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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Links - 10th March 2013

Gun control: After Connecticut shooting, could Australia's laws provide a lesson? - " homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since... 'So deeply embedded is the gun culture of the US, that millions of law-abiding, Americans truly believe that it is safer to own a gun, based on the chilling logic that because there are so many guns in circulation, one's own weapon is needed for self-protection. To put it another way, the situation is so far gone there can be no turning back'"

Supreme Court 2012: How Justice Kennedy could vote to recognize gay marriage and strike down affirmative action. - "the fact that she was born white should not be used to disadvantage her in admissions; and large-scale trends over the past half century—the decline in racial discrimination coupled with growing economic inequality, a rise in racial intermarriage, and the “browning” of the U.S. population—all make affirmative action based on race look outdated... Unlike gay marriage, there has been no shift in the public opinion of young people in favor of affirmative action. In a 2012 survey, millennials (aged 18-25) opposed racial preferences to promote diversity by 57 percent to 28 percent. Even at the famously liberal Brown University, a recent poll found that students opposed the university’s considering race in admissions by 58 to 34 percent... Stanford researchers have found that today the income achievement gap is twice as large as the racial achievement gap. Class-blind racial preferences that benefit advantaged students of color ignore these changing realities... we found that of 10 leading public universities that stopped using racial preferences, seven (including the University of Washington and the University of Florida) were able to maintain or exceed the proportion of black and Latino students with race-neutral alternatives. The three exceptions—U.C. Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Michigan—are all highly selective institutions that draw on a national student population and are at a disadvantage in recruiting students of color because competitors, like Stanford for the California schools, can continue to use racial preferences... Here’s another reason why socioeconomic affirmative action that considers wealth is a better fit for the future than race-based policies: America is slated to become a majority minority nation by midcentury, and several states have already crossed that threshold... in instances where minorities are a political majority, judges become more skeptical. In a 1989 case contesting Richmond, Va.’s racial set-aside in contracting, for example, the justices took note of the city’s 50 percent black population in striking down the program"

Vegetarian roots: The extraordinary tale of William Cowherd - "Abstinence from meat became part of the church's creed. Cowherd told his congregation it was a sin to eat meat and it could make them behave aggressively. The Vegetarian Society quotes him saying: "If God had meant us to eat meat, then it would have come to us in edible form as is the ripened fruit"... "But by the end of the 19th century, vegetarianism was thriving and in 1889 there were 52 vegetarian restaurants in Britain with 34 in London.""

Twitter / contrabandkarma: Who is Lim Swee Say? (image)


Brain Tapeworms Are Real, And They're Disgusting

forms - Is this rotating cube interface user-friendly? - User Experience - "I'm working on a prototype for an innovative form interface, where different parts of the form are shown on different sides of a cube. The cube rotates, and the user can fill it out as the cube spins"

Are humans monogamous or polygamous? The evolution of human mating strategies. - "we're not the only pair-bonding species that likes to sleep around. Even among the animals that have long been known as faithful types—nesting birds, etc.—not too many stay exclusive. Most dally. "There are a few species that are monogamous," says Barash. "The fat-tailed dwarf lemur. The Malagasy giant jumping rat. You've got to look in the nooks and crannies to find them, though." Like so many other animals, human beings aren't really that monogamous. Better to say, we're monogamish... In China, for example, a preference for male babies skewed the gender ratio quite dramatically from 1988 to 2004. In that time, the number of unmarried men nearly doubled, and so did crime. In India, murder rates track with male-to-female ratios across the country's states. Using these and other data, the authors argue that a culture of monogamy would tend to grow and thrive. It would be the fittest in its niche. Of course it's also possible that high rates of conflict lead to cases of polygamy. Walter Scheidel points out that the ancient ban on multimarriage was suspended near the end of the Peloponnesian War, with so many soldiers dead that potential husbands were in short supply"

Sure, I remember that | - "we look at the work of University of California, Irvine, researcher Elizabeth Loftus, a memory expert, whose research shows just how easily we can be led to “remember” events that never happened. All you have to do is show someone a doctored photograph. These false memories become all the more intense when political beliefs are factored in -- Democrats are more likely to falsely remember events that show Republicans in a bad light, and vice-versa."
How insensitive, questioning the reality of lived experience!

More college students hook up than actually date, but most prefer to date - ""Men talk most about rejection," Kahn says. "When you're hooking up you're not going to get rejected, 'cause you're probably wasted anyway." (Previous studies have shown that most hookups are preceded by alcohol consumption.) Both genders said the potential for a broken heart is one of the biggest drawbacks to traditional dating... Kahn and his co-authors laid out different scenarios for dating vs. hooking up, and in only one instance did a majority of women prefer hooking up to dating: while out drinking with an attractive guy"

On College Campuses, a Shortage of Men - - "North Carolina, with a student body that is nearly 60 percent female, is just one of many large universities that at times feel eerily like women’s colleges... Jayne Dallas, a senior studying advertising who was seated across the table, grumbled that the population of male undergraduates was even smaller when you looked at it as a dating pool. “Out of that 40 percent, there are maybe 20 percent that we would consider, and out of those 20, 10 have girlfriends, so all the girls are fighting over that other 10 percent,” she said. Needless to say, this puts guys in a position to play the field, and tends to mean that even the ones willing to make a commitment come with storied romantic histories... at some schools, efforts to balance the numbers have been met with complaints that less-qualified men are being admitted over more-qualified women. In December, the United States Commission on Civil Rights moved to subpoena admissions data from 19 public and private colleges to look at whether they were discriminating against qualified female applicants... Thanks to simple laws of supply and demand, it is often the women who must assert themselves romantically or be left alone on Valentine’s Day, staring down a George Clooney movie over a half-empty pizza box. “I was talking to a friend at a bar, and this girl just came up out of nowhere, grabbed him by the wrist, spun him around and took him out to the dance floor and started grinding”... Women on gender-imbalanced campuses are paying a social price for success and, to a degree, are being victimized by men precisely because they have outperformed them, Professor Campbell said. In this way, some colleges mirror retirement communities, where women often find that the reward for outliving their husbands is competing with other widows for the attentions of the few surviving bachelors... “By my sophomore year, I just had the feeling that there is nobody in this school that I could date,” said Ashley Crisostomo, a senior at Fordham University in New York, which is 55 percent female. She has tended to date older professionals in the city"

人人网同名同姓 - 上人人网,结识同名同姓人 - "想知道有谁和你同名同姓吗?... 姓名是一种力量,使我们联系在一起。转动时空罗盘,开始你的寻找之旅…"

Do looks really matter? Yes and no, depending on your gender - "the key factor in determining whether such "odd" couples are happy in their marriages seems to depend on the "relative attractiveness" between the man and the woman, he explained. His research suggests that in cases where attractive women are married to less attractive men, the chances for happiness are fairly high."
Marry a man uglier than you

LOVE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO BE CAREFUL: The Relationship Between Reading Romance Novels and Safe Sex Behavior - "According to the sexual script portrayed in romance novels, true love is demonstrated by being “swept away” in passion. To the extent that this traditional romance script influences romance readers' own sexual scripts, readers may express greater reluctance to engage in precautionary sexual health behaviors, such as using condoms. We explored the relationship between women's reading of romance novels and their attitudes toward condom use, reports of past condom use, and intention to use condoms in the future. A systematic content analysis of modern romance novels documented the extremely low incidence of portrayals of condom use in initial sexual encounters. Study 1 demonstrated that high levels of romance reading were associated with negative attitudes toward condoms and reduced intent to use condoms in the future; Study 2 showed experimentally that including safe sex elements in romance stories increased positive attitudes toward condoms and marginally increased intent to use condoms in the future."

Diners should stop making a meal of their mobiles - "Eva, a restaurant in Los Angeles, is offering a discount to diners who leave their smartphone at the door. Mark Gold, the chef and owner of Eva, said: "It’s about two people sitting together and just connecting, without the distraction of a phone." Gold isn't the first to try to enforce a 'no smartphones at the table' policy. While he is trying to bring about smartphone-free dining through incentives, the 'Phone Stack' game uses the prospect of punishment to encourage people to do the right thing. The Phone Stack has been growing in popularity in the US for some time. It's very simple: at the start of the meal everyone places their mobile phone in the centre of the table, face down. The first person to pick up their phone pays the bill for everyone... Volkswagen agreed to switch off work emails before 7am and after 6.16pm. The chief executive of technology company Atos, meanwhile, plans to ban all internal email by 2014"
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