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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Links - 28th July 2011

"The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it." - H. G. Wells

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Dining At Kampung Senibong, Permas Jaya « Real Malaysia - "These nasi lemak huts stand on stilts, constructed by the waterfront overlooking the arrogant land of Singapore"
Comment: "hmmm… look who’s the arrogant one here. If not for the many Singaporeans spending their money there, this ulu little kampung will still be in the stone age and not spriced up like it is now."

Use seawater or vinegar to treat jellyfish stings, not urine

Dale Watson Tiger Airways song | Singer wants CDs back - "American alt-country singer Dale Watson was travelling from Melbourne to Sydney on his way to the Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival in April when the discount airline charged him a $500 excess baggage fee for a box of CDs worth $3000. Mr Watson claims the airline then lost the CDs en route, leaving him nothing to sell at the concert, and has failed to reimburse him or return the discs. Despite the airline immediately promising to "make amends" the drama has dragged on for months and inspired a jingle that is unlikely to feature in the airline's next ad campaign - Tiger Airways and Their We Don't Care-ways"

Andrew Sullivan: Why Gay Marriage is Good for America - "In the era of gay marriage, straight marriage had actually strengthened somewhat, divorce rates had declined, and marriages lasted longer"
Ironically, in the absence of gay marriage being an issue, some of its supporters would be denouncing marriage itself as an oppressive, outdated institution and participating in it marginalising those who had chosen not to

‪'The Matrix' Lobby Scene with A capella Multitrack - Matt Mulholland‬‏ - YouTube

Soldiers responsible for their own conduct - "Those of us who have served our national service look back on those years as the best of our lives"
No wonder so many people are fervently passionate about sharing the joys of National Slavery with as many others as possible

‪A real person, a lot like you‬‏ - YouTube - "At the end of every computer is a real person, a lot like you"

Une femme meurt après une réaction allergique au sperme de chien - "Le chien, un berger allemand, a été mis en quarantaine suite à l'incident qui remonte au 7 octobre 2008"

Viewpoint: Why do some Americanisms irritate people? - "Lengthy. Reliable. Talented. Influential. Tremendous. All of these words we use without a second thought were never part of the English language until the establishment of the United States... The poet Coleridge denounced "talented" as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone. A letter-writer to the Times, in 1857, described "reliable" as vile... [English] is a far more flexible language. Anarchic even. That's part of the secret of its success. It has triumphed where Latin, French and the artificial language of Esperanto all ultimately failed"

Language Log » Hating Americans and their Americanisms - "I will say only two brief things about the list of 50 alleged Americanisms that British people hate just published by the BBC, and the hundreds and hundreds of supportive comments and new examples that are flocking in minute by minute. First, people don't check the origins of the words and phrases they cite; here on Language Log Mark Liberman found a rate of just 20% correct origin attributions in the original article that provoked this new tsunami of prejudice. I checked physicality, number 10 on the new list of 50, and found that the earliest potentially relevant OED citation is from an 1827 book published in London"

Large Stakes and Big Mistakes - "Most upper‐management and sales force personnel, as well as workers in many other jobs, are paid based on performance, which is widely perceived as motivating effort and enhancing productivity relative to non‐contingent pay schemes. However, psychological research suggests that excessive rewards can in some cases produce supra‐optimal motivation, resulting in a decline in performance. To test whether very high monetary rewards can decrease performance, we conducted a set of experiments at MIT, the University of Chicago, and rural India. Subjects in our experiment worked on different tasks and received performance‐contingent payments that varied in amount from small to large relative to their typical levels of pay. With some important exceptions, we observed that high reward levels can have detrimental effects on performance... Tasks that involve only effort are likely to benefit from increased incentives, while for tasks that include a cognitive component, there seems to be a level of incentive beyond which further increases can have detrimental effects on performance"
"Complex cognitive tasks can be impeded by rewarding performance"

When performance-related pay backfires - "Performance-related pay often does not encourage people to work harder and sometimes has the opposite effect... An analysis of 51 separate experimental studies of financial incentives in employment relations found overwhelming evidence that these incentives may reduce an employee's natural inclination to complete a task and derive pleasure from doing so. 'We find that financial incentives may indeed reduce intrinsic motivation and diminish ethical or other reasons for complying with workplace social norms such as fairness. As a consequence, the provision of incentives can result in a negative impact on overall performance'"

Asia Adult Expo: Despite conservative traditions, Asia's sex industry is exploding - "“Many high-earning women in their thirties and forties in China’s metropolises get really enthusiastic over sex toys, and can spend up to HK$3,000 in one sex-toy shopping spree,” said Lo. “They’re past their marriageable age, can’t find a partner and have sexual needs, so they turn to pleasuring themselves"

down, i say, down with malcolm gladwell! - "Gladwell dresses up all of his "realizations" in fancy clothes and too much make-up. He gives himself powers that he doesn't have. He pretends to have sorted things out that he hasn't sorted out. He imagines a possible control, and pretends that he has achieved that control. All the while telling people, whispering into their ears, precisely the kinds of things they would like to believe. And then (it must, I'm sorry, be said) he goes on wildly lucrative corporate speaking engagements spinning out the same titillating stories combined with his shoddy conclusions... The nicest thing that can be said about Malcolm Gladwell is that he doesn't even really believe his own mental garbage. If he is salvageable as a human being, it might be for the simple reason that he's a bad fraud"

Dr Tony Tan was no independent-minded person on the graduate mothers’ scheme - ""Young people are, naturally, idealistic and feel strongly about social issues, but it would be foolish of you to fritter away the next three to four years in pursuit of peripheral and frivolous activities"... The only dissent Dr Tony Tan appeared to have expressed on the graduate mothers scheme appeared to be this from 2nd April 1984. It is apparent that Dr Tony Tan merely doubted that the scheme would work, rather than whether it was unfair... Once the public had shown their strong disapproval of the policy at the ballot box, Dr Tony Tan, as Education Minister and the government decided not to tempt fate and instead roll back the policy. However, despite doing so, Dr Tony Tan took pains to emphasise that the reason for doing so was not so much because it was unfair, rather because there was little evidence that the graduate mother scheme was working the way the government intended it to ie. to induce graduate mothers to have more children... As Finance Minister in 1984, Dr Tony Tan refused to extend child relief to mothers who had less than five ‘O’ Levels"
25 years later: "Why race when you can canter and save your energy and do other things? Art, ballet, sports whereas these new migrants, they spend all their time slogging away in the library or at home"; "The MM Lee in January 2008 seems to understand arts and cultural movement takes a long time to nurture and such development is good for a nation. The MM Lee in July 2009 thinks it is stupid to spend so much time on such activities"

Barack Obama accused of crimes against humanity for Osama bin Laden killing
So what was 911?

Bono's ONE foundation under fire for giving tiny percentage of funds to charity - "Bono's anti-poverty foundation ONE is under pressure to explain its finances after it was revealed that only a small percentage of money it raises reaches the needy. The non-profit organisation set up by the U2 frontman received almost £9.6million in donations in 2008 but handed out only £118,000 to good causes (1.2 per cent). The figures published by the New York Post also show that £5.1million went towards paying salaries."
Awareness is sure to Make Poverty History

The Horror of Canadian Obscenity Law - "Sex and horror scenes that would be legal on their own can trigger prosecution when combined in the same film; it arguably makes just about any R-rated American horror movie obscene in Canada... the case against Couture originated with complaints to Interpol from people who "thought the depicted events were real""

Canada's Thought Police - "The latest victims of the Catharine MacKinnon-inspired censorship laws are artists and lesbians... despite the law's manifest harm to many women, MacKinnon did not back down"

How to Export Email Addresses of all your Facebook Friends - "There’s however a simple (and perfectly legal) workaround that can help you easily download all your friends email addresses from Facebook’s walled garden... Go to address.yahoo.com"

Why a Rise in M.B.A.s Coincided with the Fall of American Industry - "In the U.S., the growth of the financial industry has only exacerbated the trend toward balance-sheet-driven management. Companies everywhere, but particularly in the U.S., where the banking sector wields the most power, are under tremendous short-term pressure to make their quarterly numbers. This often leads to planning that's reactive rather than smart: force the highest-paid engineers to retire, even if they are the best, and reduce payroll costs across all divisions rather than invest in the ones that are pushing the New New Thing through the pipeline. It's interesting to note that the one area of the U.S. economy that's adding jobs and increasing productivity and wealth is also the one that is the most relentlessly product- and consumer-focused: Silicon Valley. The company off Highway 101 that best illustrates this point is, of course, Apple. The only time Apple ever lost the plot was when it put the M.B.A.s in charge"
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