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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Links - 24th May 2012

"In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. That is what makes America what it is." - Gertrude Stein


The Avengers: Why Pirates Failed To Prevent A Box Office Record - "Claiming a camcorded copy of a movie seriously impacts box office attendance is the same as arguing that concert bootlegs stop people from seeing artists on stage... the US box office is not suffering from movie piracy, but that there is a detrimental effect on international box office figures. The researchers attribute this impact to the wide release gaps, which sometimes result in a high quality DVD copy being available on pirate sites while a movie is still showing in theaters"

Study Shows That Venture Capital Funds Are Seriously Overrated - "Larger funds reliably underperform smaller ones; fees eat up disproportionate chunks of performance; investors too easily sign up for second tier managers in order to deploy capital that’s “burning a hole in their pockets” while top tier funds seem to be the only way to justify the risk (as long as they don’t grow too big)."

Economics professor in London: 'They aren't here to learn, they're here to pass' - "I speak to students who are beginning to realise they won't get the grades necessary to even apply. They literally think their lives are over, 21-year-old kids who have been led to believe that either you get into a top paying bank, or it's a cardboard box under London Bridge... I tell students, look at how banks treat you, do you really want to work for an employer that treats you like this?... I have spoken to graduates hired over the summer who got laid off in December. 'Now I know why salaries are so high,' they tell me, 'so that we won't complain when from one day to the next we are made redundant'... I celebrate as a victory every student I manage to talk out of a career in finance. Yet a possibly bigger victory is when they go into the City, but with a different and broader perspective... Has there been a reckoning among academic economists after the crisis? The thing is, they never treated their models the way banks did. As is often the case, the cause of abuse or ill use is the user, not the product itself. Academic economists know that a model is an approximation... the so-called Black-Scholes model is used to calculate today's value of derivatives contracts expiring in the future. That's been incredibly useful. There's one problem. Research shows that were everybody to use the Black-Scholes model, it would cease to work Basically, the quest is for a model that remains unaffected by our knowledge of it. We need lots of talented young economists to delve into this. The trouble is, so much of that talent is sucked up by the banks"

What's So Crazy About an Arranged Marriage? - "Might we Westerners—so intent on finding our soul mates—be able to learn a thing or two from Amina's grandparents? A number of experts think we can—or that, at least, there's plenty of wisdom to take away from cultures where arranged marriage is still common. The number-one attitude adjustment Westerners would do well to make if they'd like to lead more satisfying romantic lives (and who wouldn't?): Taking marriage more seriously as a relationship that's supposed to last until death, rather than till divorce"

Scan spots women faking orgasms - "Researchers found that when a woman is faking, a part of the brain under conscious control lights up, while real orgasms occur subconsciously. The University of Groningen scans also showed important differences between the male and female orgasm. In women, turning off fear and anxiety is key, while men need to know they will be physically stimulated... One thing that they found was putting the couples off the task was literally cold feet. When they gave the couples socks to wear, about 80% of the couples were able to achieve orgasm compared with 50% previously... "When you want to make love to a woman, you must give her the feeling of being protected""

Babies in incubators were once an attraction at Coney Island - "Standards were kept high, and because of the paying customers, Couney never charged any of the parents a penny for the treatment their kids received - even with the cost of care per baby sometimes totaling fifteen dollars a day"

Let's Take These Games And Turn Them Into Dating Sims - "Hey, if there is a dating sim about pigeons, I'm convinced there can be a dating sim about anything"

5 Reasons 'Diablo III' Represents Gaming's Annoying Future - "Nobody is getting the core point: The single-player version of this game should have never been hosted on a remote server to begin with... Sixty-four dollars is as much as some people make in an entire day. For them, handing that over to play a video game is not a minor event. All they want in return is to use the product they just fucking paid for. If any other company in the world sold you a product that didn't work, and then refused to hand over some sort of compensation in return, you wouldn't even need a lawyer. The judge would tell them straight up, "Give them a working product, or give them their money back, or go to fucking jail." But for whatever reason, the video game industry gets away with this now? Every time they have a problem with their servers, I can't play the game I already bought? In an era when people carry their entire music library around with them on their phones, I have less ownership and control of my video games than I had in 1979?"

Why Aren't Cities Littered With Dead Pigeons? - "a hawk was stalking a pigeon INSIDE the clothing store... Dying or dead pigeons are quickly cleaned up by rats and possums... for those that make it, they tend to want to die peaceably in out-of-the-way places like ducts and building ledges, which perhaps unconsciously remind them of their ancestral lairs in the caves and cliffsides of Europe, the Middle East and north Africa... “but a lot of wild animals do choose to go somewhere to die naturally. They don't just plop in a street: They often just crawl under a building or into a tight space, because as they die they are vulnerable and don't necessarily want to get eaten alive in their last moments”"

STOMP - Singapore Seen - Immigrants should be screened for 'anger, hate' before they're allowed entry into S'pore
We should screen citizens for anger and hate too

University Will Pay You $3,500 to Eat Fast Food for Three Months - "Just in case you were concerned about the health consequences of this research on participants, you should know the university plans to register them for a weight loss program, so no harm done…"

World's Subways Converging on Ideal Form - "On the surface, these core-and-branch systems — evident in New York City, Tokyo, London or most any large metropolitan subway — may seem intuitively optimal. But in the absence of top-down central planning, their movement over decades toward a common mathematical space may hint at universal principles of human self-organization."

Singapore's choice: Wealth creation or management? - "Although Singapore is often held up as an example of economic success, it has produced an abundance of wealth managers but not enough wealth creators, said a former top civil servant... Singapore graduates in law, accounting, economics and even medicine often vie for managerial jobs in banks, industry and Government... 'Should Singapore aim to be Jurong Island or Shenton Way?'... He added that there is no national wealth creator in Singapore today... 'I believe that a job in technology has more multiplier effects than one in the service industry,' he said. 'Take banking or wealth management. There's no reason why people should come here to manage their funds. They could do it in the middle of the Indian Ocean with a computer. The barriers of entry are very low'"
You earn a lot more on Shenton Way; you don't have to create wealth as long as you get it

'Verbal abuse' by teacher: Dad files police report - "her teacher said to her: 'I don't want to see your face'"
"police would take stern actions against anyone giving false information, as these irresponsible actions utilise police resources which could be used better in crime fighting.""

The first of the supper clubs… | Dish Piglets - "Having never heard of supper clubs, I was intrigued when I came across Plusixfive. Gozgozgoz, the guy behind Plusixfive (dialling code for Singapore actually…) holds a supper club at his home in Islington serving: “badass Singaporean street food cooked the good ol’ way, presented with minimum fuss and maximum taste”... Funnily enough, there weren’t many Singaporeans/ Malaysians in the crowd and I was quite impressed."
Maybe some Malaysians will picket the place protesting that the food is really Malaysian

Goldman, Other Investors Pile Out of Facebook - "The smart money is flying out of Facebook as the dumb money piles in."

New York Jews and Chinese Food - "New York Jews love Chinese restaurant food so much that they have made it a second cuisine... It’s basic elements are over four thousand years old -- older even than Jews. In short, quality, price, and proximity are some of the reasons why Chinese food became so important to New York Jews... Jewish informants also tended to denigrate their ethnic restaurant food more than the Italian Americans did theirs. Some people we interviewed suggested that Jewish Americans actually may have had more gastronomical reason than Italian Americans to look beyond their own ethnic restaurants... Chinese cooking disguises the tabooed ingredients by cutting, chopping, and mincing them... Chinese food could be adopted by rebellious Jews because the forbidden substances were so disguised that dishes did not reflexively repulse and so undermine their ability to rebel... They loved to eat egg rolls in Chinese restaurants because the pork and seafood tasted delicious, but were so minced that they could pretend these ingredients were not there... Both cultures favored chicken recipes and, as Mimi Sheraton notes, shared a preference for dishes
seasoned with garlic, celery, and onions. The Cantonese restaurants frequently overcooked the vegetables somewhat -- just the way Eastern European Jews liked them... Portnoy suggested that eating in Chinese restaurants enabled his family to deny their lowly status in an anti-Semitic society by participating in the prejudice against an even more lowly group... "I felt about Chinese restaurants the same way I did about the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- they were the two most strange and fascinating places my parents took me to, and I loved them both"... "We also acknowledge the pizzeria across the street..We worked out many of our ideas..and determined name order by coin toss there""

Five new Hawker Masters honoured at the Asian Masters Gala Dinner - "The Singapore Hawker Masters is an annual search for the best hawkers in various categories. Hawker Masters for different categories will be awarded each year. For this year, the categories were: Wontan Noodles, Fried Hokkien Mee, Satay, Bak Kut Teh, Roti Prata and Tau Suan... Bak Kut Teh Category: The judges decided that none of the three finalists are worthy of the Master title."
Is this elitist?
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