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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Links - 8th August 2018 (1)

Longevity of outstanding sporting achievers: Mind versus muscle - "Elite chess players live longer than the general population and have a similar survival advantage to elite competitors in physical sports."

On Climate Change, a Disconnect Between Attitudes and Behavior - "Participants in a year-long study who doubted the scientific consensus on the issue "opposed policy solutions," but at the same time, they "were most likely to report engaging in individual-level, pro-environmental behaviors"... regarding the concerned but inactive, the psychological phenomenon known as moral licensing is a likely culprit.Previous research has found doing something altruistic—even buying organic foods—gives us license to engage in selfish activity"

Gary Kurtz - Wikipedia - "Kurtz has claimed that he and George Lucas clashed over how to progress the Star Wars series. Kurtz claimed that after Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, Lucas became convinced that audiences no longer cared about the story and were simply there for thrills and entertainment, and began to deviate from the originally planned plotlines for Return of the Jedi, at which point Kurtz quit the series. Kurtz has also claimed that Lucas changed the emphasis from storytelling to prioritizing toy merchandising. In a 2010 interview for the L.A. Times, Kurtz revealed that he had become disillusioned with what he saw as the commercially-driven direction the franchise was taking, as well as the related changes that Lucas made to the plot of the third movie, which was originally much darker, and supposedly included the death of Han Solo
""I could see where things were headed. The toy business began to drive the empire. It's a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It's natural to make decisions that protect the toy business but that's not the best thing for making quality films."
Kurtz has expressed his dissatisfaction with Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.[19] Kurtz was particularly displeased with Lucas' decisions in Return of the Jedi to resurrect the Death Star and to change the plot outline from one that ended on a "bittersweet and poignant" note to one having a "euphoric ending where everyone was happy""

Gender at the Gym: How Workout Preferences Vary by Sex, Age - "A 2017 study by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) found that more than 57 million Americans belonged to at least one health club, and while gym memberships were split almost evenly between males and females, the two groups prioritized their gym activities very differently. "Males tend to be equipment-oriented, engaging more in using free weights (dumbbells, hand weights and barbells), weight/resistance machines, rowers and stationary cycles," says Melissa Rodriguez, senior research manager for the IHRSA in an email interview. "Women prefer to participate in group exercise programs, such as Pilates, dance, step, and other choreographed exercise to music, yoga and barre... "This is a combination of social dynamics, men tending to be more solo and women tending to gravitate towards the community, and men thinking the classes themselves are geared towards women and their goals""

Extra 7: Corrosive Energy Drinks and Peruvian Cat Stew | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "[On Afro-Caribbean Peruvian Cat] 'Have you eaten the kitty?'
'Oh yeah and actually, there's two things. One, there's a lot more meat than you would think. So it's actually pretty meaty. Two it does not take like chicken at all. It actually tastes like dark meat so that. And three it's absolutely delicious and every time I've eaten it I've always been accompanied with somebody who swears up and down that they will not take this but as soon as you try it, as you smell it they just love it. It's made with a cilantro based sort of you know sauce and it's slow cooked, it's marinated in milk and vinegar overnight. It's absolutely delicious...
They're targeting this particular tradition, which belongs to the Afro-Peruvian community and not other traditions. So they're not targeting guinea pig eating. They're not targeting Llama eating or Alpaca eating. They're targeting the black community because they see them as the most targetable...
With about 15% of energy drinks, they say, we're sorry, your stuff is so corrosive we cannot put it in a can [so they put it in glass]"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Not Welcome Here - "Evans William tells me he sold everything but the kitchen sink to fund his dream to get to Europe. And I mean everything. His bed, his fridge, his tv, his spare clothes and his mobile phone. After borrowing yet more cash, he finally had enough to pay a smuggling gang to take him from Nigeria across the Sahara to Libya. In all it cost him a thousand dollars, but he wasn't worried. Once in Europe, he figured, he could quickly earn enough to pay off his creditors and eventually return home to start a business of his own. It didn't quite work out like that. After six miserable months in Libya where the gang forced him to work for free, he finally boarded a rickety boat to cross the Mediterranean. It got stopped by the Libyan Coastguard who threw him and 104 other passengers into a detention center...
As a percentage of its total area, Surinam is the most tree covered country on earth. According to the World Bank, a staggering 96% of it is forested with 90% being primary forest, which has never been felled or cultivated...
He brought out his war novel, Death of a Hero. Obviously drawing on his own experience, he described the hero's life in pre war England, experimenting with avant garde ideas of sex and marriage before he's sent to fight and numbed and disillusioned ends up walking into enemy bullets in the very last days of the war. The book is a blistering attack not so much on the generals who conducted the war as on the middle class hypocrisies of those at home. It earned Aldington the reputation as his Times obituary later put it of being an angry young man before his time. Certainly in reading him, you see how anti establishment ideas that later became the norm in the 1950s were being pre figured by modernists like him in a much earlier generation.
"no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well"


BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, La Lucha - "It's dangerous for the French to touch their language. It must be learnt rigorously, by repetition, analysis, construction and deconstruction. So decreed the writer and comedian Claude Dunadin [sp?]. And French children do just that, spending a minimum of three thousand one hundred and eighty obligatory hours poring over it. It's not just a language but a profound identity and a national past time, with a range of fat multivolume dictionaries, popular paperbacks devoted to peculiar linguistic complications and tips on avoiding subtle gramatical pitfalls. There are regular newspaper columns, tv and radio slots all devoted to it. And endless I know more than you do quizzes... [In] the mid seventeenth century when masculine was officially deemed superior to feminine. But before that it would have been the second answer - Louis and Louise were both beautiful and had been for several hundred years because in those days the adjective simply took the gender of the noun nearest to it. Got it? It may be hard to believe but what to many outside Francophone culture may seem like a pedantic piffling gramatical footnote is within France nothing less than a social, cultural and political minefield... Le Francais Inclusif is a written-only form. You couldn't even begin to speak it. If you did you'd probably sound as - a male immortel put it in a tasteless politically incorrect description - like a stuttering epileptic. Indeed the Academy solemnly and unanimously declared that inclusive French places the entire nation's language en péril mortel - in mortal danger with its various full stops used to divide words into all possible masculine, feminine, singular and plural possibilities. Although he heads Macron's government, which professes itself resolutely engaged in reinforcing equality between men and women, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has advised his minister to ban le francais inclusif because it's just too ridiculous and confusing. Meanwhile Frédéric Vitoux, that immortal who was so rude about epileptics, pointed out that inclusive French is impossible in either Braille or sign language... To Alain Rey, a linguist and lexicographer who's a household name in, France the affair of inclusive French is a ridiculous complication to a system that's already for historical reasons unbelievably complex...
[On being pro-democracy and anti-dictatorship in Taiwan] Chiang always claimed to be the legitimate ruler and not just of Taiwan, but all of China. It was a position that suited Beijing because it maintained the official stance, that Taiwan is not a sovereign nation, the so called One China policy. So paradoxically respect for Chiang Kai Shek has become equivalent to respecting the unity of China. Disrespecting him has become synonymous with Taiwanese nationalism and independence... One [statue of him] has been shipped to a Chiang Kai Shek theme park in Mainland China, where Chiang Kai Shek is undergoing something of a revival. He may have fought the communist party, but many mainland Chinese now also acknowledge his role in resisting Japan

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Blood And Tears - "So popular is he that Pram has recently become the self proclaimed president of India's Union of Unregistered Doctors... the entire time we talk he's surrounded by an entourage of fellow quacks nodding their heads and chipping in with affirmations. And as we leave the village his parting plea is that the government should train him and others like him. We are after all, he says, the saviors of India's poorest...
It was just after breakfast and I was heading back to my hotel room, one of the nicer ones in what was a pretty cheap guest house in a remote corner of Sierra Leone. I'd seeing my neighbor the day before, an elegant soberly dressed woman in her 30s. Outside her room in the half light I found her composing a text message. Conversation between us was brief, faltering. Where you're from, what's your name and that kind of thing. Faith was her name. She spoke pidgin English. I didn't. So I'm not sure either of us entirely grasped much of what the other was saying. Anyway, after pleasantries, I disappeared into my room and started cleaning my teeth. There was a knock on the door. I couldn't speak, I had toothpaste in my mouth, so I gurgled as she strolled in and deposited a piece of paper on my bed. It was her phone number. A moment later, she was back asking me for my number. Then this time rather more furtively she skipped towards me and planted an enormous, firm, and I have to say quite passionate kiss on my mouth. You'll be glad to know that by now I had spat out the toothpaste. I love you, she declared. Now, I don't claim to be an expert on love, but I reckon she probably didn't mean that. We had really only just met. More likely, I reasoned, this was a linguistic compression. As in, I will love you in return for a fixed fee... I was astonished by what had happened. The striking thing was how she looked, to me anyway, nothing like a sex worker. I told the story to a freelance journalist I knew in Freetown the next day I thought he'd laugh, but actually he didn't think my experience was half as remarkable as I did. You have to remember just how poor these people are he said. Everyone's trading something and women here are bottom of the pile. What else do they have to trade with but sex? Half the young women at the universities are selling their bodies to a sugar daddy or someone to pay their college fees. Now this seemed to me like an extravagant claim. I knew it happened, but half of them, really?... the Oxfam charity scandal broke just a few days after this...
She also described doing business with foreign aid workers. One World Bank official, for example, who she said had recently paid her handsomely for a two week escorting job. After we ran our story, the World Bank got in touch with the BBC, pledging to investigate, asking for her account in detail, but when contacted, she refused to speak further. The World Bank guy had been her best customer. Why would she report him? That was part of a more general impressio. I got - the Westerners who paid for sex usually paid the best. So how would punishing them help the women? Just the opposite"

Fake fire alarm backfires at campus event critical of bias response teams - "The sheet contained information on the university’s Bias Response Team, detailing what bias is and how to be aware of it. It included information from “A Progressive’s Style Guide,” distributed by the anti-corporate community SumOfUs, about words that “decolonization activists” use and avoid/question. Among the words that should not be used, according to the guide: Eskimo, folklore, both full and half-blooded, part-native/Indian/aboriginal, magic, sorcery and myth... 'I think that’s exactly what we need more of, people going to “the other side.” I sincerely hope everybody treated her with kindness. And that’s why I had her explain “this is my event, there is where it is, this is what it’s doing.” I have no monopoly on these things and if someone comes up and brings a reasonable argument, I want to hear the argument.'"

If Miss America contestants want to be judged on brains they should go and study neuroscience - "Today’s announcement that Miss America will no longer be based on actual beauty is the final radical feminist nail in the coffin of the once much beloved practice of admiring a woman for how she looks."

Demi Lovato Apologizes For Prank Trivializing Sexual Assault - "her response to one follower asking about “funniest prank” she’s ever pulled sparked immediate backlash against the “Tell Me You Love Me” singer for trivializing sexual assault. In a now-deleted tweet, the former Disney star explained that she once hired a “lady of the night” while staying in Vegas to surprise her bodyguard Max."

Demi Lovato Slams Time For Honoring Trump As Person Of The Year Runner-Up - "“Time mag highlights brave women coming forward against sexual assault on the cover but names a man with sexual assault allegations against him runner up to person of the year,” she wrote, adding the hashtag #hypocrites."

England's Top Family Judge: Society Should 'Welcome and Applaud' Decline of the Nuclear Family

The more valuable your work is to society, the less you’ll be paid for it - "the most socially valuable workers whose contributions could be calculated are medical researchers, who add $9 of overall value to society for every $1 they are paid. The least valuable were those who worked in the financial sector, who, on average, subtract a net $1.80 in value from society for every $1 of compensation"
Remuneration isn't purely monetary

FACT CHECK: Are 80% Of Migrant Women Raped On Their Journey To The US? - "The source of the statistic is a 2014 investigative report by Fusion. “Before they can reach the American Dream, many migrant women have to survive a Mexican nightmare,” reads the report. “A staggering 80 percent of Central American girls and women crossing Mexico en route to the United States are raped along the way, according to directors of migrant shelters interviewed by Fusion.” Trump cited the same report back in 2015, two weeks after announcing his candidacy for president. After drawing sharp criticism for calling some Mexicans “rapists,” he stood by his remarks during an interview on CNN. “Well, if you look at the statistics, our people come – I didn’t say about Mexicans. I say the illegal immigrants. If you look at the statistics on rape, on crime, on everything coming in illegally into this country, they’re mind boggling,” said Trump. “If you go to Fusion, you will see a story about 80 percent of the women coming in, I mean, you have to take a look at these stories. And you know who owns Fusion? Univision.” CNN host Don Lemon pointed out that the Fusion report was about women being raped while passing through Mexico and not about criminals entering the country. “Well, somebody’s doing the raping, Don,” Trump replied. “Well, who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?”"

Over 75 percent of Japanese women say they’ve slept with a male coworker in survey - "Close to half say they weren’t in a relationship with the guy at the time."

Anti-Extremist Muslim Imam Tawhidi Banned From Facebook After Mocking Hamas
Apparently mocking terrorists is Islamophobic

Oxfordshire school bans shorts in summer in favour of 'gender neutral' uniform policy - "The Army has installed gender-neutral toilets at its headquarters, it emerged yesterday. Two ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ signs were removed at its £44million HQ in Andover, Hampshire, and changed to unisex ones as part of an equality drive across the military and government. Chiefs have warned officers promotions will be blocked unless they improve the ‘inclusiveness and diversity’ of units, according to the Sun on Sunday. It comes after the Home Office spent £36,963 installing gender neutral toilets at its London offices so ‘all staff feel comfortable at work’, it was reported."

The world loves our grammar school system – so why don’t we? - "What’s the highest performing country on all international tests? Singapore, of course. What do the educational experts and the BBC put this down to? They invest more in their teachers, of course. No one mentions the feature of the Singaporean education system that cries out to be noticed: it’s highly selective. What’s more, it’s explicitly modelled on the erstwhile grammar-school system of England and Wales that Mrs May is attempting to revitalise here... Educational experts condemn selection as leading to less equitable education systems. That’s simply not true. Andreas Schleicher, head of education at OECD (which produces the international assessments that Singapore excels on) praises that country as being not only the most successful education system in the world but also claims that it achieves ‘excellence without wide differences between children from wealthy and disadvantaged families’. There is plenty of data which shows precisely that. On indicators of fairness to children from lower socioeconomic status, Singapore is as fair as, or fairer than, countries which don’t have selection. Singapore compares very favourably with Japan for instance, which doesn’t have selection until age 15. One measure looks at ‘resilient students’, those of low socioeconomic status who do better than expected compared to others. The higher this figure the better. Looking at the figures for science in Singapore (and other subjects are similar), 49 per cent of students are resilient, compared to the OECD average of only 29 per cent. In non-selective Japan the figure is identical. Selective Germany is almost identical to non-selective UK (34 per cent and 35 per cent respectively), while non-selective France has a very poor 27 per cent."
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