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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Links - 22nd February 2011

"Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated." - George Santayana


Why Are You People Defending Apple? - "The sinking feeling I’ve got in my stomach as I imagine a world where a significant number of the world’s computer users are locked behind a 30% toll being enforced by one of the most monolithic companies around."

Stop worrying that your twentysomething is lost - "Do you know what a loser is today? A loser is someone who doesn't take the time to get to know herself. A loser is someone who saw his parents earn a lot of money and not get happiness from it and still deludes himself that money will make him happy. A loser is someone who looks for fame or prestige. A loser is someone who lets someone else tell them what success looks like"

Belgian senator calls on 'sex strike' until political deadlock is broken - "Marleen Temmerman, a Socialist senator, has urged the bed partners of MPs, senators and party political leaders to keep their "legs closed" until the deadlock, which is closing in on a world record of 249 days, is ended... many Belgians fear that market turmoil could bring down their highly indebted country if it fails to end the crisis by Feb 17, when it will beat war-torn Iraq to set a new world record of more than 249 days without government... [When Kenya did the same,] "Kenyan prostitutes were offered financial compensation if they showed sisterly solidarity and participated in the sex strike. The impact has never been scientifically proven, but after just one week there was a stable government." Catherine Fonck, a Christian democrat senator, rejected the call. "I don't want to take part in a sex strike," she said. "Politicians are not there to strike, on the contrary, politicians are there arouse the country""

Plastic surgery is the next must-have career tool. Maybe - "All else being equal, a good-looking woman will negotiate better for a company than anyone else—even a good-looking man, according to research by Sara Solnick of the University of Miami and Maurice Schweitzer from Wharton. Good-looking women drive harder bargains than everyone else, and good-looking women get more concessions than anyone else"

The secret life of salesgirls - "Williams thinks that cheerleading talent does, in fact, correleate with talent for sales: "Exaggerated motions, exaggerated smiles, exaggerated enthusiasm – they learn those things, and they can get people to do what they want"... Men who are attracted to you are more likely to buy from you. So what? Men who like to play golf are more likely to do business with other men who play golf. People have been given unfair preferences forever. Be glad you are the recipient of some of this... Do not tell human resources if you can help it. The job of human resources is to protect the company, not you, and when you have a harassment complaint, you are a problem to the company"
This blog is really good

Skirting the Line - "People of both sexes rate women who forgo makeup as less committed to their jobs... Few workers are likely to set a badly dressed colleague straight. In fact, competitive female coworkers often relish a rival's wardrobe faux pas... Both sexes perceive women with long, straight, blond hair as being sexy and those with short, highlighted hairstyles as smart and confident, but not sexy, finds Marianne LaFrance, a Yale psychologist. "More hair equals more femininity, but also less intelligence," she says. Likewise, high-maintenance hair makes others suspicious about a woman's competence"

The Fame Motive - "The urge to achieve social distinction is evident worldwide, even among people for whom prominence is neither accessible nor desirable. In rural Hindu villages in India, for instance, widows are expected to be perpetual mourners, austere in their habits, appetites and dress; even so, they often jockey for position... “Many compete for who is most pure,” Dr. Shweder said. “They say, ‘I don’t eat fish, I don’t eat eggs, I don’t even walk into someone’s house who has eaten meat.’... [those] who focused on goals tied to others’ approval, like fame, reported significantly higher levels of distress than those interested primarily in self-acceptance and friendship... famous people in particular are forced to judge themselves against ideals set by others"

John R. Malott: The Price of Malaysia's Racism - "The leading Malay language newspaper, Utusan Melayu, prints what opposition leader Lim Kit Siang calls a daily staple of falsehoods that stoke racial hatred. Utusan, which is owned by Mr. Najib's political party, has claimed that the opposition would make Malaysia a colony of China and abolish the Malay monarchy. It regularly attacks Chinese Malaysian politicians, and even suggested that one of them, parliamentarian Teresa Kok, should be killed... Almost 500,000 Malaysians left the country between 2007 and 2009, more than doubling the number of Malaysian professionals who live overseas. It appears that most were skilled ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians, tired of being treated as second-class citizens in their own country... TalentCorp, the government agency created in 2010 that is supposed to encourage overseas Malaysians to return home, is headed by a Malay, with an all-Malay Board of Trustees"

A Preliminary Report on an Intervention Designed to Reduce Grandmother Death Resulting From College Exams - "The rate of grandmother mortality rose 10-20 times just prior to the period of exams... Adams (1990) speculated that the most likely cause of death was inordinate grandmotherly stress at the thought of her grandchild taking a difficult exam. This interpretation was further strengthened by findings that the worse students had been performing in the class, the greater the likelihood of at least one grandmother dying prior to an exam. Grandmothers probably experience particularly acute stress at the thought of their grandchildren taking a test in which they are unlikely to do well... we have instituted the following intervention, designed to reduce the frequency of premature grandmother mortality. Students are informed that, should they miss a major multiple choice exam, they will have an opportunity to take the brutal essay makeup... The main intervention -- simply informing students that, if they miss the main exam they could take the brutal essay makeup -- dramatically reduced the grandmother mortality rate"

Forgive Me, Father, for I Have Linked - "If you sign in as a 15-year-old girl and look under the Sixth Commandment, one of the questions is: “Do I not treat my body or other people’s bodies with purity and respect?” If you sign in as a 33-year-old married man, that commandment offers this query: “Have I been guilty of masturbation?”... The app also tailors the questions if you sign in as a priest or a “religious.” For instance, if you say you’re a female and try to select “priest” as your vocation, a dialogue box appears that says “sex and vocation are incompatible.” So much for modernity. Under the Sixth Commandment, men and women are asked: “Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?” Priests, however, are not. They are asked if they flirt"

Parisians are 'rude and smelly' - say their own tourist chiefs - "The charter of committments for Parisians reads:
• I will take the time to give information to visitors.
• I will make use of my foreign-language skills to reply to them in their language.
• I will recommend to visitors things I appreciate about Paris.
• I am proud of my city, the No 1 tourist destination in the world."

Homeopaths Without Borders
I thought this was a joke. PZ Myers suggests calling it "Quackery Without Scruples"

IT'S OFFICIAL: The Smartphone Market Is Now Bigger Than The PC Market A question I asked: Why are there crazy cat ladies, but no crazy dog men? | Formspring - "Cos women tend to have an inherent inexplicable need to take care of something after a while. Men don't. Or at least there's a much lower occurrence of such cases"

Customs officers 'destroy World Cup shirt' - "the customs officers wrongly believed it was a counterfeit"

One Man, One Vote, One Time - "As exhilarating as revolution can be and as desirable as elections are, in the Middle East they have too often ended in tyranny"
So Egypt is now 'free'. Time to see hope turn to disappointment once again. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose... (see also: Obama and The Vacuity of 'Hope' from 2008)

Poll shows Egyptians favour democracy and stoning for adultery - "95%: Say it’s good that Islam plays a large role in politics
54%: Believe men and women should be segregated in the workplace
82%: Believe adulterers should be stoned
84%: Believe apostates from Islam should face the death penalty
77%: Believe thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off"

John Zogby: 2010 Poll: Egyptians Dislike Obama, See U.S./Israel as "Threats," Want Clergy More Political

Hurriyya - WikiIslam - "According to the late American scholar of Islam, Franz Rosenthal (d. 2003), Islamic culture historically has nothing corresponding to the Western concept of freedom as "a fundamental political concept that could have served as a rallying cry for great causes." A Muslim “was expected to consider subordination of his own freedom to the beliefs, morality and customs of the group as the only proper course of behavior”"
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