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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Links - 12th February 2015

Politically correct CNN refers to black hostage taker in France as ‘African American’

Many People Use Drugs – But Here’s Why Most Don’t Become Addicts - "Addiction, unlike use, is heavily concentrated in our poorest communities – and within those communities it is the individuals who struggle most with life who will succumb. Compared to the rest of the population, heroin and crack addicts are: male, working-class, offenders, have poor educational records, little or no history of employment, experience of the care system, a vulnerability to mental illness and increasingly are over 40 with declining physical health... Most drug users are intelligent resourceful people with good life skills, supportive networks and loving families. These assets enable them to manage the risks associated with their drug use, avoiding the most dangerous drugs and managing their frequency and scale of use to reduce harm and maximise pleasure. Crucially they will have access to support from family and friends should they begin to develop problems, and a realistic prospect of a job, a house and a stake in society to focus and sustain their motivation to get back on track. In contrast the most vulnerable individuals in our poorest communities lack life skills and have networks that entrench their problems rather than offering solutions. Their decision making will tend to prioritise immediate benefit rather than long-term consequences. The multiplicity of overlapping challenges they face gives them little incentive to avoid high risk behaviours... In short what determines whether or not drug use escalates into addiction, and the prognosis once it has, is less to do with the power of the drug and more to do with the social, personal and economic circumstances of the user."

Swedish children’s TV dancing genitals cartoon sparks parental outcry - "The one-minute clip for Barnkanalen – Sweden’s equivalent of CBeebies – shows cartoon penises and vaginas smiling and dancing to the tune of a song which employs words perhaps sometimes used by small children to refer to their private parts."

Why Japanese don’t use LinkedIn - "One reason could be the way most Japanese view LinkedIn. In a culture where many still seek very long or even lifetime employment with the same company, LinkedIn is seen as just another job site. God forbid their bosses were to see that they’ve completed their LinkedIn profile. It would be career suicide. Another reason could be the way LinkedIn is fundamentally designed. Users are given a blank profile (a resume, if you will) in which users can talk about their career accomplishments. This is a problem, because Japanese tend not to boast about themselves so openly. On an American profile, for example, you might see something along the lines of “grew revenue from $5M to $20M in the first year while tripling profits.” It is very rare that you would see any Japanese talk about themselves that way... There is one more factor that plays a role. People tend to do business with someone they like over someone that can provide them with the better deal. In Japan, this is overwhelmingly the case. Business is often done based on close relationships, and building those relationships requires bonding and getting to know the other person. Sharing personal lives with one another is a way of doing that. Facebook gives them a window into each other’s lives."

Naya Rivera says showering every day is a 'white people thing' | Fox News Latino

If Femen was set up by a man, where does that leave its topless protests?

Audio: Teen calls 911 to report 'massive freaking' spider - "An officer did respond to the scene and estimated the spider was about 2 inches in diameter. Modern police equipment was not necessary to handle the eight-legged perp in this case. The officer disposed of the spider with an old-fashioned rolled up newspaper"

300,000 Parliament porn views - "Westminster officials sought to play down the almost 300,000 attempts to access online porn made inside the premise, insisting it was inflated by pop-ups, auto-refresh and other web design features."

Man Buys Promoted Tweet to Complain About British Airways

Jonathon Fletcher: forgotten father of the search engine

What Snowden and Manning Don't Understand About Secrecy - "These are young people at war with the concept of secrecy itself, which is just foolish. There are many legitimate reasons for governments to keep secrets, among them the need to preserve the element of surprise in military operations or criminal investigations, to permit leaders and diplomats to bargain candidly, and to protect the identities of those we ask to perform dangerous and difficult missions. The most famous leakers in American history were motivated not by a general opposition to secrecy but by a desire to expose specific wrongdoing. Mark Felt, the “Deep Throat” who helped steer Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s Watergate reporting, understood that the Nixon Administration was energetically abusing the powers of the presidency. Daniel Ellsberg copied and leaked the Pentagon Papers because they showed that the White House and Pentagon had never really believed the lies they were telling about the Vietnam War... It proceeds from a Julian Assange-influenced, comic-book vision of the world where all governments are a part of an evil plot against humanity... Snowden may have found a way to punish himself worse. He has turned himself into an enduring symbol of idiocy by fleeing the oppressive grip of Barack Obama for the open arms of that great civil libertarian, Vladimir Putin. Both Manning and Snowden strike me not as heroes, but as naifs"

Why I’m quitting the academy - "I rarely had an opportunity to draw on my subject area expertise in my teaching, even at postgraduate level. Instead, I was expected to be a jack of all trades, lecturing to a student body whose first-years frequently required remedial English and who almost all refused to read beyond lecture notes, ignoring the bibliographies I carefully put together. Nor were we allowed to censure them: we all had to bow to the managerial imperative of treating them as customers who have to be satisfied, allowing them to show impatience and lack of respect with impunity. And despite their inability (or unwillingness) to understand what studying for a degree entailed, inflated grades prevailed. But we also short-changed the students in some ways. For instance, we were never totally honest with them about their employment prospects, even though I know that a significant number are now unemployed and in debt, and many are working in completely different fields. For some, their dance studies degrees still only boost their CVs for jobs as Zumba teachers... Universities, aping the worst businesses’ obsession with their bottom line above all else, are churning out MAs and PhDs with little regard for the future either of students or subjects. I feel sorry for those currently embarking on doctorates, doomed to discover that their expertise is neither understood nor valued when – having realised that the academy can no longer absorb them – they enter the mainstream job market."

Men look at crotches - "Among the many interesting things in Online Journalism Review's article about using eyetracking to increase the effectiveness of news article design is this odd result"

These Ingenious New Meal Trays Save Virgin Atlantic Millions in Cash

Banned 'Throw Your Phone' Game Knows if You're Cheating - "It’s available on Android, but not the App Store. Apple determined the game was “encouraging behavior that could result in damage to the user’s device,” and thus did cast Send Me to Heaven out of its walled garden paradise. App creator Petr Svarovsky told WIRED that he was disappointed by the ban. The 50-year-old from Prague said he had hoped to have people shatter as many iPhones as possible. “The original idea was to have very expensive gadgets, which people in certain societies buy just to show off, and to get them to throw it,” he said via Skype... The leaderboards for Send Me to Heaven show some players have managed to get their phones as high as 40 meters (131 feet). Svarovsky did a little investigating to learn how that impressive score was achieved and discovered some players are using slingshots"

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here's What It Did to Me - "I’d added more than a thousand things to my Likes page—most of which were loathsome or at best banal. By liking everything, I turned Facebook into a place where there was nothing I liked. To be honest, I really didn’t like it. I didn’t like what I had done."

Many Kenyan men flee to avoid forced circumcisions - "Traditionally the Turkana, a Nilotic tribe whose cultural practices and way of life has not been diluted by modern influences, do not engage in circumcision as a rite of passage into adulthood. But members of the Bukusu community say since the Turkana are living among them they should adopt their most celebrated custom. Wycliffe Khaemba, a laborer from the Bukusu tribe, said that because Turkana were living among them and marrying their girls, "we want them to be clean." The foreskin keeps a lot of germs and it also prevents them performing in bed," he said. Khaemba said that while some Turkana men are persuaded to agree to circumcision, others are "cowards" who have to be forced... Among the Bukusu, when one is circumcised in the traditional way rather than going to the hospital, he is considered a hero"

The War Photo No One Would Publish - "“I’m not interested in it either,” Jarecke recalls replying. He told the officer that he didn’t want his mother to see his name next to photographs of corpses. “But if I don’t take pictures like these, people like my mom will think war is what they see in movies.” As Hermanson remembers, Jarecke added, “It’s what I came here to do. It’s what I have to do”... “There were 1,400 [Iraqi soldiers] in that convoy, and every picture transmitted until that one came, two days after the event, was of debris, bits of equipment,” Tony McGrath, the Observer’s pictures editor, was quoted as saying in the same article. “No human involvement in it at all; it could have been a scrapyard. That was some dreadful censorship.” The media took it upon themselves to “do what the military censorship did not do”... As David Carr wrote in The New York Times in 2003, war photography has “an ability not just to offend the viewer, but to implicate him or her as well.” As an angry 28-year-old Jarecke wrote in American Photo in 1991: “If we’re big enough to fight a war, we should be big enough to look at it.”"
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