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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Links - 16th September 2014

Affair with study mama a 'painful lesson' - "One afternoon, he came home and found Ah Bing "asleep on the sofa", clad only in a towel. She was "shocked" by his return and apologised profusely before hurrying into her room. The same scene was repeated a week later. He looks at his wife, then says: "All I want to say is, I reacted like a normal man under that circumstance.""

What liberals get wrong about single payer - "insurers aren’t where the big profits in the health-care system go. In 2009, Forbes ranked health insurance as the 35th most profitable industry, with an anemic 2.2 percent return on revenue. To understand why the U.S. health-care system is so expensive, you need to travel higher up the Forbes list. The pharmaceutical industry was in third place, with a 19.9 percent return, and the medical products and equipment industry was right behind it, with a 16.3 percent return. Meanwhile, doctors are more likely than members of any other profession to have incomes in the top 1 percent... The dirty truth about American health care is that it costs more not because insurers are so powerful, but because they’re so weak... That leaves the United States with the worst of both approaches: Prices aren’t set by the market, but they also aren’t set by the government... as is often the case, political power flows in part from popularity. So politicians who routinely rail against for-profit insurers are scared to criticize -- much less legislate against -- for-profit hospitals, doctors or device manufacturers (though drug companies come in for a drubbing now and then). These are the people who work every day to save our lives, even if they make us pay dearly for the privilege. No one cheers when you take them on."

If Singapore stat boards had hipster logos… | just random designs

Bring back mandatory military service in the US and UK - "The only way to keep a rein on our nations' military activities may be to make sure everyone is directly involved in them"
One wonders why the Greek city states were always at war with each other, given that the adults (not their children) fought in the armies
Comment: "I'm rather surprised the author has never heard of Suez, Cyrpus, Malaya, Korea or indeed the Mau Mau insurgency. All fought post war by British conscripts."

The left's irrational fear of American intervention | Niall Ferguson - "Not for the first time, human rights violations by a Middle Eastern tyrant pose a dilemma for leftists on both sides of the Atlantic. On the one hand, they don't like reading about people being gassed. On the other, they are deeply reluctant to will the means to end the killing, for fear of acknowledging that western – meaning, in practice, American – military power can be a force for good. Ever since the 1990s, when the United States finally bestirred itself to end the post-Yugoslav violence in the Balkans, I have made three arguments that the left cannot abide. The first is that American military power is the best available means of preventing crimes against humanity. The second is that, unfortunately, the US is a reluctant "liberal empire" because of three deficits: of manpower, money and attention. And the third is that, when it retreats from global hegemony, we shall see more not less violence... Inaction is a policy that also has consequences measurable in terms of human life. The assumption that there is nothing worse in the world than American empire is an article of leftwing faith. It is not supported by the historical record."

You Can Buy An Entire Italian Village For $330,000 On eBay

Survey finds quite a number of S’poreans are backstabbing foodies in the office

$10 potato salad Kickstarter idea nets $35,000 in pledges for Columbus man

Germany’s energy transition: Sunny, windy, costly and dirty | The Economist - "An average household now pays an extra €260 ($355) a year to subsidise renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive than rivals from America, where energy prices are falling thanks to the fracking boom... Cost is not the only problem with the Energiewende. It has in effect turned the entire German energy industry into a quasi-planned economy with perverse outcomes. At certain times on some days, sun and wind power may provide almost all German electricity. But the sun does not always shine, especially in winter, and the wind is unpredictable. And “batteries”—storage technologies that, for example, convert power to gas and back again to electricity—on a scale sufficient to supply a city are years away. Nuclear-power plants are being phased out (this week’s court decision that the closure of a plant in Hesse was illegal will raise costs even more, as it may entitle the operator to more compensation). So conventional power plants have to stay online in order to assure continuous supply. The Energiewende has, in effect, upset the economics of building new conventional power plants, especially those fired by gas, which is cleaner but more expensive than coal. So existing coal plants are doing more duty. Last year electricity production from brown coal (lignite), the least efficient and dirtiest sort, reached its highest level since 1990. Gas-fired power production, by contrast, has been declining (see chart). In effect, the Energiewende has so far increased, not decreased, emissions of greenhouse gases."

Should Other Nations Follow Germany's Lead On Promoting Solar Power? - "Solar power itself is a good thing, but Germany’s pro-renewables policy has been a disaster. It has the absurd distinction of completing the trifecta of bad energy policy:
Bad for consumers
Bad for producers
Bad for the environment (yes, really; I’ll explain)
Pretty much the only people who benefit are affluent home-owners and solar panel installation companies"

Idle warning - "It is, in fact, an offence to leave your engine running when your car is stationary - something many motorists polled by The New Paper said they did not know... An environmental engineer, who wanted to be known only as Miss Tan, said that leaving a car engine switched on for under 30 minutes would not make a difference. She said: "In fact, when you switch the engine off and back on, you're also contributing gases into the atmosphere because of the ignition's combustion. "Switching your engine off and leaving your car by the side of the road makes it dangerous for yourself, especially if there are other vehicles driving by. What if you need to suddenly move off, but can't?""
In other countries, you at least have a grace period. In Singapore, even 1 second of idling is theoretically an offence

Caitlin Self's answer to Culture of India: Why do Indians like to give wrong directions? - Quora - "Cultures are classified by being high-context and low-context. Cultures that are "low-context" tend to be more direct, and are not afraid to give blunt information or to say no. One of the lowest context cultures is Germany, but the U.S. is also considered a low-context culture. You ask a question, you get a straight answer in the form of WORDS. (This is key.)
High-context cultures are those that build their cultures around context clues (at least, that's how I like to remember it). You must not only listen to their words, but also the context of those words. Are their eyes shifting around? Are they moving uncomfortably? They might not be using their WORDS, but they're still trying to give you a straight answer, you just might not speak their cultural language. A lot of this relies on body language, an understanding of the culture, and the knowledge that high-context cultures don't like to say no, or they don't normally admit they don't know something. For this reason, many cultures tend to seem to "give wrong directions." In reality, you might not be reading their context clues, or they might be too afraid to actually say "no."

PRC couple file police report over Singaporean secretly taking their photo in MRT

Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says - "What’s more, the report says, the number of full-time faculty and staff members per professional or managerial administrator has declined 40 percent, to around 2.5 to 1... And the kicker: You can’t blame faculty salaries for the rise in tuition. Faculty salaries were "essentially flat" from 2000 to 2012, the report says. And "we didn't see the savings that we would have expected from the shift to part-time faculty"... Faculty members typically don't deal with legal disputes, government regulations, athletics compliance, or intervention in mental-health, sexual-assault, or disabilities issues—that’s the professional staff's job, she said."

“The Daily Show”: Anti-vaxxers are the climate-denying “nutjobs” of the left

China LOL's new "Security" feature bans any English computer : leagueoflegends

Chinese officials debate why China can’t make a soap opera as good as South Korea’s - "At a meeting of delegates from the culture and entertainment industry, some blamed it partly on China’s censorship, euphemistically referred to as the “examination and approval system” at the meeting by Feng Xiaogang, a famous director and a CPPCC member. “My heart trembles,” he said, when waiting for a movie to go through this rigorous censoring procedure... Many viewed the popularity of the Korean drama as a heavy blow to Chinese confidence in their culture. “It is more than just a Korean soap opera. It hurts our culture dignity,”one CPPCC member said... While China has long considered itself the source of East Asian culture, the domination of Japanese comics and Korean soap operas in Chinese pop culture challenges that view... But, he said, the Korean soap opera also highlights how the Chinese value aspects of their traditional culture that can be seen in the drama. “The core and soul of the Korean opera is a distillation of traditional Chinese culture,” Wang said. “It just propagates traditional Chinese culture in the form of a TV drama.”"
How about JAV?

Russian Man Pretends to Die Before Proposing - "“I was so cross I almost killed him again, but for real this time,” she told Orange News."

How a River Otter Can Bag an Alligator for Lunch

Diego Noriega Mendoza's answer to Cinematography: Why do people feel strange when they see unexplained explosions in Power Rangers? - Quora - "Ask yourself which is more believable: Harry Potter killing Voldemort through the use of Expecto Patronexpeliarmus Kedavra, or Harry Potter killing Voldemort using a Barrett M107 coupled with a high precision scope? We are willing to take something that lacks verisimilitude, provided that it lies within what we consider to be acceptable and possible in the make believe world the filmmaker has built for us."

FiveFingers Maker Will Pay Millions To Suckers Who Bought Its Shoes - "Science takes time, and since the advent of Christopher McDougall's best-selling Born to Run (a book based mainly on anecdote that sparked the minimalist footwear revolution), science has discovered that barefoot running can really fuck you up. "This study showed that increases in bone marrow edema [the precursor to a stress fracture] are more common in subjects who were transitioning to the [Vibram FiveFingers]," concluded this 2013 study. In penance for its crimes against fashion and humanity, Vibram has placed $3.75 million into escrow. Those funds will go to the fitness idiots who purchased a pair after March 21, 2009, with up to $94 for each in an effort to help your friends and family not shudder when looking at your feet.

that didnt last very long
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