"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, November 17, 2017

Links - 17th November 2017 (1)

Would You Agree to Sex With a Total Stranger? - "Over the last few decades almost all research studies have found that men are much more eager for casual sex than women are (Oliver & Hyde, 1993; Petersen & Hyde, 2010). This is especially true when it comes to desires for short-term mating with many different sexual partners (Schmitt et al., 2003), and is even more true for wanting to have sex with complete and total strangers (Tappé et al., 2013)... sex differences in agreeing to sex with strangers are not just a matter of safety issues, pregnancy concerns, stigma, or disease avoidance. Controlling for all of that, researchers still find large sex differences in the willingness to have sex with a stranger... In terms of research on sexual attitudes, nearly all studies conducted have found that men have more positive attitudes toward casual sex than women, have more unrestricted sociosexuality than women, and generally relax their preferences in short-term mating contexts (whereas women increase selectivity, especially for physical attractiveness). When considering attitudes toward mixed-sex threesomes, for instance, most people express very little interest, with the notable exception being men considering having sex with two women at the same time, even if they are strangers (Thompson & Byers, 2016)... Many of these sex differences are culturally universal, having been observed in dozens of samples around the world... Schmitt (2015) found sex differences in the sociosexuality scale item, "I can imagine myself being comfortable and enjoying ‘casual’ sex with different partners,” were largest in nations with the most egalitarian sex role socialization and the greatest sociopolitical gender equity (i.e., the least patriarchy, such as in Scandinavia). This is exactly the opposite of what we would expect if patriarchy and sex role socialization are the prime culprits behind sex differences in consenting to sex with strangers... It takes Johnny Depp to get women to even consider agreeing to casual sex. For men, the difference between agreeing to sex with Jennifer Lopez versus a total stranger was minimal"
Personality is not the only thing that shows bigger gender variance in more gender egalitarian societies

Consider the invader: Minor differences may have major impact - "biological differences between these two notorious closely related invasive species that are generally perceived as minor, such as the synthesis rate and attachment strength of the threads used by Dreissena to attach themselves to native unionids, can drive profound differences in environmental impacts on native communities they invade."

Wheat Belly arguments are based on shaky science, critics say - "Critics say the anti-wheat claims made by leading health crusader Dr. William Davis are based on shaky science, an investigation by the fifth estate has found. Davis is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book Wheat Belly, considered the bible of the wheat-free movement. He argues wheat has killed more people than all wars combined, and that it is responsible for an astonishing array of diseases — diabetes, obesity, Crohn’s disease and autoimmune disease, among many others... The Canadian Celiac Association, the American Heart Association, the Obesity Society and the American College of Cardiology all refuse to endorse gluten-free diets for anyone who does not have celiac disease... "This just took it to another level with a very charismatic doctor, who has a presentation that to me is reminiscent of an evangelical preacher. You know, with ‘You can be healed,’ and away you go. And I think…it’s what people want to hear. We want to believe in magic."

The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d! - WSJ - "The man who wrote the book on password management has a confession to make: He blew it. Back in 2003, as a midlevel manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Bill Burr was the author of “NIST Special Publication 800-63. Appendix A.” The 8-page primer advised people to protect their accounts by inventing awkward new words rife with obscure characters, capital letters and numbers—and to change them regularly. The document became a sort of Hammurabi Code of passwords... The problem is the advice ended up largely incorrect... “Much of what I did I now regret,” said Mr. Burr, 72 years old, who is now retired. In June, Special Publication 800-63 got a thorough rewrite, jettisoning the worst of these password commandments... The new guidelines, which are already filtering through to the wider world, drop the password-expiration advice and the requirement for special characters, Mr. Grassi said. Those rules did little for security—they “actually had a negative impact on usability”... Long, easy-to-remember phrases now get the nod over crazy characters, and users should be forced to change passwords only if there is a sign they may have been stolen, says NIST, the federal agency that helps set industrial standards in the U.S. Amy LaMere had long suspected she was wasting her time with the hour a month it takes to keep track of the hundreds of passwords she has to juggle for her job... “The rules make it harder for you to remember what your password is,” she said. “Then you have to reset it and it just makes it take longer”... Academics who have studied passwords say using a series of four words can be harder for hackers to crack than a shorter hodgepodge of strange characters—since having a large number of letters makes things harder than a smaller number of letters, characters and numbers... she put 500 of the most commonly used passwords on a blue and purple shift dress she made and wore to a 2015 White House cybersecurity summit at Stanford University. Adorned with the world’s most common passwords—princess, monkey, iloveyou and others that are unprintable here—the dress has prompted careful study, and embarrassment. “I’ve had people look at it and they’re like, ‘Oh, I’d better go change my passwords’”... “He wrote a security document that held up for 10 to 15 years,” Mr. Grassi said. “I only hope to be able to have a document hold up that long.”"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Battle of Salamis - "There is this interplay between the gods and the king which is fundamental to Persian belief. Now the Greeks misinterpret that as seeing the Persian kings as being divine. No Persian king ever states this. Xerxes certainly didn't but what we do have is a link with the divine. I am Ahura Mazda's. Ahura Mazda is mine. It works as a kind of ying and yang if you like...
[On Persians] When this play was analyzed by Edward Said in 1978 in his great book Orientalism he laid this whole idea of the construction of the East squarely on the, on the shoulders of Aeschylus saying that here we have, you know, a primitive East being depicted in this great Greek text. Well I wonder how closely he ever read that play because it's certainly not about that at all. Aeschylus gives us a scene and one of the most remarkable things is that the mothers of the Athenians mourning for their lost sons and the mothers of the Persians in Susa mourning for their lost sons and this is why I really think this is a soldier's eye view. He understands the terrors of war...
We have a really interesting fragmentary poem from probably just before this period but it's worth quoting. It simply says you know when you are an old man and it's winter time and you're sitting beside a fire eating chickpeas and somebody comes to see you, you should ask them certain questions. And the questions should be who are you, where are you from and what age were you when the Persians came. You know it's something that defines the Greeks from here on. It gives them an identity...
Themistocles cannot be mentioned - you can't mention a living person by name in a tragedy but everyone knew that the way in which Aeschylus told the story of Salamis was massively pro Themistocles, so it's a political act. And Greek tragedy, Athenian tragedy was part of a democratic theatre festival and it had a direct political implication"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Battle of Lincoln 1217 - "'By the time we get to the mid fourteenth century aristocrats are understanding, they are operating in English. Forgotten who's, who's the first King of the English to have his will in, in in English? Is it Henry the Fifth?... What language do you die in? Yes that's interesting. John's, John's will exists. It's in Latin. But his Latin is so convoluted that it's quite clearly French. He was dying in French and then it was translated into-'"

Lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss says she was physically attacked by M Ravi

When Helping Hurts - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "When Helping Hurts - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "SAYRE-McCORD: On all seven measures — we’re talking, how long did you live? Were you a criminal? Were you mentally healthy, physically healthy, alcoholic, satisfied with your job; satisfied with your marriage? On all seven measures, the treatment group did statistically, significantly worse off than the control group... I should emphasize that there also seemed to be what’s called a dose effect — the longer the intervention, the more likely the damage would be done... Another theory has a lot of traction to it: that the kids in the program developed a dependence, or a sense of need, so that when the program ended they felt like something they needed wasn’t there or something they valued wasn’t there. What happened was people got a mentor and then at a certain point, they lost the mentor.
DUBNER: Is the deeper part of that theory that these kids are given expectations via osmosis: their mentors have these solid jobs, maybe a solid family etc. Then, once they are cut off from the mentor, they find that they can’t get that stuff on their own. Is that the connection to how it might have broken down?"
This might be another reason why Affirmative Action and other programmes meant to help supposedly oppressed minorities don't work

Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "Well, [Buffet]’s obviously a much better P.R. person than I am. But my whole being is dedicated to changing the system, to make it more just and bring about greater individual flourishing. His is to support the current system, with some tweaks here and there, I grant you. He is no threat to anybody. Whereas all the vested interests — they go for, “What will increase my short-term profits?” When I founded the Council for Competitive Economy, part of what I tried to say, “Guys, if your success and failure depends on whether the government dishes out goodies to you, who needs you? Why not go for Bernie Sanders and have the government just take it over? You’re just the middleman”...
It all starts with the belief that virtually everybody is capable of learning, contributing and leading a successful life if they’re given the freedom and opportunity to do so. I would reform the education system, communities, business and government to better enable that to come about. Now, if you believe, as, for example, Hillary does, that those in power are so much smarter and have better information than those of us great unwashed out here have, that we’re either too evil or too stupid to run our own lives and those in power are much better — have what Hayek called the fatal conceit and William Easterly called the tyranny of experts — that they can run it for us. And when Hillary was pushing Hillarycare, she said as much — that if people are left to decide their own healthcare, they won’t spend enough and so the government needs to do it. Besides, the government will do it better. That is a great divide."

The Second World War | Podcast | History Extra - "'Hitler's declaration of war on the United States a few days after Pearl Harbor must score very highly as the most bizarre grand strategic decision made by anybody during the Second World War'
'But isn't it interesting? The reaction to Hitler is almost exactly the same as the reaction of Churchill: ah great it's all gonna be ok then. And all this is just belie his total unsuitability for the job he's given himself which is commanding all German armed forces... I think it's a total misreading of the strategic situation. I mean his geopolitical understanding was absolutely woeful. And this is because he is a very small minded man. His world view is incredibly narrow. It's kind of my way or the highway on absolutely everything. He views everybody whether it be friends or enemies through the same prism of his own narrow world view. And he can't get inside the head of anybody else. So you know he hasn't traveled, he doesn't read any languages, he's not really interested in global affairs apart from running the show. You know he's utterly inept'...
'To my mind there's absolutely no question that the absolute nadir of the British army is - I mean yes okay, Singapore. But that's sort of a colonial police force rather than a proper army in a way. I think it's the Gazala battle which is just absolutely woeful. I mean it should never ever have been lost. I mean that's almost as bad as Crete'"

Why Diversity Programs Fail - "Firms have long relied on diversity training to reduce bias on the job, hiring tests and performance ratings to limit it in recruitment and promotions, and grievance systems to give employees a way to challenge managers. Those tools are designed to preempt lawsuits by policing managers’ thoughts and actions. Yet laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out... In analyzing three decades’ worth of data from more than 800 U.S. firms and interviewing hundreds of line managers and executives at length, we’ve seen that companies get better results when they ease up on the control tactics... Trainers tell us that people often respond to compulsory courses with anger and resistance—and many participants actually report more animosity toward other groups afterward."

“Social Justice Shorting”: Making Millions By Betting Against Leftist Companies - "Much of Johnson’s media empire was self-funded through investments that he’s made over the last four years since he began actively trading. According to Johnson, his strength is in shorting companies that signal their virtues to the market in the form of charitable gifting and large-scale “diversity” hires. (Shorting, or “short selling,” means he is betting that their share prices will fall, and he makes money if they do fall.)... The main strategy he spoke of was what he called the “Johnson Dollar Diversity Dilemma Hypothesis,” which he described as having “a choice between dollars and diversity.” Basically, in Johnson’s experience, he’s witnessed that CEOs and managers tend to make large charitable contributions and “diversity” announcements prior to a harsh downturn."
This is also known as the diversity short/diversity shortening

The Shortcut To Bonding With A Romantic Partner On A Deeper Level - "Arthur Aron, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, is interested in how people form romantic relationships, and he’s come up with an ingenious way of taking men and women who have never met before and making them feel close to one another. Given that he has just an hour or so to create the intimacy levels that typically take week, months, or years to form, he accelerated the getting-to-know-you process through a set of thirty-six questions crafted to take the participants rapidly from level one in McAdams’s system to level two. The questions are part of an hour-long “sharing game” in which each member of a pair reads a question out loud and then they both answer it before moving on to the next question."

6 Meals a Day for Weight Loss - "A study from the University of Ottawa found that on a low-calorie diet, there was no weight loss advantage to splitting calories among six meals rather than three. A second study found that switching from three daily meals to six did not boost calorie-burning or fat loss. In fact, the researchers concluded, eating six meals a day actually made people want to eat more. And a research review reached no conclusions about whether meal frequency helps or hurts with weight loss."

The Body Language of Victory - "milliseconds after victory, an athlete's instinctive reaction to winning is often a nonverbal display of dominance over his or her opponent. The new study titled “Dominance Threat Display for Victory and Achievement in Competition Context” was published January 10, 2014 in the journal Motivation and Emotion... The researchers believe that from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, the reflex of dominance threat display stems from a biological drive to establish order, hierarchy, and status in society. Such bodily reactions are also common among animals, but they have never been studied in humans until now, Matsumoto said... Actions considered triumphant included raising the arms above the shoulders, pushing the chest out, tilting the head back and smiling. They were observed in winning athletes from all cultural backgrounds and even in blind Paralympic athletes, suggesting the behavior is biologically innate... "They're also producing the same facial expressions, even though they've never been able to see from birth," he added. "They didn't learn that from watching others, so it's got to be something ingrained in all of us."... Hwang and Matsumoto compared the intensity of an athlete's expressions of triumph with his or her culture's "power distance" (PD), a measurement that represents the degree to which a culture encourages or discourages power, status and hierarchical differences among groups. They found that athletes from cultures with high PD produced such body language more than those from cultures with low PD... the ideal leader has high testosterone and low cortisol which leads to a combination of confidence, low stress, and grace under pressure. I believe that the key to successful leadership lies in being able to maintain what I call “ferocious equanimity.” By this I mean not being a doormat or pushover, but remaining even-keel and calm as you steadily manage and lead your team through both smooth waters and tempests."

Back to the Brothel - The New York Times - "Aid groups find it unnerving that they liberate teenagers from the bleak back rooms of a brothel, take them to a nice shelter -- and then at night the kids sometimes climb over the walls and run back to the brothel... President Bush declared in his inaugural address this week that "no one deserves to be a slave" and that advancing freedom is "the calling of our time." I can't think of a better place to start than the hundreds of thousands of girls trafficked each year, for this 21st-century version of slavery has not only grown in recent years but is also especially diabolical -- it poisons its victims, like Srey Mom, so that eventually chains are often redundant."
If the "slave" keeps running back to her "master", and presumably can leave at any time, is she really a slave?

Gender Bias in Science or Biased Claims of Gender Bias? - "AAAS hosted a conference in April, 2016, which presentation after presentation by famous, influential, and prestigious scientists argued for the power and prevalence of gender biases in peer review. Yet not a shred of evidence of implicit bias in peer review was actually presented... who received more criticism and less praise for similar quality applications? Men! Put differently, Dr. Carnes’ own research produced a result exactly opposite to the one that she was promoting at the AAAS Conference! Women were held to lower, not higher, standards than men to warrant praise... scientists allow their political agendas to drive their claims about science -- in general, but also specifically, with respect to explanations for gender gaps in STEM."
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