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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Links - 23rd November 2013

Man jailed for sex with underage prostitute and two other offences - "A man who had sex with a 17-year-old prostitute and ran away without paying was on Monday sentenced to seven months' jail. Khoo Wenbo, 28, had booked the girl for sexual services in December 2010. While the prostitute was in the shower, Khoo did a check and discovered she was under 18 years old at that time. So he decided to have her perform oral sex on him, thinking that would not be against the law. While the minor was in the shower after sex, Khoo fled the hotel room without paying."

Picking the Best Charity for Typhoon Haiyan Relief - "What we don't encourage is sending volunteers. There's been too many untrained, unorganized volunteers coming to disaster areas and that just adds a huge burden to the local relief workers and don't send goods and products, unless they've made some arrangement or determine that these are goods that are actually needed"... Give to proven, time-tested health activities instead of disaster relief. This contrarian recommendation comes from a very reputable source: the Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP), which is jointly organized by several groups including the World Bank, World Health Organization and Gates Foundation. This advice takes courage, resisting the popular pressure to donate to disaster relief, and is based on a sound foundation of cost-benefit analysis: "The highly emotional and sensationalized climate of disaster response has long prevented the adoption of a cost effectiveness approach in decision making . . . perceptions and visibility tend to prevail over facts and analysis, resulting in a lack of evidence-based studies on costs and benefits. . . . Emergency health interventions are more costly and less effective than time-tested health activities. Improvisation and rush inevitably come with a high price." Two thumbs up for a remarkably frank assessment to help donors do as much good as possible in the long term... "Allow your funds to be used where most needed -- even if that means they're not used during this disaster. Disasters attract a great deal of media attention and money, yet in many cases the biggest challenge is logistics. The result can be that money isn't the limiting factor in the immediate relief effort. We found evidence of this both for the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Japan tsunami""

CDC - Chemical Irritants (Chloramines) & Indoor Pool Air Quality - "Pool operators may receive complaints from swimmers and pool staff about stinging eyes, nasal irritation, or difficulty breathing after being in the water or breathing the air at swimming pools, particularly indoor pools. New research indicates that these symptoms may be an indication of poor water and indoor air quality at the pool caused by a build-up of irritants, known as chloramines, in the water and air. Irritants in the air at swimming pools are usually the combined chlorine by-products of disinfection. These by-products are the result of chlorine binding with sweat, urine, and other waste from swimmers... Getting swimmers to shower before getting in the pool and promoting regular bathroom use to reduce the amount of urine in the pool will decrease the formation of irritants"
Noxious water/air at swimming pool = lots of people peeing

Atheist marriages may last longer than Christian ones - "Conservative Christians think of themselves as the last line of defense for a time-honored and holy tradition, marriage. In the conservative Christian view, marriage is a sacred union ordained by God. It binds one man and woman together so that the “two become one flesh” until they are parted by death. This view of marriage is unbiblical, to be sure. See Captive Virgins, Polygamy, Sex Slaves: What Marriage Would Look Like If We Actually Followed The Bible. But hey, who actually reads the Bible? Surely, what God meant to say is that marriage should take the form that is most familiar and traditional to us: One male plus one female who is given to the male by her father–that part is biblical–for life. In this worldview, Christian marriage is under assault by an anti-trinity of powerful and dark forces: feminism, homosexuality and godlessness. Faith, on the other hand, saves both souls and marriages. When I was young, a slogan made its way around my church: The family that prays together stays together. Tom Ellis, former chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Council on the Family boldly claimed that “born-again Christian couples who marry…in the church after having received premarital counseling…and attend church regularly and pray daily together… experience only 1 divorce out of nearly 39,000 marriages.” But then came data. According to research by the Barna Research Group over a decade ago, American divorce rates were highest among Baptists and nondenominational “Bible-believing” Christians and lower among more theologically liberal Christians like Methodists, with atheists at the bottom of the divorce pack... Churches do honor and support marriage. They also may inadvertently promote divorce, especially—ironically—those churches which most bill themselves as shining lights in a dark world. To prevent that greatest-of-all-evils, abortion, such communities teach even high school students to embrace surprise pregnancies as gifts from God. They encourage members to marry young so they won’t be tempted to fornicate. But women who give birth or marry young tend to end up less educated and less financially secure, both of which are correlated with higher divorce rates... Secular couples tend to see both marriage and divorce as personal choices. Overall, a lower percent get married, which means that those who do may be particularly committed or well-suited to partnership... A growing number say that marriage is obsolete. In one of those peculiar twists of fate, conservative Christian obsessions with abortion and sexual purity may be accelerating this trend. Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, authors of Red State, Blue State, propose that Bible-belt opposition to abortion has increased the non-marital birthrate and acceptance of single parent families:"

I am devastated and troubled by the allegations that my book, Above The Game: A - Pastebin.com - "I am devastated and troubled by the allegations that my book, Above The Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women, promotes rape. That couldn't be further from the truth. A handful of quotes were taken out of context and posted on Tumblr which steamrolled in a game of telephone where hardly anyone bothered to read the original version... If "Don't wait for signs, make the first move" promotes sexual assault, then "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid was a song about rape... In fact there is an entire section on consent that the bloggers conveniently left out to paint me in a poor light"
Yay feminism!

A Cold War Fought by Women - NYTimes.com - "this “mean girl” form of indirect aggression is used more by adolescents and young women than by older women, who have less incentive to handicap rivals once they marry. Other studies have shown that the more attractive an adolescent girl or woman is, the more likely she is to become a target for indirect aggression from her female peers. “Women are indeed very capable of aggressing against others, especially women they perceive as rivals,” said Dr. Vaillancourt, now a psychologist at the University of Ottawa. “The research also shows that suppression of female sexuality is by women, not necessarily by men.” Stigmatizing female promiscuity — a.k.a. slut-shaming — has often been blamed on men, who have a Darwinian incentive to discourage their spouses from straying. But they also have a Darwinian incentive to encourage other women to be promiscuous. Dr. Vaillancourt said the experiment and other research suggest the stigma is enforced mainly by women. “Sex is coveted by men,” she said. “Accordingly, women limit access as a way of maintaining advantage in the negotiation of this resource. Women who make sex too readily available compromise the power-holding position of the group, which is why many women are particularly intolerant of women who are, or seem to be, promiscuous”... Studies have shown that women’s ideal body shape is to be thinner than average — and thinner than what men consider the ideal shape to be. This pressure is frequently blamed on the ultrathin female role models featured in magazines and on television, but Christopher J. Ferguson and other researchers say that it’s mainly the result of competition with their peers, not media images. “To a large degree the media reflects trends that are going on in society, not creates them,” said Dr. Ferguson, a psychologist at Stetson University. He found that women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies did not correlate with what they watched on television at home. Nor were they influenced by TV programs... “Sexual competition among females seems to increase due to circumstances that tend to be particularly common in affluent societies,” Dr. Ferguson said. In traditional villages, people married at an early age to someone nearby, but young men and women in modern societies are free to postpone marriage as they search long and far for better options. The result is more competition because there are so many more rivals"
Feminism, meet reality. Poor Barbie, actresses and supermodels!
This is exactly what my theory about why women hate sluts, pornography and prostitutes says.

Cops Taser A Little Girl - "Three police officers in Pierre, S.D., responded to a report last week of a suicidal 8-year-old who had stabbed herself in the leg and was threatening to plunge a 4 ½ inch knife into her chest. An officer fired a Taser gun at the girl to subdue her, the Argus Leader reports. The Pierre police chief is reviewing the incident but said the Taser was the least forceful way for the officer, whose name was not released, to subdue the child for her own protection. “He quite possibly saved the juvenile’s life that night”"

Scott Adams Blog: What's the Difference Between a Sexist and a Regular Asshole? 11/21/2013 - "Help me understand the difference between a sexist and a run-of-the-mill asshole that happens to be male... If a man overlooks a female job candidate because of gender alone, isn't that more a case of stupidity than sexism? Clearly women are excelling at ever profession on earth, so what kind of hiring manager would fail to notice a worldwide trend so immensely obvious? Answer: a dumb one... If I am your boss's boss, and you tell me your direct boss is being a sexist, my skepticism alarm goes off because the label so often gets misused. But if you tell me your boss is being an asshole, complete with examples, or you say he's incompetent at his job because he ignores qualified job candidates, I start considering his replacement. Your choice of labels can make a big difference."

Batkid: boy who beat cancer becomes superhero for the day - video - "Thousands of volunteers help transform San Francisco into Gotham City on Friday to fulfil a young leukaemia survivor's wish to fight crime like his hero, Batman. Five-year-old Miles Scott arrived in his very own Batmobile and helped to fight the likes of Penguin and The Riddler. Scott's wish, which was granted by charity Make-A-Wish, received international coverage and even caught the attention of the White House"

Child found chained to porch with dead chicken

Should we be outraged that Australia spied on Indonesia? No - "Do I feel more informed, knowing this was being done in my name? I’m not even surprised. Am I outraged that it was done? No. Here are some examples of how the media have treated allegations of Indonesian spying"
It doesn't seem as if the Indonesians protested against their own government for spying on Australia

6 Buildings That Look Like Vaginas - "There are so many phallic buildings that, in 2003, Cabinet Magazine launched a Most Phallic Building Contest. After writer Jonathan Ames claimed that Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Bank Building was the world’s most phallic, defensive readers attacked him, claiming that their city’s dick-like building was the most dick-like in the land. The score was settled by voting, and Michigan’s Ypsilanti Water Tower, AKA the Brick Dick, emerged as the proud winner.)

For Honour and Glory

Gn Jianlun Gabriel's answer to Singapore: What is it like to go through National Service in Singapore? - Quora

"All that talk - 'you get what you give' or it's 'all about your attitude' or anything along the lines of achieving a sense of fulfilment depending on your perspective - Bullshit.

Let me tell you how I know that - I am one of those guys. I went into the army raring to go. I was excited I got drafted into the Commandos. At the interview when they asked me if I wanted to be a Commando I said 'maybe' - I later found out the question was a test of how vigorously you could say no.

I enjoyed the pain. What didn't kill me made me stronger. I motivated myself to achieve everything that I could. I ran the fastest I've ever ran. I walked the furthest I've ever walked. I carried the heaviest load I've ever carried. I pushed my limits. I tore ligaments and muscles in ways that will never fully recover but would not handicap me.

I considered signing on to the army full time. I fired all kinds of cool weapons. Blew up explosives for fun. Jumped out of planes and helicopters. Repelled down cliffs. Learned unarmed combat. Marched as the guard of honour at national day parade. Relished the jungle warfare of various countries.

I busked in the honour and glory singalong pride the Commandos sold. I made the great friends you make from common suffering. I despised the people who went in and figured ways to slack off.

I'd say I made the most of it. I'd say I gave it my all. I'd say I had a pretty damned positive attitude.

It was the most miserable time of my life. Ever. Good times notwithstanding. I'd take it all back if I could. The subjugation, the mental torment, the sub-human treatment, the separation from loved ones, the taunting for wanting human wants, the shame for being too weak, the ridiculous incompetence and sadism of people with absolute power over you, the injustice you suffer, the complete lack of dignity or semblance of control of your life.

It sucked.

Well, surviving it helps you learn valuable life lessons?

Well, so does cancer."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Links - 18th November 2013

Testosterone and the Gender Wage Gap - "Testosterone, which induces sexual differentiation of the male fetus, is believed to transfer from males to their littermates in placental mammals. Among humans, individuals with a male twin have been found to exhibit greater masculinization of sexually dimorphic attributes relative to those with a female twin. We therefore regard twinning as a plausible natural experiment to test the link between prenatal exposure to testosterone and labor market earnings. For men, the results suggest positive returns to testosterone exposure. For women, however, the results indicate that prenatal testosterone does not generate higher earnings and may even be associated with modest declines"

How to take the perfect naked selfie - "I hope this project encourages and normalizes a female gaze; I hope it shifts the framing of dick pics from “artless abominations that are thrust at women unsolicited” to “decent pictures that women (or other receivers) find enjoyable and want to receive.” The only way we can tell what women really enjoy about porn (or anything) is by listening to women. My Tumblr is one of many places on the Internet that you can do that."

Powerful Portraits of Secluded Cultures on the Brink of Extinction - "From Ethiopia and Nepal to Papua New Guinea and Siberia, Nelson exhibits a wide array of environments that these diverse tribes inhabit."

Group of male German soldiers developing breasts from drill training - "According to a medical report, the soldiers use their rifles to repeatedly slap the left side of their chests – which stimulates hormones on that side of the body. As a result, breasts start to grow only on their left side."

At the Library - The People's Funny Pictures Blog - Quora

Swedish cinemas launch feminist movie rating - "“There are far too many films that pass the Bechdel test that don’t help at all in making society more equal or better, and lots of films that don’t pass the test but are fantastic at those things,” said Swedish film critic Hynek Pallas. Ms Pallas, who moved from communist Czechoslovakia to Sweden in the 1970s, also criticised the state-funded Swedish Film Institute — the biggest financier of Swedish film — for vocally supporting the project, saying a state institution should not “send out signals about what one should or shouldn’t include in a movie”."

▶ Animals With Low Self Esteem. - YouTube

Khem Raj's answer to Trolling: What is the best troll photo or image you recently came across? - Quora

Council bans brainstorming - "The move came as council chiefs feared the word brainstorming might offend mentally ill people and those with epilepsy... some have been given training which encouraged them to use the alternative of thought showers... A spokesman for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in Kent said: "We take diversity awareness very seriously. "The majority of staff have taken part in training and been asked to use the term thought showers.""
Since offence is subjective, everything goes out of the window

Sohil Gandhi's answer to Trolling: What is the best troll photo or image you recently came across? - Quora

Shweta Arunachalam's answer to Trolling: What is the best troll photo or image you recently came across? - Quora

Forced circumcision of men (abridged) - "The forced circumcision of men is a widespread human rights abuse that often accompanies other human rights violations. It occurs in clashes between circumcising and non-circumcising cultures, or when individuals in circumcising cultures reject circumcision. This article documents the forced circumcision of men against their will, shows how evidence of forced circumcision has been downplayed and discounted, and outlines and discusses some measures that could help to reduce its prevalence. "

Russia hands India long-awaited aircraft carrier - "Officials lowered the Russian flag on the ship and raised the flag of the Indian navy in its place. The wife of the ship's captain broke a coconut against its side."

“No True Christian Would Do That…” - "When Christians claim their every good deed as “the work of Christ” and every bad deed as “their sinful nature” there is no observable difference between a normal person’s propensities to do good and bad. There is no proof that anything different is going on than with non-Christians in making the good happen or the bad. And when Christians talk about the True Invisible Church of people really saved and the Merely Apparent Church of people which is filled with people both genuinely saved and people who only seem to be so, this is laughably transparent. Every time someone turns out to be good, they were really a Christian. Every time they turn out to be bad, they only appeared to be one. In that case, becoming a Christian and spreading Christianity cannot be expected to actually improve people in the main. There will still be just as many bad people. We’ll just now call them “not real Christians”. What in the world is the difference then? Where is the evidence that anything supernaturally different about people thanks to Christianity and the gift of the Holy Spirit? And, further, you cannot try to prove your faith by how much it improves people but then ignore all the ways that not only do Christians wind up making the same mistakes as everyone else but many Christians have certain bad behaviors that are either created or exacerbated by their interpretations of their faith themselves"

Is Pi Wrong? | The Tau Movement Pushes for Tau, Not Pi, In Math Calculations with Circles, Angles - "Aside from preventing errors, as Palais put it in his article, "The opportunity to impress students with a beautiful and natural simplification has turned into an absurd exercise in memorization and dogma." Indeed, other tau advocates have said they've noticed a significant improvement in the ability of students to learn math, especially geometry and trigonometry where factors of 2pi show up the most, when the students learn with tau rather than pi."

S'porean women have height issues when finding dates - "70 per cent of the women surveyed said they will not date a shorter man. This is despite the fact that the Singaporean men surveyed said they are happy to date a taller woman. The survey also found that Singaporean women also prefer to date a man who is better educated and have higher salaries as compared to them. While such results may appear to show that Singaporean women are demanding, Lunch Actually CEO Violet Lim explained the reason for her female clients' requirements. She said: "I think it is understandable that women have high requirements when it comes to dating because as women are getting more educated and doing better for themselves when it comes to their career, they feel that they have achieved a certain comfort level in their life, and they are not willing to compromise on their quality of living.""
I doubt we would get this justification if it were the men who were demanding

Alison DeNisco: Dating: Women May Care More Than Men Who's Taller - "A 2008 study of 382 undergraduates in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that both sexes preferred relationships where the woman was shorter than the man. Curiously, the research also showed that women enforced the norm more strongly than men. Twenty-three percent of men but only four percent of women said they were open to a relationship in which the woman was taller... ABC News conducted an unscientific experiment to explore how willing women were to date shorter men. They lined up several short men next to tall men, and asked women to choose a date. They gave the short men exceptional résumés, including those for a doctor and millionaire venture capitalist. Despite their glowing qualities, the women always chose the taller men. Some said they would only choose the shortest of the bunch if they learned the taller men were murders or child molesters. Some relationship trends are showing a reversal of traditional gender roles, like the rise in breadwinning mothers and stay-at-home fathers, according to a study in the journalWomen and Language. Yet dating in the U.S. has remained highly gender-typed in over the past 35 years, according to a 2011 study in the journal Sex Roles. Heterosexual dating followed traditional gender roles for beliefs and expectations, as well as interpersonal actions. Though there was some variation in terms of more women initiating dates, it was not widespread enough to challenge the dominant roles... researchers examined 547 personal ads... despite what preference they expressed, women preferred a physically fit partner, while most men indicated that a number of body sizes would be acceptable"

Attractive women expect their date to pay for dinner because they're worth it - "Pretty women are less likely than plain Janes to offer to contribute towards the bill on a first date, research shows. But they are not worried about the expense - it is likely to be because they believe their date should pay for the pleasure of being with them"

Why Men Are Settling for Mrs. Good Enough - "A whopping 31 percent of adult men said they’d commit to a person they were not in love with—as long as as she had all the other attributes they were looking for in a mate—and 21 percent said they'd commit under those same circumstances to somebody they weren't sexually attracted to. The equivalent numbers for women were far lower... Women now have the ability to choose a mate for reasons other than his pocketbook; many are in fact choosing to reject having a mate at all. Where this leaves men? Well, as women’s independence has increased, it seems, romantic opportunity for men has suffered the opposite fate. "And that problem is bound to be worse for poorer men... “It’s kind of like feminism on its head: for years, women were trying to earn the right to get out of the house, and here are all these men dying to get back into [it]”"
This actually coheres with the theory of female mate choice

30 South African men killed in ritual circumcision - "Botched circumcisions killed 30 young men and landed almost 300 more in hospital during traditional initiation rites in a South African province... Botched circumcisions leading to penis amputations and deaths are an annual tragedy. In May around 34 deaths in two other provinces were reported."
Of course, no one is going to condemn male genital mutilation

Govt keeps lid on eateries in Tiong Bahru - "This will help ensure a better mix of shops and services for residents of the pre-war estate, with mom-and-pop businesses such as hair salons, textile shops, coffee shops and medical halls having made way for 13 new cafes, bakeries and eateries in the past three years. The estate is now left with a sundry store, two convenience stores, a tailor, two hardware shops, a Chinese medical shop, two clinics, an optical shop and 10 coffee shops"

Longer waits for cabs during peak hours in Orchard - "On one Friday last month, The Straits Times found that it took between 17.5 and 29 minutes to get a cab at Far East Plaza, Paragon and Ngee Ann City - three of Orchard's busiest malls - between 5pm and 6pm. During 9pm to 10pm, passengers had to wait for as long as 26.5 minutes. These sort of waiting times make Orchard Road taxi stands one of the worst places in Singapore to get a cab. "It's the worst thing I hate about Singapore - standing in taxi queues," said Sri Lankan entrepreneur Irshad Muhseen, 40, as he stood in line at a Ngee Ann City taxi stand... Singapore, with 29,000 taxis on the road and more than 90,000 licensed cabbies, has a higher cab-to-resident ratio than most developed cities. But taxi usage here is less than optimal. Hong Kong's 18,000 taxis, for instance, make about one million trips daily, compared to under a million trips by cabs here. This is despite commuters, for example, paying a $3 city area surcharge when they take a cab within the city, including Orchard Road and Shenton Way."
More taxis but less availability than in Hong Kong?!

The perils of ignoring opportunity cost

"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." - Albert Einstein (attr.)


2 3 weeks ago, My Paper The Business Times had a story about OCBC Bank's Mortgage Protector schemes which are unique among mortgage insurance plans in refunding buyers all the premiums they have paid at the end of the 20 year period (if they have made no claims).

As My Paper The Business Times notes, "These policies play right into the Singaporean psyche, which just hates giving or paying for something, for nothing in return".

Fortunately for OCBC, they also play right into economic illiteracy where people discount opportunity cost (in this case, forgetting that money should grow over time).

While My Paper The Business Times observes that these plans cost more than three times as much as non-refund plans, this is not the main problem with this "form of 'forced' savings".

Original Table:

Regular-premium mortgage insurance plan with no-refund feature Mortgage Protector Advantage
Premium amount per year $1,760 $5,847
Total premiums paid over 15 years $26,400 $87,700
Amount received at the end of policy term if no claim is made throughout the term $0 (there is no refund) $87,700
Assumptions: 40 years old, male, non-smoker, sum assured $1 million, 20-year policy term, 5% interest rate

Using the same assumption of a 5% interest rate, let us calculate the real value of the payments one makes to OCBC. Besides the $5,847 annual payment, we must each year multiply the value of all the premiums paid in previous years by the prevailing interest rate of 5%.

5% Interest Rate
Year Value of
1 $ 5,847
2 $ 11,986
3 $ 18,433
4 $ 25,201
5 $ 32,308
6 $ 39,771
7 $ 47,606
8 $ 55,834
9 $ 64,472
10 $ 73,543
11 $ 83,067
12 $ 93,067
13 $ 103,568
14 $ 114,593
15 $ 126,170
Refund $ 87,700
$ 38,470
Extra Expenditure over regular plan $ 12,070

So we can see that at a 5% interest rate, you're actually paying $12,070 more than with a regular plan - even after a refund (which is by no means guaranteed, since you might need to file a claim for the policy).

From there it is a trivial exercise to calculate the interest rate at which one's 'losses' (in opportunity cost) are 0 - 3.653% (of course, a different interest rate would change the plan's numbers too, but for simplicity let's hold them constant and treat this as a simple exercise in opportunity cost).

3.653% Interest
Year Value of
1 $ 5,847
2 $ 11,908
3 $ 18,189
4 $ 24,701
5 $ 31,450
6 $ 38,446
7 $ 45,697
8 $ 53,213
9 $ 61,004
10 $ 69,079
11 $ 77,449
12 $ 86,125
13 $ 95,117
14 $ 104,439
15 $ 114,100
Refund $ 87,700
$ 26,400
Extra Expenditure over regular plan $ 0

Again, all this assumes that there is no claim - if you make a claim you don't even get anything back. So this is assuredly a bad plan, unless you think you are a terrible investor who will definitely never make a claim.

Another barrier to female empowerment

"Alice, one day I hope we can be judged by our accomplishments and not our gender."
"I got my fourteenth patent today. I'm on my way to a lunch banquet in my honor."
"And you wore that?"

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Links - 17th November 2013

How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data - "A pooled weighted average of 1.97% (N = 7, 95%CI: 0.86–4.45) of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once –a serious form of misconduct by any standard– and up to 33.7% admitted other questionable research practices. In surveys asking about the behaviour of colleagues, admission rates were 14.12% (N = 12, 95% CI: 9.91–19.72) for falsification, and up to 72% for other questionable research practices... Considering that these surveys ask sensitive questions and have other limitations, it appears likely that this is a conservative estimate of the true prevalence of scientific misconduct."

Scientific dishonesty¿a nationwide survey of doctoral students in Norway - "About 11% of the respondents had experienced unethical pressure concerning the order of authors during the last 12 months. 10% did not find it inappropriate to report experimental data without having conducted the experiment and 38% did not find it inappropriate to try a variety of different methods of analysis to find a statistically significant result. 13% agreed that it is acceptable to selectively omit contradictory results to expedite publication and 10% found it acceptable to falsify or fabricate data to expedite publication, if they were confident of their findings... Although there is less scientific dishonesty reported in Norway than in other countries, dishonesty is not unknown to doctoral students. Some forms of scientific misconduct are considered to be acceptable by a significant minority."

Vibration Nation? Gender Differences in Sexual Behavior and Orgasmic Function - "Quackenbush, Strassberg, and Turner (1995) conducted a study of 164 college students to determine if manipulating the themes of explicit videos would have any effect on arousal for men and women. The researchers found that the romantically themed videos, those depicting love and affection, were significantly more arousing for both men and women than videos without romantic themes"

An economist's critique of The Omnivore's Dilemma. - "Pollan argues that the costs and benefits of a meal should be as transparent as possible so that eaters are aware of the impact of their food decisions on the environment; he claims that his pig hunt roughly approximates this standard... Pollan neglects another cost of his "perfect" meal: Our author's time is gone forever. There are plenty of "cheap" ways to procure food if we do not measure our time and trouble as relevant costs. The problems with Pollan's "self-financed" meal reflect the major shortcoming of the book: He focuses on what is before his eyes but neglects the macro perspective of the economist... Pollan also argues against free trade in agriculture, on the grounds that the economics will bankrupt family farms and destabilize the market; Pollan fears centralization and the industrial mode of production. He does not note, however, that New Zealand has moved to free agricultural markets—virtually no subsidies or tariffs—and its farms, including family farms, have flourished. Nor should we forget that farm protectionism, as practiced in the EU and elsewhere, costs billions and damages economic development in poorer countries that might otherwise ship foodstuffs to the wealthier West."

Is a man's bladder larger or smaller than that of a woman? - "A GOOD source of physiological data of this sort is the Report of the Task Group on Reference Man, Publication 23 of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (1975). This gives the physiological capacity of the adult male and female as 500 ml, and notes that there is probably no inherent difference between male and female... THE QUESTION may be prompted by women's apparent need to go to the WC more frequently than men do. Some have suggested this is due to the woman's bladder pushing against interior parts that cause discomfort, whereas the male bladder bumps up against less objecting parts, so that the discomfort is far less."

SAF stopping the singing of ‘misogynist’ lyrics from marching song: AWARE - "“We were troubled that NSmen were bonding over misogynist lyrics about committing sexual violence against women"... One Facebook user said, “…it’s a non-issue that’s just being dramatised by a group of women who have excellent legal protection, a strong and supportive government in a very good living environment where they have options and opportunities not that [sic] many other Asian women get.” Another user justified the lyrics, saying, “The lyrics refer to the way many Singaporean women ditch their boyfriends without a second’s thought when they enter NS. Nearly three-quarters of the attached men in my BMT [Basic Military Training] platoon were dumped during the confinement weeks of BMT, and the lyrics were made up to express their rage and frustration.”"
You know women have it good when feminists spend their time this way.
Next target: violent computer games with violent gameplay where people bond over about committing murder against other people (usually men). But then since men are the "victims", no one cares (notice how according to AWARE, it is okay to kill a man but not rape a woman)

Humans do NOT come from Earth - and sunburn, bad backs and pain during labour prove it, expert claims - "Dr Ellis said many people feel that they don’t belong and feel at home on Earth. ‘This suggests (to me at least) that mankind may have evolved on a different planet, and we may have been brought here as a highly developed species.’"

Laurent Bàn – Laurent Bàn sera la voix française du Fantôme - "Il existe en fait deux traductions. L’une de Stéphane Laporte, que nous avons enregistrée à Londres au Palace Theatre et qui sera destinée au marché francophone (Belgique, Luxembourg, Suisse, Canada). Une autre, de Michel Guillaume, a servi pour la version française enregistrée à Paris chez Dubbing brothers... Comme cette traduction de Michel Guillaume n’a rien à voir avec celle de Stéphane Laporte, cet enregistrement fut un nouveau défi. J’aurais bien aimé pouvoir peaufiner davantage, mais les délais ne nous l’ont pas permis"

More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male, report reveals | Society

Gender Wage Gap May Be Much Smaller Than Most Think - "Some researchers believe that it is not enough to compare wages of similar men and women. They argue that total compensation (wages together with benefits) must be compared. Women of child-bearing age may prefer jobs with a lower wage but with employer-paid parental leave, sick leave and child care to jobs with a higher wage but without such benefits. A study that used National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) found that female workers were indeed more likely to receive family-friendly fringe benefits. Some economists believe that female workers "pay" for the benefits they prefer by accepting a lower wage. If that is the case, excluding fringe benefits would exaggerate the actual gender wage disparity."

Bigotry Against Men In Childcare - "There’s been a bit of a fuss recently about seating of children on airplanes in New Zealand. A man who was seated next to a child travelling alone was asked to change his seat, because the airline has a policy against men sitting next to unaccompanied minors... 'When men choose child care, their motives for making such a choice are questioned. In child care settings, this questioning occurs most often on those occasions when men get judged negatively for engaging in the same behaviors as their caregiving counterparts whoa re women – when they are suspect just for doing their jobs.'"

Lily Allen does not represent all feminism – and nor should she - "one single music video containing some fairly cursory observations on sexism is able to stir up such a reaction in the feminist movement. One explanation lies in a comment made by the blogger Glosswitch recently (and I recommend you read her piece in full): "I'd say one objective of feminism should be to help women's decisions become less loaded. It's oppressive to have to represent a whole sex in everything you do." Unfortunately for Allen and everybody else, her music video seems unable to stand in and of itself, representing only her opinions, but is instead being seen as some kind of expression of all feminism – and by extension all women. This is part and parcel of being in an oppressed group: women are routinely dehumanised and homogenised, so that every act we undertake in public tends to reflect on all women, instead of our own individual character. It's a problem men just don't have"
The flip side of the personal being political is that you must scrutinise all your actions; meanwhile men have a different problem: every act they undertake in public can be interpreted as oppressive

False Consciousness Theory in Feminism and Anti-Speciesism | Feminist Law Professors - "The argument, in both feminism and anti-speciesism, is that when the chooser chooses a pre-chosen choice, that choice is less authentic, valid, worthy of respect than a choice that is not pre-chosen. But if we embrace the implications of the Marxist critique, then there shouldn’t be any intellectual room for an unchosen choice. In other words, the critique itself arises out of culturally constrained circumstances that shape the critique. The self-righteous tone of the false consciousness claim is especially problematic for feminists, for whom choice is a dominant value. Choice can double back. If I chose my choice, even if my choice was pre-chosen, the choosing is what matters, not the choice. Yikes."

Feminist Media Criticism Problems - "This scantilly clad female character is clearly just meant to be eye candy for men... but am I Slut Shaming in thinking she should be more covered up?"

Why is there so much slut shaming in novels written by women? - "Why are women authors so anxious to devalue women based on what they wear and how sexually active they are? Why do we readers allow this thinking to perpetuate? If women in books written by women, celebrating womanhood, are constantly judging a woman’s worth based on their rape inducing clothing, their drunkness at a party, their willingness to have more than one partner and actually enjoy it, how can we ever be upset about the attitudes held by men quoted above. Too much alcohol and of course you are going to get some guy raping some girl. Too short of a skirt and of course you are going to get some guy raping some girl. Too promiscuous and of course you don’t deserve to say you were raped."
As a good economist I believe in revealed preferences

False Consciousness & Kafka-Trapping - "we encounter the peculiar feminist debating tactic called Kafka-Trapping. I did not invent the term; the credit must go to Eric S. Raymond, whose original article on the subject is linked below. Nor did Eric intend the term to be used only for feminists – any member of a victim ideology can effectively Kafka-Trap their opponents. The name, Kafka-Trapping, is a reference to Franz Kafka’s work The Trial, in which the protagonist is told that he is very, very guilty, although his crime is never specified; and, as he soon discovers, the only ‘way out’ is to admit his guilt (though he knows not what of), thus acquiescing in his own destruction. In Eric’s own words, a Kafka-Trap is an unfalsifiable claim, about thoughtcrime, intended to induce guilt so the subject becomes manipulable."

From the sublime to the ridiculous - "Consciousness is the driver of evolution. Every time you eat a chicken or banana it transforms into a human"

IMF: Austerity is much worse for the economy than we thought - "IMF forecasts have been consistently too optimistic for countries that pursued large austerity programs... (Conversely, countries that engaged in stimulus, such as Germany and Austria, did better than expected.)"

Possibly The Worst Economic Analogy I've Seen

From Fabrications About The PAP:

"What if the government decides to set a minimum price for a plate of Char Kway Teow? If the price is set at $2.50, it serves no purpose since the cheapest Char Kway Teow is already set by the free market mechanism at that price. What if it is set at $5? Now you can only eat a plate of Char Kway Teow at $5 by 'legislation'! Many hawkers selling Char Kway Teow will have to close shop unless it is worth the $5 consumers willing to pay. No body will want to eat a plate of $5 Char Kway Teow if it's not worth that amount. Those consumers will just switch to other food instead of Char Kway Teow.

On the surface, it appears that setting the minimum price of Char Kway Teow is helping the poor Char Kway Teow hawkers. Do you think it is so?"

In the labour market, employers (purchasers of labour) are fewer than employees (sellers of labour). In the extreme case, we have a monopsony (one purchaser of labour). Power rests with the side with fewer parties, so it's the employers who have power and any legislation would be to protect the employees. One example of which is a minimum wage.

In the char kway teow market, hawkers (sellers of goods) are fewer than customers (buyers of goods). In the extreme case, we have a monopoly (one seller of goods). Power rests with the side with fewer parties, so it's the hakwers who have power and any legislation would be to protect the consumers. One example of which is a maximum price.

Furthermore this misrepresents the dynamics of the labour market and the char kway teow market. Char kway teow is a good that is bought and consumed within an hour, and the consumer is free to go to another char kway teow hawker after that (or even to change to another hawker dish or a non-hawker dining option). There are no costs to changing hawker. On the other hand, labour market contracts are persistent and there are high costs to changing employer.
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