When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, February 01, 2020

Links - 1st February 2020 (2)

MICKEY MOUSE DAY - November 18, 2019 - "he almost didn’t exist. Mickey Mouse was only created as a replacement for Walt Disney’s original successful creation, Oswald the Rabbit. Oswald was made by the Disney studio for Charles Mintz, a film producer and distributer through Universal Studios. With so much success from Oswald, Disney asked Mintz to increase the studio’s budget, but instead Mintz demanded Walt take a 20 percent cut. He then reminded Disney that Oswald was owned by Universal and that he had already signed most of Disney’s current employees to his new contract. Disney refused to sign the new contract, finished the final Oswald comic of his contract, and ended his work with Universal... The original name for the character was Mortimer Mouse until his wife, Lillian, convinced him to change it, ultimately creating Mickey Mouse."

Wanted: Vision of Singapore based on values, not just economic value - "A recent casual chat with a friend turned to emigration, that old chestnut of an issue.She is a 24-year-old law student, and is all set on a legal career when she finishes her studies. Asked if she would consider leaving Singapore to work one day, she responded starkly: "If Singapore doesn't serve your interest, why should you serve hers?"Her bold statement and the way she framed nationality and identity in terms of serving individual interests jolted me.The idealism of "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" clearly did not resonate with my friend... many Singaporeans are attractive global workers with skills well sought after around the world. An annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Community in 2017 revealed that seven in 10 Singaporean youth aged 18 to 35 were looking to move overseas to pursue opportunities.  Similarly, a study conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies in 2016 showed that 29.2 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they were actively examining the possibility of emigrating in the next five years, an increase from 26.4 per cent in 2010.  Already, 214,700 Singaporeans live overseas as of 2017, compared with 172,000 a decade before that, according to the Department of Statistics. Why do Singaporeans emigrate?  Surveys point to issues such as the high cost of living, high stress of work life and the education system.  Being able to explore opportunities not available in Singapore and living in societies with greater degrees of freedom were also mentioned as pull factors by some friends I spoke with.  I think another important factor contributing to brain drain is the national psyche.  There is no denying that the "Third World to First" story built on pragmatism and meritocracy forms the bulk of Singapore's DNA. But this is the same narrative that can propel emigration.  Pragmatism means one should seek the best life for self and family regardless of obligations or cost and whichever country is offering that life. There is little place for patriotism in that narrative... Singaporeans who choose to move overseas, especially the young generation, may not conform to the traditional viewpoint of a "comfortable" life, but may instead be choosing a lifestyle that allows them greater flexibility and inclusiveness in values and culture."
If the country treats its people like a resource (literally Lee Kuan Yew's strategy was "to develop Singapore's only available natural resource, its people"), why be surprised when they behave like resources and go to where they can get more value>

Spottiswoode condo killer litter: Man charged with ‘religiously aggravated’ act - "Australian national Andrew Gosling, 47, has now been charged with voluntarily causing hurt by means of an instrument — a glass wine bottle that he threw from the seventh floor lift landing of the Spottiswoode 18 condominium towards a table near the barbecue area on the fifth floor on Aug 18. According to court documents, the bottle struck a woman named Ms Manisah while she was at the table, causing bruises to her right shoulder, and that this act was “religiously aggravated”.No other details were given."

Turkey deserves the blame for what happened in Syria - "Syria would have escaped more than eight years of warfare if Turkey had not intervened militarily and politically when Arab Spring anti-government protests erupted in March 2011. Without Turkey’s early involvement, Damascus’s crackdown would have ended the protests and the government would have initiated promised reforms.Syria would have emerged with a limited number of victims, little damage,few internally displaced and fewer refugees. Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan would have escaped the negative human, economic and political impacts of the war across their borders. While Turkey was not the only external power to intervene it was the first, the most prominent and provided access to others. The result was civil conflict and proxy wars that have drawn in the US, Europe, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states... Ergodan’s intervention began in May 2011, two months after protests erupted in Syria. He convened a meeting in Istanbul of Syrian opposition factions to discuss how to effect regime change. In July, Turkey started recruiting Syrian army deserters for the Syrian Free Army (FSA) with the aim of using force to topple Assad who, Ankara believed would “fall within weeks”.  In August Ankara formed the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council, a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated opposition group comprised of exiles who expected to succeed Assad. In November, Erdogan called for sanctions to be imposed on Syria for its suppression of popular protests... Turkish-trained and armed FSA factions clashed with Syria’s regular army and seized control of several towns around Damascus and its suburbs. Turkey also funnelled thousands of foreign jihadis into Syria. A fraction were recruited by al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, which entered Syria from Iraq in 2012, while 80 per cent joined Islamic State (originally Isis), a rival al-Qaeda offshoot established in 2013, and other jihadi groups. As Islamic State expanded its holdings in Syria and established the capital of its “caliphate” at Raqqa, reinforcements, funds, and supplies flowed into this area from Turkey. Looted factory equipment from Aleppo and oil from captured Syrian fields were sold in Turkey... Having initially welcomed Syrians fleeing the war, Turkey now wants to get rid of 3.5 million refugees who are a burden on the country’s faltering economy and unpopular with Turks.  Turkey intends to settle refugees in areas it occupies in northern Syria but this involves the ethnic cleansing of local Kurds. Armed Kurds have resisted displacement while the Syrian government has vowed to regain all Syrian territory."
Strange, I thought Western governments were the only ones with any agency

Julia Macfarlane on Twitter - "Where do I see myself in ten years? - Living in Bali, with my dogs. (credit unknown)"

Going to university pays off faster for women than for men, new analysis finds - "men who have taken degrees in Creative Arts, Communications, English, Agriculture, Psychology, Philosophy and Languages at some universities will earn less than the national living wage, on average, five years after their graduation."

The case against DNA - "Defence teams that once seemed helpless before the glossy, hi-tech slide shows presented by prosecutors have become far bolder in challenging the quality of the science. High-profile cases such as that of Amanda Knox — acquitted by an Italian court of murdering her flatmate after a trial that hinged almost solely on DNA evidence — have fed the notion that such evidence, with a little lawyerly ingenuity, can now be fought and discredited...  For some reason, first time around, no matches were found. This time, however, one turned up: a sample recovered from a cigarette butt found in 1998 after a burglary at the defendant’s mother’s house. The police originally believed the butt had been left by the burglar. Instead it led them to Mr Butler who had apparently dropped it during a visit to comfort his mother. After the taking of a full DNA profile, which, again, matched the DNA under the finger nails, the cabbie was charged with murder. This was at the heart of the prosecution’s case.  But Michael Wolkind, Butler’s QC, took the science apart. The testing procedures were unreliable, he told the jury. The analysis of the DNA under Foy’s nails had been done at a time before higher-quality standards for handling samples were established. And, he said, even if the DNA was the defendant’s, there could be a perfectly innocent explanation for how it got there.  Butler suffers from a dry skin condition so severe that his nickname in the local cab trade is “flaky”. He could have taken a passenger to the Red Light district, handed over some notes in change and passed on his DNA to the passenger who then met with Foy and later handed the notes, complete with Butler’s DNA, to her.  “The idea that Mr Butler violently attacked her is beyond belief,” Wolkind told the jury. “Mr Butler never met the deceased, and unsafe science cannot change that fact.”... Jamieson’s main concern about the growing use of DNA in court cases is that a number of important factors — human error, contamination, simple accident — can suggest guilt where there is none. Police and prosecutors, he alleges, have come to see DNA evidence as a shortcut to convictions, and juries are ill-equipped to understand the complex scientific data... “Does anyone realise how easy it is to leave a couple of cells of your DNA somewhere?” he asks rhetorically. “You could shake my hand and I could put that hand down hundreds of miles away and leave your cells behind. In many cases, the question is not ‘Is it my DNA?’, but ‘How did it get there?’”... An entire sub-speciality of law has evolved called DNA-rebuttal and dozens of people have either had convictions overturned or secured not-guilty verdicts in trials that looked certain to end with the opposite conclusion.  William Thompson, a criminologist specialising in DNA-based forensics at the University of California, criticises what he calls “the rhetoric of infallibility” surrounding DNA profiling. “We’ve seen images of wrongfully convicted people being freed by this marvellous new technology,” he says, “and guilty ones being brought to justice, and we are invited to believe that this is a gold standard, a truth machine. It isn’t that simple. The fact is while DNA is generally quite reliable, it is not by any means infallible.” Thompson’s argument sounds even more convincing in the light of a recent report by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, which revealed that different DNA laboratories around the country produced wildly differing analyses of the same samples. The confusion is compounded by the realisation that not everyone leaves DNA in the same way. Some people shed cells more easily than others. Five people, for example, could be seated around a table, and only one of them would leave a trace."

The Problems With DNA Evidence and Testing - The Atlantic - "They both had alibis, and neither of them matched the profile from the victim’s original account: She’d described her assailants as short and skinny. Adams was 5 foot 11 and 180 pounds. Sutton was three inches taller and 25 pounds heavier, the captain of his high-school football team.  The DNA evidence was harder to refute... As recognition of DNA’s revelatory power seeped into popular culture, courtroom experts started talking about a “CSI effect,” whereby juries, schooled by television police procedurals, needed only to hear those three magic letters—DNA—to arrive at a guilty verdict. In 2008, Donald E. Shelton, a felony trial judge in Michigan, published a study in which 1,027 randomly summoned jurors in the city of Ann Arbor were polled on what they expected prosecutors to present during a criminal trial. Three-quarters of the jurors said they expected DNA evidence in rape cases, and nearly half said they expected it in murder or attempted-murder cases; 22 percent said they expected DNA evidence in every criminal case. Shelton quotes one district attorney as saying, “They expect us to have the most advanced technology possible, and they expect it to look like it does on television."... today, most large labs have access to cutting-edge extraction kits capable of obtaining usable DNA from the smallest of samples, like so-called touch DNA (a smeared thumbprint on a window or a speck of spit invisible to the eye), and of identifying individual DNA profiles in complex mixtures, which include genetic material from multiple contributors, as was the case with the vaginal swab in the Sutton case.  These advances have greatly expanded the universe of forensic evidence. But they’ve also made the forensic analyst’s job more difficult. To understand how complex mixtures are analyzed—and how easily those analyses can go wrong—it may be helpful to recall a little bit of high-school biology: We share 99.9 percent of our genes with every other human on the planet... Dror and Hampikian quote the early DNA-testing pioneer Peter Gill, who once noted, “If you show 10 colleagues a mixture, you will probably end up with 10 different answers” as to the identity of the contributor... even a trace of DNA can now become the foundation of a case. In 2012, police in California arrested Lukis Anderson, a homeless man with a rap sheet of nonviolent crimes, on charges of murdering the millionaire Raveesh Kumra at his mansion in the foothills outside San Jose. The case against Anderson started when police matched biological matter found under Kumra’s fingernails to Anderson’s DNA in a database. Anderson was held in jail for five months before his lawyer was able to produce records showing that Anderson had been in detox at a local hospital at the time of the killing; it turned out that the same paramedics who responded to the distress call from Kumra’s mansion had treated Anderson earlier that night, and inadvertently transferred his DNA to the crime scene via an oxygen-monitoring device placed on Kumra’s hand... sperm cells from a single stain on one item of clothing made their way onto every other item of clothing in the washer. And because we all shed different amounts of cells, the strongest DNA profile on an object doesn’t always correspond to the person who most recently touched it... some analysts are incentivized to produce inculpatory forensic evidence: A recent study in the journal Criminal Justice Ethics notes that in North Carolina, state and local law-enforcement agencies operating crime labs are compensated $600 for DNA analysis that results in a conviction.

Crime History: Plot to steal Elvis' body gets weirder - "On this day, Aug. 29, in 1977, three men were arrested and charged with trying to steal Elvis Presley's body. As a result the singer's body was moved to Graceland.The thieves' plan was to ransom the corpse for $10 million, but the plot was foiled when one of the thieves, an FBI informant named Ronnie Lee Adkins, tipped Memphis police and a TV reporter to the scheme.The charges were dropped after the prosecutor declared that Adkins was too unreliable.Twenty-five years later, Adkins confessed that a Shelby County deputy Billy Talley staged the corpse-snatching hoax so the Presley family could convince county officials to allow them to move Elvis to Graceland for security reasons.In a bizarre twist, Adkins later helped put away Talley in 1997 for conspiring to murder an FBI agent."

MUIS on Apostasy

Freedom of Religion & Apostasy in Islam
Religious Advisory
by Islamic Religious Council Of Singapore

1. Islam recognizes the freedom of religion as a right for every individual. This is founded on the following Quranic principles:


a. Which means: “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (Al-Baqarah, verse 256)


b. Which means: “Whoever so wishes, let him believe, and whoever so wishes, let him disbelieve.” (Al-Kahfi, verse 29)

2. The jurist Ibn Ashur includes the protection of the freedom of belief as one of the five main objectives of the Islamic law (Maqasid al-Shari'ah).

3. The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. exemplified this teaching in his lifetime. He did not enforce Islam on anyone, including his family members but brought people to the fold of Islam through his message of social justice, equality of humankind before God and other enduring values to humanity such as compassion and kindness. He engaged others on Islamic teachings and belief through good words and deeds, and through exemplary conduct and virtuous mannerisms. In his covenant (social contract) with the inhabitants of the city of Madinah, the Prophet s.a.w. allowed non-Muslims to remain in their faith and accepted everyone as members of the same community.


4. As to those who decided to leave Islam, the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. did not implement any form of punishments. In a hadith narrated by Bukhari, a Bedouin who had pledged allegiance to the Prophet s.aw. withdrew his pledge a day after he madeit. The Prophet s.a.w. left him alone and did not order any form of punishments on the individual. There are also many other instances of those who left Islam but were not punished by the Prophet s.a.w.

5. Notwithstanding the facts mentioned above, there are other religious texts which seem to suggest that religious freedom is not in line with the teachings of Islam. One example is the hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas: "Whoever changes their religion, kill them". Such narrations must be understood in the right context as a literal reading will lead to confusion and a misguided application of the rules of Islam.

6. Eminent Muslim scholars such as Ramadan Al-Buti, Ahmad al-Raysuni, Habib Al-Jufri, and Muhammad Imarah, explain that the hadith should be understood in light of the Quranic principle of freedom of religion and in relation to all other hadiths on the subject. Their conclusion is that this hadith was in relation to those who left the Muslim community and conspired with the enemy to destroy Muslims. There are also other hadiths (narrated by Bukhari and Muslim) where the Prophet s.a.w. spoke of both the act of leaving the religion and the political crime of treason. For example, Abdullah Ibn Masud reported that the Prophet s.a.w. applied legal punishment for “the one who leaves his religion and separates from the community” (Sahih Muslim). Al-Buti also explains that such legal punishment is only carried out if there are other associated crimes such as rebellion (al-Hirabah), as this significantly undermines and threatens the harmony and stability of society. This is a view held by earlier jurists such as Ibn Rushd and al-Shirazi. According to Shaltut, the hadith only applies when there is aggression and assault against Muslim .

7. The Maliki jurist al-Baji states that apostasy is a sin which carries no hudud penalty but the discretionary punishment of ta'zir. Accordingto Sufyan al-Thawri and al-Nakha’i, those who leave Islam should be brought back to Islam through persuasion and not be killed.


8. In light of the Islamic principles and juristic views on the matter explained above, Office of the Mufti wishes to emphasise that freedom of religion is the general rule in the Quran and a fundamental principle in Islam. The treatment of apostasy as a crime punishable by death came about later during the period where Islam gained political ascendancy. As such, the act of apostasy was not treated as a purely theological issue, but as an act of treason because the apostate is seen as having abandoned his or her loyalty and allegiance to the Muslim community.

9. The punishment by death stated in a hadith quoted above should be understood within this specific context. The sin of leaving the religion is purely between the individual and God, and hence worldly punishments do not apply in a situation where treason does not exist.

22 JANUARY 2019

This notwithstanding:

"MUIS' fatwa statement is being used to in some way justify apostasy is a cause of concern that I think needs to be responded to, so that Muslims do not think that we can simply leave Islam without any consequences whatsoever..."

Also apparently this is a Irsyad, not a Fatwa.

Links - 1st February 2020 (1)

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Christmas Spirit - "DEAR JESUS WHAT IS THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS?"

Who is Yuna Song and Why is She Not a 'Hot Korean Girl' Too? - "A Facebook post that seemingly burned a cast member in the credits for being just a “Korean girl” and not one of the “Hot Korean Girls” gained thousands of reactions on the group Subtle Asian Traits.
But for the the deep-thinking intellectuals of SAT, the post begs a number of questions. Who is Yuna Song? Why is Yuna Song not a hot girl? What movie is this from? Because I think I will decide for myself if Yuna Song is a hot girl or not. Significant resources were spent to get to the bottom of this — this is what we found...
Yuna Song was the little girl who sang that questionable North Korean anthem at the beginning of the film. As you may notice, Yuna Song is literally a girl in this movie and therefore cannot appropriately be called a “hot girl” unless you have some serious issues with yourself. But there is still a loose end that needs answering. Who even are the “Hot Korean Girls”? They are none other than Kim-Jong Un’s private harem of lingerie-clad girls that parties with him and Dave Sylark in the film."

Daniel Yap - "In Singapore: thousands taking to the streets downtown, shutting down transport networks and crippling the retail industry. They are all dressed in coordinated wear. Police are out in large numbers trying to contain the chaos and erect barricades to prevent spillover.The nation is split - some say we ought to support their efforts. Others condemn and decry the disruption to our daily life.#stanchartmarathon"

'Capitalism Has Failed Us!' Mark Ruffalo Shouts From Atop Massive Mountain Of Cash | The Babylon Bee

Peter Schiff on Twitter - Mark Ruffalo: "It’s time for an economic revolution. Capitalism today is failing us, killing us, and robbing from our children’s future."
"Agree, too many getting rich making movies. Entertainment should be free, a public good. No one should profit from it. That's exploitation. Entertainment is a human right. Let's create a Dept. of Entertainment to be the single provider. Equal pay for actors and postal workers!"

StanChart Singapore marathon named among world's worst marathons, just days before causing traffic nightmare in the city - "Organisers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon may be pleased with the positive feedback it received for its first-ever night race in the Republic... These issues go beyond causing some of the worst traffic jams downtown Singapore has seen in years... the annual run in Singapore’s city centre is one of the worst in the world.Only two other marathons worldwide were ranked below StanChart’s Singapore marathon – the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon and the IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon. The ranking of 81 marathons globally compiled by The Sole Supplier, a UK-based trainer review and news site, considers factors such as air quality, altitude, average finish times, average temperature and rainfall, starting entry fees, refreshment stations, medical aid, and toilets, among others... at least four major events were taking place on the same day, including the marathon, the U2 Joshua Tree Tour concert at Sports Hub, the C3 Anime Festival Asia at Suntec City and Gardens By The Bay’s Christmas Wonderland.  On top of that, it is also not unusual for a flurry of activity to be taking place in the city during the year-end holiday season, whether it is Christmas shopping, public performances or weddings at major hotels downtown. Musician Selwyn Koh was one of many who took to social media to express bewilderment at the organisers’ choice to hold an evening run in the middle of the city on a Saturday.  In a Facebook post dated December 1, Koh criticised organisers for not exercising empathy in their decision. Instead, the decision “reeks of nothing but stupidity and selfishness”... one of his friends was stuck in traffic for four hours when travelling from Sentosa to Fullerton Hotel, while others had to run to events they were working at with large equipment and bags... the marathon – which was a pre-dawn race in previous years – was changed to a night race as Ironman hoped it would increase its chances of being listed among the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series of the most prestigious marathons in the world. Asked if the race would be changed back into a morning run next year, Meyer reportedly said “it would be the last thing we want to do”."

PHOTOS: Plaza Singapura has an actual snow playground for kids and adults this Christmas - here's what it's like inside - "The first thing I noticed was how well made the snow was. It’s as if I’d been transported to a different country through a magic door"

Vietnamese Influencer Gains 22 Pounds for 'Reverse' Body Transformation - "Trang Thị Thuỳ Nguyễn, who is a popular livestreamer, gained 10 kilograms (22 pounds) to achieve her fitness goals — 39 kilograms (85.98 pounds) to 49 kilograms (108.03 pounds)."

Liliya on Twitter - "me: don’t idolize dead white men
also me: the Lenin portrait goes next to the bronze Marx bust"

I stopped going to the gym because of Trump. Now I can't open jars - "  It was 9 November 2016 and my thinking about fitness changed almost overnight. In tune with the times, it became more Trump, less Obama.  In the spirit of the Donald, I drank more bottles of Diet Coke and ate more McDonald’s. I dropped the gym – embracing Trump’s belief that we are given a certain amount of energy and if we use it then we are depleting a finite resource.  According to the book Trump Revealed: “Trump believed the human body was like a battery, with a finite amount of energy, which exercise only depleted. So he didn’t work out. When he learned that John O’Donnell, one of his top casino executives, was training for an Ironman triathlon, he admonished him, ‘You are going to die young because of this.’”  I didn’t want to die young, so I didn’t go to the gym."
The Guardian strikes again!

Meme - "Jill Filipovic: How Strange and Sad It Must Be to Live in Such Fear of People Who Are Different, or Who Come From Places You Don't Understand"
"Just Got Accosted by Street-Evangelizing Christians. WTF? I Live in NY Specifically to Avoid That Shit"

Bree Newsome Bass on Twitter - "Zuckerberg is an *active collaborator* w/ right wing factions spreading disinformation via Facebook. He's not doing anything to stop it b/c he's sympathetic toward the fascists, hence having secret dinners w/ Trump. He also wants their $$, obviously.
Zuckerberg is yet another example of why the ruling white elite, billionaire class has to be ended. They are actively subverting democracy in the interests of hoarding wealth & consolidating power for themselves. The billionaire class is the greatest threat to democracy rn."

Monster Attack Leaves 37 Dead, 120 Homeless, 1 Power Ranger Having Learned Valuable Lesson About Peer Pressure - "Sources say that Kwan was convinced by a new transfer student known only as Sharkie to smoke behind the Angel Grove High School bleachers. As a direct result, she was not present to help the other Rangers when the half-boar half-clown monster called Piggly Giggly began his attack."

Salvation Army: Despite hate, misinformation, we serve LGBT community - "The Salvation Army is the world’s largest nongovernmental provider of poverty relief, serving more than 23 million in need each year in America alone. Our doors are, and always have been, open to all. We don’t ask anyone their orientation, identity or beliefs, to help ensure that they feel welcome and safe. So while we can’t claim an exact number, we believe by sheer size and access that we are the largest provider of poverty relief for people in the LGBTQ community. Across our 7,686 centers of operation, you’ll find Salvation Army employees who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community... We have a dorm in Las Vegas exclusively for transgender individuals. In Minneapolis, an estimated 20% of the 550 or so individuals who seek rest in our Harbor Light shelter each night are members of the LGBTQ community. In San Francisco, we operate a detoxification facility that caters to those infected with HIV/AIDS. Our Young Adult Resource Center provides day shelter to homeless youth in Houston, many of whom identify as LGBTQ. We work with the City of Baltimore to combat trafficking among transgender individuals, a growing need there. And every other Salvation Army program, shelter or center nationwide is open to members of the LGBTQ+ community.  Those are verifiable facts... Surely no one wants to see programs for those living in poverty eliminated simply because some disagree with the theology of those who provide them"

About 1,000 homeless people sleeping rough in Singapore, first-ever academic study finds - "They are mostly older men, and 31 per cent of the sample interviewed — which would translate to more than 300 people — said they have been homeless for at least six years... At the time they were interviewed, which was after 11.30pm, one in four had eaten only one meal or none at all for the whole day... The main reason for sleeping rough was unemployment, irregular hours or low pay – cited by 47 per cent of those interviewed. The other main reasons for homelessness were: Family relationship problems and lack of access to housing services.The researchers also found that many homeless people defy stereotypes: They can be well-dressed and well-groomed, most hold down jobs albeit low-paying ones, and in some cases, they even own residential property. Nearly one in 10 of the people, or 9 per cent, was observed to have health issues including visible injuries and ailments, physical disability, a frail appearance or possible mental health conditions... Just under 40 per cent said they had residential property in their name — 15 per cent said they have public rental flats as addresses, while 11 per cent said they own HDB flats"
Presumably the researchers will be slammed as PAP stooges since they found that there are indeed people who choose to be homeless

Anti homeless bench covered up as a wheelchair friendly bench : HostileArchitecture

'Housing First' approach won't solve homelessness crisis - "Housing First is an approach launched under President George W. Bush and dramatically expanded into a one-size-fits-all policy under President Obama. It provides those experiencing homelessness with subsidized housing with no expectations... Utah, which was once lauded by Housing First advocates, initially reported reducing its homeless population by 91 percent between 2005 and 2015. But a recent report from the state’s Legislative Auditor General found that number was based on flawed data that falsely inflated the decrease in homelessness. To add insult to injury, the homeless population in Utah has nearly doubled since 2016. Utah is only one example. In July, Austin Mayor Steve Adler visited Los Angeles and Seattle, which embraced the model and yet continue to lose their battles with homelessness. California made Housing First official state policy in 2016 and required that all state funds for addressing homelessness be directed solely to programs that provide housing — with no preconditions or expectations of recovery. Since that time, the state’s crisis has only grown worse with homelessness increasing in the city of Los Angeles by 16 percent from 2018. Seattle, likewise, has struggled to make a dent in its homeless population... These failures stand in stark contrast to the success of Austin’s own Community First! Village, which Secretary Carson cited as an example of innovation. Operated by the nonprofit Mobile Loaves & Fishes, it is a planned community of tiny houses and mobile homes specifically designed to provide housing for those struggling with homelessness. Unlike Seattle’s tiny house village and other Housing First programs, residents of Community First! are required to undergo a criminal background check and are expected to pay rent and abide by civil law and community rules. Alan Graham, the founder and CEO of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, points to the community’s rules as the key to its success. “When you have skin in the game you’re invested in your community,” Graham said.  A major problem with the Housing First policy, according to Graham, is that it focuses solely on giving someone a roof over their head and not allowing for the expectations that enable residents of the Community First! Village to thrive. Nearly 75 percent of unsheltered people in the United States struggle with substance abuse disorders. Giving them a roof over their head without expecting them to address the root causes of their homelessness robs them of their inherent dignity and the opportunity to reach their full potential"
So much for ending homelessness by just giving people homes. I'm sure liberals complain making people undergo criminal background checks, obey rules and them pay rent is discriminatory, white supremacy etc

‘Satellite Babies’ Spend Their Earliest Years in China - The Atlantic - "When Misty Ouyang returned to her parents’ home in the United States as a toddler, she’d forgotten who her mom was. Ouyang, now a 21-year-old college student in Boston, spent the first four years of her life with extended family in Fuzhou, China"

Vote 100: Who still can't vote in the UK? - "Rules from the Electoral Commission state that to vote in the UK, you must be aged 18 or over on polling day.In Scotland, people 16 or over can vote in local elections, but not a general election... The 1983 Representation of the People Act states people who have been convicted of crimes from which they are or will be imprisoned cannot vote in any election in the UK...   Members of the House of Lords are exempt from voting in general elections, but can participate in local and European votes.  This practice has been the case for hundreds of years, but in 2011 MP Hywel Francis wrote a letter to then deputy prime minister Nick Clegg questioning whether it was compatible with the rules of the European Court of Human Rights.  Clegg replied: "The fact that members of the House of Lords have a voice in Parliament makes it legitimate to deprive them of a right to have their voice also heard through their elected representative in the Commons."
Technically, there is no law stating that the Queen or members of the royal family cannot vote.  However, Parliament guidelines state it is considered unconstitutional for the Monarch or their family to vote in an election."
Strange how unlike the Americans the British don't get upset about ex-prisoners not being able to vote
How come members of the House of Commons get to vote?

Friday, January 31, 2020

Links - 31st January 2020 (2)

Reparations, systemic racism, and white Democrats’ new racial liberalism - "there is a tendency well-known to political scientists for public opinion to move in the opposite direction of the person who occupies the White House. The change, however, appears to predate Trump and, in fact, to have relatively little to do with the calendar of presidential politics. Instead, polling from the Pew Center shows that as late as 2014, most Americans believed there was no longer any need for the country to make changes to address black-white inequality. Consequently, few people believed discrimination was the main barrier to black upward mobility. These numbers then started to change rapidly, with the shift driven overwhelmingly by a change in the views of self-identified Democrats... “even prior to Ferguson, people take cues from elites,” and Democratic elites were beginning to signal to the rank and file that they should take systemic racism concerns more seriously. Obama’s 2012 observation that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon” is just one small example of how elite actors have helped push a shift in whites’ perception of race. And the shift, once underway, became mutually reinforcing. Liberal white audiences became increasingly interested in black intellectuals’ conceptions of race and racism in America. Back in April 2015, the social justice group Race Forward produced a series of videos starring Jay Smooth trying to explain the concept of “systemic racism” to a mass audience. Hillary Clinton used the term in a February 2016 speech... “Clinton talked a lot more about racial justice issues during the 2016 campaign than Obama did during his campaigns”... throughout the 1980s, ’90s, and 2000s, most white Democrats thought African Americans’ lack of individual initiative was the main source of racial inequality in America. The notion that Obama’s ascension to the presidency would usher in a “post-racial” era of American life, of course, proved false... white Democrats dramatically shifted their views of the centrality of racial discrimination in American life after the election of a black man to the highest office in the land... Back in 1996, the Democratic Party platform read like something out of a Trump campaign ad. “In 1992, our borders might as well not have existed,” the document states. “Drugs flowed freely. Illegal immigration was rampant. Criminal immigrants, deported after committing crimes in America, returned the very next day to commit crimes again.” Bill Clinton went on to run for reelection boasting about his crackdown at the border. Even by 2008, when Democrats substantively supported a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, the platform was still framed around enforcement-first themes, intoning that “we cannot continue to allow people to enter the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked.” On criminal justice, the 2008 platform led with a promise to be “tough on violent crime,” while by 2016, it opened by committing the party to “ending mass incarceration” and explicitly denounced the war on drugs while calling out “the discriminatory treatment of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians.” Perhaps the clearest sign of the shift, however, is the completely upturned politics of reparations... “racial resentment,” as used by political scientists, is a term of art that largely measures political views rather than any kind of interpersonal animosity... Trump is not to blame: Democrats themselves have moved the goalposts in terms of what kind of racial views one is expected to affirm as a good liberal... To the extent that white liberals now see racism as an enormous looming challenge for the country in a way they did not in the relatively recent past, Trump is very much the personification of that challenge. And thus, given the perfect enemy, it’s perhaps not surprising that much of the newly woke attitude is, in crucial respects, a bit vague in its precise policy implications... But it’s clear that getting rid of Trump is a key part of the story"
"Racial resentment" is basically measuring whether you adhere to the liberal party line. So if you disagree with it, you have "racial resentment". Ergo, you're racist

NETS Services Will be Available Outside Singapore For the First Time - "Singapore consumers can now use the NETSPay app to make e-payments when they travel overseas; this is made possible through the joint partnership between NETS and global payment network UnionPay.The enhanced NETSPay app comes with a new wallet feature that enables consumers to top up and pay for purchases at over 7.5 million UnionPay QR code merchants globally via QR codes"

Kirsten Han - A man said this, so maybe he won't be accused of... - "The lack of equitability and Government attention in these issues encourage discontented Singaporean men to support policies that can give them an advantage – discriminatory measures such as employment policies that favour citizens and that place the burden of child-rearing primarily on women. Such measures are particularly unfair to women, as they too may suffer from the invisible costs of conscription – while their husbands are away for reservist duties, married women may have to juggle work and family responsibilities even more.Our current NS policies are thus a millstone around the neck of equality between different groups, making true equality an impossible goal. It contributes to the persistence of the idea that women are the ‘weaker sex’, to whom certain roles like being home-makers are naturally given. First-generation PRs may also continue to face some level of discrimination in our society.Such issues are divisive and potentially unhealthy for the creation of a harmonious society"
The original article, "Is National Service Doing Us a Disservice?", has gone down the memory hole both on Yahoo and on http://www.inconvenientquestions.sg
Interestingly, this mirrors Hillary's claim that women are the primary victims of war

When Will Vasalgel Be Available? The Non-Hormonal Male Birth Control Could Be Out In 3-5 Years - "If you haven't already heard the exciting news, a new non-hormonal, long-acting form of male birth control may be closer than ever. In a study recently published in Basic and Clinical Andrology, potentially reversible male birth control Vasalgel, was found to be successful in preventing conception in groups of sexually mature rhesus monkeys for over one year, which is huge because vasectomies are generally more complicated for monkeys than humans. With the success they found, that only means good things for developers as they move closer to human clinical trials... "Vasalgel is revolutionary because men have no highly effective, long-acting but reversible way of controlling their own fertility," Lissner says. "Sometimes people perceive it as a war of the sexes, but it doesn't have to be that way. Women have birth control options now. If men have options too, you're really set."...
Sperm are too big to get through the gel barrier. So, the sperm end up being reabsorbed by the body"

Millennials Love ROM’s Friday Night Live Party! - "Curious to find out why young Torontonians love FNL so much, we went to a ROM Friday party. One young man said it was wild to be able to grab a beer, see the dinosaurs and share the moment with friends. Another guest said: “Once you graduate, you start going to work, and you stop learning. At FNL you always learn something, it gives you a good feeling.” Someone else mentioned that they hadn’t been to the ROM since being a kid, and they loved coming back as a young adult.Other people felt that FNL parties were more fun [than going out to a nightclub] because people are more approachable. The exhibitions and artifacts act as natural conversation starters – and you just don’t get that in a basic bar environment. The interesting thing about our conversations with millennials was how enthusiastic they were about being at the museum at night."

Toronto ranked worst city for commuting in North America: study - "Toronto is often cited as among the world’s very best cities in which to live, but a new study suggests Canada’s most populous urban centre lags far behind when it comes to commuting.A report released by U.K.-based business solution company Expert Market reveals Toronto is the worst in North America when it comes to commuting times and sixth worst in the world... The top five worst cities for commuting are Rio de Janeiro, followed by Bogota, Sao Paulo, Istanbul and Salvador... the top five best cities for commuting are Nice, Cuenca, Bilbao, Toulouse and Catania... an average commuter in Toronto spends 14 minutes waiting for a bus or a train each day. But even worse, the average person spends a staggering one hour and 36 minutes for their daily commute with an average journey distance of 10 kilometres... Vancouver is ranked 33rd as the top Canadian city with the best commuting, followed by Ottawa at 38th and Montreal and 46th."

Roland Bartetzko's answer to Why don't soldiers wear sneakers? - Quora - "When I first encountered soldiers wearing sneakers on the front-line, I was looking down on them. I thought that a professional soldier should only go with boots into combat.I quickly learned and changed my mind. During the Siege of Mostar, almost every soldier I met wore sports shoes, at least in summer. It wasn't that our military couldn’t provide better footwear for its soldiers: we had excellent US-made combat boots. However, the problem was that it was simply too hot for them... Especially in urban combat, sneakers have an advantage. They are lighter, have better shock absorption (your spine and kneecaps will be grateful) and are much easier to get off your feet.On the downside, they provide less ankle protection (although this is not true for all of them) and less insulation."

VCE authorities apologise for phantom robot - "THE VCE exam body has apologised and promised no students will be disadvantaged after a doctored image depicting a giant robot assisting socialist revolutionaries in 1917 was accidentally used in a history exam.It is the second year in a row the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has been forced to apologise following debacles in the end-of-year exams. New guidelines governing the use of internet-sourced material in exams will also be issued after an altered version of the artwork Storming the Winter Palace by Nikolai Kochergin appeared in the VCE History: Revolutions exam... History Teachers Association of Victoria acting executive officer Ingrid Purnell said it was disappointing the image had got through when teachers spent a lot of time making sure students critically examined and evaluated visual sources of evidence."

Black Friday sparks worldwide backlash from politicians, activists - "Research by a U.K. consumer association found that 61% of goods advertised in Black Friday deals last year were cheaper or about the same price both before and after the event.That echoes similar warnings in other countries. Russia’s consumer watchdog issued a long statement with tips on how to avoid getting fooled, like checking whether prices were raised before Friday to make deals look good or whether delivery costs are inflated... In Italy, for example, Black Friday falls outside the season’s strictly defined schedule for when the winter shop sales can be held. This year, sales cannot be held from Dec. 5 until Jan. 4, when stores are allowed to clear out stock. The fashion industry has warned that can hurt smaller retailers in a country that relies on them heavily.A French legislative committee passed an amendment Monday that proposes prohibiting Black Friday because it causes “resource waste” and “overconsumption.”"

(PDF) Genome‐Wide Association Study of Latent Cognitive Measures in Adolescence: Genetic Overlap With Intelligence and Education - "Individual differences in executive functions (EF) are heritable and predictive of academic attainment (AA). However, little is known about genetic contributions to EFs or their genetic relationship with AA and intelligence. We conducted genome-wide association analyses for processing speed (PS) and the latent EF measures of working memory (WM) and inhibitory control (IC) in 4,611 adolescents from Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. While no loci reached genome-wide significance, common genetic variants explained 30% of the variance in WM and 19% in PS. In contrast, we failed to find common genetic contributions to IC. Finally, we examined shared genetic effects between EFs, and general intelligence, AA and ADHD. We identified significant genetic correlations between WM, intelligence, and AA. A more specific pattern was observed for PS, with modest genetic overlap with intelligence. Together these findings highlight diversity in the genetic contributions to specific cognitive functions and their genetic relationship with educational and psychiatric outcomes."
I know someone who claimed she could trained any kid to get into the Gifted programme. I told her to start a school advertising this, and she would be rich

IntellectualFrogLegs on Twitter - "Trump is having a blast...  lol...
1 tweets out Rocky photo
2 press goes nuts
3 hops on unmarked plane to Afghanistan
4 sends fake motorcade to golf club
5 press goes nuts again, says he's golfing
6 feeds troops in Afghanistan
7 press...crickets"

Look at these cows wearing VR headsets - ""American farmers install automatically rotating brushes in the stalls, which replace the masseur's cows. In Europe, they use robotic systems to ensure maximum free movement of livestock on the farm. In Russia, Moscow suburbs in particular, manufacturers install sound equipment for broadcasting classical music, the relaxing effect of which positively affects milk output... The VR headsets aim to extend that effect by making cows think that they're in their happy place—specifically, a "unique summer field simulation." And apparently it's working, as the initial test found "a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd.""

Scientists discover how to 'upload knowledge to your brain' - "They studied the electric signals in the brain of a trained pilot and then fed the data into novice subjects as they learned to pilot an aeroplane in a realistic flight simulator.The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, found that subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps improved their piloting abilities and learnt the task 33 per cent better than a placebo group... Meanwhile, a recent study found that intelligent people are more easily distracted at work"

Making a mountain out of a floodplain

B (Admin): This is regarding off-topic posts. Lately, there has been a deluge of these posts.

Please review the rules of this group.

Palaces, stately manors and other monuments are not part of the purview of the group. The group is about defensive structures including castles.

A building with "castle" in its building name is not necessarily one. However, castles that were built in the past for defence and had been converted to a dwelling is allowed. Ads and books that are castle-related are allowed.

Before you post, ask yourself if the building had any defensive purpose, now or in the past.

There will be a grace period until the end of January. In February, any persons posting off-topic will be removed.

A: Well said. This should be really clear for anybody to understand, in addition these rules are on the main group page and have also been restated multiple times by the admin. How difficult can it be ? 🤣

Me: You forgot to link to the new group

B: For palaces and others, please post them in this group.


A: it's not a new group.

Me: *link to the new group*

Created 19 jan

A: the purpose of the admins post is not to give a link to other groups but to remind members of the rules of this group. Why are you providing a link to another group, which you seem to think the admin was referring to?

Me: because the admin himself previously promoted this group as the place to go to post non castles etc

In fact I believe it's the same admin who does both groups

Indeed if you scroll down you will see a post from the admin explicitly saying this

A: ?? 'because the admin himself previously promoted this group as the place to post non castles etc?". I have no idea about that, but it's seems kind of strange to be admin of a group called 'Castles...' and to actively promote non-castles to that very group.

Me: You could do worse than look at the post from 5 hours ago from him just below mine

A: "**Indeed** if you scroll down..." But what do you mean by *indeed*? He's just giving a link for a group that some.people might want to post pictures. It's not a new group.and neither is this one.

ok...I see the new 'Historical buildings group'

Me: As I mentioned above you can see the other group was started 19 Jan. So it is new.

Indeed reinforces my original point by introducing a new point that's related to the previous one

If you don't want people to post about Topic B in a group dedicated to Topic A it makes sense to tell them about the group dedicated to Topic B

A: regardless of what other posts the admin has made, in reference to this particular thread, why shld the OP admin should be referencing another group or feel obliged to do so? Surely it's quite straight-forward, the rules of the group as stated on this group define very clearly what shld or shld not be permitted in this group. And he's restated that here. I don't see why there wld be any confusion - regardless of **what you say** he had said before i.e. actively promoting the submission of non-castles in castle group.

"if you don't want people posting about topic B in a group ded to topic A it makes sense to tell them about the group ded to Topic B'.
Numerous times the admin has informed and posted a link to other groups in other threads from in this group.
In this particular post and thread, he's just said that there are other groups for posts that do fit the criteria of this group. The admin does not need to, nor shld feel obliged to continuously say there are other groups or even provide a link to the other groups. He's restated the rules of what is permitted in this group - which he didn't even need to do. He cld have just referred people to the group page which explains very clearly the rules. If people still can't be bothered to read very basic and very easy to understand rules, just ban them. Less.stupid people the better.

*new sub-thread*

C: *Animated GIF of He Man going: "I have The Power"*

*new sub-thread*

A: what's the thing with your 'liking' @chris swanns comment taking a swipe at the actions and comment made by the admin B ?

*screenshot of a comment I liked*

Me: not sure what your problem is

I'm pretty sure B would rather spend his time drawing space ships than waste time reading your attempts to make a mountain out of a floodplain

A: this is the opinion to which you expressed approval. Why?

*screenshot of animated GIF*

think you'll find it's very clear that you had a problem with the opinions of the admin B comment or why would you have liked and therefore concurrred with C who posted the gif which made fun of the admin?

D: Oh my god.... This is supposed to be a group about historical buildings. Frankly it's now just full of people whining. I'm done, have fun arguing 🙈

PM I got: "Just a note to say well done for standing up against the irrational self important assholes on the *group name* page!! 😀 omg.... 🙂"

Links - 31st January 2020 (1)

Chinese-made condoms too small, Zimbabwe’s health minister complains - "A Chinese condom manufacturer says it is considering making its products in different sizes after Zimbabwe’s health minister complained that contraceptives made in China and exported to the African nation were too small for its men."

South African court says Chinese condoms "too small" - "A South African court has stopped the government from buying 11 million condoms from China on the grounds that the made-in-China condoms are too small.But the problem is not what you might expect — the condoms in this case are for women... The judge ruled that female condom supply was an urgent matter because it affects the spread of HIV/AIDS. South Africa has more HIV/AIDS infections than any other country in the world."

Ugandan men say condoms too small - "Insisting that one size doesn't fit all, MP Tom Aza said Uganda's Parliamentary Committee for HIV/AIDS said a recent tour of areas worst hit by the virus revealed that some men "have bigger sexual organs and therefore should be considered for bigger condoms.""When it comes to action, when they're having sexual activity, of course with the pressure, it bursts""

Expats say condoms don't fit - "Some expatriates from Europe and Africa complained to Shanghai Daily that they are always embarrassed about "ill-fitting" condoms in the city as almost all of them are designed to a standard Asian size, which may not fit them.Main condom suppliers including Durex, Jissbon and Okamoto confirmed that they supply condoms only with a common size suitable for Chinese men – their target consumer group.Sizes of condoms differ in various countries and Chinese condoms, usually 180mm long and 52mm wide, are slightly smaller in length and girth than those being sold in Western countries... A European who asked not to be named told Shanghai Daily that the problem has existed for many years and that he always has to bring condoms from his homeland.  He said one of his female friends got pregnant and had to get an abortion because her boyfriend couldn't find a "proper size" condom.  "Many foreigners find it embarrassing to talk about the problem, but it's still there unsolved while posing a danger to us of catching venereal diseases or having unwanted babies in unprotected sex""

Paracetamol/ibuprofen combinations for acute pain - "The evidence suggests that paracetamol/ibuprofen combinations available as a single pill can be offered as an alternative to codeine-based analgesics for short-term management of pain in patients able to take NSAIDs and for whom paracetamol alone is not sufficient."

Liquid-Filled Capsules vs. Tablet Pills (Uncoated vs. Coated) - "Liquid-filled capsules tend to be absorbed sooner than tablet pills; therefore, they begin working faster. This is because the body needs nutrients to be suspended in some form of a liquid before it can begin breaking them down and using them. When a capsule is already in liquid form, all the body has to do is break down the coating surrounding the liquid and then it can absorb the contents. Tablet pills will have to be broken down completely first, which can take longer.On average, a liquid filled capsule may be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream in only a few minutes while it can take 20-30 minutes for a tablet pill to be absorbed. For this reason, liquid-filled capsules are generally considered to be faster-acting and often more powerful than tablet pills. The contents may also be more completely absorbed than those of tablet pills. Liquid-filled capsules may also wear off more quickly, however. Liquid and coated tablet pills are generally easier to swallow than uncoated tablet pills and may not cause as much as an aftertaste or bad taste in the mouth."

Vegan Says That She's 'Poisoned for Life' After Accidentally Being Served Sausage Roll - "[Sharleen] Ndugo says that she's never returning to Greggs, not after being "traumatized for life" by a mixup with her order. Last week, she stopped into a store in Canterbury, England for two vegan rolls, but was mistakenly given the OG sausage versions. She said that she started having heart palpitations almost immediately after taking a bite, and she knew that she'd been served meat by mistake."
Given that she's only been vegan for two years, this is clearly just grandstanding and offence mongering

Nursery serving 100% vegan menu sparks outrage - "A nursery has sparked outrage after becoming one of the first in Britain to introduce an exclusively vegan menu for its pupils.Jigsaw Day Nurseries in Chester will no longer serve meat or dairy products to the 260 children in their care as of January 2020.Instead, the children, who are aged between 0 and 4 years of age, can expect to be served up lentil-based ‘Shepherdless Pie’, potato and pea curry and Hungarian goulash.Angry parents have reacted with fury to the decision, which they claim was made without consulting them."
Hopefully they go out of business

CNN Reliable Sauces with Brian Seltzer - Posts - "Gabrielle Union Fired from America's Got Talent After Voicing Concerns Over Toxic Culture"
"Basically she was a killjoy who was trying to get other ppl fired, but got fired herself. Good. Needs to happen more often."

The heritability of self-control: A meta-analysis - "Genes significantly contribute to differences in self-control: the overall heritability is 60%.
The heritability is the same for boys and girls, and across age"

Grandma Wanda Dench, who invited wrong teen Jamal Hinton to Thanksgiving, shares 4th holiday with him - "An Arizona grandmother and a teenager have carried on a Thanksgiving tradition that began four years ago -- all because of a text that was sent to the wrong person.It all started when now 62-year-old Wanda Dench thought she was texting her own grandson about Thanksgiving dinner plans but accidentally texted now 20-year-old Jamal Hinton instead.The wrong messages went viral on social media, and the pair decided to meet in real life. The pair had so much fun together that Hinton has joined Dench's family for Thanksgiving each year."

Illegal immigrant who raped woman with Down’s can’t be deported as he won’t sign paper - "Harjit Singh, 48, who has been in the UK for 19 years, is unwilling to co-operate with a Home Office bid to arrange emergency travel documents to get him flown out. Officials are unable to resort to tougher measures and will have to turn to the Indian embassy for help, an immigration hearing was told... Singh tried to rape her, but bizarrely fell asleep, and the woman alerted neighbours.He admitted attempted rape and trespass with intent to commit a sexual act and was given a further six months after sexually assaulting two nurses at the Royal Free Hospital, north London, in 2015. But Singh, who requires a Punjabi interpreter, absconded while on licence from prison and was put into detention.His delaying tactics emerged as he applied for bail while the deportation process continues... A Home Office lawyer said Singh failed to attend two appointments to fill out necessary papers. She said: "There is no barrier to the applicant's removal. All appeal rights have been exhausted."But Singh's legal team said he did not know he needed to attend and denied that his removal was imminent. They said he would use the extra time to keep fighting deportation."Amazing - criminals can refuse to sign documentation and nothing can be done about them

The Meme Policeman - "It seems fashionable to paint the Pilgrims and Puritans as greedy invaders, set on seizing land and killing the natives, but this is not accurate. Modern historians specializing in this field give a much more favorable view of the early American settlers than many might think. The following are some interesting findings taken from Columbia University historian Alden Vaughan's scholarly work, New England Frontier: Puritans and Indians, 1620-1675:
... -Virtually all land acquired by the Puritans was done by voluntary means. The Indian tribes were often more than willing to trade land, which they had more than they could ever use, for new tools like metal plows and knives. In fact, it was the Indian tribes who typically approached the settlers to sell land. The Puritans were warmly welcomed into the Connecticut Valley, as the local natives wanted protection from their enemy, the Pequot Tribe.
-The Puritans actually believed the Indians to be WHITE. They thought they were one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel, and their darker skin was a result of the sun and the harsh elements, not of a different race. While they thought themselves to be culturally superior, they didn't view themselves as racially superior. Most saw their purpose as integrating and converting the Indians to adopt their customs. Not to conquer or slaughter them.
-Puritans invited and encouraged the natives to attend their schools, both grade school and higher learning. The 1650 charter of Harvard declared its mission "the education of the English and Indian youth". Unfortunately, most of the Indians who did integrate into their schools and society were decimated by disease, a reoccurring problem. The primary reason for the decline in Indian population was disease...
-Puritan courts generally decided in favor of the Indians during land disputes. The historical records show a much fairer system than most would think today in settling disputes and crimes.
-Like every society, the Puritans were complex, imperfect and indeed committed atrocities. In particular, the Mystic Fort massacre during the Pequot War, where hundreds of Pequot tribal members, including women and children, were surrounded and killed. However, the lead up to this conflict was nuanced, with both sides bearing responsibility. Additionally, the Mohegan tribe joined the Puritans in fighting the Pequots during the war. The real history of the early settlers is much more complex (and interesting) than the standard Thanksgiving fairy tale or the more contemporary notion that they were greedy, bloodthirsty, genocidal invaders."

Segments of Random Thoughts - Posts - "Data shows that American left-wing white people are the only group who view their own race negatively." (Source: ANES 2018 Pilot Survey - Mean In-Group Bias by Race/Ethnicity)
So much for it being a myth that liberals hate white people
Addendum: Add to this how liberals value the lives of black people more

CNN Reliable Sauces with Brian Seltzer - Posts - "Why are people so afraid to put far-leftists in charge of the World? We just want everyone to be equal.
Well except for white people, men, and straight people. They all have the original sin of privilege and should be constantly demonized and punished for having life so easy. It's only fair."

We’re not as different from the Nazis as we like to think - HistoryExtra - "The American historian Norman Finkelstein, whose parents survived the Nazi camps, has even attacked the ‘Holocaust industry’... The great danger, it seems to me, is for the Holocaust to become ossified, to be cordoned off as the stuff of museums and costume dramas. There is a tendency, exacerbated by our eagerness to cast the Nazis as supremely and uniquely evil, to see it as a uniquely German crime, orchestrated by a gang of fanatical madmen. In fact, many of the people who carried it out were otherwise decent husbands and fathers, people like us.Similarly, much as we congratulate ourselves on our record during the Second World War, Britain has its own history of anti-Semitism"

Britain has 'remorseless obsession' with Nazi Germany, former British Museum director says - "The British schools syllabus has helped create a "remorseless obsession" with Nazi Germany, the former director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor has said, as he condemns the "preposterous" analogy of comparing the EU with Hitler. MacGregor, a leading historian who now works in Germany, said Britain focused far too heavily on the Second World War when it considered Germany, missing out on its art and culture... "It's not a phenomenon that you find anywhere else in Western Europe, and I find it very striking."I think it's something to do with the syllabus in this country, which focuses overwhelmingly on the 20th century and those parts of the 20th century."... Referring to memorials, he added the Cecil Rhodes debate, about the Oxford statue some students are not protesting against, could be settled if Britain took a leaf out of Germany's book to take objects "from a celebration of the person to objects of reflection on the complexity of that person."MacGregor also answered questions about recent protests at the British Museum against BP, which sponsor its exhibitions, warning campaigners had now moved beyond their old "respectful" tactics of being "scrupulously careful" about the safety of visitors and collections."
From 2016. I wonder if he feels the same about the moral panic about Trump or Americans' similar neuroses about Nazis

Operation Coldstore and the perils of academic misinformation - "I launched at the National Library my book Original Sin? Revising The Revisionist Critique Of The 1963 Operation Coldstore In Singapore.The book essentially critiqued the notion by Dr Thum and similar "revisionist" historians that Coldstore was mounted for crass political reasons rather than legitimate security ones."

P J Thum and Ramakrishna: Dangers of a steamrolled narrative - "We are at a point where a dominant political party is relentlessly pushing its narrative of the events that shaped the nation. With a formidable array of resources at its disposal – think tanks, research centres, universities, even libraries and state-of-the-art book publishing capability – the danger is that such a “dettolised” narrative will be accepted by non-sceptical future generations as the absolute truth.Should we allow such a steam-rolling of the nation’s history to take place?What resources do people who disagree with the narrative have to present their case?"

Visiting Auschwitz, Merkel Warns Against Danger to Liberal Democracy - The New York Times - "At a time of rising nationalist and authoritarian movements, Angela Merkel  on Friday made her first visit as Germany’s chancellor to Europe’s most potent symbol of extremism, the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, and warned that liberal democracy must be protected against “a very dangerous historical revisionism.”"
This is an amusing contrast between "revisionism" in German history and Singaporean. In some contexts people are happy with the government privileging and sanctifying a historical narrative. But sacred narratives aren't allowed to be questioned. A national religion cannot be an academic discipline.

The German Right Believes It’s Time to Discard the Country’s Historical Guilt - WSJ - "“The negation of our own national interests is something that has become a political maxim in Germany since World War II," said AfD leader Frauke Petry... “German history is reduced to 12 years of Nazi rule. People use this to convince others, especially young people, that they are Nazis and must do good in the world.”... Mr. Höcke said World War II began as a local conflict in which Hitler understandably sought to reclaim territory lost after World War I. “The big problem is that one presents Hitler as absolutely evil,” Mr. Höcke said. “But of course we know that there is no black and no white in history.”... the history of the Holocaust is covered comprehensively in German schools, but German suffering, including the bombing of Dresden and Russian and American mistreatment of German prisoners of war, is given short shrift... Many Germans are proud of facing the darkest era in their past more directly than other countries have, and remain skeptical of the concept of patriotism. In a 2015 poll, only 38% said they were proud to be German. AfD supporters, by contrast, often say they are tired of atoning for crimes they didn’t commit."
Looks like historical nuance and avoiding absolutes is for the "far right"

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Links - 30th January 2020 (2)

Varieties | Moyca - "Moyca supplies a wide range of the best seedless table grape varieties available in the world. Increasing availability of green, red, black, specials and organics.  Our production is located in the area of Murcia in Spain´s most important grape growing region, with new expansion in the areas of Alicante and Badajoz."
It's refreshing to have a list of 46 types of grapes, rather than them just being described as "green", "red" or "black"

Tipping: Here are the best and worst cities and provinces in Canada - "if the size of Canada’s average gratuity is now inching closer to 14 per cent, the data shows considerable variation across provinces and cities.Vancouverites, according to the survey, are the stingiest in the country, with gratuities in the city averaging only 12.8 per cent. That’s fully three percentage points less than the 15.8 per cent that is the going rate in Regina, the No. 1 city in Canada when it comes to tip sizes... local minimum-wage legislation might also affect tipping behaviour, Orr said. After all, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, all of which figure toward the bottom of the provincial ranking, have among the highest provincial pay floors in the country... Square did provide national-level data showing how Canadians tend to tip for different types of services – but the results are somewhat puzzling.Beauty and barber shops, cabs and bars, for example, are where people tend to leave the largest tips, with gratuities averaging 15 per cent or more.At sit-down restaurants, on the other hand, Canadians leave just 13.5 per cent... the survey does suggest that Canadians may be over-tipping when they’re getting their hair done or hitching a ride in a taxi.  The 15-20 per cent tipping range is specific to the restaurant industry"

To tip or not to tip? Cashless consumers face take-out etiquette dilemma - "Digital payment systems now prompt customers for tips on all sorts of transactions, but people shouldn’t necessarily feel guilty for opting to tap “no tip” when ordering food or a beverage to take away.Lisa Orr, a Toronto-based etiquette expert, is unsure that the cultural practice around tipping has changed. Whereas it’s still standard to leave a gratuity after a sit-down meal, manicure or haircut, it’s not as common to leave 15 per cent or more for food or drinks to go.But technology seems to be attempting to change that by allowing any vendor to solicit gratuities no matter how little service is required... In 2018, Canadians tipped an average of 13.4 per cent using Square at food and drink sellers, according to the company’s data. That includes an average 13.7 at coffee and tea shops, 13.1 at food trucks, 12.9 at bakeries and 11.9 at quick service restaurants. The use of digital payment terminals encourages consumers to be more generous than they would be if they were using cash... People likely choose to leave less in tips at a quick-service restaurant than a full-service one with a professional wait staff, von Schellwitz added.  “Ultimately, it is the customer’s choice whether they tip or not,” he said.  It’s not necessary to leave a tip for over-the-counter service, said Orr, whose personal preference is not to do so.  Still she recognizes there are some instances where people may choose to leave a gratuity.  One example is if a patron develops an ongoing relationship with a barista, who may know their complicated order by heart and welcome them by name, she said. Orr would tip an employee who regularly made her matcha latte order.  “It would literally be ready before I was ready to pay,” Orr said. “So, that kind of service is why I left her an additional tip.”"

Tipping 100% is the latest social media craze - "As owners need to pay higher wages, some have started taking a percentage of tips to help offset the increase... when it comes to tipping, she says there are still a lot of unwritten rules that cause problems.  "Culturally, we're a long ways away from [eliminating tipping] in Canada. [But] it is a direction that we should be headed because we should be paying a fair wage""

The Tipping Point of Gratuities: Restaurants on No-Tip Policies - "Anti-tippers rally for standardized living wages across both front and back of house staff, un-incentivized service, and penalty-free pay (when a server loses out on tips because of factors that were out of their control). Pro-tippers, especially in urban areas, see tipping almost as a part of American identity – and, of course, as a way to keep doors open, costs down, and tables filled. That is, after all, the business model they founded on. Both sides have their points, and yet anti-tipping is gaining momentum as a favorable approach. In North America, we tip. It’s the way it’s always been. But as we dissect tipping norms both from a customer and operational perspective, ambiguities emerge and the lack of standardization becomes exceedingly apparent... Etiquette experts have found that for quick service restaurants, foregoing a tip is acceptable since the employee is making minimum wage, but suggest leaving a small tip  if you’ve had a good experience. This ambiguous pay-what-you-feel attitude is based on the actual hourly wage quick service restaurant workers make. In Canada the difference is not gaping – server’s wage hovers around the $10 mark and general minimum wage around $11 – but across the border, tipped employees in the US can be paid as low as $2.13. (The hope is that tips will bring them up to a minimum wage if not higher, though this is not always the case.) Quick service employees in the US make minimum wage – $7.25 per hour – so customers are not required to tip. But for many customers, the tip jar is a confusing and uncomfortable experience that creates questions like, “Do I tip because the cashier was nice? Because they brought my coffee to me? Does the person who made this Buddha bowl get a cut of the two dollars I threw into the jar?”... California’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous 2011 ruling that bans restaurants from making servers and bartenders share their tips with back of house employees"

Nearly 85 Percent of Female Soldiers Fail the Army Fitness Test: Leak - "The slides appear to show the results of the Army Combat Fitness Test for 3,206 soldiers, including 357 women. Whereas the men passed the test at a rate of about 70 percent, fully 84 percent of women failed — bringing the overall pass rate down to 64 percent."

IDF Admits Problems with Women in Combat - "After at least 15 years of hyping the idea of women in combat units, the IDF is admitting that women suffer injuries at a much higher rate than men during combat training – despite the fact that training requirements for women in combat are considerably less demanding than for men... a full 46% of the female soldiers suffered injuries during their initial period of training, as opposed to 25% among the men. One third of the women in the study were injured more than once... "The bone density of female combat soldiers is lower than that of men, and that is why they suffer more injuries,” said the officer. “The fat percentage in women is 70% to 100% greater than men's and that is why they are slower than them, and consume more energy during activity. At the same time, their muscle density is 33% less than the men's and their ability to carry weights is lower.” The study found that the injury rate for female soldiers in Karakal is 40%, and in the Artillery Corps it reaches a whopping 70%. Knee pain among female combat soldiers is three times more common than among males, and tears in knee ligaments are also more common in women.  Women drop out of the combat track for medical reasons at rates that are 2 to 5 times those of men's. Despite all this evidence, the IDF is making an effort to combat physiological nature and reduce women's injury rates... The IDF will also change the training exercises and diet to “fit” them to women. Presumably, training for women will be made even less demanding than it is now."
Biology is sexist

Overuse Injuries Among Female Combat Warriors in the Israeli Defense Forces: A Cross-sectional Study - " The average lost training days was 11 d for females as compared with 8 d for males. The overall rates of stress fractures and the rates of femur and femoral neck stress fractures were significantly higher among females as compared with males (11.2% vs. 2.5%, p = 0.0032, and 7.8% vs. 1.6% p = 0.00001, respectively)."

Why some religious Israelis are saying women are weakening the army - "Critics have also alleged that the army has lowered its combat fitness standards to accommodate female soldiers and protect them from injury. They note that mixed gender brigades carry lighter weapons and less ammunition, and they allege that training has been made easier... The mixed-gender brigades have largely taken over guarding the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, allowing more heavily armed units to focus on more urgent security needs... “The IDF is not just about security issues. It is also a social institution, and there was a lot of demand to integrate women”"

Women in the Israeli military just aren't cut out for combat roles - "Many young men and women in Israel want to serve in a variety of posts and functions during their military service, but find that the army isnt keen. Youngsters with impaired vision cannot fulfill the dream of entering flight training, those whose physical profile isnt high enough cannot be infantry combatants, etc. Equality, which everyone in the army has been touting in recent years, doesnt exist as far as theyre concerned. If youre wearing glasses, you probably wont be able to be a pilot. And yet, the requirement that a soldier be physically suitable for a military position disappears as soon as it comes to enlisting women in combat units... In a recent interview, the armys Ground Forces Command chief, Maj. Gen. Kobi Barak, said that in the worst-case scenario female tank crew members will have difficulty loading shells. Why is the army pushing them into a post that isnt physically suitable for them?... Contributing to the state must mean serving in places in which soldiers can do their best, and not insisting on fulfilling tasks which our physical strength doesnt enable us to perform optimally. We must put the good of the Israel Defense Forces and carrying out the mission with minimum casualties first, before our desires and dreams.The IDF was meant for us to serve its needs, not for it to serve our wishes. The IDF isnt a summer camp to make dreams come true, but Israels defense wall. We must not forget that."

Exposé: Female IDF combat soldiers at health risk - "In the process of training the command hierarchy, emphasis should be placed on the physiological differences between men and women in the physical aspects of the training. In addition, the female fighters should be allowed seven hours of net sleep, to ensure the presence of logistical details suitable for female fighters such as clothing, menstrual needs, weapons, and more.The document also states that "lowering weight burdens" should be performed, and specifies, for example, the use of lighter radio equipment, and "four cartridges in the vest instead of six."It was also determined that the maximum weight allowed for females is 33% of body weight compared to 40% for fighting men."

Film Festival Guide - "The Toronto Film Festival started out in 1976 as a 'festival of festivals' - a collection of films from other festivals.Throughout the years, it has grown in size, and is considered by many to be only second to Cannes in terms of influence."

Judge cancels jury award to Dimock families; orders new trial - "A federal judge on Friday struck down a jury’s award of more than $4 million to two Pennsylvania families who claimed their well water was contaminated by gas drilling, saying the award bore little or no relationship to the evidence presented at the 2016 trial. U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson of the Middle District of Pennsylvania ordered a new trial of the case brought by the families in Dimock, led by Scott Ely, who said at the original trial that their water had been contaminated since 2008.  The verdict in March of 2016 was hailed as a major victory by critics of the gas industry, who argued that the rural community of Dimock was a poster child for the hazards of shale gas development... He said the award “bore no discernible relationship” to the evidence, which he said was “at best limited.”  Even if the court were to find that the jury’s verdict of liability should stand, the damages could not withstand “even passing scrutiny”... the plaintiffs’ case “crumbles at the very issue of causation” because the problems existed before the company broke ground on the wells in late September, 2008. And he appeared to support the company’s argument, saying: “The evidence unquestionably showed that the plaintiffs had begun experiencing some problems with their water before the spud date for the Gesford wells.”"
The fact that the poster child for the alleged damage caused by fracking turned out to be misrepresented is telling

World-class sopranos let Atelier’s ‘Don Giovanni’ seduce us effortlessly - "With more than three decades of shows in its portfolio directed by the same person, a long-standing association with the Tafelmusik Orchestra and an ensemble of company-mainstay singers, Toronto’s Opera Atelier is as close as one gets to a sure bet in the world of musical theatre.Its remount of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 1787 masterpiece “Don Giovanni” is no exception. Opening night at the Ed Mirvish Theatre on Thursday was a treat from beginning to end. There seemed to be a bit less slapstick this time around in what Mozart described as a comedy, but the singing was of uniformly high calibre."

When I grow up... I want to be like mommy! [pic] : pics - "I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. Her picture doesn’t show me dancing around a pole. It’s supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot."
According to some people this featured on Conan O'Brien and the text was added later

Shovel-Selling Pole Dancer - " As the artist’s mother told us, the picture was drawn by her seventeen-year-old daughter, and it was intended to represent a stripper, with the Home Depot commentary and the faux letter to the teacher having been added to it by others after it was posted on MySpace:
'My daughter’s name is Chelsea. We reside in Maine. She was 17 years old when she drew the picture as a joke. (She is now 22 years old; the drawing was made in 2007). She posted it on her MySpace page in 2007. It was then stolen and the teacher and parent comments added.
    Yes, it was meant to be a stripper or exotic dancer, although I am not one nor have I ever been! The teacher and parent comments were added by whoever stole the pic from Chelsea’s MySpace page.'"

History According to Bob - Executioners of England

English Executioner Mr Bull:

"During the reign of Henry the Seven there was a law in force in Kent that stated if the prosecutor could not find a hangman to execute a fellow he had brought to justice, he the prosecutor must do the job himself, or himself go to prison... Executioners during this period were required to be butchers as well as hangmen. So they would be responsible for hanging which isn't that technical, but they'd also be required for torturing people, for drawing and quartering people - that didn't that very often, but it's usually for someone special, shall we say?... One answer to the great demand for executioners was to make other criminals assist at the executions... There are quite a few records of victims of the scaffold assumed to be dead, being found later to be live. And it has been admitted that the distinct possibility that common hangman may have actually buried alive many of these people during that time period"

Executioners Banks and Arnet:

"For long period of time there were eight hanging days a year at Tyburn and they were public holidays, commonly known as Paddington fair. So have you heard oh, yeah, I'm going to a Paddington fair, no you're going to a Tyburn execution, what’s you're going to do. Well, nobody worked on that day. So there were lots of people that come out and see the action. Noisy crowds lined the streets as criminals to be executed were taken by cart from Newgate prison or the tower to Tyburn."

Executioner Edward Dennis Pt 1:

"Forgery always brings up my favorite story from the French Revolution. On Bastille Day, when the people broke into the Bastille because they thought it was full of French citizens who had been accused falsely by the nobility, they looked and they looked and they looked and they didn't find the Iron Man in the iron mask and they were really disappointed to find that there were only seven people basically in prison, of which four of them were forgers. So they were immediately released. That's in the morning. By the afternoon they all had been arrested for forging, so obviously some people get addicted to it"

Executioner Edward Dennis Pt 2:

"Now executions would take place in front of Newgate prison… decision to end executions at Tyburn was made for good practical reasons. Not only was the expansion of London leading to increased traffic, which was obstructed on execution days, but the west end of the capital is becoming a fashionable residential and business area for which the scaffold and the noisy and unruly mobs lining the route were hardly a good advertisement. But the change provoked a famous outburst from Dr. Samuel Johnson who fumed with characteristic bombast against the complaint that Tyburn drew a multitude of spectators, ‘Sir, executions are intended to draw spectators. If they do not draw spectators, they do not answer their purpose’"

Executioner William Brunskill Part 1:

"1790 was also a year notable in England for a clear demonstration of sheer idiocy of imposing the death penalty for crimes against property. A man named Williams was arrested for stabbing a girl named Anne Porter. The knife wound, however, wasn't fatal. He was charged with wounding, which was not a capital offense and the capital offense of ‘unlawfully willfully and maliciously spoiling, tearing, cutting and defacing the cloak, the gown, the petticoat and the shift of the victim and was found guilty. It was appealed to the court of errors and his verdict was overturned on the grounds that Williams’ intention was to damage the girl not her clothes. So in the end, he got two years in prison, so her clothes were worth more than she was...
But by now the execution business was slowing down... in 1788, transportation of criminals to Australia began to take place and take place on a large scale, and many of these people who would have been hanged for crimes that fell under the Black Act...part of this is deportation. They're also sending some of these people to Georgia, the Georgia colony, but most of them are going to Australia. So people were coming to the conclusion that the death penalty wasn't effective. They might as well just get rid of the people. The other thing was the juries were regularly refusing to convict on capital charges by simply undervaluing stolen or damaged property, because they thought it was stupid to be hanging people for such a small sum of money"

Executioner William Calcraft Part 3:

"So there's quite a discussion going on in England at this point doing away with public execution, which were originally supposed to, you know, show people what would happen, then it would be a deterrent. But since it becomes such a carnival, if you will, I would point out that when they you know, when they had that section where the people were mad because the guy died too quickly, that's exactly the response people had in the first criminal being executed by the guillotine. Because it had happened so fast. There wasn't any to it and it was over with, and they started screaming and yelling, and they wanted the rope back. They wanted the gallows back. And some people thought that was the crowd saying, well, that's because this is too horrible. No, it wasn't. There wasn't any spectacle to it. It was just too fast"
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