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Friday, October 07, 2011

Links - 7th October 2011

Mike Daisey Discusses ‘The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs’ - NYTimes.com - "It’s deeply unfortunate that he sold out his ideals. This is someone who had an opportunity to transform the world with these devices and then did. He started as someone whose devices were forged out of piracy, and today it’s the most locked-down computer company in the world. As a capitalist I’m sure that it’s very attractive. But if we’re talking about him as an artist, I’d say that he completely lost track of his idealst"

Defend Your Research: Adults Behave Better When Teddy Bears Are in the Room - "“Can you demonstrate this kind of effect in the field?” So we took KLD’s massive database of corporate information and cross-referenced it with geographical data, and we found that if companies have five or more day-care centers, nurseries, or kindergartens within a two-mile radius of their headquarters, their charitable giving increases significantly... we controlled for population density, because research has shown that people are somewhat meaner in very dense places... For someone who does lab work, it was nice to see the same pattern of results in the real-world data"

Magic Mushrooms May Lead to More Open-Mindedness

Universities forced to reveal 'Blacklisted' A-level subjects - "Trinity College, Cambridge, publishes a list of ‘generally suitable’ science and arts A-levels. It cites 13 A-levels of ‘more limited suitability’ including business studies, film studies, sociology, psychology, law, drama/theatre studies, art and design and archaeology... Twenty-four A-levels that are only suitable as fourth subjects include accounting, citizenship, dance, health and social care, music technology, photography and ICT. Last year, Barnaby Lenon, headmaster of Harrow, accused many state schools of deceiving children by entering them for ‘worthless qualifications’. He cited media studies, saying many schools wanted to enter students because it was easier for them to get a good grade"

Shakesville - Encyclopedia Dramatica - "Shakesville (aka Rapesville) is a blog where fat apologists and almost rape survivors go to get triggered and outraged. The website is made by and for perpetual victims, these people will find rape in the word "grape" and point out that eating grapes contributes to "rape culture"; they will also claim that someone on the Internet calling them fat is a proof that there's a systematic genocide against fat people. They are totally not exaggerating and overreacting... Melissa can find rape in the most unusual places, like this XKCD webcomic. She is totally not batshit insane... Melissa McEwan likes to think that her blog is a "safe place for rape survivors" because any content that a rape sur-whiner may find offending is labeled as "warning trigger: rape culture" or "trigger: sexual violence". The theory behind it is that the reader will read the warning and skip the article that may trigger the unpleasant emotion. Too bad 100% of her readers visit the blog to get a daily dose of unpleasant emotions, mainly rage. In this sense, Shakesville is like 4chan and ED for emotionally disturbed women. On Shakesville, expressing any opinion that differs from the opinion of the hivemind will immediately get you banned. Liss routinely trolls her own readers into blind rage with her posts, but she will delete your comment because she can't stand the competition"

Great Muhammad T-Shirt!

How to make a zombie cockroach - "Researchers discover how wasps' venom makes roaches their slaves"

South Korea: Kids, Stop Studying So Hard! - "In South Korea, it has come to this. To reduce the country's addiction to private, after-hours tutoring academies (called hagwons), the authorities have begun enforcing a curfew — even paying citizens bounties to turn in violators... There are more private instructors in South Korea than there are schoolteachers... In 1964 a school entrance exam contained a question about the ingredients in taffy. But the exam inadvertently included two right answers, only one of which was counted as correct. To protest this unfairness, outraged mothers — not students — began cooking taffy outside government offices using the alternative ingredient... Koreans still spent 2% of their GDP on tutoring, even with the downtick"

Hubby claims wife raped by ‘invisible man’ - "His wife would remove her clothing, touch her own body and moan while sleeping at night... The couple, from Bintulu, Sarawak, lodged a police report but the cops could not do anything to arrest the “invisible man”"
Malaysia Boleh!

Woman risked life to save branded handbags - "She managed to overcome her shock and look for a way to escape, but not before dashing into another room and "rescuing" three Louis Vuitton and Gucci handbags that belonged to her and her daughter... Psychology experts said that it is human nature to save valuable goods. "But this instinct is usually more common in women as they treasure valuable goods more than men.""

Actress's kiss on Southwest plane raises touchy subject - "Leisha Hailey [claimed] that Southwest Airlines drew the line when she kissed another woman and was later escorted off the plane... Southwest said in a statement on its website that the women responded to flight attendants with profane language, and though the airline also had "reports of what customers characterize as an excessive public display of affection, ultimately their aggressive reaction led to their removal from the aircraft"
Since they also kicked off Billie Joe Armstrong for refusing to pull up his pants, it's not clear one can accuse them of "homophobia". Excessive PDA also got another couple in trouble a few years back

Split Screen: Daring to grow up - "It's a bit of a no-win situation. If games deal with difficult adult concepts, they're cashing in on tragedy to make a buck. But if they avoid such topics, they are just proving that games are a juvenile medium, not to be taken seriously... For many years, television was considered to be cinema's frivolous younger sibling. TV was for mindless entertainment, while films could be true art. The relatively recent emergence of serious television drama with genuine artistic merit has forced the snobs to re-evaluate their views"

dhamma musings: Happy Christmas - "When someone says to me 'Happy Holidays' at Christmas I feel like hitting them over the head with my umbrella. Apparently this 'neutralized' and 'secularized' excuse for a blessing is ejaculated so that 'non-Christians will not feel excluded' or so they will 'not feel offended' by Happy Christmas. If you feel offended by someone wishing you happiness at a time they are happy, then I think there is something seriously wrong with you. And if you can't join others in their celebrations, even if the theology behind it does not correspond with yours, then I think you lack mudita. As usual, the Buddha had something to say that is relevant to this issue. He said that the sage would happily participate in Brahminacal sacrificial festivals (yanna) and traditional family celebrations (yajanti anukulam sada) where nothing against the Precepts was involved (S.I,76)"
This was from a Buddhist monk

S'porean becomes magazine nude model - "A Singaporean woman is making headlines for becoming an award-winning nude model in New Zealand. Audrey Tan, 27, a Singaporean based overseas, beat eight other contestants to become the first Asian to win the title of "Miss Erotica" in the magazine competition... her dream is to follow in the footsteps of Singaporeans Annabel Chong and "Tila Tequila", both of whom have made their names in the erotic industry. Audrey believes there is nothing wrong for a Singaporean to aspire to reach an international level. Her erotic career took off after she spent $9,000 to enlarge her breasts from a size B to a size DD. She now makes $1,300 for one session of modeling nude... At the age of 18, Audrey secretly took on a job as a stripper at a nightspot. This was the place where she met her ex-husband"
Considering she emigrated at 4, I don't see what the fuss is all about

Word Creep: “Accidental Rape” at Good Men Project - "Schwyzer (borrowing from the feminist canon) adopts a very rigid taxonomy when dealing with matters sexual. There is regular ol’ get-at-me-dog sex, “No-Means-Yes” sex, “Yes instead of No” sex (the kind in Hugo’s piece), Drunk Sex, and Rape. But these are all placeholder categories with wide space between. If we delved into individuals’ psychology leading up to these sex acts, we might find a sort of roller coaster of consent with women switching in and out of “feeling” from second to second... Feminist demagoguery has become so rigid that it can’t entertain a definitional spectrum. Perhaps intellectual laziness has taken hold. Or maaaybe feminists like Schwyzer have discovered that this particular word serves a political purpose – much like a politician labeling another politician a Nazi or a racist. Too, those words are umbrella terms for a certain set of beliefs or behaviors, yet they’ve become loose through time and help to delegitimize political opponents. Under the guise of “Good Men” preaching, Schwyzer could be carrying political water for the feminist agenda. This definitional problem is dealt with handily in other legal areas. In the legal realm we have “homicide” and then we have “murder”... I’m not usually one to think in terms of how this discussion harms women – only because there are people like Hugo Schwyzer making a federal case out of any less-than-ideal sex act – but even mentioning the term “rape” in proximity to this act devalues the word"

French to ration tomato sauce in school canteens (but there are no limits on baguettes) - "The country famed for its culinary skills has moved to ration the oh-so-Anglo red substance from its canteens. Baguettes, however, will be distributed in endless quantities to children as part of a government decree that came into force this week. It is hoped the switch will combat obesity... school chefs must provide four or five dishes every day, including a main course, and a dairy product such as cheese. They must also offer a starter and a dessert, naturellement"

Language Log » Fake foreigner - "I just now stepped out of a Singapore cab... "What? You know Mandarin?" "Yes," I replied, "but I usually teach Classical Chinese"... I noticed a strangely conspicuous, handwritten sign hanging from the middle of his dashboard. In big, red characters that were easily visible from the back seat of the cab, the sign listed about ten categories of jiǎ 假 ("fake; false") individuals that he didn't like to have in his cab, including jiǎ shàngděng rén 假上等人 ("fake gentlemen") and jiǎ gāojí rén 假高级人 ("fake high class people"). But the most severe scorn of all was reserved for the last category on the list: the dreaded jiǎ yángrén 假洋人 ("fake foreigners")... "A 'fake foreigner,'" he said, "is a Chinese who comes into my cab and speaks English to me. A 'fake foreigner' is also a Chinese who speaks English to his / her children. Such people are beneath contempt""
Ahh we all love urine
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