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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Links - 28th August 2012

"Before I was a Discordian, I wasted a lot of time arguing with evangelists about God and Jesus. Now they waste a lot of time arguing about Eris Discordia with me." - Kerry Thornley


The Study of Man (or Males) - NYTimes.com - "According to Professor Tiger, the trouble with men’s studies is that it’s “a wholly owned branch of women’s studies”... The people in men’s studies, like those in women’s studies, take a mostly sociological perspective and believe that masculinity is essentially a cultural construct and that gender differences in general are fluid and variable... The male studies people, on the other had, are what their critics call “essentialists” and believe that male behavior is in large part biologically determined... the male studies movement is less an expansion of that debate than a response to a specific crisis, the nature of which both sides agree on: academically at least, young men are in trouble... A popular theory, set forth in books like “The Trouble With Boys,” by Peg Tyre, and “The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Hurting Our Young Men,” by Christina Hoff Sommers, is that grammar school classrooms have become excessively feminized, impatient with boys’ naturally boisterous behavior and short attention spans and inattentive to the way in which boys learn differently from girls... On their very first day at college, awkward young men are gathered into a room with their female counterparts and, the argument goes, made to feel like sexual predators. Miles Groth, who teaches psychology at Wagner College and was host of the conference there last spring, says that what he hears all the time from male undergraduates on his campus is “I just don’t feel welcome here”... “Why the silence?” he said between classes one day. “Why hasn’t our generation been more vocal about what’s happening to our young men?” And then he partly answered his own question: “It’s the continuing myth of male power. If I as a man raise these issues I’m just raising that old specter of male power because I want to keep women under control”... Last semester, Professor Groth taught a course on the psychology of men; of 30 students, all but five were women. “I asked everyone, ‘Why are you taking this course?’ ” he recalled. “The boys didn’t say anything. The girls all said, ‘We want to understand the guys better’”"

'Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection' - WSJ.com - "Social isolation has an impact on health comparable to the effect of high blood pressure, lack of exercise, obesity, or smoking. Our research in the past decade or so demonstrates that the culprit behind these dire statistics is not usually being literally alone, but the subjective experience known as loneliness. Whether you are at home with your family, working in an office crowded with bright and attractive young people, touring Disneyland, or sitting alone in a fleabag hotel on the wrong side of town, chronic feelings of isolation can drive a cascade of physiological events that actually accelerates the aging process. Loneliness not only alters behavior but shows up in measurements of stress hormones, immune function, and cardiovascular function. Over time, these changes in physiology are compounded in ways that may be hastening millions of people to an early grave"

Why Feminists Should Be Wary of the Obsession With the GlassCeiling - "my life has been a near caricature of women’s empowerment... I flexed my feminist humor last May by sending a Happy-We’re-Not-Mothers Day email to my childless female friends congratulating them on another year of successful birth control use. (“And if anyone became pregnant, congratulations on taking advantage of our totally legal and awesome abortion rights!” I cheered)... [In breaking the glass ceiling] there is also the problem of orientation and perspective, the idea that women will succeed only when they achieve male-defined success... many suggested that the industry would never have spiraled into such a pit of immorality had more women been in finance. These arguments conveniently omitted the fact that the developer of credit default swaps, a type of derivative that allowed companies to bet against their own products and turned into a symbol for the system’s deception, was a woman, Blythe Masters. Or that women’s bylines at the New Yorker decreased from 40 percent to a mere 20 percent under Tina Brown’s reign. Or that California gubernatorial candidate and Silicon Valley success-story Meg Whitman espoused such anti-woman politics that even the Feminist Majority, a women’s equality group whose mission is to “win equality for women at the decision-making tables of the state,” publicly denounced her... a growing number of feminists view these career tracks as so steeped in and dependent on patriarchy, as well as racism, that they are nearly impossible to change from the inside out"
Corollary: whatever happens, feminists will be able to complain about sexism and misogyny

Kangaroo attack: How to protect yourself from a hopping, kicking, clawing beast. - "You don’t stand much of a chance in a toe-to-toe standoff with a rampaging kangaroo, which can swipe at you with clawed hands or deliver powerful kicks to your abdomen while supporting itself on its tail. A kangaroo’s foot claws are sharp enough to slice open a human abdomen"

Most Offensive Blog Ever. - "We all make mistakes. There’s a choice we make in life. Either you get offended, or you have a sense of humor. One is a lot healthier than the other. I’m not gonna say which one. But I will say that the following is something you will never see in the eulogy of an old and contented soul:
“Katherine passed away yesterday at the age of 102. She lived a long, happy life. She ate lots of chocolate, exercised daily, and was easily offended.”"

Shanmugam urges S'poreans to rethink their driving habits - " Law and Foreign Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam, said it is time for Singaporeans to seriously reconsider their driving habits. On his latest Facebook post, he said he received over 360 comments to his post on driving habits, a subject which had obviously touched some raw nerves."
Journalism in Singapore has gone from rephrasing Ministry press releases to rephrasing Ministers' Facebook posts

Pinay in hot water after peeing in men's washroom in Singapore - "Security officers were alerted and they brought her out of the washroom. The report however did not say if the Pinay will face penalties"

Bank of Canada apologises for removing 'Asian' from bill - "The Bank of Canada says it intended for the scientist looking into the microscope to appear to be of a neutral ethnicity... "Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes"... Last week, May Lui, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Canadian National Council, accused the Bank of "caving in to the racist feedback""
Either you are racist for perpetuating stereotypes about Asians, or you are racist for removing representations of Asians. It's safest just to proclaim that you are racist

delanceyplace.com 8/14/12 - american prostitution - "My oldest girl says she will go into that business when she grows up; she says it's a good business, easy, and you can dress and eat well"

More evidence that robots will someday rule the world: statistical models are more accurate at judging things than trained professionals. - "The range of predicted outcomes has expanded to cover medical vari­ables such as the longevity of cancer patients, the length of hospital stays... economic measures such as the prospects of success for new businesses... questions of interest to government agencies, including assessments of the suitability of foster parents, the odds of recidivism among juvenile offenders... Each of these domains entails a significant degree of uncer­tainty and unpredictability. We describe them as ‘low-validity environments.’ In every case, the accuracy of experts was matched or exceeded by a simple algorithm... Why are experts inferior to algorithms? One reason, which Meehl suspected, is that experts try to be clever, think outside the box, and consider complex combinations of features in making their predictions. Complexity may work in the odd case, but more often than not it reduces validity. Simple combinations of features are better... Another reason for the inferiority of expert judgment is that humans are incorrigibly inconsistent in making summary judgments of complex information"
Everyone thinks they're special

Illusory superiority - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "One of the first studies that found the effect of illusory superiority was carried out in 1976 by the College Board in the USA. A survey was attached to the SAT exams (taken by approximately one million students per year), asking the students to rate themselves relative to the median of the sample (rather than the average peer) on a number of vague positive characteristics. In ratings of leadership ability, 70% of the students put themselves above the median. In ability to get on well with others, 85% put themselves above the median, and 25% rated themselves in the top 1%."

Singapore as a Global City - "In the EIU’s index, Singapore falls down on internal indicators such as cultural vibrancy and openness and diversity. Indeed, the report indicated that, “Singapore the global city is increasingly different from Singapore of the heartlands”... approximately 1,200 Singaporeans have renounced their citizenship annually over the last five years. Although the renunciation rates are only around a low 0.1 percent, it’s still disconcerting for a country that sees itself on par with other major Asian cities like Hong Kong and Tokyo. A recent online comment made by an anonymous Vietnamese student highlighted the view of many. The student referred to Singapore as “a middle checkpoint” in many overseas students’ journey"

Vital Signs: The Woman Who Needed to Be Upside-Down - "A doctor is baffled: Why did a 
giant man walk into the ER holding 
a tiny woman by her feet?"

Jasmine - Indonesian Escorts - "Chinese Customers:
$100 / 60 mins / 1 shots with room and condoms included.
$160 / 90 mins / 2 shots with room and condoms included.
For Caucasian Customers:
$120 / 60 mins / 1 shots with room and condoms included. "
Price discrimination!

What The Left Won't Tell You About The Boom In U.S. Gun Sales - "As gun sales surged in early 2009 the going joke among employees of gun manufacturers was that President Barack Obama was the “greatest gun salesman of all time.” The trouble with this backhanded complement, however, is Left-leaning news outlets have since used it to avoid something that really scares them... the surge is gun sales didn’t begin in 2008. Over the last 10 years (from 2002 to 2011) there has been a 54.1 percent rise in the number of NICS checks and the increase hasn’t all taken place since 2008... attributing this entire trend to President Obama’s anti-gun reputation is disingenuous, yet many in the media like this explanation because by saying the increase in gun sales is only about President Obama they can then write the whole thing off as a simple-minded fear from those who “cling to guns and religion.”"

How To Tell If Your Boss Is Spying On You

An Estimated 83 Million Facebook Profiles are Fake

Funnyjunk Lawyer Charles Carreon Isn't Afraid of The Oatmeal - "It’s a bold notion, saying that you’ve got as much time and energy as the internet"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

An apology for Structural Violence

"I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it." - Garrison Keillor


Please Stop Apologizing - NYTimes.com

"The first lady’s press secretary declared the joke “inappropriate,” and Mr. De Niro said his remarks were “not meant to offend.” So, as these things go, even if the terrible damage can never be undone, at least the healing can begin. And we can move on to the next time we choose sides and pretend to be outraged about nothing.

When did we get it in our heads that we have the right to never hear anything we don’t like? In the last year, we’ve been shocked and appalled by the unbelievable insensitivity of Nike shoes, the Fighting Sioux, Hank Williams Jr., Cee Lo Green, Ashton Kutcher, Tracy Morgan, Don Imus, Kirk Cameron, Gilbert Gottfried, the Super Bowl halftime show and the ESPN guys who used the wrong cliché for Jeremy Lin after everyone else used all the others. Who can keep up?...

If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life... The answer to whenever another human being annoys you is not “make them go away forever.” We need to learn to coexist, and it’s actually pretty easy to do. For example, I find Rush Limbaugh obnoxious, but I’ve been able to coexist comfortably with him for 20 years by using this simple method: I never listen to his program. The only time I hear him is when I’m at a stoplight next to a pickup truck.

When the lady at Costco gives you a free sample of its new ham pudding and you don’t like it, you spit it into a napkin and keep shopping. You don’t declare a holy war on ham.

I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada. That’s not us. If we sand down our rough edges and drain all the color, emotion and spontaneity out of our discourse, we’ll end up with political candidates who never say anything but the safest, blandest, emptiest, most unctuous focus-grouped platitudes and cant. In other words, we’ll get Mitt Romney."

"If You Don't Like Gay Marriage, Don't Have One"
"If you don't like sexist jokes, don't make them"
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