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Monday, November 12, 2012

Links - 12th November 2012

"A true friend is someone you can disagree with and still remain friends. For if not, they weren't true friends in the first place." - Sandy Ratliff

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fairy tales for twentysomethings - "After pulling the sword from the stone but before becoming king, Arthur went on a cross-country road trip / vision quest. He crashed on friends’ couches or, on a few nights, the back seat of his car. He went to Burning Man, stayed in the mountains of Montana for a few weeks, and learned to build a cigar-box guitar from some guy on the street in New Orleans."

Why I said yes to Sex. Violence. FamilyValues - "I am aware that the decision to ban this film is in part due to a society that has been engineered to discourage any open discussion on race. However, I’m still disheartened because film and art have always been one of the best mediums to allow us to explore difficult issues freely... Banning such films do not encourage the local movie industry to grow, nor would it help us mature as a society. The Amy Cheong debacle may be yesterday’s news, but if we continue to stay away from honestly talking about and tackling issues of racism and race-relations in Singapore, there is no stopping incidents from happening again and again"

Man who took upskirt shot of flight attendant escapes charges - "A "peeping Tom" who used a pen-shaped camera to take an upskirt shot of a cabin attendant during a domestic flight in Japan has avoided charges after prosecutors failed to decide which prefecture the plane was flying over at the time... "Peeping Tom" offences typically fall under prefecture-level law to prevent public nuisances and their applications require prosecutors to state exact locations of the crime"

Twitter / almightygod: This is how you handle a fundy ... - "This is how you handle a fundy sign-waver"

Ad networks are killing the Internet.

Single for the Holidays - NYTimes.com - "But isn’t Venice, to which this reporter has been in both summer and winter, a bit romantic for a solo trip? Ms. Bing dismissed the thought. “It’s kind of an exquisite melancholy,” she said. Her advice: go out to lunch and take along some local literature or a copy of Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities,” about an imaginary conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. “A couple of years ago I was reading ‘Invisible Cities’ alone, and oh, my God, if I had wanted to pick somebody up,” she said, “I couldn’t get people to stop interrupting me”... “By an overwhelming majority, the solo travel market is much more female than male”... “the longer the cruise, the older the cruiser”

Carrie Lukas: There Is No Male-Female Wage Gap - WSJ.com - "full-time working women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day on the job, compared to 8.75 hours for full-time working men. One would expect that someone who works 9% more would also earn more. This one fact alone accounts for more than a third of the wage gap... In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts... many American women wish they could work less, and that they weren't the primary earners for their families. Few Americans see the economy as a battle between the sexes. They want opportunity to abound so that men and women can find satisfying work situations that meet their unique needs"

Why Do Women Pay More Than Men - "Though few retailers will cop to it, gender pricing is standard industry practice. It's especially pronounced at the drugstore, where bathroom staples like shampoo, soap, and razors marketed to women (invariably packaged in pretty pastels) routinely cost more than near-identical products for men. A recent study by researchers at the University of Central Florida examined some 200 sticks of deodorant sold at major drugstore chains and found that sticks for women cost, on average, 30 cents more per ounce than those for men, even when the only discernible difference was scent... Women tend to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations when choosing a lender rather than shopping around for the lowest rate the way men do. We also find negotiating anathema... "It's a standard industry practice going back decades," says Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plan, an industry trade group, of higher premiums charged to women. He says women "tend to have more health-care costs than men" and see more doctors than men of the same age"
Why do Mac users pay more for hotel rooms than PC users?

The 15 Jobs Where Women Earn More Than Men - "“Researchers have found that both sexes fare better when they are in the minority”... the few women who enter construction and mechanical jobs are likely highly skilled and more concentrated in union jobs"

SMU pulls plug on human rights centre - "Sources told TODAY that the setting up of the centre would have raised many red flags, not least its name and the fact that it was largely funded by a foreigner. "Human rights remain a topic that has to be carefully managed in Singapore. The Centre would lack credibility if it critiques the human rights situation in other countries but not Singapore's." a source said"

5 Weird Ways Disney Buying Lucasfilm Just Changed The Future - "The Star Wars Expanded Universe (or EU) is pretty polarizing to the people who know about it — people seem to loathe it, love it, or be completely oblivious as to its existence. So, you’re likely to be either exuberant, rageful, or completely nonplussed when you realize that Disney is notoriously stringent with control of their trademarks, it seems unlikely that writers in the EU will be given the freedom they’ve had in the past. And if you’re more of a gamer than a reader, this is gonna affect you to: given Disney’s recent purposeful shift away from console gaming and more towards the mobile market, as well as the recent failure of The Old Republic MMO, it’s unlikely that BioWare will continue the franchises it’s created, and that the coffin really is nailed shut on poor Lucasarts — meaning we’ll never see the likes of Monkey Island again."

Celebrity 18th birthday countdowns have long been the rage - "Most older readers who find this behavior reprehensible no doubt stopped reading several paragraphs ago. For those who stuck around, here's some more bad news: This isn't a new phenomenon. And your generation started it. Since the days when Shirley Temple steered the Good Ship Lollipop through puberty, fans have been meticulously dissecting the first kisses, first signs of breasts and first romantic encounters of our nation's most popular female child actors... Between 1982 and 1985, no less than three major label artists -- including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Aerosmith and Eric Clapton -- recorded or released different songs titled "Jailbait."

Belief in miracles climbs in the age of Oprah - "Service attendance is the strongest predictor of belief in miracles, and demographic groups such as women and evangelical and black Protestants retain relatively strong beliefs in the existence of miracles. But the greatest growth appears to be coming on the periphery of organized religion. One striking finding, for example, was that marginal attenders across faith lines strengthened their belief in miracles over the past two decades... Even among respondents with no religious affiliation, the percentages who believe in miracles increased from 32 percent in 1991 to 42 percent in 2008... One potential explanation, according to Martin, is the cultural preoccupation with miracles promoted in non-dogmatic ways by a series of popular television programs such as “Touched by an Angel” and best-selling books such as the “Left Behind” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. No one, Martin and other researchers point out, may have done more for this spiritual phenomenon than Oprah Winfrey... In the 2007 Baylor Religion Survey, 23 percent of respondents said they witnessed a miraculous physical healing and 16 percent said they received a miraculous healing. And in the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey, three-quarters of respondents said they prayed to God to receive healing from an illness or injury; more than five in six respondents prayed for someone else’s healing."

Brazilian Student Catarina Migliorini Sells Virginity for £483,000 - "A man, 21-year-old Alex Stepanov from Sydney, also put his virginity up for sale, but only garnered £1,860... Before the auction, Migliorini said she had not found the right person to have sex with and that taking part in the auction was "more sane" than having sex with a stranger drunk at a party... "If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer"... "She was speaking to her family in Brazil online and they were extremely happy for her. But I guess they didn't expect her to do something like this." Migliorini reportedly plans to use the money to build homes for poverty-stricken families. Under the terms and conditions of the auction, the winning bidder must have a medical examination and a police check. Rules stipulate that they may not be intoxicated during their time with the virgin, kiss them, involve anyone else or sex toys. They are also prohibited from recording the encounter or expect to have any fantasies or fetishes fulfilled. The minimum time the virgin must spend with the bidder is one hour"

A dozen USB chargers in the lab: Apple is very good, but not quite the best - "The Samsung oblong charger came in best, using just 19 mW; this was so low compared to the other chargers that I measured it again a different way to make sure I hadn't made an error. On the other extreme, the fake iPhone charger used 375 mW. The Apple iPhone charger performed surprisingly badly at 195 mW. If plugged in for a year, this would cost you about 21 cents in electricity, so it's probably not worth worrying about

Why Do Sign Language Interpreters Look So Animated? - "Signers are animated not because they are bubbly and energetic, but because sign language uses face and body movements as part of its grammar"

How Food Replaced Art as High Culture - NYTimes.com - "It is costly. It requires knowledge and connoisseurship, which are themselves costly to develop. It is a badge of membership in the higher classes, an ideal example of what Thorstein Veblen, the great social critic of the Gilded Age, called conspicuous consumption. It is a vehicle of status aspiration and competition, an ever-present occasion for snobbery, one-upmanship and social aggression. (My farmers’ market has bigger, better, fresher tomatoes than yours)... Food, for young people now, is creativity, commerce, politics, health, almost religion... Just as aestheticism, the religion of art, inherited the position of Christianity among the progressive classes around the turn of the 20th century, so has foodism taken over from aestheticism around the turn of the 21st. Now we read the gospel according, not to Joyce or Proust, but to Michael Pollan and Alice Waters. “Eat, Pray, Love,” the title goes, but a lot of people never make it past the first. Nor do they have to... Yes, food centers life in France and Italy, too, but not to the disadvantage of art, which still occupies the supreme place in both cultures. Here in America, we are in danger of confusing our palates with our souls"

Calvin & Hobbes (image)

Study: The ‘gateway drug’ is alcohol, not marijuana - "making science-based alcohol education a top priority could actually turn the tide of the drug war — but only if lawmakers and leading educators decide to use that same science as a foundation for public policy and school curriculum... A study published in 2010 in the medical journal Lancet ranked alcohol as the most harmful drug of all, above heroin, crack, meth, cocaine and tobacco. Even more striking: The Lancet study found that harms to others near the user were more than double those of the second most harmful drug, heroin"
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