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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Links - 27th October 2011

"I have nothing to say, and I am saying it, and that is poetry." - John Cage


Steve Jobs Regretted Wasting Time on Alternative Medicine - "Ramzi Amri, a Fullbright scholar researching neuroendocrine tumors at the Harvard Medical School and at Massachusetts General Hospital, said the tumors of the subtype Jobs is believed to have contracted are "relatively mild" and very survivable if detected early. But Jobs delayed surgery for at least nine months, making it "sound to assume that Mr. Jobs' choice for alternative medicine has eventually led to an unnecessarily early death"... Jobs's instinct for defiant iconoclasm and his insistence on unconventional approaches did not, in the end, serve him as well as it served Apple's customers and shareholders"

Musicthatmakesyoudumb - "Average SAT (with standard error) for the 133 most popular entries for "favorite music" on facebook"

The 99% - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 10/18/11 - Video Clip | Comedy Central
From the comments, it seems people are only happy when the Daily Show satirises people they don't agree with (e.g. the Tea Party) but get upset when a cause they identify with is featured. Not that this is unexpected, but still

TV cleared in violence probe - "The British Crown colony of St Helena is an island with a population of 5,500 people. Since television broadcasts began on the island, children there have been watching programmes with similar levels of violence to those transmitted in the United Kingdom. The team of psychologists examined children's reactions in a number of ways - including videoing their playground activities. Almost all previous research in this area has suggested a link between children's television, diet and their behaviour. Most observational studies suggest that two years after the introduction of television into a community, children's behaviour deteriorates. This hasn't been the case on St Helena and the research suggests that a child remains unaffected by violence as long as they have a good family background, good schools and a caring community to support them... This research concurs with a recent British Government report which also found no clear link between violent behaviour and violent television programmes"
More evidence (from 1998) against the monkey see monkey do theory of human behavior, and people who seek to censor by invoking the harm principle

Film-violence link not proved - "There is no evidence that violent video films directly trigger violent behaviour among young viewers, a British Government report has found. However, the report, which is due to be published towards the end of next week, does find that young people who are violent criminals are more likely to enjoy violence on screen... a taste for violent films is more likely to be linked to the general social effects of poverty. The report concludes that both a history of family violence and criminal behaviour are necessary preconditions for a person to develop a significant preference for violent films"
From 1997

Lead Poisoning and Rome - "More than wine (or water transported through lead pipes), the dainties and elaborate sauces prepared with defrutum by gourmands such as Apicius are likely to have been the primary source of ingested lead by the Roman aristocracy."

Dead meat: Dongguan factory caught selling diseased pork - "The owner of the factory reportedly not only used dead pigs to produce sausage and bacon but in order to keep the meat from becoming infested with maggots, he marinated the pork with sodium nitrite, pesticides and industrial salt."

Top 10 Highest Paid Government Leaders - "What makes a world leader's pay reasonable or outlandish? One way of making this call is by looking at pay compared to a country's GDP per person at purchasing power parity (PPP)... Ranking the leaders by their country's income inequality can really show how far out of touch a leader is with those governed... Raila Odinga earns an incredible amount more than the people he governs, and presides over a country that Transparency International would consider one of the most corrupt around (ranked 154 out of 178 countries)"
Considering that Raila Odinga had the third highest political leader salary in the world, yet governed the most corrupt country...

Many religions require their men to grow beards. Why does God like hairy chins? - "Why does God like facial hair so much? Because it’s manly... Masculinity isn’t the only proposed explanation for why religious groups have favored them. Some communities kept beards to distinguish themselves from their nonbelieving neighbors. Ancient Near Eastern art portrayed Israelites as bearded, while the hated Philistines were clean-shaven. There are Muslim scholars who think the prophet wore a beard to distinguish his followers from Christians."

Woman finds out she has testicles - "A teenage girl had sued a plastic surgeon, two nurses and a photographer for taking pictures of her private part in Singapore. The victim, 17, said the nurses and photographer stripped her before taking photographs some time in November last year. She said she had gone to the surgeon because she just wanted a scar on her thigh removed, and not her panties removed altogether"
Someone didn't explain before-after photos properly, probably

Emphasising financial value of degrees 'threatens arts and humanities' - "The increasing emphasis being placed on the financial value of a degree threatens the future of arts and humanities research... A male graduate with a poor arts degree could expect to earn less over his lifetime than a man going straight into employment after A-levels"
Screwing the ignorant to save a discipline is very selfish

A Chinese Government-Made iPhone App Provides Free Condoms in Beijing

Don't Worry About Being Happy - "Adding to the difficulties of using happiness to guide policy is the fact that it has more to do with humans' inherently social nature than with the kind of absolutes that government policies can easily affect... being thin makes you happy in the United States and sad in Russia... people's immense ability to be happy even in grim circumstances means that they end up tolerating conditions that they shouldn't -- high death rates from easily preventable disease or kleptocratic rulers, for instance. How else to explain Nigeria ranking above Germany in average happiness or Colombia above Canada and the United States? Is the policy conclusion that Nigeria is doing better on what really counts than Germany?"

Psych Your Mind: Good food, bad food: The psychology of nutrition - "Good foods are thought to be inherently low in calories and complete in nutrients. Bad foods are thought to be low in nutrients, high in calories and probably filled with heart-unhealthy things. The problem with this? This categorical thinking could lead to avoiding foods that are “bad” in large doses but are essential in small amounts. Also, in another study Rozin found that American’s associate chocolate cake with guilt, whereas the French associate it with celebration. Demonizing foods could lead to guilt, obsession with eating (termed orthorexia), and unhealthy eating habits... there is now even a term (not yet recognized in the DSM) for people who have an obsession with healthy eating"

Japan beats France on three-star restaurants, Michelin says

Reality Check: TNR Names DC’s Most Over-Rated Thinkers | The New Republic - "Fareed Zakaria is enormously important to an understanding of many things, because he provides a one-stop example of conventional thinking about them all. He is a barometer in a good suit, a creature of establishment consensus, an exemplary spokesman for the always-evolving middle. He was for the Iraq war when almost everybody was for it, criticized it when almost everybody criticized it, and now is an active member of the ubiquitous “declining American power” chorus. When Obama wanted to trust the Iranians, Zakaria agreed (“They May Not Want the Bomb,” was a story he did for Newsweek); and, when Obama learned different, Zakaria thought differently. There’s something suspicious about a thinker always so perfectly in tune with the moment... “ My friends all say I’m going to be Secretary of State,” Zakaria told New York magazine in 2003. “But I don’t see how that would be much different from the job I have now.” Zakaria later denied making those remarks"

Outsourcing Hits India - "Absolutely nobody is safe anymore; in China yesterday I went to buy some gym shorts and found from the label that they were made in Thailand. Americans can learn something from India, though. Jobs that would have otherwise stayed in the country left because of the costs imposed by bad infrastructure... in a world in which even India is losing jobs to cheaper competition, we can’t go on as we are and expect good results"

Japan's ear-cleaning salons offer childhood fantasy - ""After the ear-cleaning, the girls blow in the customers' ears to remove any remaining dust. Lots of guys ask the girls to blow a lot," he said. A sign in the reception sets the boundaries: "We are not a salon offering sexual services. We will stop ear cleaning whenever there is an act that offends women"... Ear cleaning has boomed in Japan since it was de-regulated six years ago and people without medical training were allowed to begin offering it as a service... Like the bars where hostesses coyly serve their male customers and laugh obligingly at their jokes, or the coffee shops where mirrored floors tantalisingly reveal untouchable waitresses without underwear, mimikaki occupies the grey area in Japan between innocence and commercial sex... She sees nothing sexual in what she offers; for her it is all about relaxation and making someone's life better. "Customers come here to be healed," she said"

Cops: Woman charged after pelting husband with cupcakes

Need to protect our Good Samaritans - "On Nov 20, 2006, an old woman fell to the ground and broke her leg after jostling at a bus stop in Nanjing, an eastern China city. A young man, Peng Yu, helped her up and escorted her to hospital. Later the woman and her family dragged the man to court, which ruled that the young man should pay 40 percent of the medical costs. The court said the decision was reached by reasoning... From then on, the number of pedestrians helping old people in need has dramatically decreased. Using search engines online, one can get dozens of stories of old people left lying on the ground without any passers-by giving a helping hand. Netizens have even coined a new phrase for it - "sequel of the Peng Yu case""
Related story: "A survey initiated by the Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV's website, in which more than 20,000 netizens had taken part by Tuesday afternoon, showed that less than 7 percent of the respondents polled said they would stop while they were driving to offer the elderly help. More than 45 percent voted to "turn a blind eye" to old people in distress and 43 percent voted to "offer them help only if there is a video camera"."
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