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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blaming newspapers for accurate reporting

So the latest allegation of "gender bias" is levelled against TODAY:

Umm Yusof - Dear TODAY The stark gender bias in your coverage...


The stark gender bias in your coverage today of the new GE2015 candidates is quite disappointing.

Why is Ms Jaslyn Go - the only woman amongst the five candidates profiled - headlined by her biological status as "Mother-of-two" while the male candidates are described by their professional or academic qualifications?

Defining a woman primarily by her reproductive status damages her electability to public office, as it gives no indication as to her professional credentials or her suitability to lead the country.

Ms Go is also the co-owner of a family-run construction company, and brings the perspective and experiences of a SME businesswoman to the table.

If you wish to define Ms Go as "Mother-of-two", then - in the interests of gender equality - I hope to see the following:
1) "Childless husband wants to campaign on housing issue" (Mr Redzwan Hafidz)
2) "We are not against immigration, says father-of-one" (Mr Daniel Goh)
3) "Father-of-two wants to speak out for the average Singaporean" (Mr Dylan Ng)

Thank you,
Estella Young (Ms)"

The article in question:

Mother-of-two drawn to party over issues of education, cost of living | TODAYonline

Here, we read about Jaslyn Go Hui Leng, 43 that,

"Her children are aged 12 and 10, and Ms Go said she feels strongly that education policies should encourage children to enjoy the process of learning."

and that

"I felt strongly about it as a new mother. I was worried for my children, how they were going to … pay for a decent house and having to compete for places in schools, and (for) job opportunities"

It is easy to see that her having children is linked to the political issues she is interested in.

Meanwhile, in Engineer wants to campaign on housing issue we learn that Mr Redzwan Hafidz Abdul Razak is interested in providing "people the choice of an alternative — an alternative party", housing (which is an especially pressing issue for young Singaporeans) and education and "the quality of living for the Malay community as a whole"

There is no link between his issues and his childlessness. I suppose the headline could be "Malay-Muslim wants to campaign on quality of living for Malays", but then Today would be bashed for being racist and/or Islamophobic.

The headline could also be "Man wants to campaign on housing issue" or "New WP candidate wants to campaign on housing issue", but then that would be bland.

In We are not against immigration, says NUS Assoc Prof, we learn that Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong is an Associate Professor of Sociology, and he was asked during the party's press conference about immigration issues.

He was inspired by his son to join the Workers Party, so I suppose the headline could've been "I was inspired to join the Workers Party by my son, says father of one", but then he's come out as a WP member since January 2013 so that wouldn't have been so relevant. We also wouldn't have learnt what he represented politically, which is, you know, important in election-related news coverage.

And the last article is Banking exec wants to speak out for the average Singaporean, where we find out that Dylan Ng Foo Eng worries about "about the bread and butter, the overcrowding, the overpopulation ... To me, it’s about the universal issue facing Singaporeans".

Once again, there is no link between his issues and his having children. And he doesn't even say his children inspired him to join politics.

I suppose as Estella Young (Ms) suggests, the headline could have been "Father-of-two wants to speak out for the average Singaporean", but then Today would be bashed for suggesting that the average Singaporean has children, has two children and/or is a man (i.e. a father).

To go back to Young's concerns, if reporting on a woman's reproductive status (in the status of a newspaper headline) "damages her electability to public office, as it gives no indication as to her professional credentials or her suitability to lead the country", she presumably thinks that a person's profession gives an indication as to his professional credentials or his suitability to lead the country. This is a worrying claim and smacks of elitism: instead of being led by lawyers, economists and mathematicians, is it really better for the country to be lead by engineers, NUS Assoc Profs and banking execs?

I note too that the various candidates reproductive status was mentioned - both for the men and the woman. So there is no differential treatment there.

So the moral of the story is:

Instead of bashing newspapers for accurate reporting, bash female politicians for adhering to stereotypes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Mexican Fisherman, Revisited

A happy fisherman lives a simple life on a small island. The fellow goes fishing for a few hours every day. He catches a few fish, sells them to his friends, and enjoys spending the rest of the day with his wife and children, and napping. He couldn’t imagine changing a thing in his relaxed and easy life.

A recent M.B.A. visits this island and quickly sees how this fisherman could become rich. He could catch more fish, start up a business, market the fish, open a cannery, maybe even issue an I.P.O. Ultimately he would become truly successful. He could donate some of his fish to hungry children worldwide and might even save lives.

“And then what?” asks the fisherman.

“Then you could spend lots of time with your family,” replies the visitor. “Yet you would have made a difference in the world. You would have used your talents, and fed some poor children, instead of just lying around all day.”

(via How to Live Wisely - The New York Times)

(Obviously, this puts one in mind of the The Story of the Mexican Fisherman)

Links - 24th August 2015

Straight A student commits suicide over O-level results, mum takes her own life months later - "Madam Ng said: "My son-in-law felt very sorry for his daughter. He used to approach me to help him talk to my daughter, to ask her not to push Xiao Mei too hard. He felt that they should let Xiao Mei be, as she was a good girl. "Whenever I tried to broach the issue with my daughter, she'd get angry and tell me not to interfere with the way she wanted to bring her child up. "She often compared Xiao Mei's results with those of her friends' children and would ask, 'How come so and so can do this and you cannot?'" Xiao Mei's mother wanted her to get into medical school."

Toddler is mauled to death and EATEN by a pig after crawling into its pen and the animal 'acted to protect its new litter' in China - "Village leader Cheng Yuan, 62, said: 'This is a horrible tragedy. We had to cut the pig open, not as an act of revenge but to prove to the authorities that it had indeed killed and eaten Keke.'"

Britons flee French island of Guadeloupe as rioters turn on white families - "Protesters were now targeting 'all white people', with the media in mainland France describing the situation as virtual civil war'."
As they say, you can't be racist against white people

What a can of Coca-Cola can do to your body - "45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centres of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way."

Cops: Crystal Kinder kidnapped kids to show them how to be homeless - "A 32-year-old homeless woman was arrested on kidnapping charges Monday after she allegedly took two kids from a Lakeland park to show them how to steal and "live on the street" like her"

Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction - "More hours viewing VSS was related to stronger experienced sexual responses to VSS in the laboratory, was unrelated to erectile functioning with a partner, and was related to stronger desire for sex with a partner."
Porn doesn't harm your sexual performance but actually helps you with sex

What drives a prostitute - "Half of the prostitutes in a new survey say they became prostitutes because of sexual curiosity, and 68 percent consider their line of work as part of their sexuality. “While there’s no doubt that money is the primary reason for the women becoming prostitutes, it is very surprising that sexual motivation ranks so highly,” says Jens Kofod, who holds a PhD in anthropology and is a researcher at SFI – The Danish National Centre for Social Research... Child abuse is often regarded as a reason for prostitution by the media, politicians and general public, who feel the prostitutes need help to stop their work. But the survey produced no clear conclusion on this – some prostitutes were abused as children, others were not."

Tirullipa Show (Video) - "Vamos treinar galeraaaa, segunda feira dia de começar os exercícios !!!! Bom treino a todos vocês !!!! Kkkkkk"

Life in death - "“What’s the point of it all if it’s NOT going to end?”... Death gives life direction and urgency. Without an end, we’d all be walking aimlessly, counting on Little Orphan Annie’s never-ending tomorrow. Consider if you had a thousand years to live: Would you really make the most out of it? Read all the great books? Visit the seven continents? Try to make a difference?"

#AskELJames Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned

MIT Hopes to Exorcise 'Phantom' Traffic Jams - "Phantom jams are born of a lot of cars using the road. No surprise there. But when traffic gets too heavy, it takes the smallest disturbance in the flow – a driver laying on the brakes, someone tailgating too closely or some moron picking pickles off his burger – to ripple through traffic and create a self-sustaining traffic jam... The mathematics of such traffic jams are strikingly similar to the equations that describe detonation waves produced by explosions, said Aslan Kasimov, a lecturer in MIT’s Department of Mathematics. Realizing this allowed the reseachers to solve traffic jam equations that were first theorized in the 1950s. The MIT researchers even came up with a name for this kind of gridlock – “jamiton.” It’s a riff on “soliton,” a term used in math and physics to desribe a self-sustaining wave that maintains its shape while moving. The equations MIT came up with are similar to those used to describe fluid mechanics, and they model traffic jams as a self-sustaining wave.

Teen's plight: From dating app to sex offender registry - "The girl told Zach she was 17, but she lied. She was only 14, and by having sex with her, Zach was committing a crime. He was arrested and convicted. He was given a 90-day jail sentence, five years probation and placed on both Indiana and Michigan's sex offender registry for the next 25 years... even if the sex was consensual and even if the girl did lie about her age, it is not a defense under current sex offender laws. In fact, Judge Dennis Wiley, who sentenced Zach, said he was angry that Zach had used the Internet to meet a girl. "That seems to be part of our culture now," he said, according to a transcript. "Meet, have sex, hook up, sayonara. Totally inappropriate behavior. There is no excuse for this whatsoever"... Buhl says the problem is that the registry is a one-size-fits-all list that treats everyone as if they pose the same threat, whether they are a predatory child molester or a teen who had sex with his girlfriend... Buhl, who says he has presided over dozens of sex offender cases, agrees that the states are wasting resources on people who are unlikely to re-offend. He says one solution would be to have a risk assessment registry, in which offenders are assessed in terms of their threat to society. But he believes change is unlikely, because few lawmakers would be willing to back a provision that lessens the severity of sex crime laws."
Moralising judges or strict liability laws aren't Uniquely Singapore

Samuel Price convicted of assault after biting Elizabeth Sandlin's bottom during ‘rough sex’ - "Miss Sandlin, who is hoping to start a creative writing degree at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, in September, said: ‘I trusted someone I should not have trusted. 'He was very drunk, blind drunk. He completely overstepped the mark. I was shocked.’"
Since she had sex with a man who was "blind drunk", didn't she rape him?

Drunk sex on campus: Universities are struggling to determine when intoxicated sex becomes sexual assault. - "According to Occidental’s sexual misconduct standard, Jane was too drunk to consent to sex because she lacked “awareness of consequences,” the “ability to make informed judgments,” and the “capacity to appreciate the nature and the quality of the act.” Meanwhile, John was held responsible because he “knew or should have known” Jane was incapacitated—a calculation that’s based on what a sober person would have known in his circumstances. In order to resolve those contradictions, some people are comfortable assuming that the man is at fault. In a 2004 article on common legal approaches to intoxicated sexual encounters, the California Western Law Review’s Valerie Ryan noted that “the justification for demanding that men assume the greater legal burden and be held responsible when there is an allegation of rape may be that, in almost all cases of rape, women are the victims and men are the perpetrators”... When a male student who had been expelled by Duke University for violating its sexual misconduct policy sued the university last year, Duke dean Sue Wasiolek testified that in cases where both parties are drunk, “assuming it is a male and female, it is the responsibility in the case of the male to gain consent before proceeding with sex”... Assigning blame based exclusively on who inserted the penis, or which party was on top, risks reframing the most common heterosexual sexual position as an inherent violation. And it’s worth noting that it’s not just intercourse that’s regulated on most campuses. “Sexual misconduct” often covers nonconsensual kissing, groping, or digital penetration, too. So any number of “initiations”—some instigated by Janes, others by Johns—could be framed as assaults... The colleges that outlaw sex between students who are simply “drunk” or “intoxicated” are setting an impossible standard that pathologizes many normal, healthy, consensual sexual encounters. Those policies risk denying a huge number of students a college education, and they do nothing to helpfully instruct young people on what meaningful consent really looks like"

In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions - The New York Times - "In my village in Zimbabwe, surrounded by wildlife conservation areas, no lion has ever been beloved, or granted an affectionate nickname. They are objects of terror... When the lion was finally killed, no one cared whether its murderer was a local person or a white trophy hunter, whether it was poached or killed legally. We danced and sang about the vanquishing of the fearsome beast and our escape from serious harm... The killing of Cecil hasn’t garnered much more sympathy from urban Zimbabweans, although they live with no such danger... The American tendency to romanticize animals that have been given actual names and to jump onto a hashtag train has turned an ordinary situation — there were 800 lions legally killed over a decade by well-heeled foreigners who shelled out serious money to prove their prowess — into what seems to my Zimbabwean eyes an absurdist circus... We Zimbabweans are left shaking our heads, wondering why Americans care more about African animals than about African people."

Chilly at Work? Office Formula Was Devised for Men - The New York Times - "“In a lot of buildings, you see energy consumption is a lot higher because the standard is calibrated for men’s body heat production”... The authors also note that the model is not always calibrated accurately for women’s summer wardrobes. Dr. van Hoof, who wrote a commentary about the study, observed that many men still wear suits and ties in the summer but many women wear skirts, sandals and other lighter, more skin-baring clothes. “The cleavage is closer to the core of the body, so the temperature difference between the air temperature and the body temperature there is higher when it’s cold,” he said."
Even air-conditioning is "sexist" huh?
Comments: "I'd be fine with this if men were allowed to "show a little leg" too and wear shorts to work. Until then, if we're sweating it out in suits, keep it cool please!"
"There's really only two choices ... deal with the cooler temps, or the smell of men sweating ... I'd rather have the cooler temps ..."
"Its the men who are discriminated against, as we are required to wear heavy shirts, shoes and socks and long pants. Women get away with t-shirts and flip flops, literally. I mean some of these women come to work in their pajamas! Luckily in my office we don't have to wear a tie, while women have thin cotton shirts open practically to their nipples, complaining of the cold all the way. Put some ties and oxford button downs on these women, as well as some socks and shoes, and they won't be cold, I assure you."
"As a perennial warm person, I must take offense at this article. To all of the scantily dressed women who are so cold, I invite them to sit in an uncomfortably hot area and try to cool off - go ahead remove clothing, I dare you. All this so that you can NOT wear something appropriate - I think not."
"It seems silly and unfair to call this a gender issue rather than a problem with the range of human metabolisms and preferences. There are plenty of menopausal women who need fans to stay cool, as well as older people who are more sensitive to cold. There are ethnic groups that favor cooler or warmer temperatures."

Contrary to popular myth, 'the pill' prevents womb cancer, study finds

This Wedding Hall In Japan Will Loan You An Alpaca To Act As The Witness At Your Wedding

Sex at the Court of Catherine de Medici

On Catherine de Medici and Marguerite de Valois:

Witch trials and feuding queens | Podcast | History Extra

Interviewer: How did the French court differ from the English court at the time? Would it have been harder to be a woman in power in France

Nancy Goldstone: I think the main way that the French court differed from the English court that revolved around sex.

I've been studying royalty for a long time, I've never seen anything like that court.

It was, I don't know how they got any sleep, really.

Catherine had around her a group of beautiful women called the Flying Squad that were nicknamed Flying Squadron. And it was their job to seduce her political opponents and get state secrets and keep them kind of in her thrall.

And then her son Henri came along and he had, he was homosexual, so he had a bunch of young, beautiful young men around him called The Minions.

And there were, there was a lot of trading sex for secrets and all that kinda thing that you didn't see anything approaching that at the English court.

So I don't think that it was harder for Catherine di Medici to stay in power in France. And it was, you have to- the hardest thing with history is not to know what you know is coming in the future.

So most people today, we think of, when we think of France we think of the French Revolution, where they chop off, the French would chop off their kings' heads. But the French Revolution is 2 centuries away at this point in the 16th century. In the 16th century the French were very very loyal to their kings.

In the 15th century you had a French king Charles VI and he was schizophrenic. He was running around the castle naked thinking he was somebody named George, and they stay completely loyal to him. They admired their kings in France, they thought that they were the most Christian kings. So Catherine had that going for her. She ruled in the name of her sons and most people didn't try to actually attack the king in themselves, they tried to get rid of the counselors...

The Hugenots never got to more than maybe 15% of the population and, but they were such an aggressive minority. They would go into Catholic churches and break, destroy the polyps (?) and anything they thought was idolatrous, kind of like ISIS does today. And then te Catholics would go hunt down the Hugenots at their prayer meetings, but you couldn't expect that the Hugenots could take over, that a 15% minority could take over all the patronage of the court and all the, and run the country. And that became clear to Henry of Navarre when he said "Paris is worth a mass" at the end and converted. Actually he said he had always been a secret Catholic in his heart...

It was more Game of Thrones than Game of Thrones. I mean it was one double cross after another, after another...

Marguerite's reputation throughout history by historians has been that of kind of a good time party girl who put her own sexual preferences ahead of her duty to her kingdom, and that could not have been less true... She was the only member of her family who did not use sex as a weapon

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Links - 23rd August 2015

Gawker's gutter journalism - and worries about freedom of speech - "The man concerned is a senior executive in a large company, but he is not a politician or in any other sense a public figure. He is not a morals campaigner, or an anti-gay campaigner, or a person who could justly be accused of public hypocrisy if the allegations turned out to be true. Even if there could be some circumstances in which such a post might be justified - which I doubt - this is remote from them. The post appears to be pure clickbait, displaying a callous, if not outright malicious, attitude to an individual and his family... I defend a conception rather different from those I often see from political libertarians. I am less fixated on the power of governments; I am less absolutist in opposing restrictions; but at the same time, I worry about a wider range of threats. I worry not only about state power but also threats from private power and popular opinion. Above all, I am concerned to protect the free exchange of opinions and ideas, whether the free exchange is impeded by state power or by power of other kinds. This can lead to a more subtle and difficult analysis than the simple attitude of: “Government censorship bad; everything else okay”... Mill would have opposed censorship of ideas by the government; importantly, he would also have opposed social actions, such as organised boycotts, of people merely for their opinions on general topics. He would not, however, have required that we put up with all attacks on individual citizens' reputations and private lives. For example, Mill’s name cannot be invoked to oppose a law against “revenge porn”... The harm that can be caused by such writing is not remote, indirect, or speculative. This is exactly the sort of publication that can obviously ruin an identifiable person’s life (and the lives of family and loved ones). Free speech advocates need not, and should not, defend gutter journalism."

A naked ape would have fewer parasites. - "We propose the hypothesis that humans evolved hairlessness to reduce parasite loads, especially ectoparasites that may carry disease. We suggest that hairlessness is maintained by these naturally selected benefits and by sexual selection operating on both sexes. Hairlessness is made possible in humans owing to their unique abilities to regulate their environment via fire, shelter and clothing. Clothes and shelters allow a more flexible response to the external environment than a permanent layer of fur and can be changed or cleaned if infested with parasites. Naked molerats, another hairless and non-aquatic mammal species, also inhabit environments in which ectoparasite transmission is expected to be high, but in which temperatures are closely regulated"

Dear Prudence: Parents forcing a boy to be a girl for gender enlightenment. - "You’re right that if this is as described to you—a male child without gender dysphoria is being raised for two years as a girl for the purposes of enlightenment—then that is serious abuse. How pathetic that being female, to these parents, means reducing a child to a cliché of pink tutus. Your wife was right to refuse this offer. I hope there are caring people who know this family who can help. But if they are actually in the midst of carrying out this awful experiment, there may not be. I know all the downsides of calling Child Protective Services, but in this case, I think a call is warranted. Someone needs to look into this situation and if necessary intervene with parents who are horribly using their child for some bizarre social purpose."
When is Progressive Social Engineering child abuse?

Women In Montreal Will Be Allowed To Go Topless In Public This Summer

The Longest Traffic Jam in History – 12 Days, 62-Mile-Long - "It all happened on the Beijing-Tibet Expressway near Beijing and, ironically, the cause of the huge traffic jam was the road work on the highway. Trucks carrying construction supplies to Beijing, most of them supposed to be used on the expressway in order to ease traffic, were blocked at the exit, thus causing a traffic jam that lasted over 12 days... those hoping to become the Chinese version of Donald Trump had a chance to make a name for themselves by selling food and water to drivers. Obviously, prices were shockingly high and some of the drivers even refused to buy the goodies, in which case they were robbed or even stabbed. But let’s take everything one at a time... Lorry drivers were the ones most affected though. Water and food were very expensive, but some of them were robbed during the night. What’s more, local residents syphoned gasoline out of their cars while sleeping and one driver even needed medical assistance as he was stabbed in the arm... Ironically, nobody wanted to leave and although some of the lorries were carrying fruits and vegetables, drivers refused to take a detour because of the high gas prices. “We are advised to take detours, but I would rather stay here since I will travel more distance and increase my costs,” a lorry driver told the Global Times, perfectly emphasizing the reason why the traffic jam reached 62 miles (100 km) in the 12th day... Surprisingly, the Guinness World of Records claims that this isn't the longest traffic jam in history. A previous episode that took place in France, spanning from Lyon to Paris, is regarded as the biggest jam ever. it stretched for 109 miles (175 km) and happened on February 16, 1980. The reason? Poor weather and the huge number of cars on the French Autoroute."

Email is broken, it needs to die, and we'll be sorry when it's gone - "

Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional 'basic income' - "Basic income is a universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs. The concept is to allow people to choose to work more flexible hours in a less regimented society, allowing more time for care, volunteering and study. University College Utrecht has paired with the city to place people on welfare on a living income, to see if a system of welfare without requirements will be successful... "Our data shows that less than 1.5 percent abuse the welfare, but, before we get into all kinds of principled debate about whether we should or should not enter, we need to first examine if basic income even really works.""

1200 workers in Japan finished in a few hours the Toyoko Line Shibuya Station - YouTube - "On March 15, 2013, the Shibuya Station Toyoko Line above-ground train quietly shut down for good, to be replaced with a new section of subway track connecting Shibuya Station and the nearby Daikanyama Station. Converting the line from above-ground to underground was a massive operation, requiring a grand total of 1,200 engineers and countless man-hours. But, even if you’d been living in Tokyo at the time, you probably wouldn’t have noticed the construction, because it all occurred during the train line’s off-hours… over the course of one single night."
"SMRT says it will take years to solve our issues and build new infrastructure. Japan says one night."

Hunting 'has conservation role' - "Elephant populations had benefited from a permit system that allowed sport hunters to kill a limited number of the beasts, according to Eugene Lapointe... A number of nations in southern Africa had adopted a "sustainable use" philosophy, including Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, he added. "They have issued permits to sport hunters to kill a limited number of elephants that are pre-selected according to factors like age and sex. They cannot shoot breeding animals, for example," Mr Lapointe explained. As a result, these nations had well-stocked and healthy elephant populations and poaching was not a major problem, he observed. The idea of "trophy hunting" being a weapon in the conservationists' armoury to protect vulnerable species was supported by Peter Lindsey from the University of Zimbabwe. "Realistically, for conservation to succeed, wildlife has to pay for itself in Africa," Dr Lindsey told a recent meeting at London Zoo. "If local people do not benefit, it is usually lost"... In South Africa, landowners were given permission to allow shooting of excess male white rhinos once the species began to recover after a sharp decline. This gave landowners an incentive to buy and provide land for the rhinos, and this is thought to have significantly accelerated their recovery"

The benefit that became an incentive to divorce - Telegraph - "The prestigious Journal of Economics has published "The Effect of In-Work Benefit Reform in Britain on Couples: Theory and Evidence". It is a technical paper, with the usual quota of equations and graphs so beloved of economists, but its collection and analysis of the data is very thorough and its conclusion is very clear: the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit has increased the divorce or separation rate by a staggering 160 per cent among women married to or living with a partner who either does not work, or who earns very little because he works part-time... The Government's decision to provide more extensive financial benefits for working single mothers gives women with young children the ability to raise their children on their own: they have the capacity, as well as an incentive, to move out. And that is what they do, in increasing numbers.It means a very significant rise in the social problems that children raised in single-parent families tend to cause... It is a notable fact that during the last great economic depression of the 1930s, there was no significant increase in single-parent families. But that was because there were almost no state benefits of any kind available to single mothers"
Humans respond to incentives

Singapore's flawed 'freedom' - "The Heritage/WSJ analysis doesn't mention Singapore's requirement that 35% of wages - generally 20% from workers, 15% from employers - be deposited into the Central Provident Fund for retirement and medical needs. Those deposits go to Singapore government investment funds that buy shares in domestic and overseas businesses; the funds include Temasek Holdings, whose chief executive is Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and daughter-in-law of Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. More bizarrely, the index doesn't explicitly measure state ownership of businesses, except in the financial sector. Government ownership gets mentioned in Singapore's ratings on Investment Freedom, Financial Freedom and Government Spending, where Singapore scores a stellar 91.3. Yet government ownership is a crucial factor in any economy, often with far-reaching effects. "Why does a government control companies unless it wants them to behave differently than private companies?" economist Bamberger said. "I probably would not invest in a company that the Singapore government controlled," said Michel Levin, founder of shareholder rights advocate The Activist Investor. "The government portfolio manager - really some sort of minister somewhere - determines who sits on the company's board of directors and therefore who the key executives are. The key is that they make those decisions based on what's best for the Singapore government, not necessarily what's best for independent investors"... "But Singapore suffers from a sort of caste system, where it's difficult to advance very far up the economic ladder if you don't have the right connections. It's somewhat worse than Western economies, specifically the US - here [in the US] you can become wealthy just through having and working a good business idea, but there you'll need to know someone. Probably a vestige of their colonial past, colored by East Asian business practices that value relationships over ideas"... "Friends ask me what Singapore is like and I call it 'Cuba with money': same politics and climate, with very different economies""

FOCUS : Les 50 plus beaux décolletés des stars... - ""Regardez-moi dans les yeux... J'ai dit les yeux." Voilà comment le top tchèque Eva Herzigova interpellait les passants, au cours des années 1990, dans une campagne publicitaire ventant les mérites du Wonderbra. Ce soutien-gorge ampliforme a contribué à redonner aux poitrines généreuses ses lettres de noblesse. Force est de constater qu'en ce début de XXIe siècle, les courbes, misent en valeur, donnent un sacré cachet à une tenue. Aussi, les célébrités osent dévoiler leur buste et leurs formes... sans jamais en montrer de trop. Eh oui, la séduction est avant tout un art et à ce petit jeu, mieux vaut suggérer que tout déballer !... la réussite d'un beau décolleté ne se mesure pas à l'étendue de la surface de peau dévoilée"

Family supper of deadly pufferfish leaves 11 paralysed and fighting for life - "The Souza family from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil fried and served up a puffer fish they had been given by a friend who had returned from a day’s sea fishing. The pufferfish contains a toxin 1,200 times more lethal than cyanide, a drop of which can kill within 24 hours. Seconds after taking their first bite all began to vomit, before losing the feeling in their face, arms and legs."

Is rape worse than other violent crime?

BBC Radio 4 - The Public Philosopher, Is rape worse than other violent crime?

Sujeka (sp?): By giving rape that kind of importance, you're denying yourself an identity. My identity is more than my virginity. My identity is me as a person in society who can do things, create a life beyond being a virgin when I'm married. I mean, what the hell is that?...

Thrisha (sp?): If you have a law that gives it a special status, I think the law is then sanctioning this special status of rape. If the law treats rape on par with other crimes then automatically society will tend to look at it.

I think that's a step that the government can take towards changing the attitudes of society.

Also, another point. Everyone's been talking about essence of woman and piousness and the thing is when someone looks at me and says that 'you are a woman and let me protect you. You are special'. As a woman, I don't need that. When you give me the idea of caring, you're making a child. I'm not a child, I don't need to be taken care of.

I disagree with the gentleman there from Delhi. The fact that we give rape a special status shows that a society is more mature. I think we're an extremely sexually repressed society if we give rape a special status. I think what Richard shows... a society which gives sex far more importance than it does and it's demeaning women by caring for us.
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