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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Links - 7th July 2012

"You can be a rank insider as well as a rank outsider." - Robert Frost

***

Dusk in Autumn: Why East Asians are so unconscientious and disagreeable: Is it agriculture? - "When I first saw results like these I was a bit puzzled too, but then I reflected on my extensive contact with East Asians over the years, and it didn't seem so odd. They aren't violent and don't get in your face, so we assume they're agreeable. In reality, they are autistic or misanthropic, they just don't let it show. But they have trouble making lots of friends in school, and the males either cannot relate to girls or have a bitter hatred of them, so that they remain virgins for life. I can't think of another group who showed such autism and misanthropy, and the graph above tells me I shouldn't bother looking... In his book Human Accomplishment, Charles Murray details and discusses how small of an impact East Asians have had in the arts, sciences, and applied fields like technology and medicine, compared to Western Eurasia. And remember they've got higher average IQs than other regions, so it is clearly more of a personality or temperament difference... All of this I see as an adaptation to intensive agriculture, the only thing that so strongly sets them apart from the rest of the world. According to the paper, the Ukraine actually resembles East Asia in personality. They were the breadbasket of Eastern Europe and had a heightened sense of themselves as agriculturalists, in stark contrast to the nomadic pastoralists from the Steppe who have regularly overrun their region."
"Being married to a woman from Hong Kong, I can tell you first had that this study is true. Outwardly, Chinese women seem very agreeable; behind-closed-doors, they are totally different. Drama to the highest degree; total lack of trying to expand their horizons; an outstanding lack of intellectual curiosity; rigid style of thinking; controlling, etc. They make great worker drones, however. "

Leading Indian Rationalist facing blasphemy charges over miracle clash with Catholic Church - "Edamuruku was able to reveal that the source of the "miracle" was a leaking drainage system, the water from which was being sucked up and ejected through the nail holes of the crucifix via a capillary action... Catholic representatives reacted to his arguments by threatening to pursue a blasphemy case against him"

'There are no gays in Korea' - "very few people dare come out. Korea is still a strongly Confucian society. It’s a conservative place where the appearance of a successful family, at whatever cost, rules... Parents send their children to mental institutions then force them into heterosexual marriage in part because of lack of understanding and in part to maintain the appearance of a perfect family... It’s economics too. Losing your job because you’re not heterosexual is a real threat... Public discussion about homosexuality is still rare. Hardly anyone comes out publically. And when they do their lives are destroyed in such a way that they end up committing suicide. Last year a young actor killed himself after coming out turned out to be the worst thing he could have done. Threats, loss of work, family pressure and shame ultimately did him in"
"Singapore appears to be the last frontier in the Asian region for positive gay and lesbian developments" - Lawrence Wai-Teng Leong

Ask a Korean!: Everything is Super When You're Gay in Korea - "Yeochin has not gone to Homo Hill enough to witness anything firsthand, but she has heard horrible stories of hate crimes. One of Yeochin’s friends had witnessed a girl getting her face smashed into a wall by a group of guys assuming she was a lesbian coming out of Homo Hill. My friend knew her and knew she was just there with a gay friend. These stories always make Yeochin nervous."

Singapore Hazardous Cycling Areas map - now on!

Trouble mars Causeway clash again - "The off-pitch rivalry between football fans from Singapore and Malaysia boiled over once again on Friday night. Police confirmed that one man was arrested after scuffles between rival supporters broke out outside the Jalan Besar Stadium before Friday night's friendly."
Clashes over football are a bigger problem than race riots. Therefore Singapore should ban football.

Chris Whitehead skirt: Schoolboy, 13, is awarded prestigious human rights prize - "Chris Whitehead made headlines in May when he turned up for class in his younger sister's black skirt. He was taking stand against a rule at Impington Village College near Cambridge which allowed girls to change into skirts during hot weather, while boys had to swelter in long trousers. The Year 9 student said wearing trousers in the heat affected concentration levels and an ability to study in class. His campaign made it onto national television when ITV's Daybreak presenter Adrian Chiles showed his support by wearing a floral skirt live on air"... Its ‘Look Smart’ dress code stated students must wear ‘plain black tailored trousers or knee-length skirts without slits’ – but did not specify gender"
Comment: "odd that women (who have been persuaded to be neurotic about varicose veimns, celluliet etc by clever marketing) often have to wear leg-exposing skirts, whilst men for whose anatomy something looser would be good have to wear trousers. I don't know about wonen in charge though, my wife hasn't told me what to write about that here"

'Otaku' men find themselves much sought after - "Once they demanded “the three highs” in a man: high academic background, high income, and high height – better a tall husband than a short one. That’s out now. In instead are “the three heis.” The character “hei” means average, mediocre, ordinary. The three heis are ordinary appearance, average income, and mediocre lifestyle."

Ukraine or the Ukraine: Why do some country names have 'the'? - "He suspects that people once preferred to add the article if the place name related to a geographical feature like a group of islands (Bahamas) a river (Congo), a desert (Sudan) or mountain range (Lebanon)."

Americans Are as Likely to Be Killed by Their Own Furniture as by Terrorism - "In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years"

A Golden Age of Books? There Were Only 500 Real Bookstores in 1931 - "two-thirds of American counties -- 66 percent! -- had exactly 0 bookstores. It was a relatively tiny business centered in the urban areas of the country. Did some great books come out back then? Of course! But they were aimed only at the tiny percentage of the country that was visible to publishers of the time: sophisticated urban elites... when people look at the sprawling mess of Internet publishing and decide that the quality of writing has declined, they are comparing apples to oranges. They're taking the most elite offerings that could be imagined, which were based on the tastes of the most educated people in 12 cities, and comparing them to the now-visible reading habits of everyone on the Internet. That's just not a good way to draw smart conclusions about the relationship between technology and culture. Perhaps "the Internet" has made writing worse, but you'd never prove it by comparing F. Scott Fitzgerald to Thought Catalog. "

Where is the Best Place to Invest $102,000 -- In Stocks, Bonds, or a College Degree? - "The answer is clear: Higher education is a much better investment than almost any other alternative, even for the “Class of the Great Recession” (young adults ages 23-24). In today’s tough labor market, a college degree dramatically boosts the odds of finding a job and making more money. On average, the benefits of a four-year college degree are equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2 percent per year. This is more than double the average return to stock market investments since 1950, and more than five times the returns to corporate bonds, gold, long-term government bonds, or home ownership. >From any investment perspective, college is a great deal... we all know that each person is different, and it’s possible (and even likely) that individual college graduates have different aptitudes and ambitions, and might even have access to different levels of family resources. All of these factors can impact earnings. However, the evidence suggests that these factors don’t drive the impressive return to college; instead the increased earning power of college graduates appears to be caused by their educational investments"

Pornography Use and Closeness with Others in Men - "there was no significant difference between self-reported pornography users and non-users in terms of specific socioemotional closeness with the most significant adults in their lives (i.e., partners, closest friends, mothers, and fathers). However, pornography users had significantly higher total closeness scores than non-users, showing possibly a craving for intimacy among pornography users versus non-pornography users"

Is this the end of meat? - "The Vegetarian Butcher makes use of emerging techniques and new recipes to create, they say, some of the most convincing meat replicas ever. And they are not the only ones: an omnivorous New York Times food columnist tasted its flagship 'chicken' and concluded that "taste and mouth feel come very close to the original...", and while I'm visiting the shop, staff are conducting a taste test on the street with the smoked 'mackerel'. Not one passer-by guesses it is not fish... "I think vegetarians would eat anything if you told them it had no animal products in it. They don't read labels – they're often [eating]colourings, artificial sweeteners, all sorts of nasty additives – and they don't care. I don't understand this vegetarian preoccupation with making things look like meat. If you want to be vegetarian: like vegetables""

Examining the Japanese History Textbook Controversies - "The most widely used Japanese textbooks in the mid- and late-1990s contained references to the Nanjing Massacre, anti-Japanese resistance movements in Korea, forced suicide in Okinawa, comfort women, and Unit 731 (responsible for conducting medical experiments on prisoners of war)... It is the Society's textbook, The New History Textbook (one of eight junior high school history textbooks authorized by the Ministry of Education in April 2001), that has caused such debate in Japan over the past year... Under the Japanese system, local school authorities determine whether the new textbook is to be used in district classrooms. On August 15—the deadline for school districts to make their selections—Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi reported in The Japan Times that the new textbook had been shunned, that nearly all of Japan's school districts had rejected it. She quoted a spokesman for the civic group Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21 as saying, "We have gained nationwide support to say 'no' to the textbook. . . . it's the conscience of the Japanese public." According to a Kyodo News Service survey released August 16, not a single municipal government run or state run junior high school in the country adopted The New History Textbook... Only 0.03% of junior high students [were] to use disputed textbook"
Contrary to popular opinion, history textbooks used in Japan don't actually engage in war denialism
Keywords: controversy, private, less than

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