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Valar Qringaomis

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Links - 18th March 2015

400 Million Chinese Can't Speak Mandarin and Beijing Is Worried - "About 30 percent of China’s 1.3 billion population, 400 million people, can’t communicate in Mandarin, according to Li Weihong, director of the State Language Commission, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Sept. 21. Include only those who speak the official dialect fluently, and the number shrinks further. “About 70 percent of the total population can speak Putonghua, and 95 percent of the literate population knows how to use standard Chinese characters. However, only 10 percent [of that 70 percent] can speak standard Putonghua fluently”"
Mandarin: so hard that 400 million Chinese can't speak it

Syria: Rebels blown up by their own Bomb - YouTube - "Celebrating Syrian Insurgents are taken by surprise when a bomb they had been preparing explodes in the middle of a gathering. The number of casualties is not known but it appears as if the explosion caused significant damage considering it took place in the proximity of so many terrorists."

It's No Joke: Humor Rarely Welcome in Research Write-Ups - "a dash of humanity can serve a practical function, contends Peter McGraw, the author, along with Joel Warner, of The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny. Mr. McGraw, a psychologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, argues that how research is presented has "huge implications" for how willing readers are to accept it. "If you make it hard on the reader to understand what you’re writing, it makes it that much more difficult to convince that person," he says. "A well-placed quip, a well-executed joke—it hinges on it being well-executed—seems to help".. The title of a 2011 physics paper—"Can apparent superluminal neutrino speeds be explained as a quantum weak measurement?"—isn’t funny on its own. The abstract is the punchline: "Probably not."

Curse of knowledge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "economists Camerer, Loewenstein, and Weber first applied the curse of knowledge phenomenon to economics, in order to explain why and how the assumption that better informed agents can accurately anticipate the judgments of lesser informed agents is not inherently true, as well as to support the finding that sales agents who are better informed about their products may, in fact, be at a disadvantage against other, less-informed agents when selling their products. This is said to be because better informed agents fail to ignore the privileged knowledge that they possess, thus "cursed" and unable to sell their products at a value that more naïve agents would deem acceptable."

Vietnam buries thousands of smuggled cats, some still alive - "Vietnamese authorities have buried thousands of cats, many apparently still alive, after they were caught being smuggled from China for restaurants... Vietnam banned trafficking cats and serving them at restaurants in 1998"
Damn, something I missed in Hanoi...

#SG50ShadesOfGrey is a success on Twitter because S’poreans and their filthy minds - ""Her legs shook as waves of pleasure rocked her body. Then the salesman asked,"Auntie, you buying this Osim chair or not?""
"She screamed for him to stop, but he kept pumping away. She wanted half tank, but the Shell uncle heard full tank."
"She grimaced as his strong hands pried folds apart to reveal the moist succulence within. She had not had durian before."
""Put it in now!" She gasped. Too late, they shot past the ERP gantry as he fumbled for a cashcard."
""I'm coming! I'm really coming!" She panted hard, breathlessly, over the phone as she rushed for her morning meeting.""

▶ Anaïs DELVA - "Libérée Délivrée" ("Let it Go" - Home-Made Version - "La Reine des Neiges") - YouTube

'Masturbation is good for health' and prevents cystitis, diabetes and cancer - "'For women, masturbation can help prevent cervical infections and urinary tract infections through the process of "tenting," or the opening of the cervix that occurs as part of the arousal process. 'Tenting stretches the cervix, and thus the cervical mucous. This enables fluid circulation, allowing cervical fluids full of bacteria to be flushed out.' They add that engaging in self-pleasure can also 'lower the risk of type-2 diabetes (though this association may also be explained by greater overall health), reduce insomnia through hormonal and tension release, and increase pelvic floor strength through the contractions that happen during orgasm.' Then there is cancer prevention. Studies have shown that men who regularly have sex may have a lower risk of prostate cancer - perhaps due to the release of toxins from the prostate gland - and they say that masturbation achieves this same effect. The Australian pair also argue that it can help prevent depression, due to the 'happy' endorphins produced and cause a slight hike in levels of the hormone cortisol, which may give the immune system a boost. They add that masturbation is also 'the most convenient method for maximising orgasms' - and that people who orgasm regularly have 'reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, increased self-esteem, and reduced pain'."

Bondage at the box office: All tied up in the Bible belt | The Economist - "Southern sexuality scholars say that watching Miss Steele being tied up and flogged by a handsome billionaire gives repressed women permission to delve into their inner naughtiness. “Repressed women like stuff about being further repressed,” says Rosemary Daniell, the author of “Fatal Flowers: On Sin, Sex and Suicide in the Deep South”."

Singapore singles at raunchy Valentine's Day party - "Singapore singles turned up the heat with sexy dances and raunchy poses at the annual Valentine Vendetta singles party."

Rent-A-Gent.Pink | Gentlement Companions For Every Occasion - "All of our Gents have been carefully selected by a diverse panel of women to satisfy the needs and wants of today’s modern woman... Some of the services of our Gents include singing, dancing, cooking, playing musical instruments, personal training, stripping and much much more"

Rizwan Hussein: Chief of Global Aid Trust 'resigns' over charity's alleged links to extremism - "According to the Government register of charities, the charity has five employees and 15 volunteers, and its activities include sponsoring orphans, distributing cows and sheep to families and running women’s empowerment programmes in countries such as Bangladesh and Syria. The documentary follows an undercover reporter posing as a volunteer. At one point, the reporter is introduced to a GAT worker Shaffiq Shabbar, who tells him of his admiration for the late extremist preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was believed to have inspired a string of terror attacks... The documentary also shows preacher Dawah Man speaking at an event in which he makes a series of anti-Semitic comments, and tells the audience that “America, European countries, whatever you call it, these countries are controlled by Zionists."

Immigrants and the Economics of Hard Work - New York Times - "The most comprehensive recent study of immigrant workers comes from the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that, unlike Mr. Bernstein's, advocates stricter controls on immigration. The study, by the center's research director, Steven A. Camarota, found that immigrants are a majority of workers in only 4 of 473 job classifications — stucco masons, tailors, produce sorters and beauty salon workers. But even in those four job categories, native-born workers account for more than 40 percent of the work force... "The idea that there are jobs that Americans won't do is economic gibberish," Mr. Camarota said. "All the big occupations that immigrants are in — construction, janitorial, even agriculture — are overwhelmingly done by native Americans." But where they compete for jobs, he said, the immigrants have driven up the jobless rate for some Americans. According to his study, published in March, unemployment among the native born with less than a high school education was 14.3 percent in 2005; the figure for the immigrant population was 7.4 percent... the average annual wage loss for all American male workers from 1980 to 2000 was $1,200, or 4 percent, and nearly twice that, in percentage terms, for those without a high school diploma. The impact was also disproportionately high on African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, Professor Borjas found... There is one place and one category of work in which the "jobs Americans will not do" mantra appears to be close to true —the salad bowl of California... Last weekend, some 500,000 people took to the streets of Los Angeles to protest a tough immigration bill passed by the House in December and to put pressure on the Senate, which is debating the issue now. In the crowd were very few African-American faces, noted Ronald W. Walters, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. Their economic prospects are directly threatened by the huge influx of illegal immigrants, he said. African-Americans are competing for jobs in construction, hotels and restaurants, meat packing and textiles, he said, and they lose out to immigrants willing to accept lower pay and fewer benefits. "The African-American leadership has a lot of angst about this," he said, adding: "It's not just a black problem, but we are the most acutely affected. The fact is, it's hurting us.""
If immigration has a disparate impact on the wages of Hispanics and Blacks, does itmean that being pro-immigration is racist?

Former English teacher from Hunan loses ability to speak Chinese after suffering stroke

Sarah Colwill's Chinese accent brought on by migraine attack

West Sucks Story - "Giving you all the reasons why the East is better than the West."
Zzz Easterners

How Texas Judge Used Liberal Supreme Court Rulings To Block Obama's Immigration Plans - "The federal judge in Texas who blocked President Obama’s plans to grant residency status to millions of illegal immigrants laced his 123-page ruling with citations to U.S. Supreme Court decisions that upheld cherished liberal positions, including the rights of states to be free from the effects of global warming and the rejection of Arizona’s attempt to enforce immigration laws... The judge distinguished the Obama administration’s plan with earlier lapses in immigration enforcement that were not subject to court review. In this case, it’s not just inadequate enforcement, he wrote, but “an announced program of non-enforcement of the law that contradicts Congress’s statutory goals.” He also got in a shot at President Obama, quoting a Nov. 25, 2014 press release in which Obama said “I just took an action to change the law.”"

It Was Unconstitutional Before It Wasn’t - "What is “constitutional” or “unconstitutional” according to Senate Democrats seems to depend on the outcome they are aiming for. In this case they are calling something constitutional that they previously said was unconstitutional in order to allow something truly unconstitutional to happen. If you can follow that logic, you should apply for a job in Washington."
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