All the shengnu ladies -

All the shengnu ladies - Where are the 30 million surplus men?

Where are the 30 million surplus men?
In the countryside, tending to their parents and their farms. Because in Chinese society, it’s expected women will marry up, that’s exactly what most women in rural areas do. They migrate to bigger cities, find better jobs, marry men in higher classes, and in some cases, even end up providing more money for their parents than the males who remain on the farms taking care of them. In a fascinating piece for the Pulitzer Center, journalists Sushma Subramanian and Deborah Jian Lee report that these women are known as “golden turtles” for the wealth they are able to provide for their families by migrating and marrying up. Their “success” has given pause to China’s traditional preference for sons, all while leaving thousands of men behind in perpetual bachelorhood. These men, also known as “guan gun” or “bare branches,” are at the rock bottom of the marriage chain, and although equally strapped for an available pool of partners to choose from, are not very compatible with the average shengnu, socially, intellectually or geographically.

I believe it

Cyberloaf Monday:
Since people tend to surf the web more when they're tired, today is especially unproductive:
The investigators [led by David Wagner] recognised an event that affects everyone’s sleep: when the clocks go forward for Daylight Saving Time. Prior evidence suggests we lose on average 40 minutes of sleep per night following the switch, as our body rhythms struggle to adjust. ... [Wagner's team] found that Entertainment-related searches on the Monday after DST were 3.1% more prevalent than the previous Monday, and 6.4% than the subsequent Monday.

On Exponential Growth

fanaticflyer comments on Forgive me, but is the Singularity an event, or a process?
"Imagine a magic pipette. It is magic because every drop of water that comes out of it will double in size every minute. So the first minute there is one drop, the second minute there are two drops, the third minute four drops, the fourth minute eight drops and so on… This is an example of exponential growth. Now, imagine a normal sized football stadium. In this stadium you are sitting on the seat at the very top of the stadium, with the best overview of the whole stadium. To make things more interesting, imagine the stadium is completely water-tight and that you cannot move from your seat. The first drop from the magic pipette is dropped right in the middle of the field, at 12pm. Here’s the question: Remembering that this drop grows exponentially by doubling in size every minute, how much time do you have to free yourself from the seat and leave the stadium before the water reaches your seat at the very top? Think about it for a moment. Is it hours, days, weeks, months? The answer: You have exactly until 12:49pm. It takes this tiny magic drop less than 50 minutes to fill a whole football stadium with water. This is impressive! But it gets better: At what time do you think the football stadium is still 93% empty? Take a guess. The answer: At 12:45pm. So, you sit and watch the drop growing, and after 45 minutes all you see is the playing field covered with water. And then, within four more minutes, the water fills the whole stadium. This means that you think you are safe because it seems that you have plenty of time left, whereas due to the exponential growth you really have to take immediate action if you want to have any chance of getting out of this situation."

Franklin's 13 Virtues

Franklin's 13 Virtues:
(Source: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Image: Benjamin Franklin, via.)

In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin devised a list of 13 virtues to live by for as long as possible, in an attempt to "live without committing any fault at any time." He then focussed on one virtue each week and kept notes on his progress. He began with "Temperance."

The list read as follows (click through to read)

So I watched some Downton Abbey this weekend...

A few observations:
  • I'm a complete sucker for truly good or truly evil characters - think Abigail Williams from The Crucible or Achilles from Orson Scott Card's "Ender" or "Bean" series's on the bad side. Anna, pictured at right, is one of the good ones - she doesn't take a single false or bad step over the hours and hours of the two seasons, which makes her incredibly unrealistic and yet compelling as we root for her and her Jane Austen beau. That screencap is from 11:11 in the first episode, but its context makes it obvious that she's the "good gal" and probably his romantic interest. Unrelatedly, I can't imagine how boring it must be to be an actor that never changes one's costume, with probable corsets to boot.
  • I also didn't realize how much of a structure the "downstairs" staff of a great house had. For example, a housekeeper (head of women service) had the title of "Mrs," and the Butler presided over a formal servant's dinner, complete with all staff rising upon his entrance to a room. Those positions were true pinnacles, albeit within a small universe of long hours and bowing/scraping to unworthier guests.
  • The show is a mixture of fairly typical television plotlines ("Father, I'm political!") made more interesting by strong characters and writing, espeically the vicious and amazing one-liners of Maggie Smith's character, who becomes much more decent throughout the series. Acting is also excellent, but I worry that cheap emotional hooks won't hold viewers without more interesting plotlines in Series Three.