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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Links - 4th June 2013

"Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his." - Ronald Reagan

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Is the ACLU responsible for the massacre in Newtown? (repost) - "It seems as though the mother of Adam Lanza was going to seek to have him committed to a psychiatric facility, and that was the trigger for his psychotic break and subsequent murderous rampage... The ACLU’s argument is that people should be in charge of their own psychiatric treatment. The Catch-22 is that while off medication, many individuals with certain mental illnesses do not have the capacity to determine their own treatment. That has made no difference to the ACLU, whose lawsuits have been responsible for the mass deinstitutionalizing of the mentally ill, who, without the benefit of therapy and/or medication, regularly turn into the chronically homeless – and sometimes into violent criminals."

ACLU wrong on mental illness - "The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in July 2008, issued a "Report on Mental Health Issues at Los Angeles County Jail." The report decried the increasing number of severely mentally ill inmates in the jail and the lack of treatment available to them... Ennis and other representatives of the ACLU played a major role in shutting down most state psychiatric hospitals and in blocking all attempts to treat patients who do not know they are sick. For examples, in New York City, when then mayor Ed Koch tried to involuntarily hospitalize obviously psychotic homeless individuals, it was the ACLU that went to court and blocked his efforts."
Mental Illness Policy Org: "People with serious mental illness account for a disproportionate share of suicides, homelessness, violence, and incarceration... Violence is almost always associated with going off treatment and becoming delusional or psychotic.

Could the PC actually be alive? - "PC replacement cycles have slowed. The fact of the matter is your 4-6 year old PC (or Mac) hardware is good enough. That’s not Windows 8’s fault nor is it your phone’s fault. The PC form factor matured over the past decade with the power, speed, and performance good enough for mainstream users. Another missing piece to this logic is the continued prevalence of the PC as the primary computing device for A LOT of people. In fact, the experts would have you believe that declining new PC shipments means that PCs are being thrown out the window, as people scream obscenities at Windows 8 and make love to their new phone or tablet. The reality is that the “post-PC world” is one in which the PC form factor no longer reigns as the only smart device in your connected life and has to share the spotlight with the mobile phone, tablet, and TV. People will buy and use the device that best suits their needs, but the PC is far from obsolete. There are somewhere between 1.5-1.7 billion people (depending on who you believe) that have not buried their PC and 92% of them are on Windows (the other 8% live in Silicon Valley with no clue about what the other 92% are using). Lots of time is being spent on that “dead” PC form factor. More than 70% of all hours spent on computing devices (PCs, smartphones, and tablets) are on a PC. More than 80% of Internet traffic comes from PCs. For 74% of people, the PC is the device used most frequently to access the Internet."

Heritage conservation, Chinese style: demolition - "Beijing has announced plans to rebuild some of the gates in its long-lost imperial city wall: such is the way of heritage in China, where conservation often means demolition and putting up a replica. The authorities are promising to restore the original appearance of the monumental Ming and Qing dynasty arches in the wall, which was demolished in the 1950s and stood where a ring road and metro line now run. It is a hollow pledge. The landscape is so changed that even though China has excelled at copying for centuries, Beijingers have lined up to rail against the “fake antiquities” project. A prime example is the Qianmen district, south of the Forbidden City. It was demolished during the giant renovation of the capital before the 2008 Olympics, then rebuilt as a historical theme park, complete with neon adverts for major international brands."

Chewing gum moderates the vigilance decrement - "the vigilance task produced a time-dependent performance decrement indexed via decreases in target detections and lengthened correct reaction times (RTs), and a reduction in post-task self-rated alertness scores. The declines in both performance and subjective alertness were attenuated in the chewing-gum group... These findings are consistent with the data of Tucha and Simpson (2011), Appetite, 56, 299–301, who showed beneficial effects of chewing gum in the latter stages of a 30 min visual attention task, and extend their data to a task that necessitates the continuous updating of order memory. It is noteworthy that our data contradict the claim (Kozlov, Hughes, & Jones, 2012, Q. J. Exp. Psychology, 65, 501–513) that chewing gum negatively impacts short-term memory task performance."
Would this work with a banana?

American WWII GIs were dangerous sex-crazed rapists who the French feared as much as the Germans, explosive book claims - "The Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the US armed forces, taught soldiers German phrases like ‘waffen niederlegen’ meaning ‘throw down your arms’. However the French phrases it recommended to soldiers included ‘you have charming eyes,’ ‘I am not married’ and ‘are your parents at home?’ US magazine Life even fantasised that France was ‘a tremendous brothel’ inhabited by ‘40,000,000 hedonists, who spend all their time eating, drinking and making love’."

Autism linked to clever parents: Are high-achieving parents behind rise in autistic children? - "Engineers, scientists and computer programmers who meet their partners at work may be fuelling an increase in cases of autism... Experts are becoming increasingly concerned that the trend in recent years for couples to meet at work – as women increasingly take highly-qualified jobs in technical fields once dominated by men – may be behind the tripling in the number of cases since the 1960s. In California’s Silicon Valley, where there are high rates of partnership between engineers, physicists and mathematicians working in software companies, cases of autism have rocketed... One study in 2001 showed mathematicians have higher rates of autism than those in other jobs, and another in 1997 showed that children and grandchildren of engineers were more likely to be on the autistic spectrum. Both mothers and fathers of children with autism have been shown to display excellent attention to detail in tests."

The cover #gameofthrones would have been given had GRRM been female

Toilet Snorkels / Toilets of the World - "The recent rash of fires in high-rise hotels and deaths occasioned thereby has given rise to the need for a breathing device and method for supplying a hotel guest and/or fireman with fresh air until he can be rescued. The device and method of this invention provide for the insertion of a breathing tube through the water trap of a toilet to expose an open end thereof to fresh air from a vent pipe connected to a sewer line of the toilet, to enable the user to breathe fresh air through the tube."
From this page, I have also learnt that automated toilets are a French invention

Bowl or Bin? / Where do I put used toilet paper? - "It is very important to realize that the plumbing in many countries is not designed to handle toilet paper. Severe problems are likely to happen if you put your used paper in the bowl. If it's a squat toilet or if you are in the former Soviet Union or far southeastern Europe — Toilet paper should not be put into most squat toilets, as they are usually plumbed into systems not intended to handle paper. The plumbing systems in the former Soviet Union and a few southeastern European countries also were not designed to handle paper. There should be a small waste bin next to the toilet, place used paper in there. If there is no waste bin, then use your tissue paper sparingly, put it in the toilet, and flush it vigorously. Then deny all knowledge of the event. The bowl-bin dividing line, the "Paper Curtain" if you will, divides the former Soviet Union plus a few of its client states from the west. Paper goes into the bin, not the bowl, in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and anywhere continuing east and south across the former USSR, all of Asia, and the Middle East, and continuing south through Egypt and undoubtedly beyond there through most of Africa."

Toilets in Greece - The Truth About Greek Toilets - "Greek plumbing has seemingly gone downhill since Minoan times, when flush toilets were developed in about 2000 b.c.e. and employed at the Palace of Knossos. There's no record of what the Minoans used in terms of toilet wipes, but the modern Greek plumbing system is - or believes itself to be -incapable of handling toilet paper... in the village of Litochoro in June 2010, I entered a brand new double-bathroom facility in an upscale patisserie catering to foreign visitors. Each beautiful bathroom featured designer recessed lighting, a gorgeous modern bowl-on-counter style marble and stone sink with electronic sensors dispensing the water, an ornate large mirror in a sculptured gilded metal frame - and one of those squat toilets. Even more perplexing, the squat toilet was on the women's side, while the men had a commode seat. Unknowingly, since the doors were wide open to each bathroom, I automatically went for the commode seat in the otherwise identical bathroom, but two girls coming in after me sniggered at my mistake, apparently not appreciating the attractions of the commode seat which had made me miss the manly icon on the open door. Another quirk I have only seen in Greece - a toilet seat designed to stay in the "up" position. For other uses, you have to press the seat down and sit on it in one smooth motion. When you get up, the seat automatically springs back into the "up" position, with the potential for giving a little whack on the tush if you are not quick. There seems to be no question in modern Greece as to what position the seat "should" be in! Somehow, I don't think the Minoans, with their supposedly female-centric culture, employed this "advanced" device in their plumbing system."

Tainan government urges flushing of toilet paper to save costs - "The Tainan municipal government urged city residents yesterday to cultivate the habit of flushing used toilet paper instead of placing it in waste bins so as to save on disposal costs... The bureau said that in most foreign countries, used toilet paper is usually disposed of by flushing. In Taiwan, however, people have formed the habit of throwing toilet paper into a waste bin beside the toilet because the country’s poor plumbing in the past meant that toilets tended to get clogged up easily. However, modern toilets and plumbing in Taiwan are able to handle discarded toilet paper, the department said, urging people to cultivate the habit of disposing of toilet paper in this way, not only to reduce costs but also to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria."
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