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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Links - 12th October 2012

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, but raptors are pretty dang scary." - Devin J. Monroe


Conscription: Necessary Or Outdated? - "We need to realize that the norms of international relations are vastly different today. The political situation that Venice was in at the time was highly volatile and so different than the one Singapore is in today. Today we are living in a globalized, interconnected world in which Singapore is trading heavily with many other countries. Global norms of behavior have changed, and now attitudes toward warfare are not the same as it once was in the 17th century. Economic interdependence makes warfare highly unlike for a country like Singapore. The current length of our national service is not justified at all on a comparative scale! With the second longest duration just behind Israel, do we dare say we face nearly the same kind of danger they do? (Israel has enemies that threaten to ‘wipe them off the map’... a voluntary professional force would be much more motivated, cohesive and better trained... 'This act of conscripting is just as much a deed of unjustifiable aggression — of kidnapping and possibly murder — as the alleged aggression we are trying to guard ourselves against in the first place... "Society" and "country" are in this case mythical abstractions that are being used to cloak the naked use of coercion to promote the interests of specific individuals”'... If shared experience leading to unity was our objective, shouldn’t we also extend this policy to include females too? After all, they make up almost about half our population, and we sure wouldn’t want them to miss out on the joys of the shared experience national service can bring!... let us conclude this article with a parting quote by Robert Heinlein: “Any country that has to defend itself with forced conscripts is not worth defending.”"

No More Angling for the Best Seat; More Meetings Are Stand-Up Jobs - - "Stand-up meetings are part of a fast-moving tech culture in which sitting has become synonymous with sloth. The object is to eliminate long-winded confabs where participants pontificate, play Angry Birds on their cellphones or tune out. Atomic Object even frowns upon tables during meetings. "They make it too easy to lean or rest laptops," explains Michael Marsiglia, vice president. At the end of the meetings, which rarely last more than five minutes, employees typically do a quick stretch and then "go on with their day," he says... standing meetings were about a third shorter than sitting meetings and the quality of decision-making was about the same... Holding meetings before lunch also speeds things up... Obie Fernandez, founder of Hashrocket, a Jacksonville, Fla., software design firm, says his team passes around a 10-pound medicine ball during stand-ups"

Open-plan offices are making workers sick, say Australian scientists - "the switch to open-plan has led to lower productivity and higher worker stress... Working in an open-plan office could contribute to higher blood pressure, Dr Oommen said, and an increased risk of illnesses as bugs such as the influenza virus were more swiftly passed around"

Nazi Titanic - DocuWiki - "During a bizarre chapter of WWII, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels decided to make a movie based on the sinking of the Titanic. This epic film was so large in scale that the Nazis were forced to divert men, material and ships from the war effort in order to complete it"

When comforting a grammar Nazi, I always say softly, “There, their, they’re.”

Women Drivers Crash More Than Men - "The statistics tell a paradoxical story. According to a controversial study by researchers at the John Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health, women are more likely to be involved in car crashes than men - despite the fact that men are three times more likely to be killed when they do crash... teenage boys start recklessly, with about 20 per cent more crashes per mile driven than teenage girls. Males and females between the ages of 20 and 35 run almost identical risks. Females over the age of 35, however, are significantly more likely to crash than their male counterparts"
Keywords: men women better drivers, women drive better

Men and Women Drivers: The Gender Divide - "some research suggests that men do show more technical proficiency in driving as well as a greater tendency to declare themselves “above average drivers”... Research finds that drivers using both hand-held and hands-free cellular phones are four times more likely than non-users to get into a crash that can cause serious injury. It multiples the risk of a fatality nine-fold. Whereas some studies suggest the same use and risk for men and women, government reports find that adult women drivers were observed to be on cell phones more... Whereas women have more crashes based on slips or lapses, men’s crashes are due to driving violations that tend to be more deliberate and risky- speeding, non-seat belt use and drinking... men and women both engage in risks – it depends on the category. Overall men were found to be bigger risk takers than women but women were more likely to go white water rafting, be hypnotized and skip class than males were. Men and women equally ranked activities as roller coaster riding, quitting their jobs without one lined up, and shoplifting. Consistent with driving statistics, however, men were more likely to drive 25mph over the speed limit, ride a motorcycle or get on the roof of a moving car!"

Women are better at parking than men, study suggests - "Covert surveillance of car parks across Britain has shown that while women may take longer to park, they are more likely to leave their vehicles in the middle of a bay... The findings contradict not only popular belief but also previous research. Figures from the Driving Standards Agency last year disclosed that tens of thousands more women fail their driving test on parking errors than men"

APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT - "I refer to the recent death of the Technical Manager at your Company and hereby apply for the replacement of the deceased Manager"

Man jailed nine months for molesting policewoman - "The accused was walking by when he bumped into her and touched her buttocks. However, the accused disputed that and denied touching her. According to Assistant Public Prosecutor Raja Mohan, the accused did not apologise to the woman and was unremorseful. He added that the man's "nonchalant attitude infuriated her" and the incident caused her "deep emotional distress." APP Mohan also told the court that the victim "couldn't accept that being a policewoman in uniform, she got molested." The court also heard that the man, who has a daughter, was tipsy during the incident. In his sentencing, District Judge Low Wee Ping said that there was "a streak of arrogance" in the accused and agreed with APP Mohan that he showed no remorse. DJ Low also noted that the accused gave various versions of his accounts which resulted in inconsistencies"
If I were tipsy, I'd give inconsistent accounts too. If I didn't touch someone, apologising and showing remorse would be an admission of guilt

Most from megachurches see wealth as sign of blessing - "As many as 77.6 per cent of the respondents from megachurches believe that full-time staff, including pastors, should be paid competitive salaries. Among other conclusions, the survey also found that Protestants from megachurches tend to separate religious values from public views about politics"

What does the 2011 survey tell us about singles and money? By Dr. Jonathan Rich « Official Blog - "Although 45% of men declare they are ready to step up to the challenges of being a “househusband,” the partner primarily taking care of home and childcare duties, only one out of three women say they are ready to accept men in that role. In spite of social and economic changes, certain male/female roles appear slow to change. The moment when the bill arrives after a first date has become an increasingly awkward moment. Thirty-seven percent of men but only 19% of women believe that it is always the man’s responsibility to pick up the check on the first date"
I wonder what a Singaporean survey would show

This Is The Most Entertaining "Lane Change" We've Ever Seen

Classical music affects heart transplants - "Mice with heart transplants survived twice as long if they listened to classical music rather than pop music after their operation"

Tree-kangaroo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "Tree-kangaroos are macropods adapted for life in trees. They inhabit the rainforests of New Guinea, far northeastern Queensland, and nearby islands"

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time - "when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you're increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 per cent... if you're always doing something, you're relentlessly burning down your available reservoir of energy over the course of every day, so you have less available with every passing hour... Stop demanding or expecting instant responsiveness at every moment of the day. It forces your people into reactive mode, fractures their attention, and makes it difficult for them to sustain attention on their priorities. Let them turn off their email at certain times. If it's urgent, you can call them — but that won't happen very often... Encourage renewal. Create at least one time during the day when you encourage your people to stop working and take a break... Do the most important thing first in the morning, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time... resist every impulse to distraction, knowing that you have a designated stopping point. The more absorbed you can get, the more productive you'll be. When you're done, take at least a few minutes to renew... Establish regular, scheduled times to think more long term, creatively, or strategically. If you don't, you'll constantly succumb to the tyranny of the urgent"

Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day: Book Trailer: How to Pack Like a 1960s Tourist - "Arthur Frommer started modern tourism as we know it with Europe on Five Dollars a Day. Before his guidebook started the budget travel boom, opening the continent up to the masses, the general mentality was was that travel was something only rich people did. No one fit that aristocrat-on-the-road archetype more than Temple Fielding, the most prominent guidebook writer of the day until Frommer came along... Its contents included “a bottle of maraschino cherries, a bottle of Angostura bitters, a portable Philips three-speed record- player, five records (four of mood music and ‘one Sinatra always’), a leather-covered RCA transistor radio, an old half- pint Heublein bottle full of vermouth, and a large nickel thermos with a wide mouth”"

Europe's blind spot on anti-Semitism - "When the prejudice -- and even the call for murder -- is made in connection with the Palestinian cause, people look the other way and give it a pass... A couple of years ago, I was in the Netherlands when a pro-Palestinian demonstration broke into a familiar chant: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas." The "Jews to the gas" is a common cheer at Dutch soccer games... Political leaders and government authorities often act dismissively when Jews are the target of violence, particularly from Arabs... Often, when the Palestinian link is made, the prejudice comes from the left, couched as passion for human rights. At times, human rights activists seem to have no problem with anti-Semitism -- even of the genocidal variety -- condemning it forcefully only if it is accompanied by anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim sentiment... Portraying Israelis as baby killers fits neatly into the old anti-Semitic narrative that outrageously claims Jews kill Christian children to make Passover matzos... In Hungary, Spain and Poland, anti-Semitic sentiment is "off the charts"... The sentiment is most common among European Muslims, some of whom have attended Islamic schools, whose Saudi-financed textbooks explained that Jews look like monkeys and pigs and seek "world domination""
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