Contradictory impulses on mate selection

From the New Scientist:

Facial attractiveness and smell give us contradictory messages about how to select mates, new research has revealed.

Previous research on smell suggests that humans prefer odours from potential partners who are genetically dis-similar. But new research in which women rated the facial attractiveness of men suggests the exact opposite. So sight and smell appear to be giving contradictory messages about which partners to choose.

…Although the results appear to contradict those applying to smell, Roberts and his colleagues offer an explanation to resolve the paradox, based on the notion that kith and kin – despite having similar MHC – can offer cultural and social advantages in child rearing.

The team suggests that “filtering” for mates takes place at two levels – the first based on facial likeness to select someone not too distantly related, and the second based on smell, essentially to avoid in-breeding.

6% of UK Muslims fully support bombers

Sobering poll results assessing Muslim attitudes after the London bombings. In the UK, 2005, a YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph shows that:

“Six per cent [of Muslims] insist that the bombings were…fully justified.

Six per cent may seem a small proportion but in absolute numbers it amounts to about 100,000 individuals who, if not prepared to carry out terrorist acts, are ready to support those who do.

…18 per cent..feels little loyalty towards this country [UK] or none at all.

If these findings are accurate, and they probably are, well over 100,000 British Muslims feel no loyalty whatsoever towards this country.

…32 per cent…[believe] that “Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end”.

So nothing has changed. The Muslim mainstream remains radicalised and the generational split revealed in a 2002 Guardian poll appears to be as bad as ever.

Since the vast majority of the Muslims polled are immigrants or their direct descendants, why don’t those who want to “bring…to an end” our decadent and immoral Western society simply return to where they came from? Leave us alone with tolerant and peaceful Muslims who are welcome in our society. Invading other people’s countries and imposing your own intolerant standards is colonialism. I can also assure you that any attempt to roll back our liberties and Western values by aggressive Islamo-fascists will lead to that terror of all terrors: The Westerner fighting total war.

We have a 3000 year old history of annihilating Eastern tyranny. I predict this Islamist clade will suffer the same fate as its historical ancestors.

Silent raves

In the early nineties I wrote a dreadful science fiction story set in early 21st century London. In one of the scenes the protagonists find themselves in a flashmob esqe “silent rave” . Not forseeing wi-fi, the mob were tuned into a shared radio frequency and they danced silently whilst puzzelled police looked on.

Well the future is now and I claim the Neo-Nostradamus prize for social prophesy: Stille disco (quiet disco)

Welcome to the Quiet Disco. Born of noise complaints in the Netherlands, this scene (Dutch kids call it stille disco) puts dancers in wireless headphones. Each headset is tuned to receive transmissions directly from the D.J. booth, where turntables are connected through a mixer to a small radio transmitter. Ms. Dougherty was so taken by her first silent disco, witnessed at a 2003 festival in Rotterdam, that she applied for a grant with the San Francisco–based Black Rock Arts Foundation to start one here. Her proposal was approved. She placed an order for 50 pairs of wireless headphones, which arrived last week

How to outsource small personal projects to micro-contractors

I have stacks of CDs waiting to be ripped to MP3, boxes of photos I would love to have scanned and 200 book purchases I want to add to my media management software.

These are typical of the sort of minor personal projects that I am would really like to compete but are so time consuming I find myself putting them off.

I would love to just be able to hire someone – a micro-contractor – a safe, reliable and reputable person to come in and do it for me for an agreed price.

I also have the odd collaborative project, something that needs to be done for a group or community but no one has the will or time to volunteer to action the public good. An example might be getting graffiti removed, or doing data hygiene on a community website’s database. In these cases it would be super useful to be able to raise a fund to pay for the work then then hire the micro-contractor.

Luckily by combining the services of two new sites could solve the problem:

1. (UK version at

Jobazaar is an online bazaar for every kind of job. Not necessarily occupations. You can quickly find someone doing something for you. It doesn’t matter what it is. It is completely free, has tags, RSS and a ratings reputation system for both applicants and hirers.

As Lifehacker wrote:

Just-launched JoBazaar is a free community job listing site that lets you post and apply for jobs tagged by keyword and location. Less corporate than traditional job-hunting sites like Monster or HotJobs, the starting posts on JobBazaar include mowing a lawn and setting up a weblog. Use the siteís RSS to keep track of job posts and prices/bids on the job youíve posted. A good alternative to craigslist for finding someone local to paint the living room or design your new web site.


If you first ned to raise the cash for wages and you would like to have your community members contribute to the kitty, go to funable create a group action.

This is done when a group leader creates a group action, setting a target amount of money to be raised as well as the number of users who will raise it. The group action remains unlisted (but accessible via direct URL) until the first three users give money. The group action becomes listed on fundable for anyone to join. After all money is collected, fundable transfers the total to the group leader.

However, if the amount collected fails to meet the group action’s target on deadline, contributors get all of their money back.

The group leaderarranges completion of the group action’s objective, which may include the distribution of a product or thetransfer of funds to another party or in our case, paying the micro-contractor when they have completed the agreed job.

So it is simple:

1. Plan the job and describe it in detail.
2. If you need to raise funds first, use to raise the money.
3. Go to Jobazzar and post the job.

Here are some things to keep in mind when doing this:

1. Plan the job/project (unless this is part of the job). Use David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) Natural Planning model. At the very least carry out Outcome Visioning – imagine and write down exactly what the desired outcome is.

2. Give plenty of thought to safety and security considerations especially if you are inviting people into your home or office or they have acess to your computer systems or sensitive data.

3. Decide exactly how much you are willing to pay. Decide in advance how and under what terms you pay. Make sure you have the cash.

4. Remember to following the principle that one should outsource any jobs where one’s hourly rate is greater than the hourly wage of someone you could hire to do it for you. Give this a shot!

Mind Tools: Decision Making

Selecting the most important changes to make – Pareto Analysis
Evaluating the relative importance of different options – Paired Comparison Analysis
Selecting between good options – Grid Analysis
Choosing between options by projecting likely outcomes – Decision Trees
Weighing the pros and cons of a decision – PMI
Analyzing the pressures for and against change – Force Field Analysis
Looking at a decision from all points of view – Six Thinking Hats
Seeing whether a change is worth making – Cost/Benefit Analysis

Own a killer dog? Why not disguise it?

This is a Doberman!

Are you sick of people looking at your breed of dog in fear because politicians and the media are saying things like;

“We want to breed these dogs out of existence,”

“They are killing machines on a leash.”

“These breeds don’t belong in our community”

Well worry no longer, attachchi will be making disguises for all the so called ‘dangerous breeds’. Now you can go to the park with your kids and your dog (like you have been doing for years), without the worry of people thinking you are a bad parent. All our Invisible Breed Products™ are FREE to to responsible dog owners.

A spoof, of course. Or is it?

Beautiful agony – neuroscientists reverse engineer the female orgasm

From Wired, how science is trying to capture the next big thing: Female arousal drugs:

“…the science of sexual arousal is still young. Viagra revolutionized the field in the 1990s. The little blue pill that gets blood flowing to the right places at that special moment became a blockbuster for Pfizer, spawning Eli Lilly’s Cialis and GlaxoSmithKline’s Levitra. Millions now take these drugs to kick-start an evening of private recreation.

Flush with success in the fight against “erectile dysfunction,” the pharmaceutical industry set out to develop Viagra for women. First, researchers simply gave women the same pill that worked so well for men. The good news: The drug does pump a woman’s genitals full of blood. But it won’t necessarily get her frisky.

The results were surprising and frustrating to the pharmaceutical industry, which had assumed that what was good for the gander would be good for the goose. Julia Heiman, a psychology professor and director of the Kinsey Institute, conducted some of Pfizer’s Viagra studies and found that while some women “really noticed their genitals” and felt aroused, others “barely paid attention” to them and weren’t aroused at all. In other words, signals originating from these women’s genitals just weren’t translating into conscious desires. That insight put a new target in researchers’ sights: the female brain itself. “The brain is where things are made sexual,” Heiman explains. “It’s the organ that causes us to be attracted to certain body types or looks. That kind of preference isn’t processed in the genitals.”

Mark Steyn tells it like it is…

Islam does incubate terrorism By Mark Steyn

“…When events such as last Thursday’s occur, two things happen, usually within hours if not minutes: first, spokespersons for Islamic lobby groups issue warnings about an imminent backlash against Muslims.

In most circumstances it would be regarded as appallingly bad taste to deflect attention from an actual “hate crime” by scaremongering about a non-existent one. But it seems the real tragedy of every act of “intolerance” by Islamist bigots is that it might hypothetically provoke even more intolerance from us irredeemable white imperialist racists.

…Among those of us who aren’t Muslim, meanwhile, there’s a stampede to be first to the microphone to say that “of course” we all know that “the vast majority of Muslims” are not terrorists but law-abiding peace-loving people who share our revulsion at these appalling events, etc.

…If it were just a question of rhetorical sensitivity, I’d be happy to go along with Mr Paddick’s multiculti pap and insist that “Islam and terrorism don’t go together” – events in Beslan, Bali, Israel, Nigeria, Kashmir, etc, notwithstanding. But the danger in separating “Islam” from “terrorism” is that it leads the control-freaks of the nanny state into thinking that “terrorism” is something that can be dealt with by border security, ID cards, retinal scans, metal detectors. It can’t.

Terrorism ends when the broader culture refuses to tolerate it. There would be few if any suicide bombers in the Middle East if “martyrdom” were not glorified by imams and politicians, if pictures of local “martyrs” were not proudly displayed in West Bank grocery stores, if Muslim banks did not offer special “martyrdom” accounts to the relicts thereof, if schools did not run essay competitions on “Why I want to grow up to be a martyr”.

…Islam has become the world’s pre-eminent incubator of terrorism at its most depraved. Indeed, so far London has experienced only the lighter items on the bill of fare – random bombing of public transport rather than decapitation, child sacrifice and schoolhouse massacres.

…Why are we surprised that “Muslim moderates” rarely speak out against the evil committed by their co-religionists when the likes of Mr Paddick keep assuring us there’s no problem? It requires great courage to be a dissenting Muslim in communities dominated by heavy-handed imams and lobby groups that function effectively as thought-police.

Yet all you hear from Mr Paddick is: “Move along, folks, there’s nothing to see here.” This is the same approach, incidentally, that the authorities took in their long refusal to investigate seriously the 120 or so “honour killings” among British Muslims.

Just as the police did poor Muslim girls no favours by their excessive cultural sensitivity, so they’re now doing the broader Muslim community no favours. The Blair-Paddick strategy only provides a slathering of mindless multiculti fudge topping over the many layers of constraint that prevent Islam beginning an honest conversation with itself.

Unlike Malaya or the Mau-Mau or the IRA, this is a global counter-terrorism operation across widely differing terrain, geographical and psychological. We need to be able to kill, constrain, coerce or coax as appropriate.

Kill terrorists when the opportunity presents itself, as 1,200 “insurgents” were said to have been killed in one recent engagement on the Syria/Iraq border the other day. Constrain the ideology behind Thursday’s bombing by outlawing Saudi funding of British mosques and other institutions. Coerce our more laggardly allies like General Musharraf into shutting down his section of the Saudi-Pakistani-Londonistan Wahhabist pipeline.

But the coaxing is what counts – wooing moderate Muslims into reclaiming their religion. We can take steps to prevent Islamic terrorists killing us, most of the time. But Islamic terrorists will only stop trying to kill us when their culture reviles them rather than celebrates them.

There are signs in the last week’s Muslim newspapers, in London and abroad, that some eminent voices are beginning to speak out. At such a moment, Britain should be on the side of free speech and open debate. Instead, the state is attempting to steamroller through a grotesque law at the behest of already unduly influential Islamic lobby groups. One of its principal effects will be to inhibit Muslim reformers. Shame on us for championing Islamic thought-police over Western liberty.

Godda love Steyn. Superb.