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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Links - 18th November 2011

"Stanford also taught me focus and discipline. Once you’ve learned to study in a bathing suit on the grass with muscled men throwing frisbees over your head, you can accomplish almost anything." - Susan Rice, Stanford University Commencement, 2010


Teens using vodka tampons to get drunk - ""This is definitely not just girls," Thomas said. "Guys will also use it and they'll insert it into their rectums"... "Using a beer bong rectally is the same concept as a vodka soaked tampon""
Someone did a MythBusters on it and said it's busted since it can't hold enough liquid

Online Education: My Teacher Is an App - "A few states, however, have found that students enrolled full-time in virtual schools score significantly lower on standardized tests, and make less academic progress from year to year, than their peers. Critics worry that kids in online classes don't learn how to get along with others or participate in group discussions. Some advocates of full-time cyberschools say that the disappointing results are partly because some of the students had a rough time in traditional schools, and arrive testing below grade level in one or more subjects"

Genetic variation, classification and 'race' - Nature Genetics - "Genetic variation is geographically structured, as expected from the partial isolation of human populations during much of their history. Because traditional concepts of race are in turn correlated with geography, it is inaccurate to state that race is "biologically meaningless"... ethnicity or race may in some cases provide useful information in biomedical contexts, just as other categories, such as gender or age, do"

xkcd sucks - "It's been clear to me for a while that xkcd is no longer a great webcomic (though it once was). Alas, many of its fans have been too caught up in the faux-nerd culture that xkcd is a part of, and can't bring themselves to admit that the comic, at this point, is terrible. While I still like a new comic on occasion, I feel that more and more of them need the Iron Finger of Mockery knowingly pointed at them"

Lay off men, Lessing tells feminists - "The novelist Doris Lessing yesterday claimed that men were the new silent victims in the sex war, "continually demeaned and insulted" by women without a whimper of protest. Lessing, who became a feminist icon with the books The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook, said a "lazy and insidious" culture had taken hold within feminism that revelled in flailing men. Young boys were being weighed down with guilt about the crimes of their sex, she told the Edinburgh book festival, while energy which could be used to get proper child care was being dissipated in the pointless humiliation of men. "I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed... "I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men. You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives... It has become a kind of religion that you can't criticise because then you become a traitor to the great cause, which I am not... Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back, and it is time they did"... Lessing also revealed she is not going to write a third volume of her autobiography because she did not want to offend so "many great and eminent people by reminding them of their silliness. I just can't be bothered, to be honest""
Addendum: Interestingly, this critique of feminism's excesses came in 2001, and from a feminist icon, who rejects the No True Feminist fallacy

Man ‘sells’ self online to girlfriend via Grouposal - "Instead of getting down on one knee the old-fashioned way, he “sold” himself on popular online daily deals website Groupon for marriage to his sweetheart Hon Mei Chen, a 30-year-old secretary for an NGO."

First man ‘functionally cured’ of HIV - "Timothy Ray Brown suffered from both leukemia and HIV when he received a bone marrow stem cell transplant in Berlin, Germany in 2007. The transplant came from a man who was immune to HIV, which scientists say about 1 percent of Caucasians are"

English Proverbs and Proverb Humor - "People living in glass houses should not!"

More than 1,300 Qataris hospitalised for over eating over Eid Al Adha - "Doctors said the excessive eating of fat mutton and the tendency to eat fast cause indigestion and stomach upsets"
One explanation I've heard for Islam banning alcohol is that it's bad for health. So should we ban Eid Al Adha?

Teen and neighbour took turns to have sex with underaged girl - "The teen and Hang Tuah Jumaat invited the girl for drinks and they were all driven to Kranji Camp between 21 to 22 April in 2010 by Hang Tuah Jumaat. They had drinks together and the girl became intoxicated and drowsy. Hang Tuah Jumaat then asked the teen to have sex with the girl, but he declined and went to sleep. When he woke up, he saw Hang Tuah Jumaat having sex with the girl. The teen was again told by Hang Tuah Jumaat to have sex with the girl and this time he did... he claimed he was high on heroin at the time of the incident and had acted out of fear towards Hang Tuah Jumaat"

Five myths about the world’s population - "1 The world is overpopulated... Back in the 1970s, some scholars tried to estimate the “optimum population” for particular countries, but most gave up. There were too many uncertainties (how much food would the world produce with future technologies?) and too many value judgments (how much parkland is ideal?). Even considering resource scarcity isn’t all that helpful. During the 20th century’s population explosion — when we went from 1.6 billion people to more than 6 billion — real prices for rice, corn and wheat fell radically, and despite recent spikes, real prices for food are lower than 100 years ago...
2 Rapid population growth keeps poor countries poor.
3 For all its ethical problems, China’s one-child policy boosts its economy.
4 If your population declines, your economy does, too.
5 The world will have 10 billion people by 2100."

Animals 'shrinking' due to climate change - "Experimental research suggests that for every additional degree Celsius, a variety of plants lose between three and 17 per cent in size and fish shrink by six to 22 per cent"

Sneer Review: The Metaphorical Illuminator. - "While practically every religious group agrees, amongst their own brethren, at least, that their sacred book contains both literal fact and non-literal metaphor, their existed no agreed methodology to tell which was which... As a demonstration of the power of the Metaphorical Illuminator we have now processed the most important scriptural text of Roman Catholicism, the worlds largest Christian denomination – namely the Nicene, or Apostle’s Creed...
I believe in a metaphor,
the metaphor,
A metaphor of a metaphor and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his metaphor, our metaphor,
who was metaphored by a metaphor...
it is primarily based on the application of a simple textual algorithm:
“If the action described would sound completely crazy if applied to any religion that is not your own, then that section is a metaphor” "
Described elsewhere as "how to tell a Biblical metaphor from a Biblical truth"

Sexy girls have it easy - "Whilst very plain-looking, she asked for bus and taxi rides, a piece of cake and a drink – for free. She was rejected on every request but one. Then she got fully dressed up with make-up, heels and a revealing dress. This time, she gets everything she asked for – for free... there was a very strong confounding variable here – did you notice? Caroline's body language was dramatically different when her appearance changed. I am fairly sure this was subconscious, but she definitely acted much more confident when wearing clothing that made her appear "sexy" than when she was plain-looking -- do you think her confident behaviour alone might have gotten her more free items and attention than just her appearance?"

Discrimination Pervasive in Singapore Property Rental Market - "A significant number of property advertisements on rental websites such as Singapore-based Property Guru or Craigslist specify that no Indians, ‘PRCs’ (from the People’s Republic of China) or Malays be allowed to rent various properties. Some ads also specify that Japanese, Caucasian or Chinese tenants are preferred. Although the number of listings with such requests varies over time, a recent search for rental ads on one property site that stated preferences against tenants from mainland China alone yielded an estimated 200 such listings from over the past month... In some cases, the discrimination revolves around worries about residents’ cooking styles, which sometimes rely heavily on odor-intensive oils and spices. In those instances, Property Guru suggests agents and landlords use less-divisive language to address such concerns but its policies stop short of prohibiting such ads outright. Instead of saying ‘No Indian or No Malay Allowed,’ (the ad) can be put as ‘light cooking allowed’ or ‘owner prefers (tenants) who do not do Asian cooking,” the spokesperson explained"
The rental market's not the only place they don't like Indians. Seen the Sammboy forums?

If You're Buying a New Camera, You Must Use This Website - "There are little things you need to know, like the exact size of a camera compared to another camera, before you buy. CameraSize does exactly that."

Filipina stabbed over 10 times, died after 'nasty, brutish' attack - "Ms Roselyn Reyes Pascua was stabbed 10 times in the chest and abdomen, once in the neck and twice in the vagina... Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Jumabhoy described the attack as 'nasty, brutish and short'"
I don't think this is the right time to quote Hobbes

Are Mobiles a Capitalist Plot to Keep the Poor Poor?
Is the polio vaccine a Western imperialist plot to sterilise Africans?

It’s not just the men - "Some of the nastiest, most insidious, most hurtful comments have been from women. The two people who have caused me the most online grief over the past year have been women. Their motivations are complex, but the stuff from the woman has been more threatening (the death at the hands of the rusty scissors comment was a woman) and more personal. It is WOMEN who have been spiteful, it is WOMEN who have threatened to carry this forward into real life and it is WOMEN who have thought it acceptable to drag my children into this debate. It is WOMEN who have said “your baby makes me want to be sick” and WOMEN who have gone off on crazy vendettas. The men tend to tell me how much they would like a good f*ck and then move on... You would think that a feminist would exercise pity and compassion and leave a struggling heavily pregnant woman alone. She did no such thing... But that doesn’t fit the narrative so well does it? Women being nasty to women? Feminists determinedly going for the jugular of a heavily pregnant woman, because they think she hates gay people and because they don’t like her religion or her support of it"
Female solidarity only applies when you agree with each other. I wonder if she got called an Uncle Tom
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