"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Links - 3rd December 2014

Monkey test shows gender choices - "An experiment seems to back the theory that male monkeys choose traditional boy toys above dolls, which female monkeys choose to play with. The experiment, which was conducted at the Woburn Safari Park, in Bedfordshire with Barbary macaques, formed part of a Horizon investigation into the differences between male and female brains."

German village plays prank on neo-Nazis - "For each meter the neo-Nazis marched last Saturday throughout the village, local companies donated 10 euro for a project called “Exit”, a NGO that supports neo-Nazis who are ready to leave the milieu... To make them aware of what they were inadvertently taking part in, the people of Wunsiedel put up colorful posters along their route, thanking the neo-Nazis for their participation... Even food was provided for the neo-Nazi protesters, who tried to ignore the prank as much as possible. Under a banner saying "Mein Mampf" ("My food") instead of "Mein Kampf" (the title of Hitler's book), the village offered bananas to the demonstrators."

shitsenders - the ULTIMATE gag gift - SWEET revenge at its finest - "Looking for a great gag gift? Has some one really pissed you off? Don't get mad, GET EVEN. Send that special some one a big stinky pile of shit"

expert reaction to non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) and glucose intolerance | Science Media Centre - "On this evidence, I’d agree that lab mice shouldn’t have lots of sweeteners in their drinking water"

Commentary: The hormone replacement–coronary heart disease conundrum: is this the death of observational epidemiology? - "As long ago as 1986 Diana Petitti and colleagues showed that HRT was apparently equally protective against accidental and violent deaths in an observational study as it was against cardiovascular disease deaths. They pointed out that given the lack of any biologically plausible link between HRT and these external causes of death both associations should be suspected of suffering from residual confounding"

Analytical Trend in Medical Research Troubles Scientists - WSJ - "While the gold standard of medical research is the randomly controlled experimental study, scientists have recently rushed to pursue observational studies, which are much easier, cheaper and quicker to do. Costs for a typical controlled trial can stretch high into the millions; observational studies can be performed for tens of thousands of dollars... observational studies, researchers say, are especially prone to methodological and statistical biases that can render the results unreliable. Their findings are much less replicable than those drawn from controlled research. Worse, few of the flawed findings are spotted—or corrected—in the published literature. "You can troll the data, slicing and dicing it any way you want," says S. Stanley Young of the U.S. National Institute of Statistical Sciences. Consequently, "a great deal of irresponsible reporting of results is going on." Despite such concerns among researchers, observational studies have never been more popular... observational studies in general can be replicated only 20% of the time, versus 80% for large, well-designed randomly controlled trials, says Dr. Ioannidis. Dr. Young, meanwhile, pegs the replication rate for observational data at an even lower 5% to 10%. Whatever the figure, it suggests that a lot more of these studies are getting published. Those papers can often trigger pointless follow-on research and affect real-world practices"

Barbie book about programming tells girls they need boys to code for them
Does Lolita tell men that they're pedophiles?

Triya Bhattacharya's answer to Is the Verge right that comet landing scientist Matt Taylor's 'problematic' shirt drives women from pursuing science? - Quora - "honestly, I don't think anyone could get so offended by that shirt that they would actually leave their job as the ESA and leave science just because a guy wore a shirt with sexualized women on it. So the hyperbole created by the headlines "THIS IS WHY WOMEN DON'T GO INTO SCIENCE" is just that - hyperbole. If there really a culture of misogyny at their workplace, then women wouldn't work there, but that is not true, because women do work there. Of course, they could all be more inclusive, but this was a special day for him and he wore a special shirt, made by his friend. But the internet mob against him was horrible. And it strikes me more because lots of feminists have been very vocal about this same thing - men attacking women through internet mobs, sending threats against them and all of that. If they now don't see their awful hypocrisy in doing the same thing to him, for a shirt no less, then they are awful people. This does give a bad name to feminists and I can just shake my head. Internet mobs are a real problem. But who cares about that when you can get click on your clickbait style headlines, right? "One step for man, three steps back for humankind"? Gimme a break! This shirt did not take back humankind. Why don't we focus on positive ways of encouraging women into science? Focusing on the women who did work on the Rosetta mission? These people could care less about women in science, let's not pretend that they do."

We Are the 99 Percent - I have a Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies.... - "I have a Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies. However, the only job I can find is as a bartender at a local restaurant. I owe over 60k in student loans. I am forced to rely on food stamps and W.I.C. to support my son. Is this the “American Dream” I worked so hard for? I am the 99 percent! "
I thought this was a parody at first

The least-cost low-carbohydrate diet is expensive - "The major finding is that the cheapest possible low-carbohydrate diet costs about triple the cost of the cheapest diet with no constraint on carbohydrate. Furthermore, the minimum cost of a diet low in both carbohydrate and fat is 5 to 10 times the cost of the cheapest diet, depending on the relative amounts of these nutrients"

An irreligious approach to abortion - "I can't believe that the only question which matters is the convenience of the parents, or the capacity of the foetus for independent existence. My text here is taken from John Harris, a philosopher at Manchester who says he has not got a religious bone in his body. Because of this, he argues that there is something absurd in supposing that the moral status of a baby changes during its passage down the birth canal. One can sharpen the argument by imagining a caesarean section. If the knife slips and the baby is cut, that is no less wrong if it still inside the womb. So whatever it would be wrong to do to a newborn baby would be wrong also to do to one that is ready to be born. Something of great moral importance has changed in the nine months of development from one cell to a baby; but like most biological changes, it's fuzzy. There is a "before", a "during" and an "After" but we can't easily point to the boundaries... let's say that we are all agreed that infanticide is wrong, and not to be used as a tool of policy by anyone in peacetime. So what is it about the infant which makes it wrong to kill one? I'm looking for a non-religious answer here, as the rules of the debate demand. I am not sure that I can come up with a wholly convincing reply except that it just is wrong, in the same kind of way that torture is simply wrong. But I am pretty certain there is something wrong with an answer which is often heard in these debates: the idea that the crucial quality that makes for a proper human is autonomy. This comes up in the context of abortion when discussing time limits. It is felt – and argued – to be grotesque that a baby can be aborted who might survive given sufficiently intensive care. In that case, it is said to be capable of independent existence. But of course it isn't. This doesn't change much at birth, either. Anyone who has ever handled a new-born baby knows that they are incapable of independent life... This dependence doesn't materially change at birth. It just becomes wider and more general. Even in the womb, and even an embryo or foetus never depends only and entirely on the mother, since the mother also depends on other people to feed her and keep her alive. That kind of mutual interdependence is part of what being human means. This interpretation runs against the whole current of reasoning about rights. Interdependence can't be described or defined by contracts because the whole point of a contract is that it has conditions"

On generalizations about women (and men) - "I am a woman, but I am not Woman. I base my self-identity on my actions, not on the actions of other women, or most women, or even all women, and when someone gives an opinion of women, or most women, or even all women, even if that opinion is blistering, and even if I recognize a little of myself in there, I don’t take it as a personal attack. In fact, if I do recognize myself in someone’s scathing opinion of women in general, that’s when I sit up and listen. If it makes me feel uncomfortable, then that is my problem and my discomfort and does not invalidate the accuracy of what was said. It definitely does not mean that that opinion should be silenced. In fact, it means the opposite. It means that it is a part of myself that I need to examine, and in order to examine it I have to talk about it and hear what others have to say about it. One of my favorite MRAs once said, “Generalities exist. A bigot thinks there are no exceptions. An idiot thinks everyone is an exception. I am neither.” I can’t state this clearly enough: It is impossible to talk about gender issues, or society, or culture, or biology without using generalities... I’ve been trending away from the loaded, hostile, blame-laden language of the gender debate recently because not only are terms like privilege and oppression accusatory, but they’re also kindergarten-level simplistic. That’s true no matter which direction they’re applied in. I would much rather explore the actual problem all the way to its roots (even if that’s essentialist of me) than assign blame to one side or the other... feminists have been claiming to speak for all women since the mid-1800s, and the majority of women have allowed them to. Female protests over women’s suffrage involved objections to the potential assigning of male responsibility onto women—once it was clear that there would be no such imposition of responsibility, the majority of women went along with women’s fight for equal rights. Nary a woman spoke up about the absurdly unequal distribution of marital property brought about by early feminists in the 1800s and early 1900s—not until the inability to acquire loans and mortgages in their own names convinced them that the grossly unbalanced distribution of female entitlement and male responsibility was more harm to women than benefit. The few fair-minded women who spoke out on principle against the injustice of those laws were drowned out by the majority of women who knew a good deal when they saw it—the majority who rationalized that something for nothing is always a good thing, and besides, I would never take advantage of those laws. I’m not like that. If I were allowed to victimize someone and then have my victim put in jail for it, I wouldn’t do it, so what’s the harm?"


What makes for a stable marriage? - "dating 3 or more years before getting engaged leads to a much more stable marriage... The more money you and your partner make, the less likely you are to ultimately file for divorce... couples who never go to church are 2x more likely to divorce than regular churchgoers... Men are 1.5x more likely to end up divorced when they care more about their partner’s looks, and women are 1.6x more likely to end up divorced when they care more about their partner’s wealth... Couples who elope are 12.5x more likely to end up divorced than couples who get married at a wedding with 200+ people. Clearly, this shows us that having a large group of family and friends who support the marriage is critically important to long-term marital stability... The more you spend on your wedding, the more likely you’ll end up divorced... Whatever you do after your marriage, don’t skimp on the honeymoon!"

Why you’re more likely to get free Wi-Fi in a budget hotel than a fancy one - "It might seem perverse to refuse customers the free perk they most seek, but there’s actually a pretty simple explanation for it: Luxury hotels charge for Wi-Fi because they can. Those who are traveling for business can expense the $20 daily Wi-Fi fee, or if they’re paying for their own $500 room, $20 extra for Wi-Fi probably won’t break the bank. Budget travelers, on the other hand, are more price-sensitive. And unlike budget airlines that strip down the amenities to bare bones for a cheaper ticket prices, hotels in this sector have found that the promise of free Wi-Fi helps them compete with other hotels."
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