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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Links - 3rd August 2017 (2)

BBC World Service - The Documentary, A Soldier's Eye View of Afghanistan - "The Russians were better fighters than the Americans or the British on the ground. Western soldiers rely on technical equipment and modern technology and computer systems... They severely failed in the ground fight wherever we faced them. They cannot go anywhere without air power. Russians would go places without air power. They would land somewhere without any aerial support or tanks and they would spend the night."

Make Love and Lose Your Religion and Virtue: Recalling Sexual Experiences Undermines Spiritual Intentions and Moral Behavior - "sexual induction diminished spiritual behavioral intentions (Experiments 1 and 2), in particular among those with high individual disinhibition (Experiment 1), as well as behaviors of prosociality and integrity/honesty (Experiment 3). The effects were independent of individual religiousness/spirituality. These findings suggest that combining sexual pleasure with self-transcendence and moral perfection, even if a legitimate ideal, is not an easy enterprise."
Maybe sex cults are about the sex, not the religion

How Wealth Reduces Compassion - "luxury car drivers were more likely to cut off other motorists instead of waiting for their turn at the intersection. This was true for both men and women upper-class drivers, regardless of the time of day or the amount of traffic at the intersection. In a different study they found that luxury car drivers were also more likely to speed past a pedestrian trying to use a crosswalk, even after making eye contact with the pedestrian... participants who had spent time thinking about how much better off they were compared to others ended up taking significantly more candy for themselves--leaving less behind for the children... less affluent individuals are more likely to report feeling compassion towards others on a regular basis... upper class individuals are worse at recognizing the emotions of others and less likely to pay attention to people they are interacting with (e.g. by checking their cell phones or doodling)... Piff and his colleagues suspect that the answer may have something to do with how wealth and abundance give us a sense of freedom and independence from others"

Free pizza is a better way to motivate workers than paying them more money - "A slice of gooey cheese and tomato is a great incentive at the start of the working week but, ultimately, a 'Well done' from mission control comes out top... Early in the week, free pizza came top, with a 6.7 per cent increase in productivity over the control group, while a compliment from the boss saw an increase of 6.6 per cent, New York Magazine reported. Perhaps surprisingly, a cash incentive came third with 4.9 per cent. However, by day two, the money-motivated group performed 13.2 per cent worse than those in the control group. Over the course of the week, the cash bonus cost the company more and resulted in a 6.5 per cent drop in productivity."

An Anniversary of Shame - "What makes the observance of this 9/11 anniversary so enervating and even shameful is an acute sense of what might have been. According to some experts, the main conflict against Al Qaeda could have effectively ended in as little six months, by mid-to-late 2002, had the right decisions been made by our elected and appointed officials."

There Is a Male Engagement Ring - "Rolexes, I realized, are engagement rings for dudes—the main difference being that most women would absolutely buy a diamond solitaire for themselves but can't; men are free to buy a Rolex for themselves but just won't"

The Case for Having (or Pretending to Have) a Hot Ex - "Both male and female volunteers rated faces as more attractive, desirable, and dateable when paired with hot exes than when featured solo. While having a hot ex is a boost to your attractivess, having a homely one can hurt you. When volunteers spent more time looking at a potential mate’s unattractive partner, they were less interested in dating that person... There's an exception to this rule, and (as usual) it's hot women. While female volunteers downgraded otherwise hot men if they were paired with a dumpy partner, men gave high ratings to an attractive woman regardless of her partner's appearance. Women, generally the choosier and more cautious sex, are more likely than men to rely on social cues such as whether other women find the target guy attractive."

How the way we walk can increase risk of being mugged - "The way people move can influence the likelihood of an attack by a stranger. The good news, though, is that altering it can reduce the chances of being targeted."

Yes, There Are Pro-Life Atheists Out There. Here’s Why I’m One of Them - "if self-awareness is to be the dividing line, anyone unconscious or in a coma might not be considered a person, while those in a heightened state of awareness due to drugs would trump the rest of us. If we determine that the ability to suffer and feel pain is what counts, then any born person with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain can be stripped of equal rights and killed. If higher brain function or a greater degree of health are what matter, then anyone with a higher IQ or a greater longevity and health than your own should be free to decide that your unfortunate quality of life makes your existence not worth continuing. Only the pro-life position — that all human beings should be granted the common right to continue their lives as human persons, regardless of their age, stage, gender, sexual orientation, race, or physical form and abilities — is truly egalitarian and fair for all human beings"

How to Trick People Into Saving Money - "she got an email saying that a “prize savings” feature had been added to her card. If she kept some of her balance in a virtual “vault,” meaning that it would not show up in her available funds, she would be eligible to win a cash prize in a monthly drawing—up to $1,000. Every dollar in the MoneyCard Vault would equal an entry in that month’s drawing. This caught her interest. A prize would go a long way toward her being able to buy a car. It also made her focus on what all those “stash” requests were about. “Oh, cool, this can work as a savings account, too,” she remembers realizing. So when she got paid, she started setting aside “10 bucks, 20 bucks, whatever I could.”"

Hacking Traditional College Debate's White-Privilege Problem - "On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities. In the final round, Ruffin and Johnson squared off against Rashid Campbell and George Lee from the University of Oklahoma, two highly accomplished African-American debaters with distinctive dreadlocks and dashikis. Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled"
If you can't win, play by your own rules and call people who disagree racist

Every Every Every Generation Has Been the Me Me Me Generation - "For some visual evidence of this phenomenon, here is a century or so of culture writers declaring the youth to be self-obsessed little monsters"

How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All - "Our ability to know the price of anything, anytime, anywhere, has given us, the consumers, so much power that retailers—in a desperate effort to regain the upper hand, or at least avoid extinction—are now staring back through the screen. They are comparison shopping us... The price of a can of soda in a vending machine can now vary with the temperature outside. The price of the headphones Google recommends may depend on how budget-conscious your web history shows you to be... the practice of setting a fixed price for a good or a service—which took hold in the 1860s—meant, in effect, a cessation of the perpetual state of hostility known as haggling... [consumers] loved deals so much that, to make sense of their behavior, economists were forced to distinguish between two types of value: acquisition value (the perceived worth of a new car to the buyer) and transaction value (the feeling that one lost or won the negotiation at the dealership)."

'Grit' Isn't That Great, Research Shows - "Gritty people stick with the task before them, but sometimes it’s at the expense of their own financial gain—and even overall performance"

Mary Otto, Author of 'Teeth,' on the Dentistry-Medicine Divide - "the dental profession really became a profession in 1840 in Baltimore. That was when the first dental college in the world was opened, I found out, and that was thanks to the efforts of a couple of dentists who were kind of self-trained. Their names were Chapin Harris and Horace Hayden. They approached the physicians at the college of medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore with the idea of adding dental instruction to the medical course there, because they really believed that dentistry was more than a mechanical challenge, that it deserved status as a profession, and a course of study, and licensing, and peer-reviewed scientific consideration. But the physicians, the story goes, rejected their proposal and said the subject of dentistry was of little consequence. That event is remembered as the “historic rebuff.” It's still talked about sometimes, not a lot, but it’s seen as a symbolic event and it’s continued to define the relationships between medical and dental education and medical and dental healthcare systems in funny ways"

Black Screen - see the dust! - "Click the above button to display black-screen in fullscreen mode so you can SEE THE DUST better and make your computer screen clean."

Tweeting From Left to Right - "We observed that information was exchanged primarily among individuals with similar ideological preferences in the case of political issues (e.g., 2012 presidential election, 2013 government shutdown) but not many other current events (e.g., 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, 2014 Super Bowl). Discussion of the Newtown shootings in 2012 reflected a dynamic process, beginning as a national conversation before transforming into a polarized exchange. With respect to both political and nonpolitical issues, liberals were more likely than conservatives to engage in cross-ideological dissemination"

High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households - "Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families. Daughters of same-sex parents do considerably worse than sons"

AWARE Singapore - Posts - "Right now, households cannot earn more than $1,500 if they want to apply for or keep rental housing. This is especially unrealistic for a single parent with one or more children. No one should have to choose between a roof over their heads and a better-paying job to give their children a better life. Our petition calls for an increase in the income cap for public rental housing, and setting it on a per-capita basis. #asinglelove"
Comment: "Why is the single mother always "dark"?The real stats say otherwise."
Response: "The comics are each primarily based on one of our research interviews (we spoke to 55 single mothers for our report). Those in turn are based on referrals to us from social workers and agencies, which were disproportionately ethnic minority. We sought to reflect the stories we collected; no other intention."
AWARE gets burned by SJW!

Faisal Saeed Al Mutar - Posts - "Why don't the articles that say "30,000 Muslims marched against ISIS" mention that they are AHMADYIA MUSLIMS who are not considered Muslims by many if not most Muslims around the world because they believe that there was a prophet that came after Mohamad? in fact, in one of the largest Islamic countries in the world (Pakistan), you can't even have a passport WITHOUT declaring (Qadyianis) which is derogatory term to describe Ahmadyis."

Police swoop on garden party where song mocking the death of Osama Bin Laden was played - "The force helicopter and 10 officers were sent to a home in Highdene Road, Cherry Hinton after a complaint from members of the public the music was too loud and people were allegedly shouting anti-Islamic abuse... “This is music which is well known which was put on YouTube when Bin Laden was killed by the British and American army. In the music there is no reference to colour, race, or religion. "The police then threatened to arrest everyone if we didn’t hand over our karaoke machine and mobile phone."

The scientific evidence for microaggressions is weak and we should drop the term, argues review author - "Personality having a hand in microaggression experience would also explain why some people from minority groups report no microaggressions when canvassed. The (limited) evidence that more ambiguous slights lead to more negative outcomes could also reflect the established psychological fact that in “weak” situations with no clear guidelines for action, people’s personality – in this case, their negative emotionality – tends to assert itself to fill in the interpretive gaps... Lilienfeld also suggests we all consider putting aside the word microaggression in favour of “perceived racial slight” – because we don’t yet understand the role of interpretation due to personality, and because it simply isn’t clear that those using microaggressions are showing aggression as we usually understand the word"

Microaggressions: Strong Claims, Inadequate Evidence - "The microaggression concept has recently galvanized public discussion and spread to numerous college campuses and businesses. I argue that the microaggression research program (MRP) rests on five core premises, namely, that microaggressions (1) are operationalized with sufficient clarity and consensus to afford rigorous scientific investigation; (2) are interpreted negatively by most or all minority group members; (3) reflect implicitly prejudicial and implicitly aggressive motives; (4) can be validly assessed using only respondents’ subjective reports; and (5) exert an adverse impact on recipients’ mental health. A review of the literature reveals negligible support for all five suppositions. More broadly, the MRP has been marked by an absence of connectivity to key domains of psychological science, including psychometrics, social cognition, cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavior genetics, and personality, health, and industrial-organizational psychology"

‘Voltron’ Fans Blackmail Studio with Leaked Photos, Demand Gay Romance

Fareed Zakaria: Liberals think they're tolerant, but they're not
The camp of bigots grows ever larger!

Jawi steps up Ramadan enforcement operations - "The Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) is stepping up enforcement operations during this Holy month of Ramadan. Its enforcement chief Wan Jaafar Wan Ahmad said this was being done in all the three federal territories — Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan. “On the first day yesterday, we caught three Muslims in the Sungai Besi area (here) for eating in public during day time. If Muslims are unable to observe the Ramadan fast because of illness fo age, it does not mean they can eat in public (during fasting hours),” he told Bernama. He added that action could be taken under shariah laws against offenders. First time offenders can be fined up to RM1,000 or jailed not more than six months or both, if convicted"

British Airways chaos and was cost cutting to blame? - "The airline and Mr Cruz have blamed the computer meltdown on a power failure. The vague explanation has been dismissed by aviation industry insiders as ‘moronic’. They said airlines made sure they survived power failures by using a system known as UPS – uninterruptible power supply. It means that if one mains power supply fails, the business switches automatically to a second supply... Mr Cruz made a controversial decision last year to shut down the airline’s British computer department with the loss of 700 jobs around the country."

BA's £150m outage was caused by someone turning computers on and off too quickly - "The engineer involved is reportedly from contractor CBRE Global Workplace Solutions, who are assisting the airline with its investigation... alternative power sources such as batteries and a generator also failed"

How plane meals differ in business class vs. economy

Gordon Ramsay reveals three golden rules for eating out - "The 50-year-old chef said customers should avoid specials, be suspicious of outlandish boasts and be prepared to haggle for their wine"

Academics take smart drugs prescribed to help ADHD to keep up with university work - "One in five academics are taking smart drugs to help them write difficult grant applications, a leading academic has claimed. Cambridge neuroscientist Dr Hannah Critchlow said that professors were increasingly using medication which was meant for Alzheimer's patients, narcoleptics or children with ADHD."
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