When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Peshawar vs Gaza

""Where are the the hundreds of thousands of protesters against the Taliban??
Oh, I just remembered that the Taliban are neither White nor Jewish."

I used to have this friend, who during the Gaza attacks would constantly post pictures of dead children and asking the world to condemn these attacks, how he felt the suffering of these kids being bombed by the Zionist regime and so on and so forth.

On the days, after the Peshawar attack that killed 132 children by the Taliban, all I saw on his wall were pictures of beautiful mosques and a whole lot of pictures of "cute cats".

Ironical much?"

Friday, December 19, 2014

Links - 19th December 2014

Java's Hinduism Revivial - Magazine Web Edition > October/November/December 2004 - Publications - Hinduism Today Magazine - "While the majority of the population did become Muslims along with their rulers, for many Javanese this was a change in name only. And even though an ever-more popular and educated acceptance of Islam was gained in the colonial and post-colonial era, through the work of independent and government Islamic organizations, the victory of Islam has remained incomplete. Most recently, a back-to-Hinduism movement which first emerged in Java in the 1960s, has gathered new momentum in the turmoil of Indonesia's economic and political crisis. Some of its members are prophesying that a natural cataclysm or final battle is at hand, in which Islam will be swept from the island and Hindu civilization restored to its past glory. The movement in Java is part of a wider national phenomenon of reconversion to Hinduism. In part, this is a reflection of the rapid Islamization of Indonesian society in recent decades, and especially after the fall of Suharto in 1998, which has made it difficult for many Javanese to carry on their Hindu traditions and retain a nominal Muslim identity. As a result, the Hindu community of Java is now the largest in Indonesia... Many of my informants portrayed their return to Hinduism, the "religion of their mighty Majapahit ancestors, " as a new expression of national pride... Pondering the secret to the economic success of their Balinese neighbors, many locals have concluded that Hindu culture may be more conducive to the development of a lucrative international tourism industry than is Islam"

Addy Satija's answer to What is white liberal racism? Have you experienced it? - Quora - "Me: "Excuse me Sir, Hi. (smile) I think the line starts back there."
"Dude! Give him a break. You have no idea what he has had to go through. It is really hard for Black people in this country."
Me: "Umm, what does that have to do with cutting the dining-hall line?""

Two Brave Men Who Ate Nothing But Meat for an Entire Year - "No clinical evidence of vitamin or calcium deficiency was noted, despite the diet being both acidic and low in calcium. In addition, the mild gingivitis Stefansson had suffered from, cleared up entirely during the meat diet. Interestingly, Andersen reported that his hair stopped falling out shortly after the meat diet was started; Stefansson also noted his hair started growing thicker and his scalp was healthier."

The Name Of His Wife | Lizard's Gaming and Geekery Site

Why I loathe feminism ... and believe it will ultimately destroy the family | Daily Mail Online - "when feminism exploded onto the scene, I was often mistaken for a supporter of the movement. But I have never been a feminist, because, having experienced my mother's violence, I always knew that women can be as vicious and irresponsible as men. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the movement, which proclaimed that all men are potential rapists and batterers, was based on a lie that, if allowed to flourish, would result in the complete destruction of family life... when I later opened my refuge for battered women, 62 of the first 100 to come through the door were as abusive as the men they had left... when feminists started demonising all fathers, these stark images continually reminded me of the truth - that domestic violence is not a gender issue... Feminism, I realised, was a lie. Women and men are both capable of extraordinary cruelty. Indeed, the only thing a child really needs - two biological parents under one roof - was being undermined by the very ideology which claimed to speak up for women's rights. This country is now on the brink of serious moral collapse. We must stop demonising men and start healing the rift that feminism has created between men and women. Harriet Harman's insidious and manipulative philosophy that women are always victims and men always oppressors can only continue this unspeakable cycle of violence. And it's our children who will suffer"
Also see: Refuting 40 years of lies about domestic violence -
Comment: "I am a domestic violence therapy student I will have my B.A. in three years and I would like to say here in Colorado it is against the law to teach that men are also abused as equally as women are"

Vegetarians have much lower sperm counts - "Vegetarians and vegans had significantly lower sperm counts compared with meat eaters, 50 million sperm per ml compared with 70 million per ml. They also had lower average sperm motility – the number of sperm which are active. Only one third of sperm were active for vegetarians and vegans compared with nearly 60 per cent for meat eaters. The team believes that vitamin deficiencies may be to blame but also believe that replacing meat with soy could be responsible... Separate research from Harvard University also found that a diet high in fruit and vegetables may impact fertility because men are consuming high quantities of pesticides"

The Apprentice: A lesson from Sweden - "in Scandinavia it is a very different kettle of dried fish. There they have the Law of Jante, a way of describing the custom - which draws its modern name from a novel of 1933 by Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose - that forbids individuals emphasising their own success over that of the group... The Law of Jante normally comes into play when people are asked: "What do you do?" "When I was in the States, starting a business in computer animation, I would be asked, 'What are you doing?' and answer, 'I have my own business'. "There the reaction would be to view that as great. That's what you do - in some ways, the ultimate expression of self-confidence. In Sweden, the reaction would be much more suspicious. 'Do you think you are better than regular workers?' ""

Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe Is Rotten for Men - "Watson deserves credit for wanting to end the idea that “fighting for women’s rights [is] synonymous with man-hating.” But she cannot do that if she treats such notions only as unfair stereotypes. How about addressing this message to feminists who complain about being “asked to modify our language so we don’t hurt men’s feelings” when talking about misogyny — for instance, not to generalize about all men as oppressors? Or to those who argue that “Kill all men” mugs and “I bathe in male tears” T-shirts are a great way to celebrate women’s empowerment and separate the “cool dudes” who get the joke from the “dumb bros”? Or to those who accuse a feminist woman of “victim-blaming” for defending her son against a sexual assault accusation — even one of which he is eventually cleared? Men must, indeed, “feel welcome to participate in the conversation” about gender issues. But very few will do so if that “conversation” amounts to being told to “shut up and listen” while women talk about the horrible things men do to women, and being labeled a misogynist for daring to point out that bad things happen to men too and that women are not always innocent victims in gender conflicts"

Throwing domestic violence victims to the wolves - "perhaps the most depressing spectacle was witnessing advocates for one group of abuse victims throw another group of abuse victims to the wolves. I refer of course to the journalist Sandra Laville and interviewees from women’s organisations attributing their dire situation to the need to provide services to male victims too... there are a grand total of 58 refuge places around the country that can be used by men. Only 13 of those are specifically reserved for men, the others can be (and usually are) taken up by women. By contrast there are around 4,000 refuge beds for adult women, 7,000 that can be used by women and/or children. The total number available for men is actually slightly lower than it was five years ago. Another way of thinking about this is that even if it were still true that women are 89% of those victimised six times or more (a statistic from 2001, by the way), men would represent one in nine of those victimised repeatedly, two in five of those subjected to incidents of severe violence, and are able to access fewer than one in 100 available refuge beds. To blame the shortage of facilities for women on the availability of services for men is not just misleading, it is downright perverse."

China Broadcaster Says KFC’s Ice Dirtier Than Toilet Water - China Real Time Report - WSJ - "China is not alone in serving ice cubes that make toilet water seem clean by comparison. In June, the British newspaper Daily Mail said it conducted the same experiment with samples of ice from 10 fast-food chains and found six that had higher bacterial levels than toilet water."

Jackie Chan Blu-ray disc boosts solar panel efficiency by a massive 22%

Our focus is money, not turf: Gang member - "The 27-year-old - who claimed to be part of the Omega gang - refused to give his real name to avoid getting into trouble with the law. He also declined to be photographed, out of fear that he might be targeted. The name Omega, Mr Rahmat claimed, is an acronym for "Orang Melayu Enter Gangster Area". Orang Melayu means "Malay people"."
I've also seen: "Only Malay Enter Gangster Area"

Central Java Governor bans ancient sex ritual on Mt. Kemukus - "Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo has banned residents from performing an ancient tradition of engaging in sex at the tomb of Prince Samodra on Mount Kumukus in Sragen regency. Mt. Kemukus is recognized by parts of the community as a place of worship to seek riches. Those who seek wealth are encouraged to have sexual intercourse on the mountain with someone other than their legal partner in order to achieve prosperity... Sexual intercourse on the mountain has been practiced by parts of the community for generations. It is believed to relate to a message from Prince Samodra, who was buried on the peak of the mountain together his lover and stepmother, Ontrowulan... Before his death, Prince Samodra left a message stating that for any person willing to engage in intercourse with a person other than his or her legal partner seven times on Pon Friday, the day when Samodra died alongside Ontrowulan, the person’s wishes would be fulfilled."

Douglas Todd: Is gender balance in university programs worth pursuing? - "of the 2,800 students enrolled in UBC’s psychology and counselling programs, only 27 per cent are male. That means Canadian males (or females) suffering from anxiety or depression will run into a barrier if they hope to work with a psychotherapist who is a man... The health sciences at UBC also have a majority of women. Overall, 58 per cent of the 4,053 students studying various aspects of health and medicine at UBC are females. How many will become doctors? Women make up slightly more than half the 1,102 students training to be physicians. Meanwhile, in dentistry, 64 per cent of the students are female. Pharmacy is also predominantly female. And nursing has especially remained stubbornly resistant to men. Of the 910 nursing students at the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses of UBC, only nine per cent are male. However, unlike in engineering, UBC has no formal plan to “broaden the current talent pool” by encouraging men into nursing — despite its high value as a career; one which offers strong salaries, benefits, union protection, frequent overtime and pensions... Given the wide sex disparities in many faculties and departments across UBC, it is perplexing the university is putting so much money, publicity and energy into redressing an imbalance in just one department: Engineering."

Sweden says it will pursue a feminist foreign policy to counter macho Russian aggression

(No, this is not from The Onion)

Swedish Women vs. Vladimir Putin | Foreign Policy
Sweden says it will pursue a feminist foreign policy to counter macho Russian aggression... even if no one really knows what that means.

"Margot Wallström, the newly minted foreign minister, has said that under her leadership Sweden will become the only country in the world to conduct a “feminist foreign policy.” That’s a perspective that flows from U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, a landmark measure that recognized both the disproportionate impact war has on women and the role women must play in ensuring peace and security.

But questions about what this means in practice and Wallström’s foreign-policy moves come at a time of unusual instability for Sweden...

Wallström will remain at the Foreign Ministry, with her feminist vision for Sweden’s ventures abroad intact. By empowering women, the argument goes, there are better chances of snuffing out wars before they start and of ending them in more equitable ways. However, it is less clear what such a feminist foreign policy has to say about the old-school power politics that Putin has helped resuscitate in the past year.

During a recent debate in the Swedish parliament, Wallström said that her feminist approach is based on the American political scientist Joseph Nye’s concept of “smart power.” “The tools of foreign policy can, in varying degrees, be hard as well as soft. The situation at hand determines this,” Wallström said. “The half of the population that so far has been almost systematically excluded and forgotten — namely, women — will now be included.”

Asked how she believes a feminist foreign policy will help end Russian aggression, Wallström suggested it would be useful to review women’s participation in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and to look at what it does to address the problems women face — a statement exactly as vague as it sounds...

The newfound emphasis on feminism abroad has been remarkably absent in the Swedish response to the recent submarine incursion in Stockholm. When Göranson, flanked by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist, presented evidence at a November press conference of illicit underwater activity in the Stockholm archipelago, there was no talk of gender perspectives or feminist approaches to territorial breaches. (While the Swedish military maintains that it does not have the evidence to conclusively identify the submarine’s nationality, it was all but certainly a Russian boat.)

Löfven did not parse his words. “Those who are considering entering Swedish territory should be aware of the enormous risks this entails for those who are involved in such violations,” he said. “We will defend our territorial integrity with all available means.”

For Löfven, the moment was an opportunity to show leadership after his government’s shaky first few weeks in power...

But no one quite seems to know how to square that perspective with notions of a feminist foreign policy. “If Sweden would really invest in military defense and at the same time push for a feminist foreign and security policy, then the government faces a big rhetorical problem in explaining how these two things go together,” said Ulf Bjereld, a professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg and a supporter of the Social Democrats.

“One option is to insist that military defense and feminism represent two branches of the same tree: that citizens’ security is guaranteed by having a strong military and that the feminist agenda is guaranteed through diplomacy, aid, and other arsenals beyond defense,” Bjereld said. “Is that credible or not? Well, credibility is like beauty — it’s in the eye of the beholder.”

Wallström herself sees no contradiction between the two. In an interview with Foreign Policy, she said that the Social Democrats’ security policy has always been based on combining the right to territorial defense with an engagement in humanitarianism. “Sweden has been a world power because we have acted constructively to find political solutions and because of our aid policy and contribution to achieving global development,” Wallström insisted...

Wallström’s feminist foreign policy is based on three Rs: representation, resources, and respect. In its dealings with other nations, Sweden should push for fair representation of women in everything from ambassador posts to political committees, notes Wallström. Sweden should also encourage other countries to ensure equal access to resources and to respect women’s rights, she said.

Wallström argued that this women-focused perspective is relevant in all aspects of foreign policy, including in how Sweden deals with territorial breaches and Russian aggression in nearby countries like Ukraine. “To say it’s not relevant in such situations is to suggest that women don’t think we should have a defense force and that is just not true.”

The gender-focused agenda has also been welcomed by at least some in the Swedish military. One enthusiast is Robert Egnell of Sweden’s National Defense College, which has hosted several seminars on gender perspectives in military operations. In a recent op-ed for Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Egnell wrote that Wallström’s stated focus is an “instrument for preventing armed conflict, achieving peace where violence is already a fact, and promoting post-war reconciliation and reconstruction.”

Egnell pointed out that Wallström’s focus on women, peace, and security is not unique, and has also been embraced by figures such as Hillary Clinton and William Hague, the former British foreign secretary. Wallström’s approach, however, is arguably more original in that she has chosen to label efforts to boost women’s power and participation as “feminist.” She herself insisted that her government is “starting something new here” rather than emulating other international leaders’ approaches.

Critics say the Social Democrats’ push for a feminist foreign policy amounts to little more than branding...

Talk of a feminist foreign policy, according to Tracz, is a distraction. “When it comes to the security issues that Sweden and the world face today, it is not at all clear what a feminist foreign policy can achieve,” she said. “There are no concrete suggestions for how a gender approach to security policy will help put an end to intrusions in the Stockholm archipelago, for instance.”

Wallström’s retort is that a feminist foreign policy does have concrete implications. “Are female police officers being allowed to take part in surveillance operations? Are women in a given country being asked about their ambitions?” she said, citing her efforts to include women in the peace-making process in Ukraine. “This perspective should permeate everything we do”...

The dark winter months until the March election will provide Moscow with ample opportunity to test what this feminism really means in practice."

Maybe feminism can serve Sweden's foreign policy interests by making the Russians die of laughter

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Links - 18th December 2014

Here Are The Different Ways People Give Criticism Around The World - "Argentinians are the most direct speakers of the Latin American countries. Other Latin American countries see them as arrogant"

The Straight Dope: How could the Romans use corn? It's American! - ""Corn" comes from the Latin word for grain (granum), and through the ages it's been used indiscriminately for whatever grain happens to predominate in a particular region. In England, for example, corn is the word the natives apply to wheat. Up country a bit, in Scotland, the locals say "corn" when they mean "oats." Naturally, when our British forebears jumped off the Mayflower and found the welcoming committee brandishing long green stalks with funny yellow things pointing out of them, "corn" was the first word that came to mind, and the name stuck in American English"

Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis - "One study revealed that participants consumed 17% more energy than in their typical diet even after the energy from the soft drinks they consumed had been taken into account, suggesting again that soft drinks may influence other aspects of dietary intake... Other studies revealed a negative association of soft drink consumption with intake of both dietary fiber (r = −0.31) and starch (r = −0.27). Thus, these findings indicate that the increased carbohydrate intake associated with soft drink consumption primarily reflects greater consumption of added sugars. Soft drink consumption also was associated with decreased intakes of protein (r = −0.14), fruit juice (r = −0.17), fruit (r = −0.09), and riboflavin (r = −0.12), among others... Perhaps the most striking link between soft drink consumption and health outcomes was the prospective evidence obtained for type 2 diabetes... When diet soft drinks replaced sugar-sweetened soft drinks in the analysis, the increased risk was no longer present, suggesting that the risk was specific to sugar-sweetened soft drinks... The association between soft drinks and dental caries was not observed for diet soft drinks... A 10-week experimental study showed that individuals who consumed sucrose-sweetened beverages exhibited an increase in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure over the course of the study, whereas individuals who consumed artificially sweetened beverages exhibited a decrease in blood pressure"

In Pictures: New Islamic law in Indonesia - "Aceh province implemented Islamic law in 2001, but in September the religious "penal code" was extended to everyone, now applying to some 90,000 non-Muslims who live there. Offences not previously regulated such as adultery, homosexual acts, and sex outside marriage are now punishable with sentences handed down by Islamic courts, including public flogging. Buying or carrying alcoholic beverages could result in 10 strokes of the cane, 10 months in prison, or a maximum fine of 100 grams in gold... As the newly extended Islamic law technically forbids women from wearing trousers, the dress code imposed by Suzuya creates a problem for its female employees... In Banda Aceh it is not permitted to build new churches as the authorities forbid the construction of any places of worship that isn't Islamic... Religious police stop a family riding a motorbike on moral grounds because they broke the dress code imposed by the new Islamic law. The law prohibits tight trousers: All clothing that display the shape of the body are banned... A man is forced to do 10 push-ups as punishment for wearing shorts and sporting an 'improper' haircut... Confiscated goods at the police station include alcohol, a woman's bag, fire crackers, and improperly used Quranic inscriptions."

Aceh Town Bans Women From Straddling Motorbikes - "The Indonesian Home Affairs Ministry says it will review and potentially repeal the motorbike bylaw. The ministry has blocked more than 2,000 local laws across the country, but it has never revoked a sharia bylaw in Aceh... Almost 30 churches were shut down in the province last year."

Indonesia Is No Model for Muslim Democracy - NYTimes.com - "IT is fashionable these days for Western leaders to praise Indonesia as a model Muslim democracy... The rights of religious and ethnic minorities are routinely trampled. While Indonesia’s Constitution protects freedom of religion, regulations against blasphemy and proselytizing are routinely used to prosecute atheists, Bahais, Christians, Shiites, Sufis and members of the Ahmadiyya faith — a Muslim sect declared to be deviant in many Islamic countries. By 2010, Indonesia had over 150 religiously motivated regulations restricting minorities’ rights. In 2006, Mr. Yudhoyono, in a new decree on “religious harmony,” tightened criteria for building a house of worship. The decree is enforced only on religious minorities — often when Islamists pressure local officials not to authorize the construction of Christian churches or to harass and intimidate those worshiping in “illegal” churches, which lack official registration. More than 400 such churches have been closed since Mr. Yudhoyono took office in 2004... Mr. Yudhoyono is not simply turning a blind eye; he has actively courted conservative Islamist elements and relies on them to maintain his majority in Parliament, even granting them key cabinet positions. These appointments send a message to Indonesia’s population and embolden Islamist extremists to use violence against minorities"

INDONESIA West Java: Tasikmalaya authorities impose Sharia law and compulsory veil - "Activists and members of civil society in different parts of Indonesia have strongly criticized the proposal of the authority of the District of Tasikmalaya (West Java) to introduce norms inspired by sharia, or Islamic law, by mid-July ahead of the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer. The obligations will be the imposition of the veil for all women - foreign and local, and non-Muslim - better known in the archipelago as the jilbab."

Reasons Why Cyclists Suck - "Like everything else that is good for the environment, cycling has morphed from being a mode of transport into a weird annoying cult full of pious missionaries spreading the good word. As a driver, I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve been held up by a cyclist (usually with no helmet) taking up the center of the road and holding up traffic. Honk your horn and they’ll erupt in a fury of indignation. “I’m a cyclist dammit! I’m special!”. And there’s not much you can do about it, other than wait patiently until they turn off. Or run them off the road and face jail time… Like vegans, cyclists want everyone to know that they’re cyclists. The wear cycling t-shirts, post pictures of themselves cycling on facebook, visit cycling website, and even start their own annoying blogs about cycling and how great it is. Cyclists also hate motorists, and make a point of giving drivers dirty looks if they get too close or try to engage them in debate. Motorists are dirty, evil environment killers and are not worthy of talking to. Drive a car to work? Screw you, baby seal killer... In DC, it’s pretty common to see cyclists speeding through the streets without helmets (around 25%, according to the data)... 'perversely, increasing bike use can actually add to pollution and greenhouse emissions if roads are not updated to accommodate these bikes'"

Molest victim squeezes culprit's genitals to escape - "When he grabbed her breasts, both fell down."
"the article refers to her as 'girl' until the molest account, then she becomes a 'woman'. is this some rite of womanhood?"
Note: the line has been changed to "He grabbed her breasts. Both the worker and the victim fell down." - as usual without any note about the change

Statement of concern on Thio Li-Ann as speaker at EU human rights seminar - "Article 13 of the EC Treaty and the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights explicitly prohibits discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Moreover, the Commissioner for Human Rights recommends that authorities in Council of Europe member states should:
Take a strong public position against violations of the human rights of LGBT persons and promote respect on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, for example through human rights education and awareness-raising campaigns.
Take steps to encourage factual, objective and professional reporting by the media on LGBT persons and issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The European External Action Service lists one of its key roles as “Human rights defender”.
We are profoundly disappointed and we urge the EU and the EEAS to explain how inviting Prof Thio as a speaker for a Human Rights Day seminar is consistent with its own stated role as a defender and advocate of human rights."
If you approve of attempts to get the EU human rights seminar to boot out Thio Li-ann because her views are contrary to the EU's manifesto of LGBT rights, you should likewise support the Singapore Government's 'oppression' of gays since gay sodomy is illegal
Someone: "they are instrumentally rational
the law works for our cause we use it, if does not work for it, we oppose it
so there is an internal consistency of sorts"

Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’ - "Last month, at Britain’s other famously prestigious university, Cambridge, I was circled by Stepfords after taking part in a debate on faith schools. It wasn’t my defence of parents’ rights to send their children to religious schools they wanted to harangue me for — much as they loathed that liberal position — it was my suggestion, made in this magazine and elsewhere, that ‘lad culture’ doesn’t turn men into rapists. Their mechanical minds seemed incapable of computing that someone would say such a thing. Their eyes glazed with moral certainty, they explained to me at length that culture warps minds and shapes behaviour and that is why it is right for students to strive to keep such wicked, misogynistic stuff as the Sun newspaper and sexist pop music off campus. ‘We have the right to feel comfortable,’ they all said, like a mantra. One — a bloke — said that the compulsory sexual consent classes recently introduced for freshers at Cambridge, to teach what is and what isn’t rape, were a great idea because they might weed out ‘pre-rapists’: men who haven’t raped anyone but might. The others nodded. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Pre-rapists! Had any of them read Philip K. Dick’s dystopian novella about a wicked world that hunts down and punishes pre-criminals, I asked? None had. When I told them that at the fag-end of the last millennium I had spent my student days arguing against the very ideas they were now spouting — against the claim that gangsta rap turned black men into murderers or that Tarantino flicks made teens go wild and criminal — not so much as a flicker of reflection crossed their faces. ‘Back then, the people who were making those censorious, misanthropic arguments about culture determining behaviour weren’t youngsters like you,’ I said. ‘They were older, more conservative people, with blue rinses.’ A moment’s silence. Then one of the Stepfords piped up. ‘Maybe those people were right,’ he said. My mind filled with a vision of Mary Whitehouse cackling to herself in some corner of the cosmos... the students’ union at Dundee banned the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children from the freshers’ fair on the basis that its campaign material is ‘highly offensive’... They’re being made to take part in equality and diversity training. At British unis in 2014, you don’t just get education — you also get re-education, Soviet style."
Those who want to 'speak truth to power' just want to wield power themselves - and to shut down truth
If offence is a sufficient reason to ban something, liberals themselves should be censored
Comment: "the new fascists will call themselves anti fascists"

I'm allergic to Chicken Soup

I've just had a look at the latest List of Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Not unexpectedly, this series of self-indulgent emotional masturbation in a vacuum has managed to surpass its previous "achievement" of "Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul".

Some of the more egregious entries:

Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul (naturally, there's also Chicken Soup for the African American Soul)
Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul
Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Beach Lover's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul (presumably this includes stories of brews gone wrong)
Chicken Soup for the Chiropractic Soul (maybe this comforts those who have their backs broken)
Chicken Soup for the Dental Soul (this makes sense: after a root canal the only thing you can eat is Chicken Soup)
Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul – The 2nd Round (yes, there're two!)
Chicken Soup for the Indian Teenage Soul
Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul
Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul
Chicken Soup for the Nature Lover's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Ocean Lover's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker's Soul ("Mom threw out my scrapbook. I'm very sad.")
Chicken Soup for the Shopper's Soul ("I missed Black Monday. Now I feel like killing myself")
Chicken Soup for the Tea-Lover's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Links - 16th December 2014

5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die - "MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.
MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.
MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.
MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work...
Why do these reckless claims have so much appeal and staying power? For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. Finally, armies of advocates depend on “killer stats” to galvanize their cause. But killer stats obliterate distinctions between more and less serious problems and send scarce resources in the wrong directions. They also promote bigotry. The idea that American men are annually enslaving more than 100,000 girls, sending millions of women to emergency rooms, sustaining a rape culture and cheating women out of their rightful salary creates rancor in true believers and disdain in those who would otherwise be sympathetic allies. My advice to women’s advocates: Take back the truth."
Addendum: This is now 6 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die, with "MYTH 6: Men are the privileged sex... Today’s women’s lobby deploys a faulty logic: In cases where men are better off than women, that’s injustice. Where women are doing better—that’s life."

Anatomy Of A Troll Job: The xoBang Gang And The Business Of Rage - "My client got enormous exposure. For every potential customer they alienated, there were ten more who became aware of them for the first time. The outraged bloggers, for their part, got pageviews and uniques and followers, which their bosses cashed out in the form of ad sales and impressions, and then some small portion of the ad revenue trickled back down to the typists—excuse me, writers. The short end of the stick went to you, the audience. All you got was offended, annoyed, and sucked into another virtual pissing contest about sexism in the media. (You also, perhaps, acquired brand awareness of my client—a company that wants your money in return for overpriced shit you don’t need.) To recap: I won. My client won. The bloggers won. Everyone else got fucked... Had Felicia Sullivan kept her anger to herself, rather than sharing it with her 4,936 Twitter followers, it would have been as though xoBang were never published—which, again, is what she claimed to want. So why the hell did Felicia share it?... Breadcrumb and I had a hypothesis that the “social justice” component of these Twitter tantrums in response to the SWPL outrage du jour is bullshit, basically; a convenient cover for less noble aims. xoBang, which is both irresistible to the social justice warriors and completely unworthy of their attention, was created to test that hypothesis... The girl bloggers and their assorted hangers-on were drawn to “xoBang” like lemmings to a precipice, and upon reading it, promptly took the bait and lost their shit... That’s what rage profiteers do: They traffic in content that is so irresistibly inflammatory that it hijacks our attention and forces us into the rage profiteer’s audience. Rage profiteering has surely existed, in one form or another, from time immemorial. But the diffuse lens of the internet and digital media created an extraordinary range of new niches for rage profiteering, and has thus caused a proliferation of rage profiteers such as society has never before seen... Your attention (as distinct from your education, enrichment, or well-being) is Felicia’s stock-in-trade. That is why her online persona has been meticulously calibrated to hijack your time, thoughts, and emotional state. Her goal is to make you look her way, then parlay you into new Twitter followers, bigger social marketing clients, better Amazon sales numbers, and—above all—more dollar bills in her purse."

Dancing death - "This was not the first outbreak of compulsive dancing in Europe. In fact, there had been as many as ten dancing epidemics before 1518, one in 1374 engulfing many of the towns of modern day Belgium, north-eastern France and Luxembourg... My explanation rests on the fact that the dancers were in a trance state; otherwise they would have been unable to dance for such lengths of time. We know that the trance state is more likely to occur in people who under extreme psychological distress, and who believe in the possibility of spirit possession. All of these conditions were satisfied in Strasbourg in 1518. The city's poor were suffering from severe famine and disease. And, crucially, we also know they believed in a saint called St. Vitus who had the power to take over their minds and inflict a terrible, compulsive dance... The dancing plague died out because the supernaturalist beliefs that fed it gradually disappeared. In the short run, cities like Strasbourg were no longer susceptible because they became Protestant during the Reformation and spurned the saint worship on which the dancing plague depended. In the long run, the fervent supernaturalism of the medieval world had to make way for the rise of modern science and rationality. The dancing madness was effectively starved out of existence. Even so, half a millennium later it still serves as a reminder of the ineffable strangeness of the human brain"
"Possession" is a strange thing indeed

The Phobia of Being Called Islamophobic | Ali A. Rizvi - "The problem is a seven-minute film being shown at the soon-to-open museum called The Rise of Al Qaeda. Narrated by NBC's Brian Williams, it uses words like "Islamist," "Islamic," and "jihad" in reference to the 9/11 hijackers and their motives. Some Muslim groups, and others like the Interfaith Center of New York, want the film edited to remove those terms. They don't want the public to think that Islamism or jihad had anything to do with Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks, because that could foster "Islamophobia"... As a brown-skinned person with a Muslim name, I can get away with a lot more than you'd think. I can publicly parade my wife or daughters around in head-to-toe burqas and be excused out of "respect" for my culture and/or religion, thanks to the racism of lowered expectations. I can re-define "racism" as something non-whites can never harbor against whites, and cite colonialism and imperialism as justification for my prejudice. And in an increasingly effective move that's fast become something of an epidemic, I can shame you into silence for criticizing my ideas simply by calling you bigoted or Islamophobic. For decades, Muslims around the world have rightly complained about the Israeli government labeling even legitimate criticism of its policies "anti-Semitic," effectively shielding itself from accountability. Today, Muslim organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) have borrowed a page from their playbook with the "Islamophobia" label -- and taken it even further... Last month, a white American man successfully convinced the Massachusetts liberal arts school Brandeis University that he was being victimized and oppressed by a black African woman from Somalia -- a woman who underwent genital mutilation at age five and travels with armed security at risk of being assassinated. That is the power of this term... The most tragic aspect of all this is what Alishba Zarmeen has coined the "Greenwald Syndrome" -- the phenomenon of Western liberals, in a supposed show of tolerance, embracing an apologist stance in favor of the intolerant. My good friend and writer/activist Faisal Al Mutar, who escaped repeated death threats for his secular beliefs in his native Iraq, put it best: "Many of [the Western liberals] have betrayed us liberals in the Middle East and other Muslim countries, and [inadvertently] sided with the Islamists against us.""

Where have all the IBs gone – Part 3: Their cause and its effect | The Online Citizen - "This effectively makes our piece of cyberspace rather unhealthy for the casual user, who would be in all likelihood take such views to be those of the “average Singaporean”. Clearly, they are not. Co-ordinated online attacks by PAP IBs are meant to skew perspectives through sheer numbers, or divert attention from the actual policy issues by antagonising those who voice displeasure at these policies. Such efforts by IBs are best described as astro-turfing, and while on their own harmless, such activities have the potential to disrupt a proper assessment of public opinion on issues and policies, be it by other citizens or policy makers. More importantly, given that the PAP has clearly voiced no qualms about their IBs hiding behind the vile of anonymity to swing public opinion in the party’s favour, the question to ask would be whether the PAP has actively sanctioned such activities, or is merely unaware of the effect that such activities have in social media... While Ministers and MPs criticise bloggers for “taking issues out of context” and misleading the public with information, the fact that pages like FAP and FLOP continue to operate in a manner which seeks to demean opposition members and its supporters through misleading headlines and quotes taken out of context, with no word from the PAP MPs, is a double standard by itself"

Disney's 'Frozen' apparently inspired a color-changing bra - "The Close Sister Bras, as they're officially named, can instantly take on a new hue when friends wearing a matching pair come into contact with each other. To create the design, Triumph (which has a history of... odd bra designs) recruited gadget-maker Fashion Entertainments, which was responsible for making and providing the electronic-paper used to trigger the color changes in the bra. Apparently, there's no plan to take the Close Sister Bras to market -- it's all about empowering self-confidence and sisterhood, according to the firms behind the eccentric underwear."

Sweet dealing schoolboy hands over crisps and drinks to homeless after business ban - "A schoolboy entrepreneur who shot to fame after making £14,000 selling sweets at his school has given away the last of his stock to the homeless. Tommie Rose found himself in trouble with his headteacher after it was revealed his ‘black market’ school tuck shop had raked in thousands of pounds to pay his University fees. Now, with the looming threat of suspension from his school, Tommie has decided to close the playground business and give away the rest of his sweet-toothed goods to Manchester's rough sleepers... Meanwhile Tommie, is considering a new business venture - involving T-shirts - and has attended a meeting ahead of a prospective job offer. Simon Swan has offered the teenager and internship at his Manchester-based recruitment firm Hiring-Hub, which connects job-hunters with recruitment agencies via the web. Tommie said: “I have had a few other job offers since the story broke, including an offer to sell fragrances. I just love the world of business.”

Have Sperm, Will Travel: The ‘Natural Inseminators’ Helping Women Avoid the Sperm Bank

Will the Swiss Quit Cooking their Kittens and Puppies? - "the number of feline-feasting Swiss has proven impossible to back up with hard data, although nearly all Swiss animal rights groups agree on the figure. According to SOS Chats Noiraigue, which has gathered more than 16,000 signatures for a petition to the Swiss government to stop the practice of consuming cats, the three percent figure comes from a survey conducted by Swiss media in which they asked “would you” and “could you” eat a cat... “In almost all rural areas of Switzerland, it is customary to eat cats and dogs”... SOS Chat Noiraigue founder Tomi Tomek says the practice is such an open secret, many rural Swiss can readily repeat their favorite cat recipe. She says most Swiss pet eaters cook their cats using rabbit recipes, often stewing them with garlic and wine, stuffing several cats into a crock at the same time since there just isn’t a lot of meat on most felines. According to Swiss press reports, younger cats in the litter are the most tender and, as such, are the preferred cat cuts. Dogs, Tomek says, are instead generally ground into sausages and eaten by those who believe dog meat lessons the symptoms of rheumatism... In October, the government of Denmark announced it would vote on whether to stop the practice of bestiality or having sex with pets, which has, until now, been perfectly legal. Eating pets as food also has roots across Europe. In 2010, a popular Italian television cook known as Chef Beppe was taken off the air after including cat recipes on his televised cooking class. “If you don’t have meat, kill the cat,” he said. He later told CNN that eating cat was a pre-war custom across Italy. “In Parma the cat was nicknamed 'the rabbit that runs on roofs,' in Liguria, the cat is nicknamed 'the rabbit with short ears, in Piedmont it is called the 'rabbit that meows.’” he said. “Today we are scandalized by this. Why? Because times have changed. The cat has become a domestic animal. This was not the case before." According to The Daily Meal food site, the Hawaiian government recently shelved a plan to make eating dogs illegal, apparently because, although the practice is popular among certain communities, there was just not a lot of evidence that crimes were committed between getting the dogs from the back yard to the barbeque"
I need to go back to Switzerland and make friends with a local before they ban cat meat

A Coupon site you definitely should NOT use

Today, I discovered a new coupon site that you absolutely must stay away from.

It's called iPrice Shop.

I've just received a long rambling email from them.

Not only was it totally impersonal, insincere and unsolicited, it also had all the recipients in the To field (instead of the BCC field), exposing everyone's email addresses.

Lack of business ethics aside, they seem clueless about netiquette and marketing, which doesn't bode well for their operations.

In other words, if you buy something from them, who knows what they'll screw up?

Original spam mailer:


Love your lifestyle blog along with all your other amazing articles!

I'm from iPrice Shop - we provide product information on all brand and also carry online coupons codes for web stores​ such as ZALORA and more.

We would like to let you in on our major face-lift! We are moving towards becoming an affiliate store. Check us out here. At our website, you can find famous labels like River Island, Nike and more.

Also, we have a coupon page for Singapore and coupon page for Malaysia. These coupon codes help online shoppers get additional discounts on their purchases. Today, iPrice is available in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India and the Philippines.

You would be able to get all your favorite brands under one roof and be notified on the sales that are going on for it! We are adding more stores to our list as well (net-a-porter to follow suit soon!)

Many Malaysian bloggers wrote about us before. Now we need help from the Singaporean to blog about us too.

You can check few blog posts about iPrice Shop here:


It will be great if you can write a blogpost about iPrice Shop and reviews can also be done in Bahasa Malaysia.

Hope to have you on board and we would love to hear your take on it ! (also we are a small start-up and we make no money from users)

PS: Our articles have been featured on AdAsia and Yahoo Singapore.

Thank you for taking the time, reviewing on us. Thanking you in advance, looking forward to hear from you soon!

Subashini Loganathan​​​​​​​​​​​​​
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