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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Links - 12th March 2013

Pursue Your Pork Passion! - "Are you a home chef in training, have hopes of becoming a world traveler or want to be known as the ultimate party host? Tell us how you want to pursue your pork passion and enter for chance to win $5,000."

Loving and leaving: Sex differences in romantic attachments - "We propose a two-part generalization about sex differences in entering into and giving up romantic attachments: (1) Men tend to fall in love more readily than women; (2) women tend to fall out of love more readily than men. Evidence in support of these generalizations is derived from a longitudinal study of 231 college student dating couples. The data suggest that women are more cautious than men about entering into romantic relationships, more likely to compare these relationships to alternatives, more likely to end a relationship that seems ill fated, and better able to cope with rejection"

Why Don't Women Ask Men Out on First Dates? - "One might think that after decades of increasing equality between the sexes, women might be doing more of the asking... a great majority of the women, 93%, preferred to be asked out -- only 6% perferred to do the asking. The majority of men preferred to do the asking, 83%, while 16% preferred to be asked out on a date. It is interesting that more men preferred to be asked out (16%) than there were women who preferred to do the asking (6%). That difference suggests that 10% of men may be waiting quite a while for a woman to ask them out on a first date... Men of my generation, who went to college in the 70s and 80s, mostly embraced the goals of the feminist movement. Greater equality, or at least equity, between the sexes seemed fair. And, from a male perspective, there might be some benefits for us as well -- including less inhibited female sexuality and the anticipation that women would begin asking us out on first dates. So we waited. And waited... and... we are still waiting!... This suggests that something deeper than arbitrary social gender role assignments may be involved in the development and persistence of this robust sex difference"

Viewpoint: In defence of narcissism - "Observations of babies indicate that they are born primed to expect that the world will be at their beck and call... Aristotle picked up the theme, explaining that good self-love is vital for intimacy. For one thing, he noted, if you cannot befriend yourself, warts and all, then how can you possible expect to befriend anyone else, warts and all. After all, you are closer to yourself than anyone else. I remember myself as a teenager feeling anxious when meeting new people. Looking back, I can see now that the difficulty wasn't the new people. It was more that I was a stranger to myself... It's also striking that the word "altruism" - the opposite of selfish egoism - is only 100 years or so old. It was invented by the 19th Century sociologist, Auguste Comte. It was as if he felt the need to distinguish the good love of selflessness from the supposed bad love of selfishness and drive a binary opposition between them. It's a modern division"

10 best Indonesian restaurants

In ‘Game of Thrones,’ a Language to Make the World Feel Real - NYTimes.com - "At his best friend’s wedding reception on the California coast, David J. Peterson stood to deliver his toast as best man. He held his Champagne glass high and shouted “Hajas!” The 50 guests raised their glasses and chanted “Hajas!” in unison. The word, which means “be strong” and is pronounced “hah-DZHAS,” has great significance for Mr. Peterson. He invented it, along with 3,250 other words (and counting), in the language he created for the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” called Dothraki... He aims to eventually expand Dothraki to around 10,000 words — or about the equivalent of college-level foreign language proficiency"

How did ancient prostitutes practice contraception? - Quora

I've won glasses since I was 5. Here's a good reason to wear them... on Twitpic

Ebooks: More Boon to Literacy Than Threat to Democracy - "By the time Fitzgerald died in 1940, his reputation—and that of The Great Gatsby—had petered away. “The promise of his brilliant career was never fulfilled,” The New York Times declared in their obituary. Only after his death did the novel begin to rise to the highest ranks of American literature. And its ascent was driven in large part by a new form of media: paperback books... Franzen seems convinced that ebooks are about to drive print books extinct. That’s a bad thing, he thinks, because ebooks are so fluid... He even thinks that democracy itself could be at risk... 'That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government'... To make the world work? I see the planet freezing in its rotation, governments reduced to hordes of zombies, all because the Kindle doesn’t feel quite substantial enough for Franzen... We’re still left with a romantic revisionism. Books were not frozen solid before the invention of the Kindle. Charles Darwin, for instance, rushed out The Origin of Species in 1859 in a fit of desperation, his hand forced by Alfred Russel Wallace’s near-simultaneous discovery of evolution. Darwin was not terribly happy with how the book turned out, and so he continued to revise it for decades, churning out six editions all told. He was perpetually adding clarifications, correcting typographical errors, removing arguments that he no longer liked. A century before computers, Darwin could not resist the urge to “delete that, change that, move it around.” And despite Darwin’s ebook-like compulsion to alter his own text, he still managed to establish the foundation of modern biology... Rather than set the world on fire with radical contigency, I expect that ebooks will follow much the same trajectory as paperbacks. They will start out being frowned upon as shabby, and then they will deliver literature conveniently to millions of people who might not otherwise have read it"

Spain offers residency to anyone buying a home worth more than £130,000 in bid to save its housing market
"Ireland and Portugal, for instance, now offer residency papers to foreigners buying houses worth more than 400,000 euros and 500,000 euros, respectively; while buyers in Latvia can receive residency permits if they purchase real estate in the capital of Riga worth €140,000 or €70,000 in the countryside."

Really, must parents act so entitled? - "One quality I've always considered integral in the Singaporean identity is an ironclad sense of entitlement... the most entitled people in this entitled population are Singaporean parents. They're fuelled by a potent mix of martyrdom and self-pity, salted over by a lack of sleep and intense body anxiety... [They] seem to live by the creed that "to those whom much has been given, much more should be given"... I can hear it now, the favourite riposte of the childbearing: You don't understand because you don't have a kid... I don't see why the passage of another human being through my birth canal would magically entitle me to special treatment. I respect parents and all the sacrifices they make for their kids, but come on, they're not amputees running a marathon, or quadriplegics painting watercolours with a brush in the mouth. I don't feel sufficiently moved by the plight of Singaporean parents to donate to their cause, which they seem to expect me to do. A tuition arms race and "overly hard exam papers" somehow do not arouse in me the sadness and desire to help that abused animals or victims of natural disasters do... when I choose to buy a pair of shoes, I don't whine about a heels-unfriendly environment, or the lack of adequate shoe storage space in my flat, or shifting social mores that discourage shoe ownership. The choice is mine, as are the consequences"

How not to have a Taoist sex ritual in Hong Kong - "Master Ma advises that as soon as anyone tells you to take off your clothes "that's a warning sign." There aren't any common rituals that require nudity or even physical contact"

The Craft and the Community: Post 23 – 24 - "As a student, I participated in a (fairly small) number of programs for women in math. The programs were all lousy. I love it when I find other women I can really talk to — it makes me feel more at home with myself, my gender, and my ability to learn to think. But these programs weren’t like that. These programs were blah. “Adding more women” is a boring aim, like “meeting normal people” or “meeting non-nerds”. Usually it’s achieved by taking whatever it is that might make the program distinctive (e.g., math talent, or an analytical/argumentative spirit) and watering down that distinctiveness until more women are involved... (It’s funny, folks who are the most politically incorrect about sex and gender, i.e. who have the most accurate maps of reality, are often nicer to women than the guys from the thought police.)"

GM food: Golden rice will save millions of people from vitamin A deficiency. - "Finally, after a 12-year delay caused by opponents of genetically modified foods, so-called “golden rice” with vitamin A will be grown in the Philippines. Over those 12 years, about 8 million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency. Are anti-GM advocates not partly responsible?... Most ironic is the self-fulfilling critique that many activists now use. Greenpeace calls golden rice a “failure,” because it “has been in development for almost 20 years and has still not made any impact on the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency.” But, as Ingo Potrykus, the scientist who developed golden rice, has made clear, that failure is due almost entirely to relentless opposition to GM foods—often by rich, well-meaning Westerners far removed from the risks of actual vitamin A deficiency... current regulations for GM foods, if applied to non-GM products, would ban the sale of potatoes and tomatoes, which can contain poisonous glycoalkaloids; celery, which contains carcinogenic psoralens; rhubarb and spinach (oxalic acid); and cassava, which feeds about 500 million people but contains toxic cyanogenic alkaloids. Foodstuffs like soy, wheat, milk, eggs, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, sesame, nuts, peanuts, and kiwi would likewise be banned, because they can cause food allergies. Here it is worth noting that there have been no documented human health effects from GM foods... The predominance of big companies partly reflects anti-GM activism, which has made the approval process so long and costly that only rich companies catering to First World farmers can afford to see it through... Greenpeace is already protesting that “the next ‘golden rice’ guinea pigs might be Filipino children.” The 4.4 million Filipino kids with vitamin A deficiency might not mind so much"

Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? - "The employment effect of the minimum wage is one of the most studied topics in all of economics. This report examines the most recent wave of this research – roughly since 2000 – to determine the best current estimates of the impact of increases in the minimum wage on the employment prospects of low wage workers. The weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage. The report reviews evidence on eleven possible adjustments to minimum wage increases that may help to explain why the measured employment effects are so consistently small. The strongest evidence suggests that the most important channels of adjustment are: reductions in labor turnover; improvements in organizational efficiency; reductions in wages of higher earners ("wage compression"); and small price increases. Given the relatively small cost to employers of modest increases in the minimum wage, these adjustment mechanisms appear to be more than sufficient to avoid employment losses, even for employers with a large share of low wage workers"
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