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Monday, January 18, 2010

"Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them." - Joseph Heller

***

What price happiness? (Sunday Times 10 Jan) - "A study shows that people who have a university or postgraduate qualification and earn $5,000 or more a month are the happiest. But they are also dissatisfied with their achievements and enjoy life the least, compared with those who are less well-off. Indeed, it is the Singaporeans earning less than $2,000 a month who enjoy life the most... 'The higher the household income, the more a Singaporean feels that he or she has not achieved much in life'"
Related articles; Two of the authors come from the Marketing Department of NUS Business School, and the last from the NUS Entrepreneurship Centre. Har.

Sex and shopping – it's a guy thing - "High-promiscuity men were more willing to borrow fashionable clothes from a friend to impress a potential mate rather than a new boss, whereas low-promiscuity men would rather impress the boss. Women showed no difference... high-promiscuity men who looked at photos of eight attractive women... said they would spend more money on items such as designer sunglasses or an elaborate car stereo rather than inconspicuous products such as low-cost jeans or a toaster... women rated a man driving a Porsche Boxster as more attractive for a short-term sexual relationship than a man driving a Honda Civic. But the Porsche did not make the man more attractive as a possible marriage partner. Men rating women were uninfluenced by the type of car she drove... much of human economic behaviour is engendered by motives of costly signalling to display our personal qualities to potential mates and other social partners"
In the same story: "GiveWell was founded in 2006 by former hedge-fund workers Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld. Frustrated by the absence of evidence provided by charities that they are delivering the goods in terms of their charitable ends, the pair decided to use their data-analysis skills to evaluate charities' effectiveness. They were appalled at what they found. Evidence-based charity lags far behind evidence-based medicine: virtually no charities do randomised, controlled trials regarding which interventions work. In fact, almost no charities collect any systematic data on whether or not their well-intentioned activities are actually doing any good"

Brazilians Urged to Pee in the Shower to Conserve Water

Regular eggs 'no harm to health' - "The idea that eating more than three eggs a week was bad for you was still widespread. But they said that was a misconception based on out-of-date evidence... "The amount of saturated fat in our diet exerts an effect on blood cholesterol that is several times greater than the relatively small amounts of dietary cholesterol. "The UK public do not need to be limiting the number of eggs they eat - indeed they can be encouraged to include them in a healthy diet as they are one of nature's most nutritionally dense foods.""

Turkey demands apology from Israel over envoy 'slight' - "Footage of Mr Ayalon urging journalists to make clear that the ambassador was seated on a low sofa, while the Israeli officials were in much higher chairs, has been widely broadcast by the Israeli media... "In terms of the diplomatic tactics available, this was the minimum that was warranted given the repeated provocation by political and other players in Turkey," he said, according to Reuters. One Israeli newspaper marked the height difference on the photo, and captioned it "the height of humiliation". Valley of the Wolves, popular in Turkey... depicts Israeli intelligence operatives running operations to kidnap babies and convert them to Judaism."

Monstropedia - the largest encyclopedia about monsters - "Monstropedia is the ultimate online encyclopedia of monsters in myth, magick and legend."

Island of love - "Jeju Island (South Korea) is called “the pearl of Korea”... One of the sights of this tropical paradise is the land of love – a theme park, opened in 2004 the series, where the garden of erotic sculptures. For relatively conservative South Korean Earth Love on the island of Cheju – a unique phenomenon. The collection of sculptures that illustrate the pleasures of the flesh"

Naked rambler faces life in prison - "The former Royal Marine, who became notorious for his naked hike from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2003, has spent much of the past seven years in prison for repeatedly appearing nude in public... Mr Gough said he accepted he could "potentially" remain in jail forever and added: "This is about individual freedom""

What If Your Wife Were A Porn Star? - "You don't even get to have sex with her all that often—intercourse is off-limits before a shoot, and afterward she's too tired and sore... Being a porn star is what Sky wants. She makes good money, she doesn't get bossed around by a suit, and she has time to attend college (majoring in women's studies)... Bill watches Sky's movies religiously and stealthily posts positive sentiments on porn sites, occasionally attacking critics. "I don't look at it as sex," he says. "I look at it as a guy with his dick in my wife, but they're working and it's not emotional. She never orgasms in porn. That's for us. If it happened on the set, it would be a little weird"... she occasionally brings home costars. "Girlfriends of mine call and say that they want to come by for a swim," Skyline says. "I say, 'Yeah, it's okay. You can fuck him"... He doesn't lie to his friends about what she does, and they've been mostly supportive. "One told me that he erased all her movies from his hard drive""

Meet America's First Legal Male Prostitute - "For a male, if you want to be successful in this type of venture, you're not a prostitute. You're a surrogate lover. You encompass everything that's required of you—not only emotionally, physically—but psychologically. Because women are wired differently. They're much more sensitive creatures... it's more of a civil rights thing now... It's just the same as when Rosa Parks decided to sit at the front instead of the back. She was proclaiming her rights as a disadvantaged, African-American older woman. And I'm doing the same... This actually isn't about selling my body. This is about changing social norms... I'm an equal opportunity employer. I don't discriminate based on race, color, creed, ethnicity, or skin tone. Notice I left gender out. That's for a reason... [Gay for pay is] disrespect to the artist. My sphincter isn't for sale... [a gigolo] must have the heart of a saint, the mind of a philosopher, and the skills of the devil"
I think only feminists would believe his civil rights spiel - if not for their reflexive opposition to prostitution

French students cry liberté over right to wear sexy clothes - "The protest in Essonne was in retaliation to the rules imposed by a new headteacher, who banned holes in trousers and in garments above the knee. Léa Dedieu, 17, persuaded 300 of the 2,100 students to come to school wearing revealing shorts or mini-skirts for the girls and Bermuda shorts for the boys. She said the protest was intended to make a philosophical point about freedom rather than to "draw attention to ourselves"... students at Geoffroy- Saint-Hilaire are not stopping at protests against clothing regulations. When it was rumoured that the head would ban all contact between couples on the school grounds, they threatened to stage a "day of kissing""
Vive la Révolution!

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go - "Humanities Ph.D.'s, without relevant experience or technical skills, generally compete at a moderate disadvantage against undergraduates, and at a serious disadvantage against people with professional degrees. If you take that path, you will be starting at the bottom in your 30s, a decade behind your age cohort, with no savings (and probably a lot of debt)"

When subtitles go wrong - "I'll now proceed to pleasure myself with this fish"

7 Badass Cartoon Villains Who Lost to Retarded Heroes - "This is a pretty cruel trick society played on the little girls of the world who saw these cartoons and played with the toys. While boys were taught that evil giant transforming robots could only be defeated with other giant transforming robots, girls were taught that evil could be defeated with the power of rainbows and flamboyant song and dance. Which one better prepared their audience for the real world?"

All The Gore | Best Gore - "Blood and gore is what this site is all about. Vast image and video galleries are being added as they become available so there is a lot to look forward to"

Universities and Islam: Hearts, minds and Mecca | The Economist - "A forthcoming book by Steffen Hertog, a sociologist, will argue that terrorists include a high number of engineers—not because of their need for bomb-making skills, but perhaps because of a mindset that likes rigidity and binary choices"

What Do Skeptics, Creationists, and Terrorists Have in Common? - "You won't find many postmodernist engineers. For many engineers, their solution to a given problem is the correct one, and everyone else's solution is "stupid". You also will find this trait amongst skeptics. We will often be very opinionated, and be able to debate our opinion to the bitter end... liberal arts students... 'have real trouble in fields like math and science because in those fields there are correct and incorrect answers, and incorrect answers cannot be met by "that's just, like, your opinion, man"... the smarter liberal arts types aren't like this at all'... [Engineering] provides a technical background without the basic science to challenge religious beliefs... Maybe engineers are attracted to religious terrorism, creationism (which is religion based) and skepticism because both religion and skepticism offer "rules"... skepticism offers the rigid rules of logic and evidence"
I find the explanation for skepticism wanting - logic and evidence are rules in other disciplines - notably the sciences - as well

YouTube - X-Mas Origins: Santa
Also fun: Tom Hanks is James Bond

Businessman Mirko Fischer sues British Airwars 'for treating men like perverts' - "A businessman is suing British Airways over a policy that bans male passengers from sitting next to children they don't know - even if the child's parents are on the same flight. Mirko Fischer has accused the airline of branding all men as potential sex offenders and says innocent travellers are being publicly humiliated"
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