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Monday, June 22, 2015

Links - 22nd June 2015

Can Changing Economic Factors Explain the Rise in Obesity? - "A growing literature examines the effects of economic variables on obesity, typically focusing on only one or a few factors at a time. We build a more comprehensive economic model of body weight, combining the 1990-2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System with 27 state-level variables related to general economic conditions, labor supply, and the monetary or time costs of calorie intake, physical activity, and cigarette smoking. Controlling for demographic characteristics and state and year fixed effects, changes in these economic variables collectively explain 37% of the rise in BMI, 43% of the rise in obesity, and 59% of the rise in class II/III obesity. Quantile regressions also point to large effects among the heaviest individuals, with half the rise in the 90th percentile of BMI explained by economic factors. Variables related to calorie intake – particularly restaurant and supercenter/warehouse club densities – are the primary drivers of the results."
Too many restaurants and warehouse clubs = obesity

McDonald’s “New Policy” Bans Customers From Buying Food For Homeless - "When questioned again by the media, McDonalds has continued to insist that this is not an official policy at any of their stores."

Bolivia – The First Latin-American Country to Close All McDonald’s Restaurants - "Everything indicates that “fast food” is literally the opposite of a Bolivian’s conception of how to prepare a meal. In Bolivia, the food to be good requires, in addition to taste, care, and hygiene, a lot of preparation time. This is how a consumer values the quality of what goes into the stomach, also by the amount of time it took to make the meal. Fast food is not for these people, the Americans concluded."
Apparently it returned in April 2015 after 13 years

After 13 years of burger banishment, McDonald's opens new location in Bolivia - "According to food researchers, it's not that Bolivians don't like burgers – they actually love them, but they just prefer to buy them from the thousands of indigenous women selling on the streets than from a global company... "They look on these foreign entities with suspicion — and rightly so. They prefer to purchase from, to have a relationship with, people from their own country or community or family." Bolivia now leaves the short list of countries – North Korea, Libya, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Vatican City – without the Golden Arches. Even Bolivia's political ideological ally, Venezuela, the country of the late Hugo Chávez, has 148 places to get a Big Mac and fries."

After exercise, fast food helps you recover just as well as sports supplements

Mother Posts India’s First Gay Marriage Advert to Seek Groom for Her Son - “Last week, she asked me a question any mom would ask her 36-year-old son: ‘Are you dating someone? Are you fond of someone?’ And when my answer was in the negative, my mom did what any Indian mother would do — she decided to place an ad in a newspaper.”

Robotic chef can cook Michelin star food in your kitchen by mimicking world's best cooks - "Moley Robotics hopes the robot chef will go on sale to the general public in 2017 and it is aiming to charge £10,000. This may sound a lot for a kitchen gadget but, given the system includes the over, hob, sink, work surface and storage, the price is not as steep as it may first seem. A recent survey carried out by The Times newspaper found almost half of Britons paid between £5,000 and £20,000 for their kitchen."

Assimilation’s Failure, Terrorism’s Rise - - "The real question is not how people like Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7/7 bombers, came to be radicalized, but why so many young men, who by all accounts are intelligent, articulate and integrated, come to find this violent, reactionary ideology so attractive. To answer it, we need to look not at extremist preachers or university lecturers but also at public policy, and in particular the failed policy of multiculturalism... The British government developed a new political framework for engaging with minority groups. Britain was now in effect divided into a number of ethnic boxes — Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, African, Caribbean and so on. The claims of minorities upon society were defined less by the social and political needs of individuals than by the box to which they belonged. Political power and financial resources were distributed by ethnicity. The new policy did not empower individuals; instead, it enhanced the authority of so-called community leaders, often the most conservative voices, who owed their positions and influence largely to their relationship with the state... Politicians effectively abandoned their responsibility to engage directly with minorities, subcontracting it out to often reactionary “leaders”... More progressive movements became sidelined. Today “radical” in an Islamic context means someone who is a religious fundamentalist. Thirty years ago it meant the opposite: a secularist who challenged both racism in the streets and the power of the mosques. Secularism was once strong within Muslim communities, but it has been squeezed out by the new relationship between the state and religious leaders"

The Many Wives of Oei Tiong Ham - " I came across a biography—nay, a hagiography—ofOei Tiong Ham, the “world’s sugar king” and “richest man from Semarang.” (Raja Gula Dunia, Orang Terkaya Dari Semarang) who died in Singapore in 1924. Now it turns out that Oei is not really useful for my purposes, but the book is a fun read. It is full of interesting tidbits like “Tiong Ham liked to party” (gemar berpesta), as well as this complete list of his many wives and children. Note: this list of 8 wives does not include concubines. The book details that Oei had 18 concubines that he acknowledged, and there were rumors of as many as 50. We also see here that his first wives was the prettiest of the 16 children of an elite Chinese family in Semarang, the Goeis. Alas, this isn’t really a serious source, but I’d be interested to know if the concubines were more likely to be Javanese than Chinese."

What is it about the Singapore/Malaya merger and Operation Coldstore? - "Singapore’s PAP won the 1959 elections and formed the government. But the leadership’s inexperience showed, and they made a lot of mistakes in their first year. They moved away from the progressive platform on which they had been elected, failing to fulfil a number of election promises. To compound this, they refused to admit their mistakes, and acted in a very arrogant and smug manner. Thus, the British and the PAP’s backbenchers grew very frustrated with the government, and the popularity of the PAP government declined heavily from 1959-60... To win the next election, Lee needed an achievement he could campaign on. The only popular desire he could deliver quickly was the achievement of merger. The British already wanted merger, but the Tunku didn’t. Thus, to get the Tunku on board, they told the Tunku that the PAP’s unpopularity was a sign that the island would soon be taken over by communists, and only the Tunku could save the island by taking it over. The British also urged the Tunku to accept merger, and offered the inclusion of North Borneo and Sarawak. This would dilute the influence of Singapore’s Chinese in Federation politics, as well as give the Federation access to Borneo’s vast natural resources. Eventually, after much persuading, pleading, and bargaining, the Tunku agreed to merge... The original Operation Coldstore collapsed when, at the last minute, Lee Kuan Yew inserted fifteen extra names of his political opponents into the arrest list... The primary purpose of merger was for political gain, not to reunify a divided nation... if the Federation’s and PAP’s rationale for merger and the creation of Malaysia was to neutralise Singapore’s political opposition, then once the opposition was gone, what was the rationale for both parties to stay together?"

How to Spot a Narcissist Online - "Online, people are very good at gaining relationships, but they don’t fall off naturally. If you’re incredibly annoying, they just ignore you, and even then it might be worth it for entertainment value. There’s a reason why, on reality TV, you find high levels of narcissism. It’s entertaining"

Shock the Puppy! - "When Stanley Milgram published the results of his obedience experiment in 1963, it sent shockwaves through the scientific community. Other researchers found it hard to believe that people could be so easily manipulated, and they searched for any mistakes Milgram might have made. Charles Sheridan and Richard King theorized that perhaps Milgram's subjects had merely played along with the experiment because they realized the victim was faking his cries of pain. To test this possibility, Sheridan and King decided to repeat Milgram's experiment, introducing one significant difference. Instead of using an actor, they would use an actual victim who would really get shocked. Obviously they couldn't use a human for this purpose, so they used the next best thing — a cute, fluffy puppy... Intriguingly, the six students who refused to go on were all men. All thirteen women who participated in the experiment obeyed right up until the end"
This is linked to Psychologists Find that Nice People Are More Likely to Hurt You

Tushar Ismail - No. No. No. "In other words, regardless of... - ""In other words, regardless of whether you receive a text like “Hi dear, :)”, or a chain of messages asking about you, it is harassment as long as you are not comfortable with it."
A million times no. What in the actual fuck. By that logic, I can accuse the journalist of harassment because I'm not "comfortable" with his article?... The day that a single, "Hi Dear, :)" becomes harassment is day these people need to pull their heads out of their asses and look in a dictionary..."
Feminist 'harassment', isn't

The Cost of Saving Face in Singapore - "The fact that there is even a website dedicated to wedding ang bao rates demonstrates the amount of effort we put in to save our face and preserve our honour. Assuming we go to four weddings a year and stuff an average of S$150 into our red packets, that’s S$600 annually. The average cost of a typical face-saving banquet wedding in Singapore would probably be around S$1,500 per table including extraneous costs. Since you need to invite all your relatives, you’ll need 30 tables. That would add up to S$45,000. If you managed to recoup half of your costs (and this is a big if), you’re still spending more than S$22,000 on something that could have been better spent on an appreciating asset such as your house... The next time you’re grappling with a decision that involves saving face or saving money, always ask yourself this: will the face I’ve saved throughout my life help me out when the banks or creditors come knocking?"

Malay voters look for Islamic credentials in future PM, survey shows - "Most Malay voters feel that the number one criterion a prime minister of Malaysia must have is "Islamic credentials", with the majority preferring it over qualities such as "hardworking" and "economic and management skills"... Asked to pick the top two qualities they were looking for in a prime minister, 35.8% of Malays chose "Islamic credentials", while just 24.3% chose "tough stand on corruption"... Meanwhile, most of the Chinese interviewed in the survey preferred a prime minister with economic and management skills, with 28.5% choosing it as one of their top two criteria, followed by "tough stand on corruption" (27.2%) and "fair to all races" (18.5%). Indian voters were more concerned about a prime minister who is fair to all races (38.2%) and hardworking (17.6%)"

I'm a Devout Atheist — Here's What I Love About Religion - "The power of community is invaluable.
People need a strong sense of purpose to live well.
Prayer is an essential tool for modern life.
Holiday rituals offer people a unique kind of meaning and joy."

Psychology Journal Bans Significance Testing - "the p-value was never meant to be the sole measure of whether or not a particular hypothesis is true. Rather it was meant only as a measure of whether or not the data should be taken seriously. Further, the p-value is widely misunderstood... published p-values cluster suspiciously around this 0.05 level, suggesting that some degree of p-hacking is going on."

The 10 Worst Things You Can Do In A Negotiation | James Altucher

Why one science journal wants to publish negative studies - "The issue is so severe right now that some have wondered whether negative results are disappearing entirely from some countries and fields of science. Now, one journal is trying to correct publication bias: PLoS One this week launched its "Missing Pieces" collection of negative, null, and inconclusive studies — in other words, a celebration of the seamier side of botched and boring experiments that usually never sees the light of day"
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