"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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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Links - 23rd March 2013

The Dirty Secret of Apps: Many Go Bust - WSJ.com - "Plenty of independent developers have made fortunes off the boom in mobile apps. But many more have failed after learning the hard way that computer skills, a little money and a good idea often aren't enough in the competitive market... well-heeled companies with big marketing budgets hold sway. "There are so many startups that die with a whimper," said Dan Cheung, the 37-year-old software engineer who quit his job to build Spork. "That's the worst type of death....You walk into the office one day, you look at each other, and kind of realize it has to come to an end"... they were beaten to the punch by a rival app called Foodspotting, which offered similar functions but was backed by more funding for advertising and marketing... Reaching a few hundred downloads a day used to get an app on a Top 10 or 20 list a few years ago. It now requires several thousand, so larger apps companies—such as Electronic Arts Inc., Walt Disney Co., Zynga Inc. and Rovio Entertainment Ltd.—tend to dominate the top-seller lists. Only 2% of the Top 250 publishers for iPhone apps in the U.S. App Store are newcomers"

Ex-UBS executive to be tried in online vice ring case - "His lawyer, Mr Selva K. Naidu, told reporters on Wednesday the main issue in this case would be whether mens rea - a guilty mind - is required to constitute the offence. "In this case, it will be argued that mens rea is required. The accused must have known that the girl was underage in order for him to be guilty of this offence,'' he said. Mr Naidu said that previous cases where people have pleaded guilty to this sort of charge have been on the assumption that mens rea is not required, and they will be guilty even if they did not know that the girl was underage."

Calls to revisit race-based policies - "Commenting on the issues raised at the session, Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC Inderjit Singh said a shift in racial perspectives will "take generational changes". "It's not a bad idea to have policies directed by a socio-economic principle," he said. "But, at the same time, Singaporeans still value race distinction because it makes communication easier and more comfortable.""
Actually it's true that people value racial categories. That is why people of ambiguous racial appearance have the opportunity to complain that they get annoyed when others keep asking them what race they are. Or take the common heuristic that conflates Malay and Muslim

No tents, no camels - "One of Kasmiya’s more recent efforts, Road to Jerusalem, which he describes as a kind of black comedy, is still lost in the corridors of the censor’s office. It is an adventure game telling the story of a young Palestinian boy on his way to Jerusalem. He needs to use various skills and tricks (never violence) to get through the checkpoints and pass other obstacles. It is a kind of modern day Asterix and Obelix, Kasmiya says. “The Gauls are the Arabs, and the Romans are…” He does not finish the sentence."

The Perils of Being a Nice Guy: Contextual Variation in Five Young Women’s Constructions of Acceptable Hegemonic and Alternative Masculinities - "Masculinity is often studied as produced and enacted by men, unintentionally positioning women as mere consumers of masculinity, rather than active agents in its construction. This study explored five young South African women’s constructions of masculinity in the contexts of work, friendships, family, and romantic relationships and the contextual variation of acceptable masculinity across contexts. While they advocated nonhegemonic ‘‘nice guy’’ masculinities in social and work contexts, they appealed strongly to ‘‘hegemonic’’ or traditional masculine ideals in romantic and family contexts. It seems that these women were particularly willing to accept subjugation to engage in ideals of romantic partnership congruent with emphasized femininity. This study demonstrates that (1) contextual variation is a very important feature in the production of hegemonic masculinity and (2) analyzing masculinity from women’s perspectives may provide valuable insight into the contribution that women make to the construction and maintenance of counterfeminist masculine ideals and identity frameworks."

"Dirt" (2007) - Parents Guide - "First there are flashes showing a man and Courtney removing their clothes. Then the man is shown to have mounted Couteney in missionary style and his buttocks are visible. Her breasts are not visible as they are covered by the man's hands. However, her facial expressions are very erotic implying deep penetration. "

Cold Mountain (2003) - Parents Guide - "The whole movie is mildly intense because you don't know if the two lovers will ever meet again. The ending is very sad."

Female Scarcity Reduces Women’s Marital Ages and Increases Variance in Men’s Marital Ages - "When women are scarce in a population relative to men, they have greater bargaining power in romantic relationships and thus may be able to secure male commitment at earlier ages. Male motivation for long-term relationship commitment may also be higher, in conjunction with the motivation to secure a prospective partner before another male retains her. However, men may also need to acquire greater social status and resources to be considered marriageable. This could increase the variance in male marital age, as well as the average male marital age. We calculated the Operational Sex Ratio, and means, medians, and standard deviations in marital ages for women and men for the 50 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States with 2000 U.S Census data. As predicted, where women are scarce they marry earlier on average. However, there was no significant relationship with mean male marital ages. The variance in male marital age increased with higher female scarcity, contrasting with a non-significant inverse trend for female marital age variation. These findings advance the understanding of the relationship between the OSR and marital patterns. We believe that these results are best accounted for by sex specific attributes of reproductive value and associated mate selection criteria, demonstrating the power of an evolutionary framework for understanding human relationships and demographic patterns. "

Amazon Pulls Digital Edition of SimCity as EA Struggles to Fix Servers - "If you see a cheetah running at the same speed as a llama, you know you’ve entered the strange world of SimCity"

Collective-Evolution – Why Did The Media Keep The Recent Peaceful Icelandic Revolution Quiet? - "An assembly is elected to write a new constitution (based on the Denmark’s) to avoid entrapments of debt based currency foreign loans. 25 citizens are chosen — with no political affiliation — out of the 522 candidates. The only qualifications for candidacy are adulthood and the support of 30 people... It’s quite a story isn’t it? You can most definitely see at this point why this was not covered in newspapers, on radio networks and on television. Imagine seeing this story on TV several times each day wherever you live in the world; do you think the people would start to get ideas? Maybe try the same thing? Most definitely. There is always a constant push of fear, murders, anger, government success, health fallacies and false information, but never do we hear of stories that could be a threat to the system."
Why did the Media keep the Arab Spring quiet when it could give people ideas about rising up against their governments? Oh wait, they didn't.

We need to face up to hatred of prostitutes – among feminists, too - "Sunday was International Sex Worker Rights Day. This year it provided an occasion for sex workers and erstwhile colleagues including Brooke Magnanti (Belle de Jour) to highlight the vicious abuse they have received under the Twitter hashtag #whenantisattack. Writer and former call girl Magnanti is forced to live in secrecy, her number taken to the top of any 999 summons list because of the innumerable threats she has received. One recent example proposed that she should be gang-raped and then executed. She has been accused of being responsible for rape, sexual slavery, and prostitution itself. Her family's privacy has been invaded to find the "causes" of her choice and her personal appearance derided, not least within what might otherwise be called the sisterhood. Magnanti reminded us of Julie Burchill's observation in her 1987 essay "Born Again Cows" in the book Damaged Gods: "When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women." This would seem crazed were it not for MSP Rhoda Grant, who is sponsoring an "end demand for sex trafficking" bill in the Scottish parliament, declaring violence against sex workers a price worth paying to secure her proposals... [whore-bashing] includes a cohort of feminist critics who, in abhoring the activity, choose to hate the perpetrator. This is evident not only in Burchill's string 'em up stance, but the notion that, as "all prostitution is rape", sex workers cannot know their own minds, or be in control of their bodies, and thus consent. The upshot is a curious coalition with streetwalker-hounding religious extremists who are unhappy not merely with the low-hanging fruit of selling sex, but with women having sex at all... It is a small step from being able to dismiss some women as stupid sluts to dismissing all women as stupid sluts, the former operating as some sort of entry level for the latter. As Magnanti noted: "Ladies wearing shiny things, high heels, and makeup also Very Suspect". That's me guilty as charged, then, and my eight-year-old niece. Marriage continues to be considered to veil sex with respectability, whatever its financial motivations. Nobody campaigns against the career courtesans who are Belgravia bankers' wives, or the footballers' consorts of Cheshire. The message: sex for money is fine – just put a ring on it before you put out"
Hatred of prostitutes is just a specific case of general hatred and anger

Oxytocin is not a love drug. Don’t give it to kids with autism. - "The problem with the moral molecule idea is that it turns science—messy, complex, frustrating as it is—into a tidy fable. It’s a bit too ... well ... TED-dy. It not only tells people what they want to hear but also makes them feel delightfully subversive for understanding the secret simplicity of the world. One molecule underlies morality? Seems far-fetched, but not impossible. Hugs can change the world? Everyone likes hugs! We can counter our imps of the perverse by breathing in the right molecule? Yahtzee!... ome scientists have found that oxytocin boosts envy and schadenfreude, as well as favoritism toward one’s own clique... socially secure people remember their mothers in a more positive light after inhaling oxytocin, while anxious ones remember mum as less caring and more distant. Along similar lines, she showed that oxytocin hinders trust and cooperation among people with borderline personality disorder... Many of the scientists I have spoken to have been approached by parents who had bought oxytocin from the Internet and were using it to treat their relatives"
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