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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Links - 26th December 2012

"War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military." - Georges Clemenceau

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David Edelstein on Les Misérables -- Vulture - "When an actor begins to sing, the camera rushes in and fastens on the performer’s face, positioning itself just below the head, somewhere between the navel and the Adam’s apple—and canted from 30 to 45 degrees, although the angle changes as the performer moves and the operator scampers to keep up. I imagined the cameraman to be small, fleet, and extremely high strung, like Gollum. The actors must have had to cultivate an inner stillness to keep from recoiling from him/it. A Zen forbearance would also have kept them from grimacing at all their missed notes... I must cast my lot with the late Nora Ephron, who resisted Susan Boyle’s thunderous debut on Britain’s Got Talent singing the show’s most famous song, “I Dreamed a Dream”: “That song is worse than all of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and it’s worse than ‘It’s a Small World After All.’ [It’s] the all-time most horrible song ever in history, and the reason is simple: It sticks in your brain and never stops playing … And just when you think it’s gone, you see the title in print, and it starts playing again... The actors appear visibly relieved to have gotten through it and not to have to do it again eight times a week. Or perhaps it’s because for the first time all evening, they’re not being charged by a rampaging camera”

Les Miserables hits the big screen - as Britain bids to become the musical-movie capital of the world - "Clearly emotional, genuine tears rolled down Hathaway’s cheeks as her hair was hacked away in front of a hushed cast and crew. ‘I wasn’t expecting it to be a big deal,’ she said immediately afterwards. ‘It was my idea to do it since it was something my character did. But then I realised I couldn’t take it back. I was crying so much. I was inconsolable.’"

Theologian Hans Küng condemns pope's modern 'Inquisition' - "Ratzinger shifted to the right, embracing institutional continuity. Küng attacked papal infallibility as an accident of history, devoid of genuine theological meaning. Küng sees the clergy abuse crisis and the crackdown on the leadership council of American nuns as symptoms of a pathological power structure. By his lights, the impact on church moral authority, and finances, is a crisis rivaling the Protestant Reformation... Polls since 1968 have shown that some 85 percent of Catholics do not follow the birth control teaching... Küng likened Ratzinger to the Grand Inquisitor, in Dostoyevski’s “The Brothers Karamazov” — the sinister monk who tells Jesus the masses must be subdued by superstition for religion to maintain its power... “The Roman Inquisition continues to exist,” he writes, “with methods of psychological torture and the use in our day of many enforcement manuals”"

Scholarly Standards in Feminist Science Studies - "I submitted an article to the feminist journal Women’s Studies International Forum, and in February 2010 I was informed that the journal had decided against publication. Nothing unusual in that, of course. No doubt the great majority of articles submitted to journals are rejected, for a multitude of reasons. But when I enquired why no reason had been given, the Editor-in-Chief replied that the paper had not been sent out for review as she did not feel that it had sufficient evidence in terms of references or citations to back up some of the claims that were made. Now, whatever deficiencies there may have been in the article, insufficient citation was not one of them. In fact it was profusely referenced, with some sixty citations in an article of approximately 4000 words (Esterson 2009). The explanation was clearly spurious... Rose writes that the marriage was initially happy and mutually appreciative, exemplified by Einstein’s “explain[ing] to a group of Zagreb intellectuals that he needed his wife as ‘she solves all the mathematical problems for me’.” Now one might have thought that the contention that Einstein’s first wife solved all his mathematical problems for him is something that required further investigation before endorsement. However, Rose is content to take the claim at face value... A highly regarded feminist sociologist has uncritically reproduced claims about alleged contributions to Einstein’s celebrated 1905 papers by his first wife on the sole basis of an article which itself is almost entirely based on contentions in a book that fails to comply with the most fundamental scholarly standards... both authors reveal a propensity to endorse claims that are in accord with their preconceptions regardless of the calibre of the purported evidence. It is perhaps unsurprising that the editors of Women’s Studies International Forum are reluctant to be a party to revealing information of a nature likely to be unpalatable to many of its readers"
More outstanding Feminist Scholarship

Giving Feminism a Bad Name - "In CBS’s nationwide random sample of 1,150 U.S. adults, 65% of women and 58% of men identified as feminist when an equal-rights definition was provided, but only 24% of women and 14% of men considered themselves feminist in the absence of a definition... A female journalist with apparent gender feminist leanings writing for a gender feminist blog about women's issues has attacked an idiotic study co-authored by two weirdos female scientists that may help women avoid falling prey to predatory sexual abuse by men.  If that passes for feminism, then what in the world constitutes misogyny?  Is there really any wonder why the overwhelming majority of American women and men want nothing to do with the feminist label?  Why one-in-five people consider calling someone a feminist an insult? "

What Women and Men Should Be, Shouldn't be, are Allowed to be, and don't Have to Be: The Contents of Prescriptive Gender Stereotypes - "Women in masculine roles, like our Princeton female undergraduates, are not just held to higher (irrelevant) standards of feminine niceness than are their male counterparts; they are also not held to equally high (relevant) standards of agency and achievement. If they show high levels of intelligence, competence, rationality, and ambition, that is good—these qualities are certainly desirable for Princeton women. But if they do not, that is not so bad—not as bad as if Princeton men failed to demonstrate high levels of these qualities. Do these disparate standards constitute discrimination against women? We believe they do. In a context in which achievement is paramount, the leeway given to women on achievement-related traits is no favor. Instead, it reflects “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” to borrow a phrase used by President George W. Bush to describe the treatment of ethnic minority students in the classroom. The fact that Princeton women are perceived as equal or even superior to Princeton men on most of these traits does not render the disparate standards any less discriminatory."

Divine Gamebook Creator - "Powerful tools
Use the powerful condition system to create variables that persist through pages and lead to different outcomes.
You can even create a full RPG-like system with it!"

Most work more than 40 hours a week - "A survey conducted last month by Singapore Press Holdings' online job portal STJobs found that 65 per cent of over 3,000 respondents clock an average of more than 40 hours a week, spending more time than they should at work... almost eight in 10 employees in Singapore have not fully utilised, and are likely to forgo, their annual-leave entitlement this year"

Wealth and happiness across the world: Material prosperity predicts life evaluation, whereas psychosocial prosperity predicts positive feeling. - "Income was a moderately strong predictor of life evaluation but a much weaker predictor of positive and negative feelings. Possessing luxury conveniences and satisfaction with standard of living were also strong predictors of life evaluation. Although the meeting of basic and psychological needs mediated the effects of income on life evaluation to some degree, the strongest mediation was provided by standard of living and ownership of conveniences. In contrast, feelings were most associated with the fulfillment of psychological needs: learning, autonomy, using one's skills, respect, and the ability to count on others in an emergency. Thus, two separate types of prosperity—economic and social psychological—best predict different types of well-being"

Women and gay men are 'worst drivers' - "both perform poorly in tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness when compared to heterosexual men... Both tend to rely on local landmarks to get around, and are also slower to take in spatial information... gay men, straight women and lesbians navigated in a similar way, sharing the same weaknesses. The results back earlier studies supporting the stereotype that women are poor navigators"

Vipul Naik's answer to Do some women hate feminism? If so, why? - Quora - "My best guess regarding this is that women who find certain tenets of feminism disagreeable take more offense because they are concerned that feminists presume to speak for women at large, and are concerned that they, as individual women, might be blamed for the actions of feminism, or might be believed to have feminist beliefs. For this reason, their opposition to feminism tends to be stronger than that of men who are equally unconvinced by feminism. To take a related example, Americans might be a lot more offended at wrong-headed statements from an American politician than by equally wrong-headed statements from, say, a French politician, because they (rightly or wrongly) think that the American politician's statements will be taken as reflective of how Americans at large think and speak."

The Knights of New Vegas: How Obsidian Survived Countless Catastrophes And Made Some Of The Coolest Role-Playing Games Ever

Herbert Kretzmer dreamed a dream – and Les Misérables never looked back - " He did not merely translate Les Misérables – his French is “wretched”. He read Victor Hugo’s novel in English and worked with a literal translation of the French libretto. “You cannot translate a song,” he says. “You can translate a textbook and even a novel, but a song is no more than a compendium of nuances and references and illusions, with a resonance within a particular culture. It does not have much resonance outside that culture. “So simply to translate the words into their dictionary meaning isn’t going to work. It doesn’t interest me”... Song-writing and journalism are, he says, compatible. “Both involve the manipulation of the English language under duress""

Nathan Grindal Kicked Out Of Darts Tournament For Looking Like Jesus

Exclusive: Corrupt Apple Store Employees Come Forward Across America - "any cute girl walking in would get checked out... the first thing we'd do is ask for a passcode and say we were going to open it in the back... I can't even tell you the number of girls that take pictures of their tits and more"

Squeezing breasts 'can stop cancer'
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