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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Links - 16th August 2011

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas A. Edison (attributed)


Time to abandon Britain’s CCTV policing - "The culprit is an out of date philosophy of reactive policing... In the UK, however, beginning in the 1990s, the Met went in the opposite direction, seizing on closed-circuit television as the primary tool of law enforcement... Any hope of deterrence is lost when burglars know there is scant risk of bumping into a bobby on the beat. Worse, interactions between the public and police now tend to be rare, highly charged and prone to mutual misunderstanding. Police stations are unwelcoming fortresses, impossible to contact on an informal basis, as calls are funnelled through centralised call-centres"

Riots in England: The fire this time | The Economist - "One [argument] is that they express the frustration of an underclass that feels increasingly marginalised... Yet not all the miscreants are obviously downtrodden. One up before the Highbury magistrate’s court on August 10th for looting, for example, was a 31-year-old teaching assistant. So to the second school of thought, which focuses on the police. This argument is essentially that the police have been neutered by the political correctness forced on them over the years. And emphasis over the past decade or so on community policing—cosying up to the communities they police rather than laying down the law—has made them reluctant to alienate anyone. As David Green, head of Civitas, a think-tank, puts it, “They are so paralysed by fear of being accused of racism that they softpedal whenever they encounter crime perpetrated by minorities,” as was the case in Tottenham. This gave the impression that the police were content simply to look on"

UK riots 2011: Britain's liberal intelligentsia has smashed virtually every social value - "The idea that they should not steal other people’s property, or beat up and rob passers-by, appears to be as weird and outlandish to them as the suggestion that they should fly to the moon. These youths feel absolutely entitled to go ‘on the rob’ and steal whatever they want. Indeed, they are incredulous that anyone should suggest they might pass up such an opportunity. What has been fuelling all this is not poverty, as has so predictably been claimed, but moral collapse... most of these children come from lone-mother households... Yet instead of lone parenthood being regarded as a tragedy for individuals, and a catastrophe for society, it has been redefined as a ‘right’... the Welfare State, which conceives of need solely in terms of absence of money... instead of forging social bonds, multiculturalism dissolved them"
A friend who studied and will be studying law in the UK said that social structures have been eroding over the years, people feel they have rights but no responsibilities and out-of-context legal judgments (which make sense in context) have given people the wrong impression about social values. The BBC has a good summary of proposed causes

Everything You Wanted to Know About UNESCO World Heritage Sites But Never Bothered To Ask - "As a rule of thumb, I can say that visiting a world heritage site will be worth the time and effort if you are in the area"

Gay Muppet Marriage? Petition Calls for Bert, Ernie Union - "Opponents of the petition say that having Bert and Ernie marry all of a sudden could confuse children who may never have caught on to the rumors. Would children then think that men who live together must be gay? Other critics say the move would be too political for a children's program, because these are in fact Muppets we're talking about — none of which are married or even in romantic relationships"
"Sesame Workshop noted on Thursday that as puppets, Bert and Ernie don't have sexual preferences"; "Piggy and Kermit got married because they exist in the Muppet Show world, which is more adult. I mean, those cranky old guys in the balcony, *definitely* a couple"

Study: People May Be Born Good (or Bad) at Math
I couldn't find any information on gender disparities though

London in the blitz: How crime flourished under cover of the blackout - "But while it was predictable that professional criminals should seek to profit from blitz and blackout, what was more surprising was how many others joined them... One trader in east London at the beginning of 1941 reckoned that shopkeepers lost more from crime than they ever did from German bombs. When the Café de Paris, which had a supposedly secure underground ballroom, suffered a direct hit in 1941, rescuers were shocked to find that looters were among them, yanking brooches and rings from the bodies of the revellers"

STOMP - Singapore Seen - Assaulted at St James, but police charged me while my attackers got off scot-free

Woman had sex with wrong 'boyfriend' - "Police said it was difficult to charge the man as the woman voluntarily had sex with him... In the middle of the night, she went to the common toilet outside the room. But when she returned, she entered the wrong room. After getting into the bed, the man in the bed wanted to have sex with her. Thinking that he was her boyfriend, she had sex with him."

The Medicis: money, myth and mystery - "It's a strange irony that Renaissance Florence was built by capitalist innovation, but went out of its way to make money invisible in its art. Politics, not money, dominated this city's culture. The ultimate beneficiary of Medici patronage was Michelangelo, who shared both the Medici instinct for making money and the Medici determination to ignore it. His Moses really has loftier things than money in mind"

Man Has Sex With Cat Before Throwing It Out Window

Study: A Guy’s Bromances May Help Keep Sex With His Wife Alive

Roger Ailes and the rise of Fox News - "When Ailes suspected a journalist wasn't far enough to the right for his tastes, he'd spring an accusation: "Why are you a liberal?" If staffers had worked at one of the major news networks, Ailes would force them to defend working at a place such as CBS – which he spat out as "the Communist Broadcast System""

Does Blogging Lead to More Readers of Academic Papers?

Critical Miss: Issue 10 (The Campaign For Real Monopoly) - "Imagine that we're playing by the proper rules, and child one again lands on Oxford Street, a property that child two is looking to buy. We now have three typical outcomes:
1) Child one decides to buy Oxford Street, making child two slightly unhappy.
2) Child one decides to pass on Oxford Street, it goes to auction, and child two manages to buy it, which makes him very happy.
3) Child one decides to pass on Oxford Street, it goes to auction, and a vicious bidding war then erupts between child two and dad, which ends up with dad winning, child two bursting into tears, mum giving dad a "someone's not having any fun tonight look", and the game grinding to a halt amid tears and recriminations"

Fighting Cleavage Wrinkles - Skin Deep -

These Malaysian adverts miss the point of Ramadan - "The advertisements feature a young Chinese woman behaving greedily, obnoxiously and wearing tight clothings at a Ramadan bazaar to the chagrin of the Muslim Malays around her. Rightly so, the racist undertone has caused a public uproar"
Malaysia Boleh!

Evangelicals Question The Existence Of Adam And Eve - "Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: "That would be against all the genomic evidence that we've assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all"... "Evangelicalism has a tendency to devour its young"... "The Catholic Church has had an awful lot of egg on its face for centuries because of Galileo. And Protestants would do very well to look at that and to learn from it"... Mohler and others say if other Protestants want to accommodate science, fine. But they shouldn't be surprised if their faith unravels"

Narcissists look like good leaders, but they aren't

Nightclubs: Are You Having Fun Yet? - "When I eventually express my disdain for the club scene to close personal friends, they listen to my argument with rolled eyes and sometimes even agree with one or two of my points, but then I’m constantly reminded that, if nothing else, nightclubs are a great place to find someone who will sleep with you after a few drinks"

Simple test tells how fast biological clock is ticking

Beyond Kickball: 10 Specialized Summer Camps - "At Charlton, MA’s Wizards and Warriors Camp, campers create their own characters and then spend their days fighting together against villains and searching for treasure. The camp sounds like it integrates educational elements into the fun – a potions-making class provides real-world lessons on chemistry – all while giving children a valuable opportunity to mingle with trolls"

If Social Networks were superheroes!

The Perils of Copy Protection - "I make most of my income writing computer books. To my great distress, I discovered that they are widely available online as PDF files. But when I griped on my blog, my readers challenged the assumption that I was losing sales. “First of all,” they said, “you’re counting a lot of people who never would have bought the book in the first place. Those don’t represent lost sales. And you’re not counting the people who like the PDF so much, they go buy the print edition or discover from the PDF sample that they like your writing.” One reader challenged me to a test: make one book available both on paper and as an unprotected PDF file. Report the effect of sales after one year. I did that. The results were clear: Piracy was rampant. The book was everywhere online. But weirdly, my readers were also proved right. Sales of the printed edition did not suffer; in fact, they rose slightly year over year"

Breast-Touching Festival is on in China - "The Yi people in Ejia town of Yunnan province, who are still single, will head to the streets for the Breast-Touching Festival (Monai Jie) on the 14th, 15th and 16th day of the month. On these days, the men are welcome to touch the women's breasts... the dead were in a state of unrest because they had not touched a woman before. And so, they wanted 10 "pure and untouched" ladies to accompany them in the afterworld. In a move to prevent them from being chosen, the single women – aged 15 and above - then asked the men to touch their breasts, and the custom was passed down for generations."
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