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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Links - 4th March 2014

We Only Think We Know the Truth About Salt - - "the people eating salt at the lower limit of normal were more likely to have heart disease than those eating smack in the middle of the normal range. Effectively what the 1972 paper would have predicted. Proponents of the eat-less-salt campaign tend to deal with this contradictory evidence by implying that anyone raising it is a shill for the food industry and doesn’t care about saving lives. An N.I.H. administrator told me back in 1998 that to publicly question the science on salt was to play into the hands of the industry. “As long as there are things in the media that say the salt controversy continues,” he said, “they win.” When several agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, held a hearing last November to discuss how to go about getting Americans to eat less salt (as opposed to whether or not we should eat less salt), these proponents argued that the latest reports suggesting damage from lower-salt diets should simply be ignored. Lawrence Appel, an epidemiologist and a co-author of the DASH-Sodium trial, said “there is nothing really new.” According to the cardiologist Graham MacGregor, who has been promoting low-salt diets since the 1980s, the studies were no more than “a minor irritation that causes us a bit of aggravation.”"

Evil Genius? How Dishonesty Can Lead to Greater Creativity - "We propose that dishonest and creative behavior have something in common: They both involve breaking rules. Because of this shared feature, creativity may lead to dishonesty (as shown in prior work), and dishonesty may lead to creativity (the hypothesis we tested in this research). In five experiments, participants had the opportunity to behave dishonestly by overreporting their performance on various tasks. They then completed one or more tasks designed to measure creativity. Those who cheated were subsequently more creative than noncheaters, even when we accounted for individual differences in their creative ability (Experiment 1). Using random assignment, we confirmed that acting dishonestly leads to greater creativity in subsequent tasks (Experiments 2 and 3). The link between dishonesty and creativity is explained by a heightened feeling of being unconstrained by rules, as indicated by both mediation (Experiment 4) and moderation (Experiment 5)."

Best of the Web Today: Drunkenness and Double Standards - - ""These aren't people jumping out of the bushes... For the most part, they're boys who had too much to drink and have done something stupid. When we show up to question them, you can see the terror in their eyes." The main topic of Winerip's piece is a preventive program called "bystander intervention": "Mostly it is common sense," he writes: "If a drunk young man at a party is pawing a drunk young woman, then someone nearby (the bystander) needs to step in (intervene) and get one of them out of there. . . . The goal is to stop bad behavior before it crosses the line from drunken partying to sexual assault"... Had she awakened the next day feeling regretful and violated, she could have brought him up on charges and severely disrupted his life. Both of them were taking foolish risks, and it seems likely that he as well as she had impaired judgment owing to excessive drinking. Winerip notes that between 2005 and 2010, "more than 60 percent of claims involving sexual violence handled by United Educators"--an insurance company owned by member schools--"involved young women who were so drunk they had no clear memory of the assault"... What is called the problem of "sexual assault" on campus is in large part a problem of reckless alcohol consumption, by men and women alike. (Based on our reporting, the same is true in the military)... If two drunk drivers are in a collision, one doesn't determine fault on the basis of demographic details such as each driver's sex. But when two drunken college students "collide," the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault. His diminished capacity owing to alcohol is not a mitigating factor, but her diminished capacity is an aggravating factor for him. As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes, at some campuses the accuser's having had one drink is sufficient to establish the defendant's guilt... In theory that means, as FIRE notes, that "if both parties are intoxicated during sex, they are both technically guilty of sexually assaulting each other." In practice it means that women, but not men, are absolved of responsibility by virtue of having consumed alcohol. That is self-evidently unjust, yet it turns out to be a matter of high principle for many feminists... contemporary feminists "embrace the Victorian conceit of delicate female vulnerability while leaving out the sexual modesty that once accompanied it." That they do all this in the name of equality is downright Orwellian."
A feminist double standard you don't hear about; predictably the vitriolic and hysterical response (which notably contrasts with the measured original) shows a (deliberate?) failure of reading comprehension

Stepping Up to Stop Sexual Assault - - In July 2012, a female student reported to the campus police that Dez Wells, a star basketball player, had raped her. Mr. Wells acknowledged having sex with the woman but said it was consensual and he used a condom. That night, according to legal papers filed by Mr. Wells, the two plus several friends gathered in a dorm room to play truth or dare. Many of the dares, Mr. Wells said, were sexual — at one point the woman gave him a lap dance; at another, she exposed her breasts. Afterward, they went back to her dorm room and had sex. Several hours later the woman reported to the police that she had been raped. Joseph T. Deters, the Hamilton County prosecuting attorney based in Cincinnati, says that he put two of his best assistants on the case, including the head of the criminal division. They were convinced no rape had occurred. “It wasn’t close,” he says. They presented it to a grand jury, which did not indict. Mr. Deters says he repeatedly tried speaking with Xavier officials, but they did not respond. Instead, the university brought the case before its tribunal. When Mr. Deters read the transcript of that hearing, he says: “It shocked me. There were students on that conduct board, looking at rape kits; they’d say, ‘I don’t know what I’m looking at.’ ” The tribunal found Mr. Wells “responsible for rape” and expelled him... several times last season at away games, including one at Duke when he scored 30 points, fans taunted him about being a rapist, shouting, “No means no.” He is suing Xavier for his expulsion... The coaches repeatedly pound into their heads that a woman not saying no is not the same as a woman saying yes. “If there is 1 percent doubt in my mind,” Mr. Rowe said, “it’s not worth doing it. Unless she gives consent, she can say, ‘I was raped,’ and it’s your word against hers.” “If a girl wants to have sex,” he continued, “you’ll know it. She has that look in her eyes. She’s been talking to you, she bothers you, she walks by you all night, the whole thing, you talk, you let it evolve.” Mr. Chaput looked like he had something to say but wasn’t sure he should. Finally, in a quiet voice, he said, “I waited until a girl asked me.”"

The Tragedy of Venezuela - "For many, the student protests there are just one more episode in the protracted confrontation between a pro-poor, anti-American government and a so-called “middle-class” opposition too clumsy and unpopular to win elections. This description of Venezuela’s political conflict is as common as it is inaccurate. In fact, electoral results and most opinion surveys show that half of all Venezuelans are opposed to the government of President Nicolás Maduro... the “middle class” that most journalists define as “the opposition” was always tiny, and the country’s economic crisis has depleted it even further. It surely is far smaller than the 50 percent of the population that does not support the government. This means that the government's many opponents include millions of the poor that Maduro claims to represent... Venezuela is now the world champion of inflation, homicide, insecurity, and shortages of essential goods—from milk for children to insulin for diabetics and all kinds of indispensable products. All this despite having the greatest oil reserves in the world and a government with absolute control of all state institutions and levers of power... The catastrophic consequences of Chávez's 21st Century Socialism are impossible to mask any longer and the government has run out of excuses. Blaming the CIA, the “fascist opposition,” or “dark international forces,” as Maduro and his allies customarily do, has become fodder for parodies flooding YouTube. The concrete effects of 15 years of Chavismo are all too visible in empty shelves and overflowing morgues... repressive techniques are not Cuba’s only exports. The island has long been the source of bad political and economic ideas in Latin America—from the disdain for democracy to the cult of the centrally planned economy"

Do Women Want To Be Objectified? - "In a recent interview, actress Cameron Diazcontroversially said "I think every woman does want to be objectified"... some participants seemed to benefit from their daily experiences of self-objectification. Those who were high in appearance-contingent self-worth, meaning that they based their self-worth on their appearance, and who had high self-esteem, were getting a boost because they also tended to feel more attractive in those moments when they self-objectified. But appearance-contingent participants who had low self-esteem experienced the biggest drop in well-being because they were more likely to feel unattractive in those moments. In other words, for people who base their self-worth on appearance (aka most of us, to some extent), self-objectification may be a double-edged sword. It feels great when you're getting positive attention, but it can easily turn sour when attention is negative or lacking, and these ups and downs can wreak havoc on mental and physical health."

More men in Shanghai marrying foreign women: CCTV - "30-year-old Li Ming and 25-year-old French national Alice Garcia. The two met at a party in Barcelona while Li was studying overseas and got married last May. Garcia said the fact that he's Chinese was initially really "interesting" to her, because, you know, he "really wants to take care of you and take charge of the dinner""

Kim Soo Hyun’s Scary List of Demands to Future Girlfriend? - "You have to feel sad because of me. You have to feel like dying, and also regret at some point. Whoever you see, you only have to think about me. And more than anything, you should never suspect me. You can never interfere with me because it’s annoying. I’m also pretty good at cursing. But you always have to be next to me when I need you, because I’m lacking love. You have to be quick-witted because I’m pretty hot-tempered. If you ever try to teach me, then you’ll die. Ah…buy me some medicine. I have a lot of minor ailments. I have an irregular pulse. I need surgery."

Abortions outnumber live births among NYC's black community

Romanian family: 'Your benefits system is crazy, It's like finding a sackful of cash left on the road' - "Now I sing “God praise your Queen Elizabeth” every day, because we have arrived in heaven... Of course, we want to be here. I will only run away when your country starts sinking under the weight of people, which will happen one day."
Who gives such interviews?!

Roman Sitelew's answer to Russia: How powerful is Russia? - Quora - "a typical Russian solder is belly-pinched, downtrodden, unhealthy, weak and incompetent. And he HATES the army. It's not an exaggeration... 44% Russians want to leave Russia forever, and 10% of Russians already made first steps toward the emigration."

26 things found in Yanukovych's compound that make him look even worse - "Let them eat golden bread!"

Health warning : Watch what you eat! | Gintai_昇泰 - "I have elaborated on the no-washing of the vegetable in a typical food stall. What about the manner of preparation for other food such as chicken wings, meat, fish etc. Yup, they simply throw into the hot boiling oil in the wok and deep fry them. Rice is never washed at all before it’s put in the rice cooker to steam. Another observation made by my mum is that all those ingredients and condiments such as salt, oil, sugar, black or light soy sauce kept in small containers meant for cooking are all left overnight without any lids to secure them. Lizards, rats, cockroaches having a big party throughout the night and then they are used in the cooking the next day for our own consumption. Frightening? Flabbergasted? That is why my mum brings her own food to work even though free meals are provided. She would keep far away from those cooked food cuz she knows how they are prepared."
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