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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Links - 10th May 2018 (1)

It's Official: Bitcoin Surpasses "Tulip Mania", Is Now The Biggest Bubble In World History

Scientists Link ‘Cat Parasite' to Common Human Neurological Disorders - "Epidemiological studies done on humans have uncovered links to brain disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but scientists haven’t been able to demonstrate how the parasite does its dirty work in the brain, or how we might be able to mitigate its effects. The new study fills the first of these two knowledge gaps, showing how T. gondii influences the course of these brain-centered diseases, making a bad thing worse in certain circumstances... By performing a “comprehensive systems analysis,” the scientists identified a wide range of parasite-instigated effects in the brain and their probable impact. The researchers also looked at the effect of T. gondii infection on cultured neural stem cells, which allowed them to see how proteins were being disturbed, and how genetic expression and gene networks were being altered. Armed with this data, the scientists identified connections between T. gondii infection and the altered linkages associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and certain cancers. Disturbingly, the researchers also found evidence that the parasite manipulates a dozen human olfactory receptors in a way that closely mirrors its observed effects on mice and leopards"

Germany: Merkel's Refugee Czar Wants Voting Rights for Migrants - "According to the Federal Integration Commissioner Aydan Özoguz, “people who permanently live in a country should be able to participate in democratic decision making.”... SPD’s Chancellor Candidate Martin Schulz already backs many of the ideas proposed by Commissioner Özoguz... However, the champion of “just society” and “equal rights”, Özoguz doesn’t support justice and equality for everyone — at least not for underaged child brides living in Germany. In November 2016, she publicly opposed banning child marriage"

Merkel vs. Schulz: Israel and Middle East take back stage at German debat - "Schulz’s comments about the importance of protecting Israel are not new. Former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg wrote in February 2014 in Haaretz that Schulz once told him: “For me, the new Germany exists only in order to ensure the existence of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”"

Sex Education in Korea: A Phallus Garden in "Love Land" - "As late as the end of the 1980s, journalist and travel writer Simon Winchester reported that some hotel employees on the island performed as "professional icebreakers." In the evenings, the hotel would offer an entertainment program featuring lap dances and others raunchy or risqué highlights. Its purpose was to help the intimidated, freshly married novices relax -- and perhaps to give them some ideas for later. Winchester remarks wryly about one of these hotel entertainers that he probably deflowered more women than any other man in Asia. So perhaps it's no wonder then that Korea's Love Land should have been built here, just a short taxi drive from Cheju City. Whoever has meandered about between the gigantic stone labia and climbed the 10 meter (33 feet) marble phallus probably feels a little less repressed afterwards. Still, none of this is proof of an unusually open or relaxed attitude to sex. The opposite is true. A few thoroughly rule-governed exceptions apart, the things that are shown and imagined in Love Land are kept under cover elsewhere in South Korea. In this sense, the theme park is not unlike Asian porn mags or fertility rites: It's a small isle of freedom in an ocean of taboos."

Sometimes It’s Just Easier To Care About Dead Lions Than Dead People - "We think nothing of trying to destroy a man, ruin his life, and wish for his painful demise, without knowing anything else about him. We are so numb, so indifferent, that we will rip a stranger to pieces, cannibalize him publicly, tear him down until there is nothing left, and then sleep like babies at night... progressives choose to care about lions because lions are an abstraction. They care about the idea of lions... crucially, lions will never ask anything from us. Our affection for them presents no challenges. We don’t have to accommodate them. I can say I love lions, but this love will never require me to do anything. Lions will never inconvenience me. They’ll never get in my way. I can defend the lives of lions by angrily Tweeting about hunters, and then I can go on my way, live however I want, and never be asked to change my lifestyle for their sake... If ever some deranged terrorist transported thousand of lions into our neighborhoods, forcing us to actually love lions in some real and present sense, I can guarantee the progressive affection for the species would vanish rapidly."

My Eating Disorder Had Nothing to Do with Barbie or the Media - "Paradoxically, in discussions of "unrealistic bodies", real women get the most stick for their stick-figures, be it flat-bellied celebrities on Instagram, or, most frequently, the entire modelling industry itself... The implication is that unrealistic body standards lead to eating disorders, which is an argument I believe reduces a severe mental illness to a vain aspiration to be a runway model – something I have never personally aspired to. "A lot of people don't see eating disorders as actual illnesses," Carrie Arnold, a 34-year-old freelance science writer, author, and recovered anorexic tells me. "They see them as choices. And thinking that eating disorders are caused by images of thin models really serves to drive home the point that they're all about vanity." Of course, these arguments aren't unfounded. A University of Sussex study discovered that young girls who played with Barbies reported lower body satisfaction than those who didn't. But the question remains whether this, in turn, causes mental illness. It would be fair to say that most women are in some way unhappy with their bodies. But most women don't have anorexia... In my opinion, the real way in which the media is damaging isn't in the way it creates eating disorders, but the way it discusses them... How can we solely blame the media for causing eating disorders when there are cases of anorexia in blind people and in places like rural Africa"

Why are Benevolent Sexists Happier? - "Research indicates that the endorsement of sexist ideology is linked to higher subjective wellbeing for both men and women. We examine gender differences in the rationalisations which drive this effect in an egalitarian nation (New Zealand). Results from a nationally representative sample (N = 6,100) indicated that the endorsement of Benevolent Sexism (BS) predicted life satisfaction through different mechanisms for men and women. For men, BS was directly associated with life satisfaction. For women, the palliative effect of BS was indirect and occurred because BS-ideology positioning women as deserving of men’s adoration and protection was linked to general perceptions of gender relations as fair and equitable, which in turn predicted greater levels of life satisfaction."
Feminists will say that truth is better than delusion even if it brings less happiness, but we are not talking about objective, verifiable facts here (e.g. whether the earth is flat) but rather preferences and attitudes, where non-feminists would agree that there is no transcendental truth

Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex? - The New York Times - "“Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” which appeared in The American Sociological Review last year, surprised many, precisely because it went against the logical assumption that as marriages improve by becoming more equal, the sex in these marriages will improve, too. Instead, it found that when men did certain kinds of chores around the house, couples had less sex. Specifically, if men did all of what the researchers characterized as feminine chores like folding laundry, cooking or vacuuming — the kinds of things many women say they want their husbands to do — then couples had sex 1.5 fewer times per month than those with husbands who did what were considered masculine chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car. It wasn’t just the frequency that was affected, either — at least for the wives. The more traditional the division of labor, meaning the greater the husband’s share of masculine chores compared with feminine ones, the greater his wife’s reported sexual satisfaction... Brines believes the quandary many couples find themselves in comes down to this: “The less gender differentiation, the less sexual desire.” In other words, in an attempt to be gender-neutral, we may have become gender-neutered... “most of us get turned on at night by the very things that we’ll demonstrate against during the day”... A large national study in the late 1990s found that women who were more educated than their husbands were more likely to engage in sexual infidelity than if they were less educated than their husbands... if a wife earns more than her husband, the couple are 15 percent less likely to report that their marriage is very happy; 32 percent more likely to report marital troubles in the past year; and 46 percent more likely to have discussed separating in the past year. Similarly, Lynn Prince Cooke found that though sharing breadwinning and household duties decreases the likelihood of divorce, that’s true only up to a point. If a wife earns more than her husband, the risk of divorce increases. Interestingly, Cooke’s study shows that the predicted risk of divorce is lowest when the husband does 40 percent of the housework and the wife earns 40 percent of the income... women partnered with men who had genes similar to their own in this part of the immune system were more likely to be unfaithful; and the more of these genes a woman shared with her partner, the more she was attracted to other men... too much similarity in egalitarian marriages leads to boredom and decreased sexual frequency. “When you’re best friends with your partner, there’s less frisson,” Schwartz says. “Introducing more distance or difference, rather than connection and similarity, helps to resurrect passion in long-term, stable relationships.” She also found that in lesbian couples in which there’s a high degree of intimate conversation, there’s less sex."

Studying Recent Human Evolution at the Genetic Level - The New York Times - "thicker hair shafts, more sweat glands, characteristically identified teeth and smaller breasts — are the result of a gene mutation that occurred about 35,000 years ago... About 93 percent of Han Chinese carry the variant, as do about 70 percent of people in Japan and Thailand, and 60 to 90 percent of American Indians, a population descended from East Asians."

Man sentenced to 10 months' jail for engaging services of underage prostitute - "Judge Yap chided Hari on Tuesday and told him: "You have not shown a shred of remorse for the girl... You added salt to the wound by not paying her.""
Would he have gotten a lighter sentence if he'd had paid her?

Man jailed 18 months’ for sex with underage girlfriend - "she gave birth to a daughter in the toilet of her own home, assisted by her grandmother who had cut the baby’s umbilical cord with a pair of scissors before calling the ambulance. Court documents stated that neither the man nor the girl knew she was pregnant until she gave birth... the man was given a 12-month conditional warning for sleeping with an underage girl. That same month, the couple had sex again, and another time the following month. On June 24, she went for a medical check at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital relating to her first birth. She was told she was pregnant again... Deputy Public Prosecutor Jesintha Veijayaratnam said the man showed a “reckless disregard” for the girl’s health and safety by impregnating her months after she had delivered her first child."
To not realise you're pregnant once may be regarded as a misfortune; to miss the signs twice looks like carelessness

UKIP AM Gareth Bennett barred over 'hateful' remarks - "Mr Bennett told the assembly: "There is only so much deviation from the norm that any society can take before that society completely implodes. "If we carry on down this road of appeasing the nuttiest elements of the transgender movement," he said, "then what we will face as a society, within a very short space of time, is total implosion." He was speaking about a UK government proposal to make the process of changing legal gender easier... UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton then intervened, saying it was a "point of argument and debate" and the remarks were related to a bill on gender recognition in the House of Commons. "If we cannot in this chamber debate the matters which are contained in a bill that is proposed to be introduced in the House of Commons, I think that's a very serious diminution of the democratic rights of the Welsh people"... Ms Jones had singled out Mr Bennett's "deviation from the norm" comment for particular criticism."
If this counts as hateful, then trans activists' language is the Holocaust

Net Neutrality Hysteria: Constant Hysterics Damage Democracy - "We keep reading that Donald Trump is a unique danger to American democracy, a threat we should put aside partisan tribalism to defeat. Then, seconds later, we read that giving Americans the choice to buy health insurance will kill people by the thousands. Seconds after that, we learn that an entirely conventional Republican tax plan will not only kill people but also extinguish American democracy as we know it. Finally, we read that the end of net neutrality — a regulatory doctrine that only the smallest percentage of Americans even remotely understand — will extinguish American liberty. Folks with decent memories will remember another danger to American democracy. His name was Willard Mitt Romney — a corporate raider, slaver (“put y’all back in chains“), and misogynist (“binders full of women”) who actually killed people."

Hundreds of youths rob tourists and brawl in St Kilda - "Shocked bystanders said close to 200 youths of African appearance were involved in the violence at Melbourne's St Kilda beach early on Thursday morning. Police struggled to contain the fighting, overwhelmed by the huge numbers of teen thugs."

Friday essay: the myth of the ancient Greek 'gay utopia' - "The persistent dream of a “gay utopia” is one of the constants in gay and lesbian historical imaginings over the last 200 years... These myths point to an ambivalence that runs through Greek society about same-sex attraction. Male same-sex relationships attracted particular care and supervision in the Greek world because the freedoms that men, unlike women, enjoyed meant that there was always greater potential for things to go wrong. If left to get out of control, passions could have tragic consequences. It is little wonder that thinkers like Plato turn out to have an ambiguous relationship towards same-sex relationships"

Lesbos islanders lose lesbian ban court case - "The residents appealed to a court in Athens to ban the word, claiming that as the island's inhabitants, they were the only true Lesbians. An Athens court rejected an injunction application by Dimitris Lambrou, a magazine editor, to ban the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece (OLKE), from using the word 'lesbian' in their title in a sexual context."Today's decision is unacceptable and an insult to the people of Lesbos and their three thousand year long history", said Mr Lambrou... The islanders said they did not mind if lesbians use the terms "female homosexuals" or "gay women" to describe their sexual preferences, but insisted that using the name of the island and its people was a violation of their right to a national and regional identity.... Evangelia Vlami, a lesbian activist, told the court... "'Siamese twins is an internationally accepted term, and nobody thought of arguing that this term insults the people of Siam"."
Notably, this was in 2008, before the current wave of political correctness

Accused of Sexual Harassment, Andrea Ramsey Ends Kansas Congressional Run - The New York Times - "Andrea Ramsey, 56, is a retired business executive who worked in the nonprofit sector before deciding to run for office as a Democrat in next year’s congressional midterm elections. She was one of a growing number of women inspired to seek office in the wake of President Trump’s election... Ms. Ramsey is the rare — perhaps the only — woman in public life to face consequences from a sexual harassment accusation in the weeks since journalistic exposés spawned the #MeToo movement. She said that her political opponents were using the false allegations against her, and she criticized the Democratic Party for implementing a “zero tolerance standard.”
What's sauce for gander...

The interesting thing that happens when a Republican marries a Democrat - "Democrats live in more partisan neighborhoods than Republicans do — partly due to concentrated African American communities, where most people are Democrats. In neighborhoods that were more than 90 percent Democratic, they found that 68 percent of households were made up of two Democrats. But in neighborhoods that were more than 90 percent Republican, only 55 percent of households were made up of two Republicans."
Ideologically, Republicans seem to be exposed to more diversity

James Carville and Mary Matalin Dish on Politics and Marriage - "Our basic philosophical thrust about the level of government interaction is diametrically opposed, but our love for policy and politics and the need for informed citizenry and participatory democracy is the same. That we disagree on policy was tough, but it’s not one of those deal-breakers. We’re very practical in our local politics, and we’re philosophically opposed on the role and scope of government, but we love each other. What can I say?"
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