"The happiest place on earth"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Links - 30th October 2015

Islamic State reveals it has smuggled THOUSANDS of extremists into Europe - "The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen had been smuggled into western nations – hidden amongst innocent refugees. The ISIS smuggler, who is in his thirties and is described as having a trimmed jet-black beard, revealed the ongoing clandestine operation is a complete success. "Just wait," he smiled."

Dating in Singapore, as Told by One Female Expat - "single white males are the hottest, rarest item on the menu. Suddenly, the guys who weren’t considered attractive in their home countries have women of all cultures vying for their attention. The white male transplant, a cunning species, plays this truth to his advantage. He doesn’t have to try — he can let the women come to him. One night, I remember standing at a bar with a friend waiting for a drink. I look over my shoulder and spot a relatively attractive man ten feet away from me. He smiles. I suggest to my friend that we go chat with him and his buddy after we get our drinks. No more than three minutes later, I turn around and this man has five girls swarming him. I didn’t even have a chance... While there was a shallow, crowded pool, I jumped in anyway. Dating in Singapore was one of the best and the worst experiences. I learned early on that I either had to woo a guy who had just moved to Asia (and didn’t realize his commodity status) or date a guy who’s been in Asia a while (and just wants some mac and cheese)."
Comment: "given that Singapore places no value on teaching their people things like history, philosophy and literature; it’s difficult to feel any attraction to the Singaporean Chinese men"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Migration Special - "A few lines written by a refugee child she once met, who felt abandoned by the outside world. 'When the war is over, we will all go back home. We will close all borders and all doors and we will write banners that say: 'No entry to all strangers. Let us alone to weep with happiness as you left us alone to weep with pain'. Yes, Nada (sp?) says, we won't be the welcoming nation we used to be. We will close our doors and be together, when the war ends'"

“NAME THE LIBERAL HYPOCRITE” QUIZ - "2. Who says that conservatives are racist because they don’t support affirmative action but has an abysmal record of hiring blacks?
a. Barbra Streisand
b. Michael Moore
c. Al Franken
d. All of the above
Answer D. All of the above. Of the 112 people Franken has hired to work on his books, television projects and radio program, only one was black. Of the 135 individuals Michael Moore hired, only three were black. Barbra Streisand has hired 53 senior people to work on her film projects and only one was black.
4. Who has called the Pentagon “the most hideous institution on the face of the earth” while enriching themselves with millions of dollars in Pentagon contracts?
a. Noam Chomsky
b. Ward Churchill
c. Howard Dean
Answer: A. Noam Chomsky. The self-proclaimed “dissident” and his wife have made millions in military contracts over the years"

Liberal Hypocrisy on Rule of Law - "Working for the government is not an inalienable right. So Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, was wrong to refuse same-sex couples marriage licenses in her office. If you’re unwilling to enforce the law, you shouldn’t be an officer of the state... we have cities across this country that ignore immigration laws they don’t like and create sanctuaries from law. We have cities that ignore federal drug laws because they find them oppressive. Yet no one finds himself in jail. When Californians approved Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, a number of officials refused to enforce the law. They were celebrated. I may even agree with the impulse. But not one elected official has been hauled off to jail for any of these stands."

Fury as archaeological site ruined and replaced with picnic table - "Builders in a Galician village confused a neolithic tomb with a broken stone picnic table and replaced the 6,000-year-old artefact with a brand spanking new concrete bench"

Studies link mental illness and 'lone wolf' terrorism - "But the new research suggests that solo terrorists are much more likely to have mental health problems than either members of the general public or participants in group terrorism. Spaaij and Mark Hamm of Indiana State University studied 98 lone wolf attackers in the U.S. They found that 40 percent had identifiable mental health problems, compared with 1.5 percent in the general population... A second study by Paul Gill and Emily Corner of University College London looked at 119 lone wolf attackers and a similar number of members of violent extremist groups in the U.S. and Europe. Almost a third of the lone wolves – nearly 32 percent – had been diagnosed with a mental illness, while only 3.4 percent of terrorist group members were mentally ill. “Group-based terrorists are psychologically quite normal,” the researchers said. They said one reason may be that terrorist recruiters are likely to reject candidates who appear erratic or mentally ill."

Slavoj Žižek · The Non-Existence of Norway - "The flow of refugees from Africa and the Middle East into Western Europe has provoked a set of reactions strikingly similar to those we display on learning we have a terminal illness, according to the schema described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her classic study On Death and Dying... It has not escaped notice that the wealthiest countries in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates, Qatar) have been much less open to refugees than the not so rich (Turkey, Egypt, Iran etc). Saudi Arabia has even returned ‘Muslim’ refugees to Somalia... Tens of thousands of refugees in Balkan countries are desperate to get to Germany. They assert their dreams as their unconditional right, and demand from the European authorities not only proper food and medical care but also transportation to the destination of their choice. There is something enigmatically utopian in this demand: as if it were the duty of Europe to realise their dreams – dreams which, incidentally, are out of reach of most Europeans (surely a good number of Southern and Eastern Europeans would prefer to live in Norway too?). It is precisely when people find themselves in poverty, distress and danger – when we’d expect them to settle for a minimum of safety and wellbeing – that their utopianism becomes most intransigent. But the hard truth to be faced by the refugees is that ‘there is no Norway,’ even in Norway... There was a moment, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, when the Japanese authorities were preparing to evacuate the entire Tokyo area – more than twenty million people. If that had happened, where would they have gone? Should they have been given a piece of land to develop in Japan, or been dispersed around the world? What if climate change makes northern Siberia more habitable and appropriate for agriculture, while large parts of sub-Saharan Africa become too dry to support a large population? How will the redistribution of people be organised? When events of this kind happened in the past, the social transformations were wild and spontaneous, accompanied by violence and destruction... Refugees should be assured of their safety, but it should also be made clear to them that they must accept the destination allocated to them by European authorities, and that they will have to respect the laws and social norms of European states: no tolerance of religious, sexist or ethnic violence; no right to impose on others one’s own religion or way of life; respect for every individual’s freedom to abandon his or her communal customs, etc. If a woman chooses to cover her face, her choice must be respected; if she chooses not to cover her face, her freedom not to do so must be guaranteed. Such rules privilege the Western European way of life, but that is the price to be paid for European hospitality. These rules should be clearly stated and enforced, by repressive measures – against foreign fundamentalists as well as against our own racists – where necessary."

The Supreme Court Rules That Christianity Is Not Christian - "The Supreme Court ruling is another giant leap toward theocracy. We are descending to new lows, where non-Christians are openly scorned, made to stand up in public to be identified as outcasts. Our founding fathers are crying in shame and frustration. Welcome to the United States of Iran. Every American should today weep for our country."
The hysteria can fight with the worst of Fox news

Supreme Court Upholds Prayer at Council Meetings in Landmark Ruling - "After their initial complaint, four of the 12 meetings meetings in 2008 included non-Christian prayers; a Jewish layman, a Wiccan priestess and a Baha’i leader were among those invocations, however from Jan. 2009 through June 2010, Christian prayers were reportedly once again the only ones offered. Galloway and Stephens inevitably sued and in 2010 a lower court found that there was not sufficient evidence that Greece intentionally cut out non-Christian invocations... Opportunities for others to pray at the meetings were also not publicized by the town, although there was no ban on outsiders coming to offer invocations and the vast majority of churches in its bounds are Christian in nature... Both sides acknowledge that the Supreme Court has taken up prayer in public venues in the past, however their stances on the merits of the most recent case, Marsh v. Chambers, a 1983 battle over government funding for chaplains, differ wildly. “In that ruling, the Supreme Court upheld legislative prayers in Nebraska but noted that the prayers were generally non-sectarian,” Americans United noted, arguing that the Greece case differs in that its prayers were almost always Christian in nature. The Alliance Defending Freedom disagreed, though, writing, “The last time the Supreme Court ruled on this prayer issue was in 1983. The High Court affirmed America’s long-standing practice of opening public meetings with prayer.” Regardless of how different parties viewed Marsh v. Chambers, as Pew noted, the results are simple to summarize: The Supreme Court found that the Nebraska legislature did not violate the Establishment Clause by allowing sessions to open with prayer, seeing as the U.S. has a unique history of allowing such invocations... The Obama administration surprised some by submitting an amicus curiae (“friend-of-the-court”) written brief on the case last year. Rather than taking sides with Americans United, the federal government is arguing that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit misinterpreted the Marsh decision in striking down Greece’s prayer policy, Pew wrote.
The argument here is that sectarian content is allowed, so long as it doesn’t proselytize or disparage other faiths. The Obama administration does not believe that Greece’s prayer policy does either of these things, thus the federal government posited that the court should uphold it."
Presumably the "giant leap toward theocracy" is supported by Obama

Justices allow public prayers at New York town's council meetings - "Just moments before the opinion was announced from the bench, the high court began its public session as it has for decades: with the marshal invoking a traditional statement that ends, "God save the United States and this honorable court.""
The Supreme Court is already a theocracy

Was America Founded As A Christian Nation? - "As historian John Fea notes, “If the Treaty of Tripoli is correct, and the United States was not ‘founded on the Christian religion,’ then someone forgot to tell the American people… The idea that the United States is a ‘Christian nation,’ has always been central to American identity.” But debate rages over whether the Founders were Deists and why the Constitution bears no mention of God... All thought the Bible essential for just and harmonious society. Washington’s Farewell Address neatly summarized, “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensible supports.” Franklin warned the irreligious Thomas Paine, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?” In Vindicating the Founders, Thomas G. West relays that Gouverneur Morris, ambassador to France , predicted their revolution would fail because the French were “ridiculing religion.” Morris, a not particularly pious man, foresaw catastrophe since “religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments.” The Founders disagreed on much, but were nearly unanimous concerning biblical morality. They understood the relationship between state and society differently than progressive thinkers today: government cannot mold man. Righteous men must mold government which requires the inculcation of virtue through vibrant churches and the transmittal of values generationally via a social structure based on families. Usurping the First Amendment to obstruct public expressions of faith would leave the Founders aghast. Not only did the Constitution leave extant the official religions authorized in most of the states, as historian Thomas Woods explains, prohibiting prayer in public schools “runs exactly contrary to the Framers’ intent … a stupefying departure from traditional American principles and an intolerable encroachment on communities’ rights to self-government.” Jefferson ’s “wall of separation” guarded faith, or lack thereof, against political interference. Far from uprooting our cultural moorings, the Forefathers embraced heritage. Historian Larry Schweikart notes, “The founding documents of every one of the original thirteen colonies reveal them to be awash in the concepts of Christianity and God”... Per Paul Johnson, “The Declaration of Independence was, to those who signed it, a religious as well as a secular act, and the Revolutionary War has the approbation of divine providence.” The Declaration contains four clear references to God... Franklin rebuked the Constitutional Convention for neglecting prayer. He reminded that the delegates had prayed daily during the war and that God answered."

PolyHero Dice - Warrior Set by PolyHero Dice — Kickstarter - "PolyHero Dice are the result of a creative collaboration between brothers Dann and Greg May. We've worked together in the visual arts for more than 20 years, as graphic designers, artists and 3D animators. We've also played Dungeons and Dragons (and other RPGs) together from an early age, starting with the red boxed Basic Set (oh, and even before that a game Dann made up and tried to make Greg play). This project is a labour of love for us; to create imaginative, 3D-sculpted custom dice for our favourite hobby, and for the pure joy of holding and rolling them"

The funkiest video I've seen all week

""If you wanna know what China's gonna do, best pay attention to the 十三五!" Click the music video to see China's Five-Year Plan and why it matters."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Never to wear armour against him

"The news of the defeat at Formigny threw the English into the deepest gloom. ln one short campaign the French had destroyed their only remaining field army in Normandy, and now both John Talbot and Thomas Kyriel, their best captains, were prisoners in French hands. Suffolk set out to raise the men and money for a fresh expeditionary force, to be led by Sir John Fastolf, but the French were now sweeping all before them. The French advanced from Formigny to take Vire, Bayeux and, after a three-week siege, Caen, the old Norman capital, where they again first captured and then released the Duke of Somerset. Somerset fled to Calais and stayed there, rightly suspecting that the axe and block awaited him in England. Ponton de Xaintrailles then reappeared on campaign and besieged Falaise, a fief of John Talbot. The town surrendered in return for Talbot’s release, although Charles VII extracted a promise from the old knight that he would never again wear armour against him, a promise Talbot kept to the letter...

Talbot arrived at Castillon before dawn on 17 July, overrunning a detachment of French archers, whom he pursued with his cavalry towards the main French camp, Here, under advice from Jean Bureau, the French, anticipating an English assault, had entrenched themselves strongly, throwing up walls of earth and tree-trunks and erecting artillery positions containing over 300 guns of various calibre, many of which were hastily switched from the town walls to cover the approach of the English army. A little thought or a brief reconnaissance might have shown Talbot the inadvisability of leading his men against such a strong position, but a huge cloud of dust over the enemy camp, caused by the French bringing their horses into shelter, seemed to indicate fleeing cavalry. Thinking the French were in retreat, Talbot did not hesitate. Keeping to the terms agreed for his release at Falaise, in which he had sworn never again to wear armour against the King of France, he rode into battle unarmed and unarmoured, mounted on a white pony, sending wave after wave of men—at-arms and archers forward against the French lines. As at Formigny, it was a slaughter. French artillery broke up the English advance and, when the advance faltered, the gens d'ordonnance charged out to cut down the scattered knots of dazed archers and men-at-arms. Much had changed since Crécy and artillery had come to dominate the battlefield. In the midst of the battle, Talbot sat his pony, waving his men on to the attack, until a cannonball killed his horse, trapping him under its weight, and a French man-at-arms leapt over the parapet to finish him off with a battle-axe."

--- The Hundred Years War / Robin Neillands

"Talbot was an obvious target with his white hair, purple hat and scarlet gown"

--- The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare / Jim Bradbury

Links - 29th October 2015

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, The Devil's Building Site - "Women, Farrah (sp?) says, now outnumber men in their pursuit of graduate degrees. Something that creasted a societal problem. Most Iranian women won't dream of dating men who aren't their intellectual equal."
Equality in the form of equal rights can cause social problems. Sometimes there is a tradeoff between social welfare and rights

London's Big Ben has chimed six seconds fast over the past fortnight

UK teen using Snapchat put on police database after sending naked picture to girl - "Boy, 14, is 'branded a paedophile' by police for texting naked selfie to schoolgirl: Mother's fury as son is put on sex crime database for 100 years... ‘If he was 18 he would have been seen as a victim in the eyes of the law and would have been able to take some action towards the girl who humiliated him’... The schoolboy’s actions will remain on file for a century because police can decide who they prosecute but not what they record, legal experts say. He committed a crime by creating and distributing an indecent image of a child. It does not matter that he was the subject and took the image himself. The girl who circulated the image is not being investigated even though her actions could have fallen under ‘revenge pornography’ laws if she had been an adult. Although police dropped the inquiry, once alerted to the crime they were obliged to record it under rigid procedures brought in following the Soham murders in 2002... The case highlights how thousands of youngsters could be criminalised by exchanging explicit selfies. One study estimated that more than four in ten British girls aged 13 to 17 had sent a pornographic photograph of themselves"

Ex-Straits Times editor reveals gov’t meddling in tell-all book - "Cheong Yip Seng, the former editor-in-chief of the The Straits Times (ST), has bucked this trend with his memoir, OB Markers: My Straits Times Story. ("Out of bounds" markers often refer to the line between which issues are 'sensitive' and which are not.) It is a compelling story that is part personal, part political and part a survival guide to Singapore journalism. Cheong's tales are not new; they have been whispered about at the watercooler and written with great relish in a book called Media Enthralled by political refugee Francis Seow. But this is the first time a Singapore editor has gone to print with an insider's take on how the republic's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew systematically controlled the press with draconian laws and protected it with anti-competition barriers... "I will break your neck," Cheong describes Lee as telling him when the rookie reporter tried to make a case for not imposing an embargo on a speech the Prime Minister had made... One of the bravest episodes was when Peter Lim, Cheong's predecessor, resisted Lee's pressure to print the full O level results of Opposition politician Chiam See Tong during the 1984 election. Lee wanted to show to voters that Chiam did not have the academic credentials to be a capable MP. Lim resisted because he felt it would backfire on the ruling party and the newspaper. The author is a smart survivor, too. He had a ring-side view of how his boss, Peter Lim, tried to run the newsroom with some form of independence and paid the price for it by having to resign. "The board told me my deputy was ready to take over'' -- that was the loaded answer Lim gave when historian Mary Turnbull asked him about his 1987 departure in another book on The Straits Times... The Singapore government's intervention in media is legendary. Cheong describes many episodes -- from appointments of editors to shaping coverage of political and foreign events and even to minor stories like stamp-collecting, carpet-buying and MSG - with the pen of a master story teller."

‘I tied every aspect of my life to my sexual identity – it had to change’ - "I also began to ask myself whether I had at some level defined myself, and the LGBT community, as a separate entity from straight people. This concern came to the fore when a straight woman reacted negatively to my (slightly tipsy) observation that she was “sound for a straight girl.” Her frank response however swiftly put me in my place. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for gay pride and equality, but I don’t get why you need to wear your sexual orientation on your sleeve – or label others by theirs.”... By tying every aspect of my life – music, nights out and fashion sense with the G factor, I was essentially just cementing the divide that can at times already exist between the gay and straight community, not to mention feeding into stereotypes – that gay people have some sort of alternative ‘lifestyle’ for one."
Ahh... identity politics

Are Pakistan’s female medical students to be doctors or wives? - "The government body that regulates the medical profession, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), says more than 70% of medical students are women... government figures suggest most of these bright female undergraduate doctors do not actually go on to practise. Only 23% of registered doctors are female... he accepts that some female students are more keen on catching a husband than on pursuing a career. "It's much easier for girls to get married once they are doctors and many girls don't really intend to work as professional doctors," he says. "I know of hundreds of hundreds of female students who have qualified as a doctor or a dentist but they have never touched a patient"... Privately, many doctors - both male and female - tell me that a medical degree is an extremely hot ticket in the marriage market. To confirm this claim, I visit the Aisha Marriage Bureau run by Kamran Ahmed and his wife. Business is so good they are opening their second branch in Islamabad. Mr Ahmed says his best clients are mothers seeking doctor wives for their sons. "In social gatherings, it's very prestigious to introduce your daughter-in-law or wife as a doctor"... the "doctor wife" is more than a trophy: her absence from hospitals has serious implications on the healthcare system of a poor country like Pakistan. The government spends millions of rupees on subsidies per student - yet there is a serious shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas where women prefer to be examined by female doctors... When news of the "quota" on male-female admissions broke in the local media it quickly drew flak and controversy. But the PMDC insists it is the only solution. "It's not a quota. We want 50% of admissions to be for males and 50% for females"... Human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar strongly disagrees. "The wrong here is that women are being discriminated against here for being too smart." Mr Akbar has filed a petition in court challenging the decision to introduce the "quota". He calls it unconstitutional and says the government should encourage women to stay in the profession instead.
This is something like why there used to be a quota in Singapore
When you have a quota favoring women in a male dominated system, it's equality. When you have a quota favoring men in a female dominated system, it's discrimination. Maybe it's only discrimination when women lose out

Man Buns of Disneyland Instagram Account Features Long-Haired Male Parkgoers

The Sound of a Leader: CEOs With Deep Voices Do Better - "New research shows that a deep voice confers benefits in competition for leadership positions in business. A research team from Duke University and the University of California studied the speeches fof the male CEOs of almots 800 public companies. They found that the CEOs with the deeper voices managed larger companies and thus made more money. A decrease of 25% in voice pitch (22.1 Hz) is associated with an increase of $187.000 in annual salary. Moreover, CEOS with deeper voices also enjoy longer tenures... Deeper voiced male politicans have more electoral success. A research team led by Canadian evolutionary psychologist David Feinberg, shows that we prefer political leaders with low voice pitches... individuals with low voice pitches were thought to be more dominant, masculine, and physically formidable. Just like a muscular body, a low voice pitch is an indication of high levels of testosterone."
Maybe this helps to explains the gender gap in politics and business leadership

Londoner Shows Period Shamers the Finger; Completes Marathon Without Tampon - "
Ahh... feminism
The next time I need to pee or shit, I'll just do it in my pants and anyone who objects is trying to "shame" me

The Glass-Floor Problem - The New York Times - "It is a stubborn mathematical fact that the top fifth of the income distribution can accommodate only 20 percent of the population. If we want more poor kids climbing the ladder of relative mobility, we need more rich kids sliding down the chutes. Even the most liberal parents are unlikely to be comfortable with the idea that their own children should fall down the scale in the name of making room for a smarter kid from a poorer home"

SMS messages show employer in S’pore unhappy new employee has taken 2 days MC because of high fever

Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm - "What might account for such dramatic long-term effects of type of preschool attended? One possibility is that the initial school experience sets the stage for later behavior. Those in classrooms where they learned to plan their own activities, to play with others, and to negotiate differences may have developed lifelong patterns of personal responsibility and pro-social behavior that served them well throughout their childhood and early adulthood. Those in classrooms that emphasized academic performance may have developed lifelong patterns aimed at achievement, and getting ahead, which—especially in the context of poverty—could lead to friction with others and even to crime (as a misguided means of getting ahead)."

List of 4 Roman Catholic Popes who died during sex, 1 actually died while being sodomised

Increased escalator breakdowns allegedly due to “Keep Left” courtesy campaign - "“Overhauls themselves are routine. However, the keep left policy has caused an upsurge in overhauls, including escalators that were just overhauled a few years earlier.” “That’s because LTA has planned the direction of the escalator direction based upon passenger loading. Remember, in the city area, morning peak most are moving up out of the stations to go to work while in the evening, most are moving down. This plan was approved by Ong Teng Cheong himself after careful study, back when the government was still honest and competent”... For subways in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the keep left policy works because the escalator rotates direction to even out the wear and tear and also that the escalators are shorter in length."

Good Taste in Times Square? It’s Illegal - Metropolis - WSJ - "The city, it turns out, has a law against tasteful restraint in Times Square. The area is part of the “Special Midtown District” that has its own distinct zoning code. Part of the mission of these regulations is to preserve and protect the “unique combination of building scale, large illuminated signs and entertainment and entertainment-related uses” that are central to Times Square’s history. The idea was to ensure that Times Square never became another drab steel canyon of conservative office towers... What appears totally haphazard to the untrained tourist’s eye is actually planned down to the last square foot, with copious rules about how much of any surface must be covered in signage.

Does 2-In-1 Shampoo Really Work? Cosmetic Chemists Take On The Beauty Myth - "The biggest con to using 2-in-1 shampoos is product build-up. Wilson explained, "Because you are depositing conditioners onto the hair, a downside is that they tend to build up so then your shampoo is now... I hate to say it because it sounds so dramatic... but your 'hair enemy.' If you use it every day, then your hair starts to look dull and weighed down. You'll need a clarifying shampoo to strip it bare and start all over again. So instead of giving your hair new life, it's doing the opposite." "We now know that shampooing everyday is not good or necessary for most hair types. But for those that feel the need to shampoo their hair more often, brands have been developing specialized 2-in-1 products called co-poos (conditioner-shampoos) aka co-washes," said Robinson. "The difference between these 2-in-1 products versus those from the '80s is that these are closer in nature to true conditioners. Whereas the '80s products were closer to true shampoos. For co-poos, the pro is that they can minimize the damage that daily shampooing can cause. The con is that they might be too heavy for oily hair types"... "To say that a 2-in-1 shampoo replaces your need for two products, unless you have healthy hair and deep condition on a regular basis, that's not the case""

2-in-1 Shampoo: Must-Have Convenience Or Damaging Product To Skip? - "many 2-in-1 shampoos are not called 2-in-1s anymore. Lots of shampoos use this technology in products that are labeled “moisturizing”, “hydrating” and “conditioning.” So, if you are concerned about product buildup, look for shampoos that are called “clarifying” or “volumizing” and check the label to make sure the product does not contain Dimethicone."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New blog picture - 28th October 2015

 photo chewbacca_ukraine_court_zpsxdxarwwa.png

The Straw Stereotype, Redux

(A followup from The Straw Stereotype)

Some people (e.g. on Quora) imagine that "Siberia is colder than Greece" means that at every second of every minute of every hour of every day from the start to the end of time, the temperature will always be lower in Siberia than in Greece.

Let us examine how English is used in the real world.

Firstly, by the New York Times:

The Anxious Americans
"AMERICANS are a pretty anxious people"

Does this mean that ALL Americans are anxious?

Americans Are Finally Eating Less
"Americans’ eating habits have begun changing for the better"

Does this mean that ALL Americans are eating better?

The Asian Advantage
"Why are Asian-Americans so successful in America?"

Does this mean that ALL Asian-Americans are successful in America?

Across the pond, the Economist is equally guilty of this:

The model minority is losing patience
"Americans are spending most of the oil-price windfall after all"

Does this mean that ALL Ameicans are spending most of the money saved from lower oil prices?

The case against tipping
"Americans are caught in a nasty cycle of low pay justifying tips and tips justifying low pay"

Do ALL Americans use low pay to justify tips and tips to justify low pay?

Those who denounce unqualified general statements should feel free to write angry letters to the Editors of both of these publications, generally considered houses of good writing, denouncing their patently false generalisations and/or their abuse of the English language.

Yet, we need not stop here. We can look at more appalling generalisations from atrocious writers:

"The English are, so far as I know, the hardest-worked people on whom the sun shines" - Letter of Charles Darwin to Charles Knight, 1854

"What a degenerate people the English are" - Letter of Ernest Hemingway to Maxwell Perkins, 1940

"The English are always degrading truths into facts" - Oscar Wilde, A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-educated

"We Americans are tainted with this insanity" - Society and Solitude, Ralph Waldo Emerson

"[The British] are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst" - Speech in the House of Commons, 10 June 1941, Winston Churchill

It seems, then, that all of these so-called writers are guilty of preposterous generalisations and sweeping statements.

In reality, it is pretty obvious that this sort of mindless quibbling is a particularly pathetic form of motivated reasoning; it is easier to "rebut" someone who points out a trend or tendency you disagree with, using The Straw Stereotype ("A are B" means "All A are B") than to actually show how he is wrong.

Links - 28th October 2015

Episode 2: Government of the People and by the People - "[Farquhar] provided only a minimum of security. His government barely touched people's lives. And this is a theme that you'll actually see for most of Singapore history, that our government has been barely there... Raffles wasn't just an idealist - he saw something deeper, something more fundamental. Raffles realised that free trade cannot exist without freedom. So he formally banned slavery... [Raffles] would... be really disappointed in the social aspects of [modern] Singapore. The authoritarianism, the materialism, the lack of human respect that characterises much of Singapore's social and labour policy. And he would almost certainly argue that without personal freedom it is impossible to have economic freedom... In Singapore, the governor with the approval of leading Chinese, actually enacts a tax on pork to pay for a sanitorium for sick paupers... in 1837, Calcutta prohibits taxing pork... So the laissez-faire policies of Farquhar, of Crawford and their successors set the stage for another important aspect of Singapore politics: independent organisation and self-help. To be fair this is, of course, forced upon - dictated by circumstance because Singapore simply didn't have the revenue to pay for more activist government, but to give them no role would be to understate how tough it was to run a settlement with no money and no staff. So lacking formal institutions, the government relied upon community leaders to control their own communities... it is from this that Singapore's long tradition of self-help, autonomous political organisation and independent political action would grow into an autonomous political sphere that would turn into modern Singapore's model of associational democracy"

Episode 3: The 99% - "If it could be bought or sold, Singapore was the place to buy or sell it. Not for nothing did Singapore earn the name, "Sin Galore". Singapore was in many ways the archetypal pirate port and frontier town, where life was cheap but anything was possible. They joined the people engaged in the more traditional occupations of fishing, jungle products like fruit and wood, and of course, the primary lifeblood in the decades before the British arrived: piracy. Because, really, in this period, trade and piracy are two sides of the same coin. They are the same fleets, the same people: really, the only difference is your circumstances. Times are good, trade. Times are bad, piracy... Those [Pirates of the Caribbean] movies are more accurate than we give them credit for... Captain Sparrow replies: clearly, you've never been to Singapore. Actually, he was only off by about 100 years. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are set in the early to mid 1700s, which we know because of the presence of George II who reigned 1727-1760, but 100 years later, people in Singapore would have been happily engaged in all the corset-ripping debauchery that we associate with pirate towns from the heyday of piracy. We were the Port Royale of the East Indies. Actually in the movie the depiction of Port Royale in the movie is closer to what Singapore was like in real life a hundred years later than the depiction of Singapore in the movie... It was 3 products in particular which made Singapore rich: alcohol, drugs and slaves... the goal of local administration was to maintain free trade as cheaply as possible. Formal state institutions simply did not exist. The mass of the population was left to regulate its own affairs under their own leaders. Officials did not become acquainted with local languages and custom, with few speaking Malay and none speaking Chinese. Actually official documents and laws had to be sent to Hong Kong for translation... Under official sanction, the secret societies grew rapidly. By 1881, nearly half of the male Singapore Chinese population: 33,103 out of 72,571 were secret society members. The leading members of the Chinese community, men such as Hoo Ah Kay, better known as Whampoa, were almost certainly secret society chiefs"

Hey, grievance-mongers, lighten up on the 'cultural appropriation' complaints - "Bet you didn’t know that white people eating tacos falls into the category of “cultural appropriation”... As the ethnic grievance industry grows ever more shrill and its spokespeople more thin-skinned, the list of ethnic practices forbidden to whites grows ever longer. In a March 4 article in Salon titled “Why I can’t stand white belly dancers,” enraged Arab American author Randa Jarrar hurled the cultural appropriation card at white women who take up belly dancing and its exotic costumes for exercise or fun. “Arab women are not vessels for white women to pour themselves and lose themselves in,” Jarrar fumed. She fumed some more after critics of her article asked such legitimate questions as: Why is it cultural appropriation for white women to belly dance but not for black ballerina Misty Copeland to dance to the music of white composer Stravinsky? In a follow-up article on March 18 titled “I still can’t stand white belly dancers,” Jarrar accused her critics of “whitesplaining” and ignoring “the systematic racism by the dominant culture.” Then, last month, Gloss writer Elizabeth Licata leveled the cultural appropriation charge at some of the celebrities attending the Coachella music festival, in which people dress up like ’60s hippies... It’s amazing that no old hippies were on the scene to complain that Coachella itself is a cultural appropriation from their culture."
Is it cultural appropriation if I eat with my hands?

Mashiko’s open letter to bigots: White sushi chefs, discrimination, and racism. - "One of Mashiko’s chefs is a white woman, and several of its other employees are non-Japanese. Having received comments in person and on Yelp about its staff’s race, Mashiko’s owners decided to make one thing clear: “this discrimination nonsense has got to stop”... Mashiko, which has a Japanese owner, should not be accused of cultural appropriation. But if, hypothetically speaking, a group of white Americans opened a sushi restaurant and hired an all or mostly white staff, would race still “not matter”? In that instance, race would matter, and quite a bit, because the owners would be capitalizing off of others’ culinary traditions and their own white privilege at the same time. It sounds great to say that everybody is equal or that you don’t see race, but it minimizes the persistent systemic racism that favors white people over everyone else. Which is why it seems unfair to accuse consumers who are wary of a white sushi chef of bigotry and discrimination. Sure, they might be attached to some exotic fantasy of a sushi chef, in which case they deserve Mashiko’s owners’ public shaming. But they might just be trying to look at race in a historical context rather than a vacuum."
The only way this logic makes sense is that if you assume white people are evil

Cultural Appropriation: I’m Drawing the Line… ALL the Way Back. - "I often think that the loudest people who claim to be offended by “cultural appropriation” are suburban white liberal do-gooders with too much time on their hands, too little relevance in the world, and very little connection to the cultures they leap to defend... I am HIGHLY OFFENDED to see Chinese, Japanese, and African foreign dignitaries wearing Western-style business suits. Who do they think they are? They should be strictly locked into their native attire from several hundred years ago. Baseball, basketball, and football must be confined ONLY to the United States; everyone else is appropriating those sports from us and should not be allowed to play... Cultural appropriation is normal, it is the way civilizations grow and flourish, and it began long before Columbus opened up communication between the New World and the Old. Some 250 years before that, Marco Polo brought silk, gunpowder, tea, and pasta from China to Europe. The Silk Road that Polo traveled dated back at least a couple of millennia before that."

oCam Supercharges Screen Capture in Windows - "oCam overlays a green box on your screen that you can resize and move as you see fit. The capture button below the box will take a screenshot of the selected area and place it in an oCam folder inside of My Documents. If you need to do some tech support for relatives, the record button will start recording a screencast within the green box, and you can even choose from a variety of video codecs... oCam is free, so it's really a no brainer"
(Free) Video capture for Windows!

Guy's Attempt To Take Rattlesnake Selfie Ends With $153,000 Bill

Burden Shifts to Single Workers As Pro-Family Policies Expand - WSJ - "Since we began writing this column, we've been surprised by the level of resentment single and childless workers feel about picking up the slack for the rest of us. One reader, a systems analyst in St. Louis, told us that she doesn't think companies should make assumptions about people's personal time. Being single and childless, she says, doesn't mean you should be automatically more available for overtime and business travel."

HR Magazine - Family-friendly working practices can cause resentment among child-free team members - "The results of Grazia’s Women and Work survey in July – which found that nine in 10 women said that "child-free workers resented the flexi-hours and time off mothers can have" – serves to highlight the unconscious biases that can permeate at all levels of a company, creating friction between the population of working mothers and other team members."

Childless staff 'resent family-friendly policies at work' - "A study of 2,000 managers has found that 55 per cent said family-friendly policies had created resentment. The findings show that employees who have chosen not to have children also want the benefits of flexible working to balance home and work lives. Many had commitments such as caring for elderly parents, or wanted to spend more time on hobbies and voluntary work... The increasing resentment has eroded loyalty within many organisations. Four out of 10 people said they did not expect to be working for their present employer in two years' time... In the study, 46 per cent said they would not hesitate to change jobs for a better quality of life. Women managerswere far more willing than men to trade money for quality of life."
Women putting more emphasis than men on quality of life than money naturally explains part of the gender pay gap

Magazine apologizes over poll saying Czechs would vote for Hitler - "Some 53 percent of people who responded to an unscientific online poll by Czech magazine Týden would currently vote for a resurrected Adolf Hitler if he promised to rid Europe of refugees. According to the original article, the result had been as high as 60 percent in favor of the Nazi leader... The exact question was: "In recent weeks, many Czechs have exhibited xenophobia in connection with the refugee crisis. If Hitler rose from the dead and promised to rid Europe of refugees, would you vote for him?"... One rally in Prague even featured a gallows to hang “traitors” who supported allowing refugees into the country."
Is reporting on ugly phenomena a sin? Why shoot the messenger?

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, A Dramatic Turnaround - "'Oh, you've been in Havana. Lucky you. I'd love to see Cuba before it changes. You know, before all the Americans get there'. I've never liked comments like that. Partly because they reflect a rather patronising view of the country as some sort of geopolitical theme park. A 1950s time capsule. An ideological lost world. Partly because they seem to ignore what Cubans themselves might prefer. But also, because they're just so wrong. For a start, Cuba has been changing for a long time now. It's never really stopped. But most especially since its leadership decided more than 20 years ago to rescue its wrecked economy by turning back to that old, once reviled sugardaddy of international tourism. Cuba never was entirely cut off from the rest of the world"

A Short History of Elections in Singapore – Part II - "The 1955 election is, arguably, the closest we have ever come to a truly free and fair election. And it worked. This election produced our two greatest leaders: our first Chief Minister, the legendary David Marshall, the lion of Singapore; and the first Leader of the Opposition, later first Prime Minister, the great Lee Kuan Yew... elections continued to be run along the same colonial model of using legal measures to limit the participation of opposition politicians. 1963 elections were conducted in the wake of Operation Coldstore, which arrested all the important members of the opposition. Between 1963 and 1979, at least one round of detentions were conducted every year. None of the detainees were ever brought to trial on the charges they were detained under."

A Short History of Elections in Singapore – Part III | The Online Citizen - "From the 1970s, the PAP imposed a series of policies that, while at first glance seemed sensible, were implemented without the external review and oversight that a vibrant democracy and vigorous dissent would have provided. Many of the policies failed and had to be retracted eventually. For instance, the “Second Industrial Revolution” from 1979 to 1985 mandated wage increases and provided incentives for high-technology industrial capital. But it failed. By 1985, there was hardly any technological upgrading, a 40% decline in investment, and a fall in demand for manufactured products. From 1984 to 1985, real GDP growth fell 10%, from 8.2 per cent in 1984 to -1.8 per cent in 1985... To overcome this crisis of legitimacy, in the sense that 2 seats lost out of 79 is a crisis, from the mid-1980s the PAP introduced policies that undermined the fairness of elections... So, the history of elections in Singapore can be summed up in two questions. Does every citizen have the right to vote? Yes, since 1957. This is not something to dismiss – remember, the USA did not get its Voting Rights Act until 1965. There was a time when we were more democratic than America. Can every citizen freely vote for the candidate of their choice? Well, no, not really, perhaps only once, in 1955."
Some things people forget about the failures of the PAP under Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister

South Park - Safe Space - "In My Safe Space"

Everyone likes me and thinks I’m great in my safe space (My Safe Space)
People don’t judge me and haters don’t hate in my safe space (Your Safe Space)
Bully proof windows, troll safe doors, nothing but kindness in here.

You might call me a pussy, but I won’t hear you in my safe space. (My Safe Space)

Bully proof windows.

If you do not like me, you are not allowed in my safe space. (My Safe Space)
Look and you will see there is a very select crowd in your safe space. (My Safe Space)

People that support me, mixed in with more people that support me, and say nice things!
Rainbows all around me. There is no shame in my safe space. (My Safe Space)

Bully proof windows.

I am going to tear down your safe space, brick by brick I shall smash it with glee…
You cannot stop me from getting inside. I am cold, and I am hard, and my name… is REALITY

Oh, no. Not reality. Somebody stop him!

I’ll take care of him Jenny
You can’t ruin our lives, Reality
Our safe space will keep you out.


We can face almost anything.
But reality we can do without.


Bully proof windows, Troll safe doors…

My Safe Space

Who’s Next?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Links - 27th October 2015

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

The Deeper Meaning of Li Bai

Q: 解释李白这首诗的意义井分析作者的心理:


A: 答: 一个叫明月的姑娘在李白面前脱了个精光,她的皮肤就像地上的雪一样白,李白抬头看着明月姑娘,低头却又想起了远在故乡的老婆,这首诗充分的表现诗人李白在他乡嫖妓时的矛盾心理


Q: Explain the meaning of this poem of Li Bai's and analyse well the thoughts of the author

A: Answer: A maiden called Ming Yue stripped naked in front of Li Bai, her skin was as fair as the snow which lay on the ground, Li Bai lifted his head to gaze upon the maiden Ming Yue, but lowered his head and thought of his faraway wife back home, this poem amply expresses the poet Li Bai's conflicted feelings when visiting a prostitute in a faraway land.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes