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Monday, September 30, 2013

Links - 30th September 2013

"In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying." - Bertrand Russell

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'Feminists are man-hating and unhygienic': How negative activists stereotypes remain barriers - "people were more motivated to adopt pro-environmental behaviors after reading the articles written by the ‘atypical’ or 'undefined' environmentalist, than the 'typical' activist. Psychologist Nadia Bashir and her team conclude: 'Unfortunately, the very nature of activism leads to negative stereotyping. 'By aggressively promoting change and advocating unconventional practices, activists become associated with hostile militancy and unconventionality or eccentricity. '[People] may be more receptive to advocates who defy stereotypes by coming across as pleasant and approachable.’"
Funny, I thought shouting at people was the best way to persuade them to your point of view

How Google Play DRM promotes piracy - "Jim O’Donnell was away in Singapore attending a library conference when he saw that his iPad’s Google Play app needed to be updated. In Google Play’s case, the app erases the books and re-downloads them once the app is updated. With almost 40 books in his library, he was suddenly unable to download them since Singapore isn’t an approved Google Play Books region."

How Selfies Are Ruining Your Relationships - "people who constantly share photos of themselves generally tend to have more shallow personal relationships. Admittedly, this won’t come as a huge surprise to regular Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram users, but now there’s data to support our nagging suspicions."

iOS 7 users destroy iPhones after fake waterproof advert - "In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone’s power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone’s delicate circuitry"

What your email sign-off really means - "You can sign off with “regards”, which means, quite literally, “I have no regard for you at all”. Or you can use the more extreme “warmest regards”, which means, “never contact me again you insufferable bastard”. Then there’s “yours”, which means, “I don’t even know who you are or what you wrote to me about”, and its cousin, “yours sincerely”, which means, “you owe me money and I will make your life a living hell until I get it”."

Camille Paglia - 'I don't get along with lesbians at all. They don't like me, and I don't like them' - ""But the feminist culture-wars were at their height at that time," she says. "A lot of that's completely gone now. Some of the principal antagonists are dead, like Andrea Dworkin. Basically, what happened is that my side won that war. The younger women of the Nineties rose up and embraced this. I," she says, with a sudden spurt of generosity, "credit Madonna. For decades, feminism had rejected Hollywood, sex symbols and fashion magazines and so on. Younger women have no problem in reconciling beauty with ambitions as a professional woman"... "The plastic surgery issue is really looming," says Paglia when I raise it, "because girls in the US are getting it in their teens". She won't say they shouldn't, but then I didn't think she would. Paglia has been described as a "radical libertarian". She thinks people should be free, in the private realm, to do what they like. They should be free to take drugs if they want to, and enjoy porn if they want to. And they should certainly be free to change the way they look. "I believe," she says, "that everybody has the right to view his or her own body as a palette. However, I think intellectuals should at least try to be role models. I'm going to really try to avoid it unless I get to the point where I'm actually scaring the horses"... "I had no sex life," she says, "but I was writing a dissertation on sex"... The thing that shocked me most was how many of her views seemed to me like common sense. I agree with Camille Paglia that many feminists have underestimated the power of hormones in human behaviour and the creative power of sexual desire. I agree with her that many feminists have a Rousseau-ian view of human nature where they expect to be able to dress as they like, and go where they like, and drink as they like, and never come to harm. I agree that women who stay in abusive relationships are complicit in the violence. I even agree with her about the link between male obsession and achievement. I think it's quite possible that there is "no woman Mozart because there is no woman Jack the Ripper". And I absolutely agree about the damage postmodernism and its boring theories have done to culture and art... "The reason I was angry all the time was that Gloria Steinem and all those people, without reading my work, were saying all these horrible things against me. Woah!" she says. "I'm Italian, OK. So I went on the warpath.""

Honk if you like minorities: Vuvuzela attitudes predict outgroup liking - "the less participants liked vuvuzelas, the less positively they also tended to feel toward minority groups. Furthermore, respondents who liked vuvuzelas the least were also less generally open to change. These findings suggest that the vuvuzela controversy was about more than just a plastic trumpet – it was also an episode of differential ingroup/outgroup perceptions and a lack of openness to new things"

Every Sci-Fi Starship Ever*, In One Mindblowing Comparison Chart

A rare insight into Kowloon Walled City

Height and Male Attractiveness - "men without children are on average three cm. (1.2 inches) shorter than those with at least one child... The only age group with men that were not "significantly" taller than the childless group was men in their fifties. The authors credit that to the fact that these men entered the marriage market after World War II, when men were in short supply... These studies point to a "strong universal tendency" and need to be done in many different places. "A lot of people with good hearts really don't want to believe that something you're simply born with ... somehow has that much impact on your course in life. It's unfair, and yeah it is unfair, but it also tends to be true, and the more people that actually document this carefully, the better""

There’s no point in online feminism if it’s an exclusive, Mean Girls club - "Ever tried to engage with feminism on the internet? I’ve had to start differentiating between feminism – good honest feminism in all its manifestations from Luce Irigaray, to Greenham Common, to Andrea Dworkin and even (although the Lord knows, she’s not to my taste) Camille Paglia – and what I’ve started calling the Online Wimmin Mob. The latter is meant to sound insulting. Borderline misogynist if you like, and there’s a reason for that: the Online Wimmin Mob don’t seem to like feminism. There’s not much evidence that they like women very much. Perhaps this is the reason that they don’t want you to be a feminist either. If you try to join the club that they seem to believe they have seized control of, you too will be told that there are no vacancies. No room for you, with your “privilege”... The Online Wimmin Mob takes offence everywhere, but particularly at other women who are not in their little Mean Girls club, which has their own over-stylised and impenetrable language, rules and disciplinary proceedings. “Check your privilege!” This has become the rallying cry of the Mob when faced with a woman with whom they disagree... about 35 per cent of the world’s population has access to the internet. Everyone on Twitter is privileged. Everyone. Claiming “unprivileged” underdog status when you are in the top 35 per cent of the entire world makes you sound like the sort of annoying princess who screams that it’s just not fair and she hates you because she only got an iPhone and a pony for Christmas... “Checking your privilege” is about playing an inverted game of Top Trumps where the real message is that it’s not who you are but how you were born that determines whether what you have to say is worth listening to. It’s not a dissimilar message to that of your average bar room sexist – or transphobe for that matter - but so much more depressing coming from our own side... If you are a member of the Mob, you spend your evenings in noble pursuits. Namely, picking up on ill-considered comments on the internet (which are often, although admittedly not always, well-meant but made in ignorance) and encouraging all your mates to weigh in to beat up on the woman. Is this beginning to sound like an evening out with the patriarchy to anyone else?... anyone who thinks that anything can be achieved on Twitter at 2am has no business feeling superior to anybody."
But then, they do that to men too...

Why people who boast about their IQ are (generally) losers - "If Stephen Hawking wanted to brag about how clever he is, his IQ (however high it may be) would come a long way down the list of braggables like “I held the Lucasian chair in mathematics at Cambridge” or “I discovered Hawking radiation”... In contrast, it might still be worth bragging about your IQ if you haven’t achieved much"

Are Singaporean workers... expensive & entitled? - "Mr V. S. Kumar, managing director of local courier company Network Express Courier Services, says Singaporean workers only seem motivated just to do enough and have no qualms about dropping everything and leaving on the dot at 5.30pm every day. However, his staff from India, the Philippines and Vietnam are keen to stay back after office hours to learn new skills... "If you're talking about the ability to present their ideas, to communicate, then, in general, local PMETs are behind their Western counterparts. The differences might be down to culture and the respective education systems." When they do speak up, however, it is to demand things such as more work-life balance and faster promotions... he says a bit of perspective is needed: "Comparing the entire Singaporean workforce with this small select group of employees who left their home country to make it into another country to work here, naturally they would be more driven"... A recent survey of 6,000 university students here by consultancy Universum found that the main thing they want from their careers is work-life balance, beating job security, intellectual challenge and an international career."
I thought Singaporeans love to do OT for the sake of doing OT
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