When you can't live without bananas

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Links - 26th April 2017 (2)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Awkward Questions - "[On Calais] I watched a German reporter at the edge of the camp become hysterical, suddenly screaming: he's got my phone, give me my phone. She raced into the shadows between the tents. The Russian ex-special forces security guard protecting her shouted at her to come back, that it wasn't safe, but she kept running after her iPhone 6 already well in the swift hands of a hooded thief.
That was the 5th time I'd seen something snatched from a journalist or volunteer. I know journalists who bought their own phones back later at the camp's informal night market after haggling with the thief who stole it. It's difficult to ignore the raw and unpalatable facts of Jungle life...
There was affable Asif. A 37 year old Afghan who unlike thousands of others with their dreams of England, had made it to Britain, hated it and stowed away back to Calais...
[On Montenegro] I walk into cafes that make me cough with their rough carcinogens, yet for the ashen faced old men going slowly up in smoke, it's the draft coming in through the door with me that raises them to a flutter of panic about their fragile health. Although Montenegrans' world record levels of smoking makes the context for their Promaja conviction particularly poignant, they are not alone in these beliefs. The Promaja blows across Macedonia and Kosovo where the same word for it is used by both the Albanians and the Serbs. In Croatia it is the Yugo wind to blame for a similarly diverse range of physical and psychological ailments"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Memento Mori - "[In Poland] Like other eminent directors in the former Soviet Bloc, [Andrzej] Wajda found it difficult to adjust to a free market economy where the public clamored for the latest Stallone or Van Damme film... Wajda said he thought that when freedom came, he would be able to make the films which it had previously previously been impossible to get past the censors. I thought that the public was waiting for them, he said. I didn't realise that my audience had long since left the cinema"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, This Mortal Coil - "[On Hong Kong] Surveys show 80% of young people are unhappy with politics while nearly 60% want to emigrate"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Middle class terrorists - "[On Nigeria] An insurance company is telling me to bribe the police in order to get the paperwork to file a claim.. corruption has seeped into every facet of Nigerian life... I have never lived in a country with there is such a shocking lack of trust between people. Where else for example are you expected to pay your rent 2 years upfront regardless of whether you're renting a mansion or a hovel?... Many Nigerians don't criticise official corruption, they actually celebrate it... Nigeria is a patchwork of various ethnicities and different faiths and each group demands that its leaders or politicians should get their fair share of the spoils by any means...
Many civil servants are poorly paid and haven't received their salaries in months because of the current economic downturn"

Does Korea have a problem with hidden cameras? - "The other day I just typed into the search box the word for a very obscure term in music. I'm learning the guitar and I wanted to know what acciaccatura meant. What it doesn't mean is what popped up, namely a very hard-core Korean pornography site - which is odd in a country where pornography is illegal. It illustrates, to my mind, some hypocrisy about sex. Pornography, like prostitution, is illegal, but available. The authorities constantly close down websites only for similar ones to pop up, often with obscure names for those in the know... there's an industry in pornography provided for the web by hidden cameras in ladies' toilets, incredible though that may seem and as unattractive as that may sound.The authorities do try to combat it. There's an official squad in Seoul which searches toilets for hidden cameras... Manufacturers co-operate by installing an audible shutter-click on phone cameras to deter the taking of pictures surreptitiously up skirts. So serious is this problem that the government printed posters of a woman on an escalator with a man behind her taking a low photo. The caption said: "Please cover your skirt"... Korean marketers do think sex sells. Some members of Korean girl bands, for example, are only in their early teens but they exude sexuality in their clothes and the gestures on stage. It's called the "Lolita concept" in the South Korean media. People who complain are accused of prudery. Men are told that they must be perverted to have noticed... Families share small flats, all sleeping in the same room with children, so sexual frustration is not unknown - it's partly why there are so-called Love Hotels where even married couples rent rooms. When I first flew on Korean Air, I was amazed to hear a pre-flight announcement warning that sexual harassment of cabin attendants was contrary to aviation law. It was an attempt to protect the glamorous female staff from the octopus hands of businessmen."
Maybe upskirts/toilet peeping appeal to the East Asian psyche due to sexual repression

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Neither Love Nor Money - "She boasts that she is one of the most trusted and prolific cutters or soways as they are called in Sierra Leone, in all of Freetown.
It's a great and ancient tradition, she insists. We don't hurt girls, I would never hurt them. And it's not just about circumcising them she says. We teach them how to be wives. How to cook and clean. We have big parties for the initiations she explains where we dance and sing and feel good."

BBC World Service - The Documentary, 'Stealing Innocence' in Malawi - "It's an honorific title given to a man at the centre of an ancient ritual. In legend, the hyena is a thief. A scavenger who steals under cover of darkness. In human form, he's a man who's provided with prey by the village itself. In this region he performs so-called cleansing. Widows, it seems, are required to have sex with him before they can bury their husbands. And most startling of all, so must teenage girls before any of them can pass into adolescence. It's the final chapter of a girl's initiation...
I think he knows what he does is shocking to people like me, but there's still a clear note of pride when he describes his work.
'When the girl is coming, she's escorted by the parents who bring in food. When I finish eating, she lies there. I take my time of course, and when I know my time has come to have sex, I walk in and have sex... These girls never get scared. Actually they find pleasure in having me as their hyena. They actually are proud and tell other people that know this man is a real man, he knows how to please a woman...
'And yet, having unprotected sex with a strange man - isn't there a risk of disease by doing that?'
'There's no risk for any disease because we choose a man who we know for sure that is HIV-free'
'How do you know?'
'These are the men that we raise in our village. We see what they're doing, if they're indulging in immoral behaviors of not. So we choose a quiet man that seems to be nice and doesn't seem to know a lot of women'...
'Do the girls ever get pregnant as a result of seeing the hyena?'
'No, they cannot get pregnant. You mean sleeping with a man once, a person can get pregnant?'
'Yeah. I do mean that'
'They've never heard anything quite so funny. I later discover that according to local lore, it is totally impossible for one sexual encounter to cause pregnancy...
'We are very devoted Christians'
'And what does the priest say about these traditions?'
'The priest has no right to condemn the practice because he knows this is our culture and just recently we had to bring a hyena for the daughter of the pastor'...
'I never sent my children to see the hyena but he, my parents are the ones who insisting while I was out from the place'...
'Since I was diagnosed and tested HIV positive, I'm now promoting the HIV and AIDS campaign to stop hyenas from sleeping with women, but you know I'm also poor man, I need money, so I still do the rituals here and there'

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Dordogneshire - "The AR-15 is a semi-automatic machine gun firing high velocity rounds. It's a battlefield weapon used by the US army and causes far more traumatic injuries to its victims than a conventional rifle...
His phone keeps ringing, but he looks at it intently and then often doesn't answer. Why not, I ask him. Extortionists, he says. Hondurans only answer the phone when the call's from a number they recognise. One night as we drive through the city, I gaze out of the window ata long strip of glitzy buildings all lit up with flashy neon. They look like nightclubs. They're not... they're 24 hour funeral parlors...
[On geisha outside Kyoto] We have to keep confidential the conversations we have with clients. So we just say we work in the hospitality industry... Geisha can't marry or their career is over... She says it's true she cannot marry, but she can make boyfriend. And they can go on being geisha as long as they are able. There's no retirement age. The owner of this bar has been an active geisha for over half a century...
Westerners sometimes confuse geisha with high class prostitutes, which they are not. So I ask if clients ever misbehave.
'Some Japanese men do not remove their shoes, which is very rude' says Ichna. And their rare Western visitors?
'They want to touch our wigs' says disapprovingly. The geishas' wigs are made, she explains, of human hair from China or Tibet, because Japanese hair is too soft"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, The Brexit Wind Tunnel - "People in Britain often tell me that Europeans don't like us... wherever I travel in Eastern Europe, people tell me how much they love the British for our idiosyncrasies, our awkwardness, our stubborn pints and unconvertible inches. We're respected for keeping our own currency and resisting the faceless Euro. Our diplomats are admired for helping other nations end their wars and our soldiers for doing the job they were given, then going home...
Indians in general rarely follow international news with more than a cursory glance at the headlines... as the UK referendum results started coming in, it became clear that many here were riveted...
[On Russia] The doping ban is 100% politics, he tells me, claiming Russia has been unfairly singled out for punishment. It's the World Anti-Doping Agency which should be disqualified, he says. Put all their functionaries in jail...
They target sport because they know our President is such a sports fan. I hear similar views in a Moscow bar when I chat to football fans about Russian hooligans...
President Putin even blamed the West for World War II, claiming some Western leaders had been too busy trying to restrain and isolate the Soviet Union to take the Nazi threat seriously. Searching for scapegoats may help deflect criticism at home but the one thing it doesn't do is help you make friends abroad"

Why Russians watch TV news they don't trust - "88% of Russians said that TV news was one of their main sources of information. But here's a funny thing - at the same time 31% of respondents said they thought they were being completely misled by the information provided. That means that about one in five Russians choose to watch the news on TV, while at the same time believing that news to be a lie. How to account for that?... "We in Russia could use postmodernity in order to explain to the West that if any truth is relative, then we have our special Russian truth that you need to accept." Mr Dugin's contorted Orwellian logic is influential in Kremlin circles, though not necessarily among the masses. Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist, gave me a different interpretation. "People are not looking for news as such," she said. "They are looking to decipher a system of signals - who is on air today and who was yesterday, what is the intonation, the choice of words. It is important to understand all this, because it helps you survive if you are dependent on the state." And so, Russians are hyper-attuned to what the state is thinking. Even children."

Secret Hitler | Board Game | BoardGameGeek - "The objective of the liberal team is to pass five liberal policies or assassinate Secret Hitler. The objective of the fascist team is to pass six fascist policies or elect Secret Hitler chancellor after three fascist policies have passed."
Apparently assassination is a justified way for "liberals" to stop "fascists" who are following the constitutional process

Why do Chinese websites look so busy?

Overcooling and overheating buildings emits as much carbon as four million cars - "42 percent of workers report being dissatisfied with the temperature in their offices, with 14 percent being very dissatisfied"

If Britain were a U.S. state, it would be the second-poorest, behind Alabama and before Mississippi - The Washington Post - "Nelson argues that income inequality and racial tension in the United States are more visible because of factors such as “white flight,” which Britain doesn’t have space for, and Americans’ tendency to publicly discuss these issues. “No one beats up America better than Americans,” he wrote. “They openly debate their inequality, conduct rigorous studies about it, argue about economics vs. culture as causes…. And the debate is so fierce that the rest of the world looks on, and joins in lamenting America’s problems. A shame: we’d do better to get a little angrier at our own.”"

What is the economic cost of terrorism? - "In Israel, a nation that is constantly threatened by the fear of violence, experts say that the country’s per-capita GDP would have been 8.6% higher between 1994 and 2003 had there been no violence"

Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time - "One OECD study shows that five years after receiving their degrees, more than 60% of PhDs in Slovakia and more than 45% in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany and Spain were still on temporary contracts. Many were postdocs. About one-third of Austria’s PhD graduates take jobs unrelated to their degrees. In Germany 13% of all PhD graduates end up in lowly occupations. In the Netherlands the proportion is 21%... The [wage] premium for a PhD is actually smaller than for a master’s degree in engineering and technology, architecture and education. Only in medicine, other sciences, and business and financial studies is it high enough to be worthwhile. Over all subjects, a PhD commands only a 3% premium over a master’s degree... In one study of British PhD graduates, about a third admitted that they were doing their doctorate partly to go on being a student, or put off job hunting. Nearly half of engineering students admitted to this. Scientists can easily get stipends, and therefore drift into doing a PhD. But there are penalties, as well as benefits, to staying at university. Workers with “surplus schooling” — more education than a job requires — are likely to be less satisfied, less productive and more likely to say they are going to leave their jobs."

The Curious Case Of The Singapore Worker - "SINGAPORE workers are caught between their cubicle and a hard place. They work among the longest hours in the world, and in return, they are described as ''not hungry'' and lacking ''fire in the belly''... Mr Shen suspects that Singapore workers have low productivity rates because of the multiple layers of checks in certain organisations."

Staff physically present but mentally absent in over half of Singapore firms: survey

Economics is making us greedier - "At the very beginning of their freshman year, Israeli college students who planned to study economics rated helpfulness, honesty, loyalty, and responsibility (pdf) as just as important as students who were studying communications, political science, and sociology. But third-year economics students rated these values as significantly less important than first-year economics students... Business economics may be more devastating than other brands. When comparing students in political economics and business economics, economists found that “the willingness to contribute decreases dramatically for business students.” This may be why the late Stanford professor Hal Leavitt lamented that business education distorts students into “critters with lopsided brains, icy hearts, and shrunken souls.”

Ragnar Shaggy-Trousers and Eystein Foul-Fart: the truth behind Viking names

Why the Gold Standard Is the World's Worst Economic Idea, in 2 Charts - "This policy inflexibility was the major cause of the Great Depression, as governments were forced to tighten policy at the worst possible moment. It's no coincidence that the sooner a country abandoned the gold standard, the sooner it began recovering... There's been 23 times less variance in prices since the Fed started quantitative easing than there was under the gold standard"

The Economics of Discrimination - "In the case of a segregated restaurant in the free market, the penalty now is not on the employer but on the discriminating customers. By hypothesis, the only way the owner evades financial loss from discriminatory practices is if his customers, in turn, are willing to pay higher prices. This means that the bigoted whites in our hypothetical community are paying more for eating out (in whites-only restaurants) than their colorblind neighbors, who are happy to patronize restaurants with black employees and customers. Again, the free market doesn't prohibit people—whether as employers or consumers—from acting on their prejudices, but it does make them pay for it"

Observations - 26th April 2017

"C-section seems to fit the Singaporean mentality
Turning a messy, somewhat random and uncertain event into a controlled one."

Amused that Singaporeans beat up on "outside food" as Singlish, but Disney World (US) and the New York Times use it.

If we can import persimmons from Spain why not oranges?

Amused that to PRCs from Guangdong and Fujian Singapore isn't very different. So they prefer Canada and Australia (which is why you see few Southern Chinese in Singapore). And multiple PRCs have confirmed that Singapore is a lower tier destination - the US/UK are more appealing choices.

Amused that Sections 90 and 305 of the Penal code imply that you cannot lie to XMMs (under 18).

Singaporeans love to say "that is my opinion". But just because anyone can have an opinion doesn't mean it can't be challenged or questioned. Challenging an opinion doesn't mean you are denying someone's right to it.

Asbestos is 100% natural and organic. So feel free to inhale it

"I was talking to someone who sells... in India. The purchasing manager has been telling him ''next week' for 13 months... He burnt his hand at a barbecue so he can't sign the document"

"Rich, dark, hairy man with a girl in a castle - Beauty and The Beast
Poor, dark, hairy man with a girl in a 2-room flat - Crime Watch"

If when the fire alarm sounds you need to wait for them to investigate to see if it's a false alarm, doesn't that waste precious minutes in an emergency?

If a Christian says he thinks murder is wrong because that's in the Bible, is that imposing his views on non Christians?

Actually Christians' condemnation of the "gay lifestyle" is an important distinction: at least in theory they are not opposed to gay people per se.

If policies discouraging single parenthood punish them and their children, what about anti-anti-vaxxer policies like childcare bans?

"I've been watching a show recently where the father was shown as loving, intelligent, a role model for his son and a dedicated member of the community. He's the first TV show father I've seen in a long time who wasn't an idiot.
Unfortunately it's Man in the High Castle, and that man is a nazi."

Orientalism does to Asia what nostalgia does to the past. So what's the issue?

Ebola killed 11,000 people in 2 years. In contrast the flu kills 36,000 people a year. One might thus conclude that the Ebola epidemic was exaggerated, wasn't really a problem, that the media and worldwide health authorities were following their own agenda and that this is just racism against Africa (since we're told that since Islamic terrorism hasn't killed many non-Muslims, we are just overreacting and islamophobic)

"democracy and the will of the people are important to check authoritarianism and need to be followed unless it contradicts their unpopular liberal values at which case the state needs to act in an authoritarian way to enforce their values"

Calling applying critical thinking skills "denying, dismissing or derailing the conversation" is one way to pretend you've won the argument.

Is it a bigger micro aggression to ask an Asian-American if he speaks his ethnic language or to assume he doesn't?

Maybe the recurrent terrorist attacks in Turkey are due to Ottoman colonialism.

Links - 26th April 2017 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Animal Farm - "He gets masses out of Wigan. It is his first reconciliation with England. But being Orwell, he goes to Wigan to attack capitalism and comes out of it attacking socialism. He goes to Spain to attack fascism and comes out of it attacking communism. You never quite know where you are with this guy, but you do after 1941, and he's onsite, and he's happy...
Jonathan Cape actually says yes I will [publish it]. But then he thinks oh I better ring up the Ministry of Information who tell him: no, you better not. Stalin's our ally. Actually the guy who tells him is a guy called Smollett who's a spy working at the Ministry of Information...
What about Nazism? That's totalitarian to. And I think Orwell felt he somehow, there's a mixture of the vile, the vicious and the absurd in Soviet Russia that I think Orwell just doesn't see in Nazism and he's very angry when people represent Hitler as a buffoon but there's just that strange mixture of the hilariously ridiculous. All of these animals going and confessing their various transgressions in these show trials for which they're instantly slaughtered...
[He] was inveighing against people who complained about poor people spending their money on luxuries. He says: when you're poor, it's the little things you don't need that are most important to you. They don't matter to rich people...
Early 1990, we had some Polish academics over. And the thing I wanted to ask them was: what was it like to live in a regime like that relentless, and they said: you just never believe anything at all, ever. Now that's not what you get in Orwell. What you get in Orwell is the sense that you don't know and so you're credulous. What's it like in North Korea at the moment? I don't think it's like Animal Farm or 1984. I think it's more like Poland"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality - "If you think about someone like Achilles, you don't imagine him having a rich and complex interior life. If he wants to do something, he just does it. He doesn't brood, he isn't anxious and self-reflective. He just gets out there - he gets very annoyed when his honour is being insulted, but it's part of Nietzsche's story that a confluence of an entry into society and the restructuring of the society by the values of slave morality introduces a much sharper distinction between the inner and the outer in our lives. And one way in which Christianity contributes to that is through the practice of confession. The idea is that if you want to have the right relationship to God, you have to make sure that not just your actions conform to what's right but you don't have evil thoughts either. And the only way you can do that is by developing a form of scrupulous self examination in which you disclose the furthest reaches of your interior life to the priest in the confessional"

Black British history and Charles I’s children | Podcast | History Extra - "16th century... you have a medieval mindset that is fascinated by the colours black and white and their contrast and their extremes, where blackness is associated with all sorts of diabolical, devilish things. The night, superstition, magic, and whiteness is associated with purity and virginity. Human blackness is an immensely exciting, exotic and erotic challenge to that colour aesthetic. But also again Africans are associated with wealth, with their continent... Africans are seen as challenging to European ideas...
A lot of people have presumed and understandably perhaps is that all black people in Britain when we discover their lives or their remains must have been slaves. We know that this is not the case for many of the black Tudors. A lot of them are servants. A lot of them are people with specialist skills from Europe who've come into the Iberian world... there's a risk we project what happens later on earlier periods. This is the 16th century. This is not the 18th century...
We've forgotten how proud people in this country were at Abolition... there is a period in the 1830s and 1840s when opposition to slavery is seen as part of what it is to be British... millions of people sign petitions against the slave trade. Britain does go out to West Africa to try and suppress the slave trade"

Historians in parliament | Podcast | History Extra - "I was thinking of applying for PPE at Oxford and I was dissuaded by my school teacher who said that I'd learn more about politics if I studied the court of Henry VIII. I actually have...
I think... being a politician helps you become a better historian, but necessarily the other way round...
Doesn't it give you a kind of gyroscopic effect as a politician? You know that these things will pass...
When I look at politicians, effective politicians, the 2 most arguably effective politicians in the last 50 years, arguably, were Thatcher and Blair and both of them were incredibly unhistorical. In terms of their knowledge and approach"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Raymond Briggs: I could do more work - "I don't like Christmas at all. I don't think anybody does... I get letters all the time from people saying: we agree with you. It's dreadful. It's full of anxiety, isn't it? Have I got enough? Have I spent enough? Have I spent too much? We had them last year so we have to have so and so this year. Oh dear. No, I can't bear it really"

A new 600-digit number each month: Even cyber spies can’t remember their passwords - "He said that the NCSC has recently determined that demands for regularly changing, long passwords using numbers, capital and lower case letters, mean people are effectively being asked to memorise a new 600-digit number every month under the official guidelines. Martin also criticised websites which bar people from being able to paste their passwords online, saying it was “completely pointless” and actually damaging security... Ian Levy, technical director at the NCSC, said asking members of the public to remember so many passwords was “dumb”"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The door-to-door poet - "It's not just homophobia. His mother was German and when she moved here, he remembers people spitting at her in the street. Swastikas were painted on the door

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, How has language changed in American political debate? - "[Glenn Beck:] It started before Trump. It started with the Left and Michael Moore, saying horrible things about George W Bush who I think is an honorable man. I really strongly disagreed with his policies but I think he was an honorable man and he never struck back. The Right did, but the Left was just pummeling. And then when they came into power, we learnt from that and they hit them harder than they hit us

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Will the UK welcome President Trump? - "Marches and petitions are very good at bringing one side together and feeling good about each other and where they stand. It's not very good for, to bridge that divide"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The Holocaust: The secrets we don't know - "Once I started meeting former Nazis 25 years ago, they don't give you the answers that you imagine they're going to give you. For example I thought they'd say: oh, we were all acting under orders. Actually many of them say: do you know, at the time I thought it was the right thing to do. So there was an internalisation within them of thinking: actually this is a good thing. And that's something you want to keep probing away at...
You cannot see this as Adolf Hitler having a blueprint in the early 1920s of what's going to happen. It happens in a much more intriguing complicated way, which is you have a political leader in Adolf Hitler who is a visionary. And he has a vision which is a psychopathic hatred of these people. And he believes something's got to be done, and what form that something is changes and evolves over time according to a whole series of other influences and circumstances...
None of this need have happened. None of this was inevitable. There wasn't, it's not like a heist movie and psychologically we want to believe that - some people do...
'When you talk to former Nazis, they will sometimes say to you - will they not? The Jews had got above themselves. The Jews had got too much power. The Jews had to be sorted out in society'...
'You also find that they blame the British for this. There's a level of mentality here that's quite extraordinary... The Nazis genuinely believed in the Summer of 1940 that Britain was going to make peace because it was the logical thing to do as they saw it. And so what happened was then there never would have been the Holocaust as they saw it'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Michaela DePrince: From a Sierra Leone orphanage to the London stage - "'Why do ballerinas smoke?'
'I don't know why they smoke. When I started it was because I wanted to lose weight'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, What makes a good political speech? - "Every speech is normally incremental change dressed up in hyperbole

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Who is Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch? - "The acting attorney-general who was a holdover, went quite a bit further than simply raising issues about part of the order and she seemed to imply that she disagreed with it. That's fine. And people sometimes even resign when they have a disagreement, but to order the Department not to defend it because she doesn't like it is really an overstep and I think it was unfortunately something that led to this dismissal

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Thursday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "What I find fascinating about Twitter is that once you have more than a relatively few number of followers, it's almost impossible to read anything at all. So it's all about talking rather than listening and maybe that says a lot about the age in which we live"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is the Trump dossier fake? - "[On the Trump orgy] He would have to be a congenital idiot to have participated in anything like that, and whatever else he is, he is not a congenital idiot...
Why is it being released by a Western source? The answer is it is his political enemies who seem to be behind the release of it... I haven't seen one shred of practical evidence. Not a foot of film or a few beats of recorded conversation
So if you look at the possibility that it really happened, you have to admit only the FSB could have organised it. Only they could get access to put in this extraordinarily complicated technology in the Presidential suite of this particular hotel in Moscow. So if they did it, they organised it, it is not they that are doing the releasing"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is Turkey's President Erdogan a democrat or a dictator? - "From a minister telling women not to laugh in public, to the President calling anyone who drinks an alcoholic, to Mr Erdogan rejecting mixed sex university dormitories, the government's conservative message has hardened. They came to power 14 years ago appearing to bridge divisions between pious and liberal, but it changed...
A few years ago Turkey was held up as a model. A Muslim democracy bringing together different sides."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Tuesday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "Money goes where it is wanted and stays where it is well-treated"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The inauguration of Donald Trump - "He has enough money so at least he won't go in there and steal anymore"

Paul Diamond: 'Religious accommodation with outer limit' - "Islamic law says that you cannot drink alcohol. We cannot serve it, we cannot buy it, we cannot sell it. We shouldn't even sit at a table where alcohol is being served. The rule is not the same for pork. We cannot consume pork but the rule is not as strong on that... Will a till worker refuse to process a cake that has got champagne in it or chocolate that has got brandy in them?... We can't eat any meat that's not Halal. So will they refuse to process any chicken or meat or lamb because it's not Halal? I don't know how far we're going to go"
Strange. I thought pork was more haram

Hey from DTR on podbay - "In English speaking countries, each month more than half a billion messages are sent on Tinder. Half a billion. And guess what? 1 in 5 of those messages on Tinder, that's 100 million per month, start with the word hey...
I think that hey is the dating app conversational equivalent of the bread basket that is on the table when you go into a restaurant. It's just to try and you know get the ball rolling, get the gears going, get the stomach ready for the meal that's going to come. It's not like you go into the restaurant and eat the bread and leave. You're doing that before you get into even your appetiser...
Michelle used to hate getting hey... Once she started initiating the messaging, putting herself in the guy's shoes, things changed dramatically. She tried finally tailoring her opening lines before making them unique to each guy, but those didn't work either. And so she found herself resorting to 'hey'. It turns out if you turn hey over and look at it from the other side, it's not an empty gesture. It's a blank slate.
'I have so much more empathy than I used to. It's definitely... there's a really bad return on investment with sending crafted messages, so I'm just gonna say hey and if she's like interested or he's interested, they can write back and we can take it from there'...
People who use GIFs on Tinder messaging are 30% more likely to get a response than those who don't. And not just that but people who use GIFs are more likely to have conversations that last twice as long...
They chatted exclusively in GIF form for almost a week"

Dick Pics from DTR on podbay - "I have a confession to make. I actually like dick pics... We assumed most women were like Katie. Like thanks but no thanks. But that assumption was based really on nothing other than gender stereotypes. Like I said, I love receiving DPs. Mainly because they're a shortcut to knowing whether someone's into me. It totally takes the pressure off. And then I don't really have to worry about impressing him that much because clearly he's buying what I'm selling...
Males display their penis and sometimes in some species the penis is very brightly coloured. The penis seems to be used as a kind of display ornament... For these female monkeys, seeing the genitals before you commit to a mate is sort of like a routine part of the research. And it's not just monkeys. Other animals do this sorta thig too...
[On Kinsey] More than half of the women reported never being turned on by looking at a dick. And Kinsey wrote that many women were 'surprised to learn that there is anyone who finds the observation of male genitalia erotically stimulating'. But for the dudes in Kinsey's study it was almost completely reversed. They loved looking at their own dicks. 56% of them reported being turned on looking at their own genitals...
'It is difficult for most males to comprehend that females are not aroused by seeing male genitalia. Some males never come to comprehend this'...
'Straight guys out there who think you're real cool sending a woman a dick pic that doesn't want to see it. You know what? If she's got gay friends, there's a good possibility she's passing that on'"

I'm a 5, He's a 10 by DTR - "The shallowest humans on earth.
'Babies. Their pupils will dilate when they look at photos of their mothers but also when they look at photos of attractive people'...
Guys have what we call a unifactorial model of women. Whereas women tend to have a much more complex model...
The vast amount of data he's seen at Tinder shows that when men rate women they tend to do it on a single scale. 1-10, based on looks. That simple. Whereas women tend to have multiple scales...
Guys are incredibly easy to predict. Women are much harder to predict...
One study out of University of Texas at Austin called 'Levelling the Playing Field' found that when there's a big discrepancy in looks, it's often because people started out as friends...
'People thought she was a relative or a friend as opposed to a girlfriend'"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Turmoil in Thailand - "These protestors are speaking of what they know about their own country. This is after all a place where for a modest sun assassins can be hired for a modest sum. Where children of wealthy families can get away with serious crimes, where helpless refugees are sold as slaves by Thai police"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Higher Powers - "I remember one chapter in the English book on quadratic equations where they discussed the process known as completing the square. This is where you convert a quadratic equation... into a different form... This A level text explained the method with a song.
This is how we complete the square, complete the square, complete the square
This is how we complete the square of a simple quadratic equation.
Half the coefficient of x, fficient of x, fficient of x,
Half the coefficient of x and subtract that squared from the constant
In France if anyone suggested teaching quadratics with a ditty, they'd have conniptions. Just not done. No, here the method is very clear. It's dry as dust, it makes heavy use of symbols, it's very abstract, it's formidably logical. In a word, and the word after all comes from their first great master of maths, it is Cartesian...
This French approach to math seems to me very much aimed in typical French style at seeking out an elite. That lucky tranche who really get it. They can then be hothoused to create the country's Republican Guard of brilliant engineers, programmers and theoreticians. Most people I fancy find the abstract symbol based method off-putting and if they survive it's mainly by memorising rather than understanding. The second thought... many people over the centuries have observed that the French think differently from the Brits. They think in concepts. They crave all-explaining systems. They dislike what cannot be categorised. They find nothing laughable in what we scoff at as high falutin theory. In my brief foray into baccalaureat maths, I've caught a brief glimpse of why this may indeed may be so"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Changing Fortunes - "The carpet will be sold along with hundreds of others just like it to Turkey...
But Turkey is not a country short of carpets I say cautiously, not wanting to offend. Why the demand?
It's hard to explain, he smiles. You know that a lot of so-called Bokharan carpets are nowadays made in China? Well a lot of Turkish carpets are made here in Margilan. They like the quality."

Gay marriage plebiscite could lead to suicide: Shorten - "The fate of the plebiscite, which could be held as early as next year, is in Labor’s hands but Mr Shorten has ramped up pressure on the government to drop it and allow a parliamentary vote instead, introducing a private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage. “The idea of young people, perhaps yet to come out, seeing the legitimacy of their identity debated on the national stage, that is not an ideal which we should inflict on any citizen when we have a better path,” Mr Shorten said as he introduced his bill. “Let me be as blunt as possible: a No campaign would be an emotional torment for gay teenagers and if one child commits suicide over the plebiscite, then that is one too many. Mr Speaker, achieving marriage equality should be an occasion for joy, a unifying moment of celebration.”"
The emotional blackmail of the gay lobby apparently has no limits

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Links - 25th April 2017

Carrie Fisher's complicated relationship with her iconic Princess Leia gold bikini

War survivors weigh in on referencing Syonan-to - "Like Mr Huang, fellow war survivor Chin Kah Chong, 86, was similarly philosophical about the name. “To me, the name is harmless now,” said Mr Chin, who was a war correspondent for Pana News Agency, covering the Vietnam War in 1965. Meanwhile, the debate continues to rage on. Creative producer Gracie Teo, 37, felt “the choice of name could have been more sensitive to (take into consideration) the generation who went through the Sook Ching incident”... But Mr Timothy Wee, 32, pointed out that in Germany, many concentration camps still retain their original names — despite the painful memories they evoke. “It would have been easy to sweep unpleasant details under the rug of history, but I applaud the National Archives of Singapore’s brave decision,” said the freelance travel writer, who felt that the choice of name was “a good way to start a national conversation on the Syonan experience”."
Ironically, there is a Sook Ching memorial in Chinatown
Sadly, when the War generation dies off offence mongers will be free to claim offence on their behalf without (m)any counters

The most insane deaths seen by an NYC medical examiner - "she removed all of Booker’s major organs and placed them between his legs — the best way to ensure they wouldn’t slip and fall to the floor. Then she removed Booker’s testes, took a sample from each, and put them back in the scrotum. “I had been taught to replace them unless there was a tumor or signs of injury,” Melinek writes. “Families can be very particular about the testicles”... “Did he suffer?” is the question, Melinek writes, that she’s most often asked and most often dreads. She almost always lies. “What’s the worst way to die?” is the next-most-asked question, to which Melinek usually replies, “You don’t want to know”... she has a final warning for New Yorkers who live alone with cats: The urban legend is true. “Your faithful golden retriever might sit next to your dead body for days, starving, but the tabby won’t,” she writes. “Your pet cat will eat you right away, with no qualms at all. I’ve seen the result.”"

"Very Right Wing" People Are Happiest With Their Sex Lives - "in most countries sexual satisfaction increased the further right you went along the political spectrum... The study also showed than in Britain at least, people with right wing and very right wing politics were markedly happier overall than their left wing counterparts – but this trend did not replicate across Europe"
Addendum: Also reported as: "Survey: Right Wing People More Likely to Be Sexually Satisfied... Those who consider themselves as “very right wing” are more likely to have a satisfactory sex life, according to a new European survey by YouGov that interviewed over 19,000 people"

Salman Rushdie's New Novel is About Political Correctness and the Culture Wars - "“When people say, ‘I believe in free speech but …,’ then they don’t believe in free speech,” he said. “The whole point about free speech is that it upsets people.” “It’s very easy to defend the right of people whom you agree with — or that you are indifferent to,” Rushdie said. “The defense [of free speech] begins when someone says something that you don’t like.” “There are no safe spaces against offensive ideas,” said Rushdie. Rushdie has come to lose his confidence in the progressive left—including those who once defended his controversial book"

The three questions that every patient should ask their doctor - "The JAMA study suggests that doctors frequently don’t know and certainly, don’t know best. This is vexing but not all doom and gloom because doctors now have at their disposal an unprecedented number of sound guidelines, robust protocols and genuinely plain-language information for patients, not to mention easy web-based access to experts. When it comes to doctors seeking advice the world really is a global village. In a world of rapidly evolving information, patients should be prepared for a doctor to say, “I don’t know” provided this is followed by, “but I’ll find out.”
Here are three questions that every patient should ask of every new proposed drug or intervention:
What are my options?
What are the specific benefits and harms to me?
What happens if I do nothing?"

Print Friendly & PDF - "Make any web page print friendly"
"Save paper & ink"

Muslim women shouldn’t use emoticons, says the National Muslim Youth Association in Malaysia - "An anti-Valentine’s campaign called “Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap” has also been held by Jakim since 2011, where volunteers approach youths to warn them of the celebration’s alleged danger. In addition, previous sermons had claimed the day originally worshipped ancient Roman deities, or celebrated the fall of Muslim rule in Cordoba, Andalusia, now in modern-day Spain."

China's attempt to punish Taiwan by throttling tourism has seriously backfired - "Taiwan set a new record for international tourism last year. And it did so by courting visitors from the rest of Asia, thus reducing its reliance on Chinese tourists... even when China was sending over large numbers of tour groups, they were only benefiting a small number of Taiwanese businesses that were aimed primarily at this market. On top of that, many of these local businesses were only getting a fraction of the total money spent, with most of the spoils going to Chinese tour organizers."

I’m a gay New Yorker — and I’m coming out as a conservative - "All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened... I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was outside of the liberal bubble and looking in. What I saw was ugly, lock step, incurious and mean-spirited... It can seem like liberals are actually against free speech if it fails to conform with the way they think. And I don’t want to be a part of that club anymore. It used to be that if you were a gay, educated atheist living in New York, you had no choice but to be liberal. But as I met more Trump supporters with whom I was able to have engaging, civil discussions about issues that impact us all, I realized that I like these people — even if I have some issues with Trump himself... I hope that New Yorkers can be as open-minded and accepting of my new status as a conservative man as they’ve been about my sexual orientation."

Is 'Generation Z' the most conservative since WW2? - "The research, which surveyed more than 2,000 people, forms parallels with recent evidence that young people are less likely to drink and take drugs than their immediate elders. Sir Mark Walport, the government's chief scientific adviser, told The Times that technology had had a huge effect on society and teenager's values. Computer games and internet use meant they had 'less time and opportunity to participate in traditional risky behaviours'"

The Great Hypocritical Muslim Cover-Up - "Did these non-Muslim women—indulging their Orientalist fetish by covering their heads—not stop to consider for one moment that their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and under Taliban or ISIS rule also require our solidarity in taking their hijabs off?"

German nursery rhyme about fox who steals a goose banished from town after complaint from vegan

What if the internet stopped working for a day? - "losing internet access for a few days just made people fall behind on their work. “People carried out all the same activities they would have done had the internet been up, but they just did it two or three days later,” Borg says. “The economy is set up to deal with what essentially amounts to a holiday weekend”... In some cases, shutting down the internet for a short time might even increase productivity

The Next Big Blue-Collar Job Is Coding

How Reliable Are Surveys? - "only 9 percent of people asked to take part in surveys actually do"
This is a much better objection to surveys than sample size

Syrian refugees don’t want to camp in Saudi Arabia. They want a future

Millennials are struggling at work because their parents 'gave them medals for coming last' - "Studies may show that the millennial generation reports having high self-esteem, but that largely includes narcissism and extrinsic rewards: “Reporting that you’re self-confident and being self-confident are not the same thing,” Sinek points out."

San Francisco janitor who earned S$380k in a year caught hiding in closet during work hours - "Mr Liang Zhao Zhang, who cleans the Powell Street station in downtown San Francisco, reportedly earned a total of US$271,243 (S$385,000) in 2015... According to Transparent California, there were at least 49 other janitors who earned over US$100,000 in 2015."

Mark Pearson tried for sex crime after brushing past actress in Waterloo station - "It cannot be said with certainty that the artist and the actress made even fleeting physical contact. CCTV images showed only that they walked past each other.Yet the woman, who is in her 60s, claimed Mr Pearson sexually assaulted her – penetratively – for ‘two or three seconds’... Mr Pearson wonders whether he is ‘a victim of the way the CPS is rigorously trying to redress the balance’. One of his supporters, author Erin Pizzey, the family care activist who founded the world’s first shelter for victims of domestic violence, certainly believes so."

Farmer spends 16 years studying law by himself to sue firm

Asylum seekers who burnt down Dusseldorf refugee camp shouted 'damn Germans', court hears - "Adel Z., a 27-year-old Algerian Muslim, is accused of setting the hall on fire because he was outraged that food and drinks were given to non-fasting roommates during Ramadan."

Why Westerners and Easterners Really Do Think Differently - "complex images were shown to test subjects from East Asia and North America. The scientists tracked the eye movements of the participants in order to gauge where their attention was focused. It was found that the Chinese participants spent more time looking at the background of the image, while the Americans tended to focus on the main object in the picture. Holistic and individualistic thinking manifested in one clear example... Even today, more than 100 years after the colonization effort, the effects of living in a society that was so recently a frontier show up in individual and holistic thinking tests. With residents of Hokkaido demonstrating tendencies towards individualism to a larger extent than the rest of the Japanese population."

Galaxy Harassment - "Galaxies are generally not found in isolation. Most of them are surrounded by a swarm of satellite galaxies and are often embedded in larger aggregates such as galaxy groups or clusters. In these environments, interactions between galaxies are not uncommon and in general, can be divided into two basic types: mergers and ‘fly-bys’. Interactions involving high-speed fly-bys are often referred to as galaxy ‘harassment’."

Muslim Apostates in North America Face Leftist Scorn, Muslim Death Threats - "One common method of dismissing her aims, Haider said in the speech, is to assume that she is “pro-war” or that she broadly supports the far-right agenda in some way, though neither is the case. “Sometimes I am called an Uncle Tom or a House Arab. Another term thrown around at ex-Muslims and other brown critics of Islam is ‘native informants.’”

castleships: Okay I’m only gonna say this once... - kind Bird King - "The last Eyak fluent speaker died in 2008, her name was Chief Marie Smith Jones and she was also the last full-blooded Eyak on Earth. The very last. Please appropriate Eyak culture. It’s the only way it’s going to survive. There’s less than 500 of us remaining, and we’re scattered more and more every year. Families I grew up with in Alaska converted to Catholicism. The military took my family across the globe and left us an entire continent away. The language I learned at the dinner table in 1998 now almost exclusively exists on those cassette tapes my white father recorded that night and in reconstructive attempts from a French academic that studied our language from halfway across the globe. It sucks shit guys, it really does. When I first saw the Thunderbird skin I cried, I cried for an hour. Because Overwatch is huge. It will live on for years if not decades. And there’s Pharah with her hair in braids I haven’t seen my mother wear in over a decade. Wearing the colors that remind me of a home I no longer have. Embodying a mythic figure that I trusted to protect me during Y2K and sought out constellations in the sky for."

Berrywoman | alluringdolls: check-your-privilege-feminists: ... - " Tumblr social justice: spreading the world apart instead of bringing us together, one group at a time.
I hate Tumblr :)
That’s why I hate the “cultural apropriation” crap, it’s only an excuse to make people ashamed of their interests and create a segregation between people. Fuck this."

How Jim Carrey deals with paparazzi

Everyone mistook a priest for a KKK member - "social media became a furious storm of confusion regarding a man in white robes roaming along 10th St. and purportedly armed with a whip."

Is terrorism in Europe at a historical high? - "The number of fatalities from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 1990 amount to considerably more than those killed between 1990 and 2015. In 1988, more than 425 people were killed in terror-related attacks in Western Europe. One of the most fatal, the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, led to the deaths of 270 people when the plane came down in the Scottish town of Lockerbie."
Of course, ignoring the higher, very localised ETA/IRA component in the 1970s/1980s deaths obscures much compared to today's more widespread threat

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Food Chain: The Musical - "[On Ghana Jollof] 3 Nigerian women walk up to these 3 Nigerian men to serve them their Jollof rice which they enjoy, but then I appear with my Ghana Jollof and to make sure that you know that it's Ghana Jollof I have the national flag of Ghana, little one, standing out of the very orange-red rich Jollof with chicken and salad on the side and then you see all the Nigerian men leave their wives"

Papa John's in Singapore

I contacted Papa John's HQ about the outlets in Singapore (Tampines and Hillview), which seem to have gone off the radar.

Their reply:

"Dear Gabriel,

Thanks for contacting us. Unfortunately we have closed our 2 franchise stores in Singapore - March 31st. We appreciate your comments and please feel free to contact us at the number below if you need any further assistance.

Thanks again and have a great day!"

Oh well, at least I got to try it once (in Singapore) before it closed...

Good food in Singapore doesn't last (one way or the other)
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