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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Links - 5th June 2012

The Straits Times to auction Volkswagen car for charity - "All the proceeds from the auction will go towards sponsoring one-year subscriptions to ST for some 1,000 low-income families. A yearly subscription to the ST costs about $300... "We want to give the young in these families a precious gift: access to information and a window to the world and all its possibilities. That will help them get ahead in life. We sincerely believe a daily copy of the ST delivered to their homes will do that""
I love charity!

Google Chrome: How did Google Chrome manage to beat Internet Explorer when Firefox failed? - Quora - "Previously, Google displayed a "You'll soon lose the ability to edit this presentation" alert to Firefox users trying to create a presentation on Google Docs and prompted them to upgrade to a 'modern browser'. Interestingly according to Google Docs system requirements Firefox is fully supported.
Google's innovative doodles are also becoming a tool in fulfilling Google's goal of browser domination. Google seems to be sacrificing cross-browser capabilities in a blatant effort to push forward Chrome.
It is the leverage of Google's overwhelming Internet presence that has helped Chrome adoption accelerate. Now it is the same presence that Google is apparently misusing." 5/18/11 - chess grandmasters have average intelligence - "chess masters use the vast library of chess patterns that they've cached away in long-term memory to chunk the board. At the root of the chess master's skill is that he or she simply has a richer vocabulary of chunks to recognize... Contrary to all the old wisdom that chess is an intellectual activity based on analysis, many of the chess master's important decisions about which moves to make happen in the immediate act of perceiving the board"

Gay chamber of commerce starting up in KC area - - "The new Mid-America chamber aims to unite the area’s so-far-uncounted gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-owned businesses, foster consumer loyalty within that community, and encourage trade with the broader business and customer population... A national Harris Interactive survey last year found that brand or business loyalty was more important than price for consumers who identified themselves as members of the community known by both the LGBT and GLBT acronyms. Seventy-one percent of the respondents said they were likely to remain loyal to gay-friendly brands, regardless of cost."
Poor asexuals

Confessions of a Columnist · Meanjin - "there’s something more tragic than comic about social democratic politicians in office, as they instantly distance themselves from their own beliefs in a scramble to embrace what they imagine to be the values of the people who believed in them sufficiently to vote them into government in the first place. When Julia Gillard said she opposed gay marriage, I despaired: not because I supported gay marriage, but because Gillard obviously did. There is no room to caricature people who are already mockeries of themselves... I repeatedly mentioned in my column that I was Jewish, because I hoped it would annoy anti-Semites. In fact, it seemed to annoy Jews. I used to travel a lot, and I noticed there were often Hasidic Jews at the airport. I put this in a column, and a man wrote in to accuse me of anti-Semitism... they would often offer the distant relative of an apology. They were surprised they had offended me because they had, on some level, assumed I wasn’t a real person. And they were flattered I had given them a response... I asked them why on earth they read a weekly column about nothing. They replied it was because I was such a loser, it made them feel better about their own lives... I’ve just been shocked not only at the extraordinary level of viciousness but the fact that the abuse almost entirely seems to come from lefties... What upset me most about the piece was it wasn’t funny. He had let them take his sense of humour from him"

Pointless studies are the key to evolution - "Without a constant supply of scientific research claiming that chocolate makes you romantic, white wine enhances sarcasm or automatic transmission makes your cock go floppy, I'd have to take a lot more weeks off... what sort of pointless study is this new system going to weed out? Why, all the ones that don't have a solid social or economic goal, of course. The government isn't going to pay for clever people just to sit in universities indulging their curiosity. No, they should be allocated something useful to discover and then research as hard as they can in that direction. Nothing good ever got invented by accident, apart from some silly fun stuff like the slinky, post-it notes, penicillin, warfarin and X-rays... Academic research with a demonstrable economic goal is not the sort that most needs government help. If you'd said 20 years ago: "I'd like to develop a drug that cured erectile dysfunction in men", I imagine you'd have got plenty of private sector takers. As it happens, Viagra was also discovered by accident, when someone was trying to develop heart medicine, but you get the idea... Public money should be made available for research that would otherwise not happen. Research of economic value is outside this category... The Research Excellence Framework is starting to ask what sorts of curiosity our culture can afford, and that scares me even more than the demise of the silly survey because it strikes at the heart of what it means to be civilised, to have instincts other than survival. If academic endeavour had always been vetted in advance for practicality, we wouldn't have the aeroplane or the iPhone, just a better mammoth trap"

Study Suggests Math Homework May Be Pointless - "the longer amount of time a student spends on math homework may directly correlate to lower math scores. To the chagrin of math teachers everywhere, this study dispels the notion that lengthy and frequent homework assignments reinforce concepts learned in the classroom, and give students additional practice when classroom time is limited... the longer a student spends on math homework may actually demonstrate the student does not fully understand the mathematical concepts or may not have access to an environment conducive to studying, not that the student enjoys math or works 'longer and harder' at it than others."

How to fit an elephant — The Endeavour - "John von Neumann famously said 'With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.' By this he meant that one should not be impressed when a complex model fits a data set well. With enough parameters, you can fit any data set. It turns out you can literally fit an elephant with four parameters if you allow the parameters to be complex numbers"

Woman who lied about rape asks for 'bygones to be bygones' - "A Los Angeles teenager convicted of rape in 2002 has been cleared after his "victim" admitted lying... Soon after he was released in 2007, Ms Gibson contacted him on facebook with the words "let bygones be bygones". She admitted he was innocent but was concerned she would have to pay back the $1.5m the school gave her in damages at the time"
Male Privilege!

Blogger Xiaxue's revenge gets mixed reactions - "Aware raised eyebrows when it posted a link to Xiaxue's blog post calling it 'epic', and saying that the blogger was 'prepared to wage a one-woman war against online misogyny'. The group later qualified on its page that it had not endorsed the blogger's method of retaliation, but was giving voice to the fact that 'her experience of being called a b**** and a prostitute is a particularly gendered experience of life online'"
Down with patriarchy! The PAP is not the only party which gets 'misunderstood'

Faux Pas advertising and media in Singapore...and France - "I recently came across a website called Stomp that is hosted by the Strait Times, the only Singaporean newspaper “privately owned” by the government. There is a section which allows people to post anonymously pictures of things they have seen in the city that shocked them. It has become a free space for denunciation, indirectly encouraged by the authorities... In the French consciousness, the word denunciation brings us back 70 years, when one part of France was under the Nazi occupation, and the other under the Vichy government – a collaborator’s regime . At that time, the authorities highly encouraged it, and by the end of the war, historians estimate that three to five MILLION denunciation letters had been sent to these governments – weren’t we being patriotic!... "Valerie is collecting material to fulfill her patriotic duty as a French national, to be highly critical and unhappy""

Scotch-Brite Lets Young Diners Wash Dishes Instead Of Paying Their Bill

Cats - "The American Ornithologists' Union, American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc., and the Cooper Ornithological Society have concluded that feral, homeless, lost, abandoned, or free-ranging domestic cats are proven to have serious negative impacts on bird populations, and have contributed to the decline of many bird species. Worldwide, cats may have been involved in the extinction of more bird species than any other cause, except habitat destruction; Feral cat colony management programs known by the acronym TTVNR (Trapped, Tested, Vaccinated, Neutered, Released) are not effective solutions to the problem. In fact, these cat colonies are usually fed by very well-meaning cat welfare groups. The unnatural colonies form around food sources and grow to the limits of the food supply. Feeding these strays does not prevent them from hunting; it only maintains high densities of cats that dramatically increase predation on and competition with native wildlife populations; Free-roaming cats are likely to come in contact with rabid wild animals and thus spread the disease to people. They pose a risk to the general public through transmission of other diseases like toxoplasmosis, feline leukemia, distemper, and roundworm"

Too Hot for TED: Income Inequality - "There’s one idea, though, that TED’s organizers recently decided was too controversial to spread: the notion that widening income inequality is a bad thing for America, and that as a result, the rich should pay more in taxes."

ManageFlitter - The name in Twitter Tools - "Manage your Twitter Account Clean up and manage who you follow.
Find those who unfollowed you."

Il modifie Wikipédia pour ne pas être accusé de plagiat par sa prof

Colonialism: Why did colonial languages take root in some ex-colonies but not others? - Quora - "For example French and English became national languages in Africa, but Dutch did not take root in Indonesia nor French in Indo-China."
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