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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Links - 20th October 2012

"The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever." - Herb Caen


Food For Thought: Xiao Long Bao and Authenticity in Food - "Unlike western dumplings, Asian dumplings unanimously have fillings. However, in China, no single, all encompassing term for the concept exists. To give you a sense of the confusion, it's like lumping omelets and meringue cookies into a single, undifferentiated category simply because they are both made with beaten eggs... authenticity in food remains reductionist and misleading, at its worst favoring a crystallized illusion. It's a culinary imperialism that treats restaurants like reservations, where "ethnic" people cook food in ways that have not changed since time immemorial—and always will... "what passes for Sichuan cuisine today only took shape relatively recently, probably no more then 250 years ago"... when digging into that ma po do fu, you aren't thinking about how those chilies, which give the dish its vital kick, were originally brought over from the New World by European merchants. They have become synonymous with Sichuanese cuisine to the point of being one of its defining elements—talk about evolution through contact with new people!"

Couples report gender differences in relationship, sexual satisfaction over time - "For men, relationship happiness was more likely if the man reported being in good health and if it was important to him that his partner experienced orgasm. Surprisingly, frequent kissing or cuddling also predicted happiness in the relationship for men, but not for women. Both men and women reported more happiness the longer they had been together, and if they themselves scored higher on several sexual functioning questionnaires. Across all five nationalities, for both men and women, the Japanese were significantly happier with their relationships than Americans, and Brazilians and Spanish reported less relationship happiness than Americans. Men and women both were likely to report sexual satisfaction if they also reported frequent kissing and cuddling, sexual caressing by the partner, higher sexual functioning, and if they had sex more frequently. On the other hand, for men, having had more sex partners in their lifetime was a predictor of less sexual satisfaction"

UK: Woman creates erotic website as antidote to porn - "Her website features couples and individuals engaging in real-life sexual activities with the kind of genuine passion and intimacy missing from most internet porn... Invited members pay $5 per video chosen from the menu, and contributors who star in their own erotic show submit videos for the site. Gallop says she has no shortage of quality contributors. "" is legal and for over-18s only. But Gallop wants to create gift vouchers that can be bought for younger teenagers. "They are accessing hardcore porn online anyway, whether we like it or not, and what they see on my website is a much more healthy form of sex education," she said."

How to Take a Bicycle Rickshaw or 'Cyclo' in Hanoi, Vietnam - "In Hanoi, as in other areas of Vietnam, unfortunately, a lot of tradespeople try to take more money from you than was originally agreed upon. In stores, shopkeepers will try to keep your change, or dole it out in small quantities until you ask for "All of it" and cyclo riders are no different. So, if at all possible, make sure you only pay the rider with the exact money you agreed upon. That way, you won't have to argue with him to get your change back."
I'm not the only one they cheat

Friends You Can Count On - - "despite all your efforts, you probably have fewer friends than most of your friends have. But don’t despair — the same is true for almost all of us. Our friends are typically more popular than we are"

How to Negotiate like an Indian -- 7 Rules - "Rule #1 – The true price of any item is what you pay — There are no suggested retail prices in India. Nothing is labeled, so it pays to talk with several vendors before making a significant purchase.
Rule # 2 – Try for 70% off — Don’t accept less than 30%
Rule # 3 – Make them show lots of merchandise...
Rule # 4 – Offer on one item at a time – If you plan to buy a couple things DON’T let on at the outset. Act like you intend to buy only one item, if that much. Get the seller to give you prices on each item; play one item off another to show you are looking for the lower price point.
Rule # 5 – Wait for the pad of paper — Every Indian sales person has a pad of paper and a pencil that they pull out when the bargaining gets a bit more serious. Though they write down the price for an item, this is only the starting point – remember rule #2.
Rule # 6 – Say “TOO HIGH”, a lot – Don’t even start negotiating until the salesman has scratched through the initial price and lowered it at least twice. I found that simply staring in silence at the pad of paper for a long time would result in the vendor cutting the price.
Rule # 7 – Imply a bundled purchase — OK, now that the price has been cut 25-30%, ask the salesman what deal he would give you if you buy two items. Expect 5% off. Ask for three items; get another 5%. Then add a very expensive 4th item — one which you do not intend to buy. This will excite the vendor and he will do a bunch of calculations which you will be unable to follow. The price will come down for the expensive item as well as for the other items you intend to buy. Lock those prices and drop the expensive item...
One final point – no matter what price you pay — if the sales guy is smiling when you leave — guess who won…
Is it a stereotype that Indians are good at negotiating? Sure. Is it accurate? Just neglect to prepare next time you match wits against an Indian entrepreneur and you tell me"
In particular, Rule 7 sounds like swindling. And the fact that they always offer ridiculous prices in the first place indicates that they are trying to swindle you too. Maybe I shouldn't go to India
Keywords negotiating with indians, negotiating in india

Why I Published Those Cartoons - "Jyllands-Posten would not publish pornographic images or graphic details of dead bodies; swear words rarely make it into our pages... The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims. The cartoons do not in any way demonize or stereotype Muslims. In fact, they differ from one another both in the way they depict the prophet and in whom they target. One cartoon makes fun of Jyllands-Posten, portraying its cultural editors as a bunch of reactionary provocateurs. Another suggests that the children's writer who could not find an illustrator for his book went public just to get cheap publicity. A third puts the head of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party in a lineup, as if she is a suspected criminal... what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy... As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders. That is what happened to human rights activists and writers such as Andrei Sakharov, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Natan Sharansky, Boris Pasternak... The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants... We have had no anti-Muslim riots, no Muslims fleeing the country and no Muslims committing violence. The radical imams who misinformed their counterparts in the Middle East about the situation for Muslims in Denmark have been marginalized. They no longer speak for the Muslim community in Denmark because moderate Muslims have had the courage to speak out against them... the integration of Muslims into European societies has been sped up by 300 years due to the cartoons; perhaps we do not need to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again in Europe. The narrative in the Middle East is more complex, but that has very little to do with the cartoons"

Iraq and the Arabs' Future - - "A culture that looks squarely at its own troubles should think aloud about the rage that is summoned on behalf of the Palestinians while the pain of the Kurds, or the Berbers in North Africa, or the Christians in the southern Sudan, is passed over in silence. This righteous sense of Arab victimhood -- which overlooks what Arab rulers do to others while lamenting its own condition -- emanates from a political tradition of belligerent self-pity. The push should be for an Arab world that acknowledges its own economic and political retrogression and begins to find a way out of those crippling sectarian atavisms"

Romance, the Ultimate Souvenir --Modern Love - - "I’ve always fallen in love on vacation. Who hasn’t? There’s a distinctive intensity to vacation romances. The object of our affection rises from the crowd like fireworks, simultaneously illuminating the unfamiliar landscape of our travels and obliterating its interest... The idea prospers that vacation flings are an escape from our real selves. But maybe what’s really happening is that they draw out selves that are real but suppressed... The ultimate truism in our understanding of vacation romance is that it’s exciting because we don’t see our new lover’s flaws. Again, I think the opposite is the truth: on vacation we stop judging and allow ourselves to relish another person’s quirky imperfections... On vacation, we fall in love less by logic than by instinct. The question then becomes: Should we be trying to love in regular life more like we love when we travel? Should we be dating strippers and oyster-bar waiters? Probably more often than we do, but not all the time"

Nipples and breasts checked for Chinese beauty contest - "A Chinese beauty contest requiring candidates to have nipples spaced at least 20 cm (7.8 in) apart sparked a storm of criticism on the Internet"
If you're okay with beauty contests, why care what they measure?

Study: Men Are More Attracted to Women with High Salaries - "men may be readier to cede their role as breadwinner than they are given credit for. Last year, Stanford University economist Ran Abramitzky, working with two European colleagues, published a fascinating study that suggests exactly this. Looking at demographic records for the French population after World War I, they found that men in regions that had suffered higher mortality rates (and were therefore short on men) were more able to “marry up.” Given the opportunity to marry into a life with more resources and prospects, the men hastened to do so. To Abramitzky, the surprise was “how flexible this marriage market was” and how quickly men were able to adapt to the changing demographics"

Mini Maple Bacon Doughnuts | How Sweet It Is

Police bust ends 'free sex after nine car washes' - "Police learned of the unique partnership between the car wash and sex ring when they kept finding car wash loyalty cards in the pockets of alleged customers of the sex ring"
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