kchoze comments

Posted in: Muslim fashion show See in context

No. It's a modesty custom. The west has them, too. I've been to several capitals and major cities in the USA and western Europe and Asia, and the number of persons I observed not conforming to any modesty custom whatsoever was zero.

Plenty of people behave in ways in the West that violates whatever modesty custom is left. Though nowadays the West has flipped so hard to the opposite side that it is people who dress modestly who are mocked and pressured to dress in a more sexualized way. For example, a woman who would show up at the beach wearing a 1920s-style swimsuit would probably be laughed at, borderline harassed.

The covering of the hair is actually a religious duty to Muslim women, according to nearly all interpretations of the religion. It was a modesty custom in the Roman empire, the Middle-East and Persia, but when Muhammad came to power, he was asked about it and he said God told him to tell his followers to tell their wives to don the veil so as not to be molested. Verse 33:59 if anyone is curious.

That way, the custom based into religious law. That's how most of Islamic law was made, people went to Muhammad to ask about this or that and he would give an answer based on current practices in the area, making contemporary customs into eternal religious law. Thus for example, the Muslim position of prayer is taken directly from the Persian custom of prostrating before the emperor.

For the record, Eastern European women often wore things very similar to the hijab, at least at Church, because the Orthodox Church orders women to cover their hair in church, and many women also wore headscarves in their daily lives, since Eastern Europe has been under the influence of Greco-Roman culture for far longer than the West since the Roman Empire survived there until 1453, and Russia notably styled itself as the "Third Rome" because of their proximity to the Eastern Roman Empire. So old Roman norms stayed influential there for far longer than in the West, including the habit of women wearing headscarves and veils.

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Posted in: Muslim fashion show See in context

Garments are not, cannot be, oppressive. What creates the oppression is the condition under which the person wears them.

I don't think that is correct. Full-face veils like the niqab and the burka are inherently oppressive because they effectively erase the individuality and presence of the wearer in the public space. They are essentially mobile prisons as they prevent contact between the woman wearing them and the community around here, keeping her isolated and dependent upon her husband, father or other male guardian.

Now, as to the more regular type of clothing Muslim women wear, yes, there is nothing inherently oppressive about headscarves and the modest style of dress they wear. Personally, I find it rather elegant and classy, a bit like the traditional kimonos a few Japanese women still wear. And it's not like headscarves are unique to Muslim cultures, in most of Eastern Europe, headscarves were usually worn by women in the Orthodox Christian communities, because of the strong Greco-Roman influence caused by the proximity to the Byzantine Empire, where it was still expected for married women to veil their hair in public like in Antique Rome.

The issue comes with the fact that this is not really out of choice, the wearing of headscarves is compulsory in Islam, at least according to most coherent interpretations. The covering of one's body is also compulsory. Many Muslim women don't think they really have a choice. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, because Islam as a religion is tremendously controlling and micromanages every aspect of the believers' life, for the better or the worse. Islam is in fact more than a religion, it is a culture, an entire way of life, a political ideology, a legal system, frozen in time by religious Revelation.

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Posted in: Russia tells rebels to leave Syria's Aleppo by Friday evening See in context

Russia is finding out the hard way that their interference in supporting Assad equals extending the Syrian civil war to much longer than it has to be. The anti-government "rebels" aren't going to stop. And they're always going to be there just under to surface looking for a chance again.

Not really. If Assad were to fall, the Civil War wouldn't end, it would just enter a new stage. The rebels are divided between Kurds, different Islamist groups, a few moderates and other sectarian forces. Rebels have also shown willing to commit atrocities on minorities like Alawites and Christians, and so if Assad were to fall, his supporters would probably set up militias to defend themselves from the rebels. Warlords would thus likely tear Syria apart, each forming his own fiefdom.

Even if the different factions stop fighting as hard against one another, they are unlikely to have the capacity to re-establish stability and public services adequately. See Libya for instance which is in a low-level civil war since Qaddafi fell. The economy is in shambles, thousands have been killed, militias arbitrarily rule over neighborhoods, two competing governments exist in Libya with Islamist militias trying to establish satellites of the Islamic State and up to a third of the population has supposedly fled to Tunisia. The GDP per capita (PPP) is about half what it was in the 1990s and it's still falling year by year since 2012.

Assad is ultimately the only chance for peace and stability in Syria right now, he is the only hope Syrians have to be able to live their lives normally. If not him, who else?

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Posted in: Ancient Japan more cosmopolitan than thought: researchers See in context

Concluding that Japan was a cosmopolitan country based on one name of a foreigner find on one historical document strikes me as a completely unsupported claim. It seems the researcher in question is not unbiased and is victim of confirmation bias: he wants to believe that Japan was a cosmopolitan country and he grasps at straws for anything that might support the idea.

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Posted in: Not all of Donald Trump's foreign policy positions are crazy See in context

Trump is nothing but a fascist pretending to be a Republican.

That's the kind of hyperbole that discredits his critics and makes Trump more palatable. It's like criticizing a politician, making a lot of rational arguments against him, then finishing up by saying that he's a "lizard person" masquerading as a human being to allow for the eradication of mankind by aliens from planet Xyztral... This accusation is so far-fetched and ridiculous that it destroys the credibility of the one who makes it, and the rational arguments made beforehand end up being discredited because they're associated with that stupid charge.

Trump is nothing of a fascist at all. The most defining characteristic of a fascist is an aggressive foreign policy to dominate other nations, Trump is the opposite of that, Hillary Clinton is closer to a fascist than Trump is!

In response to the main article, the author claims that limiting entry into the US to people who have a specific religion and reducing immigration is "against American values"... Actually, that's not the case. For example, during the Cold War, people who had communist sympathies often were refused entry into the US, Charlie Chaplin and Pierre-Elliott Trudeau both were targeted by that. Furthermore, during most of the 20th century, the US set immigration quotas based on national origin, accepting immigrants only up to 2% of the current ethnic population of the newcomers to maintain the then-current ethnic mix of the country. The idea that everyone can show up at the border and gain entry and residency has never been an American idea, it's just one that people with a globalist mindset want to push on the US and on other Western countries.

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Posted in: H.I.S. cancels travel with 'beautiful girls' campaign after complaints See in context

@kchoze "That being said, how is it sexism?" Maybe "sexist" is more accurate. You could probably answer your own question if you think on it. Anyway, leaving that aside, how callow? These are grownups or junior high school boys? This is an actual company? That makes money? Ad it'd be more "sex-positive" without the focus on weirdo socially castrated man-boys.

How is it sexist? I fail to see how. You might say that it perpetuates a concept that women are objects that men should strive to own, but I think that is a convenient and uncharitable misinterpretation that ignores the fact that, as human beings, we all (or nearly all) desire the companionship and attention of desirable, attractive people, preferably of the opposite gender. Men and women fantasize about this all the time, that's why romance and pornography are such big popular genres in fiction.

The desire to find a desirable mate and companion is one of the main elements of basic human nature. To denounce this desire as "problematic" seems to me as a sign of rejection and even contempt of our shared humanity. Any problem comes when this desire trumps any consideration for other people, using coercion and deception to obtain it, hurting people in that quest to satiate this desire. But that's not the case here, these women in particular were not forced to participate, they attend a prestigious university and have a good future ahead of them, I doubt anyone could claim they have been coerced or deceived into this.

It seems to me your revulsion, and that of many here, is more based on your hatred of the men who would patronize that business than anything else. As if you classify them as "creeps" and your anger comes from a sense that as "creeps" they don't deserve pretty girls' attention, even if obtained willingly for a short while for financial compensation.

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Posted in: H.I.S. cancels travel with 'beautiful girls' campaign after complaints See in context

Men like pretty girls. Color me surprised.

Honestly, it looks pathetic for the men who would want that. I imagine there are few things that would depress me more than thinking that I was so desperate for attention that I was forced to pay for it. I prefer to be alone than do that.

That being said, how is it sexism? Or sexual harassment (as the original article says)? More and more, I think accusations of sexism are just hiding puritanical sex-negative attitudes that are now viewing basic sexual interaction between men and women as inherently bad, as if everyone should be asexual agender blobs rather than actual human beings.

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Posted in: Here’s what Japanese men and women think about cheating See in context

I think that back when people lived in small towns/villages, and only lived until 60 years old, monogamy for life made sense. But now that we live in an age when we are exposed to thousands of people daily, and live until our '80s, only being with the person we married until the day we die has created an unreasonable expectation upon people, which is why you see so much cheating these days.

I agree that marriages are less solid today than back then, but disagree with your assessment as to why.

I think that traditional gender roles where the man worked outside the home to earn income for the family and women worked inside the house was the foundation of a stable marriage, because men and women had complementary tasks. So women depended on men's income and men depended on the women's housework. That created a strong foundation of self-interest for a long-lasting marriage. It may not have been a passionate marriage with love from day 1 to the last day, but it was a solid one. Breaking up would mean the woman has to find another man to replace the income lost, and the man has to find another woman to take care of the home.

Now fast-forward to the modern world. Home appliances have reduced the burden of housework massively. What used to take an entire day (washing clothes) now takes about 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, the need for income has increased and the backlash against traditional gender roles has encouraged society to teach men and women to have the exact same goals for their lives: namely, defining success as success in one's career. As a result, men and women are much less complementary now than back then, in a way, they've become more like roommates who sleep with one another than husband and wife: both have careers, both bring in income into the household, both do little housework (especially the most recent generation). Breaking up such a marriage is far easier, because there is a lot less synergy. The existence of the welfare State also makes divorce an easier proposition for the poorer of the two partners.

In a way, this can explain why traditionally cheating was more tolerated, especially from men. As long as they still provided for their family, cheating on the side was not an existential threat to what was in essence mainly an economic contract. Love may kindle a marriage, but economic necessity kept the flame going.

I'm not saying traditional gender roles were better, I'm just pointing out what seems to me logical.

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Posted in: Trump, Clinton move closer to election showdown See in context

As a left-winger Canadian, if it's up to a race between Hillary and Trump... sigh go Trump.

Hillary Clinton has never seen a war she didn't like. Sure, a few years later when she needs the progressives' votes she bemoans the war, but when has she ever opposed a war when it counted? She was for the Iraq war, she was a major influence in the American intervention in Libya and if it was just about her, the US would have been in Syria to topple Assad... and helping Al-Qaeda.

Donald Trump, for all his boasting, doesn't seem eager to embark on military adventures across the world. As a businessman, I think he sees more value in negotiating than in confronting. Especially with Russia, I think he could stop the meaningless confrontation with the Russians who are not the West's enemies anymore (though the Cold Warriors in Washington don't seem to have gotten the memo). I think he would be much better for the world than Hillary.

Plus, Trump would throw a wrench in the entire neoliberal attempt to deprive countries of national sovereignty through trade deals. So that's a big plus. Hillary on the other hand is bought and paid for by the big banks and has obviously no compulsion about lying to get elected. Before Bernie became a danger, she was running as a center-right moderate, when he got strong, she suddenly rediscovered her progressive roots.

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Posted in: UK support for Brexit rises despite Obama's call, opinion polls show See in context

I hope the Brits stand up and leave the monstrous anti-democratic organization that is the EU, which is becoming more and more a technocracy that has nothing but contempt for the sovereignty of the peoples living in it.

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Posted in: Plans for daycare center scrapped after residents complain of possible noise See in context

I'm guessing the local government could just say "to hell with you shortsighted idiots" and let them build it there. Its just a matter of: do you really need/want it.

The problem is that the local government is elected. Everyone in politics or that follows it knows, a politician can say YES 10 times to a voter, and that voter will have a 50% chance of turning out to vote for him, but if the politician says NO just once to a voter, that voter has a 90% chance of not just turning out to vote against him, but volunteering for his opponent.

That can be a killer, especially in local elections with low turnout rates.

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Posted in: Plans for daycare center scrapped after residents complain of possible noise See in context

Sad to see the NIMBY disease spreading to Japan. I have no sympathy for these whiners who are ready to screw over the parents who raise the future of their community just so they don't hear children playing at 2 PM.

More than that, I'm sure that the majority of people living in the area weren't opposed to it. I know well the dynamic, it's only a very vocal and hysterical minority who opposes this kind of project. The majority of people don't really care, but because they don't care, they don't make their voices heard, giving a false impression that the opponents are the majority. This is not democracy, this is a tyranny by a minority of professional authoritarian whiners.

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Posted in: 'The Force Awakens' wins top honors at MTV Movie Awards See in context

Personally, I hated The Force Awakens with passion. It is a lazy rehash of A New Hope, with a plot that is held together only by impossible coincidences one after the other and no sense of scale and time. And the characters? Dear god, the f-ing characters.

Rey: Mary Sue to the max, like JJ Abrams' 8-year-old fantasy "I want to live in Star Wars, I'd be better than Luke at the Force, better than Han Solo at piloting and fixing things, I'd beat Darth Vader effortlessly and I'd fly around the galaxy in the Millenium Falcon with Chewbacca at my side!"... just gender-flipped. The fact that she's a female character made a lot of people, even critics, refuse to criticize her, if Rey was a male character, he'd have been savaged in the press.

Finn: neat concept but really badly written. He doesn't act like an indoctrinated soldier but like a teenager who just crashed his dad's car and is running away from home, bumbling around like a fool.

Poe: just a pure cardboard character, a total waste of Oscar Isaac's talents. Not surprisingly, this is a character that was supposed to die in the first 15 minutes of the movie but who was miraculously and inexplicably saved.

Han Solo: all the character growth of the Original Trilogy has been eliminated, he's almost a caricature of what he was (like Kirk in Abrams' Star Trek remake).

Kylo Ren: who thought that making the main bad guy a whiny emo kid who removes his helmet when asked to by a prisoner was a good idea? And what is with that absurd "I want to be the bad guy, but the Light Side tempts me!" BS? Congratulations for killing Star Wars canon, Jar-Jar Abrams! The idea of someone WANTING to be bad and finding the Dark Side more difficult than the Light Side is a spit in the face to the very foundation of the Star Wars mythos (the Dark Side is "quicker, easier, more seductive" in the words of Yoda).

I can rant hours about that movie!

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Posted in: With new deal, a refugee's rights come down to luck See in context

Such a deal should have been signed years ago, it would have saved thousands of lives, including that boy whose photo became world famous. The reason why refugees attempt the crossing of the Mediterranean despite the risks is that they think, not without reason, that if they manage it, they have good chances of being able to settle in an European country. It's like dangling a winning 1-million dollar lottery ticket on the other side of the sea and daring people to come and get it, of course thousands will try!

But if Europe had been strict with refugees and sent back every one of them to Turkey and told them to apply for immigration through the proper channels, the flow of refugees risking the Mediterranean would have been stopped. What's the point of risking your life when even if you succeed you'll just be sent back? Europe could have accepted as many refugees as it ended up accepting nonetheless, just through proper channels, without this sea of human bodies and without the thousands of dead on the beaches of Turkey and Greece.

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Posted in: Young couple among 18 publicly caned in Indonesia's Islamic Aceh See in context

Reza Aslan's model "moderate" Muslim State, ladies and gentlemen!

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Posted in: Damning study finds a 'whitewashed' Hollywood See in context

Not as "massively" as you think. Even the census bureau is predicting that Caucasians in America will lost their "majority" by 2043.

Only if you consider Hispanics non-white, and the Hispanics themselves for the most part do consider themselves white and are not that remote from another ethnically European, Catholic population that immigrated in vast numbers before, the Italians. Today, Italians are considered white. Give it a few generations, and most Hispanics may well have integrated the white majority just like the Italians, Portuguese and Irish before them.

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Posted in: Damning study finds a 'whitewashed' Hollywood See in context

This is so ridiculous. Of course Hollywood is going to be massively white, America is still massively white and was even more so in the 80s and earlier when most of today's writers and directors got their start. Blaming Hollywood for being white is like blaming Bollywood for being Indian, or blaming the Japanese movie industry for making movies with Japanese main characters.

Not only that, but they only look at the top movies at the top studios... they're arguing for "inclusion" based on the idea that people like characters who look like them and with whom they can more readily identify. Well, that has a commercial impact, when a company invests 100 million dollars or more in a movie, it tends to err on the side of caution, and choosing a white character will maximize appeal to 70-80% of the market, whereas choosing a black character will only maximize appeal to 13% of the market and an Asian character, less than 5% of the market.

So, duh, of course the national film industry of a nation that is predominantly white will tend to mostly make movies with white characters and trying to appeal to them directly, and that goes even more for the top movies that have huge budgets and that people will be more wary of taking risks with. And there is nothing wrong with that.

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Posted in: Canada excluded from anti-Islamic State coalition meeting See in context

As a Canadian, I couldn't give a rat's a** about the Middle East. The current situation goes back to post-WW1 and European nations (and subsequently the USA) divvying up the landscape and its cultures. Build a bomb, it blows up. Getting our forces out of there is a no-brainer.

Shias and Sunnis have been killing each other for centuries, long before the very short 30-year window where the Middle-East became for a short while protectorates of Europe following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Islam has been used as a rational for war for even longer, here is what Thomas Jefferson reported the Barbary State ambassador replied to him when he asked him why pirates from his country attacked other nations who had one them no harm:

"The Ambassador [of Tripoli] answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise"

Furthermore, the Ottoman Empire was no stranger to civil war or sectarian warfare. In 1860, Muslims slaughtered nearly 20 000 Christians in Lebanon. Let's also not forget the world's first modern genocide done by the Turks against the Armenians.

The blame for this powder keg, I think, should be on the Ottoman Millet system. Under that system, religious communities could govern themselves by their own religious laws, as long as they remained submissive to the Islamic Caliphate that ruled them. This prevented the people of the Empire to identify with a civic, national identity and encouraged religious segregation and the foundation of people's identity on their religion. So, in essence, multiculturalism is to blame. What they would need is nationalism, the establishment of a shared civic national identity for all citizens, the basic cornerstone of all peaceful democratic nations.

Europe and the US are not blameless, but denying the internal causes for these conflicts is actually racist because you are denying that the people living in the area have agency and wills of their own, you are presuming that only the West acts, and everyone else just reacts.

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Posted in: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' smashes box office record See in context

Fadamor, the character in episode IV is actually called Jan Dodonna, but I had to Google it. I'm not sure his name is ever spoken aloud. And you know what? THAT IS A VERY GOOD THING.

That is because the presence of these influential characters who are NOT main characters provide a sense of depth to the universe. When only the main characters seem to do anything, there is no feeling of depth, everything becomes super-contrived to make sure that only the main characters are active, as if the rest of the universe was on standby. And that is where Abrams fails and where Lucas succeeds. Lucas was never afraid to introduce influential characters that aren't main characters, hinting at a deeper backstory and a real, functioning universe. Abrams is of a type of screenwriters and directors who think that restricting as much as possible the script to a small cabal of named protagonists is "tight" writing rather than what it really is: dumb and contrived (ESPECIALLY for an epic like Star Wars). And in order to achieve that, he ignores all rules of distance and time, to be able to bring his protagonists on the scene where the action is, which further kills the feeling of a coherent universe for people who stop and think about what is happening rather than being dazzled by blaster shots and lightsabers.

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Posted in: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' smashes box office record See in context

But that's the real trick isn't it? It's not an actual military organization, it's a wonderful mythical place that is constantly surrounded by back up individuals.

We don't delve into this for the reality of it, that's an asinine line of thinking. We love these movies because these characters exist and are able to do things that wouldn't normally go their way. I can go watch CNN or the Pentagon channel if I wanted what you're asking for.

No, not at all. The reason why Star Wars got so much of a following was that there was a feeling that there was a coherent universe in which these characters evolve. If Star Wars had from the get go been what you are arguing for here, it would never have endured so long. It would have been yet another action movie or trashy swords and sorcery flick (but in space), a disposable movie that one watches once in a while then forgets as soon as it's over. If people kept wanting to go back to that universe, it's because they felt that there were more stories to tell inside that universe, with or without the main characters.

The stories don't need to be super-real, but they need to feel real, it's called suspension of disbelief. When the plot is super contrived as in the case of the recent movie, the movie is much, much weaker. The movies may make money, but in the end, the universe that kept the fans coming will weaken.

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Posted in: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' smashes box office record See in context

The "world" of Star Wars? Because all of those in-depth character developments Lucas did of the patrons at the Mos Eisley Cantina (Greedo, et al) stand in such sharp contrast to the ancillary characters in this movie? I think you're looking back at the old movies with rose-tinted glasses (or watching the digital remakes).

The Star Wars movies launched the Expanded Universe, there are hints everywhere of this being a bigger world with their own factions and societies.

I will try to avoid significant spoilers, but here is one example:

In Episode IV and VI, in the strategy meetings before the Rebels attack the Death Stars, the main characters are largely spectators and other influential members of the Rebellion are presenting the plan, which was already conceived beforehand, referring to analysts and spies behind the scene coming up with information. In this new movie, the strategy meeting is completely ad hoc, and only the main characters talk, as if there was no organization at all in this "Resistance" and the entire "plan" is made up on the spot. There is no rhyme or reason to the way the meeting proceeds, and when it is done, they send Finn, Han and Chewie ALONE on a suicide mission that is crucial to their success. They don't even send commandos with them, just the main characters when their success is essential to their plan.

If you imagine an actual military organization, this makes no sense at all. And that is an example of Abrams' Star Trek not existing outside the main characters, everyone else is just a background decoration. There is no feeling that there is a coherent world in which the action occurs, unlike the original Star Wars trilogy. The lack of notion of distance or time also makes it feel claustrophobic.

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Posted in: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' smashes box office record See in context

I've seen it and I found it awful. It's basically a reboot of A New Hope, the plot is extremely contrived, the characters are largely cardboard and there is no sense of scale or time to the movie. It feels like everything happened in an afternoon and the characters keep finding each other again when they have no business doing so. There is no character evolution, just spontaneous transformations to fit the story.

Worst of all to me, the world of Star Wars is completely sacrificed, only the main characters matter, anything not in their vicinity might as well not exist at all. George Lucas' movies always felt like windows into a real, living and breathing, universe (hence the Expanded Universe), JJ Abrams doesn't give a damn about the world, only about the characters and his cheap, contrived, derivative plot, and so only the main characters ever do anything, everyone else is just filler, background decorations.

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Posted in: Radiation from Fukushima nuclear disaster spreads off U.S. shores See in context

I find rather silly that US is so concerned about 'traces' of isotopes from Fukushima along their shores after that for decades they spread all around the world in an amounts, which are still very traceable, plutonium and a lot of other radioisotopes with thousands of atmospheric nuclear tests that now they fancily ignores (explosions just to test if the paint on their airplanes would have resisted...). No doubt the increase of tumors after WW2 all around the world can be linked also to that: radio isotopes that enter the body - also in very irrelevant amounts contribute - to immune defense deficiency.

Nope. Cancer rates have increased because we've eliminated most other major causes of early deaths. Before the industrialized world, people died of infectious diseases, accidents, famine, etc... Our prosperous societies are now able to reduce these deaths to a minimum, meaning people live longer and longer. Cancer is a natural occurrence which odds increase as time goes on, so because we don't die earlier, our odds of getting cancer in our lifetime are increasing.

Short version: we have to die of something, and we've significantly reduced most other causes, so cancer is what kills us now. Blaming trace amounts of radioactive isotopes is pure unfounded anti-nuclear hysteria.

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Posted in: Toyota launches hydrogen-fueled sedan See in context

Hydrogen vehicles are very easy to make, the technology has been around for years if not decades. Hydrogen cars are basically electric cars that use hydrogen to generate electricity rather than a battery. The problem is that hydrogen is not a source of energy, there is no hydrogen extraction plant pumping out metric tons of the stuff per day, hydrogen is just a way of stocking energy, it still needs to be generated in some way.

To generate hydrogen, you can either use chemical processes that pollute a lot or do water hydrolysis, where you subject water to strong electric currents in a machine that allows it to separate in its components of hydrogen and oxygen, then recover hydrogen, stock it and distribute it to fuel cell vehicles. But that energy has to come from somewhere, so hydrogen vehicles are just like electric battery vehicles in being only as clean as the power source for the electricity they use.

Furthermore, hydrogen is a gas, so stocking big quantities of it to have an adequate fuel range is hard and any failure of the containment chamber will lead to the rapid dispersion of hydrogen in the environment. For now, the cost of providing batteries for electric vehicles has been judged less expensive than providing for the complex infrastructure required to distribute hydrogen to hydrogen vehicles.

The main advantage of hydrogen over classic electric vehicles is that an hydrogen car can quickly be refueled, just like a traditional gasoline car, whereas a battery takes a long time to recharge.

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Posted in: Documentary looks at why Japanese parents let young kids walk to school by themselves See in context

Sorry, the US figure should be around 3,000 per year.

According to the FBI, in 2013, 1 027 people under 18 were murdered, 393 between the age of 5 and 16: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_2_murder_victims_by_age_sex_and_race_2013.xls

So yeah, Japanese kids are no less safe than American kids who are driven everywhere by their parents, in fact, they are much safer.

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Posted in: Documentary looks at why Japanese parents let young kids walk to school by themselves See in context

This is mainly a matter of urbanism, I think. Japanese cities are eminently walkable and dense enough for a 15,20-minute walk to suffice to reach all proximity stores and services, and they have train networks that extend almost everywhere. Getting around without a car is easy and safe. Even the streets are generally well designed for pedestrians, whether these are the narrow residential streets that force traffic to go elsewhere or crawl at very low speeds or the wide, comfortable sidewalks on most arterial streets with trees or poles at the curb to keep cars away from pedestrians and cyclists.

In North America (and Australia I guess), it's completely different. Since WWII, cities have been designed to facilitate car travel almost exclusively. Everything is built to favor fast car travel, forgetting that straight, wide roads don't allow pedestrians to walk any faster. Low residential density means that few people tend to reside within reasonable walking distance of their local school, and this often requires crossing fast 4+-lane arterial streets that feel unsafe even for adults. As a result, most kids are driven to school, either by their parents or in school buses. Likewise, since most stores and other amenities are beyond walking distance of most homes, kids have little incentive to leave their house and explore their neighborhood, they are utterly dependent on their parents chauffeuring them around and providing everything for them.

There is also a cycle in place, where the more parents drive their kids to school, the more traffic there is around schools when kids arrive or leave, which makes it more dangerous to walk or bike there, and so pushes the remaining parents to also consider driving their kids to school to protect them from the other parents driving around school.

The walkability of Japanese cities also allows kids to stay after schools at clubs far more easily. The club culture of Japanese schools would be basically impossible to achieve in schools dependent on school buses with fixed schedules or parent chauffeuring.

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Posted in: Radiation fears as report shows Fukushima fir trees to be growing strangely See in context

There is something called publication bias that may be relevant here. Basically, when scientists study something, they can do a lot of studies searching for interesting correlations. When they don't find a correlation., they will frequently not even bother publishing the study. It's only when they find something interesting that they will publish. For example, if there are 10 studies on the links between violence in video games and aggressive behavior in gamers and that 8 of them show no correlation, but 2 show some correlation, these latter 2 studies may be published while the first 8 are ignored. So people who follow the media will only hear about the studies that say there is a correlation, giving a false impression of studies 9n the subject.

In this case, the group in question admit they study a lot of different species of plants and animals to try and find some effect they can correlate with radiation. They talk of fir trees only... How many species did they study? Why don't they talk of the results of their studies in other species? If radiation was the culprit, wouldn't it be affecting EVERY species of plant and animal to some degree?

If the only tree species that seems affected is fir trees and other trees keep growing normally, I would be looking at a fir tree-specific cause, not at radiation, which should be affecting all species.

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Posted in: Time for black or gay 007, says Brosnan See in context

This is ridiculous. James Bond is an established character and he is a white male womanizer. If you make him black or gay, he's no longer James Bond, he's another character entirely. There is more than enough room in fiction to add as many characters as diverse as can be without the need to go back and replace established characters.

I get the feeling that "diversity" is becoming a dog-whistle for "anti-white, anti-male". To the "diversity" crowd, adding new non-white, non-male characters is secondary to erasing white male characters, which seems to be their primary aim.

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Posted in: Kyushu Electric says no special precautions needed over volcano See in context

Well, the nuclear fear-mongers are out in force today! Seriously, the plant is 52 km away and there are mountains between it and Sakurajima. Even Mt Vesuvius's worst eruptions had a radius of about 15 km only.

Even if there was an eruption that did affect the plant, it would be the least of our worries. Any problem with the nuclear plant would be obscured by the more than 1 million dead of the Kagoshima region.

Anyway, feel free to downvote me as you always do to anyone who brings logic and facts into any discussion on nuclear power.

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Posted in: Tourism boom drives Japan to convert offices into hotels See in context

M3M3M3, you provide an example of why I'm more and more opposed to local "democracy" in urban planning, which is in fact allowing the tyranny of a few permanent whiners to prevent cities from evolving. Some zoning laws may be justified, but a few simple rules focused on avoiding a few negative externalities, like the Japanese have, is all that is needed. I'm not a developer, I'm an urban resident who loves dynamic cities that grow and live, and people like you are the reason many cities are stuck in a runt, never evolving, just slowly dying while suburbs sprawl more and more because developments pushed away from cities have to go somewhere.

As to Venice, you have been had. Wheeled suitcases have not been banned, the ban affects only handcarts and transpallets used by city's merchants to carry goods, the weight and regular passage of them on old pavement is damaging them. Tourists don't travel with their suitcases all the time, they only do it once when going to the hotel, and once when leaving, as these suitcases are cumbersome.

Again, you prove how people who WANT to find a reason to oppose something will come up with anything at all to rationalize their irrational opposition to projects.

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