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Friday, April 22, 2011

Links - 22nd April 2011

"The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand." - Frank Herbert

***

Wrong bra leaves permanent marks on student (TNP article)
Uhh... Unfortunately I can't find the full article

Bacon Roses

Once university mates, now political opponents - "Was it unseemly, even ungrateful to enter the opposition? Was it tantamount to 'biting the hand that fed me', so to speak?... Even Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in his school days benefited from a scholarship to study at Raffles College from the British colonial government he went on to overthrow"

Facebook, you don't know me. Stop hiding my friends. - "If you’re old enough to have used AOL for an ISP, you’ll likely remember the walled garden in which the AOL bloatware tried to keep you. Increasingly (and I’m not the first to say this), it’s the exact same scenario that we’re seeing with Facebook. The issues are the same, too... Facebook wants to be a singular hub for your Internet existence and yet at the same time it doesn’t seem to want to offer you the control to see the content to which you’ve subscribed"

Rationally Speaking: Evolution as pseudoscience? - "Many serious intellectuals of the late 18th and early 19th century actually thought of evolution as pseudoscience, and he is careful to point out that the term “pseudoscience” had been used at least since 1843... “before Charles Darwin, evolution was an epiphenomenon of the ideology of [social] progress, a pseudoscience and seen as such. Liked by some for that very reason, despised by others for that very reason”"

Fairer sex, fair game? - "I conducted a straw poll of a large group of my girlfriends - in their late 20s to 30s - who range from single career ladies, to expectant or stay-home mums, or married with no kids - and posed this question: would you enter politics if someone asked you today? The resounding reply: "over my dead body"... [The permanent resident] was in fact the only one out of the group of 20 who said she was willing to step forward. This friend, who is trying to gain citizenship, is not even eligible to vote nor stand. The reasons came fast and furious: "Didn't you see what happened to Tin Pei Ling?" "Too many skeletons in the closet." "Already so busy." "Have better things to do with my life." "Family more important""
It's telling that almost none of the reasons the friends didn't want to enter politics are specifically related to discrimination against women

A Template For Every Awful Facebook Discussion You've Ever Witnessed

'‘Orchid Evolution’ sweeping through S’pore' - ""Because the government has played a critical role, a womb-to-tomb role in people's lives, now there's a boomerang effect. They blame the government for everything that goes wrong in Singapore"... his gut feeling based on anecdotal evidence is: "One, I won't even be surprised that the PAP doesn't lose any seats. Two, that they might even take back Potong Pasir""

Note to Towel Thieves: Chips Track Hotel Linens - "Hotel guests may want to think twice now before walking off with that bathrobe. Linen Technology Tracking, a company in Miami, has patented a washable RFID chip that can be sewn into towels, robes and bed sheets, allowing hotels to keep track of their linens... [one place] has reduced theft of its pool towels from 4,000 a month to just 750, saving more than $16,000 a month"

Think Again: Education - By Ben Wildavsky | Foreign Policy - "The U.S. education system has been having this sort of Sputnik moment since -- well, Sputnik... the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic demographics of the United States -- none of which have analogues in Finland or South Korea -- correlate closely with yawning achievement gaps in education... In this coming era of globalized education, there is little place for the Sputnik alarms of the Cold War, the Shanghai panic of today, and the inevitable sequels lurking on the horizon"

The Default Major - Skating Through B-School - "Business majors spend less time preparing for class than do students in any other broad field... The family of majors under the business umbrella — including finance, accounting, marketing, management and “general business” — accounts for just over 20 percent, or more than 325,000, of all bachelor’s degrees awarded annually in the United States, making it the most popular field of study... “Business education has come to be defined in the minds of students as a place for developing elite social networks and getting access to corporate recruiters”... the more time students spent studying in groups, the weaker their gains in the kinds of skills the C.L.A. measures... the groups that functioned most smoothly were often the ones where the least learning occurred... what about employers? What do they want? According to national surveys, they want to hire 22-year-olds who can write coherently, think creatively and analyze quantitative data, and they’re perfectly happy to hire English or biology majors. Most Ivy League universities and elite liberal arts colleges, in fact, don’t even offer undergraduate business majors"
I wonder if any social scientist will [try to] poke holes in this research, for example that a high Collegiate Learning Assessment score doesn't mean you possess good writing and reasoning skills - only that you are good at the CLA.

We all love a holiday romance - "A huge 86% of British women have had a fling while on holiday... Most of us get our fortnight's fling in early, with 73% of holiday romances taking place between 16 and 20... 'Frolicking in the summer sun, surrounded by interesting people in exciting places, you're likely to let your emotions lead you into unchartered territory. Freed of routine and responsibility it's easy to fall for the charms of the unfamiliar, only to wake up with someone you wouldn't have even gone on a second date with back at home!'"

How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With? - "By the end of two weeks, the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight — the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk... the sleep-deprived among us are lousy judges of our own sleep needs. We are not nearly as sharp as we think we are"

Why do Chinese hate kung pao chicken (and foreigners love it)? - "“I also had a prejudice toward chicken breast, but then I tried one in Boston and thought, 'Hey, this is nice and moist,'" says Zhao. “No wonder Western people really like chicken breast”... to some people, kung pao chicken is a symbol of poorer times"

yax-892 The Singapore Democratic Party: method or madness? - "If you scan through various blogs, you'll find similar opinions expressed, either disapproving of Chee's high-decibel methods or stressing the futility of such a strategy... The SDP arrived at the conclusion a few years back that the PAP will never allow themselves to be defeated electorally. The rules will be rewritten as necessary, the levers of mass communication will always be used to advantage and as many people as they can entice will be co-opted (with high salaries) to deprive opposition parties of talent... If the PAP will never allow themselves to be defeated through the electoral route, what else can be done? The answer: They have to be defeated morally"

Ten things Kate can’t do once she marries Wills - "8. Work. It is well known that Royals and careers don't mix well. As proven when Prince Charles' plan to work part time in a factory failed and Countess Sophie Wessex was forced to abandon her PR firm. In Kate's case though, the whole unemployment scenario shouldn't be too difficult to handle. At 29 years of age she is the oldest spinster ever to marry a future king, and though she has a History of Art degree and years of life experience, Kate has spurned work wherever possible. This is unless you count seven months as a casual accessories buyer for clothing chain Jigsaw and a short time working for the family company, Party Pieces. Pinned by some as the unemployed woman marrying into a welfare family, we're reckoning the guys at Buckingham will keep her busy by sending her to lots of boat launches and pancake flipping gigs."

Maternal Gatekeeping: Do mothers limit fathers' involvement with their kids? - "Mothers do play an important role both in encouraging and curtailing fathers' involvement. And this maternal gatekeeping is a powerful force: Even fathers who wanted to be involved with their kids often drifted away in the face of persistent maternal criticism... These mothers, Schoppe-Sullivan explained, are not consciously trying to shut fathers out. It's just something that happens. And it might help explain the widely documented finding that marital satisfaction goes down with the birth of children"
In other words, one reason fathers are less involved with childcare than mothers is that the mothers are preventing it. Though you can always find a way to blame Patriarchy. I suspect this is true of housework also.

The Myth of Joyful Parenthood - "Parents, compared to adults without kids, experience lower emotional well-being — fewer positive feelings and more negative ones — and have unhappier marriages and suffer more from depression. Yet many of these same parents continue to insist that their children are an essential source of happiness — indeed that a life without children is a life unfulfilled... the belief in parental happiness is a psychological defense — a fiction we imagine to make all the hard stuff acceptable... thinking about the high costs of children created significant emotional discomfort, which motivated the parents to focus on the joys of parenting, which in turn dissipated the uneasiness over choosing such a difficult path... In an earlier time, kids actually had economic value; they worked on farms or brought home paychecks, and they didn’t cost that much. Not coincidentally, emotional relationships between parents and children were less affectionate back then — and childhood was much less sentimentalized. Paradoxically, as the value of children has diminished, and the costs have escalated, the belief that parenthood is emotionally rewarding has gained currency. In that sense, the myth of parental joy is a modern psychological phenomenon"

Une prostituée jetée par la fenêtre ? - "Un habitant de Boulogne-sur-Mer a été interpellé dimanche après qu’une prostituée a chuté de la fenêtre de son appartement. Lors de sa garde à vue, il a assuré qu’elle s’était jetée d’elle même."
"A guy living in Boulogne-sur-Mer was arrested on Sunday after a prostitute fell from the window of his apartment. While in custody, he claimed that she had jumped down by herself."

A Singapore for Singaporeans or to please foreign investors? - "It does not matter where [the Expats] come from - some are from wealthy economies like the United States and Europe, and others are from developing countries like India - but as long as they do business here, they love Singapore the way it is, and wouldn't want to see anything change. Some are so effusive with their praise that I find myself constantly amazed at how local Singaporeans and foreigners can view the same country and the same leadership so differently... One question that arises from this exchange is whether we should be building a country that Singaporeans are happy with, or a country that foreign investors and talent are happy with"
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