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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Links - 12th November 2011

"It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an Airport' appear." - Douglas Adams


Move Over Helicopter Parents. “iParents” Are Here. - "If you’re a parent and you’ve ever felt like you couldn’t stop using Facebook or Twitter even if you wanted to, guess what? You’re not alone. Retrevo found that 12% of all parents feel the same way and this number more than doubles when looking at iPhone owning parents (19%). Fortunately, most parents seem to exhibit normal social media usage patterns, but we did find that 11% of them said they’ve given up activities they used to enjoy because they spend time on Facebook or Twitter. 18% of iPhone owning parents feel the same way (compared to only 12% of Droid owning parents). Retrevo also found that iPhone owning parents are twice as likely to get nervous or anxious if they don’t check Facebook/Twitter (28%)."
This tells you something about iPhone users

Neighbourly sex no bother for Swedes: study - "The study has focused its research on social media, such as tweets and Facebook status updates, to find out what people say and think about their neighbours... Of the 1000 posts reviewed, some 15 percent concerned the moans and groans associated with sexual activity - the only category where a majority of the comments were positive. On the other hand, Swedes don’t seem to have much good to say about neighbours renovating, partying or emitting unidentified noises"

Dr. Kate Scannell: Maintaining weight loss after dieting -- a ghost of a chance - "By analyzing changes in blood hormones that regulate metabolism and stimulate appetite, they've newly established why we face such a fat chance of keeping off the weight. They've discovered the existence of hungry hormonal goblins that actually linger within dieters' blood for at least 12 months after dropping pounds. These entrenched hormonal goblins tempt dieters to eat, encourage them to store more fuel as body fat, and slow their metabolism"

Women Not as Romantic as Believed | News Tonight - "Men would more often fall in love within a few weeks as compared to women who would take months or more. It was also found that men were more likely to reveal to their partner about how they felt way before women did"
Though this is in line with women being more selective in mate choice, the analysis is misguided. Romantic tendencies are not the same as speed to commit, or to openly commit. Also this is more evidence to support the view that "when a lady says no, she means maybe" (or at least that if you take no to mean no, you will never get maybe or yes as an answer)

Zambia: Could this guy become the next president? - "Zambians have set an example on anti-racism, he said, and other Africans need to learn from this. People would prefer that we move forward and do not remain static in "colonialism nonsense", he added... Chitimukulu -- a known supporter of former president Rupiah Banda -- in 2009 denounced "Mr Sata's decision to pick a white man as his vice", querying who would replace the 74-year-old politician if he died since his deputy was "a white man". Chitimukulu told Mr Banda -- when the then President visited him at the palace -- that Zambians fought for independence, and that having a white man as Republican vice-president or president would mean the independence struggle was in vain. The racial remarks attracted denunciation from several Zambians"

Teen drama: Sex among 15 to 19 year olds drops -- or maybe not - "It's pretty clear that the flood of sexuality -- whether online, in print or on screen -- passes in full frontal view of those voracious media consumers: teenagers. Which might suggest that adolescents are having sex as frequently as they download a song -- except they aren’t, according to the latest research."
More reasons to doubt the monkey see monkey do theory of human behavior - or at least its stronger versions

Journalists, welcome to Robotland! - "Algorithms, smart robots which sort loads of information and arrange it according to users’ requests, are entering the newsroom... What is the next step? Will such robots become standalone content creators working like online news Trojans?"

How Understanding the Human Mind Might Save the World From CO2 - - "People's attitudes do not translate into action. But most environmental activism remains centered around the assumption that changing behavior starts with changing attitudes and knowledge... Those who seek to gauge consumer behavior to learn how better to sell them products have known this principle for half a century, and since the 1990s, they have been adjusting for it in their research methods, Barnard said. That hasn't been the case in the world of climate change... Much research has shown that social networks have significant power to affect people's behaviors, and to find them, perhaps there is no better place to look than local communities"
Ahh... "Awareness"

Early Birds Linked to Higher Cardiovascular Risk, Study Says

Blog: CAIR's silence on pastor's apostasy death sentence is deafening - "Iranian apostasy law is consistent with mainstream Islam's rejection of freedom of conscience since the 7th century advent of the creed, through the clear modern dictates of the global Muslim umma's religio-political hierarchy as put forth in the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, signed by all 56 member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now the Organization of Islamic Cooperation)... The universality of these Islamic attitudes affects Muslim communities in the West, including North America. Syed Mumtaz Ali, the late architect of Canada's Sharia (Islamic Law) tribunal, and law professor Ali Khan, for example both have openly advocated extending Islamic apostasy laws to the West. Mumtaz Ali, in a disturbing essay, affirmed the traditional Islamic legal viewpoint that apostates must "choose between Islam and the sword," arguing further that if Canada were to act in accord with its own Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian government must grant the country's Islamic community authority to punish those Muslims who apostasize, or malign their faith... in April, 2009 Harvard Muslim chaplain Taha Abdul-Basser explained approvingly to a Muslim student that the traditional Islamic practice of executing apostates from Islam, remained both venerable, and applicable"

What walking speeds say about us - "Singapore came top of the table, followed by Copenhagen, Madrid and Guangzhou in China... People who walk fast are also more likely to speak and eat quickly, wear a watch and get impatient, he says. They don't like to sit still, sit in traffic or wait in queues... The correlation between walking speed and heart disease is very close"

Christian Louboutin On Painful Shoes - "For some a little discomfort is balanced by something else, which has to do with desire. You feel yourself, empower yourself, know yourself. You are aware of your body. This little act of discomfort pays off in lots of other ways"
Understanding Desire is key - and not just in this arena

Varieties of inequality - "We pay little attention to utility, and focus way too much on income inequality... I probably care less about income inequality than the average progressive. I think that’s partly because I’ve known lots of lower income people, and I’ve almost never found it to be the case that their income was the central problem in their lives... Almost every day I wonder where the outrage is over 400,000 drug users in jail. By comparison, over the past 5 years I’ve read dozens of stories about the 400 terror suspects at Guantanamo... It’s fine to worry about income inequality in the US. I also worry about this issue. But it’s important to keep in mind that there is much more to life than income inequality, and much more to the world than the US... let’s not hear any more talk from progressives like Paul Krugman about trade barriers against Chinese workers"

4 Bizarre Experiments That Should Never Be Repeated - "As time passed, it became clear that Peter didn’t want a mom; he wanted a girlfriend. The dolphin became uninterested in his lessons, and he started wooing Margaret by nibbling at her feet and legs. When his advances weren’t reciprocated, Peter got violent. He started using his nose and flippers to hit Margaret’s shins, which quickly became bruised. For a while, she wore rubber boots and carried a broom to fight off Peter’s advances. When that didn’t work, she started sending him out for conjugal visits with other dolphins"
Bestiality is not always non-consensual

John Berger ‘Ways of Seeing’ (1972) - "One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of women in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object – and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.’"
He (or she) who controls that which is in demand has power. He who demands that which is in short supply is vulnerable to exploitation. Objectification actually increases one's power - as long as one is an object of desire whose supply one controls

E. O. Wilson’s Theory of Everything - "Wilson defined sociobiology for me as “the systematic study of the biological basis of all forms of social behavior in all organisms.” Gould savagely mocked both Wilson’s ideas and his supposed hubris in a 1986 essay titled “Cardboard Darwinism,” in The New York Review of Books, for seeking “to achieve the greatest reform in human thinking about human nature since Freud,” and Wilson still clearly bears a grudge. “I believe Gould was a charlatan,” he told me. “I believe that he was … seeking reputation and credibility as a scientist and writer, and he did it consistently by distorting what other scientists were saying and devising arguments based upon that distortion.” It is easy to imagine Wilson privately resenting Gould for another reason, as well—namely, for choosing Freud as a point of comparison rather than his own idol, Darwin, whom he calls “the greatest man in the world”... Wilson was particularly unsparing of organized religion, likening the Book of Revelation, for example, to the ranting of “a paranoid schizophrenic who was allowed to write down everything that came to him.” Toward philosophy, he was only slightly kinder. Generation after generation of students have suffered trying to “puzzle out” what great thinkers like Socrates, Plato, and Descartes had to say on the great questions of man’s nature, Wilson said, but this was of little use, because philosophy has been based on “failed models of the brain”"

The China Factor in Taiwanese Politics - "The 2011 Taiwan National Security Survey includes four questions to explore precisely this form of conditionality of preferences on independence versus unification...
Q2. If the act of declaring independence will not cause Mainland China to attack Taiwan, do you favor or not favor Taiwan independence?
Not Favor: 18.4% Favor: 74.1% NA: 7.5%"
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