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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Links - 28th June 2011

"As I grow older , I regret to say that a detestable habit of thinking seems to be getting a hold of me." - H. Rider Haggard


Language Log » Character Amnesia - "I've seen people stumped by even the simplified form of the character for "shrimp," xiā 虾, never mind the traditional form, 蝦, and Demick tells of "literate" people who cannot write zàijiàn 再見 ("goodbye") or "shampoo" (there are several possibilities). Even before computers, exceedingly few people could write both characters for "sneeze" (pēntì 噴嚏, simplified 噴嚏 [same]); though I've asked scores, I personally have never met any Chinese, including individuals with master's and doctor's degrees, who could do so... Because of their complexity and multiplicity, writing Chinese characters correctly is a highly neuromuscular task. One simply has to practice them hundreds and hundreds of times to master them. And, as with playing a musical instrument like a violin or a piano, one must practice writing them regularly or one's control over them will simply evaporate... is romanization inevitable?"

YouTube - 深圳 妙龄女子一吻救命 无惧危险用爱解危
Young man commiting suicide is saved by a female stranger's kiss

Diamond District sidewalks are paved with gold for Queens man - ""The streets of 47th Street are literally paved with gold"... The freelance diamond setter explained that he was sifting through "very valuable" New York City mud for tiny diamond and ruby chips, bits of platinum, white-gold industrial loops for jewelry assembly, and gold earring backs and loops from broken chains, watches, broaches and necklaces -- all carelessly dropped and now his to mine... Over six days, he says, he collected enough gold for two sales totaling $819"

Fukushima babies and how numbers can lie - "Human beings do not always behave the way some economists think we do. We're not totally rational creatures. And profit motive is not the only factor driving our choices. When you think about what information be skeptical of, that decision can't begin and end with "corporate interests"... we should [not] uncritically accept it when somebody says that radiation from Fukushima is killing babies in the United States. Just because the corporate interests are in the wrong doesn't mean that every claim against them is true"

Dating website for beautiful people dumps 30,000 members - " was attacked by a computer virus, some claim standards slipped and around 30,000 new members gained admittance... The website triggered anger in Ireland when it said that Irish men were among the ugliest in the world. This was based on the reasoning that only 9% of male Irish applicants to the site were accepted. Only 20% of Irish women are accepted, compared with nearly 70% of Swedish women who sign up. The prospects are even worse for British men, as according to Hodge, they are the most likely be rejected... Norwegian women and Swedish men have the greatest chance of being accepted into the club, while Brazilian and Danish men are also popular – along with women from Sweden and Iceland"

What Darwin's Doubters Get Wrong - "Fodor, Nagel, and Plantinga don't need to turn themselves into biochemists, but some awareness of the issues and advances would not be entirely misplaced. This total lack of interest in the science is surely suggestive. The critics are being driven by other, for them deeper, concerns. And as an evolutionist, I turn to the past for clues"

SHOULD YOU TEACH YOUR KIDS CHINESE? - "" - Neuroscientists, Brain Injuries and Comic Books...Yeah
Head injuries in comic books mirror real life: They occur when helmets fly off, and they occur mostly to men

Death Star PR: An Open Letter to TIME Magazine re: Darth Vader - "In your article of June 17, you listed Darth Vader as the third worst "fictional" father... So many parents don't even care where their children are, or what they're up to, no matter the time of day or night. Not Darth Vader. When he couldn't find Luke, Vader dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space. This was in spite of the fact that Luke had just become the Galaxy's Most Wanted terrorist, almost killed his dad and blown up 1.3 million of his friends and workmates. Are those the actions of a bad father? He even went to visit Luke on the ice planet Hoth and see how he was going at work, despite how far away it was and the fact that the climate there really plays hell with your cyborg body parts"

"Let's go to Japan" Meeting Tour for Global Singles - "You will be introduced to (and will be able to spend one on one time with) 10 different partners while visiting various tourist spots in Japan"

Just like in anime -- Chinese man gets nosebleed staring at hot chick

The Euphemism Treadmill - "Medical words like "idiot" and "retarded" became "mentally challenged" then "intellectually disabled" then "special" -- and now "special" is going out of favor (isn't that special?!) Yes, people use words to hurt others... Making words like "retarded" and "queer" taboo just give them more power to hurt. Embracing them takes that hurtful power away"

These ‘rules’ are already broken - "Setting out a cavalcade of rules that standard English does not comply with and never did, and representing them as instruction in how to write today, is dishonest... “Bad English”, lambasts words, phrases, and writers Heffer
dislikes... Unfortunately, we would be wasting our time discussing them with him; he speaks ex cathedra. “As a professional writer, I happen to believe that the ‘evidence’ of how I see English written by others, including some other professional writers, is not something by which I wish to be influenced”, he says (p.xviii). As he said in the Daily Telegraph (20 August), “English grammar shouldn’t be a matter for debate.” No point, then, in observing that they with singular antecedent, which he calls “abominable” (p.xiii), is found (“We can only know an actual person by observing their behaviour...”) in the writings of George Orwell, who Heffer calls “the finest writer of English prose”"

Scientist Makes Poop Burger (VIDEO) - "He combined the synthesized protein with soya and added some steak sauce for taste and dubbed it a burger. According to the video, which explains the process, it even tastes like beef"

5 fake sounds designed to help humans - "The car door clunk
The vroom of electric vehicles
The souped-up sound of stadiums
The secret static on your Skype call
The cashpoint whirr"

Logical punctuation: Should we start placing commas outside quotation marks? - "The British way simply makes more sense"

Doctors are not scientists - "Most readers of medical journals don't read the original articles. They may scan the abstract, but it's the rarest of beasts who reads an article from beginning to end, critically appraising it as he or she goes. Indeed, most doctors are incapable of critically appraising an article. They have never been trained to do so"

Female Infidelity May Violate Goose-gander Parity Principle - "Female cheating may just be a side effect of the enormous benefit males derive from spreading their seed as widely as possible."

Dark corners of the net - "Hackers spend time swapping tips about their favourite books, with choices ranging from Stephen King and a guidebook entitled 'Galactic Rebellion for Dummies' to the handbook of disenchanted youth, Catcher in the Rye. There is also mention of John Milton's 17th century epic poem Paradise Lost"

Scott Adams on feminist rage - "Is this an entire website dedicated to poor reading comprehension? I don’t think one of you understood the writing. You’re all hopping mad about your own misinterpretations... the content of the piece inspires so much emotion in some readers that they literally can’t understand it. The same would be true if the topic were about gun ownership or a dozen other topics. As emotion increases, reading comprehension decreases... You can see that the comments about the piece were little more than name-calling. When confronted with that sort of reaction, would it be wiser to treat the name-callers as you might treat respected professors with opinions worthy of consideration, or should you treat the name-callers as you would angry children, by not debating and not taking it personally?"

It’s Even Less in Your Genes - "Despite the evidence that organisms do not simply use resources present in the environment but, through their life activities, produce such resources and manufacture their environments, the distinction between organisms and their environments remains deeply embedded in our consciousness... The genes for IQ have never been found. Ironically, at the same time that genetics has ceased to be a popular explanation for human intellectual and temperamental differences, genetic theories for the causation of virtually every physical disorder have become the mode... [geneticists'] use of the terms “heritable” and “heritability” is so confusing that an attempt at its clarification occupies the last two chapters of The Mirage of a Space Between Nature and Nurture"

What's the connection between sex and happiness? - "Sex appears to have stronger effects on the happiness of highly educated people than those with low levels of education. The happiness- maximizing number of sexual partners in the previous year is 1. Homosexuality has no statistically significant effect on happiness, but a strong positive effect on the reported amount of sexual activity. Married people have more sex than those who are single, divorced, widowed, or separated. Money buys more sexual partners but not more sex."

YouTube - Lost In Austen: Trailer - "A thoroughly modern heroine threatens to ruin one of the worlds greatest literary love stories in this ingenious reinvention of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice"

France salutes end of military service - "Military experts have said conscripts are expensive to call up and then feed, clothe, house and train, but are of little use in a modern fighting force"
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