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Valar Qringaomis

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Links - 25th November 2013

Is nutrition research a pseudoscience? - "Everyone agrees "eating right" is a good idea – what we can't agree on is what the hell it means. (Whole wheat is now a healthy diet option or "probably killing you," depending on who you ask.) What does science have to say about good dietary habits? According to University of South Carolina researcher Edward Archer, not nearly enough... 'the vast majority of nutrition's failures were engendered by a complete lack of familiarity with the scientific method. This deficit is most apparent in the field's reliance on self-reports of diet. Such information, to which nutrition researchers assign numeric caloric values, is rife with bias, and without the ability to corroborate or falsify the reports, the data should be considered pseudoscientific—outside the realm of scientific research'... Archer's central thesis – that "the field's leaders choose to train their mentees to serve only their own professional needs—namely, to obtain grant funding and publish their research" – is a criticism that's been leveled at scientific research in general for ages, though apparently Archer finds nutritional researchers particularly guilty of this sin"

The Insourcing Boom - "It was important to innovate, and to protect innovations, 10 or 15 years ago. It was important to have designers, engineers, and assembly-line workers talk to each other then, too. That companies spent the past two decades ignoring those things just shows the power of price, even for people who should be able to take a broader view... “about 60 percent of the companies that offshored manufacturing didn’t really do the math. They looked only at the labor rate—they didn’t look at the hidden costs.” Moser believes that about a quarter of what’s made outside the U.S. could be more profitably made at home. “There was a herd mentality to the offshoring,” says John Shook, a manufacturing expert and the CEO of the Lean Enterprise Institute, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “And there was some bullshit. But it was also the inability to see the total costs—the engineers in the U.S. and factory managers in China who can’t talk to each other; the management hours and money flying to Asia to find out why the quality they wanted wasn’t being delivered. The cost of all that is huge.” But many of those hidden costs come later. In the first blush of cheap manufacturing, it’s easy to overlook the slow loss of your own skills, the gradual homogenization of your products, the corrosion of quality and decline of innovation. And it’s easy to assume that globally distributed production will hum along more smoothly than it often does in practice"

Goodbye Outsourcing, Hello Insourcing: A Trend Rises - "Among the reasons IT leaders cite for pulling the plug on outsourcing deals—or subsets of their contracts—are poor service quality, failure to meet business objectives, and the desired for more control over the future direction of the IT function"

The Offshore Outsourcing of American Jobs: A Greater Threat Than Terrorism - "The loss of these jobs “is fool’s gold for companies.” Corporate America’s short-term mentality, stemming from bonuses tied to quarterly results, is causing US companies to lose not only their best employees-their human capital-but also the consumers who buy their products. Employees displaced by foreigners and left unemployed or in lower paid work have a reduced presence in the consumer market. They provide fewer retirement savings for new investment. Nothink economists assume that new, better jobs are on the way for displaced Americans, but no economists can identify these jobs. The authors point out that “the track record for the re-employment of displaced US workers is abysmal: “The Department of Labor reports that more than one in three workers who are displaced remains unemployed, and many of those who are lucky enough to find jobs take major pay cuts. Many former manufacturing workers who were displaced a decade ago because of manufacturing that went offshore took training courses and found jobs in the information technology sector. They are now facing the unenviable situation of having their second career disappear overseas.”"

Miley Cyrus: I'm one of the world's biggest feminists
Comment: "With so many fat people in UK a burqa for many of the population, male or female, would be a good idea on a beach."

Single Female Seeking Same-Race Male - - "Here are some of the estimates (there weren’t enough data to do all the interracial permutations) of how much each extra income a man would need to be equally appealing to a woman as would a man of her own
For equal success with an African-American woman, a Hispanic man needs to earn an extra $184,000; a white man needs to earn an additional $220,000.
For equal success with a white woman, an African-American needs to earn an additional $154,000; a Hispanic man needs $77,000; an Asian needs $247,000.
For equal success with a Hispanic woman, an African-American man needs to earn an additional $30,000; a white man needs to earn an additional $59,000.
For equal success with an Asian woman, an African-American needs no additional income; a white man needs $24,000 less than average; a Hispanic man needs $28,000 more than average."
I don't know how they square this with the claim that "Asian women didn’t discriminate much by race (except for showing a very slight preference for Asian men over black or Hispanic men)."

The Tyranny of the Queen Bee - - "women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women. This occurred, they argued, largely because the patriarchal culture of work encouraged the few women who rose to the top to become obsessed with maintaining their authority... Four decades later, the syndrome still thrives, given new life by the mass ascent of women to management positions... Far from nurturing the growth of younger female talent, they push aside possible competitors by chipping away at their self-confidence or undermining their professional standing. It is a trend thick with irony: The very women who have complained for decades about unequal treatment now perpetuate many of the same problems by turning on their own... female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007. Male bullies, by contrast, were generally equal-opportunity tormentors. A 2011 survey of 1,000 working women by the American Management Association found that 95% of them believed they were undermined by another woman at some point in their careers. According to a 2008 University of Toronto study of nearly 1,800 U.S. employees, women working under female supervisors reported more symptoms of physical and psychological stress than did those working under male supervisors... some women are finding their professional lives dominated by high school "mean girls" all grown up: women with something to prove and a precarious sense of security. What makes these queen bees so effective and aggravating is that they are able to exploit female vulnerabilities that men may not see, using tactics that their male counterparts might never even notice. Like Jane's gossiping about Erin's personal life. Or when Kelly's boss would comment on her outfit: "Who are you trying to impress today?" Or not-so-gently condescend: "Did you take your smart pill today, sweetie?" Their assaults harm careers and leave no fingerprints... It cuts both ways, though: Women aren't always the best employees to other women either. Female subordinates can show less respect and deference to female bosses than to their male bosses."
Again, blaming men while keeping quiet about women is not a viable way to change things - especially if women are the bigger problem.
If lots of women have ascended to management, is it still a male-dominated environment?

Sorry, but being a mother is not the most important job in the world - "Being a mother is not the most important job in the world. There, I said it. Nor is it the toughest job, despite what the 92% of people polled in Parents Magazine reckon. For any woman who uses that line, consider this: if this is meant to exalt motherhood, then why is the line always used to sell toilet cleaner? And if being a mother is that important, why aren’t all the highly paid men with stellar careers not devoting their lives to raising children? After all, I never hear "being a father is the most important job in the world". The deification of mothers not only delegitimises the relationship fathers, neighbours, friends, grandparents, teachers and carers have with children, it also diminishes the immense worth and value of these relationships... Even if it were a job, there is no way being a professional mother could be the hardest when compared to working 16 hours a day in a clothing factory in Bangladesh, making bricks in an Indian kiln, or being a Chinese miner. Nor could it ever be considered the most important job in comparison with a surgeon who saves lives, anyone running a nation, or a judge deciding on people’s destiny... The more you outsource domestic labour and childcare to participate in the workforce, the less of a mother you are."

Chinese site under fire for sale of child-like sex doll - "Child-like sex dolls are illegal in some nations, depending on how they’re used or presented. The creepy phenomenon seems to have started in – you’ve guessed it – Japan"

Physical attractiveness and careers: Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful | The Economist - "For men, the results were as expected. Hunks were more likely to be called for an interview if they included a photo. Ugly men were better off not including one. However, for women this was reversed. Attractive females were less likely to be offered an interview if they included a mugshot... Human resources departments tend to be staffed mostly by women. Indeed, in the Israeli study, 93% of those tasked with selecting whom to invite for an interview were female. The researchers' unavoidable—and unpalatable—conclusion is that old-fashioned jealousy led the women to discriminate against pretty candidates... Companies might even consider the anonymous model used in the Belgian public sector, where CVs do not even include the candidate's name"
This goes beyond the Queen Bee syndrome, since virtually all of the HR personnel who screen through CVs are presumably not senior
Addendum: Even if you blame this on 'patriarchy', the truth is that it's still women (and not men) discriminating against women

The Myth of the ‘Queen Bee’: Work and Sexism - "Women who had been primed to think about gender bias answered like queen bees—that they had a masculine leadership style, that they were very different from other women and gender bias wasn’t a problem—only if they had started out by saying they identified weakly with women at work. Those who identified strongly with their gender at work had the opposite response – when they thought about gender bias, they said afterwards that they were motivated to mentor other women."
Given that this was conducted with employees in the police force and there was "priming" involved, I find the interview experiment above more interesting and applicable
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