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Valar Qringaomis

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Links - 26th September 2016

Google Maps v9.25.1 Adds Batch Photo Submission, Puts Contact Addresses In Your Places, And Gives Suggested Searches On Location Pages - "Another addition has been made to the Contribute screen, again putting focus on submitting photos for others to see. But this isn't just a little reminder or helpful hint, it's basically the grand poobah of batch submissions. Google is making it easy for people to snap dozens, or even hundreds of pictures for local establishments and submit them en masse. Just look for the new "Add your photos to Maps" card on the Contribute page. This leads to a screen with photos taken recently. The whole list loads automatically in multi-select mode and photos are grouped based on location. Suggestions for the associated business are given, but they can be changed using a dialog with a list of other nearby establishments. Captions can also be added to photos once they've been selected."
It's amazing how a few articles talk about the Google Maps Batch Photo Submission feature, but only this actually shows you what it looks like and how to use it

Travellers' Health & Vaccination Clinic (THVC) - Tan Tock Seng Hospital - " Adjunct Associate Professor Lim Poh Lian
Deputy Clinical Director, Communicable Disease Centre, Senior Consultant
Language(s) spoken
English, Malay, Cantonese
Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith
Consultant (Public Health)
Language(s) spoken
English, German, Dutch, some Mandarin
Dr. Shawn Vasoo Sushilan
Language(s) spoken
English, Mandarin, dialects"

Is it true that periods synchronise when women live together? - "In the 1970s when this paper came out, feminism was emerging as an important movement. Alvergne thinks this may be one of the reasons the idea became so popular. "I find that sometimes 'society values' are hiding in hypothesis. And from a feminist point of view, the idea that females would co-operate in the face of male domination is attractive"... "I've got a classic beta womb. My friend Suzanne has an alpha womb. She will bring anyone on within a 10-mile radius. She walks in menstruating, everyone is reaching for the tampons."

Two-Party System Killing Democracy? - "instead of voting to put someone in the White House, Americans are voting to keep someone out of it. Interestingly, fear is a chief influencer this election cycle. According to a recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, 80% of Trump supporters and 62% of Clinton supporters report that they would be “scared” if the other candidate won. Conversely, the percentage of people who would be “excited” about their own candidate’s victory rings in at a paltry 27% of Clinton, and 29% of Trump, followers.

Brown University Providing Tampons in Men's Bathrooms Because 'Both Sexes Menstruate' - "He also claimed the initiative would help “low-income students [who] struggle with having the necessary funding for food, let alone tampons,” and that it would “set a tone of trans-inclusivity” that trans people are “an important part of the population.”"
Comments: "There are so few trans men that even menstruate. Hormones are supposed to make you stop having your period. That's an even smaller minority than there are trans men. Jesus Christ."
"Throw them in the toilets to clog them all up. They won't think of putting them in there again"
"Maybe because they realized that it's the pussy generation that's getting admitted into their campus."
"At least they said "both" [genders] and not "all". They didn't hit APEX degeneracy yet"
"As a trans man i don't have a period lmfao fuck off"
"It's for nose bleeds, David Beckham does it"
No minority is too small to be catered to!

North Korea bans sarcasm because Kim Jong-un fears people only agree with him ‘ironically’ - "Officials told people that sarcastic expressions such as “This is all America’s fault” would constitute unacceptable criticism of the regime.""

How curiosity can protect the mind from bias - "smarter people shouldn’t be susceptible to prejudice swaying their opinions, right? Wrong. Other research shows that people with the most education, highest mathematical abilities, and the strongest tendencies to be reflective about their beliefs are the most likely to resist information which should contradict their prejudices. This undermines the simplistic assumption that prejudices are the result of too much gut instinct and not enough deep thought. Rather, people who have the facility for deeper thought about an issue can use those cognitive powers to justify what they already believe and find reasons to dismiss apparently contrary evidence... the results hold for issues in which political liberalism is associated with the anti-science beliefs, such as attitudes to GMO or vaccinations."

Multiculturalism and the Illusion of Diversity - "‘multiculturalism’ is not the same as cultural diversity. In political theory it refers to an approach that states adopt in order to negotiate the relationship between specific cultures and other members of society. Multiculturalism as a political ideology grew out of a rejection of modern Enlightenment values, which historically extended civil rights and liberties to blacks, Jews, gays and women. Multiculturalism is rooted in the belief that universal citizenship, equality before the law, and equality of opportunity (based on merit) are insufficient and that citizens in liberal states must be obligated to recognise and respect members of a cultural minority, should not be permitted to offend them, and must actively support the protection of their cultural beliefs from insult or criticism... Amartya Sen (2006) has developed a substantial attack on what he calls the 'solitaristic' theory underpinning multiculturalism, according to which human identities are assumed to be moulded by membership to a single group or monoculture. If people identify only with their own monoculture, this diminishes cross-cultural understanding and creates “ghettoization” and insularity. Those who stress “intersectionality” have distorted Sen's concept by prioritising the individual's membership in multiple sub-cultures of oppression, domination, or discrimination to the exclusion of membership in groups of privilege and power. A Muslim man from Pakistan may share both the oppressed status of an ethnic minority in a European host culture, while also enjoying huge male privilege both in his own culture and in his Western European host culture. Therefore, a Western European Christian woman may identify more strongly with a Pakistani woman than with a Western European man. Intersectionality seems to overlook this... As J. S. Mill perceived, cultural or social tyranny can become as formidable as any oppressive state apparatus, because it inserts its tentacles into the minutiae of personal life and leaves no part of it untouched... the politics of cultural recognition and assertion undermines the idea of a common humanity. This limits peoples’ sense of moral responsibility to members of their own cultural community"

Pokemon Go in Indian court for 'hurting religious sentiments' - "Augmented reality game Pokemon Go has landed up in an Indian court over allegations it is hurting the religious sentiments of millions of vegetarians. The high court in Gujarat state was asked to ban the game because its images of eggs in places of worship were "blasphemous" to Hindus and Jains."

Study: 10 Percent of U.S. Youths Cause Sexual Violence - "Nearly 10 percent of survey respondents reported perpetrating some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, with 4 percent reporting attempted or completed rape. In fact, teenage boys and girls increasingly instigate sexual violence—and many convicted perpetrators of sexual crimes began at young ages... Sexual violence is fairly common in the teenage years, both from a victim and perpetrator standpoint... females and males had carried out sexual violence at nearly equal levels by the age of 18. Of the survey respondents who reported being perpetrators, 48 percent were female and 52 percent were male. Interestingly, females tend to assault older victims, while males are more likely to choose younger victims. Females are also more likely to engage in "gang rape" types of activity and act in groups or teams (1 in 5 females reported this type of activity, compared with 1 in 39 males)... The four classifications of sexual violence considered were foresexual (or presexual) contact, coercive sex, attempted rape, and completed rape. Gender differences emerge in types of sexual violence. "Foresexual contact is similar for females and males," Ybarra said, with females slightly edging out males in this category (52 percent and 47 percent, respectively). "But when you get into coercive and attempted rape, it does seem to differ"—with males committing 75 percent of these crimes, compared with 25 percent committed by females. But they also found that completed rape is predominantly a male crime—a finding that is in line with general attitudes about rape... while females don't commit rape at the same rates as males, they are just as likely to coerce a male partner into foresexual contact"
Expanding the definition of sexual violence means that women are no longer the victims

The vibrating Little Rooster alarm clock that gives you an orgasm as you wake up - "The device is currently sold out worldwide as it's been so popular"

9/11 memorial stirs debate over 'Islamic terrorists' | - "The Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier worries the wording could encourage hatred towards Muslims living in the city, painting all Muslims with the same brush, they say. Donald Castellucci, town supervisor for the city of Owego, says he doesn't see it that way. "I don't live in a politically-correct worldm" Castellucci says. "I live in a historical fact world and cross terrorism, whether it's American homegrown, Christianity, Islamic, you call it what it is." Castellucci also says the town "doesn't whitewash things," and think the monument is accurate in its description of those responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington. The Islamic group asks the monument change its description to read simply "terrorists" or even "al Qaeda terrorists.""
Is it Islamophobic to say the Taliban are/were Muslim?

Babysitter Jade Hatt who had sex with 11-year-old boy won't go to jail
Comment: "Where are the equality campaigners...utter hypocrites. They would be mouthing off by now if this was the other way round."

Air China magazine condemned over 'racist' guide to London - "MPs have urged China’s UK ambassador to intervene in a row over racist comments reportedly issued by a Chinese airline about ethnic minority areas of London. An image of text from an inflight Air China magazine posted on social media prompted outrage after it warned passengers that “precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people”. The text, tweeted by Beijing-based producer Haze Fan of US news channel CNBC, added: “We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling”... “I have invited representatives of Air China to visit my constituency of Ealing Southall to see that a very multicultural area is safe, and would be of great value for those visiting London to see. “I will await their response, and if an appropriate one is not forthcoming I shall feel forced to question whether Air China is a fit company to operate in the UK.""
According to, Ealing Southall had 1,035 crimes in June 2016 out of a residential population of 98,980, making for a rate of 1.05%. Richmond upon Thames, identified by the BBC as still being majority white, had 654 crimes in the same period - despite a residential population of 186,959, for a rate of 0.35%

Radical Feminists and Conservative Christians Team Up Against Transgender People - "the surprising nexus between radical feminists and Christian Right culture warriors has been with us a long time. In the 1980s, anti-porn feminists like Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin teamed up with anti-porn conservatives like Edwin Meese, leading to the passage of laws censoring sexual speech in the name of protecting women. In the last decade, anti-prostitution feminists have joined forces with fundamentalist Christians to prosecute sex workers under the aegis of sex trafficking laws. And now, some essentialist feminists – pejoratively nicknamed TERFs, for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists” – have provided the pseudo-philosophical basis for fundamentalist Christians’ anti-transgender laws"
The distinction between good and bad feminists is all too convenient

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Links - 25th September 2016

The truth about the gender wage gap - "Consider a study of lawyers’ salaries from Mary Noonan at the University of Iowa. She found that men see their salaries decrease more than women when they switch to a part-time schedule for a year. "It seems that men in the legal profession who take on non-traditional gender roles (i.e., taking responsibility for child care) pay a high price for that behavior," Noonan and her study co-authors write. If the workplace penalizes men more than women for taking breaks from work, then it could be the wiser financial decision for a mother to take on more caregiving activities. — the decision that society overwhelmingly expects... Goldin tends to be skeptical of policy solutions because they can often play out in unpredictable ways. And they treat a symptom of the root problem — inflexible workplaces — rather than the problem itself... Consider paid maternity leave, a policy often advocated to support working women. It is undoubtedly great for newborns to have more time with their mother in the first months of life. But this could actually lead to lower wages for women, as they would be more likely to have disruption to their careers. "Well-intentioned policies backfire 98 percent of the time," Goldin argues. "We find it hard to think ahead to what will actually happen. We are thinking about policy when we should be thinking about the workplace. That's the cause of all of this.""

Happy Ending to Unfortunate Love Story of Dutchman in China - "The 41-year-old Alexander Pieter Cirk from the Netherlands recently traveled to China’s Hunan province in the hopes of meeting his online girlfriend there...
Cirk made headlines again when he was admitted to the hospital after waiting at the airport for over ten days, on July 31. The Dutchman reportedly was hospitalized for physical exhaustion and neglecting his diabetes, eating nothing but instant noodles and sleeping on airport benches. Doctors stated that he was critically ill... According to Zhang, she had met ‘Peter’ on an online platform only over a month ago and the two hit it off. They had discussed meeting one day, but according to Zhang, this would maybe take place a year from now. When he later suddenly send her a photo of him and an airplane, she thought he was joking and never expected him to really come to Changsha. In the days that followed, Zhang waited online to get in touch with Peter, but could not get hold of him. Zhang later traveled to Zhengzhou, where she underwent a plastic surgery procedure. It was from the hospital where she learned of Cirk’s arrival and hospitalization. She told reporters she was not able to come and meet him as she was still recovering from her plastic surgery, which was allegedly confirmed by her doctor... He flew back to Amsterdam on Tuesday, August 2, where he told reporters at the airport that he “took the wrong steps to meet the girl” and that it was “the wrong timing”. He also confirmed he did not have the girl’s phone number upon his arrival in China and that there was no way to reach her."

Caught on camera: Egyptian politicians talk covert Ethiopia attack - "Apparently unaware they were being filmed on live TV, Egyptian politicians meeting with Egypt’s president on Monday proposed to sabotage Ethiopia’s plans to build a massive dam on the Nile River upstream. Some politicians suggested backing rebels to carry out sabotage"

Bitten to death by a dead mans head: The unfortunate, deserving & true tale of Sigurd Eysteinsson - "Sigurd fastened Máels sethered head to his horses saddle and started the ride back north. During the ups and downs of the horse ride back , Máels dangling sethered and bucktoothed head uncontrollably and accidentally bit Sigurds leg. The wound on the leg quickly became infected and inflamed and before he reached home, Sigurd had dead. As unlikely as it was, he had been killed by the head of a dead man and the cheated Máel managed to get his revenge after death"

Tennessee grandmother marries a 17-year-old she met at her son's funeral - "When grieving pensioner Almeda Errell from Sevierville, Tennessee went to pay her last respects at her son's funeral, the last thing she expected to find was love. Following a whirlwind three-week romance, she and Gary Hardwick – now 18, and who had previously dated a woman of 77 – tied the knot in a ceremony which he arranged for just $200 (£137) in six days... Lisa asked them both along to a family meal at the nearby Chuck E Cheese's pizza restaurant for her daughter Evelyn's ninth birthday. Sitting next to each other, it didn't take long for the old spark to reignite... 'I just came out with it and said to him, 'Look, I'm 71 and you're 17. Am I too old for you?' He squeezed my hand, grinned, and replied: 'Age is just a number.'' That night, after returning to Lisa's with the others, Gary surprised her with red roses and a bracelet for her birthday which had been a few days before. Then they shared their first tender kiss under the moonlight outside on a bench. 'It made me feel like a teenager again,' smiled Almeda... on their wedding night, they had sex for the first time. 'It was wonderful, beyond my wildest dreams,' revealed Gary. 'She really is my dream woman and the physical side of our relationship couldn't be better.' 'It was the best ever,' agreed Almeda. 'I'd never had a connection like it before.'"

What’s the Difference Between Canoes and Kayaks? - "Exactly when a canoe should be called a kayak is not always clear, although there are some basic differences in design and how they're usually used. For example, paddlers usually sit on a seat or kneel in a canoe, whereas kayakers are usually seated on the bottom of the boat with their legs stretched out in front of them."

Revolution begins to devour its own in a PC whitewash - "Unlike other identities, which are to be celebrated, whiteness is vile. Among leading figures in the whiteness studies movement we find statements such as, “there is no crime that whiteness has not committed against people of colour”. One of the pioneers of the field, US social scientist and historian Noel Ignatiev, has called for the “abolition of whiteness”. Statements such as this are hate speech under an academic veneer. Just imagine the response if any other race or identity were substituted... According to an online Harvard law article, “critical race scholars identify and embrace a radical tradition of race-conscious mobilisation as an empowerment strategy for African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and other persons of colour”. “Race-conscious mobilisation”? Is this 21st-century progressive thought? That phrase would not be out of place in the 1930s Nazi tabloid Der Sturmer... Whiteness studies is the logical end point of PC academe’s loathing of Western civilisation and all its works, and its exaltation of the “other”. It is striking how traditional progressive concerns such as women’s rights and opposition to cruel practices dissolve at the first whiff of conflict with the imperatives of culture and identity. Expatriate feminist Germaine Greer has been pilloried, rightly, for comments on the ABC’s Q&A where she compared female genital mutilation, which she euphemised to “genital cutting”, with voluntary cosmetic surgery. According to her, banning it would be “an attack on cultural identity”."

London Airbnb Host Turns Away Israeli Guest For 'Occupying Lands' - "“This is how the world pictures you: aggressive settlers occupying land, destroying houses. In a few words: not respecting basic human rights,” wrote Mario. “On that basis, I just cannot even consider hosting you, even if you pay me millions.” Kelmer, speaking to Newsweek from Tel Aviv, said he raised the issue on the Airbnb Facebook page just to highlight the problem he was facing in trying to get a room in London but was met by a wave of criticism and abuse. “I started getting harassment and people have put up a picture of me on Facebook that I am like a stuck-up Israeli, all kinds of sh*t,” he says. “I’ve really had enough. I just pointed out an issue, a problem I had with the guy, and it became like me representing Israel”,,, In reaction to the incident, Airbnb said they have removed Mario from their platform"
If hatred under the guise of being anti-Israel is acceptable, all forms of traditionally sanctioned bigotry can be

Britain’s Second World War and the Country House | Podcast | History Extra - "I try not to talk about misconceptions in the sense that often what people believe about the war matters to them a great deal. And I think previously in my historical career I've made the mistake of setting myself up as mythbuster but actually I think that's a bit disrespectful. You know, who am I to say that people's myths aren't important? They might be not based on the same sort of interpretation of evidence that I put forward. But what I think is interesting is the extent to which those ideas are being constructed at the time. So one of the things that I try to bring out is that this isn't something which is happening afterwards. I think often when we think about the past, we can think about there's
a set historical reality and then somewhere between then and us it gets mythologised. Whereas actually what's happening is that even at the time, the way the war is being written about, it shapes how people understand it. And that comes down to us in the present day."
Post-modernist history!

Medieval kebabs and pasties: 5 foods you (probably) didn’t know were being eaten in the Middle Ages

7 (more) surprising facts about the history of medicine - "The Indian surgeon Sushruta (c600 BC) used a plant-leaf template to dissect a flap of skin from the patient's cheek, leaving it attached by a strip called a pedicle. Twisting it so the wound surface remained downwards, Sushruta would suture it into the place of the missing nose and affix small reed tubes to act as nostrils."

Nazi super-cows and defamed Gods: 7 strange and forgotten moments in history - "fast-forward to Christian Europe, 0 is associated with a null point or void. The void is where the devil (supposedly) lurks; you can’t have a demonic value, so the humble 0 was banned for centuries. It’s also why our calendar is wrong. You can’t have Jesus born in a year 0, so he was born in year 1, and the year before was 1 BC (ignoring completely any need for a year 0)."

Forgotten science: 7 of the strangest scientific theories in history - "Perhaps the most ingenious attempt to reconcile the poetic testimony of the Bible with actual geological fact came from the Victorian zoologist Philip Gosse (1810–88). Gosse was a well-respected naturalist who was both the inventor of the aquarium and the world’s leading expert upon the genitalia of butterflies (strange but true), so the outrageous claims he made in his controversial 1857 book Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot shocked the world of Victorian science. In this much-mocked title, Gosse made the extraordinary assertion that all fossils and timeworn geological features were simply fakes that had been placed there by God to test our faith. The bones of extinct animals, the remnants of vanished volcanoes, the tell-tale signs that our landscapes have been formed over millions of years by the actions of glaciers and rivers – all, said Gosse, were created by Jehovah purely in order to make our planet seem more ‘realistic’. Just as a set-designer might position food and dishes on a table on-stage from a meal that never really took place so as not to break the illusion of reality for theatre-goers, so God left the fossilised remains of animals like woolly mammoths that never really existed lying buried within rock-strata and sediments. Such was the Deity’s commitment to verisimilitude, Gosse explained, that he even went so far as to scatter the globe with fossilised dinosaur excrement!"

Kidding/not kidding: a medieval sense of humour - "The comedian Kumail Nanjiani performs a skit about a birthday party he went to as a child in Karachi, which he prefaces by saying that “at most birthdays in Pakistan, a monkey shows up.” Should his (American) audience laugh here, or shouldn’t they? If they don’t, Nanjiani says – because it makes sense to them that monkeys and parties mix in Pakistan – “that’s kind of racist.” But Pakistani children really do have monkeys show at their birthday parties, and laughing at that is probably also kind of racist. Laugh, don’t laugh: either way, it’s half right and half wrong."

I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice
That some people are pro-abortion is not a conservative straw man

American 'abortion addict' who had 15 terminations in 17 years publishes her memoir - "Irene Vilar said she had the abortions not from poverty or fear but as an extraordinary act of rebellion against her 'controlling' husband who did not want children"

The naughty nun – a raunchy woodcut from 1555

Facebook Has Been Intentionally Crashing Its Android App on Users - "The purpose of the test, which happened several years ago, was to see at what threshold would a person ditch the Facebook app altogether. The company wasn't able to reach the threshold. "People never stopped coming back," this person says."

China attacks Hong Kong 'separatists' as pro-independence candidate blocked from election - "Beijing has accused the U.S. of working with so-called separatists in Hong Kong and Taiwan to undermine China and plunge it into chaos. In a video posted online by the Chinese Supreme People's Procuratorate, apocalyptic images of Syria and Iraq are contrasted with bucolic views of China today. "The haze of 'domestic and international concerns' has not dispersed from the Chinese sky," the video says."
If Hong Kong or Taiwan's independence will make China like Syria or Iraq, it means the CCP has screwed up China like how the Baathists fractured Syria and Iraq with their tactics

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Links - 24th September 2016

Chick-fil-A restaurants respond to Orlando massacre with free food at blood drives - "The Christian owners of the Atlanta-based organization, which is normally closed on Sundays, have been criticized for holding a biblical view of marriage as the union between one man and one woman. “But, wait, those people were waiting to give blood to victims that were mostly gay people,” wrote Vianna Vaughan at DC Gazette. “Doesn’t Chick Fil A hate gays? That’s what we kept being told.” “Turns out, that while the founders definitely don’t approve of that choice of lifestyle, they believe in compassion,” she wrote. “Who knew?” Several politicians have denounced the fast-food restaurant for its stance on marriage. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for instance, last month encouraged his constituents not to eat at a new location in Queens"
Presumably it's better for the gay community to rage at gay marriage opponents online and denounce them than to help in the aftermath of a gay massacre

Nidal Hasan’s Murders Termed ‘Workplace Violence’ by U.S. - "the Purple Heart has been denied the soldiers who were killed or wounded at Fort Hood. And, because they were classified as victims of simple calamity rather than of combat, they and their families have been denied the accompanying benefits. A number of them say they have not even been able to secure adequate care for their wounds. And, perhaps in part because people assumed that the army would take care of the soldiers as it would any other fallen and wounded warriors, there was no huge outpouring of financial support for them as there would later be for, say, the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings... the FBI ignored repeated warnings that an increasingly militant Hasan was bent on jihadist violence. The suit charges that, among other things, the authorities “knew or should have known that Hasan was abusing his patients, who were American soldiers returning from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, by calling them ‘war criminals’ in the course of psychiatric treatment sessions, and promising criminal prosecution against them because these soldiers had killed Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.”"

Homophobic Orlando shooting headline on Turkish newspaper with ties to President Erdogan - "Yeni Akit, a right-wing newspaper which has supported the likes of Al-Qaeda in the past, broke news of the attack with the headline: 'Death toll rises to 50 in bar where perverted homosexuals go!' The headline has caused a backlash online, where it has been suggested that the exclamation mark indicates that the paper is celebrating the attack, rather than condemning it... According to Turkish think-tank the Hrant Dink Foundation, Yeni Akit is one of the worst offenders when it comes to using hate speech against minorities, in particular the LGBT community, but also against Jews, Armenians and Christians."

Poll finds zero tolerance for homosexuality among UK Muslims - "The poll, part of the the Gallup Coexist Index 2009, found that not one of the 1,001 British Muslims interviewed believed homosexual acts were morally acceptable. Fifty-eight per cent of the general British public said they thought homosexuality was not morally wrong, compared with 68 per cent of Germans. French respondents were the most liberal, with 78 per cent of the general public saying it was not morally wrong. According to the survey, the opinions of Christians differed little from the views of the general public. In comparison to British Muslims, 35 per cent of French Muslims and 19 per cent of German Muslims did not have moral objections to homosexual acts. The survey also showed that British Muslims hold more conservative opinions towards abortion, viewing pornography, suicide and sex outside marriage than European Muslims, with markedly lower rates of thinking such issues are morally acceptable. A striking difference between the opinions of French and British Muslims was seen when respondents were asked their opinions on sex between unmarried men and women. While 48 per cent of French Muslims said it was morally acceptable, only three per cent of British Muslims agreed. However, it was found that 77 per cent of British Muslims identify themselves as British, compared with just 50 per cent of the general population. The paper’s authors concluded: “Some researchers point out that the greatest differences between Muslims and westerners lie more in eros than demos. In other words, the Muslim-west gap rests on differences in attitudes toward sexual liberalisation and gender issues rather than democracy and governance"

Muslim migrants threw Christians overboard, police say - "Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard -- killing them -- because the 12 were Christians"

Confederate Flag & Islamic Terror -- the Left's Blatant Double Standard - "Claude Berube, director of the Naval Academy Museum, recently compared the rush to dig up Confederate graves and tear down statues in the U.S. to Islamic iconoclasm. The Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas on the grounds that they violate Islamic law. The terrorist group Islamic State is ransacking historic monuments for both God and mammon. The comparison has its obvious limits, but it does highlight a remarkable double standard. Islamic terror has been on the rise for decades, yet over that time the Left’s calls for nuance, tolerance, and understanding have only grown louder. Virtually no one condones or makes apologies for the Islamic State’s barbarity (one can’t say the same about Hamas or Hezbollah), but there has been a Herculean effort to put Islamic extremism in “context.”

Feminist website deems the term 'trigger warning' not sensitive enough - ", a self-proclaimed “educational platform for personal and social liberation,” does not use the term “trigger warning” in front of its articles, not because it dismisses concerns for distressing readers susceptible to sensitive material, but because “the word ‘trigger’ relies on and evokes violent weaponry imagery.”"

Bachelor saves 6,000 $1 coins in 2 years, netting him marriage proposals - "Although Mr Helmy does not have a girlfriend, he is planning ahead for his big day. He said: “With this sum of money, I am prepared to pay dowry and settle marriage costs. “It tells my prospective mother-in-law that I’m prepared and I’ve got what it takes to marry her daughter.”"
Some weddings are so cheap...

On immigrants, jobs and economics | Balaji Narasimhan - "ou think your degree is worth a job no less than $4,000 in the market, but the foreigner with a double masters is willing to do it for half that. Whom will an employer hire? The price has been set, and the foreigner has the same basic expenses you have (and usually more because rent in Singapore is not cheap and he pays 20% tax in lieu of CPF). So if he can do it at S$2,000 then that is what the job is worth. That is how it works. Why would companies want to recruit foreigners if Singaporeans were willing to work those jobs for that pay? They have to cross numerous hurdles, have to invest a lot of money in hiring and vetting candidates, and there is a huge risk that the person coming in is ill-suited for life here. Why do firms here still do it? Could it be because Singaporeans are not willing to do those jobs for those wages?"
Moral of the story: we need to be cheaper better faster, and to retire in the third world. And focus on pushing down wages instead of other costs of production (like rent) even if wages are comparatively low

'Legislative slut-shaming': How the German 'Cuckoo Kids' Law' punishes women - "Referred to by German press as the 'Cuckoo Kids' law', it is designed to protect men who have discovered themselves not to be the biological father of a child and to allow them to reclaim child maintenance for up to two years. Its purpose, according to Justice Minister Heiko Maas is "to offer more legal protection for 'sham fathers' to seek recourse". The bill was drafted after a 2015 case in which the country's highest court called on the Government to strengthen these men's rights. Exactly how many children grow up believing the wrong man is their biological father is difficult to determine, but a 2005 review of studies found the rate was about 4 per cent, or roughly 1 in 25 children... the highest court in Germany ruled men could not be forced to take paternity tests against their will... in the interests of clawing back up to two years' child maintenance, it constitutes a serious threat to a woman and child's right to privacy, especially when the ability to test parentage via DNA test already exists."
Women must be protected. Men must fend for themselves

NUSWhispers - "Didn't really do well for my A levels, didn't do well during my NS time either so I became a specialist. But signing on did provide me the means to own a car and many branded goods. Tldr, you don't have to be a law student. Drive a 2nd hand continental car, strap on a 2nd hand Rolex and take your credit card out to swipe from your Bottega wallet. Been to U town dorms to spend the night 8/10 times because the other 2 tinder dates occured when my car was in the workshop."

NUSWhispers - "I have kept a dark secret for a long time. My friends and bf see me as an innocent girl. Truthfully, I have a insatiably high sex drive. I have fucked at least one guy in every module I have taken in my years in NUS till I graduated recently. It was certainly helped by the fact that I was in Engineering and considered quite pretty even by FASS standards. Desperate Engineering guys..."

If Only Singaporeans Stopped to Think: Asset-rich, cash-poor retirees speak up - "SEVENTY-YEAR-OLD Wen Zhen counts every cent. He eats two slices of bread for breakfast and lunch each. For dinner, he cooks a vegetable dish, paired with a $2 packet of rice that he ekes out over two nights. Yet outwardly, the retired quality surveyor - who declined to give his full name - would seem to have no money worries. After all, he lives in landed property... SINCE Independence, home ownership has been linked to national identity and as a way for Singaporeans to own an asset that keeps giving as property values appreciate. But this may have created its own problem - putting too much money into homes and retiring with too little savings on hand...
Property price rises over the last 30 years have led to retirement savings being locked up in housing, he says... they have elderly and widowed neighbours without much savings and income who do not get the same government benefits as someone who may live in an HDB flat but drives a Mercedes or Maserati...
MR TERRENCE Netto still vividly remembers a comment by a government minister to private estate residents during a dialogue session in the 1990s. "He said, if you want government subsidies, sell your house and move to a three-room flat," says the 75-year-old. That remark riled him and many of his neighbours in the Seletar Hills private estate where he lived at the time. "We went on the warpath!" he says."
Maybe this is a way to force people into HDB flats

Protecting Families from Violence: The Singapore Experience - " According to the profile of PPO applicants in 2006 (Subordinate Courts, 2006), Chinese formed the largest group of PPO applicants (51%), followed by Indians (24%), Malays (20%) and other races (5%)... The Subordinate Courts conducted a study on the profile of family violence cases between 2003 and 20042. The findings showed that 82% of all complainants were female. The study also showed that family violence cuts across educational and occupational backgrounds. However, it was noteworthy that 71% of complainants and 65% of respondents were earning less than $1500 a month"

Sinda concerned over family violence in Indian community - "About one in five reported abuse cases and personal protection order applications are made against Indians, said organisations approached. This outweighs their 9.1 per cent representation in the Singapore population... Said Mr R. Ganesan, a trained counsellor engaged by Sinda for its roadshows: "There is a sub-culture among Indians. We accept violence as part of daily life and physical abuse as a form of punishment." Ms Devi (not her real name), 45, whose husband beat her daily for 20 years, agreed. "This (violence) has been going on since my mother's time. This is what we grew up seeing," she said... Anecdotal evidence suggests that Indians may be more predisposed to domestic violence due to their drinking habit, she said. Sinda has found that alcohol abuse increases the odds of a man lashing out at his family."

Behind The Mcdonald's Menu Lies The Skill Of A Master Chef - "The Queen of England, the King of Belgium, Cary Grant and Sophia Loren have savored Chef Rene Arend's creations. But the accomplishment he is proudest of is a treat prepared for the fans of Ronald McDonald The soft-spoken chef who rules the kitchen behind the Golden Arches explained, "Those meals were once-in-a-lifetime dinners long since forgotten. But Chicken McNuggets will go on long after I am gone.""

Friday, September 23, 2016

Links - 23rd September 2016

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Muses - "[On Pindar] He regularly refers to the Muses. And what he's often doing is developing actually individual and interestingly new versions of mythology. It's a mistake to think that myths are fixed. So Hesiod and Homer, they're making their intervention and they become authoritative, but it's still open for later Greeks. It's not, in other words, unorthodox, it's not heretical to have a different version of a particular muse, or a particular God or Goddess that you have a relation with...
The creativity can only happen if the poet is in this very passive-irrational state... That is new, that emphasis is new, because prior to Plato, poets had also been seen as active creators in their own right... but, and the key point here is that we learn in the Ion that poets don't understand anything about what they're talking about. They don't understand the topics of their poetry. And this of course is linked to Socrates in the Apology and the speech he makes in his trial when he says I was so disappointed. I went tramping around Athens interrogating the poets. I love poetry, I thought they'd be brilliant but actually they were useless. They had no idea what they were talking about. So the Ion starts off looking like... it's fine, it doesn't matter that poets are irrational but actually it's a problem. And then when we get to the Phaedo and the Phaedrus a bit later we find out that... the true servant of the Muses is not actually the poet at all but the philosopher
It is interesting to consider the myth of the Merlion in light of this active construction of myth

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Margery Kempe and English Mysticism - "Becoming the ultimate pilgrim and in poverty. And in suffering. And even the way to Jerusalem is a martyrdom of sorts, as she's being mocked and she's being abandoned and so on, but she reaches Jerusalem'
'She travels alone. She's a rich woman. Did she not even have a servant or was she alone alone?
'She had a servant and then she's forsaken by her servant. It'ss a series of absolute trials. And also finding people to travel with. Everyone travelled in groups in the Middle Ages. Groups for safety. And that's clearly a problem. She joins groups and then the groups find her irksome. Because she does go about in a way, correcting people, preaching. Well, maybe not preaching, but constantly inveighing when people want to settle down and have a good time like the Canterbury pilgrims of Chaucer in a way. And she's always there reminding them: don't, don't mention God's name in vain. Or don't behave this way or other'...
She dressed in white which was certainly a sign of purity and probably virginity. She's adopting a persona of a virgin, with 14 children"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Bronze Age Collapse - "In these societies, particularly in the West where I'm talking about, there're often levelling mechanisms by which if someone got too powerful, they had to give a big feast, they had to bury a large amount of the bronze in, either a horde, this very much takes place in Northern Europe or they had to put their materials into a burial. And so a lot of the aggrandisement was controlled by this process"

Wearing ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ insignia could be punishable racial harassment - "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among its other functions, decides “hostile work environment” harassment claims brought against federal agencies. In doing so, it applies the same legal rules that courts apply to private employers, and that the EEOC follows in deciding whether to sue private employers. The EEOC has already ruled that coworkers’ wearing Confederate flag T-shirts can be punishable harassment (a decision that I think is incorrect); and, unsurprisingly, this is extending to other political speech as well... Say someone wears “Trump/Pence 2016” gear in the workplace, or displays a bumper sticker on his car in the work parking lot, or displays such a sign on his cubicle wall, or just says on some occasions that he’s voting for Trump. He doesn’t say any racial or religious slurs about Hispanics or Muslims, and doesn’t even express any anti-Hispanic or anti-Muslim views (though even such views, I think, should be protected by the First Amendment against the threat of government-imposed liability). But in “context,” a coworker complains, such speech conveys a message “tinged” with racial or religious hostility, or is racially or religiously “insensitive.” The coworker threatens to sue. Again, say you are an employer facing such a threat. Would you feel pressured by the risk of liability to restrict the pro-Trump speech?... Workplace harassment law has become a content-based, viewpoint-based speech restriction, including on core political speech"
Isn't the American flag racist and sexist because of slavery and misogyny?

I always mispronounce my name for Americans. I'm reclaiming the original - "Anglicizing my name so that it would be easier for white people to pronounce – and harder to mock – just came with the territory... When a white friend tries to say my Urdu name in earnest, I wince"
If Robert Allen Zimmerman had refused to change his name, he might not have become famous as Bob Dylan
Comments: "Are you suggesting that you only modified the pronounciation of your name when speaking to 'white people', but not when speaking to black people, or any of the many other ethnicities who live in the USA?"
"The 'white people' thing really makes no sense. What she really means is non-Urdu speakers and possibly even some Urdu speakers as well if there are regional variations"
"I'm white and my roots in Alabama go back many generations. My last name is 4 letter and one syllable. It is butchered most of the time, and I always have to spell it for people regarding of their color, race, etc. I also frequently use a simple alternative name like "Smith" when making reservations because it's just more efficient to do. Other than for racist click bait, I'm not sure why the author has chosen to air her self-loathing."
"It's not necessarily disrespectful to not pronounce your name correctly. It may be actually impossible- we lose the ability to voice certain phonemes at an early age if they are not part of our native language. And if you wince when someone does make the effort, is it any wonder they might not bother persisting? Maybe simplest solution is just to get over yourself."
"I wonder how she'd react if a 'white' journalist said she 'winced' over how Pakistanis mispronounce her English name?"
"I knew a someone called Hughes who lived in Spain - he was called oo-guess."
"You'll be pleased to know it works both ways, I used to pretend my name was Karim in the Arab counties I've lived in. Nobody ever got anywhere near the real pronunciation of my name anyway, and it saved about 5 minutes on meeting someone. Still, I expect that'll be cultural appropriation nowadays."
"My husband's English surname is consistently mispronounced, even in England (and not because there are multiple ways to say it, there is only one pronunciation)."

The Radium Girls and the cotton revolution | Podcast | History Extra - "It was an incredibly expensive element because it was so difficult to find. There wasn't a lot of radium in the world. Literally only a few grams existed at one point so sometimes it would be advertised as being part of a product, but it wasn't always put into it. But it was absolutely everywhere... just going down the grocery store, you would find it in butter, you would find it in toothpaste, you would find it in milk. They sold jock straps and lingerie that had radium in it to kind of boost your sex life... te medical exploitation of it was not just for treating cancer but also for radioactive dressings and pads. People put it in pills so that you could take pills and it was also put in tonics, so you'd add it to water and then drink that radioactive tonic. Kind of 5-7 glasses a day was the recommended dose"

Battle of the Somme special | Podcast | History Extra - "I managed to find that during late 1915, the British were trading with the Germans. They were trading... rubber to buy German binoculars, telescopes and gun sights. This is trading with the enemy during the First World War to give the enemy tools with which to kill our soldiers and buying off them tools to kill their soldiers. So business always fluorishes, it doesn't matter if you've got a war or not"

NHS sets aside quarter of its budget for medical negligence claims - Telegraph - "The health service has set aside £26bn to cover medical negligence claims against NHS hospitals"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, 'Saddam has gone. We have one thousand Saddams now' - "[On the man who took out his sledgehammer to topple Saddam's statue] Like many Iraqis, Kadhim Al-Jabbouri. is nostalgic for the old certainties. Even though Saddam's regime killed 14 members of his family and imprisoned him for 2 years. But after 13 years of fear and killing, he wishes he'd left his sledgehammer at home on that day in 2003. 'I'd like to rebuild the statue, to put it up again because Saddam has gone and we have 1,000 Saddams'
'1,000 Saddams. You're talking about the leaders of the country, the politicians?'
'They destroyed the country. They are thieves and killers. Look at the killings, it's very clear. Saddam never executed people without reason. He was like a wall. There was no corruption or looting. It was safe. Saddam killed people and there were mass graves, but we never saw anything like this government. This government has turned the clock back 100 years'
'Before the invasion most Iraqis did not define themselves politically by their religious groups. But they retreated into their sects and the political system imposed by the Americans ran on sectarian lines... They are liars because they destroyed Iraq, Blair and Bush. They got us back to zero, and we went back to the Middle Ages or maybe before that'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, US election: Will Sanders' supporters back Clinton? - "Bernie Sanders Supporters, they're not even Democrats. They're morons, they're stupid. And Bernie Sanders is to blame because he's told them, it's like a cult. They're dumb. And they really believe that Bernie Sanders is still running"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, 'I would never go back to Turkey' - "'I... do not understand why there's concern. I understand why concern is being expressed. The Turkish people have clearly demonstrated over the past few days that how important their democracy is to them. How important the democratic system is. And to reduce this down to President Erdogan is going to make greater use of power and abuse the people even more is actually insulting to the Turkish people and it's an Orientalist approach that is outdated and should be reviewed. Turkish democracy is undergoing a test at the moment... Erdogan has as much power as the people will give him... It's time that the West respected the Turkish people'...
'Since Friday nearly 3,000 members of the judiciary: judges and prosecuters have been either suspended, have been arrested, many suspended. People will be understandably fearful that what the President is doing is crushing any form of dissent'
'Once again, the President's not doing this. The government is doing this. Please stop reducing everything that happens in Turkey to President Erdogan. There is a government, the government is in place, the government is functioning'"
Democracy is Orientalist

'American people are ready for something different' » Best of Today - "His greatest single quality in this race, the thing that's made him stand out, is the fact that he's entirely unprogrammed. He's unscripted. He is uncoached. So it's not phoney. In other words, you watch Hillary Clinton and you can see every word has come from a poll or focus group. It's all been round tabled and it's been committeed and it comes across as stale and it comes across as insincere. With Trump, what you see is what you get"

What Are Gender Barriers Made Of? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "STROBER: I realized that although people talk about occupations becoming feminized — that is, women taking them over — really what’s going on is that men are leaving occupations which are no longer relatively attractive in terms of salary, working conditions, and promotion opportunities... you can get more young women interested in engineering, if you discuss the ways in which engineers help people in society. Women like to help people in society. Well, engineers, by and large, do that. But that’s not the way that engineering is sold...
Sumner had “average American listeners” listen to two speakers speaking the same words — one with a New York City accent, the other with a “Southern Standard British English” voice. The difference in listeners’ perceptions was astonishing. They did a much better job remembering exactly what the English speaker said, and they judged the English speaker to be smarter than the New York City speaker"

Merkel vows to keep door open to refugees despite attacks - - "Horst Seehofer, the prime minister of Bavaria and a staunch opponent of Ms Merkel’s refugee policy, said he had been vindicated by the attacks. “All our prophecies have been proved right,” he said... German security officials have warned for months that Isis, the militant group that claimed responsibility for the Würzburg and Ansbach attacks, may have smuggled operatives into Germany under cover of refugees"

Should suspected terrorists like those held at Guantanamo be detained without trial? - "A major reason why Guantanamo remains open is that it contains several detainees — the precise number is unknown — who, if released, would almost certainly return to a life of terrorism. Indeed, some have, and many in detention have overtly stated their malignant intentions. Others have histories that suggest the likelihood of recidivism. But even some of the most dangerous detainees cannot be tried, either because there is insufficient admissible evidence of a specific crime or because the evidence comes from undercover sources the government is unwilling to out. If Guantanamo were to be closed, as it should be, and the detainees transferred to other facilities, the basic problem would still remain. Similar dilemmas arose in previous wars during which enemy combatants were captured and detained as prisoners of war until the cessation of hostilities, after which they were released without trial. The difference is that the war on terrorism has no predictable termination point, as the current campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS, demonstrates. Moreover, captured terrorists are not lawful combatants entitled to be treated as POWs. They are unlawful combatants who can, under the laws of war, be tried as ordinary criminals, as some have been. But with regard to those who cannot, there is a Hobson’s choice: either free them and risk renewed terrorism; or continue to detain them indefinitely, despite the absence of a firm legal basis for what could amount to life imprisonment without due process... There is no perfect solution to this problem under existing laws. Some academics have proposed an intermediate solution: Pass a preventive detention law that would afford detainees some semblance of the due process accorded to ordinary criminal defendants, but that would authorize a tribunal to order continued confinement based on evidence of continuing dangerousness. This is what the United Kingdom did during both world wars and, more relevantly, what Israel does today with regard to captured terrorists during its never-ending conflict with Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups"

Ethnic diversity's 'inconvenient truths'

Ethnic diversity’s ‘inconvenient truths’

"Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam has completed an important study of more than 30,000 North Americans and concluded that – especially if you live in ethnically diverse cities such as Toronto, Vancouver or Los Angeles – it’s likely you are “hunkering down.”

That’s the colloquial phrase that Putnam, who has been an adviser to everyone from Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to the U.S. State Department and the World Bank, uses to describe the lack of trust he discovered among most North Americans in diverse urban settings...

The author of the classic book Bowling Alone, which chronicles the decline in civil engagement in North America since the 1950s, has felt contradictory feelings as his findings have been confirmed by researchers in Canada, Sweden, Peru, Pakistan, Kenya and beyond.

He has realized neither of the two dominant North American myths about multiculturalism are accurate.

In contrast to conservatives’ beliefs, Putnam says multicultural diversity doesn’t necessarily lead to open “conflict” among people of different ethnic groups. “Race riots” and violence do not often break out.

On the other hand, contrary to liberals’ dreams, Putnam did not find people of different ethnicities inevitably discover “harmony” or enjoy “fusion.”

Putnam’s survey of 41 American cities and towns found people in ethnically diverse regions tend to be polite – but also disengaged and wary...

People in diverse urban regions tend to seek shelter in their own little worlds. “Diversity, at least in the short run, seems to bring out the turtle in all of us. … The more ethnically diverse the people we live around, the less we trust them.”

Putnam adds an additional disturbing discovery – that “in-group trust, too, is lower in more diverse settings.” In other words, people also become more distrustful even of members of their own ethnic group.

“Inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbours, regardless of the colour of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, vote less … have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television,” Putnam writes in his report E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the 21st century...

Since Putnam first uncovered his “inconvenient truths” about the downside of diversity, he has extensively “kicked the tires” of his studies to see if other reasons could explain a lack of mutual regard in multicultural societies.

But he’s failed to find evidence to contradict his own findings. Indeed, many others have confirmed them, including Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, author of Triumph of the City; American academics Edward Miguel, Matthew Kahn and Dora Costa; and Oxford economist Paul Collier, author of Exodus: How Migration is Changing the World.

As Putnam summarizes, higher diversity leads to “lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media … less expectation others will cooperate to solve dilemmas … less likelihood of working on a community project … lower likelihood of giving to charity … and less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.”

One of the most serious downsides of greater diversity, emphasize Putnam and others, is people become more reluctant to pay taxes.

Glaeser, Collier and others have discovered higher ethnic diversity leads to more reluctance to redistribute wealth. In high-immigrant societies, Glaeser found the relatively well-off have less empathy for those on lower incomes because they don’t see them as being basically like themselves.

Collier is among those who speculates decades-long anti-tax campaigns in California – which have led to decaying road systems and battered public schools – could relate to the state’s high ethnic diversity. California has more immigrants than any other U.S. state. What’s to be done? The first thing Putnam seeks is that people on the political right and left get over their blind spots.

“It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity,” writes Putnam.

“It would be equally unfortunate if an historical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable.”

Putnam’s ideas for overcoming the divisive effects of diversity demand going beyond “tolerance”; they focus on “creating more opportunities for meaningful interaction across ethnic lines.”"
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