"Marmite neglect" ad generates deliciously slimy complaints


Marmite is tasty or disgusting, depending on who you ask, and marketing campaigns have long acknowledged the 'acquired' quality of its unique appeal. The latest ad, however, is ruffling feathers for its fakeumentary format, in which jars are rescued, animal-welfare style, from the homes of neglectful owners.

The best Marmite is the rare Marmite Extra Old special edition; the Gold Edition was just a stunt and can be safely ignored.

Previously: Denmark bans Marmite. Read the rest

Screaming black female circumcision cake controversial

Swedish culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cut into an unusual cake at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm this Saturday, and found herself at the center of a controversy some might say could have been predicted.

The remarkable cake design--featuring a edible black torso and the artist's head screaming as guests tucked in--was intended to draw attention to female genital mutilation in Africa.

Campaigners, however, say it is itself an unacceptable caricature. From Sweden's The Local:

"In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden," [said] Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association."This was a racist spectacle."

... the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris. Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the "genital mutilation cake" on his Facebook page.

"Before cutting me up she whispered, 'Your life will be better after this' in my ear," he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.

Minister in 'racist circumcision outrage' [The Local] Read the rest

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The neurobiology of politics

What, if anything, should we make of studies that purport to find neurological differences between people who self-identify as "conservative" and people who self-identify as "liberal?" You've seen studies like that in the paper. You've heard them argued about on radio and TV shows. But what do they actually mean? Is this just so much high-tech phrenology? Is it a smug way for one group to make snide commentary about the other group under the guise of "science?" Is your political affiliation determined by your mind, or by your brain?

Behavioral therapist Andrea Kuszewski has a great guest post up at The Intersection blog, looking at what we can (and can't) learn from the handful of studies that have attempted to link politics and neurobiology. None of these studies have been perfectly well-done, she writes. But, despite being flawed in different ways, they're coming to some of the same conclusions—conservatives seem to have a more active amygdala and liberals seem to have a more active anterior cingulate cortex. You can shorten that into a headline-grabbing statement about conservatives being driven more by emotions and liberals by logic. But it's really, really not as simple as that.

If you're going to talk about these studies at all, Kuszewski writes, you're going to have to understand the context behind them. In other words: This is an issue chock full of yesbuts. And, without them, you're going to come to some very wrong conclusions.

This is definitely a story worth reading all the way through. Read the rest

Primer on GM crops

Check out this great primer on the science behind the safety of genetically engineered food crops.(Via Kate Clancy) Read the rest