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Friday, November 04, 2011

Links - 4th November 2011

"Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages." - H. L. Mencken


Whither USP? - "Somebody had asked an African-American student in a US college who had the most racist attitude towards African Americans in American society. That African-American student thought for awhile and replied, “The educated African-Americans. Because they feel that since they have succeeded in this system, the system works. So if other African-Americans don’t succeed in the same system, it has to be something that’s wrong with them, and not the system”... Just because an individual is fortunate enough to be equipped with the traits that enable him or her to succeed in the current system, does not mean that all others who fail in the same system are not deserving, and does not mean that the current system cannot be tweaked or improved"
Similarly, just because some people don't succeed does not mean that there is something wrong with the system

France's richest say: Tax us more - "We, the presidents and leaders of industry, businessmen and women, bankers and wealthy citizens would like the richest people to have to pay a 'special contribution'"

Groupon's fall to earth swifter than its fast rise - ""Most of the deals are for female-centric services like spas and nails or for high-ticket non-necessities like skydiving and travel," says Richard Breen, a Greenville, S.C., marketing executive who used to use Groupon. "I typically delete it each day now without opening the email""
Another example of how having a dream and passion do not necessarily lead to success

Orangutan populations develop different cultures just like humans

Bra Recyling - Bra Burning to Produce Fuel - "61% of Japanese women feel weird about throwing their bras away, since many of their districts require clear plastic bags, which apparently draws the attention of perverts (seriously)"

Economists See More Jobs for Machines, Not People - NYTimes.com - "The tone of alarm in their book is a departure for the pair, whose previous research has focused mainly on the benefits of advancing technology... Technology has always displaced some work and jobs. Over the years, many experts have warned — mistakenly — that machines were gaining the upper hand... “In medicine, law, finance, retailing, manufacturing and even scientific discovery,” they write, “the key to winning the race is not to compete against machines but to compete with machines”"

La France, pays d'Europe qui compte le plus de millionnaires
On doute que l’impôt sur la fortune chasse les riches du pays

Language at risk of dying out – the last two speakers aren't talking - "There are 68 different indigenous languages in Mexico, further subdivided into 364 variations. A handful of other Mexican indigenous languages are also in danger of extinction, though Ayapaneco is the most extreme case"

Bosses Four Times As Likely To Be 'Psychopaths': Survey Says

Golf courses, not history, should make way - "Although golf courses are located in constrained areas near water catchment zones, military training grounds or flight paths, not only do they occupy huge tracts of land, they are economically unproductive, socially exclusive and environmentally damaging. If Singapore's policies are based on pragmatism and inclusiveness, golfing should not be considered a practical activity here. Golfers should go to neighbouring countries for their sport. Given the increasing congestion in public parks like MacRitchie Reservoir and East Coast Park, it is unacceptable that a privileged few have exclusive access to large plots of land in a tiny country with a burgeoning population... Singaporeans should ask themselves to choose between saving an exclusive golf course or a culturally, ecologically and historically rich site like Bukit Brown Cemetery, if they are keen on nurturing this Singapore Soul. This is not a difficult choice, even for the wealthy, if we are thinking of wealth and happiness for all Singaporeans for generations"
One comment: "There is no need to keep cemetries forever. They are something that we would not like to see if we can. In some European countries, the dead are buried for some years and then exhumed to give the space to new deads. Graves of Lim Boh Seng is worth remembering. Too many becomes eerie. On the issue of Golf Clubs versus cemetries, the former provide jobs and enjoyment for the living. I support LTA's wise decision to construct a road throught he cemetry."

Laura Barton meets Gillian Tett, assistant editor at the Financial Times - ""I happen to think anthropology is a brilliant background for looking at finance," she reasons. "Firstly, you're trained to look at how societies or cultures operate holistically, so you look at how all the bits move together. And most people in the City don't do that. They are so specialised, so busy, that they just look at their own little silos. And one of the reasons we got into the mess we are in is because they were all so busy looking at their own little bit that they totally failed to understand how it interacted with the rest of society"... "one of the things I learned as an anthropologist is that to understand how a society works you need to not just look at the areas of what we call 'social noise' - ie what everyone likes to talk about, so the equity markets and M&A and all the high-profile areas everyone can see. But you need to look at the social silences as well." When she looked at the map, she realised how much of the City was ignored... The financial system, she says, is "so dysfunctional, so tribal, that people just don't communicate with each other"... "And they put me into the economics department." She pulls a face. "Initially I thought, this is absolutely horrific!" Her Damascene moment came one day when struggling to write about the foreign exchange market. "I thought, you know what, this is just like being in Tajikistan. All I have to do is learn a new language. This is a bunch of people who have dressed up this activity with a whole bunch of rituals and cultural patterns, and if I can learn Tajik, I can jolly well learn how the FX market works!""

Church HIV prayer cure claims 'cause three deaths' - "The women died after attending churches in London where they were encouraged to stop taking the antiretroviral drugs in the belief that God would heal them... HIV prevention charity African Health Policy Network (AHPN) says a growing number of London churches have been telling people the power of prayer will "cure" their infections... The church's website, which was set up in Lagos, Nigeria, shows photos of people the church claims have been "cured" of HIV through prayer"
Ethnocentricity which privileges modern medicine over what is really important to real people!
If God helps those who helps themselves, how do you know it's him helping and not them?
Not only does God hate amputees, he also hates HIV patients

Tu Er Shen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "Tu Er Shen (兔兒神 or 兔神) is a Chinese deity who manages the love and sex between homosexual men. His name literally means "rabbit deity"."

Facebook user sued for liking a thread - YouTube

The Real Science behind Scientology: Scientific American - "Scientology might have helped Isaac Hayes, just as psychoanalysis and bungee jumping might have helped others, but that doesn’t mean the intervention was the reason... I recently interviewed the acclaimed science-fiction author Harlan Ellison​, who told me he was at the birth of Scientology. At a meeting in New York City of a sci-fi writers’ group called the Hydra Club, Hubbard was complaining to L. Sprague de Camp and the others about writing for a penny a word. “Lester del Rey then said half-jokingly, ‘What you really ought to do is create a religion because it will be tax-free,’ and at that point everyone in the room started chiming in with ideas for this new religion. So the idea was a Gestalt that Ron caught on to and assimilated the details. He then wrote it up as ‘Dianetics: A New Science of the Mind’ and sold it to John W. Campbell, Jr., who published it in Astounding Science Fiction in 1950.” To be fair, Scientology’s Xenu story is no more scientifically untenable than other faiths’ origin myths. If there is no testable means of determining which creation cosmogony is correct, perhaps they are all astounding science fiction"

Escape the City (UK) - Do Something Different - "We are on a mission to help you find exciting alternatives to your corporate job"

Evil Star Wars Stormtrooper photographed in loving scenes with young son - "They were created by amateur artist Kristina Alexanderson, who likes to believe the footsoldiers actually have a normal home life despite their deadly day job as Darth Vader's henchmen."

The men are to blame | Her World Singapore - "There’s been much debate of late about the Abercrombie & Fitch billboard that is splayed right across their soon-to-be-opened shopfront in the middle of Orchard Road... to me, honestly, the whole fracas really boils down to one thing. Men and their oversized egos"
The men are always to blame.
Comments: I hope no sane woman in singapore ever reads let alone believes this. the person who raised the issue first was a lady who wrote in to The Straits Times, and those who came out in support of said woman, were also ladies. if anything it's been the guys who've been against the removal, and it was a guy who wrote in to complain about the double standards in advertising. I had no idea Her World peddled sexism."
"Her World: ugly women writing for ugly women."

Man gets smartphone dock built into prosthetic arm

Foreign Libyan Journalist's Confessions on REAL Libya and Gadaffi - YouTube - "The rebels lack the popular support that Gaddafi enjoys... throughout my stay in Tripoli. A resident... said, 'we lived in democracy under Mohammad Gaddafi. He was not a dictator. I lived in Freedom. Libyan women had full human'... 'Life was good under Gaddafi. We were never afraid'... 'Everyone loves Gaddafi, and we love him because we love Libya'... 'A new cycle of colonial wars which started in Libya with the sinister objective of refreshing the capitalist global system'. He knows that his country will be targetted in that cycle with the very same motto that they used against Lybia and are now using against Syria. In the absence of an effective anti-imperialist media that can challenge and pre-empt the tricks of Imperialism through its global media, it is the role of all progressive people to champion the sovereign states of the global South who like Libya and Syria are a thorn in the sides of the West. Otherwise they will be picked off one by one to add fuel to the dying fire of Imperialism."
Totally stripped of context. If you don't know that Libya was a tribal society, and believed her post-colonial delusions you might think Gadafi was a Saint

Contrex - Ma Contrexpérience - 97s - YouTube
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