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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Links - 8th November 2011

"The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened." - Saki


What is this foolish lust for uncertainty? - "Vernon says: "We live in an age intolerant of doubt." But it seems to me that there is at least a class of educated, liberal westerners for whom the opposite is true. Uncertainty is what they desire more than anything else. This seems to me to have two sources, "dogmatophobia" and binary thinking... People who would not tolerate even the sniff of sexism in their workplace bend over backwards to allow religious traditions their "right" to systemically discriminate against women... there is no choice that has to be made between certainty and uncertainty. Rather, certainty is a matter of degree. It may be that nothing is certain, but not everything is equally uncertain. It is not certain that global warming is both real and anthropogenic, but that does not mean that those who advocate action on the belief that it is have fallen victim to a lust for certainty. The mistaken ones are those who make too much of this uncertainty and use it as a reason for inaction... The main problem with young-Earth creationists who assert that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, for instance, is not that they are certain, but that they are wrong. It's the matter of the belief that is pernicious, not just the manner of its holding"

The Body Odd - Want to catch a lady's eye? Don't smile, study says - "Women ranked the smiling guys as less attractive -- but they were into the prideful and ashamed men. But the male participants were most attracted to the smiling women, and least attracted to the ones who seemed proud... the fact that women find shame more attractive may also help explain the attractiveness of the "bad boy" -- the one who seems like he can be turned around"

Women and the Arab awakening: Now is the time | The Economist - "The old quota system was bad, acknowledges Mozn Hassan, the director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, a Cairo-based organisation that researches women’s rights and whose members include a number of Islamic feminists. “It put women in high positions without the relevant experience. Only those with money could do it. It gave a bad impression of women.” Under the new list system, women are unlikely to win many seats, she admits. But it is better to have ten women in parliament who have worked hard and deserve to be there, she insists, than to have many more who have no idea what they are doing. Ms Hassan also advises women MPs to show the country what they can do; to try to get on to the health or economics committees, rather than committees aimed specifically at women, and to give those mostly-male forums a woman’s perspective... Society is already so fragmented, she argues, that it makes no sense to add another division setting women against everyone else; this is a time for everyone’s freedoms, not women’s in particular"

Prostate cancer diagnosis raises risk of suicide - "Being diagnosed with prostate cancer roughly doubles the risk of suicide or death from a heart attack"

Obama Joker vs. Bush Joker: "The Socialist Joker" Inflames the Left - "
In 2004 the very same L.A. Weekly ran this picture depicting President George W. Bush as Dracula, his mouth dripping with the blood of innocents from around the world... just 13 months ago, Vanity Fair depicted Bush as none other than, voila, the Joker! With no chorus of complaints from the Left!... Notably, these caricatures of Bush appeared neither on solitary highway stanchions nor on the walls of buildings in vacant lots, but rather in major publications of the political and social Left. This is to say nothing of the many published cartoons that routinely depicted Bush as a primate. One September 2007 Huffington Post story, in fact, actually bore the title, “New Scientific Study Reveals Bush Is a Chimp.” What would be the Left’s reaction if a conservative were to make a similar assertion about Obama? Bush was also commonly caricatured by the Left as Adolph Hitler"

Ohio University Students Hit ‘Racist’ Halloween Costumes - "Each poster in the series shows an Ohio University student of a different ethnicity holding a photograph of an offensive costume. An Asian girl holds an image of someone dressed up as a geisha. A Mexican boy holds a photo of someone in a sombrero, colorful poncho and exaggerated mustache riding a stuffed donkey. Other images show a terrorist costume, a Native American costume and a gangster."
One commenter: "ANY Halloween costume is offensive to some group. How about discourtesy to not-so-sexy-nurses? Or being disrespectful to the dead? Halloween itself is offensive to many, as well as such celebrations as Christmas (because not everyone is Christian in North America). Shall we ban these holidays altogether? No more Christmas tree on Times Square?!! Down with Easter eggs and bunnies in shop windows?" Naturally they just delete comments disagreeing with them.
Is Justice Sonia Sotomayor, praised as an example of "ingenious stereotype-free costumes", then problematic if the person is not Hispanic? Is it racist for non-whites to dress up as medieval knights? Again the ghettoisation of minority cultures in the crusade to stir up grievances just hurts minorities

South Korea Embraces the Talmud - "Close to 50 million people live in South Korea, and almost everyone is taught the Talmud at home by their parents. "We tried to understand why the Jews are geniuses, and we came to the conclusion that we think it is because they study the Talmud," said the Korean ambassador to Israel, Young Sam Ma"

Marginalization among the marginalized: gay men's anti-effeminacy attitudes. - "A great number of gay men exhibit gender nonconformity during childhood; most, however, "defeminize" during adolescence, possibly in response to stigmatization and society's gender-role prescription. Only a relatively small percentage of gay men continue to be gender-nonconforming in their adulthood, often at a price, as they also tend to have lower psychological well-being. Although gay culture historically appreciated camp and drag, which subvert the gender-based power hierarchy and celebrate gender nonconformity, anti-effeminacy prejudice is widespread among gay men. Ironically, gender-nonconforming gay men may suffer from discrimination not only from society at large, but from other gay men, who are most likely to have experienced stigmatization and may have been effeminate earlier in their lives. Drawing from anecdotes and findings from various sources, this article suggests that beyond many gay men's erotic preference for masculinity lies contempt and hostility toward effeminacy and effeminate men on sociopolitical and personal levels"
Focusing on anti-gay discrimination by non-gays elides over real problems Group rights are problematic whenever the group is diverse and not homogenous (i.e. always).

both sexes talk longer with women - "Smorda and Licoppe (2000)’s finding that both females and males talk significantly longer when they call females is consistent with psychological tests of implicit gender preferences... Scholars who assert that “men are culturally valued more than women” (whatever that means) see gender preferences as a social anomaly"

Why women apologize more than men: gender differences in thresholds for perceiving offensive behavior. - "Women reported offering more apologies than men, but they also reported committing more offenses. There was no gender difference in the proportion of offenses that prompted apologies. This finding suggests that men apologize less frequently than women because they have a higher threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior"
Addendum: A corollary - women are more petty than men (keywords: women are pettier than men)

Indo Chinese Food ~ Chicken Manchurian
I should try this

Sudanese Preacher Sheik Muhammad Al-Amin Ismail Accuses Shiites of Distributing Anti-Sunni Toy Guns - "I've brought you an example [of toys manufactured by Shiites]. We all hope that the brothers who supervise these products, and their import and export, will ban products such as these. Holds up a toy pistol... Shoots the pistol, which emits shooting sounds and a metallic voice: "Go, go, go. Pull over. Save the hostages." It says: "Shoot 'Aisha" [the Prophet Muhammad's wife]. This is for children. "Shoot 'Aisha."
You don't need Westerners to persecute Muslims - they are quite good at doing it to each other already

Attitudes and the Implicit Association Test - "Three studies examined the relationship between the Implicit Association Test (IAT; A. G. Greenwald, D. E. McGhee, & J. L. K. Schwartz, 1998) and explicit attitudes. In the 1st and all subsequent studies, the lack of any correlation between the IAT and explicitly measured attitudes supports the view that the IAT is independent from explicit attitudes. Study 2 examined the relationships among the IAT, explicit attitudes, and behavior and found that the explicit attitudes predicted behavior but the IAT did not. Finally, in Study 3 it was found that the IAT was affected by exposing participants to new associations between attitude objects, whereas the explicit attitudes remained unchanged. Taken together, these results support an environmental association interpretation of the IAT in which IAT scores reflect the associations a person has been exposed to in his or her environment rather than the extent to which the person endorses those evaluative associations."
Another study provocatively titled "Would Jesse Jackson 'Fail' the Implicit Association Test?" comments that "the patterns of judgment deemed to be indicative of prejudice pass tests deemed to be diagnostic of rational behavior" (which I think means "stereotypes persist and endure because they are often true") and yet another critiques the I, A and T. I always knew that there was something wrong with the IAT, and the grievance industry is just abusing it for its own ends. Finally, this is evidence that using it to witchhunt prejudice is barking up the wrong tree!
Addendum: Does the Implicit Association Test (IAT) Really Measure Racial Prejudice? Probably Not.

Algérie : vote d'une loi accusée de limiter la représentativité féminine - "Le chiffre initial de 30% de femmes était conforme à la convention des Nations unies sur l’élimination des discriminations envers les femmes. Mais le nouveau texte a opté pour une seconde option : un taux de représentativité des femmes variable selon les circonscriptions. Le taux est ainsi de 20% pour les wilayas (préfecture) ayant quatre sièges à l’Assemblée nationale, 30% pour plus de 5 sièges, 35% pour 14 sièges et plus, et enfin 40% pour plus de 32 sièges. La communauté algérienne à l'étranger a, quant à elle, droit à un pourcentage de 50%. Au total, la nouvelle loi instaure un taux de 20% pour 14 des 48 wilayas que compte l’Algérie."
Un homme, une voix, une fois !
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