"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Links - 31st January 2013

NTU study looks at national attitudes towards homosexuals - "In 2005, 68.6 percent of respondents expressed negative attitudes, 22.9 percent had positive attitudes and 8.5 percent were neutral. In 2010, 64.5 percent of those surveyed held negative attitudes towards homosexuals, while 25.3 percent expressed positive attitudes and 10.2 percent were neutral... it is possible for people to hold negative attitudes towards homosexuals but accept gay men and lesbians on a more personal level, whether as co-workers or friends, regardless of whether they perceive homosexuality to be a choice... freethinkers were the most positive in their attitudes – significantly higher than Christians, Buddhists and Muslims. Irrespective of specific religion, people who are more intrinsically religious – i.e. people who say that religion is integral to their lives – are more likely to have negative attitudes towards homosexuals and are less accepting of them"
Cue people claiming that this shows that Christian fundamentalists are the only rabidly anti-gay constituency, or picking on the methodology and claiming that actually a lot more Singaporeans are pro-gay than what the study finds

Massive Japanese Sovereign Debt Could Become Global Problem - "The country's debt load is immense and growing, to the point that a quarter of its budget goes to servicing it. The government in Tokyo has done little to change things."

Atheists and Islam: No God, not even Allah | The Economist - "In the 1950s and 1960s secularism and tolerance prevailed in many majority-Muslim countries; today religion pervades public and political life. Sami Zubaida, a scholar at London’s Birkbeck College, speaks of increasing polarisation, with “growing religiosity at one end of the spectrum and growing atheism and secularism at the other”... All four schools of Sunni Islamic law teach that male apostates should be put to death, though two say that female renegades should only be imprisoned... sharia makes atheism the number one sin, ahead of murder"

How a quarter of the cow genome came from snakes - "“The inescapable conclusion from this and a plethora of other recent studies is that horizontal DNA transfer has been a powerful engine of animal genome evolution, much like it is in bacteria,” says Feschotte. “The main difference being that while bacteria swap genes, animals swap transposons.” Adelson adds: “Despite public concern over the transfer of genetic material to create genetically modified organisms, it appears that Mother Nature has been quietly shuffling genomes for some time.”"

New Theory Suggests People Are Attracted To Religion For 16 Reasons - "Previous psychologists tried to explain religion in terms of just one or two overarching psychological needs... "religion is multi-faceted – it can’t be reduced to just one or two desires"... The desires are power, independence, curiosity, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family, status, vengeance, romance, eating, physical exercise, and tranquility... the desire for independence is a key psychological desire that separates religious and non-religious people. In a study published in 2000, Reiss found that religious people (the study included mostly Christians) expressed a strong desire for interdependence with others. Those who were not religious, however, showed a stronger need to be self-reliant and independent. The study also showed that religious people valued honor more than non-religious people, which Reiss said suggests many people embrace religion to show loyalty to parents and ancestors... Religious intellectuals, who are high in curiosity, value a God who is knowable through reason, while doers, who have weak curiosity, may value a God that is knowable only through revelation"
Eating?! Physical Exercise?!

SlutWalk Singapore sees sharp drop in number of attendees - "It attracted some 600 people last year, but SlutWalk Singapore saw a marked drop in attendees this year. Amidst booths by organizations such as the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) and women's self defence gym, Van Lee Fitness, less than 150 people were present at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner... "Last year's event saw more traffic because people were keenly expecting the setting for Singapore's interpretation. Globally, the campaign has been losing support due to backlash. People either mistaken what the campaign stands for or believe that women do deserve it (sexual violence) for dressing a certain way""
Maybe people just realise its incoherence and have stopped supporting it. Ergo "backlash"

Why the PAP fails miserably at behavioral economics - "We should not underestimate the impact of reduced wages on the morale of workers. As a consequence of this, workers tend to reciprocate by doing as little as possible. If workers of a firm sense a disparity in wages in comparison to a peer who is equally qualified and performs the same job function, then the one who gets a lower wage could have a lower morale, assuming all other factors such as company benefits, leaves and bonus packages are similar. This could impact the latter’s productivity. In a research paper titled “Do Wage Cuts Damage Work Morale? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment“, the investigators, Sebastian Kube, Michel André Maréchal and Clemens Puppe, conducted a field experiment at a university library. The libary hired workers for a limited time period who were told that that they will be paid a projected 15 Euros per hour. For the control experiment, workers are paid the promised amount. For another group, the workers are told before starting work that their pay will be reduced to 10 Euros per hour. For the group that suffered the cut, there was a 20% decrease in productivity... The reason why the PAP fails miserably at behavioral economics stems from the moment it considers Singaporeans as economic digits. Behavioral economics brings in the human element"

How two singles can jointly apply for flat The Straits Times, 6 September 1989, Page 26 - "Two single persons can also jointly rent or purchase an HDB flat if one of them meets the age requirements of 50 for a man and 40 for a woman. The other party needs only to be 21 years old"
Maybe they changed this policy because of too many sugar daddies/mummies

Websites' liability for all content affirmed: Experts - "Mr Au's liability was even clearer in this case, they added, as he has declared on his site that he has a "relatively stringent" policy of screening comments and publishing only those satisfying his guidelines."

delanceyplace.com 1/3/13 - fear, anxiety and children - "The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s... Security and modernity haven't brought us calm; they've somehow put us out of touch with how to handle our fears"

delanceyplace.com 1/8/13 - dangerous new words - "In the Monthly Anthology, James Savage attacked Webster without mercy, sparing not his 'suspicions of the definitions of Johnson,' his 'ridiculous violations of grammar,' nor his 'hurtful innovations in orthography.' 'But the fault of most alarming enormity in this work,' Savage concluded, 'is the approbation given to the vulgarisms' like congressional, presidential, departmental, crock, spry, tote, whop, and, of course, the inevitable lengthy."

Where’s the Coverage? PA Mayor Claims Israel Shapes Explosives Like Toys to Kill Children - "In an interview on Palestinian Authority TV News on December 29, PA Mayor Mustafa Fuqaha asserted that the Israeli army, after training exercises, leaves behind explosives “shaped like pens and toys ... to tempt children to touch them or pick them up.” He flatly alleged that “the Israeli army targets children and young ones”... this offensive and false accusation, made by a leader in the Palestinian Authority –often labeled as moderate by the press– and broadcast on official PA TV. In the modern era, the traditional antisemitic blood libel that Jews murder children frequently appears in Arab media as accusations that Israel murders children. This falsehood is central to the pervasive demonization of Israel in the public sphere. CAMERA has reported numerous times on this modern blood libel though major media almost completely ignore it, when they are not abetting it"

delanceyplace.com 11/2/12 - contradictory medical tests - "That aspirin you took to prevent heart attacks? You took them for years. Many of you still do. Well, they're not on the menu any longer. We've been advised to abandon their use -- they're too dangerous. Similarly, all of us urged our patients to take folic acid for primary prevention against coronary artery disease. In 2009 it turns out that folic acid offers a 38 percent greater chance of dying from cancer. Do oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis cause esophageal cancer? 'No!' say the authors of an August 2010 JAMA article. 'Yes' say the au­thors of a September 2010 BMJ study. What a difference a month makes."

Witness One Woman's Descent Into Madness as Her Coworkers Steal and Replenish Her Kombucha Tea

Your car might be watched 24 hours in future - "The government is now testing new satellite-tracking technology that could develop into the next-generation electronic road pricing (ERP) system... With this ability to track vehicles, this potential system basically can serve as a 24-hour surveillance camera for all motorists in Singapore. It can detect speeding vehicles, red-light beaters, illegal parking, hit-and-run drivers, and also assist in finding stolen cars or other types of crimes"
Amused that satellite vehicle tracking only attracts Singaporeans' comments about paying money - not privacy concerns

Vampire seeks blood donor - "This would be an intimate, one-on-one, experience. I use a wide range of techniques, in case you would carry for something other than myself biting you."

When A Mouse Requires An Internet Connection, You're Doing 'Cloud' Wrong

La Machine du Voisin | Partage de machines à laver | La Machine Du Voisin - "Trouvez une Machine à laver près de chez vous !"

In an Emotional World, Singapore Is Comfortably Numb - "Singapore ranks as the most emotionless society in the world, behind Georgia, Lithuania, and Russia. Singaporeans are unlikely to report feelings of anger, physical pain, or other negative emotions. They’re not laughing a lot, either. “If you measure Singapore by the traditional indicators, they look like one of the best-run countries in the world,” says Jon Clifton, a Gallup partner in Washington. “But if you look at everything that makes life worth living, they’re not doing so well”... one reason Singaporeans are so dour is their lack of satisfaction at work: According to Gallup’s research, only 2 percent of the country’s workers feel engaged by their jobs. The global average is 11 percent"
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