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Thursday, April 04, 2019

Links - 4th April 2019 (2)

London Banker Sues Singapore Lender for Race Discrimination - "A former official at United Overseas Bank Ltd.’s London branch is suing for unfair dismissal after saying he was denied a new job because he isn’t Asian.Daniel Smith, who worked at Singapore’s third-largest bank for 23 years, said a manager told him that a candidate from southeast Asia was a better “fit” for a role... While Cheah acknowledged that he had used the "descriptive" term that the candidate was Asian, he said "her race and nationality has absolutely nothing to do with her selection.""
Why Singapore doesn't have anti-discrimination laws

Indian Slavery Act, 1843 - Wikipedia - "Some East India Company officials opposed the act, citing Hindu and Muslim customs and maintaining the fact that the act would be seen as interference in traditional social structures"
What did the British ever do for India?

Gay dance party Poof Doof apologises for 'body shaming' and 'no girls' photo policy - "Organisers of a gay dance party in Melbourne have apologised after a list of demands made to photographers — including instructions not to take photos of "skinny boys", "boys with bad skin" or women — sparked a backlash online."
Don't women in a gay dance party invade the safe space?
Should ugly models complain about discrimination?

Muslim organisation calls for rethink on unisex toilets after family enters private showers - "A lack of female-only, closed door public showers at a popular Sunshine Coast beach has prompted a Muslim organisation to call for councils to consider religious beliefs when designing infrastructure after a family used the amenities at a members-only surf club without permission.The Muslim family were holidaying at Coolum Beach when they used the surf club's members-only private showers because there were no female-only public amenities to wash off in private, sparking a difficult conversation between the family and a Coolum Beach Surf Life Saving Club patrol captain... "I found them in the members-only showers and tried to explain to them they weren't allowed to shower there," the lifesaver said."They said they didn't have a choice as there was nowhere for them to shower in a female-only shower in private." "The Sunshine Coast Council upgraded the public toilet block a few years ago and built a new toilet block which no longer had showers behind closed doors and the toilets also became unisex."... a spokesperson for Muslim Organisation Sunshine Coast (MOSC) said the council needed to consider the region's growing Muslim population when designing infrastructure that may make it difficult for women to observe their beliefs... The unisex public toilets at Coolum beach have also come under fire after a four-year-old girl was indecently assaulted at the toilet blocks at Tickle Park two weeks ago."
Is this discrimination against a minority and Islamophobia?

'Dilbert' Creator Scott Adams Attacks Google for Labeling Him a 'Nazi' - "Adams asked: “Do you think that a fake Twitter account that has only 15 followers would have enough followers that Google’s algorithm would pick that? Of all the pictures there are of me, there are a lot of pictures of me in the public domain, in articles. I was probably in 25 major articles last year alone, and this one little 15 user fake Twitter account is the fourth image that comes up?”"

‘Disrespectful’: Google Employees Melt Down Over The Word ‘Family’ - "A Google executive sparked a fierce backlash from employees by using the word “family” in a weekly, company-wide presentation... Many Google employees became angry that the term was used while discussing a product aimed at children, because it implied that families have children, the documents show. The backlash grew large enough that a Google vice president addressed the controversy and solicited feedback on how the company could become more inclusive... “It smacks of the ‘family values’ agenda by the right wing, which is absolutely homophobic by its very definition,” she wrote, adding: “[I]t’s important that we fix our charged language when we become aware of how exclusionary it actually is. As a straight person in a relationship, I find the term ‘family’ offensive because it excludes me and my boyfriend, having no children of our own.”... Google employees had internal debates about whether to suppress right-of-center media outlets, including The Daily Caller and Breitbart, in the company’s search function. That conversation, too, included a Google vice president: David Besbris. Besbris and other participants in that conversation advocated providing contextual information about media sources in search results, and the company later did so with a short-lived fact check feature at the end of 2017.Not only did the fact-check feature target conservative outlets almost exclusively, it was also blatantly wrong. Google’s fact check repeatedly attributed false claims to those outlets, even though they demonstrably never made those claims.Google pulled the faulty fact-check program in January 2018, crediting TheDCNF’s investigation for the decision."

Google Employees Sought To Manipulate Search Results To Fight Trump’s Travel Ban: Report - "In the wake of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, Google employees reportedly discussed ways to manipulate search results in order to push back against the president’s order... Thomas suggested ways to “actively counter algorithmically biased results” for search results including “Islam,” “Iran,” “Mexico” and “Latino"... “In other words, Google employees wanted to alter search results to make them more positive, for political reasons. Thomas also suggested promoting links for making donations to organizations fighting the travel ban... Carlson previously revealed how a Google executive sought to use company resources to boost voter turnout in favor of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election."

‘THE SMOKING GUN’: Google Manipulated YouTube Search Results for Abortion, Maxine Waters, David Hogg - "The term “abortion” was added to a “blacklist” file for “controversial YouTube queries,” which contains a list of search terms that the company considers sensitive. According to the leak, these include some of these search terms related to: abortion, abortions, the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist David Hogg... the software engineer who started the discussion called the manipulation of search results related to abortion a “smoking gun.”The software engineer noted that the change had occurred following an inquiry from a left-wing Slate journalist about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube, and that pro-life videos were replaced with pro-abortion videos in the top ten results for the search terms following Google’s manual intervention... The manual adjustment of search results by a Google-owned platform contradicts a key claim made under oath by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his congressional testimony earlier this month: that his company does not “manually intervene on any search result.”... In 2018, Breitbart News exclusively published a leaked video from the company that showed senior management in dismay at Trump’s election victory, and pledging to use the company’s power to make his populist movement a “hiccup” in history... employees within the company, including Google’s current director of Trust and Safety, tried to kick Breitbart News off Google’s market-dominating online ad platforms."

Spotify Blacklists PragerU Ads - "Music streaming service Spotify has banned advertisements from Conservative educational website PragerU on its platform... PragerU has faced online censorship from multiple platforms and recently filed a new lawsuit against Google, accusing the search engine and its video hosting subsidiary YouTube of censorship of conservative viewpoints"

McDonald’s: French fries recipe changed, here’s why - "Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell has revealed why McDonald’s French fries don’t taste as good as they once did back in the glory days, AKA the ‘90s. Despite McDonald’s best interests for its consumers, they’re left with a product that “tastes like cardboard”, Gladwell said. “They made the world’s greatest French Fry. Then they threw it away.”... McDonald’s changed the recipe of their French fries on July 23, 1990, and it hasn’t looked back. It’s all thanks to a man by the name of Phil Sokolof, an American crusader whose heart attack in 1966 “turned him into a national evangelist of a low-cholesterol diet”... At the time, McDonald’s was cooking its French fries in beef tallow, an animal fat.Sokolof put out a full-page ad attacking the chain, headlined “the poisoning of America”, accusing mcdonalds of selling fries loaded in fat... by changing the fat, described as “Formula 47”, McDonald’s changed everything about the fry.He said that when Kroc was running the show, he was adamant over the cooking of the fry. The McDonald’s brother’s had given him strict instructions — do not cook French fries in fat previously used to cook anything else — and Kroc was strict on this matter... “It turns out to be false that vegetable oil is healthier for you than beef tallow,” he said. “So not only did they destroy the French fry, they gave us something that was worse for us from a health perspective. So everything about it was a mistake.“If they had any balls at all, they would turn around and say, ‘We were wrong, and we’re going back to fries the old way,’” he said.This writer recommends Mr Gladwell taste the chips from Red Rooster. He’s guaranteed to discover delicious."

Study Finds Increase in STIs After Starting PrEP - "Although once daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prevents up to 99% of HIV transmission risk, gay and bisexual men taking PrEP are 72% more likely to acquire a sexually transmitted infection (STI) than they were before starting PrEP according to study data released last month in the journal AIDS. The study was conducted among 195 gay and bisexual men who regularly attend an LGBTQ health clinic in Montreal, Canada. Clinicians found that the rate of anal chlamydia infection alone more than doubled during the year after starting PrEP compared to the prior year. The rates of gonorrhea and syphilis increased, too, but to a less significant degree... before PrEP became widely available, yearly surveys by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that rates of condomless anal intercourse had increased steadily among gay and bisexual men from 39% in 2001 to 60% in 2014... the higher rate of STIs after starting PrEP may be due to “risk compensation,” in which individuals engage in higher risk sex due to the perceived protection due to PrEP"
Handing out drugs like candy doesn't solve the root problem

Ng Yi-Sheng - Attended Curating Colonialism last night, a talk by... - "Attended Curating Colonialism last night, a talk by ACM (Asian Civilisations Museum) Senior Curator Stephen A Murphy on the Raffles in Southeast Asia exhibition. I was late, but I didn't miss much: he was just running through the different sections of the show, explaining with great pride how they were shining a light on Raffles's dodgy scholarship, even displaying the Babad Bedhah Ing Ngayogyakarta (Chronicle of the Fall of Yogyakarta) and the Riau-Lingga royal regalia as counterpoints to the narrative of benevolent British colonialism... We really only got into the meat of things during the Q&A. Faris Joraimi asked why the marketing of the show under "Scholar or Scoundrel--You Decide!" was even giving the audience the chance to vindicate Raffles when his sins had been exposed already by historians; how we could assume that his errors were simply shoddy mistakes rather than deliberate acts to pursue an agenda of conquest. Murphy's reply was that the marketing team wasn't under his control, and anyway they were there to be objective, not to take sides. Someone else then pointed out that he'd already taken sides by pointing out all the bad scholarship. Alfian Sa'at straight up said that as a Malay person he felt objectified and outraged by the way the exhibition used the colonialist's perspective of the native, and that they shouldn't have even staged the exhibition in the first place. Murphy said that kind of opinion belonged to the Rhodes Must Fall movement (which is bad for some reason?) and that it would be sufficient to inscribe colonial sins on a plaque somewhere--completely failing to acknowledge that his exhibition had erased the bloodshed of colonial violence, mentioning the Sack of Yogyakarta only in a tiny section at the end, where visitors would pass it after they were sick of reading labels."
Nothing is ever enough for the grievance brigade. Visitors cannot be allowed to make up their own minds - no deviation from the narrative is acceptable

Are There Snakes in New Zealand? - "New Zealand is one of several large islands around the globe where there have never been native snake populations. The others are Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland and Newfoundland. Snakes are more common than lizards around the world, and yet New Zealand is home to several species of lizard and not a single snake. Since snakes have neither evolved nor been deposited on the islands of New Zealand, their appearance would be a threat to other local wildlife, and so they are vigorously repelled."

PM says we can't outsource security to anyone else but SPF does outsource its job to Nepalese - "It is interesting to note that the Singapore government does outsource some of the domestic security work to Nepalese troops, who are currently helping to maintain law and order in Singapore. Under the SPF, a Gurkha Contingent (GC) was formed consisting of troops from Nepal. The principal role of the contingent is to be a "special guard force". Historically, they were part of the British forces and were retained since colonial times to enforce security. They were especially useful to help maintain law and order in Singapore during the turbulent 50s and 60s, like quelling the Maria Hertogh riots, the Hock Lee Bus riots, the 1964 racial riots and Konfrontasi which involved rooting out saboteurs from Indonesia.
In his memoirs, "From Third World To First", former PM Lee Kuan Yew recounted the use of the Gurkhas as an impartial force at the time when Singapore had just gained independence. He wrote:
"When I returned to Oxley Road, Gurkha policemen were posted as sentries. To have either Chinese policemen shooting Malays or Malay policemen shooting Chinese would have caused widespread repercussions. The Gurkhas, on the other hand, were neutral, besides having a reputation for total discipline and loyalty."
In other words, Lee Kuan Yew trusted the Gurkhas more than the Chinese or Malay policemen, at the time.And now, after more than half a century of independence, the PAP government continues to outsource our security to Nepalese troops, instead of trusting to use our very own Singaporean servicemen and regulars 100% for the job."
Even if you quibble with the definition of outsourcing, maybe we can just hire Gurkhas to defend Singapore
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