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April 2012
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June 2012

The fruits of grade inflation

Vox links to this interesting piece:

[...] the weak student who believes in his high grades has also had a disservice done him. He has been misled about his abilities, falsely persuaded that career paths and goals are open that may be out of reach. Eventually, the fraud will be revealed: by an employer who finds him inadequate, by his own dawning recognition that he cannot achieve what he hoped. The reckoning will likely be bitter; evidence exists that the pedagogy of false esteem can even cause psychological harm. When students who have always been praised must confront the reality of their low achievement, their tendency is, as researchers James Coté and Anton Allahar report, not to confront the problem directly but to hit back at its perceived source — the teacher who has given them the bad news, the employer who does not renew a contract.

Assuming that one has a job. 

No love for Manji in Malaysia

Malaysia bans Manji's new book:

Irshad's book, which was translated into the Malay language, had been forwarded to the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to be studied.

"This is because the book, which is believed to have elements that can deviate Muslims from their faith and which insulted Islam, has received numerous complaints," he said in a statement here Thursday.

It's informative to see that advocating a softer, peaceful version of Islam is akin to insulting Islam. Anyway, the banning of the book is not a surprise:

On July 30, 2009, her previous book, entitled The Trouble With Islam Today, was also banned in Malaysia.

Link via Jihad Watch.

The moronic Saudis

In addition to the Jews, Saudi Arabia has now banned the Gregorian calendar.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said that the decision "means to preserve the Islamic calendar and the Arabic language."

My dad would get a calendar every year from his company in Saudi Arabia. It was simple; one page on which Islamic dates and the Gregorian calendar were put together without any trouble. Those who cared about the Islamic dates were happy; those who followed the A.D. convention were happy; those who cared about both were happy!

This just goes to show the extreme level of intolerance and paranoia in Saudi Arabia. They ban a freakin' calendar because it's threatening their language and culture. I wonder how they'll enforce this rule? What if an average person is caught with the banned calendar? What will be the punishment? A night in jail? Ten lashings? Being forced to listen to harsh Quran recitations?

Just curious.

Respek the ass

Ass rape leads to multiple homicide:

Newspapers in Yemen said the owner of the ass got mad after he saw the donkey attacking his animal, prompting him to chase the donkey and hit it.

The attack infuriated the donkey owner, who called his armed tribe men and asked them to take revenge.

“The problem snowballed into an armed fight between Makabis tribe, which owns the donkey, and Bani Abbas which owns the ass…15 people were either killed or injured in the battle,” the Saudi Arabic language daily Aleqtisadiah said, quoting newspapers in Yemen.


Thunder is sky high


Further demonstrating its market leading innovation and technological leadership, ASUS is proud to announce the launch of its P8Z77-V PREMIUM motherboard — the flagship of the P8Z77 Series and the first Intel certified motherboard in the market to offer the latest Thunderbolt connection interface.

All for the low price of $459. That's just for the motherboard.

Pointless rage

Vox Popoli:

The African community in America, abetted by the mainstream media, has completely missed a potentially important teachable moment. Instead of attempting to media-lynch a decent Hispanic man who was merely attempting to protect his neighborhood, they would have done much better to teach their young men that in a nation with millions of concealed-carry permit holders, and millions more who carry without bothering with permits, it is not merely criminal, but criminally stupid, to attack even the most apparently indefensible individual.

A black guy attacks a white / hispanic person. Gets shot. Dies.

Reaction from blacks? Attack more white people! 

Life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid.

United no more

Vox Popoli on the fractured future of America:

[...] once the Hispanic portion of the country exercises its legitimate right to self-determination and goes its own way, presumably before 2033, it seems readily apparent that White America will at long last separate into its "liberal" and "conservative" halves when conservative America finally realizes that the country, to say nothing of the nation, was literally unable to survive the self-destructive tendencies of its liberal population.

Those crazy Chinese

Oddity Central:

It appears in China the saying “study till you drop” is taken quite literally by some, as photos show students receiving amino acid IV drips as they hit the books during late evening studying session for college exam.

You thought you were studying too hard? Well unless you’ve ever needed intravenous medication to keep you from passing out or collapsing due to excessive studying, you have it pretty good compared to these young students at a high school in Xiaogan, central China’s Hubei province.

I can't imagine the disappointment and the overwhelming feeling of shame for those diligent students who don't make the cut.

Be ice

Alpha Game:

When your boss yells at you or your girlfriend accuses you of something, don't say anything, don't even allow your face to change expression. Just meet their eyes, breath slowly, and blink deliberately. Then ask them to repeat themselves. Nine times out of ten, they will immediately lower their voice and address you in a calmer, more civilized manner. This is an instinctively submissive response to dominant behavior.

Excellent advice.

Light peeks

Anand tests Thunderbolt on Windows 7. The sheer scale of bandwidth is incredible. One Thunderbolt cable can support a monitor and three external drive setups with bandwidth to spare. This would be fantastic for laptops. One finds many atrocious combinations of ports on portable devices. With Thunderbolt, only one port would be sufficient for many people. That would make laptops lighter and less power-hungry: a win-win! If more ports are needed, then just connect a 4-port hub.

Of course, it's not perfect. It's not market-ready. It's expensive. And almost nobody has thunderbolt devices. So, it'll take a while for it to hit mainstream.

Frugality helps

Life in Canada today and 30 years earlier:

Today, financial self-sufficiency is impossible without taking breaks from school to work. The Bank of Canada’s handy inflation calculator tells us that my $1,000 tuition back in 1984 would cost $2,028 today if it increased just by the inflation rate annually. But according to Statistics Canada, the latest read on average tuition fees is $5,366.

In Ontario, the minimum wage is $10.25. A student who puts in a 40-hour work week for 12 weeks would stand to make about $4,900. That’s a sizable shortfall on tuition, never mind the cost of student fees, books and living expenses. As a parent of an 18-year-old heading to university out of town next year, I can tell you that budgeting $18,000 to $20,000 per year is prudent.

It's quite depressing to be a graduate from university in the last few years. The tuition fees have outstripped inflation by a huge margin and wages have been stagnant. So, young people are paying more and more money to get a degree which, as time passes, results in a lower and lower wage.

In addition, the price of housing, utilities, food and oil has been increasing. So, whatever litttle money new graduates do make goes to the necessary bills. There's little left over for savings.

Many young adults can avoid a lot of headache if they choose their major(s) wisely and don't spend their money frivolously. There's no question that life is tough but it's tougher if you're stupid.

Egyptians love slavery

Pew Global via Micheal Totten:

Egyptians clearly want Islam to play a role in shaping the nation’s laws – indeed, a majority says Egypt’s laws should strictly adhere to the Quran. And most say they see Saudi Arabia as a model for the role of religion in government, rather than more secular Turkey.

61% of Egyptians consider Saudi Arabia to be a role model for their own society. The Muslim Brotherhood has a lot of potential supporters.

Work and no play

Started at my job around 8 a.m. Finished after 8 p.m. 

It's amazing how much reading and blogging I used to do before my full-time job. Now, at the end of the day I just want to listen to music or watch a TV show. Thinking requires too much effort.

feel old.

Be not raciss!

Instructors provide more positive, and thus useless, feedback to minority students than to white students:

"The social implications of these results are important; many minority students might not be getting input from instructors that stimulates intellectual growth and fosters achievement," notes Harber. "Some education scholars believe that minorities under-perform because they are insufficiently challenged -- the 'bigotry of lowered expectations,' in popular parlance," he explains. "The JEP study indicates one important way that this insufficient challenge might occur: in positively biased feedback," according to Harber.

It's funny that teachers behave in this extra-favorable manner largely so that others don't accuse them of being biased. If they weren't super nice to blacks or hispanics, then obviously they'd be racist.

Link via Instapundit.

The Avengers!

I watched it. Marvel's risky strategy has paid off. The movie was immensely entertaining. There were many good parts; both in terms of dialogue and action.

The first hour can at times seem sluggish as there's a fair amount of setup and exposition that needs to be endured. And there are times during the final battle when the special effects take over and things edge toward Bay's fetishistic fascination with hardware over everything else. Yet those are isolated moments in a jaw-droppingly intense 50-minute battle royale (with cheese). Every hero gets his/her time to shine, although some shine more brightly than others.

The Hulk got tremendous applause just moments after Dr. Banner shared his secret and later the audience was laughing out loud when he faced the main villain.

Another part I liked was just before the movie had started: the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.

Is the BBC raciss?

Mail Online:

Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen claims the BBC have placed a ban on his latest character from new film The Dictator.

The 40-year-old alleged that top TV and radio shows have all mysteriously pulled out of talks over interviewing him as Colonel Gaddafi-style leader Admiral General Aladeen.

The Dictator is not amused:

While I am a huge admirer of state-sponsored censorship, the BBC banning me from their meagre channels is an outrage.