"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Links - 5th June 2010

"Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so." - Gore Vidal

***

Schumpeter: Overstretched | The Economist - "63% of workers say that their employers do not appreciate their extra effort. And 57% feel that employees are treated like dispensable commodities. Half report that their current level of work is unsustainable... Absenteeism is on the rise. Low-level corporate crime is growing. Corporate loyalty is on the wane. The Corporate Leadership Council reports that the proportion of workers who are willing to put in “discretionary effort” has dropped by almost half since 2007, while the share of respondents who claim that they are “disengaged” from their jobs has risen from a tenth to a fifth. But “discretionary effort” and “engagement” are vital sources of the innovation and creativity that companies claim to value so highly. The biggest danger for companies is if workers head for the door as the economy picks up"
Alternatively, they can try going on telling their workers to be Cheaper, Better, Faster - and see what happens

Evolutionary Psychology FAQ - "Today, apparently, a number of thinkers have, like the Catholic Church, also grounded their moral and political views in certain scientific assumptions about the world. In this case, these are scientific assumptions about human nature (mainly that there isn't one). Consequently, any body of theory and research which calls these assumptions into question will be seen as quite threatening. The problem, of course, is not with those who claim on theoretical and empirical grounds that there is a human nature, it is with those who have succumbed to the temptation to ground their theology in assumptions about humans which are scientifically testable. This is especially unwise because the science of human behavior and psychology is extraordinarily undeveloped... Research which calls into question assumptions underlying popular moral and political views will then unfortunately find itself attacked on extra-scientific grounds. Such research will, in effect, be viewed as heresy. The solution? Don't base your moral or political views on supposed 'facts' about human nature!...
Q: What are your politics? (Translation: Doesn't evolutionary psychology have a crypto conservative political agenda?)
A: Sigh. It shouldn't matter, but of course it does. In case anyone is interested (and I hope no one is), I'm a liberal Democrat"

School to toughen up 'sissy' boys - " Qinlinglu Elementary School in Zhengzhou, Henan province, has launched an initiative called 'Looking for a Real Man' to encourage boys to act more like boys. As part of this the youngsters are taught how to act more masculine and must take an oath swearing to act like 'real men'... During class breaks their favorite game is elastic band skipping, which is a typical girl's game. And the boys are very fragile. If we just scold them a bit they will cry out loudly. In contrast, he says the girls at the school are becoming wilder and wilder."

Expelled activists describe cold-blooded killings - "Israel has gone mad and it will not continue to exist forever."
His comment reveals the activists' real aim

Is This Woman Too Hot To Be a Banker? - "This is the way Debbie Lorenzana tells it: Her bosses told her they couldn't concentrate on their work because her appearance was too distracting. They ordered her to stop wearing turtlenecks. She was also forbidden to wear pencil skirts, three-inch heels, or fitted business suits. Lorenzana, a 33-year-old single mom, pointed out female colleagues whose clothing was far more revealing than hers: "They said their body shapes were different from mine, and I drew too much attention," she says."
It's revealing that her lawyer made her take very conservative pictures for her lawsuit. And all her jobs seem to have been sales jobs - and it's unsurprising she excelled in all of them.

Sigh. Another Conference Against Porn | Good Vibrations Magazine - "It’s really problematic that they usually make sweeping statements about porn without acknowledging that when they talk about “porn,” the term gets used to cover all sexually explicit material, even though porn is much more diverse than they describe. Although it’s in the minority, there’s a growing amount of porn that challenges, questions, and subverts the mainstream industry and they’re usually left out. of the discussion For that matter, there’s plenty of gay porn that, while it doesn’t necessarily challenge notions of sex, certainly doesn’t fit their analyses of how porn affects women simply because there aren’t any women in these movies. There’s also heterosexual porn that shows people having fun, without themes of nonconsensual domination, humiliation, or degradation. If they used some/many/most language in their analysis, they would actually make it more valid because they would actively challenge the idea that all porn has to be a certain way. Also missing from their critiques is any questioning or reflection upon the goals and needs that people are trying to meet by watching porn. In my experience as a sex educator, there are lots of reasons people are interested in porn... I wouldn’t be pointing out that these folks don’t have much understanding around the experiences of men and porn if they weren’t already making all sorts of declarations about the reasons men watch porn and the effects that it may have on them... I’d much rather work towards solutions than complain about problems. Maybe these folks could do the same, but I’m not holding my breath. If you want to check out some of the porn that comes from a different angle, take a look at Good Releasing, our very own production line. You could also try Jiz Lee, No Fauxxx, Pink & White Productions, Courtney Trouble, Comstock Films, Furry Girl, Ruby’s Diary, or Candida Royalle"

Norwegian Boy saves Sister from Moose Attack using World of Warcraft Skills - "Hans knew the first thing he had to do was ‘taunt’ and provoke the animal so that it would leave his sister alone and she could run to safety... Once Hans was a target, he remembered another skill he had picked up at level 30 in ‘World of Warcraft’ – he feigned death. The moose lost interest in the inanimate boy and wandered off into the woods"

How Superstitions Improve Performance

Porn Stars in 3-D Lure Consumers in Japan to Sony, Panasonic Televisions

Today's Alternative Marriage Styles: The Case of Swingers - "Swingers surveyed are the white, middle-class, middle-aged, church-going segment of the population reported in earlier studies, but when it comes to attitudes about sex and marriage they are less racist, less sexist, and less heterosexist than the general population. Swinging appears to make the vast majority of swingers' marriages happier, and swingers rate the happiness of their marriages and life satisfaction generally as higher than the non-swinging population"

Thai Politics | Erotic Massage | Happy Ending - "Chuvit made his fortune in Bangkok running lucrative “soapies”: luxury massage parlors where women treat patrons to erotic baths... 'People still think of you as the “Brothel King.” But in 2005 you smashed a jacuzzi bathtub in front of parliament to show you’re out of that business'... 'The media says I’m a sex merchant, a sex tycoon. Whatever. But I quit already! They’re massage parlors, OK? It’s not immoral... Society, like in Thailand or Asia, everyone runs in a group. In the U.S., you sit at a bar to drink alone and nobody blames you. But Thai people doing this? They’ll say, “What’s wrong with you? Are you broken-hearted?”... People say, “Mr. Chuvit, you're the massage parlor king. Why get into politics?” Because politics has a lot of dirty people. I'm like the massage parlor. I'm gonna clean them all up... Thai people are always talking so nice, even when they’re lying. It’s difficult to see inside them. When I ran my campaign, people would come up and say, "Oh, Mr. Chuvit, I chose you!" I know they’re lying. Why? Because I never win... My political policy is very short. It's love. If the Red Shirts love the [rival-political faction] Yellow Shirts, if the Yellow Shirts love Red Shirts, do you know how much this country would move forward? You just have to love your country, love your king, love your society. All we need is love.'
I wonder if there're translation issues

Get trained, change jobs - "MORE workers who receive training are changing jobs... Almost three in 10 workers with Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) training had changed jobs, compared with two in 10 workers without such training, according to a government study of labour mobility between June 2007 and June 2009."
Moral of the story: Don't send your staff for training!

Islamic Foundation calls for death sentence if apostate fails to repent - "According to the Maldivian constitution all citizens are required to be Muslim, and the country is always described as a “100 percent” Muslim country... “In Islam, there are many cases, it doesn’t mean death penalty,” Dr Naik explained. “But if the person who reverts who was a Muslim then converts to and becomes a non-Muslim and propagates his faith and speaks against Islam, and if it’s Islamic rule, then the person should be put to death”"

Why Sex and the City 2 is a science fiction movie - "Sartorially, the film is the most scifi thing I've seen all year. The wardrobe department obviously used Jean Paul Gaultier's designs from The Fifth Element as a jumping-off point. Tromping through the dunes, the women look like David Lynch's Fremen... Carrie goes to the souk to purchase what appears to be genie shoes (I'm serious). At this point, Carrie's old flame, Aiden Shaw, suddenly appears. Do you know how difficult it is to run into people you know in NYC, let alone in the UAE? Aiden's appearance wasn't just a lazy, ludicrously improbable sop to longtime SATC fans. No, it was The City's machinations keeping Carrie in check. The shoes conspired against her. Ooooh."
One comment: "Thanks for writing possibly the first review of this movie I've seen that isn't tinged with misogynistic horror at the thought of middle-aged ladies having active sex lives."
Hurr hurr. Any time you criticise women, you're a misogynist.


Anti-drugs campaigner Barbara Harris brings crusade to sterilise addicts to UK - ""The problem that Ms Harris is trying to address is a real one," concedes Julian Sheather, the British Medical Association's ethics manager... "A small number of drug-addicted women give birth to a succession of drug-dependent children who are taken into foster care. It is by any standards an appalling start in life"... It is reported that one out of every 264 babies born in Scotland suffers withdrawal symptoms from mothers who use drugs including heroin and cannabis... For many women with drug problems, the chance to become a mother can be life-changing and a powerful motivation to seek help for their addiction and other problems in their lives""
The objection sounds like feel-good hand-waving.
One comment: "Can a drug addict give informed consent to sterilisation? Can a drug addict give informed consent to intercourse? Every child should be a wanted child, not the unintended outcome of a casual relationship. I will contribute now."
Strangely, but not entirely unexpectedly, one commenter blames capitalism for drug addiction (?!)


Unofficial Singapore Government 2.0 wiki [licensed for non-commercial use only] / Abbreviations

GOOD Transparency – Immigration Infographic — Simple Complexity - "GOOD Magazine’s latest Infographic Transparency looks at the 20 countries from which the most people came to America in 2008, how many immigrants already had family here, and how many received asylum when they arrived on our shores."
The US accepted 64 UK refugees and asylees in 2008?!
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