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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Links - 12th August 2011

"In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell." - H. L. Mencken


Measuring the Miracle: Market Imperfections and Asia's Growth Experience - "In Singapore, growth-accounting studies using quantities (the primal approach) find rising capital-output ratios and a constant labor share; but studies using real factor prices (the dual approach) find a constant user cost. We provide evidence that "favored" firms reaped economic profits and received preferential tax treatment, subsidies, and access to capital--market imperfections"

Asterix books contain 704 victims of brain injury, study finds - "Of the 704 victims, 698 were male and 63.9% were Roman. One hundred and twenty were Gauls, 59 were bandits or pirates, 20 were Goths, 14 were Normans, eight were Vikings, five were Britons and four were extraterrestrials. The majority of injuries were caused by the indomitable Gauls (87.1%), with Asterix and his large sidekick Obelix themselves responsible for more than half (57.6%)... Karl Schaller, a neurosurgeon at the University of Geneva, commended the authors for their "stimulating analysis", noting particularly the issue of absent helmets"

Under-achievement and the glass ceiling: Evidence from a TV game show - "We use a Colombian TV game show to test gender differences in competitive behavior where there is no opportunity for discrimination and females face no genderspecific external constraints... Despite equality in starting numbers, women earn less than men and exit the game at a faster rate. In particular, there are more voluntary withdrawals by women than men. We draw an analogy between the game and the process by which employees rise through the levels of a corporation. As such, we note that “glass ceilings” may result, in part, from women’s own behavior and this raises the issue of how women are socialized to behave"
Considering the fact that there is already self-selection in who comes on the game show, this is telling
Addendum: Yet more evidence that women are less competitive than men

The Glue Society's "I Wish You Hadn't Asked" - "The Glue Society has constructed a fully functional house in Aarhus, and for the month of June is making it rain continuously indoors, with the resulting decomposition of the building being observable both inside and out"

One More Reason Religion Is So Messed Up: Respected Theologian Defends Genocide and Infanticide - "He said that as long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to kill pretty much anybody. It's okay to kill bad people, because they're bad and they deserve it... and it's okay to kill good people, because they wind up in Heaven. As long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to systematically wipe out entire races. As long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to slaughter babies and children... So why did this story not make headlines? Why was there not an appalled outcry from the Christian world? Why didn't Christian leaders from all sects take to the pulpits to disavow Craig, and to express their utter repugnance with his views, and to explain in no uncertain terms that their religion does not, and will not, defend the extermination of races or the slaughter of children? Because the things he said are not that unusual. Because lots of people share his views... all too often, religion twists even the most fundamental human morality into positions that, in any other circumstance, most people would see as repulsive, monstrous, and entirely indefensible... Craig says that the Canaanites were evil, and deserving of genocide, because (among other things) they practiced infanticide. The very crime that God ordered the Israelites to commit... he says the infanticide of the Canaanite children was defensible and necessary because the Israelites needed to keep their tribal identity pure, and keep their God-given morality untainted by the Canaanite wickedness... It's funny. One of the most common pieces of bigotry aimed at atheism is that it doesn't provide any basis for morality"

Bering in Mind: Why I'm Not Proud of Being Gay - "Pride is portrayed as being inherently antisocial, a very, very bad thing... prestige-based, authentic pride emotions are the product of doingrather than simply being... Now, as far as I know, I haven’t done anything—at least deliberately so—to render my brain attracted to penises instead of vaginas. So "gay pride" under the guise of authentic pride seems just as problematic to me as it does for hubristic pride. We can’t have it both ways... I’m no more proud of being gay than I am of being Caucasian, of having type I diabetes, of being 5'7"—okay, in heels—or of having abnormally stocky hands for a man my size... the absence of pride is not shame... "gay pride"... rests on the assumption of a largely mythical, collective gay identity. In my everyday life, and unless you bring it up, being gay is about as salient to my self-concept as is my having brown hair or driving a Honda; I don’t feel—wait for the gasps—a particular affinity with other gay people just because they’re gay... [Gay pride's] lurid excesses that invigorate the very same stereotypes that we spend the rest of the year fighting against"

Ramadan for business travellers - ""Not much happens. Government bureaus are mostly shut while banks have very odd hours"... roads may also be more dangerous than usual during Ramadan, as tiredness and hunger leads to a deterioration in driving standards... criminal activity tends to increase in the final weeks of the month prior to Eid al-Fitr, as a result of the need for extra money for celebrations... Ultimately, Ramadan is a time for personal reflection for Muslims"

Namib-Naukluft Park Picture – Travel Wallpaper – National Geographic Photo of the Day
This does not look like a photograph

What went wrong? - "[The 1990s] housing boom, followed by a collapse of the bubble and the consequent glut of unsold flats – left a permanent scar in the psyche of housing planners in government. The experience made the HDB extremely wary of stepping up construction in response to an anticipated increase in demand... The same conclusion applies to our transport policies as well and in particular, the development of new MRT lines. Throughout the early 2000s, MOF routinely turned down requests from MOT and LTA to finance new rail lines. These decisions (many of which I was involved in) were made on the basis of the government’s recent experiences with the Northeast Line... The PAP government is also not as rational or pragmatic as it claims. Instead of subjecting new arguments or evidence to critical analysis, it often reverts to a few unspoken but deeply held ideological biases (of anti-welfarism, elite governance, the primacy of growth, Singapore's inherent vulnerabilities, etc). These ideological assumptions and biases are frequently relied on to deflect policy proposals which decision-makers are instinctively uncomfortable with. They represent a form of security blanket that policymakers take refuge in whenever our policies are subject to serious criticism, and they hinder truly out-of-the-box thinking in dealing with our most pressing problems"

Georgian PM Visits Singapore - “When we say that Georgian should become like Singapore, we do not mean eliminating political freedoms... lasting political process and stability, which is only possible when citizens follow us"

Food terms translation EN DE FR DA ES SE NL.

Norway’s Terrorism in Context - "Anders Behring Breivik’s rampage, in other words, was hardly unprecedented. In the past, one had the cold comfort of knowing that deranged acts such as his were carried out by individuals under the sway of extremist ideologies. Not so Behring Breivik. This terrorist lists among his favorite authors George Orwell, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Ayn Rand, and William James... [One site] counts 17,500 terrorist incidents on behalf of Islam in the past ten years; extrapolating, that comes to some 25,000 since 1994. We are dealing with two very different orders of magnitude... Beyond massacring innocent Norwegians, Behring Breivik damaged conservatism, the counterjihad, and (in particular) those authors he cited in his writings... He calls me a “moderate,” which obviously is not meant as a compliment, and dismisses even the hardest-line critics of Islam as lacking in courage"

Man Photographing Grandson In Park Deemed Suspicious By Police And Media - "The older, white man was seen photographing children in a public park in Idaho, so it didn’t take long for an overprotective mother to chase him off. She then called the cops, who in turn alerted the media, who quickly posted articles warning citizens about this dangerous man lurking in the park with his camera, running off after being confronted... Last year in the United Kingdom, a man was accused of pedophilia for photographing his son in a mall. In 2008, a UK man was called a "pervert" for photographing his own kids in a park"
Male Privilege!

If you don't speak English you can't belong in Britain - "We can only search for the common good through face-to-face discussion and public debate via the mass media. The simple fact is that if you can’t speak the language, you can’t take part. You can’t belong. And treating the requirement to speak the language of the people you plan to live among as an infringement of your rights gives away a self-centred attitude that is incompatible with citizenship... the least we can do is to learn the language. It does not require individuals to surrender their culture, merely to be able to communicate with everyone else... Ted Cantle produced the official report on the 2001 riots and described the “parallel lives” being lived by local whites and other people, largely from the Mirpur region of Pakistan"
Naturally, some people are calling this racist, classist etc

STOMP - Singapore Seen - Why we shouldn't feed strays: Look at what vicious stray cat did to woman and dog

New drug could cure nearly any viral infection
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