When you can't live without bananas

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Links - 27th March 2015

So You Want to Earn a Ph.D. in Economics: How Long Do You Think it Will Take? - "students supported by fellowships, and those holding a prior masters degree finish faster. Americans, those who take jobs before completing their degree, and those with children take longer. Kids slow the progress of women, but not men. The only difference among fields is more time required for industrial organization and international economics. There is no difference in time-to-degree between men and women, married and single students, older and younger students, and those enrolled in larger or smaller Ph.D. programs."

Former employee suing Costco for religious discrimination, happened at Sunset Park location - "when he refused to work with pork, the major retailer sent him outside to gather carts. "Just because you have a different belief, that doesn't give anybody the right to treat you different," said Jean Camara, suing Costco. That's why Jean Camara says he's doing what he's doing, suing Costco for religious employment discrimination. The devout Muslim says he was working as a cashier's assistant at the Costco in Sunset Park Brooklyn in September of 2012 when pork came across the conveyor belt. It's against his religious beliefs to touch either pork or alcohol. Camara says after telling his managers this, they transferred him outside collecting the shopping carts. Camara says they never told him why he was reassigned... Camara says he asked his managers if he could work in the electronics department, but his requests were repeatedly denied. He ended up filing a human rights complaint against the company. 16 days later, he was fired for insubordinate conduct. "We all share different beliefs so we all should be treated equally no matter what belief we have," Camara said. "It's not OK to discriminate against someone for their religion. It isn't OK. It isn't OK to treat them differently others because of what they believe in. I think that everyone is entitled to the same treatment. I think that's what this case is about," Henry said."

Neil deGrasse Tyson loses it in a discussion about science - "It shows Tyson losing it in a science discussion with Brian Greene, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Tracy Day, Ira Flatow, and Bill Nye. The discussion was at an Arizona State University panel on “The Storytelling of Science” (you can see the full discussion here), where Tyson reacted rather violently when Krauss suggested that manned space exploration is driven mainly by the spirit of adventure rather than a search for scientific answers. I happen to agree with that, since the answers are about just as easily obtained with unmanned ventures. In fact, I think that when John F. Kennedy first announced, in an address to Congress in 1961, that the country would try to send people to the Moon by the end of the decade (a prediction that proved correct), he explicitly referred to adventure—and also alluded to a race with the Russians. Speaking at Rice University in 1962, Kennedy famously said this: “We choose to to to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Shades of Edmund Hillary! But he’s right, for that speech kindled the American spirit, making it seem as if every American were participating in a marvelous adventure. Tyson, promising to keep silent while Krauss speaks, can’t contain himself, and blurts out a stentorian stream of incoherence, asserting that manned space exploration was never driven by either exploration, science, or curiosity. Rather, Tyson claims, it was driven by the search for immortality (?) and for wealth. I don’t get that at all. When the Large Hadron Collider is mentioned, Tyson leaps from his chair and has to be restrained by Bill Nye... while applauding Tyson’s contributions to science education, I don’t share my readers’ enthusiasm for him. I dislike his weasel-words approach to admitting his nonbelief, and underneath his veneer of cordiality there seems to be a stream of anger. And of course there was the incident of Tyson withdrawing David Albert’s invitation to an American Museum of Natural History debate on the origins of the universe. Give me Carl Sagan any day."

Fallout from student anti-semitism at UCLA - "Can you imagine a member of any other minority group who would receive this kind of treatment in a liberal American university? Even a Muslim—a member of a group said to be a target of “Islamophobia”—would never be interrogated this way. Can you imagine a student group rejecting a Muslim because she had “divided loyalties,” or a black student because she “was black, belonged to black student groups and thus had ‘divided loyalties’? Only Jews receive this kind of treatment by students—and it’s because of the overweening hatred of Israel (which devolves upon Jewish students) among many college students. Until recently, anti-Semitism on campus was not much discussed, even though in America hate crimes against Jews are 5-6 times more frequent than against Muslims (twofold if you weight the data by population size), and they occur fairly often on campus. There are two reasons. First, people have the impression that anti-Semitism simply isn’t a going view in the U.S., and so ignore it. Second, anti-Semitism is now folded into a more socially acceptable view: anti-Zionism... It’s remarkable to me how restrained (but firm) the reaction of Jewish people was... no Muslim, Mormon, gay, or black student would have been challenged about their “objectivity”. That issue is reserved for Jews."

Restaurants Currently Offering Shark Fin Soup
Chinese restaurants to dine at in the US!

In Mumbai, Eating That Steak Could Cost 5 Years in Jail - "The government of the state of Maharashtra this week banned possession of beef and its byproducts and the slaughtering of cows, bulls and bullocks. The prohibition marks a victory for hard-line Hindu groups that have sought to protect an animal their religion considers holy... “The real battle of prohibition today will not be against alcohol; it will be against meat,” Viswanathan said. “Many landlords won’t rent a house if you eat meat. That is also a way of throwing Muslims out”... some Mumbai restaurants do serve beef and others offer it off the menu. “If I show beef on the menu, lots of people may not enter,” said P.K. Krishnan, who runs a restaurant specializing in south Indian-cuisine in the Mahim working-class neighborhood. Yet he sells as much as 12 kilograms (26 pounds) of beef daily, mostly in a spicy chili-fry dish popular in Kerala state... “This is the cheapest source of protein” among meat products, said Mohammad Ali Qureshi, president of the Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers Association. “For a poor man, one kilo of beef is enough to provide two meals for his family. All are looking at it from the religious angle and not the economic angle.” India exports $4 billion of beef annually, almost all of it from buffalo"

Indonesia delivers effective birth control pill for men - ""It's 99% effective," says Bambang Prajogo, the research project's lead scientist. He heads a team comprised of researchers from the government's National Family Planning Coordination Board and Airlangga University, one of Indonesia's top colleges... The pill weakens enzymes in sperm that allow them to squirm into a woman's ovum. Unlike female birth control pills, it doesn't tinker with hormones, which causes so many unpleasant side effects... overall, researchers haven't seen anything that remotely rivals the zits, nausea, sporadic bleeding and other effects many women endure on hormone-based birth control pills."

Temple plans non-Chinese loos - "One of northern Thailand's most famous temples plans to build separate toilets for Thais and other non-Chinese tourists, officials confirmed on Saturday. Wat Rong Khun, better known as the White Temple, in Chiang Rai will add the new toilets as a solution to complaints about the lack of bathroom etiquette by Chinese tourists, temple officials told DPA. Previously, the temple had banned Chinese tourists altogether after Chinese tour groups had left the toilets in a state of disrepair. "They had defecated on the floor, urinated on the walls outside and left sanitary pads on the wall of the bathrooms," said an official who requested anonymity. The temple's designer, Chalermchai Kositpipat, said in a television interview that it was "impossible" for other tourists to use the bathrooms after the Chinese tours, so he would build new ones."

Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome.

72-year-old woman hit by TASER admits wrong, still gets $40K settlement - "A 72-year-old Texas woman who was Tasered during a traffic stop when she dared a deputy constable to use the stun gun said Tuesday that if she got pulled over again she would say nothing... Winkfein was stopped for driving 60 mph in a 45-mph zone near Austin. A dashboard camera in the deputy constable's car shows the 4-foot-11 Winkfein getting out of her truck, arguing with the officer and swearing at him... The incident is being reviewed by prosecutors. An internal investigation found no violations by the deputy constable. Winkfein this month accepted a $40,000 settlement offer from Travis County. County Judge Sam Biscoe said defending a lawsuit would have cost much more."

Daughter pays for parents' good deed - "Zhou Songying moved to her new house on December 9. It is the third time that Zhou's family had to move in the past six years, just to stay away from neighbors' "harsh words and judgmental stares", according to thepaper.cn. Zhou's parents signed up for body donation in 2002, becoming the first donor couple in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province. Zhou helped donate her father's body when he died on 2006. "Neighbors and relatives questioned me if I didn't have enough money to afford a decent burial for my father," Zhou said, adding some even asked her to "return the body"... "They said I was not a filial daughter because I sold out my parents' bodies," Zhou said. In China, many still believe in the tradition that bodies should remain intact after death. Zhou said when she signed up for body donation at Suzhou Medical School the same year as her parents did, the receptionist seemed to be shocked and asked her whether she had thought it through because Zhou was 37 then... "We were often verbally abused and some said we were ominous," said Shao Peiying, vice director of body donation with Suzhou Red Cross."

Hindu God Appears Next to Halal Sign on Water Bottle Label; Muslim Group in Malaysia Outraged - "Bottlers Chuan Sin Sdn Bhd placed the image of Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity, next to a “halal” logo on its labels. Chuan Sin Sdn Bhd produces mineral water under the Cactus and Spritzer brands in their factory in Perak. Now, Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) is demanding that authorities punish the bottler... Sheikh Abdul Kareem, PPIM head of monitoring and financial services, claimed that the practice violated the Trade Descriptions Act, which states that no religious symbols may be used on the label or packaging of a product. “This action is a disgrace to the religion of the constitution, which is Islam,” said Sheikh Abdul. “We urge the Home Ministry to take action and tell them to respect that.” “If they sell it without using the halal logo, it won’t be a problem but when you have both, it will definitely cause confusion among the Muslim community,” Sheikh Abdul added."
Why are Malaysian Muslims so easily confused? Isn't the Halal symbol a religious symbol?
Moral of the story - don't bother making anything Halal

Seeing God in Women

A: My intern buddy is an atheist. There are two other intern who are girls and are Christians. One of them is pretty. They pray before they eat. My intern buddy never prayed before he start eating. But today, because we decided to eat with the two Christian girls, he started praying before he eat.

Oh my, I guess he must really like the girl.

If you have to be someone you are not simply to impress a girl, what's the point?

Me: Most inspiring line I've read. "I deconverted her and had sex with her"
Maybe he likes the less pretty one :P

B: You chauvinistic misogynist

A: Pls, he ask to switch seats with me so that he can face the pretty one. In his defense, the pretty one really quite pretty huehuehue

B: He is an atheist who has thought about it or atheist who hasn't

A: Hasn't

B: Argument from pretty members of the opposite gender
I have a friend for whom Christianity was false before girlfriend and true after girlfriend

A: That argument truly is a good one. It's a defeater. How do u argue against that?

B: It's not just a defeater. It's an undercutting defeater

A: I think every guy who thinks abt stuff will agree thaf yr friend for whom Christianity is false before gf, and true after gf is the rational thing to do. Anyway, u dont have to be genuine. Just need to seem like genuine long enough until u tap her.

Me: After tap she will change her mind? ;)

C: My gf used to be Christian too... ^^

She could be reasoned with. Just don't get the bimbos, or family who's hardcore Christian also. Initially religion wasn't an issue, but slowly became a conversational topic.

By bimbos, I mean one who insist having a religion in life, just to play it "safe". It's a magical barrier that no amount of intellectual debate can perpetrate.

D: the girl is the whole point

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Links - 26th March 2015

Gender Differences in Touch: An Empirical and Theoretical Review - "The literature on gender differences in touch is divided into the categories of observational studies of touch frequency, people's beliefs about frequency and meaning, data on qualitative differences in touch, and studies of response to touch. The observational studies reveal: (a) no overall tendency for males to touch females more than vice versa, though two studies of specifically intentional touch with the hand did find such asymmetry; (b) a tendency for females to initiate touch more than males; (c) a questionable tendency for females to receive touch more than males; (d) a tendency for more female same-gender touch than male same-gender touch (at least for white samples); and (e) a tendency for same-gender dyads to touch more than opposite-gender dyads, especially when the dyads are unlikely to be intimate... The literature shows a tendency for women to respond more positively to touch than men"

Women’s body image is about what men like, study finds - " When told that men desire full-bodied, voluptuous figures, women felt better about their own weight, say researchers at Southern Methodist University in the US. "A woman's body image is strongly linked to her perception of what she thinks men prefer," says lead author and social psychologist Andrea Meltzer of SMU. Heterosexual women, says Meltzer, tend to believe that men prefer the dieted-down, ultra-thin bodies that dominate the media. "Consequently, this study suggests that interventions that alter women's perception regarding men's desires for ideal female body sizes may be effective at improving women's body image""
So much for doing it for themselves

Obesity and body mass indices in Chinese, Malays and Indians in Singapore. - "For males there was little ethnic differences; for the 18-69 age group, the age-adjusted mean BMIs being Chinese 22.3, Malays 23.1 and Indians 22.5. However for females, Malays and Indians were considerably more obese than Chinese; for the 18-69 age group the age-adjusted mean BMIs in Malays (25.1) and Indians (24.6) were significantly greater (p less than 0.001) than in Chinese (22.2). The proportions categorised as overweight or obese (BMI equal to or more than 26 in males and 25 in females) were males (Chinese 16.7%, Malays 22.4%, and Indians 14.0%) and females (Chinese 21.2%, Malays 51.5%, and Indians 42.0%). Health education on the harmful effects of obesity should be targeted especially on Malay and Indian females."

Silence about sexual harassment in hospitals a major issue, doctors say - "Another practicing female surgeon, who spoke to Fairfax Media on the condition of anonymity, said the tight-knit profession was a patriarchal environment in which women faced constant obstacles. "They tolerate female general surgeons in small numbers, as long as they are single, childless and pretend to be men," she said. The surgeon said it was not uncommon for senior surgeons to publicly quiz trainees and other surgeons about if or when they were going to become pregnant. She said the idea of pregnancy was used as a weapon to undermine and discredit female colleagues by suggesting they would not be in the profession for the long-term. "I was told when I was an intern that there are only two types of women surgeons: women who shouldn't be surgeons and surgeons who shouldn't be women," she said. "Now, when young women ask me for advice, how can I not kill their dreams whilst still preparing them for the reality?" But other female surgeons said sexual harassment was no more prevalent in their field than others. Royal Melbourne Hospital neurosurgeon Kate Drummond, who is the deputy chair of the Women in Surgery Group at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, said Dr McMullin's comments were "preposterous" and risked discouraging women from becoming surgeons. "If you want to put every remark that may or may not be off-colour, or a bit gendered, then it probably is a widespread problem, as it is in society in general," Associate Professor Drummond said. "I'm not saying it doesn't happen - of course it happens, it happens everywhere - [but] I don't think it is rife and rampant throughout the profession. And the one thing that will make the pockets of trouble better is to have as many female surgeons as possible, and comments like [Dr McMullin's] don't help that.""

'Tomboy gene' linked to promiscuity - "Girls who are tomboys grow up to have more lovers whether they are straight or gay, a study has found. For it seems the genes that make women more masculine may also make them more promiscuous, researchers say... The analysis showed that around 30 per cent of a woman’s sexual orientation is governed by her genes, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports. It is thought the other 70 per cent can be explained by everything from peer pressure to conditions in the womb."
Original paper: Genetic and Environmental Influences on Female Sexual Orientation, Childhood Gender Typicality and Adult Gender Identity | Qazi Rahman

Wholesale Unisex Lycra Spandex Swimsuit Dancewear Leotard Costumes Penis Sheath S XXL-in Costumes from Novelty & Special Use on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group
Why would you get a leotard with a penis attached?!

mrbrown.com: Hey poor families, here are some one-year ST subscriptions for you! - "ST runs a VW auction (COE not included)… and the proceeds go towards sponsoring one-year subscriptions to ST for 1,000 low-income families. Liddat is called charity ah? Not even going into the SPH School Pocket Money Fund?... I am sure poor families are dying to read your paper, Warren Fernandez, but giving cash or groceries is probably more helpful, no? They can read your papers at the RC, CC or library what. Perhaps after the poor families collect enough of the donated newspapers, they can sell them to karang guni for a few bucks."

Black/white differences in perceived weight and attractiveness among overweight women. - "Black women reported lower perceived weight and higher attractiveness than White women, despite higher body mass for Black women. Furthermore, race moderated the relationship between BMI and perceived attractiveness; for White women, a negative relationship existed between BMI and attractiveness, whereas for Black women, BMI and attractiveness were not related. The study findings provide further support for the buffering hypothesis, indicating that despite higher body mass, overweight Black women are less susceptible to thin body ideals than White women."

Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than Puny Humans - "when a human was behind the wheel, Google’s cars accelerated and braked significantly more sharply than they did when piloting themselves. Another showed that the cars’ software was much better at maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead than the human drivers were... Urmson dismissed claims that legal and regulatory problems pose a major barrier to cars that are completely autonomous. He pointed out that California, Nevada, and Florida have already adjusted their laws to allow tests of self-driving cars. And existing product liability laws make it clear that a car’s manufacturer would be at fault if the car caused a crash, he said. He also said that when the inevitable accidents do occur, the data autonomous cars collect in order to navigate will provide a powerful and accurate picture of exactly who was responsible. Urmson showed data from a Google car that was rear-ended in traffic by another driver. Examining the car’s annotated map of its surroundings clearly showed that the Google vehicle smoothly halted before being struck by the other vehicle. “We don’t have to rely on eyewitnesses that can’t act be trusted as to what happened—we actually have the data,” he said. “The guy around us wasn’t paying enough attention. The data will set you free.”"

How safe is commercial flight? - "Dr. Arnold Barnett, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has done extensive research in the field of commercial flight safety. He found that over the fifteen years between 1975 and 1994, the death risk per flight was one in seven million. This statistic is the probability that someone who randomly selected one of the airline's flights over the 19-year study period would be killed in route. That means that any time you board a flight on a major carrier in this country, your chance of being in a fatal accident is one in seven million. It doesn't matter whether you fly once every three years or every day of the year... Based on train accidents over the past twenty years, your chances of dying on a transcontinental train journey are one in a million. Those are great odds, mind you. But flying coast-to-coast is ten times safer than making the trip by train... Dr. Barnett of MIT compared the chance of dying from an airline accident versus a driving accident, after accounting for the greater number of people who drive each day. Can you guess what he found? You are nineteen times safer in a plane than in a car. Every single time you step on a plane, no matter how many times you fly, you are nineteen times less likely to die than in your car."
It's not just the risk per mile travelled

Airline Passengers in Developing Countries Face 13 Times Risk of Crash as U.S., First World, Says Transportation Science Study - "Prof. Barnett questioned why the economically-advancing countries in the Developing World did not have safety records closer to those in the First World, given that they approach First-World standards in life expectancy and per capita income. He cites research that indicates that, in terms of deference to authority and “individualism,” the economically advancing Developing-World countries are on average far from those in the First World but almost identical to other Developing-World countries. Prof. Barnett concedes that he should “not get too caught up in speculation,” but notes that one possible explanation for why the economically-advancing countries did not fare better is that “their economic shift towards the First World has not been accompanied by a corresponding cultural shift.”"

Extroverted men, neurotic women are the best baby-makers: study - "whether in Senegal or America, extroverted men tend to make more money and presumably have more sex. And more frequent sex leads to more babies. The findings, says study author Prof. Virpi Lummaa of Sheffield University in the U.K., suggest “that the link between extroversion and number of children in men is driven by the effects of extroversion on the probability of belonging to the high social class.” Other studies in “low fertility” nations such as the United States, where using contraception is commonplace, confirm the link. This leads Lummaa to theorize that these “effects might be universal across different societies.” So why do neurotic women make more babies? They tend to have “attachment anxiety” and so are very motivated to have sex with their husbands, according to Lummaa. And among couples not practicing birth control, this means more babies. Skeptics may wonder whether it's actually having the babies that makes a mom neurotic. Apparently not. The study authors concluded that being neurotic is likely responsible for a woman having many babies, rather than a consequence of having kids."
From the paper, Personality and reproductive success in a high-fertility human population: "extraversion is positively linked to the number of potential conceptions and the social class in men from low fertility populations. Note that
although the number of potential conceptions does not always predict fertility in such populations, social class does. Furthermore, leadership (a correlate of extraversion) during adolescence has been shown to predict men’s probability to have children in adulthood, which, along with the present results, suggests that extraversion is a universal predictor of fertility"
"previous research has linked neuroticism and its correlates of attachment anxiety to high sexual motivation and increased short-term mating in the United States and Western Europe" (crazy women are indeed wild in bed)

Observations - 26th March 2015

"If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed." - Mark Twain


"A sociology professor once asked me how I view lesbian relationships.
Apparently "in HD" wasn't an acceptable answer"

"Reporters never ask for permission. They rely on their instincts."
"I always tell my friends. If you dare not stand up for what you are saying, then better shut up."

Shower gel where you must squeeze the bottle so it will dispense a certain amount are cons to get you to finish the bottle faster

"It's like putting acid in lemon flavoured drinks and real lemon juice in dishwashing liquid"

In Singapore, the more outlets a food chain has, the worse the food.

I'm told Singaporean Uncle $1 ice cream has a cost price of only 20 cents. They don't have to pay rental but they still deserve a pay increment.

"Benoa is one of Bali's multidenominational corners, with an interesting Chinese Buddhist temple, a mosque and a Hindu temple within 100m of each other" - Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok. So much for "Uniquely Singapore".

"It's a common trap the local discourse finds itself in. Singapore has been more developed than its immediate neighbours for at least a century. The appropriate benchmark are the Asian tiger countries, not Indonesia or Malaysia. Since I was super bored at work today, I compared the per capita GDP growth of Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore plus Malaysia from 1980 to 2008. The former two have outperformed Singapore by a wide margin (4 fold vs Singapore's 3 fold). And Malaysia was only trailing by a few percent. So in short, SG has not achieved any miracles but simply grown in line with Asia as a whole."

"The more f--k-up the country, the more corrupted its officials, the more complex the immigration form"

Realised the Affleck/Harris/Maher segment is reminiscent of the worst Fox News interviews.

The myth of meritocracy: if you don't do well, you didn't try hard enough
The myth of oppression: if you did badly, it's because someone is oppressing you

""Silencing" and "derailing" are SJW codewords for "ITS ALL ABOUT ME!!!! Blindly believe everything I say and never fact check me or else I'll accuse you of oppression.""

Clicktivism/offence culture arise from a common belief that words affect the real world - that speech (however construed) is reality.

Since there were 8.5 million members of the Nazi party in 1945, probably most Nazis were peaceful. So Nazism is an ideology of peace.

Most Communists are and have been peaceful. So there's obviously nothing wrong with Communist ideology.

Just because something offends someone doesn't mean it's hate speech.

Amused by liberals trying to equate Charlie Hebdo with hate speech, racism and bigotry. Maybe any criticism of a "minority" counts.

"let me go and commit microaggressions during lunch in NUS
by sitting with my legs wide open in Arts canteen"

In general it is harder to demonize people you know as real people. That is why blocking people you disagree with is so toxic. Maybe that's a way to maintain ideological purity.

Do people with ASD and depression criticise neuronormativity and emonormativity and argue that there's nothing wrong with either?

Amused that people are comparing the Berlin Wall with Mexico-US illegal migration and the Israeli Security Wall. Apparently walls to keep people IN are identical to those to keep people OUT.

"Can people be exploited if they are absolutely clear in their own minds that they are not being?..who are you or indeed anyone else to tell them that they are?"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Links - 25th March 2015

Lee Kuan Yew’s political legacy – a matter of trust - "Among the most controversial were the arrests of men labeled as communists in Operation Coldstore of 1963 and Operation Spectrum of 1987 (a.k.a. the ‘Marxist Conspiracy’) that targeted social activists who promoted greater social equality and were seen as challenging LKY’s People’s Action Party’s (PAP) authority. Two other round-ups occurred with Operation Pecah (Split) in 1966, which coincided with the year of the arrest of Dr. Chia Thye Poh who was held under detention and restriction until 1997, and the arrests of the ‘Eurocommunists’ in 1976-77... In the relatively small city state, it did not take much to instill a political culture of fear by making a few examples... The group that received the special focus of LKY’s distrust was the Malay population, who now comprise over 10% of the country’s population. Even as LKY matured as a politician, he continued to reinforce negative stereotypes of this community that rioted over their grievances in 1950, 1964 and 1969 when LKY was in his early years in power, and with whom he expressed hard judgments about their religion, Islam. This distrust was shaped in part by a worldview that was not only shaped by his early experiences in political life but had sharp racial cleavages, drew from eugenics and believed in a clear social order. Part of LKY’s outlook prioritized women as homemakers and disparaged single women who opted not to marry or follow a career – another group similar to Malays that faced discrimination within LKY’s Singapore... Years of following the LKY’s example and being told that the PAP is made up of the ‘best and brightest’ has imbued a mindset of superiority, a lack of empathy, and frequent dismissal of difference in engagement with the public... In 2007 LKY claimed that he governed without ideology. This was not quite true. The ideological foundation of LKY’s pragmatic tenure was materialism... The irony is that it is not even clear how much money the government of Singapore and its linked companies actually have. Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that does not follow the International Monetary Fund guidelines on its budget reporting... LKY did not trust local capital, and did not want to strengthen an alternative power center to his own. As such, Singapore’s economy is not a genuinely competitive one. It favors big business, especially property developers, and those allied with government rather than independent entrepreneurs. Those in the system have apparently disproportionately benefited from it, although the exact amounts and assets remain unknown... Much is made about the limited corruption of Singapore, but few appreciate that the country ranks high on the Economist crony-capitalism index, an important outgrowth of the government dominance of the economy... Singapore’s economy also favors foreigners"

As the Campus Rape Narrative Unravels, Will Due Process Strike Back in 2015? - "Affirmative consent is a baffling way to fight sexual assault. Rape is a crime committed by a minority of determined, serial perpetrators; it’s unclear why activists think that forcing students to jump through new hoops before they have sex will deter these monsters. The policy will produce more mutual confusion and false accusations, however. But sadly, the compelling arguments against affirmative consent haven’t dissuaded college administrators from codifying it... Activists’ reliance on the misleading 1-in-5 statistic might, at least, subside in 2015. New data from the federal government’s Bureau of Justice statistics indicated that students were actually less likely to be victimized than non-students, and suffered rape rates that were nowhere near 1-in-5. Politico noted that the statistic was "increasingly disputed," and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), a firm believer in tougher anti-rape policies, quietly scrubbed any mention of the stat from her website. The collapse of Rolling Stone's report on a gang rape at the University of Virginia (UVA) was perhaps an even more dramatic setback for activists. Shortly after the incredible story broke, UVA President Teresa Sullivan suspended all campus fraternities, and people predisposed to believe that campuses are veritable rape factories took up their pitchforks. But the story’s thorough debunking left them with egg on their faces. As Reason contributor Cathy Young noted, the crusade against rape culture undeniably "stumbled" in 2014. Unfortunately, none of these small wins for sanity about the scope of violence on college campuses mean that due process is destined to make a comeback in 2015... Kaiser and Dillon don't think they will need to quit their jobs anytime soon. "Affirmative consent laws will, unfortunately for the students subjected to them, be a full-employment act for lawyers who do this work," wrote Dillon. "California’s law, for example, is terribly worded and contrary to everything we know about how sex between human persons actually works.""

CDC Study: More Men than Women Victims of Partner Abuse » SAVE: Stop Abusive and Violent Environments - "According to a 2010 national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Justice, in the last 12 months more men than women were victims of intimate partner physical violence and over 40% of severe physical violence was directed at men. Men were also more often the victim of psychological aggression and control over sexual or reproductive health. Despite this, few services are available to male victims of intimate partner violence... There has been little research on responses to male victims of intimate partner violence, in part because agencies refuse to fund such research. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice solicitation of proposals for Justice Responses to Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking (p. 8) stated “What will not be funded: 4. Proposals for research on intimate partner violence against, or stalking of, males of any age or females under the age of 12.” In the few studies done, many men report that hotline workers say they only help women, imply or state the men must be the instigators, ridicule them or refer them to batterers’ programs. Police often will fail to respond, ridicule the man or arrest him. (Cook 2009)(Douglas and Hines, 2011)... informal help, mental health and medical services were the most helpful. The services least helpful were those that are the core of the DV service system: DV agencies, DV hotlines, and the police... Feminist theory states that intimate partner violence is an accepted form of “power and control” by men in a patriarchal society. But according to Straus (2011) the predominant immediate motives for violence, by women as well men, are frustration and anger at some misbehavior by the partner. “They are efforts to coerce the partner into stopping some socially undesirable behavior or to practice some socially desirable behavior. … Studies have found that women engage in coercive control as much as men.” Further, intimate partner violence is more likely to be mutual or female-initiated than male-initiated... Courts in California and West Virginia have found that DV programs discriminate on the basis of sex, in violation of equal protection provisions of their constitutions"

"Stereotype Threat: a Case of Overclaim Syndrome?" by Amy L. Wax - "The theory of Stereotype Threat (ST) predicts that, when widely accepted stereotypes allege a group’s intellectual inferiority, fears of confirming these stereotypes cause individuals in the group to underperform relative to their true ability and knowledge. There are now hundreds of published studies purporting to document an impact for ST on the performance of women and racial minorities in a range of situations. This article reviews the literature on stereotype threat, focusing especially on studies investigating the influence of ST in the context of gender. It concludes that there is currently no justification for concluding that ST explains women’s underperformance compared to men on standardized tests of mathematics ability, or in scientific fields more generally. The current experimental literature provides no information about the magnitude of ST’s influence relative to other possible causes of gender or race disparities in academic performance generally, or in women’s underperformance in math more specifically. Existing studies are fully consistent with a minimal role for ST in accounting for observed patterns. In addition, there are unexplained inconsistencies and puzzles in the ST literature that further undercut the possibility of drawing firm conclusions about the magnitude of ST effects or the importance of ST to observed group disparities"

Refuting 40 years of lies about domestic violence - "Dean: It’s almost as if we’re afraid to see women as human beings with the same flaws as men.
Erin: Isn’t it awful? Because it’s so condescending to tell all women they’re victims. I’m not a victim. I made my choices and I take the consequences. And I used to often say that to a woman. I’d say, “Look, you chose that man, you knew he was violent, you chose to have children by this man even though you were being beaten up. Now you take some responsibility for this.”
Dean: Well and one of the patterns I’ve seen and read about is that you’ll get these women in violent relationships and they’ll be the ones who actually start the hitting.
Erin: Yes, they do, because the majority of violent women bank on the fact that most men don’t hit women. And they don’t...
Dean: And they hate you for saying that women can be violent or that domestic violence is often or usually mutual?
Erin: Yeah. And also that I say that it’s a fact that it’s a multimillion-, billion-dollar industry. That’s one that absolutely outrages them, because they don’t want anyone to know how much money they’re getting.
Dean: It’s funny, and I happen to know that even in the States there is no accounting for where that money goes. I guess it’s marked as going to women’s shelters and that’s it—it’s like a black box.
Erin: Well, it’s not even going to women’s shelters. It’s going to keeping the empire going. Great big offices, loads and loads of staff—that’s what happens."

Eating rice with chopsticks lowers one's blood sugar level: Local study - "when people eat less and chew less, slowly-eaten or incompletely digested carbohydrate particles are larger and take longer to digest, which result in a lower increase in blood sugar after eating. "For example, you take about 43 mouthfuls to finish a bowl of rice if you're using a pair of chopsticks," he added. "If you use a spoon or your hands, you can finish the equivalent in between 17 and 20 mouthfuls. When you take a longer time to finish eating, it's effective in lowering your glucose response.""

On being "bullied"

Me: "He was like a king, the king of Singapore"


A: No he wasn't, in my humble opinion. He was a fighter, fighting for his beliefs and vision for the nation.

Me: A street gangster.

A: Whatever it takes for the benefit of our nation.
That's what earns my respect, not whiners without contributions hiding behind their keyboards.

Me: Who's more whiney? The whiner or the whiner who whines about him?

"Supposing Catherine Lim was writing about me and not the prime minister...She would not dare, right? Because my posture, my response has been such that nobody doubts that if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul de sac...Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no other way you can govern a Chinese society. "

A: And so bullies should only bully the weak, and leave the fiercest to their own?
I'm glad to have a fierce fighter as a champion.

Me: She must be a very powerful writer to be a "bully"

A: Yes, she was, I'm surprised that you didn't think so


B: Logic, he has it.

C: Wut?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Links - 24th March 2015

Lee Kuan Yew obituary | World news | The Guardian - "It could have been done differently. Colonial Hong Kong, so similar in many ways, prospered as well without the guidance of a “philosopher king” or a “Moses”, as Lee was to be later described. Nonetheless, Lee was very much in charge of the new Singapore and thus deserves the credit, and the blame... Some government intervention in the economy was simply pragmatic. But much of it had political overtones. The state, for example, created what is now the largest commercial bank, the Development Bank of Singapore, though there was never any lack of private ones. Its forced savings scheme was a colonial-era provident fund that was used to generate savings that helped give Singapore the best infrastructure in Asia. The scheme gave the government control over far more money than it needed, thus enabling it to dictate not only the pattern of investment but housing and consumer spending... part of Singapore’s prosperity rested on it providing a safe haven for money made corruptly in neighbouring countries, smuggling or drug trafficking... Quite why Lee, revered as the father of the nation, found it necessary to use such sledgehammers was not clear. In the 50s, the communists were real and ruthless. But as time went on, real threats vanished. Yet the unrelenting ambition did not, and Lee was unable to change his self-image as a political streetfighter, the gang boss who forever had to prove his ruthlessness. Beyond that, he had a sense of insecurity about the future of Singapore after he was gone. Partly this was a sense that society would go soft with success, or, like the Malays, surrender to the easy languor of the tropics... Increasingly, there was only one leader. Comrades from the heroic anti-colonial days retired, drifted away or were pushed out – in the case of President Devan Nair in 1985, after a humiliating allegation of alcoholism that he contested. New blood was brought into the PAP, but increasingly it became a tightknit elite... The force of Lee’s personality, the moral authority that he commanded, left him the arbiter of anything he cared about. Like a Mao in miniature, he seemed both to enjoy and have contempt for the adulation that surrounded him"
Comments: "I never knew whether I should fear him or admire him in life, in death, I both despise him and respect him"
"in his desire to oppose communism, he built a totalitarian state which was more authoritarian than the Soviet Union itself, and granted its people even less freedom; and created a cult of personality greater than that of Stalin or Mao" (it's the Guardian after all)

Christopher Hitchens and the protocol for public figure deaths - "When someone dies who is a public figure by virtue of their political acts — like Ronald Reagan — discussions of them upon death will be inherently politicized. How they are remembered is not strictly a matter of the sensitivities of their loved ones, but has substantial impact on the culture which discusses their lives. To allow significant political figures to be heralded with purely one-sided requiems — enforced by misguided (even if well-intentioned) notions of private etiquette that bar discussions of their bad acts — is not a matter of politeness; it’s deceitful and propagandistic. To exploit the sentiments of sympathy produced by death to enshrine a political figure as Great and Noble is to sanction, or at best minimize, their sins. Misapplying private death etiquette to public figures creates false history and glorifies the ignoble."

Melanie Kirkpatrick: Lee Kuan Yew vs. the News - WSJ - "What was Lee afraid of? The answer, in a word, was readers. He had little confidence in the ability of Singaporeans to listen to different points of view, evaluate them and form correct opinions, which is to say, his opinions... One day the phone rang at the Journal’s bureau in Singapore. The prime minister’s office wanted to know where Mr. Lee’s subscription was. Yes, we know that your circulation has been restricted, the caller said, but surely this doesn’t apply to the prime minister. The Journal representative replied that Mr. Lee would receive no special treatment. In other words, if the prime minister valued the Journal’s reporting and commentary, he had the same option that was available to all Singaporeans who were deprived of their newspaper: Go to the library."

Overzealous prosecutors: Hold them accountable by defunding state prisons and making counties pay. - "states should take the money they’re currently spending on their prison systems, distribute it among counties based on their violent crime rate, and allow local decision-makers to spend it as they see fit. If county officials want to use the money to fund crime prevention programs, they can; if they want to use it to put lots of convicted felons in prison, they can do that too. “The hope would be that they would start using prisons at the societally optimal level,” Ball told me. “They’d say, ‘Here’s $50,000 we can spend on sending someone to prison, but that’s $50,000 we’re not going to spend on other things, like the police budget or drug treatment programs.’ ”"

Republican women are more religious and theocratic than Republican men, new poll shows. - "66 percent of Republican women versus 49 percent of Republican men would like to see America become more theocratic. Overall, the data suggests that there may be an intriguing gender divide when it comes to the motivations of Republican voters, with results showing men to be more motivated by economic reasons and women drawn to conservative politics for more religious and social reasons... There's been an increased interest in recent years in what motivates Republican women, particularly as the party has amped up its assault on reproductive rights. This data, which jibes with countless studies have shown that women are more likely to be religious than men, helps answer that question: It's religion."

Sweden to reward returning ISIS Jihadists - "Jihadists returning to Örebro Municipality will get psychological help. And not only that: Tvärsnytt now reveals that the municipality council are discussing giving them jobs... "Tvärsnytt" reports that several people have chosen to move from the district Vivalla after it became known that two individuals from it was fighting in northern Iraq. Residents are simply afraid to have a neighbor who sympathize with IS. Peter Santesson, Survey Manager at Demoskop, is critical of Örebro Municipality ways of using the municipal money. - The thoughts goes to the old "monster trips" and similar municipal programs. The problem is that it creates reverse incentives. The question that the municipality should ask is: If you can afford to create this kind of jobs, why do people who goes to Syria get them? And who possibly comes back with serious war crimes in the luggage? Instead of investing in young people who didn't take this step, who didn't go to fight, he says"

Taxi driver stopped on the highway to pray - the passenger missed his flight - "Norgeng sent a letter to Oslo Taxi and complained, and Oslo Taxi sacked the driver"

Mickey Mouse must die, says Saudi Arabian cleric - Telegraph - "Sheikh Muhammad Munajid claimed the mouse is "one of Satan's soldiers" and makes everything it touches impure. But he warned that depictions of the creature in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, and Disney's Mickey Mouse, had taught children that it was in fact loveable. The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Sharia, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed."

Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe

9 things you think you know about Jesus that are probably wrong - "1. Married, not single.
2. Cropped hair, not long.
3. Hung on a pole, not necessarily a cross.
5. Born in a house, not a stable.
6. Named Joshua, not Jesus.
7. Number of apostles (12) from astrology, not history.
8. Prophecies recalled, not foretold.
9. Some Jesus quotes not from Jesus; others uncertain."

Cost Effectiveness of Complementary Medicine (Report) - The National Institute of Complementary Medicine - University of Western Sydney - "A NICM study into the cost-effectiveness of complementary medicine in Australia has found that millions of dollars in healthcare costs could be saved without compromising patient outcomes if complementary medicine is more widely used...
Acupuncture for chronic non-specific low back pain;
St John's wort for mild to moderate depression;
Omega-3 fish oils for secondary prevention of heart disease;
Omega-3 fish oils to reduce non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in rheumatoid arthritis; and
A proprietary herbal medicine for pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis.
Four of these interventions proved cost-effective or cost-saving under particular scenarios."

Are complementary therapies and integrative care cost-effective? A systematic review of economic evaluations - "This comprehensive review identified many CIM economic evaluations missed by previous reviews and emerging evidence of cost-effectiveness and possible cost savings in at least a few clinical populations"

Domestic Violence Surge Leads Uruguay to Reject Male Syrian Refugees - "“Simply: in Uruguay, we are not willing to remain with our arms crossed if men hit women,” said President José Mujica, the architect of the project through which Uruguay would slowly begin to take in Syrian refugee families, to ease the strain on neighboring countries like Lebanon and Turkey, which have taken in millions of refugees in the past two years. According to Uruguayan newspaper El Observador, the government claims that the incidents of domestic violence in the new Syrian refugee community of Uruguay are simply too high to ignore."

Fortune Cookies: More Japanese Than You Think

Quadriplegic woman flies F-35 with nothing but her thoughts

Naturalized Koreans prefer Kim, Lee and Park, too | The Marmot's Hole - "According to statistics from Seoul Family Court, some 110 foreigners who had taken Korean citizenship changed their names between October and the end of last year. Some 51 of them chose “Kim” as a family name, while 15 chose “Lee,” 14 chose “Park” and 11 chose “Choe.” Oddly enough, this is the same order of the general population according to 2000 statistics released by the National Statistical Office. According to those stats, 21.6 percent of Koreans—some 9.92 million folk—had the last name of Kim. Another 14.8 percent had Lee, 8.5 percent had Park and 4.7 percent had Choe."
Finally, statistics on Korean surnames!

Jetstar's Business Strategy

Ignoring their customers until they give up seems a viable business strategy for Jetstar.

I had a problem with delayed luggage and tried to get them to acknowledge this/provide documentation.

Firstly the form for submitting the baggage enquiry didn't work, despite my using 3 different browsers each on two different computers. It only worked after a few days.

I was supposed to be contacted within 15 business days.

14 business days later I was concerned and called to try to get documentation in case I needed it for an insurance claim.

I was told they would get back to me within 72 hours (3 days).

144 hours (6 days) later, I called back and was told the person would escalate my case and I'd get a call back the same day.

Another 5.5 days later, I called and was asked to submit the same form I had submitted the first time.

Finally, another 11 days later (and 1.5 months after I had submitted my original enquiry) I got some closure.

I wonder how many others would have stuck it out for so long across 2 forms and 3 phone calls?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Links - 23rd March 2015

Could Antioxidants Speed Up Cancer Progression? - "Antioxidants appear to accelerate cancer progression by short-circuiting one of the body's key immune responses to malignant cells"

Is she too fat to be a Health Minister? Critics attack 20-stone woman leading Belgium's battle against obesity
Perhaps some of the people defending her would not be happy if a minister of women's issues were male

Western manners: The latest Chinese status symbol - "“Most of my clients had an embarrassing moment, overseas or during a business dinner. They come here because they want to make thing easier for themselves,” said Sara-Jane Ho, the perfectly groomed school founder, as she sat in a drawing room furnished with imported French antique furniture. “It’s mostly learning about how to behave in an international environment,” said Ho, who herself studied etiquette at the Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Switzerland, one of the last proper finishing schools in the world. So far she has attracted a couple hundred wealthy Chinese to her courses. She is opening a Shanghai branch in May... “The Chinese have no manners. It’s just not something that is taught by parents. I am always surprised when men hold the door for me in Paris. This would never happen in China,” said Yue-Sai Kan, a Sino-American TV host and producer, and author of Etiquette for the Modern Chinese, a national bestseller that has sold more than three million copies. Today, Kan lectures on etiquette and trains Chinese contestants for the Miss Universe contest. While some of what is perceived as rude by Westerners stems from cultural issues — the notion of public space and privacy is very different in China — other ill-manners date back to the Cultural Revolution when all that was seen as sophistication was considered bourgeois and severely punished."

Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics | Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project - "people in predominantly Muslim countries have mixed views of Christians and strongly negative views of Jews. In Lebanon, which has a large Christian minority, 91% of the public thinks favorably of Christians. Smaller majorities in Jordan and Indonesia also have positive views of Christians. However, in Turkey (63%), Morocco (61%) and Pakistan (58%), solid majorities express negative opinions of Christians. Anti-Jewish sentiment is endemic in the Muslim world. In Lebanon, all Muslims and 99% of Christians say they have a very unfavorable view of Jews. Similarly, 99% of Jordanians have a very unfavorable view of Jews. Large majorities of Moroccans, Indonesians, Pakistanis and six-in-ten Turks also view Jews unfavorably."

Anti-Semitic violence doubled in 2009 - "Most violent attacks in Western Europe came from people of Arab or Muslim heritage, the report found... “Synagogues are burned, and in response people at the top levels of European government say to us that this is a ‘natural response’ to these pressures, to what is happening in the Middle East,” said Arie Zuckerman, an Israeli attorney who serves as the secretary-general of the European Jewish Fund and an adviser to the EJC. “It is unthinkable that there are no boundaries to the kinds of reactions Europe is willing to tolerate inside the continent,” he said. “Every time the conflict flares up in Israel, we have to accept someone setting a synagogue on fire? If mosques were being attacked, would anyone say this was to be expected because there are conflicts in the Muslim world?” asked Zuckerman."

Emotional Infidelity Vs. Sleeping Around: Men And Women React Differently To Cheating - "“There has been significant disagreement about whether or not men and women tend to differ in their responses to sexual and emotional infidelity,” David Frederick, the study’s lead author and psychologist from Chapman University, said in a press release. “Most research relies on small samples or college samples. We set out to examine a broad and diverse sample of Americans.” Researchers asked 64,000 American men and women of varying sexual orientation how they would react to finding out their significant other was cheating on them. Did the sexual infidelity bother them more than the emotional infidelity? Answers varied depending on gender. “Heterosexual men really stand out from all other groups,” Frederick said. “They were the only ones more likely to be most upset by sexual infidelity.”"

In China’s Modern Economy, a Retro Push Against Women - NYTimes.com - "Dong Mingzhu, president of Gree Electric, an air conditioner manufacturer with sales of $22.5 billion last year, blames women for their poor showing in the workplace. “Women don’t try hard enough,” she said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Zhuhai, in southern China. “They are too happy to go off and find a man to rely on.” Indeed, powerful cultural assumptions that women should marry young and focus on the family after a child is born account for some of the disparity. Women in the boardroom is hardly even an issue. “This issue is of interest only to a minority of females,” said Oliver M. Rui, a professor of finance and accounting at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, “and they’re not taken seriously in China”... On a recent trip to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, a rare female client, the head of a new dealership, took her under her wing. “She said, ‘You should do the most important thing in your life now,’ ” Ms. Fu said. “Find a husband.”"

More than 100 women drugged, raped and filmed in fake clinical study in Japan: reports

Action computer games can sharpen eyesight - "A study by scientists at the University of Rochester shows that people who play action video games for a few hours each day over the course of a month can improve their performance in eye examinations by about 20%... After 30 hours of gaming, both groups had their vision tested again. Those who played Tetris saw no improvement in their test score. However, the group that played Unreal Tournament scored 20% better in the eye test on average"

Gamers secretly enjoy getting killed - "Outwardly, players might seem to hate seeing their character get shot or killed, but their facial twitches, brain activity, heart rate, perspiration and respiration told a different story. Players often showed signs of positive emotion when they character got wounded or killed off. Similarly, many players showed signs of anxiety, or "high-arousal negative affect", while wounding or killing an enemy. "Instead of joy resulting from victory and success, wounding and killing the opponent elicited anxiety, anger, or both""

The Punishment for reading a Bible in Saudi Arabia - "Textbooks handed out in Saudi Arabian schools teach children how to cut off a thief’s hands and feet under Sharia law – Photo Daily Mail. The books were published and handed out to 9th and 10th-graders despite Saudi Arabia’s promises to clean up textbooks in the kingdom. Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, told Fox News: ‘This is where terrorism starts, in the education system. ‘They show students how to cut (the) hand and the feet of a thief,’ he said.The textbooks were printed for the 2010-2011 academic year and translated from Arabic by the institute. In one, for ninth-graders, students are taught the annihilation of the Jewish people is imperative. In addition to calling for the murder of Jews, the texts reportedly call women “weak” and teach that gays are dangerous and should be put to death."

More frequent meals linked to healthier eating - "Adults who had multiple small meals every day tended to eat better, and weight less, than those who had fewer but larger meals, in a recent study. People eating fewer meals tended to eat the most at night, and to drink alcohol with meals, both of which might contribute to their higher body mass index (BMI)"

Why We Shouldn’t Refer to ISIS as ‘Medieval’ - "Despite the reality of medieval torture, comparisons with ISIS are not intended to be meaningfully equivalent. Instead, they are conjuring up the one-dimensional myth of medievalism: of berserkers, barbarians and blood-eagling, a myth which leaves us, civilized and modern, wholly absolved of any connection with those actions."
Who is this Young Turk? I need Dutch courage to read this article and to navigate the Byzantine complexities of ISIS's politics so that I can take French leave to erect Chinese walls. Pardon my French but this article is Greek to me. Hopefully ISIS's time will be like an Indian summer.

Practicing Islam in Short Shorts - "I never quite rejected Islam, I just took a break from going through the motions of prayer out of guilt. I wanted to see if I could be compelled to return to my prayer rug. I did. I returned when I felt like my life was empty without worship. I prayed out of gratitude. I prayed and it gave me solace. Ablution became less about splashing water over various parts of my body and felt more like a daily cleanse. A baptism. I stopped obsessing about the small things and my new mantra was "Al-'amal bil niyat," which means actions are dependent on their intentions. My other mantra was "Al deen yusr," which translates to religion is ease. Exploring and wandering gave me the tools I needed to critically look at the hypocrisy of the 'ulama'a (Islamic elites/scholars/clerics). I realized that I did not have to practice my religion from the point of view of a largely misogynistic group of people. Two years ago, I denounced most hadith (prophetic traditions and sayings), fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and tafseer (interpretation) because these three things, all of which play a huge part in how Islam is practiced today, are filtered through the perspective of Muslims born into normalized extreme patriarchy"
What is the line between pluralism and heresy? Is it coherent to speak of an ideology if there is nothing its various adherents share besides identifying with the same umbrella term?

Why the Gap Between Worker Pay and Productivity Is So Problematic - "We could have doubled down on making the middle class so capable that it could compete with anyone, but I think instead, what we did collectively is we made a series of unsustainable promises to maintain the illusion of prosperity. Promises like let's extend credit to the middle class so that people can consume—especially houses; promises like the government will increasingly cover your healthcare costs in retirement; promises like the government will directly employ you. You then take those promises, couple them with a nasty recession and two wars and you wind up with a government that is physically hobbled and politically divided. So from government and from business you've got a systematic underinvestment in those shared resources that we need for the middle class to thrive."

Wheel of Fortune, NEW BABY BUGGY: Was Emil de Leon’s solve the greatest of all time?

Genderfluidity: raising questions about the LGBT Consensus

"Lizzy the Lezzy: don't erase someone else's identity!

'This is both of me. I'm genderfluid and bisexual. Some days I wake up wondering where my dick is, and why in the world I have boobs. Other days, I wake up and I feel like myself. Either way I wake up, I wake up next to the man of my dreams...

Don't erase us. We're real, and we have a voice!'"

Several points that one could take away:

- "If you're so obsessed with your sexuality that it constitutes your entire identity, you need to seek help"
- Some people might just be confused
- Some people might just be doing it for attention
- The line between identity and illness may be closer to illness than it is currently political expedient to say
- Can "identity" be founded upon something volatile which is possibly determined at will?
- What's the difference between this and multiple personality disorder?
- Why is it okay to identify as another gender but not another race or species?
- Isn't it convenient that she's also bisexual?
- Should we accept every identity that others demand we accept? How much should society cater to anyone who has some special issue?
- Should people be proud of having mental illnesses?

(Broadly, the LGBT Consensus is that it's okay for people to identify as whatever sexual orientation and sexual identity, that there's nothing wrong with them, that it's gender dysphoria instead of gender identity disorder etc)

Keywords: species dysphoria, transspeciesm, challenge to the lgbt consensus, challenging the lglbt consensus, lezzie the lesbian, flexigender, flexible

Lee Kuan Yew is dead, long live Lee Kuan Yew!


Source: God-Emperor of Mankind by Citizen Dan

"The God-Emperor is the founder of the Imperium of Singapore and our greatest bastion against the horrors that dwell in the universe. Only those that possess faith, courage and university degree may stand at His right hand."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Links - 22nd March 2015

On the Red Carpet, a Revolt Builds Over the Pageantry - NYTimes.com - "the critique raises the question of whether there is complicity in the red carpet’s predictable shallowness. “If the actresses are fed up with the questions,” Ms. Cosgrave said, “why are they obeying the publicists lining them up to answer them?”"

How many muscles does it take to smile? - "While nobody could possibly tell you with accuracy exactly how many muscles you use when you smile (43? 17? 26?), it's possible to tell you the minimum number of muscles that are used in the most insincere, subtle, restrained, mouth-only smile or frown. If we analyze a smile that only raises the corners of the lips and the upper lip (the smile you give when you bump into your former boss in the grocery store, perhaps), then there are five muscle pairs (or 10 total muscles) that accomplish this. Two muscle pairs primarily raise the upper lip, while three other muscle pairs are tasked mainly with raising the corners of the mouth. If we reduce a frown only to the lowering of the corners of the mouth along with a slight downward pouting of the lower lip, we're dealing with only three muscle pairs (one pair to drop the lower lip, and two pairs to lower the corners). Counted individually (as you might count your biceps to be two different muscles, instead of one muscle pair), we reach a tally that very well may turn our understanding of the universe completely on end: 10 muscles to smile, and six muscles to frown. But before you abandon your smile for a look of mild disappointment in order to conserve energy, consider that we can reduce both a smile and a frown even further, so that each is produced merely by raising or lowering the corners of the mouth into a robotic expression. In this case, we have a tie: two muscle pairs (for a total of four) to "smile," and the same number to "frown.""

Winter swimming improves general well-being. - "In the beginning, there were no significant differences in the mood states and subjective feelings between the swimmers and the controls. The swimmers had more diseases (about 50%) diagnosed by a physician. Tension, fatigue, memory and mood negative state points in the swimmers significantly decreased with the duration of the swimming period. After four months, the swimmers felt themselves to be more energetic, active and brisk than the controls. Vigour-activity scores were significantly greater (p < 0.05). All swimmers who suffered from rheumatism, fibromyalgia, or asthma, reported that winter swimming had relieved pains." Body Integrity Identity Disorder has made Chloe Jennings-White, 58, disown her legs- "A Cambridge University educated research scientist is so desperate to live the life of a wheelchair-bound person she is prepared to pay a doctor help her become disabled. Since childhood, Chloe Jennings-White has made several attempts at injuring herself so she can finally climb into her own wheelchair. In 2010 she even found a doctor overseas willing to help her become disabled by cutting her sciatic and femoral nerves, but she could not afford the £16,000 costs... Some experts believe it is caused by a neurological fault, in which the brain's mapping system cannot see a certain body part... Chloe first realised she was different at the age of four, after visiting her Aunt Olive, who was using leg braces after a bike accident. 'I wanted them too,' she said. 'I wondered why I wasn't born needing them and felt something was wrong with me because I didn't have them'... Now, as an adult, Chloe enjoys the excitement of downhill skiing and the possibility she might fall and suffer serious leg fractures... She researched the braces online and came across BIID for the first time. She discovered there were others like her. 'It was a huge relief,' she said. 'I wasn't a freak - there were hundreds of others like me'... Chloe believes it is important to raise awareness about the condition and now writes for the BIID support group Transabled."
If it's okay to want to be a different gender, why not to be disabled?

Page 3 models lead backlash against 'comfy shoe-wearing, no bra-wearing, man-haters' - Telegraph - "Page 3 girls have led the backlash against The Sun's decision to end its topless tradition, claiming the move has been "dictated by comfy shoe-wearing, no bra-wearing, man-haters". Model Rhian Sugden, 28, criticised at the move, suggesting it was "only a matter of time" before everything they did was dictated by such people. Former glamour model Jodie Marsh insisted that "telling girls they shouldn't do Page 3 is not being a feminist". She said she "loved" posing for Page 3 and that it made her feel powerful and earned her good money. "Women should empower and encourage other women," she wrote on Twitter. "For that is the only way to truly be 'equal' and have rights..." She said campaigners should focus on more important issues that affect women, such as female genital mutilation... "Everybody still wants Page 3, apart from the feminists who are fighting an argument I just don't agree with. "If you meet any Page 3 girl who has gone on to pose for the Sun, we are all very strong-minded women that have made our own choice and feel very happy with what we are doing. "We certainly don't feel like we have been victimised."

DNA testing could reveal identity of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa - "Some have argued the painting is a self-portrait of the artist, or one of his favourite male lovers in disguise, the evidence they say is the fact Da Vinci kept it with him until his death in Amboise, France in 1519. The most curious theories have been provided by medical experts turned Renaissance art sleuths. One theory was that the Mona Lisa's mouth is clamped firmly shut because she was undergoing mercury treatment for syphilis which turned her teeth black. An American dentist has claimed that the tight-lipped expression was typical of people who have lost their front teeth, while a Danish doctor was convinced she suffered from congenital palsy which affected the left side of her face and this is why her hands are overly large."

K-pop’s next big thing? - "Next up is six-member group G-Friend. Photos and a pre-debut greetings clip were posted on Source Entertainment’s official Facebook page, featuring the girls waving and smiling while clad in clean white tees and tennis skirts. Short for “girlfriend,” the name signifies the group’s aims to appeal to boys as sweet girlfriends and to girls as chummy pals. The members’ average age is 17, possibly making it the youngest girl group in the K-pop scene"

Time to banish Boko - "in April 2014, when Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls from Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria, the biggest activity was not to mobilise security forces, but to go on Twitter with a #BringBackOurGirls hashtag... In a series of attacks in the town of Baga, which lasted from Jan 3 to Jan 7, the militants killed an estimated 2,000 people and destroyed the homes of tens of thousands. The main reaction of the Nigerian government has been to deny the extent of the fatalities, claiming that it may just be in the hundreds. Which isn’t as comforting as they seem to think it is... You can’t blame the colonial legacy forever, yet it is surely horrific that in 2015, the world’s powers can turn a blind eye to such chaos, suffering and evil.
If the world's powers intervene, many people will just claim it's because of oil

Jews From France Find Future in Montreal - "“I hear and I know of young couples moving to Quebec,” said Serge Cwajgenbaum, the Lyon, France-born secretary general of the European Jewish Congress. “The reason is not necessarily related to the rise of anti-Semitism, but it’s more to find a proper future, in terms of good work, good salaries and a cheaper way of life.” There are some 90,000 Jews in the Montreal metropolitan area."

Homosexuality may help us bond - "They found that heterosexual women who have higher levels of progesterone are more likely to be open to the idea of engaging in sexual behaviour with other women. Similarly, when heterosexual men are subtly reminded of the importance of having male friends and allies, they report more positive attitudes toward engaging in sexual behaviour with other men. This pattern is particularly dramatic in men who have high levels of progesterone."

27% of French Youth Support ISIS | CNS News - "A survey done by ICM research, found that nearly 16% of French citizens have a favorable view of ISIS. To add some context to that number, French president Francois Hollande currently has an approval rating of 18%. That 16% is even higher than the 13% in Gaza who were found to view ISIS favorably, in a similar poll. Scarier still, more than a quarter (27%) of French citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 were found to sympathize with ISIS."

The Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights - "Now at Christmastime, Johnson prepared to make some history of his own. For centuries—according to some folklore all the way back to the 1500s when Protestant reformer Martin Luther wished to replicate the wintertime sight of stars twinkling among the evergreens—people had used wax candles to illuminate their Christmas trees. The candles may have been beautiful, but they were obviously a huge fire hazard. Every year as year the holiday approached, without fail newspapers printed tragic stories about Christmas trees accidentally catching fire and houses burning to the ground, sometimes with deadly consequences."

For Cajuns, Santa Arrives Via `gator - "When Glen Verret Jr., 3, is asked how Santa will arrive at his house he answers in a single word: ``Alligator.``"

Jean-Baptiste Lully Biography - Childhood, Life &Timeline - "In 8 January 1687, Lully was conducting a ‘Te Deum’ in celebration of Louis XIV's recent recovery from illness. He was beating time by banging a long staff (a precursor to the bâton) against the floor, which was a common practice in those days. In the process, he struck his own toes badly which led to a critical abscess. The wound degenerated to become gangrenous and, because Lully was reluctant to get his toe amputated, the gangrene proved to be fatal. He succumbed to it on the 22nd of March"

How Chinese genetics is like Chinese food - "The Han Chinese are genetically diverse, due to geographic scale of range, hybridization with other populations, and possibly local adaptation."

Male Escorts - hanoiescort's JimdoPage! - "I usually fuck a girl for about 50 min before i bust a nut ...I then relax for 15-20min, eat a power bar or turkey sandwitch before I resume fucking for another 40-60 min.. If I really like fucking the girl I sleep over for 2-3 hours before I fuck for another 20-30min. This does not include 20 min of cunilingus."
"I wouldn't want to fuck for that long anymore. That's too much work. When I was young I used to do that shit, but no mas. I do 20 minutes, take a break, then another 10-15 mins and I'm done. Whether I fuck for 1 or 2 hours, I still get the same end result, so I take the option with less work, so I can move on with my day."

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