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Sunday, July 05, 2015

Links - 5th July 2015

40 Tourist Scams to Avoid This Summer

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - "Meat is murder. Vegetarianism is genocide."

'Game of Thrones' star defends the show's female violence scenes - "“I’ve always been quite clear about my attitude toward gender equality and female empowerment.” Christie said. “And a lot of this show is inspired by actual historical events, and that’s what’s occurring with the women. Women have been treated appalling in history. Men have too. Human beings have. What this show is doing is shining a light on women and has an exploration of female characters that has rarely been approached before—and I applaud that. Yes, those scenes are difficult, and they should be difficult. They should further illuminate human consciousness about how we interact as human beings.” There is also, Christie noted, some broader context for the most debated events in the show"

'Game of Thrones' star Maisie Williams speaks: The ultimate Arya interview - "Rule number one is to not read what people think about you on the Internet, because it makes you sad...
Thrones fans can be super intense. What was your weirdest encounter?
People love asking me to say the [list of characters Arya wants to kill] with their name in it. It’s quite creepy. It’ll be like “Joffrey, Cersei, Alan…” Just, like, a strange suburban dad’s name in the middle. Then they’re recording it and they’re just like, “Thank you.”"

Why the right side of your brain doesn't like Arabic - "If you've ever struggled to learn Arabic or felt overwhelmed just looking its symbols, now you can blame science. Researchers from the University of Haifa in Israel say intricacies in Arabic script are so complex that the right hemispheres of learners' brains don't even bother getting involved. The university's department of psychology and the Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities conducted a series of studies on why Arabic might be more difficult to learn than other languages. Some Arabic characters look exactly like others but with different meanings and sounds -- and with only slight variations such as lines or dots, the university said. To add to the confusion, some sounds are represented by a variety of different symbols."

Cosplay Gone Wrong: Fat Chicks Dressed Like Yuna! - "no videogame or anime character has been more frightening in the cosplay world than Yuna from Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2."

Brewing For Success: How KOI Cafe broke through competition

Freakonomics » How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution? Full Transcript - "medical training bypassed the Enlightenment almost altogether. So if you look back in the roots of medicine as training, as a pedagogy, it goes back to Greek tradition. And in that Greek tradition it was a lot of memorization, and it was fealty to authority. It was a tradition that was passed down through the generations. It was almost like a priesthood. And med school is really like being inducted into a priesthood of power, money and influence. And the Enlightenment was really about self-critical thinking, and about use of rational thought and the scientific method to prove and disprove things in an objective way. And very few physicians really understand the scientific method. So you don’t necessarily have a science degree to go to med school. And when you’re in med school, most of med school is just memorization. So you know, if you look at how medicine is taught, the first two years are mostly memorization. And then the second two years are rounding on patients with senior physicians in a very steep hierarchy where you learn to do what you’re told and you don’t challenge or embarrass the senior physicians... the most dangerous thing in America is an empty hospital bed... you better worry if you go to one of those emergency rooms, because the chances of being admitted to the hospital when there are empty beds upstairs that they need to fill are going to be much, much higher than when all the beds are full–whether there’s medical necessity or you need it or not. So I’d be very worried if you live in Princeton that there are now two $1 billion hospitals waiting to be filled by you."

▶ This Ain't Ghostbusters XXX-trailer - YouTube

England football stars photo tells up about race in Britain today - "in Britain at least, does part of the reason lie in multiculturalism? This fashionable dogma is obsessed with instilling respect for diversity and celebrating different groups’ beliefs and traditions. The result has been not, as was hoped, a society in which people of various backgrounds mix freely but one made up too often of separate communities. Could it be that in the process of respecting the differences between us all, we are — inadvertently — quietly reinforcing cultural barriers which separate black and white? That, in my view, is what we are seeing in the football pictures; the result of multiculturalism in microcosm, allied to the natural human impulse to gravitate towards what is familiar and therefore reassuring."

Freakonomics » Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend Full Transcript - "You know, everyone has seen Mad Men on television. Well they were a hundred times better than Mad Men. They actually understood that what a woman wanted was a tangible measure of love. So they made the diamond into the tangible symbol. They also introduced diamonds into Hollywood. They opened an office in Hollywood to put them in films. And its entire business was creating a liaison between movie producers and De Beers. Songs like Marilyn Monroe singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” you know, didn’t come out of thin air."

Freakonomics » Making Sex Offenders Pay — and Pay and Pay and Pay Full Transcript - "DUBNER: Joseph is bothered by this notion. She points out that some people who might be offended by the notion of “rewiring” say, homosexuals, might firmly believe that a sex offender’s sexual urges can be fundamentally changed.
JOSEPH: I think it is a contradiction. I’m one of those believers that… without getting into some big, political discussion about this that if you’re born gay, you’re gay. You can’t and shouldn’t be rewired to think a different way. Well, if we can’t rewire our sexuality, why do we think we can rewire the sexuality of a child predator, or a man who is aroused by being violent with women? Why do we think we can?... the irony of the [sex offender] registry is that by making the information so public, it probably, potentially, maybe it doesn’t, it depends, it might reduce the amount of recidivism. But one thing it does for sure is it raises a level of fear, and so much of the costs of crime are the fear, not the fear of the actual victims or the pain of the victims, but it’s the fear of everyone who imagines they might be a victim. And the registry does exactly the wrong thing in that regard, in making everyone feel like they’re constantly under threat... I’ve known guys in prison who said I had a 15-year-old girlfriend when I was 19, and I really would have been better off if I had just killed her instead of having sex with her. Because then I would have done, you know, 15 or 20 years and I would have gotten out and gotten to move on with my life. But being labeled a sex offender, I will permanently be punished by all of these laws."

There Goes the Neighborhood? Estimates of the Impact of Crime Risk on Property Values From Megan's Laws - "Houses within a one-tenth mile area around the home of a sex offender fall by 4 percent on average (about $5,500). We also find evidence that the effect varies with distance within this range -- houses next to an offender sell for about 12 percent less while those a tenth of a mile away or more show no decline. We combine our willingness-to-pay estimates with data on sexual crimes against neighbors to estimate the costs to victims of sexual offenses. We estimate costs of over $1 million per victim -- far in excess of estimates taken from the criminal justice literature. However, we cannot reject the alternative hypotheses that individuals overestimate the risk posed by offenders or view living near an offender as having costs exclusive of crime risk."

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Islamic State Recruitment
Amusingly the first witness is okay with people going off to join ISIS because this supposedly doesn't threaten Britain or its allies' interests, despite ISIS proclaiming that it wants to conquer the world in the name of the Islamic Caliphate. And when grilled he starts ranting about Israel

ISIS and the Spanish Civil War - "The Spanish Civil War, however, does offer a lot of problems when it comes to comparisons. For starters, with whom do we compare IS? It was the anti-fascist side, the Republicans, who attracted the swarms of foreign volunteers. Apart from that single fact, it’s hard to compare the Republicans and IS. The Republicans were a loose coalition of leftists and anarchists, receiving some support from Stalin’s Soviet Union. They were barely united and sometimes fell to fighting (and purging) one another. At the same time, unlike IS, they did not look to expand beyond the borders of Spain, merely to stop the fascists from winning the civil war... But what really makes the Spanish Civil War so relevant in comparison with IS isn’t the details related to troop dispositions or the national origin of the soldiers on either side: it’s the symbolism of the war, the perception at the time (and still today, almost 80 years later) that it was a symbol, a metaphor, for the forces gathering to fight the Second World War. It was a place where fascism might have been stopped if the democracies hadn’t been in the throes of appeasement. It was a stage upon which the first act of a huge, enormously destructive war was played out. And that, surely, is what makes it comparable with the Islamic State of today"

Barack Obama says the N-word in Marc Maron's podcast - ""I always tell young people, in particular, do not say that nothing has changed when it comes to race in America, unless you've lived through being a black man in the 1950s or '60s or '70s. It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and yours"... The White House released a statement saying that this is not the first time the President has used the N-word. "Truth is he uses the term about a dozen times in Dreams from my Father," White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said."
If you need to issue a press release about the usage of the word "Nigger", it's clear people have the wrong priorities

Remember the Professor Who Said ‘White Males’ Are ‘the Problem’? Take a Look at What She Was Doing Online in 2007 - "She’s already gained national media attention for her fiery rhetoric, having tweeted that:
- “white college males” are a “problem population” and “white masculinity” is “THE problem for America’s colleges.”
- “Deal with your white s***, white people. slavery is a *YALL* thing.”
- “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. And every year I find it nearly impossible.”
Meanwhile Tim Hunt gets fired for making a joke
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