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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Links - 17th September 2014

In Tehran, Iran You Can Hire Somebody To Walk Behind Your Car And Block Your License Plate From Traffic Cameras - "In Tehran, Iran traffic authorities placed restrictions on the amount of cars on roads to reduce congestion and pollution. Cars with plates ending with odd numbers were restricted one day and even numbers the next. After having installed traffic cameras, locals in downtown Tehran found a way to beat the system. Drivers paid people to walk behind their cars to block their license plates."

Modern art: How gallery visitors only viewed work by Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin for less than 5 seconds

The 22 Most Extreme Selfies Ever Taken

America's love-affair with ranch dressing. - "Ranch dressing has been the nation's best-selling salad topper since 1992, when it overtook Italian. How did this simple mixture of mayonnaise, buttermilk, and herbs become America's favorite way to liven up lettuce?"

Matt Harbowy's answer to Tea: Does bouncing your tea bag actually do anything substantial? - Quora - "Within statistical error, under almost all testing conditions, I cannot find a difference between dunking and not dunking under controlled circumstances, so do it how you want. There is almost as much statistical noise in the wettability of the paper and the leaf from one bag to the next as there is in dissolution rates, and small changes in manufacture usually matter more than anything the consumer on the teabag side can control. The tea taster responsible for blending the tea bag can usually "blend" these variations away from year to year by using tea from a number of places around the world. "

New Batam immigration rules faze some Singaporeans - The 33-year-old tutor said they were waiting to clear Indonesian immigration when an officer made them, along with another woman, stand in a separate line. Their travel documents were also taken away, she said. The women said a senior immigration officer made an announcement to the entire hall and gestured at a sign which portrayed a finger on the lips. "It wasn't until much later that another officer came out of a room and asked us to follow him," she said. "He also handed our passports to a worker from the ferry service operator." They were taken to the departure point, where there were another four Singaporeans who had apparently been picked out earlier for either talking or using their mobile phones. Miss Fernandez said immigration officers could have at least told the group what they had done wrong. They found out more details only after they returned to Singapore."

Jobless man died after sex toy got stuck in his body and he was too embarrassed to see a doctor

Japan's sex doll industry 'reaches next level' with perfect artificial 'Dutch Wife' - "A Japanese company claims to have reached the next level in developing the most genuine looking sex doll which comes complete with realistic feeling skin and authentic looking eyes. Orient Industry say their new range of dolls, made from high quality silicon, are so realistic there is very little to distinguish them from a real girlfriend at first glance. The dolls, which are non inflatable, are sold under the name 'Dutch Wives', a Japanese term for a sex doll, and adverts in the media boast that anyone who buys one will never want a real girlfriend again."

George RR Martin: women beg me to write more gay sex scenes for Game of Thrones - ""I don't pretend to understand this," he said, as he disclosed he would not "shy away" from any storyline. But, he added the writing of his Song of Ice and Fire series was "not a democracy", joking fans would have killed off hated characters much sooner had they been given a vote... "When I was 12 or 13, I had teachers take science fiction books away from me, and told me you're a smart kid, you get good grades, why are you reading this s---? "Except they were teachers so they said trash. 'It'll rot your mind [they said]. You should be reading Silas Marner or something like that'. "If I had been reading Silas Marner I probably would have stopped reading." He added: "There's a lot of prejudice against science fiction, particularly against genre fiction. And it's still there but it's not nearly what it was. "I think these things are breaking down. Literary fiction in its present form is a genre itself and we should recognise it as that. "The real test is what books are going to survive. Tolkien has certainly survived. "All you can do is write the best story you can and put it in the hands of posterity. "The fact that people are arguing about my books is a sign that I take very well. A writer's real enemy is obscurity.""
Men <-> Lesbian Sex as Women <-> Gay Sex

brick me with a brick - Why Magical Girls Are Never Attacked During A Tranformation - "Back on May 15th, the theme of the episode was pataphysics/the science of sci-fi. One of the topics of the lecture held by university professor Yanagita Rikao was the age-old question of "WHY ARE MAGICAL GIRLS NEVER ATTACKED WHILE TRANSFORMING???""

Is our obsession with cleanliness doing more harm than good? - "On the docket for this week's 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) was research by Arizona State University citing concerns over the prevalence of two antibacterial compounds and the potential hazards they could pose to pregnant women. Thought to be used in over 2,000 everyday cleaning products including conventional hand washing soap, the two compounds in question, called triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC), are difficult to avoid. According to lead author Rolf Halden, PhD., a longtime opponent of the use of TCS and TCC, which were introduced in 1964 and 1957, respectively, the compounds' health threats expand well beyond the health of pregnant women, contributing to the increasing problem of antibacterial resistance."

What an Introvert Sounds Like - "introverts make heavy use of emoticons and words related to anime, but extroverts say “party,” “baby,” and “ya”... Open people talk about “dreams” and the “universe,” apparently, while people with “low openness”—“characterized by traits such as being unintelligent, unanalytical, unreflective, uninquisitive, unimaginative, uncreative, and unsophisticated”—use contractions, misspellings ... and misspelled contractions... People are much less likely to be “bored” at 60 than at 13, it turns out, but much more likely to feel proud. Twenty-five year olds tend to mention “drunk,” but 55-year-olds talk about “wine”... “males use the possessive ‘my’ when mentioning their wife or girlfriend more often than females use ‘my’ with ‘husband’ or ‘boyfriend.’”"

Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air - "Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one “streamer” every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator’s application to build a still-bigger version... The bird kills mark the latest instance in which the quest for clean energy sometimes has inadvertent environmental harm. Solar farms have been criticised for their impacts on desert tortoises, and wind farms have killed birds, including numerous raptors... .Federal wildlife officials said Ivanpah might act as a “mega-trap” for wildlife, with the bright light of the plant attracting insects, which in turn attract insect-eating birds that fly to their death in the intensely focused light rays."
Green energy! Dams (for hydroelectric power) are great for wildlife too

Nut allergy girl stopped breathing when plane passenger ignored THREE warnings not to open packet of nuts

Ambition: Do you need it to succeed? - "Being an easy-going team player will actually get you farther than ambition, said Ghaemi. In the corporate world, the people who rise to the top tend to be fairly even-keeled. They have to be likeable, social and hard working, but more importantly, they have to be as normal as possible. “People who do well are people in the 50th percentile of everything,” said Ghaemi. “They have to be really well liked, but they’re also conformists. They’re not especially creative, they’re not super productive and they’re not especially innovative. They just need to be committed to the institution.” Although Coney disagrees with Ghaemi — “I tell my team you need to be an outlier,” he said — he does say that he made it to the CEO role more because he did what was asked of him and less because of his own ambition to succeed."

The Evolutionary Role Of PMS? - "Professor Michael Gillings, from Macquarie University, believes that in our evolutionary past there was a hidden selective advantage to PMS, because it increased the chance that infertile pair bonds would dissolve, thus improving the reproductive outcomes of women in such partnerships... The hypothesis was supported by the high heritability of PMS, and the fact that gene variants associated with PMS can be identified, not to mention the data that show animosity exhibited during PMS is preferentially directed at current partners."
The Paper: "behaviours exhibited during PMS may increase the chance of finding a new partner... Most women feel more sexual at particular phases of the menstrual cycle, and the premenstrual phase is nominated by more women than any other phase (Harvey 1987), despite the physical inconvenience associated with premenstrual symptoms... Finding new partners involves a degree of risk and intrasexual competition. Risk taking varies across the menstrual cycle, with women being most risk-averse during ovulation, and exhibiting more risky behaviours during nonfertile phases (Chavanne and Gallup Jr 1998; Bröder and Hohmann 2003). Women also display more competitive behaviours in the premenstrual phase in a number of experimental scenarios (Pearson and Schipper 2009; Buser 2012). PMDD is associated with increased activity in the amygdala during the late luteal phase. Some researchers suggest that changes in limbic activity lead to a consequent increase in impulsivity (Protopopescu et al. 2008)."

Too much, too little sodium is bad for heart, so what’s the Goldilocks amount? - "The good news is, though, that researchers found about 75 percent of Americans intake the appropriate amount of sodium per day"

Alone Again, Naturally - - "A front-page article in The Times by Carl Hulse, Jeremy Peters and Michael Shear chronicled how the president’s disdain for politics has alienated many of his most stalwart Democratic supporters on Capitol Hill. His bored-bird-in-a-gilded-cage attitude, the article said, “has left him with few loyalists to effectively manage the issues erupting abroad and at home and could imperil his efforts to leave a legacy in his final stretch in office”... First the president couldn’t work with Republicans because they were too obdurate. Then he tried to chase down reporters with subpoenas. Now he finds members of his own party an unnecessary distraction. His circle keeps getting more inner. He golfs with aides and jocks, and he spent his one evening back in Washington from Martha’s Vineyard at a nearly five-hour dinner at the home of a nutritional adviser and former White House assistant chef, Sam Kass. The president who was elected because he was a hot commodity is now a wet blanket. The extraordinary candidate turns out to be the most ordinary of men, frittering away precious time on the links. Unlike L.B.J., who devoured problems as though he were being chased by demons, Obama’s main galvanizing impulse was to get himself elected. Almost everything else — from an all-out push on gun control after the Newtown massacre to going to see firsthand the Hispanic children thronging at the border to using his special status to defuse racial tensions in Ferguson — just seems like too much trouble. The 2004 speech that vaulted Obama into the White House soon after he breezed into town turned out to be wrong. He misdescribed the country he wanted to lead. There is a liberal America and a conservative America. And the red-blue divide has only gotten worse in the last six years. The man whose singular qualification was as a uniter turns out to be singularly unequipped to operate in a polarized environment... The sad part is that this is an ugly, confusing and frightening time at home and abroad, and the country needs its president to illuminate and lead, not sink into some petulant expression of his aloofness, where he regards himself as a party of his own and a victim of petty, needy, bickering egomaniacs."
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