"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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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Links - 14th January 2014

"The other night I was making love to the wife and she said ‘Deeper... deeper...’ So I started whispering Nietzsche quotes into her ear. 'Man is a rope stretched over the abyss...' She said, 'Whoa, Not that fuckin' deep. I'm trying to get off over here.'" - Dennis Miller


The most disturbing chocolate Santa we've ever ... - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

World Wide Words: People Versus Persons - "the pseudo-rule grew up that the plural of person is persons when a specific, countable number of individuals is meant, but that people should be used when the number is large or indefinite. Modern style guides disagree, being able to quote many examples of the use of people as the plural of person in both situations, for example in sentences like “the plane crash killed 370 people”, and “Many people visit the park every day”. Though persons survives, it does so largely in formal or legal contexts (“Killed by person or persons unknown”, “This taxi is licensed to hold four persons”) and often seems awkward and old-fashioned. Where it survives it emphasises that each member of a group is being considered as an individual: “The nearest persons they can vent their feelings on are the ball boys and girls”, “Eight persons shared a single room”. From the evidence, it seems that the trend towards using people instead of persons is accelerating and that it may not be so long before persons vanishes from the language except in certain set phrases. The reverse process seems to be happening with people"

Chicken letter - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

No More Charity: But Do Markets Deliver For Africa's Poorest? - "“I have become convinced… that philanthropy is not the right tool to bring people out of poverty and create prosperity. That’s not a philanthropic activity, it’s a business and free enterprise activity,” he says. “I’ve been doing things for Africa now for 20 years. I’ve observed that when non-profit organisations try to get involved in economic development, they don’t have the right mindset. They don’t have the right metrics.” After years of supporting children’s homes in Kenya, Coors realised that the young people going through the system were coming out educated, but unemployed. “They’re now becoming adults, and there’s not a job to be found,” he says. “There are no jobs”... Investors need to look at the sectors that have demonstrated the most growth in Africa, says the Ghanaian economist George Ayittey. “They are mainly two: the export sector and the modern sector. Both of these sectors are controlled by the elites”... An investment in agriculture, which employs 75 percent of the Kenyan workforce, has the potential to be more catalytic for job creation and social development than an investment in Kenya’s emerging oil and gas industry, which may create more wealth in absolute terms. These additional considerations are often included in the mandates of so-called ‘impact investors’, who combine investment metrics with measures of social development."

How Do Restaurants Make French Fries So Crispy? - "If you're going to make French fries at home, you're probably going to use fresh cooking oil straight from the bottle. And as it turns out, fresh oil isn't the best oil to use for French fries. Why? When oil is heated, it starts to break down. And oil that has slightly broken down actually produces crispier French fries than fresh oil. It has to do with how effectively the oil molecules bond with the food, and fresher oil doesn't bond as well. Complicating matters is the fact that when oil breaks down too much, it starts to smoke. So oil that's too new isn't the best, and oil that's too old isn't the best either. The best oil is oil that's been used continuously for a while."

Disney on ice sure is freaky - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

Racism in America: Explained for the Rest of the World - Explained for Americans - Quora - "Americans are pussies... Americans have taken the term "colour blind" literally. The actual version of colour blind, in terms of race, is to not discriminate against race. Race isn't a big deal, it's just something that is and something that we should accept and get over. American colour blindness is a little different. In American colour blindness, races don't exist. Everyone is a white person, there are no other options. You aren't supposed to acknowledge other races, you aren't supposed to notice someone's race, you aren't supposed to use race while describing another person. In Katy Perry's performance, she acknowledged another race/culture, and that is considered taboo in America because there are not other races/cultures. I think this oppression of cultures is extremely destructive. When you oppress all culture, you more basically destroy it. What Katy Perry did was not racist in any way, shape or form. It was a celebration of Japanese culture. If we totally eliminate the possibility of someone saying/doing something that might actually be perceived as "racist," look at what we sacrifice. Is it really worth eradicating culture just so someone's feelings don't get hurt?"

In your face - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

Winning Friends and Influencing People Without Worrying About Modernity - Reason & Persuasion Book Site - "do I think Plato really is arguing against ancient Dale Carnegies (sophists) more than he is arguing against - oh, say, an ancient Greek version of Stanley Fish? Or an ancient Greek version of some other relativist/pragmatist/anti-foundationalist Protagorean suspect I might have dredged up and propped up for this literary occasion? Maybe Richard Rorty? Heidegger anyone? Nietzsche? Wittgenstein? Wouldn't it be more interesting to give Plato a more formidable opponent, one more deeply and directly rooted in the philosophical tradition, by way of constructing an either/or (it's either this or that; one vision of how to think about life, or the other?)... Carnegie was a more instructive figure of comparison. Partly this was a pedagogical decision. It's easier to introduce students to Carnegie than, say, Heidegger. This is supposed to be an introduction suitable for beginners. But I also think the Carnegie route was strong on the inherent intellectual merits. It's important that Carnegie is a 'modern', pragmatic thinker who is, all the same, untroubled by modernity as an issue in itself. Carnegie reacts very negatively or dismissively to ideas and values that are positive and important in Plato's eyes. But his rejection of 'rationalistic Enlightenment' isn't due to his being a child of the counter-Enlightenment, or any sort of post-Romantic (as are the likes of Fish, Rorty, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, most all contemporary anti-Platonic suspects.)"

Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College? - "Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree. I have long been a proponent of Charles Murray’s thesis that an increasing number of people attending college do not have the cognitive abilities or other attributes usually necessary for success at higher levels of learning. As more and more try to attend colleges, either college degrees will be watered down (something already happening I suspect) or drop-out rates will rise... the growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all. This is even true at the doctoral and professional level—there are 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees"

The Curse of Modernity - "if (as everyone seems to agree) America is in decline morally, an excess of skeptical rationalism is probably not to blame. Still, the modern world is undeniably more secular than the premodern one, especially among the educated, and that fact must surely have large psychological, if not behavioral, consequences. What have been, and will be, the effects of the Enlightenment on the individual and collective moral psychology of the West?

Why are conspiracy theories popular? There’s more to it than paranoia. - "Despite Alex Jones’ recent efforts to convince BBC viewers otherwise, mental illness is neither an antecedent, nor the product of conspiracy theorising. Most people believe in at least one conspiracy theory; many people believe in several. It would be difficult to label them all crazy... conspiracy theories are generally far more complicated than the official stories they often attempt to refute. Which is more complicated, the suggestion that 19 terrorists boarded planes and crashed them on 9/11/2001, or that Bush, Cheney, the FBI, the CIA, Israel, all major news outlets, the NYPD, the 9/11 Commission, and Popular Mechanics magazine are all secretly conspiring together to hide airplanes, plant explosions, destroy evidence, and deceive the public? Put simply, conspiracy theories are usually never more parsimonious than the official explanations they rival. Many have blamed the media, particularly the internet, for fostering conspiratorial beliefs. In fact, no discussion of conspiratorial beliefs seems complete without blaming the web. Just as for other modern maladies, the internet makes a great scapegoat. It is true that there are many conspiracy theories tucked away on webpages just waiting to be found. The only problem is most people are not looking for them. And conspiracy theories comprise only a tiny portion of what the web has to offer. Of the top 200 websites visited in the US, none are devoted to conspiracy theories. People go to the web to shop, get recipes, find dates, book vacations, and check the headlines, but finding the latest conspiracy theory is not one of the top reasons for web use. Political ideology is often accused of being a culprit, with those on the political Right often cast as being more conspiratorial than those one the Left. But, in the US at least, conspiratorial beliefs tend to be spread evenly across party and ideological lines – it’s just that members of each party believe in different theories with different villains (the Left accuses the Right of conspiring while the Right accuses the Left of conspiring). And oddly, as partisans accuse each other of conspiring, they accuse each other of being prone to conspiracy theorising at the same time. For fear of bursting everyone’s bubble, no side is more prone."

Conspiracy Theories are for Losers by Joseph E. Uscinski, Joseph Parent, Bethany Torres - "we attempt the first systematic data collection of conspiracy theories at the mass and elite levels by examining published letters to the editor of the New York Times from 1897 to 2010 and a validating sample from the Chicago Tribune. We argue that perceived power asymmetries, indicated by international and domestic conflicts, influence when and why conspiracy theories resonate in the U.S. On this reasoning, conspiracy theories conform to a strategic logic that helps vulnerable groups manage threats. Further, we find that both sides of the domestic partisan divide partake in conspiracy theorizing equally, though in an alternating pattern, and foreign conspiracy theories crowd out domestic conspiracy theories during heightened foreign threat."

Sorry, I was drunk.: My Observations of Conscripts and Women - "Superstar K, an American Idol type show, was very popular. There was a Korean-American contestant name John Park who was accompanied by a white girl during his audition. When he and the girl hugged, the guys watching the TV went, "Whoaa. Lucky bastard." This seemed to be a common response to any form of intimacy between an Asian guy and a white girl. I've heard guys proclaim their wish to "ride a white horse" or wonder what a white girl feels like more than I can count... At an age where sleeping around as a much as possible is biologically wired into them, and in a society where prostitution is illegal yet accepted, getting married is a desire for these guys. Is it because they're indoctrinated? I'm not sure what these guys thought went down in marriage either. Do they consider the hows and whys? What purpose are they after in getting married?"

Joseph Wang's answer to Career Advice: Why should anyone ever take a job that doesn't pay as much as possible? - Quora - "Because jobs that pay a lot of money make you feel poor. I have never felt as poor as I did when I worked at big investment bank. I made a salary that most people would consider totally insane. The trouble is that so did everyone else on the floor. I had a boss that probably made over $1M/year and his boss probably made over $5M/year, and compared to them I was a total pauper... I know of people that make three times as much money as me that end up with less money because they end up spending more money than they make. When every morning in NYC, you go to work and walk past a sports car dealership with a car that says "buy me" you can end up pretty poor pretty quickly."
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