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Friday, June 15, 2012

Links - 15th June 2012

"I am just going outside and may be some time." - Captain Lawrence Oates, last words

***

Economist Tyler Cowen's Foodie Advice: Dine at Strip Malls - "when it comes to getting the best value for the dining dollar, foodies should pass on nearly every restaurant located in hip urban neighborhoods. Instead, Cowen recommends heading to... the suburban strip mall... compared to restaurants in high-rent districts, strip mall eateries have low overhead, so they can keep menu prices down and experiment with foods and ingredients without constantly having to worry it won’t be able to pay the bills... Cowen looks especially for areas where a particular ethnic cuisine dominates the scene. When an area is loaded with a huge selection of, say, Indian or Korean restaurants, the odds are pretty good that any individual restaurant’s food is above average, if not excellent... When the goal is a magic combination of terrific food at the right price, the signs he looks for are abandoned cars, cheap plastic signs, and five-and-dime stores in the neighborhood. Hey, he’s not saying this is the right atmosphere for a first date, just for good food... he advises foodies to avoid spots filled with “beautiful, laughing women”... 'The point is not that beautiful women have bad taste in food. Instead, the problem is that they will attract a lot of men to the restaurant, whether or not the place serves excellent food. And that allows the restaurant to cut back on the quality of the food'... businesses that mass-produce food are not necessarily evil, nor is the food they produce necessarily unhealthy. “There’s nothing especially virtuous about the local farmer,” writes Cowen, and by contrast, “technology and business are a big part of what makes the world gentle and fun.” Overall, he explains, advances in agribusiness have been good for everyone, bringing food prices down and feeding more people than ever in human history"

Miss Fiji dumped over age not race, says organizer - "they said the issue was her age and not connected to complaints that the 16-year-old of mixed European-Fijian heritage did not look Fijian enough... The decision sparked uproar on the Miss World Fiji Facebook page with the criticisms including demands that the Fijian representative have a “buiniga” – the local word to describe the naturally-frizzy Fijian hairstyle. Hundreds of complaints had to be deleted and a pageant spokeswoman said on Facebook there had been “nothing but negative criticism and remarks from our own people”... Watters referred to the “entire pageant fiasco” and said she was “proud of my identity as a Fijian and have never considered my people as racists”"
"The institutionalist perspective [on racism]... is ensnared in circularity. Racism, which is or can be almost everything, is proven by anything done (or not done) by whites. The analyst identifies the existence of racism because any action done by whites is labeled as racist. Finally, for institutionalists such as Ture and Hamilton, all whites are 'racist'" --- White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era / Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

National Cleavage Day: SlutWalk without the Attitude - "National Cleavage Day is a celebration of pushing bosoms out and together in a brassier. For the founders of the holiday, Wonderbra and South American Cosmopolitan, it’s a celebration of greater profits... Wonderbra PR consultant Anita Meiring described it as “a day for women to realise that their cleavage is something unique and that they should be proud of it.” Finally, brand manager Samantha Paterson said “it gives women a chance to be beautiful and glow in the furtive, yet appreciative, glances their cleavage evokes from men”... I’m suddenly reminded of a protest movement in which women are equally as scantily clad: SlutWalks. Apparently it’s ludicrous to show off your boobs on a holiday dreamed up by corporations. However, women dressed in similar attire, holding up protests signs are to be taken seriously. Is the spectacle really that different to the uninitiated (barring the attractiveness of the participants)? Although it irks me that Wonderbra needs useful idiots to peddle their wares, I prefer this to SlutWalks. The reason is simple – the women don’t have scowls on their faces. It’s refreshing to see women celebrate their sexuality without tearing down men in the process"

Secretary problem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "The secretary problem is one of many names for a famous problem of the optimal stopping theory. The problem has been studied extensively in the fields of applied probability, statistics, and decision theory. It is also known as the marriage problem, the sultan's dowry problem, the fussy suitor problem, the googol game, and the best choice problem."
Never marry your first lover

Women say some rape victims should take blame - survey - "The study found that women were less forgiving of the victim than men. Of the women who believed some victims should take responsibility, 71% thought a person should accept responsibility when getting into bed with someone, compared with 57% of men"
Of course, Patriarchy is to blame in some way, just as Government Regulation is the source of all our woes (in the Libertarian perspective)

Justin Freeman's answer to Crime: It is often stated that "rape is not about sex, it is about violence." If that statement is true, then wouldn't chemically sterilized rapists still wish to attack? - Quora - "The phrase, "Rape isn't about sex, it's about power" really presents a faulty either-or perspective, though. It's never solely about sex, to be sure - if it were, it probably wouldn't be done, as willing partners aren't that difficult to find - for a price (whatever it may be) that is assuredly cheaper than the threatening prison sentence. However, it's never solely about power, either, or they would be content to commit a simple battery. Rape is more than a simple mix of the two. It's a form of psychological terrorism"

What does human meat taste like? - "Ultimately, without actually eating some of the stuff ourselves, all we have are the subjective evaluations of a collection of murderers who may not be the most reliable of witnesses. But there is a certain consistency here - certainly the cannibals themselves seem to have generally considered it closer to pork"

Hangul Day - "Prior to 1446, the Korean language was rarely written at all. The written language used in Korea was Classical Chinese. The combination of the use of a foreign language with the large amount of memorization required to learn thousands of Chinese characters meant that only a small elite were literate, overwhelmingly men from aristocratic families. The great majority of people were illiterate... a complex system poorly suited for mass literacy. Hangul was the first writing system to make it easy for any Korean to read and write his or her native language"

Chinese characters, literacy, and the Japanese model - "The complexity of Chinese characters is often singled out as the reason for China's low literacy rate. In response, some people point out that Japan uses Chinese characters too, and yet has attained a very high literacy rate; ergo, the Chinese characters themselves can't be the reason. This essay attempts to show why the Japanese writing system can't be used in defense of the Chinese one... 'public school graduates, who now receive nine years of compulsory schooling, retain a recognition knowledge of the 1,945 kanji but soon forget how to write all but 500 or so'. I recently (1999?) heard from an officer in the military that textbooks for enlisted men learning how to drive were supplied with furigana on every single kanji in the text. According to the officer, this was because a number of soldiers would otherwise be unable to read them"

Chinese literacy - "real literacy, even by China’s own limited definition, requires the ability to write, not just read. Remembering how to write Chinese characters accurately, however, is much more difficult than the already difficult task of being able to recognize at least 1,500 of them passively. With this in mind, even doubling the illiteracy rate would not be extreme, I believe. This would yield an actual literacy rate below 50 percent... The so-called simplification of Chinese characters did not, and could not, make Chinese characters simple to know or use"
Someone: Pinyin cannot substitute characters for Chinese as we have too many words sharing the same sound (and even tone).
Author: Hanyu Pinyin is a much better fit for Modern Standard Mandarin than Chinese characters are. The homonym myth is just that: a myth. If Mandarin speakers really had “too many words sharing the same sound,” they wouldn’t be able to talk with each other.


Malaysia’s Kelantan demands Islamic designs in Buddhist building - "the PAS-led state government ruled that new buildings should include Islamic designs to reflect the state capital’s status as an Islamic city... “We will ensure development will be based on Islamic principles and features,” he told a press conference here. He claimed the ruling was well-accepted by the majority of developers, including non-Muslim developers. “I do not see it as an issue or something that could cause religious tension, as it only involves architecture and design,” he said"

New Research on the Antidepressant-vs.-Placebo Debate - "roughly three-quarters of patients did better on medication than on a placebo. “That’s much more than half and half. That’s quite favorable,” says Krystal. However, Krystal adds, just under a quarter of patients did not respond well to drug treatment and in fact did worse on antidepressants than did patients who were given a placebo."

Singaporeans prefer partners who can cook, food survey reveals - "'Gone are the days when only men look for the ability to cook in their partner'... Singapore came out tops as the most oil-conscious nation among 10 other countries including Australia, China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam... 51 per cent of Singaporeans consume food even after the expiration date, significantly higher than its neighbours such as Indonesia, where only 9 per cent surveyed admitted to doing so."

CALLER ID - YouTube - "What nicknames do you have on your phone? #CallerID"

The Pets - Audrey Hepburn and her Fawn - "the deer would cuddle Audrey and accompany her to the supermarket in Beverley Hills... The fawn slept in a custom-made bathtub... Deer can be very loving pets if they are kept from a young age"

Troll high-fiving people in Pisa - YouTube

Most Favored Nations by Tim Parks - "There appears to be a tension, or perhaps necessary balance, between evasion and realism in fiction... For Europeans, one way to satisfy both desires is to read novels translated from English, talking about a culture far away, but one that can be thought of as relevant to readers because of the dominance of Anglo Saxon and specifically American culture worldwide, and because they themselves have acquired English as a second language; in most translations there will usually be some memory or trace of the original language, which, for those who are familiar with it, will reinforce their sense of knowing that other world"

World's first 'tax' on Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 - "Chief executive Ruslan Kogan told the BBC he wanted to recoup the time and costs involved in "rendering the website into a antique browser". The charge is set to 6.8% - 0.1% for every month since the IE7 launch"
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