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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Links - 26th November 2014

Lessons from a Feminist Paradise on Equal Pay Day - "Generous parental leave policies and readily available part-time options have unintended consequences: instead of strengthening women’s attachment to the workplace, they appear to weaken it. In addition to a 16-month leave, a Swedish parent has the right to work six hours a day (for a reduced salary) until his or her child is eight years old. Mothers are far more likely than fathers to take advantage of this law. But extended leaves and part-time employment are known to be harmful to careers — for both genders. And with women a second factor comes into play: most seem to enjoy the flex-time arrangement (once known as the “mommy track”) and never find their way back to full-time or high-level employment. In sum: generous family-friendly policies do keep more women in the labor market, but they also tend to diminish their careers. According to Blau and Kahn, Swedish-style paternal leave policies and flex-time arrangements pose a second threat to women’s progress: they make employers wary of hiring women for full-time positions at all. Offering a job to a man is the safer bet. He is far less likely to take a year of parental leave and then return on a reduced work schedule for the next eight years... Her best hope in Germany was a government job –– prospects for women in the private sector were dim. “In Germany,” she told me, “we have all the benefits, but employers don’t want to hire us”... The Swedes should consider the possibility that the current division of labor is not an artifact of sexism, but the triumph of liberated preference... Swedish family policies, by accommodating women’s preferences so effectively, are reducing the number of women in elite competitive positions. The Swedes will find this paradoxical and try to find solutions. Let us hope these do not include banning gender pronouns, policing children’s play, implementing more gender quotas, or treating women’s special attachment to home and family as a social injustice. Most mothers do not aspire to elite, competitive full-time positions: the Swedish policies have given them the freedom and opportunity to live the lives they prefer. Americans should look past the gender rhetoric and consider what these Scandinavians have achieved. On their way to creating a feminist paradise, the Swedes have inadvertently created a haven for normal mortals."

Food and Nutrition Myths - "While an occasional short fast or a day of following a "juice diet" won't cause harm for most healthy people, it will likely leave you feeling cranky and hungry... While you may have read that diet beverages make you gain weight, a recent clinical trial found just the opposite. In the 12-week study, published in the journal Obesity, dieters who drank diet beverages lost 13 pounds on average — 44 percent more than subjects drinking water only, who lost an average of nine pounds. What's more, the diet-soda drinkers reported feeling more satisfied. This study adds to a substantial body of research demonstrating that low-calorie sweeteners and the diet beverages that contain them do not hinder but can in fact help with weight loss. Two peer-reviewed studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the University of North Carolina in 2012 and 2013 randomly assigned subjects to drink either water or diet beverages (without making any other changes to their diet). After six months, the diet-beverage group had a greater likelihood of reaching a meaningful amount of weight loss — five percent of one's body weight — compared to the control group. These studies reinforce that if you're trying to lose weight, diet beverages may help you peel off pounds, as they can help you achieve and maintain a lower-calorie eating plan"

Dear The Real Singapore, I live in Joo Chiat and I love the prostitutes - "We actually like the Working Girls. On the more superficial level, I believe it hard for any Singaporean to deny that these girls are attractive. They are young, they are thin, they are fair as porcelain, and their features neat and delicate. However, most noteworthy is how BRAVE, INDEPENDENT, and RESILIENT they are to leave their families, friends, homes, cultures, and even lovers behind to come to Singapore and earn a living here. Working in a pub can be dangerous and humiliating, but many of them stay strong. Many of them are poor girls, hardened in the streets."

No place for self-pity among the Chinese - "In her response was a total lack of self-pity that is alien to my entitled, First World existence. I am so good at feeling self-pity that I was feeling externalised self-pity for the Chinese masses. The better our lives get, the more self-pity we can conjure up for the minor and sometimes imagined injustices we encounter. My life, to an average Chinese person, has been smooth-sailing to an absurd degree. But in spite of that, or perhaps because of it, stumbling blocks, obstacles and moments when the universe just does not decide in my favour take on the proportions of a Greek tragedy. I've actually uttered the words, "Why does everything happen to me?" only mildly ironically, fairly recently. And it wasn't the first time. My friends and I spend an enormous amount of time examining and analysing our woes, usually a result of someone's unfair attitude or action towards us. We end friendships and resign jobs over this kind of thing. But the flipside of blame we did not deserve is surely credit we did not earn. And, if we're honest, that latter category dominates in our charmed lives"
Maybe this explains getting outraged on other people's behalf about nothing (e.g. feminism, social justice activism, anti-racism)

The Trouble with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior - "This paper explores the importance of the home and school environments in explaining the gender gap in disruptive behavior. We document large differences in the gender gap across key features of the home environment - boys do especially poorly in broken families. In contrast, we find little impact of the early school environment on non-cognitive gaps. Differences in endowments explain a small part of boys' non-cognitive deficit in single-mother families. More importantly, non-cognitive returns to parental inputs differ markedly by gender. Broken families are associated with worse parental inputs and boys' non-cognitive development, unlike girls', appears extremely responsive to such inputs."
In other words, broken families are worse for boys than girls

A behavioural intervention to reduce persistence of bacterial vaginosis among women who report sex with women: results of a randomised trial. - " Although the intervention effected a significant increase in glove use during digital-vaginal sex post-BV treatment, this was not associated with reduction in BV persistence. Shared use of vaginal sex toys was infrequent, suggesting that other mechanisms promote BV in lesbians.
Dental dams/female condoms don't seem to work for lesbians

Andy Lee Chaisiri's answer to Why, in the case of the Elliot Rodger mass shooting incident, are Americans so black and white about the issue? - Quora - "I have a feeling that if an American boy were to write a manifesto that described how much he hated non-whites and interracial relationships, but he murdered people in a Republican leaning state, the media would probably cover the vile racism of his community polluting his mind. But Elliot grew up in a left-leaning upper class Hollywood community instead, so the focus is on gun control and misogyny."

6.4 NON-FOOD USES - "In the following paragraphs a brief analysis of non-food uses of sharks is reported"
Sharks are not just used for fins - or even food

Zifa Sadriyeva's answer to Do women climbing the corporate ladder self-impose the supposed 'glass ceiling' because of common/typical (often limiting) female beliefs or behaviors? Or, are there legitimate barriers to reaching new career heights in a male-dominated industry just because someone is the minority gender? - Quora - "When I moved to the UK I was dismayed to understand that despite all shouting about equality the underlying understanding and culture of equality here was clearly way behind that we enjoyed in the USSR (and even there not everything was perfect!). After living here for more than a decade and observing other Western cultures I came to dislike Western feminism. It is often driven by women who understand equality as being like men: wearing trousers, carrying heavy items, and most importantly not flashing their flesh - a lot of focus is on outer behaviours driven by some moral structure that has obvious roots in religion. A lot of focus on sexual behaviours, which should be none of anybody's business, unless there is anything criminal. Mostly it is about fitting into the male business environment by way of adjusting the visual expression of self (i.e. clothes and body language etc). There is a complete misunderstanding and lack of focus on equality of mental abilities, which include leadership. None of the other minorities tries to fit in with the majority by way of adjusting how they are viewed as much as women do, and this is most baffling considering that women are not even a minority in terms of numbers!"
"Scandinavian countries, whose employment systems reduce some of the family-related barriers to women, nevertheless have some of the lowest female physics Ph.D. rates. Several countries stand out as having large undergraduate enrollments in physics, notably India, Iran, and Italy. In India there are roughly equal numbers of men and women physics students through the Master of Science level. Iran had the highest percentage of female college-level enrollment in physics, whereas Sweden was almost last in the world."

Answer to Are some power users and Top Writers on Quora unintentionally dissuading new users from joining and participating on Quora by answering too many questions? - Quora - "It is exactly the reverse. New users who join drive out old power users and old Top Writers. It may appear that existing power users dominate the site but they haven't always and won't forever. Before them there was another wave of power users, and before them there was yet another. The current "wave" of powers is actually the fourth wave, and in time they will fade and be replaced with another (in my opinion, lesser and even more mediocre) group of power users... The whole "aspirational" thing (you joined because you found some great people on the site but you're not as good as they are) and "evaporative cooling" effects (the best contributors get reciprocal less value out of the system than everyone else, and so eventually leave) are in full and continual play. The power users get tired, bored, and annoyed by the newcomers, and are eventually replaced by the most loquacious of the newcomers, and the cycle begins anew."

Gay dads campaign for church wedding - "BRITAIN’S first gay surrogate parents have launched a legal challenge to the Church of England’s ban on same-sex marriage. Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 44, who runs the Maldon-based British Surrogacy Centre with partner Tony, hoped to get married in his local church, St John the Baptist, in Danbury"

Richard Branson’s space tourism shows what today’s obscene inequality looks like - "“Millions of people” … “the chance to go to space…” – whatever they would or would not love, millions of people will never be able to access this chance, to borrow the language of infinite opportunity. Millions of people will never have £150,000 in disposable income. The existence of a few hundred people who can set fire to this kind of money relies on millions of people not having it... Sub-orbital tourism holds a special place in the unlovely pantheon of “experience” consumption. The waste of fossil-fuel energy could only be considered by someone who either didn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change or didn’t care. The need to see Earth from a distance with your own eyes, whatever the cost, hints at an interior life as arid as the surface of the moon. Why do you need to witness your planet as a dot – for perspective? Why can’t you quarry these insights from your own imagination?"
There's no Guardian article so silly it won't have a chorus of people agreeing with it
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