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More adventurous than the average bear

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Links - 24th June 2018 (1)

The Apple TV is a mess — and hardly the ‘future of TV’ Apple advertised

Google comes down hard on bad ads to fight ad blockers - "Google Chrome will remove ads from websites that do not adhere to the “Better Ads Standards” developed by the Coalition for Better Ads for desktop and mobile web... “frustrating ads can lead to people downloading ad blockers. When that happens, publishers can’t make money.”"

Confabulation: why telling ourselves stories makes us feel ok - "Although our choices are often influenced by external cues and unconscious drives, we tend to see ourselves as competent and largely coherent agents who do and believe things for good reasons. This sense of agency is partly an illusion, but sustains our motivation to pursue our goals in critical circumstances."

Pizza Is a Healthier Breakfast Than Most Cereals - "It’s got protein. It’s got carbs. It might even have vegetables. That hot slice of cheesy goodness is a balanced breakfast if we’ve ever seen one... America’s cereal options are nutritionally bleak — there’s rarely protein, healthy fats, or anything but spoonfuls of sugar in cereal these days... "You may be surprised to find out that an average slice of pizza and a bowl of cereal with whole milk contain nearly the same amount of calories,” explained Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN to The Daily Meal. “However, pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning.”... “Plus, a slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar than most cold cereals, so you will not experience a quick sugar crash”"

Commentary: Why the 30-hour work week is almost here - "most millennials - male and female - don’t want to work all hours. In recent studies by Deloitte and career-monitoring website Comparably, younger workers placed “work-life balance” above career progression. Millennials want to get home on time to raise their kids - or at least play some Nintendo."

Older PMETs hardest hit as layoffs increase across sectors - "Older workers and those with higher educational qualifications took longer to find jobs after they were retrenched last year, compared to other groups."
The power of education

Why the Safest Form of Power Is Also the Most Feared - "nuclear power is by far safest power source in the world -- 40% less deadly than the next safest, wind."

US couple learn to find ways to adjust to life in Singapore - ""Children's clothing at a Walmart in the US can cost US$3 (S$4.10) a piece but in Singapore, it's at least US$15"... The couple earn about $29,000 together, but even then, it meant making adjustments to their lifestyle... While they can adjust to a smaller home and public transport, getting used to local food has been a lot harder, so they pay extra for imported foodstuffs. At $2,400 a month, their grocery bill here is triple what they usually spend in the US... the high cost of living here meant that the couple could not meet their financial goals - saving for retirement and their children's college funds - just on Mr Letzelter's salary alone."

Why Digital Maps Are Inaccurate in China - "Chinese geographic regulations demand that GPS functions must either be disabled on handheld devices or they must be made to display a similar offset. If a given device—such as a smartphone or camera—detects that it is in China, then its ability to geo-tag photos is either temporarily unavailable or strangely compromised. Once again, you would find that your hotel is not quite where your camera wants it to be, or that the restaurant you and your friends want to visit is not, in fact, where your smartphone thinks it has guided you. Your physical footsteps and your digital tracks no longer align... for China, at least, cartographers are seen as a security threat"

Sacha Baron Cohen: 'Hollywood would be too scared to make Borat today' - ""I make my films for myself, for friends and for my fans," he says. "Ultimately you can’t make everybody happy. The style of comedy that I have done over the years is liked by some people and hated by others. But the thing about movies is you have the option to go and see them or not. So they are not forced down your throat."... "So with the risk-taking by studios becoming more limited, I would say that despite all the controversy about the Academy and the Oscars, if it wasn’t for the Academy Awards, studios would only make movies to make money. Because of the Academy Awards, studios make movies to be good as well."

Leftovers and Food Safety - "To ensure that leftovers are safe to eat, make sure the food is cooked to a safe temperature and refrigerate the leftovers promptly. Not cooking food to a safe temperature and leaving food out at an unsafe temperature are the two main causes of foodborne illness... Bacteria grow rapidly between the temperatures of 40° F and 140° F. After food is safely cooked, hot food must be kept hot at 140° F or warmer to prevent bacterial growth. Within 2 hours of cooking food or after it is removed from an appliance keeping it warm, leftovers must be refrigerated. Throw away all perishable foods that have been left in room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is over 90° F, such as at an outdoor picnic during summer)... To prevent bacterial growth, it's important to cool food rapidly so it reaches as fast as possible the safe refrigerator-storage temperature of 40° F or below. To do this, divide large amounts of food into shallow containers... Hot food can be placed directly in the refrigerator or be rapidly chilled in an ice or cold water bath before refrigerating... Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer... It is safe to refreeze any food remaining after reheating previously frozen leftovers to the safe temperature of 165° F as measured with a food thermometer."
In other words, according to the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, letting your food cool before you put it in the fridge increases your chances of getting sick. Also frozen food is safe to eat forever

Dry Pasta vs. Fresh Pasta: What's the Difference? - "like red and white wine, like soft and hard cheeses, like the West Coast and the East Coast, neither kind of pasta is superior to the other. They're just different!... Fresh pasta is best served with delicate sauces where the texture of the pasta can take front stage... Dry pasta is best suited for hearty dishes like ragu sauces, soups, and casseroles since it's a firm structure will hold up better with other ingredients."

This guy thinks killing video game characters is immoral - "Dylan Matthews: What exactly is your view about the moral standing of non-player characters (NPCs)? Is it moral to kill them?
Brian Tomasik: That depends on their degree of sophistication, and whether they're built in a way such that killing them would correspond to something harmful... Present-day video games mostly use extremely simple algorithms that resemble goal-directed and welfare-relevant behavior in very crude ways. They resemble complex, sentient animals in a similar way as two dots and a smile resemble a detailed picture of a face. Hence, it seems plausible to give any single game character extremely small weight compared with vastly more complex forms of purposeful, welfare-relevant behavior in larger organisms like animals... It's possible that video games in 50 years will routinely contain characters as sentient as a minnow or salamander is today...
Dylan: You argue that it's possible insects account for most of the morally relevant feelings and preferences held or experienced by any entities anywhere in the universe. You've written a lot about how to deal with this, but it'd be great if you could discuss the main options, as you see them. Do we mercy-kill most or all insects? How do we deal with the larger ecosystem ramifications?"

Developer tears down the home of Madrid's saint - "A scandal has flared up in Madrid with the discovery that the house where the Spanish capital's patron saint, San Isidro, lived has been knocked down by developers. The listed building was allegedly the home of Isidro, an agricultural labourer who worked for the nobleman Ivan de Vargas in the 12th century. .. Spanish architects have shown a firm belief that the best way to conserve old buildings is to tear them down and rebuild them in their own, modern versions. The 17th-century cloisters of San Jeronimo el Real, beside the Prado Museum in Madrid, were torn down last year. The architects say they will rebuild them with the same materials, but they will be hidden inside a red-brick cube. The supreme court recently ordered the local authorities in Sagunto, Valencia, to return a Roman theatre to its original state of disrepair after it had been "modernised" by architects there."

Spain's concrete castle: a case of accidental genius? - "Until local architect Carlos Quevedo got his hands on this protected national monument, in Villamartín, it was just another ruined Andalusian fortress – indistinguishable from those topping practically every hill in the region. Now it has been mutilated into a startling Frankenstein bunker, it has become an international celebrity. It can also join Spain’s illustrious history of inadvertent masterpieces. When 80-year-old Cecilia Giménez got to work with her pot of paints, the fresco of Jesus in the church of Santuario de la Misericordia, in the small town of Borja, was simply another fresco of Jesus in an unremarkable church. Since her inspired creation of the smeary-faced ape-Christ – instant meme-fodder around the world in 2012 – the village has become a place of pilgrimage, seeing thousands of visitors, a booming novelty T-shirt business and even inspiring a comic opera.

Why Asians Never Wear Shoes in the House - "Approximately 421,000 different types of bacteria can be found on shoes, according to a 2008 study by the University of Arizona. Of the shoes examined in the study, 96% of them were found to have coliforms, a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water that is also universally found in feces of humans and warm-blooded animals. In addition, 27% of the shoes were found to have E. coli along with seven different kinds of bacterias. Among them are Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, and Serratia ficaria, a bacteria that causes respiratory infections."


Why too much evidence can be a bad thing - "Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect on trial was unanimously found guilty by all judges, then the suspect was acquitted. This reasoning sounds counterintuitive, but the legislators of the time had noticed that unanimous agreement often indicates the presence of systemic error in the judicial process, even if the exact nature of the error is yet to be discovered. They intuitively reasoned that when something seems too good to be true, most likely a mistake was made... "If many independent witnesses unanimously testify to the identity of a suspect of a crime, we assume they cannot all be wrong," coauthor Derek Abbott, a physicist and electronic engineer at The University of Adelaide, Australia, told Phys.org. "Unanimity is often assumed to be reliable. However, it turns out that the probability of a large number of people all agreeing is small, so our confidence in unanimity is ill-founded. This 'paradox of unanimity' shows that often we are far less certain than we think."... Eugene Wigner once coined the phrase 'the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics' to describe the rather odd feeling that math seems to be so perfectly suited to describing physical theories. In a way, Wigner was expressing the idea that math itself is 'too good to be true.'... for every great scientific paper we read with an elegant formula, there are many more rejected formulas that are never published and we never get to see. The math we have today was cherry-picked."

The collapse of parenting: Why it’s time for parents to grow up - "the situation epitomized something much worse: the recent collapse of parenting, which he says is at least partly to blame for kids becoming overweight, overmedicated, anxious and disrespectful of themselves and those around them... “When parents begin to cede control to their kids, food choices are often the first thing to slide,” Sax writes in his new book, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups. A rule such as “No dessert until you eat your broccoli” has recently morphed into “How about three bites of broccoli, and then you can have dessert?” The command has become a question capped with a bribe... if the girl served green peas does eat one bite as her dad asked, Sax says, “she is likely to believe that she has done her father a favour and that now he owes her a favour in return.”... “Empower has come to seem virtuous,” Sax says. “Empower everyone, why not?” But many kids are actually overpowering their parents. That’s the problem, say those working in child development. A functional family unit hinges on the one social construct that contemporary society has been working hard to dismantle: hierarchy. “You need a strong alpha presentation to inspire a child to trust you and depend upon you”... “It is now easier to administer a pill prescribed by a board-certified physician, than to firmly instruct a child and impose consequences for bad behaviour.”... A medical diagnosis might negate parental shortcomings or a child’s misbehaviour... “Kids are not born knowing right from wrong,” says Sax, pointing to longitudinal studies showing that children who are left to discover right from wrong on their own are more likely to have negative outcomes in the future... “Parents who are authoritative have better outcomes, and it’s a larger effect than the effect of race, ethnicity, household income or IQ.”... There is no parental concern too obscure not to have an online group devoted to it. Shantz is part of one focused on “baby-wearing” because she’s trying to decide whether a “wrap” or a “ring sling” would be better for her nine-month-old... “When parents realize that they are their children’s best bet, it challenges them to their own maturity.” It gives them the confidence that they know what’s good for their kids, and that they should stand up to them—this is, in fact, an act of love required of parents. They become, in effect, the grown-ups their children need."

Why Did The West Weep for Paris But Not for Kunming? - "The current Chinese system has no ideals capable of inspiring such affection across national borders, especially among the creative classes who are the bedrock of soft power. At best, the values it promotes are parochial and somewhat dull, at worst they are vicious and xenophobic. No Egyptian novelist has been inspired by the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, no Chilean cartoonist looks to the Chinese dream, no French filmmaker was moved by Hu Jintao’s already forgotten harmonious society. And the system has no tolerance for those who might produce or represent different principles, even ones rooted in Chinese tradition, that might stir dreams elsewhere, save for the pallid revival of officially-sanctioned “Confucianism.” The only figures that might win acclaim elsewhere for what they stand for are exactly those whom the government attempts to crush. Moreover, even those stories that make it to China’s front pages are not permitted room to breathe. Scandals and tragedies that in other countries would run for months, for good reason, are disappeared within days or at best weeks...
In the United States itself, neither the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168, nor even the 9/11 attacks, which killed almost 3,000, elicited a response like the one we saw from the Charlie Hebdo attack, which killed far fewer. When “the West” and even United States citizens did not come out in massive demonstrations in response to those attacks, it seems odd to wonder why they did not come out in massive demonstrations after the attacks in China."

Why There Is No Peace in the Middle East - "Peace is not possible in the Middle East because values and goals other than peace are more important to Middle Easterners. Most important to Middle Easterners are loyalty to kin, clan, and cult, and the honour which is won by such loyalty. These are the cultural imperatives, the primary values, held and celebrated. When conflict arises and conflict-parties form based on loyal allegiance, the conflict is regarded as appropriate and proper... the Arab-Israel conflict, in the course of which the despised Jews repeatedly defeated the armies of Arab states. This was not so much a material disaster for the Arabs, as it was a cultural one in which honour was lost. The only way to regain honour is to defeat and destroy Israel, the explicit goal of the Palestinians: "from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea." This why no agreement over land or boundaries will bring peace: peace does not restore honour. None of this is unknown to Arab commentators, who repeatedly refer to the tribal nature of their culture and society. Of course, today, few Middle Easterners live in tents and raise camels, but villagers and urbanites share the same tribal assumptions and values. According to the Tunisian intellectual Al-Afif al-Akhdar, the Arabs cherish their "deep-culture of tribal vengefulness" and consequent "fixated, brooding, vengeful mentality."[4] Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has said that "We need an ideological revolution; our tribal mentality has destroyed our society."... Many Middle Easterners see the disasters around them, and blame outsiders: "It is the fault of the Jews"; "The British did this to us"; "The Americans are to blame."[5] Many Western academics and commentators say the same, dignifying this counter-historic theory with the label "postcolonialism." But given that tribal dynamics were dominant in the region for a thousand years since the foundation of Islam, and thousands of years before that, blaming outsiders for regional dynamics is hardly credible. Nonetheless, "postcolonialists" will claim that pointing to regional culture as the foundation of regional dynamics is "blaming the victim." We in the West, unlike Middle Easterners, love "victims." But what if Middle Easterners are victims of the limitations and shortcomings of their own culture?"

Young British Muslims are fuelling rise in Sharia weddings - "Amra Bone, Britain’s first woman Islamic judge on a Sharia court, said most Muslim men did not take more than one wife. She added: ‘Most men will tell you, “I can’t look after one wife, never mind more than one”. ‘But we cannot – and the Government cannot – ask Muslims not to have more than one wife. People have a right to decide for themselves’"
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