Friday, August 24, 2012

Class-Conscious K-Pop (Link Round-Up 8/24/12)

South Korea bans Apple and Samsung products over infringing each other's patents
The Seoul Central District Court ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2 from store shelves in South Korea, ruling that the products infringed on two of Samsung's telecommunications patents.

The court also ruled that Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung had infringed on one of Apple's patents related to the screen's bounce-back ability and banned sales of the Galaxy S2 and other products in South Korea. 
Samsung filed a lawsuit against Apple in Seoul in April last year regarding infringement of patents related to telecommunications standards.
Labor strife rises in Bangladesh - the place where your cheap clothes come from
Factory owners are major political donors and have moved into news media, buying newspapers and television stations. In Parliament, roughly two-thirds of the members belong to the country’s three biggest business associations. At least 30 factory owners or their family members hold seats in Parliament, about 10 percent of the total.

“Politics and business is so enmeshed that one is kin to the other,” said Iftekharuzzaman, director of Transparency International Bangladesh.“There is a coalition between the sector and people in positions of power. The negotiating position of the workers is very, very limited.”
Was Turkey the birthplace of Hindi and English?
Not everyone was convinced.

"There is so much about this paper that is arbitrary," Victor Mair, a Chinese language expert at the University of Pennsylvania, told Science.

The Atkinson model relies on logical leaps about the rates of language change and how languages diffuse, Mair said, while the steppe hypothesis "is based heavily on archeological data such as burial patterns, which are directly tied to datable materials."
The subversive message of "Gangnam Style"
The video is "a satire about Gangnam itself but also it's about how people outside Gangnam pursue their dream to be one of those Gangnam residents without even realizing what it really means," Kim explained to me when I got in touch with her. Koreans "really wanted to be one of them," but she says that feeling is changing, and "Gangnam Style" captures people's ambivalence.
"Koreans have been kind of caught up in this spending to look wealthy, and Gangnam has really been the leading edge of that," Hong said. "I think a lot of what [Psy] is pointing out is how silly that is. The whole video is about him thinking he's a hotshot but then realizing he's just, you know, at a children's playground, or thinking he's playing polo or something and realizes he's on a merry-go-round."
Animals have consciousness, according to leading neuroscientists
We declare the following: “The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non- human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”
Older male sperm has more mutations
“Modern human populations are subject to many fewer selection pressures than has been the case throughout human evolutionary history,” Kondrashov writes. “Because deleterious mutations are much more common than beneficial ones, evolution under this relaxed selection will inevitably lead to a decline in the mean fitness of the population.”

Kondrashov thinks the recent rise in autism cases could be a good example of that. (He notes though, that scientists aren’t sure that the recent rise is real, and not based solely on broader recognition of the disorder.) It’s a very loaded issue, he says, but studies such as this are important so that scientists can figure out how big a problem this might be and how fast it may be acting.
India threatens to ban Twitter over riots
India would seem an unlikely country to crack down on the free flow of information, but the government fears it has become a threat to national security and has warned Twitter of “appropriate and suitable action” if it doesn’t close 20 accounts that it believes have spread scare-mongering stories.

The government had already blocked over 200 web pages which it claims have incited communal violence in the northeast of the country where fighting between Muslim settlers and local tribal group in the state of Assam.

Government officials say the sites, as well as mass SMS phone messages, had frightened people from the northeast working in southern cities that they had left for fear of reprisal attacks.

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