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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Links - 11th August 2012

Why Science Majors Change Their Minds (It’s Just So Darn Hard) - - "middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion. The excitement quickly fades as students brush up against the reality of what David E. Goldberg, an emeritus engineering professor, calls “the math-science death march”... roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree. That increases to as much as 60 percent when pre-medical students, who typically have the strongest SAT scores and high school science preparation, are included... That is twice the combined attrition rate of all other majors"

Women and art: What to make of an art show dedicated exclusively to women | The Economist - " Does any artist need, or even want to be identified on the basis of her sex? Does a sex-based association confer a level of homogeneity? Are all women feminists and must all feminists be women? What does feminism even mean?" : Le meilleur stock de culottes de filles sexy canadienne pour renifler: culottes utilisées, soutien-gorge, lingerie, galerie photo de fille sexy:
C'est quoi ce bordel ?!

Stephen Tobolowsky on discovering that Santa isn’t real. - "there are two different types of fairy tales. There are the good ones, in which loyalty is rewarded with love and kingdoms are granted to simple but honest souls. And then there are the perplexing ones—where the children are eaten, the treasure is turned into straw, and the princess is poisoned and sleeps for a thousand years... “It is always easier to want to believe in something than to say it never was true”... Dwayne looked at the deserted playground for a moment and then back to me, “Don’t get me wrong, I love Santa, but this will probably be the last year I believe.”"

Gulag of the Mind: Why North Koreans Cry for Kim Jong Il - " Like most in this country, only the state has ever provided for them. Loyalty to friends and family is conditional in a way that the state's hand is not. The stories it tells them about Dear Leader's virtue and the outside threat he protects them from must resonate in a way that little else -- often, not even family allegiance -- could. To lose the state would be to lose everything, and Kim Jong Il was the state"

Everything Is A Remix: THE MATRIX on Vimeo

Replace Baby Pics in Your Facebook Feed With Bacon and Cats

Chinese Diver Wins Gold, Is Finally Told That Her Mother Has Cancer And Her Grandparents Died A Year Ago - "Wu's life seems to reinforce all our worst stereotypes about the Chinese Olympic program. Now 26, Wu began attending daily diving camp at six years old. At 16, she left home to live in a government-sponsored training facility, where she rarely saw her family, didn't attend school—didn't do anything but dive, all day, over and over again for this last decade."

Worst Choir ever? - YouTube

How to Find the Best Food in a Foreign City, According to Anthony Bourdain | Serious Eats - "Invoke "nerd fury." Hit up any message board with an active international or travel community, and rather than simply asking them for advice, outright lie to them. Get online and write something along the lines of, "hey guys, I just had the absolute best chicken rice at [restaurant x] in Singapore, no questions asked, hands down, everything else pales in comparison," then sit back and enjoy the show as the internet foodie elite each jump into the fray to defend their own picks to the death. You'll get a much bigger response, more passionate praise, and it'll probably end up being a little fun to boot"
"I asked a native Singaporean why the people of Singapore are so food crazy.."It's the only damn culture we have""

The Food Lab: How to Make a Chick-Fil-A Sandwich at Home | Serious Eats - "The classic Chick-Fil-A sandwich is a thing of simple beauty. A juicy, salty, crisply fried chicken breast. A soft, sweet, buttered and toasted bun. Two dill pickle chips. That's all there is to it. What makes it great is the perfection of each of the elements. That crisp golden brown crust spiced just right with a perfect sweet-salty-savory-hot balance. The way it coats that breast underneath; a chicken breast that defies all we know about chicken. This is no dry, stringy, bland chicken bosom, this is a breast of unparalleled juiciness, with a dense, meaty texture and deeply seasoned flavor. Bring all of the elements together, and you've got a sandwich that is nearly impossible to improve upon"

Ooh La La: Paris Bans Naked Sunbathers from Tanning in Public

China’s wealthy and influential sometimes hire body doubles to serve their prison sentences - "America has the rule of law, but China has the rule of people... “Replacement convicts” are not new. For centuries, the use of criminal substitutes was among the first things Westerners would mention when discussing China’s legal system... Incredibly, substitutes could be hired even for executions... Some imperial Chinese officials who admitted to the use of substitute criminals justified its effectiveness. After all, the real criminal was punished by paying out the market value of his crime, while the stand-in’s punishment intimidated other criminals, keeping the overall crime rate low. In other words, a “cap-and-trade” policy for crime"

Do Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? - " It would appear (at least within this restricted sample) that blonde women might be approached more frequently in a nightclub but are generally judged more harshly along a wide range of traits"

Grayson Perry's Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman - in pictures - "I had to write a letter justifying my inclusion of an earring with the ear still attached"

Play Time: Is This a Sex Toy? - "Whether you are a master of the vibrator or a sex toy novice, these gadgets are a bit confusing. Can you tell which items are actual sex toys?"

Ayaan Hirsi Ali:The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World - "The old idea of the Ottoman Turks—that non-Muslims in Muslim societies deserve protection (albeit as second-class citizens)—has all but vanished from wide swaths of the Islamic world, and increasingly the result is bloodshed and oppression... Yes, Western governments should protect Muslim minorities from intolerance... But we also need to keep perspective about the scale and severity of intolerance. Cartoons, films, and writings are one thing; knives, guns, and grenades are something else entirely."
I came to this article from a critique and it was like the critique was of a different article: the main salient point is that in most cases it's not Christians in particular which are being persecuted, but religious minorities

Evgeny Morozov: The Naked And The TED - "Khanna’s contempt for democracy and human rights aside, he is simply an intellectual impostor, emitting such lethal doses of banalities, inanities, and generalizations that his books ought to carry advisory notices. Take this precious piece of advice from his previous book—the modestly titled How to Run the World—which is quite representative of his work: “The world needs very few if any new global organizations. What it needs is far more fresh combinations of existing actors who coordinate better with one another.” How this A-list networking would stop climate change, cyber-crime, or trade in exotic animals is never specified. Khanna does not really care about the details of policy. He is a manufacturer of abstract, meaningless slogans. He is, indeed, the most talented bullshit artist of his generation... perhaps this is what the Hybrid Age is all about: marketing masquerading as theory, charlatans masquerading as philosophers, a New Age cult masquerading as a university, business masquerading as redemption, slogans masquerading as truths... They have the guts to write that “a decade from now we will look back at China’s 12th Five-Year Plan as the seminal document of the early 21st century”... The pursuit of efficiency alone cannot guide public policy—this is why we have politics; but technocrats rarely want to hear such truths... the defining feature of today’s techno-aggrandizing is its utter ignorance of all the techno-aggrandizing that has come before it... while few people would grant any substance to an argument that identifies a common meaning in Warhol, Chardin, hip hop, Chaplin, Haydn, and science fiction, we easily fall for grand theories that mysteriously connect humans and material artifacts to some grand narrative about the universe, be it the Singularity, Toffler’s Third Wave, or the Hybrid Age. When, fifteen years ago, Leo Marx accused technology of being “a hazardous concept” for leading precisely to this kind of addled thinking, he was too polite... TED is no longer a responsible curator of ideas “worth spreading.” Instead it has become something ludicrous, and a little sinister. Today TED is an insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering—a place where ideas, regardless of their quality, go to seek celebrity, to live in the form of videos, tweets, and now e-books... The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It—co-authored by Philip Zimbardo, of the Stanford Prison Experiment fame, is an apt example of what transpires when TED ideas happen to good people... Brevity may be the soul of wit, or of lingerie, but it is not the soul of analysis. The TED ideal of thought is the ideal of the “takeaway”—the shrinkage of thought for people too busy to think... The Khannas are typical of the TED crowd in that they do not express much doubt about anything... In TED world, problems of aid and development are no longer seen as problems of weak and corrupt institutions; they are recast as problems of inadequate connectivity or an insufficiency of gadgets"
Evgeny Morozov does fantastic reviews

In Japan, fax machines find a final place to thrive - "Japan’s continued fax devotion may be an endearing quirk, what with the country’s reputation as a high-tech playland, all bright lights and flawless trains and chirping micro-devices. But it may also represent a deeper sign of the nation’s inability to change and to accommodate global standards, even as it cedes economic ground to Asian rivals such as China and South Korea. “It goes back to the famous theory that there are two Japans,” said Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based consultant for Japanese Web, mobile and social gaming companies. “One is very efficient and highly productive. The other is where things are very slow and there’s barely any innovation. Information technology is in that second basket.” With their traditional reverence for paper and handwriting, the Japanese still see use for the analog world"
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