"The happiest place on earth"

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Links - February 12th 2016

Is it fair to blame the West for trouble in the Middle East? - "In his book A Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the emergence of Islamism, Dr S. Sayyid describes five arguments that explain the spread of what is commonly called Islamic fundamentalism, Islamism or militant Islamism.
Islamism is a response to the failure of Arab leaders to deliver meaningful outcomes to their people.
Lacking opportunities for political participation, Arab citizens turned to mosques as public spaces for political discussion. As a result religion became the language of politics and of political change.
Post-colonialism also failed the Arab middle class, as the ruling elite continued to hold power and wealth.
Rapid economic growth in the emerging Gulf States increased the influence of conservative Muslim governments. At the same time, the expansion of the oil-based Gulf economy brought about uneven economic development, the response to which was growing support for Islamism as a mode of expression for internal grievances.
Finally, the spread of Islamism has also been due to the effects of cultural erosion and globalisation contributing to a Muslim identity crisis."

Does Italian surveillance tech firm Hacking Team sell spy software to Singapore’s IDA? - "It’s quite an embarrassing irony indeed for a company named “Hacking Team” to itself be hacked, but that’s exactly what happened to it over the weekend."

Why The Politics Of The 'Star Wars' Universe Makes No Sense - "One controversial conclusion Masket's political science background brings to Star Wars scholarship: that the Jedi knights may have been a destabilizing force who contributed to the downfall of the Old Republic. "They're also a really unusual aspect of a government. They clearly play some role in the Old Republic of enforcing peace; they're some sort of peace officers," said Masket, who jokingly compared the Jedi to the Taliban in Afghanistan. "They play a very weird and undemocratic role and they're secretive and they're religious and they don't seem to be subject to anybody else's rules other than their own.""

Male and female mice process pain differently, study finds - "Jonathan Fisher reports for Business Insider that in 2009, male bias in neuroscience "saw single-sex studies of male animals outnumbering those of females 5.5 to 1"."

What is the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla? - "The difference between vanilla and French vanilla is more obvious in the fragrance industry than the ice cream industry. "French Vanilla" is often marketed as a fragrance unto itself, whereas a standard vanilla fragrance is commonly blended with other floral or fruity fragrances to create a pleasing hybrid scent for air fresheners and other odor-masking products. The French vanilla scent is generally sweet and slightly buttery, while a standard vanilla scent is more floral and subdued."

Cigarettes not illegal in Brunei but way law enforced only benefits smugglers - "It ought to be borne in mind that it is not against the law to smoke here in Brunei or anywhere else in the world, aside from Saudi Arabia (excluding the Western complexes), Bhutan (the sale of tobacco is banned) and Afghanistan (1998-2001)... If smokers are prevented from buying cigarettes at home or legally bringing them across the border they will do so illegally or buy them from a smuggler, with the result that many of the cigarettes bought in this way are counterfeit and more harmful to health because they are not subject to the same quality standards as the real thing. Furthermore, it is well known that excessive taxation of tobacco across the world has created a multibillion dollar international cigarette smuggling business that fuelsorganised crime and corruption, robs governments of needed tax money and spurs addiction to a deadly product. So profitable is the trade that tobacco is the world's most widely smuggled legal substance."
Cigarettes: Brunei's equivalent of Singapore's chewing gum

North Is Not Always Pointing Up – Orientation of Train Station Maps in Japan - "In Japan, maps in public places such as train station and street, are oriented to the direction you are physically facing it, instead of always pointing North at the upper edge of the map... every map in public area has to be customized by install location and orientation. Mass production of the same map layout becomes difficult. Furthermore, if some local business information or landmark in the area is outdated, it costs extra overhead to update all maps in that area... as taught in Japanese school, the first step of using a map is to first orient the North to the right direction. It is considered basic knowledge"

Do No-Fly Zones Work?

Freakonomics » Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast - "KEARNEY: We find that kids who were pre-school age in places where they could watch Sesame Street were 14% less likely to fall behind when they got to elementary school. If we try and make a comparison of that number to what we see in the literature studying, for example, the Head Start program, our nation’s publicly funded pre-school program, the estimated effects on school performance are very similar.
Head Start is estimated to cost about $7,600 a year per kid. How about Sesame Street?
KEARNEY: This costs $5 a year per kid to produce... that effect is entirely driven by kids who grew up in counties with higher levels of economic disadvantage. So, I mean places that had higher levels of high school drop-out, had a higher rate of single-parent households, had lower household income on average — these were the kids that really saw a relative improvement in their school performance. The effect is largest for boys and African-Americans... We don’t find a persistent effect on ultimate educational completion or, looking further down the road, we don’t see that large of an effect on wages or employment. So, you could think of our finding — of a strong academic elementary school outcome but not much in the long run — as being consistent with this idea that Sesame Street wasn’t impactful on those non-cognitive skills that will show up later in employment outcomes, for example."

1 Reason McDonald's Coffee Will Never Match Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts - "Dunkin' Brands already serves that consumer segment better than McDonald's ever could. Despite its name, Dunkin' Donuts makes most of its money by selling coffee. In 2013, 57% of Dunkin' Donuts U.S. franchisee sales were derived from coffee and other beverages. Over the years, its locations have been transformed to efficiently deliver beverages and move people through the line as quickly as possible. Unlike Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts does not try to create a wonderful environment in which coffee drinkers can linger. Instead of spending money to spruce up its locations, Dunkin' Donuts passes the cost savings on to consumers in the form of lower coffee prices."

Fever Increases Numbers of Immune Cells

Jeans and flip-flops at work? Generations collide as dress codes relax

Spices: How The Search For Flavors Influenced Our World - "In the Middle Ages, spices were valued commodities, but not, as most people assume, for their ability to preserve meat. Rather, it was because medieval cuisine placed a premium on a variety of flavors. Spices were also thought to have medicinal properties, adding to their allure... Spices were more expensive than meat, and fresh meat was available, as suggested by extant records of municipal ordinances prohibiting butchers from throwing unwanted animal parts and blood in the streets. Medieval purchasers consumed meat much fresher than what the average city-dweller in the developed world of today has at hand. However, refrigeration was not available, and some hot spices have been shown to serve as an anti-bacterial agent. Salting, smoking or drying meat were other means of preservation... given the modern preference for spicy dishes, we can appreciate the medieval culinary aesthethic that emphasized color, ingenuity and a high degree of processing. Far from the idea of simply grilling meat, medieval food required chopping, molding, simmering and various steps including sauces or aspic... Spices faded from European cuisine not only because of changing tastes, but also because ancient medical ideas lost currency, more exciting drugs arrived from the New World, and the prevalence of opiates rose. Nonetheless, spices' eclipse in later centuries should not obscure their role as the basis for the first large-scale global economic network and the force behind the first expansion of Europe."

Gender gaps in performance: evidence from young lawyers - " The gender gap in earnings for the lawyers in our data is 20%. Half this gap can be explained by lawyers’ characteristics and the size of their firm: working for a large firm pays more. In the absence of performance indicators, the other half would be left unexplained, and the temptation might be to attribute this part to discrimination because there do not seem to be ‘observable’ differences between the lawyers. But accounting for performance differences, we can explain a large part of the other half. According to our analysis, maternity and aspirations generate performance differences between the sexes – and these have consequences for employees and the firms that hire them... Asked about how satisfied they are with their career progression and opportunities for advancement, the female lawyers in our sample were as satisfied, if not more satisfied, than their male counterparts. While levels of job satisfaction may be driven by a number of factors,they are important indicators of whether these highly skilled women feel fairly treated in the workplace"

Bully – and risk being bullied - "I looked at the protests about the show which basically centred on Mr Khong’s uncompromising public attitude towards those of a different sexual orientation. Like many, I wondered what his magic show had to do with his views, unless he chooses to use it as a platform to “convert’’ others to his point of view through some magical brainwashing technique. Or maybe his magic show is so bad that IKEA should be ashamed to support it... Actually, the LGBT lobby shot itself in the foot by talking about diversity. IKEA made a pointed reference to its support of the Wild Rice production of Public Enemy, helmed by a prominent gay man, Mr Ivan Heng. It looks as though IKEA had been rather even-handed in its choice of activities and organisations to support... IKEA incorporated Mr Khong’s magic show as part of its loyalty programme of discounted rates for members. That, it seems, is enough to rile the LGBT activists who show themselves to be as intolerant of other people’s views as they say other people are of theirs. Does the community intend to hound Mr Khong’s magic show wherever he goes – and will corporate sponsors pull back because they don’t want any heat from the vocal lobby? Will the lobby claim victory then, never mind that it acquires an image of being strident and, hmmm, intolerant? There’s another point which the community should consider. If the boot was on the other foot and the pro-traditional family lobby comes out in force to do the same, what would it do for its cause of getting the community recognized as part of the mainstream? What if, for example, the members of the lobby decide to boycott all the organisations who sponsor the annual Pink Dot? Would the LGBT lobby then start denouncing them as intolerant homophobes? Even worse, what if they start petitioning the civil service not to hire gays, because their employment runs contrary to the State’s pro-traditional family stance? In the case of IKEA, what if the pro-Lawrence Khong supporters and traditional family groups decide to boycott the store BECAUSE it sponsors Mr Heng’s play or pulls Mr Khong’s show?... there are many people who emphatise with the LGBT community and wish the members well. They are not anti-gay and go about their business quietly. Bullying tactics, however, will make them sit up and take sides. Might it not be better to let things happen naturally than start a culture war?"

How to Stop Being a Perfectionist | Nathalie Thompson - "In my experience, the problem with perfectionism is that if you never feel like you measure up to your own standards, you're constantly focused on negativity and always in a state of stress. Perfectionism can also lead to a habit of avoiding situations that could help you to expand your skills and accomplish your goals, if the fear of failure overshadows the desire for growth."

Giant statue of ex-Chinese leader Mao Zedong demolished - "It cited reports from unspecified media as saying the likeness of the man who ruled China with an iron grip for nearly three decades until his death in 1976 "was not registered or approved" by the local government."

When Ronald Reagan Embraced Gun Control - The New York Times - "Two years after he left office, Mr. Reagan surprised the nation by endorsing the proposed Brady Law that established federal background checks of firearm buyers for criminal records and histories of mental disturbance. The former president noted that the law was inspired by the case of Jim Brady, his devoted press secretary who was partially paralyzed by a gunshot wound to the head during the assassination attempt. “This nightmare might never have happened” if the Brady Law had been in effect, Mr. Reagan emphasized in an op-ed in The New York Times. His support was significant in the eventual passage of the law in 1993. No less important was Mr. Reagan’s endorsement in 1994 of the assault weapons ban that was a major attempt to deal with efforts by domestic arms makers to sell adapted weapons of war to civilian buyers in the name of sportsmanship... One lawmaker who dropped his opposition, Representative Michael Andrews, a Democrat and hunter from Texas, declared, “Anyone that needs a 20-round clip of high-velocity ammunition to fell a duck or deer needs to look into taking up golf.”"

Conversations - 12th February 2016

"Sex is the consolation you have when you can't have love" - Gabriel García Márquez


Someone: Seriously, the hotter the woman asking for entry into [Facebook group], the more I check to make sure shes not a bot or spammer. Sad

Someone else: Real hot chicks usually aren't smart

Someone: SPECIAL stat points cannot all roll high

Me: I think hot women spend a lot of time on their looks. So no time to waste arguing online

Someone else: My hypothesis as well

Also their interests will be on look based things
Even the supposed lookers with a "brain" aren't that smart

It could also be because women have a narrower bell curve than man
Men tend to be very smart or dumb

Someone: i want her to explicitly explain to me
i really want to know whats on her mind now
why is she getting so upset

Me: Because you're not "getting it"

Someone: if she cant explain it
it means 1) she cant explain well
or 2)im male and i wont understand

thats sexist to me


Me: Feminists expect people to agree with them after they've been "educated"
As you saw in the *** thread they assume they're infallible

Someone: oh, they dont assume
they know

these few days have been really interesting for me

i dont go to their pages or tag them
they come to me right


theyre engaging me, then leaving

now i wonder if it is because i am really so dense
which i think not because they leave in unsatisfactory manners

A: I said Gab is a devils advocate, reasonable chap.

B: yea devils advocate would be right

Me: Why do people keep calling me devil's advocate. I do believe most things I say ok

C: I think cause you always want to test the logic/ consistency of every statement

it is rigorous and fair
but it comes across sometimes as you are objecting just for its own sake

Me: Haha

Maybe it's because I am logically consistent but ideologically I do not support one side just because it is my side

A: Agree with C, you test for consistency, and sometimes to someone not used to you, it feels like you are undermining their argument

But someone used to it will get used to the idea of it being a test of structural stability of the argument

Me: I think bad arguments should be undermined

B: because most SGs aren't used to rigorous thinking
they react badly to disagreements

Someone: btw
*** is a ranger

Me: my dream is to be a power ranger

Someone else: whoa whoa whoaaaaa!!!!


Gabriel you forgot your meds
here, have some fairy dust

Someone else: Why am I being quoted.

Me: "I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good" - Seneca

A: [Feminist] is from the school of "I don't care what she did you cannot hit her.". Provocation is not a mitigating factor in her books.

Me: Get a woman to assassinate her father

A: Heh maybe she will blame her father

But I dun think can la, father probably dead by now, dead white male must be forgotten.

Anyway she does not accept any mitigating factors of any kind if a man hits a woman, pointing that out is victim blaming

She told me to give an example, recounted an incident from youth in which my mom was goading my dad to hit her during a fight, all the while destroying his stuff.

Dad to his credit, stayed calm. Any person would be hard pressed not to respond

[Feminist]'s response? "Not my problem you have mommy issues and want to victim blame."

That was one of the things she said that was a turning point in how I regarded feminism.

B: wow. projection much. she is victim blaming you and your father and then accusing you of victim blaming

A: men get catcalls from women and nobody gives a fuck

women dresses up in super tight clothes SPECIFICALLY to get catcalls and the world loses their shit

Me: Wasn't she wearing jeans and a tshirt

A: tight jeans, tight black T

B: 11 Powerful Photos Show What It Feels Like to Be Fat in America - Mic

"Health and beauty at any size." Seems legit

C: lol
if they are hot, then they say people are catcalling
if they are not but people still look at them, then they say people are judging
if people ignore them, then they are being discriminated against

knn no need to try so hard to be victim all the time leh

Someone On The Fappening: I don't recall such a huge uproar during the Edison Chen affair
In fact IIRC the same people defending the right of the US celebrities to take nude selfies were bashing Chen

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Links - February 10th 2016 (Conspicuous Consumption and the poor etc)

"England has 3 sauces and 360 religions, whereas France has 3 religions and 360 sauces." -Talleyrand


Why Do Poor People 'Waste' Money On Luxury Goods? - "If you are poor, why do you spend money on useless status symbols like handbags and belts and clothes and shoes and televisions and cars? One thing I've learned is that one person's illogical belief is another person's survival skill. And nothing is more logical than trying to survive."
Anecdata is so seductive. Especially when trying to defend a "minority"
Keywords: survival strategy, poor

A new way of looking at race and conspicuous consumption. - "Do blacks actually spend more on consumerist indulgences than whites? And if so, what, exactly, makes black Americans more vulnerable to the allure of these luxury goods? Economists Kerwin Charles, Erik Hurst, and Nikolai Roussanov have taken up this rather sensitive question in a recent unpublished study, "Conspicuous Consumption and Race." Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey for 1986-2002, they find that blacks and Hispanics indeed spend more than whites with comparable incomes on what the authors classify as "visible goods" (clothes, cars, and jewelry). A lot more, in fact—up to an additional 30 percent. The authors provide evidence, however, that this is not because of some inherent weakness on the part of blacks and Hispanics. The disparity, they suggest, is related to the way that all people—black, Hispanic, and white—strive for social status within their respective communities... blacks and whites are seeking status in different communities. In the racially divided society we live in, whites are trying to impress other whites, and blacks are trying to impress other blacks. But because poor blacks are more likely to live among other poor blacks than poor whites are to live among other poor whites, poor black families are more susceptible to being pulled into a signaling game with their neighbors... the authors look at how much a white family spends on conspicuous consumption when it is surrounded by white families making a similar amount of money. They find that this white family spends the same portion of its income on visible goods as a black family surrounded by other black families with similar incomes. They also find that the further a family of either race slips behind the average income of nearby households of the same race (becoming too poor to compete in the signaling game), the less it spends on these visible goods... black households spend more than 50 percent less on health care than whites of comparable incomes and 20 percent less on education"
If it were really a survival skill the richer your neighbours are the more likely you'd be to buy luxury goods
Presumably it is not a survival skill to spend on education and healthcare

Study: Low Self-Esteem Makes You More Likely to Buy Luxury Goods - "Sivanathan and Pettit hoped to explain why it is that poor people tend to spend a proportionally larger amount of their income on status purchases compared to folks who are well off. (Granted, low-income families a lot less money to begin with.) Through a series of studies, the researchers came to the conclusion that we consume not only to create some impressive exterior, but also to alleviate interior psychological pain—in other words, to make you feel better when you’re down in the dumps."
Improving self-esteem is a survival skill

Study: Higher Income Inequality Correlates With Luxury Consumerism - "The first study “found a link between lower household income, relative to one’s neighbors, and the purchase of ‘high-status cars,’ along with riskier portfolios and higher levels of debt.” The second, a psychology study, was a bit more complicated. It found that in states with higher levels of income inequality, more people Google luxurious brands—Ralph Lauren, David Yurman—and items such as furniture and shoes. In states with lower levels of income inequality, search terms like "chicken bake," "lemon bars recipe" and "chick flick movies" were more common."
Maybe a risky portfolio and high level of debt are survival skills

‘CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION’ KEEPS PEOPLE LOCKED IN POVERTY - "poor families around the world – those living on less than $2 a day – spend much of their income on goods that do not appear to alleviate poverty. For example, the average spending on festivals is as high as 15% of income in some regions of India. Similarly, South Africans spend on average a year’s income on an adult’s funeral, often financed by borrowing... Moav and Neeman propose that people care about their economic status and try to signal their income through conspicuous consumption. The analysis shows that if human capital is somewhat observable and correlated with income, then an unfortunate outcome driven by ‘signalling’ can emerge, in which poor individuals spend a large fraction of their income on conspicuous consumption. In particular, individuals with high human capital have a recognisable earning ability – professional titles, degree certificates, prestigious jobs, etc. – and relatively little need to signal success. In contrast, those without certified accomplishments have a relatively stronger motivation to impress via conspicuous consumption. As a result, the fraction of income allocated to conspicuous consumption can decline as the level of human capital rises – and the income allocated to savings and education can increase. Thus, the analysis predicts that among poor families with low levels of education, there will be low saving rates and low investment in the future – particularly in children’s education."

The Economics of Boasting - "why do humans want to appear richer than they actually are? Evidence points at an evolutionary advantage, as command over resources seems to contribute to the sexual attractiveness of a person (in particular of males, who, for evolutionary reasons not to be discussed here, compete more fiercely for mating partners than females). It has been shown, for example, that the relationship status is a reliable predictor for the extent of a man’s conspicuous consumption – single men buy more expensive smartphones and cars than those who are married (e.g. Hennighausen and Schwab (2014): “Relationship Status Moderates Men’s Conspicuous Consumption of Smartphones”, Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science 5, pp. 13-16). Like male peacocks, whose lavish plumage indicates to females that their reproductive resources are so abundant that they can afford to have highly visible (and therefore risky), resource-intensive, and even obstructive feather coats, a human male who buys a Rolex shows to human females that he is so rich that he can afford to buy a watch for several thousand dollars which essentially yields the same utility as a $20 watch. Paradoxically, conspicuous consumption seems to be more frequent in poorer societies. Moav and Neeman accumulated a lot of evidence for this (detailed sources can be found in their paper): median spending on festivals comprises about 10-15% of annual income in rural India, and Black households in South Africa spend on average a year’s income on an adult’s funeral. At the same time, they typically spend less than 1% of their income on less transparent forms of entertainment like movie theaters. A New York Times article describes the case of a poor Indian farmer who sold his land for $109,000 and then rented a helicopter for $8,327 to fly his son two miles to his wedding party.The explanation given by Charles, Hurst, and Roussanov (2009) is that conspicuous consumption is more effective in a society of poor people (“Conspicuous Consumption and Race”, Quarterly Journal of Economics 124, pp. 425-67)... a veritable poverty trap can arise from conspicuous consumption. The first problem is that conspicuous consumption competes with more useful expenditures, say, like saving for one’s retirement or the education of children: “The very poor spend only 2-3% of their income on their children’s education, do not eat well, experience ill health, and report that they are worried and anxious to an extent that interferes with their sleep and work. In many cases, they fail to make trivial investments in their business and save so little that they cannot avoid cutting back on meals when they suffer a temporary decline in income.” The second problem, according to Moav and Neeman, is that conspicuous consumption becomes more important the less human capital a person has acquired. Having a degree or a title is a strong signal about one’s income and reduces the necessity to buy, say, a Mercedes Cabrio.A vicious cycle may be the result: when people or societies get poorer, they expend more on conspicuous consumption and less on the education of their children"
So much for conspicuous consumption being a survival strategy for the poor

(PDF) Saving Rates and Poverty: The Role of Conspicuous Consumption and Human Capital - "Poor families around the world spend a large fraction of their income consuming goods that do not appear to alleviate poverty, while saving at low rates. We suggest that individuals care about economic status and hence we interpret this behavior as conspic-uous consumption that is intended to provide a signal about unobserved income. We show that if human capital is observable and provides some information about income, a signaling equilibrium can emerge in which expected expenditure on conspicuous con-sumption as a fraction of total income is decreasing with income. This equilibrium results in an increasing marginal propensity to save that might generate a poverty trap."

China Just Launched the Most Frightening Game Ever — and Soon It Will Be Mandatory - "As if further proof were needed Orwell’s dystopia is now upon us, China has now gamified obedience to the State. Though that is every bit as creepily terrifying as it sounds, citizens may still choose whether or not they wish to opt-in — that is, until the program becomes compulsory in 2020. “Going under the innocuous name of ‘Sesame Credit,’ China has created a score for how good a citizen you are,” explains Extra Credits’ video about the program. “The owners of China’s largest social networks have partnered with the government to create something akin to the U.S. credit score — but, instead of measuring how regularly you pay your bills, it measures how obediently you follow the party line.”"

Episode 15: The Two Singapores - "In Singapore, the trend had been towards greater labour peace, but the MCP could not be permitted to use it as a base. The Emergency Regulations were extended to Singapore a week later. Troops were despatched to the streets. The Emergency Regulations empowered the government to detain without trial, ban publications, take possession of any building or vehicle, control all road movements, disperse any meeting, impose curfews, arrest anybody without a warrant, impose the death penalty for possession of arms, punish anyone suspected of disseminating false information, confiscate businesses suspected of aiding the MCP, detain anyone suspected of aiding or consorting with the MCP, use all force necessary to arrest persons carrying firearms or suspected of consorting with people who did, and evict persons occupying state land. These measures were draconian, suspending the normal rules of government, the normal rights of the people. They gave the government unprecedented power over the people, and so they were meant to be strictly temporary, purely for a state of emergency. Unfortunately, many of these laws are still with us today. Power, once seized by a government, is very hard to relinquish. The Emergency Regulations were strictly temporary measures meant to combat a temporary enemy. This enemy has long been defeated. This enemy never had much of a foothold in Singapore to begin with. Yet these Regulations still exist, brought back under different names. Most famously, the power to detain without trial was converted in 1955 to the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance, then after merger into the Internal Security Act."

Episode 16: The Crowdfunded University - "If language and knowledge were not inextricably intertwined, why did the British educational system continue treating them with such respect? Why was Latin still taught in schools and why was knowing Latin a requirement to get into university? To this day in December 2015, knowing Latin is still technically a requirement for getting into the University of Oxford. The newspapers argued that education could never turn a person into another ethnicity. It would just leave a person bereft, without any identity. A Chinese person would never be accepted as a Malay, or an Indian, or an Englishman, no matter how well they assimilated. Sir Tan Cheng Lock said, “If a Chinese knows nothing about Chinese education, philosophy, habits and customs and religions, then he or she is not a Chinese, neither can he be a Malayan, an Indian or an Englishman. He is only a scoundrel.”

Episode 6: Modernist Islam, Malay Islam, and Malayan Nationalism - "[On Arab and Indian Muslims] What I found was that they tend to code switch... when it came to talking to, about Singaporean or Malayan politics they would identify themselves as Malays. They would usually be the representative of the Malay community anyways. So they didn't even have to assert that so much sometimes. And then when it came to dealing with their fellow Arabs or Indians they would identify as Arabs and Indians. And so on and so forth... I didn't see a shift. They would identify as both at the same time. They would identify as Malay and also as Arabs... all at the same time, depending on who they were talking to"

Episode 13: The Yellow Lion and the Red Sun - "The second and arguably more important consequence of the Japanese occupation was to accelerate long-standing communal trends. To exacerbate longstanding communal divisions. To catalyse the politicisation of Singapore and in particular of its three major communities, firing up new political agendas among the Indians and Malays. Turning the Chinese into a bitter, angry frustrated community, setting the communities against each other. And indeed this conflict would turn hot immediately after the Japanese surrender in 1945. Before the British returned, Chinese resistance groups violently punished suspected Japanese collaborators, who were chiefly Malay. And Malays responded with bloody reprisals on the Chinese. And this unfotunately set the stage for the independence movement, which began when the British returned to a Malaya that no longer wanted them"

Republican says men should be allowed to grab women's nipples if they are breastfeeding in public
Equality means being able to grab everyone's nipples

Cologne Rapefest: The Top Five Best Liberal Excuses... - "1. It was a false flag operation designed to discredit innocent lovely immigrants
2. You can’t talk about these things because it encourages the ‘Far Right’
3. Rape is only a ‘thing’ when white people do it
5. Nothing to do with Islam. It’s because all men are rapists, obviously"

Germans clash over ‘rapefugees’ who carried out mass sex attack - "In Cologne, a police report kept under wraps for days described women having to “run a gantlet” of drunken, abusive “Arab and North African” men in the square bounded by the Cologne Cathedral, one of Germany’s best-known Christian symbols, and its modernist glass Central Station. The New Year’s crowd, at least 1,000 strong, massively outnumbered the police on patrol in the square, leaving cops helpless to counter at least two rapes and other brutal attacks from those who allegedly burned women with firecrackers, reached under their skirts to grope them, grabbed their breasts, tore off their undergarments, and screamed obscenities. Saturday’s heavy police presence in the square was in stark contrast to the meager forces in place on New Year’s Eve, protesters on both sides said. “The police come after us but they don’t dare touch the Syrians,” one anti-Merkel activist complained"

Merkel gets tough on migrant lawbreakers as Cologne assaults soar - "Of the cases reported so far, 40 percent related to sexual violence, Cologne police said in a statement. "Those in focus of criminal police investigations are mostly people from North African countries. The majority of them are asylum seekers and people who are in Germany illegally," police added, confirming witness accounts... On Friday, the interior ministry said Germany's federal police had identified 32 suspects, 22 of whom were asylum seekers, in connection with 76 offences, 12 of which had a sexual nature."

A girl narrates a letter to her dad as she grows up, and it makes rape culture obvious. - "A new society that is as safe for women as it is for men is possible. But everyone has to work together to make it happen. Dads everywhere need to see this. Daughters everywhere need to see this. But so do sons and mothers. Make sure they do."
I would be very worried if the world were "as safe for women as it is for men". For one, it would require us to kill twice as many women through injuries and violence

Japan Keeps The Defunct Kami-Shirataki Train Station Open for Just One High-School Girl - "People are tipping their hats to the Japanese government for making education a top priority. “Why should I not want to die for a country like this when the government is ready to go an extra mile just for me,” one commenter wrote on CCTV’s Facebook page. “This is the meaning of good governance penetrating right to the grassroot level. Every citizen matters. No Child left behind!”"

Alaska's 'bridge to nowhere' plan finally scrapped - "A proposed Alaska bridge that became a symbol of wasteful federal spending on politicians' pet projects has officially been scrapped a decade after the idea was first floated, state officials said on Friday. Dubbed the "bridge to nowhere," it would have connected the small city of Ketchikan to its airport on nearby Gravina island, and it secured a $223 million earmark in 2005... Earmarks of nearly $450 million to help finance two proposed bridges produced cries of outrage from opponents who saw the them as exemplifying federal waste"
Why are people not tipping their hats to the Alaskan government?

VR porn is here and it's scary how realistic it is

Star Wars character Rey to be included in themed Monopoly game after 8yo girl writes letter to Hasbro - "The company faced criticism earlier this week after it was revealed that the four characters included in the game — Finn, Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren and Darth Vader — were all male... Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duffy said Rey had been left out of the game to avoid spoilers for the film, which was released months after the game hit shelves. It is not the first time fans have voiced their criticism on social media that Rey was left out of box sets and toys. A six-piece box set sold by Target in America and featuring Finn, Chewbacca, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, an unnamed stormtrooper and an unnamed TIE fighter pilot was the first to draw the ire of fans, who used the hashtag #WheresRey to question the omission. Fans said that leaving out Rey and replacing her with two generic male characters raised questions about the representation of female characters in the action movie world"
If there's no Han Solo why are people upset there's no Rey?

Containing Commercial Sex to Designated Red Light Areas: An idea past its prime?

"It's only polite really if you knock an animal on the head to eat it all: tripe, heart, feet, ears, head, tail. It's all good stuff," - Fergus Henderson


Containing Commercial Sex to Designated Red Light Areas: An idea past its prime?

"Singapore’s pragmatic approach towards prostitution hinges on the premise that if only select areas operated prostitution services that could be monitored and regulated, crime syndicates and other problematic criminal elements could be kept out of the trade. This premise, however, has come under challenge...

In 2005, then- Minister for Home Affairs, Wong Kan Seng, commented that a 37 per cent increase in arrests for vice between 2002 and 2004, was in part due to liber alised visa policies introduced to support Singapore’s tourism efforts . This tradeoff between boosting tourism and policing the borders was again highlighted in 2009 by then-Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs, Prof Ho Peng Kee, when he said, “about 190,000 tourists entering Singapore weekly. It is possible to tighten up further on checks and screening on female tourists but this will cause delays and inconvenience and hamper our efforts to promote tourism”...

Another reason for the proliferation of red-light areas outside of the DRAs could be that the latter is unable to contain demand and supply. According to a 2000 research study, there seems to be a cap on the number of sanctioned brothels in Singapore, which may have led to intensified efforts to operate illegal set-ups. The study also noted that brothels in DRAs other than Geylang (such as Keong Siak and Desker Road) have been declining in numbers over the years, due to urban renewal processes...

Others have also hypothesised that the types of sexual services offered in sanctioned brothels are too limited to meet the desires of different market segments. For instance, men who prefer more discretion may opt to respond to online advertisements or postings instead of visiting a highly visible brothel in a known DRA. Others, who prefer the ‘thrill of the chase’, may gravitate towards KTVs, bars and lounges where they would have to charm the hostesses into selling sexual services to them. The proliferation of illegal red-light districts and hubs could thus be a ‘black market’ counterpart of the limited legal market, offering more options to the end user...

In the United States... According to American sociologist Ronald Weitzer, “Legislators fear being branded as ‘condoning’ prostitution and see no political advantage in any kind of liberalization”...

Both the 1990 and 2005 World Values Survey revealed that the Netherlands was more tolerant of prostitution than most other European nations, and national polls similarly confirm that the Dutch largely perceive prostitution as an acceptable job...

The Dutch approach has its share of successes and failures. As a whole, the managed, legal prostitution sector is believed to be larger than the illegal sector, and illegal actors are rare in the legal venues thanks to stringent inspections. Almost all workers in licensed brothels and escort agencies have been paying their taxes in full...

New Zealand has in place a more liberal policy towards prostitution. In 2003, the country decriminalised the sex trade by passing the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA). The PRA’s objectives included creating a framework to safeguard the rights of sex workers; promote the welfare and occupational health and safety of sex workers; contribute to public health; and prohibit persons under 18 years of age from entering the trade. The PRA also established a certification regime for brothel operators. Under the PRA, sex workers were allowed to work relatively freely, either at home, in brothels, or even on the street.

A study published by the New Zealand government in 2008 indicated that the policy has worked to empower sex workers. Over 60 per cent of sex workers felt they had more power to refuse clients than they did before the PRA was passed , and only a small margin were either under the legal age of 18 or reported being pressured into working against their will. Sex workers also reported that they felt more able to report incidents of violence to the police after the passing of the PRA.

As for initial criticisms that the PRA would result in a burgeoning of the sex industry and growth in numbers of streetwalkers, the study conclude d that the enactment of the PRA has had little impact on the numbers of people working in the sex industry, or on the number of street-based sex workers"

Monday, February 08, 2016

Observations - 8th February 2016

The most important reason to evacuate when the fire alarm rings is that the noise is fucking annoying.

"People are afraid of "radiation" like microwaves, WiFi and all that but can step into ionising UV radiation without sunblock"

"the #1 risk factor [for mass shootings] is media reporting
prior to the invention of the newspaper mass killings were uncommon, rare"

If you jaywalk from the shadows into the path of an oncoming vehicle which is 2s away you deserve to be knocked down

"Maybe to be a moderate and to know you are a moderate requires someone crazy enough to stand out there to mark the upper limit"

If you cannot choose what happens to you but you can choose how you react to it, what about depressed people?

Maybe the new American Dream is to play the media, get astronomical punitive damages in a lawsuit then write books and appear on talk shows (like Ahmed Mohamed)

If all Malays must be Muslim, does it mean that before Islam came to Southeast Asia there were no Malays?

It's easy to blame politicians. But what about those who vote for them? "The common man" is not innocent.

If the Copenhagen summit was the last chance for the planet, why did we waste time in Paris?

Traveling isn't the only thing you buy that makes you richer. What about a self-improvement course? Or a 10 year bond?

If no man can serve two masters, how about God and Country?

The coherence of an argument varies proportionately with the number of fucks in it

Links - 8th February 2016

You can't block Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook
If enough people block me on Facebook, I shall become unblockable!

Myanmar activist jailed for Facebook post mocking army - "A Myanmar court has jailed a woman for six months for a Facebook post "ridiculing" the country's army chief and the colour of a new uniform. Chaw Sandi Tun, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's election-winning National League for Democracy (NLD) party, was found guilty under a new telecommunications law prohibiting the use of the telecoms network to "extort, threaten, obstruct, defame, disturb, inappropriately influence or intimidate"."

Hundreds in Scotland still have black and white TV

'Traces of cocaine' found in toilets of iconic UK cathedrals and churches

Activist fails to get police warning quashed - "The High Court has dismissed a civil activist's bid to quash a police warning, saying such warnings have no legal effect on the recipient so there is nothing for it to quash... Mr Wham was verbally warned and told similar leniency may not be shown in future. He refused to sign the Notice of Warning and was not given a copy. Such warnings are administered on the advice of the Attorney-General after investigations are completed and the findings reviewed... Mr Wham, concerned the stern warning would cause severe prejudice against him as it remained on record, then applied to court for a judicial review to quash the warning. The case has helped to clarify what a police warning implies... Justice Woo Bih Li ruled that such warnings are no more than an opinion of the relevant authority that the recipient has committed an offence. "It does not bind the recipient," he added. "It does not and cannot amount to a legally binding pronouncement of guilt or finding of fact. Only a court of law has the power to make such a pronouncement or finding." The judge explained that the recipient can challenge the warning as being inappropriate. He also pointed out that a court is not entitled to treat a warning as an antecedent or an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing a recipient who is subsequently convicted. The judge further noted the document meant for Mr Wham was headed "Notice of Warning" but the content referred to a "stern" warning. He said if there was a difference, the terms should not be used interchangeably."

Singapore singer Gentle Bones was detained in Indonesia for 3 months! - "Tan, the first home-grown act to be signed by Universal Music Singapore, revealed how immigration officials showed up after their two-hour show at Komunitas Salihara, a concert venue in Jakarta, asking for their passports. "Apparently we didn't have performance permits," he said. A spokesman for the tour's organiser Ellipsis Live, an entertainment and tour promotion company based in Australia and Asia, told The Straits Times that another promoter, Creon Asia, was responsible for the logistics - which included getting the permits - for the shows in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila."

Ever had drunk sex? That's rape, according to this university - "Coastal Carolina University, in South Carolina, is continuing its apparent quest to become the biggest panderer to the extreme wing of the campus sexual assault crusaders with a new poster claiming that only sober people can consent to sex. Nearly a decade ago, the same university hung up posters around campus claiming that women could not consent if they had been drinking, heavily implying that men could... any alcohol in the bloodstream would negate consent. Do students need to start carrying breathalyzers? The first question for any sexual encounter would always have to be: Have you had any alcohol? If yes, stop, put your hands up and get as far away from that person as possible, because anything done at that point is rape... "May I hold your hand?" "May I kiss you?" "May I touch you here?" and so forth become the new foreplay, each requiring a "yes" and counter question to proceed. No one has sex this way, making these policies a rather intrusive form of government regulation."

NEW DRESS CODE POLICY - "Administrative Circular No. SBM-2013-007 was issued on 01 October 2013 revising the policy on dress code imposed on clients transacting or with official business in the Bureau of Immigration (BI). Policy amendments were made to maximize and accommodate visitors and foreign nationals with legitimate dealings with the BI as well as the consideration of the tropical weather in the Philippines and the usual tourist attire."
Malaysia is not unique in havving a dress code in government offices

VA Caribbean Healthcare System - "Visitors are expected to wear clothing that is suitable for the hospital environment. The length of all skirts and shorts cannot be more than 4" above the knee while standing. Mini-skirts, spaghetti-strap dresses, dresses/blouses with low tops, bare shoulders, or shirts open to the waistline will not be allowed in the hospital premises."

Visiting Parliament House | Parliament Of Singapore - "Visitors are kindly requested to dress modestly and not to come in round-neck T-shirts, shorts or slippers"

Frequently Asked Questions | United Nations Visitor Centre - "Q: Is there a Dress Code?
A: Yes, please dress appropriately for the international diplomatic environment of the United Nations."

Visiting the Knesset - "Those who are wearing the following will not be allowed into the Knesset building: Shorts, 3/4 pants, torn pants, sleeveless shirts, shirts with political slogans, belly shirts and flip-flops.
This dress code applies to anyone aged 14 and older."

Keeping Your Car Safe From Electronic Thieves - NYTimes.com - "Last week, I started keeping my car keys in the freezer, and I may be at the forefront of a new digital safety trend. Let me explain: In recent months, there has been a slew of mysterious car break-ins in my Los Feliz neighborhood in Los Angeles. What’s odd is that there have been no signs of forced entry. There are no pools of broken glass on the pavement and no scratches on the doors from jimmied locks. But these break-ins seem to happen only to cars that use remote keyless systems, which replace traditional keys with wireless fobs. It happened to our neighbor Heidi, who lives up the hill and has a Mazda 3. It happened to Simon, who lives across the street from me and has a Toyota Prius."

Practice vs. practise - Grammarist - "In the main varieties of English from outside North America, practice is the noun, and practise is the verb. For instance, we would say that a doctor with a private practice practises privately. There is no such distinction in American English, where practice is both a noun and a verb, and practise is not used at all."

Gates of Jerusalem » The Golden Report - "The Jaffa Gate is located on the Western wall of the Old City. This gate has a lot of history over the past 100 years. The Jaffa gate marked the end of the highway leading from the Jaffa coast and now leads into the Muslim and Armenian quarters. A road allows cars to enter the Old City through a wide gap in the wall between Jaffa Gate and the Citadel. This passage was originally opened in 1898 when Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany visited Jerusalem. The ruling Ottoman Turks opened it so the German Emperor would not have to dismount his carriage to enter the city."

Christmas also celebrated by many non-Christians | Pew Research Center - "81% of non-Christians in the United States celebrate Christmas, testifying to the holiday’s wide acceptance – or, at least, its unavoidability – in American society."

Dead raccoon memorialized in downtown Toronto

How Did Public Opinion on Gay Marriage Shift So Quickly? - "In 1979, at the first national march on Washington for gay rights, it was no happenstance that posters for the march proclaimed, “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” The 1970s were marked by a push for gays and lesbians to “come out of the closet.” Recall that the first gay protest had occurred only a decade earlier, in 1969, when gays at the Stonewall Inn in the heart of Greenwich Village fought back for the first time ever after yet another police raid on gay bars... gay rights leaders, aided by psychologists, discovered through focus groups and polling that framing the concept of gay marriage as a “right” was speaking the wrong language. They simultaneously happened upon a surprising level of heterosexual support for the humanitarian idea that gay people might love and want to commit to their partners, just like anyone else. Gay leaders stopped talking about “rights” and started talking about “love and commitment.” "The rapid turnaround in public support for marriage equality is unprecedented, and it shows that message really matters," recalled Doug Hattaway, who conducted the research that led to the messaging shift."
Addendum: Funny, I thought gay rights were advanced by shouting at opponents of gay marriage and slamming them as bigots, which would make them support it

What freedom of speech? Prank petition to repeal First Amendment gets support at Yale (VIDEO) - "US political satirist and filmmaker Ami Horowitz approached the students at one of the most prestigious universities in the world asking its attendees to sign a petition in favor of repealing the First Amendment. “I think it is fantastic. I absolutely agree,” said one guy, while another commented: “I appreciate what you are trying to do.” “Brilliant,” “love it,” “I totally agree” and “…great,” were some of the compliments heard in support of the “anti-free speech"petition, which grew as he approached more students. “In under 60 minutes on campus, I collected over 50 signatures from the Yale University community calling for the repeal of the First Amendment of the US Constitution,” Horowitz said in his video."

False flag? ‘Tolerance’ of ISIS, Israel tested in social experiment at Berkeley (VIDEO) -
"A US political satirist staged a social experiment at a prestigious university. Waving an ISIS flag was met with no negative reaction, but with an Israeli flag he got a less-than-warm reception from the students."

Why is there no civil marriage in Israel? - "Israeli marriages are performed under laws inherited from Ottoman times that grant each Israeli religious community’s state-recognized leadership sole jurisdiction over marriage. These Ottoman religious communal structures, called millets, were continued by the British mandate. After Israel’s 1948 independence, Israel too maintained the system, citing among other considerations its obligations to the country’s minorities. As a consequence, marriages in Israel are performed only through religious institutions... Gay marriage is not actually illegal in Israel. There simply isn’t any institution empowered to carry it out. One signal that this may be more lacuna than conscious marginalization lies in the stark fact that no Protestants can marry in Israel either, not even each other; under British rule, Protestants married through British mandatory institutions, and a separate Israeli Protestant Christian hierarchy was never established."

Why it's wrong to blame western policies for the Paris attacks - "It’s beyond absurd to blame French occupation of Algeria for the shootings. This is the kind of apologism that facilitates radical Islam. This strategy only results in appeasement of puritanical radical Islamic ideology and only offers one solution: ‘the West is evil’. If past grievances and atrocities are considered to be the reasons behind these attacks then by this logic all Indians living in the UK would be retaliating to avenge the suffering their ancestors faced during British Colonialism. Bangladeshis would carry out attacks against Pakistan since they once ruthlessly persecuted Bengalis, killing more than a million of them and raping 200,000 of their women. If Fisk were right, Vietnam and Japan would not be some of the most pro-American countries in the world today. However the most pathetic and dismal response that came from the western press was from those who castigated Charlie Hebdo and blamed the cartoonists for provoking Muslims. If one follows this flawed narrative then all liberal Muslims struggling against radical Islam on a daily basis in their own Muslim majority countries should only have themselves to blame whenever they are brutally attacked by extremist clerics and their zealot followers... British Historian Tom Holland had his academic documentary on the origins of Islam cancelled by Channel 4 after he and his family received death threats and over 1200 complaints were received by Ofcom and Channel 4. To blame this ideology on recent western policies is nothing short of the murder of history. Blasphemy and critical evaluation of Mohammed’s character has always been forbidden and a highly sensitive issue among Muslims in the history of Islam. It is not a new issue. In 1929, Ilm-ud-din, a Muslim living in British India, took offence at a book published about Prophet Mohammed. He killed the publisher and was sentenced to death by the Indian Penal Code. Consequently he was considered a martyr; 200,000 people attended his funeral and he was praised by the ideological founder of Pakistan Allama Iqbal. Even today in Pakistan, Ilm-ud-din is used as an inspiration for those who would kill in the name of Islam."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

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

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes