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Saturday, October 01, 2016

Links - 1st October 2016

Should we always believe the victim? (Opinion) - "Pundit Glenn Reynolds recently wrote: "So as I understand it, Atticus Finch is now the bad guy in "To Kill A Mockingbird," because he doubted a story about rape." How right he was... Al Sharpton took a page out of the old South's playbook and brought us Tawana Brawley, who accused six white men of raping her. The story of white on black crime resonated, and it helped to promote a social justice agenda, but Tawana Brawley was no more a rape victim than two white women in Scottsboro, Alabama, who falsely accused nine black teenagers more than 80 years ago. What do these stories have in common? Someone had an agenda, and they knew that a rape story would put it on a rocket powered toboggan. And, therein lies the origin of today's "rape culture" frenzy... I don't know what Erdely's agenda was, but it wasn't responsible journalism. Responsible journalism is hard. It isn't public relations. A responsible journalist digs for the truth, she doesn't just take her subject's agenda and run with it. That isn't journalism, that's "gossip," and like all gossip, it doesn't do anything positive for anyone."

BBC accused of sexism over 'gendered' Great British Bake Off icing - "The BBC has been accused of sexism over the colour of icing given to men and women on the Great British Bake Off."
At least this shows that life is so good people have nothing better to do

Jeremy Corbyn called for ‘complete rehabilitation’ of Leon Trotsky in Parliament - "Jeremy Corbyn used his position in Parliament to call for the “complete rehabilitation” of Leon Trotsky, it has emerged despite dismissing concerns about hard-Left entryism as “nonsense”. In 1988, the Labour leader – then a backbencher – demanded the Marxist revolutionary and other communists have their achievements formally recognised by the Russian state"

No hard feelings | The Economist - "Reconciliation after competition is more a masculine than a feminine trait... MEN have a long history of fighting with one another for dominance, but why such duels did not leave tribal unity in tatters and warriors less capable of working together to fend off attacks from predators and hostile clans remains a mystery. One common theory is that men more readily make up after fierce physical conflicts than do women. And an experiment run recently at Harvard University, by Joyce Benenson and Richard Wrangham, and published in Current Biology, suggests this may be true... Boxing—the sport closest to real fighting—showed the greatest difference. Males made contact for 6.3 seconds after a bout. Females did so for 2.8 seconds... such male bonding may go back a long way into the evolutionary past: similar differences between the sexes in post-conflict reconciliation have been seen in chimpanzees. Whether that means women are leaving the field of battle with more of a grudge than that borne by menfolk is a question for another experiment"

Girl uses Fifty Shades of Grey as basis for false rape claims against her father - "Ms McCulloch said the prospects for the father initially looked bleak. “His daughter had given a compelling interview to the police and my client had absolutely no real defence other than ‘I did not do it’,” she wrote. The only unusual thing about the interview was that in describing what her father had supposedly done and how her body had allegedly felt, she had used “certain words, phrases and descriptions which seemed beyond her years”... Ms McCulloch, a former police officer who is now a barrister at Church Court Chambers, persuaded the judge to adjourn the case so she could spend an afternoon and an evening reading the novel. Within seven minutes of her beginning her cross-examination, the daughter burst into tears in the witness box and admitted she had made the whole thing up to teach her strict father a lesson."
When it's so easy to make a false rape accusation and almost make it stick...

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is film The Shallows fair to sharks? - "I remember standing in a cold Richmond high street about 8 years ago... we were trying to get people to give us the standard reaction to the word shark, i.e. horror, shock, blood in the water. And it was a real struggle. People were lecturing us on shark conservation. And I think we've got almost past the Jaws thing in many ways... If you go to the Kruger national park and you get out of the car and a lion eats you, then it's silly human got out of the car. The lion was just doing what lions do. If you reverse that and make it a shark, doing exactly the same thing on the beach that it patrols every day, that's the shark's fault...
[On Peter Benchley regretting writing Jaws] I've met an awful lot of people in the last 30 years since I've been involved with sharks who were actually inspired to follow their careers by seeing Jaws. And I'm talking about scientists and conservationists... I thought Jaws was highly entertaining"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Do Muslim women face employment discrimination in the UK? - "'Demos, the think tank, suggested recently nearly half of economically inactive Muslim women say that they are unable to work because they look after the home. Now that may be that they would, they like doing that. It may be culturally they feel forced to do that. But the point is, isn't it, the driving force of the not being in the labour market doesn't come from the government. Doesn't come from discrimination. Doesn't come from Islamophobia. It comes from them and their families'
'Erm, I don't think you can make sweeping statements like that because Muslim women are-'
'Are you saying that's not true?'
'I don't think it is true, because Muslim people come from many different backgrounds. Yes, there may be some who are not wanting to get into work for the reasons you say, but when you look at the facts and you look at the level of discrimination that... Muslim women are enduring when they go into employment situation, when they go in to interviews, I think that is very clear. I don't think, it's clearly not legal to be asking women in employment situatons when they plan to have children, what their caring responsibilities and indeed, whether or not they're willing to travel outside of their local community and this is all the evidence that we were getting, and while what you are saying might be true for a group of people, it's not the overwhelming evidence that we had'
Jedi mind trick!

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Black, White and Beethoven - "Let me start with a confession. Something even my closest friends are unaware of. But I happen to have an interest, sometimes even an enjoyment of classical music. I'm black and was raised in a northern working class city. I feel nervous even admitting to this interest, like a bit of a traitor to my race...
We put barriers in the way. If we were to say only some children could progress in maths, there would be an outcry. And yet, for some reason we still talk about music of any genre as if it's an added extra, a nice to have. My view is until we really buy into music is valuable for every child and the arts more generally for their intrinsic value and also what they offer to our communities, to our society. The creativity that's developed through taking part - until we actually value that as a society and say that's crucial and every child should have the same opportunity, we won't crack this"
Good luck giving everyone equal art opportunities on shrinking budgets

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Friday's business with Rob Young - "The internet actually has done very little to our business. In fact outdoor advertising has grown faster than any other traditional form of advertising: television, print or radio. And we're actually seeing around the world now a decline in online advertising as consumers find it more and more irritating... over 30% of consumers in the UK now use ad-blocking, and that's over 50% in the US. And that combined with a lot of the spurious data that is delivered around click rates which are often just delivered by robots. I think advertisers are falling out of love with the Internet...
5 years ago about 3% of our revenues in the UK came from digital advertising and that's now over 50% this year. So we've become a true digital medium. And what that means is instead of guys going out with buckets of pastes and putting the posters on the billboards, you can change your message at the touch of a button in real time. So for instance we've got advertising at the moment which is directly related to Olympic success. We've got weather related advertising so there's a ice cream brand on at the moment which as soon as the temperature goes over 20 degrees, the advertising for that ice lolly appears on the screens. So it's a much more dynamic medium and a much more immediate medium...
I think with Minority Report I would say just because you can do it doesn't mean it's a good idea. And the truth is that people are rightly very concerned about privacy, right concerned about misuse of data. We are a mass reach medium. The great thing about outdoor is you're reaching a big audience so we would never want to be that precisely targeted. But what we can do is know exactly what audience is reaching our advertising and therefore be better targeted"

Has no Olympic Games ever increased sports participation? - Full Fact - "The Independent is not alone in downplaying the 'legacy effect' that hosting the Games has on sports participation. Research Fellow at the University of Brighton and author Mark Perryman asserted the same when he released his recent book 'Why the Olympics Aren't Good For Us, And How They Can Be', although he limited the claim to covering "recent Olympics". Further back in time, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee published a report in 2007 which examined the likely legacy that might be left by the 2012 Olympics. It bluntly asserted: "No host country has yet been able to demonstrate a direct benefit from the Olympic Games in the form of a lasting increase in participation.""
The evidence for London is similarly weak

Rio 2016: Does the Chinese public have a victim narrative? - "China's gymnasts were robbed, China's weightlifters were robbed, China's swimmers were robbed. The volleyball team only avoided being robbed by standing up to Swiss bullying (Yes that's a nation of 8 million bullying one of 1.4 billion, 175 times bigger)... According to one poll, more than 80% of the public think Rio's judges have a sinister bias against China. Only 16% believe other countries might equally be the victim of bad calls... But truly China's state media only have themselves to blame. If the Chinese public have an ineradicable victim narrative it is of their own creation... If rulings in international law are optional for the Chinese government then who can be surprised if the Chinese public applies the same principle to rulings in sport?"

20+ First-World Anarchist Who Don’t Give A Damn About Your Rules

India's New Parliament Has The Most Members Facing Criminal Charges In A Decade - "According to a recent analysis of 541 of the 543 lawmakers by India’s Association for Democratic Reforms, the country’s new parliament has 186 members (about 34 percent) facing criminal cases. The group’s previous reports show that the number has steadily risen since 2004... more of the candidates with criminal charges got elected (13 percent) than those with a clean record (5 percent). As elections get more expensive, candidates with criminal connections are attractive to political parties as they often have deep pockets, according to Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Vaishnav notes that voters in India sometimes prefer criminally-connected candidates who have a reputation for getting things done, offering protection, and using whatever means necessary to secure their community’s interests"

Someone is wrong on the Internet. That’s where I come in. - "The people who own clickbait sites are never held accountable for dealing in fear. They do, however, make quite a lot of money from advertising"

Flossing Isn't Backed by Science? - "The cost of conducting the sort of rigorous study that would produce evidence one way or the other would be prohibitive, Tomar told us, not to mention there would be some ethical issues inherent in telling a control group to never floss, even if they have food stuck in their teeth, and no good way of tracking whether or not they never actually do floss"

What does Muslim-owned mean? - The Middle Ground - " Imagine if the other religious groups started posting 100% Christian owned or 100% Hindu owned establishment stickers? Would that increase tensions, entrenching division?... The cost of halal certification (valid for a year) for food establishments, including training staff on halal requirements, range from $950 to over $1,600 depending on the size and type (hawker, bakery or restaurant) of eatery. This certifies that the ingredients they source, the preparation methods and kitchen are all halal. The halal scheme and rules of certification change for caterers and central kitchens though, you can see the overview here. And the certificate is only applicable to one outlet. That is, if you wish to open another outlet, you need to get another certificate... she uses the cheaper 100% Muslim Owned Establishment (MOE) tag issued by the Singapore Malay Chamber Of Commerce & Industry (SMCCI) to inspire confidence in her customers that while not halal certified, the owner is Muslim and hence more likely to adhere to halal standards... The Administration of Muslim Laws Act states that halal certification must be approved by Muis. Quite a fine balance for SMCCI, it seems to me. But it provides a cheaper alternative to the Muis certificate for cash-strapped businesses... I wonder if this indicates a lack of self confidence in religious knowledge. If you know the requirements of halal, sans certificate, the difference between “halal” and “Muslim-owned” should not matter. In fact, if a Muslim owner says his shop is halal, I would have more confidence in him – saying Muslim-owned just sounds like hedging to me. This insecurity may lead to an over-reliance on authority. Up north, there have been cases where people ask for halal… toilet bowls. In a Straits Times report in June this year, a director at Malaysia’s Islamic Development Department (Jakim), Mr Sirajuddin Suhaimee said: “People ask for a halal toilet bowl because it comes into contact with humans. Same for plastic bags and packaging that have contact with food.” Should it not be common sense that faecal stained toilet bowls are equally unclean (hence haram) whether it plops from a pious imam or otherwise? Why is there a need to ask the authorities for halal toilet bowls?"

Friday, September 30, 2016

Links - 30th September 2016

A George Carlin Special Too Raw After Sept. 11 Resurfaces Now - The New York Times - "In “I Kinda Like It,” Mr. Carlin addressed mass killings in a way that seemed on the surface out of touch with the tragedy that followed. In a cavalier tone, he says that he enjoys news of disasters the way a sports fan raves about seeing breaking records. An earthquake, he says in an outer-borough accent, “put up some really big numbers,” adding that he’s “always rooting for a really high death toll.”.. “I watch television news for one thing only — entertainment,” he said in “Jammin’ in New York,” his 1992 special. “My favorite thing is accidents and fires. I’m not interested in the budget. You show me a hospital on fire and I’m a happy guy.” What Mr. Carlin is doing here is satirizing American blood lust, bringing to the surface the impulse that makes professional wrestling and crime stories so popular. As he put it more bluntly in 1992, “At least I admit it.”"

Mandatory music classes hit a bad note with some Muslim parents - "When music class begins this week at Toronto’s Donwood Park elementary school, Mohammad Nouman Dasu will send a family member to collect his three young children. They will go home for an hour rather than sing and play instruments – a mandatory part of the Ontario curriculum he believes violates his Muslim faith. The Scarborough school and the Toronto District School Board originally had offered an accommodation – suggesting students could just clap their hands in place of playing instruments or listen to acapella versions of O Canada – but not a full exemption from the class... “We here believe that music is haram [forbidden]. We can neither listen to it, nor can we play a role in it,” said the mosque’s imam, Kasim Ingar. Conceding that Muslims have to adjust when they send their kids to public school, he suggested that some matters, such as teaching music, are beyond debate. “We do not compromise with anyone on the clear-cut orders and principles conveyed by the Prophet,” said Mr. Ingar, who also leads the Scarborough Muslim Association."

Scott Mitchell releases surveillance video of ex-fiancee Mary Hunt beating herself up - "A millionaire has released video of his former fiancee hitting herself in the face during a temper tantrum to rubbish claims he abused her. Scott Mitchell, 45, has released the footage of Mary Hunt, 29, supposedly beating herself up as part of a tense legal battle. The businessman from Tampa Bay, Florida, has accused her of stealing $2.1million worth of jewelry from the safe in his sprawling mansion when they split last summer. Hunt has claimed Mitchell was violent towards her, giving her black eyes and bruises, before he broke off the wedding in August"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Invention of Photography - "Hooker says that: this would be good for copying drawings of plants and no good for making an image of a plant that brings out what a botanist wants to know"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Plough Your Own Furrow? - "[On New Zealand being the only developed country with no subsidies for farmers]
'About 40% of our farmers' income was coming from subsidies back in those days. But the government couldn't afford to do that... It was a really difficult time for New Zealand... we probably lost, you know, 5% maybe of family farms. In those days we had 70 million sheep in New Zealand. And that was being armed on land that was not necessarily best place to be farming sheep. But it was being done because you were being paid to do it'
'And not necessarily because there's a market for the lamb that those sheep would yield'
'Absolutely. And so now we have half that number of sheep, but we produce almost the same amount of sheep meat because we've invested quite heavily in genetics.... bigger [animals], or what the market wanted. Back in those days when we had 70 million lambs, they were small. And there was a lot of sheep that people didn't wanna buy. They didn't want a small leg for a Sunday roast'
'Do you think the change away from subsidies brought about more of an entrepreneurial streak in farmers?'
'Absolutely. We can see that today... dairy prices are terrible. All across the world at the moment. Some of our dairy guys are looking at raising a little bit of beef from the dairy herd as well, because beef prices in the United States have been very good for us. So it's made us kinda think about what we produce. And I look sometimes at what comes out of Europe and the response to poor dairy prices has been let's look at export credits'"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Fertile Food - "Where does all this go? Do we end up in a situation where people have no responsibility over what they eat? They don't take responsibility for eating a healthy diet anymore. If we go down this path of fortifying with all the things that governments and scientists say we must have"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Survival Stories: Lost in the Desert - "It's the way that the plants naturally defends itself from other animals and insects. But some of these compounds are very toxic to us. Now there's nothing in nature which is sweet which is harmful for us. If you taste a leaf or a root or a tuber and it tastes vaguely sweet, then that's nature's way of saying that's safe to eat. But if it tastes very bitter that's an indication that it's toxic"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Survival Stories: Fish bacon for breakfast - "You actually excrete quite a dilute solution of electrolytes in your urine. And by drinking that again you would be supplying your body with some water. But of course when you're dehydrated the body is very good at adapting to concentrate your urine even further so the next lot of urine he would've produced would've been even more concentrated and that wouldn't have been good to drink. You'd be putting back too many salts into your body. So you could drink your own urine for about the first day of the survival but after that it becomes too concentrated"

Episode 39: The Malayan Dream - "Having been crushed in the Hong Lim by-election, Lee Kuan Yew cast about for a way to restore his authority and win the next election without conceding any of his power, especially to the party’s left wing. He floated a variety of schemes, including deliberately creating a bad situation, then resigning so that a successor government would be doomed to fail, thus forcing people to accept his return on his terms. This is totally true, he actually discussed doing this. It really shows how he placed himself above his country... UMNO politicians, thus insisted that the Chinese had assimilate into their definition of “Malay” identity, of which a core tenet was accepting Malay political dominance. Specifically, UMNO political dominance. Hence the central paradox confronting Singapore’s Chinese: The reasons which made them eager to reunify were the same reasons conservative Federation leaders could not countenance their participation in Malayan politics. Singapore’s Chinese saw themselves as loyal Malayans and were eager to participate in the politics of Malaya, to help form the future of Malaya - but progressive ideals and aspirations to equality and their formulation of a non-ethnic Malayan identity would have been fatal to the conservative Alliance coalition. Ironically, if Singapore’s Chinese had been less enthusiastic, more apathetic about politics, then maybe the UMNO leaders would have been more willing to accept them, knowing that they then would pose less of a political threat. Conversely, any concession to the UMNO vision of Malayan identity by the Chinese would mean the Chinese accepting a subordinate existence in Malaya. This was little different from their current colonial existence, so they would never agree to it."

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 162 - Sean Carroll on "Poetic Naturalism" - "If you want to say that there are tables and chairs, even though the would is made out of fermions and bosons and quantum wave functions at the deepest level, there's no real conceptual difference between saying that tables and chairs are real and saying that consciousness and free will are real. They're all higher-level ways of talking about reality in an emergent way, organizing the world at a higher level than the fundamental stuff... they really want morality to be objective and they almost inevitably admit it. If you talk to them, they almost inevitably say, "If you don't believe morality is objective, then bad consequences follow," and instead of saying, "Therefore I have a cognitive bias and should be suspicious of it," they say, "Therefore it's true"... I'm not sure that it matters, the answer to the question of whether or not these constructed moral guidelines are real or false... In some sense, they're obviously real. We constructed them, we have them, and we use them. They're real, they're exactly as real as the rules of chess are real. You cannot derive the rules of chess from the laws of physics or the laws of biology or anything like that, but we wrote them down and we agree on them and they're there. They're kind of real so they're not objective, but they're real."

The Great Fire of London | Podcast | History Extra - "I grew up with this belief that: oh it's only 6 or 7 people who died in the Great Fire of London. And you start to look into this for a moment and you realise that's complete and utter rubbish. In a serious fire of this nature there was no possibility that a small handful of handful could've died. I mean it's absolutely impossible to know what the death toll was. I put it at 100s if not 1000s. The reason why we have such sketchy records: this goes for everything else at the time as well, is for all these people who were poor, who were illiterate, who have no means of communicating their presence in England, and those would've been the worst affected by the fire, if they'd been burnt to death they'd have nobody would have come forward and said: my son, my wife, my mother has been killed by the fire. And have it last in any public sphere. So essentially we have all these people who would've died and the fire would've been so hot they would have been completely wiped from the world. I mean there'd have been no bones left, absolutely nothing...
[On anti-French in addition to anti-Catholic sentiment] you had these people who were coming to England. They were dressed very flamboyantly. They carried themselves with great airs and great dignity. So in fact one of the common insults of the day was to call somebody a French dog. And you have to imagine that the French were always seen as people who, because they dressed well, they ate well, they were seen as Other. And I think that especially people who hadn't been exposed to this sort of thing before saw them and thought: you must be in league with the Devil"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, 'Once again, horror has struck France' - "How strong is China's claim to the South China Sea? I mean obviously it goes back centuries doesn't it? But so too does Vietnam argue that it's belonged to them since, say, the 17th century.
'Exactly. The historic argument was totally trashed by the ruling because the ruling said okay. Chinese ancestors have sailed around the area. So have people from other nations. So really you cannot claim exclusive rights to the South China Sea, such a vast area'...
'When China was really thinking about this in the 1930s, it really began to think about the island chains. Obviously Vietnam was occupied by France, Philippines was an American colony and Britain was the colonial power in Malaysia and Hong Kong. And so they saw the claims to the islands that were made then by France and Britain as imperial claims. Whereas those imperial claims are now gone and these are now independent countries but they still look at them with the the same mindset rather than seeing this as a shared sea. There's a mosque in Guangzhou which was built in the 8th century by traders that came from the Middle East. Muslims that came. The ships that you see in traditional Chinese illustrations had design features that came from the Malay World. This has always been a place of exchange. The problem is that China has developed this narrative that they were the exclusive users of the sea. Whereas it's always been a shared sea. And that really should be its future'
'I suppose we shouldn't forget that this is an area that matters to all of us. Because as you've been suggesting, it's a route for trade, it's used for fishing and there could be natural resources there'
'I think the big figure is 5 trillion dollars of trade goes through it'"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Paint on the Cream Cake - "It's hard to find the truth, and even trying to look for it isn't always appreciated. One British journalist here, who appears to me to have provided much coverage that is nuanced and well-reported was singled out by critical Ethiopian voices as being a government lackey. A slanderous online blog post appeared, illustrated with a photo of him having a beer and a cigarette. Intended, I assume, to smear him as a morally dubious character. It reminded me how in Ethiopia, you're usually presumed to be either with the government or against it. There can be no middle ground. There's a pervasive inability to deal with criticism. Or to genuinely consider that there could be anything in the other's position. The longer I've spent in this country, the more this has appeared an almost endemic psychological flaw in the Ethiopian psyche. Make any criticism at all, especially as a foreigner, and immediately you collide with the mindset associated with the 1896 Battle of Adwa which repulsed would-be invaders from Italy. Fierce unity in the face of an enemy and total unwavering defensiveness of of Ethiopia. Sometimes that attitude is even applied to protestors... one man told me better a couple of hundred deaths now than a thousand if the government lost control and there was anarchy."

Drew's Handkerchief Trick

"Nineteenth-century Wall Street stock trader Daniel Drew was renowned for plenty of scams, but one that served him particularly well was his handkerchief trick. Drew famously once used it to pump up the price of Erie Railroad stock. After dining with fellow stock traders at a New York club, Drew wrapped a note in his handkerchief. It was a list of (fictional) reasons why Erie was a great buy. He placed the handkerchief in his pocket, then, when pulling it out, allowed the note to fall to the floor. After Drew had left, the traders swooped on the discarded note. Acting on Drew's false tip, they bought Erie stock and in the process pushed its price north. Drew was on the other side of the trades, madly selling at the inflated prices."

--- Uncommon Sense: Investment Wisdom Since the Stock Market's Dawn / Michael Kemp, Scott Pape

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Links - 29th September 2016

Court jails man caught illegally importing beef patties for Ramly burgers | TODAYonline - "Hoping to turn a quick profit over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a man who tried to illegally import beef patties has been sentenced to nine months’ jail... Dawood, who runs a car grooming and a food distribution company, had driven into Malaysia in a rented BMW around 7am on June 23 last year. After collecting the food items, he stored 105 packets of beef patties — weighing 37.8kg — under the spare tyre in the car boot. He was planning to supply the traditional cakes and pastries to shops in Singapore, and sell the beef patties to night market booths at Woodlands. About four hours later, he headed to Tuas Checkpoint to return to Singapore. After clearing immigration, he drove to a clearance area to declare his goods. An officer found that there were discrepancies on the permit submitted by Dawood, and asked her colleague to attend to him. Dawood was then told to drive to an inspection pit for further checks. But before turning into the pit, he realised that his lack of licence for the beef patties would be exposed. He saw that the vehicle barrier was raised and decided to make a run for it, the court heard. Around 12.30pm, his car broke down near Nanyang Technological University “as the engine had failed due to it being over-revved”. When the police eventually caught up with him, they found boxes of cakes and pastries on the grass patch beside the car. Dawood later led them to a drain near the expressway, where he had dumped the beef patties... The items, he added, were meant to help Dawood “make a small profit to help sustain his family”, which included 10 children. In her sentencing remarks, Judge Lee said: “Entrepreneurship is encouraged but this is certainly not the way to go about it. From start to end, you contravened the law. The manner you kept the (patties) — hiding them in the spare tyre — would have caused health problems.”"
Ramly Burgers are serious business in Singapore

Leader of Isil-allied migrant smuggling ring arrested in Italy - "According to investigators, the group used textile factories owned by the Bangladeshi men in Casandrino and Grumo Nevano as a front to falsify contracts and pay slips in order to provide migrants with the paper trail they needed to apply for stay permits."
For ISIS, the migrant crisis is the gift that keeps on giving

Muslims demand polygamy after Italy allows same-sex unions

Germany Puts Migration-Related Costs at Over $86 Billion Over Next Four Years - WSJ - "Yearly cost estimates are set to remain broadly stable over the years even though arrivals have slowed considerably—a testament to the government’s low expectations about its ability to integrate the newcomers, most of them from the Middle-East and poorly trained, into its economy... The high cost of caring for migrants also means German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative parties will have little leeway to pledge tax cuts during the campaign. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data from 2015 showed Germany had the third-highest tax wedge—the difference between before- and after-tax wages—of the club’s 35 members after Belgium and Austria"

Italian mayor hands out pepper spray instead of mimosas on Intl Women’s Day - "The measure comes as other European countries are taking more measures aimed at defending the female population. On Monday, police in the town of Ostersund in central Sweden told women not to go outside alone anymore. The warning was made due to reports of recent attacks in the area. It is best for women to “arrange a ride or walk in groups,” Stephen Jerand, the regional police chief, told Swedish broadcaster SVT . While maintaining that police have been doing everything possible to protect citizens, Jerand said “it is impossible to scan all the streets.”... Since February 20, six assaults on women have been reported in Ostersund, police said, adding that at least two had been subjected to violence over the weekend. Speaking at a press-conference on Monday, police said that nothing of the kind had ever happened in Ostersund before."

Refugee crisis: Influx of migrant child brides tests Germany - "Attention has been focused on the issue since June, when a court in Bamberg, Bavaria, accepted the marriage of a Syrian man of 21 and his 14-year-old cousin. The youth welfare service had separated the pair, who settled in nearby Aschaffenburg, and made the girl a ward of court. The couple then challenged the decision. The court ruled the marriage was valid because it had been carried out in accordance with Syrian law. Authorities have appealed to the constitutional court in Karlsruhe. Under German child welfare laws, anyone under the age of 16 must have a legal guardian. To find a solution to such cases, some officials have resorted to a controversial practice in which the husband is made legal guardian of an underage girl... Some in Germany argue the religious and cultural practices of the newcomers should be respected as part of their right to asylum. “If those ways of life are common elsewhere and such people legally migrate to here, it would mean denying them protection and robbing them of their rights,” said law professor Hans Michael Heinig."

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Seeds, Syrup and Subversion - "It's a tragedy, the deaths that have been linked to farming in India. But the piece was almost like a satire of what's really going on. For instance the idea that the seeds adopted in India have led to an increase in the use of pesticides when in fact there's one GMO seed approved in India, it's called BT. And it uses the same chemical that organic farmers spray on their crops in the United States and Britain. And it's led to an 85% reduction in the use of insecticides in India. There's been very little change in the rate of suicides that have occured in India with the introduction of hybrid seeds and in 2001 with the introduction of GMO seeds... the kind of agro-ecological-organic fantasies that are being presented in that story would lead to about a 40-50% reduction in yield and that would be a sustainability ecological disaster...
[On planting vegetables on the streets of Los Angeles] When there was toilets and beds and condoms, nothing ever happened. But soon as I planted a carrot and cleaned it up, all hell broke loose. I was cited by the city, I was told that this citation would turn into a warrant for my arrest if I didn't comply... we got the ordinance totally turned around where it's now totally legal in Los Angeles to plant food on the parkways in front of your home"

People Are Mad At This Newspaper Headline About Katie Ledecky
Comments: "greatest olympian of all time verses a talented woman at start of career. making a mountain out of a molehill. give ledecky 3 more games and she might take the crown from phelps but for now its his time"
[On an accusation of mansplaining] "Can you pretend that argument comes from a woman for a second? it's really stupid to dismiss somebody's opinion on the basis they are a given gender. In fact, that is the same sexism you seem to be complaining about."
"Michael Phelps tying for silver is more attention-grabbing than some person most people have never heard of breaking a record. Records are constantly being broken at the Olympics, but there's only one Michael Phelps."
"So a newspaper should not run stories people want to read but instead should only post stories that help end sexism? Honestly newspapers are already on the brink of extintion if they were to follow your advice they should just close up and move on. The bigger story was that Michael Phelp's lost his last individual event of a storied carrier. If I am being honest it would have been bigger news if Ledecky had lost given she was picked to win that race well ahead of her competitiors. In the end, achievment and news are two very seperate things."
"Do you think it was sexist when Brazilian news papers ran headlines saying "Giselle Bundchen's husband wins Super Bowl" (no mention of his name or team name)? I think they were playing to what their readers knew about."
""draw on all your experiences from the last time you were a woman"
And I presume you're drawing on your past experiences as a newspaper editor in dictating how they should do their jobs? Or perhaps our ability to think about and discuss various topics is not restricted by our identities."
"One was surprising and newsworthy. The other we could all see coming from the distance between Katie Ledecky and the next person away."
"there are plenty of times when men experience sexism. We just don't constantly whine about it."
"Maybe...just maybe... the writer believed that Phelps was the bigger story? And, maybe... just maybe Phelps would STILL have been the bigger headline even if Ledesky was a male swimmer? There are a lot of maybes to be considered before jumping to one conclusion. I choose not to be instantly offended. I prefer to understand the intention or agenda first before forming an opinion."
"Crimony, what an utter clusterfuck of a circular thread. Mansplain? Sure, I'll do it succinctly. You're all out of your blessed minds. All of you. A little bit - well, let's say, well-intentioned - effort initially from both sides to elucidate and hence subtlely the other, has degenerated into a battle of Borg vs. Borg. Resistace if futile. Ad infinitum. Convergent evolution of social regression."
"If Angelina Jolie even appeared at the Olympics, her name would be the top of the newspaper in the biggest font size possible. It's all about the more well-known name, nothing to do with gender."
"perhaps show katie some actual support by purchasing her sports illustrated cover issue. or committing yourself to actually following her skyrocketing career once the olympics are over. i assure you it will do you and her a lot more good than sitting here getting angry over a headline in a small town newspaper."
"Ok, let's solve this problem. Let the women race with the men. That's fair right? They won't win but at least they get the equality they want."
The different reaction to male and female commentors making the same point is a great illustration of feminist sexism

Arundhati Roy, India's Conscience? - "Where art thou, Arundhati Roy? The silence of India’s only winner of the Booker Prize is deafening after the country’s Maoists, whom she strongly supports, massacred a number of senior politicians recently... Another criticism of Arundhati also seems credible; that when she bats for someone, she gives no quarter to the other side. So when she takes up the cause of Kashmir’s Muslims, she pays little heed to the plight of Kashmir’s Hindus, who have been ethnically cleansed from Kashmir. The separatist Kashmiri leader, Ali Shah Geelani, wants to impose Sharia law in Kashmir, but that has not prevented Arundhati from becoming his fervent admirer. Imagine how she would fare in the world of Sharia if she comported there as she does now."

BBC World Service - Assignment , The City Giving Wine to Alcoholics - "When we began this, and we wrote this up and published this, we got a lot of very negative criticism from certain groups who were very abstinence-based. I got death threats during that period of time... it was from people who just did not understand what was happening here. The addiction community is very divided about harm reduction...
'Residents contribute to the cost of their keep, and the wine, through benefits or pensions. But the savings to Ottawa's taxpayers because people like Ray are no longer constantly being hospitalised are huge, says Dr Turnbull.'
'One of our clients was in the emergency department 191 times in the 6 months preceding coming into the program.'
'191 times? More than once a day some days'
'Absolutely. And that was just our hospital'...
Everyone I speak to tells me they're drinking less at The Oaks than they did on the streets. And some people: sure, it's a tiny minority - have stopped having the pour completely"

BBC Radio 4 - Analysis, Protectionism in the USA - "Using economic crises to demonise free trade and to say that protectionism is the answer. It turns into this tit for tat trade wars that were going on between the United States and its trade partners, in part because of this Hawley-Smoot tariff. It shrinks international trade and for once the Republicans were not able to blame free trade. Protectionism was taking the brunt of the blame for worsening the Great Depression...
After the Second World War, the United States bestrode the world like a colossus. The economies of all the major industrial powers had been destroyed for all practical purposes. So the US economy and industrial sector had nothing to fear from the rest of the world. That was a period in which corporate leaders and labour leaders came together in defence of free trade because the American economy had nothing to lose. Nothing to lose. It was easy to be in favour of free trade when we had no competitors"

BBC Radio 4 - Crossing Continents, Poland's Amateur Defenders - "This game called Combat Alert is being played on a big scale. There are nearly a 1,000 participants, battling from nightfall one day to nightfall the next across 40 square kilometres of forest, fields, lakes and rivers. Their weapons aren't real, though they look it. They're called airsoft guns. They fire tiny plastic pellets that only sting like a mosquito, so they're fantasy warriors. But they've been lent this mother of all playgrounds by the real Polish army which has also lent them real tanks and military trucks to get them from shootout to shootout. No surprising then that they're so happy. But it's not fun for free. The Polish state is supporting them for a purpose"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Obama's World - "In the cybersphere there was an obscure theological text that someone discovered and they put it on their blog. And in that obscure theological text I think from the 15th century, it said something to the effect that there will be a man who comes from the West who will have african origins. And he will be with us, right? Now, how do you say the one who is with us in Persian? Oo-ba-mah...
The US-China relationship is somewhat akin to the sport of water polo where on the surface it's a competitive game, but below the surface it's a brutal game where there's a lot of scratching, pulling, cheap shots. We see it in the South China Sea, we see it in the way that they're trying to treat some of our allies in the region...
Nabil Farmy [?] in Cairo, Egypt.
'Politics is a contact sport and it's not easy. He has a tendency to take strong positions, a lot of them quite correct. And then if he faces a problem he gives up'"

Links - 27th September 2016

French town flooded with wine after protesters crack open vats - "A protest group has cracked open vats of wine in a southern French town, sending thousands of litres into the streets, local media have reported. Emergency services had to help bring the flood under control and prevent it spilling into underground car parks. Those responsible said they belonged to the militant group the Regional Action Committee of Winemakers (Crav), France 3 reported. Crav has been alarmed by cheap imports and has claimed previous attacks"

'Ghostbusters' Heading for $70M-Plus Loss, Sequel Unlikely - "Immediately upon the opening of Ghostbusters in mid-July, top Sony executives boldly declared a sequel to Paul Feig's all-female reboot of Ivan Reitman's 1984 classic was a given. "While nothing has been officially announced yet, there's no doubt in my mind it will happen," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Sony. That was the studio's last public mention of a sequel. As of Aug. 7, Ghostbusters had earned just under $180 million at the global box office, including $117 million domestic. The film still hasn't opened in a few markets, including France, Japan and Mexico, but box-office experts say it will have trouble getting to $225 million despite a hefty net production budget of $144 million plus a big marketing spend. The studio has said break-even would be $300 million."
SJWing can't make a movie profitable

Daughter of Lee Kuan Yew criticises ‘authoritarian’ government - FT.com - "The daughter of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father, has criticised the city state’s government as “authoritarian” in an unusual public row over a proposed law which human rights groups fear will be used to stifle dissent. Lee Wei Ling, sister of current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, on Facebook compared her fellow citizens to people who have become so used to the smell of smoke that they can no longer detect the potential threat to their wellbeing. Dr Lee attacked a draft contempt of court bill as “an attempt to muzzle public opinion”."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The perfect climate for political stand-up? - "'Geoff Norcott says he is the UK's only declared Conservative-voting comedian'...
'I'm probably the only one stupid enough to centre a lot of my show around it, in the Scottish sea'...
'If an audience comes along and they're all left wing, and then the comedian on stage is left wing, you're just sort of confirming everybody's thoughts that they already thought before. I think that's a bit boring'...
''If I do my show to an audience of people who largely agree with what I say, it's not right. It doesn't feel good. It feels, start to feel like a bit of a rally. I actually rely on compassionate liberal left wingers to give the show a bit of creative tension'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Guest Editor: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez - "The Frenchman, he offered me a deal... his right hand man, a Brit, said you know, we like the music and things, but we have a problem with your speaking voice. Can you do another accent? And I said, yeah I could do Pakistani... my manager stood up and said let's get the hell out of here. So it's interesting how we do judge people in England on our accents...
'I always say that being a politician isn't a job. It's a way of life. And I think that's because it's all-encompassing'...
'I'm Spanish as you can hear from my accent. And I come from a culture where we talk about food all the time. So I remember when Nick first came to visit my family he was completely shocked that at breakfast time we talk about what we are going to have for lunch, and at lunch we talk about what we are going to have for dinner'"

Unplanned overdraft fees 'four times costlier than payday loans' - "Going overdrawn on a current account without permission can now be up to four times more costly than taking out a payday loan, according to new research from consumer body Which?... Which? suggested that unauthorised overdrafts were now more expensive than payday loans, which are notorious for their high interest rates: Wonga charges a representative APR of 1,509%."

The Blue Danube - J. Strauss Jr. - "Everything began when one Josef Weyl wrote an ode to the newly installed electric light, brightening the streets of Vienna. The song was composed in order to be performed by the local choir, but was soon forgotten, when electricity and street-lights became commonplace. But Jaohann Strauss, the composer of the song, did not forget the catchy tune. Several years later, when asked to write a musical piece for an exhibition in Paris, he again took the same melody and rearranged it for a string orchestra. The Parisian performance, by an exhibition orchestra, became a huge success. "The Blue Danube" became a hit, and its score is the best-selling music score of all time, of any musical piece"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Modern Love - "'Your life just kind of revolves around it. You wake up and you swipe, you go to sleep and you swipe and if you're like me, during conference calls at work, you swipe'... I tried Tinder very briefly in Bombay. In Bombay it it is still okay. In Delhi, really bad idea... I've heard horror stories from my friends about people who just sort of - in Hindi we have this term called chape (sp?) which means that they just refuse to take no for an answer so they will keep messaging you and bombarding you and sometimes it will get downright nasty... Attacks like the [Delhi gang rape] affect people's willingness to date... the victim was criticised by some for being out after dark with a man who wasn't her relative...
I'm not that interested. And I'll do the thing called ghosting where you just kinda disappear and you stop interacting with him. And I feel like it's as a last ditch, they'll randomly send you a photo of their penis. Or it'll be like 2 am and you're thinking that maybe they're drunk and they're just like: she should have seen what she missed on. And it's sorta funny cos you'll show it to all your girlfriends in the morning and you'll laugh. So maybe don't send penis photos"

They haven't got a queue: Government to teach immigrants the British art of lining up - "Immigrants are to be educated in how to queue properly to help them integrate into society. Foreigners applying to settle here will have to learn about the revered British practice of forming an orderly line for everything from buses to sandwiches. The art of queuing could be included in the test on aspects of the British way of life which foreign nationals applying for citizenship have to take...
Immigration minister Phil Woolas has claimed that much tension in communities is caused by foreigners not understanding they must wait in line for services rather than barging to the front as may be the custom in their own culture. Surveys show that 91 per cent of Britons object strongly to queue jumping."
Clearly British values aren't universal values

Is it more difficult for vegans to push themselves to physical extremes? - "it was crucial to seek a dietician's advice if you were a vegan looking to take part in sports that involve extreme physical endurance. "Another issue is the sheer quantity you would need to eat," she added, an issue especially pertinent on Everest, where every kilogram counts as kits are carried up the side of a mountain. "Lots of animal-based foods are more densely-packed with energy, protein, vitamins and minerals. "Because there's so much fibre in a vegan diet, you could be spending much more time eating. Look at the Tour de France - the time cyclists have to take in enough nutrition is minimal.""

Muslim flight attendant sues ExpressJet for insisting she serve alcohol - "Many contrasted her with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage certificates to gay couples on religious grounds. The two stories emerged around the same time. Davis, who was sued and jailed for six days, was allowed to return to work provided she did not interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses. The lawsuit states that ExpressJet is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because the airline did not provide a reasonable accommodation for Stanley’s religious beliefs"

Why Peppa Pig is evil - "They all go for a plate of Granny’s biscuits but Granny won’t let anyone eat the biscuits unless they say “Daddy’s Big Tummy”, and so Daddy’s humiliation is complete as the contempt felt for him now spans three pig generations."

National inquiry should not study violence against aboriginal men: experts - "The federal government should not study the alarming rate of violence against aboriginal men as part of its upcoming national inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women, international human-rights experts caution, saying that doing so would confuse the issue."
In another context, this might be called intersectionality (especially since aboriginal men get murdered more than women)

Indigenous Canadians comprised 23% of country's murder victims in 2014 - "Almost a quarter of homicide victims in Canada last year were aboriginal, even though the country’s indigenous people account for just 5% of the population, newly released federal statistics show. Twenty-three percent of the country’s 516 homicide victims in 2014 were aboriginal, making them almost six times more likely than non-indigenous Canadians to become victims of deadly violence, the federal statistics agency reported on Wednesday... the data confirmed that aboriginal people are overrepresented as both victims and perpetrators. Indigenous men are the most at risk, with data suggesting they were seven times more likely to be homicide victims than their non-aboriginal counterparts. The rate of people accused of homicide was also higher in the aboriginal population. Almost a third of those accused in 2014 – 431 people – were aboriginal... The previous Conservative government had angered First Nations leaders and activists by suggesting the high rates of violence were predominantly a domestic violence issue."

Chinese table tennis domination leads to exodus of talent - "Only three nations in the women's competition in 2012 were without a China-born player, or a player with Chinese roots — Egypt, North Korea and Japan... coaches in China required even the sick and injured to train. "If you want to be a world champion, it is better to train in China," Zhang said in an interview posted on the USA Table Tennis website last year. "But if you want to have a balanced life and want to be happy and free, then training in the U.S. is better"... For the players who leave China to compete for new countries, there can also be psychological strain. "When you don't know the opponent, you don't feel anything emotionally," said Jeon, the China-born ace for South Korea. "But because I know (the Chinese players) and have trained there ... my thoughts become complicated.""

Sick of all the "racist" Jynx Crap - Pokemon X Message Board for 3DS - Page 13 - GameFAQs - "Jynx is based on the Yama-Uba and not blackface. I'm not gonna post the Game Theories youtube link again but they're pretty expansive in their explanation."
"Black face isn't racist in Japan so jynx isn't racist. Its actually that simple. People still use black face in Japan today because its not considered racist. So if you have a problem with black face it's just that your problem. Plus there a fashion fad around before pokemon came out were japenese girls would dye there hair blond get a dark tan and wear lots of bright pink make up which some say is what jynx was based on."

Memin Pinguin: Mexican Cartoon Boy As Obama - "CNN and The Houston Chronicle reported on a protest in Houston that has caused retail giant Wal-Mart to pull a popular Mexican comic book from its shelves, at least in the Houston area. The offending comic is entitled “Memin Runs For President” and is about the beloved Mexican character Memin Pinguin. Shawnedria McGinty, an African-American woman, was browsing the store shelves and came across the comic. Memin is a young boy, clearly of African descent, and indeed is generally referred to in the comics as what is translated to as Black or Negro. Nothing wrong there. But Memin, and his mother, are drawn with huge lips and ears, and with features that together, to most, undoubtedly looks like a monkey... to many Mexicans, particularly those who have practically grown up with Memin, this was, as it was with the Japanese monkey controversy, just a cultural misunderstanding. Speaking to CNN, Javier Salas, a Spanish-language talk show host in Chicago said, “We respect him (Memin), we love him. And that’s why its so absurd for us to hear complaints from people who don’t know, don’t understand Memin.” He pointed out that to many Mexicans, the Memin character, who has been around for sixty years, is a positive role model, that many Mexican kids use to learn from. It should also be pointed out that this is not the first time Memin has come up as an issue in this country. In 2005, the Mexican government decided to honor Memin by issuing stamps with his image. The uproar in the U.S. from Blacks and leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, even prompted The White House to issue a statement decrying the decision. Then Mexican President Vicente Fox even stepped into the discussion and defended the character and said Americans simply didn’t understand Mexican culture."
Isn't it racist to be ethnocentric and claim something you don't understand is racist?

Anti-Feminazi - "As a Japanese citizen, let me just say....HOW in the world is this racist?!?! Haha seriously...."
"As a Japanese citizen, let me just say....HOW in the world is this racist?!?! Haha seriously....
"Whitesplaining how to get offended. Good job warrior."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Links - 26th September 2016

Google Maps v9.25.1 Adds Batch Photo Submission, Puts Contact Addresses In Your Places, And Gives Suggested Searches On Location Pages - "Another addition has been made to the Contribute screen, again putting focus on submitting photos for others to see. But this isn't just a little reminder or helpful hint, it's basically the grand poobah of batch submissions. Google is making it easy for people to snap dozens, or even hundreds of pictures for local establishments and submit them en masse. Just look for the new "Add your photos to Maps" card on the Contribute page. This leads to a screen with photos taken recently. The whole list loads automatically in multi-select mode and photos are grouped based on location. Suggestions for the associated business are given, but they can be changed using a dialog with a list of other nearby establishments. Captions can also be added to photos once they've been selected."
It's amazing how a few articles talk about the Google Maps Batch Photo Submission feature, but only this actually shows you what it looks like and how to use it

Travellers' Health & Vaccination Clinic (THVC) - Tan Tock Seng Hospital - " Adjunct Associate Professor Lim Poh Lian
Deputy Clinical Director, Communicable Disease Centre, Senior Consultant
Language(s) spoken
English, Malay, Cantonese
Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith
Consultant (Public Health)
Language(s) spoken
English, German, Dutch, some Mandarin
Dr. Shawn Vasoo Sushilan
Language(s) spoken
English, Mandarin, dialects"

Is it true that periods synchronise when women live together? - "In the 1970s when this paper came out, feminism was emerging as an important movement. Alvergne thinks this may be one of the reasons the idea became so popular. "I find that sometimes 'society values' are hiding in hypothesis. And from a feminist point of view, the idea that females would co-operate in the face of male domination is attractive"... "I've got a classic beta womb. My friend Suzanne has an alpha womb. She will bring anyone on within a 10-mile radius. She walks in menstruating, everyone is reaching for the tampons."

Two-Party System Killing Democracy? - "instead of voting to put someone in the White House, Americans are voting to keep someone out of it. Interestingly, fear is a chief influencer this election cycle. According to a recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, 80% of Trump supporters and 62% of Clinton supporters report that they would be “scared” if the other candidate won. Conversely, the percentage of people who would be “excited” about their own candidate’s victory rings in at a paltry 27% of Clinton, and 29% of Trump, followers.

Brown University Providing Tampons in Men's Bathrooms Because 'Both Sexes Menstruate' - "He also claimed the initiative would help “low-income students [who] struggle with having the necessary funding for food, let alone tampons,” and that it would “set a tone of trans-inclusivity” that trans people are “an important part of the population.”"
Comments: "There are so few trans men that even menstruate. Hormones are supposed to make you stop having your period. That's an even smaller minority than there are trans men. Jesus Christ."
"Throw them in the toilets to clog them all up. They won't think of putting them in there again"
"Maybe because they realized that it's the pussy generation that's getting admitted into their campus."
"At least they said "both" [genders] and not "all". They didn't hit APEX degeneracy yet"
"As a trans man i don't have a period lmfao fuck off"
"It's for nose bleeds, David Beckham does it"
No minority is too small to be catered to!

North Korea bans sarcasm because Kim Jong-un fears people only agree with him ‘ironically’ - "Officials told people that sarcastic expressions such as “This is all America’s fault” would constitute unacceptable criticism of the regime.""

How curiosity can protect the mind from bias - "smarter people shouldn’t be susceptible to prejudice swaying their opinions, right? Wrong. Other research shows that people with the most education, highest mathematical abilities, and the strongest tendencies to be reflective about their beliefs are the most likely to resist information which should contradict their prejudices. This undermines the simplistic assumption that prejudices are the result of too much gut instinct and not enough deep thought. Rather, people who have the facility for deeper thought about an issue can use those cognitive powers to justify what they already believe and find reasons to dismiss apparently contrary evidence... the results hold for issues in which political liberalism is associated with the anti-science beliefs, such as attitudes to GMO or vaccinations."

Multiculturalism and the Illusion of Diversity - "‘multiculturalism’ is not the same as cultural diversity. In political theory it refers to an approach that states adopt in order to negotiate the relationship between specific cultures and other members of society. Multiculturalism as a political ideology grew out of a rejection of modern Enlightenment values, which historically extended civil rights and liberties to blacks, Jews, gays and women. Multiculturalism is rooted in the belief that universal citizenship, equality before the law, and equality of opportunity (based on merit) are insufficient and that citizens in liberal states must be obligated to recognise and respect members of a cultural minority, should not be permitted to offend them, and must actively support the protection of their cultural beliefs from insult or criticism... Amartya Sen (2006) has developed a substantial attack on what he calls the 'solitaristic' theory underpinning multiculturalism, according to which human identities are assumed to be moulded by membership to a single group or monoculture. If people identify only with their own monoculture, this diminishes cross-cultural understanding and creates “ghettoization” and insularity. Those who stress “intersectionality” have distorted Sen's concept by prioritising the individual's membership in multiple sub-cultures of oppression, domination, or discrimination to the exclusion of membership in groups of privilege and power. A Muslim man from Pakistan may share both the oppressed status of an ethnic minority in a European host culture, while also enjoying huge male privilege both in his own culture and in his Western European host culture. Therefore, a Western European Christian woman may identify more strongly with a Pakistani woman than with a Western European man. Intersectionality seems to overlook this... As J. S. Mill perceived, cultural or social tyranny can become as formidable as any oppressive state apparatus, because it inserts its tentacles into the minutiae of personal life and leaves no part of it untouched... the politics of cultural recognition and assertion undermines the idea of a common humanity. This limits peoples’ sense of moral responsibility to members of their own cultural community"

Pokemon Go in Indian court for 'hurting religious sentiments' - "Augmented reality game Pokemon Go has landed up in an Indian court over allegations it is hurting the religious sentiments of millions of vegetarians. The high court in Gujarat state was asked to ban the game because its images of eggs in places of worship were "blasphemous" to Hindus and Jains."

Study: 10 Percent of U.S. Youths Cause Sexual Violence - "Nearly 10 percent of survey respondents reported perpetrating some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, with 4 percent reporting attempted or completed rape. In fact, teenage boys and girls increasingly instigate sexual violence—and many convicted perpetrators of sexual crimes began at young ages... Sexual violence is fairly common in the teenage years, both from a victim and perpetrator standpoint... females and males had carried out sexual violence at nearly equal levels by the age of 18. Of the survey respondents who reported being perpetrators, 48 percent were female and 52 percent were male. Interestingly, females tend to assault older victims, while males are more likely to choose younger victims. Females are also more likely to engage in "gang rape" types of activity and act in groups or teams (1 in 5 females reported this type of activity, compared with 1 in 39 males)... The four classifications of sexual violence considered were foresexual (or presexual) contact, coercive sex, attempted rape, and completed rape. Gender differences emerge in types of sexual violence. "Foresexual contact is similar for females and males," Ybarra said, with females slightly edging out males in this category (52 percent and 47 percent, respectively). "But when you get into coercive and attempted rape, it does seem to differ"—with males committing 75 percent of these crimes, compared with 25 percent committed by females. But they also found that completed rape is predominantly a male crime—a finding that is in line with general attitudes about rape... while females don't commit rape at the same rates as males, they are just as likely to coerce a male partner into foresexual contact"
Expanding the definition of sexual violence means that women are no longer the victims

The vibrating Little Rooster alarm clock that gives you an orgasm as you wake up - "The device is currently sold out worldwide as it's been so popular"

9/11 memorial stirs debate over 'Islamic terrorists' | abc13.com - "The Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier worries the wording could encourage hatred towards Muslims living in the city, painting all Muslims with the same brush, they say. Donald Castellucci, town supervisor for the city of Owego, says he doesn't see it that way. "I don't live in a politically-correct worldm" Castellucci says. "I live in a historical fact world and cross terrorism, whether it's American homegrown, Christianity, Islamic, you call it what it is." Castellucci also says the town "doesn't whitewash things," and think the monument is accurate in its description of those responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington. The Islamic group asks the monument change its description to read simply "terrorists" or even "al Qaeda terrorists.""
Is it Islamophobic to say the Taliban are/were Muslim?

Babysitter Jade Hatt who had sex with 11-year-old boy won't go to jail
Comment: "Where are the equality campaigners...utter hypocrites. They would be mouthing off by now if this was the other way round."

Air China magazine condemned over 'racist' guide to London - "MPs have urged China’s UK ambassador to intervene in a row over racist comments reportedly issued by a Chinese airline about ethnic minority areas of London. An image of text from an inflight Air China magazine posted on social media prompted outrage after it warned passengers that “precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people”. The text, tweeted by Beijing-based producer Haze Fan of US news channel CNBC, added: “We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling”... “I have invited representatives of Air China to visit my constituency of Ealing Southall to see that a very multicultural area is safe, and would be of great value for those visiting London to see. “I will await their response, and if an appropriate one is not forthcoming I shall feel forced to question whether Air China is a fit company to operate in the UK.""
According to UKCrimeStats.com, Ealing Southall had 1,035 crimes in June 2016 out of a residential population of 98,980, making for a rate of 1.05%. Richmond upon Thames, identified by the BBC as still being majority white, had 654 crimes in the same period - despite a residential population of 186,959, for a rate of 0.35%

Radical Feminists and Conservative Christians Team Up Against Transgender People - "the surprising nexus between radical feminists and Christian Right culture warriors has been with us a long time. In the 1980s, anti-porn feminists like Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin teamed up with anti-porn conservatives like Edwin Meese, leading to the passage of laws censoring sexual speech in the name of protecting women. In the last decade, anti-prostitution feminists have joined forces with fundamentalist Christians to prosecute sex workers under the aegis of sex trafficking laws. And now, some essentialist feminists – pejoratively nicknamed TERFs, for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists” – have provided the pseudo-philosophical basis for fundamentalist Christians’ anti-transgender laws"
The distinction between good and bad feminists is all too convenient

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Links - 25th September 2016

The truth about the gender wage gap - "Consider a study of lawyers’ salaries from Mary Noonan at the University of Iowa. She found that men see their salaries decrease more than women when they switch to a part-time schedule for a year. "It seems that men in the legal profession who take on non-traditional gender roles (i.e., taking responsibility for child care) pay a high price for that behavior," Noonan and her study co-authors write. If the workplace penalizes men more than women for taking breaks from work, then it could be the wiser financial decision for a mother to take on more caregiving activities. — the decision that society overwhelmingly expects... Goldin tends to be skeptical of policy solutions because they can often play out in unpredictable ways. And they treat a symptom of the root problem — inflexible workplaces — rather than the problem itself... Consider paid maternity leave, a policy often advocated to support working women. It is undoubtedly great for newborns to have more time with their mother in the first months of life. But this could actually lead to lower wages for women, as they would be more likely to have disruption to their careers. "Well-intentioned policies backfire 98 percent of the time," Goldin argues. "We find it hard to think ahead to what will actually happen. We are thinking about policy when we should be thinking about the workplace. That's the cause of all of this.""

Happy Ending to Unfortunate Love Story of Dutchman in China - "The 41-year-old Alexander Pieter Cirk from the Netherlands recently traveled to China’s Hunan province in the hopes of meeting his online girlfriend there...
Cirk made headlines again when he was admitted to the hospital after waiting at the airport for over ten days, on July 31. The Dutchman reportedly was hospitalized for physical exhaustion and neglecting his diabetes, eating nothing but instant noodles and sleeping on airport benches. Doctors stated that he was critically ill... According to Zhang, she had met ‘Peter’ on an online platform only over a month ago and the two hit it off. They had discussed meeting one day, but according to Zhang, this would maybe take place a year from now. When he later suddenly send her a photo of him and an airplane, she thought he was joking and never expected him to really come to Changsha. In the days that followed, Zhang waited online to get in touch with Peter, but could not get hold of him. Zhang later traveled to Zhengzhou, where she underwent a plastic surgery procedure. It was from the hospital where she learned of Cirk’s arrival and hospitalization. She told reporters she was not able to come and meet him as she was still recovering from her plastic surgery, which was allegedly confirmed by her doctor... He flew back to Amsterdam on Tuesday, August 2, where he told reporters at the airport that he “took the wrong steps to meet the girl” and that it was “the wrong timing”. He also confirmed he did not have the girl’s phone number upon his arrival in China and that there was no way to reach her."

Caught on camera: Egyptian politicians talk covert Ethiopia attack - "Apparently unaware they were being filmed on live TV, Egyptian politicians meeting with Egypt’s president on Monday proposed to sabotage Ethiopia’s plans to build a massive dam on the Nile River upstream. Some politicians suggested backing rebels to carry out sabotage"

Bitten to death by a dead mans head: The unfortunate, deserving & true tale of Sigurd Eysteinsson - "Sigurd fastened Máels sethered head to his horses saddle and started the ride back north. During the ups and downs of the horse ride back , Máels dangling sethered and bucktoothed head uncontrollably and accidentally bit Sigurds leg. The wound on the leg quickly became infected and inflamed and before he reached home, Sigurd had dead. As unlikely as it was, he had been killed by the head of a dead man and the cheated Máel managed to get his revenge after death"

Tennessee grandmother marries a 17-year-old she met at her son's funeral - "When grieving pensioner Almeda Errell from Sevierville, Tennessee went to pay her last respects at her son's funeral, the last thing she expected to find was love. Following a whirlwind three-week romance, she and Gary Hardwick – now 18, and who had previously dated a woman of 77 – tied the knot in a ceremony which he arranged for just $200 (£137) in six days... Lisa asked them both along to a family meal at the nearby Chuck E Cheese's pizza restaurant for her daughter Evelyn's ninth birthday. Sitting next to each other, it didn't take long for the old spark to reignite... 'I just came out with it and said to him, 'Look, I'm 71 and you're 17. Am I too old for you?' He squeezed my hand, grinned, and replied: 'Age is just a number.'' That night, after returning to Lisa's with the others, Gary surprised her with red roses and a bracelet for her birthday which had been a few days before. Then they shared their first tender kiss under the moonlight outside on a bench. 'It made me feel like a teenager again,' smiled Almeda... on their wedding night, they had sex for the first time. 'It was wonderful, beyond my wildest dreams,' revealed Gary. 'She really is my dream woman and the physical side of our relationship couldn't be better.' 'It was the best ever,' agreed Almeda. 'I'd never had a connection like it before.'"

What’s the Difference Between Canoes and Kayaks? - "Exactly when a canoe should be called a kayak is not always clear, although there are some basic differences in design and how they're usually used. For example, paddlers usually sit on a seat or kneel in a canoe, whereas kayakers are usually seated on the bottom of the boat with their legs stretched out in front of them."

Revolution begins to devour its own in a PC whitewash - "Unlike other identities, which are to be celebrated, whiteness is vile. Among leading figures in the whiteness studies movement we find statements such as, “there is no crime that whiteness has not committed against people of colour”. One of the pioneers of the field, US social scientist and historian Noel Ignatiev, has called for the “abolition of whiteness”. Statements such as this are hate speech under an academic veneer. Just imagine the response if any other race or identity were substituted... According to an online Harvard law article, “critical race scholars identify and embrace a radical tradition of race-conscious mobilisation as an empowerment strategy for African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and other persons of colour”. “Race-conscious mobilisation”? Is this 21st-century progressive thought? That phrase would not be out of place in the 1930s Nazi tabloid Der Sturmer... Whiteness studies is the logical end point of PC academe’s loathing of Western civilisation and all its works, and its exaltation of the “other”. It is striking how traditional progressive concerns such as women’s rights and opposition to cruel practices dissolve at the first whiff of conflict with the imperatives of culture and identity. Expatriate feminist Germaine Greer has been pilloried, rightly, for comments on the ABC’s Q&A where she compared female genital mutilation, which she euphemised to “genital cutting”, with voluntary cosmetic surgery. According to her, banning it would be “an attack on cultural identity”."

London Airbnb Host Turns Away Israeli Guest For 'Occupying Lands' - "“This is how the world pictures you: aggressive settlers occupying land, destroying houses. In a few words: not respecting basic human rights,” wrote Mario. “On that basis, I just cannot even consider hosting you, even if you pay me millions.” Kelmer, speaking to Newsweek from Tel Aviv, said he raised the issue on the Airbnb Facebook page just to highlight the problem he was facing in trying to get a room in London but was met by a wave of criticism and abuse. “I started getting harassment and people have put up a picture of me on Facebook that I am like a stuck-up Israeli, all kinds of sh*t,” he says. “I’ve really had enough. I just pointed out an issue, a problem I had with the guy, and it became like me representing Israel”,,, In reaction to the incident, Airbnb said they have removed Mario from their platform"
If hatred under the guise of being anti-Israel is acceptable, all forms of traditionally sanctioned bigotry can be

Britain’s Second World War and the Country House | Podcast | History Extra - "I try not to talk about misconceptions in the sense that often what people believe about the war matters to them a great deal. And I think previously in my historical career I've made the mistake of setting myself up as mythbuster but actually I think that's a bit disrespectful. You know, who am I to say that people's myths aren't important? They might be not based on the same sort of interpretation of evidence that I put forward. But what I think is interesting is the extent to which those ideas are being constructed at the time. So one of the things that I try to bring out is that this isn't something which is happening afterwards. I think often when we think about the past, we can think about there's
a set historical reality and then somewhere between then and us it gets mythologised. Whereas actually what's happening is that even at the time, the way the war is being written about, it shapes how people understand it. And that comes down to us in the present day."
Post-modernist history!

Medieval kebabs and pasties: 5 foods you (probably) didn’t know were being eaten in the Middle Ages

7 (more) surprising facts about the history of medicine - "The Indian surgeon Sushruta (c600 BC) used a plant-leaf template to dissect a flap of skin from the patient's cheek, leaving it attached by a strip called a pedicle. Twisting it so the wound surface remained downwards, Sushruta would suture it into the place of the missing nose and affix small reed tubes to act as nostrils."

Nazi super-cows and defamed Gods: 7 strange and forgotten moments in history - "fast-forward to Christian Europe, 0 is associated with a null point or void. The void is where the devil (supposedly) lurks; you can’t have a demonic value, so the humble 0 was banned for centuries. It’s also why our calendar is wrong. You can’t have Jesus born in a year 0, so he was born in year 1, and the year before was 1 BC (ignoring completely any need for a year 0)."

Forgotten science: 7 of the strangest scientific theories in history - "Perhaps the most ingenious attempt to reconcile the poetic testimony of the Bible with actual geological fact came from the Victorian zoologist Philip Gosse (1810–88). Gosse was a well-respected naturalist who was both the inventor of the aquarium and the world’s leading expert upon the genitalia of butterflies (strange but true), so the outrageous claims he made in his controversial 1857 book Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot shocked the world of Victorian science. In this much-mocked title, Gosse made the extraordinary assertion that all fossils and timeworn geological features were simply fakes that had been placed there by God to test our faith. The bones of extinct animals, the remnants of vanished volcanoes, the tell-tale signs that our landscapes have been formed over millions of years by the actions of glaciers and rivers – all, said Gosse, were created by Jehovah purely in order to make our planet seem more ‘realistic’. Just as a set-designer might position food and dishes on a table on-stage from a meal that never really took place so as not to break the illusion of reality for theatre-goers, so God left the fossilised remains of animals like woolly mammoths that never really existed lying buried within rock-strata and sediments. Such was the Deity’s commitment to verisimilitude, Gosse explained, that he even went so far as to scatter the globe with fossilised dinosaur excrement!"

Kidding/not kidding: a medieval sense of humour - "The comedian Kumail Nanjiani performs a skit about a birthday party he went to as a child in Karachi, which he prefaces by saying that “at most birthdays in Pakistan, a monkey shows up.” Should his (American) audience laugh here, or shouldn’t they? If they don’t, Nanjiani says – because it makes sense to them that monkeys and parties mix in Pakistan – “that’s kind of racist.” But Pakistani children really do have monkeys show at their birthday parties, and laughing at that is probably also kind of racist. Laugh, don’t laugh: either way, it’s half right and half wrong."

I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice
That some people are pro-abortion is not a conservative straw man

American 'abortion addict' who had 15 terminations in 17 years publishes her memoir - "Irene Vilar said she had the abortions not from poverty or fear but as an extraordinary act of rebellion against her 'controlling' husband who did not want children"

The naughty nun – a raunchy woodcut from 1555

Facebook Has Been Intentionally Crashing Its Android App on Users - "The purpose of the test, which happened several years ago, was to see at what threshold would a person ditch the Facebook app altogether. The company wasn't able to reach the threshold. "People never stopped coming back," this person says."

China attacks Hong Kong 'separatists' as pro-independence candidate blocked from election - "Beijing has accused the U.S. of working with so-called separatists in Hong Kong and Taiwan to undermine China and plunge it into chaos. In a video posted online by the Chinese Supreme People's Procuratorate, apocalyptic images of Syria and Iraq are contrasted with bucolic views of China today. "The haze of 'domestic and international concerns' has not dispersed from the Chinese sky," the video says."
If Hong Kong or Taiwan's independence will make China like Syria or Iraq, it means the CCP has screwed up China like how the Baathists fractured Syria and Iraq with their tactics
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