their menstrual blood to use in fertility potions? Oh! And Professor McGonagal was telling us about protection charms that you can put onto your vulva so that anything that enters you without your consent will turn black and shrivel up.' They boys grimmaced and hoped they got to land a muggle girl their first time instead."

Cooking with extra virgin olive oil is a 'waste of money' because it loses its health benefits when heated - "Even after being cooked, olive oil will still be at least as healthy as vegetable oil so it is not worth replacing one with the other, said the report. But it could be ‘economically advantageous’ to use standard olive oil rather than pay more for the extra virgin variety, it added. And there are other ways to get the most out of olive oil when cooking, they added. One is to keep heating to a minimum, another is to keep adding a splash of olive oil during the cooking process so that it does not get so hot it loses its healthy properties."

mophie space pack - Built-In Phone Storage | mophie - "space pack is the world’s first rechargeable battery case with local built-in storage made for iPhone 5s/5."

“Game of Thrones” should watch its back: Why this work of nonfiction is as riveting as the fantasy - "We don’t think of Shakespeare as writing historical fiction, but his historical plays really are that, aren’t they?
Those two cycles, the two tetralogies [comprising "Richard II"; "Henry IV, Part 1"; "Henry IV, Part 2"; "Henry V"; "Henry VI, Part 1"; "Henry VI, Part 2"; "Henry VI, Part 3"; and "Richard III"] are probably the most influential lens through which we view the 15th century. So much of what Shakespeare did with those plays — although I don’t think a lot of it was deliberate – reflects the common 16th-century views of what happened in the previous century. And that has remained the way people understand the Wars of the Roses. It’s the most important historical fiction of all when we’re talking about the 15th century.
The first I ever heard of the Wars of the Roses as an American child was in the Chronicles of Narnia. Someone is explaining something complicated to Lucy Pevensie, and she throws up her hands and says “It’s worse than the War of the Roses!” So for a long time the only thing I knew about it was that it was impossible to understand...
I suppose if you could boil it down into one instant, it’s the moment of anointing... That’s what is at the heart of Shakespeare’s “Richard II,” and at the heart of the real story of Richard II as well: the terrible deed that was done by deposing and killing an anointed King. You’ve messed with someone who has literally been touched by God. It’s like when people object to doing stem cell research today. You’re messing with nature, with the rules of the world. Think about it in those terms... This is also one reason the Wars of the Roses eventually petered out. Everyone had to be out there on the front line, which leads to an enormously high mortality rate of male aristocrats in the English 15th century. You get to the end of the 1400s and there is virtually no one with any royal blood left. They’ve slaughtered each other."

Only 39% of Singapore respondents who have lived abroad want to retire here: Survey - "According to the survey, chasing a better quality of life and lower cost of living were among the key reasons for choosing to retire overseas. Countries like Australia and Malaysia were revealed to be popular retirement locations for Singaporeans."

Les femmes "sensibles" et les femmes sages

"Tremblez surtout pour ces femmes actives dans leur oisiveté, que vous nommez sensibles, et dont l’amour s’empare si facilement et avec tant de puissance ; qui sentent le besoin de s’en occuper encore, même lorsqu’elles n’en jouissent pas ; et s’abandonnant sans réserve à la fermentation de leurs idées, enfantent par elles ces lettres si douces, mais si dangereuses à écrire ; et ne craignent pas de confier ces preuves de leur faiblesse à l’objet qui les cause : imprudentes, qui dans leur amant actuel ne savent pas voir leur ennemi futur !

Mais moi, qu’ai-je de commun avec ces femmes inconsidérées ? Quand m’avez-vous vue m’écarter des règles que je me suis prescrites et manquer à mes principes ? Je dis mes principes, et je le dis à dessein : car ils ne sont pas, comme ceux des autres femmes, donnés au hasard, reçus sans examen et suivis par habitude ; ils sont le fruit de mes profondes réflexions ; je les ai créés, et je puis dire que je suis mon ouvrage."

--- Les Liaisons Dangereuses / Pierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos

Monday, November 03, 2014

Links - 3rd November 2014

Video games as research tools: The Space Fortress game - "From 1983 through 1986, several laboratories investigated the role of practice in skill acquisition in a joint project called theLearning Strategies Program. The principal research tool for this project was a video game calledSpace Fortress"

Robert Williams's answer to What are some pranks that don't hurt anyone? - Quora - "One day we just saw him looking really carefully at the tin, and he said "it's like every day there's just more cookies...""

Female monkey using her 'charms' to become top banana at Oita zoo - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun - "Zoo workers who have observed the monkeys said Mirusa's influence arises from the skillful way she gets on the good side of high-ranking male monkeys. She has been found frequently cleaning the fur and grooming the more powerful males, and she has also been observed taking provocative poses toward group bosses. When she is on the verge of losing a fight to a male monkey, Mirusa will scream and call a high-ranking male primate to her rescue."
Ahh... Patriarchy!

The Perks of Herpes - "In a world full of infinite partner choices, herpes had narrowed mine to the understanding, the open minded, the risk takers. I am now confined to partners who think my awesomeness eclipses my cellular flaw — so instead of killing my love life, herpes has weirdly deepened it. Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing to be stuck with forever, I thought as I found the entrance to the train, stepped aboard, and headed home, alone."
Maybe she should get HIV too

Walking is the superfood of fitness, experts say - "Researchers say emerging evidence suggests that combined physical activity and inactivity may be more important for chronic disease risk than physical activity alone. “Actively sedentary is a new category of people who are fit for one hour but sitting around the rest of the day," Bowman said. “You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.” Last year researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health asked 218 marathoners and half marathoners to report their training and sitting times. Median training time was 6.5 hours per week. Median total sitting time was eight to 10.75 hours per day, suggesting that recreational distance runners are simultaneously highly sedentary and highly active. Leslie Sansone, creator of the “Walk at Home: Mix & Match Walk Blasters” DVD, said too many people believe that spending grueling hours at the gym is the only way to fitness. “There’s this “Biggest Loser” idea out there that if you’re not throwing up and crying you’re not getting fit,” she said, referring to the popular television weight-loss show."

A Paradox of Integration - NYTimes.com - "FROM 2010 to 2013, I spent time on a historically white South African college campus to write its post-apartheid history. As I worked, I discovered what appeared to me to be a peculiar paradox: As black students’ access to the school had grown, so had their dissatisfaction with it... He was shocked by the way his new campus, the University of Cape Town, another formerly all-white school, had retained an institutional character molded by the ideology of white supremacy. The portraits at the four corners of the graduation hall depicted white men. Several prominently displayed artworks showed blacks naked, sometimes with their genitals hanging out. The professoriate remained overwhelmingly white. The curriculum was still dominated by Western thinkers... “People are fine with racial difference as long as there’s no culture conflict,” Imraan Coovadia, a creative-writing professor at the University of Cape Town, pointed out to me. In the ’80s, the historically white universities’ first black students expected the institutions to be alien — “unfamiliar territory,” as Mr. Mangcu put it. But as more black students came, their cultural expectations changed. “I want my university to say to me, ‘Black man, be proud,’ ” Mr. Mahapa, the student-council representative, told me. The contrast between the increasingly diverse student body and the homogeneous, Western institutional culture became more and more unsettling. The more black students there were on a campus, the more they felt empowered to speak up. “Together, we all have more courage,” Mr. Mahapa said.
The joys of integration

Lovesick Chinese woman, 26, dumped by boyfriend spends entire week in KFC - "Depressed Tan Shen, 26, from Chengdu, in China’s southwest Sichuan Province, decided she needed some fried comfort food to get over her ex. She stopped off at a KFC near a train station by her home, but ended up staying for a whole week because she ‘needed time to think’. Tan even phoned in sick to work to stay at the KFC, with her break-up clearly hitting her very hard... 'When we asked her if she was ok, she said she was and just needed time to think. 'And then asked for another box of chicken wings with extra large fries'... Waitress Jiang Li Lung said: 'I guess we kind of miss her. It certainly made work more interesting.'"

Gamer Gate Harassment - "Showing the often overlooked other side of this argument. If you have any evidence of SJW's attacking you for your opinion, then let me know... "maybe it's time to castrate these #gamergate degenerates""

Child-porn sentencing questioned - "Possessing child porn is vastly different from distributing or producing it, Graham said in an interview last week. “The purveyors or producers of these images deserve the most severe punishment we can give them. My concern is the people who end up possessing it.” Richard Bistline, a Knox County man, is to be in federal court on Wednesday to be sentenced for the third time for child-porn possession. His case thrust Graham into the spotlight in 2010 after the judge sentenced Bistline, of Mount Vernon, to one day in prison, 30 days of home confinement and 10 years of probation. The recommended sentence under federal guidelines was five to six years... A 2013 U.S. Sentencing Commission report on federal child-porn guidelines noted that many of the sentencing enhancements designed to further punish the worst possessors now apply to most offenders... “Most stakeholders in the federal criminal-justice system consider the nonproduction, child-pornography-sentencing scheme to be seriously outmoded,” the report says. Steve Nolder, a lawyer who directed the federal public-defender offices in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton until last year, said the guidelines need to be changed. “They’re the direct result of the political winds blowing out of Congress,” with legislators having increased the punishment for child-porn offenses within the guidelines in recent years, he said... What everyone wants to know, he said, is whether those who view child pornography have a greater tendency to molest children. “The psychology of that is in its infancy, but right now, the data says no,” Nolder said."

Why do men prefer nice women?: Responsiveness and desire - "Men who interacted with a responsive female individual perceived her as more feminine and as more sexually attractive than did men in the unresponsive condition. Women are more cautious than men when interpreting a stranger's expressions of responsiveness, and their perceptions of the stranger, which were seemingly unaffected by perceived responsiveness, may reflect conflicting trends among different women. "Some women, for example, may interpret responsiveness negatively and feel uncomfortable about a new acquaintance who seems to want to be close. Such feelings may impair sexual attraction to this responsive stranger. Other women may perceive a responsive stranger as warm and caring and therefore as a desirable long-term partner," Dr. Birnbaum elaborates... whether a responsive partner will be seen as sexually desirable or not depends on the context and meaning assign to responsiveness. In early dating, the meaning of responsiveness is likely shaped by gender-specific expectations. Women did not perceive a responsive man as less masculine, but even so, women did not find a responsive man as more attractive. The study helps to explain why men find responsive women sexually attractive, but does not reveal the mechanism that underlies women's desire for new acquaintanceships. "We still do not know why women are less sexually attracted to responsive strangers; it may not necessarily have to do with 'being nice.' Women may perceive a responsive stranger as less desirable for different reasons," Prof. Birnbaum cautions. "Women may perceive this person as inappropriately nice and manipulative (i.e., trying to obtain sexual favors) or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate, and therefore less sexually appealing. Alternatively, women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant. Regardless of the reasons, perhaps men should slow down if their goal is to instill sexual desire.""

Neil deGrasse Tyson compares entrepreneurs to cavemen - "Speaking at the MIRCon security conference in Washington last week, deGrasse Tyson got what feels a bit personal when he rather strongly implied that instead of improving society, app-builders had sent us on a path that if continued, would return us to our troglodytic past. “Society has bigger problems than what can be solved with your next app. [Problems] in transportation, and energy and health. And these are huge sectors of society and they are solved by innovations in these fields,” Tyson said. “Without it we might as well just proceed back into the cave, because that’s where we’re headed.”"
Comment: "I respect Tyson, but somebody had to pay tax so that the space programs can even exist. Entrepreneurs are taxpayers. Pragmatism..."

Foxconn workers went on strike last week, but not for the reason you think - "They wanted to work longerhours. Foxconn wasn’t giving them enough overtime."

How Fruits Have Evolved Over Time - "If someone handed you a peach 6,000 years ago, you might be surprised: the sour, grape-sized lump you'd be holding would hardly resemble the plump, juicy fruit we enjoy today. Throughout the 12,000 years or so since humans first developed agriculture, the foods we eat have undergone drastic transformations. Farmers have found ways to select for different traits when breeding plants, turning out generations of larger, sweeter, and juicier crops... Kennedy writes, "I set out to find the least natural fruit in existence, and decided it was probably the modern watermelon.In 5,000 years, the watermelon has expanded from its original six varieties to a staggering 1,200 different kinds. Modern watermelons are available in a handful of different colors and shapes, and can be bought conveniently seedless. Originally native to a small region of southern Africa, the watermelon is now grown in countries around the world. Modern watermelons are about 100 times heavier than their ancient predecessors and much sweeter. ""
Genetic engineering!

Etihad Airways offers free Flying Nannies on board long-haul flights

Feminist author Naomi Wolf dissects myth of ideal beauty

Feminist author Naomi Wolf dissects myth of ideal beauty

Last Saturday afternoon, two self- professed feminists turned the School of the Arts Drama Theatre into an arena for a jousting match.

In one corner: American author and political consultant Naomi Wolf, who wrote The Beauty Myth (1991), and one of the leaders of the third wave of feminism.

In the other: Singaporean author and artist Dana Lam, president of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).

They were both on stage as part of the Singapore Writers Festival Lecture: The Beauty Myth, featuring Wolf and moderated by Lam.

The whistle was blown during the question-andanswer session when a man in the audience asked: Would Aware consider including men as full members?

Lam threw the first punch. "It's an organisation set up by women to correct an imbalance that exists in society," she argued. "And until that problem is resolved, it's too early to think of us involving men."

Wolf countered with a quick riposte. "I guess I respectfully very, very much disagree with what you just said," she said. "There isn't any room for an organisation which leaves people out on the basis of their gender, religion or culture. If we're so passive that letting men in means them taking over, then we need to work on ourselves."

Lam countered the blow with a quick dodge: "There might be a time for that, but that time, arguably, is not now."

With no knockout punch delivered, the audience was left to choose their victor.

"From that exchange, I think she (Lam) perpetuated the idea that feminism is men- hating, which is exactly what Naomi Wolf was arguing against," said student Thanusha Raj, 22.

The rest of Wolf's lecture was delivered in the same vein: Fiercely protective of her stance, keenly observant, but also quick to acknowledge the flaws and gaps in her own knowledge and Western feminism.

Wolf, 51, is the author of The Beauty Myth which argues that the "ideal beauty" of any day and age is socially constructed by patriarchy, with the goal of keeping women from coming to power and prominence.

The Yale-educated Wolf was a political consultant for presidential candidates Bill Clinton in 1996, and Al Gore in 2000.

In her hour-long talk, which was delivered to a house of mostly women, she spoke on two major topics: The myth of the ideal woman and the evolution of feminism in the West and the developing world.

She began by painting a picture of the "ideal woman": Tall, thin, young, perhaps Caucasian and blonde - the quintessential Barbie. She then deconstructed the ideal by exploring how it came about. She debunked the notion that Barbie is an evolutionary, Darwinian construct, citing culturally relative standards of beauty as well as the biological difficulties of reproduction if a woman is significantly underweight.

Instead, she posited that Barbie has evolved for the "need to hold women back politically". She said that in history, "when women take a giant leap forward, ideals arise in a backlash". This happens again and again, she said.

In the 19th century, when the suffrage movement began to take flight, "the ideal became tinier, more and more passive, more and more fragile, almost as a counterweight".

In the 1950s, after the war was over and women were kicked out of the workforce and back into homes, the ideal was a housewife who was "suddenly supposed to be obsessed with how shiny your floors were".

The obsession with this unattainable ideal is so that women "would not be causing the trouble that you would otherwise cause", she charged. "Barbie is just a symbol and in every culture, she's kind of a Rorschach for the ways women are oppressed."

In the second half of her talk, Wolf was fearless in pointing out the flaws in Western feminism and contrasting its iteration with the movement in the developing world. "Western feminism, which had a lot to say and was very, very valuable for 30, 40 years, has come to an intellectual standstill."

According to her, it has worked itself into intellectual cul de sacs, such as what happened with Simone de Beauvoir's 1949 book The Second Sex which "fetishises the individual at the expense of the community".

She took to task the North American estab- lishment for framing feminism as a gender war between men and women, which was a "terrible, catastrophic way of phrasing". "They begin to approach feminism not as a beautiful, enlightened ideal, but as a set of lifestyle choices."

Instead, she chose to focus on feminism in the developing world, which she said is more akin to the approach of Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman in 1792.

"She articulated a feminism that was totally in line with enlightenment. What she said, that women need to evolve to be free exactly the way that everyone else needs to evolve to be free," said Wolf.

For teacher Baey Shi Chen, 34, the author's honesty and openness to other societies was refreshing. "It's interesting that she's so open to the fact that Western feminism has to listen to other developing cultures that are more aligned to the Age of Enlightenment," she said.

The Revolution is never Safe, and the Party cannot relinquish control until we reach Communist Utopia

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Links - 2nd November 2014

Nationality not a recipe for good food - "The recent move by Penang to ban foreign workers from cooking hawker food might have prompted cheers among people who love the Malaysian state's rich street food culture... A couple of years ago, I remember feeling regret after ordering a plate of fried Hokkien noodles from a coffee shop near home. I had rattled off my order and when the cook replied, it was apparent that she was not from around these parts. How could she possibly make a decent version of the classic hawker dish? How many versions has she had? Yes, she is Chinese, but our kind of Hokkien mee is not found in Fujian. I ate my noodles with a serving of humble pie because the dish was cooked competently. It was not the best plate of Hokkien mee I ever had but it was not the worst either. The best and the worst were cooked by Singaporeans... my colleagues and I used to frequent a popular cafe in Far East Plaza called, rather grandly, The Ritchie Riche Restaurant. It served cheap and good claypot and hotplate dishes. Soups, sizzling noodles and a particularly succulent chicken claypot dish came out of that busy kitchen. "Look inside," my friend, a regular, told me on my first visit. I did, and saw a staff of Indian cooks busy whipping up these Chinese dishes. We patronised the place every chance we got. The food was good, and it did not matter to us who cooked it. That must surely be the guiding principle when assessing food. If it is delicious and, better yet, authentic, does it matter if the cook is not a native one? I think of domestic helpers who have mastered popiah, mee siam, chicken rice, braised duck, nasi lemak and other dishes, cooked according to treasured recipes belonging to their employers... if we have a native- cooks-only policy, does that mean that only Italian chefs can cook Italian food and French chefs can cook French food here? I would hate to miss out on the creations of Taiwan-born Andre Chiang, chef of Restaurant Andre in Bukit Pasoh. The Penang initiative was not without its detractors. One of them was Malaysian celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan. He described the idea as a "ridiculous" one, and The Star newspaper quoted him as saying that the law would make Malaysia a laughing stock in the eyes of the world... It also seems absurd to think that people who grew up eating particular dishes are somehow able to cook them better than others who do not have the same taste memories. I have a wide taste memory for a lot of local classics but that does not mean I can turn out perfect chicken rice, char kway teow or, yes, fried Hokkien mee without working at it."
But Malaysia is already a laughing stock...

Why Portland Is Wrong About Water Fluoridation | But Not Simpler, Scientific American Blog Network - "First, the chemical is labeled “toxic,” but it isn’t mentioned that everything is toxic in the appropriate amounts. Advil and Tylenol are toxic at high enough concentrations, as is water. Many chemicals are harmless within a range of toxicity, and many are beneficial up to certain point. Next, the chemical’s dangerous effects at massive concentrations are stated. But 1/100 or 1/10 of an ounce of fluoride would never be in a glass of tap water in a regulated area—indeed, you are much more likely to find dangerously high levels of fluoride in unregulated water supplies. One part-per-million is the recommended dose, and so one ion floats among a million water molecules. What happens at higher doses can be terrible, which is precisely why you won’t find those levels in regulated water supplies. The final effort is to link the chemical to other scary things that contain it. This may come as a surprise, but it shouldn’t scare you—your body produces formaldehyde. It does so naturally, but the chemical doesn’t damage or kill you. It’s all about the dose; it makes the poison. Just as a natural amount of formaldehyde in your body isn’t a cause for alarm, neither is a regulated, and proven beneficial, amount of fluoride in your water. And the fear is selective. Where is the anti-chlorine lobby? Chlorine is a chemical—also an ion—added to water, also considered one of the greatest public health measures in history. It too is proven to reduce disease and create a more healthy population. Chloride has all the attributes that make fluoride “scary.” When an identical situation produces almost no blowback, it speaks to the basis of fluoride fear. It’s not science...
Could the government…?
Control each and every scientist who has ever published a study on water fluoridation?
Control each and every website that promotes the use of fluoridation?
Have significant private control of the infrastructure of the Internet to suppress conspiracies?
Keep every government employee or scientist who knew about fluoridation for the last 65 years from mentioning one word about its dangers at recommended levels?
Control and coordinate advocacy groups on the local level to write reports and organize in favor of the process?
Have the time and resources to conduct all these suppressive operations for half a century?
Fluoridation conspiracy theorists can’t trust the government to safely add/remove something to/from their water—as they do for chlorine, cryptosporidium cysts, carbon-based solids, oil, grease, arsenic, lead, and selenium—but will give the government the benefit of the doubt when it comes to policing every shred of information on fluoridation for the last 65 years. As with most conspiracies, pulling on the thread unravels the theory."

Research: Recession Grads May Wind Up Happier in the Long Run - "Victoria Medvec and colleagues famously showed that athletes who won silver medals at the Olympics were less satisfied with their results than those who won bronze. Clearly the silver medalists performed better, yet they felt worse. Why? Silver medalists were more likely to agonize over whether a faster stroke or a smaller splash might have earned them a gold. This fixation on how they might have done better often dampened their satisfaction with what they had accomplished. Bronze medalists, on the other hand, tended to be relieved to be on the podium at all. For them, the salient alternative was fourth place, a result that would have sent them home unadorned. Thus, rather than stewing over how they could have done better, these athletes derived satisfaction from what they had achieved. Could similar mental calculations be working in favor of recession graduates?... People who earned their college or graduate degrees during economic downturns were significantly more satisfied with their current jobs than those who earned their degrees in more prosperous times. These effects could not be explained by industry or occupational choices, generational differences, or differences in career trajectories. In subsequent studies, I found that much like bronze medalists, these graduates spent little time ruminating over how they might have done better and tended to be grateful to have a job at all. Those who graduated during more prosperous times, however, looked at their current jobs differently. Rather than revel in their good fortune, these graduates tended to wonder if they could have or should have done better. Much like silver medalists, they were more likely to be plagued by regret, second-guessing, and what ifs. What surprised me most about these findings was how long these effects endured. Recession graduates were typically happier with their jobs even decades after receiving their diplomas – and even after markets stabilized, recessions slowed, and hiring ramped up. The difficult and often demoralizing conditions of their early working lives seemed to shape positively how they thought about and evaluated later work environments. This is consistent with recent research in psychology which shows that some lifetime adversity is associated with greater happiness than either too much or too little. Too much adversity can be emotionally debilitating. Too little can weaken resilience, allowing people to magnify and exaggerate the bumps of everyday life."

Previous exposure to trauma and PTSD effects of subsequent trauma: results from the Detroit Area Survey of Trauma. - "History of any previous exposure to traumatic events was associated with a greater risk of PTSD from the index trauma. Multiple previous events had a stronger effect than a single previous event. The effect of previous assaultive violence persisted over time with little change. When they examined several features of the previous exposure to trauma, the authors found that subjects who experienced multiple events involving assaultive violence in childhood were more likely to experience PTSD from trauma in adulthood. Furthermore, previous events involving assaultive violence--single or multiple, in childhood or later on--were associated with a higher risk of PTSD in adulthood."
That which does not kill us gives us PTSD

Loke QL's answer to Why do Singapore students dislike engineering as their choice of study in Singapore? - Quora - "As many others have said, we are not well remunerated. We don't seem to invent that much in Singapore. Quite frankly, a person doing clerical work at a bank can earn as much or more than an engineer. Just a few years ago, I saw 2 job advertisements:
- Clerical work at ****** Bank. Salary FROM $3000 *Fresh grads welcome!*
- Electrical Engineer at **** COMPANY. Salary UP TO $3000. Min 2-3 years experience.
How exactly is that appealing is beyond my comprehension.
The prospects aren't bright either, since we do not have a strong manufacturing sector with factories using the latest state-of-the-art equipment in Singapore, and can barely hope to progress far up the corporate ladder. Despite the long working hours (sorry for rubbing this in)."

Poorvisha Ravi's answer to How can a woman misuse the concept of feminism? - Quora - "The concept of only females being oppressed is so deeply ingrained in us, that even feminism, a concept of equality, is tinged with this thought. It starts from childhood- this so called fighting male oppression by not playing fair... If someone slaps you, you slap them back. You don't take a chainsaw and massacre their whole race down."

Ukraine's Darth Vader bids to lead nation to the dark side - "In November 2013 he was carried by his stormtroopers to Odessa city hall where he declared himself mayor. According to local media reports he has also reportedly demanded a plot of land to park his spaceship. "I alone can make an empire out of a republic, to restore former glory, to return lost territories and pride for this country," Vader said in a party statement."

The white tourist’s burden - "As admirably altruistic as it sounds, the problem with voluntourism is its singular focus on the volunteer’s quest for experience, as opposed to the recipient community’s actual needs. There is a cost associated with such an endeavor... well-to-do tourists sign up to build schools, clean and restore riverbanks, ring birds and act as caregivers to AIDS orphans for a few weeks. This led to the creation of a profitable industry catering to volunteer tourists. The orphans’ conditions are effectively transformed into a boutique package in which “saving” them yields profits from tourists. The foreigners’ ability to pay for the privilege of volunteering crowds out local workers... These children essentially work as orphans because their parents cannot afford to send them to school. Instead of helping parents cater to the needs of their children, the tourist demand for orphans to sponsor creates an industry that works to make children available for foreigners who wish to help. When the external help dries up, these pretend orphans are forced to beg on the streets for food and money in order to attract orphan tourism... Typically other people’s problems seem simpler, uncomplicated and easier to solve than those of one’s own society. In this context, the decontextualized hunger and homelessness in Haiti, Cambodia or Vietnam is an easy moral choice. Unlike the problems of other societies, the failing inner city schools in Chicago or the haplessness of those living on the fringes in Detroit is connected to larger political narratives. In simple terms, the lack of knowledge of other cultures makes them easier to help. This imagined simplicity of others’ problems presents a contrast to the intangible burdens of post-industrial societies. Western nations are full of well-fed individuals plagued by less explicit hardships such as the disintegration of communities and the fraying of relationships against the possibilities of endless choices. The burdens of manic consumption and unabated careerism are not as easily pitied as crumbling shanties and begging babies. Against this landscape, volunteerism presents an escape, a rare encounter with an authenticity sorely missed, hardship palpably and physically felt — for a small price."
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