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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Links - 10th August 2010

"We need anything politically important rationed out like Pez: small, sweet, and coming out of a funny, plastic head." - Dennis Miller

***

iPad(lock) – Why you should think twice about buying an iPad - "First I jailbroke my iPhone. Then I installed a firewall application on it from an unofficial "app store" called Cydia. Only then did I notice that many applications I had purchased through Apple's App Store were trying to contact PinchMedia. Now I have the freedom to block these outbound connections. But do you? Because I jailbroke my iPhone I can make Skype calls through 3G. Can you? I can now also change, not only the background image of the home screen, but completely theme the operating system. Can you? It' 2010. Why do I have to jump over hurdles and obstacles and break the law. Just in order to be able to use a gadget I bought in the manner I choose to? By buying an iPad you are sending out powerful messages. Not only are you declaring to the world how cool and stylish you are, you are also stating that you don't care about your privacy and that you are prepared to give up certain freedoms."

iPad's lack of Flash/USB/Bluetooth is all about lock-in (updated) - "That’s why Apple uses an expensive proprietary 30-pin “dock connector” instead of USB. They get to sell expensive cables (there’s no OTA syncing of content, natch) and they get to license the connectors to legions of third parties clamoring to make peripherals for the device. More importantly though, Apple wants to sell millions of $69 keyboard docks and maintain control over what is passed across the dock connector port. The same goes for expandable memory…"
One comment: "I have been using Apple products almost since the beginning and one of the biggest complaints that us Mac users would was that PC makers (MS) wanted to rule the world. It seemed everything was for the PC. Nothing seemed to work with the Mac line. So Apple became more proprietary, more expensive and highly arrogant"

The pettiness of the race - "With the pathetic and banal predictability that is fast becoming the hallmark of Indian politics, history has repeated itself. Our next President will probably be Mrs Pratibha Patil, the archetypal last-minute candidate whose name was accepted because nobody could find anything objectionable about her... I find this whole “Look, we’ve found a woman President! Hooray!” routine obscene and offensive... Why is Mrs Patil a better candidate than Mr Patil? Both are steady, mainstream Maharashtra politicians who will toe the Congress line. But she’s a woman and, therefore, difficult for a politically correct commissar to oppose. So, the conclusion of this leg of the presidential race was not a victory for woman’s empowerment at all. Rather, gender was used as a weapon to win a petty political fight that was about something entirely different. I’m a little tired also of seeing women politicians on TV telling us smugly (the ones from the Congress) or hysterically (the ones from the Left) how the election of Mrs Patil will actually help Indian women. If history has taught us anything it is that the caste, gender and religion of the occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan make no difference to those whose aspirations they are supposed to symbolise. It is hard to think how Muslims have benefited from having Kalam in the top job. Nor did Dalits gain from Naryanan’s stature. And Sikhs actually suffered because of Zail Singh’s machinations. And when it comes to gender in particular, there is no evidence that women benefit significantly when other women are in power"

Swift Kick Central: Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech
This is why NUS vets valedictorian speeches; the only thing worse than standardised testing is having no standardised testing

Official – Vatican does compare child abuse with ordaining women - "Apologists for the Vatican have recently claimed that the Catholic Church does not compare sexually abusing a child with attempting to ordain a woman, but that it merely included both crimes in the same document as a procedural matter... the direction of the comparison is not that they consider these theological crimes to be as serious as sexually abusing a child, but that they consider sexually abusing a child to be as serious as these theological crimes... sexually abusing a child is listed not as a crime against the child, but as a crime against the Biblical commandment forbidding adultery. And attempting to ordain a woman attracts a more serious punishment than sexually abusing a child. This is the type of morality that results when people put theology ahead of reality"

Smashing The Clock - "No schedules. No mandatory meetings. Inside Best Buy's radical reshaping of the workplace"

Language Log » The Opacity and Difficulty of the Chinese Script - "My class on the Chinese script has around 36 students in it. About half of them are native speakers from Taiwan, the Mainland, Singapore, and Hong Kong... Today, I made the students close their computers, electronic dictionaries, and all their books and papers, then asked them to write down on a piece of paper the simplified and traditional characters for Taiwan...
* only 2 students could write both forms correctly
* only 4 students could write both forms partially correctly
* only 10 students could write one form correctly
* about 10 students could write one form partially correctly
* the remainder of the students could not write either form correctly, including a couple of the native speakers
* most students who had taken up to 6 years of Chinese couldn't write either form correctly"
Addendum: More evidence that Chinese is freaking difficult, even for "native speakers"; "汉字不灭,中国必亡".

DNA Boosts Herodotus’ Account of Etruscans as Migrants to Italy - "“Sharing wives is an established Etruscan custom,” wrote the Greek historian Theopompos of Chios in the fourth century B.C. “Etruscan women take particular care of their bodies and exercise often. It is not a disgrace for them to be seen naked. Further, they dine not with their own husbands, but with any men who happen to be present.” He added that Etruscan women “are also expert drinkers and are very good looking”... Because Italians take pride in the Roman empire and the Etruscan state that preceded it, asserting a foreign origin for the Etruscans has long been politically controversial in Italy. Massimo Pallottino, the dean of modern Etruscan studies in Italy who died in 1995, held that because no one questioned that the French, say, developed in France, the same assumption should be made about the Etruscans. “Someone who had a different position didn’t get a job in archaeology,” said Antonio Torroni, a geneticist at the University of Pavia."

Ovulation hormones make women 'choose clingy clothes' - "These hormonal shopping habits were triggered by the proximity of attractive women... "Our findings suggest marketers for many types of female products are well served to strategically time their mailings, coupons, electronic solicitations, and direct requests to the specific window when women are ovulating"... "Women do the choosing [of mates] but in order to enable them to choose, they need a good number of suitors to select from""

Templeton prayer study meets expectations - "Subjects were recruited from a self-selected population of rural Africans who were attending a charismatic/evangelical revival…that is, people who knew they would be rewarded with acclaim if they publicly demonstrated dramatic improvements in their health under the influence of a priest. This experiment did not use single-blind trials — in fact, the subjects were hammered repeatedly with the protocol until they reported that it worked for them, subjectively... Most damning of all, there were no controls. I repeat, no controls anywhere in the experiment... I'm also not surprised that this garbage was funded by the Templeton Foundation. It could only have been supported by an organization that places scientific rigor a distant second to making excuses for faith"

Apple Hater Seeks Roommate in the Big Apple via Craigslist
"I refuse to live with anyone that has sold their immortal soul to Steve Jobs. I don't care about your app that tells you when you need to water your plants. I don't care that your phone can function as a Speak N Spell. I don't care that your phone has a million "exciting" features that exist elsewhere... Upon meeting, you must show me your phone (no scammers! I will be calling it in person to confirm that it is indeed your phone)"

Young men affected by romance drama more than women - "A possible explanation for the findings could be that for young men, their romantic partners are often their primary source of intimacy, whereas young women are more likely to have close relationships with family and friends... while young men are more affected emotionally by the quality of their current relationships, young women are more emotionally affected by whether they are in a relationship or not"

Why Evolution May Favor Irrationality - "We fall short of Cartesian logic in so many other ways... these lapses have a purpose: they help us “devise and evaluate arguments that are intended to persuade other people,” says psychologist Hugo Mercier of the University of Pennsylvania. Failures of logic, he and cognitive scientist Dan Sperber of the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris propose, are in fact effective ploys to win arguments. That puts poor reasoning in a completely different light. Arguing, after all, is less about seeking truth than about overcoming opposing views"

Untidy beds may keep us healthy - "Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies. A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed"

Eva Mendes Sex Tape
SFW

Funniest Commercial
Thai ads are good

Lufthansa Searches for Savor in the Sky - "Seasonings like cardamom, lemon grass and curry survived better than salt and sugar"... Lufthansa's sommelier, is using the analysis to help select wines like Italian Amarone, with a strong 15% alcohol content. "On the ground, it's a very opulent and powerful wine, but in the air, it tastes light—it's the ideal airline wine""

Making the case for the Death penalty - "Obviously there are some people who still think differently. That is their mindset and I have no business trying to change theirs as long as they don’t change mine."
Great Singaporean logic (as with the rest of the article), which is self-defeating to boot.

The Rise of the Caring Industry - "By focusing on a person’s problem, short-term therapy mimics the experience of real friendship... Today’s caring professionals offer the same service to lonely, unhappy people that friends and relatives once did. They do so because so many Americans are lonely and unhappy... An estimated 95 percent of Americans have low self-esteem. Consistent with these trends, at least 15 percent of Americans are now on a psychoactive drug at any given moment... In the 1940s, the top three discipline problems in schools were talking, chewing gum, and making noise; in the 1980s, they were drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, and suicide... the caring industry continues the trend toward speech codes that curtail speech on the grounds that some of it is “hurtful” and can injure another person’s self-esteem"
I suspect most of the rhetoric is unjustified
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