When you can't live without bananas

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Links - 23rd April 2015

Navy Women Head to the Sick Bay Much More Than the Men - "Female sailors visited the sick bay aboard one of the U.S. Navy's ships nearly 10 times more than their male counterparts, a "startling difference" the Navy had not expected to see, according to a new study. "With a female-to-male visit ratio of more than 9 to 1, the conversion of a ship with an all-male crew to 10 percent female would essentially double the clinical workload of the ship's medical department," says the article in the latest issue of Military Medicine, a respected professional journal for U.S. military physicians. The Navy dismissed the findings as an aberration. An earlier study involving four U.S. Navy ships found that women visited the sick bay 60 percent more often than men"

Women are almost 42 per cent more likely to take sick days than men - Telegraph - "The Office for National Statistics has disclosed that women take on average almost five sick days a year, compared to men who take fewer than four. The analysts found that after stripping out all other factors including age, profession and employer size, women are on average 42 per cent more likely to take time off. Karen Steadman, a researcher at the Work Foundation, a think tank, said that men are more likely to go to work even when they should be off sick. She said that women tend to be the main carer for children or elderly relatives, so take sick days to deal with emergencies... The new figures also reveal that people working in the public sector are 24 per cent more likely be sick, although the gap has shrunk since 1993. The worst sick rates were in the health service, where 3.4 per cent of working hours were lost each year to sickness. In central government the figure was 3 per cent, while in local government it was 2.7 per cent. In the private sector, by contrast, 1.8 per cent of working hours were lost to sickness... “Individuals in the private sector are less likely to have a payment for being off sick than they are in the public sector. “A lot of the smaller workforces for those with less than 25 employees have lower levels of sickness. People in smaller workforces tend go into work when they're sick because they don't want to let their colleagues down."
Maybe this is another reason women are paid less than men

Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage: What is "derailment"? - "A social justice warrior once called me The Derailment Machine, which I loved so much that I used it as the name of my now deleted LiveJournal... I love the way [the SJW] definition works: people who shut up and accept what they're told are good; people who reject the speaker's analysis are bad.
Here's a more objective definition:
Derail (v): (1) to offer information that does not fit the agenda of a person who wants to control a conversation; (2) to reject the framing of an issue."
Keywords: definition of derailing, define derailing

Self Perceptions of Student Activists - "This study examines personality differences and similarities between student groups in protest activities by comparing activists to student leaders and random students. Results indicate many similarities in personality dimensions but protesters are more adventurous, autocratic and individualistic. They are also more spontaneous and irresponsible"

The Social Context of the Rank-and-File Student Activist: A Test of Four Hypotheses - "We find that there is no consistent association between socioeconomic background and activism within quality contexts; that academic commitment is related to activism only at the better institutions; that majoring in the humanities and social sciences is associated with activism primarily at the better institutions; and that being intellectually oriented is associated with activism in all quality contexts. The higher rates of student activism found to prevail at the nation's leading institutions are not simply a function of the kinds of students they attract. These institutions foster or promote activism among all categories of students"
Addendum: If this still holds true today, we can conclude that colleges do radicalise their students

Transition or transformation? Personal and political development of former Berkeley Free Speech Movement activists - "Former Berkeley Free Speech Movement activists' sociopolitical status, self and ideal self constructions, perceptions of parents' child-rearing practices and moral reasoning were compared with an assessment made 11 years earlier following the Berkeley Sproul Hall sit-in. Activists were found to be less politically active, more tempered in their political radicalism, more pragmatic and personally reactive in their self and ideal self conceptualizations, more critical in their perceptions of parental relationships, and stable in their level of moral development"

Moral judgment, personality, and attitudes toward authority. - "Ss endorsing the "ethics of social responsibility" held more favorable attitudes toward authority than did those endorsing the "ethics of personal conscience.""

Personality Correlates of Marxist and Nonviolent Political Activists - "Four personality inventories were given to political activists separated into two groups, one pacifist and one Marxist, by their scores on a pacifism scale and by a self-reporting measure of political ideology. The inventories were tests of Complexity of Self-Concept, Locus of Control, and 2 factors of the 16 Personality Factor Test, ego & superego. All of these tests differentiated the two groups with the pacifists scoring more complex self-concepts, more internally oriented, more emotional stability and more superego control. Comparisons between these activists & student activists of the 60's showed them to have few demographic similarities"

Religious fanatics who wreck lives - "One month ago, G Thiyaggurudeen alleged that his teachers had forced him to drink “air penawar” (holy water), before he was indoctrinated by religious missionaries, and coerced into making a police report against his father. Yesterday, the 14-year-old drank coffee laced with paraquat, because he did not want to be traumatised by the religious missionaries, again... Last February, soon after Ganesan’s request that his son, Thiyaggurudeen be excluded from the Islamic Studies class, the teenager alleged that two Muslim teachers had taken him to a missionary centre in Negeri Sembilan, where he received an indoctrination which lasted a few hours. He alleged that his captors were state religious department officials. A tip-off, by a security guard at his son’s school, enabled Ganesan to rescue his son. Earlier that day, it was also alleged that two teachers at his son’s school, had forced Thiyaggurudeen to lodge a police report against his father. They also claimed that Ganesan had been guilty of abusing his son, over the past three years... We have read about religious authorities seizing dead bodies from funeral parlours, claiming that these people were converts and should be buried according to Islamic rites. Women have had their weddings terminated because of the action of religious officials. Children have been snatched from their mothers, because their fathers converted. Children at residential boarding schools, have been converted, without their parents’ permission. So, when will this madness end? Despite civil laws governing the rights of the children and the mothers, syariah law always triumphs... Are the fanatics claiming that it is better to be a bad Muslim, than be a good non-Muslim? Are fanatics more concerned about the total numbers of Muslims in the population, or are they more bothered about the person’s piety and compassion? To the fanatics, being a Muslim is more about quantity than quality."

Man dressed as medieval jester with foot fetish seen harassing women at Raffles Place MRT with glass shoe | New Nation - "Eyewitnesses said the man with the foot fetish was stopping random women and asking them if they would want to marry him, as he promised a dowry of 20 cows, castle-living, a wedding to be held in a country with rolling meadows and a blacksmith who doubles up as the village abortionist. Several of the women approached who could fit into the shoe said they were keen on the marriage proposal. However, as talk turned to whether they were virgins, all said they weren’t, resulting in disappointed sighs ringing out as the search for a suitable bride continued."

SAF halts all training, deems war misogynistic, offensive | New Nation

74,476 Reasons You Should Always Get The Bigger Pizza - "One day last year, an engineer and I went to a pizza place for lunch. The engineer told me he wasn't very hungry, but he said he was going to get the 12-inch medium instead of the 8-inch small — because the medium was more than twice as big as the small, and it cost only a little bit more. This sort of blew my mind... The math of why bigger pizzas are such a good deal is simple: A pizza is a circle, and the area of a circle increases with the square of the radius. So, for example, a 16-inch pizza is actually four times as big as an 8-inch pizza."

Italian defender celebrates with Peppa Pig after scoring a header

Move The Fuck Over, Sis - "People needlessly depriving others of seats in public is selfish, regardless of gender. This space is for showing the situations movethefuckoverbro.tumblr.com won't."
It's only bad when men do it, apparently

27 Reasons Feminism Is Not ‘For Everybody’ - "1. I don’t need feminism because I don’t like playing victim.
2. I don’t need feminism, because as a woman in western society who has the luxury to sit inside her own house, in a comfortable bed with a laptop and has access to the internet I would feel ashamed to consider myself “oppressed” or complain about nonsense-issues, while women in other countries have to endure real suffering.
3. I don’t need feminism because the movement is filled with hypocrisy.
4. I don’t need feminism because it’s okay, somehow, to call men creeps and pedophiles, but it’s an absolute sin to call women sluts, even when the women who being called sluts are sluts.
5. I don’t need feminism because I was told by a feminist that because I am anti-feminist I cannot go around saying I’m pro-equality. Because apparently feminists not only invented fighting for human rights they also patented it.
8. I don’t need feminism because after years of my friends and family telling me to love and accept my obese body, I watched my father die at 55 from a heart attack. He was obese too but weighed less than I did. I’ve lost 80 pounds since then and I’m still going, that’s how I love my body. That’s how I want everyone to love their bodies.
9. I don’t need feminism because feminist claim America is a patriarchal society yet they ask those men to do things for them.
23. I don’t need feminism because I don’t like blaming society for my problems.
25. I don’t need feminism because I don’t find anything wrong with rape jokes.
26. I don’t need feminism because my gender doesn’t make me weak.
27. I don’t need feminism because I’m a logical person who sees the misandry in feminism."

"You wear that outfit, and men look at you, and it cheapens you. But when I wear it, it cheapens them"

Via a comment on Empowering Versus Objectifying: How Power Matters:

Classic X-Men 34

Mastermind (thinking): Quite decorative. The Hellfire Club has its... eccentricities when it comes to style. A dress code that can symbolize a power and wealth that bars no extravagance. But on this awkward, brainless trollop...

... such possibilities are reduced to nothing. She is a mere trinket, an object in a cheap, degrading package.

Mastermind (thinking): How vulnerable and exposed she is.

And the way she allows me to just openly stare at her! It's so base it embarasses me!

Servant: Will there be anything else, Mr Wyngarde?



Servant (thinking): What am I doing here in this stupid place, in this outfit? My every instinct tells me it's wrong. Lord, that man is so horrible!

How he stares, how he strips me, humiliates me!

Servant: Oh, Miss Frost! Don't you just hate wearing these outfits!

I hate being gaped at, the Black King is so rude! Don't you just hate this job, this place, I mean the pay is obscene, but is it worth it?

Servant: Isn't it all so sexist? I mean, shouldn't we protest, on principle? It's our skills, as servants, that should count, not how we look. I mean, am I right?

Shouldn't we stick together, as women, and refuse to dress like this?

White Queen: What are you babbling about?

Who do you take me for? Just another servant girl?

I am The White Queen! Yes, you wear that outfit, and men look at you, and it cheapens you.

White Queen: But when I wear it, it cheapens them. Let me explain a few things about sexism, girl. It's all in what you use it for!

But it's really about personal domination.

My clothes are my battle armor! I dress to go to war! My looks and body are weapons on par with a man's fists.

White Queen: I am going to do battle now. You may come watch, as you serve us drinks -- but you will not see much.

As with the Samurai, one look tells who is the superior fighter.

The best swords stay in their scabbards.

White Queen: There is no such thing as sexism, unless you give them that power!

No one dares look at the White Queen. In that way! I fight my battles without getting a speck of dirt on my gloves, not a hair out of place!

Servant: I just don't understand! Why fight at all? Who would want that kind of power?

You're horrible! You're all horrible here.

White Queen: Idiot! Why do you think they call this the Hellfire Club?

Here, X-Men articulates a different perspective on female objectification - it is not always a bad thing.

Then again, fictional characters "cannot" give consent. Hurr hurr.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Family’s boycott extends to everything

In memory of the Good Old Days when only Conservative Christians went around boycotting everything:

Family’s boycott extends to everything - LarkNews.com - A Good Source for Christian News

JOPLIN, Mo. – Three years ago, the Molina family sat at their kitchen table and decided to take a moral stand: They would no longer patronize any company which had connection to abortions, homosexual rights, pornography or any other objectionable cause.

This month, the Molinas’ decision finally reached its zenith, as their boycott now covers every product on the U.S. market.

“Our lives have narrowed down to a few choice pleasures,” says mother Carly, peeling homegrown carrots and trying to put a positive spin on their experience. The children play with splintery wooden toys hewn from a nearby tree by their father, Joe Molina. On the mantle are framed photos of former Christmases, when the children received plush Elmo toys, tricycles and other toddler fare. Those days are no more.

The Molinas used to live like other American families, enjoying television shows, taking yearly flying vacations and participating in local sports.

Now they cannot go to Disneyland or watch ABC News, because ABC supports domestic partnerships. They no longer eat at McDonald’s, Burger King or Taco Bell, because those companies have made contributions to candidates which support abortion. Carl’s Jr. is out of the question because of their racy television commercials. Even LegoLand is tainted: its corporate headquarters in Denmark supports liberal political causes.

They can’t drive vehicles made by Toyota, Ford, BMW or most other car companies because they allow health insurance designation of domestic partners. They can’t eat Frito-Lay products because the company’s health plan splits the cost of abortions with its employees. Even the cooperatives that grow and deliver fresh fruit and vegetables are dominated by unions, which the Molinas boycott because of their affiliation with liberal causes.

“The pantry and the entertainment closet started getting bare once we looked into these companies,” Joe says. They now drive a Kia, whose parent company earns a “clean” rating from the Molinas. The only commercially-grown food they can eat is potatoes, the only crop they know of with no ties to objectionable activity.

“We’re finding creative ways of cooking the spud,” says Joe one night, standing over a deep fryer. The electricity is supplied by a generator, because the Molinas are boycotting the local utility company for offering cable television which includes racy movie channels.

Little by little, family members have stopped visiting, and the Molinas have found their social life languishing. Nobody wants to eat homemade vegatable stew, even with the promise of homemade ice cream, says Joe.

He and Carly employ gallows humor, sometimes waking up in the morning and remarking, “So, what can’t we do today?” Long-distance vacations are gone, as airplane-maker Boeing supports domestic partnerships.

For entertainment they watch old Lassie movies on a VCR made by an obscure Korean company – the only electronics maker they could find that has no tie to immoral causes. When a reporter points out that Lassie is owned by Warner Studios, a supporter of dozens of liberal causes, Joe sighs, pulls the video from the machine and breaks it in two. The children run to their rooms and cry face-down on their Amish blankets.

“They’re used to it. They’ll get over it,” Joe says. •

On the upside, since all the homophiles are now boycotting Ikea, it means it'll be less crowded for all the rest of us.

Funny how no homophile (that I saw) said that Ikea operating in a country that criminalises gay sex is contrary to its diversity policy and demanded that Ikea withdraw from Singapore, and also fire all its employees who don't support gay marriage (since obviously that'd be contrary to its diversity policy too).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Links - 21st April 2015

Flak from gay groups sees IKEA relook tie-up with pastor
Ikea operating in a country that criminalises gay sex is contrary to its diversity policy. I demand that Ikea withdraw from Singapore! Ikea must also fire all its employees who don't support gay marriage
Friend: "Eh ok, he is a bigot lah. But he never use this magic show to promote his anti-LGBT message right? Then why the pro-LGBT groups come and kpkb?
Means what? Anti-LGBT people got no right to make a living? Now you see why they accuse you of having an agenda?
Tsk... damn angry leh, why you all make me have to say these things in support of this guy I don't like...
So what's next? Are these groups going to picket the chai peng stalls that sell food to Lawrence Khong? Boycott the public toilet he uses? Protest against LTA for letting him use the roads!"

Political extremists may be less susceptible to common cognitive bias - "People who were ideologically more extreme and who reported more extreme attitudes on specific political issues produced estimates that were farther away from the anchors, suggesting greater resistance to the anchor bias. A second experiment confirmed these findings and revealed a potential mediating factor: belief superiority. People who were more extreme in ideology and political attitudes also reported stronger support for the idea that their beliefs were superior to those of others. And people who reported greater belief superiority, in turn, produced estimates that were farther from the anchor. Importantly, the results couldn't be explained by participants' level of education or their so-called need for "cognitive closure"... While previous work has often found personality and cognitive differences between liberals and conservatives, this new research shows a consistent effect of political extremity."

Is frequent mouthwash use linked to oral cancer? - "The association was only significant when looking at very frequent use (three times a day)... it is unclear whether it is mouthwash itself (the alcohol content) or the reasons it is being used, such as poor oral hygiene, that are responsible for the association."

Colosseum in Rome bans the use of selfie sticks - "Selfie sticks have been banned at the Palace of Versailles in Paris, the National Gallery in London and the Colosseum in Rome."

‘Frozen’ dethrones Barbie as top toy for girls this holiday

Hadaka Matsuri: Thousands of men in loincloths take part in annual NAKED festival in Japan where they fiercely battle for a pair of blessed batons
You're not naked if you're in a loincloth

Women Gain Ground in China. Or Do They? - China Real Time Report - WSJ - "On this year’s Women’s Day, a host of Chinese media outlets are trumpeting a new study that finds China’s businesses rank the highest in the world for employing women in senior management roles. The proportion of women in senior management in China has climbed to 51% this year, up from 25% in 2012 and outpacing the global average of 21%, according to the study, produced by the Beijing arm of accounting firm Grant Thornton. In a survey of 200 businesses in China, 94% of them employed women in senior roles, the study said. The survey’s findings would seem to represent great news for women in a country with a long history of entrenched patriarchy – except they conflict significantly with other studies that show Chinese women have actually been losing ground in the labor force, politics and society... State-controlled media and economic restructuring have actually added pressure for women to settle down at home, said Leta Hong Fincher, a doctoral candidate at Tsinghua University in Beijing who studies gender and wealth equality in China. She cites the legacy of the restructuring of China’s massive state-owned companies in previous decades, which that led to millions of job cuts that took a hefty toll on employed women. In a 2010 survey of women’s social status in China by the All-China Women’s Federation, the Chinese government’s women’s advocacy organization, 61.6% of men and 54.6% of women said that “men belong in public life and women belong at home,” an increase of 7.7 and 4.4 percentage points respectively from 2000."

‘Micromanaging’ Obama may struggle to find new defence chief - "Like his immediate predecessors at the Pentagon, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, Mr Hagel chafed at the way a small cadre of Obama loyalists centralised power in the White House. When Mr Obama backed off a threat to bomb Syria last year, he made the decision on a walk with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough. Mr Hagel was told of the decision later... "Chuck was frustrated with aspects of the administration’s national security policy and decision-making process," Republican Senator John McCain said on Monday. "His predecessors have spoken about the excessive micromanagement they faced from the White House and how that made it more difficult to do their jobs successfully. Chuck’s situation was no different"... Mr Gates, who was Mr Obama’s first defence secretary after serving in the same capacity under Mr Bush, said recently he saw politics in the White House’s effort to keep the Pentagon on a short leash. He advised field commanders that if "you get a call from the White House, you tell them to go to hell and call me""

An estate for the operas - "The street names nearer to New Upper Changi Road are those related to the Malay Operas, bearing names such as Jalan Terang Bulan, Terang Bulan Avenue (translated: bright moon), Jalan Bintang Tiga (translated: three stars) and Jalan Bangsawan (a term for Malay Opera). Terang Bulan is adopted from a famous song during the late 19th century in the French occupied territories in the Indian Ocean. In 1901, it was presented as the Perak State Anthem during installation ceremony of King Edward VII. In 1920s, an Indonesian Bangsawan made the first debut of the song while performing in Singapore (source: Wikipedia). Jalan Bintang Tiga is likely named after the Malay Bangsawan and movie production entitled “Jula Juli Bintang Tiga”. Further inside Opera Estate, there are streets named after Italian operas, such as Rienzi, Ernani, Norma, Tosca, Aida. English opera is represented by Dido, a Baroque-style opera. Metropole could be referring to New York-based Metropolitian opera house, famous for its operas and plays."

Exploring the longitudinal relationships between the use of grammar in text messaging and performance on grammatical tasks - "Research has demonstrated that use of texting slang (textisms) when text messaging does not appear to impact negatively on children's literacy outcomes and may even benefit children's spelling attainment. However, less attention has been paid to the impact of text messaging on the development of children's and young people's understanding of grammar. This study therefore examined the interrelationships between children's and young adults’ tendency to make grammatical violations when texting and their performance on formal assessments of spoken and written grammatical understanding, orthographic processing and spelling ability over the course of 1 year. Zero-order correlations showed patterns consistent with previous research on textism use and spelling, and there was no evidence of any negative associations between the development of the children's performance on the grammar tasks and their use of grammatical violations when texting. Adults’ tendency to use ungrammatical word forms (‘does you’) was positively related to performance on the test of written grammar. Grammatical violations were found to be positively associated with growth in spelling for secondary school children. However, not all forms of violation were observed to be consistently used in samples of text messages taken 12 months apart or were characteristic of typical text messages. The need to differentiate between genuine errors and deliberate violation of rules is discussed, as are the educational implications of these findings."

The Swedish Model Criminalising the Purchase of Sex Is Dangerous: The European Parliament Should Have Rejected It - "The Swedish model has meant for sex workers who are mothers, they are at risk of losing custody of their children as by selling sex they are deemed unfit parents. This happened to Petite Jasmine and custody of her children was given to the father, a man known to be violent, who had threatened and stalked her. She was given no protection by the Swedish authorities. Then, in 2013, he murdered her. The Swedish model is social cleansing, something Sweden has history of undertaking. It must not be done in this country or in any country... The priority for police must be building trusting relationships with people in prostitution as it is in Merseyside, but this is impossible when clients are criminalised under the Swedish model. Merseyside has astonishingly high conviction rates for violent offenders targeting sex workers, which makes all of society safer... Women being able to work together in well-lit areas on-street and a small number of women being able to work from premises together should be decriminalised as research shows whether on-street or off-street, women are more at risk of rape and other violence when they are on their own and isolated. The two women who were recently murdered in London were working alone: Mariana Popa who was working on-street, and in an area where a police crackdown on street prostitution was being enforced, and Maria Duque-Tunjano who was working alone in a flat. Under decriminalisation they might still be alive because they would have been able to work with other women for safety. Decriminalisation also means sex trafficking victims do not need to fear arrest and being charged. Jes Richardson, a sex trafficking survivor, was not able to turn to police for this reason, and it was a sex worker who helped her escape. She is another woman formerly in the sex trade who is advocating for decriminalisation... Sex workers are often well placed to identify and assist sex trafficking victims and essential in ensuring this and developing it further are good relationships between the police and sex workers. I stand with 560 NGOs and civil society organisations and 86 academics and researchers who also object to the Swedish model and urge EU member states not to criminalise the purchase of sex when reassessing their prostitution laws."

Bare Reality | 100 women, their breasts, their stories - "100 women bravely share un-airbrushed photographs of their breasts alongside honest, courageous, powerful and humorous stories about their breasts and their lives. Women from all walks of life took part, aged from 19 to 101, sized AAA to K, from Buddhist nun to burlesque dancer"

We Need to Talk About Women Who Regret Motherhood - "Like so many new mothers, she felt shell shocked by the utter exhaustion, the dependency of this tiny creature, her inability to automatically soothe him or solve his problems effortlessly, as if she should've been designed to do it. She cried a lot. She missed her old life. Everyone said it would get better, but it didn't."

Amal Alamuddin now Amal Clooney: that ok? - "far more women do change their names than don't: As much as 86% of women, according to a 2011 survey conducted by TheKnot.com, take on their husband's surname after marriage... some may look to women like Amal to retain their name post-marriage is, of course, reflective of an unfair burden placed on women who reach certain levels of success, or notoriety, to please everyone and be the spokeswomen for an entire gender ever-aiming to assert itself as equal to men. By that logic, it's not Amal's name change that should be viewed as anti-feminist but her willingness to get married at all. Who needs men, right?... Amal Alamuddin Clooney has proved herself to be her own woman, and a strong, independent, accomplished one at that, no matter how the name reads on her business card -- or, for that matter, her own paycheck. How much more do we want from her as a model of female empowerment?"

Obesity and Risky Sexual Behavior Are Linked in Young Women - "overweight mothers between the ages of 14 and 25 are nearly 80 percent more likely to have an STI than their peers who were not overweight and 64 percent more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. Meanwhile, the study found that young mothers who are classified as obese, rather than just overweight, are less likely to have STIs than their normal weight peers"
Is this why men like BBW?

Great Expectations: The Soul Mate Quest

Great Expectations: The Soul Mate Quest

"The reality is that few marriages or partnerships consistently live up to this ideal. The result is a commitment limbo, in which we care deeply for our partner but keep one stealthy foot out the door of our hearts. In so doing, we subject the relationship to constant review: Would I be happier, smarter, a better person with someone else? It's a painful modern quandary. "Nothing has produced more unhappiness than the concept of the soul mate," says Atlanta psychiatrist Frank Pittman...

Yet commitment and marriage offer real physical and financial rewards. Touting the benefits of marriage may sound like conservative policy rhetoric, but nonpartisan sociological research backs it up...

The relationship doesn't have to be wonderful for life to get better, says Waite: The statistics hold true for mediocre marriages as well as for passionate ones.

The pragmatic benefits of partnership used to be foremost in our minds. The idea of marriage as a vehicle for self-fulfillment and happiness is relatively new, says Paul Amato, professor of sociology, demography and family studies at Penn State University. Surveys of high school and college students 50 or 60 years ago found that most wanted to get married in order to have children or own a home. Now, most report that they plan to get married for love. This increased emphasis on emotional fulfillment within marriage leaves couples ill-prepared for the realities they will probably face.

Because the early phase of a relationship is marked by excitement and idealization, "many romantic, passionate couples expect to have that excitement forever"...

Flagging passion is often interpreted as the death knell of a relationship. You begin to wonder whether you're really right for each other after all. You're comfortable together, but you don't really connect the way you used to. Wouldn't it be more honest—and braver—to just admit that it's not working and call it off? "People are made to feel that remaining in a marriage that doesn't make you blissfully happy is an act of existential cowardice," says Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco psychologist.

Coleman says that the constant cultural pressure to have it all—a great sex life, a wonderful family—has made people ashamed of their less-than-perfect relationships and question whether such unions are worth hanging on to. Feelings of dissatisfaction or disappointment are natural, but they can seem intolerable when standards are sky-high. "It's a recent historical event that people expect to get so much from individual partners," says Coleman, author of Imperfect Harmony, in which he advises couples in lackluster marriages to stick it out—especially if they have kids. "There's an enormous amount of pressure on marriages to live up to an unrealistic ideal"...

There's no such thing as true compatibility. "Marriage is a disagreement machine," says Diane Sollee, founder of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education. "All couples disagree about all the same things. We have a highly romanticized notion that if we were with the right person, we wouldn't fight." Discord springs eternal over money, kids, sex and leisure time, but psychologist John Gottman has shown that long-term, happily married couples disagree about these things just as much as couples who divorce.

"There is a mythology of 'the wrong person,'" agrees Pittman. "All marriages are incompatible. All marriages are between people from different families, people who have a different view of things. The magic is to develop binocular vision, to see life through your partner's eyes as well as through your own."

The realization that we're not going to get everything we want from a partner is not just sobering, it's downright miserable. But it is also a necessary step in building a mature relationship...

We can hardly be blamed for striving for bliss and self-fulfillment in our romantic lives—our inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed in the first blueprint of American society.

This same respect for our own needs spurred the divorce-law reforms of the 1960s and 1970s. During that era, "The culture shifted to emphasize individual satisfaction, and marriage was part of that," explains Paul Amato, who has followed more than 2,000 families for 20 years in a long-term study of marriage and divorce. Amato says that this shift did some good by freeing people from abusive and intolerable marriages. But it had an unintended side effect: encouraging people to abandon relationships that may be worth salvaging. In a society hell-bent on individual achievement and autonomy, working on a difficult relationship may get short shrift, says psychiatrist Peter Kramer, author of Should You Leave?...

The steadfast focus on our own potential may turn a partner into an accessory in the quest for self-actualization...

The urge to find a soul mate is not fueled just by notions of romantic manifest destiny. Trends in the workforce and in the media create a sense of limitless romantic possibility. According to Scott South, a demographer at SUNY-Albany, proximity to potential partners has a powerful effect on relationships. South and his colleagues found higher divorce rates among people living in communities or working in professions where they encounter lots of potential partners—people who match them in age, race and education level. "These results hold true not just for unhappy marriages but also for happy ones," says South.

The temptations aren't always living, breathing people. According to research by psychologists Sara Gutierres and Douglas Kenrick, both of Arizona State University, we find reasonably attractive people less appealing when we've just seen a hunk or a hottie—and we're bombarded daily by images of gorgeous models and actors. When we watch Lord of the Rings, Viggo Mortensen's kingly mien and Liv Tyler's elfin charm can make our husbands and wives look all too schlumpy.

Kramer sees a similar pull in the narratives that surround us. "The number of stories that tell us about other lives we could lead—in magazine articles, television shows, books—has increased enormously. We have an enormous reservoir of possibilities," says Kramer.

And these possibilities can drive us to despair. Too many choices have been shown to stymie consumers, and an array of alternative mates is no exception. In an era when marriages were difficult to dissolve, couples rated their marriages as more satisfying than do today's couples, for whom divorce is a clear option, according to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago...

A committed relationship allows you to drop pretenses and seductions, expose your weaknesses, be yourself—and know that you will be loved, warts and all. "A real relationship is the collision of my humanity and yours, in all its joy and limitations," says Real. "How partners handle that collision is what determines the quality of their relationship."

Such a down-to-earth view of marriage is hardly romantic, but that doesn't mean it's not profound: An authentic relationship with another person, says Pittman, is "one of the first steps toward connecting with the human condition—which is necessary if you're going to become fulfilled as a human being.""

Monday, April 20, 2015

Links - 20th April 2015

PBS cans technical virgin - "Yesterday, the PBS Kids Sprout network canned Melanie Martinez, host of “The Good Night Show,” after discovering that she had talked about anal sex in a series of parodies of pro-virginity public service announcements several years ago... what about Chris Rock? A big hit in “Madagascar”! Remember his old routine about the dying Make-a-Wish Foundation kid who says, “I want some big titties in my face! It’s my last wish!” Rock is also the guy who famously said that a father’s most important job is to keep his daughter “off the [stripper's] pole.” This may come as a shock, but did you know the guy who played Donkey in “Shrek” was once a stand-up comedian who did a routine in which he told Bill Cosby to “have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up, Jello-pudding-eating motherfucker”?"
cf. People who call for Ikea to dissociate itself from Lawrence Khong's magic show because he is "homophobic"

Singaporeans in Australia Packing Up for Home - A Singaporean In Australia - "Many were deeply affected by the recent passing of their nation's founding father Lee Kuan Yew and a full week of national mourning both on the streets and on social media. In a bizarre fashion, they had decided to put their professed love for their country on social media into action and are returning to Singapore in doves!"

Minimum Wage Mythbusters - "Myth: Increasing the minimum wage is bad for the economy.
Not true: Since 1938, the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times. For more than 75 years, real GDP per capita has steadily increased, even when the minimum wage has been raised."
Amusingly the Department of Labor "Minimum Wage Mythbusters" sounds like a partisan hack job rather than being a level-headed factsheet

Twin Lessons: Have More Kids. Pay Less Attention to Them. - Ideas Market - WSJ - "Twin researchers rarely offer parenting advice. But much practical guidance is implicit in the science. The most prominent conclusion of twin research is that practically everything—health, intelligence, happiness, success, personality, values, interests—is partly genetic. The evidence is straightforward: Identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins in almost every way—even when the twins are separated at birth. But twin research has another far more amazing lesson: With a few exceptions, the effect of parenting on adult outcomes ranges from small to zero. Parents change kids in many ways; the catch is that the changes fade out as kids grow up. By adulthood, identical twins aren’t slightly more similar than fraternal twins; they’re much more similar. And when identical twins are raised apart, they’re often just as similar as they are when they’re raised together. Once I became a dad, I noticed that parents around me had a different take on the power of nurture. I saw them turning parenthood into a chore... High-strung parenting isn’t dangerous, but it does make being a parent a lot more work and less fun than it has to be... The key point to keep in mind is that twin research focuses on vaguely normal families in the First World. It doesn’t claim that kids would do equally well if they were raised by wolves or abandoned in Haiti. But look on the bright side: If you are a vaguely normal family in the First World, the science of nature and nurture shows that you can lighten up a lot without hurting your kids. Serenity Parenting changed our lives. We used the Ferber method—let the kid cry for 10 minutes, briefly comfort him, repeat—to get our twins to sleep through the night. We enrolled them in an activity or two, but they spent a lot more time watching cartoons while we relaxed. Our family specialized in activities that were literally “fun for the whole family”: reading books together, playing dodgeball in the basement, going to the pool for a swim... Yet eventually I noticed that twin research had another, far less obvious lesson for parents: Have more kids"

Affirmative Action And The Mockery Of Jewish Tradition - "Students of Jewish descent made up 7 percent of the Harvard freshman class in 1900, 10 percent in 1909, 15 percent in 1915, and 21.5 percent in 1922. They were disproportionately successful academically, far outperforming their Gentile classmates in, among other things, degrees with distinction. Jews came to be viewed as a threat to the existing order of the American elite, and so the top schools in the country set explicit and secret quotas for the number of Jews they would allow in—generally in the realm of 5–15 percent. Such quotas were justified on several grounds. One Harvard official admitted to “the disinclination, whether justified or not, on the part of non-Jewish students to be thrown into contact with so large a proportion of Jewish undergraduates.” A. Lawrence Lowell, Harvard’s president, cited the apparently much more benign goal of racial harmony as the impetus behind the quotas. “The anti-Semitic feeling among the students is increasing and it grows in proportion to the increase in the number of Jews,” he wrote to a Jewish lawyer and Harvard alumnus. “When?.?.?.?the number of Jews was small, the race antagonism was small also. Any such race feeling among the students tends to prevent the personal intimacies on which we must rely to soften anti-Semitic feeling. If every college in the country would take a limited proportion of Jews, I suspect we should go a long way toward eliminating race feeling among the students, and, as these students passed out into the world, eliminating it in the community... By diversity, the ADL means not intellectual diversity but purely racial diversity. And the conflation of racial and intellectual diversity is a telling constant in both briefs. The Union for Reform Judaism even uses the Talmud to support its position on affirmative action, quoting from Berakhot 58a on the website of its lobbying group, the Religious Action Center: “If one sees a great crowd, one should thank God for not having made them all of one mind. For just as each person’s face is different from another, so is each person’s mind different from any other mind.” This is specious. The rabbis of the Talmud were praising intellectual diversity (and for good reason!), but the policy here is racial diversity—and the rabbis are being used as a prop to support it. For the quotation to work as an argument for racial preferences, one must assume that skin color begets ideas... Racial preferences now exist as part and parcel of a higher-education system that too often promotes a fascination with identity politics over a true inquiry into what is just”

Do Men Find Very Skinny Women Attractive? - "many women seem to believe that men find super-skinny women like fashion models especially attractive. In study after study, women consistently underestimate the amount of body fat that men prefer. When asked to predict the figure that men will find most attractive, women consistently choose a skinnier figure than the men actually prefer. The figures women think men prefer are more like fashion models than Playmates. (For what it's worth, men also misjudge women's preferences for male muscle and genital size.) The figures that the men actually prefer are also much closer to the women's own figures than the skinnier ones women believe that men like. This misreading of men's desires may encourage some women to mistakenly think they would be more attractive to men if they weighed less... one possibility is that production costs and marketing strategies combine to create a demand for less curvy models. In addition, it may be that male fashion designers are more likely to prefer boyish figures. Whatever the reasons may be, the differences in the models featured in Vogue and Playboy reveal that men and women don't currently agree on the most attractive female body shape. Which viewpoint is more likely to reflect the healthiest option for women? Over evolutionary history, men's genetic contributions to the next generation depended on their ability to make subtle and accurate assessments about which women would make the best moms. In contrast, women got no reproductive payoff from any ability to make similar assessments about other women's bodies. Hence, odd as it may seem, men's unconscious preferences are more likely to tell us about what has been healthy for women"

Obesity does not equal unhappiness: Study tracks relationship between weight, life satisfaction, and where you live. - "obese men and women who live in U.S. counties with high levels of obesity are much happier than obese men and women who live in slenderer areas. Nor do people of “normal weight” enjoy much of an affective advantage in neighborhoods with more flesh per capita. “This illustrates the importance of looking like the people around you when it comes to satisfaction with life,” explains co-author Philip Pendergast... If you are both heavyset and heavyhearted, it is more likely due to your neighbors being jerks (possibly because their blood sugar is low from living off celery like baleful rabbits)."
Being thin is oppressive to fat people! And apparently if you're thin you must be nasty to fat people

Mainstream media defies govt, keeps Lee Kuan Yew’s hospitalisation secret for 17 days only | New Nation - "The mainstream media has proven that it has a backbone and will not be subjected to the Singapore government’s beck and call as it broke its silence by reporting the news of Lee Kuan Yew’s hospitalisation. This after the various mainstream media in Singapore simultaneously reported on Feb. 21, 2015, that the ex-prime minister was in hospital since Feb. 5, effectively demonstrating that they had been keeping this news secret for 17 days. Singaporeans from all walks of life applauded the mainstream media for sticking to their guns and defying government orders of keeping the ex-prime minister’s real state of health under tight wraps, in the event any news construed to be negative might cause property prices to fall and the economy, in general, to unravel... Jin Hum Ji, a reporter from Singapore Press Holdings, said: “Turns out I was wrong. The Straits Times and Channel News Asia sure knows how to get the story out fast and while it is still hot.” “If you ask me, 17 days is way too soon, because we need to bear in mind that the mainstream media is expected to report that Lee Kuan Yew will live forever.” “This is definitely a win for press freedom. I’m sure such a practice will help boost Singapore’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index next year.”"

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?
Of course, this is from The Guardian
Comment: "What a contrived article all entered around two erroneous assumptions.
1. The definition of expat holds the literal meaning of its Latin root.
2. All expats are white. And British.
To deal with the first point. The Wikipedia quote continues as follows "In common usage, the term is often used in the context of professionals or skilled workers sent abroad by their companies,[1] rather than for all 'immigrants' or 'migrant workers'. The differentiation found in common usage usually comes down to socio-economic factors, so skilled professionals working in another country are described as expatriates, whereas a manual labourer who has moved to another country to earn more money might be labelled an 'immigrant' or 'migrant worker'"
Which is plain disingenuous of the author.
Secondly, expats are not all white, or for that matter all western. But they are all well-off. And usually intend to return home to a similar standard of living.
There could have been an interesting article as "expat" is a loaded term and a product of colonialism so at one point expats were white. And the majority continue to be which is a product of global inequalities. And all sorts of other considered arguments.
But it is an ignorant rant based on twisted assumptions that ultimately looks foolish. Which is a shame as there are real issues to discuss."

12 Disney Princesses As Lukewarm Bowls Of Water - "Disney Princesses can be funny, brave, and endearing. But did you know they could also be containers full of H2O?"

Law firm director boasts about giving “damn good” fellatio - "RollOnFriday’s favourite Singaporean law firm TSMP Law has been left red-faced after one of its managing directors took to Facebook to boast about how good she is at giving blowjobs.. Stefanie Yuen, who is married to her co-managing director, Thoi Shen Yi, unwittingly shared her prowess at oral sex with the entire world... Stefanie told RollOnFriday that it was an irreverent comment made in a closed private circle of friends, which has been taken out of context. She added, “obviously it sucks that a tongue-in-cheek comment has been blown out of proportion”"

What Singaporean Gays Really Think About 377A

"To a gay, clean streets, safety, development and no corruption is kind of meaningless. It's good to have these things but with 377A in place, there's little hope of a meaningful life with the person you love.

As a straight guy, I never saw how life is like for a gay person in Singapore. When I was single, it never occurred to me I won't be married one day. It's something I just took for granted. My problem was in finding the right woman and if that woman thinks I'm the right one for her too.

If you're gay, you have a big problem to contend with. The state does not recognise your marriage; it does not allow you to marry the one you love. In Singapore, they go further. Here, you can't even have sex with the guy you love. Yup, they say they won't enforce the law but do know that if you have sex with another guy, you're committing an offence. They can charge you in court; it's just that they give you chance. So be thankful. Fuck!!!!"

--- Singaporean Liberal on how repealing 377A is more important to gays than clean streets, [personal] safety, economic development and no corruption

A gay friend related to me that "*** once complained to me that so many gay men he met at the sauna were politically apathetic and didn't care about gay activism
but yes. gay activists seem to have rather different goals than gay people"

I already knew that the Unholy Obsession that many Singaporean Liberals (not all of whom are gay) have about 377A was not shared by many gay people, but I decided to sound out the ground more properly.

So I went onto Secret, which in Singapore is filled with gay men.

Me: Gays here: do you really care about 377A? ls it really a problem in your lives?

A: Nope, cant be bothered anymore. As long as my partner and I are happy, I couldn't give a shit about what the law has to say about what we do in private. (5 likes)

B: Yes it is.

As long as there's 377A, every gay man is a unconvicted felon. It needs to be repealed so that the LGBT minority in Singapore can fight for equality. (3 likes)

C: Hey we maybe criminals but we are the Smooth Criminal.

D: Can't be bothered. Why fight? Just concentrate on living your own life. (2 likes)

E: Do you want to be a criminal?

F: Will anyone be bothered by the fine u'll get when they litter? l'm sure almost everyone is guilty of littering before. My point is, matter what matters and don't be bothered by what doesn't.

So we have:

Apathetic to 377A: 4
Anti-377A: 2

Adding likes into the calculation, we get:

Apathetic to 377A: 9
Anti-377A: 4

Either way, it is clear from this sampling that gays in Singapore are apathetic about 377A.

On top of this, it is noteworthy that many people couldn't even be bothered to reply to this - in other words the vast majority of Singaporean gays (on Secret) are so apathetic about 377A that they don't even comment on a thread about it.
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