"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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Friday, September 11, 2015

Links - 11th September 2015

Publishers have themselves to blame for the ad-blocking apocalypse - "many publishers both large and small are caught in a Catch-22 kind of situation: They rely on advertising for their financial well-being, but in order to cater to advertisers who want to see large numbers, many feel they have to pump out as much shallow click-bait as they possibly can. That in turn makes their sites even more reliant on advertising, because no one in their right mind would actually pay to subscribe to a site that publishes that kind of content. Meanwhile, the continuing decline in rates for most forms of digital advertising causes these publishers to make even more Faustian deals with sketchy ad networks, click farms, popup manufacturers and recommendation engines like Taboola and Outbrain. And that in turn causes reader churn, low engagement and poor clickthrough rates, and probably increases the growth of ad blockers. One tangible result of all this sturm und drang is that it is increasing the demand for “native advertising,” which looks like normal content and thus is theoretically impervious to ad blocking... the benefit of good native advertising is that readers don’t see it as advertising, they simply see it as useful or interesting content (if it’s done properly, that is). And therefore they don’t want to block it."

Chinese TV host to be punished for insulting Mao in private

How to save lions in Africa? Hunt them, conservationists say - "most conservation groups, wildlife management experts and African governments support the practice as a way to maintain wildlife. Hunting, they contend, is part of a complex economy that has so far proven to be the most effective method of conservation, not only in Africa but around the world as well. While hunting is banned in government parks here in South Africa, animals inside their boundaries are routinely sold to game ranches when their populations are considered excessive, generating money to maintain habitats and fight poachers. And because trophy hunting is legal in private game reserves, the animals end up fetching higher prices than they would in being killed for food or other reasons, conservationists contend... "There's only two places on the Earth where wildlife at a large scale has actually increased in the 20th century, and those are North America and southern Africa," said Dr Rosie Cooney, a zoologist who is the chairwoman of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group. "Both of those models of conservation were built around hunting"... The reality in Africa, they say, is that most animals, including elephants, rhinos and lions, are not killed by trophy hunters.Instead, they are killed by local residents for meat or in clashes as wild habitats shrink... lions were now protected because of the high value attached to them as trophies. Locals tolerate them because of the income that trickles down. Without the trophy hunt money, locals would increasingly poison lions, which are considered dangerous to people and livestock"

This World Rocks 17 Bucket List Items RUINED by Real Images - "Here is a good rule of thumb: If bottomless-pockets Oprah isn’t able to visit somewhere without avoiding herds of tourists, then you won’t be able to either."
Wah, the Over Exposed Model visited Rome!

In Liberal Europe, Abortion Laws Come With Their Own Restrictions - "I assumed that Western Europe would be the land of abortion on demand, likely government-subsidized, and possibly with a free bag of condoms afterward. But as it turns out, abortion laws in Europe are both more restrictive and more complicated than that. Waiting periods, decried by American pro-choicers as infantilizing and unreasonably burdensome, are common in Western Europe... in America, abortion laws are about morality, while in Europe, they reflect national ideas of what constitutes the common good"

Eye Shapes Of The Animal World Hint At Differences In Our Lifestyles - "The shape of the animal's pupil, it "turns out, is closely related to the animal's size and whether it's a predator or prey."

You want hypotheticals? Here’s one. - "The fact is that by the end of Bush’s tenure the war had been won. You can argue that the price of that victory was too high. Fine. We can debate that until the end of time. But what is not debatable is that it was a victory. Bush bequeathed to Obama a success. By whose measure? By Obama’s. As he told the troops at Fort Bragg on Dec. 14, 2011, “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” This was, said the president, a “moment of success.” Which Obama proceeded to fully squander. With the 2012 election approaching, he chose to liquidate our military presence in Iraq. We didn’t just withdraw our forces. We abandoned, destroyed or turned over our equipment, stores, installations and bases. We surrendered our most valuable strategic assets, such as control of Iraqi airspace, soon to become the indispensable conduit for Iran to supply and sustain the Assad regime in Syria and cement its influence all the way to the Mediterranean. And, most relevant to the fall of Ramadi, we abandoned the vast intelligence network we had so painstakingly constructed in Anbar province, without which our current patchwork operations there are largely blind and correspondingly feeble. The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn’t that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake. But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was that not a mistake?... the damage was self-inflicted. The current situation in Iraq, says David Petraeus, “is tragic foremost because it didn’t have to turn out this way. The hard-earned progress of the surge was sustained for over three years.”"

Black Lives Matter activists push Sanders off stage at Seattle event - "Sanders was just about to address several thousand people who gathered shoulder to shoulder at Westlake Park when two women took over the microphone. Organizers couldn’t persuade the two to wait and greed to give them a few minutes. The women spoke about Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown. They also held a four minute moment of silence. When the crowd asked the activists to allow Sanders to speak, one activist called the crowd "white supremacist liberals," according to event participants."

50 hospitals charge uninsured more than 10 times cost of care, study finds

Who Farts? And Who Cares? - "Non-heterosexual men were an interesting conundrum. They were as likely as heterosexual men to think that the hearer would think it was funny, but the least likely to engage in intentional flatulence and the most likely to make sure that when they poop, they do so alone. Non-heterosexual women were also a conundrum. They were the least likely to think the hearer would laugh at a fart, but second only to heterosexual men in the practice of farting on purpose to get a reaction."

How nonsense papers ended up in respected scientific journals. - "Cyril Labbé, a French computer scientist, recently informed Springer and the IEEE, two major scientific publishers, that between them, they had published more than 120 algorithmically-generated articles. In 2012, Labbé had told the IEEE of another batch of 85 fake articles. He's been playing with SCIgen for a few years—in 2010 a fake researcher he created, Ike Antkare, briefly became the 21st most highly cited scientist in Google Scholar's database... quantitative measures of citation have acquired an importance that is distorting the practice of science... As Peter Higgs said after he won last year's Nobel Prize in physics, "Today I wouldn't get an academic job. It's as simple as that. I don't think I would be regarded as productive enough." Jens Skou, a 1997 Nobel Laureate, put it this way in his Nobel biographical statement: today's system puts pressure on scientists for, "too fast publication, and to publish too short papers, and the evaluation process use[s] a lot of manpower. It does not give time to become absorbed in a problem as the previous system [did]." Today, the most critical measure of an academic article's importance is the “impact factor” of the journal it is published in. The impact factor, which was created by a librarian named Eugene Garfield in the early 1950s, measures how often articles published in a journal are cited. Creating the impact factor helped make Garfield a multimillionaire—not a normal occurrence for librarians... The gibberish papers (“TIC: a methodology for the construction of e-commerce”) are only the absurdist culmination of an academic evaluation and publication process set up to encourage them."

New study shows that people stop listening to new music at 33

Study Finds That The More Beautiful Your Home Is, The Less Likely You Are To Be Religious - "One of most cited studies in the sociology of religion is Bronislaw Malinowski's work in the Trobriand Islands. Malinowski found that fishermen venturing onto the perilous open ocean applied “magical thinking” through rituals that were skipped by those catching food in the calm (and very beautiful) waters of the lagoon."

Physically-attractive males increase men's financial risk-taking - "Prior research has examined how sexual opposite-sex stimuli impact people's choices and behaviors. However, it is largely unknown whether sexual same-sex stimuli also do so. This research reports an intriguing phenomenon: men who see attractive males take greater financial risks than those who do not. An evolution-based account is proffered and tested across four experiments"

Why you shouldn’t tell children they can be whatever they want - "I am drawn towards this subject by two personal factors – my father telling me, as I was growing up, that ambition is a curse. In defiance of this, I became hugely ambitious – thus defying my father’s edict and, at the same time, in a strange way, confirming it. Because although I have achieved way beyond my father’s – and even my own – expectations, it has not brought the happiness I imagined was guaranteed with the package. In fact, most of the joy I have got out of my life has been through the commonplace activities of home, family and hobbies, rather than being that most sought-after occupation, a novelist, which pushes me constantly to the frontiers of my limited abilities. Yes, I have won a few laurels – but the price I have paid in terms of effort and struggle and disappointment is high... “By implying that the only options are superstardom or mediocrity, we ignore where most of us ultimately land – that huge middle ground between anything and nothing much at all”... is it so shameful to want to be a nurse rather than a doctor, a schoolteacher rather than a university lecturer?... The idea that your success in work represents your success as a person is useful for capitalism, but it can extract an exacting personal cost... Instead of teaching “you’re special, you’re great”, we should emphasise self-control and hard work, which are positively correlated with success. And we should define for our children some alternative life goals to reaching for the stars – because for the overwhelming majority of us, they will always sparkle, coldly, out of reach."

There are too many studies, new study finds - "In a paper entitled 'Attention decay in science', professors from universities in Finland and California conclude that "the exponential growth in the number of scientific papers makes it increasingly difficult for researchers to keep track of all the publications relevant to their work."
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