"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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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Links - 10th March 2019 (1)

Half of academic scientists leave the field within 5 years, according to a new study - The Washington Post - "Back in the 1960s and early 1970s, researchers in astronomy and ecology had a half life of well over 30 years. Roughly half the cohort of astronomers publishing scientific papers in the 1960s, in other words, would still be actively publishing 30 years later. The median scientist could expect a publishing career spanning several decades.But since then, academic science careers have been shrinking... the percentage of scientists who will contribute to a project as a lead author — meaning the researcher in charge of the study and its publication — has shrunk dramatically. In the 1960s, for instance, about three-quarters of researchers in astronomy and ecology appeared as a lead author on a study at some point in their careers. By 2010 that fraction had dwindled to about 40 percent."

Gamers Have More Grey Matter And Better Brain Connectivity, Research Suggests

People with extreme political views ‘cannot tell when they are wrong’, study finds - "those on the political fringes tended to overestimate their certainty after getting questions wrong.But the researchers were not testing their knowledge of politics. Instead, they used a simple game in which participants had to gauge which picture they were presented with contained more dots... These individuals were characterised by radical views concerning authoritarianism and intolerance towards others... the failure of metacognition held true across the political spectrum.They said this suggested radicalism was based on a way of thinking that “transcends political inclinations”."

Why written languages look alike the world over - "What do Cyrillic, Arabic, Sanskrit, and 113 other writing systems have in common? Different as they appear at first glance, they share basic structural features, according to a new study: characters with vertical symmetry (like the Roman letters A and T) and a preference for vertical and horizontal lines over oblique lines (like those in the letters X and W). The explanation appears to be rooted in the wiring of our brain... Morin found no evidence that scripts tend to become more horizontal or vertical over time, suggesting that the scribes who created them baked human preferences into the written word from the beginning"

MDMA makes people more cooperative and forgiving, scientists discover

We thought the Incas couldn't write. These knots change everything - "A lost language encoded in intricate cords is finally revealing its secrets – and it could upend what we know about Incan history and culture"

'The Blowjob Paper:' Scientists Processed 109 Hours of Oral Sex to Develop an AI that Sucks Dick

Elizabeth Warren's DNA Test Tells Us Nothing - "Sen. Warren is technically correct that she has Native American ancestry, it falls far short of her rather boastful claims: "I am very proud of my heritage... These are my family stories. This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad, my mamaw and my papaw. This is our lives. And I'm very proud of it." She makes it sound as if she lived in a teepee and smoked peyote.I'm proud of my heritage, as well. I might be related to Charlemagne. And Nefertiti. And you probably are, too. But most of us don't claim to be descended from conquerors or royalty, even though we may contain trace DNA segments indicating that we are."

New Theory on Why Men Love Breasts - "A 2011 study compared men's preferences for breast size, symmetry, and areola size and color in Papua New Guina, Samoa and New Zealand and found that men from Papua New Guinea preferred larger breasts than men from the other two islands. Because the men surveyed from Papua New Guinea hailed from more of a subsistence culture than the men in Samoa or New Zealand, the results support the idea that in places of scarcity, padded bustlines could signal a well-fed woman with reserves for pregnancy and childrearing, the researchers wrote. Areola size and color preferences were highly idiosyncratic between cultures... Some researchers think that sexual interest in breasts simply hijacks the breastfeeding circuitry and uses it for another purpose."

The importance of stupidity in scientific research | Journal of Cell Science - "Productive stupidity means being ignorant by choice. Focusing on important questions puts us in the awkward position of being ignorant. One of the beautiful things about science is that it allows us to bumble along, getting it wrong time after time, and feel perfectly fine as long as we learn something each time. No doubt, this can be difficult for students who are accustomed to getting the answers right. No doubt, reasonable levels of confidence and emotional resilience help, but I think scientific education might do more to ease what is a very big transition: from learning what other people once discovered to making your own discoveries. The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries."

A comprehensive guide to the new science of treating lower back pain - "Millions of back patients like Ramin are floundering in a medical system that isn’t equipped to help them. They’re pushed toward intrusive, addictive, expensive interventions that often fail or can even harm them, and away from things like yoga or psychotherapy, which actually seem to help. Meanwhile, Americans and their doctors have come to expect cures for everything — and back pain is one of those nearly universal ailments with no cure. Patients and taxpayers wind up paying the price for this failure, both in dollars and in health."

Genetically engineering 'ethical' babies is a moral obligation, says Oxford professor - "Professor Julian Savulescu said that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a "moral obligation" as it makes them grow up into "ethically better children".The expert in practical ethics said that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children as it meant they were then less likely to "harm themselves and others"."

Insights into the Personalities of Conspiracy Theorists - "distrust of authority and low agreeableness are among factors underlying the willingness to believe... A study in 2012 by Michael J. Wood and his colleagues at the University of Kent found that those who believed Bin Laden was dead prior to American intervention are more likely to believe he’s currently alive. Similarly, authors found that those who think Princess Diana faked her death are more likely to believe she was murdered. So, which is it? Dead or alive? Research suggests that such contradictory narratives are linked by an underlying distrust of authority. Among conspiracy theorists, it seems, this suspicion is strong enough to overpower traditional life-death logic."

Obesogens - "Low doses of environmental chemicals can make animals gain weight. Whether they do the same to humans is a thorny issue."

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace - "The most obvious solution is to shoot down the drones using a rifle or a shotgun. Here the problem is simple: a rifle bullet fired upwards travels a very long way if it doesn't hit its target, or passes through it. If you're using a .308"/7.62mm rifle pointed upwards at 70 degrees, the dangerous zone in front of it where the bullet could land is up to 2.5 miles or four kilometres long."

Watch Japan's bizarre net-wielding police drone in action - "High-tech Japan has opted for a surprisingly low-tech approach for dealing with remotely controlled copters caught flying over important sites in the nation’s capital."

Israeli anti-drone technology brings an end to Gatwick Airport chaos - "The system has 360-degree circular coverage and is designed to rapidly detect, track and neutralize drones classified as threats. The systems purchased by the British Army are not equipped with a laser-based beam to destroy the drones, but are capable of jamming radio frequencies to prevent the drone from being able to move... Argentinian authorities also relied on Israeli anti-drone technology to protect world leaders at the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit. "

Opinion | I Was Kicked Off Stage by College Students. Did I Deserve It? - The New York Times - "I performed stand-up as part of an annual event put on by the Asian-American Alliance at Columbia, and about 20 minutes into the show, my microphone was cut off.It wasn’t because of some fire code violation, or because some violently drunk heckler and I were about to fistfight. It was because three student organizers came onstage and politely told me they were going in a different direction with the next 30 minutes of my remaining time after deciding my material was offensive... This particular joke has worked at New York clubs full of gay people, black people and college students multiple times. I didn’t think twice about using it in a room full of smart, progressive young adults.I carried on and went back to getting some laughs. Five minutes later, I was asked to leave.I walked offstage, silent and angry. I was in shock. On the car ride down to another show, every cliché about college kids today was churning through my mind: Are these college students really this soft? What has become of the coddled mind! Everyone’s so easily offended! Jerry Seinfeld was right when he said a few years ago that college kids “don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”... When you silence someone you don’t agree with or find offensive, not only do you implement the tactic used by the people you disdain; you also do yourself the disservice of missing out on a potentially meaningful conversation. You cannot affect change if you are not challenged... After I was forced offstage, something unexpected happened: Notes of support flooded in. Students apologized via email and via Instagram DM. They told me: We’re not all sensitive people; we can take jokes; you shouldn’t have been pulled offstage, that was wrong. Three Columbia students even came to my next show to apologize in person.I was grateful. They helped me see that when older people call students today oversensitive, we do the same thing that we accuse the college students of doing — jumping to a predetermined conclusion based on the action of a small group"
Political correctness silences minorities
It's ironic so many comedians (or 'comedians') are SJWs, given that political correctness shuts down comedy
You don't have to be a majority to have power - especially if you intimidate the majority into keeping quiet (especially when it matters)
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