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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Links - 20th April 2011

"Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted." - Fred Allen


How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood - "He claimed the philosophy appealed to him because it's based solely on logic. It also conveniently quenched his lawyer's thirst to always be right. It's not uncommon for people to seek out belief systems, whether political or spiritual, that make them feel good about how they already live their lives. Ultimately, I suspect Dad was drawn to objectivism because, unlike so many altruistic faiths, it made him feel good about being selfish... [My father asked] that I emancipate myself and work for a living. To me, it felt like he was asking me to sacrifice my childhood so he didn't have to pay child support. To me, it felt like abandonment... daily objectivist newsletter[s]... continue to pile up in my in box, mostly unread. Every once in a while, I'll click on one, hoping to find a "How are you?" or "What's new?" to no avail. It's a hopeless exercise. I learned long ago that an objectivist like my father simply doesn't care to know"

YouTube - Flight of the Conchords Ep 8 'Foux Da Fa Fa'
This is more bizarre than funny. One could also draw some parallels with minstrel shows

High-achieving Asian-Americans are being shut out of top schools - "Is this what diversity looks like now?... Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African-Americans who got 1100. Whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian-Americans... at California’s competitive – and race-blind – state schools, Asian-Americans are much better represented: 52 percent of the student population at the University of California at Irvine, 40 percent at Berkeley, and 37 percent at UCLA"

Video Games: Do They Have Educational Value?
The PDF is locked, so the short answer is: yes, and the negative effects on reading, addiction etc are overplayed

YouTube - Punggol North's Very Own "This is Our Home" Music Video
As of the evening of 19th April, 6 days after it had been uploaded, this had only had 319 views, and 3 ratings (1 like and 2 dislike). The first comment was from me: "Perhaps you can use auto-tune for your next song". I don't think it can help with diction, though. The second comment totally misses the point: "The beauty of it all is in the effort of well wishers to help the community. The whole point is not in professional singing." (how a Hongkie-style song helps a community, I don't know)

YouTube - Billy Madison - Ultimate Insult (Academic Decathlon)
This is good to use when people are being wilfully and completely ignorant

Civil Service Chronicles: The Artist’s Prayer :: Anila Angin | Scribbles for the Soul - "“So how are you going to make a living as an artist, if you insist on being incomprehensible?” “It is vulgar to contemplate making a living from art,” he replied coldly. “Besides, what need is there for a living? The government is obliged to come to my rescue! They will save the world from being deprived of my brilliantly unpopular art.” He muttered the words like a prayer, his lips slightly parted, his eyes earnest. “Why the government?” I exclaimed. “Isn’t it in the artist’s nature to resist the slightest trappings of authority?”"

Indonesia: Ministry Orders Removal of Buddha Statue - "Indonesia's commitment to promote religious tolerance has been questioned again after the Religious Affairs Ministry ordered a large Buddhist statue in the Tri Ratna Buddhist monastery in Tanjungbalai, North Sumatra, to be taken down after some ‘hardliners' in the area complained against its presence. A few months ago, leaders and members from other churches were attacked by Muslim ‘fanatics' which led many people to observe that religious minorities are being harassed in Indonesia... ‘Unity in Diversity' is Indonesia's national motto"

Fears of Indonesia's Ahmadiyah sect - "Hardline Islamic groups want the sect to be banned - they say it deviates from the tenets of Islam, and therefore has no place in Indonesian society... In February, a violent mob bludgeoned three Ahmadis to death. Since then, houses and mosques have been attacked and protesters have vowed to escalate the violence if they do not get their way. And it is not just hardliners who want the Ahmadiyah disbanded... The Ahmadiyah are not allowed to promote any of their activities, or convert anyone to their faith. They are also being encouraged to attend meetings to re-integrate themselves into mainstream Islam... the religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali [has] already decided that the sect should be disbanded"

PostSecret Chat :: View topic - obligations - "Although for now and the next few years it's not a problem, my boyfriend thinks anal is disgusting and never ever wants to try it. we've been together for about a year and a half now so sometimes we talk about the future, and I've informed him that if we stay together and get married etc, he better be willing to try anal once. If not, I will find someone else who will because I want to try it and him simply thinking it's "icky" isn't a legitimate reason [to me] to NEVER try it"
The person who sent me this said no one slammed her, and pointed out that if the genders had been reversed (i.e. if a guy had said he'd leave his girlfriend if she refused to assent to anal sex) he'd have been lynched.

Jumping cow is udderly amazing - "Regina Mayer has spent hours training dairy animal Luna and can now ride her with equine ease"

Chez l’Ami Jean, Paris « Food Snob - "Chez l’Ami Jean, first opened by a Basque nationalist in 1931, is Paris’ most celebrated exponent of that region’s cuisine. It is also one of the city’s best representatives of the ‘Bistro Moderne’ movement"
This looks interesting

What Happens When My Little Pony Meets Mass Effect 2?

Interspecies Lovin': How Mass Effect 2 Championed Equality, Whether You Like It Or Not - "Do you think video games have a responsibility to campaign for a better world? Your answer probably determines whether or not you think that the lack of a homosexual romance option for Shepherd in Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 was a disappointing step backwards for galactic diversity or just a feature of the game’s beautifully-rendered landscape... games should explore alternative narratives with unconventional protagonists, but not at the expense of a good story or high production values. It’s not that games are not capable of communicating complex ideas (quite the contrary), it’s just that they do so far more effectively when they’re telling a great story than when they are bludgeoning you with a message... [he] is judging the Mass Effect 2 universe using criteria that apply to his own... I wonder why Gallaway doesn’t pick up on the fact that Shepherd cannot seduce Flight Navigator Jeff “Joker” Moreau. Does he think that Joker’s disability makes him a neglible romance option?... [He] continues by outlining the aspects of interspecies sex which he finds repugnant... What’s interesting about this accusation is how closely it resembles homophobic hysteria about the “unnatural” aspects of gay or lesbian sex"

Well-rendered: Super Meat Boy vs. PETA, or why videogames shouldn't be used as soapboxes - "Are PETA suggesting that as a Meat Person (I believe the PC term is "Dermatologically Challenged), Meat Boy doesn't deserve the love of Bandage Girl? Well you know what PETA? I think that's pretty darned offensive"

Effect of alcohol on risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: causality, bias, or a bit of both? - "The consistency in the vascular benefit associated with moderate drinking (compared with non-drinking) observed across different studies, together with the existence of credible biological pathways, strongly suggests that at least some of this benefit is real. However, because of biases introduced by: choice of reference categories; reverse causality bias; variations in alcohol intake over time; and confounding, some of it is likely to be an artefact... it is likely that any promotion of alcohol for health reasons would do substantially more harm than good"

Electrician Colin Atkinson faces sack for Christian cross on van dashboard - "Despite the company’s treatment of Mr Atkinson, the boss of the depot where he works in Castleford has been allowed to adorn his office with a poster of the Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara. Denis Doody, who is WDH’s environmental manager, also has a whiteboard on which are written several quotations by the Marxist guerrilla leader, who was a key figure in the Cuban revolution in the Fifties. Colleagues said staff and even members of the public who were visiting the depot would be able to see the poster and whiteboard through his office window... Pressed by Mr Cunliffe on whether a Muslim woman who wore a burka at work would be considered discreet, [the company’s equality and diversity manager] said: ‘If they could do their job effectively, then yes’... ‘I can only think the company is motivated by fear of offending ethnic minorities.’"
'Privilege' strikes again

Edge: HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? By Lera Boroditsky - "Speakers of languages like Kuuk Thaayorre are much better than English speakers at staying oriented and keeping track of where they are, even in unfamiliar landscapes or inside unfamiliar buildings. What enables them — in fact, forces them — to do this is their language... patterns in a language can indeed play a causal role in constructing how we think... German painters are more likely to paint death as a man, whereas Russian painters are more likely to paint death as a woman"

Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? - "Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese"

The Usability of Passwords (by @baekdal) #tips - "Security companies and IT people constantly tells us that we should use complex and difficult passwords. This is bad advice, because you can actually make usable, easy to remember and highly secure passwords. In fact, usable passwords are often far better than complex ones... None can remember a password like "J4fS<2", which evidently mean that it will be written on a post-it note"
Q: "Well, I still prefer long and complex passwords. My previous one, for example, had mixed case letters, numbers, symbols, and spaces, and were 32 characters long. But I still could remember it easily, by using the name and ID number of an obscure science-fiction character from an uncommon book combined with a made up language."

Attaching a 9V battery to your brain pumps up your gaming skills

Top 5 Asian Male / White Female YouTube Couples - AsiansOnYouTube

YouTube - The Daily Mail Song

YouTube - Extreme Couponing - Joyce's Checkout
She went from $230.38 to $6.92 - before the 5 cents a bag rebate

YouTube - Google Exodus

What to do when you need more time to finish an assignment (Image)
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