When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Links - 19th May 2018 (2)

Why babies in medieval paintings look like ugly old men - "These ugly babies were very intentional. Drawing a line between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is a useful tool when considering ugly babies and significantly more lovable ones. The two eras tend to show a difference in values."

Vida Rz - Skirt-wearing men is the message they’re sending the... - "Dutch men dress up in mini-skirts to take a stand against recent sex attacks in Europe"
Comment (probably from elsewhere): "I was speaking to an ex-Muslim bloke from Israel a few months ago and he was saying that one of the main motivations for Muslim migrants to do these things to women was to show how weak non-Muslim men are by showing them to be cowards who don't and can't look after their women. They come from a hyper-masculine, sex-deprived culture and the only way they know of carving a place in society is through humiliation and violence towards other men and they do this here by humiliating our women to drum up violence in the men and when the men don't give them the violence that they crave, they see it as a vindication of their beliefs that non-Muslim men are weak, and this stupid protest will only solidify this mentality in the minds of the migrants as these men are making themselves look weak. #NotAllMigrantsButManyAndEnough"
"I once had to road manage for a teenage boys' choir from central africa. At first it was hell, then someone told me the trick - I had to somehow out-man them or at least outdo them. So I proceeded to drive 15 hours without a bathroom break until they finally had to break down and ask me to stop. Then we went swimming on a lake and I swam longer than they did. With another group, my girlfriend and I beat 8 of them playing beach volleyball. Weirdly, it established enough psychological dominance for us to cooperate. What would Swedish men have to do to establish themselves as dominant?"
"Let's all take a minute to pause and realize a group of people got together and brainstormed ideas to prevent rape: This was the result."

Why do women have periods when most animals don't? - "It seems the list of animals that menstruate is quite short: humans, apes, monkeys, bats and elephant shrews. What do these seemingly disparate animals have in common? It all comes down to how much control the mother animal has over her own womb... "We argue that spontaneous decidualisation likely evolved because of the conflict between the mother and the foetus"... "As the foetus became more aggressive, the mother responded by putting up her defences before the invasion actually began"... The second possibility is that spontaneous decidualisation evolved to get rid of bad embryos. Human embryos are very prone to genetic abnormalities, which is why so many pregnancies fail in the first few weeks. This might because of our unusual sexual habits, says Emera. "Humans can copulate anytime during the reproductive cycle, unlike many other mammals that copulate right around ovulation," says Emera. This is called "extended copulation". Other menstruating primates, some of the menstruating bat species, and the elephant shrew all engage in extended copulation... Among the Dogon, a natural fertility population in Mali, Strassmann has found that women have about 100 periods over their lifetime. This was probably fairly typical for much of our species' history. By contrast, most modern women have 300-500 periods"

The story behind when the “void deck” was introduced and how it was invented - "early HDB flats did not have void decks. They were introduced after 1969. In fact, the term “void deck” was not mentioned in HDB annual reports until 1977/1978... The void deck was created not as a communal space, but as shelter for children on rainy days."

Kettle that looks like Hitler brews trouble for JCPenney

House that looks like Hitler catches eye of Twitter users - "The slanted roof was said to resemble the Hitler fringe, the door lintel was the moustache and the small top windows were seen as the dictator’s piercing eyes"

People who don't have children benefit our environment more than any campaign – it's time to celebrate them

Biden: Clinton never figured out why she was running

The secrets to a truly restorative vacation - "The Framingham Heart Study followed women in a Massachusetts town over a 20-year period, and they found that the women who took infrequent vacations were more likely to have heart attacks than those who vacationed regularly... She and her colleagues believe there are four major factors that contribute to a vacation that offers recovery: relaxation, control, mastery experiences and mental detachment from work... returning reservists were surveyed about their levels of engagement and energy on the job, and they reported significantly lower rates of job stress and burnout after their deployments than before. In fact, their results looked just like those of people who had been on vacation. This seems counterintuitive, but researchers in other countries have observed the same phenomenon. Even though it can be physically and mentally challenging, reserve service provided a respite from the humdrum stresses of civilian jobs. Detachment also requires being able to escape work-related interruptions. Employees who carry their work smartphones or other devices during non-work hours or who must keep in touch with the office while on vacation show higher levels of stress and work-family conflict. A study of the cortisol levels of on-call workers found a negligible difference between their stress and alertness levels when they were at work and when they were on call. Likewise, people who worry about work in their off hours have lower recovery rates than those who do not. In their study of Israeli reservists, Etzion, Eden and Lapidot noticed something else about the subjects’ happiness when they returned to work. After a month, the effect faded, and they were as happy — or as miserable — as they had been before they left. Psychologists have since discovered a similar effect holds for even the best vacations: the benefits don’t last very long... taking shorter but more frequent vacations every few months could provide greater levels of recovery"

Here’s why ST forum letter about not walking on escalators may actually be a logical one - "Trade publisher, Elevator World, which is a Publisher for the International Building Transport Industry, did state on their website that walking on one side does cause damage and problems to the escalator... a former engineer of SMRT wrote to The Online Citizen, alleging that the “Keep Left” campaign created more escalator faults... Walking on the escalator is proven to be more dangerous than standing on the escalator... if people stood on both sides of the escalators, nearly 28 percent more people can get on the escalators, and bam, no more congestion."

Murderous Mary, the elephant that was hanged for murder, 1916 - "Mary was a five-ton Asian elephant, also known as Murderous Mary, who performed in the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. After killing a trainer in Kingsport, Tennessee, she was hanged in 1916?"

'She Answered The Door In A Bikini.' Guys Share The Biggest 'Hint' They Missed From A Woman. - "I was hanging out with a coworker at her apartment. Sitting on the couch side by side, she complained that her large breasts were a pain to deal with because of their size, followed by "do you want to touch them?" I sort of half-juggled them (as though I was comparing the weight involved) and said "hmm, nice." And that was as far as I went."
"We were macking on my bed and I started kissing her neck. She says, "stop, that’s turning me on!" but in a playful way. Youngster me was like "woah, she doesn’t consent." So I awkwardly backed off and got her out of there."
"She said: ”I do tarot cards. Just before I came here, I did a reading and it said my night would end with a bang.""
"Girl invited me upstairs for coffee after a date. I replied with something very similar to: "No thanks, I don't like coffee. It keeps me up.""
"Went on a date with a woman and she asked if I wanted to come back to her place and stay over. I thought it was perfect as I had work in the morning and she lived right around the corner. I literally got into her bed, said good night, turned over and went to sleep."
"She blurted out, "I know how to put a condom on a guy without using my hands.""
Reddit comments: "Trouble is, if we overstep our bounds, we end up on a list. So best to be stupid."
"Guys don't get asked out. Guys don't get complimented. Guys don't usually feel appreciated. Guys here, can you even remember the last time that a random person or acquaintance gave you a genuine compliment? If you can remember it I bet that it stuck with you and made you smile for months. Guys don't get women throwing themselves at them. We don't get positive attention just for being our selves. So when we think that it's happening we second guess ourselves, assume that we misinterpreted what she meant, or we get defensive and wonder what it is that she's really after. We don't believe that you really are interested in us because you girls are never fucking clear and direct in the rare instances that you overtly show interest. You rarely give guys genuine, no nonsense, compliments and you rely on "hints" so that you have plausible deniability in order to avoid making yourself the vulnerable one in the situation. If you want guys to start believing you and believing in themselves then try to make the guys in your life feel appreciated more often and stop with the childish hints and ask him out the way that you expect him to do for you."

S’pore Parliament used to use words like ‘pimp’ & ‘traitor’, according to new EW Barker biography - "Barker: Order. The Minister is now using unparliamentary language.
Rajaratnam: Sir, but “political pimps” has a different connotation.
Barker: In my opinion, the word “pimps” in any context would be unparliamentary.
Rajaratnam: May I use the words “political purveyors of flesh”?
Barker: Please proceed"

‘White men’: the most dehumanising insult of our times - "Let’s call it Jenkins’ Law: the fury that greets anyone who says old white men have become hate figures proves that old white men have become hate figures... The Guardian, slowly morphing from a newspaper into a tumblr account, has been at the forefront of white men bashing. ‘Philosophy has to be about more than white men,’ said a columnist in 2015. ‘Why are so many white men trying to save the planet without the rest of us?’, asked another in 2014. Even when white men try to do good — not that I buy the idea the planet needs saving — they’re lambasted for their maleness and paleness. They can’t do right for being white... The novelty of this year is that ‘white women’ got it in the neck too. That 53 percent of American white women voted for Trump sent feminists into a frenzy. These poor creatures suffer from ‘internalised misogyny’, we were told (ie. they don’t know their own minds). ‘The problem was white women,’ opined a white woman in the Guardian horrified at ‘the complicity of women in their own oppression’. White women are so dumb, right?... The novelty of this year is that ‘white women’ got it in the neck too. That 53 percent of American white women voted for Trump sent feminists into a frenzy. These poor creatures suffer from ‘internalised misogyny’, we were told (ie. they don’t know their own minds). ‘The problem was white women,’ opined a white woman in the Guardian horrified at ‘the complicity of women in their own oppression’. White women are so dumb, right?... that’s what identity politics is ultimately designed to do: to replace the edgy, potentially destabilising politics of class with the fundamentally conservative politics of identity. This is a tragedy. For whatever you may have thought of the class politics of old, it at least contained within it the ideal of solidarity, where people of all kinds of backgrounds might come together to demand a better, fairer deal. The politics of identity, by contrast, is separatist, and fatalistic, dividing us into biological, racial and gender boxes and telling us we will never truly understand each other."

The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students - The Washington Post - "All across America, students are anxiously finishing their “What I Want To Be …” college application essays, advised to focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by pundits and parents who insist that’s the only way to become workforce ready. But two recent studies of workplace success contradict the conventional wisdom about “hard skills.” Surprisingly, this research comes from the company most identified with the STEM-only approach: Google... among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas... take billionaire venture capitalist and “Shark Tank” TV personality Mark Cuban: He looks for philosophy majors when he’s investing in sharks most likely to succeed."

Trump 'has worn Kim Jong-un down and forced compromise' - "US President Donald Trump's 'hard-line' stance on North Korea will force the dictatorship to make compromises next year, a South Korean think tank has predicted."

Some See Strategy, Others Chaos in Trump's Unpredictability - "The "madman" theory is ascribed to former U.S. President Richard Nixon's foreign policy. To negotiate an end to the Vietnam War on favorable terms, Nixon tried to portray himself as a crazy and volatile leader. He even raised the Strategic Air Command's readiness level in 1969 to make it seem as if he was possibly preparing for a nuclear strike, in an attempt to pressure the Soviet Union to intervene to end the war."

Trump’s entire North Korea strategy could be a giant bluff - "all the hot rhetoric might just be a giant bluff, using the threat of military action to get North Korea to back off."

Trump’s Full Pressure Strategy for North Korea Is Working - "Has the Trump pressure strategy produced positive results? North Korea has blinked, but the sensationalist mainstream media, from The New York Times to CNN, have missed it. But the sharp minds at 38north.org didn’t. They reported, “Anyone familiar with the North’s statements knows that over the past month there has been a major shift in Pyongyang’s formulation about negotiating.”"

Poll panel reaches out to lone voter in Gir forest - "Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas is the lone voter in the midst of Gujarat’s Gir forest, home to the majestic Asiatic lion, for whom an entire election team sets up a polling booth every election... With the Election Commission mandating that no voter should “ordinarily travel more than two km to reach the booth”, every election time a polling team travels around 35 km to reach the hamlet of Banej"
Democracy at any price?

My dad predicted Trump in 1985 – it's not Orwell, he warned, it's Brave New World - "I saw a spike in media references to Amusing Ourselves to Death, a book written by my late father, Neil Postman, which anticipated back in 1985 so much about what has become of our current public discourse... The central argument of Amusing Ourselves is simple: there were two landmark dystopian novels written by brilliant British cultural critics – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell – and we Americans had mistakenly feared and obsessed over the vision portrayed in the latter book (an information-censoring, movement-restricting, individuality-emaciating state) rather than the former (a technology-sedating, consumption-engorging, instant-gratifying bubble)"

CROWDING OUT IN BLOOD DONATION: WAS TITMUSS RIGHT? - "For men the supply of blood donors is not significantly different among the three experimental groups. For women there is a significant crowding-out effect. The supply of blood donors decreases by almost half when a monetary payment is introduced. There is also a significant effect of allowing individuals to donate the payment to charity, and this effect fully counteracts the crowding-out effect"

Lifelike child sex dolls created to 'stop paedophiles committing crimes' - "Shin Takagi has founded Trottla, a company which produces anatomically-correct imitations of girls, with ages as young as five."

Sibling Prank. : gifs

'Glitter boobs' woman, 20, who attacked festival groper vows to go topless again and says shaming her 'promotes rape culture' - "THE young woman who was filmed attacking a man who groped her at a New Zealand music festival has vowed to go topless again. Now Madeline Anello-Kitzmiller, 20, whose breasts were covered in just glitter when the man grabbed her, has said shaming women for what they wear "promotes rape culture". Footage from the Rhythm & Vines festival in Gisbourne, New Zealand, showed Madeline and friend Kiri-Ann Hatfield following the man and repeatedly punching him... "My lack of clothing is not the problem, the problem is people thinking they have the right to touch my body without consent." "A human's body is their own, and nobody has a right to touch you without your consent, regardless of what they're wearing.""
If breasts aren't sexual why was she upset at hers being touched?
Does she punch people who tap her on the shoulder?

Islamic Terrorism is Motivated by Religion, Not Retribution

Islamic Terrorism is Motivated by Religion, Not Retribution

"[Imagine] that your vocal criticisms of Neo-Nazism were met with ceaseless complaints that Neo-Nazi ideology is entirely incidental to the actions of Neo-Nazi terrorists, and that their behaviour is instead semi-legitimate recompense for the invasion of Normandy or the firebombing of Dresden? Could you imagine being told that your criticisms of this ideology were invalidated by the fact that the country in which you happen to currently reside had supplied arms, created power vacuums, and otherwise assisted its growth, both directly and indirectly via its geopolitical policies? Could you imagine being told that we only have ourselves to blame, and that holding Neo-Nazi terrorists responsible for their own actions is a form of bigotry or intolerance?...

Just as Islamic terrorism predates the existence of the United States as a country, Islamic anti-Semitism predates the existence of the Israeli state. David Aaronovitch’s documentary Blaming the Jews sets out a damning case against Islamic attitudes towards Jewish people which go far beyond grievances about contested land, and which often find themselves embedded in Islamic religious texts...

When anti-Semitic cartoons are published in the Muslim world, as they so often are, we do not see Jews clad in black fatigues marching into the headquarters of the publication and gunning down the cartoonists with AK-47s whilst screaming about restoring religious honour.

Vietnamese Americans venting their frustrations over the My Lai Massacre by hijacking jetliners crammed with civilians and slamming them into heavily populated skyscrapers whilst bellowing religious exclamations, are likewise conspicuously absent.

Similarly, there is a noticeable lack of Japanese Americans marching into concert halls and detonating suicide vests in crowds of schoolgirls and their guardians, in retaliation for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it would be an exceptional occurrence to encounter second generation German immigrants blowing up commuters on the London transport system as retribution for the 2nd World War. However, if these were indeed common occurrences, I would expect reasonable people to be swatting away this kind of tasteless excuse-making reflexively.

Islamic terrorists, conversely, are given special consideration. If the apologists’ arguments had any semblance of consistency, it would be acceptable to claim that Darren Osborn, the Finsbury park terrorist, had legitimate political grievances since his murder of an innocent Muslim must be viewed in the climate of ceaseless Islamic terror attacks. Likewise, if hundreds like him began committing terrorism against Muslims in scores of countries around the world...

The demands of the terrorists, are simply and solely that they be allowed to operate with impunity, and these demands are presented in the form of an ultimatum that offers threats of violence in response to any failures of compliance.

The demand then, is that psychotic gangsters like Zarqawi must be allowed to decapitate civillians in Salafist snuff-porn. Al-Qaeda in Iraq must be allowed to butcher as many Shia Muslims as they please. Indonesia must be free to commit genocide in East Timor. And Al-Shabaab must be left alone to turn Somalia into an arena of terrorism and child abduction...

There is also something of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation at play when Islamic apologists talk of Western military aggression. Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland recalls a student meeting he was speaking at in the 1990’s being disrupted by Islamist al-Muhajiroun protestors furious at the Wests lack of military intervention to prevent the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia. Similarly, Western inaction in Bosnia is claimed by British Muslim and former Islamist Maajid Nawaz as a contributing factor in his radicalization...

The Yazidi’s have committed no foreign policy transgressions against Muslims anywhere in the world at any point in history, yet they were subjected to genocide, rape, sexual enslavement, and forced conversion to Islam at the hands of The Islamic State. The motivation offered by ISIS for these atrocities was explicitly religious in that it claimed “enslaving the families of the (non-believers) and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharia” and that this behavior reflected that of the companions of Muhammad...

It is more than possible that Adebolajo, Abedi, and the Tsarnaev brothers felt an overwhelming, life or death connection to the people of Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, but only one aspect of the biographies of these suicidal killers provides a basis for such solidarity: their shared religion. It is significant that this particular religion promotes the idea of killing and dying in defense of it as a noble act which will reap otherworldly rewards...

This knee-jerk, unconditional solidarity that radicalized Western Muslims are said to apparently feel with their Muslim brothers and sisters around the world, does not seem to extend to the Muslim victims of Islamic terror groups. The mantra of many an apologist, is that Muslims are the biggest victims of Islamic terror. This is undoubtedly true, and so it would seem a self-refuting statement to, in the same breath, argue that Muslims join groups that primarily kill other Muslims, in order to defend Muslims from non-Muslims...

These people are not interested in defending Muslim lives; their primary victims are other Muslims. They are not concerned with ending Western intervention; they encourage it, on their own terms, in some cases as a means of fulfilling Islamic end times prophesy. The sole quantifiable demands of Islamic terrorists are that they are free to operate with impunity and that Western societies act with unwavering compliance to their every whim"

Attacks in London (comment)

"Here is a list of countries in which Islamist terror attacks have occurred in the last 30 days: Somalia, Indonesia, Iraq, England, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Libya, USA, India, Italy, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Mali, Chad, Yemen, Bangladesh, Thailand, Chechnya, Israel, Germany, La Réunion.

This is what you have to be in order to be murdered by Islamists: a Nigerian farmer, an Iranian border-guard, a Pakistani cleric from a rival mosque, a French police officer, an Iraqi child searching for food, a German convert from Islam to Christianity, a Syrian ‘sorcerer’, a member of an Afghan wedding party, an Egyptian tribesman, young Malian lovers, an Israeli young woman ‘honour-killed’, a Chechnyan gay, a Chadian border-guard, a Bangladeshi Ahmadi imam, a Somalian coffee-drinker, a Thai child out shopping, a Kenyan labourer, a Saudi 2 year-old, an Italian train commuter, an Indian 45 year-old, an American disrespecter of Islam, the wrong kind of Muslim in Libya, an Indonesian bus worker, an English pop tweenie. And on. And on.

Now if you want to say that all these are covered by British foreign policy, you can. But include me out. And of course the real emergence of Islamist, as opposed to ‘secular’, terrorism dates back to the mid-70s with the collapse of Nasserist Pan-Arabism and the emergence of (ultimately Qutb-inspired) Islamism, further bolstered by the ‘soft power’ of Saud financing of mosque-building and Wahhabi preaching abroad."

Links - 19th May 2018 (1)

Venezuela raises minimum wage 40 percent, stoking world's fastest inflation - "Opposition politicians say Maduro’s refusal to overhaul Venezuela’s state-led economic model and stop excessive money printing will only create more misery in 2018. Maduro, however, spent much of his half-hour address blaming others for the country’s woes. He said foreign and local media were spreading ”negative propaganda,” while Venezuela was facing “attacks” on its currency and attempts to “sabotage” its oil industry"

Errors about Witches - "While Christianity clearly created the framework for the Witch Hunts, no single "Church" was to blame, and many secular governments hunted witches for essentially non-religious reasons... While many witch hunters explicitly went after women, very often men fell victim to the witch hunts... In some areas, like Russia, the large majority of victims were male... While millions of people might have been affected, the best estimates of recent historians range from 50,000 to 200,000 dead.
Even the high estimate of 200,000 dead works out to 500 a year at most

Women spend more time checking out OTHER WOMEN than they do men (and it's their clothes, figures and hair we're most interested in) - "Half of the 2,000 women polled by online retailer Swimwear 365 said they 'enjoy' comparing themselves to women they work with, befriend or pass in the street. And the beach is the place where most female ogling goes on, with 80 per cent of those polled saying they love having a good look at other women when they are sunbathing... half said they get a genuine buzz when women they don't know give them a compliment on how they look, but a cynical 43 per cent of say they don’t believe it when a man pays them a compliment."

Study Finds Women Interpret Looks From One Another in the Worst Ways - "women felt judged by virtually everyone they made contact with, from close friends to complete strangers"

Do More Women on the Board Mean Better Results? - "much of the research on financial performance and female leadership tends to be sponsored by groups with an interest in boosting women’s representation in business, like Catalyst, a U.S. nonprofit... Other research, though, appears to show that female representation on boards may not make much of a difference to a company’s performance. A 2011 study by two University of Michigan professors showed that the stock price of Norwegian companies actually dropped when they began adding women to their boards to comply with the country’s requirement that women comprise forty per cent of supervisory bodies... Better performance by companies with female board members doesn’t necessarily suggest that the women led to the stronger performance, either; it could also mean that companies that are financially successful tend to be more inclusive. Last year, professors at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and the University of Edinburgh examined two thousand firms and found that larger companies with bigger boards were more likely to add women. The Credit Suisse Research Institute, acknowledging that it’s hard to make sense of the many confusing and contradictory findings, last year offered its own figures. It studied publicly traded companies and found that, over the past six years, the share prices of companies with at least one woman on the board outperformed those with no women on the board. Interestingly, while performance seemed to have little correlation with female board membership when the economy was booming, from 2005 to 2007, this changed with the recession. From 2008 to 2012, the stock prices of companies with at least one female board member were, on average, twenty-six per cent higher than for companies with no female board members. The authors concluded that “more balance on the board brings less volatility and more balance through the cycle.” What about German companies? Hagen Lindstädt, a management professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, found no relationship, in a 2011 study of a hundred and sixty German public companies between 2002 and 2010, between female board membership and stock-market performance. There were, however, two exceptions: consumer-oriented companies gain from placing females in decision-making positions, because women tend to control household purchases, and other women understand better what appeals to them. In addition, he said, companies with a large female workforce benefit from female leadership because they can hold onto talent better and decrease employee turnover... There are plenty of reasons to improve women’s representation on boards that have nothing to do with financial performance—among them, for diversity’s sake. “This is about equality in our society,” Lindstädt said, “and fairness for all women.”"
It is easy to get other people to subsidise your vision of a good society

8,000 Years Ago, 17 Women Reproduced for Every One Man - "Another member of the research team, a biological anthropologist, hypothesizes that somehow, only a few men accumulated lots of wealth and power, leaving nothing for others. These men could then pass their wealth on to their sons, perpetuating this pattern of elitist reproductive success. Then, as more thousands of years passed, the numbers of men reproducing, compared to women, rose again. "Maybe more and more people started being successful," Wilson Sayres says. In more recent history, as a global average, about four or five women reproduced for every one man."

Salons that help women let their hair down - "For many women, going to get their hair done is an activity that is only partly related to hair at all. Sure, there is a lot of talk about highlights and split ends, but discussions about the pros and cons of conditioning masks tend to veer off into other realms. Work problems are aired, relationships analysed, life's frustrations admitted and secrets spilled. And this universal fact of life got Ms Liora Kessel thinking. It was 2003, and she was just about to open the first Women's Courtyard at the intersection of the three poorest neighbourhoods in Jaffa. The idea behind the non-profit initiative was to offer a safe space to any young woman, usually in some sort of distress, who needed somewhere to hang out and just be herself. Coaching and therapy were offered. But more exciting was the free, professional hair salon that the founders added."

Inside the 'Asian Men Black Women' Dating Scene - ""The girl-to-guy ratio at these events is usually disproportionate (16:6), so the Asian guys get a lot of attention. "There are definitely some crazy 'cougars' in this group," Kemi told me. "When they get a look at you and how young you are, they are going to jump all over you.""

Shahindha Ismail investigated for 'anti-Islamic' tweet - "Shahindha Ismail, executive director of Maldives Democracy Network (MDN), told Al Jazeera that anonymous accounts on Twitter and Facebook have been calling for her death, after a newspaper article and religious scholars accused her of advocating for secularism in the Sunni Muslim state... she responded to a speech by President Abdulla Yameen, in which he had vowed to crack down on what he said were domestic and international efforts to propagate faiths other than Islam in the Maldives. "Religions other than Islam exist in this world because Allah allowed for it. No other religion would exist otherwise, is it not?" Ismail said on Twitter... the Ministry of Islamic Affairs issued a statement urging Maldivians to refrain from "nonsensical talk that advocates for any faith other than Islam in the Maldives". Hours later, the police announced that it had launched an investigation against Ismail. Several ruling party politicians, including Majority Leader Ahmed Nihan, thanked the police for the probe. A police spokesman said Ismail was being investigated under the Religious Unity Act, which criminalises actions that may lead to religious strife in the Maldives"

Analyzing the Couch - NYTimes.com - "“Unlike fashion, where you pay for style and name but not necessarily construction, with a sofa I think you are paying for quality,” Ms. Elliott said. “You’re getting things like feather and down cushions as opposed to foam.” But you can buy a perfectly fine sofa, Ms. Elliott said, with a solid wood frame and feather-wrapped foam cushions, for as little as $1,500, if you find a deal. And she doesn’t see much difference in sofas priced in the midrange (say, between $2,000 and $4,000), other than shape or slight differences in fabric and cushion quality. “Now, when you get below $1,000, that’s where I think you have to be careful,” Ms. Elliott said, because manufacturers are probably cutting corners to keep the price down."

Taking Out the Trash? That’s Still a Man’s Job, Even for the Liberal Coastal Elite - The New York Times - "Almost every woman I know who lives with a man shirks this chore. It’s as if all hard-won equality in the home is tossed on trash night. It may be the last bastion of accepted 1950s behavior. And in this case — and this case alone — women are fine with that... Sophie Galant, 24, a consultant, lives with female roommates in a San Francisco apartment and routinely passes the honor of trash duty to guy friends who come for dinner. “I always ask them to take it out on their way out,” she said. “It smells. And I don’t want it to drip on me.”"
See also: Pepper Schwartz's research on how in feminist couples, the man does most of the driving

The rise and rise of international diplomacy by WhatsApp - "You can send a more secure message through WhatsApp now than most government information systems

As the left surges back, Marxism’s bloody legacy is covered up - "communism’s millions of victims are remembered hardly at all. One standard history of modern times, widely used in our schools, praises the Russian Revolution as aiming at ‘the complete destruction of the Russian and European bourgeoisie’, necessary for ‘the victory of socialism’. This history (Eric Hobsbawm’s Age of Extremes) does not mention the abolition of the law courts, or the establishment of the Cheka (the secret police), or the vicious expropriations that destroyed the Russian economy, or the mass starvation inflicted on the Ukrainian peasants. It is inadmissible for a historian to write in any but disgusted terms of the Nazi destruction of the Jews; but the equally cruel ‘destruction of the bourgeoisie’ can be described in terms of unqualified approval... One thing we should surely learn from the Russian revolution is that resentment is always on the lookout for the theories that will justify it. And the lesson that bore in on me in vivid and unforgettable ways during my own journeys behind the Iron Curtain, is that resentment, when it finally takes power, spells the death of politics. The real purpose of politics is not to express resentment but to contain and conciliate it"

Almost 1,000 cars torched around France on New Year's Eve but government insists it 'went particularly well' - "Vandals in France torched 945 parked cars on New Year's Eve in an arson rampage that has become a sinister annual "tradition" amid a row over whether the government sought to play down the figures... The custom of setting vehicles alight on New Year’s Eve is said to have kicked off around Strasbourg, eastern France in the 1990s, in the the city’s deprived, high-immigrant districts."

How many transgender kids grow up to stay trans? - "I listed the results of every study that ever followed up transgender kids to see how they felt in adulthood (Do trans- kids stay trans- when they grow up?). There are 12 such studies in all, and they all came to the very same conclusion: The majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older... Despite coming from a variety of countries and from a variety of labs, using a variety of methods, all spanning four decades, every single study without exception has come to the identical conclusion... activists are rejecting the unanimous conclusion of every single study ever conducted on the question in favour of a conclusion supported by not one"

Why No One Cares About Feminist Theory - "it’s difficult to ignore many of the more recent real-world applications of feminist theory. I could point to obvious egregious abuses here, like the shameful excesses on college campuses and outsized moral panic about sexual harassment, yet I’m even more compelled by “shrill” feminist popularizer Lindy West’s recent tirade against men in the the New York Times. Even more worrying, this screed echoes feminist scholar Lisa Wade’s weeks-earlier definitely-not-man-hating assertion that “the problem is not toxic masculinity; it’s that masculinity is toxic,” and that “we need to call masculinity out as a hazardous ideology and denounce anyone who chooses to identify with it.” For those who don’t realize, “toxic masculinity” is a technical term originating from within feminist theorizing, not some cute turn of phrase invented by edgy writers with an axe to grind.... criticism of feminist theory, from within feminism itself, is worse than un-care-about-able. It’s arranged so that substantive criticism makes no impact. How could it? It has set up a self-protective system (as do nearly all conspiracy theories) in which criticism of feminist theory is understood to validate feminist theory. Take, for example, the commonly heard claims that “criticism of feminism is why we need feminism.” Under feminist theory, which is deeply dependent upon postmodern thought, knowledge is believed to be constructed by “dominant discourses,” and feminism, particularly intersectional feminism, is taken to be the true defender of marginalized voices, including those allegedly of women. Worse than this, because of its beliefs about these structures of power, to criticize feminist theory is to violate a moral taboo against gender equality. Critics of feminist theory, even in purely scholarly terms, are easily derided as being complicit in sexism, and the moral architecture of the post-1960s academy left other academics (and administrators) particularly weak against these charges... critics like myself, Peter Boghossian, Paul Gross, Norman Levitt, Alan Sokal, and Steven Pinker are just white males exercising our epistemic pushback, like every other man who disagrees. (Nota bene: Women who disagree suffer from “internalized misogyny” and, in an attempt to maintain favor with “the mens,” engage in the same epistemic pushback, once removed — so there’s no winning here, only agreeing with the feminists, being used as evidence of the rightness of feminism and the need for more feminism and feminist theory, or being ignored.)"

'Shoot the Jews': How Sweden's Jews just became key targets for violent Muslim anger over Trump's Jerusalem move - "It is mindboggling that, in 2017, a group of 200 people can gather in a public square in Sweden (Sweden!) and shout their intention to kill Jews, apparently without fear of reproach... Nearly a decade ago, reports by journalist Niklas Orrenius helped open Swedes’ eyes to the prevalence of Jew hatred among the Muslim population in Malmö, a city that has since earned an international reputation for anti-Semitism... let us hope that the country’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven, makes good on his recent vow, in an interview this month with the Jewish magazine Judisk Krönika, to "stand on the barricades in the fight against anti-Semitism and racism" and not to "turn a blind eye to the fact that many people have come here from the Middle East, where anti-Semitism is widespread, almost a part of the ideology.""

Dalian Atkinson death raises concerns about police Taser use - "The Sun reported that Atkinson shouted: “It’s not working,” when he was first struck by a Taser and police then allegedly fired two more rounds of the 50,000-volt shock. Campaigners accused the police of using excessive force and said the incident raised issues about policing and race"
Apparently it's racist to try to subdue someone who might be a danger - and is taunting you that he's still a threat

'Stop political correctness': African community leader urges action on youth crime - "A professional athlete from Melbourne's Sudanese community who survived a machete attack believes gang violence has worsened because Victorian authorities have been too "politically correct"... Mr Yoa said he wants authorities to acknowledge gang crime involving youths from African communities is a problem... "I was sort of in disbelief when I heard police say gangs don't exist."... Previously an African think-tank leader, Berhan Ahmed, told SBS News there was an issue with African youth crime"

France sets up tax dept to investigate Jews - "Setting up a specific department dealing with a designated nationality or religion, however, is not an accepted practice."

China’s ‘little emperors’ vandalise art in Shanghai museum as their mothers film the act

Why Monarchies Are Still Relevant and Useful in the 21st Century - "There are several advantages in having a monarchy in the 21st century. First, as Serge Schmemann argues in The New York Times, monarchs can rise above politics in the way an elected head of state cannot. Monarchs represent the whole country in a way democratically elected leaders cannot and do not. The choice for the highest political position in a monarchy cannot be influenced by and in a sense beholden to money, the media, or a political party. Secondly and closely related to the previous point is that in factitious countries like Thailand, the existence of a monarch is often the only thing holding the country back from the edge of civil war. Monarchs are especially important in multiethnic countries such as Belgium because the institution of monarchy unites diverse and often hostile ethnic groups under shared loyalty to the monarch instead of to an ethnic or tribal group. The Habsburg dynasty held together a large, prosperous country that quickly balkanized into almost a dozen states of no power without it... Third, monarchies prevent the emergence of extreme forms of government in their countries by fixing the form of government. All political leaders must serve as prime ministers or ministers of the ruler. Even if actual power lies with these individuals, the existence of a monarch makes it difficult to radically or totally alter a country’s politics. The presence of kings in Cambodia, Jordan, and Morocco holds back the worst and more extreme tendencies of political leaders or factions in their countries. Monarchy also stabilizes countries by encouraging slow, incremental change instead of extreme swings in the nature of regimes. The monarchies of the Arab states have established much more stable societies than non-monarchic Arab states, many of which have gone through such seismic shifts over the course of the Arab Spring. Fourth, monarchies have the gravitas and prestige to make last-resort, hard, and necessary decisions — decisions that nobody else can make. For example, Juan Carlos of Spain personally ensured his country’s transition to a constitutional monarchy with parliamentary institutions and stood down an attempted military coup. At the end of the Second World War, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito defied his military’s wish to fight on and saved countless of his people’s lives by advocating for Japan’s surrender. Fifth, monarchies are repositories of tradition and continuity in ever changing times. They remind a country of what it represents and where it came from, facts that can often be forgotten in the swiftly changing currents of politics. Finally, rather counterintuitively, monarchies can serve up a head of state in a more democratic and diverse way than actual democratic politics... Even monarchies that were absolute in theory were almost always constrained in practice. A second criticism is that even a good monarch may have an unworthy successor. However, today’s heirs are educated from birth for their future role and live in the full glare of the media their entire lives. This constrains bad behavior. More importantly, because they have literally been born to rule, they have constant, hands-on training on how to interact with people, politicians, and the media."

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Links - 17th May 2018 (3)

Thin people don’t understand why others struggle to lose weight - "Nicky thinks she’s thin because of the way she eats, but actually, genetics play a huge role in making her thin. Nicky gets all the credit though, because people see the way she eats and they can’t see her genes. Many heavy people wouldn’t be lean like Nicky even if they ate the same foods in the same quantities. Their bodies are able to run on fewer calories than Nicky’s, which sounds like a good thing (and would be great if you found yourself in a famine). However, it actually means that after eating the same foods and using that energy to run the systems of their body, they have more calories left over to store as fat than Nicky does. So to actually lose weight, they have to eat less food than Nicky. And then, once they’ve been dieting a while, their metabolism changes so that they need to eat even less than that to keep losing weight... Dieting causes neurological changes that make you more likely to notice food than before dieting, and once you notice it, these changes make it hard to stop thinking about it"

Delivery Drivers Reveal London 'No-Go Zones' Made 'Too Dangerous to Work' by Acid Attacks and Knife Crimes - "The frequency of assaults using corrosive liquid in the city — officially the world capital of reported acid attacks — has left drivers choosing to take a big pay cut rather than braving dangerous areas of London at night. “We used to work till 2am – now people are stopping before 10pm,” one moped driver revealed to The Sun.“After 8pm or 9pm, we’re not going to those dangerous places.” Places named by delivery men as areas of the UK capital which are too dangerous to work include Hackney and Stoke Newington — boroughs which local MP Diane Abbott boasts are “ethnically diverse”, noting just 36 per cent of residents describe themselves as white British. Another area described as one to avoid by the drivers is Bethnal Green, a part of London which lies in the corruption-plagued, Islamist-connected borough of Tower Hamlets. Also named by drivers were “regenerated” regions such as Elephant & Castle and Stratford, the latter of which police say is hit by child sex grooming gangs, despite the Olympic Park home having been the recipient of £12.5 billion investment in recent years, which marked the largest urban regeneration programme in Europe... even MPs from the mayor’s own political party are now sounding the alarm on crime in the capital, with former Labour minister Stephen Timms demanding “serious action” on areas of London rendered “no-go zones” by acid attacks."

Household final consumption as a % of GDP - Singapore vs other High Income countries
i.e. why economic growth doesn't benefit Singaporeans as much as you might think

Cyberbullying: More teens anonymously bullying themselves online - "About 6% of kids from the ages of 12 through 17 have bullied themselves digitally... Teens who identified as non-heterosexual were three times more likely to bully themselves online, while victims of cyberbullying were 12 times more likely to cyberbully themselves... When asked why they engaged in digital self-harm, boys were more likely to say they did it as a joke or to get attention, while girls often said they did it because they were struggling with depression... There is a growing body of evidence that suggests social media plays a role in increasing mental health issues among young people
This suggests that victim culture can lead to a death spiral of victimisation, and that tumblr encourages mental problems

The Madness of Airline Élite Status - "One friend of mine always seemed to be dedicating two per cent of his mind to strategies to maintain his Global Services status. When, as a peer, I finally mentioned this to him, he corrected me: ninety-eight per cent of his mind was occupied with Global Services, with only two per cent left for everything else. Every November, he and a band of fellow-GS-MAD sufferers compare dollars spent and miles flown, speculating, like hard cases leaning on the rail of a horse track, on whose status will be renewed the following year. Another acquaintance, in danger of losing her status, appealed to United for mercy, writing to the airline that she deserved a break because she had had a baby mid-year. United granted her an exception"

Duisburg anti-litter campaign accused of racism over use of Turkish names - "The western German city of Duisburg launched a campaign about a month ago to encourage people to throw away their trash, posting motivational slogans on around 6,000 bins with sayings like “Come here, Kevin” and “Clean, Steffi”. Some also include Turkish names, with phrases like “There you go, Gülcan” and “Do it, Mehmet”... “The names were absolutely randomly selected and there was no intention to insult anyone,” she said, adding that they also wanted to be inclusive of the Turkish community. “If we have not done that, it would certainly also have been wrong.”"
So much for diversity and representation

Germany Takes Steps To Guard Women Against Sexual Assault As They Ring In New Year - "female revelers attending the open air event will also be able to access a women-only safety zone staffed by the German Red Cross. The measures are being introduced by the police for the first time in Berlin because of concerns about sexual assaults... many of the victims described the perpetrators as looking North African or Middle Eastern"

North African teenager stabs Swedish transvestite to death in Bergsjön - "A 16-year-old boy from North Africa has been charged with the murder of a man in Sweden who was found beaten and stabbed to death with a snake around his neck, dressed in women's clothing. The victim, a 54-year-old homosexual man, was found dead in the flat he shared with his partner in Bergsjön, east Gothenburg in June this year. A video recovered from the teen's own mobile sees him stand over the victim's body, swearing and shouting profanities, including insults referring to the 54-year-old's sexuality... The 16-year-old arrived in Sweden as an unaccompanied minor after living on the streets in several European countries."

Swedish 'man-free' festival comes under fire from transgender groups - "She had previously suggested men should be barred from music festivals until they had "learned to behave." But the festival has come under fire from users of Instagram, the photo-sharing social network, who claimed the policy was discriminatory against transgender people. This is because the ban on men only applies to what Ms Knyckare described as "cisgender men", a term for a person whose gender identity corresponds to their sex assigned at birth. One user angrily asked whether the ban extended to transgender men - people who are biologically female but identify as male. Another wrote: "You have previously argued that transgender men know how it is to be vulnerable and oppressed, just like women, and should therefore be welcomed. What do you do with the rest of the men who are vulnerable and oppressed, then?" The festival has responded by saying that transgender men and cisgender are "equally male" and that it was re-evaluating its gender policy"
Liberal logic - it is better to discriminate against more people than fewer

Drunk driving to be largely decriminalized in Alberta in 2018 - "In Alberta, impaired driving prosecutions take up 40 per cent of trial time in provincial court; cases can be complicated, often involve charter challenges, are defended by specialized lawyers and routinely appealed"

Canada’s drunk-driving death rate worst among wealthy countries, U.S. study finds - "Canada ranks No. 1 among 19 wealthy countries for percentage of roadway deaths linked to alcohol impairment"

Edmonton ranks among highest for impaired driving incidents in Canada: Stats Canada

DISGUSTING: Feminist Groups SILENT As Women Protest Real Oppression In Iran - "American feminist groups are gearing up for a repeat of last year's "Women's March," but as their sisters take to the streets to protest a truly oppressive, fundamentalist government, seeking true equal rights, American feminist organizations are — disgustingly — silent. The symbol of the Iranian freedom protests, this time around, is even a woman who threw off her veil in front of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and stood defiantly as freedom fighters massed around her... Linda Sarsour, one of the Women's March leaders, has spent the last year trying to claim that hijabs are a symbol of "empowerment"; it would be tough for the Marchers to continue to promote their propaganda as women in Iran throw their headscarves off in the streets as a symbol of their own freedom."

NHS apologises after woman is allocated transsexual nurse - "A woman who asked to be seen by a female nurse when she went for a smear test was 'embarrassed' when she was allocated a person with 'stubble and a beard'. Upon being called in for the procedure, the patient said she was 'distressed' to discover that the nurse was biologically male. When she pointed out the mistake, the nurse responded that their gender was not male and that they were transsexual... The patient described the nurse as having an 'obviously male appearance...close-cropped hair, a male facial appearance and voice, large number of tattoos and facial stubble.'... It comes as equalities minister and education secretary Justine Greening said she was considering proposals that would allow people to legally change their gender without being diagnosed by a doctor"

Art teacher in Utah fired after showing students classic paintings containing nudity.

Palestinians Blame Israel For Injuries Sustained in Premature Explodation - "A palestinian woman tries to detonate a car bomb at a checkpoint. Ends up only causing a fire in her car, resulting in her sustaining serious burns on her face, hands, back and chest, and resulting in her hand being amputated. And in typical palestinian style, they have found a way to blame her hand amputation on Israel"

Big elections test for media is coming - "The new team knows what happened to the Editor at that time, Han Fook Kwan. The government was unhappy with a rare display of independence and fairness in how ST reported the election. In an unusual act of wanting to play fair, Han placed equal-sized photographs of DPM Teo Chee Hean and Opposition leader Low Thia Khiang on Page One. Soon after, he was relieved of his job as editor. The coverage returned to ST’s usual standards under its new editor, Warren Fernandez. The spring vanished as fast as it came. With a new election looming and ST under revenue pressure, will the paper continue with its same-old approach? Will the government give it some leeway to report the election more independently? The choice is simple for the paper. Continue on the same path of an overtly pro-government approach and risk losing even more readers."

2017: The Year Where Almost Everything Went Wrong For Marvel Comics | Hollywood Reporter - "An interview with SVP sales David Gabriel, published on the same day as the previous report, provoked an even greater reaction after it appeared to show the exec complaining about characters’ diversity in Marvel’s output. “What we heard was that people didn't want any more diversity,” he said. “They didn't want female characters out there. That's what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don't know that that's really true, but that's what we saw in sales. We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against.” Response was so vehement that Gabriel was forced to release a statement clarifying his comments... the solicitations for Marvel’s March 2018 releases signals the cancelations of a number of comic series, including Gwenpool, Luke Cage, America, Generation X, Hawkeye, She-Hulk and Iceman. As has become customary, Marvel as a company has yet to comment officially on the cancelations — and declines to comment when specifically asked about them — with confirmations coming directly from the creators behind the comics on social media. That the majority of series confirmed to be ending feature female leads or men of color didn’t escape the notice of many fans, with discussion of a boycott of the publisher soon following"
Marvel Comics is so bigoted that even though they are greedy capitalists, they pull diversity comics even though they have high sales!

Why Facebook is asking for nude photos in order to combat revenge porn - "Facebook says users who are concerned they could be targeted by revenge porn can submit a complaint with the country's eSafety commissioner, then send their nude images to themselves via Messenger. These two actions combined will trigger a Facebook employee to screen the images and make a "digital fingerprint" of them, which will then be used to prevent those same images from showing up elsewhere on the platform."

This is why Saddam Hussein’s fedayeen troops wore Darth Vader helmets - "Their commander, Hussein’s son Uday, was a huge Star Wars fan"

Bestiality brothels are 'spreading through Germany' as campaigner claims abusers see sex with animals as a 'lifestyle choice' - "Bestiality brothels are spreading through Germany faster than ever thanks to a law that makes animal porn illegal but sex with animals legal, a livestock protection officer has warned... 'There are now animal brothels in Germany,' Martin told the paper, adding that people were playing down the issue by by describing it as a 'lifestyle choice'... There are even 'erotic zoos' which people can visit to abuse animals ranging from llamas to goats... German 'zoophile' group ZETA has announced it will mount a legal challenge should a ban on bestiality become law. 'Mere concepts of morality have no business being law,' said ZETA chairman Michael Kiok."

Telegram: Contact @sgmrt - "Get realtime MRT disruption and delay updates, plan alternate routes and minimise inconvenience!"

Betsy DeVos is right about campus sexual assault (opinion) - "Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a speech announcing the reversal of Obama-era policies on campus sexual assault under Title IX, the federal law on gender equity in education. This was met with a wave of outrage on social media and in progressive publications. There were angry accusations that the move would harm women and protect rapists; a #StopBetsy hashtag sprang up on Twitter. Why the fury? DeVos offered a full-throated defense of due process...
DeVos had harsh words for Barack Obama's administration, charging that it "weaponized the [Department of Education] Office for Civil Rights to work against schools and against students." That was a reference to the administration's 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter to college presidents, which issued directives on Title IX enforcement — later backed by a threat to withhold federal funds from schools found noncompliant... In a 2014 case at Amherst College, another "John Doe," whose lawsuit was recently settled out of court, was branded a perpetrator when he was arguably the victim: The school accepted his claim that he had no memory of the incident due to intoxication, while the female student's text messages appeared to confirm she initiated the sexual contact. DeVos' attention to the wrongly accused rankles advocates who say such cases are incredibly rare. One commonly cited figure, from a 2010 study, is that 2% to 8% of campus rape reports are false. Yet even that small number warrants taking innocence seriously. What's more, it includes only reports proven to be knowingly false; more than half of all complaints in the same study were closed, due to inconclusive evidence or allegations that did not meet the definition of sexual assault. Ultimately, no one knows how many people are wrongfully accused... waking up your partner with a kiss (an offense that, in part, got a gay man expelled from Brandeis University). And she is correct that neither the accused nor victims are well-served by a university justice system in which people with no forensic or legal training play cop, prosecutor and judge... How ironic that some of the same people who accuse the Trump administration of wanting to gut civil rights also excoriate DeVos for wanting more respect for due process"
This suggests that liberals oppose due process when it's convenient

Hillary Clinton backer paid $500G to fund women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct before Election Day, report says - "Former Clinton nemesis turned Clinton operative David Brock also donated $200,000 to the effort through a nonprofit group he founded, the paper reported in an article entitled, “Partisans, Wielding Money, Begin Seeking to Exploit Harassment Claims.”"

Observations - 17th May 2018

"What 'multiculturalism' boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture - and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture." Thomas Sowell


On the study which supposedly showed that homophobes are gay: "we learned in science class that watching a loved one run over by a car can cause an erection due to the extreme excitement and anxiety. This is clearly not a form of sexual excitement-with maybe a few warped exceptions."

Since courts in the developed world subscribe to the view that sexual assault is about power, not sex (that the accused is not sexually aroused by the alleged victim is not considered a defence), if a gay man is accused by a woman of sexual assault his sexuality would presumably not be a defence.

"Girls like the men in GQ, unfortunately the men in GQ also like the men in GQ...."

"*** once told me to shove it when i called gay people homosexual
its derogatory she said
i should be claling them gays and lesbians
and when i told her this is the most neutral term to call them, scientfically speaking she said fuck your science"

"percuma = free in Malay, useless in Indonesian"

"I've found a new way to explain what lppl is. Lppl = touche" (LPPL is typically said by other people though)

Bjorn means bear. Maybe Scandinavian male names are more funky than Anglo ones

How many people can read the Arabic signs at hawker stalls in Singapore? What if someone puts up one that says "warning: not halal"?

Military personnel are probably less respected in countries with mass conscription. Familiarity breeds contempt.

How does SAF mobilisation work if you live in Johor?

In Nazi concentration camps, escape put other prisoners at risk as they would be punished for the escapees' "crimes".

Other prisoners would also have to work harder to take up the slack created by the escapees' escape.

Prisoners (not just prisoners of war but also undesirables) were also told that their efforts were necessary for the country's war effort and survival.

The parallels with National Slavery are uncanny.

Amused that you can use VBE to make an Excel sheet not just Hidden but VeryHidden

After eating Indian food for almost every meal for 9 days, I started to smell like curry. So now I have personal evidence for the "why Indians smell different" theory

If you're slow to reply to others, should you expect others to be quick to reply to you?

"Someone should write a book about things Malcolm Gladwell has gotten wrong."

"I have witnessed quite a few work incidents where colleagues slice chilli padi then go take a piss. Didn't end well for them."

The best things about an activity tracker are being able to monitor your sleep and being notified when someone calls you

Why do Americans use ounces but not drachms or grains but instead grams? Can't we at least get consistency?

The "low importance" email flag is so rarely used that when I see an "unimportant" email I actually pay more attention to it

Links - 17th May 2018 (2)

How Brexit shattered progressives' dearest illusions - "Liberals believe in the rule of law; in individual rights to speech, worship, assembly, and private property; in an independent judiciary and civilian control of the military; in representative institutions founded on the consent of the governed; in democratic elections, not as ends in themselves but as checks on the power of government and as a means of gauging and forging popular support for policies pursued by public officials in the name of the common good. Progressives believe in all of that, too, but they add something else: a quasi-eschatological faith in historical progress that gives the movement its name... It would be one thing if progressives understood their universalistic moral and political convictions to constitute one legitimate partisan position among many. But they don't understand them in this way. They believe not only that their views deserve to prevail in the fullness of time, but also that they are bound to prevail. It is this faith in the inevitability of progressive triumph that has led so many commentators to respond so intensely to the rise of Donald Trump. I don't mean reactions that focus on Trump's personal, temperamental shortcomings. Those are real and worthy of serious concern. I mean reactions that take the form of moral indignation and outrage — as if the very fact that millions of voters have cast ballots for a candidate who strongly opposes immigration and free trade is some kind of moral and theological betrayal, or an offense against capital-H History itself."

The Real War on Science - "I’ve read the Left’s indictments, including Chris Mooney’s bestseller, The Republican War on Science. I finished it with the same question about this war that I had at the outset: Where are the casualties? Where are the scientists who lost their jobs or their funding? What vital research has been corrupted or suppressed? What scientific debate has been silenced?... there’s the Left’s opposition to genetically modified foods, which stifled research into what could have been a second Green Revolution to feed Africa. Second, there’s the campaign by animal-rights activists against medical researchers, whose work has already been hampered and would be devastated if the activists succeeded in banning animal experimentation. Third, there’s the resistance in academia to studying the genetic underpinnings of human behavior, which has cut off many social scientists from the recent revolutions in genetics and neuroscience. Each of these abuses is far more significant than anything done by conservatives, and there are plenty of others. The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left... Even biologists and geneticists are afraid of the R-word. More than 100 of them sent a letter to the New York Times denouncing Wade’s book as inaccurate, yet they refused to provide any examples of his mistakes. They apparently hadn’t bothered to read the book because they accused Wade of linking racial variations to IQ scores—a link that his book specifically rejected. Some genetic differences are politically acceptable on the left, such as the biological basis for homosexuality, which was deemed plausible by 70 percent of sociologists in a recent survey. But that same survey found that only 43 percent accepted a biological explanation for male-female differences in spatial skills and communication... It was no coincidence that these doubters espoused the most extreme left-wing political views and the strongest commitment to a feminist perspective... he laments that Americans don’t take his warnings on climate change seriously. He doesn’t seem to realize that public skepticism has a lot to do with the dismal track record of himself and his fellow environmentalists. There’s always an apocalypse requiring the expansion of state power. The visions of global famine were followed by more failed predictions, such as an “age of scarcity” due to vanishing supplies of energy and natural resources and epidemics of cancer and infertility caused by synthetic chemicals. In a 1976 book, The Genesis Strategy, the climatologist Stephen Schneider advocated a new fourth branch of the federal government (with experts like himself serving 20-year terms) to deal with the imminent crisis of global cooling. He later switched to become a leader in the global-warming debate... The most vocal critics of climate dogma are a half-dozen think tanks that together spend less than $15 million annually on environmental issues. The half-dozen major green groups spend more than $500 million, and the federal government spends $10 billion on climate research and technology to reduce emissions. Add it up, and it’s clear that scientists face tremendous pressure to support the “consensus” on reducing carbon emissions"

Sweet Potatoes vs Yams vs Taro vs Yuca

What Do Palestinians Want? - "In matters that necessarily involved both Israel and the Palestinians, massive majorities blamed Israel and denied any responsibility on their side. Cases in point include the suspension of negotiations between Israel and the PLO (1997), the failure of talks at Camp David (2000), the breakdown of a ceasefire during the second intifada (2003), the collapse of the peace process (2004), the outbreak of the first Gaza war (2008), the non-implementation of the Oslo accords (2012), the outbreak of the second Gaza war (2012), and the breakdown of negotiations between the sides and the third Gaza war (2014)... most ordinary Palestinians do not believe Jews have a right to a state there... Israeli decisions to pull out of previously held territory have been seen by Palestinians as a consequence of their “armed resistance” and not as a function of Israeli strategic interests, international pressure, or other factors. This was pointedly true regarding the decision by the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to leave the Gaza Strip... when Palestinians look back at sustained campaigns of violence, whether in the second intifada or in the three wars with Hamas, they see them as victories, and they tend to believe that armed campaigns are also likely to be effective in the future... On 17 occasions between April 2001 and March 2013, JMCC asked, “How do you feel toward suicide-bombing operations against Israeli civilians?” Supporters outnumbered opponents all but four times, and on average the level of support exceeded opposition by a full twenty points... Palestinian perpetrators of violence reflect and are acting on the basis of views widely held in their society"
Of course, people will just continue to claim that ordinary people (or Palestinians, anyway) are peace loving

Controversial Drexel professor resigns - "The last 12 months have seen one controversy after another over the tweets of George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University... The controversy over the professor started last Christmas Eve, when Ciccariello-Maher tweeted: "All I want for Christmas is white genocide"... Ciccariello-Maher was again in the news when he tweeted about his reaction when he saw a passenger in first class give up his seat on a flight. "Some guy in first class gave up his seat for a uniformed soldier. People are thanking him. I'm trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul"... the university placed Ciccariello-Maher on leave after his tweets about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Ciccariello-Maher posted a series of tweets after the shooting in which he noted that the shooter was a wealthy white man and said that he didn't think gun control, as advocated by liberals, would prevent such shootings. "To believe that someone who would shoot down 50 people wouldn't circumvent any gun law you pass is the height of delusion," he wrote. But the attacks on the professor have focused on what he said was the cause of the tragedy in Las Vegas. Ciccariello-Maher blamed "Trumpism" and the entitlement of white men. "White people and men are told that they are entitled to everything. This is what happens when they don't get what they want," he wrote. And "the narrative of white victimization has been gradually built over the past 40 years.""
The messages of support he's getting on his Facebook are telling: they salute him as a comrade, talk about him praising Venezuela etc. Apparently he "viewed his position as an educator to be synonymous with being an "organizer.""

NYU Law Students Need To Get Off Their High Horse - "a bunch of NYU Law students signed onto a “Statement of No Confidence in Harold H. Koh,” which is reproduced on the next page. Calling out Professor Koh for his stance on targeted killing and citing a number of scholarly critics, the students demand the school kick Koh to the curb... Professor Koh didn’t call in drone strikes, he was asked whether he thinks a particular drone strike policy is legal under prevailing international norms. Regardless of how one feels about war generally, whether drones fit within the bounds of a body of law specifically designed to govern killing other people is a scholarly dispute... Calling for the heads of Professor Koh or Professor Yoo over their legal counsel is like declaring Johnny Cochran a murderer because he helped get O.J. off."

Dating Friends Brings Benefits - "When a relationship starts between two strangers (like in our example) they tend to be relatively closely matched in attractiveness. But when relationships have their roots in friendship things start to look a little different... the longer you have to get to know someone, the more you can learn their quirks and see how good a romantic partner they might be"

Benefit or burden? Attraction in cross-sex friendship - "emerging adult males reported more attraction to their friend than emerging adult females did, regardless of their own or their friend’s current relationship status. In our second study, both emerging and middle-aged adult males and females nominated attraction to their cross-sex friend as a cost more often than as a benefit. Younger females and middle-aged participants who reported more attraction to a current cross-sex friend reported less satisfaction in their current romantic relationship"

Why we’re better off with fewer friends - "The growth in the number of our friends has actually been accompanied with an increase in social isolation, as Sherry Turkle describes. We are more connected, yet more alone. It turns out that there is a correlation between Facebook use and loneliness. The very highest users of Facebook tend to feel less satisfied with life and are less happy... He found two distinct relationship-related values: popularity (the drive to have more friends and be liked by a wider circle of people) and affinity (the drive to deepen and build close relationships). Those for whom popularity was more important, were less happy, less healthy, more depressed, and used more drugs. Those who strived for affinity were the complete opposite. We wrongly assume more is better for most things in life. It just isn’t the case with relationships... I like to link Kasser’s work with the brilliant research into primates by Robin Dunbar where he estimated the maximum size of social groupings in apes as well as humans, based on the size of their brain. It turns out the maximum number of relationships humans can manage is 150. This has become known as Dunbar’s number. What is less widely known is that his research showed other numbers too. For example, he found people tend to have five people closest to them, then the next level of closeness involves 15 people, then 50, then 150. Nearly all the well-being benefits from relationships don’t come from the 500 Facebook friends, or even the 150 or the 50. They come from the 15. Quality time spent with your 15 closest friends and family will have a direct impact on your happiness, health and longevity (and theirs too)."

Spain Did Not Commit Any Genocide in America: What It Did Was To End One - "In a letter dated 1524, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, the first Bishop of Mexico, pointed out that in Tenochtitlán more than 20,000 people each year were sacrificed to the idols and more than 72,000 throughout the Aztec Empire, including 20,000 children. The Mexican historian Mariano Cuevas (1879-1949) estimated these sacrifices at 20,000 annually in Tenochtitlan, and noted that “we are short” if we number 100,000 annual sacrifices perpetrated throughout the Anáhuac, name given by the Aztecs to the territory that occupied their empire. In the first volume of his “History of the Church in Mexico,” Cuevas pointed out: “In the beams and stands of Mixcoatl, the largest temple in Mexico, Andres de Tapia and Gonzalo de Umbria counted 136,000 sacrificed Indian skulls.“ In the same book he points out that “the Mexicas and allied neighbors lived in continuous wars with other warlike peoples, wars that had as their exclusive object the captivation of as many of their opposites as possible and then sacrificed.“... In 1521 the Spaniards put an end to these genocidal practices, associated with pre-Columbian pagan religions"

European Maps Showing Origins Of Common Words - ""Bear" appears to be influenced by Russia, where largest brown bear population in Europe can be found. Notice the dominant word literally means "honey-eater.""

A funny inspirational picture quote of a frog and a crane with the words Never Give Up - "A cranes tries to swallow a frog but soon discovers that the frog won’t give up easily, reaching out and choking the crane."

The Problem with Privilege Theory - "When Kimberlé Crenshaw coined “intersectionality” to give Critical Race Theorists and middle class feminists an umbrella to work together, the result was the simplistic worldview of Privilege Theory: There are no rights. Everyone’s either privileged or oppressed, so those who are not oppressed are privileged."

Chinese Skeletons In Roman Britain? Not So Fast - "Several British news outlets today ran a story with headlines about Chinese people in Roman Britain. While there is no doubt that the Roman Empire was cosmopolitan, and it is entirely likely that people of East Asian ancestry will be found in all parts of the Empire, we need to take a step back from the hype and look at the data. The new study in question is by Rebecca Redfern and colleagues, out in the October issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. The researchers looked at 22 skeletons from the Lant Street cemetery in the London borough of Southwark, dating to the 2nd-4th century AD. In order to figure out where people might be from, they examined oxygen isotopes from the teeth, carbon and nitrogen isotopes from the bones, and the shape of the skull, correlating those data where possible with burial evidence."

The Wealth of Colonizers (or Lack Thereof) - "Liberia became formally independent in 1847, though was arguably functionally independent as far back as 1822. Despite it’s independence, Liberia’s per capita GDP (PPP) is $886, $878 and $900 according to the IMF, World Bank and CIA respectively, which is well below the Sub-Saharan African average. Within Africa, by far the most “colonized” country was South Africa, in terms of proportion of the population that was European, length of formal and effective European rule, and economic impact of European intervention. If colonization impoverishes the colonized people, we should expect the blacks in South Africa to be especially poor, but we don’t see that at all... White colonizing countries were no wealthier than non-colonizing white countries—that weren’t Communist. None of the colonizing white countries were Communist. The “colonial exploiter” narrative should predict that these countries should be wealthier than non-colonial white countries that weren’t Communist."

Colonial European Settlement Had Positive Effect on Income Today, Study Shows - "Having European settlers who came to a given country during colonial times had a remarkably strong positive effect on average per capita income we observe today"
What did the Romans ever do for us?

Colonialism and Modern Income -- Islands as Natural Experiments - "The number of years spent as a European colony is strongly positively related to the island's GDP per capita and negatively related to infant mortality. This basic relationship is also found to hold for a standard dataset of developing countries... Time spent as a colony after 1700 is more beneficial to modern income than years before 1700, consistent with a change in the nature of colonial relationships over time"

The Gall-Peters map is just as distorted as the Mercator - "City authorities decided it would be best to introduce the Gall-Peters style map of Earth to schools, because it shows the size of countries more accurately. It replaces the traditional Mercator map style that many of us are familiar with... The Boston authorities thought in an era of "alternative facts," a shift in the map style was called for, to "decolonize the curriculum" in public schools, and more accurately depict the sizes of countries. Greenland, for example, is actually a lot smaller than the Mercator shows, and South America is really twice the size of Europe. However, while some see the change as a victory against "fake news," not everyone is thrilled with the decision. The Gall-Peters map shows the correct sizes of countries, but it also distorts them. Countries are stretched horizontally near the poles and vertically near the Equator, so although the size may be right, the shape definitely isn't. The problem is, it's impossible to stretch the 3D sphere shape of the Earth onto a 2D sheet of paper. No matter which way it's done, there will always be a compromise somewhere on shape, size, direction, distance or scale"

Sanctuary city policies are ruining California — here’s why I left - "Progressives in California over the last ten years have increasingly placed the so-called “rights” of illegal immigrants over the public safety of its residents. San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee once called illegal immigration “part of the DNA of the city.” Even California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra — the man responsible for upholding the law — is ironically for actually breaking federal immigration law... approximately one-fourth of the prison inmate population are illegal immigrants being housed on the taxpayers’ dime. While liberals often suggest that the illegal immigrant population is relatively low and therefore no threat to public safety, federal crime statistics show that a heavy percentage of inmates, criminal offenders and murderers are illegal immigrants. According to an article earlier this year at TheHill, “a population of just over 3.5 percent residing in the U.S. unlawfully committed 22 percent to 37 percent of all murders in the nation.”"

In for a finger, in for a cock

Ng Jun Xian v Public Prosecutor [2016] SGHC 286

"I am in full agreement with the Prosecution’s submission as summarised at above that the court must be slow to assume that the offence of digital penetration is always less severe than that of rape and thus attracting a lower sentence. The harm and consequences of digital penetration cannot be underestimated or understated. It represents a very serious violation of the bodily integrity and privacy of the victim, and is undoubtedly an act deserving of severe punishment. I also agree that the punishment for an offence of digital penetration simpliciter (ie, without aggravating factors) should be closer to that of rape simpliciter (ie, Category 1 rape)."

This was however more extensively qualified in Pram Nair v Public Prosecutor [2017] SGCA 56:

"At the highest level of abstraction, there is an intelligible difference between penile penetration of the vagina and digital penetration of the vagina. There are at least two reasons for this.

(a) One, penile penetration carries the risk of unwanted pregnancy and of transmitting sexual diseases. The cases and authorities all recognise this as a relevant consideration even if they regard it as insufficient to justify a differentiation in benchmark sentences (see the Sentence GD at [56]; R v Hibberd at [19], and the UK Sentencing Council’s guideline at p 29). It cannot be denied that an unwanted pregnancy and contracting a sexually-transmitted disease would have far-reaching consequences for the victim. The knowledge that she would be at risk of becoming pregnant or contracting a sexually-transmitted disease would itself inflict an extra level of trauma on the victim.

(b) Two, penile penetration is a more intimate act than digital penetration. The abuse of such an act therefore represents a greater degree of intrusion into the sexual autonomy of the victim. Also, an offender derives more gratification from penile penetration than digital penetration. There is therefore a greater degree of exploitation by the offender of the victim...

As a matter of case law, our courts have always said that rape is generally regarded as "the most grave of all the sexual offences”"

In a more day-to-day context, we can see that a reasonable man would agree: a teenage girl may allow her boyfriend to finger (aka digitally penetrate) her, but not fuck her (aka engage in penile penetration), since the former is considered less intimate and sexual than the latter.
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