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Friday, April 01, 2016

Links - 1st April 2016

Somebody created a Chrome plugin to remove all the #RememberingLKY posts on Facebook

Donald Trump will win in a landslide. *The mind behind ‘Dilbert’ explains why. - "Trump is well on his way to owning the identities of American, Alpha Males, and Women Who Like Alpha Males. Clinton is well on her way to owning the identities of angry women, beta males, immigrants, and disenfranchised minorities. If this were poker, which hand looks stronger to you for a national election?"

More than 3,200 families benefited from HOPE scheme since 2004: MSF - "“The scheme is intended for lower income couples who wish to keep their family size small and are committed to upgrading themselves and achieving a better life for themselves and their children,” said Ms Low. She also said that nine in 10 HOPE families have remained on the programme and have up to two children. As for those who choose to leave the programme, she said: “Of the 306 families who have withdrawn, 80 per cent do so within five years of joining the programme. About 40 per cent indicated they wish to have a third child.”"
Eugenics? Saving taxpayers' money? Both?

Coolcreativity - F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning!

The world’s social media habits uncovered in new UCL study - "The landmark project saw nine UCL anthropologists each spend 15 months living in eight countries* in communities as varied as an English village, a factory town in North China, and a community on the Turkish-Syrian border...
Social media is seen as enhancing education by low-income families , and hindering education by high-income families
Contrary to popular belief, social media is not making us more individualistic or narcissistic – it is in fact reinforcing our sense of family and community
Selfies look different around the world: people take ‘footies’ in Chile, selfies, ‘groupies’ and ‘uglies’ in the UK, and more traditional selfies in Italy and Brazil. In China selfies are popular among young men, whereas in India and on the Turkish-Syrian border they are seen as too informal for the formal space of social media...
Memes are now the moral police of online life: memes range from more serious, religious themes in India, to the humorous as with parody and jokes about politicians in Trinidad. But in both cases, memes often assert one set of values and criticise others. People who might be shy about expressing their own values and opinions often use memes instead
We tend to assume social media is a threat to privacy, but sometimes it can increase privacy: in most regions there is considerable anxiety about the threat to privacy posed by social media. But some of the largest populations in East and South Asia live in extended families with limited expectations of individual privacy. For them social media can be their first experience of this kind of privacy"

Hillingdon Council bans standing in pairs in town centre as Public Space Protection Order - "Councils are creating ‘bizarre’ offences – including Hillingdon Council’s ban on standing in pairs (unless you’re at a bus stop). Specifically, you’re banned from assembling in groups of ‘more than one’ in Hayes town centre, and a few other areas, unless waiting for a bus. A survey by the Manifesto Club found 79 councils have used Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to ban activities judged to have a ‘detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality’ since they came into force in October 2014. The civil liberties group said 130 PSPOs have been issued by councils, including 12 bans on loitering or congregating in groups, nine bans on swearing, three on face coverings, and two on aggressive or assertive charity collection. The powers have led to peculiar offences, with a move by North East Derbyshire Council to ban people from playing golf in a park including the prohibition of carrying golf equipment in the area, the campaigners said. Blackpool Council has banned people from ‘engaging youth in card tricks as a means of appropriating money” alongside the sale of lucky charms and heather in its city centre. And Kettering Borough Council has banned under-18s from an area of town between the hours of 11pm and 8am, effectively putting in place a curfew... ‘PSPOs are being routinely used by local authorities to criminalise a wide range of innocuous activities with minimal consultation or debate."

The teddy bear that went to war and then went viral - Telegraph - "“I was interested to read about the teddy bear that accompanied a Battle of Britain pilot as I too have a little bear, with my maiden name tape sewn on it, which I gave to my fiancé to take with him on his operations over Germany during the Second World War. “He was a Mosquito nightfighter pilot and flew 50 ops accompanied by my bear, and together they won the DFC [Distinguished Flying Cross]. “We were married for 50 years but now, sadly, I just have the bear.” With three sentences of perfect prose, Mrs Mellows had ensured readers of The Telegraph letters page were wiping their eyes over breakfast, clearing their throats and asking for the marmalade to be passed. Within 48 hours of its publication at the end of last week, her letter had been shared hundreds of times on social media, with many wanting to know more about the bear, the DFC – and Mrs Mellows... “We were totally innocent. We did not give ourselves to each other until we were married – even though every leave could have been the last time we met. It’s a big point I want to make.” She stresses it later: “It was the discipline many of us had at the time. I want my children and grandchildren to know that.” She obviously suspects that I have her down as a hussy – and, looking at her engagement photos, you can tell she would have turned plenty of heads."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, A history of celebrating 'safe and bland' music - "The music was black in origin. The original rock and roll music in America was black. It was then picked up by white musicians but as far as the establishment was concerned, the taint was still there.'
'Rock and Roll is the most destructive force in the country. A lewd, lascivious and larcenous influence on youth'...
'The rhythm itself they regarded as dangerous'
'There seems to be something about the idea of young people first of all enjoying themselves, secondly dancing and third, throwing themselves around in a vaguely sexual manner that really upsets people and that I think carries on to this day... racism did always use to be behind it... these days we're much more of a colour-blind country. I think when it comes to our musical taste. But perhaps the music business establishment isn't quite so colour-blind... the only thing that tends to be shocking is the voice of young black people. Particularly if they're making music that to white unschooled ears sounds aggressive or sounds threatening in some way. There is still this sense in our society that although we try to be colour-blind, when there are young black men shouting, we don't go 'okay they're acting in the same way as Marlon Brandon and Robert de Niro in gangster movies', we actually see it as some kind of threat to society"

Sweden is on track to become the world's first cashless society - "Right now, there's less than 80 billion Swedish crowns in circulation (about EUR8 billion) and Arvidsson says out of that, only 40 to 60 percent is actually still in regular circulation. The remainder has been buried in people’s backyards, in their sock drawers, or is being used for criminal activity. To give you an idea of how quickly the Swedes are rejecting cash, just six years ago, that figure was up around SEK106 billion. There are a couple of main factors that appear to have contributed to Sweden’s rapid swift towards electronic-only transactions. Not only have businesses done away with the 'minimum spend' rule when it comes to EFTPOS and credit card transactions, but there’s been a huge uptake of mobile app called Swish, which is the result of a collaboration between several major Swedish and Danish banks... "Swedes are pretty trusting and we’re used to embracing new technology so this was the perfect solution"... The other factor at play is the country’s crackdown on money laundering and organised crime, which has set so many guidelines in place about cash use, most people just opt for Swish or bank cards. "At the offices which do handle banknotes and coins, the customer must explain where the cash comes from, according to the regulations aimed at money laundering and terrorist financing," says Arvidsson, adding that if any cash transactions are considered 'suspicious' by bank staff, they're required to file a police report. "In general, the rule of thumb in Scandinavia is: 'If you have to pay in cash, something is wrong,'" writes Mikael Krogerus for Credit Suisse... two-thirds of Swedes think carrying cash is a human right, whether or not they actually want to do it"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The man who stood trial with Nelson Mandela - "I would rather put up a poster which says 'Bastard Exploiter', but that would have meaning. The removal of it takes away the right to expose, to debate, and what's proper: we cut into our right to Free Speech... [I would say to the South African student organising the {Cecil} Rhodes must Fall campaign] reshape your campaign to expose what Rhodes did and how the legacy continues in South Africa today and that is what you must fight"
Maybe the protestors will tell Denis Goldberg to Check His Privilege

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Will new EU measures prevent tax avoidance? - "It is quite true that Google make a tenth of their sales, ballpark terms, in the UK. It's also quite true that under current international tax rules... we don't go pro-rata to Sales, we go pro-rata to where the kind of valuable economic activity is... the software development would be a huge part of what Google does. So whether this is a good deal or a bad deal, you would never expect it to get to 10% of Google's [profit]... A Scotch Whiskey producer which sells half its stuff in the States and Japan would not expect to pay half of its corporation tax in the States and Japan"

Male Investors vs. Female Investors: How Do They Compare? - WSJ - "financial institutions and academics who have studied the respective investing habits of men and women do agree: Men are generally more confident about investing, while women are more goal-directed and trade less."

Woman shocked that plate of rice with fried chicken and veggies cost $20 -- even if it's from MBS food court - "Stomper Lu feels that it is 'ridiculous' that her maid was charged $20 for a plate of rice with vegetables and two and a half pieces of fried chicken. The incident happened on Mar 5 and the meal was purchased from a stall at a food court in Marina Bay Sands. A stall employee later told Lu that the price of the meal came largely from the chicken, as one piece cost $7 each... "My maid went around and she chose this stall 'The Malay Cuisine'. She ordered a plate of rice with a piece of chicken and one vegetable. This plate cost me $20.00!!"
Malay Economy Rice is an oxymoron

The Ideological Lens - "There is a ubiquitous trend in intellectual spaces of adopting an ideological lens through which to view media, people or events. A brief Google search for “feminist lens” will turn up dozens of academic papers and analyses from a “critical feminist perspective“. A search for “Marxist lens” will provide you with endless book and movie reviews of celebrated classics from the perspective of class conflict... However, it is rarely asked by those applying these “critical perspectives” whether or not they should apply a specific ideological lens to their perspective when viewing an item or situation. Invariably, the critic approaching the corpus holds the ideological position they are about to use to critique the work, making the analysis a self-contained, self-congratulatory, one-person circle-jerk to reaffirm that their ideological position is, indeed, the most correct one and that any competing ideologies are not only wrong but beyond recovery and so can be dismissed without further contemplation. A feminist conducting an analysis through a feminist lens is not learning anything new, they are masturbating... The term ‘lens’ is used because an ideological lens is analogous to an actual lens. If you look at the world through coloured lenses they filter out colours that do not match the tint of the lens. If one were to remain wearing the lens after it has served its purpose then one is receiving a distorted view of the world... Once one is convinced that the ideology they hold is not only correct but also morally superior, it’s easy to use it to fill in the gaps regarding the personality and motivations of one’s ideological opposition."

All secondary schools to receive Lee Kuan Yew-inspired workbook - "All secondary school students will receive a copy of a book inspired by the country's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to commemorate his first death anniversary. Mr Lee died last year on Mar 23, aged 91... Featuring extracts from newspaper articles and interviews with Mr Lee, his quotes as well as historical photographs, the book seeks to inspire readers to persevere regardless of the challenges they face in realising their dreams... one of the activities has students learning about how Mr Lee's vision of a corruption-free nation required tremendous moral courage. Students would then reflect on under which situations they could also exercise moral courage. "
It needs to be red. And smaller

Tragic World Map
Comment (elsewhere): "Are there commensurate 'centricity maps' for how other parts of the world view themselves vis-a-vis disasters outside of their own region? Or is it just 'The West' that is constantly judged by everyone else while conveniently ignoring all evidence to the contrary? Because if our response to our slaughter is to be scrutinised every time then some relativity would be good. You might want to check maps of which countries contribute most aid to natural and political disasters such as Syria, Darfur, floods in Pakistan and Bangladesh. They would show that 'The West' puts its money where its mouth is massively more than any other regions of the world both in total terms and per capita. Then there is the West providing most of the funding for UN development programmes and the WHO and other world bodies etc etc etc. It's also the West that takes the lead and devoted immediate attention and resource to Ebola and other pandemics. Are you even aware that the majority of the Palestinian Authority budget is also supplied by the EU and the USA for all the recognition that ever gets us from people who may shout louder but give nothing like we do to alleviate suffering there. The examples are endless so this map is just beyond myopic. The West doesn't owe it to the world to be all things to all people and part of the problem is that there is hardly any gratitude, just expectation. Therefore the map is false. We are expected not to judge one group of people over another but it's fine to judge all of us in this way and deny us even a day or two to have centricity towards our trauma? Wow."

Nikki Chao - IMDb - "Nikki Chao was born on March 7, 1980 in Singapore. She is an actress, known for China Dolls (2008) and Gagged Girls Compilation #2 (2012). See full bio »
Born: March 7, 1980 in Singapore"
Annabel Chong isn't Singapore's only porn star!

Why Kids Sext

Why Kids Sext

"Within an hour, the deputies realized just how common the sharing of nude pictures was at the school. “The boys kept telling us, ‘It’s nothing unusual. It happens all the time,’ ” Lowe recalls. Every time someone they were interviewing mentioned another kid who might have naked pictures on his or her phone, they had to call that kid in for an interview. After just a couple of days, the deputies had filled multiple evidence bins with phones, and they couldn’t see an end to it. Fears of a cabal got replaced by a more mundane concern: what to do with “hundreds of damned phones. I told the deputies, ‘We got to draw the line somewhere or we’re going to end up talking to every teenager in the damned county!’ ” Nor did the problem stop at the county’s borders. Several boys, in an effort to convince Lowe that they hadn’t been doing anything rare or deviant, showed him that he could type the hashtag symbol (#) into Instagram followed by the name of pretty much any nearby county and thenthots, and find a similar account. Most of the girls on Instagram fell into the same category as Jasmine. They had sent a picture to their boyfriend, or to someone they wanted to be their boyfriend, and then he had sent it on to others. For the most part, they were embarrassed but not devastated, Lowe said. They felt betrayed, but few seemed all that surprised that their photos had been passed around. What seemed to mortify them most was having to talk about what they’d done with a “police officer outside their age group”...

A handful of senior girls became indignant during the course of the interview. “This is my life and my body and I can do whatever I want with it,” or, “I don’t see any problem with it. I’m proud of my body,” Lowe remembers them saying. A few, as far as he could tell, had taken pictures especially for the Instagram accounts and had actively tried to get them posted. In the first couple of weeks of the investigation, Lowe’s characterization of the girls on Instagram morphed from “victims” to “I guess I’ll call them victims” to “they just fell into this category where they victimized themselves”...

In most states it is perfectly legal for two 16-year-olds to have sex. But if they take pictures, it’s a matter for the police...

Two popular girls persuaded an autistic boy to share a picture of his penis with them, then forwarded the picture to a wide circle of schoolmates. The district attorney decided to go after the boy...

A group of sociologists led by Elizabeth Armstrong has studied the class dynamics of the term slut as used by young college women. High-status women from affluent homes associate slutwith women they call “trashy” and not “classy.” To women from working-class families, upper-class women are “rich bitches in sororities”—whom they also commonly think of as sluts. The girl who called Briana a whore is a potential future sorority-chapter president. She and several other more affluent students described everyone associated with the Instagram accounts to me as “ghetto,” which in this context had mild racial connotations but generally stands for “trashy” or “the lower crowd.” The role of ultimate, quintessential slut fell to a “redneck” girl who appeared on Instagram. In the post-sexting-scandal lore, she “supposedly slept with her brother” (surely not true)...

Armstrong and her team identify this brand of sniping as a way girls police one another and establish a sort of moral superiority without denying themselves actual sex...

“I live literally in the middle of nowhere,” the girl told me. “And this boy I dated lived like 30 minutes away. I didn’t have a car and my parents weren’t going to drop me off, so we didn’t have any alone time. Our only way of being alone was to do it over the phone. It was a way of kind of dating without getting in trouble. A way of being sexual without being sexual, you know? And it was his way of showing he liked me a lot and my way of saying I trusted him.”...

“What are you wearing?,” she told me she wrote back, “Stinky track shorts and my virginity rocks T-shirt.” A boy asked another student for a picture, so she sent him a smiling selfie. “I didn’t mean your face,” he wrote back, so she sent him one of her foot...

In a study of 18-year-olds by Elizabeth Englander, 77 percent said the picture they sent caused no problems for them. The most common outcome of a sext, says Englander, is “nothing”: no loss, no gain...

Nighttime is the only time teens get to have intimate conversations and freely navigate their social world...

In the vast majority of cases, the picture lands only where it was meant to. Surveys consistently show that very few recipients share explicit selfies— without the sender’s consent...

Marsha Levick, a co-founder of the nonprofit Juvenile Law Center, sees many cases where the police investigation does much more harm than the incident itself. “The rush to prosecute always baffles me,” she says. “It’s the exponential humiliation of these boys, or more often girls, in an official setting, knowing their photos will be shown to police officers and judges and probation officers. And the reality is, a lot of these officials are going to be men. That process itself is what’s traumatizing”...

“The conjecture that the Internet or sexting has increased the number of molesters or their motivation to offend has not really been supported by the evidence,” says David Finkelhor, who runs the Crimes Against Children Research Center. In fact, all of the evidence suggests that child molesting and sex offenses in general have declined over the period in which sexting has become popular...

Kids have started to do their “risk taking” and “independence testing” online, which could minimize their exposure to actual violence and physical harm...

The high-school boys I spoke with barely glance at the sexts they receive. They gloat inwardly or brag to friends; they store them in special apps or count them. But actual fantasies come from porn, freely and widely available on the Internet. “Guys would pile them up,” one girl who had graduated a year earlier told me, referring to sexts they’d gotten. “It was more of a baseball-card, showing-off kind of thing.” Olivia described it as “like when they were little boys, playing with Pokémon cards”...

A recent review of 10 official sexting-education campaigns concluded that all of them erred on the side of what the researchers called “abstinence”—that is, advising teens not to sext at all. These tend to link sexting tightly to ruinous consequences, but that’s a problem, because ruination doesn’t normally follow the sending of a sext. “If we present it as inevitable, then we’ve lost our audience,” says Elizabeth Englander, who leads groups about sexting in middle and high schools, “because they know very well that in the vast majority of cases it doesn’t happen.” If you say otherwise, “then the kids know immediately that you don’t know anything.”

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Links - 31st March 2016

Ed: This was post #9,000 on this blog

There's a petition to ban David Cameron re-entering the country

Startup bringing driverless taxi service to Singapore

ST editor tells Lee Kuan Yew’s daughter to be happy that “we don’t spit on your dad’s grave” - "In the post he criticised Ms Lee for being a “sourpuss” and said that “if we hadn’t done this barrage of tributes, some political enemies might write bad things about us”. He asked Ms Lee to be glad that “we don’t spit on your dad’s grave.” The Straits Times led the sycophantic hero-worship of Mr Lee Kuan Yew with an entire series of articles in their newspaper just one year after the former Prime Minister’s death."

Lee Wei Ling - Lee Kuan Yew would have cringed at the hero worship... - "Lee Kuan Yew would have cringed at the hero worship just one year after his death... What made me write this article was a front page report in The Straits Times (Mar 21). It carried a photo of an outline of Papa's face made with 4,877 erasers that form an installation which is 2.3 m wide and 3.1 m tall, titled Our Father, Our Country, Our Flag. That was the work of 110 Singaporeans aged 17 to 35 using erasers with the Singapore flag on it. It was a well-meaning effort but it made me wince. Here is why: The photo brought back memories of my first visit to China with my father in 1976. It was the end of the Cultural Revolution and I have vivid memories of our delegation being greeted by young children lining the streets chanting loudly: "WELCOME, WELCOME, A VERY WARM WELCOME." It was very contrived and my father was not impressed. We are Singaporeans, not prone to excessive, unnatural displays of emotion. Papa merely waved at the children, as he would have done in Singapore. I refused to even do that. I stared straight ahead, feeling very sad for the people of the "Middle Kingdom" that was still run like a kingdom."
What would the FAPs have said if this had been written by someone else?

Fans Create A Road To Captain America: Civil War Supercut Using All MCU Movies

‘Use me’: outcry after scantily-clad women brave cold on streets of Beijing to promote phone app - "A publicity stunt has been strongly criticised on the internet in China after a group of women in their underwear braved the cold on the streets of Beijing to advertise a smartphone social media app. About 20 women wearing black underwear and high heels walked around the city’s business district promoting the product until they were stopped by security guards, the Beijing Times reported. The women all had the Chinese characters “use me” stamped on their back and computer scanning product codes on their buttocks... Police in Beijing briefly detained at least two foreigners dressed as Spartan warriors in July who took part in a publicity stunt on the streets of the capital to promote a salad company. Dozens of young foreign men dressed in tight leather shorts and flowing capes took part in the promotion."
PETA needs to go to China

Hand-in-hand with a white man: Dating and racial hierarchies in Singapore — Chinese Privilege - "To a young Tamil Singaporean woman like me, the concept of racism is nothing new or inconceivable. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until I started going out with my fiancé, who happens to be Caucasian, that I began to see a new side to racial discrimination in Singapore. The surprised looks by strangers were one thing, but the harsh comments made to me by fellow Indians, especially men, implying that I had somehow betrayed Indian men as a collective, came as quite a shock to me... Strangely, the most disapproving looks I have received are from fellow Indians. Some of my male Indian friends have remarked to me that my decision to date a Caucasian man, presumably before other Indian men, speaks to a broader pre-occupation with the white male ideal. These friends have even implied that it is insincere of me to be critical of heterosexual white male privilege and date a white man at the same time."
So Sangeetha claims Indian men date Chinese women to benefit from Chinese privilege, but publishes an article by an Indian woman dating a white man who doesn't call it benefiting from white privilege and who says those who criticise her are racist. Win.

*Some links removed as they're duplicates from Links - 15th March 2016*

On Mourning for Brussels, but not for Pakistan

There are more than 365 terrorist attacks in... - Haider Nadeem Mirza

"There are more than 365 terrorist attacks in Pakistan each year, if you want Facebook filters and land marks to be lit up, you would have to do it every single day of the year.

Why does it matter anyway? The attack in Pakistan went viral in South Asia, the attack in Turkey went viral over there, similarly an attack in Belgium went viral in Europe. This whole 'why don't you give us attention' narrative is so silly and pointless. It's not like they don't condemn attacks in muslim countries, they do. Its just that it doesn't come off as a shock because these things happen every day in our country. But it is very shocking to see this happen in more safer and peaceful countries like european ones.

It is a matter of mourning, you have to look at cultural backgrounds. The western world shares the same cultural values as Belgium, they will obviously be more sympathetic towards them than to middle eastern or south asian people, and thats human nature. Don't tell me you care for the people dying in north korea as much as you care for people dying in Pakistan. This isn't selective sympathy it's human nature. If anyone should be criticised on selective empathy it's us. Everybody says quite over the Shia genocide in Pakistan yet suddenly all of us become social activists when Israel bombs Palestine.

I might also add that it is highly insensitive to cry over media attention right after a terrorist attack happens. Imagine a family attending a funeral because one of their loved one passed away, and suddenly you start shouting at them saying 'why didn't you come to my funeral when my loved one died.' Thats exactly what you sound like when you whine for western attention."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Links - 28th March 2016

Artist designs stunning retro poster for 'Captain America: Civil War'

The grating uselessness of Humans of New York's open letter to Donald Trump - "An "open letter" already requires the writer to assume a certain self-importance — you may be writing to Donald Trump, but you're writing foreverybody else... if you actually weigh the substance of the letter, Stanton isn't actually writing about any of that. He's writing about himself. There are 26 sentences in Stanton's letter, and 17 of them are about himself, not Trump. This isn't a letter about the dangers of Trump being elected; it's a letter about Brandon Stanton being brave enough to speak out against Trump. I suspect Stanton's motives were pure when he sat down to write this, but the end result is a self-satisfied tribute to his own high-mindedness — and, inevitably, an extension of the extremely lucrative Humans of New Yorkbrand. It would take less than 10 minutes to rewrite this letter without any of the narcissism. Before he gets to Trump, Stanton talks about himself: his aversion to political statements, his decision to break this rule to speak out against Trump, and a strangely self-important little aside about the presidential candidates who have asked him to interview them... Stanton can't bring himself to take himself out of the story... "Dear Donald Trump supporters," Stanton's open letter could have begun. "I understand your frustration. Over the past six years, I've photographed and interviewed thousands of people who come from every situation you can imagine. I've seen people struggle, and talked to people with genuine concerns over the direction of this country. If you feel the same way, Donald Trump might seem like the answer to your problems. But he's not. Let me try to explain why." That's not as sexy a headline as "Read the Humans of New York guy as hedestroys Donald Trump," but it might do what it seems Stanton intended to do with this open letter: make a difference."

Donald Trump's son Eric receives threatening letter at his NYC home: report

Links between Turkey and ISIS are now 'undeniable'

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Iraqi troops move into Ramadi centre - "Both have been partly been driven by a desire on behalf of their universities not to offend their students, which has left more than academic to ponder publicly what the point of a expensive and time-consuming period at university is if not to challenge, to probe, to stimulate and maybe, to once or twice along the way, to offend the sensibilities of students. More worrying for some is the thought thathis process of re-evaluation might never end. Dotted around the grand squares of London are statues of the men who, amongst other achievements. created and defended the British Empire. It wasn't always pretty. In Parliament Square, looking out over the Palace of Westminster, the statue of a militarist imperialist survives, for now. Supporters of Winston Churchill and the fight for democracy can, for the moment, breathe easy. It's not the job of the present, said one academic of the Rhodes row, to tick off the past. But our tussle with history is part of our wrestle with the present. And it might be difficult to conduct that argument with much vigor if you're constantly afraid of giving or taking offence"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Turkey Shoots Down a Russian Bomber - "When the Syrians shot down a Turkish jet a few years ago which had entered Syrian airspace, President Erdogan's furious response was that a short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack. Ah. Ironic then that the image that stayed with me this week was the sight of a Russian bomber falling almost gracefully from the sky trailing a plume of smoke and flame. A Turkish plane had shot it down above the border with Syria...
Anastasia Lin said when she became Miss Canada earlier this year, that Chinese security services visited her father, who still lives in China. She said they threatened there would be consequences if she continued to speak out. 'Dad's really scared', she told the BBC. She said Miss World officials had also been bullied. Inside China the authorities have stamped out virtually all criticism of those who govern. The case of Anastasia Lin shows they're also trying to put pressure on critics beyond their borders. And the row over a simple sash in Austria makes it clear that no issue is too small for China when it comes to defending its position. A few years ago, Beijing expressed its approval when Britain changed its official position on Tibet. London previously recognised Chinese suzerainty over the Himalayan region. But that was amended to sovereignty. Just a few changed letters, but a world of difference to a Chinese diplomat. In the eyes of Britain, Tibet changed from being a tributary state of China to a part of China. The founder of Communist China Mao Zedong, quoted this week in the British Parliament, is the author of this attention to detail. Mao saw enemies everywhere and believed everything was political. He once said there was no such thing as art for art's sake: it had to serve the Revolution
current leaders don't see a beauty pageant as a simple parade of beauties"

'We'll break your phones and your bones': Journalists and JNU students attacked in court - "Mobs of lawyers thrashed journalists, with some even being attacked inside courtrooms, as they sought to send a message to anyone who was, in their eyes, a "traitor"... the scenes of violence in the court, with journalists being attacked in broad daylight, took place despite massive presence of police personnel throughout the court complex."

Why is British politics in an ‘Eton mess’? - "when Douglas Hurd ran against Major for the Tory leadership in 1990, he constantly had his Eton education used against him as a Bad Thing. So much so that in one interview he flipped, and said: ‘I thought I was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party, not some demented Marxist sect.’"

Snow Penis Causes 'Bias Incident' At Michigan U - "Michigan’s student life website defines bias incidents as “incidents that make people feel targeted because of their social identity group membership.” It’s unclear what group the reporting individual believes was targeted by the snow penis. “Based on this definition, it is unclear if the bias incident report was generated because of the perceived white male privilege displayed by the pearly member rising out up from the ground or because of inadequate sex representation as no efforts had been made to create a snow vagina.” A member of Michigan’s residential staff complained to the Review that it was “a little ridiculous” that a “phallic snow object” was taking up the time of campus officials. It’s unclear if Michigan has ever received a bias incident complaint for the throwing of “snowballs.”"

Germany: Traditional sausages banned in public canteens out of respect to Muslims claims Merkel ally - ""Vegetarians, vegans and Muslims are in a Holy Trinity: taking over power in Schleswig-Holstein canteens," deputy leader Ralf Stegner of the centre Social Democrat party mocked."

Emily Bright's answer to Without feminism, how do you make sure your autonomy isn't weaseled away? - Quora - "I frequently find myself disagreeing with the feminist voice. Not always, but more often than not. I think that in a lot of ways, feminism attempts to silence the voice of women who dissent from their opinion by grouping all women into a single entity like this... I don't find myself being silenced within antifeminist circles. I don't even find myself being silenced when I talk to MRAs. However, I do often find myself silenced by feminists by being outright blocked, told that I don't know what I'm talking about, or lumped into their sweeping generalizations"
Ahh... feminism and tolerance

Singing show tunes helps fight off dementia: study - "Researchers working with elderly residents at an East Coast care home found in a four-month long study found that people who sang their favorite songs showed a marked improvement compared to those who just listened. Among the songs sung during 50-minute sessions were hits from "The Wizard of Oz," "Oklahoma!" and "The Sound of Music.""

Jobs wanted in Australia: But not if they clash with golf - "A 58-year-old man was not prepared to work for three hours on Sundays because that was when he played golf.
A 19-year-old man turned down a job “to follow his dream of becoming an actor”.
A 26-year-old man refused a job because “he doesn’t work with chickens”.
A 50-year-old woman declined a receptionist position because of a “bad smell” in the office.
A 33-year-old man rejected car washing as “too difficult”.
A 23-year-old man refused to become a driver’s assistant because he wanted to drive."

Tired drivers as bad as drunk drivers - "driving for only three hours at night has a similar effect to driving under the influence of alcohol, and even two hours can be equivalent to a couple of drinks... up to 20 percent of traffic accidents in industrialized countries can be attributed to sleepiness while driving because of long periods behind the wheel, or because of the use of medicinal drugs."
If drunk drivers are jailed, why not sleepy ones?

Sikh group calls for politicians and media to stop using term 'Asian' to describe Rotherham grooming gang - "A Sikh group is urging the media and politicians not to describe the Rotherham grooming gang as “Asian” as the term is too vague and “besmirches” communities... “One of the demands in the Sikh Manifesto that we published a year ago before the General Election was that the government should encourage public bodies and the media to abandon the use of the term ‘Asian’ when describing perpetrators for reasons of political correctness. “If the four men that have been found guilty and carried out the abuse were Pakistani Muslims, this is how they should be described and not called Asian.”"

Muslim woman fined after lying about being attacked for wearing hijab - "The woman was given a £90 fine for wasting police time after officers even accompanied her to the scene to retrace her steps. Miss Choudhury said she was too scared to walk alone after the made-up attack and claimed Muslims were being targeted after the atrocities in the French capital"

Christian student kicked off Sheffield University course for anti-gay Facebook post - "Mr Ngole is appealing against the decision, but if it is not overturned it may prevent him from becoming a social worker. He believes the decision is an effective "bar to office for Christians" and that he may suffered discrimination. He said: "I wonder whether the university would have taken any action if a Muslim student who believes in Sharia law, with its teaching about women and homosexuality, had made moderate comments on his Facebook page. I don't think so.""

Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous - "the United States has never done well on international tests, and they are not good predictors of our national success. Since 1964, when the first such exam was administered to 13-year-olds in 12 countries, Americahas lagged behind its peers, rarely rising above the middle of the pack and doing particularly poorly in science and math. And yet over these past five decades, that same laggard country has dominated the world of science, technology, research and innovation. Consider the same pattern in two other highly innovative countries, Sweden and Israel. Israel ranks first in the world in venture-capital investments as a percentage of GDP; the United States ranks second, and Sweden is sixth, ahead of Great Britain and Germany. These nations do well by most measures of innovation, such as research and development spending and the number of high-tech companies as a share of all public companies. Yet all three countries fare surprisingly poorly in the OECD test rankings... other than bad test-takers, their economies have a few important traits in common: They are flexible. Their work cultures are non-hierarchical and merit-based. All operate like young countries, with energy and dynamism. All three are open societies, happy to let in the world’s ideas, goods and services. And people in all three nations are confident — a characteristic that can be measured. Despite ranking 27th and 30th in math, respectively, American and Israeli students came out at the top in their belief in their math abilities... Companies often prefer strong basics to narrow expertise. Andrew Benett, a management consultant, surveyed 100 business leaders and found that 84 of them said they would rather hire smart, passionate people, even if they didn’t have the exact skills their companies needed... Twenty years ago, tech companies might have survived simply as product manufacturers. Now they have to be on the cutting edge of design, marketing and social networking. You can make a sneaker equally well in many parts of the world, but you can’t sell it for $300 unless you’ve built a story around it... In 2013, two Oxford scholars conducted a comprehensive study on employment and found that, for workers to avoid the computerization of their jobs, “they will have to acquire creative and social skills.”

Alejandro González Iñárritu on race at the Oscars: 'It's not just black and white' - "he urged society to “liberate ourselves from all prejudice” – and to make sure the “colour of our skin becomes as irrelevant as the length of our hair”"
Why would he want people to discriminate by race as much as by hair length? Maybe Hollywood doesn't discriminate by hair length

New study: Electric cars may be worse for the environment than gas-powered - "In monetary terms, electric cars are about half-a-cent worse per mile for the environment than gas-powered cars, on average. This means that if a government wants to tax a car based on how much it pollutes, electric cars should be taxed half of one cent more per mile driven than gasoline cars. Much depends on where the car is driven. Gas-powered cars do worse in congested urban areas. For example, in Los Angeles, electric cars are 3.3 cents per mile better for the environment than gas-powered cars. Outside of metropolitan areas, electric cars are 1.5 cents per mile worse than gas-powered. In Grand Forks, N.D., for example, electric cars are 3 cents per mile worse."

Electric cars 'pose environmental threat' - ""The production phase of electric vehicles proved substantially more environmentally intensive," the report said, comparing it to how petrol and diesel cars are made. "The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles." In addition, producing batteries and electric motors requires a lot of toxic minerals such as nickel, copper and aluminium. Hence, the acidification impact is much greater than that of conventional car production. "Across the other impacts considered in the analysis including potential for effects related to acid rain, airborne particulate matter, smog, human toxicity, ecosystem toxicity and depletion of fossil fuel and mineral resources, electric vehicles consistently perform worse or on par with modern internal combustion engine vehicles, despite virtually zero direct emissions during operation," according to Prof Stromman."

Weird Al as Rambo

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