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Valar Qringaomis

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Links - 25th January 2016

Making Valid Causal Inferences About Corrective Actions by Parents From Longitudinal Data - "As a result of an inherent selection bias, most longitudinal analyses are biased against corrective actions that parents use to address perceived child problems. This bias can lead to unjustified or even counterproductive recommendations about corrective parental actions"

Freakonomics » The Cheeseburger Diet: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast - "in anticipation of the federal calorie-count legislation, NYU’s Brian Elbel has been conducting studies in places where the restaurants already post calorie counts.... ELBEL: There is this subset, ten or so percent, say that they are using the information to purchase more calories. And in some respects that’s maybe not an irrational thing, right? They want to get the most bang for their caloric buck... We didn’t see any change at the population level in the number of calories purchased... What kind of person, you might wonder, has the incentive to get the most calories for their money? Probably a low-income person, right? So here’s another paradox: Considering that obesity is pretty common among low-income people — especially low-income women — the calorie-count legislation meant to curb obesity might backfire worst among the very people it’s most designed to help. And, who will these calorie counts work for? What kind of person will see them and take a second thought? Probably the kind of person who’s already counting her calories, or is at least already pretty aware of what calories are and how many should be consumed"

Ancient Rome special | Podcast | History Extra - "You start this hereditary, this would-be hereditary empire with no line of succession. And actually no system of succession. Not only no line of succession, no system. We think of... a monarchical systems as basically working through some form of primogeniture. And that was not the case in any sense in Rome. And we, I suppose we accept that primogeniture is a sensible system, because it provides no doubt about who the heir should be, even though sometimes it gives you an idiot. Romans would find that puzzling, I think, because they don't have an automatic system of primogeniture ever, anywhere. And they would say, because they're looking, they want to avoid idiots, but the cost of avoiding idiots is you have no system. And so succession is always fought out... We have been seduced into seeing the Roman Empire as a series of individual rulers and marking them down as good or bad... There is a basic rule of the Roman Empire. That if you are assassinated, you have a bad reputation... it is just as likely that you were turned into a monster because you were assassinated as you were assassinated because you were a monster...Actually, the Empire goes on in much the same way, being ruled from the centre, more or less - sometimes less, sometimes more - efficiently, no matter who the Emperor is. So, you read - the Romans themselves are very interested in the character of a ruler, what or not what crap was and how morality in that sense could be constructed around the virtues or failings of an Emperor, but the basic, the basic logic is it appears to have mattered not a jot who was on the throne. And so, if you want to understand the Roman Empire, you cannot understand it if you go into it through the history of its individual characters. There're all sorts... we love the stores and we don't want to get rid of them from our version of it, obviously, but I think more about us than about the Romans. It's us that's really interested in whether little fishes - boys - nibbled Tiberius's genitals when he's in the swimming pool."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Thailand Unprepared for Terror - "They've done what you would expect, which is you get far more visible security now. A lot more bag checking going on, but it's pretty haphazard and it's not very thorough. That's meant to reassure tourists. These kinds of incidents aren't stopped by bag searches or visible security anywhere in the world. They're stopped by good intelligence and good anticipation"
Keywords: Bangkok, patrols, theatre

Roman's palace of deparavity - "Tiberius missed the discarded Vipsania terribly. In a society where marriage for the upper classes was primarily a tool for political advancement, this was seen as a weakness. He was eventually banned by the Emperor Augustus from setting eyes on his first wife again... Tiberius was sent to war, and Julia apparently took full advantage of his absence. A predatory, drunken nymphomaniac, she once gave herself to a lover on the sacred speaker's rostrum of the forum. She had a particular fetish for dwarfs, and one accompanied her wherever she went. When Tiberius returned from Gaul in 7BC, he found his wife's outrageous behaviour was the talk of Rome and his house was being used as a brothel... Tacitus quoted contemporary writers who reported that, because capital punishment of a virgin was unprecedented, the daughter was violated by the executioner... In AD26, Tiberius retreated to the island of Capri, never to return to Rome - according to Tacitus, in order to indulge his carnal desire. There, he established a new office, master of the imperial pleasures, whose job was to gather the most beautiful youngsters in the land together, for the Emperor to defile... Tiberius's demise was met with widespread celebration in Rome. According to Suetonius: 'The people were so glad of his death, that at the first news of it some ran about shouting "To the Tiber with Tiberius!" referring to a form of punishment reserved only for common criminals - that their corpses would be thrown straight into the River Tiber, without the dignity of a resting place."

Racial Bias in Police Investigations - "Law enforcement discrimination studies are usually qualified by selection concerns regarding which encounters transpire between individuals and police. This paper over- comes these problems by examining automobile crash investigations by a State Police Department. Because officers are dispatched to investigate crashes on the basis of fac- tors unrelated to driver race, these interactions are effectively exogenous. I show that, conditional on the Census Block Group area of a crash, the race of the investigating officer is uncorrelated with that of the driver. For these investigations, I find that police officers exhibit significant bias in issuing citations to other-race drivers for both moving and nonmoving violations, though no bias is evident for felony violations such as hit-and-run. Because racial bias is present even for easily observable offenses such as expired vehicle registration, these findings are consistent with preference-based rather than statistical discrimination"

BBC World Service - Documentaries, Spain’s Battle for the Bull - "That's a central argument of the pro-bullfighting world. The animals graze outdoors for up to six years. So they get a good life. Much better than cattle raised for meat... The bull who dies in a ring, dies being the main character, the protagonist of the story. Otherwise the animals which just die in the slaughterhouse, they are no one... Everyone's a friend, except those who want to kill her. 'There are many people that think that we are killers, all of us. Or psychopaths, all of us. And we are crazy people, that we are doing evil. It seems that we are all very bad people. And me at least, and I know that everybody will receive a threatens. We receive a insults... Death, death. "You should be killed like bulls in the arena"... [We get that] very often, very often... [It's] increasing, yes. And very strong things that I have to read every morning when I wake up... [I get them via] Twitter, Twitter mainly, and Facebook'"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Russian cruise missiles in first combat action - "Moet (sp?) sells newspapers on the streets of Kolkata. When I ask him whether beef should be banned in the restaurant he works outside, he replies instantly. 'Of course. We worship the Cow, it's like our Mother. And people should respect that'. His friend Dineeta (sp?) walks over and joins in the conversation. 'Muslim countries ban pork. So why can't we ban beef? Nobody should be allowed to sell it. This is a Hindu country'... I've walked back into the restaurant, and now I have a menu in my hand. Rakesh (sp?) is on steak number 2. 'I'm going to eat as many as I can', he says. 'Who knows how long you'll be abl to get them here in India'...
Denis Healey, often described as the best leader Labour never had. He had a sharp mind and sometimes, a sharper tongue.
'I don't think I've ever said anything which I didn't believe and which didn't turn out to be true. But I've gotten into a lot of trouble. The worst thing in politics, as you know, is to say the truth at the wrong time. And above all, never be prematurely right'"
When religious respect involves restricting what other people do, it doesn't seem like such a virtue anymore, does it?
Maybe Denis Healey used to be called a Troll


Facebook update makes entire index of 2 trillion posts open to search - "The social network on Thursday announced it’s expanding its search function to include every publicly-available post in its archive, which means your searches will parse through over 2 trillions posts in Facebook’s index."

Women Like Being Valued for Sex, as Long as it is by a Committed Partner. - "How do women respond to being valued for sex by their partners? Although research supporting objectification theory suggests that women's reactions to sexual valuation are primarily negative, a separate body of research indicates that women expend significant effort to enhance their sexual appeal. Evolutionary perspectives suggest that whether women are more or less satisfied with partners who value them for sex may depend on how committed those partners are. Being sexually valued by a relatively uncommitted partner may violate women's desire to avoid short-term sexual relationships and thus may be negatively associated with relationship satisfaction. In contrast, being sexually valued by a highly committed partner may positively influence women's relationship satisfaction because it signals to them that they have successfully attracted a long-term relationship partner. Two studies of newly married couples supported these predictions. In Study 1 (N = 109), husbands' sexual valuation was positively associated with marital satisfaction among wives who perceived that those husbands were highly committed, but negatively associated with marital satisfaction among wives who perceived that those husbands were relatively less committed. Study 2 (N = 99) revealed the same pattern for wives (but not husbands) using a likely manifestation of sexual valuation-engaging in frequent sex. These findings join others to demonstrate that interpersonal processes do not have universally positive or negative implications for relationships; rather, their implications depend on the context in which they occur, including contexts that were reproductively beneficial or costly throughout evolutionary history."

Islam is still rooted in the values of the dark ages – and until we accept that, we will never get rid of radicalism - Telegraph - "British Muslims must “tackle extremism”. We must stop tolerating “social segregation”. “For too long we have buried our heads in the sand” about the growth of extremism among young Muslims in our country. No, not the words of Ukip's Nigel Farage but of Labour’s London Mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, speaking today at a Westminster lunch. Mr Khan, a Muslim born in London to Pakistani immigrants, is one of the very few politicians in mainstream politics who is brave enough to speak the truth about the ever growing issues facing Britain’s Muslim population. Of course, being a Muslim himself, Mr Khan is automatically exempt from the usual barrage of cries of “racist” and “Islamophobe” from the liberal thought police... British Muslims “have a special role to play in tackling extremism”. As he says, that’s not because they – simply by virtue of sharing the same religion as the terrorists – are any more responsible for terror attacks than non-Muslims, but because they can be “more effective” at tackling that extremism... “Too many British Muslims grow up without really knowing anyone from a different background. We’ve protected people’s right to live their cultural life at the expense of creating a common life.” Huge numbers of British Muslims are concentrated in distinct neighbourhoods, often living with, going to school with, working with, befriending and marrying only other Muslims. “This,” as Mr Khan so rightly pointed out, “creates the conditions for extremism and radicalisation to take hold.” Is it really any wonder then that so many young British Muslims feel they are not really British when they have grown up isolated and alienated from the rest of the population?"

Former Apple designers say the company has lost 'the fundamental principles of good design' - "Two early Apple designers have written a piece on Co.Design chastising Apple's new design direction, which they claim puts elegance and visual simplicity over understandability and ease of use. Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini, who was Apple's 66th employee and the writer of its first human interface guidelines, and Don Norman, Apple's user experience architect from 1993 to 1996, aren't holding back in the least... They also criticized Apple for things like not including a universal undo or back button, which is present on Android, having too many "hidden" gesture-based menus, and for pushing visual simplicity over usability testing in its new human interface guidelines for developers... Norman and Tog state that Apple's design transgressions go far beyond the font on your phone, given Apple's vast influence over design culture, stating that Apple's choices could have reverberations in different industries like infrastructure and health care. "Apple is reinforcing the old, discredited idea that the designer’s sole job is to make things beautiful, even at the expense of providing the right functions, aiding understandability, and ensuring ease of use," they wrote... While they do admit that Apple has succeeded at making its devices visually appealing, in their eyes that appeal has damped some potential complaints from users. "The product is beautiful! And fun. As a result, when people have difficulties, they blame themselves. Good for Apple. Bad for the customer.""
"What kind of design philosophy requires millions of its users to have to pretend they are disabled in order to be able to use the product?"

The Truth about Fetal Tissue Research - "The Planned Parenthood videos caused even some supporters of fetal tissue research to feel uncomfortable. In one video, physician Deborah Nucatola, the group’s senior director of medical services, describes how she crushes fetuses above and below key organs to preserve them intact for research. She also described turning a fetus into a breech presentation to deliver the head last, when the cervix is more dilated, thus preserving the brain. This raised the question of whether physicians are altering abortion techniques to accommodate research requests, violating a widely held precept of research ethics"
The article justifies fetal tissue research by its value to scientific research. But then taking organs from cadavers would probably be even more helpful to help people
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