When you can't live without bananas

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Reactions from people whose language I was trying to learn

LINGUISTICS Y'ALL — Reactions from people whose language I was trying...

"Germans: Oh you’re learning German? Hey, you’re not so bad at it. Don’t fuck it up though.

French: About time you learned French.


Dutch: but why would you do this"

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Links - 20th December 2014

Who Makes the Call at the Mall, Men or Women? - WSJ - "A longstanding marketing adage makes clear who holds most American households' purse strings: Women control 80% or more of spending. For at least two decades, this number has been a fixture of news articles, marketing websites and books about consumer behavior. And as with many oft-repeated statistics, no one is sure where it originated... Perhaps the closest anyone has come to studying directly the breakdown of overall spending by men and women is a 2008 survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. It asked women to complete an online questionnaire that asked what percentage of household spending they control or influence. Their average answer in the U.S. was 73%. While that number was the one made public, the researchers also conducted an unpublished survey of men, who on average said they control or influence 61% of spending... two or more people can influence a purchasing decision, or think that they can... Ms. Barletta's book and other material claim that women spend more than men on cars and consumer electronics, but data from industry sources contradict this. In a survey last year conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association, the average man said he spent $3 on consumer electronics for every $2 the average woman said she spent. And auto analysts CNW Marketing Research and J.D. Power and Associates say that less than 40% of spending on new cars last year was done by women"
Women actually spend more on consumer electronics and cars than I expected

Kay Hymowitz: Longer Maternity Leave Not So Great for Women After All - "almost all public policies have unintended consequences, and maternity leave is no exception. Rather than offering a route to equality between the sexes, the data shows, extended maternity leave actually throws up roadblocks in a woman’s career — the very roadblocks that such policies are meant to prevent... Women who take a year off from work with a new baby — not to mention mothers of a second child who take a total of two years — experience what economists call human-capital depreciation, meaning their skills get rusty. Their work-social networks also fray. Unsurprisingly, their income and careers take a hit. “Women who make full use of their maternity or parental leave entitlements receive, on average, lower wages in the years following their resumption of work than those who return before leave expires,” the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development concludes in a review of studies on the subject. The effect can continue for years after leave takers return to their jobs and “can permanently damage [mothers’] ability to achieve their labor market potential.” In fact, generous maternity-leave policies have a tendency to harden a country’s glass ceiling, and women in the Nordic countries are actually less likely to reach career heights than women in the U.S. (The one exception is in the political realm, where quotas have filled Nordic legislatures and ministries with close to equal numbers of women as men)... If you’re thinking that one answer to this dilemma is that new fathers should take more of the career hit so new mothers can take less, you’re not alone. Over the past decades, Norway, Sweden and Iceland have been tinkering with policy formulas to get dads to take longer paternity leave. They’ve found that when, and only when, they introduce “use it or lose it” daddy months — that is, when fathers get several months of leave that cannot be transferred to mothers — men will take substantial time off with the baby. However, any leave time left to a couple to divide is almost always taken by women. In Sweden, where the most reliable data is available, women take 76% of parental-leave days"
You can't legislate productivity

Denying Problems When We Don’t Like the Solutions - "people will evaluate scientific evidence based on whether they view its policy implications as politically desirable. If they don't, then they tend to deny the problem even exists... The researchers found liberal-leaning individuals exhibited a similar aversion to solutions they viewed as politically undesirable in an experiment involving violent home break-ins. When the proposed solution called for looser versus tighter gun-control laws, those with more liberal gun-control ideologies were more likely to downplay the frequency of violent home break-ins. "We should not just view some people or group as anti-science, anti-fact or hyper-scared of any problems," Kay said. "Instead, we should understand that certain problems have particular solutions that threaten some people and groups more than others. When we realize this, we understand those who deny the problem more and we improve our ability to better communicate with them." Campbell added that solution aversion can help explain why political divides become so divisive and intractable. "We argue that the political divide over many issues is just that, it’s political," Campbell said. "These divides are not explained by just one party being more anti-science, but the fact that in general people deny facts that threaten their ideologies, left, right or center.""

Semen may reduce the effectiveness of HIV microbicides - "Known as amyloid fibrils, these particles in semen "act like glue to attach HIV particles to the cell surface and boost viral infectivity," say the international research team which includes scientists from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Ulm in Germany. "This effect overpowers the anti-HIV activity of microbicides." These microbicides were originally developed as a way to empower sub-Saharan African women who may not be able to negotiate condom use with their partners. "However, the first generation of microbicides were largely ineffective or worse, some even leading to increased transmission of the virus," says lead author Warner Greene, director of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology."

A glass of wine a day CAN protect against heart disease - but only if you have a specific gene carried by just 15% of the population

Female police in Indonesia must take virginity test - ""In addition to the other medical and physical examinations. Women who want to become policewomen are to undergo a virginity test. Policewomen must keep their virginity," the informational page states. It ends the section with a cheery "thank you" and a smiley-face emoticon... A police spokesperson told CNN that all recruits, not only female, were subject to thorough medical tests that included examination of genitalia."

Australian paedophile jailed for 40 years - "Newton was sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing the boy he and Truong, 36 from Queensland, had ‘‘adopted’’ after paying a Russian woman $8000 to be their surrogate in 2005. Police believe the pair had adopted the boy ‘‘for the sole purpose of exploitation’’. The abuse began just days after his birth and over six years the couple travelled the world, offering him up for sex with at least eight men, recording the abuse and uploading the footage to an international syndicate known as the Boy Lovers Network... Newton and Truong claimed they were being targeted because they were homosexual"
Keywords: Peter Truong, Mark J. Newton
Addendum: Model gay adoptive ‘fathers’ sexually abused 6-year-old for years: offered him to pedophile ring - "Australian media covered Adam's arrival home, describing the two men as happy, loving fathers... ABC Far North Queensland broadcast a story titled "Two dads are better than one" which stated that "becoming parents was hard work for gay couple Pete and Mark, but they'd do it all over again if they had to.”"

Swelling Australian cities harbour ever bigger spiders - "Lowe and colleagues found one species of this genus, Nephila plumipes, is gaining weight the more built-up Sydney gets. Examining more than 200 specimens around Sydney, they found that the more concrete there was, the further they were from bushland and the less leaf litter there was, the bigger the spiders tended to be. Lowe says the spiders in the bushland of Brisbane Water National Park, north of Sydney, had an average mass of 0.5 grams. But those in an inner-city park near Bondi Beach averaged 1.6 grams. "It's probably because of the urban heat-island effect and prey availability," says Lowe. "Most invertebrates will grow to larger sizes if they are warmer. They are very sensitive to temperatures"... she says healthy spider populations in cities should be celebrated: they are mostly harmless to people, they eat pests and they provide food for birds. "I'm all about encouraging spiders in urban areas," she says."

Uppity, White Liberal Upset About Being Catcalled By Minorities In NYC - "Men can be heard saying such terrible things such as “how are you this morning,” and “have a nice evening,” while the uppity, white liberal woman looks at them with hatred and disdain for even deigning to speak to her. After all, the men are clearly out of her social class, and she’s white, so the fact that these men even have the nerve to look at her should be considered harassment…. right?"

Liberals Cannibalize Each Other Over Supposedly Racist Catcalling Video - "Unfortunately, some liberals simply couldn’t let the video stand as a testament to the bullshit that women go through. Why? Because most of the harassers in the video are nonwhite, which for some people constitutes an unacceptable narrative, even if that narrative is comprised entirely of subtext... If SoHo and Greenwich Village — two of the neighborhoods in the video — aren’t “white neighborhoods” for New York City, I don’t know what is. Roberts can also be seen near the Port Authority, which is neither a black nor a white neighborhood. It’s just a hellhole... The mere idea that a disproportionate percentage of street harassers (in New York City) might be — and let’s emphasize might be — nonwhite is simply not allowed. Indeed, to even ask the question would be considered racist... But Rosin’s article is nothing compared to this piece in Brooklyn Magazine by Kristin Iversen, who I can only presume lives in a faraway galaxy ruled by Gender Studies academics:
'The clear implication here is that Roberts is just an innocent woman who doesn’t deserve these catcalls, thus suggesting that there are some women who, because of the way they dress or because of the way they respond, could be thought to be asking for it”'... Jesus Christ. A woman shot a video while wearing a shirt and jeans — standard clothing for much of the human race — and somehow Iversen’s subtextual gymnastics arrive at the conclusion that the video is implicitly condoning harassment of women who dress differently. Beam me up... "Part of being honest about street harassment and creating awareness of it has to be an honest assessment of the ways this kind of harassment can be a way marginalized groups talk back to the white gentrifiers taking over their neighborhoods."
How much longer before Gould or some other enterprising writer explains say, rape in socioeconomic terms of gentrifier vs. gentrified? Would this be an acceptable extension of the “marginalized groups” argument? And if not, on what grounds is the argument circumscribed?"

Successful Women Use Poor Women To Advance - "Behind every “successful” woman there’s a host of other women (nannies and housekeepers) working on minimum wages to raise her kids which brings us to the fact that, fundamentally. feminism is a bourgeois concept which was initiated by bored upper-class women/housewives who longed to get away from the boredom of their mansions. (You might want to read Flaubert’s Madame Bovary in order to have an idea of the effects boredom can have on idle upper-class housewives) They wanted to break the so-called glass-ceiling by working as politicians, attorneys, journalists, managers, CEOs and fund-raisers in non-profits but never as nannies, burger-flippers and baristas meaning that it’s the nature of the work and the salary which is important and not the right to work per se. And this is where feminism fails completely as a viable tool to achieve social equality because the class struggle, if any such thing can exist in the 21st century, has to be vertically oriented. It has to be the poor against the rich (which are social categories) rather than women against men (which are genders within a social category). It makes no sense to talk about the “condition of women” in a society because the said “condition” depends on the social class. There is no economic or social overlap between the condition of a girl being exploited at a Whole Foods cash register and that of a female CEO at a Fortune 500 company. The system wins by supporting any movement that replaces this vertical struggle (between social classes) by a horizontal one (within a social class), hence its unconditional support for feminism since its inception. It can therefore be said that feminism, by definition, is a destroyer of class solidarity."
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