Monday assorted links


Is 2 an argument for or against Brexit?

#2 So that's what they meant when they told me trade is not a zero-sum game.
#7 What if Un is not involved at all, and the two women decided to liquidate the guy on their own?

#1. Specifically, U.S. children requested more overall, whereas Japanese children ceased manipulation (“give up”), and Canadian children continued to try on their own.

Turns out Canadians are more rugged individualists than Americans. :)

No, I think they are saying that US children are better than other types of children.

Not sure how being more ready to rely on an adult for help makes a child "better".
I wonder if maybe this is caused by helicopter parenting. Didn't realize Canadians weren't into that, but it's possible.

How much YA do you read on a weekly basis?

What is YA?

I have no access to this journal, so I'm relying just on the abstract. But how do you make conclusions about the national character of 3 countries from a sample of 44?

And it's unlikely to be a random sample, but clustered in some way. Might just as well do it all in one city, and compare 3 year olds in 3 different neighborhoods in Chicago. I would guess Englewood, Lake Forest, and Sauganash MIGHT show just as much variation.

Note the abstract said the children are from Rural Canada

#4. Do businesses in Manhatten really not let you use the bathroom without paying a fee?
What do all the tourists do?

Yes, really the bathroom is for customers only. That's not the same thing as charging a fee to use the bathroom. They aren't renting the bathroom. They are providing access to the bathroom as a courtesy to paying customers. This is 100% necessary in a city like New York. You've never seen the tragedy-of-the-commons in action until you've seen NYC bathrooms that are open to the public and don't have round-the-clock supervision.

Trying to make a bathroom access app for New Yorkers might seem eccentric, but there's a lot of people who work in professions where this would be greatly appreciated. Bike messengers, delivery guys, professional drivers, and basically any other kind of worker who is at large all day instead of working out of an office. It probably won't really succeed as a business but I can see the need for it.

Anyone who regularly travels around Manhattan develops a list of public bathrooms that one can use, i.e., bathrooms that are open to the general public (at libraries, department stores, museums which don't charge admission, etc.) or restaurants that don't enforce the "customers only" policy. So I doubt that this app will succeed.

Robert Moses worked hard to place bathrooms in public areas. If one looks at Jones Beach, is one not inspired by the bath house the ohio sandstone?

A year ago I drove along Long Island's seashore for the first time, including the beaches in or near Queens. We didn't have time to get out and explore, but I noticed there were a good number of what looked like public buildings, presumably including restrooms.

I'm used to large cities' public restrooms being either closed and locked, or being places that get vandalized and used mainly by homeless people or non-homeless who just gotta go and have no choice. But I wondered if the beach locale, far away from the central city, may've meant the restrooms were open and reasonably clean?

On the same trip we also went up to the Hamptons, we did visit a couple of beaches there. This was shortly after Labor Day, the weather was still warm but the public buildings including the restrooms seemed to be closed.

Random impressions: the beach areas around the Hamptons reminded me of Cape Cod. And I tried Manhattan clam chowder for the first time. Not bad, but not nearly as good as even an average New England clam chowder.

Link #8 takes me to a bunch of Zegna clothing ads featuring a bearded Robert De Niro and another bearded guy. I'm guessing that Tyler wants us to think one or the other are actually him.

4. Another example of the "dynamic tech sector"?

WGU offers competency based education which is a great thing. But it is not a University in the sense that the "faculty" have no meaningful input or control of the academics. They are not really a faculty, but online contract workers, assigned a sliver of the production process whether it be advising or making a quota of contact hours.

Sure, but why one sector deserves our federal money and the other dies not? Is this based on any kind of measurable fact or just lobbying?

Absolutely you're right.

Anyone have a lead on an ungated version of #1?

In the 1970s the US and Canada both reported that they were running a substantial traded deficit with each other. Supposedly US - Canadian trade should be one of the best sets of economic data in the world.

They established a commission to study the issue and found several causes, including that they both probably did a better job of collecting data on imports than exports. But they found that the dominate factor was transfer pricing. An unusually large share of US - Canadian trade is intra-company transaction when a US or a Canadian firm traded with a subsidiary in the other country. They finally concluded that they could not correct the data and they agreed that each of the two would use the other countries import data as their export data.

You can see the official report here:

Having trouble getting the website at #8 to scroll. Does the article explain how the women could have the poison on their hands without themselves being overcome?

They used a binary agent, where each woman has essentially half the poison. They needed both to wipe the material for it to be effective.

They both spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.

8. "The Beach Club" in Kuala Lumpur." I'll know where to ask the taxi to take me!

3. Albino orangutan is the best.

I use to do a lot of marketing and consulting calls in New York and other cities where I would make presentation to several firms around town in a day. I learned to ask to use the bathroom before the receptionist called my appointment. Other wise, I found that the best solution was to go the the meeting room area of major hotels and use the bathroom there-- usually on the second floor. Front lobbies often did not have bathrooms nearby.

1. Are U.S. children more trusting, more resourceful in problem solving (asking for help is the simplest and often most effective method of problem solving), or less self-sufficient? The negative of asking for help is that the children aren't as likely to remember the solution to the problem: failure is the best teacher because we don't forget failure. Of course, it could be cultural: we are a nation of fantasists who believe we are resourceful and self-sufficient even when we aren't. It's sometimes expressed as some people being born on third base and going through life believing they hit a triple.

Of course, it could be cultural: we are a nation of fantasists who believe we are resourceful and self-sufficient even when we aren’t.

This country has a highly diversified economy and (bar Switzerland and a couple of other places) the world's highest gdp per capita not attributable to a natural resource bonanza or to the artifacts of life as a tax haven. That might just have to do with being 'resourceful and self-sufficient'. It certainly doesn't have much to do with an oversupply of senile lawyers.

@ #7 - on the Australian government levying a fine for having too many foreign opera singers. Outrageous.

With a population of only 24 million people, it seems unrealistic to imagine that casting for world-class opera can be achieved without sourcing a very significant proportion of singers from outside Australia. Even countries with much larger populations, such as the USA, Russia, Germany, the UK, and France, are heavily dependent upon foreign talent.

Often there is just one singer in the world who may be considered the finest interpreter of a particular role (e.g. Karita Mattila as Salome or, until recently, Renée Fleming as the Marschallin), and there may well be as few as half a dozen singers at any one time throughout the world who are considered to be capable of giving a really first-class performance of a role.

The upcoming Royal Opera House production of Les Vêpres siciliennes, for example, will include a cast of 11 singers representing 10 different nationalities (two British singers and one each from Sweden, the USA, Uruguay, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Korea, Australia, and South Africa). Semiramide will feature not a single British singer, but three Americans, two Italians, a Hungarian, a Korean, and a South African. Tosca will see three sopranos in the title role: a Canadian, a Romanian, and an Austrian.

That comment outsourced from Alex Davies September 25, 2017 at 4:10 am.

@Tom T. - The poison was made into to safe components that only because poisonous when mixed. Each applied their part of the mix and both washed their hands afterwards. The second person had some small amount of poison because she was touching when the mixing occurred, but apparently it wasn't enough to cause a major problem.

Link #8 is failing for me (it looks like the site is offline)--anyone know what's up?

Without reading the article: I strongly suspect they gave the women the binary agent, not because NK was worried about the safety of their agents (those women were certain to be caught), but rather because they didn't want their agents to get sick/drop dead before killing their target.

The link works for me. It's mainly about one woman's background as a prostitute and how she may have been tricked into it by being told it was part of some sort of reality TV show.

Also they split the VX up into two compounds so that each woman could deliver one separately. When combined the compounds would create VX2 , a variant of VX.

#7: Why does Australia have a 'national opera company'???

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.
-- Frank Zappa

Maybe Zappa was incomplete here, and real countries need to have a beer, an airline, and an opera company.

Well, we tried having an ultra-national opera company, but they kept stabbing each other over who got the biggest slice of the magic pudding.

Actually, Australia produced the greatest opera singer of the time in the form of Nellie Melba, who was the Angela Merkel of Opera. (Effective, long-lasting, and didn't like being touched by monkeys.):

Later, to compensate for her being named after Melbourne, Sydney built the world's most ridiculous looking --- sorry, I mean iconic -- opera house in the world and it went so over budget we have to maintain a national opera company out of embarrassment.

They defrayed some of the cost by filming the TV show, "Australia's Got Talent" there, but it turned out to be incorrect.

1: There's a fourth choice besides the three covered by the experiment (ask for help from the successful model, keep trying on your own, give up): ask for help from peers. Decades ago Uri Triesman, then a math professor at Berkeley, noticed that the Chinese students in first-year calculus studied together and helped each other do homework problems, whereas the non-Chinese students tended to study alone -- and did worse in the class. He's created a whole curriculum based on having students study in groups.

My anecdotal observation is that this behavior seems to extend to adult professionals too; Chinese workers seem more willing to ask for help, and to help each other, whereas Americans are more individualistic.

We even see this in sports: at first some of the new Olympic sports such as synchronized diving seemed bizarre, and the only sport weirder than rhythmic gymnastics was synchronized rhythmic gymnastics. But in the context of cultures centered around group identity rather than cultural identity, those sports make sense: the question is not what fancy moves and maneuvers you can make, it's can you make those moves in concert with others on your team.

The US military and businesses sometimes (often?) find they need to get their employees to be better at teamwork, e.g. Navy SEAL training where an entire group must accomplish a task (carrying a heavy log up and down a beach), and they pass or fail as a group.

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