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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, May 03, 2018

Links - 3rd May 2018 (3)

How outdated stereotypes about British accents reinforce the class ceiling - "while regional accents do not have an effect on the perceived attractiveness of the speaker, they do have a significant effect on perceived level of intelligence. People ranked the Yorkshire accent as the most intelligent followed successively by RP, silence and then the Birmingham accent... Some of our own participants perceived the RP accent both as privileged and dull... the Yorkshire accent is associated with trustworthiness, which in turn is associated with intelligence."

Many 'change accent to get ahead' - "More than one-third of employees have changed their accent in order to impress their boss and improve their career prospects, research suggests. Among the 1,000 people surveyed, 38% of those with a regional accent said they had had difficulties being understood... "Everyone has an accent and, within the UK, accents change noticeably about every 25 miles"... Liverpudlians were the most willing to change their accent, closely followed by people from the Midlands. However, not one Irish person admitted to having changed their voice for either professional or personal reasons"

North Korean defector watching 'The Transporter', 'CSI': Doctor - "The North Korean soldier who dramatically defected through the demilitarised zone has been captivated by American crime dramas and sci-fi thrillers since he woke up in a South Korean hospital... The 24-year-old soldier, identified only by his surname, Oh, has watched high octane driving flick "The Transporter" and forensic whodunnit "CSI", and can't get enough of K-Pop... The television remains fixed on a 24-hour movie channel as the local news could upset the patient... Movies and pop music dominate their conversations, Lee said, stressing that his patient "really likes girl bands""

What the parasites in a defector’s stomach tell us about North Korea - The Washington Post - "Finding worms inside a soldier who once guarded one of the most scrutinized borders in the world is especially telling, a sign that North Korea’s food woes affect military members, who typically have a higher ranking on the food-rationing list. There are even reports that North Korean soldiers have been ordered to steal corn from farmers to stave off hunger."

In Finland, seniors are ‘VIP clients’ who get to take nurses out for coffee - "Espoo — with a population of about 275,500 inhabitants in 2016 — faced a conundrum some 10 years ago not unlike Singapore’s. Back then, Finland took a medicalised approach to eldercare and many were still in four or five-bedded wards in nursing homes, while staff consisted almost exclusively of nurses, said Ms Maria Rysti, specialist in services for the elderly under the City of Espoo’s Social and Health Services. The city council changed the service culture and management style with its Ageing Policy Programme. It supported the transition for elderly citizens to live at home, or home-like environments where they can “live their own way of life” and be treated as “subjects, not objects”"

Go ahead, wear a bindi. As an Indian-American, I view it as cultural appreciation, not appropriation - "Growing up in a small, predominantly white town where my culture was not well known, I encouraged others to wear Indian inspired accessories, including the bindi, and to try Indian food. It helped build awareness about my culture and created a sense of unity... The real impact of “cultural appropriation” is the decreased integration of other cultures. Sensitivity and microaggression trainings have turned people timid and afraid. I’ve noticed people are afraid to ask questions about my culture out of fear of being “offensive.”"

Police reluctant to make arrests due to sharp fall in number of custody suites - "Police are reluctant to make arrests because the closure of custody suites has led to hour-long trips to the nearest cells. Officers are now letting suspects go “and hoping for the best”, the chairman of the Police Federation told The Daily Telegraph."

‘No Evidence Needed’ to Report ‘Transphobic Hate Crime’ - "The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has held a “public consultation” and issued “revised” guidelines on “hate crimes” and “transphobia”, which are likely to result in ever increasing numbers of people being dragged through court for speech crimes... “In order to treat a crime as a hate crime for the purposes of investigation, there is no need for evidence to prove the aggravating element”, the guidelines add. “Hate crimes” receive harsher sentences than other crimes, and “aggravating” factors are often vague, such as the definition of “transphobia”."

Disney's Pick for Mulan is Literally the Worst Actress in China, According to China - "Liu YiFei had been chosen to play the titular lead in Mulan in the live-action remake of the beloved classic originally released in 1998... her casting is a welcome change of pace from Hollywood’s standard modus operandi of Whitewashing, the choice is perhaps a bit perplexing, considering she’s rated by Chinese netizens as one of the worst actresses of all time."
We know they have the important bit down - skin colour

Muslim school receives 'inadequate' Ofsted rating after loos did not have toilet paper for 'cultural reasons' - "some of the girls told inspectors they were so unhappy about the situation that they avoided using the lavatory all day... "Inspectors found published sectarian material in a storeroom behind the school office. They made the headteacher aware of this. "The headteacher explained that he was not aware of how the materials came to be in school."

The war on sex is out of control - "the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which yesterday tweeted: ‘If you bump into that special someone under the mistletoe tonight, remember that without consent it is rape #SeasonsGreetings.’ It’s hard to know what’s worse: that the PSNI doesn’t know what rape is, or its use of that passive-aggressive ‘Seasons Greetings’ hashtag... Sex is in dire crisis. It’s being crushed under the jackboot of a new misanthropy that views any spontaneous, uncontracted interaction between adults with dread. We might have to refight the battle for sexual liberation... Student officials have made sexual-consent classes compulsory for freshers, where they lecture them about the importance of getting verbal, non-inebriated consent for every stage of a sexual encounter, as if fucking were the same as making a business deal. (And as if 18-year-olds aren’t going to get blotto before sex. What planet do these people live on?)... Two journalists, Rupert Myers and Sam Kriss, were hounded out of the British media over what were in essence bad dates. Myers stands accused of saying to a woman he had a drink with ‘I want to fuck you’, while Kriss kissed a woman and bought her wine and invited her back to his house for sex... John Lasseter, head of Pixar, has taken a six-month leave of absence over ‘unwanted hugs’. Seriously. When will we recognise that a moral crusade that sweeps up even men who like a hug is a demented thing? One of the things that led to radio presenter Garrison Keillor losing his job – more than that, his life’s work – involved him accidentally putting his hand on a woman’s bare back. He went to comfort her after she told him she was unhappy, but he didn’t realise she was wearing a loose shirt, meaning his friendly gesture engaged her bare skin. He apologised. She accepted. But no matter: in the mad new war on human interaction, even a friendly male hand on a woman’s back is tantamount to a sex crime (never mind puckering up under the mistletoe)... In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Party views the ‘sex instinct’ with disgust while a Junior Anti-Sex League polices flirting and touching. And in such a sexphobic climate, ‘the sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion’. Today, you don’t even have to go that far; today, we’re so messed up about sex and love and warmth and touch that even to hold mistletoe over a drunk colleague’s head and plant a smacker on his or her cheek is rebellion. So do it. Rebel. Be human."

Film Review: Genki Genki 18 - "Genki Genki 18, also known as “The Fish That Has is Crunched and the Wound is Received” (which I can only imagine is a shaky translation from Japanese to English), is about a girl and two dirty, nasty dockworkers (this is an assumption; I don’t know where they work, I just know they haven’t showered recently and have access to a plethora of fish). These aren’t the kind of films that are found on IMDb, so I don’t have the same type of cast and crew information I would normally bring you, but I do know the girl is Rui Miduki. Basically, the two guys have her chained up, they paw at her, chew on her hair, and tear her clothes off, then start rubbing and slapping dead fish on her. These fish are later torn apart, their guts spread all over her, shoved in her mouth, and used as additional lubrication while the guys have sex (or rape?) her. There are money shots on the fish, there are clusters of guts shoved into every orifice, and there are even power tools used toward the end to add to the mess of gore and bodily fluids. And this all goes on for over an hour and a half."

The Costly Paradox of Health-Care Technology - "Technology doesn’t raise prices in other parts of the economy. Improvements in computers provide better products at lower prices, and automobiles are an equally good example... We came up with two basic causes. The first is a dizzying array of different treatments, some that provide enormous health value per dollar spent and some that provide little or no value. The second is a generous system of insurance (both private and public) that pays for any treatment that doesn’t obviously harm the patient, regardless of how effective it is. We created three “bins” of treatments, sorted according to their health benefit per dollar of spending. The category with the greatest benefit includes low-cost antibiotics for bacterial infection, a cast for a simple fracture, or aspirin and beta blockers for heart attack patients. Not all treatments in this category are inexpensive. Antiretroviral drugs for people with HIV may cost $20,000 per year, but they are still a technology home run because they keep patients alive, year after year. A second category of technology includes procedures whose benefits are substantial for some patients, but not all. Angioplasty, in which a metal stent is used to prop open blocked blood vessels in the heart, is very cost-effective for heart attack patients treated within the first 12 hours. But many more patients get the procedure even when the value for them is less clear. Because the U.S. health-care system compensates generously for angioplasty whether it’s used correctly or not, the average value of this innovation is driven toward zero. A third category includes treatments whose benefits are small or supported by little scientific evidence. These include expensive surgical treatments like spinal fusion for back pain, proton-beam accelerators to treat prostate cancer, or aggressive treatments for an 85-year-old patient with advanced heart failure. The prevailing evidence suggests no known medical value for any of these compared with cheaper alternatives. Yet if a hospital builds a $150 million proton accelerator, it will have every incentive to use it as frequently as possible, damn the evidence. And hospitals are loading up on such technology; the number of proton-beam accelerators in the United States is increasing rapidly."

Policy lessons from health taxes: a systematic review of empirical studies - "If the primary policy goal of a health tax is to reduce consumption of unhealthy products, then evidence supports the implementation of taxes that increase the price of products by 20% or more. However, where taxes are effective in changing health behaviours, the predictability of the revenue stream is reduced. Hence, policy actors need to be clear about the primary goal of any health tax and frame the tax accordingly – not doing so leaves taxes vulnerable to hostile lobbying. Conversely, earmarking health taxes for health spending tends to increase public support so long as policymakers follow through on specified spending commitments."
So, the more expensive cigarettes and alcohol are in Singapore, the more the PAP cares for Singaporeans

POOL RULES - "Menstruation Cycles Have Been Known to Attract Sharks So Don't Jeopardize Innocent Swimmers"

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - 2012-04-28 - "What are 'hippies?'"
"The most violent humans in history"

I FOUND HIM! | The T-Rex Runner - "50. Fat. Diabetic. Ahead of you"

Messe Kopp 'Forward': Filmmaker Captures Hypnotizing 'Reverse' Walk Through Jerusalem (VIDEO) - "Messe Kopp, a filmmaker in Israel, has created a mind-boggling video featuring a mesmerizing “reverse” walk through the streets of downtown Jerusalem."

Anti-Piracy Group Accused of Stealing the Photo They Used in an Anti-Piracy Ad - "Anti-piracy group The Business Software Alliance was called out this weekend for allegedly using a stolen photo in an anti-piracy ad that encouraged people to turn in unlicensed software users"

Botched Steve McCurry Print Leads to Photoshop Scandal

More Photoshopped Photos Emerge in the Steve McCurry Scandal - "It appears that McCurry’s entire blog — along with the examples we referenced — has been deleted. We have not yet received any response to our request for comment... McCurry has responded to the controversy in a new exclusive interview with TIME. The piece is titled “I’m a Visual Storyteller Not a Photojournalist.” McCurry says that he will “rein in his use of Photoshop” going forward"

Nova Don't Go - "Assuming that Spanish speakers would naturally see the word “nova” as equivalent to the phrase “no va” and think “Hey, this car doesn’t go!” is akin to assuming that English speakers would spurn a dinette set sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn’t include a table... The truth is that the Chevrolet Nova’s name didn’t significantly affect its sales: it sold well in both its primary Spanish-language markets, Mexico and Venezuela. (Its Venezuelan sales figures actually surpassed GM’s expectations.)"

This genius streamed a pay-per-view UFC match by pretending to play it - "A streamer broadcast a live pay-per-view UFC match on multiple platforms, including Twitch, by pretending it was a video game he was playing"

What makes gambling wrong but insurance right? - "Gambling tools such as dice date back millennia - perhaps five thousand years in Egypt. Insurance may be equally old. The Code of Hammurabi - a law code from Babylon, in what is now Iraq - is nearly 4,000 years old. It includes numerous clauses devoted to the topic of "bottomry", a kind of maritime insurance bundled together with a business loan. A merchant would borrow money to fund a ship's voyage, but if the ship sank, the loan did not have to be repaid"

Do passports restrict economic growth? - "the more zealously bureaucratic continental nations had realised the passport's potential as a tool of social and economic control. A century earlier, French citizens had to show paperwork not only to leave the country, but to travel from town to town. While wealthy countries today secure their borders to keep unskilled workers out, municipal authorities historically used them to stop skilled workers from leaving... Many countries ban employers from discriminating among workers based on characteristics we can't change: whether we're male or female, young or old, gay or straight, black or white. It's not entirely true that we can't change our passport: $250,000 (£193,000) will buy you one from St Kitts and Nevis. But, mostly, our passport depends on the identity of our parents and location of our birth. And nobody chooses those. Despite this, there's no public clamour to judge people not by the colour of their passport but by the content of their character."

How department stores changed the way we shop - "Another trailblazer was an Irish immigrant named Alexander Turney Stewart. Stewart introduced New Yorkers to the shocking concept of not hassling customers the moment they walked through the door, a novel policy he called "free entrance". AT Stewart and Co was among the first stores to practise the now-ubiquitous "clearance sale", periodically moving on old stock at knockdown prices to make room for new. Stewart also offered no-quibble refunds. He made customers pay in cash, or settle their bills quickly. Traditionally, shoppers had strung out their lines of credit for up to a year. He also recognised that not everybody liked to haggle, with many welcoming the simplicity of being quoted a fair price, and being told to take it or leave it... The first salesman Stewart hired was appalled to discover he'd not be allowed to apply his finely tuned skill of sizing up the customer's apparent wealth and extracting as extravagant a price as possible. He resigned on the spot, telling the youthful Irish shopkeeper he'd be bankrupt within a month. By the time Stewart died, over five decades later, he was one of the richest men in New York... Time-use studies suggest women spend more time shopping than men. Other research indicates that this is a matter of preference as well as duty: men tend to say they like shops with easy parking and short checkout queues. Women are more likely to prioritise different aspects of the shopping experience, such as the friendliness of sales assistants."
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