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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Links - 28th July 2018 (2)

Biological Changes in Human Populations with Agriculture | Annual Review of Anthropology - "Contrary to earlier models, the adoption of agriculture involved an overall decline in oral and general health. This decline is indicated by elevated prevalence of various skeletal and dental pathological conditions and alterations in skeletal and dental growth patterns in prehistoric farmers compared with foragers. In addition, changes in food composition and preparation technology contributed to craniofacial and dental alterations, and activity levels and mobility decline resulted in a general decrease in skeletal robusticity. These findings indicate that the shift from food collection to food production occasioned significant and widespread biological changes in human populations during the last 10,000 years."

Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. - "Our analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was ecologically possible, hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45-65% of energy) of animal food. Most (73%) of the worldwide hunter-gatherer societies derived >50% (> or =56-65% of energy) of their subsistence from animal foods, whereas only 14% of these societies derived >50% (> or =56-65% of energy) of their subsistence from gathered plant foods. This high reliance on animal-based foods coupled with the relatively low carbohydrate content of wild plant foods produces universally characteristic macronutrient consumption ratios in which protein is elevated (19-35% of energy) at the expense of carbohydrates (22-40% of energy)."
So much for what feminists claim is the myth of the male hunter bringing home the food when really most of the food was gathered by women
Also: vegan myths

Petition gathers support for men-only train carriages in Japan - "the problem of chikan, (the Japanese word for perverts who grope others on the street or on public transport) which is one of the main reasons for the perceived continued need for women-only carriages, is also one of the main arguments being put forward for men-only areas. Many male passengers have expressed concern about the potential to be branded a chikan even for inadvertent physical contact on busy trains. This fear of false accusation seems to be the main driving force behind support for men-only carriages"

Alberta Schols -- 'Mother' & 'Father" Transphobic Words - "Alberta’s government has released a new set of guidelines for how to have an “inclusive” environment in its schools — including instructions to avoid using the words “mother” and “father” because, you know, how heteronormative and transphobic are those?... “It used to be ‘Heather has two mommies. Now, it’s ‘Heather has two non-gendered and inclusive caregivers.”"

Ed Sheeran’s Security Guard Has An Instagram, And It’s Better Than His Boss’s

EU proposal to monitor "intolerant" citizens - ""There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant" — European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance, Article 4... The policy proposal was drafted by the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), a non-governmental organization established in Paris in 2008 by the former president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, and the president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor. The ECTR -- which describes itself as a "tolerance watchdog" that "prepares practical recommendations to governments and international organizations on improving interreligious and interethnic relations on the continent" -- includes on its board more than a dozen prominent European politicians, including former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar."

Poor white boys get 'a worse start in life' says equality report - "1. Poor white boys got the worst results overall
2. White pupils in general did worse than all other race groups
3. Chinese pupils among boys and girls did the best...
2. In both charts the boys generally did worse in exams than the girls...
The Is Britain Fairer? review has brought together a huge amount of official data and surveys from the past five years to come up with the findings."
White privilege and male privilege
Of course feminists and anti-racists can just blame white people and boys for doing badly despite their privilege

Malaysia reveals national debt far higher than figure under Najib - "The larger debt figure, which was officially 686.8 billion ringgit at the end of 2017, has led to speculation that former Prime Minister Najib Razak's government altered records to hide the extent of corruption. The revelation has shaken investor trust and the fiscal turmoil could scare foreign money away... The new administration also revealed that Najib's government funneled about 7 billion ringgit into 1MDB, the state fund at the heart of a corruption scandal that led to Najib's downfall in this month's election. The former prime minister had claimed 1MDB was paying its own interest with money saved from streamlining operations, but evidence suggests otherwise."
So much for democracy and freedom of speech being bad

Germany will now train asylum seekers to become truck drivers - "Due to an acute shortage of professional truck drivers the German trucking association has launched a new project to train asylum seekers for the job, Austria’s tabloid Wochenblick reports. The project, which is named “The drive into your new future” intends to make it easier for asylum seekers to become truck drivers... It’s unclear how the German public thinks about the initiative. On 19 December 2016 asylum seeker Anis Amri drove a truck deliberately into a Christmas market in Berlin leaving 12 people dead and 56 injured."

Marriage, families under stress as norms change - "Relaxing divorce law might paradoxically increase marriages if young adults know there is a way out if the marriage does not work; or the possibility of leaving a marriage might keep spouses on their toes"
Strange how countries with easy divorces have fewer marriages and many divorces; in the US since no fault divorce came along the divorce rate has soared and the marriage rate has plummeted. Ah well, sociology!

Weekend lie-ins could help you avoid an early death, study says - "adults under the age of 65 who get five or fewer hours of sleep for seven days a week have a higher risk of death than those who consistently get six or seven hours’ shut-eye. However the effect of short sleeps over a few days may be countered by a later lie-in. The research found that individuals who managed just a few hours’ sleep each day during the week but then had a long snooze at weekends had no raised mortality risk, compared with those who consistently stuck to six or seven hours a night... people who slept for eight or more hours, seven days a week, were found to have a 25% higher mortality rate compared with those who kept to six or seven hours a day. The study also found that the link between sleep patterns and mortality disappeared for those aged 65 or older. That, Åkerstedt said, was perhaps because older individuals got the sleep they needed"

Inequality, ethnic diversity, and redistribution - "Using a dataset covering 89 developed and developing democracies, I find that inequality is associated with more redistribution. Second, I show that inequality’s effect on redistribution is weaker in democracies in which the poor – defined as the people with income below the median – are divided along ethnic lines than in those in which they are ethnically unified. Taken together, these results suggest that although economic inequality increases redistribution, the magnitude of the relationship is conditional on how inequality interacts with other social cleavages, such as ethnicity."
When two tenets of the left - redistribution and ethnic diversity - come into conflict

Major Donor Pulls Funding From University Of Minnesota For Discriminating Against Ben Shapiro - "After the shabby treatment the University of Minnesota doled out to Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro in February, relegating him to speaking off-campus rather than on the main campus despite the fact that they had easily found space on campus for arch-leftist Senator Elizabeth Warren and home state leftist Senator Al Franken, a major donor to the university has pulled their funding and shifted to partnering with Young Americans for Freedom — the chapter affiliate of Young America’s Foundation, which had sponsored Shapiro’s speech."

The Two Crucial Filmmaking Elements Causing All Your Movie Feuds - "I mentioned the opening of Pixar’s Up earlier and it really is just a remarkable, powerful bit of storytelling. Heck, merely referencing it can cause certain people to well up. It’s the perfect combination of meaning, sight, sound and elegance. And yet, in talking about it now I cannot help but think of a moment from my life that happened while we were all re-watching it. For context, someone in their late twenties was showing the film to her mother for the very first time. She was prepared for them both to cry their eyes out, understanding the power of loss at play. And, as the opening sequence started unfolding, getting to the most heartbreaking moment of loss, her mother turned to see many of us, along with her daughter, crying hysterically at the scene, and…I will never forget this…she looked her dead in the eye with a confused, even excited grin on her face and exclaimed, “Why are you crying? It’s only a cartoon!”... the delights of a J.J. Abrams movies do not ultimately stick with us. They are fleeting. And we can certainly feel fleeting things, but deep, resonant meaning is the real reason things stick with us. And those things come from the coherent dramatized text of the experience"

We Tried Sandra Bullock's 'Penis Facial' - "as DeGeneres bluntly points out, the EGF is derived from “foreskin from a Korean baby.”"
It might be cheaper to get clitoral hoods from Africa

Push to diversify Barnard English curriculum sparks department-wide debate - "while students and some faculty are urging the department to focus on discussing important topics in literature such as race and ethnicity, senior professors emphasize that an English major should focus on primarily classical British and American texts, which are essential to building a framework for understanding other works of literature. For those students interested in more diverse authors and ideas. these faculty point to supplemental courses offered by the department. However, as a result of the curriculum’s failure to prioritize diversity within its texts, students have reported choosing not to major in English altogether... “After years of experience, I would say ‘too bad,’ [to students who want the curriculum to change],” Senior Scholar and Emerita Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of English Anne Lake Prescott said. “In order to understand later literature you need to have read some Shakespeare, Milton, Tennyson. This is good background for an English major. The brutal part of my mind says, ‘If you don’t like it, don’t major in English.’ Many professors would feel that if you don’t give the basics of the British literature supplemented by American literature, you simply can’t understand some of the moderns.”... Asha Futterman, BC ’21, wanted to be an English major until she looked at the requirements, which she found discouraging in their lack of diversity. She also grew tired of being the only black student in her English classes. She has since decided to pursue an Africana studies major instead. “With Africana studies, I will read more of the literature that I want to read,” Futterman said. “I’m not interested in the English major because they’re all white men""
If you don't want to learn to appreciate classic texts, maybe English isn't the major for you anyway
If someone was not interested in a major because the reading was all from minorities...

Napflix | Siesta Video Platform. - "We all know the feeling of insomnia. Your body wants to sleep but your mind is still awake and active. So how can we steady up our mind. Napflix is a parody video platform where you can find the most silent and sleepy content selection to relax your brain and easily fall asleep."

The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations - "Standing at either end of a platform in Tokyo’s labyrinthine Shinjuku Station, one might detect a small square LED panel emitting a pleasant, deep-blue glow. Nestled among vending machines and safety posters, the panel might be dismissed as a bug zapper. But these simple blue panels are designed to save lives. Operating on the theory that exposure to blue light has a calming effect on one’s mood, rail stations in Japan began installing these LED panels as a suicide-prevention measure in 2009. They are strategically located at the ends of each platform—typically the most-isolated and least-trafficked area, and accordingly, the point from which most platform jumps occur... data analyzed over a 10-year period shows an 84 percent decline in the number of suicide attempts at stations where blue lights are installed. A subsequent study revealed no corresponding increase in suicide attempts at neighboring stations lacking such lights... JR East commissioned Yamaha and composer Hiroaki Ide to create hassha melodies—short, ear-pleasing jingles to replace the traditional departure buzzer. Also known as departure or train melodies, hassha tunes are brief, calming and distinct; their aim is to notify commuters of a train’s imminent departure without inducing anxiety. To that end, most melodies are composed to an optimal length of 7 seconds... A study conducted in October 2008 at Tokyo Station, for instance, found a 25 percent reduction in the number of passenger injuries attributable to rushing after the introduction of hassha melodies on certain platforms... Japanese train conductors, drivers, and platform attendants are mandated to use the “point and call” method—called shisa kanko—in executing tasks. By physically pointing at an object, and then verbalizing one’s intended action, a greater portion of the brain is engaged, providing improved situational awareness and accuracy. Studies have repeatedly shown that this technique reduces human error by as much as 85 percent. Pointing-and-calling is now a major workplace safety feature in industries throughout Japan."

The Death and Life of the 13-Month Calendar - "The 13-month calendar worked so well at Kodak that the company used it until 1989, 57 years after Eastman committed suicide... "It was a major piece of financial applications, and from a financial perspective it made the ability to compare sales periods a hell of a lot easier."

'Real Indian' running against Sen. Elizabeth Warren sues after city tells him to stop calling her 'Fake Indian' - "The upstart independent Senate challenger, Shiva Ayyadurai, on Sunday filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the demand from the city of Cambridge violates his constitutional free speech rights... Experts have cast doubt on Warren's claim. “The problem with Warren’s story is that none of the evidence supports it,” Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes wrote after researching Warren's family."

A day in the breasts of a busty Japanese idol【360-degree video】 - "Erina Kamiya. In addition to being a member of idol unit Kamen Joshi, Kamiya regularly creates videos for her personal YouTube channel, and her most recent hit really exemplifies her above-and-beyond-the-bare-minimum work ethic, since she’s recorded a day in her life using a 360-degree camera, despite the fact that most viewers will primarily be interested in only a few select angles. For example, clicking on the video while it’s playing, than dragging the cursor to shift the camera downward, makes what would be an otherwise dull video of Kamiya drinking a cup of morning green tea rather compelling."

Fears over Japanese knotweed are 'xenophobic', environmental expert claims - "Writer Fred Pearce said the knotweed – which originates in East Asia and strangles other plants – is not as dangerous as many believe. He added that fears over grey squirrels and American beavers are also exaggerated. Mr Pearce argued native species such as nettles and brambles, as well as red deer, are not seen as such a threat because they are British."

Sleeping Beauty and Consent Culture

*Prince is poised to kiss Sleeping Beauty and break her curse*
"Wait, this wouldn't be consensual"
*Sleeping Beauty dies and rots away*

Links - 28th July 2018 (1)

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Responding to chemical weapons: are we entering a New Cold War? - Broadcasts - "'Karen Pierce, the British Ambassador to the UN challenged her Russian counterpart by saying: 'This isn't like the Cold War, because during the Cold War, your predecessors played by the same set of rules as we did'. This argument about a kind of rules-based conduct of international relations seems to have become quite important in the debate at the moment, not least over the idea that use of chemical weapons somehow breaks the rules of war. Is there a worry that some sort of rules based system is breaking down?'
'Well two things. In one sense you're referring to two sets of rules. I mean in the more general sense you're right. The hope was that when the Cold War ended, Russia and indeed in many ways the same applies to China could be drawn into what is called the international rules-based system. You heard many people talking about making China a responsible stakeholder in the international system and it seems increasingly that countries like Russia and China want to play by their own rules...
The Russian government, accused by the British of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal using a nerve agent has deflected the accusation with a blizzard of alternative theories, imaginative enough to satisfy Conan Doyle but bewildering too, because of Moscow's inability to substantiate any of them... the Foreign Ministry in Moscow offered its latest: that the Skripals are being held hostage in the UK...
Nearly 80% of Russians get their news from the TV, and almost all TV channels are state funded, or have strong state affiliation. And of course, since this crisis has started, for example, polls show that more and more Russians treat the UK as their enemy. So they become more and more suspicious. And state media does a lot to promote this image and has been doing for quite a while. Definitely since 2014 the Russian state TV's portraying Russia as a besieged fortress. As the only capital, Moscow the only capital in the world, standing against the Western conspiracy and fighting for the truth as they show it. I think one of the brightest examples is that Skripal was poisoned on the fourth of March and on the 18th of March. Russian presidential actions took place. So the head of Putin's campaign's press office actually thanked Theresa May for her rhetoric just after the elections have finished saying that this actually helped to attract more people to the pointing stations and helped Putin secure such a high percentage of people supporting him... Putin's approval rating heavily relies on the narrative that Russia is fighting against the West because actually internal matters inside Russia are not that good...
They have a few main strategies. First of all, they multiply various theories. Oh, they might be poisoned by this, by that, not poisoned at all. Second one, they try to question each argument the United Kingdom provides, for example, the recent study with animals... The Russians say, oh, that's suspicious. But Russians are very skilful on noticing those small details, which sometimes can be questioned, for example, British foreign ministry deleted one of its tweets from earlier on. And then Russians say oh look. They are changing their narrative...
When people meet in Northern Ireland, and the first thing they do is try to figure out whether the other person is a Protestant or a Catholic. He said they don't do so by asking outright, but far more subtly."

Trump Does Have a Syria Strategy - "President Obama had grandiose goals that he omitted to attain. He wanted Bashar al-Assad to go. He wanted the Russians to leave Syria. He wanted to promote democracy and protect human rights unless it became too costly (see: vacillation on military aid to Egypt). He wanted to advance the remit of international organizations and international law. His administration talked about “whole of government operations” but failed to conduct them. President Trump has no grandiose goals... Critics are not giving Trump enough credit: He does have a strategy for Syria and the broader Middle East. His strategy is to limit American involvement, to push responsibility for outcomes in the region back onto states in the region, and to let power determine outcomes. He has no particular affinity for states in the region, and professes to be a devoted friend to each without committing to enduring obligations to any. He is indifferent to government type, and just as likely to be a benefactor to authoritarians as to democrats. It is an approach international relations theorists call “realism,” of the variant called “offshore balancing,” as he seeks to withdraw U.S. forces from the region... Obama was self-deterred, whereas Trump—or at least his administration—runs limited risks. Obama generated false hope among reformers and victims; Trump generates no hope. But he does have a strategy, and it does carefully assess and manage risk to achieve its aims."
The IISS approves

Trump’s Russia Policy Is Better Than Obama’s Was – Foreign Policy - "More than a year into his presidency, Trump’s Russia policy is far more forceful than that of his predecessor. It is substantive, antagonistic to Russian aims, and not at all to the Kremlin’s liking. Still, this fact has been buried by politics, optics, and the president’s own behavior... Trump’s policy toward the Kremlin should be evaluated on its merits. If you extract partisan politics and strip away justifiable distaste for his general conduct, what remains is arguably the most effective Russia policy since the end of the Cold War."
So much for collusion

Chinese students being taught 'us and them' brand of diplomacy - China power - "Future diplomats in the Chinese foreign service are taught that a particular set of ideas and ways of thinking are "correct". Above all, they are being taught the importance of maintaining correct-ness... I taught courses in International Relations and International Development at the China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) in Beijing from 2009-2010... At the same time as China was seen to be inherently peaceful, other countries were also understood to have immutable characteristics. This particularly applied to Japan and the US... the ability to think and express the correct ideas is one of the most valued attributes in a Chinese student. Indeed, when I was teaching, I was chastised for not simply explaining what the "right" answers were by way of one-way monologue lectures, which the students could then note down and present back to me at exam time. When I said I didn't care what they answered as long as they made a strong argument to prove their case, they were genuinely confused. One student told me he was advised not to undertake a masters course overseas before applying for the Chinese civil service because learning to think in non-Chinese ways would be a liability, not an asset, for his application. This trend of training for future Chinese diplomats is not set to change in the near future. If anything, under Xi Jinping's increasing control over universities, the range of "correct" is likely to ossify. We cannot assume that future generations of Chinese diplomats will be more open and flexible. Political loyalty will be valued above all else as a measure of performance, leading to more, not fewer, instances of unsubtle diplomatic behaviour... The future of Chinese diplomacy is not just challenged by a shortage of diplomats. Beijing ardently wants to sell a more positive message of China to the world. In a world that will need sophisticated flexibility and savoir faire, Chinese diplomacy may struggle to be up to the task."
So much for mo4 xie3 not really being memorisation for the sake of memorisation, but a way to internalise lessons

China's brazen diplomatic stunt - "Shouting down a host country's Indigenous welcome to country ceremony is diplomacy gone mad. While this may not be the most detailed analytical description of what transpired in Perth on 1 May at the little-known Kimberley Process (a multilateral initiative combating the conflict diamond trade), adjectives like brazen, outlandish, disrespectful or uncouth, just don't seem adequate. What has been reported (in news and social media) is this: at the opening session of the Kimberley Process the Chinese delegation used their microphone to shout over the welcome to country ceremony and the introduction for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who was about to take the stage. The Chinese delegation disrupted the event to protest the attendance of a group from Taiwan... Australians are uncomfortable with the Chinese Communist Party, with 73% of poll respondents answering that they see 'China's system of government' as a negative influence on their overall view of China. The appalling behaviour of the Chinese delegation in Perth will only further cement such feelings... The aggressive diplomatic coercion by the Chinese officials in Perth happens around the world. Last year this video featuring the Queen gave us an insight into the behind-the-scenes difficulties the UK Government encountered leading up to President Xi Jinping's state visit. At the 2010 Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) meeting in Vanuatu, Chinese officials (annoyed by a minor reference to Taiwan in the PIF communiqué) became physical with their hosts... It was a Zimbabwean state-controlled broadcaster that casually broke the story on the same day the drama unfolded. While it was missing much of the important-to-Australia detail, how did Zimbabwe get the jump on the Australia media, on the latter's home turf? This multilateral event was in Perth. The Australian Government was the host. Australia's Foreign Minister wasn't able to deliver her speech at the allotted time because Chinese officials repeatedly interrupted her introduction. They had already disrupted the welcome to country ceremony. This all took place in the Foreign Minister's hometown, in front of international officials, businesspeople and civil society representatives (who, luckily, use Twitter). It was Australia as the host who made the final decision to eject the invited Taiwanese delegation 'in order to allow the meeting to continue', to use the government's words. Taiwan has attended the event in various capacities since 2007 (though not every year). Official rhetoric was completely disconnected from the facts on the ground and gave no hint that an international incident was unfolding. The Australian Government does not have a history of giving into heavy-handed tactics. But it, along with other countries, arguably self-censors to cater for how we think China will react to certain policies"

Chinese city’s idea to deter jaywalkers – spray them with water - "The system in Daye in Hubei province is also fitted with facial recognition technology so offenders can be identified and publicly named and shamed... Pictures taken of offenders will be shown on large screens in public areas."

What’s the ‘dirty secret’ of Western academics who self-censor work on China? - "some researchers in Chinese universities had withdrawn from joint projects with foreign institutions after being warned by authorities that their projects were being monitored. He said some Western academics had become “spooked” during trips to the country when they were stopped by Chinese security agents and asked about their studies. In one case, he said, an academic was told to give the agents a copy of his doctoral dissertation... Australian academia was rocked by an 11th-hour decision by Allen & Unwin to cancel its publication of Silent Invasion, a book by the Australian academic Clive Hamilton that claimed the Chinese government was eroding Australian sovereignty by controlling Chinese businessmen and students in the country, as well as manipulating Australian politicians into taking pro-China stances. Hamilton found a new publisher, Hardie Grant, and the book came out in February. Despite incurring the wrath of Beijing, the author has stuck to his guns, writing this month that “scholars who work on China know that continued access to the country requires them to play by Beijing’s rules, which for most means self-censorship – the dirty secret of China studies in Australia”."

Chinese tourists kill kangaroo, hurling bricks to make it hop

Chinese physician released after 3 months in jail for criticizing a traditional medicine - "Tan Qindong had been held at the Liangcheng county detention centre since January, when police said a post Tan had made on social media damaged the reputation of the traditional medicine and the company that makes it... Although most of these therapies have not been tested for efficacy in randomized clinical trials — and serious side effects have been reported in some — TCM has support from the highest levels of government. Criticism of remedies is often blocked on the Internet in China. Some lawyers and physicians worry that Tan’s arrest will make people even more hesitant to criticize traditional therapies... Xia is worried that the case could further silence public criticism of TCMs, environmental degredation, and other fields where comment from experts is crucial. The Tan arrest “could cause fear among scientists” and dissuade them from posting scientific comments"

The Effect of Non-Contributory Pensions on Labour Supply and Private Income Transfers: Evidence from Singapore by Yanying Chen, Yi Jin Tan - "We use a new monthly panel dataset and a difference-in-differences strategy to study the effect of a new non-contributory pension in Singapore (the Silver Support Scheme, or SSS) on labour supply, work expectations, private cash transfers, and expenditure, one year after its implementation. We find no evidence that receiving SSS payouts led to a fall in labour supply, work expectations, or the receipt of private cash transfers in the first year after SSS implementation – our estimated effects for these outcomes are statistically insignificant, and are either negative but close to zero, or positive. Our point estimates of the effects of receiving SSS payouts on expenditure are positive but too imprecise to allow us to make any definitive conclusions. Lastly, we do not find evidence of anticipatory effects among younger individuals who are not age-eligible for payouts yet. These results, when coupled with our finding in a companion paper that the SSS improved recipients’ subjective well-being (Chen & Tan, 2017), suggest that the SSS was successful in improving recipients’ welfare without substantial crowding out of private transfers or changes in labour market behaviour of current and future SSS beneficiaries."

The Effect of Environmental Disamentities on Electricity Consumption: Evidence From Dengue Outbreaks in Singapore by Yanying Chen, Yi Jin Tan - "We investigate whether a major and growing environmental disamenity – dengue fever – leads to protective behavior that increases residential electricity consumption. We construct a unique panel dataset with nationwide coverage of electricity consumption and dengue risk intensity at the building level, and use geographic and temporal variation in proximity to dengue clusters to identify the effect of dengue outbreaks on electricity consumption. We find that being near a dengue cluster leads to a persistent increase in electricity consumption which varies by socio-economic status. In addition, electricity consumption rises discontinuously when a dengue cluster’s risk classification is upgraded from yellow to red. The cost of this increased electricity consumption, which is currently not accounted for, can amount to 7%–12% of the overall national costs of dengue"

China's social credit system has blocked people from taking 11 million flights and 4 million train trips - "Each list is based on similar offenses – such as misbehavior on planes and trains, or failing to abide by a court judgment – and determines the punishments people face, from throttling internet speeds to blocking loans... The court publishes the names and ID numbers of debtors on its website. They are banned from plane and high-speed train travel, and can’t stay at four and five star hotels, send their children to expensive schools, book cheap hire cars, or make luxury purchases online. Some provinces play a recorded message when someone tries to call a blacklisted debtor, informing the caller that the person they want to speak with has outstanding debts. And in May, a short cartoon with the photographs of debtors’ faces began playing at movie theatres, on buses, and on public noticeboards with a voiceover that said: “Come, come, look at these [debtors]. It’s a person who borrows money and doesn’t pay it back.”"

Obama: Liberal Arts waste of time - "It was reported that President Obama made remarks about liberal arts and criticized the effectiveness a degree in liberal arts would have in training people for jobs. “[A] lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career. But I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree. Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree — I love art history. So I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. I’m just saying you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education as long as you get the skills and the training that you need.”... “There was a survey conducted of over 500 business leaders, like heads of companies, and all said that people with liberal arts education brought good communication skills, good analytical skills and good contextualizing skills to any job,” said director of Women’s and Gender Studies program in N.C State, Deborah Hooker
It's quite funny how saying you can make more in the trades is interpreted as meaning that the liberal arts are useless. Perhaps the liberal arts don't really teach you comprehension skills

What Color Is a Tennis Ball? - "Of nearly 30,000 participants, 52 percent said a tennis ball is green, 42 percent said it’s yellow, and 6 percent went with “other.”... tennis balls were once actually white or black. The arrival of television changed that. Viewers had trouble seeing tennis balls as they hurled across the court in televised matches, so the ITF instructed tournaments to start using yellow ones in 1972 (though white ones were still allowed). The new rule said “the ball shall have a uniform outer surface consisting of a fabric cover and shall be white or yellow in color.”... humans are good at pointing at a yellow paint chip in a line of colorful chips and saying, that’s yellow. But if we’re shown a yellow paint chip alone and asked what color it is, we become less certain about calling it yellow. In a recent study Conway coauthored that surveyed people who speak three different languages—American English, Bolivian Spanish, and an Amazonian language called Tsimane—researchers found that “language systems of people in cultures with little exposure to industrialization are pretty poor at communicating yellow.”... “It is truly horrifying every time it gets pointed out that we’re all walking around thinking we share the same reality,” she said. “And we just are not.”"

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Links - 26th July 2018 (2)

The costs of Ramadan need to be counted - "There is mounting evidence to show that fasting in the month of Ramadan has a negative effect on health which, in turn, can have an adverse impact on productivity and economic output. Naturally, the longer the period of fasting, the greater the effect – this is particularly so when Ramadan falls during the summer months in north European countries, as at present. The duration of the daily fast this year in Britain is about 19 hours. Research by the Dutch academic Reyn van Ewijk points to an array of long-term health problems resulting from Ramadan fasting. For those women who chose to fast during pregnancy, it may cause considerable negative health effects on the offspring, irrespective of the stage of pregnancy in which Ramadan took place. Exposure to fasting before birth is associated with a poorer general health. It also increases a person’s chances of developing symptoms that are indicative of serious health problems, such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes and, among older people who were exposed during certain stages of gestation, may lead to anaemia. Occupational health researchers have highlighted various adverse health consequences from severe dehydration, including headaches, dizziness and nausea. In the Muslim world, one word encapsulates the economic reality of Ramadan: “slowdown” – meaning that less work is done and more slowly. An article in Arab News in July 2013 suggested that productivity declines by as much as 35% to 50% as a result of shorter working hours and the change in lifestyle during the month so that decisions and vital meetings are postponed until it is over. In an extensive survey, economists Felipe Campante and David Yanagizawa-Drott show that Ramadan fasting has a significant negative effect on output growth in Muslim countries. A survey by Dinar Standard, the growth strategy firm, estimates that in the Organisation of Islamic Conference countries the working day is reduced on average by two hours during Ramadan... Medical science has long made clear that regular intakes of food and drink are a sine qua non for good health and soundness of mind"

Long-term health effects on the next generation of Ramadan fasting during pregnancy - "Each year, many pregnant Muslim women fast during Ramadan. Using Indonesian cross-sectional data and building upon work of Almond and Mazumder (2011), I show that people who were prenatally exposed to Ramadan fasting have a poorer general health than others. As predicted by medical theory, this effect is especially pronounced among older people, who also more often report symptoms indicative of coronary heart problems and type 2 diabetes. Among exposed Muslims the share of males is lower, which is most likely caused by death before birth. I show that these effects are unlikely the result of common health shocks correlated to the occurrence of Ramadan, or of fasting mainly occurring among women who would have had unhealthier children anyway."

Evaluation of the impact of the month of Ramadan on traffic accidents - "The average number of traffic accidents was slightly higher in Ramadan than in non-Ramadan months. Also traffic accidents involving death and injury were slightly high and traffic accidents involving material damage was less. Total number of dead and injured persons was also found to be slightly high. Also, as expected, penalties due to drunk driving were found less in Ramadan."

The effect of the fast of Ramadan on accident and emergency attendances. - "[There is] a significant rise in the number of Muslims attending during Ramadan compared to non-Muslims"

Road traffic crashes in Ramadan: an observational study/Accidents de la circulation pendant le Ramadan : une étude d'observation - "The aim of this study was to investigate trends in road traffic crashes (RTCs managed by an emergency service, Rescue 1122, in 2011 in Punjab, Pakistan... Rescue 1122 faced more RTCs during Ramadan compared with the preceding months"

Effects on health of fluid restriction during fasting in Ramadan - "A reduction in drug compliance was an inherent negative aspect of the fast. Common findings of the studies reviewed were increased irritability and incidences of headaches with sleep deprivation and lassitude prevalent"

Daily practices, study performance and health during the Ramadan fast - "more people got involved in stress reducing (watching TV, listening to the radio and visiting) and spiritual activities (prayers and reading Koran) during this month. They drank less caffeine-containing beverages and smoked less. Food intake appeared to improve during Ramadan with higher proportions eating foods from all food groups. The amount of foods did not differ significantly except in the case of foods from the cereal, meat and vegetable groups. Even though less, cereal consumption was still in the adequate range. Change in weight was variable. Weight loss was significantly more among the sick. A large proportion of the latter improved during the month especially those with irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Reduced activity, study desire and concentration ability were reported by more than 50% of subjects."

German City Bans Refugees From Settling There, Other Cities May Follow - "Germany's welcome for asylum-seekers is wearing out. That became clear in Germany's recent elections. Mainstream political parties lost voters over that issue, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has struggled to form a government. One German state has imposed a refugee ban. The newcomers are not supposed to move to a particular city there. Other states and cities may try the same thing... The mayor says the temporary ban will help his government do a better job of integrating existing refugees and keep residents from resenting the newcomers. But the resentment here is already high. Resident Nina Drewes says she supports the ban because she feels refugees don't want to integrate into German society... Even Syrian refugee Hassan Jandal, a day laborer who has been here for three years, says he supports the ban... his local kindergarten is full and that all of the students are foreigners. Jandal adds, his rent is going up because the newcomers are increasing the demand for housing. Another supporter of the ban is Dincer Dinc, whose migrant help center has seen a fivefold increase in clients. He's a German of Kurdish descent who is Salzgitter's integration facilitator. Dinc says fellow residents who used to feel OK about refugees are now angry... Schiessl says money, rather than bans, will ease the burden on German cities. He lauded Lower Saxony for paying Salzgitter and other affected municipalities more than $23 million to help integrate refugees. But he says a lot more funding is needed."
In Germany, money grows on trees

High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University - "While a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades, the financial return from a bachelor's degree is softening, even as the price — and the average debt into which it plunges students — keeps going up. But high school graduates have been so effectively encouraged to get a bachelor's that high-paid jobs requiring shorter and less expensive training are going unfilled. This affects those students and also poses a real threat to the economy... three out of 10 high school grads who go to four-year public universities haven't earned degrees within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. At four-year private colleges, that number is more than 1 in 5... Seventy-percent of construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding qualified workers... People with career and technical educations are also more likely to be employed than their counterparts with academic credentials, the U.S. Department of Education reports, and significantly more likely to be working in their fields of study."

Acid attacks ‘making parts of London NO-GO zones’ warns MP - "Stephen Timms made the warning in a Commons debate on the crime, which has soared in recent years. And Mr Timms said moped delivery drivers were being particularly targeted and now avoided parts of the capital. The Labour MP for East Ham said: “They say that there are now parts of London where their drivers are not willing to go, because of the danger of attacks. “I think that we would all regard it as unacceptable that there are no-go areas in parts of London and the UK"... “A number of changes were made to the law in 2015 as part of the Deregulation Act, the red-tape bonfire. “The Act scrapped the obligation on sellers of dangerous substances, including acids, to be registered with their local council. “This was despite opposing advice from the medical experts as well as the government’s own advisory board on dangerous substances. I fear that these changes are partly responsible for the rise in acid attacks.”... According to the National Police Chiefs Council, the UK now has one of the highest rates of acid attacks in the world and the number is on the increase."
If you make acid illegal, then only criminals will have acid
Even with an acid ban, if a criminal wants to get acid he will still get acid, so the ban is useless
The only thing that stops a bad guy with acid is a good guy with acid

If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?

WHITES NEED NOT APPLY – 'Racist' Hiring Policy at ITV's 'Peston on Sunday' Political Programme - "ITV has been accused of “racism” by furious social media users after advertising an internship for its flagship Peston on Sunday political programme which excludes certain candidates on the basis of race... Creative Access, the company tasked with placing the intern, was excluding candidates based on race, with the post “only open to UK nationals from a black, Asian or non-white ethnic minority” to work on the show in London – where ‘White British’ people are already a minority, according to the latest census."

Bathroom hand-dryers suck in poo-particles and aerosolize them all over you and everything else

ST Forum: HDB flat as an investment for old age is no longer valid - "When Goh Chok Tong became Prime Minister in 1990, he introduced the “Asset Enhancement” policy, which helps to enhance the prices of HDB flats. In fact, just before 2011 General Election, then National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan even said, "We're proud of the asset enhancement policy. (It) has given almost all Singaporeans a home of their own... that grows in value over time."... about 75% of our CPF is trapped in housing."

Daughter of prominent Islamic scholar faces backlash for posting photo without a hijab on Facebook - "Maysoon Al-Suwaidan is known for being a poet, a TV personality and the daughter of Tareq Al-Suwaidan, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member in Kuwait who has written many books, delivered numerous public speeches and appeared in TV interviews on Islamic subjects ranging from discussing the Quran to stories of the Prophet Mohammed. Like many daughters of Islamic scholars, Al-Suwaidan always embraced the headscarf. She traveled the world with it, she obtained her masters degree from Georgetown University with it, and she conducted her poetry TV show while wearing it. But late last year she posted a photo of herself on her Facebook page without the hijab, commenting that “I left to India in search of God away from any religion or sect and discovered that the biggest hijab between God and I is the hijab of people.” The literal translation of hijab in Arabic is partition used in many references including the head covering of women."

China Puts 2008 Quake Victims' Families Under House Arrest Ahead of Anniversary - "Sichuan-based author Tan Zuoren, who has served time in prison for investigating corruption behind the widespread collapse of school buildings in the quake, said he has continued his research since his release from prison in April 2014... the authorities typically focus far more on "stability maintenance" than they do on the rights of victims."

Avengers: Infinity War – Hollywood has admitted defeat in its war with box-set TV - "Viewed in a vacuum, Infinity War is meaningless. As a standalone film, it’s a mess. Characters pop up for one scene and then vanish again completely. Nobody has any meaningful screen time. The antagonist swans about with an entirely unearned sense of motivation. And there’s no emotional weight to the ending. It’s just a lot of stuff happening to people we’ve barely met. We may as well be watching it happen to extras... There’s a reason why the Russo brothers were chosen to direct Infinity War, and that’s because they have enough television experience to satisfactorily keep all the balls in the air"

London Mayor Who Said Terrorism 'Part and Parcel of Living in a City' Will Now Raise Taxes... To Pay For Counter Terrorism Police - "Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is set to hike council taxes for all residents of the city, claiming he is “left with no choice in order to help keep Londoners safe”... he insisted London was the “safest global city in the world”, despite the city being hit by four successful terror attacks in just a few month – three by radical Islamic militants and one by an anti-Muslim extremist. There has also been a record number of terror-related arrests in the UK this year and numerous foiled attacks, with MI5 boss Andrew Parker revealing in October that the Islamic extremist threat to the UK is at an unprecedented scale... “[The mayor] is starting to acknowledge that the population is increasing and this has an effect; yet, he still advocates open borders and continued mass immigration”"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Fungi - "They have chitin in their cell walls - that's a common feature and that's also found in animals, in invertebrates in their exoskeleton so actually fungi are more closely related to animals than they are to plants... like animals in that they have sort of foraging behavior. They search around for food... if you look at some of the patterns that they make they rather look like the termite trails that you see when termites go investigating for food sources...
Roman Catholics living in Northern Island, and they were extremely poor, eating between 2.5 and 6.5 kilos of potatoes a day and drinking water. If they were wealthy, they had a cow. So they had milk. So what happened then was that they divided the potatoes that they harvested and they went moldy as they stored them from year to year and they replanted their potatoes... what they did very effectively was to spread a monoculture...
About 100,000 million people are suffering from skin infections, and in fact, the mortality from skin infections when they go invasive, particularly if you are immuno-incompetent or your immune system is down means that each year about a million people die from fungal infections. And that means that fungal infections are a hidden peril posing more deaths than malaria. And in fact, more deaths than HIV and tuberculosis added together... fungi... are the most important agents of crop disease."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The West unites against Russia - "A single Russian denial might be just about plausible. The problem is there have been serial denials, contradicting each other. And Russia in its desire to deny any involvement has in the sense spoilt its case. It's gone after the Czech Republic, Slovakia. It's accused Sweden of being actively involved. So it's made many enemies by putting forward its case. It started out saying there was never a Novichok nerve agent programme in Russia but then we've had Russian and Soviet experts who worked in the Soviety era who talked openly about their development of precisely this nerve agent within the Soviet Union...
[On Poland in the early 90s] Why do you want to join NATO... Why do you want to join the European Union?... we have two historic enemies, Germany and Russia. We fear Russia more...
'Is there a fear about the stability, long term stability of Spain?'
'I think we're already seeing fears about the stability of Spain played. You had two general elections, you've had two Catalan regional elections. Now the region of Valencia is asking for more rights. You've also got the Balaeric Islands saying, well, hang on, we're not sure that we're happy with the status quo here. Spain is in trouble'"
Only Western Imperialists lie. No one else does

Re-examining the impact of no-fault divorce

Re-examining the impact of no fault divorce

"The original intention of relaxing the divorce laws was to allow individuals trapped in bad marriages to exit easily. However, as noble as this objective may have been, demographers' surveys have shown that the number of unhappy marriages has not dwindled; to the contrary, there are far fewer happy marriages. As Maggie Gallagher, the author of "The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love," recently reported in The New York Times, recent studies have linked no-fault divorce with the steep rise in the rate of divorce over the last 25 years. Even the effort to make divorce less bitter failed; Judith Wallerstein's studies indicate that five years after the divorce, 50 percent of all couples were still engaged in conflict.

I think there are several reasons for raising the barriers to divorce. First, a society uses its legal system not only to punish but to convey its values, both to itself and to the next generation. By allowing marriage to be dissolved easily and unilaterally, we essentially state what sort of commitment we deem marriage to be.

Second, when divorce is relatively easy, it is naturally seen as an option in dealing with marital problems when they surface. All relationships, even happy marriages, undergo rough times. But marriage is not just about passion; it's about commitment, concern and mutual respect, all of which take time to foster and develop. The hard work in a marriage is after the wedding, not before. An easy exit allows for people to run away from their problems, rather than face them or deal with them. This does not mean every difficulty in a marriage is soluble; but nor does it mean that every source of tension is grounds for divorce. We deprive our children of a basic life skill when we say that the solution to every problem -- or even just to boredom -- is to walk away from it. (Does our disposable society inculcate values as well?)

An extension of this last point is the impact of divorce on children. The entire family certainly suffers when the parents are unhappy or are constantly in conflict; but it should not be that the parent's respective happiness should be the sole basis for the decision to dissolve the union, particularly when that decision affects a wider circle of people. Many children would benefit from a system that both encourages and supports those who strive for family stability, even in the face of tough times.

Third, in our common experience, we tend to invest in ways that minimize downside risk. Whether with our money, our time or our energy, we all routinely jump into situations where we have little to lose, while we are extremely cautious about getting involved in matters that could have adverse consequences for us. As it stands now, marriage is often hastily contracted because there are few negative effects; if it doesn't work out, either one can just walk out the door (witness many Hollywood unions). Tougher divorce laws may incline people to avoid such rash commitments to marriage."

Links - 26th July 2018 (1)

Спи Спокойно, Предок — your-uncle-dave: leonardio-brando-dicapriccio: ... - "I realized that the only people who truly get offended by Cultural Appropriation are Americans. Ask a Jamaican if you can wear dreadlocks and they’ll most likely say they don’t care. Go to Japan wearing a Kimono and no one will be offended. Please remember that these people have voices too and can speak for themselves. You the SJW may be well meaning, but you getting offended for these people is incredibly patronizing to them because you are speaking for them. They don’t need that, they can speak for themselves. Remember that."

University of Michigan's Diversity Office Has an $11 Million Payroll - "the University of Michigan’s diversity office has approximately 100 staffers and a payroll of $11 million before benefits... It is largely unclear why the University of Michigan needs such a large diversity department. Additionally, it’s unclear exactly what the department is responsible for. In a page on the university’s website entitled “Defining Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” the department argues that they aim to make diversity and inclusion efforts a major part of the University of Michigan community."
Maybe this is why college tuition keeps rising

Snapchat’s decline and the secret joy of internet ghost towns - "When websites become useless, they become a reminder of what was lost when the internet gained purpose, function, and profit. We are all still searching for an online space where we can yell our secrets and be unseen and disappear. These opportunities now often exist only in dying online spaces, the last place where no one is looking."

Fasting diets may raise risk of diabetes, researchers warn

Celebs Meltdown over White House Laurel VS Yanny Parody Video: 'White Supremacists Are Bad At Comedy'
It's actually quite funny
I guess those slamming Trump for spending time on this video cheered when Obama went on SNL

Sweden and Denmark have highest rates of sexual harassment in Europe - "in Sweden and Denmark, 80 to 100 per cent of people said they were sexually harassed as adults – the highest anywhere in the continent. In the UK, France, Germany, and Finland, 60 to 79 per cent of people said they were sexually harassed."

I Asked an Expert if Thanos Is Right - "A drop in fertility doesn’t change climate forecasts very much. It’s just not that influential, especially on the time horizon that we need. We need a change in carbon output this century to avoid catastrophic global warming. The impacts of reducing fertility start to show up in like 2075 and aren’t really big until 2200—that’s too little too late...
I write a lot about family issues and fertility, and there are a lot of pejoratives thrown around—"breeders" is a phrase people like to use. Sit down with a family that has five or six kids and ask them what their experience going to the mall or going to the movies. The looks they get, the things that get said to them. It’s absurd what people feel they have license to say."
Apparently the short term is the only thing that matters

Why replacing politicians with experts is a reckless idea - "contemporary social science provides plenty of evidence that the educated are just as subject to groupthink as other people, sometimes even more so. The political scientists Larry Bartels and Christopher Achen point this out in their 2016 book Democracy for Realists: “The historical record leaves little doubt that the educated, including the highly educated, have gone wrong in their moral and political thinking as often as everyone else.” Cognitive biases are no respecters of academic qualifications. How many social science graduates would judge the question about immigration according to the demanding tests that Brennan lays out, rather than according to what they would prefer to believe? The irony is that if Brennan’s voter exam were to ask whether the better-educated deserve more votes, the technically correct answer might be no. It would depend on who was marking it... we set the bar too high in politics by insisting on looking for the best thing to do. Sometimes it is more important to avoid the worst. Even if democracy is often bad at coming up with the right answers, it is good at unpicking the wrong ones. Moreover, it is good at exposing people who think they always know best. Democratic politics assumes there is no settled answer to any question and it ensures that is the case by allowing everyone a vote, including the ignorant. The randomness of democracy – which remains its essential quality – protects us against getting stuck with truly bad ideas. It means that nothing will last for long, because something else will come along to disrupt it."
Keywords: epistocracy

Do aphrodisiacs work? The truth about foods like oysters and chocolate - ""To be a true aphrodisiac, the substance has to elicit sexual desire," sexologist Megan Stubbs explained via email. Many foods believed to be aphrodisiacs indeed have anecdotal or subjective evidence attached to them, which makes the effects of consuming known aphrodisiacs difficult to prove scientifically. "It is all subjective," Stubbs said. "The power of suggestion is a strong motivator for sexual desire and the placebo effect can come into play as well." However, many foods can "benefit your sexual wellness," and many foods thought to be aphrodisiacs "come with their own health benefits that can help support a healthy sex drive""

Joy Reid’s troubles, from homophobic blogs to hacking claims, explained - "Joy-Ann Reid on Saturday apologized for her past “hurtful” remarks about LGBTQ people, following the resurfacing of homophobic blog posts from the mid-to-late 2000s. But she also said that she still doesn’t “believe” that she wrote the blog posts, suggesting — without evidence — that they were the result of an elaborate hack."

Is everything we eat associated with cancer? A systematic cookbook review. - "DESIGN: We selected 50 common ingredients from random recipes in a cookbook...
RESULTS: Forty ingredients (80%) had articles reporting on their cancer risk. Of 264 single-study assessments, 191 (72%) concluded that the tested food was associated with an increased (n = 103) or a decreased (n = 88) risk; 75% of the risk estimates had weak (0.05 > P ≥ 0.001) or no statistical (P > 0.05) significance...
CONCLUSIONS: Associations with cancer risk or benefits have been claimed for most food ingredients. Many single studies highlight implausibly large effects, even though evidence is weak. Effect sizes shrink in meta-analyses."

Judge affirms decision to put cancer warnings on coffee in California - "Superior court Judge Elihu Berle said Starbucks and other roasters and retailers failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any risks from a carcinogen that is a byproduct of the roasting process"

Cancer patients who choose alternative medicine are richer, smarter - "People who choose to get alternative treatments for cancer tend to have everything else going for them - being happier, younger, wealthier, and more educated. Yet those who try to treat curable cancers with alternative medicines - including crystals and homeopathy - are 5.68 times more likely to die than people who get traditional treatments... being more educated may make people like Dr Johnson more likely to go looking for alternative therapies because they fancy themselves competent to choose a good one... Dr Johnson decided to make the 'CRAP' test for crap science. His clever evaluation method uses scores for four factors to determine whether information about alternative 'medicines' can be trusted: conspiracies or claims too good to be true, requests for money, anecdotes, and publisher credentials."

Do firms underinvest in long-term research? Evidence from cancer clinical trials. - "We investigate whether private research investments are distorted away from long-term projects. Our theoretical model highlights two potential sources of this distortion: short-termism and the fixed patent term. Our empirical context is cancer research, where clinical trials - and hence, project durations - are shorter for late-stage cancer treatments relative to early-stage treatments or cancer prevention. Using newly constructed data, we document several sources of evidence that together show private research investments are distorted away from long-term projects. The value of life-years at stake appears large. We analyze three potential policy responses: surrogate (non-mortality) clinicaltrial endpoints, targeted R&D subsidies, and patent design."
Ahh... libertarianism

Canadian Man Legally Changes Gender To Take Advantage Of Discriminatory Car Insurance Policies - "How much for my auto insurance?: $4517. I was disappointed to say the least and this was after we did everything to bring the premium down. So I ask “Out of curiosity, how much would my premium be if I was a woman?” The broker comes back with a quote of $3423. Holy f***... it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender when it comes to basic auto-insurance. When it comes to collision, however, it’s still legal to discriminate against genders on the basis of contrast in driving-statistics."
Feminists are happy with discrimination when it helps women

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning - "Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life."

This is why you should NEVER put toilet paper down on the toilet seat before you sit - "you’re better off not putting anything down on the seat at all, whether it be toilet paper or one of those handy paper seat covers. That’s because toilet seats are made from materials that prevent bacteria from spreading in the first place. Their shape and the smooth surface make it extremely difficult for germs to latch onto them. In contrast, toilet paper has a rough texture and is designed to be absorbent, making it a perfect material for bacteria to stick to and hang around on. And because in most public toilets it is right next to the loo, every time you flush, germs fly into the air and can cling on to the roll."

Rock Stacking, or 'Natural Graffitti,' and Its Ecological Impact - "Beyond the visual disturbance of natural environments, each rock in a stream is blooming with life. Everything from aquatic plants to micro-organisms are attached to those rocks. They also create habitat for crustaceans and nymphs. Crevices in the rocks hold eggs in salmon redds to be fertilized, supporting those eggs until they grow into fry and begin feeding off the very critters that were hatching off of and crawling around those same rocks. You could be lifting the roof off the home of a crawfish, or disturbing the cradle for the future generations of already dwindling salmon runs. Removing rocks from fragile stream habitats is essentially the equivalent to removing bricks from someone else’s home while raiding their refrigerator and food pantry."

It Was A Company With A Lot Of Promise. Then A Chinese Customer Stole Its Technology

Dalai Lama: Tibet wants to stay with China, says Dalai Lama - "He took a dig at the average Indian’s laziness as well — describing them as “lazier than the Chinese”. "I think Indian people are lazy but that may be due to the climate. But India is more stable and can play a role in the world stage," he added. "India has a tradition of living together. (It is) a living example of different traditions being carried together," the Buddhist monk said, adding: "I can proudly state the same about Tibetan culture.""

Zheng Guoqiang: Feng shui master buried alive by mudlside at Zhaoqing cemetery in Guangdong province, China - "A feng shui master was buried alive by a mudslide moments after declaring a cemetery plot ideal for a client."

Father tricked his daughter into 'sham holiday' to Bangladesh - " father deceived his teenage daughter into travelling abroad for an arranged marriage and threatened to 'chop her up in 18 seconds' if she refused... the victim, from Yorkshire, was taken out of her school during term time for what she was told was a family holiday to Bangladesh"

Dalai Lama - Posts - "I’m Tibetan, I’m Buddhist and I’m the Dalai Lama, but if I emphasize these differences it sets me apart and raises barriers with other people. What we need to do is to pay more attention to the ways in which we are the same as other people."
The Dalai Lama rejects identity politics

Mark Zuckerberg’s early motto was “companies over countries” - "Zuckerberg began using the language of states to talk about Facebook’s burgeoning power. “Companies over countries,” he told me once, as we discussed a blog post about Facebook’s goals. “If you want to change the world, the best thing to do is to build a company”"

"Sneering Leftwing Racists" Are Prejudging Sajid Javid's Appointment As Home Secretary - "Maajid Nawaz calls out Andrew Adonis, a Labour peer, who has come under fire for tweeting a cartoon depiction of Sajid Javid deporting his own parents... "It is the first time that anyone from Britain's ethnic minority communities has ascended to the position of Home Secretary in this country's history"... "Some left wingers even went as far as to start using and hurling racial pejoratives, prejudging Sajid Javid by his skin colour to say that perhaps he shouldn't have been a Tory.""
Liberals only like minorities in power when they are liberal

Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles - "The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan"
Maybe terrorists will weaponise this

Sometimes expressing anger can help a relationship in the long-term - "A popular research trend in recent years, positive psychology has offered the promise that with forgiveness, optimism, kindness, and positive thinking, people can turn around their relationships even after a serious transgression. But as James McNulty of Florida State University investigated positive psychology and well-being, he began to see a different trend: "I continued to find evidence that thoughts and behaviors presumed to be associated with better well-being lead to worse well-being among some people -- usually the people who need the most help achieving well-being."... "Believing a partner is forgiving leads agreeable people to be less likely to offend that partner and disagreeable people to be more likely to offend that partner," he says. Additionally, he says, anger can serve an important role in signaling to a transgressing partner that the offensive behavior is not acceptable. "If the partner can do something to resolve a problem that is likely to otherwise continue and negatively affect the relationship, people may experience long-term benefits by temporarily withholding forgiveness and expressing anger.""

From midlife to early old age: Health trajectories associated with retirement - "Longitudinal analyses of repeat data suggest that health status improves after statutory and voluntarily retirement, although the improvement appears to attenuate over time"
Based on a Whitehall sample

Age at retirement and long term survival of an industrial population: prospective cohort study - "Retiring early at 55 or 60 was not associated with better survival than retiring at 65 in a cohort of past employees of the petrochemical industry. Mortality was higher in employees who retired at 55 than in those who continued working."
Based on a Shell sample

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Links - 25th July 2018 (2)

Upset Over Sexual versus Emotional Infidelity Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Adults
- "We examined upset over sexual versus emotional jealousy among 63,894 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual participants. Participants imagined which would upset them more: their partners having sex with someone else (but not falling in love with them) or their partners falling in love with someone else (but not having sex with them). Consistent with this evolutionary perspective, heterosexual men were more likely than heterosexual women to be upset by sexual infidelity (54 vs. 35 %) and less likely than heterosexual women to be upset by emotional infidelity (46 vs. 65 %). This gender difference emerged across age groups, income levels, history of being cheated on, history of being unfaithful, relationship type, and length. The gender difference, however, was limited to heterosexual participants. Bisexual men and women did not differ significantly from each other in upset over sexual infidelity (30 vs. 27 %), regardless of whether they were currently dating a man (35 vs. 29 %) or woman (28 vs. 20 %). Gay men and lesbian women also did not differ (32 vs. 34 %). The findings present strong evidence that a gender difference exists in a broad sample of U.S. adults, but only among heterosexuals."

Man, 46, given 8 years’ jail and 12 strokes for sexually assaulting teenage boy - "Samsugani began talking to the victim, and usually teased him about his weight, calling him “gundu” (Tamil for fat). On one occasion, the Indian national also invited the victim to his house for a massage that would supposedly help him lose weight, which the victim rejected."
I always thought gundu meant stupid

Trans Woman Finds Love With Man Who Initially Rejected Her - "A transgender woman knew she was born in the wrong body from a very young age. Erin Anderson, 22, approached her now-boyfriend Jared Norris, 28, after messaging him on Facebook according to Caters News Agency. Initially, according to Erin, Jared rejected her when she was living as a man named Aaron. However, just two short years later, the two would become matched in a story-like fairytale ending"

Fontana delle Tette – Treviso, Italy - "Every autumn, when a new Podestà (mayor) was elected, the fountain flowed with celebratory free wine. Red wine streamed from one of the woman’s breasts while white wine poured from the other"

Surabaya attacks: 11 killed in Indonesia church bombings - "More than 90% of Indonesians are Muslim, but there are also significant populations of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. The attack is the deadliest since 2005, when three suicide bombings on the resort island of Bali killed 20 people."
It's all their fault for invading Iraq and discriminating against Muslims

Situation Involving Fresno State Professor Gets Significantly Worse - "Professor Randa Jarrar ignited controversy with a series of offensive tweets celebrating the death of Bush and the pain that the family is experiencing as a result of her death. Jarrar even bragged about how much money she made as a tenured professor, saying, "I will never be fired." Jarrar has since locked her account after racist and anti-Semitic tweets were discovered. "I can't wait for the old white guard of literary writers and 'critics' to die. Their time is f**king up, too"... Perhaps the most problematic tweet from Jararr the administration must now address is one from last night in which she posted a phone number she claimed belonged to her but is actually the number to Arizona State's 24-Hour emergency crisis line. An official who works on the crisis hotline told The Daily Wire they have been receiving an extremely high number of calls due to her tweet. Jararr's tweet containing the number to the crisis hotline was so outrageous that far-left activist and physician Eugene Gu called her out over it."

Southern Poverty Law Center Deletes List of 'Anti-Muslim' Extremists - "The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed the “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” from their website after attorneys for Maajid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim and prominent Islamic reformer, threatened legal action over his inclusion on the list. The report, which had been active on the SPLC’s website since it was published in December 2016, was intended to serve as a resource for journalists to identify promoters of hateful propaganda; but it included a number of liberal reformers such as Nawaz, a former Islamic extremist who has since dedicated his life to combating the hateful ideology... Nawaz — informed by his experience as a former member of a global terror organization and a political prisoner in Egypt — routinely criticizes the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that gives rise to terrorism. As a result of that work, the SPLC and a coalition of partner organizations that helped create the list accused him of “savaging Islam.”"
If the SPLC says an Islamic reformer is an anti-Muslim extremist, does it mean that Islam is inherently violent?

Hackers once stole casino database through lobby fish tank thermometer - ""I saw a bank that had been hacked through its CCTV cameras, because these devices are bought purely on cost."... "It's probably one area where there'll likely need to be regulation for minimum security standards, because the market isn't going to correct itself""

Erdogan rejects ‘moderate Islam’ as a Western tool to weaken Muslims - "The idea of ‘moderate Islam’ was invented by the West and is being used to weaken the ancient religion, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan has said in reference to Saudi Arabia’s reforms, while also lashing out at the EU’s “discrimination” of Muslims"

Transgender woman files human rights complaint against Windsor spa - "the spa did not offer Brazilian wax services on male body parts... A local transgender woman claims she was denied services based on her gender identity and gender expression and is seeking $50,000 for “immense harm to my dignity.”... the female employee working that day was a practising Muslim who refrains from physical contact with males outside of her family. He further explained the only staff member he had who did male waxing was off on a sick leave and there was no one else."

Feminist Group Demands Spotify's New 'Hate Content' Policy Be Applied to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem - "When Spotify introduced its new "hate content and hateful conduct" policy—which promises to suppress songs for violent or hateful lyrics or offstage behavior—I predicted that the streaming service would soon be caught between users wanting easy access to popular music and activists demanding that artists be scrubbed from the platform. Sure enough, the feminist group Ultraviolet has now sent a letter to Spotify thanking it for the initial steps of removing R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from official playlists— and asking that the company go further. "These two men are not the only abusers on your platform," writes Ultraviolet's Shaunna Thomas. "We implore you to take a deeper look at the artists you promote." She goes on to call for the company to exile Eminem, Nelly, Don Henley of the Eagles, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Chris Brown, rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, Ted Nugent, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers... at least two out of four Beatles—John Lennon and Ringo Starr—were domestic abusers. Needless to say, just because this kind of behavior is common in the music scene doesn't make it OK. But it does raise the question of what a music streaming service can really be expected to do about it. Indeed, blacklisting these bands may make many of Spotify's features functionally useless. What classic rock playlist would exclude the Beatles?... Acting as the moral arbiter, as its new policy requires, will only erode the value of its service while leaving individual listeners less able to make moral judgements for themselves."
Why appeasing feminists and SJWs is a losing proposition

Spotify will officially roll back its hateful conduct policy - "The backlash among artists, labels, and management was swift. Reports surfaced that many, including Pulitzer Prize winner Kendrick Lamar, accused the company of racial bias in their implementation of the policy"

BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, Port Cities; Middle Class Alcohol Use - "Ian Salsbury, not entirely unpredictably, detected a possible benefit arising from the underfunding of the Arts:
Dear Laurie, if a reduction in the largesse extorted from the hapless taxpayer means that the Arts Establishment will have to put on plays we want to watch, concerts we want to hear and exhibitions we want to visit rather than to continue to gratify self-indulgent whims then surely it is a consummation devoutly to be wished"

Opinion | In Search of a Good Emperor - The New York Times - "One of the hard truths of human affairs is that diversity and democracy do not go easily together. In the Middle East today as in Europe’s not-so-distant past, the transition from authoritarianism to popular sovereignty seems to run through ethnic or religious purges. Worldwide, many of the models of successful democratic government are effectively ethno-states, built on past cleansings or partitions or splendid isolation. And in the West in recent years, both mass immigration and cultural fragmentation have brought authoritarian temptations back to life. This pattern runs deep in our species’s history. A new paper from the economists Oded Galor and Marc Klemp finds a strong correlation between diversity and autocracy in pre-colonial societies, with a legacy that extends to today’s institutions as well. The authors suggest that authoritarianism emerges from both bottom-up and top-down pressures: A diverse society seeks strong central institutions for the sake of cohesion and productivity, and internal division, stratification and mistrust increase “the scope for domination” by powerful elites.... In one common pattern, authoritarian rule evolves as a way for a majority or plurality group to hold power against the claims of diverse minorities, and to impose a kind of uniformity on weaker ethnic or religious groups. The Erdogan regime in Turkey and the Saudi monarchy’s Sunni authoritarianism offer obvious examples; so does the Han-Chinese chauvinism of the Chinese Politburo, the Orthodox-Christian Russian nationalism of Putin, and many more. In another pattern, an authoritarian leader — sometimes from a minority group himself — casts himself as a protector of diversity, promising to shield minorities who would be threatened should a majoritarian populism take power. This is the pattern of the Assad family’s rule in Syria, which has drawn support from its own Alawite sect as well as Syrian Christians and others fearful of what Sunni rule might mean for them. The Egyptian military regime, likewise, promises to protect urbanites and Coptic Christians from the Islamist order that democracy might usher in."

Grab’s acquisition of Uber Southeast Asia drives into problems - "Aside from a small number of employees (estimated at around 50 people), Uber’s Southeast Asian workforce is not permitted to move internally to a different Uber region. Some said they were told they are forbidden from even applying for other jobs within the company. The restrictions all but force Uber’s employees to move over to Grab — whether they want to or not. The strong-arming doesn’t end there. Terms for exiting staff also push would-be former Uber staffers into Grab’s orbit, according to details supplied to TechCrunch... Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has yet to make direct contact with the Southeast Asian staff. Several who spoke to TechCrunch were disappointed that they were not part of an internal all-hands video call with Khosrowshahi — which only included Uber’s “surviving” staff in Southeast Asia. “His arrival was billed as a positive change in culture for Uber, yet he hasn’t bothered to visit the office or even get in touch. Travis Kalanick did both when Uber China was sold to Didi,” one departing Southeast Asia-based Uber employee told TechCrunch... In Thailand and Singapore, the drivers had already crossed over to Grab, but they complained about the experience. Chiefly that the app is inferior, that they are making less money and that they felt like they had no choice... “One of the nice things about competition, is that it keeps these companies in check when it comes to fighting for drivers and treating them well. There’s a reason why many drivers opted for Uber in the first place... customers themselves are having to get used to Grab instead of Uber. Many have been vocal with issues that range from subjective claims, such as a perceived inferior experience on Grab, and also more quantifiable concerns that include higher pricing and longer waits for a ride.”
So much for #deleteuber

Uyghur Muslims: Victims of the Worlds Largest Ethnic Cleansing : China - "this definitely isn't a religion issue. hui Muslims are considered model minorities in china and are extremely well integrated WHILST fully practicing Islam. hell I even saw that post the other day that the local government is building a mosque over an old cemetery in Suzhou. isn't that crazy? not really because the hui look almost identical to the Han. without the white prayer hat you wouldn't even tell the difference."
"Xinjiang was only ever a part of China during the two big foreign dynasties the Yuan and Qing. prior to that the area that was Xinjiang was shared between the Mongols and Tibetans. hence the Uyghurs original religion was Lama Buddhism. most Uyghurs know this and are in fact extremely lax in their practice of Islam. modern China just follows the map of the old Qing dynasty which was primarily a multi-ethnic state, ruled by a minority race. as there was no Han supremacy the Uyghur subjects at that time at least had a measure of autonomy."
"even the manchurians when they first set up the qing dynasty were completely different to the han and disdained their culture. yet towards the end of the qing dynasty they found themselves to be near indistinguishable to them."
"Worth noting that, even though the Manchu were entirely assimilated by the end of the Qing, they still were largely seen as foreign."

American, European, and Belgian Pralines // What's the Difference? - "The cook of Marshal du Pleases-Praslin created the praline consisting of caramelized sugar and almonds at the Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte...
The Belgian Praline is basically a soft-centered chocolate...
The American praline resembles a chewy cookie"

Israel's Arab soldiers who fight for the Jewish state - "Ten times as many Israeli Arabs - Muslims and Christians - are joining the IDF compared to three years ago... Mahmud and the other new recruits take the oath of allegiance to Israel. His parents and fiancee are there to see him swear on the Koran as he is given his own gun... In contrast to many of his friends Mahmud gets a good salary as a soldier. Unlike Jewish recruits he can apply for a grant of land to set up his own home."
Apparently they didn't get the memo that Israel oppresses Arabs

WATCH: Palestinian Urges IDF to Shoot His Son on Camera; Soldier and Boy High-Five Instead - "A video emerged on Friday showing a Palestinian man urging Israeli soldiers to kill his toddler son so he could capture the shooting on camera. The father is seen shoving the young boy toward an armed soldier, who responds by giving the child a high-five. The father continued egging the boy on, instructing him to throw rocks at the soldiers. Eventually, the child walked to the side and threw rocks away from the troops. Leibel A. Mangel, who first posted the video on his Facebook page, said the child was identified as 3-year-old Muhammad Suroor. This is not the first time that footage emerged of Palestinian parents pressing their children to confront soldiers so the troops’ response can be photographed and filmed. In 2012, a young Palestinian girl — Ahed Tamimi of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank — was filmed as she yelled at and shoved armed troops, seemingly in an attempt to provoke a reaction. Another young boy was forcefully pushed against an armed soldier during the same demonstration in the hopes of getting a response... Palestinian children are often encouraged to honor those who carry out attacks against Israel, and to participate in such attacks themselves. Such incitement has long been tied to acts of terrorism by Israeli authorities and experts. During the past school year, some Palestinian children wore military fatigues and held toy guns while performing in plays that depict the abduction and killing of Israelis. Over the summer, more than 50,000 Palestinian kids in the Gaza Strip attended three-week-long military training camps, which aim “to raise a generation of Palestinians who love the resistance and the liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” according to the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas. More than 10,000 Palestinian teenagers graduated from such camps in 2015. Palestinian children have also been seen brandishing weapons while participating in rallies alongside adults; footage from an October rally in Rafah, Gaza, showed a number of youths — including toddlers — holding blades as a sprawling crowd called for terrorist attacks against Jews... Multiple surveys of Palestinian public opinion have found widespread support for terror attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as negative perceptions of Jews. A poll conducted by a Ramallah-based firm over the first three months of 2016 found that more than 60 percent of Palestinians approve of “armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel.”"
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