When you can't live without bananas

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Links - 11th May 2018 (3)

In Asia’s Fattest Country, Nutritionists Take Money From Food Giants - The New York Times - "Over the past three decades this increasingly prosperous nation has become the fattest country in Asia, with nearly half the adult population now overweight or obese... traditional Malaysian cuisine — curries and other sugar-laden street foods — are key contributors to obesity but said that working with street vendors and mom-and-pop companies to make their food healthier is difficult. Working with multinational companies is easier and more productive, he said. Dr. Tee said he has used his position in the government to push for important steps to regulate companies, including a 2003 rule that required food companies to put nutritional information — the levels of fat, sugars and protein — on their packaging... The shelves were packed with products now found across the globe: instant noodles, spaghetti sauce, soda and rows of sugary cereals, including Nestlé’s Stars, which is 28 percent sugar and has a bright red circle on the bottom right of the box that says “Selected Healthier Choice Malaysia Ministry of Health.”... some nutritionists say Malaysia’s dietary guidelines, which Dr. Tee helped craft, are not as tough on sugar as they might otherwise be. They tell people to load up on grains and cereals, and to limit fat to less than 20 to 30 percent of daily calories, a recommendation that was removed from dietary guidelines in the United States in 2015 after evidence emerged that low-fat diets don’t curb obesity and may contribute to it... she did not know that Milo, the Nestlé breakfast drink, contained so much sugar. “I had this idea of Milo as healthy and strong,” Ms. Elyza said, repeating an advertising slogan that has echoed in the ears of Malaysians for years... “There are some people who say that we should not accept money for projects, for research studies. I’m aware of that,” Dr. Tee said. “I have two choices: Either I don’t do anything or I work with companies.”"
Maybe people will slam Tee for racism for indicting curries

Today article on diabetes targets Malay & Indian eating habits, S’poreans call it out as racist - "Titled “War on diabetes: Changing eating habits of Malay, Indian communities an uphill task”, it ventured guesses as to why statistically, Singapore’s Malay and Indian communities have a higher incidence rate of diabetes... they interviewed an Indian restaurant owner, a nasi lemak stall owner and a diabetic who struggles to change his eating habits"
Maybe the reporter should have made stuff up that sounded good instead of interviewing Malays and Indians about Malay and Indian food
Addendum: On the Facebook preview the article was titled "Getting Malays, Indians to change eating habits may not be easy"

Indians, Malays most at risk of diabetes and obesity, says health minister - "Indians and Malays have been found to lack a sense of awareness on healthy diet and health care, as compared to the Chinese in the country, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam. He said these factors led both races to face health problems as the risk of obesity and diabetes continued to rise each year... According to Dr Subramaniam, the problems would continue to persist if Malaysians continued to over-eat and craved for sweet food, and did not exercise daily. “Awareness and practice of a healthy culture among the people is still lacking, especially in the Indian and Malay communities."
Singapore's racism is so strong, it spills over and infects Malaysia too

Norway’s Parliament Votes To Decriminalize All Drug Use - "Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001 after years of harsh policy failed to have a significant effect on drug usage or deaths. Instead of fining or jailing drug users found with small quantities of drugs, the government started placing them in treatment and counseling programs. A 2014 report from Transform Drug Policy Foundation found the total number of people in Portugal who had used drugs at any point in their lives rose after decriminalization in 2001 through 2012, but the numbers of people who had used drugs at any point in the year or month before they were surveyed actually decreased, meaning fewer were using drugs on a regular basis."

One is art, one is vandalism - but which is which? - "WHEN Rindy Sam left a lipstick "kiss" across a piece of pristine white canvas it was, she claims, an act of love. But to the art collector whose painting she modified, Sam's act was nothing more than vandalism. Yesterday the argument came to court, where Sam is being sued for more than 2 million by the owner of the painting - part of a tryptich entitled Phaedrus by the contemporary American artist Cy Twombly... "I take responsibility for my act. This white canvas inspired me. I am told it is forbidden to do such things, but it was totally spontaneous," it continued. "I just gave a kiss. It was a gesture of love; when I kissed it, I did not think it out carefully, I just thought the artist would understand.""

Woman fined for kissing painting - "A woman who kissed a £1.37m painting, leaving a lipstick stain, has been ordered to pay 1,500 euros (£1,074) in damages to its owner by a French judge... She must also pay a symbolic one euro (71p) to the US artist. The gallery owner will also receive 500 euros (£357). Restorers have been unable to remove the lipstick and have unsuccessfully used 30 products to get rid of the stain."

5 Fascinating Facts About the Japanese Yakuza That May Surprise You - "the Super Famicom was released in Japan on Wednesday, November 21, 1990 for Y25,000 (US$210). It was an instant success; Nintendo's initial shipment of 300,000 units sold out within hours, and the resulting social disturbance led the Japanese government to ask video game manufacturers to schedule future console releases on weekends. The system's release also gained the attention of the Yakuza, leading to a decision to ship the devices at night to avoid robbery... Japanese police investigating the Yamaguchi-gumi found a 12-question exam paper that members are expected to take. The test outlines the responsibilities of members and details "activities" that are permitted or banned. The test checks knowledge of Japan's revised Anti-Organized Crime Law holds high ranking gangsters financially responsible for the actions of subordinates. By ensuring a sound knowledge of the law, the leadership is likely hoping that they will be able to discourage junior members from being involved in activities that could lead to high-ranking members being sued."

Israel arrests Palestinian teen after soldier-slapping video - "The video shot on Friday, apparently with a mobile telephone, showed two Palestinian teenage girls approaching two Israeli soldiers, before shoving, kicking and slapping them while filming on mobile phones. The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them. They then move backwards... The video of Ahed and the soldiers was widely used by Israeli media, which often accuses Palestinian protesters of seeking to provoke the army into responses which are then filmed. Israeli politicians hailed the restraint of the soldiers as evidence of the military's values"''

Hundreds of Muslim demonstrators storm Egyptian church - "Hundreds of Muslim demonstrators have stormed a Coptic church in Egypt calling for it to be demolished. A hostile mob wreaked havoc in the building by wrecking sacred objects and attacking worshippers after gathering outside during Friday prayers. During the brief siege the demonstrators chanted offensive slogans and called for the church's demolition... Local authorities often refuse to give building permits for new churches, fearing protests by Muslim conservatives. That has prompted Christians to illegally build churches or set up churches in other buildings. In contrast, b

Religious Diversity Around The World - "12 countries have a very high degree of religious diversity. Six of the 12 are in the Asia-Pacific region (Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Hong Kong); five are in sub-Saharan Africa (Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Ivory Coast, Benin and Mozambique); and one is in Latin America and the Caribbean (Suriname). No countries in Europe, North America or the Middle East-North Africa region have a very high degree of religious diversity as measured in this study. Of the 232 countries in the study, Singapore – an island nation of more than 5 million people situated at the southern tip of Malaysia – has the highest score on the Religious Diversity Indexuilding a mosque results in few restrictions. Christians constitute 10 percent of Egypt's mostly Muslim population. Sectarian violence occasionally erupts, mainly in rural communities in the south. Egypt's Christian minority has often been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded.""

Decision to have Ghomeshi lawyer Marie Henein speak at universities perpetuates rape culture, critics say - "The choice of Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer as a speaker at four Canadian universities is sparking debate on one Nova Scotia campus... Jasmine Cormier, a student at St. F.X. in Antigonish, has written an article in that university’s weekly newspaper, saying Henein’s selection serves to silence victims and perpetuate rape culture... “The outrage, the mudslinging, the name calling, and the general focus on Henein is a sign of the times, and not a good sign, in my humble opinion. Almost all of it shows an incredible lack of understanding by the public of the justice system, what a defence counsel’s role is in the system, and what the rights of the accused are”"
Looks like Singaporeans are not the only people to demonise defence lawyers. But given that Ghomeshi was acquitted this insight into feminist thinking is even more revealing

How Many Genders Are There, Again? - "'Newsflash: You are not transgender just because you cut your hair short and prefer they/them pronouns. You people simply want to call yourselves “transgender” to earn oppression points. You want to be part of a group that is “marginalized and oppressed” because you realize it’s not all that interesting in this current culture just being a run-of-the-mill person.'...
That’s the whole thing with special snowflakes “identifying” as transgender (and I would argue that’s why people are so quick to identify as any type of LGBT). It’s different. It’s cool. You get all kinds of attention for it. You can cry about it on Tumblr and some internet celebrity can talk about how “stunning and brave” you are, when all you’re really doing to looking for attention. And people like Blaire White – for whom transgenderism is a Real Life Thing – have to sit back and watch their biological reality become a beating-point for the Cult of Social Justice to bully and silence society into submission."

From fourth-century soup to 21st-century procedure, fecal transplantation proves its worth against stubborn bacteria - "the fourth-century Chinese medical doctor Ge Hong. More than 1,700 years ago, Hong put ink to paper to document a rather unique recipe for treating diarrhea— yellow soup. It was, as one might expect, not a pleasant dish but rather a broth involving dried or fermented stool from a healthy person. Taken by mouth, the bacteria in the stool would then inhabit the gut of the sick person, and bring about a cure. Medical scholars can debate whether Ge Hong's yellow soup was the first effort at what is now called fecal microbiota transplantation. In any case, history is replete with documented examples of the practice, from Renaissance-era veterinarians to a 1958 Colorado case involving four critically ill patients. Now an increase in a hard-to-beat intestinal bacterium has prompted VA researchers to revisit the effectiveness of FMT—a modern version of Hong's yellow soup"

Ta-Nehisi Coates quits Twitter after public row with Cornel West - "Award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates has deleted his widely followed Twitter account after a public row with fellow intellectual Cornel West. Coates tweeted: “peace y’all. i’m out. I didn’t get in it for this,” to his 1.25 million followers before quitting the social media site. The Harvard scholar, author and activist West described Coates as “the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle” in a Guardian column on Sunday, launching a furious debate about the two men in black, activist and liberal circles. West – a leading and outspoken American philosopher, activist and social critic – argued that Coates, who has arguably become the most popular and widely read black intellectual on race in a generation, writes from a worldview that “fetishizes” white supremacy. According to West, that preoccupation clouds Coates’ perception of other factors that shape modern society. “Any analysis or vision of our world that omits the centrality of Wall Street power, US military policies, and the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America is too narrow and dangerously misleading,” West wrote. “So it is with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ worldview.”"
What sort of public intellectual throws a hissyfit and rage quits?

Ku Klux Klan media star admits lying being an Iraqi war veteran: "I am a media whore" - "Steven Shane Howard, the Imperial Wizard of the North Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and a member of the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi organization in America, didn’t act alone. Howard detailed payments by national media fabricating racist events... Howard detailed manufacturing cross burnings and other Ku Klux Klan public confrontations in exchange for cash payments from multiple national media groups... Howard had dissolved the North Mississippi White knights of the KKK when he was approached to be a TV star by the A&E network in 2016. In a series of 2017 interviews with Howard, he detailed being paid by the A&E television network, ABC News, VICE, and others to stage events for cameras and portray an extremist white racist leader."
If Nazis did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them

Outrageous UN Vote on Jerusalem an Opportunity to Stop Paying for the "Privilege" of Being "Disrespected" - - "Thursday’s meeting was the seventeenth time the UN General Assembly has convened the so-called “tenth” emergency special session on Israel since 1997. That’s because the “tenth” session is effectively permanent. At the end of the meeting, the President of the General Assembly stressed that the session was merely “adjourned.” What such UN-eze means for real people is this: There has never been an emergency special session of the General Assembly on anything but Israel-bashing in twenty years. 500,000-plus dead and seven million displaced in Syria over seven years – and not one emergency special session. Neither a million dead in Rwanda, nor two million dead over two decades in Sudan, ever prompted a single emergency special session."

‘NO VIOLATION’: After Rosie Tells Shapiro ‘Suck My D***’ And 'Lick Me,' Twitter Rules No Abuse - "Despite the fact that O’Donnell used crude language including ‘Suck My D***’ And “Lick Me Too Ben,” the Masters of Media ruled that despite Shapiro’s query as to whether O’Donnell’s actions constituted targeted harassment, O’Donnell’s behavior fell within the province of permitted dialogue on Twitter... Twitter’s seemingly arbitrary decisions when it comes to silencing its users have elicited scrutiny for some time"

1-year jail for bondage sex with underage girl - "Former advertising director Kwek Chuan Shan, 35, who had explicitly stated on his profile that he was into "bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism" - or BDSM for short - was on Tuesday jailed for a year for having consensual sex with the underage girl. He is the third of five men to be dealt with in court for offences involving the same girl. Two others, Malaysian Jared Chan Yee Mun, 32 and Alan Lobaton Ramos, 26, a Mexican, were sent to jail earlier this month... The incident came to light when a church friend informed the girl's father that sexually explicit photographs of her were circulating on the Internet. Despite the kinky acts that Kwek had performed on the girl, District Judge Low Wee Ping said on Tuesday that there is no evidence that the convict had corrupted her."

Customer service officer admits to sexually abusing girl, 15 - "As they were walking to the MRT station later, the minor told him that she wanted him to wear a condom when they engaged in sex in future. "He refused and bragged that he had slept with over 30 women and had not, to date, impregnated any of them""

Court troubled by victim's conduct - "In sentencing Ramos, District Judge Low Wee Ping also had some harsh words for the victim. He said the court was "troubled by the conduct of this minor who seems to be very misguided" and had contributed to men having to face the law. Five men have been charged with having underage sex with the girl."

In Sickness and in Wealth - "Using wage and prescription medication data from Denmark, we implement a regression discontinuity design to show that men outearned by their wives are more likely to use erectile dysfunction medication than their male breadwinner counterparts, even when this inequality is small. Breadwinner wives suffer increased insomnia/anxiety medication usage, with similar effects for men"
Even in gender egalitarian Denmark, reversing gender stereotypes has negative consequences - harm, if you like

A Genetically Informed Study of the Association Between Harsh Punishment and Offspring Behavioral Problems - "Conclusions about the effects of harsh parenting on children have been limited by research designs that cannot control for genetic or shared environmental confounds. The present study used a sample of children of twins and a hierarchical linear modeling statistical approach to analyze the consequences of varying levels of punishment while controlling for many confounding influences. The sample of 887 twin pairs and 2,554 children came from the Australian Twin Registry. Although corporal punishment per se did not have significant associations with negative childhood outcomes, harsher forms of physical punishment did appear to have specific and significant effects. The observed association between harsh physical punishment and negative outcomes in children survived a relatively rigorous test of its causal status, thereby increasing the authors’ conviction that harsh physical punishment is a serious risk factor for children."

Physical punishment and childhood aggression: the role of gender and gene-environment interplay. - "genetic risk factors condition the effects of spanking on antisocial behavior. Moreover, our results provide evidence that the interaction between genetic risk factors and corporal punishment may be particularly salient for males."

Seeing Justice done

"Spectators of executions in early modern France did not tend to see the penal spectacle as a manifestation of political sovereignty. Neither were they terrified. In fact, they loved attending executions. From the sixteenth to the middle of the eighteenth century, public executions in France were extraordinarily popular with spectators from all social classes, many of whom were so desperate to watch that they rented out windows overlooking the place of execution at exorbitant sums, or staked out prime viewing spots near the scaffold or on nearby rooftops, often days in advance. Even before this culture of spectatorship developed in the sixteenth century, those who attended executions were much more likely to understand them as meaningful rituals, which allowed the community at large to find redemption through the atonement of the individual condemned, rather than as any kind of display of sovereign majesty."

--- Seeing Justice Done: The Age of Spectacular Capital Punishment in France / Paul Friedland

Links - 11th May 2018 (2)

Right Swipes, Big City (Part 2) 💃🍳🏍 by DTR - The Official Tinder Podcast - "Bad equilibrium and it explains why early on in courtship people tend to stick to boring topics like desserts, kitchen appliances. It's because everyone is playing it safe in the beginning. No one wants to say something provocative or potentially offensive because they don't want to alienate the other person and risk their chance of being like. So people get stymied in bad equilibrium with a whole lot of boring chit chat. This one study found that when people were forced to ask each other more interesting questions early on, one of them was like have you ever broken someone's heart, people had a better time"

113. Could Donald Trump Be a Good President? from Question of the Day on podbay - "If you're really scared about a Trump presidency for one of any number of reasons, I would argue that your fear is based on campaign rhetoric that as with any, almost any presidential campaigner, is exaggerated to the point of caricature and in fact wouldn't reflect the reality once said person was in office. Two, I would say that Donald Trump the candidate has been acting, speaking and positioning himself almost unilaterally, to a degree that is extremely rare among presidential candidates and that presidential - not only presidential power - but the presidential setup is in fact nowhere near that unilateral so that even if you consider his worst impulses to be dreadful, that he almost certainly would not want to or be able to act upon them... Donald Trump did what a lot of people in a position like his... do, which is think: hey, I'm gonna run for a very prominent office because it's kinda good for my business...
Mike Bloomberg never had any intention, never had any plan, never had any desire to be mayor... he wanted to run for mayor because it was good for the Bloomberg brand... [Trump] had no desire or intention at all to become President...
He's decisive. He's not a hemmer and a hawer. So if you're the kind of person who doesn't like President Obama because you think he's too considered and too hemming and hawing and too on the one hand on the other, too academic and intellectual, then Trump would be a different cup of tea. He is very forthright in his defence of America as an exceptional place. Which, again, if you're a diehard supporter of President Obama or in fact many Democratic candidates. You could say that, well, they seem a little bit more tortured in their patriotism and you could argue that Donald Trump really does see America as a beacon on a hill, the shining light that is exceptional and therefore worthy of our utmost defence. And I think that you could argue that a lot of the received wisdom and politically normative statements about our society that may have their heart in the right place but are in the end damaging, that he would have little patience for them and in fact he would be much more solution-oriented rather than perception-oriented...
'People after listening to this podcast and you, even though we only did this as an exercise, do you think people are going to be upset at you for coming up with anything positive about Trump?'
'To paraphrase Groucho Marx who said that any club that would have me as a
I would say that any listener or friend who would listen to me pursue this intellectual exercise, this thought experiment and who hates Trump so much that me merely expressing the thoughts that you asked me to express is not someone I would care to have as a listener or friend'"Holding People Responsible for Ethical Violations: The Surprising Benefits of Accusing Others - "Individuals who accuse others of unethical behavior can derive significant benefits. Compared to individuals who do not make accusations, accusers engender greater trust and are perceived to have higher ethical standards. In Study 1, accusations increased trust in the accuser and lowered trust in the target. In Study 2, we find that accusations elevate trust in the accuser by boosting perceptions of the accuser’s ethical standards. In Study 3, we find that accusations boosted both attitudinal and behavioral trust in the accuser, decreased trust in the target, and promoted relationship conflict within the group. In Study 4, we examine the moderating role of moral hypocrisy. Compared to individuals who did not make an accusation, individuals who made an accusation were trusted more if they had acted ethically but not if they had acted unethically. Taken together, we find that accusations have significant interpersonal consequences. In addition to harming accused targets, accusations can substantially benefit accusers."
Aka the benefits of virtue signalling and condemning "bigots" and "Nazis"

Apple confirmed a longtime conspiracy theory — and gave regular customers a big reason to distrust it - "it has been secretly stifling the performance of older iPhones... it stressed that it did so for a purely altruistic reason – to prevent older phones from shutting down unexpectedly... Apple hasn’t explained why it didn’t disclose the practice until now, after GeekBench released charts based on its data that showed how older iPhones were not performing as quickly as they had when they launched... The fact is that Apple has an incentive to push users to upgrade; it makes money selling new devices, after all. And the company has a history of artificially making older devices look inferior to new ones. The iPhone 4, for example was perfectly capable of running Siri, but Apple reserved that feature for the model that replaced it, the iPhone 4s. Likewise, the camera in the iPhone 3G was capable of shooting video, but Apple didn’t turn that feature on and instead made video recording the signature capability of its next device, the iPhone 3GS. Planned obsolescence is a long-standing practice in the tech and broader manufacturing industries."

Claire Jordan's answer to Is Prince Philip genuinely racist or ironically racist? - Quora - "a black guy who'd been a butler at the White House published his autobiography. He said that even the most liberal visitors to the White House were a bit uncomfortable with the black staff: they might be polite, but they didn't treat them as just people like anybody else. He said that his single best memory from his time at the White House was when the Queen and Prince Philip visited, and Philip came downstairs to spend some time with the black servants, and told them that he'd like to have a drink with them - but only on condition that they sat back and let him wait on them for a change."

Putin ‘wanted Franken out of Senate,’ anti-Trump ‘resistance’ claims - "Liberals who pushed Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) to resign over groping and forced kissing accusations were actually unsuspecting dupes carrying out Moscow’s agenda, according to the latest Russiagate conspiracy theory."

Difficult to uphold patient confidentiality with electronic record system - "a patient presently has the right not to mention prior illnesses when he consults his doctor... Whether this decision disadvantages him or not is irrelevant. Under the principle of medical ethics called "autonomy", the patient retains the right to control the information he shares with his doctor... the patient rightfully expects the doctor to keep private all details revealed in medical confidence. These are entered into and remain in the clinic's records. Without his permission, the doctor cannot mention them to others - not even other doctors... Can this possibly remain unchanged when the NEHR is implemented? Once entered into the computer record, the patient's entire medical past will be visible to any doctor he consults in the future, even details he considers sensitive or irrelevant. Moreover, if he cannot stop his doctor from uploading "embarrassing" personal data, like a positive test result for a sexually transmitted disease, onto his NEHR record, he will have lost privacy control over information or data arising from this consultation."
A single database means a single target for hackers
But Singaporeans only complain when something costs them money (and still go along with it anyway)

The accuracy of abstracts in psychology journals. - "Abstracts accompanying 13% of a random sample of 400 research articles published in 8 American Psychological Association journals during 1997 and 1998 contained data or claims inconsistent with or missing from the body of the article. Error rates ranged from 8% to 18%, although between-journal differences were not significant. Many errors (63%) were unlikely to cause substantive misinterpretations. Unfortunately, 37% of errors found could be seriously misleading with respect to the data or claims presented in the associated article. Although deficient abstracts may be less common in psychology journals than in major medical journals (R. M. Pitkin, M. A. Branagan, & L. F. Burmeister, 1999), there is still cause for concern and need for improvement."

Why kids love 'fascist' cartoons like 'Paw Patrol' and 'Thomas' - ""Thomas," the long-running television franchise about a group of working trains chugging away on the Island of Sodor, has been called a "premodern corporate-totalitarian dystopia" in the New Yorker, imperialist and sinister in Slate, and classist, sexist and anti-environmentalist in the Guardian... [As for] "Paw Patrol"... Buzzfeed called the show "terrible" and pointed to instances of gender and social inequality that go unchecked on the show. In the Guardian, Ryder is described as a megalomaniac with an implied "unstoppable God complex"... The neat moral order of shows like "Thomas" and "Paw Patrol" gives them a context for these feelings, explained Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of "How Toddlers Thrive." Good and bad are clearly articulated states in those shows, she said, and should one misbehave, the repercussions are clear and predictable...
There are the parents who are OK with the authoritarian elements in children's media but wish the authorities didn't always have to be white and male... Here's an idea, gratis, for the creative team behind of "Paw Patrol" and "Thomas," should they want to broaden their appeal to parents without alienating their fan base: Ryder and Sir Topham Hatt retire and are replaced by their equally domineering sisters."
Not The Onion, but CNN
The world is fascist to people like this. The criminal justice system clearly articulates good and bad, and should one misbehave, the repercussions are clear and predictable. So anarchy is the only answer.
Authoritarianism is okay as long as it's by women?

Linguistics professor unearths Yoda’s ‘native language’ - "“We can find out something about Yoda’s native language by looking at how he speaks English, in the same way as I can find out about a French person’s native language by looking at how that French person speaks English. “You use English words but retain some of the structures from that native language.” The professor has concluded that Yoda’s original language, which he “grew up speaking”, was Hawaiian."

The Indian teenagers who were expelled from school for hugging

The lower your social class, the ‘wiser’ you are, suggests new study - "raw intelligence doesn’t reduce conflict, he asserts. Wisdom does. Such wisdom—in effect, the ability to take the perspectives of others into account and aim for compromise—comes much more naturally to those who grow up poor or working class"

It’s Fit For Royalty: Food Culture & The Mughal Empire - "Flavours were enhanced using exotic spices. The curry was made rich and smooth with cream and yogurt. Imperial cooks threw in spices like cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, and nuts such as cashews and almonds... Mughal cuisine was strongly influenced by the Persian cuisine of Iran, which featured dried fruits and nuts, ingredients commonly used by imperial cooks in meat and rice dishes. In fact, under the Mughals, fruit was not merely a food product. It was a symbol of sophistication and their elevated position in society. At the time of the Mughal rule, fruits and nuts were thought of as incredibly opulent and luxurious. Hence, a gift of fruits was a sign diplomacy and even a matter of protocol. When Babur, India’s first Mughal Emperor, looked about his newly conquered northern territories, he did not like it. Coming from a food-loving culture, Hindustan seemed to him a land stripped of romance. He writes in The Baburnama, “There is no grapes, quality fruits, mask melons, candles”. He did not fancy the local Indian food, which lacked the spices and flavours he was accustomed to in his native Samarkand"

The global backlash against China is growing - The Washington Post - "Interestingly, the growing negative reaction to China’s rise belies reports that the United States under Trump is no longer capable of cooperating with America’s traditional allies. In recent weeks, the Trump administration has joined with the European Union in rejecting China’s claim that, under the terms of its accession to the World Trade Organization, it should be granted market-economy status, which would protect China from anti-dumping duties. At the WTO ministerial meetings in Buenos Aires last week, the United States, the European Union and Japan confronted China over its unwillingness to scale back its industrial production and other questionable trade practices... The pushback against China is not confined to democracies. Even nations with historically close ties to China have begun chafing at the high-handed treatment emanating from Beijing as part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure program. While China has attempted to package the program as a Chinese version of the Marshall Plan, increasingly it’s being received as something more akin to Western colonialism than Western largesse. Sri Lanka currently owes Chinese state-controlled firms more than $8 billion. As part of a plan to break free of its debt trap, last week, the government handed over the strategic port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease, in a move that critics said would threaten the country’s sovereignty. In India, pundits referred to China’s move as “debt-trap diplomacy.” Even Pakistan, perhaps China’s closest foreign partner, seems to be having second thoughts about taking Chinese money. Express Tribune, a Pakistan newspaper, reported that the government had canceled a $14 billion dam project after Beijing made it clear that it wanted to own the dam after it built it. Nepal announced that it, too, was canceling a deal on a Chinese-funded dam for similar reasons. So far, China’s reaction to the growing concern about China’s power has tended toward the aggressive. In Australia, the Chinese Embassy warned Australian government officials not to damage “mutual trust” as they moved to pass laws aimed at protecting Australia’s political system from foreign money. After Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull noted “disturbing reports about Chinese influence,” the embassy cautioned Australian officials not to make “irresponsible remarks.” The embassy also accused Australian media outlets of fabricating news stories about “the so-called Chinese influence and infiltration in Australia.”"

Brazil Fights H.I.V. Spike in Youths With Free Preventive Drug - The New York Times - "Seeking to stem a sharp rise in H.I.V. cases among young people, Brazil began offering a drug this month that can prevent infection to those deemed at high risk. Brazil is the first country in Latin America, and among the first in the developing world, to adopt the pill Truvada, under a program known as PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, as an integral part of its preventive health care policy... The drug is being rolled out at a crucial time in Brazil, with the country’s health officials particularly alarmed by the rise of the virus among young men and other groups considered at higher risk... about one in 10 men who have sex with men in Brazil have H.I.V... Brazil has long been recognized for its strong response to the H.I.V. epidemic. It challenged pharmaceutical companies in the 1990s by producing generic versions of costly antiretroviral drugs, which lowered prices globally. Brazil’s government buys and distributes more condoms than any other country, and in 2013 it started providing antiretroviral therapy free to all H.I.V.-positive adults seeking care... People have grown less concerned about H.I.V., leading to a decline in the use of condoms... People have grown less concerned about H.I.V., leading to a decline in the use of condoms... Piero Mori, 34, a systems analyst who is gay, says he never liked using condoms, which meant new sexual encounters often brought weeks of anxiety as he tested yet again for H.I.V."
So much for free drugs and de-stigmatisation being the solution to STIs among men who have sex with men/gay men

‘Willing to Do Everything,’ Mothers Defend Sons Accused of Sexual Assault - The New York Times - "The mothers lobby Congress, testify on proposed legislation and policy, and track lawsuits filed by men who say they have been wrongly accused. A bill in the California Legislature that they testified against, which would have enshrined the Obama-era regulations into state law, passed both houses but was vetoed this month by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, who said it was “time to pause” on the issue... One mother, Judith, said her son had been expelled after having sex with a student who said she had been too intoxicated to give consent. “In my generation, what these girls are going through was never considered assault,” Judith said. “It was considered, ‘I was stupid and I got embarrassed’... The most active mothers said they stepped forward because they often had more time than their husbands, and because they made a strategic decision that they could be effective on the issue of sexual assault precisely because they are women and, as some described themselves, feminists. “We recognized that power,” Ms. Seefeld said. Many women, however, feel exactly the opposite way.” A number of women’s groups and victims’ advocates have argued that a tougher standard of proof will discourage women from coming forward. They have not been shy about expressing their view of the mothers as “rape deniers” and misogynists who blame women for inviting male violence against them... her son was cleared. Additionally, a grand jury declined to indict him, she said. But, Alison contends, the investigation should never even have gotten that far, and the damage was already done. Her son had become a pariah, dropped by his friends and called a rapist by women on campus. The semester after he was cleared he called home, sobbing, to say he could no longer take it and was dropping out, she said... She described herself as a lifelong Democrat and feminist who went to college in the 1970s at the height of the sexual revolution and women’s liberation movements. Her husband and their two sons were “super respectful” of women, she said. “We don’t really need to teach our sons not to rape,” she said. Four years after being kicked out of school, she said, her son is leading a “double life,” unable to confide in colleagues at work, and avoiding college classmates and his hometown... the school did review the verdict, and nullified it because of a new development: The police said that they had found inconsistencies in the accuser’s account and that some witnesses had contradicted it. They issued a warrant for her arrest on a charge of filing a false police report. (The woman left the state and has not been arrested. She did not respond to telephone messages.)"
The Facebook comments were depressing - basically virtually everyone was bashing them, labelling people who believed in due process as rape apologists, proclaiming that all the accused men were rapists and slamming the mother whose push for due process revealed her son's accuser as dodgy as using her influence and connections to harass and intimidate the woman
This suggests that female feminists only see the perils of feminism when it hurts men they care about. And/or that you either die a feminist or live long enough to see yourself become a misogynist

Africa’s contested past

Africa’s contested past - History Extra

"The tough business about creating a nation state is that the quickest way to do it is to have lots of wars. That's how England and France became nation states - by defining yourself against an enemy. The problem for African leaders in the period of decolonization was that the rest of the world wouldn't allow you to do that. So effectively would intervene, particularly after the end of the Cold War, will try to intervene to prevent conflicts. It's a hard business constructing nation states.

If you can't have wars, then you've got to find another way to do it. And I think in some ways part of the problem here is that African elites haven't been particularly kind of sensitive to the difficulties of doing that... with the obvious exception of Tanzania virtually all African states and legal systems talk a European language: English, French, Portuguese. But that has caused enormous problems in terms of building a nation state when that language is usually, I think, without exception not spoken by more than half the ordinary population...

In the 1950s people thought that South Korea was a basket case and they were optimistic about Africa. South Korea is now a major industrial producer. It produces every kind of sophisticated product you can think of. No African country does that...

The divide and rule stuff - there's some truth in that but I think that's rather exaggerated, If you look at, for example, what colonial education officials were saying in the late colonial period they were arguing that we've got now to tell these people that they're now part of this wider entity. It's not actually divide and rule talk at all - it's almost the opposite. How do we hand this over to people who see this as their common home...

The early post colonial African elites desperately wanted to be modern. Verging to the part of mimicry. Think of the parliaments with people in wigs, heavy red. The ultimate absurdity of Emperor Bokassa being crowned Emperor of the Central African Republic in a copy of Napoleon's coronation of 1804...

Amongst people who are interested in Africa in academia, sotto voce I think there's an increasing shift against aid. 20 years ago if you said, let's get rid of aid, you'd be regarded as some sort of fascist... It just induces dependence...

The Chinese role in Africa is quite healthy because the Chinese don't talk the language of aid, they talk the language of interests, what have you got, what have we got, can we exchange? The reason why Africans like that is not just about political conditionalities, it's partly, that's just to treat people equally in a funny kind of way... But then African countries or their governments have got to fight their corner and they've got to fight for their interests and not just dig stuff out of the ground and put it in ships and sell it to other people"

If colonialism was so bad (somehow only for Africa), how come people didn't realise this in the 1950s and were optimistic?

Links - 11th May 2018 (1)

Gad Saad on Hysteria and “Collective Munchausen” around Donald Trump, Speaking Out as an Academic, and Evolutionary Psychology 101 - "these people have built their whole ethos, edifice, zeitgeist on Identity Politics. Identity Politics leads to victimology poker and the oppression olympics. These groups just end up competing to see who is more oppressed because it is the mechanism through which they attempt to solve problems... These are professors, these are colleagues of mine who feel perfectly comfortable departing from reality in this way... As somebody who escaped Lebanon and actually hid under desks to avoid death squads, I don’t take well to these idiots from Wellesley College who say, “I’m scared to go and buy my hamburgers now that Trump won,” because it trivializes what true trauma is... The academic setting, media elite, and the Hollywood elite are all part of the Left-wing lunacy. So everyday I don’t face the threat of the KKK or Right-wing fascism but I do see the extraordinary harm that is caused by what takes place in universities. That reality is caused by Left-wing lunacy. Hence as a person with a functioning brain I don’t need to provide equal amounts of criticism — that doesn’t mean I’m condoning Right-wing craziness... in my daily life, I see a lot more danger coming from the Left... they’re scared to even “like” one of my Facebook posts because someone would see it and that would mean they’re supporting supposedly “fascist” ideas such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, rights for Jews, and rights for gays... postmodernists hate evolutionary psychology because it’s rooted in the fact that there are universal laws in general and human universals in particular. Radical feminists hate evolutionary psychology because only “Nazi bigots” would argue that there are innate sex differences. But of course, the way Homo sapiens is defined as a species is that we are sexually dimorphic, namely that we possess evolutionary-based sex differences. Yet you can attend radical feminist seminars where people espouse the notion that only “Nazi bigots and eugenicists” believe in innate sex differences... “Why do men prefer shapely women? Well it’s because of Nicki Minaj’s music videos.” If it weren’t for her videos, men would apparently be mating with trees"

Gwyneth Paltrow and the Fear-Based Women's Media - "Not surprisingly, the growing online media market for women is using the same tactics traditional media does: fear. Before there was online “click bait,” women’s magazines used the fear factor to grab women’s attention... Paltrow’s media profile brings together both the fear factor and one other aspect that thrives in women’s online media: the myth of Pinterest perfection. Every day millions of women log into Pinterest and see perfectly organized laundry rooms, mudrooms, and DIY projects that require more patience than paint"

Recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital is good for peace. Britain should do so too - "It is an accepted norm in international relations that every sovereign state has the right to decide its own capital city. Even when some countries have changed their capital – as did Turkey in 1923, China in 1949, Brazil in 1960 and Germany in 1999 – this norm has been upheld, and embassies have been relocated accordingly. Only in the case of the Jewish state has this norm not been applied... Whenever the international community has put forward comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace plans over the past 20 years, they have consistently acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. For President Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, which officially claims to seek statehood alongside Israel within pre-1967 lines, Jerusalem’s status as established in 1949 should be beyond contention. Some have opposed the United States’s decision on the grounds that it risks encouraging violence... Unfortunately, this is nothing new: terror groups such as Hamas and Hizbollah have repeatedly made such declarations over the years. Those who wished to murder innocent civilians before the American decision will still want to do so after the decision. We should therefore be clear where the moral blame for violence lies: with the perpetrators themselves."

Did You Know: The 'Gong Xi Gong Xi' CNY Song Has A Dark History No One Knows About - "it was written by popular composer Chen Gexin to celebrate China's victory and liberation following Japan's defeat at the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945... Some believe that the atrocities of the war might have had a deep impact on Chen and influenced his music thereafter. That might also explain why 'Gong Xi Gong Xi' was written in the minor key, which is typically used to project sadness and melancholy in a piece of music, to convey China's bittersweet triumph in the war."

The Islamist war against Sikhs is arriving in Europe - "Jews and Christians have felt the brunt, but the Essen bomb was a reminder that Sikhs are also facing up to the menace of Islamic extremism... As Sikhs well know, they are not the only minority group in the region to be targeted by Islamists. Much of the religious brutality that Guru Tegh Bahadur railed against remains to this day. According to Amnesty International, Hindu women are frequently forced to convert to Islam in Pakistan’s Sindh province, before being married off to Muslim husbands. Blasphemy laws are used as a tool to persecute minority faiths, including the Ahmadiyya sect, which faces criminal charges for simply practicing their faith. Much of this has been ignored by the West. But echoes are now being heard across Europe, so it is becoming harder to turn a blind eye"

History of the Yellow Jewish Star - "the origins of this practice date back much earlier than 1938. It began approximately around the year 717... Informing Ahmadinejad’s ideology regarding the Jews is an Islamic institution developed in the Pact of Umar, attributed to Mohammad’s second successor. The pact is said to be founded on a letter addressed to Umar I by Christians in Syria indicating the terms under which they would be willing to submit to Muslim rule. Scholars, such as A. S Tritton, question this rendition of history because it was not common for the conquered to decide the terms on which they will be admitted to alliance with the victors. What is certain, however, is that the pact emerged from a Muslim desire to establish an interethnic etiquette in an inherently hierarchical society. The official Hamas charter, called “The Charter of Allah,” echoes this premodern desire for Islamic hegemony over non-Muslims. Article 31 of the charter still reads: “Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect.” As the Pact of Umar suggests, Jews and Christians could gain “safety and security” if they were to remain obedient “under the shadow of Islam” by wearing a yellow seam on their upper garments. History also informs us that from 717 onward, Jews were subject to this oppressive treatment in other Islamic societies. For example, in 807 the Persian Abbassid Caliph Harun al-Rashid ordered Jews to wear a yellow belt. Later, in 815 another Persian ruler, Caliph Al-Mutavallil issued a yellow badge edict. The most humiliating example is found in a letter from Baghdad describing decrees regulating Jewish clothes: "…two yellow badges [are to be displayed], one on the headgear and one on the neck. Furthermore, each Jew must hang round his neck a piece of lead with the word dhimmi [a social status given to tolerated infidels] on it. He also has to wear a belt round his waist. The women have to wear one red and one black shoe and have a small bell on their necks or shoes." The incident closest in time to the Nazi period occurred between 1315—1326 when Emir Ismael Abu-I Walid forced the Jews of Granada to wear a yellow badge"

New Law Provides Advocates for Abused Animals - "In a contested divorce between parents or a child custody dispute, Connecticut law provides a court with the authority to appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure that the child’s best interests are fully protected. With the enactment of measure known as Desmond’s Law—named for a dog that was beaten, strangled, and killed by an owner who served no jail time for his actions—a similar advocate can work on behalf of an abused animal in an animal cruelty case"

Facebook confesses: Facebook is bad for you - "simply reading Facebook leaves students feeling worse at the end of the day than if they had posted or engaged with friends on Facebook. Another study noted that status updates gives negative social comparisons; by only seeing others' (mostly) positive status updates we think our own lives are worse in comparison... heavy users, those who click more links and like more posts, reported worse mental health"

Have You No Shame? : Japanese media are saturated with sex and violence. By comparison, U.S. entertainment is puritanical. So why is it being blamed for nurturing an amoral society? - "What are we to make of a society in which pornography is readily available, violence pervades the arts and the media, men frequent bawdy shows and children are raised with the greatest permissiveness? I refer, of course, to Japan. This is the Japan that is almost unique among industrialized nations for its remarkably low rates of crime, especially violent crime, and its legendary ability to control the spread of dangerous drugs... what is most interesting about the debate is that most critics of the industry seek to shame, not to censor them, while most defenders of it prefer to talk about censorship rather than shame. Shame, in fact, lies at the core of our dilemma. The reason that Japan can behave so properly, despite depictions of violence and licentiousness and even permissive (at least in the early years) child-rearing, is that it has a culture that powerfully induces a sense of shame in its members. The reason that Americans behave less properly, despite a much greater reliance on law enforcement and criminal sanctions, is that we have become shameless."

Media Violence: Japan vs. America - "A 1981 study comparing Japanese and American television found major differences in the way violence is portrayed on screen between the two countries. One of the major findings was that the amount of violence on Japanese and American television is roughly the same. The nature of the Japanese television violence, however, is different. Violent scenes are less frequent in Japanese-produced programs, yet tend to last longer, are more realistic and place a much greater emphasis on physical suffering. The study also found that the violent acts in American-produced programs were equally performed by "good guys" and "bad guys," and the assaults were overwhelmingly against villains - individuals for whom the audience has little compassion and whose demise is often cheered. In Japanese-produced shows more than twice as many violent acts were performed by "bad guys," with the heroes suffering the consequences 75 percent of the time. The researchers concluded that, compared to American shows, Japanese programs emphasize the consequences of violence. The modern-day hero in Japanese drama, much like the classic samurai figure, is noble, honest, highly disciplined and hard-working. When these heroes are wounded or killed, it arouses distress and evokes sympathy rather than applause."

Japanese Response To UN Proposed Ban For Media Depicting Sexual Violence Is Cogent And Sane - " Kumiko Yamada of the Japanese Women’s Institute Of Contemporary Media Culture has stood up to defend the usage of sexual violence in media with a refreshingly cogent and sane set of arguments. In recent weeks, the United Nations has been making moves to propose the banning of Japanese media that depicts sexual violence toward women, the specific media in question being that of manga, anime and videogames. Their argument is that these media are in breach of human rights, as they sometimes focus on the abuse of women... “The so-called sexual violence in manga and video games is a made-up thing and as such does not threaten the rights of actual people; therefore, it is meaningless in protecting the rights of women.” Whereas the second point states that, “In Japan, and especially when it comes to manga, these are creative fields that women themselves cultivated and worked hard by their own hand to create careers for themselves. If we were to "ban the sale of manga that includes sexual violence," it would do the opposite and instead create a new avenue of sexism toward women.”"

Effects of Flowering and Foliage Plants in Hospital Rooms on Patients Recovering from Abdominal Surgery - " Patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers had significantly fewer intakes of postoperative analgesics, more positive physiological responses evidenced by lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms when compared with patients in the control group. Findings of this research suggested that plants in a hospital environment could be noninvasive, inexpensive, and an effective complementary medicine for patients recovering from abdominal surgery"

Effects of Toxoplasma on Human Behavior - "the personality of infected men showed lower superego strength (rule consciousness) and higher vigilance (factors G and L on Cattell's 16PF). Thus, the men were more likely to disregard rules and were more expedient, suspicious, jealous, and dogmatic. The personality of infected women, by contrast, showed higher warmth and higher superego strength (factors A and G on Cattell's 16PF), suggesting that they were more warm hearted, outgoing, conscientious, persistent, and moralistic. Both men and women had significantly higher apprehension (factor O) compared with the uninfected controls."

People didn't vote for Brexit because they're racist, study finds - "People are more concerned by an immigrant’s criminal record than their race or ethnicity, the research found, and there is support for migrants who can fill ‘socially useful’ roles – such as doctors and teachers – to come to the UK."

How the GOP and the Democratic Party Differ in Handling Sexual Assault Allegations - "In the GOP, the people taking the harshest line against Moore are congressional leaders like Mitch McConnell... In the Democratic Party—so far—it’s largely the reverse. As of Thursday night, not a single Democratic senator had called on Franken to resign... The pressure on Franken to resign is coming from the bottom up"

Sir Ian McKellen: Some Actresses Exchange Sex For Roles - "many women in 1960s would objectify themselves for the sake of getting roles. “The director of the theatre I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting jobs,” he said. “Some of them had at the bottom of their photograph ‘DRR’ — directors’ rights respected. In other words, if you give me a job, you can have sex with me.” McKellen said that behavior was far more common than it should have been, declaring it "madness." He also warned against the witch hunt environment that leads to false accusations and lives ruined over allegations... When the first groping allegation against Sen. Al Franken first broke, before more accusers came forward, Michelle Goldberg at The New York Times said that she wanted him to fall regardless of the truth because "the current movement toward unprecedented accountability for sexual harassers will probably start to peter out." That means unless the heads start rolling, people will lose interest and go home. A scary thought indeed."
Addendum: #MeToo

LV survey finds stay-at-home mothers are more satisfied than other professions - "Only one in seven stay-at-home parents say they are dissatisified with their role, a level of unhappiness that is less than half that found among civil servants or salesmen and women... They scored 87.2 per cent in the happiness ratings. The others in the top five were those working in: hospitality and events management – 86.3 per cent; creative arts and design – 84.4 per cent; the charity sector – 83.9 per cent; leisure, sport and tourism – 83.7 per cent. The least satisfied were working in marketing, advertising and public relations, with a happiness rating of 53.8 per cent... Government surveys have also shown that more than a third of mothers who go out to work would like to give up their jobs and stay at home with their children."
This suggests that claims that it, including child rearing, really is a tough job are unfounded

Silicon Valley Leaders Begin to Worry That Political Correctness Is Stifling Innovation - "Y Combinator, which has been the largest incubator for start-up tech companies in Silicon Valley, sent a form out to 3,500 local entrepreneurs to gather personal information about venture capitalists (VCs) and their attitudes toward women. Manalac added, “We don’t call it a blacklist,” but she then admitted, “that is essentially what is happening.” Many of Silicon Valley’s moralizing progressive tech leaders over the last five months have found themselves increasingly stuck in the web of political correctness they wove to combat conservative ideas — or, critics suggest, to stifle conservative ideas.. Examples include of big names shamed out of business include Andy Rubin, who led the Android smartphone software effort at Google; top venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Google’s top lawyer David Drummond; tech blog-star Robert Scoble of Scobelizer; Uber founder Travis Kalanick; Uber top engineer Amit Singhal; Binary Capital VC founder Justin Caldbeck; former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich; and Dave McClure, who founded the 500 Start-Ups tech incubator. Facebook COO and progressive icon Sheryl Sandberg commented in early December that she wrote in her bestseller, Lean In that 64 percent of tech senior male managers were afraid to be alone with a female colleague, due to fear of being accused of sexual harassment. She warned that the recent witchhunt was causing a blowback against women: “We have to be vigilant to make sure this happens. I have already heard the rumblings of a backlash: “This is why you shouldn’t hire women”... Y Combinator President Sam Altman lamented that he feels more comfortable discussing controversial ideas in Beijing than in San Francisco... Altman claims that restricting speech leads to restricting ideas and therefore restricted innovation. Concerning the future of Silicon Valley, Altman says he is seeing many of the smartest people Silicon Valley moving out, “because they feel stifled in the Bay Area.”"

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Links - 10th May 2018 (3)

Islamic faith schools endorsing misogyny, dossier reveals - "The Government's former integration tsar has called for a moratorium on the opening of new faith schools after a dossier revealed endorsements of wife-beating and misogyny in Islamic schools... In one example from it a school library stocked a book entitled Women who deserve to go to hell, by Mansoor Abdul Rahim. This says women should be "disallowed to go out of the house unnecessarily" and should not show "ingratitude to their husband" or have "tall ambitions"... Alastair Lichten, the NSS's education and schools campaigner, said the dossier was "a damning insight into the intolerant attitudes being promoted in too many Islamic schools"... Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, said Ofsted would crack down on schools which forced children to wear the hijab – a problem highlighted by NSS research"

Ofsted accused of racism over hijab questioning in primary schools - "Ofsted’s recommendation for inspectors to question Muslim primary school girls if they are wearing a hijab has been condemned as “kneejerk, discriminatory and institutionally racist” by more than 1,000 teachers, academics and faith leaders. The schools inspectorate announced this month that the policy was designed to tackle situations in which wearing a hijab “could be interpreted as sexualisation” of girls as young as four or five, when most Islamic teaching requires headdress for girls only at the onset of puberty."

Ofsted chief: Children leave school unable to read English - "Figures show 58 per cent of the 160 independent Muslim schools inspected are either inadequate or require improvement... Meanwhile 54 per cent of the 60 independent Jewish schools fall in the same bottom two categories as do 33 per cent of the 110 independent Christian schools"
And 25% of all non-faith schools fall into those two categories

Women’s March organizer accused of covering up sex abuse - "Controversial Muslim activist and Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour bullied an underling to cover up sex-abuse allegations in her Brooklyn office, a report said... when Fathelbab reported the abuse, Sarsour — a self-proclaimed feminist and co-founder of the Women’s March organization — fat-shamed the woman and threatened to blacklist her from political jobs, the woman told the website... Fathelbab went to the president of the Arab American Association’s board of directors, Ahmad Jaber, but says he told her the accused man, Majed Seif, was incapable of the allegations because he is a “God-fearing man” who was “always at the Mosque.”"

Idiot spends $16K on mobile game : sadcringe

Hawaii Wants To Fight The 'Predatory Behavior' Of Loot Boxes - "the video is titled “EA predatory behavior announcement”, and Lee specifically calls out Battlefront II, labelling it a “Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to lure kids into spending money”"

Why doctors aren't allowed to tell patients that they're obese - "Doctors are being told not to tell patients that they are “obese” in new guidelines sent out by the NSW Health policy. Rather than applying some tough love, the guidelines instruct doctors to use “positive” language when discussing the weight of their patients. As well as talking in a “non-judgemental manner”, doctors are being told to scrap words like “skinny”, “malnourished” and “morbidly obese” and instead use terms like “well above a healthy weight”. NSW Health’s Executive Director Centre for Population Health Jo Mitchell told News Corp that such terms can be “stigmatising” for overweight adults and children."

BuzzFeed Editor: 'All I Want For Christmas is Full Communism Now' - "It’s not the first time BuzzFeed has gotten into hot water over their editorial staff tweeting their open sympathy toward Communism. In November, BuzzFeed reporter Blake Montgomery blasted a White House proclamation memorializing victims of Communism and tweeted out his belief that the term “victims of Communism” was just dog whistle and a “white nationalist talking point.”"
The bar for being a white supremacist steadily drops

Crime-fighting robot retired after launching alleged 'war on the homeless' in San Francisco

CNN corrects Trump story, fuelling claims of fake news - "It was also yet another prominent reporting error at a time when news organisations are confronting a skeptical public, and a president who delights in attacking the media as "fake news." Last Saturday, ABC News suspended a star reporter, Brian Ross, after an inaccurate report that President Trump had instructed Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, to contact Russian officials during the presidential race... Several news outlets, including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, also inaccurately reported this week that Deutsche Bank had received a subpoena from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, for Mr Trump's financial records... In June, CNN severed ties with three journalists after a botched report about ties between Russia and a Trump confidant, Anthony Scaramucci, who went on to briefly serve as the White House communications director."
There is a theory that all the fake leaks about Trump leading to fake news are deliberate in order to discredit leaks. If so, Trump is even more brilliant than he's credited

Media errors give Trump fresh ammunition - "Adding insult to injury: Breitbart News, the pro-Trump media outlet that is scorned by many in the mainstream press, has been fact-checking their mainstream counterparts with some success. Breitbart’s Washington political editor, Matthew Boyle, was first to call into question a CNN story on alleged ties between a Trump associate and a Russian investment fund that was later retracted. Boyle was also reporting on an error in an Associated Press report when the newswire corrected and later rewrote the story... “There’s a dramatic difference in the degree of hostility the press has shown Presidents Trump and Obama,” said Tim Graham, a director at the conservative Media Research Center. “I guess it’s easier to make errors writing stories where Trump is twirling his villain’s mustache than when you’re writing about how tone Michelle Obama’s arms are.” Last week, The New York Times and The Associated Press ran similar corrections acknowledging that reports on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election had overstated, by more than a dozen, the number of U.S. intelligence agencies that had signed off on the assessment. Both outlets had reported that all 17 organizations that fall under the umbrella of the U.S. intelligence community had made the assessment. In fact, only four — the CIA, FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency — had contributed to that conclusion... The AP ran into more trouble over the weekend after it ran a story about how Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt met privately with the CEO of a top chemical company, then decided to drop a ban on a widely used pesticide that has been shown to harm children’s brains. The story insinuated that Pruitt had made the decision under pressure from a corporate lobbying campaign. But while the meeting between Pruitt and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris was on Pruitt’s schedule, it never happened — an admission the AP made after Pruitt’s office and Breitbart pressed them for a correction... It has been a tough stretch for CNN. A few weeks earlier, the network had to retract a story authored by some of its most recognizable on-air talent after it was directly contradicted by public testimony from former FBI Director James Comey."
Yet liberals assume that if it's in Breitbart it must be false

Two mainstream media orgs forced to issue huge corrections in Trump-Russia stories over untrue claims - "A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll even found that the media’s approval is less than Trump’s, 36 percent to 40 percent."

Man fined $5,000 for molesting female cabby, who drove him to the police - "A drunk male passenger courted and touched a female taxi driver on her waist while he was taking her taxi. Angered by his action, she delivered the man straight to the police."
The bar for molest is really low in Singapore

Low-calorie sweeteners and body weight and composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies - "The current meta-analysis provides a rigorous evaluation of the scientific evidence on LCSs and body weight and composition. Findings from observational studies showed no association between LCS intake and body weight or fat mass and a small positive association with BMI; however, data from RCTs, which provide the highest quality of evidence for examining the potentially causal effects of LCS intake, indicate that substituting LCS options for their regular-calorie versions results in a modest weight loss and may be a useful dietary tool to improve compliance with weight loss or weight maintenance plans"

Now, this is presidential obstruction - "What if a president used his power to interfere with a federal investigation involving foreign powers committing serious crimes in the United States as well as elsewhere? Such a thing would be considered a terrible scandal and, no doubt, lead to a federal probe by a special counsel who would be expected to get to the bottom of such a mess.But if you think this is a reference to the investigation led by Robert Mueller into possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign and obstruction of justice once President Trump took office, you’re wrong. While proof that the Trump campaign actually plotted with Russia still has yet to be presented, evidence of another scandal involving President Barack Obama and Hezbollah, Iran and the Russians has just been uncovered in an investigative story by Politico. The tale involves an administration decision to spike Project Cassandra, a federal probe into international drug smuggling, money laundering and terrorism by Hezbollah... a decision was made at the highest levels of the Obama administration to prioritize making nice with Iran and Russia over the federal government’s obligation to protect US citizens. It’s the sort of thing that ought to rock Washington. An actual plot that placed the interests of foreign powers over those of the US by Obama... it may be that the country is so obsessed with Trump’s uncivil discourse that it may not care much about Obama aiding and abetting terrorism. If so, you don’t have to be a fan of Trump’s to understand there is something deeply wrong with giving Obama a pass for decisions that look far worse than anything Trump is accused of doing."

A deafening media silence on the Obama-Hezbollah scandal - "What makes the media blackout particularly shameful is that the story isn’t a partisan hit job. It was written by a well-regarded journalist at a major outlet. The story has two on-the-record sources — which is more than we can say for the vast majority of so-called scoops about the Russian “collusion” investigation. One of these sources, David Asher, was an illicit finance expert at the Pentagon who was tapped to run the investigation. There’s no plausible reason to ignore him or the story. Then again, ignoring or diminishing Obama’s shady dealings with Iran isn’t new. Obama administration officials bragged to the New York Times Magazine last year that they’d created an echo chamber, relying on the ignorance, inexperience and partisan dispositions of reporters to convey their lies to the American people."

How Scientists Use 'Phantom Aromas' To Make Food Taste Better - "In 2004, General Mills released reduced-sugar versions of its cereals to lackluster sales, only to pull the cereals three years later. The British publication The Grocer reported in 2014 that sales of Sprite took a dive after Coca-Cola cut the drink’s sugar by one-third. In 2012, Mintel, a consumer-research firm, released a report that found that products with “low-sodium” labels had declined by 5 percent in the previous year due to low consumer demand... when participants ate something treated with a salt-associated aroma (like the smell of ham), they perceived that the food had more salt in it. The researchers theorized that when the brain has a learned perception of a certain type of food, it fills in for the missing taste on its own... The trick, he says, is to get the aroma to barely detectable levels so that we don’t actually know that we’re smelling it, but we can perceive it when we’re eating the food. While we don’t particularly want a ham-smelling bread, for example, it may be possible to add just enough ham flavor to bread that we still associate it with a salty flavor without realizing the salt isn’t actually there... While phantom aroma can’t entirely replace a food’s salt or sugar content, it’s a good place to start, says Sobel. Through his experimentation, he’s been able to achieve a 10 percent reduction of salt in food products like chips, sauces, and soups. Based on past studies, researchers like Thomas-Danguin believe that phantom aroma, when combined with other salt-reduction techniques, may have the potential to reduce salt by more than 35 percent."

Singapore’s “Paper Generals” - "This system of grooming prospective leaders has contributed to an ever-growing disconnect between the elite and the electorate; people feel as though those in the anointed ruling class cannot relate to the anxieties and concerns of their everyday lives. A perceived lack of accountability on the part of the leadership only makes things worse. Within a year of NOL’s sale to French company CMA CGM, NOL was again profitable, making $86 million compared with a $100 million loss in the same period of 2016 under Ng Yat Chung. Despite Ng’s failures, he was appointed as CEO of Singapore Press Holdings, where he has presided over a major retrenchment exercise in his first year. Meanwhile, Desmond Kuek continues as SMRT’s CEO despite the numerous train delays, breakdowns, and struggles to upgrade the system to meet the needs of Singapore’s rapidly growing population."

Why you should give a damn about when you say 'fuck' | Emma Brockes - "If the function of foul language - to be held in reserve as a resource more powerful than regular language – is to survive, it has to be used advisedly. Swear by all means, but swear responsibly, or you’ll ruin it for all of us"

Roman Emperor Caligula and the Floating Bridge of Baiae - "Some say that Caligula did this in defiance of a prediction from Roman astrologer Thrasyllus. Supposedly, Thrasyllus predicted that Caligula had “no more chance of becoming emperor than of riding a horse across the Gulf of Baiae.” This may shed some light on Caligula’s reasoning for having the floating bridge constructed for his seemingly pointless activity of riding his horse across it in triumph. Maybe rather than a sign of madness, this was a boastful display over having proved Thrasyllus and other naysayers wrong"

My Apostasy from the Church of Critical Theory - "Similar to how guitar players speak of the three kings: B.B., Freddy, and Albert, Critical Theorists and postmodernists had “the three H’s”: Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger... We were told that one’s feelings about something, one’s subjective experience (of say, the likelihood of a building collapsing on top of someone), ought to be the only thing considered in understanding a person’s experience. To them, the mind could not know itself, and therefore all empirical evidence was to be completely disregarded (a` la Kurt Lewin)... Postmodernists raise an individual’s “lived experience” to the state of apotheosis. At Duquesne, I was told that whatever a person experienced — or in their vernacular: “Dasein’s experiential-bodying-forth as being-in-the-world with-Others” (no, I’m not kidding) — was in fact, the literal equivalent of reality. What this boiled down to was that the hallucinations of a psychotic patient were to be regarded every bit as real as what one would measure using science... In a way, it makes sense why postmodernists hate empiricism so much: if you believed that the world owes you something simply because you have an experience then any system of thinking that would call this orientation into question would obviously be perceived as a threat"

Feminists and the police: an illiberal alliance - "A man can now be criminalised for standing too close to, or shouting at, a woman. This is insane – but it’s also unsurprising. Feminists are actively encouraging police surveillance of women. Aren’t feminists creeped out by the idea that police officers (some in plain clothing) could be watching their every move?... Women don’t want, or need, to be watched over by the state. In fact, liberation movements of the past explicitly argued that viewing women as in need of protection against the ups and downs of public life was exactly what prevented them from being treated as equal to men"

Norway integration minister tells Muslims 'we eat pork and drink alcohol' - "I expect when you come to Norway, to align yourself with the Norwegian labour market. It’s about how one must endure serving pork if you will be working in a restaurant, or serve alcohol if you work at a piano bar. And in the same way, you don’t turn up in sweatpants and caps on a job interview, you have to think about how to dress to get a job"

You’re Not a Princess and You Don’t Deserve Better - "Why is it that women never ask themselves what they did wrong in the relationship? They never ask themselves what they did to cause the guy to leave. It’s always the guy who “doesn’t know what he’s missing.”... You demand the world from a man and give nothing but headaches"

Medieval mystics

Medieval mystics - History Extra

"In the Anglo-Saxon period your images of god, tend to be quite fearsome and stern. With some exceptions, but overall, quite a strong figure. The emphasis being on his achievements, and his sort of strength in the face of adversity. Whereas in the late Middle Ages, it becomes more about the suffering of Christ and emphasis on what he went through on behalf of mankind. So the art from the Late Middle Ages is much more evocative and emotive. The stories, the narratives you get about Christ become more about the things that he went through. And I think in tandem with that, women start to see, well men and women, but women particularly start to see a way of identifying more with Christ. Just on a very basic level, a sort of slightly frightening, stern, Old Testament God is slightly less relatable than a sort of human and emphasis on the human element of the trinity, someone that the people could imagine themselves talking to or having a conversation with or watching in a certain experience...

Women were often spoken about in the Middle Ages as being more emotional, being more visual. So men are associated with reason and intellect, and women are associated with emotion, feeling and the flesh and the body. And if the shift into talking and thinking about Christianity is towards a more human, bodily Christ, then that opens up an avenue for women to connect a little bit more... the sort of stern, strong Old Testament is much more to do with intellect and reason...

Angela of Foligno... she's most famous for caring for local lepers... one of the horrible things that she ended up doing is drinking the bath water of one of the lepers in her care... she felt one of the scabs lodge in her throat and that catapulted her into a sort of ecstatic vision of God...

Catherine of Sienna... she's caring for a nun who has some quite bad wounds and is dying, and she's getting quite irritated by this nun and having to look after her and the smell of the nun's wounds revolts her. And she thinks that's a sign from the devil... she shouldn't be disgusted by the smell of the putrefying flesh... to try and counteract that she decides to drink some of the pus from the wound and again she has an ecstatic vision as a consequence, and she says to her biographer that she'd never tasted anything sweeter or more exquisite than the pus from that wound...

The way that these experiences are often described is in sensual language... people imagining kissing Christ's wound in his side, of drinking that blood and it being very pleasurable. And I think part of this is a redirection of impulses. If you're living a holy life, you're not having sex, you're not kind of engaging in worldly pleasures. And those impulses still are existing, of course cause you're still human, but it's much better to direct them in a spiritual direction. So you get quite a lot of spiritual instructors, encouraging that kind of language and thinking, because it's better to be thinking that way in terms of religious experience...

So I got really interested initially in water because I kept noticing it kept popping up in these books, written for women, whether that's by men or by women, for other women on these sorts of topics. So guidebooks, passion meditation, that water seemed to be really significant. And then as I was reading more, I noticed that often there were images of transformation within that. So water that turns into wine. Blood that turns into water. Honey, oil, milk, various different fluids used to describe crucially usually the moment that Christ is dying on the cross. So you find that the references to liquids seem to intensify when religious authors are talking about that moment... or when women are having visions describe seeing Christ's body...

Angela of Foligno says that if you can imagine yourself immersed in the wound in Christ's side, the further in you get, the more your spiritual knowledge will increase. So that's a direct correlation between being sort of surrounded by Christ's bodily fluids and having spiritual knowledge. And my theory is that this is particularly attractive to women because women's bodies in the Middle Ages are conceptualized as much more liquid... the four humours... women are supposed to be more imbalanced and more liquid according to Medieval medicine... according to Aristotle the female baby is a sort of deficient half formed version of the male baby. It's kind of too weak to kind of create itself as a man and so it's born as a woman and then spends always this sort of idea that women spend the rest of their lives trying to cope with that disability almost. So the fact that that women bleed once a month is a sort of attempt on the body's attempt to purge excess fluid that shouldn't really be in the body...

They're sort of more sexually promiscuous cause they can't contain selves and they're looking to get what they lack in men, there's almost something in women's bodies, because they're sort of deficient hope that by uniting with men, having sex with men, they'll leach away some of their strength and their heat. So sort of vampire women trying to make up for her body deficiencies...

By thinking about their body as more liquid women could identify more with the bleeding sort of sweating body of Christ as he suffers in the Passion and the Crucifixion... If you google medieval images of the wound in Christ's side, it looks very much like a vagina. That's what the images look like often, the sense that Christ's body is quite feminine. Breast milk is referred to a lot in descriptions of Christ in visions that he's sort of leaking milk from his breast that the devoted can ingest."

Links - 10th May 2018 (2)

Surgeon admits marking his initials on the livers of two patients - "Simon Bramhall admitted two counts of assault by beating relating to incidents on 9 February and 21 August 2013. He pleaded not guilty to the more serious charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The renowned liver, spleen and pancreas surgeon used an argon beam, used to stop livers bleeding during operations and to highlight an area due to be worked on, to sign his initials into the patients’ organs. The marks left by argon are not thought to impair the organ’s function and usually disappear by themselves... Following reports of Bramhall’s suspension, his former patient Tracy Scriven told the Birmingham Mail that the surgeon should be immediately reinstated. “Even if he did put his initials on a transplanted liver, is it really that bad? I wouldn’t have cared if he did it to me. The man saved my life,” she said"

Star Wars' Mark Hamill – ‘I said to Carrie Fisher: I’m a good kisser – next, we’re making out like teenagers!’ - "He is a testament to the value of the quieter life: while Ford and Fisher went on to become Hollywood superstars, and had the requisite Hollywood divorces along the way, Hamill lives with his wife of 40 years and their three children in a house in Malibu, and he looks happy and healthy. While he has done theatre and voiceover work, including playing the Joker in Batman: the Animated Series, he is only known, really, for one movie character, and he is good with that. Ford generally looks as if he would rather have a root canal without anaesthetic than talk about Star Wars, but Hamill is as much of a nerd as the fans, and could talk about it all day... When George Lucas told them that Disney was making another trilogy, Fisher immediately slammed her hand down on the table and announced, “I’m in!” (She then asked if there were any roles in it for her daughter, Billie Lourd, a hustling stage mom to the end.) When Lucas left the room, Hamill turned to her and hissed: “Carrie! Poker face!” “But, as usual, she was miles ahead of me because she said to me: ‘Mark, what kind of roles do you think there are in Hollywood for women over 50?’"

Researcher: Violent Porn Popular Among Women - "The popular feminist narrative would have you believe that porn is largely consumed by men, and that depictions of violent — or at least rough — sex would be a primarily male-dominated interest. This is untrue, states researcher Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, who says that porn featuring violence against women is significantly more popular among women compared to men. His findings might explain the popularity of the BDSM-heavy “Fifty Shades of Grey” series of novels among female readers... “The rate at which women watch violent porn is roughly the same in every part of the world. It isn’t correlated with how women are treated"... The researcher also highlighted a curious instance in India, where the number one search for “my husband wants…” ends with breastfeeding, and that porn featuring adult breastfeeding is more popular in India compared to anywhere else... another oddity comes from Japan, where at least 10 percent of the porn-related searches involve tickling"
Also: rape fantasies

Criticism after Danish school cancels Christmas to avoid ‘preaching’ to non-Christian children - "Ten parents complained to the primary school, and the story was immediately picked up by national media, which speculated that the move was aimed at appeasing the sensitivities of Muslim students. Some accused Gribskolen of double standards, considering that last year it staged a 'Syria Week' in which Danish children immersed themselves in Middle Eastern culture, and were given lessons by immigrants."

Angelina Jolie-wannabe Sahar Tabar admits she DOES create her look using make-up - "19-year-old Sahar Tabar had been described as a "zombie" after shots from her Instagram went viral... “People are probably living in the 18th century and they haven’t seen or heard of technology or make-up and they are really surprised.”"

Trump Derangement Syndrome -- Liberal Anti-Trump Hysteria Is Growing Worse - "Once even the gatekeepers of responsible liberal opinion begin to see hidden agendas everywhere then it is fair to ask whether the extremism and paranoia of the anti-Trump camp is matching or exceeding the bad judgment being exhibited by the White House. We can’t know where this will lead as liberal hysteria and Trumpian contempt for political norms compete in a race to the bottom of the barrel. But what we can be sure of is that this derangement syndrome is already far more serious than those that afflicted critics of Clinton, Bush, and Obama and is bound to get even worse over the next four years."

Trump Derangement Only Alternative: Democrats Have No Agenda - "somewhere between 2006 and 2009, Bill Clinton’s formerly competitive Democratic party aged and then evaporated. It was replaced by a hard-left coastal coalition, a pyramidal party — ethnic-identity groups at the base and wealthy elites on top, all united by a mutual disdain for the half of the population that covers 85 percent of the geography."

Trump Derangement Syndrome May Help Trump - "A few Democrats have recently begun to question the party’s relentless choice of a negative, obstructionist tone. “I’d leave [Trump] out of the message and appeal to his base with a meaningful jobs plan,” Craig Crawford, an adviser to former Democratic senator Jim Webb of Virginia, told U.S. News and World Report, adding:... 'Democrats should learn something from their futile efforts of the Reagan years, attacking the man instead of winning back his voter base with a positive message.'... Murphy suggest that the sheer number and pace of Trump initiatives makes it impossible to maintain a state of perpetual outrage... “Yet given that Trump’s approval rating is hovering between a respectable 45 percent and 49 percent depending on the poll, the fury emanating out of Washington and other major American cities is likely disproportional to the country at large. To some Democrats, this is a flashing alarm that incessant full-throated opposition is counterproductive.”"

From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck (Spoilers) - "Why on Earth are ports standardized but data storage isn't? Why are data storage formats wildly variable, but file formats are readable across enemy lines? Why is it that I have to carry five dongles so my Macbook can play a PowerPoint presentation but a decades-old Rebel droid needs zero to stay interoperable with an enemy's state-of-the-art battle station?... the archival system on Scarif appears to be designed in a deliberate act of sabotage by anti-Imperial archivists attempting to undermine Palpatine's rule. Like Galen Erso, the archivists chose to remain embedded inside the Empire, and as their act of resistance, build the most useless, asinine archival system the galaxy had ever seen"

Here’s North Korea’s Totalitarian Android Tablet - "The tablet only allows specific files to be used or played: users cannot just load whatever they want onto the device... Woolim also constantly keeps tabs on what its users are up to. Whenever a user opens an app, the tablet takes a screenshot. These screenshots are then available for viewing in another app, but they can't be deleted."

Everything You Need To Know About Why Net Neutrality Is A Terrible Idea - "Enforcing “net neutrality” does the exact opposite of what its proponents claim. It results in an internet where a handful of large corporations have access to peering agreements with large transit providers (what some people refer to as "the fast lane"), and the rest are subject to far fewer options in terms of services, and even upon growing and gaining market share, will be denied the opportunity to shop around for different ISP plans that suit them best."

We don’t need net neutrality; we need competition - "Level 3 wrote that consistently congested network connections were solely found in markets where a consumer broadband operator dominated. Level 3 has six congested peering arrangements that have remained congested for a year or more, with the consumer ISP refusing to expand capacity. All are connections with locally dominant broadband operators, and five of the six were in the US. Competition works, and competition sidesteps the difficulties of drawing up the right regulations to ensure neutrality. In a competitive market, the root cause of poor performance doesn't really matter. Regulators don't need to concern themselves with the difference between prioritization on the ISP's network and congestion at the edge of the ISP's network. Market pressure alone will penalize ISPs that suffer poor performance and promote those that do not. Even if some ISPs choose to engage in non-neutral behavior, Internet users will have alternatives that do not.

100 people found living in Upper Serangoon shophouse; URA investigating - "According to URA's website, the maximum number of unrelated occupants that may be accommodated in a private residential property is six. This came into effect on May 15"

Nigerian law graduate denied call to bar for wearing hijab - "Amasa Firdaus, who graduated from Ilorin University, was denied entry to the hall in the capital, Abuja, where the ceremony took place. She refused to remove her hijab, insisting instead on wearing the wig on top of her headscarf, local media say. This was deemed as going against the dress code set by her law school"

Female STEM Professor Creates Definition of 'Rigor' to be Outraged - "According to the leader of Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, the word “rigor” contains “sexual connotations” that perpetuate “white male heterosexual privilege”... Riley defines rigor as “hardness, stiffness, and erectness,” and claims the word has undeniable “sexual connotations—and links to masculinity in particular.” However, the dictionary – typically the only acceptable source for word definitions – defines rigor as “the quality or state of being very exact, careful, or strict.” She might be thinking of “vigor,” which can certainly have sexual connotations. Riley also believes that academic rigor excludes women and minorities... She also claims in her piece that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing,” and engineering contains an “inherent masculinist, white, and global North bias…all under a guise of neutrality.” Riley believes the way to combat this is to “do away with” academic rigor completely. “This is not about reinventing rigor for everyone, it is about doing away with the concept altogether so we can welcome other ways of knowing. Other ways of being. It is about criticality and reflexivity,” Riley writes. “We need these other ways of knowing to critique rigor, and to find a place to start to build a community for inclusive and holistic engineering education.”"
Why did people think the rot would be confined to the humanities and social sciences?
This is basically a proclamation that women and minorities are incompetent

Is Emma Watson anti-feminist for exposing her breasts? - "Dr Finn Mackay, a feminism researcher at the University of West England, rejects the view that feminism is about giving women "choice" and says it is a social justice movement. "Emma's saying feminism is about choice and the choice to do whatever you want, but that's a nonsense," she says. "Some women choose terrible things, some women choose to work for parties that deny women access to abortion, access to healthcare or mothers access to welfare."

San Fran Transit: We Refuse To Release Crime Surveillance Videos Because It Will Make People Racist - "Video surveillance footage of crimes committed on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) service by minority youths is being withheld by San Francisco authorities due to their concern that the videos might perpetuate racial bias and stereotyping. In three months time, at least three robberies have transpired at the San Francisco station by groups of teenagers. One such attack, on April 22, was committed by some 40-60 teens... “I think people are genuinely concerned — they are fearful about the stories that have come out about the recent attacks, the assaults, the thefts,” explained a member of the BART board of directors, Debora Allen... "If we were to regularly feed the news media video of crimes on our system that involve minority suspects, particularly when they are minors, we would certainly face questions as to why we were sensationalizing relatively minor crimes and perpetuating false stereotypes in the process"... “What is the priority of BART?" asked Allen during an appearance on KPIX-TV. "Is the safety of the passenger — of all passengers — is that a lesser priority than the race bias issue?""
It is better to allow people to be assaulted than to be "racist"

Student Liam Allan 'betrayed' after rape trial collapse - "Liam Allan was charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault but his trial collapsed after police were ordered to hand over phone records... The case against Mr Allan at Croydon Crown Court was dropped after three days when the evidence on a computer disk containing 40,000 messages revealed the alleged victim pestered him for "casual sex". He told the BBC his life had been "torn away" by the process, which included being on bail for two years... Mr Allan faced a possible jail term of 12 years and being put on the sex offenders register for life had he been found guilty. He said he felt "pure fear" when he learned he had been accused of rape but would never be able to understand why the accusations were made... Prosecution barrister Jerry Hayes accused police of "sheer incompetence" over the case. Before the trial the defence team had repeatedly asked for the phone messages to be disclosed but was told there was nothing to disclose.
Lena Dunham: "Things women do lie about: what they ate for lunch. Things women don't lie about: rape"

Senior barristers warn Liam Allan's case is not 'an isolated incident' saying cops may be 'unconsciously biased' - "She warned it was “not an isolated incident” and said police and the CPS may be “unconsciously biased” towards people who report sex offences. The stark warning came as The Times obtained inspection reports on dozens of collapsed cases over the past three years."

Barbara Kay: A sadly necessary handbook for men falsely accused of sexual assault - "the prosecutor refused to continue until the defence had received and reviewed the messages. They were illuminating, as for example: “It wasn’t against my will or anything,” and “You know it’s always nice to be sexually assaulted without breaking the law.” Taken together, the woman revealed herself as a sex addict obsessed with “rough sex and being raped.” The case was dismissed at the request of the prosecutor, who admirably fulfilled his primary mandate — that is, to ensure a fair trial, not to convict... Electronic messaging history is not automatically requested by the police when a complainant files a charge, as we saw in the Jian Ghomeshi case where, fortunately, Ghomeshi had his own archived cache. Yet, irritated by his acquittal, feminist legal minds are promoting complainant-friendly tweaks to the Criminal Code, like Bill C-51 (about which I have written before), now under Senate review, which could seriously weaken defence counsel’s hand at trial. The feminist rubric is: believe the victim; don’t look for discrediting evidence; false allegations are extremely rare. That simply isn’t true. Not today and not historically. Retired international lawyer and former U.S. prosecutor John Davis, who brings depth of experience in rape and sexual assault cases to his argumentation, reminds us, in his book, False Accusation of Rape: Lynching in the 21st Century, of the thousands of cases of white women who — knowing the dire consequences — falsely accused black men of sexually inappropriate conduct. Don’t we all wish that the story of the white woman who in 1955 falsely accused black martyr 14-year old Emmett Till of winking at her in her family’s grocery store had been subjected to rigorous scrutiny in a gender and race-blind courtroom? A companion book, How to Avoid False Accusations of Rape, is a practical guide in “risk management” for naïve young men like Liam Allan. Some of Davis’s suggestions are commonsensical: “Take the time to know a woman before sharing intimacy with her,” because “hooking up” increases the odds of false accusation. And: “Don’t get involved with anyone already having sex problems” with other people. Other tips may anger feminists, but also make inherent sense: for example, Davis counsels men to avoid intimacy with women who define themselves as “rape survivors” — not because they are lying, but because normal sex may trigger bad memories, producing irrational consequences. Davis also counsels men to stay away from any woman who associates with radical feminist groups, as their members may encourage her to revisit consensual sex as rape (this does happen). Preserve all communications, Davis advises, but especially electronic ones... if falsely accused, “Do not under any circumstances attempt to talk with university officials, investigators, police or any other person without the assistance and advice of a competent and experienced criminal lawyer.”... “False accusations of rape are not about sex … like the crime of rape itself, false accusations of rape are about power.”"

Romanticizing the Hunter-Gatherer - "In a 2004 study, Michael Gurven marshals an impressive amount of cross-cultural data and notes that hunters tend to keep more of their kill for themselves and their families than they share with others. While there is undeniably a great deal of sharing across hunter-gatherer societies, common notions of generalized equality are greatly overstated. Even in circumstances where hunters give away more of their meat than they end up receiving from others in return, good hunters tend to be accorded high status, and rewarded with more opportunities to reproduce everywhere the relationship has been studied... hunter-gatherer societies have a ‘moderate’ level of inequality, roughly comparable to that of Denmark... In the realm of reproductive success, hunter-gatherers are even more unequal than modern industrialized populations, exhibiting what is called “greater reproductive skew,” with males having significantly larger variance in reproductive success than females... Across these societies, the average age at marriage for females is only 13.8, while the average age at marriage for males is 20.7. Rather than defending what would be considered child marriage in contemporary Western societies, anthropologists often omit mentioning this information entirely... Many of the recent articles in the popular media on hunter-gatherer societies have failed to represent these societies accurately. The picture you get from reading articles in publications like the New Yorker and the Guardian, or from anthropologists like Douglas Fry and James Suzman, is often quite different from what a deep dive into the ethnographic record reveals"

Sex differences in parking are affected by biological and social factors. - "The stereotype of women's limited parking skills is deeply anchored in modern culture. Although laboratory tests prove men's average superiority in visuospatial tasks and parking requires complex, spatial skills, underlying mechanisms remain unexplored. Here, we investigated performance of beginners (nine women, eight men) and more experienced drivers (21 women, 27 men) at different parking manoeuvres. Furthermore, subjects conducted the mental rotation test and self-assessed their parking skills. We show that men park more accurately and especially faster than women. Performance is related to mental rotation skills and self-assessment in beginners, but only to self-assessment in more experienced drivers. We assume that, due to differential feedback, self-assessment incrementally replaces the controlling influence of mental rotation, as parking is trained with increasing experience. Results suggest that sex differences in spatial cognition persist in real-life situations, but that socio-psychological factors modulate the biological causes of sex differences."

Gawkers 'haven't broken the law' - "BANGLADESHI construction worker Masum Tapader understands why women get intimidated by onlooking migrant workers... He added that his employer had made him sign a document to ensure that he abides by stipulated rules during his stint here. "We are not allowed to talk to or marry Singaporean girls," he said. He was responding to an incident last Sunday where migrant workers thronged a Sentosa beach filled with bikini-clad sunbathers."

This Woman Witnessed What Might Be One Of The Worst Wedding Disasters Ever. Woah. - "I ask each of you to reach under your chairs for the small, white envelope you will find there. Each one contains a live Monarch butterfly. We will release them into the air and let them soar free, as a symbol of the love these two have for each other"

When A Medieval Knight Could Marry Another Medieval Knight - "Despite the risks, devotional relationships between men were common in Europe [during the Middle Ages], at least among the literate, and many of these affairs must have included sex at some point"

Could a woman become a knight in medieval times? - "The king also expected knights to maintain law and order, ensure taxes were paid, and keep roads repaired and river crossings usable. When a dead knight’s land passed to his wife or daughter, these duties were imposed on that woman. In England the title of Lady was usually given to such a woman, but in France, Tuscany and Romagna she was given the male title. In 1358, women finally gained full knightly acceptance in England when they began to be admitted to chivalric orders – though they are called dames, not knights."

Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise, and Triumph - The New York Times - "Must every Italian chef make lasagna, every French chef coq au vin? Anita Lo, who closed her fine-dining restaurant Annisa in New York earlier this year, cooked there for 17 years without fealty to one region or cultural tradition. This puzzled some diners. “I had someone come in and say, ‘Where’s the big Buddha head?’ ” she said. When publications request recipes and she submits one without Asian ingredients, the response is often, “We were really hoping for something Asian” — or Asian-ish: Anything with soy, apparently, will do. “I send in Japanese, which isn’t even my background, but that works,” she said... “There’s great pressure for chefs to have a story,” he said. “Maybe there’s no story beyond, ‘I want to serve this food and it tastes good.’ ” It’s the eternal plea of the minority, to ask to be judged not by one’s appearance or the rituals of one’s forbears but for the quality of one’s mind and powers of invention"
Yet, people complain about cultural appropriation

The Problem with Vulgarity - "An audience wants to be entertained by something witty. Sure, swearing and sex-jokes will make them laugh, but they can get that any time they want by heading down to the local bar or going off with friends. It takes a talented fellow to make someone laugh without resorting to vulgarity"

'Safer' 20mph zones led to rise in number of road deaths but too costly to reverse, council admits - "Bath and North East Somerset Council spent £871,000 bringing in the 13 new speed zones just 12 months ago. But one year on, a report has found that the rate of people killed or seriously injured has gone up in seven out of the 13 new 20mph zones."

Minnie Driver: men like Matt Damon 'cannot understand what abuse is like' - "The actor Minnie Driver has told the Guardian that men “simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level” and should not therefore attempt to differentiate or explain sexual misconduct against women. Driver was discussing comments by Matt Damon, whom she once dated and with whom she starred in the Oscar-winning 1997 film Good Will Hunting. In an interview with ABC News this week, Damon said alleged sexual misconduct by powerful men involved “a spectrum of behaviour”. Damon said there was “a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation. Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated”... “I felt that what Matt Damon was saying was an Orwellian idea, we are all equal except that some us are more equal than others,” she said. “Put abuse in there … that all abuse is equal but some is worse.” She added: “There is no hierarchy of abuse – that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if woman has a penis exposed to her that she didn’t want or ask for … you cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other."
"He knew that it was useless. Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed -- would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper -- the essential crime that contained all others in itself"
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