When you can't live without bananas

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Friday, September 08, 2017

Links - 8th September 2017 (2)

The effects of water and non-nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss and weight maintenance: A randomized clinical trial. - "Water and NNS beverages were not equivalent for weight loss and maintenance during a 1-year behavioral treatment program. NNS beverages were superior for weight loss and weight maintenance in a population consisting of regular users of NNS beverages who either maintained or discontinued consumption of these beverages and consumed water during a structured weight loss program. These results suggest that NNS beverages can be an effective tool for weight loss and maintenance within the context of a weight management program."

Man jailed for sharing photo of dead Grenfell Tower fire victim on Facebook - "A man who posted pictures on Facebook of the body of someone believed to have leapt to his death from the Grenfell Tower fire has been jailed for three months."
Don't they have better things to do like test cladding on tower blocks?

What’s Wrong With the Democrats? - " If the stagnation of the middle class and the self-reinforcing advantages of the rich are among the largest issues of our time, the Democrats have done a bad job of attuning themselves to them. The party that has prided itself on representing regular people has struggled to make a dent in the problem—and at times has given the impression of indifference to it... Polling by the group Priorities USA Action shows that a stunning percentage of the voters who switched their allegiance from Obama to Trump believe that Democratic economic policies favor the rich—42 percent, nearly twice the number who consider that to be true of Trump’s agenda."

Facebook photos: Oregon State study finds sexy profile pics have a down side - ""Adolescent girls and young adult women who post sexualized profile photos will likely be judged by their female peers as being less physically and socially attractive and as less competent," according to a study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University Cascades and the University of California Santa Cruz."

Police Across Germany Raid Homes of People Who Posted Offensive Comments Online - "Twenty-three police departments were deployed across 14 german states, to enter the homes of 36 suspected hate posters and confiscate their internet connected devices, according to a press release from the German ferderal police (BKA). Police apparently focused on political hate speech, and moved against two leftwingers and one from the Reichsbürger movement, a group that believes the current German government is illegitimate."
I guess this is easier than stopping terrorists

Indian market trader 'caught spray-painting unripe fruit' to boost sales - "Footage passed to The Independent shows a man at stall in Dehli applying the paint to a mound of unripe lychees. Despite the filmmaker warning him of the dangers, the trader explains he cannot wait for them to ripen and needs the money to survive. India's food adulteration epidemic has long been an issue of concern, with food safety officers warning that milk, oil and spices are most commonly altered, along with fresh fruit and vegetables. In 2015, India’s food regulator found 20% of Indian food had been adulterated in some way or misbranded. Dyes and chemicals are used by some farmers to disguise unripe or rotting fruits and vegetables, including known carcinogens malachite green and calcium carbide. Produce can also be coated in silicone or wax to give it a fresh-looking shine and to act as a preservative"

Black Professor: Whites Are 'Inhuman A**holes' And Should 'F**king Die' - "A black sociology professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, said whites should “f**king die,” calling them “inhuman a**holes,” on Twitter. Johnny E. Williams, associate professor of sociology at Trinity since 1996, who has authored African-American Religion and the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas and Decoding Racial Ideology in Genomics and is the author of the upcoming The Persistence of White Sociology, was voicing an opinion that is reminiscent of comments he has made before. Roughly ten years ago, Williams reportedly said that because he was black, “I’m uncomfortable all the time on this goddamned campus.”"
Again, this isn't coming from a 20 year old college student

New earpiece translates foreign languages as you have a conversation - "Crucially, it doesn’t need to be connected to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in order to work, meaning you can use it in remote locations, and without fear of draining your handset’s battery."

German court acquits 'Sharia Police' in Wuppertal - "A German court has ruled that seven Muslim men who formed a Sharia street patrol did not break laws against political uniforms. The group sparked outrage in the western city of Wuppertal in 2014, when they approached people in orange vests bearing the words "Sharia Police". They demanded that locals stop gambling, listening to music, and drinking alcohol... Wuppertal's district court ruled that the seven vigilantes could only have broken the law - which was originally aimed at street movements such as the early Nazi party - if their uniforms were "suggestively militant or intimidating", a court spokesman said. In this case, it found that the vests were not threatening, noting that one witness mistook the gang for a stag do... So-called "Sharia patrols" by ultra-conservative Muslim men have been seen in other European cities including London, Copenhagen and Hamburg."

Dogs, Cats, Other Pets: Would They Eat You If You Died?

Facebook (FB) built an AI system that learned to lie to get what it wants

The relation between sex drive and sexual attraction to men and women: a cross-national study of heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual men and women. - "Recent research suggests that, for most women, high sex drive is associated with increased sexual attraction to both women and men. For men, however, high sex drive is associated with increased attraction to one sex or the other, but not to both, depending on men's sexual orientation (Lippa, R. A., 2006, Psychological Science, 17, 46-52). These findings were replicated in a very large BBC data set and were found to hold true in different nations, world regions, and age groups. Consistent with previous research, lesbians differed from other women in showing the male-typical pattern, that high sex drive is associated with attraction to one sex but not the other. Bisexual women and men were more similar to same-sex heterosexuals than to same-sex homosexuals in their pattern of results. The correlation between same-sex and other-sex attraction was consistently negative for men, was near zero for heterosexual and bisexual women, and negative for lesbians. Thus, same-sex and other-sex attractions were, in general, more bipolar and mutually exclusive for men than for women. The current findings add to evidence that sexual orientation is organized differently in women and men and suggest a biological component to this difference."

Spurned married lover jailed for unlawfully stalking cabby - "Over 11 months in 2015, a clerk harassed her ex-lover by sending him numerous text messages and calls accusing him of having extramarital affairs. Malaysian Ding Lay Hua, 45, also dumped rubbish outside the cabby's flat, cancelled his wife's phone lines, left photographs of his daughter near his home and suggested in notes that she was a prostitute."

New Scarlett Johansson Female Buddy Comedy 'Rough Night' Flops. Was it Too Anti-Male? - "Rough Night might have been overwhelmingly female-centric but many women made their feelings known on social media about their unease with the movie’s plot line, which involves a male stripper dying in a cocaine-and-booze-fueled accident being played for laughs. In addition to women being horrified by the fictional fate of a stripper, some movie insiders believe the male comedic audience was alienated by Rough Night‘s relentless ‘made-by-women-for-women’ message. You would have thought Sony, which released the movie, would have learned its lesson from last year’s Ghostbusters fiasco."... While speaking to Business Insider, Aniello commented about the fact she was the first woman to be directing a high-profile R-rated comedy since 1998: “The fact that there’s this additional curse thing that has been broken…I just hope in some small way if this movie is able to pave the way for anybody else to make an R comedy by women for women, then I think it’s done its job.” Far from ‘doing its job,” Rough Night may have set the celluloid comedy sisterhood movement back several years."

Governor General apologizes for saying Indigenous people were immigrants - "Johnston was referring to his comment during an interview with CBC Radio's The House Saturday. "We're a country based on immigration, going right back to our, quote, Indigenous people, unquote, who were immigrants as well, 10, 12, 14,000 years ago," he said. "
When you need to apologise for speaking the truth...

Should the world eat more like the Cantonese? - "Intriguingly, Al Shawaf found that food neophobia also seemed to correlate with self-reported disgust in other domains – including sex – and it even appeared to be related to the kinds of relationships they preferred. “Those who are more oriented toward short-term mating and casual sex tend to be more food neophilic than those who are more inclined toward monogamy and committed mating,” says Al Shawaf, who is now based at Bilkent University in Turkey. Al Shawaf therefore wonders if a tendency to try new foods may also be a way of demonstrating the fact that we have a robust immune system, capable of dealing with the potential pathogens that may come from eating new foods."

While Otto Warmbier Languished in North Korea, Salon and HuffPo Mocked Him for 'White Privilege' - "Warmbier was an American citizen held by a hostile foreign government, but all these obsessed outlets could think about was his male whiteness. Identity politics over country, after all. The pieces resurfaced after Warmbier died on Monday from extensive brain damage he suffered in the North Korean camps... Sha also shrugged off Warmbier’s harsh punishment, saying it was comparable to the “callous reaction” her mother had to Singapore’s 1994 caning of Michael Fay. He was “another young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.” The piece wasn’t just callous. It reveled in Warmbier’s destruction... HuffPost and Salon have had a year to apologize or even quietly remove the pieces. They could have chosen to do so when he was released and returned to the United States with extensive brain damage, but they did not."
This doesn't help make the case that liberals don't hate white men

Otto Warmbier has extensive brain damage, doctor says - "Otto's father, Fred, dismissed whatever efforts were made on behalf of his son by the Obama administration, which asked the family to keep a low profile when news of Otto’s arrest became public. “The results speak for themselves,” he said in a news conference, adding that President Trump, by contrast, reached out to him personally. “Last evening, we received a very nice phone call from Pres. Trump, who told us that Sec. of State Tillerson worked hard to bring Otto home. We are extremely grateful for their efforts and concern,” he said."

Women's Blog Jezebel Throws a Tantrum Over Father's Day - "Hell yeah. It’s Father’s Day. The one day I can say “boys rule, girls drool” without being called a misogynist, or at least I think that’s what the holiday’s all about. But not everyone’s down with this annual patriarchal enthusiasm. Gawker’s women’s blog Jezebel is having an absolute meltdown over literally one day a year where we give credit to men, where we aren’t supposed to un-ironically tweet about how all men are trash... Yep, the one person we should totally be thanking on Father’s day is mom. It’s not like there’s an entire day literally one month ago we could do that"

66% of Cancers Are Caused by DNA Error, Not Environment or Lifestyle, Finds Johns Hopkins Study - "The vast majority of cancers are just a mistake, an error in DNA replication, researchers say. In this way, developing cancer in many cases is unavoidable... Geneticist Bert Vogelstein and mathematician Cristian Tomasetti, at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, conducted the study, a follow-up to an earlier one, which arrived at the same conclusion."

How to evaluate stools with Bristol stool chart - "Researchers at the Bristol Royal Infirmary—a hospital in Bristol, England—developed a visual guide for stools. It is called the Bristol Stool Form Scale, or BSF scale for short. It helps skittish patients and doctors to distinguish normal stools from abnormal without getting embarrassed over personal details."

Older men enjoying frequent sex have increased risk of heart problems - "To make matters worse, the men who enjoyed sex the most were more likely to suffer heart conditions than those who were not so bothered... Hui Liu, a sociologist who led the study, said that older men may come off badly because they exhaust themselves more than younger men in an effort to reach an orgasm. She said that would “create more stress on their cardiovascular system in order to achieve climax”... While an active sex life appeared to harm the physical - if not mental - health of older men, it had no such impact on women. Instead, the study revealed the better news that enjoying sex in old age protected women from developing high blood pressure and so likely reduced their risk of future heart problems"

‘Gut feelings’ help make more successful financial traders - "The researchers found that traders performed significantly better at the heart rate detection tasks compared to the controls: the mean score for traders was 78.2, compared to 66.9 for the controls. Even within the group of traders, those who were better at the heart rate detection tasks also performed better at trading, generating greater profits. Strikingly, an individual’s interoceptive ability could be used to predict whether they would survive in the financial markets. The researchers plotted heartbeat detection scores against years of experience in the financial markets and found that a trader’s heartbeat counting score predicted the number of years he had survived as a trader...
The findings also appear to contradict the influential ‘Efficient Markets Hypothesis’ of economic theory, which argues that the market is random, meaning that no trait or skill of an investor or trader – not their IQ, education, nor training – can improve their performance, any more than these traits and skills could improve their performance at flipping coins."

I'm black and gay. Black Lives Matter Toronto doesn't speak for me - "In fact, a lot of black people in Toronto and elsewhere don't agree with the group, but they are afraid to speak out. Many are worried about being called an "Uncle Tom" or a "House Negro" for expressing their opinions. American writer Zora Neale Hurston captured this idea when reflecting on her own disassociation with the black political elite, famously saying, "My skin folk ain't my kin folk"... I can honestly say I feel uncomfortable at Caribana due to black homophobia, which Black Lives Matter casually ignores. I am constantly looking over my shoulder in fear of being attacked, simply because I am a gay man. In recent years, I have stayed away entirely. Yet there is virtually no dialogue about anti-LGBTQ prejudice within the black community. Black Lives Matter could use their political and social power to actually raise awareness about this issue, but it is apparently easier for them to target the white gay community than it is to tackle black homophobia. And Pride Toronto yields to their requests, as if the black community is a monolithic entity represented by a single group. In her essay "The Problem of Speaking For Others," feminist writer Linda Alcoff writes about the quandary of certain individuals or groups speaking on behalf of marginalized communities, which she argues can stifle the diversity of voices being heard. Indeed, that seems to be happening here"

Why we cry - "Gender differences in crying, for example, have been explored for decades and across the world, and all of the studies reached the same conclusion: Women cry more than men... A study of people in 35 countries found that the difference between how often men and women cry may be more pronounced in countries that allow greater freedom of expression and social resources, such as Chile, Sweden and the United States. Ghana, Nigeria and Nepal, on the other hand, reported only slightly higher tear rates for women (Cross-Cultural Research, 2011). Lead study author Dianne Van Hemert, PhD, a senior researcher at the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, says that people in wealthier countries may cry more because they live in a culture that permits it, while people in poorer countries — who presumably might have more to cry about — don't do so because of cultural norms that frown on emotional expression... crying was more likely to make people feel better when they had emotional support (such as a close friend nearby), if they were crying due to a positive event, or if their crying led to a resolution or new understanding of the situation that led them to cry in the first place. Criers felt worse if they felt embarrassed or ashamed of crying, if they were with unsupportive people or if they cried because they saw suffering. Overall, participants were more likely to feel better if they cried alone or around one other person, but felt worse or didn't experience a mood change if they were with two or more people. Another line of crying research suggests that female tears can be a sexual turnoff for men"
"Patriarchy" means women cry less compared to men

Pork Briyani

someone is selling PORK BRIYANI ... and the... - Norhayati Eb-Rahem

"someone is selling PORK BRIYANI ... and the island went topsy turvy ...

when asked, she said, "i am just creating awareness so we Muslims are not cheated" ...

so i asked ...
1. is the one selling a Muslim?
2. did u see the MUIS HALAL cert in that shop?
3. the management Muslims?
4. the sponsors Muslims?
5. model(s) in the poster/banner Muslims?
6. the vendor sending the pork Muslims?

she said no to all. so what's the problem? just dont go there and buy/eat lah! you suddenly cannot read the sign that the briyani they selling is pork ah? someone put a knife on your throat to go buy/eat the briyani ah?

with all these viral postings about it, you are indirectly, marketing it. the management are probably happy for the free advert.

BRIYANI was never a MUSLIM food to begin with. why so uptight about it? because you TOO AFRAID to buy briyani anywhere because it might contain pork? good. dont eat then. briyani have about 700g calories. good for your diet.

a bit a bit create awareness. pe sajeeeeeeee."

Links - 8th September 2017 (1)

Statement from President Donald J. Trump | whitehouse.gov - "In referencing the idea of creating new immigration rules unilaterally, President Obama admitted that “I can’t just do these things by myself” – and yet that is exactly what he did, making an end-run around Congress and violating the core tenets that sustain our Republic. Officials from 10 States are suing over the program, requiring my Administration to make a decision regarding its legality. The Attorney General of the United States, the Attorneys General of many states, and virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court. There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will... in the best interests of our country, and in keeping with the obligations of my office, the Department of Homeland Security will begin an orderly transition and wind-down of DACA, one that provides minimum disruption. While new applications for work permits will not be accepted, all existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years from today. Furthermore, applications already in the pipeline will be processed, as will renewal applications for those facing near-term expiration. This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out. Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months. Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act."
This is masterfully written and incredibly nuanced
If I steal $1 million and give it to a 6 year old kid, that kid is innocent. Nonetheless he has no right to the money. Taking the illegally gotten money from him is not a punishment. Even if it hurts him

DREAM Act rewards illegal immigrants for law-breaking - "The DREAM Act will only encourage more illegal immigration. One only needs to look at history to see how amnesty has played out in the past. The 1986 amnesty legislation legalized about three million illegal immigrants. But rather than put an end to illegal immigration, the amnesty only encouraged more.There are at least 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. ... the rule of law is as American as apple pie

I’m a transgender in Singapore, and i don’t support Pink Dot : singapore - "Please. Firing one Alfian Sa'at from a relief teaching position, is not indicative of institutional discrimination against all gay teachers. I have been taught by many teachers, who just happened to be gay. They are all still teaching today, and some have even been made principals. The difference is that they were actually good teachers, who enjoyed teaching. Alfian, on the other hand, treated his students like some anthropological field survey, openly blogging about them with disdain and constantly bitching about his employers on his now-defunct blog. MOE was well within its rights to stop employing him as a relief teacher. Alfian is like that Key and Peele sketch. He's not being persecuted. He's just an asshole."
"Not everyone chooses to define themselves largely by their sexuality. And to force every LGBT person to be an advocate is to subsume their right to individual choice."
"Recently Oogachaga released a video where they interviewed Shanmugam about harrassment of LGBT activists, and his facebook comments page was just flooded by radical LGBT activists condemning him. If I were a purely pragmatic politician, I'd say screw them and double down on the religious groups. They'd be ridiculously able to mobilize vote banks."

FRep support - FRep, Finger Replayer for Android - "FRep can record and replay the operation on Android, for automatic or easier operation. Once you record your operation, you can play it by one push."

What happened when I eliminated political dissent from my Facebook feed - "Facebook conducted its own study last year to test this concept. Its researchers wanted to know if Facebook algorithms were preventing people who had self-identified as conservative or progressive from seeing information that didn't align with their beliefs. They looked at activity of these users over a course of six months. They concluded that users were still being exposed to differing opinions and that their algorithm didn't suppress content. But people created their own echo chambers based on the posts and pages they liked. The researchers also found that "liberals tend to be connected to fewer friends who share conservative content than conservatives who tend to be linked to more friends who share liberal content"... when I eliminated my cousins from my Facebook feed I didn't only eliminate dissenting viewpoint. I also eliminated pictures of their children"
The liberal echo chamber would explain why conservatives understand liberals better than vice versa

7 Tips for Having a Happy Pride with Your Kids - "Your kids will probably see boobs and penises. There will bodies of all shapes, sizes and in all states of undress. For parents like Ian Duncan, dad to 3-year-old Carson, this is all part of the appeal. “We’re not body shamers,” he says. “It all feeds into my son’s emotional intelligence and sexual development. And it’s never too early to think about that.” Consider the experience as a great opportunity for some interesting discussion. Explain what you’re seeing, and be ready for questions."
Why not bring kids to a strip show?

Senior bitcoin developer says currency 'failed experiment' - "A senior bitcoin developer has declared the cryptocurrency a failed experiment, blaming the end of the currency on the refusal of the community to adopt new standards which would allow it to grow consistently while maintaining stability. Mike Hearn, a longtime senior developer on bitcoin and the former chair of the bitcoin foundation’s law and policy committee, announced in a blogpost that he would be selling his coins and quitting development on the project. “Despite knowing that bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly,” he wrote."

Silicone Sally: Japanese men find true love with sex dolls - ""When my daughter realised it wasn't a giant Barbie doll, she freaked out and said it was gross - but now she's old enough to share Mayu's clothes." Ozaki is one of an increasing number of Japanese men turning to rubber romance in a country that's lost its mojo. He also admits to being turned off by human relationships. "Japanese women are cold-hearted," he said while on a seaside stroll with his silicone squeeze. "They're very selfish. Men want someone to listen to them without grumbling when they get home from work," Ozaki added. "Whatever problems I have, Mayu is always there waiting for me. I love her to bits and want to be with her forever. "I can't imagine going back to a human being. I want to be buried with her and take her to heaven"... Ozaki's long-suffering wife Riho tries hard to ignore the rubber temptress silently taunting her from her husband's bedroom. "I just get on with the housework," she sniffed. "I make the dinner, I clean, I do the washing. I choose sleep over sex.""
Keywords: Masayuki Ozaki

News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier - "News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether"

South Korean students caught masturbating in front of female teacher during class - "A group of teenage boys were caught masturbating in front of a female teacher at a middle school in the southern city of Daejeon, according to Daejeon Metropolitan Office of Education on Tuesday"

'Spirit Soul' Miley Cyrus: I Am A Genderless, Speciesless, Ageless Being. Okay, Then.

Salford student union president calls for Islamic takeover - "A Muslim student union leader has claimed she would like to 'oppress white people' and has suggested there would be an Islamic takeover if more people read the Koran. Zamzam Ibrahim, who was elected President of Salford University's Student Union in March, also suggested friendship between men and women is un-Islamic and is opposed to the government's anti-radicalisation strategy. The Swedish-Somali student officer also described the government's Prevent strategy as 'disastrous' and 'racist'."

Tribalism Is Still The Middle East's Biggest Problem - "Like the Ottomans before them, the French and the British tried to urbanize Arab tribal regions by connecting them to cities and transforming their economies from subsistence to capitalism. These efforts backfired and the tribes revolted, especially the Druze in southern Syria. Eventually, the tribes flocked to the cities, first forming belts of poverty and then replacing the cosmopolitan leadership and lifestyle with tribal code and tradition. The oil boom and the colossal revenues that resulted gave the new tribal rulers immense power. The Arabs are not in a wretched state – they are in a tribal state, and they are doing what they have been doing since time immemorial: conquering each other, demanding allegiance, and living in perpetual war. The only difference now is that the Arabs are feuding in cities, and on TV and social media instead of in the desert."

Now You Can Enjoy Gluten Free Versions Of Famous Art

World’s oldest companies: Why are so many of them in Japan? - "The oldest running hotel in operation is not in Paris or London or Rome. It is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, in Yamanashi, Japan: a hot-spring hotel called Nisiyama Onsen Keiunkan, which has existed since the year 705. The second-oldest is another Japanese hot-springs hotel, Hoshi Ryokan, founded in 718... Most of Japan’s oldest companies are family-owned... owners privilege longevity over the present moment. In other words, Japan’s business culture is not one to obsess over quarterly reports"

New fragrance lets you smell like Pirates of the Caribbean - " Xyrena’s Dark Ride features the familiar note of chlorinated water, a thrilling accord of fog and pyrotechnics and a hint of atmospheric mildew and damp ozone to create ‘the first thrill ride in a bottle.’"

China has been poorer than Europe longer than the party thinks - "A new study by Stephen Broadberry of Oxford University, Hanhui Guan of Peking University and David Daokui Li of Tsinghua University in Beijing argues that China has indeed lagged behind Europe for centuries. It compares levels of GDP per person in China, England, Holland, Italy and Japan since around the year 1000. It finds the only period when China was richer than the others was during the 11th century... These findings challenge a hitherto common belief that China and Europe had similar living standards for centuries until the West’s industrial revolution began in the late 18th century: a point often referred to by historians as the “great divergence”... European wealth and Chinese poverty cannot be explained by industrialisation: they must reflect institutional differences."

More airlines are auctioning off seats - "The latest is Singapore Airlines, which has unveiled a new bidding system in which economy-class flyers can bid for a swankier seat in premium economy. Passengers receive an e-mail around a week before the flight asking whether they would like to bid for an upgrade and setting a minimum price. This can then be changed or cancelled any time until 50 hours before the flight, when the “winners” are informed"

Female Democratic senators ignore 2 women activists at hearing on Islamism, pose questions only to male witness – Women in the World in Association with The New York Times – WITW - "through a strategy of deflection and demonization, the Democratic senators — mostly women — ignored the scholarly and lived expertise of Hirsi Ali and Nomani"

They Brushed Off Kamala Harris. Then She Brushed Us Off. - NYTimes.com - "Just as we are invisible to the mullahs at the mosque, we were invisible to the Democratic women in the Senate. How to explain this experience? Perhaps Senators Heitkamp, Harris, Hassan and McCaskill are simply uninterested in sexism and misogyny. But obviously, given their outspoken support of critical women’s issues, such as the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria and campus sexual assault, that’s far from the case. No, what happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives when it comes to confronting the brutal reality of Islamist extremism and what it means for women in many Muslim communities here at home and around the world. When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation... when we speak about Islamist oppression, we bring personal experience to the table in addition to our scholarly expertise. Yet the feminist mantra so popular when it comes to victims of sexual assault — believe women first — isn’t extended to us. Neither is the notion that the personal is political. Our political conclusions are dismissed as personal; our personal experiences dismissed as political. That’s because in the rubric of identity politics, our status as women of color is canceled out by our ideas, which are labeled “conservative” — as if opposition to violent jihad, sex slavery, genital mutilation or child marriage were a matter of left or right. This not only silences us, it also puts beyond the pale of liberalism a basic concern for human rights and the individual rights of women abused in the name of Islam... the thinking goes, if women in America still earn less than men for equivalent work, who are we to criticize other cultures?This is extreme moral relativism disguised as cultural sensitivity"

Sweden far-right plans gay parade in mainly Muslim area

The Trauma of Facing Deportation - "Georgi was given a diagnosis of uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome, an illness that is said to exist only in Sweden, and only among refugees. The patients have no underlying physical or neurological disease, but they seem to have lost the will to live. The Swedish refer to them as de apatiska, the apathetic... In an open letter to the Swedish minister of migration, forty-two psychiatrists asserted that the new restrictions on asylum seekers and the time it took the Migration Board to process their applications—children could be in limbo for years—were causing the disease. They accused the government of “systematic public child abuse”... Kihlbom cited the psychiatrist Bruno Bettelheim, a Holocaust survivor, who wrote that some prisoners in the concentration camps were “so totally exhausted, both physically and emotionally, that they had given the environment total power over them.” They “stopped eating, sat mute and motionless in corners, and expired.”... When the Swedish government sent doctors and sociologists to visit Kosovo, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, to find out if the illness was a culturally specific way of reacting to trauma, local doctors said that they had never heard of such symptoms... In a seventy-six-page guide for treating uppgivenhetssyndrom, published in 2013, the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare advises that a patient will not recover until his family has permission to live in Sweden. “A permanent residency permit is considered by far the most effective ‘treatment,’ ” the manual says"
Not The Onion
Apparently not getting asylum in Sweden is as bad as being in a concentration camp
If this illness is only found in Sweden, what does it suggest?

Why Did Hundreds Of Refugee Children In Sweden Give Up On Life? - "There was a government report that came out in 2006. The report posed a theory that the children, many of them Roma, came from holistic cultures, without a clear boundary between the individual self and the family. The children were sacrificing themselves for their families. They take on a martyr role. And, in fact, the illness does allow the family to stay. [Sweden's Migration Board has decided that families of uppgivenhetssyndrom children will be granted residency permits.]... why Sweden? Refugees there are among the best treated in the world."
So basically it's a form of blackmail

How Much of the Pressure to Breastfeed Is Coming From Companies With a Financial Stake in the Matter? - "“some of the research that corroborates the benefits of human milk for infants is funded by companies like Medela, which makes breast pumps, and Prolacta Bioscience, a company that makes infant nutrition supplements from human breast milk.” The breast-pump and nursing-accessory industries, she writes, have market share to gain from an increase in the number of breastfeeding parents... Breastfeeding, by contrast, has long been seen as the cheaper choice. (Though, as K.J. Dell’Antonia points out in a piece about the real costs of nursing, “It’s tough to make all that ‘free’ milk for your baby if you can’t afford to feed, clothe and shelter yourself.” And as Hanna Rosin wrote in The Atlantic, “It’s only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing.”)"

About That Breastfeeding Study - "even if breastfed babies really do grow up to have higher IQs and make more money, how do we know it's because they were breastfed? "Breastfeeding is positively associated with socioeconomic standards," acknowledged Horta, one of the authors of the Brazil study, in a podcast conversation with The Lancet about his work. "So there is always a question of whether [an outcome like higher IQ] is a consequence of breastfeeding by itself... The kids who are breastfed are wealthier.""

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Links - 7th September 2017 (2)

Millennials eat up savings by dining out too much, study shows - "The average millennial drinks more coffee and spends more on coffee per year than saving for retirement"

Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects. - "Compared to an isocaloric, equal weight bagel-based breakfast, the egg-breakfast induced greater satiety and significantly reduced short-term food intake. The potential role of a routine egg breakfast in producing a sustained caloric deficit and consequent weight loss, should be determined."

'How do wookiees breed?': the big Star Wars questions answered - "These associations with dark energy lead Tong to draw an uncomfortable conclusion: “This does suggest that the Force is naturally ‘dark’.” So there you have it. Proof at last. The dark side is more powerful...
“A woman becomes a princess by virtue of her birth,” she says. “It’s not something that she gains by ascending to the throne or by marrying someone, so in that sense it’s not something that can be taken away.” Throughout history, men and women have retained titles even when their ruling house has been usurped or abolished. There’s also the propaganda value. “It can rally support,” says Wood. “It pays to have a princess on your side, it lends your cause a certain classiness.” So did Death Star despot Grand Moff Tarkin mess up by terrorising Leia rather than wooing her? “It was a golden opportunity. A shotgun wedding on the Death Star might have been a way to subdue the threat of Alderaan without blowing it up.”...
Thousands of jobs were created and maintained by the Death Star, and its destruction would create decades of extreme poverty. The rebels simply did not account for that in their attack, on both occasions.”

Amsterdam's sex workers: the unlikely victims of gentrification - "The only people who didn’t get land, money or new opportunities were the women working in the windows – the very people Project 1012’s anti-trafficking initiative was supposed to benefit. While there have been numerous prosecutions of human traffickers around Amsterdam, only a dozen or so have fallen within the project’s remit, yet more than 100 windows have been closed. It suggests that a crackdown on crime or the safety of the sex workers was merely a convenient excuse... There is palpable resentment among the red-light district’s sex workers that the government used the issue of human trafficking to buy up some of the area’s most valuable buildings. Women such as Dana who have been trafficked are left wondering why the business owners who allegedly trafficked them are being offered massive payoffs. Dutch organisations working with the victims of human trafficking have condemned the project for making vulnerable women less easy to reach. Meanwhile, residents such as Majoor and Felicia are watching an area they love being parcelled up and sold off, along with its sense of community."

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Hannah Arendt - "[On coming to the USA] She had to smoke outside, which for a European intellectual was just like the worst thing that could possibly happen... it was very socially conformist, so you have to smoke outside, you have to behave yourself... there was a political freedom in America which she felt really wasn't there in Europe...
[On Communism] The adherents can't even experience their own experiences... She has this fantastic example from the 30s, from the Stalinist trials, where a man is arrested and accused of being a saboteur, a factory saboteur. And he says: the Party is always right. I don't think I was a saboteur, but the Party is always right, and if the Party says I was a saboteur, I must be a saboteur...
I first read it on holiday. It's like a thriller. It's 500 pages but it's really gripping, it's full of historical detail...
She makes a very sharp and robust distinction between the doer and the deeds... there's nothing banal about the deeds - they were monstrous and wicked...
'I do not mean by banal commonplace'. She meant specifically as Roberts really suggested that it wasn't rooted, rooted in some evil motivation, some satanic greatness. It was an absence. In a sense she can be seen as part of a Platonic tradition of thinking about evil as a privation, as an absence of goodness"
Post-Marxism is inspired by Marxism in more than one way

The life of Keynes and a trip to Ancient Greece | Podcast | History Extra - "I get infuriated with modern theatre. A lot of Greek tragedy have been put on in these days and I'm all in favor of that. But it's all patronizingly homogenized to speak to the modern world. And they change all the terms of reference to make Antigone into a feminist tract you know. And you think: what an absolute waste of time and space. The interesting thing about the Greeks is what *they* thought about things. To turn i into something which is homogenized for the modern world is to lose everything the Greeks were saying. So when you go into a Greek theater and find they say: this is very relevant and modern political world and we are going, we are going to produce it in modern political terms, just walk straight out. It won't be worth listening to or attending to... Plato on laws: properly educated people he'd say. Well if they got a proper education they will have to work out things for themselves. If their education is valueless as Plato goes on they'll spend their whole life making rule after rule and then trying to improve them in the hope that they'll hit upon a successful formula. They'll live like the ill who lack discipline to go and give up a way of life that is bad for them. All the treatments get them nowhere yet they live in hope that their next recommended medicine will restore them to health and detest those who suggest that until they put an end to their lifestyle no amount of medicine or surgery will do them any good at all. And he conclude, Plato concludes that it's the mark of a badly governed society to need rafts of legislation about everything. Such lawmakers he goes on in a wonderful image quote are unaware of the fact that they are slashing away at a kind of hydra. You remember the hydra, the many headed monster which grew two heads for every one chopped off. Now that, you know that speaks to the modern world and you find that across classical literature...
I have talked, and this is our fault, blithely about Greeks but the Greeks were not one person, one people. The Greeks lived in city states - Athens, Corinth, Thebes - each city state with its own laws, its own money, its own customs, its own habits, its own dialect. A completely independent minded people and this is something which I think is, people misunderstand. When we talk about Greeks normally we just mean Athenians... Very important thing is not to regard myths as sacred texts. They're just stories about gods and heroes that were significant for Greeks. There were no such things as sacred scriptures as our Bible or the Koran for example. They didn't have them. Religion was a matter of carrying out age old rituals. Sometimes mystics explained those rituals but they didn't do more than that. The job of priests was not to preach, was not to talk about sin, right, wrong, morality or human rights. It was to be in charge of ritual and make sure certain rituals were carried out properly... the great feature of ancient Greek thought is its independence. Greek society was not controlled by priests. The Greeks acknowledged gods they worshipped gods through ritual but they demanded the world be humanly understandable"

Episode 12: Questions and Answers (1) by The History of Singapore - "According to Wikipedia it was a French navigator Jules Dumont d'Urville who in eighteen twenty six proposed the terms of Malaysia, Micronesia and Melanesia to distinguish them from the existing term of Polynesia. So he described Malaysia as an area commonly known as the East Indies, right. So when talking about Malaysia he actually meant of course everything that we today call Indonesia along with the Malay Peninsula and Philippines, the Southern Philippines. In eighteen fifty it was the English ethnologist George Samuel Windsor Earl writing in the journal of the Indian archipelago in Eastern Asia who proposed naming the islands of Southeast Asia as Malayanesia or Indonesia, favoring the former. So the British, when they wanted to refer collectively to all the indigenous people of the archipelago who lived under their rule and spoke the common language of Bahasa used the term Malaysian and this is the term you'll see in the census. It says Malays and Malaysians for example in all the pre-war censuses. And indeed this term is actually could have been used elsewhere to refer to the archipelago. The Philippines for example after independence had this debate where they said should we retain the name of our country because of course it refers to a Spanish king, King Philip the second. So we should call it something more geographically accurate. And since we are part of the Malay archipelago maybe we should call ourselves Malaysia. So the Philippines could have been called Malaysia...
[On states vs nations] It's different from nation in the sense that one is a belief and the other has a legal definition. And of course the greatest force of the twentieth century is this belief that we can create states, right? A legal definition in which all the members are also members of a nation. Which is a belief. So that is a nation-state in which all the members of the state also have the same national identity. That is a very recent invention in human history. Right? It's a very recent thing to believe that all members of the state should subscribe to, should have the same national identity... Before the rise of nationalism empires could exist because people didn't see anything unnatural about having a huge state that included many different nations... In the twentieth century a state must have all its people subscribe to the same nation. So now there is the Chinese nation even though of course north and south and west China have traditionally very different cultures. Likewise the Indian nation even though north south east west Indians are all very very different from each other... this idea has taken hold such that people today assume a state and a nation must be the same thing. But who gets to decide national identity? If we say that a state exists because all its members are members of a certain nation then what about people who don't belong to that nation? And so it enables the discrimination by the state against people who are not part of the nation, who do not fit the definition of national identity"

Failed at life? Blame a foreigner. : pics
Comments: "My sister and two foreigners applied for the same job. Guess what, one of them got it. He didn't have her competence, but his salary is subsidised by the government (I live in Sweden). But she should blame herself for this failure? Really? You know what, in a way it's right to not blame the foreigner. I mean, free money, free apartment, free welfare, his actions makes sense for him. The blame belongs to the goverment. It is they who allowed this."
"What does this actually accomplish? To people who already hate UKIP it just confirms their beliefs. But to someone who supports UKIP it just further cements the idea of a condescending "liberal elite" telling them what to think. You don't change someone's mind by calling them a failure or a racist and dismissing their argument outright, you actually have to listen and have a rational discussion."
"Failed at life? Blame the cis white patriarchy!"
"Didn't get the election result you wanted? Blame the poor! It's so much easier than sympathizing with your struggling countrymen."
"I'm successful and still want limits to and control over immigration. Does every leftist argument have to center around opponents being stupid and xenophobic?"
"[Baby Boomers were] promptly dismantling labor unions under Reagan in the 50's and 60's"
"I love the H-1B crisis on reddit. H-1B's are abused to get cheap labor in the IT industry. With many redditors being liberal IT workers, they have to admit that foreign labor can damage their country. It's the ultimate hypocrisy checker. This is coming from an IT worker btw, it's fun to watch liberals eat their hat and admit conservatives are right about something."

Nigerian airstrike mistakenly bombs refugee camp, killing dozens
Luckily they're not Israel. Or the United States

MPs don't need to wear ties in House of Commons, says Speaker - "A similar debate is also happening in the French parliament, where many new leftwing MPs turned up for the new session without ties. Jean Luc Mélénchon, leader of the Insoumise party, compared his open-collared followers to the Sans Culottes, the working class of the French Revolution: “We’ve had the Sans Culottes, now we have the Sans Cravates,” he said... In 2014 another hot and bothered Tory MP, Henry Smith, tweeted “Can we please, even if just today, wear shorts instead of suits in the Commons? Struggling with the hot air, externally (and internally)!” On the hottest days, when the Palace of Westminster’s primitive air conditioning system is showing its limitations, male MPs have often looked enviously at their bare-armed female colleagues. Many women have interpreted the “equivalent level of formality” guidance as an unofficial uniform of brightly coloured jackets and dresses, in loyal party colours for special occasions. Some have been rebuked for wearing slogan T-shirts... Bercow, recently reappointed to the position he has held since 2010, has been something of a dress code reformist himself, choosing to wear a jacket, collar and tie under his black gown; the full splendorous Speaker’s uniform, last regularly worn by Bernard Weatherill in the early 1990s, consisted of tights, knee breeches, long black waistcoat, linen collar, cuffs and neck band, and a long wig."

Religious identity strongest in Muslims, Protestants - "Religion is important to their identity, and Muslims and Protestant Christians are the two religious groups that are most affected by and most disapproving when friends or family members of the same faith give up their religious beliefs. They also feel more strongly than their Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic and other counterparts about moral issues such as homosexual sex, sex before marriage, adoption of children by gay couples and gambling... About two-thirds of Muslims and 44 per cent of Protestants said religion was very important to their sense of identity — significantly higher numbers than those of other faiths. About 69 per cent of Muslims and half the Protestants said they disapproved of family members of their faith giving up their religious beliefs, compared with 20 per cent of Buddhists and 31 per cent of Hindus, for example... greater religiosity among Muslims here was observed a few decades ago and coincided with increased global Muslim piety. Many Muslims in Malaysia and the region also take their religion very seriously and this is increasingly so, he noted. As for Protestants, the dominant form of Protestant Christianity here is of a “conservative variety where there is an emphasis on doing the right thing”. Many Singaporean Protestants are first-generation Christians and “you expect converts to be a lot more fervent about their faith, especially since they made a choice to embrace the religion”, Dr Mathew said"

Here comes 'Uncle' with his free vegetables in Choa Chu Kang - "not everyone approves of Mr Cheu's practice. One resident, who declined to be named, said it would be better if the vegetables were given to a charity. And some stallholders at the wholesale centre refuse to give him their leftovers, Mr Cheu said. "They would rather throw away their leftovers," he said. He explained that he does not want the publicity because of an encounter sometime in the 1990s, when the authorities swooped in after a resident complained that he was selling vegetables illegally at the void deck of a block."
This is why we can't have nice things

Susie Burrell: Eating more carbs could aid in weight loss - "'An inability to lose weight, despite eating a low carb diet is a clear sign that your total carbohydrate intake is too low, especially if you exercise regularly'... The expert recommends eating 20-30 grams of carbs within an hour or so before you do a high intensity work out. 'As a general rule of thumb, intakes of less than 80-100 grams of carbohydrates each day, for someone exercising regularly is too low and as such may be the reason you are not getting the shifts on the scales you are hoping for,' she said. She explained that a diet that includes carbohydrates is what helps your body burn fat as it needs glucose to burn when you exercise. Another aspect of not eating enough carbs that will make it more difficult to lose weight is that your metabolic rate will slow down."
Maybe this is why my friend's colleagues on the low carb diet were recommended not to exercise by a dietician

Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements. - NYTimes.com - "about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost... the layoffs at Disney and at other companies, including the Southern California Edison power utility, are raising new questions about how businesses and outsourcing companies are using the temporary visas, known as H-1B, to place immigrants in technology jobs in the United States... Many American companies use H-1B visas to bring in small numbers of foreigners for openings demanding specialized skills, according to official reports. But for years, most top recipients of the visas have been outsourcing or consulting firms based in India, or their American subsidiaries, which import workers for large contracts to take over entire in-house technology units — and to cut costs. The immigrants are employees of the outsourcing companies... Former employees said many immigrants who arrived were younger technicians with limited data skills who did not speak English fluently and had to be instructed in the basics of the work."

CNN 'aired a fake National Enquirer cover in Trump story' - "The network's website broke its own protocol by printing a story with only one source about possible ties between Russia and Anthony Scaramucci, one of Trump's transition team"

How Russian Journalists Dealt With Fake News - "Russian state TV often broadcast segments of completely fake news—such as stories on Russian military operations against the U.S., he said. These events are then discussed on TV as if they happened. Part of the problem, he said, is that independent media organizations like his are “competing against a state-owned industry funded to the tune of $1.5 billion a year.”... Russian media, in general, and its propaganda arms like RT, he said, repeat a well-tuned message. That message: “Russia and its client states are never to blame for anything. The collective West ... is to blame for everything. And if there’s incontrovertible evidence that Russia is indeed to blame for something, let’s please look the other way because there’s Guantanamo, and there are human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, etc. etc.” Eventually, Timchenko said, both the public and the media buy that message. “After 10 years dealing with such an agenda,” she said, “I see this is the view of many, many journalists and editors.”

The Uncomfortable Truth About Campus Rape Policy

The Uncomfortable Truth About Campus Rape Policy

"From the beginning, the [Obama] administration’s efforts showed signs of overreach, and that overreach became more pronounced over time. By early 2014, the terminology used by the federal government to describe the two parties in still-unresolved sexual-assault cases had begun to change. The 2011 Dear Colleague letter had used the terms complainant (and sometimes alleged victim) and alleged perpetrator when referring to the two parties in a still-unresolved sexual-assault case. But many subsequent federal documents described complainants as victims or survivors, and the accused as perpetrators...

Several former OCR investigators and one current investigator told me the perceived message from Washington was that once an investigation into a school was opened, the investigators in the field offices were not meant to be objective fact finders. Their job was to find schools in violation of Title IX.OCR also catalyzed the establishment of gigantic and costly campus bureaucracies...

Harvard now has 55 Title IX coordinators (though an undisclosed number of them have additional duties). Wellesley College last year announced its first full-time coordinator to oversee sex discrimination on its all-female campus. Ozarks Technical Community College, which has no residential facilities and has had one report of sexual assault since 2013, now has a full-time Title IX coordinator.

Pushed by federal mandates, activists, fears of negative social-media campaigns, bad press, and increasingly the momentum of their own bureaucracies, schools have written codes defining sexual assault in ways that are at times troubling...

As Jeannie Suk Gersen and her husband and Harvard Law School colleague, Jacob Gersen, wrote last year in a California Law Review article, “The Sex Bureaucracy,” the “conduct classified as illegal” on college campuses “has grown substantially, and indeed, it plausibly covers almost all sex students are having today.”

Due process is the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment under the law and fundamental fairness in legal proceedings. The late Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas wrote in 1967 that it is “the primary and indispensable foundation of individual freedom,” and the high court has ruled that due process requires that laws not be “unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious.” But many campus proceedings seem to fit that description...

There is a widespread failure to clearly define sexual assault. Jeannie Suk Gersen and Jacob Gersen, in “The Sex Bureaucracy,” for example, document the frequent conflation on campus of the terms nonconsensual sex and unwanted sex, and explain why this is so concerning: “Many people, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, have consensual sex that is unwanted. Sometimes it is partially unwanted, not fully wanted, or both wanted and unwanted at the same time … Ambivalence—simultaneously wanting and not wanting, desire and revulsion—is endemic to human sexuality”...

Many schools no longer require women to say or signal no in order for an encounter to be considered nonconsensual. Affirmative consent rules, particularly when written or interpreted expansively, do that directly; in California, Connecticut, and New York, affirmative-consent codes for college students have been signed into law. So do policies that treat women who have been drinking—but who are not by any objective standard incapacitated—as unable to give consent.

The problem with both types of policies is that they are intrusive and impractical. Couples are especially unlikely to adhere to contract-negotiation-style bedroom interactions (and it is no small intrusion on privacy to require them to do so). The proscription on drinking before sex is certain to be widely ignored; sexually inexperienced students (and even experienced ones) often drink in order to lower their inhibitions. And yet ignoring these rules puts men in great jeopardy should their partner later reconsider what seemed to have been a consensual encounter.

In the world outside campus, people who are merely intoxicated, not incapacitated, can legally consent to sex, even if they make poor or regrettable decisions...

A central tenet of advocates seeking greater accountability for sexual assault is that the complainant is virtually always the one telling the truth. As a 2014 White House report, “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action,” stated, “Only 2–10 percent of reported rapes are false.” Campus materials aimed at students make similar assertions.

But as Michelle J. Anderson, the president of Brooklyn College and a scholar of rape law, acknowledged in a 2004 paper in the Boston University Law Review, “There is no good empirical data on false rape complaints either historically or currently.” The data have not improved since that time. In a 2015 working paper, Lieutenant Colonel Reggie Yager, a U.S. Air Force judge advocate who has defended men accused of sexual assault, took a comprehensive look at the research on the incidence of false rape reports, and concluded that the studies confirming the overwhelming veracity of accusers are methodologically unsound...

“Policy is being driven,” Yager wrote in his analysis, by the idea “that false allegations are exceedingly rare.”...

A troubling paradox within the activist community, and increasingly among administrators, is the belief that while women who make a complaint should be given the strong benefit of the doubt, women who deny they were assaulted should not necessarily be believed. The rules at many schools, created in response to federal directives, require employees (except those covered by confidentiality protections, such as health-care providers) to report to the Title IX office any instance of possible sexual assault or harassment of which they become aware. One result is that offhand remarks, rumors, and the inferences drawn by observers of ambiguous interactions can trigger investigations; sometimes these are not halted even when the alleged victim denies an assault occurred...

The investigation went on despite her adamant objection; that Title IX administrators treated her in a “dismissive and demeaning” way and told her she was a “battered” woman; and that during “repeated interrogations,” her words were “misrepresented, misquoted and taken out of context”...

The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, one of the country’s largest higher-education law firms and consulting practices specializing in Title IX, recently released a white paper, “Due Process and the Sex Police.” It noted that higher-education institutions are “losing case after case in federal court on what should be very basic due process protections. Never before have colleges been losing more cases than they are winning, but that is the trend as we write this.” The paper warned that at some colleges, “overzealousness to impose sexual correctness”—including the idea that anything less than “utopian” sex is punishable—“is causing a backlash that is going to set back the entire consent movement.” Even so, in a February op-ed, Carol Quillen, the president of Davidson College, wrote that while “criminal justice is founded on due process and the possibility of innocence,” ideals she valued, these goals were inherently in conflict with other important goals: “Nothing about due process says to a rape survivor, ‘I believe you,’” she wrote.

Over the past several years of reporting and writing on this subject, the people I’ve spoken with who deal closely with campus sexual assault—school administrators, lawyers, higher-education-policy consultants, even investigators for the Office for Civil Rights—do not typically describe campuses filled with sociopathic predators. They mostly paint a picture of students, many of them freshmen, who begin a late-night consensual sexual encounter, well lubricated by alcohol, and end up with divergent views of what happened...

Parsing allegations, considering intent, holding violators accountable, providing guidance and counseling to one or both parties when no violation could be established—these are crucial duties of administrators, and they require judgment and discretion. Williams came to believe that in recent years, this discretion—and the duty to dispassionately weigh the rights of both parties in an assault allegation—has been harmfully eroded. In 2014, she left her career to become a higher-education consultant and writer. She wrote a farewell essay in Inside Higher Education, stating that while she used to think of herself as “Dean of All Students,” her job had become “Dean of Sexual Assault.”

At its worst, Title IX is now a cudgel with which the government and school administrators enforce sex rules too bluntly, and in ways that invite abuse"

This is one of many things we can justly blame Obama for.

This is one of the reasons for growing administrative staff in US colleges.

When both paid and unpaid sex are fraught with such perils (which feminists actively lobby for), it is no surprise that sex robots are anticipated to be such a thing (and it's equally no surprise that feminists don't like them either, which suggests what [one of] their real motivations are).

This has a citation for feminists' beloved statistic about only 2% of reported rapes being false allegations being dodgy.

If you're an alleged victim of sexual assault, yes means no.

Links - 7th September 2017 (1)

Duterte, focused on war on drug users, ignored rise of ISIS in Philippines - "A president who has focused on a deadly anti-drug campaign that has claimed the lives of thousands of Filipinos seems to have been caught unprepared for a militant threat that has been festering in the south for years... For the first time, it puts the Philippines on the map with failed states such as Libya and Afghanistan as places where ISIS allies have sought to seize territory for a caliphate, giving the group another regional flash point in its effort to spread its influence globally."

Islamophobia as bad and unacceptable as terrorism, says PM Lee
Apparently having an opinion is as bad as killing people
Is Islamophobia part and parcel of life in a big city?

CP Launches 10 New Sausages and Cold Cuts - "These bite-sized Japanese Classic Pork Sausages ($3.60) are a perfect choice for finger food when you're feeling peckish. The meat is chunky and seasoned with ginger and white pepper, making it different from your usual sausage"
These are excellent. The shoyu ones aren't as good

noneblr.com - "a wrapper for tumblr that strips away themes and leaves only the content. toggling between tumblr and noneblr is as easy as swapping the two words in any tumblr url. consider: http://thegreendiamond.tumblr.com/ vs http://thegreendiamond.noneblr.com/"

Why bananas as we know them might go extinct (again) - "Fifty years ago, we were eating better bananas. They tasted better, they lasted longer, they were more resilient and didn't require artificial ripening. They were -- simply put -- a better fruit, because they belonged to a different species, or cultivar in banana parlance.
It was called Gros Michel and it remained the world's export banana until 1965. That year, it was declared commercially extinct due to the Panama disease, a fungal disease that started out from Central America and quickly spread to most of the world's commercial banana plantations, leaving no other choice but to burn them down. The banana industry was in deep crisis, and had to look for alternatives. It settled with the Cavendish cultivar, which was deemed an inferior product but carried the distinction of being immune to the disease. It was quickly adopted by banana growers worldwide. Today, the Cavendish is a universal foodstuff, much like a Big Mac: supermarket bananas are pretty much identical anywhere you buy them. That's because they have nearly no genetic diversity -- the plants are all clones of one another... The disease now has a different name, "Tropical Race 4," and it started out in Malaysia around 1990, but it's otherwise very similar to the one that wiped out the Gros Michel: "It's caused by a really common type of fungus called Fusarium, which was probably already in the soil there. A single clamp of contaminated dirt is enough to spread it like wildfire, and it can be transported by wind, cars, water, creating an infection wherever it goes," explained Koeppel."

Spider-Man might be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Spider-Man: Homecoming's sequel - "Just because that sequel might be the end of Spider-Man in the MCU doesn’t mean it’s the end of Tom Holland as the web-slinger. Sony is already hard at work developing movies centered around Spider-Man characters like Venom, Black Cat, and Silver Sable in order to launch its own separate Marvel universe. I’ve been wondering how they were going to make Spider-Man spin-offs without having access to Spider-Man himself, but now we have the answer. Sony appears to know that the deal they have with Disney and Marvel is set to expire, and they’re wisely planning ahead to keep the Spider-Man train running full steam ahead the second that deal runs its course."

Comey testimony shows Lynch's intrusion 'probably changed history': professor - "Comey said during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Loretta Lynch, the attorney general during the FBI's investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's private email server, had asked him to refer to the inquiry as a "matter" instead of an "investigation." Comey recalled the request giving him "a queasy feeling." It also echoed language the Clinton campaign itself was using. "That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we're to close this case credibly," Comey said. After hearing Comey's Thursday remarks, Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham University, said he could no longer "stand by my earlier criticism that the GOP was asking about Clinton email to distract from the Trump questions."

Radius Around a Point on a Map - "You can use this tool to find the radius around a point on the map. First type in the radius required in kilometers or miles and then click on the map at the center of where you wish the circle to appear."

How it Feels To Be An 'Ang Moh' Minority In Singapore - "Weekend nights in the Quays or on Club Street can feel like an alternate universe where the United States, Europe, and Australia joined forces and met in Singapore... expats in Singapore seem to have created a sheltered culture of their own, which is comforting for homesickness, albeit questionable. You’ll even find “expat neighbourhoods” in Singapore."

Gang 'killed victims to extract their fat' - "A Peruvian gang that allegedly killed people and drained fat from their corpses for use in cosmetics may have been inspired by a grisly Andean legend. Hilarió Cudeña Simon, the alleged ringleader, linked the crimes to tales of demonic assassins, known as Pishtacos, who purportedly waylaid victims in pre-Columbian times, police said."... Two of the suspects were arrested at a bus station in the capital, Lima, carrying bottles of liquid fat which they claimed were worth up to £36,000 a gallon... Police said they received a tip four months ago about a trade in human fat, which exported the amber liquid to Europe as anti-wrinkle cream."

Is she overly sensitive -- or perhaps I am... - Bilahari Kausikan - "Is she overly sensitive -- or perhaps I am overly thick-skinned? In any case, this does not seem to amount to very much. I went to a primary school where I had to physically fight almost every day for six years because I was neither Chinese, Indian or Malay and I don't think it did me any harm -- if anything it did me some good because it taught me to fight dirty -- nor did it make me disillusioned with Singapore. Race is a reality; deal with it."
Bilahari Kausika needs to check his Chinese Privilege!
Comments: "if anyone does not want comments on their feelings they should not write about their feelings on FB."
"When people don't like you, they think in terms of "that Indian, or that Cina bukit", in the same way as your detractor would call you " see bak" (4 eyes), or "that katek fella" or "that c.b. face" and so on.....it's what's prominent on you."
"I thought it worth reproducing with some comments to expose a certain attitude which I think is unhealthy -- a certain softness at the core as if your identity is so fragile that the slightest thing bruises it. So even if exaggerated perhaps still deeply felt and that is the point: an attitude not to be at all encouraged. Grow up woman and if you feel strongly fight don't whine."

The real King John and the BBC in World War Two | Podcast | History Extra - "History doesn't give you black and white answers. What history is is a conversation. And that's what the good essay is from an undergraduate. Indeed it's what the good article is from an academic or the good book. It's a discussion of a range of possibilities. So I can't give you an answer as to what John's childhood was like and what he was like as a child but we can say things which are illuminating...
He had friendships, but those friendships can one ever really be a friend with a king? Because they always can take away what they've given. And they can always react violently towards you...
The original purpose of money is not to act as a medium of exchange for ordinary people but is to raise taxation. And the purpose of raising taxation is to pay the army so."

BBC Radio 4 - Our Man in the Middle East, Part 22: Oil and Water - "The rush hour starts about eleven in the morning. Not commuting. They're looking for qat. People rush around with bundles of Yemen's favourite leaf under their arms. In war or peace, in Yemen the hunt for qat must go on...
The British are said to spend their afternoons drinking tea. In fact at the long and elegant promenade tea salon in the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane in London, most of the customers were from the Middle East...
There were Jihadists forced out of Saudi Arabia into Yemen. They set up an aggressive and ambitious new group - Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. That was as well as Yemen's own poisonous politics - the former President said ruling the country was like dancing on the heads of snakes"

BBC Radio 4 - Our Man in the Middle East, Part 23: The New Sultan - "Ataturk was a ruthless modernizer who believed Turkey's future was in secular Europe, not the religious Middle East. He abolished the title of caliph, ruler of the Islamic world, which Turkish sultans had claimed for four hundred years. And he dropped the Arabic alphabet for the Roman one. Islamic law he told his people might have worked for tribes in the desert but it didn't work in the twentieth century. Sometimes he said all religions should be at the bottom of the sea. Ataturk passed the hat law to encourage men to wear western clothing. It banned turbans and the fez, a hat made without a brim so men could wear it and still touch their forehead to the floor to pray. Ataturk didn't ban head scarves for women but they couldn't be worn in state institutions including schools and universities. His message was that religion at home was fine but it had no place in the state. The army considered it a national duty to safeguard his secular legacy - until a rival to Ataturk emerged to take them on"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Hokusai - "In Japan interestingly enough it's not the great wave that is the best known print. The best known print in Japan is something called Red Fuji because most of the impressions of the print are in red"

China tears up promises to UK and shows the world who is in charge - "His message to Britain was blunt, too, bordering on disdainful. China would not brook outside “interference” in the former colony. Forget about those guarantees of a free, open society painstakingly negotiated before the 1997 handover... China’s foreign ministry formally renounced the 1984 Sino-British joint declaration, the basis on which Britain agreed to relinquish control of the colony. The two sides had agreed the treaty would remain in force for 50 years... China’s hardening stance is deeply threatening to Hong Kong and bilateral relations. It suggests China’s official word cannot be trusted, whether the issue is Hong Kong’s (and Taiwan’s) continued freedoms, illegal regional military expansion, or investment in Britain’s nuclear industry, retailers and real estate."
What does China's abrogation of One Country, Two Systems imply about China's Peaceful Rise?

EPA says toilet paper should now go down the toilet - "According to EPA statistics, every person produces about approximately 32 to 35 grams of feces per toilet session. Every piece of toilet paper weighs approximately 0.3 to 0.5 grams. If two to five pieces of toilet paper are used per session, the weight of the toilet paper would be about 3.4 to 14.3 percent of the weight of the feces produced — a negligible additional burden that's unlikely to clog the drain... plumbers said that toilets installed over the past 20 years have plastic pipes measuring 3.5 to 4 inches wide — enough space to allow toilet paper to glide right through. But toilets installed over 30 years ago are fitted with iron pipes that rust with age and become increasingly resistant to the passage of waste and toilet paper... In the future, vending machines outside public toilets will be stocked only with dissolvable tissue paper"

When are people going to stop binning and start flushing their toilet paper? - "80 to 90 percent of Taiwanese throw their used toilet paper into waste bins... bins filled with used toilet paper tarnish Taiwan's image as a clean city. Besides being an eyesore or creating an unpleasant toilet experience, there are also concerns that smelly bins are a breeding ground for bacteria and bugs... In 2011, the EPA released a report that found the top five brands of toilet paper on the market in Taiwan did not dissolve easily and could cause problems for homes that are not connected to the main sewerage system. Recent statistics from the Ministry of Interior also found that slightly more than half of Taiwanese households are not linked to the main sewerage network

To Flush or Not to Flush: Change in Taiwan’s Bathroom Etiquette - "Chiu says that while flushing versus binning is just a small change in habit, making the switch will signal a transformation for Taiwan. “When foreign tourists come to Taiwan, they generally think wow, Taiwan is an advanced country,” he says. “But when they see the waste disposed of in bins, this is not a situation that an advanced country should have.” “Every person needs to go to the bathroom every day. If we can make the bathroom environment better, this is really an improvement to the quality of life.”"

The Accidental Invention: The Origin Of Piggy Banks - "The origin of piggy banks dates back nearly 600 years, in a time before real banks even existed. Before the creation of modern-style banking institutions, people commonly stored their money at home — not under the mattress (or hay rack), but in common kitchen jars. During The Middle Ages, metal was expensive and seldom used for household wares. Instead, dishes and pots were made of an economical orange-colored clay called pygg. Whenever folks could save an extra coin or two, they dropped it into one of their clay jars — a pygg pot... the first true piggy banks — terracotta banks in the shape of a pig with a slot in the top for depositing coins — were made in Java as far back as the 14th century... To this day in some European countries, notably in the Netherlands and German speaking countries, it is customary to give piggy banks as gifts because pigs are associated with luck and good fortune."

Cover up to ‘respect’ Muslims, Mufti tells non-Muslims in dress code rows - "Non-Muslims should dress more “appropriately” in public places out of “respect” for Muslims who will sin upon seeing people, including non-Muslims, who do not cover their “aurat”, Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said amid the controversy surrounding conservative dress codes enforced at government departments. “Even when we wear properly but we see other people who show their ‘aurat’, it is haram”... Harussani said Malaysians should be more open to the idea of non-Muslims dressing “appropriately” as Malaysia is seen as an “Islamic role model country”."

Mother opened nappy to find three-month-old son had been circumcised - "The boy was said to have been operated on while on a visit to his paternal grandparents, who are Muslim... Campaigners say it is believed to be the first time a police force has treated "non-theraputic" circumcision as GBH. The 26-year-old mother says the child, now aged four, has suffered repeated physical problems, including inflammation and water infections, in the years since the operation as a direct result. "It's even illegal to dock dogs' tails. I've come home crying my eyes out thinking a dog has got more rights than my child," she said. "There's something seriously not right with it all. You can protect a dog, you can protect a girl, but not a boy.""

Liberal mosque in Berlin, Germany brings founder Seyran Ates death threats, condemnation from Turkey, Egypt - "The opening of a new mosque this month in Berlin further strained already-tense relations between Germany and Turkey, and has caused outrage in various corners of the Muslim world -- even prompting religious authorities in Egypt to issue a decree condemning the mosque as un-Islamic. But despite recieving hundreds of death threats, the mosque's founder, Seyran Ateş, says she'll continue to fight for her cause... Ateş wanted to create a place where Sunni and Shiite, Alawite and Sufi Muslims, men and women -- and members of the LGBTQ community -- could pray side by side"
Presumably setting up a liberal mosque is Islamophobia and defames Islam

Radio Clueless Thinks It Just Discovered Annie Lennox - "Eight Brit Awards, four Grammys, a Golden Globe, an Oscar and decades spent topping music charts somehow escaped a Los Angeles radio station that sent a letter inviting the legendary Annie Lennox to send in her latest MP3 single for its consideration."

Schumpeterian Profits in the American Economy: Theory and Measurement - "The present study examines the importance of Schumpeterian profits in the United States economy. Schumpeterian profits are defined as those profits that arise when firms are able to appropriate the returns from innovative activity. We first show the underlying equations for Schumpeterian profits. We then estimate the value of these profits for the non-farm business economy. We conclude that only a minuscule fraction of the social returns from technological advances over the 1948-2001 period was captured by producers, indicating that most of the benefits of technological change are passed on to consumers rather than captured by producers."

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Links - 6th September 217 (2)

China's bike-sharing firm Wukong Bike closes after 90% of its bicycles go missing - "A bicycle-sharing company in China, Wukong Bike, has become the first to shut down after 90 per cent of its bicycles went missing, just five months after it started operations."
Ahh "stereotypes"! You can't pretend people everywhere are like the Japanese.

Top 10 riddles of private-hire operators - "How is something that is bleeding so much still alive? Since Uber started in 2011 and Grab in 2012, both companies have been burning money like it is going out of fashion."

Multiculturalism and the state - "Even in less extreme situations short of violence, if the state eschews all but a procedural role, the fact that not all concepts of the "Good" are reconcilable, in practice leads to endless contentions between claims to the right to pursue contradictory notions of the "Good". If all concepts of the "good life" are regarded as equally valid, by what standard are claims to be adjudicated when they contradict each other?"

The skills delusion - "New jobs can always be created as we automate away many existing jobs, but the new jobs often pay less. Projections by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) for job creation over the next 10 years illustrate the pattern. Of the top 10 occupational categories that account for 29 per cent of all forecast job creation, only two - registered nurses and operational managers - pay more, on average, than US median earnings, while most of the other eight pay far less... However many people are able to code, only a very small number will ever be employed for their coding skills. And even if someone in a low-skill job is equipped to perform a high-skilled one at least adequately, that job may still go to an employee with yet higher skills, and the pay differential may still be great: in many jobs, relative skill ranking may matter more than absolute capability."

Latitude allowed in Islam for the bigger picture - "I am aggrieved that the issue of Singapore Muslims in the navy has been reduced to the lack of halal-certified kitchens on Singapore naval ships ("'Define better what secularism means'"; Tuesday). But if this is a red herring, the Muslim community has itself to blame if it keeps harping on halal kitchens on warships. It is time Muslims reminded themselves that Islamically acceptable meals need not come from halal kitchens complete with a halal logo - all of which will not be available in battle conditions, anyway... It would not be the first time we sort out our religious requirement for the nation's overall interest. Among others, we abandoned the unpredictable moon-sighting method for astronomical calculations in determining Hari Raya in the 1970s and revised our views towards organ transplantation in the 1980s."

Heterosexual couple lose high court civil partnership case - "The pair, who have been in a relationship since November 2010 and have an eight-month-old baby, said they were determined to secure legal recognition of their relationship through a civil partnership. They reject marriage on the grounds that it is a “patriarchal” institution. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 stipulates that only same-sex couples are eligible. Steinfeld and Keidan maintain that the government’s position on civil partnerships is “incompatible with equality law""
Given that in the UK gay marriage wasn't rammed through by the courts, at least there's consistency here

I read only non-white authors for 12 months. What I learned surprised me | Sunili Govinnage - "“ethnic” writers don’t just write “ethnic” books about “ethnic” things. As Ben Okri argues, black writers are often “expected to write about certain things, and if they don’t they are seen as irrelevant”. What this means is that if diverse books are only valued because they can be categorised as being different per se, they are still othered. Even if writers from diverse backgrounds might do commercially well and be critically acclaimed, they face the risk of being stereotyped for their work. Valuing a writer only for their diversity, but not their humanity or talent – that’s tokenism"

Vigilante paedophile hunters ruining lives with internet stings - "The Daemon Hunter vigilante who targeted Peter in Staffordshire used the slogan "Public against paedos". He pretended to be interested in his target on an adult dating site and they arranged to meet in a branch of Costa coffee. Peter thought he was meeting an 18-year-old, and insists he is not a paedophile or child groomer. Only when he was waiting in the cafe did a text come through saying "she" was 15 and that he immediately got up and left. It was then that Daemon Hunter accosted him in the street, accused him of trying to meet a 15-year-old for sex, and chased him through town filming him. Peter told the Guardian: "He said: 'I think we need to talk because you're a fucking paedophile.' I said: 'What do you mean mate? She's 18, that's what I was told. I've just had a text message up there saying she's 15 and that's why I've walked away.' Next thing I know he got his phone up filming me, calling me a paedophile, asking her age. I was shocked. He started shouting I was a paedophile in the middle of town. I thought 'I am going to get a kicking here' so I just legged it." Within hours, the vigilante uploaded footage of the sting on to the internet along with Peter's mobile number. That night his phone was jammed with abusive texts and voicemails, which he said included death threats. So he fled north in his car, only returning when he thought the worst was over. Later, he said his house was hit with bricks and that his wife tried to kill herself with an overdose of pills. He was so scared he was reduced to hiding in a cupboard when the doorbell rang. Staffordshire police reviewed the evidence and concluded there was no case for any prosecution, but the damage was done. More than 5,000 people viewed the film and Peter has now moved to the other side of the country, cut off from family, friends and work... Police say some hunters have exposed people whose potential child grooming behaviour was previously unknown, but that in the majority of cases examined the targets do not reflect any sexual interest in children. Stinson Hunter has even admitted as much."Guys that I catch generally aren't paedophiles," he told supporters in an online broadcast in August. "A massive percent of them are guys that have been lonely and someone has paid them attention and they've jumped on it.""
More damage from the fetish of "protecting" "children"

Nobel judge fears for the future of western literature - "Western literature is being impoverished by financial support for writers and by creative writing programmes, according to a series of blistering comments from Swedish Academy member Horace Engdahl, speaking shortly before the winner of the Nobel prize for literature is awarded. In an interview with French paper La Croix, Engdahl said that the “professionalisation” of the job of the writer, via grants and financial support, was having a negative effect on literature. “Even though I understand the temptation, I think it cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions,” he told La Croix. “Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard - but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.”"

Medieval manuscripts and the First World War | Podcast | History Extra - "We don't make people wear gloves. Clean hands I think are important. You've got much more control with your fingers. Turn the edges of the pages, don't put your finger on the illumination, I mean it could damage it. Be careful but with gloves you have less control. You're using pencil rather than ink and if you are writing with pencil with gloves the lead tends to come off on the end of the glove because of its material and it can happen then that, that a lead stained gloved finger turning a page can actually damage it more than a clean hand on the edge of it...
One of the problems with studying any work of art from reproductions, not from the original, is you often have no idea how big it is and that applies to everything from paint- I mean if you study art history entirely from art books you tend to think they're very small or or from slide lectures they may be enormous. But that sense of scale and the size of a book, most medieval books are restricted by the size of medieval animals because they're mostly made of animal skin so it is very rare to get a book bigger than a large sheep"

Kamikaze pilots and Captain John Smith | Podcast | History Extra - "The point of the kamikaze attacks was basically that American radar was thought to be so good that attacks, conventional attacks from the air wouldn't really work because the aircraft, the Japanese aircraft would be shot down long before they got to their targets. Instead with the kamikaze attack if you can skim the water at quite a low level, you can avoid american radar almost up until the last minute. This basically was the plan. You can both take out as many American vessels as possible but you can also send a message. Message being basically that the cost in American lives of trying to take the Japanese home islands would be unthinkable...
A the beginning these were supposed to be volunteer missions and what was quite striking is that the rate of volunteering was very very high. But by the end I think something like only two out of three pilots would actually have volunteered. The rest would basically have been have been forced into it. And it's interesting, one of the things that the pilots would be given before they go on their plans was a decent size flask of wine... for a few of them they were drunk in their bases, drunk when they were on their planes...
There is a lot of, a lot of very good poetry. There's also a lot of very bad poetry, of the sort that adolescents and people in their young 20s anywhere in the world might write because they are going between having a kind of grand vision of world history all neatly worked out with their place in it one minute, to the next moment thinking actually I have no idea what this is all for and I just find myself literally shaking in sheer panic...
Which century saw the most change, and why does it matter? Most people would say the twentieth century. Why? Atomic bombs, airplanes, computers, space travel and mobile phones. You would not believe how many people have told me that mobile phones have ben the bigest changes in their lifetimes. However, what about law and order? It was in the sixteenth century that the murder rate started to fall from levels that would compare with the Wild West on a bad day. And how about medicine? In sixteen hundred if you were seriously you sent for a priest. One hundred years later you sent for a doctor and hoped that your fellow man, not God, would save you"

Why Are There No New Major Religions? - "“Often cults are seen as aberrations, or a psychological phenomenon. Psychologists would see cult leaders as having delusions of grandeur. But I see them as something different—as baby religions,” said Susan Palmer, a sociologist and scholar of new religions at Concordia University in Montreal. “I think people are unaware how many of them there are, how constant they are.”... Followers of Millah Abraham believe that the near-constant wars in the Middle East are just one indication that Islam has fallen and it is Mushaddeq’s turn to continue the eternal cycle and establish the next iteration of Abrahamic faith. In the same way that Judaism was succeeded by Christianity, and Christianity by Islam, Islam is to be succeeded by Millah Abraham... State persecution, aided by religious authorities, is in fact a major reason why new faiths fail in parts of the world where government polices religious doctrine... “We’re capable of accepting Muhammad’s claims of hearing God and Jesus’s claims of being the son of God, because it happened 1,000 or 2,000 years ago. The mist of time lends its authenticity. If someone today says these things, we’ll say he used to be a vacuum salesman or something.” But the religion scholars I spoke with said that perhaps the biggest reason that new faiths like Scientology, Raëlism or Millah Abraham have failed to take off is the lack of state sponsorship... There are so many religions on offer in most countries that it’s hard for any new religion to gain a critical mass... Mayer’s analysis uses the metaphor of the market, treating new religions as products that have to distinguish themselves from their competition in order to gain adherents. Early Christianity, for example, distinguished itself from many pagan beliefs with its intense focus on the afterlife, and the possibility of eternal salvation and heaven... most of the dynamism is happening within existing faith traditions, as religious entrepreneurs within established traditions adapt their faiths to the needs of 21st-century parishioners"

BBC Radio 4 - Our Man in the Middle East, Part 11: A Strike to the Heart - "At the end of 1948... A ship docked in New York. Down the gangplank came an Egyptian intellectual called Sayyid Qutb. He'd come to study and hated what he found. Qutb spent time in Greeley Colorado. It was a university town founded on temperance, without bars and liquor stores but Qutb saw moral degradation everywhere. America, he concluded, was a moral wasteland. He was appalled when he saw a minister putting on records including this one by Esther Williams at a Sunday student dance in a church hall in Greeley. Qutb didn't just hate American music. He called Americans a reckless deluded herd that only knows lust and money... 'The dance floor was replete with tapping feet, naked legs, arms wrapped around waists. Lips pressed to lips and chests pressed to chests.'... For Qutb, America was a secular, brutish, degenerate society and the women were out of control. 'The American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she shows all this and does not hide it.' Qutb was convinced he was right and back home in Egypt put the finishing touches to answers that he believed would eliminate everything in the way of the sovereign rule of God. Jihad was to become an everlasting war. Qutb was handed by the Egyptian regime in nineteen sixty six. But since then his death and his ideas have inspired radical, violent islamists"
Muslims were being radicalised by American foreign policy before America invaded the Middle East!
Addendum: "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism - "Qutb returned to Egypt a radically changed man. In what he saw as the spiritual wasteland of America, he re-created himself as a militant Muslim, and he came back to Egypt with the vision of an Islam that would throw off the vulgar influences of the West. Islamic society had to be purified, and the only mechanism powerful enough to cleanse it was the ancient and bloody instrument of jihad."

BBC Radio 4 - Our Man in the Middle East, Part 15: Missiles and the Ballot Box - "I was woken up by sustained gunfire. I thought it was a wedding - the hotel is next to a wedding hall and Palestinians have a nasty habit - when they have access to firearms - of celebrating by firing hundreds of rounds into the air... in the street men were in fighting positions - the two main factions Hamas and Fatah were having a shootout"

BBC Radio 4 - Our Man in the Middle East, Part 17: A Flash of Nail Varnish - "For a while in the 1990s the BBC was very keen to see its onscreen male correspondence wearing ties, even in Iran where it's against the dress code. So I was asked to have a tie in my pocket for Friday prayers in Tehran, to whip it up for the piece to camera. And then to hide it again. I refused. In the West we struggle to understand Iran. Best i thought not to parade our ignorance on television"

BBC Radio 4 - Our Man in the Middle East, Part 18: The Revolving Revolution - "The fervor swept up many in the West too, but their opponents were organizing and I'd known the Middle East long enough to be horribly aware of the trouble ahead. I felt like a party pooper. Since then it's gone very wrong for the revolutionaries. Not for the first time in history the passion of the streets was outdone by the organization of long established groups. In Egypt, the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. When new presidential elections were held in twenty twelve the revolutionaries didn't even have a candidate in the runoff"

BBC Radio 4 - Our Man in the Middle East, Part 19: Unfollow the Leader - "Before the fall of Gaddafi I got to know quite a few senior members of the regime as we queued alongside each other for the buffet at the Rixos hotel. They felt safe there because they didn't believe NATO would ever bomb western journalists, their fellow guests. The officials never really understood why the West had turned on them, since they had given MI6 and the CIA so much help against radical islamist killers. Look, one said to me. Democracy didn't happen overnight in Britain, did it. I had his full attention when I told him about the Peterloo massacre in eighteen nineteen when the Manchester and Salford yeomenry charged a huge crowd of people demanding the vote, slashing and killing with their sabers. There you are, he said. That's nothing more than we're doing. The regime people had one simple refrain - if you don't like us you'll hate what comes next. Remove Gaddafi they'd say and the country will fall apart and Al-Qaeda will take over. It wasn't inevitable but more or less it happened. Libya fell apart after Gadaffi was removed and it's still in pieces"

BBC Radio 4 - Our Man in the Middle East, Part 21: A Mini World War - "The onside world wrote off Bashar Al-Assad from the beginning. The Americans, the British and the French said he had to go once demonstrators were shot. The assumption was that he'd fall like the dictators who had been overthrown already in the Arab short spring before the onset of their long winter. But hat ignored his genuine support. Much of it came from his own Alawite sect and other minorities including the Christians, but critically he never lost all of the majority community, Sunni Muslims. In twenty fourteen he even won an election.
'Now for all the savage criticism of this election, it's important to remember that President Assad does have a genuine support'...
He would not have got to where he has been in this war without that kind of support. Assad's opponents rejected the result as a dishonest farce. But enough Syrians believed him when he said his fight was against religious extremists. The kind who'd never allow fun in the sun at the beach. It wasn't such a stark and simple choice. Most of the armed rebels were not secular, but some of them wanted a state only as religious as Turkey"

Ngee Ann Polytechnic makes police report over Tumblr blog targeting students - "Some girls from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) who had posted on social media photos of themselves dressed in shorts, yoga pants, bikinis and dresses were horrified when they discovered that those images were reposted with lewd captions on micro-blogging platform Tumblr."
Maybe the girls all thought that if they had 1,000 likes from men on an alluring image of them, it meant 1,000 men liked their tops and wanted to know where to buy them
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