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Saturday, July 01, 2017

Links - 1st July 2017 (2)

Why McDonald's McRib Isn't Available - "Turns out that not that many people actually like the McRib. Or rather, McDonald's is so huge that it needs all its items to be massively popular in order to keep their place on the menu. Those who do like the McRib, love it. But in the broader scheme, "It's not a mass play year-round," McGuinness says. Thus McD's deploys the McRib strategically, when the calendar leaves the company without a natural hook for its products — like at Christmas time"

A programmer wrote scripts to secretly automate a lot of his job — including to automatically email his wife and make himself a latte - "The guy wrote one script that sends a text message “late at work” to his wife and “automatically picks reasons” from a preset list of them, says Narkoz. It sent this text anytime there was activity with his login on the company’s computer servers after 9 p.m... He wrote a script that waits exactly 17 seconds, then hacks into the coffee machine and orders it to start brewing a latte. The script tells the machine to wait another 24 seconds before pouring the latte into a cup, the exact time it takes it takes to walk from the guy’s desk to the coffee machine. And his coworkers didn’t even know the coffee machine was on the network and was hack-able."

Record number of people leave Sweden - "The sheer number of emigrants now matches the massive wave of people who left for the US in the 1880s, Statistics Sweden noted."

The High Price of a Free College Education in Sweden - "85% of Swedish students graduate with debt, versus only 50% in the US. Worst of all, new Swedish graduates have the highest debt-to-income ratios of any group of students in the developed world (according to estimates of what they're expected to earn once they get out of school)--somewhere in the neighborhood of 80%. The US, where we're constantly being told that student debt is hitting crisis proportions, the average is more like 60%... Swedes, like other Nordic Europeans, have an independent streak. They leave their parental homes earlier than almost all their southern neighbors... One of the more fascinating theories is that the differences in the strength of family ties in northern and southern Europe is a faint echo of invasions by the Roman Empire and Islamic caliphates in the Mediterranean region versus the Germanic-Nordic dominance in regions further north.
Or it could reflect the fact that back in the middle ages, young people in northern Europe were often sent out to work as servants outside the family home. Others simply argue that it's the economy, with low wages and high housing costs conspiring to keep southern Europeans living at home. Whatever the reason, ideas about youthful independence are embedded in the system Sweden devised to pay for higher education... In a broader sense, student debt is just our solution for an age-old problem. It's society's way of financing a restructuring period for the currently unproductive assets it will depend on in the future: young people."

How Sweden became an exporter of jihad - "Many of their parents fled war-torn countries in search of safety and found it in Sweden. They appear grateful for what the country has offered them. Their children, however, often feel they've been discriminated against and left out of the system. Many young people I spoke to said they felt disconnected from the country where their parents came from - but didn't feel they were Swedish either... The imam, who came to Sweden from Syria three years ago, urged them to respect Swedish laws and customs and to assimilate as much as they could into mainstream society. But I was told that on one occasion two men stood up and verbally attacked him for condemning extremism, before they were escorted out."

University students told essays will be marked down if they fail to use 'gender-sensitive' language - "Students at Hull University are being told to use gender neutral language in their essays – or risk losing marks. According to documents obtained by the Sunday Times, students are told to "be aware of the powerful and symbolic nature of language and use gender-sensitive formulations. Failure to use gender-sensitive language will impact your mark"... "This linguistic policing is used as a coercive tool to impose a conformist outlook. The alternative is to pay a penalty of being marked down.”"
It starts with being sensitive. Then it becomes compulsory. The next step is for failure to comply to be considered hate speech

Whooping should be banned beause it excludes deaf people, Nation Union of Students say- "Students who whoop, cheer and clap should face “consequences” because they are excluding deaf people, delegates at the National Union of Students conference said. Audience members were repeatedly warned that they must cease whooping to express support for a speaker, because it has a “serious impact” on the accessibility of the conference. Delegates at the NUS annual conference in Brighton were encouraged to use “jazz hands” instead of clapping - where students wave their hands in the air - as this is deemed a more inclusive form of expression... The motion calls for “reduced cheering or unnecessary loud noises on conference floor, including whooping and clapping” and warns of “consequences for those who ignore this requirement”. In the past, NUS events have banned clapping on the grounds that it might “trigger anxiety”."
Apparently it's better to exclude blind people

Gay Pride flag removed from high school at transgender student’s request - "the University of British Columbia’s Gay Pride flag was burned on the flagpole by a trans student who feared increased public awareness and acceptance of lesbians and gays might result in transgender people being associated with homosexuals. Hate crime charges against the arsonist were dismissed by law enforcement, who seemed confused by the whole thing."
The left consumes itself

Why Are White People In Denial About What Gender They Are? - "Most black people out there have got bigger worries on their mind. There are some Uncle Toms out there that are too busy trying to fit in with white people by trying to jump on the gender fluid bandwagon. Your ancestors would be rolling in their graves if they seen this whole ‘I’m gender fluid’ bullshit."

Civil wars and Restoration England | Podcast | History Extra - "As I went through the examples of the US "Civil War" I found very quickly that it had many different names during the conflict itself. It wasn't officially until nineteen oh seven i think that the US Congress officially decided that it should ever after be called the US civil war. Up to that point after the defeat of the Confederacy it was known as the Rebellion... it was highly political act to define a conflict as a civil war or as a rebellion and these uses of terms are almost always about legitimacy and authority. War is a highly formalized indeed legally defined form of conflict. More orderly, more prestigious in a paradoxical way than riots or rebellions or other kinds of violence...
Two sides fighting for control of a single political community I think is the longest running conception of civil war. It gets much murkier and much more complicated especially in the twentieth century when most civil wars are what scholars of international relations and pop political science call internationalized civil wars. That is they don't happen just within the boundaries of a single state nor necessarily between only two parties. They often draw in neighbors, neighboring countries or increasingly as we know in the contemporary middle east they draw in fighters, terrorists from far far away and also they drag in or they attempt to drag in external powers... Contemporary civil wars at least three quarters of which we would call internationalized because both they draw in outside powers and they spill over the borders of the contending country especially through refugee flows...
One of the clearest patterns it seems in terms of if not direct causation and certainly correlation in the origins of civil war is the proximity of exiting an empire or secession. And that tends usually within a year to five years to generate another conflict for control or another secessionist group within that territory... In Latin America especially Spanish America in the 1810s, 20s and 30s. Those anti colonial anti imperial conflicts led in almost all cases to civil wars for control within particular countries or the fission of existing parts of the Spanish empire which have become independent and then broke down into ever smaller units. In a way I think we can see the US Civil War as a very very slow motion version of exactly that process. The thirteen colonies break away in seventeen seventy six. They wait more than eighty years, nearly ninety years to have their Civil War but the pattern is almost identical again to what happens in Spanish america in the intervening decades and then what happens across the world in the latter part of the twentieth century"

Victorian burials and the history of psychology | Podcast | History Extra - "Maybe the pendulum is swinging a little bit too far the other way. That to nowdays we have this whole raft of celebrities who are very keen to step forward and talk about their bipolar disorder or their autism or their Asperger's syndrome. And it's almost become a little bit of a fashion accessory... Now there's much more a feeling that you know there must be a solution, there must be a cure for everything. And perhaps people are treating minor discomforts of life as something which is actually pathological. Which is something which has to be treated. Something which is of danger in itself. And I just you know wonder that we're kind of sort of setting the standard of what life should be like and if we are moving to the position where we think that life should be universally happy and untroubled then I think we're kidding ourselves. You know we have to accept that life has its ups and downs and psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy for all the good it does can never iron those out... IAPT really is for the common cold of mental illness, which is depression. You know we all suffer from it., we're all on a spectrum of being depressed or not being depressed
Mental illness as a badge of honour
I thought depression was supposed to be very serious

Amanda Fristrom's answer to Why do some women prefer to have male friends instead of female ones? - Quora - "girls often have so much drama involved with any activity that it can be exhausting to be with them all the time. We all seem to recognize this, yet we can't seem to be able to stop it. When girls are with girls there is drama. It's odd... Men rarely have double-meanings when women tend to say one thing and mean another"

Maintaining an active sex life may lead to improved job satisfaction, engagement in work

Indonesian village Toraja dig up dead relatives and give them new clothes in ritual - "Families in Toraja in South Sulawesi dig up the bodies of their dead relatives before washing, grooming and dressing them in fancy new clothes. Even dead children are exhumed - two of these photos show the skeleton of a baby wrapped in a print dress with a doll laid next to it. Damaged coffins are fixed or replaced, and the mummies are then walked around the province by following a path of straight lines. The ritual is called Ma'nene, or The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses."

Living with the dead: The Indonesian village treating relatives' corpses as if they’re alive - "family members typically pose with their deceased relatives for fresh family portraits... The biggest funerals in the Torojan culture are typically held in the dry season months of July and August, according to Lonely Planet. Tourism to the area typically sees a boost during the summer months, with many travellers looking to experience Torojan rituals around death first hand"

When Death Doesn’t Mean Goodbye - "His wife and children will speak to him as they bring him food four times a day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and mid-afternoon tea. “We do this because we love him and respect him so much,” Yokke says. Elisabeth adds, “Before, we used to eat together. He’s still at home—we should feed him"... archaeologists concluded that there are Torajan death practices that date back at least as far as the ninth century A.D... Christianity has tried more or less successfully to partner with traditional practices: Nearly every step of a Torajan death is greeted with prayers, readings from Matthew or John, and a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer... Tourists—mainly Europeans and Australians—who go to Torajan funerals are often welcomed as evidence of the family’s importance. Larger funerals feature viewing pavilions where the guests are served tea, coffee, and snacks"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Living with the Dead - "We also need to prepare a great deal of things for the funeral so we need to have a lot of buffalos ready. And we've got six buffalos ready for his funeral but we need many more. So there's a whole process that we need to go through before the funerals can take place, to make sure we do it right for him. He's already had one ceremony, the first ceremony and we sacrificed a hundred and fifteen buffalos at that ceremony. That was about six months after he died and then now were preparing and still saving up all the things we need for his final funeral... families spend most of their lives saving for these rituals
Is it ethnocentric to point out that if they didn't spend so many resources on funerals they would be able to develop the living better?
Apparently this helps the process of coping with death

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Excitement and Disgust - "[On Caracas] People are desperate... when a store gets a new supplies of, say, diapers, they ask me for police protection. It could be a gang raid or fist fights outside. There are always problems... The regime's crisis management has become increasingly surreal. For example all bakeries are now subject to raids by crack squads of pastry police. Bakers found to be selling too many profitable pastries and cakes rather than bread are closed down. For many Venezuelans, fresh bread is the stuff of memories and dreams...
Last year something happened in Seville that may never be seen again. An indulto. This is when a Matador so impressed by a bull's tenacity spares its life. It's happened only four times here since 1749...
[On stereotypes] Why not report on Somali American nurses providing good health care. That seems a less solid point. After all no one expects us to cover Korean or Indian nurses doing good work - it's really not news...
In Ecuador now and again you'll encounter a Lenin at the supermarket checkout or on the other side of the Cold War in names a Kennedy driving the bus
Venezuela's problems can all be blamed on American sanctions/colonialism. Just like all the world's problems can be blamed in Jews

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Stamina of the Strongmen - "[On Turkey] We drove... into the path of a police car... They'd received a tipoff from a local, suspicious of what he called 'foreign agents'... it was an all too common illustration of the bleak climate of conspiracy that has engulfed Turkey and which is stoked by the President as he seeks more power...
While he labelled Dutch and German leaders Nazis and fascists for blocking attempts to campaign for expat votes there, pro-government media hit out daily at enemies plotting to destabilise the country. An aide to the President recently warned that TV chefs from Europe coming to make cooking programmes in Turkey were spies. The paranoia has reached absurdity. But Erdogan supporters adore it, fired up by the old nationalist image of a mighty Turkey fighting off outside forces.. simply being blessed by their hero was enough. The level of devotion to President Erdogan is something I've never seen in the democratic world. Populist leaders often have a hard core following - the fan base of Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen is passionate but this is different... [Erdogan is] comparing those who plan to vote no in the referendum with terrorists. In swathes of Turkey it's virtually impossible to find an opposition poster. They've been removed or destroyed or their campaigners attacked. It's created a deep sense of fear as I wandered through the centuries old maze of Istanbul's grand bazaar this week. I spoke to dozens of traders. Around half said they'll vote no but not a single one accepted to be interviewed. They'll shut down my shop, a jewelry seller told me...
[On Kashmir] India's efforts to ensure there was no disruption this time round might well have put some voters off. Kashmir is the most militarized region in the world. There are more personnel per capita here than in Iraq or Syria. We drove through streets lined with heavily armed officers to get here - one for every three eligible voters"

Changing notions of Social Justice

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 170 - Will Wilkinson on "Social justice and political philosophy"

"The notion of social justice that we have that was dominant throughout the 20th century was largely about economic distribution. Like, who gets how big a piece of the pie from economic production. In that sense, it’s kind of a zero-sum notion -- like if you get more, I get less. It plays into a kind of class war politics. The ideals of social justice throughout the 20th century were largely identified with a kind of soft socialism. The idea is dominated by the left partly because the right just conceded. The right just gave away the idea...

Our right wing ideas of injustice often have to do with different people being treated differently under the law. The equality condition is pretty easily met by a notion of equal rights, and equal rights carry with it an implicit requirement of equal dignity and equal respect. It’s worth pointing out that the classical liberal tradition in the 19th century was largely about this notion of equality of rights...

Now, in the 20th century, the idea of social justice became so deeply identified with socialism. And libertarianism as a particular ideology, historically, is a response to the threat of socialism. There’s a sense in which libertarianism is continuous with classical liberalism, but it’s also discontinuous. In some ways, as I put it before, libertarianism is like weaponized anti-socialism. It’s specifically calibrated to oppose socialism...

Julia: No, absolutely. The other way in which the current format of discourse, especially on social media, seems to make this hard is … I guess it seems like a coordination problem to me, where if you have multiple nodes or leaders of a certain cause, even if many of them are taking that Nelson Mandela, magnanimous approach, the vengeful or righteous approach is just so much more tempting and appealing in a lot of ways.

The incentives are such that the leader who’s going to take that approach is going to get a ton of followers. And even if he still is only a minority of the total conversation on the side of the social justice cause, still, that’s going to be the one that the other side is going to respond to, and feel threatened by. It just seems like not at all a robust system -- or like very fragile, is what I’m trying to say.

Will: I think it’s really hard to hit the … I actually think there’s a generational division of labor. The ethos of reconciliation that I’m praising requires this certain maturity that I just don’t think you can from college kids or 20 somethings...

Dune, there’s something so exotic about it, and it’s also one of the sources of my interest in politics. It’s a really interesting political work. It’s a work about economic redistribution or distribution. It’s about who controls this spice that’s incredibly valuable. It’s truly a book about the resource curse, about how conflicts over valuable resources can lead to really pathological social equilibria. I am not sure that’s how Frank Herbert was seeing it. He definitely did see it as a work of ecology. It’s super interesting, thinking about it now in light of global warming and power, how we relate to our environments"

Links - 1st July 2017 (1)

Trump’s Deflections and Denials on Russia Frustrate Even His Allies - The New York Times - "Correction: June 29, 2017
A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community."

Art Forgery: Lothar Malskat crossed the line that separates art restoration from forgery. - "“People like to be fooled today,” responded Malskat. “We just gave them what they wanted.” What people did not enjoy was knowing that they’d been tricked. On January 26, 1955, after more than five months of testimony, the court reached a verdict. “Although the ascertainable material damage done may not have been excessive, it seriously endangered the restoration of Marienkirche as a whole,” asserted the presiding judge. “The dishonest behavior of those engaged upon it undermined confidence in the proper execution of all the reinstatement work.” In other words, the offense was not fundamentally a crime of property damage. The infringement was psychological: Robbery of faith, theft of a miracle . After Fendrich and Dietrich-Dirschau had been sternly chastised, Fey was sentenced to 20 months in prison and Malskat to 18."

Why 'Batman Returns' Is the Ultimate Tribute to DC's Dark Knight

The Black Princess Who Isn't Black Enough - "You know, redheads aren't often "represented" in mainstream media -- or anywhere. Should I be up in arms?"
Comments: "I love the outcry about the whole "Not Black Enough" thing. One day, someone should explain to us, in concrete terms what would be a character who is "Black Enough". Do the average Gangsta-Rapper out there is too black? Do Condi Rice is not enough? He's a problem I see in the black-American community; they are unable to definite themselves outside of a racial context."
"a cartoon portraying historical American slavery but where there many white slaves too, and slavery was not race-based at all - it looks and feels absurd and out of place because our brains retain a strong recognition of the historical context, and say 'eh that thar don't belong there' - as if you suddenly saw a car in a movie set in the 1700s. It will *never* look right to our generation (black or white) - but now we're attempting to artificially re-engineer the historical cultural collective recollections of the next generation. Maybe it will work; maybe the next generation will imagine that historically European princesses were of many different races."
"There's an inferiority complex 5 miles deep behind all this Black Pride posturing & shouting. The irony is that there was a whole dynasty of black Nubian Pharaohs who ruled all of Egypt, and Israel besides, in the 8th & 7th centuries BC. They did great things, but nowadays no one's ever heard of Piye, Shabaka & Taharqa. On the other hand, everyone on earth knows about Cleopatra. So since the history & accomplishments of genuine black people are not good enough for the Afrocentric crowd, they have to steal someone else's. Trying to reason with people who have such deep psychological complexes is hopeless."
"I don't look for people (or cartoon people) to look like me. I relate to people on the humanity level, which is why I can see films from other countries and get something out of them."

Malaysia’s ‘Raja Bomoh’ says sorry, admits rituals were fake - "Ibrahim, who attracted international attention with his antics during Malaysia’s Flight MH370 crisis and diplomatic row with North Korea, claimed that he was ordered to put on the act. Ibrahim, however, said he could not disclose the identity of those who had given him the orders to conduct the rituals that were purportedly only aimed at creating a merry situation... Mr Abdul Aziz reportedly said Ibrahim had pleaded guilty after being charged under Section 7(a) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997. The date of the prosecution was not provided in the report. Section 7(a) covers the offence of insulting or bringing Islam into contempt and is punishable by a maximum RM3,000 (S$956.73) fine or a maximum two-year jail term or both."

Pokemon Go forbidden for Muslims: Malaysian mufti - "Muslims are forbidden to engage themselves in the virtual world of Pokemon characters and play the reality game of Pokemon GO due to the principles of maslahah (public interest) and harmful consequences."

Malaysia: JB Doctor Shocked When Bangladeshi Worker Used Medical Terms And Knew As Much As A Practicing Doctor - "The patient revealed that he was actually a pharmacist in Bangladesh, and even had his own pharmacy in the country. He has a MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) degree, and his brother is also a doctor... Astonished that the patient sitting in front of him was actually an accomplished pharmacist, he was overwhelmed with sorrow that someone with such esteemed qualifications had to flee his own country and work in Malaysia as a labourer. The patient however remarked that despite the long hours in our scorching heat, working in Malaysia was still better than living in Bangladesh as it is presently."

Not Only The Chinese, Malaysia's Growing Extremism Is Forcing The Malays Away Too - ""I don't feel safe in this country anymore," the researcher said. "It's like you are guilty until proven innocent. Anyone can make a phone call to accuse another person out of malice or vengeance and, without proof or investigation, the religious authorities will come to your place."... "This fear of extremism drives Malays out of the country," Zaid said. "We (Muslims) are having more and more laws. In the state of Kelantan, a person can be arrested and jailed if he fails to attend Friday prayers three times in a row," said Zaid, adding that a lot of moral issues have been criminalised. "Before, they (religious authorities) tell you gambling is sinful. Now you can be arrested for buying a four-digit lottery.""

Christians out to convert Muslims through Christmas, Islamist hardliners claim - "Muslims nationwide must beware the “dangers” of Christmas next week as it is allegedly a ploy by the Christian community to attract Muslims into accepting Jesus as the Son of God, the local chapter of international hardline Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir alleged today. According to the group, Christmas celebrations try to condition Muslims into accepting “Western values”, allegedly through festivals of vice, free mingling, illicit sex, and excess that it said pervade the year-end celebrations...
“Any Muslim who refuse to offer a greeting of merry Christmas or celebrate it will be seen as intolerant, and maybe extreme,” it claimed. “Based on this, some Muslims without shame and guilt, and even proudly and happily, celebrate Christmas just because they don’t want to be seen as intolerant among Christians. Whether they realise it or not, they have sold out their faith!” Christmas is also seen as a ploy to plant the seeds of “religious pluralism” into the minds of Muslims so Christianity can be considered as a religion equal to Islam, the group said as it warned Muslims of idolatry... The National Fatwa Council has decreed on 2005 that Muslims are prohibited from attending Christmas celebrations if there are “Christian symbols” on display, such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus-like red attires and Christmas carols. Two years later in 2007, the same council decreed that Muslims cannot greet non-Muslims during their festivities if the greetings involve issues of faith or recognise that other religions are of equal position with Islam."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Chips and Mayonnaise - "[On Denain, Northern France] Life expectancy at 58 is the same as in the Democratic Republic of Congo...
The Dutch are proud of their directness. It's part of their self identity, much like liberal tolerance, riding bicycles and eating mayonnaise with their chips... [Pim Fortuyn] had nothing against Moroccan men. In fact he quite enjoyed sleeping with them... he was also liberal - he claimed to prefer having public sex in nightclubs to going to church... he was killed by an activist who feared Fortuyn was a threat to the rights of minorities in the Netherlands - the contradictions of Dutch tolerance laid bare in the most brutal way... the man I'm drinking tea with complaints that compare to Han Chinese the Uighers are stubborn, lazy and lack ambition. But he adds they're also more moral and more united
Protecting minorities through murder

Caffeine the hallucinogen? - "Five coffees a day or more was found to be enough to increase the participant’s tendency to hallucinate says Professor Crowe. ‘High caffeine levels in association with high levels of stressful life events interacted to produce higher levels of ‘hallucination’ in non-clinical participants, indication that further caution needs to be exercised with the use of this overtly “safe” drug’"

Japanese man dies after daily heavy consumption of caffeinated beverages

Negative Electricity Prices Are Not A Sign Of Renewable Success - "the tendency of some advocates to point to specific periods of low prices, rather than overall prices. The best example is in Germany, with its aggressive promotion of renewable power. One advocate argued that, “Even as GE’s Chairman griped that a German steel mill pays four times the typical U.S. industrial power price (perhaps reflecting a confusion between U.S. and Euro cents), the average German wholesale price for June 2013—essentially the price such big industries pay—fell to a record low of 2.8 Euro cents or 3.7 U.S. cents per kWh, well below his 5-cent U.S. benchmark.” Compare and contrast with a report from Der Spiegel in September 2013: “For society as a whole, the costs have reached levels comparable only to the euro-zone bailouts. This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants -- electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion.”

High Costs and Errors of German Transition to Renewable Energy - "It is only gradually becoming apparent how the renewable energy subsidies redistribute money from the poor to the more affluent...

In Sweden, the system ensures that the electric utilities' investments automatically flow into the technology they see as the most cost-effective. This doesn't always have to be the cheapest technology at a given time. But like any normal company, the Swedish utilities have an interest in maximizing their return on investment. This is different in Germany, where the most inefficient technology at a given time is the most heavily subsidized, based on the bizarre logic that it has to be brought into the market over a particularly lengthy period of time"
More on the disaster of Germany's renewables policy - "protecting" the planet is more important than protecting people

Facebook Has Been Intentionally Crashing Its Android App on Users - "Facebook has tested the loyalty and patience of Android users by secretly introducing artificial errors that would automatically crash the app for hours at a time, says one person familiar with the one-time experiment. 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."

Myth 5: The private sector is more efficient than the public sector - "The largest study of the efficiency of privatized companies looked at all European companies privatized during 1980-2009. It compared their performance with companies that remained public and with their own past performance as public companies. The result? The privatized companies performed worse than those that remained public and continued to do so for up to 10 years after privatization"

Disney World: 'Star Wars' starship luxury resort hotel is in the works - "The survey also highlights the unique experience you would get out of the two-night, all-inclusive package that will cost roughly $900 to $1,000 per guest, including a two-day story set in the the "Star Wars" universe, personal interactions with "Star Wars" characters, live performers throughout the starship, plus the ability to engage in the story by doing flight training, ship exploration, lightsaber training, and personalized secret missions (both on the starship and throughout Star Wars Land)."

The New Star Wars Theme Parks Coming to Disney Look Out of This World

Disney Just Opened A Dress Shop For Adults And It’s Freaking Amazing

Screw ‘science’ — Disney princesses are not demeaning - "This week brought details of a laughable BYU academic “study” that generated paranoid headlines like “Disney Princesses Are Bad Role Models for Girls” and “This Is the Latest Evidence That Disney Princesses Are Hurting Young Girls.” The study finds a correlation between feminine behavior and fondness for Disney princesses. But which way does the causation go? Is it more plausible that girly girls are simply attracted to Disney princess movies, or that watching “Cinderella” magically rewires your brain? If the latter, how is this belief different from the “Pray away the gay” school of thought that holds that fervent Bible study, and maybe a few John Wayne movies, will turn your homosexual nephew straight? The study’s lead author, family-life professor Sarah M. Coyne of BYU, is a professional media scare-monger. Among her papers: “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Gender Stereotype!: Longitudinal Associations Between Superhero Viewing and Gender Stereotyped Play” (Finding: Boys who liked superhero movies tended to behave like boys.) A 2011 paper Coyne trumpeted to the media to generate headlines like “profanity on TV linked to kids’ aggression” was dismissed by a neutral observer, psych prof Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M International, who noted to Reuters that the study “isn’t enough to show a robust correlation, let alone cause and effect.” That’s a major whoopsie, as the whole point of this line of research is to show causation , not just correlation."

Tourists Destroy Grounds Surrounding Shanghai Disneyland Before It Even Opens

The Real Reason Chinatown Produce is Crazy Cheap - "“Chinatown’s 80-plus produce markets are cheap because they are connected to a web of small farms and wholesalers that operate independently of the network supplying most mainstream supermarkets.” While most of the rest of New York's markets get their produce from the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx, Chinatown sellers work directly with small neighborhood warehouses. Since they're operating in close geographic proximity, they can get fresh produce throughout the day from wholesalers, and therefore don’t need a store with refrigeration or a lot of storage space. Markets also cut costs by eschewing extra technology and certain aesthetic choices—the Journal points out that shelves “are typically made of plywood and lined with newsprint,” prices are scrawled on cardboard instead of printed on stickers, and credit cards are not always accepted. Chinatown retailers also manage to cut costs by “negotiating bulk discounts from wholesalers,” Kadet notes... she has visited more than 75 of these farms and saw very little exploitation; in fact, they were happy to be working for Chinatown wholesalers “because they could cultivate an array of crops, leading to economic and agronomic stability.”"

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Links - 27th June 2017 (2)

Marvel Confirms Popular Fan Theory About Stan Lee's Cameos - "Stan Lee has secretly been playing Uatu the Watcher, an extraterrestrial from the comics whose species appear to observe major events."

Fathers' rights protester scales Buckingham Palace - "Royal security was under fresh scrutiny today after a Fathers 4 Justice campaigner dressed as Batman staged a protest on a balcony at Buckingham Palace. Jason Hatch, 33, from Gloucester, managed to reach the royal residence despite the presence of armed guards, the group claimed. Matt O'Connor, a spokesman for the organisation, said: "We've got a guy dressed as Batman who is on Buckingham Palace on a balcony. He legged it past the armed guards.""

How censored is China's version of WoW? - World of Warcraft Forums - "skeletons being turned into undead player models and undead player models having their exposed bones covered up"
"You cant see Pandaren at all, they are just giant blurry images."
"I know that games in Brazil can't mention alcohol so things get changed from say wine to 'grape juice' or the likes. Our government (Australia) wanted to censor A cup women because it was considered borderline child "adult material" and exploitation of minors."

Well done, feminism. Now man are afraid to help women at work - Telegraph - "Sex & The Office suggests men now view such ordinary, decent behaviours as “too risky” – and, in what will be a bitter irony for equality campaigners – claims that, as a direct consequence, women are now failing to advance at work. This terror of being accused of sexual harassment is now so common it has its own term, “backlash stress”. It sounds like something straight out of a Claims Direct ad – where the only victims are men. The book’s author, Kim Elsesser, a research scholar at the University of California, argues that a “sex partition” has sprung up, which impedes women from building the vital network of contacts both within the workplace and socially... companies themselves are contributing to this mess, as they are now so terrified of legal action they send staff on sexual harassment training courses, and are duty-bound to follow up on any allegation, however minor. Ludicrously, Elsesser cites examples of men who have been dragged in by their HR departments for simply opening a door for a female colleague or complimenting her on a new suit... Elsesser’s book echoes an insightful New York Post article from earlier this year called ‘Powerful Men Now Hide Behind Open Doors’. The writer, Naomi Schaffer Riley, paints a depressingly familiar picture of university lecturers who won’t even close their office doors when alone with a female student... Riley cites a US National Journal survey where a male Congress aide said: “Several female aides have been barred from staffing their male bosses at evening events, driving alone with their congressman or senator, or even sitting down one-on-one in his office for fear that others would get the wrong impression.” In a lawsuit-happy culture, where claims can seemingly be made on a 'he said/she said' basis, men are now trying to ensure their actions are always covered by a third party witness. Increasingly, they want to make sure the walls have ears – just in case something “inappropriate” is said... By carrying on like this we are nurturing and mollycoddling victimhood and it is having profound impacts. Last month in Britain, “fearless feminist” barrister Charlotte Proudman publicly shamed Alexander Carter-Silk, 57, a senior solicitor, for complimenting her “stunning” LinkedIn profile picture – then claimed it was her career that had been “ruined”... This is the bed Third Wave feminism has made. Now we all have to lie in it"

Health food and drinks nutritionists want you to STOP buying in 2017 - "'If you remove gluten from your diet without medical necessity, you will run the risk of missing out on some vitamins and other essential nutrients. 'Many gluten-free products available tend to be quite low in iron, calcium, fibre, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. 'Many gluten-free foods would be tasteless without the higher levels of sugar, salt, and other additives to make them more palatable. 'And don't forget that gluten-free junk food is still junk food.'"

What women REALLY want: To marry a rich man and stay at home with the children - "Despite years of equality campaigning and advances for women in the workplace, 64 per cent said they aspire to find a husband who brings home a larger pay packet than they do. None wanted to marry a man who earned less. And 69 per cent said they would prefer to stay at home to look after their children if money were not an issue. Only 19 per cent wanted their other half to be better educated than they are. Instead 62 per cent said they wanted a man to have the same level of intellect... The survey follows controversial research published last week by Dr Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics, which claimed more women are choosing to ‘marry up’ by picking wealthy men for their spouse than in the 1940s. In her report, published by the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, she said men dominate the top positions because women do not want careers in business... equal roles in the family, where husband and wife shared employment, childcare and housework, was ‘not the ideal sought by most couples’."

Successful women begrudge husbands who earn less, study claims - "one in five women are the main breadwinners in their relationships. Of female high-flyers, one in six actually resented their loved one for not earning more cash and one in ten disliked the financial responsibility... relationships were far less fiery when the man retained his traditional breadwinning role... sociologists as Virginia University, in the U.S study, found that those with traditional marriages, in which couples stick to old fashioned gender roles - with the husband as the main breadwinner - were happier. Entitled What's Love Got TO With It, the report showed women who worked were more dissatisfied with their husbands than those who stayed at home, and the happiest were those whose husbands brought in at least two-thirds of the household income, regardless of how much they helped with domestic chores."

Feminist Academics Blame The Patriarchy For Feeling Like Frauds - "The study draws on well-known feminist Peggy McIntosh’s research which concludes that women generally feel like frauds in their professional life due to patriarchal forces. The authors wrote: “personal feelings of fraudulence are linked to broader, political context.” They criticized universities for adopting “neoliberal” economic accountability that forces scholars to produce applicable research because such traitorous scholars are “likely to be rewarded within a patriarchal system.” Thus Sharp and Weaver suggest that feminist scholars, who don’t accept the “neoliberal” way of doing research, will tend to feel like frauds because they won’t be rewarded as much and will feel inadequate."

Why I'll never date a feminist - "People who are more loyal to their gender and not their significant other don’t make good partners. They will always look at you as inherently more fortunate than them. They’ve bought into the “battle of the sexes” mentality and it often pervades their perceptions of romance. Romance turns into a power struggle rather than a partnership."

Female Islamic Professor Says Allah Allows Muslims To Rape Non-Muslims In Order To Humiliate Them [Video] - "Al-Azhar University is a renowned institute in Cairo, Egypt, that is the oldest degree-granting institute in all of Egypt. The university is touted as “Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university.” Therefore, the statements made by the female professor are concerning due to the rampant rape by the Islamic State to their “war prisoners,” the Yazidi people."

The dating gap: why the odds are stacked against female graduates - "Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, says women looking for equally-educated male partners, “will be forced to compete, I guess, and those that lose will have to downgrade their expectations and are likely to marry later as a result.” There is historical evidence for this – he points to analyses of parish marriage registers from an area of Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries. “We see this in the historical data – actual ages at marriage are later for those who marry down the social scale than those who marry up or at the same level.”

Switzerland guns: Living with firearms the Swiss way - "Although it is still possible for a former soldier to buy his firearm after he finishes military service, he must provide a justification for keeping the weapon and apply for a permit... It is a condition of the interview that I don't give his surname or hint at his address. "I do as the army advises and I keep the barrel separately from my pistol," he explains seriously. "I keep the barrel in the basement so if anyone breaks into my apartment and finds the gun, it's useless to them." He shakes out the gun holster. "And we don't get bullets any more," he adds. "The Army doesn't give ammunition now - it's all kept in a central arsenal"... when I ask him if he feels safer having a gun at home, explaining that even if he had ammunition, he would not be allowed to use it against an intruder... "there is a strong correlation between guns kept in private homes and incidences occurring at home - like private disputes involving the husband shooting the wife and maybe the children, and then committing suicide"... "over the last 20 years, now that the majority of soldiers don't have ammunition at home, we have seen a decrease in gun violence and a dramatic decrease in gun-related suicides. Today we see maybe 200 gun suicides per year and it used to be 400, 20 years ago"... Prof Killias cannot hide his anger with those in America who use Switzerland to illustrate their argument that more gun ownership would deter or stop violence. "We don't have a gun culture!" he snaps, waving his hand dismissively... "There is no point taking the gun out of your home in Switzerland because it is illegal to carry a gun in the street. To shoot someone who just looks at you in a funny way - this is not Swiss culture!""
If stricter gun control reduces gun deaths in a place without a gun culture, it will even more so reduce them in a place with it

Meet Bodhi - the pet dog who's also a paid MENSWEAR model for top brands including ASOS - “Working with Bodhi is like working with any model, sometimes he’s happy, sometimes he’s not feeling it - at the end of the day he’s the boss.”

Against ‘Sustainability’ - The New York Times - "as the Christian God retreated after Descartes, the attributes traditionally ascribed to Him — goodness, perfection and permanence — were in different ways transposed onto the body of nature... the planet has seen mass extinctions of species and significant alterations to the climate before. The fact that they are traced to the behavior of an individual species only makes them particular, not in some way “unnatural.”... Mass extinctions are no doubt catastrophic, but they are only tragic if nature is viewed as something perfect that we are destroying, rather than as a state of flux in which we are participating... the environmental movement has become, and perhaps always was, infused with a sense of mourning and melancholia (not to mention nostalgia). This melancholia, I would argue, is connected to the death of God, or the ability to conceive God in a certain way, and stems from that Romantic transference of the divine into nature."

I am interested in learning more about how biotech seeds improve sustainability... - "Toward environmental sustainability, the GM insect tolerant crops allow much less broad-spectrum insecticide to be used, which has many advantages. Insect populations are more diverse, and abundant, except for those that directly harm the crop... Economic sustainability means a positive net balance between the cost of production and the value of the product. The best example is perhaps the Hawaiian papaya. Papaya farmers find the GMO papaya much more sustainable than non-GM, virus sensitive varieties"
"Herbicide-tolerant crops have encouraged farmers to practice no-till farming. In conventional farming, the fields are plowed ("tilled") to control weeds. Because of the superior weed control from GM crops, farmers now have to till much less often. This has led to improved soil health and water retention, reduced runoff, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture"

Is the key to romance outsourcing household chores? - The Washington Post - "comprehensive outsourcing is actually the most economical decision for them. Not only does it free them up to devote more time to their professional work, but it also relieves the stress on the family and the marriage... “Families tend to over-buy things and under-buy services given what psychologists have told us about how spending money impacts happiness.”... "I got a lot more joy out of dancing for 15 minutes with Matilda than I would have from a Starbucks cappuccino. And it cost me about a Starbucks drink to pay our assistant [to] spend 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen.”"

Why science is so hard to believe - The Washington Post - "even students with an advanced science education had a hitch in their mental gait when asked to affirm or deny that humans are descended from sea animals and that the Earth goes around the sun. Both truths are counterintuitive. The students, even those who correctly marked “true,” were slower to answer those questions than questions about whether humans are descended from tree-dwelling creatures (also true but easier to grasp) and whether the moon goes around the Earth (also true but intuitive)... people need to hear from believers they can trust, who share their fundamental values... In the debate over climate change, the central allegation of the skeptics is that the science saying it’s real and a serious threat is politically tinged, driven by environmental activism and not hard data. That’s not true, and it slanders honest scientists. But the claim becomes more likely to be seen as plausible if scientists go beyond their professional expertise and begin advocating specific policies. It’s their very detachment, what you might call the cold-bloodedness of science, that makes science the killer app"

Does Islam Have a Role in Suicide Bombings? - "Khomeini and fellow radical Shiite clerics framed the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) as a modern incarnation of the Battle of Karbala, portraying the Iranian people as Muhammad's grandson and Shiite martyr Hussein ibn Ali and Saddam Hussein as his nemesis Caliph Yazid. They understood that Shiite veneration for the self-sacrifice of Hussein's followers, who died willingly along with their leader, could be leveraged. Khomeini also relied on passages from the Qur'an extolling the virtue of "one who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah." Yet most authors of books on suicide terrorism ignore how Khomeini and Amal's Musa Sadr carefully manipulated Islamic tradition, preferring the simple and uncritical assertion that Islam prohibits suicide... The will to equivocate is so strong that it prompted Navid Kermani to advise those looking to understand the 9/11 attacks to ignore the Qur'an and blame Nietzsche... the LTTE [Tamil Tigers] did not engage in suicide terrorism prior to its contact with Hezbollah... Many claim that foreign occupation causes suicide bombing worldwide. But no French or Dutch suicide bombers targeted Nazi occupiers in the early 1940s. The Irish Republican Army's Bobby Sands (above) starved to death during a hunger strike, but the group never adopted suicide bombing as a tactic against British occupiers. No Palestinian suicide bombers targeted Egyptian and Trans-Jordanian occupiers in the Gaza Strip and West Bank from 1948 until 1967... Mira Tzoreff of the Moshe Dayan Center also documents the predatory methods used by Arafat's Tanzim whereby Palestinian girls and young women are seduced, impregnated, threatened with exposure, and then offered a means of escape through their own "martyrdom.""

How Neil Young, Greenpeace work to starve the world’s poor - "to Greenpeace’s loud cheers, MASIPAG, a closely allied organization, violently attacked and destroyed a Golden Rice field trial in the Philippines. The group claimed to be a “farmer-led network,” but local officials reported that its thugs had been bused in from a nearby city. MASIPAG’s list of supporters and partners reads like a directory of European church- and government-sponsored social-justice and development groups... Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace in the 1970s, broke with his creation and now works to expose Greenpeace’s actions in the developing world. He’s joined with Golden Rice inventor Ingo Potrykus in calling for putting Greenpeace on trial for crimes against humanity."

Employer fails to pay, worker goes to jail - "The doctor at CGH prescribed him five months of medical leave. During this period, Ali’s employer merely paid him a small portion of his medical leave wages. To compound matters, Ali was constantly harassed by his employer to sign blank papers, which he steadfastly refused. But the constant pressure on him made it increasingly intolerable to continue staying in the dormitory. When finally, on 13 November 2013, his request for the reimbursement of his medical expenses and leave wages infuriated his employer, Ali moved out of the dormitory. Like many migrant workers, Ali would not want to risk being seized by “repatriation gangsters” hired by employers, and be bundled out of Singapore without completing his course of medical treatment or receiving compensation for permanent disability. The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) clearly states that employers are to pay workers their medical leave wages promptly and cover medical expenses for work-related injuries. However, tardiness or failure to pay is a recurring complaint among injured workers who seek help at Transient Workers Count Too; Ali is one of the many cases I have encountered in just the first month of my internship. Having moved out of his dorm for his own security, Ali now had to find a way to pay over $200 a month to rent a bunk bed somewhere. Without a viable financial means to support himself and his family back home, Ali had no choice but to take on alternative employment, even if illegally"

The Gadfly

The Gadfly - The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Haidt roams the stage, TED-talk style (he’s delivered four), and explains what he calls "the new moral culture spreading on many college campuses." It is a culture, he says, that values victims, prioritizes emotional safety, silences dissent, and distorts scholarship. It is a culture that undermines the university’s traditional mission to pursue truth — "veritas" is right there on the seals of Harvard and Yale — in favor of a new mission: the pursuit of social justice. It is a culture that Haidt believes is fueled by three factors: political polarization, the rise of social media, and a lack of ideological diversity in the professoriate.

Through the 1980s, Haidt says at the conference, liberals outnumbered conservatives on college faculties by about two to one. In his own field, psychology, a left/right disparity of four to one existed until the mid-1990s. "That’s not really a problem as long as there are some people on the right who can raise objections if someone says something that’s just overtly partisan and isn’t backed up by the facts," he says. Today, however, precious few conservatives are in psychology departments. "If you say something pleasing to the left about race, gender, immigration, or any other issue, it’s likely to get waved through to publication," says Haidt. "People won’t ask hard questions. They like it. They want to believe it." This represents "a real research-legitimacy problem in the social sciences."

Solving that problem has become a crusade for Haidt. In 2015 he co-founded Heterodox Academy to advocate for what its mission statement calls "viewpoint diversity." The organization began as an online salon frequented by a few colleagues, but after high-profile student protests at the University of Missouri, Yale, and elsewhere, the ranks began to swell. The group now has more than 800 members, primarily tenured or tenure-track faculty. The active ones conduct research and distill their findings into blog posts, which has made the Heterodox Academy website a clearinghouse for data and views on academic bias, scientific integrity, and the latest campus free-speech flaps. Last year a quarter-million people visited the website...

At the Students for Liberty conference, Haidt explained that his activism is driven by a belief that the stakes could not be higher: "This could be the beginning of the end for liberal democracy."...

"The election has ramped up emotions so strongly that any effort to say, ‘You really need to have more conservatives in the university, and you need to listen to them’ strikes some people as immoral." On the other hand, he says, the election has forced a reckoning. More academics are saying, "Wow, we really are in a bubble. We must get out of this bubble."...

When he taught at Virginia, the psychology department hosted a weekly lunch presentation. One day the topic was women and math. The talk focused on how cultural messages girls receive dissuade them from pursuing math. Haidt proposed an alternative explanation: "We know that prenatal hormones influence the brain, changing all kinds of interests. Is it possible that girls are just less interested in math?" There was dead silence. "Wait," he pressed. "Do you think hormones influence behavior?" More silence. "Nobody agreed, nobody disagreed, nobody would touch it," he recalls. "That’s when I realized our science is suffering. Social science is really hard; it’s always multiple causal threads. If several threads are banned, then you cannot solve any problem."

In 2011, during a talk at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Haidt asked the audience of about 1,000 people for a show of hands: How many considered themselves liberals? Eighty percent raised their hands. Centrists or moderates? About 20 hands. Libertarians? Twelve. Conservatives? Three. "When we find any job in the nation in which women or minorities are underrepresented by a factor of three or four, we make the strong presumption that this constitutes evidence of discrimination," he said. "And if we can’t find evidence of overt discrimination, we presume that there must be a hostile climate that discourages underrepresented groups from entering." He likened the situation of nonliberals in social psychology to closeted homosexuals in the 1980s.

His talk became a sensation. The New York Times covered it; the society’s email list lit up in debate. One post in particular caught Haidt’s attention. It was by Jose Duarte, a grad student at the University of Arizona, who argued that social psychology is so riddled with embedded ideological assumptions that a lot of peer-reviewed research might be invalid...

Haidt believes that the vast majority of professors share Heterodox Academy’s concern over the spread of illiberal attitudes on campus, but that many are reluctant to speak up. The cause of that reluctance, he thinks, is twofold: Some liberal professors fear giving even inadvertent comfort to the right, especially with Trump in the White House and a Republican majority in Congress. Others, he argues, are intimidated by the bullying tactics of the far left.

That diagnosis rings true to David Bromwich, a professor of English at Yale. His 1992 book about the campus culture wars, Politics by Other Means (Yale University Press), is a withering assault on both traditionalists of the right and thought-policers of the left. (As John Silber wrote in a review, the book might have been called A Plague on Both Your Houses.) Asked how the current mood on elite campuses compares with that time, Bromwich says it’s at least as bad. "There is a horror of being associated with anything or anyone conservative," he says, calling it "a mark of the timidity of the academic personality in our time. It leads to a great deal of conformity, small acts of cowardice, and the voluntary self-suppression of ideas."

A week after Heterodox Academy began, Kate Manne, an assistant professor of philosophy at Cornell, wrote a defense of trigger warnings in The New York Times. She took specific aim at "the idea, suggested by Professor Haidt and others, that this considerate and reasonable practice feeds into a ‘culture of victimhood’ " and described Haidt’s view as "alarmist, if not completely implausible." Haidt responded on his blog, reiterating his objections to trigger warnings but adding that Manne’s efforts to shield her students from potentially upsetting material suggest that she’s a "caring teacher." Manne shot back on Twitter, accusing Haidt of "uncharitably interpreting and patronizing a younger female colleague" and making "stereotypical assumptions about teachers/professors you’ve not met, nor discussed their pedagogy with." Haidt was genuinely dumbfounded. He thought he was paying her a compliment: "But you discussed your pedagogy. I called you caring based on what you wrote."...

"When I went to Yale, in 1981, it said above the main gate ‘Lux et Veritas’: Light and Truth. We are here to find truth," Haidt says as he paces the stage at the Students for Liberty conference in Washington. "This is our heritage all the way back to Aristotle, Plato, Socrates." But the pursuit of truth is being supplanted by a new mission, he warns, the pursuit of social justice. He paraphrases Marx: "The point is not to understand the world; the point is to change it."

It’s human nature to make things sacred — people, places, books, ideas, Haidt says. "So what’s sacred at a university?" he asks. "Victims are sacred," he answers. And a victimhood culture offers only two ways to get prestige: Be a victim, or, if you can’t manage that, stand up for victims. How? "By punishing the hell out of anyone who in any way, shape, or form, even inadvertently, marginalizes a member of a victim class."

He clicks to reveal a slide titled "The Six Sacred Groups." "The Big 3" are Blacks, Women, LGBT. "The Other 3" are Latinos, Native Americans, Disability. The list of sacred victims, he says, is growing. Among the newly sacrosanct are Muslims, transgender, and Black Lives Matter. "I’m in no way saying these are not victims," Haidt says. "I’m not dismissing claims of systemic racism. I’m just pointing out that the quasi-religious conflicts we have on campus nowadays tend to revolve around these groups."

According to Haidt, the culture of victimhood is exacerbated by the arrival of an infantilized student body, especially on elite campuses. He says that cable television inaugurated an era in which news about crime filled the airwaves and magnified parental fears about the safety of their children. As a result, many of today’s college students haven’t been allowed to explore, face dangers, surmount them, and come back stronger. "Kids need thousands of hours of unsupervised time to learn how to live without their parents," he says, "so when they go off to college it’s not the first time they’re unsupervised. They’re not getting it anymore."

In October, Heterodox Academy released a Guide to Colleges that rates campuses on whether they’re conducive to free speech and diversity of thought...

At the top of the list is the University of Chicago, where the dean of students sent a letter to the Class of 2020 stating that the university does not condone safe spaces, trigger warnings, or disinviting controversial speakers. Near the bottom of the list is Brown University, where administrators have described social justice as a "bedrock commitment" and responded to student protests in 2015 with a pledge to invest $100 million to create a "just and inclusive campus."

Haidt hopes the rankings will lead to a schism between those universities committed to truth and those that regard social justice as the highest good, so each can go their own way and high school students would know more about the intellectual climate of the colleges they’re considering attending. To help force the issue, Heterodox Academy offers a model student-government resolution that activists can use to affirm their university’s commitment to free speech and intellectual diversity. In March, Northwestern University became the first — and thus far only — campus to pass such a resolution...

Haidt is fearful not only for the country but also for himself. His default intellectual style is provocation. He used to relish posing questions like, "List all the good things Hitler did," and he even invented a game, "Racist Jeopardy," in which he names a stereotype and asks students to identify the ethnic group it describes. "It was very uncomfortable," he says, adding that he no longer plays the game because he’s worried about running afoul of NYU’s bias-response team. He’s already been the subject of at least two student complaints.

"I’m used to skating on thin ice, but I knew how thick the ice was," he says. "Now I have no idea.""

Links - 27th June 2017 (1)

'Jungle drums' probe at Wiltshire Council 'unfair' - "A report into how a council dealt with a racism complaint after the phrase "jungle drums" was used at a meeting has found its investigation was unfair. The complaint was made after the phrase was used to describe gossip during a public meeting at Wiltshire Council. An equality campaigner present found the comment to be racist and offensive. The authority investigated and found it was a valid complaint."
If water buffalo and black hole are racist...

Why was Dr Raabe sacked? - "the appointment of Dr Hans-Christian Raabe to the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) caused at least one member of the committee to threaten resignation. It wasn't the doctor's ideas about drugs which upset his council colleague ("just say no", if you are interested), but his views on homosexuality... [he] claimed that there are a "disproportionately greater number of homosexuals among paedophiles"... You cannot simply sack somebody appointed to a government advisory body because he/she has strong religious views that are irrelevant to the job in hand. That would seem to be discriminatory. Support for this view comes from a surprising quarter - the former Lib Dem MP, Dr Evan Harris. Now director of the Campaign for Evidence Based Policy, he says: "No advisor should be dismissed purely for holding and expressing entirely lawful views on another subject, no matter how objectionable.""

Monkey attack sets off deadly tribal clashes in Libya - "The monkey pulled off a girl's headscarf and reportedly bit and scratched her, leading men from the Awlad Suleiman tribe to retaliate by killing three Gaddadfa people - as well as the monkey."

Why rice growers in China are more sexually liberal than wheat growers - "I found that people from provinces such as Sichuan that have lower levels of trade and cultural exchanges with Western countries have more liberal views on extramarital sex and homosexuality than people from more “westernised” provinces such as Fujian and Jiangsu. But people from more westernised provinces did have more liberal views on premarital sex."

Dr. Seuss book Hop on Pop does not encourage ‘violence against fathers,’ library says in rejecting ban request - "A ban request on the book Complete Hindi required a bit more legwork by the committee. A complainant wrote that the book should be removed from the collection because it inaccurately states that “Hindi and Urdu are paired languages.” The “Hindi-Urdu controversy”— the ongoing dispute over the idea that the two Asian languages are the same — is so widespread it has its own Wikipedia page. After consulting with “a professor of Hindi language and literature at a major Canadian university,” the review committee failed to take a side, but kept the book because “as in all languages, there are different opinions on correct usage.”"

What Can We Do About Junk Science? - "In 2013 scientist-turned-journalist John Bohannon conducted a sting operation to determine just how easy it is to publish bogus research in open-access journals. Under a false name, he wrote a flawed paper about a fake drug and sent it to 304 open-access journals. Of the 255 journals that responded, 98 rejected the article and 157 accepted it. Once erroneous information is rubber-stamped as peer-reviewed, it can be futile for mainstream scientists to try to counter it... A website named Jenny McCarthy's Body Count uses data from the CDC to tally the number of Americans who have died from vaccine-preventable illnesses since June 2007. As of February 2014 the number had reached 1336... Offit, who invented a rotavirus vaccine that has saved the lives of thousands of children, receives hate mail accusing him of being an industry shill"

How to stop a zombie apocalypse – with science - "There are typically four response strategies to zombieism, each with a grounding in epidemiological study"

The Astonishing Age of a Neanderthal Cave Construction Site - "Neanderthals were more sophisticated than anyone had given them credit for. They wielded fire, ventured deep underground, and shaped the subterranean rock into complex constructions. Perhaps they even carried out rituals; after all, there was no evidence that anyone actually lived in the cave, so what else were the rings and mounds for?"

Release the Kraken: Squid, Octopus, and Cuttlefish On the Rise

Hey You Guys – You Can’t Say 'You Guys' Anymore - "their children off at college are being sternly warned not to say “you guys” (it might make women feel excluded), not to “show surprise” if a feminine-looking woman says she is a lesbian (acting ability now being as essential as learning ability) and to be very very careful about singing along with rap lyrics, even when alone in a car... The author Theodore Dalrymple noted in 2005 that political correctness is simply “communism writ small,” adding:
I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to...
It fell to the American novelist Lionel Shriver to fight back against the speech police by appearing at an Australian writers’ conference mocking P.C. hysteria while wearing a sombrero. Naturally, the conference disavowed her remarks and disappeared her speech from their website"

Freedom and Intellectual Life - "as all human goods are either put to use or discarded in the struggle for social and political ends, we lose our humanity and the dignity it implies. We lose what makes life worth living, whether that is intellectual life or any of the other unutterably precious human activities that dwell in peace and holy uselessness."

seriously, the guy has a point - "In effect, Fearless Girl has appropriated the strength and power of Charging Bull. Of course Di Modica is outraged by that. A global investment firm has used a global advertising firm to create a faux work of guerrilla art to subvert and change the meaning of his actual work of guerrilla art. That would piss off any artist... commercialization can take something important and meaningful — something about which everybody should agree — and shit all over it by turning it into a commodity. Fearless Girl is beautiful, but she is selling SHE; that’s why she’s there."

FLASHBACK VIDEO : Democrats Cheered President Clinton’s Plan to Deport Illegals

Why Saint Thomas Aquinas Opposed Open Borders - "dealing with those who wished to integrate fully into the life and worship of Israel required a certain order, Aquinas observed. “For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations.” “The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst,” Aquinas logically reasoned, “many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.” In other words, Aquinas taught that total integration of immigrants into the life, language, customs and culture (including worship, in this case) was necessary for full citizenship."

Witnesses to Michael Brown Shooting Feared Contradicting 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Narrative - "Several expressed concern for their safety should they choose to contradict that narrative publicly. As one witness noted, there were signs in the neighborhood reading “snitches get stitches.”...
'Two black women approached Witness 102, mobile phones set to record, asking him to recount what he had witnessed. Witness 102 responded that they would not like what he had to say. The women responded with racial slurs, calling him names like “white motherfucker.”'

The Single Most Important Ingredient - NYTimes.com - "Salt has a greater impact on flavor than any other ingredient. Learn to use it well, and food will taste good."

Meet Mumbai's Iconic Veggie Burger - "Traditionally cooked and sold by Mumbai's street vendors, vada pav is loved by people across society and is a symbol of local culinary creativity – combining local flavors with foods (potato and bread) introduced to the subcontinent by Europeans... Walk through the streets of Mumbai and you can see vendors dunking spicy mashed potato balls into chickpea batter before dropping them into a pan with hot oil. Then, they cut open the pav – the roll – and smear the inside with three different types of chutney: green chutney, made with cilantro and green chilies, sweet and tangy tamarind chutney and a dry lasoon chutney, made with garlic and spices. Then, they stuff the hot, golden vadas in the rolls and serve them with fried green chilies."

The Traveling Hungryboy: Bombay Burgers in Singapore
Comment: "What kinds of food do Indian people eat every day? Surely they can't be eating this stuff. Where are the fresh vegetables? The meals without loads of salt and fat?"

The Chinese-Mexican Cuisine Born Of U.S. Prejudice - "If you ask people in the city of Mexicali, Mexico, about their most notable regional cuisine, they won't say street tacos or mole. They'll say Chinese food. There are as many as 200 Chinese restaurants in the city."

All-Natural But Still 'Imitation'? The Strange Case Of The Skim Milk Label - "Because Wesselhoeft doesn't add vitamins back in once the fat is removed, officials say her skim milk is considered an "imitation milk product" and in 2012 insisted that she begin labeling it "Non-Grade 'A' Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed" — wording Wesselhoeft is dead set against adding... a federal judge ruled that state officials are perfectly within their rights to require added vitamins as part of nutritional standards for milk... Wesselhoeft's lawyer says his client can't donate her skim milk to food pantries or shelters — she'd have to get the label approved first."

How Snobbery Helped Take The Spice Out Of European Cooking - "this notion of layering many contrasting flavors and spices isn't unique to Indian cooking. In fact, most of the world's cuisines tend to follow that principle, says Tulasi Srinivas, an anthropologist at Emerson University who studies food and globalization. And up until the mid-1600s, European cuisine was the same way... "Rather than infusing food with spice, they said things should taste like themselves. Meat should taste like meat, and anything you add only serves to intensify the existing flavors"... For Indian and Asian chefs, the sauce or curry was the star. In India, Jains — and many Hindus — don't eat meat. And in general, most Indians believed that meat was unclean and inelegant, so the goal was, in part, to cover up the fleshiness of meat by thoroughly infusing it with spice. "In Europe, meat was considered the manliest, strongest component of a meal," Laudan notes, and chefs wanted it to shine. So they began cooking meat in meat-based gravies, to intensify its flavor."

Why The U.S. Chills Its Eggs And Most Of The World Doesn't - "Soon after eggs pop out of the chicken, American producers put them straight to a machine that shampoos them with soap and hot water. The steamy shower leaves the shells squeaky clean. But it also compromises them, by washing away a barely visible sheen that naturally envelops each egg... A 38-country survey by the International Egg Commission found that people feel strongly about how their eggs should look. The Irish, French, Czechs, Hungarians, Portuguese, Nigerians and Brits hanker for brown eggs. Canadians, Finns, Americans and Indians prefer white shells. Dutchmen and Argentines don't seem to care."

Why Did Crowd Flee Shanghai Subway After Foreigner Fainted? - ""Everyone is hoping someone else will take care of him. Everyone is waiting for someone else to react," says Huang. "But no one takes the initiative to help." "It's probably because there is an inherent weakness, a mentality that permeates Chinese society," Huang continues. "No one wants to be dragged into things that aren't their business."... "People want to trust," says Huang, "but given what's happened in the past, they have no choice but to be skeptical." "What's happened in the past" is this well-known scam: An elderly person collapses in public. When someone tries to help, the senior citizen accuses him or her of knocking him down — and then demands money... the Chinese government even issued a document warning those who might want to help someone in distress to first find a witness to ensure that the "victim" can't later try to extort money from them. Yan is writing a book on morality in China. He says the scams and a reluctance to help strangers are rooted in a traditional way some Chinese still view relationships."
Or you could just blame capitalism

40 Years On, A Controversial Film On Islam's Origins Is Now A Classic - "Akkad embarked on an ambitious quest to create a truly Arab screen epic. He was determined to create a film spectacle about nothing less than the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the birth of Islam in the 7th century. He intended the film as a bridge for understanding between Islam and the West. But it would prove extremely difficult to make, and faced a backlash in many parts of the Muslim world — and was even linked to a violent event in Washington, D.C... Controversy mounted. The Cairo scholars who had initially approved the shooting script withdrew their support and called the completed film, which was released in 1976, "an insult to Islam." More backlash followed and several countries banned the film. "He was confounded by the controversy that exploded around the movie," says Abou El Fadl. "It was banned all over. Banned in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait. Banned in Egypt."
Islamophobia before it was fashionable

What Kind of Marriage Can Exist With a Nine-Year-Old Girl? - "once a woman has begun to menstruate, she is a legitimate candidate for marriage. PhiIips’ views do not differ from those of many contemporary imams steeped in traditional Islam... Philips makes a point to contrast the Islamic view of marriage with that of pedophilia, saying that because the “couple” is engaged in the institution of marriage, it is not considered child abuse."

Brussels mayor warns: All our mosques are being controlled by Salafists

Why Mental Pictures Can Sway Your Moral Judgment - "Some dilemmas produce vivid images in our heads. And we're wired to respond emotionally to pictures. Take away the pictures — the brain goes into rational, calculation mode.

Why Doesn't America Read Anymore? - "We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven't actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let's see what people have to say about this "story.""
This had a lot of comments

CAIR: Supporters of Gun Control Bill Are Anti-Muslim -
CAIR’s gotten away with the Islamophobia card for so long that they didn’t even bother pairing this propaganda with any semblance of logic."

Penang Hokkien will be ‘dead’ in 40 years if people stop using it, says language expert - "Penang Hokkien’s singsong words are a mix of borrowed words and grammar from Malay, English, Cantonese and Teochew, adding that they are a reflection of the multicultural melting pot that makes up Penang... She believes that in most homes now, they don't speak Hokkien anymore due to a misguided belief that Hokkien is somehow inferior to Mandarin as it is being used as a medium of teaching in Chinese schools... many people tend to think Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka or Teochew were deviations from Mandarin and that these were inferior and not worth learning which is untrue as these languages are actually the original mother tongue languages that were spoken by their ancestors."

Monday, June 26, 2017

Links - 26th June 2017 (2)

Herpes Strikes Two More NYC Babies After Ritual Circumcisions - " In the most controversial part of this version of the Jewish ritual, known as metzitzah b'peh, the practitioner, or mohel, places his mouth around the baby's penis to suck the blood to "cleanse" the wound."

Seattle Mayor Proposes Soda Tax To Fight White Privilege - "After it was suggested to him his proposed two-cents-an-ounce tax on soda sweetened with sugar would be borne disproportionately by the poor and people of color, Murray lowered the levy and included all sweetened drinks, incuding diet soda. If it doesn't doesn't explode from the sheer weight of its daffy intentions, the City Council is expected to consider the proposal sometime in June. Diet drinks, Hizzoner reasoned, were more likely to be consumed by "upper middle class white people." It had become for him "an issue of equity," a way to tackle "white privileged institutionalized racism.""
We should tax gyms at the same rate as cigarettes too

Mob attacks engineer after Friday prayers for honking at another driver blocking his way - "JOHOR BARU: A 28-year-old man was injured and the car that he was driving, damaged, when he was attacked by several men outside a surau just after Friday prayers concluded at Taman Austin Perdana here today."

Study: For Malays, being Malaysian equals being Malay - "while respondents from the three major ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese, Indian) identified more strongly with their ethnic identities rather than a national one, Malay respondents believed that there was little difference between “being Malaysian” and being Malay."

What we lose, when family recipes vanish - a legacy of love and sacrifice - "“Don’t worry if your dough not nice - for anything that is imperfect, there will always be a remedy. Like make up - if a girl is not beautiful, she just has to put on makeup and she will look nice!” she said, as she loaded the sheets into the pasta machine again... Do you still like cooking, I asked her. “I’m sick of it. I have been cooking since I was 15,” she said... she was reluctant to teach me because she didn’t want her granddaughter to be banished to a kitchen (“so much work,” she repeated), now that there are other ways to make sure your children are fed. “Women today have earning power. If you don’t have food at home, go to a restaurant. Don’t do what I did - making noodles is beneath you,” she told me... “There’s no use in learning all this. They won’t want this type of food. They would want modern food. The world will be a different place, and we have to advance with it,” she said pragmatically"

Cannabis factory couple who gave £400,000 drug dealing fortune to poor Kenyans jailed for three years

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks - "The human brain, it is said, is the most complex object in the known universe. That a part of it “lights up” on an fMRI scan does not mean the rest is inactive; nor is it obvious what any such lighting-up indicates; nor is it straightforward to infer general lessons about life from experiments conducted under highly artificial conditions. Nor do we have the faintest clue about the biggest mystery of all – how does a lump of wet grey matter produce the conscious experience you are having right now, reading this paragraph? How come the brain gives rise to the mind? No one knows. So, instead, here is a recipe for writing a hit popular brain book. You start each chapter with a pat anecdote about an individual’s professional or entrepreneurial success, or narrow escape from peril. You then mine the neuroscientific research for an apparently relevant specific result and narrate the experiment, perhaps interviewing the scientist involved and describing his hair. You then climax in a fit of premature extrapolation, inferring from the scientific result a calming bromide about what it is to function optimally as a modern human being. Voilà, a laboratory-sanctioned Big Idea in digestible narrative form. This is what the psychologist Christopher Chabris has named the “story-study-lesson” model, perhaps first perfected by one Malcolm Gladwell. A series of these threesomes may be packaged into a book, and then resold again and again as a stand-up act on the wonderfully lucrative corporate lecture circuit... the great movie-monster of nearly all the pop brain literature is another region: the amygdala. It is routinely described as the “ancient” or “primitive” brain, scarily atavistic. There is strong evidence for the amygdala’s role in fear, but then fear is one of the most heavily studied emotions; popularisers downplay or ignore the amygdala’s associations with the cuddlier emotions and memory"

The Voice S'pore auditions call for those who can sing in fluent Mandarin, drama ensues (Facebook post comments) - "Before people complain about privilege and racism and all that shit, the real reason is because mm2 couldn't get the rights for other languages from the licensor, they're restricted to holding the competition only in Mandarin."
"I think it's fair. It's a Chinese programme. You have to be fluent in speaking and singing mandarin songs. If it's an English programme, singing English song, surely the candidates need to be fluent in English language as well."
"Asians who thinks that they can make it big by singing english songs show us how dumb they can be. There is a reason why america born chinese like Wang Lee Hom end up singing in Mandarin instead of English."
"look at all these chinese people defending their privilege"
"Its like I going to Suria, sing in english and demand the other contestants don't sing in malay and only sing in english."
Being upset at The Voice Singapore/Malaysia only being in Mandarin is like being angry at someone eating a doughnut because you're on a diet

Why are so many Muslims suddenly visiting Japan? (Facebook post top comments) - "Inshaa Allah with more influx of Muslims in Japan will one day open up the window for more Japanese to be receptive of Islam and ultimately more will get the hidayah to become Muslim."
"Allah promise will surely come true.
Islamic religion will triumph the world and will become the largest religion in the world one day."
" Japanese will be better Muslims in sya Allah.
There have the manners minus Iman but with Iman, they will lead the ummah in a better position in sya Allah."

Answers to all the rude questions about transgender people. - "Q: Do I really have to use transgender people’s preferred pronouns?
A: Yes.
To intentionally call attention to the fact that another person is trans and that you, personally, question the legitimacy of trans identities does not make you a bold truth-teller any more than the 12-year-old who calls her grandmother out for the ugliness of her Christmas sweater is a bold truth-teller. You are, of course, entitled to your opinions, but basic politeness dictates that you not needlessly antagonize or humiliate other people in public...
Q: If feminists believe that gender is socially constructed, then doesn’t that mean there’s no such thing as transgender people? Please pat me on the back for being the first person to expose this liberal hypocrisy.
A: Not so fast. Although it is surely true that believing gender is 100 percent socially constructed is not compatible with the view that transgender identities are 100 percent inborn, there are a great many ways to merge an understanding of the socially constructed aspects of gender with acceptance of transgender people’s innate desire to transition. As with most complex traits, there are likely genetic and environmental factors contributing to this thing we call gender. You have not blown anyone’s mind, and this is not an unresolvable conflict within liberal thinking. Next!
Comment: "evan's only been a man for six months and he's already using his male privilege to mansplain life to to trans-exclusive radical feminists! "
Facebook comment: "Snarking about the identified "hypocrisy in liberal thinking" and saying there are many ways of reconciling it is not actually an answer to this question."
Is the moral of the story of the Emperor's New Clothes that basic politeness dictates that you not needlessly antagonize or humiliate other people in public?

Ernst & Young Removes Degree Classification From Entry Criteria As There's 'No Evidence' University Equals Success

Pizza Hut's shrimp tempura, mayo, and hotdog pizza tastes as heinous as it looks - "As Shanghaiist's food editor I've eaten my share of WTF eats from fermented fish to yak penis. None did I dread trying more than the Pizza Hut special, a pie with shrimp tempura, steamed shrimp, squid rings, fish cakes, pineapple, wasabi mayonnaise, and a hot dog-stuffed crust (73RMB), now available at all China outlets!"

Pepsi And Chicken-Flavored Lay's Potato Chip Highlights Food Fusion In China - "cola chicken — a clear example of fusion cuisine — is a popular dish in China. Cola is often mixed with soy sauce and spices in a marinade that caramelizes when sauteed."

Small Canadian town will give land, a job to anyone willing to move - "since the town is not qualified for the Foreign Worker Program, it can take only people who are legally authorized to work in Canada (just a few extra steps for any foreigner who really really wants the job)."

The architect of China's Great Firewall embarrassed after needing to use VPN in front of live audience - "Things got awkward really fast, however, when he attempted to access blocked web pages hosted in South Korea to demonstrate his point. From there his speech went from being a defense of the Firewall to a demonstration of its stupidity. Unable to access the websites he needed to continue his speech, Fang somewhat unexpectedly resorted to the same illicit tool which all expats in China are all familiar with: the beloved VPN... The incident was so embarrassing that Fang ended up ducking out of a planned Q and A session that was supposed to take place after the speech, though not before exhorting his listeners to do he said and not as he did."

Some Urban Homesteader Is Living In A Bucolic Cabin On A Roof In Manhattan

Granny mistakenly prays before statue of online game character - "The photos come from outside an internet café, the woman is seen kneeling and burning incense in front of a statue that bears quite the resemblance to Lord Guan, a Chinese general during the Three Kingdoms period, immortalized in one of China's most famous books, and turned into a god. However, it turns out that the statue is actually Garen, a League of Legends character, also an accomplished military leader."

Japanese 'table manner guidebook' released after Chinese customers refused from restaurants - "Sushi Mizutani, a Michelin-star restaurant, refused to take bookings from a Chinese guest after a number of foreigners had abandoned their reservations. Last year, the story of a Chinese student who demanded cooked "sushi" at Japan's most famous sushi restaurant drew condemnation from web users in both countries...
Need to go to the bathroom during your meal? No. Japanese respect chefs very much and would only go before or after their meals. Also, when dining, don't touch your hair, don't talk while eating, and don't make noise with your utensils."

Guangdong college says all student sex is 'illegal prostitution', threatens expulsion - "“All restaurants outside of the dining hall are using gutter oil,” read a handwritten notice displayed on campus, according to a photo posted online. “All unmarried male-female relationships are illegal prostitution.” The notice also mentioned that police surveillance cameras had already caught several couples engaging in “illegal cohabitation.” It warned students that anyone caught breaking the rules would be subject to disqualification from awards and scholarships, and even expulsion or “more severe penalties.” “If you want to eat, go to the dining hall. If you want to love, get married,” the notice continued... Chongqing University installed free condom machines across campus, while last month a college instructor in Guangxi made headlines and earned widespread praise for handing out condoms to his students as a Christmas present."

Protestors hurl eggs at Japanese porn stars during Dalian sex expo - "A survey on Weibo found that 48.3 percent of netizens among 2,434 polled supported the protest, agreeing that such seXXXy exhibitions should be banned in China."

Chinese drama 'The Empress of China' taken off air for being 'too sexy' - ""there is a chance the TV drama will be completely banned from showing if no modification has been made," and that the only solution is to "make the breasts smaller," which would require a great deal of effort from the post-production team... SARFT did announced a new set of regulations in November requiring content providers to censor scenes in shows and film depicting one-night stands, adultery and excessive nudity, among a slew of other filthiness"

Watch: Footage of last month's collision between Chinese and Vietnamese ships in disputed waters - "At the time of the collision, China and Vietnam traded accusations of which side was the aggressor, but this video appears to validate the Vietnamese account, showing a much larger Chinese vessel steaming after two Vietnamese fishing boats. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei has responded by wondering aloud, "who was it who took the initiative for the clash? Who was it who created tension on the scene?" "This is very clear," Hong said."

The multiple shades of the hijab - "thanks to long-sleeved, close-fitting tops, veiled women can buy any piece of clothing, from strapless tops to backless dresses. In a society where expression of sexuality remains a taboo, Abaza believes that by adapting sexy outfits to the hijab, young women are attempting to be veiled and appealing at the same time."

'This is a library!' Student shuts down protesters and becomes viral sensation - "Libraries are meant to be a bastion of peace and quiet, so when these noisy protesters interrupted the silence, one student took it upon himself to shut them down. A ‘hero’ confronted anti-Trump supporters at a library in the University of Washington... “Hey, hey, hey, hey,” the visibly irked student interrupts, walking into the middle of the group, before telling the protesters: “This is library!”"
Lucky it was an Asian student doing this

‘Duties of care’ to the careless and criminal - "It seems unlikely that criminals of a previous generation would have had the gall to sue for injuries sustained while burgling somebody’s home. In 1976, Lord Denning, then Master of the Rolls, considered whether a burglar’s estate could sue a householder who had been convicted of the burglar’s manslaughter. He suggested that such a claim would fail on the grounds that a person should not be permitted to benefit from his own criminal conduct... Newbery had only intended to frighten the burglar away, but the court found that he owed the burglar a duty of care, and that he had breached this duty by firing a shotgun in the dark without knowing whether there was anyone in front of it... in recent years, negligence law has developed as a means of excusing one’s own failings... the inebriated soldier who falls off a lorry while trying to climb on to its canvas roof obtains a ruling that he and his comrades should have been supervised - like children on a school outing."
This is an interesting angle on "victim blaming"
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