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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Links - 7th May 2014

Are Flip-flops Harmful to Your Career? - "Three quarters of workers polled (77 percent) feel flip-flops are unprofessional, while an additional seven percent simply don't want to see colleagues' feet while at work. In contrast, just over one in ten (11 percent) believe flip-flops are generally acceptable attire."

How In-app Purchases Have Destroyed The Industry - "We have reached a point in which mobile games couldn't even be said to be a game anymore. Playing a game means that you have fun. It doesn't mean that you sit around and wait for the game to annoy you for so long that you decide to pay credits to speed it up. And for an old geezer like me who remember the glory days of gaming back in the 1990s, it's just unbearable to watch... The modern-day Dungeon Keeper is not even a game. It's just a socially engineered scam. And since people don't remember what real gaming was like in the 90s, they are giving it the highest rating in the app store... What EA has done here has nothing to do with gaming, and the same is true for pretty much all other 'free-to-play + in-app purchase' games. We don't have a mobile gaming industry anymore. We have a mobile scamming industry. There is no game here. And you know what the worst part of this is? Let me show you. This crap is featured as one of the five top picks on the front page of Apple's app store, as an Editors' choice... As NerdCubed said in his review, the problem is that all the future generations of gamers are going to experience this as the default. They are going to grow up in a world, in which people actually think this is what gaming is like. That social engineering and scamming people is an acceptable way of doing business... Also read: "Optimizing Your Industry to the Point of Suicide", in which I show you how it will cost you almost $3,500 to unlock everything in Asphalt 7."

When Done Right, In-App Purchases can be Based on Trust - " The only reason why companies like EA can get away with what they did to Dungeon Keeper is that they can hide the real cost of playing the game. If they were forced to be upfront and honest about how their in-app purchase system is interrupting the game play, nobody would ever download the game. And I think it's only a matter of time before various Government consumer watchdogs (like the FTC) will force game developers to do this. We are already seeing how things are starting to happen in the UK, and it will surely be required in other countries as well. Remember, this is the law in many countries. And it's especially true in Europe, where finding new ways to annoy Apple and Google is a hobby for many EU politicians. It will be a massive vote winner for any politician who forces the app stores to implement new 'transparency' rules for in-app purchases. And as a game developer, do you think that you could continue to offer in-app purchases when this happens? If you have to be upfront about the real cost of *playing* your game in an uninterrupted way, would people still download them?"

Demand Media: Rise and Fall of a Content Farm | Variety - "The future of the so-called "content farm" looks bleak as its search-centric biz crumbles"
"Filed Under: Demand Media
Epic Fail
Weekly Online

Nothing Personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test - "1. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is used by countless organisations and industries, although one of the few areas that doesn't use it is psychology, which says a lot.
2. Many people who have encountered the MBTI in the workplace really don't have a lot of positive things to say about it.
3. For some organisations, use of the MBTI seemingly crosses the line into full-blown ideology.
So how did something that apparently lacks scientific credibility become such a popular and accepted tool?...
The MBTI was developed during World War 2 by Myers and Briggs (obviously), two housewives who developed a keen interest in the works of Carl Jung. They developed the MBTI based on Jung's theories, with the intention of producing a useful test that would allow women entering the workforce to be assigned jobs that would be best suited to their personalities. This is already enough to make some people wary. Myers and Briggs weren't trained scientists, but you don't need to be scientifically qualified to make a very valid contribution to science. Look at Galaxy Zoo. Also, deriving all your information from a single source is always questionable in science, even if it weren't the work of Jung, whose theories were/are very influential and far reaching but largely scientifically untestable and subject to numerous criticisms... MBTI is predominately used in the workplace by HR departments, development/training teams and the like, who can often be clearly unaware of its limitations... 'When I was back in school (25+ years ago) a lot of teachers gave the test at the beginning of the year… In one class I was asked to write about "what I learned about myself" by taking the test. I wrote a whole paper about how unscientific the test was and how I didn't learn anything. That teacher had me removed from her class within a week for unrelated trumped up reasons. It was like I was questioning her religion'... any personality type you get assigned is invariably positive. There is no combination of answers you could give on the MBTI which says 'you're an arsehole'."

What Drives Success? - - "It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control... The United States itself was born a Triple Package nation, with an outsize belief in its own exceptionality, a goading desire to prove itself to aristocratic Europe (Thomas Jefferson sent a giant moose carcass to Paris to prove that America’s animals were bigger than Europe’s) and a Puritan inheritance of impulse control."

The End of a Bold Experiment: Big Think and Satoshi Kanazawa
Comments: "Why was it also necessary to completely delete all of his posts so that there is no trace of him? This is very bizarre. Literally censorship.
If there is a problem with his science, address it. Let him respond. Or, if you really find him to be against the spirit of Big Think, let him go, but leave his posts. But to completely delete all of his blog posts to make it look like he was never here? This stinks of some threatening force pulling the strings. I don't know who or what, but I wish you could be honest about it."
"If you think someone is wrong, rebut them. That's what intellectuals do. If you can't handle someone's ideas, that says a lot.
Academia is known everywhere (except among academics, Dunning-Kruger and whatnot) for being very far to the left of center, with a fairly narrow range of intellectual diversity. This is not a new problem. For example, the astoundingly incorrect economics of Marxism were mainstream on campuses across America for many decades (in my college town of Ithaca, New York for instance Cornell professor Benjamin Nichols became mayor by running as a Communist in 1988 in a case of exquisite comedic timing). These Marxist ideas were not dislodged by logic or debate, nor by the weight of 100 million murders. They were only dislodged by the utter worldwide collapse of Marxist economies everywhere. And amazingly these ideas are still prominent, just less dominant after these ideas have brought utter poverty and ruin everywhere they were tried.
I may advise my four bright children to flee academia, because academia flees debate. I want my children to be open-minded, not dull, stifled and ignorant. I am not in agreement with much of Kanazawa but I am enough of an intellectual to handle him."
"scientists couch their research in perhaps cryptic terms in professional journals to stay below leftist radar. They share openly, peer-review each other's work, with the confidence that the torch-and-pitchfork carrying leftist masses aren't going to even bother about them. Then a scientist lifts his head above a parapet (by writing a blog) and the shooting starts."

Stephen Jay Gould - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "In 2011, a study conducted by six anthropologists reanalyzed Gould's claim that Samuel Morton unconsciously manipulated his skull measurements, and concluded that Gould's analysis was poorly supported and incorrect. They praised Gould for his "staunch opposition to racism" but concluded, "we find that Morton's initial reputation as the objectivist of his era was well-deserved." Ralph Holloway, one of the co-authors of the study, commented, "I just didn't trust Gould. ... I had the feeling that his ideological stance was supreme. When the 1996 version of 'The Mismeasure of Man' came and he never even bothered to mention Michael's study, I just felt he was a charlatan.""

Race, Poverty and SAT Scores: Modeling the Influences of Family Income on Black and White High School Students’ SAT Performance - "Results suggest the effects of family income on SAT scores, though relatively modest in contrasts to high school achievement, are substantial, non-linear, and nearly twice as large for Black students."
Via comment on Big Think: The SAT actually measures g (general intelligence) very well. So well in fact that based upon your families income (which remember is correlated to intelligence) you can tell how well someone will score on the test (in the average).

The university professor who stood up against dumbing down of degrees - "Over the last few years, as the effects of the relentless expansion of student numbers in the 1980s and 1990s have been felt, evidence has been emerging of "dumbing down" in some institutions. The cases reveal staff under pressure to bump up results and ignore rampant plagiarism by students. If the pass rate is too low, lecturers are questioned by university examination boards, regardless of a student's attendance or the amount of work they put in. Any academic who sticks his head above the parapet to complain faces the wrath of university authorities. Walter Cairns, a law lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, was kicked off the institution's academic board last year when he revealed in a submission to MPs on the universities select committee that 20 marks were added to the scores of around 90 students studying international business law in 2005 because their results were so bad."

Why not maintenance payout for the divorced man? - "Another lawyer who does not want to be named said: “The court usually gets around it by increasing the amount of assets for the husband to make things more equal. This happens in cases where the husband has given up his career to support his wife, or has given up work for the family.” In a divorce case in 2009, the family court awarded 40 per cent of a couple’s shared assets to the husband, though he had contributed only 20 per cent to it. The court said the husband gave up his job to look after the couple’s three sons as the reason for the ruling... Though many family lawyers welcome changes to the maintenance provision, family lawyer Jeannette Chong Aruldoss has reservations. Chong said: “If we change the law to substitute “wife” for the gender neutral term “spouse”, this would mean that a wife – especially one who had financially supported her husband during the marriage – would have a duty to maintain her husband during their marriage and even after it has ended. “Unless we are ready to impose such a financial duty on a wife, the current maintenance provisions in the Women’s Charter should remain unchanged for the time being.”"
A husband who had financially supported his wife during the marriage having a duty to maintain her during the marriage and even after it has ended is precisely what is happening now

Oriental riff - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "The Oriental riff is a Western invention, dating back to the “Aladdin Quick Step” used in an Aladdin stage show, The Grand Chinese Spectacle of Aladdin or The Wonderful Lamp, in 1847"

Is everything we eat associated with cancer? A systematic cookbook review - "We selected 50 common ingredients from random recipes in a cookbook... Forty ingredients (80%) had articles reporting on their cancer risk. Of 264 single-study assessments, 191 (72%) concluded that the tested food was associated with an increased (n = 103) or a decreased (n = 88) risk; 75% of the risk estimates had weak (0.05 > P ≥ 0.001) or no statistical (P > 0.05) significance. Statistically significant results were more likely than nonsignificant findings to be published in the study abstract than in only the full text (P < 0.0001). Meta-analyses (n = 36) presented more conservative results; only 13 (26%) reported an increased (n = 4) or a decreased (n = 9) risk (6 had more than weak statistical support)... Conclusions: Associations with cancer risk or benefits have been claimed for most food ingredients. Many single studies highlight implausibly large effects, even though evidence is weak. Effect sizes shrink in meta-analyses" Addendum: Aka everything causes cancer
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