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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Links - 12th January 2013

"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." - W. H. Auden

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'Too Bad You're a Girl': Testing the Biblical Teachings I Grew Up With - "Pastors told wives to submit to their husbands as the apostle Peter instructed in 1 Peter 3:1, but rarely told them to refer to their husbands as "master" as he instructed just three sentences later in 1 Peter 3:6... Some fellow evangelicals are unhappy with me for playfully challenging widely held assumptions about "biblical womanhood." They say I am mocking scripture, muddying the waters, and straying from the straightforward hermeneutic that had conveniently rendered "biblical womanhood" into the happy-homemaker archetype. What they don't realize is that evangelical women like me have received mixed messages about womanhood for years."

UBS fires trader, replaces him with computer algorithm

Israel ranked as most militarized nation - "Singapore ranks second, followed by Syria, Russia, Jordan, and Cyprus, according to the Index, which is based on a number of weighted variables, such as the comparison of a country's military budget with its gross domestic product (GDP), and the%age of the GDP it spends on health care. Six of the top 10 states, including Israel (1), Syria (4), Jordan (5), Kuwait (7), Bahrain (9), and Saudi Arabia (10) are located in the Middle East, while yet another of Iran's neighbors, Azerbaijan, made its first entry into the militarized elite at number 8... While the Middle East is far more militarized than any other region - all of its countries rank within the top 40 - Southeast Asia, led by Singapore, appears ascendant... In contrast, both sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America are relatively low on the Index... Among those excluded from the Index was North Korea, whose defense budget has proved impervious to independent analysts and which is widely thought to be one of the world's most militarized states, if not the most... Too little militarization carries its own risks, according to Grebe, because states may not be able to guarantee order or even territorial integrity. "This situation points to the seemingly paradoxical phenomenon that some state security apparatuses are incapable of preventing violence and conflict simply because the country concerned shows a degree of militarization which is too low""

Print Free Graph Paper - "Save yourself money and a trip to the store! Print graph paper free from your computer. This site is perfect for science and math homework, craft projects and other graph paper needs. All graph paper files are optimized PDF documents requiring Adobe Reader for viewing."

PAP’s quiet counter-insurgency - "This PAP digital initiative is aimed at defending itself or going into the offensive against online critics, which include Opposition representatives. It is quite a fascinating subject and uniquely Singaporean. No other government in the world - democratic or dictatorial - is known to have operated such an outfit... In this informed economy, successful propaganda needs to be practised by experts, people skilled in subtly articulating issues. Most of the operatives today are none of these. The first rule is that no one should actually know it is propaganda. Making it public destroys its ability to be effective."

Faitheist, heal thyself - "Our goal has been to increase the quality of life of marginalized students – and in this case, we think the best way to accomplish that is not pouring vitriol upon people, but appealing to the better angels of their nature... Given that religion will be with us for the foreseeable future, it is worthwhile to work with – even within – religious communities to rein in their tendencies towards tribalism, xenophobia, and irrationality, support their more positive traits, and show them that atheists are good, normal people... “critical thinking,” which he praises elsewhere as well (150, 172), is a rather flimsy substitute for the full panoply of epistemic virtues – in the same way that “niceness” is a poor substitute for compassion and justice... In the final two chapters, at times I felt like I was a TA again, grading a third-rate undergraduate philosophy essay... Compassion without reason is problematic – but so is reason without compassion... we don’t need more people who are full of themselves. You call yourself “humble” (162) – almost always a performative contradiction"

Pride: Apple's biggest weakness gives Amazon Kindle easy fire in the iPad mini war - "your [Apple’s] 7.9-inch tablet has far fewer pixels than the competing 7-inch tablets! You’re cramming a worse screen in there, charging more, and accusing others of compromise? Ballsy"

Killing Sexy Halloween: The Ethical and Practical Complications - "most of the anxiety about the sexualization of Halloween comes from adults—the very people teenagers are inclined to ignore. If sexy Halloween is going to die, girls themselves will have to kill it. Perhaps the most persistent argument that adults make against sexy Halloween is that women in revealing costumes are asking for trouble. The idea that wearing an abbreviated costume makes a woman a target of unwanted sexual attention from men is repeated endlessly in columns and on blogs. "Dressing girls like grown women for Halloween communicates that they have the sexuality of adults, in the bodies of children," a sociologist told CNN in a recent article. "A girl dressing up as a sexy nurse will only prompt men to ask her when she starts giving out sponge baths," a Tulane student warned her classmates in the campus newspaper last year... "What's wrong with having a night where we can say 'This is my body, and I'm not ashamed of it, or of using it to express my sexuality.' In fact, the only about that that seems wrong to me is the fact that it's limited to one day, when the other 364 days of the year turn that idea on its head""
Maybe Slutwalk and Killing Sexy Halloween can start a catfight

Low cholesterol associated with enhanced risk of death in heart failure patients

Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world

Japanese Car Brand Releases A Car For Women Only, Prevents Wrinkles

Silly Tweets from Taco Bell’s corporate account

Vie de Saint Gapour - "la biographie résumée du patron de Singapour... Il s’installe en 1687 à Tumasik, île où se trouve l’actuelle Singapour et est rapidement remarqué par la Cour, au sein de laquelle il réalise un grand nombre de conversions. Il y fonde la première église catholique en y installant un monastère"

Empathy represses analytic thought, and vice versa - "we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time...
Jack said that a philosophical question inspired the study design: "The most persistent question in the philosophy of mind is the problem of consciousness. Why can we describe the workings of a brain, but that doesn't tell us what it's like to be that person?"...
"This shows scientific accounts really do leave something out - the human touch. A major challenge for the science of the mind is how we can better translate between the cold and distant mechanical descriptions that neuroscience produces, and the emotionally engaged intuitive understanding which allows us to relate to one another as people""
Original paper in NeuroImage: fMRI reveals reciprocal inhibition between social and physical cognitive domains
Does this explain Liberal Irrationality?; more evidence that emotion (or at least one form of emotion) is an enemy of reason


18 Crazy Wifi Names - "2 Girls 1 Router"

Game of Thrones: George R.R. Martin - "much as I admire Tolkien, he did things in ‘Lord of the Rings’ that were brilliant in and of themselves, but in the hands of the Tolkien imitators who have followed him these things have become terrible clichés. One of them is this question of good versus evil, where there’s a Dark Lord and he has minions who are usually dressed all in black and they’re very ugly and they have no redeeming qualities whatsoever... No one ever questions whether Sauron was really misunderstood... I think excluding sex is excluding a very important part of human nature. Critics will talk about whether it’s gratuitous sex. I’ve balked at that word ‘gratuitous’. What does that mean? What is gratuitous feasting and gratuitous heraldry and gratuitous descriptions of the clothes that people wear? I reject all of that. I want to give my readers a feast, and I want them to taste the food, and I want to take them into the bedroom and show them what’s happening in the sex scene, whether it’s a great transcendent, exciting, mind blowing sex, or whether it’s disturbing, twisted, dark sex, or disappointing perfunctory sex"

Ethicists, Courtesy & Morals - "Schwitzgebel & Rust report on a study that suggests that audiences in ethics sessions do not behave any better than those attending seminars on other areas of philosophy. Not when it comes to talking audibly whilst a speaker is addressing the room and not when it comes to ‘allowing the door to slam shut while entering or exiting mid-session’"

Media kept at arm's length of Singapore PM - "Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong will have a round of talks in the Beehive today. But the media are being kept at arm's length. They're being invited to photo opportunities but have been told there'll be no questions to Mr Lee. Mr Key says that's Mr Lee's wish and is the nature of the Singapore system."

Italy sacks Reggio Calabria council over 'mafia ties' - "Mayor Demetrio Arena and all 30 city councillors were sacked to prevent any "mafia contagion" in the local government"

Singapore's Three Rs: Racing, Risk-Taking and Rock - Speakeasy - WSJ - "Singaporeans aren’t taught to take risks or improvise: “Our kids,” he quipped, “only know how to go in a straight line”... “I was in a musical recently, and the director told me about a visit she made to a very famous girls’ school here,” says Chua. “As a part of her presentation, she gave all the girls a piece of paper, and instructed them to cut it in half. That sent the girls into a panic — they were all saying, ‘We can’t do this, we don’t have any scissors!’ So she told them just to fold it in half and tear it, and they started crying and screaming, because they couldn’t get the tear exactly even. That pretty much sums up Singapore for me”... “Rock music is very much an underground phenomenon here,” admits Mike See, cofounder of Chua’s label Riot! Records. “I mean, a lot of what you’d associate with it is officially frowned upon in Singapore. Back in 1972, the government barred Led Zeppelin from entering the country because they had long hair — they actually turned them away at the airport.” Even now, points out See’s partner Eugenie Yeo, “at the biggest local rock festival we have, Baybeats, the police still come every year and arrest ‘suspicious looking’ people, which pretty much means anyone with a Mohawk”... “Every good band in Singapore dies because of National Service”... Exposure to the burgeoning rock scene at SXSW in 2010 and again last year confirmed to Chua that in order to continue growing as a musician, she’d have to leave her beloved home... As Helen Gao wrote in The Atlantic in June, “Students with ideas that deviate from the official orthodoxy often seem to struggle in China’s education system, as do students whose pursuits differ from the system’s rigidly defined standards for talent and success….Whatever your formula for innovation — diversity of thought, collaboration, risk-taking — you’re not likely to find it in abundance in Chinese schools.”
One could always form an all-girl band
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