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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Links - 31st May 2012

What Gender Is Science? - "Female representation in science programs is weakest in the Netherlands and strongest in Iran, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, where science is disproportionately female... computer science in Malaysia is deemed well-suited for women because it’s seen as theoretical (not physical) and it takes place almost exclusively in offices (thought to be woman-friendly spaces)... As school systems grew and democratized in the industrial West, educators, policymakers, and nongovernmental activists sought to accommodate women’s purportedly “human-centered” nature by developing educational programs that were seen to align functionally and culturally with female domestic and social roles. Among other things, this involved expansion of liberal arts programs and development of vocationally-oriented programs in home economics, nursing, and early-childhood education. Subsequent efforts to incorporate women, as women, into higher education have contributed to expansion in humanities programs, and, more recently, the creation of new fields like women’s studies and human development... Another reason for stronger sex segregation of STEM in affluent countries may be that more people (girls and women in particular) can afford to indulge tastes for less lucrative care and social service work in these contexts... Parents and educators exhort young people, perhaps girls in particular, to “follow their passions” and realize their “true selves.” Because gender is such a central axis of individual identity, American girls who aim to “study what they love” are unlikely to consider male-labeled science, engineering, or technical fields, despite the material security provided by such degrees... it was girls who were overrepresented among students of physics, astronomy, chemistry, and natural science in 19th century American schools"

Mum wants to ban NS men from taking buses - "The Netizen proposed that SAF ban soldiers from taking the bus, reasoning that the pay NS men get should be enough to pay for taxi rides. She also said that the soldiers, having just returned to Singapore from Tekkong, might have contacted "germs and viruses" and might spread the diseases to others. Calling the NS men "smelly green things", JusciceLegal said in her post that her two daughters should be spared the eyesore."

SMU Prof Bridget Welsh: PAP has ‘miscalculated’ in its by-election campaign « THE TEMASEK TIMES - “Some of its leaders did not come off well. Attacks reflect poorly on the attacker ultimately….The reasons are two-fold. The PAP tactics are outdated.”
Plus ça change...

Radical feminists are acting like a cult - "One of the problems with the Internet is that it is possible for people to lock themselves further and further into a restricted mind set where they hear no other voices. On the other hand, it makes it possible for those with a strong stomach to overturn every stone and find out just what people are saying and thinking... this is a "female-only, activism-focused conference with a radical feminist agenda". Space will not be given to anti-feminist sentiments, which is arguably another way of saying that, on most crucial issues, the party line is predetermined and that any dissent from correct "radical feminist" thinking will be stigmatised and driven out... the anti-intellectualism, emphasis on innate knowledge, fetishisation of tiny ideological differences, heresy hunting, conspiracy theories, rhetorical use of images of disgust, talk of stabs in the back and romantic apocalypticism – smack less of feminism than of a cult"
But then, under normal feminism any dissent from correct "feminist" thinking is stigmatised and driven out...

Des fidèles caillassés pendant la messe à Saint-Joseph - "alors que l’abbé Roger Barthès commençait à célébrer la messe, quatre jeunes, âgés de 14 à 18 ans, ont fait irruption dans l’église Saint-Joseph, avant de lancer des poignées de cailloux sur les 150 fidèles présents à l’office... les paroissiens, dont beaucoup sont des personnes âgées, ont été fortement choqués par le geste peu respectueux de ces jeunes d’origine maghrébine"

The Miracle of Calanda - "They say God doesn't heal amputees... but apparently he did, once. Or did he?"

Gary Hamel: Lessons from a Middle-Aged Revolutionary at W.L. Gore - "most big companies are pretty much the same, at least when it comes to the way they’re managed. The rituals of goal-setting, planning, budgeting and performance appraisal differ only slightly from firm to firm. There’s even less variety in the architecture of power. Hierarchical authority structures, top-down leadership appointments and order-following employees have come to nearly every organization I’ve studied—nearly. One amazing exception is W.L. Gore & Associates. Known mostly for its Gore-Tex range of high-performance fabrics... One of my associates said, ‘If you call a meeting, and no one shows up, you’re probably not a leader, because no one is willing to follow you.’ At Gore, the test of leadership is that simple: are others willing to follow you? We use a peer review process to identify the individuals who are growing into leadership roles... 'When we hire outside people and get them to talk about their values, they’ll say, “I’m a people person. I believe in teamwork.” But when we put them into our environment and strip away their positional power, it can bring them to their knees—because they hadn’t realized how much of their success was a function of their position and power and their ability to command and control'"

BBC mistake computer game logo for United Nations Security Council symbol

Why Is Daddy in a Dress?: Asking Awkward Questions with Baby Animals

Cupidtino - the first (and only) "Mac-inspired" dating site for Apple fans

Dystopia: The Daily Mail fails to tell the whole picture - "Recently the Mail published a set of pictures depicting cheetahs in Kenya apparently playing with an impala, its natural prey. The report - and its online equivalent - claimed that the young antelope managed to make a swift exit after the spotted felines apparently lost interest. Heart warming stuff, you might think. Except that the rest of the pictures the paper decided not to include appear to show the same impala being eaten by its former playmates"

Remembering a man who moved a mountain – alone. - "Over four decades ago, a frail, landless Dashrath got hold of a chisel and a hammer and decided to change the face of his village nestled in the rocky hills of Gaya. He almost tore open a 300-feet-high hill to create a one-km passage. Instead of endlessly waiting for the apathetic administration to do something for those formidable hills that virtually cut his village off from civilization, Manjhi, then in his early 20s, took up a chisel and hammered at the rocks for 22 years... he completed this Herculean task — creating a short-cut which reduced a long and arduous journey from his village Gahlor Ghati to Wazirganj to a walkable distance. At that time people called him mad. They ridiculed him. Even his wife and parents were against this “adventure,” especially when he sold his goats to buy a chisel, a hammer and rope... This formidable task, single handedly performed by Dashrath Manjhi, resulted into a 1.5 kilometer long road through the Gahlaur Mountain thus reducing the distance to cross the mountain from a grueling 50 kilometer to a much-easier 8 kilometer"

Joachim Krügermeister's answer to Gender Differences: Why is that when boys do better in some subject, that is taken by some people as evidence of innate male superiority, but when girls overtake them in test scores, that is not evidence of female superiority? - Quora - "For me, the premise of your question is false. Where I come from (Scandinavia) you would be considered a misogynist if you proclaim that males are innate superior in any field. However, if you claim the opposite, that women are better than men in some field, people show you respect and compliance... I can't think of any field in which a women is the top-ranked performer. Chess, diving, business, poker and "even" horse riding and cooking are examples of such fields... Areas women are attributed to outperform men in are usually things that are very difficult, or impossible, to measure. For example to be empathetic, to be more skilled in caring for children, to be better at multitasking, etc. This is in contrast to fields in which men excel, for example sports."

The supersize syndrome - The Daily - "No wonder our waistlines are getting wider — the average restaurant meal today is more than four times larger than it was in the 1950s."

Rethinking the Temasek growth model - "He acknowledges that Singapore has 'the most streamlined state management model' worldwide among the countries which adopt this method, but it has milked this system for all it is worth... 'Nine out of 10 investment projects fail. Does the government have such a high tolerance for risk? It's taxpayers' money, right? I don't think, politically, it's legitimate for the government to keep investing in failing individuals and failing projects. How do you defend these decisions?' Those who fund these start-ups need to understand that risk-taking is part and parcel of the whole process. 'But does the average Singaporean understand that?' Even if a project does succeed, other thorny issues crop up. 'The entrepreneur gets a disproportionate share of the benefits. Why should I, as a taxpayer, fund these projects? What do I get? There's a basic illogic to the government being involved in venture financing, at a political level and operational level.' In most other countries, government funding typically goes into basic research without direct commercial applications... India was achieving a high level of economic growth with just a fraction of what China was receiving in foreign direct investment. The difference boiled down to the level of support for local entrepreneurs... State-linked enterprises, he acknowledges, served Singapore very well before the rise of cheap labour in China and India, when growing the economy required merely ramping up production through higher efficiency. But today, the challenge is constant innovation... He scoffs at the widely held view here that local firms are too small to compete outside Singapore without help from the government or government-linked firms. 'This idea that size gives you advantage is an extraordinarily strange view. Was Microsoft a big company in 1975? Was Google a big company in 1998?... 'Academic research shows overwhelmingly it is the small companies that create new technologies and new products. Big companies are innovative only when they acquire small companies.' Hence, the critical question for Singapore is whether its big firms have enough small companies to acquire."

Indonesia Watches as an Ailing Suharto Clings to Life - New York Times - "After his visit, Mr. Lee told reporters that Mr. Suharto’s legacy was not being properly honored. “Yes, he gave favors to his family and his friends, but there was real growth, real progress,” Mr. Lee said, seeming to forgive what he has refused to tolerate among his own ministers. “He educated the population. He built roads and infrastructure”... “Compare,” Mr. Lee said. “Who’s better off? Who deserves to be honored? What’s a few billion dollars lost in bad excesses? He built hundreds of billions of dollars worth of assets.”"
Does that mean corruption is okay if you make the country successful?
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