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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it." - George Orwell

Random Playlist Song: Beethoven - 32 Variations in C minor (Vitalij Kuprij)

Random Trivia bit: Hobson's choice, n.

An apparently free choice that offers no real alternative.

[After Thomas Hobson (1544?-1630), English keeper of a livery stable, from his requirement that customers take either the horse nearest the stable door or none.]

Random Trivia bit 2: Do you know that the word 'gullible' cannot be found in any English dictionary?


Thanks to me, a Google search for "Raffles Guys School" brings up the RGS website as the first result.

Meanwhile, a Google search for "the premier institution of social engineering" brings up the NUS website as result number 10.

I hereby urge all readers to post a link on the net, like so: "<a href="">The Premier Institution of Social Engineering<a>" (sans quotes), so it may rise to the top position.


Friends and acquaintances of mine who want to lurk on the PBEM I'm on (which has just started) are welcome to drop me a note.

There is an army (reservist) unit which sends out instructions (informally) via Yahoo Groups. Wth?!

The Techno Prince has finally found his Techno Princess.

When will I find my Power Ranger? (Or Asian Princess, for that matter?)


Someone on sg_ljers complains because he was in a long cab queue, and a couple came up and shared a cab with the first person in the queue.

This is the sort of attitude - "since I had to suffer so much, other people must also suffer, even if it doesn't do me any good except Schadenfreude, or it will have been unfair to me!" that is one factor accounting for the misery of the human condition.


"Cicero was famed for his patriotism and the harshness of his criticisms of Rome were legend.

True patriotism is not jingoistic rah-rah flag-waving; it's not taking offence when someone talks about your country disparagingly or dismissively. It's wanting the best for your nation.

And if your vision of what is good for the nation includes things like greater freedom, less government control, a less narrow-minded society, and more humane compassion for a diversity of ways of being and thinking and doing, then in Singapore a true patriot may well be the one who criticises the most."


The sign on the door of the Internet room of NUSS's Suntec City Guild House says that users are not allowed to surf sites of the following nature:

- sexual or pornographic material
- criminal skills
- cults
- gambling [Ed: This in a place with a jackpot room]
- curse (sic)
- illegal drugs
- promote or encourage racism or intolerance
- anything else that may be deemed to be illegal (this list is illustrative, but not exhuastive)

Guess they managed to cover all their bases.


The mystery of "steven lim ejaculation" has been resolved. On Steven Lim's site now:

"New E-Book distributed by Eyebrowser Trading & Marketing!!! MUST BUY!!!!

"Say Bye To Premature Ejaculation Now!!!"

100% cure premature ejaculation* within 3 tries or money back guaranteed! Transformed from one min gameover bedtime story to one hour long lasting battery superhero in bed! We delivered internationally.

*Premature ejaculation may refer to guys losing control of their orgasm that come too fast n too soon. ( less than 5 mins or sometimes even last only seconds) Read more about the book by clicking on OUR PRODUCTS N SERVICES in the blue content menu. Get your book today!"

No, I don't even want to know.


Awesome PR fanart

There's a picture of the Green Ranger in a menacing posture, and Tori (sans helmet) drawn Disney style (not, thank god, in the Manga style that's so popular these days).


Hah! Pascal's Wager was used in a lecture as an example of a logically irrefutable argument:

"Logically correct views

Recall that the implication “if p, then q” is logically true whenever p is false (in which case q is immaterial).

Logically irrefutable arguments are often expressed as statements “if p, then q” in which p is hypothetical or cannot be proven or falsified.

The following argument for putting a horse-shoe over the entrance of your home is logically irrefutable.

“It is supposed to bring you good luck. I don’t know whether it is true. But if it is true, I will benefit from it.”

Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662), French mathematician, scientist and philosopher, gave the following logically irrefutable argument for believing in God.

“If God exists and if I believe in Him, I will get eternal life and eternal happiness. If God does not exist and if I believe in Him, I will get nothing. If I do not believe at all, I will definitely get nothing. Therefore, if I believe, I may get an infinite reward and I have nothing to lose.”"

Interestingly, the Ancient Chinese had a parallel to Pascal's Wager:

"A similar argument was given by the ancient Chinese philosopher Mo Ti (around 450 BC) to justify the religious practice of his countrymen.

“If the ancestors to whom we sacrifice hear us, we have made a good bargain; if they are quite dead, and unconscious of our offerings, the sacrifice gives us an opportunity to enjoy a sumptuous party.”

In other words, there is nothing to lose."

More poetically:

"Mo-tzu said: For me to offer sacrifice is not to throw it into the ditch or the gully. It is to bless the ghosts above and gather a party and enjoy ourselves and befriend the neighbours below. And if spirits exist, I would be serving my father and mother and brother with food. Is this not a great blessing in the world?

Therefore Mo-tzu said: If the rulers and the gentlemen of the world really desire to procure benefits for the world and eliminate its calamities they must believe in and teach the existence of ghosts and spirits. This is the way of the sage-kings."

(The Ethical and Political Works of Motse [Mo-tzu] - Book VIII, Chapter XXXI, "On Ghosts(III)")


Abstinence programs: lessons in futility?

"Abstinence-only programs - the hallmark of the Bush administration's federal sex education policy - seem to have little impact on the behavior of Texas teenagers...

Among the findings in the Texas study: About 23 percent of the ninth-grade girls in the study had sexual intercourse before they received abstinence education, a figure below the state. After taking an abstinence course, the number among those same girls rose to 28 percent, a level closer to that of their peers across the state.

... In 10th grade, however, the percentage of boys who had ever had sexual intercourse jumped from 24 percent to 39 percent after participating in an abstinence program.

To be funded as abstinence education, programs cannot provide instruction in birth control, outside "factual information about contraceptive methods, such as the failure rates that are associated with the different methods," according to documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Among other things, the law also dictates that an abstinence program must have "as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity.""

[Ed: Emphasis mine]

Can blowing air into the vagina during oral sex really cause an air embolism and sudden death, as per Joy of Sex?

"This business about blowing air into the vagina is a lot more serious. It definitely can cause embolism and death, particularly if the woman is pregnant. Ten fatalities and one near-miss had been reported in the medical literature as of 1983. During pregnancy the vagina is distended, allowing substantial quantities of air to be introduced. The air enters the bloodstream via the vein sinuses of the intrauterine wall and from there finds its way to the heart and the brain. Collapse is usually immediate, and death can occur within minutes. In the one non-fatal case, proper treatment was delayed in part because the victim's male partner didn't tell doctors what had happened until two hours after she was admitted to the hospital. The woman miscarried and, despite treatment in a hyperbaric (high pressure) chamber, suffered permanent brain damage. How likely such things are if the woman is not pregnant is not clear, but if I were you I wouldn't try it under any circumstances."


Chris Rock on How to not get your ass kicked by the police if you're black (lucky he's black, or people would be accusing him of being racist)

Mr. Potato Head goes to the dark side - "A spud on the dark side. That's how toy maker Hasbro Inc. is promoting its latest Mr. Potato Head figure, Darth Tater."

The BingoFuel Reactor v1.0 by JL Naudin - "The BingoFuel Reactor uses ordinary tap water and low voltage electrical energy for producing a synthetic gas... this biomass gasification process has an overunity efficiency of about 125% to 150%. However, when the entire energetics of the system are accounted for, including the ultraviolet light radiation, heat loss, etc., estimates of 200% to 400% are reasonable."
I find this implausible. Why has he not started his own energy business and gotten filthy rich if he has managed to violate the law of Conservation of Mass-Energy?

Texas Man Refuses to Yield Mother's Pacemaker - "James Allan Donalson, 59, said he sliced out the pacemaker after his 85-year-old mother, Ann Donalson, died of natural causes on Sunday so he would have evidence in a 10-year dispute involving doctors and the medical device company that provided it, the sheriff's department said."

Save a Life, Kill a Spammer - "Irritation is a form of stress, and as has been medically proven, stress kills. Ahah, you say, but your unsolicited commercial e-mail hasn't killed anyone yet. Perhaps it has...."

Funny Microsoft Q Articles From The Knowledge Base - I like "The Story of Koi and the Kola Nuts"

AUE: FAQ excerpt: "The die is cast." - "does NOT mean "The metal template has been molded.""


On literature

Someone: imo, you can take the most rubbish text and the best lit student and it will sound like some masterpiece

you should see the cliffnotes analysis of r&j! it's really funny
erm sometimes i think they go overboard

anyway the scene where romeo and juliet both die
he drinks poison from a cup, she plunges her dagger into herself
the dagger is some phallic symbol or what not, and their killing is supposed to have some deep sexual symbolism

so it sounds super cheemified but is actually rather gross if you think about it
i think shakespeare just wanted a plausible and dramatic way for them to die.. the critics are pervs
they just read too much in between the lines

haha arthur miller just died! so now i can freely claim anything he might have meant from the crucible

Me: and no one can refute you


Arm yourself with basic ways to defend yourself

# Some basic kicks and jumps to lay the foundation, sparring with your friends and "fake" molesters, learning how to defend yourself with handbags, high heels and other things that you can lay your hands on -- Does this sound FUN? :)
# All girls around and no guys (except the instructors) -- You don't have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions or looking all sweaty!"


Wth?! Why do they assume only women need to know how to defend themselves?

Meanwhile there's going to be a "Race Queen Pageant" on the 26th of February. God, no!


[On Chinese New Year Ang Baos] Can you imagine? They give you a Robinson's voucher. You have to go there, walk around a few times. [Or] worse: They give you a Metro voucher.

[On corner solutions for indifference curves] Don't push yourself into a corner, [or] pain yourself into a corner *hysterical voice* How come I'm there?! (paint)

Don't leave this room more confused. Some of you have not done econs before. [Student: I've done econs] Good. Next one [diagram] - you draw.

[On non-pecuniary items] Still monetary. let's talk about some psychic things.

[On fulfilling patriotic duties] Let me encourage you. Have 3 or 4 [babies]... Girls, you forget the pain. It's really a joy... Go and have 5 or 6 more. I've done my job already.

What's the benefit of having children? *silence, then nervous laughter* Did your parents tell you it was a joy to have you? Not yet ah?

We don't know whether the disincentives have worked (these incentives)

[On the delayed effects of the baby bonus] It takes a pretty long time to get pregnant. (bear a baby to term)

I want to have a children (child)

I think being the last class should be very beneficial. You gather up all the possibilities and gather information.

What we usually did (do)

Morning, class. I see some of you have already taken off for the holidays.

Quieten down. I might be saying things that are useful for the exam.

'o/p' is the output, not the clothing store.

Don't worry. I'm almost done. Hang on there. (in)

[On vestigial organs] It's designed for artistic purposes.

[On the imperfection of 'intelligent design'] You know whenever you tweak an essay for a module that you have used for another module before, it comes out funny? (for a module, you tweak an essay)

[On the imperfection of the vertebrate eye, which needs a lot of signal processing to get an intelligible image] It's kind of like Windows. It kind of looks fine, but you have to do a lot of work behind the scenes to make it appear to work fine.

[On the imperfection of design for human delivery] Have you ever seen a cat giving birth to kittens, then it gets up and starts eating? it's not a problem for them.
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