photo blog_head_zpsonl8fonu.jpg
Meesa gonna kill you!

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Links - 28th May 2017 (2)

″Radicalisation is not the result of failed integration″ - "Many of the young people who take up the banner of jihad are well integrated. They speak French, English and German. Islamic State (IS) has established a French-speaking battalion precisely because the young French and Belgians hardly speak any Arabic. The problem is not a lack of cultural integration. Even as they break with their society, the European jihadists remain dedicated to a very Western model. It is nihilistic, which is not at all in accordance with Islamic tradition... I am not denying that there is a religious dimension. It is important, because it means the jihadists can reinterpret their nihilism as a promise of paradise. Their suicide becomes a guarantee for eternal life. I only want to emphasise that these young people do not come from the Muslim community. Most of them have no religious education and have rarely visited a mosque. Nearly all were previously petty criminals. They would drink alcohol and take drugs... The left wing’s post-colonial vision is inadequate. In my opinion, Islamist radicalisation can neither be attributed to current foreign policy nor to colonial crimes. These young radicals never talk about the war in Algeria, even if that is where their grandfathers came from. They usually don't even know anything about it... By going radical, they view themselves as better Muslims than their parents. Parents in Europe condemn their children for joining the jihad, unlike Palestinian parents, who usually approve of the violent acts perpetrated by their offspring... Most jihadists are "born again"; with radical Islam, they get a new lease of life. That's why there are so few jihadists who are part of the first generation of immigrants. That generation still grew up in the traditional Islamic faith. It was not until the second generation of immigrants that a break with the past occurred, because the passing down of religious beliefs stopped working. Most terrorists belong to the second generation of immigrants.
Given that most terrorists are second generation immigrants, the claim that the current wave of terrorism in Europe shouldn't give cause for concern because few of them are recent migrants ignores what will happen in the future

Inside Facebook's Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade, Where 'Camel Toes' are More Offensive Than 'Crushed Heads' - "Under "hate content," the guidelines specifically ban "Versus photos... photos comparing two people side by side," which is ironic considering Mark Zuckerberg's first hit, FaceSmash, ranked the attractiveness of female Harvard students... any holocaust denial which "focuses on hate speech," all attacks on the founder of Turkey, Ataturk, and burning of Turkish flags must be escalated... "Pedophelia, Necrophelia, Beheadings, Suicides, etc," he recalled. "I left [because] I value my mental sanity.""

Paying With Cash Hurts. That’s Also Why It Feels So Good. - NYTimes.com

It's Not Your Imagination, Single Women: There Literally Aren't Enough Men Out There - "There simply aren't enough college-educated men to go around. For every four college-educated women in my generation, there are three college-educated men. The result? What Birger calls a "musical chairs" of the heart: As the men pair off with partners, unpartnered straight women are left with fewer and fewer options—and millions of them are eventually left with no options at all."

China's citizens are livid about the South China Sea ruling because of what they're taught in government schools - "Chinese citizens never learn in school that the sea is claimed, under international law, by other countries, or that China’s claims have been disputed for decades"

Canada to turn away single men as part of Syrian refugee resettlement plan - "“All these refugees are vulnerable but some are more vulnerable than others – for example, women, families and also members of religious minorities who are oppressed,” he said, although he rejected the notion of “exclusion” of single men"
Male privilege!

Medical association disrespected Muslims over amputations under hudud, says group - "The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has disrespected Muslims and Muslim doctors by threatening to axe doctors who perform amputations under hudud, according to Muslim medical practitioners’ group i-Medik. Muslim doctors have sworn to an Islamic doctor’s oath which also binds them to Islam as a way of life and the implementation of Islamic laws including hudud, it added."
Malaysia Boleh!

Study in Singapore: Singaporean student's dorm room a hit on YouTube - "When he received acceptance letters to study at several US universities two years ago, Singaporean Derek Low began fantasising about "pimping" his dormitory room. On Sunday, the first-year student at the University of California, Berkeley, put the finishing touches to his dream turned reality. The result? A room fitted out with slick features such as voice-controlled lighting, automated curtains and room modes such as "party", "romantic", and "homework". A video of his room, which he named Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm (Brad), went viral after he uploaded it onto his Facebook page on Monday. As of press time, it had attracted more than 110,000 views on YouTube."

ISIS beheading video aired at Umno general assembly in Malaysia, shocking delegates - "Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said he would be leading the committee to draw up new anti-terrorism laws against such a threat. He also said that he did not mind being labelled a hardcore Malay or an Islamic fundamentalist - all in the name of race and religion."

Taxi kills man lying on Victoria Street - "Mr Zainudin Muhammad was seen having a heated argument with an unknown woman before walking to the middle of the five-lane road and lying down, witnesses said. Shortly after, the taxi, which was heading in the direction of Kallang Road, hit him and dragged his body for about 20m before stopping near the traffic junction at Jalan Sultan... Mr Goh, a cabby of 21 years, was arrested for causing death by a negligent act. He said he was worried about losing his taxi licence as a result of the accident"

Q. What's the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero? - "the amount of caffeine in Coke Zero is almost identical to that of Regular Coke and higher in Diet Coke. Most consumers would agree that Coke Zero tastes more like regular coke. This could be due to both having virtually the same amount of caffeine"

How much sugar is in Coca‑Cola Zero Sugar?
*facepalm*

Hispanics, the New Italians - NYTimes.com - "“These fears about immigrants have been voiced many times in American history, and they’ve never proven true,” Alan M. Kraut, a history professor at American University, in Washington, told me. “It doesn’t happen immediately, but everything with Latinos points to a very typical pattern of integration in American life in a generation or two.”"
It is instructive comparing the Hispanic and Black experiences

A Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’ - NYTimes.com - "In a much discussed article in Jacobin magazine early this year, the writer Miya Tokumitsu argued that the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty... In the old days, before the death of God, the faithful believed that their talents were gifts from on high, which they were duty-bound to use in service to others. In his treatise on ethics, “The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals,” Kant ponders: Suppose a man “finds in himself a talent which might make him a useful man in many respects. But he finds himself in comfortable circumstances and prefers to indulge in pleasure rather than take pains in enlarging his happy natural capacities.” Should he? Kant huffs, no — one cannot possibly will that letting one’s talents rust for the sake of pleasure should be a universal law of nature. “[A]s a rational being,” he writes, “he necessarily wills that his faculties be developed, since they serve him, and have been given him, for all sorts of purposes.” To Kant, it would be irrational to will a world that abided by the law “do what you love”... The universally recognized paragons of humanity — the Nelson Mandelas, Dietrich Bonhoeffers and Martin Luther Kings — did not organize their lives around self-fulfillment and bucket lists. They, no doubt, found a sense of meaning in their heroic acts of self-sacrifice, but they did not do what they were doing in order to achieve that sense of meaning. They did — like my father and some of those kids from town — what they felt they had to do."

A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat - The New York Times - "The new study was financed by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It included a racially diverse group of 150 men and women — a rarity in clinical nutrition studies — who were assigned to follow diets for one year that limited either the amount of carbs or fat that they could eat, but not overall calories. “To my knowledge, this is one of the first long-term trials that’s given these diets without calorie restrictions,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, who was not involved in the new study. “It shows that in a free-living setting, cutting your carbs helps you lose weight without focusing on calories. And that’s really important because someone can change what they eat more easily than trying to cut down on their calories”... By the end of the yearlong trial, people in the low-carbohydrate group had lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group. They had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low-fat group, and improvements in lean muscle mass — even though neither group changed their levels of physical activity. While the low-fat group did lose weight, they appeared to lose more muscle than fat... people in the low-carbohydrate group saw markers of inflammation and triglycerides — a type of fat that circulates in the blood — plunge. Their HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, rose more sharply than it did for people in the low-fat group. Blood pressure, total cholesterol and LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, stayed about the same for people in each group. Nonetheless, those on the low-carbohydrate diet ultimately did so well that they managed to lower their Framingham risk scores, which calculate the likelihood of a heart attack within the next 10 years. The low-fat group on average had no improvement in their scores."

Who Is a Feminist Now? - NYTimes.com - "actress Shailene Woodley was asked if she considered herself a feminist. “No,” said Ms. Woodley, 22. “Because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.” It was a somewhat surprising response from an actress known for portraying strong-willed women in films like “The Spectacular Now,” “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” to be released soon... the online backlash to her comment about feminism came quickly... ambivalence like Ms. Woodley’s is as much a part of the discussion. Monica Lewinsky, 40, wrote in Vanity Fair’s June issue, “Given my experience of being passed around like gender-politics cocktail food, I don’t identify myself as a Feminist, capital F.” And she is joined by a host of other celebrities who question the usage, including Lady Gaga, 28, who was quoted telling a Norwegian camera crew, “I’m not a feminist! I love men! I hail men.” Kelly Clarkson, 32, told Time last October, “I think when people hear feminist, it’s like, ‘Get out of my way, I don’t need anyone’.” Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, Carla Bruni, Sandra Day O’Connor and Taylor Swift have similarly distanced themselves from the designation during their careers. When Marissa Mayer, 38, the chief executive of Yahoo, appeared in the PBS/AOL documentary “Makers,” she spoke of her own issues with the term. “I don’t think that I would consider myself a feminist,” she said. “I think that, I certainly believe in equal rights. I believe that women are just as capable, if not more so, in a lot of different dimensions. But I don’t, I think, have sort of the militant drive and sort of the chip on the shoulder that sometimes comes with that.” In response, some celebrities have gone out of their way in interviews to express bafflement with women who won’t say they are feminists. Lena Dunham, 28, told Metro UK in early 2013 that her “greatest pet peeve” was women spurning the term."
Maybe Lena Dunham's antics ("the extinction of white men") are one reason women spurn the term

Our Cats, Ourselves - NYTimes.com - "cats are only semi-domesticated... Once they were living among us, cats didn’t need to think so much to stay alive; nor did they need such large jaws after we started feeding them our processed scraps. Hence smaller skulls. The same dynamic holds for dogs: Wolves beat dogs in general intelligence tests."

Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

How Exercise Changes Our DNA - The New York Times

The Tyranny of the Forced Smile - The New York Times - "Our Protestant work ethic has blended with contemporary notions of self-actualization to create a situation in which we are all expected to whistle like Disney dwarfs. When I lived in Eastern Europe more than a decade ago, I found that people had a more moderate approach. People did not seem to feel the need to love their job or even talk much about it. You could become well acquainted with someone without finding out what he did for a living. When the subject did come up, it seemed to be beside the point"

The Toll of a Solitary Life - NYTimes.com - "people who were socially isolated, lonely or living alone had about a 30 percent higher chance of dying during a given study period than those who had regular social contact. Notably, the effect was greater for younger people than for those over 65, according to the report in Perspectives on Psychological Science. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead author, said the effect of loneliness and social isolation was as great a risk factor as obesity and should be taken seriously as a threat to public health... The study authors noted that affluent nations had the highest rates of individuals living alone, and that social isolation would reach epidemic proportions in the next two decades"

China's retaliation over THAAD seen as meddling with internal affairs: official
Only China deserves not to have its domestic affairs meddled with

More Sex Makes Us Happy, But Once A Week May Be Enough : Shots

La gastronomie

Faites que vos amis, pleinement satisfaits,
En sortant de chez vous ; ne se plaignent jamais.
De leurs goûts différents apercevez la trace :
L’un préfère la cuisse, un autre la carcasse.
Offrez en général les ailes du poulet,
Le ventre de la carpe et le dos du brochet.
Observez dans vos dons une exacte justice.
Ne favorisez point par orgueil ou caprice,
Tel homme plus puissant ou plus considéré.
Qui voudrait jouir seul d’un morceau préféré.
Ah ! si l’égalité doit régner dans le monde,
C’est autour d’une table abondante et féconde ;
Les enfants de Cornus, sujets aux mêmes lois,
N’ont rien qui les distingue et sont égaux en droits.

--- La gastronomie / J. Berchoux

Links - 28th May 2017 (1)

Fake News Factory — Another Disastrous Week For 'The Washington Post' - "Over only a few days, The Washington Post has blown FIVE HUGE stories with massive national implications, and not a single one of its competitors have said a word."

11 HUMONGOUS Lies Told By The Washington Post's Phony Fact-Checker - "Although there are a number of studies, including one published in The Washington Post itself, that back up Team Trump's claim that there is plenty of evidence of widespread vote fraud, every time anyone speaks these inconvenient facts, they are falsely attacked as liars with four Pinocchios."

Do non-citizens vote in U.S. elections? - "This study examines participation rates by non-citizens using a nationally representative sample that includes non-citizen immigrants. We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress."
Apparently vote fraud is still supposed to be a myth and requiring voter ID is racist (even though many liberal democracies practise it)

Why are (male) surgeons still addressed as Mr? - "Surgeons, or rather male surgeons, are always addressed as Mr in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, sometimes but not always in Australia and New Zealand, and rarely in Canada or the United States"

Semantics derived automatically from language corpora contain human-like biases - "machines can learn word associations from written texts and that these associations mirror those learned by humans, as measured by the Implicit Association Test (IAT) (see the Perspective by Greenwald). Why does this matter? Because the IAT has predictive value in uncovering the association between concepts, such as pleasantness and flowers or unpleasantness and insects. It can also tease out attitudes and beliefs—for example, associations between female names and family or male names and career. Such biases may not be expressed explicitly, yet they can prove influential in behavior."

Words are violent - "The danger posed by labeling certain words or ideas as “microaggressions” is that doing so justifies, in a subtle manner, the use of real aggression in order to counter those words or ideas. If you designate certain speech as “violent” or as an act of aggression, it allows the opponents of that speech to use the rationale of retaliation to use actual physical aggression to oppose that speech. As an example, when Chancellor Nicholas Dirks reassured the hysterical loons on campus that they would be protected from Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech and announced the creation of multiple safe spaces for those who might be traumatized by his remarks, he provided a justification for the lunatics who then attacked those they perceived to be the sources of that trauma. Note to administrators: You can’t expect to continually tell students that they are victims of some sort of verbal violence and not expect them to act out against their victimizers. Microaggressions, trigger warnings and safe spaces all share the same justification — the idea that students need to be protected from certain types of speech or certain ideas. If you are accepted to UC Berkeley, your acceptance letter should be your one and only trigger warning... If ideas alone can pierce your skin, it is not the ideas that need to be softened — it is your skin that needs to become less fragile."

How WeChat censors politically sensitive messages, as revealed by Citizens Lab research - "By attempting to send messages with text related to the crackdown and the lawyers affected, Citizen Lab found that politically sensitive material simply does not get sent on WeChat at all. What’s more, the app does not tell users that their message has been blocked. This only affects users with accounts registered to mainland Chinese mobile phone numbers, and usually only in WeChat group chats, which allow up to 500 users to converse simultaneously... WeChat censorship uses a system that is more sophisticated than just blocking this or that sensitive word. While some terms, like “Falun Gong,” cause any message containing them to be rejected flat-out, the censorship usually works by looking for a combination of what Citizen Lab calls “keyword combinations.” In the example above, “human rights” is not blocked, but the full phrase “China arrest human rights defenders” is. Similarly, in Chinese neither of the phrases “China human rights” or “criticize Chinese government” alone get censored, but a message containing both does."

Console Repairmen Explain Why Cockroaches Love PS4s

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet - "This having-your-cake-and-burning-it-too is central to Canada’s self-image/energy policy... If Canada is busy shipping carbon all over the world, it wouldn’t matter all that much if every Tim Horton’s stopped selling doughnuts and started peddling solar panels instead."

Is the world getting better or worse? - "Neither the pessimists nor the optimists are entirely right. But the optimists win on points – the majority of indicators are going in the right direction... Take air pollution. Outdoor air pollution has got worse in the developing world but better in the developed world, not least because of environmental legislation. A bigger problem, however, is indoor air pollution from using dirty fuels to cook and keep warm, mostly in the developing world. This has been decreasing rapidly, meaning that, overall, damage from air pollution has been falling. In 1900 air pollution cost 23 per cent of GDP; today it is at about 6 per cent, and will probably be reduced to 4 per cent by 2050."

How East and West think in profoundly different ways - "Few people living in Hokkaido today have ever needed to conquer the wilderness themselves. And yet psychologists are finding that the frontier spirit still touches the way they think, feel and reason, compared with people living in Honshu just 54km (33 miles) away. They are more individualistic, prouder of success, more ambitious for personal growth, and less connected to the people around them. In fact, when comparing countries, this ‘cognitive profile’ is closer to America than the rest of Japan... This tendency for self-inflation appears to be almost completely absent in a range of studies across East Asia; in fact, in some cases the participants were more likely to underestimate their abilities than to inflate their sense of self-worth... Although some people have claimed that our social orientation may have a genetic element, the evidence to date suggests that it is learned from others. Alex Mesoudi at the University of Exeter recently profiled the thinking styles of British Bangladeshi families in East London. He found that within one generation, the children of immigrants had started to adopt some elements of the more individualistic outlook, and less holistic cognitive styles. Media use, in particular, tended to be the biggest predictor of the shift. “It tended to be more important than schooling in explaining that shift”... states at the edge of the frontier (such as Montana) tend to score higher on measures of individualism... Corey Fincher (now at the University of Warwick) and colleagues analysed global epidemiological data to show a region’s score of individualism and collectivism appear to correlate with disease prevalence: the more likely you are to get infection, the more collectivist you are, and the less individualistic... He has since tested his [rice-wheat] hypothesis in India, which also [like China] shows a clear divide in wheat and rice growing regions, with similar results. Almost all the people he questioned are not directly involved in farming, of course – but the historical traditions of their regions are still shaping their thinking. “There’s some inertia in the culture.”"

Erdogan’s Turkey Doesn’t Belong in the EU or NATO - "The recall of Turkish military personnel from bases in Afghanistan is but a small part of Erdogan’s “NATO purge“, where those suspected of being disloyal to the regime are imprisoned and tortured upon their return, and Erdogan-loyalists are sent in their place. As many as 400 envoys have been called back from nations like Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, and Great Britain, though — as one can tell from my personal account — there is also a purge of regular military personnel in other parts of the world that has not been as widely reported (and I suspect that purge far surpasses 400)... The Turkish president’s initial rise to power being due to intimidation rather than democracy is beyond dispute. Erdogan used virtually every weapon in the arsenal to get to where he is today: persecution of political rivals, police brutality upon the general populace, censorship, and the jailing of journalists. The list goes on... As for Turkey’s NATO membership, a revocation should at least be open for discussion, given that in order for a country to qualify for NATO membership they have to follow the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that a nation must have a commitment to the principles of liberty, democracy, human rights, and international law — which Turkey has demonstrated repeatedly it does not have."

US man sues dating app Grindr after 1,100 strangers turn up at his home, workplace demanding sex, United States - "The New York City resident's attorneys filed a complaint last Wednesday (April 12), alleging that he is a victim of an elaborate revenge scheme by a former boyfriend whom he met via the app."

Vagina-sealing glue-stick: a terrifying new alternative to traditional sanitary products - ""It breaks down instantly with urine, retaining menstrual fluid in the vagina until urinatation," he continues. "Upon urinating the seal releases and allows the urine along with the menstrual fluid to exit into the toilet. Think of it as potty training the period, cleaner, healthier, more secure, less risk of infections... it has so far been tried out only by a small number of women... Dr Dopps was swamped with criticism over his misunderstanding of female anatomy, with some accusing him misogyny. Doing nothing to dispel the gathering online hate mob, Dr Dopps replied to one commenter: "You as a woman should have come up with a better solution than diapers and plugs, but you didn’t. Reason being women are focused on and distracted by your period 25 per cent of the time, making them far less productive than they could be. Women tend to be far more creative than men, but their periods that [sic] stifle them and play with their heads.” He later told Forbes he believed he had identified the root cause of the negative responses his product had received: “A lot of the LGBT community, lesbians in particular, are furious at me because I’m a white straight man,” he said."
Apparently it's more satisfying to bash straight white men than to have an additional product that might actually work.

Judge says 'cultural context' should be considered when investigating allegations of parental child abuse - "Mrs Justice Pauffley said that within “many communities newly arrived” in Britain, children were “slapped and hit” for misbehaviour in a way which “at first excites the interest of child protection professionals.” Speaking about a particular case involving a boy who claimed he had been hit with a belt by his father, she said “proper allowance must be made” for the fact the family came from another culture - in this case, India"... It is not illegal for a parent to hit their child as long as the smack amounts to “reasonable punishment”. Unreasonable punishment is classed as a smack that leaves a mark on the child, or the use of an implement to hit the child, such as a belt or cane"

Nordic Democratic Socialist Model: Exposing the Left’s Myth - "A common misconception is that the Nordic countries became socially and economically successful by introducing universal welfare states funded by high taxes. In fact, their economic and social success had already materialized during a period when these countries combined a small public sector with free-market policies. The welfare state was introduced afterward. That the Nordic countries are so successful is due to an exceptional culture that emphasizes social cohesion, hard work, and individual responsibility."

Why Envy Dominates Greed - "Perhaps civilizations implode because they are made of people driven by envy that inevitably pulls down the talented tenth that create everything that great societies cumulate upon in art, science, and technology. Such a scenario was scarily recounted in Amy Chua's World On Fire, which noted that one commonality of genocide is the extermination of elites, who are always in the minority, and appeals to the envy, not the greed, of the masses (Jews in Germany, Kulaks by Stalin, Tutsi's in Rwanda, Armenians in Turkey, educated Cambodians by Pol Pot)"

Facebook admits to blocking Wikileaks links in DNC email hack - "The WikiLeaks allegation followed a firestorm of controversy that erupted earlier this year when former Facebook workers admitted routinely suppressing conservative news."

Min-Liang Tan’s message to Singapore about Pokemon Go - "Min-Liang references previous controversies like the government banning first-person shooter game Counterstrike for excessive violence and science fiction game Mass Effect over a same-sex kiss scene. The bans have since been lifted. Both games share with Pokemon Go a media furore that was blown way out of proportion in Singapore and abroad, and demonstrate how “concerned citizens” tend to overreact with such fads"

Racism has a new name: HBD - "The blank slaters were absolutely sure of themselves, rather uncivil, and didn't feel much need to cite evidence to support their claims. For the most part, they simply dismissed counterarguments with varying degrees of vitriol. The HBDers were quite civil and often presented evidence to support their claims. They argued their case pretty well, In My Arrogant Opinion. In fact, within the confines of their case, they did a great job. Their weakness lay in the fact that the confines of their case are quite narrow"
It is interesting even how someone who is contemptuous of the "Human Biodiversity" crowd is scathing of blank slaters and evaluates the human biodiversity people more favorably

Government bans Latin abbreviations on its websites to avoid confusion - "Phrases such as etc, ie, and eg will be phased out from all GOV.UK sites because foreign speakers find them “difficult to read”."

This madam has figured out how to keep sex workers safe on the internet - "She’ll insist on calling your office, speaking to the switchboard operator, and being patched through to your desk. Then she will want to check out your profile on the company website and LinkedIn. She’ll demand you send her message from your work email, and require a scan of either your passport or driver’s license... agencies have one remaining edge over independent sex work: They reduce risk. This is the market opportunity Rita has spotted... As technology has expanded our transactional networks, it must also offer new ways of building trust and reputation. Online reviews—of anything from restaurants to handymen—are the most conspicuous example of this. As we’ve reported, they’re critical to the functioning of the ultra-secretive marketplaces of the dark web, which trade everything from drugs to weapons to stolen identities... A government official said that accessing the darkest corners of the dark web requires an invite—and you can only get an invite if you have been referred by “trusted criminals.”... Harvard economist Larry Katz speculates that those who will thrive in the modern economy will be the ones who can pair technology with particularly human interpersonal skills that no machine can replicate"

Friday, May 26, 2017

Links - 26th May 2017 (2)

30mn Africans may come to Europe within next 10 years – EU parliament chief

EU to Open Migration Centres in Africa Because Europe 'Needs 6 Million Migrants'
Why do EU politicians and officials conflate encouraging migration humanitarian and economic reasons?

Nonprogressing HIV-infected children share fundamental immunological features of nonpathogenic SIV infection - "Although most people that get infected with HIV develop AIDS, rare individuals maintain immune function in the presence of virus, a phenomenon also seen in natural hosts of the closely related SIV. Muenchhoff et al. describe a cohort of pediatric HIV patients who have normal CD4 T cell counts, despite high viremia and lack of antiviral treatment. These children have low immune activation, including less chemokine receptor CCR5 expression on central memory CD4 T cells, similar to sooty mangabeys infected with SIV. The immune mechanisms described in these patients shed light on HIV pathogenesis, which may help develop future treatments."

Letters from Africa: Is Nigeria being punished by God? - "This attitude of attributing life circumstances to forces beyond people's control is antithetical to progress and development. It is impossible to cultivate a spirit of innovation and transformation when people believe themselves helpless about their plight."

Senegal plans to ban full-face veil amid militant threat - "The move should not be seen as anti-Islamic, as Senegal was a mainly Muslim state, Abdoulaye Daouda added. If the plan becomes law, Senegal will be the fifth African state to restrict the wearing of the full-face veil."
Islamophobia!

Thank Trump for Enforcing Obama's 'Red Line' in Syria - "Norms like the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons are not self-enforcing. They require a superpower like America to deter other dictators from future violations. When the U.S. abdicates its responsibility to make good on its red line on chemical weapons, it invites mischief from rogues all over the world. So it's not surprising that China's predations in the South China Sea, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Iran's meddling in Yemen all happened after Obama punted on the red line in Syria."

Man held at knifepoint knocks out mugger, takes selfie - "He received both positive and negative comments. Some accused him of racism. Others, like comedian and actor Siv Ngesi, who was also his friend, jumped to his defence on Facebook. Wood said it was interesting that some were upset about the photo, but not the crime."
So apparently if you're white you're supposed to let a black robber rob you, or you're racist

Jamie Foxx: black stars – including Will Smith – need to #actbetter to win Oscars - "Appearing at the American black film festival awards on Sunday, the Oscar-winner joked that he and Denzel Washington were unimpressed with complaints over the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ failure to nominate a single actor of colour for the second year in a row."

The French African Connection - "African leaders, well aware of France's need for their countries' resources, adopted the same manipulation tactics once used on them. So, after supporting a war in Biafra, overthrowing several presidents, collapsing Guinea’s economy and bribing leaders to support its interests, France started to lose the control that it once exercised in Africa. Some African leaders insisted on selecting French ministers and ambassadors. And presidents like Omar Bongo of Gabon and Mamadou Tandja of Niger realised that they could leverage their natural resources to sway French decision-making."

They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia. Now Liberia Is Erasing Them. - The New York Times - "As bodies were piling up in the streets and global health officials were warning that the country’s ages-old traditions for funerals and burials were spreading the disease, these men did what few Liberians had done before: set fire to the dead. And for four months they did so repeatedly, burning close to 2,000 bodies. Villagers protested near the site, hurling abuse and epithets at the men they called “those Ebola burners them.” The government deployed police officers and soldiers along the dirt road to the crematory site in a field to keep angry locals from the men."

Fewer Tomatoes in Ketchup? East Europeans Pursue Parity at the Grocery - The New York Times - "When Simona Budinska, a 31-year-old public relations specialist, had trouble finding lactose-free products at her local grocery, she and her husband began driving across the border to Austria, where the stores were teeming with choices. But it was not the variety of products on the shelves as much as what was in them that stunned the couple. “The washing powder was just much more effective, and the ketchup contained more tomatoes than the Slovak one,” Ms. Budinska said... Food producers and industry analysts point out that it is common for ingredients to differ from country to country, sometimes to favor local producers, sometimes to appease local tastes and, yes, sometimes to increase profits by substituting cheaper ingredients... Food producers and industry experts insist there are often sound reasons for products to differ between countries: local tastes, a preference for local ingredients, divergent buying patterns."
This is why you shouldn't shop in Malaysia

Growth, Not Forced Equality, Saves the Poor - NYTimes.com - "Cutting down the tall poppies uses violence for the cut. And you need to know exactly which poppies to cut. Trusting a government of self-interested people to know how to redistribute ethically is naïve. Another problem is that the cutting reduces the size of the crop... The magic has been tried, in Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China. So has the violence... As a matter of arithmetic, expropriating the rich to give to the poor does not uplift the poor very much. If we took every dime from the top 20 percent of the income distribution and gave it to the bottom 80 percent, the bottom folk would be only 25 percent better off. If we took only from the superrich, the bottom would get less than that. And redistribution works only once. You can’t expect the expropriated rich to show up for a second cutting... In South Korea, economic growth has increased the income of the poorest by a factor of 30 times real 1953 income. Which do we want, a small one-time (though envy-and-anger-satisfying) extraction from the rich, or a free society of betterment, one that lifts up the poor by gigantic amounts?"

Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs With Smartphones? - The New York Times - "interactive media appears to play to similar impulses as drug experimentation, including sensation-seeking and the desire for independence. Or it might be that gadgets simply absorb a lot of time that could be used for other pursuits, including partying... the phone provides a valuable tool for people at parties who don’t want to do drugs because “you can sit around and look like you’re doing something, even if you’re not doing something, like just surfing the web.”"

If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama - The New York Times - "Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists."

IBM Gives Watson a New Challenge: Your Tax Return - The New York Times

Caste Is Not Past - The New York Times - "Politics is where caste has gotten a surprising new lease on life. After money and education, democracy is, of course, the third powerful force transforming Indian society. But Indians, it turns out, are passionate about the caste of their politicians. Nearly half of the voting population of even a highly educated city like Bangalore considers caste to be the No. 1 reason to vote for a candidate. Democracy gives power to people who previously had none. But, like race, caste can shift political discussions from present-day merit to payback for historical injustices... Indian political parties have played caste politics for years. The powerful Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party and its derivatives have thrived on an anti-Brahmin platform in Tamil Nadu. The compelling rise of Mayawati, a Dalit woman who goes by one name, to chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was built on the support of her caste. But, once in office, her reputation as one of the world’s most influential female politicians was marred by corruption and mismanagement in her administration"

Dangerous Fruit: Mystery of Deadly Outbreaks in India Is Solved - NYTimes.com - "Beginning in 1995, investigations variously ascribed the phenomenon to heat stroke; to infections carried by rats, bats or sand flies; or to pesticides used in the region’s ubiquitous lychee orchards. But there were few signposts for investigators. Instead of occurring in clusters, the illness typically struck only one child in a village, often leaving even siblings unaffected. A joint investigation by India’s National Center for Disease Control and the India office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, published in the British medical journal The Lancet Global Health on Tuesday, has identified a surprising culprit: the lychee fruit itself, when eaten on an empty stomach by malnourished children."

France’s Obsession With Decline Is a Booming Industry - NYTimes.com - "“To put it in Manichaean terms: Anything positive doesn’t sell, and anything negative sells, as if there were a sort of masochism on the part of some readers,” said the historian Robert Frank, the author of the 2014 book “The Fear of Decline: France from 1914 to 2014.”... Even if declinism is going strong, France’s birthrate is still among the highest in Europe, and studies have consistently shown the French to be more pessimistic about their country than about their own lives."

Cecil the Lion: variety of activists have angry tweets decrying lack of attention to non-lion causes in wake of hunting dentist story. - "the sentiment stirred by Cecil's death is not shared by many Zimbabweans, and the outpouring of grief is perplexing to people dealing with tough economic and social problems in addition to the occasional threat to life and property by wild animals...
'So, people in Zimbabwe are telling the American press, “black lives matter,” referring to their own lives relative to Cecil.'"

Burger King hijacks the Google Assistant, gets shut down by Google

Islamic Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi speaks out against halal Easter eggs - "Hiding out in Adelaide under police instruction, Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi has said halal certification on chocolate Easter eggs is not necessary. Imam Tawhidi said in a Facebook post: “Muslims would never eat products with Jewish terminologies or Christian cross”. “Stamping Australian products with Islamic terminologies is an insult to 98 per cent of Australians, and is a threat to their way of life,” he wrote in the long social media post. “I, as an Australian Muslim, feel very insulted when the culture I have adapted to for decades is now being changed.”"

WATCH – Black Lives Matter Has EVIL Message For Police. ARREST THEM. - "Black Lives Matter has been terrorizing America, rioting and causing mayhem, but it’s time that BLM and their rhetoric is stopped before more innocent lives are lost. Janaya Khan, an “activist” of the Black Lives Matter movement, stated, “I think we start with the demilitarization of the police…that means taking money out of police budgets and slowly phasing out police because we don’t actually need them in our communities. This woman would rather abolish society’s brave protectors based on a false belief system rather than encourage criminals to change their behavior. BLM would rather blame the police for the country’s problems than take responsibility for their own heinous actions.”

9 signs your Mental Illness is made up for attention - "2. You are constantly sharing shit about it on social media. Every time someone writes a #powerful #essay on whatever website about their struggle with upper-middle-class anxiety, you share it. You share “How to date someone with ____.” You share “7 things only people with OCD know.” It’s your whole identity, and you’re constantly reminding people that you are sick and brave and in a permanent struggle against the world.
3. You list it in your bios. If your bio announces from the get-go that you have depression — before you even mention, I don’t know, a job or a hobby or an accomplishment, you need help. And not in the “Lexapro” department, in the “you have nothing interesting to say about yourself besides a disorder” department."

Teacher cleared of raping pupil warns men to stay away from teaching: "There is nothing to protect you" - "A geography teacher cleared of raping a pupil has warned that men should steer clear of the profession, after a false allegation shattered his dream career."

Allrecipes reveals the enormous gap between foodie culture and what Americans actually cook. - "To work your way through the Allrecipes hall of fame, Julie & Julia–style, is to be confronted with an obvious truth: Most people are far more concerned with convenience and affordability than authenticity or novelty"

"Suicides" really honor killings? - "Swedish Radio News reports that the police in this Nordic sensation suspect a dozen cases of reported suicides since 2006 were possibly honor killings - the murder of young women and girls in mostly immigrant families - by parents or brothers outraged that the girl has refused orders to marry someone against her will … or defying the family's honor by dating a Swede or other boy friend not approved for cultural, ethnic or religious reasons."

Aging population and automation effect on economic growth - ""There is no evidence of a negative relationship between aging and GDP per capita," they wrote in a paper entitled "Secular Stagnation? The Effect of Aging on Economic Growth in the Age of Automation." The paper continues, "On the contrary, the relationship is significantly positive in many specifications.""

Here's the surprising reason highways have those concrete walls alongside them - "Those walls were actually constructed for noise reduction. A wall higher than the average person can lower sound by five decibels."

$43 million was found in a Nigerian apartment and everyone made the same joke

For growth we want good institutions—democracy is irrelevant - "Perhaps democratic ignorance and expert narrow-mindedness roughly balance out—or perhaps representative democracies and non-democracies both choose similar sorts of people to rule anyway. Either way, the evidence seems to suggest that insofar as we can help countries to develop, the key institutions we should be supporting are markets, property rights and the rule of law, and considerably less significance should be accorded to democratisation."

'Ban Cars to Stop Terror' Says Sweden's Best-Selling Newspaper After Stockholm Attack - "The idea of reducing the number of cars in Swedish cities was backed last month by Sweden’s environment minister, who argued that driving is a gender equality issue as well as a matter of shrinking the nation’s carbon emissions. “Cars are driven largely by men so by giving a lot of space to cars; we’re giving a lot of space to men — at the expense of women,” Karolina Skog explained."

Homosexuality in Islam

"All the legal schools [of Islam] regard sex between males as unlawful... When we turn from the question of sex between males to that of love or attraction between males, the picture is a little different. There are a number of indications that the Prophet was not insensitive to the attractiveness of other males... there is no evidence that [the Prophet] regarded the attraction itself as foreign to his own nature, rather the contrary. In fact later writers, such as Ibn al-Farid, assumed that the Prophet himself loved another man, namely his Companion Mu'adh ibn Jabal. The Prophet is reported to have said, "O Mu'adh, truly I love thee" (Arberry 1956:53n24). Ibn al-Farid takes this relationship as a paradigm of chaste love between males.

Romantic love between males, provided it is chaste, appears to have had an accepted place in Islamic cultures, in a way it has rarely if ever had in Judeo-Christian ones"

--- Muhammad and Male Homosexuality / Jim Wafer in Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature (ed Will Roscoe, Stephen O. Murray)


"It is sufficient for a good Moslem to abstain from those things which Allah has forbidden, and which, if he choose to do, he will find charged to his account on the Day of Resurrection. But to admire beauty, and to be mastered by love - that is a natural thing, and comes not within the range of Divine commandment and prohibition"

--- Ibn Hazm, Andalusian theologian


"Abdal-Hakim Murad [a Sunni theologian]... accets "homosexuality as an innate disposition" in some (though not all) cases... Murad stresses that there are no circumstances under which an individual with homosexual "tendencies" - which he likens to the impulses of a pyromaniac "mental pateitn" - can lawfully act on his or her desires. The only religiously acceptable option for someone with a homoerotic orientaton is permanent chastity: Murad sees it as a test from God. His stance coincides with the Muslim Women's League statement"

--- Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith and Jurisprudence / Kecia Ali


Christopher van der Krogt, Lecturer in History and Religious Studies at Massey University:

"Scriptures and later writers usually referred only to particular sexual acts and did not raise the issue of personal sexual orientation."

(Homosexuality and Islam: What does the Qur’an actually say about gay people?)


In other words, just like in Christianity a distinction is drawn between homosexual desires and homosexual acts (what are truly condemned).

Links - 26th May 2017 (1)

Salman Abedi named as the Manchester suicide bomber - what we know about him - "The suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens more at the Manchester Arena has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, according to US officials. Born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children his parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime."
Saying that almost none of today's attacks are by current refugees is not comforting

Are Tories the workers' party? Labour polling figures suggest they are - "Jeremy Corbyn appears in this election campaign to have achieved something even Ed Miliband was unable to do: lose the majority support not only of Britain’s skilled workers, dubbed social class C2 by the pollsters, but also the DEs – the semi-skilled, unskilled and unemployed.

The Comey memo offers no proof for impeachment of Trump - "this memo is neither the Pentagon Papers nor the Watergate tapes. Indeed, it raises as many questions for Comey as it does Trump in terms of the alleged underlying conduct... Impeachment is not meant to be an alternative for criminal cases that cannot be submitted to a grand jury. It is also not meant to be politics by other means. Finally, it is not a vehicle to redo an election for those with morning-after regrets. Ironically, for those who charge that Trump has compromised the legal system, the same objection can be made over demands for criminal charges or impeachment based on his still undisclosed memo."
"Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He testified during the Clinton impeachment and serves as the lead defense counsel in the last impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate for Judge Thomas Porteous."

London Summit 2017 | SeekingArrangement - "Becoming a Sugar Baby just got easier! SeekingArrangement.com’s Sugar Baby Summit is a meeting of Sugar Babies that features progressive courses on how to succeed in Sugar. This Summit is aimed at providing a skill set unlike any other. The event features experienced Sugar Baby coaches, as well as a roster of financial, career, and relationship experts. Each course provides valuable knowledge about Sugaring, but is also designed to improve your life overal"

Forget paleo, go mid-Victorian: it’s the healthiest diet you’ve never heard of - "Health expectancy provides valuable comparative insight. Mid-Victorians enjoyed relatively good health in old age. The elderly then, including workhouse inmates, were physically capable of working until the last few days or day of their lives. Agricultural labourers regularly worked into their 70s. Hospital capacity was limited because of home nursing and a lesser need for non-acute medical facilities. In contrast, men today can anticipate spending the last 7.7 years of their lives in a state of increasing medical dependency: for women that figure is in excess of 10 years. From this perspective, the medical gains of the last century are severely tarnished. The implications of a better understanding of mid-Victorian health are profound. It becomes clear that, with the exception of family planning, the vast edifice of post-1948 healthcare has not so much enabled us to live longer but has merely supplied methods of controlling the symptoms of non-communicable degenerative diseases, which have become prevalent due to our failure to maintain mid-Victorian nutritional standards. Dysnutrition is arguably the largest cause of ill-health today. Our study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (here, here, and here) shows that the majority of the Victorian urban poor consumed diets which were limited, but contained extremely high nutrient density. Bread could be expensive but onions, watercress, cabbage, and fruit like apples and cherries were all cheap and did not need to be carefully budgeted for. Beetroot was eaten all year round; Jerusalem artichokes were often home-grown. Fish such as herrings and meat in some form (scraps, chops and even joints) were common too. All in all, a reversion to mid-Victorian nutritional values would significantly improve health expectancy today... In the 1870s Victorian health was challenged by cheap sugar and the first generation of mass-processed high-salt and high-sugar foods. This dragged urban health and life expectancy to a nadir around 1900 — a date that consequently provides a highly misleading baseline. (The trend was even reflected in people’s height. The minimum height for infantry was lowered from 5ft 6in to 5ft 3in, then later to 5ft, in just two decades.)"

It’s dangerous and wrong to tell all children they’re ‘gender fluid’ - "What started as a baffling skirmish on the wilder shores of victim culture has now turned into something more menacing. The Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee has produced a report saying transgender people are being failed. The issue is not just whether they really do change their sex. The crime being committed by society is to insist on any objective evidence for this at all. According to the committee, people should be able to change their gender at will merely by filling in a form. Instead of requiring evidence of sex-change treatment, Britain should adopt the ‘self-declaration’ model now used in Ireland, Malta, Argentina and Denmark. To paraphrase Descartes, ‘I think I am a man/woman/of no sex, therefore I am.’... for trans people gender is certainly not irrelevant but is of all–consuming importance. Yet Miller and her committee would deprive them of the ability to announce their new sexual identity on passports or other official documents. Is this not, by Miller’s own logic, cruelty to trans people? But of course logic doesn’t come into this. Gender politics is all about subjective feelings. It has nothing to do with fairness or equality. It embodies instead an extreme egalitarianism which holds that any evidence of difference is a form of prejudice... a UK survey found about half of young and a third of adult transgender people said they had attempted suicide. The committee does not suggest this is most likely because of the unbearable mental conflict over their sexual identity. Instead, it blames ‘transphobia’ for driving them to this despair... Trans and gender issues, says the committee, should be taught in schools as part of personal, social and health education. We can all predict what will happen. Gender fluidity will be actively promoted as just another lifestyle choice. Under the commendable guise of stopping the minute number of transgender children being bullied, the rest of the class will be bullied into accepting the prescribed orthodoxy — that gender is mutable, and any differentiation in value between behaviour or attitudes is bigoted and prohibited... According to Professor McHugh, prepubescent children who begin imitating the opposite sex are being treated by misguided doctors with puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgery less onerous — even though such drugs stunt children’s growth and risk causing sterility. These are the very drugs that the Miller committee wants the specialist Tavistock gender clinic to prescribe to children with less delay."

The sneering response to Trump’s victory reveals exactly why he won - "The suggestion that American women, more than 40 per cent of whom are thought to have voted for Trump, suffer from internalised misogyny: that is, they don’t know their own minds, the poor dears... those who do politics these days — the political establishment, the media, the academy, the celeb set — are so contemptuous of ordinary people, so hateful of the herd, so convinced that the mass of society cannot be trusted to make political decisions, and now those ordinary people have given their response to such top-down sneering and prejudice. Oh, the irony of observers denouncing Middle America as a seething hotbed of hatred even as they hatefully libel it a dumb and ugly mob... The respectable set’s allergy to Trump is fundamentally an allergy to the idea of democracy itself."

Taipei’s Fiery New Mayor Knows Whose Culture Is Best | Foreign Policy - "For the [world’s] four Chinese-speaking regions — Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mainland China — the longer the colonization, the more advanced a place is. It’s rather embarrassing. Singapore is better than Hong Kong; Hong Kong is better than Taiwan; Taiwan is better than the mainland. I’m speaking in terms of culture. I’ve been to Vietnam and mainland China. Even though the Vietnamese are seemingly poor, they always stop in front of red traffic lights and walk in front of green ones. Even though mainland China’s GDP is higher than that of Vietnam, if you ask me about culture, the Vietnamese culture is superior... I once said that when more than 99 percent of Chinese people close the doors while doing their business in bathrooms, we can start talking about reunification. This hurt the feelings of many Chinese people, but a cultural gap [between mainland China and Taiwan] does exist"

India Doesn’t Understand Its Rape Problem | Foreign Policy - "Protesters, politicians, and celebrities have advocated vocally for harsher punishments for rapists, from public execution by firing squad to surgical castration. But violent retribution, judicial and extrajudicial alike, has done little to end rape. Statistics from India’s National Crime Records Bureau show that incidents of reported rape in the country increased 35.2 percent between 2012 and 2013. Rather than solving the rape problem, the bloodlust pulsing through India has instead squelched the country’s ability to address the problem’s roots... Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the advocacy group All India Progressive Women’s Association, argues that the obsession with punishment “deflect[s] attention from the accountability shared by the state” — its failure to address social norms that lead to sex crimes against women. These norms often emerge from legal and educational institutions that place little to no premium on gender equality. India’s preoccupation with capital punishment gives “individuals a way to distance themselves from potentially sexist beliefs they may themselves hold”... the Justice Verma Committee report included numerous legal reform recommendations, such as stiffer sentencing and an expanded list of criminal offenses against women. It also advised against capital punishment or chemical castration as punishments for rape, citing a lack of empirical evidence that either deters violence... India’s lower house of Parliament passed a bill that ignored many of the Justice Verma Committee’s most substantive recommendations... In April 2014, a Mumbai court handed down death sentences for three men convicted in the 2013 gang rape of a journalist. Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor in the case, said he sought the death penalty because he “wanted to send a message to like-minded persons that if they commit such crimes the death penalty is inevitable.” “For the government, legislation was the easiest change they could enact,” says Nikhil Mehra, an advocate who served as a researcher with the committee. “Generating serious societal change, on the other hand, is much more difficult.”"

The Social Laboratory | Foreign Policy - "many current and former U.S. officials have come to see Singapore as a model for how they'd build an intelligence apparatus if privacy laws and a long tradition of civil liberties weren't standing in the way... they are looking to analyze Facebook posts, Twitter messages, and other social media in an attempt to "gauge the nation's mood" about everything from government social programs to the potential for civil unrest... In a country run by engineers and technocrats, it's an article of faith among the governing elite, and seemingly among most of the public, that Singapore's 3.8 million citizens and permanent residents... are perpetually on a knife's edge between harmony and chaos... This economic rise might be unprecedented in the modern era, yet the more Singapore has grown, the more Singaporeans fear loss... Singaporeans' boundless ambition is matched only by their extreme aversion to risk... by U.S. standards, Singapore's privacy laws are virtually nonexistent, and it's possible that the government collected private communications, financial data, public transportation records, and medical information without any court approval or private consent... The officials running RAHS today are tight-lipped about exactly what data they monitor, though they acknowledge that a significant portion of "articles" in their databases come from publicly available information, including news reports, blog posts, Facebook updates, and Twitter messages... One Singaporean told me it's easy to find porn -- just look for the web addresses without any obviously sexual words in them... Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus, by Donald Low and Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, argues that the ruling People's Action Party, which has held uninterrupted power since 1959, may have invented the notion that Singapore is one step away from ruin in a bid to subdue the masses and cement the government's hold on power... "In Singapore, the threshold for surveillance is deemed relatively higher," according to one RAHS study, with the majority of citizens having accepted the "surveillance situation" as necessary for deterring terrorism and "self-radicalization.""

University of Wisconsin Study Finds Eudaimonic Happiness Lessens the 'Bite' of Risk Factors for Disease - WSJ - "Some researchers say happiness as people usually think of it—the experience of pleasure or positive feelings—is far less important to physical health than the type of well-being that comes from engaging in meaningful activity. Researchers refer to this latter state as "eudaimonic well-being." Happiness research, a field known as "positive psychology," is exploding. Some of the newest evidence suggests that people who focus on living with a sense of purpose as they age are more likely to remain cognitively intact, have better mental health and even live longer than people who focus on achieving feelings of happiness. In fact, in some cases, too much focus on feeling happy can actually lead to feeling less happy, researchers say. .. symptoms of depression, paranoia and psychopathology have increased among generations of American college students from 1938 to 2007, according to a statistical review published in 2010 in Clinical Psychology Review. Researchers at San Diego State University who conducted the analysis pointed to increasing cultural emphasis in the U.S. on materialism and status, which emphasize hedonic happiness, and decreasing attention to community and meaning in life, as possible explanations"

How to Trick the Guilty and Gullible into Revealing Themselves - WSJ - "By the early 1980s, Van Halen had become one of the biggest rock bands in history. Their touring contract carried a 53-page rider that laid out technical and security specs as well as food and beverage requirements. The "Munchies" section demanded potato chips, nuts, pretzels and "M&M's (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES)." When the M&M clause found its way into the press, it seemed like a typical case of rock-star excess, of the band "being abusive of others simply because we could," Mr. Roth said. But, he explained, "the reality is quite different." Van Halen's live show boasted a colossal stage, booming audio and spectacular lighting. All this required a great deal of structural support, electrical power and the like. Thus the 53-page rider, which gave point-by-point instructions to ensure that no one got killed by a collapsing stage or a short-circuiting light tower. But how could Van Halen be sure that the local promoter in each city had read the whole thing and done everything properly? Cue the brown M&M's... During the Middle Ages, if a court couldn't determine whether a defendant was guilty, it often turned the case over to a priest who would administer an "ordeal" using boiling water or a smoking-hot iron bar. The idea was that God, who knew the truth, would miraculously deliver from harm any suspect who had been wrongly accused. As a means of establishing guilt, the medieval ordeal sounds barbaric and nonsensical. But according to Peter Leeson, an economist at George Mason University, it was surprisingly effective—because it let the garden weed itself... After a new employee has completed a few weeks of training, Zappos offers them a chance to quit. Even better, the quitter will be paid for their training time and get a bonus representing their first month's salary—roughly $2,000—just for quitting! All they have to do is go through an exit interview and surrender their eligibility to be rehired at Zappos. What kind of company would offer a new employee $2,000 not to work?... Mr. Hsieh figured that any worker who would take the easy $2,000 was the kind of worker who would end up losing the firm a lot more in the long run. By one industry estimate, it costs an average of roughly $4,000 to replace a single employee, and one recent survey of 2,500 companies found that a single bad hire can cost more than $25,000 in lost productivity, lower morale and the like"

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms, Such as Watery Eyes, Sneezing and Fatigue, Can Significantly Impair Driving Ability - WSJ - "Common seasonal allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, sneezing and fatigue, can significantly impair driving ability, says a study in the July issue of Allergy. Allergy symptoms' effect on driving was comparable to having a blood-alcohol concentration nearing impaired levels, according to the researchers. Allergy medications weren't wholly effective at reducing the symptoms' effects...
Bedrooms of boys with above-average BMIs had significantly more TVs, electronic games and magazines. Bedrooms of boys with average or below-average BMIs had more souvenirs from other places, computers, religious items and artwork or pictures. Girls with above-average BMIs had more board games, dolls, and stereos. Girls with lower BMIs were more likely to have objects associated with physical activity, such as calendars, schedules and spinning disco balls...
Pressure from waist belts, especially worn over a large waistline, can cause pockets of silent acid reflux to develop in the lower esophagus without noticeable symptoms...
People with peripheral artery disease, or narrowed leg arteries, were able to walk significantly farther using Nordic walking poles than when they didn't use poles, according to a study in the June issue of the British Journal of Surgery. Poles work the body 23% harder than normal walking, but the participants didn't seem aware of the extra exertion, the researchers said"

For More Teens, Arrests by Police Replace School Discipline - WSJ - "A generation ago, schoolchildren caught fighting in the corridors, sassing a teacher or skipping class might have ended up in detention. Today, there’s a good chance they will end up in police custody... a student got a misdemeanor ticket for wearing too much perfume... a teen was charged with theft after sharing the chicken nuggets from a classmate’s meal—the classmate was on lunch assistance and sharing it meant the teen had violated the law... Nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database... In recent decades, a new philosophy in law enforcement had been applied to schools. It was “deal with the small stuff so they won’t go to the big stuff, and also it sent a strong message of deterrence”"

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Links - 18th May 2017 (2)

Demand for female tutors '21/2 times that for male' - "When it comes to tutors, women are in greater demand than men, a recent local study has found. For some parents, this preference results from a wary attitude towards male tutors, and the stigma that surrounds them."
Presumably the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) doesn't cover this because it's not employer-employee employment. Of course AWARE was silent on this

The Crisis of Western Civ - The New York Times - "This Western civ narrative came with certain values — about the importance of reasoned discourse, the importance of property rights, the need for a public square that was religiously informed but not theocratically dominated. It set a standard for what great statesmanship looked like. It gave diverse people a sense of shared mission and a common vocabulary, set a framework within which political argument could happen and most important provided a set of common goals. Starting decades ago, many people, especially in the universities, lost faith in the Western civilization narrative. They stopped teaching it, and the great cultural transmission belt broke. Now many students, if they encounter it, are taught that Western civilization is a history of oppression. It’s amazing what far-reaching effects this has had. It is as if a prevailing wind, which powered all the ships at sea, had suddenly ceased to blow. Now various scattered enemies of those Western values have emerged, and there is apparently nobody to defend them... These days, the whole idea of Western civ is assumed to be reactionary and oppressive. All I can say is, if you think that was reactionary and oppressive, wait until you get a load of the world that comes after it."

After Weight-Loss Surgery, a Year of Joys and Disappointments - NYTimes.com - "Nearly 200,000 Americans have bariatric surgery each year. Yet far more — an estimated 24 million — are heavy enough to qualify for the operation, and many of them are struggling with whether to have such a radical treatment, the only one that leads to profound and lasting weight loss for virtually everyone who has it. Most people believe that the operation simply forces people to eat less by making their stomachs smaller, but scientists have discovered that it actually causes profound changes in patients’ physiology, altering the activity of thousands of genes in the human body as well as the complex hormonal signaling from the gut to the brain. It often leads to astonishing changes in the way things taste, making cravings for a rich slice of chocolate cake or a bag of White Castle hamburgers simply vanish... surgery immediately alters the activity of more than 5,000 of the 22,000 genes in the human body."

How Did Walmart Get Cleaner Stores and Higher Sales? It Paid Its People More - The New York Times - "The idea is that, sometimes, it is in an employer’s best interest to pay more than necessary to get a worker into a job. The 18th-century economic thinker Adam Smith described the need to pay a goldsmith particularly well to dissuade him from stealing from you. More recently, economists (including Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, who worked on these topics as an academic economist in the 1980s) have found evidence that people are more productive when they are paid above the market rate."

Immigration blunders that led to Brexit - "Paradoxically, Britain's current problem with immigrants - which led directly to the country's rejection of the EU - is not the result of bigotry but, as incredible as it may sound today, precisely because the Brits wanted to show the rest of Europe how open they can be. In effect, Britain knocked itself out of the continent after attempting to be more generous than the continent... Evidence that not all was well kept pouring into British government offices from all directions: the pressure on housing became acute, schools could not cope with the demand for spaces and daily wages in some sectors like construction fell by a whopping 50 per cent, as labour supply far outstripped local needs. But successive British governments did nothing... the country's working class which used to be praised as the "salt of the earth" ultimately came to be treated as "the scum of the earth". Yet bizarrely, the entire political class still refused to do anything. In what is by now one of the country's most iconic modern episodes, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown publicly dismissed as "bigoted" a middle-aged voter who, during the 2010 general election campaign, dared to ask him in polite terms what he proposed to do about East European migration. Yet current PM Cameron also maintained the same air of political correctness, by pretending that the problem is not migration as such, but the people who complain about it. The rebuke to Britain's rulers came during the EU referendum, when the so-called "scum of the earth" suddenly stood up and demanded to be heard... European governments ought to remember that immigration is not only about ensuring adequate labour supply or sustaining economic efficiency; it's also about challenging existing national identities and community spirit, about maintaining the implicit contract between those ruling and those ruled"

The Straits Times - Posts - "Do-Not-Call registry: Firms want calls, SMS to be separated"
This article from 2011 is no longer accessible. Why don't Straits Times articles have durable permalinks like world class publications like the New York Times?

Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo states that Boba and Jango Fett are not Mandalorians. Let the meltdown commence. : StarWars

Error access is denied (Write to disk) uTorrent in Windows 10.

Ma Bo Lor Mee @ ABC Brickworks on the App Store - "Through the Ma Bo Lor Mee mobile app, user can interact with us more effectively and will be updated regarding our stall at anytime, anywhere."
Why does a Lor Mee stall need an app?

The rise of left-wing, anti-Trump fake news - ""On the left if you're consuming fake news you're 34 times more likely than the general population to be a college graduate"... the more you consume fake news, the more likely you are to vote... Brooke Binkowski, who is managing editor at Snopes website, warns newsreaders to stay aware of the emotions they feel when consuming content"

Facebook’s fake news problem won’t fix itself – Poynter - "A BuzzFeed analysis of six hyperpartisan Facebook pages found that posts with mostly false content or no facts fared better than their truthful counterparts... disinformation spreads faster and wider than related corrections"
The analysis shows not only that the left wing sources have lots of fake news too, but that it's shared a lot more than the right wing sources

9 More Viral Photos That Are Completely Fake - "Did the new president of Taiwan really say “I won’t buy the whole pig just for a sausage?... The message is seen as one of female empowerment and independence here in the United States, but it wasn’t meant that way when the anonymous Chinese hoaxer created it. I contacted the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office to try and confirm the quote. And as I suspected, it appears to be a fabrication by Chinese bloggers hoping to make the new president look silly.”

Chinese man builds fake police station in flat and poses as cop in elaborate con - "During a search of his home-cum-interrogation centre, security officials uncovered a cache of forged documents, a GPS tracking device and a miniature surveillance camera, according to the newspaper report. They also found a copy of The Story of the Stone, a classic work of 18th century Chinese literature that opens in a place known as the Land of Illusion. “Truth becomes fiction when the fiction’s true,” the book’s opening line reads. “Real becomes not-real where the unreal’s real.”"

Gullible Huffington Post Falls for Hoax Article Calling for White Men to be Stripped of Voting Rights - "HuffPostSA editor Verashni Pillay wrote an article (archived post) defending its publication. She highlighted examples of complaints sent to the website, and blamed readers for having a poor understanding of the “pretty standard feminist theory” Shelley used. Pillay has since deleted the defense. Then, following the extensive backlash, Huffington Post deleted the article, replacing it with a meek apology and a claim that they were unable to confirm that Shelley Garland was a real person. They even had to hilariously clarify that they are in favor of universal voting enfranchisement... The hoaxster says that her editors at Huffington Post did not correct any of the false claims, factual errors and logical fallacies she purposely embedded in the piece, and accepted it without question.
'A further indictment on the Huffington Post is the fact that its editor, Verashni Pillay, then took it upon herself to defend the total garbage that I had written.'"

Lucasfilm Consider Ending Main Star Wars Movies & Focusing On Spinoffs - "As strong as the Skywalker / Solo brand may be, sooner or later Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are going to want to step out of the saga. That doesn't matter if you're writing novels; but if your ongoing Star Wars movie franchise is centered around these actors, then you have a real problem."

It's impossible to present history in a way that won't offend someone: Neil Macdonald - "if anyone ever uncovers evidence proving or disproving the existence of Jesus Christ, he'd better either bury it or go into hiding, because that sort of thing can get you killed... CBC is sort-of apologizing again, this time for broadcasting a series rather inoffensively titled Canada: The Story of Us, produced to coincide with the country's 150th anniversary celebrations... it's probably not possible in this day and age to present a version of history that won't offend someone. In this case, such an effort would have to view Canada's founding equally through English and French eyes, as well as those of Indigenous people, the Métis, the Acadians, the Catholics and the Protestants. (But not too much so, as to avoid cultural appropriation). Any depiction of what happened at the Plains of Abraham would have to take care not to name a winner, but rather characterize it as just one development in the history of Canada's two founding nations. It would need to avoid androcentricity, while at the same time recording that men were completely in charge and made all the big decisions... if your main goal is to avoid giving offence, it's safest to ensure such efforts are terminally boring. Because everyone wants to own history. In these hypersensitive times, there is no canon"

Harambe: Stop making memes of our dead gorilla, Cincinnati Zoo pleads

On landing, the pilot made an announcement so psychologically astute that I wanted to offer him a job - "‘I’ve got some bad news and some good news,’ he said. ‘The bad news is that another aircraft is blocking our arrival gate, so it’ll have to be a bus. The good news is that the bus will drop you off right next to passport control, so you won’t have far to walk with your bags’... Nothing had changed objectively, but now we had a new story to tell ourselves... The reason we hated being bused to the terminal was not because it was intrinsically bad, but because nobody knew of any redeeming advantages to help us see it in a positive light. Once we knew there was an upside, we were free to minimise the pain of cognitive dissonance by choosing to see the bus as a convenience and not an annoyance... It seems we can mentally cope with trade-offs: what is intolerable are those experiences where there is no discernible upside at all. In such cases there is nothing to help us escape the pain of cognitive dissonance. Even when people make fairly silly decisions, they can usually post-rationalise them. What upsets us most are those inescapable things where there is no apparent positive — paying tax, speed-camera fines, season-ticket increases, utility bills. The very act of choosing something generally makes us like it more... Last week in The Spectator, Peter Jones suggested something I have long believed — that the tax system should offer some kind of quid pro quo, even if it is largely symbolic, to people and companies who pay more tax. The Greeks, he explained, designed their system of wealth tax so that it offered bragging rights to those who provided public goods. Rich Athenians relished competing among themselves to fund a better trireme than their fellows.

Permitting modern businesses to display some sort of tax kitemark would at least allow them to justify to themselves why it was worth paying more than the legal minimum. It may be a small thing in economic terms, but at least there is some positive spin to be put on it. Remember, when we construct stories, our intended audience isn’t only other people. It is also ourselves"

Real-time HTML Editor - "Type HTML in the textarea above, and it will magically appear in the frame below."
1997: Hacking HTML in Notepad
2007: Using a modern browser to surf the web
2017: Looking at HTML in Notepad to get around paywalls. Or rendering it with this


Popup Killer: How to Bypass Website Barriers Without Signing Up or Completing Surveys - "You've probably experienced these popup windows, known as Lightbox modals, all across the web, especially on magazine and newspaper sites that have yet to fully embrace the ad-supported digital world. And let's not forget about those pesky "fill out this survey to continue" content blockers (don't even get me started on those)... Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer make accessing the web inspector very easy. Below, I'm using Chrome, but the process is nearly identical in Firefox and IE.
Step 1: Inspect Element
Step 2: Delete the Lightbox Mask
Step 3: Delete the Lightbox Window
Step 4: Get Your Scroll Bar Back
Step 5: Close the Developer Tools...
Safari's process is no different than Chrome and Firefox, other than that you have to enable access to your web developer tools. To turn them on, simply open the "Advanced" tab in Safari's "Preferences," and click on the box at the bottom that says "Show Develop menu in menu bar.""
Another reason not to use Macs - Safari is emblematic of the trouble you need to go through

Will politicians finally admit that the Paris attacks had something to do with Islam? - "All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent... If you do not know the ideology — perverted or plausible though it may be — you can neither understand nor prevent such attacks. Nor, without knowing some Islamic history, could you understand why — whether in Mumbai or Paris — the Islamists always target the Jews... in contemporary Europe, Islam receives not an undue amount of criticism but a free ride which is unfair to all other religions. The night after the Charlie Hebdo atrocities I was pre-recording a Radio 4 programme. My fellow discussant was a very nice Muslim man who works to ‘de-radicalise’ extremists. We agreed on nearly everything. But at some point he said that one reason Muslims shouldn’t react to such cartoons is that Mohammed never objected to critics. There may be some positive things to be said about Mohammed, but I thought this was pushing things too far and mentioned just one occasion when Mohammed didn’t welcome a critic. Asma bint Marwan was a female poetess who mocked the ‘Prophet’ and who, as a result, Mohammed had killed. It is in the texts. It is not a problem for me. But I can understand why it is a problem for decent Muslims. The moment I said this, my Muslim colleague went berserk. How dare I say this? I replied that it was in the Hadith and had a respectable chain of transmission (an important debate). He said it was a fabrication which he would not allow to stand. The upshot was that he refused to continue unless all mention of this was wiped from the recording. The BBC team agreed and I was left trying to find another way to express the same point. The broadcast had this ‘offensive’ fact left out... al-Azhar University in Cairo declared that although Isis members are terrorists they cannot be described as heretics."

The questions nobody wants to ask about Asad Shah's murder - "On Maundy Thursday a Muslim shopkeeper in Glasgow was brutally murdered. Forty-year-old Asad Shah was allegedly stabbed in the head with a kitchen knife and then stamped upon. Most of the UK press began by going big on this story and referring to it as an act of ‘religious hatred’, comfortably leaving readers with the distinct feeling that – post-Brussels – the Muslim shopkeeper must have been killed by an ‘Islamophobe’. Had that been the case, by now the press would be crawling over every view the killer had ever held and every Facebook connection he had ever made. They would be asking why he had done it and investigating every one of his associates... In Britain whenever there is a vaguely positive news story about Islam it almost invariably involves Ahmadi Muslims. Remember the bus adverts a few years back saying that Islam had ‘love for all, hatred for none’. That was paid for by Ahmadiyya Muslims. Remember the stories of a Muslim group not burning poppies but actually selling them for the Royal British Legion? Ahmadiyyas again... the Imam of the Grand Central Mosque in Glasgow (Scotland’s biggest mosque) had been caught posting messages on the net praising the Muslim extremist who murdered Pakistani governor Salman Taseer for opposing blasphemy laws. This is the mosque that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon went straight to after the Paris terror attacks in November... nobody will ask for instance which Muslim leaders in the UK stoke hatred of Ahmadiyya Muslims... As it happens, the Imam of the mosque that Sadiq Khan himself attends in Tooting is one Suliman Gani. This is a man who has in the past openly acknowledged that he uses his position to agitate against Ahmadiyya Muslims... nobody will ask about this, because almost nobody knows, or cares to know, or cares to hear the answers"

The menace of memes: how pictures can paint a thousand lies - "it’s worth remembering that not every accusation levelled at Westminster is fair. Over the past couple of years, a trend for internet memes about politicians has grown. Those graphics tend to juxtapose two images from Parliament, one showing lots of MPs apparently very interested in something, another with a handful of sleepy politicians loafing about on the Commons benches. Naturally, the first image bears a caption suggesting that MPs are debating something that benefits them personally, while the second claims they’re voting on something that affects very vulnerable people... You might argue that, for many MPs, it is more constructive to be outside the Chamber during those sessions if they can influence government policy by scrutinising it in other ways. A select committee, for example, or writing parliamentary questions, briefing journalists on the failure of a certain policy or taking a delegation of MPs to lobby the Prime Minister. But very few people understand the different sorts of Commons business and assume that everything that takes place in the Chamber has the same import. It doesn’t."

It’s time for me to face the truth – I am no longer a feminist - "it’s with dismay rather than despair I read this morning’s Australian, which broke the news that Victorian high school students are going to learn about male privilege... As my colleague Dr Jeremy Sammut pointed out, this is indeed an example of “taxpayer-funded indoctrination” that ignores the complex social problems that inform domestic and family violence. More than that, it’s truly sad that a program originally labelled “Respectful Relationships”, instead inspires alienation, and peddles guilt and shame, when put in practice."

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes