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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Links - 28th April 2011

“I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking.” - Woodrow Wilson


Physics Envy May Be Hazardous To Your Health– And Economy - "The language of probability and statistics is so well-developed and ingrained in the scientific method that we often forget the fact that many probabilistic mechanisms are, in fact, proxies for deterministic phenomena that are too complex to be modeled in any other fashion. Coin tosses are random, but as they exist in the physical world and are governed by physics, they should be deterministic if we were able/motivated to control/know all the conditions, e.g. a coin flipping machine... 'When physics experiences a crisis, physicists are generally allowed to sort through the issues by themselves, without the distraction of outside interference. When a financial crisis occurs, it seems that everyone becomes a financial expert overnight, with surprisingly strong opinions on what caused the crisis and how to fix it.'"
Original paper: "We... describe an alternate perspective of economic behavior based on a new taxonomy of uncertainty. We illustrate the relevance of this taxonomy with two concrete examples: the classical harmonic oscillator with some new twists that make physics look more like economics"

Mobile Opportunity: The Real Lesson of Cisco's Billion-Dollar Flip Debacle - "There's an old saying that when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. We need a similar proverb for news analysis -- when you're obsessed with smartphones, every market change looks like it was caused by them... Presenting a stationary target is enough to doom any consumer electronics product. For example, what would have happened if Apple had stopped evolving the iPhone after version 1?... The lesson in all of this: If you're at an enterprise company that wants to enter the consumer market, or vice-versa, you need to wall off the new business completely from your existing company... The other lesson of the Flip failure is that we should all be very skeptical when a big enterprise company says it's going consumer"

Chinese man accused of creating fake Army Ranger unit - "A California man allegedly recruited more than 100 other Chinese nationals, gave them phony uniforms and documents, and charged them initiation dues, CNN reported. He declared himself "supreme commander" of the unit and told the recruits it was a path to U.S. citizenship. He even offered them a chance to buy a higher rank -- by paying him cash."

Silvio Berlusconi gave Ruby £40,000 'to buy hair removal equipment' - "The prime minister said he wanted to help set up Karima El Mahroug in business because he feared that poverty and a lack of opportunities would otherwise force her into prostitution. He also repeated that he believed at the time that she was the granddaughter of Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt."

"No more time-travel drama", authority says it disrespects history - "[In China] The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore... Besides of the over-exaggerated time-travel dramas, the bureau is also making it clear that no more new film and TV versions of the Four Great Classical Novels should be produced and aired on the screen in the near future"
"Sans doute parce que ces histoires révèlent un besoin de s'avader de la Chine communiste contemporaine pour retrouver un temps glorieux où le bonheur était possible. Voilà une étrange atteinte aux libertés, particulièrement insidueuse puisque la Chine n'interdit pas seulement l'évasion, mais le rêve d'évasion, le recours au passé, la nostalgie"

Comment rendre un homme amoureux ? - "Les mecs réfléchissent différemment des femmes, car malgré tout ce qu’ils diront, ils couchent d’abord et réfléchissent ensuite... Soyez une déesse au lit, ne soyez pas inactive le jour où vous ferez l’amour pour la première fois avec lui. En somme, ne faites pas la planche... Ne cherchez pas compliqué. Même si c’est dans la nature féminine, faites simple. Si un homme vous plaît, faites lui comprendre et arrangez vous pour vous retrouver seule avec lui"

Transgender celebrities - "HAVING gone through a sex change makes you exceptionally lucky in stardom. Or so it seems. Lianhe Wanbao listed out certain known personalities who have had a sex change - Taiwanese model Alicia Liu Xun-ai, Japanese Haruna Ai, Korean Harisu Lee Kyung-eun - have all made a name for themselves in the entertainment industry."

YouTube - Home Bouldering

A Brief Primer on Criminal Statistics - "When a change in the police reported crime rate is observed from year to year or across a span of time we may be observing a “real” change, we may be observing a change in how these crimes come to the attention of police, or we may be seeing a mixture of both"

Chinese Cyberattacks: Myth or Menace? - "There certainly is a lot of hacking coming out of China. Any company that does security monitoring sees it all the time. Of course, they can't prove that it comes out of China. But the majority of servers used in the attacks are located in China, using DNS bouncers that can only be registered by people literate in Chinese. The hacker websites where different hackers and hacker groups brag about their exploits and sell hacker tools and how-to videos are written in Chinese. Technically, it's possible all the attackers are from, say, Canada and trying to disguise themselves, but it seems pretty unlikely... the fact that these groups aren't being run by the Chinese government makes the problem worse. Without central political coordination, they're likely to take more risks, do stupider things and generally ignore the political fallout of their actions"

My holiday in the 'axis of evil' - "I've recently been to both Syria and Iran and, say what you like about the foreign policies of Damascus and Tehran, you won't find a Starbucks, a Gap or a hen party fighting in the street in either of them."

Fascinating Facts About Internet Sex - "Women look at Internet porn, but they're much less likely to pay for it
MILFs are as popular as nineteen-year-olds
Plenty of guys think grannies are hot
More men search for fat women than for skinny ones
Trans women are popular in porn, and their audience is mostly straight dudes"
Some of the generalisation about the anti-generalisations are themselves problematic

The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric - "Creativity and eccentricity often go hand in hand, and researchers now believe that both traits may be a result of how the brain filters incoming information. Even in the business world, there is a growing appreciation of the link between creative thinking and unconventional behavior, with increased acceptance of the latter... creative individuals tend to score higher on scales of schizotypal personality than less creative individuals"

Top 10 Myths About Sex - "A cold shower actually stimulates libido by increasing hormone levels... staring at your lover has about a 50/50 chance of promoting feelings of love and passion. The other fifty percent of the time it promotes aggression and annoyance, which has been documented in couple studies as fighting and arguing... women show substantial increases in sexual arousal (measured by testosterone in saliva) while listening to the sound of a high performance Maserati, as compared to a low performance Volkswagen (VW) Polo. In fact, the VW actually decreased the arousal of women below that of the baseline... married couples actually have more sex than the swinging single. This is mostly because couples living together are presented with more opportunities to have sex... only half of men (54 percent) think about sex once per day... Talk about a grossly overinflated female-chauvinistic rumor... [Premature ejaculation] is more of a hardwired system for survival, than an abnormality... The threat of a Tyrannosaurus charging while in the throes of passion, was enough to make him even quicker, which is why anxiety is still one of the leading causes of PE"

Video: Behind China's Great Firewall, Subversive Content in Cartoon Form | Asia Society - "On the surface the latest "Kuang Kuang" animation seems innocuous enough, but with a little context, it's "a very clear reference to the artist Ai Weiwei""

Problem Solving, Vivian-style - "I told Samiah it was not a crime to speak to reporters. Neither was it a crime to be homeless... What happened next shocked me. Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, stood up in Parliament a few days later and revealed selective details of Samiah and her partner’s financial history to well, practically everyone in Singapore"

Why this hawker can't afford to maintain prices - "On the one hand, MTI wants to keep inflation low and prices stable. On the other hand, NEA is bent on keeping in line with "prevailing economic conditions". My friend is keen to maintain his prices but with a 36 per cent increase in rental, he will find it difficult not to pass this price increase to his customers. NEA's letter also states: "If you have difficulty maintaining your stall rent, you may consider assigning the stall to an eligible party or surrendering it to NEA." This is his livelihood as a retiree. So it's a take it or leave it approach? Such compassion, coming from the civil service. I can understand if this were a private landlord"

Controversy After Vegan Magazine Found to Use Non-Vegan Stock Photos - "An example presented is a “Vegan Spare Ribs” article that uses a Photoshopped iStockPhoto image of actual barbecue spare ribs"

YouTube - Opening Ceremony Blog - Spike Jonze Presents: Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma
Breakdancing to a cello
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