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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Links - 22nd January 2013

"Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it; since as many live because they are afraid to die, as die because they are afraid to live" - Charles Caleb Colton


Fitness Meets Cute Anime Girls in Exercise App, “Burn your fat with me!!” - "While the base app only allows for sit-ups, there are two additional exercises, push-ups and squats, that can be purchased as add-ons. These expansions also come with four additional story episodes using the new exercise mode. The sit-ups module works particularly well if you’re using a device with a sensor, though Mayu’s suggestive positioning underneath you might feel a bit embarrassing as you lift your body up and down above her."

Can ‘Make Me Asian’ App Make Japanese People Look Asian Too? We Investigate - "Alright, so the Asian American community is clearly offended, but what do Asian Asians think of this app? Well, they think it’s pretty fun, actually... “I tried this myself and it was hilarious. I don’t see why people are upset,” comments one Japanese netizen. Another writes, “Why isn’t there an app that makes you black? That seems like it would be the most fun”. Others suggest making similar apps for all races so everyone can be equally offended. Many just don’t seem to understand what the big deal is in the first place... Our own Japanese staff in Tokyo had a great time with the app, running their own photos through to see if they could be made Asian as well: When asked what they thought about their new Asian faces, our staff replied, “It makes us feel more touch with our roots.”"
One could say that Asian Asians are more authentically Asian than Asian-Americans, so we should prioritise their opinions about what is "offensive" (if we want to play that game in the first place)

Going in Circles With Hate Speech - - "What you learn in the course of reading this book is that there is no generally accepted account of (1) what hate speech is, (2) what it does (what its effects are) and (3) what, if anything, should be done about it... We are not, she insists, “automatically diminished just because some bigot says something negative about us.” Indeed, we are better off knowing about the hateful things being said, first because it provides “valuable information,” second because it gives the targeted individuals “an opportunity to respond” and third because it “highlights … issues that can be addressed in other ways, for example through education”... hate speech is a category without a stable content. As Strossen says, “One person’s hate speech is another person’s deeply held religious belief”... Excluding Nazis and Ku Klux Klanners and gay bashers from the zone of speech-toleration may feel good, but it rests on no principled ground, and attempts, like Harel’s, to specify such a ground are merely attempts to occlude the entirely arbitrary nature of the classification."

'Spiritual' people at higher risk of mental health problems - " They are more likely to suffer from a range of mental health problems than either the conventionally religious or those who are agnostic or atheists, found researchers at University College London. They are more disposed towards anxiety disorders, phobias and neuroses, have eating disorders and drug problems. In addition, they are more likely than others to be taking medication for mental health problems."

The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus

Japanese lawmakers plan working Gundam robot

'Gangsta gene' identified in US teens - "Males with a particular form of gene called MAOA are twice as likely to join a gang"

Eleven Dogmas of Analytic Philosophy - "3. People’s intuitions are evidence for philosophical conclusions. Natural alternative: evaluate intuitions critically to determine their psychological causes, which are often more tied to prejudices and errors than truth. Don't trust your intuitions.
5. People are rational. Natural alternative: recognize that people are commonly ignorant of physics, biology, and psychology, and that their beliefs and concepts are often incoherent. Philosophy needs to educate people, not excuse them."

One Dad's Ill-Fated Battle Against the Princesses - "Though I tried to protect the twins from the Princess Industrial Complex, I'm afraid that they—that we—have developed a princess problem... Yesterday morning, when I dropped the girls off at preschool, one of them, who used to say she was going to be a cowgirl when she grew up, repeated her latest dream, apropos of nothing: "I'm going to be a princess when I grow up." "But don't you remember what Abby and the nice lady said? Is being a princess a real career?" That's what I always say when she mentions her new life goal. "No," she said. "But I don't want to have a real career." Then she skipped off."
The perils of anti-essentialism (i.e. blind rejection of stereotypes for rejection's sake)
Comments: "it's not like most little boys end up becoming the masculine stereotypes they emulate as children. Though at least most of those things are real jobs, like cop and soldier. Not many cowboys these days though. I wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. That did not happen."
"if what kids say about what they want to be when they grow up were an accurate reflection of what they end up wanting to do, there would be a lot more competition for truck driver jobs."
"what is the message the little girls get as daddy lets them know their choice of play is unacceptable or undesirable?"
"play is supposed to be driven by the interests of the child - barring play that is too dangerous, why is the father interfering? He's sending a message to his daughters that what they like (princesses) is not really a good choice... I don't agree with the attitude that devaluing what is "traditionally feminine"is pro-women. It sends the message that things traditionally associated with women are inferior to those traditionally associated with men. To me this means women have to deny part of themselves and ape men to be considered equal, as a woman, I consider this insulting."

Adam Curtis: The TV elite has lost the plot - "What then happens is this idea of the 'hive mind', instead of leading to a new plurality or a new richness, leads to a growing simplicity... Far from being "the wisdom of crowds", it's the stupidity of crowds. Collectively what we are doing is creating a more simplified world... What really happens now, is that they're so entrenched in their self-referential groups, anyone who joins up the dots any other way is a bad person... I was expecting more people to argue with me. To say "you're wrong" - to raise an argument. What you get is - anyone who joins up the dots in a way that doesn't fit with the received wisdom of particular groups is accused of being a conspiracy theorist."

Collectively Unconscious - "A group of field biologists in Tanzania have observed a herd of p-values approaching significance. It is the first recorded sighting of this mysterious behavior, that has previously only been speculated to occur in the wild. Lead investigator Bruce Rosen is still excited about the sighting. “It was amazing! The α-male, a majestic 0.06, was seen slowly but surely approaching significance, followed closely by a small group of marginal p-values""

Hormone may help protect monogamous relationships - "monogamous men given the hormone oxytocin will put extra space between themselves and an attractive woman they've just met... For women whose partners seem to get a little too friendly with new female acquaintances at parties, he said, the effects of inhaled oxytocin might be achieved by other means. "It might make a lot of sense to remind him of the relationship, and sexual activity might be one means of achieving this," Hurlemann said. "I'm not sure it's politically correct to say so, but from a biological point of view, it makes sense.""

100 Days of Rejection Therapy | Hope From Nope - "I am going through 100 days of Rejection Therapy, aiming to have one rejection per day by making crazy requests. My goal is to desensitize myself from the pain of rejection and overcome my fear... A good ‘no’ should include 1: a reason/consequence 2. a path/alternative to a ‘yes’ 3. patience and respect. In the case of rejection, it’s really not what you say, but how you say it... Compliments, in a way, is like sex for married couples. In Paula Szuchman’s book It’s Not You, It’s the Dishes, everyone thinks that the more sex the merrier for married couples, and they are completely free to do it."

Why Turkey Can't Be a Model for the Future of the Arab Spring

Sex cues ruin men's decisiveness - "Men about to play a financial game were shown images of sexy women or lingerie. The Proceedings of the Royal Society B study found they were more likely to accept unfair offers than men not been exposed to the alluring images. The suggestion is that the sexual cues distract the men's thoughts, preventing them from focusing on their task - particularly among those with high natural testosterone levels"
If stereotype threat is such a harmful thing we should take a similarly dim view of women who doll themselves up

Why women seek men like their fathers and couples are less happy after marriage: New book explains science behind common relationship themes - "they discovered what makes people attractive to others frequently comes down to exposure, which is good news for those good at persistence... 'Studies show people will choose dissatisfaction if it’s consistent with their expectations, versus things that make them change the way they see the world.' Dr Harman added: 'It may or may not be a healthy dynamic, but it feels comfortable'... they recommend revitalising the relationship with fresh experiences. 'Dissatisfaction occurs because you know that person and there’s no novelty. Relationships become boring'"

GCSE results 2009: Gender gap narrows as boys overtake girls in maths for first time in 12 years - "One undergraduate wrote in an essay that French resistance fighters used the internet to publicise their cause. Another was shown a film set in France in 1797 and was convinced he had watched a documentary about recent events. His professor said: 'He explained that he had never been to France and assumed it was just a very backward place.' The bloopers emerged in a competition staged by the Times Higher Education magazine. They included the argument by a student at Brunel University that the U.S., which has the most advanced military in the world, possessed 'highly developed and powerful marital equipment'. A biology student at Staffordshire University wrote about the 'science of gnomes' instead of 'science of genomes'. At Exeter University, a student writing about a medieval French poem said 'all of the sentences end in a coma'. Lecturer Emma Cayley responded: 'That's pretty much how I felt marking it, too.' One bright spark at California State Polytechnic University insisted Martin Luther was not only a 16th century Protestant reformer but led the American civil rights movement of the 1960s."
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