When you can't live without bananas

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Links - 19th December 2016

Saving Singapore's street food - "What is needed is also a re-examination of the role of hawker centres. Is it realistic to expect all food at hawker centres to be both cheap and good?... "At the end of the day, it all boils down to whether hawkers can earn a living," he said. "Right now, the price of hawker food is artificially low because many of the pioneer hawkers are still paying heavily subsidised rents. New hawkers who have to pay higher rents find it difficult to compete.""

Yellowstone National Park Tourist Dies While Hot Pot Bathing in Pool - "They couldn't recover her brother's body from the pool, and upon returning the next day, found that the acidic waters had disintegrated the body. "In a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving," Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress said"

Explaining it all - "For the past two years, Ezra Klein’s philosophy in running Vox.com has been precisely this: people do not need facts, they need explanations... The Vox “explainers” say it plainly: about this, there can be no doubt. Yet strangely, Vox staff would likely bristle at being called mere manufacturers of “opinion” or “commentary.” This is because when a Vox-er declares a scandal to be “bullshit,” he intends it as fact rather than opinion. There is no attempt to distinguish between the journalistic and the editorial. It all blurs together as “analysis”... Vox inherently practices a crude and cruel form of rhetorical dishonesty: it treats matters of profound complexity as if they are able to be settled through mere expertise. If anyone disagrees with what the wonks have concluded, they must be dumb, delusional, or both. As conservatives quickly pointed out after Vox’s debut, this ends up meaning that liberal political values are implicitly assumed to be factually correct. It has also meant that over the course of 2015-2016, Vox became a powerful propaganda outlet for Hillary Clinton’s campaign... Clinton appeals so perfectly to the Vox sensibility that its writers become puzzled when trying to figure out how anyone could oppose her. So Ezra Klein will ruminate on the mystery of why Hillary Clinton is distrusted by the public but liked by those in her inner circle, concluding that it is because Clinton is a careful listener who prefers paying attention to the views of others rather than explaining her own. (Klein doesn’t mention the equally plausible thesis that Clinton is distrusted because she tells lies about things and treats the public with cynicism and contempt.)... As Fredrik deBoer says in his critique of Vox, the “explainer” stance is insidious, because it disguises partisanship as objectivity, falsely assuming that there can be such a thing as a “view from nowhere.” He shows how Vox used selective and highly unreliable empirical data in order to attack Bernie Sanders, while cultivating the illusion of rigor and neutrality... as Frankie Boyle has recently pointed out, it’s amusing to see those who whine about the rise of “post-truth politics” suddenly turn and declare that Donald Trump is a Russian agent... Vox’s factual unreliability is not merely a product of Klein’s sloppy oversight, however. It is in many ways inherent to the site’s model of content production, which depends entirely on having incredibly young writers assume a position of omniscient expertise"

Your Hitler analogy is wrong, and other complaints from a history professor - "Recently, writers and pundits have been on a quest to find historical analogs for people, parties, and movements in our own times. Trump is like Hitler, Mussolini, and Napoleon; the imploding GOP getting rid of one ill-suited candidate after another is like Robespierre in the French Revolution, who stuck the executioner in the guillotine because there was no one left to behead. The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was like Robert E. Lee... Really? Trump is like Hitler? The egotistical buffoon who sees himself as his own primary foreign adviser and changes his views on abortion three times in one day is like the despicable human being who oversaw the death of 6 million Jews? Hitler comparison has become so common over the years that it has its own probability factor known as Godwin's Law... Mostly these comparisons are shallow and not rooted in any depth of meaningful knowledge of the past. They rely on caricatures and selective historical tidbits in a way that, indeed, just about anyone can be compared to anyone else. Even worse, they dumb down our political discourse, cheapen the actual realities of the past, and rob us of the opportunity to genuinely understand and learn from the past... Simplistic historical analogies do a sort of epistemic violence to the past and to ourselves. When we say that Trump or Obama is like Hitler, we slowly water down our actual knowledge of the very historical things we are using for comparison... what we want to remember and what we ought to remember are not always one and the same... The only problem is that history really doesn't repeat itself. If anything, it remixes themes, reprises melodies, and borrows nasty racist ideologies... To compare Trump to Napoleon or Hitler is to make a vacuous historical comparison that obscures more than it reveals"

‘Busy Tories’ are reason pollsters keep predicting wrong results - "Prof Curtice, whose exit polls correctly predicted the 2015 general election when others had failed, admitted that Labour voters were more likely to be at home - rather than out at work or undertaking social engagements - when samplers phoned or called round... Prof Curtice said that the 2015 pre-election polls had also overestimated how many young Labour supporters would actually vote. The sort of people who tend to respond to surveys are likely to be more politically motivated, so pollsters sometimes underestimate the numbers who will abstain."

This is pretty awkward for people who criticize Donald Trump’s immigration plans - "Obama will have presided over more deportations than any of his predecessors, even without accounting for this year's deportations"

Developed world sees huge increase in terror deaths - "The developed world became more dangerous in 2015 with a massive increase in deaths from terrorism, although globally there was a slight fall... In 2015, there were 731 deaths related to terrorism in the 34 countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which includes the US, UK, Germany, France, and Turkey. The number represents the 650% increase on the previous year, with 21 of the 34 countries suffering at least one attack, the report says. Most of the victims were killed in Turkey and France... The report claims that within OECD countries, youth unemployment, levels of criminality, access to weapons and distrust in the electoral process are the most significant factors correlating with terrorism... ISIS became active in more countries -- jumping from 13 in 2014 to 28 countries in 2015."

Dad Who’s Been Trolling Daughter By Recreating Her Racy Selfies Now Has 2x More Followers Than Her

German poster of Baroque old master 'too disturbing' - "Residents in the town of Heppenheim were horrified when a poster showing Judith Slaying Holofernes - the best-known work of early Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi - went up on an advertising column... Museum director Alexander Klar defended the poster, saying many traditional images could be similarly criticised. "Have you ever seen children stand horrified in front of Christ nailed to the cross?" he asks the paper, adding that the work aims to arouse pity and get people to think about the nature of cruelty."

Jeremy Paxman 'baffled' by students' University Challenge boycott - "Jeremy Paxman has said he is baffled by students voting to boycott University Challenge over claims he made misogynistic and sexist comments to previous team members... “I have racked my brains to discover what on earth the Reading students’ union is on about,” he said in a statement. “I think they’re referring to a recording of University Challenge which took place in February 2015, though I am baffled at why it has become an issue a year and a half later."
Not being told the evidence for what you're accused of - very Communist

15+ Architects Who Had One Job And Still Failed

Remember When Trump Got Palm Beach’s Country Clubs To Desegregate? Neither Does The Media

Carrie Fisher Reveals She Had an Affair With Harrison Ford on ‘Star Wars’: ‘It Was So Intense’ - "“I looked over at Harrison. A hero’s face — a few strands of hair fell over his noble, slightly furrowed brow,” she writes. “How could you ask such a shining specimen of a man to be satisfied with the likes of me?” Although their unlikely romance took Fisher by complete surprise and ran its course once the film wrapped, she remembers the time fondly."

Swedish women get hotline to report mansplaining
Has Sweden hit peak feminism?

Clinton campaign staffer blames ‘internalized misogyny’ for candidate losing white women’s vote - "Jess McIntosh, who worked as director of communications outreach for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, told MSNBC Monday that white women didn’t vote for the candidate due to “internalized misogyny.”"

For the first time in India, the rich beg the poor to help them - "Maids, drivers, nannies, and cooks in India are experiencing unusual politeness from their employers. Beyond the work they do every day, they suddenly have another use – to launder the undeclared cash which the rich have been hoarding in steel wardrobes, under the mattress and in under-bed storage. This sudden outbreak of niceness is the outcome of India's current crackdown on "black money" - income in the form of cash that has not been declared to the tax authorities. On November 8, the day before Sharma's employer became a lamb, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped 500 and 1000-rupee notes to root out corruption and force more Indians into the tax net."

Sanders Urges Supporters: Ditch Identity Politics And Embrace The Working Class

Far-right, or do you just disagree with them? - "In Europe, anyone who favours exiting the European Union is hit with charges of far-right populism... Bill Shorten, who should know better, routinely describes the conservative faction of the parliamentary Liberal Party as ‘the far-right’ and castigates Turnbull for ‘caving’ into them. Anyone who didn’t know better would think Turnbull’s conferring with his conservative parliamentary caucus is tantamount to Churchill cosying up to Oswald Mosley or George W. Bush negotiating with the Klan... If the far-right constitutes a space on the political spectrum and if Hitler, Le Pen and Cory Bernardi are considered to occupy a space on that spectrum then the term essentially has no meaning... The extreme nature of the far-right has two unique characteristics that distinguish it from right-wing populism, the alt-right or ultra-conservatism. The first and most important is the role of violence in politics. Do they endorse violence, do their supporters engage in violence or has their recent tradition been one of violence? This aspect is very identifiable and would obviously include any neo-Nazi group, the Golden Dawn in Greece, or the British National Party (BNP) – many of whose members have violent pasts and voice justifications for racist violence. The second set of characteristics relates to divergent opinions on a range of questions of history and identity issues. The less complicated of these would include the belief in the racial superiority of one specific group and the inherent inferiority of another... the mere affirmation of a conservative mindset and a belief in things such as border integrity and the maintenance of social traditions is a red flag signalling malicious intent"

Before Capitalism, Medieval Peasants Got More Vacation Time Than You. Here's Why. - "Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off. The Church, mindful of how to keep a population from rebelling, enforced frequent mandatory holidays. Weddings, wakes and births might mean a week off quaffing ale to celebrate, and when wandering jugglers or sporting events came to town, the peasant expected time off for entertainment. There were labor-free Sundays, and when the plowing and harvesting seasons were over, the peasant got time to rest, too. In fact, economist Juliet Shor found that during periods of particularly high wages, such as 14th-century England, peasants might put in no more than 150 days a year."

‘Doctor Strange’ Director Owns Up to Whitewashing Controversy - "“It was a challenge from the beginning that I knew I was facing with both Wong and the Ancient One being pretty bad racial stereotypes—1960s versions of what Western white people thought Asians were like,” he said. “We weren’t going to have the Ancient One as the Fu Manchu magical Asian on the hill being the mentor to the white hero. I knew that we had a long way to go to get away from that stereotype and cliché.”"
Presumably 'whitewashing' is a lesser sin than 'perpetuating stereotypes', so this was the best casting decision they could've made

Professor who tweeted against PC culture is out at NYU - "Liberal studies prof Michael Rectenwald, 57, said he was forced Wednesday to go on paid leave for the rest of the semester... He chose to be anonymous, he explained in one of his first tweets, because he was afraid “the PC Gestapo would ruin me” if he put his name ­behind his conservative ideas on the famously liberal campus. “I remember once on my Facebook I posted a story about a kid who changed his pronoun to ‘His Majesty’ because I thought it was funny,” he told The Post. “Then I got viciously attacked by 400 people. This whole milieu is nauseating. I grew tired of it, so I made the account”... Rectenwald was summoned to a meeting with his department dean and an HR representative, he says. “They claimed they were worried about me and a couple people had expressed concern about my mental health. They suggested my voicing these opinions was a cry for help,” Rectenwald told The Post. “Then they said I should leave and get help.”"

NYU Brings Back 'Deplorable Professor', Awards Him a Raise - "Liberal studies professor Michael Rectenwald, the man behind the controversial @DeplorableNYUProf account, has been promoted by prestigious New York University and given a raise days after the University had put him on a paid leave for criticizing politically correct culture on campus... Now, according to the New York Post, liberal studies dean Fred Schwarzbach sent a “strongly worded” email to the department reminding them to be respectful of the opposing views."

2,400 MS-DOS Games For Free In Your Browser - Imgur - "The Internet Archive has put up a massive collection of old MS-DOS games that you can play directly in your browser... There are actually 4,023 games now"

Tech/Gaming Journalist wants "nerds" to go back to being scared and reclusive, because someone spoke to her about Pokemon Go - Imgur

Selamat Hari Raya or Eid Mubarak? | Surekha A. Yadav - "have you noticed lately that nobody says “Selamat Hari Raya” any more. More and more people are switching to “Eid Mubarak” casually, unthinkingly and nearly instinctively... The Sultan of Johor summed this up when he explained why he preferred to use terms like “Hari Raya” instead of “Eid al-Fitr”, or “buka puasa” instead of “iftar” as “I have been using these Malay terms since I was a child... I have no intention of replacing these terms with Arabic.”"

What Not To Do When You're In Bad Health

Regina Chow - "I've been traveling 3-4 times a month recently and it's taking a toll on my health. I know I need to find pockets of time to rest and relax hence I couldn't be more grateful to take a break in between my trips with a bottle of refreshing, ice cold Kronenbourg! It makes me feel instantly energised and ready to take on the world once again!"

Me - "Hi Regina,

If you have health problems, you probably shouldn't be drinking"
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