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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Links - 16th September 2014

Affair with study mama a 'painful lesson' - "One afternoon, he came home and found Ah Bing "asleep on the sofa", clad only in a towel. She was "shocked" by his return and apologised profusely before hurrying into her room. The same scene was repeated a week later. He looks at his wife, then says: "All I want to say is, I reacted like a normal man under that circumstance.""

What liberals get wrong about single payer - "insurers aren’t where the big profits in the health-care system go. In 2009, Forbes ranked health insurance as the 35th most profitable industry, with an anemic 2.2 percent return on revenue. To understand why the U.S. health-care system is so expensive, you need to travel higher up the Forbes list. The pharmaceutical industry was in third place, with a 19.9 percent return, and the medical products and equipment industry was right behind it, with a 16.3 percent return. Meanwhile, doctors are more likely than members of any other profession to have incomes in the top 1 percent... The dirty truth about American health care is that it costs more not because insurers are so powerful, but because they’re so weak... That leaves the United States with the worst of both approaches: Prices aren’t set by the market, but they also aren’t set by the government... as is often the case, political power flows in part from popularity. So politicians who routinely rail against for-profit insurers are scared to criticize -- much less legislate against -- for-profit hospitals, doctors or device manufacturers (though drug companies come in for a drubbing now and then). These are the people who work every day to save our lives, even if they make us pay dearly for the privilege. No one cheers when you take them on."

If Singapore stat boards had hipster logos… | just random designs

Bring back mandatory military service in the US and UK - "The only way to keep a rein on our nations' military activities may be to make sure everyone is directly involved in them"
One wonders why the Greek city states were always at war with each other, given that the adults (not their children) fought in the armies
Comment: "I'm rather surprised the author has never heard of Suez, Cyrpus, Malaya, Korea or indeed the Mau Mau insurgency. All fought post war by British conscripts."

The left's irrational fear of American intervention | Niall Ferguson - "Not for the first time, human rights violations by a Middle Eastern tyrant pose a dilemma for leftists on both sides of the Atlantic. On the one hand, they don't like reading about people being gassed. On the other, they are deeply reluctant to will the means to end the killing, for fear of acknowledging that western – meaning, in practice, American – military power can be a force for good. Ever since the 1990s, when the United States finally bestirred itself to end the post-Yugoslav violence in the Balkans, I have made three arguments that the left cannot abide. The first is that American military power is the best available means of preventing crimes against humanity. The second is that, unfortunately, the US is a reluctant "liberal empire" because of three deficits: of manpower, money and attention. And the third is that, when it retreats from global hegemony, we shall see more not less violence... Inaction is a policy that also has consequences measurable in terms of human life. The assumption that there is nothing worse in the world than American empire is an article of leftwing faith. It is not supported by the historical record."

You Can Buy An Entire Italian Village For $330,000 On eBay

Survey finds quite a number of S’poreans are backstabbing foodies in the office

$10 potato salad Kickstarter idea nets $35,000 in pledges for Columbus man

Germany’s energy transition: Sunny, windy, costly and dirty | The Economist - "An average household now pays an extra €260 ($355) a year to subsidise renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive than rivals from America, where energy prices are falling thanks to the fracking boom... Cost is not the only problem with the Energiewende. It has in effect turned the entire German energy industry into a quasi-planned economy with perverse outcomes. At certain times on some days, sun and wind power may provide almost all German electricity. But the sun does not always shine, especially in winter, and the wind is unpredictable. And “batteries”—storage technologies that, for example, convert power to gas and back again to electricity—on a scale sufficient to supply a city are years away. Nuclear-power plants are being phased out (this week’s court decision that the closure of a plant in Hesse was illegal will raise costs even more, as it may entitle the operator to more compensation). So conventional power plants have to stay online in order to assure continuous supply. The Energiewende has, in effect, upset the economics of building new conventional power plants, especially those fired by gas, which is cleaner but more expensive than coal. So existing coal plants are doing more duty. Last year electricity production from brown coal (lignite), the least efficient and dirtiest sort, reached its highest level since 1990. Gas-fired power production, by contrast, has been declining (see chart). In effect, the Energiewende has so far increased, not decreased, emissions of greenhouse gases."

Should Other Nations Follow Germany's Lead On Promoting Solar Power? - "Solar power itself is a good thing, but Germany’s pro-renewables policy has been a disaster. It has the absurd distinction of completing the trifecta of bad energy policy:
Bad for consumers
Bad for producers
Bad for the environment (yes, really; I’ll explain)
Pretty much the only people who benefit are affluent home-owners and solar panel installation companies"

Idle warning - "It is, in fact, an offence to leave your engine running when your car is stationary - something many motorists polled by The New Paper said they did not know... An environmental engineer, who wanted to be known only as Miss Tan, said that leaving a car engine switched on for under 30 minutes would not make a difference. She said: "In fact, when you switch the engine off and back on, you're also contributing gases into the atmosphere because of the ignition's combustion. "Switching your engine off and leaving your car by the side of the road makes it dangerous for yourself, especially if there are other vehicles driving by. What if you need to suddenly move off, but can't?""
In other countries, you at least have a grace period. In Singapore, even 1 second of idling is theoretically an offence

Caitlin Self's answer to Culture of India: Why do Indians like to give wrong directions? - Quora - "Cultures are classified by being high-context and low-context. Cultures that are "low-context" tend to be more direct, and are not afraid to give blunt information or to say no. One of the lowest context cultures is Germany, but the U.S. is also considered a low-context culture. You ask a question, you get a straight answer in the form of WORDS. (This is key.)
High-context cultures are those that build their cultures around context clues (at least, that's how I like to remember it). You must not only listen to their words, but also the context of those words. Are their eyes shifting around? Are they moving uncomfortably? They might not be using their WORDS, but they're still trying to give you a straight answer, you just might not speak their cultural language. A lot of this relies on body language, an understanding of the culture, and the knowledge that high-context cultures don't like to say no, or they don't normally admit they don't know something. For this reason, many cultures tend to seem to "give wrong directions." In reality, you might not be reading their context clues, or they might be too afraid to actually say "no."

PRC couple file police report over Singaporean secretly taking their photo in MRT

Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says - "What’s more, the report says, the number of full-time faculty and staff members per professional or managerial administrator has declined 40 percent, to around 2.5 to 1... And the kicker: You can’t blame faculty salaries for the rise in tuition. Faculty salaries were "essentially flat" from 2000 to 2012, the report says. And "we didn't see the savings that we would have expected from the shift to part-time faculty"... Faculty members typically don't deal with legal disputes, government regulations, athletics compliance, or intervention in mental-health, sexual-assault, or disabilities issues—that’s the professional staff's job, she said."

“The Daily Show”: Anti-vaxxers are the climate-denying “nutjobs” of the left

China LOL's new "Security" feature bans any English computer : leagueoflegends

Chinese officials debate why China can’t make a soap opera as good as South Korea’s - "At a meeting of delegates from the culture and entertainment industry, some blamed it partly on China’s censorship, euphemistically referred to as the “examination and approval system” at the meeting by Feng Xiaogang, a famous director and a CPPCC member. “My heart trembles,” he said, when waiting for a movie to go through this rigorous censoring procedure... Many viewed the popularity of the Korean drama as a heavy blow to Chinese confidence in their culture. “It is more than just a Korean soap opera. It hurts our culture dignity,”one CPPCC member said... While China has long considered itself the source of East Asian culture, the domination of Japanese comics and Korean soap operas in Chinese pop culture challenges that view... But, he said, the Korean soap opera also highlights how the Chinese value aspects of their traditional culture that can be seen in the drama. “The core and soul of the Korean opera is a distillation of traditional Chinese culture,” Wang said. “It just propagates traditional Chinese culture in the form of a TV drama.”"
How about JAV?

Russian Man Pretends to Die Before Proposing - "“I was so cross I almost killed him again, but for real this time,” she told Orange News."

How a River Otter Can Bag an Alligator for Lunch

Diego Noriega Mendoza's answer to Cinematography: Why do people feel strange when they see unexplained explosions in Power Rangers? - Quora - "Ask yourself which is more believable: Harry Potter killing Voldemort through the use of Expecto Patronexpeliarmus Kedavra, or Harry Potter killing Voldemort using a Barrett M107 coupled with a high precision scope? We are willing to take something that lacks verisimilitude, provided that it lies within what we consider to be acceptable and possible in the make believe world the filmmaker has built for us."

FiveFingers Maker Will Pay Millions To Suckers Who Bought Its Shoes - "Science takes time, and since the advent of Christopher McDougall's best-selling Born to Run (a book based mainly on anecdote that sparked the minimalist footwear revolution), science has discovered that barefoot running can really fuck you up. "This study showed that increases in bone marrow edema [the precursor to a stress fracture] are more common in subjects who were transitioning to the [Vibram FiveFingers]," concluded this 2013 study. In penance for its crimes against fashion and humanity, Vibram has placed $3.75 million into escrow. Those funds will go to the fitness idiots who purchased a pair after March 21, 2009, with up to $94 for each in an effort to help your friends and family not shudder when looking at your feet.

that didnt last very long

Monday, September 15, 2014

Published Opinion vs Public Opinion

"It is... notoriously difficult to get the measure of public opinion, and we should be wary of any judgement that relies exclusively on newspaper commentaries —'published opinion’ and ‘public opinion‘ are not the same thing. The Emperor may have lost ‘the aura of the sovereign who is above criticism,’ wrote one foreign observer in the autumn of 1908, when William II was engulfed in a scandal over tactless utterances published in the London Daily Telegraph. ‘But with all the personal magnetism that he possesses, he will always retain an immense ascendancy in the eyes of the mass of his subjects.' William's invocations of divine providence were the laughing stock of the quality papers, but they struck a sympathetic chord with the more plebeian theological tastes of many humbler Germans. By the same token, his outspoken denunciations of avant-garde art appeared ludicrous and retrograde to the cultural intelligentsia, but made sense to those more numerous cultural consumers who believed that art ought to provide escapism and edification. In Bavaria, the ceremonies of the ‘imperial cult' (parades, unveilings and the jubilee celebrations of 1913) attracted the mass attendance not only of the middle classes, but also of peasants and tradesmen.“ Even within the Social Democratic milieu of the industrial regions, there appears to have been a gulf between the critical perspective of the SPD elite and that of the mass of SPD supporters, among whom the Emperor was perceived as the embodiment of a ‘patriarchal-providential principle'. The conversations recorded by police informers in the taverns of Hamburg's working-class districts registered some disparaging, but also many supportive and even affectionate comments about ‘our William'. Substantial (if not precisely quantifiable) reserves of imperial-royalist capital did accumulate in German society. It would take the social transformations and political upheavals of a world war to consume them."

--- Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 / Christopher Clark

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Links - 13th September 2014

Why Does Scotland Want Independence? It’s Culture vs. Economics - - "It seems slightly bonkers for Scots to get so frustrated about ceding power to bureaucrats in London and turn immediately to bureaucrats in Brussels, but there it is"
Dear iPhone 6 users: Welcome to 2012! (image) - ""If you need help with your iPhone's new features, just ask an Android user. We've had this stuff for years"

Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America - "Berkeley linguistics professor John McWhorter, born at the dawn of the post-Civil Rights era, spent years trying to make sense of this question. Now he dares to say the unsayable: racism's ugliest legacy is the disease of defeatism that has infected black America. Losing the Race explores the three main components of this cultural virus: the cults of victimology, separatism, and antiintellectualism that are making blacks their own worst enemies in the struggle for success."

Ethnicity and conflict: theory and facts. - "Over the second half of the 20th century, conflicts within national boundaries became increasingly dominant. One-third of all countries experienced civil conflict. Many (if not most) such conflicts involved violence along ethnic lines. On the basis of recent theoretical and empirical research, we provide evidence that preexisting ethnic divisions do influence social conflict. Our analysis also points to particular channels of influence. Specifically, we show that two different measures of ethnic division--polarization and fractionalization--jointly influence conflict, the former more so when the winners enjoy a "public" prize (such as political power or religious hegemony), the latter more so when the prize is "private" (such as looted resources, government subsidies, or infrastructures). The available data appear to strongly support existing theories of intergroup conflict. Our argument also provides indirect evidence that ethnic conflicts are likely to be instrumental, rather than driven by primordial hatreds."
Viewing ethnic conflicts as only about race is seductively simplistic

California affirmative-action ban: Why liberals should let it stand. - "UCLA and UC–Berkeley are far more socioeconomically diverse than most selective colleges. In 2011–12, the proportion of students eligible for Pell grants (federal financial aid for lower-income students) at UCLA was 38 percent and at Berkeley 37 percent, compared with just 13 percent at another top public institution, the University of Virginia. These steps helped accomplish what education is supposed to do—promote social mobility. But they are likely to disappear if universities can go back to recruiting by race. Prestige-conscious universities receive no points from the U.S. News & World Report rankings for admitting low-income students. They’re actually “diverting” funding from things that will boost rankings... To their credit, universities care about racial diversity, perhaps because the lack of it is visible. But they generally do not aggressively pursue socioeconomic diversity except where race has been taken off the table and recruiting low-income students is the next best way to achieve racial diversity. The second major reason that liberals should be concerned about a return of racial preferences is the one raised by the Chinese-American protesters: The shift would hurt Asian-Americans, who have suffered their own history of discrimination"

A German Man Was Evicted Because His Sex Swing Was Too Squeaky - "A German court ruled Friday that a landlady had the right to evict a tenant who broke his rental agreement of keeping quiet between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. by using his “very old,” loud, chain sex swing"

What your doctor wishes you would ask about sex - ""There's this idea that women want to be magically carried off into the bedroom" to spark arousal, explained Foley. But even when women don't initially feel in the mood, said Foley, they may want to make time and effort for sexual intimacy. "Don't expect it to look like Madonna in one of her musical videos singing 'I want it. I want it,'" said Foley, referring to a lyric in the Michigan-bred pop star's 1989 song "Hanky Panky." "Instead, think that once I start being touched and touch my partner," said Foley, "my body will remind me of how much I want it.""
More problems with 'enthusiastic consent'

Dad Calls Cops on Son to Teach Him a Lesson, Cops Shoot Son Dead - "James Comstock told the Des Moines Register he called the police on his son Tyler after the latter took the former's truck in retaliation for refusing to buy him cigarettes. Ames Police Officer Adam McPherson reportedly spotted the lawn care company vehicle and pursued it onto the Iowa State University campus, where a brief standoff ensued after Tyler allegedly refused orders to turn off the engine. McPherson eventually fired six shots into the truck, two of which struck Tyler who was later pronounced dead. The official report claims the action was necessary in order "to stop the ongoing threat to the public and the officers." Tyler's dad says he was unarmed at the time."

American shares contacts of almost 100 Singapore girls he slept with on Craigslist - "During these 4 years, I've bedded 65 Chinese women, 13 Malay ladies, 5 Indians and 9 Eurasian girls.... All very friendly and wonderful sex partners. About 70% were single, the rest married. The one thing common among all of them is that they love sex and other than a half dozen of them, seem to only want to be fucked by Caucasians (at least that's the impression I got from our conversation)"

Answer to What does it feel like to be hit on as a woman? - Quora - "It's really annoying.
A few weeks ago I went to the beach on the prettiest day ever to walk around and take photos and read for a few hours. I left after one hour, because my day was literally going like this:
5 minutes of reading. Interruption by a dude wanting to hit on me. 15 minutes of trying to get rid of him politely.
5 minutes of reading. Another interruption by a dude. 15 more minutes of getting hit on.
Pack up my stuff and go for a walk, because maybe if I'm moving dudes won't bug me so much. Accidentally make eye contact with a passerby. Get hit on by passerby. Tell passerby 3 times that no, I don't want to go get lunch with him and no, I don't want a tour of the downtown.
Walk down the beach some more. Get hit on by three dudes while taking photos of waves. Give one my number just so he'll leave me alone. Save his number in my phone so I know not to answer when he calls.
Leave beach and look for someplace I can read my book in peace."

Rosie Law's answer to What does it feel like to be hit on as a woman? - Quora - "It can be very flattering, but mainly it tends to be annoying. It can be much like being stuck, in the middle of the High Street, by market researchers! You don't want what they're offering, you've told them that you're not interested, but they still keep pestering you in the hope that they can persuade you to change your mind."

I’ve Raped Countless Women—According to Feminists - "If you want to get angry at a bunch of stupid feminist broads, check out this collection of these signs... worse than her sanctimonious expression is what her sign actually says: “I need FEMINISM because men can still RAPE even without laying a hand on a woman.” Now that is one talented man, let me just say. I’ve never heard of such an ability as to rape someone while your hands are basically tied behind your back (and hopefully the guy’s in jail so he never demonstrates his act on me). Of course what this radical feminist is saying is that ogling women is tantamount to rape, and that she needs feminism (as if abstract ideas can be in one’s possession) until that day when men get their choice (choice!) taken away as to whether or not they may direct their eyeballs in the direction of a female."

The coolest, weirdest Internet community you’ll never be able to join - "Bushfield is the one-man impresario behind LearnedLeague, a booming, invitation-only, underground trivia competition I joined two years ago"

Queen Victoria’s Secret Scottish Sex Castle - "Victoria’s grief at the premature death of Albert from typhoid in 1861 was as intense as her passion for him when alive – she became the epitome of the inconsolable widow perpetually in black and invariably sour in temperament. That is, until a rough-tongued Scotsman rekindled the flame."

Jose Canaura - Mobile Uploads - "So I was nominated for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I'm not going to participate nor will I pay the donation money. With a little bit of research, fairly simple, I found the following. As of 2012, ALSA has directed only 7.71% of its budget to Research"

That awkward moment when you haven't unlocked your boyfriend as a playable character yet.

People Keep Getting Into Strangers' Cars Because They Think It's An Uber

Draper Kauffman's answer to What does it feel like to be a male who pretends to be a female online? - Quora - "I swapped accounts with her, and you won't be surprised to find out that when I was writing as her, I got all the same sexist shit, and when she was writing as me, she got treated with considerably more respect. So was it the perceived gender, not the writing style, that made the difference? Probably, because the difference was immediate. But I was also intrigued by the fact that our writing styles did gradually shift. Hers became more direct and concise, and I found myself trying to sound more sympathetic to people's emotions and stress levels and writing things like, "It's important to all of us to maintain a level of civil discourse, so it would be helpful if you would be less confrontational in these situations," instead of, "Stop flaming everyone or we'll boot you!"... A decade or so later, playing WoW, I was amused at how people treated female toons differently, even though most people were aware that many (most?) female characters were being played by male players. Random strangers were much more helpful, but also less likely to accept advice, if you switched from a male character to a female character. I also had the impression that male players seemed more cooperative and less confrontational when playing female characters than when playing male characters. So, again, it's a chicken and egg question. Do male players change behavior when playing female toons, and thereby elicit different responses from others? Or do the different responses elicit the changed behavior? Or is it a mutual reinforcing loop based in part on real interactions and in part on our knowledge of the expected differences in gender roles? My hunch is the latter, but I think that we really do automatically adopt the gender identities of our avatars to a considerable extent."

Get Peppy Or Get Out

Get Peppy Or Get Out - New York Times

Much has been written about football players as a disturbed overclass, but on Super Bowl Sunday, let's not neglect that other all-American totem: the cheerleader. Once content with frothy squeals, today's cheerleaders can boast that their athletic, high-difficulty displays cause more deaths and injuries than any high-school or college women's sport. Driven to interpersonal frenzies, they can also get downright nasty:

*Last fall, two high-school cheerleaders from Bainbridge Island, Wash., spiked the drink of a fellow cheerleader with vomit-inducing ipecac syrup. Although police discounted the incident as a possible prank, Ann Noble, mother of a cheerleader who wasn't involved, disagreed. ''They wanted to put her out of the game,'' she said, ''because they didn't think she was a good enough cheerleader.''

*Citing safety concerns, Andrews High School in Andrews, Tex., prohitibted Callie Smartt, who has cerebral palsy and led cheers in a wheelchair, from traveling to away games and cheering on the sideline at home games. Her colleagues' reaction: relief. ''It was like she was forced on us,'' the head cheerleader, Jennifer Francis, told a local paper. ''We got sick of it.''

*Karen Reamey, the mother of a junior-varsity cheerleader in Rustburg, Va., was recently convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery for shoving, punching and ripping the wig off another cheerleader's mother in the middle of a squad practice. Motive? An argument over a $5 fee for after-practice cheerleader snacks.
Reacting to the form's broader pathologies, the X-Cheerleaders, a New York-based group of dancers and former cheerleaders, perform feminist cheers at venues all over the country. Though their shows poke fun at cheerleading's misdeeds, a co-director, Jody Oberfelder, still prefers cheering to football. ''I can't get very excited about people running into each other,'' says Oberfelder, who is skipping the Super Bowl. ''Cheerleaders are powerful women doing amazing group acrobatics. It's those silly uniforms that make them look like Barbie dolls.''

Friday, September 12, 2014

Japanese male porn stars rarer than Bengal Tigers: actor

Japan's vast pornography industry is desperately short of men, one actor claims, insisting even the endangered Bengal Tiger is more numerous.

A veteran porn star known only as Shimiken says he is one of just 70 male actors, with just a handful of them doing all the heavy lifting.

"Everyday I meet the same people and see the same names on scripts," he said on Twitter under his @shimiken username last month, adding the number was "lower than that of Bengal Tigers".

Quite why there aren’t enough willing participants is a mystery to Shimiken: "This job is like an Aladdin’s Cave, in many senses."

"In contrast, the number of porn actresses is as high as 10,000, with 4,000 movies released every month," Shimiken said. "We lack porn actors here."

The huge imbalance in the field stands in marked contrast to other areas of employment in Japan, where men outnumber women. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared he wants 30 per cent of senior positions occupied by women by 2020.

The number of tigers in the world has fallen drastically from around 100,000 in the early 20th century to about 4,000 today, according to the international conservation body, WWF.

Most Bengal tigers live in India, where a little over 1,700 are found, according to another conservation group, the IUCN Global Species Programme.

Everyone's A Little Bit Racist

"I was talking about racist comments with my therapist, who's an Indian by the way, and we had so much laughter over it. He told me that he believes everyone is racist, which i find appalling, and after his explanation, I can agree to his point. One being, as born and bred Singaporeans, we had kinda seen enough racist during the early days, when I was a kid in fact. However, once when we are able to overlook the race issue, and just accept ourselves as who we are, racist comments does not affect us at all. Instead, it provides a platform to laugh about oneself, and to share it with other races. Like my Indian therapist will tell me the racist comments about Indians, and he laughs about it, and I shared by version of Chinese racist jokes. The idea being, we are living in a multiracial country, and it is a fact. There's no need to pretend that at times we havn't no racist thoughts. To pretend that we are not racist is quite a joke. Everyone is racist in minor ways. The fact that I do not date my own race, as a chinese, I never had a chinese partner. That act itself made me a racist in his point of view. So in other words, racist comments will not hurt us, if we can learn to laugh about it, the absurdity of it, or the slight truth in it. It is about how the individual reacts and the interactions amongst human that make a racist comment vile or simply a laughable topic to share. Being a gay chinese woman, my favourite racist comment has always been 'the straightest part of a chinese person is only the hair'. Personally I think it is funny. It's the perception of it. For usually, one tells a racist joke in the idea of joke, but also the connotation to bring another race down. But it also help one to learn how to laugh at oneself, and put perspective on a lighter note. Instead of seeing it as a form of vile triggers. Ultimately, the simple fact that there are different races itself is a universal truth. And that despite of the fact that we pretend that we are not racist, or try had to be a non racist, we are born racist. But of course, it all boils down to individuals, who makes the how racist ideology malicious, or we just simply live with the fact and enjoy the ride. For we know, that if we don't give it the attention it wants, that vileness can't hurt nobody."

The Same: From my understanding, it is a natural thing for humans to distrust and show fear and aggression towards other humans whom we choose to believe, are different from ourselves. It could be a religion thing, a race thing, a sexuality thing, it could be of a nation thing. I am having problem understanding the issue of naming and categorizing types of people. Like Racist and Xenophobes.
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