SI
SI
discoversearch

We've detected that you're using an ad content blocking browser plug-in or feature. Ads provide a critical source of revenue to the continued operation of Silicon Investor.  We ask that you disable ad blocking while on Silicon Investor in the best interests of our community.  If you are not using an ad blocker but are still receiving this message, make sure your browser's tracking protection is set to the 'standard' level.

   PastimesDiscussion Thread


Previous 10 Next 10 
From: Brumar899/2/2010 7:02:19 PM
   of 3816
 
He's Mine! No, He's Mine!

You could be mine



How'd you like to be this Chilean miner? You're hoping and praying you're rescued from deep under ground, yet at the same time likely dreading the moment you see daylight since a couple of ladies are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
Hey guys, take your time.

One of the trapped Chilean miners is in no rush to be rescued -- because both his wife and his longtime mistress will be waiting for him when he finally sees the light of day.

Neither woman was aware of the other's existence until they met at a candlelight vigil for the miners
, The Sun newspaper of Britain reported.

Yonni Barrios' wife, Marta Salinas, was shocked to hear another woman shouting her husband's name at the gathering held to support the 33 men who are trapped 2,300 feet underground, the paper said.

They compared notes and figured out that they both had been shafted. Officials said the miners aren't likely to be rescued before Christmas.

Despite feeling "horrified" about her husband's cheating ways, Salinas, 56, has told friends she still plans to welcome Barrios, 50, back with open arms once he's freed, the paper said.

"Barrios is my husband. He loves me and I am his devoted wife," she said.

But she's not the only one who feels that way.

Susana Valenzuela, who's been his mistress for five years, insists she'll always be his soul mate.

"We are in love. I'll wait for him," she told The Sun.

Salinas clawed back at her rival, refusing to address Valenzuela by name.

"This woman has no legitimacy," she hissed.

jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


From: Brumar899/13/2010 7:09:21 PM
   of 3816
 
Funny - French lover myth debunked - but wait, this is a BBC story so we probably can't believe it

French survey reports sex misery for most couples

A survey by one of France's oldest and most reputable polling and market research organisations has challenged the myth of the French lover.

More than three-quarters of Gallic couples have bad sex lives, the Institute for Public Opinion found.

More than one in three women said they had used excuses such as headaches, tiredness or children being nearby to get out of having sex.

Nearly one in six men said they had also made similar excuses.

France has long enjoyed a reputation for romance and the French have traditionally thought of themselves as great lovers, more amorous and flirtatious than most other Europeans, especially the British, the BBC's David Chazan reports from Paris.

But the survey of more than 1,000 French adults, who answered revealing questions about their sex lives, suggests the nation that gave its name to the French kiss could be suffering a loss of libido, he says.

However, help may be at hand, our correspondent adds. The pharmaceutical corporation which commissioned the survey says it is going to launch an information campaign this month for French couples who want to improve their sex lives.

bbc.co.uk

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


From: TimF9/28/2010 10:47:46 PM
1 Recommendation   of 3816
 
Cuba and the Death of Communism
Fidel Castro finally admits the obvious.

Steve Chapman | September 20, 2010

Communism has been proclaimed dead more than once in the past couple of decades. But today, it's safe to say, it is really dead. Irreversibly dead. Cemetery dead.

Consider this comment from a knowledgeable Cuban critic who was asked if the country's brand of socialism, created by Fidel Castro after his 1959 revolution, could be of use in other countries: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore." That remark would have gotten him in trouble with authorities, if his name were not Fidel Castro.

There may yet be admirers of Cuban communism in certain precincts of Berkeley or Cambridge, but it's hard to find them in Havana. The 84-year-old Fidel (who later said he didn't mean to say that) has turned control over to brother Raul, whose faith in the shining power of Marxism-Leninism has also dried up.

This week, the regime said it will dismiss 500,000 people from government jobs, which account for 84 percent of the work force. Reflecting ruefully on the perils of sheltered bureaucracy, Raul Castro declared recently, "We have to erase forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where one can live without working."

As a blanket indictment, that statement is grossly unfair. Many Cuban government employees put in long hours—working in the black market.

That option is not necessarily optional, since the average Cuban makes only about $20 a month—which is a bit spartan even if you add in free housing, food, and medical care. For that matter, the free stuff is not so easy to come by: Food shortages are frequent, the stock of adequate housing has shrunk, and hospital patients often have to bring their own sheets, food, and even medical supplies.

For a long time, Cuba enjoyed the generous support of the Soviet Union. But when communism collapsed in Moscow, Cubans had to confront the deficiencies of their system.

Admirers of Castro point to his alleged success in eradicating illiteracy and improving health care. But even these fall short of impressive progress.

Roger Noriega, a researcher at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, notes that before communism arrived, Cuba "was one of the most prosperous and egalitarian societies of the Americas." His colleague Nicholas Eberstadt has documented that pre-Castro Cuba had a high rate of literacy and a life expectancy surpassing that in Spain, Greece, and Portugal.

Instead of accelerating development, Castro has hindered it. In 1980, living standards in Chile were double those in Cuba. Thanks to bold free-market reforms implemented in Chile but not Cuba, the average Chilean's income now appears to be four times higher than the average Cuban's.

The regime prefers to blame any problems on the Yankee imperialists, who have enforced an economic embargo for decades. In fact, its effect on the Cuban economy is modest, since Cuba trades freely with the rest of the world. How potent can the boycott be when we're the only participant?

Cubans have had to pay for their meager economic gains by surrendering their political liberties. In its latest annual report, Human Rights Watch says, "Cuba remains the one country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent."

The latest instrument for strangling dissent is a law allowing the arrest of people exhibiting "dangerous" un-socialist tendencies even before they commit crimes. "The most Orwellian of Cuba's laws, it captures the essence of the Cuban government's repressive mindset, which views anyone who acts out of step with the government as a potential threat and thus worthy of punishment," says Human Rights Watch.

But even economic failures and political tyranny have been not enough to deprive Castro of Western admirers. On a 2000 visit to Havana, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asserted, "Castro's regime has set an example we can all learn from." His lieutenant Che Guevara has been endlessly romanticized. Movie director Oliver Stone once marveled of Fidel, "I'm totally awed by his ability to survive and maintain a strong moral presence."

Cubans may differ. About 1.5 million of them have fled since Castro arrived, many in rickety boats that put their lives in peril. And the government, for some reason, doesn't let ordinary citizens decide if it remains in power.

That's the grisly fate of modern Cubans. Communism is dead, and they're shackled to the corpse.

reason.com

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


From: TimF10/4/2010 3:34:22 PM
   of 3816
 
Would you eat genetically-engineered salmon?

The Food and Drug Administration’s public meetings last week on what may be the first genetically-engineered (GE) animal marketed for human consumption have stimulated a lot of discussion. People differ on whether the sale of AquAdvantage Salmon — which, due to the addition of a gene from the Chinook salmon, grows to full-size in less than half the time of its non-engineered Atlantic salmon cousins — will be a boon or a bane.

Would you eat this GE salmon? I would. There need not be any conflict here, though, as grocery stores are filled with foods that some people like and others shun. Why not allow people the freedom to make the decision for themselves? To answer this question, it’s important to understand how the FDA regulates products of biotechnology.

The majority of our food supply (the exception being food harvested in the wild) has been genetically modified over the years through selective breeding and other traditional methods. Recent concerns over “genetic engineering” relate to the newer techniques using recombinant DNA (rDNA). Many scientists find these concerns unfounded, because the new biotechnology techniques are more precise and reliable than traditional, trial-and-error techniques. For years the stated US policy has been to focus regulation on the characteristics of the product of genetic engineering, rather than the particular method used to achieve it. Following this philosophy, rDNA techniques have been applied successfully to key food crops, so that today over 70 percent of the corn and 90 percent of the soybeans grown in America are genetically engineered. To date, however, the U.S. government has never approved a GE animal for human consumption.

In January 2009, in a move that many saw as contrary to the long-standing policy of regulating based on the risks of the product, rather than the method, the FDA announced that it would regulate GE animals as if they were new animal drugs, requiring pre-marketing approval from FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). The new animal drug approval process requires the manufacturer to provide the FDA with extensive data demonstrating both the “safety” and the “efficacy” of the product. In the case of the salmon, which AquaBounty has been developing for about 15 years, CVM’s preliminary determination is that it is “safe” for human consumption (because the salmon is indistinguishable from other Atlantic salmon) and the environment (the AquAdvantage salmon do not risk interbreeding with wild salmon because they are all sterile females and will be raised in land-based tanks). Indeed, it appears that the GE salmon will be better for the environment than either wild-caught salmon (which suffer from overfishing) or traditionally-farmed salmon (which may pose environmental risks). CVM has also determined the salmon is “effective” in that they really do grow faster.

If, as expected, FDA’s CVM does approve the GE salmon, a separate arm of FDA — its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) — will make a decision as to whether and how it should be labeled. Under FDA’s food labeling rules, the agency cannot require the salmon to carry a separate label unless it is materially different from non-engineered salmon (which it appears not to be). That makes sense to me, but here’s the rub: FDA rules may also not allow producers to inform consumers about whether the Atlantic salmon they’re purchasing involved the spliced Chinook gene. This is because FDA is not only concerned that labels be truthful, but that they not mislead consumers. In deciding whether firms selling conventional Atlantic salmon can label their products as not genetically engineered, the FDA will not only consider whether such claims can be supported (e.g., through tracing or testing) but also whether such a claim might falsely imply that the non-GE salmon is safer.

Prohibiting truthful voluntary labeling would be an unfortunate abridgement of commercial speech. While I will enthusiastically purchase and eat the new GE salmon (once FDA approves it), I respect the preferences of those who would rather not and of producers of non-GE salmon who would like to advertise the fact that their salmon is not genetically engineered. To meet the diversity in preferences, FDA should avoid a one-size-fits-all labeling prescription. At a minimum, it should do what it did in an analogous situation in 1994, when it allowed cows to be treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to increase milk production. Then, it issued guidance detailing when and how labels could indicate that milk was produced from cows not treated with rBGH. (My all-natural Greek yogurt carries a label that says: “We oppose the use of rBGH. The farmers who supply our milk and cream pledge not to treat their cows with rBGH. The FDA has said no significant difference has been shown, and no test can now distinguish, between milk derived from rBGH-treated and untreated cows.”)

I hope FDA approves the GE salmon soon and then gets to work approving the enviro-pig (engineered to produce less pollution), the tuna-pig (high in omega-3 fatty acids) and cows resistant to mad cow disease.

Susan E. Dudley is Director of the GW Regulatory Studies Center and Research Professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration of the George Washington University

dailycaller.com

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


From: TimF10/20/2010 12:23:39 AM
   of 3816
 
Straining The Social Fabric

by Bevan Sabo

The widespread use of the market reduces the strain on the social fabric by rendering conformity unnecessary with respect to any activities it encompasses.

- Milton Friedman

Government demands conformity, and because individuals often have conflicting interests, conformity will always breed some level of discontent. Market transactions, on the other hand, are entered into willingly by each party to mutual advantage – so you have astronomically less discontent when market forces are allowed to mediate man’s affairs, rather than the violent hand of government.

freemarketmojo.com

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


To: Oeconomicus who wrote (3798)12/2/2010 10:21:23 AM
From: one_less
2 Recommendations   of 3816
 
Adult Truths

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

From this morning's email

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)


To: one_less who wrote (3808)12/2/2010 10:35:33 AM
From: Oeconomicus
   of 3816
 
Heh. I'm going to steal that.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


To: Brumar89 who wrote (3801)12/3/2010 3:10:23 PM
From: TimF
2 Recommendations   of 3816
 
In addition to the one's you mentioned, #10 from that link is good

--

10) Culture matters.

Many of our ideas for rescuing other countries all depend on them having similar incentives, values and attitudes as people in the west. This is not always true. I am reminded of when I walked past a Burger King in Hong Kong that was full of flowers. It looked like someone was having a funeral at the restaurant. It turned out to be people sending flowers in celebration of their grand opening. Opening a business was a reason to celebrate. In Samoa, I had a discussion with a taxi driver about why there were so few businesses of any type on the island of Savai'i. He told me that 90% of what he made had to go to his village. He had no problem helping his village, but they took so much there was little incentive to work. Today the majority of the GDP of Samoa consists of remittances sent back from the US or New Zealand. It is hard to make aid policies work when the culture isn't in harmony with the aid donors expectations.

huffingtonpost.com

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)


To: TimF who wrote (3810)12/3/2010 8:55:33 PM
From: Brumar89
   of 3816
 
Yes, that is important.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


From: TimF12/29/2010 6:54:29 PM
   of 3816
 
Frank Dikötter on Mao’s Mass Murders

Ilya Somin • December 17, 2010 12:48 am

Back in September, I wrote a post about historian Frank Dikötter’s excellent new book on Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” terror famine of the early 1960s. Dikotter recently published a New York Times op ed summarizing his thesis:

The worst catastrophe in China’s history, and one of the worst anywhere, was the Great Famine of 1958 to 1962, and to this day the ruling Communist Party has not fully acknowledged the degree to which it was a direct result of the forcible herding of villagers into communes under the “Great Leap Forward” that Mao Zedong launched in 1958.

To this day, the party attempts to cover up the disaster, usually by blaming the weather. Yet detailed records of the horror exist in the party’s own national and local archives.....

Historians have known for some time that the Great Leap Forward resulted in one of the world’s worst famines. Demographers have used official census figures to estimate that some 20 to 30 million people died.

But inside the archives is an abundance of evidence, from the minutes of emergency committees to secret police reports and public security investigations, that show these estimates to be woefully inadequate.....

In all, the records I studied suggest that the Great Leap Forward was responsible for at least 45 million deaths.

Between 2 and 3 million of these victims were tortured to death or summarily executed, often for the slightest infraction....

The term “famine” tends to support the widespread view that the deaths were largely the result of half-baked and poorly executed economic programs. But the archives show that coercion, terror and violence were the foundation of the Great Leap Forward.

Mao was sent many reports about what was happening in the countryside, some of them scribbled in longhand. He knew about the horror, but pushed for even greater extractions of food.

At a secret meeting in Shanghai on March 25, 1959, he ordered the party to procure up to one-third of all the available grain — much more than ever before. The minutes of the meeting reveal a chairman insensitive to human loss: “When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”

Even the previous estimates of 20 to 30 million dead qualify the Great Leap Forward as the biggest single case of mass murder in world history. If Dikötter’s revised figure of 45 million withstands scrutiny, Mao will have definitively surpassed Joseph Stalin’s overall record as a mass murderer (Stalin’s death toll was more evenly spread between several different episodes of mass murder than Mao’s).

Even if the earlier figures turn out to be more accurate than Dikotter’s, it is still inexcusable that the mass murders inflicted by Chinese communism remain so little known in the West. As I noted in my earlier post on the subject, Dikotter’s study is not the first to describe these events. Nonetheless, few Western intellectuals are aware of the scale of these atrocities, and they have had almost no impact on popular consciousness.

This is part of the more general problem of the neglect of communist crimes. But Chinese communist atrocities are little-known even by comparison to those inflicted by communists in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, possibly because the Chinese are more culturally distant from Westerners than are Eastern Europeans or the German victims of the Berlin Wall. Ironically, the Wall (one of communism’s relatively smaller crimes) is vastly better known than the Great Leap Forward — the largest mass murder in all of world history.

Hopefully, Dikötter’s important work will help change that.

UPDATE: In this series of posts, I described the similar terror famine that occurred in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s and its implications for international law; see also this post on whether Stalin’s crimes qualify as genocide.

In some ways, Mao was an even worse oppressor than any of the Soviet communist leaders. He combined Lenin’s role as the founder of a totalitarian state with Stalin’s role as the implementer of its largest-scale atrocities. Having a larger population to work with, he also (if Dikotter’s figures are correct) managed to kill more people than all the Soviet leaders and Adolf Hitler combined. There’s no one quite like him in all of world history. Let’s hope there never will be again.

volokh.com

As one commenter points out you can see the effect of Mao's atrocities, in a sudden drop for China (before its rapid rise) here youtube.com a video worth watching for other reasons (in fact despite the sharpness of the drop its easy to miss).

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read
Previous 10 Next 10