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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Links - 24th June 2017 (2)

'Disgusting' and 'extraordinary' scenes as Chinese delegation shouts down welcome ceremony - "Participants at an intergovernmental meeting hosted by Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop in Perth have described "disgusting" and "extraordinary" scenes as the Chinese government delegation shouted over the welcome to country ceremony and forced the suspension of proceedings. A Taiwanese delegation was later ejected from the Kimberley Process meeting at the behest of the Chinese delegates who objected to their attendance... another session later in the morning involving a panel discussion with executives from mining companies was abandoned altogether because of continual interruptions by various African delegations in support of the Chinese position."
China's peaceful rise

Hospital administrators allegedly warn junior doctors that they are replaceable with 3rd world country doctors who are willing to work for $3K per month

YMI | My Heart-breaking Relationship with A Non-Christian - "In our first two months together, Alex and I got along really well. But whenever I brought up the topic of being “unequally yoked” and the need for him to convert, he would look extremely hurt and ask me not to talk about it again. There were moments when I wondered if we could just get married even if he didn’t become a Christian, but the Holy Spirit kept reminding me that believers should not be yoked with unbelievers. I told myself that if we were ever to get married, Alex had to become a Christian first. So I prayed for him every day and even fasted over him periodically."
The moral of the story - if you keep trying to force your partner to convert to your religion, your relationship will fail

Radio play with ‘ludicrous accents’ being re-recorded following online protests - "Singapore’s first Youth Poet Ambassador and Young Artist Award Recipient 2016, Pooja Nansi, posted about the reading on Facebook Tuesday evening (March 21), questioning the “ludicrous accents” of the voice actors, who play Singaporean Indian characters. One glaring example is the voice actor playing the protagonist’s mother, speaking in an accent that could be a far-fetched imitation of someone from Chennai, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, but the character is Singaporean Punjabi... during the recording session, he asked actors - who are Singaporean - to amp up the ethnic accents"
If the actors had spoken naturally and sounded like Singaporean Chinese, people would be protesting too

Give priority, not exclusive privilege, to people with disabilities - "in crowded places, it is common to see a long queue especially for female toilets while the accessible toilet remains empty, despite the six-to-one ratio. So what makes people with disabilities unable to wait for the toilet? Take, for example, the designated areas in buses and trains for wheelchair users. When a bus or train is packed, should not this designated area be occupied by the crowd, rather than be kept unoccupied for exclusive use by wheelchair users despite the demand for space?"

The Transformative Fungus That Powers Japanese Cuisine - "Koji is something of a celebrity in Japan, where fans can buy koji cell phone charms, read koji-focused manga, and celebrate the microbe on October 12, a.k.a. National Fungus Day. But, although it was the subject of the first biotech patent ever granted in the U.S., in 1894, it has not caught on outside of Asian cuisine. Until now"

Tabitha Leah Ritchie: Canadian arrested smuggling cocaine in fake baby bump - "28-year-old Tabitha Leah Ritchie was stopped while trying to board an Air Canada flight in Bogota after an inspector noted that her belly was unusually cold and hard. He says police discovered a false belly made of latex taped to her body and they found 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of cocaine"

Stop Preordering Video Games - "By getting your commitment to purchase a game in advance, when all you’ve got to go on is a marketing campaign, you’re signaling that you’re totally cool spending $40-$60 on a game simply on the strength of how it’s been marketed. Time was, you could download a demo of a game and try it out at home. Why have demos more or less ceased to exist? Preorders are why. Want to know why exclusive missions and items are withheld from everyone’s game and are instead sprinkled across various competing retailers? Preorders are why. Want to know why it’s now accepted that you can sometimes pay more for a multiplayer game and start with a competitive advantage? Preorders are why."

Couple gets caught having sex in park - but the judge’s punishment shocks the whole court - "For 21 years, this charismatic judge has practiced something he calls "creative justice," where he gives unexpected but fitting punishments to those found guilty... A man insulted police and called them "pigs." As a punishment, he had to stand on a street corner with a 350-pund pig (170 kg) and hold with a sign saying "This is not a police officer.""

The Golden Ratio: Design’s Biggest Myth - "The golden ratio’s aesthetic bona fides are an urban legend, a myth, a design unicorn. Many designers don’t use it, and if they do, they vastly discount its importance. There’s also no science to really back it up. Those who believe the golden ratio is the hidden math behind beauty are falling for a 150-year-old scam."

Saudi Man Sentenced to Death After Declaring Himself an Atheist in Online Video

Patient dies after 54 years in same Airdrie hospital - "He only ever learned how to say three words again - his three loves - 'home', 'pub' and 'horses'. "We often took him on holidays in Britain and the hospital knew how much he loved the pub so they would even take him there now and again.""

Cyberbullying of Teachers - "Children as young as seven are posting abusive and damaging comments about their teachers on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to new research. Even worse, some of the children's parents are adding their comments to what constitutes a serious escalation in the cyber-bullying of educators. The British teaching union NASUWT conducted a survey of more than 7,500 teachers. It found that almost half of teachers had reported abuse to the school, police or the website on which the insults were posted. Other figures show that more than 20 per cent of teachers felt they had been cyber-bullied in the past year. Three per cent of the comments were from under-elevens."

Child refugees in Turkey making clothes for UK shops - "Marks and Spencer says its inspections have not found a single Syrian refugee working in its supply chain in Turkey. But Panorama found seven Syrians working in one of the British retailer's main factories. The refugees often earned little more than a pound an hour - well below the Turkish minimum wage. They were employed through a middleman who paid them in cash on the street."
Outsourcing!

'Heist of the century': Brazilian gang hits security vault and police HQ in Paraguay - "Brazilian gangsters have taken armed robbery to a lethal new level with a cross-border attack on a Paraguayan security vault and police headquarters using automatic rifles, dynamite and anti-aircraft guns in what local media have described as “the heist of the century”."

PARIS IS BURNING: Anti-Fascist Protesters Against Election Result Turn Violent, 29 Detained - "Following the announcement of the results, a large number of anti-fascists demonstrators went to the streets at the historic Place de la Bastille protesting the results. The protest quickly turned violent as the Antifa groups started hurling glass bottles and firecrackers and setting cars on fire. AFP reported that at least five vehicles were set ablaze... “We have come here to protest against the pantomime of this election,” one protester told AFP. According to The Telegraph, shortly after the results were announced, protesters arrived to the square waving red flags shouting “No Marine and No Macron” among other chants. Another 300 protesters gathered at Place de la Republique to protest the results."
"Anti-fascism" seems to be anti-democracy. As someone commented, ANTIFA = Anti-Freedom Alliance

Europe's youth don't care to vote—but they're ready to join a mass revolt - "Around 580,000 respondents in 35 countries were asked the question: Would you actively participate in large-scale uprising against the generation in power if it happened in the next days or months? More than half of 18- to 34-year-olds said yes."

Fyre Festival, Ivanka Trump, and other gratuitous misuses of philosophy - "Taking a clutch of quotes from Nietzsche, Stoics, and Utilitarians and using them to support an argument might sound nice, but “there’s no real regard to how totally inconsistent those three ways of thinking are"

Wikipedia's Jewish Problem: Pervasive, Systemic Antisemitism - "Israel-related articles almost uniformly emphasize the Palestinian and Arab narrative while marginalizing the Jewish one. Rudimentary facts about Israel’s history: including Palestinian massacres on Jewish civilians, Arab intransigence being a primary factor in the conflict’s intractability, and even the Jewish people’s origins and indigeneity to the land of Israel are either downplayed or outright erased. On some articles, it fails to recognize Jews as an ethnic group in the Middle East, whereas others engage in casuistry in order to present anti-Israel opinion as incontestable fact"

DNC Vice Chair Threatens Anyone Who Dares Criticize Anti-Semitic Activist Linda Sarsour - "Criticism of her views has been declared Islamophobia by Elle magazine, and others on the left have chimed in to denounce her critics... As the Democratic Party continues to tie itself to extreme personalities like Linda Sarsour with a leadership hellbent steering it into the rocks, it’s no surprise that moderate liberals are bailing from the listing ship."

'Seductive' dress gets girl barred from chess tournament - "A 12-year-old girl was forced to withdraw from a chess championship for wearing a dress that was allegedly deemed "seductive" by the organisers of the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 on April 14 in Putrajaya... A photo of the girl's dress that was shared by Kaushal showed the girl wearing a short sleeved black and orange striped dress that stops just above her knees."

Equal blame in Minneapolis bike-car crashes - "The city found crashes usually happen when when one or both parties fail to yield the right of way, or otherwise ignore the rules of the road. Cyclists were to blame in about 60 percent of crashes, as were drivers, meaning oftentimes, both parties were at fault"
Of course cyclists will just dogmatically blame the drivers

The men who live as dogs: 'We're just the same as any person on the high street' - "While the pup community is a broad church, human pups tend to be male, gay, have an interest in dressing in leather, wear dog-like hoods, enjoy tactile interactions like stomach rubbing or ear tickling, play with toys, eat out of bowls and are often in a relationship with their human “handlers”."

Cities need to plan for sex in public parks - "Project Marie was a six-week operation by Toronto Police that used plainclothes officers to find people soliciting sex. Police filed 89 charges – only one of which was criminal in nature -- against 72 people, the vast majority of whom were men. While some neighbours have balked at the fact that men are cruising for sex in the park, Jen Roberton thinks that if a city's public parks are to be truly for all members of the public, then cities have to design their parks for all users — including the men who have sex with men (MSM)."
Apparently it's homophobia if you don't want people to have sex in the park

Belarusian president accidentally sparks international striptease - "Alexander Lukashenko was talking about the importance of technology to the national economy when he urged citizens “to get undressed and work till you sweat”. But citizens took the words of their authoritarian president literally, and started posting pictures of themselves naked at work, using laptops and other office equipment to protect their dignity."

West Point Cadets' Raised-Fists Photo Sparks Investigation - "West Point officials are now investigating whether the image violates academy rules that restrict political expression while in uniform. The raised fist, which has long been a symbol of unity for African Americans, is also associated with the Black Lives Matter movement... “I would not have re-tweeted the raised-fist photo because I am well aware that our culture views a black fist very differently from a white fist,” she said. “I knew it was their expression of pride and unity, but I am old enough to know that it would be interpreted negatively by many white observers. Unfortunately, in their youth and exuberance, it appears they didn’t stop to think that it might have any political context, or any meaning other than their own feeling of triumph.”"
Naturally they got cleared. If they'd been eating fried chicken would they have been accused of racism?

Victim Culture

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Victim Culture

Claire Fox: Although Rachel Dolezal is an extreme example, I think we're all familiar with the phenomena at the moment of people queuing up to declare their victim credentials.

It kind of gives you a certain credibility and authority to speak out and I think that that's incredibly damaging.

And I think there's an irony around Professor... Tim Hunt, it's this assumption that young women might be so fragile that they'd give up a career in science because an older scientist made a rather off sexist remark.

Sunder Katwala: No, I don't feel like a victim but I do worry about in this sort of type of identity politics where there's the idea that we can only talk about an identity that we hold. Actually if you're interested in racial inequality or class inequality or gender you actually need everybody's talk about those issues. So I think that this idea that if you don't have the sort of background then you can't speak about the issues actually does close down something that we should keep open.

Melanie Phillips: Well, there are genuine victims, there is genuine prejudice, but victim culture is something different. Victim culture is a means of playing the victim card to gain privileged treatment and shut down disobliging views. It is illiberal and totalitarian.

Mick Hume: Giving offence tends to be treated as if it were the worst offence of all...

We've stopped treating victims with compassion and started treating them with reverence and handing them some moral authority. And that moral authority is taken to decide who is allowed to say what, because if you say to somebody, "That's- I find that offensive", that's become an unanswerable argument for censorship...

The campaign for the right to speak out and have a voice, for free speech, was at the forefront of the campaign for equality and liberation for all.

We now have it reversed so that we're being told free speech is actually a dangerous thing and should be restricted to protect those people.

When Frederick Douglas who was an ex-slave in the 1860s in America had a meeting smashed up by slavery supporters, he didn't write a pamphlet called "A plea for less free speech in Boston", he wrote a pamphlet called "A plea for free speech in Boston" because he said the way to smash slavery was through free speech. And that was always understood as being what liberation was about, and now it's the opposite. Free speech is seen as the problem.

Claire Fox: Why would you imagine that somebody like Rachel Dolezal would want to be part of an oppressed group?...

There doesn't seem to be many examples of white people wanting to black up, as the phrase is, to be slaves, or to be denied equal rights in Apartheid South Africa or whatever. Why do you think there's an elevation of victimhood to make it something where people almost want to say, "Look, I've suffered this oppression, that oppression. Take notice of me"...

Is it a self-definition?... Somebody on their academic credentials page lists the eight hate crimes she was a victim of. Many of which have now been challenged. But that's almost like Thatchell (?) qualifications to be the person. Isn't that worrying? To show your scars...

Mark Cutter: We need to make sure that we don't see people as a victim automatically because of their characteristic. We have to ensure people really are the victims that we are talking about. Have people been the subject of discrimination? And I think we do have to also ask: have things been taken too far in another direction?...

Melanie Phillips: Do we begin the discussion because it's maybe that someone's feelings may be exaggerated or false, or they might be claiming victim status to shut down argument? I'm thinking for example of Muslims who object to the reproduction in public prints of cartoons of Mohammed which they consider to be offensive...

Matthew Parris: We have perhaps become, perhaps oversensitive and perhaps too ready to allow the victim to define what counts as offense.

I'd just like to make a practical rather than a philosophical point. I don't think it's good for a potentially victimised group to get sort of infantalised or stuck in a sense of being victims. It can stop their own development.

And I also have noticed that when groups do claim victimhood who we perhaps think don't need that sorts of protection any longer, it does begin to generate a huge amount of buried resentment amongst other people. And you won't hear it expressed on the BBC. And you probably won't read it on The Times, but it's there. And one has to beware, I think, of this buried resentment...

Jill Kirby: If we turn from Peter Tatchell to someone like Katie Hopkins, or what I call the Katie Hopkins school of journalism, which is to fairly relentlessly abuse those who others might see as victims or minorities and generally be unpleasant. I mean, do you think that there's much to be said for that kind of journalism? If for example she chose, let's say, to pick on gay people and describe them in unpleasant terms. Do you think there's room for that in public discourse?

Matthew Parris: There's room for that, we can take it. We wouldn't care what Katie Hopkins said about us.

But I think, you know, if you're a migrant in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean perhaps, perhaps you're not someone that someone should pick on. I hated what she said. On the other hand, what she said did reflect an underlying feeling that does exist in this country. That these people are not our problem.

Jill Kirby: But do you think, do you think it's a good idea to encourage, bring out into the open, ideas like that which, which you feel are genuinely unkind to genuine victims?

Matthew Parris: Sometimes, yes.

Jill Kirby: And you say Matthew that you don't feel you need protection anymore but isn't it important to bear in mind those in the minority which you, in a sense still occupy. That they might be struggling far more than you with their sexuality for example, and that actually gratuitous offence in the columns of newspapers makes life a bit harder for them in a way that you would sympathise with?

Matthew Parris: Yes, and name calling in playground makes life harder for them to. But I would rather encourage them to be positive and by example suggest to them that life is good, than encourage them to dwell on any feeling of hurt that they may have.

Jill Kirby: But you're not worried about the possibility that we kind of lower and coarsen public discourse by giving the Katie Hopkins school their head?

Matthew Parris: It's a matter for balance...

Michael Buerk: Are transsexuals particularly vulnerable or particularly sensitive?...

Melanie Phillips: You started life as a female. Would you take great offence if I were to refer to you as biologically female?...

Lang Montgomery (?) transsexual activist and ambassador for "Diversity Role Models":My personal view is that if you said I was biologically female I'd say, well,I was born female,but hormonally wise I'm male, legally I'm male.

Melanie Phillips: But there have been occasions as you well know where people such as Julie Bindel have been vilified by the trans community for saying stuff like 'Biology isn't destiny', 'someone who started life as a man remains a man', and she has been vilified, hounded, boycotted.

Now, why should transsexual people or anyone be protected against the giving of offence? What harm can it do to be offended? To offend somebody?

Lang Montgomery: Well I feel it's how things are put across. And also when we talk about biology actually, there have been many studies done that show that transgender people's brains are slightly different. So I find it, you know I'm not a scientist myself-

Melanie Phillips: But the question is why offence is considered to be so harmful. I am offended by a lot of people and a lot of things. But I don't consider myself harmed by it. I don't consider myself a victim of it. So why are there some groups for whom offence is so bad that these things are unsayable?

Lang Montgomery: Well I think it's more a case of when - there, again with articles in particular of journalism, that's a main area. Cos I do stuff with trans, and sort of trans representation and depiction. But within that, I feel it's actually down to how damaging certain things can be. You know, and in certain situations with some of the articles Julie Bindel has written - they've been very poisonous. They have been very vicious in attacking and singling out people that's come across as bullying. And she's been given a platform to do that. And when people have retaliated then suddenly there have been situations where there's a case of, well, you know...

Michael Buerk: A kind of effortless way for people to achieve a kind of moral superiority which I think was an argument put forward by Bertrand Russell once in a rather famous essay

Claire Fox: Indeed. I think it's remarkable isn't it that because McKeen (?) didn't show enough sympathy so if he had shown enough sympathy and spoke in a soft voice and shed a tear then apparently that would have passed muster. And that's in a way what we now have to do is we have to say we care about the victims...

What can't we say? Well let's ask Tim Hunt shall we? Or even let's ask that fantastic scientist who you know in the middle of landing the comet, you know the European. The next thing is you know treated like an absolute criminal because he's wearing a naff sexist shirt and is forced to cry on the television. Now I think that that is a climate, that is just some of the science examples. This is an example of I'm not even sure what the victim was. Are women such, you know so incapable of seeing somebody wearing the wrong shirt, hearing an you know off remark that that they will cry?...

Melanie Phillips: If the putative victim is entitled to define victimhood then were the Muslims right to insist that you couldn't publish the cartoons of Mohammed? But I also thought something he said was very interesting was that people have the right to be free from abuse. Now no one has the right to be free from abuse. I mean I'm a Jew and if I had the right to be free from abuse I would demand the, you know the censorship of half of the canon of English Literature. I mean it's a ridiculous argument. Why has anyone got the right to freedom from abuse? We have the right not to be harmed but how can abuse, how can giving offence harm?...

So called victims have become victimizers. Calling people phobes of one kind or another is a way of demonizing them and it is a form of bullying. The bullied have become the bullies...

Claire Fox: When he was campaigning for gay rights it was illegal. So it wasn't about campaigning to have lots of laws to protect. And I think that's the infantilizing. This is all about I want to be protected. I want my group to be protected. Well by whom? By the state, by rules, by laws. It is very different to say homosexuality's illegal and you campaign for that illegality to be lifted than to say oh well I as my particular victim group, I've heard this, I want somebody to go and arrest that person because they said something that upset me...

It is infantilizing if you feel that you hear, you know you read a Julie Burchill article and you say: everybody queue up. We've got to demand that article is taken off the newspaper website. If we read that article it's going to destroy us, we're going to be damaged. I mean that's childlike because part of the adult society is that you can cope with, listen to and hear some very objectionable things and argue back. And that's part of being a grown up. We actually tell our children this as part of helping them grow up: that sticks and stones can break their bones but words won't ever hurt then. But we appear to be overthrowing that as adults.

Links - 24th June 2017 (1)

Increased Body Mass Index Associated with Increased Risky Sexual Behaviors - "BMI was positively associated with number of sexual partners (P = .001) and history of attempted anal intercourse (P = .002). An inverse association was observed with age at first anal intercourse (P = .040). In this sample of adolescent women, increased BMI was associated with riskier sexual practices at a younger age"
Maybe this explains chubby chasers

One of the world’s wealthiest countries is also one of its biggest online pirates - "it’s generally true that users in lower income countries go to piracy sites more often. But there’s one glaring exception: Singapore."

Charity Accused of 'Body Shaming' for Highlighting Link Between Obesity and Cancer - "Cancer Research UK was accused of being “violent” towards fat people with its ad campaign aimed at encouraging people to be healthier... One activist complained to the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, demanding that he take the message down."

'Woke' Student Leader Sends Out Campus-Wide Farewell Letter Declaring 'All White People Are Racist' - "She describes herself as "a token for white supremacists," a claim she does not expand on... American universities only have themselves to blame for the widespread backlash they are experiencing from their "woke" students, who have been taught by those universities to view the world as permanent victims of an unjust system perpetuating and perpetuated by "conditioned" racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic bigots. It was inevitable that campus social justice warriors would eventually come to see the universities as just another part of that institutionalized injustice that must be torn down"

Few tech start-ups in Singapore have their own inventions: Study - "Few of the tech start-ups here have their own inventions, and they are mostly propped up by funding — including from the Government — because they are rarely profitable, the researchers found. They added that many tech start-ups here are of “lower risk, lower growth” calibre, and there are not enough deep-tech start-ups that, despite being riskier ventures, could reap greater rewards."

Hi, I’m REALLY mad right now at this stupid... - Eternal Spring Dream - "A certain artist (based in the Philippines might I add) recently made a J.CO (Indonesian donut restaurant chain) gijinka recently, and people accused them of whitewashing their gijinka because the character’s skin was too bright. I, as an Indonesian, am seriously offended. Not by the gijinka, but by the masses of people who are being offended ON MY BEHALF FOR THE WRONG REASONS. The most insulting thing about this whole situation is that this website fucking auto-assumes that all brightly colored characters have been whitewashed and that this is always a bad thing and racist because of how things are in the West... Racism in Indonesia is not always about about a white skinned race oppressing a darker skinned race. If anything, it’s more to do with Xenophobia and Religion.
Following up on that, here’s the shocker:
The DISCRIMINATED MINORITY in Indonesia has a lighter skin color than the PRIVILEGED MAJORITY...
THE ARTIST YOU’RE MAD AT IS A PoC FROM THE SAME REGION AS INDONESIA THEMSELVES, (the Philippines) AN ARTIST WHO HAD NO INTENTION OF WHITEWASHING. WHO JUST SAW REALLY NICE COLORS THAT WORKED AND THOUGHT IT WAS COOL. WHO KNOWS FULL WELL THE STRUGGLE SOUTHEAST ASIA HAS HAD AGAINST EUROPE IN THE COLONIAL PERIOD.
IT’S AS IF YOU’RE TRYING TO LECTURE A VICTIM ON WHY THEY SHOULD FEEL VICTIMIZED INSTEAD OF UNDERSTANDING OUR STORY.
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, TUMBLR."

Police: Brown County church organist admitted to November vandalism - "A Brown County church vandalized with Donald Trump graffiti shortly after the 2016 election wasn't targeted by pro-Trump political activists, but a member of their own congregation... Stang was the man who originally claimed to have found the graffiti, and works as the organist at St. David's Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom... when confronted with the evidence, the 26-year-old gay man confessed. Investigators say Stang admitted to painting the "Heil Trump" and "Fag Church" graffiti himself because he wanted to "mobilize a movement after being disappointed in and fearful of the outcome of the national election." He insisted his actions were not motivated by anti-Christian or anti-gay sentiments."... "He explained that one of the reasons he had done it was because of fear. He was concerned about the results of the election," Adams said. In a three-page, handwritten statement, Stang, according to court records, wanted to "mobilize a movement." "I suppose I wanted to give local people a reason to fight for good, even if it was a false flag," he wrote. "To be clear my actions were not motivated by hate for the church or its congregation. I of course realize now, this was NOT the way to go about inspiring activism.""
How come right wingers don't do false flags? Some say 4chan trolling like piss for equality is the right wing equivalent, but the fact that liberals fall for it and sincerely believe in the silly ideas is telling enough. Furthermore, there's a difference between faking hate crimes and being satirical (especially if others actually buy in to the idiocy, which exposes the vacuity of the general mindset)

The Movie Date That Solidified J.R.R. Tolkien's Dislike of Walt Disney - "In a number of letters dated after his Snow White date with Lewis, Tolkien refers to Disney’s works as “vulgar.” Tolkien also believed that fairy tales had become hopelessly infantilized, noting in his 1947 essay On Fairy-Stories that “the association of children and fairy-stories is an accident of our domestic history.” Years later, in a 1964 letter to a Miss J.L. Curry at Stanford University, likely spurred on by the controversy surrounding Disney’s treatment of Mary Poppins, Tolkien further laid bare his true feelings on Disney’s work. He described Disney’s talent as “hopelessly corrupted,” writing, “Though in most of the ‘pictures’ proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them is to me disgusting. Some have given me nausea…” He goes on to call Disney a “cheat,” noting that while he too had a profit motive behind his work, he wouldn’t stoop to working with Disney."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Political Distractions - "When I was a little kid every Saturday afternoon Ethiopian television had a program showing highlights of the English League... Once there were protests so the government broadcast whole football matches on normal television to distract people...
[On Kyrgystan] The flag binds people together. It stops ethnic conflict"

The place where children can be very unlucky with their names - "His name is Mulangani. It's a Nguni word meaning "punish me". Or "he who must be punished", if you want to get formal. Who, I asked my driver Mavuto, would give their child such a horrible name? "Maybe his grandfather, maybe the chief," he shrugged, explaining that across Zambia and neighbouring Zimbabwe, it is common for parents, especially in rural areas, to invite community elders to choose the name of a newborn. "Sometimes the chief wants to punish the family," says Mavuto. "Or he may think this new child is too much for the family to bear." Watching the boy's Sisyphean progress towards his distant home, that name suddenly seems disturbingly apt, but he's not the only one cursed with a dismal name. In later days, I meet Chilumba - "my brother's grave", Balaudye - "I will be eaten", Soca - "bad luck" and Chakufwa - "it is dead"."

CHINA VEIL BAN: Beijing outlaws Islamic veil and beards in Muslim province - "The new restrictions in the far western region of Xinjiang include a range of measures including outlawing religious marriage ceremonies and "using the name of Halal to meddle in the secular life of others”... A number of bans on select "extremist behaviours" had previously been introduced in some places in Xinjiang, including stopping people with head scarves, veils and long beards from boarding buses in at least one city... While Uighurs have traditionally practiced a more relaxed form of Islam, the popularity of veils for women in particular has grown in recent years in what experts say is an expression of opposition to Chinese controls."
Maybe the popularity of veils for women in Malaysia has grown in recent years in an expression of opposition to UMNO controls

Index of ftp://ftp.aztech.com/support/SINGAPORE/HomePlug/
Aztech Homeplug FTP server (for downloading firmware, software, manuals etc)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Tumbling Down - "[On a foreign company acting like a government in the Dominican Republic] Given the choice of being run by the Dominican Government or the Grenada Company, he tells me he'd pick the Americans anyday. I was the first child to be born in Manzanillo's hospital... We love the Americans. Electricity was free, water was free, rent was free. And then in 1965 the company left. Ramon describes how labourers from outside the town agitated for workers' rights and independence from the foreigners. Strikes left more than a million racines - bushels of bananas - to rot in warehouses. Everyone expected the company to come back, but it never did...
[On Ireland] A friend's family sold prams on one side of the bar and ran an undertaking business on the other. 'From the cradle to the grave' was the shop's proud slogan... [It] had the highest pub to people ratio in the country: 72 licensed premises in and around the town for a population of only 2,000. Or one bar for every 28 people
The perfect is the enemy of the good. "Imperialism" isn't always bad and native rule isn't always good

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, In Search of Happiness - "[On the UAE] When their friend was approached by men from the ministry about business and footfall in the marble-floored shopping mall... he explained things weren't so good. Takings down in his shop, rent's high. Afterwards the businessman received a fine for not projecting the right image. Basically for not being quite happy enough...
As soon as a girl is born Uzbek families begin collecting jewelry, money and precious fabrics. All of it is carefully squirreled away into a glittery wedding trunk to be used as a dowry or for future heirlooms."

Kerry Parnell: New fashion trend of going commando on red carpet is offensive - "In truth, I despair of my fellow females. Why is this not seen as offensive? It offends me. And it’s hypocritical: Imagine if men started playing rock-the-cock in their tuxedos at awards shows. They’d be arrested for indecent exposure... The lack of taste is one thing, but without getting too gynaecological (look away gentlemen), it’s just not very hygienic. I wouldn’t want to plonk myself down on a pleather banquette after some knickerless wonder had sat there all evening"

Bombay Sapphire gin recalled across Canada for containing too much alcohol - "The Liquor Control Board Of Ontario was the first to issue a recall after its internal quality assurance team discovered that some bottles of Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin had not been properly diluted, resulting in an alcohol content of 77 per cent, not 40 per cent as listed on the bottle."

A Sandwich Shop Posted a Sign That Said ‘Liam Neeson Eats Here For Free,’ and Guess Who Showed Up?

Map shows world's most racist countries (and the answers may surprise you) - "the study of 80 countries over three decades found Western countries were most accepting of other cultures with Britain, the U.S., Canada and Australia more tolerant than anywhere else... The country with the highest proportion of 'intolerant' people who wanted neighbours similar to them was Jordan, where 51.4 per cent of the population would refuse to live next to someone of a different race. Next was India with 43.5 per cent. Racist views are strikingly rare in the U.S., according to the survey, which claims that only 3.8 per cent of residents are reluctant to have a neighbour of another race... fewer than one in 20 people in most South American countries admitted harbouring prejudice against other races."

B.C. school’s decision to not celebrate Mother’s, Father’s day in class sparks debate - “In an effort to celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and also to nurture our students who are part of non-traditional families, we have decided to encourage those celebrations to take place at home. Due to this, the children will not be making gifts at school to make on Mother’s and Father’s day. We feel each family knows the best way to celebrate with their own family.”
This is like being upset when someone else is eating a donut because you're on a diet. Or thinking gay marriage will affect heterosexual marriage

The Sandwich Alignment Chart (cue John Hodgman's exploding head!)

Hillary Clinton lost because Obama voters went to Donald Trump - "Many Democrats have a shorthand explanation for Clinton’s defeat: Her base didn’t turn out, Donald Trump’s did and the difference was too much to overcome. But new information shows that Clinton had a much bigger problem with voters who had supported President Barack Obama in 2012 but backed Trump four years later. Those Obama-Trump voters, in fact, effectively accounted for more than two-thirds of the reason Clinton lost, according to Matt Canter, a senior vice president of the Democratic political firm Global Strategy Group. In his group’s analysis, about 70 percent of Clinton’s failure to reach Obama’s vote total in 2012 was because she lost these voters... His firm’s conclusion is shared broadly by other Democrats who have examined the data, including senior members of Clinton’s campaign and officials at the Democratic data and analytics firm Catalist. (The New York Times, doing its own analysis, reached a similar conclusion.)... Belief that turnout was the main reason Clinton lost, however, remains a prominent theory among Democrats... some Democrats think winning over voters is already a lost cause. “There’s still a real concern that persuasion is harder and costs more than mobilization, so let’s just triple down on getting out the people who already agree with us,” she said. “And I think there’s a lot of worry that we don’t actually know how to persuade anymore, and so maybe we should just go talk to the people we agree with.”"
The liberal echo chamber and demonisation of people they disagree with has electoral implications

Friday, June 23, 2017

Victimless Crime

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Victimless Crime

"'So it's not your position that prostitution as such constitutes an act of violence against women by men'

'I believe it can be classed as being on a continuum of gender based violence, on a continuum of male violence against women because I believe it is a symptom of a patriarchal and unequal society and it follows the fractures of inequality in society along the lines of sex but also class and race'

'But what's your moral justification for wanting to criminalize something where two people perform an act consensually'

'This is not a moral stance. You know my stance is a political stance as I said. Because I believe society is affected by an institution where women are objectified. I think that's dangerous for all of us'

'This being the Moral Maze could you help us there by expressing it in moral terms? What your moral basis for interfering in consensual activity?'

'Well I think we should trouble this notion of consent and choice in a society that is scarred by the masculinization of power and wealth. For example where people find themselves in a context of very very limited options. And I also think that choice doesn't make everything unquestionable'...

'I would like to see lap dancing clubs banned. I don't welcome their move into the High Street. I don't welcome their mainstreaming in society. I don't want to walk down this high street and see women for sale, commodified as goods.'...

'What about women who objectify themselves?'...

'I have a mantra that I'm not going to blame women for playing the game when they never wrote the rules. We live in a society increasingly influenced by the pornography industry. Women are told quite clearly that the most important thing they can do is be sexually attractive and desirable to the opposite sex and told how they have to do that and then they're blamed when they do it.'

'And you really think that in society fifty percent of society - let's say men - wrote the rules and that women have nothing to do with the rules?'

'That's the history of patriarchy, yes'...

'We've also banned homosexuality historically and that many countries still do use the law for that reason. This ambivalence now about perfectly consensual sadomasochistic practices that some people find utterly morally repugnant and then use the law to close down. I'm asking you don't you have nervousness about that kind of moral boundary setting?'

'It is right to have nervousness and cautiousness around giving more power to a state that is inherently capitalist and patriarchal but we have an opportunity here to use the law for good. Not to maintain the status quo like the laws around homosexuality that you are talking about but using the law to challenge and change the status quo and that's what I am interested in'

'But that is an irony isn't it? That you are on the one hand saying that by its very nature women are absolutely victims of, whether they like it or not as you say written by men, rules written by men. But you're perfectly happy to use the male state to actually in the most authoritarian dangerous police state way to ban anything you particularly don't like because you think it might help women. Might you not be the person who is actually following the dictates of the patriarchal state?'

'I live in the real world and until the revolution I want the law to make positive changes for women. I don't want women to be commodified as goods for sale. That's the basic 101'

'That's an interesting point. You want the law to make, you know to free women. But does that not undermine the sense of women taking control of their own lives? In fact the whole way you describe women is as though they determined by these objective forces that destroys women's moral autonomy, the very thing which we are fighting for'

'It's not feminists that have victimized women or turned women into victims. It is those people that chose to buy and sell women that choose to rape and harm women that turn women into victims. I would prefer the term resistance. We are all patriarchy resistors and we have to negotiate our way through a sexist society every day' [Ed: As summarised later, she doesn't think women have any moral agency at all]...

'England before nineteen fourteen was not a notably chaotic place. Yet until nineteen fourteen, until nineteen twenty you could wander into a gun shop without producing any identification, you can buy many guns as you liked. You could wander into a pharmacy, you could buy heroin, you could buy cannabis, you could buy cocaine. Yet in the absence of all the authoritarian laws under which we now live England was not, so far as I can tell, a notably chaotic place'...

'It isn't victimless'

'There's lots of non crimes that have victims too. I don't think everything should be, there's a lot of things that you will do in everyday life that will make someone suffer... if you have an affair somebody's going to get hurt. Lots of victims there. Children. I do not think we should make it against the law to have an affair even though I might morally disapprove'


Feminists are only "pro-choice" when it comes to abortion.

Everything is Racism

Melissa Chen - Move out = White flight = Racism Move in =...

"Move out = White flight = Racism

Move in = Gentrification = Racism

Don't partake in culture = Non-inclusive = Racism

Partakes in culture = Appropriation = Racism

See color = Racist

Color-blind = Racist

I see a theme here...."


Basically white people are evil

Links - 23rd June 2017 (2)

BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Islamists: Islam, People and Power Boxset - "When I was very young, the video tapes that we were seeing, the songs that we were listening to, it's very clear in the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood that the ultimate goal of the Muslim Brotherhood or of us as Muslims is to re-establish the Islamic rule or Caliphate somehow...
'One year after the Revolution, I discovered that the existing leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood were concentrating on power and political scene more than the education or the people to understand Islam or satisfying their needs. They became like another politician'
Kamal Helbawy was the longtime spokesperson for the Brotherhood in the West...
'I do not think the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood *something* Islam is the Solution is a valid one. I believe that Islam can be a source of morality within politics. I believe that any solution that is accepted by Islam can be a solution and any solution actually that is accepted by the majority of people for me would be an Islamic solution'
Is a state guided by Islamic principles really a secular state?

BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Sunni Traditionalists: Islam, People and Power Boxset - "There were many voices who came and said do not join the revolution. But there are many verses in Koran and prophetic traditions that speak about if a ruler or a president is oppressive, the system is corrupted, you shouldn't be silent about it...
[On Al-Azhar] 'We don't have what is called an Islamic State in Islam'
'That's right. This top Islamic scholar does not believe in an Islamic State'
'We here in Al-Azhar don't recognise the religious state. The ruling systems are that of the civil authority kind. It's a contractual relationship which is different in different places and times. So there is no specific set system'...
'Islamic scripture does not specify a single model of governance. There are basic tenets such as Justice, Equality and adhering to Islamic Principles'...
The companions of the Prophet (PBUH) asked: what should we do with those who are unjust? So they say: should we confront them with swords? The Prophet said no. As long as they establish prayer among you, if you find something hateful from them, you should hate their actions but not withdraw your hand from obedience. Why did the Prophet say no to confronting them with weapons? This will lead to chaos and justice won't be served. And it is likely that the ruler wouldn't leave. It is better to leave it and let it takes its course either by allowing the leader to reach the end of his serving term or the wait till his death

BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Salafis: Islam, People and Power Boxset - "The stance of the Saudi establishment gets a little confusing. On the one hand, they promote a doctrine that says that rising up against the rulers is forbidden. On the hand hand, the Saudi government has given its backing to armed groups trying to depose the Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Reflections: Islam, People and Power Boxset - "The Arab uprisings were essentially a revolution or uprising against not only the political elites but also the religious elites"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Cutting Through - "[On Le Pen being an Islamophobe] In the Suez War he won plaudits from the Egyptian population because he was the only French officer who took time to bury their dead according to Islamic rites

The attack on Pearl Harbor and physics through the ages | Podcast | History Extra - "Churchill in London was hugely relieved as well. He was at dinner when he heard about Pearl Harbor, and he was very despondent when he heard how the war was going, but when he heard the news, he spent the rest of the night dictating telegrams and saying to himself well we've won now. It's still going to be a long hard road but we cannot lose with the industrial muscle of the United States on our side...
It had interesting effects in places like Hollywood... [On Mrs. Miniver] they weren't able to make the film they wanted because they had to stay neutral. MGM had big box office profits in Germany and they had to make a film that didn't offend the Germans. Once Pearl Harbor had happened and America was in on the side of the Allies, they were able to rewrite the script and make the film they wanted to make...
Hitler was exactly like Churchill... when the news of Pearl Harbor was brought to him, and he was absolutely delighted, the same as Churchill... Hitler ran across the compound in the cold without his coat on to tell Field Marshal Keitel and Yodel what had happened. One of those things he said was that Japan had never lost a war in 3,000 years and that was gonna be good for the Germans."

Corner shops and Russian ballet | Podcast | History Extra - "It's kind of like that unsung hero of British life, which is why I wanted to shine a lens on it...
There was an attempt for political reasons to create ballets that broadcast, communicated certain ideological principles. And to make sure that these works were understood, audiences, including workers, farmers, people from the streets, were brought in, bused in to the Bolshoi and they were given questionnaires to fill out to see whether or not they understood the plot, whether or not they understood the gestures, whether or not the folkish dancers were folkish enough and so on and so forth and these commentaries, these answers that the regular person provided on these questionaires, often in very simple language, often in crayons and pencils ended up actually informing the rehearsals and the development of some of the great ballets. And one of them was by Shostakovich called the Bright Stream. It was a ballet about life on the collective farm...
the initial rehearsals were one that were very much catered to the masses...
The title was changed to the Red Flower to satisfy protests of Chinese Communists who actually thought calling the ballet the Red Poppy and drawing attention to the opium trade in China was an insult but then after the Cultural Revolution and the fraying of relationships between the Soviet Union and China, the original title was restored for this ballet"
Maybe the Singaporean use of unsung heroes to describe everyday people is inherited from the Brits

The birth of Eurasia | Podcast | History Extra - "History is the interaction of human agency with environment... I was accused of being a Marxist when I said that"

Historical fiction and a US murder scandal | Podcast | History Extra - "If you're a historian, you have to accept that everybody that you care about, everybody that you know about, everybody that you spent years working on is dead, and most of them have been dead for 500 years. So in a sense there are no happy endings in history because everybody is dead"

A history of Istanbul | Podcast | History Extra - "Theodora... was an erotic dancer, a gymnast... One of her most famous acts was to re-enact the story of Leda and the Swan... Young Theodora used to re-enact this, and we're told she used to do this with a grain and a goose...
The Virgin Mary is very important to Islamic Faith. She turns up more in the Quran than in the New Testament... Even if you go to Istanbul today there'll be very traditionally religious Muslim families who might well have an icon of Mary...
[On 1924] All these continuities that have been running for centuries stop at that time and then in the 1930s what happens is that the post office refuses to deliver any mail addressed to Constantinople. It has to be called Istanbul so I just thought at that moment both in practical terms and in psychological terms is the moment where things do change"

The wartime SAS and Hitler’s drug addiction | Podcast | History Extra - "'Even children were taking sort of heroin in cough syrup at this time to help them sleep'
'We have to understand that drugs are a concept that society makes up'...
[On the Nazi army being awake for 17 days and nights] The Blitzkreig strategy, they were awake quite a long time... [it's] tied in with the ability to use a chemically produced, very potent drug in order to combat the enemy number 1 of the soldier, and that is always sleep and fatigue. And the French for example, they relied on a very different drug. They relied namely on red wine. In the First World War there was this myth that red wine saved the French nation because they drank it and it lifted their spirits... every French soldier received 3/4 of a litre per day in combat... makes you drowsy in the evening...
By late 1944, he was a Class A drug addict. Which is very at odds with the symbol of German purity that he was made out to be: teetotaler, he didn't drink coffee... Hitler's eardrums were blown from the bomb attack, he was actually quite severely injured... Hitler demanded the cocaine also to boost his mood and to be able to not fall into the deepest paranoia and depression but to be able to kind of keep his spirits up"

The history of puzzles and Lady Anne Barnard | Podcast | History Extra - "Probability was first invented in the 17th century by Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, both French mathematicians who were asked by this gambler, the Chevalier de Mere to try and work out how he could win at a dice game"

The roots of modern rage | Podcast | History Extra - "[On Napoleon] People start thinking about this whole question in terms of East vs West... there was, once upon a time, a West from which Germany was excluded. From which Germans felt themselves excluded. A West by which they felt humiliated. So if you want to look at the experiences of the Russians or the Indians or the Chinese today, let's go back to the first people who felt excluded from modernity... I don't find the charge of Eurocentrism that offensive. I mean my argument is that we've actually not been Eurocentric enough, that we have not explored enough the way in which Eurocentricism pervades practically every religion and ideology defined in the last two hundred years"

Women in popular history | Podcast | History Extra - "[On positive discrimination] There is now a move... official BBC policy? Panels shows should have at least one woman represented. I know actually because I was trying to put together a panel on Europe last year. A kind of public debate about Europe. The history of Europe at the time of the referendum. Trying to get some kind of historical, cultural perspective. And it was actually incredibly difficult to get women on the panel... when you are looking for women to speak, or just looking for experts to speak, it turned out that when I wanted a kind of range of voices in different kinds of disciplines, it was the men that were there...
The people who have opened doors for me have been men... the people who have challenged me and tried to tear me down have predominantly been women'...
'What I've noticed is when I did feel quite critiqued at the beginning of my career and I was looking at who was making comments about my appearance, a lot of it was coming from women. A lot. I would say more was coming from women... the impact from the female side is cattier and crueler'...
'We have to... kind of get over ourselves because I just feel like you know we need to kind of integrate ourselves and not be these kind of women who fight the cause of girls'
Internalised misogyny!

Long-term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse - "The tendency for child sexual abuse to co-vary with disturbed family backgrounds, other forms of abuse and possibly even victim characteristics, creates profound difficulties when it comes to interpreting correlational studies... When examining all subjects with histories of child sexual abuse, it was found that the risks of women victims, who came from stable and satisfactory home backgrounds, developing significant adult psychopathology were no higher than for non-abused controls from similar backgrounds. This did not, however, hold for those who gave histories of the most physically intrusive forms of abuse involving actual penetration"

Experts debate impact, gray areas of adult-child sex - ""I think the evidence has been clear for some time that child and adolescent sexual abuse does not always do harm in the long term," says David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire, one of the nation's foremost researchers on the sexual abuse of children... In the 1998 article, three authors analyzed 59 studies of college students recalling sexual abuse. The researchers reported that despite what many think, child sexual abuse "does not cause intense harm on a pervasive basis regardless of gender in the college population," although boys fared better than girls. And they concluded that some children experienced positive reactions in "willing" sexual encounters with adults"

The big questions of the Holocaust | Podcast | History Extra - "'Prior to the Holocaust, anti-Semitism seemed to be far more prevalent in many countries other than Germany...
You would probably have said [the Holocaust would have occurred in] Russia...
enormous numbers of them weren't German...
Enormous numbers of them weren't German. And extraordinary documents in the book are from Germans complaining about the barbarity with which the Romanians are killing Jews. Imagine the Germans are also complaining about how the Croats are killing people. They're saying you know talking about the barbar- the notion that in any way it's confined to Germans is wrong. In the Baltic States many many of the killers were locals...
You talk to people involved in those [non-Nazi] terrible deportations which were really vile and for the most part what they'll say as well if I didn't do I'd be shot... what was extraordinary about all these former Nazis is I don't think I ever heard that... what you tended to hear was: at the time we felt it was the right thing to do...
One of the extraordinary things about Oskar Gröning is the reason he gave us that, an interview on camera was because he was really upset at his stamp collecting club when he came across a Holocaust denier and he said I was there."

This tool, made by college students, will save you all that time you spend transcribing - "Apparently they were working on some school project, and one guy had to transcribe 12 interviews, and he didn't want to do it, so he built this script that uses the Google Speech API to transcribe the speech to text... It really stands out to me for its accuracy. People reach out from time to time and ask “is there something I can do to not transcribe interviews?” It’s a pretty common question. And every time I recommend something, they’re like, “I’ve tried that, it doesn’t seem to work too well.”"
This is called Scribe

Baidu's SwiftScribe Transcribes Up to an Hour of Speech - "Baidu project manager Tian Wu, who was inspired partly by her experience transcribing interviews as a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said that SwiftScribe has the potential to save hours. “English is not my first language,” Wu told VentureBeat. “It took 10 hours to transcribe one hour of audio. That’s my personal experience. Usually, it will take a professional four to six hours to transcribe a one-hour audio clip.” Wu told VentureBeat that SwiftScribe can help transcribe audio 1.67 times faster on average. She envisions transcriptionists doing more work and ultimately getting paid more for it."
This is better for multiple projects than Scribe

Regents Drop Teacher Literacy Test Seen As Discriminatory - "In New York, the Board of Regents voted Monday to eliminate a requirement that aspiring teachers pass a literacy test in order to become certified... 'The literacy test proved challenging to many prospective teachers, but particularly for black and Hispanic candidates'... an Goldhaber reviews the evidence on the importance of teacher quality. He notes that teachers’ verbal skills have been shown to be related to the impact of those teachers on student achievement."

The racial discrimination law dividing Australia - "The section, 18C, is anathema to conservatives, who call it a gag on freedom of speech... the act - under which discrimination complaints are initially investigated by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) - operated without controversy until 2011, when the Federal Court ruled it had been breached by a leading right-wing commentator, Andrew Bolt. Mr Bolt had published articles and blogs in which he accused nine fair-skinned Australians with mixed heritage of playing up their Aboriginality to secure jobs, grants and awards... The push for reform gathered momentum following the cartoon and QUT rows, the latter involving Facebook posts by the three students after they were asked to leave a computer lab reserved for Aboriginal students. One wrote: "I wonder where the white supremacist lab is.""
"It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea."

Austrian President calls on all women to wear headscarves in solidarity with Muslims to fight 'rampant Islamophobia'
Uhh...

The Battle of Britain | Podcast | History Extra - "We have access to 80. 85% of the world's shipping... That kind of access to resources would just make Hitler weep with envy, frankly. And also Germany wasn't quite the big military moloch that everyone thought. Germany uses 1.5 million horses in the First World War, uses 3.5 million in the Second World War. Only the spearhead is mechanised...
They were already too far entrenched with their obsession with dive bombing... Once they saw how effective the Stukas were, they thought: you know what, we should do dive bombing for everything... they're developing this, which is a Junkers 88. And this is supposed to be a long range, fast - over 300 miles an hour, good, decent, twin engined bomber. Medium bomber with a fairly sizable 2 ton payload... what about giving it some dive-bombing capabilities?... production gets put back by months and months and months... not content with that they then decide that they should give a four engine bomber dive bombing capabilities"

The impact of war and a zoological institution | Podcast | History Extra - "[On Gladstone and liberals] They see international relations not in turns of power plays but in terms of a great, if you like, morality play, an act before our eyes in which we have to choose who are the good guys and who are the bad guys here... within this tradition of Anglo-American liberalism, this is a very common perspective on war... Tony Blair took a very moral view on why the British and Americans should invade Iraq... by moralizing the origins of the war the British and American liberals were as responsible as anybody, perhaps more responsible than anybody else for moralizing the peace and making it into an issue of German war guilt"

America in World War One and a naval tragedy | History Extra podcast on acast - "The United States conceived of itself as having made a choice which was different from Europe. It was almost what defined America was its rejection of Europe... there were people who were actively supporting the Central Powers at least in the sense of raising money to support German and Austrian soldiers and raising money for their kind of widows and orphans and so on. The centres of support for the Central Powers were unsurprisingly the German immigrants especially new German immigrants

The ‘Father of History’ and India in the British empire | Podcast | History Extra - "[On unreliable numbers for armies] The Greek for countless, innumerable is the same as the Greek for 10,000. So beyond 10,000 they seem to have had a problem with coping with it in intellectual terms... he did indeed [impart literary flare to his work] and in fact that's why to us it's odd but the only historians or indeed any writers of any kind who survived who were copied, who were read or listened to or performed were those that different judges at different times - literary experts decided were the best of their genre of writing, so for early historiography Herodotus and Thucydides are taken to be the exemplars...
Criticizing empire is part of the national story in India... I think Britain has a kind of peculiarly centralized political constitution you know this for much of the twenty century I think that's probably a consequence of Empire because attempt to create this sort of almost imperial sovereignty and then that comes back to Britain"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, From the Vatican to Vienna - "In its complex 15 year civil war, nearly every faction allied with and subsequently betrayed every other faction at least once. There are 18 officially recognised sects: 5 of them Muslim, 13 of them Christian, making Lebanon the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East...
[On the Blue Danube] The title of the waltz is satirical of course... the original lyrics were very sarcastic, he said. You have to imagine Austria had just been heavily defeated in battle by the Prussians, there was a cholera epidemic and an economic crisis and even in those days, everybody knew that the Danube wasn't blue... The tradition of balls and dancing is alive and well in Austria. And not just for the wealthy. Most Austrian teenagers still learn to waltz... A year and a half ago the far right Freedom Party commissioned a rap version of the piece as part of their election campaign in Vienna. The party leader Heinz-Christian Strache, known as HC or Hard See [sp?] was reaching out to disaffected Vienese, particularly from the working classes"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Hidden Dangers - "[On ISIS] There's almost no household appliance he says that hasn't been rigged up to explode. At one half demolished house we walked past, a man was killed by a bomb apparently triggered by his TV remote control... 10 people died within the first few weeks of returning. One local tried to get rid of 60 mines he'd cleared himself by putting them on a bonfire and retreating to a safe distance. The resulting explosion flattened his own property and damaged 14 of his neighbors' houses too. He lived and he's now jokingly referred to as the village idiot...
On my first visit to these deserts, almost 5 years earlier, they had spoken about Yemen itself as it were a distant foreign country. Now they were asking me what I thought about the oppression of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the anti-Muslim campaign promises of Donald Trump. What had changed?
'Facebook. Whatsapp.' They laughed as they whipped out their new smartphones. Of course there was no signal in this remote wilderness but when, a few hours later, we re-emerged from the deserts onto the metaled road towards the coastal capital of Al Haida [sp?], the cacophony of pinging phones in my landcruisers sounded the changing times"

The cunning and cruel bombs used by Isis to stall the Mosul offensive - "Why would Isis use something nice, like a bear or a rabbit? They used this toy because they know the peshmerga [Kurdish fighters] will not touch it, but children will... A toy, a playing card and an abandoned watch are all detonators designed to spark the acquisitive curiosity of a returning civilian, who would be maimed or murdered by the explosion... Because there is no area, civilian or military, that the group will not lace with explosives, many Iraqis fear that returning to their homes and former lives could be deadly, even long after militants have left... Hassan points to a small, easily detectable mine that is actually a booby trap for a well-buried pressure-plate IED. “So when he goes in to defuse this, he will step on the other and it will explode,” he explains."

Wisconsin High School Evacuated After Student Cosplays As Darth Vader

What To Say Instead of 'All I Want Is A Healthy Baby' - "When people say they want a healthy baby, they are, no matter how unintentionally, perpetuating ableism and excluding those who may not have healthy or typical bodies and their families"
Maybe this is why people don't want kids nowadays

Can You Drink Too Much Green Tea? - "The compounds in green tea responsible for most negative health effects are caffeine, the element fluorine, and flavonoids. The combination of these and other chemicals may cause liver damage in some persons or if you drink a lot of tea"

Japan is suffering from a ninja shortage amid huge demand from foreign tourists - "Those who do put themselves forwards, he said, lack the basic skills needed. This usually means being trained in unarmed combat, acrobatics, concealment and first aid while also being able to use throwing stars and fight with swords"

People who are always late are more successful and live longer, says science

Chinese entrepreneur stumps up US$1.45 million purse to defeat MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong | South China Morning Post - "Chen Sheng, the multimillionaire entrepreneur who founded the Tiandi No. 1 drinks company, has raised the stakes to “defend the dignity” of martial artists after tai chi master Wei Lei was pounded into submission in under 10 seconds by MMA fighter, coach and promoter Xu Xiaodong... “I want him to understand, he used this kind of extreme method to provoke Chinese traditional culture, and will need to pay the price”... The initial duel between Wei and Xu in Chengdu, Sichuan province followed an online quarrel, in which Xu had dismissed traditional martial arts as being a fraud... Wei blamed his embarrassing defeat on reasons ranging from slipping on a new pair of shoes with rubber soles, to avoid causing “a loss of life”, and because winning would cause “disharmony”. The Chinese Wushu Association said in a statement on Wednesday that the Xu-Wei match, where they were “throwing down the gauntlet”, violates martial arts ethics and potentially the law. “Martial arts is a traditional Chinese sport as well as an excellent traditional culture that includes various forms like martial arts repertoire and free combat,” they said. “We are strongly against such bouts, especially scuffles held in the name of eliminating fake martial arts which are more about fighting and pure aggressiveness.”"

Female College Students Say They Live in Constant Fear of Being Raped - "As higher education promotes the idea of a “rape culture” where society excuses and even encourages sexual violence, female students are paying the psychological price. In an op-ed for The Stanford Daily, a student describes how she and her friends are suffering from “rape anxiety”... She describes how she and her friends live in a state of perpetual fear—a thought “as common as what assignments I have due”—on their campus, in their dorm, in their homes, walking after dusk... A much-hyped 2015 study by the Association of American Universities claimed that roughly one in four female college undergraduates had suffered sexual assault or misconduct. But the survey’s definitions are broad. For example, an unwanted butt slap is factored into that one-in-four number just like rape, even though there’s a world of difference between the two. As the Daily Beast noted at the time, the U.S. Department of Justice reached totally different conclusions about sexual assault on campus. A 2014 report suggested that actually, about one in 53 women on campus experience rape or sexual assault."
More ways feminism is making women miserable

Tobacco packaging design for reducing tobacco use - "The available evidence suggests that standardised packaging may reduce smoking prevalence"

When The Economist blamed Irish peasants for starving to death - The Washington Post

Stan Lee: Spider-Man creator says he can no longer read comics due to failing eyesight - "“My eyesight has gotten terrible and I can’t read comic books anymore,” he told the Radio Times. “I can’t even read a script. I come up with ideas for stories and somebody writes an outline for me – but I can’t read it. I have to hope it’s good. If something is very important, they print it in very big type for me to read – but that’s all I can do. I have the same trouble with hearing. It’s awful to feel a thousand years old.” He described his loss of vision, which also means he cannot read newspapers or novels, as “my biggest miss in the world”."

Valerie Tarico - It's a lot harder to speak truth to friends than... - " Any progressive is willing to point out how the Right plugs their ears when confronted with uncomfortable truths, but we unfriend people who shine a light on truths that might complicate our own perspective. We act like accusing people of sexism or racism or homophobia is an act of courage, when in reality such accusations often gain the accuser status in progressive activist circles. We point out the groupthink of Trump supporters and then silence ourselves when it comes to questioning liberal orthodoxies. We claim to be inclusive, but reserve our right to sneer at the people least like us -- the change-averse, the xenophobic, the devout, and those who are downwardly mobile -- and we look with suspicion on anyone who sees them through a lens of compassion... I used to believe that the truth had a liberal bias. In fact still do. But I increasingly doubt whether liberals have a truth bias"

Meritocracy and Privilege

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Meritocracy and Privilege

"Little Prince George of Cambridge is an extreme example of a more general truth. We don't live in an equal or even particularly meritocratic society and most of us don't seem to care... Social mobility is silting up... some [blame] feminism. More middle class women in the workplace blocking the way for ambitious working class men. Most blame pushy bourgeois parents. As if wanting the best for your child is some form of sin...

Equality of opportunity is not merely unachievable but would be repugnant if you could achieve it. I think it's amongst the worst concepts that anybody's ever come up with... the only criteria by which we determine how people's outcomes rank are their biological merits. So if you are beautiful and clever and you have good digestion, and you are good at telling jokes, then you should flourish. And if you are none of those things then you should fail, and no one is allowed to help you to achieve any different rank from that of your purest biological merits. It is the politics of the eugenicist...

I would say that what you're conflating here is the concepts of justice and fairness. So fairness is really a residual concept. That is that if we don't have any better reason, then we should allocate things equally. If I'm cutting up a pie and I don't have any other reason for doing things, then if I don't give it equally to each of you, then I'm guilty of being arbitrary. But there are other principles that come ahead, in particular those of family, property and promise. And those 3 come ahead of fairness which will often mean that the right consequence is that which respects people's property, people's familial obligations and the promises that they have made...

[A] phrase that is often used in this context... leveling the playing field... this is a very interesting metaphor... there's a question first of all whether we're in in a game or on a playing field to begin with...

[Equality of opportunity] seems to presuppose that we're running a race against each other. And we've all got to start at the same starting line, wear the same clothes and boots because there are a few scarce, very valuable prizes at the end of it. We've got to make sure it's a fair race so the best people or the best qualified get those prizes. I think what we've got to do is question if that's the type of society we want to be living in...

'If you're trying to appoint the best general to leave the army in the case of war I think it is very clear that you need people of particular merit. If you're talking about giving a place to a student to go to university it's actually not so obvious that there is a social reason for giving that to the people who are absolutely the best qualified. Why is that? Well their qualifications may not reflect their underlying potential. It may be there are other social reasons why you want to change the demographic in some of our leading universities'...

'It's rather dispiriting that the professor of a university sees social rather than educational purposes for the end of the university'...

'If we constantly emphasize to people that their social and economic backgrounds are a determining factor, aren't we in a way teaching a kind of learned helplessness that makes people think: the likes of me can't cope. I mean what we really want is somebody who thinks it doesn't matter what my background is, I'm as good as the rest of them'...

[Peter Saunders] 'The research I did on the 1958 birth cohort shows if you take the top quartile of ability distribution measured by an IQ test at age 11, only five percent of the children in the top quartile, irrespective of their social class or origin, only five percent of them fail to get into some kind of middle class position'...

'The Institute of Fiscal Studies has done research on university recruitment which shows that they are probably the most meritocratic institution in-'

'Have you been to Oxford or Cambridge? Have you actually been there? Have you been to Oxford or Cambridge and then been to Barnsley and have you noticed that there is a slight difference in the social makeup of the two places?'

'Is this how we get to factual truth? Though emotive-'...

'There is no social class component to university admission. Once they're taking children at the age of eighteen. If there are problems they're happening before the age of 18. They're not happening at entry to university, which is what makes the government's social mobility strategy so mad when it's trying to impose quotas, social class quotas on university entrance'...

'I thought his position was absolutely chilling and nascently totalitarian. It was only mitigated by the fact that he was completely incoherent'"

Links - 23rd June 2017 (1)

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Erdogan accuses Germany of behaving like Nazis - "[On Germany] Referenda actually don't happen here as a result of Hitler's use of them for example. So they are something which Germans don't like and don't trust

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Russia and US hit "all time low" - "A culture of discrimination. I've been to Southern Egypt where many of the Christian community members live. They told me harrowing stories about houses being set on fire, Christians being beaten up by some of their Muslim neighbours and they said when we go and complain, when we go and report it to the police, nobody does anything to help us so they just feel that everybody has failed them... One lady told me that she hasn't stepped outside her house for 3 years
Yet somehow the Coptic Christians in Egypt are not radicalised and become terrorists

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Dark Times for France's Right - "[On the Philippines] 7,000 people in 8 months. This is far worse than his notorious predecessor Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s, often accused of being brutal and, I mean he never killed that many people in that space of time... There's a lot of fear. The drug killings got so bad and a lot of people who were killed clearly were not particularly involved in drugs, that there is actually a perceptible fear that I've never seen in the Philippines before in communities when they talk about politics or the President, a sense that perhaps anybody could get killed now. And I think that makes it actually now quite hard to get an honest opinion about President Duterte. A lot of people are frightened of him"

The LA riots were a rude awakening for Korean-Americans - ""Where are the police? Where are the police?" Lee whispered over and over from his rooftop perch. Lee would not see law enforcement for three days -- only fellow Korean-Americans, who would be photographed by news agencies looking like armed militia in what appeared to be a guerrilla race war on the streets. It was April 30, 1992, and the city of angels raged in a second day of looting, armed assaults and arson in the wake of the acquittal of four white LAPD officers for use of excessive force in the videotaped beating of Rodney King. The nearly weeklong, widespread rioting killed more than 50 people, injured more than 1,000 people and caused approximately $1 billion in damage, about half of which was sustained by Korean-owned businesses. Long-simmering cultural clashes between immigrant Korean business owners and predominately African-American customers spilled over with the acquittals. The Rodney King verdict and the ensuing riots are often framed as a turning point for law enforcement and the African-American community. But it's also the single most significant modern event for Korean-Americans, says Edward Taehan Chang, professor of ethnic studies and founding director of the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies at the University of California, Riverside"
Fighting racism and injustice means looting Korean shops

Woman jailed for recording female victims at gym's changing room and selling footage online - "Some time in early 2014, she created an account with the username "gargar787'' on Sammy boy, which is an online forum with sections that allow users to post and exchange sexually explicit material including self-recorded sex videos and pornography. As she had difficulties in holding down a permanent job then, Heng created a discussion thread labelled "Changing room peektures'' to advertise videos depicting women in various states of undress, for sale at either 10 or 20 cents per second of footage. Investigations showed that from early 2014 until she was called up by the police on May 7 that year, she earned at least $1,540 by selling the videos to at least 22 account holders on Sammyboy."

John Boyega Got Dumped After Date Found Out He Was in Star Wars - "“She didn’t know what I did until we were driving through Times Square. She goes ‘What do you do for a living?’ [I] looked up and I said, ‘That.’ It was me over a lightsaber,” Boyega said (picture above for reference). Apparently, finding out Boyega was starring in the new Star Wars film “affected her stance,” and things ended badly— so much so that Boyega blocked her on his phone."

Brain Scams – Have You Heard - "When investigative reporter Trevon Milliard from the Las Vegas Review Journal dug into why the Clark County School District was spending $1000 a day to an Emergenetics® consultant to conduct profiles of district employees, he found a slick sales pitch but no science. The *science* of profiling to which Douglas County teachers and students have devoted weeks this fall has never been reviewed in a single peer reviewed journal. Why doesn’t Emergenetics® cite actual research? Because. There. Isn’t. Any. Instead the company relies on testimonials... Review Journal reporter Milliard—and the psychologists he interviews—leave little doubt that Emergenetics® is a scam, to use a non-scientific word"

Liberal road rage - "Ironically, the researchers’ regression results also show that liberals are much more likely to engage in road rage (both making obscene gestures and driving aggressively) than conservatives, and that the difference is larger than the difference for whether one had carried a gun in the car at least once."
Original article: Is an armed society a polite society? Guns and road rage by David Hemenway, Mary Vriniotis, Matthew Miller. In Accident Analysis & Prevention Volume 38, Issue 4, July 2006, Pages 687–695
The original claim this was responding to was that people with guns were more likely to engage in road rage
Maybe the Jedi mind trick will be to claim that liberals are ruder on the roads because they are faced with obnoxious conservative drives who justifiably make them angry (one person claimed that conservatives have more diverse social media feeds than liberals because they just follow liberals to troll them; someone else claimed that liberals are more likely to unfriend or block people on social media because conservatives have no friends)


MediaCorp typecasts mongrels, provokes the ire of animal welfare group - "In a text to welfare group Exclusively Mongrels Limited, the producer asks for a mongrel to star in a MINDEF commissioned series “When Duty Calls”. The chosen dog should be able to “bark fiercely [and] chase after people”"
So now mongrel activists are now on the bandwagon against harmful stereotypes and threatening government action. Who said the slippery slope was a fallacy?
"If this scene can't be replaced , I'm reporting to the Ava." takes the cake


Ambulance driver blocked by road hog: 'What if the patient had died?' - ""First I high-beamed the driver, then used the sirens, then the horn, but he just refused to give way," said Mr Chong, 23. "He even jam braked three times; it was clearly intentional." The New Paper reported the incident on Dec 11 last year, with the video of the incident going viral after it was posted on TNP's Facebook page. The video attracted more than 135,000 views. After the frustration, Mr Chong said he was happy to know that the driver of the Hyundai Matrix that refused to give way to him was being dealt with... A spokesman for Seas said there have been incidents of patients dying because of inconsiderate drivers.""

Berkeley killing renews debate over gender pronouns - "Pablo Gomez Jr. was a University of California, Berkeley, senior majoring in Latino studies and a prominent campus activist when authorities say he stabbed to death a popular elementary-school teacher. Soon, the crime that police described as "very brutal and unusual" in a city that reported just two homicides last year was sucked up into the debate over gender identity when it was reported that Gomez preferred to be called "they" rather than "he.""
Maybe the moral of the story is that snowflakes are dangerous, and inculcating a grievance mentality can drive people over the edge

Chinese student allegedly discriminated by Malay stall holder in school - "his nephew was discriminated by a stall holder in his school’s canteen. The stall holder repeatedly charged his nephew’s friend lesser for the same dish, on several occasions. His friend is Malay. Gordon’s friends who responded to his post said that such practices were common not only in schools but also in workplaces. Facebook user Patrick Lim said: “It is rather common to see this happening in company canteens and at hawker centers. They discriminate you in prices or food quantity based on who you are. But for muslim food, it is good to eat less, because most are fried and high oil content. Not healthy.”"
I like how many comments here are justifying the discrimination. Some races are more equal than others

Lego says its Jabba the Hutt set isn’t anti-Muslim - "the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria criticized the Danish toy company, saying the Jabba’s Palace set was insensitive because of its similarity to Muslim mosques. “The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed,” said the statement, reported by the Austrian Times. “It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.”"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Russia: What happens next? - "[Trump] has reached out to leaders all over the world. We haven't seen this kind of engagement literally since George HW Bush 3 decades ago. He's already established relations throughout the region in a way that President Obama never did, with Turkey, with Jordan, with Egypt, with Saudi Arabia, with Israel"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Monday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "[On preventing foreign takeover of strategic industries] Defence is the only place that you can really go and that slightly harks back to a bizarre case about 10 or 12 years ago in France where Pepsico tried to buy Danone the dairy company and allegedly was knocked back because Danone supplied yogurt to the French army"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The protests that forced a government to U-turn - "There's talk here of turning Romania into sort of a laboratory for revolution, of inviting protest tourism. Various hostels have said they will provide free accommodation to any young people - or I suppose older people as well from across Europe or the world who'd like to come to Romania now and see what's going on here and see what they can learn about ways to organise and same time of course to take part in those protests...
[On Odebrecht in Brazil] Investigators even uncovered a self-contained bribe department inside the company, with its own accounts, management structure and communications department

BBC World Service - The World This Week, At the end of a tumultous week, Donald Trump goes after the media. - "If you are then also successful in promoting an absolute collapse in the [North Korean] regime. Then what happens is you have 20-30 nuclear weapons' worth of materials floating out there and who controls it? If it gets out of North Korea I can guarantee you that material will explode in one of three places: the United States, Europe or Israel... when North Korea 15 years ago had 1 or 2 nuclear weapons' worth of material, you could sort of deal with that and figure out how to isolate that

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Turks give Erdogan new powers - "One of the things that makes Britain such an agreeable country is people don't like politics. People are not interested in politics. They don't go out on the street very often to protest"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, How was WW2 really won? - "'For the British, when they start sort of thinking about what new tanks they're gonna have in the summer of 1942, priority is ease of maintenance above powerful gun and armour and actually that makes a huge difference.'
'So, cos if it breaks down it's no good how powerful it is'
'So more than 50% of all the Panzer fatalities the Germans suffer in the Second World War is due to mechanical failure. I mean if you're talking about the Tiger tank, it's got a 6 speed, semi-automatic, hydraulically controlled (?) pre-selected gear box designed by per - unfortunately, if you put an 18 year old in that, it's going to break... The German way of war historically has been to try and overwhelm your enemy very quickly in the space of a matter of days if not weeks'
'Right. The Blitzkreig'
'Yes, but that goes back to Frederick the Great and the rest of it. That's how they've always done it. There's no change at all in 1939. The problem is that if you don't win in 6 weeks then you have got a problem because they haven't got enough resources'"

Why Is My Life So Hard? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "GILOVICH: Yeah, self-handicapping is a familiar idea, particularly if we go back to the world of sports, where, before a contest, people claim a certain obstacle in their favorite team’s path. “Maybe we’ll win, but we’ve got a key player out.” And that’s setting everyone up for an explanation if you should lose. Students often do this too. They might study as hard as they can and pretend that they haven’t studied so if they bomb the exam, people don’t think they’re challenged. And if they should succeed, all the better. It’s a more glorious victory if you’ve overcome an obstacle. So people will put these obstacles in their path to manage other people’s and their own attributions or explanations for why they succeeded or failed...
DAVIDAI: We asked [siblings] to think back to when they were younger, both living at the same house, about how their parents treated them versus their brother or sister. Who got more praise? Who got more encouraged to do things? Who had more freedom to go out and party? And in contrast, who got punished more? Who got lectured more? And what we found was that siblings thought the other one had it easier and that they had it harder...
GILOVICH: when you feel like, “No, the deck is stacked against me,” it appears that people want to make up for that. And they’re willing to kind of bend the rules to do that... It encourages feeling resentful and unappreciative. And that’s a psychological state that where we’re not at our best."
The perils of identity politics - inculcating a sense of grievance in people not only makes them behave less morally, it also hurts their performance

Big Returns from Thinking Small - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "a “commitment referee,” someone willing to keep you on task. Gallagher says that significant others are terrible referees. When you don’t feel like following through, they’ll often conspire with you to let you off the hook"

Earth 2.0: What Would Our Economy Look Like? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "GOLDIN on the UK: Long ago, at some point when people were riding horses and or walking along a road, and they were vulnerable individuals, and they carried daggers. When a rider on a horse wanted to show that he did not have a dagger in his right hand, riding on the left of the road allowed the rider to greet oncoming riders with his right hand outstretched. “Hey, I’ve got no dagger. You’re safe.”... So that became the standard. So buggies and carts and horses, and people included, walk and ride on the left. And when automobiles appeared, they also needed to conform to that standard or else they would have run into the horses and the people. So everything follows. We didn’t start with people on horses with swords and daggers and stuff like that. [In the US] we started later. In colonial America, we had these carts with these oxen in the front and there was a seat for the driver and because people are right-handed, you needed to be on the left side to whip the rear of the animal. So this standard then evolved, therefore, the reverse way, even though both standards evolved because the vast majority of people are right-handed."

Earth 2.0: Is Income Inequality Inevitable? - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "KANTER: One of the striking things about sports teams on losing streaks is that losing teams often had stars, just like third-world countries have rich people, even though most people are poor. Losing teams have stars, even though the team isn’t winning. The difference is that the stars look out for themselves. They feel no obligation to lift up the other players, to teach them, to include them. They only care about their own record. Rich people in an African country can take their money and go park it in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, and not care about lifting up their country. Whereas [with] winning streaks in countries, as well as sports teams and companies, generally those at the top feel some obligation toward the education, the training, the development of people below them. To make things work well, inequality doesn’t help...
The U.S. and Canada, colonized primarily by England, have done far better than a lot of Latin and South American countries colonized by Spain... The English colonial model often called for integrating laborers into their system of production and trade. Whereas, say, the Spanish colonies …
Tyler COWEN: Whereas, say, the Spanish colonies were more likely based on the idea of extracting wealth from other people, or taking a lot of the resources out of the ground and not investing as much in human capital... They had better laws and somewhat less corruption. More of a common-law tradition. They’re more likely to have an independent judiciary."

Adenovirus 36 and Obesity: An Overview - "Evidence emerging over the last 20 years supports the hypothesis that viral infections may be associated with obesity in animals and humans. The most widely studied infectious agent possibly linked to obesity is adenovirus 36 (Adv36). Adv36 causes obesity in animals. In humans, Adv36 associates with obesity both in adults and children and the prevalence of Adv36 increases in relation to the body mass index"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Mary, Queen of Scots - "[On the Guises] There was always this issue of who was the better looking, and who was the taller, who could play the virginals better, who could speak languages better...
[On her as a young girl] When challenged by the great Catherine de Medici when she came to her nursery saying: why do you not bow to the Queen of France. And this girl immediately replied: why do you not bow to the Queen of Scots...
'One of the very few silly things Elizabeth ever did was to try and foist Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, her own favourite'...
'Almost proved lover'
'And Elizabeth's idea was they would all live together in a menage a trois in the South of England'"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Kuiper Belt - "People believe in God, astronomers believe in the oort cloud. It's a hypothetical construct which helps us understand the extent of the sun's gravitational pull"

BBC Radio 4 - The Pull of Putin - "With the rise of Communism, economic conservatives, social conservatives and foreign policy conservatives ,the three legs of the stool of modern conservatism: all their interests were aligned. With the fall of the Soviet Union there is no more one embodiment of everything that clearly conservatives oppose. You have a fracturing of these 3 legs of the stool...
Reagan didn't originally come to bury the Evil Empire, but to engage with it.
'I was with Ronald Reagan when I came in to his White House. He desperately said: Pat I want to talk to these people but they keep dying on me. Brezhnev died on me, Chernenko, Andropov - they're dropping dead on him and as soon as Gorbachev arrived, he took up the occasion to meet him in Geneva and we had a great meeting there...
Whenever there's a conflict between East and West, then Central Europe is usually always the loser. And this is a situation which you'd like to avoid...
Germany took a decision in the 60s to open its frontiers to guest workers... The choice made here is we don't want to be multicultural precisely because we've looked at places like Germany and seen what some of the outcome is. The Hungarians: look, iif this is multiculturalism we don't want...
'Today, if there was a, thousands of Americans were to die in some kind of attack, maybe even hundreds of thousands, it wouldn't be Russia. The chances of it being Russia attacking us are just about 0. The chances of it being a radical Islamic terrorist plot that managed to succeed would be the most likely scenario'"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Breaking News - "One of the ironies here is that White House correspondents report they're getting more time with the President and other officials than they ever did under Obama...
'I used to get great press. Until I said I'm running. Then they said: he's running, we don't want him to run. But I used to get great, who got better press than me? I got great press, a lot of press'
'And it's true, he did... the stories about how Trump used to manipulate the New York press were legendary. Reporters who were around at that time believe Trump would use the pseudonyms John Miller and John Barron when he called journalists to offer tipoffs about himself'...
[On media bias] In the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite was like the standard newscaster. His trust level was 100% with the American people. And one day he came out and said: this war is wrong. In my opinion that was like a major milestone in the shift in the media from reporting the news to influencing the news... some of the places they've called out by name: the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, are all but hopelessly biased against the President. They believe that something went wrong, so to speak, on November 8th and that it's their mission, an almost religious mission, to correct that message"

BBC World Service - The Documentary, In Search of Henk and Ingrid - "'You have the suburbs in London, which are, you know, Islamising at a rapid speed... You have mosques, you have Islamic schools who tell girls to, you know, wear burkas and women are less than them.'
'Why is that bad?'
'Why is that bad? Can you tell me why it's good that women are less than men?'
'Maybe they say it's their culture'
'Their culture? Well, excuse me but some cultures are better than others'
'Really?'
'Yeah'
'You say that about Muslim societies, but you know Western societies, Dutch and British societies. There's roads of child abuse, domestic abuse, all kinds of things like that'
'Of course. I'm not saying any culture is perfect. I'm saying some cultures are better than others. Simple as that'
'Surely that's ridiculous. That is just the spreading of hatred, isn't it?'
'No, it's not spreading of hatred. You know, we are proud that we have gay marriage. We are proud that we have full women's right, and how do you break that? You bring in more Muslim immigrants who don't share our values. That's the problem... How am I spreading hatred if I want to prevent that gay marriage is being brought back to zero?'
'Not all Muslim people are against gays. I mean even a few years ago, even in Holland, even in Britain people weren't very nice to gays. This is very recent change, even in the West'
'Of course. But at least we acknowledge them. At least we try to accept them. I don't have a problem with gay people. I play in a band and one of my band members is a black man homosexual. And they telling me I spread racism. No, it's not true. But what is true is that you have Islamic countries where it's okay to kill gay people. Why don't you report on that?
Well that was a short sharp dunking into the PVV view of the world...
In most cases you can tell how Dutch people vote simply by peering at their houses
'There are also areas where you see a lot of bikes with baskets in front, and in areas with a lot of these crico [sp?] bikes, you see a lot of voters for the Green Left party'...
'Roller shutters, PVV'
And we were told that relativists were a myth cooked up by right-wingers

BBC World Service - Assignment , Killing for Conservation in India - "Kaziranga's war on poachers isn't just about conservation per se. The tourists the park attracts spend 100s of 1000s of dollars in the state's hotels and restaurants and these economic benefits have made poaching a huge political issue. That's why when in 2013 the number of rhinos more than doubled to 27, local politicians demanded action. The then head of the park was happy to oblige...
'Suspects must obey or get killed' and that 'Guards must never allow unauthorised entry'. adding in brackets - kill the unwanted. The document also includes the director's reflections that environmental crimes including poaching are far more heinous than murder...
The concern felt by activists like her that traditional communities might be sacrificed in the name of wildlife protection. And what's more she says, some of the biggest animal conservation charities in the world have turned a blind eye to these activities, including the World Wildlife Fund or WWF...
It needs more space. The park wants to double in size. The High Court of Assam has issued an eviction order for the area in question. The problem is the villagers who live there are not happy about moving. In September, the first 2 villages were cleared. Big crowds turned out to protest but the police and park guards moved in, beating the protesters. These scenes could be repeated across India as parks attempt to follow Kaziranga's example and expand their boundaries. The crowd charged the police, hurling stones. The police responded with tear gas. When the crowd didn't disperse, there was gunfire. 2 people were killed...
We requested interviews from India's Environment Minister, the Minister of Environment for Assam, the head of the National Tiger Conservation Authority which oversees India's national parks, the Chief Forest Officer for Assam and for another interview with the head of Kaziranga itself. None of them were available to speak to us. We've heard Kaziranga and WWF say they place a high premium on working with local communities but we've also heard allegations that innocent people have been tortured, crippled and killed in the name of protecting wildlife
I'm sure people can just dismiss this story as Arrogant British Imperialism

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Gun Control - Japan, My Perfect Country Boxset - "'The majority don't carry guns'
'Japanese police aren't outfitted in a military way and never use their guns. I think like last year only 6 shots were fired from Japanese police nationwide'
'So to compensate for the lack of guns, Japanese police rely heavily on their skills in martial arts and they're said to train more than any other nation'...
What most Japanese police will do is to get huge futons and essentially roll up the person who's being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station and calm them down. The response to violence is never violence. It's always to de-escalate it...
There would be listeners particularly from America who would listen to this and think: you don't take a knife to a gun fight and they would think it ludicrous to have unarmed police. The American model has been militarise the police. So you have 80,000 SWAT team raids every single year in America... there is very little evidence that a more militarised police results in a more peaceful society. And I'm very concerned that if you have too many police pulling out guns at the first instance of crime then you lead to a miniature arms race between police and criminals...
The eradication of gun has given a prominence to other weapons...
We see a trend for knife use in Japanese crime...
The two weapons are fundamentally different things. Because the only thing you're going to use a gun for is to shoot someone...
Who wants to buy a gun in Japan? The only person who would want to buy a gun in Japan is usually a Yakuza and they're going to only use the gun in a gang war. Everyone agrees that arms are an instrument of evil. You don't want them around...
Japanese officers get arrested if they pull out a weapon, even if it's self-defence...
'Australia actually introduced a buyback program were 650,000 weapons were voluntarily handed back to the government to be destroyed'
'The evidence is that gun amnesties around the world really work'"

How Japan has almost eradicated gun crime - "Only six shots were fired by Japanese police nationwide [in 2015]," says journalist Anthony Berteaux... To underline the taboo attached to inappropriate use of weapons, an officer who used his gun to kill himself was charged posthumously with a criminal offence"

BBC Radio 4 - The Muhammadan Bean: The Secret History of Islam and Coffee - "My parents hail from Pakistan and come from families that take the brewing of tea very seriously. But tea was a ritual for the home. Coffee was something we went out to drink... In Islamic society, there was no drinking establishment. Because alcoholic beverages were in themselves prohibited. But when coffee is introduced, it seems to have served a social need that was always there but was never answered. It's a chance to meet with one's fellas in a context outside of sitting around outside your shop, or sitting around with one's friends outside the mosque and of course these places became a natural locus of social intercourse. And the coffeehouse in a lot of ways was something new and something which transformed the way people associated with one another in the Islamic world...
If I had to use a Turkish saying.. the heart desires nor coffee nor coffeeshop, the heart desires sorbids [sp?] which is company and exchanging words in one another's company and coffee is merely an excuse...
Even the Pope was forced to contend with coffee's wild popularity. Catholic priests warned against the 'Beverage of Islam'. They denounced it as an 'invention of Satan', affirming that: 'Satan, having forbidden his disciplies, the Muslims, to drink wine, certainly because this liquid was sanctified by Christ and was used during Communion, gave them as compensation this infernal black beverage that they called coffee'
Pope Clement VIII in 1600 was asked to intervene. According to legend, the Pope tasted a cup of coffee and was so delighted that he declared: 'This Devil's Drink is so delicious, we should cheat the Devil by baptising it'. Perhaps no city outside of Constantinople was more transformed by coffee than London...
To this day, in the Muslim world, special prayers are recited before drinking coffee"
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