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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Links - 24th February 2013

The best country in the world? There's no such thing - "For some people, travelling far from home makes them increasingly proud of that place they left behind. It sends them misty-eyed about gum trees and koalas, about beaches and bars, about what it means to be from that land. They've never felt more Australian than when they're away from the country... the more I travel the more I become convinced that the whole concept of nationality and nationhood is irrelevant. Where do you come from? It shouldn't matter... what are we really so proud of? The dumb luck of having been born on a certain piece of land that then becomes "yours"? And what makes your country so much better than everyone else's – other than your familiarity with it? I dislike the whole concept of nationhood, the way people support their country like it's a football team playing in a grand final. Like we have to choose sides. How much better would it be if we'd all stop taking pride in the little slices of the globe we happened to pop out in and starting just being citizens of the world?"

'Beef' burger is one third horse ... so what? - "African animals, while beautiful to look at, are also deceptively tasty. If you can accept that it's OK to view animals for their beauty by day, and then consume animals for their deliciousness by night, then make sure you take warthog for spin. It's like pork, only better. And then there's springbok, which makes the tastiest biltong around. Oh, and ostrich, which is barbecued meaty perfection. And kudu. And zebra."

The power of three - "Polyamorists even believe jealousy can be transmuted into a feeling of joy, experienced when you see your partner enjoying the love of someone else - a feeling so uncommon, polyamorists had to make up a word for it: "compersion". (It's not in the Oxford Dictionary)... Janet Hardy explains polyamory as "ways of structuring a relationship that are not about ownership... Darren Ramsey says he doesn't "play the compromise game. Compromise is a game of lose-lose ... it means both people have to give something up in order to get very little," he explains. "I firmly believe everybody can have everything they want"... The same-sex rights movement has a tentative relationship with polyamory. Polyamorists were refused their own official float in Sydney's Mardi Gras last year, but were allowed to participate as "supporters" of the gay and lesbian festival. And Darren Ramsey says the defeat of the gay marriage bill has cruelled any prospect of having polyamorous relationships similarly recognised: "If you look at the whole [gay marriage] campaign, as it got closer to the vote they were throwing polyamory under the bus. 'Oh no, no, we have nothing to do with those group marriages and that polyamorous open stuff!' We were the sacrificial lamb"... Ramsey tells a long story about a previous poly relationship, in which his female partner told him she wanted to take up again with her ex-boyfriend. When she went out at night to meet him, Ramsey endured agonies. Which sounds like straight-up jealousy, I insist. "Well, on the surface, yes," he concedes. "Did I get through it? Yes. Am I okay about it? Yes. Awesome!""
Perhaps it is telling that all the successful polyamory arrangements I know of/have heard about seem to be a man with multiple women

Women-only food sites open in Haiti - "Relief workers began handing out women-only food coupons in Haiti on Sunday in an effort to ensure earthquake relief supplies reach the neediest families... The WFP said the coupons will go to women because they tend to be responsible for the household food supply"
I think this is called "male privilege"

Disney Princes Make For Abusive Boyfriends - "Falling for Aladdin is the equivalent of falling for one of those internet sweetheart scams. He’s not who he says he is, he’s a compulsive liar, and he’s a con man. Stay away... Maybe it all boils down to the fact that the princes are largely non-entities. I suspect this is why so many of them either don’t have names or have names that no one can actually remember– they’re ideas, not people"
One could look at this as objectification of the princes (and men, as an extension), while the women are the protagonists.

China's Hottest New Politician: Former Hong Kong Softcore Porn Star Diana Pang - China Real Time Report - WSJ

In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people

Police report filed against pastor - "A POLICE report has been filed against the pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, Mr Yang Tuck Yoong, over comments he made about the gay community last week. Researcher Scott Teng, 29, lodged the report last night over a post Mr Yang made last Saturday on his church's website, saying it was "an incitement of violence". Originally titled Firing The First Salvo, Mr Yang asked church members to prepare for a "war" on the issue of homosexuality. He also urged the church to be "battle ready"... He clarified earlier this week that he had been using "spiritual terms" that some misconstrued. Mr Teng said yesterday that he was "appalled and worried that there might be followers who would take his words literally and get physically violent with the LGBT". He added that Mr Yang's post is "something that I see as an incitement of violence towards another community, and hence I filed the police report"."
It's great to see that everyone is capable of infantalising discourse. You might as well say that Lee Kuan Yew was threatening to beat Catherine Lim up with his knuckle-dusters, or that Campus Crusade for Christ wants to exterminate Muslims.

I want to stop my lesbian neighbours from showing off their sex life - "Two young ladies recently moved into a flat there, and they have no window coverings. The bed is in full view of their window (which is floor-to-ceiling height) and they are in the habit of showing their love to one another, in the bed, quite often"
Comment: "Imagine that, instead of two lesbians, the scene is of a bloke pleasuring himself, "apparently unaware" that he is being observed. How long do you think he will remain unarrested, unprosecuted, and off the sex offenders' register?"

Standard Hotel: Shock as visitors using toilet with glass walls at swanky Manhattan hotel are visible from the street - "In 2009 people walking along the High Line park were treated to free peep shows from guests - including couples having sex and porn films being recorded - in the rooms above. One shopworker in the area said she saw 'a naked girl jumping up and down on a trampoline right in front of the window', while others were shocked to see men pleasuring themselves. In 2008, the hotel won an award from the Municipal Arts Society of New York for best new building erected that year."

In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword - NYTimes.com - "When the first lawsuit went to trial last year, Mr. Phillips won. In the companies’ only courtroom face-off, a jury ruled that Mr. Phillips had not infringed on a broad voice recognition patent owned by Mr. Ricci’s company. But it was too late. The suit had cost $3 million, and the financial damage was done. In December, Mr. Phillips agreed to sell his company to Mr. Ricci. “We were on the brink of changing the world before we got stuck in this legal muck,” Mr. Phillips said... In the smartphone industry alone, according to a Stanford University analysis, as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years — an amount equal to eight Mars rover missions. Last year, for the first time, spending by Apple and Google on patent lawsuits and unusually big-dollar patent purchases exceeded spending on research and development of new products, according to public filings... In March 2010, Apple sued HTC, a Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer that had partnered with Google. Apple did not talk to HTC before suing. Negotiations were not part of the strategy... Patents for software and some kinds of electronics, particularly smartphones, are now so problematic that they contribute to a so-called patent tax that adds as much as 20 percent to companies’ research and development costs... “When patent lawyers become rock stars, it’s a bad sign for where an industry is heading”... patents are sometimes granted for ideas that already exist. In 1999, for instance, two men received a patent for a crustless, sealed peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Ex-Straits Times editor reveals gov’t meddling in tell-all book - "this is the first time a Singapore editor has gone to print with an insider's take on how the republic's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew systematically controlled the press with draconian laws and protected it with anti-competition barriers... "I will break your neck," Cheong describes Lee as telling him when the rookie reporter tried to make a case for not imposing an embargo on a speech the Prime Minister had made... One of the bravest episodes was when Peter Lim, Cheong's predecessor, resisted Lee's pressure to print the full O level results of Opposition politician Chiam See Tong during the 1984 election. Lee wanted to show to voters that Chiam did not have the academic credentials to be a capable MP. Lim resisted because he felt it would backfire on the ruling party and the newspaper. The author is a smart survivor, too. He had a ring-side view of how his boss, Peter Lim, tried to run the newsroom with some form of independence and paid the price for it by having to resign. "The board told me my deputy was ready to take over'' -- that was the loaded answer Lim gave when historian Mary Turnbull asked him about his 1987 departure in another book on The Straits Times... The Singapore government's intervention in media is legendary. Cheong describes many episodes -- from appointments of editors to shaping coverage of political and foreign events and even to minor stories like stamp-collecting, carpet-buying and MSG - with the pen of a master story teller."

Why Doesn't Evolution Get Rid of Ugly People? - "genes that are good for males are bad for females and, perhaps, vice versa... you might imagine that a particular shape of the nose or turn of the chin would look drop-dead hunky on a male, but horsey on a woman"
I thought it's because beauty is a relative, not absolute, concept

Liz Lemon Vs. the Manic Pixie Dream Girl - "Despite not having any substance to their actual characters, these MPDGs are just quirky enough to captivate hot leading men. This is known to laypeople as sorcery... On occasion, I almost wish I could be an MPDG. I find myself having the sudden urge to drop out of Cornell to pursue a life of wandering through towns on a motorcycle, searching for some lonely guy to teach a monumental life lesson to. But then reality strikes back. Will spontaneously riding a motorcycle through towns as a teenage girl get me kidnapped? Survey says “yes.” Will agreeing to everything in life just like Deschanel in Yes Man result in imminent death or marriage to a mail-order groom? I’m going to go with yes on that one, too. And beyond those concerns, I don’t think I even know any monumental life lessons."

The Combined Stimulation of Caffeine and Tannin in Tea - "Tannin, found in tea leaves, impedes the absorption of caffeine into the body. If you are a frequent drinker of strong tea, the caffeine content can have a stimulating effect over a 12 hour period. A weaker tea brewed quickly, gives a shorter term, but stronger caffeine boost. A longer brewing time will therefore prevent you from being over-stimulated by a strong dose of caffeine."

Eat more insects, scientists say - "The bugs are rich in protein and some minerals and are lower in cholesterol than beef or pork... Eating insects also keep puts less strain on the environment because cultivating insects requires forest to be preserved rather than felled"

What is AutoKMS.exe? - Microsoft Community - "Thats funny. You asked Microsoft if its safe to remove an app you used to crack microsoft office 2010."

Finnish silence can be golden, says American expert - "Finnish silence is often misinterpreted when compared to cultures where people speak profusely. ”A Finn often demonstrates interest by listening, while an American asks and interrupts”
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