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More adventurous than the average bear

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Links - 30th June 2014

Video Games Improve Vision, Study Says - "Playing "action" video games improves a visual ability crucial for tasks like reading and driving at night, a new study says... Previous research shows that gaming improves other visual skills, such as the ability to track several objects at the same time and paying attention to a series of fast-moving events, Bavelier said"

The Quiet Death of Moderate Islam - "Let’s assume that the pro-lynching Afrikaners are mostly law-abiding and that their support for lynching is based upon sincerely held religious beliefs – after all, some in the Dutch Reformed Church once believed that black Africans belonged to a lower race than whites and that black skin was the ‘mark of Cain’. Let’s also assume that their religious leaders assert that their religion commands them to obey the laws of the countries in which they live and that that any support for lynching applies only in an ‘ideal Apartheid state’?... When I was a child, my relatives would tell me that the hadud punishments of stoning, beheading and limb amputation weren’t part of modern Islam – such practices belonged to another time, in the same way that burning witches in Europe belonged to another time. I was told that the only Muslims that supported such practices were ‘backward’ and the only places that practiced them were ‘barbaric’ – in time ‘education’ would enlighten these simple folk and drag them into modernity. Yet I’ve grown up and seen the opposite happen. These days, one can happily believe and even state publicly that the death penalty should apply to anyone who has sex outside of marriage, takes part in a homosexual act, insults the Prophet or leaves Islam without being ‘extreme’. As long as one says “in an ideal Islamic society”... even though it’s convenient to pretend one thing in public, the media and the political class know deep down that people like me no longer represent the views of British Muslims... We face overwhelming hostility from the ‘vast majority of moderate Muslims’. We’re accused of causing fitnah and of being murtad – apostates, and as such we too warrant the death penalty alongside homosexuals in Baksh’s ideal Islamic state. It’s ironic that in modern Britain, it is far, far more dangerous for me to state my beliefs in public in than it is for Baksh to state his... Throughout Europe today, someone can advocate a Utopia in which gays and apostates are killed and nevertheless expect to be considered a ‘moderate’, fully entitled to and deserving of tolerance and respect. They can even call themselves an ‘anti-fascist’. As long as that Utopia is “an ideal Islamic society”."

Pain Now Is Easier Than Pain Later

'Selfie' body image warning issued - "Spending lots of time on Facebook looking at pictures of friends could make women insecure about their body image"

Don Corleone: Not a Nice Guy but No Psychopath - "None of the Mafia members scored higher than a 30, the generally accepted threshold for psychopathy, and only 10 percent had scores that would classify them as moderately psychopathic. Meanwhile, more than half of the non-Mafia men rated as either moderately or severely psychopathic. Mafia membership was also associated with low substance abuse and high family commitment"

Brendan O’Neill: Equal marriage is an elitist campaign with no roots in the public - "“I think same-sex marriage is an entirely invented, purely symbolic issue and it doesn’t have any roots in social activism,” he said. When asked to explain why he felt there was no public call for same-sex marriage he said: “Look at the way this [campaign] is, compared to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, the differences are astounding. “There were mass protests, there were year-long boycotts, there was fighting, there were water cannons, people were arrested and put in jail... “I know there are lots of opinion polls which show that small majorities think it’s a good idea, 55%, 56% and so on, but if you look at those opinion polls in detail you’ll notice that larger majorities think it’s not an important issue. “People are tolerant of homosexuals, which is a wonderful, great thing, but they are confused by the priority that is given to this issue and I don’t think that’s surprising because this issue came out of thin air and it’s largely being pursued for the benefit of individual politicians and campaigners rather than for the benefit of society”... “The Stonewall rioters of 1969 said that all social institutions including marriage needed to be abolished. Now you have representatives of something called Stonewall coming in here and saying ‘we really want to get married’”... “If you read the government’s consutation on same-sex marriage it does not mention family, or children, or community, except when it twice talks about the transgender community. It doesn’t mention the fundamental things that marriage was originally bound up with, which was about managing and organising the renewal of generations. “You are elevating a bourgeois view of marriage which is marriage as companionship,” said Mr O’Neill. “Beyond your old couple there are millions of people for whom marriage is about more than two people.”"

Hong Chung Chow's answer to Indian People: Where did the Malaysian stereotype of Indians as alcoholics come from? - Quora - "If you wander off to rural areas in Malaysia, it's relatively easy to find Indian men congregating outside of Chinese medicine shop, after work, to buy cheaply packed hard liquor. Additionally, it's also easy to find many Indians wasting their time in local community coconut wine breweries. One can only wonder where are the Chinese"

How some young people have become their own online bullies - "While her parents, council manager Jonathan and his wife Sue, an office assistant, assumed Ellie was studying for her forthcoming exams, the teenager posted dozens of vicious remarks about herself over the course of a year... She is one of what seems to be a growing number of British teens indulging in the sinister and habit-forming practice of self-trolling... Fourteen-year-old Hannah Smith, from Lutterworth, Leicestershire, hanged herself in her bedroom last summer after messages were posted on Ask FM telling her to 'go die', 'get cancer' and 'drink bleach'. At first, as in Ellie's case, cyber-bullies were blamed for the abuse. Then her father revealed that detectives believed she had been sending the messages to herself... This appeared to confirm claims by the Latvian bosses of the site - initially greeted with shock and bewilderment - that 98 per cent of the messages could be traced back to Hannah's home... It takes less than a minute on Ask FM to find examples of young people trolling themselves without even pretending to be someone else... U.S. researchers found in a recent study of more than 600 first-year students that 9 per cent posted toxic remarks about themselves... Posting horrible remarks from 'strangers' saying they are fat or ugly is also a way for youngsters to attract compliments from friends who rush to contradict them - a quick fix for their self-esteem. Furthermore, being seen as a victim - or being seen to stand firm against 'bullying' - may win them status among their peers. Loneliness may be another factor, says Rachel. 'There are plenty of young people who have 1,000 friends on their Facebook page but only two or three real ones.' Just as children sometimes invent imaginary friends, it seems there is a strange comfort in inventing imaginary critics and appearing to have their attention... One clue that a young person may be actively seeking out bullying is if they turn off their privacy settings to boost the chances of attracting vitriolic comments from strangers"

'Bad-Eating Groups' Love to Hate Hong Kong's Ming General Restaurant - WSJ - "From gold-flecked dim sum to its traditional greeting, "Have you eaten yet?" Hong Kong is famous for its obsession with fine dining. Then there is Ming General Japanese Sushi Restaurant, which has built a fan base united by their belief that the restaurant's food is supremely terrible. "

Phone apps used for gay sex linked to higher STD risk - "Previous research found that app users were less likely to use condoms during sex and more likely to have multiple partners"

As Taylor Swift transforms to sexy rocker, her changing faces as good girl turns bad - "After the release of her first album, Fearless, she discovered bodycon and hair straightners. Then she made friends with Miley, and her dresses got shorter.

Two Teens 'Were Having Sex' When They Fell To Their Deaths From Balcony - ""They were trying to have sex on the balcony, the guy was lifting the girl and putting her on the bannister, he kept on doing it. "He was putting her on there - they were going back and forth. You could see they were doing some really dangerous stuff."

Burial ban blamed for spike in China suicide rates - "Burial has been a tradition in China for thousands of years. But some people apparently have felt so strongly about the recent change banning the practice that there have been a spate of alleged suicides to avoid the new rule... Zheng Shifang, from the village of Luting, was one of the six who committed suicide. She was 83 when she died, choosing to take her own life after village committee staff sawed her coffin – which she kept at home – in half in front of her."

ATHEIST MOBS RIOT OVER FB PHOTO DEEMED OFFENSIVE TO RICHARD DAWKINS - "Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Oxford, England chanting “Empirical evidence supported by controlled experimentation is Great” and burning effigies to Ronald MacDonald... Agnostics failed to riot, but stood on the sidelines cheering on the riot and taking credit for it anyways."

LOOK Scoot turns SGAG squabble into promotion

Do Big Money Bonuses Really Increase Job Performance? - "An incentive can be both a blessing and a curse because while it should motivate us, it can just as easily psych us out. Actual task performance may suffer because we’re obsessing about the money. Also, a bigger prize can make us more tightly focussed, but a tight focus is not useful for some tasks – for example those that involve creativity. Consequently behavioural economist Professor Dan Ariely and colleagues hypothesised that big bonuses might actually decrease people’s performance, and they set out to prove it (Ariely et al., 2004)."
And highly paid politicians...

'Organic' Isn't Clean and It Isn't Toxin-Free - "organic farms produce as much, or more, pollution than conventional farms and that organic products might actually contain more toxins than other foods."

California parents outraged by Pine Valley Middle School's explicit sex ed class - "the one which shocked them most was a picture of a man with a bloody face accompanied by a caption saying, 'A real man loves his woman every day of the month.' One parent said: 'This is horrific. This is unacceptable material.'"

Like some happiness with that? Fast food cues hurt ability to savor experience - "people living in communities with higher prevalence of fast-food restaurants were significantly less able to enjoy pleasurable activities that require savoring, even when controlling for economic factors of the individual and the neighborhood. The study’s authors propose that’s because fast food can incite people to feel more impatient, diminishing their ability to slow down and savour life’s simpler joys."

My fling with Dolly the Dolphin: Writer says lovesick mammal killed herself after six-month affair ended - "Malcolm, from Punta Garda, Florida, believes her death a short time later was a case of suicide and that she voluntarily stopped breathing. The relationship didn't break any laws as bestiality was only banned in Florida 2011. Malcolm has since been married twice but also describes himself as a 'zoophile' and says he has had previous sexual experiences with a dog. He said Margaret Howe Lovatt shouldn't feel any shame over her experience with the dolphin and that humans have a misunderstanding about sexual relationships with animals. "It's extremely upsetting. When my book came out I lost a job at a magazine because of the publicity and complaints from advertisers. "I don't understand why there is seen to be a slippery slope. "There is no comparison between sexual abuse and a sexual relationship with a consenting animal.""
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