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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Links - 3rd August 2011

"In this business you either sink or swim or you don't." - David Smith

***

Saudi Arabia's 'Anti-Witchcraft Unit' breaks another spell - "In accordance with our Islamic tradition we believe that magic really exists"
Cultural Imperialism! I am not surprised it is under the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice

Have Your New Sneakers Delivered To You By Pigeons

World's 50 most delicious foods

Singapore sour over assam laksa - "Penang assam laksa's rise to the CNN top 10 ranking of most delicious food in the world has rankled foodies in the neighbouring country down south... Chef Florence Tan... said she had never tasted any chicken rice that “blew her hat off” in Singapore. Celebrity Chef Ismail Ahmad said he was “very, very proud” Malaysian food was recognised and commended Thailand on taking first place. “However, I would say chili crabs and chicken rice are 100% Malaysian,” he said, explaining that it was brought over when Malaysia and Singapore split in 1963"
We love ignorant Malaysians

What Makes People Gay? - "Most of the men who identified themselves as bisexual showed gay arousal patterns... the environment most worth focusing in on is the one a child experiences when he's in his mother's womb... Of the boys with inadequate penises who were raised as girls, he says, "I haven't found one who is sexually attracted to males." The majority of them have transitioned back to being males and report being attracted to females... the research suggests that early on in the womb, as the fetus's brain develops in either the male or female direction, something fundamental to sexual orientation is happening... It's not a question of what genes you have, but rather which ones you use, says Bocklandt. "I have the genes in my body to make a vagina and carry a baby, but I don't use them, because I am a man""
This actually talked more about homosexuality in women than most such stuff I've read, but even then the subject is often elided

Bastille Day malware spammed out to French computer users - "What's strange about their entire attack is that it is clearly targeting French people, but is the social engineering is conducted entirely in English. You have to think that the malicious hackers behind the campaign would have been more successful if they had used French language throughout"
The English of the text is actually excellent - something you don't see in other malware

Racism a thing of the past? Think again - "Prof Lee posits that racism is a phenomenon limited by and large to the elderly and the less educated, and cites the substantial Indian population in her working environment and in her social circle as evidence of that claim... I believe the conclusion that Singaporeans are mostly a colour-blind people is an assumption that members of the dominant racial group here, such as Prof Lee and myself, are privileged with, since we do not bear the brunt of racial discrimination and prejudice... don't let the privileged majority fall into the easy trap of believing that racism is a thing of the past, or being complacent with racial diversity and forgetting the pursuit of social justice"
As someone commented, "For Tamilians like me, the discrimination comes mainly from Northern Indians (especially the new citizens and expats). They have brought their caste system into local society, I'm afraid". Naturally, a dogmatic and simplistic obsession with "privilege" (and with bashing certain groups) blinds one to such intricacies and subtleties of racial dynamics

Altruism Can Be Assessed Correctly Based on Impression - "Coding of nonverbal behavior of the targets revealed that altruists exhibited more “felt smiles” than non-altruists, which also supports the results of the previous study"

Satoshi Kanazawa Causes Firestorm After Claiming Black Women Are Less Attractive
I read the original article and though he likes to write nonsense in Psychology Today, its tone was actually level-headed (especially by his standards). Though apparently he misinterpreted the data and "has repeatedly been criticised by other academics in his field of research for using poor quality data, inappropriate statistical methods and consistently failing to consider alternative explanations for his results". As for his postulation that differences in testosterone explain the difference in attractiveness, the research is mixed (some speculate this is why black men get prostate cancer more than white men) though the weight of the evidence seems against him. Though one wonders why "the very prestigious journal American Psychologist" accepted an article of his if it sucks.

Guest Blog: The Data Are In Regarding Satoshi Kanazawa - "I agree with Psychology Today blogger Mikhail Lyubansky, PhD, when he says, "[e]xtraordinary claims ... require extraordinary evidence and editorial oversight." This does not lead us to censorship; it means requiring that an inquiry bring us closer to – not farther from – the truth. Kanazawa does not earn censure with the political incorrectness of his question, but earns social and scientific irrelevance through the weakness of his research. This irrelevance earns Kanazawa a special place in hell in today's link-driven media economy – one where no one will hear him scream"

Sweden trails Denmark in happiness league - "Danes are the happiest people in the world... Sweden comes in a full 13 places behind the Danes, while Norway fares even worse with its 19th place finish... Maybe the Danes are just thrilled to have finally edged out big brother in the tax stakes. As The Local reported earlier this year, Denmark recently overtook Sweden as the country with the highest taxes in the world"

Help them quit smoking - "Low-income Singaporeans who are on financial assistance undergo compulsory smoking-cessation programmes where they learn budgeting skills and are told about the heavy financial burden smoking is on their families. HPB said it has found that in some households, as much as 80 per cent of financial aid goes towards sustaining smoking habits."

Apple stopped innovating with the iPhone. You’re welcome. - Apple - "Apple’s last innovation in mobile was the iPhone. Everything since then has simply been perfecting the work of others."

My problem with Barack Obama isn't that he's black… - "One of the clever things about the term “racist” in its modern, catch-all sense is that it’s a bit like witchcraft in the 17th century: denial just constitutes further proof of guilt. That’s why liberals like Twitterer DCPlod – who branded me yesterday with the hashtag “racistpig” – so enjoy deploying the deadly “R” word against their ideological opponents. It enables them to play judge, jury and executioner without having to go through any of the tedium or intellectual challenge of offering their antagonists a fair trial... For the record, though, I probably am a teeny bit racist. For example, I have to confess that I have a slight bias towards black conservatives and libertarians over white ones... Any black person can be a liberal-leftie; indeed as we saw from voting patterns in the last US presidential election it’s almost de rigueur. To be a black conservative, on the other hand, now that requires some cojones.... white liberals so often [take umbrage on blacks' behalf] it that superior, patronising way of theirs. It’s as if they think black people are far too stupid and inarticulate and helpless to stick up for themselves, so they must therefore step in to help them and nurse them at every turn... [Black History Month] implies that they are not free-thinking individuals capable of a range of nuanced views, career options, intellectual achievements and lifestyle choices but a lumpen mass defined largely by their skin colour."

The strange, racist attack on Herman Cain - "AlterNet doesn’t just attack his positions or his ideology, both of which are fair game, but attack him for the color of his skin and declares him inauthentic. In doing so, they make the same assumptions that Jamie Kelso makes and tried to propagate at CPAC, which is that a black man can’t decide for himself what kind of politics he likes, honestly and authentically." Calling minorities "Borneo man, a Venus Hottentot or a tribe of cannibals from deepest darkest Africa or Papua New Guinea on display" or "a monkey in the window" is far more racist than so much of what is typically condemned as such

Les 400 culs: L'affaire des cartes postales de seins, la suite - "L’autre accusation - «diffusion d’un message pornographique ou violent susceptible d’être vu par des mineurs» – est également caduque pour une raison très simple: aucun mineur ne travaille à la Poste. Nous sommes dans un pays où les enfants vont à l’école, quelle chance."

Facebook gaffe brings 1,500 to party - "A German teen fled her own 16th birthday party after more than 1,500 guests turned up after she forgot to set it as 'private' on Facebook."

The Hitchhiking Game by Milan Kundera

Upcoming Apple Store in Hamburg, Germany pranked by Windows fanbois (Updated)
There aren't actually Windows Fanbois so I'm guessing it's just people pissed off by Mac Whores

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed - "1. I
wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life
others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier."
Dynamic Inconsistency. "Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo."

In a College Study, Grading Curves Follow Partisan Lines - "The authors were interested in whether Democrats professors gave out a more egalitarian distribution of grades, since liberals believe more strongly than conservatives “in the justification for governmental action to reduce inequality.” And their hunch appears to be right... black students receive significantly lower grades than white students when taking a course with a Republican professor as opposed to a Democratic one — but again, the reasons are open to interpretation"
"Republican professors were more likely to be in the Sciences and Democratic professors in the Humanities."

Cat Hugging Kitten Video: What’s Really Going On?

M'sian police slammed for cattle-branding women
Malaysia Boleh!

Woman forced to have sex for free cab rides
Malaysia Boleh!
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