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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Links - 10th November 2011

"Sometimes the mind, for reasons we don't necessarily understand, just decides to go to the store for a quart of milk." - Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider


Tunisia's secular women fret erosion of freedoms with rise of Islamism - "The majority of women in this former French colony are less well-off, they are conservative, they wear the hijab or Islamic veil and, unlike women higher up the social scale, they are more comfortable speaking Arabic than French. But middle class, secularist women matter to Tunisia's prosperity because their layer of society traditionally provides its lawyers, bankers, marketing executives and creative minds... A few days before the election, Khemiri was handing out leaflets in support of a rival party with other women activists. "There were some men who looked at us and said: 'You keep doing what you're doing. But it's not going to last long. Soon you'll be staying at home'"... She said she had heard conservative men asking women "Why are you smoking?" and "Why are you wearing tight jeans?", and feared such remarks would become more common. Mouna, a 28-year-old who works in Ennasr's "Le Continental" bakery, described how a man came into the bakery on Tuesday and told her, "You should stay at home"... Khemiri said she was shocked to see separate queues for men and women at polling stations in areas where Ennahda is strong"

Prof or Hobo? - Quiz
I got 9/10

On the Perils of Living Dangerously in the Slasher Horror Film: Gender Differences in the Association Between Sexual Activity and Survival - "The slasher horror film has been deplored based on claims that it depicts eroticized violence against predominately female characters as punishment for sexual activities. To test this assertion, a quantitative content analysis was conducted to examine the extent to which gender differences are evident in the association between character survival and engagement in sexual activities. Information pertaining to gender, engagement in sexual activities, and survival was coded for film characters from a simple random sample of 50 English-language, North American slasher films released between 1960 and 2009. Results indicated that sexual female characters were less likely to survive and had significantly longer death scenes as compared to those female characters who did not engage in sexual behaviors."

Psychologist admits to faking dozens of scientific studies - "A preliminary investigative report issued on Monday by Tilburg University has concluded that dozens of research papers authored and co-authored by Stapel contain fabricated data... His research topics range from the effects of beauty product ads on consumer self-esteem, to how urban decay (like littered streets) promote stereotyping and discrimination"

Wife-beating study shocks Buddhist Bhutan's 'happiness' chief - "The survey by Bhutan's National Statistics Bureau found that roughly 70% of women say they deserved beating if they neglect children, argue with their partners, refuse sex or burn dinner, reported the Business Bhutan newspaper. The acceptance of domestic violence is highest (90 percent) among the women in Paro, a picturesque valley that's home to Bhutan's most revered monastery, Takshang. The capital city of Thimphu scores the lowest acceptance rate, about 50%, for wife beating... Covering 15,000 households, the Bhutan Multiple Indicator Survey also found that more than one in four women believe HIV/AIDS is transmitted supernaturally; one in four children do not attend school and one in five children are involved in child labor"
No wonder the Bhutanese are so happy. I suspect people in Thimphu are the least happy and those in Paro the most. Other data suggests this is true, as "the rural western Haa district recorded the highest GNH score, while people in the capital, Thimphu, scored significantly lower"

In Bhutan, pursuit of happiness is a tough mountain to climb - "One of the most damaging criticisms of GNH is associated with the national policy of preserving Bhutan’s ancient Buddhist culture. It was that policy — and anger about the country’s national dress and Dzongkha language being made compulsory — that led to protests from the large ethnic Nepali and Hindu minorities in the late 1980s and early ’90s and, ultimately, the expulsion of tens of thousands of them... But there is a more fundamental objection that strikes at the problem of making happiness a national goal. In Bhutan, some people are complaining that the government has no right to decide what makes them happy — not least when it banned smoking and made possession of cigarettes or tobacco a jailable offense in 2010. When a Buddhist monk was arrested and sentenced to three years in jail for possession of $2 to $3 worth of tobacco, even the normally quiescent Bhutanese rebelled. GNH was nicknamed “Gross National Harassment,” and a Facebook campaign helped crystallize the opposition. Although about 60 people are in prison, the government has promised to amend the law... Money is not everything, some critics say, but at least economic growth seems like an objective, measurable goal, while the pursuit of happiness is subjective, easily manipulated by the government to justify any policy it wants to implement. In the cities, people barely understand GNH, and in the villages, many farmers find its dogma frustrating. Under law inspired by Buddhism, they are not allowed to kill wild animals and are virtually powerless to prevent their crops from being eaten by wild boars, monkeys and elephants"

Teen prostitute brings daughter to work - "The woman said she enjoyed being a prostitute as she could satisfy her high sex drive and make money at the same time"

Many Rich Chinese Consider Leaving - - "The U.S. is the most popular emigration destination, according to the survey of 980 Chinese people with assets of more than 10 million yuan... the most common reason cited by respondents who were emigrating was their children's education, followed by a desire for better medical treatment, and the fear of pollution in China."

Half Of Young Professionals Value Facebook Access, Smartphone Options Over Salary: Report - "40% of college students and 45% of young professionals would accept lower-paying jobs if they had more access to social media, more choice in the devices they could use at work, and more flexibility in working remotely. More than half of the college students surveyed indicated that if an employer banned access to networks like Facebook at work, "they would either not accept a job offer from them or would join and find a way to circumvent"

College Has Been Oversold - "Over the past 25 years the total number of students in college has increased by about 50%. But the number of students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (the so-called STEM fields) has been flat... In 2009 the U.S. graduated 89,140 students in the visual and performing arts, more than in computer science, math and chemical engineering combined and more than double the number of visual and performing arts graduates in 1985... Perhaps most oddly, despite the decline in the number of news media jobs, especially in the print media, the number of students in communication and journalism also has nearly doubled since 1985... As a result, more than half of all humanities graduates end up in jobs that don't require college degrees. Baggage porters and bellhops don't need college degrees, but in 2008 17.4% of them had at least a bachelor's degree and 45% had some college education"
It is one thing to say that we need Arts graduates, but it is another to say that it is fine to have more and more of them, but not more STEM graduates.
Comments elsewhere: "Art is great, but as the old saying goes, out of every 1000 people, 900 get to be workers, 90 get to be middle managers, 9 get to be executives, and 1 lucky s.o.b. gets to be the artist. Unfortuntely, at this point 200 out of every 1000 people want to be
the artist. That is not a recipe for happiness, nor is it a recipe for economic growth... Not surprisingly, these graduates don't get much of a financial "bonus" from college"
"Go and talk to someone with a PhD in a basic science working in a field otherwise filled with liberal arts majors. There are more than a few of them. And, very seriously, what would employers do without well-educated liberal arts grads willing to work very hard for not that much money?... over the course of time, the major is really not that big of a deal. The college degree has become what the high school diploma used to be---a credential that can open or shut the door. But the expertise is still picked up on the job more so than in the classroom... South Korea is looking at American liberal arts colleges for ideas because South Korea has produced graduates with technical expertise but they lack creativity"
"Many of these engineers who learn a set way of doing things haven't mastered the critical thinking skills they need to change course mid-career when different standards take hold. Their earnings suffer for it and longer time series data on wages show this"
"Social Science majors made more than Biology and Life Science majors at the BA level, and make equal amount at the graduate degree level"
"I'm a college math professor. The idea that those in the arts and humanities are somehow more creative, than say the Engineers or Scientists, is absurd."

Do Submissive Asian Women Exist? | Dating | - "I look at my family and my first generation friend’s families – “traditional” Asian families – where the Asian man is allegedly the boss. But if I take a closer look, I see the Asian woman (the mom) making all the real decisions. Back when I was single I was NEVER afraid of the girlfriend’s dad, I was always more afraid of her mom. I knew who I needed to bow lower to. In these families, to an outsider, it may look like the Asian mom regularly defers to the dad but what is really going on is that the mom is only pretending to make it look like the dad has a say for the sake of saving face"
A feminist would probably disagree

"Zombie" attacks guard in nudist resort scuffle, deputies say

Malaysia's parallel judicial systems come up against legal challenges - "His estranged wife showed up at their child's school with a court order from a Sharia judge, who had granted her temporary custody of their 7-year-old. The wife took their daughter away with the help of Islamic officials and police. "If I had tried to stop them they would have arrested me," says Mr Tan. He says he had no idea his wife had become a Muslim. The next day his wife converted their daughter to Islam without Mr Tan's consent. That means both mother and child are now subject to Islamic law, which does not apply to non-Muslims like Mr Tan"

Bad, but inevitable: The consumerization of IT is accelerating - "IDC believes this primary focus on security is likely a fig leaf that IT is hiding behind, and surmises the real issue is IT wanting to maintain control of the infrastructure. On many occasions, IDC has seen IT managers play the security card when they don't want to accommodate something new. The range of issues surrounding consumerization of IT is in fact very wide, but security is a bogeyman, both easy to point to and very difficult to argue against"
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