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Friday, March 03, 2017

Links - 3rd March 2017

Support for EU freedom of movement rules 'eroding' - "One of the most senior Dutch government ministers has said a fundamental EU principle, freedom of movement, needs to be radically reformed. Deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher said support was falling across Europe over the way it has been implemented"

Russian Orthodox Church lends weight to Putin patriotism

4 Russian Travel Tips for Visiting America - "2. On Talking to American Women
The short version: American women are a little uptight. They might call the cops if you look at them too long. And don’t be gallant, that creeps them out.
4. On American Optimism
Short Version: These people do not stop smiling. Also, they don’t want to hear your problems because it interrupts their smiling. “Surviving” makes you a hero over there. Here it just means you were unlucky, but not unlucky enough to have died"

Belching smoke through the Channel, Russian aircraft carrier so unreliable it sails with its own breakdown tug

Russian charity 'accidentally advocates beaver genocide' - "instead of asking people to "Do Good", as initially intended, the flyers read "Exterminate Beavers" after intricacies in the Russian language were confused by the printer... the company had cited Russian regulations dating back to the Soviet era specifying that minor typos do not qualify as contract violations. The printing house allegedly told the charity "no one will notice" the error and encouraged them to continue distributing the leaflets"

Russia scorns Boris Johnson's 'hysteria' as bombs hammer Aleppo - "The Russian defence ministry said Boris Johnson’s comments that Russia should be investigated for war crimes in Aleppo were “Russophobic hysteria”."
Identity Politics is for everyone

MP killed in explosion while having sex - "A GLAMOROUS Russian politician and her husband died semi-naked in the back of their 4x4 when he set off a bomb in a jealous rage"

Russia furore over FGM in mainly Muslim Dagestan - "A report on female genital mutilation (FGM) in the North Caucasus has sparked a fierce debate in Russia, with some clerics defending the practice. A civil society group found FGM to be common among Muslims in mountain villages in Dagestan. Girls' genitals were cut in primitive homes. Regional Muslim leader Ismail Berdiyev suggested all women should undergo FGM but later withdrew the remark."
Funny, according to Reza Aslan it's an African problem

Why Do Russians Never Smile? - "There’s even a Russian proverb that translates, roughly, to “laughing for no reason is a sign of stupidity”... Smiling is a sign of certainty and confidence, so when people in those countries smile, they might seem odd. Why would you smile when fate is an invisible wolf waiting to shred you? You might, in those “low-UA” countries, even be considered stupid for smiling... In countries such as India, Argentina, and the Maldives, meanwhile, smiling was associated with dishonesty—something Krys found to be correlated to their corruption rankings."

Russia banned a Polish board game that simulates Communist-era shopping

Russia and the Curse of Geography, From Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin - "Two of Russia’s chief preoccupations—its vulnerability on land and its lack of access to warm-water ports—came together in Ukraine in 2014"

Vladimir Putin ‘wants to regain Finland’ for Russia, adviser says

Effects of an exercise intervention using Dance Dance Revolution on endothelial function and other risk factors in overweight children. - "Twelve weeks of DDR-use improved FMD, aerobic fitness, and MAP in overweight children. Improvements occurred without changes in inflammatory markers or nitric oxide production"

Who killed the curry house? - "men came to Britain alone, and only later sent for their wives and children, which partly explains why curry house food never bore much resemblance to authentic cookery from the subcontinent. Home cooking in India and Bangladesh was generally done by women... This blastingly hot food was an invented cuisine that no Indian person would fully recognise as their own. Given the choice, even the curry house owners themselves often preferred to go home and eat fresher, more subtle food than the dishes they served in their own restaurants. What they didn’t anticipate was that one day, some of their customers might start to feel the same way... To many British Asian people, whether they had grown up in the UK or arrived as adults, British-Indian food seemed odd, both in form and flavour. The young cookery writer Meera Sodha, author of the 2016 cookbook Fresh India, always felt that curry house food was “misrepresentative” of the Gujarati cuisine she grew up eating at her mother’s table in Lincolnshire. The entire flavour profile of curry house curries, Gulhane told me, is founded on the tang of dried fenugreek leaf, a herb his mother never used, which acts as a flavour enhancer, comparable to MSG. (While talking to Gulhane, I suddenly realised that the spicy aroma at Uddin’s that I had found so distinctive and alluring as a child must have been fenugreek leaf.)"

Korean Cosplayer Pion Kim Attacked For Cosplaying as a Mexican Overwatch Character - "The whole point of cosplaying, or dressing up as fictional characters, is to inhabit a person totally unlike oneself. The community prides itself on being inclusive and accepting, encouraging fat people to dress up as skinny characters or men to dress up as women. But all hell broke lose when a Korean woman donned the costume of a Mexican hacker from the hugely popular Overwatch video game... Some social justice warriors accused Kim of “brownface” for using a subtle bronzer to darken her skin, and conducted what amounted to a witch hunt against her. Many in the Mexican community stood up for Kim, alleging that “gringos” were getting offended on their behalf and saying they didn’t care if people cosplay as a Mexican character. “I’m mexican, i have a ‘dark skin tone,'” a woman wrote on Facebook. “And I think that Sombra cosplay was amazing. She did an amazing job. I mean, if you want to cosplay an ‘Avatar character’ you OBVIOUSLY will paint your skin BLUE, she did the same with Sombra.” Despite the support, Kim apologized for her (non)transgression and vowed to never cosplay as Sombra again. A real loss considering the brilliance of her Sombra rendition."

These People From Japan Don't Care if You Wear Kimonos - "Japanese people couldn’t care less if some whitey wears their clothes — they were actually happy to see an American inspired by Japanese culture... When they were told that Perry’s performance was heavily criticized they were very confused... “Indian curry and Japanese curry are different even though they are both curry,” one man said. “Even if you ate the Japanese version of foreign food, knowing it’s different from the original one, it would make you interested in the original version and want to learn about their culture.”"

Counter-protesters join kimono fray at MFA - "about two dozen protesters and half as many counterprotesters filled the MFA’s Impressionist gallery. On one side, a group of mostly young Asian-American and white women gathered to protest “Kimono Wednesdays,” demanding additional context for the event and questioning views of Asians as “the other” in American culture. They held signs with messages like “Not your Asian fetish” and “I have been assaulted, raped, harassed + stalked, denied my humanity repeatedly & you don’t want to think about me because I am just another Japanese woman”... Stepping into the dispute this week were several counterprotesters wearing kimonos, including some older Japanese women, who advocated for the museum to return to its initial “Kimono Wednesdays” programming. One held a sign saying “I am not offended by people wearing kimono in front of French paintings.” Another sign read, in part, “I welcome museum exhibits that share Japanese culture with the community.” Etsuko Yashiro, 53, of Concord, who helps organize Boston’s Japan Festival, said she was there to share the beauty of kimonos with an American audience. Ikuko Burns, 79, who was born in Tokyo and has lived in Boston for 53 years, explained how she used to bring kimonos to local schools as a consultant for the Children’s Museum to teach introductory lessons on Japan. “I’m a little bit disappointed by the other side,” she said, questioning what the protest had to do with Monet’s painting and chalking it up to the participants’ youth... Wearing a cherry-blossom-patterned kimono, Ara Mahar, 23, of Dorchester, who founded the Boston branch of an international kimono group, held a sign referencing a YouTube video in which a Japanese man is asked when foreigners can wear kimonos. The answer? “Whenever”... “We actually do not quite understand what their point of protest is,” said Jiro Usui, the Deputy Consul General of Japan in Boston. “We tried to listen to those people who are protesting, but we think together with the MFA we should encourage that Japanese culture be appreciated in a positive way.”"
Too bad it got cancelled as they caved to the SJWs

Protesters shut down Milo Yiannopoulos event at UC Davis - "protesters blocked access to the venue. Surrounding the lecture hall with signs, they chanted, "Say it loud, say it clear, racists are not welcome here.""

Berkeley cancels Milo Yiannopoulos talk after violent protests - "More than 1,500 protesters had gathered at Sproul Plaza, chanting and holding signs that read: "No safe space for racists" and "This is war.""
How convenient to blame anarchists who conveniently do what students protest for

German court rules that firebombing a synagogue is not anti-Semitic - "the 2014 firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal, a region just east of Düsseldorf, was an act of criminal arson, but not anti-Semitic. Instead, the court found it was a protest against Israel, even though the synagogue was obviously not in Israel and those who worship there are Jews, not Israelis. The decision upheld that of a lower court, which stated the perpetrators, a trio of Palestinian-born German residents, wanted to “call attention to the Gaza conflict” when they prepared and then lobbed Molotov cocktails at the synagogue one July night in 2014. No one was injured, but the attack caused €800 in damages. The men were ultimately given suspended sentences"
Can one attack a mosque to protest ISIS?

Finnair flight 666 to HEL on Friday 13

A day without murder: no one is killed in El Salvador for first time in two years

If you want to earn more, work less - "The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare released the government’s first report on karoshi this October, and it found that nearly one in four (23%) companies have some employees who work more than 80 hours of overtime per month... long-working office martyrs were less likely than their peers to have received a bonus in the last three years... many of us believe we need to be in the office both when our boss shows up and when he or she leaves. However, Vanderkam thinks that’s a big (and often misguided) assumption. “Maybe your boss wants the place to herself in the morning and she’s actually annoyed that you’re getting there early, too.”... employee output declines sharply after 50 hours per week and nosedives after 56 hours to the point where someone who puts in 70 hours doesn’t produce anything more with those additional 14 hours. Similar studies have linked long hours with absenteeism, long-term memory loss and impaired decision-making skills."

The BuzzFeed Fiasco Shows Us Why Trust in Institutions Is Dying - "I don’t know which school of journalism Buzzfeed Ben went to, but in my first Masters degree, there was substantial instruction on the ethics of journalism and its implications. Dumping raw unverified data, especially HUMINT, with glaring inaccuracies that can be quite easily verified (and which make the entire report look flawed) crosses a lot of ethical boundaries. The context is this: the report in question has been in the deepest corners of the web since last year, but there’s a reason why Hillary’s campaign opposition researchers, and other established media organisations didn’t touch it. And that’s not just because of its terrible syntax errors and glaring spelling mistakes. It is, at this stage, too good to be true. A cursory Google search can point out that fake news includes not just hoaxes but deliberately publishing propaganda and disinformation (дезинформация), and using social media to drive web traffic and amplify its effect... Trust is earned through integrity. The reason there is a dying trust in Western institutions and lamentable death of expertise, is because the gatekeepers in press and academia have become partisan... The same people who actively supported Wikileaks and opposed Bush 43, are now reversed. Those who supported a Reset with Russia, now see Putin’s hand in everything. It’s almost like a pole is switched overnight, simply because Hillary lost and Trump won"

Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire - "Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country. Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers"

The Modern Marriage Trap, and How to Get Out of It - "80 percent of women and 70 percent of men say that they want a relationship with “flexible gender boundaries” and prefer sharing over specialization. That’s nice, but it’s not usually how things turn out. That’s because there are forces external to couples that push them into asymmetrical arrangements, ones that impact same-sex as well as different-sex couples. Three-quarters of gay and lesbian couples with two working parents specialize, and that can’t be explained by gender stereotypes, ideologies, or human nature... there are forces bigger than each of us, bigger than our partnerships, and bigger than marriage itself. They shape how our lives turn out whether we like it or not."

Tattooed women outnumber men in a new poll - "40 percent of women made the tattoo experience a shared one, often getting inked with friends and loved ones, They also took the experience "a little more seriously" than their male counterparts. "Women have a tendency sometimes of getting that little souvenir keepsake tattoo with deeper meaning, whereas men tend to go a little overboard and fill themselves up with larger pieces""

CBS Radio Deceptively Implies Chicago Torturers Were White Trump Supporters, Victim Was Black

Piers Morgan defiant after making mum cry on Good Morning Britain
If a woman cries because of a man, she's won

No, Ryan Gosling Isn’t A Sexist For Thanking Eva Mendes - "Thanking your wife is now a sign of being a sexist. Ryan Gosling won a Golden Globe for his performance in “La La Land” and chose to thank his wife, Eva Mendes, for being a good wife, mother, and support for the rest of the family. Instead of this move making him conscientious, supportive of his wife, or a sweet husband, apparently it instead makes him a sexist and misogynist, someone who is upholding the patriarchy and holding down his wife. The world has truly gone mad when a husband can’t love his wife without being slagged... I’m sure Mendes is thankful for The Independent’s criticism of her personal life choices and reproduction. I guess reproductive choices are above reproach, beyond critique, totally a woman’s purview… until they’re not"

Filter bubbles and Facebook: Why so many people hate "the liberal elite" - "As an opinionated citizen with consistently liberal views, I am used to being attacked and insulted by conservatives for my choices and opinions. But the liberal critiques I read weren’t so much attacking my decision as they were questioning my intelligence and my ability to understand the issue. For the first time in my life, I was on the outside of the so-called liberal bubble, looking in. And what I saw was not pretty. I watched as many of my highly educated friends and contacts addressed those who disagreed with them with contempt and arrogance, and an offensive air of intellectual superiority."

Why did Singapore ban pornography but legalize prostitution?

Gabriel Seah's answer to Why did Singapore ban pornography but legalize prostitution? - Quora

In 1999, Wong Kan Seng (the then Minister for Home Affairs) was asked about Singapore’s approach to prostitution in Parliament by J. B. Jeyaretnam (a famous opposition figure)

Wong replied that:

Governments around the world and through the ages have tried to eradicate prostitution, but none had succeeded. Criminalising prostitution will only drive such activities underground, resulting in crime syndicates taking control over such activities.

The Ministry of Home Affairs therefore has taken a pragmatic approach of recognising that the problem cannot be totally suppressed or wished away. Our approach is therefore to contain the situation, particularly through continuing enforcement against prostitutes and pimps who solicit in public.[1]

In practical terms, this takes the form of sanctioned brothels, pimps and prostitutes in designated red light districts (Situation in Singapore) despite brothels and pimping being technically illegal.

Meanwhile, non-sanctioned ones are cracked down on; for example, while prostitution per se is not illegal, “foreign sex workers and pimps are deemed to be “prohibited immigrants” and may be removed from Singapore (s 31 of the Immigration Act” (Poh Boon Kiat v Public Prosecutor); while it's not illegal to be a prostitute, foreigners don't have work permits to work as prostitutes (unless they're one of the licensed ones).

As for pornography, it is targeted by laws such as the Penal Code, the Films Act and the Undesirable Publications Act, where “obscene” materials are those deemed “to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely . to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it”. It is noteworthy that even in 1998, 3 decades after the latter bill was first passed, these were maintained as public policy goals despite it being pointed out that texts like D.H Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, formerly targeted by similar laws, are now the subject of school examinations sat by 16 year olds[2]

The distinction between pornography and prostitution, then, was presumably made because those who visit prostitutes are considered to already be depraved and/or corrupt, whereas pornography has the potential to corrupt the hitherto pure, and thus degrade the societal fabric. Given that prostitution is confined to certain designated red light areas, whereas pornography is portable, there is a certain logic to this.

Like with most other facets of life, the internet has disrupted the on-the-ground realities and legal framework around both pornography and prostitution, with everyone potentially being able to carry pornography around with them in their phones and online ads for prostitution (it’s not soliciting in public if a client contacts you after seeing your ad).

With pornography the government seems to given up on what is available online, with a “practical light-touch approach to regulating the Internet”, with only 100 websites[3] (most of which seem to be pornographic - see Gabriel Seah's answer to What are the banned websites in Singapore?) blocked.

Indeed, the most frequently asked question at the government censorship agency’s website (IMDA - FAQs) is “Is accessing pornography on the Internet illegal?”, to which the answer is “The IMDA does not monitor or track users' access to any sites on the Internet and does not interfere with what individuals access in the privacy of their homes. We are primarily concerned with the purveyors and distributors of pornography. Unless you engage in such activities, the mere act of visiting such sites is not an offence.”

Yet, physical pornography is still frowned upon - merely possessing it can get you fined (Monk's ex-aide fined). This is kind of schizophrenic given the IMDA’s stance - the digital-physical distinction is problematic (Is there a big difference between pornography on your computer and that on DVDs, given that both are stored in the form of 1s and 0s? If downloading pornography is obscene what about your browser cache after you visit a pornographic website?)

As for prostitution, despite attempts to amend the laws (e.g. the 2016 Women’s Charter amendment[4] to criminalise "Remote communication service[s] operated or maintained for offering or facilitating provision of sexual services, etc.", i.e. websites which facilitate prostitution), it is simply impossible to stamp out unlicensed prostitution - it is just too lucrative. For example, in 5 years Chew Tiong Wei made recorded almost $2.6 million in revenue and made a profit of about $1 million (Online vice-ring pimp who made $1m in profits over 5 years convicted of vice offences). As an industry insider notes, “You chop off one syndicate head, seven others will appear. It's easy money that nobody would want to miss out on” (Customers believe they won't get caught).

Further reading:
Containing Commercial Sex to Designated Red Light Areas: An idea past its prime?
https://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/wp-con...

What is the law on pornography in Singapore? | SingaporeLegalAdvice.com

Footnotes

[1] http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/t...

[2] Page on parl.gov.sg

[3] https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/...

[4] http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/s...

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Links - 2nd March 2017

Home Based Small Scale Business Scheme | HDB InfoWEB - "Massage services are not allowed in HDB flats."

Poldark and historical TV drama | Podcast | History Extra - "There's a film called Che by Steven Soderbergh... it's an absolutely unwatchable film. It's about 6 hours long, it's in 2 parts. It's about Che Guevara. No one watched it, because it's incredibly boring because it's really sort of carefully accurate and it just doesn't have any of the pizzaz of a story. It doesn't have those Aristotelian poetics. The sort of the 3 act structure: the beginning, the muddle and the end. It doesn't have any of the drama that you require in something that captures your imagination. And if you're bored an hour in, then you're not learning the history, because you're bored... Braveheart is perhaps the most inaccurate film in all of human history. It's a good movie, it's really well made. Historically it's absolute nonsense. And I think some people would argue that it's also had a huge impact on the rising... Scottish nationalism and people re-engaging with their past. But I don't think it had to be accurate. That's not its job. Its job was to be thrilling and inspiring and then the role of historians is to step in and say: I'm really glad you enjoyed that. Here's a very interesting book about how it's not true."

Women in politics and Robinson Crusoe | Podcast | History Extra - "There comes a point in the 1930s where the Conservative Party's actually concerned to attract more men to their ranks, because women have really taken over in many ways the organisation, the kind of the social life and the social kind of energy of the party. Which is of course fundamental for a party that considers itself the party of natural rule...
This exemplary Englishman is in fact reading a lesson to King George I about what it means to English. You live on an island, you improve it, you're tolerant to people of many faiths, but you won't put up with cannibalism. And you leave the island far richer and more prosperous than you found it. This is precisely what men like Defoe wanted George I to be - an improving English king. And they were reading him a lesson in English kingship and Englishness which they felt very necessary for a German-speaking Hannoverian"

Lenin and the Russian revolutions | Podcast | History Extra - "He liked Switzerland. Most revolutionaries were a bit iffy about Switzerland because they thought it was bourgeois. Trotsky hated it. He said the only thing the Swiss ever talk about is the shortage of potatoes. But Lenin liked it because it suited his sense of what's decent and what's proper. The libraries were great, the trains ran on time, the buses were clean. He had a little room in a street in Zurich and he could walk to the library in 5 minutes, I've done the same walk. And there he was, he could just write his stuff. Everything was exactly the way he wanted it. And he was in the Swiss labour movement to try to organise a very very tiny party into another split, because Lenin liked splitting parties, so it's good for him. And he liked mountain walking too...
What he was trying to do was, his view was always 'I would rather lead a party of one than be wrong. I'd rather have 2 people with me than be with this large party of people who are simply going to lead the Revolution down a blind alley'...
Lenin crept back in and then when trouble broke out in June, July, he crept back out again because he was always one to watch his own back and get out to safety. Lenin never was there leading from the barricades. Trotsky was the poster boy"

The Norman Conquest | Podcast | History Extra - "[On the Bayeux Tapestry] It's an artist's depiction of events that happened years before. But it's also an artistic source based on other artistic sources. So you can see at various points the tapestry artist borrows from copies, illuminated manuscripts at Canterbury where the tapestry was manufactured. So you can point to very precise examples. Here is Bishop Odo holding a feast before the Battle of Hastings. Oh look it's copied from this Last Supper scene. A similar thing seems to be going on with Harold's death scene. It seems that the tapestry artist may have been copying a biblical scene of the death of King Zedekiah who was killed by being blinded. So it's a very problematic source. There is another contemporary source... the song of the Battle of Hastings, which says that Harold was hacked to death by a dedicated Norman Death Squad, which would make perfect sense because William's war aim is Harold must die. Either way, we'll never know...
What happens in the years that follow, the months that follow even... is Anglo-Saxon rebellion and insurgency... My take on it is the English don't seriously think they were conquered in 1066. Because they were conquered 50 years earlier by the Vikings and they know what conquest feels like. In particular people have their heads chopped off. And William's attitude in the first instance is more lenient than that. Despite all the killing at Hastings in the course of the battle, what he does with the survivors, the surviving English aristocrats is he spares them and lets them redeem their lands. He lets them hang on to their lands in exchange for payment. Which makes sense if he's saying 'I am the legitimate successor to Edward the Confessor'...
England before 1066 was essentially a land without castles. Well, it's very hard to imprison people and hold them if you don't have strongholds"

Shepherd Gets Attacked by Sheep GIF | Create, Discover and Share on Gfycat

Batteriser is a $2.50 gadget that extends alkaline battery life 800%

Be Careful About "Missing Person" Posts It's one thing to circulate a curren... - ""missing" posts that tell you to call someone other than police, that have no date or location, or are in any other way suspect should not not be shared and possibly should even be reported. This is how stalkers can find their hidden victims. This is how abusive parents reconnect with children that have been taken from them for good reason."

Most Germans don’t buy their homes, they rent. Here’s why - "There’s another pretty simple reason Germans are less likely to own houses. The government doesn’t encourage it. Unlike high-homeownership countries like Spain, Ireland and the US, Germany doesn’t let homeowners deduct mortgage-interest payments from their taxes. (There’s more on the structure of European tax systems here.) Without that deduction, the benefits of owning and renting are more evenly balanced"

Students at Harvard’s Kennedy School will now be required to check their privilege

Baltimore Professor: “White People Should Deposit Their Unearned Wealth In Black Accounts” - "White people’s wealth is apparently ‘unearned’ because it is based off a white supremacist society that steals from black people. That is why said wealth should be ‘deposited in black accounts’. In activist parlance, ‘white allies’ are the white liberal/leftists that come out at at some of these protests. This standing with black folk is apparently in his words being given too easily, and should not be given without this cost."

Taiwan Voice - Timeline - "Unfortunately for the police, among the 19 people inside were three lawyers, a law professor, and several legal advisors. When asked to show his ID, lawyer Kao Yung-Cheng came forward and asked the police based on what law they were forcing them to show their IDs. None of the police officers could answer the question. Kao showed the police his lawyer certificate and told the police that none of the people inside had their IDs, nor could they remember their ID numbers. He added that all he had with him was his law certificate, and to contact him with any problems."

Carly Fiorina Says the Chinese ‘Don’t Innovate’ - "Fiorina has criticized proponents of Common Core who think the policy will help U.S. students compete with Chinese students in subjects like math and science. The 2016 presidential hopeful told Iowa political video blog Caffeinated Thoughts earlier this year that the U.S. education system should not be modeled after China’s. Chinese students may test well, she said, but they fall short when it comes to innovation."

A lèse majesté law for Singapore’s king, long live Lee Kuan Yew! - "his ministry was looking into treating Mr Lee as a national symbol, equivalent to the national flag, by incorporating him into the Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act. Mr Lee’s name and image would then have to be accorded the same respect as the national flag, much like a king in a monarchy. The laws which govern the use of the flag will then also govern the use of Mr Lee’s name."

Skyping with the enemy: I went undercover as a jihadi girlfriend - "When a French journalist posed online as a young woman interested in Isis, she was soon contacted by a fighter in Syria. He proposed marriage – but could she maintain a double life?"

Danish DJ bludgeons rabbit to death to prove a point – “live” on air - "Mr Juhl later explained to the media that his intention in killing the rabbit “live” on air was to show up the hypocrisy of our relationship with animals. "Consumers generally do not kill animals themselves, but we buy and eat animals, that have lead sad lives," he said. "You cannot say: 'It's terrible to kill an animal', and then eat meat. These things are connected"... The station claimed that the rabbit had “enjoyed a good life”, unlike many of the animals which end up on the meat counter, and that it was killed in “a humane manner.”"

How to become a swordsmith apprentice in Japan « Soulsmithing - "What is important to understand is that high-level craftsmen in Japan actually feel it is a big responsibility to pass down the tradition for future generations. They cannot let it be perpetuated by luke-warm souls who would let fall the very standards of their trade. Accepting an apprentice is a responsibility both in the face of the tradition and that of the individual thinking to make this life choice."
No wonder their trades are dying

The Clash of Victimizations – How A Babble of Grievances Impedes the Struggle for Real Justice - "A “Gresham’s law” of language takes over, where it is not bad money that drives out the good, but self-serving tropes that end up replacing the genuine coinage of truth and righteousness... In a globalized and culturally hybridized society of competing social values, worldviews, and behavioral patterns, where pluralism is no longer simply taken for granted, but aggressively advanced and in some ways even manufactured by what I would call the “difference industry”, it becomes impossible to establish easily recognizable standards of “rightness” or “wrongness”, from which any consensus about the nature of “justice” arises. Even murder and terrorism can be easily excused. Nuanced and balanced judgments become nearly impossible when every grievance is crying out for recognition. Relative ethical hierarchies are abolished, and every single cause becomes equally its own categorical imperative. In consequence, our own overactive ideological glands that produce the hormones designed to intensify our moral outrage end up generating insoluble controversies. This week’s flap at Princeton University over whether rapper “Big Sean” Anderson should be disinvited from starring in the school’s showcase music festival because of often brutally misogynistic lyrics is a case in point. It has pitted feminists and anti-rape activists against the black student community., who view the outcry over Anderson’s music as one more manifestation of embedded racism."
Keywords: Offence culture, offense culture

New JPEG image enlargening software is actually a bigger deal than it sounds - "thanks to the free and excellently-named software, waifu2x, JPEG images can be enlarged with virtually no noise or pixilation and I can finally get back to completing my epic Fraggle Rock erotic fanfiction saga instead of spending hours a day turning the Internet upside down for appropriately-sized pictures!"

British women paying for sex with male escorts more than ever - "record numbers of women who pay for sex come from all backgrounds and ages, although there are a high number of women in their thirties and forties. Escorts said that while some of the women didn't want or have time for relationships, others were already in a relationship but wanted to spice things up. While busy career women are increasingly using their phones and the internet to access sexual services... "It is also evident that women purchase sexual services as part of a couple. The majority of the escorts interviewed see couples, stating they are booked for regular excitement and fun, or simply for a relationship treat. "In couples, some men appeared more nervous than their female partner." The study also revealed that in the past five years the number of male escorts has tripled from 5,246 in 2010 to 15,732 in 2015. While the number of female profiles has increased from 11,056 in 2010, compared to 28,614 now."

Singaporean dies in Bali trying to take a selfie - "According to Indonesian media reports, Mr Mohamed Aslam tried to take a selfie on a cliff at Sandi Bay Beach on Nusa Lembongan Island on Thursday (May 21). He lost his footing after he was hit by a wave"

Grad Student Deconstructs Take-Out Menu - "At approximately 2 a.m., Rosenblatt was finishing a particularly difficult course-pack reading on the impact of feminism, post-feminism, and current 'queer' theory on received notions of gender and sexual preference/identity. Realizing he hadn't eaten since lunch, the Ph.D candidate picked up the Burrito Bandito menu. Before he could decide on an order, he instinctively reduced the flyer to a set of shifting, mutable interpretations informed by the set of ideological biases—cultural, racial, economic, and political—that infect all ethnographic and commercial "histories.""

Morrissey: eating meat is the same as paedophilia - ""I see no difference between eating animals and paedophilia," he said. "They are both rape, violence, murder. If I'm introduced to anyone who eats beings, I walk away"... If you believe in the abattoir then you would support Auschwitz. There's no difference."

Poor work-life balance makes life in Singapore more expensive - "Saving money takes time. It often means doing your own cooking instead of eating out again, having the perseverance to take public transport instead of hailing a cab and having the patience to comparison shop...
one of my friends is really into photography and has a ton of gear. But he finds that the less time he spends on actually going out and taking pictures, the more he ends up amassing equipment procured online."

Hard to bear: pandas poorly adapted for digesting bamboo, scientists find - "two million years after shifting to a herbivore lifestyle, the giant panda still has carnivore-like gut bacteria, which is better at breaking down protein. The discovery could explain some of the animal’s more baffling traits, including spending almost every waking hour eating and its apparent indifference towards attempts at reproduction."

World’s First ‘Phodographer’ Dog Uses Heart Rate Monitor That Snaps Pics When He Gets Excited - "The heart rate monitor can be worn on a strap around the dog’s neck. The camera is worn on the dog’s chest with the help of a harness, and the two communicate with Bluetooth. When the dog’s heartrate goes up – which can be when he’s excited or afraid – the camera snaps a picture!"

The Muslim Call Girl Who’ll Marry You First - "To Kamillah, a London escort with 80,000 Twitter followers, nikah mut’ah is merely an optional extra available for less than $100... the $450-an-hour escort wears a veil or hijab in most of the photographs on her booking site, even when a nipple is squarely in the center of the frame. Thus, civilizations collide in 21st-century London. Among the reviews on the Trip Advisor-style site, a satisfied customer concludes: “Allahu Akbar! Had the best mutah experience everr”... The biggest concern for Kamillah, who says she is half-Iraqi, half-Iranian, was apparently the fear that Romanian and Eastern European call girls were muscling in on her turf by pretending to be Middle Eastern and offering the same ceremony. While there is a debate among Shia clerics about the permissibility of mut’ah, it is completely outlawed for Sunnis. Kamillah told The Sun: “I did it with one Saudi who converted to Shia Islam only so he could do mut’ah. He did it just for that reason."

Cambridge students urge university to stop making their exam results public - "Students who signed the petition are concerned that the public distribution of results ignores students’ welfare and right to privacy. They say the current practice “promotes a culture of grade shaming”, that those with mental health issues may not want to be included, and that it could “trigger an episode” in vulnerable individuals. The campaigners also say the system may harm “those who do not wish to be identified by the name the university has on record, particularly within the trans community”.

The Joys of Hiring in Singapore

""If you can confirm me the job, I will come down for interview. If not I don't wanna waste my time."

This is what I deal with. Daily.

And then they scratch their heads and wonder why "Foreigners are stealing our jerbs!"...

Ok to be fair not daily. But pretty much whenever a position opens. Every time I place an ad in the paper."

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Links - 1st March 2017

'Feminist' Snow-Plowing System Brings Stockholm to a Standstill - "A new system, suggested by progressive politicians in the Swedish city, tore up tried and tested snow plow routes and diverted them to areas said to be used more by women. But the inevitable consequence was that other spaces – like main roads – were clogged up for longer, and it became impossible to get around. Public transport failed, traffic piled up and injuries requiring a hospital visit reportedly spiked. The disaster struck despite a $270,000 increase in this year’s snow removal budget meant to help the new system succeed. The “gender equal” strategy came in last year after politicians in the Swedish Green Party argued that the old way of clearing major roads in central areas favours men, who are more likely to work in the city, and get there by car... Indeed, almost a week later buses are still struggling to run, and some 1,700 public transport passengers are planning to sue. Progressive politicians have gone on the defensive, with the MP who suggested it claiming that the snow plows hadn’t executed the “gender-equal” plan properly. Despite efforts to defend it, the plan has become a laughing stock. Even liberal publications like Stockholm’s Dagens Nyheter published this mocking listicle of “9 alternatives to feminist snow removal”, including Satanic snow removal (“melt the snow with burning crosses”) and Neoliberal snow removal (“the invisible hand of the market will move it”)."

ChangeDetection - Know when any web page changes - "ChangeDetection.com provides page change monitoring and notification services to internet users worldwide. Anyone can use our service to monitor any website page for changes. Just fill in the form below, we will create a change log for the page and alert you by email when we detect a change in the page text. We've been doing it since 1999. It's free"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Harriet Martineau - "[On Malthus] Sexual restraint and delayed marriage is the answer to that problem... he certainly does not support birth control and neither does Martineau... the attraction for Martineau is it's another one fo those fixed laws governing the universe that has been revealed by Malthus's enquiry. And she seizes on it with alacrity, really. But the problem with it of course is that it appears to punish the poor for their poverty. Where Malthus sees himself as benevolent and Martineau sees herself as benevolent, to her critics, this is denying the poor man the blessing of a family life and it flies in the face of Biblical injunction, you know God's message to Noah to go forth and multiply and replenish the earth, so it flies in the face of that...
This idea of slavery as deforming... not just the character but deforming the character of the person tyranising over the slave"

Tataouine, town in Tunisia that inspired Star Wars, becomes Isis waypoint – reports - "The town’s name inspired George Lucas for the name of Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine, and die-hard fans often make pilgrimages to the sets elsewhere in the country. But the town has reportedly become increasingly unsafe, as it is a waypoint for Isis fighters travelling to and from training bases in Libya, 60 miles to the east"
Tataouine is not a planet on the Outer Rim

Germany's Phantom Serial Killer: A DNA Blunder - TIME - "The murderer dubbed the Phantom of Heilbronn had been baffling German investigators for two years. The criminal was a rarity, a female serial killer, and a very busy one: police had linked DNA evidence from 40 crimes — including the infamous homicide of a policewoman in the southern German town of Heilbronn — to the same woman... This raised suspicions that the DNA found at all the Phantom's crime scenes might be traced to a single innocent factory worker, probably employed to package the swabs...Stefan König of the Berlin Association of Lawyers says the case of the phantom Phantom illustrates the risks of basing an investigation solely on DNA evidence. "DNA analysis is a perfect tool for identifying traces," he says. "What we need to avoid is the assumption that the producer of the traces is automatically the culprit. Judges tend to be so blinded by the shiny, seemingly perfect evidence of DNA traces that they sometimes ignore the whole picture. DNA evidence on a crime scene says nothing about how it got there. There is good reason for not permitting convictions on the basis of DNA circumstantial evidence alone.""

The Independent - Man convicted of rape for taking off condom during sex - "The landmark decision by the Criminal Court in Lausanne, Switzerland, determined that having sex without a condom constituted rape if the use of one was expected."
Comments: "Every time a woman says she's on the pill but not, every time a woman says she's on a safe day, every time she says she's "clean" should be met with the same treatment if it can be proven."
"the guy told the girl that his .. is big and she agreed . They went on and started having sex, the she realised he has a micro ... is this a rape too?"


The Difference Between Bluetooth 3.0, 4.0, 4.1, & 4.2 Explained

Doctors admonish us to leave earwax alone. Why won’t anyone listen? - “When you put it on the inside of your ear and move it around, it feels nice, it becomes a sensual thing. You become like a drug addict, a cigarette smoker”

Swiss town denies passport to vegan anti-cowbell campaigner 'for being annoying' - "In Switzerland, local residents have a say in a person’s passport application. Ms Holten’s first attempt at naturalisation was made in 2015, when she was approved by local authorities but rejected by 144 out of 206 residents in a vote... Tanja Suter, the president of the local Swiss People’s Party, claimed Ms Holten has a “big mouth” and residents had not wanted to give her the gift of citizenship “if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions”."

Muslim girls must swim with boys in Switzerland, European court rules after parents refuse classes - "A panel of seven judges found that freedom of religion had been “interfered with” but that the move was legitimised by the aim of “social integration”... the move was legitimate as it was “seeking to protect foreign pupils from any form of social exclusion”. “The Court observed that school played a special role in the process of social integration, and one that was all the more decisive where pupils of foreign origin were concerned,” a statement said. “The children’s interest in a full education, thus facilitating their successful social integration according to local customs and mores, prevailed over the parents’ wish to have their children exempted from mixed swimming lessons”... the claimants had refused offers by local authorities for their daughters to wear “burkinis” for the lessons and ensure they changed with no boys present... Germany's highest court made a similar ruling in December"

Switzerland: Muslim students must shake teacher's hand - "A controversial exemption from the tradition had been granted for two teenage brothers whose interpretation of the Koran meant they were unwilling to touch a member of the opposite sex... Some Swiss Muslim groups said there was no religious justification for refusing to shake a female teacher's hand and urged the Swiss not to give in to extremist demands. But one Islamic organisation said a handshake between men and women was prohibited. The family's citizenship process was halted and the migration office in Basel said it was seeking more information about the circumstances under which the boys' father's asylum request was approved... The boys told Swiss media (in German) that "nobody could make them" shake hands with a woman, and that they "could not just delete their culture as if it were a hard drive"."

The Battle Of Marignano: The Reason For (Almost) 500 Years Of Swiss Neutrality - "[There was] an immediate peace with the French with long-term implications. The treaty had an “Eternal Peace” clause saying that neither France nor Switzerland would ever fight the other, and they would never ally with the other’s enemies"

Why I decided to give up my life in London and become a goat in Switzerland - "'Also the goats didn't seem to like me very much, sometimes I thought they were really going to try and attack me. And they have particularly dangerous horns. 'But I later realised that they were just letting me know there was a hierarchy, and I should know my place.' Thwaites said: 'The best moment was when one of the goats suddenly decided she was going to be my friend, and she just followed me everywhere... as he was not keen on meat he decided against becoming a dog. Thwaites said the idea of 'being an elephant had appealed' but then he realised they 'seem to have the same problems we do - they get sad, they get upset and they can even suffer from post-traumatic stress. That was exactly the sort of thing I was trying to get away from'... He applied for a university grant to study goat psychology... 'I could then strap this bag to my torso and spit chewed up grass into one opening and suck the cultured microbes and volatile fatty acids out another opening like a milkshake, so I can digest them in my true stomach and live off grass in the Alps like a goat,' he said. 'I learned something important, and that is that even goats have a hard life and need to fight for their existence. Every day was tough, and that is something that just is part of being alive."

People having sex with horses is on the rise in Switzerland

Swiss makes Muslims cross over billboard ads - "Alluding to its logo, taken from Switzerland’s national flag, the slogan says in German, “Kreuz ist Trumpf”, literally, the “cross is trumps”, or the “cross is a plus”. The words are used in a billboard campaign, launched within the country last month, that highlights the white cross on the back of one of its planes. Muslims in Switzerland have responded negatively to the advertising, which they believe promotes Christianity over other religions."

Hong Kong outrage over Chinese subtitle switch - "Hong Kong officials received more than 10,000 complaints in three days after a popular TV programme began subtitling output in the Chinese characters associated with mainland China. Hong Kong uses traditional Chinese script as opposed to the mainland's simplified characters. The broadcaster, TVB, defended the move, saying Hong Kong is an international city... violence erupted in the city's working-class neighbourhood of Mong Kok when authorities tried to clear illegal food hawkers, who are seen as an integral part of local culture."

Swiss railway launches special trains for Chinese tourists following complaints of rude behavior - "Inside these special trains, the toilets will reportedly be cleaned more often and signs will be posted "showing how to use them correctly.""

Sexual assistants - the stigma of helping disabled Swiss - "Arnould has been giving disabled people in Switzerland the right to a little tenderness and sexual attention. But for many, his work as a professional "sexual assistant" treads a thin line between a caring profession and prostitution... Sexual assistants can also be found in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark but in other countries, such as France, the job does not yet have a proper legal status. French disabled rights groups have repeatedly raised the issue in the last year, urging official recognition for sex assistants and, significantly, state funding for their services... Although prostitutes do receive disabled clients, sexual assistants are better viewed by "parents and heads of institutions", according to Diserens at the charity SEHP. The reason, she said, is that handicapped clients may need "more time and contact" than they get with prostitutes who can be rather "troubled" by certain disabilities. Using a recognised sexual assistant removes the awkwardness of the situation for both parties, and often for the family too, noted Arnould. "Is it acceptable that the mother of a young man with Downs syndrome has to help him masturbate every week?" he asked."

Why are female CEOs and senators disproportionately blond? Blame sexism. - "people are better able to stomach a female leader if they perceive her to be gentler, less demanding, and weaker-willed than her dark- or gray-haired peers—aligns with earlier research on black men in positions of power. A study published in 2009 found that black male Fortune 500 CEOs were more likely to have baby-faced traits (a round face, large forehead, and smaller nose) than their peer CEOs, while a previous study showed that white men are less likely to make it to top spots in business if they had those traits. Researchers posited that people felt more comfortable with a black man in charge if he had a “disarming,” “nonthreatening” appearance. White men seem to be the only ones who can’t look or act too threatening for their positions of power, probably because we’re used to seeing them there"

Blondes might actually be smarter than those with other hair colors - "Researchers looked at the IQs of 10,878 Americans and found that white women who claim that their natural hair color is blonde have an average IQ score that is slightly above the average IQ of brunettes, redheads and those with black hair"

Dying Hair Blonde Makes Women Feel Sexier, More Confident, Study Finds - "A Tresemmé survey of 3,000 women has found that three-quarters of women who dyed their hair blonde felt sexier and more glamorous afterward, the Daily Mail reports. The bottle blondes also enjoyed a boost in confidence and a "better outlook" on life, suggesting that it wasn't just their locks that were lightened. Going back to brown, however, appears to be less joyous. Four out of 10 natural brunettes confessed to regretting going back to their roots after dabbling with the light side."

Germans must ban ALCOHOL to prevent further sex attacks and help migrants integrate - "Germany needs to ban alcohol if it wants to prevent further sexual violence and to help North African migrants integrate into society, a Muslim pressure group has claimed. Commenting on the Cologne sex-attack controversy, MuslimStern, which has 20,000 followers on Facebook, said its mission was to 'highlight the way the media was using the incidents to promote racism against minorities'. The group complained that the female victims had brought the unwanted attention to themselves by dressing in a manner that North African men were not accustomed to... Cologne's Muslim preacher Imam Sami Abu-Yusuf, who blamed women wearing perfume for the fact they were assaulted over the New Year, went on to justify it by saying that alcohol had taken away the restrictions of 'men from North Africa'. He also added that the sex attackers were 'from North Africa', unlike Salafists like himself who are mostly from India and the Middle East"

Rapes By Migrants in German Swimming Pools are Surging, Police Quietly Admit - "German police have quietly conceded that the influx of Middle Eastern and African migrants into the country has led to a spike in grisly rapes at public swimming pools. Officers in the nation – under strain from some 1 million new arrivals welcomed in by Chancellor Angela Merkel – warned of the surge in a private briefing. But the message was leaked to German tabloid Bild"

Mocked for its laughable definition of 'sexual coercion,' university yanks policy from website - "If you told someone at Clark University last month that you’d have sex with someone else if they didn’t have sex with you, that person could initiate a sexual assault proceeding against you... The “sexual offenses policy,” last updated Oct. 3, still appears to allow students to bring complaints if their sex-deprived partners say they will get sex from someone else... The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says Clark’s allegedly outdated policy is far from alone among universities"

At the University of Oregon, no more free speech for professors on subjects such as race, religion, sexual orientation - "Now when you hear “harassment,” you might think of, say, targeted insults, or perhaps sexual extortion. But “harassment” has become a vastly broader term than that: Simply wearing a costume that offends people based on race is, according to the university, “harassment”... the university’s position makes clear that even isolated statements are punishable. Here, after all, there was one professor wearing one costume. Yet because that led other people to criticize (or defend) the costume, the professor’s one-time speech was labeled “harassment” and treated as being punishable."

You can be fined for not calling people ‘ze’ or ‘hir,’ if that’s the pronoun they demand that you use - "So people can basically force us — on pain of massive legal liability — to say what they want us to say, whether or not we want to endorse the political message associated with that term, and whether or not we think it’s a lie... We can’t be required to even display a license plate that says “Live Free or Die” on our car, if we object to the message; that’s what the court held in Wooley v. Maynard (1978). But New York is requiring people to actually say words that convey a message of approval of the view that gender is a matter of self-perception rather than anatomy, and that, as to “ze,” were deliberately created to convey that a message... what if some people insist that their title is “Milord,” or “Your Holiness”?"
Breitbart covered this story and lots of people were dismissing it. But Eugene Volokh is not so easily ignored

"Why should you presume to tell me how my country should run?"

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