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Friday, December 10, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"For less pay, (Howard) Stern may be working less. The 56-year-old shock jock reportedly wants to reduce his work schedule from the current four days a week to three days, though yesterday he merely said that the new deal gives him more flexibility. Stern did tell listeners that he is likely done with radio after this deal expires in 2015. Sirius has never released stats on how many listeners Stern has, but he has clearly helped drive subscriptions. When he joined the service in 2006, it had fewer than 600,000 subscribers. After merging with XM a few years ago, and very nearly going bankrupt in 2009, Sirius XM now has 20 million subscribers, and Wall Street was pleased with yesterday's announcement that Stern had been resigned. The company's stock rose slightly." (Medialifemagazine)

"As the United States searches for new ways to nudge Myanmar toward democratic change, it may find an unexpected ally in China, according to secret diplomatic cables. Internal State Department correspondence shows a much less adversarial relationship between the United States and China over Myanmar than the language of official statements or years of posturing at the United Nations might suggest. Chinese officials acknowledge their differences with the United States but appear to share American frustrations at the junta’s handling of the country’s economy and at times show impatience at the slow pace of political change. 'The Chinese clearly are fed up with the footdragging [sic] by the Than Shwe regime,' Shari Villarosa, the head of the United States mission in Myanmar, said in a confidential cable in January 2008 that referred to the country’s aging dictator, Sen. Gen. Than Shwe. 'The Chinese share our desire to get them to the negotiating table,' Ms. Villarosa said in a note to Washington after hosting the Chinese ambassador, Guan Mu, for lunch. China and the United States both want the same thing in Myanmar, said an official from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yang Jian, according to a separate January 2008 cable: 'stability, democracy and development.'" (NYTimes)


"WHEN it comes to partners, men often find women’s taste fickle and unfathomable. But ladies may not be entirely to blame. A growing body of research suggests that their preference for certain types of male physiognomy may be swayed by things beyond their conscious control—like prevalence of disease or crime—and in predictable ways. Masculine features—a big jaw, say, or a prominent brow—tend to reflect physical and behavioural traits, such as strength and aggression. They are also closely linked to physiological ones, like virility and a sturdy immune system. The obverse of these desirable characteristics looks less appealing. Aggression is fine when directed at external threats, less so when it spills over onto the hearth. Sexual prowess ensures plenty of progeny, but it often goes hand in hand with promiscuity and a tendency to shirk parental duties or leave the mother altogether. So, whenever a woman has to choose a mate, she must decide whether to place a premium on the hunk’s choicer genes or the wimp’s love and care." (The Economist -- where else?)

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