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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Links - 21st November 2012

"I am a flute player, not a flautist. I don’t have a flaut, and I’ve never flauted." - James Galway


Save the earth, drive your car? - "The average American car carries 1.6 people -- not many, of course, when you're comparing it to mass transit. On the other hand, the average bus carries only 10 people. And a bus burns a lot more fuel than a car. Not exactly what mass-transit advocates would have us believe... 'moving a passenger a mile by bus requires roughly 20 percent more energy than moving a passenger around by car'... light-rail systems in places like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Memphis actually do worse than cars in terms of energy efficiency, simply because they're underused"

History transformed in VCE exam - "THE VCE exam body has been left red faced after a doctored artwork depicting a huge robot helping socialist revolutionaries during the Russian Revolution was accidentally included in this year’s year 12 history exam taken by 5700 students... they found an altered version of the work with what appear to be a large "BattleTech Marauder" robot aiding the rising revolutionaries in the background."

Twenty eight gym girls squeeze into Mini

If Cats Watched Porn, I Guess They'd Watch This

Neda Soltani: 'The media mix-up that ruined my life' - "In June 2009, a woman was shot dead in a demonstration in Tehran. Neda Agha-Soltan became the face of the Iranian protest movement - except that it was not her face to begin with, but the face of university teacher Neda Soltani... the people I am most angry with are the Western media. They kept using my photo even though they knew it was not a picture of the real victim in that tragic video. They knowingly exposed me to extreme danger"

Council ordered to move park benches from underneath trees in case branches fall on peoples' heads - "
Just days after a health and safety report condemned 'cotton wool culture', over-zealous officers have ordered a council to remove park benches - in case a branch should fall on someone sitting there... On Monday a report by health and safety watchdogs admitted the 'cotton wool culture' had eroded children’s freedom to play outdoors. They said a blizzard of regulations is being used as an excuse to deny children scope for fun... The HSE said health and safety laws were being ‘wrongly cited’ as a reason to deny children play opportunities. The statement cited ‘shocking’ ICM research that half of children aged seven to 12 are not allowed to climb a tree without an adult present and that one in five children in the same age group have been banned from playing conkers. Councils, schools, charities and other providers should use 'sensible adult judgments' instead of allowing misplaced fears of prosecution to rid play spaces of fun and challenge... Last week residents of a block of flats were ordered to take pictures down from communal walls and get rid of doormats because they are dangerous and breach health and safety rules... Thousands of JLS fans were lashed by torrential rain for two hours because of a health and safety ban on umbrellas at an open air concert"

Another tragic death, and how health and safety nannies are brainwashing us - "Simon Burgess died in a model boating lake in Gosport in Hampshire after apparently suffering an epileptic fit. A doctor told his inquest in Portsmouth that he might have been saved by emergency crews who had been called and were at the scene. However, they were ordered by a superior not to rescue him. Wading into 3ft of water does not obviously demand a great amount of courage. At least two emergency workers were prepared to do it. PC Tony Jones told the inquest he was willing to go into the lake, but was overruled. A paramedic called Robert Wallace, though able to swim in strong currents, was also informed by fire station watch manager, Tony Nicholls, that his help was not needed. The inquest heard from Mr Nicholls that he had ‘made an assessment it was a body retrieval and not a rescue’. He added: ‘The officers were trained to go into ankle-deep water, which is “level one”, so we waited for “level two” officers, who can go in chest high.’ By the time a ‘specialist team’ arrived, Mr Burgess was dead... Shannon Powell, 14, collapsed on a cross-country run in North London but paramedics refused to move her because the terrain was too slippy. She subsequently died and a coroner ruled that the delay may have cost the young girl her life. In July 2008, Alison Hume fell down a mine shaft in Ayrshire. The poor woman was left languishing there for eight hours because, although there was a winch available, it was supposedly only to be used to save rescue workers. The mother-of-two died from a heart attack brought on by hypothermia. And in May 2007 police support officers stood by while Jordan Lyon, ten, drowned in Wigan after diving into a pond to save his younger sister. By the time a suitably trained policeman had arrived it was too late to save Jordan, though the sister survived."
On The Guardian, (predictably) many commenters brand protest against H&S as part of a capitalist plot to exploit workers and increase corporate profits

The Obama campaign asks women to vote with their 'lady parts'. Can liberals get any cruder? - "Now we have the Democrats’ culture war message distilled in a handy e-card. It’s this. If you are a woman, don’t vote on jobs, debt or foreign policy. Vote on the basis of a narrow gendered agenda. In fact, vote how you think your sexual organs might vote if they only could. (It goes without saying that they would vote Democrat)... It’s a rejection of individual will and the idea that someone is defined by their character rather than their physical person. In short, it’s un-American. It’s also based on fear. Nobody’s lady parts depend on the outcome of this election"

Confessions of a troll: 'Trolling is an art' - "At the very least, Cochran concedes “evil trolling” exists, but that the label does not apply to her. “I try my best to always be facetious, but not malicious,” Cochran says. “Most of what I do, I do with great jest and playfulness. I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, I just want to make people think and laugh along the way. “I also look at [trolling] as a form of culture jamming, in the sense that it can disrupt the status quo to hopefully stop and make people think for a moment. I'm an activist as well and absolutely have no problem trolling people that are activists too, even if we're on the same side. "I troll Anonymous, I troll Occupy, I troll Wikileaks. I do it because I'd like them to see the hypocrisies of their and our ways and as a reminder that the emperor wears no clothing”... “Hopefully I've just made people laugh and maybe think about things differently. If I've offended people, then they should take a long hard look at themselves, because what I do is harmless fun. If I've really offended people, it's probably because they deserved it and that's their own fault.”"
Trolling is not always a bad thing

Breakfast, lunch and dinner: Have we always eaten them?

Topless Femen protesters attacked in Paris after chanting "In gay we trust" (warning: some nudity) - "Shevchenko revealed that members of the group began removing their T-shirts in 2010 because no one reacted to their protests over the previous two years. Taking off their clothes, she said, was a way for women to demonstrate they have control over their bodies... They entered the crowd dressed as nuns before peeling off their habits and chanting, "In gay we trust." This caused a furious reaction. The feminist group undergoes intense training in advance of its actions"

Jim Sleeper: Blame the Latest Israel-Arab War on... Singapore?
Comments: "2. How did a discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Singapore's early independence history turn into a rant on the Yale-NUS college?
3. Are you really a lecturer in Yale? The lack of a coherent argument, citation and accurate referencing in this essay would be highlighted for plagiarism or given a Fail in any university in the world. "

Vacation Deprivation Survey Facts
Most vacation-deprived: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, Canada, United States

9GAG - Cute cat resting on her owner's breast.

Why some things are more expensive in S'pore - "Some factors that could explain the price differentials include productivity and wage differences across countries, variation in non-tradable costs like rental and taxes, transport costs and price stickiness when it comes to exchange rate fluctuations, the MAS stated in its tender document... A 2001 study using prices of 119 IKEA products across 25 countries - including Singapore - concluded that price differentials were not due to differences in exchange rates, local costs, tariffs or taxes, but were largely due to differences in mark-ups as a result of strategic pricing across countries"

How to Live Without Irony - - "Scoffing at the hipster is only a diluted form of his own affliction. He is merely a symptom and the most extreme manifestation of ironic living. For many Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s — members of Generation Y, or Millennials — particularly middle-class Caucasians, irony is the primary mode with which daily life is dealt... the nostalgia cycles have become so short that we even try to inject the present moment with sentimentality, for example, by using certain digital filters to “pre-wash” photos with an aura of historicity. Nostalgia needs time. One cannot accelerate meaningful remembrance... it signals a deep aversion to risk. As a function of fear and pre-emptive shame, ironic living bespeaks cultural numbness, resignation and defeat"

Sex, every day, for a year. Even when tired - "Doug says the experiment is still paying dividends. “If you force yourself to do it, you realise how special sex is, how unique. It’s different from anything you have with anyone else. And if that leaks away in a couple, it’s really sad.” Self-enforced intimacy created “a familiarity between us – but in a good way. A kind of mutual comfort. Each knows what the other likes. And it’s led to it not feeling strange or shaming for us to suggest things. “There’s just a physical ease there, a naturalness. That’s stayed with us. It’s great now when we both know it’s going to happen. It kind of feels like coming home. And it has really taken away the pressure”... if “intimacy every day may not be a long-term sustainable model, neither is no intimacy at all”"

Chinese gramps models women's clothes for grandkid's store, goes viral

DigitalOne - Say no to e-mail after hours - "Outside the United States, some major corporations, such as French IT-services group Atos, have virtually banned e-mailing once employees have clocked out for the day. "There is a growing sentiment that e-mail is not very productive, and actually decreases productivity... A typical manager receives hundreds of e-mails a day, and that consumes a substantial amount of work hours... many employees are consumed by e-mail messages because they are driven by a need to feel that they are part of an organisation"

Clampdown after burqa-clad man flees Jakarta jail

Polish coffin-maker uses nude models to sell wares - ""My son had the idea of creating the company's calendar so that we could show something half-serious, colourful, beautiful; the beauty of Polish girls and the beauty of our coffins"

Democratic Tax Cheats Outnumber Republican, 72% v. 28%
This is as fun as anti-gay male figures being found in compromising positions with other men
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