"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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Monday, July 18, 2016

Links - 18th July 2016

Indian company finally delivers $5 smartphone

AfD Politician ridicules Green Party LGBTTQQ Proposal by greeting Parliament in 60 different Genders - YouTube

Woman jailed for registering marriage without consent - "When her boyfriend left her after becoming suspicious the son they shared was not biologically his, a woman devised a plan to get her lover back. The 32-year-old finance assistant stole her ex-boyfriend’s national registration identity card (NRIC) and enlisted the help of her friend Matthew Yeo Chia Loong to impersonate him, then she registered their marriage."

Women From Venus, Men Still From Mars on Facebook, Study Finds - The New York Times - "Women used warmer, gentler words in their status updates on Facebook compared to men, who were more likely to swear, express anger and use argumentative language, a study of 10 million postings released on Wednesday found. In a bit of a surprise, the study showed that women used slightly more assertive language, said H. Andrew Schwartz, an assistant professor of computer science at Stony Brook University and one of its authors... The most commonly cited topics by women included words such as “wonderful,” “happy,” “birthday,” “daughter,” “baby,” “excited” and “thankful.” Women were more likely to discuss family and social life, relying on words that described positive emotions, such as “love,” and intensive adverbs, such as “sooo,” “sooooo,” and “ridiculously,” the study said. Men more frequently discussed topics related to money or work, and favored words tied to politics, sports, competition and activities, such as shooting guns or playing video games. Men commonly used words such as “freedom,” “liberty,” “win,” “lose,” “battle” and “enemy.” “The differences were interpreted as reflecting a male tendency toward objects and impersonal topics and a female tendency toward psychological and social processes,” the report said... It also was a data-based way to study social media that could be replicated outside the United States, to see if such gender differences surface in other cultures and societies"

Infants' preferences for toys, colors, and shapes: sex differences and similarities. - "Girls and boys differ in their preferences for toys such as dolls and trucks. These sex differences are present in infants, are seen in non-human primates, and relate, in part, to prenatal androgen exposure. This evidence of inborn influences on sex-typed toy preferences has led to suggestions that object features, such as the color or the shape of toys, may be of intrinsically different interest to males and females. We used a preferential looking task to examine preferences for different toys, colors, and shapes in 120 infants, ages 12, 18, or 24 months. Girls looked at dolls significantly more than boys did and boys looked at cars significantly more than girls did, irrespective of color, particularly when brightness was controlled. These outcomes did not vary with age. There were no significant sex differences in infants' preferences for different colors or shapes. Instead, both girls and boys preferred reddish colors over blue and rounded over angular shapes. These findings augment prior evidence of sex-typed toy preferences in infants, but suggest that color and shape do not determine these sex differences. In fact, the direction of influence could be the opposite. Girls may learn to prefer pink, for instance, because the toys that they enjoy playing with are often colored pink. Regarding within sex differences, as opposed to differences between boys and girls, both boys and girls preferred dolls to cars at age 12-months. The preference of young boys for dolls over cars suggests that older boys' avoidance of dolls may be acquired. Similarly, the sex similarities in infants' preferences for colors and shapes suggest that any subsequent sex differences in these preferences may arise from socialization or cognitive gender development rather than inborn factors."
Boys play with dolls too - they're called action figures

Who said “The Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”? - "The quote, through great debate, has been attributed to Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and Rita Mae Brown. It has been repeated through variation by coaches, athletes, overweight women, neurotic psych patients, housewives and, most recently, conservative political commentators... Who knows? It could very well be just an ancient Chinese proverb. I would sincerely love any information you come across regarding this. After all, the great Einstein once said, “Knowledge is power and knowing is half the battle.”"

There's A Reason Nigerian Scammers Are So Obvious In Their Emails - "the genius behind such an obvious scam in terms of “false positives,” referring to email recipients who engage with the scammers but don’t ultimately pay. Reaching out to scores of potential victims isn’t much work, thanks to the ease of email, but with each reply from a gullible target, the scammers are required to put forth a little more effort. Therefore, it’s in the scammers’ best interest to minimize the number of false positives who cost them effort but never send them cash. By sending an initial email that’s obvious in its shortcomings, the scammers are isolating the most gullible targets. If you trash their email, that’s fine. They don’t want you, someone from whom there’s virtually no chance of receiving any money. They want people who, faced with a ridiculous email, still don’t recognize its illegitimacy... the best defense against these crooks is to game their system and waste their time. Ideally, he says, this would take the form of a chatbot that engages with scammers, to make them put in the effort toward the false positives they’re trying to avoid."

Sex differences in rhesus monkey toy preferences parallel those of children - "Sex differences in toy preferences in children are marked, with boys expressing stronger and more rigid toy preferences than girls, whose preferences are more flexible. Socialization processes, parents, or peers encouraging play with gender-specific toys are thought to be the primary force shaping sex differences in toy preference. A contrast in view is that toy preferences reflect biologically-determined preferences for specific activities facilitated by specific toys. Sex differences in juvenile activities, such as rough-and-tumble play, peer preferences, and infant interest, share similarities in humans and monkeys. Thus if activity preferences shape toy preferences, male and female monkeys may show toy preferences similar to those seen in boys and girls. We compared the interactions of 34 rhesus monkeys, living within a 135 monkey troop, with human wheeled toys and plush toys. Male monkeys, like boys, showed consistent and strong preferences for wheeled toys, while female monkeys, like girls, showed greater variability in preferences. Thus, the magnitude of preference for wheeled over plush toys differed significantly between males and females. The similarities to human findings demonstrate that such preferences can develop without explicit gendered socialization. We offer the hypothesis that toy preferences reflect hormonally influenced behavioral and cognitive biases which are sculpted by social processes into the sex differences seen in monkeys and humans."

Sex-Typed Toy Play Behavior Correlates with the Degree of Prenatal Androgen Exposure Assessed by CYP21 Genotype in Girls with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia - "Previous studies have shown that girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a syndrome resulting in overproduction of adrenal androgens from early fetal life, are behaviorally masculinized. We studied play with toys in a structured play situation and correlated the results with disease severity, assessed by CYP21 genotyping, and age at diagnosis. Girls with CAH played more with masculine toys than controls when playing alone. In addition, we could demonstrate a dose-response relationship between disease severity (i.e. degree of fetal androgen exposure) and degree of masculinization of behavior. The presence of a parent did not influence the CAH girls to play in a more masculine fashion. Four CAH girls with late diagnosis are also described. Three of the four girls played exclusively with one of the masculine toys, a constructional toy. Our results support the view that prenatal androgen exposure has a direct organizational effect on the human brain to determine certain aspects of sex-typed behavior."

Dolls, toys and formative attitudes towards children and childbearing - "As in most of the working papers in the series, the over-riding conclusion of this piece is that both biological and social processes play a crucial role in shaping children‘s interactions with toys which, in turn, has been found to significantly impact upon an individual‘s gendered scheme and progression"

Can genes make us liberal or conservative? - "Working with 1771 university students of Han Chinese origin in Singapore, researchers compared answers to surveys—including one tailored to hot-button issues in the city-state—with the presence of a permutation of the DRD4 gene. DRD4 is one of several genes that determines the way dopamine—a crucial neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger—is released in the brain. What they found was a robust link between the presence (or not) of the variant and a split between liberals inclined to decry inequality, on the one hand, and die-hard conservative wary of change, on the other. "The association between political attitude and DRD4 was highly significant for females," and less so for men, said the study, led by Richard Ebstein of the National University of Singapore. Women, it was also shown, tended to be more conservative in general. The results are bolstered by earlier research based on people of European descent that found similar patterns around the same gene, according to the study."

Study Predicts Political Beliefs With 83 Percent Accuracy - "If you want to know people’s politics, tradition said to study their parents. In fact, the party affiliation of someone’s parents can predict the child’s political leanings about around 70 percent of the time. But new research, published yesterday in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests what mom and dad think isn’t the endgame when it comes to shaping a person’s political identity. Ideological differences between partisans may reflect distinct neural processes, and they can predict who’s right and who’s left of center with 82.9 percent accuracy, outperforming the “your parents pick your party” model"

Patriarchy, Male Competition, and Excess Male Mortality - "Studies of patriarchy typically focus on women’s subordination to men and thedetrimental consequences for females. In this study, however, the authors predict thatgreater social empowerment of women will be associated with smaller mortalitydifferences between women and men, which may seem counterintuitive from a non-evolutionary perspective. In other words, they predict that higher levels of societalpatriarchy will be associated with greater levels of excess male mortality. They proposethat the degree of patriarchy reflects both the extent of male control of females asreproductive assets, as well as the degree of male competition for positions of highstatus and power that have historically conferred disproportionate reproductive benefits.The intensity of this male competition directly predicts the extent to which malemortality rates exceed female mortality rates. The authors examined national levelsociodemographic and mortality data from the WHO Mortality Database, UnitedNations, CIA World Factbook, and the Encyclopedia of World Cultures. They foundthat across nations, women’s social and economic empowerment had a strong inverserelationship with the disparity between male and female mortality from both external(direct behavioral) and (behaviorally mediated) internal causes, even when accountingfor general economic inequality and the prevalence of polygyny. This study demon-strates the usefulness of an evolutionary framework for explaining contemporary socialphenomena and important public health issues"

How to Be Tim Ferriss - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "FERRISS: I do not give money, and I’ll tell you why. I at one point paid a homeless gentleman in San Francisco to give me a tour of the entire sort of homeless underground in San Francisco... he walked me through the Tenderloin, through all these different areas, and he pointed out where to get clothing, where to get housing, where to get blankets, where to get food, where to get all these resources, and he said, anyone who is asking for money is doing so to buy drugs or alcohol."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Monday's business with Rob Young - "Look, we can try and construct every negative thing that's happening as being down to Donald Trump or Brexit. That seems to be what lots of people are doing. But let's be realistic about this"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, 'America is gone' if Trump loses US election - "'Your prediction therefore is that Donald Trump will win'
'I think so. I'm not as confident about the presidency. And why is that? It's not because of women voters. It's a question of whether the Democratic Party has already changed the county enough. Oh and by the way, do not imagine Democrats are for mass immigration of the Third World because of great humanitarian concerns. Post-1970 immigrants vote 8-2 for the Democrats. They've changed the electorate. California where we're sitting now used to give us Republican Presidents. Reagan, Nixon. No Republicans get elected to statewide anymore. Well, they've been - Teddy Kennedy's immigration act. They're trying to do it to the whole country"

How to Win Games and Beat People - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "WHIPPLE: I spoke to a structural engineer who spent a lot of the time talking about how he likes to beat architects at Jenga because his fundamental hypothesis was they can do all their fancy drawings but he can play Jenga... the most interesting person was a woman who invented it I spoke to. And she said that when she plays Jenga with people, she is often accused of cheating, because she likes to put her elbow against the tower when she is pulling out the blocks to stabilize it, and people say you can’t do this. And she says, “Well, look, I invented the game. There are only three rules!” You can only use one hand; you can only take out one block at a time; and if that block touches the floor then it’s over."
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