"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Quote of the Post: "The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise the wealth that it prevents you from achieving." - Russell Green

Random Playlist Song: Chopin - Etude Op 10 No 4 in C Sharp Minor (Tony McAlpine)

His playing is fiery, though it seems at times overly dramatic.

***

When one is being flamed, the best course of action is to withdraw.

Some people take things too seriously, especially those not meant totally seriously.

***

On memory (slightly edited to correct the quote):

"we took tonnes of pictures. And I can't help thinking of this line: The camera relieves us of the burden of memory... records in order to forget. and just /hoping/ that I won't look at those self-same photos in a few years time and not remembering your -names-. It would be so /easy/. And we'll all have left, and scattered over the world in search of our futures.

And everything would have been as a dream, nothing more."

***

Interesting photos from the GEP dinner:

PaRaDoX is the most over-dressed person.

Mr Ong has a nice shirt.

It strikes me that most of the people in the pictures are very old. Looking at the guest list, I can guess why.

***

UR-QUAN '04

Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?

The Words!

Alien, you have spoken the Words, and you have spoken them rightly.
We will hear your questions.

Do you have anything to say to the people of the Middle East?

In our 228 years along the Road to Democracy we have dominated hundreds of countries, yes, but we have saved many from extinction. You imagine the threat of foreign invaders, or weapons of mass destruction borne on undetectable missiles. We have seen these. But you do not acknowledge your own worst enemy, yourselves. We have found dead nations without number, cultures ravaged by biochemical warfare or ethnic cleansing. These nations were not rendered third-world by outside forces. They bear sad testament to the effects of unrestrained instinct and emotion or simple ignorance. We will prevent such mistakes.

Although you consider us the enemy, these conclusions are flawed. We are your salvation. We bring you peace. A peace built upon OUR social framework imposed upon your country. A new world order in which your prosperity and security are assured by the U.S.A. We will protect you from the hazards of this hostile world, from dangers so hideous your simple minds cannot imagine their dark scope. Today, we are the enemy. In time, this will change. Soon, you will come to understand the boon of freedom we force upon you and then, you will revere and even love us for this gift.

***

Empathy versus systemizing

"Simon Baron-Cohen's recent book The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain proposes that 'The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy. The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems.'

Systemising Quotient: Your score: 28
0 - 19 = low
20 - 39 = average (most women score about 24 and most men score about 30)
40 - 50 = above average (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score in this range)
51 - 80 is very high (three times as many people with Asperger Syndrome score in this range, compared to typical men, and almost no women score in this range)

80 is maximum [Ed: emphasis mine]

Empathy quotient: Your score: 20
0 - 32 = low (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20)
33 - 52 = average (most women score about 47 and most men score about 42)
53 - 63 is above average
64 - 80 is very high
80 is maximum
I wasn't very sure of my answers for this one, so I think it might be a touch inaccurate. My real score is probably in the high 20s or low 30s

Autism Spectrum quotient: Your score: 23
0 - 10 = low
11 - 22 = average (most women score about 15 and most men score about 17)
23 - 31 = above average
32 - 50 is very high (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 35)
50 is maximum [Ed: emphasis mine]

Reading the mind in the eyes: Your score: 26
A typical score is in the range 22-30. If you scored over 30,
you are very accurate at decoding a person's facial expressions
around their eyes. A score under 22 indicates you find this quite difficult.

***

Tym on work

"There was also the bank employee who felt obliged to go back to work, at 9 pm or so, after watching Spiderman 2 with her department as some sort of corporate bonding exercise. Yes, the entire department went to watch the movie, then all felt they had to go back to work right away."

Work sounds like such a drag.

Singaporeans live to work, rather than work to live. No wonder the fertility rate's going down.

***

Comments after going to City Harvest:

"i realise something today.. tt is, its easy to convert to become a christian. and not the other way round. coz once u become a christian, they like pull u in to become part of the 'family'

u have cell grp n stuff also.. once all your friends are there, u wouldnt wanna leave..

and when everyone arounds u say its good its wonderful, god is around, god helps u... god.. bla bla... ..., u get psychoed thinking its really that fantastic."

***

Friendster induces people to try bad pickup lines:

"its scienctifically proven tat sugar dissolves in water. so pls dun go out in e rain. i cant afford to lose a sweet person like u. wanna chat?;)"

No, I wasn't the recipient of that message fortunately (or otherwise, as the case might be).

***

Is a workout in a pill possible? Drug may simulate effects of exercise - "'This enzyme is activated during exercise and it accelerates your metabolism to make up for the energy deficit in your muscle that’s been created by exercise,' Kemp said. Scientists believe the enzyme, technically known as AMP-activated protein kinase, plays a role in regulating appetite and body weight. But those seeking six-pack abdominals would still have to pump iron as any future pill would not tone muscles, Kemp said. 'You have to do some work. There are no miracles. (The pill) will do a number of the metabolic and gene transcription events that are caused by exercise but it doesn’t do everything.'"
But not everyone wants a six-pack

How were the high-pitched voices of the Chipmunks created? - "[Ross Bagdasarian, whose screen name was David Seville,] didn't really hit his stride until 1958, when he recorded the immortal tune 'Witch Doctor.' By singing at a very ... deliberate ... pace into a tape recorder running at half speed, and then replaying the tape at normal speed, Bagdasarian was able to create the unforgettable proto-chipmunk chorus line, 'Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah, Ting, Tang, Walla Walla Bing Bang.'"
I think this answers someone's previous question about the song with that chorus line

Not just good, but good for you - Easing depression and stress, Relieving pain, Boosting cardio health, Countering prostate cancer, Healing wounds and Fighting aging - so much for morals based on the visceral logic: "If it feels good, it's bad. If it feels bad, it's good"

War On Pornography - 'Did you know that "pornography is more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes or illicit drugs?" Or that "one in five children ages 10 to 17 has received sexual solicitations while on the Internet" - and that, by extension, pornography per se is equivalent to pedophilia? Or that "over 80% of Americans are in favor of clamping down on Internet Pornography?" Neither did we. Nor can we find any sources to back up most of the claims made by an alliance of "several U.S. and Canadian organizations" that announced a "War on Pornography"'

Bob's travel journal: Singapore - "This is the only country I've ever visited -- out of a couple dozen so far in my life -- where it's impossible to find the national flag in tourist gift shops."
That's because the national flag is to be, ah, venerated

Interesting Hacks To Fascinate People: The MIT Gallery of Hacks - What a funky place. Such stunt would never be tolerated in places closer to home. Also, I never knew IHTFP could stand for so many things. And I would have thought "I Hate This F****** Place" would be uttered more often in certain other universities, which shall rename unnamed. *g*
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