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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Links - 14th March 2018 (1)

checked my privilege and it's still intact, thebitterfrenchcanadian: the fact that pretty... - "the fact that pretty teeth are only known as “white” and “straight” is a manifestation of our hatred for minorities"

Singaporean newspaper under fire over Muslim cleric's column that suggested beating 'stubborn wives'

Queen Ants Dismember and Bury Corpses in Elaborate Death Rituals - "If one ant gets an infection and dies, that leaves the other ant prone to getting the same infection from the dead body... This research could help explain the evolutionary reasoning behind why humans bury our dead as well. “It’s unusual that [burying the dead] has also evolved in humans,” Christopher Pull, the lead author on the study, told Newsweek. “But it’s probably a byproduct of living in a social society where we have to contain our dead, and it’s probably the same with social insects.” says Pull, who studies the behavior of social insects."

Latin American Religious Beliefs - "In a majority of countries surveyed, half or more respondents say the Bible is the word of God and should be taken literally, word for word. This view is particularly widespread in the Central American countries of Guatemala (81%), Honduras (80%) and Nicaragua (77%)"
Someone claimed that "All the main denominations of Christianity separated from the State and shunned literal interpretation quite a long time ago. Perhaps you missed the last 400 years of history or spend all day around fringe cults which seem popular in the US."
To say nothing of how 24% of Americans hardly count as a fringe cult


BOLTON: Deconstructionists deploy nonsensical language theory - "Pinker quotes novelist Walker Percy: "A deconstructionist is an academic who claims that texts have no referents and then leaves a message on his wife's answering machine asking her to order a pepperoni pizza for dinner.""

"How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?" - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "He quit football just two days after the publication of a study that assembled the most compelling evidence to date on the relationship between football and brain damage. And: John Urschel has a particularly compelling brain. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in math from Penn State, where he also taught math while playing college football. He’s published papers in major journals"

Why Larry Summers Is the Economist Everyone Hates to Love - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "The question he sought to address: why are women so underrepresented “in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions”? He made clear this was hardly a unique case. “To take a set of diverse examples,” his lecture read, “the data will, I am confident, reveal that Catholics are substantially underrepresented in investment banking, which is an enormously high-paying profession in our society; that white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association; and that Jews are very substantially underrepresented in farming and in agriculture.”...
Inflation rates have been very low. But we certainly haven’t conquered grade inflation. When the most common grade in our leading universities is ‘A,’ I don’t think it can be very surprising when there’s various kinds of misrepresentation and exaggeration of profits by the graduates of those universities down the line when they’re in positions of responsibility and business...
Since 1983 the relative price of this measure of education and health care, as opposed to this canonical product, the TV set, has changed by a factor of 100. That’s got a number of consequences. One is, since government is much more involved in buying education and health care than it is in buying TVs, there’s going to be upwards pressure on the size of government relative to the rest of the economy. Another is that, because there’s been far greater productivity growth in the production of television sets than in the production of government goods, a larger fraction of the workforce is going to find itself working in the areas where there’s less productivity growth, like education and health care."

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, A Fly Future? - "In many instances animal protein is the way for those people to actually get the nourishment and it's not just the protein, it's the minerals and the vitamins which are in there as well and a good quality piece of meat is good nourishment with highly digestible, with very little stress on the body of the individual consuming it. So for people who are under nourished I think the supply of animal protein would add a lot more value than the supply of plant proteins for instance"

Bad Boys of the Baroque — The Art History Babes - "[On Caravaggio] He also just was very in with the street crowd. He used a lot of what what would be called low life of Rome to be models for his painting which was something that had not been done before and I mean Rome's a big city but some of these people would be recognizable and this got him in trouble a few times with his religious paintings and altarpieces because you know his genre paintings like the card sharks and his gypsy fortune teller paintings, you know those are genre paintings that depict day to day life. But then when his you know less than, less than respectable models make his, make their way into his religious paintings it becomes an issue. So that's where he runs into a lot of criticism not just with showing bare feet and bottoms but also just not respectable figures...
We'll talk some more about the Habsburgs and their speech impediment that became the national accent of the Spaniards"

Architecture & Power Part 1 — The Art History Babes - "[On the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian] After he moved to Paris he dropped one of the As from his name... He dropped an A from his last name - Mondrian used to have two As. And he dropped it so he could like better integrate himself...
'[On Hatshepsut] She presented herself as a male pharaoh... She wore the - everything that would be sort of characteristic of a male pharaoh with a beard and the headdress and as she started out as more feminine in appearance in sculptures and depictions of her and then she started to become more masculine over time. So you would actually like, it seems trivial but like her breasts would start to become like flatter in sculpture'"
White Privilege supposedly means never having to change your name to fit in. So Eastern Europeans and Jews aren't the only white people who change their names (to say nothing of people like Norma Jean Mortenson)

FRIDA — The Art History Babes - "'Yeah he sleeps around but these women are below me. They're just models or just like nobodies. Whatever it's fine, is what she's telling herself. Sure okay but then Diego Rivera being the goddamn asshole that he is has sex with her sister. Her favorite sister... They always had kind of a competitive relationship. Yeah Christina was very much an accomplice to her own banging, whatever you want to call it'...
'Not only did she get over it, this is honestly one of my favorite Frida anecdotes... he has affairs so does Freda... What Freda would do, she wouldn't wallow, she wouldn't feel sorry for herself. She would go out and she would have affairs back. But not just with anyone - with the women that Diego had affairs with'...
'She cut off her hair... moved into an apartment with her monkey
'Dope ass menswear'
'She looked so good in a suit and tie'
'I respect her menswear so much and I try to copy it a little'...
'She referred to a lot of the women she met as French bitches'
'Yeah!'
'She thought they were too intellectual. They were hanging out their coffee shops just talking shit all the time and she was like what the hell.'"
This episode is an interesting psychological study of feminists - how they react to what Diego Rivera did, their admiring of menswear and their liberal swearing

The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo . Life of Frida . People in Frida's World - "Rivera married Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in 1929, but fidelity was out of the question for him. A doctor had once told him that he was unfit for monogamy, and Rivera cheerfully accepted the diagnosis"

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "DUBNER: That makes me think about the costs of communicating in a language that you don’t have mastered. If you just think about the cognitive stress — literally, your brain is working hard on just the language — so it can’t be working on the ideas and maybe the emotional stress and physical stress.What do you think is the effect of all that?
WEBER:Oh, it’s tremendous. It’s actually a lot of studies on immigration that show the emotional stress, not only for yourself or your own success; you care for the family...
A 10 percent increase in the probability that two people from different countries share a language increases their trading by 10 percent...
one study in The Journal of International Economics found “at least two-thirds of the influence of language comes from ease of communication alone and has nothing to do with ethnic ties or trust.” Furthermore, it found the impact of linguistic factors was still strong even after controlling for “common religion, common law and the history of wars as well as … distance, contiguity, and two separate measures of ex-colonialism.”...
Indonesian, for instance, doesn’t include tenses, like English does. So the researchers tested whether teaching Indonesian speakers some English would change how they thought about time... English monolinguals were better than Indonesian monolinguals at remembering information about time — that is, when the ball was kicked.
BORODITSKY: But then when you look at bilinguals — Indonesian/English bilinguals — they start to shift. Indonesian/English bilinguals are better than monolingual Indonesian speakers at remembering when something happened and they also start to value that information more when deciding what’s more similar."

Why Learn Esperanto? (Special Feature) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "SCHOR: The history of Esperanto involves socialists in the early 1920s, who wanted to use Esperanto to further the goals of socialism... The Soviets embraced Esperanto for a period of time in until they changed their minds and shot the Esperantists in 1938. There was a very short-lived Nazi Esperanto movement. Esperanto has been used for a number of other kinds of causes — for pacifism, for green consciousness, etc...
Back in 2005, Grin calculated that substituting the high cost of learning English with the low cost of Esperanto in non-English speaking countries could save the E.U. upwards of 25 billion euros annually...
CHARTERS: The cost of learning of Esperanto is less just because it’s so much quicker...
One study with a sample of Francophone children found that just 150 hours of Esperantic education resulted in the same level of proficiency as 1,000 hours of Italian, 1,500 hours of English, and 2,000 hours of German — making Esperanto an average of 10 times faster to learn than these natural languages"

2307 The Battle of the Medak Pocket, 1993 | The History Network - "Very quickly it became clear that to the Canadians that the Croatians were carrying out ethnic cleansing on the Serbian villages behind Croatian lines. What happened next was a fascinating commentary on the nature of modern warfare. The Croatians did not in fact withdraw as their commander had originally agreed and instead remained in their positions while Colonel Calvin clamored for action. Instead of fighting his way through the Croatian lines he decided to use a new tactic to force the Croatians into a move. He boldly walked up to a heavily defended Croatian road block followed by some of his soldiers and scores of international reporters. Once he arrived at the roadblock he held an impromptu press conference. He told the reporters why the Canadians were not being allowed to move forward and what was going on behind the Croatian lines. A public affairs nightmare was now brewing for the Croatian commander and on the seventeenth of September the Croatian force withdrew...
Interestingly for many years the Canadian government denied the battle ever took place and the Battle of the Medak has often been referred to as Canada's secret battle. At the time many in the Canadian government felt that public knowledge of Canadian peacekeepers engaged in actual combat would be harmful to public opinion and support for continued Canadian involvement in the UN mission"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The Calm On Guam - "Look it's possible Trump might get angry and do something stupid that could set off a conflict by accident he says, but most of this is bluff and ignorance. Trump's policy is essentially the same as Obama's...Trump just makes a lot more noise than Obama Andre says. He then turns serious. We have had two crises on the Korean peninsula in the last five years he says. Both have been manufactured. In twenty twelve it was the North Koreans, now it is being done by the US. President Trump is playing from Pyongyang's rule book. According to Andre the aim of winding up the rhetoric is to gain concessions. Pyongyang has done this for decades, scaring the bejesus out of everyone then accepting talks or economic assistance in return for backing off. President Trump he says is now using the same tactic. Not only to scare North Korea but to scare its main backer, China...
In rural China many years ago, foreigners queuing for a bus were mystified why they never managed to board, unaware that fighting your way on signified not only overcrowding but did you deserve to travel? The queue never made it...
In January nineteen sixty five the late Fidel Castro described bureaucracy in Cuba as the clandestine enemy. 'I believe with full heart that socialism must protect itself as much against bureaucracy as Imperialism', he said, declaring it the year of the battle against bureaucracy. 'It is a great evil: one which slows production, consumes the best minds in unnecessary tasks and greatly saps the energy of the people'"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, “That’s the Judicial Process.” - "[On Nigeria] Where else said a friend would you have to bribe the attendant in a lift just to be allowed out of it? Or would you be hustled in church for a donation. Or where you would go to lost and found office only to be told that nothing has been handed in this entire year"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Exorcising The Past - "The vultures were dying off - fast. The reason was down to a practice that began higher up the food chain. As it's forbidden to slaughter cows in predominantly Hindu Nepal where they are seen as sacred animals the cattle were regularly given the drug diclofenac, a painkiller, as they aged. When they eventually died any vultures that fed on the cows' flesh were developing kidney failure... he set up the vulture restaurant where the birds could eat the drug free cattle meat and tourists could pay to watch them. His hope was to show locals that a unique attraction like this would bring in money wielding visitors to a village they wouldn't otherwise stop at. And if they came for the birds, reasoned DV, they would need somewhere to stay nearby"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, A Convicted Warlord, His Ex-Wife And A Footballer - "[On an exhibition about the last 5 years] The entire space is dominated by huge images of one man - Xi Jinping. There must be hundreds of them. You walk into the military room and past ten photos of him before you reach the first plastic warship. When China's officials make speeches these days they refer to this or that aspect of government policy with Xi Jinping at the core. It goes without saying - you don't mess with the core. I can't remember the last time I picked up a copy of the China Daily newspaper without a front page story featuring Xi turning up somewhere and solving a problem. Poverty reduction, urban reform, even sewage works - is there no limit to the areas his guidance will cover? Some here are now joking that this is all beginning to feel more like North Korea where the skills and knowledge of a superhuman leader are insurmountable"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, This Time It's Different - "The experience of Doctor Holkrants (sp??) is that these children need security and the right to remain gives them that. Once they absorb this information they wake up. Other Swedish doctors I met who are treating these cases genuinely believe this too but the clinical evidence doesn't quite bear that out. It's not well known in Sweden but there are dozens of children who have recovered from Resignation Syndrome before being given residence. Usually after they've been through intense therapy and crucially separated from their parents. But for Doctor Holkrants the idea of splitting up a family is anathema. My visit to Sweden left me with many questions. Why don't we see Resignation Syndrome among migrant children in other parts of Europe? Why are children in certain ethnic groups apparently more vulnerable? And if no one close to a child expects them to recover before migration status is assured, is it even possible for them to get better?"
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