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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Links - 8th January 2011

"A timid person is frightened before a danger, a coward during the time, and a courageous person afterward." - Jean Paul Richter


'Project Censored' lists top stories that go unreported - "The general inclination is “progressive” (i.e., leftist)... it has been criticized for some of its choices – including conspiracy theories about the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington (over which two Project Censored judges resigned in protest)"
NewSpeak is practised by everyone - not just the "Right"

Recruiting by U.S. universities of Chinese undergrads is hottest new education trend - "Vanderbilt University admissions dean Douglas Christiansen said a homogeneous international population doesn't increase campus diversity. "Do you want to build pipelines throughout the world," he asked, "or do you want to build pipelines to just one country?""
Meanwhile, in Singapore...

10 useful things to do with an old laptop - "Almost all laptops have both a wired and wireless network card, making an old one ideal to act as a bridge between a wired hub and your wireless network. Windows XP has the ability to act as a bridge built in"

ChickenPing - Your recipe book for Windows and Windows Mobile - "ChickenPing is a recipe organizer which lets you create, download, rate and share recipes. It offers: Find something to cook using "What's in the Fridge",USDA Nutritional analysis for 7000+ foods, High contrast mode with text-to-speech for when you're in the kitchen., Plan Meals"

Out of Context Science - "In which science articles are badly quoted in ways that are interesting but otherwise completely meaningless"
"She recruited 40 volunteers and showed them an unpleasant 12-minute film including graphic scenes of human surgery... Thirty minutes later, half of the group played Tetris for ten minutes"

God thinks the same as me - "People often set their moral compasses according to what they presume to be God's standards. "The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing," they conclude. "This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God's beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing""
In other words, people project their beliefs onto their gods, so their god agreed with them/their gods agreed with them

Six ads that changed the way you think - "Sadly, the three actors who played the Marlboro Man died of lung cancer. One sued Phillip Morris and the cigarettes became known colloquially as "cowboy killers""

Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities - "Many diverse properties of cities from patent production and personal income to electrical cable length are shown to be power law functions of population size with scaling exponents... as population grows, major innovation cycles must be generated at a continually accelerating rate to sustain growth and avoid stagnation or collapse"
Another implication: "creating a more sustainable society will require our big cities to get even bigger. We need more megalopolises"

From the 2010 APA in Boston: Neuropsychology and ethics - "When it comes to moral judgment, Greene's research shows that our automatic setting is "Kantian," meaning that our intuitive responses are deontological, rule driven. The manual setting, on the other hand, tends to be more utilitarian / consequentialist. Accordingly, the first mode involves emotional areas of the brain, the second one involves more cognitive areas... psychopaths turn out to be more utilitarian than normal subjects - presumably not because consequentialism is inherently pathological, but because their emotional responses are stunted... neuroscience matters to ethics because it reveals the hidden mechanisms of human moral decision making... some philosophers engage in rationalizing, rather than reason, as in Kant's famously convoluted idea that masturbation is wrong because one is using oneself as a mean to an end"

S.Korea schools get robot English teachers - "The robots, which display an avatar face of a Caucasian woman, are controlled remotely by teachers of English in the Philippines -- who can see and hear the children via a remote control system. Cameras detect the Filipino teachers' facial expressions and instantly reflect them on the avatar's face... "Well-educated, experienced Filipino teachers are far cheaper than their counterparts elsewhere, including South Korea," he told AFP"
This is quite disturbing (the racial dopplegangers)

Women Laughing Alone With Salad

China: From Famine to Oslo by Perry Link - "The Chinese government is... widely viewed as an emerging superpower. Nevertheless it sends plainclothes police to accompany a seventy-four-year-old woman as she sets out to buy vegetables. Why?... government spending on a relatively new budget category called “stability maintenance” (weiwen) has risen to 514 billion yuan annually, which is more than the government spends on health, education, or social welfare programs, and is second only to the 532 billion yuan that it spends on the military. Stability maintenance” means monitoring people—petitioners, aggrieved workers, professors, religious believers, and many kinds of bloggers and tweeters on the Internet—in order to stop “trouble,” especially any unauthorized organization, before it gets started"

YouTube - Merriam-Webster Ask the Editor - Octopus - "They all forgot one thing: whenever a word from a foreign language enters English, it becomes an English word, and gets inflected just like other English words, so octopuses is just fine"
On octopuses, octopi and octopodes

Economics focus: Exploding misconceptions | The Economist - "More schooling usually correlated with more agreement[that suicide-bombing aimed at American or other Western targets in Iraq was justified]... the poorest countries, those with low literacy, or those whose economies were relatively stagnant did not produce more terrorists... there was weak evidence the other way... terrorist organisations prefer to recruit skilled, educated people to carry out their missions... more educated suicide-bombers are assigned to attack more important targets. Such terrorists also kill more people and are less likely to fail or be caught during their attacks... countries which give their citizens fewer civil and political rights tend to produce more terrorists"

Saudi Arabia 'detains' Israeli vulture for spying - "The griffon vulture was carrying a GPS transmitter bearing the name of Tel Aviv University, prompting rumours it was part of a Zionist plot... In December, the governor of Egypt's South Sinai province, Mohamed Abdul Fadil Shousha, suggested the spy agency may have had a hand in a string of deadly shark attacks off the coast of the Sharm el-Sheikh resort. He said it was "not out of the question" that Mossad had put the killer shark in the area. The Israeli foreign ministry dismissed that allegation, saying the governor "must have seen Jaws one time too many, and confuses fact and fiction""

Starbucks unveils a new logo
Starbucks keeps cropping their logo. Their next one will just be a face

Malaysian man dumps wife for being a demon - "There has been a steady increase in complaints of cheating and sexual abuse, which has prompted the government to announce it will table a bill this year requiring faith healers to register with the Ministry of Health."

Fortune favors the Bold ( and the Italicized ) : Effects of disfluency on educational outcomes - "Disfluency – the subjective experience of difficulty associated with cognitive operations – leads to deeper processing... information in hard-to-read fonts was better remembered than easier to read information"

The Parable of the Poison Arrow (Majjhima-nikaya, Sutta 63) « Wasteland Buddhism - "Suppose, Maunkyaputa, a man were wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and companions brought a surgeon to treat him. The man would say: “I will not let the surgeon pull out the arrow until I know the name and clan of the man who wounded me; whether the bow that wounded me was long bow or crossbow; whether the arrow that wounded me was hoof-tipped or curved or barbed. All this would still not be known to that man and meanwhile he would die"
This form of pragmatism is good to defeat universal skepticism, or a claim that not having incontrovertible first principles is worse than taking first principles on faith

American ancestors - "In 1618, the authorities in London began to sweep up hundreds of troublesome urchins from the slums, and ignoring protests from the children and their families, shipped them to Virginia... Under Oliver Cromwell’s ethnic-cleansing policy in Ireland, unknown numbers of Catholic men women and children were forcibly transported to the colonies... The other unwilling participants in the colonial labour force were the kidnapped. Astounding numbers are reported to have been snatched from the streets and countryside by gangs of kidnappers or ‘spirits’ working to satisfy the colonial hunger for labour"

A Philosopher of Religion Calls it Quits - "'I have to confess that I now regard “the case for theism” as a fraud and I can no longer take it seriously enough to present it to a class as a respectable philosophical position—no more than I could present intelligent design as a legitimate biological theory'... “It’s not that often philosophers renounce fields!... I think most philosophers basically agree with a book John Mackie wrote many years ago called The Miracle of Theism, the idea being that it was a miracle anybody could believe that”... As in other subfields, much of philosophy of religion consists in working out the logical implications of arguments, which is less a matter of finding the right path than mapping out which paths exist... the very pressure that some philosophers of religion feel to rationalize their beliefs may be to thank for the subfield’s high levels of creativity"

Link Between Vaccine and Autism Link is 'Fraud' According to British Medical Journal - ""Clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare"... mumps cases are the second highest reported disease among all of the vaccine preventable diseases"
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