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I hate cyclists

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Sunday, September 07, 2003

Mensa International - Mensa Workout - From a page Moses sent me. Apparently the next testing date is next Saturday. "Your score was 21 out of 30. That is a very good score, you would have a good chance of passing the Mensa test." - Bah. I wonder what the point of joining is, anyway.

The Gender Genie - Paste samples of writing in and by analysing keywords, it will predict (with a supposed 80% accuracy) what gender the author is.

When Will You Die? - "The World's Most Reliable Death Calculator"

Not all POWs survive - "A forwarded email, about a sergeant who was essentially killed during the Singapore Armed Forces POW training course"


The Stanford Prison Experiment: A Simulation Study of the Psychology of Imprisonment

The infamous 1971 experiment. Reading through the commentary by Philip G. Zimbardo, I am struck by how much the observations and findings apply to Neverending Slavery (to use Chinx's term), and BMT in particular:

1. Consider the psychological consequences of... shaving the heads of prisoners or members of the military. What transformations take place when people go through an experience like this?

The process of having one's head shaved, which takes place in most prisons as well as in the military, is designed in part to minimize each person's individuality, since some people express their individuality through hair style or length. It is also a way of getting people to begin complying with the arbitrary, coercive rules of the institution.

2. The guards were given no specific training on how to be guards. Instead they were free, within limits, to do whatever they thought was necessary to maintain law and order in the prison and to command the respect of the prisoners. The guards made up their own set of rules

I don't think those of non-enlistee rank are given much specific training on how to control their men.

3. At 2:30 A.M. the prisoners were rudely awakened from sleep by blasting whistles... these events provided a regular occasion for the guards to exercise control over the prisoners.

Push-ups were a common form of physical punishment imposed by the guards to punish infractions of the rules or displays of improper attitudes toward the guards or institution. When we saw the guards demand push-ups from the prisoners, we initially thought this was an inappropriate kind of punishment for a prison -- a rather juvenile and minimal form of punishment. However, we later learned that push-ups were often used as a form of punishment in Nazi concentration camps

At first push-ups were not a very aversive form of punishment, but they became more so as the study wore on. Why the change?

Read: Various forms of punishment (including knocking it down) and silly regimental stuff

4. The next day, we held a visiting hour for parents and friends. We were worried that when the parents saw the state of our jail, they might insist on taking their sons home. To counter this, we manipulated both the situation and the visitors by making the prison environment seem pleasant and benign. We washed, shaved, and groomed the prisoners, had them clean and polish their cells, fed them a big dinner, played music on the intercom, and even had an attractive former Stanford cheerleader, Susie Phillips, greet the visitors at our registration desk.

When the dozen or so visitors came, full of good humor at what seemed to be a novel, fun experience, we systematically brought their behavior under situational control. They had to register, were made to wait half an hour, were told that only two visitors could see any one prisoner, were limited to only ten minutes of visiting time, and had to be under the surveillance of a guard during the visit. Before any parents could enter the visiting area, they also had to discuss their son's case with the Warden. Of course, parents complained about these arbitrary rules, but remarkably, they complied with them. And so they, too, became bit players in our prison drama, being good middle-class adults.

Some of the parents got upset when they saw how fatigued and distressed their son was. But their reaction was to work within the system to appeal privately to the Superintendent to make conditions better for their boy. When one mother told me she had never seen her son looking so bad, I responded by shifting the blame from the situation to her son. "What's the matter with your boy? Doesn't he sleep well?" Then I asked the father, "Don't you think your boy can handle this?"

He bristled, "Of course he can -- he's a real tough kid, a leader." Turning to the mother, he said, "Come on Honey, we've wasted enough time already." And to me, "See you again at the next visiting time."

Parents' Visiting Day in BMT, and other displays to the public!

5. [We felt] considerable frustration and feelings of dissonance over the effort we had put in to no avail. Someone was going to pay for this.

The guards again escalated very noticeably their level of harassment, increasing the humiliation they made the prisoners suffer, forcing them to do menial, repetitive work such as cleaning out toilet bowls with their bare hands. The guards had prisoners do push-ups, jumping jacks, whatever the guards could think up, and they increased the length of the counts to several hours each.

6. There were three types of guards. First, there were tough but fair guards who followed prison rules. Second, there were "good guys" who did little favors for the prisoners and never punished them. And finally, about a third of the guards were hostile, arbitrary, and inventive in their forms of prisoner humiliation. These guards appeared to thoroughly enjoy the power they wielded, yet none of our preliminary personality tests were able to predict this behavior. The only link between personality and prison behavior was a finding that prisoners with a high degree of authoritarianism endured our authoritarian prison environment longer than did other prisoners.

7. Prisoner #416 coped by going on a hunger strike to force his release. After several unsuccessful attempts to get #416 to eat, the guards threw him into solitary confinement for three hours, even though their own rules stated that one hour was the limit. Still, #416 refused.

At this point #416 should have been a hero to the other prisoners. But instead, the others saw him as a troublemaker.


Which Backstreet Boy Is Gay?

We are, on fire,
we have, desires,
but one, is that way,
one backstreet boy is gay.
But we dont want to be mean,
since now he's a queen,
dont ask please,
"which backstreet boy is gay?"

Tell me who! Aint sayin that its AJ
Tell me who! Aint sayin that its Howie
Tell me who! I never wanna hear you say:
"Which backstreet boy is gay?"

Now I can see him, he's in womens clothes,
but he dont need an IUD, yeah,
He likes Village People,
he's playin croquet,
his dog is a pekinese.
He is on fire,
his back, prespires,
Wont say, wont say, wont say, WHOS GAY!
He's always sayin: Aint nuthin but a butt-ache,
aint nuthin but a fruitcake,
I never want to hear you say, which one of us is gay?

Tell me who! Aint sayin that its Brian
Tell me who! Aint sayin Nick or Kevin
Tell me who! He's bakin' up a soufflè

Which Backstreet Boy is gay?

Ok, we're all gay.

- by Mikeboyslim
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