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Archive for July, 2010

On The Big Picture, an allusion of how the Apple story could have made a nice gospel story:

As a long time Apple fanboy going back to my 1990 Mac Classic, I find this brilliant:

1. a creation myth highlighting the counter-cultural origin and emergence of the Apple Mac as a transformative moment;

2. a hero myth presenting the Mac and its founder Jobs as saving its users from the corporate domination of the PC world;

3. a satanic myth that presents Bill Gates as the enemy of Mac loyalists;and, finally,

4. a resurrection myth of Jobs returning to save the failing company…

This originally appeared on the Atlantic Journal.

Is it a wonder that Apple products have such a rabid following bordering on religious fervor, with customers buying and defending their products despite their flaws (read: Iphone 4)?

“Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld”

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One of this blogger’s favorite and recurring topics on Planetjan is narcissism. Today alwaysjan talks about it in the context of the TV series Mad Men and its main character Don Draper, beginning with telltale signs of narcissism:

As I read the article by Mary McNamara, I observed the following Red Flags:
1) In three seasons, Don Draper “has not done one single thing that wasn’t driven by rabid self-interest.” 2) “He lies to everyone all the time.”
3) “He cheats on his wife, he cheats on his mistress…”
4) “…the idea that his behavior needs to change does not seem to cross his mind – ever.”
5) He manages to “seem like he’s doing the right thing when that is not his intention at all.”
6) His children exist on the periphery of his life – cardboard cutouts at best

Read more of this post here.

Planetjan talks in depth and at length about narcissism in many posts starting here. We should all learn about NPD–a silent destroyer of relationships, since few people are aware of the disorder in themselves or their loved ones.

This blog also covered NPD and other personality disorders as part of the DSM-IV list as well as in popular fiction like Watchmen. A recent article from the WHO also indicated that personality disorders may be gender-biased.

Have you encountered a narcissist lately?

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A while back we heard about MySpace population being larger than some nations. Now as the Economist reports, Facebook is the largest digital community, 3rd only to India and China in membership:

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Facebook has become the third-largest nation

Jul 22nd 2010

THE world’s largest social network announced that it had reached 500m members on Wednesday July 21st. If Facebook were a physical nation, it would now be the third-most populous on earth. And if the service continues to grow as rapidly as in the three months to July, it will reach one billion in about 15 months—almost the size of India. Not least because of its gigantic population, some observers have started to talk of Facebook in terms of a country. “[It] is a device that allows people to get together and control their own destiny, much like our nation-state,” says David Post, a law professor at Temple University, Philadelphia.

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Hungry Investors

Ever invest on an empty stomach?

From Freakonomics:

Does hunger affect risk aversion? A new study, written up on the British Psychological Society blog, says it does. Researchers had 19 males play a gambling game after a long fast; immediately after a 2,000-calorie meal; and one hour after the meal. The immediate effect of the meal was neutralizing: the more risk-averse men were less cautious when playing immediately after eating, and the opposite was true for less risk-averse men. An hour after eating, men who felt less hungry played more cautiously. “This parallels findings in foraging animals,” said Mkael Symmonds, one of the study’s authors, “where changes in metabolic state promote changes in behavior to maintain or reach a metabolic benchmark (to take more risk if intake rate is relatively low, and less risk if intake is relatively high), but here we see the effect in the economic domain.” The researchers point out that their findings may have implications for the obese, dieters, and people with eating disorders. (And, of course, traders.)

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Inception

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Already a trending topic on Twitter and Google, Chris Nolan’s latest film: Inception has the movie-going community abuzz.

The film’s subject is the subconscious and dreams, but feels closer to a hacker-movie like Matrix or the manufactured reality film Dark City. These two movies were admittedly part of Nolan’s inspiration, and Inception carries a similar theme–about how reality is merely a function of our senses.

The film also talks about the power of an idea–and likens it to a virus (the major plot arch is the protagonist’s quest to plant an idea in someone’s subconscious). Again this sounds like hacker-speak, but also close to the concept of an internet meme.

The open-ended finale of the film is generating a small cult controversy with critics mostly positive of the movie (currently 85% at Rotten Tomatoes), however there are a few calling the execution and plot superfluous and pretentious. Meanwhile, fans of Nolan from Memento and the last two Batman films will not be disappointed.

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The death penalty doesn’t seem to be a matter of morality in this world but more a matter of geography. It depends – on where you are.  Some people don’t feel reclusion perpetua (life imprisonment) is enough for some crimes, and about all that I like about it is that it  gives a chance for innocents to be saved from the more irreversible process that is the death penalty. Otherwise, keeping a live being in a cage for too long is prolonging agonies and costly.  Death could be a relief.  And yet, it may not be deserved. 

Of course, this all sounds like a shocking topic for somebody like me to mull over, but nowhere in my credos, spiritual books and psychological researches is abuse condoned or healthy.  Abuse is lack of self love.  That’s why I recommend that when we discuss these matters, keep your loved ones close in your minds. 

Manila Mayor Lito Atienza was hawking over the rape-slay case of Candice Castro, a pretty banker who lived in a condo in Malate, Manila, that put Bebs Reyes in the top 10 list of Most Wanted in 2004.  Atienza’s words were, “The murderers are without respect to humanity, no words can fit to describe how the victim was killed. Let none of the murderers remain free.” 

Thanks, Mayor. 

read news here

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Presidential Pay vs. GDP

Good chart from The Economist, showing comparatively country leaders’ salaries across the world as a percentage of their country’s average per capita GDP.

ON MONDAY July 5th Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister, rejected the pay increase he was awarded by the country’s parliament last week. MPs had granted Mr Odinga a rise to nearly $430,000 a year, while giving themselves a 25% increase to $161,000. This boost would place Mr Odinga among the highest-paid political leaders in the world. More worryingly, his salary would be some 240 times greater than the country’s GDP per person (measured on a purchasing-power parity basis). Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore, tops our list of selected leaders’ salaries. He is paid more than 40 times the city-state’s GDP per person. At the other end of the scale, Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, reaffirms his reputation for saintliness by taking a modest sum from Indian taxpayers.

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Question is: is it pay for performance?
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