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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Links - 29th October 2014

How to Develop Your Attraction to the Right Person - "Many others only date people on the high end of their attraction spectrum, because they believe that’s where real love and passion lie. With someone who is a “high number” on your attraction spectrum, you can tell that you’re attracted in a fraction of a second. This can be achingly exciting, but it’s rarely comfortable or secure. In my experience, people who only date those on the high end of their attraction spectrum are much more likely to remain single. By contrast, however, attraction to people in the middle of our spectrum is rarely immediate; it usually takes more time to get a sense of how interested we really are in such people. People who are willing to date in the mid-range are more likely to find real and lasting love. It’s not a matter of selling out, because immediate attraction isn’t the best forecaster of future passion. Intense immediate attractions can blind us to the actual quality of our interactions with others, and to the actual characters of the people we date. Attractions can grow—and many of us have had the experience of becoming more attracted to someone as we got to know him or her better."

Too Much Air in Potato Chip Packets? Students Make a Boat to Prove It - Korea Real Time - WSJ - "Ever get that feeling when you open a bag of potato chips that you’ve mostly paid for air? A group of South Korean college students have, and to prove their point, on Sunday they used a raft made of unopened potato chip packets to traverse Seoul’s main river. Two male students crossed the Han River on a boat made with 160 unopened bags of potato chips bound together near 0.8-mile-long Jamsil Bridge in the city’s east."

Elliott Chen's answer to Why is Chinese fashion less attractive and elegant than Korean and Japanese fashion? - Quora - "Chinese aesthetic tastes are a bit backward and uncouth... However there are some innate cultural differences in aesthetics. The Japanese in comparison have put a lot more attention and thought into visual aesthetics than the Chinese, who tend to favor more bold and gaudy sensibilities"

Secrets of the sushi shops: 10 tips and tricks the chain restaurants don’t want you to know - "Do you want your egg fresh from the frying pan, or straight from the freezer? Tamago-yakishould have a slightly uneven, hand-cooked appearance, says Mr. Kawagishi. If it’s the same yellow shade all over, it’s probably been made with liquid egg from a bottle, too... Judge on appearances. Without even entering a restaurant, you can tell a lot about it. If the shop’s outside is clutter- and garbage-free, and if the staff uniforms look clean and well looked-after, the kitchen will probably be clean too. And you’ll never get tasty sushi from a dirty shop, says Mr. Kawagishi."
You can judge a sushi shop from its exterior

Burning Question: Does Reading in Dim Light Hurt Your Eyes? - WSJ - "Turns out, our parents were wrong. "There is no reason to believe nor evidence to support that any long-term damage to the eyes or change in the physiology to the eyes can be caused by reading in the dark," Dr. Sheedy says. That is not to say that nocturnal page-turning won't lead to discomfort or fatigue"... "The predominant determinant of myopia is genetics." No link to long-term damage has ever been conclusively shown, says Dr. Sheedy. "It's an old tale, a ploy used by moms to get kids to go to sleep when they wanted them to," he says. Reading on a tablet device won't damage your eyes, Dr. Sheedy says. His team has studied various fonts, computer displays and pixel resolutions, and found the difference in effect on the eye between reading e-ink and the printed word to be negligible... "Ever wonder why a pirate wears patches? It's not because he was wounded in a sword fight," says Dr. Sheedy. Seamen must constantly move between the pitch black of below decks and the bright sunshine above. Smart pirates "wore a patch over one eye to keep it dark-adapted outside.""

Meet the 3-boobed woman - "A woman has spent $20,000 on surgery to get a third breast, and her dream is to become a celebrity... Tridevil said that while she wanted fame and fortune, this was not why she had the surgery. “I got it because I wanted to make myself unattractive to men. Because I don’t want to date anymore,” she said."

Pirate Bay fools the system with cloud technology - "Today The Pirate Bay has 21 “virtual machines” (VMs) scattered around the globe with cloud-hosting providers, and the new setup works just fine, reported TorrentFreak, having anonymously questioned the Pirate Bay team. The cloud technology made the site more portable, eliminated the need for any crucial pieces of hardware and therefore made the torrent harder to take down. Costs have decreased and better uptime is now guaranteed."

Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule for deliberate practice is wrong: Genes for music, IQ, drawing ability, and other skills. - "Deliberate practice left more of the variation in skill unexplained than it explained. For example, deliberate practice explained 26 percent of the variation for games such as chess, 21 percent for music, and 18 percent for sports. So, deliberate practice did not explain all, nearly all, or even most of the performance variation in these fields. In concrete terms, what this evidence means is that racking up a lot of deliberate practice is no guarantee that you’ll become an expert. Other factors matter... Wouldn’t it be better to just act as if we are equal, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding? That way, no people will be discouraged from chasing their dreams—competing in the Olympics or performing at Carnegie Hall or winning a Nobel Prize. The answer is no, for two reasons. The first is that failure is costly, both to society and to individuals. Pretending that all people are equal in their abilities will not change the fact that a person with an average IQ is unlikely to become a theoretical physicist, or the fact that a person with a low level of music ability is unlikely to become a concert pianist. It makes more sense to pay attention to people’s abilities and their likelihood of achieving certain goals, so people can make good decisions about the goals they want to spend their time, money, and energy pursuing... Pushing someone into a career for which he or she is genetically unsuited will likely not work. The second reason we should not pretend we are endowed with the same abilities is that doing so perpetuates the myth that is at the root of much inaction in society—the myth that people can help themselves to the same degree if they just try hard enough. You’re not a heart surgeon? That’s your fault for not working hard enough in school! You didn’t make it as a concert pianist? You must not have wanted it that badly. Societal inequality is thus justified on the grounds that anyone who is willing to put in the requisite time and effort can succeed and should be rewarded with a good life, whereas those who struggle to make ends meet are to blame for their situations and should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps"
The tablua rasa myth need not result in blaming people for their failures - one could always blame discrimination (i.e. blame other people)

What do SAT and IQ tests measure? General intelligence predicts school and life success. - "The SAT does predict success in college—not perfectly, but relatively well, especially given that it takes just a few hours to administer. And, unlike a “complex portrait” of a student’s life, it can be scored in an objective way. (In a recent New York Times op-ed, the University of New Hampshire psychologist John D. Mayer aptly described the SAT’s validity as an “astonishing achievement.”) In a study published in Psychological Science, University of Minnesota researchers Paul Sackett, Nathan Kuncel, and their colleagues investigated the relationship between SAT scores and college grades in a very large sample: nearly 150,000 students from 110 colleges and universities. SAT scores predicted first-year college GPA about as well as high school grades did, and the best prediction was achieved by considering both factors. Botstein, Boylan, and Kolbert are either unaware of this directly relevant, easily accessible, and widely disseminated empirical evidence, or they have decided to ignore it and base their claims on intuition and anecdote—or perhaps on their beliefs about the way the world should be rather than the way it is... test score (SAT or ACT—whichever the student took) correlated strongly with cumulative GPA at the end of the fourth year... Test scores also predicted whether the students graduated... A 2007 Science article summed up the evidence succinctly: “Standardized admissions tests have positive and useful relationships with subsequent student accomplishments”... SAT scores even predict success beyond the college years... the SAT in fact goes a long way toward leveling the playing field, giving students an opportunity to distinguish themselves regardless of their background. Scoring well on the SAT may in fact be the only such opportunity for students who graduate from public high schools that are regarded by college admissions offices as academically weak... Research has consistently shown that prep courses have only a small effect on SAT scores—and a much smaller effect than test prep companies claim they do... it is clear that SES is not what accounts for the fact that SAT scores predict success in college. In the University of Minnesota study, the correlation between high school SAT and college GPA was virtually unchanged after the researchers statistically controlled for the influence of SES... The content of the SAT is practically indistinguishable from that of standardized intelligence tests... Synthesizing evidence from nearly a century of empirical studies, Schmidt and Hunter established that general mental ability—the psychological trait that IQ scores reflect—is the single best predictor of job training success, and that it accounts for differences in job performance even in workers with more than a decade of experience. It’s more predictive than interests, personality, reference checks, and interview performance. Smart people don’t just make better mathematicians, as Brooks observed—they make better managers, clerks, salespeople, service workers, vehicle operators, and soldiers. IQ predicts other things that matter, too, like income, employment, health, and even longevity... the bottom line is that there are large, measurable differences among people in intellectual ability, and these differences have consequences for people’s lives. Ignoring these facts will only distract us from discovering and implementing wise policies... disregarding IQ—by admitting students to colleges or hiring people for jobs in which they are very likely to fail—is harmful both to individuals and to society... the policies of public and private organizations should be based on evidence rather than ideology or wishful thinking"

EU Right to be Forgotten: 5 random NYT stories removed from Google search results. - "The harm to people mentioned in newspaper stories that are searchable online is relatively easily demonstrated. In contrast, the harm inflicted to the public at large by removing those stories via an opaque and seemingly arbitrary process is impossible to gauge."

Cellphones at gas stations: Mythbusters debunk one of the biggest myths in tech. - "it’s not the cellphone, but static sparks created when drivers rub themselves on the car that cause most of these fires. A lot of times, the drivers talk on their phones when the spark happens, so it just looks as if the cellphone is the cause of the fire, when it’s actually irrelevant."

George Spencer Millet, kissed to death in 1909 - "Lost life by stab in falling on ink eraser, evading six young women trying to give him birthday kisses in office Metropolitan Life Building"

Did the pro-life movement lead to more single moms? - "In conservative communities, the hardening of anti-abortion attitudes may have increased the acceptance of single-parent families. And by contrast, in less conservative communities, the willingness to accept abortion has helped create more stable families... This creates the dilemma Douthat identified for those who see abortion as immoral. The Christian right preaches that contraception is not perfect, sex inevitably risks pregnancy, and abstinence provides the only solution. Indeed, as the number of abortions has dropped, the rate of unmarried women giving birth has increased. And nonelite young women often give their opposition to abortion as an explanation for why they went ahead and had the child, even if in other ways religion has not influenced them much. In their book Premarital Sex in America, sociologists Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker report on a conservative, moderately religious young couple who have a child without marrying: “Some semblance of Christian morality may have prompted Andy and his girlfriend to keep their baby rather than elect abortion,” they write, “but beyond that, the evidence of religious influence on sexual decision-making is slim.”"
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